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Friday, April 30, 2010

Gateway by Sharon Shinn


Author: Sharon Shinn
Publication Date: October 2009
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Copy provided by: Other Shelf Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

As a Chinese adoptee in St. Louis, teenage Daiyu often feels out of place. When an elderly Asian jewelry seller at a street fair shows her a black jade ring—and tells her that “black jade” translates to “Daiyu”—she buys it as a talisman of her heritage. But it’s more than that; it’s magic. It takes Daiyu through a gateway into a version of St. Louis much like 19th century China. Almost immediately she is recruited as a spy, which means hours of training in manners and niceties and sleight of hand. It also means stealing time to be with handsome Kalen, who is in on the plan. There’s only one problem. Once her task is done, she must go back to St. Louis and leave him behind forever. . .


Why I read this: It's been on my want-to-read list for a while and when I saw it on tour with Other Shelf Tours I signed up. It's my first Sharon Shinn novel - an author I've been meaning to read.

Plot: Definitely intriguing in nature. Daiyu ends up in a different world with the majority of people like herself - Chinese. She is told she must help put a stop to a charming politician in that world so that he will not cause it harm as it has been seen in other worlds. The worlds that exist are fairly parallel, although seemingly set in different time periods. Daiyu is just thrown into the plot and I felt like there wasn't enough background on the character guiding her to really make it a solid plot. The main plot seemed to subside to the romance developing between Daiyu and Kalen, which seems to come forwards as the real focus of the book.

Characters: I couldn't connect to Daiyu. She didn't seem to react at all to being pulled into this new realm and never seemed to miss her own world and family. I felt she was a bit bland and there was really no build up to connect to her. Kalen, Daiyu's love interest, also seems a bit flat character-wise. He has all the perfect aspects of a love interest without any flaws or anything that makes him stand out. She just simply starts to like him because of proximity. Not exactly a spicy love interest either.

Relatability: I couldn't connect to the characters and wasn't too gung-ho about the plot. It felt a little too formulaic and only the different situations made the book move along, not the main premise. I did enjoy these situations though and although this book fell short in a few different aspects, it was still an entertaining read.

Cover Commentary: Very pretty and definitely gives off the feeling of Chinese culture.

Rating: 3/5 Roses

Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads

*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
Read more...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Link a Contest Thursday



Rules (or at least STRONG suggestions):
1. Name the item being given away (instead of the blog name)
2. Give the end date in () after the name
3. Make sure to link DIRECTLY to that contest post - if you don't know how to do this - just click on the title of the contest blog and it will give a direct URL you can use.
4. If you want to post a contest you've found, make sure it isn't already posted.



Read more...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Updates, Meanderings, and Me

Notice the deadness the last two days? Maybe not.. oh well.

What have I been doing?
  • Meeting DJ McHale and Scott Westerfeld
  • Meeting Shannon Hale (and a cool blogger named Miss Eliza)
  • Working myself into exhaustion at school because it is Book Fair week!!!
  • Watching my husband go off to work again!! (Yay for money and boo for dishes piling up).
  • Lots and lots of sleeping...
And did I mention I started getting sick Monday... *sad face* I really really really hate colds/sinus infections/whatever the heck is clogging up my nose and throat.

So, I'm not going to apologize for being absent and maybe semi-lazy as I write this (finally having a full few hours to sit on the couch with my laptop) - but I figure I should give you some reason.

Look forward to the following reviews coming up:

Numbers by Rachel Ward
The Cave by Steve McGill
Gateway by Sharon Shinn
Dark Life by Kat Falls
Dead Guy Spy by David Lubar
and a whole heck of a lotta graphic novels...

and since I haven't updated my reading sidebar in a while:

I am reading:



Read more...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blood Feud


Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Publication Date: June 22, 2010
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal
Copy provided by: Around the World Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

The action and romance continue as the Drakes face a new vampire with a 200-year-old grudge. It’s been centuries since Isabeau St. Croix barely survived the French Revolution. Now she’s made her way back to the living and she must face the ultimate test by confronting the evil British lord who left her for dead the day she turned into a vampire. That’s if she can control her affection for Logan Drake, a vampire whose bite is as sweet as the revenge she seeks.

The clans are gathering for Helena’s royal coronation as the next vampire queen, and new alliances are beginning to form now that the old rifts of Lady Natasha’s reign have started to heal. But with a new common enemy, Leander Montmarte—a vicious leader who hopes to force Solange to marry him and usurp the power of the throne for himself—the clans must stand together to preserve the peace he threatens to destroy.

This second adventure in the Drake Chronicles—told from both Logan’s and Isabeau’s perspectives—has all the same butt-kicking action, heart-pounding romances and snarky humor that readers loved in Hearts at Stake, as well as exciting new revelations about the vampire dynasties to keep readers coming back for more.


Why I read this: Because the first book (Hearts at Stake) was so awesome, I had to read the second - no question about it.

Plot: Action-packed and full of adventure, this book does not disappoint. Following two different characters - one of Solange's brothers (Logan) and a Hound named Isabeau - there's the same new romance and it follows the arc of the first story line, just from a different point of view. Another great aspect was the flashbacks into Isabeau's past - having survived the French Revolution. Definitely a book that kept moving and moving fast. I can't believe I have to wait until January for the next one.

Characters: It's nice to finally see what it is like to be a Hound and Isabeau's past itself was so intriguing and full of adventure as well that you really were able to understand her. I do feel like she betrayed her character a bit when around Logan - but guys will do that to a girl.

Logan is a fantastic match for Isabeau - being obsessed with past cultures and dressing familiar to Isabeau. He's protective like all the other brothers but a little less arrogant and not caring as much about finding any girl - but finding the right one.

