Tuesday, June 30, 2009

7 Days of HP: The Art Aspect


Today is the 6th day of the 7 Days of Harry Potter.
Tomorrow, the last day, the contest will open. Make sure to comment on all of the HP posts for bonus contest points.
Today's topic is...

The Art Aspect

The covers, of course, are an important part of Harry Potter. The cover gives the book color and life. There are different copies of Harry Potter in different places, all over the world, with differing covers.
Here are SOME of the covers of BOOK 1. Keep in mind that this isn't even ALL of them.

That is a lot of different covers, isn't it? And that's not even all of them, there are lots more. Since there are so many, I will instead give you a link to a site that has all the covers for books 1 through 5. Sorry that 6 and 7 aren't there. It's really interesting taking a look at all the different pieces of cover art depicting the story. And on this link you will also see WHERE the covers are from. Check it out here.

Now, the cover illustrators are not the only HP artists. There are millions of fans that show their love for the books through their art.

Here are some pieces by Marta from ArtDungeon.net:

Go check this huge portrait out on a larger scale here.

Here is HOGWARTS OUT OF MATCHSTICKS (with the artist):

By Vanessa from Potter on Paper:

There are also many, many more HP fan artists out there. Google it and see what you find. :)It's now time for...


If you could change ANYTHING in the entire series, what would you change?

Answer in a comment, and see our answers too! SPOILER WARNING FOR ALL WHO HAVE NOT READ HARRY POTTER!

20 Things in 20 Days: Bonus Clue

To celebrate the launch of Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, I'm blogging a bonus clue for the 20 Things in 20 Days Scavenger Hunt. Answer clues and challenges to earn points toward the 20 Things grand prize, including 6 signed books from 2009 debut authors! Get a clue... June 11th-30th at 20 Things in 20 Days!

Today's bonus clue:

Like Frankie in Twenty Boy Summer, author Sarah Ockler enjoys experimenting with videos, often humiliating herself for your viewing pleasure. For the final 20 Things bonus clue, subscribe to Sarah's YouTube channel and leave a comment here letting us know that you subscribed! 2 points.

Monday, June 29, 2009

7 Days of HP: Spoofs

Today is the 5th day of the 7 days of Harry Potter.
Don't forget to comment at the end of the post, it will benefit you soon.
And without further ado, today's topic is...

Both lovers and haters of Harry Potter cannot deny that the spoofs are funny. We'll share some of the best with you today:
The Mysterious Ticking Noise

Snape Singing

Harry Potter the Musical


Harry Potter and the Outcasts of Hogwarts

It is now time for...

What is your favorite NAME (of people, spells, places, or things) that JK Rowling used in any of the Harry Potter books?

Comment with your answers, and see our comments there too.

Happy Harry Potter Day 5!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley

Publication Date: June 30, 2009


When her adoptive mother dies, Katherine Bab takes the chance she has been waiting for her whole life: she moves from her country village to London, to uncover the secret of who she really is. Before long, Kat has become the favorite of Queen Elizabeth herself, and rumors are swirling-could fiery-haired Kat be the secret daughter of the Virgin Queen. Kat's got plenty of other things to figure out, as well . . . such as how to choose between her childhood love and the two handsome men at court vying for her affections.

This smart, sensual novel drips with intrigue, period detail, and drama, and it will resonate with anyone who has ever longed to find his or her place in the world.

Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 8/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Voice: 8/10
Setting: 9/10
Recommendation: 10/10
Total Score: 65/ 70
Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Not at all (That I can remember)
Drugs, Alcohol, etc.: Wine drinking
Sexual Content: suggestive in conversation
Disturbing Images/ Violence: Abuse mentioned in conversation


Filled with love, deceit, mystery, and drama, this is an unforgettable and absolutely enchanting novel. Suzanne Crowley's expertly chosen words pull you into Elizabethan England where you will never want to leave.

All of the characters seem very three dimensional and believable. They are not absolutely perfect in every way. They make mistakes. They have secrets and feelings. This aspect is what pulls you into the novel, always wondering what will happen next, who will end up with whom, and what the real truth really is.

The power of the story-telling was that to which you will not question Kat’s unbelievable story. While reading The Stolen One it seems absolutely probable that a country girl with unknown heritage can make her way into the castle to become one of the Queen’s favorite companions and more.

My only complaint was that there were a bit too many death-bed conversations. But other than that… this book was amazing!

7 Days of HP: The Internet Fandom


Today is the 4th day of the 7 days of Harry Potter. Where better to learn about, speculate over, update yourself on, or go crazy over Harry Potter than the Internet?

The World Wide Web just happens to be home to an enormous selection of fansites wholly dedicated to the Harry Potter universe. So many of them have become hugely successful, due in part to J. K. Rowling's interest and the general amazingness of her books. Today we're looking at some of our absolute favorite HP fansites!

Mugglenet was created in 1999 by Emerson Spartz and has become the Place for the Harry Potter Fandom. With over 27 million visitors to date, it is without a doubt a great place to meet new HP lovers, discuss ideas, learn about the history, and keep up on news. On Mugglenet, you can learn everything from name origins to mistakes in the books, you can add to countless threads about thousands of HP-related topics, you can receive movie updates and pics, and you can write and read fanfiction. It's a wonderful thing, really.

Here are some funny HP license plates from MuggleNet:

Mugglenet is my personal favorite, but here is a list of some other awesome fansites:

The Leaky Cauldron

The Harry Potter Lexicon



Harry Potter Fans

Marauder's Map

Also huge among Harry Potter Internet fanatics is the concept of fanfiction--fan-written stories that branch off of the HP world, using JKR-created settings, characters, magic, etc. Here are some links to gigantic fanfic sites:


Fanfiction.net Harry Potter Section

MuggleNet Fanfiction


Have you had any cool, interesting, or amazing Harry Potter experiences?

Please leave your answer in the comments, and see our answers there too! You may be rewarded in the end! For those who have yet to read Harry Potter--POTENTIAL SPOILER WARNING!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

7 Days of HP: J. K. Rowling


Today is the 3rd day of the 7 Days of Harry Potter.
Today is dedicated to YA Literature's own, J. K. Rowling!

She is living proof that fiction is alive and strong, and writing can be a way of life--and more! Supposedly "richer than the Queen" off the HP books, JKR has it good. She lives in a gigantic house in Scotland with her husband and three children, where, I hope, she is continuing to write.

Visit her (rather awesome) website here!

Jo is also a creator or supporter of many charities and organizations, including:

The proceeds from all of her non-Harry Potter series books (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and her upcoming HP Encyclopedia)go towards these charities.

Also, ABC has announced that they will be showing Jo's documentary "J. K. Rowling: A Year in the Life" on July 16th, though this date may change. Find out more about the documentary here.

Which Harry Potter book is your favorite and why?

Please leave your answers in comments, and see our answers there too. For those of you who haven't read Harry Potter--SPOILER WARNING!

Friday, June 26, 2009

And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman

In Stores-- July 1, 2009

Delia Truesdale has no idea her life's about to change forever. She's too busy enjoying the California summer. Her internet tycoon mother, T.K. Truesdale, is out of town, and that means Delia can spend all her time at the beach, surfing. That is, until everything unravels.

Her mother suddenly goes missing, and everyone thinks she's dead - excpet Delia, who knows T.K.'s way too organized to simply disappear. But Delia's still sent to New York to live with her two aunts - a downtown bohemian and an uptown ice queen.

And in case that's not bad enough, she also has to deal with a snooty new school and trying not to fall for the wrong guy. Oh, and finding her mother.

As she delves deeper into the tangle of conspiracies and lies surrounding T.K.'s disappearance, Delia begins to suspect that the wrong guy may be the right guy...and that some secrets - especially the dangerous ones - were never meant to be unraveled.

Character Development: 6/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 4/10
Voice: 8/10
Setting: 8/10
Recommendation: 5/10
Total Score: 48/70
Grade: C

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Don't think so...
Drugs, Alcohol, etc.: Yes, but not where the main character is involved.
Sexual Content: None.
Disturbing Images/ Violence: Homicidal cardriver (though it wasn't frightening), and a mother's disappearance

The characters were pretty flat, many of the situations were hard to believe, and the romance was cliche, but despite all of this, the book was a very enjoyable read. You probably think I'm crazy; that was an utterly paradoxical statement. But it's pretty much true.

The writing is very simplistic and relatable. The stuff that goes on in Delia's mind reminds me of my own constant stream of thoughts. It is a completely realistic voice and easy to understand and side with. That aspect made the book a really fast read.

The one thing that was a big bummer was the ending. I'm hoping that there's a sequel because the end left me hanging off a cliff and scratching my head. It was completely anticlimactic, and seemed sort of out of no where. By the last page of the book, mostly everything was still unraveled.

Yes, the romance was stereotypical, and sometimes that’s annoying. In this case, for me, it was still enjoyable. Pick up this book when you want a cute, quick, easy read, but beware that it is somewhat unsatisfactory.

7 Days of HP: Theme Park


Today is the second day of the 7 days of Harry Potter.
Make sure to comment on the post, for you may be rewarded in the end.

Today we're featuring...Oh yes... the Harry Potter Theme Park.
This AWESOME place should be opening sometime between December 15, 2009 and June 30, 2010 in Universal Studios Florida.
The building of it will cost between $235 and $263 million dollars.
Here is the concept art:




Want to check out pictures of what's happening with the construction NOW?
Go here.

To check out the official theme park website, click here.

Now it's time for...


If you could visit any of the magical places from the books, which would you choose?

Leave your answer in a comment, and see our answers there too.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

7 Days of HP: Wizard Rock


Today is the first of the 7 Days of Harry Potter, which will end with a fantastic contest.
HINT: Make sure to comment on all the posts!
Each day we will feature some great HP stuff, and a question that we will give you our answer to, and YOU will answer in your comment.
Today we are featuring...

The world of Harry Potter takes on a new dimension as people promote the fantastic series through music. Is it only rock music? No. Wizard Rock branches out into tons of different genres of music. New musicians appear all the time, adding their contribution to the Wizard Rock Community. Many of the wrockers donate their CD earnings to charities. How rockin' awesome!?!

Our favorite wrockers are HARRY AND THE POTTERS. They were among the first wizard rockers out there. Brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge started their band in 2002 and played in their parents' backyard. From then, they have evolved and had tons of amazing experiences with their rock. We saw them in concert and had an unbelievable time. We LOVED them! They are so much fun and so alive on stage. Visit their site here, and find out even more about these awesome brothers. Here are some pictures:

Go here to listen to some of the Harry and the Potters' hilarious songs!

There are also some videos of them performing on you tube. They aren't very good quality, so I didn't post them, but if you want to go check them out, the two Harrys are tons of fun to watch.

Harry and the Potters aren't the only awesome wizard rockers. There are many, many more. Click here to see a list of all Wizard Rock bands known to man. Another cool site to visit is http://www.wizrocklopedia.com/. Check it out!

And now for...


Are you a Harry Potter fan?

Comment with your answer, and you will see our answers in the comments as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered a reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace, and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust, and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and she develops magical powers she can't control. Her life’s at stake again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear!

Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10!
Ending: 9/10
Voice: 9/10
Setting: 8/10
Recommendation: 10/10
Total Score: 65/70
Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Yes.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Drinking.
Sexual Content: Suggestively stated, hinting that it does occur.
Disturbing Images/ Violence: Murder and many blood-shedding fights, rape, abuse.

Wow. I do not know the right words to praise this book correctly. Powerful writing, powerful plot, and powerful characters make this story come alive. It is remarkable.

Snyder’s writing is so captivating, it was impossible to close this book, even for the shortest second. The first-person point of view is done flawlessly. You become Yelena; you are in her world, her actions are your own, and her train of thought is yours.

The story line was just as magnificent as the writing. It is a complicated story with a cast of many characters. Never will you know what event will occur next. There is a constant stream of puzzles, actions, and secrets.

And the characters! The characters were all wholly individual and so perfectly developed. I did not wonder what the author would make the characters do next; I wondered what the characters themselves would do next. The characters’ secrets and the interpretive meanings behind their actions made the development of each and every character immaculate.

I could go on and on about this book, but probably should stop there. If you haven’t read Poison Study yet, I would encourage you to do so as soon as possible. If you didn't catch on from my review: It's freaking amazing!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

YA Book Carnival

Our EPIC CONTEST is now part of the YA Book Carnival.
Have you heard about the carnival?

It is a collaboration of all blogs hosting contests. It "is about having fun, entering and holding contests, and finding new blogs."
It's bound to be lots of fun, so go here to check it out!
Shooting Stars Mag was the brilliant one who thought this up, so make sure to thank her!

Hungry for Catching Fire!

I finished The Hunger Games a couple of days ago and absolutely LOVED it. It's probably the first science fiction book that I have actually enjoyed. It was amazing. I know that you have probably already heard this millions of times... so I'll get on with it. I can't wait for Catching Fire!


Read SM's review of The Hunger Games here. I agree with absolutely everything she says. :)

Also, I've fished up some trailers for you guys. There are many fan-made trailers for Hunger Games on you tube, but I really liked this one:

And here is the trailer for Catching Fire:

I also have a question for all of you who have already read The Hunger Games, just out of interest (please no spoilers!):

When it comes to Katniss, are you for Peeta, Gale, or neither?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green


When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls names Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun--but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and may finally win him the girl.

Character Development: 8/10
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Ending: 9/10
Voice: 10/10
Setting: 10/10
Recommendation: 8/10
Total: 63/70
Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Frequent in both narration and conversation; can be offensive, sometimes surprisingly...er...disturbing. Hehe. To read more about the language, check out my review of Green's other book, Paper Towns, here.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Minimal teenage drinking and smoking, not by main characters.
Sexual Content: Yes, in both the plot, conversation, and narration. One real scene that is sort of graphic.
Disturbing Images/Violence: None, really, unless you count a huge teenage boy brawl.


John Green obviously has a taste for the bizarre. Just by reading the synopsis, I recognized Green's style: unusual, interesting, and full of odd coincidences. Once again, he has succeeded in providing an entertaining, laugh-out-loud read chock-full of intellectual remarks, witty humor, and strange situations.

Like in Paper Towns, the voice of the story is hilarious and harsh. At once cynical and whimsical, it was hard to put down and impossible not to love. The characters were wacky but I had no trouble sympathizing with them. I particularly liked Lindsey and Hassan, both realistic and funny people. Colin was sometimes annoyingly immature or whiny; after a while, memories of Katherine the Nineteenth got slightly monotonous. Yet the story was still a success.

Woven into the story almost seamlessly were footnotes and graphs and equations that Colin used in his life. Countless useless facts and background into conversations were included outside of the storyline, but still somehow connected wonderfully and added to the feeling of child prodigiousness. There was lots of math--ick!--but the reader didn't actually have to understand any of it (phew!). I cannot imagine how John Green wrote from the perspective of a prodigy and succeeded. He has to actually know all of this stuff, has to understand it. All of the research involved, the planning, must have been a complicated process indeed. But it worked. Without a doubt, it worked.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chocolat by Joanne Harris


When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock--especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer's wares as the ultimate sin.

Suddenly Vianne's shop-cum-cafe means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tested. But Vianne's plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a "Church not Chocolate" battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate eclair?


Character Development: 9/10
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Ending: 7/10
Voice: 10/10
Setting: 10/10
Recommendation: 7/10
Total: 60/70

Grade: A

Age appropriate?

Cussing: Some vile name-calling, but nothing worse than that.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Nothing illicit.
Sexual Content: One scene; some conversation. Minimal.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Wife abuse.


Harris' Chocolat is first and foremost a subtle yet adamant support of individualism. I found it a deeply interesting and entertaining read that perfectly captured the essence of the French countryside and chocolate itself. The mouth-watering imagery and poetic, lyrical voice gave the book a dreamlike tone that is surprising in what it reveals.

The story is imbued with gypsy superstitions and pagan folklore while retaining a crisp sense of reality. Nothing is perfect in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, despite its facade of humbleness and piety. Harris never leaves us in doubt of the town's overall deceitfulness, but she keeps us caring for it all the same.

The narration--alternating between the perspective of the protagonist, Vianne, and her enemy, Reynaud--is a very unique element of the novel. We come to understand both characters in such depth, and realize that neither of them are wholly good, bad, wrong, or right. Being asked to empathize with the antagonist was sometimes disconcerting. However, overall it added an amazing level of conflict to the story that we wouldn't be able to comprehend otherwise.

Anyone who enjoyed the movie version of Chocolat should read this book, if only for a bit of perspective. Though it is entirely different in some of the most basic ways, the book gives the reader some insight into the characters that is unavailable in the movie. I can't decide which I like better--they are just so different!--but I know that many would prefer the movie, while some may just love the book!

Harris perfectly presents a fictional setting typical of small European towns. By tossing the wild Wiccan, Vianne, into a village of humble Christians, she reveals that the deepest fear of the community is not corruption by chocolate--it is the fact that chocolate shows them just how corrupt they really are. Divided between the exotic, dangerous lure of Vianne's chocolate and what they have trusted forever, each must make the decision to grasp what small amount of their safe life they have left or to reveal themselves to the world and overcome the narrow mindedness of their peers. And all of this because of chocolate.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


THIS CONTEST HAS CONCLUDED. Click here to see the winners!

This month get ready for our MASSIVE BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Six extraordinary YA Fiction books that are waiting to be saved by one of YOU!

Here are the selections:

The Great God Pan by Donna Jo Napoli
Two signed paperback copies, never read!

Pan, the god of nature, is half goat and half god. He is loved by the gods on Olympus and by the creatures of his realm, for his merry ways as well as for the enchanting music he makes with his pipes. But Pan is also cursed. For who will ever love him, caught as he is between two forms, two worlds?

When Pan meets Iphigenia, the daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra, he is captivated by the young princess, even though the gods warn him against loving a mortal.

Meanwhile, the first winds of the Trojan War have begun to stir, beinging with them a tragic role for Iphigenia. As Pan struggles with his love for her and with his need to find his true self, he begins to understand the ultimate sacrifice.


Deep by Susanna Vance
One signed paperback copy, never read.

Nothing really bad had ever happened to Birdie Sidwell. And she hates it! She yearns for drama, angst--something atrocious to provide fodder for the amazing book she wants to write. When her parents take a trip to the Caribbean, she gets her wish...

Morgan Bera is a child of the seas. Raised by nomadic Norwegian parents who encouraged her to chart her own course, and filled with sorrow after the sea claims one of their own, she attemts to establish a new life for herself in the warm waters of the tropics.

But first Morgan must get "official" papers. And there's only one person who can help her--someone who has an unseen capacity for evil...


I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

One paperback, read once, wonderful condition!

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school--typical, that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but it's really a school for spies.

Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killling a man seven different ways with her bare hands, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl.

Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"--but can she maneuver a reltionship with someon who can never know the truth about her?


Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
One paperback copy, read once, great condition.

After a chance encounter with a mysterious woman one night, Cal Thompson's life is changed forever. He's been infected with an insidious parasite. The good news: he's only a carrier--still sane, without the worst of the symptoms. The bad news: he's infected all his former girlfriends--and now they've turned into what Cal calls peeps. The rest of us call them vampires. And it's Cal's job to hunt them down before they create even more of their kind...


Tithe by Holly Black
One paperback copy, read once, perfect condition.

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms -- a struggle that could very well mean her death.

Okay--now that the books have been introduced, here are the rules:

US Residents Only! (I'm very sorry for the rest of you! We'll have an international contest soon, I promise!)

You must email readingrocks4me@gmail.com or leave contact information in your comment.

Please select the books you want most from above (if you want all of them, that's okay too :-) and include them in your comment.

+1 if you become a follower now.
+2 if you already are a follower.
+3 for posting about this on your blog, one way or another.

Let me know where you are point-wise in your comment and please leave an email or other contact info! (Because I forgot to include this earlier, you won't be disqualified or anything if you don't, but it helps a lot!)


THIS CONTEST HAS CONCLUDED. Click here to see the winners!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley


Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And if I should die before I awake,
I pray the popular attend my wake.

Charlotte Usher feels practically invisible at school, and then one day she really is invisible. Even worse: she's dead. And all because she choked on a gummy bear. But being dead doesn't stop Charlotte from wanting to be popular; it just makes her more creative about achieving her goal.

If you thought high school was a matter of life or death, wait till you see just how true that is. In this satirical, yet heartfelt novel, Hurley explores the invisibility we all feel at some times and the lengths we'll go to be seen.

Character Development: 6/10
Originality: 8/10
Overall Enjoyment: 3/10
Ending: 4/10
Voice: 3/10
Setting: 8/10
Recommendation: 4/10
Total Score: 36/70
Grade: C

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: Yep.
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Don't think there was any...
Sexual Content: Suggestive in conversation.
Disturbing Images/ Violence: Gory- looking ghosts.

This book would have made a really cute, chick- flick movie. But as a book, I'm not quite sure I liked it. The voice was very, very whiny when focused on Charlotte. She was just about the most obnoxious character I think I have ever read, and she doesn't get any better until the very end. When the story was focused on Scarlet, I enjoyed it a lot more. Scarlet was a much more likable and relatable character (for me anyway).

The story and plot line was interesting, but pretty predictable. Some of the characters were well developed, but others were just 100% stereotypical with nothing more to them. Again, it reminded me of a movie, and not very close to a realistic high school. (Of course, that might be because Hurley was aiming toward a satirical approach, but I personally didn't enjoy it.)

There were some good aspects of this novel, though. There were parts that had me laughing out loud, which is definitely something you want a book to do to you! And there was also wisdom buried deep with in the pages. With that last statement, I will end with an impressive quote from Ghostgirl :

It's not about what you had, but what you gave. It's not about how you looked, but how you lived. And it's not just about being remembered. It's about giving people a good reason to remember you.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sally Gardner Books

Here is some more info about Sally Gardner and the upcoming sequel to The Red Necklace (which SM reviewed in the last post), The Silver Blade. I found a video on good old youtube, and decided to share it with you. Sally's accent is awesome!

To see our past interview with Sally Gardner, click here. I will also provide you with some information about her other books:

I, Coriander is the first book Sally Gardner wrote for Young Adults. It is a fantastic read that I recommend to one and all.

The synopsis:

The story is told by Coriander, daughter of a silk merchant in 1650s London. Her idyllic childhood ends when her mother dies and her father goes away, leaving Coriander with her stepmother, a widow who is in cahoots with a fundamentalist Puritan preacher. She is shut away in a chest and left to die, but emerges into the fairy world from which her mother came, and where time has no meaning. When she returns, charged with a task that will transform her life, she is seventeen. This is a book filled with enchantments -- a pair of silver shoes, a fairy shadow, a prince transformed into a fox - that contrast with the heartbreaking loss and cruelty of Coriander's life in the real world. With its brilliantly realized setting of old London Bridge, and underpinned by the conflict between Royalists and Puritans, it is a terrific page turner, involving kidnapping, murder and romance, and an abundance of vivid characters.

The Silver Blade is the sequel to The Red Necklace. It will be in US stores September 17, 2009.

The synopsis:

With Sido safely in England and the Terror at it's height, Yann returns to France to smuggle out aristocratic refugees who will otherwise face the guillotine. But when Sido is kidnapped, he must use all his strength and courage to outwit the evil Count Kalliovski, and rescue her for a second time.

Set against a vivid historical background, prize winning author Sally Gardner brings to life the horrors of the French Revolution in this breath-taking adventure, complete with intrepid heroism and a touching love story.

Here is the US cover of The Silver Blade that I just found:

Isn't it awesome!?!

Have you read these books?

Do you plan to read them now that you know about them?

Tell us what you think!

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner

Hi! I'm in my beach house now and have internet. Yay! SM is still in France, but sent me this review to post for you. Enjoy!


Clever and head-turningly attractive, fourteen-yearold Yann is an orphan who has been raised in Paris by Têtu, a dwarf with secrets he has yet to reveal to the gypsy boy. It's the winter of 1789, and the duo have been working for a vain magician named Topolain. On the night when Topolain's vanity brings his own death, Yann's life truly begins. That's the night he meets shy Sido, an heiress with an ice-cold father, a young girl who has only known loneliness until now. Though they have the shortest of conversations, an attachment is born that will influence both their paths.

And what paths those will be! Revolution is afoot in France, and Sido is being used as a pawn. Only Yann will dare to rescue her, and he'll be up against a fearful villain who goes by the name Count Kalliovski, but who has often been called the devil. It'll take all of Yann's newly discovered talent to unravel the mysteries of his past and Sido's and to fight the devilish count.


Character Development: 9/10
Originality: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
Ending: 8/10
Voice: 10/10
Setting: 10/10
Recommendation: 9/10
Total: 65/70

Grade: A+

Age Appropriate?
Cussing: None at all.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: No illegal usage thereof.
Sexual Content: None, only very briefly in conversation.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Bloody scenes, murder/massacre scenes, some creepy puppet stuff...

The Red Necklace is a book that I have read and loved many times. In honor of the upcoming release of the US version of the sequel, The Silver Blade, and my recent trip to France, I decided to reread it.

Sally Gardner's writing has a fairy-tale quality to it, yet the subject matter is dark, serious, believable, and bloody. With simple, surprising statements Gardner weaves a complicated lacework of a plotline around the events of the French Revolution. She is bluntly truthful about the horrors and violence involved, and this adds infinite layers to the story.

Yann and Sido's tale - told through omniscient third person - is sweet yet real. Every line, word, and letter is arranged strategically and deliberately, so that nothing is meaningless. The effect is a mysterious, captivating book that I have adored through countless rereadings.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Temporary Abandonment...

I will be leaving tomorrow at 5:30 in the morning for a vacation at the beach! For a couple of days, there will probably be no knew posts on the blog. Once I reach my destination, I will have internet access (hopefully), and will have lots of things to post for you. If for some reason I don't have internet access, I am truly very sorry because the sight might be temporarily abandoned for about a week. Just warning you now... Hope your summers are going spectacularly!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Stolen One Trailer

I just finished reading The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley (and absolutely loved every minute of it). I happened upon this wonderful trailer for the book and decided to share it with you for your viewing pleasure. The review will be coming up soon. Enjoy!


Have you heard about it???

I'm back with more info on fun Twenty Boy Summer contests! This one is bound to be fantastic! Here's what Sarah Ockler has to say about it:

Every day for 20 days, we’ll post a clue or bonus activity somewhere in the TBS Word Ninja blogosphere giving you a chance to answer questions or do activities for points. The more clues you complete, the more points you earn!

At the end of the hunt, the participant with the most points wins the grand prize, featuring… you guessed it… 20 THINGS including 14 summer surprises and signed editions of these 2009 debuts: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog, Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard, Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne, and The Great Call of China by Cynthea Liu!

Sounds fun, doesn't it? The clues will be posted on Sarah Ockler's site daily, from June 11 to 30th, as well as around the NINJA blogosphere. Constant vigilance is the key! Good luck everyone!