Sunday, January 31, 2010

In My Mailbox (5)

In  My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that talks about books that have been bought, swapped, received for review or borrowed from the library.

This week I bought:

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder (Simon & Schuster, Jan 5, 2010)

Summary from GoodreadsRestless souls and empty hearts.

Brooklyn can’t sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca died a year ago, and now their friend Gabe has died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there, waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca chasing her through her dreams.

Nico can’t stop. He’s always running, trying so hard not to feel the pain of missing Lucca. But when he begins receiving messages from his dead brother, telling him to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

I have been reading a lot about Chasing Brooklyn on many blogs.  So when I was at Barnes and Noble, I took a look it.  Just reading the cover copy gave me chills.  I can't wait to read it!

From the library:

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (St. Martin's Griffin, Jan 5, 2010)

Summary from GoodreadsClimbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around.

Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Tensions grow and the abuse worsens as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be. 
I have been reading more realistic fiction recently and was interested in reading Some Girls Are. I started reading it, but put it down to concentrate on school work.  From the piece that I've read, I'm glad that I'm not in high school.
I though that was going to be it for the week, until I walked into work on Thursday and found this sitting on the Children's Reference Desk:
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (Dutton, April 6, 2010) ARC
Summary from Goodreads: One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.
Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.
I think I let out a squee or two (luckily, it was the middle of the day and the Children's Room was pretty empty).  I am about a third of the way through and wish that I had more time to actually sit and finish.  But, I have a paper due Tuesday and a project proposal due Wednesday that need to get done first :-(  As soon as I'm done with all of that I'll send some time with the Will Graysons.
What's in your mailbox this week?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Recommend Me (1)

Recommend Me is hosted  by Kate at The Neverending Shelf

This is how Kate decscribes Recommend Me:
Recommend Me is a weekly event in which participants will pick one of their all time favorite reads to share. This could be a book that your read yesterday or years ago.

To play along, grab a favorite read and tell us about it. You can include your thoughts about the novel, its summary, your favorite memory related to the novel... the possibilities are limitless. If you are up for a challenge, you can also include:

•Your review of the novel
•Links to others' reviews of the novel
•Recommending to a general group of readers or if you want to be extra daring, to specific reader friends

Read more about this meme at

One of my favorite things about being a librarian is recommending books to patrons.  I love when they come in and say "I loved Diary of a Wimpy Kid, do you have any other books like that" or "I just read a book by John Green, what other authors are good to read."  My favorite question this week was, "Can you recommend a book that isn't dark like Twilight, I want something lighter but more real."  Finding other books or authors for someone to read is fun, especially when they come back saying they enjoyed the recommendation and want more books.  So when I saw this at The Neverending Shelf, I thought I would give it a try.

This week I recommend:

Instead of Three Wishes: Magical Short Stories by Megan Whalen Turner
Originally Published by Greenwillow Books in 1995

Summary from GoodreadsA leprechaun is sighted in a small town in New Hampshire. An inner-city boy goes back in time to prehistoric Sweden. There's a ghost living on the highest level of a huge factory--but what she sees is her own house. This collection of stories by 1997 Newbery Honor-winner Megan Turner is utterly delightful [and] perfectly crafted (Kirkus Reviews)--after reading them, you'll never see the world the same way again.


By now, most of this blog's readers know that I adore The Queen's Thief Series (or Attolia books) by Megan Whalen Turner.  I was introduced to them by a work colleague and fell in book love after reading the first one (The Thief).  Usually once I find an author I enjoy reading, I try to read as much by that author as possible.  So after I read The King of Attolia, Deirdre showed me Megan's short stories.  I don't read short stories that often, but thought I would give Instead of Three Wishes a try.  I was not dissapointed.  Each story deals with some sort of magical creature or situation.  My favorite story in this collection is "The Baby in the Night Deposit Box."  It is about a baby that gets left in a bank's night deposit box, who is then raised by the bank staff and eventually finds her real family.  

Other books by Megan Whalen Turner:


You can find more information about Megan Whalen Turner and her books at her website: 

If you like books by the following authors you will enjoy Instead of Three Wishes:

What are you recommendations?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My First Award!!

