Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Daredevils by Joy Lynn Goddard

Title: Daredevils
Author: Joy Lynn Goddard

Publisher: Chestnut Publishing
Publication Date: October 1, 2004
Number of Pages: 178

Lizzie loves playing hockey, despite being stuck on a boys’ team with teammates who treat her like dirt. When Trevor and Sean hide her equipment before a big game, she’s forced to sit on the bench, and her dream of winning the Most Valuable Goalie award seems way out of reach.

Added to her troubles is Tara, a creepy teenager with blue nails and “skunk” hair who is about to become Lizzie’s stepsister. Lizzie is supposed to make her feel like one of the family, although Tara makes Lizzie feel miserable every chance she gets.

Alex, a weird kid from the team, helps Lizzie plot against her enemies, dreaming up a plan that makes Trevor look like a jerk in front of all his friends. But Alex never imagines the disastrous outcome – it begins with a dare and ends when Alex plunges into the Niagara Gorge. Does he survive?

Faced with the roaring falls, the billowing mist, and the darkness that fills the gorge, the rescue team almost gives up on Alex. But Lizzie doesn’t. Remembering the tunnels running under the falls, she risks everything to save him – even her life.

I'm going to be honest with you up front - this isn't my favourite Joy Lynn Goddard book. In fact, this probably my least favourite book. I absolutely adore all of Joy's other books but I just don't really like "Daredevils". Don't get me wrong, you should totally check out some of this author's books from the library, but it's up to you to decide if you should read "Daredevils."

This novel has a pretty good start and I thought the idea of Alex falling in the gorge was excellent. I noticed right away that Joy Lynn Goddard does a really good job of showing, not telling, but I felt like I really didn't know the characters that well. I also personally think that the excerpt on the back of the book gave away a bit too much. However, considering the fact that this is the author's first book, I think she did a great job. My first book would probably be much, much worse.

I also loved the ending. It was a little predictable but Joy wrote it so that I forgot about my prediction and simply enjoyed the story.

Even though the main characters in this book are a little younger then in most YA novels, I'm sure that anyone can enjoy this story so I'm giving it a B.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Guess Who? Answer #2

Thank-you to everyone who participated in last week's "Guess Who?". The author is . . .

. . . CAROLYN KEENE which is the pen name author for the Nancy Drew series.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Joy Lynn Goddard" Celebration!

I very excited to bring to you a Joy Lynn Goddard celebration!

Who: Joy Lynn Goddard
What: Reviews, Sneak Peeks and an Interview!
When: From March 30th to April 9th.
Where: Right here at "A Garden of Books"!
Why: To celebrate Joy Lynn Goddard's awesome books!

I was very fortunate to move to a school a few years back where an author teaches! That's right - I get to see a real live author at my school every day! If you haven't heard of Joy Lynn Goddard then Google her right now! She writes amazing page-turning contemporary YA novels that will leave you feeling shocked that you haven't read her books before.

Tuesday: A review of Joy Goddard's first book "Daredevils".

Look Out Below!

I LOVE the music.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Guess Who? #2

I know, I know - I'm a day late. I really am sorry! I'll be on time next week! I promise!

Anyways, here is how this meme works: Every Friday (or in this case, Saturday) I will post five facts about an author, each one a little more revealing then the one before, and I will give you the weekend to try and figure out who I'm talking about. The Monday following, I will post the answer. Sound like fun? If so, then here is this week's:
  1. Many authors have written books in this series.
  2. The pen name is a female author.
  3. There are over 200 books in this series.
  4. They were first published in the 1930's.
  5. Game companies have taken the main character and put her in several PC games, a Game Boy game and a few DS games.
So, who do YOU think it is?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Another One!

The wonderful Jen from 50 for Jen gave me the Sisterhood Award! Thank-you SO much!

The Rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award

There are a LOT of blogs that "show great attitude and/or gratitude" so I will simply list the GREAT blogs out there that are often overlooked and I haven't nominated before. Okay?
  1. M-M at Bookworms Anonymous. She's a really good friend and even though she doesn't have the time to update regularly, when she does, her posts are awesome.
  2. Tami and Tracy at YA Edge. It is scary how little amount of people know about this blog. If you haven't been there yet, GO THERE NOW. The Blog will speak for itself.
  3. Ravenous Reader at Tales of a Ravenous Reader. Actually, quite a few people know about this blog but it simply doesn't have enough awards AND it's awesome. I love her header.
  4. Tiqa at Good Girls Read Books. She doesn't lie. I mean, have you seen her blog title? Awesome blog. Awesome header. Awesome name.
  5. Serena at Under The Hollywood Sun. Serena's only started out too, but expect BIG things from this girl!
Thanks again Jen for the award and Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Surprise For Julia Hoban

On her blog, The Compulsive Reader created a book trailer for Julia Hoban to thank her "for being so cool and so willing to chat about just about anything". The Compulsive Reader also asked all bloggers to post this on their blog so, here you go! I haven't read Julia's book "Willow" yet but I am definitely going to check it out from the library.

In Between These Pages #2

What you are reading now is a weekly segment where each week I post quotes from books that have either painted a smile onto my face, made me seriously think or have made me see things in a different perspective. This meme was invented by Christina at "Insert Book Title Here" but I have decided to rename it "In Between These Pages".

"There is no place one needs to go where there is no ladder."

"Life never ends - it only begins over and over and over . . ."

"If your forever was ending tomorrow, would this have been how you would have liked to spend it?"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Guess Who? Answer #1

Thanks to everyone who guessed last Friday's "Guess Who?"! The mystery author is . . .

. . . MEG CABOT! Thanks again to everyone who participated!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Explore. Dream. Discover.

I know this is random but I just had to share it with someone:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Title: The Truth About Forever
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking, a division of Penguin Young Readers group
Publication Date: 2004
Number of Pages: 374

Macy's summer stretches before her, carefully planned and outlined. She will spend her days sitting at the library information desk. She will spend her evenings studying for the SATs. Spare time will be used to help her obsessive mother prepare for the big opening of the townhouse section of her luxury development.

But Macy's plans don't anticipate a surprising and chaotic job with Wish Catering, a motley crew of new friends, or . . . Wes. Tattooed, artistic, anything-but-expected Wes. He doesn't fit Macy's life at all so why does she feel so comfortable with him? So . . . happy? What is it about him that makes her let down her guard and finally talk about how much she misses her father, who died before her eyes the year before?

Sarah Dessen delivers a page-turning novel that carries readers on a roller coaster of denial, grief, comfort, and love as we watch a broken but resilient girl pick up the pieces of her life and fit them back together.

The second I finished this book I smacked my forehead. Why? Because I hadn't read this book earlier! If you haven't read this novel yet, GO GET IT!

If someone ever asks me if a book has ever changed my life then I will tell them, not missing a beat, "The Truth About Forever" by Sarah Dessen. This book is not only entertaining, it really makes you see life in a different perspective and ask yourself if this is the way you want to spend your life.

I have both laughed and cried while reading this book, both releasing some sort of water (I have a bad habit of spitting while laughing) which has been terrible for my book. I have read the last paragraph of this novel so many times that I have lost count. Here it is now (don't worry, no spoilers!):

"That was the thing. You just never knew. Forever was so many different things. It was always changing, it was what everything was really all about. It was twenty minutes, or a hundred years, or just this instant, or any instant I wished would just last and last. But there was only one truth about forever that really mattered and that was this: it was happening. Right then, as I ran into the bright sunlight, and every moment afterwards. Look, there. Now. Now. Now."

This book has A+ written all over it!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Guess Who? #1

No. I know what you're thinking: "Are we talking about that board game made by Milton Bradley?" No. We are not. In fact, we are talking about - drum roll please - my very own meme!

Every Friday I will post five facts about an author, each one a little more revealing then the one before, and I will give you the weekend to try and figure out who I'm talking about. The Monday following, I will post the answer. Sound like fun? If so, then here is my very first one:
  1. This is a FEMALE author.
  2. She was born during the Chinese astrological year of the Fire Horse.
  3. She writes for kids, teens AND adults.
  4. There are TWO movies out there based on her books.
  5. She shares the same last name as a certain Italian explorer.
What do you guys think? Should I make this a weekly thing? Was this too easy? Post your answers in the comments section BUT don't look there if you don't want the answer spoiled for you.

