Friday, November 30, 2012

Books of the Month (4)

Books of the Month is where I share books I got In My Mailbox, read, and reviewed during the entire month. Variations of these types of posts exist on many blogs so I am not claiming credit for this idea.

Books of November
 
 
 
Purchased
Flat Out Love by Jessica Park
Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
Second Chance by Katie Kacvinsky
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Tilt by Ellen Hopkins
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Collateral by Ellen Hopkins

Won
All You Never Wanted by Adele Griffin
Streamline by Jennifer Lane

Gifted
Bad to the Bone by Jeri Smith-Ready

For Review/Blog Tour
The Farm by Emily McKay
Regine's Book

 ********************

Read
(links to Amazon) 

********************

Reviewed
(links t0 reviews) 
Burnout by Adrienne Maria Vrettos
If I Know It's Coming by Nick Hupton 
Wild Girls by Mary Stewart Atwell

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

3rd Annual Holiday #Readathon is Coming!

It's that time of year again!!


I love participating in readathons throughout the year, but the Holiday #Readathon is my favorite. Liza at WhoRUBlog hosts this readathon and challenges her readers to make a donation to a charity or volunteer their time. This is not required to participate, but it makes our efforts as readers a little more special.

I always pledge a penny a page read and ask my friends to support my efforts with additional pledges and donations. After the readathon, I take the money to purchase books for my local community Christmas Store. The Christmas Store is " an all-volunteer, community-wide, nonprofit organization which assists low-income families during the Christmas season by providing a shopping experience characterized by choice and dignity. Serving families with children is our first priority."

Last year, I raised enough money to donate all of these books!
 

Now do you see why this is my favorite readathon?!

 The Holiday #Readathon is from December 7th through the 9th and there will be contests, 
giveaways and a Twitter chat. Sign ups are going on right now.
Sign Up Here


Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: Wild Girls by Mary Stewart Atwell






Wild Girls
by Mary Stewart Atwell
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher









Daringly imagined, atmospheric, and original, Wild Girls is an exhilarating debut—part coming-of-age story and part supernatural tale about girls learning their own strength. Kate Riordan fears two things as she grows up in the small Appalachian town of Swan River: that she’ll be a frustrated townie forever or that she’ll turn into one of the mysterious and terrifying wild girls, killers who start fires and menace the community. Struggling to better her chances of escaping, Kate attends the posh Swan River Academy and finds herself divided between her hometown—and its dark history—and the realm of privilege and achievement at the Academy. Explosive friendships with Mason, a boy from the wrong side of town, and Willow, a wealthy and popular queen bee from school, are slowly pulling her apart. Kate must decide who she is and where she belongs before she wakes up with cinders at her fingertips.

Mary Stewart Atwell has written a novel that is at once funny and wise and stunningly inventive. Her wild girls are strange and fascinating creatures—a brilliant twist on the anger teenage girls can feel at their powerlessness—and a promise of the great things to come from this young writer.
(from Goodreads)

My Thoughts
Why I wanted to read Wild Girls (from my Waiting on Wednesday post):
  • a coming-of-age story
  • set in a small Appalachian town
  • a brilliant twist on the anger teenage girls can feel at their powerlessness
Wild Girls exceeded any expectations that I had (which were pretty high). It wasn't the angst-filled drama that description led me to believe it to be. It is part mystery, part coming-of-age and very intense throughout. Anticipating when the wild girls may appear and what brought them about was enough to keep my on edge for most of the time I was reading it. Up until the very end, I didn't really know what the wild girls were for sure.  Were they possessed by some higher dark power? Were they witches learning their own strengths and abilities? Or were they just menacing girls acting out for attention? I was guessing, pondering, and speculating throughout and not knowing for sure was just as thrilling as realizing what they were.
 
Wild Girls takes place at a boarding school in the small desolate town of Swan River. It would seem to be an unusual place to send the daughters of wealthy families before sending them off to college or out into society. It's not the most prestigious school or the most sophisticated town, but it has it's own history and its own backwoods culture. The setting was crucial to the story and it began to seem as though Swan River was its own character playing an active role in what happened to these girls.
 
One of my favorite parts of Wild Girls was the folklore strung throughout and the use of histories and ancient myths. Even the stories of the wild girls who murdered people or set places on fire, were passed down through years and years of oral history. Tales told by someone who saw what happened or knew someone who was a wild girl,  but never from the wild girls themselves. These second party accounts always kept them a mystery - never to be completely understood. And still what I didn't like was that Kate knew someone who became a wild girl, her sister - Maggie, and she couldn't ever get a complete explanation of why she turned.
 
As I said before Wild Girls is part mystery, part thriller, and part coming of age. But I think at the core of it, Wild Girls takes a close examination at relationships. Whether they are familial, romantic, or friendships - they are filled with expectations, disappointments, compromise, and acceptance. Kate is the focus of many of these relationships and seeing her navigate through them and find her place and find herself was worth every moment spent reading this book.
 
