Tuesday 31 March 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (11)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

The Only Alien On The Planet by Kristen Randle.

New student Ginny is intrigued by the handsome alien in her homeroom. No, this is not a science fiction novel. Smitty, real name Michael is known to his schoolmates as "The Alien" because of his affectless appearance and complete silence. Soon, Ginny and Smitty's longtime protector, Caulder, team up to try and crack his shell. They get much more than they bargain for when they drag him along on old-movie outings; as a none-too-subtle plot device, the first turns out to be The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, the second, East of Eden. Smitty walks out of both, for it turns out that he was almost fatally abused by his older brother, who also convinced him that he would die if he spoke to anyone. With the help of Ginny, Caulder and a wise and sympathetic therapist, Smitty emerges from this psychological curse, and he and Ginny even begin a tentative romantic relationship. 

The title kinda fooled me for a second. I thought it was really about science, turned out to be something just as interesting. I wanted to see how these two girls got the boy out of his shelf of pain - it's cool to read on heroines' act right? Also, let's see how long Ginny and Smitty's relationship goes with her friend's crush on the guy. Well, this book would be a perfect one to me if the cover was less tragic. What do you think?

Watch out. An alien will enter our world on Sept 1st.

Monday 30 March 2009

In My Mailbox (11)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

The books I received in my birthday week,  they're super cool to me because they feel like real presents ^^ (I'm so surprised I've not run out of books for In My Mailbox posts yet, it's a good sign right?)

Evermore by Alyson Noel.

Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste…

Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.

I know I'm the slowest one on earth because everyone has already read this one and I just got the book. But I'm still happy cause I'm lucky enough to get a copy even though Alyson's publicist doesn't usually send review copies overseas. I've heard mixed reviews of Evermore, but I'm still into it, and will try to read with no bias :)
Thanks Katy so much for the book<3

The Dust Of 100 Dogs by A.S King

In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with "the dust of one hundred dogs," dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body-with her memories intact.

Now she's a contemporary American teenager and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.

A beautiful signed copy from Amy. Ain't I loved so much by the authors? LOL jk. I love this book. Seriously, who isn't in love with dogs? And pirates? That's just too awesome to miss. This is my very first book published by Flux too ^^

Spring Breakup by Stephanie Hale.

Aspen Brooks trades in sand between her toes for shopping on The Strip when she agrees to go to Las Vegas for spring break with her boyfriend, Rand, her bff, Angel, and Angel's bf, Lucas. Their hotel is hosting the Miss Teen Queen Pageant and surgically enhanced beauty contestants are everywhere. But when Miss Illinois goes AWOL, it's up to Aspen to represent her home state and find out what's really going on. Even if it means putting down the suntan lotion and ignoring Angel's meltdown over breaking up with Lucas . . .

I won this book from a contest at Books Boys Buzz. I've not read the other two, but hopefully it doesn't prevent me from enjoying this one. This book is beyond cute. Just a look at it and you already feel the spring is all over here ; )

Wish me a better next week and I'll wish you the same. Happy reading and reviewing everyone~!!!

Sunday 29 March 2009

Sunday Special (11) How Do You Bookmark?

Book lovers usually cannot put down a good book. After they pick it up, they'll lose themselves in it, they keep reading, turning the pages until the read the very back cover. But sometimes, against their will, they have to stop to do stuff (e.g going to the bathroom) and that's when they read something really important. Yeah you know what it is. A bookmark!

Different people have different ways of bookmarking. Back in the old days in my country there were no bookmarks, so the best way to pick up the book at exactly where you left off was to fold the tab of page, or just leave it open and put something heavy beneath. Later we got the little ribbons attached the binds of some hardcovers, so the act of bookmarking was way easier. Some teenagers hated it, though, and they used business cards instead. I remember one of my girls going to a lot gift shops so she would have a bunch of cards to bookmark each book. 

Now we do have bookmarks, various kinds for all ages. For kids they are the ruler bookmarks. They're super duper cute. They're soft, colorful and have many shapes - the animals, the stationaries, the cartoon characters. They even have color your self ones, those that allow the kids to personalize their bookmarks by coloring the pictures as they wish.

For teenagers the most popular are quote bookmarks. They're made of many material: paper, plastic, steel and the quotes vary too. I got this silver bookmark from a really close which is really nice. It says "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you've always imagined,". Also the trend of making bookmarks developed these days so we all have a few handmade ones. It was fun making these and comparing with others'!

So what about adult? As I know, they don't really care much about bookmarks and stuff, but some does use these. They like the squiggle ones because they look cool and elegant, and even though it's not available here yet,  they love the wood bookmarks as well. I think these are from Japanese. Pretty cool hey?

Well, I know you all are wondering what I'm babbling about in this post. Honestly, I just want to emphasize the importance of bookmarks because they play such a great role in reading. They make the books look cooler, and of course, they're useful too. I bet we all love them. So if you have a free minute, care to leave a comment and tell me how your habit of bookmarking change throughout the years and your favorite kind of bookmarks?

Friday 27 March 2009

A Charity Is Calling You. So Is An ARC of Ballads Of Suburbia

Stephanie Kuehnert's (the awesome author of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone) cousin has formed a formed an organization called Tipping Points in Philadelphia. It's an organization that provides high-quality, low-cost tutoring and test preparation services to at-risk, underprivileged youth to help them access college and higher education opportunities. At the moment, Tipping Points is competing for a grant from Match Rugby and Teach for America. To help Tipping Points, all you have to do is go here and cast a vote for them. Then for your chance to win an ARC of Ballads Of Surburbia, come back to Stephanie's blog and tell her. Extra entry is available so you'd better NOT miss this.