Also, special thanks goes to Serena. You know who you are and why.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Have you ever really wanted to impress someone? Maybe it was a parent or a teacher or even a couch? I'm sure that everyone has wanted to wow someone and that's how I feel towards readers of my blog. However, I can't impress you if I don't know what you guys want, right? So that's why I'm asking you to please fill out this survey and e-mail it back to me at
  1. What do you like about my blog?
  2. What do you dislike about it?
  3. Is my layout okay? Does it hurt your eyes to read from it?
  4. What do you think I should add to my blog? Memes, interviews, more reviews?
  5. Why do you keep coming back to my blog?
  6. Do you have any comments/questions/concerns?
You don't have to take this survey if you don't want to, but you would be doing me a HUGE favour if you did. Thanks to everyone in advance!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In Between These Pages #1

I have decided to start a weekly segment where each week I will post quotes from books that have either painted a smile onto my face, made me seriously think or have made me see things in a different perspective. This meme was invented by Christina at "Insert Book Title Here" but I have decided to rename it "In Between These Pages".

"I was listening. In my heart."

"With each day comes the opportunity to learn from our past and yet start fresh."

"We can't stop on the road of Time. We have to keep on going. And growing up is all part of it."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cathy's Book: If Found Call (650)-266-8233

Title: Cathy's Book: If Found Call (650)-266-8233
Authors: Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman
Publisher: Running Press
Publication Date: 2008 (Paperback)
Number of Pages : 144

This stunning debut combines reading with the world of internet gaming to create a masterful new genre that will allow teens to take the story from the page into the world of cyberspace and beyond.

Things weren’t so peachy in Cathy’s life before Victor broke up with her. Her father died unexpectedly, she’s failing school, and her best friend is mad at her. But when Cathy decides to investigate Victor’s reasons for ending their relationship, things suddenly go from bad to very, very, very bad as her findings produce more questions than answers. For instance, what does the death of Victor’s co-worker, the strange mark that appeared on Cathy’s arm, and the surreal behavior of several Chinese elders have to do with it?

Through Cathy’s unique and irresistible voice—and lots of proof in the form of letters, photographs, date book entries, telephone numbers readers can call, websites they can access, as well as secrets only a careful reader will be able to decipher—readers will enter a strange and fascinating world where things often aren’t how they appear.

When I heard about this interactive book I was set on reading it. After reading "Skeleton Creek" by Patrick Carman I was sure I would love this book.

After reading the first journal entry I was hooked. The mystery continued to expand and the excitement continued to build until I came upon the first phone number.

For those of you who don't know, I live in Canada. The setting of this book takes place in the U.S. which means that the phone numbers in the book are - you guessed it - for the U.S. I checked online to see if you still had to pay to call long distance and - once again, you guessed it - you did. I don't know about you but I don't really feel like paying $5 dollars just to get another small piece of the puzzle for a mystery book.

But other then the fact that I didn't get to experience the interactive part to it's fullest, this book was really good. In the margin of the book Cathy frequently doodles things that relate to what she is telling us in her journal entry. The doodles help to experience the book more fully and to get to know Cathy a bit better.

Even though some parts of this book were a little too surreal, the authors of this book pulled it off perfectly so that I was beginning to doubt reason. This is definitely an A- book.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: October 2008
Number of Pages: 374

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the other districts in line by forcing them to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death on live TV. One boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and sixteen are selected by lottery to play. The winner brings riches and favor to his or her district. But that is nothing compared to what the Capitol wins: one more year of fearful compliance with its rule. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her impoverished district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. Acclaimed writer Suzanne Collins, author of the New York Times bestselling Underland Chronicles, delivers equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this stunning novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present.

