Monday, August 29, 2011

Mommy-Daughter Adventure!

Just wanted to drop a line and let you all know I won't be posting for a few days. Daughter and I are off on another adventure. This time we're heading down to Universal Studios Orlando!
We're HUGE Disney fans and make a trip down to Walt Disney World every year--actually, we have a November trip scheduled. We can never seem to tear ourselves away from Disney long enough to head over to Universal (and actually, taking time out of a Disney trip to GET to Universal--rental car, tickets, etc., can get pretty expensive). SO, figured, why not make a special trip down to Florida JUST for Universal? It wasn't really that expensive, and while I know it will be hot hot HOT, I'm hoping that because many schools are already back in session, it won't be that crowded.


We're looking forward to the Harry Potter section, of course, but also Seuss Landing, Jaws, the Simpsons and Spiderman rides, too!


I was going to schedule some posts to run while we were gone, but then I figured that I should make it like a real vacation, so the blog will be quiet the next few days. Rest assured that posts will be back up in full force next week! I'm hoping to finally get to Rival and Like Mandarin this week--both have been on my nook forever, and I'll be *almost* done with the YA Contemps challenge after I read them. I have other unread books on my nook, too, just in case I find myself with tons of time to read.


Hope you all have a great week! I will post a full trip report when we get back!


Enjoy the last week of August, and your reading!
Christi

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (49)

In My Mailbox is an Internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books received, purchased, or borrowed.


So here's what I got this week!


Purchased: Andye over at Reading Teen was getting rid of some books, 
so I snapped up her signed copy of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray!


(I figured that everyone knows what the book cover looks like, so I only included a pic of the signature.)

Purchased from Ript Apparel: The. Best. Shirt. Ever:


Won in a contest over at Hooked to Books: an audio of Blood Red Road by Moira Young (thanks, Michelle!):


Won in a contest over at The Bookery: The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer (thanks, Nora!):

Won in a contest over at Alison Can Read: Walk the Wild Road by Nigel Hinton (thanks, Alison!):


Won in the Great ALA Giveaway over at YA Librarian Tales (thanks, Sarah!): arcs of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater, Boy 21 by Matthew Quick, and Thou Shalt Not Road Trip by Antony John!


I broke my self-imposed eGalley ban this week. Both Galley Grab & NetGalley had some stuff I was really interested in reading! Time to bust out the nook!

From Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab:
  • Past Perfect by Leila Sales
  • Isle of Blood (Monstrumologist #3) by Rick Yancey
From NetGalley:
  • Stick by Andrew Smith
  • Prized (Birthmarked #2) by Caragh O'Brien
What did you get?
Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shut Out ARC winner!


It's time to announce the winner of the Shut Out ARC giveaway!




samantha35!




I've already contacted the winner and will be sending her prize out shortly. Thanks to everyone for entering--I'll be having another giveaway soon!


Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Choices by Kate Buckley

Choices by Kate Buckley
Book Publishers Network, July 2009


Summary from Goodreads:
Binge drinking, date rape, family secrets, and teen pregnancy collide in Choices, a compelling and bumpy coming-of-age journey that hurtles fifteen-year-old Kara MacNeill into a state of panic, fear, and confusion. 
A sophomore at an all-girls Catholic academy in Colorado, Kara finds herself crossing the line into womanhood after an arrogant high school basketball star rapes her, then urges her to get an abortion when she tells him she is pregnant. Facing life-changing decisions and a major confrontation with her conservative Catholic parents, Kara discovers the allies who will help her to deal with her crisis and recover from her mistakes. 
Choices is the powerful story of a teenage girl who learns to think for herself, take responsibility for her choices, and discover a solid sense of self along the way.

Kate Buckley contacted me after she read my review of In Trouble by Ellen Levine to ask if I'd like to read and review her book, also about teen pregnancy. Of course I said yes--I love me some dark contemporary fiction, after all.


