Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman

Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman
Random House Children's Books, May 8, 2012
Read for 2012 Standalone Challenge

Summary from Goodreads:
It's the summer before senior year and the alluring Angel is ready to have fun. She's not like her best friend, Inggy, who has a steady boyfriend, good grades, and college plans. Angel isn't sure what she wants to do yet, but she has confidence and experience beyond her years. Still, her summer doesn't start out as planned. Her good friend Joey doesn't want to fool around anymore, he wants to be her boyfriend, while Angel doesn't want to be tied down. As Joey pulls away, and Inggy tours colleges, Angel finds herself spending more time with Inggy's boyfriend, Cork. With its cast of vivid and memorable characters, this tale from the Jersey shore is sure to make some waves.
I so wanted to love this book. It's supposed to be about the real people who live at the Jersey Shore, not the tourists that we see on MTV. I loved Rosie & Skate a few years back, and thought this book would be more of the same. In addition, I generally have a very soft spot for books about New Jersey, particularly if they're written by NJ-area writers (hence my love for all things Kieran Scott, Megan McCafferty, and Eireann Corrigan, among others). Now, going into this I discovered on the author bio that Beth Ann Bauman lives in NY, but her author bio says that "She lives in New York City, but will always be a Jersey girl at heart," so I was hoping for the best.  In retrospect, I should have realized that no where does it say that Beth Ann has ever actually LIVED in Jersey. Which is, after all, what makes a Jersey Girl a Jersey Girl.

Unfortunately, I was not enthralled with this book. I originally gave it 2 stars on Goodreads but after writing this review I had to change it to one. Angel, our narrator, is simply an unlikable person, and that makes it hard for us to care about her and what happens to her. She hooks up with whoever she feels like but refuses to commit to anyone, and yet her society treats her like some kind of goddess instead of a slut. Apparently she's gorgeous (although all I remember anyone focusing on is her "great tits and ass"), and she is, admittedly, a pretty decent big sister, but she is the WORST friend a person could have, and I really didn't find anything to like about her. Seriously, you need a friend like Angel like you need a frontal lobotomy. She is not loyal and has no qualms about taking whatever she feels should be hers, for no reason other than she wants it. Ugh.

There was just so much in this novel that was unbelievable that I would almost call this a fantasy book instead of a contemporary novel. Angel's mother lets her live in a house by herself all winter long, and has for years (the girl is 17)? Really? NONE of these kids' parents care that they're sneaking into and out of each other's bedrooms at 3 in the morning? Come on.

And honestly, the term "benny" was absolutely misused throughout this book. It's an acronym, Google it.

This was a really, really hard review for me. It's actually been sitting as a draft for weeks, because I feel that it's really harsh and I don't want to be that reviewer that makes an author cry (let's just pretend I have that much of an impact LOL). At the same time, I don't want to be the reviewer that absolutely LOVES every book she reads, either. Ultimately, however, my desire to be honest won out. I will say that if you're looking for a decent Jersey read, try Rosie & Skate by the same author.

Enjoy your reading!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Smoothie Fun (2)

A break from the reading routine--Best Girl and I have been making smoothies for breakfast and I thought I'd share!

This morning's smoothie: The Original (banana-berry, named because it's the first one we ever made together):

Soy milk (about a cup)
Blueberry greek yogurt (6oz cup)
1 banana
Strawberries (about 2/3 of a cup)
Blueberries (handful)
Spinach (handful)
ice cubes (about 6, this is a super thick smoothie otherwise!)

Blend and serve!

Best Girls' favorite so far, but she only drank a little today. Big day for her--orchestra and choral concert (she plays violin), so I think she was a little nervous. Still, it was yummy!

Enjoy your reading!

Super Short Reviews (9)

Super Short Reviews is a feature I run occasionally, when I want to jot down a few notes about some recent reads but don't have the time for a full-fledged review. All links go to Goodreads.

Purity by Jackson Pearce:
I thought this was going to be a light-hearted novel about a girl trying to lose her virginity before she has to make a purity vow at some father-daughter dance. That's what the flap says it's supposed to be about, anyway. I thought it fell flat for me, and was way too predictable. It didn't feel light-hearted at all; it was actually kind of a heavy read. There are tons of positive reviews on this one, though, so I think the problem is me, not the book. One of my teens snapped it up at the library on Monday (she's a HUGE JP fan), so I'm anxious to hear what she has to say.

No-Name Baby by Nancy Bo Flood: (eGalley provided by NetGalley): This was a very quick read, but it was also fairly forgettable. An interesting story about Sophie and her family, living on a farm in the 1930's. Sophie's mom is pregnant again, and everyone is hoping that this baby will live. Aunt Rae comes to help out and brings plenty of tension with her. You should be able to discover the cause of the tension well before Sophie does, but the story is so short that you'll read quickly to make sure all the questions are answered.

Enjoy your reading!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In My Mailbox (88)

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

Here's what I got this week!

From author Kiki Hamilton: some great postcards to use as giveaways for my teens (thank you!):

Received from publisher for review: Wild Ink by Victoria Hanley:

I was very upfront with agreeing to read and review this book: I am not a writer and do not have aspirations to become one. I am, however, very interested in the publishing world and hope this book will answer some of my questions!

Borrowed from the library:

  • Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams
Received from a colleague at work:

A slew (eight can be considered a slew, right??) of ARCs and finished copies of books to use in my end-of-summer Book Auction! I have THREE SHELVES of books to give away (ARCs, finished books, signed copies, all new or like new) to my teens at the end of the summer--and BEA is still almost two weeks away! Anyway, back to my goodies above--my teens will love these, and I'm so happy to see Pieces of Us and In Too Deep (two deeply dark titles that I loved!). Getting this package in interoffice was a great way to start my Friday!

What did you get?
Enjoy your reading!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Super Short Reviews (8)

Super Short Reviews is a feature I do occasionally, when I just don't have time for full-length reviews.

Here are some of the latest books I've read (links take you to Goodreads):

Sleepless by Thomas Fahy: This is a contender for inclusion on the local high school summer reading list, but even before that I had heard about this novel and thought it was a really interesting premise. Sadly, I felt that the book fell way short (and I don't think it's appropriate for a reading list, either). There was too much bouncing around and it's hard for me to care about a book when the basis of the book is based on nonsense. The whole thing that happened in New Orleans? Would not have panned out that way, seriously.

Teen Boat by Dave Roman and John Green: first of all, not THAT John Green. One of my colleagues sent me the cover image for this book with a "WTF?" message. The tagline of this graphic novel is "the angst of being a teen, the thrill of being a boat!" and I was immediately intrigued. Apparently this novel is the compilation of a web comic and I have to say, it is supremely hilarious. TeenBoat is a teen who turns into a boat (actually, more of a small yacht) when he gets wet. He is also in love with Nina Pinta Santamaria. LOL And his best friend is always making puny jokes and asking his what crawled up his aft. It was just such a fun, fun book--highly recommended!!

The Last Echo (The Body Finder #3) by Kimberly Derting: I LOVE this series. I had thought that this would be the concluding book, but it's so not!! I don't want to say too much about this book for those who haven't read The Body Finder or Desires of the Dead yet (why not??), but suffice it to say that the drama and the tensions are still there, although I would prefer the whole potential-Rafe-Jay-Violet triangle would just...go away. Looking forward to the next book!

Enjoy your reading!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Smoothie Fun!

Last week I had a smoothie program at the library--a woman came in to teach my teens all about the health benefits of smoothies, they sampled a mystery green smoothie, and she made them a berry smoothie to taste. It was way fun and my kids had a blast. I was inspired and the next day I ran out and bought a ton of ingredients for Best Girl and I to experiment with. We have been making smoothies for breakfast every day. I thought it might be a nice change of pace for the blog if I posted about them here.

Today's smoothie: Pineapple-Mango Smoothie
Ingredients: (um, we don't measure, exactly, but that's the fun of smoothies!)

