Adieu for now, my wonderful blogosphere. (Random ARC's?)

Haha, now that's what I wished my birthday cake looked like...

I turned 16 yesterday, and who knew this year would be so different? I guess you guys can already guess what I'm going to say from the title, BUT IT BREAKS MY HEART. I really, really, REALLY didn't want to do this but with SATs, 5 AP tests, 2 IB tests, setting up other stuff this year, etc., it seems like I'll have to take a very extended leave. I absolutely love the blogosphere though, so I definitely hope to come back next year or maybe this summer. However, in the meantime, I suppose it's adieu for now... )':

I may post back periodically with some books I absolutely LOVE, but very rarely if at all. Gah, I know I kind of died out there with the last post, but here are just a few books I have that if you'd be willing to review, I'd be willing to pass along (all 2010 ARC's; sorry I got lazy with the authors):
- Trickster's Girl
- Hunger
- Crusade
- The Candidates: Delcroix Academy
- Stork
- Dead Beautiful
- The Mockingbirds
- Nightshade
- Beautiful Darkness

The official form this time is on the bottom. And I'll probably randomly draw a few people in a week or two and that'll be that. Only stipulation is that you pay for shipping fees, sorry! Open to anyone anywhere and, yes, that includes those invisible aliens on Mars. ;)

Also, just one thing that's keeping me super busy is a new organization my friends and I are currently setting up called Crafts4Change. It's currently still a group of high school and middle school clubs but we're working on it. If you're interested in supporting our cause, we just started selling SNSD (aka Girl's Generation) shirts today and all proceeds will either go towards donation to an international charity (TBA) or crafts-making sessions with children living in poor DC districts. You can purchase shirts HERE and visit our website here (still under construction). //end shameless promotion

So adieu for now my lovely bloggy friends and I hope to see you soon! Please don't forget little me. <33333

And... I'M BACK?!

So, do you still remember me? :)

Before I go on, I have to first start with the pre-requisite SORRY!! Gah, and I had August all planned out for my brilliant first blogoversary (which passed a little over a week ago) - but, alas. I still have some books that were mailed to me, so I'll definitely be promoting, and after I try to contact the authors who I got interviews from, giving away them in a two-week giveaway-fest. I'm a failure, sorry; but I'll try to make it up to you guys! I also have some reviews that I need to post for books I received in July...

So what basically happened is that from late July to almost all of August, I was in China volunteering. Our program was originally scheduled to take place in Shitai, Anhui but due to some intense flooding, the program was pretty much canceled a week before we planned to leave. *cue IMPENDING APOCALYPSE panic* The preparations for the trip had been going on for months, so we frantically scurried around during that last week, edited lesson plans, made new travel arrangements and such, and luckily found a new place in Linyi Shandong. No excuse, of course, but that's my life and I'll do a personal post sometime soon, in which I'll post some pictures. The students were great; the bathrooms - not so much.

Anyways, I can't fit everything into this post, unless I opted overload your brain with a two-page post. Like:
• how I finished Mockingjay two days ago and... ASKJDHER?!!!?!! (My thoughts exactly.)
• how I am a reasonable and reasonably-terrified driver that has yet to venture onto the all-conquering beast, THE INTERSTATE.
• how my graphite, 3g KINDLE 3, aka my first ereader, will be arriving on Thursday - so excited! :D
• how I'm a junior and therefore an official International Baccalaureate student with an incoming avalanche of homework (otherwise known as the "how will I manage my blog dilemma?" and definitely less commenting. :( )
• how I want to start a business now but am not sure what I should sell...
• how I feel like giving away some late 2010 ARCs if you would be willing to pay for shipping (more info soon if there's interest?)

As for the 700 followers and Shadow Hills swag contests, I picked winners before I left for the trip but never got around to announcing them. I'll make the official announcement soon.

Whew, so much to say, so little space. If YOU had something to say to me over the summer, please email me again! I had no internet access for 99% of my trip and I haven't quite gotten used to checking my email again... so it's not that I don't like you, I just didn't see you. Please email me, and I'll try to respond ASAP.

And that about wraps it up. I'm off to change my policy about ebook reviewing (Have I told you how PSYCHED I AM TO GET MY FIRST KINDLE?!!! Oh, right, I have. If you bought a Kindle 3, I'd love to hear about it!) and then to practice viola. I MISSED YOU GUYS and I'm looking forward to coming back to the blogosphere, though whether I'll be able to stay during the school year is a matter for another day. More posts coming soon to this blog near you! <33

Giveaway: Shadow Hills swag!

HAPPY RELEASE DAY TO SHADOW HILLS! To celebrate, Anastasia Hopcus has generously emailed me some pretty Shadow Hills bookmarks, pins, and magnets to give away. You can read my review of Shadow Hills here and my interview with Anastasia here. And, of course, you can read the summary here...

Summary: from {goodreads}
Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

Shadow Hills is an intriguing mix of Greek mythology, mystery, romance, and a hint of suspense. From page one, readers will be sucked in to the captivating world

THREE (3) winners will recieve four Shadow Hills bookmarks, a magnet, and two pins.

