Monday, June 28, 2010

Mailbox Monday & Contest Winner

Another great week in books--plenty of light, fluffy reads from the library! I need to get on my reviews! (:
Meme created by the Story Siren

And the winner of the Start of Summer contest is......YAN! Congratulations, Yan! I'm sending your copy of CK Kelley Martin's The Lighter Side of Life and Death and your bookish swag to you tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who entered, and keep your eyes peeled for some more upcoming contests that may even include international readers! :)

Oh, and tomorrow is my birthday--yay!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Got a Question for Alyx Harvey?

If you have a question for Alyxandra Harvey, author of Hearts at Stake and Blood Feud, now is your chance to ask!
To get the word out about the Drake Chronicles, Bloomsbury publishing is presenting blog and book readers with an awesome opportunity: they are creating a "Get to Know Alyx Harvey" video. In the video, Alyx will give a tour of her haunted farmhouse and maybe answer a question from YOU!

What you need to do: Submit a question for Alyx along with your name and hometown to by Monday, July 5th, 2010. Make sure the subject of the email is "Alyx Harvey Contest".

Why?: If your question is chosen, it will be answered by Alyx in the video and your name and hometown will appear as well! Look for the video after September 1st on to see if you are a winner! PLUS everyone who submits a question will receive an exclusive sneak peek of the next book in the series, Out for Blood (coming out this December)!

Good luck!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Wide-Awake Princess

Author: E.D. Baker
Pages: 261
Published: Bloomsbury, 2010
Genre: Fantasy
Cover Score: B (gotta say, I like this one a lot more)
Overall Grade: B+

Compared to her older sister Princess Gwendolyn, Annie is rather...well, ordinary. She has no special magical gifts and isn't considered beautiful. However, when Gwendolyn pricks her finger on a spinning wheel and sends the whole castle into a deep sleep for a hundred years, Annie's resistance to magic keeps her awake. In order to protect the kingdom and save her sister, Annie and her guard Liam set out on a journey to find the prince to kiss Gwendolyn awake. But who is Gwendolyn's true love? And will Annie ever find one of her own, too?

My thoughts: Cute, cute, cute! I love fairytale retellings--especially creative, clever, and funny ones, like Ms. Baker's previous The Frog Princess series, so I was excited to hear that she had put a new twist on the classic Sleeping Beauty.
The Wide-Awake Princess was full of charm, humor, and adventure, reading like Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted. I loved the journey described in the book: it was full of adventure and twists and turns, keeping me at the edge of my seat to see what was coming next for Annie and her motley crew of princes. She was the ideal main character: funny, relatable, and oh-so-average. I loved how witty she was, always having a clever response on the tip of her tongue when she was in a sticky situation.
The world Ms. Baker created was perfectly imaginable, and the helpful details helped bring the story to life.
Even though the book tended to drag in places and was quite predictable, middle grade girls will adore Ms. Baker's latest, and, like me, will want more of Annie!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pretty Little Liars recap

I'll admit it, I'm hooked on ABC Family's latest show. The scandals, secrets, and can count me as one of the many fans.
So...what did you think of last night's episode, To Kill A Mocking-Girl? Here are my thoughts:

  • I'm intrigued by the whole Toby Kavanaugh situation. Is he a friend or major creeper? It's a mystery...I need to know more!!
  • This whole Ezra-Aria thing is majorly creepy. As is Wren-Spencer. As is Wilden-Mrs. Marin (Hanna's mom). What is with all the creepy relationships? *Shudders*
  • Everytime Meredith came onto the screen, I cringed a bit. What's going to happen when Aria's mom learns the truth about Meredith and Mr. Montgomery?
  • Did anyone else notice the major To Kill A Mockingbird references in this episode (other than the obvious title)? Toby reminds me a lot of Boo Radley...or maybe that's just me.
  • Best shot of the whole episode? Definitely Ezra's squirrel face........ ----------------->
  • Ben. I hate Ben. Thank GOD Emily got away from him...But her relationship with Maya is still really awkward. And what about Toby?
  • I liked all the flashbacks--they really serve this show well. It adds a lot of depth and background info!
  • Jenna (blind girl) is really starting to creep me out. And at the end of The Jenna Thing episode (last week's), she had me asking questions. Could she be involved with A?
  • Major cliffhanger ending!!! Can't wait for next week's episode!
Since I've been a loyal follower of the show ever since it premiered, I've decided to start reading the books--I actually just got the first one from the library. Are they as good as the show? Better? Worse?
What questions do you want answered in next week's episode?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blood Feud

Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Pages: 272
Published: Walker, June 22 2010
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Cover Score: B-
Overall Grade: A

As the different vampire clans come together for Helena Drake's coronation as the new vampire queen, old rivalries are fading. However, they have a new common enemy--Lord Montmartre, who has plans on stealing the throne and gaining all power in the vampire world. Now, it's up to the Drakes to unite the different tribes against him, including Isabeau St. Croix's clan, the wild and magical Hounds. Isabeau's intent on getting her own revenge on the vampire who murdered her and left her to die centuries ago, but after she meets Logan Drake, she realizes that fighting for the common cause is just as important...

My thoughts: I loved Hearts at Stake, so I was particularly excited to read Blood Feud, and maybe even a little bit hesitant. But Blood Feud was just as good--if not better than its prequel.
To start off, I loved the alternating points of view from the main characters, Logan and Isabeau. They were both well-developed and had amazing chemistry that made them perfect protagonists. I loved hearing their story going back and forth and seeing how each character perceived certain events.
Having flashbacks to Isabeau's past was an interesting detail to the book. It was a beautiful addition and provided great history to back up the events of the rest of the book, something that I wanted to see in Hearts at Stake. You could tell that Ms. Harvey did her research--the time periods described in the story were in vivid detail, so that I could picture the events clearly. It even made me wish that the snippets of history could be combined into their own story--I would definitely want to read more.
There was the same fast-paced, kick-butt action, heart-pounding thrills, and a romance that felt even stronger, more real, and better defined than the ones in the first book. Some of the details on the world of the Drakes can be a bit confusing, but it's a great alternate to Twilight. Ms. Harvey clearly spent a lot of time creating her own vampire world--and it shows. I can't wait to see what's next for the Drakes (and I hope a lot more from Isabeau and Logan!) in the next book, Out for Blood (Dec 2010).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

In My Mailbox & Updates

Another week gone by, another great haul of books to read! Here's what was in my mailbox this week (meme created by the Story Siren):

Many thanks to Random House and Lisa Roe of the Online Publicist!
In other news, the winner of the Deception ARC giveaway is Christa! You have been emailed so I can send your prize out ASAP--congratulations, and thanks to everyone who entered!

Also, check out my summer kick-off contest, enter here by June 28!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Look (aka HELP!)

OK, so Bookworm Readers has a new look. I'm not positive that I absolutely love it yet, but I felt like the blog was in need of a little summertime makeover (we'll see how long that feeling lasts).
However, I (the technologically challenged) need some help:

a) I custom-made the banner from a "Cutest Blog on the Block" freebie, but for some reason it came out too short. Does anyone know how to make it longer to fit the standard Blogger header?

b) My sidebar is really crowded, and I'd like to expand into a 3-column format...but how exactly do I do that? HELP!!!!

c) Any other comments, questions, and advice is gladly accepted. Just leave a comment below!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Perchance to Dream

Author: Lisa Mantchev
Pages: 352
Published: Feiwel & Friends, May 2010
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: C+

In the sequel to Eyes Like Stars, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith (the Mistress of Revels) and company have left the enchanted Theatre Illuminata in order to rescue one of their fellow castmates from the clutches of the evil sea witch who captured him. Struggling between the kidnapped pirate and Ariel, a wind spirit from the play The Tempest, Bertie faces challenges that she would never have to face within the Theatre--and will ultimately have to put the magic within herself to the test.

