Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Life is But a Dream by Brian James

Life Is But a DreamLife is But a Dream
Brian James
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: March 27, 2012

Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it's the world that's crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? her decision may have fatal consequences. 
Brian James calls Life is But a Dream "the most intense book I've written. Bringing this unique character to life and seeing the world through her eyes, with all its beauty and confusion, was an immense challenge that I hope is just as rewarding to read as it was to write." Intense--yes. Unforgettable--definitely.

The premise to Life is But a Dream seemed so unique and intriguing. I wasn't sure how I would like something like this. As it turns out, Life is But a Dream is as beautiful and unique as it sounds. 

Sabrina, who is schizophrenic, is put int a center. While I definitely knew she wasn't normal, I never felt like she was crazy. She felt emotion, wanted to belong, and wanted to be loved, just like everyone else. I could connect and feel with her. Through past and present events, we really get to know Sabrina. 

Schizophrenia is a touch subject to tackle. I felt that Brian James did a good job with this. As stated before, I never felt that Sabrina was crazy. I saw the things that she saw and, even though I knew they weren't real, they were real to Sabrina. 

There were definitely some very heartbreaking moments in this novel. But it was overall powering and beautiful. I really enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to more of Brian James's work.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kindles for Kids!

Danyelle Leafty, author of The Godmother Dilemma, has started  Kindles for Kids. 
What exactly is Kindles for Kids?

Kindles for Kids is my way of paying it forward. My goal is to raise enough funds to purchase 10 Kindle Fires for the pediatric unit of a local hospital in UT.

How does Kindles for Kids work?

From March 12th-31st of 2012, I will be donating the *royalties I make on THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA: CATSPELL--both in paper and e-book form--toward the purchase of the Kindle Fires.

Royalties are paid a month to two months after the fact. Factoring in that as well as putting in the order, receiving them, and getting them ready, I will be delivering the Kindle Fires to the hospital in June of 2012.

How can you participate?

If you are an author (published) or a writer (unpublished), this link will explain it more. A more detailed link can be found here. In short, I'm hosting an open call for donating **books you have the rights to for the hospital. One book per Kindle Fire. You can also participate by writing a ***short story for a fairy tale anthology I'm putting together for the hospital. If you're a reader, this link will give you a few ideas on how to help spread the word.

How can you help?

The greatest help of all is to help me get the word out. You can do this by talking to people--online and in real life, posting about Kindles for Kids on forums, groups, on your blog, and by printing out and posting fliers. More detailed link here, as well as details for a photo contest. Link for the flyer here.

I can't do this without you, so thank you to all who participate in any way they can!

*Royalties up to 249,000 copies. After that, I have to buy an extended license for the photographs I use for the cover.

**All books will be vetted by me personally for both formatting and content. Since the Kindle Fires are going to the pediatric unit, I would ask that any donations are formatted and edited well, and that they go no higher than a PG rating.

***As with the books, please keep the short stories at a PG or G rating. Again, all stories that are chosen for inclusion in the anthology will be vetted by me personally. Also, because digital copies of the anthology will be donated to the hospitals, and there will be no money made off of them, neither the editor (me) nor the authors will receive payment or money for them. However, everyone who is included will receive a digital copy as either a PDF, a kindle file, or epub.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (14): Books I'd Play Hooky With

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and Bookish. For more information or to participate, visit here.

Spring Fever is about us. And that brings us to the list for this week: the top ten books I'd play hooky with this springs. I've got to say, It's not a hard list to make.

  1. In Honor by Jessi Kirby- I fell in love with the cover. And once I read the description, there was no going back. This is probably the book I'm most excited for that isn't a sequel. 
  2. Last Right by Lisa Desrochers- I just finished Original Sin and I love this series. I can't wait to read the final book in the trilogy. 
  3. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore- I am on edge waiting until I can return to this world. 
  4. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare- And amazing series. Cant't wait to return to this one, either. 
  5. Insurgent by Veronica Roth- Divergent  was one of my favorites last year. It was so compelling. If it was anything like the first, I wouldn't be able to do anything until I finished this book. 
  6. The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry- I love steampunk and this one looks so different from any other book. 
  7. The Story of Us by Deb Caletti- While this author has her ups and downs (at least with me) I can't wait to see what she brings with this one. 
  8. The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting- The series is so addicting. I love the mysteries. I certainly would be distracted while reading this. 
  9. Thou Shalt Not Road Trip by Antony John- Road Trip? I'm hooked. 
  10. The Calling by Kelley Armstrong- Not a lot happened in the first book, but I can tell it's going to pick up with this book. Plus I love Kelley. Plus, only one more book until they hook up with the characters from The Darkest Powers trilogy!
What books would you skip work/ school for this spring?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

The Catastrophic History of You and MeThe Catastrophic History of You and Me
Jess Rothenberg
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Release Date: February 21, 2012

Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces? Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.
The Catastrophic History of You and Me was not at all what I expected. I ended up liking it a lot more than I anticipated. TCHYM was witty, funny, heartbreaking, and wholesome all in one package.

I really grow to like Brie. She was funny and caring. Even though she was immature at times and I didn't always agree with her decisions, these aspects didn't bother me as much as they normally do. She was young, and she had a lot of growing up to do which she did.

A lot happened in this book. Some of it I saw coming, some of it took me by complete surprise. Either was I enjoyed the ride. This book was a serious roller coaster of emotions. The first was was pretty light and funny, while it transitioned into a lot more serious second half. 

I think the writing is what made this book. It was witty and clever, making for some hilarious moments. But Rothenberg was able to transition into heart-breaking moments as well. 

The Catastrophic History of You and Me came as a nice surprise to me. It was fun and touching all at once. I'm looking forward to more of Jess Rothenberg's writing. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Win the entire Dark Divine series!

I am super excited because today I am giving away an amazing series, one of my favorites, in fact. 
Two winners will win the ENTIRE Dark Divine trilogy.


Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul

Giveaway Information:
~Open to US residents only
~Must be 13 years or older to enter
~Ends on March 31, 2012
~Must fill out the rafflecopter to enter
~I will email winners and they have 48 hours to respond

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: The Savage Grace by Bree Despain

The Savage Grace (The Dark Divine, #3)The Savage Grace
Bree Despain
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: March 13, 2012

A troubled soul. An impossible choice. A final battle. 

Wrestling with the werewolf curse pulsing deep inside of her, Grace Divine was finally able to find her brother, but it nearly cost her everything. 

With her boyfriend, Daniel, stuck in wolf form and Sirhan's death approaching, time is running out for Grace to stop Caleb Kalbi and his gang of demons. If she fails, her family and hometown will perish. Everything rests on Grace's shoulders. 

The final installment in The Dark Divine trilogy brings Daniel and Grace's love story to a breathtaking conclusion.

*This review contains spoilers for the first two books. Do not read if you haven't read The Dark Divine or The Lost Saint.
I am a huge fan of this series. Huge. I will admit that it is one of my favorite series. I was really excited for The Savage Grace, the conclusion to the trilogy, yet a little dismal to see it end. even though I will miss this world, I am satisfied and pleased with this conclusion. 

A lot has happened in the world of Grace and Daniel. Both of them has grown so much. But they are still the same people I fell in love with in The Dark Divine. Grace is such a strong character. She is so loyal to those she loves, willing to do anything for them. She is still struggling with the wolf inside her, but most of that was dealt with in The Lost Saint. 

After being completely shocked by the ending of The Lost Saint, I needed to read this one. It picks up only a week after The Lost Saint ends. I will admit this one did take some time to get into. But once I did, there was no going back. There were so many twists in this. 

While I was overall satisfied by the end of this series, I felt that it wasn't completely concluded. There were still a few loose ends and unkowns. But, I think that was the point. I guess I'll just have to make my own future for Grace and Daniel. 

An epic end to an amazing series. I loved this roller coaster ride. The Savage Grace wasn't my favorite book in the series, but I am still very pleased. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Charming Covers [31]

Charming Covers is a feature here at Book Fanatics where I show off covers that have recently been revealed or that I've recently found. 
The Blood Keeper (The Blood Journals #2) 
The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton
August 28, 2012

For Mab Prowd, the practice of blood magic is as natural as breathing. It's all she's ever known. Growing up on an isolated farm in Kansas with other practitioners may have kept her from making friends her own age, but it has also given her a sense of purpose—she's connected to the land and protective of the magic. And she is able to practice it proudly and happily out in the open with only the crows as her companions. Mab will do anything to keep the ancient practice alive and guard its secrets. But one morning while she is working out a particularly tricky spell she encounters Will, a local boy who is trying to exorcise some mundane personal demons. He experiences Mab's magic in a way his mind cannot comprehend and is all too happy to end their chance meeting. But secrets that were kept from Mab by the earlier generations of blood magicians have come home to roost. And she and Will are drawn back together, time again by this dangerous force looking to break free from the earth and reclaim its own dark power. 

I really enjoyed the Tessa's first book, Blood Magic. I wasn't anticipating this being more of a companion novel, but I'm still very excited for it. 
This cover is a lot different from the first one. It's not as pretty, but I still like it a lot. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In My Mailbox (86)

We have Kristi at The Story Siren to thank for hosting IMM every week. 

I only got two books this week, which for me is an accomplishment. 

The Savage Grace by Bree Despain

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jenson

I'm super excited for both of these books! Truth or Dare looks super cute and I love this cover. 

What did you get this week?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Charming Covers [30]

Charming Covers is a feature here at Book Fanatics where I showcase covers that have recently been revealed/that I've recently found.

Beautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles, #4)
Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
October 23, 2012

I really like this series. I'm not sure how I feel about the bright green, but I have a thing about swirling staircases like that.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (13): Contemporaries

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For more information, or to participate, visit here.

This lovely Tuesday I am listing off my favorite contemporaries.  (in no particular order)

  1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta- Such a heartbreaking and utterly fabulous book. Couldn't recommend it more.
  2. The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti- And thus begins my love-hate relationship with Deb Caletti. The same author  that brought me this favorite also brought some books that I don't like as much. But because of this book, I'm willing to give anything she does a try. 
  3. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson- Can you say road trip? I absolutely love books with road trips and this is what started it all. 
  4. Where She Went by Gayle Forman- If I Stay was good, but this book is amazing. So real and so good and so beautiful.  
  5. Anna and the French Kiss- I mean, come on. This is just an awesome book.
  6. Willow by Julia Hoban- Absolutely heartbreaking yet amazing.
  7. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headly- This book was so powerful. 
  8. Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles- I fell that I have to throw this one on this list. While it's a bit of a lighter read, I still find myself going back to it. Perfect Chemistry was good, but this is my favorite in the series. 
  9. Bloom by Elizabeth Scott- Similar situation with Deb Caletti. But this book is just amazing.
  10. Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson- One of my more recent favs. Adventure, mystery, treasure, a hot guy. What more can you ask for?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Kirsten Hubbard
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
March 13, 2012

Are you a Global Vagabond? 
No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path. Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward. But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back. Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.

Wow. I was blown away by this book. Since this book had everything I love in a contemporary, I had high expectations. And they were met. Wanderlove was a fantastic contemporary. 

I will admit, it did take a little bit to get into this book. It was good from the beginning, but it took a little bit to get to the point of being unable to put it down. But once I got to that point, there was no going back. 

We meet Bria, who is getting over the hurt of her anything-but healthy relationship. She is trying to let go of her 'good girl' ways. Bria changes tremendously during this book. While she does complain a lot, I really can see how hurt she is from Toby and all. All along Bria is just trying to find herself, which she does. 

And then there's Rowan. I wasn't sure about him at first, but I got to say he's just a little amazing. He, too, is running from his past. But unlike Bria, he's trying to shed is bad ways. Him and Bria were really good for each other. They helped each other grow and find themselves. I loved how their relationship slowly progresses through the book. 

Kirsten Hubbard did wonders with the descriptions of the places. I could easily imagine all the places Bria and Rowen traveled. I have to say it opened my eyes to a whole new world. 

I also loved the art in the book. It was very eminent from the way Bria thinks that she is an artist. We see drawings throughout the book and I loved them. They really brought out a new depth to the story. 

Wanderlove is a fabulous read. It had everything I love in contemporaries: travel, a romance, a past. This is the reason I love contemporaries. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In My Mailbox (89)

We have Kristi at The Story Siren to thank for hosting IMM every week. 


Many thanks to Harlequin, Speak, NLA Digital, and Netgalley.


So excited to dive into these books!

What did you get this week?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review: Someone Else's Life

Someone Else's LifeSomeone Else's Life
Katie Dale
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
February 14, 2012

When 17-year-old Rosie's mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington's Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty percent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when Rosie tells her mother's best friend, "Aunt Sarah," that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie wasn't her real mother after all. Rosie was swapped at birth with a sickly baby who was destined to die.Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, joining her ex-boyfriend on his gap year travels, to find her birth mother in California. But all does not go as planned. As Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonizing decision of her own, one which will be the most heart breaking and far-reaching of all.

Someone Else's Life was..intense beyond all else. In a good way. It was such a roller coaster. There were surprises and twists around every corner. Even when I thought I knew what was going to happen, I would still be surprised. 

This book read like a soap opera (or what I imagine a soap opera would be like since I've never actually seen one). It was very dramatic and intense. Even though I felt that a lot of times it was too overdone and too dramatic, it was still very addicting and I couldn't get enough. It was definitely a guilty pleasure kind of book.

As stated, this book was almost too intense. There was just so much going on that at times I felt that I just needed a breather. But at the same time I was addicted and just had to keep going. 

There are to main characters in this book, Holly and Rosie. They were both selfish and, after everything they were going through, I couldn't blame them in the least. I did, however, like Rosie better than Holly. Holly was a bit immature and irrational at times. Again, it is still hard to blame her with everything that was going on. Both of them did grow over the course of the book. 

Someone Else's Life is intense and addicting. A guilty pleasure though and through. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Peculiars

The Peculiars
The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
May 1, 2012

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance.
On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena's father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.
I have to say I would read this book because of the cover anyway. But it sounds so good! I just love everything about it. The cover, the description, how it is steam punk. It just seems awesome.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (12): Favorite Covers that AREN'T Girls in Dresses

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For more information or to participate, visit here.

This week's theme (if you didn't know from the title of the post) is Top Ten Favorite Covers. I decided to go specific and do covers that aren't girls in dresses. It seems that those covers have been popping up more and more in the past year. While I thought they were pretty at first (which they are) they are kind of getting old. I want more original covers that tell me more about the story.

 1. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb- I just love how creepy this cover is. I feel that it goes with the book really well. 
2. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan- This book manages to be pretty and yet still keep the creepiness and the feel of the book. I also like the second cover in this series. I'm not a fan of the first, since whenever I see the girl on The Forest of Hands and Teeth it reminds me of Wednesday from The Adams Family. 
3. Bleeding Violet by Ria Deeves- I just think this is pretty. It doesn't completely capture the craziness of the book, but I still think it keeps the feel. 
4. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton- I like how this looks all pretty at first, and then you see the swords. Deadly. 
5. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr- This cover is really pretty and it has this magical feel to it. 
6. In Honor by Jessi Kirby- Yes, I am kind of cheating because this is a girl in a dress. But it's not just some girl in a pretty fancy dress. I think you can tell a lot about this book from the cover. It has a very country and cute feel to it. I haven't read this yet but I want to just from the cover. 
7. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jenson- I just love how cutesy this cover is. It's original and I like that about it. 
8. Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols- This is the first Jennifer Echols book I wouldn't be embarrassed about being seen reading. It's not overly cheesy like her romantic comedies and it doesn't have a boy and a girl like her other dramas. I actually think this is very pretty and I can't wait to read it. 
9. John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles- I don't know why I like this cover so much. I love the pink hair and where the words are placed. 
10. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith- This is a very cute cover but still manages to stay series. It's not too cheesey. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Review: Rock On

Rock On: A story of guitars, gigs, girls, and a brother (not necessarily in that order)Rock On: A Story of Guitars, Girls, and a Brother (not necessarily in that order)
Denise Vega
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 5, 2012

High school sophomore Ori Taylor, lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter in a nameless rock band, has always been known as the overlooked younger brother of Del, a high school sports star. But when Del suddenly returns home from college just as Ori is starting to gain some confidence in himself, Del expects everything to return to the way it used to be.
I am a big fan of books that have to do with any kind of music, which is what drew me to Rock On in the first place. That, and that it has a  male main character, which is very refreshing. Rock On was a very cute and fun read. I quite enjoyed Ori and his story. 

I really liked Orion. He was kind of nerdy but he was very sweet. At the beginning of the book his whole life is centered around his guitar and band. As the book goes on he starts to focus on other things, his music always right behind him. 

I also liked the other characters in this book. The other band members, Vela, Alli, Gwyn. They were all funny and entertaining. And Jane and Ori were very cute together. 

The main conflict with this book is focused around Del, Ori's brother. Through flashbacks, we see that once upon a time Del was a good older brother to Ori. But now, Del is moody and a total jerk to Ori and everyone in general. This part of the story was predictable, but I still enjoyed it. 

Rock On was very fun. It wasn't too serious yet it was still able to maintain a realistic aspect. I really enjoyed the characters. I can't wait for more by Denise Vega.