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Thursday, August 26, 2010

AS: Jessica Brody's The Karma Club

Jessica Brody wrote The Karma Club (read my review of The Karma Club here!!!). This book received a 10/10 rating from me and it's such a fun book to read! I've been so glad to be able to interview her! :)

1. Thank you so much for letting me interview you. What inspired you to write The Karma

Thanks for the interview! The Karma Club was definitely one of those ideas that just “came” to me. A friend of mine had told me some horrendous story about how a boy dumped her (I don’t even remember the story, I just remember it was infuriating!) and the entire time she was talking, I kept thinking, “Someone needs to do that right back to him. He can’t just get away with that. He needs a taste of Karma!” And then boom, the idea came to me. A secret society of girls who help each other out, dosing out Karma to those who deserve it when the universe is slow to do it on its own. And thus THE KARMA CLUB was born. Of course, as soon as the idea came to me, I also knew that my characters would never be able to get away with it. Karma is a tricky thing. And you definitely don’t want to meddle with the universe!

2. Could you tell me how you can relate to Maddy when you were in high school?

Out of all the characters in all my books, I’m most similar to Maddy. I definitely modeled her after myself when I was in high school. We’re both very organized, studious, and like to be in control at all times. The fact that she concocts a plan to take Karma into her own hands because she doesn’t think it’s doing a good enough job on its own is something I totally would do! I’m a bit of a control freak. I never trust anyone to do anything for me. I always insist on doing it myself. So I suppose that would also apply to mystical forces of the universe!

3. What was the most difficult part about writing The Karma Club?

Great question. The most difficult part for me was coming up with the various revenge schemes that the Karma Club girls do. Which is funny because I thought this would be the easiest and most fun part of the book. But in reality it was near impossible! I wanted to find payback treatments that “fit the crime” so to speak but that also would fit into the story later when Karma came back to bite the girls in the butt. Each revenge scheme in the book had to be very thoroughly planned out because they each come back into play later. The only one I had in mind going into writing the book was the Crisco swap. I’ve always loved that idea and secretly wished it on a few people (although I won’t name any names!) The rest of them took a long time to concoct!

4. Have you know, tried to make karma pays instantly and not over time?

LOL. If you’re asking if I’ve ever sought revenge on someone the answer is no. Although I have thought about it many a times. I’m not as courageous as my main character. I would have never had the guts to do the things she did!

5. I noticed that you're working on another YA novel, called My Life Undecided which would be out in the Spring of 2011 (where sadly I'll be in Japan and not in US...). Could you tell me more about the book?

Of course! I’m SO excited about this book. I think it actually might be my favorite yet (but don’t tell any of my other books that!) My Life Undecided is about a fifteen year-old girl who is notorious for making terrible decision and so she starts an anonymous blog and posts every decision she comes across in the form of an online poll and vows to do whatever her blog readers decide for her! Obviously problems and hilarity ensue! The official U.S. release date is now set for June 2011. Hopefully you’ll be able to pick up a copy in Japan!

6. I have been a follower of Free Book Friday (the teens one), and I love how you interviewed the authors right away to promote their book. What made you create Free Book Friday?

Oh great! I’m so glad you like the site! I got the idea for Free Book Friday because I noticed that every time I hosted a giveaway on my own site, my web traffic would spike significantly. So I just thought, why not host a giveaway every week. Almost instantly the name “Free Book Friday” popped into my head. I searched for the domain name and it was available so I snatched it up and launched the site! That was over two years ago and it’s grown tremendously since then. We’ve hosted some fantastic super star authors like P.C. Cast, Alyson Noël, Scott Westerfeld and tons of others!

7. What is(are) your favorite novel(s)?

Ooh! Hard question. I’ll give you my top 3 (as of today, 8/24/10, because it changes daily!):

1 ) Bridget Jones’s Diary – because it’s the reason I started writing my first novel. I was so entertained by that book, as soon as I read it, I knew I wanted to do the exact same thing: entertain people.

2 ) The Hunger Games – This was such an amazing concept and Suzanne Collins did such a tremendous job writing it. I lived this book. Meaning, it was in my dreams, my thoughts and pretty much every conversation I had for a good three weeks. That’s a remarkable thing for an author to do!

3 ) The Time Traveler’s Wife – This book was like magic to me. I’m obsessed with time travel and good love stories and this one did both…extremely well.

8. What would be your advice to the young writers who are struggling?

Well, first let me say that I, too, was a struggling young writer. As were ALL writers you read out there. So keep that in mind. We all had to start where you are. My best piece of advice is to write and write often. Regardless if you’re a bestselling author with twenty books under your belt or you’re just starting out, writing is a craft that needs to be constantly honed. Try to write every day. Even if the stuff that’s coming out reads like a third grade book report. Sometimes you have to get the crap out in order to get to the good stuff. And sometimes writing just to write is the only way to get a book done. Even if it means having to go back later and change it all! For every book I write I have about 50-75 pages of deleted text that never makes it into the final draft! But for some reason, it had to be written before I could move on.

9. Thank you so much for doing this interview. Is there anything else you'd like to say to the

Thanks so much for having me! I hope everyone likes the book! Don’t forget to check out the movie-style book trailer I produced for The Karma Club featuring a cameo appearance by Deepak Chopra! It can be found on my website: And also, stop by (a non-profit organization inspired by The Karma Club) to find ways to spread Good Karma in your community and around the world!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

JAPAAAAAN!!! XD (and some rants..)

Hey Scholar Berry readers!!!

Some of you might know that I'm going to be studying abroad in JAPAN for a year!!! "Woot, woot!!!" as they say in English (at least that's what I use) or, "BANZAI!!!" in Japanese! (okay, 11 months, since if it's 12 exact months I'd have to pay for re-entering US...) My departure is MONDAY, AUGUST 16!!! I'm so excited!!! It's MONDAY and it's just 40 hours and 8 minutes away!!! I'll be in Japan, being a junior in a private high school, learning violin, learning some kendo, judo or even archery, and learning a lot of new things!! (sponsored by Rotary Student Exchange)

Some kendo...
Some pretty sakura/cherry blossom...

And now, about book reviews!

I have been asked by authors if I will review books during my exchange year, and here's some answers and explanations:

I will continue reading and reviewing, although I may not update Scholar Berry as often as usual.
Thankfully, I have a Nook (Barnes and Noble's product of eReader) that's been AWESOME, so if any of you have an eBook file (or would like to donate me a book or two) that's in my In My Mailbox page that I HAVE NOT reviewed (hint: it means, the ones that are still WHITE and without link), that would be great! Email me about it!

Or, if anyone has some eBook files that they're just dying to share (especially YA), I'd love to read them!!! I'm still building my eBook library (on a limited budget, here, being a jobless 16 year old...) but I'll dedicate a page to share eBook files that I own later on, probably at the end of the year--when I have more than just 1-5 titles to share, that is. :)

So...follow me on twitter, peeps!!! @elioravespera
Facebook too!!!
Also, if you can speak's a special blog dedicated to my student exchange IN JAPANESE!!

By the way...yes, I can speak Japanese! (And also some Spanish, French that I self taught myself along with Indonesian since I am, Indonesian) I skipped level 1 when I was a freshman and just went straight to level 2, and last school year I was in level 3 because I'm a nerd/geek who watched too much anime that I picked up so many words that I only needed to learn the hiragana (one of the alphabet) and katakana (another Japanese alphabet) from Internet and memorized them around a week before freshman year started! (I'm kind of a procrastinator...)

So that's one thing you guys didn't know about me; Foreign languages are so interesting to me that I pick it up "too easily," says my family...

Like with French? What made me want to learn French was some expressions from a novel (which title I have forgotten). Seriously. Next up is probably German and Italian..But for the year I'm going to fill my head with only Japanese and minimum English!! XD

I also have a blog (with different content than the Japanese one) for the trip. Sometimes I will share my experience--in less than one huge paragraph, I promise--on Scholar Berry too!

Blog, in English

P.S: When I get back, I'll of course, give some book/non-book related things from Japan as a giveaway!!! I'm so excited!!!

Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner

"1. List 10 things you love (and DO THEM!)
2. Join a club (and TALK TO PEOPLE!)
3. Go on a date (with someone you actually LIKE!)
4. Tell someone you care (your therapist DOESN'T COUNT!)
5. Celebrate New Year's (with OTHER PEOPLE!)"

My Rating: 10/10 <3

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication: 2003 (republished by Harlequin Teen on June 2010)
ISBN: 978-0-373-21010-7
Page Count: 330 Pages
Age Range: Young Adult

Caren Lissner's Official Web Page

Carrie Pilby is a 19 year old genius that graduated from Harvard at 18. Her mother died when she was too young to remember, and her father told her a Big Lie she still couldn't forgive him for.

Carrie guards herself too much and she doesn't have any friends--after all, being a genius doesn't necessarily mean that you're on top of the social ladder.

Carrie has a therapist--her father pays her to go to a therapist called Petrov. Petrov is sick of Carrie always closing herself up--so Petrov made the list so Carrie can fit in (or well, attempt her best to). Carrie doesn't really want to--she really thinks it's a waste of time and it's troublesome, but she tried to anyway.

So Carrie go and gets a job--she's proof reading for the lawyers in NYC. She meets different kind of people. She puts an ad on the Beacon--some kind of magazine that lets people put an ad for people who look for dates.

Mostly, Carrie considers a lot of people--okay, everyone--as hypocrites. Her father told her that when she skips 3 grades, she'll meet people that are like her in college (This is the Big Lie). She was 14 when she went to Harvard, she didn't know better--despite mathematical theorems, lots of literature, philosophical thoughts and pure curiosity and a very high IQ.

In Harvard, though, despite her having no friends (that lasts more than a week), she met Harrison, her English Professor. Harrison is smart, different and listens to her. He wasn't creep out by Carrie's constant usage of what others would call out as 'SAT words!' In fact, Harrison was amazed by her.

Carrie is young and smart. Carrie's learning about life in New York City, and she feels lonely on New Year's, on a tall building with at least 500 people underneath her on Time Square.

Caren Lissner's Carrie Pilby is sophisticated and full of pure curiosity. It's hilarious and simple--but also different.

