Rummanah Aasi
  I was excited to learn about Emily m. Danforth's debut novel, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, and hoped it would be included with some of my favorite GLBT reads. While it does bring a new outlook about teens struggling with their sexuality and others dealing with their sexual orientation, it does leave something a bit more to be desired. 

Description (from Goodreads): When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief she’ll never have to tell them that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. But that relief soon turns to heartbreak, as Cam is forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and not making waves, and Cam becomes an expert at this—especially at avoiding any questions about her sexuality.
   Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. To Cam’s surprise, she and Coley become best friends—while Cam secretly dreams of something more. Just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, her secret is exposed. Ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self—even if she’s not quite sure who that is. 

Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post reads like an old GLBT books where homosexuality is equivalent to guilt, love is unrequited, and someone sadly meets their tragic end. The story focuses on Cameron Post who realizes that she is a lesbian after shoplifting and secretly kissing her best friend. Her epiphany comes on the same day that she learns of her parents dying in a horrible car crash. Relieved that she wouldn't have to face them with the "ugly truth" and simultaneously guilty for their deaths, Cameron does her best to keep her sexual orientation under raps. Cameron does a pretty good job in keeping up her facade until her feelings for Coley, who appears to be bisexual, take over and her secret is exposed to her ultra-religious aunt, who believes her niece must be saved and enrolls Cameron to a facility where she can be "de-gayed".
  Danforth does a good job in fleshing out Cameron's character and those of her family and friends. No one is simply perfect nor one dimensional. We are able to see their flaws and strengths in everything that they do. I liked how Miles City also becomes an alive character with vivid descriptions and the dialogue of its residents. The themes of friendship, sexuality, individuality, and religion provide an additional layer complexity to the story, yet despite all of these strengths I was left wanting more.
  I have three major concerns that hindered my appreciation of the book. First, I think the book could have been a lot stronger if it was trimmed 100-150 pages shorter. While I do like Cameron, her self deprecating humor and her astute observations of the world around her, I didn't think she nor her problems were that interesting to keep me engaged. I kept wondering when we could get to the God's Promise, the religious camp famous for rehabilitating homosexuals, which doesn't really appear until the last quarter of the book. To be honest, there were several passages that I skimmed because I felt Cameron was a bit too repetitive, especially with her inner struggle with wanting to leave Miles City versus staying and even more so when was in "therapy" which slows down the plot to a mere crawl. I got the impression that Cameron herself doesn't seem to think where she lives is all that bad and it is clear that she doesn't like it, but she pretty regularly lets the therapists off the hook because she knows that they really believe that homosexuality is a sin that can be cured. I found it a bit troublesome to believe that Cameron would do such a thing considering the rage that is internally developed in Cameron, which is shown to the reader. It was frustrating to watch Cameron not do anything about her situation until a terrible incident occurs and shakes her to her core.
 Second, which may be just my personal issue, is that there really isn't much of introspection in the book as I would hope there would be. I kept waiting for the moments where the characters would have these grand epiphanies or get an insight on their thoughts. I don't mean that they have to give a long sermon on what's wrong in the world, but rather have moments where they ask themselves questions and try to make sense of their world. Every time the characters seemed to open up just a little, the moment quickly ends before it fully develops, making me think I saw a mirage which, in my opinion, loses the potency of the book. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to think about while reading the book, but it didn't have the same pay off  as you would get if you were attuned to the characters.
 Third and perhaps my biggest concern with the book is that the stand against God’s Promise, a church camp that promises to “cure” young people of their homosexuality, doesn't exist. When I finished the book, I was left wondering if Cameron really learned anything at all and if so what? What does she do next? The book abruptly ends where each character goes on to their own lives, never to be heard of again. Perhaps the author made a deliberate decision to not expand on this point and let the readers come to their own conclusion, but I don't find this book very hopeful nor consoling to young teens who are already struggling with their own sexuality. It gives off the old cliche saying "Life sucks and then you die" feeling.  And that, to me, is the most dangerous thing in this book.  
 I know professional reviewers such as Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly gave The Miseducation of Cameron Post starred reviews so it's very likely that I missed the whole point of the book. Now I'm considering if I was too critical or heck, read the same book as they did. I would suggest you take my review with a grain of salt and read other reviews before deciding to this skip this book, because in spite of my issues, I do think this book could spark a great discussion.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language and drug use throughout the book. There are also a couple of  a scenes that, while not described graphically, are pretty graphic nonetheless such as an individual hurting himself with a razor. For these reasons only, I would feel comfortable recommending this book to older YA readers (Grades 10 and up) and adults only.  

If you like this book try: This Is All by Aidan Chambers, Say the Word by Jeannine, Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez. 
Rummanah Aasi

  Today is the last day in the Tempting Tuesday read along event. I would like to thank again the incredible Chloe Neil for writing her awesome urban fantasy series Chicagoland Vampires and to my fabulous co-hosts, Jenny, Tina, and Missie. Ladies, we must do this again! A big very big thank you goes out to the participants who have made our Tuesday extra special by joining in the discussion. As promised, today we have a guest post from Chloe and the winners for the awesome prize pack.Without further ado, here is a letter directly from Chloe to her readers. I hope you enjoy!

Dear Reader:

Is it surprising to learn that I used to get panicky about writing assignments? That my only English class in college was "African Novel"? that I promised myself I would never, ever get a job that required me to write?

And yet, here we are. :)

In high school and my first year of college, I thought I was headed for a career in the visual arts. A "starving artist" of the New York variety, or maybe an illustrator. (I didn't know much about commercial graphic design back then, or surely it would have topped the list, too.)  I did not like to write; hated it, in fact. I wasn't good at constructing sentences, and the act of doing it made me nervous and fretful to the point of distraction.