My first award, the Bliss (Happy 101) award, has been given to me by Jami from YA Addict.  Thanks so much Jami!  It is totally unexpected, but much appreciated :-)  I've only been blogging for about a month, but it has been so much fun.  I love sharing and talking about books and seeing what everyone else is reading.  Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment!

For the Bliss (Happy 101) Award I must list ten things that make me happy:

1. My family
2. The Jakester (the awesomest little cousin ever!)
3. My friends
4. Baking
5. The Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner
6. Children's programs at the library
7. Peppermint Tea
8. Knitting
9. Florence, Italy
10. Books :)

Now to pass it along to some cupcake-sweet people:
Lady Violet of In the Library of Lady Violet
Emily of The Ninja Librarian
Deirdrea of Deirdre's Blog
Jennifer G. of The Introverted Reader
Sarah of Sarah's Book Reviews

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Sisters Red

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
On Sale Date: June 7, 2010

Summary from GoodreadsScarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris-- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

I used to love listening to fairy tales when I was younger, especially when the reader did all the voices for the different characters.  Fairy tales are fun because everyone who tells the tale puts their own spin on it, so that no two tellings are exactly the same.  I can't wait to see how Jackson Pearce has chosen to retell Little Red Riding Hood.

While I wait for Sisters Red, here are some other fairy tale retellings I will be reading:

Ash by Malinda Lo
Beastly by Alex Finn
Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Cover for The Demon's Lexicon

Sarah Rees Brennan has unveiled the cover for the US Paperback edition of The Demon's Lexicon. 

Wow!  Nick with a sword!  So much action!  The swirling gray in the background gives the cover an ominous feel.  But, it also makes Nick stand out.  The way he is looking of to the side with his sword raised makes me wonder who or what he's fighting.  This cover will appeal to boys as much as girls. 

I have to admit this is much closer to what I imagined Nick to look like than the Tom Welling look-alike on the hardback cover.

The hardback cover has Nick (looking very much like Tom Welling) with his talisman.  I have to admit that I like the title lettering a bit better on this cover.  But, the red lettering on the paperback cover stands out more.

Which cover do you like ?

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I found this week's book in an article in The Horn Book Magazine called "Bitten: from The Silver Kiss to Twilight."  Although, I'm just about vampired out, The Silver Kiss looked interesting because of it's premise, which is very different from Twilight.

"Simon didn't like long pointy things. 
They made him nrevous. 
He didn't like being nervous."
~ p. 37 The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In My Mailbox (4)

I was anticipating a slow book week. However, I couldn’t resist another trip to the “Book Closet” where everything that looked interesting was from Simon & Schuster. It’s funny how that happens sometimes.

For review:
Skinned by Robin Wasserman ( Simon Pulse, paperback, August 2009)
Crashed by Robin Wasserman (Simon Pulse, hardcover, September 2009)
Dark Visions by L. J. Smith (Simon Pulse, paperback edition,
September 2009)
- Contains: The Strange Power (1994)
           The Possessed (1995)
       The Passion (1995)

From the library:
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (Little, Brown and Co.,
April 2010) - ARC
Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick (Simon Pulse, October 2009)

Not Pictured:

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause (Random House, 1990)
Summary from GoodreadsZoe is wary when, in the dead of night, the beautiful yet frightening Simon comes to her house. Simon seems to understand the pain of loneliness and death and Zoe's brooding thoughts of her dying mother.

Simon is one of the undead, a vampire, seeking revenge for the gruesome death of his mother three hundred years before. Does Simon dare ask Zoe to help free him from this lifeless chase and its insufferable loneliness?


There was a great article in this month's issue of Horn Book about vampire books from the early nineties to Twilight and other current books.  It had a summary of The Silver Kiss, as well as an interview with Annette Curtis Klause.  Originally published in 1990, it has been reissued in a new edition with two additional short stories and a new cover.  The old cover is above with the summary, the new cover on the right.
What is in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Conversation with Carrie Ryan

Did you know that The Forest of Hands and Teeth is going to be made into a movie? 

