Saturday, August 29, 2009

In My Mailbox

This week was a big, great week in books! Thanks to the Story Siren for starting this awesome meme!
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
Ever since Viola's boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing--to have someone love her again and, more importantly, to belong again--until one days she inadvertently summons a young genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes.
Jinn is anxious to return home, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she will not wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, the lines between master and servant begin to blur, and soon Jinn can't deny that he's falling for Viola. But it's only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she's in love with Jinn as well...and that if she wishes twice more, he will disappear from her life--and her world--forever.
Ever since I heard about this one, I knew I had to read it. I mean, genies? How awesome is that? The plot kind of even sounds like Coffeehouse Angel to me a bit. I'm so excited to begin. Happy release, Jackson!

Alphas by Lisi Harrison
At OCD the losers are tormented.
At Alpha Academy, they're sent home.
Skye Hamilton has scored an invitation to the ultra-exclusive Alphas-only boarding school where beta is spelled LBR. What happens when the country's best, brightest, and hawtest begin clawing and scratching their way to the top?
I loved the Clique series by Lisi, so the day this came out, I dashed to Barnes & Noble. I am so excited to begin--hopefully it's as good as the Clique! Plus I love a light, funny, and creative read...So double-yay!

A Taste for Red by Lewis Harris
Do you prefer the taste of red foods? Do you sleep under your bed? Do you read people's thoughts? Do you think you're a vampire?
Svetlana Grimm does. And it's making her transition to sixth grade at Sunny Hill Middle School even more difficult. After all, what can someone with her extrasensory powers possibly have in common with a classroom full of jellybean eaters? Things get interesting, though, when Svetlana's beautiful science teacher, Ms. Larch, begins reading her thoughts. Could Ms. Larch be a vampire, too?
But the thrill of finding another of her kind quickly vanishes when strange "accidents" start happening. Svetlana is always the intended victim, and her teacher is always nearby. So if she and Ms. Larch aren't allies, then that means...
Sunny Hill Middle School is about to become a very dangerous place for Svetlana Grimm.
Thank you so, so much to Lewis, who also sent me a copy of the audio book! This sounds great--an evil vampire science teacher? I love the sound of it!

Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner (September 22)
Nefertiti may be the dutiful daughter of a commoner, but her inquisitive mind often gets her into situations that are far from ordinary, like receiving secret lessons from a scribe. And she's the kind of girl who acts first, and apologizes later whenever she witnesses injustice or cruelty. But she is also extraordinarily beautiful. And news of her striking beauty and impulsive behavior attracts the attention of her aunt, the manipulative Queen Tiye, who sees Nefertiti as an ideal pawn in her desire for power. Even though Nefertiti is taken from her beloved family and forced into a life filled with courtly intrigue and danger, her spirir and mind will not rest. She continues to challenge herself and the boundaries of ancient Egyptian society.
Wow, this book looks so cool! I'm not a big historical fiction fan, but I've always loved ancient Egypt and mythology. Thanks to Random House.

The Fatal Child by John Dickinson
Ambrose, Prince Under the Sky, is haunted by the ominous words of his ancestor . He shuns his rightful throne and remains in the desolate wastelands, a ragged an hidden king, searching for the secret that will lift the curse of a weeping goddess.
Then one day a young princess comes to him, a girl so enchanting, so beautiful, that his life is no longer his own. For her, Ambrose will leave his wandering existence and set out to meet his fate.
This is apparently the final part of a trilogy, and I'm hesitant to read a book that I haven't read the previous two books to! However, the plot sounds intriguing. Check it out...The Fatal Child is released on September 8th by David Fickling Books, an imprint of Random House!

Slumgirl Dreaming by Rubina Ali w/ Anne Berthod & Divya Dugar (September 8, 2009)
This is the inspiring true story of the nine-year-old who captured hearts worldwide in her role as the young Latika in the multi-Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Plucked from among five hundred slum kids who auditioned for the film, she saw her fairy-tale dream of stardom come true. Now that she has stepped into the limelight, what will life hold for a young girl from the Mumbai slums?
Wow-this story sounds so amazing, I'm really very eager to begin. I have yet to see Slumdog Millionaire, but Rubina's story seems so inspiring and sad. I look forward to beginning. I couldn't find a picture of the US cover (which, in my opinion, is much better), so the picture above is the Australian cover instead!

Catwalk: Strike a Pose by Deborah Gregory (September 8, 2009)
Sashay, parlay! The design competition at Fashion International High School heats up as each design house struggles to produce its first--and hopefully award-winning--line. Tensions are cropping up in the House of Pashmina, and it's not clear whether Pashmina and her best friends will weather the runway. They'd better scramble if they want to win a real shot at a fashion career and an all-expenses-paid trip to Florence!
I'm definitely in the mood for a fun, fabulous, and light read, so I was excited to see the second book in the Catwalk series in my mailbox today! I have yet to read the first book, but if it's about fashion, friends, and travel, count me in!

