Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Break Reading Challenge Activity #4 - Scavenger Hunt

Summer Break Reading Challenge

So today's activity is a Scavenger Hunt. I had to find the following book/blog related things:

1. A blog that is new to you that focuses on the same type of literature you do.
Well, I found a great blogger who started commenting recklessly (like 20 comments) yesterday and I had never been on her blog before, which reviews YA. So Kiss My Book is the blog that is new to me. I'm now a follower!

2. A book that is new to you that another blogger reviewed.
Freefall by Mindi Scott - The Hiding Spot

3. A book set in Africa (in your preferred age category, if possible).
Listening for Lions by Megan Turner Whelan

4. A book about a human/animal bond (in your preferred age category, if possible).
Eye of the Wolf by Daniel Pennac

5. A book trailer for a book you want to read.

6. A book with a color in the title (in your preferred age category, if possible).
White Cat by Holly Black

7. A blog that is new to you that is dedicated to a certain genre:
Brooke Reviews (Paranormal/Urban Fantasy)

8. A book blog maintained by a librarian.
Mean Old Library Teacher

9. A book blog maintained by a teacher.
Coffee for the Brain

10. The title of an upcoming book by an author you like (provide details - title, release date, synopsis).
The Painted Boy by Charles De Lint

The Secret of the Dread Forest

Author: Gillian Summers
Publication Date: June 2009
Genre: YA Fantasy
Copy provided by: Library
Other books in the series: The Tree Shepherd's Daughter and Into the Wildewood
Summary (via Goodreads):

Now that she has (sort of) defeated a diabolical elf, Keelie Heartwood reluctantly joins her father in the Dread Forest. Her "real" friends are gone, her dad is preoccupied with his new responsibilities as Lord of the Forest and now it seems that her budding romance with the hunky Sean is dashed. Except for her impossible guardian cat Knot, and Alora, a demanding and bratty little princess tree, Keelie has no one to hang with—unless you count that nasty elf-girl Elia, who suddenly wants to be Keelie's frenemy.

Meanwhile, an age-old rift in Keelie's family and among the elves reaches a dangerous climax as humans and dark magical forces alike encroach on the elves' enchanted realm. The fate of the Dread Forest—and of all who dwell within it—lies in Keelie's hands.

Why I read this: I loved the first two books in this trilogy, so I had to read this one.

Plot: The last book of the trilogy, The Secret of Dread Forest does not disappoint. Keelie now has to face her formidable grandmother, who loathes her deceased mother as well as seems to dislike her because she is only half elf. Not only does she have to face her grandmother, but a vampire. Vampires are different in this world - they are fey that no longer are true to their nature. Also, the Dread that keeps humans out of the forest is in danger, and, in turn, so are the fey that live there.

Characters: I really love Keelie. She's definitely outspoken and, at times, speaks before thinking. She has to adjust to more changes, but puts up with the situation the best she can. She holds grudges, loves easily, and sometimes trusts too easily. I like that she is not perfect, but hardheaded enough to help even when told not to.

Relatability: Anyone who has dealt with loss/love/or adjusting to a new home can relate to this series.

Cover Commentary: I like it - the covers in the series follow the theme of the book nicely.

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.

The Prince of Mist

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Publication Date: May 4, 2010 (republished)
Genre: YA Historical/Paranormal
Copy provided by: Library
Summary (via Goodreads):

A mysterious house harbors an unimaginable secret . . .

It’s wartime, and the Carver family decides to leave the capital where they live and move to a small coastal village where they’ve recently bought a home. But from the minute they cross the threshold, strange things begin to happen. In that mysterious house there still lurks the spirit of Jacob, the previous owners’ son, who died by drowning.

With the help of their new friend Roland, Max and Alicia Carver begin to explore the suspicious circumstances of that death and discover the existence of a mysterious being called The Prince of Mist— a diabolical character who has returned from the shadows to collect on a debt from the past. Soon the three friends will find themselves caught up in an adventure of sunken ships and an enchanted stone garden, which will change their lives forever.

Why I read this: It was highly recommended to me by a friend - can't remember who though.

Plot: Absolutely fantastic. This book is a paranormal thriller set during WWII. A family moves to a town on the beach - one that has a history of a mysterious shipwreck. Creepy things start happening and it's up to Max and Alicia (brother and sister) to find out what is going on with the help of a native boy named Roland. I was definitely creep-ed out quite a bit reading this book and I loved the twists and turns this novel took. Definitely a thrilling read.

Characters: Max seems fearless to me. He dives headlong into the mystery surrounding the town no matter what the consequences. Through his eyes, you also get to know Roland - a local boy who is fun-loving and up for the adventure - as well as his older sister Alicia - who he felt he never truly knew until they moved.

And the Prince of Mist - what a truly horrible bad guy. I shiver just thinking about how evil he really is.

Relatability: There's many ways to relate to this book - relationships with family, romantic relationships, moving to a new place. I really also loved the creepiness of this story. Seriously, it was so thrilling.

Cover Commentary: Very fitting to the plot!

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.

Blogoversary Day 30

Remember to enter the Comment Contest and start commenting now if you haven't already! :) Ends Wednesday night, so hurry hurry! :)

Alright, today is the last contest, which means it is also my last chance to answer questions for you guys!