· To enter, please fill out the form below
· Open to U.S. & Canada addresses (if your friend is willing to ship to you, it's fine)
· Ends on Thursday, July 23, 2010 at 12:00PM EST
· For more info, please view my Contest Policy

I'll be out of the country starting July 24th. You don't have to leave your mailing address below but if I email you and you don't respond by Thursday night, I may have to mail the swag after I come back in mid-August.

700 Followers Contest - ARCs

Please note that COMMENTS ON THIS POST ARE NOT ENTRIES. Enter here.

Sorry, sorry for not posting much this week! I didn't really expect life to be so hectic with my entrepreneurship program and driver education but I'm basically working from 7:30AM to 9:30PM, then add on the business plan due Friday... right. I'm also getting behind on email, though I'll definitely try to get through them this weekend! Thanks for bearing with me. :)

Anyways, here are the ARCs that I've decided to put up for the 700 followers contest...

· Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart
· Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
· Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
· Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
· The Candidates by Inara Scott
· Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

I hope you're looking forward to reading these! Don't forget to enter the contest, which ends TOMORROW FRIDAY (sorry for the double change, I'll be finalizing the business plan like crazy tomorrow night). Look on the right-hand sidebar for the contest link and enter, enter, enter! You know you want to. ;)

Review: Other by Karen Kincy

Karen Kincy's website here // $9.95 from {amazon}
Publisher: Flux (July 1, 2010)
Paperback: 336 pages
Summary: from {goodreads}
Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. Most Americans don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Others, especially not the small-town folks of Klikamuks, Washington. As if this isn’t bad enough, Gwen’s on the brink of revealing her true identity to her long-time boyfriend, Zack, but she’s scared he’ll lump her with the likes of bloodthirsty vampires and feral werewolves.

When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate-into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her. As she hunts for clues, she uncovers more Others living nearby than she ever expected. Like Tavian, a sexy Japanese fox-spirit who rivals Zack and challenges her to embrace her Otherness. Gwen must struggle with her own conflicted identity, learn who she can trust, and-most importantly-stay alive.
Rating: View my rating system.

My Thoughts: Other is a thrilling debut by Karen Kincy. It’s chock-full of sweet romance, unrelenting danger, nail-biting action, and a certain kickass half-pooka, a refreshing change from the common vampire/werewolf theme. Other’s main detraction is its cumbersome beginning, but if you’re willing to hold through to the end, you’ll find a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that will likely prove impossible to put down.

The first half was difficult and frustrating to read for two reasons: 1) the awkward introduction and 2) Gwen’s prejudice against werewolves. Karen Kincy makes a decent attempt at developing Gwen’s teenage voice but it came across as contrived and, frankly, unauthentic. The liberal use of sarcasm and, er, kind of lame jokes sadly only serve to drag out the beginning. Fortunately, the writing quickly picks up and becomes smoother and more believable. But despite the better writing, Gwen’s perception of all werewolves as horrifying criminals continued to irk me for what felt like an extremely long time. I can understand a bit of prejudice, but Gwen constantly preaches how Others should be treated fairly – she even has a blog endorsing equal treatment – then turns around and is an exact example of why people continue to hold stereotypes against Others. Gah, it’s so hypocritical I could barely stand it. Luckily, Gwen’s hypocrisy only comes up a few times (the few pages I skipped) though I still felt she was occasionally shallow and never fully connected with her. Overall, my relationship was Gwen was both ying-and-yang; she’s not a detraction nor is she very annoying, if a bit dramatic. When she finally overcame her paranoia, I could finally and completely enjoy the book in all its glory. And it certainly does have its glory in a certain fox-spirit boy...

Getting past the rocky beginning, the end was gripping. Karen Kincy weaves an intriguing mystery with nail-biting action, but what really cinched the deal for me was Tavian. I would willingly go against Gwen’s insane pooka skills if I had a chance with Tavian, no joke. He’s only a couple inches over five feet but “don’t mess with me or my girl” fierce when he’s protective. He makes an adorable fox and is unbelievably sweet, sensitive, dorky, and funny. Oh, and did I mention he’s a Japanese Johnny Depp look-a-like? Right. I can’t say to what extent Tavian has made me biased in my opinions of Other, though I can say he’s topped my list of swoon-worthy nice guys. Setting Tavian aside, Karen Kincy definitely knows how to make a climactic ending with guns, blood, and the unexpected twist and how to keep the reader hooked as the clues fall into place.

Romance: A little kissing and sex. Nothing detailed but clothes comes off. AND I <3333 TAVIAN. :D
Cover: 4.5 -- It's very mysterious and matches the story perfectly. The cover makes red hair, golden eyes, and freckles look gorgeous; I can't say how happy I am that the publishers didn't just slap on a generic pretty face.
Writing: 3.0
Characters: 3.5
Plot: 4.0

Bottom Line: Other is a fairly solid debut that starts off rough but evens out and shines at the end. I love the mystery, love interest, and interesting setting (ie. paranormal creatures) much more than the characters or writing, but if you're looking for a fast-paced, unique paranormal read, I would recommend trying Other.

Source: Sent by the publisher for review.

