Thursday, July 31, 2014

{A Twist in the Tail} Reviewing CINDERELLA GEEK by K. Sean Jennkrist

Love fairy tales and mythology?
Fans of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, and other mythical creatures?
Enjoy when a beloved classic tale is retold?
A Twist in the Tail Thursdays features all this and more!

Interested in checking out CINDERELLA GEEK?
You can download the e-book FOR FREE from Barnes and Noble
or for 99¢ from Amazon Kindle!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

   THE BEST WAY OUT IS through. I remember staring at the page and those words, Robert Frost's words. And they got to em. They caught my eye and captured my heart. Like some weird psychic vibe traveling across time, I knew Frost was speaking about my life, how the only way out was for me to go through it.
   The idea grew. It seemed deep and meaningful. At least I thought about it a lot. Then, several things happened, almost too scary, as if they were a part of my fate. The experience pointed out the path that would lead me through. It gave me direction. And seriously, if there was one thing I knew before starting my junior year of high school, it was how much I needed direction.
(Page 14, US e-book edition)

If you're a fan of fairy tales or teen chick flick movies like She's All That, Mean Girls, and Never Been Kissed, you'll definitely enjoy CINDERELLA GEEK by K. Sean Jennkrist. It's 315 pages, but it reads fast, and it's suited for tweens as well as older readers.

Delores is sick of being a geek. She's about to be a junior in high school, but even her middle school sister is more popular than her. Eileen has had four boyfriends in the past three years--and she's only thirteen. Delores is sixteen and has had zip. After watching Ever After and The Princess Diaries, she realizes that the only way to fit in and become more interesting is to change everything about herself. She asks everyone to call her DeeDee rather than Delores and implores her Aunt Gloria to help her become more fashion-savvy. In truly godmother-like fashion, Aunt Gloria goes through some new arrivals at the store she owns to give DeeDee some cutting edge outfits and books her with a great stylist who helps transform Delores into DeeDee. DeeDee's Cinderella-like state continues when she meets a boy named Griffin while out running with her friend Trey. She falls in the mud and her shoe pops up. Of course, "Prince Charming" is there to pick it up and help her put it back on! But what happens when Sheila, the most popular girl in school who DeeDee is dying to be friends with, decides that Griffin is going to be her boyfriend? Or decides to crush DeeDee and return her to her Delores roots? What will it take to make DeeDee realize what matters most?

DeeDee isn't always a likable character. She makes a lot of bad, selfish choices and gets too involved in hiding her identity and letting more popular classmates sway her decisions. She loses her friends and her identity, and doesn't realize it until much too late. At the same time, this sort of character is at the heart of these transformation stories, and many readers will sympathize with her. I wish the secondary characters had been a little more fleshed out and that there'd been more consistent interaction between DeeDee and Griffin. Her friend Trey was my favorite character, and I expected more from his arc. He was a great friend, even when DeeDee was blowing him off. I also really enjoy the evolution of DeeDee's stepmother, who started off as your traditional fairy tale villain, but evolved and grew deeper as the novel progressed.

I read this one in less than two hours, and would definitely recommend it to younger tween readers who enjoy stories of transformation and finding yourself. It's light on the fairy tale aspect, but has fun touches that will make fans of the genre smile.

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( light kissing. )
Language: PG ( Mild language )
Violence: PG ( Mild girl fight at school )
Other: ( mean girl occurrences, verbal abuse from a stepparent )
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover is much better than the original cover!

When I downloaded the book, the cover looked like this:

I like the way the current cover has an artsy flair. It's watercolor, and it's drippy and imperfect, a work in progress. The main character, Delores, is trying to change herself to become popular, and is modifying her looks and actions to fit in. She, too, is a work in progress. I think the cover is more suited to the book than one of a pair of books that the main character never wears!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: K. Sean Jennkrist
Release Date: April 1, 2011
Publisher: K. Sean Jennkrist
Received: Purchased

Sixteen and a geek. Delores Chimayo wants to cross over to the other side. Pretty, popular, and a social success is everything she's not. And now she has a plan, ten steps to gain stardom and erase geekdom. But even the best made plans can take some disastrous turns and come out in a way never expected. 

Maybe that's because she has a few working against her. A stepmom, who Delores secretly calls Cruella, seems to criticize her every move; a sister, Eileen, a preppy cheerleader who at thirteen has already had four boyfriends; and Sheila Thompson, the queen of snobs. She will stop at nothing to gain popularity, and that includes stomping out the competition like Delores. 

Adding to outside distractions is her home life that's far from idyllic. Delores' dad is doing rescue work thousands of miles away in Ecuador. Her mother passed away when Delores was only twelve. That leaves Grandma Jordan and Aunt Gloria in her corner. They serve up plenty of support. Somehow, with friends like Trey, Lucy, and Penelope, Delores manages to work through her plan, tweaking and adjusting details along the way. 

Venturing on the other side doesn't turn out to be as sweet a victory as Delores might have guessed, but there are attractive points. Like Griffin Montgomery, the hottie who every girl, including Sheila, would love to have as a boyfriend. It's a duel between the geeks and the populars. 

Eventually, Delores has to decide what is important enough to fight for and manage to find a happily-ever-after ending in CINDERELLA GEEK, a modern-day fairy tale for teens.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

{Waiting on Wednesday} IN THE AFTERLIGHT by Alexandra Bracken

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine
This event highlights our most-wanted upcoming releases!

IN THE AFTER LIGHT releases on Oct. 28th, 2014.
It is the final book in The Darkest Minds Trilogy.

Author:Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: Oct. 28, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion


BRIGHTLY WOVEN was one of the first books I ever reviewed on this blog. Way, way before I started blogging regularly. I instantly wanted to read more books by Bracken, but none existed. I found her LiveJournal, and saw that she was writing something called BLACK IS THE COLOR. She hid little excerpts on the web. If you could find them, you could read them.

I was so, so anxious to read BLACK IS THE COLOR (which was re-named THE DARKEST MINDS). I even had an e-ARC of it! I felt so lucky! But then...I had no time to read it. I pre-ordered it in hardcover, and decided to read it when the sequel came out...which I also pre-ordered. And then I started hearing things about the cliffhanger. So I decided to wait and treat myself to a binge read of all three books at once! But the wait has been SO HARD. I have wanted this for so, so long!!!!

Finally, it's almost October! ^_^


Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IANN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

What are you anxiously waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every once in a while I participate in this one when I either
1) Like the theme, and/or 2) Have the time!
This week's topic:
Top Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From!

This week's topic was hard because I had to stop being lazy and do some work!

There are two authors who you could potentially say don't belong on the list because the amount of books in their series make them authors with several books I own (Rick Riordan and Terry Goodkind, I'm looking at you!). I balanced that out by adding a few more authors to the list, though, so it's more like a Top 15. These are the fifteen authors where I own more than eight of their titles! (I arbitrarily decided this because a lot of books have seven in the series. I even thought about excluding Riordan and Goodkind, but since each author has at least one book not in a continuous series, I allowed it...)

Did you put any special guidelines on your list?

I can't wait to see who y'all are collecting!

Also, funny story? 

Quite a few of these authors live together on my shelves because I tend to group things by theme. Funny how that works out... Take a peek!

Jodi Picoult, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and Diane Chamberlain love hanging out together!

Tamora Pierce, Terry Goodkind, and Patricia A. McKillip know how to fill up a shelf!

Gail Carson Levine, Shannon Hale, Jane Yolen, Juliet Marillier and Mercedes Lackey know that the best place to party is on my fairy tale shelf!

Here they come...

1) Tamora Pierce 
(28 books, plus 1 graphic novel [And also all 5 individual issues of this graphic novel!], plus an anthology with a story by her)

Can you tell that Tamora Pierce used to be my favorite author? I still buy her books as soon as they come out, but I don't love them as much as I do the stories of Alanna, Daine, and Kel!

I'll also pick up a book these days if it's been blurbed by Pierce, or if it's a fantasy with a girl disguising herself as a guy.... Yep, Pierce really gave me a foundation in my reading tastes of today!

2) Meg Cabot 
(At least 24…I don’t trust myself to have them all “together” in my cubby…especially since 3 of them are on my special mythology shelf on the bookcase….)

