Friday, August 31, 2012


This is the fourth novel by Ellen Hopkins that I've read and despite the fact that I still am not a huge fan of poetry I sped through this one in less than 24 hours as well.  Again Hopkins fills her novel with such raw emotion and subjects that some may object to but shouldn't, because they are things that everyone needs to know about.  Ellen's books really bring the phrase "the more you know the safer you are" to life, because that's what her books do! They bring things to life that most people don't want to talk about because they're messy and make you think.  In this novel she makes you think about HIV, teen pregnancy, and rape, among other things.  While reading this book there was just SO much going through my mind, and although I've never been in any of these situations I could really feel what the characters were going through, and I think that the verse was a huge part of why that was possible.  There are books that I think everyone should read in life because they have some sort of meaning or teach you a lesson, and I fully believe that ALL of Ellen's books are some of those books.  The only thing I was a little upset with was the fact that I didn't feel that the book was wrapped up with a bow, but now that I think about it that was probably the point, because it's not just a book, it's LIFE, and life isn't wrapped up with a bow.  I would like to see how these character's lives progress, and so if there was a sequel I would want to pick it up and read it, but I can deal if this is the only book with these characters in it. I also have to say that this book does something different then her other books, and that is there are more than just the main characters "talking" (and by that I mean there are more than just the three main characters view point as the poems) which I really enjoyed.  I do have to advise against letting younger kids read this book, because there are some harsh topics, words, and scenes that may not be appropriate for them.

Out September 11, 2012

4/5 dust spirits

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review-False Memory

There are those books that just pull you in and don't let you put them down.  It's like you can't help but keep reading and reading and reading them until there's nothing left for you to read.  False Memory is that kind of book.  I was so pleased when I started it and found that it was one of those books that was fresh and new, and it even managed to surprise me!  And by surprise me I don't mean in one or two places, but in like...ALL OF THE PLACES!  Okay, no, there were a FEW things that I saw coming, but about 80% of the plot was like BAM!  And I really loved that.  Dan has created a whole complex world and characters that help move the world along.  Everything in the novel is fresh, and in this market I feel that it's really hard to find a book like that.  To me this book reminded me of Inception which I loved, but it left you needing to think some things through, which is something that seems to go by the wayside now a days in exchange for mindless violence and romance that makes your toes curl.  Dan brings together ALL of these elements and does it gracefully in a way that reminds me of The Hunger Games in some ways.  The other thing I must praise Dan for is the fact that he, being a male, has slipped into the mind of a teenage girl quite well, but he doesn't go overboard with the situation and turn her into one of those cry-babies.  He gives us a strong female character that can kick some ass, and he isn't afraid to dirty his hands in the blood of characters along the way, which is something I feel some authors shy away from.  This was such a great debut novel and I can't wait to see what comes next, because he manages to stay a few steps ahead of his readers and surprise them, which is something that can be hard to do.
4.5/5 dust spirits
This review is also helping me participate in Lenore Applehan's Dystopian August Giveaway!

Monday, August 27, 2012


I won this book from Jessica's blog by writing a PinFic entry, and I was so excited that I won, and to read the book.  But then another blogger said that it was a little predictable, so I had my doubts.  But I'm not sure what she meant, because to me Origin was about as fresh as it gets today.  The whole idea of it is great, an immortal person, and when you think about it there really ARE no books about immortal people.  I mean, yeah, there are some angels and some demons, but there is a way to kill them.  I just loved the whole idea of the novel, and I was really pleased with the way that Jessica managed to bring everything together.  This is one of the few novels that I can TRULY say caught me off guard more than once, and I was very pleased with this fact.  Jessica's debut novel is about love and secrets and immortality, but along with that I also got the feeling it was about ethics.  How far do you go before you are a monster, and if you are doing terrible things for the greater good can they still be considered good.  All of these questions are brought to life in this debut novel with a backdrop that's enchanting and almost a character itself.  There were some names and words that I'm sure I butchered in my head while reading them (sorry Jess, I went phonetically in the Japanese way!).  It was a really amazing book and although there was a little part that confused me it was all explained in the end, so I was very happy.  All in all I was SO pleased with this novel and all the things that it stood for, as well as the ORIGINal (ha, get it!?) plot.  I can't wait to see what Jessica comes up with next, and if you want something different you should check out this book when it comes out.

