Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire - Review

Friday, December 31, 2010

Title: Beautiful Dead: Arizona
Author: Eden Maguire
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: October 2010
Source: Publisher

Plot (Goodreads):

The second gripping mystery in this stunning series that will leave you restless. A must for all fans of paranormal romance.Something strange is happening at Ellerton High. Jonas, Arizona, Summer, Phoenix: all dead within a year. And then they appear before Darina, Phoenix-s grief-stricken girlfriend - beautiful and sub-human. They are the Beautiful Dead, souls in limbo, and they need Darina-s help to right the wrong linked to their deaths, and finally set them free -After helping Jonas, it-s time for Darina to unscramble Arizona-s mysterious death. It's been ten months since Arizona drowned in Hartmann Lake. Suicide, it would seem. But something doesn't add up. Drowning herself in a hidden-away lake does not sound like strong, confident, Arizona: Ellerton High School's high-maintenance drama queen. Darina needs to help Arizona the way she helped Jonas. But the Beautiful Dead are in danger, and time is running out ...
My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this novel so much more than the first book. Arizona's story hooked me in so much more than Jonas's for some reason, plus the love story of Darina and Phoenix Really cranked up a notch. This series just builds and I can't wait to get my hands on Beautiful Dead: Phonenix.

The Aristobrats by Jennifer Solow - Review

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Title: The Aristobrats 
Author: Jennifer Solow
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release date: September 1, 2010
Source: Publisher


Plot (Goodreads): 
 It’s all about the Attitude

Parker Bell knows the secret to beauty is pretty simple–wearing the right clothes isn’t as important as how you feel in them. Popularity is like that too. It’s all about attitude. You have to picture who you want to be and then just imagine that’s who you already are.

This year Parker and her three best friends have made their way to the top of the populadder at Wallingford Academy. And they’re ready to use their Aristobrat status to help spread positive vibes throughout the school. But when the girls are assigned to produce the seriously lame school webcast, their popularity plummets! Will this tragedy destroy the girls' status? Or their friendship? Or both?

My Thoughts:

This novel puts me in the mindset of the wildly popular 'Clique' series. It was seriously cute. There was so much girl power and talk of besties you couldn't help to fall in love with the four friends in this novel. It was a refreshing read, taking back to the side of YA for younger readers (I recommend ages 10-14 for this one), because the focus was on the the struggle of popularity and true friends.

This is a cute series. Read book one of the Aristobrats series if you're into Clique and Babysitters Club type novels.

Ways To Get ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I've gotten a few emails from readers asking how to get ARCs, so I was thinking I should write up a blog post about it. There are probably different ways to obtain advanced novels, but this is a simple check list of how I got mine.

1. Read A LOT of novels in the genre you most enjoy. I'm a Young Adult writer, because I absolutely LOVE that genre. I've been pretty much a strict YA reader since 2008.

2. Blog about every book you read. This means start a blog if you don't already have one. You can do that free using Blogger, like me. Soon the number of your reviews will add up. Even if you don't get a ton of comments, they're getting read.

3. Touching a little on number one again, read all SUB GENRES in your genre. What I mean is, don't just read YA paranormal, add some contemporary in the mix. Publishers notice, believe me.

Now, I know what you're thinking: That's it? My answer is a simple yes. I started out just blogging about every book I read, which meant all these books were already out. After I got around fifty books under my belt, I joined ARC tours.

Dark Faerie Tales
Around The World ARC Tours
Star Book Tours
We Love YA Tours

Most of these require at least 30 reviews posted on your blog for acceptance. You also have to be able to read a novel in less than a week, because you have seven days before you have to mail it on to the next person. The danger here is signing up for a ton of tours and getting stuck with more than one book to read in a week, but it is doable. Also there is the mailing cost, which currently sits around three bucks plus 80 cents for a delivery conformation, per book.

Joining these tours increased my blog traffic though, and got me more invitations via email from publishers to read ARCs for them. I also get a lot of publicists contacting me now offering up books for reviews.

A lot of publishers are offering up digital ARCs now. Simon & Schuster (Galley Grab) is one I read for. I got an invitation to read for them and ran out and got an ereader just to download novels. LOL

Speaking of digital downloads, here are a couple of places that offer up ARCs. But you have to be approved here too:

Early Reviewers/Library Thing

If all else fails and you don't get ARC offers after all this, contact the publishers directly. Here's a couple to get you started.