The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore (September 8, 2009)
Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can't dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie's pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father's death, and what's breaking her spirit is her mother's remarriage--a union that's only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.
Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother's solution for Sylvie's unhappiness. Her father's cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family's history. And that's where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys she can't stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys--a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin's--has a gold on her that she doesn't quite understand.
Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie's lost nearly everything--is she starting to lose her mind as well?
Oooh, this sounds like a really cool, paranormal-type read. I haven't read anything else by this author, but I'd like to see what happens to Sylvie--and what the big mystery is!
Thanks, mailbox! (:

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Writing on the Wall

Author: Wendy Lichtman
Pages: 240
Published: Greenwillow, July 2008
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Cover Score: B+
Overall Grade: A-

It's the second semester of eighth-grade, and algebra-loving Tess has more on her hands than ever. Richard the bully is out to get her, a strange new girl is acting pretty suspicious, and then there's the graffiti wall behind the school, where Tess finds mysterious messages in number codes that lead her to an arson within the school. But who did it, and were they purposefully meant for Tess? On top of it all, Tess is still trying to figure out her crush, Damien, and her best friends are disappointed in her danger-seeking behavior regarding the graffiti wall. Can Tess figure out the equation before it's too late?
My thoughts: When I read the first book in this promising new series, Secrets, Lies, and Algebra, I instantly loved all of the believable characters, realistic dialogue, and real-life situations that Tess and her friends found themselves in. The same applied to The Writing on the Wall. The plot was smooth, quick, flowing and easy to follow, and once again, I loved Tess. Her honesty, quirky personality, and great voice made the book so much more fun to read.
In fact, The Writing on the Wall was even better than the first book. The mystery and graffiti aspects made the story line more unique and capturing, and I loved seeing new characters in the plot. As well, I loved seeing some of the characters change in an apparent way.
Hopefully, there are more books in this series! Next time, I would like to see a longer plot with a few more twists, turns and red herrings to make the story a little more interesting and to make the book's surprise ending a little more shocking.
Overall, The Writing on the Wall is a book I'd easily recommend to middle-grade students, and I hope there's more adventures for Tess in the works!

Must-Read! Check it Out! Don't Bother

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cover Love (9)

Yay--it's week 9 of my latest feature, Cover Love! Each week, I find two covers of new, old, or upcoming YA, children's, or adult books that I love and post on Tuesday. This meme is open to anyone who wants to join--just remember to link back here to Bookworm Readers!
This week's picks are:

1) Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (October 13, 2009)
What's not to love? This cover is G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S! The lighting is so perfect, and the combination of the image and the spooky font is just so dramatic and eyecatching. I love how the title pops. This cover really makes me want to read the book (aside from the fact that it also sounds amazing, too!).

2) Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti (May 13, 2010)
I love the bright, cheery colors of this cover and how everything is positioned in the picture, including the title arch in a cool font. It makes the cover easy to look at and organized. I love covers that tell you what the story's about, so you can kind of get an idea of what's going to happen in the book, like this one. Overall, this cover gives off a light-and-funny vibe!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Monday Muse: Interview with Lara Zielin

Today's Muse: Lara Zielin
Author of: Donut Days (review here)
Bookworm: Welcome, Laura! So, tell us...what was your inspiration for your debut novel, Donut Days?
Lara: So, I read a review of Donut Days recently where the reviewer was really skeptical that donut camps actually existed. I think they found the plot hard to believe because, really, could people seriously love donuts that much?
But the answer is yes! Donut camps really, truly do exist (though I can't speak for the Easter bunny, tooth fairy, or were-chickens, unfortunately). After college, when I lived in Minnesota, the first Krispy Kreme opened in the state, and you'd think Brangelina had arrived and were handing out crisp $100 bills. Seriously, people were lined up for ages to get in. Many had camped out for days--in RVs, tents, or just out in the open. There was music, grilling, and it was a total party, especially when the media descended.
And that, truly, was the inspiration for Donut Days. Though much of the book's plot and characters have changed over time (and with re-writes), the central idea of the donut camp is the one things that's stayed consistent.

Bookworm: Were Emma's experiences in the evangelical church based off of your personal experiences?
Lara: Around the same time the donut camp popped up, I started attending what some people call a megachurch. If you don't know what a megachurch is, picture the church or synagogue or temple you grew up attending, add a thousand square feet, a hundred lights, a full band, some loudspeakers, some purple carpet, and about 2,000 people, and that's pretty much a megachurch.
Up until that point, I'd had some really good experiences in the church. The normal-sized church I'd gone to in my Wisconsin hometown had been seriously good to me. I'd really loved the pastor, his wife was fabulous, and I always felt that people really cared about me.
But in the megachurch, all the changed. Instead of focusing on helping others, we were encouraged to amass wealth. Instead of looking to change the world, we were told to conquer the world. But the worst of it was, you couldn't really question what came down from the pulpit. The pastor was infallible. His word was God's word, and you couldn't touch it. So instead of being introspective and engaging in conversations about what was coming to us from the pulpit, we were essentially told to believe it and not question it.
Ultimately, I realized I couldn't attend a church like that, and I left. But my experiences in that church became the basis for some of the congregants and events at Living Word Redeemer in Donut Days.
Overall, I think many teens--and I'd argue, people in general--who go to church have doubts about what they're seeing, about what they're being asked to believe. The process through which they figure it all out should be embraced, should be acknowledged. Instead, it's all too often labeled as doubt, and the person becomes a pariah. My great hope is that Donut Days encourages people to thoughtfully question what they believe, and why, and to remember that even if people suck, God doesn't have to.

Bookworm: What was your favorite character in the book to write about?
Lara: I love Emma, of course, but Bear and the Harley gang came to me the most easily. I can't always picture the characters in my head at first, when I begin to write them, but I could always picture Bear. I knew what he wore, what his struggles were, how he talked. It was pretty organic. And fun, because he's so quirky and unusual.

