Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dee & Me - Hunger Games Trilogy Chat

So my friend DeAubrey and I have been sharing books and we love to do book talks.  We finally decided to actually type one out (well, the decent parts anyhow!) and post it here.  So this week we'll be discussing The Hunger Games Trilogy.

Quick intro to DeAubrey (Dee) - college student, loves theater and books, seriously fun and funny.  Here he is:

And here we go:

Who was your favorite character?
Dee - It's a toss up between Peeta and Cinna.  Peeta - he's a 'real' person y'know?  He doesn't do things for the benefit of himself, he wants to do those things.  He takes care of Katniss whether she deserves it or not.  Cinna - he's also 'real', he humbles Katniss in a caring way.

Me - I loved Cinna and Haymitch.  They both saw Katniss' flaws and knew how to work around them or use them as strengths.  At first I didn't care for Peeta, he came off as irritating because he was so whipped by his love for Katniss.  But later he came across as the guy that would do anything for her and I liked him much better.

What about Katniss, how did you feel about her?
Dee - She's dynamic and great.  When I'm not reading the books, she kind of annoys me, but she's great in the story.  She takes some getting used to, for sure.

Me - I agree, she annoyed the heck out of me at times.  She was kind of whiny and selfish, but when it came down to the wire, she would stand up for those that couldn't (or wouldn't) stand up for themselves. 

What's your favorite moment (any or all the books)?
Dee - The moment I pictured myself there with her was in MOCKINGJAY when she was in the hospital doing the video.  She said, "Fire is catching, if we burn, you burn with us!"  It was really dynamic!  Then when Prim and Katniss were talking about what the Capitol would do to Peeta and Prim responded "whatever it takes to break you."

Me - The scenes were Katniss found her voice and became the Mockingjay were amazing.  One of my favorite scenes was when we find out how Finnick was used by the Capitol and how he used them.  I never thought that was the direction we were headed in with him, he had a lot more depth than I expected.  It really made you wonder how they would have treated the winner if it had been just Katniss or Peeta.

Did your feelings change about Gale and Peeta at all during the series?
Dee - For the first two books it seemed like Gale was THE MAN and Peeta needed to grow some.  He seemed whipped and whiny.  It seemed that Katniss was trying to make herself want to go back to Gale.

  Me- I agree.  It was like she felt she was committed to Gale and what he stood for.  When in reality, the things they believed  were not even close.  She's more like Peeta.

Do you think that Katniss' behavior showed anything in particular?
Dee - I felt that it proved Katniss was growing, in the first book she took her sisters place and knocked out Peeta (while kissing him) to keep him alive; in the second book she chose Wires and Betee over everyone else; in the third book she went to the District 8 hospital and also shot Coin instead of Snow.

Me - I loved that she knocked Peeta out to save him!  Choosing Wires and Betee - who knew old people knew stuff - ME (and Katniss), that's who!  They had to be able to figure things out or they wouldn't have survived that long.  In book three, I love that she shot Coin, I mean she and Snow did  agree not to lie to each other.

Favorite gadget/item?
Dee - Katniss' bow in Mockinjay..and the showers in the Capitol...the muttations and the mockingjays.

  Me-  Okay, I agree with all of that except the muttations.  I mean, I picture them as the size of Rottweilers but with really human features and eyes.

Dee - Ok, when you put it that way, they kind of freak me out too. *laughs*  I picture them about the size of a Great Dane and not that human.

Me - oh my gosh!  Those would be ENORMOUS!  Now I'm  a little more freaked out!

We both agree that this is one of the best series we've read in a long time.  We read them quickly, but it was like eating a fantastic meal - you eat it quickly because it's so good, then you want more right now!  Real or Not Real?

Dee - Real.

Just to show you what huge fans we both are - we now both have Facebook updates from the movie Hunger Games page and we've been discussing each actor as they've been announced.  Our favorites so far?  Lenny Kravitz as Cinna - how amazing will that be?!  and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch - I can really see him doing this role, I see him as a mix of his characters in Natural Born Killers and  Zombieland.

Books Out This Week: May 30 - June 5, 2011

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari
Release Date:  June 1, 2011

From Amazon:  Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

 The Eternal Sea by Angie Frazier
Release Date:  June 1, 2011

From Amazon:  After the thrilling journey that led Camille through the dangerous discovery of love, secrets, and a magical stone that grants immortality, Camille has everything she wants. She's escaped the men who wanted her dead, and now she is ready to build a new life with Oscar, her one true love. But things are not to be so simple. Oscar is acting strangely, and before they can even board a ship from Australia back home, to San Francisco, Camille learns that the journey is not over. If she does not follow the magic of the curse of Umandu, her life and Ocar's could be in grave danger.

 Forgiven by Janet Fox
Release Date:  June 2, 2011

From Amazon:  Kula Baker never expected to find herself on the streets of San Francisco, alone but for a letter of introduction. Though she has come to the city to save her father from a cruel fate, Kula soon finds herself swept up in a world of art and elegance - a world she hardly dared dream of back in Montana, where she was no more than the daughter of an outlaw. And then there is the handsome David Wong, whose smiling eyes and soft-spoken manner have an uncanny way of breaking through Kula's carefully crafted reserve. Yet when disaster strikes and the wreckage threatens all she holds dear, Kula realizes that only by unlocking her heart can she begin to carve a new future for herself.