Out September 4, 2012

4.5/5 dust spirits

This review is also helping me participate in Lenore Applehan's Dystopian August Giveaway!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review-The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls

This book is a middle grade title, which is something I usually don't read, but it sounded like a creepy fun read, so I decided to pick it up.  First I want to say I was a little shocked by how...prissy the main character was.  The second thing I was shocked by was the fact that it was rather spooky for a middle grade book.  With that being said I did enjoy the book and the character development that happened along the way.  The plot was really well thought out, and although it was a little predictable there were parts here and there that caught me off guard, which I was pleased with.  As I said before there were parts that I found a little more sinister than you would think appropriate, but it's one of those books that I feel is right on the edge of being a YA novel with younger-aged characters.  As for the characters my initial impression of Victoria was not great, but then I realized that I was just like her to a point when I was her age, and it made me think.  Yes, there were those moments when I wanted to yell at her and scream "What is wrong with you!" but then it dawned on me that a huge part of the story was how she transformed from the beginning to the end of the book.  The other huge part of the story that I just absolutely loved was the message that i think it gave to kids reading the book, and that was that it's okay to be imperfect.  To me this is such a great message and it really filled me with warmth, because in today's culture these things aren't always stated or shared.  All in all it was a deliciously creepy novel and I was really pleased with it.  I can't wait to see what Claire has up her sleeve for her next MG novel, and I can't wait to read her YA novel as well.

Out August 28, 2012

4/5 dust spirits

This ARC was given to me (not bought or paid for) by Secret Garden Books in Ballard (Seattle, WA), a lovely indie bookstore that has been in service for 35 years.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Since The Hunger Games people have been searching for their next dystopian fix, and so many books have claimed the title of "the next Hunger Games!" And while that's great I think it's important to realize that unless it is The Hunger Games it's not going to be The Hunger Games.  That being said If you are looking for a great new dystopian novel Defiance really does hit that mark.  C. J. has created a really full world and it even has a dragon-thing in it! Who doesn't like dragons!?  The novel starts off with a bang and it doesn't let up until the very last page, and C. J. really does love to screw with her characters lives.  There is so much emotion in Defiance and the romance between the two main characters is so amazing.  I've always been a fan of the kind of romance that comes from two characters who butt heads all the time (although don't get me wrong, I love love that comes from best friends) and C. J. has managed to crank up the sexual tension up to 10; torturing us before we finally get that realization from the characters.  The other thing I loved was the fact that the book was told from a male and female POV. I love seeing inside the heads of both of the main characters, and I think that if you can manage to write a book like that you are very skilled.  This book was sold as the first in a trilogy, and I'm very pleased that there will be two more books for me to read with these same characters (and I also hope the dual POV will continue in the next installments) but I think it could be read as a standalone, seeing as there isn't a huge cliffhanger at the end, and although there are strings left unattended to that is the way that life is.  I look forward to reading the next two books in the series, and if you like dystopian and adventure books you should pick it up.

Out August 28, 2012

5/5 dust spirits

This review is also helping me participate in Lenore Applehan's Dystopian August Giveaway!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review-If I Lie

Recently I've noticed an increase in the number of YA novels that deal with the Afghanistan/Iraq war in one way or another.  If I Lie is one of those novels, but it's more than that.  Jackson has managed to weave a novel that not only deals with war and loss, but also about secrets and what it does to a person to keep them.  This novel has so much more to it than what's on the surface, and as a reader and a blogger I highly respect that.  The main character goes through some tough stuff, but she's not one of those whiny characters that makes you want to slap her and tell her to get a grip, she manages it all with a grace that most people wouldn't be able to manage in her place.  I also enjoyed how the story was told between now and back before everything changed for Quinn, and even though it could be considered confusing the way it was written made it quite clear to me which was which.  Saying all that I think I would have done a few things differently if I were Quinn, but then the story wouldn't have been what it turned out to be, so I can't fault the author for making the character who she is.  The story is one of self discovery as well as what it means to love when it comes to those in the military.  If you're a fan of contemporary novels you should pick this one up when it comes out, and even if you prefer paranormal I would recommend giving it a try because there's something heartwarming about a novel that makes you think and takes you into the real world like this one does.  Bravo Corrine, and I can't wait to see what you come up with next, because I'm sure it will be beautiful.

