Joey Kramer’s Autobiography Contest

July 31, 2009

I’ve pick the other winner of a copy of Hit Hard by Joey Kramer.



Congratulations and thank you to everyone who entered. ๐Ÿ™‚


Youtube Connection 9

July 30, 2009

Every Thursday, I will post a video (or more) that is somehow connected to a book Iโ€™ve read. Iโ€™ve also included a Mr. Linky widget at the bottom for anyone thatโ€™s interested in posting videos of their own.

This week’s book is Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan. The novel will be released in October. At the end of the story, there is a playlist. Today, I will feature two songs from the playlist. Enjoy!

Where Did They Come From?

July 29, 2009

I saw this on Lenore’s blog, and I wanted to do the same. Here are the last 20 books I’ve reviewed and where I got them from.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie โ€“ Alan Bradley – LT Early Reviewers
Marcelo in the Real World โ€“ Francisco X. Stork – GoodReads Giveaway
We All Fall Down โ€“ Robert Cormier – Borrowered from friend
A Little Friendly Advice โ€“ Siobhan Vivian – Won from blog contest
Pure โ€“ Terra Elan McVoy – Simon Pulse It (online)
I Love You, Beth Cooper โ€“ Larry Doyle – bought on bookcloseouts
Cold Skin โ€“ Steven Herrick – requested from publisher
Girl Stays in the Picture โ€“ Melissa de la Cruz – Simon Pulse It (online)
Chenxi and the Foreigner โ€“ Sally Rippin – requested from publisher after offered books from their catalog
The Other Half of Life โ€“ Kim Ablon Whitney – BookDivas
Flightsend โ€“ Linda Newbery – BookDivas
City of Bones โ€“ Cassandra Clare – Simone Pulse It
Funny How Things Change โ€“ Melissa Wyatt – requested from publisher
Cold Hands, Warm Heart โ€“ Jill Wolfson – Holt In Group
Jake Ransom and the Skull Kingโ€™s Shadow โ€“ James Rollins – HarperCollin’s First Look (Children’s)
Cancer is a Bitch โ€“ Gail Konop Baker – LT Early Reviewers
The Forest of Hands and Teeth โ€“ Carrie Ryan – BookDivas
Go With Grace โ€“ George Alexopoulos – bought on bookcloseouts
The Guardian โ€“ Joyce Sweeney – Holt In Group
Shine, Coconut Moon โ€“ Neesha Meminger – Simon Pulse It

As you can see, most of the books I have reviewed are from various book programs. I’m pretty sure most of the books on my to-read shelf are ones that I’ve bought. After reading all the books I have to review, I hardly find time to read other books during school. Now, that it’s summer, I’ve been reading a lot of them. Today, I am going to try to catch up on writing those reviews. I have 10+ I still need to do. ๐Ÿ˜› After writing and posting those reviews, I’m sure this post will look a lot different.

So, where do your books come from?

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley

July 28, 2009

Flavia de Luce is an 11-year-old chemist who lives in Bishop’s Lacey in 1950. At her Buckshaw home, she has her own laboratory where she conducts her experiments, which include making one of her sisters have an allergic reaction to her lipstick. Flavia’s sisters, Ophelia and Daphne, could care less about chemistry. Instead, one likes reading, while the other likes boys. Then, one day, Flavia discovers a dead man in the cucumber patch. Flavia decides that she will solve this murder. With her bike, Gladys, Flavia rides aroundย  town to find out all she can about the dead man. What she learns is that stamps and her father are somehow connected to the murder…

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a refreshing and charming read. This is labeled as an adult novel, but it’s definitely a crossover. Teens (and maybe even younger) will enjoy Flavia’s adventure. Parents will also be happy because the novel has no sex and no strong language. There is a bit of black humor in the novel which keeps the novel from getting boring. To give you an example, Flavia’s favorite chemical is arsenic. I really enjoyed the world that Bradley created. I liked that Bradley gave a family history of de Luces. Readers learn about her father, mother, and several other relatives. Bradley also did a great job incorporating the setting. I mean, the book just screamed British countryside. I read an interview with Bradley, who’s a Canadian, on amazon (link below), and I learned that he didn’t visit England until 2007 which shocked me. The book makes it seem that Bradley lived a good portion of his life in England. His mom was born in England, so that helps explain how he created such a vivid setting, although I’m still impressed.

