February 28, 2009

March Contest Rules and Winners!

The winners are Serena of Savvy Verse and Wit and Kristi of Books and Needlepoint! Please send your addresses to me at inbedwithbooks AT yahoo DOT com.

By the way, I always check the BookPeople calendar of events before a trip home so that I know what books to bring back for signage. Laurie Halse Anderson will be there March 28 so I'll try to get something extra signed for a giveaway. (I'll be keeping my signed ARC, thank you. That's assuming I have enough time to get out that week.)

Now, for the March contest rules:

Each author contest can be entered by commenting on his or her interview or guest blog. The comment must be relevant to the content of the post.

Bonus entries can be earned by:
+5 Making a graphic that I can include on the blogiversary/b-day posts and others can use to link to the contest (must say http://inbedwithbooks.blogspot.com)
-These five entries can be distributed about contests of your choice
+1 Link to the contest
+1 Follow my blog
+1 Buy one of the author's books (and send me proof)

I'm sure I'll think of more.

The contests will run in two blocks. The first block, March 1-18, will have winners announced on March 25. You can only win once during this block. The second block, March 19-31, will have winners announce April 7. You can only win once during this block, but you can still win something even if you won in the first half of the month.

Separate from both of these is my birthday contest. I will give my prize (to be determined) to someone who comments on both my birthday and the blogiversary. No, I am not telling you which day is my birthday. (For those who know my b-day, like Bookluver_Carol and Reviewer X, I'll make you do something else if you want the prize.) No extra entries, though I might be bribable. In fact, anyone who's dumb rich enough to buy me a Kindle 2 wins instantly.

One more note: participating authors are free to enter other's contests. They cannot win their own book because that's just silly.

March Schedule

Welcome to my first blog anniversary and twentieth birthday celebration! Below, you'll find a schedule of my guests - some of the smartest, savviest people you'll meet. Some of these are old friends, some new, but they've given me some incredible reviews and guest blogs. Definitely a great birthday gift.

But hey! I've got party favors! I'm giving away a surprise myself (no details yet) and many of the guests are giving away some very nifty items. I want to enter some of the contests I'm hosting! So be sure to come and participate everyday because you never know what might pop up.

Let's get ready to par-tay!

1 - Micol Ostow
2 - Alexa Young
3 - Melissa Walker
4 - C. Leigh Purtill
5 - Cynthia Leitich Smith
6 - Sasha Watson
7 - Lynn Weingarten
8 - Stephanie Kuehnert
9 - Jennifer Banash
10 - A.S. King
11 - Cherry Cheva
12 - Katherine Center
13 - Linda Gerber
14 - Wendy Toliver
15 - Chelle Cordero
16 - S.G. Browne
17 - Beth Kephart
19 - Maggie Stiefvater
20 - John Marco
21 - Shykia Bell
22 - Deborah Lytton
23 - Susan Fine
24 - Ann Haywood Leal
25 - (waiting to confirm)
26 - Melissa Francis
27 - Cheryl Renee Herbsman
28 - kc dyer
29 - Jaye Wells
30 - Fran Cannon Slayton
31 - Jeri Smith-Ready

February 26, 2009

Books Read in 2009 (Week Eight)

This has been a week. I'm glad to move on to the next one.

Week Eight

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Kitty Goes to Washington (Kitty Norville, Book Two) by Carrie Vaughn (review copy)

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Kitty Takes a Holiday (Kitty Norville, Book Three) by Carrie Vaughn (review copy)

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Kitty and the Silver Bullet (Kitty Norville, Book Four) by Carrie Vaugn (review copy)

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Japan, Inc.: Introduction to Japanese Economics (The Comic Book) by Shotaro Ishinomori (textbook)

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Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand (Kitty Norville, Book Five) by Carrie Vaughn (review copy)

February 25, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (4)

Okay, so this is super duper in advance, but it segues nicely into some news I've been meaning to tell ya'll.

I'm eagerly awaiting SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY by Mary Robinette Kowal which releases from TOR . . . sometime in 2010. Kowal announced the sell a little over a week ago and refers to it as her "Jane Austen with magic novel." She explains in the comments, "It aims to be the novel that Jane Austen would write if she lived in a world where magic actually worked. I would read a chapter of Persuasion and then write a chapter of this."

Does that not sound wicked awesome?

(This fab picture of her was taken by Patrick Nielsen Hayden.)

So, ya'll are thinking, what does that have to do with you? Just that I have no clue what will happen to this blog in July since I'll be in ENGLAND studying JANE AUSTEN and SHAKESPEARE. That's right. ENGLAND. I'm so excited. I've never left the country before and I cannot wait. I'm already planning to explore some of the rest of Europe too. (Did I mention I'm going to England?)

*I should also mention she has a collection of stories, SCENTING THE DARK, coming out from the quality folks at Subterranean Press this November.

February 24, 2009

Vote on "Inspired By" Contest Winner

I'm overworked and thus my NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL review is getting shunted back, poor thing. I just don't have time for the finishing touches.

