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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review: The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander

Title: The Sweetheart of Prosper County
Author: Jill S. Alexander
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pub. Date: September 1st 2009
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Friendship, Bullying, Self-Esteem, Love, Family, Identity
Pages: 224
Plot (from back of ARC):

"Almost-15-year-old Austin Gray is tired of standing at the curb and watching the parade pass her by. Literally. She decides this is the year she’ll ride on the hood of a shiny pickup truck in the annual parade, waving to the crowd and finally showing the town bully that she’s got what it takes to be the Sweetheart of Prosper County.

But far from simply being a beauty contest, becoming Sweetheart involves participation in the Future Farmers of America (FFA), raising an animal, and hunting or fishing. Austin will do almost anything to become Sweetheart, and has the support of her oldest friend, Maribel, her new FFA friends (including the reigning Sweetheart, and a quiet, cute cowboy), an evangelical Elvis impersonator, a mysterious Cajun outcast, and a rooster named Charles Dickens. If only her momma would stop overprotecting her, and start letting Austin live her own life. But Austin can’t move on until Momma moves on, too—and lets the grief of losing Austin’s daddy several years before out into the open."

This novel is absolutely adorable! That makes it sound a bit like a middle grade book so something, but it really isn't. Austin is young, only fourteen actually, but she really seems older. Everytime that attention was drawn to her age and I remembered she was only 14 I was a bit startled actually. While she isn't the most mature character, she definitely didn't seem that young.

I was never in FFA, but I'm from a small town where FFA is a bit of tradition, and in ways a lifestyle, for many families and kids. Reading about Austin's adventures in chicken-raising made me wonder if a missed out a little!

I was pleasantly surprised by the references to noodling and Matthew McConaughey! I know what you're thinking, "that is such a random comment to have in a review!" But it is true. One of the best parts about The Sweetheart of Prosper County was that it was so well rounded. There were all sorts of references: FFA, southern, current/pop culture references all blended together to make Austin's world believeable.

Austin was definitely the star of this novel, but the minor characters helped it shine! Charles Dickens the Rooster, Maribel, Lewis, Josh, and Sundi all were amazing characters, no matter how big or small their part in the novel.

I thought Austin's friendships and budding romance were believable and well written. There was even a subtle sexual reference that I thought was tastefully done and reflected Austin's age and personality well...

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing style: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 10
Total: 50/50 (A!)

I loved Austin and her quest to become a Sweetheart - even though I think she was a Sweetheart all along! Jill S. Alexander is an author to watch - I can't wait for her next novel!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In My Mailbox (6)

IMM is hosted by Kristi, aka The Story Siren!

I'm really pumped about all the books IMM this week - all of them have been on my wishlist!

The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones (9/1/09, Walker Books)
"Fans of urban fantasy should prepare for a new kind of vampire–one that feeds off of tears instead of blood. Descended from an ancient line of creatures that gain their energy from human tears, Cassandra Gray depends on human sorrow to live. Only Cass has grown tired of living this life and wants to live like a human, especially now that she's met someone worth fighting for."
This book came as part of Traveling to Teens and I am so excited for it! It looks so amazing!

Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard (already out from Razorbill)
"To impress the popular girls on a high school trip to London, klutzy Callie buys real Prada heels. But trying them on, she trips…conks her head…and wakes up in the year 1815!
There Callie meets Emily, who takes her in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. As she spends time with Emily’s family, Callie warms to them—particularly to Emily’s cousin Alex, a hottie and a duke, if a tad arrogant.
But can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, and win Alex’s heart, before her time in the past is up?
More Cabot than Ibbotson, Prada and Prejudice is a high-concept romantic comedy about finding friendship and love in the past in order to have happiness in the present."

I found this one at my new library where I live in Kalamazoo - which is huge! Basically, I am in love with a library. Creepy? I think not! Okay, maybe, but I don't even care!

Meridian by Amber Kizer (out now from Delacorte)
Half-human, half-angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.
Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate’s tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home—and Meridian’s body explodes in pain.
Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns that she is a Fenestra—the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.

This one was at the library too - and I've been dying to read it so I was super excited!

The Naughty List by Suzanne Young (2/10/2010 from Razorbill)
"Tessa Crimson: Cheerleader by Day, Spy by Night
As leader of the SOS (Society of Smitten Kittens), Tessa’s mission is twofold: pep preservation and relationship salvation. That’s right, Tessa is a head cheerleader whose night job is catching cheating boyfriends in the act! Thank goodness her own relationship with Aiden is strawberry-smoothie purrfect—except for the fact that she’s been concealing her nocturnal habits for, oh, two years.
Aiden suspects something’s up, and his patience is wearing thin. But in the meantime, Tessa’s far too busy to deal with her own romantic roadblocks. The Naughty List is at maximum capacity; because so far, every single suspect on it is 100% guilty.
When sultry Chloe Ferril transfers to Washington High, things only become more catastrophic. Tessa knows this predatory vixen won’t stop hunting Aiden until her claws are planted firmly in his backside…
But Tessa’s in for an even bigger shock when Aiden’s name shows up on The Naughty List, and she’s finally forced to confront the unthinkable: is her own boyfriend just as naughty as all the rest?"

I can't wait to read this one!! I think that it has such an interesting premise... for some reason it reminds me of Veronica Mars, which makes me want to read it even more. And watch Veronica Mars... :) Thanks Razorbill for the copy!

Random Saturday + other stuff

This Random Saturday meme is hosted by Sharon @ Sharon Loves Books and Cats!

Some of you may know that I recently (Tuesday) moved to Kalamazoo, where I will be going to school for the next 3 years. Unfortunately, I had to leave behind my kitty, Daemon, *sob* who I miss terribly. Cats are not allowed in dorm rooms... :( I miss him and his antics. Every night when I tried to read he would come and lay down on top of my book (all the way across the book) because he was jealous that he wasn't getting the attention. He was a cutie - though, I must admit that he is the loudest cat I have ever met. :) I can't wait to see him when I go home next month! Here is a picture:

Isn't he cute???

Did anyone hear that Simone Elkeles is writing a sequel to Perfect Chemistry??? Yup -it's true! I'm pumped about it! Apparently this book is about Alex's brother, Carlos, and is called Rules of Attraction. Alex and Brittany will still be present, but Carlos and a new girl will be the focus. Rules of Attraction is to be released in May 2010! Can't wait!! And if you haven't read Perfect Chemistry yet: READ IT, YOU CRAZY! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR. I mean, read it, if you want. :) It is really, really good!

This week I moved to Kalamazoo - which is much bigger than my hometown in NE Michigan. The first day I was here I checked out the library, like any respectable bookworm would! It is seriously amazing! So you can count on seeing some awesome reviews soon. Well, as long as school isn't too crazy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Vampire Diaries TV Promo on the CW

I liked L.J. Smith's Vampire Diaries books and I'm curious to see whether or not the new television show based on the books will be good. I generally love the CW (I'm a huge fan of Gossip Girl, Supernatural, One Tree Hill, and Veronica Mars - it is pretty much the only channel I watch!), but this one I'm not sure about yet. It could go either way: horrible or amazing. I guess I'll find out soon enough. :)

Friday Finds (3)

Friday Finds is hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading!

The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones (4/13/2010, Delacorte)
"Maxwell Unger has always loved the night. He used to do brave things like go tramping through the forest with his gran after dark. He loved the stories she told him about the world before the Destruction—about nature, and books, and the silver owls. His favorite story, though, was about the Owl Keeper.
According to Max’s gran, in times of darkness the Owl Keeper would appear to unite owls and sages against the powers of the dark. Gran is gone now, and so are her stories of how the world used to be. Max is no longer brave. The forest is dangerous, the books Gran had saved have been destroyed, and the silver owls are extinct. At least that’s what the High Echelon says. But Max knows better.
Maxwell Unger has a secret. And when a mysterious girl comes to town, he might just have to start being brave again.
The time of the Owl Keeper, Gran would say, is coming soon."

Mistwood by Leah Cypress (2010, HarperTeen)
no cover yet
"Everyone tells Isabel that she is the Shifter – the ancient shape-shifting creature who has protected the kings of Samorna for centuries. They need her to be the Shifter. Prince Rokan risked everything when he rode into her forest to summon her to his side; Dakkin, the handsome magician's apprentice, has devoted his life to studying her legend; and even Princess Clarisse, who fears and hates her, depends on Isabel's powers to further her own plans.
But Isabel doesn't feel like the Shifter. She feels like a lonely human girl, beset by flashes of memory that do more to confuse than to help her. If she is the Shifter, why can't she change her shape? Why doesn't she remember what made her flee the castle so many years ago? As she is drawn deeper into a web of magic and assassination, Isabel will have no choice but to look for answers. But her search will lead her to the one question the Shifter hasn't faced in a thousand years: where does she come from, and what does she really want?"

In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth (2/2/2010 from Walker Books)
Story of a heart transplant told in alternating chapters between two girls: the heart transplant recipient and the heart transplant donor. When Eagan dies during a figure skating competition, Amelia receives her heart, but when she experiences new personality traits, she questions whether she's received more than just a heart.

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (June 2010, Little, Brown)
"Scarlett never believed in the Fenris—werewolves drawn to the delectable charms of young girls. That all changed when in one swift attack, a Fenris murdered her grandmother and left Scarlett half-blind and horrifically scarred. Only her younger sister, Rosie, escaped unharmed as Scarlett shielded her from the Fenris’s jaws.
Now eighteen, Scarlett’s life’s mission is to destroy the Fenris and save other girls from her fate—a mission she’s grown to love, despite herself. Armed with red cloaks and hatchets, Scarlett, Rosie, and a young woodsman, Silas, move to the city in search of answers—and vengeance. If they can find a Potential Fenris, tainted by the pack but not yet consumed by it, they can unlock the mystery that transforms them- but better yet, use him as bait.
But unlike Scarlett, Rosie doesn't feel the thrill of the hunt in her blood. Longing for a life away from heavy responsibility and something sweeter than steel determination, Rosie finds herself drawn to Silas. More and more often, they find themselves abandoning the search for the Potential, stealing kisses, sharing secrets.
When Scarlett discovers the romance blossoming in her midst, she abandons her sister to the woodsman, certain that her own heart has no room for love, not when it's filled with her mission, her purpose. Still, the bond between Scarlett and Rosie is too deep to truly sever, and when Scarlett discovers a way to bring her sister back to her side for good- even if it means destroying Rosie’s happiness—she is forced to make a decision that will change the course of both their lives."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Review: A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Title: A Kiss in Time
Author: Alex Flinn
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: 2009
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Fairy tales, True Love, Curses/Spells, Sleeping Beauty
Pages: 371
Plot (from book jacket):

"Talia fell under a spell. Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic...I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it was so not what I had in mind.
I awakened in the same place but in another time - to a stranger's soft kiss.
I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen.Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have not choice but to run away with a commoner!Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels... The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all - even time?"

This was a cute story and an original and interesting plot idea, but I really didn't like this book all that much. I really had high expectations, but execution fell a bit short.

I felt like the characters weren't fully developed - they simply weren't very believable. More importantly, their love story (the main focus of the novel) wasn't very believable. I felt that both Talia and Jack's looks were focused on a bit too much. The comments about their physical looks might not have been so bad though if there was a bit more to go on though. Talia is supposed to be blessed with gifts from fairies, but I felt like the fairies may have messed up a bit.

I also felt like the dialogue was a bit stunted. Talia was supposed to sound like she was from a past time (300+ years prior), but instead she sounded forced and unnatural. Jack's dialogue sounded much more natural, but it still was a bit odd.

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 7
Characters: 6
Writing Style: 8
Romance: 6
Originality: 10
Total: 37/50 (C-)

I picked up this book because I love the story of Sleeping Beauty and I generally enjoy retellings, but this retelling really missed the mark. I didn't feel like the characters were destined to be together - which is the whole point of Sleeping Beauty! A Kiss in Time isn't the first retelling I'd recommend, but if you are a diehard retelling fan you might still want to give it a try.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

WoW is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine!
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (March 2011)
no cover image yet
"Love, blood, betrayal and revenge — the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. Simon Lewis is having some trouble adjusting to his new life as a vampire, especially now that he hardly sees his best friend Clary, who is caught up in training to be a Shadowhunter—and spending time with her new boyfriend Jace. Not to mention that Simon doesn't quite know how to handle the pressure of not-quite-dating two girls at once. What's a daylight-loving vampire to do? Simon decides he needs a break and heads out of the city—only to discover that sinister events are following him. Realizing that the war they thought they'd won might not yet be over, Simon has to call on his Shadowhunter friends to save the day — if they can put their own splintering relationships on hold long enough to rise to the challenge."
I know that this book is probably going to be on a few WoW posts, but I couldn't resist - I mean, SERIOUSLY, this is freaking awesome news! I loved The Mortal Instruments and Simon was one of my favorite characters (after Jace of course!), so I'm pumped that Cassandra Clare has decided to continue the trilogy. Which makes it what now - a quartet? Or will she keep going? I hope so!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Trailer Tuesday (2): Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Trailer Tuesday is hosted by Briana @ What Bri Reads!

I thought this trailer was kind of funny, yet kind of boring at the same time. :S I haven't read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but I've heard it was good. Here is a trailer for the next book: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, which looks just as ridiculous!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Contest: Win a copy of Snap by Carol Snow! CLOSED!

The wonderful Carol Snow has donated a finished copy of SNAP for one lucky winner at The Hiding Spot!

“Madison thought she knew who she was. Then everything changed in a flash.
Stuck in a strange, sleepy beach town, Madison throws herself into her one passion: photography. But when bizarre figures start appearing in her pictures, people who weren’t there to begin with – and are later reported dead – Madison begins to question everything about who she is… and who she wishes she could be.”

Head over to the sidebar and click follow to become eligible - thanks to all of you who are already followers! You are all AMAZING!

To enter simply leave your email address (or some other way to contact you)!

+1 comment on my interview with Carol!
+1 comment on my review of Snap!
+2 link this contest (up to 3 places (sidebar, twitter, blog, etc) for a total of 6 entries)

This contest is open to the US & Canada!

Good luck everyone! :)


Interview: Carol Snow (Author of Snap and Switch)!

Today, for the first ever author interview at The Hiding Spot, we have Carol Snow, the author of Switch and the newly released Snap!

1. First off, tell us a little bit about your new novel.
My next book is called Snap, and it will be released on August 25. My first review just came in from Kirkus. They said, “Snow blends mysticism, suspense and realistic family problems into a well-tuned chiller with enormous teen appeal.” I hope readers agree!
Anyway, here’s the set up: High school sophomore and avid photographer Madison Sabatini goes to Sandyland for what she thinks is a beach vacation, only to realize that her entire world is about to fall apart. Until now, her family had plenty of money, but her father’s business has failed, and they can no longer afford the kinds of houses, clothes and vacations they once took for granted. To distract herself, Madison throws herself into her photography, but before long, even that turns weird. People start showing up in her photographs – even though she’s positive they weren’t there when she took the pictures. With her new townie friends, she sets to work identifying the mysterious figures, but what begins as a fun distraction turns terrifying when bad things start happening to the people in her pictures.

2. Where did you get the idea for the supernatural aspect of Snap?
I never wrote anything supernatural before my first teen novel, Switch (which is about a body switcher), and I really enjoyed being able to push the limits of what is real or possible. When I was trying to come up with an idea for a follow-up book, my sister suggested I write about photography. I immediately thought about having unexplained figures showing up in the narrator’s pictures, but it took me a long time to decide what they were doing there.

3. Are you anything like your main character, personality-wise?
We’re both terribly sarcastic. I like to think I’m more mature. At the very least, I’m a lot older, so hopefully that counts for something --?

4. In Snap, the main character, Madison, is an amateur photographer. Are you an amateur photographer or hobbyist as well? If not, what is your favorite hobby?
I’ve been taking photographs since I was about fourteen. Like Madison, I was a photographer for my high school yearbook. That was a big deal in the pre-digital age, because it meant I had unlimited access to film and developing.

5. Both Snap and Switch feature a “sleepy beach town” as their setting, is there any particular reason?
Actually, they’re set in the same (fictional) sleepy beach town. When I was growing up, I spent my summers on Cape Cod. I still spend a month there with my family every summer (actually, that’s where I’m writing from), plus I spend another week with my husband’s family in Carpinteria, California (which bears a strong resemblance to the fictional Sandyland). For me beach towns have a magical quality: it feels like time stands still and anything can happen.

6. What was the most difficult aspect of writing Snap and Switch? Switch was easy to write because the entire plot came to me in the space of a few hours. (I’ve written six books, and sadly, that’s the only time that’s happened.) In Snap, it was a challenge to balance the two sides of the book: the real crisis of Madison’s disintegrating family life and the supernatural mystery of the photographs.