  • coconut milk (about a half cup), 
  • vanilla greek yogurt (a couple spoonfuls), 
  • fresh pineapple (three rings, cut up. Yes, I buy the pre-cored fresh pineapple!),
  • frozen mango (a handful), 
  • frozen banana (about half. We used frozen bananas instead of fresh instead of watering the smoothie down with ice cubes), 
  • fresh spinach (about a half cup. Best Girl insists her smoothies are as healthy as possible, which is awesome considering normally she won't touch the stuff LOL)

Result: "It's OK." It wasn't the favorite smoothie we've tried thus far--Best Girl says to add less pineapple next time (it overpowered every other flavor) and she only had a few sips, but the more I drank it, the better I liked it. It's a light, refreshing smoothie, perfect for a summer day (which today is decidedly not, it's raining and gross out).

I have no idea how long this trend will continue in our house (this is actually Smoothie Day 3), but I thought it would be nice to keep track of what we're making, and maybe you guys will enjoy this non-reading side of my life. :)

Enjoy your reading!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Shut Up by Anne Tibbets

Shut Up by Anne Tibbets
Premier Digital Publishing, February 28, 2012

Summary from Goodreads:
Mary's older sister, Gwen, has royally screwed up her life. Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she's also decided to marry The Creep who knocked her up.
Now Mary is powerless to stop her family from imploding. Her parents are freaking out, and to top it off The Creep has a gross fascination with Mary while Gwen enjoys teasing her to tears for sport.
Despite her brother's advice to shut up, Mary can't keep her trap closed and manages to piss off Mom so much it comes to blows.
Mary doesn't know what to do, and all her attempts to get help are rejected. When she finally plans her escape, she fails to consider how it could destroy them all.
Screwed up family, teen pregnancy, potential abuse situations--of course I was drawn to this book, and Anne Tibbets definitely delivered. This novel comes in at just about 100 pages, but every single page is fraught with family tension. Poor Mary is the third of four children and has nothing to differentiate her from the rest of the family. She's not the first born, she's not the only boy, and she's not the baby. She's just...Mary. And sometimes (actually, a lot of times), Mary doesn't realize that the less visible she is, the better off she would be.

Mary's family is explosive to begin with, but once Gwen announces her pregnancy, the you-know-what really hits the fan. I spent most of the novel feeling sorry for all of the kids, not just Mary. Her parents appear to be so short-fused that looking at them cross-eyed will set them off. However, as the story progresses it becomes obvious that the reason for their anger, while completely misguided, comes from a very real origin.

Mary was an interesting character--her age was often blatantly obvious, made evident by some of the decisions she made. Sometimes, yeah, I almost did want to tell Mary to shut up. But it's that same naiveté that makes me wish Mary a happy ending. What it comes down to is that Mary is thrust into some pretty mature situations, and I wanted her to react maturely, forgetting that she wasn't mature. Does that make sense? Once I remembered that she was only 14, it was easier for me to sympathize with her.

Overall, this was a quick, enjoyable read and I would recommend it to fans of dark contemporary fiction.

eBook received from author in exchange for an honest review.
You can get a copy of Shut Up at Amazon or through Google eBooks.
Enjoy your reading!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In My Mailbox (87)

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

Here's what I got this week:

Borrowed from the library:
  • Thumped by Megan McCafferty (yay!)
  • All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean Myers (THE AMBASSADOR!)
  • Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams
  • In Honor by Jessi Kirby
Purchased at Walmart:

I had to, I just had to. I don't care that Chris Hemsworth is married, that he just had a kid, or that he is just about too young for me. I love Thor. I think someone at ForeverYA mentioned that he should be Finnick in Catching Fire, but that the movie would probably explode because of Hemsworth-icity. I absolutely agree (well, with the Chris part, I still hate Gale)--he is exactly what I picture when I think of Finnick. Yum.

What did you get?
Enjoy your reading!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Movie Review (sort of): The Avengers

First, the backstory. Actually, most of this is backstory, do you really need another review of The Avengers???

