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March 19, 2012

The Mockingbirds (The Mockingbirds #1)

The Mockingbirds by Daisy WhitneyTitle: The Mockingbirds
Author: Daisy Whitney
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Received From: Publisher in return for an honest review

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.
Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way-the Themis way. So when Alex Patrick is date-raped during her junior year, she has two options: Stay silent and hope someone helps, or enlist the aid of the Mockingbirds-a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of the student body.
In this account of a teenage girl's search for her voice and the courage to use it, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that standing up for someone, especially yourself, is worth the fight.

I am not sure how I can write a review that truly captures how powerful this book was. The Mockingbirds is about standing up for yourself and being willing to fight for it.
Now thankfully I have never been date-raped but I think if I were I would react the same way Alex did in the beginning. She didn’t want to tell anyone because she thought they would look down on her, and that she would forever be seen as “that girl who was date-raped.”
Another reason Alex doesn’t want to tell is because she doesn’t remember it so she is not positive whether she gave consent or not. This is a huge deal, thousands of girls every year use that reason as the reason they don’t report/tell someone. Whitney paints the picture of a lost and confused girl absolutely perfectly. Unfortunately that is because it happened to her. After you read The Mockingbirds make sure to read the author note. It really solidified for me the feelings I had about the book.
The secondary characters in The Mockingbirds were really strong and I wish we had gotten to know them better, but I did like how we got to learn more about Anna as the book progressed.
I highly recommend this book to everyone. I think it is important to have books that bring up these issues and empower girls through them.


March 16, 2012

The Marked (Talents #2)

imageTitle: The Marked
Author: Inara Scott
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Received From: Publisher in return for a honest review

Summary: In her second semester at a boarding school for teenagers with special powers, Dancia Lewis faces danger from both inside and outside of Delcroix Academy. 

Review: This is the second book in the Talents series (previously called Delcroix Academy). I really liked the first book The Talents and so I was really excited to see what would happen next.
One of my favorite parts of The Marked was seeing Danica grow into her powers. She didn’t really get to use them in the first book and I really enjoyed seeing her grow and learn what kind of power she had.
Danica had some definite doubts about the program. I shared in these doubts and I loved how Scott made me feel the same way as Danica and even made me have some doubts that were not explicitly said.
The ending of The Marked was beautifully written. I loved how the story slowly unfolded up into this climax. It left me wanting the next book without being having a cliffhanger. I need the next book to find out what is going to happen!!!!
The only problem I had with The Marked was that parts of it were kind of slow. I felt like some parts at the very beginning could have been taken out while other could have been fleshed out. For example I wish we could have seen more of Danica’s training. But other than that I really enjoyed it!


March 7, 2012

Author Interview: Denise Grover Swank Author of Here

Today I have with me the author of Here. Denise imageGrover Swank to talk about what she does when she’s not reading.

Here is some information about Denise:

Denise is a single mom who lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri raising five of her six kids. (The oldest has gone off to live on his own.) She loves to embarrass her children whether it be spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen or making her teens’ friends think she’s funny/cool. *gasp* (Even if its in her own mind.) On rare occasions, she is known to post stories about her crazy life on her family blog There’s Always Room for One More.

She keeps her sanity by creating worlds to escape to and characters to hang out with.

Life in the Swank household is never dull. With five kids ranging from four to twenty-one years old, there’s always some kind of chaos occurring. Throw in musicals, plays and vocal lessons for my fourteen year old daughter; violin and competition dance for my eight year old daughter; and karate for my six year old son and my four year old daughter, and that doesn’t leave a lot of free time for mom. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home, a luxury for a single mom. We have three dogs, Fifi, a Yorkie; Sugar Bella a Maltese (a compromise name between me and my teen daughter who was obsessed with Twilight two years ago); and our newest addition, Tilly, a lab mix puppy, adopted from an animal shelter.

Of course, how can life be dull in a house full of kids and dogs? (That’s eight living and breathing bodies in case anyone is counting and that doesn’t include my oldest son’s turtle.) Yet, for some reason, the strange and odd seem to hunt me down. Anyone who follows me on Twitter or has friended me on Facebook knows this. It’s like I’m a magnet for the unusual. Several years ago, I used to relate these unusual circumstances, also known as my life, in a blog titled There’s Always Room for One More. Hundreds of readers dropped by to find out about my nightmare trip to Costco involving a possessed debit card. Or the time I pulled twenty ticks off my dog while my children watched, eating a snack at the kitchen counter until my two year old knocked over the cup of water containing the parasites, spilling ticks all over my kitchen. Aww... those were fun times. But they still happen. Now I just post about them on Facebook.

imageThe rare times to myself are usually spent writing from 9 pm until 2 am. But there are occasional moments when I have the opportunity to do something for me. More often than not, I’ll read a book on my iPad with my Kindle or Nook app open (I’m weird, I use both.) I also like to plant flowers, although you can’t quite call it gardening. I like the planting part and occasionally the watering. I have yet to figure out the most effective threat to make my children weed. I love to travel. I’ve been to China and Vietnam and have visited over thirty states in the US. My fourteen year old daughter is obsessed with Paris after reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, so I’ve told her that I will take her to Paris when she turns sixteen. (I think this means she owes me about two years worth of whine-less chores.)

One thing you’ll rarely find me doing: cleaning. Honestly, it’s nearly impossible to have a designer show case house with this many people living here. Or so I tell myself. And while the show Hoarders is disturbing on so many levels, it makes me feel so much better about the way my house looks. Okay, it’s not dirty, just cluttered. True success for me will be when my children all put their backpacks and shoes where they belong and I don’t stab my feet with Legos strewn across the room.

Everybody needs a dream. Even if they’re impossible.

Thanks for joining me Denise!

Make sure to check out my review of Here