Thursday, April 30, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Worse?

Which is worse?

Finding a book you love and then hating everything else you try by that author, or

Reading a completely disappointing book by an author that you love?

Definitely finding a book you love and then hating everything else you try by that author. I feel like I would keep trying and trying and trying to recreate that magic and I would hate being disappointed over and over again. Yet I would keep trying! Whereas if there was one dud in an author's body of work I could just try another or go back to another I liked!

What about you?

Genesis by Bernard Beckett Discussion + Giveaway

Today we have something a little new and exciting! Lenore of Presenting Lenore, Sharon of Sharon Loves Books and Cats, and I will be discussing Genesis by Bernard Beckett today spread across all three of our blogs. Please stop over to their blogs to check out the rest of the discussion!

For those not familiar with Genesis here's the information off the back of the ARC:

It's the year 2075. A remote island Republic has emerged from an apocalyptic, plague- ridden past. Its citizens are safe but not free. They live in complete isolation from the outside world. Approaching planes are gunned down, refugees shot on sight. Until one man rescues a girl from the sea...

Outstanding and original, Bernard Beckett's dramatic narratives comes to a stunning close that will leave you reeling. This perfect combination of thrilling page-turner and provocative novel of ideas demands to be read again and again.

Onto the discussion:

Alea: When Lenore first featured this book on her blog, she shared with us several versions of the cover. What do you make of the U.S. edition? Does it fit the story in your mind? Did what you see on the cover change after reading it?

Sharon: When I first saw the U.S cover of Genesis I really wanted to know what the book was about. After reading the summary I thought that it fit the book really well. The strip of hair that appears on the cover didn’t make much sense to me until the end of Genesis. The ending totally changed my perception of the cover. I really thought that the U.S. cover was a perfect fit because the ending of Genesis also changed my perception of the book. So the cover and the book were just perfect for each other.

Alea: Being much more familiar with this genre were you surprised with how the events unfolded in Genesis? Did the ending take you by surprise? Would you consider Genesis to fit in easily with other dystopias or is it in a class of it's own?

Lenore: I was shocked by the ending. It’s not that is totally original – I’ve read several stories that are surprising in a similar way – but I really didn’t see it coming until it was there. And then in that moment, you think back on all you’ve read up to that point and realize, just like Anax does, that it couldn’t really end any other way. After reading, I’m actually a bit surprised that Genesis is being marketed as YA since, as a dystopia, it more resembles adult titles of the genre. Teen titles tend to have a lot more action and have a more active protagonist – but Anax doesn’t do anything in the novel besides study and take her exam.

Sharon: With barely any description to go by how did you picture the character of Anaximander? Did you find she had a relatable personality?

Alea: I pictured Anaximander as a quiet, bookish girl that doesn't call attention to herself, always with her nose in a book or maybe looking off into space thinking about the past or the future. Physically I decided that she had long brown hair that maybe hid her face a bit. I found her personality very relatable! If we lived at the same time we definitely would have been friends or study buddies! We're both serious about our studies and are big rule followers!

And let's end with a giveaway for an ARC of Genesis! To enter:

Leave a comment sharing one of your favorite dystopia novels and why you like it. If you have never read one what interests you about this genre?

For 1 additional entry post/blog about this giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you have done so.

This giveaway is open to addresses within the U.S. and Canada.

Please leave a way for me to contact you if you are the winner!

The giveaway will end Thursday May 7th at 11:59pm Central Time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Guest Post from Author Sarah Quigley!

Today marks the first ever guest post here on Pop Culture Junkie and who better to have than author Sarah Quigley! Sarah's book TMI was released on April 16th! I must say this is beyond fantastic, THANK YOU Sarah!

Letting My Roots Show

I attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Twenty percent of Carleton’s students are Minnesotans, and the rest come from all over the U.S. and abroad. This was largely what drew me to the school, and I was excited when I found out that my freshman roommate hailed from exotic Missouri. I quickly made friends with people from all over the map. Knoxville, Tennessee. DeKalb, Illinois. Pepin, Wisconsin. Miami, Florida. I mean, Miami. How much more glamorous and exciting did it get?

Carleton strives to recruit a diverse student body, and as a Minnesotan, I often felt that my presence contributed nothing to that diversity. I had classmates who attended private prep schools in Paris or spent their summers volunteering at Russian orphanages or grew up in Tokyo. My life felt so boring by contrast. When people asked me where I was from, I said, “Minnesota,” and quickly changed the subject. What else was there to say? My hometown wasn’t even as cool as Northfield. At least Northfield had thrift shops and a coffee house. It had culture.

My self-consciousness about being a Minnesotan only intensified when people made fun of my accent. I wasn’t even aware I had an accent, unlike my friend Mike from Tennessee who referred to his favorite female body part as “nippos.” I made an effort to say “soda” instead of “pop” and reminded myself that “root” rhymed with “flute” and not “put.”

Even though I now said “casserole” instead of “hot dish,” I was still a small-town Midwestern girl at heart. And I needed gossip, which I got every Friday when my hometown newspaper arrived in the mail. I opened it eagerly, hoping to see another engagement or birth announcement from someone I’d known in high school. I always made a big show of groaning about the news to whoever was nearby. “Can you believe this? They’re only nineteen! And they’re getting married! What are they thinking?!”

My friend from Miami, Cara, soon became addicted to my hometown newspaper and joined me in the student union every week to read it. She especially loved the sheriff’s report. “Barn fire on the Johnson homestead,” she’d read solemnly. “One hundred chickens lost in the blaze.” Cara admitted that the Miami Herald never reported such things. “Oh?” I replied, smirking. “Aren’t there any chicken farms in Miami?”