 She loves you, she loves you not by Julie Anne Peters
Release Date:  June 1, 2011

From Amazon:  Seventeen-year-old Alyssa thought she knew who she was. She had her family and her best friends and, most important, she had Sarah. Sarah, her girlfriend, with whom she dreamed with about the day they could move far away and live out and proud and accepted for themselves, instead of having to hide their relationship.

Alyssa never thought she would have to make that move by herself, but disowned by her father and cut off from everyone she loves, she is forced to move hundreds of miles away to live with Carly, the biological mother she barely knows, in a town where everyone immediately dismisses her as "Carly's girl." As Alyssa struggles to forget her past and come to terms with her future, will she be able to build a new life for herself and believe in love again? Or will she be forced to relive the mistakes that have cost her everything and everyone she cared about?

 So, So Hood by L. Divine
Release Date:  May 31, 2011

From Amazon:  With her senior year just beginning, Jayd s drama is going nowhere anytime soon. Although she's graduated to the next level with her powers, she's also going head-to-head with her former best friend, Misty. Jayd's also got to deal with the aftermath of the debutante ball, her boyfriend's cheating, and her ex-boyfriend/best guy friend Rah's continuing baby mama drama. Luckily, when her crew gets to be too much, Jayd can turn to her new crush Keenan, a UCLA first draft football pick, for a time out. Jayd's got to keep a cool head now more than ever because there's a new enemy waiting to pounce if she lets down her guard. . .

 Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Release Date:  June 1, 2011

From Amazon:  Sixteen-year-old Molly Dix has just discovered that her biological father is Brick Berlin, world-famous movie star and red-carpet regular. Intrigued (and a little terrified) by her Hollywood lineage, Molly moves to Los Angeles and plunges headfirst into the deep of Beverly Hills celebrity life. Just as Molly thinks her life couldn't get any stranger, she meets Brooke Berlin, her gorgeous, spoiled half sister, who welcomes Molly to la-la land with a smothering dose "sisterly love"...but in this town, nothing is ever what it seems.

 Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Release Date:  May 31, 2011

From Amazon: 
How do you defy destiny?
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

 The Ivy Secrets by Lauren Kume and Rina Onur
Release Date:  May 31, 2011

From Amazon:  Gregory or Clint? Clint or Gregory? Matt, anyone? And what is Lexi up to . . .exactly? When we last saw Callie Andrews, she was caught on the horns of a dilemma. Lexi was threatening to expose all of her safely guarded, deeply buried secrets from high school, and Callie had just hooked up with bad-boy Gregory--despite the fact that she had a perfect (sort of) boyfriend and her BFF Vanessa had claimed (sort of) Gregory as her own. Yow. Entertaining, hilarious, addictive, scandalous, sexy, and smart, The Ivy series is an insider's look at freshman life at Harvard University.  This isn't high school anymore! 

 The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Release Date:  May 31, 2011

From Amazon:  Set in Calcutta in the 1930s, The Midnight Palace begins on a dark night when an English lieutenant fights to save newborn twins Ben and Sheere from an unthinkable threat. Despite monsoon-force rains and terrible danger lurking around every street corner, the young lieutenant manages to get them to safety, but not without losing his own life. . . .

Years later, on the eve of Ben and Sheere's sixteenth birthday, the mysterious threat reenters their lives. This time, it may be impossible to escape. With the help of their brave friends, the twins will have to take a stand against the terror that watches them in the shadows of the night--and face the most frightening creature in the history of the City of Palaces.

 The Vampire Stalker by Allison van Diepen
Release Date:  June 1, 2011

From Amazon:  What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world--and came into yours?
Amy is in love with someone who doesn't exist: Alexander Banks, the dashing hero in a popular series of vampire novels. Then one night, Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he IS Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book and is in hot pursuit of a wicked vampire named Vigo. Together, Amy and Alexander set out to track Vigo and learn how and why Alexander crossed over. But when she and Alexander begin to fall for each other, Amy wonders if she even wants him to ever return to the realm of fiction.

 What heppened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Release Date:  May 31, 2011

From Amazon:  After a scandal involving her mother and a famous college basketball coach rocked her family and her old hometown, McClean decided to live with her dad. His job as a restaurant consultant requires they pick up often, and at each new place she carefully selects who she’ll be—Eliza, Beth, or someone else with a new name and different interests. It’s easier this way for McClean, who is reluctant to form any true attachments. Then at their latest stop, McClean does something she’s not done in a long while—reveal her real name. But who is this McClean and is she ready to forgive her mother, fall for the boy next door, and finally stick around? Fans of author Sarah Dessen will recognize her compelling dialog and characters so intricately-drawn it’s as if they’re the reader’s friends, too. Yet the real meat of What Happened to Goodbye is in Dessen’s mastery of the emotional ups-and-downs of McClean’s supportive relationship with her father and struggles with her mother. Keenly-observed and terrifically-written, Dessen’s latest is a delightful read about self-discovery and maturity that by the end is hard to say goodbye to.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Unearthly - Cynthia Hand

Publisher:  Harper Teen
Publish Date:  January 4, 2011
ISBN: 978-0061996160 
Pages:  448

So I have found that books about angels and fallen angels tend to be a bit too angsty for me.  I think it's the feathers that do it to them, I mean, feathers must be hard to keep clean and deal with all the time, right?

