Thursday, March 31, 2011

The book video of the week is Abandon by Meg Cabot.

I am really excited about this book, so much that I even pre-ordered a copy. This book is based on the Greek myth about Hades and Persephone, which I love. I notice a lot of young adult books coming out are also based on this story but Abandon is the one I'm truly excited for. This is also going to be my first Meg Cabot book since the Princess Diaries series.

Here's the trailer:

Hmm... I'm not a huge fan trailer though. I like the little narration but the voice or the tone of the narrator... She just doesn't sound natural, if that makes sense. They can never seem to get the narrator right in book videos. Not sure about the actress and actor either but I do like the images they used.

Let me know what you all think of the trailer. If you already read the book, what did you think of it?

And here's the blurb (from Goodreads) and book cover:
New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

thogan ARC: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: Mar. 1, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
TASTE ME is the first book in a gritty, fast-paced, and sexy urban fantasy romance series featuring a world where incubi, sirens, valkyries, vampires, and werewolves live undetected alongside humankind. Someone has to keep the peace-and the secrets.
Siren rock star Scarlett Fontaine is finally home after an exhausting year on tour with her band. Incubus security guru Lukas Sebastiani has more urgent problems than protecting the stubborn diva, but now that they're forced into close proximity, they're fighting an attraction that leads them to the brink of disaster...

Michelle's Review:
Scarlett, a siren and lead singer in a rock band, was not happy--she's exhausted, just finishing her latest tour and she just wants to relax. Unfortunately, someone was attacking those who are close to Scarlett and the Underground Council assigned Lukas, an incubus and head of a security firm, to be her bodyguard. Scarlett and Lukas had a fling a long time ago but broke up. However, these two haven't forgotten the past and both still have feelings for the other. Taste Me is sort of a mixed bag of steamy romance, paranormal elements, urban fantasy, suspense, music, world building, among other things.

It thought the world building was pretty good and interesting. In Taste Me an alien space ship crash landed on earth bringing forth sirens, incubus, vampires, werewolves and valkyries. They have been living among the humans undetected since, forming their own Underground Council. However, I was disappointed with the mystery aspect of the book. I love to read romantic suspense and it quite work here. Right away the killer was revealed to the reader but it took Scarlett and Lukas longer to put two and two together. My knowing who the killer was and having to watch Lukas and the others try to figure out who it was frustrating--I wanted them to solve it already. The romance was okay and the book was steamy but Scarlett and Lukas didn't get together until almost the middle of the book. Maybe it's just me because I thought the writing was good but I didn't find myself reaching for it after I put it down but it was an just an okay read for me overall. 2 out of 5 stars
pipersson ARC: 328 pages
Publisher: Candlewick Press

Release Date: March 8, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Melina Marchetta's brilliant, heart-wrenching new novel takes up the story of the group of friends from her best-selling, much-loved book Saving Francesca - only this time it's five years later and Thomas Mackee is the one who needs saving.
Thomas Mackee wants oblivion. Wants to forget parents who leave and friends he used to care about and a string of one-night stands, and favourite uncles being blown to smithereens on their way to work on the other side of the world.
But when his flatmates turn him out of the house, Tom moves in with his single, pregnant aunt, Georgie. And starts working at the Union pub with his former friends. And winds up living with his grieving father again. And remembers how he abandoned Tara Finke two years ago, after his uncle's death.
And in a year when everything's broken, Tom realises that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.

Michelle's Review:
My first reaction after reading this book was WOW! I laughed, I cried--I was an emotional wreak afterward and days later I'm still absorbing everything that happened in The Piper's Son. Then, I tried writing my review of this book and I couldn't. And I still can't because I feel like nothing I write feels adequate in describing how phenomenal this book it. But here I go...

Before I begin my ramble about how incredible this book is, I'll say right off the bat that I give this book 5 out of 5 stars; I would give it more if I could. After reading Jellicoe Road and Saving Francesca, I had very high expectations for The Piper's Son but it more than met my expectations. The Piper's Son is set five years after Saving Francesca and features many of the same characters. Tom Mackee takes center stage in this book and the blurb does a good job describing his story without giving too much. However, what the blurb doesn't tell you is that Tom is just half of the book. The other half of the novel is his aunt Georgie's story. There's a lot of drama and history in the Mackee/Finch family and everyone is dealing with their own guilt, sadness and heartache. Everyone was flawed and broken and you just feel for them. This should have been a depressing book with all the drama going on but it's not. There's a ton of humor too and I found myself smiling or laughing out loud many times, as well as poignant moments that made me melt that balances everything out.

I felt for all the characters, connected with all of them--not just the main characters, all the secondary characters too. Not many books can do that to me and I applaud Ms. Marchetta. She is an extraordinary writer, everything I've read by her is an experience. Georgie's story and what she was going through--I felt for her and wanted her to have her own happy ending. I fell in love with Tom and I rooted for him and Tara to work out. If you read Saving Francesca and you're wondering about Frankie and Will Trombal, you'll get a glimpse of how they're doing as well as the rest of the gang from St. Sebastian's, except for Jimmy Hailler (no one seems to know where he is so I'm crossing my fingers he'll get his own book and we'll get to revisit everyone again).