Spring of my freshman year, I arranged for Mike (a.k.a. Mr. Nippo) to attend prom with my friend, Ann Marie, who was still in high school. Mike was single when he agreed to go, but by the time prom rolled around, he was dating Cara. She was cool with it, though. I brought Mike, Cara, and the rest of our posse to my hometown for the weekend. We all went out to dinner with Mike and Ann Marie at a local restaurant. Compared to the mild-mannered natives, my friends were a rowdy group, laughing loudly and demanding extra baskets of friend cheese curds. Much to my surprise, they’d never eaten these before, and they were crazy about them.

After dinner, we headed over to the high school to watch the Grand March. In my hometown, prom is held at the high school and starts with the Grand March. The couples parade before the whole town (or at least as many as will fit in the gymnasium bleachers, which is a hefty chunk of the entire population). Each pair walks out into a spotlight, and the principal announces their names. Then, they walk along a path in front of the crowd. It costs a couple of bucks to get into the Grand March, and people arrive a few hours early to get the best seats.

My Carleton friends were absolutely stunned by the whole thing. None of them had ever seen a Grand March before, and Cara insisted on taking pictures of the crowd and the gym to show her Miami friends. “They’re never going to believe me if I just tell them about this,” she said. “I need photographic evidence.”

That evening, as I watched my friends take their first bites of fried cheese curds and stare in awe at the Grand March, I realized something important. Culture is not defined by palm trees or art museums or even thrift shops. My hometown had culture. I’d just never noticed before. The things that I’d always taken for granted as normal and boring were new and exciting to my friends. They were digging the scene.

I won’t say that this experience magically cleansed me. I still didn’t have enough confidence to let my accent and Minnesota-isms creep back. I still felt sheepish when asked where I was from. But I recognized that I came from a place with real culture, and its value was reflected in my friends’ fascination. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become proud of my Minnesota roots (rhymes with “puts”). I wouldn’t want to be from anywhere else.

"Waiting On" Wednesday! 28

An Off Year by Claire Zulkey

From The Publisher's Catalog:

A tense and quirky transition year that will resonate with over-programmed teens.

Cecily has always done everything as she was supposed to: taken the right classes, gotten the right grades, applied to the right colleges. But after a lifetime of following the rules, she surprises everyone by arriving for her freshman year of college . . . and turning around. There are infinite possibilities for Cecily's unexpected gap year. She could volunteer or travel around the world-but, for now, Cecily is content to do absolutely nothing. What follows is a year of snarkily observed self-doubt and self-discovery during which Cecily must ask herself, for the first time, what does she really want to do with her life?

Released September 3rd 2009

This sounds really interesting. While I didn't take a year off between high school and college I sort of did between college and a real full time job. And I literally did as little as possible! I really am interested to see what the main character Cecily discovers about herself in her gap year!

What can't you wait for to be released?

"Waiting On" Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday Thingers: All Your Covers

Questions: Do you have any missing covers (they show as a plain gray book)? Did you have a favorite view (title, author, date entered)? Do you have any favorite covers? If so, is there anything they have in common?

Oh boy, yes I am missing a lot of covers. Mostly for hand entered zines and comics from my zines and comics phase from like a year and a half ago. For awhile I sat down and tried to locate covers to put in but I'm still missing a ton! I used to be very anal about making sure the cover matched my book right when I uploaded it but now I just sometimes catch a few here and there when I'm poking around in my library.

I have about a zillion favorite covers but the one that I've been thinking about a lot the last week is the cover for Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (click to enlarge). My main reason for obsessing over this cover is the type. It's one of my personal goals (which i'm totally not working on) to be able to create type treatments like that. It's just glorious! And the book sounds really good as well!

What's one of your favorite recent covers?

Hardcover vs. Paperback 26

Bass Ackwards and Belly Up by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain


For readers of the New York Times bestselling Gossip Girl and A-List series, here is a smart and highly commercial first novel about four best friends who, after graduating high school, decide to postpone the standard college route to pursue their creative dreams.

Harper Waddle, Sophie Bushell, and Kate Foster are about to commit the ultimate suburban sin--bailing on college to each pursue their dreams: write the next Great American Novel, make it as a Hollywood actress, and backpack around the world. Middlebury-bound Becca Winsberg is convinced her friends have gone insane...until they remind her she just might have a dream of her own. So what if their lives are bass ackwards and belly up? They'll always have each other.

Harper is going to be the next Jane Austen. Or Sylvia Plath. Or Plum Sykes. Figuring out which should be easy. It?s living with the lie she told her three best friends that's going to be hard.

Kate doesn?t know exactly what she wants. But whatever it is, she won't find it at Harvard. Maybe the answer is in Paris, or Athens? or anywhere Kate can be someone besides the girl with perfect grades, perfect hair, and the perfect boyfriend.

Sophie is a star. She's already got the looks, the talent, and a list of demands for her dressing room. Now that she's wrangled a furnished guesthouse in Beverly Hills, it's only a matter of time before she?s discovered. Unless she isn't.

Becca is dysfunctional. At least, her family is. Which is why she can't wait to flee the drama and get to college. But Becca's friends know she needs more than a spot on the Middlebury ski team and a cozy dorm room. They know she needs to fall in love.

Dreams are complicated. They almost never turn out like you imagine they almost always change. Sometimes, they change you.

Ok first of all, this sounds really good! Second of all, no contest here, the paperback wins! The hardcover looks like a girl on a balance beam or something, what the heck! The paperback totally fits the description to me!

Hardcover or Paperback?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson

James Hoff likes to rant against America's consumerist culture. He also likes to rant against his ex-girlfriend, Sadie, who he feels isn't doing enough to change the world. But just like he can't avoid buying things, he also can't avoid Sadie.