What I love about this book: It's really funny! I've been having the same questions--but mostly feelings--what Carrie had felt. Even though I didn't skip 3 grades or went to Harvard at 14, I could definitely relate to Carrie. She deals with many emotional craziness that passes quite easily because she's been shutting herself out from the rest of the world--even though she wants to fit in. It's really hilarious and I love just even reading Carrie's thoughts.

What I dislike about this book: I didn't dislike anything! This book is a perfect ten! Even if you're not a curious person, reading Carrie Pilby will definitely be a very interesting experience!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love

"Them. I can't name Them. Not out loud."
-Maggie Stiefvater's The Hounds of Ulster

My Rating: 8/10

Publisher: Running Press Teen
Publication: August 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7624-3949-2
Page Count: 416 pages
Age Range: Young Adult

Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love is a compilation of 13 short stories from Sarah Rees Brennan, Becca Fitzpatrick, Caitlin Kittredge, Karen Mahoney, Daniel Marks, Justine Musk, Diana Peterfreund, Michelle Rowen, Carrie Ryan, Maggie Stiefvater, Rachel Vincent, Daniel Waters and Michelle Zink.

The Assassin's Apprentice by Michelle Zink
The first story was one of my favorite stories from the whole book. It's about a girl named Rose who lost her whole family because of a devil named Bael--the devil murdered them all. Rose wanted revenge and that's when Asher came by to assist her.

Simple and sweet, I would love to read a whole book about this story. 10/10 <3 style="font-style: italic;">

Errant by Diana Peterfreund
This story is about Elise, a royal princess who will soon marry. There is a unicorn hunt that's necessary for her since her parents are long gone. Gitta, a unicorn hunter, met Elise because Gitta is paid to hunt for Elise. Gitta helps Elise discover that Elise doesn't need to be controlled by Elise's elite society and her to-be-husband (who's a cheater, by the way).

This story was okay...I like the meaning but not how the story was told. I just feel like some details weren't important, and some were missing. 6/10.

The Spirit Jar by Karen Mahoney

This is another one of my favorites! Moth is a vampire who's assigned to retrieve an Arabic book by her master. Adam, a Djinn (or, genie), also was after the same book. Adam needs it to put his dead girlfriend's soul to peace, after his girlfriend was killed by a psycho-magician. Together, Adam and Moth (after some arguments of who gets the book) fights Bilal (the magician) so that Moth can bring the book to Theo--Moth's master--after putting Adam's girlfriend's soul to peace.

The Spirit Jar was fast paced and lovely, and Moth's story was originally from The Eternal Kiss. 10/10 :D

Lost by Justine Musk
Lost is also one of my favorite story. Sasha was always good at finding things--she just can picture everything that needs to be found. Sasha thinks she never met Haiden, the mysterious guy who seemed to know her well and somehow Haiden teaches Sasha mystical things. Sasha was blindfolded and was told to find an X mark on the ground of the house she never stepped into before. Haiden was teaching Sasha to find lost souls. Sasha was special, and Haiden wants her to be by his side. Who was Haiden, and why did Haiden stopped her to eat the apple?

I think this story was very well written and sweet. I really don't want to spoil it for everyone, so I'll just say this is 10/10. :)

The Spy Who Never Grew Up by Sarah Rees Brennan
In the beginning, the story was very confusing--there's a lot of events in history that are mixed around (and that part is very interesting) and Brennan took Peter Pan into another level. Peter Pan is actually a spy for everyone who will pay, a thief and a kid. Ashley, whose ancestor was Wendy, was dragged along Peter Pan's adventure.

I love this story from the middle to the end, not from the beginning; good idea but in the was just a bit random. 7/10

Behind the Red Door by Caitlin Kittredge
This is another one of my favorites! Kittregde wrote a ghost story--about a girl named Jo who's different and doesn't have a lot of friends. Her best friend, Ani, spends a lot of time making out with her girlfriend Deirdre and sometimes leaves Jo alone. There's a creepy house where everyone's told that there were millions of people died in the house, and Deirdre challenged Jo. Jo took the dare, and went in. There, she saw Nicholas who was very kind to her. Jo likes Nicholas--her like grows into need and what she thinks is love. Nicholas, though, was just using her. Nicholas isn't who he seemed to be, and Jo is in a big trouble.

This is one of the rare story that took a turn in a direction that I was not expecting. This happens very rarely, and for surprising me, I love this story. 10/10 XD

Hare Moon by Carrie Ryan
Hare Moon is a forbidden love story about Tabitha and Patrick; two individuals who lived in a different community (one gated and clean, the other forests and wildlife). Tabitha is the kind of girl no one would marry because there are better girls, but Patrick seemed to take an interest of her. Tabitha meets Patrick on the gate every day, praying Patrick will ask Tabitha to leave and explore the beautiful forests with him. But one day, Patrick stopped coming and Tabitha gave up wanting to marry, so Tabitha becomes a nun. Tabitha discovered a letter from Patrick (which Patrick used to tell Tabitha that he loves her) and wistfully yearn for him. Then one day Patrick came back, telling Tabitha that his family died from an unknown virus except him and his little brother. Patrick asks for medicine, and Tabitha took the risk to hide Patrick in the church. Tabitha betrays her community for love--and it will bring everyone misery...