Learn about the movie and more in the lastest episode of the Mt. Kisco Library Podcast.

In this 35 minute episode of the Mt. Kisco Library Podcast, Deirdre and I talk to Carrie about her book, her inspirations, and her writing process.  We discuss how readers feels sbout her heroine, Mary, and the other characters in The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Carrie also talks about giving up her career as a lawyer in order to become a full time writer.  The conversations ends with Carrie expressing the hope that she can inspire young people to read, write and be creative.

You can find the podcast at or by following this link:

You can learn more about Carrie Ryan and her books at:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wish ARC Giveaway!

In celebration of The Serpentine Library being up and running for 1 month, I would like to announce the Wish ARC Giveaway.

This is what's up for grabs:

Wish by Alexandra Bullen
Star Journal
A Bookmark
and some surprise goodies!

It’s super easy to enter:
+1 Make a comment telling me something you would wish for if you had three wishes.
+4 for being a follower of The Serpentine Library

Here are the “official” rules:
1. The Wish ARC Giveaway ends on Sunday, January 31st at midnight EST.
2. The winner will be announced Monday February 1st and will have 48 hours to contact me.
3. In the interest of safety and privacy, please don’t leave your email address in your comment.

Good Luck to everyone!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Review - Wish by Alexandra Bullen

Published by Point (Scholastic Inc)
On Sale Date: January 12, 2010

Summary from book:  For the brokenhearted Olivia Larsen nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone. . . until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep.  The dress doesn't just look magical.  It has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back.

With Violet again by her side, both girls get a second chance at life.  And as the sisters soon discover, they have two more dresses - and two more wishes left.  But, magic can't solve everything, and Olivia is forced to confront her ghosts to learn how to laugh, love, and live again.  In the breathtaking debut from Alexandra Bullen, Wish asks the question, If you could have anything, what would you wish for?


Wish is a retelling of the three wishes tale.  In Wish, the magical objects are dresses sewn with care by a magical, mysterious and offbeat seamstress named Posey.  Three dresses for three wishes that must be made carefully, because only wishes that come from the heart count. 

Sixteen year-old Olivia Larsen and her family move to San Francisco after the death of her twin sister, Violet.  Not only is she in a new city, but she must also deal with starting a new school late in the year.  Olivia would rather blend in than make new friends, which was always Violet's role.  She had been their social director, the outgoing one with lots of friends, who loved fashion, and always made sure to include Olivia.  While looking for a seamstress to fix a dress for welcome party thrown by her mother's law firm, Olivia comes across Mariposa of the Mission. There Olivia meets Posey, a quirky seamstress, who promises to deliver the fixed dress by the next day.  However, when Olivia opens the garment bag she finds on her front steps, she finds a completely different dress.  With no other options, she wears it. 

After a crazy, exhausting introduction to her new school's social scene Olivia wishes for Violet to come back.  The next morning Olivia wakes up to find that Violet is back.  Not a miraculous, real-life Violet, but a ghost like figure only Olivia can see or hear.  Together they learn that Posey makes magical dresses and that Olivia will get two more dresses and two more wishes.  With Violet by her side, Olivia becomes friends with the popular crowd, becomes more adventurous, and develops a better fashion sense.  While her life is improving, Olivia notices that her parents are not adjusting well to life in San Francisco, each finding a different way of coping with their grief.  In the end, it is their shared heartache over losing Violet that brings them together and allows Olivia to say goodbye to her sister.

I have to be honest in saying that it was the cover and summary that made me choose Wish off the ARC list at work.  The combination of the dress (which is different on the ARC cover and closer to the description in the book) and the shooting star is beautiful and made me want to open the book to find out more.  Wish was a cute, sweet book.  It had elements of romance and fantasy, but nothing too literary.  And sometimes that is just the perfect type of book to curl up with. 

