Bookanista Review: Slide by Jill Hathaway

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Mar 29, 2012 Under book reviews, Bookanistas, Young Adult


Here’s the official summary:

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered. 

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. 

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane. 

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

And here’s a look at the cover:


While I loved the premise of SLIDE–sliding into other people’s heads? How cool/weird/scary would that be?–I think my favorite things about the book were the complex relationships and the snappy pace. Ms. Hathaway does a great job at constructing realistic relationships between her main character Vee and the people in (and out) of her life.  A lot of Very Big Issues are touched upon in the book via those relationships (bullying and suicide, to name two), and they all felt very real to me. Vee is far from perfect–she makes mistakes, jumps to conclusions, and isn’t always the best decision-make–but that’s a big part of what I liked.  And while she wasn’t perfect, her heart was in the right place, which was most poignantly shown through her interactions with her sister Mattie.

As for the pace, well–I breezed through this book in under two days. Don’t you love it when that happens?

Now, time to see what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:

Christine Fonseca  interviews author Eisley Jacobs

Stasia Ward Kehoe gets psyched for the release of TORN

Tracy Banghart takes a shine to UNDER THE NEVER SKY




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Bookanista Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Posted by houndrat on Wednesday Mar 14, 2012 Under book reviews, Bookanistas, Young Adult

Lissa Price’s STARTERS just debuted on Tuesday, WOOT!  Here’s a look at the cover:

oooh, SHINY!

(you can’t tell on the screen, but the background is all metallic and sparkly–it was an awesome surprise when I saw the book in person!)

And here’s the official summary:


Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man. 

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator’s grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . 


First of all, it’s not just any cookie they’d kill for, but a Supertruffle–and I *totally* want one.  *drools*

Next–and perhaps a wee bit more important–oh my gosh, the concept of this book was spectacular!  As I read, Starters played out in my head like a movie, and I think sci fi movie fans  (lovers of both old-school stuff like Total Recall and newfangled flicks like Source Code) will gobble this up!

Poor Arnie....


Ms. Price thrusts you right into the story–no page after page of info-dumping here!  We start in a very tense spot, when the main character Callie first visits the sinister Prime Destinations, a company that “rents” teen bodies to Enders (they put the *senior* in senior citizen) for an exorbitant price (creepy, right? Also, *snicker*–does anyone else think that the name Prime Destination would lead to a whole new batch of terrible pickup lines?)

Callie is instantly sympathetic as a young girl who is barely scraping by in a new world devoid of guardians, one who is willing to do anything to save her brother–even if that means allowing complete strangers to take her body for a little joyride.  I loved how the mystery played out, too–that definitely kept me flipping the pages!  There was a really poignant and thought-provoking part involving the senator’s son that reminded me of why I teared up during Meet Joe Black.  And, oh man, what a TEASE at the end. Is book two here yet?  *taps foot*

If you’re ready for a fast-paced, super cool sci fi read, then definitely give STARTERS a try.


Don’t forget to see what the other Bookanistas are up to:

Christine Fonseca  interviews author Heather McCorkle

Megan Miranda gives stars to STARTERS

Stasia Ward Kehoe is giddy about GEEKTASTIC – with giveaway!

Nikki Katz praises PANDEMONIUM

Hilary Wagner swoons for PINK SMOG – with giveaway


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Before I dive into the review, I wanted to give a quick WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!  MILA 2.0 is finally off to copy edits, and yes, I’m totally doing the happy I’m Revision-Free-and-I-Know-it dance! No, I won’t be vlogging this particular dance anytime soon. Trust me when I say your eyeballs should thank me (though I solemnly swear I am not wearing a SparkleSpeedo).


I AM doing a giveaway though, WOOT!

But first, let’s take a look at CINDER by Marissa Meyer. Here’s the official summary:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl… Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future

A Cinderella retelling, featuring a cyborg Cinderella and a futuristic New Beijing?  Yes, please!  I was excited about this story the moment I heard about the premise (I mean, really—HOW COULD I NOT BE?) and oh my gosh, CINDER totally delivers. This book is So. Much. Fun.  The world Meyer paints is imaginative and stunningly visual. I love Cinder’s character—she’s compassionate, smart, and more than a little rebellious as a cyborg manifestation of the fairy tale legend. In her world, cyborgs aren’t considered full citizens, and the way Cinder questions her own worth is very poignant.  Prince Kai is a sympathetic character, as the son of a ruler who’s rushed into being a man, a boy with his own rebellious streak. Yes, the prince wants to do what’s best for his country, but without being a pawn, and the chasm that divides Cinder’s and Kai’s places in society provides oodles of conflict.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but the little twists on all the traditional Cinderella details were awesomesauce, too! And Iko, oh, Iko—your personality chip RULES!

