Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper 
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Published by:  Bloomsbury
Genre: YA

The Story: (from Goodreads) Grace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has travelled to the famed Brookwood Cemetery to place her small infant's body in a rich lady's coffin. Following the advice of a kindly midwife, this is the only way that Grace can think of to give something at least to the little baby who died at birth, and to avoid the ignominy of a pauper's grave. Distraught and weeping, Grace meets two people at the cemetery: Mrs Emmeline Unwin and Mr James Solent. 

These two characters will have a profound affect upon Grace's life. But Grace doesn't know that yet. For now, she has to suppress her grief and get on with the business of living: scraping together enough pennies selling watercress for rent and food; looking after her older sister, who is incapable of caring for herself; thwarting the manipulative and conscience-free Unwin family, who are as capable of running a lucrative funeral business as they are of defrauding a young woman of her fortune. A stunning evocation of life in Victorian London, with vivid and accurate depictions, ranging from the deprivation that the truly poor suffered to the unthinking luxuries enjoyed by the rich: all bound up with a pacy and thrilling plot, as Grace races to unravel the fraud about to be perpetrated against her and her sister.

My Review: Grace is without a doubt going through something that no mother should have to endure - and especially no fifteen year old mother. Grace and her sister are both extremely poor and Grace can't decide between being relieved that her child won't have to suffer through poverty as she has and being saddened at the loss of life. 
This awful event propels Grace and her sister into situations they never saw coming. There are twists and turns that will keep you guessing throughout the book. Grace is a strong heroin who, despite getting hit time and time again with bad luck and tragedy, continues to look to the brighter side of things. She's kind and thoughtful and cares for her somewhat simple sister as best she can. I was left to wonder if Grace would ever get relief from her fallen status and enjoyed learning more about life in the 1800's as I read. 

I truly enjoyed this historical novel and am looking forward to more from Mary Hooper. 

My Rating:

Jazz In Love by Neesha Meminger: Interview

I was able to interview Deesh, Jazz's mom, from Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger.

What was it like having an arranged marriage?

I didn't think anything of it. It is what everyone does and has done for . . . centuries, really. It was exciting - we prepared for the lengthy festivities which were very vibrant and elaborate, and we anticipated family coming from all corners of the world for those weeks. Food was prepared far in advance, with all the villagers joining in. My marriage was a life-changing event that I will never forget for the rest of my life. My partner was chosen with the utmost care by my parents who adored me and had my best interests in mind. They had my absolute trust and I knew, without doubt, that they would choose the best match for me.

Coming from a different culture, why does it matter where Auntie is placed?

It is simply a matter of grammar in Punjabi. The relationship is place after the name of the person. Therefore, Kinder Auntie, Mandeep Massi, Daljeet Mama . . . the second part of all of these is the relationship. "Massi" is mother's sister, "mama" is mother's brother, there is a different name for father's elder brother (thaia), father's younger brother (chacha), mother's parents (nana/nani), father's parents (dada/dadi), and so on. This way, whenever you mention a person's name, the relationship is immediately evident.

How proud are you of your daughter and her academic achievements?

It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. She is the reason for all of my husband's and my decisions over the years. She is the reason we work so hard, the reason we left India to begin with, and the reason we continue to work as hard as we do. She is the absolute light of our lives.

I know how hard it is to stand up for your religious views, how do you handle it?

My faith is the rock upon which I stand. It is what guides me and shows me a better way to live in the world. I do not judge others for their beliefs, and I ask only the same in return. It is true, as Jassy says, that men have distorted much of the divine teachings to suit their purposes, but that does not take away from the wisdom of the ages. I need only go back to the holy teachings to feel connected again, to remember that I am here for a purpose larger than any I could possibly imagine. And whether anyone agrees with me is irrelevant. Faith and politics and science are not separate - they are all parts of the same whole. I will not argue with someone who is set in their beliefs (as I don't like to be argue with, either), but I will state my views and opinions when necessary.

What would you think of Jazz and Jeeves becoming a couple?

Jassy could never be interested in Jeevan! They are too close, like brother and sister. He is a lovely boy, from a respectable family, and if Jassy were to approach me with this, I would certainly question her - because, you know young people--they think they know of love and make far too much of it when they have not even completely experienced "like" . . . understand?

They don't know that it is often better to find a mate who is a partner more than someone who makes one faint with desire . . . you understand, heh-na? So I would want to make certain that Jassy was clear in her reasons for wanting a particular match. There are so many factors, beyond initial attraction, that go into building a strong, long-lasting marriage. Her father and I would do our very best to find as perfect a match as possible for Jassy. It would devastate us if she were unhappy.

