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Sunday, January 31, 2010

In My Mailbox (19)

In My Mailbox is brought to us by The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea and don't we love them for that? :)

I only got one book this week, but I'm really excited about it.

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves - Hardcover

Love can be a dangerous thing...

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

(Summary from goodreads.)

When the mail lady handed this over and I saw who it was sent from, I squeed in a way you probably shouldn't in public.

And it's SIGNED!! Dia sent this to me because she's AWESOME along with a Bleeding Violet bookmarks. Go shower love on her at her website or on Twitter.

Okay, so that's it for what's in my mailbox, but something special is coming very early on Monday and then a little later. So pay attention, because it won't last long!

Peace and cookies,
(P.S. How do you like me being mysterious? Haha.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (31 - Late)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Well, better late than never, right? I dyed my hair Tuesday and Wednesday, and this totally slipped my mind.

Okay, so, my first choice this week is

Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw - Release date May 1st, 2010

“Evangeline,” he repeated, calling at a whisper. “Evangeline.” He was not calling that she may hear, he was calling that somehow her soul might know that he was devoted entirely to her, only to her. “Evangeline, I will find you.”

Eva and Gabe explore the golden forest of their seaside Maine town, unknowingly tracing the footsteps of two teens, Evangeline and Gabriel, who once lived in the idyllic wooded village of Acadia more than one hundred years ago. On the day that Evangeline and Gabriel were be wed, their village was attacked and the two were separated. And now in the present, Gabe has mysteriously disappeared from Eva.

A dreamlike, loose retelling of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous love poem “Evangeline,” Anxious Hearts tells an epic tale of unrequited love and the hope that true love can be reunited.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want it: I'm kinda a sucker for a good romance. Or a
bad one. Sorry, I couldn't resist. But anyways, I was just trying to say I love love stories. And the cover is pretty. I don't love it, but it's certainly pretty.

Illyria by Elizabeth Hand - Release date May 13th, 2010

Madeleine and Rogan are first cousins, best friends, twinned souls, each other's first love. Even within their large, disorderly family - all descendants of a famous actress - their intensity and passion for theater sets them apart. It makes them a little dangerous. When they are cast in their school's production of Twelfth Night, they are forced to face their separate talents and futures, and their future together.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: I know it's a reprint, but it's being rereleased, I guess, so I'm using it. And other than the initial "EW, THEY'RE COUSINS" reaction, it sounds good!

Okay, so I still have a dozen things to do, so I'm gonna wrap this up now. Watch out for something special coming later this week!

Peace and cookies,

Monday, January 25, 2010

I forgot!

When I did my IMM, I completely forgot that I also got this:

The frog, I mean. It's a feltie that I won from
Alea. The rest is just my stuff, haha. And the "hat" on the one cat (those are salt and pepper shakers, by the way) is a nosewarmer I won made by Sarah Quigley that I never showed you guys.

Okay, that's all.
Peace and cookies,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In My Mailbox (18)

I haven't done one of these in ages. I haven't really been getting many books in the mail. But as always, In My Mailbox is brought to us by The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea.

For review:

Kissing Games of the World by Sandi Kahn Shelton - Paperback

If there’s one point that Jamie McClintock and Nate Goddard can agree upon, it’s that love is overrated. Jamie doesn’t have time for it. Nate doesn’t need it. And they certainly don’t want it from each other.

Jamie, a struggling free-spirited artist, is a devoted single mother who hasn’t been in a serious relationship since her boyfriend abandoned her after their son was born. Nate, a charismatic jet-setting salesman, is widowed and estranged from his father and five-year-old son, Christopher. Jamie would rather glue glitter to pinecones than go out on a date. Nate spends most of his nights wooing his clients. Then one afternoon Nate’s father drops dead of a heart attack. In that moment, their highly guarded worlds collide.

When Nate shows up at his childhood home to settle the estate and reclaim his son, he discovers that Jamie has been living in the Connecticut farmhouse as his father’s roommate. Mistrustful of each other’s motives, Nate and Jamie bicker about everything from children’s nicknames to Jamie’s fashion choices to Nate’s home renovation methods. It doesn’t help that Christopher prefers Jamie to his absentee father.

But after the funeral, Nate and Jamie begin to see each other in a more forgiving light. Nate, traveling to sales conferences all over the country with a sullen Christopher in tow, learns he can’t breeze his way through single parenthood. Jamie, who has moved back in with her sister, wonders at the wisdom of her unconventional choices as a woman with a child to support. And both begin to realize they don’t know as much about love as they thought. Still wounded by past heartbreak and sorrow, can they learn to trust each other and open their hearts?

