In My Mailbox (9)

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 few months since I participated in this meme but I bought myself a few books this week and wanted to share with everyone.  So here goes 🙂


Return to Paradise Betrayal The Sky is Everywhere
Simone Elkeles Lee Nichols Jandy Nelson

Borrowed from the Library:

Revenge of the Witch Leaving Paradise She’s So Money Storm Thief
Joseph Delaney Simone Elkeles Cherry Cheva Chris Wooding

Dead Beautiful Meridian Whale Talk
Yvonne Woon Amber Kizer Chris Crutcher

Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Yes I know…  didn’t I just read Leaving Paradise?  and don’t I have ten million other books that I should or rather want to read?  Well…  when it comes to a book that you love and you know there’s another out there that follows it -um…  can I really say NO?  Come on now – you all know what I’m talking about!  It just happened that my daughter and I “happened” to go to our local Chapters…  and I tell you this book JUMPED off the shelves and landed in my arms!  It refused to leave me until I took it to the cash register…  Silly maybe – but I’m sure that many of you avid readers know exactly what I’m talking about.

So…  yes I really liked this one as well.  Simone Elkeles just has this way with her writing that throws you in the middle of her characters’ lives and you’re left living through all their heartache and pain.  And before anyone asks – yes I cried with this book as well!  I just love Caleb and Maggie… and the different ways that Fate intervened in their lives.  I also love the lessons that are to be taken away from these 2 books.  I think I remember an email from the YALSA list a while ago looking for title suggestions for young adults in detention centres or in jail – well this one definitely fits the bill!!!  AWESOME!  Are you getting the hint yet?  I LOVED these 2 books.

So – what happened in this one?  Again fate has her way and has managed to throw Caleb and Maggie into an impossible situation, the re-START program.  A program where 6 young adults travel to different youth facilities and talk about their journeys.  Neither knew they’d be there – so after a quick confrontation they both decided to give it a go.  The two of them along with their program mates learn so much about the truths of life and its hardships.  I don’t want to give too much away, especially if you haven’t read the first book.

I absolutely loved the role each of the characters played in having the “truth” come out in the end.  How each learned from the other and was a willing, in the end, partner in each others’ lives.  Ok I’ll stop ranting and raving!!

Highly recommended

Ages: 14 and up

Favourite quotes:

“I’m ready to live my life without regrets.  I’ve just got to figure out a strategy to make that happen.”   (Caleb)  p. 151

” ‘ Don’t waste a single day thinkin’ you’re a geek, or you might as well be locked in here like me.’ ” (Maggie) p. 156

“One of my professors said if you tiptoe into cold water, you’re missing out on the rush of plunging in headfirst.”    p. 288

Elkeles, Simone. (2010). Return to Paradise.  Woodbury, MN: Flux

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

WOW!  Awesome book!  Ok I’ll admit I was very skeptical when I started because the theme and story behind the book seemed a little familiar.  Since I had just read The Fifth Rule a couple of weeks ago – I thought uh-oh..  another boy hurts girl, goes to jail and fate intervenes and forces them together.  Well…  yes the story may be very similar but this book had a different effect on me – how do I describe it…  Ok Ok – I cried my eyes out on parts – so I guess you could say this book elicited a very strong emotional response from me.

As I’ve noted before – this is a story about boy gets drunk, hurts girls, goes to juvenile detention and as fate would have it, they’re thrown together a year after that fateful night.  However…  this story has a number of twists that make it to irresistible. And no!  I’m not giving any of them away 🙂

Highly recommended

Ages: 14 and up

Favourite quotes:

“… ‘I see.  Well, dearie, maybe one day your luck will change.’
Yeah, right.  All I need is a little magic dust and a fairy godmother.  I’m not holding my breath for either of those.”        p. 77

“I walk over to the boxes and do the spider-scan…..  I don’t even see the spiders.  It’s like they’re undercover spies until their prey struggles, hopelessly stuck in the web.”          p. 137

Elkeles, Simone. (2010). Leaving Paradise. Woodbury, MN: Flux Llewellyn Publications.

Author website:

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

I changed gears a bit with this book.  This book was not classified as a Young Adult book in our LIbrary system – but grouped into the Junior Fiction section.  A little surprising to me – that I read it that is!  One of the things that I noticed about the book that struck me as different was the size of the font – I know silly!!!  But reading the book seemed to flow quickly and I suspect the size of the font played a little role.

The story itself was fun!  However I did find that there really wasn’t too much depth to the story – but if we have it classified as a Junior Fiction and not Young Adult – maybe that’s why.  As I noted it was a fun story set quite a while ago when witches, boggarts, ghosts and ghasts were alive and threatening everyone.  The story is about Thomas Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son who is destined to apprentice as a Spook.  What is a Spook you may ask?  Someone who fights off the “bad” spirits.  During Tom’s early time as the Spook’s apprentice, he made 2 critical mistakes and ends up with a witch after him and his family.  Let’s just say he learned alot on the job 🙂

As I mentioned above I enjoyed the story even though it was a little different from the books I have been reading to date – but it was fun.  It flowed easily and was an easy read.  If you’re curious about it – check it out at HarperCollins Children’s Book using their Browse Inside feature.

Check out what Joseph Delaney has to say about his series – Oh did I forget to mention that The Revenge of the Witch is the first is a series…

Favourite Quote:

“… A ghast is like a reflection in a pond that stays behind when its owner has moved on.”          P. 29

Delaney, Joseph.  (2005).  The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch.  New York, NY: HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Series website:

Nerds Heart YA 2011

The third annual Nerds Heart YA Tournament is back and YES!!!  I’m a Round 1 judge again this year!  I so enjoyed participating last year  that I thought I’d see if I could do it again this year.  In 2010, I reviewed 2 books that were under represented YA literature and had a blast check it out!   Although my pick only made it to Rounds 2 – It was a lot of fun to read the reviews and see the grand winner make its way to the top pick!

This year I’m paired up with Holly from the Book Harbinger blog and I can’t wait to see the books we have to read!  Getting a little excited and anxious!  So stay tuned and check in to see how the tournament goes in 2011!

2011 YA Bloggers Book Battle

You know I completely forgot to mention to you all that I was lucky and was chosen as one of the Round 1 judges for the 2011 YA Bloggers Book Battle.  What is this all about?  Here’s a little blurb from our gracious host Alyssa from The Shady Glade:

“So what is the YA Bloggers Book Battle?

Well, it started as a crazy idea in 2010. The idea took off and before you know it, I was in the midst of organizing an epic book battle.

The YA Bloggers Book Battle is a bracket-style judging contest. Our 2010 theme featured the best debut work of 2009 (and a little of 2010). This year for 2011 blog readers have chosen the battle theme as the Best Overlooked Book.

Here’s how it will work:

People will have a chance to nominate a book of their choice to take place in the battle. After nominations close, the books will be narrowed down by our lovely Round 1 judges. Books that make the cut will be fit into brackets for Round 2 Judges to read. 

Starting in early May, each Round 2 judging panel will read the two books in their bracket and choose a winner. One will move on, one will not. It will all come down to two books in a epic book battle to choose the best!

Tentative Timeline:
Close of nominations: April 5th
Announcement of Longlist: April 7th
Round 1 Judging period: Present-April 30th
Announcement of Shortlist: May 3rd
Start of Round 2 Judging: May 8th
Announcement Posts for Round 2 brackets : Beginning May 22nd

Updates will periodically be posted here, so if you don’t follow the blog, you can bookmark this page and periodically check back to see what’s new.”

The list is quite long and somehow I’ve already managed to check off quite a few.  I’ve been reviewing the list and have created my “GOTO Library” list.  Hoping to get there tomorrow and pick up a handful of books to read over the Easter weekend!

So stick around and see how Battle plays out!