Sunday, February 28, 2010

In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth (Around The World Tours)


Published: February 2nd 2010 by Walker Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 195 pages
ISBN: 0802720684
ISBN13: 9780802720689
A touching novel of last regrets and second chances in the tradition of Lurlene McDaniel and Gabrielle Zevin. When a small mistake costs sixteen-year-old Eagan her life during a figure-skating competition, she leaves many things unreconciled, including her troubled relationship with her mother. From her vantage point in the afterlife, Eagan reflects back on her memories, and what she could have done differently, through her still-beating heart. When fourteen-year-old Amelia learns she will be getting a heart transplant, her fear and guilt battle with her joy at this new chance at life. And afterwards when she starts to feel different — dreaming about figure skating, craving grape candy —her need to learn about her donor leads her to discover and explore Eagan’s life,meeting her grieving loved ones and trying to bring the closure they all need to move on. Told in alternating viewpoints, In a Heartbeat tells the emotional and compelling story of two girls sharing one heart.

Review:

Eagan was so close but yet very far. Half an inch. You've got to be kidding? You never really see death coming when it comes to dieing young, do you? Eagan had a slight world-was-going-to-end feeling, she just didn't expect it to be her's. Eagan has wanted to be a figure skater practically her entire life, and her dad has been nothing but supportive but her mom...Well, maybe she was a bit too supportive, you could say.
Amelia has suffered with a heart disease for quite some time, and with the a heart becoming available, she should be elated...But now that the moment is finally here, she can't help thinking about how it's going to affect her life after the surgery. At first everything goes well, but when Amelia slips and talks back to her mother over a small issue, she realizes how unlike herself she's beginning to feel. When a friend from the hospital suggests to find the parents of the teenage girl who heart got transplanted into her, Amelia jumps at the opportunity to contact them. She feels like more than anything she needs to find out what Eagan was like when she was alive. Possibly even help pick up the broken pieces she left behind with her friends and family.
In a Heartbeat was a short tale of flash backs from a dead teenagers rocky past and the receiver of a healthy picking up where she left off. Two completely different stories melded together through one heart. I have to say that I liked Eagan's flashbacks but sometimes found that the short introduction where Eagan narrates her foggy surroundings seemed unnecessary. I believed this story about the two characters to seem a bit rushed and when so much more background information could be learned about both characters past. I'd have liked to have known more especially about Amelia.

All in all, I would recommend this as a short read to entertain and inform a reader about of a heart that had traveled through loops before finally being able to "move on."

Grade: B-



LiLi

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lisa McMann Birthday/Gone signing! Part 2 Giveaway!

Just to show how big a coincidence this is, I'm having a giveaway for 5 copies of Gone by Lisa McMann supported by Simon & Schuster--who asked me to host this two days before the very signing. Just two days before, I just thought "WOW!"

Of course there will be 5 winners, and all you have to do to enter is fill out the form below. The contest ends on March 7th at midnight EST.


Lisa McMann Birthday/Gone signing! (What a BLAST!) Part 1

So the evening started out with some cinnamon doche latte concoction and ended with a stroll down Coral Gables--with birthday cake in our hands--to our car. Now to fill in the pieces left in between. (Have mercy on the pictures my mother took with our dubious camera.)

First, of course we had to find parking, which took all of half an hour. Then with the Starbucks incident--we needed change for the meter--resulted in a two-block walk to Books & Books, while my mother murmurs, "This is what sucks about Coral Gables." Mind you, she just loves the sun. Entering the bookstore, guess who comes right next to the counter by the door. LISA MCMANN, of course! All of a sudden a big commotion breaks out and my mother starts yelling, "ChicaReader, ChicaReader!" I was blushing like crazy, but was saved by the staff lady with crazy curly blond hair saying, "Oh, of course you want to meet Lisa." After the yells subsided, couple laughs thrown in for good measure, we were directed to where the signing was being held.
The picture above was taken before everything got started. We were nervously waiting--by we, I mean me, my mother was just pretty much just chilling, and laughing loudly--and soon more people arrived, as well as some of my school friends that I'm glad showed up!

That's them. Crazy munchkins.