Stephanie Kuehnert posted the Inspired By entries on her blog, MySpace, and el jay. You don't have to vote for my entry but it'd be cool if you voted for someone.

February 23, 2009

Someday I'll Be Organized . . .

. . . and someday I'll understand that joke from Taxi Driver. Until then, how do ya'll keep organized?

(I think I saw something similar going around on one of those weekly memes, but that's not really why I'm asking.) This event in March is the first really big thing I've done and it requires more organization of me. I've got a folder in my e-mail for it and I've been using Microsoft Publisher to make a calendar.

I love this calendar. I think I may make more to help me keep on track with my reviews. I put my review copies in priority piles, but I tend to get distracted by the shiny and read in whatever order best pleases me. This isn't the best model for business, but then I remind myself this blog is for fun and games.

As for real life, I like to write a list of what I need to do that day. This calms me down because it makes my load feel more controllable. For instance, here's today's list:
Finish revising general scholarship essay.
Write draft of UEPS essay (55 lines)
Finish WAB scholarship application form
E-mail counselor about what counts as major 1 hours and what counts as major 2
Draft first three March posts
Go to program office and print A & J's stories
Write 200-250 word criticism on each story
Finish catching up on Creative Writing notebook (2 personal entries, 2 story reactions)
Reread and outline assigned chapters in Hobbes

I then calculate about how much time I think each task will take me and get to it. Don't know if other people use this method but I love it.

Also, since I'm unorganized I have not responded to those who e-mailed me the Calling all bloggers! survey. Just know there isn't a cut-off; everyone who replies will be posted. So answer if you haven't already!

February 22, 2009

In My Mailbox (3)

This meme is hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea.

I forgot to mention last week that I bought PRIDE by Rachel Vincent.

This week I bought:

Peach Girl vol. 6 and 8 by Miwa Ueda
These are the old Mixx Comics style (flipped and everything). No clue why they were on the shelf but I'm down with 75% off.
Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Started reading her blog due to the Pimp A Book! contest and thought her stuff looked cool - I got the store's only copy.


The first five Kitty Norville books by Carrie Vaughn, which I've already finished. I now cannot wait for KITTY RAISES HELL to come out in March.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour
Kitty Goes to Washington
Kitty Takes a Holiday
Kitty and the Silver Bullet
Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd
Scot on the Rocks by Brenda Janowitz
Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center

ETA: Michelle from 13L|THE tagged me! The instructions are: Find the 5th photo file folder, then the 5th photo in that file folder. Post that picture on your blog. Tag 5 others to do the same.

Oddly, this is one I already posted online. It was inspired by Melissa Walker's Violet series. (ETA: I am the photographer, not the girl pictured.)

I tag (please let these be new people):
Alea of Pop Culture Junkie
Diana of Stop, Drop, and Read!
Beth Kephart
Linda Gerber
and Lauren of Shooting Stars Mag

February 21, 2009

Calling all bloggers!

As part of my March celebration, I would like to include mini-interviews with bloggers! I don't know everyone's e-mail so I'm doing it this way. Please send me your answers to the following questions along with your alias and URL. (My e-mail is in the sidebar.)

1. When is your birthday?

2. When did you start your blog?

3. What's your favorite month and why?

4. What do you like about March?

5. What March book release are you most excited about?

Thanks! Be sure to return next Saturday when I announce the guest schedule!

February 20, 2009

Review: Wintergirls

Don't forget to enter the contest to win your own copy - and to comment on this review for an extra entry. You can comment simply because you think it's a cool review, of course.

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By Laurie Halse Anderson

First: 2009 is the tenth anniversary of Laurie Halse Anderson's classic work SPEAK. Yes, really. It's that old. I didn't read it the year it came out, but I can still remember when I first read it. Returning from GT Spring Break trip I ran out of books and borrowed one from my English teacher. She handed me SPEAK, which she hadn't read yet but heard was good. And now I'm in my second year of college, about to turn twenty, and I feel old.

Second: WINTERGIRLS is an issue book, even more overtly than SPEAK. (Not to say it doesn't deliver a great story.) Like any issue book, it made me think. In my twisted case, it made me obsessed with what I ate while reading the book. I snack a lot people. Ritz crackers with brie, french bread with honey butter, mint truffle kisses, Girl Scout cookies, chips and salsa, chocolate covered pretzels, cherry yogurt, and who knows what else. And you know what: I'm at a much healthier weight than I've been for most of my life. I'm reading about Lia's struggle to go down to 100, then 95, then 90, then then then and all I can think about is how happy the day I was when I first hit 100 pounds. I felt like a real person instead of a doll.

But Lia doesn't want to feel like a real person. She's a wintergirl, dancing between life and death. She's anorexic and her best friend Cassie was bulimic. But now Cassie's dead and she called Lia thirty-three times before she died, but Lia didn't answer since they were fighting. Those thirty-three calls haunt Lia and pull her farther from redemption.

