Saturday, 31 October 2009

The Betrayal Of Natalie Hargrove

Publisher: Penguin US
Pub. Date: Nov 12th 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 248
Format: ARC
Source of copy: from the publisher - Penguin US

A steamy Southern beauty makes one fatal mistake

Natalie Hargrove would kill to be her high school’s Palmetto Princess. But her boyfriend Mike King doesn’t share her dream and risks losing the honor of Palmetto Prince to Natalie’s nemesis, Justin Balmer. So she convinces Mike to help play a prank on Justin. . . one that goes terribly wrong. They tie him to the front of the church after a party—when they arrive the next morning, Justin is dead.

From blackmail to buried desire, dark secrets to darker deeds, Natalie unravels. She never should’ve messed with fate. Fate is the one thing more twisted than Natalie Hargrove.

Cruel Intentions meets Macbeth in this seductive, riveting tale of conscience and consequence.

To be very brief, The Betrayal Of Natalie Hargrove belonged to the could-have-been-better kind. Steamy, sinful and secrecy, the book had so much potential that failed to thrive.

Lauren Kate's writing was very beautiful. It was indeed elegant, the kind that gave you a satisfied feeling from reading something decent and neat (I know I don't make sense here =.=). However, it was the plot that fell short of the readers' expectation. Half of the book turned out bleak for me because the characters were too obsessed over popularity like it was their oxygen. Snobbery, bitchiness and pointless competition came out as boredom and I kept wondering "when will I get to the exciting part?"

Things that should be elaborated like Natalie's painful past with her abusive Dad, the humiliating memories she shared with Justin or how guilty/freaked out the couple were about their homicide didn't cover as many pages as they should. And it was such a pity.

Moreover, I didn't feel much connection with the characters. I actually found Natalie pretty annoying. All she cared about was getting the crowns, even when she just accidentally killed someone, she didn't seem to be affected much by her guilt. Her romance was Mike was based mostly on popularity and lust, or at least that was how I felt about it. For Justin, I didn't have much chance to learn about him. A few scenes with a flashback couldn't form his full personalities although I could tell that the author did really try.

Anyway, I sort of liked the ending. It surprised me to some extent and the story's message was clearly shown in it.

A suitable book to read to kill time was how I defined The Betrayal Of Natalie Hargrove. I'm still looking forward to other books by Lauren Kate though. Like I said, I don't love the storyline of this one, but I love her writing.

Rating: 2.5/5

Friday, 30 October 2009

And the winner is...

2 weeks of Donut Days contest has ended and I picked the winner without delay ^^ We have 167 entries totally and some of you guys have like...up to 14+ entries (huge chance of winning, I know). Unfortunately, there will be only one winner. According to random. org the owner of this copy of DD is

*takes deep breath*

pirate penguin

Congratulations penguin ^^ please send an email to something_maybeATliveDOTcom so Lara and I will have this book sent to you as soon as possible.

For those who have entered the contest, thanks so much. Please check back every Friday cos we'll have more contests coming soon!!!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Pub. Date: Sept 29th 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source of copy: from the author

With Roz and Eva everything becomes a contest—who can snag the best role in the school play, have the cutest boyfriend, pull off the craziest prank. Still, they’re as close as sisters can be. Until Eva deletes Roz from her life like so much junk e-mail for no reason that Roz understands. Now Eva hangs out with the annoyingly petite cheerleaders, and Roz fantasizes about slipping bovine growth hormone into their Gatorade. Roz has a suspicion about Eva. In turn, Eva taunts Roz with a dare, which leads to an act of total insanity. Drama geeks clamor for attention, Shakespearean insults fly, and Roz steals the show in Lauren Bjorkman’s hilarious debut novel.

A GLBT novel with a delightful voice, a story of defining true identity and learning to regain someone's trust. Jocular but sincere, My Invented Life depicted beautiful sisterly love and friendship with an implication: be the one you really are.

Roz and Eva drifted apart for no reason - at least not what Roz could recall. Then the two sisters started to go against each other, starting with Roz's fantasies for Eva's boyfriend Bryan. Now Roz suspected that something was up with her sister and she made up a new life for herself on the hope of forcing Eva to come clean. The story was fun from beginning to end, mostly for the mix up of Roz's real life and her pure imagination. At first it was hard for me to tell what was true and what was not - hence the confusion stood between me and the joy My Invented Life could bring. Fortunately when I eventually caught the drift, it cracked me up all the time.