Thanks so much for interviewing with me Deesh!

Thank you, Nicole - the pleasure was mine.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Like Mandarin Interview: Grace's Mom

 I have had the extraordinary honor interviewing Grace's mom from the incredible book by Kirsten Hubbard, Like Mandarin. We hope you enjoy it! Also, click the graphic above to follow along with the rest of this great tour with The Teen {Book} Scene.

1. What is your favorite pageant moment with Grace?

Oh! Well, it'd have to be when she took the crown at Little Miss Cowgirl Glitz over in Park County. Her dress was sugar pink with lace, and she had a floppy white bow in her hair -- she looked just like a darling little cupcake!

2. Describe your daughters in three words each.
Taffeta is beautiful. No, exquisite. And spunky. And... talented isn't strong enough. Gifted? Blessed!
Grace! Oh, my Grace. I'd say smart. Very smart. Also stubborn, and... secretive.

3. We know you don't date anyone from town. Can you tell us who you would date if you could?
I couldn't. If there was somebody, I'd be dating him already! I just know all the Washokey men too well. It's like I always say -- you can't date somebody once you know all their stories.

4. What is your favorite shade of Femme Fatale eyeshadow?
What in Carnation! It's a lovely shade of iced pink. There's a matching lipstick, too.

5. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be? And would you leave Washokey for it?
Paris! I think I'd fit right in, don't you? Parisians are such an attractive people. Though perhaps Italy -- Taffeta's really picking up the language! But I don't know about living there... maybe for a bit. A week or two. Three weeks tops. But probably two.

6. Do you have any superstitious rituals that you perform before each pageant?
Sometimes Taffeta and I sing The Star-Spangled Banner together backstage! She's gotten a little shy about it, since it makes all the other mothers stare. But there's nothing shameful in paying respect to America!

7. What do you really think of Grace becoming so close to Mandarin?

Oh dear. Well, I don't like the way it makes all the people in this town talk. They just talk talk talk about anything and everything, especially about what's none of their business. But I can tell Grace is happier, with a friend who's not Polly Bunker's daughter. Now that girl's a bad seed. Anyway, it's a small town -- what kind of trouble can a fourteen-year-old girl get into, anyway?

IMM - Take 32

All of us here at BCM are so excited to be a part of the awesome list of blogs who participate in the "In My Mailbox" meme. In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren so make sure you check out her book blog for a list of many of the blogs participating. She also has some helpful information on how to participate on your own blog. Click HERE to find out more.

This is a weekly meme where we will post any books (and other things) that we have received in the mail, bought, loaned from the library, etc. It's not limited to just books. It can be anything we have just gotten and are excited about.

This week we are excited about the following:

Nicole purchased: 

Haven by Kristi Cook


Steel by Carrie Vaughn
Rival by Sarah Bennett Wealer

Received from blog tours: 

 Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson

Kendra purchased: 

Ruined by Simone Elkeles

Won from Goodreads:

The Wraith by Goodloe Byron

From publisher:

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Cindy purchased:

Haven by Kristi Cook
A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

Received from blog tours:

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Please leave us a link to your IMM post. We'd love to visit you!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review: I Am J by Cris Beam

I Am J by Cris Beam
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Genre: YA

The Story: (from Hachette) "Hola, Jeni."

J spun. His stomach clenched hard, as though he'd been hit. It was just the neighbor lady, Mercedes. J couldn't muster a hello back, not now; he didn't care that she'd tell his mom he'd been rude. She should know better. Nobody calls me Jeni anymore.

J always felt different. He was certain that eventually everyone would understand who he really was: a boy mistakenly born as a girl. Yet as he grew up, his body began to betray him; eventually J stopped praying to wake up a "real boy" and started covering up his body, keeping himself invisible - from his family, from his friends...from the world. But after being deserted by the best friend he thought would always be by his side, J decides that he's done hiding - it's time to be who he really is. And this time he is determined not to give up, no matter the cost.

An inspiring story of self-discovery, of choosing to stand up for yourself, and of finding your own path - readers will recognize a part of themselves in J's struggle to love his true self.

My Review:  I Am J is an emotional,  moving story of one boy's struggle to be who he really is. Born as a female, J has known for years that his outward appearance is a lie. He hides himself inside of clothing that covers his female body and after he loses his best friend, Melissa, J decides he's ready to be the man he's always known he was.

J constantly battles the label of being gay and he's more than a little frustrated by this. He can't understand why people don't see him for who he really is. His parents don't truly know the depth of what's going on with him because he refuses to talk to them about it. Not that talking to them about it would be an easy thing, of course. He doesn't always handle situations with his parents in the most mature way but you have to remember despite the challenges that he's facing, he's still only seventeen.

J's parents were a hard part of the story for me. It was clear that they loved him and wanted him to be happy but it was also clear that much of what they wanted for him was what they wanted for themselves. It was almost as difficult to watch J's parents grow into acceptance as it was to watch J. Relationships prove to be a struggle for J in every aspect: his parents, his best friend, his new-found girlfriend. It's easy to see where J goes wrong at times but you know he has to learn these lessons for himself.

I found myself strongly connected to this book and the message it provides to young (and old) readers. I have never personally known someone (that came right out and said it anyway) that was transgender. I cannot imagine the pain and difficulty they must face each and every day by hiding who they truly are. I wanted to reach into my book and hug J more than once and I have come to think of him as a real person.

This was an eye-opening book for me and I'm so very grateful I've had the honor of reading it. J's life is not an easy one but it is inspiring and very much worth reading.

My Rating:

This review was part of the I Am J Blog Tour with The Teen {Book} Scene. Click the graphic below to follow along with the rest of this tour.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Five Stars Friday - Take 2

We here at BCM really, really, really love books that just knock our socks off. We know you do too, so we thought we'd start up a new meme just for those books that we absolutely could not put down; those books that received our highest rating and deserve a little extra recognition. 

Every Friday we'll select one book that we've given 5 stars to and tell you a little about why we loved this book so much. Our hope is that this meme will provide some recognition for some books that maybe you haven't heard of but that should be added to your to-be-read pile immediately. There is no age limit on the books we'll choose. They could be yet to be released, newly released or several years old. 

We hope you enjoy this meme and we'd love it if you joined in. If you choose to participate, please leave us a link in your comment to your post so we can visit your blog. And if you don't have a blog, please just leave a comment with a book title and author. We'd love to find some new books to add to our to-be-read piles!

This week we are spotlighting:

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA Dystopian

About: (from Simon & Schuster) By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?

Why we LOVE it: This is debut breathtaking in every way. The writing is flawless and awe-inspiring. Rhine's story of survival is heartbreaking and yet encouraging. Wither is just a beautiful novel from beginning to end. I'm going to stop there because it's honestly difficult not to write my full-on review with this post. 

Click HERE to check out Lauren's blog and HERE to pre-order Wither for yourself.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

And the Winners are....

Winners for Glimpse by Stacey Wallace Benefiel:


Elizabeth Harkinson

Winner for Debugging Tori Redding by Jason Ancona:

You all should be receiving an email shortly, and will recieve information about getting your prizes!!

Vanish by Sophie Jordan Cover Reveal! (& Firelight Giveaway)

All day yesterday you were teased with tiny glimpses of the amazing cover to Sophie Jordan's Vanish. Well, now it's finally time to see the full cover. Are you ready? 

Isn't it just breathtaking? I was blown away by Firelight's cover but this one is just...WOW. I can't stop staring at it. I need to read this book right NOW. 

Are you as excited as we are? I hope so! Well, how about we make this even better by giving you the official book summary? Check it out:

**BEWARE: If you have not read Firelight this could spoil some things for you. Read at your own risk. :-) 

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.
Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate.  Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?
In bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s dramatic follow-up to Firelight, forbidden love burns brighter than ever.

So now that you've drooled over the awesome cover and read the exciting book summary, we are giving away three signed copies of Firelight. 

To enter, you must visit all six of the amazing blogs that posted the teaser pictures yesterday (2/23) and find the six words that were posted along with the puzzle pieces. The links are below in case you missed them. Once you have all six words, unscramble them and put them in the correct order for an extra entry into the giveaway. Hint: It's a book tagline with three sentences, two words each. 

Then, you simply need to fill out this FORM.

**PLEASE NOTE: This is the same form that is posted on A Good Addiction and A Fanatic's Book Blog. Please only enter ONCE, no matter which blog you enter through.

Contest is open to U.S. and Canadian addresses only and ends March 6th. The tagline will be announced with the contest winners.

Here is the list of blogs that posted puzzle pieces: 

Now it's your turn to go tweet, blog, facebook and share this everywhere. We'd also love to hear your thoughts about the cover here, so please leave us a comment. :-)

The Long Weekend by Savita Kalhan: Post

Savita Kalhan guest post!!

There was a film that I watched when I was probably too young to watch it. I saw it again when I was much older, but it still had the same effect on me. After I finished The Long Weekend, I realised that both The Long Weekend and the film shared a similar theme. In both, children were trying to escape the clutches of a remorseless predator hell-bent on killing them. In the film, Robert Mitchum plays the role of the predator. The film was – The Night of the Hunter.
There was one particular line spoken by one of the characters that I knew would be perfect to open The Long Weekend with:

“When you’re little, you have more endurance than God is ever to grant you again.”

Rachel Cooper - Night of the Hunter: with Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters, 1955, MGM

I found the book, The Night of the Hunter, and this is the original scene with Rachel Cooper:-

“When morning shot its golden shafts into the mists of the trees in the yard Rachel stole softly into the kitchen to the stairway for a moment and stared in at the children on the steps, filled suddenly with the wonder that each of us must feel at least once in his life: the knowing that children are man at his strongest, that they are possessed, in those few short seasons of the little years, of more strength and endurance than God is ever to grant them again.”

Night of the Hunter by Davis Grubb
First published 1953

The words strike such a chord with me because I think they have been true for me, and probably for many other children. A child’s innocence may be destroyed, but a child is not so easily destroyed. Ultimately The Long Weekend is a story not just of our times. It’s an ongoing story in which only the circumstances change from century to century, continent to continent.

I really wanted the quote to be the opening of the book, but sadly my editor could not get permission to use it before the book went to print. The Long Weekend has been reprinted, but by then my editor had changed, and the quote was forgotten. I’m really hoping that if/when this print run of The Long Weekend gets sold out that the publishers will organise the permission for using the quote before the next print run.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed...

I'll keep mine crossed for you as well Savita! Thanks for writing this up, and for the story!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Winners Are...

We have several winners we need to announce an congratulate. Those winners are:

The winner of Mad Love & Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors is: Ammy B.

The winner of Haven by Kristi Cook is: Stephanie K.

The winner of a personalized copy of Haven by Kristi Cook is: Kari O. (flamingo1325 on Twitter)

All winners have been notified. Thank you and Congratulations to each of you!

Top Ten New Years Resolutions with Author Cris Beam

I Am J by Cris Beam is a phenomenal book that tells the story of a transgender boy and his struggle to face not only who he is but also who those around him are. I am honored to be part of this blog tour and hope that you enjoy this guest post with the author. 

Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions

10. Exercise more. Boring I know. Boring to do, boring to think about, boring to add to the list for the millionth year. Just look at the word resolution. Re-solution. It’s the same answer to the same old problem.

9. Make up more new words. Or their etymology. Like re-solution. 

8. Ruffle up the courage to publish some poetry. ‘Nuff said. There’s reams of it, quivering on my computer, too afraid to come out.

7. Learn to bake. Oh, and generate enough patience to actually measure stuff.

6. Make more time for friends; the work will always be there. (Maybe one day, I could actually give friends some baked goods.)

5. Take a salsa class. 

4. Play the piano. I have a full-sized electronic keyboard that takes up a lot of space in my apartment that I can’t bear to part with, but that I truly never, ever play. My cat toys with the keys more than I do.

3. Stop exaggerating. It’s the curse of the writer: we tell stories. Plus, we want to be liked. But making the fish that much bigger or an anecdote that much funnier, warps memory and integrity. So I try to catch each little slip.

2. Be kinder. Especially on the inside. Trust me, if you lived in my skull and heard the cruelty I can self-generate, you’d want to sneak out the ear canal or something. 

1. Learn from the dog. My dog Sami might be one of the smartest beings I know. Well, that’s not quite true (see resolution 3). But he is kind, and he does exercise, and he makes time for friends without even thinking about work. And he’d happily eat anything I burned or botched in my attempts to learn to bake.  

So what do you think? What are your top New Years resolutions? Do you agree with any of Cris'? 
A huge thank you goes out to Cris for this post and to The Teen {Book} Scene for the tour. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my review of I Am J.

Review: The Long Weekend by Savita Kalhan

The Long Weekend by Savita Kalhan
Publisher: Andersen
Publish Date: Oct 2008
Genre: MG, horror

The Story: Sam knows that he and his friend Lloyd made a colossal mistake when they accepted the ride home. They have ended up in a dark mansion in the middle of nowhere with a man who means to harm them. But Sam doesn't know how to get them out.

They were trapped, then separated.

Now they are alone.

Will either of them get out alive?

This gripping and hypnotic thriller will have you reading late into the night...

My Review: I loved this book!! I wasn't sure what kind of "trouble" that they would run into, but it was great! There is a great moral for teens and young adults. Well for anyone really. You shouldn't go into someone's car unless you know them, or who sent them. Sam and Lloyd survive the weekend and make it home. I couldn't read this at night, becuase the first time I did, it gave me nightmares! The last time that happened was when I read Dracula! Those who like realistic situations, or thrillers will enjoy The Long Weekend. Savita created a story where you believe you're reading a story in the newspaper about something that happened in your own town, not a fictional story.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: Glimpse by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Glimpse by Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publish Date: May 9, 2010
Genre: YA

The Story: Zellie Wells has a devastating crush on Avery Adams, the son of her mom's high school sweetheart. At her sixteenth birthday party, held in the basement of her dad's church, she finally finds the courage to talk to him. Turns out, the devastating crush is mutual. As Avery takes her hand and leads her out onto the makeshift dance floor, Zellie is overwhelmed by her first vision of his death; shocking because not only are they both covered in his blood, but they're old, like 35, and she is pregnant. Afraid to tell anyone about the vision, (she'd just be labeled a freaky black magic witch, right?) Zellie keeps the knowledge of Avery's future to herself and tries to act like any other teenager in love. When they get caught on their way to a secret rendezvous by her mom and his dad, they are forbidden to see each other. Convinced that their parents are freaking out unnecessarily, Avery and Zellie vow to be together no matter what. They continue their relationship in secret until Zellie learns that their parents are just trying to prevent her and Avery from suffering like they did. The visions are hereditary, they're dangerous, and if they stay together the visions will come true. Now Zellie must choose between severing all ties with Avery, like her mom did to prevent his father's death, and finding a way to change Avery's future.

My Review: I loved this book!! I couldn't put it down and even though it took me two days to read it - stupid work interfers with reading! Stacey created an awesome world to get lost in. Where you have romance and mystery. Poor Zellie, when she finds out that her biggest crush is also crushing on her hard and then has to stay away from him, it's hard! It turns out that she has similar powers to her grandma, which in some ways explains why her mom wasn't able to sense, or explain a whole lot. I would recomend this book to any one!!

My Rating:

Happy Release Day to Haven by Kristi Cook & Personalized Giveaway!

In celebration of the release of Haven (one of my new favorite books!) we are giving you a chance to win a personalized copy of Haven for yourself.

Here is how you can enter:

Go to Day 1 of the Haven Blog Tour below-

Read through the list of talents and come up with YOUR OWN talent that you think would fit in at Winterhaven. That means that you need to create a whole new skill not already listed in the Winterhaven Pyschics post above.

Then post what your talent would be either on Twitter or on Facebook. If you are posting to Twitter you are required to @BooksCompleteMe PLUS use hashtag #Haven - If you are posting to Facebook be sure to post it on our Facebook Page found HERE.

Be sure you are a follower of BCM on Twitter so that we can DM you if you are the winner. 

If you have any questions, post them in a comment on this post. Contest ends at 9:00 p.m. EST today, February 22nd. Winner will be chosen using Open to U.S. Mailing Addresses Only.

Also, if you haven't already be sure to enter the rest of the giveaways on the Haven Blog Tour: 

All Giveaways end tonight!

Happy Book Birthday HAVEN!!!!

Review: Debugging Tori Redding by Jason Ancona

Debugging Tori Redding by Jason Ancona
Genre: YA

This is part of a blog tour with Teen {Book} Scene

The Story: Fed up with her peers and their loose morals, Tori starts a new school program, the Not So Fast club, a group dedicated to keeping teens from doing everything they want to do--drink, have sex, and rush to grow up.

A severe toothache interrupts her plan, sending her to the dentist, where she's given an emergency root canal. During the surgery, she's electrocuted and ends up blacking out. When she awakes, her brain has the ability to function like a computer.
Tori uses her new skills and aggressive personality to charge up the club.

Hated by the entire school, she discovers that NSF now stands for: Narcs Suck Farts. Game on. Tori memorizes every school rule, issuing tickets for every little infraction.

After a serious crime occurs, Tori must use her talents to save a life, all while trying to free herself from her mind.

My Review: WOW! I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading this story. Tori is a misfit, she has one good friend and after starting her club, she only get's one more. After a party break-up and telling the school paper who all was invovled, including her own brother. She starts to learn more about herself and with some guidence, she ends up starting a completely different club.

My Rating:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard 
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Genre: YA

The Story: (from Random House) It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. 

Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.

My Review: Grace's story is one that is both difficult and engrossing to watch unfold. She's sick of her small town and fantasizes about getting out someday. She can't understand why her mother, who had left at one point, ever came back in the first place. Grace is intelligent (one year ahead in school even) and sticks mostly to herself at school. She has a deep admiration for two things in her life: rocks and Mandarin. When a teacher requests that Grace help Mandarin with a school project, Grace's infatuation with the wildest girl in town soon turns into a chance for Grace to prove herself.

This is, of course, where things get tangled and adventurous. Over the next weeks Grace learns a wealth of information about Mandarin - and about herself. While Mandarin's behavior was once seen as desirable and even something to aspire to, Grace soon learns there is more to Mandarin than meets the eye.

Like Mandarin is Kirsten Hubbard's debut. It's beautifully written, poetic even. Grace's innocence and Mandarin's lack thereof are the perfect balance for this remarkable tale of maturity and growth. Throughout the book, I found myself just as mesmerized by Mandarin as Grace was. I am in love with the author's ability to create such a fantastic and believable plot. Everything about this book screamed reality, truth, sincere. Having just recently found a new love in contemporary young adult literature, I know that I am going to be counting down the days until I can place myself inside the storyline of another book by Kirsten Hubbard. Honestly, this is just a brilliant novel. 

My Rating
This review is part of the Like Mandarin blog tour with The Teen {Book} Scene. Click the image below to follow along with the rest of the tour.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

IMM - Take 31

All of us here at BCM are so excited to be a part of the awesome list of blogs who participate in the "In My Mailbox" meme. In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren so make sure you check out her book blog for a list of many of the blogs participating. She also has some helpful information on how to participate on your own blog. Click HERE to find out more.

This is a weekly meme where we will post any books (and other things) that we have received in the mail, bought, loaned from the library, etc. It's not limited to just books. It can be anything we have just gotten and are excited about.

This week we are excited about the following:

Mindy purchased: 

Promise by Kristie Cook
Purpose by Kristie Cook

Cindy purchased: 

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Received from blog tours: 

All Just Glass by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Received from publishers for review: 

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Please leave us a link to your own IMM post. We'd love to check it out!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Five Stars Friday - Take 1

We here at BCM really, really, really love books that just knock our socks off. We know you do too, so we thought we'd start up a new meme just for those books that we absolutely could not put down; those books that received our highest rating and deserve a little extra recognition. 

Every Friday we'll select one book that we've given 5 stars to and tell you a little about why we loved this book so much. Our hope is that this meme will provide some recognition for some books that maybe you haven't heard of but that should be added to your to-be-read pile immediately. There is no age limit on the books we'll choose. They could be yet to be released, newly released or several years old. 

We hope you enjoy this meme and we'd love it if you joined in. If you choose to participate, please leave us a link in your comment to your post so we can visit your blog. And if you don't have a blog, please just leave a comment with a book title and author. We'd love to find some new books to add to our to-be-read piles!

So without further ado, our very first Five Stars Friday belongs to: 

Clarity by Kim Harrington 
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Genre: YA Paranormal

About: (from Scholastic) When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift. And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case - but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother - who has supernatural gifts of his own - becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most? 

Why we LOVE it:  I read this book in less than 24 hours and that's not because I had nothing better to do. I simply could not put this addictive and sexy mystery down. It's a thrilling ride from start to finish and I cannot tell you how absolutely ecstatic I am that there will be a second book in this series coming out in 2012. If you love mysteries and hot male characters, this book is for you!

Check out Kim Harrington's blog HERE and click HERE to pre-order Clarity.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

Welcome to Waiting on Wednesday! Waiting on Wednesday a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

This week we are eagerly anticipating the release of A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford, which I just pre-ordered yesterday: 

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal

About: Eden didn't expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.


So long, happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else's game. Her heart is her own.

And that's only the beginning of the end.

Learn more about A Touch Mortal and the author, Leah Clifford through Leah's WEBSITE.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

WINNERS of Vampyre Kisses

Here are our winners of
Vampyre Kisses by Elizabeth Kolodziej

Ebook Winner: Vivien (your coupon code is being emailed to you from Elizabeth)

Paper back signed copy: Mandy (your paperback signed copy will be mailed directly to you from Elizabeth)

Congrats to the winners & thank you to everyone who entered.

If you would like to buy a signed copy of Vampyre Kisses, contact Elizabeth a


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