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...Me! Me!! ME!!!

I'm Prodhi...you can call me Prod.
I'm a YA reader/reviewer/ other than that, I'm a nutcase gone awry. Yes, I'm insane so to speak:) I'd say I'm a girl next door, but I'm much better off without a Pinocchio nose, thank you very much. I'm a pretty fun chica, I guess. I also realize that this About Me section doesn't do the three dimensions of my character justice. Or four. Or five. Or six. Oh shooh!

...Contact moi, Lovelies.

Bloggers and readers, if you have anything to say to me, here: prodhi@live.com. YA authors who would like me to review their books, I'll be more than honoured. Contact me at the same address.

...Book I'm reading now

Not Like You by Deborah Davis


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    Wednesday, May 12, 2010
    Contest!
    Cleverly Inked is having a great contest here:
    http://cleverlyinked.blogspot.com/2010/04/birthday-phenomenon.html
    Check it out!


    WordVore Prod
    2 comments
    Saturday, May 8, 2010
    WorDissection: Forget You by Jennifer Echols

    Did I like it? YESSSS!!!
    You'll love it if you liked: Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols, Sarah Dessen novels, When It Happens by Susane Colasanti and Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin.
    Aura: Striking and powerful but not overly intense
    Read If: You want a contemporary romance that doesn’t preach, overdramatize or undermine.
    Main Character: Zoey Commander, high school senior, female
    Themes: Hate turned to love, Redemption, Self-discovery, Memory Loss, Family Trouble, Relationships, Romance
    Plot: 8.75/10. Beautiful fleshing of a previously used concept.
    Narration: 8.75/10. Grasping.
    Characterization: 9.5/10. The “wow” factor of the novel.
    Overall: 9.25/10
    Did I get bored anywhere? Nope.
    Did any part confuse me? Not at all. It was a smooth read.
    Line/ Page Skippability: 1.5/5. Just at times.
    Writing Style: Average sentences, Informal, Communicative
    Uniqueness: 8/10
    Predictability: 2/10. I loved how the predictability was not there despite the fact it is a simple storyline.
    Imagery: 4.5/5. The scenes seem to be playing right before me.
    Cover: 9/10. Sensual yet innocent in it’s wonderfully ironic way.
    Ending: If the book is thought of as a very, very good looking person, he/she sure has exceptionally sexy feet! (Seriously, how’d you get feet like that?!)
    Reading priority: Must Read
    Reading duration: Slow readers: 6 days. Fast readers: 4 hours.
    Synopsis:

    There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. With her life about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.

    But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people—suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.


    WordVore Prod’s Review:

    I felt like I was reading something life-changing. The book has the power to move planets off their orbits. It is truly difficult to come across such powerful prose.

    Zoey was such a multidimensional character. She grew so much yet so realistically throughout the book! The way she learns to let go, cope with troubling issues and feel like a blossoming human…it’s simply marvelous. Her narrative was sharp, edgy and strong and I thought it did an amazing job of getting the story across. Her relationship with her parents and its development has been shown in perfectly symmetrical steps and it’s hard to feel out of step when I was following her life story.

    Doug was beautiful. His character was not clichéd and offered a fresh new silhouette of the quintessential “bad boy” stereotype. I love the relationship between Zoey and Doug—they learn from each other, mess up but get up again and gradually meld into each other like jagged, but nearly perfect, puzzle pieces. Doug seemed a tad bit controlling though, however, not in the control-freak way, thankfully.

    The plot was truly inspiring. It portrayed the downfalls and lessons of growing up without being preachy or unbelievable in any way. Dialogues were well written and fit perfectly with the respective scenario. I LOVED the way Jennifer Echols works with emotions and sentiments in this book. Every single transition in emotion feels like a slight change in temperature—subtle but it’s there and it creates a stirring inside of you.

    What bothered me a little is how Brandon, Zoey’s boyfriend, seemed to be missing. It wasn’t as if I missed the guy terribly, but his inclusion would have made the story a little more structured.

    Forget You does NOT stay true to its name—because I couldn’t forget a word I read after I was done! I had been waiting for this book for a long time and I’m glad to say it didn’t let me down. The novel is a well-sewn blanket, with the fabric being a vividly visual background, the designs being the little anecdotes and happenings that make up life and the threads being the rush of emotions that accompanies each story.

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    Friday, April 16, 2010
    WorDissection: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa


    Did I like it? Totally did.
    You'll love it if you liked: Tamora Pierce novels, The Chronicles of Narnia series
    Aura: Somewhere between intense and light. There is some nail biting tension buildup, though.
    Read If: You want a convincing fantasy that still contains elements of reality
    Main Character: Meghan Chase, 16-year old female
    Themes: Supernatural abilities, Kingdoms at war, Kinship, Family bonding, Star-crossed love
    Plot: 9/10. Convincing.
    Narration: 8.5/10. Quite impressive.
    Characterization: 8.5/10.
    Overall: 8.5/10
    Did I get bored anywhere? Nope.
    Did any part confuse me? Not at all. It was a smooth read.
    Line/ Page Skippability: 1.5/5. Not much really, just the overly descriptive parts.
    Writing Style: Average sentences, Informal
    Uniqueness: 8.5/10
    Predictability: 3.5/10.
    Imagery: 4.5/5. The scenes seem to be playing right before me.
    Cover: 8.5/10.
    Ending: Aye, there’s a sequel!
    Reading priority: Must Read
    Reading duration: Slow readers: A week. Fast readers: 5.5 hours.
    Synopsis:
    Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…
    Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.
    When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
    But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

    WordVore Prod’s Review:
    Two things that this book changed about me:
    1.) My skepticism about Harlequin Teen
    2.) My distaste in fantasy
    I swear, fantasy was never my element. However, I loved this book so much that midsentence, even I was surprised! I absolutely loved how the plot was light (not too crammed up) yet interesting. It was like a delicious diet cola (which I have yet to find literally). The story was very streamlined and flowed smoothly. Usage of words was articulate and striking. Descriptions were astoundingly beautiful; however, at times I felt were a little long-drawn and redundant.
    Meghan’s character was…unique. Not unique as in Lady-Gaga-Lil-Wayne-hybrid-unique, but it had a very distinctive, individualistic quality about it. You could relate to her but at the same time you could recognize her as an individual person. I would have loved a little more insight into Ash’s character, since I feel it would be a great character to read about. Portrayal was relationships was intricate and true to life, but heartwrenching. Meghan’s love for her stepbrother was so real it jumped out of the pages. I also liked how the concept “No one is perfect” is played upon, e.g. Meghan’s former parents having an imperfect relationship despite her rose-coloured illusions. Puck was the most amusing, adorable “friend” character one could create.
    Meghan and Ash had marvelous chemistry. Their kiss rocked my socks off with the subtle fireworks and spontaneity. I’ll just end it at that.
    The Iron King was so well-characterized in such a short time that it’s unbelievable. His chilly yet weirdly appealing character is something I couldn’t get over.
    The only thing that slightly irked me was that the characters were just a tad bit repetitive at times. It’s not too distractive, thankfully, but I feel their dialogues could have been a little less cyclical.
    Overall, a great book to read. I cannot wait for the sequel to come out!

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    Tête-à-Tête with author of A Blue So Dark, Holly Schindler
    Holy scheibe. What is /wrong/ with me?
    I am so, so sorry I have been absent from blogging for so long. Between the sudden stress of school, French classes, community service, guitar classes and IGCSE external courses, I was fumbling with time management, and I apologize. Now I feel I'm more smart with my time, and I've suddenly experienced a huge boost in stamina.
    Anyways, I'm back. For real. And I want to start with an amazing interview with the author of A Blue So Dark, Holly Schindler. Trust me when I say that the book looks compelling to the nth degree.
    Read on, and enjoy:)

    Tell us something about yourself: likes, dislikes, favorite color, even why you think the chicken crossed the road…



    I’ve always wanted to be a writer. ALWAYS. When I got my master’s degree, I decided to chuck the whole notion of a real full-time real job in favor of chasing a writing career. I’m ECSTATIC to now have three books in development! My debut, a YA titled A BLUE SO DARK, is due out from Flux in May. PLAYING HURT, my second YA (that’s a tentative title) is due out from Flux in ‘11, and FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS (again, a tentative title) is my first adult novel, due out from Blooming Tree Press in ’11.



    …I’m also a lifelong Missouri girl. I don’t really think there’s a much prettier place than the Ozarks…Even when she’s being cruel in the winter, unleashing ice storms and feet of snow, she’s pretty…The perfect place to write, I think…



    A BLUE SO DARK sounds so rich and enticingly intense. Tell us more about it.



    A BLUE SO DARK is an edgy, literary YA novel that tackles madness, the nature of creativity, and the healing power of art. Here’s a brief synopsis:



    Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura Ambrose struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.



    As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frightening similar to her mother’s hallucinations.



    Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.



    How did you come up with the plot? Do you feel that the story is based off your life in any way?




    I’ve always loved to draw…took as many art courses in high school as I did English courses. Trust me—there are FAR better artists than I am. But I’m fascinated by creativity—why some people explode with ideas, and others stare at a sketchbook for hours and get nothin’.



    In A BLUE SO DARK, I got a chance to explore some ideas about where creativity might spring from. For Aura, creativity and madness are inextricably linked. And there’s no denying many artists have been both creative and mad…so her fears really do give readers something to chew on.



    Rapid fire round! Blue or red?


    You kiddin’? Blue, of course! It’s the color of my very best broken-in writing jeans, of my favorite pair of glasses (I’m extremely nearsighted), and of my favorite book cover. (Is it crazy to be in love with the cover of your own book?)



    What would be on Aura’s top 10 most played songs?



    I LOVE this question! Buuuuut….I’m going to break the rules a bit, and just give you just the #1…



    The novel includes a few references to some classic artists—Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel…most notably, Pink Floyd. If I were to give you just one song that I think kind of tells Aura and her mother’s story, I’d have to say, “Wish You Were Here.” Google the lyrics, and you’ll see what I mean.



    Three words to describe yourself and three words to describe A BLUE SO DARK.



    Me: I’m a writer. MAN, it feels SO good to say that. A real writer. With more than one book in development!



    A BLUE SO DARK: Does art cripple? That’s the central question that Aura has to answer. Will art free her, give her a much-needed outlet, or will it completely cripple her, bring on the same mental illness that her mother has struggled with for so many years?



    Oh my GOD. PINK FLOYD. I'm in love with the book already.

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    Thursday, February 4, 2010
    Tête-à-Tête with author of Fairy Tale and Sleepless, Cyn Balog
    Okay peeps of the blogosphere, today we have the AMAZING Cyn Balog grace my blog. I'm so honoured. or those who are unaware, she already has a mindblowing book called Fairy Tale out and her second book called Sleepless will be coming out this year! Read on to find out more about her and her works.

    >Tell us a little something-something about Sleepless.

    Sleepless is about a Sandman who falls in love with a mortal girl whose sleep he controls.

    The plot and premise of the book is so creative it baffles us regular non-writing people. How’d you come up with it?

    I don’t really have any time to think very much because I have two young children. This particular idea, I came up when driving home from work with my daughter babbling in the back and I’m a Little Teapot playing on the radio. They say that all ideas come during the 4 B’s—Bed, Bath (getting ready for the day), Bus (your commute), or Beer. And it’s true because I got the idea for Fairy Tale while lying in my bed, and Sleepless on my commute!

    What was your favourite part of writing the book?

    Typing “THE END”? Seriously. I had a hard time with SLEEPLESS. I sold it on proposal and after finishing the first draft was told it was hopelessly dark and depressing. Still, I thought the premise was amazing. So I vowed to write the entire thing over, which I did in about three weeks. So by that time, I was so frazzled I was happy to get to the end and nervous to find out if it passed muster with my editor!


    Okay, so how is Sleepless different from Fairy Tale, your awesome debut?

    Well, Julia and Eron are not as funny and sarcastic as Morgan is. I loved that about Morgan, because I am a sarcastic person, but I know a lot of people found her annoying. So I really had to tone down the sarcasm that threatened to spew out of me on every page. The fun thing about this book is that Sandmen were once human, so Eron, the Sandman, was a human once, but back in 1900. So I loved placing him in the present day and having him find his way.

    Rapid fire round! Five things you can grab without moving from where you are?

    A pen. My daughter’s sock. A pack of five playing card games (old maid, etc), a gift certificate to Collage Video, and my royalty statement for Fairy Tale.

    Gel pen or ball point?

    Um, I am not picky at all. As long as ink flows from it, I am good.

    If Eron had a Facebook profile, what would it look like?

    Imagine your great-grandfather having a facebook profile. Scary. Eron is still trying to figure out that thing we call “computer”.

    What would your autobiography be titled?

    And Then Some Confusion Happened

    Hmm, I wonder, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

    I approached Yo Yo Ma, rather brusquely, and told him that my husband was in love with him. My husband loved Yo Yo Ma but was too scared to talk to him, and I really didn’t know much about him, so I took the reigns. I meant to say, “My husband thinks you’re wonderful,” but for some reason it came out as if my husband had a romantic crush on the man.

    Last question! Favourite songs to write to?

    Silence. I can’t write to music. It’s so loud in my house during the day and I get headaches really easily, so I just love peace and quiet!!


    Getting to know authors on a personal level is the awesome stuff.

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    Friday, January 15, 2010
    And the winner is...
    Okay dudes, I was supposed to do this A LONG TIME AGO. And I apologize, profusely. But now that I'm here, I'll announce the winner of the Ghost Swag Pack.
    And the winner eeeeeeeezzzz...

    Throuthehaze!

    I've mailed you for your address! Ms. Crewe will personally send your prize to your doorstep. Enjoy:)


    WordVore Prod
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    WorDissection: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

    Did I like it? Totally did.
    You'll love it if you liked: Fun vampire fiction.
    Aura: Light with slight underlying tension buildup.
    Read If: You're looking for a supernatural-entwined-with-reality novel with FUNNY vampires (ahem, not Edward, that is).
    Main Characters: Jessica and Lucius
    Themes: Vampiredom, Romance, Supernatural abilities
    Plot: 8.75/10
    Narration: 9/10. Very communicative.
    Characterization: 9/10. Great buildup.
    Overall: 9/10
    Did I get bored anywhere? Nope. It was entertainment sandwiched between hardcover.
    Did any part confuse me? Not at all. It was a smooth read.
    Line/ Page Skippability: 1/5. Not much really.
    Writing Style: Average sentences, Informal, F-U-N.
    Uniqueness: 8/10
    Predictability: 2/10.
    Imagery: 4/5. The scenes seem to be playing right before me.
    Cover: 9/10. I love how it’s simple but beautiful.
    Ending: Happy…but realistic with a good twist.
    Reading priority: Definitely Read
    Reading duration: Fast readers- 6.5 hours; Slow readers- a week.
    Synopsis:
    This book made me love vampires again.
    Okay, so you have this normal girl who’s actually a vampire princess, but acts like a normal girl, right? Throw in a sinister, handsome, and sarcastically funny vampire who’s actually not so bad at heart (but not a complete angel either). What do you get?
    A kickass vampire novel.
    The plot had a whole lot of flesh, positive point numero uno. The story buildup was done in a great way, planned out to reflect scenes that seem to be happening right in front of the eyes. The writing style completely blew me away—expressive yet not grossly poetic. It was like chunks of regular conversation put down on paper. The transitions between one scene and another was smooth and in no way rough around the edges.
    Jessica was great. She had her vices and her strengths and I loved her for that. Her voice was not whiny (thank goodness)—rather sardonic in a very amusing way. But Lucius was the big cookie in the book. He was this charming, dark vampire to the T, but he was sooo funny! Humour was one of the biggest strengths of the book—not overdone but enough to make you laugh out loud.
    One thing that bothered me in the book was the repeated references to gender differences and stuff (eh, what can I say, I’m a feminist). But oh well, it shouldn’t put you away from reading the book—not at all.
    If you’re looking for a book with an authentic voice, feel, story and above all, an authentic vampire and not a skewered version of one, then I would definitely recommend picking up Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. I would suggest grabbing a cup of coffee with it though; that should set the mood.
    P.S. I read this book when I had a horrible case of flu. Even through that, I couldn’t help but love this book. Give Jessica’s Guide some more credit points for this particular postscriptum.

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    Monday, December 21, 2009
    WorDissection: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

    Did I like it? I LOVED it!
    You'll love it if you liked: Good YA literature.
    Aura: Haunting, Intense, Gripping.
    Read If: You're looking for an intense read that’ll leave you with awed and amazed and enthralled at the end.
    Narration: First person
    Main Characters: Gemma and Ty
    Themes: Kidnapping, Obsession, Adaptation, Psychological developments, Friendship (maybe?)
    Plot: 8.75/10
    Narration: 9.9/10. Gemma’s voice rocked my socks off.
    Characterization: 9.85/10. Beautiful characterization.
    Overall: 9.75/10
    Did I get bored anywhere? NO!
    Did any part confuse me? Not at all. My own brain and how it responds to the story did though, in a good way.
    Line/ Page Skippability: 0.25/5. I didn’t at all.
    Writing Style: Short sentences, Informal, Expressive
    Uniqueness: 9.6/10
    Predictability: 0.5/10.
    Imagery: 4.5/5. So descriptive and visual.
    Cover: 9/10. I love how it’s simple but beautiful.
    Ending: Realistic, unique, amazing closure.
    Reading priority: Must, MUST read.
    Reading duration: Fast readers-Approx. 6 hours, Slow readers- Approx. 10 days.
    Synopsis:

    “It happened like this.

    I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him. This is my story.

    A letter from nowhere.”
    Told in a letter to her captor by 16-year-old Gemma, Stolen explores the influence that a really wild and remote space can have on the inner development of a young woman.
    Gemma, a British city-living teenager, is kidnapped while on holiday with her parents. Her kidnapper, Ty, takes her to the wild land of outback Australia. To Gemma’s city-eyes, the landscape is harsh and unforgiving and there are no other signs of human life for hundreds of kilometres in every direction. Here, there is no escape. Gemma must learn to deal with her predicament, or die trying to fight it.
    Ty, a young man, has other ideas for her. His childhood experience of living in outback Australia has forever changed the way he sees things. But he too has been living in the city; Gemma’s city. Unlike Gemma, however, he has had enough. In outback Australia he sees an opportunity for a new kind of life; a life more connected to the earth. He has been watching and learning about Gemma for many years; when he kidnaps her, his plan finally begins to take shape.
    But Ty is not a stereotypical kidnapper and, over time, Gemma comes to see Ty in a new light, a light in which he is something more sensitive. The mysteries of Ty, and the mystery of her new life, start to take hold. She begins to feel something for her kidnapper when he wakes screaming in the night. Over the time spent with her captor, Gemma’s appreciation of him develops into what could be referred to as Stockholm syndrome.


    WordVore Prod’s Review:
    Wow…one word….WOW! Stolen was such a different read from all the other books I’ve read that it completely blew me away. I’ve always had a soft spot for something that deviates from the regular and this was no exception. It is rightly so that I bestow so much awe upon this book.
    Stolen is not your ordinary romance novel brewing from Stockholm syndrome. It is not your ordinary kidnapping cat-and-mouse chase story. Heck, it’s not ordinary, period. Characterization is absolutely unblemished, with no hint of neglect or overdramatization. I was scared—scared I tell you!—by the way Lucy Christopher made me feel sympathy towards Ty, and no, it’s not because he is this perfect prince charming who somehow became a kidnapper out of the blue. He is a guy with major issues like a kidnapper should, and these issues are drawn upon from such a psychological angle that it leaves you enthralled. You do, in fact, feel contempt towards him at times. I had such varying opinions about Ty—so vulnerable and heartwrenching yet so frightening at times. The whole novel, in fact, plays upon the human psych like Mozart played upon his musical instruments. It’ll frazzle you, puzzle you, and it’ll leave you awed at the capacities of psychology. Gemma is not a helpless damsel in distress, in fact, she is strong yet vulnerable at times. Her emotional development throughout the whole novel is so astoundingly well done that it deserves a standing ovation. Her final feelings towards Ty are subtly justified but with strong grounding. At the end of the novel, you actually get why both characters acted the way they did, why they did what they did, and that’s weird since it’s not supposed to make sense but it does. Ah, the wonders of pure good literature.
    The plot is holy whoa. I know it’s something you’ve heard before but the plot development and the ending make the story downright unique. Speaking of which, the ending was ama-freakin’-zing. It was one of the best closures I’ll ever see in YA literature, ever. It makes you rethink and re-evaluate everything around you—the world and your life itself. Imagery was wonderful as well—it takes a brush and paints the image right in your head. One thing is for sure, the book communicates extraordinarily well with the conscious AND subconscious mind. The story will make you visit realms of your own mind you’ve never bothered tapping into before. Tell me how many books can do that. The relationship between Ty and Gemma is mindblowing. It’s something you can’t label, ever, yet you know that it’s not flimsy and it’s strong, in a strange yet beautiful way.
    Okay, no complaints from me. Strange, right? Of course there are scopes of improvement but I just don’t know where. I think you should rad and be the judge yourself this time.
    No other conclusion than: Read! Now!

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    Sunday, December 20, 2009
    WorDissection: In Ecstasy by Kate McCaffrey


    Did I like it? Yeah.
    You'll love it if you liked: Ellen Hopkins novels.
    Aura: Haunting, Chilling, Gripping.
    Read If: You're looking for a quick but intense read.
    Narration: First person alternating
    Main Characters: Sophie and Mia, teen females
    Themes: Drug Addiction, Friendship, Peer Pressure, Adolescence
    Plot: 8/10
    Narration: 9/10
    Characterization: 8.5/10. Very charming.
    Overall: 8.75/10
    Did I get bored anywhere? Nah.
    Did any part confuse me? Not at all. Simple.
    Line/ Page Skippability: 1/5. Not much.
    Writing Style: Short sentences, Informal, Becomes choppier as the addiction develops
    Uniqueness: 8/10
    Predictability: 3/10.
    Cover: 8.75/10. I like how it’s simple but beautiful.
    Ending: Realistic, hopeful, good closure.
    Reading priority: Should read.
    Reading duration: Fast readers-Approx. 4 hours, Slow readers- Approx. a week.
    Synopsis:
    “I pictured the roughly made tablets with their tiny butterflies. An amazing experience inside a tiny pill. That morning I figured life couldn’t get any better. How could something that made you feel like that be bad for you?”
    Mia and Sophie have been best friends forever- but that’s all about to change. Experimenting with alcohol, flirting with boys and dabbling in drugs, things quickly spiral out of control. And they finally realise how bad things really can get.

    WordVore Prod’s Review:
    Ahoy fellow readers, today I bring to thee…
    Australian YA fiction.
    It’s good. It’s fun. It’s underappreciated.
    I was quite excited to start In Ecstasy, since that was my first dip into Australian YA lit. And I wasn’t disappointed. To my delight it read differently than American YA, and to my delight the change was also a pleasant one.
    In Ecstasy tells the story of two teenagers named Mia and Sophie and their downward spiraling into the sinister world of drug addiction. This is such a topic where you can weave a thousand different sorts of stories on the same subject, and it won’t sound repetitive. The best part of the book was that the character and plot development was very rational--from the initial temptation to the final shots at recovery-- and I didn’t have trouble believing in the two characters or their actions and reactions. The unexpected turn of events leaves readers with a satisfying sense of unpredictability. Mia’s narrative is so effective that it made my feet run cold in seconds. The horror and helplessness that she feels is almost tactile. Sophie was no stupid supportive character either—she was the friend that tries her best to drag Mia out of the dark and wails in frustration at each failure. One thing this book can do is definitely let you into the dark abyss of an addict’s mind, and let me tell you—it’s captivating.
    A tad bit of issue with the book was that at times it comes off sounding a little preachy…more so like a drug addict manual. But the upside is also that the issue is not severe, thankfully. However, this also acts as an advantage since I feel that this is a novel parents can read to gain better insight into drug addiction and teens and how these two get tangled up in a mess together.
    I liked all the other supporting characters in the book, and wouldn’t mind more insight into their personalities. Themes like clique discrepancy and peer pressure are also covered in the book. The book was a short, quick read and a rewarding one at that. So curl up on your couch with this book and enjoy. After all, Australian YA ain’t bad at all!

    For this book, please do check out the official page: http://www.fremantlepress.com.au/books/youngadult/861
    It's cool:)

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    Saturday, December 19, 2009
    WorDissection: Sovay by Celia Rees


    Did I like it? Oh yes!
    You'll love it if you liked: Gemma Doyle books, maybe? And anything historical yet storylike.
    Aura: Crisp, Adventurous, Exciting
    Read If: You're looking for a looong, loooong read that’s fulfilling. Not exactly for non-readers.
    Narration: Third Person
    Main Character: Sovay Middleton, a rebellious, determined and compassionate 17-year old female
    Themes: French Revolution, Gender boundaries, 1700s
    Plot: 9.5/10. Awesome plot.
    Narration: 8.5/10
    Characterization: 9/10. Very charming.
    Overall: 9/10
    Did I get bored anywhere? Nope, strange yet pleasant surprise.
    Did any part confuse me? Sometimes. Lotsa characters.
    Line/ Page Skippability: 0.75/5. Not much.
    Writing Style: Long sentences, Uber-formal.
    Uniqueness: 9/10
    Predictability: 1/10. Not predictable, really.
    Cover: 8/10. Not bad, but I’m not swooning either. Had an issue: there are two covers. One I have, i.e. the one with the review, has a model not compliant with the character’s described appearance. Oh well, whatevs. :)
    Ending: Realistic, good closure.
    Reading priority: Must read
    Reading duration: Fast readers-Approx. 1 day, Slow readers- Approx. a month.
    Synopsis:
    It’s England, 1783. When the rich and beautiful Sovay isn’t sitting for portraits, she’s donning a man’s cloak and robbing travelers—in broad daylight. But in a time when political allegiances between France and England are strained, a rogue bandit is not the only thing travelers fear. Spies abound, and rumors of sedition can quickly lead to disappearances. So when Sovay lifts the wallet of one of England’s most powerful and dangerous men, it’s not just her own identity she must hide, but that of her father. A dazzling historical saga in which the roles of thieves and gentry, good and bad, and men and women are interchanged to riveting effect.

    WordVore Prod's Review:

    I have always avoided historical fiction like the plague, honestly. That being said, I gotta say that Sovay is one of the most charming and enrapturing novels I’ve ever read. It’s compliant to reality, yet rather than reading like a droning biography of sorts, it reads like a true storyteller’s ballad.
    The writing quality is absolutely marvelous and flawless to the t—there is a certain regal finesse to it. Sovay was such a real and inspiring character. She is a true heroine who does not need other characters to develop. Her bravery to step out of the gender boundaries of the 1700s has been portrayed so well—human but wild. Each and every expedition of hers as a highwayman leaves the reader breathless and craving for more. The adrenaline rush is renewed with full vigor in every new page. Sovay’s emotions are so raw they leap out of the tangible pages; her burning determination, her love for her family and her frustration at the shackles of gender discrimination are all emotions that we can feel through her soul while reading.
    Imagery and description is crafted wonderfully and weaved in such a way so that it doesn’t become monotonous. The side characters are great to read about, as they form a crucial part of Sovay’s journey. The ending was amazing—perfect climax too. I was also in for s surprise right enar the end but hey, we all like a bit of unpredictability, right?
    My only complaint? Too many characters, which are sometimes hard to keep track and the length which might not sit well with the average, not-so-avid reader.
    The book was, in a word, delicious. That’s the first word that’s running through my head right now. So if you’re in for a long treat, then grab your copy of Sovay. To average readers too, don’t be scared by the size of the book because you won’t be disappointed by how fast the story moves—for a historical fiction, it’s astoundingly well-paced.

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    Thursday, December 10, 2009
    WorDissection: Immortal by Gillian Shields

    Did I like it? Yeah.
    You'll love it if you liked: Stories with a gothic feel and a traditional romance.
    Aura: Intense and gothic
    Read If: You're looking for an engrossing read that is at the same time not too complex.
    Narration: First Person
    Main Character: Evie Johnson
    Themes: Social outcast, Friendship, First love, Connection between past and present, Superhuman abilities
    Plot: 8/10
    Narration: 8.5/10
    Characterization: 8.5/10
    Overall: 8.5/10
    Did I get bored anywhere? Nope.
    Did any part confuse me? Nope. ‘Tis simple=)
    Line/ Page Skippability: 1/5. Not much.
    Writing Style: Average sentences, Informal, Self-discovering.
    Uniqueness: 7.5/10
    Predictability: 3/10
    Cover: 9.5/10. Delicious cover.
    Ending: Hopeful, satisfying, albeit clichéd.
    Reading priority: Should Read
    Reading duration: Fast readers-Approx. 5 hours, Slow readers- Approx 7 days.
    Synopsis:
    Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.
    Evie's only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie's feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.
    Gillian Shields's electrifying tale will dazzle readers with suspense, mysticism, and romance.


    Okay, so there were so many bad reviews on Immortal that I was, in fact, a tad bit apprehensive about reading the book. But, here’s the deal: I liked it. Yup. That’s solely my opinion and I’m going to be completely unbiased and state it.
    Maybe we can go over the negatives first. The writing falls a slight bit lackluster at times, and more prosaic than each segment flowing smoothly into another. The plot line could have used a little more substance, maybe? However, I do think that even though originality was lacking, the build-up on the plotline was quite commendable.
    I liked Evie’s character, and definitely related to her on quite a common ground. She is someone consumed by loneliness, and I like how the pain caused by the isolation seeps through the paper rather than come off as a monologue of whining complaints. Although not a big fan of Sebastian, he was definitely not hateable. I liked how he is a little more human towards the end--being vulnerable to manipulation. The format was the best part of the book, and the interchanging between present day and Lady Agnes’ diary was a captivating arrangement. The gothic feel of the story is pulled off with much skillfulness, and the implementation of the setting is equally marvelous.
    All in all, Gillian Shields is definitely an author whose work I would like to read in the future. I would recommend that you judge the book yourself rather than completely go with reviews—you just never know.
    Oh, and, pretty cover!

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    Saturday, September 26, 2009
    Sorry for the absence!
    I am so, so, SO sorry I haven't posted in 10 days! Here's my excuse: I was off to village to celebrate Eid. It's traditional for most families here to go to their village homes and celebrate with relatives. Since there was no Internet connection over there, I couldn't blog:( But I promise I'll be posting regularly from this week:)


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    Save Shrinking Violet
    SAVE SHRINKING VIOLET!
    Help Tere keep her voice!

    What is Shrinking Violet? It's a young adult novel about an extremely shy high school senior trying to find her voice and reach her dream of becoming a DJ, despite the obstacles that stand in her way.

    The book is about to go on back order and in order for more copies to be printed, more people have to place orders for the book.

    So here's how you can help:
    Please tell anyone that you think might be interested to place an order now before it's too late. Guys, girls, grandmas. grandpas, you're never too old to read humorous teen fiction!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1416596968

    http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781416596967

    Seriously guys, no author deserves something like this for his/her effort! And not to mention there have been loads of positive reviews about this book. Here's the cover for your viewing delight:


    Want more? Read the First Chapter right here and I'm sure you'll want to read the rest (I do!). So here's Chapter One of Shrinking Violet for you:

    Chapter One

    You're listening to Sweet T on 92.7 WEMD SLAM FM. It's after dark now, so don't change that dial because here's where killer tunes explode through your speakers, leaving you wanting more. I'll take you through the night and feed your soul. Call me at 1-800-555-SLAM and let me know what's up, Miami. Now check out the new Juice Box track I've been promising you.
    * * *

    Until a few years ago, I always dreamed that a radio station would be a sleek glass architectural gem on Ocean Drive. Flashing neon lights with the studio's call letters would adorn the top of the builing, large enough to be spotted miles away. Don't get me wrong, SLAM FM has a good setup five minutes from the beach in North Miami. But they occupy the second floor of an office building, nestled between a law firm and a bail bondsman, hardly in the midst of all the South Beach revelers staring at the disc jockeys through the huge windowpanes.

    The only good thing about Mom marrying Rob Fandango, radio bigwig, is that he owns a top-forty station. But while he whisks Mom off to celebrity-wannabe parties every weekend, I'm holed up in my room, downloading all the latest tunes on my iPod and scanning the dial for the next overnight sensation.

    There are a few local celebs, like the hottest up-and-coming rapper, PJ Squid, that I'd like to meet, but I'd have nothing to say to him. More like I'm afraid I'd open my mouth and nothing would come out, or even worse, I'd say something stupid.

    Might as well admit it -- I'm shy. Not the kind where you blush when someone compliments you, but the kind that results in feelings of nausea when meeting new people. When I was little, I thought I was Shy Adams. People would ask my name, and my mother would immediately answer for me, "She's shy." She even did it three weeks ago when we met up with some of the radio people at a restaurant. It was so embarrassing because I can no longer hide behind her; rather, she can hide behind me. I'm five inches taller than her and a good thirty-five pounds heavier -- I'm the evergreen tree to her palm.

    * * *

    "Teresa, you can wait in the car if you like." Mom's ID card pops out of the slot and she zooms into her reserved space in the station's parking garage.

    My seat belt is already unbuckled. "No, I'm cool."

    I walk a step behind Mom toward the elevator. By the time we reach the second floor, my stomach is whirring. I cross my arms against my chest and inhale. I can do this. I've done it before. We'll only be inside for five minutes, tops. Mom has to drop off a birthday present that Rob asked her to buy for his lawyer. Then we're off to my Friday afternoon dentist appointment. Joy.

    When you open the heavy glass door to the station, the first thing you see is a gigantic red and blue SLAM sign hanging over a large U-shaped desk. In addition to the receptionist's area, the entrance is large enough to fit two red couches and a table filled with Rolling Stone, Vibe, and other music industry magazines. There's a small guy with a goatee and shades sitting there now. He's speaking in a hushed tone on his cell. I don't recognize him. Maybe he's a promoter. I hope he's here for PJ Squid.

    Patty's up front answering the phones. She's in her midforties, is the proud owner of a seventies feathered hairdo, and plays solitaire in between calls. She gives us a half smile as we waltz by.

    We round the corner and walk past the on-air studio. My heart thumps. I'd give anything to be inside there, broadcasting live, instead of doing mock shows from my bedroom.

    Derek, the drive time DJ, is leaning against the outside of the door. "Hi, Delilah." He throws Mom a crooked smile.

    "How's the show going?" Mom asks.

    "All good." He winks. "Do you like your new ride?"

    I'm standing next to Mom, but he doesn't even acknowledge me. We've met several times before but have never spoken to each other. It has always been at the end of a long table at a restaurant or at a few station parties filled with models and other women that don't eat for a living.

    "I love the Lexus. It drives so smoothly," Mom coos.

    Derek puts his hand on Mom's shoulder. His knuckles are really hairy and so is his chest, for that matter. I don't think the first three buttons on his shirt have ever been used. "You deserve it."

    I try to peek into the studio, but Derek's blocking the glass pane in the door.

    "I like to think so." Mom laughs. "Rob knows what makes me happy."

    Okay, this is about all I can handle. This guy gives me the creeps. I clear my throat and point down the hall toward our original destination.

    "Right." Mom nods and says good-bye to Derek.

    We continue down the carpeted hallway to Rob's window office, facing the bay. When we're a few feet away, I hear him talking to someone.

    Mom reaches for the doorknob. "Maybe he's in a meeting," I say.

    "Nonsense. He knows I'm stopping by." She whips open the door.

    DJ Wipeout is seated across from Rob. "I'm sorry to hear that -- " Rob stops midsentence as soon as he spots us.

    Both men are sporting poker faces. Call me crazy, but it looks like they're busy.

    Mom strolls right in, while I linger at the entrance.

    "Here you go, honey." She plops the gift bag onto Rob's desk and gives him a big smooch on the lips.

    He smiles but doesn't budge. Mom looks at Rob, then DJ Wipeout. "Excuse me. Did I interrupt something?"

    "Aaron's leaving us," Rob says.

    What? No way. He's got a great show, The Love Shack, "where lust is always in the air."

    "For how long?" Mom slides her wedding ring back and forth.

    Rob taps his coffee mug with a gold pen. "He quit."

    Mom's jaw drops. I inch closer to the desk.

    "I'm going to work on my uncle's cattle ranch in Texas." Wipeout runs his hand over the top of his shaved head. I catch a glimpse of the tattoo stretched across his forearm that says Rock or Die.

    Double no way. He's going to waste his sexy voice rounding up cows all day and stepping in manure?

    "That's nice." Mom smiles.

    "The Love Shack won't be the same without you," Rob says. "I have no clue who to replace you with."

    Me! I want to shout. I can do the show blindfolded! But instead I stand there deader than a stuffed moose.

    "I'm sorry, bud." Wipeout lets out a huge sigh. "But this is my calling."

    Yeah, me, too.

    This is Sweet T live on The Love Shack, hoping all your dreams come true...



    Now hurry! Order!

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    Wednesday, September 16, 2009
    Whiner's Wednesday a.k.a Waiting On Wednesday
    This is my weekly list of books that are droolworthy (at least according to me). By the way, don't forget to check out my giveaway for a whole pack of goodies, click here. Anyways, that said, let's move on to this week's Whinerrrrr's Wednesday.



    Forget You by Jennifer Echols

    Synopsis:
    Zoey’s life in her Florida beach resort town is happy and organized. She’s the captain of her high school swim team, and she works for her dad at his popular water park. Then her dad has an affair with one of his employees, and her mother has a breakdown. But Zoey begins a committed relationship with a hot lifeguard, which makes her feel stable, even if things aren’t perfect at home. Everything is still under control.
    Until she has a car accident that she can’t remember. She should have been with her boyfriend that night, but he doesn’t seem to know anything about the accident—and he doesn’t seem to care. The person who does care, and knows more than he’s telling, is Doug, Zoey’s darkly handsome arch-enemy who saved her from the wreckage. As Zoey begins to piece together what happened that night, she finds her sense of control over her life was only an illusion. And she inches closer to discovering the darkest secret of all: why Doug has fallen in love with her.


    Yeep.




    The Mark by Jen Nadol

    Synopsis:
    Sixteen-year old Cassie Renfield has seen the mark since forever: a glow around certain people as if a candle were held behind their back.

    The one time she pointed it out taught her she shouldn't do it again, so Cassie has kept quiet, considering its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until she watches a man die. Mining her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person's imminent death. Now how or where, only when: today.

    Cassie searches her past, her philosophy lessons, even her new boyfriend for answers, always careful to keep her secret. How does the mark work? Why her? Most importantly, if you know today is someone's last, should you tell?


    Because the plot's just that hot.

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    Tuesday, September 15, 2009
    Ghost Week Day Four: Guest Post by Megan Crewe; How I Got Through High School, Breathers Only
    When we think YA, we think teens. And when we think teens, we think high school. Wherever you are, whoever you are, if you are a teen or have survived through adolescence, it's likely that high school is common ground for us. On that note, Megan Crewe, author of Give Up the Ghost tells us how she lived through high school without any ghost friends. Here's how:

    How I got through high school, breathers only In my book, GIVE UP THE GHOST, Cass feels her ghostly friends are pretty much essential to getting through high school. Without them, she feels she'd have no one to talk to, and be dismissed or harassed by everyone. Thankfully, my teen years were a lot less traumatic than Cass's! I never had a friend stab me in the back, and while I did get teased some in junior high, I always had friends for support, too. I was particularly lucky in high school, because I went to a school with a strong academic focus. I was the kind of kid who got her essays done a week early and was on the honor roll every term, and I talked to people (especially girls) who went to other high schools and felt they had to play dumb or they'd be made fun of. But at my school most of the popular kids were doing well academically, too, and people would congratulate you for being on the honor roll. So I could just be the sort-of-nerdy person I was and most people respected that. My high school wasn't very clique-y either, which was a relief after all the teen book and movie portrayals I'd seen. I had a couple of close friends I almost always hung out with, but I had lots of not-so-close friends who hung out with a variety of different people, too. There were any number of people I might end up eating lunch with, talking to in class, or joining up with to do a group project. You could chat up just about anyone in your grade and no one would think anything of it. I don't know if it helped or not, but I was active with a lot of different groups in high school as well. I did a brief stint in the drama club, a couple years on the school newspaper, and participated in both the speed swim and synchronized swim teams throughout. I got to know a lot of people that way I might not have otherwise--either because we didn't share many classes or they were in different grades. And of course it's easier to feel happy at school when you're involved in activities you enjoy there! So that was my high school experience--maybe some of you reading this can share yours? How do you get on at school? Do you wish you had ghosts to confide in or spy for you? :)

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    Monday, September 14, 2009
    Ghost Week: Day Three--Tête-à-Tête with YA Author Megan Crewe
    Okay, so today I talk to Megan Crewe about...all sorts of random stuff. But I promise, it's good stuff:P Read on to find out more.

    Let’s start with the basics. Tell us something about your book.

    GIVE UP THE GHOST is about a girl who's turned her back on the living in favor of ghostly friends--partly because she's been afraid to trust her classmates ever since her ex-best-friend turned on her in junior high, and partly because the ghosts can dig up the popular kids' dirty secrets so that Cass can expose them for what they really are.

    How did you come up with the plot? Was it inspired by your own> experiences

    The story started (like most of my stories do) with a 'what if': what if there was a girl who preferred hanging out with ghosts instead of living people? I came up with the plot as I figured out why she felt that way, and what might make that change. Thankfully, I never experienced any bullying as severe as Cass has, but I was teased now and then in junior high, and I witnessed other kids being ostracized or gossiped about behind their backs. And I've never seen a ghost, myself. :)

    What’re your favourite book/s?


    Far too many to list! You can see my all-time faves at my GoodReads account: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/2270302 As a kid, my favorite book was THE CHANGELING by Zilpha Keatley Snyder and as a teen my favorite was BIRTH OF THE FIREBRINGER by Meredith Ann Pierce. I still love both dearly.

    Tell us something about yourself. Anything from your favourite colour to the wackiest quirks works.

    I love animals of all kinds and am a bit of a pet fanatic. Right now I have two cats, but in the past I've owned ferrets, hamsters, mice, and fish, and I've considered getting rats. At some point, once we get a house, we may get a dog. And I used to want to have a horse (isn't that a typical girl thing?) and took riding lessons, but now I don't think I'd be able to commit enough time.

    What would your autobiography be titled if you wrote one?

    I doubt I'd ever write one, but imagining I did... Maybe A PRACTICAL DREAMER.

    Any other things you’re passionate about other than writing?

    Well, reading, of course! I always have a book on the go and it's a thrill getting wrapped up in a new story. I also love traveling--have visited Britain, China, and Italy and hope to see much more of the world.

    Rapid Fire round! Which fictional character do you find yourself most similar to?

    I've always seen myself as like Martha from THE CHANGELING (mentioned above)--shy but creative as a kid, slowly coming out of my shell in my teens.

    If you had to wish upon a falling star right now, what would it be?

    For a long and joyous writing career. :)What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done?

    When I was in junior high hanging out with a couple of my friends from choir downtown, we started an impromptu performance of various songs from Les Miserables for everyone walking by. We were just having fun, but I'm sure lots of people thought we were weird!

    You’re locked in an elevator. Who would you want in there with you to keep you company and why?

    I find books make excellent company! :) As people go, I'd have to say my husband, because we can always find stuff to talk about for hours.

    Frankenstein resurrection and world invasion! What does Cass do?

    Get her ghost friends to find out as much info as they can, and use what they learn to locate and secure a safe place for her and her family--and Tim, if he wants to come along.

    Would you prefer ghosts to breathers as friends?

    Nope. Ghosts like the ones in my book are great, don't get me wrong, but as Cass discovers, there's some things you can only get from living, breathing people. Like hugs. Or the ability to remember what's been going on in your life.

    Three words to describe yourself and three more to describe your book.

    Me: Imaginative, dedicated, practical.
    GHOST: Quirky, thoughtful, emotional.

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    Ghost Week: Day Three--Giveaway!
    So, in honour of the release of Give Up the Ghost, Megan has been kind enough to let me host a giveaway on this blog! How cool is that?
    Here is what you could win in the Give Up the Ghost swag pack:

    -A ghost scent sample
    -A friendship bracelet
    -A mini paper lantern
    -A Give Up the Ghost bookmark
    -A Give Up the Ghost sticker set
    -A Give Up the Ghost button

    So hurry up and enter! You must be a follower to enter.Here's how you can get entries:
    +1 for leaving a comment on this post with your email address
    +2 for already following my blog (thanks guys!)
    +1 for becoming a follower
    +1 each for leaving a comment on any of the posts on this blog
    +1 for leaving a comment on any post on Megan's blog
    +1 for following me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/ProdElektra)(leave your username please)
    +1 for blogging, tweeting, or posting this somewhere (sidebar is okay).

    Whew! Giveaway ends October 10th midnight EST, so you guys have plenty of time. I'll choose a winner using random.org on the 11th and Megan will send the winner his/her prize pack directly:)

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    Friday, September 11, 2009
    Ghost Week!-Day Two: WorDissection: Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe

    Did I like it? Yeah.
    You'll love it if you liked: Stories with ghost characters, or stories about the backstabbing of friends.
    Aura: Slightly Intense
    Read If: You're looking for a fresh read with literary and entertainment value.
    Narration: First Person
    Main Character: Cass McKenna, high school junior.
    Themes: Social outcast, revenge, breaking of trust, trust issues, healing, redemption, friendship, support.
    Plot: 9/10
    Narration: 8.5/10
    Characterization: 8/10
    Overall: 8.5/10
    Did I get bored anywhere? Slightly when character development seemed a tad bit stagnant.
    Did any part confuse me? Nope. it's a neat story with no scope for confusion.
    Line/ Page Skippability: 1/5. Not much.
    Writing Style: Average sentences, Informal, Self-discovering.
    Uniqueness: 8.5/10
    Predictability: 1.75/10
    Favourite Quote: "I have friends, I wanted to tell her. You just wouldn't believe they exist."
    Cover: 9.5/10. You gotta love the cover.
    Song(s) to go with book (from author website, click here for source):
    1. Trouble By Lisa Germano Ringtone | Buy Song 2. How Soon Is Now- Love Spit Love Ringtone | Buy Song 3. Geek The Girl By Lisa Germano Ringtone | Buy Song 4. Texarkana By R.E.M. Ringtone | Buy Song 5. Smoke By Natalie Imbruglia Ringtone | Buy Song 6. Understand The Dream Is Over By The Juliana Theory Ringtone | Buy Song 7. Country Feedback By R.E.M. Ringtone | Buy Song 8. Displaced By Azure Ray Ringtone | Buy Song 9. Elsewhere By Sarah McLachlan Ringtone | Buy Song 10. Wise Up By Aimee Mann Ringtone | Buy Song 11. How To Save A Life By The Fray Ringtone | Buy Song 12. Into The Dark By The Juliana Theory
    Ending: Hopeful, satisfying, very realistic.
    Reading priority: Should Read
    Reading duration: Fast readers-Approx. 5 hours, Slow readers- Approx 7 days.
    Synopsis:
    Cass McKenna much prefers ghosts over “breathers.” Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody…and Cass loves dirt. She’s on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.

    But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass’s whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.

    As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim’s life, she’s surprised to realize he’s not so bad—and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it’s time to give the living another chance….


    WordVore Prod's Review:
    I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t anticipated this book much—I was dying for it! So when it first landed on my lap, I literally squealed. So naturally, I had a lot to expect from this book. And believe me, I wasn’t disappointed.
    Cass McKenna is a social pariah, made so by the overreaction and revenge taken by her ex-best friend just because Cass got a place in the debate team that she wanted by chance, and got to be around the guy that she liked. Now, this idea may seem inflated at first look, but it wasn’t. It was made to be a story that could happen to anyone and everyone. Neither is this book a typical “ghost story”. Even the ghosts have well-crafted characters, which serves as a fresh breath of air. Cass’ desire for revenge is human and not something that turns her into an abominable character. But we can’t help but notice how she also realizes that it wasn’t worth it after all. The trust issues that hold Cass back are very neatly justified, not like an essay in itself but gradually as the story progresses. That is exactly why when she hesitates from being a friend to Tim, her defiance does not annoy us—rather it makes us empathize with her. Tim is one heck of an adorable character. The death of his mother along with his realization that his “friends” aren’t exactly his true friends makes him miserable at best. He feels utterly lonely at this point, and the emotions that he feels are amazingly communicates with the reader. You can’t help but feel like going over and giving him a tight bear hug. I was really glad that Cass came around and offered her friendship and support—and the way their relationship wasn’t all mushy and all-over-the-place. The way Cass takes baby steps towards giving people a chance and not be so stereotyping and opinionated made me admire her. None of the characters are too clichéd or exaggerated. She also gradually but awkwardly comes to terms with the fact that she genuinely cares about Tim. Danielle, Cass’ ex-best friend, showed hopes of redemption near the ending and the fact that she was worried about Tim shows us that she’s not completely disloyal or uncompassionate. Imagery is very well done, as it succeeds in pulling the reader into the book’s own world.
    The best parts of the book were the fresh outlook, the hope of redemption and healing that each and every character showed and the well-drawn reasoning behind the characters’ actions. The book certainly had a neat quality about it. What I felt could have been better were: 1.) the character development felt a little stagnant at times—however, all the characters did end up in their proper positions by the end of the book; 2.) The characters could have used a little more depth—especially Cass. I would’ve loved to know more about her. Same goes with Tim.
    Everything put together and weighed out against each other, I would recommend this book as a good reader to any reader looking for a spanking new plotline and outlook. The book also has high entertainment value and should keep you occupied throughout the entire read.

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    WorDissection: Boy Minus Girl by Richard Uhlig

    Did I like it? Yeah.
    You'll love it if you liked: Castraction Celebration by Jake Wizner, maybe?
    Aura: Snarky-humorous, light
    Read If: A story full of sass and lightness but with some meaning
    Narration: First Person
    Main Characters: Les Eckhardt, 14-year old male
    Themes: Transitions, Friendship, Sexuality
    Plot: 8.5/10
    Narration: 9/10. Funny.
    Characterization: 7.5/10
    Overall: 8/10
    Did I get bored anywhere? Nope.
    Did any part confuse me? Nuh.
    Line/ Page Skippability: 1/5
    Writing Style: Average Sentences, Informal, Snarky, Straightforward.
    Uniqueness: 9/10
    Predictability: 1/10
    Imagery: 8/10
    Song(s) to go with book: American Idiot by Green Day, Over My Head by Sum 41, Here In Your Arms by Hellogoodbye
    Favourite Quote: "Wait, is it possible this pelvic inflammatory disease is another name for AIDS?"
    Cover: 5/10. Me no likey.
    Ending: Hopeful, Realistic, Light.
    Reading Priority: Read
    Reading duration: Fast readers-Approx. 4 hours, Slow readers- Approx 7 days.
    Synopsis:
    LES WANTS the girl. He thinks she’s amazing, exotic, perfect. But he doesn’t know how to talk to her, kiss her, or make her realize that he’s the best and only guy for her in the whole wide world.

    Once he masters these things, she’ll be his! Easy-peasy, right? The gulf between dreamgirl and realgirl is explored and made somewhat less vast in this bawdy yet romantic not-quite-coming-of-age. Teens will relate to 14-year-old Les’s hilarious and squirmy longings, and the fulsomely awkward efforts he puts forth to make his real life match his fantasies. The story also
    portrays the perils of unexamined hero-worship, and the strength and humanity of people that may seem plain and boring, but who stand up for what is right when called upon to do so. It is a tale both hilarious and thoughtful, in which, to paraphrase the old Rolling Stones adage, one boy figures out that even if you indeed can’t always get what you want, if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need.


    WordVore Prod's Review:

    Boy Minus Girl is very unlike a usual YA novel. The narrative is absolutely fearless and real, and the story does not shy away from topics that may be considered taboo. Les is a character struggling with the restrictions of his conservative religion and the changes he is going through as a teenaged boy. He is just another confused teen coming to terms with the changes occurring within him. Les’ voice is very relatable—definitely not of another fantastically sugarcoated hero. Uhlig is successful in achieving a very important end—that of bringing out the real behind every face. Even through the crass and snarky humour of the novel, he touches sensitive topics such as homosexuality and the discrimination that comes with it, religion, being one’s true self and the awkward encounter of a teenager with his physical changes. The novel very deftly projects everything from an open perspective, where the lines between what is “right” and what is “wrong” are questioned. By the end a depth has been given to each and every character. I was extremely proud of Les when he finally grew a backbone and dared to be himself without any qualms rather than swallowing everything fed to him.
    My complaint is with the plot. I thought there could be more substance to it, but then again, the novel is meant to be lighthearted. However, since some deep issues were approached, just a little more substance to the plot would have done the book better justice. The novel’s pace is pretty impressive—you can easily breeze through it.
    Boy Minus Girl relates to the concept of growing up and coming of age in ways that no other novel has. Definitely not for the conservative-minded who would be scandalized by sensitive so-called taboo issues related to teenagers, the book definitely receives my appreciation because of its uniqueness and nonconformity.

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    Thursday, September 10, 2009
    WorDissection: Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison

    Did I like it? Yes!
    You'll love it if you liked: A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks, Before I Die by Jenny Downham, Love Story by Erich Segal
    Aura: Emotional, Heartwrenching
    Read If: A heartbreaking sad story with a beautifully crafted emotional journey and a tragic ending
    Narration: First Person
    Main Character: Beth, High Schooler female
    Themes: First love, Death, Friendship
    Plot: 8/10
    Narration: 9/10.
    Characterization: 9/10
    Overall: 9/10
    Did I get bored anywhere? Nope.
    Did any part confuse me? Not at all.
    Line/ Page Skippability: 1/5
    Writing Style: Short Sentences, Expressive, Emotional
    Uniqueness: 7.5/10
    Predictability: 2.5/10
    Imagery: 9.25/10
    Song(s) to go with book: You by Switchfoot, You and Me by Lifehouse, The Mixed Tape by Jack's Mannequin, Take Me Home by After Midnight Project, Your Guardian Angel by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, In Loving Memory by Alter Bridge
    Favourite Quote(s): "Gosh, Beth. You've got a one-track mind."
    Cover: 8.75/10
    Ending: Heartbreaking yet Hopeful (but heartbreaking! I cried.)
    Reading Priority: Definitely Read
    Reading duration: Fast readers-4 hours; Slow readers-6 days. I breezed through it.
    Synopsis:
    Beth has always been "The Beast"--that’s what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glases. Who could love a beast? Beth’s only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is until she’s selected to be her choir’s soprano soloist and receives the makeover of a lifetime. Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of Beth.

    Things only get better when her choir travels to Switzerland and Beth meets the mysterious Derek. They have an incredible whirlwind romance that makes Beth realize, for the first time, she too can find love. She’s no longer The Beast. In Derek’s eyes, she’s a beauty. But then Scott makes a heartbreaking confession to Beth that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous passionate feelings she has for Derek?

    And there’s an even bigger problem: Derek’s got a secret . . . one that could shatter everything.


    WordVore Prod's Review:

    Sing Me to Sleep was a heartbreaking novel that really pulled at my strings, and not many books have done that in a while. It was a romance to the truest sense of the word. The plot was nothing too magnificent or out of this world—just another story about star-crossed lovers that you may have heard many times before. However, it is the journey and Beth and Derek’s everyday struggle to make it work that sets their story apart. Most importantly, it is the feelings they evoke in each other that really makes you want to sit down and listen to their story than get up calling it “typical”. One thing I thought Angela Morrison did a great job with was keeping the romance real. I’ll admit I was annoyed out of my mind at times by the desperation that both Beth and Scott brought in the mix of their romantic feelings, but slowly they seemed to make some sense to me. Morrison didn’t make Beth and Derek’s love one of those perfect, pure relationships which later end in tragedy, but a real one with its share of imperfections that ends in tragedy and causes just as much of pain and sorrow. Beth’s transition was quite believable other than the sudden makeover part. But otherwise, her awkwardness with the newfound admiration is just right. I was quite in tune with Scott’s character in the book. The musical setting of the book sat more than well with me—the parts where Beth sang or wrote songs conveyed her emotions right to my heart. The strongest factor in this book, I would say, was the intensity with which it can make a reader feel—unbelievable (Tears leaked out of my eyes at the end. Why, why, WHY did it end like that?!? Um, sorry. Sidetracked). The emotions communicated are raw, unpretentious and vivacious, and throughout the book my heart ached, leaped in happiness, went empty in sorrow—felt with the two main characters.
    Now, coming to the complains I have. I really, really wanted more conversations between Beth and Derek—actual verbal interactions. Sure, I could feel the passion between them radiating out of the pages, but some more conversation would have provided more grounding for the relationship for me. I think I would have howled near the end if they did. Another thing that slightly irked me was Scott’s desperation. Beth’s suited her somehow; but Scott’s seemed out of the blue. But I think if you think about his situation (not ruining it) you can probably understand why the poor guy is justified.
    Sing Me to Sleep is a perfect example that love doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful, and that the journey means more than the ending. If you’re looking for a strong, passionate and intense romance read and are absolutely okay with sad endings, then this book is for you. Oh heck, just read it—it’s truly an amazing experience!

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