I enjoyed Choices. I don't think it's fair to compare it with In Trouble, because, as I mentioned, I read an eGalley of In Trouble and it had a lot of technical and grammatical errors. In addition, In Trouble takes place during the 1950's while Choices is a modern-day read. Both books did have an element of politics in them, though, but I think it's hard to write a book about teen pregnancy and abortion and NOT include politics.


Our narrator is Kara, is 15 and a sophomore at an all-girls Catholic school. She is so overprotected by her parents that it's not even funny. No dating until she's at least 17. She might be able to get her driver's license when she turns 18. She's barely allowed to leave the house after dark, ever. Everyone knows what happens when you confine teens that way--all hell breaks loose. Now, I'm not saying that you should go out and buy beer for your teen, but they need a little freedom--something Kara certainly doesn't have. So it's easy to understand how she could fall under the spell of handsome Jake, and easier still to understand why she takes to sneaking out at night to be with him. One night of bad decisions leads to an event that will change Kara's life forever.


What really surprised me about this novel was the reaction of Kara's parents. Kara's mom has spent a lot of time volunteering and campaigning for a staunchly pro-life politician, and Dad is just unreasonably strict with no explanation. When this family of three finally opens up, however, everyone's behavior starts to make a lot more sense. The ending might surprise you, as it did me--not so much with what happened, but how it happened. Choices is a powerful story about mistakes, bad decisions, faith, family, and friendship that I think fans of contemporary fiction will enjoy.


Review copy provided by author. I received no compensation for this review.


Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Want To Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

Want To Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman
Scholastic, August 1, 2011
Read for YA Contemps Challenge

Summary from Goodreads:

Abby and Luke chat online. They've never met. But they are going to. Soon.
Abby is starting high school—it should be exciting, so why doesn't she care? Everyone tells her to "make an effort," but why can't she just be herself? Abby quickly feels like she's losing a grip on her once-happy life. The only thing she cares about anymore is talking to Luke, a guy she met online, who understands. It feels dangerous and yet good to chat with Luke—he is her secret, and she's his. Then Luke asks her to meet him, and she does. But Luke isn't who he says he is. When Abby goes missing, everyone is left to put together the pieces. If they don't, they'll never see Abby again.
Want To Go Private? was a pretty scary read. Abby starts chatting with Luke online, and even though some of what he asks of her makes her uncomfortable, she quickly begins to develop intense feelings for him. Knowing her family and friends would disapprove, she keeps the entire relationship a secret. The time comes when Luke persuades her to move their relationship to the next level, and she agrees to meet him and run away with him for a few days.

UGH! As a parent I was cringing while reading this book. At several points in the story Abby tells us that she learned not to do "X" from an Internet Safety presentation at school, or because her parents told her not to...and then she does it anyway! This is some scary, scary stuff here. This book demonstrates that even though your child may know the rules of Internet safety, he or she might not think the rules apply in that particular situation.

The layout of the novel makes it easy to want to continue reading. Part I is the brackground of the story-how Luke meets Abby, how their relationship develops. Part II consists of chapters told in alternating viewpoints--Abby's younger sister, best friend, and boy friend who'd like to be a boyfriend. There's a part III, too, but I won't reveal any spoilers. Just trust me, you will not be able to put this book down. Reading how Abby does what Luke asks her to, even though on some level she recognizes that it's wrong, will keep you on the edge of your seat.

For those of you wondering, while yes, this book is scary, and it is pretty graphic, there was just something about it that's preventing me from putting it on my MAHROAT list. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something about it that keeps it from being absolutely horrifying.

Fans of dark contemporary fiction will enjoy Want To Go Private? This novel should be required reading for parents when their children get to be about 10 years old. Teenage girls should read this as a cautionary warning tale. In short, I feel that almost everyone should read this book.

Borrowed book from library.

Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Library Program: End of Summer Party & Book Auction

Our teen volunteers work hard all summer and deserve an awesome end-of-summer party! My teen volunteer coordinator, Amanda, made cupcakes, I ordered a pretzel party tray from the Philly Pretzel Factory, I got chips and drinks, and we set it all up!