Lia's narration took me a few chapters to get into, but then I loved the rhythm of it. Lia's voice is as strong as her will and Anderson uses some nice typographic trips to change the weight of certain thoughts. (No pun intended.) The head-trip is offset by Lia's very normal family. Her stepmother Jennifer obviously cares and does her best. When she does make a move against Lia, her reasoning makes sense. On the other side of the coin, Lia obviously cares for her "pleasantly plump" stepsister Emily, who couldn't care less about her appearance and enjoys playing sports badly. She does have trouble explaining to people why her sister was in the hospital. Lia builds her mother up as a bad guy, but I find her a sympathetic character as well.

The only antagonist in the book is internal, which I like. Anderson recognizes how tough it can be to work through your issues even if you live in a supportive environment. Lia knows she's too skinny but she knows she's too big and every time she looks at food she sees the calories just as much as she sees the deliciousness.

My only complaint? I'd love to see more of Elijah, the boy who works at the crappy motel where Cassie died. I fell in love with him on his first appearance. I appreciate Anderson not shoehorning a romance into a book that doesn't need it, but surely we could get more than a few tantalizing glimpses of him.

Anderson's work is somewhat hit-and-miss with me, but WINTERGIRLS is definitely a hit. The prose and characterization are on. You get the impact of anorexia but don't finish the book feeling completely bummed out. You'll enjoy discovering whether and wintergirl can become a real girl. (And if you don't like it, you can stare at the pretty cover. I vote this book most likely to be picked up by fantasy fans on accident.)

WINTERGIRLS will be available March 19. You can find out more about Anderson on her website, el jay, or MySpace. Plus, Wintergirls has a MySpace of its own. It's got a niftly little excerpt and everything.

February 19, 2009

Books Read in 2009 (Week Seven)

Read more than I expected. To be honest, I read one of these because it was short, eagerly awaited, and I needed to relax. The rest served purely procrastinatory purposes.

Week Seven

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Pride (Werecats, Book Three) by Rachel Vincent (bought, eBook)

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover (Gallagher Girls, Book Three) by Ally Carter (review copy, ARC)

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Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville, Book One) by Carrie Vaughn (review copy)

Should I start linking to my reviews of these?

February 18, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (3)

Jill at Breaking the Spine hosts this meme.

This week's pick is the second book of an author I never read. But I like the sound of the plot: Boy in small town meets free-wheeling new girl, decides maybe he wants to stay in small town. It's an interesting flip. I checked out the author's el jay right after I found the book and she seems to have a good sense of humor.

This week's book is *drumroll*:

27 April 2009

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Plot summary from Amazon:
Remy Walker has it all: he found the love of his life at home in crumbling little Dwyer, West Virginia, deep in his beloved Appalachian Mountains where his family settled more than one hundred and sixty years ago. But at seventeen, you’re not supposed to already be where you want to be, right? You’ve got a whole world to make your way through, and you start by leaving your dead-end town. Like his girlfriend, Lisa. Lisa’s going away to college. If Remy goes with her, it would be the start of everything they ever dreamed of. So when a fascinating young artist from out of state shows Remy his home through new eyes, why is he suddenly questioning his future?

The author vividly depicts a rich and beautiful place in this powerful novel about a young man who, over the course of a summer, learns how much he has to give up for a girl, and how much he needs to give up for a mountain.

February 16, 2009

Win Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.

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Thanks to Penguin, I have 2 Wintergirls ARCs to give away. Shipping is restricted to the US and no PO boxes.

This postcard showed up on PostSecret while I was reading the book. I love a good coincidence.

At first I was going to repeat a "what you ate" requirement. After finishing the book, I decided I had a better idea. Tell me one thing nice you did for yourself, recently, and didn't feel guilty for. If you can't think of one, promise to do something indulgent soon.

To get extra entries, link to this contest, follow my blog, or comment on my review of WINTERGIRLS. It will be posted sometime this week.

The contest ends 2/28 and winners will be announced that night.

ETA: February 22-28 is National Eating Disorder Awareness week.
National Eating Disorders Association

February 15, 2009

In My Mailbox (2) + Winners

In My Mailbox is a meme began by The Story Siren.

In terms of receiving books this was a very good week. I'm especially relieved the Bouissou finally arrived.

Where Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten (ARC and hardcover)
The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
Japan: The Burden of Success by Jean-Marie Bouissou (textbook)
Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
Geektastic ed. by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci

The VOG (Very Odd Gift) wrapping looks very similar to the wrapping style my school uses for condoms. It made me do a double-take when I opened the D100D package. I just included the rose condom in the photo because I think it's cute.
(Note: I have no current need for condoms. But they pass them out free and my tuition includes three condoms a day. If I'm paying for it I'm taking it whether I need it or not.)

Now what ya'll really want to know . . . the winners!

Valentine's Contest
IN TOO DEEP ARCs go to: donnas and Paradox
The $20 Amazon GC goes to: Diana Dang

Ranger's Apprentice Contest
THE SIEGE OF MACINDAW ARC goes to: Erika Lynn*
*Erika Lynn already has a copy, so the new winner is olympianlady! Unsurprising - probability was on her side with 27 entries.

Winners, please e-mail your addresses to inbedwithbooks AT yahoo DOT com. For those who didn't win, come back tomorrow for another contest.

February 14, 2009

Review: Eternal

Remember that mini-interview I did? Read mine with My Favorite Author and Sophie of Mrs. Magoo Reads.

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By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Zachary's pretty new to the guardian angel gig, but he's doing well enough. Sure, he's fallen in love with his current charge, but what's the worst that could happen? He could save her from a broken neck only to usher her into the arms of a fate worse than death. Not that Miranda sees it that way - she's now beautiful, powerful, and respected. All she has to do is deal with her periodically abusive "father."

I remember TANTALIZE coming out because users on a forum I frequent (Sheroes Central) kept talking about it. As the forum is filled with nothing but sharp cookies, I paid attention and finally got my chance to read and love the book. I wondered how ETERNAL would compare, but I quickly fell into the story. I knew it I would absolutely love it by page 63 of the ARC, wherein the archangel Michael directs an underling to Yahoo! Maps.

Those little touches of humor keep ETERNAL from getting too dark. Cynthia Leitich Smith does not shy away from making her vampires monstrous. (Or, as Father calls them, eternals.) Miranda's maker is the current Dracula, complete with a basement full of caged food. Miranda possesses a large appetite after her change and cuts a swath through certain sectors of society. Tongues are cut out. Miranda must exchange her Cowboys jersey for a lesser team.

Like TANTALIZE, bits of media are inserted between the chapters and offer glimpses outside of the characters' POV. There's a girl who misses her friend as well as angelic beauracracy. There's also an ad, this time for a personal assisstant - the perfect chance for Zachary to reenter Miranda's life and try to redeem both of them.

I enjoyed getting inside the head of both of these characters. In Miranda's, I wondered how Smith could redeem her giving her initial embrace of the vampire lifestyle. With Zachary, I admired his devotion and his desire to do right by everyone in the mansion - workers, prisoners, and Miranda. I enjoyed the blossoming of their relationship and the fact Smith didn't offer them an easy way out. Both of them learn, forcefully, that their actions have consequences even if they aren't always the ones to pay them.

I loved how ETERNAL expanded on the world of TANTALIZE. Quincey was an outsider to vampire culture, but Miranda is in the center of things. ETERNAL isn't just one person's struggle with temptation. Miranda can affect the entire vampire society. We get to see how their hierarchy works and who the major players are. Media darlings Sabine and Philippe are especially intriguing. I cannot wait to see how the two casts come together.

ETERNAL came out on the tenth. TANTALIZE is available now in both paperback and hardcover. You can read my review or listen to my interview with Cynthia. And guess what? She'll be here in March and you won't want to miss what she has to say. You can find out more at her blog, MySpace, el jay, or website.

February 13, 2009

Valentine's Recipe: Sweet Buns by Mary Burton

I love baked goods, and thus relished the chance to receive a new recipe. And hey, now ya'll can make some for yourselves tomorrow! (Unfortunately, I don't have the kitchen access to try them out. But you know will eventually. No denying myself sweets.) If you want it, I also have a pretty printable version.

Check out my reviews of I'M WATCHING YOU, DEAD RINGER, and my interview with Mary Burton.

Valentine’s Day Sweet Buns

I love to have these for my sweetie on Valentine’s Day. I make up the dough in my bread maker, assemble the buns the night before and then let them rise in the refrigerator. I also mix up the icing the night before. A couple of hours before breakfast, I set the pans on the counter to rise a little more and then I bake in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes. Simple and so delicious!


3 ¼ cups of flour
¾ teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup of sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon of vanilla
¾ cup of water
1/4 cup of low fat sour cream
¼ cup of melted butter
1 package of dry yeast


¾ cups of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1 cup of powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons of milk

Place all the ingredients in the dough maker (yeast goes in the yeast dispenser). Once the dough is ready, place on a floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle—about ¼ an inch thick. Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts on the dough. Roll the dough in a long spiral and then slice into individual portions. Place dough on a large greased pan. Give the rolls plenty of room to rise and spread. (If you’re prepping for tomorrow’s breakfast, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. In the morning a couple of hours before serving the buns, place pans of uncooked rolls in a warm place and let them rise.) When they’ve risen to twice their original size, bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. While they are warm, pour glaze over top and serve.

February 12, 2009

Books Read in 2009 (Week Six)

Midterms are cycling around, so if I finish even one book next week I'll be happy.

Week Six

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Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (ARC, borrowed)

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Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, Book Four) by Patricia Briggs (review copy, eBook)

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Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum, Between-the-Numbers) by Janet Evanovich (review copy)

Oddly, I have already reviewed all three of these.

February 11, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (2)

Jill at Breaking the Spine started this meme. In it bloggers share what books not yet published they would love to get their mitts on.

