Saturday, February 27, 2010

In My Mailbox: A Few Weeks' Worth

Meme courtesy of The Story Siren, as always! And boy, I have some catching up to do! (: Here goes:

  • After by Kristin Harmel (Feb 9, 2010--I'm super excited about this one!)
  • Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson (Mar 9, 2010--Thanks to Random House)
  • Token of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (Feb 9, 2010--Thanks, Random House!)
  • The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk (Feb 9--this one looks hilarious!)
  • Cashing In by Susan Colebank (courtesy of the public library!)
  • Need by Carrie Jones (I was told I needed to read this one-hehe)
  • I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It by Adam Selzer (Jan 26, 2010--Looks fun!)
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter (OMG, I'm SOSOSO psyched to start this one!!! Next in my TBR pile...)
  • Awesome bookish swag and got books? T-shirt courtesy of Vania. Thanks so much!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reality Check Cover

..I'm not sure to what to think. I love Jen Calonita, and this book just sounds awesome, but dolls? I don't know...It's certainly cute!

Sixteen year olds Charlie, Keiran, Brooke, and Hallie live on the quiet and quaint North Fork of Long Island. It may not be glamorous but it is real and teen girls are where the drama is at - at least, that's the rationale of a television studio executive looking for the next big reality series. Thinking that Charlie and her friends might be THE next big thing, she signs them up for a show. However soon enough, having cameras follow them everywhere and interfering producers surreptitiously scripting their lives starts to effect their relationships. Brooke seems to want all the screen time. Keiran is scripted out of the show - and the group's friendship - when she doesn't rate well and as soon as Charlie realizes what is going on, she figures out the perfect way to give the studio and her home audience a reality check.

Reality Check will be released June 14 from Poppy.
Thanks to Callie of Handle Like Hendrix for bringing this one to my attention. (:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Espressologist

Author: Kristina Springer
Pages: 184
Published: 2008, Farrar Straus & Giroux
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Cover: B+
Overall Grade: B
Summary: When seventeen year old barista Jane Turner is working at her local Wired Joe's coffee bar in Chicago, she's not just making drinks. She's matchmaking regular customers and her friends based off of their choice drinks without them knowing (for example, the personality of a small pumpkin spice latte drinker goes perfectly with that of a medium americano drinker). But when Jane's boss hears about her Espressology, he makes it a holiday store promotion, promising true love for the price of customers' favorite drinks. Jane's made countless matches, so why is so so freaked out? And shouldn't she be happy for her BFF Em, who she just set up with the super-cute Cam? Then why can't she stand to see them together?

My thoughts: I had high expectations for The Espressologist going in. How could you go wrong with coffee and romance? I liked a bunch of aspects of the book: Jane was a smart, sassy character with a realistic view on the world, and the idea of matchmaking based off of coffee choice was clever and fun, totally spicing up the plot and making it unique from other books in the genre.
However, there were quite a few flaws--the story felt too short, so that everything was rushed. Also, there wasn't enough depth in the whole Cam-Em-Jane relationship, so the events that went on between them didn't feel realistic at all. The end was super-predictable, but not terribly well-written. In fact, it was rather disappointing: all the action happened in the last few pages, and it was too simply described, so that the reader didn't feel immersed in the story. As well as this, the dialogue and inner thoughts of Jane were sometimes unnecessary, and made parts of the book drag.
On the other hand, if you're looking for a light, frothy read, The Espressologist is perfect for you. I hope to see more work from Ms. Springer in the future, this time a book with a longer, more detailed plot. Still, a good debut on her behalf!

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm Back, with Contest Winners!

...But I will be back on Saturday to post contest winners and reviews! See you then! (:
Update, Sunday 2/21/10

Hey y'all! My vacation was great. I did some awesome reading, and had a lot of fun! I also drew the winners of the contests that I'd been hosting:

The winner of the Secrets of A Lab Rat signed book/audiobook giveaway was Megan, and Kelly won the Valentine's Day double giveaway! Congrats, guys, I've already emailed you! Thanks to all who entered.