Out August 28, 2012

4.5/5 dust spirits

Monday, August 20, 2012

Early Review-Unravel Me

Last year I got an early copy of Shatter Me and decided to read it before meeting Tahereh for a pre-release blogger brunch.  I can truthfully say that while Shatter Me blew me away Unravel Me knocked me over.  There are few authors that have managed to write in such a way that makes you think you're reading poetry while you're actually reading a story, but Tahereh is one of those authors.  Her style is still unlike anything I've ever read, with her signature crossing out and repetition of words and phrases that somehow speak to me in a way really resonates with my mind and the way it works/thinks she still stands out in the YA world.  Unravel Me is everything I was hoping for in the sequel to Shatter Me and more, with the return of old characters and some new ones.  There were twists that even I didn't see coming, and the plot along with the character developments and such really made the book all that more enjoyable.  There were parts that I myself found frustrating, because they were not what I was hoping to see in the plot, but with the way that Tahereh writes and just the story overall I couldn't stay mad because she makes it work, and there's just so much grace in her work you can't help but love it all the same.  I've also decided that Tahereh has managed to make the ideal second novel that makes people laugh, and cry, as well as scream "WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO ME!?" in a way that Cassie Clare has mastered perfectly.  If you haven't picked up Shatter Me then you should go pick it up when it comes out in paperback.  Having read this book before the short ebook that connects the two I'm even more excited to now, because Warner is a big part of this book, and it will be nice to see inside of his mind.  As for the last book in the series I have no doubts in my mind that it will be mind blowing, and I don't mind waiting for it at all (although if it came out early I would not mind that at all either). 

Out February 5, 2013

5/5 dust spirits

This ARC was provided to me as part of an ARC tour by the lovely Mindy at Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

This review is also helping me participate in Lenore Applehan's Dystopian August Giveaway!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I had heard SO much about this book, how sexy Damon was, how fun it was to read, so when I went to a local indie the other day I decided to pick it up.  And then I couldn't help but start to read it when I got home, even thought I had other things I should have been reading.  Now, first, let me state that I really did enjoy this book! It was quick and funny, quirky and entertaining.  But, that being said there was something that bugged me just a little bit about it.  I'm not sure what it was, but if I HAD to pin it down, I would say it did remind me a little of just some story you would find on one of those website people share their stories on. Now, that's not a bad thing at all.  I've written on said sites, and there are some really good stories on them, but I think it was just the whole "the main character had a blog" deal that made her seem more real, but at the same time made her seem a little too real (as in, she was designed to resonate with me, and that made it resonate a little LESS with me).  But other than that the whole book was just so much fun!  I can really see why people have been falling in love with this novel, because it has one of those sexy bad-ish boys that we all secretly want to fall in love with, and the witty humor would just pour off the page, which is something I just love.  I also have to applaud the main character for not being a whiny brat.  There are some books out there that have main female characters that just make me want to slap them, and with Katy that didn't happen.  Did it remind me a little of Twilight? Yes. But if you think about it almost all novels could be brought back to Twilight, so it's not a bad thing.  As a whole I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and will be reading the next one as soon as I can get my hands on it!

4.5/5 dust spirits

Authors Are Rockstars Tour: Claire LaZebnik Interview + Giveaway

Today I have the absolute honor of hosting an awesome author on my blog!  Her name, if you didn't catch it in the title, is Claire LaZebnik and she writes both adult and young adult fiction!  Now, if you also didn't notice that this is about authors who are rockstars (really, you need to get your eyes checked if you didn't) then let me tell you Claire is a ROCKSTAR!!!  Now I'm sure you may be asking "why Grace, is Claire a rockstar? She's just an author."  And if you say that you are WRONG!  I got an ARC of Claire's first book, I sat down with it, and finished it in a DAY! There are very few authors who have claimed the title of "I finished their book in one day". And on top of that Claire is SO nice!  She also writes her YA books based on classics, and if you're like me and really don't like classic literature (I find it dull and stuffy) then reading a book that's based on classic lit. and enjoying it is even MORE impressive!  So that's why I think Claire is a rockstar!  And because Claire is SO awesome she has answered some interview questions for me AND her publisher has offered to give away one of her books!  How cool is that!?