In My Mailbox (21) & NYC

I mentioned that I went to NYC last weekend... and STRAND IS AMAZING. It's like heaven in a tall building and between wooden floors. If you haven't been there yet, YOU NEED TO. No if, and, or buts about it. :D

I even saw some books that have yet to be released, such as Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus* (sorry the pic is a little shaky - you can see I'm about five shelves above the floor and I am a wimp with heights):

(Isn't it gorgeous? ♥)

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins -- cannot believe I didn't read it until now! A must read.
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
The Seven Rays by Jessica Bendinger
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
No and Me(ARC) by Delphine De Vigan -- I like the ARC cover but I saw the real book at Strand and it looks like the UK cover with the black house and blue background.
Dangerous Neighbors(ARC) by Beth Kephart

After visitng Strand and shopping for a while, my sister and I pigged out at The Brooklyn Diner in Times Square. Yes, that's a 15-inch hot dog; yes, I came really close to throwing up. But it was totally worth it. Then we went to go watch Chicago on Broadway, which was much more risque than I was expecting - but my sister handled it well. ;)

So that's it! What did you get this week? Leave me a link and I'll be sure to check it out.

*P.S. If you're anticipating Shadow Hills, watch out for a Shadow Hills swag contest this week!

The Saturday Network (24)

WHAT IS THE SATURDAY NETWORK? The Saturday Network is meant to be a quick, easy way for you to network your blog and, more specifically, get comments! All you have to do is comment on the previous blog and, in return, you're guaranteed a comment by the next participant. We all love comments, right? :)

I also randomly feature a Saturday Networker every week, and it could be you!


First, I'm so, so sorry for the lack of posts this week! There's just been so much going on, including cramming for and getting my driver's permit yesterday. *happy dance* If you see a driver on the road that moves at about 5mph and looks like she's possibly in danger of crashing, that may be me. WATCH OUT. I've also been in charge of getting my summer volunteer group for music up-to-date and it's been drama, drama, DRAMA. You'd be surprised by how passionately a certain teenage boy cares about classical music... and how much others want to rip his head off. I'm also starting an entrepreneurship program on Monday but the posting (and hopefully commenting) should be back to normal, whew. Sorry for the late Saturday Network too; we were having our final volunteer training session this morning. :)

Oh, and thanks to all my lovely fellow anime-movie watchers! I read all of your comments and suggestions and I'm glad I'm not the only Howl's Moving Castle lover - which would be such a sad tragedy. I'll do a follow-up post sometime!

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: I'll be extending my 700 followers contest to Thursday because I won't really have time to look through the entries before then. I'll be announcing the ARCs that are up for grabs on either Monday or Tuesday, so check back!

Anyways, back to the featured blogger again! This week's featured blogger is Cara (SN#27) from Chasing Words. She's a fellow YA book blogger that gives detailed ratings and has an adorable layout. She recently posted about her favorite fictional YA boys, which I couldn't agree more with! ;D

To Participate:
1. Submit your blog to Mr. Linky in this format:

Blog Name - Child/MG/YA/Adult/ALL; R
(genre(s) you review; R = if you feel your blog is for mature audiences only, 18+)
Blog link

 ie. Books At Midnight - MG/YA

2. Head to the blog listed before yours and comment on his/her most recent post (or the previous one if it's rated R and you're under 18). Thoughtful comments are appreciated, but if you really can't think of anything to say, feel free to just drop a line and say "hi!"
3. That's it! I encourage you to visit more blogs and I hope you find a blog to enjoy! :)

And if you'd like to grab and post the button anywhere, you can find the code on the right side-bar, thanks!


Anime Movies: My Top & My Thoughts

The world is against me. First it refuses to let me post a vlog, next it's no internet and major headache. I was planning on posting reviews but though I've literally read about 10 books in the past few days, I'm just not... feeling the review? So I've decided to post about some anime movies to spice things up - woo! Basically the movies I love, what I'm thinking about watching, and what I've just started.

First off, HAYAO MIYAZAKI. If you haven't heard of him, under which rock do you live?! The white pebbled one over there or the rocky one I found today in my driveway? THIS MAN CAN DO NO WRONG IN MY BOOK. No joke. He has awesome instrumentals and graphics too. :D

My absolute favorite is Howl's Moving Castle, which is definitely a must-see. The art is stunning, the music is unbelievably catchy in addition to beautiful, and it has solid lessons mixed in with a bit of romance. It may be that I love this one the most because I'm a complete sucker for happy endings and innocent romance - okay, so I rewinded and watched the one quick kiss about 20 times - but that makes it perfect for fans of Disney movies. I included the movie poster below because it has pretty movie snapshots but the DVD cover, which I own, is a bit more bland. This is a movie I'd show my kids (if I had some), though I'd watch out for some bombs. It does say war is very, very, very bad.

If you're looking for more, I'd watch the classics: Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, which I've actually never watched but have heard is great. I've watched many more though and the oldies-but-goodies I'd recommend are: Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind (snapshot below) and Princess Mononoke. The older ones are a bit more graphic though and shouldn't be watched by a younger audience. Still, if you're up to a little gore, I was surprised by how good the graphics still were.

Another pretty recent one I've watched is The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. It's also a pretty well-known one and one that I thought was pretty good. It can get a bit sad and bit slow at the beginning, but overall the graphics are appealing and there's some interesting originality to the plot.