Wild Girls is more wonderful than I've put into words here. I'd recommend it to any fan of mythology, folklore, mystery, young adult, and Appalachian literature.  It would be a great book club selection and I will be recommending it to mine. 
 
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the book provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
 
 
   
 
 


  
 
 
 

 







Friday, November 23, 2012

From My Shelves Giveaway: Fallen by Lauren Kate

From My Shelves Giveaway

In the same vein of my Letting Go Giveaways and the Clear Your Shelf giveaway hosted by 
I Am A Reader Not a Writer, I'm going to giveaway books from my shelves that I've read, books I wanted to read but just couldn't get into, or books that have been on my shelves way too long and should go to a new reader. 

Current Giveaway:



Fallen by Lauren Kate
+ swag

Again, the books I am giving away are from my personal library. I like to call them "Used but In a Good Way."

Giveaway Rules
Must be at least 16 yrs or older
Open to U.S. addresses only
To enter, fill out Rafflecopter below
 Following is NOT required
but you can earn an extra by following on Twitter
Contest ends November 30th, 2012
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Love in the Time of Global Warming


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:









Love in the Time of Global Warming
by Francesca Lia Block
Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: August 27, 2013










(from Goodreads)

Seventeen-year-old Penelope (Pen) has lost everything—her home, her parents, and her ten-year-old brother. Like a female Odysseus in search of home, she navigates a dark world full of strange creatures, gathers companions and loses them, finds love and loses it, and faces her mortal enemy.

In her signature style, Francesca Lia Block has created a world that is beautiful in its destruction and as frightening as it is lovely. At the helm is Pen, a strong heroine who holds hope and love in her hands and refuses to be defeated.


August seems so far away, but I think Love in the Time of Global Warming will be worth the wait. Francesca's books can seem really out there (at least the ones I've read) but I find that I enjoy them immensely. I'm looking forward to this one a lot. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teaser: Wild Girls by Mary Stewart Atwell


 
 
Wild Girls
by Mary Stewart Atwell
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
 
 
 
 "I didn't know exactly what the wild girls were, but I was pretty sure what they were not. They were not the daughters of the few professional people in town, the doctors and ministers. They were not headed for college. They were bad girls, with reputations for doing things in the backs of pickups, and a lot of them came from the north side of town, from Bloodwort road." 
(pg 3)
 
 
 
 
 
  
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read and open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Club Discussion: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Provisions and Paperbacks, my IRL book club, recently read Ten by Gretchen McNeil. As I said in my previous post (you can read it here), I want to share some thoughts and ideas brought up during the book club and bring my blog readers into the discussion.


Not yet, but there will be spoilers. You have been warned.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Published on Sept. 18, 2012 by Balzer +Bray
294 pages

SHHHH!
Don't spread the word!
Three-day weekend. House party.
White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.


It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.


 

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine? (from Goodreads)

There will be spoilers. You have been warned.

Here are some thoughts shared during our book club discussion after reading Ten:
  • NO ONE suspected who the killer was from the very beginning. It was a huge shock to everyone.
  • When I first read the synopsis, Ten sounded like this 1980's movie April Fool's Day that I watched all the time. As I was reading the story of the characters getting killed off one by one, I thought it was like the movie and it was all a joke. I was trying to figure out the lengths that someone would go to to pull off these pranks. It was difficult to believe that these characters were getting killed. I'm glad that I am not alone in this, another book club member thought the same thing.
  • Lori's overreaction to the DVD made it seem like it was going to be a murder-mystery type weekend - a who-done-it, but not really did it, similar to Clue
  • When Meg and T.J. went to the boat house, I couldn't get a clear image of the setting that was described with the steep cliff and stairs
  •  One reader was so scared and one night she woke up from a nightmare after reading Ten
  • a few readers were happy when Vivian was killed because she was annoying, bossy, and a know-it-all (as if that is a reason to be killed)
  • Clues to characters vulnerabilities: Minnie bipolar, Minnie and Meg's co-dependence, Ben's allergies
 Questions raised while reading:
  • Was Claire really dead?
  • Was Jessica murdered and would her dead body pop up at the end?
  •  Wonder if it was necessary to make Minnie bipolar? 
  • Would it have been scarier if it was written from the first-person?
Figuring out the killer:
  • thinking it was T.J., right after one of the times he called Meg "Baby" - this was one of the first signs of affection displayed toward her after the whole Homecoming incident, some other times when he was separated from Meg - when he went back to the house to get the lamps/flashlights
  • thinking it was Minnie - off and on throughout, of course I contributed her exaggerated reactions to "the prank", but it was when she was reading the final page of the journal that I thought it was her because she could have made up anything to convince Meg that T.J. was the killer - Meg didn't know what was on the page, so it could've been anything.
  • thinking Minnie was in ca-hoots with someone - when she "inspected" the room that Ben's dead body was in
  • We never thought it was Vivian, Nathan, or Kenny- it seemed obvious that they weren't - they felt just like filler characters
  • Even though it isn't 1st person, the events are viewed from Meg's perspective, so then I started to question if she was an unreliable narrator 
  • one book club member thought Claire's ghost was killing the people on the island
This was  a great book club selection.  It was fast paced and easy to get caught up in the story. The story has a lot of twists and turns and offered a lot for the discussion. I just wish that I didn't know about the movie April Fool's Day. I think that if I didn't think it was all I joke, this story would have scared me to death. 