About Claire

She grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, went to Harvard and moved to LA. (Her name was Claire Scovell for a large part of all that.)  She's written five novels for adults, Same as It Never Was, Knitting under the Influence, The Smart One and the Pretty One, If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now, and Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts.  She's also published two YA novels with Harper Collins: Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting (due out in winter, 2012/3). With Lynn Koegel (who’s absolutely brilliant), she co-wrote Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life and Growing up on the Spectrum: A guide to life, love and learning for young adults with autism and Asperger’s.  She contributed to an anthology play called Motherhood Out Loud, and has been published in The New York Times, Self, Vogue and other magazines.
She live in the Pacific Palisades with her husband Rob (who writes for “The Simpsons”), her four kids (Max, Johnny, Annie and Will) and too many pets to keep track of.

Find Claire on Twitter/Facebook/Blog

The Interview

Let’s start off with the basics.  You write YA but you also write books for adults.  Why did you decide to start writing YA fiction?
For a few reasons. The first is that I realized that a YA book--THE HUNGER GAMES--was my favorite novel of the previous decade and I found that inspiring.  The second was that my daughter (who was then about thirteen) was having trouble finding the kind of YA books she liked to read--ones that were funny and sweet and romantic, with intelligent, relatable main characters. I figured if I started writing books like that, then she'd have something to read.  But mostly I just like trying my hand at different things. I've written non-fiction books, novels, magazine articles, newspaper columns, screenplays, essays, even a theatrical monologue--life's just more interesting when you keep shaking things up.
Was there one book that made you want to write YA fiction or was it just a slow realization? 
Oops, I jumped ahead on that one.  See my reference to THE HUNGER GAMES above.  That trilogy is fiction at its best: exciting, thoughtful, moving, mindblowing . . .  It proves that YA can take on adult fiction and sometimes even leave it in the dust.  
Your YA books are also somewhat based on classic literature, is there any specific reason for that or did you just find it easier to write them that way?
The fun thing about basing your book on a classic is that it forces you to think about which human behaviors are timeless and universal, and which ones aren't.  For example: parents have been embarrassing their kids for centuries and that isn't ever going to change. But obviously the way we spend our time has changed and so have a lot of society's rules, so it's an enjoyable challenge to find a way to capture the universal truths while making the story fresh for a new audience. 
Do you have a favorite book that is in the classical literature genre?
I have many--I was an English literature major in college, specializing in 19th century British fiction, so I'm a total nerd when it comes to this stuff.  I wrote my thesis on JANE EYRE, and that might still be my favorite of all, but EMMA and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE are two of the most perfect novels ever written.  Then there's Dickens--I adore both OUR MUTUAL FRIEND and LITTLE DORRIT. 
If you could pick one classic book to base a novel on what would it be?
I think I already picked one: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!  (That's what EPIC FAIL is based on.)  

Your new YA book comes out next year, could you give us a little snippet of it to tide us over?
The book cover copy says it best:

Franny Pearson never dreamed she'd be attending the prestigious Mansfield Summer Theater Program. And she's not, exactly. She's working for her aunt, the drama department's costume designer. But sewing her fingers to the bone does give her an opportunity to spend time with her longtime crush, Alex. If only he was as taken with the girl hemming his trousers as he is with his new leading lady. When Harry, a notorious flirt, shows more than a friendly interest in Franny, she figures it can't hurt to have a little fun. But why is Alex suddenly giving her those deep, meaningful looks?

FLIRTING is definitely in the same vein as EPIC FAIL--it's also loosely based on an Austen novel, and it's a light, romantic read. I'm hopeful fans of EF will find and like this one too.

Which book has been your favorite to write?
My first novel--SAME AS IT NEVER WAS.  At that point in my life, I was such a mom--I had four small children and the youngest was only about six months old.  I spent my days driving and feeding the kids and taking care of them, but then I suddenly got this urge to write, so whenever I had some free time, I'd jump onto my computer and start typing away like crazy.  Sometimes when I'd be rocking a kid to sleep, I'd plot a whole scene in my head and as soon as I could put my child down, I'd race back to my laptop. It was joyful and exciting and creative--I was doing it for ME, not because I had a deadline.  It was lovely.
Do you think you’ll keep writing YA books along with your adult books?
Absolutely!  I'm already working on the next one, and I have one planned after that.  The bigger question is whether I keep writing adult fiction--I'd like to, but I'm putting more energy into YA right now. I'm also hoping to do another project with my co-author on my non-fiction autism books (Dr. Lynn Koegel).  We love working together and are trying to figure out what's next for us as a team.

