Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Books for Trade/Sale!

It's time for my monthly Trade-Sale Post! I've added some new books to the trade/sale pile, and also some to the 'looking for' pile :D

The books I have available to trade/for sale:
Candor - Pam Bachorz
Pastworld - Ian Beck
Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen
Beastly - Alex Flinn
Howl's Moving Castle - Dianna Wynne Jones
Life as We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer
Impossible - Nancy Werlin
Pretties - Scott Westerfeld
The Masque of the Black Tulip - Lauren Willig
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation - Lauren Willig

Books I'm Looking For
The Karma Club - Jessica Brody
Thirteen Days to Midnight - Patrick Carman
Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer
Magic Under Glass - Jaclyn Dolamore
Captivate - Carrie Jones
The Declaration - Gemma Malley
Cybele's Secret - Juliet Marillier
The Alchemyst - Michael Scott
The Grimm Legacy - Polly Shulman
Behemoth - Scott Westerfeld
Dust City - Robert Paul Weston
Once Was Lost - Sara Zarr

** I didn't include any ARCs on here, but if you see something you want and have an ARC you think I may be interested in, I'm definitely available to talk!


Sunday, November 28, 2010


Calling all fellow reviewers/bloggers! I need yall's help big time!
For two years I've read almost exclusively YA, and especially YA with some kind of fantasy elements: either high fantasy, paranormal, etc.
So I really don't know what's out there, contemp-wise. But I'd love to find out!

Would you help a girl out and name some great contemp books that you liked?

... Here's where I'm going to be a pain in the butt, though (sorry!)
I'd really like for the recommendations to be "clean," or at least, *minor* sexual content/drug-and-alcohol content, please. Nothing too gritty, like Thirteen Reasons Why or The DUFF or anything like that. The reason I'm being picky is because I'm going to put these rec's on my "local blog" for middle school/high school kids and their parents, and I'd feel comfortable recommending stuff that would be appropriate and suitable for as many kids as possible :)
Thank you guys so much! I really appreciate it :D

have you read ANY of these books?!

Dear fellow reviewers,
I need some major help.
These books are some of my "Friday Finds" but I don't really know that much about them.
Have you read any of these?
If so, what did you think, and would you recommend them?

Scrambled Eggs at Midnight - Brad Barkley & Heather Hepler

Dream Factory - Brad Barkey & Heather Hepler
The Karma Club - Jessica Brody
The Cinderella Society - Kay Cassidy
Cybele's Secret - Juliet Marillier
Once was Lost - Sara Zarr


I'm about to put up a MAJOR RECOMMENDATION PLEASE post for Contemporary Fiction. Yes, it is time for Amelia to branch out and read a different genre. The Dessen books were fun, but I'd like some more, please! Will you all take a moment to recommend your favorite contemps to me later this week?

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The Red Necklace - Sally Gardner
Genre: Historical Fiction, mixed with a little fantasy
Originally read: November 23-25, 2009
What I Gave It: A-
I always love a good historical fiction story, but I'm a tad picky about them, too. They're one of my favorite genres. It was so fun to discover a new author, Sally Gardner, and I really enjoyed her work. The Red Necklace takes place French Revolution Paris (and London) and combines all the elements needed for a fun thrill ride. I read this book over Thanksgiving break last year, which was colder than normal, and there just seems to be something fun about reading when it's cold outside. Makes it all seem cozier :)
First of all, I enjoyed the time period. There's something fascinating about French history, and Gardner certainly did her research to bring her story to life. I'm fuzzy about some of the details, but I remember being impressed with her ability to capture the chaos, confusion and over-the-top extravagance of the Revolution. Besides that, she's just a strong writer, and her lyrical prose was beautiful to read.
The Red Necklace was part history, part mystery, part romance, and part supernatural thriller. It didn't always succeed in every element, but the story of Sido, daughter of a doomed aristocrat and Yann, a gypsy performer who becomes a Scarlet Pimpernel-like character, was ohh-la-la devouring :)

The Silver Blade - Sally Gardner
Direct sequel to The Red Necklace
Genre: Historical fiction, mixed with a little fantasy

Originally read: November 26-28, 2009
What I Gave It: A-
I read TSB right after finishing Red Necklace because, well, I'm a forgetful person and didn't want to forget the characters and who was related to whom, etc. As far as action and intrigue, I think I enjoyed this installment a little more than its predecessor. However, the fantasy aspects were more pronounced in this book, and for me, they fell a little flat. Gardner's strengths were in her historical storytelling, and as a result, she never really took the time to explain the "magical universe" of her story, causing confusion and a mouthful of "huh?"'s on my part.
I do recommend you read both books!