Now for the giveaway!  I want you to win your own copy of CINDER—either a hard cover, or an ebook!  All you have to do is tell me which literary character you think would make a good cyborg, and why. Contest runs until Wednesday, February 22nd at noon PST.



Don’t forget to check out what the other Bookanistas are up to:

Christine Fonseca surrenders to THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL

Corrine Jackson delights in CHOPSTICKS

Stasia Ward Kehoe  presents a Stunning Seconds interview with A MILLION SUNS author Beth Revis

Jen Hayley gives a shout-out to the classics

Katy Upperman raves over JELLICOE ROAD

Hilary Wagner is all about LEXAPROS AND CONS – with giveaway

Carolina Valdez Miller talks about the tremendous cover of TEN













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Here’s the official UNDER THE NEVER SKY summary:



Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim. 

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be her best hope at staying alive. 

If they can survive, they are each other’s best hope for finding answers

I picked up my copy of UNDER THE NEVER SKY at a book signing in San Diego. It was the second time I got to meet Ms. Veronica Rossi, and while I was totally thrilled by that (because, you know, Veronica is SuperAwesome) I also got that little pinch of worry—the one you feel whenever you’re getting ready to dig into an acquaintance’s book.  I so want to love every story I read, but of course that can’t always happen. And when you don’t enjoy a book written by someone you admire, it’s just, well, blah.

Yeah, so I totally angsted over nothing.

UNDER THE NEVER SKY is told by two different characters—Aria and Perry—which is great. Why?  Because Ms. Rossi takes full advantage of the opportunities presented by a dual POV book, and really uses Aria’s and Perry’s different perspectives to contrast their polar opposite worlds. I love the fact that they have such unique voices—something that’s often lacking in books that tackle this narrative style. UNDER THE NEVER SKY is billed as a dystopian (though one could argue it’s more post-apocalyptic) but because of the way some people have been going all Man Vs. Wild** outside of the pods, there are these really earthy fantasy elements to the story, too. The combo of the two gives the book a super fresh, unique feel—one that I think will make it appeal to a broad audience.  Plus, there’s plenty of action to keep even the most thrill-seeking readers turning the pages.

**I thought the survival stuff was full of awesome. Almost like a futuristic Clan of the Cave Bear in a way–but without all the gratuitous caveman sex.

Ahem.  I think that’s my cue to see what other Bookanistas are up to:

Christine Fonseca  takes a shine to A MILLION SUNS

Carolina Valdez Miller falls for FRACTURE

Jen Hayley surrenders to THE NIGHT SHE DISAPPEARED

Stasia Ward Kehoe is dazzled by DARK COMPANION

Nikki Katz wonders at THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

Debra Driza is overwhelmed by UNDER THE NEVER SKY

Jessica Love gives a trophy to BEAUTY QUEENS

Shelli Johannes-Wells takes you on a tour of The Reading Room

Tracy Banghart has double-love for THE SILVER PHOENIX and FURY OF THE PHOENIX

Hilary Wagner is in the grips of THE GATHERING STORM

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Bookanista Review: HEMLOCK by Kathleen Peacock

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Feb 2, 2012 Under ARCs, Bookanistas, Young Adult


look at all the pretty!

Okay, so I just have to SQUEE a little over that fact that HEMLOCK is coming out in May:


*takes deep breathes*

*promises to save further squeeing until blog post is finished*

I have a confession—while I did recently receive and read a shiny new ARC of HEMLOCK (compliments of my awesome editor—THANK YOU CLAUDIA, YOU ROCK), it’s not the first time I’ve read it. I actually fell in love with this story back before Kathleen had an agent.

I have another confession—I loved HEMLOCK even more the second time around. Pretty amazing, since I never considered myself a huge werewolf fan–UNTIL NOW.


is anyone else disturbed by the lack of arms?

But here’s the thing–HEMLOCK isn’t just a werewolf story.  At heart, It’s a book about friendships and secrets, loyalty and betrayal, and that’s what makes it SO. FREAKING. AWESOME.  Yes, werewolves are an integral part of the scary world the main character Mac lives in, but there’s so much more to love in this book besides furballs. The mystery, the really creepy dream sequences starring Mac’s dead best friend, the complexity of the friendships Mac shares with steady Kyle, haunted Jason, and fun Serena, all combined to make this one hell of a page turner for me–despite the fact that this wasn’t my first time reading. And then there’s Mac herself—smart, funny, unfailingly loyal, and desperate to keep her friends safe—exactly the kind of narrator you can’t help but cheer for as she tries to unravel the mystery that’s tearing apart her entire town.

In an effort not to give too much away, I’m only including one of my favorite quotes (in which our awesome heroine tells off her two best friends, Kyle and Jason):

Mac: “Did it ever occur to either of you that maybe Mac doesn’t need protecting?  That maybe Mac finds your he-man acts both insulting and chauvinistic? In case you haven’t noticed, Mac is pretty good at taking care of herself.”

