Between the Bookcovers

Blogging About the Books I Read

I am participating with over 200 other blogs in the Fool for Books Giveaway Hop. If you want to enter to win some great books, the hop will provide you lots of opportunities.




My giveaway is for a new copy of In the Arms of Stone Angels. I recently reviewed this book and thought it was such a good book, I wanted to share it. I know I have a lot of international readers, and my giveaway is open to you as well as U.S. readers, so please enter! If you are a follower you get an extra entry.




To enter leave a brief comment below. If you are a follower tell me in your comment for an extra entry. I will email the winner. Your email address will not be displayed and you do not need to put it in the comment box. The contest ends Saturday, April 2 at 11:59 p.m. Good Luck!


Author: Gayle Forman
Published: April 5, 2011
Pages: 208
Rating: 5/5 Stars


When we left Mia in If I Stay she was just waking up from a coma. Her parents and brother have been killed in a car accident and when her boyfriend Adam begs her to stay she decided not to join them but continue living. When this book opens it is three years later and we find that she left for Julliard several months after the accident. She didn't just leave Oregon behind, she left Adam.

"She kissed me good-bye. She told me that she loved me more than life itself. Then she stepped through security. She never came back."

Now he is a famous rock star but his life is a mess because he has never gotten over the loss of Mia. He doesn't know why she left him, or what she is doing now. The book explores the events that have happened in the last three years, in flashbacks just like we reviewed Mia's life in the first book. Why did Mia leave and is there any hope for their love to be renewed?

When I started to read the book I was surprised to find that it was in Adam's voice. At first I didn't like it but I soon realized that it was a genius move by the author to explore life from his point of view. Very few novels view a love story from the male side and I found it very refreshing. The prose is beautiful and the story is emotionally powerful. Forman has created some very compelling characters here, people who have real life flaws and problems. There is no glossing over the problems Adam has experienced since Mia walked out of his life. And the message that fame and fortune are not always the answer was impressive. Flawed though he may be I found myself hoping that things would work out for Adam. The flow of events was very realistic and touching and having worked with people experiencing grief it was clear the author did her research on this subject. The book is a wonderful example of how love can destroy, heal and help overcome life's obstacles. Fans of the first book will find a satisfying sequel, I liked it better than the first book. If you have not read the first book you can pick up this one and still enjoy the it. I highly recommend this one.


Rating: An impressive sequel not to be missed




Note: I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley for review,but did not get any compensation for my review.

Author: Gayle Forman
Published: April 6, 2010
Pages: 272
Rating: 4/5 Stars

A family outing on a beautiful winter day turns tragic when a car accident leaves three dead and one fighting for her life. Mia finds herself outside her body, staring at her dead parents and watching as she is whisked off in a helicopter to a trauma center. What follows is her decision to stay alive or follow the rest of her family in death.

Forman has told a gripping story is such an eloquent way, readers will be thinking about this one long after they finish the last page. As Mia watches her body being worked on she remembers the important parts of her life in snippets of flashbacks. From the birth of her younger brother to her first kiss, we learn about who she is and how her family was the rock of her life. Easy to read prose tells the story in a compelling way, with grief, friendship and love woven throughout. The characters are well developed and jump off the page. They are people you would like to have in your own life. This is a story that evokes emotions and makes the reader stop and think: what would my choice be? A sequel, Where She Went, will be released in early April 2011.

Rating: A gripping story that is wonderfully told. A great read


There are quite a few new books being released this week. First I want to call your attention to one I missed last week. I had my dates wrong and this was released last week. My review of the novel was posted yesterday. This is such a wonderful book, one of the best I have read in a very long time, please take time to check it out:


In the Arms of Stone Angels Author: Jordan Dane

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Two years ago I did a terrible thing. I accused my best friend of being a killer after seeing him kneeling over a girl's body. That moment and that outcast boy still haunt me.

Now my mom is forcing me back to Oklahoma and I can't get White Bird out of my mind. But when I find out he's not in juvie—that he's in a mental hospital, locked in his tormented brain at the worst moment of his life—I can't turn my back on him again.