The Piper's Son is a companion book to Saving Francesca--and I call it "companion" instead of a sequel because TPS can be read as standalone. Nevertheless, I think reading SF makes it a more meaningful read because you'll be already familiar with many of the characters. You're going to want to read SF anyway because it's another WOW of a book but dare I say it... I think TPS might be slightly better. And this is saying a lot because SF was fantastic and an all-time favorite novel of mine. Okay, I've rambled on and gushed enough. But I hope all this makes sense and convinces you to pick up this novel (or any Melina Marchetta book though I can only speak for Jellicoe Road, Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son because I haven't read Looking for Alibrandi or Finnikin of the Rock). But to sum everything up: The Piper's Son is beyond amazing. You must read it.
Why I covet this book: I absolutely LOVED Anna and the French Kiss. So much so that I can't even review the book (and believe me I've tried many times--but it's was so hard to string together words that describe its incredible-ness--but believe me, it's that GOOD). Lola and the Boy Next Door is the companion and it sounds as awesome as Anna. And she falls in love with the boy next door who is described in the blurb as an inventor and engineer who steps out from his sister's shadow...

I'm thinking Cricket's a nerdy, sweet, shy guy. My kind of guy. **swoon** What do you guys think?

lolaLola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (out September 29, 2011)
In this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, two teens discover that true love may be closer than they think.

For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.

When the family returns and Cricket—a gifted inventor and engineer—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

For more info about the Lola and the Boy Next Door, visit the author's website and Goodreads. What are you waiting for? Add it to your wish list! :D

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

entwined ARC: 474 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins

Release Date: March 29, 2011 (today!)
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation. Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest. But there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Leslie's Review:
With such a pretty cover, I had some really high expectations for this book--and they were more than met when I had finally read it. Entwined is a fairytale retelling (by the way, my favorite genre) about Azalea and her sisters discovering a magical, mysterious silver forest where they can dance and escape from the sadness and grief of their father, the King, and the palace. The silver forest is under the care of a handsome but mysterious Keeper who has given the girls the privilege to dance in the forest every night. But as time goes by, the girls begin to sense the danger they have put themselves in as Keeper tightens his hold on them with deadly purpose.

Doesn't that sound great? And it absolutely was! I really enjoyed reading this book so much that I couldn't wait to get back to reading it whenever I had to put it down to do something. The plot was well-paced, suspenseful and excellent that I'd find myself skimming ahead because I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. The writing was wonderful, easy to understand, and depicted the different characters' personalities very well. As I read, I grew to love and care for all of Azalea's sisters and admired how Azalea was such a good, caring, strong and brave main character and older sister. The other characters were also vivid and fantastic (even the antagonist) that I just wasn't ready to leave all of them after I finished the book. I couldn't help but wish the book was longer but instead I just reread my favorite parts to prolong my time with them and the book itself--it was that good.

Being the romantic I am, one of my favorite aspects of this book were the different couples being made throughout the book. I don't want to spoil anything to you about who will be with who, but I will tell you that not just Azalea will have a hero but a couple of her sisters will too. I loved watching the different love matches and how each person showed their love to the other in their own sweet and surprising way. I rooted for all the couples in this book.

This book had everything--a suspenseful plot, amazing characters, sweet romance and above all great writing. Don't hesitate to pick it up and read it! 5 out of 5 stars
In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard looks like a fantastic friendship and coming-of-age read set in the 1970s. I've read a couple of books this year that are in the literary fiction genre but are also young adult cross-overs (The House of Tomorrow, All That's True) due to their teen narrators and I've been really liking them. In Zanesville novel sounds like another great YA cross-over read. Here's the blurb:

The beguiling fourteen-year-old narrator of IN ZANESVILLE is a late bloomer. She is used to flying under the radar-a sidekick, a third wheel, a marching band dropout, a disastrous babysitter, the kind of girl whose Eureka moment is the discovery that "fudge" can't be said with an English accent.

Luckily, she has a best friend, a similarly undiscovered girl with whom she shares the everyday adventures of a 1970s American girlhood, incidents through which a world is revealed, and character is forged.

In time, their friendship is tested-- by their families' claims on them, by a clique of popular girls who stumble upon them as if they were found objects, and by the first, startling, subversive intimations of womanhood.

With dry wit and piercing observation, Jo Ann Beard shows us that in the seemingly quiet streets of America's innumerable Zanesvilles is a world of wonders, and that within the souls of the awkward and the overlooked often burns something radiant and unforgettable.

Looks and sounds good, yeah? This book doesn't come out until April 25 but thanks to Anna and Little, Brown and Company, I can giveaway a copy of In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard to two lucky readers.

Simply fill out the form to enter:
Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Don't forget to add In Zanesville to your wishlist or TBR list and good luck!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Monday, March 28, 2011 with
All winners are chosen randomly.

NOTE: The shipment of prizes depends on the author/publisher sponsoring the giveaway but it usually takes 3-5 weeks (sometimes longer) for the prize to reach winners.

In most giveaways, Rafflecopter is used. The winner(s) will be posted in the widget in the original post. 

As part of her blog tour, I am excited to have romance author Jill Shalvis here on our blog today! Her newest release is The Sweetest Thing, a contemporary romance novel about second chances.

jillshalvisHi Jill! Welcome to our book blog! What are five adjectives that best describes you?
Oh boy. Can’t think of any. How about characteristics instead:

What are 3 things you must have beside (besides the essentials) you when you're writing?
Slippers, iced tea and a dog on my feet

If you can mash up two romance novels, which two and how will the characters get along?
I’d want a Roarke and Ranger sandwich.

