blo Teens Read and Write: April 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

Sucks to be Me

Sucks to be Me
by Kimberly Pauley
pub: Aug 2009/Mirrorstone
304 pages

Mina Hamilton's parents want her dead. (Or undead to be precise.) They're vampires, and like it or not, Mina must decide whether to become a vampire herself.

But Mina's more interested in hanging out with best friend Serena and trying to catch the eye of the too-hot-for-high-school Nathan Able than in the vampire training classes she's being forced to take.
How's a girl supposed to find the perfect prom date and pass third-year French when her mom and dad are breathing down her neck--literally?

This was a surprising treat. I don't know why I didn't expect much from Sucks To Be Me, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.

Mina is a feisty character, full of humor and intelligence. I loved the sassy voice she maintained throughout. She's a loyal friend and has a good relationship with her parents. Yeah, she gets mad at their lack on info on the vampire thing but they work it out.

Her uncle comes off as a silly nitwit but then even he ends up working with Mina's best interests at heart. Serena is a solid BFF (you know I hate those boy-crazy twits).

I like the way the romance sets up. Sure the dark, mysterious guy is attractive, but lets not ignore the quiet nice fellow that is there when you need him. It all stays very sweet and innocent which I liked. These kids are young and based on their personalities and upbringing, a hot steamy romance would seem out of character.

The vampire training classes are entertaining as is this whole book. Each chapter begins with Vampire Myth that Mina shoots down. The first one is Myth: Vampires Don't Exist. Truth: Dead Wrong. And on it goes.

Sucks To Be Me is a light enjoyable read, and quick. I finished it in a day. But the fast pace helped with that too. I liked the theme of family and friends sticking by each other through good and bad. There's a good little twist/surprise at the end and overall
Sucks to be Me is simply fun.

Still Sucks To Be Me comes out May 2010 so if you like this one, the sequel is available too. I recommend checking them both out. It's probably better for younger teens but older teens who aren't looking for a dark, angst filled story will enjoy it too.

The Cover: Don't like it. Probably one of the reasons I didn't expect much from the book. But glad I got past it - the content will keep you smiling.

First Lines: My parents are trying to ruin my life. Oh yeah, I know that every teenager says that, but I really mean it. They want me dead. Or, actually, undead.
Good. Very cute and I love the voice.

Let's Go Do the Hop! 4/30/10

Hey Everyone!

If you get a chance, be sure to join the Book Blogger Hop!

Go on over to Crazy-for-Books to join in and link up! It's a great way to network and find new great blogs!

Blogomania - Today Only!

Blogmania is a giveaway spectacular with over 100 blogs joined together for
ONE DAY ONLY to give away 100s of prizes.

Promo From Between the Pages (Blogmania host)

This is an international event, so understand that there will be some differences in time zones. My advice is to start early and stay late to catch all the blogs. Each blog will have their own giveaway requirements. Read them carefully, follow through, and then move on as quickly as possible.

If you run across a blog that you really like and want to spend some time exploring, copy their URL and then visit them after Blogmania is over.
We have all types of blogs participating in Blogmania, which means that the range of items in their giveaways are diverse. I have previewed many and they are awesome.

I've already checked out Book Crazy and Parajunkee's View but there are lots of others to see so head on out for this great event!

The Magic Warble


The Magic Warble
by Victoria Simcox
267 pages
Middle Grade Fiction
    Twelve year old Kristina feels like the most unpopular girl in her school. The kids all tease her, and she never seems to fit in.

    But when she receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself magically transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, where she is the one who must save the day.

    When your best and only friend is a rat – literally – you know you’re life sucks. That’s the reality for twelve-year-old Kristina. She doesn’t fit in, but in the ugly duckling to beautiful swan idea, she is magically transported to a world where she is important.

    She is the Chosen One who must save the magical world, restore peace and harmony, by returning the Magic Warble to it’s rightful home and releasing the land from the control of the nasty evil Queen Sentiz. 

    And so Kristina’s adventure begins but now she’s the big shot, someone who is honored and respected. Magic is everywhere in the Magic Warble which offers up interesting characters and fantastical creatures such as dwarves, fairies, gnomes and lets not forget the talking animals.