Alexandra Bullen did a wonderful job portraying Olivia and her struggle to move on after her sister's death.  It was clear from the beginning that Olivia was still grieving and was not used to doing things on her own. However, once Violet was back, she pretty much directed Olivia's life, helping her pick out clothes and even telling her how to be friends with Calla, the most popular of the "see and be seens."  I found that a bit odd and frustrating at times because I wanted Olivia to find the strength and resolve to break out of her shell on her own.  Not that I don't appreciate shy, reserved characters, just that Olivia needed to learn how to be her own person, to see herself as an individual instead of as part of a pair.  The supporting characters added depth to the story and it would have been great if the reader got to spend more time with them.  This is especially true for Bowie, a quirky and outgoing girl.  She seems like the perfect friend for reserved Olivia.

I love the names that Alexandra Bullen uses for her characters.  Names like Soren, Calla and Lark seem like names hippies (or former hippies) and free spirited parents would name their children.  Little details like these help to round out the story a bit. 

Overall Wish was an enjoyable book.  It will be interesting to see how Alexandra's next book turns out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Show Him That You Love Him. . .

Sophos that is. 

At the Mt. Kisco Public Library we love Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief Series.  We love Gen, Attolia, Eddis, The Magus, The Minister of War, Costis and especially Sophos.  We love them so much that we want to share our ARC of A Conspiracy of Kings with you. 

On my colleague Deirdre's Blog we are hosting the Great Mount Kisco Library ARC giveaway!

Here’s what to do, to be entered in the contest:

Post a response to Deirdre's Blog, telling us why you love Sophos

Your response can be in any format you want! Be Creative! You can:

Write a song
Paint a picture
Make a movie
Write a letter
Write a poem
Make a toy

HOWEVER, all responses must be family-friendly (G to PG13).

ALSO, you can only post once. If you enter more than once, we’ll have to disqualify you.

You have from now until February 1st to post your entry. That way, you should get your ARC in time for Valentine’s Day!

We think you’ll really enjoy it! And if you don’t love Sophos now, you definitely will after you read the A Conspiracy of Kings!

Good Luck!

Review - Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster) on January 5, 2010

Hardcover, 454 pages

Summary from book: Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly violet dresses, Hanna’s tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas, in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she’s far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.


When I sat down to read Bleeding Violet, I really wanted to like the book, but then again that’s true for every book I read (have you ever started a book thinking, I really want to dislike this book?). From the summary, I was expecting a Morganville Vampires like setting, with Hanna being something of a Buffy-like character. What I didn’t expect was the crazy journey that was Bleeding Violet. I put the book down a few times; some of the scenes were a bit gruesome for me. Each time I would shut the book and walk away. However, it was always at the back of my mind. So, I kept going back to read a little more and then before I knew it, the story was finished. I’m still processing it, thinking about the different parts of the story, the characters and their relationships. Still thinking about a book a few days after reading it is a good thing, better than forgetting about it (I think so, at least).

Hanna arrives in Portero, Texas in search of her mother, Rosalee. When we meet Hanna, she is talking to her father, who has been dead for a year, a hallucination only she can see and hear. We soon find out that she is bipolar or manic depressive, as she prefers to be labeled, and possibly schizophrenic. In many ways this makes Hanna better equipped to deal with the strangeness of Portero. Rosalee does not want her to stay and does many things to get Hanna to leave. After making a bargain, that if Hanna doesn’t fit in and make friends in two weeks she would leave, Rosalee allows her to stay.

At school, Hanna learns about what makes Portero different from other towns and why Rosalee and everyone else do not think she will last even a week. Transients or “transies,” as newcomers are called, don’t usually last that long in Portero. Portero is full of hungry demon-like things and hidden doors to other worlds. Everyone wears black to blend in, except for the green clad Mortmaine (the town protectors) and Hanna in her purple morning wardrobe. Hanna also meets Wyatt, an initiate Mortmaine. He tries hard to balance his Mortmaine responsibilities with being a teenager dealing with school and girls. Hanna and Wyatt soon get together and have quite a steamy relationship. Hanna gets Wyatt to take her on a hunt, something usually only Mortmain do, so that she can win Rosalee’s approval and love by showing her that she can fit it and take care of herself. Soon, Hanna finds that she must help Rosalee fight some personal demons and do everything in her power to save her.