It was probably a fateful decision, then, that I attended a liberal arts college that prized writing over multiple choice exams . . . and that led me away from studio art in my second year. I wrote a paper as a sophomore, a short essay intended to examine the women's rights movement.  Instead of jumping into a discussion of the history, I started by writing the story of a fictitious woman named Hillary.

In other words, instead of simply writing a summary, I wrote a story. It got a good review from my professor, I recall, but that didn't change my mind one iota. Writing was not for me.

The song didn't change after grad school, or in a summer job as I watched my employers lock themselves in their offices to finish drafts. The proposition of having to write for a living, on a deadline, horrified me.

But then, after a string of random occurrences, I got a job as a kind of pseudo-reporter. I watched things happen; I wrote about them. I wrote about them every day for months on end. And in that process, I got more comfortable constructing sentences, putting clauses together and shaping paragraphs.

I learned, in the most basic sense, how to write.

Still, that was it. I read--had always loved to read--but I was quite content to leave the fiction writing to others. It didn't even occur to me to write fiction. After all, I only barely liked writing at my job. Why do it for fun?

Unfortunately, one sad day around that time, an important relationship ended. I healed by reading. And then reading more. And more and more and more. I devoured 8 or 10 paperbacks a week, usually romance, usually in a series of some type because I loved recurring characters and inside jokes.

Eventually, I ran out of things to read. I couldn't find a series I enjoyed or a romance with enough sparkle to hook me.

I thought, at first, I'd try my hand at fan fiction. I loved Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. Since I read faster than she published, I decided to imagine myself into the books to fill time until the next episode was released.

After about 2,000 words of Dark Hunter fan fiction, I felt silly. These weren't my characters; they were hers. It felt weird to play the game using someone else's cards.

So, on Labor Day in 2005, I opened a Word file and I started to write.

When I wasn't in class (grad school, at the time), I was writing. Weekends, I was writing. I wrote the same way I'd read--voraciously. I created a family of characters and a bevy of sarcastic inside jokes. I plotted seven books in a paranormal romance series, one romance per book, and I plastered a wall in my apartment with sticky notes--ideas and quips for later books.

I finished the manuscript on New Year's Day. It wasn't very good--and I have a rejection letter to prove it. But I'd done it, and it hadn't been nearly as bad as I'd imagined.

A few months later, I started my second manuscript, which I called The Prodigal Daughter. (Seriously. Isn't that terrible?)  It took six months to write and six months to edit. When I was reasonably confident I was done, I sent it to one publisher--Penguin.

A few months later, we mutually decided that Some Girls Bite was a much better title. :)

Today, I have a day job (in which I write) and a writing career (in which I write). I write a LOT, and there are still times when the words don't come and the fear rises up. But I'venow written ten novels, and each seems to reinforce one central idea: A book is crafted one sentence at a time. Don't worry about the last sentence in the manuscript--worry about the next sentence in the manuscript. You can deal with everything else later.

Thanks for listening. And reading.

Winners of the Read-Along Contest

Grand Prize Winner:
Christy @ Love of Books

Charmfall Winners:
Heidi @ Rainy Day Ramblings
Chantaal @ Wandering Fangirl

Congrats to the winners!
Rummanah Aasi
I'm joining my blogging friend, Alison from Alison Can Read, on her manga meme Manga Mondays where bloggers can discuss manga we've read. I'm very much a newbie when it comes to manga and I like experimenting with different genres and series. Today I'll be reviewing the volumes 4 through 6 of Library Wars.

Description (from Goodreads): Iku and Commander Inamine are abducted by Bakushu-kai terrorists, who demand sensitive material from the library's protected collection in return for the hostages! Dojo is worried about Iku, his problem student with limited field experience. But what Iku lacks in training she more than makes up for in gumption, and she is not going to let library material go without a fight!

Review: The fourth volume of Library Wars is a mixed bag for me. I liked some parts and didn't like others. I think my mixed reaction mainly stems from the central relationship in the manga, that of Dojo and Iku, which I, personally, find troublesome. I know I mentioned this in my other reviews for this series thus far; I'll try to explain my issues in this review since the romantic angle is emphasized much more in this installment.
  Iku is a likable female character who is fiery, passionate yet somewhat impulsive. She entered the library task force as a guard after a personal run in with the censors herself while browsing at a local bookstore as a teen. When a male guard protected her rights to read, she dubbed him her prince and fell in love with him and in his profession. She vowed she would do the same when she became an adult. When Iku enters the library task force, she is practically bullied by Dojo, her boss. He berates her constantly and calls her an idiot more than I can count. In fact in one vivid moment in the first volume, Dojo slaps her very hard as a punishment. After that moment, Dojo never apologized and Iku believes he was justified in treating her so because it was her fault. Since that moment, I've been very uncomfortable reading about Iku and Dojo.
 In this volume we get a rare moment where we read from Dojo's perspective. He actually thinks about Iku and more specifically her good qualities. We dare say that he actually has developed feelings toward her. Some may think Dojo is a great love interest, but I really don't see it at all. One minute he can be caring and nice, offering his support and encouragement and the next he can be a down right brute. We are told he behaves this way because he knows the identity of Iku's prince but doesn't want Iku to know that he knows. His "cruel to be kind" ways frustrate me and I secretly hope for Iku to have another love interest so I don't have think about him.
  Despite my issues with the romance, there are parts that I did like in this volume. Iku gets a chance to shine. As the manga opens, Iku finds herself in a hostage situation with a library Commander and tries to find a way to escape. Instead of cowering into a corner, Iku uses her smarts and quick thinking to alert her colleagues of her location so they can help get her and the Commander out. She also struggles to not be a disappointment to her parents and tries very hard to make them proud. I also like that this volume also gives the reader a chance to learn a bit more about the secondary characters, especially Tomaki whom I've come to really like.  Though a backseat to the last stronger two volumes, this one was readable and just okay. 

