Tuesday 30 June 2009

In My Mailbox (23)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

Ruby Unscripted by Cindy Martinusen Coloma.

Ruby's finding out that life is all about improv . . .

Small-town girl Ruby Madden has moved to Marin County, California; home of high-dollar homes and green living. The girls wear shoes that cost more than her entire paycheck at the Underground Coffeehouse & Theater, and the students are well-traveled and full of life experiences that Ruby can only dream of.

All the stresses of adjusting to her new life have put a strain on her ability to trust God. Yet when mysterious and eye-catching Kaden invites Ruby to join the school's film group, the puzzle pieces start to fit. Her love of art finds perfect expression and the film friends seem to really get her. When a major Hollywood director hosts an amateur film contest, Ruby and her friends are stoked.

But Ruby's old life is tugging her backward and her frantic balancing act throws her new life totally off track. To top things off, Ruby makes a mistake that could cost her the chance of a lifetime.

Life would be so much easier if Ruby just had a script to follow with a happy ending guaranteed. But what's the fun in that?

I like the idea of this book: moving to somewhere new, finding a lot of different things and adjusting your life. The title sounds cute too right? And I could even love the cover if it weren't for the weird skin of the girl. It feels creepy.

Dragonfly by Julia Golding.

Princess Taoshira is appalled when she is ordered to marry Prince Ramil ac Burinholt in order to unite their lands. And Ramil's not too pleased either. They hate each other on sight. So when she and Ramil are kidnapped, they fear there's no escape - either from their kidnappers or from each other.

Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive ambush, unarmed combat, brainwashing and imprisonment? And will the people they meet on their extraordinary adventure - including a circus strongman, a daring rebel leader, a sinister master of spies and the best female fighter they have ever seen - help them or betray them to the enemy..?

This book had a great year back in 2008 in UK and now it finally makes its way to us. I like how it seems both dark and fun. Arranged marriage is my thing and I've not encountered such a book on this subject so I'm thrilled to receive this one. Heart the cover, it's ways more appealing than the UK one.

Rules by Cynthia Lord.

Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public"---in order to head off David's embarrassing behaviors.

But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?

I found out about this book at Harmony Reviews site and it's too cute for me to ignore. Even though it's a MG book, it's said to teach us teenagers a lot of things about life in the most natural way. You should check it out someday too.

Thanks to Julia, Cindy and Cynthia as well as their publicists for sending me the books!<3

So what have you got for the past 7 days? Have you read any of the above? Tell me how you think.

Sunday 28 June 2009

Sunday Special (22) A Little Sneak Peek Of 2010

Well I know that we've just gone through the first half of 2009 but some of the books which will be published in 2010 have already won our hearts. Here are some which make me really really excited about next year.

The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard.

Seventeen-year-old Colt has been sneaking out at night to meet Julia, a girl from an upper-class neighborhood unlike his own. They've never told anyone else about their relationship: not their family or friends, and especially not Julia's boyfriend. When Julia dies suddenly, Colt tries to cope with her death while pretending that he never even knew her. He finds a journal she left behind. But he is not prepared for the truths he discovers about their intense relationship, nor to pay the price for the secrets he's kept.

Somehow I really like secret relationship, it's kind of thrilling you know. But this one seems to have more than just that, a lot of drama and the likes. I wonder what she's written in that journal, it's going to be scandalous perhaps.

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder.

Restless souls and empty hearts

Brooklyn can't sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can't stop. He's always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca's ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

Same concept with Lisa's debut book I Heart You You Haunt Me yet Chasing Brooklyn is more intense and more interesting than the other because two people are haunted. Do you think there's a chance of the two falling in love with each other? I hope so and I hope the book is long because last time IHYYHM ended to so fast for me :(

A Match Made In Highschool by Kristin Walker.

When a mandatory course forces Fiona to “try the knot” with super-jock Todd Harding, she’s convinced life could not possibly get any worse. Until moments later, when her long-time crush is paired with her arch-enemy (otherwise known as Todd’s obscenely hot, slightly sadistic girlfriend). But that’s nothing compared to her best friend’s fate – a year with the very shy, very goofy, very big Johnny Mercer.

A series of hilarious pranks and misunderstandings leave Fiona wondering: is there something her supposed “best friend” hasn’t told her? Could there be more to Johnny Mercer than a deep voice and an awesome music collection? And perhaps most intriguing of all, is it possible that Todd Harding could actually have a heart – and a brain – beneath his pretty-boy exterior?