In contrast to my previous two choices, I have not read anything by this author before.

New Yorker Nick Burd's first novel, THE VAST FIELDS OF ORDINARY, comes out 14 May 2009. Just read the blurb and tell me you don't want it. "Ruthless passion." Now that's ominous.

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Amazon description:

It’s Dade’s last summer at home. He has a crappy job at Food World, a “boyfriend” who won’t publicly acknowledge his existence (maybe because Pablo also has a girlfriend), and parents on the verge of a divorce. College is Dade’s shining beacon of possibility, a horizon to keep him from floating away.

Then he meets the mysterious Alex Kincaid. Falling in real love finally lets Dade come out of the closet—and, ironically, ignites a ruthless passion in Pablo. But just when true happiness has set in, tragedy shatters the dreamy curtain of summer, and Dade will use every ounce of strength he’s gained to break from his past and start fresh with the future.

February 10, 2009

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

One of my midterms got postponed! I might have found an apartment! Dude, how awesome is today?

For those who watch Heroes - how awesome was last night's show? I feel like it's getting back on track. And Sylar's new sidekick is uber-creepy. To think I worried he would get hurt when he first showed up onscreen. Obama's address made good point, but why in the world did he have to do it during Chuck?

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By Beth Fantaskey

Jessica Packwood thinks she's a normal American teenager. Well, as normal as you can be with two vegan, save-the-world adoptive parents. But now her original parentage is raising its befanged head. Jessica's true heritage is that of Anastasia Dragomir, a Romanian vampire princess destined to marry Lucius Vladescu and bring peace to their clans. Jessica would rather date the nice wrestler Jake. Lucius, raised to be a vampire prince, does not think much of her future as a ruler either.

The best part of the book is watching dark, dangerous Lucius adapt himself to American life. He discovers the wonder that is blue jeans and plays basketball. He quickly endears himself to the English teacher with his love of literature. (She is startlingly undisturbed by his deep empathy for Heathcliff. Heathcliff should scare anyone with reason.)

Beth Fantaskey manages Jessica's relationships with Jake and Lucius well. Jessica's liked Jake for awhile, so there's no reason for her to instantly give him up. That she asked him out? Totally awesome. Even now I would need a push to ask a guy out. But girls doing it on print and on screen are inspiring. After all, the worst they can do is say no and give you the fodder you need to begin dismantling your crush.

As for Lucius, Jessica's reluctant to date a guy who claims to be a vampire. Quite understandable since she only has verbal testimony as to his claim. (Her parents' testimony should be strong given their relation, but really, they kept quiet about it for too long to be believed without question.) Lucius discovers the secret to courting without truly meaning to: he empowers Jessica. He's not always nice, but he encourages her to figure out who she wants to be and then to be that person. He wants her to be more outspoken and to like her body the way it is. And he gives a swoon-worthy speech about the reason guys should be courteous and why it has nothing to do with the female being weaker. He possesses a darker side, but unlike Heathcliff, he isn't a guy a girl should run from as fast as she can.

Now, at the end of the book I don't know if Jessica will be the best ruler. But she's certainly in a better position for it at the beginning, and what is a young adult novel if the protagonist doesn't mature? Fantaskey definitely captures the attitude of an ordinary teenager and I love Jessica's friend Margie as well. Jake too, who will one day discover people who see more in him than nice.

JESSICA'S GUIDE TO DATING ON THE DARK SIDE came out February 1st and is Fantaskey's first book. You can find her at her web site.

February 8, 2009

In My Mailbox

This feature was started by The Story Siren. In it, bloggers share the books they received that week. I probably won't do this every week, but I was bored and I like using my new cameraphone.

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This week I recieved:
Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Razor Girl by Marianne Mancusi
Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs (in e)
Undone by Rachel Caine (in e)

I borrowed:
Going to Far by Jennifer Echols

For discussion:
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

February 7, 2009

Valentine's Contest: In Too Deep ARC or a Giftcard!

Guess what? Jennifer Banash lurves me. It could be my scintillating interview with her or the fact I invited her to guest blog for Fashion Week. Or maybe it's the fact that I find her books pretty groovy?

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When I reviewed THE ELITE, I said:
From Normal, Illinois to the Upper East Side – Casey’s made quite a move and she’s not sure how to adjust. She’s armed with Abercrombie and American Apparel, but soon realizes she’s out of her depth. She feels how much she doesn’t fit in the first time she meets Madison Macallister, Phoebe Reynaud, and Sophie St. John. But Sophie and Phoebe kind of like her and talk Madison into a makeover. However, Casey is attracting attention from Drew Van Allen, Madison’s on-again, off-again boyfriend. . . . One of THE ELITE’s strong points is the fact that it possesses more realism than most of the mean girl/clique books currently on the market. . . . Some of THE ELITE’s twists are easy to see coming, but it’s still a fun ride. I enjoyed Banash’s first foray in YA literature and I’ll be back for IN TOO DEEP.

And I was. The second time around, I said,
I love how much more grounded THE ELITE series seems than some of the other series of this type I've read. In so many there may be parents present, but they'll have no control over their children. IN TOO DEEP explores many of the characters' relationships with their families as well as the relationship drama. . . . In the finale Jennifer Banash really ups the ante for SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE. I can't wait to pick up the third book and see how some of the snarls come undone. Banash is fabulous at creating relatable characters in over-the-top situations. Her characters act like real teenagers and really captures that sense of being almost ready to be an adult but not quite and the out of control emotions.

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Jennifer and I both couldn't believe the response to the contest I held for IN TOO DEEP, so she came back for another round. This time there will be three winners. To giveaway, I have:
(2) In Too Deep ARCs - even if you have the book, these make cool collector's items
(1) $20 Amazon giftcard - you could buy yourself both books, or something else if you already own them

How do you enter? How else would you enter - by showing the love. But here's the catch: you have to show it to me and to Jennifer. For Jennifer, you need to follow her blog Elite-isms. She's suffering from post concussive syndrome right now, so she really needs the love! As for me, I'm riding a romance high from watching The Lady Eve and A Very Long Engagement with my friends. Therefore, I want you to leave me a comment telling me about a romantic scene, fact or fiction.


As always, I'm offering bonus entries. Linking to the contest, following me, and/or sending proof you bought THE ELITE (or IN TOO DEEP) will each get you an extra entry. Or you could just show the love in a particularly cool way.

Contest ends February 14th. And don't forget my contest for RANGER'S APPRENTICE: THE SIEGE OF MACINDAW by John Flanagan, which ends February 15th. Don't forget to stop by then - I'll have a new contest starting the 16th, followed by my birthday celebration.

February 6, 2009

What do you do with your ARCs?

On a side note: It looks like I won't be going to Flight of the Conchords. I had class when the tickets went on sale and left a friend in charge of buying them. She didn't. However, I may get to see Dvotchka free on Sunday.


The piles of ARCs in my three rooms (dorm, mom's, dad's) are getting ever higher. Some of my ARCs I keep. If I like one enough I'll buy an acutal copy of the book and preserve my ARC for future squee-ing. Others I just keep and reread the ARC because I enjoyed the book and want to read it again but I'm cool with the typo-ridden copy and don't need to spend money on another.

As for ones I don't keep . . .
If I thought it was a decent book and don't think her mother will get mad at me for handing off something inappropriate to her child, then I hand it off to one of my ex-boyfriend's younger sisters eventually. This is where several of my middle grade ARCs go. The ones at an even younger level are being held in reserve for my cousin to enter third grade. (At which point she will also receive a box full of the entire Animorphs series, which I will expect back when she's done. My niece'll need to read those too.)

Ones I can bear to part with and are aimed at a little older audience I hand off to friends who I think will enjoy them more than I. And if they don't like the book they can just hand it off to someone else. This is also where the YA Bookswap Ning comes in handy. (Though really, I must get my list updated. I am so disorganized.)

As for ones I completely don't like, those can go on the Bookswap Ning too. But really, I have no clue what to do with them. I'm not a throw books away kind of girl. Those books just lay there in unwanted stacks. (Some of the valuable ones mock my scruples and tell me if I sold them I could fund more of my education.) So this leads up to my title question: what do you do with your ARCs?

February 5, 2009

Books Read in 2009 (Week Five)

I went home and played with le bebe last weekend, but somehow managed to still do some reading. Of course, next week I have two tests and five pages due, so I suspect I'll do less reading.

Week Five

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The Bleeding Dusk (The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, Book Three) by Colleen Gleason (bought)

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When Twilight Burns (The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, Book Four) by Colleen Gleason (review copy, ARC)

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Need by Carrie Jones (borrowed, ARC)

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Popular Vote by Micol Ostow (contest)

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I Want to Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert (bought)

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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (review copy, ARC)

Looking these up on Amazon, I noticed the next Gardella Vampire Chronicles book comes out 3 March 2009, which is exciting. (Despite the name, the series is about vampire hunters, not vampires.) I have a number of cool books to read right now, including BONE CROSSED and PLUM SPOOKY.

February 4, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday (2)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a meme started by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Kim Harrison is one of my favorite urban fantasy authors. Her book WHITE WITCH, BLACK CURSE comes out on the 24th and I can't wait to read it. (Even more lucky for me: her tour will take her right through my town and I'll get to see her in person again.)

Right now though, I'm lusting after the release of the first book in her young adult series, ONCE DEAD, TWICE SHY.

Book Cover

I love the cover, which features a full face and a beautiful title treatment. You can read about Madison Avery in the short story "The Dim Reaper," found in the PROM NIGHTS FROM HELL anthology. The anthology also contains stories from Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Michele Jaffe, and Lauren Myracle.

This book will be released 26 May 2009 from HarperTeen. The book doesn't have a blurb yet, so I'll just post the blurb from WHITE WITCH, BLACK CURSE since I'm lusting after it as well:

Some wounds take time to heal . . . and some scars never fade.