The new bad guy is only so-so and I was a bit sad that we won't see much more of him. Greyhaven wasn't quite a match for Isabeau and I felt like we didn't get enough of his evilness before the end of the book. I hope the next book has a more evil guy - I like my guys super evil and he just didn't play up to the part.

Relatability: For me personally, I just wish I was a butt-kicking vampire and had a hot vampire boyfriend... so I related to the characters more as a "oh if only...". Otherwise, the humor was also a great connector from the reader to the characters. I can't resist some silliness, snarkiness, and even a little bit of corny humor.

Cover Commentary: Goes along with the theme of the first, but it is nothing that would stop me dead at the bookstore with awe.

Rating: 5/5 Roses

Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads

*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
Read more...

It's Monday, What are you Reading?




This fantastic meme is now hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.


Read this past week: (reviews should be up later this week)
Bonecrossed by Patricia Briggs
Blood Feud by Alyx Harvey
Gateway by Sharon Shinn

Currently Reading:
Young Bess by Margaret Irwin
Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy

Upcoming:
Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

News:
  • I'm moving author event news to Tuesdays because Author Safari will be moving (eventually) to somewhere else.
  • Got some cool events coming up - DJ McHale, Scott Westerfeld, and Shannon Hale. Very excited!!
  • Thinking about some cool summer events for the blog which I'll be talking about later on (closer to school being out).

Read more...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Book Views (5)

Again, I am copying Kate over at The Neverending Shelf in these Book Views. Basically, I give you a picture, the summary and a review (in less than 75 words).



Summary (via Goodreads): It's a mad, mad, mad world as Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan's maniacal quest to find Alyss continues! In Volume 2, Mad With Wonder, Hatter follows the Glow from London to the battlefields of America's Civil War in search of the Princess who must some day be Queen. The America that Hatter encounters is a sprawling, wounded, boiling landscape of innocence and energy run amok. The war is tearing the country apart, yet Hatter must maintain his sanity in this maelstrom of holy rollers, child healers, prophetic snake handlers, deranged outlaws, and passionate southern belles. As Hatter searches he learns he is not the only Wonderland presence that has found its way to the Promised Land. Queen Redd's black imagination is fueling the Civil War and threatening our world with her evil!

Review: Another fantastic graphic novel taken from Frank Beddor's Looking Glass Wars. In this second volume, Hatter M is searching for Alyss during the Civil War in America. At one point, he ends up in a psychiatric wards and meets some very interesting characters.

Final Verdict: Beautiful illustrations, fabulous plot and recommended for 8th grade and up.


by Holly Black

Summary (via Goodreads): Rue Silver's mother has disappeared . . . and her father has been arrested, suspected of killing her. But it's not as straightforward as that. Because Rue is a faerie, like her mother was. And her father didn't kill her mother -- instead, he broke a promise to Rue's faerie king grandfather, which caused Rue's mother to be flung back to the faerie world. Now Rue must go to save her -- and must also defeat a dark faerie that threatens our very mortal world.

Review: A gorgeous graphic novel illustrated by Ted Naifeh and written by Holly Black. The story follows a girl who finds out her mother is fey, making her part-fey. She must search for who she really is and what it means to be part-fey.

Final Verdict: Lovely premise and even lovelier black and white graphics. Definitely Young Adult.


by Holly Black

Summary (via Goodreads):
Rue Silver's life is not what it appears to be. Her mother is a faerie, and has been taken back to the faerie realm. As Rue goes to bring her back, she must travel deep into an inhuman world. At the same time, the faerie realm is venturing into our world too, and taking its toll on those Rue loves. When her grandfather's plans threaten Rue's city, she realizes that she's the only one who can stop him. But is Rue a human or a faerie? Where does she fit? How does she know the difference between love and enchantment?

Review: The continuation of Holly's Good Neighbors graphic novel series does not disappoint. Rue starts to see more around her than she wishes to. In this book she must decide what is more important - saving her world or joining the faerie realm.

Final Verdict: Absolutely loved it and can't wait for more. Young Adult reading and subject matter.



Summary (via Goodreads): Discover Melissa Marr's mesmerizing world of Faerie . . .

The desert is far away from the schemes of the Faerie Courts—and that's how Rika likes it. Once a mortal and now a faery, Rika seeks isolation and revels in her ability to appear invisible to humans. Then, she meets him. Artistic and kind, Jayce is the last person Rika wants to hide from.

But change is coming, challenging Rika's freedom and her new romance, as her past pursues her, even into the heart of the desert. . . .

Review: A great manga styled graphic novel that tells the story of Riku - one of the girls Keenan had once turned into the Winter Girls during his quest to find a queen. Riku avoids love but cannot help falling for Jayce - a Human who comes to the desert to paint. Will she be able to save him from the fae who wish to do him harm?

Final Verdict: Loved how it took a different aspect of Marr's faerie world. Recommended for 6th grade and up.


Summary (via Goodreads): The Emperor of a faraway land prizes fancy clothes above tending to his threadbare Kingdom. Two Tailors make him a magical suit but is has one major flaw - No one can see it!

Review: A gorgeous graphic novel retelling the tale of the Emperor's New Clothes. This retelling delves a little deeper into the cunning of the clothes makers who convince the Emperor into the invisible set of clothing.

Final Verdict: Definitely recommended for 2nd grade and up.
Read more...

In My Mailbox - April 25th

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

video

For Review:
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (from Dark Faerie Tales ARC Tours)
Blood Feud by Alyx Harvey (from Around the World Tours)
This is Me from Now On by Barbara Dee

Bought:
The Light
by DJ McHale
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale

From the Library:
Because I'm Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
You are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay
Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn
The Season by Sarah MacLean


Read more...