I love match making, it reminds me of my precious middle school years. This book sounds nothing but awesome. I expect a lot from it and according to some bloggers who have got ARCs, it's really lovable. And look at the cover, who cannot love it?

Undead Much by Stacey Jay.

Even Zombie Settlers with Super Hot Boyfriends get the Blues...

A few months ago I was a normal girl with a normal life. But that was before my power to Settle the Undead returned and someone tried to kill me with zombies.

Now I work magic and practice kicking butt while trying to find time for pom squad and my boyfriend, Ethan, and trying NOT to think about how freaky my life has become. It can be tough. Still…things could be worse…

Oh yeah, right:
1. Feral new super-strong zombies. Check.
2. Undead psychic hottie predicting a zombie apocolypse. Check.
3. Earth-shattering secrets that could land me in Settler prison for life. Check.
4. Cheerleader vs. pom squad turf war threatening the end of the half time as we know it. Check.

I’m going to need therapy (and a cookie) if I live through the week. Unfortunately I’m learning that’s not something Zombie Queens can take for granted.

I've never a fan of zombies. They're creepy to me >< And I've never read You're So Undead To Me by Stacey Jay either. Still, for some reason I cannot wait for this book to come out. It sounds fun, and crazy in a brilliant way. I swear to check the series out as soon as possible.

Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison.

Beth, an ugly duckling singer, 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.

This book is inspired by Angela's daughter and because I love Taken By Storm, I hope to love this one too. I like music and I like sad books so it must be everything I need from a read.

Apart from these, there're also a few books that I have set my eyes on like Indigo Blues, The Naughty List, Fixing Deliah, By The Time You Read This I'll Be Dead ect. So what about you? What do you think of the books above? Anything you love that will come out in 2010? SHARE!

Saturday 27 June 2009

Torched by April Henry

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: March 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 224pp

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.

This book offers an okay read, specifically for those who're interested in the hot subject of fighting for environment. Or maybe just suspicion and action. However, I suggest you don't hold your hope up as Torched is not as tremendous as the synopsis might sound.

In some aspect I enjoy this book. The story just revolves around the world of MEDics and their concern for the environment as well as the FIB and their will to stop the so called rebellious kids. It was great to learn about young teeenagers who thought of Mother Earth more than themselves and would do whatever they could to protect it - even though sometimes it turned out to be counter-productive. I liked the "war" between them and FBI too. It, actually, was the hot point of the story.

On the other hand I felt most of the time the book didn't unleash the fullest of its potential. Like everything was brought to the middle and left hanging there, which would definitely make the readers feel uneasy. For example, Ellie never ever wanted to be a spy in MED yet she just came to them willingly a short time after she was asked instead of putting it off and having the agents nag her (that way it would be more persuasive you know). The intensity wasn't enough either. Not until the last few chapters was it all set on fire, and it was such a pity, in my opinion.

Overally, Torched shows us how things get out of hand when goodwill is accompanied by negative actions such as violence and blindness, which, will somehow wake the alertness in us about a lot of things in life. Nevertheless, I wish it could have been delivered in more compelling way.

Rating: 2.5/5

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (21)

Idea taken from The Breaking Spine

Ex mas by Kate Brian.

There has yet been any summary for this title but according to my instinct, it's going to be a super duper fun read. My imagination also tells me that it might be about exes reuniting at Christmas and having some interesting fight...what do you think? I really really adore the cover and how the author plays with words too. I definitely have to check this out; by the way I seem to be the last person to know of Kate Brian =.=

It's kinda weird for S&S to publish this book on Oct 6th, 2009. It's supposed to be out in Xmas, at least it makes more sense right?

Tuesday 23 June 2009

In My Mailbox (22)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

I'm supposed to post this yesterday but I was too lazy haha. Anywho here's what I've got last week.

By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Ann Peters.


There was nothing you could do to stop me because:
___I’d already made up my mind
___I have been suffering my whole life
___ you were too slow to notice

I offed myself because:
___my life sucks
___the world sucks
___ you suck


Y'all ready know how much crazy I am for this book. I gotta say I'm so so so so lucky to have an ARC this soon. After I caught a glimpse of this, I contacted Julie and she happened to have an extra ARC to share. I think I'm gonna save this book for later since it's so thin :( Anyway, it's my first 2010 review book too. Jealous? You gotta be *winks*.

Anatomy Of A Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky.

