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Shelbie and Amanda are two YA book bloggers, they update the blog frequently, some of the segments they have are Quotes, Reviews, Challenges, In My Mailbox, On My Wishlist and more!
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1. Review: Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse

Release date: November 1st, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
Age group: Young Adult

Pages: 358
Overall: 4/5
She's got it bad, and he ain't good -- he's in her garage?

"I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me..." 

Gonna have to face it: Jody's addicted to Jackson Gatlin, frontman of The Regulators, and after her best bud Mac scores tickets, she's front and center at his sold-out concert. But when she gets mashed in the moshpit and bodysurfs backstage, she's got more than a mild concussion to deal with. By the next morning, the strung-out rock star is coming down in her garage. Jody -- oops -- kind of kidnapped him. By accident. With a Curly Wurly candy bar. And now he doesn't want to leave. 

It's a rock-star abduction worthy of an MTV reality series...but who got punk'd?!
If you know much about me, you know that I am pretty obsessed with music. I don't really have a favourite genre but realistically the majority of my iTunes library is rock music. It's pretty sad that when I saw this book at B&N I thought that this was something that could happen to me.

Rockoholic starts out with a girl names Jody who is pretty crazy obsessed with this band guy named Jackson Gatlin who is the lead singer of a band called the Regulators. Now I get obsessed, I recently few to Canada to see my favourite band play, but I was a little concerned for Josie's wellbeing, I spent the first few chapters thinking that she really needed a hobby other than the Regulators. But as the book went on I started to identify with her and understand her obsession (not enough where I would kidnap a band member let's be clear about that), but it made me think about myself and my heros and how amazing it would be to talk to them for longer than they give you in a meet and greet line.

When I bought this I was expecting a fluff read but this book actually has a lot of substance to it, Jody is sarcastic and funny, but also a very kind person. She was still mourning the loss of her granddad, who she loved a lot, and so was understandably very confused sometimes, and didn’t know what to do, or which path in life was right for her. I felt a little sorry for her because Jody always felt like she could never compare to her sister Halley, who was the “golden child” of the family. Jackson was much the same; as a jaded rockstar who’d fallen from the pedestal everyone put him on, he too was confused about what he should do with his life. But both Jody and Jackson changed a lot in this book, and they overcame a lot of problems together (it’s amazing how this novel could be so hilarious and yet quite moving at the same time). By the end of the story, Jody was no longer the immature fangirl she used to be, and I grew to love her even more. Jackson was also no longer an unhappy, spoilt brat, and I think being with Jody and Mac helped him so much – he even started playing with Cree, Mac’s little sister, which was a huge change for him. He was actually a lot wiser than I first expected him to be, and was able to help Jody with a few of her problem as well as finally sorting out his own. Even Mac worked up to courage to change a few things in his life, and I have to say, Mac was one of my favourite characters. He was quirky, funny, and very lovable  and was always willing to help Jody, even when it was with something as crazy as looking after a kidnapped celebrity – he truly was the best friend a girl could have.

 The ending of Rockoholic was just perfect in my opinion, and though everything was wrapped up, I was really sad to see these characters go. I had grown really attached to Jody, Jackson and Mac – they were all people I could relate to in some way, and I think I’m really gonna miss them.

Overall, I loved Rockholic – it was a fun, light, wonderful book with a heart-warming underlying message, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good summer read, or for anyone who just feels like laughing their head off.

Writing: 4/5 
Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Ending: 5/5

ps. this is our 100th review! I can't believe we've done this 100 times!

xoxo,
Shelbie

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2. Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

 Release date: January 10th, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
Age group: Young Adult
Pages: 313

Overall: 5/5 star
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
First off, happy new year! I hope 2013 is being good to you all so far!

I recently reread John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and realized I never did a review of it and I thought, what a great way to ring in the new year!

If you haven't read a John Green book yet, drop the computer/phone/whatever you are reading this blog post on and go buy one. Like right now. The Fault in Our Stars has worked it's way to the top of many bestseller lists and in every way deserves all the praise it's gotten, my review can't encompass the impact this novel has had on me and no matter how much praise I give it, it will not be enough.

The characters of Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster are not only beautifully written, but they are also very raw and human. These characters are very similar to me and my friends and throughout reading I posted a multitude of pictures on my blog in effort to back up that Augustus Waters and I are the same person. The way John Green has written this story you forget that these kids are any different from you because they aren't which makes the ending of this story even more heartbreaking.

I don't think I can give Green enough praise in this review except to say if you are at all on the fence about reading The Fault in Our Stars, please read it, it's worth it I promise.

I'm sorry for the short review but I guess I don't have any more to add.