Definitely one of the few chick lit authors whose books I own! I have several of the Princess Diaries books, but my favorites by her are the ones with Arthurian and mythological lore! I'm also a huge fan of her books featuring Heather Wells because I can relate to so much of the ups and downs of ResLife!

3) Jodi Picoult 
(21 novels, 1 graphic novel (And also all 6 individual issues of this graphic novel!), 1 play, 1 anthology with a short story from her, 1 ARC of a book featuring an “unsealed” copy of a CD in the book’s finished [and untouched] copy), and two e-book shorts

Currently my favorite author, even though I don't like her newest books as much as I do her older ones. All of my favorite books from her to date were written during the first half of her career. i still love the way she makes us think about hot button topics, too, and I can't tell you how many books I’ve bought by various authors because they were blurbed by Jodi! I even have a fall ARC right now for this very reason!

4) Patricia A. McKillip 
(18 books, and I'm pretty certain she's in at least one anthology I own, though I'm too lazy to check)

It's because of Sarah J. Maas (Author of the fantastic Throne of Glass series) that I've fallen for Patricia McKillip. I stumbled upon Sarah's blog before her debut novel was ever published (And the third one is coming out this fall already. Wow, how time flies!), and she was reading a book by McKillip. It sounded interesting, and I found a lot of almost all of her books on Ebay, so I bought it. ...And then I picked up the few I didn't have!

5) Mercedes Lackey 
(17 plus 3 massmarket “collections” with a story from her)

Lackey has tons and tons of books, I know, but with one or two exceptions, I only own her fairy tale-inspired novels! What can I say? If it's a fairy tale, I must own it!

6) Jacquelyn Mitchard 
(17 books)

Remember earlier when I said that I discovered several authors due to Jodi Picoult? Jacquelyn Mitchard is one such author. I'd been on Picoult's forum a few years ago and read a topic where people recommended other similar authors. Mitchard was one of them. I snagged a lot or two of her books off Ebay, and got the other books used, and now I buy her books brand-new as they come out! Mitchard and Picoult also tend to blurb the same books, so if I see a blurb from both these ladies, I blind-buy it, no questions asked!

7) Terry Goodkind
(15 plus an exclusive ebook)

Since one of Goodkind's books isn't part of his epic series, I included him in the list. But I debated it. Because does owning every book in a SERIES count? Technically, yes. I own a ton of books by this man. But it sort of feels like cheating, you know? 
Anyway, I'd been wanting to read Goodkind for a long time, and when I found a lot of about nine of his books--in hardcover--at my local used bookstore for $2 a title, I couldn't resist buying them all!

8) Rick Riordan
(12 books, 2 “guides,” 1 pack of trading cards, a SECOND copy of TLT with the original cover [So…15 books altogether?], and a book I've already pre-ordered!

Rick Riordan, like Terry Goodkind, is another author I debated over whether or not to include. Because again, it feels like cheating! Nine (soon to be ten) of these books...and all that special stuff...are because of Percy Jackson.
Which...I'm getting ready to do an epic re-read! A book a week starting in August leading up to THE BLOOD OF OLYMPUS in October. WHOOT!!!

9) Diane Chamberlain 
(14 books)

Diane Chamberlain is yet another author where I bought the bulk of her books used, then started buying her titles new as they came out. I stumbled across a book by her in the bookstore that blurbed her as being the "Southern Jodi Picoult," then I saw someone recommend one of her books on the Jodi Picoult forums. I bit the bullet and decided to try her out!

10) Juliet Marillier 
(12…soon to be 13 once I get a certain birthday gift!)

I started reading Marillier because a lot of people who enjoy fairy tale retellings recommended DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST. Although...the first book I actually read by her wasn't that, but HEART'S BLOOD, which is still my favorite--and my favorite B&B story to date! Marillier isn't just about fairy tales, though, and I've read several books by her. There's still so much to pick up and read, too!

11) Shannon Hale 
(11 books, 2 graphic novels, and 1 early reader chapter book)

I don't even remember what my first Shannon Hale title was. I'm fairly certain that it was either PRINCESS ACADEMY or GOOSE GIRL, though. Either way, I fell in love with her books, from her fairy tale retellings to her original fantasy novels. I've also had the pleasure of meeting Hale twice (first at the National Book Festival in DC a few years ago, and later at a local book signing) and she's such a lovely human being. I lurve her!

12) Maria V. Snyder 
(10 books)

I'm still making my way through Maria Snyder's books! I was lucky enough to meet her recently at a signing, and I picked up the books I didn't already have to get signed (I'd seen her once previously and owned a couple of her books already). I've been wanting to read her for a long, long time, and the signing gave me the motivation to finally get to it!

13) Sarah Beth Durst 
(8 books, and a 9th on pre-order!)

Sarah Beth Durst is another author I love. I discovered ICE at the bookstore one day on the new arrivals shelf and fell in love with it. ICE is one of the first books I ever reviewed on my blog, back before I became serious about blogging! I've been lucky enough to meet her in person a couple of times, and she's the sweetest person. I seriously love this woman, and her books are great!

14) Gail Carson Levine 
(8 books)

I blame ELLA ENCHANTED. It is one of my favorite MG books ever written, and helped me fall in love with fairy tales again after I'd "outgrown" them. This book is so special to me, and I've devoured all of Gail Carson Levine's other novels as well. I love recommending her to kids!

15) Jane Yolen 
(at least 7 [I think a few are scattered randomly], 3 picture books, plus quite a few anthologies with included stories from her! I also have a new fall ARC that I haven’t read yet from her!)

When I think of Jane Yolen, I think "fairy tale staple." When other people think of her, they think of her as the author of the popular children's picture book series  How Do Dinosausr...? or as the author of their kid's summer reading book The Devil's Arithmetic. Everyone sees her differently. For me, it's all about the fairy tales, of course! I even have a few of her picture books that I've found used just because her name is on the cover! She's adapted fairy tales, written some beautiful poetry, and more. I adore her!

Which owners take up most of your bookshelves? ^_^

Monday, July 28, 2014

{Review & Design Vlog} TANDEM by Anna Jarzab

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    WHEN I WAS A SOPHOMORE in high school, I enrolled in a Western philosophy class to full a graduation requirement. On the first day of the semester, my teacher, Mr. Early, wrote three words on the board: kata to chreon
    The phrase, he said, was ambiguous, both in origin and meaning, but basically it was translated "according to the debt." The ancient Greeks, Mr. Early told us, believed that the universe was an ordered place, where everything had a price that was collected in due course. The universe, he said, strives for harmony and balance. All that is born will someday die. Ashes to ashes. Things fall apart. 
    Those guys might've died centuries ago, but they were on to something. Science tells us that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but also that every action has an equal and opposite reaction--all debts are eventually paid in full. I don't remember much else from the class, but that particular idea stuck with me. Kata to chreon.
    Apparently, the universe won't let you get away with anything, at least not for long.
(Page 1, US hardcover edition)

The world can be a scary place. Scarier when you don't recognize your surroundings. Sasha is kidnapped against her will and dropped into a parallel universe called Aurora. First of all, Sasha didn't even know other universes existed. Second of all, her analog this this world is a princess. A princess who has run away to avoid getting married and may have ignited a war. Sasha's been brought to Aurora to masquerade as Princess Juliana and make sure the wedding happens as scheduled. But a rebellion is brewing, and dangerous people know that Sasha is not who she's pretending to be. Will Sasha succeed in her task or be the cause of mayhem? And most important of all, will she ever find her way home?

The world of TANDEM is unique, and perfect for fans of sci-fi. It mixes princesses, war, and parallel dimensions. It's a throwback to books I grew up with, where characters were always going to other worlds in order to find their destiny, which is something not done as frequently in YA these days. When I went into the novel, I didn't realize just how sci-fi the book would been, but it was about a girl who is forced to slip into the life of a princess in order to save a country from going to war. There's a lot of scientific theory in this novel that goes over my head, but luckily,  TANDEM pulls from books like A WRINKLE IN TIME to create visuals that will help center readers and bring the theories to life (See my picture and video below for more details). Some of the concepts remind me of the world-splitting in Marie Rutkoski's THE SHADOW SOCIETY, where things are very similar until major events split the timeline apart. This was an aspect that really intrigued me in both books!

It's also nice to see the way characters are evolving and strengthening throughout the course of their journey. They sacrifice a lot along the way, too. Sometimes I hated Sasha and Juliana, but other times I completely understood their motivations and completely believed their progress. I also loved seeing more of Prince Callum, who was different than I thought he'd be, even though Sasha was too focused on her guard Thomas to care much. Even minor characters such as Dr. Moss brought importance to the story as he decoded the more scientific aspects of the world for readers and characters alike. I can't say too much about anyone because I read TANDEM and TETHER back to back, and I'm not too sure where one spoiler ends and another begins! ^.~

TANDEM is the first in a trilogy. Ignore anyone who tells you it's a duology. That's what I thought, too, but after reading the sequel, TETHER (Which comes out March 2015), I realized that it's a trilogy. I thought I was being sneaky and reading the whole series at once, but NOPE. And there's a lot going on, so I'll probably re-read these before the final book comes out. One thing that's been really interesting is the way the world evolves and changes and becomes so different in each book. Each story has its own complex set of worldbuilding challenges and rules, and I'm excited to see all of the new things we'll be introduced to in the final book.

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( kissing )
Language: G ( None that I recall... )
Violence: PG13 ( nothing graphic, but there's fighting, death, guns, kidnapping, a city on the verge of war, and other themes that imply violence )
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

The guts of TANDEM are so, so gorgeous. Looking at the cover in the store, you wouldn't expect such an epic interior treatment, but it looks stunning. 

Here's a montage of some of the awesome things in the interior:

I had to take a video to show you all the great details:

The interior treatment also reminds me of childhood classic A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle. Both books use graphics to introduce readers to complex scientific concepts:

On the left: A WRINKLE IN TIME
On the right: TANDEM
Both books use diagrams to explain scientific concepts about multiple universes to readers!

Isn't that neat?

I really love the treatment for this series!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Anna Jarzab
Release Date: Oct. 8, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Press / Random House
Received: This was either purchased or a gift. I forget.
(I also may have had an e-ARC at one point. Again, I forget. If I did, my review comes from my own copy, though!)

Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, TANDEM is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Celebrating My Birthday with THIS BOOK and THESE NAILS! ^.~

Hey guys!

Soooooooo today is my birthday!

*Throws confetti*

Since we're all bookworms here, I have a confession:

Every year, I make sure I'm not reading anything leading up to my birthday so that I don't have to worry about finishing that book, etc. On my birthday, I pick a special book to read. It can be something I'm dying to read or re-read or an author I love that had a new book out that I was savoring...anything, really.

Do you do that, too? I want to know I'm not the only bookworm who chooses something special to read on a birthday JUST BECAUSE! ^.~

This year, I've chosen to read (...or, at least, BEGIN. Since I won't be home for much of today!) the second book in The School for Good and Evil trilogy, A WORLD WITHOUT PRINCES:

I've been wanting to read it forever. I had an ARC in my greedy little hands at ALA, then I ran into Soman Chainani himself and he convinced me to wait for the finished copy with the artwork from Iacopo Bruno. ^^ Which I was okay with because ARTWORK! And then I had an issue getting the book on time, so I didn't read it for Fairy Tale Fortnight. After that, of course, I wanted to read non-fairy tale-themed books for a while...

But I get a little ache in my heart every time I see this book staring at me balefully from my overflowing nightstand TBR pile.

Beautiful book, you are my birthday choice! No more tears!!!

I ALSO usually do something special with my nails for my birthday. I'm re-doing them tonight because I'm going on vacation, though, so I didn't do anything fancy today.

BUT I am in love with this current nail polish. It's "Mermaid's Tale" by JulieG (Sold exclusively at Rite-Aid). You can see how the thumb color looks different from the color on the other nails, but it's NOT. It's picking up the light differently. The polish is this beautiful teal that has a holographic sheen to it in the sunlight. It also has flecks of black when you look deeply. It's impossible to catch the color's beauty on camera! But I have been staring at my nails ALL WEEK.

And...let's face it. It's COMPLETELY appropriate to wear week-old nail polish on your birthday if it is MERMAID NAIL POLISH! ^.~

Anyway! Even though I'm going on vacation, I've still put together a week's worth of great posts for you!

Check it out:

I'm leaving you in good hands! ^.~

See you in a week! (Unless you're on Twitter, because, well, so is my smartphone!)