Friday, April 30, 2010

Pretty Little Liars Read Along #6 {Chapters 26-30} [Read Along]

Plot Summary {Chapters 26-30}:  Emily struggles with sexuality.  Decides to go for bike ride.  Finds letter she sent to Ali in spokes of her bike.  Suspects A is Aria.  Aria has dream about Ali coming back.  Asks dad if ghosts can send text messages.  Emily visits Aria.  Leaves.  Hanna gets taken to the station.  Remembers the Kate Toothbrush Incident.  Spencer can't sleep.  Goes to main house.  Parents and Melissa denigrate her. Make her move out of barn. Emily pedals from Aria's to Maya's.  Hears sirens.  Assumes Maya has cut herself too deep.  Maya runs to Emily.  Tells her they've found Ali's body.

Discussion Points:
Let's talk about how secrets affect our behaviors... have you ever had a secret that affected you the way these girls have secrets that affect their every action and reaction?
Why do you think none of the girls have run a reverse lookup on the cell phone number sending the texts?
What do you think about Spencer's parents' reaction to the Wren incident?
Who is A?

I kinda feel like the other parts were getting too difficult, so we're consolidating into one section.  You guys think that's okay?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Arson by Estevan Vega [Book Inspection] [YA]

Plot Sketch: Arson wants to be a normal boy, but he can never be completely normal because of his amazing fire abilities. He tries to be normal by working at the town's ice cream parlor. Unfortunately for him, he is the only one of his co-workers that ever does any work around the shop but they do like to get him in trouble for handing out free ice cream to his crush Mandy, the most popular girl at school. He has had a crush on Mandy for a long time, but then he meets Emery. Emery is different too. She wears a mask and he doesn't know why. That fact compels him to hang out with her by volunteering with her at the nearby hospital. When he has to choose between Emery and Mandy, Arson gets completely confused. On top of that, he has to take care of his grandmother, who is kinda bi-polar and, I believe, has Alzheimer's. His grandmother discovers something about her husband on the same day that Arson learns the truth behind Emery's mask. Will he be able to handle the high emotions?

Verdict: I really liked this book. The first couple of chapters, I found, were pretty boring. I had to push myself through them but after the first few chapters it gets much better. The plot line starts to move quicker and you slowly unravel the truth about everything that is happening.  The characters are well-developed and I easily related to both Arson and Emery.  The writing is easy to follow and is appropriate for teens.  I felt that the story was original and inspiring and I would definitely recommend this to a friend.

The Gauntlet:

Location: East Hampton, Connecticut
Main Character: Arson Gable. I could relate to him because he is different. I couldn't relate to the fact that he didn't have any friends but he is a different type of person and people can see that. I am different and everyone of my friends know it but they accept that about me. Arson wasn't accepted by people.
Favorite Character: My favorite character was Emery. She has spunk and I like that about her.
Time to Finish: A week.  Alongside all of my other school work.
Got Stuck On: Nada.
Would Change: Nothing.
Favorite Line: "Stopping his rage was impossible till he knew she was safe again." (pg. 296)
People Who Will Like This: Pyromaniacs, love-storyphiliacs, People who love comic book heroes
People Who Won't Like This: Aquamaniacs, People who hate comic books, love-phobics
Chapters: 36

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Publish Date: May 4, 2010
ISBN-10: 1615666036

Author's Website:

Acquire It:
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Changing Hands
Tate Publishing

Meet Arson:

Pretty Little Liars Read Along #5 {Chapters 21-25} [Read Along]

Plot Summary {Chapters 16-20}: Hanna tries to get Sean to have sex. He recoils. Leaves her in the woods. Practically dumps her. She steals his car keys. Emily & Maya in photo booth. Emily tells Maya about kissing Ali. Maya and Emily make out in the booth. Ben catches them. Aria talks to Noel. Ezra calls Aria and invites her over. They nearly have sex, but decide to wait. Aria gets at least seven texts from A titled STUDENT TEACHER CONFERENCE. Aria leaves Ezra's apartment. Wren visits Spencer in the barn. Spencer gives tour. Spencer kisses Wren. Wren kisses back. {I interject a squee here} A IMs Spencer in 72 point font. Spencer knows A is Ali. Melissa catches Wren and Spencer. Hanna and Mona take Sean's dad's BMW to Wawa. Race Porsche. Wreck BMW.

Discussion Points:
Do you find Sean pathetic? or admirable?
Do you think that Ben's reaction to Maya and Emily is typical of a boy in his position?
Are you satisfied by what happened with Aria and Ezra? How creepy are A's texts at that point?
I'll say it again. Spencer. Wren. Melissa. Discuss.
What do you think about Hanna's joyride?

Is there something that you would change about one character that would make them your favorite character?
What do you think about the development balance at this point in the book?

Teacher/Student relations. What do you think about Aria and Ezra's relationship now?
DUI minors. How big of a problem is the deptiction of Hanna and her crash in this book? Is it encouraging to teens?

I predict that Ezra and Aria will go all the way.
Hanna will get in trouble for her joyride.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Burned by P.C. & Kristin Cast [Book Signing Alert]

Just a quick spotlight on the next book in the House of Night Series by P.C. & Kristin Cast...
Things have turned black at the House of Night. Zoey Redbird’s soul has shattered. With everything she’s ever stood for falling apart, and a broken heart making her want to stay in the Otherworld forever, Zoey’s fading fast. It’s seeming more and more doubtful that she will be able pull herself back together in time to rejoin her friends and set the world to rights. As the only living person who can reach her, Stark must find a way to get to her. But how? He will have to die to do so, the Vampire High Council stipulates. And then Zoey will give up for sure. There are only 7 days left… "

The New York Times-bestselling mother-daughter writing team of P.C. and Kristin Cast again prove why they have become a major force in teen fiction. With over 3 million copies of their books in print, a well-publicized film option, an updated interactive website, daily-growing fan base, the Cast duo will command your attention with every page turn.