The characters are what really drew me into the story. Dia Reeves knows how to write well thought-out, well developed characters. Despite her manic depression and possible schizophrenia, Hanna deals well with the craziness in Portero. She takes everything as it comes and is willing to go the extra mile for the people she loves. While Hanna does everything she can to get close to her mother, Rosalee is a solitary person. At the beginning, she has only one chair at the kitchen table, it is obvious she does not want to let anyone into her life. As the story progresses we find out why she is that way (sorry, it’s too spoilerific to mention here). But, she finds her own little ways of showing Hanna that she cares. Wyatt is the bridge between Hanna and her new life in Portero as he is the first one to accept her, flaws and all. He knows that he must fulfill his duty as a Mortmaine; at the same time he is willing to bend some of the rules, especially for Hanna. Each of their story arcs is complete and well executed.

Overall, Bleeding Violet is a good book. I’m still not quite sure what I think. Maybe with a some discussion, it will be more clear. *With its gruesome scenes, profanity, and sexual references it is definitely for the older YA reader (15 and above).*

Waiting on Wednesday - The Poison Eaters

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

By Holly Black
Published by Big Mouth House on February 9, 2010

Hardcover, 256 pages
Summary from Goodreads: In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to the world of Tithe in two darkly exquisite new tales. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market and introduces a girl poisonous to the touch and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match. These stories have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and have been reprinted in many “Best of” anthologies. The Poison Eaters is Holly Black’s much-anticipated first collection of stories, and her ability to stare into the void—and to find humanity and humor there—will speak to young adult and adult readers alike.

The Poison Eaters contains the following short stories:
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
A Reversal of Fortune
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
The Night Market
The Dog King
In Vodka Veritas
The Coat of Stars
Paper Cuts Scissors
Going Ironside
The Land of Heart’s Desire (a new Modern Faerie Tale story)
The Poison Eaters

You can learn more about The Poison Eaters on Holly's blog:


I have enjoyed Holly's writing ever since I read Tithe.  She brings her faeries into the "real" world.  "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" was part of the Geektastic collection, Holly edited with Cecil Castellucci, which was awesome, not a bad story in the whole book.  Based on that, I know this one will be just as great.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week I'm rereading a favorite book:

"I had a strange dream that night of a marble-walled room and a woman in white, and I woke just as the moon was setting behind the olive trees.  I had trouble going back to sleep, so I sat up."

~p. 138  The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
(Greenwillow Books, 1996)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In My Mailbox #3

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

The library where I work belongs to a library system, much like a consortium (so that all the libraries in the county are connected and you can borrow books from all 44 libraries).  I was at system headquarters for a class on Tuesday and at the end we started talking about book ordering, how we choose which books to add to the collection.  And the following conversation occurred:

Fearless Leader: You do know about the "Book Room," right? 
Clueless Students: *confused looks*  Um, no.
Fearless Leader:  Really?  Then how do order books without looking at a copy first?
Cluless Students: Reviews, word of mouth, blogs.
Fearless Leader:  No No No.  *shaking her head* Come with me.
Clueless Students:  *follow along down the hall, through a door, into a wonderful area filled with books*

We were in the most amaing place.  Books of all types justed waiting to be looked at.  But, the best part was a side room, that I will call the "Book Closet," with shelved of books waiting to be read and reviewed.  My jaw dropped, it just couldn't be true. . . the Middle Grades and YA sections were stocked with some highly sought after titles.  The rule is you borrow it, you review it for the system blog, then your library gets to keep the book. WHOA!

By this point, my brain was on book overload.  I was thinking why didn't know about this and How many books could I borrow without looking like a book hog at the same time.  Everyone managed to find at least two or three books to take.  I decided on three, because I already have a teetering TBR stack and I don't want to find these books on my desk in six months gathering dust.  Plus, having to write a review means they should be read realtively quickly.  So I chose:

From the "Book Closet":

The Journal of Curious Letters (The 13th Reality Book 1) by James Dashner (Aladdin, 2009 Pbk edition)
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (Margaret K. McElderry, October 2009)
The Mark by Jen Nadol (Bloomsbury, January 2010)

And then I also bought:
Struts & Frets by Jon Skovron (Amulet Books, November 2009)

Summary from Goodreads: When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back -- if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her -- until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.