Kyle:  ”Why are you talking about yourself in the third person?”

(more hilarity ensues)

Have I mentioned that I love this book yet?

*excuses self so as not to break Vow of Squee-less-ness*

To find out more about Kathleen and HEMLOCK (you know you want to), visit her website at:


See what the other Bookanistas are up to:

Christine Fonseca  interviews author Denise Grover Swank

Jessi Kirby and Jen Hayley are wowed by WANDERLOVE

Corrine Jackson is mesmerized by MAY B.

Stasia Ward Kehoe  interviews DIES IRAE author Christine Fonseca

Gennifer Albin is starry-eyed for STARTERS

Katy Upperman delves into THE DISENCHANTMENTS

Nikki Katz  celebrates CINDER

Tracy Banghart  marvels at JULIET IMMORTAL

Jessica Love spotlights SHINE

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LARKSTORM (LARKSTORM #1) by Dawn Rae Miller

Here’s the official LARKSTORM summary:

In the years following the destructive Long Winter, when half the world’s population perished, the State remains locked in battle against the Sensitives: humans born with extra abilities. 

As one of the last descendants of the State’s Founders, seventeen-year-old Lark Greene knows her place: study hard and be a model citizen so she can follow in her family’s footsteps. Her life’s been set since birth, and she’s looking forward to graduating and settling down with Beck, the boy she’s loved longer than she can remember.

However, after Beck is accused of being Sensitive and organizing an attack against Lark, he disappears. Heartbroken and convinced the State made a mistake, Lark sets out to find him and clear his name.

But what she discovers is more dangerous and frightening than Sensitives: She must kill the boy she loves, unless he kills her first.


What’s your ideal YA novel?  Fantasy? Dystopian? Romance?  Perhaps all three rolled up into one delicious yet devastating package?  Then this is your lucky week!

LARKSTORM just came out in paperback, and I’m so excited to share this book with you that I’m giving a copy away!  I’ve loved this story for SO. LONG.—even in its early, pre-pubbed form, Dawn’s striking prose grabbed me and didn’t let go until the last heart-stopping moment.

Dawn created such a fascinating world and setting for Lark and Beck, and the relationship between the two of them felt so real. I love that Lark is a powerful character, and how the reader gets to experience the emotional roller-coaster right along with her.  I don’t want to give too much away, but fans of star-crossed love stories NEED this book.  N-E-E-D.


The Contest: 

Win a paperback copy of LARKSTORM by Dawn Rae Miller AND a $15 gift card to Amazon.

To enter, just leave a comment with your name, email address, and your favorite tragic love story of all time. (+1)

You can get additional entries by:

Tweeting this contest (+1)

Blogging or Facebooking this contest (+1)

BONUS:  Back when Dawn was first brainstorming titles for this book, a few of her friends came up with some really helpful (*cough*) attempts. IF you can come reasonably close to one of my spectacular title fails, I’ll give you your own free copy of LARKSTORM.

The Fine Print:

Contest ends on Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 at 6:07 pm Pacific Time.  (Okay, so I probably won’t be checking down to the minute, but still…it sounded more interesting than a round number)


(And if you don’t, you can buy your own copy of LARKSTORM here.)

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Bookanista Review: ANGELFALL by Susan Ee

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Jan 5, 2012 Under Bookanistas, Young Adult


Official blurb:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again


ANGELFALL is a self-pubbed book that I stumbled upon via twitter (thank you, Dreaming in Books blogger John Jacobson!) The premise sounded interesting, and for 99 cents I figured, what the heck?  Worst case scenario, my kids get 50 less cents each to buy Squinkies from those machines at the food court. Actually, maybe that’s a best case scenario. Anyway.

What this book is not:

A cuddly, feel-good, paranormal romance about a human girl falling in love with an angel. If you’re looking for that, you’d best search elsewhere. THESE AREN’T YOUR MAMA’S ANGELS.

What this book is:

A dark, gripping, visceral post-apocalyptic tale complete with the types of angels that will haunt your nightmares, a kick-ass heroine who won’t let anything deter her from her goal of saving her sister, and enough gore to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty reader.

The author drops you right into the story, and between the savage angel attacks, the vicious gangs that troll the ravaged buildings and whatever the unknown third horror is that shreds humans to bits in mere minutes, Penryn has her hands full just keeping herself, her crazy mother, and her wheelchair-bound little sister alive. But before the story barely gets started, a lone angel’s (Raffe) wings are severed by a flock of hostile angels, and Penryn’s sister is snatched by the attackers. What follows is Penryn’s journey as she uses Raffe’s wings as collateral to get him to lead her across the perilous remains of California to the angels’ nest, or aerie (A word I actually had to look up! Hey, ask me a dog word, and I guarantee I know it!)