READ THE BOOK (keep a box of Kleenex handy)

Writing: 5/5 
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Ending: 5/5

xoxo,
Shelbie

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3. Review: Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

 Release date: September 6th, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Age group: Young Adult
Pages: 345
Flirt Factor: Chaste
Overall: 4/5 stars

Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight. (Summary taken from Goodreads)

I'm definitely a sucker for a good Greek mythology YA book. So when I was looking for something to read and saw Sweet Venom sitting on my TBR shelf I knew that was my next read. Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs is not your standard Greek mythology retelling, either. Tera Lynn Childs took a lesser-known (but still popular) myth and wrote it in an interesting and modern way. Sweet Venom follows the lives of three (unbeknownst to them) sisters who are descendants of Medusa. It's told in first person and alternates between the three sisters: Grace, Gretchen, and Greer.
I was kind of curious to see how Childs would differentiate between the three main characters since they are triplets that share the same fate. However, I thought she did a good job developing all three of them completely. Even Greer, who only narrates a couple of chapters, had her own different viewpoints and opinions.
One of my favorite aspects of the book was how Childs integrated the greek mythology into the novel. Obviously, it wasn't just a Medusa retelling. So rather than reading a traditional retelling you got a fresh, modern spin off of a classic Greek myth. The best part of this was that you got to discover the different parts of the myth the same time the characters did. They're all teenagers, so a big part of the book is discovering their background and their significance to the Medusa myth and guarding the entrance to their world.
However, I felt like at times there wasn't enough action in the book. There would be little significant scenes, but then Childs wouldn't go very far with them. There were also a lot of little sub plots that weren't incorporated very well. Gretchen and Grace both had romantic interests that you saw only a couple of times. Then you were left wondering what happened to them. There just wasn't enough time to develop those subplots. Also, there is a subplot with Grace's brother, but throughout the book you're not entirely sure what it means. However, this is a series, so hopefully that will be explored further in the next book.

On that note, I really liked the ending. I felt like the end was the only part of the book where you really saw a lot of important things happening. It was also very shocking and mysterious and set up for the next book extremely well. Overall, the writing was nice and the book flowed smoothly. There were some parts that were shocking, some were funny, and some were endearing and heartwarming. Even though there are times where there isn't a ton of stuff going on in the book, I felt like there was still enough so you didn't get bored.

I wish there had been a little more action and more exploration of the romances, but overall this was a fun take on a Greek myth and I really enjoyed it. I feel like the next book will explore the different subplots established in this book and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Writing: 4/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 5/5
Ending: 5/5

Love always,
Amanda

1 Comments on Review: Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs, last added: 10/30/2012
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4. Review: Bewitching by Alex Flinn


Release Date: Febuary 14th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen

Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 336
Flirt Factor: Chaste
Overall: 5/5 stars

Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn't.
I go to a new school now--one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I'm not still here because I'm stupid; I just don't age.
You see, I'm immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years--except for when to take my powers and butt out.
I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the "Titanic" lifeboat? I don't even want to think about it.
Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn't get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl--and it isn't an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start . . . bewitching.

Alex Flinn is probably one of my favorite authors. I love retellings of fairy tales and she does the perfect job at them. Bewitching contained a retelling of Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, The Princess and the Pea, and The Little Mermaid all wrapped up into one story and it was perfection.

The story is focused on a witch named Kendra, who was the enchantress in Beastly for those of you who read that one, who enjoys helping people find their happy ending. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it goes terribly wrong. While the story is focused on her, there are three different speakers all in first person. There is Kendra, Emma who is the second main character and has a life based on Cinderella, and Doria who is this story's Little Mermaid. One of my favorite parts of the book was the Doria interlude because of the way Flinn combines The Little Mermaid and Titanic is magical.

The worst thing for me that a book can be is predictable, I am a huge unexpected twists and turns. Flinn did an amazing job doing this in Bewitching through the complex characters she created. The most complex characters were Lisette and Emma. The two girls suddenly become step sisters and throughout the book you see how their feelings change towards the situation. Emma is this average girl who most girls can relate to. She doesn't have many friends and she thinks of herself as ugly and weird, constantly comparing herself to her new gorgeous step sister Lisette. Most teenage girls are constantly comparing themselves, and to see Emma go through the journey of learning to love who she is, is incredibly relatable. Lisette on the other hand is a girl you feel bad to hate because everything she does is filled with wickedness yet she had a terrible life and you can see where she is coming from. My feelings towards her were conflicted the entire book.

You also can't have a fairy tale without a love story, and this love story was one that I believe could actually happen. I don't want to talk too much about the love story because I don't want to ruin it for you.

The only thing I would change about this was the ending seemed a little too abrupt because a new plotline was started and ended in the last two chapters. I was really enjoying the new plot line and wanted to learn more about it but there wasn't any time. I'm crossing my fingers for a sequel.

XOXO,
Jenni


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5. Teaser Tuesday(Sept. 25th)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers: "'Tis tempting fate to say a ship is unsinkable'" "After all, I had given something. I had saved a boy's life"

- p.233 Bewitching by Alex Finn

I would love if you commented below with your own teaser because I'm always looking for new books to read!

XOXO,
Jenni

4 Comments on Teaser Tuesday(Sept. 25th), last added: 9/25/2012
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6. LOTW 13: Dress Lust

I just picked up Bewitching by Alex Flinn and I am in love with the cover. The dress on it is gorgeous and got me thinking about how many books have dresses I would die to have. It only made sense to me to make my list this week on my dress lust. So here is my five favorite dresses in no specific order.

1. Bewitching by Alex Flinn


2. Fever by Lauren DeStefano

3. Rumors by Anna Godbersen

4. Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen

5. Everneath by Brodi Ashton

XOXO,
Jenni




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7. How I Review Books!

Hey guys! Since I don't have a review ready at the moment, I decided to do a post that's a little bit different. So today, I'm showing you my review process for the books I read. I don't know if any of you will actually find this interesting, but I thought it would be kind of fun. Also, please excuse my really low quality photos (and my bad handwriting) in this post. I couldn't find my camera's memory card so I just used my phone's camera instead.  Also, most of the writing on my post-it notes is just random examples, not actually things that apply to the book I'm reading. Anyway... let's get to the post!


So first, I start off with a few basic supplies that I use while reading a book.

1. Three different types of post it notes. 
Technically, I could just use the big ones and rip them up, but having three different sizes already prepared is just way easier.
2. A pen
I write in my books even when I'm not reviewing them. So for me, a pen is a must. I use a pen since I usually write on post-it notes rather than writing directly in the book. However, sometimes I use a pencil when I do feel inclined to write on the actual pages.
3. Highlighters
These are even more essential than the pen and the post it notes. I use my highlighters to highlight important lines from a book. For example, when there's foreshadowing, something significant a character says, a turn in the plot, etc. I also use them to highlight my favorite quotes from the books. This comes in handy a lot when I want to skip to my favorite part of the book if I re-read it or when I'm writing up a book quotes post.

4. Reading Journal (not pictured)

I absolutely love having a reading journal. I first use the pens, highlighters, and post it notes to record my thoughts while I'm reading and may not have my journal with me. Then when I'm done reading I use my journal to outline reviews and record my reactions and personal thoughts about a book immediately after I finish reading it. Even if you're not a book blogger, I definitely recommend you start a reading journal. It helps you have a better connection to the books you're reading and can be used to refresh your memory if you every want to go back and see what you thought about a book.

Now to the actual review process!

Okay, so a key part of my review process involves the large post-it notes. Before I even start a book I place three of them on the inside cover. These help me keep track of things that happen in the book, some general thoughts about the book, and things that I need to bring up in my reviews.

The first one I place under the title - I'm currently reading Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs - and label it "Characters." This helps me keep track of every single character that pops up in the book. As the book goes on I'll add notes about different relationships, what characters I like, etc.

Next, I make a t-chart on another post-it note that says "Likes" and "Dislikes." I then write down things that the author did well, and things they did badly. Usually these include the things we base our reviews off of like writing, plot, characters, and the ending.



The last large post-it note I use I label "Favorite Parts." On here I might write down certain scenes, quotes, or page numbers. It's really helpful for adding specifics to my reviews and to refer back to if I ever read the book again.


Aside from taking general notes on these larger post-its, I also take more specific notes in the actual text. I use the little yellow post-it notes to write down any questions or thoughts I may have while I'm reading and mark important parts of the book like plot twists.

I then use the smallest post-it notes and my highlighters to mark my favorite lines from the book. Mainly this is just for my enjoyment so I can go back and re-read my favorite parts, but usually I will mark quotes that show great character development or good overall writing, both elements that I take note of in my reviews.

After I'm done reading the book I write a response in my reading journal and then review all of my notes and highlighting. From there I rate the different elements of the book, give the book an overall rating, and then write my review!

That was just a quick overview of my review process and how I annotate my books. I hope it was somewhat interesting to you and as always, feel free to leave comments below!

Love always,

Amanda


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8. Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Release Date: 2/28/2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 375
Flirt Factor: Playful
Overall: 5/5 Stars
I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex, pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, 
 push,  
push,  
push,  
like Raven taught me to do. 
The old life is dead. 
But the old Lena is dead too. 
I buried her. 
I left her beyond a fence, 
behind a wall of smoke and flame. 
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Just when I thought the series couldn't get any better, Lauren Oliver writes Pandemonium.

HOW DOES SHE PLAY WITH MY EMOTIONS SO MUCH I DON'T UNDERSTAND

I'll try and keep this review as cohesive and spoiler free but my mind is sort of a jumble of love for Lauren Oliver this review might just be like me drooling.

Once again Lauren Oliver has created a horrible world full of believable characters. Almost all of the characters introduced are brand new and I love and feel for them all so much. I think that part of what makes this story amazing is how well each and every character is developed, even if they're minor. I'm trying not to spoil it but THAT ONE CHARACTER THAT GETS INTRODUCED NOW RUNS MY WHOLE LIFE and the ending had me so depressed.

This story features Lena after she has escaped into The Wilds and flashes between her time there and her time in New York with a group of invalids with whom she's created a new family. The flashing between what is titled as "then" and "now" was a really interesting way to tell two stories at once without overly confusing the reader. Gah it's so hard to type this without spoilers! I really enjoyed this plot line, I think that the way the story was presented was very interesting and different. The story had just enough emotional scenes to get me teary, scenes that showcased the invalid's love for each other that made me sigh, and nail biting moments that kept me turning the page.

If Lauren Oliver ever stops writing I think that Earth might just stop spinning, I touched on this a little bit before but you can spell perfection with her writing. I loved how she wrote Pandemonium really rough and short while Lena was in The Wilds, and then contrasted that while she was in New York. I think that that particularly showed the roughness of the world outside the city. Every scene was written so well I just wanted to weep while reading. Lauren Oliver stop being so perfect.

Finally, If you thought the ending of Delirium was bad, just wait. Oliver really knows how to how to take my heart and crush it into a million tiny pieces.

Well, I hope you could sort of follow that; and, if you are looking for line for Requiem it starts right here. Ugh, I can't wait another minute for it, let alone a couple months.

xoxo,
Shelbie

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9. Teaser Tuesday(Sept. 18th)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers:" 'What happens if I get bit or scratched?' 'Monsters have venom of their own. Each one is different. Most only cause unbearable pain if not treated quickly enough.' 'Most?' she asks."

- p.167 Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Feel free to comment down below and go to Should Be Reading to link your own Teaser tuesday!

Love Always,

Amanda

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10. Review: Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors


Release Date: Jan. 22nd 2008
Publisher: Walker & Company
Age Group: Middle Grade/Young Adult
Pages: 256
Flirt Factor: Chaste
Overall: 3/5 stars

Two Juliets,both alike in desperation. . . Seventeen-year-old Mimi Wallingford, of the Broadway Wallingfords, has a life most girls can only dream of—complete with the starring role in her family’s production of Romeo and Juliet.  But acting is not her dream, and she’s fighting for the right to trade her script for a scalpel and become a doctor.Fourteen-year-old Juliet Capulet, of the Verona Capulets, has lived a lonely life—imprisoned by the feud that consumes her family and by her iron-fisted mother’s forcing her into an unwanted marriage.  She will do anything to avoid her betrothed, even if it requires faking a boil on her bottom—or something more dangerous. During the play’s final performance, Mimi’s wish to get away actually comes true when she and her heartthrob costar, Troy Summer, are magically transported into Shakespeare’s Verona. Now that she knows the real Juliet, Mimi doesn’t want to stand by and allow the play to reach its tragic end.  But if saving her new friend means changing the ending of the greatest love story of all time, will she and Troy ever make it back to Broadway? (blurb taken from Suzanne Selfors Website)

I picked up this book during my last trip to the library in the mood for a good romance book. I figured since it was based on Romeo and Juliet, the most famous love story of all time, I wouldn't be disappointed. While I did enjoy the story, it did disappoint in the whole romance department. There was maybe two actual romantic scenes. Enough with me ranting though, let's get to what I actually thought about the book.

While the book was hard to get into, once I got to the part where they enter Shakespeare's world I was hooked. I loved that Selfors took shakespeare's story and provided her own spin on things and made it more relatable to the modern teenager. She did a great job at not making the twists too predictable either, and while this is definitely no tragedy, there were a few surprises along the way. One of those suprises was when you met Juliet she was a spunky and adventurous girl who the nurse referred to as Beastie. In contrast when you meet Romeo he is completely love sick over Rosealine and mopes around for most of the book.

Selfors also did a good job at keeping the setting accurate to what you would find during the time period Romeo and Juliet was written. I think the constant setting helped keep some similarities to the original Romeo and Juliet.

All in all the book had a great idea for a story line, but the events that happened only needed 100 pages, not 256. I actually enjoyed it more then I thought I would after reading the first 20 pages and would recommend for anyone in the mood for a twist on a classic to read it.

Writing: 3/5 stars
Characters: 3/5 stars
Plot/Setting: 4/5 stars
Ending: 5/5 Stars
Cover: 3/5 stars

XOXO,
Jenni

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11. LOTW 12: My favorite re-reads!

I love reading a great new book just as much as anyone else, but what I love even more is re-reading one of my favorite books. The following list highlights some of my favorite re-reads. These are books that read even better the second time around because you either notice things you didn't catch before, fall in love with the characters all over again, or just marvel at the wonderful writing. These are listed in no particular order.

1. The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
You can't help but love Anne Shirley even more the second time around. It's fun to go back to the first book and see the differences between the little girl Anne and the grown up Anne.

2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Some may disagree with this one, but I absolutely love reading Wuthering Heights. It's always interesting seeing how your reactions to the characters change the more you read the book. Also, I'm a huge fan of Heathcliff even if no one else is.

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Okay, so really any John Green book would work for this one. I absolutely love John Green's writing and could read his books over and over. His characters are extremely well developed, the plot line is always interesting, and his writing is just absolutely beautiful.

4. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Like John Green, I could read any of Maggie Stiefvater's books ten times over and not be tired of them. However, this one is my absolute favorite. I've never read a book about anything like Stiefvater's water horses. This book has a strong female protagonist, a little romance, some suspense and danger, and a strong family element. And, as always, it is beautifully written by Maggie Stiefvater.
5. The Duff by Kody Keplinger
This is one of my all time favorite books. It is a little bit of lighter reading than the other books on my list, but still amazing. I love it because it has romance and a female protagonist that is incredibly easy to relate to.

6. Going Bovine by Libba Bray
This was one of the first YA novels that really impacted me. It has an incredible storyline and Libba Bray does an excellent job portraying the main character. I could read this one over and over again.


There are a lot of other books that I love to re-read, these are just some of my favorites.

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12. Book Blogger Hop (15)

Book Blogger Hop

Since we are getting back into the swing of things we thought it would be fun to start doing the book blogger hop again over at Crazy For Books in order to connect with some other book blogs.

This week's question is:

Highlight one of your favorite reviews from the past month!

One of my favorite reviews this past month was by Amanda for Beneath the Glitter by Elle and Blair Fowler. Amanda, Shelbie, and I actually got to meet Elle and Blair last weekend which was really fun and part of the reason I like that review. I also liked how Amanda discussed the use of a writing partner and their effect on the book.

That's my answer, and I would love to hear what your favorite review from the past month is on our blog!

XOXO,
Jenni

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13. Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium, #1)Release Date: 2/1/2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Age Group: HarperTeen
Pages: 480
Flirt Factor: Playful
Overall: 5/5 Stars
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love
  I don't really remember how I used to set up these reviews so I'm just going to babble.

Oh my freaking god this book is so good. It's a mix of an amazingly horrifying dystopian world and awesome characters and adventure and a great plot line and ugh literally this book has no flaws.

Because I can't put into words the awesomeness that oozes from this book's pages I will put in some quotes that, if you have read this book, will make you weep.

"I'd rather die my way than live yours."

The story follows 17 year old Lena, who lives in fear of the disease and cannot wait to have her procedure administered so that she may be cured. She can feel the disease in her blood, and for her it is unbearable. She is counting down the days until she can be cleansed and free from the worry of ever contracting the deliria.

Then she meets Alex. "As soon as I look up, his eyes click onto my face. The breath whooshes out of my body and everything freezes for a second, as though I am looking at him through my camera lens, zoomed in all the way, the world pausing for that tiny span of time between the opening and closing of the shutter."

Alex is a beautiful soul with an intriguing and heartbreaking story. Not only is he strong, confident, and brave, but he is gentle and tender. While this is a wonderful, tumultuous, and exciting love story, for me this book was about sacrifice - Ultimate sacrifice. Lena’s relationship with her mother and her mother’s story was poignant, at times heart wrenching, and enormously gripping.

"I love you. Remember. They cannot take it".

And the ending? A cliffhanger of epic proportions. It will definitely be a book to treasure and savor for quite some time. Delirium is easily one of my top five favorites. Literally the only books that this is topped by is like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, and the sequel which I will review next week!

Until then,
“Love. It kills you both when you have it, and when you don’t.”

Loving being back! xoxo,
Shelbie

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14. Review: Beneath the Glitter by Elle and Blair Fowler

Release Date: Sept. 4th 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Age Group: Middle Grade/Young Adult
Pages: 288
Flirt Factor: Chaste
Overall: 3/5 stars

From internet stars Elle and Blair Fowler comes a scintillating new novel that takes readers Beneath the Glitter of the glitzy L.A. social scene.

Welcome to a place where dreams are made.  And where nothing—and no one—is ever what it seems.

After their make-up and fashion videos went viral on YouTube, sisters Sophia and Ava London are thrust into the exclusive life of the Los Angeles elite.  Here fabulous parties, air kisses, paparazzi and hot guys all come with the scene. Sophia finds herself torn between a gorgeous bartender and a millionaire playboy, and Ava starts dating an A-list actor.  But as they’re about to discover, the life they’ve always dreamed of comes with a cost.

Beneath the glitter of the Hollywood social scene lies a world of ruthless ambition, vicious gossip…and betrayal.  Someone close to them, someone they trust, is working in the shadows to bring the London sisters falling down. And once the betrayal is complete, Sophia and Ava find themselves knee-deep in a scandal that could take away everything they care about, including the one thing that matters most—each other. (Blurb taken from Goodreads)

I'm going to be blunt with you and just say I did not have high hopes for this book. While I have a secret obsession with Youtube beauty gurus, I didn't necessarily think a novel written by two of them would have a whole lot of literary merit. I mean, their gig is beauty stuff, right? However, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the Fowler sisters' first novel.

 It took me a couple of chapters to warm up to Beneath the Glitter. At first, Sophia and Ava London - the two main characters - seemed a little fake. They're easy going, fun girls who, for the most part, are enjoyable characters. However, during the first few chapters, it felt like the Fowler sisters were trying a bit too hard to give the Londons more serious sides. The first chapter opens up with Sophia being overly broody about a breakup and it just seems kind of forced. As the book progressed though, you get to see the more fun and bubbly side of the sisters. It was really fun to follow the London sisters around as they hung out with their quirky L.A. friends and experienced the outlandish things you could only see in Hollywood. The Fowler sisters really included a good mix of characters, from the eccentric best friend Lily to the adorable animal shelter volunteer, Dalton. These fun characters combined with the always interesting plot line - which included mingling with movie stars, rescuing animals, 46 courses of champagne tasting, and even sabotage - made for a quick, fun read that I finished in under a day.

As far as the writing was concerned, I had a love hate relationship with this book. The Fowler sisters wrote this book with the help of a writing partner and there were times when you definitely noticed. As a whole, the book seemed to be written very similarly to The Clique Series by Lisi Harrison. It was very fun and fluffy with a decent amount of drama mixed in. The end of the chapters even featured a LonDOs and LonDON'Ts list that reminded me a lot of  Massie's State of the Union lists that appear in Harrison's series. However, while I did enjoy this style of writing, like I said before, you could definitely tell that the Fowlers used a writing partner. Every once in a while you would come across a part of the novel that was over-embellished and used too many similes and too much imagery. You could tell that this was where the writing partner came in and kind of 'made stuff pretty.' The writing partner's style really clashed with the rest of the book and was easily distracting. I think there was one scene in the book where it literally said "the room was pregnant with emotion", which, after reading only a couple of pages of the book, you could tell didn't really fit with the overall style and tone of the book. What bugged me the most about this over-embellishing was the fact that there were parts of the book that weren't embellished that really needed to be! I mean, you get a paragraph long description of a look in a character's eyes when it's not even important, yet when the London sisters have their first kisses in the book (or any of the other kisses for that matter), you basically get one line that just says "They kissed."! Talk about frustrating. However, clashing writing styles aside, the writing was still decent enough that I finished the book relatively quickly and actually did enjoy it.

Overall, this was a quick, easy and fun read. The London sisters made interesting main characters, the plot was really entertaining, and I absolutely loved the cast of characters. If you want something deep and thought provoking, this isn't the book for you. However, if you would like a light read and enjoy books like The Clique Series by Lisi Harrison, Beneath the Glitter by Elle and Blair Fowler is perfect for you. Also, bonus! The book has a good sort-of cliffhanger ending that sets up for the next book in the series! Which, just FYI, I am definitely picking up when it comes out in Summer 2013.


Writing: 3.5/5 stars
Characters: 4/5 stars
Plot/Setting: 3.5/5 stars
Ending: 5/5 Stars
Cover: 3/5 stars

Love always,
 Amanda

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15. Teaser Tuesday

Starting off getting back into things with the great Teaser Tuesday! If you are looking for a way to get integrated into the book blogger community this is an easy one to start with! Just go to the book you are reading at the moment, open to a random page and list two teaser sentances, then link below and Should be Reading but make sure to comment with links to your own Teasers or if you don't have a blog you can just post two lines in the comments!
This one is from Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter, which I finished, but I don't have the book I'm currently reading with me right now so this will have to work :) This is from page 77:
"What am I doing here, Bex?" I asked, suddenly afraid. "What time is it? How did I get here?!"

There you go! Best teaser on the internet.
Be sure to post a link to your teaser or post it below!

xoxo,
Shelbie

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16. Would You...?

Hey everyone,

So, as a part of our revamp I was thinking about releasing something I have been working on for a while. As you know both amanda and I love books and don't know what we would do without them, but some people aren't nearly as fortunate to have the money to afford books or a library with a large selection to check them out from.

This is the basis behind Mortals Give Back, we make t-shirts with favourite quotes from books and with the purchase of one we donate a book to a community in need. They would sell for around $22.00 not including shipping and for now they come in two quotes on two different colour t-shirts.

One is the quote "it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live" from Harry Potter around the deathly hallows symbol. It will look something like this:

The second is a quote from The Perks of Being a Wallflower and it's "and in that moment I swear we were infinite" and it will look something like this:


So my question to you is: 

is this something that you would be interested in?

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17. Ehmegerd We're Back!

Being in high school and dealing with all the aspects of being a teenager and having homework and jobs, it's very easy to forget about this blog. BUT it is back and we are totally revamping it for the end of 2012 - 2013!

I am very excited about some of the updates we are making and I am so thankful that so many of you guys stuck around while us mortals were on hiatus.

Please bear with us as we get back into the swing of posting regularly because it's been so long (almost a year, yikes!) since we posted, and I know at least I'm for sure out of practice.

Thanks again for reading and I'm so excited to be back!

xoxo,
Shelbie

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18. Review: Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver


Release date: 10/4/2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Middle Grade (Ages 8-12)
Pages: 320
Flirt Factor: Chaste/None
Overall: 5/5 stars

Summary from Amazon:

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable

Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.


Going into Liesl and Po I had high expectations. After reading Before I Fall and Delirium, both of which I loved, I knew Lauren Oliver's writing would be beautiful and that I'd instantly fall in love with the characters. However, neither of those books could prepare me for Liesl and Po. Liesl and Po was entirely different from Oliver's first two novels, and not just because it's a middle grade novel. In the beginning of my copy of Liesl and Po (I have an ARC so the finished copies may be different) Lauren Oliver talks about how much more personal for her Liesl and Po was compared to her other books, and it definitely shows through her writing.

Liesl and Po is a beautiful children's story with an excellent set of characters. You'll fall in love instantly with Po, the ghost who's forgotten what it's like to be human; Bundle, the cat-dog-ghost that brings a little bit of happiness to the dreariest of moments; Liesl, the determined little girl who loves her father; and Will, the alchemist's apprentice who seems to always be missing a hat.

Liesl and Po is both fast paced and mysterious, filled with twists and turns that intertwine the many characters lives. Lauren Oliver did a wonderful job with her world building, making you feel as if you were in that dark and dreary place or in the chaos of the Otherside. She writes a deeply personal and enchanting story about grief, adventure, and hope for new life.

Liesl and Po is so entirely different from Lauren Oliver's other works that it's almost impossible to put into words how I feel about this book. Liesl and Po is a mix of the haunting sadness of Coraline and the bravery and adventure of The Tale of Desperaux. I definitely recommend this book if you're looking for an exciting cast of characters, a little bit of adventure, and an emotional

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19. Fantasyfest 2011 kickoff with a giveaway!

Hey readers! If you were a follower of our blog last year at this time you probably remember that we hosted a month long event called Fantasyfest that focused on fantasy/paranormal YA fiction. We hosted tons of giveaways, had some author interviews, and some guest posts. That Fantasyfest was in August of last year. Well, this year we decided to push it back to October because we weren't ready for it in August and it's more fitting to have it in October. So... Fantasyfest is now moved to October!

Fantasyfest this year will be a bit different. This year it will be more giveaway-centered and will not feature any guest bloggers due to the fact that we didn't have the time to organize all of those and what not. So this year it will mainly be giveaways, themed reviews, and themed posts by us. The official schedule will be up within the next week. (Still waiting on some prizes to get in so we can be sure of the giveaways we're doing.)

Without further ado... let's have the first giveaway!

Majority of our giveaways this Fantasyfest will have (a) book(s) to giveaway and a swag pack. For our first giveaway we will have two winners. One winner will receive two books and the other will receive a (sort of) mystery swag pack. The swag packs are a sort of mystery because most of them contain the same things, but some will have more swag or special signed swag. We have loads of swag to give away including key chains, signed bookmarks/postcards from Victoria Schwab, Maggie Stiefvater and Tessa Gratton, and a whole lot more. Anyway, let's get to the prizes.

1st place winner will receive:
1 ARC copy of Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
1 ARC copy of Frost by Marianna Baer

When her boyfriend, Danny, is killed in a car accident, Wren can’t imagine living without him. Wild with grief, she uses the untamed powers she’s inherited to bring him back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy she once loved.

Wren has spent four months keeping Danny hidden, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school and somehow, inexplicably, he can sense her secret. Wren finds herself drawn to Gabriel, who is so much more alive than the ghost of the boy she loved. But Wren can’t turn her back on Danny or
the choice she made for him—and she realizes she must find a way to make things right, even if it means breaking her own heart.
Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school starts with a cruel shock: Frost House, the cozy Victorian dorm where she and her best friends chose to live, has been assigned an unexpected roommate—confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar.
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20. The Mortal's Library Ratings

If you are an old reader of our blog, you are probably familiar with our ratings. We do our reviews on an overall five star basis and ratings within separate categories. Well, we decided we'd define exactly what those star ratings mean.

Five Stars
*Fan Girl Squeal* This book has it all. We were up all night reading it and immediately went out and bought enough copies so that we have three of them. One copy to loan to friends, one to sit all pretty on our shelf forever, and one for us to read over and over again and write our fangirlish thoughts in while highlighting our favorite passages. We would love to live in this book and possibly marry one of the characters from it. Heck, we'd marry the author if it meant they'd continue writing forever.

Four Stars
Yay! A new book/author that we're genuinely excited about! There's a lot going on with this book, and we'd highly recommend it to our readers and our friends. This is a book that we'd buy and reread, and we'd love to read more books by this author.

Three Stars
An overall good book, one worth finishing, but not something we'd buy for ourselves or push upon our friends. Three star books are great for rainy days when you need something new and interesting to read.

Two Stars
A lot of things about this book just didn't click for us. We finished the book, but sort of wish we hadn't. The writer made a good attempt at creating an interesting and compelling story, but it just fell flat. This is not a book we would recommend to our friends or really a whole lot of people who appreciate a good book. However, this writer still has some potential so we encourage them to try, try again.

One Star
*groan* We either did not finish this book or really wish we didn't take the few days it took us to read it. There is a lack of character development, the sentences just aren't very well done, and there is no plot. Or possibly, there are plots or characters, but they're boring and overdone. We usually say that you should still try the book if it sounds like something you'd like, but we highly recommend skipping this one.


ONE FINAL NOTE:

We have also decided to add a new part to our ratings system, and that is our Flirt Factor. Since our books tend to have a whole lot of romance in them, we thought we'd create a rating system for romance/pda. This can range anywhere from chaste to downright raunchy. This is an important rating to watch out for if you blush at certain scenes in books. Also, this rating may not be applied to a book if there really is no romance/love interest in the book.

Flirt Factor

Chaste
Little to no romance/pda. Characters may flirt a little and share a few short kisses, but really nothing that would make you blush.
Example: No example at this time

Playful
A lot more flirty and romantic. Characters may share some steamy kisses and there is definitely some sexual tension. May allude to further sexual acts but doesn't actually describe them.
Example: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Steamy
You might need the AC on for this book, and it'll probably make you blush. Full of flirting, fooling around, and sexual tension. The characters do... things. And describe them.
Example: The Duff

Raunchy
Not only do the characters do things, but they do them frequently and give you great detail about what is happening. These books will leave you blushing and overwhelmed with girlish desire. Recommended for older teens and adults only.
Example : We typically don't read these books so we don't have an e

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21. Review: Frost by Marianna Baer

Release date: 9/13/11
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
Overall: 5/5 Stars




Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school starts with a cruel shock: Frost House, the cozy Victorian dorm where she and her best friends chose to live, has been assigned an unexpected roommate—confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar.


What Celeste lacks in social grace, however, her brother, David, a recent transfer student, makes up for in good looks and charm. But while he and Leena hit it off immediately, Leena finds herself struggling to balance her growing attraction with her fear of getting hurt.


As classes get under way, strange happenings begin to bedevil Frost House—frames mys-teriously falling off walls, doors locking by themselves, furniture toppling over. Celeste blames the housemates, convinced they want to scare her into leaving. And while Leena tries to play peacekeeper between her best friends and new roommate, soon the mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and David, and the reawakening of childhood fears all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. But does the threat lie with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind . . . or in Frost House itself?(Summary from Amazon)



Fall and Winter of 2011 seem to be chocked full of eery ghost stories, and Frost by Marianna Baer is definitely one of my favorites. Baer starts off the book by introducing you to Leena's rambunctious group of friends and one very attractive David Lazar. Towards the beginning, I thought it was going to be your typical ghost story with a little romance thrown in, but it was so much more. As the characters deal with the stress of (possibly) having an angry ghost in their house, Marianna Baer introduces sensitive topics such as substance abuse, family relationships, and self-abuse (is that what it's called?)


Baer does a wonderful job of creating some complicated and interesting character relationships. Not only does she write a budding romance between Leena and David, but she also creates some interesting family and friend relationships. I really enjoyed the complicated brother-sister relationship between David and Celeste. It kind of felt like a scaled down version of the brother-sister relationship in Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick.


Along with character building, Marianna Baer also did a wonderful job of world building. I could see why Leena was so drawn to Frost House and had such strong feelings towards her school because Baer's writing made it feel comforting and homey. Her combination of interesting characters, a likable setting, and complicated plot twists made for an interesting new take on a ghost story and a book that is soon to become one of your new favorites. Marianna Baer has definitely got me interested in ghost stories and I can't wait to read more from her.


Characters: 5/5


Writing: 4/5


Plot: 5/5


Ending: 5/5

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22. In My Mailbox 10.9.11


In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. For In My Mailbox, book bloggers post about the books they got that week in the mail, from the book store, the library, etc. Here's our IMM for the week of 10.2.11 - 10.8.11.




Won:
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce (signed)

Thanks to Jackson Pearce.

For review/giveaway:
In the Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton
If I Tell by Janet Gurtler
I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler
Going Underground by Susan Vaught

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sourcebooks, and Bloomsbury Teen

Bought:
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
Modelland by Tyra Banks
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan


xoxo and love always,

Shelbie and Amanda

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23. Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

Release Date: 08.16.2011

Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 308
Overall: (and a half if we gave half stars!)

Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn't stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge?

Fans of Elkeles won’t be disappointed in the last of the Fuentes brothers, Luis is just as hot and passionate as Alex and Carlos! He plays the Mexican hottie scandalously. His one defining characteristic is that he is a thrill seeker, an adventure junkie. So, it’s no surprise he finds himself in over his head and ends up in a perilous situation reminiscent of his brothers.

Chuy Soto says in the book, “Well, well…it’s a Fuentes family reunion,” and it totally is! We get bigger glimpses into Alex and Carlos’s life. Some of the best and most hilarious dialogue comes from Carlos. Seriously, I laughed out loud at some of the things he said. I also wanted to punch him in the gut for his stupidity too (he is my fav brother, if you couldn’t tell!).

The brothers make this book, their dedication and loyalty to their family is admirable and contagious. The love for they have for their girls (mama included) is sweet, endearing and such a precious thing that each of them holds so dear.

Oh, and least I forget Elkeles throws in a twist I didn’t see coming!!

While I enjoyed this book (I read it in one sitting) it's not quite as powerful as the first two books.

Cover:
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24. Review: The God's Wife by Lynn Voedisch

Release date: August 9, 2011
Publisher: Fiction Studio
Age group: Older teens/Adults
Pages: 275
Flirt Factor: Playful
Source: Review copy from publisher - blog tour
Overall: 4/5 stars

This review is part of a blog tour from Pump Up Your Book. Visit www.pumpupyourbook.com for more tour dates and information.

Summary from Amazon: The women of ancient Egypt were the freest of any civilization on earth, until the modern era. In several dynasties of ancient Egypt the God’s Wives of Amun stood tall, priestesses of wealth and power, who represented the pinnacle of female power in the Egyptian state. Many called The God’s Wife of Amun second only to the Pharaoh in dominance. THE GOD’S WIFE follows the adventures of a 16-year-old girl, Neferet, who is thrust into the role of The Gods Wife of Amun without proper training. Surrounded by political intrigue and ensnared by sexual stalking, Neferet navigates the temple, doing her duties, while keeping her family name pristine and not ending up like her predecessor—dead. Meanwhile, a modern-day Chicago dancer, Rebecca, is rehearsing for a role in an ancient Egyptian production and finds herself blacking out and experiencing realistic dreams about life in Egypt. It’s as if she’s coming in contact with Neferet’s world. Are the two parallel worlds on a collision course? They seem to be, for Neferet has just used an old spell to bring protection to her world, and Rebecca meets a mysterious Egyptian man who says he’ll whisk her away to Alexandria. Magic and realism mix for a powerful ending in THE GOD’S WIFE.


If you've read several posts on our blog, you probably know I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction, yet I seemed strangely drawn to this one. The setting switching between ancient Egypt and modern day Chicago was an interesting way to write a historical fiction novel, and I found I enjoyed the book a lot more than other historical fiction that I've read before.
The God's Wife centers around two strong female protagonists. First there is Neferet, a 16 year old Egyptian princess who has just been given the prestigious title of God's Wife. Her job is to perform the sacred rituals that keep the god Amun happy. The other protagonist is Rebecca, a talented dancer in Chicago who has just won the lead role in her dance company's performance of 'Anubia'. As Neferet's position is threatened and strange things happen to Rebecca, causing her world to fall apart around her, Neferet and Rebecca's worlds begin to intertwine. It was very interesting seeing how Rebecca and Neferet 'interact' and affect each other, an aspect I have never seen in a historical fiction novel. The Egyptian details in the book were obviously well researched, and the reader finds themselves immersed in the political ins and outs of Egyptian society. I will admit, it wasn't quite as interesting to read Rebecca's parts, just because she wasn't as strong of a female character and the events surrounding Neferet w

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25. We have some winners!

So this week we started Fantasyfest with a fun giveaway. We gave away 1 mystery swag pack and copies of Frost by Marianna Baer and Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey.

Here are our winners chosen by random.org.

Winner of Cold Kiss and Frost:

Sniffly Kitty!

Winner of Mystery Swag Pack:
Lisa M!


Congrats guys!

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