When everything got started, Lisa was introduced with birthday wishes. She soon started a reading about her future novels that will be out in February of next year and Fall 2011. Cryer's Cross and The Unwanteds. I might be spelling the titles wrong, so in the words of my Creative Writing teacher, "do not quote me on that."

That's Lisa--duh--reading from an excerpt of The Unwanteds--again don't quote me. Then we were off with the questions, yes I did ask one. "What was your favorite scene when you were writing Wake?" Lisa answered, "I think it would have to be the skateboard scene." If you've read Wake then you know that's where Cabel gave Janie a lift home on his skateboard. Or at least I hope that's what she was referring to :0

Shortly after they started with Lisa's birthday cake--yes, we sang "Happy Birthday" to her--that's a rendition of Gone's cover above.
Then on to the signing!
Yes, I took multiple pictures. Had to capture that beauty, people! Those hands and that brain are what started it all! XD

Before you ask, yes that's me with LISA MCMANN!


Look at my beautifully signed hardbacks!

And to finish the night off with some awesome music, there was a live band--sadly, don't know their name.

Singing to Love Song by Sarah Bareilles in the car, my mother and I concluded the night as a definitely fine outing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Waiting on" Wednesday (1)

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




Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Published: March 2nd 2010 by Hyperion Book CH

Hardcover, 336 pages

isbn: 1423121309

isbn13: 9781423121305

When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-Gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard. Three powerful enemies who look like supermodels; a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock; a creepy, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect. Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all prodigium, especially her.

I read it already but need to have it and am mostly doing this because of the contest...plus if you want my real opinion check out my review here!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winner of Vday Giveaway!

Few tidbits from contest: 52 entrants, 151 entries! Lucky number is....... 147!

Dwayne! Congrats!

I will be email you right now and you have the next 72 hours to get back to me. Thank you to all who participated and if you did not win, look forward to my 250 followers contest coming up very, very soon! Hint: There is some signed swag involved.


LiLi

The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter

Published: March 23rd 2010 by HarperTeen
Hardcover, 368 pages
ISBN: 0061755710
ISBN13: 9780061755712

18-year-old Lainey Pike can tell you everything you need to know about the people in her family just by telling you how they died. Her reckless stepfather drove his motorcycle off the highway and caused the biggest traffic jam in years. Her long-suffering grandmother lived through cancer and a heart attack before finally succumbing to a stroke. And Lainey's mother, still devastated over her husband's death, hung herself in the basement just days after Lainey's high school graduation. Now Lainey's five-year-old brother is an orphan and her estranged older sister moves back home to act as his guardian. Dealing with her brother has always been a struggle, but sharing the responsibility with her sister is proving to be just as challenging.

Lainey knows that this is all her mother's fault, but she also knows that she eventually has to move out of the "anger" phase of the grieving process. What she can't figure out, though, is how to make peace with a dead woman.


Review:

As if working at a perfume kiosk weren't bad enough, getting a call from her next door neighbor, Mabel, asking to meet her at her church is like the icing on Lainey's dreadful day. The news that Mabel has to deliver at said church is like the cherry. Finding out that her mother hang herself just days after Lainey's graduation from high school comes as no surprise; just a matter of time. Ever since Carl drove his Kawasaki off the beltway, Lainey's mom has been non-existent, mentally. Then Vallery comes along, Collin's--Lainey's younger brother's--guardian. Not really knowing what to think when her mother practically gave the kid to a half-sister she knew for all of a summer, Lainey's stuck with joint custody because Vallery did not prepare for what she got. Collin seems to have some behavioral problems.

However, Riley's a different story. He's caring with Collin, and has always been the perfect guy. Perfect boyfriend. Perfect everything.After one stop at the 7-Eleven, meeting the soon-to-be-known as Slurpee Guy, Lainey rethinks her settling-down future decisions that revolve around Riley. When a mysterious male visitor comes to their house, Vallery suddenly decides it's time to tuck-tail and have a Fun Family Vacatioin; from Baltimore to Orlando, Florida. Disney World. When fun time starts coming to an end, Lainey realizes the unfinished business that she left behind, and the apologies she is now dreading to make. Will anyone give her a second chance, trying not to take past events for granted?