I'd like to invite anyone to join in on the discussion and share your thoughts on TEN!! Just leave your thoughts in the comments! Thanks

Up next for Provisions and Paperbacks
 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin






Release: December 27th

Blurb:

I was never supposed to be a rock star. I had my life all planned out for me. Play football in college. Go to the NFL. Marry my high school sweetheart and live happily ever after.

I broke both our hearts that day when I told her I was leaving. I was young. I made the right decision for me, but the wrong decision for us. I’ve poured my soul into my music, but I’ve never forgotten her. Her smell, her smile.

And now I’m going back.

After ten years.

I hope I can explain that after all this time.

I still want her to be my forever girl.


My grandma once told me that I can do anything I want, so I am.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, I now live in picturesque Vermont, with my husband and two daughters. Also renting space in our home is an overhyper Beagle/Jack Russell and two Parakeets.

During the day you'll find me behind a desk talking about Land Use. At night, I'm writing one of the many stories I plan to release or sitting courtside during either daughter's basketball games.

I'm also an active reviewer on The Readiacs - a site I own with my best friend and uber special beta, Yvette.

_______________________________________
 
GIVEAWAY
_______________________________________
This giveaway is open INTERNATIONAL.




Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude Giveaway Hop


The Gratitude Giveaway Hop is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer. This is one of my favorite hops because it gives me the opportunity to thank all of my blog readers who stop by my blog, read my posts, comment, offer books suggestions, and participate in my giveaways. So . . . THANK YOU ALL. 

The Prize 
one $10.00 (ten dollar) Amazon gift card or e-card

Giveaway Rules
Must be at least 16 yrs or older
Open to U.S. addresses only
Following is NOT required
To enter, fill out Rafflecopter below
Contest ends November 25th, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop


The Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer couldn't have come at a better time. Last month I went on a buying spree and have to make room on my shelves for the new books. I'm giving away a total of four books to two winners. All of the books come from my shelves and are gently read.

Giveaway #1
ttyl and l8r, g8r by Lauren Myracle

Giveaway #2
Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger
Dedication by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Giveaway Rules
Must be at least 18 yrs or older
Open to U.S. addresses only
Following is NOT required
To enter each giveaway, fill out Rafflecopter(s) below
Contest ends November 18th 2012
 
 
 
Many other blogs are participating in this cleaning up/clearing out hop, so check them out!

 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: If I Know It's Coming by Nick Hupton







If I Know It's Coming
by Nick Hupton
Published by North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
Pages: 197
Source: Author









If I Know It's Coming is a middle grade novel about a 13-year-old boy named Tim Hansen, who lives in a quaint little neighborhood in South Minneapolis.  For the most part, Tim leads a normal, preteen existence.  He is concerned about friendships, girls, sports, and even schoolwork from time to time.  But when his mother, who is a nurse in the United States Army, is deployed to Iraq, Tim's relatively normal and happy existence gets flipped upside down.  How will Tim cope without his mother?  Will his family ever be the same?  Middle school was unpredictable enough, but when Tim faces this sudden dose of mortality, the adventure is just beginning.

My Thoughts

I've noticed recently that more and more books about military families and relationships have been published. There are so many people with family members, friends, and acquaintances in the military that we are all involved in one way or another. In If I Know It's Coming, we get to see how the life of one young teen and his family are affected when his mother, a nurse in the Army Reserve is called to duty. 

I enjoyed reading this book and seeing this experience from a teenager's viewpoint. Tim is in the seventh grade, plays baseball, and just may have a crush on the daughter of his parents' friends, Nicole. The story begins with Tim's mother already in Iraq for several months. His father is there, but distracted and his sister is moody with random outbursts of anger. Tim's struggling with his mother's absence and when he tries to talk to his best friend Seth about it, he just doesn't understand. He brushes Tim's worries aside because he'd rather thing about sports or video games. How Tim navigates through these strained relationships are the major focus of the story.

If I Know It's Coming touches on many ideas. Why do people join the military? Why are our soldiers fighting in this war? What does it mean to have a sense of duty? How long will your military be in Iraq? What I appreciated most about the questions and how they were approached was that is wasn't in a preaching or judgmental tone. They were asked from a place of sincerity which I believe would allow for an open dialogue about these topics. It's not about right or wrong and should or should not. It is about this is how it is and how we respond to it, deal with it, and live with it as a reality.

This story does have a somber tone to it, but it is not all serious. There are moments of teenage awkwardness and humor that made this story endearing. While it is a middle-grade read, it is a book for teenagers, adults, and everyone in between. It would be a great book to read as a family. I enjoyed it and will recommend it again and again.


Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the book provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.












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