    Now she can talk to her best friend, yeah, Raymond, the rat, which is a fun. Who doesn’t like talking animals? Wouldn’t you like to talk to your favorite pet?

    But Kristina also makes new friends on her journey, including the handsome Prince Werrien and couple of fun fairies who help her. Her quest is fraught with peril and danger, as well as excitement and fulfillment.

    As Kristina gets further into her destiny the choices and tests become more difficult. She must learn to overcome her doubts, believe in herself, and transform into a leader and savior to many. One of the best parts of the book is seeing the transformation of Kristina from awkward unsure girl, to a self-possessed young woman.

    Intertwined with all the drama and intrigue is a fair dose of humor that will keep you enjoying The Magic Warble throughout. Kristina finds her spunk, learns to believe in herself, the ordinary becomes extraordinary, good battles evil, friendship blooms and imagination is king in this enchanting tale of magical adventure and action. The end is bittersweet but inspiring in that you know Kristina is changed in positive ways and will be just find.

    I’d recommend this for younger middle grade readers who enjoy fantasy, want an enchanting tale full of enjoyable characters and a story that entertains while sending a strong message of friendship, strength, hope and acceptance of oneself. This is a book I would have loved to have my parents read aloud when I was younger – it’s good family fun.

    The Cover: It’s geared toward younger readers so I think it works for that age group. I like that you see not only Kristina, Prince Werrien and the Queen, but also the fairies and Raymond. It’s like a lovely colored pencil drawing and the colors and beautiful.

    First Lines: Kristina awoke when the jangling of her alarm sounded right in her ear. She reached over to her night table and gave her clock a good whack and then stuffed her head under the pillow. “Oh, I don’t want to get up,” she mumbled.

    These first lines do nothing for me. Waking up in the morning is boring. If you want to start it with her waking up, why not have awake to the beady eyes of a rat on her chest. Creepy and, well, yuck! – until you find out that it’s her best friend Raymond. I’m a big believer in awesome first lines to get me hooked, and this could have been better. Luckily the adventure down the laundry chute starts soon.

    Thursday, April 29, 2010

    Dark Goddess - First Chapter

    If you enjoyed Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda, you're probably waiting for the sequel, Dark Goddess. It's due in the UK July 2010 (and the US even later) but the first chapter is available for a sneak peek.

    Here's the summary:

    After the death of her soulmate Kay by her very own sword, Billi SanGreal has thrown herself into the brutal regime of Templar duties with utter abandon. There is no room for feelings any more – her life is now about hunting down the Unholy. But when Billi and another Knight Templar are caught at the heart of a savage werewolf attack, only Billi survives – except for a young girl at the scene who Billi unthinkingly drags away with her as they escape. But Vasalisa is no ordinary girl. She is an avatar with an uncontrollable power – and it’s not only the werewolves who want her. Billi has to flee to the frosty climes of Russia, with a human timebomb who, it seems, could destroy the world . . .

    THE DARK GODDESS will take Billi to Russia to rescue Vasalisa, a young girl Billi’s promised to protect. To save her, Billi must defeat the werewolves that serve the witch Baba Yaga – and the Dark Goddess herself.

    Baba Yaga is sickened by the destruction and corruption humanity has spread across the natural world. She recognises mankind has become a plague upon the Earth, and her duty is clear: to cleanse the planet and rid it of the pestilence of Man. Billi is sent to stop her, but does she have the right?

    Betrayed and alone, Billi faces a final mighty battle in the abandoned ruins of Chernobyl.

    And the first lines are gruesome but great...

    The Rottweiler's head lay in a bush, just off the snow sprinkled path. One eye was gone leaving a blood encrusted socket. Its tongue hung out stupidly from a broken jaw. The body was a few metres further, its chest carved open so the ribs stuck out of the skin like a row of gruesome lollipops.

    Of course, I'm a sick pun intended. (And don't get bent out of shape. I'm a huge dog lover. We have three and they're all rescues, along with our three cats and even one of our horses.)

    And don't you just love this cover! The building, the snowy landscape and her outfit - I want it!


    Teen Fiction
    by Scott Westerfeld
    pub: Feb 2005/Simon Pulse
    pages: 448

    Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license-- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.
    But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty wold--and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changers her world forever.