Here's a quick list of some anime movies that I've heard are EPIC but have yet to watch (if you're interested): Akira, Vampire Hunter D, and Ghost in the Shell. They all lean toward the slightlier heavier side with darker art, so I haven't really worked up the nerve to watch those yet.

\And, finally, what I'm watching now: 5 Centimeters Per Second. It sounds like a heart-rending love story and I'm getting the tissues ready as I type. I've heard it's realistic but oh-so-good. Fingers crossed and I'll report back! I'm also looking into another of Makato Shinkai's movies, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, though I haven't started it yet. It's on Netflix on Instant Play though! ;)


So what about you? Do you have any anime movie recommendations or thoughts? Anything you're watching now? I'd love to hear! :)

Harlequin's Calling Girls 13-17!

Whew, I just got back from NYC this morning and read until 4:30AM. So I'm way too tired right now to do anything legit (I'll post pictures and my review of Other by Karen Kincy soon). On the bright side, I finished a number of books including The Hunger Games, which I just bought in paperback. AND IT IS AMAZING. I don't know how I survived so long without reading it. I'm definitely going out and buying Catching Fire now. And if you haven't read it yet, READ IT! :D /end rave

Moving on to real news, I received an email today from Cecilia about the Harlequin Teen Panel. I looked into this over half a year ago but it was full - unfortunately. But now it's open again to new members, so what are you waiting for? Free books, input on book campaigns, and more! I'm a huge fan of The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, and I'm signing up as I type. Harlequin's also published great books such as The Soul Screamer series by Rachel Vincent and Intertwined by Gena Showalter, so if you're: 1) a girl, 2) 13-17 years old, and 3) live in the United States, definitely check this out!

Here's the message from Cecilia:

How to Join: We are looking for girls from age 13 to 17 who live in the USA and who love to read young adult fiction books. We do need your parent’s consent—it’s a legal thing. Visit to find out more about the Harlequin Teen Panel and how to join.

What do you do as a member? You’ll be contacted at least once a month via email with a survey or discussion about books and other topics. You should also know that we created our panel for market research only, which means I’m not going to sell you anything--ever--I’m only interested in getting your honest opinions.

Here’s what some of the members of the Harlequin Teen Panel have to say:

“I love to read; this is a great way to read books before they come out or even influence them” – Harlequin Teen Panelist

“So far I love being one of your members. The books are great and I have been sharing with my friends. They would also love to join.” – Harlequin Teen Panelist

Are you interested? Visit to join now!

The Saturday Network (23)

WHAT IS THE SATURDAY NETWORK? The Saturday Network is meant to be a quick, easy way for you to network your blog and, more specifically, get comments! All you have to do is comment on the previous blog and, in return, you're guaranteed a comment by the next participant. We all love comments, right? :)

I also randomly feature a Saturday Networker every week, and it could be you!


Thanks for the comments last week! It seems like all of you liked the new Mr. Linky version, so it's here to stay. And I've been getting behind on the comments and posting a little, but I'll get back on it once I get back from my NYC trip - which will definitely include a stop by Strand. So excited! :D

As a heads up, there won't be a post tomorrow because my computer is screwing up. RIGHT WHEN I DID MY FIRST VLOG, gah. But I'll work through that again when I get back. Feel free to participate in The Saturday Network on Sunday too! There won't be a featured blogger this week, sorry, but there will be next week.

To Participate:
1. Submit your blog to Mr. Linky in this format:

Blog Name - Child/MG/YA/Adult/ALL; R
(genre(s) you review; R = if you feel your blog is for mature audiences only, 18+)
Blog link

 ie. Books At Midnight - MG/YA

2. Head to the blog listed before yours and comment on his/her most recent post (or the previous one if it's rated R and you're under 18). Thoughtful comments are appreciated, but if you really can't think of anything to say, feel free to just drop a line and say "hi!"
3. That's it! I encourage you to visit more blogs and I hope you find a blog to enjoy! :)

And if you'd like to grab and post the button anywhere, you can find the code on the right side-bar, thanks!


Author Contests & News

In lieu of The Weekly Debate, I decided to do a post about awesome author contests and news in the past week because, I admit it, I hardly ever talk about book news. I hope this post is of some use! :)


To celebrate her new book trailer for The Dark Divine, Bree Despain is hosting a book-bag contest (international) with tons of awesome ARCs and the possible giveaway of an ARC of the sequel The Lost Saints and a 16GB iPad. The more views her trailer gets, the larger the prize. Here's the trailer, which is a pretty epic 31 seconds:

Courtney Allison Moulton is offering one of the first ARCs of Angelfire (international) - signed! There will also be second and third place winners who will win a free book or two.

Elizabeth Scott is giving away FIVE sets of ah-mazing Simon & Schuster books. Including Fallout by Ellen Hopkins and a signed copy of The Unwritten Rule. S&S is also throwing in an extra ARC and a tote bag, so what are you waiting for?

Lisa Desrochers just started her July contest. Enter for a chance to win a signed ARC of Personal Demons or some other great July debut book (ie. Other, The Ghost and the Goth).

Shari Maurer is giving away a copy of her newly released book Change of Heart and a Class of 2k10 BEA shirt.

Ally Condie is offering US readers a chance to win a signed ARC of her debut book, Matched (US only).

