Review: Rosie by Mariam Maarouf

In life, nothing is the same as it seems. People create masks –identities – to hide who they really are –some for noble reasons, or nefarious ones, but only a tiny fraction because they must.
Alessandra and Damien, or Rosalie and Daniel, were once the Princess and Prince of La Pacifica until they were forced out of the beautiful island. Eight months flew by, and they finally began to settle in Alexandria, Egypt, when they found out that they didn’t leave their past behind them, and that they were both wanted urgently. Dead.


I have been talking to Mariam for quite a while and she is such a sweetheart! I am so thankful that I met her through blogging. So when Mariam asked if I would review her debut book, Rosie, I was absolutely thrilled to read it!

One of my favorite aspects about this book is that it takes place in Egypt. So many times while reading I was transported into the city of Alexandria with Alessandra and Dam. Mariam's descriptions of the surroundings are amazing and really helped me visualize what the characters were going through.

I loved that the story was told from both Alessandra and Dam's perspective. It was a great experience getting to live inside the head of a protective older brother and see all of his worries about keeping Alessandra safe. Dam was definitely my favorite character, he would do absolutely anything to keep his younger sister alive and happy, which is just so admirable.

I had a little trouble liking Alessandra during some parts of the story. I think this was mainly because I was able to see into Dam's head and she obviously could not. Sometimes I wished she would have understood that her brother just wanted what's best for her and wasn't trying to be a total buzz kill. As the story progressed I grew to understand Alessandra more and really saw how much she struggled with her parents' recent death.

The storyline of Rosie is totally unique. I've never read a book about a runaway teen Prince and Princess that have to leave everything they've ever known to try to survive. All the supporting characters that helped (or tried to harm them) throughout the book were awesome additions to the story as well.

As for the ending... holy cow! I didn't not see that coming, I was shocked to say the least! It had a great build up and left all my questions about the characters answered. It was fabulous.

Characters: 4/5
Creativity: 5/5
Voice: 3/5
Plot: 5/5
Impact: 4/5
Overall: 4/5


Mariam is an amazingly talented writing who can produce flawless descriptions and lovable characters. Rosie was a super quick read that had me wanting to take the next flight to Egypt. I can't wait to read more from Mariam in the future.




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In My Mailbox Vlog (28)








Hosted by The Story Siren


Review: 
-Flawless by Lara Chapman
-Tempest Rising by Racy Deebs
-A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
Thank you Bloomsbury and HarperTeen! 

Won:
-Past Midnight (Past Midnight #1) by Mara Purnhagen
-Half Blood Swag
Thank you Princess Bookie, Harlequin Teen and Jennifer!







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Hex: A Witch & Angel Tale by Ramona Wray Blog Tour

Top Five Reasons 
Why Everyone Needs to Read Hex: A Witch & Angel Tale by Ramona Wray!

1. Lily is a kick butt character that you can't help but completely adore! She's sassy, laugh-out-loud hilarious and fiercely loving. Like many of us can relate to, Lily is known as a "freak" at her high school and learns to embrace her total uniqueness. It's so easy to put yourself in her shoes. Lily is definitely one of my all time favorite leading female characters.

2. Ryder, -drool- mysterious, brooding and oh so hot Ryder. What's better than a boy wearing jeans, t-shirt and leather jacket? Nothing! And don't forget about his bad boy motorcycle and protectiveness of Lily to make him even that much more irresistible.

3. Lucian. Need I really say more?! He's drop dead gorgeous with his beautiful blond hair and ice blue eyes. He's also got that overly confident attitude, but with a little uncertainty that makes him totally swoon worthy. Witty, protective and loving, what more could a girl ask for?

4. If you don't read Hex: A Witch and Angel Tale how in the world are you ever going to see all of J's stylish (sometimes totally out there) outfits she wears to school?! You'll never know what themes she'll decide to wear that week and hey, maybe you can pick up some sassy and sophisticated tips from her too!

5. Seriously, what's better than reading a book chopped full of mystery, love, and hot boys? I'd have to say absolutely, positively nothing! All the characters are so easy to relate to and you'll have an awesome time going on this crazy journey with Lily and her knights in shining armor.



Crazy Katie
(Stupid photobucket, give me my graphics back! Please!)


In My Mailbox Vlog (27)




Hosted by The Story Siren


Review:
The Bleeders by Michaela Haze
Rosie by Mariam Maarouf

Bought:
Falling Under (Falling Under #1) by Gwen Hayes
Willow by Julia Hoban

Mentioned:
Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff
We All Fall Down (Living with Addiction) by Nic Sheff





Crazy Katie
(Still no siggy because I'm part of the one percent of photobucket without their images... lovely.)

Review: Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff

Amazon - Goodreads


"I smoked pot every day. I was seventeen and had been accepted at prestigious universities across the country and I figured a little partying was due me. I'd worked hard those last three and a half years. Sure I'd had some problems smoking weed and drinking too much when I was younger, but that was all behind me. I was smart. I was on the swim team. My writing had been published in Newsweek." Author Nic Sheff paid a staggering price for this swagger. Under the pull of alcohol, cocaine, Ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms, crystal meth, and heroin, his life collapsed, plunging him into an abyss where swim medals and writing credentials dissolved into the next great fix. This stark account of his addiction and often-painful recovery possesses a force missing from most anti-drug diatribes.


I read Nic Sheff's blog in the past and fell immediately in love with his writing so I have no idea why it took me until he was coming to town to pick up Tweak. I have a family member who has/ is struggling with drugs, who I never really got the chance to know because of it. After finishing Tweak I realized that I connected with a lot of the feelings Nic had.

I have so many positive things to say about Tweak and honestly I'm really not sure how to go about doing so. A lot of what Nic said hit close to home for me and in order for me to review it normally I'd have to give up quite a bit of myself that I'm not ready to share. I don't think I was expecting to connect to Nic as much as I did since I'm not an addict, but I think that's one of the amazing parts about Tweak. That you don't have to be an addict, or even know an addict to fall in love with Nic's story and be able to connect with him.

Nic Sheff's writing is just pure brilliance. I felt like I had the opportunity to sit down with him and listen to Nic tell me his story. Constantly throughout the book I was transported onto the streets of San Fransisco, feeling like I was standing right next to him. It was such an amazing and eye opening experience to be given the chance to see through the eyes of an addict.

I had the opportunity to go to a book signing last night and listen to Nic Sheff speak. I can't even put into words how much his talk touched my heart. I am so truly honored that Nic let us all into his past.  I was super nervous to go up and get my book signed since I'm pretty shy and just a tremendously huge fan of his, but he was the sweetest. If Nic is having a book signing anywhere even slightly close to your area I highly recommend that you go.

Amazing Quote:
"It's hard to look anyone in the eye. I feel, well, like I'm completely transparent or something- like everyone can see exactly what's going on with me."




Nic Sheff is a brilliant writer and such an inspiring person. He is a role model and hero to so many, I know he is for me. Tweak was a raw, heart-wrenchingly honest book that everyone must read. It's left a permanent impact on me and I'm so grateful I read this book.



Crazy Katie




(Sorry my siggy/buttons will be back soon. I'm the 1% of photobucket still without my graphics.)

Review: Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Walker Books
Published February 1, 2011
Amazon - Goodreads


Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers-known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. They grace the covers of magazines week after week. Their fan club has chapters all over the country. 
The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. Still, it's a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on... Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until they're far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile.

There was quite a bit of buzz surrounding the release of Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance around the book blog-o-sphere and I was definitely one of the readers who was pretty excited for it to come out. I had originally put my name on the waiting list at my library, but after I saw Alice's (The Reader Room) In My Mailbox post about it, I just had to have it that second. Luckily my impulse buy turned out to be money well spent.

Charlie (Jenna), a sassy and headstrong television star, is required to have a fake romance with her laid back costar Fielding (Jonah). At first I found Charlie to be a little high maintenance and uptight, but as the story progressed she started to loosen up and learn to let go. She grew tremendously strong as a person and learned a lot about herself. Fielding was the complete opposite of the goal obsessed Charlie. He wasn't in acting for the long run and just wanted to be like a normal college kid. Fielding was definitely my favorite character!

I loved having the opportunity to get into both of the characters' heads. Franklin and Halpin did a wonderful job at Charlie and Fielding's voice. They both seemed real and Fielding's voice definitely reflected at what I thought would be inside of a teenage guy's head.

I really enjoyed how Charlie adopted some of Fielding's mellow attitude and how Fielding got Charlie's drive for the future. Each of them had admirable qualities, but just in overdrive. So when they were around each other they learned to pull back on their seriousness or indifference and gain the others good qualities as well as modify their own.

Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance revolved greatly around the relationship between Fielding and Charlie, which wasn't a bad thing. They both had annoying and pushy managers who just wanted them to make as much money as possible, which is exactly what I have in mind when I think of Hollywood star's manager. As the story moves forward Fielding and Charlie find themselves in a unique setting where they meet some very fun people. I don't want to say too much about the supporting characters because it'll give a good chunk of the story away.

I kind of knew how the book was going to end, but how the characters got there was pretty authentic. I really enjoyed how everything turned out and that acting played a part. It was very sweet and had me thinking "Aw how cute!"

Awesome Quote:
"But in real life, you don't know how it's going to work out. You don't know how the other person so going to respond, and you don't know if you're going to say the wrong thing and ruin everything, and sometimes you don't even really know what the hell you want."  (Fielding)


Characters: 4/5
Creativity: 5/5
Voice: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Impact: 3/5
Overall: 4/5



Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance is a laugh out loud, light-hearted read that I finished rather quickly. If you're looking for an original teen romance book this is definitely the book for you. This book left me with a happy heart and wanting to get my very own GPS with Mr. T's voice!




Crazy Katie

(I'll have my siggy up as soon as photobucket decides to start working. -Kicks photobucket in its non-existent butt- )

In My Mailbox Vlog (26)







Hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren.











Bought:
-Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
-Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard

Won:
-Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Thank you goodreads!






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Follow Friday (23)

Question from Lesley at The Keeper Shelf


Do you judge a book by its cover?

I used to a lot until I came across one of my absolute favorite books that happened to have a pretty horrible cover. I received it for review, read it and just fell head over heels in love with it! If I had seen the book on a shelf I would have immediately passed over it. So pretty much ever since then, no matter what the cover looks like, I try to make my decisions based the summary or reviews I've read.








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Review: Rich and Mad by William Nicholson

Published: September 14, 2010

This is a compelling and beautifully written novel about first love, first sex, and everything in between. Maddy Fisher has decided to fall in love. And not just any sort of love: can't-eat can't-sleep crazy in love. Rich Ross is after the same thing. He's set his sights high, and he's going to make it happen. The problem is, in life's messy whirlwind of friends and lies and sex and porn, the real thing can be hard to fine. But there's always a first time for everything. . .

When I came across Rich and Mad on goodreads the first thing I noticed was the steamy cover. I loved how the couple was inside a phone booth, it made me think of England, somewhere I always wanted to go. After reading the attention-grabbing summary I marked the release date on my calendar. Unfortunately Rich and Mad didn't live up to my high expectations.

I read the book in about a day because I was really interested in finding out what happened with the two main characters' love lives. Both Rich and Maddy are pretty unlucky with love and are determined to find "the one" during this school year. Maddy sets her heart on the popular Joe and Rich has his eye on Maddy's sophisticated friend, Grace.

One of the parts I liked about the book was that both the main characters were falling for the wrong people. I enjoyed uncovering the truth that was hidden among the lies, that part really reminded me of high school. Even though, that part of the story was realistic, I had trouble relating the other parts of the book to real life.

I understand that in today's society there are a lot of unhealthy relationships between teens and that friends often cut each other down, but I felt almost all the friendships in Rich and Mad were negative ones. Now I'm not saying that I don't cuss, because honestly I have quite the fowl mouth, but I never call my friends cruel names. In this book I felt like one of the characters was having serious issues, but it was quickly over looked. The person clearly needed help and friends by her side, she didn't need to be bullied by the people she loved.

Unfortunately I felt that the romantic relationships in the book were rushed and not genuine. It seemed like the characters wanted so badly to be in love, that they rushed into all their decisions. To them, it was more important to be able to say they were in love and have had sex than it was to actually love their partner.

For me, the ending was extremely uncomfortable and felt forced. The whole time I kept thinking okay you guys really should stop, you're not ready... I felt like I was watching two people making a big mistake because they are making their decisions solely on what they thought everyone else their age was doing.

Awesome Quote:
"Maybe we're all like that, thought Rich. Maybe we all find when we speak that the words don't match out ideas. We talk to each other, but never know each other.
Loneliness is the default mode."

Characters: 2/5
Creativity: 3/5
Voice: 2/5
Plot: 1/5
Impact: 2/5
Overall: 2/5

Rich and Mad was a quick read that highlighted a lot of the problems with teen relationships. Even though I found the characters a little winy and too impulsive, I recommend this book if your looking for a unique some-what love story between two people who want nothing more than to be loved.






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Review: Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Published November 11, 2010

The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.
The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band's manager and get her share of the profits.
The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she's deaf?
Piper can't hear Dumb's music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.

When I saw Five Flavors of Dumb sitting on the shelf at my bookstore I was immediately drawn to it. The cover was rockin' and the summary was totally unique. I didn't really know what to expect out of this book since it had such a different plot than what I'm used too. Luckily, Antony John's Five Flavors of Dumb was a music-fulled, raw and nothing but honest read.

Piper is flat out awesome. I was so thankful to be able to watch her grow into a confident person. Even though Piper was deaf, I connected with her flawlessly. All teens go through the same self acceptance problems as she does, it's just that Piper has a different set of obstacles to overcome. She's a strong, loving and witty character.

I adored all of the supporting characters in the book. Antony John did a wonderful job of creating a wide range of likable characters from all social groups. I loved how the villain of the book was condescending and definitely surprised me when his/her true colors started to show.

I really enjoyed how Piper's home life wasn't the most ideal, but it wasn't completely insane either. I liked that she had tiffs with her not-so-perfect parents and felt jealously towards her baby sister. All of the situations throughout the book were so realistic. My favorite relationship was the one between Piper and her younger brother Finn, he's such a sweetheart! (I don't want to give too much away!)

One of my favorite parts of the book was when the band traveled to important places that left an impact on rock history. I loved the musicians that Antony John picked the characters to learn more about, since each rock star brought something long lasting to music. These scenes were so perfectly detailed that I was immediately sucked into the surroundings and standing by Piper's side.

The events leading up to the ending really touched my heart and have left a lasting impression on me. I adore Piper, everything she went through, how she handled herself and her courage for life is just inspiring. The ending is way more than I could have ever asked for. It was perfect.

Amazing Quote:
"Don't worry about wanting to change; start worrying when you don't feel like changing anymore. And in the meantime, enjoy every version of yourself you ever meet, because not everybody who discovers their true identity likes what they find."

Characters: 5/5
Creativity: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Impact: 5/5
Overall: 5/5


Five Flavors of Dumb is raw, honest and hardcore, a unique addition to the young adult genre that is like nothing I have ever read. After reading this book I even picked up my guitar (which I haven't touched for years) because Antony John put me into this amazing punk rock world that I never want to leave. Everyone needs to hear Piper's story of self-discovery, it's truly amazing. This book has definitely been added to my favorites list.





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A Crazy Update

Last week I really didn't do any posts and that was mainly because of schoolwork and my poor puppy not being able to kick his paw infection! (He's limping now, the vet just gave us cream. Lady it is not working!! -end of rant-)
Now that I've kicked Beowulf in his warrior patootie and now know that one quality of being a good citizen is picking gum up off the sidewalk (seriously, that's what the textbook said. So instead of helping an old lady cross the street, I'll be too busy chipping off dried gum from the street. Thanks Social Civics!) I'm back, baby!

You might have noticed that I had stopped doing some memes for a while. This was after I had read a blogger's post that they disliked memes and thought they were a cop out for a post. So being me and wanting to please everyone I stopped doing them. Then I realized that just because one person doesn't enjoy them, doesn't mean everyone feels that way. And heck, I adore a lot of them so they are back!

I have a meme in the works so be sure keep an eye out for it making an appearance soon! It has to deal with, none other, than swoon worthy book boys! Yum!


Monday:
Daily Dose (Good Golly Miss Holly)
Daily Dose of Music (Alice from The Reader Room)
Daily Dose was the very first meme I joined back when Call Me Crazy first started. I mean what is a better way to start off your week than with inspirational photos and fun music?! Yes, it's not necessarily book related but books, like pictures, always help my week (and hopefully yours) start out totally wonderful!

Tuesday & Thursday:
Review
Earlier this year I was having trouble fitting in reading and schoolwork, but thankfully I have figured out how to manage my time to include both. (Thank you home schooling!) So be expecting reviews being posted much more frequently than they were before.

Wednesday:
Katie's Ramblings
Okay, so this isn't the "official" name of anything. I've done some totally random posts in the past and have got positive feedback from it, which totally made me smile! So I'll post the ramblings that are inhabiting my mind on Wednesdays. (This won't be around every week, at least once a month.)

Friday:
Follow Friday & Blog Hop
I miss doing this meme! I've met so many of my awesome blogger friends through the Hop/Follow Friday that I'm definitely going to be joining in on the fun again.

Saturday:
In My Mailbox
I'll have a video posted every week, unless for some Zombie Apocalyptic reason I didn't buy any books.

Sunday:
No post.





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Author Interview: Lindsey Leavitt

I was lucky enough to interview Lindsey Leavitt, the author behind the Princess for Hire series and the newly released Sean Griswold's Head! Check out my interview with Lindsey below!

Can you give us three words that describe your main character, Payton?
sarcastic, structured, stubborn

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
I see bits of myself in my characters, but I don't think there is any one character that is totally me. Like Payton, I like safety, like Jac I like to be a little wild, like Sean I try to look past first impressions, and I can't even begin to tell you all the ways I identified with Payton's parents. It's not a conscious decision though to have those similarities, I think as a writer we just try to feel empathy for our characters and sometimes that includes sharing traits or experiences.

What scene did you most enjoy writing from Sean Griswold's Head?
The bunker scene at Valley Forge between Payton and Sean. It's a turning point in their relationship, and I was so giddy when I wrote it. That's all I'll say. Read it to see what I mean :)

Why did you decide to make Payton's father have multiple sclerosis?
2 reasons.
First, I needed the contrast that came with having a very organized, predictable girl facing a disease without a cure that can change symptoms or progression daily. That's a big part of her struggle--MS is not something she can control or "fix".
Second, my father-in-law was diagnosed with MS when my husband and I were in high school together. So I've watched how his condition has impacted their (now my) family over the years. I purposefully made Payton's father's case separate from my father-in-law's, because every case, every person is so different.

Just like Payton and Sean have an obsession with Seinfeld, do you have any odd obsessions?
To the point that I can cite the episode number? No. Not anymore. I used to really be into Saved By The Bell trivia, though. And actually, I'm a bit obsessed with YA fiction, but I just count that all as "work" and "research". Yeah. My job rocks.

Are there any other writing projects that you are currently working on?
Always. Right now I'm finishing up the third and final book in my PRINCESS FOR HIRE series. The second book, THE ROYAL TREATMENT, will be out May 3, 2011.
In the YA contemporary vein, I'm working on a book called AUTHENTICALLY VINTAGE, about a girl who decides to go vintage - foreswearing 21st century technology and accomplishing the goals her grandma set for herself at 16 - when she discovers her boyfriend cheating on her with a cyber wife in his online Authentic Life game, in the process figuring out the truths and illusions of life and love, both in the nostalgic past and in the very real now. It should be out early 2013.

-----------------------
Thank you so much Lindsey!

Check out my review of Sean Griswold's Head here!






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