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some violence, language, and a scene of drinking at a bar where Iku gets drunk. Recommended for teens and adults interested in libraries and reading about censorship.

If you like this book try:  Library Wars Vol 5 by Kiiro Yumi
Rummanah Aasi
I'm delighted to have Julia Karr here on the blog today as a promotional tour for her new book Truth, which is a sequel to her debut novel XVI. In order to get to know Julia better, I asked her what are her top 10 restaurants and this is her list:

Julia Karr's Top 10 Favorite Restaurants

1. Chicago Diner (in Chicago) - I love, love, LOVE this restaurant! Being a vegetarian, it’s like walking into heaven!

2. The Owlery - (in Bloomington, IN) - Same reason as the Chicago Diner - the food is fabulous and everything is either vegetarian or vegan!

3. Ramsi’s Cafe on the World (in Louisville, KY) - It’s the best restaurant for having everything to satisfy both vegans and unrepentant carnivores!

4. Athena Restaurant (in St. Augustine, FL) - A great little Greek restaurant! I’ve had many a (veggie) Christmas dinner there!

5. The Tasting Room (in St. Augustine, FL) - Excellent food (tapas), wine, and music!

6. Muddy Boots Cafe (in Nashville, IN - not TN) - Best bean soup in the world!

7. 605 Grille (in Madison, IN) - The quiche is yummy and the bartender is a hoot!

8. Soul Vegetarian East (in Chicago) - Go there for Sunday dinner! You will NOT be disappointed!

9. Ed’s Cantina & Grille (in Estes Park, CO) - Excellent Mexican!

10. The Dragon (in Bloomington, IN) - Maybe not the best Chinese restaurant ever - but when you want Dragon Homestyle Bean Curd, nothing else will do!

Thank you for stopping by, Julia! Readers, if you would like to learn more about Julia and her books, please visit her website, on her Facebook page, and on Twitter.

Nina Oberon’s life has changed enormously in the last few months. When her mother was killed, Nina discovered the truth about her father, the leader of the Resistance. And now she sports the same Governing Council–ordered tattoo of XVI on her wrist that all sixteen-year-old girls have. The one that announces to the world that she is easy prey to predators. But Nina won’t be anyone’s stereotype. And when she joins an organization of girls working within the Resistance, she knows that they can put an end to one of the most terrifying secret programs the GC has ever conceived. Because the truth always comes out...and the consequences can be deadly.
Rummanah Aasi
  As a gift for their readers during the holiday season last month, husband and wife team Ilona Andrews offered up a free Kate Daniels novella for a limited time. The novella, Magic Gifts, takes place at the same time as Andrea’s book, the upcoming Gunmetal Magic and right after Magic Slays. The two stories intersect. If you have not already, I highly recommend reading the Kate Daniels series. It's one of my favorite series that I recently discovered. There are currently five books out and it's best to read them in order as the series builds upon itself. You can click on my review link which will bring the books up in order for you. 

Description (from Goodreads): A dinner date after a hard day at work sounds heavenly. Of course, when that date is between the Beast Lord and Kate Daniels, things don’t go as planned. Before you know it, undead are running amok, heads are being chopped off, lawyers are deployed and used with extereme prejudice, and drunk vikings are calling people out. 

Review: Reading about Curran and Kate is a special treat and Magic Gifts is no exception. I know when I read the Kate Daniel series I'm always craving more scenes that feature both Curran and Kate together and in Magic Gifts we get a glimpse into their relationship and in their daily lives. What was suppose to be a simple, relaxing dinner date turns out to be anything but as a battle between vampires, mages, shape-shifters, and Vikings with the mead and axes interrupts.   
 I thoroughly enjoyed Magic Gifts and read it in one sitting as there were no dull moments in the book. I liked learning about what is going on with the Merc and how Kate was going to deal with that situation. While this is discussed and touched on a bit, it was quickly pushed to the wayside while the characters faced a more prominent issue. I also loved learning about more mythological creatures that inhabit Kate's world and I made a mental note to never tick off a Viking. *shudders* Though the conflict gets resolved by the end of the book, I though it was a bit rushed and that may because the novella is a mere 100 pages. The novella does fulfill its purpose in just whetting our appetites while we agonizingly wait for Gunmental Magic (August 2012) to be released and I'm dying to know what happened to Andrea and Raphael.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language and violence. Recommended for older teens and adult only.

If you like this book try: Bloodsong series by Cat Adams, Mercy Thomspon series by Patricia Briggs, Fray or Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 graphic novel series by Joss Whedon, Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neil, Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Rummanah Aasi
  I naturally gravitate towards the YA or the Teen section of my library. My reading goal for this year to diversify my reading pile. I grabbed a bunch of graphic novels from the Children section last year and after being in a graphic novel/manga slump, it nice to read enjoyable titles and get back on track. Today I will be reviewing:  Gunnerkrigg Court Vol 1: Orientation by Tom Siddell, Amelia Rules! What Makes You Happy by Jimmy Gownley, and Amelia Rules! The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular by Jimmy Gownley.

Description (from Goodreads): Antimony Carver is a precocious and preternaturally self-possessed young girl starting her first year of school at gloomy Gunnerkrigg Court, a very British boarding school that has robots running around along side body-snatching demons, forest gods, and the odd mythical creature. The opening volume in the series follows Antimony through her orientation year: the people she meets, the strange things that happen, and the things she causes to happen as she and her new friend, Kat, unravel the mysteries of the Court and deal with the everyday adventures of growing up.