Ok, this book totally rocked my world. I kept cracking up over and over again. I loved being inside of 11th grader James Hoff's world, listening to his rants and watching him pine over several girls. His observations about the world were just too good. This was definitely my kind of book. I felt like I was sort of laughing at how extreme he was but at the same time kind of got him. While he was obviously a lot of talk and not a lot of action I loved where he was coming from and would love to have a friend like that.

While I loved James rants and sort of easier said than done thoughts about the world I could see how he might get on other people's nerves. I really liked the way the book was written, how it was a mix of James rants, journal entries, and conversations with other people. There is an especially insightful essay about nature towards the end of the book which I really liked. I also liked the different relationships he explores with a few girls throughout the book. It was definitely harder for him to be Mr. Tough Guy when he was around Sadie his ex-girlfriend.

It was nice to see how James kind of mellowed out and found a place where he belonged towards the end of the book instead of trying to stand out from everyone as much as he could towards the beginning of the book. I'll definitely be checking out some of author Blake Nelson's other work!

Destroy All Cars is released on May 1st.

4.5/ 5 Stars
ARC received from publisher

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita

When Sam's best friend gets her first boyfriend, she's not ready to spend the summer listening to the two of them call each other "pookie." Sick of being a third wheel, Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp in the New York Catskills. But what she doesn't realize is that it's not going to be all Kumbaya sing-alongs and gooey s'mores. If Ashley, the alpha queen of Whispering Pines, doesn't ruin Sam's summer, then her raging crush on the surfer-blond and flirtatious Hunter just might. At least she has playful Cole, who's always teasing her, but is oh-so-comfortable to hang out with, and the singular gang of girls that become fast friends with Sam-they call themselves the Sleepaway Girls.

To me this is a perfect summer fun book! Whipsering Pines is the ultimate camp for friends, flirtations, and finding out more about yourself. Makes my stints at Girl Scout camp look very yawn worthy! While nothing too out of the ordinary or different happens it was a thoroughly enjoyable book for me! It definitely makes me eager to read the author's Secrets of My Hollywood Life series.

I loved all the different parts of the plot, from the cute little campers that were home sick, to the camp director's youngest daughter who made sure camp wasn't easy for Sam, to the cute boys and the Sleepaway Girls videos! All the different parts of the plot blended together to make a summer that most girls dream of. It was just really fun to read!

I really liked Sam, though if I was in her shoes I'm sure I would have ratted out Ashley, the camp director's daughter for her antics a lot more often! I also really liked Sam's fellow CIT (counselor in training) Cole, he seemed like a really sweet and playful guy. It was totally cute to see him take care of his little campers, who couldn't fall for this guy! And the Sleepaway Girls, while they all sort of had their "thing" they were known for (Court loves to flirt, Em is shy and likes to read romance novels, and Grace is an athlete) they were a great part of the story. I can't help hope this might turn into a series!

Overall a perfect summer read for teens (or teens at heart) of any age! Slip on your flip flops, grab a lemonade and enjoy!

Sleepaway Girls is released on May 1st.

4.5/5 Stars
ARC received from publisher

Saturday, April 25, 2009

This Week In Books Or I Went Back to Borders Ooops!

One Lonely Degree by C. K. Kelly Martin

This book is going to rule, seriously it sounds so amazing. It came for review.

Breathless by Lurlene McDaniel
If The Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney

These were a fun surprise! For review.


Cathy's Key by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman

Completes my trio of Cathy books. To review.


Turning Tables by Heather and Rose MacDowell
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
Chuck Dugan is AWOL by Eric Chase Anderson

These came from the library sale. When I saw the Eric Chase Anderson book I starting freaking out. He's the brother of my favorite director Wes Anderson. He's done all the illustrations for the Criterion Collection packaging for the movies and also all the awesome art in the Royal Tenenbaums. I had completely forgotten he had written a book so I was SO happy to see it!

Dork Diaires: Tales from a not so fabulous life by Rachel Renee Russell

Ok, I just had to share a picture with you of what came with Dork Diaries. It's "Nikki's Purse", the main character's purse! It sounds like most of the contents relate directly to the story. You better believe I will have this next to me when I'm reading the book! What a fun marketing idea!



My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
The Learners Chip Kidd
The Used World by Haven Kimmel

I went back to Borders....
anyhow two of these I was waiting for to come out in paperback and the third was a bargain book!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lookalikes 46

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Words to Live By by C.S. Lewis

The Stepmother by Carrie Adams

So, for the first two, not the same picture but mighty close with the same type of saturation. I'm going to have to go with Twilight on this one because of how simple it is. It really irks me the way the text is slapped onto the image for Words to Live By. And the third cover is a refreshing take on the apple in hands, less menacing if you wish. I like how the apple glitters!

Which is your favorite?

Thanks to S. Krishna and Ashley and Irish for suggesting this lookalike!

UPDATE: Here's one from Avis! Thanks!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Symbolic? Or Not?

Is symbolism an older literary device, like excessive description, that is not used much any more? Do you think there was as much symbolism as English teachers seemed to think? What are some examples of symbolism from your reading?

Oh gosh symbolism. I've always been very bad at finding symbolic meaning in writing. Especially poems, I could read a poem 100 times and probably still not get what the poet was trying to say! So really, I have no idea if symbolism is an older literary device or if it's still alive and kicking. I guess I could see how that is the case, but I really have no reasoning the back it. I have no idea if my English teachers were right, but they sure saw more than me!

Are you better at spotting symbolism than I am?

