Monday, November 29, 2010

Interview!

Want to know more about teen trends at my library?  Check out my interview with D.L. King on her website:

http://dlkingwriter.blogspot.com/2010/11/what-librarian-knows-trends-in-ya.html

A special thanks to her for interviewing me and for this great opportunity to talk teen literature!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Book Review: Thirteenth Chime by Emma Michaels

Title: The Thirteenth Chime
Author: Emma Michaels
Genre: Paranormal Fiction, Horror Fiction, Teen Fiction
Publication Date: August 5, 2010
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN-13 Book: 9781453715062
Source: Purchased my own copy of the book from Barnes and Noble online.


The Thirteenth ChimeThe Thirteenth Chime by Emma Michaels

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While staying in a strange old house on the west coast with her best friend Stephanie and her mother Leslie, Destiny is the only witness to an unsual attack that leaves both Stephanie and Leslie hospitalized. With no one else to turn to, Destiny seeks the help of her ex-boyfriend David to help unravel the mystery surround the house and the events of that dark night.

Kudos to author Emma Michaels for being able to create a creepy mood. In fact a few years ago I would have happily devoured this book--the creepy mood, creepy town, and especially creepy house have been some of my favorite motifs. I love creepy houses with a hint of the ghost story and in this book it just felt right.

That said, as much as I loved the mood and setting, the rest of the story fell a little flat for me. The character's relationships were twisted and I had trouble believing their motivations. Why did David go to so much trouble for this girl who dumped him, and why did Destiny dump him to begin with? It just didn't fit. There is a sequel coming, so perhaps more of this is explained there, and I admit, Michaels has me hooked to the point where I will definitely pick up the sequel.

The mystery, while interesting was also a little frustrating. I had one major portion of the plot figured out long before I got there, but sometimes that happens. What was so frustrating were the bits and pieces of information that was so sparsely doled out along the way. This also affected the pacing which also felt a little off because there was so much time when nothing was happening.

One other note, the book was categorized as YA (and seems to be marketed to that audience) and while that may be the interest level of the book, the age of the characters kind of feel off for that particular category--at least as my library categorizes them. In my library you would find this book to be considered more adult than teen. Let me make clear what I am saying though. There is nothing inappropriate to the age group, in fact they may find it interesting, but as the main characters are adults my library would classify it as an adult novel. The way the characters acted however, felt more teen like than adult, so that too lends to some confusion.

In the end, it was a good mystery with a great setting and creepy house. I admit I loved that part. I can't wait to see what Michaels does next with this series, and I hope she fills in some of the gaps we are missing.

View all my reviews


Winner of Anna Levine's book Freefall

Congratulations to Melissa who won the free copy of Anna Levine's book Freefall.  I loved this book and I hope you will enjoy it too!

Freefall


Thank you to the author, Anna Levine and to Teen {Book} Scene Tours for making this giveaway possible.  Congratulations!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Book Review: Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel--(November's You Choose I Review Title)

Title: Infinite Days
Author: Rebecca Maizel
Genre: Vampire Fiction, Teen Fiction
Publication Date: August 3, 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN-13 Book: 9780312649913
Source: Purchased my own copy of the book from Barnes and Noble online.

Infinite Days (Vampire Queen, #1)Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After close to a hundred years in hibernation Lenah Beaudonte wakes up, no longer an powerful and evil vampire queen, but as a sixteen year-old mortal girl, with a chance once more to live again. Rhode, the vampire who turned her, her best friend, and love, sacrificed himself to make her human once more. Before he dies, Rhode warns her that her coven will come to look for her and her only hope lies in her ability to become human enough to hide from them.

I have to admit, when I first picked up this book it was with some trepidation. There have been tons of vampire novels out on the market lately, but all of them seem to be copy cats--the same story told over and over again. When I first picked up Infinite Days it was with a serious lack of enthusiasm and with a dread that I was reading another vampire story.

I am very happy to say that Infinite Days surprised me. Not only is the story much more original than those other vampire novels on the market, but the writing is so much more sophisticated. I love that Maizel didn't write down to her readers. Yes this is a teen book, but it reads so much more maturely. The language use and the techniques used to drive the story along are more sophisticated than much of what you see in today's teen literature, and for that alone I would love to thank Ms. Maizel for showing the publishing world that teen novels can be as sophisticated, literate, and intelligent as anything written for adults.