I saw the preview for this movie when we went to see the Hunger Games and for some strange reason I was oddly excited for it. I'm not really a superhero person--up until that preview, the only Avengers movies I'd seen were Iron Man and Iron Man 2. But something drew me to The Avengers, and I eagerly wanted to see it.

I asked Best Girl if she wanted to go--unlike me, she LOVES superheroes. She's been Batgirl AND Supergirl for Halloween (she kicked ass as Captain Jack Sparrow when she was 5, too, but I digress), loved all the Spiderman and Iron Man movies--I thought the Avengers would be right up her alley. However, she declined to see it with me. What what?? Her reasoning was that she hadn't seen any of the other movies.

So I remedied that. First I brought home Thor from the library. And thus my obsession with Chris Hemsworth begins. Holy schizz, do I love him!!

How is it possible that his brother is Gale, one of the two things I hated about The Hunger Games?
The movie was pretty interesting, too, and after that Best Girl was totally into seeing The Avengers. But she still wanted to see the movies (one of the monitors at work said that the only movies we really needed to see were Thor & the second Iron Man, but Best Girl wanted to see them all). I found Iron Man and Ed Norton's Hulk on TV and DVR'ed them for her, and brought Captain America home from the library.

So the stage is set. I love Thor, Best Girl loves Captain America. We went on a Friday night to see The Avengers. Here's the recap: the movie was abso-freaking-lutely awesome! There was action, there was laughter, there was tension, there was hottie Chris Hemsworth--seriously, I could marry him, but he'd have to dress like Thor all the time--although this works, too:

*drools* I Googled these images. It took a really, really long time to bring myself back to this post.
and Best Girl wants to BE the Black Widow ("she can kick, she can punch, and she has a gun!"). This year's Halloween costume will be easy-peasy!

If you're living under a rock, get thee to the theater to see The Avengers immediately. Best Girl left the movie and all she could talk about was how she couldn't wait until it was released on DVD :)

(*tears self away from above image*) So, um, yeah, the movie was great!! Seriously, Robert Downey Jr. is my second favorite Avenger, but Mark Ruffalo was pretty awesome, too. Best Girl has a thing for Captain America, but I just am not feeling it. And Samuel L. Jackson rocks, as always!

Enjoy your reading!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

Miracle by Elizabeth Scott
Simon Pulse, June 5, 2012
Read for 2012 Standalone Challenge (and because Elizabeth Scott is amazing!)

Summary from Goodreads:
Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.

Scared and alone, Megan doesn’t know whom to turn to. Her entire community seems unable—or maybe unwilling—to see her as anything but Miracle Megan. Everyone except for Joe, the beautiful boy next door with a tragic past and secrets of his own. All Megan wants is for her life to get back to normal, but the harder she tries to live up to everyone’s expectations, the worse she feels. And this time, she may be falling too fast to be saved...
What can I say about Elizabeth Scott? I love her work, especially her darker stuff. Miracle cannot be considered as dark as Living Dead Girl, but it is definitely not a light novel. Megan is the only survivor of a plane crash, and feels nothing. I could totally understand Megan's behavior in this story--she's being treated like a miracle for doing nothing except surviving something that killed everyone else involved. Pretty heavy stuff. I thought the reactions of her friends, teachers, and family were spot on--at first a lot of Megan's actions and behaviors are overlooked because, hey, she survived a plane crash. But inevitably that novel concept will wear thin, and where will that leave Megan?

I appreciated the family dynamics in this story, as well. We don't ever really know what happened, but Megan's little brother, David, was fairly sick as an infant. As a result of this, he is constantly coddled by his overprotective parents--until their oldest child survives a plane crash and then the focus is off David and on Megan. This, of course, does not sit well with either child, for different reasons. One question, though: I don't understand why parents would think that a child who survives a plane crash wouldn't benefit from discussing this life-altering event with a professional. Is it ever going to be acceptable to want to talk to a psychologist or other therapist to cope with life's problems?

