Saturday, July 31, 2010

August Contest!! Stupid Shiny Designs!

Update (9/1):  Contest Closed
Winner:  Michikit

I am so excited to give away a book thong from my favorite Etsy shop - Stupid Shiny Designs!  My very talented friend Mandy began selling her beautiful hand-beaded book thongs on Etsy two years ago, and she has been busy making all sorts of lovely beaded goodies ever since.  How it all began:  "After reading the Twilight books, I wanted to make something special to go along with each book and to share with my friends. This little hobby soon became an obsession and in July of 2008, while on vacation in Forks, Washington, Stupid Shiny Designs was born."  

That trip to Forks was so much fun, and all of SSD's book thongs are gorgeous!  It is like finding beautiful jewelry to coordinate with each of your favorite books!  These lovely bookmarks are durable, lightweight, and so fun to play with while you read.  Plus, her custom orders are amazing!  Do you have a favorite book or character that you would love to see represented in her shop?  Perhaps you love a particular design but wonder if it can be made in another color?  All you have to do is ask, and she will work with you to personalize a book thong just for you.  How awesome is that?!  To see some of her previous custom orders click here.
Visit Stupid Shiny Designs on Etsy and facebook!
Take a look at a few of SSD's novel-inspired book thongs:
(click any image below to see larger photos in the SSD shop)

Contest details:

The prize:  a book thong of your choice from Stupid Shiny Designs

Contest deadline:  August 31st at 11:59 pm PST.

How to Enter:  Fill out the form below to let us know which book thong you would like to win. *required* (This contest is INTERNATIONAL!)

Extra Entries:
+1 if you "Heart" Stupid Shiny Designs on Etsy
+1 if you "Like" Stupid Shiny Designs' facebook page
+1 for every place you help spread the word about this contest (Up to +3)
+1 for tallying your total number of entries  *required*

Friday, July 30, 2010

Flower Friday - American Beauty

Climbing American Beauty

This week's featured flowers - 'Climbing American Beauty' roses!  These deep pink roses fade to a beautiful light pink as they age.  This rose is a hybridized, large-flowered climber that can grow to between twelve and fifteen feet tall (with support).  The flowers grow in fragrant clusters, and it blooms from late spring to mid-summer.  This rose is not quite as disease-resistant as some of our other roses like Duchesse de MontebelloVeilchenblau, and Mariannebut it is still fairly hardy.  To learn more about 'American Beauty' climbing roses, check out Dave's Garden's 'Climbing American Beauty' pagePeaceful Habitations' American Beauty, Cl. page, or The Antique Rose Emporium's American Beauty, Cl. page.

A few book and blogosphere updates:
1.  Julie Kagawa will be participating in a Twitter party to celebrate the August 3rd release of The Iron Daughterthe second book in her Iron Fey series.  The party will start at 8 pm EST tomorrow (Saturday, July 31st) and will last until around 9:30 pm EST.  Julie will answer questions and will be giving away some great prizes including signed books, doodled bookplates, and a hand-painted Grimalkin rock. You can follow the chat on twitter or tweetchat using the hashtag #ironfey.

2.  Robin Benway shared her playlist for The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June, which will be in stores August 3rd, here.  She also included a book excerpt with each track on the playlist.  If you want to learn more about the characters in her book, all three of the fictional sisters now have twitter accounts: April, May, & June.

3.  Simon & Schuster has arranged a live chat with Cassandra Clare on Wednesday, August 4th at 5 pm EST.  If you haven't registered to attend yet, stop by USTREAM to RSVP.  You can read more about the event here.

Friday's Fab Five + Book Blogger Hop + Contest Poll

1. What book is in your purse/car?
My purse is too small to carry books, but Everlasting by Angie Frazier is in the bag I've been carrying back and forth to my daughters' classes all week.  We always have a stack of children's picture books in the car.

2. What book is in your bathroom?
The bathrooms are the only rooms in our house that do NOT have books in them.  Water + books = my nightmare.

3. What book is nearest to your favorite chair?
I don't have a favorite chair, but I often sit in one of our dining chairs to read aloud to my husband while he fixes dinner.  The Agency 2: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee is on our kitchen counter near where I was reading last night.

4. What book is nearest to your couch?
There is always a stack of books on the end table next to our couch (a combination of library books, recently-finished books, and books that are up next on my TBR list).  Right now that stack includes:  The Tricksters by Margaret Mahy, Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee, Swoon by Nina Malkin, and Willow by Julia Hoban.

5. What book is nearest to your bed?
I guess my laptop counts as the book nearest to my bed.  The book I have queued up in my Adobe reader right now is Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn.