Review: The first volume of the Grunnerkrigg is delightful, quirky, and magical book. The artwork is beautiful and filled with colorful pages. It gives the comic an animated feel to it. The setting of a boarding school fantasy reminded me of Harry Potter but I think that is due to the popularity of the Harry Potter series. There were other stories that featured a British boarding school fantasies. The similarities are on the superficial level but Gunnerkrigg stands on its own. Each chapter is episodic, which makes sense since the comic was originally published a web comic and now bound in a book format for the first time, but I never felt lost reading it. 
  Antimony is a fabulous main character who is smart, quirky, has a dry wit, and extremely precocious. I was afraid of not liking her, but she does soften up a bit and become more approachable as she begins to have friends. Her friendship with Kat is real and their personalities compliment each other really well. The magical/fantasy elements of the story are a lot of fun and as the plot reveals itself become mysterious and hint at dangerous things to come. The book is infused with plenty of humor but also serious when it comes to learning about Antimony's past and the hints surrounding the school. After reading the first volume, I definitely wanted to know more and plan on reading the next volume.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some PG violence and some textual that would suggest sexual innuendo but I think you would really have to be looking for it to find it. Recommended for strong Grades 5 readers and up.  

If you like this book try: Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Gunnerkrigg Court Vol 2: Research by Tom Siddell

Description (from Goodreads): In this volume, Amelia lives life, suffers loss and kisses a ninja. Always entertaining, this three-time Eisner and two-time Harvey nominee is guaranteed to keep you laughing and get your kids/nieces/nephews/etc. hooked on comics!

Review: Adorable, hilarious, and heart warming, Amelia Rules is a great graphic novel series for older elementary school and middle school readers that I wish I had while growing up. What Makes You Happy is actually the second book in the series, which I didn't find out until finishing the book. Normally, I try my best to read series books in order in fear of being left out in character and/or world building but luckily I was able to read this volume without any problems. Amelia is a precocious young girl who reminds me of a current day Ramona Quimby. She’s in a club of kids who dress up like superheroes, has a former rock star for an aunt, and her own set of insecurities. In this volume of her adventures, Amelia’s club encounters a competing group of kids who dress as ninjas. We also find out some of the history of her aunt. I laughed out loud several times while reading this book, particularly the subtle jokes that older readers will understand just like those in the animated movies like Shrek or Tangled, and I had a smile on my face when I was done. Amelia's adventures and emotions ring true to her age and there is a balance between humor and seriousness. There are also subtle lessons learned. The full-color illustrations are accessible and comfortable, with a comfortable reading layout and the text was easy to read and follow. After reading this book, I wanted to read more.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Amelia Rules! Superheroes by Jimmy Gownley, Knights of the Lunch Table by Frank Cammuso

Description (from Goodreads): Do you know there’s no true opposite to the word “catastrophe”? Amelia McBride and company are about to embark on their most daunting mission yet: navigating the promises and pitfalls of popularity at Joe McCarthy Elementary. A tricky task when you consider an unmatched pair of socks alone can cause ridicule for years to come. Really, though, all the gang wants is not to be unpopular. Rising and falling through the ranks of nerd, geek—and cheerleader?—with advice from wacky popularity expert Dr. Victoria Medeochrias, Amelia and her friends encounter riotous mobs, unfortunate makeovers, and bad catch phrases. Even after things go from bad to worse, Amelia learns there are some things that are just a little bit more important than being popular.

Review: Amelia McBride returns in an all new, hilarious adventure to learn some hard truths about popularity. When a mistake involving space suits turns Amelia and her friend Rhonda into social outcasts, they consult The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular. In their quest to be "normal," she and her pals try out make-overs that guarantee to restore their social status at school. Gownley does a great job in showing the delicate stage of tweenhood as the characters try to balance themselves on  that strange line between childhood and adolescence, as they are wanting to be cool but ending up racing down the hill in a wheelbarrow. The dialogue is effortless and evokes laughter on every page. There are moments when I had to put the book down because I was laughing so hard. I also just had to share some moments with others and tell them to read that page. I also loved the fact that Amelia's mother and aunt also play a vital role in Amelia's life and also provide an anecdote that shows how they dealt with the problem of popularity in their own time. I'm definitely hooked on this series and can't wait to read more!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Amelia Rules! True Things Adults Don't Want Kids to Know by Jimmy Gownley, Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russel
Rummanah Aasi

 Welcome to the fourth week and final discussion of the Some Girls Bite Read-Along! For those of you who don't know, the fabulous ladies behind Tina's Book Reviews, Superntural Snark, The Unread Reader and myself are hosting a read-along of the first book of Chloe Neill's outstanding Chicagoland Vampires urban fantasy series. For all the details about the event and our grand prize giveaway, be sure and check out the introductory post HERE.
   Missie from The Unread Reader is hosting the discussion this week so head over to Missie's blog to link up your posts. Check back next week with a very special guest post from Chloe Neil and the announcement of our giveaway! I would like to thank Ms. Neil for supporting our read along of her awesome book series and to my fellow hostesses who made a newbie read along member feel so welcome. Thank you, ladies! Without further ado, here are my answers to this week's questions

Discussion Questions Chp 13-15 + Epilogue

Chapter 13 opens with Merit describing her new job routine as House Sentinel. Considering that every job at Cadogan House is important in helping to make the house run efficiently, which job do you think you'd like to have (guard, cook, social director, gardener, etc.) and why?

 I bet you probably thought I'd be the librarian, eh? Actually, I would love to spend time in the Cadogan library because it does sound awesome but I wouldn't be active in all the action. I'd like to be one of the guards who work behind the scenes. While I detest the idea of working out, I do love solving puzzles and finding out the answers to questions that I don't know. I'd rather work with Luc instead of the grouchy guy in the library that pops in and out. :)

In the supernatural world of Chicagoland Vampires, politics seem to play an important role in the way the Houses are run. Now that you've been introduced to the Rogues, do you think it's better for vampires to be a part of a House or to live outside of one. 

 From what I know I think I'd rather be part of a House instead of a rogue. We really don't know much of the Rogue lifestyle besides being independent and fighting for your own survival. I think it's interesting that human Merit's life seems to be more akin to a rogue where she virtually had no family connections (Man, did her family get on my nerves and didn't really want almost anything to do with her!) and now vampire Merit finally does have a family.