I read about Ice on another blog and thought it sounded interesting.  So when it was in the "Book Closet" I grabbed it.  None of the other librarians had heard of it, but they agreed that the cover was appealing.

Summary from Goodreads: Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark—a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it, it was dismissed as a trick of the light. Until the day she watches a man awash in the mark die. After searching her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her “gift,” seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she’s careful to hide her secret—even from her new philosophy-obsessed boyfriend—with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who sees it? And finally, the most important of all: If you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them?

The Mark was chosen for a different reason.  Jen Nadol happens to live in the same county as my library and we try have as many local authors in our collection as possible.

Summary from Goodreads: Music is in Sammy’s blood. His grandfather was a jazz musician, and Sammy’s indie rock band could be huge one day—if they don’t self-destruct first. Winning the upcoming Battle of the Bands would justify all the band’s compromises and reassure Sammy that his life’s dream could become a reality. But practices are hard to schedule when Sammy’s grandfather is sick and getting worse, his mother is too busy to help either of them, and his best friend may want to be his girlfriend.

When everything in Sammy’s life seems to be headed for major catastrophe, will his music be enough to keep him together?

Struts & Frets had proven to be a hard book to track down.  Every week I would  pop into Borders and look for it.  But it was never there.  I annoyed the booksellers everytime, to no avail.  Finally, I was able to track down one copy at an indie bookshop not too far away.  Yay, for indie book stores.  All the great reviews got me curious.  I can't wait to read it.

What's in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wake, Fade, Gone Contest!

Love to Read for Fun, an awesome book blog, is doing a 100th follower give away of all three Lisa McMann books!  How cool is that! 

This is how she feels about Wake, Fade and Gone (and I definitely agree):

"Believe me, once you read Wake, you're going to want to immediately read Fade. Which means you'll want to immediately read Gone. That's how I felt when I finished Fade the other day. I can't believe I have to wait nearly a month to read the conclusion of Janie's story".

 To enter click here to fill out the entry form.
The Contest ends February 12, 2010
The winner will be contacted via e-mail and have 48 hours to respond.

The winner will be selected using

This contest is open to anywhere the Book Depository ships!

Review - The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Published by Viking
On Sale Date: January 7, 2010
Hardcover, 192 pages

Summary from the author's websiteSeventeen-year-old Colt has been sneaking out at night to meet Julia, a girl from an upper-class neighborhood unlike his own. They’ve never told anyone else about their relationship: not their family or friends, and especially not Julia’s boyfriend. When Julia dies suddenly, Colt tries to cope with her death while pretending that he never even knew her. He discovers a journal Julia left behind. But Colt is not prepared for the truths he discovers about their intense relationship, nor to pay the price for the secrets he’s kept.

Colt and Julia were together for a year but, no one knew about them.  Living in different parts of town (Julia on Black Mountain and Colt on the flats) no one would have suspected anything was going on between them or that they even knew each other.  Then Julia died in a car accident and Colt was the only one who knew their secret, until he is given Julia's journal.  This journal was filled with letters and poems Julia wrote to Colt throughout their relationship.  Colt finds himself living in both the present and past.  As he reads Julia's letters, Colt relives the times they spent together all while trying to move on.  Just when he thinks that he has gotten over Julia and found someone else he loves, Colt must deal with the consequences of his secret.

The Secret Year is a beautifully written and authentic read.  For such a small book, it deals with many topics, including love and relationships, class struggles, secrets and truth, and learning about who you really are.  The main storyline is about Colt and Julia's relationship and its repercussions.  The sub-plots involving Colt's brother, Tom's revelation of his own deep, dark secret, and the growing tension between the social classes did not take away from the main story.  Instead they added depth to Colt's struggle with his grief.  The conflict between the kids from Black Mountain and the students from the flats explained part of why Julia kept Colt separate from the rest of her life, while Tom's storyline showed Colt the importance of being honest about who you really are.

