Friday, December 31, 2010

End of the Year Blog Survey

So last year, towards the end of the year I posted a survey for you all to fill out about how you like my blog and if there's anything you think I should improve on. This year I've decided to do the same thing. The survey is completely random and it will help me get a chance to see your opinions on my blog and what would make reading Zoe's Book Reviews a better experience for you. I hope you fill it out! Thanks!

New Years List Week!

So since tomorrow is January 1st, I've decided to make January 1st-January 7th 2010 list week. The schedule is as followed-

January 1st- Books Read in 2010
January 2nd-Top 10 Books Read in 2010
January 3rd- Top 5 Must Read 2011 Books
January4th-Top 6 Blog/Author Moments of 2010
January 5th- Top 10 Blogs
January 6th- Top 10 Author Twitters
January 7th-Top 10 Books on My 2011 Wishlist

Thursday, December 30, 2010

NPR's list of Best Teen Reads 2010

So, NPR (National Public Radio) just released their list of "This Year's Best Teen Reads". You can find the article here.
I normally don't post about news articles on the blog, but I made an exception for this article because of the books on the list. Out of the five books listed, I've read 4 of them and all are favorites of mine. I encourage highly you to read the article.

Also- It's written by Gayle Forman who is the author of If I Stay, Where She Went, and a few other books.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey + Giveaway

Out for Blood is the third book in The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey. This review/summary may contain SPOILERS.

Hunter Wild is the youngest in a long line of elite vampire hunters, a legacy that is both a blessing and a curse at the secret Helios-Ra Academy, where she excels at just about everything. Thanks to her friendship with Kieran Black, Hunter receives a special invitation to attend the coronation of Helena Drake, and for the first time, she sees the difference between vampires that must be hunted and vampires that can become friends—or even more. When students at the academy fall victim to a mysterious illness, Hunter suspects they are under attack from within. She will need someone she can trust to help her save the future of Helios-Ra . . . help that shockingly comes in the form of Quinn Drake, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire. Who said senior year would be easy?

Out of the three books (so far) in this series, Out for Blood is my second favorite. The first book, Hearts at Stake is my favorite because I love how Alyxandra introduced the story to her readers. The beginning of Out for Blood was a bit slow, but as I dove further into the book the plot started picking up. One of the things I loved about Out for Blood was the action. I’m a sucker for characters that kick-butt, and this book delivered! I admire Alyxandra Harvey for the way she is able to include every character in the Drake family tree. Out for Blood kept me intrigued and wanting more! I can’t wait for the next book in this series.
These books aren’t just another vampire series. They’re well written and incredibly original. Harvey knows how to capture readers properly. This series is a must-read for everyone!

FTC- Publisher.

To enter to win a copy of Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey, fill out the form below. None of the information will be shared with anyone besides the person who is shipping out the book. Open to US addresses only.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'm here to wish you a Merry Christmas! Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a lovely day filled with joy and family.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hothouse by Chris Lynch

If you do it right, it can be a life. The hothouse, the guys, the glory. But just like that, it can all go up in smoke.

In the beginning it was strange, ya know, because of all that we had lost. But there was something about it that felt so good and so right, too: "I'm so proud of you, Russ." "We'll always be here for you, man." "Heroes don't pay for nothin' in this town." It was nonstop. The mayor shook my hand. Ladies sent food. I've never eaten so much baked ham in my life.

And now? Now the phone won't stop ringing from the crazies ready to blame me. My mom has to cry herself to sleep. They take a firefighter, a man, and they pump him up so big. . . . But once they start taking it away from you, they don't stop until they leave nothing on the bones.

First they needed heroes, then they needed blood.

Going into Hothouse, I didn’t think I would like it at all but it surprised me. I ended up liking Hothouse more because under its tough firefighter exterior, there is a really sweet and meaningful center. I felt that Chris Lynch did a wonderful job writing about loss in a beautiful, productive way that will appeal to both girls and boys.
The two boys in this novel struggle with trying to find out the real meaning of a hero and what makes a good father. I found out that reading Hothouse is hard. The emotional impact is monstrous. Russell is a character that teen boys will be able to relate to (even though it might not be in a direct way).
I couldn’t put this book down. I hated reading it because it was so emotionally draining, but I loved that I read it. The two boys in this novel are stunning in their own way and I loved reading about them. This is an amazing book that I recommend to anyone, especially boys.

FTC- Publisher.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian

Feeling left out since her long-time best friend started a serious relationship, sixteen-year-old Emily looks forward to a summer program at the Philadelphia College of Art but is not sure she is up to the challenges to be faced there, including finding herself and learning to balance life and art.

*Cue sappy love music.*

Siobhan Vivian is one of my favorite writers and I’ve never been disappointed by anything she’s written. Same Difference was a lyrical book that I absolutely adored. Out of all three of her books (the other two are A Little Friendly Advice and Not That Kind of Girl), this one is my favorite. I loved the art component in this novel. I’ve always dreamed of being one of those super-talented-artsy-people. So in a way, this book has let me live out my dream. Yay!
I couldn’t stop reading this book. I brought it with me everywhere- hockey games, roadtrips, the dinner table-everywhere. This is one of those books that is a permanent fixture in my mind.
Siobhan Vivian is an amazing author that everyone should read.

.FTC- Library.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Grace by Elizabeth Scott

Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate.

I’ve loved everything that I’ve read by Elizabeth Scott, but I didn’t know how I would like Grace. It seemed very different from the variety of books she’d written in the past. In the beginning of this book I felt mildly lost but as I read more, I really started getting into the story more.
Grace was a haunting novel that I think everyone should read. Elizabeth Scott never disappoints in anything she writes and this was no exception. This story will stick inside your head and keep you thinking about it for days. I read it a few months ago and I still think about it.
Grace provides insight into a world that not many people know about, which I think really sets this book a part from the other ones on the Young Adult shelves.
Grace is a touching, heartbreaking, haunting book that you won’t forget after reading.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

An Interview with Blake Nelson

I recently had the opportunity to ask Blake Nelson, author of Destroy All Cars a few questions (you can read my review of Destroy All Cars here). Here they are, and I hope you enjoy-

1. The main character of Destroy All Cars, James is strongly against the traditional ways of trying to save the environment. Do you share his views?

yeah, I do, but he's sort of exaggerating things the way some people do. James likes to be shocking, and to make "big pronouncements" about things. Not everything he says is actually a good idea. One thing about him though, is his basic concerns are very real. His idea that "organic salad bars aren't going to solve global warming" are pretty accurate.

If not, how did you get the idea of destroying all cars?

I don't think James really thinks we could actually destroy all the cars in the world. the way I got the idea for the book was i wa sin my hometown of Portland and I got stuck in a traffic jam and I noticed all the cars around me were like, one mom inside a huge SUV, like a Suburban or something. Adn all of sudden I saw how absurd this was, and how wasteful. like to move a physical object that big and heavy around, just so she could pick up some milk or whatever. suddenly i thought: WE ARE SO WASTEFUL. that is one of the main ideas of the book. How we generate all this trash and waste all these materials all the time. and once I really started noticing all of that going on around me I was sort of shocked. and then I channeled those feelings into James.

2. What was it like having a book adapted into a movie?

It's always fun when the movie's good. My first book GIRL got made into a movie and it wasn't very good, and so that was frustrating. but it still made a lot more people read the book. and then PARANOID PARK, was really fun. Especially because it was artsy and sort of beautiful. I love movies like that.

3. How did your high school experiences inspire Destroy All Cars?

I was really into going to the library downtown and hanging out with these other high school kids and we would read Karl Marx and talk about how screwed up our society was. This was my revolutionary phase. I read a lot of philosophy and drank espressos and I fetl like I was practically in Paris. but I was actually still in portland. So that was a fun time. Pretending to be an intellectual.

4. Is there anything you would like to add?

Check out my new book RECOVERY ROAD which is about a girl who falls in love in rehab!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Win a Copy of Entice by Carrie Jones!

Entice by Carrie Jones was released today, and you have a chance to win a copy! You can check out my review of it here.

To enter, please fill out the form below. You must be a US resident with a mailing address (no PO Boxes, sorry!)

Rosebush by Michelle Jaffe

Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey Shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit-and-run.

Everyone believes it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane's boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface not just from the party, but from deeper in her past . . . including the night her best friend Bonnie died.

