Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.
Destined (Book 9 in House of Night Series) By: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast Release Date: October 25, 2011
"In Destined, the forces of Light and Dark collide as their epic struggle focuses on Tulsa's House of Night. Zoey is home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side and preparing to face off against Neferet. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx's gift of a human form, he and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together if Rephaim can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow. But is Zoey really safe? Does she truly know those who are closest to her? And will love win when it is tested by the very soul of Darkness? Find out what s destined in the next thrilling chapter of the House of Night series." (Summary from goodreads.com)
I am looking forward to Destined because I really enjoy the House of Night series and I am excited to read what will happen next.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer By: Michelle Hodkin Released: September 27, 2011 Source: Purchased (Barnes and Noble had it out early) Purchase the Book: Amazon "Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed. There is. She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong." (Summary from goodreads.com)
Michelle Hodkin's The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is the story of teenager Mara Dyer who wakes up in the hospital after an accident that killed her best friends. Mara doesn't remember anything from the accident or how she survived without any injuries. After having trouble moving on with her life, Mara's family moves to a new city.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading this book but I immediately fell in love with it. From the very first page I was completely hooked and did not want to put it down. Mara is a fascinating character who makes an excellent protagonist. I sympathized with her as she handles the loss of her best friend and worries about her own mental stability. I really liked her relationship with her brothers, Daniel and Joseph. Daniel supports his sister and tries to help her out when he can.
Noah is the boy at Mara's new school with the bad reputation and she is warned to stay away from him. However, circumstances continue to throw them together. Noah is sweet, arrogant, funny, and mysterious. I admit I wasn't so sure about him in the beginning but I was soon falling for him as well. The relationship between Mara and Noah is developed as the story progresses and they balance one another.
The mysterious plot flows from one page to the next. The paranormal aspect is interesting and some parts were a bit creepy. I liked how the mystery of Mara as well as the accident slowly unraveled in pieces throughout the story. At times I wasn't entirely sure what was real and what wasn't, but it only added to the suspense of uncovering the mystery. Hodkin makes an excellent debut and I already can't wait for the next book. The unexpected ending leaves off on a bit of a confusing cliffhanger but I still loved it. I highly recommend The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer it has become one of my top five favorite books of 2011. I am already looking forward to rereading it again soon.
I am strongly against banning books and I believe that a person should have access to the books they want to read. I do however understand that some books are inappropriate for younger children which is why I believe that parents should be aware of what their young children are reading.
I will be giving one winner a choice of one book from the list below which consists of some of my favorite Young Adult books that have been banned or challenged.
You Against Me By: Jenny Downham Released: September 13, 2011 Source: Purchased E-book Purchase the Book: Amazon
"If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another." (summary from goodreads.com)
Jenny Downham's You Against Me is the story of Mikey and Ellie who meet under difficult circumstances. Ellie's brother is accused of raping Mikey's sister. Ellie is just trying to fit in at school and pass her exams. Mikey is working hard to support and take care of his mother and sisters. They both just want to protect their siblings but instead begin to fall for each other.
You Against Me is a captivating story about finding love in unexpected places and family loyalty. I sympathized for Ellie and Mikey because both are placed in difficult situations by their families. Ellie wants to support her brother because he has always been there for her growing up. Mikey is trying to care for his family but he wants to defend his sister. He also dreams of getting out the house though and becoming a chef one day. They both unconditionally love their siblings and want to believe in them regardless of what others say. Ellie and Mikey's relationship is filled with tension and begins on a lie. However, it does eventually develop into something more although they don't know each other for very long.
I liked that the point of view switched between Mikey and Ellie because I could get a deeper perspective into both characters and their families. I think the story handles the topic of sexual assault in an excellent manner. I really wasn't sure what actually happened that night between Mikey's sister and Ellie's brother and who was telling the truth until it was all pieced together in the end. I really enjoyed You Against Me and I recommend it.
"It's about a servant girl named Tess in 1912, who wants to escape from the house where she works, and most particularly the lecherous young lord of the manor. But that's not her biggest problem. While on a voyage to America, where she plans to escape and start a new life, she meets Alec, who's ruggedly handsome, fabulously wealthy, intelligent and yet so clearly troubled that she'd rather not fall for him, but she does. That also is not her biggest problem. Alec, it turns out, is a werewolf ... one cursed to change every night, unless and until he surrenders his independence and joins the Brotherhood, a pack of violently misogynistic werewolves who have been tracking him for months. You'd think that would be their biggest problem, wouldn't you? But no. Their biggest problem -- though they don't know it yet -- is that they're aboard the RMS Titanic." (Summary from goodreads.com)
Claudia Gray's Fateful is the story of Tess who is a servant girl for a wealthy family. She joins the family on a voyage on the Titanic to America where she hopes to leave her job and start a new life. While on the ship she meets wealthy Alec who turns out to be a werewolf. Alec is cursed to change every night unless he joins the violent Brotherhood pack. Tess soon finds herself falling for Alec although she shouldn't and involved in the problems with the werewolves.
I loved Fateful and was completely captivated that I did not want to put this book down. I have read Gray's Evernight series and really enjoyed it but Fateful is definitely my favorite book she has written yet. The story takes place only over a few days but each character is deeply developed. Tess is a servant girl who has lived with a wealthy family that tells her what to do, treats her poorly, and talks down to her. However, this only makes Tess even more tough and brave. I admit I have fallen in love with werewolf Alec as well. He is wealthy and suffers the curse of turning into a werewolf each night but he is still sweet and doesn't care about social rankings. Although Alec doesn't know Tess for very long their relationship grows naturally and doesn't feel rushed. I also loved the supporting characters such as Myriam, Irene, and Alec's father.
I loved the setting on the Titanic and it is described in great detail which made me feel as though I was on the ship as well. The plot flows from page to page and knowing what happens to the Titanic only adds to the suspense. However, there are still some unexpected surprises thrown in throughout the story. I was sad when this book ended although the plot is wrapped up in the end, I still want more. I highly recommend Fateful, it's set in a fascinating setting and is filled with romance as well as action.
The randomly selected winner of a copy of City of Bones signed by Cassandra Clare is...
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Thank you for all of the 159 entries! If you didn't win this time, I have many more giveaways planned in the future. I will be participating in the Banned Book Week Hop which begins on September 24 and I also have a special giveaway planned for when I reach 100 followers.
Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.
The Calling By: Kelley Armstrong Release Date: April 2012
"Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents. Now, Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they’re kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home." (Summary from goodreads.com)
I love this series and I can't wait to read The Calling, especially after the cliffhanger ending in The Gathering.
Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories By: Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones Released: September 6, 2011 Source: Purchased Purchase the Book: Amazon
"You are not alone Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the “funny guy” into the best defense against the bullies in his class. Today’s top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal." (Summary from goodreads.com)
Dear Bully is a collection of stories about bullying by seventy Young Adult authors. Authors shares their own personal experiences with bullying, witnessing bullying, or being the bully. Each story is short but delivers a powerful and emotional message.
I really enjoyed reading Dear Bully and I admire each author who shared their own story. Some stories are so heartbreaking that I wish I could confront the bully for the victim. The stories not only convey the emotions that the individual felt in that moment but also how it can affect them years later. They also teach that bullying can come in many different forms. An individual may not think what they are experiencing is bullying but it actually is.
Dear Bully helped me a great deal because I experienced bullying during middle school and high school. I was bullied by two girls who had been my best friends since kindergarten. I am ashamed to say that I also took part in bullying as well though because I stood by and did nothing as my friends bullied other girls and boys during middle school and high school. I feel guilty for never doing anything especially after I became the target and many people stood by and watched. During high school I was harassed online and physically threatened by some of the girls and the boys who had been my friends all because a couple of girls claimed that I began a rumor that I didn't even hear about. I spent the rest of high school acting invisible and ignoring this particular group. However being bullied taught me much about myself and how to treat other people. It is also one of the reasons why I began to read because when I had a bad day I would escape into a book.
I knew I had to read Dear Bully when I first heard about it because my heart breaks when I hear tragic news report on bullying and also because of my own personal experiences. The stories from Dear Bully will always stay with me. After reading each story I would have to stop and reflect on it before beginning the next one. I appreciate that the book varies between stories of the authors who were bullied, witnessed bullying, or were the bully. I think it is important to read about the bully in an effort to understand why they do or say what they do. I highly recommend Dear Bully to all teenagers and adults because it provides a powerful message and teaches you about the effects of bullying. Dear Bully can also help anyone experiencing bullying learn that they are never alone.
The Beginning of After By: Jennifer Castle Released: September 6, 2011
Source: Purchased Purchase the Book: Amazon
"Sixteen-year-old Laurel’s world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all, there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel’s life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss, a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways." (Summary from jennifercastle.com)
Jennifer Castle's The Beginning of After is the story of Laurel, whose whole life changes one night when her parents and little brother are killed in a car accident. The driver is her neighbor and old childhood friend's father whose wife dies in the accident as well. Laurel must now learn how to live her life without her family. David's life is also drastically changed and together Laurel and him find they share a common connection.
The Beginning of After is a heartbreaking but honestly beautiful story about life. I sympathized a great deal for Laurel because she loses her family in one night. Not only does Laurel need to learn to continue living without her family but she has to learn to make it through even the most simple everyday tasks. I admire Laurel for how she handles it all while learning to keep on living throughout the story. Another great aspect I loved about Laurel was when she got involved with the animals at the animal hospital and I loved when she shared a scene with one of the cats or Masher.
Each character in the book is strongly developed even the supporting characters who I really enjoyed such as Laurel's best friend Meg and Nana. I admire both for how they tried to help Laurel, especially Nana. I also love David and it was interesting to see how differently he handled it all compared to Laurel. I enjoyed the natural connection that grows between Laurel and David as well.
The Beginning of After is paced at a great speed. I never felt that the plot was rushed even though it follows Laurel dealing with the aftermath of the accident for a whole year after. I enjoyed that it followed Laurel's story for a whole year because it gave me an opportunity to go on this journey with her and experience even the smallest moments along with the life changing ones. Some moments in this story made me cry but there are still a few lighter moments. Another great thing about this book is that it makes you stop and think about how you treat another person when they go through something terrible. Castle makes an excellent debut and I am looking forward to what she will write next. I loved The Beginning of After and I highly recommend it.
Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.
Pandemonium By: Lauren Oliver Release Date: March 6, 2012
"Pandemonium continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again." (Summary from goodreads.com)
I loved Delirium and can't wait to read Pandemonium and what will happen next to Lena.
The Unwanteds By: Lisa McMann Released: August 30, 2011 Source: Purchased Purchase the Book: Amazon
"Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths. Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a place called Artime. In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it's a wondrous transformation. But it's a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle." (Summary from goodreads.com)
Lisa McMann's The Unwanteds is the story of twins Alex and Aaron who live in a land called Quill. Every year thirteen-year-olds are sorted into either the Wanted group where they are sent to the university or they are sorted into the Unwanted category where they are sent to their death. Aaron is determined to be Wanted but Alex is Unwanted because of his artistic ability. Alex discovers though that the Unwanteds are not actually killed but are secretly sent to a new land called Artime. Artime is a place created by magic where the Unwanteds learn to master their creative abilities and learn magic that will help them fight Quill.
I loved The Unwanteds and I didn't want to put this book down. I have read and loved all of McMann's previous books so I have been highly anticipating The Unwanteds and I enjoyed it even more than I was expecting. The characters are each excellently developed and I grew quite an attachment to them. Twins Alex and Aaron are fairly different from one another but still have a strong bond. According to the rules of Quill, Aaron must forget about his brother and attend the university. However, Aaron hopes to take over and rule Quill one day. Alex learns to grow a great deal through the story as he goes on this difficult and unexpected journey. I admit Alex annoyed me a bit when he first arrived in Artime and was behind on lessons but he quickly grew on me after that. I love the characters in Artime as well such as Alex's friends, Lani, Meghan, and especially Artime's leader Mr. Today.
I love the setting and I was instantly drawn into the frightening world of Quill and the magical world of Artime. I was completely fascinated by the land Artime which is filled with magic, talking creatures, talking blackboards, tubes that can bring you anywhere, and lastly where creativity is powerful. The thrilling plot is unpredictable and I never entirely knew what to expect to happen next. I like that the story alternates between multiple characters which helped me get a deeper understanding into each character as well as their motives. I highly recommend The Unwanteds, it is a creative and exciting story.
Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) By: Sarah Mlynowski Released: June 7, 2011 Source: Purchased E-book Purchase the Book: Amazon
"2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have. If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them. In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time." (Summary from goodreads.com)
Sarah Mlynowski's Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) is the story of April who lies her way into staying in a house with no adults. April doesn't want to move to a new city with her father and step- so she asks to stay with her friend Vi whose mother is also going to be out of town for sometime. Together April and Vi continue to fool their parents while enjoying the freedom of living without them.
I enjoyed Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) and finished it in only a few short hours. Who wouldn't love to have a house to yourself with your best friend for half of the school year? April is an enjoyable character and similar to the typical teenage girl. My favorite character was April's friend Vi who has some pretty wild ideas but is also responsible when she needs to be. I loved the bond the two girls share and how it continues to grow throughout the story. April has been dating Noah who she is madly in love with for two years and is ready for the next step in their relationship. I didn't like April's boyfriend Noah from the beginning because something just didn't feel right about him. I did love Vi's friends Dean and Hudson and wish they were in the story some more though.
Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) is filled with many hilarious moments but also touches on quite a few serious situations. Together April and Vi come up with some wild ideas and get themselves into some crazy and funny situations. However, they also learn a great deal about responsibility and the little things that go into taking care of a home such as laundry and grocery shopping. Mlynowski does a great job touching on topics such as family and sex as well. The plot flows easily from one page to the next and I loved the hilarious opening to this story. Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) is a fun and quick read that I recommend checking out.