Thursday, January 31, 2013

Printed Books Giveaway

This giveaway hop is hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer

Hi all! Welcome to the Printed Books Giveaway. So, I’d just like to say that even though I used to loathe reading books in e-book format, I’ve (slowly and steadily) grown to like (still not love) reading e-books. That said, I still have a very special place in my heart for printed books. There’s something about having a physical book in your hands. Maybe it’s the fact that you can smell it. Or maybe it’s that you can feel the crisp (or sometimes worn and yellowed) pages between your fingers. Either way, reading printed books is more personal for me. Thus my eager participation in this fabulous giveaway. *grin*
Your prize, ladies and gentlereaders:
Love and Leftovers (see my review here)
Want it? Enter below!
-US only
-Winner must respond to winner email within 48 hours  
Check out the rest of the stops on the giveaway hop below!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #12

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Today’s book is quite an obvious one. I mean, who isn’t dying to read Unravel Me? Oh, you aren’t? Well, read the summary below and join the crowd.
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
February 5th, 2013 (HarperCollins)
Pages: 465
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.
Eeee! I know, right? More Juliette, more Adam, more Warner, more amazing metaphors by Ms. Tahereh! *attempts to calm down* What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave a link or share in the comments!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top Ten Settings I'd Like To See More Of

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
I’m not going to lie- I didn’t have a hard time with this one at all. There are so many settings I’d like to see more of (the irritating thing is, a lot of them are never done right!). Take a look at my wish-list:
1) Europe (England, Ireland, France, Scotland, Italy. Yes, please.)
2) Parallel Universes (universi?)
3) Spaceships (Think Wall-e…but in a book)
4) Underground (Who didn’t love District 13?!)
5) Medieval/Renaissance (I’d love to see a YA medieval romance or thriller. I know, it sounds slightly ridiculous, but I’m sure someone could pull it off nicely.)
6) World War II (Because I have a thing for WW2 novels, and sadly, there aren’t nearly enough.)
7) Islands (the small, northern kind- as in, not a tropical destination known for white sandy beaches and coconut trees).
8) Shakespearian England (hark, methinks this would indeed be- oh, how doth one put it- awesome.)
9) North Carolina (Come on, someone besides Nicholas Sparks needs to realize that this state holds many a perfect setting.)
10) Russia (Might sounds dreary, but I think it has the potential of a fascinating setting.)
What are some settings you want more of? Leave a link or comment below!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Blog Tour: A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr (Interview + Giveaway)

Today we’re chatting with author Patrick W. Carr, who’s debut novel A Cast of Stones made its appearance on shelves January 1st.

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. -- Besides teaching Geometry – that’s my day job. I’m a high school teacher in Nashville. I can almost hear the groans over 2-column proofs now.  I spend a lot of time around the activities of my sons. I have two in college and two in high school, so that’s starting to slow down a bit. I do a bit of woodworking, but would really like to go back and pick up piano lessons again. I’d like to learn how to play jazz. I have this amazing wife, Mary. Everyone always tells me how sweet she is. Some people have this really surprised tone in their voice. I’m not quite sure what to make of that.
 2) What inspired or prompted you to write A Cast of Stones? -- I was reading a passage from the Bible that said “God is in the lot.” It really stuck with me and I started mulling over all the times I’d read about people in the Bible who drew lots trying to discern God’s will. Then my imagination just sort of ran wild with the idea and all these “what if?” questions started going through my head. I had actually started the book about five or six years ago. I even had three or four chapters that I really liked, but the direction just didn’t feel right. So I shelved the story for a few years and let it gestate while I worked on other things. Then one day, I had this inspiration that took the tale in a totally different direction that really excited me. That’s when “A Cast of Stones” really started to take form.
3) Describe your main character, Errol Stone, in 140 characters or less. – Errol is a man of nineteen, though his drinking has temporarily stunted his growth, making him seem younger. But he also possesses a talent Illustra desperately needs.
4) How are Christian values incorporated into your novel? – Some of the incorporation is thematic. There are many instances of redemption, second chances, and forgiveness. Others are more symbolic. There are a lot of examples of this that I tried to weave into the structure of the book, even down to my choice of POV characters. That’s one of the things that made writing it so much fun. It’s the kind of book you can read more than once. Each time you pick it up, you’re likely to see something you didn’t notice before.
5) As a debut author, tell us the hardest part about writing your novel. – Self-doubt. There were times when I despaired of being able to bring the images and feelings I had in my head out to the keyboard. I struggled to find the right combination of words to communicate what I was trying to say and what I was trying to have the reader feel. A good example is in the second chapter. I really fought to get everything just so. When Mary read it and cried, I knew I’d hit the mark. She’s not one to be overly sentimental that way.
6) What was your first reaction when you discovered you were going to be published? – I found out while I was at school, getting me classroom ready for the 2011-2012 academic year. I ran out into the hallway and screamed. The orchestra teacher must have thought I’d lost my mind. Of course, with as tough as public education is getting these days, she might not have thought anything of it.
7) What are you currently working on? -- I’m almost done with the first draft of the final installment of “The Staff and the Sword.” I’ve only got about 10k words to go. After that, I’m toying with the idea of a detective series with a twist.
Connect with Patrick:

Check out the book:

Enter the giveaway below to win a $10 giftcard!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #11

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Today’s featured book is an up-and-coming sci-fi due out on shelves next month. And if you like the summary as much as I do, you’ll be dying to get your hands on it, too.
Pivot Point by Kasie West
Release date: February 12th, 2013 (HarperTeen)

320 pgs.
Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.
What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave a link or comment below!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blog Tour: Tournament of Chance by S.G. Rogers (Review + Tens List + Giveaway)

Published: September 28th, 2012 (Musa Publishing)

Pages: 273

Rating: 4/5
In the Kingdom of Destiny, King Chance decreed any female be she high or low born may earn a place at court by winning an archery competition known as the Tournament of Chance. Although no commoner has ever won before, this is Heather’s year. To prevent her from winning the tournament, however, King Chance will stop at nothing. The king does not yet realize Heather of the Jagged Peaks will be the spark that ignites a revolution — in time. [Description from Goodreads]
Heather is a spitfire, backwater girl who knows how to wield a bow and arrow. She’s always dreamed of living in the ornate palace she visited as a child, and if she wins the Tournament of Chance, she can fulfill that dream. But when the tournament turns into an uproar, little does she know that she’s about to be swept into a mission much more daring and significant than her own.
I’m not really one for fantasy, so it’s all the more surprising that I liked this book. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but as the story progressed, I got more and more engrossed in it. It grew on me, you could say. I felt like the plot has many layers that continued to be pulled back and revealed, and each one delighted me more than the last. And each plot twist was completely unexpected. That’s probably one of the things that kept me hooked throughout the story. Every chapter held something new…dragons, trolls, volcanos, time travel.
I didn’t completely connect with Heather, but I loved her bravery, her stubbornness, and her independence. Her character, as well as her fiery red hair, reminded me of Merida from Brave.  Dane, in all his superiority and moodiness, was actually rather attractive as a character. He was like a medieval Mr. Darcy type, and I kind of liked that. I might even steal that kind of character someday for a novel, because it would be awfully fun to write someone like him. I found the rest of the crew funny and entertaining, especially Gumm the troll. The fairies, despite the way they were portrayed, were a favorite of mine, too.
I did have some minor qualms, though. The whole “dragon transformation” and use of magic seemed a little corny at times. Ok, maybe all the time, but I tried to not let it bother me. On the bright side, S. G. Rogers completely developed her world of Omaria, which I really appreciated. Her observance to detail and consistency made the book that much more impressive.
When it comes down to it, Tournament of Chance is a very-well done fantasy. I loved the combo of action and romance, and the plot twists kept me coming back for more. I would recommend this to older teens as well as middle-grade readers in a heartbeat. It’s a fun, adventurous tale that will keep you laughing the whole way through.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: Mild (Only a few minor words)
Violence: Mild (action violence)
Sexual: Mild (A kiss or two)
Author S.G. Rogers shares her top ten favorite movies with us:
Favorite Flicks by S.G. Rogers
I adore movies. Movies that combine serious with comedic moments tend to rise to the top of my list, but sometimes very serious and ultra-silly movies do too. Here are ten of my all-time favorites:
1) The Great Escape (1963) – Irrepressible humor and indomitable spirit in the face of horrific circumstances. I hope nobody ever tries to remake this brilliant film.
2) Airplane! (1980) – An absolutely ridiculous movie riddled with sophomoric humor.  Right up my alley.
3) The Three Musketeers (1973)/The Four Musketeers (1974) – Two films, I know, but inseparable. Michael York plus swordplay sets my little heart aflutter.
4) Oklahoma! (1955) – Corny but classic, with great music.  Gordon MacRae was a hunk of man, might I add.
5) Star Trek (2009) – The bit between McCoy, Kirk, Uhura, and Captain Pike as Kirk fights his allergic reaction to an inoculation is pure filmatic genius.
6) Battlestar Galactica (2003) – This pilot for the mini-series had it all.  Twists, turns, subtext, conflict… and Jamie Bamber. 
7) White Nights (1985) – The scene in which a Russian defector (Mikhail Baryshnikov) realizes his plane is being forced to land in the U.S.S.R. always gives me goosebumps.  Awesome dance sequences, too.
8) Oliver! (1968) – Shucks, who doesn’t adore a movie about an adorable orphan who wants to be loved? Fabulous musical numbers and star performances.
9) Aliens (1986) – This film falls into the end of the serious range, but it does have some funny moments – particularly amongst the mercenaries.  If you don’t break a sweat when watching this movie, you lack sweat glands.
10) Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) – Almost every Hayao Miyazaki film is wonderful, but the fabulous and fashion-forward Wizard Howl has a particularly memorable flair. His character is flawed in a painfully self-centered way, but Howl comes around in the end. The animation is astounding in its beauty, and every time I watch this movie, I enjoy the journey.
Enter the giveaway below to win a $25 Amazon giftcard!

