Saturday, October 30, 2010

Spooky Reads for Halloween and Beyond

It's one of my favorite times of the year again, and I love curling up with a mug of hot apple cider and a spooky, ghostly book to get into the Halloween/autumn mood. Here are my top 7 spooky paranormal picks to read this year on Halloween:

...And even after Halloween, it's fun to dive into a spooky mystery or fantasy book that's fitting for the winter months. Have a fun, safe Halloween and happy reading!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In My Mailbox

Here's what was in my mailbox this week:

  • Monster High by Lisi Harrison (just for fun...)
  • Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
  • Classy by Derek Blasberg (a fashionable guide from the library)
  • Trash by Andy Mulligan
  • Dark Water by Laura McNeal
  • Ice Claw by David Gilman
Thanks so much to Random House Books for Young Readers! This rainy weather looks like it's staying--so I have lots of good books to pass the time with (and plenty of time to catch up on pathetically catch up with my lack of reviews...argh!).

Contest Extended!

If you haven't already, check out the contest to win a copy of Lauren Baratz-Logsted's The Twin's Daughter! I've extended the deadline to enter to November 1st. Click here for your chance to win--US entries only, please!

Friday, October 15, 2010

In My Mailbox

Gaaah I've been so slow at updating le blog. Anyway, here are a few week's worth of IMM. I've been busy with school and sick so there hasn't been a whole lot of reading time. Thanks for your patience, I should have some reviews up soon. :)

  • Project Fashion: Armani Angels by Jasmine Oliver (used book sale)
  • Vixen: The Flappers (ARC) by Jillian Larkin (Thank you to Meg O'Brien!)
  • Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters (ARC)
  • Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde
  • The Sphinx's Queen by Esther Friesner
  • Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
  • I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison
  • Brain Jack by Brian Falkner
  • Banished by Sophie Littlefield
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
  • Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher by Wendelin vanDraanen
  • Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Special thanks to Random House Children's Books and Sarah Beth Durst! I've got plenty of happy reading ahead of me--I'll keep you posted!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Ivy

Part of a Traveling to Teens blog tour!
Author: Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur
Pages: 312
Published: Greenwillow, 2010
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: A-

Despite lacking connections, money, any East Coast legacies, and a prep-school ready wardrobe, California girl Callie Andrews has managed to get into the most prestigious college in the world--Harvard University. Callie's got the brains and the determination to get through the hardcore academics, but it's the social aspects that have got her all confused: she has to face three crazy roommates, boy problems galore, her first college parties, and an ex-boyfriend in California who may ruin her life. And, oh yeah--the most popular upperclassmen in school is out to get her and is, coincidentally, the editor of the magazine that Callie's dying to get on...Will she be able to survive her first semester at college? Or will the stress send her packing for LA?
My thoughts: I was expecting a light, chick lit read going into The Ivy: maybe not-so-great writing, kind of fluffy, kind of Gossip Girl-y. I should know by now not to judge a book by its cover. The Ivy was written in a descriptive, addictive way that kept me turning pages. It had its light, funny, party moments, but also held some deeper morals and meanings.
I was sucked into Callie's world: the drama, the parties, the hard work, the scandals, the day-to-day college life (coffee, work, lectures, work, more caffeine...) Her story had me completely hooked from start to finish, making for a quick, breezy read! Ms. Kunze has a comfortable writing style that gives you a perfect picture of every event, every character in your mind. She clearly was writing from experience, and it showed in her details and fun little Harvard facts tossed in throughout the novel. I also really liked the little snippets from the fictional school blogs and newspapers before every chapter--it gave the book a more personal, college-y feel.
The characters were well-written and oh-so-lovable: I loved all of Callie's kooky friends and roommates, and the mean girl was just so fun to hate. The romance was just right (although I want to see more of Matt!), and it felt like it spoke directly to teenagers. Although sometimes a bit predictable, I found myself wanting more--what's next for Callie?
This book felt like a little snippet of easy-to-read-about college life, and makes a leisurely, enjoyable read for readers 15 & up!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Twin's Daughter

Author: Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Pages: 304
Published: September 2010, Bloomsbury
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: A-

Lucy Sexton's world is turned upside-down when her mother's identical twin turns up at their doorstep. Separated at birth, Aunt Helen is the exact opposite of the elegant, upper-classsociety lady that Lucy's mother is. However, the family takes her in, and before long, Aunt Helen has been transformed into an exact replica of her mother. However, she doesn't seem to mind being mistaken for Lucy's mother...especially when it comes to Lucy's father. Even Lucy is having trouble telling them apart. But when a brutal murder takes place in Lucy's own home, who has been left alive, and who has been killed? And who is behind the murder?

My thoughts: I must admit, The Twin's Daughter is a solid, deep story that took me a long time to get through. The story starts off very slowly, winding its way up to a climax that occurs nearly more than halfway through the book, and speeding up to the exciting conclusion. However, I felt that the plot took a little too much time to get to the point. The story was very wordy and packed with detail, and I would've like to have seen a more-developed aspect of mystery. However, once the story began moving, I was instantly engrossed--the twists and turns kept me at the edge of my seat.
Ms. Baratz-Logsted clearly did her research on Victorian London, and it showed: the daily-life aspects, narration, and details of Lucy's home, dress, and surroundings painted a perfect picture of the time period for me. Ms. Baratz-Logsted has an abundance of writing skills!
I loved how well-developed the characters were: I really felt that I could get into Lucy's mind, and I adored Aunt Helen and Kit as supporting characters.
This story of betrayal, jealousy, secrets, and mystery is an engrossing gothic that has a killer mystery aspect that is both chilling and fascinating. A must-read for fans of historical fiction!

PS. Win a copy of The Twins' Daughter here!