UNEARTHLY was better than most.  Clara is only a quarter angel and has just found out the first part of her purpose.  Every angel has a purpose and Clara's takes her family across the country to a new town.  They lived in California and now have moved to the land of cowboys and skiers.  She has a lot to learn and deal with.  On the upside?  Clara meets another half angel and gets to be friends with her, learning things her mother won't tell her.  I like Clara, she seems like a real girl.  In fact, I like her whole family.  They seem to be a basically normal family that just happens to have some angel blood.

The boys.  Ofcourse there are two of them, when aren't there at least two of them anymore? *sigh*  So Christian is gorgeous, has a girlfriend, seems to like Clara and is the guy that shows up in her visions.  But I still just don't like him that much.  Tucker is good looking, fun, her best friends brother and there's more to him than seems at first.  I love that Tucker actually spends a lot of time getting to know Clara before he ever tells her how much he cares.  That's more like real life - I like it!  Too many YA books jump in and the characters are madly in love without knowing each other at all.  My favorite quote in the book?

"What do you see in a guy like Christian Prescott?" he asked me that night when he dropped me off from prom. And what he was really saying then, what would have come through loud and clear if I hadn't been so blind was, Why don't you see me?"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Alice Marvels Spring Blowout Giveaway!!

You could win a Kindle or one of eight signed books!  Go enter now!


Guest Blogger - Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

 Welcome to my new Guest Blogger, Jess!  She is a twenty-something nanny from the Valley of the Sun, avid reader/writer, amateur photographer, and professional procrastinator.  You can check Jess out at:  http://concretepiecesofsoul.blogspot.com/

 Below you will find the book information, a brief summary from Amazon and then the review.  Enjoy!

Publisher:  Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publish Date:  October 12, 2010
ISBN:  978-0375865862
Pages:  336

Summary from Amazon:  High-school senior Vera never expects her ex-best friend, Charlie, to haunt her after he dies and beg her to clear his name of a horrible accusation surrounding his death. But does Vera want to help him after what he did to her? Charlie’s risky, compulsive behavior and brand-new bad-news pals proved to be his undoing, while Vera’s mantra was always Please Ignore Vera Dietz, as she strives, with Charlie’s help, to maintain a low profile and keep her family life private. But after Charlie betrayed her, it became impossible to fend off her classmates’ cruel attacks or isolate herself any longer.

What Jess has to say:  I wanted to like this book. Really I did. When I first received it, the jacket flap excited me right away; the reviews online even raved about it! However, the most positive thing I can say about the book is that the dust cover was green (which is my favorite color). I only made it 100 pages in before it frustrated me enough to put it down.

The main drawback to Please Ignore Vera Dietz was the story's structure. The chapters were ridiculously short and didn't really seem to flow together well. One minute, we're with Vera while she delivers pizzas (her full-time job while in high school), the next minute we're flashing back to when she was 7, and then we're flashing forward to when she was 13. It was so confusing and jumped around so quickly that it was difficult to follow the story, let alone enjoy it.

The characters, from what I read, were pretty well developed. There were a lot of qualities and attributes that would probably be discovered later on in the book. I wish the structuring had been more logical so that I could have gotten to know them a litle bit better.

King's writing was actually pretty good, so I wouldn't mind trying something else by this author. However, unless you can follow quick transitions and keep up with a book that jumps all over the main character's life, I don't recommend this read.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Publisher:  Little, Brown & Compan
Publish Date:  October 12, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-316-07705-7
Pages:  503

Book 2 of the Beautiful Creatures series.  There will be SPOILERS!!!!

Joining Ethan Wate and Lena DuChannes (rhymes with rain) on a second journey was a delight!  The pure Southern-ness of this series pulls you in and you expect everyone to sound like Gatlin when you put the book down.  I would find myself thinking things like "Ethan Wate, everything is gonna be just fine, you'll see."

Lena is still beating herself up over Uncle Macon's death and not knowing if she's Light or Dark. She's pulling away from Ethan and is soon traveling a path with her Dark Caster cousin Ridley and a new guy, John Breed.  She believes she's leaving Ethan behind and it's all for the best. 

With the help of his best friend Link, a Keeper-in-Training Liv and the cat Lucille Ball - Ethan sets out to travel the Caster tunnels that go under the cities.  He faces startling revelations about his own family and learns a few things about himself along the way.

It was nice to see more of the relationship between Link and Ethan and how their friendship worked.  Also nice to see Ethan get mad about things and jealous.  He was so easygoing and just plain nice in the first book.  Introducing new possible love interests for both Ethan and Lena was a tricky move, great work ladies!

I cannot wait to read the next one - BEAUTIFUL CHAOS out this year on October 18th.  It sounds amazing!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Out This Week: May 23 - 29, 2011

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
Release Date:  May 23, 2011

From Amazon:  Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.
Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking. In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.

  Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly
Release Date:  May 24, 2011

From Amazon:  Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces, and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil. In the first book in an action-packed, romantic trilogy, L..A. Weatherly sends readers on a thrill-ride of a road trip - and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful.

They’re out for your soul . . . and they don’t have heaven in mind.

 Blood Magic (The Blood Journals) by Tessa Gratton
Release Date:  May 24, 2011

From Amazon:  This page-turning debut novel will entice fans who like their paranormal romances dark and disturbing. It's a natural next-read for fans of Stephanie Meyer, Carrie Jones, and Becca Fitzpatrick. But instead of mythical creatures, blood magic has everything to do with primal human desires like power, wealth, and immortality. Everywhere Silla Kennicott turns she sees blood. She can't stop thinking about her parents alleged murder-suicide. She is consumed by a book filled with spells that arrives mysteriously in the mail. The spells share one common ingredient: blood, and Silla is more than willing to cast a few. What's a little spilled blood if she can uncover the truth? And then there's Nick—the new guy at school who makes her pulse race. He has a few secrets of his own and is all too familiar with the lure of blood magic. Drawn together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick must find out who else in their small Missouri town knows their secret and will do anything to take the book and magic from Silla.

 Everfound (Skinjacker Trilogy) by Neal Shusterman
Release Date:  May 24, 2011

From Amazon:  While Mary lies in a glass coffin aboard a ghost train heading west, her minions are awaiting her re-awakening by bringing lots of new souls into Everlost to serve her. Meanwhile Jackin’ Jill has met Jix, a fur-jacker—a skin jacker who can take over the bodies of animals, most notably jaguars. Jix serves a Mayan god who collects Everlost coins, and has his own agenda. In the concluding volume of The Skinjacker Trilogy, Neal Shusterman reveals new sides of the characters of Everlost, who are pitted against each other in a battle that may destroy all life on Earth.

 Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Release Date:  May 24, 2011

From Amazon:  One hour to rewrite the past . . . 

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

 Lark by Tracey Porter
Release Date: May 24, 2011

From Amazon:  When sixteen-year-old Lark Austin is kidnapped from her Virginia hometown and left to die in a snowy forest, she leaves behind two friends who are stunned by the loss. As Lark's former best friend, Eve can't shake the guilt that this tragedy was somehow her fault. Meanwhile, Nyetta is haunted each night by Lark's ghost, who comes through the bedroom window and begs Nyetta to set her soul free. Eve and Nyetta realize that Lark is trapped in limbo, and only by coming together to heal themselves will they discover why.

 Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi
Release Date:  May 24, 2011

From Amazon:  In the spring of her senior year, Donna Parisi finds new life in an unexpected place:  a coffin.

Since her father’s death four years ago, Donna has gone through the motions of living:  her friendships are empty, she’s clueless about what to do after high school graduation, and her grief keeps her isolated, cut off even from the one parent she has left.  That is until she’s standing in front of the dead body of a classmate at Brighton Brothers’ Funeral Home.  At that moment, Donna realizes what might just give her life purpose is comforting others in death.  That maybe who she really wants to be is a mortician.

This discovery sets in motion a life Donna never imagined was possible.  She befriends a charismatic new student, Liz, notices a boy, Charlie, and realizes that maybe he's been noticing her, too, and finds herself trying things she hadn’t dreamed of trying before.  By taking risks, Donna comes into her own, diving into her mortuary studies with a passion and skill she didn’t know she had in her.  And she finally understands that moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting someone you love.

 Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison
Release Date:  May 24, 2011

From Amazon:  In this sequel to Once Dead, Twice Shy (HarperCollins, 2009), purple-haired Goth Madison is adjusting to life at her new high school—and to the fact that she is recently dead. She is the newest dark timekeeper put in charge of reapers of death. Her ideals clash with tradition—she believes in choice over fate: people with the potential to do evil might still be able to change in time to save their souls. Madison and her two reapers, (mostly) light Barnabas and dark Nakita, set out to alter the fate of a teen with a computer virus set to wreak havoc on the local hospital and cause several deaths. Madison's adversarial light timekeeper, Ron, and his apprentice are positioned to prevent them from succeeding. Amulets with hidden forces and an occasional visit from a limerick-spouting guardian angel add to the complex hierarchy of fate and supernatural power. Sharp-dressed Nakita, who can "scythe" (kill) mortals is still concerned with fitting in at school and is an engaging sidekick to Madison.

 The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles) by Kady Cross
Release Date:  May 24, 2011

From Amazon:  In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.
When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.

 Welcome to Bordertown, edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner
Release Date:  May 24, 2011

From Amazon:  Bordertown: a city on the border between our human world and the elfin realm. Runaway teens come from both sides of the border to find adventure, to find themselves. Elves play in rock bands and race down the street on spell-powered motorbikes. Human kids recreate themselves in the squats and clubs and artists' studios of Soho. Terri Windling's original Bordertown series was the forerunner of today's urban fantasy, introducing authors that included Charles de Lint, Will Shetterly, Emma Bull, and Ellen Kushner. In this volume of all-new work (including a 15-page graphic story), the original writers are now joined by the generation that grew up dreaming of Bordertown, including acclaimed authors Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more. They all meet here on the streets of Bordertown in more than twenty new interconnected songs, poems, and stories.

 Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
Release Date:  May 24, 2011

From Amazon:  Agnes Wilkins is standing in front of an Egyptian mummy, about to make the first cut into the wrappings, about to unlock ancient (and not-so-ancient) history.
Maybe you think this girl is wearing a pith helmet with antique dust swirling around her.
Maybe you think she is a young Egyptologist who has arrived in Cairo on camelback.
Maybe she would like to think that too. Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust, even. No, Agnes can only see a mummy when she is wearing a new silk gown and standing on the verdant lawns of Lord Showalter’s estate, with chaperones fussing about and strolling sitar players straining to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping.
This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options: home, husband, and high society. It’s also the start of something else, because the mummy Agnes unwraps isn’t just a mummy. It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing mystery, an international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain.
Get wrapped up in the adventure . . . but keep your wits about you, dear Agnes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Changes in the blog!