Thursday, April 29
Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing

3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR 97005

Time: 7pm

Tuesday, May 4

2740 E 21st Street, Tulsa, OK 74114
Time: 7pm

Friday, April 30
Vancouver KidsBooks

West Point Grey United Church Sanctuary

4595 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver
Time: 7pm
Tickets - $10

Saturday, May 1
Indigo Books and Music

Chapters, Downtown Victoria
1212 Douglas Street, Victoria
Time: 2pm

Saturday, May 15
Books & Books
Caymana Bay
Grand Cayman Island
Time: 7pm


collogue • \kuh-LOHG\  • verb
1 : intrigue, conspire
2 : to talk privately : confer

Example Sentence:
"If there was noise, as there often was even at dawn -- a huddle of men colloguing, a woman deliriously chanting the Mysteries -- his arrival would cause much of it to die." (Joseph O'Connor, Star of the Sea)

Did you know?
"Collogue" has been with us since the 17th century, but beyond that little is known about its origin. In Samuel Johnson's 1755 dictionary, he defined "collogue" as "to wheedle, to flatter; to please with kind words." The "intrigue or conspire" meaning of "collogue" was also common in Johnson's day, but Johnson missed it; his oversight suggests that sense of the word was probably part of a dialect unfamiliar to him. The earliest known use of the "confer" sense of the word is found in an 1811 letter by Sir Walter Scott: "We shall meet and collogue upon it."

Shut up!  We'll collogue about that later when she's not within earshot.  

Your turn!  Use your new vocab muscle in the comments section!

Pretty Little Liars Read Along #4 {Chapters 16-20} [Read Along]

Plot Summary {Chapters 16-20}:  Sean skips Nerve night for V Club. Hanna's mom gives her the jewelry set she stole.  Hanna gets note from A showing that her dad is getting remarried.  Hanna decides not to throw up. Aria plans absurdist play with Noel.  Makes plan to make Ezra even more jealous. Emily's mom confronts her about lying.  Tells her she can't quit swimming and can't hang out with Maya.  Emily goes to Kahn party with Ben.  Sees Aria.  Follows Maya into woods.

Discussion Points:
  • Hanna's mom bought her the necklace too?
  • Hanna's dad is remarrying and didn't tell her?  But it doesn't drive her to bulimia.  She's fabulous.  Discuss.
  • Sex scene.  With Noel? Do you think that'll get Ezra's attention?
  • Do you think that parents know what's best for children when it comes to giving up on extracurriculars like Emily's swimming?
  • Okay.  Spencer and Wren.  Is this going to happen or what?  Is he still into Melissa?
  • Maya and Emily sittin' in a tree?
  • Emily and Aria spoke, did Aria chicken out in telling Emily about A?
  • Favorite still favorite?  Why?
  • Emily's mom doesn't like Maya's family because they're black?  Um. Hello?  2005 when this book was written.  How often do you guys still run into this type of bigotry?
  • Ali will show up in the next five chapters.
  • I'm jumping on the Spencer and Wren train.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

PARTY by Tom Leveen [Book Signing Alert]

This is a little late, and I'm sorry, but I wanted to give you local Arizona peeps a heads up about the official launch for PARTY tonight at Changing Hands.  Watch the trailer, tell me what you think about it!  The signing is at 7pm.  I'm going to make a solid effort to get there!

A List of Current Giveaways Here At I Heart Monster [Giveaway]

Enter before it's too late!

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer on audiobook ends 4/30 (3 winners, US & Canada physcial addys only)
Poetry Speaks: Who I Am hardcover with audio CD ends 5/4 (1 winner, US only)
Mother's Day non-fiction giveaway ends 4/30 (1 winner, US only)
If I Stay by Gayle Forman signed paperback ends 5/30 (1 winner, Worldwide)
Everlasting by Angie Frazier swag ends 5/31 (3 winners, Worldwide)
Twenty Boy Summer signed paperback by Sarah Ockler ends 5/31 (1 winner, Worldwide)

Pretty Little Liars Read Along #3 {Chapters 11-15} [Read Along]

Plot Summary {Chapters 11-15}:  Hanna lunches with Mona.  Sees Wilden.  Tells Mona about shoplifting.  Eats sweet potato fries.  Bulemia relapse?  Spencer aces PSATs.  Wins Star Power.  Asks for barn as reward for PSATs, relegating Melissa and Wren to Melissa's old room.  Mike tells Aria that Noel likes her.  Aria decides to show off her intelligence to keep Ezra's interest.  Aria gives oral report, is stopped by Ezra. Stood up for by Noel.  Ezra jealous?  Spencer still freaked out by the "covet" email.  Emily and Spencer meet in awkwardness in the caf.  Emily goes to the pool.  Fights with Ben.

Discussion Points:
  • Okay, how screwed up is Hanna?  Shoplifting.  Bulemia.  Are both attempts at controlling unpredictable life events?
  • How much do we hate Melissa?  How proud are we of Spencer?  What's with Wren's winks an nudges and the introduction of the new boy Andrew?
  • Can we discuss how Byron asked Aria to keep his secret and what impact that's having on Aria?
  • Where the heck is this omnipotent A?
  • Is Andrew a viable suspect for A?
  • OMG, what is "the Jenna thing" already?
  • Do you think that Ben's actions in the pool will have impact on Emily's decisions with Maya?
  • Is your favorite still your favorite?
  • How are you feeling about the character development now?  Do you feel that anyone is more or less developed or that there is an imbalance in development?
  • How do you feel about the number of characters in this book?  Do you have a hard time keeping them straight?
  • Is Ezra jealous of Noel?
  • Do you think there is too much strong language in this book?
  • I think that Andrew is going to try to kiss Spencer at some point.
  • I think Emily is for sure going to hookup with Maya.
  • Add yours!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Books That Intimidate Us [You're The Expert]

We all love lists, and when I saw the opportunity to share with you three books that intimidate me provided by Lost In Books, I thought I'd go right ahead and join in this week.