(Summary from goodreads.)

I really like this cover. You can't tell in the picture, but it has this really nice soft matte feeling... it's just cool. And the book sounds really cute and fun. :)

A House Afire by Emma Kinna - Paperback

Phyllis Sorin has seen all sorts of people. With two kind Aunts who rent out the rooms of their house to anyone in need, the people she calls family are a little different from most. There’s Bill, who takes on the personalities of movie characters. There’s Quincy, whose best friend is a drag queen. There’s Anna, an opera singer and kung-fu master.
And Phyllis, well, she’s not exactly normal herself. But even as she begins to navigate high school’s social jungle, Phyllis finds comfort and humor in her odd home.

When Dominick Siddons moves in, however, all of Phyllis's priorities become inferior to finding out his secret. A young lawyer with a vicious wit and ferocious temper, Sid may understand Phyllis in a way no one else can. And through truth and fiction, through the inevitable chaos of the house, Phyllis finds much more than she bargained for.

(Summary from goodreads.)

I think this one is self-published, but the story sounded good, and I read a little bit of the writing and it sounds alright, so I figured I'd give it a shot, and we'll hope for the best. :)

Edit: I was incorrect in saying this was self-published. It's published by a smaller publisher. Sorry about the confusion!!!


Ashley went to a book signing and I begged and pleaded with her to get me some signed bookmarks and because she's AWESOME!! She did. :)

Aren't they pretty? :D And the Lisa Schroeder postcard is signed by her, how awesome is that?!?!?!

Okay, so, that's about it for me for this week.

Peace and cookies,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (30)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

I haven't done this in a while. But it's still Wednesday! So that's a good thing.

Both of the books I'm waiting on this week are books that are going to be released in May. That wasn't entirely on purpose, but it works out quite nicely anyways.

My first pick is:

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler - Release date May 1st, 2010

Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.

As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.
Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: I love blue. Which, yeah, is kind of shallow, but what can you do? And it just sounds awesome.

Glimmerglass by Jenna Black - Release date May 25th, 2010

Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, Dana decides she’s had it with being her mother’s keeper, so she packs her bags and heads to stay with her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl—she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Soon, she finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone wants something from her, even her newfound friends and family. Suddenly, life with her alcoholic mom doesn't sound half bad, and Dana would do anything to escape Avalon and get back home. Too bad both her friends and her enemies alike are determined not to let her go...

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: 1. Faeries. 2. I've actually read a couple of Jenna Black's adult novels and really liked them. 3. Pretty cover.

Okay, that's it for me for this week!
Peace and cookies,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About (25)

I forgot to do Waiting on Wednesday again. Shoot!! Well, anyways:

Fun Friday: Give me something to sing about! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at
Random Musings for help with the title.

This week I'm posting a song called Forever is Over by The Saturdays. I actually found this looking up Kelly Clarkson lyrics.

I couldn't find a video on youtube that would let me embed it, so if this doesn't work for you for some reason, just go to the youtube video here.

So what do you guys think? And doesn't the one girl look like Jennifer Love Hewitt from Ghost Whisperer??

Okay, that's it for me for this Friday,
Peace and cookies,

Monday, January 11, 2010

After by Amy Efaw review

After by Amy Efaw

Published: August 11th, 2009 by Viking Juvenille
Genre: Contemporary young adult fiction, I believe.
Page Count: 350 in my ARC
Part of a series?: It's a standalone.
Amazon link.

Summary (from the inside of the book 'cause I like it better than the goodreads one): Who would leave her own baby in the trash to die?

Certainly not someone like Devon – a straight-A student, soccor player with Olympic dreams, more mature than her own mother. But desperation and panic drove her to do what most people can't even imagine. Now Devon's in a juvenile detention center, charged with attempted murder. If she'd tried as an adult, she faces like in prison.

Does Devon deserve that punishment? Your answer depends on whether you believe her story – that she didn't even know she was pregnant. Was she buried in a denial so deep that she was unable to register the seemingly obvious signs of pregnancy? Or were her actions the result of a more devious, premedited plan?

Review: Wow. I started reading this around four in the afternoon and finished in just a few hours, around seven. I put it down to eat supper and that's about it. It was incredible. I had good feelings about this one and I'm so glad that my expectations were met. I just wish I had read it sooner. I mean, it made me tear up.

Plot (in my words): The book opens with Devon lying on the couch in a haze when her mother comes home from work. Moments later, the cops show up and they and Devon's mom discover she's hemorrhaging. As she passes out, they call an ambulance and read her her rights. The rest of the book, told in present tense, third person (which is very unusual, but very neat) follows Devon through the aftermath of that, with numerous flashbacks, and preparing for the hearing that will decide if Devon will be tried as an adult or not.

Characters: The first time that Devon's age was stated, I was shocked. She hadn't even turned sixteen yet. Logically, I know that a lot of girls get pregnant at that age (it happens a lot in my town, unfortunately), but she just seemed so young.

Devon is the biggest character, obviously, and I think one of my favourite parts of the book is that it's told in present tense, so it's like we're watching things happen to her as they happen, but the other character's are incredible. Her mother... well, you'll have to read it to find out, but her mother is unbelievable. Her lawyer, though, is like a character right out of Law and Order. (Actually, the whole book reminded me of an episode of Law and Order: SVU. Only better because there was more depth. And that's a really big compliment for me because that's one of my favourite tv shows.)

One thing I liked, too, was that there wasn't a romance. It most likely would have been innappropriate had there been one, but lately it seems like a lot of YA books revolve around romance, so a book without one is a change. Not to say I'm not a hopeless romantic, but a change of pace is always good.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: Honestly, I don't have anything.

PG-13 stuff: There isn't like cursing or anything, but it's a very mature subject, so the content reflects that. It's definitely for an older or very mature reader. I mean, I'm seventeen and there were moments that unnerved me. I'd guess that's the point, though. But still, best for an older/mature reader.

Cover Comments: I think it's a beautiful cover. The simplicity is just incredible and at first glance you almost don't notice that the girl's reflection is pregnant. It's just perfect for the book.

Conclusion: I got this last summer (wow, time flies) and when I opened the envelope with my hosue key because I couldn't wait til I got home, I squeed in a way that no one should do in public because I was sure it'd be great. I was right. It's just... amazing. Four and a half out of five roses.

Other notes:

- I actually didn't take that many notes for this one because I was so engrossed in it.
- Devon reads two unnamed books in After and I swear that one is Feed by MT Anderson and the other is a Tamora Pierce book, either from the Alanna series or from the Protector of the Small series.

And that's about it.
Peace and cookies,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (29)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine. And it's not late!

My picks this week are:

Keep Sweet by Michele Dominguez Green - Release date March 9th, 2010 (Not that far away!)

Alva Jane has never questioned her parents, never questioned her faith, never questioned her future. She is content with the strict rules that define her life in Pineridge, the walled community where she lives with her father, his seven wives, and her twenty-eight siblings. This is the only world Alva has ever known, and she has never thought to challenge it.

But everything changes when Alva is caught giving her long-time crush an innocent first kiss. Beaten, scorned, and now facing a forced marriage to a violent, fifty-year old man, Alva suddenly realizes how much she has to lose--and how impossible it will be to escape.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: The sound of this reminds me a bit of The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams, which I've heard is really good. The cover is neat, too.

Invisible Girl by Mary Hanlon Stone - Release date May 13th, 2010

When poor Boston girl Stephanie is abandoned by her abusive mother and taken in by Annie’s Beverly Hills family, she feels anything but home. Her dark complexion and accent stick out like a sore thumb in the golden-hued world of blondes and extravagance.These are girls who seem to live life in fastforward, while Stephanie is stuck on pause. Yet when a new rival moves to town, threatening Annie’s queen-bee status, Stephanie finds herself taking sides in a battle she never even knew existed, and that feeling invisible is a wound that can only be by standing up for who she is.

(Summary from goodreads.)

I really like the sound of this, and the cover is gorgeous. (Although I think the picture on goodreads is messed up. I changed the size of it because it didn't look right.) Both these books have a bit of a theme, don't they? Coverwise, I mean. I swear I didn't do that on purpose.

Okay, that's it for me for this week.
What are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 reading challenge updates and 2010 challenge post

Okay, so, last year around this time, I decided to participate in a number of book challenges. I also had Doritos. But that's beside that point, I'm just hungry 'cause I slept for a really long time.

Anyways, so, updates first. (And don't worry, Fun Friday will return as regularly scheduled next Friday.)

On the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge:

I flunked that. I didn't read one of the ones I wanted to read. I could claim a few of my tacky romances as historical fiction, but I'm not going to because I really wanted to read those books, so... eh, no biggie, hey?

On the Chick Lit Reading Challenge:

I read one. Yeah. Well. I did read some others that would qualify as chick lit, but not the ones I wanted to, so... we'll call that one a flop and move on.

On the Read Your Name Challenge:

I read all except for one. One? Okay, you know what? Ironside by Holly Black has been changed to Irreversible by Liz Maverick. Yay, I finished a challenge!!

On the Year of Reading Dangerously Challenge:

I read two out of twelve. Yeah. Moving on!

On the 100+ Reading Challenge:

I read 107 books!! You can go see them all at my original challenge post
here. Two out of five isn't too terrible, right?

Alright, on to the 2010 reading challenges. Obviously, I don't do so well with challenges. Well, you live and learn and all that. But the one that I did do well with and that I want to do again is the 100+ Reading challenge and this year I'd like to try to get to 150. That's just be icing, though, my goal is just to complete the 100 books.

2010 100+ Reading Challenge List:

  1. Seduced by a Stranger by Eve Silver (A) (Hush, it's what I'm reading. :P)
  2. -
  3. -
  4. -
  5. -
  6. -
  7. -
  8. -
  9. -
  10. -

This list will be updated semi-regularly throughout the year. The gadget in my sidebar with my list will be updated more regularly.
For more information on the 100+ Reading Challenge, check out
this blog.

Okay, so I think that's everything. Happy new year, guys! We made it to 2010 without getting struck by lightning! (I'm assuming, anyways.)

Peace and cookies,

Okay, 2011 Laina here. Here's my list of books I read in 2010:

  1. Seduced by a Stranger by Eve Silver (A)
  2. The Secret Wedding by Jo Beverly (A)
  3. After by Amy Efaw (YA)
  4. Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachman (YA)
  5. The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer (YA)
  6. Black at Heart by Leslie Parrish (A)
  7. Triumph in Arms by Jennifer Blake (A)
  8. Viking in Arms by Sandra Hill (A)
  9. Everlasting Kiss by Amanda Ashley (A)
  10. A Highlander's Homecoming by Melissa Mayhue (A)
  11. Clair-de-Lune by Cassandra Golds (MG)
  12. Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (YA)
  13. The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine (YA)
  14. Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine (YA)
  15. Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine (YA)
  16. Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine (YA)
  17. Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine (YA)
  18. Fade Out by Rachel Caine (YA)
  19. Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine (YA)
  20. Leaving the Bellweathers by Kristin Clark Venuti (MG)
  21. Call Me Kate by Molly Roe (YA)
  22. Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen (YA)
  23. Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney (YA)
  24. Virginia by Susan Hughes (YA)
  25. The Face by Angela Elwell Hunt (A
  26. The Sleeping Boy by Barbara J. Stewart (A)
  27. Swim the Fly by Dan Calama (YA)
  28. The Heavenstone Secrets by V. C. Andrews (A)
  29. How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier (YA)
  30. Generation Dead by Daniel Waters (YA)
  31. Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters (YA)
  32. Passing Strange by Daniel Waters (YA)
  33. Flush by Carl Hiaasen (MG)
  34. The Wish List by Gabi Stevens (A)
  35. The Mulberry Tree by Jude Deveraux (A)
  36. The Secret Duke by Jo Beverly (A)
  37. Velocity by Dean Koontz (A)
  38. A Lady Never Tells by Candance Camp (A)
  39. The Chief by Monica McCarty (A)
  40. Sleek, Strong and Sinful by Laurie O'Clare (A)
  41. His Darkest Hunger by Juliana Stone (A)
  42. Seneca Surrender by Gen Bailey (A)
  43. Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery (A)
  44. In Shelter Cove by Barbara Freethy (A)
  45. What the Lady Wants by Jennifer Crusie (A)
  46. Highland Beast by Hannah Howell, Heather Grothaus and Victoria Dahl (A)
  47. The Zebra Wall by Kevin Henkes (MG)
  48. Shore Lights by Barbara Bretton (A)
  49. Blow Me Down by Katie MacAlister (A)
  50. Lesia's Dream by Laura Langston (YA)
  51. Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgans (A)
  52. Penelope & Prince Charming by Jennifer Ashley (A)
  53. Kentucky Bride by Hannah Howell (A)
  54. The Face by Angela Elwell Hunt (A)
  55. Princess Annie by Linda Lael Miller (A)
  56. Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl (A)
  57. More Than You Can Chew by Marnelle Tokio (YA)
  58. One Night by Margaret Wild (YA)
  59. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (YA)
  60. Catching Fire -//- (YA)
  61. Mockingjay -//- (YA)
  62. Welcome to Serenity by Sherryl Woods (A)
  63. Before I Wake by Anne Frasier (A)
  64. Miss Woodley's Experiment by Katherine Greyle (A)
  65. A Midnight Clear by Katherine Paterson (MG)
  66. Christmas Bedtime Stories by Claudia Vurnakes (MG)
66 books in 2010. Well, novels... I was going to put my picture book list here, but then I hit 100 and realized how LONG it was. So it's going in its own post.