Last week at Chapters I was faced with the difficult decision of whether to buy "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins (Option #1) or "The Truth About Forever" by Sarah Dessen and "The Dust of 100 Dogs" by A.S. King (Option #2). You see, I had a $20 dollar limit and I couldn't buy a penny over since I was using a gift card. Thankfully, the store had 20% off on all kids and teens books which reduced the price.

Anyways, after walking up to an employee and asking her what she thought I should buy, together we googled "The Hunger Games" to see if it was coming out in paperback anytime soon (it wasn't) and instead found some fantastic reviews. That was probably what convinced me to buy "The Hunger Games" and let me tell you - you don't know how glad I am that I did!

Katniss is a strong character and very intelligent without ever being a know-it-all. I could easily relate to her, too. I also really liked Rue. Actually, now that I think about, the only character(s) I didn't like were the Gamemakers because they killed so many people and the author didn't introduce them properly into the book.

If you're trying to convince your parents to buy you this book tell them it's an ESSENTIAL novel for everyone. I mean really, where else am I going to find out how to heal a bite stung by a mutant bee or crack a puzzle without being killed by a bomb?

Go to the bookstore/library now and be prepared to agree with me on this A+ book.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Guess What?!

Actually, skip the guessing part.

Senfaye from A Maze of Books nominated me for the "I Love Your Blog" award! Omigosh! Thank-you so very, very much Senfaye! You don't know how much this means to me!

When I went to do my daily (okay, more then just daily) blog check to see if anyone posted a comment I found Senfaye's comment on my last post:

"By the way I am nominating you for the "I Love Your Blog" award!"

When I read that I kind of just blinked at the screen for what was probably a full minute. I have not even had a one-week anniversary and I was getting an AWARD?! How sweet is that?! Every who is reading this right now give a silent thank-you to Senfaye and go check out her blog (link above)!

Following proper procedure, here are the rules:

1. Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2. Add a link to the person/people who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs to your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blog.

In no particular order:

Nominee #1: Senfaye from "A Maze of Books"! Big surprise, isn't it? She totally deserves this award for posting daily and for being so nice.

Nominee #2: Taylor from "For the Love of Books". Great reviews, contests, posts daily. . .she does it all!

Nominee #3: Deltay form "Lucid Conspiracy". She was not only the first person to post a comment (thanks!) but she also has a very cool blog that doen't only talk about books.

Nominee #4: Everyone at "Finding Wonderland". These guys have excellent reviews and this is a great blog to read when you're bored.

Nominee #5: Meg at "Meg's Diary". Okay, okay. I know Meg Cabot is a published author and all, but her blog is really, really good and just the thing to read when you're wishing for her latest book.

Nominee #6: Lisi at "Blah-g". See above.

Nominee #7: Sarah at "Sarah Dessen's Blog". See above.

Nominee #8: EVERYONE on my little "Blogs I Heart" sidebar over there. The reason your names aren't in print is because you guys have already won this award (congratulations!).

Thanks again Senfaye for the award and Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Regrets. . .

It's what everyone has but no one wants . . . regrets! Today I had a conversation that was waving an opportunity in my face but I failed to take it. It went something like this:

It was the last period of the day and somehow my friend Mary-Margaret and teacher Mr. Schmalz began a discussion on technology. They were talking about the Internet and stuff when Mr. Schmalz said:

"Do you know what you should do this March Break Mary-Margaret? You should create your own website!"

Mary-Margaret: "I want to . . . but I don't know how!"

Mr. Schmalz: "Go to Google and type in "Kids Make Websites". That will definitely help you."

M-M: "Alright."

Mr. Schmalz: "Or even simpler, you could create a MySpace page! Or what about Facebook? And MSN? You can create a web page on MSN, right? There's also the option of a blog!"

M-M: Turns to face me and says, "Iryna has a blog!"

Twenty-nine pairs of eyeballs turn to stare at me.

Mr. Schmalz: To me he says, "Really? What do you write about? Books? Your teacher?" That last part he said with a gigantic smile.

Everyone in my class knows I love to read so when I didn't say anything they all burst out laughing.

Me: "Only books." But now that I think about it, my teacher is in here too now.

Suddenly I am drowned in questions from my classmates. "What is it called?" "What's the website?"