Here are my three books:

  1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  I loved the Hobbit.  It was amazing.  But Tolkien's voice completely changes between Bilbo's adventure and Frodo's, and I have never been able to completely read all three novels in The Lord of the Rings.  This is especially intimidating because they're Monster's favorite books and he rereads them at least once a year.  
  2. The Koran.  I've tried to read it several times, and I can never focus long enough to get through it.  I figure that I'm culturally intimidated by this book because a lot of people in my life look down on Islam because of bigotry stemming from 9/11, but I feel like I have an incomplete concept of the religion due to this intimidation.  *Please note that this is just me being honest about being intimidated by a book.  It's not me complaining about a religion other than my own.  I wish i could get through it, for personal development and open mindedness's sake.  I have nothing at all against Islam or its practitioners. 
  3. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.  This book has been on my bookshelf for soooooo long.  I'm intimidated by it in several ways.  First: It's size.  Second:  The raving reviews I've read.  Third: It's cover.  Fourth: The allusions to it's mc being super hot.  I think I'm scared it's been too hyped and that I won't enjoy it because my expectations will be too high - similar to what happened to me with The Hunger Games.  BUT, I've ordered the audiobooks of this trilogy, and Monster and I are going to listen to them on our roadtrip next month.  *fingers crossed*
Now, leave a note in the comments to tell us what books intimidate you, or what you think about the books I've selected for my list.  Better yet, write your own post and link it up at Lost In Books.

Pretty Little Liars Read Along #2 {Chapters 6-10} [Read Along]

Welcome to Day 2 of the Pretty Little Liars Read Along!

From this point on, there will be spoilers, so if you haven't read these books, you may not want to read the questions or the responses below.

Plot Summary {Chapters 6-10}:  Emily recalls kissing Ali.  Air kisses Maya.  Spencer gets in hot tub after practice.  With Wren. Wren massages her to help her loosen up.  Spencer runs away.  Hanna tries to seduce Sean. Sean runs away.  Cops come over Tiffany. She gets arrested.  Gets off?  Find out Aria caught her dad cheating.  Aria approaches Ezra.  Ezra says no to Aria.  Maya entices Emily to ditch swimming.  Confesses she might be into girls.  Emily runs away, but can't peel her eyes off of Maya.

Discussion Points:
  • In the chapter where Emily receives her note from A, it talks about playing Spit on the deck.  Have you ever played Spit or a variation thereof?  
  • Spencer. Wren.  Discuss.
  • Looks like Rosewood Day is a private school.  In Chapter 8, we find out that there's a tuition to be paid.  How much do you think it is?
  • Let's talk about Sean's virginity pledge.  What are your thoughts on pledges like this and what do you think Sean's motivation behind the pledge is?
  • We find out that Hanna doesn't need to shoplift, yet she does it anyway, and if we're to believe our reading from yesterday, she does it regularly.  Why do you think she shoplifts if her mom pays her Amex bill?  
  • Now let's talk about Hanna's mom.  How cool was she at the police station?  What did you think about the events that transpired there?  Even though she was cool, do you think Hanna's mom did the right thing?
  • Um, Aria, Ezra, nowhere?  Color me sad.  You?
  • What did you think about waterfall, Maya, and Emily?
  • Is your favorite still your favorite?
  • How are you feeling about the character development now?
  • What are you thinking about these girls and their actions at such a young age?  Realizing it's fiction, do you think that this is an accurate depiction of your average privileged junior in high school?
  • Why do you think that some of the parents are referred to as Mr. and Ms. and others by their first names? Like Byron.  
  • Let's chat about the teacher/student thing some more, and what you think about what Ezra said to Aria.  
  • Let's also chat about Maya and Emily and whether or not you think they'll experiment?
  • I'm sticking to my previous predictions... what are YOURS?
Hey here's a tip for those of you participating... there's a Subscribe by email link near the IHM heart in the lower right-hand corner of the comments box.  If you click that, it'll let you subscribe to the comments in this post via email and make it a little easier for you to keep up with what others are saying!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pretty Little Liars Read Along #1 {Chapters 1-5} [Read Along]

It's Sunday the 25th!  We're kicking off the Pretty Little Liars Read Along Today!

If you haven't signed up yet, and don't know what we're doing, check out the original Pretty Little Liars Read Along post.  You're not behind, and you can totally still read sixty-six pages today, right?

Watch out below in the comments - there could be spoilers!  This plot summary is major-bullet-point, but tomorrow's might be spoilerish.  Just a fair warning!

Plot Summary {Prologue + Chapters 1-5}: In seventh grade, five bffs, Alison, Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna, are at a slumber party. Ali, the leader of the pack, decides she'll be hypnotizing her friends. When they wake up, she's gone. Days follow, months follow, years follow. She's still nowhere to be found. Ali's parent's move away. Maya's parents move in. Emily meets Maya, smokes pot for the first time. Aria moves to Iceland. Moves back. Gets it on with Ezra. Hanna loses weight. Becomes shoplifter. Befriends Mona. Spencer tries to be as perfect as Melissa. Is second-perfect. Can't move into barn because Melissa is moving back, with Wren. Aria goes back to Rosewood Day. Sees Noel. Sees Hanna. Finds out Ezra is really Mr. Fitz. "Holy Shit."