Rachel Morgan, kick-ass witch and bounty hunter, has taken her fair share of hits, and has broken lines she swore she would never cross. But when her lover was murdered, it left a deeper wound than Rachel ever imagined, and now she won't rest until his death is solved . . . and avenged. Whatever the cost.

Yet the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and when a new predator moves to the apex of the Inderlander food chain, Rachel's past comes back to haunt her.


February 3, 2009

About Me/Mini-Interview

I was mini-interviewed by Carol from Bookluver-Carol's Reviews.

1. What book are you reading now?

I am about to finish WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson, at which point I will read either BLONDE ROOTS by Bernadine Evaristo or JESSICA'S GUIDE TO DATING ON THE DARK SIDE by Beth Fantaskey.

For school I am reading THE WEIGHT OF THE YEN by R. Taggart Murphy and the short stories "Neighbors" by Raymond Carver, "Where I'm Likely to Find It" by Haruki Murakami, and "Jolene: A Life" by E.L. Doctorow.

*I forgot THE JAPANESE FAMILY IN TRANSITION by Ochiai Emiko. I highly recommend her book (out of print) and Murphy's. Both are highly readable and relevant to Westerners despite the subject matter.

2. What do you enjoy most about college? What do you not enjoy about it? Is it really better than high school?

There's a lot to like about college. I like my program, which allows me a massive amount of flexibility in the courses I take and encourages study abroad. I like that there's always something going on on-campus: free movie showings, guest lectures, concerts, clubs. I like that I'm not in class for eight hours a day. (I am in class from 9:30-3:30 TTH this semester, but that means I'm only in class for an hour MWF.)

I don't like that one of our teachers didn't request a book from the Co-op, so we didn't know we needed it until the first day of class, and the only way I could get it is directly from the publisher so I haven't received it yet and we're supposed to be reading it now. Also, professors have a sixth sense for when your other professors are going to have an assignment due and all your assignments and/or tests will be scheduled for the SAME WEEK.

Yes, it is better than high school. (And I say this as one of those odd ducks who liked high school.) Unless you're engineering or architecture your schedule is far more flexible and you can test out of the pesky basic requirement classes. Pretty much you only have to take stuff that really interests you. Plus, your classes are filled with people who like that stuff too which makes it somewhat easier to connect. (I suck with people.) Professors are helpful if you go to their office hours, which you should. I believe you get a better grade if the professor knows your name. And yeah, what work you have to do will be more difficult than in high school but there will be less of it so you can pace yourself. (I don't. I procrastinate.)

The cafeteria food is better too.

3. What are some of your hobbies, other than reading?

I like music. I'm a percussionist, specializing in jazz vibraphone and other mallets. Upcoming concerts I plan to attend include Flogging Molly (February) and Flight of the Conchords (May). Tomorrow I am going to a performance of Rigoletto by Guiseppe Verdi. My taste is pretty eclectic. Topped played on my iTunes includes: Arco Arena by CAKE, Yankee Bayonet by the Decemberists, This Corrosion by the Sisters of Mercy, Fairmont Hill by the Dropkick Murphys, Tentative by System of a Down, Pet by A Perfect Circle, Touched by VAST, I Want You (She's So Heavy) by the Beatles, I Want You performed by Fiona Apple and Elvis Costello, and Toccata and Fugue (D minor, Bach) performed by E. Power Biggs. Despite that, my top genres would probably be punk, folk metal, and jazz. I really like female vocals, both powerful and light, as in Lacuna Coil, The Cranberries, The Gits, and Shivaree.

I like movies. Mostly anything that can make me laugh, be it black humor, romantic, action-adventure, or horror. I like both mainstream and cult films and don't like a lot of mainstream and cult films. Last week I watched Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Taxi Driver. N&N was cute and I laughed at inappropriate moments in Taxi Driver. My roommate and I concluded the point of the movie was, "Pimps must die." I think I'd say it's a good movie, but it is odd and there's approximately ONE SONG on the soundtrack.

I like hanging out with friends. We go to restaurants (or to someone's apartment to make food) and sit around eating and talking about food. No, really. While we're eating we discuss what we like best and what we eat with our families. We shop together, but some of us are not used to the bargain shopping lifestyle. My young padawans shall learn. We share books, movies, and music - always a good way to find something new and to generate conversation. But yeah, generally I spend my days hanging out.

Sometimes I run and I try to do crunches regularly. I wouldn't call exercise one of my hobbies but I don't cut it out of my life since I want to be a little healthy. I do take routes to my classes that force me to climb more stairs because it makes me feel better.

I also like to bake. I'm not fabulous but I make good muffins, cookies, pralines, fudge, pies, and cakes. I do some cooking as well, but I'll have less responsibilities regarding this at home for awhile since I nearly set the kitchen on fire making stuffed peppers last month.