Rebecca Maizel is giving away a signed ARC of Infinite Days. There have been glowing reviews of this one, so don't miss out!

Andrea Cremer is asking readers to ask HER questions. She'll choose five questions to answer in next Tuesday's post and those FIVE askers will receive an ARC of Nightshade each.


Tera Lynn Childs, author of Forgive My Fins, announced that bloggers' comments during the Fin Fest led to her donation of $174.75 to Oceana. Yay to saving the planet!

Kimberly Derting revealed the GORGEOUS cover of Desires of the Dead, the sequel to The Body Finder, on Tuesday.

Michelle Zink is offering a free bookplate to anyone who owns or buys a copy of Prophecy of the Sisters in paperback. She also posted the Guardian of The Gate trailer.

Rachel Vincent revealed the UK covers for her Soul Screamer series. Personally, I think they're stunning and wish we had them in the US. Though I don't really like that they all have "Twilight fans will love it" printed in big font... She also hinted that the US cover for My Soul to Steal will be revealed soon.


Anastasia Hopcus, author of Shadow Hills, posted "An Ode to the Awesomeness of Bloggers!" <3333

Cynthia Hand, author of Unearthly, talks about why she doesn't like angels being seen as the "new vampire." View her post "Hot Topic".

Maggie Stiefvater posted "Death by Ham: Playing the Odds of Getting Published," on why the chances of getting published isn't the problem - the quality of the book is. (Pss: She also has her Shiver website up, where you can download the theme songs for Shiver and Linger for free!)

Tessa Gratton posted "Guts of a Writer". Feeling depressed with your WIP/queries/etc.? This will be the post to cheer you on.

ALA: Me, My Friend, & A Trusty Bag

So on Sunday I attended the ALA annual conference in D.C. and now I'm reporting back with some pictures. I was supposed to bump into some bloggers like Tara (The Bodacious Pen) and Angela (Bookish Blather), but it was kind of overwhelming and - oops - it slipped my mind to be on the lookout! I did meet some amazingly nice authors though... And these pictures were all taken with my cell phone, so excuse some bad quality.

6:45 AM: Since I can't get my driver's permit until July 3rd, my mom picked my friend Katie up and drove us to the metro.

Picture of Katie I took at the metro station after the long, toilsome day was over.

7:50 AM: We arrived at the metro station in DC and had an amazingly nice duo of librarians (one was from Cali, wow!) walk us to the convention center. Because, of course, I HAD to leave my Google-mapped directions to the convention center at home. Once we arrived, I went to go pick up my badge while Katie registered. Running-around-the-building ensued then as we tried to secure small pamphlet #2 with an exhibit map. I considered getting Starbucks but there were too many early morning caffiene-addicts in line, so we went down, sat near the exhibit entrance, and started highlighting the booths we (or more like I) wanted to visit and signings we wanted to attend.

9:00 AM: EXHIBITS OPENED. Neither Katie nor I had been to any sort of convention before and it was WAY bigger than I expected. We kind of walked around looking like awed ducks. The Scholastic, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and other YA book booths were all in the mid-2000's aisles, so we started heading to that area but were stopped by the Candlewick Press booth. They had Stork, which was on the wishlist I made, and a couple other interesting ones. I almost didn't get Stork because I was waiting for the wolves fellow convention-attendees near the ARC table to move away - until I realized they weren't going to move as long as ARCs still remained. So then my planned method of "asking before taking any ARCs" kind of flew out the window and I dove in there; Katie was a much more aggresive grabber than me. Pretty much all of the booths had clearly labeled their display copies with "display" and the ARCs with "free, please take!" so it made it much easier.

I'll skip the quick ARC-grabbing we did on the way, but just after we grabbed copies of Clockwork Angel (I was surprised at how calm it was), we saw Ellen Hopkins! Aka amazing author of Crank and Fallout. She wasn't scheduled for anything on Sunday, so we kind of jumped her and asked to take pictures. She took us maniacs in stride though, and she even asked if the booth staff had any copies she could sign for us! Unfortunately no, but Ellen was so incredibly nice and a great start to the day. (I saw her again in the bathroom later but gave a "I might know you and you may see me but I'm don't want this to be embarrassing" smile.)

That's basically what I looked like.

And this is the part where the trusty bag comes in. I WOULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED WITHOUT THIS BAG. Katie and I luckily stopped by just as Harlequin was handing out these cute and BIG bags below:

Trusty bag on right, Vladmir bag on right (from purchasing books at Penguin).

Throughout the day, people kept asking me where I got it and for the directions to the booth. If you're reading this, publishing companies, please remember to splurge on bags at conventions. People want BIG bags for lots of books. No one asked my about my small Vladmir Todd bag, which is cute but small. Good bags = the best publicity.

10:30 AM: Time for Andrea Cremer and Ally Condie's joint signing! Again, we were surprised by the number of people in line. But their books are definitely worth all the attention they garnered. Again, amazingly nice authors and Andrea remembered me from our emails (for hush-hush purposes)! I think I was awkward and smiling way too much but they kinda went along with it.

You can see the too-excited-smile trend for the rest of the day...

