YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for the ‘book ramblings’ Category

Mockingjay withdrawal symptoms?

I’m currently in the midst of reading Mockingjay and I know how some of you finished Mockingjay within hours of getting it. And please for the love of God do not post any spoilers in the comments below. I have not finished the book! (And even if I did finish the book, I’m sure others who’ve not read it will not appreciate it.) Kthxbai.

No, wait. That’s not what I wanted to talk to you about. For those of you who finished Mockingjay and are craving more dystopian, here is a list of dystopian novels I read and loved.

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

I have nothing but praises for this book. I won’t give anything away but you can say that it is my favorite dystopian of all time. It made me teary-eyed, something Hunger Games did not achieve, which is why it’s my #1 favorite. The writing was phenomenal and I must say, I am very impressed by this book. I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel! Very highly recommended. I cannot stress enough. Buy it, now.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

This novel started out slowly but as it progressed, I found myself liking the characters and I was unable to put it down till I finished it! The tension and the suspense is very similar to Hunger Games so fans of Collins will probably love it as well. And did I mention that the paperback is on sale now for only $8.99 on Book Depository and FREE SHIPPING!

The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones

Christine Brodien-Jones pulls off middle grade dystopian very well and do not underestimate it just because it’s suitable for middle graders. The world-building was amazing and the writing was stunning. A must-read!

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

When I first started this book, I wanted to pull my hair out in frustration. Everything was so confusing and I had difficulty understanding the complex world that Trella lived in. So I skipped ahead a few pages and I slowly began to understand the setting and the world. Wow, Snyder has created a world so foreign yet so familiar. The scrubs are like people who have low income while the Uppers are those who have the money and wealth. Recommended!

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Do not be intimidated by its size. The Passage was an engrossing, thought-provoking read that had me on the edge of my seats. Although a book so big was bound to have ‘slow moments’, the last half of the book was so pulse-pounding, I could not stop reading! I urge you to give this book a chance. What a fantastic novel!

And my most anticipated upcoming 2010 dystopian novel:

Matched by Ally Condie

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

I want to read this book so badly. November 30th 2010. Remember that date.

2011 and 2012 will be a great year for dystopian lit. Lenore came up with a list of 2011 and 2012 dystopian novels. I can barely contain my excitement!


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:

Luisa Plaja webchat tomorrow!

Hi everyone! Just a heads-up, Luisa Plaja author of the recently released, Swapped by a Kiss and several other novels, will be having a live webchat at the Fiercebook page tomorrow – it starts at 5pm and will last approx. 1 hour, find out more here. Expect chatter about books, writing, romance and body swapping… it doesn’t get much better than that!

Synopsis for Swapped by a Kiss:
Rachel hates her life and everyone in it – she even has suspicions that her on/off boyfriend David might not be entirely trustworthy. However, when David invites her to a music festival in England featuring their friend’s band, she jumps at the chance for an overseas adventure. Hoping to surprise David, Rachel arrives at the festival early, where she runs into a nasty surprise of her own – she sees David kissing their friend Jo. Distraught, Rachel runs off, wishing she could leave her life behind…the next thing she knows, she’s back with David. But not as herself…She’s now in Jo’s body! Can she keep the swap a secret from David until she can work out exactly what’s going on and get her revenge? Over the course of a very weird weekend, Rachel puts herself in someone else’s shoes and finds that her own maybe weren’t as uncomfortable as she’d always thought. But can she ever be herself again?

Hailey Twitch Is Not a Snitch!

Seven-year-old Hailey Twitch knows three things for sure: who she’s the boss of, how to throw a tantrum, and above all, how to get exactly what she wants. But all that changes when Hailey gets paired up with annoying Addie Jokobeck on the class project. No matter what Hailey does, she can’t seem to change her teacher’s mind.

At home, a cranky Hailey is feeling sorry for herself when – poof! — Maybelle, a magic sprite, comes flying out of Hailey’s dollhouse. Maybelle’s on probation with the Department of Magic, and on a special mission to get Hailey to have fun.
The only problem? The invisible Maybelle starts causing a lot of trouble, and when Hailey’s teacher wants to know who’s to blame, Hailey takes responsibility. After all, Hailey Twitch is not a snitch! Now if only Hailey can convince the Department of Magic that Maybelle has reformed…

You can buy Hailey Twitch from amazon by clicking here, and find out how to win a free book from Lauren by clicking here!

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella cover & synopsis

I have been meaning to post this last week but didn’t get the chance to till today. One of my favorite authors for Adult books would be Sophie Kinsella so when I heard about Mini Shopaholic, I was undoubtedly excited to read it! 🙂 And now, the cover and synopsis has been released! What an adorable cover!

“Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) thought motherhood would be a breeze – but it’s trickier than she thought. Two-year-old Minnie is a little tearaway who has created havoc everywhere from Harrods to Harvey Nicks to her own christening. She hires taxis at random, her favourite word is ‘Mine’, and she already has a penchant for Balenciaga bags. Becky is at her wits’ end.

On top of this, she and Luke are still living with her Mum and Dad, there’s a big financial crisis so everyone’s having to Cut Back – including all her personal shopping clients – and her husband Luke is feeling low after the death of his beloved stepmother. To cheer Luke up, Becky decides to throw him a surprise birthday party – on a budget – and that’s when things become really complicated. As Becky tries to keep the arrangements secret, misunderstandings and excuses sprout everywhere, and soon she’s told so many fibs she can’t keep track of them. Will Becky pull off the surprise? Will Minnie give everything away? Will Minnie’s godparents ever stop arguing? Who will end up on the naughty step and who will get a gold star? And what will happen when Becky discovers Luke is keeping a big secret too?”

I will be doing more cover posts next week so be sure to look out for them. A lot of covers sent me squeeing because they were GORGEOUS!

Operation Teen Book Drop 2010

In 2008 and 2009, readergirlz (http://www.readergirlz.com), Guys Lit Wire (http://guyslitwire.blogspot.com), and YALSA (http://www.ala.org/yalsa) orchestrated publishers’ donations of nearly 20,000 new young adult books to hospitalized teens across the country. For 2010, If I Can Read I Can Do Anything (http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~ifican) has joined forces with these three organizations to drop over 10,000 new YA books, donated by publishers, into the hands of teens on Native American tribal lands. Nationwide, librarians, over 100 YA authors, and teens will drop YA books in their own communities on April 15th, 2010, to raise awareness for Operation TBD 2010 and Support Teen Literature Day. Everyone will join an online TBD Post-Op party at 6 PM PST / 9 PM EST that evening at the readergirlz blog (http://www.readergirlz.com).

Inciting all to participate in Operation TBD in its drive to spur reading on a national scale, readergirlz invites teens and YA authors to leave a book in a public place on April 15th. Participants can download bookplates to insert into the books they’ll leave behind. Come rock the drop in 2010!

I am proud to say that I will be rockin’ the drop! You should do it too, make someone’s day! After dropping the book I might linger around to see who picks it up. Who knows. *shrugs* 😛 Over 100 authors are participating in Operation TBD! Suzanne Young, Sara Zarr, Beth Kephart, Cynthia Leitich Smith, David Levithan, E. Lockhart, Barry Lyga, Carolyn Mackler, Sarah MacLean, Bennett Madison, Nina Malkin, Holly Cupala, Jennifer Echols, Gayle Forman, Aimee Friedman , Linda Gerber, Melissa Walker, Courtney Sheinmel and many many more! Click here to see the full list of authors participating! You just might stumble upon a free book tomorrow!

Tweet to spread the word! Here are some sample tweets:

I rock the drop! #operationtbd

Buy a book for a teen at a tribal school for TBD 2010. http://tinyurl.com/ycohksh #operationtbd Please RT.

Operation Teen Book Drop: 10,000 books brought to Native teens April 15th. Thanks, publishers! #operationtbd http://readergirlz.com/tbd.html