Sunday, February 28, 2010

In my mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Here's what I got this week~ I was a bit laid up this week because of my one-year bone marrow biopsy (I have a chronic leukemia, but I'm fightin' hard and am definitely winning!), so I treated myself to good helping of library check-outs to keep me busy while I'm lying around:

Blue Girl by Charles de Lint
Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine

And I'm SUPER ecstatic to have received my very first ARC for review!! Thanks so much to the wonderful Lisa Mantchev and the folks at Feiwel and Friends for sending me a copy!! I loved Eyes Like Stars and I'm so excited to read this one!

Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev

And I was a good girl and didn't buy any new books this much as I wanted to :) *big pat on the head*

Sooo, what did you get?? Hope everyone had a fabulous book week, too!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Review: Gone by Lisa McMann

Gone by Lisa McMann

publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

release date: February 9th, 2010

hardcover, 214 pages

intended audience: Young Adult


Things should be great for Janie—she has graduated from high school and is spending her summer with Cabel, the guy she’s totally in love with. But deep down she’s panicking about how she’s going to survive her future when getting sucked into other people’s dreams is really starting to take its toll. Things get even more complicated when she meets her father for the very first time—and he’s in a coma. As Janie uncovers his secret past, she begins to realize that the choice thought she had has more dire consequences than she ever imagined.

I really loved this series. It was fantastic, the characters were strong, the writing style was completely unique to anything I have read before. While I still really liked this installment, it was such a different feel from the first two, that it kind of threw me at first. (Ok, this being the third in the series, I am going to try very hard to review Gone without giving away any spoilers for the first two!!)This time around, you find the main character, Janie, dealing with more of an inner battle. The first two, there was alot of excitement, alot going on with how she was learning about and using her abilities, and learning how it would change her life. She also discovers how this ability is going to effect the rest of her life and those around her. This is what the the basis of the last book is about: her choice to use her abilities and let the effects happen, or to hide away from the world, including Cabel, the guy she loves. It's truly a tough emotional journey for her and it's interesting to see how the new person in her life opens her eyes to what her choices really mean. It's a much "quieter" story than the first two, if that makes sense, and while I still really enjoyed this one, I have to admit that it was definitely my least favorite of the three.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My very first blog award! :)

I was so excited to receive the One Lovely Blog Award from Christina at Reading Extensively. It's my very first award, and I'm so honored. Thank you, Christina!

The rules are:
  • Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
  • Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
  • Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
Here are 15 more lovely blogs that I would like to pass this award on to!

iRead n iReview
the O.W.L.
Books by their Cover
A Reading Kabocha
The Crowded Leaf
Tuning in to YA books
Grammar Girl
Book Love: Teen
Today's Adventure
Spellbound by Books
Pure Imagination
He Followed Me Home..Can I keep him?
Stop, Drop, and Read
Midnight Glance
Rhiana Reads

Congrats to everyone for putting together such lovely blogs!

Waiting on Wednesday : The Reckoning

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It lets us all gush about what soon-to-be released books we are jumping-up-and-down excited for.

It's my very first week participating in WoW, and I'm finding it hard to pick just one. There are so many I can't wait for! This is definitely one of my most anticipated, though...I am seriously loving this series so far. So without further ado:

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
due to be released: April 6th, 2010
And yes, on that day, you will find me at my nearest bookstore! :)
Website for this book

Description: NOTE! This is the third in a series, so it's a little hard to have a description that doesn't contain some spoilers for the first two books. Therefore, I've hidden them! If you have read the first two, highlight the blank spot between the two hearts to see the full details on The Reckoning!

Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now, along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I’m on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We’re hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We’ll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we’d left behind and to take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In my mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all share what we got during the week!

Woohoo! This week I was finally able to pick up a copy of The Iron King, which I have been looking forward to but was not able to find at any of my local book spots. Looking forward to cracking this one open! Aside from that I went alittle crazy at the library (as always, one of the dangers--and perks-- of working there is bring home half the collection every time I'm scheduled!) I found out just how much of a freak I am about covers. The book you see with the barcode over the girl's eyes---ticked me off so bad I went searching for another copy at a different library, but alas, luck. This one looked really good, though, so I will suck it up and get over it...eventually :)

Here's what I got:

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
The Minister's Daughter by Julie Hearn
The Sign of the Raven by Julie Hearn (lots Julies this week lol)
The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
Sorcery & Celia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

Cant wait to see what everyone got this week!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review: Distant Waves

Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn

publisher: Scholastic, Inc.

release date: April 2009

hardcover, 336 pages

intended audience: Young Adult


Description from front flap:
(this was the only accurate description I could find! See explanation below!)
Daughters of a famed clairvoyant, the five Taylor sisters, begin the twentieth century searching for a home. Their mother takes them to the small town of Spirit Vale, where she makes a living by talking to the dead. The future, however, is something even she cannot clearly see.
The Taylor sisters are not destined to stay in Spirit Vale for long. Mimi's fate is mingled with that of rich society, and threatened by a secret surrounding her birth. Jane becomes involved in a feat of scientific intrigue that has the potential to alter the course of history---and the course of her greatest love. The twins, Emma and Amelie, appear ready to follow in their mother's footsteps. And the youngest, Blythe, will stop at nothing to make her dreams of wealth and fame come true.