In addition to being the volunteer party, this event was also our Summer Reading party. I invited anyone who'd completed our library's summer reading program so far (read and review 5 books) to come to the party, too. 


As each teen entered, they were given a number of raffle tickets. Each teen got one ticket just for volunteering and then two tickets for each book read and reviewed. There were a few teens who only got one ticket, one teen who got 53 (!!), and teens all over the place in  between.


What were the tickets for? Why, our first ever Book Auction, of course! Throughout the year I've been hoarding saving books that I've won from giveaways, ARCs that I no longer need, and even a few books I've purchased and had signed by the author. I had something like 90 books to give away! Last week a few of the teens bundled the books in groups that made sense to them. We had 20 bundles of 4 books each, one anime-related prize, and 7 or 8 autographed books. 

 They only look like coffee cans, but actually, these are bundles and bundles of books to give away!

More book bundles, and even an anime bundle!

These books were autographed, so were auctioned off individually.


After everyone had a chance to distribute their tickets and get some snacks, Amanda and I started pulling names. We took turns so the process would move along. Some people won lots of prizes, and unfortunately some didn't win anything, but everyone had a great time! After each auction we combined all the tickets into one large basket, which I then used for door prizes. I had some ARCs in less-than-stellar condition that the kids had been fighting over, some tote bags, I found a few library shirts in my closet, things like that. After all of that I put out all the assorted swag I've acquired over the past year (well, the swag I wanted to share, anyway!) and just let the teens have at it. This way everyone got to take something home.


We had board games, cards, and the Wii set up, and duct tape, beads, and lanyard stuff on a table in case anyone was feeling crafty. Most kids were content to sit and chat, though. Oh! And everyone who actually completed summer reading also got a little goody bag with candy and some toys, and a certificate.


Several teens told me this was the best end-of-summer party ever, which totally made my day. I was able to clean off my shelves and the teens were able to get some new books. Now I can start stocking up for next summer! I've already decided to use some funds to purchase more book-related items for next year's auction.


How are you saying goodbye to summer?
Enjoy your reading!
Christi


Monday, August 22, 2011

Shut Out ARC--last day to enter!


Today's the last day to enter to win my extra Shut Out ARC! 
I'll be picking a winner at the end of the day.


Comments on this post do not count as entries.

Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox (48)

There's still time to enter to 

In My Mailbox is an Internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books received, purchased, or borrowed.



So here's what I got this week!


Purchased:
  • Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott ($2.99 for the hardcover at Barnes & Noble (online)! I now own all but one of her books!)
  • Dry Ice by Bill Evans (adult fiction): Bill is a meteorologist for Channel 7 in NY, and also for WPLJ radio. Dry Ice is his third novel and I'm proud to say that I've attended events for all three, in different branches of my library, and have all three copies signed! He has a children's book due out in February--I'm really looking forward to that one!
Borrowed from the library: 
  • Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe (adult bio) (Rob Lowe is HAWT. When did that happen? He's always been good-looking, but jeez, did you see that Vanity Fair cover? *swoon*)
Randomly received in the mail:
  • a $10 gift card to Barnes & Noble, from one of my credit cards. Don't know why they sent it to me, but I'm psyched nonetheless!
What did you get?

Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Jersey Tomatoes are the Best WINNER!


And the winner is...


HOOT!

Congratulations! The winner has been contacted. Thanks to all who entered, and a big thank you again to Maria Padian!

Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

I have TWO giveaways going on right now! 


Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Poppy, September 5, 2011

Summary from Goodreads:

Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

Inspired by Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.
I was SO very excited to read this book--I absolutely loved The DUFF and had high expectations for Kody Keplinger's second novel. And she did not disappoint! Shut Out is refreshingly realistic, funny, and contemporary read.