Busy Woman Seeks Wife by Annie Sanders

To a casual observer, Londoner Alex Hill is every inch the calm and collected executive of a global sportswear company. In reality, she's constantly frantic, with barely enough time to take out the trash. When her demanding mother, a 1960s style icon, has a bad fall and has to move in with her indefinitely, Alex realizes she needs someone more committed than a maid-what she needs is a wife. An ad in the local paper soon produces a young woman who seems both enthusiastic and capable. But something odd is definitely happening behind the scenes of Alex's new, perfectly ordered existence. Someone distinctly male is charming her mother as well as doing all the ironing. He's no one Alex would ordinarily ever notice, never mind date. But now she can't help wondering if her new "wife" could perhaps have husband potential...

Busy Woman Seeks Wife has a very cute and original premise. I'm definitely not sharing more than what the blurb gives you, it's more fun to find out for yourself! While it was a bit slow to start, by the last 100 pages or so it was pushing ahead at full steam.

The whole story centers around Alex, who is busy beyond belief trying to put together a launch for a sports apparel crossover line. And she's sure that someone in her office is out to sabotage her. I will admit, she took awhile to grow on me but when she finally did I was totally on her side and I wanted her to pull off her launch without a hitch. I really liked how all the parts of her life and all the characters came together in the last 1/3 of the story, that was my favorite part.

My favorite character in the story was Frankie, a struggling actor that just so happens to be great at domestic chores. He was kind to everyone, from his flighty sister to "The Bean" an aging model and actress to the sweet Saff. Whenever Frankie was on the page I had a grin on my face.

I thought the saboteur plotline was really fun but there was never a question in my mind who the guilty party was. I also thought that Saff's (Alex's friend) plotline of realizing she wasn't satisfied with just being a homemaker was treated rather well and I also liked seeing Frankie's sister's (Ella) come into her own and mature a bit. I also completely understood Alex's feeling about her once famous mother "The Bean". Overall there is a great cast of characters here.

All in all a somewhat slow start but it completely ramps up to a great finish!

Busy Woman Seeks Wife is released on April 29th.

3/5 Stars
ARC received from publisher

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Say YES to Indies or Movies I Can't Stop Thinking About

Sunshine Cleaning (March 13)

A single mom and her slacker sister find an unexpected way to turn their lives around in the off-beat dramatic comedy Sunshine Cleaning. Directed by Christine Jeffs (Rain, Sylvia), this uplifting film about an average family that finds the path to its dreams in an unlikely setting screened in competition at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Once the high school cheerleading captain who dated the quarterback, Rose Lorkowski (Academy Award nominee Amy Adams) now finds herself a thirty something single mother working as a maid. Her sister Norah, (Golden Globe winner Emily Blunt), is still living at home with their dad Joe (Academy Award winner Alan Arkin), a salesman with a lifelong history of ill-fated get rich quick schemes. Desperate to get her son into a better school, Rose persuades Norah to go into the crime scene clean-up business with her to make some quick cash. In no time, the girls are up to their elbows in murders, suicides and other…specialized situations. As they climb the ranks in a very dirty job, the sisters find a true respect for one another and the closeness they have always craved finally blossoms. By building their own improbable business, Rose and Norah open the door to the joys and challenges of being there for one another—no matter what—while creating a brighter future for the entire Lorkowski family.

TiMER (April 26)
What if a clock could count down to the moment you meet your soul mate?

In this alternate version of present day Los Angeles, a revolutionary device called the TiMER fulfills this fantasy. For a reasonable installation fee and moderate monthly charges, a TiMER implanted in the wrist will accurately display the numbers of days, hours, minutes and seconds until the wearer’s date with destiny.

Sounds awesome, right?

Not if you’re Oona O’Leary (EMMA CAULFIELD, Buffy the Vampire Slayer). She faces the rare dilemma of a blank TiMER. Her soul mate—whoever and wherever he is—doesn’t have a TiMER. While her family and friends move through life with predetermined romantic fates, Oona searches for her perfect match via process of elimination, tentatively dating TiMER-less men but never getting emotionally invested. Instead she convinces them to get TiMERs, only to have her hopes crushed time and time again.

Staring down the barrel of thirty and tired of waiting for her would-be life partner to get off the dime, Oona breaks her own rules and falls for Mikey (JOHN PATRICK AMEDORI, Gossip Girl), a charming and inappropriately young supermarket clerk with a countdown of four months. But what will happen when those four months are up? Only when Oona ignores the ticking clock can she finally experience the exhilarating and unpredictable hot mess that is love.

Click HERE to watch the trailer.

Rudo Y Cursi (May 8)

Beto (Diego Luna) and Tato (Gael García Bernal) Verdusco are brothers who work at a banana plantation and also play soccer for the village team. Nicknamed “Tough” because of his personality and football style, Beto dreams of becoming a professional soccer player; Tato’s dream is to be a famous singer, and both share the dream of building a house for their mother, Elvira (Dolores Heredia). They have a change in luck when “Batuta”, a soccer talent scout, discovers them accidentally. Tato is the first to move to the big city where he becomes the star goal scorer for the prestigious Deportivo Amaranto (Amaranto Club). His baroque playing style earns him the nickname of “Corny”. Although Beto feels he has been betrayed and left behind, he soon travels to Mexico City to become the goalkeeper for Atlético Nopaleros (Nopaleros Team). At the peak of glory, they forget all animosity, although it does not last long. At the very real possibility of fulfilling all of their dreams, the siblings must face an innate rivalry as well as their own demons and limitations. Beto is a gambler and allows his addiction to drag him down; Tato is unable to recognize his true talents and squanders every opportunity by pursuing a false idea of celebrity and status. The dream seems to slip through their fingers. And it is at their worst moment that the brothers find forgiveness trying to help each other while casting headlong towards their individual destiny.