I believe I only really have two left, so here I go:

How did you manage to snag so many ARCs and books in your one year of blogging?
To be honest, I'm not quite sure. Okay, first of all - last summer I went to ALA and basically snagged about 100 books at the conference. It's a similar conference to BEA, only librarians generally make up most of the population. I also spent a lot of time entering contests and winning ARCs and then I've been fortunate to have a few publishers actually contact me for reviewing ARCs. Most of the ARCs I get are for Tours - I participate in Traveling to Teens, Traveling ARC Tours, and Booking it Forward Tours currently and most of those arcs are only with me for a a week and then they get passed on after I read it. Authors also sometimes contact me via Twitter or email to see if I want to review one of their novels as well.

I don't email publishers to ask for certain books because I really have a huge TBR pile in the upper 300s range. That's from buying books, winning books, review books, etc. So, I can't justify asking them, but if they offer and it's something I really want to read, I will say yes.

I tend to babble on until my review actually reaches about 500-600 words, so I wonder if you personally think it is OK to write a long review or I better keep it short?
I'm all about short reviews if you've seen my blog... but it's really your style. I think it's good to try new things out and see what you feel most comfortable with when reviewing. I feel like yes, I want to tell you what I thought about the book - but I don't like revealing too much about a book, so I keep my reviews very short. Doesn't mean that's the right way, it's just my way and I highly suggest doing whatever you feel most comfortable with.

You guys can always email me if you have blogging questions or need advice, or simply want to chat. (dragonzgoil at gmail dot com) I'm on way too much in the summer, so I can get back to you lickity-split. :-D

Today's contest is for a signed ARC of Dark Life by Kat Falls - not only is she a debut author, but she lives near Chicago! :) Check out my review of her book.


1. Open to people with US addresses only.
2. Fill out the form below to enter.
3. This contest will run until Wednesday, July 14th at 10 pm CST.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Reminder: Book Extravaganza

Don't forget to fill out the form for Book Extravaganza!

Rules can be found HERE.

Fill out THE FORM by Tuesday, July 6th in order to participate. We only have about 15 people signed up and would love to double or triple that!


The Krybosian Stairpath

Author: S.R.R. Colvin
Publication Date: October 2009
Genre: MG Fantasy
Copy provided by: Traveling ARC Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

In a refreshing change, along comes a children's book that does not rely on magic to explain the unexplainable. The Krybosian Stairpath puts forth the notion that just because you don't understand something, it doesn't mean there must be magic behind it. Knowledge and perspective can make all the difference.

Enter a world of wonder deep inside the earth as 11-year-old geologist Madison Terrence follows her pet gopher down a stairpath portal she discovers in her family's cavern. When she descends the Krybosian Stairpath, a mystery from her family's past begins to unravel. She soon realizes her arrival in the interior world of Krybos is no accident. Madison discovers that she's been pulled into a sinister plot to destroy the most beautiful place she has ever seen.

Why I read this: The novel looked intriguing and I'm all for books that travel to different worlds.

Plot: A trio of kids stumble upon a staircase in the underground caverns of their house and discover that it leads to a whole other world. This book contained the usual bad guys wants X object, main character has X object, and then a struggle/adventure ensues. I like the mix of geology with magic. The explained and unexplainable all in one book. Actually, the plot was fun, but my only complaint was that I really wanted more description, more depth into this other world.
Characters: Madison is a logical girl, but does not blanch at the magical nature of the world she discovers. I felt like the author really wrote Madison's character well and could see who she really was. I have to admit, her little brother, Mica, annoyed me quite a bit, but little brothers are often bothersome. The author really had the lingo down for annoying little brother speak.

The bad guy was not that scary and his minions were more comical than frightening. It reminded me of the two minion to Hades in the Disney movie Hercules.

Relatability: Definitely a plot often seen in fantasy and one the reader can easily follower. Anyone with an annoying younger sibling can definitely relate to this book as well.

Cover Commentary: Kind of boring, to be honest...

Rating: 3/5

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.

Guest Post - ARCs verses Finished Copies

ARCs verses Finished Copies
Written by Emily @ Red House Books

When I first started blogging, almost a year ago now, I had no idea what an ARC, or Advanced Review Copy, was. Even after I found out, I never imagined that I would ever get my hands on one. See, I have a problem....with books...with lots of books...everywhere in the house....SO aside from the fact that I couldn't imagine any publisher ever wanting to send me anything (let alone something as precious as a book!) I knew this could become a problem - one more way for books to make their way into my home. My lovely lovely home full of books everywhere, on every shelf, in every corner......

I'm still in shock over the whole thing. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I have publishers sending me books every week (or every month for that matter) but I have gotten them. At first I didn't know what to make of them - are they just as good as a finished copy? Worse because of the typos? Better because they are rare? I know everyone has their own opinion on the matter and I know you are just dying to hear mine - right?

Honestly, I treat my ARCs just as I would any other book. I don't hold any prejudices against it because of it's 'unfinished' quality. And although it might be rare, after the book is released, does it still hold such a high value? If I like it enough to re-read, or lend to a friend or family member, I keep it, if not, I don't. The very first ARC I ever received, Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, I will never part with. Partially because I loved it, and partially because it was my first ARC!

Now, when it comes to finished copies, a lot of times, I will buy the book, even if I have read the ARC. For me, it's a way of supporting the author. If I love the book enough to want to keep it on my shelf, I love it enough to let the author know (by my purchase).

How do you guys feel? Do you treat your ARCs any differently then your finished copies?

Thanks Emily for bringing up this great topic! I for one, don't keep a lot of my ARCs, due to space issues and if I love a book, I will either buy it or it will go on my long list of books to Buy in the Future. The only time I keep an arc is if it's signed to me. I have a few of those that I will never part with because it may have been the only time I would have met that author. :)

Leave your thoughts below!

Blogoversary Day 29

Remember to enter the Comment Contest and start commenting now if you haven't already! :) Ends Wednesday night, so hurry hurry! :)

Today's contest prize was donated by my affiliate Emily from Red House Books. Up for grabs is an ARC of Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin. Also, Emily is guest posting for me today, so keep an eye out for that!


1. Open to people with US addresses only.
2. Fill out the form below to enter.
3. This contest will run until Tuesday, July 13th at 10 pm CST.


Monday, June 28, 2010


Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publication Date: May 2007
Genre: YA Paranormal
Copy provided by: Library! :)
Summary (via Goodreads):

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

Why I read this: This is a book I've been meaning to read for a while. I found it in audiobook format at the library, so I picked it up. Listening to books helps motivate me to clean, workout and organize. :-D

Plot: This book had such an interesting concept. This place called Elsewhere - the place you go after you die is so intriguing. You age backwards while you are there and then eventually become reborn on Earth as a baby. Beyond that, I loved the way this worked for Lizzie. That love could be found and you could still "live" in Elsewhere like when you were alive.

Characters: Liz reacted how I expected her to, like a girl pulled away from her life at 16. She becomes obsessed with trying to get a hold of her family and spends hours a day watching them. But things start to change, a boy shows up that makes her rethink her dislike of Elsewhere and her want to go back to Earth. The other characters I loved were the dogs - they were hilarious. In fact, the book starts from the POV of Lucy, Liz's dog.

Relatability: Everyone at some point thinks about what happens after we die, so I think it's easy to relate to this novel. Also, dog-lovers will get a kick out of this book.

Cover Commentary: Love it. I have a love for snowglobes.

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.

Blogoversary Day 28

Remember to enter the Comment Contest and start commenting now if you haven't already! :) Ends Wednesday night, so hurry hurry! :)

Today's contest prize was donated by my affiliate Elie from Ellz Readz. Up for grabs is an ARC of Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George.


1. Open to people with US addresses only.
2. Fill out the form below to enter.
3. This contest will run until Monday, July 12th at 10 pm CST.


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 coming soon)
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Prism by Faye Kellerman (audio)
The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Kryposian Staircase by S.R.R. Colvin
Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Currently reading:
This is Me From Now On by Barbara Dee
Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull (Fablehaven #5)
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Young Bess by Margaret Irwin
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
The Glass Maker's Daughter by V. Briceland
The Buccaneer's Apprentice by V. Briceland

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blogoversary Winners Thusfar!

So, I know a few people have asked - due to some contests ending - who the winners were. So, here we go. This is basically the first two weeks worth of winners! :)

Day 1: Signed ARC of Hourglass by Claudia Gray

#94 Rica Eat World from The Smarty Owl!

Day 2: Misty will pick the winner on July 1st! :)

Day 3: Signed ARC of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

#48 Kim from And Anything Bookish!

Day 4: Signed copy of The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

#68 Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag!

Day 7: Signed ARC of The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

#7 Karen from Gig Harbor High School Library!

Day 8: Signed ARC of The Body Finder by Kimberly Dertling

#65 Jacqueline C. from The Eclectic Book Lover!

Day 9: First two books in the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce

#34 Alex from Tales of a Teenage Book Lover!

Day 10: ARCs of Another Pan (+Another Faust, if wanted)

#88 Harmony from Harmony's Radiant Reads!

Day 11: ARC of The Eternal Ones

#53 Jenn from Books at Midnight!

Congrats to all the winners! I will be posting the next set of winners next weekend! :)

Perchance to Dream

Sequel to Eyes Like Stars
Author: Lisa Mantchev
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Genre: YA Fantasy
Copy provided by: Traveling ARC Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

The stuff that dreams are made on.

Act Two, Scene One

Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn’t know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world.


But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. And her magic cannot help her make a decision between—

Nate: Her suave and swashbuckling pirate, now in mortal peril.

Ariel: A brooding, yet seductive, air spirit whose true motives remain unclear.

When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. She and her fairy sidekicks embark on a journey aboard the Thèâtre’s caravan, using Bertie’s word magic to guide them. Along the way, they collect a sneak-thief, who has in his possession something most valuable, and meet The Mysterious Stranger, Bertie’s father—and the creator of the scrimshaw medallion. Bertie’s dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it’s Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess’s lair?

Once again, LISA MANTCHEV has spun a tale like no other—full of romance, magic, adventure, and fairies, too—that readers won’t want to put down, even after the curtain has closed.

Why I read this: I really enjoyed the first one and wanted to read more about Bertie and her adventures.

Plot: I have to be honest here. This book felt scattered to me at times. The setting was hard for me to picture. Otherwise, it was the usual rescue adventure with obstacles caused by mystical forces. The whole setting felt surreal and I couldn't seem to focus on what was going on and then suddenly they were moving on to something else. It was kind of a trip.

Characters: Okay, why can't Ariel just be the bad guy? I feel like he should be, but he isn't - it's just how Bertie reacts to his "love" for her. Okay, less venting about Ariel versus Nate.

I cannot really connect with Bertie. I think the problem is I can't see her background clearly in the books and how it's made her into who she is. I don't understand her. Why does she push Ariel away? Why is Nate the one she runs after to save? I'm not quite clear of her motives and then the sudden father figure entering the stage threw me off and it felt awkward and really weird all at once. I do love the fairies - they crack me up and keep me fairly sane throughout the whole adventure. They are constant in their love for food and constant bickering and insanity. Definitely my favorite characters.

Relatability: I can relate to the fairies, but I feel like the other characters aren't as real. There's nothing quite human about them besides emotions and I need some basis in reality to really connect. I'm sure people involved with theatre would understand this novel more, especially with the scene changes and play-writing.

Cover Commentary: Gorgeous. I may buy it just to have it next to Eyes Like Stars, which I enjoyed more than the sequel for some reason.

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.

Sunday Spotlight - Everything to Do With Books

I love learning about new bloggers - especially ones from other countries! Check out more about Rebecca below. :)

Name: Rebecca
Nickname and/or blog name: Everything to Do With Books
Blog URL:

Tell me a bit about yourself.
I'm 19 almost 20 and a blogger from New Zealand. I am busy studying Statistics but I try to read in my spare time (and sometimes when I'm meant to be studying). I have a cat called Pan and I think that's about all I have to say about myself.

When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in March of 2009 because I just thought it was a really fun idea and a good hobby to get into. I definitely think it has been good so far.

What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
Mostly my blog consists of reviews I have held some contests and had a few other bookish features. I've even started having author interviews which is really exciting for me. Over the last few months my friend Scarlett has taken over Friday's on the blog so she does her own little bits and pieces related to books. One feature I do is Bookish Webs where I talk about book related websites. Another is Reading on Film which is just books that are made into movies and comparisons of the two.

What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
I would have to say my two favourite genres of all time are fantasy and mystery. I really love Tamora Pierce's books because she is amazing. Lately my favourite book has been Graceling by Kristin Cashore, I'm just obsessed with it and have been ever since I read it. I like horror but I haven't really found any really scary YA titles yet.

How do you find out about the books you read?
These days mostly through other book blogs. Occasionally I'll just go to the library for a while and sit looking through books for interesting ones to read. I also get recommendations from friends a lot. I also like to look at books that people are reading in public and then I'll look up what they're about later on to see if I'd like them or not.

Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
Just have fun. Don't try to compete with anyone else you see blogging. At the end of the day your blog is your own words and works, it's a little like a diary only everyone can see. It doesn't have to be perfect and it doesn't have to be the best thing out there. Just make sure that you're having fun blogging.

Thank you Rebecca for stopping by and sharing more about your blog. Great advice. I definitely love blogging and love meeting new bloggers! :)

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


In My Mailbox - June 27th

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

For Review:

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs (from Traveling ARC Tours)
Firelight by Sophie Jordan (from Traveling ARC Tours)

Karma Bites by Stacey Kramer and Valerie Thomas
Other by Karen Kincy

Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer
The Body at the Tower (The Agency, Book 2) by Y.S. Lee
Zoey Zeta and the Sisters of Power by Robert Simon

From the Library:

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Break Reading Challenge Activity #2

Karin asked us to create a wordle picture from either a description of a book or a review we wrote of a book. I used Dead Beautiful for my book and this is how it turned out:

Click on the picture to make it bigger. :)

Wordle: Dead Beautiful


A Spotlight Review - Glimmerglass

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, Dana decides she’s had it with being her mother’s keeper, so she packs her bags and heads to stay with her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl—she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Soon, she finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone wants something from her, even her newfound friends and family. Suddenly, life with her alcoholic mom doesn't sound half bad, and Dana would do anything to escape Avalon and get back home. Too bad both her friends and her enemies alike are determined not to let her go . . .

From the moment heard about Glimmerglass, I was obsessed. It was one of the books I just couldn’t wait for. I was obsessed before I even started. And for that reason, I set the bar very high. Unfortunately, it didn’t meet all my expectations. But it did surpass them in others.

Something I am not sure how I feel about is the beginning. It takes right off. But I still feel an aching longing to read more about Dana’s backstory before Avalon. That said, I am also glad the story took off so quickly because if not, it may have been boring to read. But it definitely wasn’t, so I am glad!

Dana was such a strong character at some points in the book. A little too strong maybe? I understand that she had to be an adult for most of her life, but really? Could a sixteen year old really handle all that with such strength? Of course, there are things that she doesn’t have the power to control (Avalon), where you see her true self, which may not be as strong as we are led to believe. The love interests were very different and very attractive (to Dana). But if I were in her position, there is no competition. That is all I will say for now.

The writing was phenomenal! You could tell this wasn’t Jenna Black’s first work because that kind of writing doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. It comes with time and practice, which Black definitely has. The writing was so right for a young adult novel. So descriptive and imaginative! Through the cracks, Black’s roots as an adult urban fantasy author leaked through. But that didn’t bother me one bit.

One thing that I wish there was more of was the magic. This was the disappointing part of this book for me. I was expecting a story so very different that what I got. Not that I didn’t love what I read, but I kinda felt let down. The magic you do get is only for a few pages at the end. But I know for a fact, and you will to if you read this book, that there will be tons more in the upcoming Faeriewalker books.

Jenna Black’s talents as a writer shine in her young adult debut, Glimmerglass. I recommend to all YA fans, along with urban fantasy fanatics. This story glimmers with magic and love.

Saturday Spotlight - Tales of a Teenage Book Lover

Today, I have with me a blogger who is unusual for quite a few reasons. First off, a guy blogger??? YAY! :) We need more guys that love reading enough to start a blog. Also, Alex started reviewing books on YouTube before he started his blog - isn't that interesting? I have yet to do a review vlog.. but maybe I should try it out sometimes. Anyways, to learn more about this awesome book blogger, keep reading!

Nickname and/or blog name: Tales of a Teenage Book Lover
Blog URL:

Tell me a bit about yourself.
Well... I'm Alex(ander). I'm a student in 8th grade. I live in the middle of nowhere and use books to take me to other places. A long with reading and reviewing YA, I also write it.

When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in December of 09. I used to only do YouTube reviews, which I still do, but I saw one of the people I was subscribed to on YouTube also had a book blog. I thought it looked really fun and decided to start my own.

What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
I do the obvious, review young adult. I also interview the authors of these great books. I have giveaways, which are always fun. I do IMM and have my own blog feature "Future Favorites", which spotlights 5 upcoming YA books a week.

What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
Well I mostly read YA, but also read MG and some adult books. I really like paranormal romance, fantasy, and anything fiction.

How do you find out about the books you read?
From bloggers, goodreads friends, and other reviews I see and think "I want to read that book!"

Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
Don't do it just so you can get free books. Don't do it for followers. Do it because you genuinely love reading and reviewing books and want to share your honest opinions on them.

Contest Alert!
Alex is currently having a contest for Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill. Ends June 30th, so hurry up and enter!

Thank you Alex for stopping by and sharing more about your blog! Stay tuned for a guest review by Alex - a review of a book that I REALLY want to read!

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


Friday, June 25, 2010

Authors Interview - Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

Today, I have with me the fantastic author duo of Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson, authors of The Familiars, which is a great new fantasy series for middle grade readers about three familiars and their adventures together.

Let's have a little background first - when and why did you decide to write a book together?

We decided to write a book in the fall of 2008. We wanted to write a book because “The Familiars” was a story we were passionate about and loved. Adam grew up loving magic and Andrew grew up loving action figures. We wanted to tell a story that captured that love of fantasy we both grew up with. The reason we wrote the book together is because it’s a lot more fun doing something with a friend. It’s really hard to sit down and write everyday on your own, and writing a book was something we both wanted to do for a very long time.

What was your process for writing a novel together?

One of the unique things about this book is that we co-authored it. The two of us literally sat in the same room for months and months writing every word, sentence, and paragraph together. Andrew is the typist (because he's frankly a much faster typer), while Adam sits beside him, or across from him in a nice, comfy chair, or sometimes paces around. We craft an outline of the story that includes much of the major plot elements but with none of the dialogue or details. Then we write (and rewrite and rewrite!).

What do you absolutely need to have when you sit down to write?

When Andrew sits down to write he absolutely must have his laptop, a comfy chair, and a good selection of snacks. For Adam, as long as Andrew brings a good selection of snacks he’s happy, too. (But Andrew doesn’t really like to share his snacks so Adam has to bring his own.)

While writing the book, did you know that you were writing for a middle grade audience? Or did it just come out that way?

We just wrote a book that we wanted to read (or would have wanted to read when we were younger!). We really didn't know what a “middle grade audience” was. Now, having met some of these 8 to 12 year olds (on our pre-publication book tour) we couldn't be happier that they are the core audience for our book. Of course, we think that “The Familiars” can reach a much broader audience, as well.

What are some of your favorite novels and/or authors?

When Adam was in fifth grade, his dad gave him a copy of “Spell for Chameleon.” It was a book that first got him hooked on reading fantasy. Andrew must have had 20 “Encyclopedia Brown” books on his bookshelf.

Thanks guys! It's great to know more about how you began writing the book and the writing process of a cowritten novel. Check Adam and Andrew out on Twitter and their Website. (Their site has some fantastic music which I sort of wish I had on while reading their novel - very fitting!) Also, I just posted a review of their novel, right up above this post. So go check it out. :)

The Familiars

Author: Adam Jay Epstein and Adam Jacobson
Publication Date: September 7, 2010
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Copy provided by: publisher
Summary (via Goodreads):

After three young wizard apprentices are kidnapped by the evil queen of a distant land, it is up to their familiars, their magical animal companions -- a street smart alley cat, a precocious blue jay, and a bumbling tree frog -- to save them.

Why I read this: I thought The Familiars looked like a fun, middle grade fantasy and it's also a debut novel.

Plot: A Typical fantasy plot - three human wizard apprentices are captured and the familiars must save them. Definitely full of twists, as Aldwyn has to hide his secret of having no magical abilities. Action-packed with time to build relationships, The Familiars is a great middle grade fantasy that many kids and teens will get a kick out of.

Characters: I really loved Aldwyn. He's an alley cat and his story is sort of the old rags-to-riches type scenario. Aldywyn is at the right place at the right time and finds himself becoming a familiar. He no longer need to con a meal daily and finds himself attached to his human counterpart. The other familiars provide a great trio of budding friends: Skyla - a bluejay who is interested in human magic, and Gregory - a tree frog who is mostly concerned with catching flies. Both have their own abilities to bring to the table.

Relatability: I think that anyone can see the rag-to-riches and rescue plot lines and compare it to other age-old stories they have read growing up. Also, the humor used in the novel also helps the reader relate to the characters. Definitely was a great read and one I would highly recommend to my students.

Cover Commentary: Very cute. Definitely looks magical. I especially love the title lettering.

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.

Blogoversary Day 25

Remember to enter the Comment Contest and start commenting now if you haven't already! :) Ends next week, so hurry hurry! :)

Today's contest is for a signed paperback copy of The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox. Thank you Victoria for letting me giveaway a copy of your fantastic novel! :) Check out my review of her book.

For extra entries, you can check out The Magic Warble on Facebook and if you "Like" it, you will get an extra point. Also, check out The Magic Warble website and/or Victoria's blog and tell me one thing you saw or learned for another point.


1. Open to people with US addresses only.
2. Fill out the form below to enter.
3. This contest will run until Friday, July 7th at 10 pm CST.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Join in on the Summer Break Reading Challenge!

Summer Break Reading Challenge

Karin @ Karin's Book Nook always hosts these great reading challenges for different breaks in the school year. There's activities and cool prizes and just a place where you can share what you're reading! Click on the picture above to check it out!

I'm game, are you?


Blogoversary Day 24

Remember to enter the Comment Contest and start commenting now if you haven't already! :) Ends next week, so hurry hurry! :)

I'm not up for questions right now, migraine all yesterday, but I will answer the remainder next week - promise! :-D

Okay, today's contest is for a middle grade book I recently reviewed called The Lost Children. Check out my review of the book!


1. Open to people with US addresses only.
2. Fill out the form below to enter.
3. This contest will run until Thursday, July 6th at 10 pm CST.


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.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Break Reading Challenge Activity #1

Summer Break Reading Challenge

For the first activity for The Summer Break Reading Challenge, we were asked to post our reading goals for the summer!

I'm aiming for a book a day, but I really want to start getting through my CYBILS Challenge books. So, I'm starting with the ones I own. I still also need to knock down my review book pile as well.

Here's the CYBILS nominees I want to get read this summer:

by Diana Peterfreund
Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
Wings by Aprilynne Pike
Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Moon: The Immortals by Alyson Noel
Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors
Eternal Kiss, The: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire
The Everafter by Amy Huntley
Fade by Lisa McMann
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
Libyrinth by Pearl North
Meridian by Amber Kizer
Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman
Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia by Cindy Pon
Snap by Carol Snow
Stealing Death by Janet Lee Carey
Swoon by Nina Malkin
Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic Book) by Patricia C. Wrede
Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott
Archenemy by Frank Beddor

And a few on my review pile:
And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer
The Demon King by Cinda Williams
Matched by Ally Condie
The Buccaneer's Apprentice by V. Briceland
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
The Sorcerer of Sainte Felice by Ann Finnin

I have quite a few more, but those are the ones I will tackle first most likely. :)


Book Extravaganza!

We are officially GO for Book Extravaganza! Thank you everyone for filling out the questionnaire form - it really showed that you guys were enthusiastic about this event! All information seen here will also be over at Kate's blog The Neverending Shelf, as well!

Book Extravaganza will run from Friday, July 16th to Sunday, July 18th. So mark your calendars!

For those of you wanting to host a contest during Book Extravaganza, we have some Rules for you to read before you fill out THE FORM. Please read all of them carefully and if you have a question feel free to email me ( or Kate (

Rules and Regulations:
1. You MUST fill out THE FORM in order to participate by Tuesday, July 6th.
2. When posting your contest, it should be posted at 12:01 am EST on Friday, July 16th. All contests will end at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, July 18th.
3. Your contest winner should be announced on your blog by Friday, July 23rd.
4. All contests MUST be book related. We highly suggest having a genre or other theme for your giveaway.
5. We highly suggest that no extra entries are given, but will allow at most 2 extra entries available for your contest. Extra entries can include - extra points to follow, to tweet, link, or facebook the contest, or even to answer a question. We also suggest that you do not require participants to follow you to be entered.
6. You must have your own Rules easily visible for your contest. We suggest using Bold or larger lettering for this section of your post. Rules should include your extra entries, where you will ship to, and any contest or privacy policies.
7. You will receive an email from Kate ( if you are hosting an Adult giveaway or Other giveaway or an email from Kristen ( if you are hosting a Young Adult or Middle Grade giveaway by Friday, July 9th. If you have not received an email from either of us by that day, please email one of us.

Please email us if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions as well as if you need to cancel your commitment to this event.

Thanks! And I'm really really excited for this event and I hope you are too!

Guest Post alert!

Hi guys!

Yesterday, April from Good Books & Good Wine put up the guest post I wrote for her for Unicorns vs. Zombies week. Check it out over at her blog!

Dead Beautiful

Author: Yvonne Woon
Publication Date: September 21, 2010
Genre: YA Paranormal
Copy provided by: Book it Forward Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

A haunting love story about desire, danger, and destiny.
After Renee Winters discovers her parents lying dead in California’s Redwood Forest in what appears to be a strange double murder, her grandfather sends her off to Gottfried Academy in Maine, a remote and mysterious high school dedicated to philosophy, “crude sciences,” and Latin: the Language of the Dead. It’s here she meets Dante, a dark and elusive student to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they get to know each other better, Dante can’t seem to control his attraction either, and their desires gradually deepen into a complex and dangerous romance. Dangerous because Dante is hiding a frightening secret. A secret so terrible, it has him fearing for Renee’s life.

Dante’s not the only one with secrets, though. Turns out Gottfried Academy has a few of its own… Like, how come students keep disappearing? Why are the prefect-like Monitors creeping around campus during the night? And what exactly are the Headmistress and Professors really up to? Renee is determined to find out why.

Dead Beautiful is both a compelling romance and thought-provoking read, bringing shocking new meaning to life, death, love, and the nature of the soul.

Why I read this: A combination of the summary and beautiful cover and it's a debut novel. What can I say - it was bound to happen.

Plot: This novel is amazing. There is a great mix of mystery, paranormal elements and romance that just blew mew away. The twists and turns throughout the book surprised me and kept me reading this book until 2 am the day I picked it up. My only complain is that I wanted more. I want to know the story after the book and I hope hope hope there is a follow up novel.

Characters: Renee is very different from the usual tragic female characters I've been seeing in YA lately. Not often do you have a character that finds her parents dead and manages to cope with it in a way that is realistic but that shows how strong she truly is. I found her grief genuine, her motivation to figure out what happened to them inspiring, and her realistic reactions refreshing. It's nice to meet a realistic character who is also very easy to like.

Dante - I'm pegging him as the usual hot male character with a secret. But, he may be literally cold to the a touch, but he really doesn't play the usual hot/cold game with Renee. It's nice to see a brooding male character that doesn't disappoint.

And then there is a whole slew of interesting characters that bop in and out of the plot and really add to the story - but I'll let you discover them for yourselves when this book comes out in September.

Relatability: I liked Renee in the way that she reminds me of myself and a few other people I know. She's very real. I felt more into the story because of her perspective and I think that it made the tale more easy to see as possible, even with the paranormal elements.

Cover Commentary: Definitely a cover I want on my shelf. This is going on my wishlist. :)

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.

Blogoversary Day 23

Remember to enter the Comment Contest and start commenting now if you haven't already! :)

Today, I am giving away a signed ARC of White Cat by Holly Black. I still haven't read it, but have a HC now.. so it may be a while... but I hear it is full of awesome! :)


1. Open to people with US addresses only.
2. Fill out the form below to enter.
3. This contest will run until Wednesday, July 7th at 10 pm CST.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ALA, GenCon and Replies

So, a few different events have led to me not going to ALA this summer. Which makes me sad, but well, that's life.

1. I have no money
2. My aunt not only had plans but now has fractured her ankle

But, if anyone is going to GenCon in Indianapolis in August, let me know! My husband is a geeky gamer and I might get a wee bit bored. I'm bringing some books and plan on hitting up the anime section of the conference, but it would be nice to hang out with someone when my hubby is busy.

Comment Replies:

Also, I've been thinking on this for a while, but replying to comments... Do you guys reply to the comments on your blog? Do you want me to start replying? I haven't been because I figured no one would be stalking my blog for replies, but I can if you want to hear from me. :)

Guest Post - For the Love of Reading

Written by @ April Nichole

“All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality – the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.” Author Christopher Benson

How true are those words? When you think about it why do you read? Other than to enjoy a story or feel a connection with a character we want to escape from our reality. With what happens in the world and in our personal lives we look for some way to escape.

My way used to be with movies and TV shows. While I still have mine that I like and watch regularly I don’t get the same feeling I used to. I liked movies and TV shows because they were more visual and I didn’t have to think, it really was something ‘mindless’ to do. I could visually see the superhero fly across the screen or the bad guy hit someone and the blood appear. I could visually see someone shape shift into someone or something else. It was a way to spend some time pretending to be someone else, be somewhere else, and be a part of a different world.

The thing we have to realize and help others to realize is that reading can let us do that too. Reading can let us be someone else, feel romance, action, fear, laughter or any other emotion that we feel like we could need more of or are missing in our lives.

If we can find the right author to always go to or the right book in general then it isn’t so hard to escape. We try to find that book that describes things just enough for the story to start playing out in our minds. We want that ability to feel like a fly on the wall while the story is playing out.

Now I can have a short attention span sometimes and have found it a little hard lately to find a book that I can lose sense of time with. I can go with my old favorites Ted Dekker and Frank E. Peretti, in the last couple of years I added Stephenie Meyer, but I want to find others that can make it feel like a movie playing out while I read. In the last several months I got to add Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures), Jennifer Murgia (Angel Star) and Julie Kagawa (The Iron King).

Julie Kagawa’s The Iron King actually got me thinking. In these books Kagawa’s main characters are faeries, some of which are from the story A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There is both a Summer Court and Winter Court. Kagawa added a new kind of faerie known as The Iron Fey. The Iron Fey thrive off technology and basically deny any fantasy, any make believe, any jokes.

Technology has become a very big part of who we are. We all use computers, cell phones, PDAs, some kind of technology. Even in the book world we have blogs like this one, ways to buy books online to the nook and other e-readers. How often do we do something that doesn’t involve technology somehow? How often do we take a break from all things technological?

Do you remember as a kid playing make believe? Playing house, doctor (even though really we hated going), teacher, princess, etc… It was all without technology; it was all in our heads, what we could think up on our own. Even now we try to find some way to escape our reality, some way to feel like our troubles and worries don't exist, a place were we are a part of the world even if it is fairies, vampires, princess, some place in history (if you are into historical fiction).

The way that some authors build worlds, develop characters, describe the world around them make it easy to see the world in your mind. They can make it easy to feel what the characters feel, like when you are reading a romance scene where he touches her cheek and you’re able to feel the slight touch of the hand and the blush raising to the surface.

So, what do you look for in a book? Why is reading important to you? What keeps you interested and invested in a story? How often are you really able to escape reality and lose all sense of time? What kind of world do you look for in the book to be a part of?

Thanks for the great post! Those are some great questions April. I'm going to answer a few and I'd love for you guys to comment with answers below as well.

I really am pulled by a good plot line and if there's fantasy or paranormal elements, I'm destined to pick it over realistic fiction any day. So I look for a good plotline and the genre I love when I pick up a book.

Reading is important to me because it keeps me going. I always loved reading and only had a few years time between reading consistently. I love a good story and it beats the horrible tv shows we have (minus True Blood and Vampire Diaries.. ). It's my source of entertainment and I love it so much, I could never give it up.

I always say, the way to keep a reader reading is to keep them thinking. I love my plot to twist and turn and surprise me.

Also, if the book is good enough, I will be pulled into that world and never want to leave, even when the book is over. I like what you would call realistic fantasy, fantasy I can picture that is still fantastical but there's something about it that could make it real. I just love fantasy worlds and would love to live in one. :)

Now your turn, answer one or all of the questions below, both April and I are curious for your answers.


Author: Wendy Delsol
Publication Date: October 12, 2010
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Copy provided by: Book it Forward Tours
Summary (via Goodreads):

After her parents' divorce, Katla and her mother move from Los Angeles to Norse Falls, Minnesota, where Kat immediately alienates two boys at her high school and, improbably, discovers a kinship with a mysterious group of elderly women--the Icelandic Stork Society - who "deliver souls."

Why I read this: It's a debut novel and also, it's a new idea and one that I found intriguing.

Plot: The plot was unique - a society of Storks initiates young Katla into their society because she has the mark - an irritated spot on her head that starts itching when they needed to meet. Katla is soon to place her first soul and it comes to her in a dream and slowly, over the course of the book, shows Katla the potential mothers for this child.

Along with the main plot, there is Katla adjusting to life in Minnesota, where fashion really doesn't exist and she seems to be an outcast from the start. She gains some friends eventually and a small romance buds. There's a few twists in it that I didn't quite see coming - or at least - not that angle.

Overall, even though the plot was unique - it fell a bit short for me. I felt like the book stressed too much about her life and the main plot got pushed towards the back. Or maybe I really just wanted to see more and know more about this society of Storks.

Characters: Katla was really hard for me to like. She was a bit standoffish and I can understand because of her personality. It was hard to like her though and I think that took quite a bit away from the story. She's definitely not a girl I would entrust placing a soul with either.

Jack is an interesting male character, but he's got that horrible hot/cold aspect - I hate you, I love you. It really does get old after reading 10 books with the same variety of male character. He's definitely different in a paranormal aspect - but I'll let you discover that for yourself.

Relatability: I really couldn't relate much to be honest and that also drew me away from the book. I was hoping to discover more about the Storks and how that worked, but ended up with some other plot lines getting in the way.

Cover Commentary: Very pretty, definitely eye-catching and one of the reasons I wanted to read this book so badly.

Rating: 3/5 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.

Blogoversary Day 22

Remember to enter the Comment Contest and start commenting now if you haven't already! :)

Today, I am giving away a hardcover copy of A Golden Web by Barbara Quick. Barbara has a great blog that you can check out - it's called Ask the Writer. Read my review of A Golden Web if you want to know my thoughts on it! :)


1. Open to people with US addresses only.
2. Fill out the form below to enter.
3. This contest will run until Tuesday, July 6th at 10 pm CST.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Extravaganza Idea (Contests Galore!)

Hello fellow book bloggers!

For a while now, I have been talking with Kate at The Neverending Shelf about this idea.

Basically it will be a small scale Blogmania. We've already okayed the idea with Lynda who runs the big Blogmania and she said go for it.

We'd call it Book Extravaganza and it would be ONLY for book themed giveaways. That could mean gift cards, swag, etc. The contests would run on the weekend and we're thinking 1-3 days tops.

Now, what we need from you is to fill out THE FORM to see how we're going to run this. It's definitely going to be in July if we spark enough interest. We would be co-hosting the event, depending on how much interest we get in different categories, so please let us know what you think so we can start on the rules and get up a registration form asap.


Oh and I know that Got Books? is running a similar project now, which I forgot about, but we'll just pick a different weekend. :)