The story was full of characters who seemed to have problems with their sexualities. Some didn't know their real feelings, some had the wrong idea while the others were too afraid to face the prejudice. Roz has gotten herself involved in such a complicated world which did her bad but also helped her learn more about her friends, her sister and herself. I especially loved the part when everything was a bunch of mess and Roz had no clue of what was happening anymore. And the good thing was that no character was bad in the book, if there were, they all ended up redeeming afterward.

Roz? Extremely funny and unpredictable female lead. I couldn't believe that she did such a thing as lying about her sexuality. Her jealousy of Eva never disturbed me at all, I felt bad for her most of the time since it was as if each and everyone had something to hide from her. However, at times she acted so childish and silly I couldn't take her seriously. I also hoped to see more of her and Nico before the story ended though. He was such a sweet guy.

My Invented Life was a different story of a kind which made the somewhat heavy subject easier to digest and lighter to enjoy. I encourage you to give it a try.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (34)

Idea taken from The Breaking Spine

Sisters Read by Jackson Pearce.

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.

Now I'm lusting not only after As You Wish, but Sisters Red as well. This modern Little Red Riding Hood version sounds completely amazing (I really hate give-away synopsis but surprisingly this makes me even more hyped for the book haha). I like the fact that the concept is strictly kept but everything seems all refreshing. The other sister falling in love with the woodsman? Never saw that one coming. Oh and, it's not a necessary thing to say but this cover IS <3

Go on the journey of revenge with the sisters on June 3rd 2010. A long way to go, I know. Wish I could complain to the publisher : (

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Cover cover cover

Some remake covers I made for this contest. Something was missing in each and every cover but I couldn't tell exactly what it is...anyway, here are the cover for Something Like Fate, The Unwritten Rule & The Six Rules Of Maybe ;)

Pictures credits to

If you're interested, come and join us. You can stand a chance to win a bundle of ARCs. There are The Unwritten Rule, Chasing Brooklyn, Fallen to name a few.

Monday, 26 October 2009

In My Mailbox (35)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

Again, I got new books (who didn't? lol)

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen.

Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything; at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf 's Department Store. This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

In this multi-layered, impossible-to-put-down book, Sarah Dessen tells the story of a year in the life of a family coming to terms with the imperfections beneath its perfect facade.

Another lovely book from Sarah Dessen. Lot of fans say this is one of her best books so of course I have to pick it up. I love the quotes in Just Listen and I'm curious to see how great Owen is since he sounds very great.

Vampire Academy (book 1) by Richelle Mead.

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

I'm a not a fan ov vampires but Yan and Sharon seem to love this series so much I have to try. Hopefully I'll fall in love with it too. Oh and did I tell you I'm in love with Spirit Bound cover? It's HAWT!

Teach Me by R.A Nelson.

Whut down. From the very first page, Nine speaks in a voice that is at once raw, at happens when a high school student and her teacher cross that line?

Teach Me by R. A. Nelson is a powerful debut novel that readers will not be able to phonest, direct, and unusually eloquent. "There has been an earthquake in my life," she says, inviting you inside an experience that fascinates everyone-an affair between teacher and student-and giving a personal answer to the question: How does this happen?

R. A. Nelson's strong writing is paired with a story we all want to hear, resulting in a novel that will speak to every teenager. A novel about a love so intense that the person you're with becomes your world, and when you lose that person, you lose your world.

This is a hard subject, I wonder how R.A Nelson dealt with it. In another aspect, I love seemingly scandalous books, so I requested for this copy.

Thanks awesome Erin for the books. Once again, you rock :D

Tell me buddies, how was your last book week?

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pub. Date: October 19th 2009 by
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source of copy: from the publisher -Houghton Mifflin

Time is a funny thing in the hospital. In the mental ward. You lose track of it easily. After six months in the Maryland Mental Health Unit, Kyra Sellers, a.k.a. Goth Girl, is going home. Unfortunately, she's about to find out that while she was away, she lost track of more than time. Kyra is back in black, feeling good, and ready to make up with the only person who's ever appreciated her for who she really is. But then she sees him. Fanboy. Transcended from everything he was into someone she barely recognizes. And the anger and memories come rushing back. There's so much to do to people when you're angry. Kyra's about to get very busy.

Another impressive production by Barry Lyga. Fast paced, intense and full of anger, Goth Girl Rising is ready to take you on a ride to find true love and leave the haunting past behind.

I had to say that I loved the author's style of writing more and more after reading this book. Whenever I stumbled upon a story by Barry Lyga, I unfailing felt this rush of adrenaline inside me. Like the books were forcing me to read on and on. And I loved that everything of real life was exposed in each and every word. Nothing was held back, nothing was hidden just because it wasn't supposed to be in a book. Just like Boy Toy, Goth Girl Rising was completely courageous.