How is The Sweetest Thing different from your other books?
I think it’s sexier than my other single titles, and yet in complete opposition to that, I wrote a teenager as a secondary character, and that was new for me…

What is next after The Sweetest Thing? Do you have any current projects?
Next up is Head Over Heels, coming in late November. And in 2012, I’m going to have three more books, each of which will hopefully write themselves. J

Much thanks to Jill for stopping by our blog and answering our questions. For more information on Jill, her books and other awesome stuff, go to her website, twitter, Facebook and blog. Read on for a chance to win a copy of...

The Sweetest Thing
(blurb taken from the Hachette website)
Two Men Are One Too Many . . .
Tara has a thousand good reasons not to return to the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington. Yet with her life doing a major crash-and-burn, anywhere away from her unfulfilled dreams and sexy ex-husband will do. As Tara helps her two sisters get their newly renovated inn up and running, she finally has a chance to get things under control and come up with a new plan for her life.

But a certain tanned, green-eyed sailor has his own ideas, such as keeping Tara hot, bothered . . . and in his bed. And when her ex wants Tara back, three is a crowd she can't control-especially when her deepest secret reappears out of the blue. Now Tara must confront her past and discover what she really wants. If she's lucky, she might just find that everything her heart desires is right here in Lucky Harbor.

Do you want to win your very own copy of The Sweetest Thing?
Thanks to Brianne and Hachette, I have 3 copies to give away.

To enter, fill out the form:
Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

srowe ARC: 385 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: Mar. 1, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Blaire Lindsay's been warned that her ancestral home is haunted. But it will take more than tales of a ghost to frighten Blaire, a battle-born witch with supernatural strength and the ability to make sparks fly from her fingertips. Hearing spectral wails, she decides to search for their source, and is surprised to find a handsome young man chained to the dungeon wall. But when Blair frees James from his bonds, she quickly discovers she's unloosed far more than she could ever have imagined...Soon the castle is overrun with vampires whose perfect manners and compelling blood lust make for some very awkward moments, and Blair and James are joined in the fight of their lives to save everything they hold dear from the forces of evil...

Michelle's Review:
The story set in the Regency era in which our heroine, Blaire Lindsey, was a witch and our hero, James Maitland, Lord Kettering was a vampire who had just woken up from a cursed sleep. I really enjoyed the characters in It Happened One Bite. Blaire was a battle-born witch and she was smart, strong-willed, brave and fiercely independent. If Blaire wasn't your typical Regency lady, James was also not your typical vampire either. He was a gentleman vamp in the truest sense: he didn't go running around biting people for food, he's very dashing and I didn't find him dark and dangerous like the other vampires in romances though he did have some brood-y moments. I thought Blaire and James's had great chemistry together. These two really cared for each other and I liked how they got together. The secondary characters were fantastic as well, especially James's friend the Earl of Blodwell, another gentleman vampire, who was just itching for his own story.

As for the plot, the story opened with Blaire's mom and the coven casting a spell on James because a vision foretold that he will be a danger to her daughter's life in the future. Then, fast forward twenty years later, Blair travels to her mother's ancestral home and felt a strong connection to the house. When she freed James from his cursed sleep, she found out that it was her mom and her coven who did it. However, what the vision revealed and why the coven had to go to the trouble of imprisoning James wasn't told until the end. There was a bit of mystery in there and also in the other plot plot line in which two vampires were after James for revenge for some reason that wasn't revealed until the end. The pacing was okay, there were some parts that I thought dragged and others that were rushed, but overall it was a good read (despite the big reveal in the end that wasn't so big) and the romance between Blaire and James was great. I wasn't sure of the Scottish brogue in the beginning because I've read some romances in the past where it got a little too much but here it was done well. It Happened One Bite was more a light, easy read and there were some great humorous moments in the book. This was my first Lydia Dare read and it won't be my last. Check this book out if you're in the mood for a light vampire romance with great characters. 3.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Today we have author Lindsey Leavitt here on our blog answering our questions! Her newest release is Sean Griswold's Head, a contemporary young adult novel about a girl who decides to focus on the thing that she stares at during class since third grade (Sean Griswold's head) to keep her mind off her dad's illness. Intrigued? Read on....

lleavittHi Lindsey! Welcome to our blog. If you can make a soundtrack to your high school years, what 3 songs would be in the soundtrack?

--Weezer My name is Jonas
--Simon and Garfunkel The Boxer
--Blink 182 Dammit

Do you share Payton and Sean's Seinfeld obsession? Which are your must-see shows on TV these days?

I loved Seinfeld in high school and college, but to be honest I don’t like it so much anymore. Maybe because I know all the jokes. But I have learned that people who love Seinfeld have a certain sense of humor and tend to REALLY LOVE Seinfeld, so that’s why I picked it as the show for this book. And yes, I went with a show that is already way over so it would be something the characters could watch on boxed DVD or afterschool reruns.

Right now, I love the show MODERN FAMILY. Great writing, characters, wit. I can re-watch episodes, which is saying so much considering I watch very little TV now.

lleavittYes! We agree, Modern Family is fantastic and we re-watch every episode at least 3 times. Were you boy-crazy like Payton's best friend Jac in high school? Was there a celebrity you were "obsessed" with?

No, I was much more like Payton. Boys were this mystery that I was only vaguely interested in unlocking. My friends and I did have crushes, though, that were more for entertainment than romantic pursuits, and we’d stalk those boys like mad.

Celebrity crush=I liked boys in bands. If they could sing/scream or play an instrument, I would fan girl hard.

How was writing Sean Griswold's Head different from writing Princess for Hire series? What were your challenges for either or both books?

Princess for Hire is a series, and as such the character arc is spread out over all three books. It’s also very heavy on plot, and the pacing is fast and bouncy. The hardest part of writing these books has been keeping all the elements and world building straight, making sure the plot strings all run together and that the right seeds are planted. I’m not great at outlining (and I wish I was!), so I’ve also had to rewrite a lot of these books as I figured out more and more of the direction.

Sean Griswold’s Head is far more character driven, so my challenge was making sure there was still enough plot to support the characters I’d worked so hard to make real. Also, it’s a more emotionally charged book, and those scenes could be tough to write because they can easily turn melodramatic or cheesy or trite.

Do you plan to step out of the contemporary young adult sub-genre and write a paranormal or dystopian in the near future?

If a paranormal or dystopian idea came to me that I could spend a year working on, then sure. I’d go for it. I love reading both genres and think there’s always room for more if the more is done right. But I’m also contracted right now to write 2 contemporaries and 1 more MG fantasy, so it would REALLY have to something fantastic to make it worth the time.

Is Sean Griswold's Head going to be a series or will a companion book follow? What's next after Sean Griswold's Head? Do you have any current projects?

SGH is a standalone. MAYBE a book with a character from SGH could be in the future, but not one with Payton as the MC. My current YA project is called AUTHENTICALLY VINTAGE, and it’s about a girl who decides to go vintage - forswearing 21st century technology and accomplishing the goals her grandma set for herself at 16 - when she discovers her boyfriend cheating on her with a cyber wife in an online game.


Much thanks to Lindsey for stopping by our blog and answering our questions. For more information on Lindsey, her books and other awesome stuff, go to her website, twitter and blog. Here's the blurb for Sean Griswold's Head (in case you haven't read it yet):
Payton Gritas needs a focus object—something to focus her emotions on after discovering that her father’s been hiding his multiple sclerosis. Her guidance counselor suggested something inanimate but Payton chooses the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold’s head. They’ve been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas, it’s an alphabetical order thing), but she’s never really noticed him before. Payton starts stalking—er, focusing on—Sean’s big blond head, and her research quickly grows into something a little less scientific and a lot more crush-like. As Payton gets inside Sean’s head, Sean finds a way into her guarded heart. But obsessing over Sean won’t fix Payton’s fear of her dad’s illness. For that, she’ll have to focus on herself.
Also, check out my review of SGH and read my thoughts about Payton, Sean and the other characters and the novel in general. If you haven't picked up SGH, don't forget to add it to your wishlist! :)
seangriswold ARC: 288 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release Date: March 1, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object—an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas—it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him.
The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking—er, focusing on—Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.
In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.

Michelle's Review: **some spoilers**
Payton Gritas has a pretty good life. She's a straight-A student and is organized to a fault, part of the basketball team, she gets along with her parents, and a great best friend in boy-crazy Jac. But when she learns that her dad has multiple sclerosis and her parents and brothers had been hiding it from her for many months, her world perfect world came crashing down. She is shocked and angry at her family for keeping her in the dark. Her guidance counselor decided Payton needed a focus subject to keep her mind off her dad's illness and she chose Sean Griswold--his head to be exact. Payton has known Sean Griswold since elementary school but hasn't really paid him much attention; he was just there. But what started as her getting to know her focus subject a little better is turning more into stalking... er, a full-fledged "field research" (with the help of BFF Jac) in all things Sean, not just his head. As Payton spends more time with him, she also finds herself start to fall for Sean...

Sean Griswold's Head was one of my "covet" of 2011 so I had pretty high expectations for it. I'm happy to say I ended up really liking it! Payton was a great heroine--she was smart, funny and had that great sarcastic voice I love in my contemporary YA heroines. I loved the scenes between her and her best friend Jac who was a little off the wall and the opposite of Payton--Jac could have easily been too over-the-top tiresome but the author did her character just right. Jac just cracked me up and enjoyed the dialogue between her and Payton. And speaking of dialogue, my favorite scene from the book was between Payton and Sean in Valley Forge on a bed spooning (no, it's not that kind of scene--it was winter and they had many layers of clothing between them) in the guard's quarters after they played "three things" and before they got interrupted. It was the best scene with the most sweetest dialogue from Sean. He was such an adorable guy, so sweet and right for Payton. These two have known each other for a long time but they don't know each other until Payton actually started to pay attention to Sean. I really liked the progression of Payton and Sean's relationship--it wasn't the usual instantaneous love so prevalent in YA books today.

My only beef with Payton was how she handled the situation with her parents, especially with her dad. I got that she was mad at them for lying to her and she was scared, but I thought her I-was-wronged-and-I'm-entitled-to-act-like-a-brat attitude went on too long. I also know that her big a-ha! moment had to do with her figuring out her feelings and I knew where her misplaced anger was coming from but still. I wanted to shake her many times I was so frustrated with her. But I guess that's the way the author intended for us to feel about her and Payton did do some growing up by the end of the book.

