Uh-oh more books –

What AM I talking about?  Well I thought I’d visit our local bookstore to see whether they have any of the new releases I’m so desperately waiting for and to see what else is new…  I should NEVER never do that!!!  Ok so we walk in and the first thing that I see is a sign “Sale – Buy any 3 books and get the 4th free”.  Oh you know that’s not a good thing…  Can you imagine what happened?  Yuppers – came out with 4 books – one was a cookbook so all is not lost – although I’ll need to make room for that one (yes I LOVE cookbooks too).

So what did we buy?  Dark Flame by Alyson Noel, Getting the Girl by Susan Juby and my daughter got Iron King by Julie Kagawa.  I already have a pile to read – I’d better learn how to refrain from buying now or else I’m in a whole lot of trouble…

Can you resist the temptations you feel once you walk into a bookstore?  If you can how do you do it??


Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt vs. Tillmon County Fire by Pamela Ehrenberg

The NerdsHeartYA contest is a tournament for under represented YA literature.  The two books that I reviewed are Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt and Tillmon County Fire by Pamela Ehrenberg.  I’ll review each one and then provide my decision at the end – so here goes…

Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt

I really enjoyed this book!  For me it was really easy to walk into it and appreciate the characters and the beauty of their environment.  Remy and his girlfriend Lisa just graduated from high school in a small town called Dwyer, West Virginia.  The kind of place you hear about where folks swear they’ll leave as soon as they can – a dying coal town.  Shortly after Remy agreed to move away with Lisa, he meets Dana, a student painter, in town just long enough to paint a mural on the water tower.  His relationship with Dana makes Remy question who he really is and where he belongs.

The story provided great insight to a young man’s internal struggle.  Too many times today do we see the young teens in any community follow their friends “just because” and find ways of justifying their decisions – if they only had the insight and courage to follow their own hearts!

Favourite quote:

“The night was cool and there was enough of a moon to see by.  A soft mist drifted down the side of the mountain and settled in the hollow like a ghost come home.  Remy wasn’t superstitious, didn’t think there was anything in the mist but mist.  All the same, it gave him a shiver to walk through it, like walking through someone’s breath.  The breath of the mountain.”          p. 53

Wyatt, Melissa. (2009).  Funny How Things Change.  New York, NY:  Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Author website:  http://www.melissawyatt.com/

Author interview: http://nerdsheartya.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/150/

Tillmon County Fire by Pamela Ehrenberg

Sorry to say that at the beginning of this book I struggled…  I struggled to understand the different characters and how they related to each other – but the more I read the more I understood and the more I couldn’t put down!  I’ll admit though I had to go back several times to the table of contents to remind myself who I’ve already read about and who was captured in whose story.

The story takes place in a small town in Tillmon County, West Virginia, where the lives of eight teenagers intersect when a mansion is set afire.  The story is told by the eight teens in their own voices (and typed in different fonts – which I thought was great!), each with a different background and view of society.  Each with their own unique interpretation of life and who they are.

Favourite quote(s):

“She was like a lone clarinetist who keeps playing the music when everyone else is in chaos, so it comes out looking like she’s the crazy one.”             p. 99

“Does anyone act alone?  Maybe some places, where everyone doesn’t know each other and a person can sneeze without the whole country knowing about it – maybe in those places, people can act alone. …
Anyone, most of us, I think, don’t want to act alone.  We want to be part of the band.”           p. 157

Ehrenberg, Pamela. (2009). Tillmon County Fire. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

Author website:  http://www.pamelaehrenberg.com/Site/Home.html

Author interview hosted by:  Rhapsody in Books


So…  I knew nothing about either book before I read them and yes I had NEVER heard of them either.  Both were great stories – and yes they were both set in small-town West Virginia, where the young teenagers are eager to move away and start their lives.  Funny How Things Changed focused on Remy and his struggles, really allowing the reader to get to know him and appreciate who he is and where he’s coming from.  Whereas Tillmon County Fire showcased eight different teens, popped into each of their lives for a few moments and put them all in the context of this one fire.  Each book brought different aspects of the small-town teen’s life to the reader, with Tillmon County Fire tackling several societal issues in a short period – yet it was done in a real and great way!


So…  do I REALLY have to choose only one?  I truly enjoyed reading both books – but I’ll have to say that I preferred Funny How Things Changed by Melissa Wyatt.

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Oh my…  Started and finished this one in an afternoon!  This was my second verse novel and I have to admit that I REALLY like them.  It really adds another level to the story – you now have a visual to add to the story and the format of the verse also forces you to break at certain points when you read.  I find the verse novels almost easier to read most of the time – but at other times they can be hard.  There was one page in Crank that took me a few tries before I got it right…

Crank is about 16-yr old Kristina who lives with her mom, stepfather and younger brother in Reno, Nevada.  She has everything she needs, an older sister who lives away, great friends and is doing well in school.  However, she is desperate to reconnect with her father who lives in Albuquerque and is granted the right to visit with him for three weeks during the summer.  Those three weeks changed her life.  Kristina and her alter-ego, Bree are introduced to the world of Crank and all of its vices.  In the end, the “monster” takes over her life!

Crank was a scary read!  Why?  Well I read the Author’s Note before I read the story – it was at the beginning of the book…  It gave me a bit of an insight to where the story was going to take me – but what was really scary about it – was that it was based on the author’s own experiences with her daughter.  As a mother of two teenaged daughters – it scared me!  My youngest daughter also read the book before me – she’s the reason I’m reading it because she went on and on about how great it was!  While I was reading it – I kept wondering what she liked about it…  turns out it’s the versatility of the verse.  In the end, as scary and uncomfortable the topic may be for a Mom, it was an awesome book.  I’m always amazed at how much there is to learn from these.

Highly recommended

Ages:  16 and up.

Favourite quotes:

“Flopped onto my back. Found
the keyhole behind my eyes,
squeezed through, into sleep.”      p. 60

would be easy
as a dual-edged
sword. If you
acquaint your
self with your
self, you don’t
always like the person you find
inside.”        p. 443

Hopkins, Ellen. (2004).  Crank. Toronto, ON:  Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Author website: http://www.ellenhopkins.com/

Teaser Tuesday (8)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week’s teaser is from:   Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt:

” He concentrated hard, rubbing carefully around his fingernails, as though they weren’t already pretty much permanently stained black.  Working at the library – physical work, hammering and carrying – he’d been able to push away the trouble brought up yesterday with Miss Carter.”         p. 70

NerdsHeartYA contest and judging competition

Check out the great contest and competition at NerdsHeartYa blog!  A competition geared at showcasing books that have not received a lot of publicity in 2009.  This year’s theme is focused on diversity.   I’ll be reviewing Timon County Fire by Pamela Ehrenberg and Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt and posting my reviews later this week.  Stay tuned and check out the many excellent reviews to be coming out the next couple of weeks!

Please check out a great interview with Pamela Ehrenberg author of Timon County Fire hosted at Rhapsody in Books Weblog

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. (It was inspired by from Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.)

It’s been a quiet couple of weeks for me – ok I’ve been reading the books already on my shelf and on my floor and on my eReader.  But I did manage to sneak a few in this week

For this week here’s what was in my Mailbox:

From NetGalley:

“They strip her naked, of everything-undo her whalebone corset, hook by hook. Locked away in Wildthorn Hall—a madhouse—they take her identity. She is now called Lucy Childs. She has no one; she has nothing. But, she is still seventeen-still Louisa Cosgrove, isn’t she? Who has done this unthinkable deed? Louisa must free herself, in more ways than one, and muster up the courage to be her true self, all the while solving her own twisted mystery and falling into an unconventional love . . .

Originally published in the UK, this well-paced, provocative romance pushes on boundaries-both literal and figurative-and, do beware: it will bind you, too.”

“Self-proclaimed nobody CG Silverman sees her move to an upscale new school as her chance to be somebody different. Her devil-may-care attitude attracts the in-clique, and before CG realizes it, a routine game of truth or dare launches her to iconic status.

While this rebel image helps secure CG’s newfound popularity, it also propels her through a maze of unprecedented chaos, with each new lie and every dare opening doors that, in most cases, were better off left shut.

CG is on a collision course with disaster. Will she be able to keep up the façade? Or will the whole world find out she’s a fraud?”


“Remy Walker has it all: he found the love of his life at home in crumbling little Dwyer, West Virginia, deep in his beloved Appalachian Mountains where his family settled more than one hundred and sixty years ago. But at seventeen, you’re not supposed to already be where you want to be, right? You’ve got a whole world to make your way through, and you start by leaving your dead-end town. Like his girlfriend, Lisa. Lisa’s going away to college. If Remy goes with her, it would be the start of everything they ever dreamed of. So when a fascinating young artist from out of state shows Remy his home through new eyes, why is he suddenly questioning his future?”

” In tiny Tillmon County, where it seems like nothing ever happens, a mysterious fire rocks the lives of the teenagers who live there. Who set the fire that night, and more importantly, who owns the reasons behind it? / As the story unfolds, the lines between truth and fiction, motive and happenstance, guilt and innocence blur. This novel-in-stories is told sequentially in the voices of its disparate cast of characters: a frustrated adoptee, a gay teenager, a big-city kid who is new in town and wishes he were back in Manhattan, a pregnant store clerk, and a boy with autism who is more at the center of events than he imagines.”

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

OMG!!!!  What an awesome book!  I think the main aspect of this book that drew me in was the way it was written – a letter to her captor!  It was fantastic!  While reading it I felt the fear and anxiety that Gemma felt and then the confusion near the end – it was absolutely amazing!

The story all started with Gemma, a sixteen year old girl, trying to buy herself a coffee at the Bangkok airport.  She just had a fight with her parents, needed some space and went to get a coffee at a cafe in the airport when she met Ty.  He had such beautiful eyes and a way about him that gave Gemma the confidence to let him pay for her coffee and to sit with him.  However, within minutes of drinking her coffee, Gemma was drugged and kidnapped.  Throughout her ordeal, she struggles with her feelings for Ty.  I found that Gemma’s emotions and feelings leapt off the pages.  You were always there, feeling alongside her.  It was terrifying yet beautiful all at once.

I’m left wondering what would have happened if there was no snake – would Ty have honoured his promise?  Would Gemma have wanted him to?  Without spoiling the story – I’m left with many questions and yet I understand the ending.  It really was the only way, wasn’t it?

I would highly recommend this book, although I’d lean towards the older audience since the topic is a little tough to read and deal with.

If you need more convincing here is the book trailer:

Favourite quotes:

“… At least when I was with you, it felt like my life mattered somehow….No, that’s not really it; it felt like my life was being noticed.”               p. 96

“I sipped again.  It burned my throat like sunburn, only inside instead of out this time.”           p. 200

Christopher, Lucy.  (2010).  Stolen. New York, NY: Chicken House, Scholastic.

Author website: http://www.lucychristopher.com/