Unlike a lot of teen novels and vampire novels especially, Infinite Days is much more character driven. Yes we know that there is a coven of vampires hunting for Lenah, but that isn't what drives the story. The strength of the story comes from Lenah's discoveries about what it truly means to become human, and how she changes throughout the novel. There isn't a lot of action in this novel, but the flashbacks into Lenah's past, and her attempts to reclaim her humanity into the present propel the reader through the book.

Yes, there were some slow spots, but they will not prevent the reader from thoroughly enjoying this book. You want to know what will happen to Lenah, and you want to cheer her on for each step she makes towards being human.

Overall, this book was a welcome addition to the vampire genre; a book that challenges the reader with the sophistication of its storytelling. The sequel Stolen Nights is due out June 22, 2011 and let me tell you it will be a long wait. I can't wait to see what happens next.

View all my reviews

Book Review: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Title: The Lost Hero
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Action Adventure Fiction, Teen Fiction
Publication Date: October 12, 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Book (print) / Books On Tape Listening Library (audio CD)
ISBN-13 Book: 9781423113393
ISBN-13 Book on CD: 9780307711793 (14 sound discs)
Source: Checked out audio CD from my public library and purchased my own copy of the book.


The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jason wakes up on a bus on its way to the Grand Canyon sitting next to two people (Piper and Leo) who claim to be his best friend and his girl friend. He has no memory of how he got there, but soon finds out that the gods have more surprises in store for him and a dangerous quest that may or may not lead him back to his lost memories. Hera, queen of the gods, has chosen him as her champion, and need him and his friends to rescue her from an evil strong enough to capture a goddess.

I'll admit, when I first saw that this book was coming out I was curious, but not quite sure I wanted to read it. I loved the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, but I wasn't sure how I would feel about reading a new series without my favorite characters present. In the end, I am so glad that I picked this book up--it was fantastic.

Riordan pulls you in immediately with the wonderful humor in his writing. When things start to get too serious you can always count on a snide remark, or unusual element to make you laugh. Leo was somewhat the comic relief of the group--always able to see the humor or the irony in any situation. I almost think he was my favorite character because he could make me laugh.

Piper and Jason were much more serious characters, but this makes sense because both had so much riding on the quest. Their whole futures were tied to the success or failure of the quest.

The audio version of this novel is produced by Listening Library and read by Joshua Swanson, who does an admirable job with the narration. His voices pull you into the story and keep you entranced throughout the novel. I loved this audio, and found it to be extremely family friendly.

Once more Riordan has written an exciting novel filled with action, adventure, unusual characters, and lovable heroes. I can't wait to read the next one, and see once again where these stories may go.

Highly recommended for those who have read the Percy Jackson series, and for anyone who loves a great fast paced and action packed adventure story.

View all my reviews

Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Review: Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Title: Iron Queen
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
ISBN: 9780373210183
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
ARC read electronically from NetGalley.com. These are my own personal opinions of this work.


The Iron Queen (Iron Fey, #3)The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Iron Queen is the third book in the Iron Fey series and it starts shortly after the end of Iron Daughter. Usually at the beginning of my reviews I give a brief teaser for the book, but to do that may reveal too much of the ending from the previous book. Needless to say, Meghan's destiny is yet to be decided. The war between the Iron Kingdom and the combined forces of Summer and Winter isn't going well, so the proud Summer and Winter courts turn to the one person who is immune to the taint of iron, Meghan Chase.

I'll admit, I enjoyed Iron King when I first read it, and eagerly anticipated Iron Daughter when it came out, but nothing could have prepared me for how much I would love Iron Queen. I think Ms. Kagawa has ruined me for other books. She has sent me into one of those reading slumps where you start many books, but you don't want to read them because they aren't as good as that last perfect book that you just finished.

Once more, you spend time with the characters you have grown to love throughout the series, Grim, Puck, Ash, and Meghan. The characters continue to grow and develop (or in Grim's case get more mysterious). The adventure once again has you on the edge of your seat.

I can't think of a single way Iron Queen could have been improved. The events of the novel, even when painful and heartbreaking, felt true to the book and the characters she was writing about. Once more she made me laugh, cry, and cheer on these now familiar characters that I have grown to love. I have to respect Ms. Kagawa for being willing to take chances with her characters and letting the story be the natural one for them.