Mr. Schmalz interrupts by saying:

"How many hits do you have?"

Me: At this I smile proudly and say, "Two." But now that I think about it, I think it's more like four or something (Thank-you!).

I think Mr. Schmalz noticed I didn't answer any of the questions that people were still shooting at me so he said:

"You know, if you want to, you can give me the address to your blog and I won't talk to anyone about it."

Me: I manage to choke out, "Maybe".

Now that I think about it, I don't know why I didn't give my classmates the address to my blog. Isn't one of the main points of a blog having other people read your personal opinion on things? I think the main reason I didn't give out my blog address was because I was afraid my content wasn't good enough (do you think it's good?!).

I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said "Do one thing every day that scares you." Tomorrow I am going to go up to Mr. Schmalz and say "If you don't mind, I would be greatly honoured if you would tell me your honest opinion of my blog and even more honoured if you would spread the word of its existence."

Do you own a blog? If so, do you tell people about it or choke up on the near mention of the Internet?

Added Later: I just thought of something. If I do ask Mr. Schmalz to read my blog and don't chicken out, Mr. Schmalz might actually read this! Or be reading this right now! Yikes!

Hi, Mr. Schmalz!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Publication Date: March 2005
Pages: 403

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?

I know what you're thinking - you don't like historical fiction so why on Earth did you pick this book up?

Do you want to guess why? My book club.

I wasn't able to make the last meeting of the book club so imagine my delight when I get an e-mail telling me the next book we will be discussing is Libba Bray's "A Great and Terrible Beauty". After reading "The Book Thief" I was quite wary to crack open this book but, brace yourselves, I actually liked this novel.

You read that right. I actually enjoyed a historical book. Now mind you, it wasn't fantastic . . . but it was good.

After reading the first chapter, the book drew me in but when Chapter #2 was over I was yawning with boredom. And so the pattern continued: interesting, boring, fascinating, dull until I hit the climax of the book which pulled me in for good.

I liked how the main character, Gemma, was able to see the future and how it didn't end at just that. There was more to Gemma's ability then you would read in a normal book. Libba Bray connected everything like a connect-the-dots puzzle. However, Gemma only had maybe two visions in the entire book which I thought was very disappointing.

I also liked how this book had more then one genre. It had fantasy, romance and historical fiction in it. The sequel to this book - "Rebel's Angel" - is at the top of my TBR list. I am hoping that it will exceed the B- rating I am giving this book.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Teen Books Everyone Should Read Meme

I saw this on Carol's blog at Bookluver-Carol's Reviews and since many people are doing it I decided to try it:

The following list of books teens love, books teens should read, and books adults who serve teens should know about was compiled IN ABSOLUTELY NO SCIENTIFIC MANNER and should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

Put an "X" next to the books you've read
Put a "+" next to the books you LOVE
Put a "#" next to the books you plan on reading
Tally your "X"s at the bottom
Share with your friends!

1. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams
2. Kit's Wilderness / David Almond
3. Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian / Sherman Alexie
4. Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson #
5. Feed / M.T. Anderson
6. Flowers in the Attic / V.C. Andrews
7. 13 Reasons Why / Jay Asher
8. Am I Blue? / Marion Dane Bauer (editor)
9. Audrey Wait! / Robin Benway #
10. Weetzie Bat / Francesca Lia Block
11. Tangerine / Edward Bloor
12. Forever / Judy Blume
13. What I Saw and How I Lied / Judy Blundell #
14. Tyrell / Coe Booth
15. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants / Ann Brashares X+
16. A Great and Terrible Beauty / Libba Bray (Currently Reading So I Think it Counts if I Give This An X!) X
17. The Princess Diaries / Meg Cabot X+
18. The Stranger / Albert Camus
19. Ender's Game / Orson Scott Card
20. Postcards from No Man's Land / Aidan Chambers
21. Perks of Being a Wallflower / Stephen Chbosky
22. And Then There Were None / Agatha Christie X+
23. Gingerbread / Rachel Cohn
24. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist / Rachel Cohn and David Levithan #
25. Artemis Fowl (series) / Eoin Colfer
26. The Hunger Games / Suzanne Collins X+
27. The Midwife's Apprentice / Karen Cushman
28. The Truth About Forever / Sarah Dessen #
29. Little Brother / Cory Doctorow
30. A Northern Light / Jennifer Donnelly
31. Tears of a Tiger / Sharon Drape
32. The House of the Scorpion / Nancy Farmer
33. Breathing Underwater / Alex Flinn
34. Stardust / Neil Gaiman
35. Annie on My Mind / Nancy Garden
36. What Happened to Cass McBride / Gail Giles
37. Fat Kid Rules the World / K.L. Going
38. Lord of the Flies / William Golding
39. Looking for Alaska / John Green
40. Bronx Masquerade / Nikki Grimes
41. Out of the Dust / Karen Hesse
42. Hoot / Carl Hiaasen X
43. The Outsiders / S.E. Hinton
44. Crank / Ellen Hopkins
45 The First Part Last / Angela Johnson
46. Blood and Chocolate / Annette Curtis Klause
47. Arrow's Flight / Mercedes Lackey
48. Hattie Big Sky / Kirby Larson
49. To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee
50. Boy Meets Boy / David Levithan
51. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks / E. Lockhart X
52. The Giver / Lois Lowry
53. Number the Stars / Lois Lowry
54. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie / David Lubar
55. Inexcusable / Chris Lynch
56. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things / Carolyn Mackler
57. Dragonsong / Anne McCaffrey
58. White Darkness / Geraldine McCaughrean
59. Sold / Patricia McCormick
60. Jellicoe Road / Melina Marchetta
61. Wicked Lovely / Melissa Marr
62. Twilight / Stephenie Meyer X+
63. Dairy Queen / Catherine Murdock
64. Fallen Angels / Walter Dean Myers
65. Monster / Walter Dean Myers
66. Step From Heaven / An Na
67. Mama Day / Gloria Naylor
68. The Keys to the Kingdom (series) / Garth Nix
69. Sabriel / Garth Nix
70. Airborn / Kenneth Oppel
71. Eragon / Christopher Paolini
72. Hatchet / Gary Paulsen
73. Life As We Knew It / Susan Beth Pfeffer
74. The Golden Compass / Phillip Pullman
75. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging / Louise Rennison
76. The Lightning Thief / Rick Riordan
77. Always Running: La Vida Loca / Luis Rodriguez
78. how i live now / Meg Rosoff
79. Harry Potter (series) / J.K. Rowling
80. Holes / Louis Sachar X+
81. Catcher in the Rye / J. D. Salinger
82. Push / Sapphire
83. Persepolis / Marjane Satrapi
84. Unwind / Neil Shusterman
85. Coldest Winter Ever / Sister Souljah
86. Stargirl / Jerry Spinelli X+
87. Chanda's Secrets / Allan Stratton
88. Tale of One Bad Rat / Brian Talbot
89. Rats Saw God / Rob Thomas
90. Lord of the Rings / J.R.R. Tolkien
91. Stuck in Neutral / Terry Trueman
92. Gossip Girl / Cecily Von Ziegesar
93. Uglies / Scott Westerfeld #
94. Every Time a Rainbow Dies / Rita Williams-Garcia
95. Pedro and Me / Judd Winick
96. Hard Love / Ellen Wittlinger
97. American Born Chinese / Gene Luen Yang
98. Elsewhere / Gabrielle Zevin
99. I am the Messenger / Markus Zusak
100. The Book Thief / Markus Zusak X


I can not believe this! I have only read 10 (!) of the 100 books here! And Carol is worrying that her 50 out of 100 is terrible! The worse thing is that I don't even want to read half of these books! *sigh*

If you want to, go ahead and do this meme yourself.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 2007
Pages: 576

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

I picked up this book because 1) it won, like, a million awards so I thought it must be good and 2) this was the next book in the book club I take part in. I'm going to be honest with you: I don't like historical fiction. Atleast, not most historical fiction novels but I thought that this book would be the exception to my rule. I was wrong.

Personally, at first I hated this book. Sure the narrator (Death) was really cool but that was the only thing I really enjoyed about this book. Markus Zusak stuffed a lot of pointless information into this novel. Okay, I have to give the author some credit -- it was well written pointless information. I'm pretty sure it was to build character development but I just kind of found it boring.

So, if I disliked this book so much why didn't I just stop reading it?

Well, as I mentioned before, this was for a book club so I was set on finishing it. And you know what? I'm glad I did. 100 pages before the end it started getting interesting. It was a little sad, but I think the story would be worse if it was all happy and predictable. I'm not going to give anything else away because I don't want the book spoiled.

So as a summary, the beginning was blah and almost painful to read but the very end was good. I would give this book a C.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

Title: Skeleton Creek
Author: Patrick Carman
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: February 2009

Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek . . . and Ryan and Sarah are trying to get to the heart of it. But after an eerie accident leaves Ryan housebound and forbidden to see Sarah, their investigation takes two tracks: Ryan records everything in his journal, while Sarah uses her video camera to search things out. . .and then email the clips for Ryan to see.

In a new, groundbreaking format, the story is broken into two parts -- Ryan's text in the book, and Sarah's videos on a special website, with links and passwords given throughout the book.

I thought Skeleton Creek was phenomenal. The whole concept of creating a book with videos to tie into it was a wonderful experience. Even though the videos left goosebumps on my arms and I didn't watch them before I went to bed (yes, I know I'm a scardey cat) I was madly flipping pages to get to the next password.

I also really like books that are written in diary/journal format so I was even happier to find out that Skeleton Creek was written in a journal format. I loved reading about Ryan's opinion on things and the way he described everything. It was very vivid and I found myself nodding my head to some of the things Ryan wrote.

Patrick Carman also did a fantastic way of building to the climax in the story. In almost every one of Ryan's entries there was a new piece to add to the puzzle. And then, when Sarah and Ryan are on the verge of putting it together, the book is abruptly left in a cliff hanger having readers eagerly anticipating the next book which will be out September 2009.

In the end I would give this book and A- but only because I loathe cliff hangers and the story was a little slow at some parts.

So go! Run to the bookstore and be prepared to be dazzled.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Title: Lock and Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking, a member of Penguin Group
Publication Date: April 2008
Pages: 422

"Ruby, where is your mother?"

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.

That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future-it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.

I have never read a Sarah Dessen book so I can't tell you how relieved I was when I found out that Taylor from For The Love of Books had never read a book by Sarah Dessen too until a few days ago. I had placed this book on hold from the library before Taylor reviewed "Lock and Key" so I will be telling you the same story:"Lock and Key" is my first Sarah Dessen book. Anyways, my review:

Wow. If any word could describe this book perfectly it would be "wow". Sarah Dessen created a very real problem that I found I could relate too even though I have not experienced it. The character development was phenomenal. The setting was well planned out. The overall idea was amazing. As you can see, this book is so good that it brings tears to my eyes.

I also really like the title of this book. It is so perfect that it makes me jealous -- when I write, titles are always the things I have trouble with. I have also looked at Sarah Dessen's other books and the titled seem just as creative and intriguing. Who wouldn't want to read about a book called "Keeping the Moon" or "The Truth About Forever"? I want to know the truth about forever!

However, I wish that Sarah Dessen could have included prologue because their are some loose ends I think she could have tied up. What happens to Nate? Do Reggie and Harriet get married?

All in all, I would give this book and A.


First of all, I just want to thank-you so very, very much for visiting my blog.

Second, if you haven't read the welcome on the side then I will explain to you what this blog is about:

This is a (mostly) Young Adult book blog. What I mean is that I will be discussing and reviewing books that come from the YA genre.

If you don't agree with my review then I am sorry but that is the way I feel about that particular book. Everyone has their own opinion, right?

If you have any comments, questions, concerns or if you would like me to review a specific book then please e-mail me at My title "A Garden of Books" is inspired by my mom. She is one of those gardening people who make it hard for you to walk through your backyard without stepping on a flower or being pricked by a thorn. Because of her, I've grown to appreciate mother nature and her beauty. . .just like books.