Discussion Points:
  • Let's talk about how Abercrombie Rosewood appears to be.  I mean, I counted three instances of "Abercrombie" in the first five chapters (and I wasn't really counting, so I could be wrong).  How do you think Rosewood compares to where you live?  Do you think it's a realistic setting? It seems small, and is described as a "small suburb of Philadelphia," so is it big enough to have a Tiffany store? I'm doubtful.  I'm thinking that if you can go streaking in a field and not get arrested, it's probably pretty small.   But you tell me.
  • Next, let's discuss Rosewood Day.  Did I miss something?  Is it a private school?  Or is it public school?  Was there a reference to another jr. high/middle school/high school in town?  Do you know what a Fulbright Scholar is? (I had to look it up, so I linked it for you in case you were in the dark too)
  • The tagline on the front cover says, "Nver trust a pretty girl with an ugly secret."  How many secrets have there been so far?  Do all four girls have a secret? 
  • We're just starting to get into the plot, but do you think that Aria's text from "A" is from Ali?
  • What do you think is going through Mr. Fitz's mind at the point where we stopped? (besides OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG)
  • Tell me about character development so far.  Do you think that you know enough about Emily, Spencer, Hanna, and Aria?
  • Who is your favorite so far? Which one do you relate to the most so far?
  • Okay, student hooks up with teacher, right?  How do you feel about this right now?
  • Ezra will not break it off with Aria.
  • Alison is not dead.  
That's all I've got.  What do YOU think will happen?

Saturday, April 24, 2010


weak·ness  [week-nis]   –noun

1. the state or quality of being weak; lack of strength, firmness, vigor, or the like; feebleness.
2. an inadequate or defective quality, as in a person's character; slight fault or defect: to show great sympathy for human weaknesses.
3. a self-indulgent liking or special fondness, as for a particular thing: I've always had a weakness for the opera.
4. an object of special desire; something very difficult to resist: Chocolates were her weakness.

See that?  It's my picture next to the definition of weakness, for I have a weakness for the Amazon Bargain Books section.  A very very special fondness, and something very difficult to resist: Bargain Books are my weakness.

First.  The one I'm most excited about.  PERFECT CHEMISTRY by Simone Elkeles.  Everywhere I turn I see raving reviews of this one.  I even bought a copy last year as a prize for someone, but haven't gotten my hands on my own copy... until now. And at $4.00, it's a total steal. ($9.99 - $4.00 = $5.99 savings or 60% off)

A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Next, I found The Amanda Project: INVISIBLE I which seems quite intriguing to me. It's a mystery, and I like mysteries... especially YA ones. So, $6.80? Steal. (16.99 - 6.80 = $10.19 savings or 60% off)

Amanda Valentino changed everything.

Callie Leary has exactly one thing, and one thing only, in common with Nia Rivera and Hal Bennett: They were each chosen by Amanda to be her guide. When Amanda arrived at Endeavor High, she told Callie she moves around a lot and always picks one person to help her navigate the choppy waters of a new school. Why did Amanda lie?

Following a course that they suspect Amanda deliberately plotted, Callie, Nia, and Hal piece together some cryptic clues. But they find more questions than answers and quickly realize that before they can figure out what happened to Amanda—the girl who changed their lives—they'll need to solve the most important mystery of all: Who is Amanda Valentino?

Last, but certainly not least, I found THE EVERAFTER by Amy Huntley. It's always intrigued me, and has only been out for eight months or so, and I was surprised to see it in the bargain section. (16.99 - 6.80 = $10.19 savings or 60% off)

Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this—she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can reexperience—and sometimes even change—moments from her life.

Her first kiss.

A trip to Disney World.

Her sister's wedding.

A disastrous sleepover.

In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and sometimes frightening truths about her life—and death.

This is a haunting and ultimately hopeful novel about the beauty of even the most insignificant moments—and the strength of true love even beyond death.
I am weak.  This post is part of Archives of Our Lives' Saturday Steals roundup, so why don't you head over there and see what other deals folks have gotten, you know, besides me and my penchant for cheap books that are on my wishlist. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare! [You're The Expert]

When I woke up this morning, I'll admit that I had no idea today was William Shakespeare's birthday.  It's also his deathday.  Did you know that evidence suggests that he was born and died on the same day of the year?  There's also a huge debate as to the actual day of his birth, and if you're interested in reading all of the historical evidences, check out Mad Shakespeare.

Anyway, since it's Willie's bday and all, why not tell us about your favorite Shakespearean works? Leave a comment letting us know what your favs are!

My favorite play to read is As You Like It.  I read this last year for the first time and adored it.  I've read it a couple of times since.  My favorite play to watch, however, is A Midsummer's Night's Dream.  I love the ethereal quality.  It just makes me happy.  I've seen 8 different productions of it, and I go every time I see that there's a production nearby.  Totally heart it.  Oh, and my favorite sonnet?  Sonnet 18:
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

C'mon, share your favorite Shakespeare with us in the comments section!  You're the expert!

Gearing Up For A Pretty Little Liars Read Along! [Read Along] [Announcements]

I'm really excited about our Pretty Little Liars Read Along! If you missed the announcement, check out the original post and sign up to join us. You still have time to stop by the bookstore and pick up a copy of the book and read along with us. We're doing five chapters per day, starting this Sunday, the day after tomorrow.

If you've already read the book and want to join in the discussion, we'd love to have you. Just stop by every day next week and add your two cents to the posts!

Here's a sense of what the post's format will look like:
Pretty Little Liars Read Along Day One {chapters 1-5}

Plot Summary: (I'll write a little plot summary here to help those of you who have read and don't know what happens in which chapters, and for those of you who get carried away and read ahead!)
Discussion Points (1-2)
Discussion Points (1-2)
Discussion Point if applicable
What I think will happen next, and then we can discuss. Also a place for you to make your predictions and tell me how wrong I am.
If you have anything that you'd like to add to the format or you think would be better arranged or whatevs, just comment or send me an email. We're new at this Read Along thing and totally open to criticism and suggestions. I promise we won't be mad if you tell us something sucks about this process or that we're doing something the dumb way!

Each post will go up at midnight Arizona time, and all posts will stay open forever to comments in case you get behind, 'cause we know life happens.  We still want you to come and discuss with us though if you get behind.  I'll be hanging out in the comments all day, and am totally interested in what you guys have to say.

If you have any questions about this Read Along, let me know in the comments section or by emailing me and I'll both answer you and update this post with the question and answer. Thanks for trying this out with me guys!

*WINNERS* MONSTER Birthday Party + TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler (signed) [Giveaway]

At long long last, we're able to announce all however many winners of our MONSTER Birthday Party giveaways!!  We'll be taking the weekend off, and emailing winners on Monday!

SCARRED by Julia Hoban (signed)



HUSH, HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick (signed)

MERLIN'S HARP by Anne Eliot Crompton
Lisa Clawson


THE LIFE OF GLASS by Jillian Cantor
(the state flower of Arizona is the Saguaro Cactus Blossom.  I accepted all answers that had some variation of that answer for the extra point {even cactus flower})

ACROSS THE POND by Storyheart

SILVER PHOENIX by Cindy Pon (signed)
(the song reference was indeed Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice, and I accepted all variations of that title, the artist, and the language that referenced it in the post for the extra point!)


SISTERS RED by Jackson Pearce (pre-order)

DAWN OF THE DREADFULS by Steve Hockensmith
Stella (Ex Libris)


INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher

signed hardcover & preorder: Momo
signed audiobook: Chloe

Charlene M

Kelsey O
Anita Yancey
Stacy Stew

Stormi who doesn't want THE SUMMONING, so it goes to...StephTheBookworm

Pam @ Bookalicious
sue b

Grand Prize: The Book Vixen
Runner-Up (book of choice from author list)Tiffany
Assorted Swag Winners: Sylvia, heatwave16, ninefly, GattaSiamese, Anne J, Diana R, EvaSB, Lindsay F, misusedinnocence, Samy

THE BODY FINDER by Kimberly Derting 
The Book Pixie

LENORE: WEDGIES by Roman Dirge
Nathan Battles

LOCKED INSIDE by Nancy Werlin
Martha Lawson

HOT AND IRRESISTIBLE by Dianne Castell (signed)
Nancye Davis

BEASTLY by Alex Flinn

THE IRON KING by Julie Kagawa

PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White (preorder)
Lynsey Newton


ARC of KISS OF DEATH by Rachel Caine (signed)

CRESCENDO by Becca Fitzpatrick (preorder)
Good Golly Miss Holly

Congratulations to all of the winners!!!

If your address was in the form, your prizes will be on their way by the end of next week (we still have to package and address all of these!).  If your address was not in the form, please contact me asap with your mailing information so that I can mail you your prizes!

Guess what?  Sarah Ockler was super generous to donate a signed copy of TWENTY BOY SUMMER to the prize category, and we held it back for last.  So, yep, here's another giveaway!  Win a signed paperback of Sarah Ockler's debut.  Ends 5/31.  Open worldwide.  You lucky devils you.

"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
"Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

CTRL+click this link to open form in new tab.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Earth Day Today! How Are YOU Celebrating? [You're The Expert]

We ♥ Earth Day!  This year, we're celebrating by planting some snapdragons, purchasing a few more reusable grocery bags, and by adding another eco-site to our Google Reader.  Since this is a bookish blog, and bookish people read, we though we'd spotlight a few of our favorite green blogs that you might not know about.  Hey, let us know how you're celebrating Earth Day in the comments section, and if we're missing out on any great Green blogs too, after all, you're the expert!

If you're interested in Earth Day, conservation, or the like, make sure you're not missing these:

Grist is one of the most useful and interesting sites that I subscribe to.  It's got interesting lists, and a lot of tidbits that I feel that I miss in the mainstream.  They seem to know what's going on in other industries like fashion, food, and are knowledgeable about current events, making them extremely relevant in my life.

We've been subscribers of The Green Guide since before National Geographic bought it a while ago.  To make themselves more eco-friendly, they quit sending guides in the mail, and migrated everything online.  They're a great source for information, and their blog in very interesting.

Cool Green Science by The Nature Conservancy puts out a daily Cool Green Morning post linking to nature-oriented news.  Some of it bores, but a lot of it is great.

The United States Forest Service puts out press releases via RSS to keep you up to date with what's going on with US national forests near you.  I've found a couple of great events and tips this way, and the updates are sparse, not overflowing my reader with useless information.

The Daily Green is a plethora of information, and an environmentalist's haven.  If you're interested in anything green and aren't checking this site, you need to start!  I love that you can subscribe to only certain parts of the blog, like New Green Cuisine, or Ask An Organic Mom.  It lets you get what you want from the site and nothing more.

A recent discovery of mine, Sustainablog, writes an interesting daily post that always seems to open my eyes in a new direction.  It's a great recent discovery of mine and I would be remiss if I didn't share it.

Eco-Chick not only has her own book out, but the tagline for her blog is Because Mother Earth Is A Woman.  For us girls, this blog is a do-not-miss.

Our new site for today is Groovy Green.  We like the site design, and the title, so thought it might be a fun addition to our daily sites.

Okay, it's your turn!  How are you celebrating Earth Day?  Any earth-oriented blogs that should have been on our list?  You're the expert, share!

Firefly Rain by Richard Dansky [Blog Tour] [Horror]

Description: A riveting supernatural mystery like you've never read before.

The prodigal son leaves the big city to return to his dearly departed parent's house in North Carolina only to find, now that he's home, that something is trying to make damn sure he stays there--even if it means burying him out back.

In a small town with dark secrets, one man struggles to find a way out before the spirit of the town can find a way in.

Marking the debut of our brand-new imprint dedicated to showcasing the best new voices in speculative fiction, Firefly Rain is one of the most chilling, unique ghost stories ever penned. Mystery lovers will devour the clues. Fantasy readers will be sucked in by the magical atmosphere. No one will be able to put it down--until the very last twist comes to light.

Author's Website:
Author's Bio:

Acquire It:
Book Depo
Changing Hands

Angie Frazier of EVERLASTING [Debut Interview] [Giveaway]

Hometown: Keene, New Hampshire
Astrological Sign: Gemini 
Favorite Author: Jane Austen
Favorite Vacation Spot: Dominican Republic (so far!)
Favorite Animal: Horses
Favorite Movie: The Last of the Mohicans
Favorite Musical Artist or Group: U2
Favorite Painter: Monet
Place You Desperately Want To Travel: Australia, of course!
Place Most Likely To Inspire: Museums
A Little About Your Book In Your Own Words: Well, I have Everlasting buttons that say, “Secrets, Sailors, and Scoundrels. Oh My.” Secrets, because everyone seems to be hiding something. Sailors, because, well, Oscar is a hot sailor. And Scoundrels, because there are a handful of those in the book as well…my favorite “good” scoundrel being Ira Beam, the Australian conman who befriends Oscar and Camille. Who doesn’t enjoy a handsome scoundrel or two? ☺

EVERLASTING debuts June 1st, 2010.
Preorder at Amazon

Wanna win some EVERLASTING swag?  Angie has graciously sent me three sets each of a button and a signed bookmark for giveaway!  Enter your dets below to win a set!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bookish Gift Ideas For Mom [Gift Guide] [Giveaway] [Brainstorm]

Did you know that Mother's Day is on May 9th this year? Better get your thinking caps on and get your gifts selected for mom! Here are a few pretty fun ideas if you've got a groovy mom with a bookish streak in her... and if you've got a better idea (which I'm sure you do!) please share it with us in the comments section.  We'd love to get a huge brainstorm going on down there.

1 Why not get your mom started on a great series that you like?  Books are always great gifts!  Don't know where to start her?  How about these (hover to see descriptions!:

2 If mom's not that into fiction, but loves to bake, check out the oh so cute, oh so affordable Cupcakes! book that Amazon has on sale for $1.30.  I recently got my copies and have to say the cakes look yummy and are totally fun.

3 If you're not comfortable picking out a great book for mom, why not try this adorable ribbon bookmark, or one similar from Denileeo Designs?  It retails for just $6 plus $2 shipping, and that's international! (less shipping if you're in the US)  There are plenty more designs to pick from, just click the pic below and it'll take you to the listing.

4 Into doing your own handmade gifts?  Don't forget about the post where we featured the Craftzine method of turning a beloved yet decrepit old book into a groovy journal!  Make one for mom, but make sure you get permission before you rip apart any of her books.

5 I'm thinking a bouquet of flowers paired with a book off your mom's wishlist would make an amazing gift too.  Mom doesn't have a book wishlist?  You still have time to chat her up and find out what's on her to-read radar.  And then, when you see her, talk to her, chat her up via IM, with her on Mother's Day, convince her to sign-up for Goodreads.  (or LivingSocial's Visual Bookshelf on Facebook, or whatever reading website you're using these days...)  What better gift than to be able to keep tabs on what's going on in your literary life and be able to interact with it?

6  Mom into nonfic?  Lots of them are.  Enter to win this five-pack of Nonfic titles from FSB Media (thanks guys!) by entering your details into the form below, as always, if there's a title you don't want, just check it off of the form. (hover on the titles to see descriptions)  Oh, and we won't tell if you keep them for yourself either.  It'll be your little secret ;o) (this bundle is worth close to $80 if bought from Amazon and over $110 in stores)

Mark whichever ones on the form off that you ARE NOT interested in, and we'll give them to a runner-up!

CTRL+click this link to open form in a new tab


frowsy • \FROW-zee\ • adjective
1 : musty, stale
2 : having a slovenly or uncared-for appearance

Example Sentence:
"Just a little effort and elbow grease applied to a frowsy courtyard, patio or side yard will reap rewards year round." (Elizabeth Bettendorf, St. Petersburg Times [Florida], April 6, 2007)

Did you know?
The exact origins of this approximately 330-year-old word may be lost in some frowsy, old book somewhere, but some etymologists have speculated that "frowsy" (also spelled "frowzy") shares a common ancestor with the younger, chiefly British word "frowsty," a synonym of "frowsy" in both its senses. That ancestor could be the Old French word "frouste," meaning "ruinous" or "decayed," or the now mostly obsolete English word "frough" or "frow," meaning "brittle" or "fragile." The English dramatist Thomas Otway is the first person (as far as we know) to have used "frowsy" in print. In his comedy "The Souldier's Fortune," published in 1681, the character Beau refers to another character as "a frouzy Fellmonger."

She looked over at her arch-nemesis, Ally, and quipped,"My, don't you look positively frowsy today?"

Your turn, use your new verbal buffness in a sentence in the comments section!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's A YA Community Thanksgiving [Bloggy Events]

I think that YA authors are some of the most awesome and lovely people in the world.  You guys are accessible, honest, and create magic.  You are the purveyors of awesome. I am thankful for you.

I am thankful for the characters that these authors have written.  Some of these fictional people have changed my life.  Some have made me see another side of an issue I thought I stood firm on.  Some have made me become a more compassionate person (I don't trend toward compassion).  Some have made me really angry, which you might think is a good thing, but really, that anger has been a path to self-discovery and self-realization that I wouldn't have tapped if it wasn't for these characters.

I am super-thankful for the publishers that finally caught on that there was a market for YA and who have bought and distributed the aforementioned awesome.  You've made my love for books grow to something bigger than I had ever imagined, and you totally rock.

I am thankful for the bookish Twitter community and how anytime I seem to get on with a problem, there's someone there with an answer.