The story focused on Kyra, who was back from the hospital and suddenly felt like an outcast. Her biggest problem, however, was her mother's painful and shocking death. Kyra found herself in a tangle of confusion and fury: Fanboy seemed no longer need her as his best friend or comic book buddy, Jecca and Kyra herself were acting strang, and she couldn't but mess up with her Dad's mind. The main emotion throughout the story was anger and let me tell you something, it was awesome. Sometimes it was as if the anger was sneaking into me too. Some parts were unique, like the description of Kyra last time with her mother, which was jaw-dropping.

Needless to say, Kyra's character was super strong, or should I say rebellious. The most remarkable thing about her character was that it was such a surprise how the author built her without any difficulties. Like he actually knows really well what was on a girl's mind, how she felt, how she loved, how she reacted to certain situations. However dangerous and fearless Kyra could be, she appeared silly and crazy at times too.

Overall it was an amazing book that will please readers who loved intense and honest stories, especially fans of The Astonishing Adventures Of FanBoy and Goth Girl.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Into The Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pub. Date: Oct 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 245
Format: ARC
Source of copy: from the publisher - Feiwel & Friends

It's Jessie's sophomore year of high school. A self-professed "mathlete," she isn't sure where she belongs. Her two best friends have transformed themselves into punks and one of them is going after her longtime crush. Her beloved older brother will soon leave for college (and in the meantime has shaved off his mohawk and started dating...the prom Princess!)... Things are changing fast. Jessie needs new friends. And her quest is a hilarious tour through high school clique-dom, with a surprising stop along the way--the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, who out-nerd everyone. Will hanging out with them make her a nerd, too? And could she really be crushing on a guy with too-short pants and too-white gym shoes? If you go into the wild nerd yonder, can you ever come back?

Into The Wild Nerd Yonder was such an endearing book. Something as cute as a cookie. Julie Halpern did not just deliver a fun story of a girl trying to seek her real place but also gave the "nerd" label a totally different look. You think being a nerd is embarrassing? Think again.

New school year began and Jessie thought everything would be as interesting as it always was. It'd have, had it not been for the fact that everyone was changing and she remained the same old girl. Now she realized that maybe her bestfriends weren't the true ones, and perhaps she didn't want to be with these kinds of people even from the beginning. Jessie's story of how she broke away from her comfort zone to find the place she belonged and the ones she wanted to be with was joyful and witty.

Simple as it might sound, Into The Wild Nerd Yonder had more than just a message of "just be yourself". I liked the way the author explored such sentiment in Jessie. All the doubt she had for love, all the fear she wanted to surrender to, unnecessary prejudice she built. The seriousness of those sneaked in between moments of laughter and chuckle, so at no time would the readers feel heavy with the story. In fact, all you'd have was excitement and the attractiveness of the so-called nerdy game - Dungeons and Dragons. Julie Halpern, in my opinion, made nerds proud with this book. Nerds are kind, lovely, unique people; there is nothing to be embarrassed if you're called a nerd. The label doesn't make you. You make it. And the nerd crowd Jessie just joined made it so fantastic.

Jessie was undoubtedly an honest protagonist. Although she wasn't specifically powerful or loud as other female heroines I'd met with, she didn't fall boring or flat. Her voice sometimes was a bit childish but I liked cute characters so to me that wasn't a big deal. Actually, Jessie was like a little sister that you wanted to be with all the time. Her love story with Henry was just as sweet even when it failed to impress. My other favorite character was her older brother. Ones that I disliked? Bizza and Char.Seriously, I'm tired of seeing selfish, attention-hungry, stupid friends in like almost every novel. What's wrong with those girls?

To sum up and to say it again, this is a really cute book. You'll adore it.


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (34)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey.

Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules – especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father’s office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen’s sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything – even Tristen’s love – just for the thrill of being… bad.

Maybe I'm the slowest person on earth but I just found out about the Jekel and Hyde concept, which is just amazing. That's why Jekel Loves Hyde intrigued me more and more these days. I love that there seem to everything: love, secrets, insanity, magic(?) and a little bit of chemistry; all mixed in a good and exciting way. The cover is just okay to me. I don't like the colour much. Well, at least the models look cool :)

Why Jekel loves Hyde? Find in answer on May 3rd, 2010.

Seriously I can't wait. Cannot wait :(

Monday, 19 October 2009

In My Mailbox (34)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

I'm squealing for these books because they're S&S releases and I've been wanting to read it for forever.

Wake by Lisa McMann.

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....

I've heard enough great things of this series to jump at whoever got this book that's in my sight. I love dreams, especially dreaming interpreting. But it's nothing close to this. Sadly the sequel isn't available from this publisher so wish me luck so I could find other ways to read the rest of Dream Catcher!

