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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

Release Date: August 1, 2008
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 336

Almost all people have wanted to be popular at sometime or another in their lives. Charlotte Usher is no exception. Generally ignored and unnoticed all her life, Charlotte resolves to start anew in the upcoming school year. Her plan is to get noticed--especially by Damen, the hottest boy at school. Unfortunately for her, Damen already has a girlfriend, and Charlotte's first day back at school is hardly triumphant. In fact, Charlotte dies.

Charlotte finds even her death rather undignified--she passes onto the next world after choking on a gummy bear. Right after Damen was going to be her lab partner too! Even her death goes unnoticed at first, but Charlotte has already entered the afterlife, which, as she learns, is quite different than what she had originally expected. Instead of going to the Pearly Gates (or, possibly, that other place), Charlotte finds herself in DeadEd. The new purpose she is given? To resolve her internal struggles from her life, so that she can move on.

But Charlotte hardly wants to move on. Instead, she is trying to find the best ways to use her death and new ghostly form to her advantage--aka getting Damen somehow. When she finds an unlikely ally, the goth girl, Scarlet, Charlotte begins to set her plan in motion. In fact, Scarlet happens to be the sister of Petula, Damen's hot and popular girlfriend. How could someone like Scarlet be related to Petula?! They're practically opposites and waging war on each other! But Charlotte hardly cares, since Scarlet seems to be on the only living person who can see her, thus, the only person who can help her.

However, in all her meddlings with the live world, Charlotte is breaking all the rules of being dead, and getting further from resolving her earthly issues. Being dead is not easy, and with the rest of her DeadEd classes' dwelling in jeapordy, it seems like Charlotte has more than one issue to resolve. Is Charlotte forever doomed to trying to get Damen, even though she's dead and he isn't? Will she and the rest of her DeadEd class be evicted and forced to roam or look elsewhere for a home? Afterall, most people don't take too kindly to having spirits with issues resolving in their homes... Is there something after DeadEd, or is this it? Stuck in school for the rest of eternity?! Charlotte may never find out if she continues butting into the lives of the living...
Life after death just might be a lot more complicated than Charlotte expected!

I found myself enjoying Ghostgirl a bit more than I had originally anticipated! I had thought it would have a lot of cliches, but it was well-written, and I liked Scarlet's character. Watch out, though! That girl's got a sharp tongue--which is the opposite of Charlotte.
I wouldn't say I was entirely thrilled of this book, but it definitely had some high points.
I'll admit that Charlotte was rather ditzy, and I had hoped that she would grow out of it, but sadly, she didn't really. It became mildly annoying after awhile, and Charlotte was hard to connect to, and a little too shallow-minded and materialistic. I can see why someone who's been generally unnoticed wants to be popular, but not in such a close-minded and excessive way.

I will warn you, however, that if you're looking for something deep and more thought-provoking, you're better of skipping this book. It does not deal with some weighter questions about death and Charlotte is only concerned with her popularity and Damen. She hardly thinks of her parents, and does not reflect on how their lives will be after her death. We barely learn anything about her family, which is disppointing, as her family could provide more insight on why Charlotte is so thoroughly obsessed about her popularity. Ghostgirl does not have an emotional struggle over her parents, her worth, and what she has done to help others, etc. It seems to skip over that entirely, which makes me rather annoyed at how single-minded Charlotte is! Popularity is a bit too prevelent in her mind!
That said, it's more light-hearted (I know that sounds like an oxymoron) than most books dealing with death are. It's not a heavy, heady read, so some of you who are not looking for a more reflecting and pensive look at death may enjoy Ghostgirl.

The book itself looks great. The cover is neat and the book is longer than your typical book (makes it look, fittingly, like a coffin!) and it's not just black and white. The little pictures, silver trimming and pink accents actually go nicely with the book in general!

And if you enjoyed Ghostgirl, don't forget to check out the newly relseased sequel, Ghostgirl: Homecoming! It just hit bookstores, and it looks nice, just like Ghostgirl (except purple instead of black)! (Who knew books could be astestically pleasing?)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Suite Scarlett Giveaway!

What would it be like to live in a hotel and have your own room to take care of? In Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson, Scarlett is about to find out when she gets her own room and its inhabitant to take care of at the Algonquin Hotel!

Watch this interview with Maureen Johnson for more information on her fabulous book!

Interested in winning a copy?
Just comment on this post with your
name, email address, and your favorite vacation you've been on!

Want an extra entry?
+1 if you follow (or already follow) my blog. Please comment AGAIN on this post telling me you follow or you will not get the extra entry!

I have 3 copies to giveaway--many thanks to Scholastic!

Open to US residents only, sorry! No PO boxes, please!
Ends August 14th, midnight EST.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Harry Potter Giveaway Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered my Harry Potter giveaway!

The winners are:
- Lauren/Shooting Stars Mag
- Eli Marsh
- robin_titan
- tashiana
- Ryan/The Pre-Teen's Guide to the Book World

Congrats! Please drop me an email at: bookvault(at) with your mailing address so I can get a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows + a pin to you!

And if you didn't win, don't worry! I've got another giveaway starting soon!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley

Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley

Release Date: August 6, 2009
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 292


Those four words, scrawled in lipstick on a tray, changed Emily Carson's life. Emily was living a normal life in Pennsylvania when she found out the plane her parents were on crashed. There were no survivors, but more striking thing salvaged from the crash was the tray that held those four words.