Also, I need a couple of more entries in my The Curse of Addy McMahon contest, so please enter here if you're interested! (:

Monday, February 15, 2010


Author: Lisi Harrison
Pages: 261
Published: 2009, Poppy/Little, Brown
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Cover Score: B
Overall Grade: A
Source: Bookstore

Summary: Welcome to Alpha Academy, where 100 of the brightest, best, most talented girls have been hand-picked by international billionaire Shira Brazille to be nurtured into the next generation of exceptional dancers, writers, actors, and inventors. But it's survival of the fittest, and at any moment any one of the girls could be sent home. Among the lucky 100 selected are Allie J, who is faking an identity and risking exposure at any moment; Skye Hamilton, who has always been number one; and Charlie Deery, who is only at Alphas because of a deal she made with Shira...With the distraction of the super-cute Brazille boys and drama around every corner, it's going to be the ultimate challenge. Who will come out as the number-one alpha in the end?
My thoughts: Alphas was a cute, surprisingly well-written, fast-paced read! I have to admit, I didn't have high expectations going into Lisi Harrison's The Clique spin-off. As much as I love the books, The Clique is fluff--hilarious and lovable, but fluff.
Alphas had a lot more depth, body, and was more mature. It still featured the same drama, the same pop culture references, the same competiton, the same fashion focus, and the same to-die-for details that make Ms. Harrison's writing so addictive.
But it was also super-different from The Clique: the characters were all so relatable and well-developed (and, to many reader's relief, not as mean). My favorite? Allie J, of course! Charlie was super-lovable, the type of person you'd want as your own bestie, and Skye was relatable and funny. And, of course, Shira was wonderfully and interestingly eccentric, which brings me to my next point: the futuristic, state-of-the-art Alpha Academy.
Alphas is definitely unique. Only here can you read about a super-exclusive academy for future "alphas", where each girl carries an "aPod" to read instructions from; goes to classes like romantic poetry, dance class, and writing class; and wears air-conditionable uniforms (super-stylish, of course). These aspects just made the book so much more enjoyable. The story was bursting with detail and color, making flipping the next page super-irresistable.
After a cliff-hanging ending, I can't wait to see what's next for the girls of Alphas!

Must-Read! Check it out Don't Bother

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cover Love!

I'm sure you've all seen it...but I am MAJORLY loving the new cover for Suzanne Young's MOCKINGJAY, the final book in the wildly popular Hunger Games series. Which I still need to check out....

To me, it doesn't really fit in with the other two books, but I love the creamy light blue and the bold white. Gorgeous! Mockingjay is released on August 24 by Scholastic.

PS. I'll be away over the weekend, so I'll see you on Monday! (:

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Monday Muse: Interview with Katie Davis and Contest!

Today's muse: Katie Davis
Author of: The Curse of Addy McMahon (review here)

Bookworm: Welcome, Katie! To start, please describe your road to publication.
Katie: The book actually wasn't born very easily. At first it had a different title, and there really were fairies in the story. Luckily I have good critical readers, and when it was suggested I take all the fantasy out, I realized it should be a story of Addy's relationships, and her struggle to learn when to take responsibility for the things she's done, and just as importantly, to not take responsibility when things aren't her fault.

Bookworm: Do you keep a diary, or an autobiograstrip, like Addy does?
Katie: I kept journals for years. Now I blog, though not about private stuff. I vowed to write a positive thought every day this year. Sometimes it's about writing, or the publishing business, sometimes just stuff that strikes me as funny or odd. I do have a box of all the journals I kept as a teen and into my twenties, though!

Bookworm: Was Addy's character based off of a real-life person or people you know?
Katie: I read an article in the New York Times in 1999, focusing on a situation in Latoon, Ireland, in which a storyteller was trying to warn local officials about potential danger. He told them if they bulldozed the white-blossomed hawthorn bush which stood in the way of a planned highway bypass, the fairies would curse the road and all who used it. The bush, it turned out, was rumored to be a fairy lair.

I loved that article and immediately imagined an Irish-American girl whose family lore
revolved around how great-great grandad chopped down a fairy lair back in Ireland, all those many generations ago. It was a family joke, but what if she still had some magical thinking going on? She might blame the curse for all the crummy stuff in her life and wouldn't take responsibility for the havoc she herself may have created.

Bookworm: Why did you make Addy an artist, like yourself?
Katie: Carolyn Crimi, a writer friend of mine suggested it! Addy always had the journal (though early on it took various other shapes, like a personal history paper for school, etc) and had collaged words and images in it. But Carolyn said, "Why don't you make her an artist, like you?" It felt exactly right.

Bookworm: If The Curse of Addy McMahon were made into a movie, what would your ideal cast be?
Katie: If she were still the right age, Abigail Breslin would've made a great Addy. Maybe Lauren Graham for the mom and Bradley Whitford as Jonathan.

Bookworm: What's your next project, book-wise?
Katie: I just turned in art for a picture book called Little Chicken's Big Dat, which my husband wrote, and will be published by S&S/McElderry in spring 2011. I also have a YA with a couple editors and another story I hope to sell this year. The WIP I'm focusing on now is an early reader graphic series.
Best of luck, Katie, and thanks for stopping by!
Are you interested in reading The Curse of Addy McMahon? I'm offering an ARC of the book, so enter below with your email address by March 1 and you could win a copy! (US residents only). Good luck!

Visit Katie here on the Web!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Absolutely Maybe

Author: Lisa Yee
Pages: 276
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books, February 2009
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: B+
Source: Publisher

Summary: Maybelline Chestnut may be named after her beauty queen mother's favorite brand of mascara, but she's got a mind of her own. She is fed up--her mother is marrying yet another dirtball boyfriend, yet she won't tell Maybe who her real father is. So Maybe decides that it's time for a change of scenery, hitching a ride with her two best friends to California on a search for her father. There, she finds everything from fame, fortune, inspiration, courage, and maybe even herself, too.
My thoughts: When I was younger, I loved Lisa Yee's books: Millicent Min: Girl Genius, So Totally Emily Ebers...I just couldn't go wrong. So when I heard that she was writing a book for young adults, I was super-excited, but concerned. Could it be as good as her books for younger readers? Luckily, Absolutely Maybe was full of humor, spunk, and quality characters.
Maybe was a great narrator: she had a unique personality and perspective. She was funny, honest, and relatable. Her friends Ted and Hollywood make great secondary characters: they're just the type of people that I would want as my own friends. Maybe's mom, Chessy, is also lovable. She's totally clueless and not the best parent in the world, but she was a well-developed character that I really felt for.
The story was different from a lot of other YA. It was about family, friends, love, finding yourself, and was both humorous and, at times, serious and mature.
The book was a bit slow and random at parts, but it picked up near the end. I don't think that this was Lisa Yee's best, but she has made a decent breakout into the YA genre. I can't wait to see what's next! Bonus points for road trips, pink hair, and taco trucks. (:

Must-Read! Check it Out Don't Bother

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hearts at Stake

Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Pages: 248
Published: Walker Books, January 2010
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Cover Score: C+
Overall Grade: A+
Source: Publisher

Summary: Solange Drake is dreading her 16th birthday. Born into an ancient family of vampires as the first female in 900 years, Solange's destiny is to become vampire queen. Unfortunately for her, this prophecy has caused outrage in the world of vamps. There's a bounty set on her and her family, and gross vampire suitors are sending her everything from jewelry to blood in pursuit of her hand in marriage and impeccable bloodlines. But when Solange is kidnapped days before her dangerous bloodchange, it's up to her best human friend Lucy and Solange's handsome older brother Nicholas to save her...before it may be too late.
My thoughts: Hearts at Stake is a book with serious bite! At first glance, I was expecting a cheesy, vampire-themed romance. Instead, I got a fast-paced, intriguing, action-packed read that blew away my low expectations.
First, let me gush about the characters: the book alternated perspectives from Lucy to Solange, which gave the reader a look into their heads. Lucy was a kick-butt protagonist with a wicked sense of a humor and a realistic way of speaking. Solange was elegant and poised, and Nicholas is definitely the new vampire heartthrob!
The story was described in a vivid way, the descriptions bright and easy to be imagined in your head while reading. I loved the vampire aspect of the novel, and how well thought-out it was. Ms. Harvey has created a whole, unique vampire history. To me, this was the best part of the book: all the little facts about the ancient Drake family that she created really boosted the plot and made it different from any other vampire novel.
The action in this story was fast-paced, exciting, and enchanting. I literally could not put the book down, and was reluctant when I had to. However, I found that after all of this thrilling lead-up action, the ending was a bit of a letdown. It just seemed a bit too brief.
I guess you could say that I'm dying to read the sequel, Blood Feud. I'm definitely recommending Hearts at Stake to anyone I know, particularly fans of Twilight who want better writing--you won't be sorry!
Must-Read! Check it Out! Don't Bother

Monday, February 1, 2010

Valentine's Day Contest!

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I'm hosting a perfectly lovable giveaway. The winner will receive a copy of It's Not You, It's Me by Kerry Cohen Hoffman and a copy of Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love by Pat Mora.

To enter:
- Leave a comment below with your email address

For bonus entries:
+1 write your own cheesy/funny Valentine's Day card message
+1 follow Bookworm Readers
+2 Link about the contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter

This contest will be closed on February 15. US entries only, please! Good luck! Happy Valentine's Day to all!

PS. I need another entry or two in my Secrets of a Lab Rat giveaway. The deadline has been extended to February 10, so go and enter here!