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott.

There's a difference between falling and letting go.

Lauren has a good life: decent grades, great friends, and a boyfriend every girl lusts after. So why is she so unhappy?

It takes the arrival of Evan Kirkland for Lauren to figure out the answer: She's been holding back. She's been denying herself a bunch of things (like sex) because staying with her loyal and gorgeous boyfriend, Dave, is the "right" thing to do. After all, who would give up the perfect boyfriend?

But as Dave starts talking more and more about their life together, planning a future Lauren simply can't see herself in -- and as Lauren's craving for Evan, and moreover, who she is with Evan becomes all the more fierce -- Lauren realizes she needs to make a choice...before one is made for her.

A title by Elizabeth Scott. What else can I say? She's fantastic and I really do hope I'll enjoy her books as much as I enjoy reading her blogs. This book has a real beautiful cover. I love the colour of green. So peaceful yet so sad.

The Center Of The Universe (Yep, That Would Be Me) by Anita Liberty.

Welcome to the story of my life. Well, at least the story of my junior and senior years of high school. It's a profound, touching, and hilarious (if I do say so myself) tale told through cunning poems, revelatory diary entries, perspicacious (look it up) word definitions, shrewd bits of advice, and off-the-cuff (but brilliant) insights.

You'll probably relate to a lot of it. Especially the parts about hating my parents, never feeling cool enough, failing my first attempt at the SATs, having an incredibly romantic (but one-sided) relationship with the coolest guy in school, and getting hexed by my ex-best friend who became a Wiccan.

And if you can't relate? Well, step to the back of that humongous line. You'll probably be right behind my family. If you're lucky, my mom'll bring snacks.

How can I be who I am and who my family wants me to be when the person I am wouldn't be caught dead with the person my family wants me to be?

The synopsis promises a hilarious read (which the title alone can do too) so why not pick it up? I heard that it's like a diary with many SATs words on it so this may be my chance to improve my vocabulary. Perfect book, ain't it?

Millions thanks to Rose from Simon & Schuster Australia for sending these to me<333

So what have you got last week? Spill! :D

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pub. Date: Oct 13th 2009
Age Range: 12+
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source of copy: from the publisher - S&S USA

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment. But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

Hush Hush was a very exciting book. If I had to find a complicated way to describe the story, it was Nora felt about Patch. You'd be afraid to approach it because you didn't know if it'd turn out the way you expected, then you'd allow yourself to read a little bit, then a little bit until you got completely sucked into the novel. Yeah, this book seemed to have that power over me.

Nora and Patch's adventure was very mysterious and dark, supported by the well chosen almost isolated background of the locations. Everything about Hush Hush made me curious. The readers' vision would be limited and you just had to keep guessing and guessing throughout the progress. There were a few twists you might love and if you were a fan of thrillers you could expect some great scenes of your taste too. Of course, romance fans wouldn't be disappointed either. In fact, they'd be more than pleased with Nora and Patch's dangerous love story. Becca Fitzpatrick's writing was smooth and powerful. Like I said, it'd lure you into the story.

Let's get to the most exciting part of Hush Hush: Patch. I liked that bad boy. He was not "every mother tells her daughter to keep away from" bad but "we gotta move to another planet" bad. He was not just saying inappropriate things, treating girls the wrong way, he was also murderous. The frame of Patch's character was fun, especially the idea of fallen angels and the like. Like any other male lead, he was heroic and loved the girl to death, but I wish he would show more of love than lust to Nora. It was a little odd whenever they got too so-called perverted conversations. And Nora. All I can say is...arg. I mean her character wasn't that bad, but I did expect someone to match with the fun and insanity that Patch brought to the novel. She was so uptight. I couldn't remember a moment when she actually enjoyed herself. Almost what she did was fearing, suspecting and falling deeper for Patch days after day, which was sad. Her friend Vee was even worse. Totally clueless. You got attacked by some anonymous and now you went out at night with the guys your bestfriend considered harmful?

Because my copy is an ARC and its ending is different from the real one, excuse me that I'm not going to talk much about it today. The ending that I got was typical so I hope the ones you guys get would be a kick ass kind.

Overall it was a great read, just not omgitssodamnawesome read. Good girls who like bad boys, get your very own copy now. And please don't be too sad over the fact Patch is already someone else's.