Sunday Spotlight - Darkly Reading

Today I have a great blogger stopping buy to share more about her blog. She's a fellow lover of Urban Fantasy and I'm really enjoying her blog. She generally reviews adult books, but there's no reason not to stop by and take a gander when you need a bit of a 'darker' read. Learn more about Heather and her awesome blog Darkly Reading below.

Name: Heather
Nickname and/or blog name: Darkly Reading
Blog URL: www.darklyreading.blogspot.com




Tell me a bit about yourself.
I'm a thirty something graduate student in CT. I live with my lovely hubby and cute dog, Tucker. I love reading books and greatly increased my reading volume now that I have my trusty e-reader. I secretly dream of being an urban fantasy heroine with leather pants and firearms but I'm too lazy to start exercising my bad guy butt-kicking muscles.


When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in January of this year. I wanted to discuss the books I love with other book lovers out there and so far it's been great. Not only do I get to meet some great book bloggers and twitter peeps I've also met some of my favorite authors on the web.


What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
I primarily read urban fantasy and paranormal romance though I occasionally branch out to historical romance or a nice gothic mystery. I post reviews of what I read on my blog and occasionally do random book posts where I write about a general topic common to the books I read (like covers featuring men with tats or love triangles in books) or I feature some favorite posts on the blogosphere. I've also started a new feature called "Wicked Wednesday Quickie Review" where I do reviews of e-books that are approximately 100 pages or 50,000 words. And if I really like the book or feel like giving presents, I occasionally do a contest to give away that book.


What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
Urban fantasy and paranormal romance are definitely my favorites - I love tough as nails heroines and sexy alpha males. Some of my favorite authors are Kim Harrison, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Larissa Ione, Moira Rogers, and Jeaniene Frost. I like the books I read to have a little (or a lot) romance, some butt-kicking scenes, a good mystery, and some snarkiness.



How do you find out about the books you read?
I primarily find books to read on other book bloggers websites. I also love goodreads and find some books on that site as well.


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
Well, I just started blogging so I have a lot to learn but things I find important to me is to try to keep a regular schedule for posting, you don't need to post every day but it's good to be consistent. The best way to build a follower base is to respond to your comments on your post. If someone takes the time to leave a comment you as a blogger should take the time to respond to them. And make sure to spread the love - if you read other bloggers posts, leave a comment, even if it's just to say hi.


Thank you Heather for stopping by today! Heather always has some sort of giveaway going on, so keep your eyes on her Contests section of the blog! You may not want to come back here when you see her lovely layout. I simply adore it!

If you're interested in being a spotlighted blogger, please fill out this form.


Read more...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The New Brighton Archeological Society


Authors: Mark Andrew Smith & Matthew Weldon
Publication date: November 2008
Genre: Fantasy/Graphic Novel
Copy Provided by: Author
Summary (via Goodreads):

Out of the ashes of misfortune will rise the next generation of great adventurers! After their parents are lost on an archeological expedition, four children begin to unlock the secrets of their parents' mysterious lives, discovering a hidden world of mystical artifacts, mythical creatures, and arcane knowledge. Soon they find themselves drawn into a conflict over a great library that has kept two kingdoms at war for centuries, the children must save an enchanted forest, the birthplace of magic itself. Join us as these children become the latest members of the fabled New Brighton Archeological Society, and take their first steps towards their true destiny!

Why I read this: I am just simply in love with graphic novels and when I saw the cover of this one, I knew I had to read it. The illustrations on the cover alone are fantastic and I loved the subject of this graphic novel.

Plot: It's a fun-filled plot full of discovery, adventure and some really cool magical aspects. It has it's good versus evil underlying plot and I love the connection between their parents and what they are doing. Definitely a series my students would enjoy!

Characters: Graphically I just love the way the characters look. They have the big heads but otherwise look fairly normal. I really think this graphic novel is stunning and I'm in love with the style - especially of the character. I also like that there's enough characters that each reader will have someone they relate to. Also, it's nice to see sort of nerdy kids turned superheroes (not exactly but they do fight otherworldy creatures).

Relatability: For me, it was the sort of geekiness that the characters had going for them. Also, the general curiosity and adventure seeking of the kids reminds me of some of my escapades as a kid. I think I could match up most of the kids with some of my best friends when I was younger and it was kind of fun to just jump right in and imagine you were the one on the adventure.

Cover Commentary: Love it. Definitely a graphic novel that would capture my attention at a bookstore. Great full colors and the characters are in action making the person looking at it want to know what it is about.

Rating: 5/5 Roses

Buy it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads

*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
Read more...

Saturday Spotlight - Ashley's Library

Today I have a fun blogger who has a dream I think we all wish at some point - to open her own bookstore! Her blog is going great so far and I think she's still catching up from Dewey's Readathon (as am I!). Check out Ashley below.

Name: Ashley
Nickname and/or blog name: Ashley's Library
Blog URL: http://ashleyslibrary.blogspot.com/

Tell me a bit about yourself.
I'm 19 and I spend a large portion of my day reading. I am a student and I want to open a bookstore when I graduate. I'm a bit introverted and books have always been a large part of my life, since I learned to read. Another goal of mine is to write novels.


When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog a little more than a year ago because I wanted to talk about books. I had been reading book blogs for a while and decided I wanted to participate!


What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
I mainly write book reviews but I also have giveaways. I want to start talking about other book-related news but I need to catch up on reviews first!


What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
I read both fiction and non-fiction. As far as fiction goes, I like romance, young adult, paranormal, and I'll really give any genre a chance. The non-fiction books that appeal to me are typically those relating to human behavior.


How do you find out about the books you read?
Book blogs typically point me in the right direction. I also pay attention to the most popular books and whatever catches my eye at the bookstore.