With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again. Along the way, she's forced to examine the consequences of her life choices in this compulsively readable thriller

This is the first book I’ve read by Michele Jaffe. In some ways I was disappointed and in others I wasn’t. Rosebush started off a little slow and progressively got more interesting. At one point, I put it down because I just wasn’t in to it. Once I continued reading, I found that it was a really good story. Michele Jaffe knows how to write the creep-factor.
Rosebush is a mysterious, thrilling, page-turner that you won’t be able to put down. Jaffe writes amazing dialogue and killer scenes. People who are into reading books by Sara Shepard will adore Rosebush.

FTC- Publisher.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Entice by Carrie Jones

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that's not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned. She's Astley's queen.

Entice, like the previous books in the Need series, was incredibly addicting. Carrie Jones can combine paranormal and action flawlessly. Sometimes the way that Zara acted was incredibly annoying. Something that Entice is nearly driven by, was the love triangle. In this book, Zara is caught between the amazingly-sleek and kind Astley and the dependable and charming Nick.
Carrie Jones has written a lovely novel that is sure to impress fans of the series. I can’t wait until the next book (I really hope there will be more). Entice has some minor flaws but when it comes down to it, I love this book. I was sucked in from the very beginning and tried to read it at every possible moment. I highly recommend Need, Captivate, and Entice to Young Adult readers everywhere. You won’t regret reading it.

FTC- Publisher.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Secrets of a First Daughter by Cassidy Calloway

Morgan is a National Disaster.

Morgan Abbott couldn’t be happier. Super-cute Max has quit her Secret Service detail to be her (secret) boyfriend, and the annoying Brittany Whittaker has been ousted from class president, leaving the post open for Morgan! Life is pretty sweet.

Now Morgan just has to tackle college applications—but she has so much else to juggle that looking that far ahead seems impossible! Good thing she’s graceful under pressure . . . well, sometimes.

A trip to London should be just the thing to take her mind off all the craziness, but true to form, chaos follows Morgan wherever she goes—and the trip turns into an international disaster. Can she make it right? Or will she cause a royal mess?

I didn’t read the first book in the series before I read this one, which is the second book. I felt that I didn’t have to read the first book, nothing was too unfamiliar and foreign to me which is good. I do, however recommend reading the first book first. Cassidy Calloway wrote a swoon-worthy, drop dead adorable novel that is so good I couldn’t, for a second put it down.
Morgan is a snappy character that I didn’t get tired of. Max was just… wow. While I was reading this, I was in complete swoon mode. Morgan and Max together was electric. Calloway did a great job writing the chemistry between them.
Every time Morgan did something incredibly clumsy or kind of dumb, I couldn’t help but smile because that’s just what kind of book this is. It makes you smile when you’re feeling down. Secrets of a First Daughter is the perfect night-in read. It’s breezy, addicting, and incredibly sweet. I loved it!

FTC- Publisher

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kiss It by Erin Downing

A girl's gotta do who a girl's gotta do.

Chastity Bryan has never been shy about going after what she wants. And when sexy, mysterious, so-not-from-this-town Sebastian walks into Chaz's life, she knows in an instant that what she wants next is him. Chaz has no intention of playing for keeps—but she most definitely has intentions. Who needs true love when you've got true lust?

Sebastian has no idea what he's in for—but maybe neither does Chaz?

This book is not what you’d expect. I was expecting some light and fluffy novel that I could just read and it would be lovely. Kiss It was so much more and so much more different than what I thought it was going to be. While I was reading it most of what I was thinking was “mysterious boy… ooo. Wow, this book talks about sex a lot. Wow, this book really talks about sex a lot. Dang… this book is talking about sex a little too much.” But looking back at it, Kiss It talked about way more than that. More than anything, Kiss It is about self-discovery. I was so surprised at all the talk about sex because it isn’t talked about a lot in one YA book. It’s talking about a little in every book, but it doesn’t really go deep into the characters feeling about it. I felt that Kiss It did go deeper. Erin Downing wrote emotions that a lot of teens have and that a lot of YA writers don’t write about.
Chaz, like any teenager is trying to find herself. Then Sebastian comes in. Let me just gives you a heads up- if a book contains a love interest who is named something that isn’t very common, like Sebastian… I will most likely love that character*. When Sebastian first came in though, it was just awkward. I don’t really know what to make of this story. It isn’t incredibly memorable, but it is incredibly daring. Within the first few pages, I honestly thought I was going to put it down because of the vulgarity of it. I don’t recommend this to people who can’t handle books that talk about sex a lot. I don’t know whether to praise Downing for writing a novel that nobody expected or to just go on my marry way.