We then lined up for the John Green and David Levithan line, which was already spanning across 5 aisles. It went slowly at first, but the Penguin reps then cut out the part where John/David (I feel like I have to say their first names with their last times) would pose with us. So 50 minutes later, I walked away with two more awesome signatures and a four-books-heavier bag.

After, Katie and I listened to Laurie Halse Anderson's reading of Forge for a while then walked around looking at booths. The novelty of free-and-AMAZING galleys was dying at that point along with our arms. We stopped by HarperCollins and saw Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's Dash & Lily's Book of Dares and Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution - but couldn't take them. *sniffle*

1:00 PM: Back to the Penguin booth for Elizabeth Scott's signing of Grace. LOL, she's funny and writes awesome books. She immediately commented on my shoulder-killing messenger bag and proceeded to take this picture:

At this point, Katie and I had already grabbed about thirty books - each. We slowly trudged upstairs, stuffed all the books we could into one Harlequin bag, and checked it into the coat & baggage check. SO MUCH BETTER. We then headed off to lunch where we were ripped off on a tiny pizza for $9. I passed on the $4 cup of soda.

2:30 PM: Reinvigorated and back to the exhibits! Katie and I did a couple more signings, picked up a couple more books on my wishlist, then we decided to head back around 3:30. Just as we were about to leave we spotted The Cat in the Hat, so of course we had to take a picture (sorry, it's blurry):

The walk back to the metro was TORTURE, but we made it. All I can say is: I can't wait to drive. 5:30 PM and I'm back at home and never more grateful for a comfy bed.

I'll go into more detail in my In My Mailbox post this week, but here's a quick picture of what I got:

It doesn't look like much from this angle, but I counted for a total of... 40 books! Recall: grabbing-mania at the beginning. Despite all my complaints and sore shoulders, ALA was incredible and I'll definitely have to make it to BEA one day! :D

Winner: $60 CSN Store Gift Card

Thank you to everyone who entered and to Alexandra and CSN stores for sponsoring such an awesome giveaway! I asked "what would you buy if you won?" and a majority put down bookcases - no surprise - though there were also some lamps, shoes, and Le Creuset items thrown here-and-there. Without further ado, the winner of the $60 gift card is:

Congrats, Alyssa! I'll be emailing you soon. And for those of you who didn't win, feel free to enter my 700 followers contest for a signed copy of Paper Towns by John Green and a mystery ARC. It's international, so go, go, go! :)

Review: The Half-Life of Planets by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Emily Franklin's website here, Brendan Halpin's website here // $11.55 from {amazon}
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (June 15, 2010)
Hardcover: 256 pages
Source: ALA
Summary: from {goodreads}
Liana is an aspiring planetary scientist... and also a kissing addict. This summer, though, she plans to spend every kissworthy hour in the lab, studying stars. Hank has never been kissed. He’s smart and funny and very socially awkward, because he’s got Asperger’s syndrome. Hank’s plan for the summer is to work at a music store and save enough to buy the Fender Jazzmaster he craves. What neither Liana nor Hank plans for is their fateful meeting... in the women’s bathroom at the hospital. But their star-crossed encounter could be the very best kind. Two veteran YA authors tell, in alternating chapters, the story of two kids who discover that the best parts of people can’t be summed up easily.

Rating: View my rating system.

My Thoughts: The Half-Life of Planets is a perfect summer read with a bit of depth and a lot of fun, adorable fluff. The unique perspectives and dual narration are strongly reminiscent of David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, though the sunny beach setting alleviates the tension and sense of urgency seen in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist; instead, soothing coffee shops and hand-holding teenage couples replace the dark streets and beach-side walking takes the place of frantic cabs. And ultimately, regardless of much you do or do not enjoy The Half-Life of Planets, it's tale of innocent and awkward first love is certain to leave you with a wistful smile on your face.

There's Hank, the boy with Asperger's syndrome. There's Liana, the girl with a kissing fetish. Then there's them together. Hank and Liana came off as authentic teenagers with their understandable adolescent insecurities and family troubles - Hank with his dead father and normal brother and Liana with her distanced mother and preoccupied father. With their shaky past, Hank and Liana are both looking for normalcy and support and that's what they're tentatively trying to find in each other. However, it's not a smooth road and Hank and Liana's engaging voices and thoughts immediately drew me into their dilemmas. The writing is spot-on with my fellow teenagers' speech and mentality and proved to be my favorite aspect of The Half-Life of Planets; it kept me hooked on the book when the plot lulled. The dual narration also flows smoothly and efficiently. We get a glimpse of why Liana is skeptical of love and why Hank is unsure of it, and I loved seeing both of their perspectives on the same event with the slight narration overlaps at each transition.

Despite The Half-Life of Planets's light premise, it works in some depth with Hank's Asperger's syndrome and the resulting lessons. During Hank's narration, there's an evident lack of body language analysis and he speaks, outwardly and inwardly, in a blunt, archaic, over-formal, and hard-to-describe way. It's surprisingly endearing and as the book progressed, his tendencies become less-and-less noticeable; it just becomes Hank. I definitely felt more strongly for Hank than Liana, mostly because Hank is awkward but adorably quirky while Liana is kind of like every other girl I know - minus a kissing obsession. But maybe that's the appeal. However, while Hank and Liana were very strong characters, I would have liked to see more of their families. Their family members are there enough to cause drama and impart the intended message, but they felt a little two-dimensional; as in, Liana's dad is always worried about his health condition. And he flies around the country to give lectures. Period, done.