I liked it very much and I'd love to read The Forest of Hands and Teeth (which was included--bits of it--in this short story). 8/10

Familiar by Michelle Rowen

This is another one of my favorites (maybe I have too many..but oh well!). Brenda's mom is a successful witch and wants Brenda to follow the tradition. Brenda doesn't really care...Brenda was told to pick a familiar--a pet which supposed to enhance witch's magic--and she picked Owen, a kitten that looked "half dead". Owen was a shifter--he wasn't supposed to be there. He was a guy, who needed his bracelet--which Brenda took--back to reclaim his place in his family. Even though they're not boss and familiar, there's a connection between them that wouldn't let each other get hurt, no matter how little Owen shows his care or how Brenda acts stupid.

This story was simple and focused, I enjoyed it very much! 10/10

Fearless by Rachel Vincent
Sabine is a mara, a girl who feeds when people dream of their fears. Sabine broke some rules and was sent to a similar place to a juvenile detention center. There's something wrong in that place--Sabine can sense it because the place is fearless. Something--something like Sabine--is sucking everyone's fear, making them abnormal (whereas a mara makes them think of the fears and make them normal). Nash, a bean sidhe (or banshee), Sabine's boyfriend helps Sabine to figure out what's happening and how to get Sabine out of trouble...

It was okay...7/10

Vermillion by Daniel Marks
Ghosts have missions--Velvet and Nick are assigned to team up with Amie to catch a soul that messes up with the living. Velvet and Nick are a couple, but Amie's trying to get in the way. There's something off about Amie, and Velvet wants to stop her without losing Nick. This story is about love, trust and whether someone can choose their paths well or not.

I love this story! 9/10

The Hounds of Ulster by Maggie Stiefvater
The story is about Bryant (not a real name of the main character) who lost a friend named Sullivan. Throughout the story, Bryant gives mystery about losing Sullivan. This story is more philosophical than any of the other story in the book. It defines true friendship and how one cope to losing it, being rebellious and wishful thoughts of wanting things to stay the same.

I like this story because it's more mysterious than the others--it's less romantic, less bloody or ghostly, and Stiefvater never mentioned what "they" are throughout the story, but when readers read this, I'm sure they'll want a follow up novel by Stiefvater. ;) 10/10

Many Happy Returns by Daniel Waters
This is the last one of my favorites! The story is being told from Cal's perspective, who is the father of one of the girls that died. There was a car crash and Mandy (Cal's daughter) was in it. Before Mandy's trip, Mandy told Cal that Mandy thinks she's in love with Jake--her boyfriend. Then Mandy died. Every other teenager in the crash had seemed to wake up with a miracle. Some parents are happy that their children are safe and sound. Some, like Jake's parents, wants to leave the dead plain dead; it's strange to have your son die one day and alive but different another day. Jake's parents think he's a freak. Time passed and Mandy still hasn't woke up. The story is about Cal, waiting for his daughter to come home.

I love this story! Original and sweet! 10/10

Becca Fitzpatrick
In the ARC I received, Becca's story was TBA (to be announced) so...I didn't get to read it. :(

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

"These are not my enemies."

My Rating: 7/10

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59990-372-9
Page Count: 324 Pages
Age Range: Young Adult

Lise Haines' Official Girl in the Arena page

Lise Haines' Girl in the Arena is spectacular! The story was centered around a girl named Lyn, who had 7 fathers. All 6 were dead and Tommy is the 7th. All 7th were gladiators.

Then came one fight--and Tommy's dead. Allison (Lyn's mom) can't support Thad (Lyn's brother) and Lyn anymore. Caesar's (the Hollywood in the gladiator world) won't let Allison marry for the 8th time, cause 7 is the limit.

Lyn had given her bracelet to Tommy back then, even though she wasn't supposed to...then she got her consequence--Uber picked her bracelet up.

The bracelet is a symbol of marriage, and Uber is the gladiator that killed Tommy.

Lyn was going to have to marry Uber--to save Allison, Thad and herself a house. Lyn refuse to, and she had a plan. She went backstage and attacked Uber, though she failed.

Then, Lyn was developing feelings for Uber (after Allison forced Lyn to keep giving Uber a chance). But Lyn can't let herself be another Allison, marrying one gladiator, letting him die and marrying another one just to let him die (repeat cycle).

Lyn wants to be different. So Lyn fights Caesar...

What I like about this book: The fresh story line, the great association with American history throughout the book and of course; the gorgeous cover! Lise Haines is very creative, and although on the surface, Girl in the Arena doesn't seem like something everyone can relate to, it is. Everyone has been faced with certain societal expectations in their life and this is what this book is about, and how Lyn, erratically chose how she faced it.

What I dislike about this book: The speech is confusing. There is no single quotation mark to indicate when someone starts speaking or ends it. Haines uses dashes to indicate conversation. To me, it's a bit confusing because it's like "--I don't think so, I say to them." out of nowhere. It feels awkward to read in that manner because I'm so used to reading conversations that belongs in quotation marks.

But this is definitely one good book! <3

Monday, August 9, 2010

Poser by Sue Wyshynski

"After today, I'd speak up. Be totally honest. Even if it was the most awkward, embarrassing thing ever. Unless, of course, it was some life-or-death situation."