All of the sisters' destinies converge on board the Titanic. A transatlantic voyage that promises great wonders soon turns into a fight for survival.
(Note: some sentences were left out of the original description to avoid slight spoilers!)

Review: I decided to go with the inside flap for the description because every other description I found was either not good enough or just plain inaccurate! Even the book cover itself is a little misleading---which in no way dampered my absolute love for this book (because I did absolutely LOVE this book!)---but I have seen others complain that they picked it up expecting to hear about a tale mostly about the Titanic and were sorely disappointed to find that it was only a small part of the story that takes place on the ship. I have to agree it was a tad misleading to call it "a novel of the Titanic", but like I said, misleading or not, this was a fantastic book!

There was so much I enjoyed about this. Honestly, I read this book a while ago and while I was rereading a few of the chapters to refresh my memory for this review, I was so tempted to start from the beginning and read it all again! I love the sisters' relationships with each other, it reminded me of the Little Women. I love how the two older sisters struggled with and at times doubted their mother's gifts. One of this books little charms was the girls' run-ins with so many familiar historical faces of the time. The characters were all really well written, each of the sisters seemed to have their own special story. I loved the love stories. The plot was amazing, with twists and turns and little surprises around every corner---and an amazing, heart-wrenching ending!

Go! Read it if you haven't already!

Monday, February 15, 2010

OK, it's about time...

...for me to make good on the whole cupcake side of this blog!! And with it being Valentine's Day yesterday, you better believe there was some baking going on it my kitchen! As I am blogging this, I'm am munching away on one of my favorite cupcakes: Chocolate Cherry Amaretto cupcakes. Oooh, yeah.

You'll notice, there is a tiny hand standing by to steal one away as soon as I'm done photographing these!! :)

These are pretty simple to make, especially because I use a cake mix base, so no flour, sugar, yada yada. What really makes these is the made-from-scratch frosting. Wanna make some?

Recipe makes 24 cupcakes and 2 cups frosting.
1 box chocolate fudge cake mix (I use Betty Crocker), mixed as directed but with the following substitutions and additions:
For the water, substitute 3/4 water and 1/2 cup amaretto liquor.
Gently fold in 1/2 cup finely chopped cherries.
Mix and bake as directed on box.

In a heat proof mixing bowl, mix 3 egg whites at room temperature and a 3/4 cup granulated sugar and heat over simmering water. Water should NOT touch bottom of mixing bowl. Whisk constantly (to keep the egg from scrambling) until sugar is dissolved and mixture is very warm to the touch (about 160 F on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and mix with an electric mixer on high until stiff peeks form.
Mix in 1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature, adding alittle at a time. Throw in a pinch of salt. Add in 1/4 cup finely chopped cherries with as much of the juices as possible squeezed out, and 1 tsp of almond extract and continue mixing until frosting it is creamy.

Frost and enjoy!

Win an ARC of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater!!

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.

Good luck , everyone who enters!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In my mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we all play show and tell with the books we received during the week!

Ok, I just bought two in the way of books this week---and no library check-outs! Amazing! :) I did include the magazine I picked up at Barnes during the week, thought it might be of interest to my fellow bloggers. Some really incredible stuff in's just so pretty to look at! I was SO SO SO excited to pick up Gone and I had to track it down among a few different stores because it was selling so fast! I may even have to put my current read on hold to get going on this one! The third book shown, Wild Magic, is actually something I came across in the children's section of Barnes, but I thought it might have some good cross-over appeal for those of us who love the retelling of old fairy tales. It tells what happened after the Pied Piper led the children out of Hamlin---right into a fantastical world of magic and danger!!

Gone by Lisa McMann
Wild Magic by Cat Weatherill
Artful Blogging put out by Somerset Magazine

Hope it was a great book week for everyone! I'd love for you to comment and link me up to what you got!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Review: Seven Tears into the Sea

Seven Tears into the Sea by Terri Farley

publisher: Simon & Schuster

released: April 2005

paperback, 288 pages

intented audience: Young adult


Description from
Beckon the sea,

I'll come to thee....

Shed seven tears,

perchance seven years....

At the age of ten, Gwen Cooke had a strange encounter with a boy with dark, slightly tilted eyes. He came to her on the beach, whispered strange words in her ear, and then disappeared. Shortly thereafter, her family moved away from their seaside home and Gwen never saw the boy again.