This was an amazing read. I have been waiting so long for this novel to come out, and it's the only one Elizabeth is releasing this year, so definitely take the time to savor it.

ARC received from publisher. I didn't receive any compensation for this review. Miracle will be released on my birthday--June 5, 2012. And check out the Acknowledgments!

Enjoy your reading!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Christi's Adventures: SE Hinton Author Event

Last week I made the trek out to Princeton, NJ, once again--this time to meet SE Hinton, author of many novels, including The Outsiders! And, here's the absolute best part about the whole night: I. Did. Not. Get. Lost. I can't tell you how embarrassing it is that I can't get from my job to Princeton without getting lost! But! I did it this time!

So thankfully I rolled into the Princeton Barnes & Noble at around 6:30pm (the event was scheduled to start at 7pm). I got in line and purchased my 3 copies of The Outsiders, and was handed a signing ticket. This was my first indication that this event was going to be way different from any others I'd attended here.

I was told to head out into the mall to get in line, and wait for the "B" tickets to be called. I waited about 20 minutes with tons of other people, and then we were led into the author area. It was already standing room only by the time I got there, but my standing room was  dead center. At about 7:10 SE Hinton came out:

Here's my awesome SRO view. Except for that annoying woman in the gray sweatshirt who was constantly moving around taking pictures like she was a professional and was totally getting in everyone's way.
She spent the next hour walking around the area, taking questions from students and teachers. Some of the teachers got really emotional talking about the reactions their kids had from reading The Outsiders, and some of the kids weren't paying attention because they asked the same questions that had already been asked, but SE was always gracious with her responses. She wrote The Outsiders for 3 reasons: 1. she loved to read, 2. she couldn't find books that she wanted to read, and decided to write her own, and 3. the social tensions going on in her life were not being addressed in fiction at the time. She said if she had to pick just one character that she related with, it would be Ponyboy, but she couldn't pick a favorite character. And she shared that not only was she still close with the actors from the film adaptation, she'd just had dinner with Matt Dillon just a few nights earlier! *swoons*

At one point she was standing directly in front of me answering a question. I thought it would have been weird to hold my iPhone up literally in her face, so I didn't take a picture of her then. I did, however, snap one of the back of her head as she was walking away, a la David Levithan:

She would have answered every single question, but at about 8pm the woman in charge of the program started frantically signaling that it was time to start the signing. There were at least 200 people there, and I was pretty much right smack dab in the middle, so I parked myself on the floor and started to re-read The Outsiders. It took almost an hour for me to get to SE, and by that point the program lady decided that SE wouldn't be taking the time to pose with people anymore, so this is what I get after 4 hours of waiting (including my drive out there and wait time):

You should see the other picture: I'm blinking and SE Hinton is looking off to her right. It's awful, really.
Not the greatest shot, but I can't really fault SE Hinton for that. I've been to a lot of events at this bookstore--and will continue to attend them--but it seems that the store was ill-equipped for an event of this magnitude. This B&N was hosting Martha Stewart the following afternoon--I can only imagine what a circus that must have been! All in all it was nice to have the opportunity to meet SE Hinton--something I'm sure not that many people can claim!

And I will have a giveaway coming up soon, I promise!!
Enjoy your reading!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In My Mailbox (86)

Happy Mother's Day!!

In My Mailbox is an Internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books received, purchased, or borrowed. Regardless of the controversy concerning Kristi and her blog, I enjoy this meme and will continue to post it each week.

So here's what I got this week!

ARC received from publisher (thank you, Little, Brown!)
  • Messy (sequel to Spoiled) by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Borrowed from the library:
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf
  • In Honor by Jessi Kirby
  • Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman
  • Purity by Jackson Pearce
  • The Story of Us by Deb Caletti
  • Zero by Tom Leveen
Oh, and three signed copies of The Outsiders at the SE Hinton event! Will have to get that post up soon!