After Morgan openly asks to court Merit, she feels betrayed when Ethan commands her to accept for the show of alliance it could bring to Cadogan House. Do you think her reaction was warranted?

Ah..yeah! Merit was treated as piece in Ethan's politics game. He saw an advantage in forming 'allies' and took the opportunity. It's also a kind of slap in the face for Merit. She finally accepted she her role in the Cadogan House and only to realize that she's nothing more than a pawn. As for Morgan, ugh! I liked him at the beginning and thought there was some potential but he just reminds me of a junior high kid. Actually that scene reminded of the time when you are in junior high and you have to tell your friends to tell your crush that you like them because you don't have the guts to do it yourself? Yeah, it was cheap back then and it's still cheap now.

When Ethan meets with the perpetrator of the murders, were you surprised to discover who it was? If you suspected someone, were your suspensions correct? What did you think of the perpetrator's motive?

  I wasn't really all that surprised with the motive, but I was surprised how none of the vamps could figure it out. I think there were really large clues staring them in the face. I also knew there was another reason why I hated Amber so much. LOL!

What was your favorite/least favorite parts of Some Girls Bite?

Favorite parts: Hanging out with Mallory, Catcher, and Jeff. The commendation scene was beautifully written and the almost kiss with Ethan and Merit was such a tease. Luc's introduction to the guards and meeting Lindsey.

Least favorite parts: Merit talking with her dad, Morgan openly asked to date Merit  

 What do you think is coming up next for Merit, Sentinel of Cadogan House? Will you continue reading this series, and if so, what do you hope to see happen in the next book?

I already know what happens to her in the five books that are released till date. So in order to not spoil anyone who hasn't, I will say that she will face a lot of surprises that she didn't see coming involving her various relationships that will test her in many ways. Merit's got a lot of growing up to do and a lot to deal with. I can't wait to August to see how she deals with it.
Rummanah Aasi
I have been looking forward to this morning and anxiously awaiting the announcement of several Children and Young Adult book awards. The Young Media Awards are like the Oscars for many librarians, including myself. The awards took place at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting at Dallas, Texas. Although there are many awards honored today, I was looking forward to finding out the winners for the Caldecott, Newberry, Morris, and of course the Michael L. Printz Award. You can find the other winners on the Association for Library Services to Children website and the Young Adult Library Services website (YALSA).

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of  Randolph Caldecott, who was a nineteenth-century English illustrator. The award is given annually by the Association for Library Service to Children to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Winner of the 2012 Caldecott Medal is:

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Racka

Honorees of the 2012 Caldecott are:

Blackout by John Rocco
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell

The Newberry Medal was named in the honor of John Newberry, who was an eighteenth century British bookseller. Like the Caldecott, it is also awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Winner of the 2012 Newberry Medal is: 
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Honorees of the 2012 Newberry are:

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin

The William C. Morris YA Debut Award was first awarded in 2009 by YALSA. The award is given to a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.

Winner of the 2012 Morris Award is: 

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Honorees of the 2011 Morris Award are:

Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard
Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

 The Michael L. Printz Award was named in the honor of Michael L. Printz, a school librarian in Topeaka, Kansas, who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association. The Michael L. Printz Award is an award given annually by the Young Adult Library Services Association to a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.

Winner of the 2012 Michael Printz Award is:

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Honorees of the 2011 Printz Award are:
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and by Maira Kalman
The Returning by Christine Hinwood
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

  Well, the library associations have spoken. What do you think of these book awards? Will you read the books that have won and have been honored? I was surprised that Where Things Come Back won both the Morris and the Printz award. I haven't heard much of the book, but I'm definitely putting it on my reading pile along with these other great books.
Rummanah Aasi
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 I find myself in a pensive mood as the Chicagoland area is expected to get hit with another 4 to 9 inches of snow later today. It's also Friday and I've had a very busy week at work. I was looking over my very large reading stack and got to wondering about the holes in YA literature. As you may have noticed, I tend to ask this question from some of my authors in my interviews because I do think there are some glaring holes that need to be filled. So, I started to ask myself "I wish there were more books about..." Below are some of my wishes and I love to know what yours are too.

I Wish There Were More Books About..

  • GLBT teens who are main characters and just are
  • Multicultural fiction that feature young adults from other continents beside North America and Europe. 
  • Male protagonists that are featured in books other than sports, science fiction, or fantasy
  • Ethnic minority kids who don't fall under their stereotypes and are the main characters
  • Strong female characters in realistic/contemporary fiction who aren't boy crazed and or desperately seeking to become popular. 
  • A paranormal romance without a love triangle and/or a creepy, stalker-like love interest. 
  • A paranormal romance where the heroine doesn't give up her own identity and interests for the sake of her love interest. Actually, this could go for realistic fiction too.
  • Smart romance books that have depth and appeal to both male and female readers.
  • Dystopian novels that doesn't regurgitate the same themes from Brave New World or 1984
  • Retellings of other popular classics that are not from Jane Austen's works or Pride and Prejudice in particular. I think Jane would be with me on this one.
  • Retelling of other myths besides the Greek and Roman
  • High fantasy books that are YA appropriate so I can offer them to teens at my public library
  • Interracial romances that don't end up in tragedy and/or constantly trying to defend themselves to others in their community.

 What about you? What would you like to see differently in YA? What are you tired of? Let's discuss!
Rummanah Aasi
As you can probably tell I was on a Victorian period kick last year so I was really excited to hear about Lynn Renee Heiber's debut YA novel Darker Still. Thank you to Sourcebooks and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advanced reader's copy of the book. Despite its New York setting, the book definitely captures the vibe of a Gothic Victorian romantic suspense. While I enjoyed the book, it didn't meet my expectations and left me a bit disappointed.

