Thursday, March 31, 2011

Character Interview: Tansy from Through Her Eyes + Giveaway

Today I have with me Tansy from the novel Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer.

Tell us something random about you.

I was totally crushing on a guy named Colin in San Francisco before we moved. He worked at a music store with my best friend Hailey, and we had just started to hang out when Mom announced that we were leaving. Hailey always warned me that Colin was “bad news” and I should stay away from him. But I had only been in Texas one day when I called her house and her mom told me she’d gone to a concert with him!

Who is your least favourite character you share your story with? Why?

This girl at school named Shanna is so self-centered and rude. I once overheard her making fun of me – and worse than that, laughing at my grandfather, Papa Dan. If she wants to be mean to me, fine, but not him – that’s not something I’m sure I can ever forgive. And Shanna treats Bethyl Ann like she’s as disgusting as a dried gum wad underneath a desk, or something. Bethyl Ann may be a total geek and only thirteen, but she’s also the only person who has been completely nice to me since the minute I moved to Cedar Canyon.

What super power would you like to have?

I’d like to be able to read minds. Then I would know what’s going on with Tate Hudson, this totally hot guy at school who was nice to me at first, then started acting like he hated my guts for no reason.

What's your favorite food (or drink)?

My favorite drink is a soy chai. As for food, I pretty much like anything except meat. Oh, and the gloppy pasta salad with extra mayo that Bethyl Ann’s mom makes is totally disgusting, but I’d never tell her that.

What 3 words would describe you best?

Loner. Photographer. Invisible.

If you could change any one thing you've done in the past, what would it be?

I feel really ashamed that I tried to avoid Bethyl Ann after we first met and she was trying to be so nice to me. If I could change that I would, because she’s a great friend – funny and trustworthy and loyal. And she’s really helped me through a difficult time. Even when I feel and act like I’m losing my mind over all the weird stuff that’s going on with the photographs and the ghost that haunts our house, Bethyl Ann is there for me. She has a very open mind and helps me try to figure things out.

Through Her Eyes book trailer:

Through Her Eyes - Book Trailer from Emily Greaser on Vimeo.

You can win an ARC of Through Her Eyes by filling out the form below. Ends Friday, April 8th. Open to US/Canada.

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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.
5. Must be book-related giveaways.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

YA Best Overlooked Book Battle 2011

So, if you haven't heard yet, The Shady Glade is hosting another Book Battle. There's still time to nominate a book you thought has been overlooked and even volunteer to help out! I had a lot of fun with this event last year and can't wait to see the list of nominated titles for this year. Hope you guys will help out and either nominate a fave YA book or sign up to volunteer!

Introduction to Book Battle Link

Nominate a Book Link

Volunteer Link

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Review: Nickel Plated + Giveaway

Author: Aric Davis
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
Genre: YA Mystery
Copy provided by: Teen Book Scene
Summary (via Goodreads):

Nickel is a survivor. He has to be. For as long as he can remember, his life has hinged on the flip of a coin. Or, rather, the scribble of a social worker’s pen. He’s been through the system, even had a good dad for a few years, until he was gone, too. But Nickel remembers everything he taught him, and since the day he escaped from foster-care hell, he’s put that knowledge to good use. Just twelve years old, he makes a steady living by selling marijuana to high schoolers, blackmailing pedophiles he ferrets out online, and working as a private investigator. When a beautiful girl named Arrow hires him to find her little sister Shelby, Nickel figures at best the kid’s a runaway; at worst, some perv’s gotten a hold of her. He scours the internet and the streets of Arrow’s suburban neighborhood, and what he finds there is as ugly a truth as he’s ever seen. For beyond the manicured lawns, Nickel discovers children for sale, and adults with souls black as the devil. And people like that aren’t about to let some kid ruin their game. This edgy thriller introduces a canny, precocious anti-hero, the likes of which young-adult readers have never seen.

Why I read this: It came up as a Teen Book Scene tour and it sounded like a cool read. :) Something definitely different from what I usually read.

Plot: Nickel is his alias, and he runs all sorts of scams to hurt the pedophiles in this world. You find out quickly, how jaded Nickel is, but he can't even resist his hormones when he meets Arrow and falls in love. He takes on her case of a missing sister for free and finds himself entangled in a case that proves dangerous and worth all the risks. I love the realistic edge this book has, the way that the reader can just feel Nickel for everything he has. He's brilliant in a way that really opens your eyes to the realism he sees and that exists around us.

This plot definitely moved - there were some side jobs, but the book focused on Arrow and her need to find her sister Shelby. There's a great scene in the book that I promise not to give too much away about but there's a shootout at some point and it just reminded me of a scene from a movie, that's how well it was written. And I think I actually hollered during the scene because it was so good and kept you on the edge. It was also a "YES" moment, in a good way - I can't explain it. You need to go out and buy the book and read it and you'll know exactly what I mean. So good.

I seriously think this is the best book I've read all year and will be the best book of the year for me, no doubt. Now, I just hope that Aric Davis will write a brilliant second novel featuring the young and awesome Nickel, for I need to see more of his adventures.

Characters: Nickel was a totally killer character. Someone wrote that he was a bit like Artemis Fowl, but I can't completely agree. He's definitely an anti-hero, a kid who you'd probably pass by on the street and think nothing of. But he's incredibly cunning, filled with this amazing ambition to put away pedophiles for good, even if it costs him his life doing it. And he has all the street-smarts as well. He knows even when he has to grocery shop, he has to act like a normal kid again. He has precise methods to what he does and how he does it and he is the least kid-like kid I've ever read in a novel. Definitely a jaded and adult-like character, but Nickel still has a bit of innocence in him and that comes out when he is with Arrow.

Arrow is also an incredible character. Someone who is sure of herself and is genuine with Nickel, more than I think you understand from his point of view. She's beautiful and determined and doesn't hesitate to do what she needs in order to get her sister back.

And I love all of the characters. Especially Eyepatch, the random guy who sits at the park each day and Rhino, a man who runs a gym that teaches people to fight and believes in Nickel more than anyone else in the novel - even if he doesn't outright show it. And even Lou, the driver is an interesting character. All of the characters in this book pop out at you and come to life. I'll say it again, you need to go and buy this book now.

Relatability: For anyone who hates pedophiles, loves anti-heros, and can deal with the nitty-gritty realism of life - this is a book for you.

Cover Commentary: Not the best, at least there's a kid with a bike on it. Seems a little retro for me. But, don't judge a book by its cover, eh?

Rating: 5/5 Roses

Find it on Goodreads
Buy it on Amazon
Buy it on Borders
Buy it on Book Depository
Buy it on Barnes and Noble

Just buy it already! This book rocks.

Oh if you want to win a copy, fill out the form below. You won't regret it. US Only, ends Wednesday April 6th. Extra entries for leaving a comment on this review and my character interview of Nickel. +1 each. :)

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Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. It is to spotlight books that are soon to be released that we wished would be released sooner. Here are our picks.

April Nichole's Pick:

Title: Wildefire

Author: Karsten Knight
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Expected Publication Date: July 26, 2011
Description: Ashline Wilde never received an instruction manual on how to be a 16-year-old Polynesian volcano goddess. If she had, it might have contained helpful warnings such as:

• Dreaming about your (thankfully) mortal boyfriend may cause your bed to spontaneously combust
• Oven mitts should be worn at all times.

Instead, Ash has to learn these life lessons the hard way as her dormant powers erupt at the most awkward times. In the wake of a hometown tragedy, Ash transfers to Blackwood Academy, a boarding school nestled in California’s redwoods, where a group of fellow gods-on-earth have mysteriously convened. As if sophomore year couldn’t get any worse, her storm goddess older sister, the wild and unpredictable Eve, resurfaces to haunt Ashline. With a war between the gods looming over Blackwood, Ash must master the fire smoldering within her before she clashes with her sister one final time, which leads us to life-lesson #3:

• When warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

Kristen's Pick:
Title: The Girl in the Steel Corset
Author: Kady Cross
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Expected Publication Date: May 24, 2011
She thought there was something wrong with her. She was right.
Finley Jayne has known for quite some time that she isn’t ‘normal,’ but when she beats up the son of her employer and is forced to flee, she stumbles into a world where there are bigger freaks than her. They take her in, treat her like family and demand her trust. How can Finley trust them when she can’t trust herself? And why is she drawn to the powerful Griffin as well as the dangerous Jack? She has to get herself under control before she gets into trouble she can’t get out of.

Griffin King is one of the most powerful men in Britain but he couldn’t save his best friend from almost dying. He is determined to save Finley and help her become the person he knows she can be, but there’s evil afoot in London. Machines have attacked humans under the orders of a nefarious criminal called The Machinist. He has sworn to protect his country against such a threat, but he’s never faced any foe like this. However, when he discovers The Machinist’s connection to his past, Griffin vows to end the villain once and for all — but he’ll need the help of all his friends, including the beautiful Finley Jayne – the girl in the steel corset.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Middle Grade Shorts

Middle Grade Shorts is a new random feature that is basically replacing any Book Views. Instead, I'll be reviewing any Middle Grade fiction novels I've read in a shorter format. They'll still be rated, it's just a nicer way to get my feelings out quicker about all the middle grade fiction I've been reading or listening to.

Title: The Problem Child
Author: Michael Buckley
Publication Date: May 2007
Genre: MG Fairy Tale/Mystery
Copy provided by: School Library
Summary (via Goodreads): A GRIMM FAMILY REUNION
For Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, the latest in a long line of fairy-tale detectives, there is one mystery they want to solve more than all the others: Who kidnapped their parents more than a year ago? Sabrina enters the hideout of the Scarlet Hand, the sinister group of Everafters who are keeping her parents prisoner. She has a chance to rescue her mom and dad but is foiled by the most famous fairy-tale character in the world. How can a human child defeat a magic one? With the help of her little sister (who might be tougher than Sabrina realizes) and a long-lost relative, Sabrina finds a powerful weapon for fighting her enemies, and discovers that magic has a high price.

The Short of It:
Another great addition to a series that is easily becoming one of my favorite middle grade fantasy/mystery series. I just love reading these books. They're quick reads for their length and always very entertaining. The characters are so unique and the world is so well-built I feel like I am there when I read these books. I can't wait for the next one.

Rating: 5/5 Roses

Title: Bless This Mouse
Author: Lois Lowry
Publication Date: March 21, 2011
Genre: MG animal novel
Copy provided by: School Library
Summary (via Goodreads): A resilient and quirky colony of church mice fears another Great X more than they fear cats. Under Mouse Mistress Hildegarde’s leadership, they save themselves from one danger after another—sometimes just by the skin of their tails! Can one ultimate act of bravery during the feast day of St. Francis get Father Murphy to bless these mice and keep them safe forever?

Rife with humor and personality, this young middle-grade novel has an old-fashioned feel with the makings of a modern classic.

The Short of It:
An interesting new novel by the wonderful Lois Lowry. I just can't help but fall in love with the illustrations of cute mice in this novel. Their world, however, is full of peril, as they must get by with not letting the humans know how big their society of mice is, or the evil X will come and kill them. It's definitely a book that reminds me a bit of the Rats of Nimh combined with Lowry's wonderful writing and is a book I think a lot of my students will enjoy.

5/5 Roses

Title: The Shadows
Author: Jacqueline West
Publication Date: June 2010
Genre: MG Fantasy
Copy provided by: School Library
Summary (via Goodreads): Old Ms. McMartin is definitely dead. Now her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, she knows there's something odd about the place—not least the walls covered in strange antique paintings. But when Olive finds a pair of old spectacles in a dusty drawer, she discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside these paintings to a world that's strangely quiet . . . and eerily like her own Yet Elsewhere harbors dark secrets—and Morton, an undersized boy with an outsize temper.

As she and Morton form an uneasy alliance, Olive finds herself ensnared in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It's up to Olive to save the house from the dark shadows, before the lights go out for good.

The Short of It:
A fantastical new story that takes us into a creepy old house where the paintings are more than they seem. Olive finds herself in the middle of a mystery that she can't help but try to solve. Why do things move in these paintings, what is everyone so afraid of, and what exactly are those cats guarding? A slightly creepy, and definitely adventurous tale of a girl who isn't afraid to believe in the unbelievable.

5/5 Roses

Title: The Shadow Thieves

Author: Anne Ursu
Publication Date: April 2007
Genre: MG Fantasy (Mythology)
Copy provided by: Myself - Bought
Summary (via Goodreads): See that girl, the one with the bright red hair, overstuffed backpack, and aura of grumpiness? That's Charlotte Mielswetzski. And something extra-ordinary is about to happen to her.

Oh, it's not the very cute kitten that appears out of nowhere and demands to go home with her. It's not the sudden arrival of her cousin Zee, who believes he's the cause of a mysterious sickness that has struck his friends back in England. It's not her creepy English teacher Mr. Metos, who takes his mythology lessons just a little too seriously. And it's not the white-faced, yellow-eyed men in tuxedoes, who follow Charlotte everywhere.

What's so extraordinary is not any one of these things....It's all of them. And when Charlotte's friends start to get sick one by one, Charlotte and Zee set out to find a cure. Their quest leads them to a not-so-mythical Underworld, where they face rhyme-loving Harpies, gods with personnel problems, and ghosts with a thirst for blood.

Charlotte and Zee learn that in a world overrun by Nightmares, Pain, and Death, the really dangerous character is a guy named Phil. And then they discover that the fate of every person -- living and dead -- is in their young hands.

In her dazzling debut for young readers, Anne Ursu weaves a tale of myth and adventure, danger and magic that will keep readers engrossed until the very last secret is revealed.

The Short of It: A great series that involves Greek mythology that I may point my Percy Jackson fans to at school. I really like middle grade novels that have both a boy and girl main character, as I think it appeals to a wider audience. I definitely enjoyed this first novel in a series that I will be reading more of soon. Full of courage, these two tweens must overcome an evil demi-god and his army of shadows created from their blood. However will they win?

5/5 Roses

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Calling all Librarians!

Or even those in college going for a library degree!

National Library Week is coming up! I would love to have some guest posts from awesome librarians. Please email me - dragonzgoil at gmail dot com if you're interested.

I'm looking for really anything - how you became a librarian, what you do for national library week, a cool program you'd love to talk up, or even just a set of books that you think are necessary for every library - new or old. Anything really. I had a lot of fun last year with it, so I'm hoping some of you will be up for it this year! National Library week starts April 10th, so I'd need the posts emailed to me by April 8th (just so you get an idea if you have time enough to participate). Huge thanks in advance!


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Review: In the Belly of the Bloodhound

Author: L.A. Meyer
Publication Date: October 2006
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Copy provided by: Library (audio)
Summary (via Goodreads):

The British crown has placed a price on Jacky's head, and so she returns to the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston to lay low. But laying low isn't in the cards for a spunky lass who finds trouble even when she's not looking for it.

A school outing goes awry as Jacky and her classmates are abducted and forced into the hold of the Bloodhound, a ship bound for the slave markets on the Barbary Coast. All of Jacky's ingenuity, determination, and plain old good luck will be put to the test as she rallies her classmates to fight together to avoid being sold on the auction block in this new installment of the Bloody Jack Adventures.

Why I read this: For the 2011 Bloody Jack Challenge! There is still time to join me in reading this awesome series!

Plot: Jacky is hiding out in the Lawson Peabody School, being a wanted pirate with a price on her head by the British government. When they go out on school outing on a ship, they end up finding out that they are captured and their fate is to become slaves. Jacky takes the lead again and figures out a plan to get them free of their captures and hopefully safely back to Boston.

Another high seas adventure fraught with terror and the ever so witty Jacky finding a scheme to make all better. Definitely a book that endears me a bit more to some of Jacky's enemy females at the school and one that will still have you laughing at the antics.

Characters: Jacky is ever cunning in this novel, but you get to see her warming up to some certain people *cough Clarissa cough* that you wouldn't see coming. I definitely love her ways of keeping a light heart about her situation and always finding the bravery to do what is needed.

Again, there are some letters back and forth from Jaimy to Jacky and I love finding out what is going on with him and his ever endearing love for our dearest Jacky. Although, Jacky starts to use a phrase in this novel - "I'm so very hard on my friends" which I find a good theme throughout these books. But such is a life of adventure, isn't it?

Relatability: Those that love high seas adventures and strong female characters will enjoy this series immensely.

Cover Commentary: Love it, as I love all the original covers.

Audio Commentary: With every book, I realize how much of a genius Kathryn Kellgren is at narrating these books. She makes all of the characters come to life, not just Jacky that it amazes me.

Rating: 5/5 Roses

Find it on Goodreads

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The Weekly Happenings

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

Kristen read this past week:
The Shadows by Jacqueline West
Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry
The Shadow Thieves (Cronus Chronicles, #1) by Anne Ursu
Devil's Kiss (Billi SanGreal, #1) by Sarwat Chadda

Kristen is currently reading:
Nickel Plated by Aric Davis

What are you guys reading currently?

The Weekly Happenings!

The Week to Come:

Later today (Monday), Kristen will be reviewing In the Belly of the Bloodhound by L.A. Meyer.

On Tuesday, Kristen will be reviewing some of her latest MG reads on the feature Middle Grade Shorts. It will include The Shadows by Jacqueline West, Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry, and The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu.

On Wednesday, Kristen will review Nickel Plated by Aric Davis and give away a copy of the book (US only, sorry). We will also share our Waiting on Wednesdays picks for the week.

On Thursday, Kristen will review Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda and interview the character Tansy from the novel Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer and will be giving away an ARC copy of the book. Also, link up your contests with Link a Contest Thursday.

On Friday, Kristen will talk about something (I haven't planned this far yet) during The Library Corner. :)

Saturday brings us another Blogger Spotlight and Sunday we will have our In My Mailbox Post.

The Week in Rewind:

Monday: April Nichole revealed a chapter of Lemniscate by Jennifer Murgia. Kristen interviewed the character Nickel from Nickel Plated by Aric Davis.

Tuesday: Kristen reviewed Under the Jolly Roger by L.A. Meyer.

Wednesday: We shared our Waiting on Wednesday picks. Kristen reviewed Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey.

Thursday: Link a Contest Thursday

Friday: Kristen reviewed Fairest of All by Serena Valentino

Saturday: Blogger Spotlight with YA Booklover Blog

Sunday: In My Mailbox

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

In My Mailbox - March 27th

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

April Nichole
For Review:

Fair-Weather Friends by ReShonda Tate Bilingsley,
Friends 'Til the end by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
Compulsion by Heidi Ayarbe


Lemniscate by Jennifer Murgia.

For Review:

Stones for My Father
by Trilby Kent
The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Won (from Carrie Ryan's signing):

Wither by Lauren DeStefano


The Dark and Hollow Places
by Carrie Ryan
A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

From the Library:

My Bonny Light Horseman by L.A. Meyer (audio cd)
The Flight of the Phoenix by R.L. LaFevers
Dying to Meet You by Kate Klise

Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone
Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

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