Hey kiddos, I've got a change or two coming up in the blog and just wanted to let everyone know.  As I said before I do have a couple of guest bloggers - the reviews are in and one has been posted already, there are 2 or 3 more to post! 

Wayback Wednesday will be changed to Wild Wednesday.  I love finding older books to review and I'm still going to do it, but not on a weekly basis.  I overloaded myself and wasn't enjoying it as much as I want to.  Soooo.  On Wednesday I'll be doing surprise things like author interviews, giveaways, linking to contests, any crazy book-related thing that I feel like doing.  I hope you all enjoy the change, I think it will be fun!

I have a possible 3 author interviews coming up from May - September and a really awesome giveaway too.  Stay tuned and keep reading!  Oh yeah, I'm going to try to do more on the facebook too, different stuff than on the blog...so you might want to become a fan. :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Falling Under - Gwen Hayes

Publisher: New American Library (Penguin Group)
Publish Date:  March 1, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-451-23268-7
Pages:  324

I want to note up front that I don't believe this is a book for the younger end of YA.  There are some semi-sexual situations and coarse language.

FALLING UNDER is a very pretty book.  I had to wonder about the three best friends: Theia, Amelia and Donny.  They're so different, I can't imagine that they would hang out together.  Theia is a British girl come to live in California, well off, plays violin, never gets to go out.  Amelia is sweet and shy and a bit on the weird side.  Donny is all boy crazy, dresses like a hooker (it would seem) and is always ready for adventure.  A really unlikely group of friends.

There's a new boy at school - Haden Black.  While Theia doesn't have interaction with Haden at school, she certainly does at night in her dreams.  But Haden at school is all A&F and a 'sneetch' - you know, stars on the bellies looks down on the ones without - with the in crowd, ignoring her.   Haden in her dreams is a gothic victorian guy who's very sweet and loving with her.  She needs to know if they're just dreams or if Haden is really there.

Through a series of weird events, Theia disappears and Haden loses his memory.  Add in a couple of other characters and off they go to figure out how to restore Haden's memory and save Theia.  It seems that I've read this situation a lot lately - one half of the couple sacrifices for the other half, who tries to 'fix' it.  It's a little boring, but I will say that the Underworld that Ms. Hayes created is fantastic.  The creatures that populate it are very well thought out and interesting.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Miles from Ordinary - Carol Lynch Williams

Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date:  March 15, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-5512-2
Pages:  197

There are spoilers!!!!! 

MILES FROM ORDINARY captures one day in the life of a 14 year old girl dealing with a mother with a mental illness.  She's been on her own with her mom since mom threw out Aunt Linda a year ago.  The author completely captures the feelings and dilemmas of a child/teen in this situation.  She loves her mom, but gets mad at her for not being a regular mom then feels sad, worried and mad at herself.  So much for a kid to deal with!

We're never really given a description of Lacey and I think that adds to the story...you have more of a tendency to put yourself in her place.  Lacey has convinced her mother that she needs to get a job, so she gets one at the local supermarket as a checker.  Lacey will use the free time to volunteer in the library, where her Aunt Linda used to work.  At the end of the day, she finds that her mom left work after one hour.  Frantic, she searches everywhere with the help of her new friend, but can't find her mom.  They take the bus home, where she finds evidence that her mother has been home, but where she is now, who knows.

Lacey is constantly on edge and I think that not enough people really know what it's like to live with a parent with a mental illness - or at least one that refuses to take medication and does things that could be harmful to themselves and the child.  Some people have said that the author has shown mental illness in a poor light, but I think that this is the side that people don't see often enough.  The good side is that many people do take medication and seek therapy and lead happy, healthy and productive lives.  The bad side is what Lacey (and many other children) experience.

When she finally finds her mother, she is talking to and for her dead father and insists that Lacey commit suicide with her to be with 'Daddy'.  Even after that, Lacey can't stand to see her mother taken away.  Lacey has been the parent and feels responsible for her mother.

This story touched my heart in so many ways.  If you know someone with a family like this, take a moment to say a kind work and include them, you never know when they might need to reach out to you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Out This Week: May 16 - 22

Graveminder by Melissa Marr
Release Date:  May 17, 2011

From Amazon:  Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Now Maylene is dead and Bek must go back to the place--and the man--she left a decade ago. But what she soon discovers is that Maylene was murdered and that there was good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in placid Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected. Beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D--a place from which the dead will return if their graves are not properly minded. Only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk

 The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen by Geraldine McCaughrean
Release Date:  May 17, 2011

From Amazon: 
Ever since the magnificent Miss Loucien gave up teaching to join the Bright Lights Theater Company, school days have lacked a certain . . . drama . . . especially for Cissy, who longs for a life in show business, and Kookie, who craves adventure. But when a diphtheria outbreak interrupts the dull routine, Cissy and Kookie are evacuated to the doubtful safety of the Bright Lights’ summer home—a shipwrecked paddle steamer on the flooded Missouri River.
Thus begins a wild and unpredictable journey downstream serving up grand performances, aggrieved river gamblers, irate lawmen, and perilous races. And when at long last Cissy steps into the limelight, the stakes are higher than she ever imagined.