7. Did you always want to be a writer?
No. When I was a child, I wanted to be a waitress. I’m serious.

8. What jobs did you have on your way to being a writer? Did they help you in any way as a writer?
All writers seem to have weird resumes. Here’s mine (starting from age sixteen and working to the present): daycare worker; hotel chambermaid; restaurant kitchen worker; secretary for an orthodox Jewish day camp; waitress (a dream realized??? no – I was awful); fire museum tour guide; president’s assistant in a gift company; secretary at a social services agency; waitress (yes, again – I was putting myself through graduate school . . . and I was still awful); high school teacher; political campaign worker; publicist for a vanity press; freelance writer; full-time mother; and … novelist!
Yes, definitely, it’s all helped me as a writer. The wider your experiences and the greater variety of people you meet, the more you have to write about.

9. When and where do you usually write?
During the school year, I write at home while my children are in school. I sit (slump) on a couch with my laptop. As a result, my posture is terrible. When I’m on vacation, like now, I write in the mornings. I take a cup of coffee and my laptop and go back to bed. Again: bad for the back. Good for the soul.

10. Is there something that is a must have for you to be able to write?
I need quiet. Salty snacks and caffeine help. A cat on the lap is welcome but not a requirement.

11. What author or book most influenced you as a writer or in general?
Good question! I have no idea. I’ve always read widely and often. When I was growing up, we didn’t get television reception in our house on Cape Cod, and there were summers when I read a book a day, even though I’m not an especially fast reader. I read everything from Judith Krantz and Mary Higgins Clark to Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Jane Austen, John Irving, Gustav Flaubert . . . pretty much anything that sounded halfway interesting. I didn’t discriminate between “pulp” and “literature” – I just wanted a good story.

12. What are currently reading?
I just started Sue Grafton’s T is for Trespass.

13. What book are you anxiously awaiting?
Nothing, really – I’m too busy trying to catch up on all the books I’ve meant to read!

14. Can you tell us anything about your next novel?
My next novel is general (not YA) fiction, but it would probably appeal to older teens. Just Like Me, Only Better is about a struggling single mother who is hired to be a celebrity double for an imploding Hollywood star. It will be out in April 2010.

15. The Hiding Spot is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Is there a place, activity, or person that is your hiding spot?
My cat, Cecil. Whenever I’m feeling down, I bury my face in his fluffy stomach and pretend I’m not allergic.

16. Anything else you would like to share with us?
I love to hear from readers! Facebook users, please look me up here. MySpacers can find me here.

Thank you Carol for taking the time to chat with The Hiding Spot!

Carol is also donating a finished copy of SNAP to one lucky winner. Go here to enter the contest!

Review: Snap by Carol Snow

Title: Snap
Author: Carol Snow
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pub. Date: August 25, 2009
Genre: YA
Main themes: Family, Supernatural, Ghosts, Love, Photography
Pages: 224
Plot (from back of ARC):

“Madison thought she knew who she was. Then everything changed in a flash.
Stuck in a strange, sleepy beach town, Madison throws herself into her one passion: photography. But when bizarre figures start appearing in her pictures, people who weren’t there to begin with – and are later reported dead – Madison begins to question everything about who she is… and who she wishes she could be.”

Snap first caught my eye because of the cover, which I actually like and think fits the novel really well, but it was the summary that drew me in. I am a photography hobbyist (think dark rooms and winding my own film), so the fact that Madison is a photographer was interesting. Furthermore, Madison is a photographer who sees dead people in her pictures (I am not this type of photographer) made her even more intriguing.

The supernatural aspect was well done. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I like that – it would have been boring if everything had turned out just as I’d expected it to. I thought it was really interesting that Madison didn’t have any supernatural ability, but that the camera itself was capturing images of the ghosts. It reminded me a bit of those ghost hunting shows on television.

Throughout most of the book I was not a fan of Madison. She honestly was so unlikeable – spoiled, rude, stuck-up, and immature are words that come to mind when I think of Madison. I don’t feel too bad about feeling this way though, as I’m fairly certain Madison was meant to be viewed this way at the onset of the novel. And, in ways, I can see a bit of my younger self in her. Madison is young and it was kind of refreshing to see her act her age – complete with immaturity and annoying habits and attitudes. Luckily, Madison learns some lessons throughout the novel, gaining maturity and insight. Unfortunately, it takes about four-fifths of the novel to reach this point.

There is a minor romantic plot line in Snap as well. I liked the boy, Duncan, who sounded like a cute skater, much like a boy I would have liked when I was Madison’s age. Again though, Madison made annoyed me with her horrible treatment of him. But I must admit, once again, that I remember girls my age (and maybe me, if I’m being completely honest), treat boys just like Madison treats Duncan.

Ratings (out of 10):
Characters: 8
Plot: 10
Writing style: 10
Romance: 8
Originality: 10
Total: 46/50 (A-)

Overall, Snap was a good coming of age story with a supernatural twist. Madison is a very realistic character, which makes her simultaneously refreshing and utterly horrible. After all, she is a young teenage girl – they are generally horrible at some point or another. Snap incorporates many different story lines: romantic, supernatural, and familial, making the novel a novel with a little bit for everyone!

Review: The Queen of Cool by Cecil Castellucci

Title: The Queen of Cool
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Publisher: Candlewick
Pub. Date: March 2006
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Popularity, Family, Friendship, Identity, Internships
Pages: 173
Plot (from back of ARC):

"On the outside, Libby Brin is the most popular girl in school. She has the hippest friends, the hottest boyfriend, the trendiest clothes, and the most easygoing parents. But on the inside, Libby is dying - of boredom.

And then one day Libby surprises everyone, including herself, when she signs up for an internship at the Los Angeles Zoo. Her friends think the zoo is for losers, but for Libby, at least it's something to do, something different. Unfortunately, working as an intern is not exactly glamorous, and worse, it means Libby has to tea up with two nerds - Tina (aka "Tiny"), a Little Person and aspiring actress, and Sheldon, an introverted boy with a brilliant, inquiring mind.