Also, if you love me (I know you do), don't forget to tell her that you heard about this contest from me. 

Interested in this contest or not, I hope you all will help Tipping Points<333

Thursday 26 March 2009

Across The Pond by Storyheart

Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
Pub. Date: September 2008
Pages: 120
Format: paperback
Source: from author

Finding himself packed off to friends in the USA, fifteen-year-old English born Fred Squire is not happy. Then he meets Brittany.

Struggling with his feelings for Brit and the language, Fred is further confused when he meets Brit's flirtatious friend, Angel.

Escaping from a confrontation with Steve Harris, the neighborhood bully, Brit tells Fred her dark secret about Harris, and Fred's world is turned upside down.

Life continues to throw Fred a curveball when he catches a baseball worth a small fortune. Further run-ins with Harris, a crazy family BBQ, and a chase through a mall all add to Fred's American adventure.

"Brit and her Brit", know that their young love will be followed by heartache when Fred has to return to England. But not before some final twists in the tale.

In some certain aspect, this book was kind of nice. It showed me a lot of differences between America and Britain that I've never been aware of. I knew they speak different English, but never realized the words could cause so much misunderstanding and embarrassing moments. I also learnt a bit more about their separate habits of eating, watching sports and the likes. The biggest surprise was how much a baseball meant to the players, as much as the crazy fans in America.

Well, yet, in other aspects, Across The Pond wasn't a book I would recommend to readers. The plot was okay, but I felt like something was missing - the thrill, the climax was never there. Everyday of Fred's stay in America was like a routine: he would eat something in the morning, went out in the afternoon/evening, and later went to sleep with Brittany's kisses lingered on his lips. The only thing that seemed to be interesting was Fred's confrontation with Steve Harris - which, I had to say, wasn't elaborated really well either.

I didn't like the characters, the way the author portrayed them was vague, nonetheless, they turned out flat. At some points I couldn't understand why did what they did. Brittany told Fred her deepest darkest secret even though she didn't get to know him well enough; then Angel made a scene crying, telling Fred she knew how Fred loved Brittany and wished she could get someone like him - yet I believed they met only once, in a few hours, and Fred didn't exactly do anything that would make her feel that way. The girls acted a little bit dramatic sometimes and it annoyed me. As for Fred, he was caring and sweet - I just wish he would stop calling Brittany "love" all the time - it sounded pretty corny and old. And it'd have been nicer if Storyheart took more time to let them fall in love because it was so fast and sudden in my opinion.

Rating: 2.5/5

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (10)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick.

“You think he’s yours but he’s not, I thought. You think he’s yours but really he’s mine.”

When Holly loses her virginity to Paul, a guy she barely knows, she assumes their encounter is a one-night stand. After all, Paul is too popular to even be speaking to Holly, and he happens to have a long-term girlfriend, Saskia. But ever since Holly’s mom died six months ago, Holly has been numb to the world, and she’s getting desperate to feel something, anything—so when Paul keeps pursuing her, Holly relents. Paul’s kisses are a welcome diversion, and it’s nice to feel like the kind of girl that a guy like Paul would choose.

But things aren’t so simple with Saskia around. Paul’s real girlfriend is willowy and perfect… and nothing like Holly. To make matters worse, she and Holly are becoming friends. Suddenly the consequences of Holly’s choices are all too real, and Holly stands to lose more than she ever realized she had.

I just discovered this one on Amazon a few minutes ago,  and am already waiting for it to come out. This one does sound really cliche but there's still something new to me. The situation is kind of tricky, so probably the main character has to go through a lot to make her choices. Also, who will get hurt when this triangle comes to an end? I'm so curious.

The date is Oct 20th, if you want to get yourself a copy.

Monday 23 March 2009

In My Mailbox (10)

I got five books the last 7 days, all published by PUTNAM.

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison.

Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it's all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery.

But Annika's plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly fi nds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?

I want this book so bad. First, the plot is so sweet and touching. Second, the cover is beautifully bluish (even though I heard that it doesn't do a really good job in portraying the story). After a long time asking around I finally got it on my shelf now. I can't wait to start the book. All thanks to Janette Rallison for the great chance!

Torched by April Henry.

When Ellie's parents are busted for possession of marijuana, the FBI gives her a choice: infiltrate the Mother Earth Defenders (MED), a radical environmental group, or her parents will go to jail. At first Ellie is more than willing to entrap the MEDics, but the more time she spends undercover-particularly with Coyote, the green-eyed MEDic that she can't stop thinking about-the more she starts to believe in their cause. When talk turns to murder, Coyote backs out, but Ellie is willing to risk everything to save her family-even if it means losing Coyote and putting her own life on the line.

I'd never known about the book until I got it. Sounds so awesome. I'm interested a combo of action and romance, especially when the heroin has to make choices. And don't you just love the burning hot cover? ^^

Sharp Shot by Jack Higgins with Justin Richards.

Jack Higgins, master of the modern thriller, teams up with Justin Richards, bestselling author of Dr Who, to deliver a pulse-pounding new instalment in the adventures of the teenage Chance twins! This third gripping novel about the adventures of teenage twins Rich and Jade Chance takes the action and adventure to a new calibre -- then pulls the trigger! With their secret agent dad in trouble, Jade and Rich are flung into a headlong series of chases, fights and captures that leads them to the arid deserts of the Middle East. There, the pair come up against terrifying new villains and surprising allies as an assassination attempt threatens international relations and a buried secret of the first Gulf War comes explosively to light...