Ms. Ee paints a world that is terrifying and bleak, yet not completely hopeless. The touches of humor provided some much needed comic relief, and I found the crazy mother to be one of the most fascinating characters in a long time. Also, while the main plot is tied up at the end, there are plenty of unanswered questions to make me want the sequel NOW NOW NOW. I love that while there’s a hint of romance brewing between Raffe and Penryn, it’s not the main thrust of the book—but I totally look forward to their relationship expanding in book two. Despite a few quibbles here and there, this was a compelling, if more-gruesome-than-average, read.

A couple of quotes that stuck with me, for different reasons:

“I’m an ant in the battlefield of the gods. There’s no room for pride or ego, and barely enough room for survival.”

““You’re like a little girl demanding answers to questions during a covert operation. Why is the sky blue, daddy? Can I ask that man with the machine gun where the bathroom is?

Readers who like their YA fast-paced, scary, and angel-laden should love this one!


Check out the links below to see what other Bookanistas are talking about!

Elana Johnson offers musings on her Bookanista moments

Jessi Kirby savors HOW TO SAVE A LIFE

Stasia Ward Kehoe delights in FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB

Nikki Katz is crazy for ASHFALL

Shelli Johannes-Wells celebrates January Bookanista books–plus a DISCOVERY OF WITCHES giveaway

Lila Roecker shouts for joy over SHATTER ME.


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Bookanista Review: Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Dec 1, 2011 Under Bookanistas, Young Adult

A.S. King

I’m so excited that my very first Bookanista review is for A.S. King’s new novel, EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS.  Here’s what the publisher has to say:

Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret–one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos–the prison his grandfather couldn’t escape–where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It’s dangerous and wild, and it’s a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?

Michael L. Printz Honor recipient A.S. King’s smart, funny and boldly original writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you and taking a stand against it.

First off, I want to confess that I’m a huge A.S. King fangirl. If you haven’t read her Printz Honor Book, PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ,  oh my gosh! What are you waiting for?  Because I can say with certainty: You. Are. Missing. Out.  I loved that one so much that of course I snatched this book off the shelves the second it was released (okay, so maybe they were the e-shelves, but still).

EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS didn’t disappoint. It had everything I was expecting from an A.S. King book–symbolism galore, serious subject matter, humor (King mixes the latter two unbelievably well), and of course, her signature dose of magical realism.  Don’t get me wrong–at it’s heart, this is a book about bullying, and how everyone, from kids to adults, flail when it comes to knowing what to do.  But while it’s very serious and dark at times, brutally honest and sad, it’s also not relentlessly depressing like some books on the topic tend to be.  The MC Lucky is lost, angry, and depressed, but he also has an offbeat sense of humor that’s guaranteed to make you smile from page one via his unusual choice of sociology project. Plus, the book is about finding the courage to stand up for yourself, so ultimately, the message is hopeful.

The dream sequences in the book are unlike any I’ve ever read, and even though I enjoyed Lucky’s waking moments more, they definitely formed a compelling and crucial part of the story. Overall, it was a great read–I finished in a day!

For more great reads, check out the other books my fellow Bookanistas are raving about this week:

Lisa and Laura Roecker gush about HOW TO SAVE A LIFE
Shannon Messenger raves about CINDER–with an ARC Giveaway!
Megan Miranda spreads the love for UNTRACEABLE
Corrine Jackson falls for UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Stasia Ward Kehoe celebrates MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE
Katy Upperman gets swept away by THE SCORPIO RACES



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Bookanista Book Love, November 10th

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Nov 10, 2011 Under ARCs, writing, Young Adult

Poking my head out of revisions to say Hey! I joined the Bookanistas!  So excited to spread the word on books we love to the blogosphere, WOOT!

See what the Bookanistas are highlighting today:

Elana Johnson gushes about THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS
LiLa Roecker sings for VIRTUOSITY
Shelli Johannes-Wells praises author Addison Moore
Rosemary Clement-Moore gets all wrapped up in WRAPPED
Jessi Kirby more love for VIRTUOSITY
Nikki Katz screams for LEGEND
Katy Upperman sets us all up for BEFORE I FALL


Happy reading!


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This tattoo is my favorite new POSSESSion.

Posted by houndrat on Monday Aug 15, 2011 Under contests, Young Adult

I interrupt my self-imposed revision exile to bring you this:

Whatever POSSESSed Fergie?

*Disclaimer:  No sleeping hound dogs were harmed in the taking of this photo.

Also, while I’m here–go check out MTV’s Awkward. It’s my fave new teen show by a mile.

Oh, Jenna.

Jenna and Matty...trying to DTR.

Now, back to the revision cave!!  Hopefully I’ll emerge long enough later this week to post a few SCBWI pics–especially since my pajama party costume was totally crazypants.



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