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, 16 October 2009

Friday Flavor (2) Lara Zielin Talks About Her All Time Favorite Book

Friday Flavour is back ^^ this week is a little special because our guest will not talk about a recently read that she adores, but a book that has always been on her mind. Have a book that you can read over and over and over without getting tired of it? Lara has one too! Here's her story:

Recently I took a writing sabbatical where I went to my childhood home in Wisconsin and shut out the world while I wrote and edited for two weeks. While I was there, my mom asked if I would go through some of my old stuff and either keep it or toss it. While pilfering through old photos, notes, letters and books, I came across my childhood copy of WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. There’s not much of a spine left on it, and the pages are pretty yellow, but I love it.

WTRFG is the story of a boy, Billy, and his struggle to acquire and train two hunting dogs: Dan and Ann. When they become champion hunters, it changes the life of Billy and his impoverished farming family. The plot sounds ridiculously simple but the story is truly deep and meaningful. I read and re-read WTRFG countless times growing up. The book's lessons of faith, hard work, and loyalty still stick with me today.

Wilson Rawls, author of WTRFG has an amazing personal story as well. Like his main character Billy, he grew up poor without much of an education. Wilson didn't consider himself a writer, even though he loved the craft. He let his spelling and grammar errors keep him from showing his work to anyone for a long time. It wasn’t until his wife, who had editing experience, helped him with his work and encouraged him to show it to others that he became serious about publication. He credits her with the success of WTRFG.

My old dog-eared book (no pun intended) is great, but I think the cover art is especially good on this version, because the dogs are actually red-bone hounds. In Borders, a friend and I stumbled across the updated cover and noted one of the dogs looks like a a blue-tic, the other a blood hound. You can see the new cover here:

If you haven't picked up WTRFG, I can't recommend it enough. By read it, let me know how you like it! today's standards it starts out a bit slowly, but the story itself won't disappoint. And if you do

Apparently Lara didn't want to steal the spotlight, but you can still see her thumb in the picture :)

Any of the readers has read WTRFG? Share your thoughts on it with us and Lara. I'm going to read this one soon when I have a chance. I love anything that involves dogs.


As promised, FF is not just about sharing your craziness about a book but also spreading the joy of reading with giveaways. Lara didn't have any copy of WTRFG to give away, but, fortunately she does have a copy of her own book Donut Days for one lucky commenter. Comment on with your contact information and you could be the owner of DD this time next week!

For extra entries:

+1 if you tell me Lara you favorite YA book and WHY (remember the WHY part cos Lara "demanded" it)
+2 if you follow my blog
+2 if you comment on my review of Donut Days
+3 if you follow Lara on Twitter @Larazielin
+5 if you spread the word of the giveaway.

This contest is open to everyone and will end on 29th Oct.

Happy reading FF and good luck~!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Front And Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pub. Date: Oct 19th 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source of copy: from publisher - Houghton Mifflin

After five months of sheer absolute craziness I was going back to being plain old background D.J. In photographs of course I’m always in the background . . . But it turns out other folks have big plans for D.J. Like her coach. College scouts. All the town hoops fans. A certain Red Bend High School junior who’s keen on romance and karaoke. Not to mention Brian Nelson, who she should not be thinking about! Who she is done with, thank you very much. But who keeps showing up anyway . . .

It seemed ironic that D.J was having self doubt when everyone kept telling her she could do something huge, that she could make it to the top. Ever felt like you were going to fail each and everyone who has laid their trust in you? Torn apart between choices? Why don't you have a peek at this athletic girl's life and see if you guys have anything in common? Third book in the charming chain of stories about a farm girl, Front and Center was surely a perfect wrap for the series itself as well as a brightening future for lovely D.J.

Well, before you pick up this book, let me suggest something: read the other two first. Catherine Gilbert Murdock did manage to convey the important details of the previous happenings in Front and Center which made it complete as a single book, but something still lacked. Like exactly how Brian and D.J broke up, what actually happened to her brother Win and how she was before his accident. I couldn't but feel uneasy since I didn't have a chance to figure out more about such things. However, that didn't mean I didn't enjoy the book. It was a pleasant read from beginning to end.

I was not certain that sports was the interest field of many readers, but to me it is. I found it extremely fun to read about basketball - the fear, the joy, the rush, the craziness on court. You know what was more excellent? The fact that D.J showed that basketball worked almost the same as math. Of course, Front And Center wasn't all about sports and the related objects. There were family love, teenage romance and the concern about future. It was a pity, though, that even though D.J lived on a farm, I hardly saw descriptions on farm views or activities.

D.J was a balanced female lead. She was powerful and passionate but at times she could be as clueless as any girl her age could get. She looked out for people and helped them at her best to recognize their strengths yet needed Brian's words to confirm her amazement. She was a potential best friend for us - someone with so many achievements we had to look up too, also a girl with many flaws and weaknesses. And I liked the fact that the author didn't let her jump right away back to the boy she was really into after her breakup. Her personalities just shone, not in a dazzling way, instead, very comfortable.