What does that apology stand for? Emily can't imagine what her mother is saying sorry for, but if she finds out, it could unlock secrets Emily may have been better off not knowing. Should she dig for answers, or live a life in ignorance, since sometimes, ignorance is bliss?

But any answer digging (or lack thereof) needs to be put aside temporarily--Emily must now move in with her aunt, Jolie, who lives in New York. Still recovering from such a horrific loss and with the mysterious apology hanging over her head, the last thing Emily wants to do is leave everything she knows, everything comforting, behind and be forced to make new friends and a new life for herself. She not only leaves her home behind, she must leave her best friend, Georgia, behind in Pennsylvania again. She is thrust into Jolie's beautiful appartment and a private school.

Once in school, Emily struggles to control her inner turmoil, lest her new friends think her to be completely insane. Jolie has been doing everything to help her fit in, and has been very kind. But her mother's apology is still looming over her like a storm cloud. After a botched meeting to work on her chemistry project with her partner Anthony, Emily does not want any more outbursts. But her mother's apology aside, her new life does not seem too bad. She is quickly befriended by the two most popular girls at school and the hottest guy in her class, Owen, keeps catching her eye... Can she start anew? Or will she have to confront her mother's apology in order to be free from it? And where can she possibly find answers? Would ignorance really be bliss in her situation? And now that she's ruined her chemistry project, will her partner ever talk to her again? And how the heck will she pass chemistry?!

Although I enjoyed Lipstick Apology, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. It was a bit cliche to me, and it got rather predictable at many places for me. There were not as many twists and turns as I had hoped, and I did not think some of the characters were very unique. I don't want to ruin too much, but I was disappointed at how predictable a lot of the novel was; the relationships, the characters' personalities, the ending, etc. Maybe I had expections that were a notch too high to start with? The plotline definitely sounded really intriguing, but it ended up being rather disappointing.
I did love Trent, however. He was a hilarious and lively character that was really quirky, bold, and rather loveable. I really enjoyed reading about him and he definitely brought a touch of good humor in this novel, which approaches such dark, saddening topics. Lindsay was also a very sweet person--I would definitely want a supportive friend like her! I think these two characters definitely helped me enjoy the novel a bit more!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Death by Denim winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered my Death by Denim contest!

The winners are (courtosey of the random number generator at
Alexa of Hooked On YA Books
Katie of Katie's Bookshelf!


Please send me an email at bookvault(at) with your mailing address so I can get a copy of DBD to you! Please email me by 7/7/09 or I'll have to pick new winners.

Thank you to Linda Gerber for donating 2 copies of her fabulous book!


I'm currently hosting another giveaway for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows--check it out here!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Harry Potter Giveaway!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will hit theaters July 15th in the US, so to celebrate I'm hosting a Harry Potter-themed giveaway! But HP6 is not the only reason for this celebration, the paperback version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is also hitting bookstores this month--July 7th, in fact!

So up for grabs are 5 paperback copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! The five lucky winners will also receive a Collectors' edition gold pin!


courtesy of B&

It all comes down to this - a final face off between good and evil. You plan to pull out all the stops, but every time you solve one mystery, three more evolve. Do you stay the course you started, despite your lack of progress? Do you detour and follow a new lead that may not help? Do you listen to your instincts, or your friends?

Lord Voldemort is preparing for battle and so must Harry. With Ron and Hermione at his side, he's trying to hunt down Voldemort's Horcruxes, escape danger at every turn, and find a way to defeat evil once and for all. How does it all end?


Visit Scholastic's website for more Harry Potter-related activities, information on the books, and more!


Want to win one of the copies of HP7 + the collectors' gold pin?
Just comment on this post with your name, email, and which of the three deathly hallows would you want most, and why?

Want extra entries?
+1 post about this contest elsewhere (your blog, forums, etc)
+1 follow my blog
+1 comment on my Bookish Mentions post on books-to-movies, responding to the questions I ask in the post
+1 comment on THIS post telling me your favorite HP book and why
+1 comment on THIS post telling me your favorite moment in any of the HP books
+1 comment on THIS post telling me which spell you would want to master most and why

Please comment SEPARATELY for your first entry and each additional entry you earn! Sorry about that, but it makes tallying all the entries easier so I don't miss anyone's!

So all in all, if you do all of the extras in addition to your first free entry, you can get a max of 7 entries! (yes, I did do that on purpose, as there are 7 books!)

Sorry, open to US residents only--and no PO boxes, please!
Please enter by July 17th, midnight EST!

Bookish Mentions (#5)

Sorry for the belated post!

Bookish Mentions is my new weekly post where I'll be posting my thoughts on books I've read but not been able to review, upcoming books I'm looking forward to, general thoughts on genres or books I've encountered, thoughts on book-based movies, and the like. Enjoy!


Ever since I read Wake, I've become a fan of Lisa McMann's series! If you haven't read Wake and Fade yet, I definitely recommend you check it out!

In addition to the fabulous story Ms. McMann weaves, the covers to her books are great! They're not overly complex, generally have one color scheme and one image, but it also has this eerie feel to them. They really draw you in!

The cover for her third book, Gone, has been released:

What do you guys think??? What do you think the chair stands for?? Do you like the change in color scheme?

Series I Like

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis Divergent by Veronica Roth Firelight by Sophie Jordon Halo by Alexandra Adornetto Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Thanks to i'm loving books!


I receive review copies of books from publicists, authors and publishers for an honest review. I do not receive monetary or other compensations for posting reviews.