Description (from Goodreads):  It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable...utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.
   There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame. I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.

Review: Natalie Stewart has been mute for as long as she can remember. She records her life experiences in a journal which she received as a gift on her exit from the Connecticut Asylum, an institution that serves people with disabilities. Natalie is not your conventional Victorian woman who is passive and demure. She is actually very charming, fiesty, and hates when others feel sorry for her because of her impairment. She takes her disability in stride and makes the best of it instead of moping about it. Her mannerisms and her writing style demonstrate that she is intelligent and observant. Her mundane world changes the moment she encounters a cursed painting and she is immediately drawn into the world of spiritualism and demonic possession.
  The famous portrait is of a very handsome young English Lord named Jonathon Denbury. Lord Denbury has been missing and presumed dead for many years. There is a legend that says that he had committed suicide after learning about his parents death in an accident. Natalie quickly learns after seeing the famous lord's portrait that he is very much alive and stuck inside the painting. She also discovers that some who looks exactly like Lord Denbury is terrorizing New York City. Natalie is the only connection Denbury has to the real world, and she and Mrs. Northe, a wealthy intellectual spiritualist, strive to free him before his soul is forfeited.
  I liked Lord Denbury and thought he was charming, though I didn't think his character had enough depth to make him interesting or stand out. I couldn't understand why women fell for him. We are only told how extremely handsome he is and that's really about it. Since this is a first book in what seems like a series, I hope to learn more about him. My favorite character by far is Mrs. Northe. She is intelligent, open minded, a spiritualist who is willing to acknowledge the whisperings of the supernatural, and a force to be reckoned with.
  While romance plays a big part in the book, especially to the build up to the kiss between Lord Denbury and Natalie, I didn't really feel the connection between them. There is a strong insta-love that happens between them and we don't really seem interact on a romantic level. If there weren't any declarations of love spoken between them, I would've thought Natalie was only used as a tool to help Lord Denbury break his curse and that's about it. I would have liked to be shown more emotion between them instead of being told.
  The premise of Darker Still has great appeal. The homage to famous writers such as Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde is obvious yet you can enjoy the book without reading the classics. Darker Still is an epistolary novel composed of news articles, journals, and various letters which evoke Stoker's Dracula, but this narrative choice dampens both momentum and suspense. The reason why this style worked for Stoker is because his novel is told through many points of view and not everyone knew what was happening which heightened the suspense. In Darker Still almost everything is told by Natalie and the events described are never seen by the reader but told through our heroine as before and after. While the plot has many similarities to The Picture of Dorian Gray, there really isn't much of the same drama and I think the main reason for this is that we got to see Dorian as a fleshed out character in Wilde's book instead of a merely portrait. Lord Denbury doesn't have much oomph to make him important or mysterious even when he seems to have a demon lookalike running around.
  There are some plot twists that are entirely too convenient. Heiber does a good job bringing Victorian England to New York, but the elements of melodramatic gothic and supernatural swashbuckler never quite meld. After a strong start, I began to lose interest in the book before the climax and actually figured out the mystery and its resolution long before the characters did. While I did have issues with the book, I would recommend it to readers who enjoy Gothic romantic suspense novel and I'm curious enough to see what happens next to Natalie and Lord Denbury.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There are some disturbing images and some language. There is also scenes and/or discussion of opium dens where drug use and sex with prostitutes are alluded. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman, the Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray, Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, or Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Rummanah Aasi
In January 2011 I created a top 10 list of books that I resolved to read by the end of the year. I only completed three of the ten, but the one book that I really wanted to read and cross off my list is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I was so proud to finish the book and I no longer have a guilty English major conscious.

Description: After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

Review: As I mentioned in college, I was an English major and I loved reading from the Victorian period but I could never manage to read a full Charles Dickens novel. Believe me, I've tried Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and even Great Expectations. I struck out with all of them. In fact I tried reading Great Expectations several times and have failed to pass page 10 without falling asleep at the exact same paragraph. I was determined that in 2011 I would finish one book by Dickens for my Victorian reading challenge. I chose to read A Tale of Two Cities because I was interested in the French Revolution and also because of its brevity. To my astonishment, I stayed awake throughout and actually really enjoyed reading large sections of the book.
 The plot for A Tale of Two Cities is widely known so I won't bother going into the details. So what made this book different from the other ones I've tired and failed to read? For one thing, Dickens doesn't spend too much with description and adding an influx of characters that come and go. I was able to follow a group of characters from the beginning to the end with little confusion. Some would argue that Dickens more attention to the Revolutionaries in France and the book lacks character development, which is a good argument since Charles Darnay and Lucie Manette are kind of one dimensional. I, however, was more drawn to Sir and Madame Defarge who are the book's catalyst. As a reader you are suppose to be appalled by their lack of compassion and blood thirstiness, but I couldn't help but sympathize and whenever they appeared on the page I paid more attention.
  I have to say reading a historical fiction novel from the Victorian period was really interesting. While there are parts of the book that are completely bias, I didn't get the sense that Dickens opposed the concept behind the revolution. He could have easily made the protestors uncivilized and ignorant, but their plight is accurately expressed and you can't help but get caught up in their emotion after suffering so many injustices. 
 While I'm glad that I finished and enjoyed A Tale of Two Cities, I'm not willing to rush back and reread it anytime soon. Perhaps if I do a little more research into the French Revolution and then read it with a critical eye, I would be more inclined to do so. I'm just happy with my own little personal milestone.

Curriculum Connection: Social Studies

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong violence that reflected what happened during the French Revolution.