Top Ten 2013 Debuts I'm Looking Forward To

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday, but here I am again! They’re too much fun to not participate. Today’s topic is 2013 debuts. New year, new authors, new books. Take a look at what I’m pining for this year:
1) Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza. Sounds like an incredible dystopian debut.
2) Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans. Otherworldly thriller? Sign me up.
3) Pivot Point by Kasie West. I’d read this just for the cool cover.
4) Altered by Jennifer Rush. I have it on hold at the library this very second. *hyperventilates*
5) Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton. If the book is as stirring as the cover, I’m gonna love it.
6) Poison by Bridget Zinn. Looks like an adventurous middle-grade novel.
7) Nobody by Us by Kristin Halbrook. This'll probably be the comtemporary romance of the year.
8) Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson. Because I love retellings.
9) Coda by Emma Treveyne. Dystopian with a focus on music? Um yes.
10) A Point So Delicate by Brandy Colbert. I have a fetish for books about ballet. *shrugs*
What debuts are you looking forward to this year? Leave a link or comment below!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

Published: January 11th, 2011 (Delacorte Books)
Pages: 304
Rating: 4/5
When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance.

Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives. [Description from Goodreads]
When death steals the joy from Michele’s life, the last thing she wants to do is go live with her stiff grandparents in far-off New York City. The fact that they don’t want her there doesn’t make it any better, either. But then she discovers that the grand old house holds things that can transport her back in time to visit her relatives- and a certain dashing young gent that seems to show up everywhere in her life.
That’s when things get a little more complicated.
Thanks to Doctor Who, I’m constantly intrigued with the concept of time travel. The River of Time series really delivered, and I eagerly moved on to Timeless. There were several things I liked about it, though I can’t say it beats all else I’ve read in the genre. The characters, especially Michele, were difficult to connect with. Her reactions and responses seemed suited for a girl younger than her. In addition, Timeless lacked the usual intensity and peril that fills YA books nowadays, which didn’t make me like the book any less but made it feel a bit more juvenile. Because of those two points, I’d recommend this book for younger teen or tween readers. It’s no doubt, though, that mature readers could easily enjoy it as well.
I was surprised at the accuracy and preciseness of the history aspect. When I heard the book was written by a singer/songwriter, I had my doubts about how in-depth and accurate the historical facts would be, but it’s apparent that Alexandra did some thorough investigating beforehand. I loved that Michele traveled to different time periods- sometimes it gets monotonous when the time-travelling only involves one place in history. Each visit in time showed the reader a peek of the culture and tradition during that particular time period, and I loved that as well.
Now, I know others have raved on Phillip, Michele’s love interest, but I really didn’t find him that attractive. He was…perfect. Loving, gentle, honorable, and musically talented, all wrapped up in one handsome, dark-eyed package! Sounds nice, eh? I don’t go for the perfect type, though. I liked the romance between them mainly because they couldn’t be together (since they live in different time periods). I’m eager to see how they fix that little problem in Timekeeper (#2).