    Scott Westerfeld's Uglies is a fantastic book. I know it's an older series but I hadn't read it and after I enjoyed Leviathan so much, I decided to give it a shot. 

    As in Leviathan, Westerfeld shines when he's creating an alternate reality. In Uglies he throws us into a dystopian world where anyone that isn't literally perfect is considered hideous and shunned to live a life isolated from the freewheeling hyper-advanced "New Pretty Town" - until their 16th birthday transforms them into the picture of perfection.
     Hmmm...Too skinny! Throw her in with the leper and the guy with the hunchback

    Tally Youngblood, an Ugly three months away from her operation, is a likable character - spirited, crafty, and kind - but the quality that really stands out like a sore thumb that constantly pokes you in the eye to remind you it's there is her obsession. It is REALLY annoying. 

    Every few minutes Tally likes to remind us how she can't wait to be Pretty, or she points out the flaws of every Ugly she sees in excruciating detail.  

    I understand that living in that world with nothing to look forward to except your prettifying 16th B-day could cause mental ailment, and this is her character flaw that she must overcome, but that doesn't make me want to hog-tie and gag her insecure thoughts any less. I got it after the first 100 times she went on and on and on about it.

    Unfortunately her new friend Shay (who has the same birthday as Tally) runs off just before their operation talking about about a secret organization called "Smoke" where nobody is Pretty and lives without the comforts and oppressions of the city. Shay tries to convince Tally to come with her but she refuses and Shay leaves her cryptic directions just in case she changes her mind. 

    Tally is refused her operation by the mysterious "Special Circumstances," and must choose between betraying her friend or becoming Pretty (which as you may remember is her only conscious thought...occasionally...just behind breathing).

    The technology is one of the highlights. Our heroine's (and everyone else outside of the cities) main mode of transportation is by way of hoverboard. Hover technology keeps everything upright and stable. Almost everything is solar powered or self-sustaining in some way and any kind of unnecessary overuse of resources has been banned. I loved this futuristic feel because while it wasn't so advanced that it seemed completely out of touch. 

    I liked the way Westerfeld took good things about out society - conservation efforts - and had us develop them in a positive way. But then he took our obsession with youth, physical beauty and aesthetic perfection and evolved it way into the negative. 

    The characters are realistic and have plenty of depth - no faceless mannequins whose only purpose is to be a blank canvas for the reader to project themselves upon. But again, Westerfeld's writing is excellent.

    Uglies is good for younger or older teens as there is no sex, language or violence to be concerned about. It's thought provoking about how much emphasis we put on looking good. Sure it has a message but it doesn't bog the story down. 

    Uglies is beautiful entertainment!     

    Cover: It's's colorful? I don't know, I'm not crazy about it. It doesn't really give me a clue as to what the book is about.

    First Line(s): The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.

    So...probably not the most appealing, but its got some definite shock value. You almost do a double take. It grabs you, just...not in a good way.

    Monday, April 26, 2010

    Book Bloggers are Good People!

    I know there's been a lot of negativity on book blogging/bloggers lately and quite frankly, we just don't get into that drama.

    It's kind of like the news where they just report all the bad stuff to get the ratings. We hate that.

    So today I'm going to counter negativity with a real life "Book Bloggers are a Wonderful and Generous People" story.

    The Introverted Reader

    A few weeks back I participated in Jen's first Character Connection meme which she has every Thursday (if you read our Karrin Murphy post last week, you'll know what I'm talking about) @ The Introverted Reader. She was having a contest to kick it off and I won!

    The winner got to pick any book from the Book Depository and I asked her for a few days to decide between Heist Society and The Body Finder. She said sure and I finally picked Heist Society. I received it a couple of days ago, all excited. And then yesterday, Jake brings home another package which has The Body Finder, and it's from Jen.

    So I email and tell her I think there's been some sort of mistake and here's what I get back:

    I decided to send you both. They weren't that much and I know what it's like to try to choose between books! ;)


    So take that, Negativity, I just smacked you down! You're a quivering mass of putrid slime on the sidewalk. Oh yeah!

    Well, in reality, Jen did the actual smacking-down-into-a-quivering-mass thing by being so generous and kind. I just reported it.