 I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Release Date:  May 17, 2011

From Amazon:  Sam Border wishes he could escape. Raised by an unstable father, he's spent his life moving from place to place. But he could never abandon his little brother, Riddle.

Riddle Border doesn't talk much. Instead, he draws pictures of the insides of things and waits for the day when the outsides of things will make sense. He worships his older brother. But how can they leave when there's nowhere to go? Then everything changes. Because Sam meets Emily.

Emily Bell believes in destiny. She sings for her church choir, though she doesn't have a particularly good voice. Nothing, she feels, is mere coincidence. And she's singing at the moment she first sees Sam.

Top of the Feud Chain by Lisi Harrison
Release Date:  May 17, 2011

From Amazon:  Alpha Academy: Where betas get booted.
Eccentric billionaire Shira Brazille founded the super-exclusive Alpha Academy on exotic Alpha Island to nurture the next generation of exceptional dancers, writes, musicians, and inventors. It' s a dream come true for one hundred lucky girls, but those not measuring up can be sent home at any time, for any reason. The one left standing will win worldwide fame. Who will it be?

Skye HamiltonIs stepping up her game as Shira sheds Alpha Academy girls faster than skin from a will-pumiced foot. There's just one thing standing in her way: island bad boy Taz Brazille. Can Skye keep a dancer's poise, or will Taz throw her off the music once and for all?

Allie A. AbbottFinally knows who she really is, and nothing is going to bring her down. Not even AJ, who just can't let go of the past. But she can Bring. It. On. Allie's come too far to be sent home without a fight.

Charlie DeeryAfter bouncing like a dashboard hula doll between Allie and Darwin, Charlie finally has her BFF and Brazille beau by her side. But as the competition on Alpha Island reaches its boiling point, will her drive to win make her lose what matters most?

If at first you don't succeed, you're not an alpha.

 Cryptic Cravings (Vampire Kisses #8) by Ellen Schreiber
Release Date:  May 17, 2011

From Amazon: 
The morbidly monotonous Dullsville has finally become the most exciting place on earth now that Raven is madly in love with her hot vampire boyfriend, Alexander, and a crew of vampires has taken residence in Dullsville's old mill. Raven discovers Jagger's plan to open a new club, the Crypt, right here in Dullsville. But is it her dream come true or her worst nightmare? Raven and Alexander have to figure out what the nefarious vampire has in store for Dullsville's teen and vampire population. Can Raven convince Jagger to listen to her plans to make the Crypt the morbidly magnificent dance club it could be? Will it be safe for mortals and vampires alike?
And as Sebastian and Luna's relationship heats up, Raven wonders about her own amorous fate: Will Alexander ever turn her? Does he crave her and does he want to spend eternity together? And what does she really want?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Relic Master: The Dark City by Catherine Fisher

Publisher:  Dial
Publish Date:  May 17, 2011
ISBN:  978-0803736733  
Pages:  384

I received this book as an ARC from www.goodreads.com.  My friend Robin offered to give guest blogging a shot and since she likes this type of book, I handed it over.  I hope you enjoy the review.  The Dark City comes out this month (next week), The Lost Heiress in June, The Hidden Coronet in July and the final book The Margrave in August.  That's a quick series!!!

Here's a brief bio so y'all can get to know Robin: 
Robin Foreman: somewhere over 25 years of age; parent of two - mother to all who will allow me to fuss over them and tell them what to do. Lover of mud between the toes, growing things, rain, sunshine and the written word.

Relic Master is a 4 part series - I’ve recently finished #1; The Dark City. This issue is an advanced reading copy and it begins with a warning that if I quote from the book, I must state that it is from an uncorrected copy – done. 

Welcome to the world of Anara, a world that is dark and foreboding - abandoned by the Makers and left to the Order to watch over. Now, though, the Order itself has dwindled to only a few; and those few are sought after by the Watch. Both groups look for powerful relics left behind by the Makers.  The Order wants to use the relics to restore the world to what it once was - beautiful and nurturing. The Watch wants the great power that the relics bestow upon their possessor so they can keep the world under their control.
Book one introduces us to Raffi, a student/scholar, and a Relic Master, Galen. Galen was injured by a dubious relic causing him to lose his powers and so, grudgingly, he depends upon his student to perform even the most trivial of tasks. Galen is so distraught by his loss of power that he often puts himself, and a reluctant Raffi, into dangerous situations. They suffer hunger, exhaustion, and desperation in their search. As they hunt for the relics that will bring their people hope they team up with some exotic characters and some with just questionable loyalties while they, in turn, are hunted throughout Anara. 

I liked this easy read; however, I think that it could have been a shorter. The characters are well developed, which is a must in any story. The snap shots are capable of forming a good picture in your mind of their surroundings but a little lengthy – perhaps the corrected version will not be so fluffy. I will read the second book in the series, The Lost Heiress, because I really do want to know what happens next to these guys. I want to see Raffi’s powers grow, if the good guys can bring the light into the dark and perhaps see a player switch teams.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wayback Wednesday

Elric of Melnibone: Book One of the Elric Saga
Author:  Michael Moorcock
Publisher:  Berkley
Publish Date: 1972 (ish)
ISBN: 978-0425060445
Pages:  181

Elric is a melancholy and cynical ruler.  He doesn't really want to rule, but it's his duty.  His people are kind of mean and think of torture as a form of amusement.  Elric is described as an albino with milk-white hair and slanting crimson eyes.  He must take herbal drugs in order to maintain his health.  Ahh, but there is joy in melancholy Elric's life - his cousin, Cymoril.  She loves him and tried to convince him to rule as it was done in the past.  But Elric can see that the times they are a-changin'.