One thing I didn’t particularly enjoy was the writing style. It felt like I kept being told what was happening instead of letting me, the reader, put it together myself. Also, the science of the time traveling seemed kind of ridiculous and not quite believable. It’s tricky to make time travel seems believable, but some people have pulled it off nicely. Timeless? Not so much.
So while I can’t say it’s the best that I’ve read in the time travel genre, I did enjoy the story, particularly the romance and history aspects. I feel it might be more suited for readers on the younger end of the spectrum; I know I would have loved it more if I were a little younger. Either way, all qualms aside, Timeless is definitely an enjoyable read-something I much enjoyed myself. I wouldn’t put too much expectation into it, though. A fun read, but not one to be taken too seriously or looked at with too critical of an eye.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: None
Violence: None
Sexual: Mild (Some kissing. Two characters contemplate sleeping together, but decide against it.)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Not a Fan: Teen Edition by Kyle Idleman

Published: April 23rd, 2012 (Zondervan)
Pages: 224
Rating: 5/5
If someone asked, 'Are you a fan of Jesus?', how would you answer? You attend every movie featuring a certain actor, you know the stats of your sports hero, and you can recite lyrics from your favorite songs. In short, you're a huge fan. But are you treating Jesus the same as the other people you admire? The truth is Jesus wants more than the church attendance, occasional prayer, and the ability to recite Scripture---the fan response. He's looking for people who are actually willing to sacrifice in order to follow him. In this teen edition of Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman uses humor, personal stories, and biblical truth as he challenges you to look at what it means to call yourself a Christian and follow the radical call Jesus presents. So, will you be a fan, or a follower? [Description from Goodreads]
I heard about this book a while back but never considered reading it until someone recommended it to me. And I was absolutely blown away. The writing is easy to read and understand while being full of humor (loved Kyle’s hilarious footnotes) and teen lingo. Kyle focuses on the meaning of truly following Jesus by having us define our relationship with Him. He also uses several Biblical examples of aspiring “followers” from the books of Matthew, Luke, and John. He draws the line between follower and fan, diagnosing “symptoms” of both, and outlines the radical relationship and love that a true follower should have.
I suspected the content to be simple information I already knew, but was surprised at the deep, profound message this book contains. The conviction I felt while reading Not a Fan wasn’t something I expected. The truths of this book have been long forgotten (or ignored) by our society and the church, and the line between “comfortable fan” and “radical follower” has been smudged. This book un-smudges that line, clearly spelling out the sacrificial life of a follower compared to the relaxed existence of a fan. I highly recommend it not only to those doubting the solidity of their faith but to anyone who calls themselves a follower. Not a Fan wipes away the false beliefs of this world that often take up residence in our hearts, and replaces them with the raw faith that lies at the core of Christianity. We all need to be reminded of what Jesus really meant when He called us to “take up your cross daily and follow Me.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes (Review + Giveaway)

Published: December 18th, 2012 (Merit Press)
Pages: 224
Rating: 4/5
Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Miranda, a former A-lister fallen from glory, comes into work at the mall one blustery night. Much to her dismay, her and her coworkers are fatefully snowed in- not only trapped together, but with a criminal on the loose somewhere within the empty bowels of the mall. Even worse, Miranda and her new snarky acquaintance, Caleb, are accidentally handcuffed together and must spend the time side-by-side, each other’s presence causing more irritation than either of them can handle. It soon becomes apparent that it’s going to be a very long night.
Tempestuous is a fun little tale that I quite enjoyed. I was doubtful of it at first, mostly because it sounded a bit ridiculous to me, but that opinion faded once I really started reading. The Shakespeare aspect initially drew me in, and the story kept me hooked the rest of the time.
Having never read Shakespeare’s The Tempest, I can’t say I got any of the references to that work of literature, but despite that fact, I truly enjoyed Tempestuous. It’s a fun, light, clean read that is suitable for both middle-grade readers as well as more mature readers. This is what I’d dub as a good distraction- it’s funny, quirky, and has a bit of a thrill to it, thanks to the crime-fighting antics of Miranda and her gang. And being only slightly over 200 pages, you could easily curl up on a snowy night with a cup of tea (or coffee…) and finish this “Twisted Lit” novel before bedtime.
Reservations? It’s hard to have reservations about a book this short and sweet.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: Mild (A few words here and there.)
Violence: None
Sexual: Mild (A kiss or two. It’s revealed that three girls have slept with the same guy. Couples doze off together on the mall floor but nothing sexual happens.)

Enter the giveaway below to win a hardback copy of Tempestuous!

Monday, January 7, 2013

That cliche New Years post that everyone expects

So, I thought I’d dive right in and list some resolutions-
Oh wait.
Happy New Year!!!! *dances*
That said, and with all the holiday busyness involving spontaneous singing and obsessive gingerbread eating out of the way, it’s time to set up some ground rules. You know, make some blogging pledges I don’t plan to keep, say some bookish vows I don’t really mean, that sort of thing. But I’ll do my best, right?
Just nod like you agree with me.

Ok, here we go:

No. 1: More Blogging. Period. This never happens once school sucks my time away and other aspects of life start to hit me in the face. But this year, I want to post at least three times a week at the least. I can tell you right now that there will be weeks when that doesn’t happen, but there will also be weeks when it does happen.
No. 2: Shorter Reviews. There were times last year when I was four, five, sometimes six reviews behind. My solution: write shorter reviews. Often times I write four-seven paragraphs on a single book, and frankly, that takes too long. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: *drumroll* Mini-Reviews! These reviews will usually be used with books I read for myself (not books received through an author or publisher). They’ll be no more than two-three paragraphs long in length. Yay for no more novel-long reviews!
No. 3: To review or not to review; that is the question. Blogging is hard work. Sometimes it becomes so hard that it’s not fun anymore. So, to bring some fun back, I might not review every book I read. Or I might just compile some brief thoughts on several books in one single post. Point is- I don’t want to be (and won’t be) compelled to post a review for every book I ever read from here on out.
Well, I think that about does it. *deep sigh* Goals and aspirations are an on-going thing, though. They’re something we all need to go back to in order to revise and add to throughout the year.
So, you could say that this is only the beginning. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Swipe by Evan Angler

Published: May 8th, 2012 (Thomas Nelson)
Pages: 275
Rating: 5/5
Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?

Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, "Swipe" follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn't even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It's almost Logan Langly's 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn't been able to shake the feeling he's being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back. [Description from Goodreads]
I haven’t read a middle-grade novel in a long time, but this one was exceptionally good. Great, even. I will admit that I was bored with it initially. For the first fifty or so pages I was forcing myself through the book. It seemed slow, like the plot was dragging. There seemed to be minimal dialogue, too, which made it feel even worse. It picked up after that, though, and I was sucked into the plot, the mystery, the characters.
Some people describe this book as a dystopian, but personally, I wouldn’t. It’s futuristic, yes; it features an oppressive government system, yes; but it’s far from being dystopian for me. That’s entirely not a problem, though. I love the technology that’s laid out, and I especially love the idea of the Mark. From the very beginning, it reminded me of the Mark of the Beast, and that’s actually what spurred my intrigue in the first place. Sadly, it didn’t delve deeper into Scriptural references to end times aside from the Mark. With the Mark, a person can buy food, clothes, anything they want. They can go places and do things that the Unmarked can’t. Logan is on the verge of getting his Mark until he gets wrapped up in a mysterious person called Peck. With a notorious background of kidnapping kids, Peck’s one you’d want to avoid, but to Logan’s distress, Peck’s been watching him for years. And Logan has a feeling that he’s next on the hit list.
For once, I loved that the MC, Logan, wasn’t portrayed as a strong person. He’s young, he’s terrified at what’s happening, and he doesn’t know what to do. Authors, listen up: fragile protagonists are relatable. Trust me when I say that not everyone has a spirit like Katniss Everdeen. Most people freak out when put in life and death situations, especially young people. It’s refreshing to see a “weak” hero ever now and then.
Bottom line: While the beginning started out slow, once the pace picked up the story hooked me. I highly recommend this to not only middle-grade readers but also more mature readers. Though the writing is appropriately juvenile, I believe that older readers would also get some enjoyment out of Swipe. Very well written; I’m eager to pick up the sequel, Sneak.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: None (kids cuss with made-up profanity)
Violence: Mild (Some minor action and suspense)
Sexual: None (One kiss)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Rockoholic by C. J. Skuse