Iron Queen is due out January 25, 2011. Readers will definitely need to read the first two books in the series to be able to follow much of what goes on in this novel and there are some loose ends that will probably lead us into the next book Iron Knight. I can't wait to see what happens next! If you liked the other two books, you won't want to miss this one. Highly recommended!

View all my reviews

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cover Interview with Restoring Harmony author Joëlle Anthony [Teen {Book} Scene Tours]

Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Joëlle Anthony about the cover art for her remarkable book Restoring Harmony.  This was a fantastic book about the love of family and difficult circumstances.  To read more about it check out my review of Restoring HarmonyIn the meantime, help me welcome Joëlle Anthony to my blog and see what she has to say about the cover of her book!

Restoring Harmony


  1. Who designed the cover for Restoring Harmony?
An artist from Toronto did the original work. I did contact him and tell him how much I love it, but he’s very shy and didn’t want me to publicize him in any way, so I won’t tell you his name. He also did the design for the jacket (sometimes someone else takes the art and then adds the text and stuff, but he did it himself).
  1. How do you feel about the design?
Well…I LOVE IT! Seriously. I cried because I was so happy with it. People who are not in the book business are often appalled by the fact that the author doesn’t have much say (or any) in the cover, but I knew that was true from the beginning, so I tried to prepare myself for the worst. And then it was the best. I feel lucky about it every day.
  1. Did you have any say in the creation of the cover?
Before the cover was assigned to the artist, I was asked what I had in mind and I provided my editor with a bunch of covers that I really loved. I’m not sure if any of this was actually taken into account or not, but in the end, it didn’t really matter to me. I’m hoping I get lucky on my next cover because honestly, I can’t really come up with a visual for it in my head. I’m counting on my publisher/editor/artist for help on The Right & the Real!
  1. What is your favorite element of the cover artwork?
I like how Molly is walking down a dock but it doesn’t lead to anything. There’s no boat at the end or a float plane so it leaves it very open, like her journey as a whole. And then there are the sort of doorways framing the picture that give you the feeling of the story being somewhat futuristic.
  1. If there was one thing you could add to the cover art, what would it be?
As much as I love having Suzanne Selfor’s wonderful blurb on the back, I have to admit that if they’d asked me, I would’ve said I really wanted a plot summary/hook on the back (with her blurb under it). I have read, and read again, librarians, booksellers, and kids saying that the most important thing after the front cover is the plot summary on the back. And I believe it is true, in spite of the fact that I never read jacket covers myself (I don’t want to know anything about a book before I read it!).

Thank you Joëlle for taking time to stop by and talk to us about your fantastic book.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Review: Restoring Harmony by Joëlle Anthony [Teen {Book} Scene Tours]

Title: Restoring Harmony
Author: Joëlle Anthony
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Futuristic Fiction, Teen Fiction
Publication Date: May 13, 2010
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
ISBN-13 Book: 9780399252815
Source: Checked out a copy from my local public library. This review reflects my honest opinion of this book.

Restoring HarmonyRestoring Harmony by Joëlle Anthony
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In a world where oil is almost gone and traveling any distance is difficult, 16 year-old Molly must do just that. She sets out from her small self-sufficient farm in Canada, to bring her Grandparents from the United States to her Canadian home. But more than just distance and lack of transportation stand between Molly and her goal.


This book is a remarkably fast read. Anthony has created likable and interesting characters, a fascinating and scary future, and a family that is wonderful. Family is everything to Molly, and ultimately this story is about the strength and survival of a family.

Molly is an extremely interesting and strong character. She is determined to bring her grandparents home to Canada with her. She faces many obstacles along the way, but her strength, smarts, and determination see her through her challenges. Molly also finds a love interest along the way, someone she longs to trust, but in the dark crime ridden world the United States has become, she isn't sure she can trust anyone. She follows both her remarkable music and her heart.

Anthony's world building is remarkable. You have no trouble believing the chaos that rose out of the collapse of 2031 and the challenges the lack of oil has created. Crime is rampant, travel nearly impossible, and the black market is the only place to find luxury items. It is a world where the wealthy were protected by their money, and everyone else scrapes to get by. It is a scary world for anyone, but even scarier when you have lead a sheltered life on a somewhat isolated island.