I thought the writing and the pacing was great and I really enjoyed Payton's sarcastic voice and reading her thoughts. It was good mix of humor, sweet romance, the right amount of emotional drama and the tougher subject of multiple sclerosis--the author didn't gloss over what an MS patient goes through. Overall, I thought Sean Griswold's Head was an engaging read with a great ending. 4 out of 5 stars

Take The Contemps Challenge!
Book 3 out of 18 in read in The Contemps Challenge.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

For a chance to win a copy of this book and to read our Q&A with the author, go HERE.

houseoftomorrow Trade Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Penguin Group

Release Date: March 1, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Sebastian Prendergast lives with his eccentric grandmother in a geodesic dome. His homeschooling has taught him much-but he's learned little about girls, junk food, or loud, angry music.
Then fate casts Sebastian out of the dome, and he finds a different kind of tutor in Jared Whitcomb: a chain-smoking sixteen-year-old heart transplant recipient who teaches him the ways of rebellion. Together they form a punk band and plan to take the local church talent show by storm. But when his grandmother calls him back to the futurist life she has planned for him, he must decide whether to answer the call-or start a future of his own.

Michelle's Review:
Sebastian Prendergast lives in a geodesic dome with his kooky grandma, an ardent believer and follower of Buckminster Fuller's philosophies and architectural designs. Sebastian doesn't leave the dome much and everything he knows, he learned from his grandma who has a grand plan for him. When Grandma suffers a stroke, he was taken in by the Whitcomb family who has a son, Jared, a foul-mouthed, chain smoking heart transplant recipient. In Jared, Sebastian learns all about being a teenager and together they form a punk band. With its original plot, this tale of friendship, family and punk music was cleverly written and surprisingly unputdownable--surprising because I didn't expect to like it as much as I did.

Sebastian told the story in first person and I enjoyed his voice, the way he said what he said reminded me a lot of Christopher Boone from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (another book I surprisingly enjoyed). But my favorite character is Jared--you just feel for this kid but it's hard to like him in the beginning because he was very crude... the things that come out of his mouth! Once you get more into the story, you get a sense of his loneliness, the physical limitation due to his illness and you can't help but love him. I love the friendship between Jared and Sebastian and I thought Sebastian's crush on Jared's sister was so sweet. Along with the two boys, the other character's voices rang true as well; their flaws and their emotions were understandable.

Though it took me a few chapters to get used to it, to the different voice after all the YA and romance I've been reading, I thought the writing was great, especially the dialogue between the boys, the plot original and it turned out being a quick read for me. When I put it down, I find myself picking it back up again because I wanted to keep going because I was intrigued--it was a strange mix of punk music references, Buckminster Fuller, geodesic domes, things of which I am not familiar with but it was very entertaining nonetheless. The House of Tomorrow is not my usual kind of book, but it's good to read outside the box once in a while especially if they're this good. If you're looking for a different read, you might want to pick this book up. It will appeal to older teens and adults. 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, March 21, 2011

demonglass ARC: 359 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Books

Release Date: March 1, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.
That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.
Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.
But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Michelle's Review: **spoilers for those who haven't read Hex Hall**
In Hex Hall, the first book in the series, Sophie got in trouble for using her witchy powers and was sent to Hecate Hall (aka Hex Hall), a boarding school for delinquent Prodigium (witches, shapeshifters and fairies). There, she meets Jenna, a vampire, who will become her best friend, cute boy Archer, a warlock, a coven of not-so-nice witches, among others. At the end of Hex Hall, Sophie found out that she wasn't a witch but a demon and so was her absent father. Demonglass picks up a few months after the end of Hex Hall. Fearing that she was a demon bomb waiting to explode and hurt the people she cares for, Sophie has decided to go to London with her father and go through the Removal, an operation that will strip her of all her powers. But once there, Sophie makes a new discovery that she and her father are not the only demons after all. Someone is raising other demons in order to control their powers and use them as weapons. Sophie also comes face-to-face with her old crush Archer, who is a member of The Eye (hunters bent on destroying all of Prodigium), and both have to deal with their unresolved feelings.

I am officially addicted to the series and I was so happy to be able to read books 1 and 2 right after the other. I love the wry humor, the wit in the dialogue, the action-filled scenes, the fantastic main character in Sophie, the quirky secondary characters and the world the author has created. Demonglass was an excellent follow-up to Hex Hall and cemented my obsession with the series--I am now counting the days until the third book comes out and berating myself for not picking it up sooner.

Many of the secondary characters from the first book are back in Demonglass, along with new ones. The thing is that the characters lack complexity but I don't mind because the author doesn't try to be serious--it's more like a tongue-in-cheek kind of story. The author makes use of great comedic timing and paranormal clich├ęs and turns into something extremely readable. Sophie is as funny, self-deprecating in her narration in this book as ever and I love her for her humor, bravery, intelligence as well as her flaws. It was great getting to know her father along with Sophie. They both took to each other well enough without all the drama and daddy issues I expected the first time Sophie met her father in person, which was kind of nice in a way because the story focused more on the mystery of the demon teens and Archer and the growing war with The Eye. Sophie is trying to get better control of her powers with the help of her dad. She did some growing both magically and character-wise. A love triangle between Archer, Sophie and Cal (who turns out to be Sophie's betrothed) was introduced and while I'm not into love triangles, it was fun here (Team Archer FTW!).

The author takes us a little deeper into the world of the Prodigium and there was more magic as well, which sometimes it put me in the mind of Harry Potter. I am very excited to see where the author takes us in the third book setting-wise. There was never a dull moment in Demonglass--there was always something going on in every page. The action doesn't let up until the last page, which was a cliff-hanger. Even though it ended abruptly it's not one of those "I feel cheated" types in my opinion... but still... what a way to end the book! Now, I gotta wait a year for the next one.