If you like this book try: City of Darkness, City of Light by Marge Piercy, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Madame Tussad by Michelle Moran, The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliot
Rummanah Aasi

  Welcome to the third week of the Some Girls Bite Read-Along! For those of you who don't know, the fabulous ladies behind Tina's Book Reviews, Superntural Snark, The Unread Reader and myself are hosting a read-along of the first book of Chloe Neill's outstanding Chicagoland Vampires urban fantasy series. Each week we'll pose and answer five questions about the book and then hop around to the other blogs who have signed up to check out everyone's answers! For all the details about the event and our grand prize giveaway, be sure and check out the introductory post HERE.

   Missie from The Unread Reader will be discussing the last section of the book so be sure to check her blog to find out next week's discussion questions. I am hosting next week and will be covering Chapters 9-12. Use the linky below to post up your answers!

Discussion Questions Chapter 9-12

 Catcher and Ethan share some personality traits. What makes Mallory, Merit, and even us readers attracted to these guys? Would you date/mate with someone like these guys in real life?

  There is something so attractive about confidence, swagger, and mystery that I think both Catcher and Ethan exude. There are so many layers to their character and personality that you want to unveil and discover. Their imperfections make them approachable and easily to relate to. Now would I date these guys if they were real, no. Life is already stressful and why would you complicate it more with a high maintenance guy? I would most likely go for Jonah who appears later in the series.

In Chapter 9 we learn of another murder. Do you see any patterns with the previous murder and Merit's attack? Do you have any guesses as to who is responsible and the motive behind the murders?

  Well since I've already read the series up to date, I already know the party who is responsible but I didn't catch the commonalities of the murderers with Merit's attack during my first read. I don't want to spoil the ending but I really don't think it's a coincidence. As for the motive, I think it's a political power struggle amongst the paranormals and humans.

The commendation is my favorite moment in the book and a significant event in Merit's life. She has finally come to terms that she is a Cadogan vampire. Were you surprised at all that Merit resisted Ethan's call and that he made her a Sentinel? Do you think she'll do well in this position? Why or why not?

I actually suspected that Merit would resist Ethan's call. There is something off about how she was changed and this issue will be addressed more closely in the second book. I was, however, really surprised that Ethan made Merit a Sentinel. When I think of Merit, I don't think guard. I actually envisioned her working more on the behind of the scene of the Cadogan House. As to her performance as a Sentinel, I think it's still a bit early to tell. She does seem to find and work with clues quite nicely. I think she definitely has potential in doing really well.

Loyalty is a reoccurring theme throughout the book and much of this series. Why is it so important to Ethan that he needs Merit's allegiance? Is it solely a Master and Sentinel thing or does it imply something else?
As a head master of a house and his many years as a vampire, it undeniable that Ethan had issues with people betraying him and of course now that Merit is a Sentinel who has sworn she defends her house and leader with her life, it is required of her but there is a part of me that thinks the loyalty goes beyond the job requirement. It sounds as if it's a challenge to Merit and to himself in what could be a blueprint of what could whatever it is between them. It does seem inevitable that something between will happen. We're just waiting to see what and when.

If you had the opportunity to sit down with Ethan, Merit, Mallory, and Catcher for a bite to eat like in the beginning of Chapter 12, what questions would you ask them at this point of the story? 

I have lots of questions for these characters so I'll just limit them to one per person:

Ethan: Of all the vamps at your disposal, why in the world did you choose Amber?

Merit: Can I borrow your katana sometime?

Mallory: Would you be willing to be my personal shopper?

Catcher: Where do you get your awesome T-shirts?
Rummanah Aasi
I'm joining my blogging friend, Alison from Alison Can Read, on her manga meme Manga Mondays where bloggers can discuss manga we've read. I'm very much a newbie when it comes to manga and I like experimenting with different genres and series. Today I'll be reviewing the third volume of Library Wars.

Description (from Goodreads): Iku is witness to a disturbance during a Board of Education speech on protecting children from the danger of books. The perpetrators are two young boys protesting the banning of their favorite books. But while Iku wants to reach out to the next generation of book lovers, Dojo insists that they can't play favorites. Will Dojo's prickly insistence on sticking to the rules ruin their budding friendship?

Review: The stakes are raised higher in this installment of Library Wars. The concept of library workers fighting on the side of the Library Freedom Act is what makes me come back to this series. I'm interested in the many ways the freedom to read is challenged in this manga. In this volume, we have two story lines. In the first, there are two teens who protest about the Board of Education banning their favorite books. Although they go about the protest in the wrong way with igniting fireworks during a meeting and causing chaos and commotion, it is obvious that the two teens are serious about their rights being taken away. After being questioned about their motive by the Library Defense, the two teens work on the presentation to display their concern. Unfortunately, they aren't taken seriously at first because of their age.  In the second storyline, an FBI-like government agency wants to retrieve the library records of a criminal and various employees react to how the Library Defense goes about protecting civilian rights. I found the different perspectives on the library rights really interesting and it had me thinking about what I would have done if I were in their position. 
   The only problem, which is a big one, I have with this manga series is how Iku is treated badly by her male coworkers particularly with those she works closely with on various projects. She is constantly underestimated, belittled for her small mistakes by Dojo who serves as the love interest, and how she is obsessed by getting in Dojo's good graces. Normally, I read shojo in order to see how the romance and relationship progresses but not for Library Wars. The third volume ends in a sort of cliffhanger and I've already checked out the next three books in the series to see what happens next.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and violence, which I would rate as PG-13.

If you like this book try: Library Wars Volume 4 by Kiiro Yumi
Rummanah Aasi

 I'm so sorry for the delay in announcing the winners of my giveaway. I additional working hours at the library and I'm trying to adjust to my new work schedule. Thank you to all of those who entered my Lost Magic and Living Violet giveaways. According to, the winner for the Lost Magic giveaway is my blogging friend Z from A Musing of a YA Reader and the winner for Living Violet giveaway is Diana! Congrats, Z and Diana! I sent you both an email. Please respond within 72 hours or I will have to pick a new winner.
Rummanah Aasi
 At one point in our lives we all thought about running away. We can picture ourselves packing up our necessities and leaving our homes with vows of never returning. For many of us, it is just a fleeting desire as we realize that we are acting upon our heighten emotions and logic require us to think rationally but there are others who don't feel like they have an option and running away is a way of surviving. Joy Delamere belongs to the latter category.