I can already imagine that some idiots might grumble about the topic of this book. Yes, it's about sex. And yes, there are teens having sex in this book. Um, but teens are having sex in real life. I love that Kody was so honest in the dialogue of this story. Some of these girls are virgins, some are somewhat promiscuous, and most are in serious relationships. All have questions about sex and sexuality, and all explore the repercussions that sex and sexuality have on their relationships and their lives. I love that Shut Out's teens are learning to be so candid in talking about sex, and I love the questions that are explored in this novel. (Why is Chloe a slut because she sleeps around, while Shane is celebrated for doing the same? An age-old dilemma that I would love to see solved in my lifetime!) In addition, the way the girls carry out the sex strike--and the way the boys retalitate--makes for some fun reading!

Lissa is quite the unlikely protagonist. Unsettled (naturally) after her mother's passing, she develops some OCD-like tendancies and hones her controlling nature to the nth degree. At the beginning of the book she's distraught because her brother is something like 5 minutes late getting home. I thought her brother had to be seven or something--nope, he's 27...ten years older than her! I actually found Lissa a little hard to take sometimes, but her controlling nature meant she was the perfect person to organize and lead the girls.

As an aside, I just wanted to say that I was intrigued by the rivalry between the football and soccer teams. My high school had a local rival, but neither school ever pulled pranks or anything. If I remember correctly (and I may not be, because I wasn't one of the "cool" kids in high school), the football and soccer teams actually co-existed quite nicely. So reading about the stunts each team pulls was quite entertaining.


Fans of Kody's debut will love this one! I have an extra ARC to give away, be sure to click on the link above!


ARC received from publisher.
Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Library Program: Origami




Another "You Are Here" program! Tonight we had a shortened TAB (Teen Advisory Board) meeting and after a short snack break, segued right into our origami program. I had printed out tons of instructions for different designs of varying difficulty, put a selection of origami books and paper out, and let the teens at it. As a special treat, I shared some Pocky that I'd found at my local Five Below store--it was actually quite tasty!


I had fourteen teens attend this event, and it was a very laid-back program--my favorite kind! Teens had a blast creating stars, boxes, cups, cranes, jumping frogs, and more. I finally figured out how to make a fortune teller (Daughter has been making them at camp all summer and now I made one for her!) and a "talking" dog.


Sorry I forgot to take pictures! All in all it was a fun, quiet program that's very affordable--all you need is origami paper and instructions!


Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain



How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain
Chronicle Books, May 4, 2011
Read for 2011 Debut Author Challenge

Summary from Goodreads:
David Gershwin's summer is about to take a turn for the weird. When his dad's new patient Zelda tells him she's from outer space and on a quest to take Johnny Depp back to her planet, he knows he should run away screaming. But with one look from her mean, green eyes, David's hooked, and soon he's leaping across rooftops, running from police, and stealing cars just to stay by her side. He might not be a typical hero, but David's going to get the girl even if it takes him to the ends of the earth or beyond.
I have been looking forward to reading this book since late last fall, when I signed up for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge and was trying to find titles for the list. Hello, could this title BE any more interesting? It just sounded like a fun, quirky read and sometimes you need quirky in your life.


Gary Ghislain did not disappoint with his debut novel. David's therapist father often has his patients living with him while he treats them, and since David's spending the summer, that means he's subjected, too. Zelda is unlike anyone David's ever met before, and he's intrigued...and a little scared. She really, truly believes that she is from another planet, and she must complete her mission so she can return. I'm not going to say too much because you know  I hate spoilers, but let me just say that about one-third of the way into the book you are HOPING that Zelda is, in fact, an alien. 


Yes, you have to suspend some belief here, but it's a fun, imaginative read. It's definitely got a male slant to it (the book is told from David's point of view), but I think girls will enjoy it, too. There are points in the novel where I thought I might recommend it to a 7th or 8th grader, but other times I thought it was definitely older.


