YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for July, 2010

Interview with Maggie Stiefvater and giveaway!

Update: contest has been extended till August 24! Scroll down for more details on how you can win LINGER!

Hi Maggie, great to have you on the blog today!
Thanks for having me. 🙂

First off, could you describe what The Wolves of Mercy Falls series is about in 150 words or less?

Oh I can do better.
1. People
2. Kissing
3. Werewolves
4. And
5. Sad
6. Things
7. Happen
8. Also
9. Some
10. Candy

Efficiency. I haz it.

If you were spending a day with Sam and Grace, where and what would you do?
We’re all introverts and we all love books. Sit around and read.

Sitting around and reading is a good way to spend a day! Would you rather be part of a band like Cole or work in a bookshop like Sam?
Can I not do both? When I was in college, I worked in a little shop that sold touristy Virginia things (www.madeinVa.com) and when I wasn’t selling giant salted hams to tourists, I was playing gigs all over Virginia and Maryland with my band Ballynoola or playing the with college pipe band I was a part of.

Maybe not as exciting as rocking it out like Cole, but I think I had most of my cake and ate it too.

In Linger, Sam would fold paper cranes out of everything. Do you fold paper cranes as well?
I actually had to teach myself how to fold them for Linger. I’m still kind of slow. I had a brief fantasy of folding them for people at book signings, but my sluggish folding would turn most events into slumber parties.

If you could go back in time and tell your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t take yourself so seriously. You will be much happier in life if you aren’t published by age 18. Man, grow some bangs.

BookPage called Shiver “…Beautifully written, even poetic at times, and a perfect indulgence for readers of all ages.” Ultimately, what would you like people to take away from your Mercy Falls novels?
*blush* I’d really love, most of all, to write books that stick under people’s skin — something that they carry around after they’ve shut the cover. And ultimately I’d like teens to realize that you choose what you’re going to be, no matter what your circumstances are.

Wonderful questions. Thank you!!

Thanks for stopping by, Maggie!

GIVEAWAY: Thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic, I’ll be giving away a finished copy of LINGER to one lucky commenter.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below telling me if you’d rather be part of a band or work in a bookshop!

Giveaway ends 15 August. Opened to US residents only.

For extra entries:
+2 if you’re an old/new follower (email, Google reader/friend connect)
+1 if you already follow or start following me on Twitter (@readingthisbook)
+1 if you already follow or start following Maggie on Twitter (@mstiefvater)
+1 if you tweet about this giveaway and mention me (@readingthisbook)
+1 if you link to this giveaway on your sidebar/Facebook, etc.
+3 if you blog about this giveaway (must link back to this page).
+1 if for each comment made on my review of Shiver, Linger and 10 things I like about Linger.

Maggie can be found on her website, Shiver site, blog, and despite her hectic schedule, she tweets as well. Watch the Linger book trailer Maggie created herself!

10 things I like about Linger

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater is the sequel to Shiver follows the story of Grace and the wolves of Mercy Falls.

Maggie says: “It’s about after. What happens after you discover there are werewolves in the wood, after you’ve fallen in love for the first time, after you’ve lost what you think you can’t live without, after you’ve become someone you can’t live with.”

This is not a review. My review can be found here. Instead, this is more of a post declaring my love for Maggie Stiefvater’s Mercy Falls novels. 🙂 Maggie’s writing is one of a kind. Honest. I don’t think you will ever find me saying this again on any other book. Maggie’s sequel was a little predictable and even though I saw the ending coming, I still bawled my eyes out. That’s the power of Maggie’s writing for you.

10. Shiver was exquisite, of course you have to read Linger!
9. Guys who write songs about their girlfriends are absolutely swoonworthy.
8. Guitar-playing-book-loving-paper-crane-folding guys are extremely rare these days
7. Guys with the saddest sad face make my heart melt.
6. Shiver has acquired film rights which means it may become a movie. You want to say “I read this book when it first came out” to your friends when they start reading it.
5. There’s singing in the audiobook.
4. Sexy, jaggedly handsome and Hollywood-looking Cole. Enough said.
3. Unforgettable characters.
2. Wonderful, terrific, incredible, outstanding, stupendous, magnificent, phenomenal… writing. In other words: one of the best writing out there (in YA).
1. It’s so heart-wrenching, there may be crying.

If you enjoyed Shiver, I strongly urge you to pick up Linger at your bookstore, ASAP. If you have not started the series, Shiver is now out in paperback! 😀

If you have the time, check out some Linger quotes. Oh and please keep the comments spoiler free!

Waiting on Wednesday (43)

I will be WoWing two books today! Both of them are on my most anticipated reads of 2010 (the new version, not the one I did back in 2009)! 🙂

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Release date: October 19th 2010 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

The sequel to the New York Times Best selling phenomenon, Hush, Hush!
Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can’t figure out if it’s for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father’s death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn’t answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine.

Practically everyone has heard of Hush Hush (my review), if you haven’t, I highly recommend it if you like YA paranormal books like Evermore by Alyson Noel, The Dark Divine by Bree Despain, Vampire Academy etc etc.

Matched by Ally Condie
Release date: November 30th 2010 by Dutton Juvenile

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.

Some people who have the ARC of Matched said that the cover is sparkly! A cover that glitters? Now that is something you don’t see everyday. I cannot wait to see the hardcover in real life… November is too far away.

In My Mailbox (56)

I did not do IMM last week because I didn’t receive any books. 😦 But I’m back this week and I have one thing to say: I love libraries! Thank goodness for libraries, they support my reading addiction.

Onto the books:

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (audiobook!) My first ever audiobook and did I mention that Shiver is my favorite book, ever? 🙂 It also arrived one day after Linger was released in US. What a coincidence! Big thank you to you know who for sending it all the way to me. Also came with bookplates signed to yours truly.
100% Gleek – The Unofficial Guide to Glee by Evie Parker

I also received swag that include a orange nail polish and rootbeer lip gloss from Heidi Kling which I won from her Twitter contest!

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson I absolutely adored this. I strongly urge you to pick it up the next time you’re at the bookstore. Road trips + good music tastes + boys + self discovery.
Need by Carrie Jones

Borrowed from the library:
The Lighter Side of Life and Death by C. K. Kelly Martin
The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter
At First Sight by Catherine Hapka
Everlasting by Angie Frazier

What did you get this week?

By the way, did you enjoy Linger as well? And did you cry?! Let me know! 🙂 If you liked Linger, Goodreads has quotes from Linger!

The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride

The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Date: May 25th 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Silver star (3.5/5 stars)

Synopsis: When Tessa’s best friend Noelle disappears right before the start of eighth grade, Tessa’s life changes completely–she shies away from her other friends and stops eating in the cafeteria. Now, two years later, Noelle has escaped her captivity and is coming home, in one piece but not exactly intact, and definitely different. Tessa’s life is about to change again as she tries to revive the best-friendship the two girls had shared before Noelle–now Elle–was kidnapped; puts up a futile resistance to the charming new guy at school; pursues her passion for photography while trying to build the bravado to show her photos to the public; and tries to balance her desire to protect and shelter Elle with the necessity to live her own life and put herself first.

Review: McBride’s debut novel is certainly one that is powerful, haunting, and unforgettable. The focal point of the story is how the people around Noelle deal with her kidnapping and her return. The kidnapping itself was not as important as the aftermath. I love how McBride approached child abduction in this novel and making it unique by telling it in the best friend’s Point Of View. If it was Noelle’s POV, the book would have been utterly heartbreaking and stomach-churning, but instead, the novel turned out to be not too overly graphic and disturbing.

McBride did a remarkable job with Tessa’s voice and readers can get inside her head and understand what it is like to have your best friend taken away and returned a whole new person. Character development for Tessa was very well done and she changed drastically from the beginning till the end. However, I felt Max was a little two-dimensional. He was the perfect Prince Charming — I need more depth. I also felt that too much time was spent developing Max and Tessa’s relationship and there were scenes where the focus of the book revolved around Max and Tessa and not Noelle and Tessa. Noelle’s character was complex but easy to sympathize with and I could see the difference before and after the kidnapping.

Although I thought McBride did a marvelous job in this novel, I feel that something is lacking. Perhaps, the kidnapping could have been further explored because I finished the book with unanswered questions.

Without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, The Tension of Opposites is one novel you’ll want to pick up if you are in the mood for a dark read. Reading this book was like walking through a tunnel in darkness, not knowing where it would lead you to, but wait, you see a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

Review copy provided by publisher.

My new literary crush: Jonah Griggs

Hi. I am Kate and I have a problem. My heart is torn between two guys right now. You are probably thinking, “Why is Kate talking about her stupid love life on her book review blog?”. Actually, you may have even met my two crushes. Everyone knows I cried until I flooded my room last year while reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (review), thus making it my favorite read of 2009 and Samuel K. Roth the most dreamy literary crush ever. But this year, I read another book that touched my heart dearly, although no tears were shed. It’s none other than Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (review). And I have a huge crush on Jonah Griggs.

If you find this post childish/boring/waste of time, feel free to skip this. If not, read on!

Jonah Griggs is the opposite of Samuel Roth. Sam is sweet; Jonah is not afraid to give the finger. Sam writes song lyrics; Jonah fights and throws punches without batting an eyelash. I love this description of North in Brightly Woven, I hope this does not go against any copyright infringement.

To sum up Jonah’s character “He’s just like a stallion. Wild and kicking on the outside, but a heart soft as satin on the inside. Just waiting for the right girl to break him in.”

Here is a scene in which Taylor has a mild asthma attack and Jonah comes to the rescue. It was not a steamy makeout scene and yet I melted and longed to be the one who was leaning against Jonah. Tell me, is he not one of the most swoonworthy literary guys out there?

I feel arms around my chest, a mouth against my ear whispering…whispering… Jonah Griggs whispering… ‘Just breathe, just breathe, come on, Taylor, just breathe… just breathe.’

And here is Jonah and Taylor’s first kiss:

When I turn around, he cups my face in his hands and he kisses me so deeply that I don’t know who is breathing for who, but his mouth and tongue taste like warm honey. I don’t know how long it lasts, but when I let go of him, I miss it already.

The last time I checked, Jonah Griggs does not have any ability to sparkle in the sunlight nor can he read minds. But I will take Griggs over Cullen any day. 🙂

Here is how I imagine Jonah to look like:

Yup, that is Zach Gilford from the movie Post-Grad. Of course, Jonah Griggs would never play the guitar… but Zach looks rather handsome in that picture, doesn’t he? (FYI: Sam is Logan Lerman.)

With all that being said, Jonah and Sam are both tied for favorite literary guy now. I’ve read and finished Linger by Maggie Stiefvater and Sam still remains as number one. If you have not read Jellicoe Road, please run to your nearest bookstore and pick up Jellicoe Road so that we can all gush about Jonah Griggs.

I shall leave you with one of the many memorable quotes from Jellicoe Road:

“So, like I asked, what’s with the nightie?”

“It smells like what I always think mothers smell like,” I tell him honestly, knowing I don’t have to explain.

He nods. “My mum has one just the same and you have no idea how disturbing it is that it’s turning me on.”

What people are saying about Jellicoe Road:

“Melina has created a story that is as dense as the Aussie bush and just as beautiful. It broke my heart into a thousand pieces and then carefully glued them back together so I couldn’t even tell it had been broken.”
–Carla from The Crooked Shelf

“He’s not supernatural, he’s just supernaturally divine. He’s an ass, a joker, a tough nut, a sensitive soul and a great snogger.”
–Adele from Persnickety Snark on Jonah Griggs

“It ties up beautifully in the end, and there’s a scene which even made me shed a tear — me, who has not cried since THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE (three tears) and while writing my second novel SHIVER (one tear from each eye) — and I’m left feeling just about cheerful about everything in the book though it was not a Hollywood happy ending by any stretch.”
–Maggie Stiefvater author of Shiver, Lament, and Ballad.

“…Time flashes forward…histories bleed together and two generations of friends bear uncanny resemblances to one another. Readers may feel dizzied and disoriented,but …they will find themselves ensnared in the story’s fascinating, intricate structure. A beautifully rendered mystery. ”
–Kirkus Starred, USA

Quotes taken from Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.

Win A Most Improper Magick!

As the book I’m about to rave about won’t be published till 2011 in USA, I will keep this ‘review’ short and sweet. A Most Improper Magick by Stephanie Burgis is one of the best MG books out there. Do not be put off by the term Middle Grade, this book is for everyone of all ages. A Most Improper Magick was laugh-out-loud funny, the kind that makes you giggle uncontrollably. But what makes this novel even more terrific is that the characters all have a notably authentic voice and I’d love to spend a day with them.

I strongly encourage you to read the first chapter and discover how wonderful this book simply is. And if you have read the book, let me know and I’ll gush about it with you!

The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson, Book One: A Most Improper Magick will be published on August 1, 2010 in the UK, and in Spring 2011 in the US.

Or if you cannot wait till 2011, you can always enter Stephanie’s giveaway!! GO GO GO!

What people are saying about A Most Improper Magick:
“Chock full of humor, romance, adventure, and family, A Most Improper Magick belongs on every proper bookshelf.” —Tiffany Trent, author of the Hallowmere series.

“Kat Stephenson is the very best sort of heroine: one who can rescue herself.”– Lisa Mantchev, author of Eyes Like Stars and Perchance to Dream

And what do I have to say? A highly recommended read that is not to be missed!

Watch the UK book trailer: