Monday, July 25, 2011

August Posts

As some of you may know, I'm currently a graduate student in clinical psychology. Seeing as I'm towards the end of my program and only have a few more (HUGE) hurdles to jump through, I'm eager to get those over with (plus, let's be honest, time is running out). With that in mind, I'm officially declaring August as Finish-the-First-Draft-of-my-Dissertation Month.

So, what does this mean for you? Uh, it depends. I know I'm not going to be able to post five new recommendations every week, but I don't want to go silent either. Here are the options I'm currently considering:

1) Post whenever I have a chance, anywhere from 0-3 times per week.

2) Make it a YA Book of the Week for August, with me posting one book each week.

3) Make each week a series week. Each week I'll post about a series I'm in love with, posting about different books on different days. Depending on how long the series is, I could be posting everyday or posting just a few times a week.

Option three will have me posting the most, but it will be easier since I've already read the series books. Usually, I try not to post about books in a series too close together so interested parties have time to read it when I mention the first ones.


PS - I'll still be keeping up with the giveaways. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Recap: July 18-22

I'm on vacation this week in a very isolated spot. No internet. No cell service. No recommendations. :D

Recap: July 11-15

Here are this week's YA Book of the Day recommendations:

Break by Hannah Moskowitz

Jonah is on a mission to break every bone in his body. Everyone knows that broken bones grow back stronger than they were before. And Jonah wants to be stronger—needs to be stronger—because everything around him is falling apart. Breaking, and then healing, is Jonah’s only way to cope with the stresses of home, girls, and the world on his shoulders.

When Jonah's self-destructive spiral accelerates and he hits rock bottom, will he find true strength or surrender to his breaking point?

Review:  I absolutely devoured BREAK (in one sitting). Crazy original concept, authentic characters, and great writing.

I highly recommend BREAK by Hannah Moskowitz to everyone, but it's particularly suited to fans of edgy fiction. Amazing book!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.

Review:  MOCKINGJAY sets the series apart as a piece of serious literature. Wow. What else can I say?

I highly recommend MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins to everyone who likes great fiction. Amazing series.

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

She doesn't see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally. 

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next.

Review:  Gripping start to a fresh, fun series.

I recommend MY SOUL TO TAKE by Rachel Vincent to fans of fantasy/paranormal and/or romance.

Take Me There by Carolee Dean

Dylan has a bad-boy past and a criminal record. He knows that rich, beautiful Jess is way too good for him—but she has always been the one person who sees through his tough exterior and straight to his heart, and he has been hopelessly in love with her from the first time they met. He would change his life for a chance with her.

But trouble follows Dylan wherever he goes, and a deadly mistake soon forces him to hit the road and leave his dreams behind. He’s on the run and in search of answers—answers to questions he wishes he’d never asked.

Review:  I'm in love with this book. Amazing in every way.

I highly recommend Take Me There by Carolee Dean to everyone. Go read it. Now.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts Schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike. 

And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart; a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom; and the unwanted attention of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny. 

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone—or something—starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects . . . Harry Potter himself?

Review:  Excellent follow up to the debut novel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. is infused with just as much magic as the first.

I highly recommend HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS by J.K. Rowling to everyone. Go read or reread it!

*Summaries provided by GoodReads

Recap: July 5-8

Short week due to the holiday. Hope you enjoy the recommendations!

New Moon by Stephenie Meyers

Shoot, I muttered when the paper sliced my finger; I pulled it out to examine the damage. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut.It all happened very quickly then.Edward threw himself at me, flinging me back across the table...I tumbled down to the floor by the piano, with my arms thrown out instinctively to catch my fall, into the jagged shards of glass. I felt the searing, stinging pain that ran from my wrist to the crease inside my elbow. Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm-into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires.Legions of readers entranced by Twilight are hungry for more and they won't be disappointed. In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist. The "star-crossed" lovers theme continues as Bella and Edward find themselves facing new obstacles, including a devastating separation, the mysterious appearance of dangerous wolves roaming the forest in Forks, a terrifying threat of revenge from a female vampire and a deliciously sinister encounter with Italy's reigning royal family of vampires, the Volturi. Passionate, riveting, and full of surprising twists and turns, this vampire love saga is well on its way to literary immortality.

Review:  The raw emotional distress makes NEW MOON difficult to read, but in a good way. 

I recommend NEW MOON by Stephenie Meyers to fans of romance. Bonus points if you like vampires and werewolves.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still. 

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos. 

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Review:  Great storyline with all the dark twists and turns we've come to expect from Cassandra Clare. Definitely does not disappoint. 

I recommend CLOCKWORK ANGEL by Cassandra Clare to fans of fantasy. Bonus points if you like steampunk or read TMI.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself by Printz medalist John Green, acclaimed author of Looking for Alaska.

Review:  Fantastic voice, funny characters, and a great story. Everything I expect in a John Green novel.

I recommend AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green to fans of literary fiction, good books, and John Green. DFTBA!

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths—for good and evil—of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

Review:  Whether you're a die-hard zombie fan, prefer the elusive unicorn tales, or love both, this book is for you.

I recommend ZOMBIES VS. UNICORNS by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier to anyone looking for great stories and hilarious banter.

*Summaries provided by GoodReads.

Friday, July 8, 2011

300 Follower Giveaway

Just wanted to remind you about the 300 Follower Giveaway:  I'm giving away a copy of THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger when I reach 300 twitter followers! 

I know what you're all asking:  How do I enter this awesome giveaway? It's easy:

- Follow me on twitter:
Make this tweet:  "You should follow @YA_BookoftheDay because..." and fill in your own reasons for following me, or why you think others should. You can change around the wording if you need to, but make sure @YA_BookoftheDay is included and a reason you like or think others should follow. 

That's it! Totally easy. 

If you've already entered, I've got you down on my list, but if you haven't, what are you waiting for?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Recap: June 27 - July 1

Another great week of YA Books of the Day:

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

Review: If THE HOLLOW was music, it'd be alternative rock: explores darker themes without going crazy & has a wonderful flow.

I recommend THE HOLLOW by Jessica Verday to fans of paranormal. Very interesting read.

Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer

If middle school stunk for Vladimir Tod, high school is a real drain. Besides being a punching bag for bullies, he’s still stalled with dream girl Meredith, and he’s being tailed by a photographer from the school newspaper. Needless to say, practicing his vampire skills hasn’t exactly been a priority for Vlad — until now. A monumental trip to Siberia with Uncle Otis is Vlad’s crash course in Vampire 101. Training alongside the most gifted vampires is exactly what Vlad needs to sharpen those mind-control skills he’s been avoiding. And he’d better get it right, because the battle brewing back home with the slayer who’s been stalking him could be Vlad’s last.

Review: Just as witty and full of vampire humor as the first, NINTH GRADE SLAYS ramps up the tension and plot twists.

I recommend NINTH GRADE SLAYS by Heather Brewer to everyone. Bonus points to reluctant readers or fans of MG and/or vampires.

Plan B by Jenny O'Connell

Coast through senior year. Graduate. Travel around Europe. Join boyfriend out East for college.

That's the plan. Then the phone rings.

Vanessa has the next year of her life pretty much figured out. Sure, there's some parental convincing to do but she and her celebrity-obsessed gal pal Taylor pretty much think their plan is airtight.

Then Vanessa's parents get a mysterious phone call and drop a bombshell on her that she never could have imagined. She has a half brother. And he's coming to live with them.

If that wasn't bad enough, this half brother is none other than Hollywood bad boy Reed Vaughn. He's famous. He's going to be a senior, too. And he's going to ruin Vanessa's life for sure....

Review: PLAN B explores "What do you do when life doesn't go as planned?" in a fun, yet serious way. Quick, satisfying read.

I recommend PLAN B by Jenny O'Connell to anyone looking for a good, fun, quick read.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."

His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

Review: There are classics and then there are CLASSICS! J.D. Salinger's THE CATCHER IN THE RYE is a CLASSIC!

I highly recommend THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger to everyone! If you've read it, read it again (I know I want to).

Inexcusable by Chris Lynch

I am a good guy.

Keir Sarafian may not know much, but he knows himself. And the one thing he knows about himself is that he is a good guy. A guy who's a devoted son and brother, a loyal friend, and a reliable teammate. And maybe most important of all, a guy who understands that when a girl says no, she means it. But that is not what Gigi Boudakian, childhood friend and Keir's lifelong love, says he is. What Gigi says he is seems impossible to Keir....It is something inexcusable — the worst thing he can imagine, the very opposite of everything he wants to be.

As Keir recalls the events leading up to his fateful night with Gigi, he realizes that the way things look are definitely not the way they really are — and that it may be all too easy for a good guy to do something terribly wrong.

Chris Lynch has written a no-holds-barred story about truth, lies, and responsibility — a story that every good guy needs to hear.

Review:  INEXCUSABLE is a chilling read that explores perspective and intention.

I recommend INEXCUSABLE by Chris Lynch to readers who enjoy realistic fiction and aren't afraid of difficult topics.

* Summaries provided by GoodReads