Like historical fiction? Like France? Like books with cute, mysterious guys on the cover? Read The Red Necklace and The Silver Blade! They're not as good as Ann Rinaldi's books (she's the MAN when it comes to historical fiction!) but they are fun, entertaining, and definitely worth your time!

Have you read these books? If so, what did you think?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1) - "Pittacus Lore"
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Paranormal (aliens count as paranormal, right?)
# of pages: 430 (hb)
Publisher: HarperTeen
I Am Number Four @ Parental Book Reviews
I was especially excited to read this book because, as of now, I can't think of another "alien book" that I'd ever read, and it's always exciting to try something brand-new.

Simply put, I Am Number Four was a fun, enjoyable and incred
ibly action-packed read. It's a title that I would definitely recommend to all of you!
There are some things about alien books that I expected to be included here, and so to a certain extent, Number Four was a bit predictable and not exactly a "high suspense" kind of book. There's one planet that's been destroyed by a bigger, meane
r planet (read: Star Trek's Romulans... and I can't believe I just wrote that. You see, I come from an in-your-face Star Warsy family) Anyway, the fugitive aliens from Lorien have been hiding away on Earth for several years, waiting for their legacies (powers) to develop. That's the general premise.
There's not a lot of suspense, but there is a lot of action, and on top of that, the author really gave a lot of attention to detail regardi
ng the culture and background history of Lorien and rival planet Mogador (I read that and thought "MORDOR"!). The action sequences were very well done. While over-all physical descriptions were a little sparse, the action sequences were written with an eye for detail. A reader like me, who appreciates action sequences more than other elements, will like this.
Characterization time. I read a lot of reviews (many of yours!) before I started Number Four, and so I prepared myself for less-than-impressive characterization. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. The main characters - Number Four and his guardian, Henri, as well as Four's love interest, Sarah, and nerdy space-obsessed best friend, Sam, all seemed to be strong enough characters. Could there have been more character developm
ent? Oh yeah. Sarah in particular could have had some more work done - there was just something about her that just seemed underdeveloped, and her dialogue segments with Four were a little too sugary sweet. However, I would rather have a love interest who's too nice than mean and snappy. *shrugs*
There's one thing in particular that I want to praise Four for, and it's something that's pretty hard to do. The pacing of this novel was practically perfect. I
know that's probably not a big deal for most folks, but I can't help but notice if a novel drags on in the middle, or at the beginning, or if it wraps up too quickly. Number Four followed the 'literary structure' almost to the letter: the final action sequences, in particular, were timed *perfectly*. All the story-elements, plot wise, came together very nicely, making Number Four a very neat, precise read.
All in all:
For me, characters could have had a little more depth to the
m, and the writing style was sometimes choppy: "Pittacus Lore" makes Katniss Everdeen sound like Wordsworth. However, I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed this book. I Am Number Four will definitely be an amazing movie! Got an interest in aliens or science fiction? Just looking for a fun, quick action-packed read? This is the perfect holiday book.

Final Grade

Monday, November 22, 2010

Imagination in Focus BLOGOVERSARY CONTEST!!!

It's time for my blogoversary contest! Woo-hoo!
Let's cut right to the chase:
There will be 2 winners.

Winner #1 will get:
- their choice of any book released in 2010 (as long as it's under $15)
- and any book that's been reviewed here on this site (as long as it's under $15)
Winner #2 will get
- any book that's been reviewed here on this site (as long as it's under $15)

I'm using The Book Depository, so this contest will be INTERNATIONAL!

Extra Entries:
These are **optional** but I would love help spreading the word! You can tweet the contest info, add it to your sidebar, add my new button (it's a new button from my new design), add the contest picture to sidebar/post, etc...

There are 2 "requirements" for this contest...
1) you must be a follower
2) there's a question in the Form that asks what your favorite book of 2010 was (and why).
All you have to do is tell me what 2010 release was your favorite, and something quick about it that was enjoyable. Can't wait to read the responses!!