My Rating: 10/10

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication: June 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8027-2094-8
Page Count: 278 Pages
Ages: Young Adult (12 and up)

MY (new!) RATING: 10/10

Poser is fun from the beginning and all the way to the end! Wyshynski definitely grab any reader who would read past the first page! Definitely a beach-read and a good book to reread for surfers and non surfers!!! :D

Sue Wyshynski's Poser Official Website

In High School, teenagers tries hard to fit in. In Poser, Tallulah Jones' first day was great she had the right clothes (Roxy head to toe). Her one (and biggest) mistake, though, was that she told a lie just to fit in. Jenna is the most popular girl in Tallulah's new high school and Jenna surfs.

Tallulah did surfed once...but it ended up very badly.

But the thing is, Tallulah told Jenna that she surfed. Through the hurricane waves. Now she's Hurricane Girl and the whole school knows it. Plus, she has to prove it--she has to surf with Jenna. Everyone's going to be there.

Tallulah decided to come clean...but can she?

Jenna was glad she finally has a surfer friend that's a girl. What will Tallulah do?

Well...she tries to explain to Jenna at times. But then there's Corey--Jenna's brother who's really hot and he's the guy who lent Tallulah his short surfboard. Unfortunately, Jenna broke his surfboard, her chance to be with him, her rising popularity and also her friendship with Jenna.

Hurricane Girl becomes Poser in no time.

Sue Wyshynski's debut novel is definitely fresh and funny. If you enjoy Elizabeth Scott, Sarah Dessen or Meg Cabot's novels, you'll definitely be captured in reading Poser. Despite Tallulah's desire to make friends, Wyshynski had created a fresh personality in the bookstore's shelves.

What I love about this book: I fell for the cover and when Bloomsbury USA sent me a copy, I knew I was going to love it--I read it in 2 and a half hours! It was very funny from beginning to end. In some parts readers will just be confused (unless, of course, they surfed) but since Wyshynski created Tallulah as a girl who only pretends, we as the readers get the explanations, too. I read something different (because I have no clue about surfing except the part that it's done in the beach, with a board and a surfer wears the wetsuit...) and I learned from it. Readers can definitely relate to Tallulah Jones because everybody needs somebody and Tallulah only wants her friend. In Poser, Wyshynski also describe how cruel high school can be, which can be pretty funny sometimes.

What I dislike about this book: In the beginning, when Tallulah wanted to come clean, her mind conflict stopped there. I think Poser would be even better if Tallulah's conflict was displayed throughout the novel--although it's well shown in her actions and words, I think a bit more of the mind-conflict wouldn't hurt... ;)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a meme by The Story Siren here.

Week: Sunday, August 1 - Sunday, August 8 2010.
Click on each title to go to the Barnes and Noble's web!!!


Simon and Schuster:
What Would Emma Do by Eileen Cook
Far From You by Lisa Schroeder

Penguin Group:
Virals by Katy Reichs (ARC) ((VERY excited to read this one!! XD I think this one will be one to compete with Maximum Ride :D))
Dust City by Robert Paul Weston (ARC)

Self Published:
Equilibrium (Book #2 of the Portal Series) by Imogen Rose


Simon and Schuster:
Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook

Harper Teen:
Tangled by Carolyn Mackler


Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman: A signed hardcover copy of Life, After; 2 bookplates; 1 Life, After notebook. (Note: This is a very good book!!! Read my review HERE)
Tensions of the Opposites by Kristina McBride: Signed post cards and signed bookmarks.
Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook: Post cards.
The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade: Signed post cards and bookmarks.
Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe: Bookmarks.

Scholar Berry's suggestion for the week:

Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman

This book is about a victim of AMIA bombing in Argentina on 7/18/1994. A girl named Dani faces the crisis as her family was forced to move to America.
Dani's boyfriend had moved to Florida. Dani is going to be in New York. Dani needs Roberto...
In America, Dani founds out that the hallways are mean. The girls are mean.
But Dani has her personal GPS to get around the big school building.
Dani discovers that no matter 7/18 or 9/11, going through losses still needs the same cure;
Someone who understands.

Read my full review on Life, After here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Knight Angels: Book of Love by Abra Ebner

"'Her guardian angel?' I was confused. What died and made him so privileged?"

My Rating: 8/10

Publisher: Crimson Oak Publishing
Publication: June 2010
Page Count: 346 Pages
Age Range: Young Adult

Abra Ebner's Official Knight Angels Website

Abra Ebner has written an amazing story about love and trust. In Knight Angels: Book of Love, Ebner wrote from different characters' perspective. I take Jane as the main character because Jane is the girl who was supposed to die, but saved by Max, her guardian angel.

The quote on the header is from Wes, Jane's childhood friend who has always been in love with Jane. Jane knows it, but only pities him because Jane doesn't feel for Wes in that way.

Emily does, though. Emily is Jane's sister who's high most of the time. She has a reason--she can hear people's emotions. Her mother and her sister's concern for her--which makes Emily sick because they don't know about her at all. Wes' thoughts that's filled with Jane and Jane and Jane. Sick.

So Emily feels people's emotions.

Max was killed a long time ago. But because he saved his family, he became an angel. Because he saved Jane, he became her guardian angel.

Jane sees people's death; the way people die. She dreams weird things.

Wes is a shape shifter.

Greg, Max's twins (who killed Max's family and murdered Jane's father and Jane) wants to kill and ruins it for everyone.