Bookworm: The title of your book is Donut Days. So...what's your favorite kind of donut?
Lara: That's like asking what my favorite kind of kitteh is. The answer is ALL OF THEM. But, okay, if I had to pick, I'd say powdered sugar. I mean, it's kind of boring, but I've never met one I didn't love.

Bookworm: Yum. What's next, writing-wise?
Lara: I just sold my second novel, Promgate, to Putnam, the same folks who published Donut Days. The book centers around the fallout when a pregnant teen is elected prom queen in a small Midwestern town. It's loosely based on events that happened in my Wisconsin high school when I was a sophomore, and it's due out in summer 2011.

Bookworm: Favorite thing to do on a weekend morning?
Lara: Have coffee with my husband in our home's "reading room" and catch up with him for a while. Inevitably, our dog, Amos, will invade the space and show us his tummy, and we'll probably stop talking for a little bit to scratch it.

Bookworm: Name a fabulous book that you've read lately.
Lara: I just finished American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld for my book club. It's not YA, but it was fabulous. It's fiction loosely based on the life of Laura Bush, and I was totally pulled into the story. The writing was outstanding. I also recently read The Season by Sarah MacLean, a YA romance, and about fell out of my chair it was so good. The setting, the dialogue, the characters--I SO didn't want it to end! More, Sarah, more!!!

Bookworm: What's your favorite '80s band (to tie into the '80s-band-shirt obsession of Emma's)?
Lara: Once again, see above: kittehs, favorites.
But, okay, I think I can narrow it down to two. I am obsessed with Big Country who wrote...Big Country. It might just be my fave song of all time--and possibly a one-hit wonder though I can't remember right now. And also I love, love, love Peter Gabriel. He was so awesome in the 1980s, but I love that he's been able to continue his career to the present day. Just last year he was nominated for an Oscar for the theme song to Wall-E. Go, Pete!
And Go, Lara! Lara's debut novel, Donut Days, came out earlier this month and is in bookstores now!
Check out Lara's website here

Sunday, August 23, 2009

In my Mailbox, Week in Review, and BBAW Nomination!

Whew. It's been a busy week: school starting, homework....I haven't had much time to read (or blog). I've basically been in a major book rut. Ugh.
This week, I got two books in my mailbox (meme created by the Story Siren):

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline (Enola Holmes mystery) by Nancy
For Enola, longing for her absent mother and on the run from her older brothers, it is a fundamental fact of life that her name backwards spells alone. Her lonely London days include very few people except her landlady, Mrs. Tupper. Although nearly deaf and a truly dreadful cook, Mrs. Tupper is endearing--really the closest thing Enola has to family these days. So imagine her horror when she comes home to find Mrs. Tupper kidnapped! Who would take her, and why? And what does Florence Nightingale have to do with it? Is there more to the kind, homely Mrs. Tupper than meets the eye?
No matter what the risk, Enola will not rest until dear Mrs. Tupper is safe at home. And whoever took her had better watch out--because this time, it's personal.
I've read the whole series, and the last few books have been pretty eh, so I hope this one will be better! It looks great. I can't wait to start!

...I also got a repeat of (Re)Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin in the mail from Random House, so it's likely that I'll be giving it away in a contest...
Here's what happened around my blog this week:

Monday-Author Julie Bowe stopped by for a guest blog about friendship and her best friend. I'm giving away a couple of signed copies of her latest book, My New Best Friend, along with a bunch of other books, so check it out here! The contest ends September 1st.

Tuesday-Cover Love time! This week, I was in a foodie mood and picked the covers of Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee and Dear Julia by Amy Bronwen Zemser.

Friday-I posted a double-review of Marley & Me. This post included a review of the book by John Grogran and a review of the movie!

Saturday-I announced the winners of my Coffeehouse Angel contest winners. Congrats, sharon54220 and What A Girl Reads!
Also, I was recently notified via email that I was nominated for a BBAW (Book Blogger Appreciation Week) Award in the Best Commentor category. I am so honored, thank you so much!!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Coffeehouse Angel Contest Winners!

The results are in! First, thank you so much to all who entered and to Bloomsbury's Anna Dalziel, who made this contest happen! There were about 85 entries total, but there can only be two winners. And those two lucky people are....(drumroll, please).....

sharon54220 and What A Girl Reads!

Congratulations, guys! You have each won a copy of Suzanne Selfors' Coffeehouse Angel and some fun CA swag. I'll be emailing you shortly for your address so we can send out the goodies ASAP!

Also, if you are still in the contest-y mood, definitely check out my ongoing Lipstick Apology and BFFs contests. Both end on September 1st, so enter, enter, enter! Good luck!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Marley & Me Book and Movie Review

Author: John Grogan
Pages: 289
Published: HarperMemoir, 2005
Genre: Nonfiction memoir
Cover: Who can resist that adorable dog?
Overall Grade: A