Summer Hours (May 15)

“The divergent paths of 3 forty-something siblings collide when their mother, heiress to her uncle’s exceptional 19th century art collection, dies suddenly. Left to come to terms with themselves and their differences, Adrienne (Juliette Binoche), a successful New York designer, Frédéric (Charles Berling), an economist and university professor in Paris, and Jérémie (Jérémie Renier), a dynamic businessman in China, confront the end of childhood, their shared memories, background and unique vision of the future.”

Away We Go (June 5)

Directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”) from an original screenplay by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, this funny and heartfelt film follows the journey of an expectant couple (John Krasinski [“The Office’] and Maya Rudolph [“Saturday Night Live"), as they travel the U.S. in search of the perfect place to put down roots and raise their family. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover “home” on their own terms for the first time. The movie features the music of Alexi Murdoch.

500 Days of Summer (July 24)

Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn’t. This post modern love story is never what we expect it to be — it’s thorny yet exhilarating, funny and sad, a twisted journey of highs and lows that doesn’t quite go where we think it will. When Tom, a hapless greeting card copywriter and hopeless romantic, is blindsided after his girlfriend Summer dumps him, he shifts back and forth through various periods of their 500 days “together” to try to figure out where things went wrong. His reflections ultimately lead him to finally rediscover his true passions in life.

Paper Heart (August 7)

Charlyne Yi does not believe in love. Or so she says. Well, at the very least, she doesn’t believe in fairy-tale love or the Hollywood mythology of love, and her own experiences have turned her into yet another modern-day skeptic. PAPER HEART follows Charlyne as she embarks on a quest across America to make a documentary about the one subject she doesn’t fully understand. As she and her good friend (and director) Nicholas search for answers and advice about love, Charlyne talks with friends and strangers, scientists, bikers, romance novelists, and children. They each offer diverse views on modern romance, as well as various answers to the age-old question: does true love really exist? Then, shortly after filming begins, Charlyne meets a boy after her own heart: Michael Cera. As their relationship develops on camera, her pursuit to discover the nature of love takes on a fresh new urgency. Charlyne risks losing the person she finds closest to her heart. Combining elements of documentary and traditional storytelling, reality and fantasy, PAPER HEART brings a fresh perspective to the modern romance and redefines the classic love story.

Blurbs from except for the TiMER blurb, which is from the official website.

"Waiting On" Wednesday! 27

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

From The Publisher's Catalog:

An arresting story about starting over after a friend's suicide, from a breakthrough new voice in YA fiction.

dear caitlin, there are so many things that i want so badly to tell you but i just can't.

Devastating, hopefully, hopeless, playful . . . in words and illustrations, Ingrid left behind a painful farewell in her journal for Caitlin. Now Caitlin is left alone, by loss and by choice, struggling to find renewed hope in the wake of her best friend's suicide. With the help of her family and newfound friends, Caitlin will encounter first love, broaden her horizons, and start to realize that true friendship didn't die with Ingrid. And the journal which once seemed only to chronicle Ingrid's descent into depression, becomes the tool by which Caitlin once again reaches out to all those who loved Ingrid-and Caitlin herself.

Released October 15th 2009

Hands down, I need to read this. I feel like I might get a lot out of it. And with my attempts at reading what I like to call, "Sad books" I think this could turn out to be amazing. And what's this about a journal with illustrations, I'm definitely eager to see this.

What can't you wait for to be released?

"Waiting On" Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fun YA Bookish Things

Libba Bray Reading at

This is something that is surely new and different! Libba will be doing a reading of THE SWEET FAR THING and chatting with other avatars from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday, April 28th. looks to me like a cross between the Sims and Second Life, it can't not be cool, to see/hear an author reading as an avatar!

Susane Colasanti Sampler

This is handy! You can read the first three chapters of all three of Susane Colasanti's books! I think that's a perfect way to figure out which of her books you want to start with, especially with her third coming out in less than a month!

Harry Potter vs. Twilight
Ok this is totally awesome, kids battling it out as to which series is better. Reminds me of something I did in elementary school called Battle of the Books! Can you say awesome!

Supernatural Summer E-book Sampler

This is cool! A free e-book sampler of 5 of Harper Teen's newest and upcoming supernatural titles! The sampler includes excerpts from Claudia Gray's Stargazer, Melissa Marr's Fragile Eternity, Aprilynne Pike's Wings, Kim Harrison's Once Dead, Twice Shy and Kelley Armstrong's The Awakening! It also looks like there is a tour attached to this!

Tuesday Thingers: Helper Badges

Did you know about Helper Badges? Do you have any badges? If so, what is your highest medal/number? What is your lowest? Do the badges give you any incentive to help add to the areas of LT that they cover (Common Knowledge, Venues, etc)?

I feel like I was vaguely familiar with the helper badges, but I can't be positive, so obviously I don't have any. I will definitely have to look into this further, I've actually manually entered in a number of zines and comics so this might be right up my alley!

Hardcover vs. Paperback 25

Girl Bomb by Janice Erlbaum



At fifteen, sick of her unbearable and increasingly dangerous home life, Janice Erlbaum walked out of her family’s Brooklyn apartment and didn’t look back. From her first frightening night at a shelter, Janice knew she was in over her head. She was beaten up, shaken down, and nearly stabbed by a pregnant girl. But it was still better than living at home. As Janice slipped further into street life, she nevertheless attended high school, harbored crushes, and even played the lead in the spring musical. She also roamed the streets, clubs, bars, and parks of New York City with her two best girlfriends, on the prowl for hard drugs and boys on skateboards. Together they scored coke at Danceteria, smoked angel dust in East Village squats, commiserated over their crazy mothers, and slept with one another’s boyfriends on a regular basis.