Borrowed book from library.
Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Monday, August 15, 2011

Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi



Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jennifer Violi
Hyperion, May 24, 2011
Read for 2011 Debut Author Challenge


Summary from Goodreads:

In the spring of her senior year, Donna Parisi finds new life in an unexpected place: a coffin.
Since her father’s death four years ago, Donna has gone through the motions of living: her friendships are empty, she’s clueless about what to do after high school graduation, and her grief keeps her isolated, cut off even from the one parent she has left. That is until she’s standing in front of the dead body of a classmate at Brighton Brothers’ Funeral Home. At that moment, Donna realizes what might just give her life purpose is comforting others in death. That maybe who she really wants to be is a mortician.
This discovery sets in motion a life Donna never imagined was possible. She befriends a charismatic new student, Liz, notices a boy, Charlie, and realizes that maybe he's been noticing her, too, and finds herself trying things she hadn’t dreamed of trying before. By taking risks, Donna comes into her own, diving into her mortuary studies with a passion and skill she didn’t know she had in her. And she finally understands that moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting someone you love.
Jen Violi’s heartfelt and funny debut novel is a story of transformation—how one girl learns to grieve and say goodbye, turn loss into a gift, and let herself be exceptional...at loving, applying lipstick to corpses, and finding life in the wake of death.
I really wanted to like this book. I loved that it sounds like it could be a paranormal book but it's totally not. I love that the main character decides on a career in mortuary science in part because she's having difficulty getting over her father's death. I love that she's got a great support system in the form of the family who run the local funeral parlor (the same one, in fact, where her father was laid out).

But for some reason I can't really explain, it was a struggle to finish this book. Unfortunately I think the plot moved verrrrryyyy slowly. In addition, I thought the relationship between Donna and her mom was very stereotypical, as was the relationship between Donna and Tim her maybe-boyfriend-that-everyone-except-her-can-see-is-really-a-snake. I did love that Donna had enough confidence in herself to stand up for what she believed in, however. 

I hate writing reviews that aren't overwhelmingly positive, because I don't want my review to turn people away from a book. I always say that it just wasn't for me. And I always ask some of my hard-core teen readers to read what I've read, and gauge their reactions. So this one will be making the rounds at the library, and if they love it, I'll report back to you!

ARC received from publisher.

Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In My Mailbox (47)



In My Mailbox is an Internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books received, purchased, or borrowed.


So here's what I got this week!
  • From TLC AuctionsAn autographed copy of The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott (squee!). There are still a few auctions up; click on the link above!


Won: I attended a virtual book launch for Elin Hilderbrand's Silver Girl, and won a prize package--a copy of the book and a Silver Girl tote!


Received from publisher (Amulet Books): an ARC of William Sleator's last novel, Phantom Limb, scheduled to be published on October 1. Sadly, William Sleator passed away on August 3.


Borrowed from the library:
  • Want to Go Private? by Sarah Littman
  • Clean by Amy Lynn Reed 
  • Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey (adult bio--on Playaway--my first!)
What did you get?


Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm on the train to Hogwarts




OK, it's confession time. I have never read any of the Harry Potter books. Yes, I am a teen services librarian. Yes, I am an avid reader. Yes, I have a Bachelor's degree in English Literature. I knew without reading the books the impact they've had on the reading habits of millions of children and adults. I knew that most everyone thought they were awesome. I can count on one hand the number of people in my circle of fellow readers who have not read them. I have just never felt compelled to read the books. I've never been a fan of wizardry in the first place, and I don't know, sometimes I like to buck trends. In addition, I've only seen bits of the first movie. 


I freely admit to my teens and co-workers that I haven't read them, and I've lived by the knowledge that I would probably have to read them "someday." In fact, I own the first four books--I'd purchased them in hardcover years ago, just to have them for that "someday."


Well, folks, it looks like someday is here. Daughter has been playing some kind of Harry Potter game at camp all summer (all the girls are characters--she gets to be Ginny Weasley. I hear she's a good character.) Still, I didn't push the issue. Can you keep a secret? I'm taking Daughter to Universal Studios at the end of the month (she doesn't know yet). Yes, Harry Potter is a huge component of US. Still, I figured we'd get by.