Simon & Schuster

So now you have some ideas to get you started on a path of ARC readership. Go forth and conquer!

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand - Review

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Paperback, 432 pages

Expected publication: January 1st 2011 by HarperCollins Australia
Series: Unearthly #1
CharactersClara Gardner, Jeffrey Gardner, Christian Prescott, Wendy Avery, Tucker Avery, Kay Patterson, Angela Zerbino, Samjeeza (Sam)
Setting: Mountain View, California (United States) and Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Cover Currently Out

My Favorite Verison of the Cover


In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees. . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place--and out of place, at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make--between honesty and deciet, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

My Thoughts:

Ah, where to start. I devoured this novel in one day. I just couldn't get enough of it. The beginning started off a tad slow, just because you're just kind of thrown into the story. It took me a minute to get the hang of things, and how her world worked, but once I got the idea...I was hooked.

For me, the story took off when Clara and her family get settled into their new home in Jackson Hole. The snow covered setting and the clear division of the Haves and Have-Nots was a nice change of pace from most YA novels. Clara wasn't the instant most popular girl at her new school like we see a lot in YA, and the bad hair dye job of bright orange hair didn't help her much in that department. Clara was a fun MC to read, and Ms. Hand's writing style really brought her to life.

My most favorite character in the novel was Tucker Avery. He leaps off the page and has more personality than you can shake a stick at. His cowboy charm is infectious, and I loved every minute of it. He made the novel for me. Now, I can't wait for the second novel in this series just to get my Tucker fix.

So read this one if you are into ANGELS, underdog MCs, and lovable cowboys!

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer - Review

Monday, December 20, 2010

Title: Through Her Eyes
Author: Jennifer Archer
Hardcover, 240 pages

Expected publication: April 5th 2011 by HarperTeen
Special Note: ARC Review


Sixteen-year-old Tansy Piper moves with her grandfather and her mother, a horror writer, to the setting of her mother's next book--a secluded house outside of a tiny, desolate West Texas town. Lonely and upset over the move, Tansy escapes into her photography and the dark, seductive poems she finds hidden in the cellar, both of which lure her into the mind and world of a mysterious, troubled young man who died sixty years earlier.

From the Author's website:

Every ghost has a story to tell

The last place Tansy Piper wants to be is stuck in Cedar Canyon, Texas, in the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of small-town kids. But when her mother decides to move to the desolate West Texas town, Tansy has no choice but to go along. Once there, Tansy is immediately drawn to the turret of their rickety old house, a place she soon learns has a disturbing history. But its the strange artifacts she finds in the cellar--a pocket watch, a journal of poetry, and a tiny crystal--that have the most chilling impact on her.

Tansy soon finds that through the lens of her camera, she can become part of a surreal black-and-white world where her life is intertwined with that of mysterious, troubled Henry, who lived in the same house and died decades earlier. It seems their lives are linked by fate and the artifacts she found, but as Tansy begins spending more and more time in the past, her present world starts to fade away. Tansy must untangle herself from Henry's dangerous reality-- before she loses touch with her own life forever.
Watch the Trailer Here!!!
My Thoughts:

This was one deliciously creepy read. I seriously love a good ghost story and this one delivers. It's been a while since I've read a true young adult (YA) haunting story, so it's a rare thing in YA. The main character, Tansy, did get a little whiny at times, but it wasn't enough to super annoy me or anything, and I would say that was really the only flaw I found when reading this one. The plot was on point. It kept me engaged the entire time and I just had to know what happened to Henry (the ghost) and how their fates where intertwined as described on the summary on the back of the book.

The ending was AWESOME! It totally expands things and I really can't say much more because I'll slip up and give it away. I will say that I am sad that this is a stand alone novel, so you definitely will get all your details at the end. No lingering cliff hangers like most YA novels that turn into series with this one.

Add this one to your to-be-read list ASAP! :)

My Ereader Won't Let Me Cheat

Sunday, December 19, 2010

About a month and a half ago I bought myself an early Christmas present. Yep, that's right I bought an ereader. To be honest, when I bought it I wasn't sure how much I'd actually use it. I figured I'd miss the physical book in my hand and didn't know if I was ready to jump on the whole ereader train. But, I was getting so many invitations to some big publishing companies to read digital ARCs I had to find a way to carry those digital books around with me.

The first book was a little rough getting through because I'm a book cheater. I had to learn to adjust. I know I'm not the only person in the world who flips through the book to know what I'm getting into. I like to know who the LI is, or if the book is dragging to see if it changes pace somewhere along the line. The ereader, however makes that kind of difficult. It forces me to read the entire novel without being able to flip through the remaining pages. Therefore, I can't cheat. I have to read the book page by page to discover all the answers, which also makes it hard for me to flip back and reread sections if I overlooked something.

So, I guess my point is, I love the convenience of being able to carry my digital downloads around with me, but I still miss the physical book. I'm interested to hear your guys thoughts on ereaders. Do you have one? Are you going to get one? What impact do you think these little gadgets will have on the publishing industry?

Shout out and share your opinions.

I Am Number Four Movie!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

OMG you guys! Did you know the YA novel I AM NUMBER FOUR is going to be a movie?!?! I haven't gotten around to reading this one yet, but if the book is as action packed as this trailer...SIGN ME UP! LOL

Plus they have this guy playing the hawt MC:


In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.

The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I AM NUMBER FOUR is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.



Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley --Review

Friday, December 17, 2010

Title: Where I Belong
Author: Gwendolyn Heasley
Paperback, 304 pages

Publication: February 1st 2011 by HarperTeen
Special Note: ARC review

Where I Belong


Corrinne Corcoran’s upscale Manhattan life is perfectly on track—until her father announces he’s been laid off and she’s shipped off to Broken Spoke, Texas, to live with her grandparents. All alone in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the glamorous life she’s supposed to be living. But as she grudgingly adjusts—making new friends and finding romance along the way—this city girl begins to realize that life without credit cards and shopping sprees may not be as bad as it seems....

In this sparkling debut that flawlessly balances romance and humor, readers will grow to love sharp and sassy Corrinne as she goes on her totally reluctant but completely irresistible journey of self-discovery.

My Thoughts:

Corrinne is very snarky in the first quarter of the book, which I love, and then as she leans that maybe things aren't so bad in Broken Spoke, Texas she changes. For the better. Her character becomes more down to earth and less snobbish. The side of her that actually loves and cares for the people in the small town she's now living in becomes apparent when her BFF from New York comes to visit her.

I love how Corrinne doesn't revert back to her snobbish big city ways. She actually stands up to her friend when she starts making fun of, or complaining about everything in Broken Spoke.

The last paragraph of the plot listed above describes this novel so well. The cover leads you to believe that this novel is a romance, but it isn't really. I mean, yeah, there is a little sprinkle of it, but it's not what the books about. It's about acceptance and self discovery. And the main character's journey to learn that.

3 out of 5 stars from me.

Read this one if you like YA contemporary books that center more around learning about yourself and figuring out who you are.

Songs of a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson --Review

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Doing a little something different here guys. I have a guest reviewer, Krista Ashe,  posting this review. Krista is represented by super agent Fonda Snyder and has some stuff out on submission as we speak, so I look forward to posting reviews of her novels very soon, too! Check Krista out on her blog, Musings of A Steal Magnolia & Writer.

Title: Songs For A Teenage Nomad
Author: Kim Culbertson
Published: September 2010 By Sourcebooks Fire
Page Count: 242


After living in twelve places in eight years with her drifting mother, fourteen-year-old Calle Smith finds herself in Andreas Bay, California, at the start of ninth grade. Fearful of putting down roots anywhere, but armed with her song journal, she moves to her own sound track through a world that bounces her between the school drama crowd, a mysterious loner, and an unlikely boy who will become her first love. But it's the troubling truth she uncovers about her father that forces Calle to face the toughest choice of her young life. 

Guest Review By Krista Ashe:

What's not to love about a book that starts off with a quote from Bob Dylan? As someone who loves to use songs for everything from mood music while writiting to using song lyrics to teach figurative language in classroom, I have never really read a book that used music as such a part of the setting to where it's almost another character. The closest would be Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, I suppose. And I really did feel that music became a character as well as a setting sometimes. Many songs and artists were not only referenced, but the chapter openings might have song lyrics posted.

You have the character of Calle who has criss-crossed through the state of California with her mom. They've never lived in one place long, and her mom is also one who has had several boyfriends and several husbands for them to move away from. But in their latest town, Calle actually hooks up with a group of theater friends: Eli, Alexa, and Drew. And for the first time, she's happy and likes it in a place. She's also intrigued by Sam, a football player, who shows signs of being anything but the typical jock. And in those moments when he can get away from his A-crowd friends, he opens up to Calle. In the midst of all this, Calle comes across a picture of her father--the one that was supposed to have left her and her mom when she was just a baby. A desire burns in her to find out about him.

I would give 4 1/2 Stars to Songs of a Teenage Nomad. I loved Calle's voice and perspective. Her honesty, insecurity, and strength were commendable. I was rooting for her throughout the book. I look forward to reading more books by Kim Culbertson.

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton -- Review

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Title: Angelfire
Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by HarperCollins / Katherine Tegen Books
Series Angelfire #1
Characters: Nathaniel, Kate, Ivar, Lauren, Bastian, Will, Geir, Ragnuk, Cadan, Ellie Monroe
Setting: Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Speical Note: ARC/Galley Review 


This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.

My Thoughts:

OMG is Ellie a bad ass! She helps define strong female YA protagonist. I can't tell you how many books I've read lately with a supposedly "strong" female character. but she only turns out being snarky. Not the sword wielding, reaper slaying chick that Ellie is. She will decapitate a reaper in a minute, just saying. LOL

Now, let's talk about Will. *Sigh* He's awesome. Stoic. Strong. Most importantly HAWT. He comes on the scene like most of our typical YA fantasy/paranormal make love interests--all mysterious like, but there are a few things that distinguish him from the pack. Number one, like Rose and Demetri in Vampire Academy, Will is Ellie's trainer AND he's older, which adds a little forbidden tension in it's self. Two: he's tatted. The only YA guy I can think of off hand--that I love--is seth from the Wicked Lovely series. And he might have only been human, but he was a very swoon worthy one. Will is definitely a guy I want to read more about.

The relationship between Ellie and Will is intense. There where so many times I could just feel how much they wanted to kiss each other and didn't, which is a huge part of the reason I finished this one in two days. I wanted them to admit their feelings for each other. Also, I was hooked by the mystery of where they lovers in one of Ellie's past lives or maybe even all of them. I won't give away what happens there, because that might ruin for those of you that hate spoilers. LOL

The only issue I had with novel was Ellie went from normal teen girl, worrying about designer clothes and cars, to an angelfire sword swinging reaper death machine pretty quick. But I guess, in her defense, if I had reapers, which are basically demonic beasts, trying to kill me I'd let instinct take over, too. Her memory comes back in flashes, so there are a TON of flashbacks. Flashbacks help back up why is is suddenly able to remember her power--other than Will just touching her forehead and bringing a little back at a time--but there where so many. Sometimes they pulled me away from the current story. Seems like they may be important for upcoming novels though.

Over all I gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads. I just had too. Any book that makes me negate sleep earns that one. So read this one if you like older love interests, TONS of action, and a little forbidden romance!! I personally can't wait for book 2!! Kudos on an awesome book Courtney!!

Afterlife by Claudia Gray --Review

Monday, December 6, 2010

Title: Afterlife
Author: Claudia Gray
Hardcover, 368 pages

Published March 8th 2011 by HarperTeen (first published March 3rd 2011)
Series: Evernight #4
Characters: Bianca Oliver, Lucas Ross, Bathazar


The fourth book in this electrifying vampire series has all the romance, suspense, and page-turning drama that have made Claudia Gray’s Evernight books runaway successes.

Having become what they feared most, Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They must return to Evernight Academy, Lucas as a vampire and Bianca as a wraith. But Lucas is haunted by demons, both personal and supernatural. Bianca must help him fight the evil inside him, combat the forces determined to drive them apart—and find the power to claim her destiny at last.

Readers have fallen in love with Bianca and Lucas, and they will be thrilled to read this exciting conclusion to their romantic adventure.

My Thoughts:

Hmmm, where to begin. This book was a toughie for me because I have been a huge supporter of this series ever since I fell in love with EVERNIGHT. AFTERLIFE wasn't as exciting as the first three books, but I think that had a lot to do with the fact that Bianca had made her choice to be with Lucus forever. Also, the fact that she became a wraith and Lucus a vampire right at the end of the third book cut out a lot of excitement from the series plot line.

Balthazar is sitll in this book and Bianca is still likes having him around. He was my favorite character in the entire series and part of me wanted Bianca to be with Balthazar in the end, but Lucus was her "true love."

Mrs. Bethany is still an evil, bad ass in this book, but we finally get a glimpse into her background. Her death and transition into the vampire life was one of the most fascinating parts of the whole book. Her motives were finally revealed and it was an awesome plot twist.

So here's my thoughts, if you love the series, read it of course, but just don't expect it to be as amazing as the first three books.  
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