John and Jenny Grogan, a young couple living peacefully in Florida and working as reporters, are used to a quiet life. Well, that was before Marley came along, a huge, 100-pound yellow Labrador Retriever that would change their lives forever, happily taking the role of World's Worst Dog. He would crash through screen doors, destroy drywall, drag his owners on walks, and joyfully eat anything in his reach. But he also changed their growing family for the better, and affected them all...
My thoughts: Marley & Me was an alternating combination of sweet, hilarious, and tear-jerking. John Grogan writes with humor and honesty, plunging you into his world and making for an enthralling, can't-put-this-book-down read. I loved Marley's antics, chronicled perfectly in chatty narration that made me feel like I was experiencing all of the situations first-hand. Certain passages had me laughing out loud, and the Grogan family itself was charming. I loved seeing how Marley really affected them as a whole.
This book, although a bit of a long read, was captivating from page one. The story flowed effortlessly, and I was so sad when it was over (for more than one reason). A must-read for all dog lovers, Marley & Me brings a smile to the readers' face. A lovely story for readers 14 and older.
Must-Read! Check it out Don't Bother
Movie Review:
Rated: PG
Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston star in this film as John and Jenny Grogan, a young couple beginning a family, and owners of the infamous Marley, 100-pound Lab/household terrorist.
I absolutely adored the book, and most of the charm and magic of the book carried over into the movie. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston were perfect as the Grogans, I felt like the casting couldn't have been better.
But I found that the movie cut out a lot of necessary material in the book, leaving the film feeling too short and a bit incomplete. Only about half of Marley's antics and the family's adventures were shown in the movie, and some of the funniest parts never made it into the film, which was especially disappointing. I would've liked to have seen longer scenes with about a half of an hour more of Marley action. More of the film was spent focused on the growth of the family.
Overall, I recommend this movie, but some fans of the book may be disappointed, as some of the best details of the novel didn't carry over into the film. Be sure to have a box of Kleenex close by!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cover Love (8)

It's the 8th week of my newest feature, Cover Love! The point of Cover Love is to find, each week on Tuesday, 2 covers of new, old, or upcoming children's, MG, YA, or adult books that we just adore! Please feel free to participate, just as long as you link back here to Bookworm Readers!
This week's picks are (saw Julie & Julia today--it was wonderful, by the way--and am in a foodie mood!):

1) Dear Julia by Amy Bronwen Zemser

I simply adore this cover. My favorite part is the face made out of food, which is perfect, seeing as this book is mainly about cooking (my full review here). This is probably one of my all-time favorite covers, and it was a cute read, too!

2) Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee
This cover has chocolate on it. Enough said!....OK, OK. I just love this cover because it is so sweet (no pun intended), simple, and all the chocolates stand for something in the novel. Plus, this one makes me hungry every time I see it! (My review here)

Well, this was the last Cover Love of the summer (boo hoo!), but I'll see you back next Tuesday for more cover-judging! (:

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Monday Muse: Julie Bowe Guest Blog

Today's Muse: Julie Bowe
Author of: My Last Best Friend, My New Best Friend, and My Best Frenemy (summer 2010)
Without further ado, please welcome Julie!
Hi, Bookworm Readers!
I'm excited to be guest blogging here today. Since my books (My Last Best Friend and My New Best Friend) have to do with friendship, Bookworm and I thought it would be fun if I told you about my childhood BFF, Elisebeth. She was my cousin, too (still is!). J
Elisebeth was three years older than me, but that didn't matter. We played together all the time, put on silly shows for our families, camped out in my haymow, read Nancy Drew mysteries and Richie Rich comic books, swam in my creek, and shared huge crushes on teen idols David Cassidy and Jack Wild (sigh!). Elisebeth even taught me how to ride a bike (I didn't learn how to ride one until I was thirteen. No lie.)
Elisebeth and her family lived across the meadow from my family, so there was a well-worn path through the tall grass from her house to my house. One summer day Elisebth was home alone when a monster storm hit--lightning flashing, thunder crashing, and tons of rain gushing down!
Elisebeth was so scared she bolted out of her house and ran across the meadow to my house (not a smart thing to do during a storm!) When she got there, her clothes were soaked through and she was wearing only one shoe! Her other one had fallen off as she
 raced down the mucky meadow path.
After the storm (and for a long time after that), we searched and searched the meadow for her missing shoe, but we never found it again.
That was forty years ago and I still wonder what happened to that shoe. I don't have to wonder whatever happened to Elisebeth, though. We're still good friends today! J
Photo (above, right): Julie Bowe (in the inner tube) and her BFF Elisebeth
Thanks so much for sharing, Julie! Check out Julie's Livejournal blog here
Want to win a signed hardcover copy of Julie's latest book, My New Best Friend (among other books and fun swag)? Check out my BFFs Mega-Contest here!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Week in Review and Contest Alert!

Haven't done this in a while, so I thought I'd bring you up to date with the goings-on around Bookworm Readers:

Monday: Posted an interview (the Monday Muse is back--yay!) with Jennifer Jabaley, author of the newly-released Lipstick Apology (congrats, Jennifer!). We're giving away a signed hardcover copy of the book, so be sure to check out the interview and enter the contest (details below)!

Tuesday: Posted my weekly "Cover Love". This week's picks were The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb & Darcy Vance and How To Steal A Car by Pete Hautman.

Wednesday: I reviewed Take the Reins by Jessica Burkhart

Thursday: I reviewed Donut Days by Lara Zielin

Saturday: In My Mailbox time! I got a bunch of great books in the mail this week.
~Contest Alert!~
I'm holding three contests right now, so go out and enter!
1) The Coffeehouse Angel contests (2 books + swag to give away!) ends on August 21, so enter, enter, enter!
2) My BFFs Mega-Contest is ending on September 1st, and I won't close the contest until there are 30 entries. We're at about 15 now, so go check it out!
3) The Lipstick Apology contest ends on September 1st as well. This contest won't end until there are 30 entries! Check it out and good luck!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mail Call!