Before this all happened, the closest I'd ever come to getting physical with a guy was playing the board game Operation. Okay, so maybe that sounds pathetic, but it's not like there were any guys at my high school who I cared to share more than three words with, let alone my body. Then I met Wes, a track star senior from across town. Maybe it was his soulful blue eyes, or maybe my hormones just started raging. Either way, I was hooked. And after a while, he was too. I couldn't believe how intense my feelings became, or the fact that I was seeing—and touching—parts of the body I'd only read about in my Gray's Anatomy textbook. You could say Wes and I experienced a lot of firsts together that spring. It was scary. It was fun. It was love. And then came the fall.

I don't think anyone who passes this book in a bookstore can have the heart to go away without taking it home. It looks so cute and so funny. I bet I'm going to have so many laughter. Just the cover itself makes me crack up. Also, the story seems fun: the couple get together, experience things and then trouble comes. I hope that it has a happy ending.

Ten Cents A Dance by Christine Fletcher.

With her mother ill, it’s up to fifteen-year-old Ruby Jacinski to support her family. But in the 1940s, the only opportunities open to a Polish-American girl from Chicago’s poor Yards is a job in one of the meat packing plants. Through a chance meeting with a local tough, Ruby lands a job as a taxi dancer and soon becomes an expert in the art of “fishing”: working her patrons for meals, cash, clothes, even jewelry. Drawn ever deeper into the world of dance halls, jazz, and the mob, Ruby gradually realizes that the only one who can save her is herself. A mesmerizing look into a little known world and era.

Normally fictions set on time back in the past is not my thing, but, Ten Cents A Dance is different. It sounds captivating and just right for a teenager. I found out about it from Reviewer X's blog and had been dreaming to get my hands on a copy until Christine Fletcher answered my email a few weeks ago. I also got Tallulah Falls, Christine's second book, which sounds just as awesome.

Thanks to Julie, Daria and Christine who got me the great books<3

Another week full of book packages to my lovely blogger fellows!

Monday 22 June 2009

Sunday Special (21) Aus vs. US part 2

The battle continues...

Round 5&6:

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Frenemies by Alexa Young.

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Fakestatic by Alexa Young.

Much as I love the elegance of the models in the US covers, I have to say I love the Aus ones way more. They look fun, energetic and kind of mean. The designs look fantastic too. They make me want to read the books right NOW.

Way to go, Aus covers~!

Round 7:

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Paper Towns by John Green.

The Aus edition has a really great impression on me. I like how it's dark, strong and vague (couldn't make out all the parts of the photo). However, the US cover wins more love from me because of its brightness and gentleness. Also, I love the girl's facial expression, it draws my attention.

US cover!

Round 8:

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The Last Summer by Ann Brashares.

Well what can I say? They both look nostalgic, summery, peaceful. Both are turning their backs to us and looking out to the ocean. Not much difference actually. I cannot tell which one I prefer.

So we have a tie.

Round 9:

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Love The One You're With by Emily Griffin.

This is super duper hard to pick one. Each of the covers is cute in its way and I love how both designers picked green as the main colour. So nice!

Another tie.

Which cover do you prefer of the two? Tell me your judgment<3

Friday 19 June 2009

Signed copies found their owners!

I'm sorry for the delay. I should have announced the winners on Monday or so but finals are killing me with stress :( Anyway, the luckiest ones, each of whom will receive a signed copy of Death by Denim directly from Linda Gerber are...

*drum rolls*




Congratulations you guys. Please drop me an email with your mailing address so Linda can get the books to you as soon as possible. Also, thanks for everyone who entered the contest, check back for a new one next month (hopefully)


Thursday 18 June 2009

Violet On The Runway by Melissa Walker

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: September 2007
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 240
Format: paperback
Source: from publisher - Penguin

A wallflower in the spotlight can do one of two things: wilt, or blossom...

Violet Greenfield's life changes forever when a lady in giant Chanel shades tells her she could be IT, the next Kate Moss-but taller, and without the PR problems. That's how Violet winds up with a business card in the front pocket of her jeans on her first day as a senior in high school. Angela Blythe from Tryst Models in New York City wants to put Violet on a plane and whisk her into the world of high-heeled boots and oversized sunglasses. Tall, skinny Violet, who's been P-L-A-I-N practically forever.

And guess what? She's going.

If you're a girl whose dreams are so big you think they're beyond your reach, then let me tell you what you should do. Befriend Violet Greenfield. With her dreamlike but still so real story of turning from zero to hero, she'll prove to you that everything can happen if you're determined and hardworking enough.

This debut book by Melissa Walker, also the first one of Violet series is so beautiful. It creates a world of fashion with fame, money, extreme thrill as well as loneliness, frustration and exhaustion. With elegant writing which somehow still gives out craziness and passion of a teenager, the book will win your love, whether you're a fashion worshiper or not.