If you're looking for a paranormal series to get into, look no further than Hex Hall and Demonglass. Both books are unputdownable and as much as I loved Hex Hall, Demonglass might just be even better in terms of the writing. Pick up this series even if you're not really into paranormal, trust me, you won't regret it! 4.75 out of 5 stars

Friday, March 18, 2011

We have author Peter Bognanni here on our blog today answering our questions! His debut novel, The House of Tomorrow, has recently received the Alex Award and is now out on paperback with a brand-new cover. Read on for a chance to win a copy of this book that will appeal not only to adults but young adults as well.

Hi Peter! Thank you for stopping by our blog. Please tell us about yourself in 140 characters (like on Twitter).
Hmmm, okay. I don’t use Twitter yet, but here goes (by the way, these characters don’t count):

Grew up in Iowa. Live in Minnesota. I have been an ice cream scooper, barista, children’s book editor, mascot, and proto-punk rocker. Now I write, teach, eat, sleep.

That was a very Zen experience (these don’t count either!).

Which part of the writing process (plotting, research, writing the first draft, revisions etc.) do you find the most difficult?
I assume I can use more than 140 characters now. I’m realizing I might be too long-winded for Twitter.

Anyway, your question is a good one. With this particular book, I found the final edit most difficult. I knew the book was a little too long, but I had gotten ridiculously attached to every scene I had written. Cutting was somewhat traumatic. Finally, I had to play this imaginary game with myself where I was awarded ten dollars per line I cut. If I didn’t cut anything, I couldn’t become a millionaire. This game was ultimately disappointing when I didn’t pay myself in the end.

What books and authors influence your writing the most?
I find this question easier to answer, again, for this specific book. I was inspired early on by a great novel by Flannery O’Conner called The Violent Bear it Away. There’s a young boy under the tutelage of an odd dogmatic grandfather that really stuck with me. The voice was somewhat influenced by The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass. And when I was growing up, the only writer I knew from Des Moines, Iowa was Peter Hedges. I loved his book What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

How did the idea for The House of Tomorrow begin? Was it the accumulation of ideas and opinions over time or did a particular event brought it about?
A little bit of both. I had been writing about the character, Jared, in another project. Then my wife met someone at a party who told her he had grown up in a geodesic dome. I started researching domes and came up with the character of Sebastian. Then I mixed in Jared and his punk sensibility. They formed an intriguing combination.

I'm sure you get asked this a lot, but who was your inspiration(s) for the character of Sebastian? If any?
I’d like to think Sebastian and Jared stem from two parts of my own personality (especially when I was that age). The part of me that was introspective and socially awkward is the Sebastian part. The part of me that took delight in the loud and profane is the Jared part. There were also a lot of friends from my youth circling through my head while I was writing this. I’m sure a few lines of dialogue came right from my memory.

What's next after The House of Tomorrow? Do you have any current writing projects?
I’m working on something now, but it still feels too new to talk about. There won’t be any domes, but the strange underbelly of the Midwest will still be very present. That seems to be where my writing always wants to go.

Thanks for answering our question Peter! Be sure to check out his website for more information about The House of Tomorrow and other future books.

Thanks to Penguin and Angela, I'll be giving away a copy of THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW to one lucky reader! Here's the blurb:
Sebastian Prendergast is no ordinary teenager. Housed in a geodesic dome, he lives in near isolation, homeschooled by his grandmother, a disciple of architect and futurist R. Buckminster Fuller. Sebastian is expected to fulfill his destiny (saving the planet), yet his days are spent giving tours of the dome, working in the gift shop, and studying. He has never consumed processed foods, set foot in a church, played a guitar, or had a friend. Never, that is, until the day his grandmother suffers a stroke and the fabric of his life unravels.

Sebastian happens upon the Whitcombs, a family in crisis who welcomes Sebastian and offers him a friendship he hasn't experienced before. They form an uneasy unit, but it's one that bands together when the going gets tough. As Sebastian processes his newfound life, he begins — for the first time — to think for himself. He confronts the principles on which he's been raised, and comes to the conclusion that well-meaning, otherwise good people may be flawed.

A charming tale of what happens when a thoughtful, sheltered kid opens his eyes to the real world for the very first time, The House of Tomorrow captures the wonder of Sebastian's first sip of grape-flavored punch, his first glimpse of a near-naked girl, and his first angry guitar riff with all the delight that such seminal events hold.

Doesn't that sound like a fantastic read? This book is next on my TBR pile and I'm really excited. To enter, simply fill out the form (the giveaway details are also there):

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!

Don't forget to let us know what you thought of the interview above in the comments below! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

tenmilespastnormal ARC: 211 pages
Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Release Date: March 22, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Amazon)
Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation--and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much. It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in "like" with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment.

Leslie's Review:
Ten Miles Past Normal was a quick, humorous, easy read that kept my attention and a book I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved the narration, the humor and the characters of this book so much that I wish it were longer just so I don't have to leave the characters yet.

Even though it's a short book at only 211 pages the story wasn't rushed. The story was paced well and the plot filled with funny moments. It is narrated in first-person by Janie, a high school freshman who lives in a farm with her modern day hippy parents. She was the same age as me so I easily related to her. Her voice was sarcastic and full of humor and I laughed so many times at the crazy situations she got herself in. As I got to know her more, I admired her creativity and bold personality. She has become one of my all-time favorite characters. The other characters were also fantastic and unique--all had their own little quirks that distinguished their character--and all of them played a part in Janie's experiences.