But what happens when Libby realizes she actually enjoys working at the zoo... and may even like Tina and Sheldon? Will the Queen of Cool have to give up her crown?"

This book has been sitting on my shelf since 2006 - and I'm not even sure where I got it from. It is slim book and I totally forgot about it even being on the bookshelf until I was going through books to take with me when I move downstate. I found this one right next to Boy Proof, Castellucci's first novel, and was intrigued by the summary on the book. It helped that this book is pretty short, but I completely devoured this book. I had forgotten how much I loved Castellucci's writing and story telling!

Libby, as expected, was a snobby rich girl at the beginning of the novel. Despite that, I found that there was something I liked about her. I think everyone can relate in a least a small part to the feelings Libby has about the monotony of the same friends and meaningless activities day after day. It really is Libby's transformations and the lessons she learns that make the book though.

I really enjoyed many of the minor characters in the book, including Tina, Sheldon, and Sid. I wish that there was continuation of this book just so that I wouldn't have to give these amazing characters up! Tina was one of the most inspiring characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading - she was so strong and confident in herself despite overwhelming adversity and judgement!

I thought the zoo internship was an interesting idea. Having Libby become a better observer and a hard worker played a big role in her changes throughout the book. Plus, zoos are awesome! :)

Ratings (out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing style: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 10
Total: 50/50 (A!)

The Queen of Cool was a 2006 release, but if you missed it you should definitely check it out! I really shouldn't have waited until now to read it. Cecil Castelucci is a wonderfully talented writer...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi, a.k.a The Story Siren!

Last week I didn't have an IMM post because I got nothing. Partially by choice actually because I have a lot of reading to catch up on and I didn't want to go check out more library books because I'm moving on Monday (8/23)! I still have about 10 library books to get through before I leave and I know it isn't going to happen.... I'm too busy with goodbyes and last minutes stuff...

This week I got a few books in the mail! Which reminds me, I have to figure out my new address otherwise IMM will be a bit hard to do... :) Anyway, I'm really excited about these books!

Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland (12/22/09 Egmont)
"Polly Madassa is convinced she was born for a more romantic time. A time when Elizabeth Bennet and Anne of Green Gables walked along the moors and beaches of the beautiful, wild land. A time when a distinguished gentleman called upon a lady of quality, and true love was born in the locked eyes of two young lovers.
But alas, she was not.
This however does not stop our young heroine from finding romance wherever she can conjure it up. So while Polly is burdened with the summer job of delivering baked goods from her parents bakery (how delightfully quaint!) to the people in her small beach town, she finds a way to romance to blossom. She is determined to bring lovers, young and old, together...whether they want to be or not."

Thank you Egmont for sending me a copy! :)

Darklight by Lesley Livingston(Harper Teen, 12/10)
"Faerie can't lie... or can they?
Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was Faerie royalty, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved New York City from a rampaging Faerie Faerie war band. When a terrifying encounter in Central Park sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful - but cut short. For they've been plunged into a game of Faerie deception and wavering alliances in which the next move could topple a kingdom... or part them forever."

I really liked Wondrous Strange and I can't wait to see what happens next with Kelley and Sonny! Thanks HarperTeen!

Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger (Orbit, 10/09)
"A comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirgibles, and tea-drinking.
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has not soul. Second, she's spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia is responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?"

I am so ridiculously excited about this book! I'm not sure if I can hold off on reading it immediately! Thanks Gail and Orbit!

The Life of Glass by Jillian Kantor(HarperTeen, 3/10)
"Before he died, Melissa's father told her about stars. He told her that the brightest stars weren't always the most beautiful - that if people took the time to look at the smaller stars, if they looked with a telescope at the true essence of the star, they would find real beautiful. But even though Melissa knows that beauty isn't skin deep, the people around her don't seem to feel the same way. There's her gorgeous sister, Ashley, who willl barely acknowledge Melissa at school; there's her best friend, Ryan, who may be falling in love with the sophisticated Courtney; and there's Melissa's mother, who's dating somone new, someone who Melissa knows will never be able to replace her father.
To make sure she doesn't lose her father completely, Melissa spends her time trying to piece together the last of his secrests and completing a journal he began - one about love and relationships and the remarkable ways people find one another. But when tragedy stikes, Melissa has to start living and loving the present as she realizes that being beautiful on the outside doesn't mean you can't be beautiful on the inside."

I absolutely adored The September Sisters and am super excited for Jillian Cantor's upcoming release! Thank you HarperTeen!

Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen (signed) (9/13/2009 Egmont)
"Sara and her father are moving to Boston from small-town Lundun, Massachusetts. She is going to attend the very elite Anton High School-- crowned "North America's Most Elite and Most Bizarre" by Time magazine, harder to get into than Harvard. As the new girl, Sara doesn't know anyone--better yet, no one knows her. And that means she can escape her family's checkered past and her father can be a surgeon instead of "Crazy Charlie" the school janitor.
What's the harm of a few little black lies? Especially if it transforms Sara into Anton's newest popular girl. But then one of the It girls at school starts looking into Sara's past, and her father's obsessive compulsive disorder takes a turn for the worse. Soon, the whole charade just might come crashing down... "

Thanks Tish for sending (and signing) Little Black Lies for me! Can't wait to read it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Finds (2)

Friday Finds is hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading! Share your weekly finds too!

The Siren by Kiera Cass(already out)
"You must never do anything that might expose our secret. This means that, in general, you cannot form close bonds with humans. You can speak to us, and you can always commune with the Ocean, but you are deadly to humans. You are, essentially, a weapon. A very beautiful weapon. I won't lie to you, it can be a lonely existence, but once you are done, you get to live. All you have to give, for now, is obedience and time..."
The same speech has been given hundreds of times to hundreds of beautiful girls who enter the sisterhood of sirens. Kahlen has lived by these rules for years now, patiently waiting for the life she can call her own. But when Akinli, a human, enters her world, she can't bring herself to live by the rules anymore. Suddenly the life she's been waiting for doesn't seem nearly as important as the one she's living now."