The only negative I really had with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is that I guessed the murderer about halfway through the novel. Obviously, this ruined the mystery, but being able to guess the murderer did not ruin the book.

If you are looking for a murder mystery with some charm, then read this. Also, it is a series. Yay!

Related Links
Alan Bradley Website
Amazon + Author Interview
Flavia de Luca Fan Club

In My Mailbox July 20-25

July 26, 2009

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren. Summaries are from Barnes and Noble.

Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife — between desire and danger.

Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare
Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

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

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

Hana-Kimi Volume 1 – Hisaya Nakajo
Japanese-American track-and-field star Mizuki has gotten herself a transfer to a high school in Japan…but not just any school! To be close to her idol, high jumper Izumi Sano, she’s going to an all-boys’ high school…and disguising herself as a boy! But as fate would have it, they’re more than classmates…they’re roommates! Now, Mizuki must keep her secret in the classroom, the locker room, and her own bedroom. And her classmates – and the school nurse – must cope with a new transfer student who may make them question their own orientation…

My Thoughts
So I’m pretty much the only girl that enjoys reading that hasn’t read the Twilight series yet. I still haven’t started Twilight, but I plan to read it before the school starts. I’m also excited about reading the second book in the Mortal Instruments series! After reading City of Bones from Pulse It, I knew I had the buy the other two novels. Twenty Boy Summer also looks great! I hope I can get to it before school starts, and I’m also excited about starting the Hana-Kimi series because I loved the jdrama.

Marcelo in the Real World – Francisco X. Stork

July 24, 2009

Marcelo Sandoval is a 17-year-old Hispanic with an Asperger-like syndrome. While Marcelo can attend a regular public school, Marcelo has attended Paterson his whole life. Paterson provides a safe and friendly environment for its student. Now, Arturo, Marcelo’s father, wants Marcelo to experience the real world. Marcelo will work in the mailroom of Arturo’s law firm. If Marcelo does a great job, he can have a choice of Patersonย  or the public high school. If not, Marcelo will have to attend the public high school. At the law firm, Marcelo meets Jasmine, his young female coworker, and Wendell, Arturo’s partner’s son. One day, Marcelo finds a photo of a girl with half her face scarred. This photo helps Marcelo find out what the real world is all about.

Marcelo in the Real World is a touching read. My favorite thing about the novel was how Stork was able to create such a distinct character. Marcelo truly has the heart of a child. Most characters just shrug off Marcelo as “retarded” or something similar, but Jasmine takes time to see who Marcelo really is. Both of them love music. Marcelo has always been able to hear music inside his head, which he calls internal music. Besides music, Marcelo is fascinated with religion. There is just so much about Marcelo that makes him different from any other character out there. The other characters, such as Wendell and Arturo also have distinct voices.

The plot was as good as the characterizations. Marcelo in the Real World delved into many different plotlines. These plotlines flowed together nicely, so it never seemed like there was too much happening. The overlapping theme between all the plotlines is what is right and wrong. Throughout the novel, Marcelo faces situations where he will have to make decisions he may not want to make. However, Marcelo does because he knows it is the right thing to do.

If you’re in the mood for something slower-paced or want to read about someone with an Asperger-like syndrome, then read Marcelo in the Real World. Also, I think anyone looking for some multiculturalism in YA books will also want to read this. It’s nice to have a book with a Hispanic protagonist without the book actually being about being Hispanic (that’s a mouthful). Having said that, Marcelo in the Real World does deal with a Hispanic issue within the justice system. I know that’s kind of vague, but it’s hard to say much else without giving plot away.

Related Links
Francisco Stork Website

Joey Kramer Contest Update

July 23, 2009

Because of the lack of entries (only one…), I have decided to make the Joey Kramer Autobiography contest slightly easier to enter. Just comment on the post! I’d love if you gave me your e-mail (easier to contact you), but it’s not necessary.

As for the one person who did enter the contest by telling me their favorite Aerosmith song, she is an automatic winner! So, Lisa, please e-mail me your mailing address at towerofbooks(at)gmail(dot)com.

I hope this will make more people want to enter the contest. I mean, it’s a free book, come on! ๐Ÿ˜‰