Elric's cousin, Cymoril's brother, Yyrkoon, is a Prince of Melnibone and is in line for the throne if Elric has no son.  He believes Elric to be weak and plots his demise.  Elric must find strength and restore himself to power - so he enlists the aid of a demon, Arioch and a bloodthirsty sword, Stormbringer.  Stormbringer devours the souls of the men he kills and feeds them to Elric so he doesn't need the herbal drugs to stay healthy.  Kind of morbid, eh?

The characters are well-written and I certainly have always had a soft spot for Elric.  Elric has been called an "anti-hero" in quite a few reviews.  I suppose I can see why people think that, but technically "anti-hero" means: protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure, nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose.  Hmmmm...Elric certainly has a nobility of mind and spirit, that's what makes him different from his people.  He's full of action and purpose - watch him go!!  I believe that people don't know how to classify Elric, he's moody and basically says 'hey, I don't like what you're doing, but you do, so go ahead, but don't expect me to join you or watch.' He doesn't try to change everyone and he'll do what he has to, to get to where and who he needs to.

He's not the typical hero type, but he does try to go out of his way to keep people safe; if they don't listen...well, that's that.  He's not evil or a villian - he slays who he feels he has just reason to.

I really like Elric and if you're looking for something a bit different, Elric might be it.  Don't read it and compare it to modern novels, it was written in a different time by a marvelous man that was born in the 1930's. 

Michael Moorcock wrote Elric as one facet of the Eternal Champion.  The Eternal Champion is a hero who exists in all dimensions of the Multiverse (pretty fancy for an old guy!).  The Champion is chosen by Fate to fight for Cosmic Balance.  The chosen Champion usually doesn't know he's been chosen and so is going into the whole thing blind, although often he has a companion and a romantic interest.  Oh yeah, the hero is also a 'warrior without peer' - yep, he kicks butt ALL the time!  All the Incarnations are facets of each other - the Eternal Champion runs through all of Mr. Moorcock's books.  Kind of like how Stephen King's characters show up in book after book playing some role or another.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Feed by Mira Grant

Publisher: Orbit
Publish Date:  May 1, 2010
ISBN: 978-0316081054 
Pages: 608
Cover Design: Lauren Panepinto
Cover Images: Shutterstock

First of all, let me say that I am thrilled that this is part of a trilogy.  It's called Newsflesh.  The second book DEADLINE comes out this month in the US and UK.  Ms. Grant also writes as Seanan McGuire in case you want to check her out on those titles.

FEED grabbed me on the first page and held me tight until the very end.  The story is set twenty years after the Rising and the blurb goes like this:  The year was 2014.  We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold.  But in doing so we had created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one unstoppable command: FEED.

I know!  I keep telling y'all I don't like zombies, but I keep reading the blasted books!  What is wrong with me?!  Trust me, the best zombie books are like this one.  The zombies are part of the story, but almost a backdrop upon which the story happens.  The real story is about politics and how far people will go to get what they want and bloggers or as I think of them, truthspreaders and how far they will go to spread the truth.  Fun note here:  the population that survived?  A lot of it was due to watching George Romero's zombie movies and how his characters survived.  A whole lot of kids get named after him for being such a hero.

George (Georgia) and her brother, Shaun are bloggers.  After the Rising, print pretty much became obsolete.  Bloggers are where the news is these days.  They run a large blog where George is in charge of the Newsies (the hard news), Shaun is in charge of the Erwins (they poke dead things to see what happens, wonder where they got the name?lol) and Buffy (Georgette) is in charge of Fictionals (stories and poetry) AND the tech geek that keeps them all running. 

There's a presidential race coming up and one of the candidates has offered up a spot for a blogging team to travel with him and his people.  It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance and George/Shaun/Buffy jump at it.  Throughout their travels they find out just how far people are willing to go to have things their way - whether because of personal beliefs, religious beliefs or misinformation.  There's the story ofcourse, but interspersed are blogs, mostly from George and Shaun. 

Ms. Grant did an amazing job with having such different voices for the characters and their blogs.  George's is Images May Disturb You and is usually about doing the right thing and telling the truth, no matter how hard it is.  Shaun's is Hail to the King and tongue-in-cheek and with a hint of humor.  Buffy's is By the Sounding Sea and is usually very short stories, nothing newsie at all.  There's another set of blog inserts, by a later character, Rick; his is Another Point of True and is more of a combination of the three others:  there's news, with feeling and common sense.  There's a lot of small jokes in this book and in the midst of something terrible, you'll find one and smile.  Hail to the King made me smile every time I read it.