But Max finally can show himself to Jane. He won't let Jane be hurt after all these time.

What I love about this book: One, it's about angels...(of course) and two, it was different. The relationship between Emily and Wes and Wes to Jane makes the story different and good. It was the mystery of Greg that makes me want to keep reading it, though, most of all. I want to know why Greg..hates Max so much.

What I dislike: The cliff hanger at the end! I want to read the second book RIGHT NOW!! OoO..

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

"I cried because everything was broken and I didn't know what to do."

My Rating: 10/10

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication: September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59990-510-5
Page Count: 208 Pages
Age/Grade: 12 and up/7 and up

Avery opened her eyes and she was drenched in blood. Her parents' blood. Avery didn't remember what happened, except that it was silver and it wasn't human--it didn't seem human.

There's the pitying stare from everyone in school and around her. There's Ron--the officer who found Avery in the forest. And Renee, her grandmother who feels like a stranger now.

Everyone backed off when suddenly a part of her hair turned blood red. But not Ben Dusic, the new guy in town.

Ben had silver eyes.

The killer that drenched Avery in her parents blood was silver.

Who was Ben?

Well, Ben turned out to be a werewolf. Despite what Avery knows about the color silver, she still lets herself to be close with Ben. Worse, she wanted Ben like Ben wanted her.

Avery believes Ben. She trusts him.

But what if Ben killed Avery's parents? Or the other families who lived near the forest that were killed?

Read Low Red Moon to understand how in life turning points are bound to happen when you're in love.

What I love about the book: It's sweet and simple, straight to the point but mysterious at the same time. I like how Devlin portrays the conflict in Avery's mind in times Avery has problems. This is a very good book--Twilight fans will enjoy reading this.

What I dislike: A bit cliche about how fast Avery is attracted to Devlin, like a way. But other than that part, I love this book! :D

I'm sure this will be a successful debut for Ivy Devlin!

Ivy Devlin's blog

AS: Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting is definitely one of my top favorite books (Yes, it's that good). It's just simply gorgeous and vividly written--definitely a good book worth rereading from time to time. If you missed my review of The Body Finder, click here to read it.

1. (The usual--probably cliche, by now to you) Where did the inspiration of The Body Finder come from?

This is my husband’s favorite question! The original idea actually came from him, when we were driving one day and he said: “What if there was a kid who could find dead bodies?” Of course, in his head it was a middle-school-boy adventure book. But I loved the basic idea…as long as it was a girl in high school and she had a love interest. It took some time to hammer out the rules of her creepy ability (how she would find the dead bodies), but once I did, I was obsessed with getting her story on paper. To this day though, my husband will walk around the house declaring himself my co-author!

2. This is one of the things that intrigued me the most about the book: the part where you wrote about the killer's perspective. It sounded so real--the more I think about it, it's the more like you've studied a real criminal (whereas I mostly watch CSI/similar shows). How difficult was it for you to write the criminal's perspective? Did you do a long research on it?

My first draft only had a few sections from the serial killer’s perspective, mostly because I thought it might be a little too dark and twisted for YA. So when my editor came back and asked for more, I was completely thrilled…I loved writing those scenes (which makes me sounded a little too dark and twisted, doesn’t it?)!!!

3. What was the most difficult part in The Body Finder to write?

I’m not sure I can point at anything and say it was difficult to write. Is it terrible to admit that it was an easy book to write…mostly because I was more than a little obsessed while I was writing it? I fell in love with both the characters and the story, so spending time with them each day was a breeze.

4. I truly love your writing style in The Body Finder. It was just making me so curious; Did you always write like that, or did you especially write it in a way that most people never did (with the 3rd perspective and how the suspense was kept)?

When I wrote The Body Finder, I’d always written in 3rd person. Since then I’ve worked on a project in 1st person and loved the way it turned out. I like mixing POVs, and I think there’s room for a little bit of everything in fiction. I mean, really, how boring would it be if every book were exactly the same???

It was surreal seeing it on shelves for the first time. I thought I was prepared for that moment since I’d already seen a finished copy (I’d held it in my hands, flipped the pages, and I may or may not have smelled it!). But walking into the bookstore for the first time and seeing it there…faceout on real life bookshelves?!?! I’m pretty sure I screamed, or at least squealed. Thankfully no one was standing in my way or I probably would have pushed them down to get to it!

7. Did you always want to be a writer? (If not, ever since when and how did you know you want to become one and what obstacle did you have overcome?)

I started seriously writing right after high school (many, many years ago!). My first attempt at writing a novel (using that word loosely) was a full-on adult horror novel called ONE OF THEM, because I wanted to write like Stephen King (ha!). Fortunately, it was never published but it did make for really good practice. Only when I finally gave up on that manuscript did I discover (and fall in love with) YA!

8. My favorite list of books includes Shiver, Linger (by Maggie Stiefvater), The Hunger Games series (by Suzanne Collins) and The Body Finder (by you, who are so generous by taking your sweet time to answer these questions). What is/are your favorite book(s)/series?

GAH! This is such a difficult question because there are SO many!!! Some of my recent favorite reads have been Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, Firelight by Sophie Jordan, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and anything in the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. But my all-time favorite will always be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I re-read it every few years)!

