July in Review


If I thought June was crazy, July was that and so much more!
As you can guess I had my Month Long Harry Potter Celebration.
Many books were reviewed, topics discussed and giveaway offered.
Today is the last day to enter in any of my giveaway so GO HERE for a full list and make sure not miss out on any of the discussions by going to my Full Schedule.
That being said I shall move on to my July in Review!
Books Read in July
* Waterfall (River of Time #1) by Lisa T. Bergren *
* Light of Asteria (Kailmeyra #1) by Elizabeth Isaacs *
* The Unoficial Harry Potter Vocabulary Builder *
* Halo (Halo #1) by Alexanda Adornetto *
* And Then Things Fell Apart by Arlaina Tibensky *
* Songbird by Angela Fristoe *
* Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith *
* Circle Cast by Alex Epstein *
* Misfit by Jon Skovron *
* Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli *
* Twisted (Intertwined #3) by Gena Showalter *
Reviewed in July
Challenges Updates:
* 100 Books in 2011:  45/100

Releases This Week: July 31st – August 6th

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Dark Souls by Paula Morris (8/1/11)
Circle of Fire (Prophecy of the Sisters #3) by Michelle Zink (8/1/11)

Populazzi by Elise Allen (8/1/11)
Misfit by Jon Skovron (8/1/11)

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik (8/2/11)
Immortal #3: Eternal by Gillian Shields (8/2/11)

Dark Parties by Sara Grant (8/3/11)

Dark Angel (Dark Angel #1) by Eden Maguire (8/4/11)
The Implosion of Aggie Winchester by Lara Zielin (8/4/11)

Review: Misfit by Jon Skovron

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Misfit by Jon Skovron
Publisher:  Amulet Books
To Be Published  August 1st 2011
Hardcover, 384 pages
Challenges:  100 Books in 2011

Jael has always felt like a freak. She’s never kissed a boy, she never knew her mom, and her dad’s always been superstrict—but that’s probably because her mom was a demon, which makes Jael half demon and most definitely not a normal sophomore girl. On her sixteenth birthday, a mysterious present unlocks her family’s dangerous history and Jael’s untapped potential. What was merely an embarrassing secret before becomes a terrifying reality. Jael must learn to master her demon side in order to take on a vindictive Duke of Hell while also dealing with a twisted priest, best-friend drama, and a spacey blond skater boy who may have hidden depths.

Author Jon Skovron takes on the dark side of human nature with his signature funny, heartfelt prose.

Misfit is a new type of book, set apart by its religious undertones and funny writing.  Jael discovers on her sixteenth birthday that, while her father used to be a priest, her mother was a demon – if that doesn’t scream conflict waiting to happen I don’t know what does.  And if that wasn’t enough conflict for Jael, there are some that are not quite too happy about her having half-demon powers.  While finding out you suddenly have powers can be fun and exciting, they also come with great responsibility, and their own troubles.

Misfit was a fun read.  The novels’ synopsis really does not describe what it really is about, but even with being surprised about the non-horror aspects, readers will be unexpectedly surprised.  Jael is not a perfect character.  Like any sixteen your old, Jael is finding herself and making mistakes along the way.  Add on new powers, and more interesting mistakes are bound to happen.  This makes Jael’s character more believable. 

Despite a bit of a slow start, things pick up for Jael and her friends about halfway through the novel.  Jon Skovron’s humor is a special touch to this novel.  There is a lot of potential for Skovron and this novel in turning into a sequel.  Fingers crossed. 

My Rating:

** Disclosure: I received this book from The {Teen} Book Scene in exchange for an honest review.

Ten’s List with Arlaina Tibensky


Arlaina Tibensky has graciously created a Ten’s List on the topic of: 

The Invasion of Technology
(how it has overrun our lives)

1. Technology has robbed us of the mix tape. A playlist is NOT the same. And what is more romantic than a mix tape?  Not much.
2. Technology is dangerous. When you try to tweet and walk you are 100 times more likely to get hit by a car or fall down a manhole cover or get run over by a baby stroller being pushed by a mom deep in conversation on her cell phone.
3. Technology is isolating. You can DVR anything.  Doesn’t anyone all sit down and watch the same show at the same time anymore?
4. Technology makes you delusional.  People think they really know you because they follow you on twitter and read your blog and are pals with you on facebook. This is not actually the case.
5. Technolgy misrepresents itself. During the NYC blackout we didn’t have a phone because the cell phone towers needed electricity to work.  People with landlines could talk their heads off.  Who knew that would happen?
6.  Technology has given us all kinds of new ways to publicly hurt and humiliate each other.  Defriending on Facebook.  Horrible and disgusting comments on YouTube videos.  Mean little snarkity jabs on blog comments.  I think on the Internet- you kind of need to try and be as nice as possible because the mean things seem extra loud and the nice things need extra amplification to be heard.
7. Technology demands you be public all the time.  I love being connected to everyone all the time but really?  I hate it.  It’s really hard to be anonymous anymore, to fall off the grid, to disappear on purpose.
8.  Technology makes you fight with your mom. My mother refuses to text Why? Too complicated, too much to read. She won’t Skype, it depresses her. She believes the Internet is for lazy people.  And yet, she has a Facebook Account.  We argue about it all the time…
9. Technolgy is distracting. What did I do before Twitter, Facebook, my Iphone,  Google +, blogging, itunes, Jezebel.com, and Etsy?  Wrote a lot more.  For real. There’s this program ($10) you can download that turns your internet off for you so you can actually get work done. It is called MacFreedom and is all the rage among the NY writing set.

10.    Technolgy is amazing.  I love it and am always trying to keep up with it but I often just want to slow way down and curl up on a rug in front of a fireplace and read a book on paper.
Arlaina Tibensky has made some excellent points (my favorite is how technology makes you fight with your mom).

Keek is not having a good summer. She and her boyfriend have just had their Worst Fight Ever (on the subject of her virginity, nonetheless), she’s been betrayed by a best friend, her parents are splitting up, and her mother is on the other side of the country tending to Keek’s newborn cousin, who may or may not make it home from the hospital. Oh, and Keek’s holed up at her grandmother’s technology-barren house with an abysmal case of the chicken pox. In Keek’s words, “Sofa king annoying.”

With her world collapsing around her, Keek’s only solace comes from rereading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and typing on an old electric typewriter. Keek—whose snappy narrative voice is darkly humorous and hysterically blunt—must ultimately decide for herself which relationships to salvage, which to set free, and what it means to fall in love.

Review: Circle Cast by Alex Epstein

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The Circle Caste: The Lost Years of Morgan Le Fay by Alex Epstein
Publisher:  Tradewind Books
Published  August 1st 2011
Paperback, 300 pages
Challenges:  100 Books in 2011

How did an exiled girl become the most powerful witch in legend? 

Britain, 480 AD. Saxon barbarians are invading, pushing the civilized British out of their own island. Morgan is the daughter of the governor of Cornwall. But when her father is murdered and her mother taken as the King’s new wife, she has to flee to Ireland to avoid being murdered herself.  

But Ireland is no refuge. She’s captured in a slave raid and sold to a village witch. As Morgan comes of age, she discovers her own immense magical powers. She falls in love with a young Irish chieftain, and makes him powerful. 

But will her drive for revenge destroy her one chance for love and happiness?

More stories and tales focus Arthur and his knights, however, Alex Epstein puts the spot light on Morgan. It is Morgan’s turn to tell her story. There is something very unique about Morgan, which we discover when she dreams about her father’s murder.  Most children in these circumstances would loose their minds (figuratively and literally); but not Morgan.  Gathering all her strength, Morgan flees her father’s murderer, Uter, to Ireland.  But her strength does not stop there.  She endures capture, enslavement, and escape.  And while Morgan’s strength is very unique, her magical abilities are  more unique.

Alex Epstein’s weaves together magic, legend, history and religion into a beautiful tale of feminine abilities, strength and power.  Circle Cast covers a time in history that is both beautiful and complicated at the same time.  Historical Novels for any age tend to come off as ‘cheesy’, for a better lack of a word.  However, Epstein is not included in this.  Her use of detail and carefully chosen works makes you feel you are Morgan herself.  You are given an entire new image of Morgan that is kept out of most Arthurian Legends. Morgan is no longer just a sorcerer, but personal, with fears, hopes, and feelings.  You become connected to Morgan in an entire new way. 

While, with Historical Novel that covers such a romanticized point of history, one full of complexities and secrets, it can be difficult to understand terms, history and overall meanings. There were a few times in this novel when there was a bit of confusion, but this confusion had nothing to do with the actual plot itself, it more to do with History.  If anything, it made me want to do my own personal research on this time period.   

For anyone who loves Aurthian Legends and history, wanting to see it all from a completely different, new, and refreshing point of view, Alex Epstein’s Circle Cast is a must read! 

My Rating: 

** Disclosure: I received this book from The {Teen} Book Scene in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Back When You Were Easier To Love by Emily Smith

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Back When You Were Easier To Love by Emily Smith
Publisher:  Dutton Childrens Books
Published  April 28th 2011
Hardcover, 304 pages
Challenges:  100 Books in 2011

What’s worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you’ve been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan – the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah – unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan’s former-best-friend Noah.

Original and insightful, quirky and crushing, Joy’s story is told in surprising and artfully shifting flashbacks between her life then and now. Exquisite craft and wry, relatable humor signal the arrival of Emily Wing Smith as a breakout talent.

Back When You Were Easier to Love is a perfect read for the summer – its not too heavy and not too light… it is just right.  The pace of the book is also just right.  Paranormal characteristics and action scenes are replaced by a religious undertone and an honesty of life, making Emily Wing Smith’s book is very entertaining, while simple yet complex.  In a journey to find out why Zan suddenly left her, Joy and Noah take a road trip to track him down.  During which time, Joy discovers things that she otherwise never would have learned, about herself, others, and life. 

It’s never just one thing. If it were, U.S. history would be a two-week course, nothing something you study your whole life. The Civil War wasn’t just about slavery and the Revolutionary War wasn’t just about freedom. World War I wasn’t just because some guy got assassinated, and World War II wasn’t just because of Nazis, and the Beatles didn’t break up just because of Yoko Ono. It’s never just one thing. 

Life and people are never just one thing, and Emily Wing Smith has captured this wonderfully.  Joy learns that people are not just one thing – they are not always who they appear to be, while some more than others are more complex.  Most importantly, Joy learns that she is not just one thing – she is not just Zan’s girlfriend.  Joy is not just Mormon, she is not just a girl in love, she is not just a girl whose boyfriend left without a good-bye, she is not just a new girl in a new town…. Zan is not just the boy that left without saying good-bye, he is not just a ‘rebel’ against his home town, he not just a bright smile…. Noah is not just Zan’s best friend, he is not just the all American boy surrounded by people…

Emily Wing Smith’s style of writing flows wonderfully, without complexities and confusion.  Back When You Were Easier To Love is a great and wonderful break for all the paranormal and teen angst novels.  There is something wholesome and honest about the characters and the plot.   

My Rating:

** Disclosure: I received this book from The {Teen} Book Scene in exchange for an honest review.

  Emily’s WebSite

Even as a child, Emily Wing Smith had overly thick eyebrows, a passion for writing, and a tendency toward attending odd schools. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when she graduated first with a BA in English from Brigham Young University, and later with an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College. It’s also no real shocker that she spends too much money on eyebrow waxing.

Emily lives with her husband in Salt Lake City, where she writes, bakes chocolate chip cookies, and occasionally substitutes at her old high school (which hasn’t gotten any less odd).

Review: After Obsession

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After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven Wedel
Publisher:  Bloomsburry
Published  September 13th 2011
Hardcover, 320 pages
Challenges:  100 Books in 2011


Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts, and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other for the first time, in a cold Maine town, they can’t stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel strongly that something, or someone, is haunting them. They’re wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it’s neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It’s Alan’s cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life—and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney, but everything around her…. Filled with heart-pounding romance, paranormal activity, and rich teen characters to love—and introducing an exciting new YA voice in Steven Wedel—this novel is exactly what Carrie Jones fans have been waiting for. Meet your next obsession.
I wasn’t quite too sure what to expect from this book. I knew a possession of sorts would take place, but how and why I wasn’t sure. Aimee has always had dreams that predict the future, but only when people are going to get hurt.  Aimee can also help heal others who are physically injured.  Alan, a new member of the town, is not without his own ‘traits’ and ‘quirks’, originating in Native American traditions. And they both also have their own pasts, each with their secrets and fears.  While Aimee’s mother killed herself when she was younger, Alan has never known his father.  Then there is the River Man.  Aimee’s town is haunted by mysterious and unexplained deaths that has happened for decades… Aimee finds out that she is connected to it all in a way she never could have believed.

Carrie Jones and Steven Wedel did a wonderful job in creating a unique story with unique characters to match.  I loved how they intertwined Native American traditions into modern paranormal occurrences. I also am a huge fan of novels that are from multiple perspectives – you are able to get both sides of the story.  Carrie Jones and Steve Wedel do just that.  Additionally, each character is given their own unique voice instead of being carbon copies of each other.  Emotional heart strings are definitely pulled in this novel – the loss of a mother, father, and the possible loss of friends and family members.

While overall I enjoyed this novel I do wish it was a bit more entertaining.  Once you pass the first few chapters the novel itself does become a bit predictable.  However, this predictability does not ruin the novel.  One thing I did not like at all was Aimee’s decision to break up with her boyfriend in the beginning of the novel.  I agree that she needed to cut ties with him, but I feel it happened to quickly, without much, if any, development or real explanation.  Beyond that, this novel was entertaining and recommended read, especially if you are a fan of Carrie Jones’ Need series. 

My Rating:

Carrie Jones’ WebSite / Twitter / Facebook
Steve Wedel WebSite / Twitter / Facebook
** Disclosure: I was given the opportunity to read this book in ARC format, in exchange for an honest review through Around The World ARC Tours.

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