Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blog Tour: Tens List with Jennifer Laurens

It is my honor to welcome Jennifer Laurens to the blog as part of her tour for her book, Overprotected. For more information, check out The {Teen} Book Scene's tour page.

Top Ten Things You Probably Don't Know About Me

I sing opera.

I used to work in the television industry. I was Julie's stand-in on the Love Boat.

People think I look like Marie Osmond.

I shook hands with Gene Kelly and consider that one of the coolest stars I met during my years in show biz

I like to travel with my entire family: all six kids, whenever possible.

I once had a muffin business to make extra money Mrs. M's Muffins.

I'm a certified scuba diver and search and rescue diver.

I had anorexia as a teenager.

I dedicated Overprotected to my husband.

My next YA novel idea was born when I was working in Hollywood in TV and films.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Miles From Ordinary, by Carol Lynch Williams

Miles From Ordinary
Carol Lynch Williams

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date:
March 15, 2011
Contemporary, Young Adult
Paperback, 197
4/5 (Avg 3.5/5)
Thirteen-year-old Lacey wakes to a beautiful summer morning excited to begin her new job at the library, just as her mother is supposed to start work at the grocery store. Lacey hopes that her mother's ghosts have finally been laid to rest; after all, she seems so much better these days, and they really do need the money. But as the hours tick by and memories come flooding back, a day full of hope spins terrifyingly out of control....

“No one can get inside the head and heart of a 13-year-old girl better than Carol Lynch Williams, and I mean no one," said James S. Jacobs, Professor of Children's Literature at Brigham Young University, of her breakout novel, The Chosen One. Now this award-winning YA author brings us an equally gripping story of a girl who loves her mother, but must face the truth of what life with that mother means for both of them.

I didn't know what to expect from this story. Having no prior reading experience of Carol Lynch Williams, I was intrigued with praises of her writing but still clueless. After reading Miles from Ordinary, I can say that I will be singing her praises as well.

Whatever I may have been thinking this book was, it was not. The story is beautifully written and so moving. It was also set in only one day's time, which was amazing to me. You'd think something like that wouldn't be able to live up to such high expectations in such a short timeline, but it far exceeds that with flashbacks of Lacey's past helping to guide you and help you understand. Did I mention it's nothing like I thought it would be?

Lacey's story goes from heart-wrenching to haunting in the span of the book. Despite everything, you can't help but feel sorry for her and wish that she could have a typical carefree, happy childhood like all the other kids her age. Nevertheless, she's a strong character with an equally strong voice. I was hesitant at first with the main character being younger, but Williams did an incredible job with her voice. Lacey's aunt was a character I also thought was completely selfish, but when the flashbacks reveal more of the story, we see more of why each of the characters are the way they are. I'm not saying I completely agree with every character's actions, though the flashbacks help to understand them better than what I had originally thought.

At the very beginning, I struggled a little to get into the story. I think maybe it was the accent of the character and the way she talked? I'm not sure. But my attention was caught very soon after and it wasn't long before I was finishing the book with white knuckles and a sore heart. This book is eerie, to say the least. It's contemporary - and a fine one at that - but I'd also put it in the psychological thriller category as well. If you like either of those, I'm positive you'll love this book.

Find Carol Lynch Williams
Website | Twitter

Purchase Miles From Ordinary
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Waiting on Wednesday

Jessica Rules The Dark Side
Beth Fantaskey

When Jessica Packwood found out she was a Romanian vampire princess, she had the shock of her teenage life. Turns out that was the easy part. Now, married to Prince Lucius Vladescu, she has to claim her throne and convince a vampire nation she’s fit to be their queen. But Jess can’t even order a decent meal from her castle’s Romanian staff, let alone deal with devious undead subjects who would love to see her fail.

And when Lucius is accused of murdering a vampire Elder and imprisoned without the blood he needs, Jessica finds herself alone, fighting for both their survivals.

Desperate to clear her husband’s name and win his release, Jess enlists the help of her best friend Mindy Stankowicz and Lucius’s mysterious Italian cousin, Raniero Lovatu. But both of them are keeping some dark secrets. Can Jess figure out who to trust – and how to rise to power – before she loses everything, including the vampire she loves?

Full of romance, mystery, and danger, the highly anticipated sequel to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side shows that sometimes a princess has to earn her “happily ever after” – with a sharpened stake in hand.

After reading Jessica's Guide to Dating on The Dark Side and following it up with the story of Jessica and Lucius's wedding, I knew that I wouldn't be satisfied with just those two stories. I wanted to know more about their life after - I needed to know!

Thankfully, Beth Fantaskey has answered my wishes and the next book is coming out... and I absolutely cannot wait! I know I shouldn't say this with the impending apocalypse¹ in the same year and all.. but 2012 can't get here fast enough!

Waiting Until...
January 9, 2012

¹ This is a joke as I don't believe in predictions that concern the end of the world.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Goddess Test, by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Test
Aimee Carter

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date:
April 19, 2011
Goddess Test
Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Paperback, 304
5/5 (Avg 3.5/5)
It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

I guess I should put a disclaimer on reviews of books that deal with Greek Mythology, so here it is: I am a lover of all things in Greek Mythology, so usually I'm incredibly giddy before I even open books that deal with the subject matter.

Having said that, I can tell you that this book did not disappoint me in the least. The more I read, the more it won me over. Besides the mythology, I can tell you what impressed me so much about this book: no insta-love! Oftentimes in YA books, the main character falls instantly in love with the object of her affection at the very beginning and then the rest of the book is swooning and talking about how perfect he is in every way for the other 250+ pages. This isn't the case with The Goddess Test. Instead, we get to see a relationship from what starts as an extreme dislike, then morphs from empathy to friendship and eventually, love. It's a realistic process, slow to start and blossoming into something incredible, something we can all relate to with love.

All of the characters seemed to pass the test (pun not necessarily intended). There was something that first irked me about Kate, but her actions and personality really won me over through the book. The rocky start to her friendship with Ava added even more layers to their relationship, again making it completely believable and all the more true to a real friendship. I think I said enough about Kate's relationship with Henry and the lack of insta-love, which in turn made me love them more. Henry's character was a more humble character, though I must say that I expected him to be a little more dark and fierce considering who he truly was. Same with James, whose character was also a little predictable but it didn't make me like him any less. Dylan's character seemed a little left-field and I was confused by his presence. I understood closer to the end, yet the whole opening scenes with him felt a little more like a page-filler than anything that was truly necessary to the story.

Despite some minor character issues, I can't say anything bad about this book - which means that those issues are so minor that they can be completely ignored. The story was amazing, the characters and intertwining of mythology equally so. I predicted some of the ending, but it ended up taking on more of a twist than I had initially expected. It was a pleasant surprise. It was also a fairly quick read, so there was no room for a lot unnecessary details. I enjoyed this book immensely and cannot wait for the next in the series to come out.

Find Aimee Carter
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Pre-order The Goddess Test
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

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