This week was a great week, book-wise and mail-wise! (Meme created by the always-awesome Story Siren)!

Chasing Blue by Jessica Burkhart
    Now that Sasha Silver and her horse, Charm, have proven that they're worthy competitors for the Canterwood Crest equestrian team, Sasha's psyched to get back to school...until self-proclaimed It girl, queen bee, and owner of the I'm-so-way-better-than-you-are attitude, Heather Fox, is assigned as Sasha's riding partner.
   Not. Good.
   And when Heather starts spending a little too much QT with Sasha's almost-boyfriend, Jacob, their partnership is put to the ultimate test...
I loved the first book in this series, Take the Reins, so after finishing it I immediately went to Borders and bought the second book in the series--I'm so excited to see what's next for Sasha and co!

Bedeviled by Shani Petroff (August 20, 2009)
  All Angel's father (aka the Devil) wants is to be a part of her life. And in return he has the power to give her anything she wants--including popularity and a date with her long-time crush, Cole Daniels. But Angel will only accept him on her terms: get out of the devil business and leave his special powers out of the equation. Is Angel condemning herself to an eternity of lunch at the losers' table? Or can she and Daddy Dearest strike some kind of deal?
Thanks to much to Shani Petroff, Yan, and TheBookworm for getting this book to me for a Traveling to Teens blog tour. I'm so excited to read it--it was my Waiting on Wednesday pick a few weeks back, and I just adore that daughter-of-the-devil concept. So cool! Plus I love the cute little devil/angel rubber duckies that came in the package. Adorable!

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan (August 25, 2009)

   The lives of three teens--Claire, Jasper, and Peter--are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents' frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he's okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire's, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.
   Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other's in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.
This book sounds quite amazing. I've never read a book by David Levithan (I know, I know) or about September 11th, but I'm really excited to read this book. It looks really cool.

Diary of a Witness by Catherine Ryan Hyde (August 25, 2009)
   Ernie doesn't have a lot of friends at school. Just Will. They have stuff in common-like fishing. But more important, they have common enemies: the school jocks, who seem to find bullying just another sport.
   For the most part, Ernie and Will take life at high school in stride. Until Will has one very bad day. Now nothing is remotely funny. Ernie finds himself a witness--to loss, to humiliation, and to Will's anger--an anger that's building each and every moment.
   Ernie doesn't want to believe his best friend is changing, but he can't deny the truth. Soon he has a choice: join or die. Or can he find another way?
Thanks to Random House for sending me a copy.  I've heard of this author before, and the book sounds interesting so I might just give it a try...I also LOVE this cover!!!

Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani (September 1, 2009)
   I'm marooned.
   Left to rot in boarding school...
   Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana, far, far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Now Viola is stuck for a whole year in the sherbet-colored sweater capital of the world. Ick.
   There's no way Viola is going to survive the year--especially when she has to replace her best friend Andrew with three new roommates who, disturbingly, actually seem to like it there. She resorts to viewing the world (and hiding) behind the lens of her video camera.
   Boarding school, though, and her roommates and even the Midwest are nothing like she though they would be, and soon Viola realizes she may be in for the most incredible year of her life.
   But first she has to put down the camera and let the world in.
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to Sarah at GreenBeanTeenQueen for picking me up an ARC at the ALA Conference! I am so thrilled to begin--I love the concept of this book and have been dying to read it! (I think Sarah deserves Nicest Blogger of the Year Award, don't you?) Thanks, Sarah!
See you back next week! (:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Donut Days

Author: Lara Zielin
Pages: 256
Published: Putnam, August 6 2009
Recommended to: Readers 13 & up
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Cover Rating: A
Overall Grade: B

    Emma has been born and raised in the evangelical church. Seeing as her parents are pastors, she couldn't imagine a different life, even though sometimes she has different ideas. But when her mom makes a rather, er, mind-boggingly different sermon, Emma finds her parent's jobs in jeopardy. Add onto that a major fight with a former friend, a new crush on an old aqquaintance, and a man who's trying to get her parents kicked out of the church, and Emma's got her hands full. Enter the Crispy Dream donut camp full of people waiting for the hot new store to open and to get their first dibs on the donuts, where Emma meets born-again bikers and donut fanatics. Even better, the Crispy Dream will be giving away a college scholarship to anyone who writes the best piece on the opening, and Emma hopes it'll be her ticket out, especially since he parents will only let her go to a Christian school. It's a holy mess!
   My thoughts: I have a lot to say about this book, half good, half not-so-great. First, I just want to say that this is a funny, honest, clever and lighthearted read, overall a very impressive debut from someone who seems to have a good sense of humor! I really liked Emma's voice. It was sincere, clear, and realistic, grabbing me and pulling me in for an entertaining read.
   I just didn't know where this book was going at first. By the third chapter or so, I started understanding more, but still, the whole aspects of evangelism and the donut camp were kind of confusing. I'm not a religious person, and I was surprised by how much of the book was consumed by religion, which, for someone who knows nothing about it, could be very bewildering. Some of the dialogue was kind of unnecessary in my opinion, and parts of the book dragged along so that I couldn't tell where it was headed. 
   I loved all of the characters in this book. They were cool and realistic and funny. It seems as if the author spent a lot of time working on the character development, and it shows. Good job!
   I also loved all of the subplots worked into the story. Even though sometimes it was hard for the plot to flow smoothly, it added depth to the novel.
   Overall, I'm glad I read this book. It was an engaging read, and I hope to see more from Ms. Zielin in the future. PS. Bonus points for the awesome cover and Lara's hilarious video "Editing Letter"!

Must-read!  Check it Out  Don't Bother

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Take the Reins

Author: Jessica Burkhart
Pages: 249
Published: Aladdin Mix, January 2009
Recommended to: Girls, 10-14
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: A-

   Sasha Silver is thrilled when she is accepted into Canterwood Crest Academy, an elite boarding school in Connecticut. Known for its exceptional riding school and equestrian teams, Canterwood is the perfect match for hard-working rider Sasha and her horse, Charm. But when Sasha arrives at Canterwood, the competition is way more than she'd expected--inside the classroom, at the barn, and even in the dorms. Sasha manages to find a good group of friends and is determined to prove to the others that she truly belongs at Canterwood, but is the pressure just too much?
    My thoughts: Yay, a fun, refreshing, and quick modern-day horse story! First off, I'll say that Jessica Burkhart captured the world of competitive horseback riding perfectly. As an equestrian myself, I've been disappointed many times by authors who know diddly-squat about horses. Ms. Burkhart, on the other hand, clearly knows what she's doing, which is refreshing. You could tell by the way she confidently told the story in a way that was simple to understand.
   As well as being experienced in the horse world, it seems that this new author seems to be a talented writer as well. The chapters in Take the Reins flowed smoothly, and while the plot was somewhat predictable, it simply came to life with all of the wonderful descriptions and spot-on narration.
   This author was greatly successful in getting into a twelve year old girl's head. I loved Sasha's character. She was relatable, funny, and honest, and the first person narration made her seem even more life-like. 
   Overall, I loved Take the Reins. Even for those who don't know much about horses, this book (first in a series) is a perfectly quick and light read. I know I can't wait to pick up the second book in the series and read on to see what's next for Sasha, Charm, and all the others! 
   Must-Read! Check it out! Don't bother

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cover Love (7)

   Welcome to Week 7 of Cover Love! I can't believe I've been hosting this feature for that long-wow! For those of you who don't know, "Cover Love" is a weekly feature, where I post two covers of new, old, or upcoming YA, picture, MG, or adult that I'm loving. As always, this feature is open to anyone and everyone who wants to participate, as long as you post a link back here!

This week's picks are...
1) The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb & Darcy Vance
I just think this cover is so cute! I love the adorable font and how it's kind of lopsided, the polka-dotty background, and the cheerleader on the cover. It just screams "fun! cute! girly!" to me and really comes off as a fun summer read. 

2) How to Steal A Car by Pete Hautman
I really like how the red car on the cover really pops off of the page and stands out. I also love how the police cars really tell you what the story's about!

   So...what is your favorite cover of this week's picks? See you back next Tuesday for more Cover Lovin'! (:

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Monday Muse: Interview with Jennifer Jabaley & Giveaway!

This week's Muse: Jennifer Jabaley
Author of: Lipstick Apology (my review here)
Want to win a signed copy of Lipstick Apology? Details below!

Bookworm: Welcome, Jennifer! To start off, why don't you tell us about how Emily's story came to you?
Jennifer:   Here's the true story how I dreamed up the idea for Lipstick Apology: My sister and I are very close. Several years ago she had two children and I had none. She was about to go on her very first vacation without the kids and she was freaking out a little bit. The night before her flight she called me about ten times, each time telling me random information "in case the flight goes down." Yes, she is a bit dramatic like I tend to be. Information about our wills is here...The key to the safety box is here...If you have to sell the house call this person...
   When the phone rang for the sixth or seventh time I turned to my husband and said, Can you imagine, the flight would be going down and she would whip out her lipstick and start outlining the kid's schedule and bedtimes on a tray table. My husband laughed and said that would be a great idea for a book. So I grabbed a Post-It note and scribbled "note on a tray table". I stashed that Post-It note in my drawer and didn't see it again until almost a year later when I was packing to move. And that Post-It note became the inspiration for my story.

Bookworm: How cool! From start to finish, how long did it take you to write Lipstick Apology?
Jennifer: It took me about a year to complete my manuscript. I submitted that draft to several agents and based on their suggestions I went back and did another round of revisions before it was accepted for representation. So in total I would say about a year and a half.

Bookworm: Which character from the book was your favorite to write about?
Jennifer: Hands down, Trent. His character was so fun to write because he was so outrageous, so comical and yet so caring and nurturing. Who wouldn't want this kind of guy as a best friend? And hey, he can do hair!

Bookworm: Are you going to continue writing YA novels, and if so, what's next for you, book-wise?
Jennifer: Right now I'm knee deep in writing a women's fiction novel. The main character is in college--at first, I thought maybe it could be YA, but my agent and I both decided it would be better as adult. However I have another YA idea brewing...

Bookworm: If you could write a sequel to the book, what would you have happen in it?
Jennifer: Hmmmm, that's hard to say. I've had a number of emails from early readers and many of them ask what happens next for Emily. I see her moving forward, becoming more comfortable in her new life, her new city. I'd love to see Jolie get married. I'd love to see the friendship between Emily and Lindsey and Carly continue to blossom. And I'd like to see Emily in a relationship.