My favorite aspect of the book was how the author weaved in some history and related it to the theme of the book. Janie was working on school project and she had to do research on these two amazing African American women from the Civil Rights movement. I loved reading about that and thought it really awesome how the author was able to connect that to Janie and her want for normalcy. I don't know if I'm making any sense but that part of the book just really made an impression on me and it's one of those things where you have to read the book to understand.

Ten Miles Past Normal was a fantastic read--filled with humor and a whole lot of heart! It has a great main character in funky, creative Janie who is proof that being normal is so overrated. Read it! I highly recommend it. 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why I covet this book: The gorgeous cover (really one of the best covers I've seen in 2011) caught my attention but the blurb made me covet this book.

A heroine with no memory? A mysterious accident? A possible romance? Count me in!

flawlessThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (out September 2011)
Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a
hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember
that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been
through, she can fall in love. She’s wrong.

For more info about the The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, visit the author's website and Goodreads. And, if you haven't already, don't forget to add it to your wish list!

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here.
It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's 21 days until the release of Where She Went by Gayle Forman. Yay!

And here's the blurb (from the WSW website) and book cover just in case you haven't seen it:
It's been three years since the devastating accident... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
If you enjoyed If I Stay, then Where She Went is a definite must-read! It's the continuation of Mia and Adam's story 3 years after IIS ended but told in Adam's point of view. Here's the book trailer:

If that trailer doesn't convince you that this is going to be one fantastic read, check out this "Book Trailer of the Week" post we did two weeks ago to watch the video where Gayle Forman gives a tour of NYC spots featured in WSW.

I somehow ended up with two ARC copies so I am going to be giving one of them away. Simply fill out the form (the giveaway details are also on the form) below to enter:

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See our "Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!

Monday, March 14, 2011

tenmilespastnormal ARC: 424 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Release Date: March 1, 2011
Purchase on Amazon: click on the cover
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Clever and elegant, this novel forces you to think about how far you'd go to find the truth, and how many lies you'd tell to uncover it. Alice Love keeps her life (and boss, and family) running in perfect order, so when her bank card is declined, she thinks it's just a simple mistake. Sadly, someone has emptied her bank account, spending her savings on glamorous holidays, sexy lingerie, and a to-die-for wardrobe, and leaving Alice with lots of debt. But she soon wonders if perhaps her alter-ego's reckless, extravagant lifestyle is the one Alice should have been leading all along...

Michelle's Review: **slight spoilers**
Alice Love's ordered life turned upside down when she became a victim of identity fraud by no other than someone she considered a close friend (who was revealed a few chapters in). Fueled by the need to figure out the motivation of the thief, she embarked on an investigation that takes her around London, Italy and even Los Angeles with the help of Nathan, a fraud investigator. But as Alice delves deeper into the thief's daily routines and purchases (thanks to the bank statements left in her wake), she sort of takes on the extravagant lifestyle of the thief and she finds herself enjoying it more than she should. Through this year-long journey, Alice finds herself doing things she herself would have never done and taking risks both personally and professionally and gaining a different kind of confidence (her old self was not so much a doormat as someone who has their life all planned out), she was left to wonder if this glamorous life was one she should have been living all along?

I thought The Liberation of Alice Love was an entertaining read with a mystery-feel in the whole novel as Alice piece through the clues involving the thief. Alice was an interesting character, I liked her and felt for her when her identity was stolen--it's a nightmare I wouldn't wish on anyone--but she went a little overboard in her search for the truth and you almost dislike her in some parts. After she found out that the thief was actually a close friend, she felt betrayed and becomes a bit obsessive in her search for her ex-friend's motivation by putting her feet in the thief's shoes to figure it out. With a few white lies, the line between right and wrong blurred and Alice unthinkingly hurt a few people herself. I liked that there was nothing that was black and white, easily said that one is right or wrong--Alice wasn't all good but you sympathize with her anyway and the thief wasn't all bad in her way.

The secondary characters were excellent in this book. Alice's friends were all interesting in their own way and I enjoyed the side plots involving each of them. I especially enjoyed scenes with Alice's childlike stepsister Flora and watching her character develop and their sister relationship progress for the better. I delighted in the varied setting which also kept the story interesting--the author takes us to many places from their bustle of daytime to their glittery club nightlife scene. The pacing dragged at times especially in the middle when I kept wanting the action to pick up or for something interesting happens and the book did start off slow but on the whole I thought The Liberation of Alice Love was a fantastic, entertaining read and author did well creating an interesting, three-dimensional character in Alice. 4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In Our Mailbox (2/28 - 3/11)

Saturday, March 12, 2011 with
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

It's finally Spring Break! YAY!! Unfortunately, I caught the flu and my plans to catch up on my reading is so far not happening. All I seem to be in the mood for is sleeping.

These are the books that Leslie and I bought, won and received for review from February 28 to March 11. It's a very exciting two weeks because we received a bunch of awesome titles that I have been coveting for a long time like Where She Went, Playing Hurt and Clarity. We decided to do embed the vlog we did on YouTube for this IMM so we hope you enjoy!

For Review
Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler
Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne
The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis
The Night Season by Chelsea Cain
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
(A big THANK YOU to Flux, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, FSB Media and Penguin Teen for sending us the books.)