Violet On The Runway made me feel like I was having a novel edition of America's Next Top Model on my hands and, apparently, I liked it really much. Even though the glamorous world Violet first stepped into had two sides of it, the good and exciting one totally ruled. The sneak peek will firstly get your curiosity and as more and more of the model's life is revealed, you find yourself can't help but want to know everything of it. Violet's journey from being nobody to being on top didn't have much troubles thus it kind of sounded unconvincing to me. However, the side issues were super fun. Violet unexpectedly lost herself in the middle, pushing her family and friends away and getting involved with people who never spared a thought of how she felt or what was good for her. Sound pretty familiar doesn't it? Still, there was something that made a difference, either was the BK girls or Roger the best friend.

In my opinion, Violet was really fun to be with. I liked the change in her personalities when she became a real model. She went from shy to confident, from humble to wild but what completed her was her toughness, strength and her courage to support whoever she loved, especially Veronica. Veronica is my favorite character too - she appeared typical but she also got depth.

Overall this book is a great start for the series. It's just the beginning of the real story so there will be lot of things you'll wonder after you finish this, and of course, not many characters have fully developed. But it promises so much greater and more eventful details in the next books that the readers just have to rush to the stores. and pick up the rest.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (20)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Scones and Sensibilities by Lindsay Eland.

Polly Madassa is convinced she was born for a more romantic time. A time when Elizabeth Bennet and Anne of Green Gables walked along the moors and beaches of the beautiful, wild land. A time when a distinguished gentleman called upon a lady of quality, and true love was born in the locked eyes of two young lovers.

But alas, she was not.

This however does not stop our young heroine from finding romance wherever she can conjure it up. So while Polly is burdened with the summer job of delivering baked goods from her parents bakery (how delightfully quaint!) to the people in her small beach town, she finds a way to force...um...encourage romance to blossom. She is determined to bring lovers, young and old, together...whether they want to be or not.

Reasons why this book rocks:

-1. The title got something to do with a classic book I kinda love - Senses and Sensibilities Sense and Sensibility (thanks for pointing out, robin_titan). Don't you just love how it sounds? Prada and Prejudice now Scones and Sensibilities.
-2. I love love romance. Especially things that deal with cakes and stuff.
-3. I just know of Lindsay Eland and I want to check her writting out.

Want something hot to eat on a freezing day like December 22nd? Get some scones from this lovely novel.

Monday 15 June 2009

In My Mailbox (21)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

I can't believe I've reached my 20th week of this feature, meaning lots of books to read and reviewed ^^

The Red Queen's Daughter by Jacqueline Kolosov.

Orphaned as a young girl because of the imprudent marriage of her mother, Queen Katherine Parr, Mary Seymour vows never to fall in love-and under no circumstances will she marry. Lady Strange, her mysterious guardian, offers the young woman an extraordinary alternative to marriage: Mary is to become a white magician who will join Queen Elizabeth's court and ensure the success of the Virgin Queen's reign.

Accompanied by her magical hound, Perseus, Mary sets out to learn the properties of different stones and the art and precision of natural spells. Soon after her sixteenth birthday, she joins Elizabeth's court as a lady-in-waiting. Upon her arrival, Mary realizes that Elizabeth's court is rife with men and women who are vying for power. The most dangerous of all is Edmund Seymour, Mary's disturbingly handsome cousin. From the moment she meets Edmund, Mary has to fight her growing attraction, especially once she discovers that he is a black magician, the dark mirror of her own self. But, despite the threat Edmund poses to Mary, he seems to be the only one who truly understands her. When Edmund becomes involved in a plot against the Queen, Mary finds her beliefs tested in ways she never could have imagined.

The very first book I received from Harper Teen. Usually I'm not really into books that set back in the past but this one sounds kinda nice, esp the "I won't get married" thing. Besides, I really like the cover.

I Know It's Over by C.K Kelly Martin.

Pure. Unplanned. Perfect. Those were Nick’s summer plans before Sasha stepped into the picture. With the collateral damage from his parents’ divorce still settling and Dani (his girl of the moment) up for nearly anything, complications are the last thing he needs. All that changes, though, when Nick runs into Sasha at the beach in July. Suddenly he’s neck-deep in a relationship and surprised to find he doesn’t mind in the least. But Nick’s world shifts again when Sasha breaks up with him. Then weeks later, while Nick’s still reeling from the breakup, she turns up at his doorstep and tells him she’s pregnant, and Nick finds himself struggling once more to understand the girl he can’t stop caring for, the girl who insists that it’s still over.