I am thankful for this community where I feel supported, I feel respected, and I feel loved, even when I don't agree with everyone.  You guys - the readers and commenters of our blogs, fellow bloggers, authors, publicists, and everyone else that doesn't get named and is underthanked, need to know that I am thankful for you and for all you do to make our community strong, diverse, and happy!

I also want to say that I did start naming names in this post, but decided to take them out.  There were too many.  Just know that if you're reading this, I'm thankful for YOU.  I'm thankful for the unique and totally rockin' perspective you wield and the amazing person you are.  Thanks for being part of a bright spot in my life!

Check out the original post and others at Persnickety Snark.

Rachel Caine on Tour for KISS OF DEATH! [Book Signing Alert]

Even though none of these events are in my town, I think it's important to let you know they're happening, especially since they're for one of our favorite authors here at IHM, Rachel Caine!

She'll be on tour promoting her latest book in the Morganville Vampires collection, KISS OF DEATH at these stops in California and Texas.  if you're in any of these cities, you have to go.  If you haven't started reading about Claire, Morganville, Shane, and Amelie, what are you waiting for?  Go to the signing, pick up a copy of Glass Houses and get your vamp on, Rachel Caine style.

Rachel will be at the LA Times Festival of Books April 24-25th!

Tuesday, April 27th (*launch party!*)
7:00 PM
Mysterious Galaxy
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111

Friday, April 30th
7:00 PM
965 West Bethany Dr.
Allen, TX 75013

Friday, May 7th
6:30 PM
Murder by the Book
2342 Bissonnet St
Houston, TX 77005

Saturday, May 8th
2:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
1430 Plaza Place
Southlake, TX 76092

Necessary Heartbreak by Michael J. Sullivan [Blog Tour]

Description: An extraordinary journey back in time shows a struggling single dad that the faith he’s lost is still alive—and stronger than ever. . . .
Michael Stewart has weathered his share of hardships: a troubled childhood, the loss of his mother, even the degradation of living on the city streets. Now he’s raising his teenaged daughter, Elizabeth, on his own and doing the best he can at work and at home. But he’s turned his back on his faith—that is, until the morning Michael and Elizabeth volunteer for a food pantry at their local church. While storing boxes in the basement, they step through a mysterious door . . . and find themselves in first-century Jerusalem during the tumultuous last week of Jesus Christ’s life. It is a dangerous and violent place, where doing what your heart tells you is right can get you imprisoned—or worse—and they are thankful to take refuge with a kind widow. But when they come face-to-face with Judas Iscariot and the condemned Christ himself, Michael realizes that before they can escape Jerusalem, he must experience history’s most necessary and shattering heartbreak—and that pain and loss must happen if Michael is to be set free: to live, love, and reclaim the blessings he has in the present day.

Check out the author's website,, and check out the book at Simon & Schuster.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Your Words Have Impact. Own Them.

Human beings come equipped with opinion. It is our evolutionarily-marvelous/god-given (you pick, this is not the current debate) complex cerebral cortex that allows us to combine logic and reason with feeling and reactive emotion to establish a stance on an issue. Being social creatures, we want to share these thoughts, these opinions, with others. This effectively taints their paradigm before they've had the chance to obtain the proper experience necessary to form a pure one of their own. This is not malicious, it is human nature, and is inherently important because devoid of this practice, we'd have less capacity to prioritize and establish a desire to experience the world and all it has to offer. We are a species of trial and error, deciding what to try through either research, experience, or recommendation, which is why the following anecdote bothered me so much.

I stumbled on an article at the Telegraph, titled Leading academics in bitter row over anonymous 'poison' book reviews today and thought it was important that I share it with you. Basically, some academics in Britain received bad reviews on their work via Amazon from a reviewer using the psuedonym Historian. After a one-star review, one of the authors, Professor Robert Service, decided to investigate to see if he could find out any more information about the reviewer. After some digging, he found another alias, Orlando-Birkbeck to be the culprit. Naturally, since Orlando Figes, a prof at Birkbeck college, is an academic rival, he was fingered as the cowardly anonymous reviewer.

In the email sent to several colleagues including Mr. Figes, Prof. Service stated, "Gorbachev banned anonimki from being used in the USSR as a way of tearing up someone's reputation. Now the grubby practice has sprouted up here. How to expunge the practice and expose the practitioners of malign electronic denunciation in countries of free expression is, I think, a matter for debate." Orlando Figes did not turn out to be the culprit, his wife did.

I think that Prof. Service has an extremely valid and wholly important point. Think back to the many inappropriate reviews you've found on Amazon. The ones that thrash a book because of its ebook price, or the ones that add a one-star review with a one-sentence, "I didn't like it." Even though you can flag these for removal, they still impact a book's star- rating. Though I feel that online anonymity is important for safety concerns, if you take it upon yourself to share your opinion, own it. Sign your name/distinct alias to it. Be willing to defend it, and afford people a means to disagree or contact you about it. If you're not passionate enough about your opinion to want to defend it, then do us all a favor and don't share it. Be responsible about where you post your review. Remember that even though you're not face-to-face with an author or publisher, your words have impact. You have a responsibility to provide a recourse for rebuttal. Be honest. Be true to yourself. Preserve this wonderful virtual space by being as real and accessible as possible; don't discredit it by littering it with anonymity.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Generation Dead & Pretty Little Liars + More [Saturday Steals]

I got some great steals this week...  I'm kinda proud of them.  What can I say?  I like to shop, so when I get awesome steals and then get to share them with you guys, it's like a triple bonus!  Yay.
First up.  GENERATION DEAD by Daniel Waters!  I'vehad this on my wishlist for a pretty long time and was totally stoked to see the hardcover go on sale for $6.80 ($16.99 - $6.80 = $10.19 savings or 60% off).  Here's the description:
Phoebe Kendall is just your typical Goth girl with a crush. He's strong and silent...and dead.
All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren't staying dead. But when they come back to life, they are no longer the same. Feared and misunderstood, they are doing their best to blend into a society that doesn't want them.