This keeps popping up on my GoodReads, so I'm assuming it's good! It sounds like there may some forbidden love...!

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines (Bloomsbury @ October 13, 2009)
It’s a fight to the death—on live TV—when a gladiator’s daughter steps into the arena.
Lyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through. Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family. Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator. Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying. The rules help the family survive, but rules—and the GSA—can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him... For fans of The Hunger Games and Fight Club, Lise Haines’ debut novel is a mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence—a modern world that’s disturbingly easy to imagine.

This reminds me of The Hunger Games in a way and that is definitely awesome! Can't wait for this one!

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly (Henry Holt, Spring 2010)
no cover yet
"Doctors have pinned 16-year-old Drea Horvath with everything from ADHD to Asperger’s Syndrome. She has an obsession with sound design, a tendency to blurt out whatever she’s thinking, and a problem making friends, but likes to think of this as following her own rhythm in a confusing world.

Drea is hesitant to befriend purple-haired Naomi Quinn, her teenage neighbor with a kamikaze personality. But Naomi is the first person to treat her like she isn’t a world class dork. Then there’s Justin Rocca, the sexy and persistent boy in her film class. If she’s learned anything from her mom, it’s that boys are trouble.

When Drea discovers Naomi’s love for drums and Justin’s piano prodigy status, the three form a trip-hop band and a friendship that will challenge everything Drea thought she knew about herself and the world around her."

This one looks so, so good! I can't wait until it comes out. I think it is really interesting that the main character has Asperger's and it sounds like there is a bad boy! Woohoo! :)


Hi everyone!
So, I haven't really been around much this week - I've been checking and doing memes, but haven't had very many reviews up or anything. I promise it won't be like that much longer, but I'm in the process of moving and it is very time consuming, hectic, and emotional (as many of you know)! I hope to get caught up on reading and writing my reviews, so hopefully there will be something more substantial soon! I've got lots of good books to review (ARCs and older books)... PLUS I am moving to a much bigger town (Kalamazoo, MI!!) and I will have access to many more books from the library and (eeek!) Barnes and Noble (aka Heaven).

Also, I've got an interview with Carol Snow coming up and a review of her upcoming release: Snap! Also, you Hiding Spot followers out there are going to get a chance to win a brand new hardcover copy of Snap from Carol! So that should be lots of fun!
As you can clearly tell by my excessive use of exclamation points!! :)

So don't give up on me! I will return!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (8)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

I have two WoW books this week:

The Mark by Jen Nadol (January 19th from Bloomsbury)
"Sixteen-year old Cassie Renfield has seen the mark since forever: a glow around certain people as if a candle were held behind their back.

The one time she pointed it out taught her she shouldn't do it again, so Cassie has kept quiet, considering its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until she watches a man die. Mining her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person's imminent death. Now how or where, only when: today.

Cassie searches her past, her philosophy lessons, even her new boyfriend for answers, always careful to keep her secret. How does the mark work? Why her? Most importantly, if you know today is someone's last, should you tell?"

This looks so amazing! Another great looking supernatural read, but I'm especially interested in this one because of the last part of that summary: "if you know today is someone's last, should you tell?" Oooo.


Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt (Disney Hyperion, March 2010)
"When a well-dressed woman steps out of a bubble and wants to know if you'd like to become a substitute princess, do you
A) run
B) faint
C) say yes?
For Desi Bascomb, who's been longing for some glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C). Desi has a rare ability: with the help of "Royal Rouge," she can temporarily transform into the exact look-alike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?
Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras.... In this winning debut, one girl's dream of glamour transforms into the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time."

I love the cover of this book! It is just too cute... Very cute plot as well, very like Princess Diaries, but with a little twist. I like the idea of substitute princesses. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Trailer Tuesday (1): Catching Fire!

Trailer Tuesday is hosted by Briana @ What Bri Reads!

I really liked this trailer for Catching Fire. It is fan-made, but I thought it was pretty good. I'm not sure if it really tells you much about the book - or follows it at all really, as I have not gotten a copy (sadly!), but I got more excited about the book anyway! :)

Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Awakening (Darkest Powers Bk 2)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pub. Date: 2009
Genre: YA
Main themes: Supernatural, Love, Family, Magic, Ghosts, Zombies, Werewolves
Pages: 360
Plot (from book jacket):

“If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl – someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment – not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I’m a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

Now I’m running for my life with three of my supernatural friends – a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch – and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group fins us first. Or die trying.”

I seriously love the Darkest Powers books! I’m not sure what it is about them: the characters, the supernatural elements, or the tension between Chloe and Derek, but I suspect it is all those amazing aspects.

I love the characters in The Summoning and The Awakening. Chloe is an awesome main character. I'm enjoying finding out more and more about her powers. I've read Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake novels, and Chloe is a bit like a younger version of Anita, which I love. Derek might be my favorite character though - I just love the brooding guys - plus I know that he's going to make it through puberty and be one of those guys that you wish you would have given a shot before the hotness kicked in! ;) The fact that he is smart just makes him even more appealing.

The awkward, yet trusting relationship Derek and Chloe have definitely keeps me turning pages! They are one of those relationships that, as a reader, I want so badly to turn into a relationship. They'd be so amazing together... !!

I'm liking the sinister Edison Group plot line that is starting to develop. The fact that the boys' father is missing reminds me of Supernatural, which is a definite PLUS (I know there are some Supernatural fans out there)! Kelley Armstrong found a way to weave all those different supernatural powers and creatures into one amazing story - there is never a boring moment and it all comes together perfectly!

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing style: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 10
Total: 50/50 (A!)