Time for more action! To be honest I'm not a fan of fights and stuff but since the book looks pretty good, I'm willing to give it a try. Who knows, I may be hooked on the series. Haha.

Also received:

This week wouldn't be a great one without the kindness of Janette's publicist Shauna, so huge thanks to her!

More books in the next 7 days for us all, hopefully : )

Sunday 22 March 2009

Sunday Special (10) I Went To Buy Some Textbooks...

...and these are what I found, a bunch of translated Young Adult books!

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Story Of A Girl & Sweethearts by Sarah Zarr.

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Faking 19, Art Geek and Prom Queen & Kiss and Blog by Alison Noel.

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The Clique by Lisi Harrison.

Well you can tell how happy I was right? It was so great to see that a lot of publishers here are more concerned about books for teens now. We hardly had anything to read back in a few years except those Chicken Soup For Soul books, so this is really something. On the other hand, I'm not really satisfied because it felt like they didn't pay much attention to how the books look. I totally do NOT like the covers (except the last one, of course), also the type of paper they used for printing. I'm still pondering whether to buy them or not, I want to read the original versions to get the best feelings of the books, but it's hard to ignore these : (

Well, whatcha think of them?

Friday 20 March 2009

I Heart You You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub. Date: January 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 240
Format: paperback
Source: gift from friend

Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl gets boy back...
...sort of.

Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.
Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

My first impression of the book is that it's extremely sad. Even though the synopsis and the cover exude more mystery than sadness, it's still a heart-wrenching one to me. It was, but instead of being desperate kind, it provoked so many emotions in a different way.

I really loved the plot. It sounded really simple, but because everything made perfect sense and no details were redundant, it really shone. The story started with Jackson's funeral and went on with Ava's life after her boyfriend's death, came between were the flashbacks of the whole story - how they met, fell in love; how they were happy together and how he left her behind in this world on that fateful day. The good thing was Lisa kept the reason for Jackson's death in the dark, so even if the first pages were pure mourning, you didn't want to turn away from the book.

The flashbacks were nicely written so they showed a lot about Jackson. With just a few actions and very few words, Lisa made her male lead the sweetest and most charismatic guy ever. He was sweet, childlike, cutely grumpy, and had a way to make bad things look good. I also liked how his ghost never showed up, he just whispered in Ava's mind, talked to her through music and informed his presence with scent. In that way Jackson was just as scary as how a spirit should be, yet it was still too vague for the scare to be so strong.

So what made the book? Definitely the changes in Ava's thoughts and feelings. It was very well organized and it really flew - first it was excitement, then self-doubt and panic, and finally, pacification. With Ava the readers gained realization of what happiness really meant. Facing painful reality and getting over grief are something you have to do, even if they're so difficult, to move on and lead a life you should have. The appearance of Lyric was a fresh move. For a second I thought he was going to be Ava's hero since he was the one that helped her feeling safe and alive. And I loved the ending, it was sad but it put a smile on my face, big one too.

I have some small problems though. First, it was so short. I was hoping that Lisa would elaborate some parts so I could read more of Ava and Jackson. Second, the story was written in verse so in some case I find it quite a waste of paper. I really appreciated S&S's shortening the height of the book size, but I think they can do something with the width too.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (9)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

I need some fantasy read so I'm really attracted to this one - even though I just found it on Amazon this afternoon. Even though vampires never interest me, I'm a big fan of werewolves (well I don't know anything about them, but I really like how they howl lol). In addtion, a romance between human and something not-human is always cool, especially when it takes place in winter. I just hope that there'll be a happy ending.

Get ready for some Shiver on August 1st.

by the way, my dog is wagging on wed at Amy S King's blog so if you love me (or just don't have anything to do), get over there and say hi to him :)

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Change Of Heart by Jody Picoult

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Pub. Date: December 2008
Pages: 480
Format: hardcover
Source: gift from friend

Can we save ourselves, or do we rely on others to do it? Is what we believe always the truth?

One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart. Now her life is a waiting game. Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice. In short, waiting for a miracle to happen.

For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises. The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer the world. In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything for him. Now, he has one last chance for salvation, and it lies with June's eleven-year-old daughter, Claire. But between Shay and Claire stretches an ocean of bitter regrets, past crimes, and the rage of a mother who has lost her child.

Would you give up your vengeance against someone you hate if it meant saving someone you love? Would you want your dreams to come true if it meant granting your enemy's dying wish?

Once again, Jodi Picoult mesmerizes and enthralls readers with this story of redemption, justice, and love.

Okay I'm going to be honest. I thought this book was way toooo boring. I spent two weeks reading it alone and there was so many times that I wanted to put it aside and start something more interesting because it totally ruined the fun of reading. But that was before it reached the end. Turned out it was a good one and I had to spare some deep thoughts for it as well.

If you're a fan of religion, I'm sure you're addicted to this one. Words like God, Bible, belief and the likes seemed to appear on every single page of the book. For those who aren't too interested, like me, the subject could be a little bit heavy (or at some points, too heavy to handle). Basically it was about a man named Shay who was sentenced to death because of two homicides and child molesting. After 11 years waiting for his execution to be carried on, Shay suddenly had a death wish - to give his heart to the sister of the child he killed. The problem was that Shay was to be killed by lethal injection, and in that way, he could not donate his organ. So lawyer Maggie and father Michael - two of rare people that really wanted to understand Shay - decided to help him to be hanged instead. It wasn't easy, because other than dealing with the court, they had a seemingly impossible mission to persuade the family to take the heart.

The book was written in many points of view. Usually I find it very interesting but with this one it was a little bit confusing. I messed up once or twice thinking I was reading this person's narration when actually it was another one. But I really liked how Jody build each and every of character. It gave the readers so many different looks into the case of Shay. Some of them loved the guy, some was disgusted by him. And it made Shay more mysterious than ever because Jody never let him speak for himself. I was really curious about this guy. Shay was unpredictable. At first you'll hate him, then you'll tell yourself he isn't that bad, but soon you'll consider him some freaky murderer again. Others characters were also nicely portrayed. I especially loved Claire. She was smart, strong and deep - though a bit maturer than her real age.

The reason for Shay's crime was kept until the very last pages so it forced you to read on. But in some case, you'd give up the book before you reached the last part. I was really thankful for my habit of finishing every book I start, for it would be a loss if I missed the end. It was a twist which brought so much emotions. The shocking truth put Maggie and Michael in such a dilemma but Shay made things right his own way - painfully but logically. I could not say that I was satisfied with the ending. Then again, I believed it was the best delivered.

Rating: 3/5

Monday 16 March 2009

In My Mailbox (9)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

I had another great week with books! (My Dad doesn't know I have a blog like this and recently he has been asking nonstop how and where I got all these : )

Frenemies & Fakestatic by Alexa Young.

Best friends Avalon Greene and Halley Brandon have big plans for eighth grade. Not only are they coediting their school's fashion blog, but the celebration of their forever friendship is sure to be the blowout party of the year. But when the girls begin to disagreee about . . . well, everything, these two besties turn into full-blown worsties.

Halley and Avalon are reunited, and it feels so good. Or does it? As they begin weaving a tangled web of deception (with the best of intentions, of course), they discover just how hard it is to fake your way through anything—especially friendship.

These book came from the amazing Alexa Young. She was the first author to offer me books to review. And the fact that she didn't back out when she found out that I lived in Vietnam and HarperTeen never shipped overseas makes me love her more than ever. Theese books are really beautiful and they are signed too. I feel SO loved *grins*.

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols.

All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.
John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge — and over....

I've always wanted to read this book and thanks to Jennifer, my dream came true! It's the second MTV book I got so far, I hope I'll have more in the future. The copy is really special to me because it's the official one, I love how smooth it is when I touch it. And it's signed too. Aren't I too lucky?

Across The Pond by Storyheart.

Finding himself packed off to friends in the USA, fifteen-year-old English born Fred Squire is not happy. Then he meets Brittany.

Struggling with his feelings for Brit and the language, Fred is further confused when he meets Brit's flirtatious friend, Angel.

Escaping from a confrontation with Steve Harris, the neighborhood bully, Brit tells Fred her dark secret about Harris, and Fred's world is turned upside down.

Life continues to throw Fred a curveball when he catches a baseball worth a small fortune. Further run-ins with Harris, a crazy family BBQ, and a chase through a mall all add to Fred's American adventure.

"Brit and her Brit", know that their young love will be followed by heartache when Fred has to return to England. But not before some final twists in the tale.

Barry Eva (Storyheart) emailed me asking if I wanted to read and review the book and I thought it sounded interesting so I said yes. In the middle of reading this book right now. I will post the review as soon as possible ^^

Okay now it's your turn to show off your books ^^

Sunday 15 March 2009

Sunday Special (9) Relatives? Maybe.

Idea taken from Pop Culture Junkie

I intended to post an entry about bookmarks and stuff but I was so lazy taking pictures. Instead, I decided to share some more lookalike covers. Well they're not twins, but they're close relatives, so you'll spot a lot of similarities. As always, my fav is on the left.

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Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
Raven by Allison Van Dieren

Exposed back, tattoo, same gesture and dark color scheme. What more can I say? I like Ink Exchange better because it looks smooth, and the light has a very nice effect. Raven is cool too, if only the right half isn't so dark.

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Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson

They both have two faces pressed into each other, the glowing skin, even the beard of the guy (if you look carefully you'll see and it's a huge turn off). Going Too Far is more my type because it doesn't look pale like Kiss Me Kill Me (which is nothing wrong though, because it's supposed to be death and stuff) and the eye of the female model is so beautiful.

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North Of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
Angels In Pink by Lurlene McDaniel

Last time when I posted the twin covers someone told me that North Of Beautiful picture was also used for Evermore but I never recognized that. The model must be real happy she was on the covers of both great books. Anyway, another lookalike - long hair flying, looking down and sad facial expression. I don't like Angels In Pink as much because the angle they took the picture makes the nose of the girl look so big and the shot was a lil bit close.

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Sticky Fingers by Nikki Burnham
Pants On Fire by Meg Cabot

Okay this is a little bit funny, but the front cover of Sticky Fingers is like Pants On Fire's back one. You probably don't need me to point out the similarity for you right? I don't like either but if I have to pick, I pick the first.

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In Your Room by Jordana Fraiberg
Straight Talking by Jane Green

Okay this is not really alike but I find it interesting that Straight Talking looks like a mature version of In Your Room. The couple is closer and more comfortable with each other. I still like the younger version because it's so sweet and cute.