9. Some authors can write with music (with lyrics). When you wrote The Body Finder, did you have a certain playlist that you listen to? If not, are there certain songs that you think would fit some scenes in The Body Finder?

I can’t write with music for some reason, and I’m amazed that anyone can. If I like a song I find myself listening to that instead of paying attention to my work. But whenever I hear something slow and melodic by Evanescence, it makes me think of The Body Finder…they just have that haunting sound. And when it comes to the scenes from the serial killer’s POV, I always think of Possum Kingdom by The Toadies (it’s old, but super creepy…especially if you watch the video!).

10. What would be your advice to some of the young writers that hasn't make it yet to the bookstore shelves?

Hang in there! Seriously, I don’t know many writers—or any really—that haven’t faced rejection in some form (and most of us have stacks of rejection letters to prove it). I think that most published writers are published because they never gave up!!!

11. What would be your reaction if The Body Finder is adapted to a movie?


Really, I’m sure you’d hear me from wherever you live!

12. Thank you very much for the copy of The Body Finder and this interview. Is there anything else you'd like to say to the readers?

Just thanks so much for having me here today, and I hope you all enjoy The Body Finder!

The Karma Club by Jessica Brody

"'It's time to start balancing out the universe.'"

My Rating: 10/10

Publisher: Macmillan
Publication: March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-374-33979-1
Page Count: 258
Age Range: Young Adult

Madison Kasparkova had always wanted to be popular and to hang out with the most popular girl in her high school; Heather Campbell. Then one day, she found a way (Well, not really--Angie, her friend was the one who found the article in the magazine, but still), she was the one who submitted her boyfriend's profile to Contempo Girl, the 'it' magazine.

Maddy was right--she was popular the next day. Jade even thinks they can get in the Loft because of Mason's (Maddy's boyfriend) increasing popularity. And they were, invited to the Loft by Heather Campbell personally.

Maddy saw the Mason who was staring at Heather and she asked it bluntly if Mason would want to date Heather if there's a chance to. Mason said no. Mason had said why would he want to date anyone else when he has Maddy, too. Maddy believed Mason.

Of course, only until she walked in on Heather and Mason making out on the bed on the Loft.

Then her mom dragged her to learn more about spiritual health, after witnessing her daughter's heart broken. Karma karma karma.

Maddy knows because of Jade (her other best friend) that karma is supposed to pay back people. Well, Maddy knows better than just to wait for karma to happen a decade or eons later; she wants it now Now NOW. Besides, Jade and Angie's ex boyfriends needed some reality call from their heavenly life anyway.

And, the Karma Club was born. The pact even promised that they wouldn't date anyone until their senior year is done (they are seniors, by the way).

Then Maddy met Spencer. Spencer Cooper is the rich and handsome guy whose parents owns the Loft that the popular kids hang out in. Somehow, just like The Great Gatsby, Spencer does not actually attend the parties. It's not his thing. More of his girlfriend.

Spencer actually isn't the rich snotty brat Maddy thinks he's supposed to be. In fact, he's sweet, really. So...there's Jenna LeRoux, Heather's best friend, Spencer's girlfriend.

Something happened and Jenna dumped Spencer, and Jenna founded the pink notebook of the Karma Club. Jenna will give it back, in exchange for the Karma Club to mess with Spencer's life.

What will Maddy do?

What I love about this book: It's funny and realistic. Hilarious. Seriously. This book makes you laugh from cover to cover, be it from Maddy's reaction to certain things or the way the Karma Club inflicts revenge to their targets. It's realistic in a way that anybody could relate to--got dumped, wanting revenge.

What I dislike about this book: I didn't dislike anything, it was fun reading this from beginning to end! :D

Jessica Brody's The Karma Club Official Page

Jessica Brody also gives away free books every Friday; some are signed copies! Check out the website here!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos

"Why did every male believe that if a woman was upset, it was because of her monthly cycle?"

My Rating: 9/10

Publisher: Obsidian Mountain Publishing
Publication: March 2010
ISBN: 9780578053394
Page Count: 280 Pages
Age Range: Young Adult

I joined Eleni's (from La Femme Reader) book tour for The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos.

The Emerald Talisman is a story about Julia. Julia who witnessed her mother went missing--but doesn't remember a single thing about it. Julia is also the girl who has the ability to feel others' emotions.

In the beginning of the book, Julia met with Nicholas in the woods. Julia had her work shift, and when her car broke down and her cell phone wasn't charged, she decided to just take a shortcut. The really crazy part was the shortcut is through the woods.

Julia fell for Nicholas quickly--either it's from kindness or from the way Nicholas is a bit harder to read. What she didn't know is that Nicholas is...well, half vampire. And Nicholas is a vampire hunter.

Then, there's Phil. Phil who brighten Julia's days sometimes. Phil who went missing.

What exactly is going on?

Pandos had brought a new story to the vampire section--one that involves the vampire hunter and even more danger to the public.

What I love about the book: The pace. It was hilarious--by now it's probably a bit obvious that I kind of like sarcastic remarks--and sophisticated. I like Julia's relationship with Jo and her family. It brings conflicts and also reveal them.

What I dislike: A bit cliche about how Julia was so attracted to Nicholas very fast and how Nicholas ignore them (no..not talking about Twilight. More about almost every other paranormal romance novels where the boys are dark and handsome and where the girls are clumsy and curious).