Published: November 1st, 2012 (Scholastic)
Pages: 358
Rating: 4/5
Gonna have to face it: Jody's addicted to Jackson Gatlin, frontman of The Regulators, and after her best bud Mac scores tickets, she's front and center at his sold-out concert. But when she gets mashed in the moshpit and bodysurfs backstage, she's got more than a mild concussion to deal with. By the next morning, the strung-out rock star is coming down in her garage. Jody -- oops -- kind of kidnapped him. By accident. With a Curly Wurly candy bar. And now he doesn't want to leave.

It's a rock-star abduction worthy of an MTV reality series...but who got punk'd?!
When Jody’s life comes tumbling down on her, she turns to the person she’s always turned to for comfort- Jackson. Jackson Gatlin, that is. Yes, the lead band member of the Regulators. Jody is just one of the many fan girls whose life revolves around this American superstar, but his music has a much more personal connection for her. Long story short, Jackson ends up in Jody’s garage in a less-than-sane state, but after she carefully nurses him back to health with her bestie Mac, they discover Jackson doesn’t have any plans of leaving. With the whole world wondering where Jackson’s gone, Jody’s life just got a little more complicated.
 I. Loved. This. Book. To pieces. The storyline is something I’ve been looking for for a long time. It’s something to which we can all relate. I absolutely adored the British lingo- it made it that much more fun to read (even though half the time I was going to Google to figure out what words meant).  I will admit that Jody got on my nerves at first, mostly because her demeanor was depressing, but that passed after a while. Jackson was an intriguing character…he wasn’t portrayed as I thought he might be, though he did turn out to be one of my favorite characters in the book. In one way, Rockoholic makes you think about life as a rock star- how difficult it is and the longing for freedom that comes with it. While this book doesn’t reveal too deep of truths, I did find myself thoughtfully pondering over it more than once. And if you know me at all, you’ll know I like books that make me think.
The only thing I found distasteful about Rockoholic was the amount of language. Let me put it bluntly: there was too much. Way too much. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that it was littered from cover to cover. Some might say it added to the theme of the book, but I thought a lot of it was entirely unnecessary. For someone who tries to avoid books featuring heavy language, it proved to be a distraction, unfortunately. Some of the other controversial material (see Quick Content Review below) had me shaking my head mournfully, also. Hence, my five-star review became a four-star.
  So, you could say I liked this book an awful lot. I didn’t necessarily love it, but I really did enjoy it. It was one of those books I just had to keep going back to, even though I was supposed to be doing other things, even though there were other books I should have been reading instead. It hooked me from the beginning. Despite some issues I had with the profanity, I absolutely relished it. It’s a fun read, and if you think you could turn a blind eye to some of the issues listed below, I would highly recommend it.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: Moderate- Heavy (a variety of words fly throughout the book)
Violence: None
Sexual: Mild-Moderate (Jody bathes Jackson when he’s passed out, but nothing sexual occurs. Mac is in a controversial play in which he dresses like a transvestite. Some kissing.)
Other: Drug abuse and some mention of alcohol consumption.