Overall this book was a remarkable read. The characters were likable, the story believable, and you find yourself cheering on the protagonist despite the overwhelming obstacles.

View all my reviews

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Stop by tomorrow for a chat with Joëlle Anthony about the cover art for this book!
 

Follow Friday

Come and join the fun of the Friday Follow hosted by Parajunkee's View. You can find the instructions and rules on Parajunkee's Follow Friday post.   Happy Hopping! 





Question of the Week:  How long have you been blogging?


Well, according to the sidebar, I started in 2008, but I actually had a livejournal blog before that.  I would say that I didn't seriously start blogging until January of this year though.  When I first started my blog, I did it so I could test things for the blog I was creating for work.  I wanted to make sure what I did at work was good, so I used my blog as the experiment. 

In January, I started to get into the blogging, and really enjoyed talking with other bloggers about book.  My family and my friends, for the most part, don't read YA books like I do, so when I started blogging it opened up a whole new world to me.  I get to read posts and reviews, from authors and bloggers who love YA lit as much as I do. 

So a big THANK YOU to all the readers, reviewers, and authors out there in the blogosphere for their wonderful support!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Author Interview with Brenna Yovanoff author of The Replacement: Teen {Book} Scene Tour

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Brenna Yovanoff to my blog.  She is the author of the recent book, The Replacement a dark tale about ugly things and a hidden truth in the town of Gentry.  Let me tell you I couldn't set the book down, and it has become one of my favorite creepy reads.  It sent chills down my spine and it has to have best cover art I have seen in a long time.  Check it out!

The Replacement


Need more convincing?  Check out my review of The Replacement

In the meantime, help me welcome Brenna to my blog!


I can't tell you how excited I was to read your book, it was so original and so wonderfully creepy.  Can you share what was your favorite scene to write in The Replacement?
My favorite part to write was probably the fight scene.  And if you read The Replacement, you will know what I'm talking about when you get to it.  For one thing, you get to see Tate kind of crack open emotionally, while still being completely herself.  For another . . . can you really blame her?

I know many authors support each other and offer help to each other during the writing process.  Are there any particular authors out there who you believed helped you while you were writing The Replacement?
Tessa Gratton and Maggie Stiefvater, 100%.  There were definitely times there where they had to listen to so much whining and lamenting that it's amazing they still speak to me—but they got me through it!


What are you working on now?
I'm currently working on another standalone—this time about demons, mortal peril, self-destruction, and falling in love.  It should be out from Razorbill next fall!

What types of books do you like to read?
This may be a bit unexpected, considering the kind of books I write, but I absolutely adore really lyrical contemporary-realistic stuff.  I'm crazy about Laurie Halse Anderson and Adam Rapp, especially.  And of course I love lighter books too, particularly E. Lockhart's Ruby Oliver series.  They are just *so* funny while also being *so* smart.


Okay, this is a little off topic, but was intrigued when I saw this and have to ask.  I saw on your website that you are good at violent video games, as a Rainbow Six Vegas, Resident Evil, and Halo fan, I have to know what are your favorite video games?
Okay, so—in my opinion, one of the best survival horror video games of all time is Resident Evil 4.  It is practically perfect. However, my actual favorite, the one against which all other games are measured, is Silent Hill 2.  To me, it's an example of video game storytelling at its finest.  One of the best games conceptually is Eternal Darkness, and of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention American McGee's Alice, which is a longtime favorite.  I'm also super excited for Alice: Madness Returns, which is scheduled to come out next year.  I hope it will be even half as good as I'm imagining it in my head!

Thank you so much to Brenna Yovanoff for dropping by for the interview.  The Replacement has definitely made my list of favorite books.  It is chilling, creepy, original, and completely delightful with an unusual, but extremely likable main character in Mackie.  I hope you take the opportunity to read it!

Thank you to Teen {Book} Scene Tours for this opportunity.  To find other stops on The Replacement Tour visit Teen {Book} Scene Tours: The Replacement Tour.



  


 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Teen {Book} Scene Tour: Excerpt from Anna Levine's Freefall and Giveaway

 

Welcome! Today I have an excerpt from Anna Levine's great book Freefall.  A book about a girl who challenges herself to do something no one else thinks she can, and prove to both herself and others that she is stronger than everyone thought.  I admit, I love strong female characters, and Aggie Jacobs is a fun character to read about. 

Freefall

Summary:
Aggie Jacobs doesn't look like the type of girl who would choose a combat unit for her required military service in the Israeli army, but that is exactly where she wants to be. She is small and definitely under the weight requirement, but she wants to be useful not stuck as a secretary in a military office somewhere. Most of all she wants to prove to herself and to everyone around her that she is stronger than she appears. Battling fatigue, challenging obstacles, and a relentless desert, Aggie discovers more about herself, and friends who will challenge her and believe in her even in a war.

Excerpt:

This second excerpt is one of the first scenes between Aggie and Noah. She realizes he is home on leave from the army but is too shy to seek him out. On her way to Shira’s room, Noah sees her and invites her in. It’s in this scene that Aggie realizes how crazy she is about Noah. (Freefall, pages 128-131)
 
      “Shira?” I manage to say, my voice sounding like a chord played on the wrong frets. “I haven’t seen her since she got back.”
      “On the phone,” he says, which we both know means that she’ll be talking for at least another half hour. “Have a seat.”
      Where? Panic. On the chair that’s covered with clothes? On the floor? On his – ohmygod – bed?
 As if sensing my hesitation, he looks around, notices the mess and I think he almost blushes as he whips his bedspread up over the wet towel and other stuff, shoving it all aside to make room for me on the clean white sheet tucked into the corner of his mattress.

      I sit so far on the edge that I almost slip off, stub my foot on the butt of his rifle, which is only half under his bed, and just catch my balance before making a total idiot of myself.
      “Listen,” he says. “I think I’ve perfected the picking on this song.” He glances up at me with his soft hazel eyes, and I try to meet his look without wavering, and not showing how I’ve lost total control on the inside where pulses beat, blood rushes chaotically, and my emotions have declared a state of anarchy.
      He folds his legs up to make room. I scuttle back a bit, trying to get comfortable while keeping enough space between us. I can’t stop looking everywhere. The book he’s reading lies on the floor spine up. Twisting my head, I can just read the title, On the Road with a picture of a guy leaning on a wall smoking a cigarette. Another guitar in the corner is missing three strings. Crumpled pieces of paper litter the floor around the waste paper basket. I want to take it all in. This is Noah, I think. The smell in his room of worn clothes, oil rags for his gun, shoe polish and shampoo.
      Get a grip, I try telling myself.
      “Do you know it?” he asks.
      “Know what?” What did I miss? Has he asked me a question?
      “The song. April Comes She Will.” He starts to play, singing softly, his eyebrows reaching upwards as his voice stretches to meet the high notes.
      But April is already gone, I think. And so has March. And it’s already June and this is the first time we’ve been alone again since you kissed me. Have you forgotten? Did it mean the same thing to you that it means to me?
      His fingers move deftly along the neck of the guitar, a team of acrobats leaping from one position to the next. And just like the spectators at the circus, I gape in rapt suspense, my heart soaring and lunging with each move.
      “Well?” He glances up at me, almost as if expecting my approval.
      “Well what?”
      “Did you like it?” He laughs. “You’re day dreaming.”
      The blood rushes to my face. “Music does that to me, sometimes,” I say, feeling oh so adolescent.
      He chuckles softly. “Me too.” Stretching his legs, he accidentally brushes my thigh, moves his foot aside without saying a word, looks at me as if he’s forgotten the words to the song he’s been singing, and returns to the chorus.
      I get up and move to his window. Shira will be off the phone any moment and will start yammering away with me about the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island and all of Victoria’s secrets. My thoughts are running so quickly that I don’t realize the music has stopped, until I feel his presence so close to me, my skin tingles.
      “New moon,” he says.
      “Where?” A big lemon tree in his yard obstructs my view.
      Placing his hand on my shoulders, he tilts me sideways. “Up there.”
      I look upwards. He bends forward and rests the very tip of his chin on the crown on my head. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”
      “Yes,” I say, though my eyes are closed.
      “You’re trembling.”
      “Chilled,” I answer.
      I hope he’ll slide his arms around me and pull me tightly against him. But instead he takes a step back. I turn, the moon forgotten. He hands me one of his sweatshirts.
      Slipping it over my head, I am suddenly engulfed in Noah. His smell. The maroon red of his sweatshirt reaches down to just above my knees. The sleeves swallow up my hands. My hair is trapped within the collar but for a few unruly frizzes which break free.
      “It’s you,” he says.
       I move to catch a glimpse of me in the mirror, but it’s the reflection in Noah’s eyes which holds me making me feel like Miss Universe. The paratrooper’s emblem is emblazoned across my chest and though my feet are still grounded on the floor, inside I am soaring.

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I hope you enjoyed the excerpt.  This was a very fun and fast book to read that left me wanting more.  (You can read my review to find out more.)

To visit other sites on the Free Fall blog tour, you can visit Teen {Book} Scene Tours Freefall Tour Site.  Four other tour stops are also giving away copies of the book, so you can maximize your chances to win by visiting all five.

Also, a special thank you to the author, Anna Levine, for providing this excerpt and the books for the giveaway!  If you would like to know more about her you can visit her website

To enter to win a copy of Freefall, fill out the form below:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Book Review: Freefall by Anna Levine

Title: Freefall
Author: Anna Levine
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Teen Fiction
Publication Date: September 16, 2008
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
ISBN-13 Book: 9780061576546
Source: Copy provided by Author for Teen Book Scene Tour participants. This review reflects my honest opinion of this book.

FreefallFreefall by Anna Levine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Aggie Jacobs doesn't look like the type of girl who would choose a combat unit for her required military service in the Israeli army, but that is exactly where she wants to be.  She is small and definitely under the weight requirement, but she wants to be useful not stuck as a secretary in a military office somewhere.  Most of all she wants to prove to herself and to everyone around her that she is stronger than she appears.  Battling fatigue, challenging obstacles, and a relentless desert, Aggie discovers more about herself, and friends who will challenge her and believe in her even in a war.
First let me say that this was a fantastic read.  I have been reading tons of paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction lately and this was a welcome relief.  This was just what I needed in a nicely executed piece of realistic fiction. 

Aggie is a fascinating character, and I wish I could know her better.  At times her motivations baffled me, but she was determined and strong, something I love to see in female protagonists.  She wanted to be useful, and do something everyone else thought she couldn't do.  She wanted to prove herself, not just to everyone else, but to herself as well.  My only regret, is that I wanted to spend more time with Aggie as she goes through basic training and pursues her goals in the Israeli military.

This was a short, fast read, and one I was loath to put down.  I actually finished this book in less than a day.  I loved the description of her training tests in the desert and wished we could spend more time with the military training.  The girls in her training group were funny and wonderful--especially Lily.  Again, my only regret was that this book wasn't longer.  It left me wanting more, which all good books do. 

If you like realistic fiction and military stories, I would highly recommend this book.  Aggie is a strong female character with a lot of guts and tenacity.  A great book.

View all my reviews

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Exciting News!

If you liked the review and want to know more, tune in Friday, November 12th for an excerpt from Freefall by Anna Levine and for your chance to win a copy of the book.  Excerpt and giveaway are brought to you by the author, Anna Levine, and by Teen {Book} Scene Tours.  Don't forget to drop by for the tour and enter!



 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Book Review: Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Title: Tyger Tyger
Author: Kersten Hamilton
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: 11/15/2010
ISBN: 9780547330082
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
ARC read electronically from NetGalley.com. These are my own personal opinions of this work.

Tyger Tyger (Goblin Wars, #1)Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Teagan Wylltson's life is perfect, or at least as close to perfect as it can get. She has a great job, great grades, a wonderful family and the sweetest little brother possible, Aiden. Then Finn Mac Cumhaill walks into her life, he is a force difficult for her to resist, but as they become closer, mysterious and dangerous events begin to occur. Suddenly, she begins seeing things that aren't there, frightful creatures full of mischief, unexplained accidents, and suddenly disaster strikes her family. Tea knows something more is going on here, but is she prepared to face the truth?


This novel was simply stunning. Hamilton's world building is wonderful as are her characters. It hooks you from the very beginning and pulls you through the novel.

Hamilton's characters are all likable, and even better yet believable. Their uniqueness and individual quirks make them so real to the reader that they jump off the page. Tea is a great character. A good girl simply trying to do her best to get into a good college when her life suddenly starts to fall apart. She is realistically drawn and a character who uses her head. Finn, is charming and mysterious. He is a good guy who has had a tough life and must live with a curse. Aiden, Tea's younger brother, is perhaps my favorite character of all. He is sweet and endearing, the kind of brother any big sister would love to have.

As a parent, I have one comment that I feel I must make about this novel. I love that her parents (and eventually even a grandmother) were a strong force in the novel and that they took time to be with and educate their children. It is rare to find parents in teen lit, and while these parents suffered some misfortunes, it was clear how important they were to both Tea and Aiden.

My only complaint, and it is a minor one, is that the book was a little slow in the beginning. Once you get hooked though, the book pulls you to a conclusion at a breakneck pace.

Hamilton's inclusion of Irish myths and legends was welcome in this novel, and made the story magical. Mag Mell was an interesting place, and a world I would love to know more about. I can't wait to read the sequel to this book, the second in the Goblin War's series, In the forests of the Night which is hopefully due out in 2011.

Wonderful, rich writing and a superb story. Definitely a recommended read!



View all my reviews

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday Thoughts: On Hearing Voices, Books to Movies, and NaNoWriMo

On Hearing Voices

I was surprised this morning when I pulled up to the daycare to drop my son off and he tells me he wants me to turn the voices back on. No, my two year old isn’t going crazy, he was referring to the audiobook we were listening to. Apparently, he was really enjoying listening to the story. I don’t know how much he was understanding, but he was clearly enjoying the rythmn of the voices and the storytelling. We are currently listening to Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero and apparently he wants to keep listening. He really didn’t want to get out of the car!

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)

Books to Movies

I am usually not a Non-Fiction reader, but a couple of years ago when our library was looking for someone to lead the library book discussion groups on the discussion of the book Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, I was shocked to find myself eagerly raising my hand. On a road trip from Eastern Indiana to Western Iowa, a trip that lasted 10+ hours I immerced myself in this book. Again, I am not a big non-fiction fan, but I absolutely loved this book. Here is where I will admit that I am weird.

The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

Unlike my patrons who come in wanting to read the book because of the serial killer, reportedly America’s first serial killer, H. H. Holmes, I found that the building of the White City for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair is what attracted me the most. I wanted to skip the H. H. Holmes chapters and read more about the Fair, the inventions and the discoveries they made there. I couldn’t skip half of the book, however, because I was ultimately leading the book discussion. Larson’s chapters alternate between H. H. Holmes, and the World Fair, and they compliment each other very well. As you see the building of the fair, you also see the building of the house of horrors H. H. Holmes sought to create.

This week while reading book news and updates I found out that there are plans in the works to turn this book into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I only hope they include the building of the World’s Fair in the movie, and not focus entirely on H. H. Holmes.

You can read the full article here if you like: http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/leonardo-dicaprio-to-star-as-h-h-holmes-in-the-devil-in-the-white-city-adaptation_b15657?c=rss

NaNoWriMo

The first week of November is already upon us and that means that it is time for NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month for those who aren’t familiar with the term. All over the blogosphere you can read about participants attempts to meet this one month 50,000 word quota, and the anti NaNoWriMo crowd who say it isn’t worth it.

Here is where I weigh in. Some people need motivation to do something and if NaNoWriMo is their inspiration for writing this month, I say go for it! I did the math and discovered that in order to complete NaNoWriMo you have to write 1667 words per day or roughly three pages single spaced. It crossed my mind to try, but ultimately I have too much going on right now to write 1667 words a day, and besides, everything I tried to write was sounding startlingly like books I have read lately. Fiction writer I am not! My point in this little spiel is this, if it sounds like something you want to do, go for it. If you are not a writer, and know it like me, don’t worry about it.

As for all the people who say all you will write for NaNoWriMo is junk, I say this…we all have to start somewhere.

Word Count: 623 Keep in mind this isn’t fiction! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  WOW spotlights forthcoming titles that we absolutely can't wait to read.



I have seen this book mentioned on a number of blogs, and let me tell you, I can't wait to get my hands on it.  It sounds like one that will be a lot of fun. 

Across the Universe

Title: Across the Universe
Author:  Beth Revis
ISBN:  9781595143976
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: January 11, 2011

Description From the Goodreads.com:


A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone—one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship—tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

For more information visit http://acrosstheuniversebook.com/

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

teasertuesdays31

Teaser  Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone  can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your  current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2)  “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what  you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book  for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so  that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they  like your teasers!

Here is my teaser for today:

Delirium (Delirium, #1)

"Things weren't always as good as they are now.  In school we learned that in the old days, the dark days, people didn't realize how deadly a disease love was. For a long time they even viewed it as a good thing, something to be celebrated and pursued.  Of course that is why it is so dangerous: It affects your mind so that you cannot think clearly, or make rational decisions about your well-being."  Delirium by Lauren Oliver pg 2-3 from the ARC.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Two Months--No New Books--Can I Make It?

Cari at Cari's Book Blog is attempting to go the last two months of the year without buying any new books.  Since this is the holiday season and I want to control my holiday spending I thought this attempt to abstain from book buying is a very good idea.

I admit have little or no self control when it comes to my spending on books, so I am going to give myself an allowance.  I will allow myself to purchase no more than 3 books in the next two months.  E-book purchases count too, so if I purchase a book for my nook that counts as one of the 3.  (Keep in mind I have a couple that I have been wanting to purchase for months now for example, Matched  by Ally Condie.)  Do you think 3 is too many?  I am open to opinions here.

I am allowed to check out any books I want from the public library, and I can download any free books I want to my nook.  I can enter contests to win books too. 


Here is my plan:

  • I will try to read books I already own.
  • If I want to read a book I don't own, I will attempt to borrow it from the library.
  • Free books of any sort, ARC, prizes, contest wins, are allowed.
  • Audiobooks from the public library are fine.
  • I will purchase no more than 3 books in the next two months.  Preferably less if I can last that long!  Ideally I would like to go the whole 2 months without any book purchases.


What do you think of those limitations?  Am I being to lenient?  Do you think I can make it the last 2 months without buying any books?  Do you want to join the fun?  Let me know what you think!

November is Here! Updates and News

This year has simply flown by.  I can't believe that November is already here and pretty soon Christmas and December will be here.  This has been such a fun year of blogging and I have found some really great books and authors thanks to many of my fellow bloggers out there.  Since November is a month for being thankful, I want to tell you that I am thankful for all the friends I have made in the blogosphere, and for all the help and recommendations you have given me.

Coming this month:

My "You Choose I Review" title for November will be Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel.
Infinite Days (Vampire Queen, #1)

Here are some other books I plan on reading or finishing this month:

Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
Tyger Tyger (Goblin Wars, #1)

Delirium by Lauren Oliver--I loved Before I Fall and I love dystopias.  I am anxious to see how this book turns out!
Delirium (Delirium, #1)

Restoring Harmony by Joëlle Anthony--I am part of a blog tour for this book.  I started a few days ago and am loving it!  (Have I mentioned I love dystopian fiction?) :)
Restoring Harmony

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan--I started this one on audio last week and can't wait to see how it turns out.  I loved the Percy Jackson and the Olympians  series and was really afraid I wouldn't like this as well, but so far it has been terrific and has me completely hooked.
The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)

I hope to read more, but November is a busy month for me.  On November 13th, my library will host its annual Battle of the Books competition.  This year will mark the 25th anniversary of the event and my 8th year preparing for it.  It is completely overwhelming, but ultimately extremely rewarding.

On November 16th, I have a presentation with two of my fellow librarians at our state conference.  If you are attending ILF you won't want to miss our presentation Young Adult Literature ROCKS Your Library.  We plan on talking about 2010 and future YA titles that you don't want to miss. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 11am-11:50am Indianapolis Convention Center, Room 206 Young Adult Literature ROCKS your library
Speaking in public always makes me nervous, so wish me luck, but I absolutely love the genres I focused on (SciFi/Dystopian, Paranormal, and Fantasy) so I am hoping I will do okay. Still trying to cram in all the reading I can to get ready, so I can recommend the best titles out there!

After that, it seems like smooth sailing, but Thanksgiving is always held at my house, so I am in for a ton of house cleaning to get ready.  It is always fun to have everyone there.  My husband cooks, so at least I don't have to worry about that!

Thank you to all of you for this wonderful year we have had.  Best wishes!

Your turn to share!
So what are you doing this month?  What are you thankful for?  Which book from 2010 or 2011 do you think should be on my SciFi/Dystopian/Paranormal/Fantasy list for my presentation?

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