A wry, mesmerizing portrait of being underprivileged, underage, and underdressed in 1980s New York City, Girlbomb provides an unflinching look at street life, survival sex, female friendships, and first loves.

While the paperback is more striking I think the hardcover fits the description better. And that mesh stuff is just tacky and unappeling to me.

Hardcover or Paperback?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Deep in the Heart of High School by Veronica Goldbach

Vanna Reynolds was popular and happy back in Plano, Texas, but now she lives with her mother in a tiny apartment in San Antonio. How can she start her freshman year as a complete nobody? Fatima Garcia does well in school and helps out with her family’s construction business, but is worried about her weight. So she’s thrilled when a junior starts paying attention to her – but is he really interested in Fatima? Olivia Silverstein tries to make life easier for her mother. Ever since her father died two years ago, she’s been the perfect daughter. When will she get to have her own life? When Vanna, Fatima, and Olivia meet at band practice in August, they quickly become best friends. Together, they are ready to tackle the matters of the heart that await them, deep in the heart of high school.Written with verve and touches of humor, the voices in this first novel ring with authenticity.

Deep in the Heart of High School is a classic novel of the coming of age of three friends. They each face their own set of problems individually but help each other become strong enough to face these challenges. Anyone that is a fan of Ann Brashares's The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series of 3 Willows, this book is for you.

I loved how heritage played a part in this story, all of the girls having different backgrounds but also sharing some things in common. It was also interesting to read about Texas, a place I've never been before. It sure makes me want to visit!

I think my favorite character was Fatima. She had a rather large family, but her older sister is somewhat estranged from them. Also, she's a bit on the chubby side with her mother constantly trying to help her lose weight, and also her friend Alex, who's she's been friends with forever but it feels like he's starting to see her in a different way. While I favored Fatima, I thought all the characters were well rounded and interesting.

I loved the band aspect of this book, that's what drew me to it originally. In the beginning of the book the band "food chain" is described and I found it hilarious, because apparently at their school I would have been one of the cool kids (the drummers).

All in all this is a sweet coming of age book perfect for YA readers of any age!

Deep in the Heart of High School is released on April 27th.

3.5/5 Stars
Review copy received from publisher

Sunday, April 19, 2009

B as in Beauty by Alberto Ferreras

From Advance Reader Copy:

Beauty Maria Zavala-you can call her B-hates her size and worse, hates that others judge her for it. But everything changes when her new tax accountant turns out to be a modern-day fair godmother. Armed with the same old curves but a whole new attitude, B is ready to show the world what Beauty is all about.

I really enjoyed B as in Beauty, from B's weight struggles to work politics to trying to shine next to her beautiful friend, B has an authentic and relatable life. And then everything changes, she meets a woman that takes her on a journey to self acceptance, confidence and pride.

While the premise sounds like your normal enjoyable chick-lit title, he takes in a direction I definitely wasn't expecting but definitely enjoyed. I won't give anything away here, it's better to let the book reveal itself to you. But I'll say this, through seeing how others react to B she realizes what she really has and learns to be proud of it.

I really liked the way the author used B's voice. The way she told her stories and how she brought up things from her past to explain the present situations, it was really clever and made for a really enjoyable book. And the cast of characters this author created, I loved them all! From B's evil boss, to her tax accountant, to the shy yet famous fashion photographer, they all had something to offer and I thought they were all rather dimensional. It was a rich story.

All in all a great book full of humor, self acceptance, and a bit of romance!

B as in Beauty is released on April 24th.

4/5 Stars
ARC received from publisher

Check out the book trailer below!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This Week In Books Part 2 Or Oh Noooos Why Did I Think It Was A Safe Idea to Go to Borders Tonight?!?!?!

You may be thinking to yourself "Didn't Alea already post her This Week In Books post today?" and you would be right. I was an idiot and thought it might be fun to go to Borders tonight, haven't been in a few weeks, I'd get one book and leave, perfectly innocent, or so I thought! They had the hugest clearance sale I've ever seen there! Books, and books, and books everywhere and cds and movies! I consider myself lucky that this is all I left with! HA!

Local Girls by Jenny O'Connell

This one sounds cute! And it was on clearance!

Moby Clique by Cara Lockwood

I have the first two in this series so I figured why not, it was on clearance too!

Such A Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess

I had dismissed this one as too sad for me, but in an effort to try and enjoy sad books I got it, it was also on clearance!

Tatoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I got this because I have a copy of the sequel to this book, Fate. And I had a 30% off coupon!

The Complete Season 1 of Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends

Ok yes, this isn't a book. But this show is beyond awesome, anyone else like it? It was on clearance for $10! My only concern is the cover is different from all the other ones online, hopefully there is nothing shady about this version!

This Week In Books Or Some Surprises in the Mail!

Monday: nothing


Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart

This came for review, I think the author may be speaking locally.

Misery Loves Cabernet by Kim Gruenenfelder

ANOTHER Library Thing Early Reviewer book, this is my first one from a bonus batch!


Pretty in Pink: The Golden Age of Teenage Movies by Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein+ 80s movies= awesome. This is the first thing I ever bought from Amazon Marketplace, I paid 1 cent for it (and $3.99 shipping)!


Falling Stars by V.C. Andrews
Sparkles by Louise Bagshawe

Raisin Rodriguez and the Big-Time Smooch by Judy Goldschmidt

The Importance of Being Married by Gemma Townley
The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay

Got to stay at the library a little longer so naturally I found more!

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee

Bookmooch book, first one in a long time.


Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

These came for review, and thankfully I have the books that come before these in the series!


30 Days to Finding and Keeping Sassy Sidekicks and BFFs by Clea Hantman

This also came for review, I've been known to enjoy reading fun how-to guides :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

BLOG TOUR: Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee

Dredging up the past can knock the present right off balance.