Try to meet, befriend D.J and let her tell you the tough but meaningful progress of really growing up in Front And Center. It'd worth it, I guarantee.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (33)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

The Beautiful Between by Alysa B. Sheinmel.

If high school were a fairy-tale kingdom, Connelly Sternin would be Rapunzel, locked not in a tower by a wicked witch but in a high-rise apartment building by the SATs and college applications—and by the secrets she keeps. Connelly's few friends think that her parents are divorced—but they're not. Connelly's father died when she was two, and she doesn't know how.

If Connelly is the Rapunzel of her school, Jeremy Cole is the crown prince, son of a great and rich New York City family. So when he sits down next to her at lunch one day, Connelly couldn't be more surprised. But Jeremy has a tragic secret of his own, and Connelly is the only one he can turn to for help. Together they form a council of two, helping each other with their homework and sharing secrets. As the pair's friendship grows, Connelly learns that it's the truth, not the secrets, that one must guard and protect. And that between friends, the truth, however harsh, is also beautiful.

This lovely and memorable debut by Alyssa B. Sheinmel contains many of the hallmark themes found in young adult literature—friendship, coming of age, finding a place to belong, and overcoming the death of a loved one. Emotionally moving from start to finish, The Beautiful Between introduces a strong new voice to the genre, a voice with a long future ahead of it.

Another seemingly retelling of a fairy tale - light, sad and gentle. The cover looks extremely elegant (though I'm not much a fan of it) and hopefully the writing is too. Finding your soulmate and helping each other to get over the harshness of life is great right? Especially with something different. I'm really looking forward to see the new voice of YA, just like the synopsis claims.

Find out more about the beauty of the truth on May 11th 2010

Monday, 12 October 2009

In My Mailbox (34)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

Hello Monday, hello sunshine, hello new books ^^

Girlfriend Material by Melissa Kantor.

If Kate were Lady Brett Ashley, the devastating heroine of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, she'd spend her summers careering around the Riviera in her coupe, breaking hearts by the dozen—because why not? In reality, Kate's never even had a boyfriend, and she'll be spending the summer abetting her mom's lame ploy to make her dad jealous: running off to Cape Cod and crashing at the seaside home of her wealthy friends, the Cooper-Melnicks. To add to the shame, the Cooper-Melnicks' gorgeous daughter Sarah is a bit like Lady Brett, and she seems less than thrilled to hang out with her new houseguest. Any dreams Kate once had of a perfect summer are ruined. That is, until Sarah's cute, witty friend Adam starts drawing Kate into the fold—and seems intrigued. With Adam around, Kate feels like she just might have a bit of heartbreaker potential after all. But when a breezy summer romance quickly grows more complicated can Kate keep pretending her relationship with Adam is just a carefree fling? Or will she take the risk and tell him her real feelings? Suddenly Kate is asking herself a question she never thought she'd stoop to: Is she girlfriend material?

Sophomore Undercover by Ben Esch.

For fifteen-year-old, adopted Vietnamese orphan Dixie Nguyen, high school is one long string of hard-to-swallow humiliations. He shares a locker with a nudist linebacker, his teachers are incompetent, and he's stuck doing fluff pieces for the school newspaper. But Dixie's luck takes a turn when he stumbles across one of the jocks using drugs in the locker room; not only does he finally have something newsworthy to write, but the chance to strike a blow against his tormentors at the school as well. However, when his editor insists he drop the story and cover homecoming events instead, Dixie sets off on his own unconventional-and often misguided-investigation. He soon discovers that the scandal extends beyond the football team to something far bigger and more sinister than he ever thought possible. Once he follows the guidelines of his hero, Mel Nichols (journalism professor at Fresno State University and author of the textbook Elementary Journalism) this high school reporter just might save the world. That is, of course, if Dixie can stay out of juvenile hall, the hospital, and new age therapy long enough to piece it all together. Part social satire, part teen-mystery parody, and wholly hilarious, Sophomore Undercover is a dazzling debut that will make headlines with teens everywhere.

Deadly Litte Secrets by Laurie Faria Stolarz.

Until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades, an okay relationship with her parents, and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when a mysterious boy named Ben starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes anything but ordinary.

Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe he's trouble, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. Instead, she's inexplicably drawn to Ben.and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help-but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something... but he's not the only one with a secret.

Three more books published by Disney Hyperion to make my last week complete. I guess you can tell which book I'm most excited to read. It's Sophomore Undercover, because the narrator is Vietnamese and I heard he was fun as hell.