Alright, so you see the covers. It's time for you to decide if they're real relatives or not ;)

Thursday 12 March 2009

Fringe Benefits by Valerie Frankel

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Pub. Date: September 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 272
Format: paperback
Source: from blogger Lenore

You can take the girl out of Brooklyn-or can you?

Waitressing at an exclusive tennis and squash club isn't all it's cracked up to be. Just ask Adora Benet. For as long as she can remember, summer has meant European vacations and sleepaway camp. But this summer is different. While her friends scatter the globe for adventures of their own, Dora finds herself stuck in Brooklyn, learning the true meaning of a dollar.

Fortunately for this working girl, there are fringe benefits that come with the territory: cool older friends who really know how to party, for one thing. And an unexpected gig at a veterinarian's office with a totally hot doctor. Soon Dora's boring summer turns into her first taste of real life. But with all these new responsibilities and thrilling relationships, freedom can get a little scary sometimes . . .

Goofy, truthful and teenagerish, Fringe Benefits was a suitable read for summer. Despite its usual bad-time-turns-out-to-be-more-interesting-than-ever, this book had something quite nice in it. Maybe it was the friendly tone - which made you couldn't but feel as if you were talking to a real 11th grader, or perhaps it was just the meanings lied in normal happenings.

Adora had planned out a lovely summer ahead. She imagined hanging about the town with her two best friends, spending time with her boyfriend Noel and having a job to earn money for whatever she wanted to buy. Suddenly, everything went upside down. Everyone seemed to have their own plans, unexpected or not, and Dora wasn't a part of those. She was left behind, practically alone (if excluding her nagging and overprotective parents). The beginning of the story was really funny, because I found us exactly like Dora. When things didn't go according to plans, teenagers usually made a fuss over it and so did Dora. She couldn't stop whining and, even though didn't mean to, made everyone who was to go felt bad. I also liked the part when she talked about how she wanted a job, but wouldn't consider it joyful anymore once her parents forced her to work. Stubbornness, another thing young adults couldn't get rid of.

The story progressed with Dora finding new things that spiced up her summer. She worked at a good restaurant, made friend with a seemingly perfect girl and met with a super duper hot vet. Naive Dora adored the soon to be singer Stella and thought she was falling for the caring and charming Zach. But things weren't going well at all. She soon found the people she just got to know not exactly as nice as she expected. There were mixed emotions in this part and to me the author managed to pull them off. Dora was hopeful, then a moment later, totally hopeless. Like a young girl should act, Valerie let Dora reacted to the situation in a very natural way. She freaked out and messed it up. My favorite part was her parents' lecture on how wrong she was to accuse Zach and Stella. I had thought Dora was right. Then again, after hearing the speech, I changed my mind. Good thing to find out different thoughts from different generation.

The end was cute but nothing really impressive. I liked Noel's return and his present for Dora though. I think you would, too.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (8)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Crash Into Me by Albert Borris

Owen, Frank, Audrey, and Jin-Ae have one thing in common: they all want to die. When they meet online after each attempts suicide and fails, the four teens make a deadly pact: they will escape together on a summer road trip to visit the sites of celebrity suicides...and at their final destination, they will all end their lives. As they drive cross-country, bonding over their dark impulses, sharing their deepest secrets and desires, living it up, hooking up, and becoming true friends, each must decide whether life is worth living--or if there's no turning back.

I guess stories on roadtrip aren't anything unfamiliar, but this book doesn't sound ordinary to me. It sounds extreme. I love it when author touches such issues as suicides. Moreover, Crash Into Me's plot is very original - group suicide of four people who unexpectedly met. One more reason I'm excited is that I spot a Korean name up there - I always want to try books that got Asian characters. I've asked for a review copy but so far no reply. Wish me luck!

Crash into a New Arrival shelf on July 7th, you'll find this : )

Monday 9 March 2009

In My Mailbox (8)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

Books books books. It's time to show off : D Well I don't have many this week but these two are the ones I've been dying to get my hands on.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.

"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
"Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

This is the result of my stalking Sarah Ockler : ) I'm really really surprised and happy because Sarah accepted my request without hesitation ^^ She's also a very cool person, I like talking to her because she's friendly and fun. Big thank to her for this beautiful copy, and her publicist from Little Brown too. I've searched the package but couldn't find her name : (

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend's restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, best-selling author Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia's descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

Who didn't know how awesome Laurie is until a few weeks ago? ME! I can't believe I never heard of her before. But it's okay because now I do, and I got her latest book on my shelf. I love this book at first sight (I say that a lot hey? Feels like I'm an unfaithful reader haha). The story sounds really intriguing and the cover is just as cool...when I touch it I imagine the skin peeling off a person ekkk. Wintergirls is going to haunt me I bet : )

So what did you get in the past 7 days? Tell me you have One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin and I'll hunt you down for sure *grins*

Sunday 8 March 2009

Sunday Special (8) I'm Fabulous, You're Fabulous, We're Fabulous

This is the first time I've been given some blog awards so I'm really excited. It might be normal to you but it felt special to me, so I decided to save the post for today's feature. 

Thanks Bookworm, Steph Su, Jenny to nominate me for Your Blog is Fabulous Award. Being super duper new and still getting an award like this is greater than anything. I'm really grateful ^^ and you guys helped me a lot on improving my blog too! *hugs*

List five things you are obsessed with/addicted to and then nominate five other fabulous blogs to pass on this award on to!