What did you get?
Enjoy your reading!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Revived by Cat Patrick

Revived by Cat Patrick
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, May 1, 2012
Read for 2012 Sophomore Challenge and
2012 Standalone Challenge

Summary from Goodreads:
As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life. 
A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger—and more sinister—than she ever imagined.
Another enjoyable novel from Cat Patrick. She has a knack for immersing readers into a wild and mysterious world full of characters that we really care about, and doing it quickly enough that the entire scenario can be wrapped up in just one book. It is so refreshing to finish a book and have the book be finished. Does that make any sense?

Daisy is a likable character. I actually found fault with the summary--she doesn't exactly take extraordinary risks throughout the story. She just has crappy luck and isn't as cautious as she probably could be, but she's not out purposely trying to kill herself over and over again. Having to create a new identity over and over again must get tiring, and not being able to make (or keep) friends is awfully lonely.

There are some pretty realistic aspects to the story, and a lot of ethical questions are raised--why does Daisy get to be revived and not this person? While the story takes place in contemporary times, it does have a feel of science fiction to it--I'd call it sci-fi-lite. The ending was quite interesting, I have to say.

If you're looking for a good, one book story about the things the government might have the capacity to do, Revived is for you.

ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Enjoy your reading!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Author event TONIGHT: SE HINTON!!!!!

That's right, S.E. Hinton, the author of The Outsiders (considered by many to be the forefather (forebook?) in the YA genre), will be at the Princeton Barnes & Noble tonight at 7pm. And yes, I'm well aware that Hinton has written many other works--but The Outsiders is the most awesome. As a book and a movie.

If you're planning on going, I will be there--look for the woman with the curly hair who shows up just on time or even late, and looks completely flustered because she got lost--AGAIN. Seriously, I cannot get to Princeton Market Fair from my job without getting hopelessly lost first. Anyway, I'm planning on buying at least three copies of The Outsiders--one for me, one for a summer reading giveaway, and one for a giveaway here. Stay tuned for a full recap!

Enjoy your reading!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cracked by K.M. Walton

Cracked by K.M. Walton
Simon Pulse, January 3, 2012
Read for 2012 Debut Author Challenge and
2012 Standalone Challenge

Summary from Goodreads:
Sometimes there's no easy way out.
Victor hates his life. He has no friends, gets beaten up at school, and his parents are always criticizing him. Tired of feeling miserable, Victor takes a bottle of his mother's sleeping pills—only to wake up in the hospital.
Bull is angry, and takes all of his rage out on Victor. That makes him feel better, at least a little. But it doesn't stop Bull's grandfather from getting drunk and hitting him. So Bull tries to defend himself with a loaded gun.
When Victor and Bull end up as roommates in the same psych ward, there's no way to escape each other or their problems. Which means things are going to get worse—much worse—before they get better….
I really enjoyed this debut novel. Victor is in the psych ward of the local hospital after trying to take his own life. He is forced to spend five days contemplating his life and what led him to attempt suicide and he has to interact with other kids his age. The horror--especially because part of what led Victor to attempt suicide is because of kids his own age--particularly Bull Matrick. Who, as luck would have it, winds up on the very same psych ward. And will be Victor's roommate for the next five days.

Poor Victor. His parents are utter asshats, there's just no other way to say it (and I apologize for the language, but sometimes it's just the right word). They're more concerned with how the actions of their son's bully reflect on them in their social community than how their son is dealing with being bullied. Have you ever heard the argument that people should have to take a test or something, before they're allowed to be parents? Victor's parents give that argument credibility.

BUT. This isn't just the story of the victim of a bully. No! K.M. takes us into the minds of both boys, with alternating first-person chapters. This is what makes the novel so awesome, for me. Hearing Bull's side of the story does not in any way excuse his behavior, but you learn more about why he does the things he does, and, once we know this, we can empathize with him a little bit. If just one part of his life had been different, he wouldn't have grown up to be the wretched teenager he is today. I'm not sure that I can explain the feelings I had after reading this book--I certainly didn't sympathize with Bull as a bully, but as a confused teen from a shoddy home life? Yeah, that sucks, big-time.