    And she's not the only stupendous book blogger out there. We've had all good experiences with wonderful bloggers. Just check out our Affiliates list, our Blogroll, the Buttons, the Commenters! Jen's just one of many shining examples of good people in the blogging community.

    So enough will all the blah, blah bad. Focus on the good. We do and we're much happier for it!

    And a collective Thank You to all the wonderful bloggers who've made our experience such a pleasure.

    We love you all!

    I'd love it if you'd mention some good experience in your comment, or if you have a post, link it up. Together we'll spread the positivity!

    Sunday, April 25, 2010

    In Our Mailbox 4/25

    IMM is hosted by The Story Siren

    We had a great week! We received...

    Won from from Jen @ The Introverted Reader

    For review from Egmont

    For review from Traveling ARC Tours

    Thanks to all! What did you get?

    YA Book Battle!

    Alyssa - not me, another blogger who is awesome! - @ The Shady Glade is having a YA Bloggers Debut Battle which starts today! What is it, you ask? Here's the scoop. I think it will be loads of fun!

    The YA Bloggers Debut Book Battle is a bracket-style judging contest to pick the best nominated debut work published in the last year (and a little bit of 2010).
    Here's how it will work:

    Nominations are made and after they close, the books will be narrowed down and fit into brackets for our lovely volunteer judges to read. Starting in late April each judge will read two books and choose a winner. One will move on, one will not. It will all come down to two books in a epic book battle to choose the best!

    Doesn't that sound like fun? Here's the final list and how it is bracketed for the battle. She even did a video!

    Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
    A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
    A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
    Ash by Malinda LoBeautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
    Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
    Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
    Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
    Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
    Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
    Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
    Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
    Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
    Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
    Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
    The Body Finder by Kimberly DertingThe Dark Divine by Bree Despain
    The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
    The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
    The Season by Sarah MacLean
    Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
    You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay

    Saturday, April 24, 2010

    Huge Giveaway @ A Book-Lover's Review

    Trini @ A Book-Lovers Review is having a huge contest/giveaway that is going on for months with weekly prizes and grand prize packs every few months. There's too much info for me to add here but I'll here are the prize packs.

    Click HERE to go to the post for your chance to win!

    Grand Prize Pack #1

    Drawing held on 6/9/10

    $50 gift card for B&N
    -Pride & Prejudice book and movie + candy & popcorn
    -Fandango gift card
    -Signed bookmarks donated by Lisa Schroeder
    -Signed bookmarks donated by Jen Nadol
    -Forget-Her-Nots swag donated by Amy Brecount White
    -Bookmark and key charm donated by Bonnie Doerr
    -Signed copy of Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood donated by Eileen Cook
    -One signed book donated by Melissa DeLaCruz
    -One signed book donated by Elizabeth Scott

    Grand Prize Pack #2

    Drawing held on 8/18/10
    $50 gift card for B&N
    -Pride & Prejudice book and movie + candy & popcorn
    -Fandango gift card
    -Signed bookmarks donated by Lisa Schroeder
    -Signed bookmarks donated by Jen Nadol
    -Bookmarks and possibly!! an ARC copy of Deathday Letter donated by Shaun David Hutchinson
    -Copy of The Last Knight, Rogue's House and Player's Ruse donated by Hilari Bell
    -One Devil's Kiss audiobook donated by Sarwat Chadda
    -One signed book by donated by Julie Anne Peters
    -One signed copy of My Soul to Save donated by Rachel Vincent
    -The Drake Chronicles tote bag donated by Alyxandra Harvey

    Grand Prize Pack #3

    Drawing held on 10/27/10
    $50 gift card for B&N
    -Pride & Prejudice book and movie + candy & popcorn
    -Fandango gift card
    -Signed bookmarks donated by Lisa Schroeder
    -Signed bookmarks donated by Jen Nadol
    -ARC copy of The Julian Game and The Knaveheart's Curse donated by Adele Griffin
    -Siged bookmarks,postcards and bookplates Of All the Stupid Things donated by Alexandra Diaz
    -ARC Copy of Gaurdian of the Dead donated by Karen Healey
    -Signed bookmarks and bookplates donated by Carrie Ryan
    -A The Body Finder swag pack (tote bag, signed poster, bookmarks and stickers) donated by Kimberly Derting

    Good Luck!

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