No one wants me to see him. My mom doesn't trust me. The town sheriff still thinks I was involved in the murder. And the other kids who knew the dead girl are after me.

I'm as trapped as White Bird. And when I touch him, I get sucked into his living hell, a vision quest of horrifying demons and illusions of that night. Everything about him scares me now, but I have to do something. This time I can't be a coward. This time I have to be his friend.

Even if I get lost, as well…


March 29:


Entwined

Author: Heather Dixon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.


March 31:


Department 19

Author: William Hill

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a secret supernatural battle that's been raging for over a century, the stakes have just been raised -- and they're not wooden anymore. When Jamie Carpenter's mother is kidnapped by strange creatures, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government's most secret agency. Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can't stand up against.


April 1:


Lost & Found

Author: Shaun Tan

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A collection of three jaw-dropping stories: THE RED TREE, THE LOST THING, and THE RABBITS, by New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Shaun Tan

A girl finds a bright spot in a dark world. A boy leads a strange, lost creature home. And a group of peaceful creatures loses their home to cruel invaders. Three stories, written and illustrated by Shaun Tan, about how we lose and find what matters most to us.

Never widely available in the U.S., these tales are presented in their entirety with new artwork and author's notes.


April 4:


The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group

Author: Catherine Jinks

Synopsis from Goodreads:

I still hadn't fully absorbed the terrible possibility that I might actually be a werewolf. A werewolf. I kept stumbling over that word; it made no sense to me. How could I be a werewolf? Werewolves didn't exist.

When Tobias Richard Vandevelde wakes up in hospital with no memory of the night before, his horrified mother tells him that he was found by the police. At Featherdale Park. In a dingo pen.

As if that isn't weird enough, suddenly a very menacing looking guy and a priest show up at his door.

As the mystery unfolds, Toby finds himself keeping company with some very strange and sickly looking people - members of a suburban vampire support group. And when he's abducted in broad daylight, he will need all their help to break free ... and to come to terms with his own incredibly rare condition.


April 5:

Flip

Author: Martyn Bedford

Synopsis from Goodreads:

One December night, 14-year-old Alex goes to bed. He wakes up to find himself in the wrong bedroom, in an unfamiliar house, in a different part of the country, and it's the middle of June. Six months have disappeared overnight. The family at the breakfast table are total strangers.And when he looks in the mirror, another boy's face stares back at him. A boy named Flip. Unless Alex finds out what's happened and how to get back to his own life, he may be trapped forever inside a body that belongs to someone else. Questions of identity, the will to survive, and what you're willing to sacrifice to be alive make this extraordinary book impossible to put down.


Jasper Jones

Author: Craig Silvey

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Late on a hot summer night in 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him to his secret glade in the bush, and it's here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper's horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother; falls nervously in love and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu. And in vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.



Stay

Author: Deb Caletti

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it’s almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is—and what he’s willing to do to make her stay.

Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won’t let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....



Through Her Eyes

Author: Jennifer Archer

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Tansy Piper moves with her grandfather and her mother, a horror writer, to the setting of her mother's next book--a secluded house outside of a tiny, desolate West Texas town. Lonely and upset over the move, Tansy escapes into her photography and the dark, seductive poems she finds hidden in the cellar, both of which lure her into the mind and world of a mysterious, troubled young man who died sixty years earlier.




The Time Traveling Fashionista

Author: Bianca Turetsky

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Louise Lambert receives a mysterious invitation to a traveling vintage fashion sale in the mail, her normal life in suburban Connecticut is magically transformed into a time traveling adventure.

After a brief encounter with two witchy salesladies and donning an evening gown that once belonged to a beautiful silent film star, Louise suddenly finds herself onboard a luxurious cruise ship in 1912. As Alice Baxter, the silent film star, Louise enjoys her access to an extensive closet of gorgeous vintage gowns and begins to get a feel for the challenges and the glamour of life during this decadent era. Until she realizes that she's not just on any ship-- she's on the Titanic!

Will Louise be able to save herself and change the course of history, or are she and her film star alter ego, destined to go down with a sinking ship in the most infamous sea disaster of the 20th century?



Where She Went (If I Stay #2)

Author: Gayle Forman

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.


Plague: A Gone Novel

Author: Michael Grant

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This is a blood-pumping, white-knuckle sci-fi thriller of epic proportions. The FAYZ goes from bad to worse...The darkness has been foiled once again and the resurrected Drake has been contained. But the streets of Perdido Beach are far from safe, with a growing army of mutants fighting against the humans for power in the town. In a small room of a house near the edge of town, Little Pete lies ill on a bed. In his fevered dreams, he continues his battle with the hidden evil that seeks to use his power to bring about anarchy and destruction.



The Ghoul Next Door (Monster High #2)

Author: Lisi Harrison

Synopsis from Goodreads:

New pet snake
Has Deuce-the hottest guy in school-wrapped
Herve Leger bandage dress, strappy gold platforms Cleo was the queen bee of the RADs, the normies, and everyone in between at Merston High. But now it's "Frankie this" and "Melody that" . . . these new girls sure know how to get her lashes in a tangle. When Cleo lands a Golden Teen Vogue photo opp for her friends everything seems to
be back on track...until they bail to be in some film . . . Frankie and Melody's film! Can't a royal get some loyal?



City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments #4)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Synopsis from Goodreads:

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.


Viola in the Spotlight (Viola #2)

Author: Adriana Trigiani

Synopsys from Goodreads:

Viola is finally where she belongs—back home in Brooklyn, where there are no khakis or sherbet-colored sweaters and people actually think her yellow flats are cool.

But her BFFAA, Andrew, has started acting weird around her, and a new boyfriend has her friend Caitlin ditching her every chance she gets. When Viola’s roommates from Prefect Academy show up for a visit, she starts to wonder—is Brooklyn where she wants to stay? When a tragic event shakes everyone’s world, Viola realizes it’s not where she belongs that matters—it’s who she’s with that really counts.



Huntress

Author: Malinda Lo

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn't shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people's survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls' destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.




Like I said, a lot of new ones this week. Check back tomorrow when I will review Where She Went, another great read!









Author: Jordan Dane
Published: March 22, 2011
Pages: 384
Rating: 5+/5 stars

Brenna Nash grew up as a loner in Shawano, Oklahoma. Not one to follow the latest trends and fads, she dressed funny and spent time in the cemetery, probably because she could see dead people. Raised by a single mother, an outcast of her peers, she develops a friendship with White Cloud, an orphan Indian boy who longed to be adopted by the local Euchee tribe. They form a bond as only those who have been alone can but it all falls apart when Brenna finds White Cloud over the bloody body of a dead classmate.

Fast forward two years. Brenna and her Mom are returning to Shawano after having been forced to leave because of the rumors surrounding the killing. Her grandmother has died and they need to settle her estate. Brenna learns that White Cloud has been hospitalized in the local sanatorium, catatonic since his arrest for the stabbing of the local girl. Heartbroken and feeling guilty about accusing him without knowing the whole story, Brenna decides to investigate what really happened the night Heather Madsen died. The mystery that unfolds is truly gripping and had me guessing until the very end.

Every once in awhile you run across a book that proves to be a rare gem. Twenty pages in and I knew I had found such a book - something readers long for, a book that you can curl up on the couch with and disappear into for hours of pure pleasure. The book is sprinkled with colorful characters, the best being Brenna Nash. Anyone who has ever felt on the outside of the in crowd will recognize a piece of Brenna. Her loneliness, pain and strength came together to form one of the most unforgettable characters I have seen in a long time. I was rooting for her and more than once my heart broke for her. The growth she displayed over to overcome her personal demons and love herself was remarkable. The other characters are equally compelling, from the town bully to the local Sheriff. The small town was painted as a rural place where prejudice still lived and colored the opinions of those who live there. The incorporation of Native American lore and mysticism was just magic and so well done that you could tell the author did her homework on this one. The mystery of who killed Heather Madsen was compelling and I was surprised at the identity of the real killer. The wonderful combination of mystery, unforgettable characters, friendship and the power to overcome personal obstacles makes this one of the best books I have read in over a year, and one of the few books that have a permanent place on my bookshelf.