The administration at Oakvale High attempts to be more welcoming of the "differently biotic." But the students don't want to take classes or eat in the cafeteria next to someone who isn't breathing. And there are no laws that exist to protect the "living impaired" from the people who want them to disappear--for good.

When Phoebe falls for Tommy Williams, the leader of the dead kids, no one can believe it; not her best friend, Margi, and especially not her neighbor, Adam, the star of the football team. Adam has feelings for Phoebe that run much deeper than just friendship; he would do anything for her. But what if protecting Tommy is the one thing that would make her happy?
And what's more?  I got the sequel, GENERATION DEAD: KISS OF LIFE, for $6.80  ($16.99 - $6.80 = $10.19 savings or 60% off) too!
The phenomenon that's been sweeping the country seems to be here to stay.  Not only are the teenagers who have come back from their graves still here, but newlydeads are being unearthed all the time.  While scientists look for answers and politicians take their stands, the undead population of Oakville have banded together in a group they're calling the Sons of Romero, hoping to find solidarity in segregation.

Phoebe Kendall may be alive, but she feels just as lost and alone as her dead friends.  Just when she reconciled herself to having feelings for a zombie -- her Homecoming date Tommy Williams -- her friend Adam is murdered taking a bullet that was meant for her.  Things get even more confusing when Adam comes back from the grave.  Now she has romantic interest in two dead boys; one who saved her life, and one she can't seem to live without.
Oh and then, you saw how we're going to have a PRETTY LITTLE LIARS Read Along starting a week from tomorrow, right?  As elizabeth was so kind to point out, the paperback version of the book is on sale at Amazon for $3.49 ($8.99 - $3.49 = $5.50 savings or 61% off).  Such a total steal that I bought another copy.  If you're interested in reading along with us, you should snag a copy up for yourself!
Everyone has something to hide—especially high school juniors spencer, aria, emily, and hanna.  Spencer covets her sister's boyfriend. Aria's fantasizing about her English teacher. Emily's crushing on the new girl at school. Hanna uses some ugly tricks to stay beautiful.  But they've all kept an even bigger secret since their friend Alison vanished.  How do I know? Because I know everything about the bad girls they were, the naughty girls they are, and all the dirty secrets they've kept. And guess what? I'm telling.
I also picked up a few items for gifts.  "Gifts?" You ask, "In April?"  Well, yeah, I start my Christmas shopping a wee bit early on oh... December 26th.  Hey - it makes the season more enjoyable and a lot less stressful for me (not to mention less expensive).  Here we go:

FAIREST by Gail Carson Levine for $2.80.  ($6.99 - $2.80 = $4.19 savings or 60% off)
Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to be pretty . . .

Aza's singing is the fairest in all the land, and the most unusual. She can "throw"t her voice so it seems to come from anywhere. But singing is only one of the two qualities prized in the Kingdom of Ayortha. Aza doesn't possess the other: beauty. Not even close. She's hidden in the shadows in her parents' inn, but when she becomes lady-in-waiting to the new queen, she has to step into the light—especially when the queen demands a dangerous favor. A magic mirror, a charming prince, a jealous queen, palace intrigue, and an injured king twine into a maze that Aza must penetrate to save herself and her beloved kingdom.
BEASTLY by Alex Flinn for $2.80. ($8.99 - $2.80 = $6.19 savings or  69% savings) You can check out the book inspection for this one if you're interested.
A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.
CUPCAKES! by Elinor Klivans for $1.30.  ($16.95 - $1.30 = $15.65 off or 92% off)  Um.  I bought three.  {one *might* be for me}
What's short and sweet and cute as a button? Cupcakes! And everyone loves 'em! Trusted favorites at picnics, potlucks, and bake sales, cupcakes go equally well at relaxed and informal gatherings or at elegant parties. Here are 50 scrumptious ways to bring smiles and those nostalgic memories back faster than a kid can lick the batter off a beater. Try a Cinnamon Sugar Puff Cupcake—they go from mixing bowl to oven to one happy taker in less than an hour. Who needs a peanut butter cup when there's a peanut butter cupcake in the house? Ethereal Lemon Angel Cupcakes soar even higher when served with some fresh seasonal fruit. With tips and techniques for perfect cupcake-making, basic "head-start" recipes, and gorgeous photographs, it's time to get out the baking pans and join the cupcake craze. These diminutive cakes may be small but they stand tall in the world of sweets.
STUD MUFFINS by  Judi Guizado, Gilda Jimenez, & Shari Hartz for $4.79.  Laugh all you want, but the two people I bought this for?  They'll totally adore it.  ($18.99 - $4.79 = $14.20 savings or 75% off)
A full-color girlfriend's gift cookbook featuring creative muffin recipes with unforgettable serving suggestions. Each recipe is delivered by a sexy man-a stud muffin-who will give you a heart-pounding sugar rush. Thousands of men auditioned for the opportunity to showcase these quality goods with hardly any apron strings attached. The practical recipes are delicious and the stud muffin descriptions are guaranteed to be just as delectable. Fifty recipes include Orange You Cute Muffins, Midnight Snack Muffins, Secret Center Muffins, and Give Me S'More Muffins, to name a few-all hot and ready!
I really hope you enjoyed this installment of my Saturday Steals... and hope that you'll join in the fun by checking out the other Saturday Steals posts linked up at Archives of our Lives and/or by participating yourself!  Remember, it can be whatever you bought this week, or last week, or last year, that is worth more than you paid for it - either fiscally or emotionally.  As you can see, I got a little eensy weensy bit carried away this week. But can you blame me?