Bookworm: What YA novels have you read recently and loved?
Jennifer: Two debut authors I've read recently were great, fast, fun reads: Prada and Prejudice and The Espressologist. I'm reading The Real Real right now by the authors of The Nanny Diaries and it's good. I have Sarah Dessen's Along for the Ride on my nightstand--that comes next. (:

Bookworm: Lipstick or lip gloss?
Jennifer: A little of both!

Bookworm: What's your favorite brand/color of lipstick?
Jennifer: Pink! Ice Bloom from Clinique with Pointelle liner from Lancome--that's my go-to look!
Thanks so much, Jennifer! Visit Jennifer's website here
Want to win a copy of Jennifer's new debut novel, Lipstick Apology?
Here's what you can do:

a) Comment below with your name and email address!
b) For an extra two entries, link this contest to your blog!

This contest is open to residents of the US & Canada only--sorry! The giveaway will end on September first, but won't be closed until there have been at least thirty entries, so enter, enter, enter!
   Good luck!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mail Call!

Here's what what in my mailbox this week (created by the Story Siren):

Suite Scarlett  by Maureen Johnson
   Scarlett Martin has grown up in a most unusual way. Her family owns the Hopewell, a small Art Deco hotel in the heart of New York City. 
   When each of the Martins turn fifteen, they are expected to take over the care of a suite. For Scarlett's fifteenth birthday, she gets both a room called the Empire Suite and a permanent guest named Mrs. Amberson. Scarlett doesn't quite know what to make of this C-list starlet and world traveler. And when she meets Eric, an astonishingly gorgeous actor who has just moved to the city, her summer takes a second unexpected turn.
   Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery and romantic missteps. But in the city where anything can happen, she might just be able to pull it off.
I won this book as well as a $50 PB Teen gift card (yay!) from a Chick Lit Teens contest, and I'm so excited! I've been wanting to read this book for the longest time and now I have my own awesome paperback copy, complete with a gorgeous cover and all!

Airhead by Meg Cabot
   Emerson Watts didn't even want to go to the new SoHo Stark Megastore grand opening and had zero interest in meeting the newly appointed Face of Stark, teen supermodel sensation Nikki Howard.
   But how was Em to know that disaster would strike, changing her--and life as she'd known it--forever? One bizarre accident later, and Em Watts, always the tomboy, never the party princess, is no longer herself. literally.
   Now getting her best friend, Christopher, to notice
 she's actually a girl is the least of Em's problems.
   But what Em's pretty sure she'll never be able to accept might just turn out to be the one thing that's going to make her dreams come true...
   Emerson Watts is gone. Nikki Howard is here to stay.
I also won this from a Chick Lit Teens contest. Once again, I can't wait to begin--I've heard great things about this book and I know that if it's by Meg Cabot, it's got to be good!

The Sweet Life of Stella Madison by Lara M. Zeises
   When Stella Madison's food-loving parents help her land a summer job at the local newspaper, there's only one catch: she's expected to write about food. Luckily, Stella has Jeremy, the hot new intern at her mom's restaurant, who's more than happy to help. But where does that leave Stella's boyfriend, Max, who recently dropped the L-word? And could her separated parents be cooking up romances of their own?
I've been looking forward to reading this one for a l
ong time, so I finally splurged at B&N! I can't wait to begin!

When the Snow Fell by Henning Mankell
   As it has in the past, the first snow of the year signifies to Joel Gustafson his very own New Year's Eve. So when the snow begins to fall on a cold November day, Joel gets busy making new resolutions--three, to be exact.
   As the winter days pass, life becomes ever more complicated. Joel has questions and the answers don't necessarily come easily, but he is determined to keep his resolutions--for his father, for himself, and for their future.
I have never heard of this book or the two previous books in this series, but Henning Mankell is apparently a well-known Swedish author, so I'll check it out to see how good it really is! This book comes out on August 11 from Delacorte Press.

Harry Potter Boxed Set 1-5 movies
Yay! These are my favorite movies, so I'm glad I ordered the set from Amazon so I can own them all!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

BFFs Contest!

Hi readers! In honor of August's Friendship Day that takes place on the first Sunday of every August (this year it was on the 2nd), I've got a special themed BFF contest that author Julie Bowe and I have put together!

Here's what we're giving away:

Grand Prize Winner gets...:
- A signed hardcover copy of Julie Bowe's My New Best Friend
- A hardcover copy of Jet Set by Jill Kargman & Carrie Karasyov (real-life authors BFFs!)

1st Prize Winner gets...:
- A signed hardcover copy of Julie Bowe's My New Best Friend and some assorted bookmarks

Here's what you have to do to enter:

1) Comment below with your email address and the name of your best friend

2) Want bonus entries?
+1 Follow Bookworm Readers (new or old followers get the same extra points)
+1 Link this contest to your blog, Twitter page, sidebar, whatever!

Edit: Earn 2 more bonus points by commenting on Julie's fabulous guest-blog here!

This contest will end on September 1st at midnight EST! 
Sorry to friends overseas, but this contest is only open to the US & Canada!
Meanwhile, also check out my Coffeehouse Angel giveaway here for more chances to win!
Good luck!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cover Love (6)

   After a short vacation, Cover Love is back! For those of you who don't know, this is a weekly feature that I've created and host on my blog. Every Tuesday, I choose 2 covers of any old, new, upcoming book (picture, children's, YA, or adult) that I love
   Cover Love is open for anyone and everyone to participate in, just as long as you post a link back here to Bookworm Readers! 

This week, I'm loving the covers of:

1) Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook (coming out January 2010)

   I just think this one is so cool in a creepy way! The grass, the doll, the's all very awesome!
2) The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill Alexander
I love how sweet this cover seems with the colors and cute details. The soft lavenders and reds are so pretty, and I love the title's font. I'm a big fan of simple covers, so I really like how the chicken and the ribbon stand out and really seem to give you a hint to what the book's about!
Which cover this week is your favorite? Comment below to vote!
I'll see you back next week for more Cover Lovin'!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Contest Extended!

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that the Coffeehouse Angel giveaway is being extended until August 21! Go check it out and enter to win 1 of 2 copies and some CA swag!

-- B.

My New Best Friend

Author: Julie Bowe
Pages: 176
Published: Harcourt, August 2008
Recommended to: Girls in grades 3-6
Genre: Realistic MG fiction
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: A-

   Ida May is happier than ever. She's started fourth grade with ease, thanks to her new best friend, Stacey Merriwether. And even better, she and Stacey have formed a super-secret club revolving around an evil mermaid nightlight that they believe grants wishes. But Ida's also got some issues to deal with: Stacey's lying a lot to her family, bossy Jenna Drews has formed a club of her own, and Ida's forced to be a mountain for the upcoming Greek Day at school! Plus, Jenna seems to be hiding something...
   My thoughts: While My New Best Friend is definitely a book aimed towards younger readers, it was a fun read nonetheless. This sequel to My Last Best Friend was even better than the first. The aspect of the mermaid, Jenna's issues, and Greek Day were smoothly combined into the plot, making it a fast, guilt-free read. The plotline flowed easily, and the book was easy to understand and follow without being too simple, as other books for this age range can be.
   Ms. Bowe perfectly captures Ida's voice. I loved the first-person narration, it really felt like a fourth grader was talking to me! This book in particular felt like it had a lot more depth than the previous, which hadn't had as much action, dialogue, and lead up. Squeaky-clean, hilarious, and honest, My New Best Friend is a light, fun read that I'd very quickly recommend to younger bookworms and fans of Katy Kelly's Lucy Rose or Christine Kole MacLean's Mary Margaret series who want a step up in characters, writing, and plot!

Must-Read!  Check it out! Don't Bother

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In My Mailbox!

Hey, everyone! I haven't done "In My Mailbox" (created by the awesome Story Siren) recently because I was on vacation for two weeks, but here is the grand total for the past three weeks:

Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors
   Manhattan meets Verona in this time-bending twist on Shakespeare.
   When Mimi is magically thrust into the middle of Shakespeare's Verona, she must find a way to help Juliet fight for her future happiness. Will she be able to give this classic tragedy a happy ending?
Well, I recently read Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne and loved it, so when I saw this one at Borders, I had to get it. Plus, doesn't the summary just sound amazing? I loved the whole time traveling, Manhattan-to-Verona aspect!

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
   After staking out, obtaining, and then being forced to give up her first boyfriend, all Cammie Morgan wants is a peaceful semester. But that's easier said than done when you're a CIA legacy and go to the premier school in the world...for spies.
   Cammie may have a genius IQ, but there are still a lot of things she doesn't know. Like, will her ex-boyfriend even remember she exists? And how much trouble is she really in after what happened last semester? And most of all, why is her mother acting so strangely?
   Despite Cammie's best intentions to be a normal student, danger seems to follow her. She and her best friends learn that their school is going to play host to some mysterious guests--code name: "Blackthorne". Then she's blamed for a security breach that leaves yhe schools' top-secret status at risk.
   Soon Cammie and her friends are crawling through walls and surveilling the school to learn the truth about Blackthorne and clear Cammie's name. Even though they have confidence in their spy skills, this time the targets are tougher (and hotter), and the stakes for Cammie's heart--and her beloved school--are higher than ever.
I wasn't too impressed by the first book, but I decided to give this one a try. How can you resist a book about a school for spies??

Evermore by Alyson Noël
   Since the car accident that claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras and hear people's thoughts, an she goes out of her way to hide from other people until she meets Damen, another psychic teenager who is hiding even more mysteries.
This one just sounds awesome. I am so excited to check it out, especially after hearing all the high praise it's been getting from what seems like everyone! Plus, I just love that cover--it's so pretty!

Rosie and Skate by Beth Ann Bauman
   New Jersey sisters Rosie, aged fifteen, and Skate, aged sixteen, cope differently with their father's alcoholism and incarceration, but manage to stay close to one another as they strive to lead normal lives and find hope for the future.
I haven't heard of this book before, but it sounds really cool. I look forward to reading it and seeing what it's all about!

Meridian by Amber Kizer
   On her sixteenth birthday, Meridian is whisked off to her great-aunt's home in Revelation, Colorado, where she learns that she is a Fenestra, the half-human, half-angel link between the living and the dead, and she must learn to help human souls to the afterlife before the dark forces reach them.
This one definitely sounds cool, so I'm really excited to begin. It's not every day that you find a book about a half-angel girl that's kind of dark, but mostly awesome!

The Monster Variations by Daniel Kraus
   On his way to State University, nineteen-year-old James runs into a former friend and is immersed into memories from the year they were twelve and learned that monsters exist in the world--and within themselves.
This looks totally intense! I'll have to check it out to see...
All in all, it was a good 3 weeks, mailbox-wise! (: