Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

 TITLE: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
AUTHOR: Michelle Hodkin
PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster
PAGES: 452

INSIDE COVER BLURB: Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed. There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is a hard one to review. The inside cover of the book doesn't tell you a whole lot about what this book is about. It's hard to give a summary of the book without giving away the story. The story was slow moving. I was about halfway through the book when I realized not a lot had gone on to progress the story and I still didn't know what was going on with Mara. That didn't stop me from reading though. For some reason I was compelled to keep turning the pages and I didn't get bored with the book even with the slow moving plot. The last hundred or so pages is when the story picks up and everything starts to go crazy. The ending of the book left me confused. It's hard to explain without giving anything away, so I don't really want to expand on that.

I think this will be a book where reading the second book in the series will make me like the first book better because things will (hopefully) have been cleared up.

CHARACTERS: I liked both of Mara's (the main character) brothers. It seemed like Mara had the perfect family. Her parents were just overprotective enough without being overbearing, and her siblings seemed to be the best brothers any girl could ask for. I also enjoyed the character of Noah, Mara's love interest as well.

COVER: I love this cover. The cover is what initially drew me to the book and made me HAVE to read it. I love the dress that the girl is wearing.

*I received a copy of this book from Amazon Vine for review.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

 TITLE: Blood Magic
AUTHOR: Tessa Gratton
PUBLISHER: Random House
PAGES: 405

INSIDE COVER BLURB: It starts off simply.

Draw a a dead leaf in the center...sprinkle some salt...recite a little Latin...add a drop of blood...

Maybe that last part isn't exactly simple. Yet somehow it feels right to Silla Kennicott. And nothing in her life has felt remotely right since her parents' horrific deaths. She's willing to do anything to uncover the truth about her family -- even try a few spells from the mysterious book that arrived on her doorstep...and spill some blood.

The book isn't the only recent arrival in Silla's life. There's Nick Pardee, the new guy next door who may have seen Silla casting a spell. She's not sure what he saw and is afraid to find out. But as they spend more time together, Silla realizes that this may not be Nick's first encounter with blood magic. Brought together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick can't deny their attraction. And they can't ignore the dark presence lurking nearby -- waiting to reclaim the book and all its power.

Tessa Gratton's intoxicating first novel will keep pulses racing, minds reeling, and pages turning right up to the very last drop of blood.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Loved it! This book was wonderful. It was so riveting, I had to keep reading and see how the story would play out. The end of the book was so exciting. I felt like I was in the story running around the woods with the characters. I was completely caught up in the moment of the story as if I was a part of it. I do have to say that this story is not for those with weak stomachs and it may also not be the best story for animal lovers. I am an animal lover and there were 2 scenes in the book where I had to read fast and keep reminding myself that it is just a story.

CHARACTERS: In the beginning of the book I did not like Nick. He was extremely rude to his classmates, but as the book progressed, he became more likeable in my eyes. My favorite character in the book was Reese, Silla's brother. He was very kind, caring and protective. He was basically what you would expect an older brother to be, and he was very good at being an older brother. Another character I really enjoyed was Mary (whom Nick calls 'Lilith'). I wish there was a little more of her in the story. I wanted to know more about her and her relationship with Nick's father, and how she came to be a part of their family.

COVER: I love this cover. Dark covers appeal to me and I love how this cover is dark with pops of bright 'blood' red.

*I won a copy of this book in a contest hosted by Kristen @ Seeing Night Reviews

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman (ARC)

 TITLE: Want To Go Private?

AUTHOR: Sarah Darer Littman

PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press

PAGES: 336



INSIDE COVER BLURB: When Abby meets Luke online, she can't believe her luck. He's nice. He's funny. He listens to her and he thinks she's pretty. He even gets jealous of other guys, which is adorable. Without Luke, Abby's not sure how she'd make it through her first year of high school. Everyone, including her mom and her best friend, Faith, tells Abby that if she just made more of an effort, she'd be having fun instead of dreading each and every day as if it's a prison sentence. But there's nothing fun about being the lowest link in the social food chain.

Abby knows she's not supposed to chat with random guys online. But Luke isn't random, and he isn't a stranger. Best of all, he loves her. So what if she never goes out with her friends anymore and her grades are slipping? All she needs is Luke. Luke is her secret, and she's his -- it's perfect that way. So when Luke suggests that they meet each other in person, Abby agrees. And then she's gone. Missing. Without a trace. And everyone is left to put together the pieces. If they don't, they'll never see Abby again.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Scary. This book is very scary because it is a situation that has happened many times and it can happen to anyone who feels lost and alone. The thing that bothered me while reading this book was that it feels like Abby is being a little naive. She keeps saying that there are things she shouldn't do or shouldn't tell Luke because it seems odd (she even brings up her school assemblies about internet safety) yet she does them anyway. There are also small clues that point to Luke not being who he says he is, which Abby points out to herself, but she rationalizes them away with things that don't even make sense. Other than than, I understand that these internet predators take the time to be extremely relateable to the teenagers they prey on and that it is easy for teenagers to fall for it when they feel like nobody else understands them and what they are going through. I think that every teen should read this book. It is a bit graphic in some parts, so I feel that parents should also read the book to be aware of what is in this, but I still feel like all teens should read this. It can help them understand the things an internet predator will say and do to try to earn their trust.

CHARACTERS: I really liked the character of Billy in this book. He was very sweet and kind towards Abby. You could tell he really cared about her.

COVER: I like the cover. It's very simple and to the point. There's nothing overly flashy about it. IT pretty much shows the progression of the relationship between an online predator and a teen.

*I received a copy of this book through Amazon Vine.

My Memories Suite Review and GIVEAWAY!


I've never been into digital scrapbooking before. When I scrapbook, I like to get my hands dirty. I love spreading all of my materials out around me and getting ink and glue on my fingers. But when I was approached by to check out their digital software and write a review, I figured I'd give digital scrapbooking another try, and I'm so glad I did.

My Memories Suite is such a wonderful program. It is so easy to use. I've only used one other digital scrapbook software program before, but the My Memories Suite is so much better. Everything is laid out for you step by step. You just choose your elements -- embellishments and photos -- and off you go! There are tons of premade layouts for you to place your photos in, or you can start from scratch and let your creativity take you away. It is also very easy to add digital embellishments from other websites. If it is saved on your computer, it can easily be imported into the software.

One more fact about this software that I absolutely love is the fact that you can add anything you want to your pages as long as you can scan it into your computer. This can include items such as movie tickets, concert tickets, brochures, maps and all kinds of other items. Once they are scanned into your computer you can add them to your project, then re-size them, add shadows, etc. This is great for preserving memories and adding personal touches to your pages.

Here's a few layouts I made with this software.

Check out this great video introduction to the software!

Welcome to the Family! from Lisa Jurrens on Vimeo.

And now for the GIVEAWAY!

1. Mandatory Entry: Visit and tell me the name of your favorite digital scrapbooking kit. If you do not complete the mandatory entry, the rest of your entries WILL BE INVALID.

2. Follow my blog via GFC and leave your follower name.

3. Follow My Memories on Facebook and leave your follower name (First name and last initial is okay too).

4. Follow My Memories on Twitter and leave your follower name.

5. Follow Me on Twitter and leave your follower name.

**Please make sure to put each entry in a separate comment and leave your e-mail so I can contact you if you are the winner.**

The giveaway is open to all US residents 18 and older. It will end at midnight PST on Monday, Sept. 12, 2011. I will use to choose a winner and contact that winner by e-mail as well as announce it on the blog.

If anyone is interested in purchasing the software, use the coupon code STMMMS79055 to receive $10 off the software as well as $10 to spend in the My Memories store. That's a $20 value!

*I received this product to give my honest review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.