*What can I say? Uncommon names are awesome.

FTC- Library.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

I had a life anyone would kill for.

Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

The Lying Game was completely addicting. I took it with me everywhere until I finished reading it. Despite me loving this book, I feel that Sara Shepard is kind of writing the same thing over again. She writes the whole murder-mystery thing well, but The Lying Game has a lot of resemblance to Pretty Little Liars. That being said, I think that Shepard has incredible abilities when it comes to building characters. All of her characters are so well developed that you feel that you are apart of their lives.
This book kept me on the edge of my seat. Every page was lined with a mystery.
I couldn’t put down this book. I recommend it to people who liked reading Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series. Sara Shepard wrote a mysterious, amazing, addicting book that will thrill its readers! I can't wait for the next boo in this series!

FTC- Publisher.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Meet Dexter Morgan, a polite wolf in sheep's clothing. He's handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him abide by a different set of rules. He's a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him immensely likeable: he only kills bad people. And his job as a blood splatter expert for the Miami police department puts him in the perfect position to identify his victims. But when a series of brutal murders bearing a striking similarity to his own style start turning up, Dexter is caught between being flattered and being frightened -- of himself or some other fiend.

This book is what inspired the Showtime series Dexter. It took me a week to read because this series is just plain creepy. Being inside Dexter’s head was one of the weirdest reading experiences I’ve had. He is psychotic but it’s written so well that at some point, you start seeing it like he does. Knowing the rules he must follow, knowing why he kills killers, you become Dexter when you read this… which is a scary thought. Dexter struggles because he is trying to fit into life. He can’t feel emotions so he has to fake it. He goes as far as faking his emotions for a girl he eventually gets into a relationship with.
I love Dexter. Love him. Jeff Lindsay does an amazing job with character development. Dexter’s voice is incredibly strong and seeps through the pages of this book.
Lindsay wrote a book that will get into your head and mess with your mind until you’re done reading it. This is marketed toward adults so I don’t recommend it to small children. Fans of the show will like it and people who are looking for a good murder story. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the Dexter series.

FTC- Bought

New Layout

So, I got a new layout. This might be temporary, but I still want thoughts! What do you think of it? Hate? Love? I-Couldn't-Care-Less?


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris — until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend. But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

This book is stunning. Actually, stunning doesn’t even begin to describe how much I loved it. It’s characters are magical and the story is enchanting. While I was reading it, I was speaking to the book*. St. Clair is the perfect guy character. Never in my life, have I wanted to meet a book character so much. Many people might not want to read this book because of the “French Kiss” part of the title. To those people I say, if you don’t read this book… you are missing out on a book that is beyond amazing.
YA Romance books (in my opinion) have been getting a bit forgettable, and it’s hard to find a good one that isn’t paranormal. Look no further! This is the perfect YA Romance. It is unforgettable, realistic, and fun to read. This book weaved in realistic topics in a way that seems natural. The issues don’t slap you in the face and at the same time, they aren’t nonexistent. Within the first chapter, I was laughing my head off. The humor is awesome!
The characters in this book aren’t perfect. Which is why I love them so much. Anna is believable, while I was reading I continuously thought to myself “Wow, I would love to be friends with her.”. St. Clair is just, wow. He is real and vibrant and messed up and gorgeous**.
As you can tell by this review, I loved Anna and the French Kiss. Stephanie Perkins wrote one of the best Young Adult books that has hit the shelves this year. I can’t recommend this book to enough people. It is simply amazing.

*My parents thought I was crazy.
** Can you tell I’m a fan of St. Clair?

FTC- Received from publisher.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart. She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition. Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

Yet again, Sarah Ockler’s book doesn’t cease to amaze me. Before I started reading Fixing Delilah, I didn’t think it could surpass my love of Sarah’s previous book; Twenty Boy Summer. I loved Delilah’s story. It was realistic, addiction, and just plain magical. Patrick as such an adorable male character. He makes you want to jump in the book and get to know him and listen to his music. I like how Delilah is such a strong main character, she is strong throughout all of the Hannaford drama. Not only is the writing awesome, but when reading, you feel the characters emotions.
Sarah Ockler is, and will always be an author to look out for. Fixing Delilah and Twenty Boy Summer both are about amazing things and are wonderfully addicting. I recommend her books to anyone.

FTC- Received from publisher.