Almost forgot: I like art. I draw some, but I'm not that great. I hang out in museums. I mostly like to take photographs. I go crazy with a camera in my hand. Recently I've been focusing on macro photography. It's rough on me because I'm rather twitchy but I've been getting some beautiful shots.

4.What is a upcoming book that you're looking forward to?

DEATHWISH by Rob Thurman. It comes out in March and then I can get my Leandros brothers fix. I love this series so, so much and I know approximately one other person that reads it. That's just wrong. C'mon ya'll: snarky male protagonist, witty dialogue, great characterization, familial relationships, evil beasties, fight scenes galore, and interesting worldbuilding. Er, when Cal angsts people laugh at his woe?

5. Lifetime supply of coffee or lifetime supply of donuts?

Both. Okay, if it came down to it I'd take the coffee because donuts are cheaper. But both have been a part of my life since toddlerhood and I'm not about to give either up. (NOTE: Don't let your three-year-old sip your coffee hoping they'll stop grabbing at your cup because it tastes nasty. S/he just might like it.)


If you want to know more about me, just leave a question in the comments and I'll answer it! If I'm procrastinating, I might not shut up either. (See above.)

Want to be interviewed?

1. If you want to be interviewed, leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions and let me know when you have posted it, so I can link it.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview
someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask
them five questions.

February 2, 2009

Party: Coming soon!

Hello dear readers!

We've now entered February, which means March is going to come along before we know it. With March comes on of my favorite days of the year: my birthday! Not to mention I started writing In Bed With Books on March 18, 2008.

To celebrate, I'm hosting a huge party. In addition to my regular reviews, there will be a smorgasbord of interviews, guest blogs, and contests! You know you want to be there.

And authors, you want to be there too! Not only can you participate in the contests as well, but I still have spots open for more interviews and guest blogs. If you're interested, please e-mail me at inbedwithbooks AT yahoo DOT com.

As for bloggers, I've got something for ya'll to do as well! Just wait for an e-mail from me, or go ahead and e-mail me to prod me into action!

So be ready for it! Because from March 1 to 31 this blog will be one big party.

February 1, 2009


I just want to remind people of my radio show, in which I babble like a maniac. This month's does contain complete readings of "The Story of an Hour" and "Desiree's Baby," both by Kate Chopin. You should listen to it for those.

By Carrie Jones

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(Note: The cover image will take you to Amazon. Usually I don't note this, but NEED is currently 32% off, which rocks.)

After her (step)father dies, Zara becomes something of a zombie - noticible even to her seatmate on a plane. She does little but write her letters to Amnesty International, trying to save others even as she refuses to notice anything wrong with herself. Worried, her mother sends her to live with her (step)grandmother, Betty, an EMT in Maine.

She quickly becomes involved with several people at school: Nick, who has a hero complex, Ian, an overachiever, Issie, a hyper and awesome girl, and her crush Devyn. She has less positive interactions with Megan, who instantly dislikes Zara. Are all Megans in YA literature bad guys? I have to be honest, my best friend in kindergarten was named Megan. I don't like to think she might've grown up to be a villain. (Woot! New Heroes episodes tomorrow!)

Tangents aside, Zara also encounters another important person. She saw him back in Charleston and now she's seeing him in her new home. Devyn and Issie are scared of him as well. They believe he's a pixie, the king who needs to hunt and kill and leaves behind gold glitter. He's definitely a guy to be legitimately scared of. Which I love, since it contrasts the phobias Zara recites to calm herself down. The teens in NEED are put into scary situations and there's nothing irrational about their fright. People who want to torture you to death in the woods are bad news.

Luckily, the pixies have an enemy. Because Zara doesn't find the only way to stop the king's needs very palatable. Even a girl who wants to save the world still wants to save herself, even if that girl sometimes forgets. And like the best YA books, Zara is figuring out who she is. Is she a pacifist, hippie chick? Or does the anger she sometimes feels have a use? She doesn't completely answer her own questions (who does), but she does completely creep me out with her decisions. That is, of course, the perfect end to a book obsessed with fear.

NEED moves by very quickly. It's a slender volume and the scenes move along swiftly, especially when Zara's in a harrowing situation. I adored the characters, particularly Issie and Betty. Nick I took a little longer to like, since the hero complex often causes one to completely ignore what help other people can offer in a situation. But he worked well with others' plans and won me over by the end. At the end, I even felt attached to Zara's mom, who barely shows up in the story. NEED worked very well for me as a fast-paced, creepy (slightly disturbing when all is said and done) read.

NEED came out in January 2009, so you can buy and/or borrow it now! Carrie Jones is also the author of TIPS FOR HAVING A (GAY) EX-BOYFRIEND, GIRL, HERO, and LOVE (AND OTHER USES FOR DUCT TAPE), none of which have paranormal elements. (Just warning you in case you read NEED and think you'll be reading more books with pixies and shifters.) Carrie Jones can be found at her website, which contains links to her non-fiction, and her el jay. Thanks to Kristi (The Story Siren), who lent me her copy.


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