1. Books: ain't it so obvious? To tell the truth it's only my recent obsession. I didn't read much before and there're unstoppable excuse for that: no books, no time, no blah blah blah. But last summer everything changed. I got my very first English book (minus HP series) and started to want more and more. Then it becomes an instant hunger for me *grins*. I love what Elizabeth said about one could have too many books. No matter how many I get, I keep wanting more.

2. Music: this is my sin. I listen anytime, anywhere and the worst part is I always sing along and mess up the songs (according to my friends). My favorite band is Maroon 5. Their music is very inspiring. Each and every song gives me idea for a new story, though I never actually get down to write a decent one =.=

3. TV: I cannot live without TV. Sometimes I just turn it on and do homework. It makes me feel less alone. And of course, there're a lot of cool shows too. American Idol and American Next Top Model rock my socks. I also watch a lot of anime too ^^

4. Icepop: nothing can beat an icepop in summer days. It's really hot in Vietnam at the moment so I have a lot of it. I remember nicking my niece's icepop when I was younger, you know the kind of icepop that they put medicine in so that children won't notice? Wait a bit, I think I needa get an icepop now.

5. Texting: new addiction. It cost a lot so I have to get rid of it sooner or later. My close friends are responsible for this.  

I nominated:

Also, I got this award from Liviania. Premio Dardos means ‘prize darts’ in Italian and it is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing.


1) Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.

2) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgement, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.

15 dartworth sites I pick for this award:

7. The Story Siren.

8. Steph Su Reads.

9. Wondrous Read.

10. Bookluver Carol.

11. Hope's Bookshelf.

12. Presenting Lenore.

13. Laura Review's Bookshelf.

14. Teen Book Review.

15.Harmony's Book Reviews.

Congrats and thanks everyone again. Please check out all the links provided up there. You won't be disappointed ^^

Saturday 7 March 2009

So I Heard They Are Giving Away Books

To celebrate various great happenings, a lot of authors and bloggers have decided to give away bunches of cool books to us,  released and ARC. So if you're dying to read one of these or just too hungry for books to live, you have to check out these links!

The Story Siren has just gained her 100 000th visitor and to thank all the lovelies who stopped by her blog even just one, she is offering one winner to get a pack of ten ARCs

Steph Su has a great friend through paperbackswap who sent her several ARCs of How To Ditch Your Fairy. She's giving 8 of these away.

Kelsey got her 100th follower, also the 20 000th visitor of her blog. Beth has given her 2 copies of  Jessica's Guide To Dating on the Dark Side to pass on two readers and she thinks now it's the right time.

Jenny, in honor of World Book Day, is giving away two copies of Jenny Valentine/Cathy Hopkins WBD.

Liv is having a Blog-o-versay.

Liviania is also hosting a Blogiversary.

Amy is giving away  5 fabulous books.

Elizabeth Scott is hosting a Something, Maybe countdown

Amanda Ashby asks you to join her roadtrip to win a copy of Queen Zombie Of Newsbury High and more.

Cheryl Renee Herbsman is giving away a signed ARC copy of Breathing

Good luck girls and guys ; 0

Thursday 5 March 2009

Happy Release Day + Author Chat with Angela Morrison

Happy release day to two amazing books...

TAKEN BY STORM by Angela Morrison


JUST ONE WISH by Janette Rallison

Congratulations to our both authors. Wish you best luck with your children *grins*. For those fans who haven't got their hands on either of these, rush to the nearest bookstore and snatch your own copies!!!

Anywho on this special occasion I'm bringing you some more fun. A chat with Angela Morrison. I was lucky enough to have interviewed her two weeks ago. Enjoy the interview okay? I hope you'll find out what you want to know about her ^^

-Taken by storm is your debut novel. How does it feel having your book published? Did you do anything crazy/out of mind when you first knew the book would come out?
It feels GREAT! AMAZING! FANTASTIC! You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to break into the real world of editors and agents and published books. I marketed TAKEN BY STORM for almost four years after I finished my MFA. I have a huge file of rejection letters.

TAKEN BY STORM is the first novel I ever wrote. So many first novels end up abandoned in a drawer or a box under the bed. I believed in this story and Michael and Leesie, so I didn't want that to happen to it. I kept revising it and sending it back out. I got close a several times, but never sold it.

A couple things happened that changed all that. First, Stephanie Meyer came along with TWILIGHT and single-handedly transformed and enlarged the YA market. Then, I met my editor, Lexa Hillyer, at SCBWI's Sequester north of Paris. She's a young, beautiful poet and author in her own right and an extraordinary editor. I rewrote Michael's opening dive log journal entry specifically so she'd fall in love with him. It worked!

She called and offered me a two book contract. I was shocked. She'd hinted they wanted to acquire TAKEN BY STORM, but I never dreamed they'd sign me for two books. That doesn't happen a lot if you don't have an agent. I was in Switzerland at the time. I emailed all my writer friends and mentors, family, etc. By the time I'd spread the word, the shock was worn off, and I was dancing.

-The story behind the story...I heard the book was inspired by by an accident, is that true?
Yeah. That's true. Several years ago, my husband and I were scuba diving off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico. Halfway through the trip the weather turned nasty. Dark skies. Rain. We still dove. Darker than usual, but nothing stops divers. In between dives, we huddled on the boat getting rained on. To the south of us, a thick band of wicked clouds blocked up the sky. A newsy guy informed us our rain and those clouds were what was left of a hurricane that had just hit Belize. He told us the hurricane had capsized a boatload of divers and most of them drowned. None of us believed him. Divers don't drown. He insisted--and he was right. A large live aboard yacht docked in what they thought was a safe port. They were wrong.
Over the next several months, I followed the story closely. I found news articles on the Internet and watched the memorial grown on the website of the dive club who hard charter the boat and lost so many. I felt a kinship with those dead divers. The clouds that killed them rained on me, too.