Still, The Half-Life of Planets had me completely engrossed for the majority of the book. There's nothing especially stand-out about it and the plot moves incredibly slow, but I still couldn't put it down. I suspect the main cause was the authentic YA voice, though the fact that it's just the right time for an idyllic, carefree summer romance can't hurt. The end wraps up very fast compared to the rest of the story but it's sweet, it's promising, and it's satisfying. Really, this is the perfect type of book for a "holding hands and walking along the beach and sunset" cover - with a guitar, of course (Hank's focus on music). Overall, The Half-Life of Planets is such a feel-good, enjoyable read with sprinkling of solid lessons about self-acceptance and self-identity.

Romance: Holding hands, light kissing. There's a bit of kissing, but that's about it. I'd say it's safe for the book recommend age range of 12 and up, though be mature to handle some mentions of sex, "slut," and masturbation. Mentions, not actual blow-by-blow descriptions of the event.
Cover: 2.0 -- The disc idea is cute and matches the large role music plays in the story, and I can envision Hank like that. But that is not what I imagine Liana to be AT ALL. Liana is depicted with a medium-big chest (model: small to none), "womanly hips" (model: super skinny), and dark brown hair with short choppy pieces at the front (model: light brown/dirty blond hair with bangs - I don't think the bangs are exactly what they were going for...).** The 33 1/3 I just find mysterious.
Writing: 4.5
Characters: 4.0
Plot: 3.5

Bottom Line: The Half-Life of Planets is definitely something I'd recommend if you're looking for a light, smile-inducing summer read that isn't complete fluff. Plot-wise, it is slow - so if you get frustrated with slow plots, you may want to skip this one - but the solid teenage writing kept me interested and if you're into music, Hank spews endless interesting facts about KISS, the Kinks, etc. I'm not a big chick-lit fan, and I loved The Half-Life of Planets much more than I expected to. Liked it to the extent that I almost want to say "why haven't I been hearing more reviews of this one?!"


700 Followers Contest!

UPDATE: End date is changed to Friday, July 16th at 11:59PM EST.

Whew, so my day at ALA is finished. It was amazing though a bit overwhelming; I can't believe BEA is even BIGGER. I was so busy trying to get the hang of things at the beginning that it slipped my mind to look for fellow bloggers! So I might do a post about my ALA adventure but it'll only be the journey of me, authors, and a friend. As for the future, I'm looking at the schedules for ALA and BEA now, and I'm pretty certain my next book convention will be BEA 2012, when I'll be an almost-graduated senior that can drive to NY and won't have to attend school after late May. I want to go to BEA 2011 but, alas, AP testing and school...

As promised, the 700 followers contest! I'm currently very indecisive, so I'll be giving away a signed copy of Paper Towns by John Green (for you John Green fans out there) and a mystery August/September ARC. I didn't grab extras and I'm not sure what to read first, so I'll email the winner a few choices later (or if I decide on something). Some books that I was considering giving away but couldn't decide between are: Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie, Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore, Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon, Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, The Candidates: Delcroix Academy by Inara Scott, etc. Just to give you an idea of what to expect.

In addition to the "spread the word" entry, I'm giving out an extra entry for following because it IS a followers contest after all. And I want to again say THANK YOU! :)

· To enter, please fill out the form below
· Open Internationally
· Ends on Monday, July 12, 2010 at 11:59 EST
· For more info, please view my Contest Policy

In My Mailbox (20)

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie.

As you read this... I am at ALA! I'm going to talk to my future self and hope it's living up to expectations. ;)

Anyways, I received two books this week:

For review:
The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla - Another mishap with JKSCommunications, aww. But I do want to read this book!

For hush-hush purposes:
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

If you're wondering what exactly these "hush-hush purposes" are, I can't tell, sorry. *coughBLOGOVERSARYcough* Nope, lips are sealed. But watch for future news on this!

So yep, that's all I got this week. What did YOU get? :)

The Saturday Network (22)

WHAT IS THE SATURDAY NETWORK? The Saturday Network is meant to be a quick, easy way for you to network your blog and, more specifically, get comments! All you have to do is comment on the previous blog and, in return, you're guaranteed a comment by the next participant. We all love comments, right? :)

I also randomly feature a Saturday Networker every week, and it could be you! If you'll be featured, I'll email you and let you know.


Welcome to the new - and possibly improved? - The Saturday Network. I'm trying to incorporate Mr. Linky to see if it makes the process any easier and more appealing, but please let me know what you think in the comments! And thank you to everyone who has filled out a survey(s).

This week's featured blogger is Jessica (SN#11) from A Fanatic's Book Blog. She's a fellow YA book blogger, and you may recall her previous guest post about "The Power of the Review." She recently started a feature called Me Mondays where you submit questions and she answers. As incentive, she's giving away a copy of Wherever Nina Lies to a U.S. question-submitter!