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. Shawna’s honest and relatable voice will draw readers in and hold them until the last page in this coming-of-age story. Jeannine Garsee has delivered a compulsively readable second novel, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson.

Wow, there is sure a lot packed into this book, it was emotional, powerful, and definitely original. And I think for the most part it works really well! Shawna's journey spans everything from what it means to be family, sexuality, friendship, and love, it goes everywhere. I was compulsively turning the pages of Say the Word, I had to know where it was going and had to know that everyone was going to come out of this situation ok. It was definitely stressful at times to read, especially any scene that involved Shawna's father. A few of the plot twists I could see from miles away but there were others that I was clueless as to where they would go and also a few that were so small I could have done without them. I really admire how much the author takes on in just one book!

I really liked the use of Perfect Shawna, Pathetic Shawna, and Evil Shawna, they all took turns coming out to play. I felt like by the end of the story Shawna was just Shawna, she found a common ground for all the versions of herself. I will admit, the ending had me a little teary eyed, it made me sad but it was an ok sad I think! All in all a powerful book that explores tons of issues a teen can face (and maybe some they won't) in a way that blends them together into a beautiful story.

Say the Word was released on March 17th.

4.5/5 Stars
Can't remember where I got this book

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Windfall

Yesterday, April 15th, was Tax Day here in the U.S., which means lots of lucky people will get refunds of over-paid taxes.

Whether you’re one of them or not, what would you spend an unexpected windfall on? Say … $50? How about $500?

(And, this is a reading meme, so by rights the answer should be book-related, but hey, feel free to go wild and splurge on anything you like.)

This is just cruel! Because I did in fact get 1,000 dollars back. And instantly people were like "Think how many books you could buy." But I decided to put it into a Roth IRA, snooze I know.

BUT if I had this money to just do anything I wanted with? I'd probably buy almost everything off of my three amazon wishlists. I would also pre-order TONS and TONS of books. I'd be getting books in the mail left and right!
And that would be AWESOME!

Lookalikes 45

Annie's Baby edited by Beatrice Sparks, Ph. D.

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

This is a great one because they really don't look the same but have so many similar elements. Blue car (do you think the first one is in a car or maybe a window?), girl looking out window, and hands up in the frame. I like Story of the Girl better because the design is just much more contemporary, I'm assuming the other cover is a reprint of an older cover?

Which is your favorite?

Thanks to Amee for suggesting this lookalike!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday! 26

Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani

From the Publisher's Website:

From the author of the New York Times bestselling adult novel Very Valentine comes this first book in a fresh new teen series, about a group of boarding school friends navigating the ups and downs of living together, falling in love, and following their dreams.

Shipped off to boarding school in South Bend, Indiana, city girl and aspiring filmmaker Viola Chesterton feels out of place with her three new roommates. Missing her life back home, Viola is tempted to hide behind her video camera all year. But first impressions are often wrong, and soon Viola realizes she’s in for the most incredible year of her life—if only she can put the camera down and let the world in.

USA Today calls powerhouse adult author Adriana Trigiani “one of the reigning queens of women’s fiction.” Viola in Reel Life follows on the heels of Adriana's debut on the Harper list, the instant New York Times bestselling adult novel Very Valentine, and she has now brought to life—with a spot-on teen voice—a new series about four friends finding their place at boarding school and the world at large.

Released September 1st 2009

Ok so there are TONS of things that make this book sound appealing. First of all, I've read a few of the author's adult titles and liked them so I bet her YA would also be fun. Second, boarding school group of friends! Third, the main character is an aspiring filmmaker! And lastly, it's the beginning of a series! Consider me EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!

What can't you wait for to be released?

"Waiting On" Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday Thingers: Re-style Your Library

Questions: Have you explored the different styles? Have you customized any of the styles? If so, what are your favorite customized items (isbn, Dewey Decimal, Reviews, Book-Swap, etc)?

I think when I first joined LibraryThing a few years ago I played around with the styles and decided on Style B (which seems to be pretty popular). Like everyone else I gotta see my covers! I really like the Comments Box, I've been entering in the year and where I've gotten each book. That's actually the reason I started doing my This Week In Books posts. Going back in and entering that information I realized I didn't know where a lot of my books had come from and it made me sad! Hence my descriptions of where my books come from in my This Week In Books posts! I like being able to go back and see when and where I got something! I've definitely gotten behind on updating my comments and tags in the last few months on LibraryThing though!

Hardcover vs. Paperback 24

Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner



Readers fell in love with Cannie Shapiro, the smart, sharp-tongued, bighearted heroine of Good in Bed who found her happy ending after her mother came out of the closet, her father fell out of her life, and her ex-boyfriend started chronicling their ex-sex life in the pages of a national magazine.

Now Cannie's back. After her debut novel -- a fictionalized (and highly sexualized) version of her life -- became an overnight bestseller, she dropped out of the public eye and turned to writing science fiction under a pseudonym. She's happily married to the tall, charming diet doctor Peter Krushelevansky and has settled into a life that she finds wonderfully predictable -- knitting in the front row of her daughter Joy's drama rehearsals, volunteering at the library, and taking over-forty yoga classes with her best friend Samantha.

As preparations for Joy's bat mitzvah begin, everything seems right in Cannie's world. Then Joy discovers the novel Cannie wrote years before and suddenly finds herself faced with what she thinks is the truth about her own conception -- the story her mother hid from her all her life. When Peter surprises his wife by saying he wants to have a baby, the family is forced to reconsider its history, its future, and what it means to be truly happy.

Radiantly funny and disarmingly tender, with Weiner's whip-smart dialogue and sharp observations of modern life, Certain Girls is an unforgettable story about love, loss, and the enduring bonds of family.