This is a powerful debut novel, a contemporary read that raises some difficult questions--and doesn't give you any easy answers. It might inspire you to reach out to someone you might normally overlook, and by doing so, change their life.

Own book (and had the pleasure of meeting K.M. Walton at the Mega Book Signing at Books of Wonder last month!).
Enjoy your reading!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

In My Mailbox (85)

In My Mailbox is an Internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books received, purchased, or borrowed. Regardless of the controversy concerning Kristi and her blog, I enjoy this meme and will continue to post it each week.

So here's what I got this week!

Received from author for review:

  • Shut Up by Anne Tibbets (eBook)
Borrowed from the library:
  • TeenBoat by Dave Roman and John Green (so hysterically funny!)
  • The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting (Body Finder #3)
  • Heart and Soul: the Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson (juvenile nonfic0
  • The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake and Adam Rex (picture book)
  • Sleepless by Thomas Fahy (a contender for the high school summer reading list)
What did you get?
Enjoy your reading!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

April 2012 in Review

I just realized that I never posted a March in Review. Whoops. Anyway. April was a decent month for me, reading-wise. While things on the home front haven't really improved too much, it appears that my attention span is returning. I read 16 books this month: 6 can fit on my 2012 Standalone Challenge list, 1 for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, 1 for the 2012 Sophomore Challenge, and I can cross one more title off my 2012 To Be Read Challenge list.

I'm finding that the 2012 Standalone Challenge is the easiest to complete--I'm adding titles left and right. Everything I read that's published in 2012 and can stand on its own is going on that list!

I feel that I'm slowly improving my blog, as well. I don't know that I'll be posting with the same frequency that I was pre-Life-Happens, but I feel that I'm doing somewhat better. 14 posts for April doesn't seem that bad, does it? I'm going to continue my Super Short Reviews series, because sometimes I find it easier to just get a few sentences out about a book. I am trying to get back to writing full reviews, though.

And the beginning of April saw me at the Books of Wonder Mega Signing, where I actually met David Levithan (among many, many other wonderful authors). I don't see any super signings in May, but that's OK, because I have to prepare for BEA in June--I'm going for two days this time around!!

How was your April?
Enjoy your reading!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Super Short Reviews 7

Happy May Day! And a happy birthday to author Susane Colasanti!

Short explanation of Super Short Reviews: life got in the way of blogging--and reading. I'm doing the best I can. The primary reason I started this blog was to keep track of everything I've read, and to be able to recall if I liked it or not. So these super short reviews are for you, but also just a quick reminder of the books I've read. Enjoy!

All links go to Goodreads, and all books were borrowed from the library, unless otherwise 

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry: Another great mystery from April Henry! This one will have you guessing all the way through, with the bonus factor of different points of view, so you definitely have more than one way to view things!

Kill Switch by Chris Lynch: I just could not get into this story. I wanted to love it, really, I did, I just couldn't be bothered to care. Is Da a retired mercenary and/or assassin, or is he just an elderly gent with a muddled mind? I love the relationship between Da and his grandson, Daniel, but I felt that the story just dragged on. Most of the reviews I've read of this one are positive, though, so I'm betting that I just wasn't in the right mood for this story. I do love Chris Lynch's work, but this one wasn't my favorite. 

Stolen by Lucy Christopher: I actually broke down and bought this book, as it's been on my to-read list forever, the high school is adding it to their Summer Reading list this year, and for some strange reason my library just wouldn't purchase it. So what happens on the day after I buy it? It comes in to the library via UPS for me to process and put on my shelf. Ah, such is life. At least now I'll have an honor copy for a student this summer! Having said all that, for waiting over two years to read this book, I...really didn't enjoy it. I felt that it moved waaaayyyyy too slowly, and the evidence of Stockholm Syndrome really didn't come into play until the very end of the story. Spoiler alert: she tries to run away, gets sunstroke, he rescues her. Rinse and repeat. Wasn't as great as I'd hoped it would be.

Did you love Stolen? What about Kill Switch? What am I missing?
Enjoy your reading!