I began asking myself, "what if?" What if the only survivor of a similar fictional accident was a guy whose parents drowned? How did he survive? What happened to him after? Who would he live with now? Where would he go?

And, most important, who would love him?

-Is telling the story through chats, poems and dive logs fun? I though it was so original.
Thank you. It is a fun way to organize a novel. It's also quite challenging. When I started writing TAKEN BY STORM, it was a dual-first person he said/she said. Leesie and Michael would wake me up in the middle of the night chatting. I would scribble it down and transcribe it in the morning. At first, I incorporated the chats into the narration like you would dialogue. Then I got the idea that Michael's entries would be cool if he wrote them in his dive log. One editor at another publisher liked that a lot, but she and her boss didn't like Leesie. They had me rewrite the whole novel entirely from Michael's point of view--a couple of different ways. That didn't really work, either.

When that editor broke my heart and walked away from the project--I did all this revising pre-contract, I felt TAKEN BY STORM was broken. I set aside the book I was writing at the time and decided I was going to reshape TAKEN BY STORM how I wanted it. I had the chats. Easy to pull them out as transcripts. Lots of fun to write more. I had Michael's dive logs. I knew they were my gems--the best stuff I had. But what to do with Leesie? She was a poet. There was already one poem in the novel. Why not more? Why not "Leesie's Most Private Chapbook?" It all jelled together. I loved it.

I'm so pleased Lexa loved it enough to buy it, Razorbill loved it enough to publish it, and so many of you readers love it, too.

-Out of all religion, why did you choose Mormon?
That's an easy one. Writer's are told to write what you know. I'm a Mormon. That's what I know. It's really hard to write about a faithful character without confusing people or making it really didactic. I had a lot of good feedback from mentors and critique friends. I rewrote it over and over and over until I finally got the right tone. I wanted to show an authentic, faithful Mormon girl's life--her strengths, her weaknesses, her challenges. Michael helped me test her. Turn her world upside down and see if she can swim. I think Leesie did all right. And learned a lot along the way.

-Michael in the story is obsessed with diving. You dive too right? Did it help much
with the story?
I do dive. I wouldn't have written this novel without my background in scuba. I had loads
diving scenes in the original manuscript I sent to Lexa. She helped me cut them back to a more reasonable level. I'm thinking about posting some of the "cut scenes" on my website.

-Our female lead Leesie has to make such a hard decision between love and faith.
you ever find yourself in her position? What did you do?
Oooh. Good question. True confessions. When I was in high school, I did fall quite in love with a blonde Baptist boy from Tacoma who I met at a high school fiction writing workshop. We lived on opposite sides of Washington state. Only got to go out on a real date once. Wrote lots of letters. He got nervous and dumped me, so I didn't have much of a decision to make. He chose his faith over me--no contest.

I did have to choose between love and college, though. Towards the end of my senior year, I started going out with the most gorgeous Mormon boy I've ever known. We met at a church dance in Spokane. I was never quite sure why he liked me, but he did. He wasn't stuck up like good-looking guys tend to be. Just really sweet. We had a great time all summer. We both knew I was leaving for school at the end of it. He was staying home to work with his dad and save money for his mission. (Faithful Mormon guys go on missions for the church when they are 19, devote two years of their life to service and pay for it themselves.) It was way harder to let go at the end of the summer than either of us thought it would be. We kept in touch. I saw him again a couple of times before he left on his mission. I wrote to him until I met my husband. And then I lost track of him. Kind of sad.

Those relationships we have as teens are so formative--really shape you on a very intimate level. I find it fascinating. I suppose that's why I keep writing about it. In the end, I was blessed to choose love and faith. The two go together really well.

-Let's talk about your other books. Rumor has it that you're working on three different stories. Tell us about them. When will they come out?
Ah, you are so sweet. My second novel for Razorbill is called SING ME TO SLEEP and will be out about a year from now. SING stars Beth, an ugly duckling singer who gets a massive makeover when she ousts the soloist in her competitive girls' choir. Beth's great performance lands the choir a place in the Choral Olympics where, Derek, a mysterious star of a neighboring boys' choir, sweeps her off her feet. She gets home to find the sweet boy who has always been her friend now wants to be more than that. Beth is committed to Derek, but she's torn. He's hiding something scary, and she can't get behind his perfect facade. Derek composes and Beth writes lyrics so my editor asked me to sprinkle lyrics all through the book. That was quite a challenge. Get your tissue box ready. This one is really emotional.

I also have a heartbreaking historical love story, THE COLLIER LAD'S LASS, and a middle grade time slip adventure for boys, THE TIME ASSASSIN, that I haven't sold yet.

-Why did you write for teen? Any YA novels you would recommend?
I'm still trying to figure out why I write for teens. When I finally got serious with my writing--I was in a masters degree program and had to produce--I had a houseful of teen boys. Now my daughter and I are really close. She's away at BYU, but every time I talk to her she gives me ideas. I used her choir back in Canada for SING ME TO SLEEP. Guess I'm kind of a stage mom.