About two weeks ago, however, Daughter comes home from camp and tells me she wants to try reading the books. She'll be 9 tomorrow, the perfect age for the books. So we pulled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone off the bookshelf, dusted it off, and she started reading. She read to chapter five as of the writing of this post. In the meantime, I put myself on hold for a second copy at the library. 


I just finished the first book. It's taken me a lot longer than I thought it would to finish it, but it wasn't horrible. If Daughter ever finishes the first one, I'll probably move on to book 2 with her. I have to say that my favorite parts of the book are when Harry and Hagrid were shopping for school supplies, and when Harry bought all the candy on the train to Hogwarts. What can I say--I'm a shopper at heart! I'm hoping Daughter finishes the book before we leave for US--actually, I told her I'd have a surprise for her if she finishes it, so fingers crossed. I'm kind of excited to see the Wizarding World now, and to shop for wands and Chocolate Frogs explore the area.


So, it's the end of a Harry-free era for me. Right when everyone else is finishing Harry Potter, Daughter and I are just getting started. Oh, well, I do like to buck trends every now and then...


Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Library Program: Cupcakes!


Another summer teen program I recently held was Decorate Your Own Cupcakes. I'm fortunate enough to work with a woman whose daughter owns her own cake company. She does some awesome work, let me tell you. She's happy to bring her creations to the library for a variety of programs. For the past two years we've had her do a decorate-your-own program for teens at a very reasonable price.


This year's summer reading theme is You Are Here, and I let Jennifer have full creative license with that. She came up with a garden cupcake because, after all, NJ is the Garden State. For this program she baked and frosted 60 cupcakes, crushed Oreos for dirt, and handmade tons of little fondant veggies.


Attendance for this program was not nearly as good as I would have liked. Registration was full at 20 teens, but I only had 5 show up (my stats are higher, though, because we had a few moms and even staff members come in on their breaks!). The lower number worked out, though, because Jennifer was able to give them one-on-one help with creating all the different vegetables. The teens really enjoyed making all the little veggies--corn on the cob, tomatoes, cabbage, peas in a pod, and carrots. Because of the lower number of attendees, teens were able to make at least three cupcakes each!


I had gathered a ton of cake and cupcake books from the library for teens and moms to look at, and Jennifer had some of her work on display via a digital picture frame. Overall, the teens had a really good time, and the children's librarian and I are going to select a date for Jennifer to come back for a tween program!

Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shut Out ARC Giveaway!

So last week I was lucky enough to receive not one, but TWO ARCs of Kody Keplinger's Shut Out, due to be released on September 5. Here's the summary from Goodreads:
A contemporary reimagining of the Greek play, "Lysistrata," in which high school senior Lissa decides it's time to end her school's ridiculous sports rivalry once and for all by starting a hook-up strike. 
SHUT OUT is a story about Lissa, a senior in high school, who decides to put an end to a decade old rivalry between her school's football and soccer teams after her quarterback boyfriend ditches her a few too many times on behalf of hazing the other team. Her plan is to start a sex strike - gathering the girlfriends of all the players of both teams and agreeing that none of them will hookup with their boyfriends until the rivalry is over. What follows is an all out battle of the sexes as the girls begin to explore issues of teen sexuality and the boys attempt to seduce the girls into breaking their oath. Lissa is determined to win, but she never expects the sexual tension that rises between she and Cash Sterling, a member of the soccer team and leader of the boys' side.
Of course I'm going to share my good fortune! One lucky follower will receive one of the copies (the second copy will be going to my teens at the library--as soon as I'm done with it!). All you have to do is leave a comment with your email address. US residents age 13 or older only, please. Contest will close on August 22.


PS--I finished Shut Out at, like, 2am this morning--don't ask--and I loved it! Will be posting a review soon!


Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer

Have you entered the Jersey Tomatoes giveaway yet? 


Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer
Bloomsbury USA, June 21, 2011
Read for 2011 Debut Author Challenge AND A-Z Challenge


Summary from Goodreads:
Sarah Weaver wasn't looking forward to starting at an all-girls school. But that was before she met Maddy. Maddy and her best friend, Agnes, are fun and rich and interesting-and for some reason, they seem to really like Sarah. Before long, Maddy and Agnes have moved Sarah into a big house off campus, where they cook together, buy each other presents, and share each other's secrets. So why does Sarah feel like something's bizarrely wrong? As more and more cracks start to show in Maddy's and Agnes's perfect veneers, Sarah notices some strange and disturbing things: Maddy's compulsive lying, Agnes's obsession with Maddy, and the deterioration of their friendship. And just when Sarah begins to question her own sanity, things turns deadly. Fans of Pretty Little Liars will devour this juicy debut novel.
This was another completely creeptastic novel! Sarah's Nana punts her off to all-girls Wetherly College after she's been caught with a boy. Sarah barely has time to get settled in before she's under the spell of her roommate, Maddy, and Maddy's best friend Agnes, who is wealthy beyond all recognition, and also harbors a not-so-secret obsession with Maddy that borders on stalkerish. The trio soon move off-campus to a house Agnes rented, and Sarah is quickly swept up into the freakish world Maddy and Agnes reside in. 


I think what I liked about this novel is that our narrator, Sarah, is not extremely likable. She strikes me as the kind of person who doesn't make friends easily, and she definitely uses sex to hide the fact that she's afraid of commitment, and to keep herself somewhat isolated. Sarah's personality makes it easier to see how she could get swept up in Maddy's and Agnes' lives, and helps us understand why she goes along with a lot of what the two do. And those two, well, they are just all kinds of screwed up. The story keeps you guessing, that's for sure. There's Maddy's story, Anges' story...will Sarah ever get to know the truth?


Looking forward to more from Katherine Easer!
Borrowed book from library.


Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Monday, August 8, 2011

July in Review


Have you entered the Jersey Tomatoes giveaway yet? 



Summer is half over (although we're wrapping up our Teen Volunteer program at work already!)--I'm not spending nearly enough time in the summer sun, but I'm getting some reading done!


I read 15 books this month--not too bad! I added 6 more titles to my 2011 Debut Author Challenge! Since I started with 12 titles and have read 24 so far, I'd consider that challenge complete! In addition, I was able to knock one more letter off of my A-Z Challenge--V. That only leaves K, Q, R, Y, and Z!


The highlight of July, blog-wise, has to be discovering Janet Ruth Young's blog post about me putting her on my MAHROAT list. I'm still all kinds of fan girly about it!!


How was your July?


Enjoy your reading!
Christi

Sunday, August 7, 2011

In My Mailbox (46)

Have you entered the Jersey Tomatoes giveaway yet? 


In My Mailbox is an Internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books received, purchased, or borrowed.

So here's what I got this week!


Received from author of A Need So Beautiful, Suzanne Young: signed bookmarks and stickers for my teens! Thank you!




Received from publisher: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger (OMG have been waiting for this ARC forever! Thank you Hachette!)


I had won a signed copy of Divergent in a TLC Auction a while back, and there's been some delay in getting it to me--which I was totally cool with, but Veronica Roth's agent said she would send a little something my way to tide me over. This is the awesome package I got today:




Um, that's a SECOND copy of Shut Out! And both packages arrived on the same day! The circle things are faction tattoos, and there's also a discussion guide. Woohoo! And since I now have TWO copies of Shut Out, you can bet a giveaway will be happening soon!


Won in a contest held by Lauren Oliver: the special edition cover of Delirium!


(And can I just say how impressed I was with the packaging from HarperTeen? The package--about 2 feet long--was stuck in my porch railing when I got home from work, and I was devastated because it was raining and the package had gotten wet. Well, after I peeled off brown wrapping, I had to remove yards of Saran Wrap, and then I had to cut the tape that was holding two pieces of cardboard together, all to get to the cover! Awesome job, thank you so much for the extra effort!)

Borrowed from the library:
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
  • Mystery by Jonathan Kellerman (adult fic)
What did you get?

Enjoy your reading!
Christi