This fun meme is hosted by Froggarita's Bookcase.  Every Friday Froggarita asks five questions so we can all get to know each other better.  The only rule is that you can't use the same answer twice within your five!   Ready to play?  Leave your answers in the comments or leave us a link to your own Friday's Fab Five post.  :)

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books, and it is a terrific way to connect with other book bloggers and readers.  You can join the Hop by clicking on the image to the left.  This week's question is:

Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year?
It's impossible to pick just one, but maybe I could narrow it down to five:  Richelle MeadKimberly Derting, Julie Kagawa, Leah Cypess, and Margaret Mahy.
Thanks for hopping by!  Stop by next week to enter our August contests!  We will be giving away a beautiful bookthong of your choice from Stupid Shiny Designs' awesome etsy shop!  Check out this fabulous Hunger Games one we absolutely love ---->>

We will also be attending a Richelle Mead book signing event in August & will be giving a signed book to one of our readers.  To help us choose which book to have signed for our contest, please let us know which Richelle Mead book you would most love to have signed:  

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WWW Wednesdays

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

1.  What are you currently reading?
The Agency 2: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee
It is excellent so far.  I've read three books set in Victorian London since Friday, and I am seriously loving being immersed in this time period.  I may have to watch North & South again before I emerge from this Victorian bliss.

2.  What did you recently finish reading?
Clockwork Angel (ARC) by Cassandra Clare
Shadowhunters and warlocks and steampunk, oh my!  I won't post my full review until closer to the publication date, but I decided to share a mini-review today because I simply cannot stop thinking about this book!  You can read my mini-review ---> here.

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
Victorian London comes to life down to the tiniest details in this well-researched mystery novel with a wonderfully modern heroine.  I look forward to reading more Mary Quinn mysteries as she continues her training with the Agency.

3.  What do you think you’ll read next?
The Tricksters by Margaret Mahy
I loved Margaret Mahy's The Changeover, and I am hoping to enjoy book just as much.

Mini-Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

I will post my full review of Clockwork Angel a bit closer to the official release date, but I seriously can't stop thinking about this book so I've decided to post a mini-review today.  Hopefully it will give you a preview of my full review and will help satisfy my desperate desire to discuss this awesome book with you guys.

Title:  Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)
Author:  Cassandra Clare
Publication date:  August 31, 2010
Source:  ARC from a contest
(Thank you, Nicole at WORD for Teens!)

My Mini-Review:
Dark, Victorian, Shadowhunter-y goodness!  Cassandra Clare has a knack for writing delicious, character-driven stories that I can't put down, and Clockwork Angel is no exception!  Tessa Gray is an intelligent, book-loving heroine with a coveted (and creepy) supernatural ability.  Although she is new to the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders, she has an observant nature and does not shy away from asking questions, so she manages to learn quite a lot about their world very quickly.  Aside from her newly-discovered talent, Tessa is a fairly typical 19th century young woman.  She is much more comfortable quoting Dickens than she is wielding a weapon, but she doesn't cower helplessly in the face of danger either.  Her courage, compassion, and insatiable curiosity make her a girl to be reckoned with, and I am excited to see how her character will continue to develop over the course of the next two Infernal Devices books.

Then there are the boys... one dark, one light.  Will Herondale is often hilarious, frequently rude, and consistently determined to keep his image as tarnished as possible.  He seems to suffer from troubling Hyde-like mood swings that repeatedly propel him toward darkly-amused cruelty, and a secret from his mysterious past has given him a harsh, fatalistic attitude.  Only Jem, who never questions Will about his past and who tolerates his mercurial temperament with a calm patience, sees Will's well-concealed vulnerability and heart.  Jem Carstairs is thoughtful, even-tempered, and soothingly philosophical.  But he has a tragic secret of his own, and it is one that some Shadowhunters do not view with compassion or understanding.  I've always had a major weakness for broken boys.  In this case, one is emotionally broken, one is physically broken, and both are deliciously swoon-worthy.  Will and Jem share a brotherly devotion to one another and both find themselves becoming increasingly attached to Tessa.  Have I mentioned that I truly cannot wait to read the second Infernal Devices book?!

Need more reasons to pick up this book?  How about the spooky gothic atmosphere of the foggy, gaslit streets and the shadowy interior of the fortress-like London Institute?  How about the full cast of well-developed secondary characters with distinct voices and all sorts of weaknesses and hidden agendas?  Not convinced yet?  Did I mention the nightmarishly horrifying steampunk elements and the complex villains?

Still not convinced?  Scroll over the *SLIGHTLY SPOILERY* text below to read about a few more reasons you may want to pre-order Clockwork Angel as soon as possible.  Did I somehow forget to mention that this book features the eternally-fabulous Magnus Bane at a Victorian party (wearing breeches and an elaborate brocade jacket)?  Have I mentioned that two of the main characters are avid readers, so there are lots of excellent (and occasionally worrisome) literary references to books like A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice?  Perhaps I also failed to mention the sexy Shadowhunter whose wet white shirt clings tantalizingly to the runic tattoos inked across his chest?  Or the Shadowhunter whose hair brushes silkily across Tessa's wrist as he leans down to kiss the back of her hand?  Surely I mentioned the glove removal that will have your heart racing?  ;-)

To read more about this delicious page-turner, which is the first in a trilogy of prequels to the Mortal Instruments series, check out Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices website.

Buy this book: IndieBound | The Book Depository Powell's | Amazon | B&N
Add this book to your: Goodreads | Shelfari | Library Thing | Visual Bookshelf
Pre-order the audio book:  (read by Jennifer Ehle - who is best known for portraying Elizabeth Bennet opposite Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy):  Amazon

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Review: Heist Society by Ally Carter

Title:  Heist Society
Author:  Ally Carter
Publisher:  Disney Hyperion 
Genre: YA
Hardcover: 287 pages
ISBN: 1423116399
Summary (from Goodreads):
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he 
is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat's dad needs her help.

For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history-or at least her family's (very crooked) history.
  • Overall rating: 8/10
To buy this book: IndieBound | The Book Depository Powell's | Amazon
Add this book to your: Goodreads | Shelfari Library Thing Visual Bookshelf

Ally Carter's Heist Society is a fun and fast-paced story about Kat Bishop, a girl who grew up in a family of master thieves and worked hard to leave that life behind her.  Just when Kat thinks she has pulled off the greatest con ever by landing herself in an exclusive boarding school and beginning to work toward a law-abiding future, she finds herself drawn back onto the wrong side of the law when her father is accused of stealing from a dangerous nemesis and she has to help prove his innocence.  

What I Liked:
-     Kat is very easy to like.  She is smart, observant, and quick-witted.  She is also an excellent leader and a girl who doesn't hesitate to make tough choices when faced with difficult situations.  
-     I adored Hale as Kat's devoted best friend.  Clever, sarcastic, and utterly charming, everyone should be fortunate enough to have someone like billionaire W.W. Hale the Fifth in their life.  I am excited to see how his relationship with Kat will develop in future books.
-     I enjoyed seeing Kat round up a talented assortment of players to help protect her dad.  That aspect of the story reminded me of fun caper movies like Ocean's Eleven, Sneakers, and The Italian Job.  The heist elements have a Mission Impossible feel and all the members of Kat's crew have unique and entertaining personalities.
-     There is a lot of humor in this book (which I thoroughly enjoyed), but I also liked that the story touched on a very serious issue regarding art theft during World War II.
-     This book has a satisfying conclusion with just the right touch of mystery, and it leaves you with the feeling that Kat's adventures are really just beginning.  I look forward to reading the next Kat Bishop book and jumping back into the high-stakes world of these fun characters.
-     As per my usual policy, this book receives bonus points for including a reference to The Princess Bride. * happy grin*  :-)

What I Wished:
-     I wanted more Hale.  I enjoyed the banter and romantic tension in this book, and I basically wanted all of Hale and Kat's scenes to be twice as long.  Hope to see much more of him in the next book.
-     This book is a very quick read, and I didn't want Kat's adventure to wrap up quite so quickly.  287 pages is just a bit too short for a hardcover.

Heist Society is a quick, entertaining read with a great heroine and an enjoyable cast of characters.  Fans of heist films or books with intelligent protagonists from crime families, like Holly Black's White Cat, should definitely pick up Heist Society.  I was very happy to hear that Warner Brothers purchased the film rights to Heist Society because I think it will make a terrifically fun movie. This is the first Ally Carter book I've read, so I look forward to checking out her Gallagher Girls series.  If you would like to learn more about Heist Society or Ally Carter's other books, visit her website, blog, or twitter.

Teaser Tuesday: The Agency 2: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee

My teaser:
"He fought with passion and energy and utter lack of skill, and this combination made what ought to have been comical seem tragic instead.  If Mary chose, she could finish him in half a minute."

- page 45 of The Agency 2: The Body at the Tower (ARC) by Y.S. Lee

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  Anyone can play along!  Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two 'teaser' sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away!  You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flower Friday - Yarrow

Yarrow (Achillea) - "Terra Cotta"

This week's featured flower is - Yarrow!  This drought-tolerant perennial has feathery, fern-like foliage and is available in a wide variety of colors.  Our "Terra Cotta" yarrow is covered with crowns of yellow & orange flowers from June through August.  The flowers retain their color when dried, and this plant can be heavily chopped back mid-summer to encourage it to continue blooming into the fall.  To learn more about Yarrow, check out GardenGuide's "How to Grow Yarrow" video or see Yarrow in a variety of colors on Dave's Gardens' Yarrow pages.

A few book and blogosphere updates:

An image of Clary and Jace by Nicole Virella (for the upcoming City of Bones graphic novel)
1.   Cassandra Clare shared some new images from the upcoming City of Bones graphic novel which will be published by Th3rd World Comics.  You can see the images and read Cassandra Clare's full post here and check out more of artist Nicole Virella's work on her blog.

2.  Claudia Gray is giving away an ARC of Lisa Desrochers's Personal Demons as well as copies of Cat Adams' Blood Song and Siren Song.  You can read more about that contest here (ends 7/27).  Lisa Derochers is also hosting her own ARC contest here (ends 7/30).  And forty ARCs of Personal Demons will be given away through Goodreads.  You can check that out here (ends 8/12).

3.  Stephanie Burgis's first Kat Stephenson novel (entitled A Most Improper Magick in the UK) has a new US title, a new US release date, and an awesome new US cover.  Kat, Incorrigible is now scheduled for publication on April 5, 2011.  The second book will now be called Kat, Incorrigible: A Tangle of Magics.  French artist Annette Marnat's cover illustration is just way too adorable, so I'm also going to post the full jacket illustration below.  Click here to read Stephanie Burgis's full announcement regarding the new US cover, release date, and title.  To see more of Annette Marnat's artwork, click here.  You can also read the first chapter of Kat, Incorrigible here.

Friday's Fab Five + Book Blogger Hop

This fun meme is hosted by Froggarita's Bookcase.  Every Friday Froggarita asks five questions so we can all get to know each other better.  The only rule is that you can't use the same answer twice within your five!   Ready to play?  Leave your answers in the comments or leave us a link to your own Friday's Fab Five post.  :)

1. What new author have you discovered this year that is now on your auto buy list?
Julie Kagawa (The Iron King), Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder), and Leah Cypess (Mistwood) are all debut authors who found their way onto my auto buy list this year. 

2. What author do you have yet to read although you have most of their books in your TBR?
Diana Gabaldon.  Someday I must find time to read her Outlander series.

3. What book do you regret giving/loaning to a friend that you never got back or got back in a bad condition?
My copies of Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire and Cassandra Clare's City of Bones are in fairly poor condition after loaning them out more than once, but I'm still glad to have shared them. 

4. A favorite author that you read no matter what genre she/he writes?
I will read anything Cassandra Clare, Kristin Cashore, Tamora Pierce, or J.K. Rowling writes.

5. A favorite book you go back to time and again and won't get rid of?
Get rid of books?!  *scratches head at this strange concept*  ;-)  I am a pack rat when it comes to  books and only very rarely get rid of them.  One favorite that I return to again and again is Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice.  I have probably reread that book more times than any other (aside from much-loved picture books).

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books, and it is a terrific way to connect with other book bloggers and readers.  You can join the Hop by clicking on the image above.  This week's question is:

1. Tell us about the book you are currently reading!
I just started Y.S. Lee's The Agency: A Spy in the House this afternoon. It is the first book in her series about a young woman who works for a secret investigative agency in Victorian London. I am only two chapters into the story at this point, but I'm am enjoying it so far.  What are you reading today?

Summary from

Introducing an exciting new series! Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this diverting mystery trails a feisty heroine as she takes on a precarious secret assignment.

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

Book Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Title:  Jellicoe Road
Author:  Melina Marchetta
Publisher:  HarperTEEN
Hardcover:  419 pages
Genre:  YA/contemporary
Summary from HarperTEEN:  

"What do you want from me?" he asks.
What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him.

Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all. 

In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

Overall rating: 9/10 flowers
Add this book to your:  Goodreads | Shelfari | Library Thing | Visual Bookshelf

Melina Marchetta's Jellicoe Road is a heartrending coming-of-age story about seventeen-year-old Taylor Markham whose mother left her at a convenience store in a small town in rural Australia when she was eleven.  Since that time, Taylor has been living at a local boarding school under the care of a young woman named Hannah.  When Hannah disappears without leaving word of when (or if) she will be returning, Taylor feels abandoned yet again.  But the more she searches for answers regarding Hannah's sudden disappearance, the closer she gets to uncovering secrets that could either drown her in sorrow or help her find a place where she truly belongs.  Wrapped within this story of heartache, death, and loneliness, is an insightful tale about love, forgiveness, and redemption.  

What I Liked:
-     I loved the gradual way the past is revealed and the subtle way the relationships evolve in this book.  Jellicoe Road alternates between Taylor's first-person narrative and third-person excerpts from an unbound manuscript that Hannah has written.  The manuscript pages are out of order, so they are revealed in a non-chronological fashion.  And within her first-person narrative, Taylor doesn't generally share every detail about her relationships the moment a character is introduced.  So readers may know that she has an unpleasant history with someone, but the exact nature of that history is not fully explained.  Instead, new details about her past interactions come to light as the story unfolds.  
-     There is an understated realism to this book which makes everything about the story more gripping.  The funny moments are quietly funny rather than flashy zingers, the romantic scenes are endearingly genuine rather than practiced and polished, and the heartbreak is present in the characters' actions rather than clinically described on the page.
-     I loved Jonah Griggs!  When his character was first introduced I had no idea how attached I would get to that boy.  But by the time I finished the book, I seriously wanted to start back at the beginning just so that I could get to know Jonah all over again.  How lovely to be caught off guard by such an observant, thoughtful boy!  I don't want to reveal too much about what makes him so swoon-worthy because being surprised by his awesomeness is a huge part of the fun.
-     This book brought tears to my eyes more than once.  Keep tissues handy!
-     Every single character has depth and complexity.  It may take a little while to dig beneath the surface in a few cases, but that just makes it all the more satisfying to get to know each of them.
-     When I think about how dark and depressing this book could have been, knowing that it features (*slight spoilers*) a fatal car crash, a suicide, a serial killer, a drug addict, a prostitute, an abusive man, and a child pornographer, I am amazed that this book exudes so much hopefulness and such a strong affirmation about the value of love and family.  Better still, the hopeful tone feels honest and the love feels realistic.  It is obvious that love isn't always easy, it won't make a person perfect, and it might make you more vulnerable and your life more complicated.  But it is worth opening yourself up to it with an open heart, despite the messiness and the pain you may face along the way.
-     There are so many quotable moments in this book.  I am tempted to fill this review with quotes, but I am trying to resist that urge because stumbling across them in context is so much more meaningful.  So I won't share any of the most touching moments, but for the folks who have already read Jellicoe Road, how much did you enjoy these three moments:
1. "You okay with that decision, Dick?"  (I kind of wanted to kiss Jonah right then, but Taylor's response to the situation was perfect.)
2. Jonah's line about his mother's nightgown (Haha!)
3. "Not driving any more."  

Why people might find this book challenging (but should read it anyway):
-      Some readers may set this book aside after the first few chapters (as my husband did) because the story gets off to a scattered and somewhat complicated start.  Taylor is a sulky narrator, the logistics of the 'territory war' initially seem confusing, the romantic subplot does not appear until fairly far into the story, and the excerpts from Hannah's manuscript are revealed out of chronological order so they are not particularly easy to follow toward the beginning of the book.  I would encourage readers to push through that portion of the book knowing that it won't be long before the story picks up and becomes easier to follow and impossible to put down.
-     Jellicoe Road is set in Australia and a number of unfamiliar words and phrases are tossed into the mix.  A few examples include: gaol=jail, chewy=a piece of gum, and singlet=tank top.  Thankfully, most of the words are easy to decipher within the context of the story.
-     Readers might figure out some aspects of the mystery long before Taylor has figured them out and a couple of story elements may feel a bit too coincidental, but I think the characters are compelling enough to carry the story even with those minor grievances.  
-     This book doesn't exactly build toward one main climactic moment.  Instead, there are several ups and downs along the journey so the tension fluctuates a bit more than usual.  Some spots in the middle of the book almost feel like you are approaching a plot resolution until suddenly a dramatic clue is revealed and the story sets off in a new direction.  

Jellicoe Road is the type of book that you want to pick up and read again immediately after finishing it because by the end of the book you have a whole new understanding of and appreciation for all the characters (even the ones you may not have liked the first time through).  Readers who enjoy emotionally gripping contemporary YA, such as John Green's Looking for Alaska and Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall should definitely pick up Jellicoe Road.  I look forward to reading more of Melina Marchetta's books, like Saving Francesca, Looking for AlibrandiFinnikin of the Rock, and her upcoming novel The Piper's Son.  If you would like to learn more about Jellicoe Road, which won the prestigious Printz Award last year, please visit Melina Marchetta's website.

Read the first eighty-eight pages of Jellicoe Road for free at HarperTEEN!  :)