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
I would say that participation is a great way to learn about other bloggers. Join in on challenges and other book blogging related activities.


Thank you Ashley for sharing more about yourself and your blog! Make sure to check out her blog.

If you're interested in being a spotlighted blogger, please fill out this form.


Read more...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Recommend Me (5)




Kate at The Neverending Shelf is hosting this fun weekly meme where you recommend a book, old or new, that you really enjoyed.

Today, I'm recommending one of my favorite author's YA books. He has a lot of adult books set in the world of Newford and a handful of YA. I absolutely adore Charles De Lint books and believe he truly is the epitome of Urban Fantasy.


Little (Grrl) Lost
by Charles De Lint

Summary (via Goodreads):
When fourteen-year-old TJ and her family are forced to move from their farm to the suburbs she has to give up her beloved horse, Red, but she makes a surprising new friend. Elizabeth is a Little, a six-inch-high punked-out teen with an attitude, who has run away from home to make her way in the world. TJ and Elizabeth—the Big and the Little—soon become friends, but each quickly finds herself in a truly life-threatening situation, and they are unable to help each other. Little (Grrl) Lost is a delightful combination of realism, magic, humor, and hope, and is sure to win Charles de Lint many new teen and adult fans.

My thoughts (also posted on Goodreads):
I really loved this book. I'm a big fan of Charles DeLint, but it is nice when he works outside of his Newford tales and puts out a great YA book. :) His urban fairy tale style is so edible, mixing the reality of every day life with fairies and other creatures.


What others thought of his other YA books (could not find anyone else who reviewed this specific title):
Dingo - review by Page Turners


Read more...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Link a Contest Thursday



Rules (or at least STRONG suggestions):
1. Name the item being given away (instead of the blog name)
2. Give the end date in () after the name
3. Make sure to link DIRECTLY to that contest post - if you don't know how to do this - just click on the title of the contest blog and it will give a direct URL you can use.
4. If you want to post a contest you've found, make sure it isn't already posted.


Read more...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Early to Death, Early to Rise
by Kim Harrison
Publication Date: May 12, 2010


Seventeen, dead, and in charge of heaven's dark angels—all itching to kill someone.

Madison Avery's dreams of ever fitting in at her new school died when she did. Especially since she was able to maintain the illusion of a body, deal with a pesky guardian angel, and oh yeah, bring the reaper who killed her to his untimely end. Not exactly in-crowd material. It's amazing that her crush, Josh, doesn't think she's totally nuts.

Now Madison has learned that she's the dark timekeeper, in charge of angels who follow the murky guidelines of fate. Never one to abide by the rules, she decides it's time for a major change to the system. With the help of some unlikely allies, Madison forms a rogue group of reapers who definitely don't adhere to the rules of the heavens.

But as she grapples with the terrifying new skills that come with being a timekeeper, Madison realizes she may not be prepared for what lies ahead—unless she gets some seriously divine intervention.

*Summary from HarperCollins

And I just love Kim Harrison.. cannot wait!!!




Read more...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Whisper


Author: Phoebe Kitanidis
Publication date: April 27, 2010
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Copy Provided by: Around the World Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):
I’d love a cup of coffee. I wish she knew how pretty she was. I wish I could drop this kid in the dryer sometimes. I just want her to be happy. I hope she didn’t find out what Ben said about her. I wish I knew how many calories were in a bite of muffin…

Joy is used to hearing Whispers. She’s used to walking down the street and instantly knowing people’s deepest, darkest desires. She uses this talent for good, to make people happy and give them what they want. But for her older sister, Jessica, the family gift is a curse, and she uses it to make people’s lives—especially Joy’s—miserable. Still, when Joy Hears a frightening whisper from Jessica's own mind, she knows she has to save her sister, even if it means deserting her friends, stealing a car and running away with a boy she barely knows—a boy who may have a dark secret of his own.


Why I read this: This book first caught my attention because of the paranormal plot and I only wanted to read it more when I found out Phoebe was a debut author this year.

Plot: The dichotomy of two sisters having the same power fuels this plot. One uses it to push herself away from others, while the other uses it to learn how to make friends - to give people what they want from her as a friend. There's a nice twist in the plot where you discover why the sister who is distant and angry at the world has become such and what she plans to do with her powers. The plot is mainly emotional and relationship based with some slight adventure and travel involved.

Characters: The sisters Icka and Joy have become quite different as they grew up. Joy became friendly, using her power to gain popularity and keep her friends nearby. There's points in the book in fact where Joy cannot cope with her friends without knowing what they are thinking about her. She relies heavily on her power but her sister seems to hate her power. Icka is almost violently opposite of Joy - always sabotaging her relationships and birthday parties and trying to drive her into loneliness - the same loneliness that Icka has to endure.

And then there's the boy. Jaime is an interesting character, one that seems to be right in between the two girls. He makes a great sidekick to Joy when her sister goes missing and is not a perfect male character - which gets a little old. Jaime struggles with his own problems and overcomes them the same way anyone else would - through necessity. Definitely a cast of interesting characters and ones I hope to learn more about in later books.

Relatability: I can definitely relate to this book. Having an older sister and having that tear in a relationship like Icka and Joy had definitely made me able to understand this book and all the emotions being tossed around. Also, I could find a bit of myself in each of the sisters - I remember my moody dark times in high school and then the lighter more friendly times. I can see both aspects of their lives and understand where they come from as characters. It's nice to be able to relate well to both sisters instead of just one.

Cover commentary: Gorgeous. Definitely one I want on my bookshelf eventually.

Rating: 5/5 Roses

Pre-order it on Amazon*
Find it on Goodreads

*If you buy this book on Amazon through the link above, I will receive a small portion of the sales.
Read more...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Winners and a big Thank You!

Hi guys! I meant to draw names last night, but I was too tired to throw my energy into it.

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who commented during National Library Week here on Bookworming in the 21st Century. I had 135 comments on these posts in total!!! That is awesome and not only that, but your comments were fantastic and really made my week fantastic! Definitely a great way to come back from a long spring break.

So, without further ado... the winners!

#1 Brodie
#2 Connie
#3 bianca_riot

I will be emailing you with the list of books in order so you can pick which book you want!

And just for everyone's curiosity... here is what they are getting to choose from:

If I Love You, Am I Trapped Forever by M.E. Kerr
Beryl: A Pig's Tale by Jane Simmons
In the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith
Hidden Talents by David Lubar
Also Known As Harper by Ann Haywood Leal
Muchacho by LouAnne Johnson
Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs by Ron Koertge
Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (Maximum Ride, #3) by James Patterson (Hardcover)

All the rest are ARCs except for that last one. :)

I also had a winner from the Ballad contest that was run with Kirthi's Blogger Spotlight. The winner is:

jmspettoli

Read more...

It's Monday, What are you Reading?




This fantastic meme is now hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.


Read this past week: (reviews should be up later this week)
Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Avalon High Coronation #1 Merlin Prophecy by Meg Cabot
Avalon High Coronation #2 Homecoming by Meg Cabot
Avalon High Coronation #3 Hunter's Moon by Meg Cabot

Currently Reading:
Young Bess by Margaret Irwin
Gateway by Sharon Shinn
Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy

Upcoming:
Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott
Bonecrossed by Patricia Briggs

News:
  • I went with Andrea from Book Blather over to Indiana to see Kay Cassidy at her blog launch. We spent a good 7 hours on the road between there and back, did some shopping and eating out and had a lot of fun after Kay's launch party having coffee with her and Saundra Mitchell. I'll have pictures later.. promise. :-D
  • Still doing great on the diet! Down another 4 lbs! Woot!

Read more...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In My Mailbox - April 18th

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren.

This is two weeks worth of books (because I was too out of it last weekend to do much of anything...).


video


For Review:
Gateway by Sharon Shinn (From Other Shelf Tours)
Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka
The Lost Children by Carolyn Cohagan
The Buccaneer's Apprentice by V. Briceland

Won:
Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten (from Carol)

Bought:
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
River Secrets by Shannon Hale
The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
Nobody's Prize by Esther Freisner

From the Library:
Audiobooks:
Wake by Lisa McMann
Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Evermore by Alyson Noel
Regular books:
The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelley Hall
Diamond Willow by Helen Frost
The Glass Maker's Daughter by V. Briceland
Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland
Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk
Manga/Graphic Novels:
Black is for Beginnings by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Bride of the Water God 1
Bride of the Water God 2
Bride of the Water God 3
Children of the Sea
The Signing of the Magna Carta by Debbie Levy
Avalon High Coronation #1 Merlin Prophecy by Meg Cabot
Avalon High Coronation #2 Homecoming by Meg Cabot
Avalon High Coronation #3 Hunter's Moon by Meg Cabot


And this is why my apartment is covered in books... What did you guys get?

Read more...

Bleeding Violet

Author: Dia Reeves
Publication Date: January 5th, 2010
Copy provided by: Around the World Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

Love can be a dangerous thing....

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.



Why I read this:
I picked this book up via Around the World Tours but I thought it looked interesting before seeing it on tour and also it is a paranormal book by a debut author. It's my goal this year to try to read more up and coming authors.

Plot: In perspective, it was very action filled. I felt like it moved forward really well and included something crazy going on at all times. I would have liked a little more back story to the town and why this random town had all these crazy things roaming around, but that probably is my only complaint.

Characters: Hannah is insane and so is her mother. It's hard to read this book through her point of view because she doesn't react like a normal person would. She just jumps in, insists on risking her life consistently and the way she thinks is just hard to wrap your head around.

Wyatt is Hannah's love interest, who maybe doesn't really figure out she's crazy towards the middle of their relationship when she keeps on jumping headlong into things that she really shouldn't be doing. Wyatt is one of the hunters of these baddies. I don't know that I got a clear image of him through Hannah, but I know she was definitely attracted to him.

Relationships: I definitely wouldn't call what Wyatt and Hannah have love but more like of a lusty convenient relationship. It may eventually become more but I felt like it was based too much on the thrill of risking their lives and the lust they felt for each other.

Writing: I must say that I enjoyed the way this book was written. It flowed well and was definitely a unique book and something I could only explain sometimes as FUBAR - but it worked. Knowing some girls just like Hannah throughout high school definitely made this relatable to me as well.

Cover commentary: Can I say gorgeous? Many people will probably look at this book because it is so awesome.

Rating: 4/5 Roses

Let me know below what you think of the new review style... :-D I stole some from Kate at The Neverending Shelf and Andrea at Book Blather.
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National Library Week - A little about my library

So today is the last day I'm featuring libraries and librarians as the week is almost over!

I'm going to talk a little bit about what I do and how my library is set up.

I work at an elementary school library in a town that is 80% Hispanic and probably 85% living in poverty. We have over 800 students in our K-5 building and I have to buy books for all levels of reading. Our library and teachers rely heavily on the Accelerated Reader Program - after a student reads a book, they can hop on a computer and take a short test on the book to see if they understood it well enough. They have to get a 60% or higher to pass the test. Depending on how well they do, they get some of the points the books are worth.

One of the cool things were implementing in the library this year is called the AR Store. Next month, we're inviting all the students that have met their goal (2nd grade is 40 points, 3rd is 60, 4th is 80 and 5th is 100) to shop at the AR Store. I've been scouring public library and bookcloseouts.com and other cheap places to buy books to stock our Store with. I'm really excited and it's getting our students motivated to keep doing well on their tests and making their goals.

Now, our students don't just pick out AR books in their level. Most of the 4th and 5th graders are allowed a free choice book as well - most of our kids check out Diary of a Wimpy Kid, joke books, or just a really cool looking book they want to read. I'm really excited to see what goes out in my next set of new books I put out for next week - I love to see which ones really thrive and the others that are only so-so with my students.

I've also taken a decent part of my budget and started a Graphic Novels section. We started off the year with maybe 20 graphic novels and now we have over 100 titles! I have a huge list to look at for next year and my students are really loving them. The great thing about my students is they don't care if a book is "girly" if they're a boy or too "boyish" if they're a girl - they'll check it out anyways. I'm sure that changes once they hit Middle School but it's great to see my 4th grade boys checking out Babymouse books and Mallory books.

So, this year I still have some projects I'm working on - like shifting a bunch of stuff around so I don't have to buy new shelving for next year! I'd rather spend my money on books if I can! I'm glad to have been rehired for this coming year and can't wait to develop the library further and run some new programs.

Thanks again guys for commenting this week and I'll be drawing random commentors names later tonight for the giveaway!
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Interview with Kay Cassidy



Kay Cassidy is the author of teen fiction she wishes was based on her real life. She is the founder of the national Great Scavenger Hunt ContestTM reading program for kids and teens and the host of the inspirational Living Your FiveTM web project. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, movies, music, and reading. Lots and lots of reading. She hopes her debut YA novel, THE CINDERELLA SOCIETY (April 13, 2010 - Egmont), will help girls embrace their inner Cindy.

More about Kay's book, The Cinderella Society:

What a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn't want to wear it anymore?

Sixteen year old Jess Parker has always been an outsider. So when she receives an invitation to join The Cinderella Society, a secret society of the most popular girls in school, it's like something out of a fairy tale. Swept up by the Cindys' magical world of makeovers, and catching the eye of her Prince Charming, Jess feels like she's finally found her chance to fit in.

Then the Wickeds--led by Jess's arch-enemy--begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers there's more to being a Cindy than reinventing yourself on the outside. She has unknowingly become part of a centuries-old battle of good vs. evil, and now the Cindys in charge need Jess for a mission that could change everything.

Overwhelmed, Jess wonders if The Cinderella Society made a mistake in choosing her. Is it a coincidence her new boyfriend doesn't want to be seen with her in public? And is this glamorous, secret life even what she wants, or will she risk her own happy ending to live up to the expectations of her new sisters?

Q&A:

What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Are there daily writing goals you set?

I think that, like most writers, there's not really a typical working day for me. So much depends on my external commitments that it varies widely from day to day. But I'm actually working hard to change that because I work best when I know exactly what needs to get done on a particular day and just do it.

My ideal day would be writing in the morning with a break for a healthy lunch. Story brainstorming and administration work in the afternoon and then checking email after a healthy mid-afternoon snack.

More likely, my day involves all manner of: answering questions from Great Scavenger Hunt Contest librarians and getting new ones enrolled, trying to tame the chaos that Wordpress occasionally wreaks on my blogging life, brainstorming a little, marketing a lot, writing a little, rarely remembering to eat lunch and then wondering why I desperately want a nap in the afternoon.

But I AM going to change that as soon as I get through the hectic time known as book launch. No really, I am. :-)


What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

I love when people ask me about books I've read that I love. I could talk books for HOURS and not get tired in the least. So I would probably want to someone to ask me what book most changed my outlook on life.

For me, it's actually a non-fiction book titles Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck. I was in limbo, having just left my corporate career and finished my MBA only to graduate shortly before September 11th. My new job evaporated and I was left wondering what I really wanted out of my life. I found that book and it really resonated with me—and then discovered my good friend Jenn had just read it too! So it was something that really spurred me on to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up.


If you weren't a writer, what would you be?

I would probably want to be a librarian. I actually looked at getting my MLS degree several years ago, but couldn't swing the schedule with my family commitments. Good thing or I might not be a YA author now! :-)

What genre do you enjoy reading? Do you limit yourself to reading only the genre that you write?

I read a little bit of everything. YA is so diverse that I can always find something new and different to read. I've been on a dystopian YA kick for a bit, but I've mixed in some middle grades mysteries, some women's fiction, and a bit of non-fiction to shake things up a bit. (I love non-fiction.)


What's next for you?

Next up is the sequel to The Cinderella Society, titled Cindy on a Mission! Cindy on a Mission will hit shelves in Spring 2011. It follows the further adventures of Jess and the Sisters when the Wickeds score a major win that threatens everything the Cindys hold dear.


Thank you Kay for stopping by and answering all of my questions! I can't wait until the next book comes out! Read my review of Kay's book if you want to know my thoughts on it!


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Sunday Spotlight - Une Parole

Today I have with me a great new blogger who is really enthusiastic about books! :) Check her out below.

Name:Emidy
Nickname and/or blog name: Une Parole
Blog URL: http://uneparole.blogspot.com

Tell me a bit about yourself.
Hey, I'm Emidy! I obviously love to read and try to make time for it every day. Other than reading, I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family, drinking tea, watching good moves, and relaxing! I wish I were more interesting, but sadly I'm not.


When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog around two months ago. Before I actually created Une Parole, I visited many other book blogs daily. One day it occurred to me that hey! I can make my own blog, too! From that point on, I've been enjoying every moment of my blogging adventure, and I've met some great people along the way.

I initially started Une Parole to keep track of the books I was reading - I never wanted to focus on reviewing or participating in memes. But those thoughts soon disappeared once I discovered how fun this could be!


What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
I try to mainly focus on book reviews, but I only get around to finishing a book a week. To fill the gaps, I participate in a few weekly memes and post my "Midway Checkup". This is when I post about halfway through my current novel and share my predictions, thoughts, and overall impressions so far.


What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
I'd have to say that my all-time favourite genre in mystery, although I do read quite a lot of historical fiction, YA, and just fiction in general. There's nothing better than getting absorbed in a good, suspenseful book!

As for books, I adore Agatha Christie - I've probably read close to 30 of her novels. I also love Margaret Atwood and her book Alias Grace. I chose it for an english summative and have been interested in her as an author ever since.


How do you find out about the books you read?
I get the majority of my books from the library - all it takes it an interesting cover to draw me in! I occasionally treat myself to a brand new book from the store, but that's a rarity. If I get a recommendation from a friend or from fellow bloggers, I'll check out that book also.


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
If you're debating whether or not to start a blog, I'd say go for it! There's nothing to lose, and so much to gain.

If you're a relatively new blogger (like me!) I don't have the advice that a more experienced blogger would have. What I will tell you is to try and get your blog noticed! Visit other blog and leave meaningful comments - this will introduce your blog to others and hopefully get you some followers. Other than that, try to post often but don't let it control your life. Blogging should be a fun hobby, not a chore.


Thank you Emidy for stopping by and chatting about your great blog!

If you're interested in being a spotlighted blogger, please fill out this form.


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Saturday, April 17, 2010

National Library Week - Loving being a Librarian

Today I have yet ANOTHER awesome blogger and librarian - you guys so far are really rockin' librarians. Sarah runs a fantastic blog called GreenBeanTeenQueen and is a Tween and Teen Librarian at a public library.

And here is a bit about how she became a librarian and why she loves it so much!

If you met me today, especially in the library, you would probably not believe me when I said that I used to be painfully and awkwardly shy. I walk up to strangers in the library, talk to people every day, and I’m very energetic and outgoing. But as a kid, I couldn’t bring myself to talk to people. I talked to my family, but that was about it. I was actually loud and outgoing at home, but get me in public and there was no way I was going to say anything. I remember having to psych myself up before I approached kids in my class just to say hi.

So I read a lot as a child. I am very lucky to have grown up in a home of booklovers and my parents took me on weekly (sometimes daily) library trips. I would come home with my arms full of books and I would read. I even played library and would check out my books to my stuffed animals.

Books helped me so much during those years. My imagination grew with the help of Anne Shirley. I saved pigs with Fern, lived in a little house with Laura, and ran away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Claudia and Jamie. Meg Murray helped me see that I could be shy and have a temper, but I could also be strong-and Calvin liked her, so maybe someday a boy would like me!

All I ever wanted when I visited the library was for a librarian to say “oh, that’s a great book!” or “have you read this one”-but I was way too shy to ask. I remember how important books were to me growing up and how I wanted to find other readers. That’s one reason I love working in the library now-I’m surrounded by readers every day! I also remember how hard it was for me to ask for help, so I make sure I say hi to every teen that walks into my department. Some teens want suggestions, some are fine browsing on their own. But letting them know I’m there and that I love to talk books is what makes my job so great. I love when teens tell me about books they’ve been reading and I can tell them about books I’ve read. I love finding books for readers and matching them with the perfect book. I love sharing books so much, that I have to stop myself from asking everyone I see with a book even outside the library what they’re reading!

There is no better question to ask a librarian than “can you recommend a good book” so celebrate National Library Week by visiting your library and talking about good books. And maybe you’ll come across a shy reader who just wanted to know someone else loved books as much as they do.

I hope you guys get a chance to stop by a library some time this week. I know I'll be stopping in for some books in the next few days.

Thank you Sarah for stopping by and sharing more about the awesomeness that is libraries and librarians!

Make sure to leave a comment below for another entry into this week's giveaway!
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A Spotlight Review - Rules of Attraction


Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Review by Eleni @ La Femme Readers

When I first heard about Rules of Attraction I didn't know what to expect. Perfect Chemistry is one of my favorite books and I didn't think it needed a sequel. However, I was pleasantly happy with the outcome. The second book had great characters, interesting plot and yet again a badass who you can't help but swoon over. The only thing that annoyed me was the beginning. The epilogue of Perfect Chemistry does not continue with Rules of Attraction. So when you start reading the sequel, forget about the twenty-years later part (Perfect Chemistry fans will understand, readers that haven't read it yet, don't worry that wasn't a spoiler,) Brittany and Alex are still twenty years old. After I got over my little annoyance, I couldn't put the book down.

Carlos, our rebel, who is pretty much angry at the world for having to move to Colorado was a spinning image of Alex. Honestly, I thought he was worse than Alex. He didn't take authority very well. Kiara, was Brittany's total opposite, her wardrobe and persona never gave away that she was indeed wealthy. I really loved Kiara's attitude, she was down to earth and very likable. Also, Kiara's best friend is hilarious, I enjoyed their goofy relationship. I loved the blossoming relationship between Kiara and Carlos. Boy was it steamy at times, Simone really knows how to excite her readers hehe. Overall, in my eyes it's pretty much a second Perfect Chemistry but with other characters and glimpses of Alex and Brittany. I still am in love with Simone's writing, especially her sarcasm. I thoroughly enjoyed it, however Perfect Chemistry still remains my favorite. On the other hand, the cover of Rules of Attraction is so romantic, I love it!

4.5/5
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Saturday Spotlight - La Femme Readers

Today I have one of my affiliates as a spotlighted blogger! Eleni from La Femme Readers - check out what her blog is all about below!

Name:
Eleni
Nickname and/or blog name: La Femme Readers
Blog URL: http://lafemmereaders.blogspot.com/



Tell me a bit about yourself.
I'm 24 years old, going to be 25 in June and I live in New York. I am an avid reader, there isn't a moment where I don't have a book with me. I also love to hang out with friends and my fiance, listen to music, watch movies and of course blogging. I graduated with a degree in English and I am continuing my education either in the teaching or publishing field.


When and why did you start your blog?
I started blogging in late of May 2009. I started blogging because I really enjoyed talking about books with my friends. Unfortunately most of them don't read like I do. So, I found blogging as an outlet to express my love for books with others.


What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
La Femme Readers is a book review blog that mainly focuses on Young Adult Fiction. I also have author interviews, fun giveaways and try my best to keep my followers updated on all the amazing up and coming YA book releases.


What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
I love YA, especially Urban Fantasy and Supernatural.


How do you find out about the books you read?
I research a lot online. I always like to keep my Friday Finds up to date. I enjoy promoting new authors and also introducing books to my followers.


Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
It's definitely hard work. But, if you're really serious about blogging, just have fun with it and definitely try to stay organized! Sometimes balancing a blog and an outside life does get overwhelming so time management is the key. :)


Eleni has some awesome contests going on and she's great and lists them all first thing on her site! Check out her site to see what she's giving away!


Thanks Eleni for stopping by and sharing more about your awesome-tastic blog! Stay tuned for a guest review by Eleni!

If you're interested in being a spotlighted blogger, please fill out this form.


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Friday, April 16, 2010

National Library Week - The Middle School Librarian!

Today I have a librarian who runs a seriously fun blog and does some really fantastic stuff at her middle school library. Karin's blog is called Karin's Book Nook and she's also done some fantastic reading challenges - the latest of which is The Random Reading Activity Challenge. Check out what goes on at her middle school library!

Karin's Book Nook

A middle school library is a fun place to be. Libraries aren't like they used to be when I was a young person in junior high/middle school. Now, we have studying, reading, computers, class projects, and checking out books all going on at the same time. A typical day in my library looks something like this.


A school library media specialist wears many hats. I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the library in terms of ordering supplies, AV materials, equipment, and books.


I also have a lot to do with ordering and implementing technology in the building - both for student use and teacher use. (Personally, I love using technology, but it is the least favorite part of my job because it turns into troubleshooting and maintenance instead of ways to incorporate it into lessons for the students.)

I love collaborating with teachers in the building - developing lessons and assisting teachers in any way I can. Sometimes I'm invited to go into the classroom and read aloud to the students during a book study. Other times I'm invited to help with the Spelling Bee and Geography Bee. I really like it when I get to help students get ready for research papers and teach them how to use our online databases. Working with the kids is great! So far, this year, I've read two complete novels with two different 8th grade classes. After we finished the novel, each class had the opportunity to visit with the author via Skype. What an experience. I'd like to give a shout out to Alane Ferguson, author of the Forensic Mystery series, and Pam Bachorz, author of Candor. Both authors volunteered an hour of their time to talk to a small group of students about their writing processes. Experiences like these are what makes me proud to be a librarian.

This brings me to the all-time, number one reason I love my job. I absolutely adore spreading the word about good young adult literature. In fact, this is the reason I started my blog in 2007. Middle school students are at delicate place in their lives when it comes to reading for pleasure. Research shows a drastic decrease in reading for pleasure beginning with in the middle school years. My thought is, if we can get them hooked before they leave, they might never lose the love of reading a good book. It is so important they see reading as a worthwhile recreational pastime. Books have a lot of competition - friends, homework, sports, video games, the list goes on, but if we don't try, we'll definitely lose them.

One way I try to show reading as a recreational activity is to host a Read-a-Thon twice a year (once in the Fall and once in the Spring). Students show up at school on a Friday night at 7:00 pm and bring pillows, blankets, and reading material. They find a special spot in the library and set up camp. I provide water and soda and a variety of snacks (pizza, chips, cookies, candy, crackers, etc). Students fill their plates with food and settle in for an evening of reading.

At the time of their arrival I have them sign in with their name and the page number they are on at the time. As they finish books, they go back to the sign in sheet and update their page numbers. If they start a new book, they start a new page number count. The only time I interrupt their reading is to give out the occasional door prize (always a book). They also use this time to refill on snacks. At the end of the evening I count up the number of pages we read as a group.

I've hosted the Read-a-Thon for 4 years now. The number of attendees has increased as the years have gone by and the students begin to expect it. My largest crowd has been approximately 90 students and 7 teachers. We've read close to 7,000 pages in one evening. The Read-a-Thon ends at Midnight and students leave with the impression that reading is fun and always ask to make sure we are going to have another one. (Sidenote about teachers - I always encourage teachers to show up during the Read-a-Thon - even if they don't stay for the entire event. It is important for the kids to see adults reading, too. Even the teachers that don't teach English/Language Arts. I put a sign up sheet in the teacher's lounge with hour long time slots and ask them to commit to a portion of the evening. The most I've had was 7).




Librarianship is the greatest job to have - if you enjoy books, that is. You get to interact with all the students and you don't have to grade papers or give grades! If you are thinking of a new career, check into a Masters in Library Studies. You won't regret it. I was a librarian at an elementary school for 4 years before moving to the middle school. There are pros and cons to all levels and basically it will come down to preference. I love the middle school age because I have a passion for young adult literature. You might like the little ones! There is something for everyone in the library.


I secretly want to work at a middle school library too! I work at an elementary library and love it, but I'd like to try out working at a middle school library someday! Karin runs a fantastic library and an awesome blog! Thank you for stopping by Karin and sharing all of this with us!


Make sure to leave a comment below for another entry into this week's giveaway!
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