And last but not least, why do you write?  Why did you decide to become a writer in the first place? And is it everything you hoped it would be?

I write because I like to read and because writing is fun for me--and because I'm not good at anything else.  I always had my nose in a book as a kid, so it just made sense to me that my future life would revolve around books. And I didn't have any natural talent that would have driven me in some other direction.  Maybe if I'd taken tap dancing lessons, things would have turned out differently. :)

Your last question is a really tough one to answer. I feel like it's ungrateful of me to say, "No, it's not everything I hoped it would be" because I'm so unbelievably lucky to be a published author and to get to keep writing books, and I'm truly wildly grateful that I'm where I am now. But I dreamed of being on the NY Times bestselling list and that hasn't happened yet. So . . . something to keep striving for, right? 

Bonus question; There was a recent episode of BONES on TNT that featured your husband’s name as the name of the murder victim.  Can you tell us a little bit about that, just for fun?

Not only is the dead man named Rob LaZebnik, if you look at the credits for the episode, you'll see that his widow's name is Claire LaZebnik!  One of our oldest and dearest friends--a terrific TV writer named Jonathan Collier--wrote that episode and used our names, just to be mischievous. I love it--we can't watch the episode without cracking up. Especially because Rob LaZebnik is so evil and hated.
 About the book
 At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Cast in point:

- As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school - not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.
- As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn't exactly on everyone's must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.

When Elise's beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince's best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long

Find Epic Fail at B&N/Amazon/Goodreads

The Giveaway

Harper Collins has agreed to send a copy of Clarie's first YA book, Epic Fail, to one winner who has a US mailing address. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rift Giveaway

Two years ago I read a book called Nightshade and was just blown away.  At the beginning of this year the series ended, and while some people were displeased with how it turned out I thought the ending was fitting, although I was still sad to see the series go.  But then Rift was announced! (Actually, I think Rift was announced before the series came to a close, but I may not have realized how much I missed the world until there were no more adventures there for me).  Rift comes WAY before Nightshade and talks about how the world really came to be.  So, if you're as excited as I was about reading another book set in the same world then do I have a treat for you!  I have one SIGNED copy of Rift to give away to one of you, and all you have to do is fill out the handy dandy rafflecopter from!  How easy is that!?  Quite easy! So as long as you live in the US or have a US mailing address (yup, it's time to bug those US-living relatives to let you use their mailboxes!) you are good to go!  The contest will run for ONE WEEK!  Now that you know all of the specifications of the giveaway GO ENTER, cause, you know, I think you want this book! ;)  But first let's look at the pretty cover!
Okay, now you can enter!
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This prize was donated by the publisher and will be sent out from there. In no way am I being paid to sponsor this contest or promote this book.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Review-Lies Beneath

I bought this book a while back but put it off because I had books that I needed to read, but when I met a kink in my current book I picked it up to see if the kink could be resolved.  This was a really fast read for me, even with sleep and such it took me less than 24 hours to read the book, and I have to say I was quite please by the result.  Brown has created a species of mer-people that are not your average "Ariels", and they're not sirens either.  They're killer mer-people, which brings it back to the original mythology where they would drown people out at sea just for the fun of it (although these ones do it to survive).  The other thing I particularly liked about this book was that it was narrated from a boy's POV, which you don't see very often in YA books.  That and the fact that when the changed from mer-people to people with legs it was PAINFUL (much like in Maggie Stiefvater's series Shiver), and that may make me sound crewel, but I mean really, their tails are splitting apart and forming into legs, which means you need different bones. So bravo on that as well Anne!  The plot was fresh, the voice was new, and the whole book was just so much fun to read.  I would recommend this book as a quick summer or weekend read, seeing as it's not too long, but then of course we have to wait to see what happens in book two (because YAY for two books!).  The book does wrap itself up as a stand alone, and I'm sure you wouldn't end up too much worse for the wear if you don't pick up the second one, but I for one can't wait to sink my teeth into (see how I didn't make an overused fin joke there? Pretty good of me) the second book and see how everything ends.  Anne is a lovely debut author with talent and I can't wait to see what she will write in the future.

4.5/5 dust spirits