To Participate:
1. Submit your blog to Mr. Linky in this format:

Blog Name - Child/MG/YA/Adult/ALL; R
(genre(s) you review; R = if you feel your blog is for mature audiences only, 18+)
Blog link

 ie. Books At Midnight - MG/YA

2. Head to the blog listed before yours and comment on his/her most recent post (or the previous one if it's rated R and you're under 18). Thoughtful comments are appreciated, but if you really can't think of anything to say, feel free to just drop a line and say "hi!"
3. That's it! I encourage you to visit more blogs and I hope you find a blog to enjoy! :)

And if you'd like to grab and post the button anywhere, you can find the code on the right side-bar, thanks!


Interview: Anastasia Hopcus

Today I have Anastasia Hopcus, the debut author of Shadow Hills, to answer some of my questions after reading her book! And if you'd like to know what exactly I thought about her book, you can see my recent review here. :)

Very Clickable Links: {website}{blog}, {goodreads}, {amazon}

1. Shadow Hill is all about mystery and intrigue. How would you summarize your book using the phrases "sixty-four-thousand-dollar question" and "tough nut to crack" (courtesy of searching "mystery" on
Phe Archer goes to Shadow Hill, Massacuhetts to attend Devenish Prep because she has been having dreams about it. But when she arrives there and meets the cute and mysterious Zach Redford, she realizes that the real sixty-four thousand dollar question is why she dreamed about Zach before she ever met him. Phe soon learns that Shadow Hills is full of secrets, but perhaps the mystery that is the toughest nut to crack is the reason behind her own developing powers.

2. At the beginning, Phe is torn up with the sadness and guilt over her sister's death. Are you able to personally relate to Phe's struggles and her ability to push forward?
I haven't ever experienced what happened to Phe, but I used the feelings I thought I would feel in such a situation.

3. Assuming you could, would you choose to trade places from Anastasia Hopcus, the YA writer, to Persephone Archer, girl with a paranormal secret (and a cute boyfriend, of course)?
No, I would not trade with Phe. I already have a cute boyfriend. ;) And if I had to do Devenish Prep level homework, I would probably flunk out.

4. It's embarrasing, but I searched up Shadow Hills on the internet - and didn't find anywhere called that! Is there any special reason you chose Massachusetts for Shadow Hill's setting?
Massachusetts was the perfect fit because it had the kind of geographical area I wanted, including forests and hills, and also because it fit historically. Also, there are a lot of prep schools in that area, and I think people associate that area with schools with high academics, like Harvard and MIT.

5. The name "Persephone" automatically made me think of Greek mythology, and there were many hints of it throughout the book. Why Greek mythology (as opposed to Roman or Egyptian mythology)?
I don't really know much about Egyptian mythology. And I have just always liked the Greek mythology a little better than the Roman.

6. Who would you be if you could be a(n)...
· Greek goddess/god: Hermes because of the cool wings on his shoes.
· Superhero: Hit Girl from "Kick Ass"
· Known musician: Alice Glass from Crystal Castles
· Author other than yourself: Scott Westerfeld

7. Having almost finished the entire writing and publishing process, what's a word of advice you'd give to aspiring authors?
Persevere. Getting published can be a long, hard process, but it's well worth it in the end.

8. Are there any projects you're working on now?
I'm working on several projects right now. I have a lot of interest in continuing the story of Phe and Zach, but I also have some other ideas that I'm developing. They're still in the earlier stages, though.

9. Finally, can you leave us with what you think is the most important, one-sentence lesson Phe learns through the course of Shadow Hils?
Phe discovers her own strength.

Thank you, Anastasia!

I'm not even kidding, GO CHECK OUT HER WEBSITE NOW. It is EPIC, definitely one of the coolest author websites I've seen.

And I hope I'm not the only one who hasn't heard of Hit Girl and Alice Glass... I've included a Crystal Castles video for your viewing pleasure below - just in case. ;)

It's strangely addicting.

Mark the date: Shadow Hills releases July 13, 2010.

Survey & ME!

WARNING: To skip any personal content and potential scarring, move to the last paragraph.

Okay, so I've decided to swallow my low self-esteem and dislike for photo taking (I'll subject myself to photo torture at ALA, don't worry!), to make it easier for some fellow bloggers - and you, maybe? - to recognize me at the upcoming ALA conference. The skinny on me: 1) I'm Chinese, 2) I'm 5'6"-ish, 3) I'm definitely not skinny but I do fit in one airplane seat, and 4) I have straight, dark brown hair that appears lighter due to a few blond strands (last year: bleached some of my hair to highlight it reddish-purple, then didn't die it again) and it falls a little more than half-way down my back. I'm also planning on bringing a pair of rectangular, chunky black-rimmed glasses for things that people dare print so small and far away from me.

I'm not entirely sure why my cellphone thought my room was a strange tint of yellow, but there it is. I HATE HATE HATE taking pictures and am extremely out of practice, so excuse the awkward smiling - that's me trying not to scare anyone away. ;)

On to more important things, I have two surveys up that I would love for you to fill out! The first is a three-question, multiple choice demographics survey, the second is slightly longer and is a content survey. I'd love if you did one, though I would love you infinitely more if you did both! If you fill out both, please comment below for an extra entry into my 700 followers contest (honor system!). It's TBD but it will be international and will be up as soon as ALA is over.

Questions, complaints? Or want to comment about how dorky I'm looking? Do so below.