Shame! I still haven't read this one but I believe I've read the rest of Weiner's books. I'm happy to say I'm very glad I resisted the temptation to get the hardcover multiple times because I'm in love with the paperback! I'm just in love with what that kid is doing on the cover, it's hilarious! And the colors!

Hardcover or Paperback?

Thanks to Deborah for suggesting this one!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Heartbreak River by Tricia Mills

Hailey Abbott’s Summer Boys takes a weepy turn in this story of one girl’s attempt to tell her childhood friend how she really feels about him.

Alex thought she’d be spending the summer focused on her family’s rafting business, burying the memories of her father’s death last year, and leaving behind all the messes she made in its wake.

But when Sean returns to town, she is forced to reckon with her mixed-up crushy feelings for him—more powerful than ever before. It takes another tragedy to make Alex realize Sean has loved her, and forgiven her, all along.

Ooooh. This was almost exactly the kind of story I hope for when I find out a book has a romantic element. I loved it! A romantic summer with a bunch of cute boys who happen to be coworkers, and specifically two that catch the main character's attention, one because of her past with him and another for his flirty personality and British accent (although personally I would have gone for the bookish boy!). A cousin with a polar opposite personality and also a family tragedy, involving the death of a parent and a family that's trying to hold themselves together. It was a great set up and for the most part didn't disappoint.

I'm not one for sports in general and frankly the idea of rafting kind of scares me but it allowed for a beautiful backdrop for this story. Parties in the woods, swimming, a drive-in movie, a fun summer. It just worked and I loved it. I loved the yearning and the should I or shouldn't I say somethings. The flirting and the looks. I loved everything about it.

And then the events of the last 30 pages sort of put a mini-storm cloud over the book for me. It just went a little too far for my taste. I understood why the author did it but it still made me kind of sad. I guess I'm not really sure how else the book would have ended but that wasn't what I was hoping for. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the rest of the book and the ending didn't really ruin it for me, just changed it a bit.

Heartbreak River is released on April 16th.

4/5 Stars
ARC received from publisher

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

Anke’s father is abusive. But not to her. He attacks her brother and sister, but she’s just an invisible witness in a house of horrors, on the brink of disappearing altogether. Until she makes the volleyball team at school. At first just being exhausted after practice feels good, but as Anke becomes part of the team, her confidence builds. When she learns to yell “Mine!” to call a ball, she finds a voice she didn’t know existed. For the first time, Anke is seen and heard. Soon, she’s imagining a day that her voice will be loud enough to rescue everyone at home—including herself.

Books written in verse are interesting. You would automatically think they would be easier to write because there are less words etc but I think they are actually harder to write. Having to get across just as much information and emotion with fewer words, each word holds greater meaning. I think this book does a wonderful job of telling a very emotional and important story with so few words.

I thought this would be really hard to read, and while it was it was also an empowering and hopeful book. To watch a young girl find her voice and not be afraid to use it, it was powerful. It was also interesting to see inside of this house, with all the terror and abuse that happens that no one ever say anything or ask for help. That's just the way the family was and they would rather deal with it that privately than make a change to their family. I thought the author did a great job of revealing the mentality of this family and made it easy to understand and believe.

I haven't read many books in verse and I still struggle with them a little bit. At least for me, sometimes things don't come off as clearly as they could, I get the basic idea but sometimes wonder if I'm always understanding everything correctly. Maybe that's just me! All in all a powerful and important book that really packs an emotional punch.

Because I Am Furniture is released on April 16th.

4/5 Stars
ARC received from publisher

Thank You's (Really Really Late)

I've been showered with blog awards recently and I'm struggling to remember them all so please forgive me if I've forgotten one!

Your Blog is Fabulous: From Bookworm.

Sisterhood Award: From The Story Siren and Stephanie.

Let's Be Friends Award: Cindy and Sheri S. and Mishel.

The zombie chicken's are attaching again, Serena stuck them on me this time!

I got the Splash Award from Shalonda and the Book Resort!

Thanks everyone!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Oooohhhhhh or Things I'm Excited About!

Wanted to point out a few fun things I'm participating in, and one i'm not (but it's beyond hilarious)!

Willow Contest:

The HUGE Willow contest is still going on, until April 30th! Check out the details here, and my review here. Lauren also put together this fabulous website to celebrate the release of Willow, there are a lot of great posts over there! Here is a recent review of the book, that I completely agree with and the reviewer says she heard about the book via the contest, Lauren you hear that! Awesome!

April's Fools Posts/Contests:

The always original and strangely hilarious Yan and Carol have been posting interviews with a number of authors and fellow reviewers since April 1st. From Sarah Quigley the Alien and Beth Fantaskey the P.I. to most recently Khy the Pet Eater?!?!?! I believe all the posts have contests attached to them, with more chances to win by answering an additional question that can be found on Carol's blog! And if that hasn't kept them busy enough.....

Traveling to Teens:

Carol and Yan have also recently put together a touring group that hosts blog tours called Traveling to Teens. To read the basics check out this post. The tours are filling up fast so if you are interested check out the criteria! It's sounding like the best way to inquire about joining a tour is the ask on the specific tour's post you are interested in. I'm going to be a part of this and am very excited!

Say the Word Blog Tour:

Finally we have a blog tour happening next week for Jeannine Garsee's recently released book Say the Word put together by Laura. I will be participating in this tour and my day is next Friday! Check out the full line up and more details here. And also on Friday will be a live chat with the author and a giveaway, watch Laura's blog for details! Laura will also be giving away a copy of the Say the Word Playlist everyday next week.

So those are some of the things I'm excited about in the blogosphere, what are you excited about?
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