Now seventeen, Gwen is returning to her childhood home. Her nana asked her to come. But Gwen knows it's time to go back for another reason: She yearns for the sea. Perhaps the sea itself is calling to her. Perhaps the memory of the boy and his haunting words are drawing her back to the place they met. Perhaps it's time for her to face her destiny.

Review: Reviewing an older one this week! This one literally fell into my lap while checking stuff in at the library. The cover caught my eye right away and after reading the back cover, I just knew it had to come home with me! A mysterious boy on the beach whispering an eerie poem in her ear and it draws her back to the sea years later---oh, yeah, definitely a story right up my alley. There was alot that I really liked about this story. It had alot of sweetness to it, with the relationship between Gwen and her grandmother. Early on, I discovered the story would revolve around the mythological creature, the Selkie. Definitely intriguing and kept me reading all the way through to find out what was really going on and who each character was on a deeper level than they seemed at first glance. With some characters, I was alittle disappointed---some of them I felt were not fleshed out enough to really understand what was going on beneath the surface. I did like the main character, Gwen, she was very real and I especially like that she was on a bit of a quest for courage.

On the other end (and I fully propose that this may have just been me and my own personal quirk), I just couldn't get into the whole selkie thing. I admit I didn't know much about the selkie legend, but from what I understood they are people who shapeshift into seals. Now, give me a beautiful man that magically shapeshifts into a sea lion and back,and I'm all for it...that would be cool! But a guy who peels off a sea lion skin and leaves it lying around for someone to steal (which according to legend is how you keep a selkie from being able to return to the sea), be honest that concept kind of gave me the willies. Not to mention the selkie character was alittle overbearing and downright pushy at times. I just couldn't get a connection there.

The story as a whole was good. If anyone reading this has read this one, I'd love to hear your thoughts!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

Ok, here's what fun stuff I got this week! Just a few, but I'm really excited about all three! Fallen is borrowed from my best bud, Amy. Kiss me, kill me was one that I've picked up a dozen and half times at Barnes and discovered it was sitting right on the shelf at my library! I read a really great review of Hearts at Stake by Kristi over at the Story Siren, ran right over to put it on reserve at the library.
Fallen by Lauren Kate
Kiss me, Kill me by Lauren Henderson
Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry
(links will take you to

It's gonna be a great week with these to read and the two I"ll be eagerly awaiting to release this Tuesday (see previous post!). Feel free to comment and link me up to what you got!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Is it Tuesday YET??

I can't wait for this Tuesday! The next book in one of my absolute favorite series is releasing on February 9th! Gone, book three of the Wake series, has definitely been one of my most anticipated of this year (so I am glad it's releasing so early because I am abit impatient!). Anyone else excited to get their hands on this one and see what Janie and Cabel get into this time? The first two books were fantastic---I am sure this one will be just as good!! If you haven't read the first two, I highly recommend picking them up when you can! Description from Things should be great for Janie—she has graduated from high school and is spending her summer with Cabel, the guy she’s totally in love with. But deep down she’s panicking about how she’s going to survive her future when getting sucked into other people’s dreams is really starting to take its toll.
Things get even more complicated when she meets her father for the very first time—and he’s in a coma. As Janie uncovers his secret past, she begins to realize that the choice thought she had has more dire consequences than she ever imagined.

Also looking forward to this one on the 9th: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' Token of Darkness. I admit, I haven't read anything else by this author, but the plot of this one looks so spooky and intriguing! Description for Cooper Blake has everything going for him—until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she’s a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her. No one from Cooper’s old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself. . . . But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighboring school who can hear strangers’ most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible.

Come on, Tuesday!! Get here already!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Review: The Everafter

The Everafter by Amy Huntley

released: September 29, 2009

publisher: Balzer & Bray (HarperCollins)

Hardcover, 248 pages

intended audience: Young Adult



Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this—she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can reexperience—and sometimes even change—moments from her life.

Her first kiss.

A trip to Disney World.

Her sister's wedding.

A disastrous sleepover.

In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and sometimes frightening truths about her life—and death.

This is a haunting and ultimately hopeful novel about the beauty of even the most insignificant moments—and the strength of true love even beyond death.

Review: This whole concept of this book was so intriguing, that after you die you are surrounded with items you lost, that connect you to moments in your life. Such a unique idea! I really enjoyed this one overall. At times, the swift jumping around from scene to scene and age to age had me reeling and feeling alittle disconnected, but the mystery of it all kept me reading and I was glad of that because in the next page turn there would be something I was glad not miss! It kept me asking what happen to this poor girl? why is she dead? what is the divine purpose of her being surrounded by all these random objects? This one really had me in a range of emotions. At some parts, it was a bit grim and depressing (obviously when you are dealing with the death of 17 year old), some parts were hopeful it its idea of what the afterlife could be like. I did think it was clever and must have been a unique writing experience for the author to have to write the character at so many different ages as she jumped from point to point in her life.

All in all, a really good read!