I'm totally sold on Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers books! I can't wait for The Reckoning, which comes out in 2010 from HarperCollins. I borrowed this book from the library, but now I want it on my shelf, right next to The Summoning and The Reckoning!

Another Huge Contest!

The end of summer must be the time for ginormous contests or something because Taschima over at The Bloody Bookaholic is holding one in addition to all the others going on right now! Here is a link!

Here's what you and two other winners have a shot at winning:
- Signed copy of Dreaming Anastasia + Goodies
- Hardback Another Faust
- Hardback Prophecy of the Sisters
- ARC The Dark Divine
- ARC Hush Hush
- ARC Give Up The Ghost
- ARC Ash
- ARC Behind Every Illusion
- ARC Shiver
- ARC Eyes Like Stars
- ARC The Demon's Lexicon
- ARC Betraying Season
- ARC Any Given Doomsday
- Dead Until Dark
- Gossip Girl 1st Book
- The Black Tatto + poster
- Vampire Academy
- Frost Bite, a Vampire Academy Novel.
- Shadow Kiss, a Vampire Academy Novel.
- Blood Promise, a Vampire Academy Novel.

There will be 3 winners, here's the breakdown:

Winner number One gets to pick 7 books out of the bunch.

Winner number Two gets 3 books out of the bunch.

Winner number Three gets 1 book out of the bunch.

Only the first winner gets to choose his or her prize.
For the other two Taschima gets to choose what they get.

Don't forget to mention that you heard about the contest through Sara @ The Hiding Spot! :) You and I will get an extra entry!

This contest ends September 27th!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Body Finder
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: March 16, 2010
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Murder, Serial Killers, Love, Friendship, Supernatural Abilities
Pages: 336
Plot (from back of ARC):

"A serial killer on the loose. A girl with a morbid ability. And the boy who would never let anything happen to her.

Violet Ambrose can find the dead. Or at least, those who have been murdered. She can sense the echoes they leave behind... and the imprints they leave on their killers. As if that weren't enough to deal with during junior year, she also has a sudden, inexplicable, and consuming crush on her best friend since childhood, Jay Heaton.

Now a serial killer has begun terrorizing Violet's small town... and she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him."

Okay, I realize that it is ridiculously early to be posting a review of this book, but really, with a book this good, who cares?

I am, quite simply, in love with this book! I read it three days ago and I'm still in love with it. I'm considering rereading it - I RARELY EVER reread books!

The Body Finder has so many elements that really appealed to me. Firstly, I found the serial killer and murder mystery aspect of the book really well done. I'm a big fan of shows like Criminal Minds, so I already had an interest in that type of plot line. Coupling that aspect of the plot with a supernatural ability and budding romance pretty much set this book over the top!

Violet's ability was, though creepy, very interesting. I really was a bit creeped out when some of the bodies were found. Violet dealt with her ability much better than I ever would - she is a very strong, resilient individual.

I really liked Violet as a main character. In books (and movies and television shows) where there is a female lead and a murder, the female lead generally does really foolish things that leave the reader or viewer freaking out about her stupidity. Violet wasn't like that, which was very refreshing. Yes, she makes a few bad choices, but overall, she was smart! I really like it when my main character has a brain, so I was very happy about that!

Now, on to one of my favorite aspects of The Body Finder: Violet and Jay! Kimberly Derting did an AMAZING job of writing Violet and Jay's romance. I loved their flitting and dialogue. I found the scenes filled with flirting and sexual tension to be very realistic and, in some cases adorable and/or romantic. I love those tension filled scenes and The Body Finder was full of them! The confusion and jealousy associated with falling in love with your best friend, who is suddenly very good looking and a bit of a stud, was spot on as well!

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing style: 10
Romance: 10!
Originality: 10

Total: 50/50 (A!)

I think Kimberly did an wonderful job blending the different aspects of The Body Finder. I loved every aspect: the mystery, Violet's ability, and the love story. The Body Finder was one of those books that I couldn't put down - until I forced myself. Seriously, I had about 30 pages left and I made myself go to bed (at 5 a.m.) because I didn't want it to end. Not surprisingly, I picked it up right when I got up the next morning and finished it! The Body Finder is definitely a must read for 2010!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Finds (1)

Tell about your weekly book finds during Friday Finds hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading!

This is my first Friday Finds post and I've got quite a few to share! :)

Witch's Alphabet by Caitlin Kittredge
(no cover image)
"A series set in a Lovecraftian industrial city in an alternate 1950s that centers on a mechanically gifted young girl approaching her 16th birthday, the age at which everyone in her family goes insane, leaving it up to her to unravel the mystery of their madness--and save the world." (From GoodReads)

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu (4/1/10)
"When 16 year-old Lucy comes home to find her mother dead under a stack of National Geographics in their garbage-filled home, she hesitates as she starts to dial 911. She hardly notices the mountains of stuff that fill every available space in the entire house or smells the decay anymore - but she knows the paramedics will, and so will the news cameras that will follow. They’ll notice the garbage and the smell and wonder how anyone ever lived like this. Only freaks live like this.

As she stares at the cell phone, Lucy can already hear the echoes of “Garbage Girl” and picture the look of disgust on everyone’s faces. With a normal life finally within reach, Lucy has to decide how far she’ll go to keep the family secrets safe."

Sleepless by Cyn Balog (2010)
"Eron DeMarchelle spent seventeen years on earth before his death in 1908. Now, he’s part of another world that invisibly coexists with earth. He is what humans call in their bedtime stories a “Sandman,” and his only purpose is to seduce them to sleep night after night. This dull, meaningless existence wears on him until he falls for the one girl he cannot seduce, a human named Julia. He conspires with his oldest friend, the princess Chimere, to find a way to be with the object of his affection forever. But even the most carefully made plans sometimes have unexpected consequences ..."

Everlasting by Angie Frazier (Summer 2010)
See my post about this book here!

Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis (Summer 2010)
no cover image yet
I heard about this one from The Book Butterfly!
"I’d love a cup of coffee. I wish she knew how pretty she was. I wish I could drop this kid in the dryer sometimes. I just want her to be happy. I hope she didn’t find out what Ben said about her. I wish I knew how many calories were in a bite of muffin…

Joy is used to hearing Whispers. She’s used to walking down the street and instantly knowing people’s deepest, darkest desires. She uses this talent for good, to make people happy and give them what they want. But for her older sister, Jessica, the family gift is a curse, and she uses it to make people’s lives—especially Joy’s—miserable. Still, when Joy Hears Jessica whisper: I want to kill my Hearing dead, and kill me too if that’s what it takes, she knows she has to save her sister, even if it means deserting her friends, stealing a car and running away with a boy she barely knows—a boy who may have a dark secret of his own."

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (Spring 2010)
no cover image yet
"New Zealander Ellie Spencer just wants to spend her last year of high school in peace, even if she does have to spend it at boarding school and not in her hometown. But the moment her secret crush enchants her – literally – Ellie is drawn into a supernatural crisis that threatens everything she loves.

The creatures of Māori mythology aren’t so mythological – and some of them are murderous. Once her eyes are open, there’s no peace for Ellie; only a magical war the right side must win. Ellie must do what she can with her rusty tae kwon do skills and her newfound magical abilities to save her friends, her country, and millions of lives.

This is a book featuring taniwha, student theatre, boarding school politics, New Zealand pop culture references, and several good reasons to protect your feet while running for your life."

I'm so freaking excited about all of these books! I wish I were a more patient person!

Review: Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

Title: Just One Wish
Author: Janette Rallison
Publisher: Penguin
Pub. date: 2009
Genre: YA
Main Themes: wishes, family, cancer, celebrity, love, friendship, death
Pages: 264
Plot (from book jacket):

"It seemed like a good idea at the time, a foolproof plan, and not something that was likely to get me, say, thrown in jail. All I was trying to do was help my six-year-old brother, Jeremy, beat his cancer. He's been so afraid of his upcoming surgery that I was trying to use some of that "power of positive thinking" everyone keeps talking about.

I told Jeremy that I had a genie, and I still had two wishes left. He could use one for anything he wanted and one to make sure his surgery went well. I knew he'd ask for the new action figure of Teen Robin Hood. It's all he's talked about since he started watching the TV series.

But there is no such thing as a foolproof plan where six-year-olds are concerned. Instead he asked for the real Teen Robin Hood to come teach him how to shoot arrows. And now I have just a couple of days to drive to Hollywood, find the actor who plays Teen Robin Hood - incredibly hot and way too famous - and convince him to visit my little brother.

At times like this, I could use a genie myself."

When I picked this one up I was looking for a cute, fluffy read with some possible romance. And I got it - in ways - but I feel like I got a lot more from this book as well.

The plot centers around a scheme to get the actor who plays Teen Robin Hood to come visit the main character Annika's brother before he has surgery for his cancer. Jeremy, Annika's brother, is only six, so right off the bat that makes this novel a little heavier. The plot is, for various reasons, a bit far-fetched, but Rallison really surprised me: she made the scheme believeable. I could actually see Annika getting the famous Steve Raleigh to come visit her brother.

I think the reason that I believed the plot was Annika's characterization. She was a really great character - full of spunk and confidence. Not that she didn't have her moments of weakness, moments that made her even more realistic and relateable.

There was romantic plot line as well. I think you can imagine pretty much how it went - and, again, not very realistic. But with Annika anything seemed possible, so I believed it.

Janette Rallison is an amazing storyteller. She blended heavy and light story lines together perfectly - the heavy tones were touching and the funny, romantic tones balanced well.

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing style: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 10

Total: 50/50 (A)

I'm definitely going to look for more of Janette Rallison's books. Just One Wish was a quick and satisfying read! I definitely recommend it!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Too Excited to Wait til Wednesday: Everlasting by Angie Frazier

Okay, usually I would be a good little blogger and wait until Wednesday to gush over my newest book obsession in my WoW. However, this is an emergency. This book much be talked about IMMEDIATELY!

Everlasting by Angie Frazier
Summer 2010 from Scholastic
No cover image yet, but here is a picture of the lovely author! ;)

From Angie's website:
"Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a lady in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: she is to marry a man she isn’t sure she loves, or condemn her and her father to poverty; forever lust after a sailor a few social classes below her; never again explore the open sea; and do it all with charm and grace, even if it is a sham.

On her last voyage with her father, Camille learns the mother she has always believed dead is in fact alive and in Australia. When their Sydney-bound ship goes down in a gale, and her father dies, Camille sets out to find her mother and a map in her possession—a map believed to lead to a stone that once belonged to a legendary civilization of immortals. The stone can do exactly what Camille wants most: bring someone back from the dead. Unfortunately, her father’s adversary is also on the hunt for the stone, and she must race him to it.

With the help of the sailor Camille is undeniably falling in love with, and with an Australian card shark acting as their guide, Camille eludes murderous bushrangers, traverses dangerous highlands, evades a curse placed on the stone, and unravels the mystery behind her mother’s disappearance sixteen years earlier. When another death shakes her conviction to resurrect her father, Camille must choose what—and who—matters most."

I read this summary and started freaking out! It sounds ridiculously amazing. Obviously, I am still kind of freaking out and I totally read this about 24 hours ago.

There are so many aspects of this book that make it obsession-worthy! First of all, there is adventure that involves maps (treasure maps are the best) and a stone of immortality. Secondly, there is forbidden love. It gets me every time, that forbidden love.

Summer 2010 - the best summer ever? Perhaps, perhaps...