But it was good--not one-of-my-top-favorites-good, but good good. :D

The Emerald Talisman Official Website

The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer

"She blamed me. And now, I was going to get punished."

My Rating: 10/10

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication: January 2009
ISBN: 978-0-545-03528-6
Page Count: 341
Age Range: Children - Young Adult

Angela Cardenas isn't your typical teenager who just get in some troubles in her life. Her whole life basically defines trouble.

The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer is about Hidden Oak Academy for Dangerous Girls. Schrefer gives the glimpses of events that lead Angela to be enrolled in Hidden Oak.

All the Hidden Oak Academy girls did something bad enough for their parents/guardians to give consent to Hidden Oak's staff to do, well, anything to discipline them.

There's Dr. Zsilinska, Angela's counselor who just listens and talk in a circle. There's Juin, who has been to Hidden Oak and know all these things before.

There's Hidden Oak; the school that imprison its girls within.

In Hidden Oak's orientation, the counselors would make the girls fight among themselves to show their true colors. Then they judge whether each girl belongs to the Golden or the Purple thread.

The less dangerous you are--say, probably an emotional breakdown that made your parents think you're crazy--the more likely you'll be in Golden thread.

Angela was probably one of the most innocent, isn't she? But her motto in her whole life has been to stay as dangerous as possible. This book is about survival of the fittest in Hidden Oak; the hell of teenage crimes, and the teenager's solution to societal expectations.

What I love about this book: It was really about survival. The mystery in the beginning definitely build up the story and made you just want to read further and further. It was set in a good pace, and although it was a middle grade book (not too easy, not too hard--vocab wise) it was still thrilling. I love it.

What I dislike: The ending wasn't..exactly proper. I was hoping for...more about the Hidden Oak's fate at the end (you'll know what I mean when you read the book--since I'm not gonna spoil it for you...). I wouldn't mind reading another 50-100 pages about the ending, because it was just such an interesting book.

Eliot Schrefer's The School for Dangerous Girls Official Page

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Red Pyramid, Invisible I and Deep Down Popular Winners!

I used and here are the winners for The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan, Invisible I by Melissa Kantor and Deep Down Popular by Phoebe Stone!!!
o.o..the creepy part about this was that all 3 winners had no blog...

Jackie won The Red Pyramid!!!
Christine won the Invisible I!!!
Cassie won the Deep Down Popular by Phoebe Stone.


+ + +

Thank you for all the participants! It'll be a bit long before I give another giveaway, consider I'll be in a different part of the country...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Who wants some swag???

As you guys know, I have quite a stock of swag right now, and I love to share them! This swag packs giveaway ends on August 10!!! Any of the leftover swags will be given with any swag giveaways in the future. :)

How to get one of my swag packs:
Send me a picture of yourself holding any of the books listed below and tell me what part of the book you love most, and I'll send you some swag that you're guaranteed to love! (You can take a picture with as many books as you'd like, but please e-mail them to me just ONCE, okay?)
I'm making you guys buy/at least read the books (so yes, you can go to the library and take the picture, but the purpose of this swag packs giveaway is to promote these awesome books!) so that you know why I was so excited when I got the swags!

send your email to:

The list of books that you can take a picture with:
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (sorry guys, the poster and the tote bag won't be given away just yet)
Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner
In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth
Portal by Imogen Rose
Any books by Catherine Ryan Hyde
The Mark by Jen Nadol
Any of Angela Morrison's books

P.S: The swags I have are limited, so it's first come first serve!

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a meme by The Story Siren here.

Week: Sunday, July 25 - Saturday, July 31 2010.
Click on each title to go to the Barnes and Noble's web!!!

I'm a bit backed up on reviewing the books I received (because I have more than 30 books that I still have to review before August 16--my departure to Japan, where I'll be studying abroad for 1 year) but I have been reading books like a speed demon (but actually still remembers what I like and what I don't). So I apologize for the slight lack of update, but I'm doing my very best to get the priority done--which is reading the books first, of course, before reviewing them.


Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde (ARC) (SIGNED)
Portal by Imogen Rose
Hearts at Stake (Drake Chronicles #1) by Alyxandra Harvey
The Everafter by Amy Huntley
The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel (ARC)
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler (SIGNED)
Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles
Circle of Flight (Ellie Chronicles #3) by John Marsden
Deception by Lee Nichols (ARC) (Haunting Emma novel)


Alibi Junior High by Greg Logsted (SIGNED)
While I live by John Marsden (Ellie Chronicles #1)
The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer
Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor


The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting:
2 Signed posters
Signed bookmarks
Black Tote bag
5 black stickers
5 cover stickers
3 rubber bracelets

Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde:
25 post cards
signed bookmarks

The Thirteenth Chime by Emma Michaels:
Signed Emma Michaels business cards

The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos:
signed bookmark (received from book tour by La Femme Readers)

Portal by Imogen Rose:
Signed bookmarks

The Haunted by Jessica Verday:
Postcard, stickers and name card (go to her website and signed up for it!)

In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth:
Signed Bookmarks

Note: Some of these swag--the ones that I have more than 1, of course--will be included in future giveaways!

What's in your mailbox???
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