The characters feel so real, they jump off the page.  Colt's grief and guilt over Julia's death is palpable.  It is obvious that these feelings guide his every action.  Slowly, the reason for Colt's guilt is revealed making him an even more sympathetic character.  The most interesting character is the one the reader gets to know second hand.  We learn about Julia through her letters and Colt's memories of the time they spent together.  She is hard to pin down, at school she was part of the rich, popular Black Mountain Crowd, but while alone with Colt she could be thoughtful and introspective.  Julia's inability to break up with a boyfriend she wasn't sure she loved, while cheating on him with someone who might understand her better than anyone else makes it hard to like her.  In the end however, her love for Colt won me over.   

Part of me wanted to race through and read The Secret Year in one sitting but, I made myself read it slowly, doling out a chapter or two at a time so that I could savor the writing.  It was easy to sink right into the story.  The characters and setting felt so real, it felt as though I could climb into the story world and meet Colt, Tom or Kirby or take a walk along the Willis River. Although I was sad when the story was over, the ending was hopeful.  Overall The Secret Year is an amazing book.  I know that it will make my favorites of 2010 list (and it's only January).

You can find more information about Jennifer Hubbard and The Secret Year at her website:
and blog

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: The Tension of Opposites

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
Published by EgmontUSA
On Sale Date: May 25, 2010

Summary from Goodreads: It’s been two years since Noelle disappeared. Two years since her bike was discovered, sprawled on a sidewalk. Two years of silence, of worry, of fear.

For those two long years, her best friend Tessa has waited, living her own life in a state of suspended animation. Because how can she allow herself to enjoy a normal high school life if Noelle can’t? How dare she have other friends, go to dances, date boys, without knowing what happened to the girl she thought she would share everything with?

And then one day, someone calls Noelle’s house. She’s alive.

A haunting psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines, The Tension of Opposites is a striking debut that explores the emotional aftermath of a kidnapping on the victim, and on the people she left behind.

The summary leaves so many questions.  Why did Noelle disappear?  Who was she with?  Who found her?  Everything I have read about The Tension of Opposites, so far, has me very excited to read it.  It sounds like The Tension of Opposites will be a gripping read.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1.  Grab your current read
2.  Open to a random page
3.  Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4.  Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This meme sounds like fun, so I thought I would give it a try.  Here is my teaser:

"At some point, hiding the truth became
automatic. I could flip a switch inside,
cross from one side of myself to the
other without thinking."
~ p.  52, The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard

 I'm almost finished reading this book and I don't want it to end.  This book is that good!

Monday, January 11, 2010

In My Mailbox #2

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

It seems like 2010 has been a book buying year so far.  Usually, I shop for books because either the book is so good that I'll want to reread it several times or none of the libraries in my area own a copy.  Lately, it seems as though many libraries aren't buying as many books by first time authors.  That's very sad, because there have been some excellent books written by debut authors and it makes it hard to share their work with patrons when you aren't able to add them to the library collection.  Okay, I'll get off the soapbox now. . . This is what I've been reading.

From the library:
Wish by Alexandra Bullen (Point, January 12, 2010) -- ARC
Darkhenge by Catherine Fisher (Greenwillow Books, 2005)
Shadowland by Alyson Noel (St. Martin's Griffen, 2009)

Bought for review:
The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg (Point, December 29, 2009)
The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard (Viking, January 7, 2010)
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves (Simon Pulse, January 5, 2010)

Here is one you might not know that much about:

Wish by Alexandra Bullen (Point, January 12, 2010)
Summary from Goodreads:  For broken-hearted Olivia Larsen, nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone... until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep. The dress doesn't just look magical; it is magical. It has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back.

With Violet again by her side, both girls get a second chance at life. And as the sisters soon discover, they have two more dresses-and two more wishes left. But magic can't solve everything, and Olivia is forced to confront her ghosts to learn how to laugh, love, and live again.
Magical dresses and wishes. . . sounds like it will be a fun book.  Can't wait to get started.
What's in your mailbox this week?


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