The contest will end at Midnight (Central Time) on December 20.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


In preparation for the holidays, I've put myself on a "no-buying" restriction till after Christmas.
I was so excited to receive, for review

Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston (the 3rd and final book in the Wondrous Strange trilogy!)
Plague by Michael Grant (book 4 in the Gone series)
from Harper Collins. Thank you, HC! Christmas definitely came early for me!

Just finished/writing review for...
Just started...
And now... Contest information!
One month from TODAY will be my blogoversary - WOOHOO! One whole year of reviews, rants, raves, and networking :)
**Tomorrow** I will have the link up for the contest. Please enter! You have until 12/20 at midnight (central time).
Want to know what's up for grabs? Be sure to read tomorrow's Contest post!
See you then!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What do yall think?!

I'm not usually one for book trailers, but I had to share this one!
By the way, this is not at all how I pictured Teagan :P

Tyger Tyger is in stores now!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What is up with all the triangles?

I've spent the last 10 or so minutes looking at the books listed in Goodreads' 2011 Debut Authors for Young Adults and I noticed one particular thing that a lot of these books have in common. I counted five books, among the ones that I randomly clicked on, that mentioned in their synopsis a very familiar plot device known as the Love Triangle.
I'm still not really sure what to think of this cliche, err, plot device. I admit that I can't recall a book or series that (I thought) executed the situation well. Probably the most famous triangle in recent fiction has to be the Gale-Katniss-Peeta quagmire of the Hunger Games series. For me, that was a love triangle that had a whole lot of potential: it started out well, then it just went downhill and served in part to alienate me from the narrator, Katniss, and make me feel quite bored with the overall story...
But I'm probably being unfair. What I want to know is, why are so many authors writing these? Because, skeptical conspiracy-theorist that I am, I have to wonder if they (new authors) feel like this will give their manuscript an advantage or make their book more enjoyable. Triangles seem to be 'in' now, right?
Why, though? Tell me, why are they popular? I know all you can see is the print on the screen and you can't hear my voice, but let me assure you I'm not trying to be snarky or sarcastic. This is definitely a phenomenon that I don't understand. Is it like a girl's secret fantasy, to have two absolutely physically perfect guys chasing after her? Because you and I both know that both candidates are usually portrayed as being...well, not horrible to look at. For me, it's a turn-off for a girl to 'play' two guys at the same time. When I say 'play,' I mean lead them both on, kiss them/make out with them, yet keep them at arms' length by not making a decision and committing. That also seems to hint at a double-standard, too, because if a boy did that with two girls, well we'd all be up in his Casanova grill.
But I must be missing something. What is it that yall like about love triangles? Or not--basically, what are your opinions? Do you like books that feature triangles as a major plot device, or does it make a difference?

By the way, the "Triangle books" for 2011 that I noticed included:
- Cynthia Hand
Possession - Elana Johnson
A Beautiful Dark - Jocelyn Davies
Girl of Fire and Thorns - Rae Carson
Hemlock - Kathleen Peacock
** Note: none of these books are published. I'm only going on what I read from the synopsis :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Holiday Season TBR Pile (RAAAAWWWRRRR!)

Isn't it ginormous?! I plucked out every book on my shelf that I have yet to read and had them pose for a lineup... there's no way I'll get all of these finished by the time second semester starts, but I want to tackle as many as I can!

I was thinking of making these "first" priority: Princess of the Midnight Ball (seems like a fun, easy read), The Knife of Never Letting Go, Everlasting and of course, Darklight!
Which ones do you suggest?

My full TBR includes:
Deadly - Julie Chibbaro
- Kristi Cook
Darkness Becomes Her - Kelly Keaton
Those That Wake - Jesse Karp
The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa
Princess of the Midnight Ball - Jessica Day George
Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (I'm still reading Beautiful Creatures!)
The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen
Darklight - Lesley Livington
Everlasting - Angie Frazier
The Scorch Trials - James Dashner
Need - Carrie Jones
The Golden Spiral - Lisa Mangum
I Am Number Four - "Pittacus Lore" (reading right now!)

How big are your TBR piles, and have you started making holiday reading goals yet?

TYGER Treasure Contest!

Kersten Hamilton is giving away twenty hand-made necklaces in November and December to celebrate her new book Tyger Tyger!

The pendants were created by book blogger Melissa at Books and Things and the chains by someone else. Each necklace is beautiful and unique. Enter here to win this necklace, and have fun hunting for the rest!
If you've been keeping up with the different necklaces, you'll notice that this one is different and oh so pretty! Well, they're all pretty...but I like this one! That red stone is especially lovely.

To ENTER, leave a comment below, and be sure to include your email!
The winner will be announced November 30.
**If this is your first TYGER TREASURE contest entry (as in, you haven't entered on any other blogs), add +2 to your entry!**

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Tyger Tyger (Goblin Wars, #1) - Kersten Hamilton
Genre: YA Fantasy
# of pages: 305 (ARC)
Publisher: Clarion, Harcourt
Received for review from Harcourt

I realize I'm one of the last reviewers to read Tyger, but the waiting and anticipating only made me more curious and eager to devour this novel - and I sure did!
Every once in awhile, I type something on this blog that sounds a little something like this:
"I've never read anything like this before!"/ "This is seriously unlike anything I've ever read before!"
And I mean it every time I say it. And I mean it now. Tyger Tyger should not be lumped in with all those other fantasy books out there that include faeries and other creatures similar to or somehow related to Celtic mythology. Really, this book is worlds away different from anything I've ever read. As you can probably tell, I really like "different."
Tyger is a book that has incredible strength in its fantasy universe. For one thing, it draws heavily from Celtic mythology...which is extremely hard to do. Celtic myths, I think, are some of the hardest myths to "crack," explore, and turn into a fun but equally noteworthy story. And Kersten Hamilton did just that. I love her portrayal of Mag Mell, the bean sidhe, and the legends of the Finnian Cycle. And you just can't go wrong with such an enigmatic and captivating character like the legendary Finn Mac Cumhaill. *What* a character! Ohh, I definitely have a new Favorite Crush of 2010!
Characterization was so well-done. Teagan was a great character for me to get behind, follow, and root for. I loved her family (and "extended family") also--definitely made proud to be Irish! The supporting characters were so fun and entertaining - there's something about Abby that just cracked me up. What a great friend! I think that the character that made the biggest impression on me was Teagan's younger brother, Aiden. Yall, this is the coolest 1st grader I have ever met!
I think it's really interesting that the little kid character seemed to be the most (or one of the most) "powerful" characters in the novel. Ahh, Aiden is the perfect little Irish boy: adorably sweet but quite a lil' spitfire, too!
And Mamieo, Finn's tough-Irish Traveler granny? Give her a Scottish accent and she's a perfect caricature of *my* grandmother!
(My mom's reading my ARC now, and she just read one of Mamieo's lines and said, "That's sounds JUST like Mimi!)
The story was exciting, the characters were memorable and cheer-worthy, but what makes Tyger so special and unique is its rich mythological tone. I've never read any book that incorporates Celtic myths so effortlessly. And don't you just love it when you get the feeling that authors really did their research? I was incredibly impressed with the amount of detail that was given to this tale. Hamilton is a master storyteller who really knows how to weave a brilliant, breathtaking story. She gives you everything you need and leaves out nothing. Read Tyger because it's an excellent book, read it because it's fun and it's getting loads of great reviews, but if you need another reason: read it because it's just different.
Quick Say:
If you're tired of the "same old, same old" faerie stories (faerie...banshee...Seelie...*yawn*), if you're bored with fantasy folklore that just seems so overdone, if you're tired of roadkill paranormal creatures and blase characters...
I have the perfect holiday book for you! Get Tyger Tyger, read it, love it, and then wait around anxiously with me for the sequel!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hello! + New Feature!

Hey everybody, glad to be back with ya!

I have a new feature that I'm going to introduce this week - it's called MEMORY LANE. It'll help me post reviews even when I'm still in the middle of reading.The way the feature works is pretty straightforward: I'll do a post about a book that I read/reviewed around this same time, last year. I don't think I'll do an actual review, I'll just summarize the book and post some thoughts about it. Which, I guess, is kind of what my reviews should be, except they're long and probably too detailed...

I also get really excited this time of year because it's
And who doesn't love the holiday season?! But also, November 21 will be approximately one month from my blogoversary. Yay! And starting November 21, I'll host my Blogoversary Giveaway(s). Yes, that's right, a parenthetical "s"! There may be more than one :o!

Tomorrow I will have my review of Tyger Tyger posted, and I'll post the first MEMORY LANE feature some time in the week.
Until then, I've got a lot of blogs to check up on!
:D(random "happy" picture!)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Will miss you all!

I've been a pretty bad blogger this week. Yes, it's true.
I'm not going to make excuses, but it's getting to that time of the year school/work-wise that everything starts adding up, and all the stuff that's been postponed is now suddenly due!
I will be away from blogger until Wednesday, November 10.
Until then, I'm going to be busy
- working on my review for Beautiful Creatures
- finishing up Tyger Tyger
...and some stuff that has to do with school.
Have a great week, and I'll look forward to seeing yall again next week!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Just Listen - Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA Contemp Fiction
# of pages: 371 (pb)
Publisher: Viking, Penguin
I'm glad I read The Truth About Forever first! While I enjoyed that book immensely, it provided a smoother transition from lighter read to a heavier and more thematic. Again, although I liked TTAF a lot, Just Listen kept my attention and focus better, and I think it's because it was such a heavier book. I really could not put it down, and I read upwards of 150 pages at a time - which, on a school night, is pretty good for me!
This is just my 2nd Dessen book, but I'm already noticing patterns. THESE ARE LOVABLE, PERFECTLY FINE PATTERNS! Patterns are not bad! I actually liked comparing the characters from here with the ones in the other book and seeing how similar they were to each other. Why change your formula if you've got a good one? I actually think the consistency and familiarity is what makes Dessen so popular.
The only teeny weeny issue with using the same formula/patterns is that they get a little predictable. And so there were parts of this book that I saw coming from a mile away.
Also, you can expect characters to act a certain way, and so when they do, it's not always spontaneous or as "emotional" as the scene may need.
One of Sarah's many strengths is in her use of narrative voice. I liked Macy's voice in TTAF, and I like Annabel's voice too. Annabel seemed very realistic and her issues (an abject fear of confrontation and an inability to voice her thoughts and feelings) were understandable and genuine.
**However**, it was about page 350/371 before she actually started changing.
It got aggravating that the main character didn't really start undergoing a change until the book was almost over. It made Just Listen seem somewhat repetitive, because the same issues would happen over and over and no resolution would occur...until the very end. Also, the "moral universe" that these characters live in is incredibly amusing and kind of laughable. For example, 'good' teens can go to parties, drink alcohol, hook up, and do god knows what, *as long as they are home before CURFEW!* Oh, Lord kids, please don't break curfew! We can't have that!
Also, does anybody else (who's read the book) think that Sophie is just the biggest, stupidest b--- in YA fiction? It's funny what constitutes a 'slut' in her world, because apparently, 'hooking up' is perfectly acceptable in all situations except with someone else's boyfriend. Oh, glad we got that cleared up! (Sarcasm--I really have to stop doing that) But that's just something I noticed - it has nothing to do with the rating. That being said, there's one other thing about Just Listen that just seemed "off," and that's the subject matter. For a book that deals heavily with sexual assault, I thought this story was a very mediocre execution. It's one thing to go into denial, but Annabel just really didn't act like a victim...she was too detached, and I agree with the reviewers who argued that what you hear happened to Annabel isn't exactly what happened to her. I don't know, it just seemed like an extremely sensitive and mature topic that was handled a little too casually. Speak did a much better job, in my opinion. So I took off a point for that.
BUT... rape/sexual assault issue aside, I really liked the idea of learning to grow in confidence and finding one's voice. I liked Annabel's character transition, even if it was a little too slow, and I can't conclude this review without mentioning how much I love Owen! His taste in music is borderline ridiculous, and he kinda threw hissy fits when Annabel didn't echo his musical sentiments, but I absolutely loved his devotion and loyalty to her. What an excellent character! And I thought the way he interacted with his hyperactive little sister, Mallory, was so sweet! That was a nice touch that the author added :) Annabel's sisters, Kirsten and Whitney, were interesting, but I didn't really care about them as much as other reviewers. They were just kind of 'meh' for me. Overall, Just Listen was an excellent, quick read that I would definitely recommend to others!

Final Grade:Same grade as The Truth About Forever...check this one out if you haven't already!
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