Description (from Goodreads): Joy Delamere is suffocating...From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out. Joy can take his words - tender words, cruel words - until the night they go too far. Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.
   Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength

Review:  Don't Breathe a Word weaves two separate threads that come together in a grim but powerful take on an abusive relationship and a coming-of-age love story. While they don't entirely mesh well, the plot keeps the reader engaged throughout. Joy Delamere suffers from asthma. Her illness is a literal and metaphorical prison that shuts her in and burdens her family until she meets dangerous, sexy, and wealthy Asher. While their romance is liberating and exciting at first, but it becomes another prison as Asher becomes abusive and gains power over Joy and her family. In desperation, Joy decides to runaway. She fakes her kidnapping and flees, losing herself among the homeless teen population on Seattle's Capitol Hill. Joy quickly realizes as after a couple of days on her own that she is not cut out for the rough lifestyle. Her suburban naivete gets her in very dangerous circumstances, but four teen squatters led by an attractive musician, Creed, take her in and teach her street smarts. Each of the four teen squatters have their own problems which range from having a neglectful parent with a drug problem to being thrown out from the family because of their sexual orientation, which propel them to be homeless.
 Unlike the sadistic and abusive Asher, Creed is gently protective of Joy.  I didn't really see Joy and Creed having a romantic relationship but thought they had more like a brother-sister relationship. Though Cupala does a great job in developing Joy and allowing her to become her own, I thought the tough issues are too easily resolved which lessens the book's power and authenticity. Despite this, I thought the book's vivid setting and characters, particularly Joy's street family who are broken, jaded, and original, kept my attention while reading the book. While Don't Breathe a Word may lack believability and is not the typical book I would read, I do recommend it for readers who like gritty contemporary fiction that ends on a hopeful note.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: Due to the book's strong language, allusions to sex and prostitution, references to sexual and physical abuse, and drug use I think this book is suitable for older YA readers from Grades 10 and up.

If you like this book try: Kara, Lost by Susan Niz, Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen, Life is Funny by E.R. Frank, Compromised by Heidi Ayarbe
Rummanah Aasi
  As part of the Teen Book Scene Don't Breath a Word Tour, today I would like to welcome Holly Cupala, the author of Tell Me a Secret and the recent released novel Don't Breathe a Word. Before I let Holly take over the blog, I wanted to let you all know about the great giveaway that is accompanying this tour!
   HarperTeen has generously given Holly enough copies of DBaW to do a prize per day of the tour! There will be one book given per day, drawn weekly. Everything entered by Saturday night will be put into a drawing on Sunday. The points do accumulate, meaning entries put in for week one are still going to count for the drawings in weeks 2 and 3. This giveaway is open to all addresses provided that The Book Depository delivers to your country. Please check with The Book Depository for more details. Want to enter? Simply complete this form and follow it's requirements. Giveaway ends 1 AM EST on Saturday, January 14th. Good luck!

Now that I got all the information out of the way, let's return our attention to Holly. I found these secrets about the book really interesting and I hope you do too. Thank you Holly for stopping by my blog. It's all yours!

Thanks to Rummanah for hosting me and the Don’t Breathe a Word tour! 

10 Real-Life Secrets in Don’t Breathe a Word: 

1. Don’t Breathe a Word started out as an idea for a girl who fakes being homeless (she was going to be maybe a cheerleader by day, and spend time on the streets after school). It was sort of a ridiculous idea, but when a friend of mine who was a youth pastor was looking for donations (socks, toiletries, etc.) to take to homeless teens in Seattle, I suddenly had a picture of a girl who runs away for real. 

2. Unlike Joy, I don’t have life-threatening asthma—but I talked to a lot of people who do to understand what her life would be like. Any errors are mine alone! 

3. I actually went to the “For the Birds” zoo fundraiser party (and I do think flamingos are kind of mucky)—it was sort of a surprise when that party landed in my book. 

4. While I was writing DBAW, a friend of mine told me about someone she knew who had gone for a year without buying any new clothes. "Maybe you should do that for your research," she said. (Me??) But...I decided to try it. I wasn't really a sock girl before, but I was amazed how important they became once they'd all suddenly sprung holes. My experience could never compare to that of my characters, but it gave me a new appreciation for them and their conditions. 

5. I did see the Black Eyed Peas guy at a movie premiere, and he really did have a safety pin man-purse! 

6. There are real-life crow researchers at the University of Washington who are dive-bombed, exactly as Asher says. They wrote a book, In the Company of Crows and Ravens, and I have a signed copy. 

7. In my head, May’s voice sounds exactly like this electrician girl who rewired much of our attic. She was sassy and funny and rode in motorcycle races—no wonder she ended up a character!

8. I really hate having my blood drawn. The story Creed tells about the horse and the ocean was actually told to me by a doctor who was trying to keep me from freaking out. It worked—I was spellbound by the story and asked if I could steal it. 

9. There is one character who was supposed to die, but then I couldn’t do it. So someone else died instead. 

10. Where did Asher come from? Once upon a time I had a real Asher in my life, and I wrote about my experience in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories

Stop by the rest of the Don’t Breathe a Word tour for more secrets, swag, and lots of chances to win signed books! Thank you, Rummanah, for inviting me to your blog, and thanks to readers for all of the support of Don’t Breathe a Word! I hope you love it. 

Thanks again for stopping by, Holly. If you would like more information about Holly and her book, be sure to check out these websites:

Joy Delamere is suffocating...

From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words - tender words, cruel words - until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.

Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength.
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