First off, I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed because the small summary written for this novel is very misleading for the actual happenings inside the book; giving readers false hopes. However, at different points in the plot I can relate myself to Lainey, but yet there are some parts where she just cannot stop complaining about her self and her situation. (Build a bridge...you know the saying.) I do have to give her the benefit of the doubt, though, even if I don't completely believe the way she deals with the loss of her mother and the non-existence of her father. It just seems as if the ramblings and incoherent thoughts are not aimed at what you'd typically think of, if you were in that specific situation. Mostly, what I disliked was the hyping up of certain events in the summary that in the end--in the book--leave you grasping at something that wasn't even there. For example, the summary entails some deep revelations between Lainey and Slurpee Guy, when in reality their relationship seemed breif and not very meaningful at all. All in all, it was indeed a page-turner but not for the reasons one might imagine.

Recommended to the patient YAs out there that can wade out to find the true meanings of this said novel. The Snowball Effect was anything if not surprising. I can feel that Hoxter tried to get her message across, but I can also feel that it wasn't very successful.

Grade: C+

LiLi

This ARC of The Snowball Effect was provided by the publishers at HarperTeen.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Published: March 2nd 2010 by Hyperion Book CH
Hardcover, 336 pages
ISBN: 1423121309
ISBN13: 9781423121305

When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-Gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard. Three powerful enemies who look like supermodels; a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock; a creepy, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect. Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all prodigium, especially her.


Review:

Wow. I don't think that there's actually been a debut start to a series that I wanted to know more about the second I finished it.
Sophie was exactly as the author made her out to be, "funny, sure and smart." Sophie's exact words. Hecate Hall is a boarding school like no other, houses witches, faeries, and weres; among other things. Hex Hall isn't famous for what it's occupants are but who they are and what they've done. Legendary stuff, my readers. Sophie was sent there after a little, tiny mishap in a love spell to help a girl out. No biggie. However, it caused enough damage to call the Council's attention and sent her where all Prodigium go when they expose their abilities in any way, shape or form. Soph quickly befriends a vamp with a history of bad rep, one that's been rumored but never proven. Makes instant enemies with other dark witches who wanted her to join their coven. And has a flame of desire burning through her whenever the school heartthrob is near; which sucks because he's basically a jerk. At least that was her first impression.

Secrets that were kept come out into the open and Sophie discovers the real reason her father was the one to send her to Hecate. Among other family secrets, Sophie has to deal with the fallout of a successful spell gone wrong; one that she didn't even cast. Everyone has their secrets at Hecate Hall, so many that Sophie has to question the most obvious facts: Is a ghost really a ghost at Hex Hall, is a dark witch really a witch? You'd think that after living and moving to so many places there's nothing that a simple change of scenery could do to affect our heroine, however, Hecate Hall throws that theory out the magically enchanted window.

You know when you buy a new Harry Potter movie from the nearest Target and as soon as you get home you can't wait to watch it as many times as it takes for the DVD player to break, cause you just can't get enough? Well, that's precisely how I felt about Hex Hall's awesomeness. It was such a fast-paced mystery that had me laughing and being empathetic toward all of the main character's feelings. The supporting characters just added to the plot line's surprises. I very much loved the Vandy, who is the P.E. (Defense) teacher at Hex Hall and has very unique "tats." She was sent to Hex Hall after her Removal as a punishment by the Council. I appreciated the type of dislike she radiated to the students, as if she would kill them all had there not been beings with powers all around her. She was definitely a tough nut. Closer to the ending of the story, there were even more unforeseen revelations that leaves the reader desperately wanting the next installment in the series.

Recommended to those looking for an intoxicating read that does not hold back and comes at you dead-on.

Grade: A+

LiLi

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vday Giveaway! One winner takes all!

Thanks again to the fantabulous Venessa, I able to host this contest for all my lovely readers out their in the blogosphere. Celebrating Valentine's Day, I thought I'd give one luck winner to win all of these awesome books of mushy lovey-dovey goodness.
Prizes are...
Stupid Cupid by Rhonda Stapleton
What Would Emma Do by Eileen Cook
Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
Kissed by An Angel by Elizabeth Chandler
Romantic Comedies: Perfect Shot by Debbie Rigaud



Just fill out the form below and you're in! Contest ends on February 20th at midnight EST. US participants only.
Happy Valentine's Day!