My thoughts: I had high expectations for Perchance to Dream. After reading Eyes Like Stars, I fell in love with the enchanting Theatre and Bertie and her ragtag crew of friends, ranking it my #1 book of 2009. However, I felt that this sequel did not live up to the glory of its predecessor.
To start, I was totally confused with the storyline. I knew that it was a basic journey to rescue Nate from Sedna, and that Bertie was struggling with her feelings for both Nate and Ariel. I knew that Bertie was reunited with her father, and there was some drama there regarding why he left her and her mother, but other than that, I wasn't clear on what was going on in the story. Between Bertie's illustrious dreams and magic and the new characters (whose roles in the book were unclear), I felt like I was lost in the rolling descriptions and fantasy.
The story itself was so long and tended to drag along in places, which added to my confusion. I think that Bertie's character got lost in third person. I really would've liked to know her better, but she felt like a distant focus on the book between lengthy descriptions of scenery. I feel that if she were more developed, as she had been in Eyes Like Stars, then I also would've understood her magic and her journey.
The descriptions were packed chock-full with foreign sights, sounds, smells, and theatrical and old-fashioned dialogue so that I felt uncertain whether the story was real or one of Bertie's magical dreams. However, Ms. Mantchev injected beauty and detail into everything. Her writing was enchanting and simply poetic. For instance: "The air spilled over her lips in a cloud-colored ribbon that dragged her toward him".
With a bit more background information and some clearer narration, I think that this book could've been just as good as Eyes Like Stars. Still, Ms. Mantchev has great talent as a storyteller--and I am still eagerly looking forward to Bertie's next adventure.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Inside Story

Author: Michael Buckley
Pages: 288
Published: Amulet, May 2010
Genre: Fantasy/Mystery
Age group: Middle grade readers
Overall Grade: B+

Picking up where The Everafter War left off, sisters Sabrina and Daphne Grimm (aka fairytale detectives) find themselves in an enchanted storybook that serves as a historical record for every fairy tale ever written. However, while searching amongst the pages for the evil and cunning Master, who betrayed the family and has stolen a prized possession for them, the sisters must be careful. They must avoid the Editor and his crew of Revisors, who would love nothing more than to erase the Grimms from the pages of their book entirely.

My thoughts: I absolutely love this series, and whenever there is a new addition, I immediately get myself a copy. I was stunned after the last installment (major cliffhanging action), so I was super-excited to see how things ended up in The Inside Story, the second-to-last book.
There were, sure enough, some of the same qualities I loved from the rest of the books: the creative twist on fairytales, a slew of unique and funny characters, hearty wit, edge-of-your-seat suspense (even though it was a little slow at first), and a spellbinding new adventure full of twists and turns.
On the other hand, this book was simply missing something. Maybe it was the different setting or the absence of the usual characters of Ferryport Landing, but the book lacked that magical spark that pushed it from good to great, as seen in the other seven installments. Seeing as there will be one final book in the series, I can only hope that Mr. Buckley will tie up all loose ends and make the conclusion to one of my favorite series of all time truly magical.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Start of Summer contest!

It's finally summer, and in celebration of the beginning of the best season of the year, it's time for a contest!

Here's what I'm giving away:

- CK Kelly Martin's The Lighter Side of Life and Death
- Tons of book-related swag!

To enter, please leave your email address below. US entries only, please!
For an extra two entries, blog/link about the giveaway!

Contest will end June 28, 2010. Good luck!

If you're in the mood to win, enter to win an ARC of Lee Nichols' Deception. Contest ends June 16, so hurry and enter here!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Look Who's Back in the Blogosphere

Where, oh where have I been? It's been ages since I've blogged (OK, maybe it's only been less than a week, but I haven't been frequent in my posts).

The main reason for my absence? School. Funny how it entirely takes over life, huh? Between finals and homework and other school-related events, I've been completely too busy. Ah, high school...But now that it's summer (freedom!), I'm planning on spending some time doing what I want to.

What else have I been up to over this choppy semi-leave of absence?

a) I've been watching Glee. Yes, a lot of Glee. Even though the second season wasn't quite as good as the first, there's been some great new music (LOVE Puck's version of "Beth"), some great new friendships (Mercedes and Quinn--hello!), amazing drama (Finn and Kurt? Rachel's mom? Quinn's baby?) and some great new Sue-isms (gotta love her).

b) Make it or Break It. It's an obsession. Seriously. Gymnastics, scandal,'s all right there. And a new season is starting on June 28 at 9 on ABC Family. *Squeeee!*
c) The World Cup. If you're not watching, get your butt over to a TV and tune in to the biggest soccer event (hosted in South Africa this year) in the world. Now. Italy's my number one (as always), with Spain and Portugal following close behind. Let's do it again, guys!

d) Music. I'm always plugged into my iPod, especially during study time (which there's been a lot of lately). Recently I've been loving Marina and the Diamonds' debut album The Family Jewels. There's tons of lovable British wit and humor in her lyrics, and I love the alternative sounds. Definitely check 'em out!

d) Sports. Aiyiyi. I've been taking ballet recently and I'm pretty into it. My latest session just ended, but my friend and I are looking into taking it this summer. I'm a competitive horseback rider of ten years, as you may know, and I'm training hard for the upcoming summer show season! I've also been thinking of trying out for club volleyball, so I've been practicing my skills (or lack thereof) on a daily basis. Unfortunately, you have to be good to make the team. So I need to keep on practicing.

Between all of that and my family and friends, it's been hard staying committed to this blog. But don't worry. I'm not giving up yet. There's a stack of books to be reviewed larger than the Empire State building in my room, and I've got lots of plans for Bookworm Readers this summer: I'm planning on reformatting and possibly giving the blog a makeover, and I've got lots of contest and interviews squared away. I've also been thinking of starting up a photo blog--I'm a major lover of photography, and I'd love a creative outlet. Thoughts? Comments? Recommendations? Encouragment? Let 'em at me!

I know I've not been the most regular blogger lately, but please stick with me--you don't want to miss what's coming up!

aka Bookworm

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Summer of Skinny Dipping

Author: Amanda Howells
Pages: 304
Published: June 1 2010, Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Cover score: A-
Overall Grade: B+

When 16 year old Mia Gordon learns that her family will be bringing back the tradition of vacationing with their cousins this summer in Southampton, New York, she's relieved. Eager to leave behind her mother's criticisms and a boy she thought she loved, Mia is more than ready to spend some quality time on the beaches that she loves with her best friend and cousin Corinne. But Corinne is nothing like Mia remembered her to be--newly sophisticated, jaded, and obsessed with the dangers of the party scene, Corinne could care less about spending time with Mia. Meanwhile, Mia's family seems to be falling apart, and Mia's summer begins to look worse and worse. But then Mia meets Simon (who loves painting and walking on the beach)--and everything changes...including the thoughts
My thoughts: Just like the unforgettable summers that Mia describes within the first few pages of the book, The Summer of Skinny Dipping is a story that will stick with you well after reading it.
To start, Amanda Howells is a beautiful writer. I felt like I was seeing the world through Mia's eyes throughout the novel. Mia was incredibly relatable and down-to-earth as she struggled with the changes her 16th summer brought. She was logical, well-developed and offered straightforward narration. Ms. Howells' words were melodic, poetic, and wrapped me up in the events of the plot.
Ms. Howells combined family problems, romance, and friendship in a way that was interesting and created a good flow in the story, never focusing on just one thing. I couldn't stop turning pages as Mia's summer transitioned from awkward and lonely to wonderful and unforgettable. However, somewhere in the middle, the book dragged a bit and I got a little bored with Simon and Mia's repetitive nighttime swims and beach walks. I think the book got a little too lengthy, which is why I temporarily lost interest.
However, the story picks back up in the end--the surprise (yet sad) ending will have reader at the edges of their seats, grabbing for a box of tissues.
Perfect for Sarah Dessen fans and the upcoming summer, readers (primarily girls) will gobble up this nostalgic, breezy tale of adventure, family secrets, first love, and loss.

Must-Read! Check it out Don't Bother

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Deception Review

Author: Lee Nichols
Pages: 304
Published: Bloomsbury, June 8 2010
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy
Cover score: A
Overall Grade: A

When Emma Vaile's parents disappear on a mysterious business trip, everything seems to go downhill from there. Emma's friendless, guardianless, and the scary visions from her childhood are coming back. But when Emma's only friend notifies social services that Emma is on her own, it's her older brother's former best friend, Bennett Stern, who comes to her rescue, whisking her off to Massachusetts to enroll in an old-fashioned prep school. However, Emma's haunting visions are getting worse, and she's constantly having flashbacks to the past. She learns that, like Bennett, she's a ghostkeeper, who can communicate with ghosts. She must come face to face with dark secrets, her past, and the truth behinds her parents' disappearance--but she doesn't know who to trust. And when a series of "otherworldly" murders start popping up, Emma must put her skills to the test.
My thoughts: Wow. Can I just say that I absolutely adored this book? It was intriguing, fast paced, and unique.
I loved the creative concept of ghostkeeping: it's never been done before, and Ms. Nichols clearly put a lot of time and effort into creating Emma's world. It really showed in the writing, which was rich with detail and history and action.
The book was definitely not one to read before bed--it was spooky, creepy, and haunting. I couldn't get it out of my mind! It was definitely a quick read. The mystery, intrigue, and suspense had me madly flipping pages. I really couldn't put it down, and finished it in a day.
The characters themselves were well developed and truly lovable. At the start, I was wary of the vague descriptions of Emma's acquaintances and family, but as the story moved along, they became better developed. Emma was an awesome protagonist. I felt like I could relate to her, and her narration was spot-on. I would've liked to have seen a little more information on Bennett's character, but I guess that's what makes him so mysterious. (:
I'd also like to point out that Bloomsbury has had such a strong slew of wonderfully written paranormal books lately. Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles, Michelle Rowen's Demon Princess...Deception is the icing on the cake. Keep 'em coming, guys!
The sad, cliff-hanger ending made me want more--I can't wait for book two, Betrayal (coming out March 2011)!

Must-read! Check it out Don't Bother

Friday, June 4, 2010

Deception Blog Tour Part I: Interview & Contest!

Today's interview: Lee Nichols
If you're interested in winning a copy of the book, read on for details!!
Bookworm: Welcome, Lee! To start off, please tell us what the inspiration behind Deception is.
Lee: I wanted to write a contemporary Gothic mystery with a kick-butt heroine.

Bookworm: What is your favorite ghost story?
Lee: I loved old Barbara Michaels novels, where the ghost haunting the mansion the heroine lives in is always helping her solve a mystery and getting her to fall for the right guy.

Bookworm: Speaking of ghosts, if you could meet/talk to a ghost, who would it be (celebrity, deceased famly member, etc)?
Lee: I would love to introduce my grandmother to my son. They would've adored each other.

Bookworm: What's next for Emma?
Lee: In Betrayal, the second Haunting Emma book due out in March, her powers grow stronger and she gets tougher, like hard-core. Plus she learns a lot about her parents' past and struggles to make things work with Bennett.

Bookworm: What is your favorite thing about writing for young adults?
Lee: It's just a really fun genre to be in. I think more exciting things are happening in young adult fiction than anywhere else right now.

Bookworm: What book have you recently read and loved?
Lee: Along with everyone else, I love the Hunger Games series. Can't wait for the third. Team Peeta!
Thanks so much, Lee! Deception is released June 8, 2010 by Bloomsbury. Expect a review soon!
Many thanks to Kate Lied for letting me participate in this Bloomsbury tour!

***If you're interested in winning an ARC of Deception:
- Comment below with your name and email address.
- US entries only, please (sorry international friends!)
- Winners will be chosen June 16, 2010!
Good luck!