Rating: 5++ Stars A rare find, DO NOT miss this one!




Note: I received this book via Netgalley from the publisher for review, but did not get any compensation for my review


This has been another great week in my mailbox. Kristi at The Story Siren hosts this each week. What did you get this week? On with the show:




Author: Cameron Stracher
Published: January 1, 2011
Pages: 256
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Review:

In a futuristic, dystopian America environmental disaster has occurred and water is the new gold. Countries have dammed their rivers and fresh water cannot be found. This is the world Vera and her brother Will grew up in. Their mother is ill and bedridden, sick from drinking toxic water. Then the meet Kai, a rich kid with a father who drills for water. When Kai is kidnapped and they try to find him, Vera and Will find themselves in danger after being kidnapped by water pirates. Their odyssey through post apocalyptic America weaves a story that is fast paced and well told.

The story grabbed me in the first chapter and the nonstop action carried me along to the end of the book. The dry, parched world was so well developed, you could feel the thirst of the characters. In a world covered with water it is a scary thing to think that the drinkable portion could be taken and used as a commodity. The characters were well developed and you wanted to cheer them on as they fought for their lives. The story was believable to a point, but it is unlikely that someone will be there every time you need help. But that is the fun of fiction so I was willing to overlook this flaw and go with the story. It was a fun, fast read and although the ending was satisfying, I can't wait for the sequel to find out what happens to Vera and Kai in the future.

Rating: A fun, fast paced adventure that you will enjoy



Author: Delphine de Vigan
Published: August 3, 2010
Pages: 256
Rating: 3/5 Stars


Review:

Lou is a precocious, introverted teen with an IQ of 160 living in Paris. Her mother is in a deep depression since the crib death of a younger sibling and her father is just trying to keep the family together. Lou attends school with much older teens and feels lost and out of place. When she begins to research a paper on the homeless she meets Nolween (No), an 18 year old homeless teen who has been neglected most of her life and is lost and alone. Eventually No moves in with Lou and her parents but her alcohol and drug use cannot be cured with their kindness.

The book explores the relationship between these two unlikely friends and how each affects the others lives. One particular quote also shows how the book addresses the problem of homelessness:

"We can send supersonic planes and rockets into space, and identify a criminal from a hair or a tiny flake of skin, and grow a tomato we can keep in the fridge for three weeks without getting a wrinkle, and store millions of pieces of information on a tiny chip. Yet we're capable of letting people die in the street" (p. 72).

This is a harsh look at life on the street interspersed with moments of tenderness. The journey Lou and No go on to explore the world around them felt real and was well done, Their characters were well developed and grew throughout the book. I did feel that the ending was abrupt, but really there is no easy solution to the problem of homelessness, so maybe I was just hoping for a different ending. This book is a good look at how people are changed by those around them, and was an enjoyable if somewhat depressing read.

Rating: An interesting, worthwhile read

There are some great new books coming out this week. One, The Dark and Hollow Places, has been on my wish list ever since I started reading the Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy.



March 22:

Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.


The Dark a nd Hollow Places

Author: Carrie Ryan

Synopsis from Goodreads:

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?


Ten Miles Past Normal

Author: Frances O'Roark Dowell

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation--and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much.

It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in "like" with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment.

Frances O’Roark Dowell’s fierce humor and keen eye make her YA debut literary and wise. In the spirit of John Green and E. Lockhart, Dowell’s relatable, quirky characters and clever, fluid writing prove that growing up gets complicated…and normal is WAY overrated.


Wither

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.


Wither also looks like a great one, and the UPS man just delivered it to my door! Hope you find something to peak your interest.










About This Blog

I review mostly Young Adult literature, any genre. I also review other fiction, especially horror, science fiction and historical novels. I also have occasional giveaways.

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