Thanks Hallie for Hyperion for the lovely HCs of these.

I hope you got a lot of new books last week too!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Sunday Special (32) Series - The More The Merrier

Let's have a look and see which family wins ;)

Darkest Powers Series

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by Kelly Amstrong.

Violet series

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by Melissa Walker.

The Immortals Series

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by Alyson Noel.

Beautiful Americans Series

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by Lucy Silag.

The Naughty List Series

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by Suzanne Young.

Dream Catcher Series

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by Lisa Mcmann.

Stupid Cupid Series

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by Rhonda Stapleton.

Beautiful aren't they? I love the way each book matches with the others. I'm not sure which I prefer, the myterious, dark covers of the fantasy series or charming bubbly ones of the reality/romance comedy ones. But, if I have to choose, I'll pick Dream Catcher Series. It simplicity and elegance amazes me to the max. How about you? Cast your vote and tell us if there're any series the covers of which you're crazy about.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

TMI by Sarah Quigley

Publisher: Penguin USA
Pub. Date: April 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source of copy: from publisher - Penguin

Friends call Becca the Overshare Queen, but her tendency for TMI never seemed like a problem to her until she blabs about her sweet band-geek boyfriend’s sloppy kisses—and gets dumped! Realizing it may be better to resist the temptation to overshare face-to-face, Becca decides to blog anonymously about everything instead. On her blog, Too Much Information, Becca unleashes her alter ego, Bella. Bella tells it like it is . . . though perhaps with a bit more drama. After all, no one’s going to read it, right???

Meet Becca, the girl who couldn't stop herself from sharing every single detail of her life, the girl who got into a web of trouble because of this bad habit - losing her very first boyfriend, being laughed at and dragging her precious friend into the mess. Hilarious, honest without too much information, TMI was a truly enjoyable teen read. Being unable to stop talking? This may be a humorous warning.

I loved the author's voice in this book quite a lot. It seemed that the story just went on and on and on with Becca's endless stories of everything that happened in her life, even the smallest and most unimportant. The narrator had such a funny view on things. All the times it felt like she took nothing seriously at all. That made the book light-hearted and easy to absorb. Though it was all about telling teenagers to balance between the tells and the not-to-tells, at no time did TMI sound preachy or dull. Surely it didn't reach to the unputdowntable level, still Becca's story was likeable. My favorite part? Her blog. Whoever could keep a straight face reading such entries should be given an award because they were nothing but amusing and dramatic.

Thinking of Becca already made me want to laugh. She was so funny. Even when she was upset or depressed she remained cute. It brought the book such brightness and comfortable breezes of hope. Aside from her TMI habit, I think she was perfect. She worked hard, she stood up for people, she didn't judge Jai. I gave her some good points for giving support for Katie and Matt at the end too. A truly good friend.

Overall this was a quick, pleasant read. A choice you may consider should you seek relaxation from a book.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

THE BOOK REVIEW CLUB OCT - Flash Burnout by L.K Madigan

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pub. Date: Oct 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 322
Format: ARC
Source of copy: from the publisher - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Fifteen-year-old Blake has a girlfriend and a friend who’s a girl. One of them loves him; the other one needs him.

When he snapped a picture of a street person for his photography homework, Blake never dreamed that the woman in the photo was his friend Marissa’s long-lost meth addicted mom. Blake’s participation in the ensuing drama opens up a world of trouble, both for him and for Marissa. He spends the next few months trying to reconcile the conflicting roles of Boyfriend and Friend. His experiences range from the comic (surviving his dad’s birth control talk) to the tragic (a harrowing after-hours visit to the morgue).

In a tangle of life and death, love and loyalty, Blake will emerge with a more sharply defined snapshot of himself.

To be very very fair, Flash Burnout wasn't one of the best books that would impress its each and every single reader, however; there was something about it that was very provoking and alluring that I couldn't resist. And I'm not saying this because I fell in love with this book at first look either.

Flash Burnout went into the subject of conflicts between love and friendship. If you're wondering whether Blake's story could help you work out all everything to have balanced relationships then I'm sad to say that it won't. L.K Madigan didn't set up a sticky situation and as well tried to find a perfect solution to it. In fact, what I found was simply what a person may go through at least once in their life and how it affected him afterward.

From what I read in the synopsis, I assumed that there would be a kind of intensity I had to brace for but no, it wasn't even close. The mood of the book, surprisingly, was fun and light. There were plenty of jokes, smiles and hugs and kisses - those that made you feel good instead of heavy-hearted or painful. The girlfriend and the friend, most of the time was never on bad terms with each other. There was mostly no jealously, catfight so if you expect those thing, you can get them out of your mind now. The story just went on like a life should, if anything, there wasn't really a major problem waiting to be worked out.

The characters of Flash Burnout was the part that got me thinking the most. I thought that I understood them, then again, like I didn't know them at all. At first Blake struck me as a curious and fun teenager who loved to entertain people and couldn't get his thoughts (or hands) off his girlfriend. But as things progressed he seemed very deep. Sometimes I thought he cared a lot of about people, sometimes he was overwhelmed with his own feelings he might act selfish and mean. And his love for Shannon, even thought he kept repeating to himself that he was truly deeply in love with her, I wasn't quite convinced. Blake was, in other words, very inconsistent. He was this and then he was that. Perhaps that was what made him so interesting. I liked Marissa too, I just wished that she wouldn't be too sweet and vulnerable. Shannon's personalities felt flat for me, though.

The ending was...Well, I don't think I have a way to put it into words. It was exactly on the line separating the breathtaking endings and totally-mess-up-the-whole-story ones. It didn't contain a lucid message like "I finally realized that blah blah blah blah." Personally, I thought the whole book was to portray a small but not less important part of life - how we grow up from our decisions, our mistakes and all the things we had with the people that we've crossed path with.

If you trust me, I think you should read this book (and will like it). And did I mention that the photography was fun and inspiring?

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (32)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

For Keeps by Natasha Friend.

For sixteen years, Josie Gardner and her mom, Kate, have been a team. It’s been the Gardner Girls against the world, and that’s how Josie likes it. Until one day, in the pet food aisle of Shop-Co, they run into the parents of Paul Tucci, Kate’s high school boyfriend—the father Josie has never met. If Mr. and Mrs. Tucci are back in town, it’s only a matter of time until Paul shows up. Suddenly Josie’s mature, capable mother regresses to the heartbroken teenager she was when Paul moved away. Meanwhile, Josie’s on the verge of having her first real boyfriend, while her free-loving best friend, Liv, begins yet another no-strings-attached fling. When Josie learns some surprising truths about Paul Tucci, she finds herself questioning what she’s always believed about her parents—and about herself. In FOR KEEPS, Natasha Friend tells a fresh, funny, smart story about what happens when a girl gets the guy she always wanted and the dad she never knew she needed.

If you've paid attention, I talked about this book a while ago in one of my Sunday Special post. I adore it so much. It has such a heartwarming concept as well as a dreamy cover. I've grown into stories with strong bond between mother and daughter and this one sounds like a perfect read. As if Josie was living once again the life her mother'd experienced. I hope For Keeps will be fun, heartwrenching and has a happy ending ^^

For Keeps hits stores on April 6th, 2010.

Monday, 5 October 2009

In My Mailbox (34)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

Another week, some other books.

Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe.

Cass McKenna much prefers ghosts over “breathers.” Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody…and Cass loves dirt. She’s on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.

But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass’s whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.

As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim’s life, she’s surprised to realize he’s not so bad—and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it’s time to give the living another chance….

If I Have A Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kantor.

Mrs. McBloom, clean up your room!"For nearly fifty years, that's been the refrain of janitors, principals, and students who enter the chaos of Room Five. Now the beloved Mrs. McBloom-who has taught nearly everyone in the town of Up Yonder, even Principal Pumpernickel-is about to retire. Finally, she must clean up her classroom.But where to begin? Years of science experiments have left all kinds of critters hoppin' and cluckin' and flyin' around. Giant sunflowers droop over desks; vines with fat green beans climb the walls; and a full-grown apple tree grows smack-dab in the middle of the floor. There are more books stacked in Room Five than in the Up Yonder Library. And who knows what else lurks in the piles of papers or the lost-and-found box?

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley.

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

And if I should die before I awake,

I pray the popular attend my wake.

Charlotte Usher feels practically invisible at school, and then one day she really is invisible. Even worse: she's dead. And all because she choked on a gummy bear. But being dead doesn't stop Charlotte from wanting to be popular; it just makes her more creative about achieving her goal.

If you thought high school was a matter of life or death, wait till you see just how true that is. In this satirical, yet heartfelt novel, Hurley explores the invisibility we all feel at some times and the lengths we'll go to be seen.

I got another copy of Give Up The Ghost but this time it's a shiny hardcover. Makes me want to read the book again now although I know I will never have time to reread anything. Ghostgirl is also a nice read about spirit and If I Have A Wicker Stepmother, Where Is My Prince is just so cute I couldn't but have to request. The cover rockssss.

Thanks to Megan (again), Maura and Hallie for these three smooth copies of books.

Happy monday everyone :)