This book is a contest prize I won from Laura's Review Bookshelf. I've been lusting for this book forever. As if he subject of teen pregnancy hasn't intrigued me enough, I Know It's Over has to be written in the guy's POV. I so want to start it right now. You should own a copy too, seriously.

Ballads Of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert.

Kara hasn't been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad-boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park....

Amid the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

I've won signed copies of this one as well as I Want To Be Your Joey Ramone and some little love prizes from Stephanie Ballads Promo Contest. Great isn't it? The ARC doesn't have a cover yet but it's still so cool. I love Emily, so I think I'll love Kara as well. Love the title!

Thanks to Jacqueline, Laura and Stephanie for getting and sending me the books.

So what have you got? Enough for to read everyday of summer?

Sunday 14 June 2009

Sunday Special (20) All This Stuff Abour Rating

I'm supposed to post part two of the Aus vs. US cover battle but this has been bugging me lately so I have to ask for you guys opinions and advice. For the book bloggers who have different rating scales for each part of the books: plot, character, writing, ending, even cover, it might be a little bit easier...but for those who only have a sole scale, how could you manage to rate a book precisely? I mean, if you find a story somehow between a 3 star and a 3.5 star, which section will you put it into? Or suddenly a book you come across appears to be better than all of the 5 star ones, what will you do? Will you rerate everything you've reviewed? It sounds pretty ridiculous to me but I still want to give the readers the exact ideas of the books. I'm kinda clueless now :(

So what do you think? Have you experienced the same thing? Which actions did/will you take? Please share your thoughts!

Friday 12 June 2009

Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Publisher: Penguin Australia
Pub. Date: 5 October 1992
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: paperback
Source: from publisher - Penguin Aus

Josephine Alibrandi is seventeen. Illegitimate, and in her final year at a wealthy Catholic school. This is the year her father comes back into her life, the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family's past and the year she sets herself free.

If you're looking for a book that will free you from all your hectic, insane or boring life, I suggest you pick up any works by Melina Marchetta. Simply heartfelt and mind blowing, each and every story will touch your soul and explore a new corner of life you've been unaware of for a really long time. Looking Alibrandi isn't an exception. Written way back in 1992 yet the book still managed to stir such feelings inside me - a teenager in 2009.

When I finished her book Saving Francesca, I thought Melina's writing couldn't get any better. Luckily, I wasn't right. This debut novel of the Australian author is a BOMB, seriously. Raw, realistic and fearless, it delivered a story of a girl who was on her way to figure out what she wanted to, where she belonged and who she really was. In other words, a story on a few years of life, in fact, felt like a lifetime.

The thing I love about this book is that it captures my undivided attention. At first what I asked for was a lovely read to uplift my mood in a gloomy day, but only after a couple of pages all I could think of was Josephine and her complicated but interesting life. Her family, her friends, her love, each held an aura of delight that drawn me deeper and deeper into the book. I just couldn't put it down. Well, I did, for schoolwork but soon afterwards I found myself sneak off to read one or two chapters.

A huge part of Looking For Alibrandi was on how the Italian women dealt with inhabiting in another country where some people just couldn't seem to accept them the way they were, even the Italian themselves. They struggled, they weakly fought, they held back from being happy for fear of what everyone else would think. Josephine, her mother and her grandmother were a few among those poor female. Throughout the ups and downs they discovered a way out to forget the past and live freely, and more importantly, understand each other. If you're in need of a book for different generations in a family, this would be the one. Strong connection of the daughter, mother and grandmother will help dwindle the distance between us and make us realize how much love we have for one another.

Do I have to say how much I root for Josephine? She's so great. She's stronger, tougher and crazier than Francesca but, she's also more confused and self-conscious. Growing up with people around pointing at and giving her names made a huge impact on the girl - she always thought everyone would jugde her and hate her. That, though, didn't make her a lousy or desperate character. Josephine was a likable one, sometimes she was moody and annoying yet other times she was profound and deep. Someone any girl would walk to and say "be my bestfriend." I like her ambition and her sense of humor. Also her fear and selfishness.

It'd be a big mistake not to mention my hero - Jacob. More interaction and conversations between these two would satisfy readers who go for romance. Jacob was a guy who stood in the line separating the goods and the bads. He even won more love from me than Will from Saving Francesca. He was not only unafraid to be himself, truthful and sloppy-in-a-cute-way but also wants to be better for the girl he loves.

Another one with open ending, this book would linger in your mind longer than you expected. Looking For Alibrandi is looking for the inner beautiful and strong woman, looking for the hurtful but unneglectable past, the difficult yet worthwhile present, and for the bright oriented future.

Definitely a novel you CANNOT miss.

Rating: 5/5 (uhm I'm wondering, can I give this book a 6?)

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (19)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Positively by Courtney Sheinmel.

Emerson Price cannot remember a time when life was ordinary. She was four-years-old when she and her mom were diagnosed as HIV-positive – infected with the virus that causes AIDS, and eight when her parents divorced. Now she is thirteen and her mother is dead. Emmy moves in with her father and stepmother, but she feels completely alone. Even though everyone has always accepted her, no one – not her father, or stepmother, or even her best friend – understands what it’s like to have to take medicine every single day, to be so afraid of getting sick, and to miss her mom more than she ever thought she would.

When Emmy’s dad and stepmother send her to Camp Positive, a camp for HIV-positive girls, Emmy is certain she is going to hate it. But soon she realizes that she is not so alone after all – and that sometimes letting other people in can make all the difference in the world.

Reasons why this book drives me crazy:

-1. This deals with such a great issue. Pregnancy? I've read about it a few times. Suicide? Yes. Addiction? Probably. HIV? Not yet. I'm so so looking forward to see how the author portrays the girl's feelings and everything.
-2. I've just checked out the first book of Courtney Sheinmel and it sounds so great. Heard great response from other reviews too. This one might be as great (or greater!)
-3. Great cover aye?

Will you get a copy of this on Sept 15? I will, positively.

Monday 8 June 2009

In My Mailbox (20)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

Thanks to Erin from Penguin Australia, this week I've received four fabulous books, one by Sarah Dessen and three by Melina Marchetta *beams*

Finnikin Of The Rock by Melina Marchetta.

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself.

On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.

Taylor Markham is not a popular choice. She is erratic, has no people skills and never turns up to meetings. Not to mention the incident when she ran off in search of her mother and only got halfway there. But she's lived at Jellicoe School most of her life and as leader of the boarders that's her greatest asset. Especially now the cadets, led by the infamous Jonah Griggs, have arrived. The territory wars between the boarders, townies and cadets are about to recommence.

But Taylor has other things on her mind: a prayer tree, the hermit who whispered in her ear, and a vaguely familiar drawing in the local police station. Taylor wants to understand the mystery of her own past. But Hannah, the woman who found her, has suddenly disappeared, leaving nothing but an unfinished manuscript about five kids whose lives entwined twenty years ago on the Jellicoe Road . . .

Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta.

A stunning debut novel. This is Josephine's story of her final year at school, a year she sets herself free. Multi-award-winning, bestseller and now a feature film, Looking for Alibrandi has become a modern classic.

After being so obsessed with Saving Francesca I couldn't but request for more titles by Melina Marchetta. Fortunately Penguin Aus was so great that they immediately offered me a chance to read and review these books. While Looking For Alibrandi and On The Jellicoe Road sound somehow like SF, I find Finnikin On The Rock very different. I'm so reading these now :)

Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen.

Auden has always felt like the odd one out.

Since her parents' divorce she's shied away, studying lots and staying out of the party scene.

But now Auden's realized there must be something more and, just like that, she changes everything. Moving to her dad's house opens up a whole new world of beach parties, food fights – and simply having fun.

As she gets to know herself – and a secretive boy with dark, brooding eyes – can Auden begin to let go and finally feel like she truly belongs?

I practically screamed when I saw this book. The cover is so gorgeous and it's like the first decent copy of Sarah Dessen I owned. I'm going to read review Along For The Ride really soon because I simply can't wait any longer *changes to fangirl mode*

So what have you guys received for the past 7 days? Hopefully something you're dying to read!

Sunday 7 June 2009

Sunday Special (19) Aus vs. US

Once again, Serene Hours presents the cover battle. Lately I've been browsing a few Australian publishing sites and came across with a lot of new versions of US books. Some look fabulous, some looks so so and the others, won't attract much attention. Want to take a glance of them?
Here you go~

Round 1

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Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta.

Aus version: photograph, nice, unusual, good job of describing the main characters.
US version: cartoon ( or whatever you call it), cute, summarizes the book perfectly (love the uniforms)

US version won!

Round 2

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3 Willows by Ann Brashares

Aus version: summery, sisterhood-ish, fun, portrays the female leads plus the image of the story.
US version: simple, goes perfectly well with the title.

Simply the best - US.

Round 3

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Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Aus version: light, gentle, making you feel like you're enjoying your very last beautiful day of your life.
US version: depressing, gloomy, giving us a quick look of the soon-to-die girl.

Aus version owns.

Round 4

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The Summoning by Kelley Amstrong

Aus version: dark, dry, looks like historical fiction.
US version: gorgeous, dangerous, something teens will pick up immediatly.

One more vote for US.

So what do you guys think? Agree with the results? Disagree? Let me hear your voices.
More to come next week so stay tuned : D

Saturday 6 June 2009

A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

Publisher: Random House Childrens Books
Pub. Date: June 2007
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 240
Format: paperback
Source: from publisher - Random House

Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva all get mixed up with a senior boy–a cool, slick, sexy boy who can talk them into doing almost anything he wants. In a blur of high school hormones and personal doubt, each girl struggles with how much to give up and what ultimately to keep for herself. How do girls handle themselves? How much can a boy get away with? And in the end, who comes out on top? A bad boy may always be a bad boy. But this bad boy is about to meet three girls who won’t back down.

I enjoyed this book, I really did. It's a lovely story that helps teenagers tell what they really want from what they really need in a relationship. Love and sex, two topics probed throughout the novel will give you a brand new view of their own feelings.

Written in verse, A Bad Boy Can Be Good For tells the stories of three young girls - Josie, excited yet nervous to start her first year at highschool; Nicolette, strong, wild, believes that sex can control everything; Aviva, a criss crosser everyone falls short of noticing. The one and only common thing among them all is each girl, by one way or another, is involved a with nameless bad boy - the boy they think they can change into a better person. Same story but different details, each shows us a significant side how a relationship with someone you should never get close to could affect your life and your way of thinking.

Even though the writing is nice, I have to say it's not a book for every teenagers. The descriptions of sex sometimes turn out to be quite graphic and could upset a certain amount of readers. Besides, the plot is predictable, you already know how it goes - he hits on her, she falls in love, he dumps her, she breaks down - thus, it's kind of boring. However, what the author wants to get across to readers will keep you going on til the ending. A really nice, funny ending, indeed.

If you're one of those girls who like the bad boy gone good kind of story then for sure this one won't satisfy you. But although a bad boy cannot be good for a girl, he can help you realize the meaning of being with someone you love, of growing up and having enough courage to leave behind the heartbroken, foolish pieces to move on and live happily.

Rating: 3/5

Friday 5 June 2009

Win Death by Denim by Linda Gerber

Yes, it's the very first contest/giveaway on Serene Hours!!!! Are you excited? I hope you are because I really am ^^ The lastest and last installment of Death by...series just came out last month and Linda Gerber, being so nice and kind, has offered two copies to give away on my blog.

Heres's the synopsis of the book:

Aphra Connolly is being chased by some very dangerous people. She knows her survival depends upon staying far away from love interest Seth, and listening to her mom’s lectures on the finer points of anonymity and survival. But how is a girl supposed to live under the radar and not think about her boyfriend when she’s in Paris—the most romantic city in the world? When her mom’s contact in Paris is found floating in the Seine with a deadly message stuffed in his mouth, Aphra realizes that she will never be able to stop running unless she confronts the situation head-on. Sneaking away from her mom, Aphra tracks down the criminal mastermind in Italy, only to unwittingly reveal Seth’s location. And her mistake has just put them both in mortal danger. . . .

How to enter:

Simply leave a comment with your name and email. You can show how much you love to read this book or just say hi. It doesn't matter.

Extra entries:
+1 if you follow me
+2 if you're already a follower
+1 if you link this contest on your blog/facebook/twitter/myspace (sidebar is okay but make sure to come back and show me the links)

Please leave separate comments. It'll be much easier for me to count the entries. The contest is international and will end on June 14 (in case if you haven't noticed, it's one month anniversary of Death by Denim!)

Good luck everyone :D

Wednesday 3 June 2009

The Book Review Club June - Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: June 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 304

"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.

Summer can be cheerful and giggling. Summer can be romantic and stormy. Or nostalgic. Depressing. Empty. Hopeful. In this debut book of Sarah Ockler, summer can be everything and anything you want. With a fresh, attractive voice, Twenty Boy Summer introduces you to a time of the year so gorgeous yet so heartbreaking, a summer of family, friendship, and true love.

Sarah Ockler's writing is amazing. On interacting with her I realize that she is a great author, someone who is honest and lovable. Her book, unsurprisingly, is just the same.

There was not much elaboration in the background of the story, instead, everything went straight to the main point - Matt died and lives changed for the rest of the characters. Still, the story was so well planned out you couldn't find a flaw. One step forward of Anna and Frankie's vacation was one step back to the happy past of the three when Matt was alive, which, to me, was creative and easy to follow. The exact amount of flashbacks made things not too poignant, however, gave us enough details about how it all used to be. I also loved the variety of ways used to describe reminiscenes of Matt, especially the whispers and the letters Anna wrote in her journal.

The book shared a story of grief and letting go and what I liked about it was how the author balanced between not drowing the readers into sadness (after all, it's a book about summer and summer is supposed to be fun) and preventing things from being too typical or plain. It made me squeal inside like a fangirl, it made me laugh hysterically and it, too, made me want to tear. The feelings brought are pure and just right. If reading My Big Nose & Other Natural Disasters is like talking to be best friend then turning the pages of Twenty Boy Summer is exactly what it feels to scanning through a journal - peaceful at the same time eventful.

Anna and Matt are my favorite of the story. Anna was lovely, strong though timid. She was simple to relate to. I loved her confessions and thoughts about her love for Matt and how she maintained to go on without him. They were so true and heartfelt. And Matt, even though just made his appearance here and there in blurry memories, was even more appealing than Sam, perhaps for his sincerity. The strong connection between the two almost overshadowed Anna's new romance, especially when it was strengthened by the beautiful meaningful necklace. Each and every reader, for sure, will fall in love with that precious necklace.

Twenty Boy Summer is a gorgeous book inside out. It encourages us to cherish every moment of lives that we're living; noone should cling to to the past just for we're afraid to leave behind what we love, because, as we move on, they will come along with us, and always will.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (18)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Wanderlust (A Beautiful Americans Novel) by Lucy Silag.

Will they save their lost friend before it’s too late?

Angst and betrayal abound as teens search the French countryside for their missing classmate in this exciting sequel to Beautiful Americans.

The book opens with PJ on a train, racing toward Rouen to meet her sister, Annabel. But Annabel’s life may be fraught with troubles far worse than her own.

Alex persuades Jay and Zack to hunt for PJ at one of her absentee father’s ritzy estates in the country. But a painful encounter with her dad leaves Alex weeping—on Jay’s shoulder. Three’s a crowd for Zack; he heads to Amsterdam seeking an old friend, and a place to belong.

Back in Paris, Olivia’s escapades with Thomas are interrupted when they discover reason to believe PJ is in more peril than she knows. Will the crew find PJ in time? Have they lost themselves along the way?

Reasons I'm looking forward to this book:
-1. I'm in love with the plot. Even though mixed reviews of Beautiful Americans confused me, I still wanted to read the book really much. And its sequel? Sounds even better. It's a combo of love, family, passion and everything in between.
-2. The story is set in the countryside of France, which I think, will bring new feelings.
-3. Gorgeous cover. The purple looks like magic :)

Ask Santa to give you this one, because Wanderlust will come out one day before Christmas.

Monday 1 June 2009

In My Mailbox (19)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

Say hello to my new babies : D

Sleepless by Terri Clark.

The swaying Palms Hotel late-night room-service menu
Tuck-Me-In Tuna Salad on Rye $7.50

Catch-Some-ZZZs Cheeseburger and Fries $10.00
Up-All-Night Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Milk $5.50
Bedtime Banana Split $7.00

I can't go to sleep!!! And not because of the cute boy lying next to me. There's a killer stalking me in my dreams.

Say The Word by Jeannine Garsee.

The world expects perfection from seventeen-year-old Shawna Gallagher, and for the most part, that’s what they get. She dates the right boys, gets good grades, and follows her father’s every rule. But when her estranged lesbian mother dies, it’s more than perfect Shawna can take. Suddenly, anger from being abandoned ten years ago is resurfacing along with Shawna’s embarrassment over her mother’s other family. As she confronts family secrets and questions from the past, Shawna realizes there’s a difference between doing the perfect thing and doing the right thing.

She's So Money by Cherry Cheva.

Who knew that getting in trouble could be so much fun?

Maya has always been the good girl. Camden is the popular jock with a bigger ego than brain. Maya never thought there'd be a reason for them to, like, interact. But when the biggest mistake of her life lands her in need of a seriously devious plan, she discovers Camden isn't as dumb as he looks. And now that Maya's playing the bad girl (lying, cheating, swindling, and, um, shopping), she might as well do it right and flirt with the bad boy. . . .

Love love all of these books. I know I'm going to have a great time reading these regardless of how serious or fun each will turn out to be. Since all three have been published for a little while and you guys seemed to have read them all, care to help me pick one to read first?

Thanks Terri, Jeannine and Cherry for sending me your awesome books~! You guys rock!