YA novels I recommend? Hmmm. I'll try not to overload you. I'm a huge TWILIGHT fan like everyone else. Edward is so addictive. It's quite amazing. Even here in Singapore the bookstores have Stephanie's books piled high.

I learned more from Markus Zusak and his novel, THE BOOK THIEF, than almost any other writer I've heard speak or studied. I tell everyone I meet to read it. When I want to get tuned up as a writer, I read it again.

Another YA novelist I adore is Martine Leavitt. KETURAH AND LORD DEATH and THE DOLLMAGE are my favorites.

My poetry mentor from Vermont College, Ron Koertge, writes the most amazing YA. Look him up and read all his books.

I think all teens should read Chaim Potok. My favorite was MY NAME IS ASHER LEV.

There is so much YA out there now that sometimes we overlook the groundbreaking pioneers. Norma Fox Mazer. SILVER and AFTER THE RAIN. You can keep reading her forever. I also adore Katherine Paterson. She writes with so much faith and meaning. Most readers know her from grade school--THE BRIDGE TO TEREBITHIA, but many of her novels are YA--JACOB HAVE I LOVED, or my favorite, OF NIGHTINGALES THAT WEEP.

Some of my classmates have written incredible novels. Check out SHIFTY by Lynn Hazen and Ellen Yeoman's RUBBER HOUSES.

For classic YA fantasy, you can't get better than Susan Fletcher--another one of my mentors. Speaking fantasy, I also love Ursula Le Guin and Mary Stewart.

-If you were not to be a author, we would have a...
Really frustrated cranky mom. Actually, I wanted to be an editor. But I wanted to be a mom more. And now I want to write more.

-When you're not writing or reading, you will..
SLEEP! Can you tell I've been way too busy? I love to swim, scuba dive, sing in a choir, and dance. I also watch way too much TV. When we moved to Singapore, I somehow missed an entire season of "Dancing with the Stars." I'm not sure how I'll ever get over that. One reason I can't wait to move back to the U.S. is we be able to vote for American Idol next season.

-A little game fun for, this or that
Hardcover or paperback? paperback
Cake or icecream? cake, but not happily. I can't eat dairy. I miss ice cream the most.
Myspace or Facebook? Facebook
Cat or dog? cat, dogs are so high maintenance
Jeans or khakis? jeans

-Lastly, what would you love to say to the readers today?
Wow. That's quite a question. As an author, though, I try to speak to readers through my story. Let them draw their own conclusions. Find their own truths in the experience. So, I guess, "keep reading," is what I really want to say.

I've ranted plenty on my website, though. So if readers want to get in my head, check it out at www.angela-morrison.com.

Thanks Angela so much for this interview. This is my first so if I made any mistakes, forgive me. I promise to come back with cooler ones<3

Wednesday 4 March 2009

THE BOOK REVIEW CLUB MARCH - Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: March 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: from author

Leesie Hunt has many rules: No kissing. No sex. No dating outside the Mormon faith.

When Michael Walden-a deep-sea diver who lost his parents in a violent hurricane-arrives in town, Leesie sees someone who needs her. They fall for one another, even though his dreams are tied to the depths of the ocean and hers to salvation above.

Will their intense chemistry be too strong to resist?

Leesie and Michael must make the hardest choice of their lives: whether to follow their beliefs or their hearts.

Another love is uneasy kind of book, but Taken By Storm is still original through the way it is told - chats, chapbook poems and dive logs. The pace was never the same through out the story, once it was fast and intense, a second later everything was slow and dreamy. The tone also changed logically, whenever Michael voiced it was rough and raw, for Leesie's poems fragile and sweet just like her, and for chats, casual and friendly.

Leesie and Michael, both of their lives are complicated. Michael was still suffering from the great loss of his parents, unable to find his way out from the sorrow even though he believed once he was back under water, everything would be fine. Leesie was restricted in a world of rules - her religion forbid her from doing a lot of things other people considered normal: getting feet off the ground, being in the same room with a guy, using words like "grope" in a poem. They met and naturally became close; Michael needed someone to hold on to, and Leesie's heart told her she needed to save this poor guy. Love sprung slowly, along came more troubles.

Each of the main character had to struggle to survive through their romance. I enjoyed reading Leesie's poems where she poured her feelings into - first her pure soul only urged to heal Michael's, but then she found herself wanting more that that. She started to love his eyes, his hair, everything he did to her - even the scars he accidentally left on her palm. You may go mad at Leesie for making things so hard and difficult but even if you shout in your mind "screw those rules, you'll be happier without them", you'll feel bad for her being torn between her love and her faith. For Michael, he was a very complicated one. Even himself didn't know what he needed. He was stuck in his desire to dive, he was haunted, angry, lost - totally frustrated with himself. He loved Leesie, but sometimes he didn't even care about what she thought and how she felt. For once or twice I disliked Michael for he was so selfish and unreasonable, almost too lustful. But I loved the way Angela portrayed Michael's feelings, because throughout the story I almost felt just as uncomfortable and breathless as him. Like there was no way out.

I was so sad when the book ended. Even though the gloominess followed me from the start, I didn't expect it to turn out that way. It was heart-wrenching, probably something you will dwell on for a while after closing the book. However, I was satisfied, for the emotional ride never stopped, even to the last pages. When you reach the last two poems, you'll know what I mean.

Angela Morrison's debut novel will take you in a violent storm of love, lust and faith, and then, leave you with so much memories of a bittersweet love story.

Rating: 4/5