By the time I finished this book, I wanted to go out and DO SOMETHING.  It touched me in a way few books have.  I think it should be recommended reading in high school - it's an amazing story...oh yeah, there's a few zombies in it too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Out This Week: May 9 - 15, 2011

Hidden by Helen Frost
Release Date:  May 10, 2011

From Amazon: 
When Wren Abbott and Darra Monson are eight years old, Darra's father steals a minivan. He doesn't know that Wren is hiding in the back. The hours and days that follow change the lives of both girls. Darra is left with a question that only Wren can answer. Wren has questions, too.
Years later, in a chance encounter at camp, the girls face each other for the first time. They can finally learn the truth—that is, if they’re willing to reveal to each other the stories that they’ve hidden for so long. Told from alternating viewpoints, this novel-in-poems reveals the complexities of memory and the strength of a friendship that can overcome pain.

 Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (author) and Anthea Bell (translator)
Release Date:  May 10, 2011

From Amazon: 
Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

 The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner
Release Date:  May 10, 2011

From Amazon:  While Nick Gardner’s family is falling apart, his best friend, Scooter, is dying from a freak disease. The Scoot’s final wish is that Nick and their quirky classmate, Jaycee Amato, deliver a prized first-edition copy of Of Mice and Men to the Scoot’s father. There’s just one problem: the Scoot’s father walked out years ago and hasn’t been heard from since. So, guided by Steinbeck’s life lessons, and with only the vaguest of plans, Nick and Jaycee set off to find him.

 Tighter by Adele Griffin
Release Date:  May 10, 2011

From Amazon:  When 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple's tragic deaths, Jamie discovers that she herself looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie's connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter and tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.

 Whatever Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Release Date:  May 10, 2011

From Amazon:  Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

 OyMG! by Amy Fellner Dominy
Release Date:  May 10, 2011

From Amazon:  Ellie Taylor loves nothing better than a good argument. So when she gets accepted to the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp, she's sure that if she wins the final tournament, it'll be her ticket to a scholarship to the best speech school in the country. Unfortunately, the competition at CSSPA is hot-literally. His name is Devon and, whether she likes it or not, being near him makes her sizzle. Luckily she's confident enough to take on the challenge-until she begins to suspect that the private scholarship's benefactor has negative feelings toward Jews. Will hiding her true identity and heritage be worth a shot at her dream?

 Kiss of Death by Lauren Henderson
Release Date: May 10, 2011

From Amazon:  Scarlett thought Dan McAndrew's murder was long behind her, but when she and her classmates arrive in Edinburgh for a weeklong field trip, she's startled to be joined by her old St. Tabby's cohorts--and enemies--who are visiting the area on a field trip as well. Even more startling, Callum, Dan's surviving twin, is in the area--and his cold treatment leaves Scarlett wondering what's changed, especially when a series of attacks makes her believe that someone's out to get her for her past mistakes. Would Callum ever hurt her, though? And what's Scarlett to make of her conflicting feelings for Callum, now that Jase isn't around? Even more upsetting, why is her most trusted confidante, Taylor, acting distant and dismissive?

 Die For Me by Amy Plum
Release Date:  May 10, 2011

From Amazon:  In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

 My Not-So-Still Life by Liz Gallagher
Release Date:  May 10, 2011

From Amazon:  Vanessa is wise beyond her years. She's never really fit in at school, where all the kids act and dress the same. She's an artist who expresses her talent in the wacky colors she dyes her hair, her makeup and clothes. She's working on her biggest art project, and counting the days until she's grown up and can really start living. That adult world seems closer when Vanessa gets her dream job at the art supply store, Palette, where she worships the couple who runs it, Oscar and Maye. And she's drawn to a mysterious guy named James, who leads her into new, sometimes risky situations. Is she ready for this world, or not?

 You Don't Know About Me by Brian Meehl
Release Date:  May 10, 2011

From Amazon:  Sixteen-year-old Billy Allbright is about to bust out of his sheltered cocoon and go on a gonzo road trip. He just doesn't know it yet. His ticket to freedom? A mysterious Bible containing two resurrection stories. The second is about a man Billy's never met, and who is supposedly dead: his father.
But the road to a risen-from-the-grave dad, and the unusual inheritance he promises, is far from straight. Billy zigzags across the American West in a geocaching treasure hunt. When his journey includes a runaway baseball star, nudists who perform sun dances, a girl with neon green body parts, and con artists who blackmail him into their "anti-action movie," Billy soon realizes that the path to self-discovery is mega off-road.

 Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
Release Date:  May 10, 2011

From Amazon:  Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her-and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.

 Flawless by Lara Chapman
Release Date: May 10, 2011

From Amazon: 
Sarah Burke is just about perfect. She's got killer blue eyes, gorgeous blond hair, and impeccable grades. There's just one tiny-all right, enormous-flaw: her nose. But even that's not so bad. Sarah's got the best best friend and big goals for print journalism fame.

On the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into her journalism class and, well, rocks her world. Problem is, her best friend, Kristen, falls for him too. And when Rock and Kristen stand together, it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her nab Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do-she agrees. For someone so smart, what was she thinking?

This hip retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac is filled with hilariously misguided matchmaking, sweet romance, and a gentle reminder that we should all embrace our flaws.

 Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando
Release Date:  May 12, 2011

From Amazon:  Jane has traveled the world with her father and brother, but it's not until her fractured family-still silently suffering from the loss of Jane's mother many years before-inherits a house and a history in Coney Island that she finally begins to find a home. With the help of a new community of friends, a mermaid's secrets, and a tattooed love interest with traffic-stopping good looks, the once plain Jane begins to blossom and gains the courage to explore the secrets of her mother's past.