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Breathless Reads swag
Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Paper Towns by John Green
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Clarity by Kim Harrington

The Faerie Ring bookmarks and postcard

What did you get this week?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Liar Society Blog Tour of Awesome: Emails

Friday, March 11, 2011 with
It's 12:04 AM as I'm typing this post and in a couple hours the first waves are supposed to hit the Hawaiian islands. Everyone here is in pins and needles right now while we wait for more information about the tsunami warning... just heard it just passed Wake Island. I really hope it's going to be like last time--with waves only coming in at a few inches but OMGosh the images and video from Japan they keep replaying over and over on CNN--my prayers go out to them.

Anyway, on to a more happier event and that is the...

Today we have sisters and authors Lisa and Laura Roecker. Their debut novel The Liar Society is out in stores now! We heard it being compared to a Nancy Drew novel in many reviews but better so we can't wait until we get our hands on our copy (B&N you are taking too long!).

llroeckerWe asked Lisa and Laura all about their emails in our interview (because emails are important in The Liar Society especially if they're sent by dead best friends). So, ladies, tell us about the best email you've ever gotten.
Laura: This is probably pretty obvious, but it'd have to be the email from Catherine offering representation.
Lisa: Hey, what about the emails I send you with new ideas?
Laura: Meh.
Lisa: Come on! New ideas are great!
Laura: Yeah, but emails from our agent are great-er.
Lisa: Boo.

What about your funniest and most entertaining email?
Laura: GOOP!
Lisa: Oh my gosh, YES.
Laura: GOOP is Gwyneth Paltrow's e-mail newsletter where she tells you how you should be living.
Lisa: It's unintentional comedy at its finest.
Laura: She once tried to convince us that we needed a leather embossed fly swatter.
Lisa: Awesome.

llroeckerWe all get emails with coupons. What's the best one you received?
Laura: Ooh, that coupon I got for that new dress! That was awesome. It cost me $20 when it was all said and done.
Lisa: What about the coupons I send you for hugs?
Laura:, yeah. Those too.

And spam (the bane of emails)! What's the silliest spam you've encountered?
Lisa: Ooh, when we send ourselves e-mails sometimes they go into SPAM.
Laura: Yeah, that's just depressing.
Lisa: Yeah, I guess it is. But sort of silly?
Laura: We're not SPAM, we're authors.
Lisa: Ah, who are we kidding, we'll always be SPAM to hotmail.

Thanks to Lisa and Laura for stopping by our blog and answering our questions. They have one last thing to share with you and it involves a $100 Amazon gift card...

Lisa and Laura: Psst... we have a secret. Click HERE and hit the Pemberly Brown Plaque. The password is KATE.

And if you want to enter The Liar Society Blog Tour of Awesome contest, and really, who wouldn't want to enter!?! There's a $100 Amazon gift card up for grabs! Just click HERE and enter the super secret password, KATE, for an entry. Remember you can enter one time for each stop on our blog tour, so be sure to click HERE and see where else we're visiting this month to maximize your chances of winning.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

redridinghood Paperback: 329 pages
Publisher: Little Brown

Release Date: January 6, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Valerie's sister was beautiful, kind, and sweet. Now she is dead. Henry, the handsome son of the blacksmith, tries to console Valerie, but her wild heart beats fast for another: the outcast woodcutter, Peter, who offers Valerie another life far from home.
After her sister's violent death, Valerie's world begins to spiral out of control. For generations, the Wolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But now no one is safe. When an expert Wolf hunter arrives, the villagers learn that the creature lives among them--it could be anyone in town.
It soon becomes clear that Valerie is the only one who can hear the voice of the creature. The Wolf says she must surrender herself before the blood moon wanes...or everyone she loves will die.

Leslie's Review:
After Valerie's beloved sister was murdered by the Wolf that has been haunting her village Valerie's world fell apart. Her village was in a worried frenzy with everyone afraid that they will be next to die. Seeking help the villagers called for an expert Wolf hunter comes to Valerie's village to catch and kill it. The hunter told them that the Wolf might be one of them but Valerie soon discovers she can understand the Wolf and must face a decision--surrender herself to the Wolf or loose everyone she loves.

There was a love triangle between the heroine Valerie, her ex-fiance Henry and her childhood friend Peter. To be honest, I wasn't sure which guy to root for because both had their up sides and down sides to me. For example, Henry was caring and gentlemanly but he wasn't a strong hero while Peter was clever and strong but he liked to live dangerously and was one of those bad boy types I'm not particularly fond of. The only thing that I liked about both heroes was that they both really cared for and loved Valerie in their own sweet, protective way.

Red Riding Hood is based on a screenplay of the same name written by Catherine Hardwicke. I saw the trailer of the movie before reading this book so I had pretty high expectations as the trailer is awesome with beautiful visuals. I expected the book to be the same--thrilling, exciting, and fast-paced. Well, it turned out the book was just okay. I enjoyed it but it wasn't as action-filled and the plot was well-paced but there wasn't that rush I felt when watching the trailer. I don't know if I'm making sense but I did really like the writing overall. I liked the suspense, emotion and the imagery the author evoked in her writing. Also, I thought the characters of this book were all well-developed and each were interesting in their own way.

Just FYI, the book doesn't reveal who the werewolf was. There's a final chapter that will be up on the Red Riding Hood website once the movie is release in theaters. If I bought the book and didn't know about this I probably would be a little upset but since I knew I didn't mind much--I actually have a pretty good idea who the wolf is. Hopefully the publisher will reprint once the movie is out with the final chapter included in the book. I am looking forward to watching the movie now that I've read the book.

For the most part, even though not as fast-paced as the movie trailer make it seem, I thought this book was an enjoyable, easy read with great characters. 4 out of 5 stars

Here's the trailer: