Saturday, December 31, 2011

Adult Book Review: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

Title: Explosive Eighteen
Author: Janet Evanovich
Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13 Book: 9780375814709
Source: I purchased a e-book from Barnes and Noble.  This is my honest review.


Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, #18)Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When Stephanie comes back from Hawaii with a mysterious tan line on her finger, everyone is anxious to find what's up.  But a tan isn't all Stephanie got in Hawaii.  Someone deposited a photo in her luggage that a number of parties are willing to kill for.  Just another day in the life of your favorite New Jersey bounty hunter.
I do enjoy a good Evanovich novel.  These novels usually have the reader shaking their heads and laughing at the crazy antics of Stephanie Plum.  Like the others in the series, this one is more than a little predictable.  After 18 books we are certainly familiar with the standard Evanovich gags, and Stephanie's numerous missteps.  I will say the ring mystery kept my attention though--Evanovich fans will definitely know what I mean. 

Overall, this was a fun and entertaining story, if a bit predictable.  Stephanie Plum fans will find that their favorite character is back for more. 

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Book Review: Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

Title: Mastiff
Author: Tamora Pierce
Genre: Teen Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13 Book: 9780375814709
Source: I purchased a copy from Barnes and Noble.  This is my honest review.


Mastiff (Beka Cooper, #3)Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Mastiff takes place a few years after the events of Bloodhound and a few things have changed for Beka.  When she and her partner are secretly summoned to the Summer Palace to solve a kidnapping, they have no idea how deep this case is going to go, or who they will be able to trust in the end.
 
I have been a long time Tamora Pierce fan.  I especially love her novels that take place in Tortall.  When she first announced that she was writing a prequel to the previous novels featuring a guardswoman, I was a bit nervous.  I usually don’t care for prequels.  I want to know what happens in the future, not what happened in the past.  Pierce surprised me though, providing me with a spunky, strong, yet slightly flawed heroine who came to life on the page.  I love Beka Cooper. 

Of all of Pierce’s wonderful heroines, I think Beka is one of my favorites.  While I also love Alanna and Daine, I felt that Beka was much more real to me.  She is strong, and smart, and determined beyond belief and these novels envelope you and pull you into this magical world.  You don’t want to leave and you really want to meet these characters.

This was a perfect conclusion to a fantastic series.  Since it is the third book in the series, I do recommend that readers read both Terrier and Bloodhound first—it will help you better understand events alluded to in this novel, and the interactions between the characters.  Pierce is honest with her characters and creates story lines that feel true to the events of the book.  I couldn’t put this one down. 

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Character This or That with Marco from My Own Worst Frenemy by Kimberly Reid


Today I have the pleasure of doing an This or That Interview with Marco from My Own Worst Frenemy.  Marco, like Chanti, is a scholarship student and is also accused in the series of thefts, and according to Chanti he is irresitably hot!  See what some of his choices are and then check out the book My Own Worst Frenemy to find out what will happen with Chanti and Marco!


This or That with Marco!

1. Mysteries or Science fiction

2. Video Games or Movies

3. Books or TV

4. Pasta or Pizza

5. Dogs or Cats

6. Vegetarian or Carnivore

7. Music or Movies

8. Sweet or Spicy

9. Summer or Winter

10. City or Country

11. Hiking or Dancing

12. Sports or Studies

13. Uniforms or Your Own Clothes

14. Friends or Family

15. Chocolate or Candy



Read more about Marco and Chanti in My Own Worst Frenemy on sale now!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Review: My Own Worst Frenemy by Kimberly Reid


Title: My Own Worst Frenemy
Author: Kimberly Reid
Genre: Teen Fiction, Urban Fiction, Mystery
Publication Date: September 1, 2011
Publisher: Dafina
ISBN-13 Book: 9780758267405
Source: I received a copy for review from {Teen} Book Scene Tours. This is my honest review.


My Own Worst Frenemy (Langdon Prep #1)My Own Worst Frenemy by Kimberly Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It wasn't Chanti's idea to become a scholarship student at Langdon, an exclusive private school. In fact, Chanti would have much rather gone to North with all of her friends, but after a bit of trouble over the summer her mother is insistent that she attend Langdon. It doesn't even take a full day for Chanti's dire predictions about Langdon to come true. Before the end of the day she has already made enemies of the headmistress and the most popular girl at Langdon. Just when she thinks things can't get worse, she is accused of stealing from students, and if that isn't bad enough she and fellow scholarship student Marco are both arrested for a series of home burglaries. Chanti knows she and Marco didn't do it, now she just has to prove it before she is sent to jail or worse.

Chanti is a likable and compelling character. It takes you a while before you get her whole story, but that doesn't stop you from liking her from the very beginning. She is smart, sassy, and extremely observant. You can't help but like her.

Bethanie, who is supposed to be a scholarship student too, but unexplainably has an enormous stash of cash. Bethanie was probably the most interesting of the supporting character, and you really want to know what is up with this girl and her family.

Marco is a sweet guy, who Chanti is obviously crushing on. While he is our leading man, there is a lot we don't know about his family.

The other characters are less well developed, and some of them are downright stereotypical. The rich mean girl, the mean head mistress, even the drugged up rich kid all make an appearance in the novel. Not that this is a bad thing, the familiar stereotypes will help readers fall in to this novel.

The mystery is well done, and definitely keeps you on your toes, and Reid does a superb job describing her characters and their environments. You could see Chanti's neighborhood and believe that it was a real place. The writing is wonderful.

Overall this is a great work of urban fiction that will undoubtedly appeal to mystery fans. I definitely have some teens who will want to read this one.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Review: In My Dreams by Cameo Renae


Title: In My Dreams
Author: Cameo Renae
Genre: Teen Fiction, Paranormal Fiction
Publication Date: April 17, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN-13 Book: 9781461083993
Source: I received a copy for review from {Teen} Book Scene Tours. This is my honest review.

In My DreamsIn My Dreams by Cameo Renae
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Lizzy Hayes is doing alright for herself. Although she is seventeen, she has moved out on her own to get away from her alcoholic mother, she has a job, she pays her bills, she goes to school, but best of all she has the best boyfriend ever, Michael. When Michael is murdered and begins visiting Lizzy in her dreams, warning her that the killer is coming after her too, Lizzy can't even imagine the danger she is in, danger that is coming for her.



I love novels that have just a touch of the paranormal in them, especially when they involve a good mystery. In My Dreams is one of those novels. The story is a page turner taking you from one harrowing situation to the next.

I love the characters in this novel. Lizzy is a smart, strong girl who felt very realistic to me. Michael, as sweet as he is, was a bit too perfect to be true. I love the relationship between the two of them, a relationship that is severed by Michael's death. Emily, Lizzy's best friend, was simply charming, and fun to be around.

The bad guy of the novel was a bit stereotypical, but would definitely get bonus points for creepy factor. This was not a guy you would ever want to meet.

I usually don't notice grammar or typos in novels, usually I am too engrossed in the novel, but this one did have a few. My copy does not indicate that it is an advance, but that may well be the case or perhaps a first printing with some errors. It looks like the book has been rereleased with a completely new and totally awesome cover--it is the one you see with this review. Great cover right?! So it is very possible that those small flaws may have been fixed with the new printing. I also want to mention that these were minor, and did not influence my feelings on the story being told.

Overall, this was a great action packed mystery that kept me turning pages. I recommend it to those who like mysteries with that touch of paranormal, and a spunky main character. In the end it sounded like this may have been a first book--perhaps more to come. I certainly hope so because I do want to see what happens next.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Review: Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

Title: Shattered Souls
Author: Mary Lindsey
Genre: Teen Fiction, Paranormal Fiction
Publication Date: December 8, 2011
Publisher: Philomel
ISBN-13 Book: 9780399256226
Source: I received an ARC for review from {Teen} Book Scene Tours.  This is my honest review.

Shattered SoulsShattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lenzi can hear voices asking for her help.  She is afraid that, like her father, she is descending into schizophrenia.  Her boyfriend Zak tries to support her, but as the voices get more persistent, and are accompanied by startling visions, she begins to worry that it is too late for her until she meets Alden.  Alden tells Lenzi that she is a speaker meant to hear the cries of hindered souls.  With Alden, Lenzi gains some control over the voices crying for her help.  Lenzi must choose between Zak and her destiny with Alden.


When I first started reading this I wasn’t sure it was going to be one I was going to like.  First off, it set me up for the all too common teenage love triangle—one girl attracted to two incredibly hot boys.  Second the whole paranormal/ghost/past lives seemed to be a bit overdone.  Actually, the first descriptions of this book reminded me a little of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series which both intrigued me and frustrated me.  There was something however, that despite my reservations, made me want to read this novel.


Shattered Souls took me by complete surprise.  I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but the book is like a combination of the best parts of Fallen and the action and organization of Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy.  From the very first page, I was intrigued by this book, and as the story progressed I found myself not wanting to put it down.


The characters are well drawn, but there is a mystery that surrounds all of them.  Many of them have histories in their past lives, and Lenzi, because of her amnesia, has forgotten it all.  At the beginning of the novel, I wasn’t sure about Lenzi.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to like her or not.  She was still reeling from the death of her father, and afraid that like him, she was losing her mind.  Zak too was a puzzle to me.  He clearly has a past of his own, but he cares for Lenzi.  At the same time his choices seem selfish and wrong.  Alden was probably my favorite character—mostly because he got Lenzi out of her I’m going crazy like my father stage.  All the characters had flaws, and that made them feel like real people.


I love the story of Rose and Alden.  The past lives were very intriguing.  So much so that I would love to know more about that whole back story.  I couldn’t wait for the next flashback.  Smith was interesting too, and seeing that whole story play out would have been great.


Overall this was a great paranormal novel with real characters and an intriguing story.  At the end, I found myself wanting to spend more time with these characters and find out more about their remarkable lives.  A great read!



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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Touch of Power
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Teen Fiction, Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: 12/20/11  (I can't wait to purchase my copy!!!)
Publisher: Mira
ISBN-13 Book: 9780778313076
Source: I received a copy for review from NetGalley.  This is my honest review.

Touch of Power (Healer, #1)Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In a land where healers are hunted and blamed for a plague, healer Avery of Kazan has been on the run for three years, never staying too long in one place, constantly fearing capture, and keeping to herself for her own safety.  Until, one night when she heals a child and is turned in to the city guard by the child’s parents.  There is only one sentences for those accused of being a healer, death.  While waiting for her punishment, Kerrick appears and offers to rescue her from her predicament if she will heal a friend.  Unfortunately, Kerrick’s friend has the plague, and healing a plague victim is a death sentence for any healer.

I love fantasy novels, if you can’t tell by the number of them that I review.  I love it when a fantasy world envelops you and becomes so believable that you can see it, smell it, and even taste it.  Very few authors are capable of creating a world that attractive and enticing, but I am definitely going to have to add Snyder’s name to the list of authors that can.  Her world of the fifteen kingdoms is remarkable, as is her world building.  I had no problem navigating my way through her fantasy world.

The characters were interesting.  Kerrick is stubborn, but noble.  Belen is the lovable “Poppa Bear” always looking out for his cubs.  Flea, is the youngster who just wants to grow up, and don’t forget the inseparable Vinn and Quain.  Each character has the niche, and getting to know them was part of the fun.  Avery herself is a strong female character.  She lets Kerrick know that she decides who she will and won’t heal.  I love that despite being a captive, she has the strength of character to stand up for herself.

The pacing of the novel is perfect, it was a very quick read, and I loathed putting it down.  It had enough detail to keep the reader interested and involved, yet this didn’t hamper the momentum of the novel.  It kept me turning pages all the way through. 

The dialogue between Kerrick and Avery was one of my favorite parts of the novel.  Avery isn’t afraid to stand up for herself and she is a very strong character.  It was interesting to see these two butting heads.

My only criticism of the novel is that it was a bit predictable.  I saw the ending coming a mile away, and yes even some of the relationships too.  In this novel though, I am not sure it is a bad thing.  The author gave me what I wanted.  I wanted that ending and that relationship.  Call me a sucker, but it worked for me.

Overall, I loved this fantasy book, and hope Snyder writes more—I want to see these characters again.  Besides, they have so loose ends to tie up!  This is being billed as a first in the series—I personally can’t wait for number two!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book Review: In the Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton



Title: In the Forests of the Night
Author: Kersten Hamilton
Genre: Teen Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: November 22, 2011
Publisher: Clarion Books
ISBN-13 Book: 9780547435602
Source: I received a copy from the author for review for Teen Book Scene Tours.  This is my honest review.

In the Forests of the Night (Goblin Wars, #2)In the Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Teagan, Finn, Aiden, and Abby are all back along with an assortment of characters in this sequel to Hamilton’s Tyger, Tyger.  Teagan knows she loves Finn, but is afraid of what a relationship between them might mean now that she knows she is a highborn.  She knows what she wants, but fears her blood may get in the way.  The Dark Man, however, hasn’t forgotten about Teagan and still wants her at any cost, even the lives of her friends and family.

In the Forests of the Night picks up immediately after the events of Tyger, Tyger.  So much so, that you may want to go back and read the end of the previous book so you can remember where we left off.  Once again at Teagan’s home, they are still being threatened by goblins

Hamilton does a wonderful job writing dialogue and family dynamics.  There were moments when the family interactions had me laughing out loud.  These were people you would feel right at home living with—despite their oddities.  The greatest part of this novel was seeing the relationships grow and change as you read.

I love her characters, Abby and Aiden are my favorites.  I love how Aiden can simply charm you and I love how prickly Abby is and how she picks at Finn.  The relationships are endearing, and you love these characters.

My one concern for this novel is that it seems to have “middle book syndrome.”  You know that so much more is going to happen in this series, but this novel is merely a stepping stone to get there.  It is a bit slow going, but there is a lot of development occurring in those passages.  There isn’t a lot of action in the novel until the end, but the end definitely leaves you anticipating the next book. 

Overall, I love the originality of this series, which deals with goblins, the dark man, and angels.  It is incredibly interesting and I would love to spend more time investigating the mysteries of Mag Mell.  This series is definitely one to follow, but be prepared for a little slow going in this book.  If the ending is any indication though, I think we will all eagerly anticipate book three.

The reader must definitely read book one Tyger, Tyger before tackling this one, otherwise be prepared to be overwhelmed. 

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Lyrical Author Interview with Cameo Renae Author of In My Dreams


Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Cameo Renae author of In My Dreams to my blog.  In My Dreams is a novel of nightmares, ghosts and murder.  Definitely a book you will want to check out!

Author Interview w/ Music Lyric Answers

How would you describe your most embarrassing moment?
You make me want to say…
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
Oh my gosh
Oh my gosh
oh my
oh my
oh, oh my gosh
oh myy gosh- OMG –Usher

(Sorry… this was the first song that popped into my mind, so I had to write it down. Lol I’ve had more than my share of embarrassing moments, and I’ve heard those words a lot… :))


What was your reaction when you held In My Dreams in book form in your hands for the first time?
No matter what you'll never take that from me
My reign is as far as your eyes can see
It's amazin', so amazin', so amazin', so amazin'
It's amazin', so amazin', so amazin', so amazin'
It's amazin'
(Let's go)! Amazing - Kanye West
AND….
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Haaa-lleeeee- luuuu-jaaaaah!!!!! 


Describe your writing process.
Is it strange that I talk to myself?
Is it weird when I hear someone else?
What do I do? (What do I do?)
Is it strange I believe them again (oh-oh-oh)
Voices in my head, the voices, the voices, the voices.
Voices in my head the voices (oh), the voices, the voices – Bruno Mars - Voices in My Head

(Seriously… sometimes I do hear my characters voices in my head… Does that mean I’m crazy? :p)


What inspired you to write In My Dreams?
Time, time will never be a friend of mine again
It tries to make your memory fade but I won’t let it end
Let the sun go down, so I can drift away
Let me close my eyes and live another day
You keep comin’, you keep comin’ back, you keep comin’ back for more.

I’ll see you in my dreams,
There we’ll be safe tonight
From the lonely days of memories
I’ll see you in my dreams.
Back in my arms again
And no matter what tomorrow brings
I’ll see you in my dreams. – I’ll See You In My Dreams - Giant

(I did have a dream, which inspired the story, but the main reason was the passing of my mother-in-law.)


How would you describe In My Dreams?
I would die for you, lay down my life for you
The only thing that means everything to me
‘Cause when you’re in my arms, you make me prouder than
Than anything I ever could achieve

And you make everything that used to seem so big
Seem to be so small since you arrived

On angel’s wings, an angelical formation
Angel’s wings, like letters in the sky
Now I know, no matter what the question
That love is the answer, it’s written on Angel’s wings. - Angel’s Wings - Westlife

(This is definitely a love story, but with twist, turns and tears.)


What is the one thing you want people to remember about In My Dreams?
Love will keep us alive
Let's make the moment right
It's now or never
Love will keep us alive
Even the darkest night
Will shine forever
Love will keep us alive
Love will keep us alive
Love, love will keep us alive. – Love Will Keep Us Alive - Scorpions

(I believe that our loved ones are still with us when they pass… guiding and watching over us.)

If you could give aspiring writers one piece of advice, what would it be?
Every victory comes in time, work today to change tomorrow
It gets easier, who's to say that you can't fly
Every step you take you get, closer to your destination
You can feel it now; don't you know you're almost there?

To fulfill divine purpose, you gotta answer when you're called
So don't be afraid to face the world against all odds

Keep the dream alive don't let it die
If something deep inside keeps inspiring you to try, don't stop
And never give up, don't ever give up on you. – Never Give Up - Yolanda Adams

Thanks Melissa for letting me come and visit! 


Thank you Cameo for dropping by!

Don't forget to check out In My Dreams by Cameo Renae.  Need more covincing?  Check out this blurb from Goodreads!
In My Dreams by Cameo Renae description from Goodreads.com:

In My DreamsIt was happening again. The dreams. The nightmares. It was something seventeen year-old Elizabeth "Lizzy" Hayes thought she'd outgrown; dreams that would come true; detailed premonitions of how people would die. This time she dreams about her boyfriend, Michael Young, and soon discovers that he's been found... dead.
Michael hasn't crossed over because he was murdered, and now his murderer is coming for Lizzy. His spirit won't rest until she is safe, and as a newbie spirit, the easiest way for him to make contact is through Lizzy's dreams. When she dreams, it's as if he hasn't died.
Lizzy must learn to pull on her inner strength to survive horrifying events. Meanwhile, in the spirit world, Michael learns everything he can about his supernatural gifts to help. But will it be enough to save her?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Book Review: The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross

Title: The Strange Case of Finley Jayne
Author: Kady Cross
Genre: Teen Fiction, Steampunk
Publication Date: 5/1/2011
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN-13 Book: 9781459204140
Source: I purchased a copy from Barnes and Noble.  This is my honest review.

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne (Steampunk Chronicles, #0.5)The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Kady Cross's book Girl in the Steel Corset and this book was a welcome addition.  In this novella, we meet Finley before she meets the Griffin King.  After an unfortunate altercation with a governess, Finley accepts a position as a companion to Lady Phoebe, a young woman engaged to a much older Earl.  Phoebe's mother isn't convinced that the match is in her daughter's best interest, and soon Finley is on the trail to find out what diabolical secrets the Earl is hiding.

This story had everything I loved from the novel, a strong, smart heroine, lots of non-stop action, and a wonderful sense of humor. 

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the book, and anyone who is considering reading the book.  I loved the references to Frankenstein and the whole steampunk motif.  This is a fabulous novella, and I absolutely can't wait for the next installment in this thrilling series.


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Book Review: Hare Moon by Carrie Ryan

Title: Hare Moon
Author: Carrie Ryan
Genre: Teen Fiction, Post Apocalyptic Fiction
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13 Book: 9780375979996
Source: I purchased a copy from Barnes and Noble.  This is my honest review.

Hare MoonHare Moon by Carrie Ryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In Ryan's first book The Forest of Hands and Teeth we meet Sister Tabitha.  Now in Hare Moon we finally see the story behind the egnimatic sister.  It is story of love loss and impossible choices. 

I love Carrie Ryan's books.  In my opinion they are some of the best teen horror out there.  I never pictured myself as a person who would enjoy zombie books, but Ryan's writing is brilliant.  Her stories elicit the inherent fear that the image of the zombie is supposed to evoke.

While I love her novels, I found myself wishing for more from this short story.  I wanted to know Tabitha's family, her relationships in the village, and all the details of her life that would lead her to her ultimate choice.  I think knowing that would have helped me better understand this character.  Unlike her novels I felt that I was told the story rather than experiencing it the way you do in her other work.

Overall this was an interesting foray into one of the side stories of this series.  I did like seeing how similar Mary and Tabitha actually were.  Definitely worth reading, but it left me wishing for more.



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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Character Book Picks and Giveaway: The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams


Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Ivy Adams author of the book The International Kissing Club.  Every character is unique, and like us they have favorite books.  Today Ivy will share with us some of Piper's (from The International Kissing Club) favorite books.  There is also a giveaway, so keep reading!

Welcome Ivy!

Thanks so much for a hosting Smooch Spot #9 on the Around the World in 80 Kisses Tour.  While Piper is the ringleader of the International Kissing Club, she’s much more of an artist and fashionista than she is a reader.  However, there are a few books that she absolutely loves—namely ones that talk about clothes or ones with really hot guys in them. :)   Of course, books with both get extra points …

1.    IN VOGUE: The Illustrated History of the World’s Most Famous Fashion Magazine   This coffee table book does exactly what its title says it does—it follows all the amazing looks and trends from Vogue magazine from its inception until now.  It’s a gorgeous book with a lot of truly iconic photographs.  Sometimes when I don’t know what to paint, I open this book up and pick a style to try to imitate in an abstract painting.
2.    Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: What’s not to love about this book?  Lola is a great heroine with a flair for dramatic style.  And Cricket is adorable, too!
3.    Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez: This book has the most amazing cover and the story of a seventeen-year-old violin prodigy (and the boy she competes with and falls in love with) is incredible.
4.    Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott: This book is a few years old, but it’s a fascinating story of friendship and once I started it I couldn’t put it down.
5.    The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Perkins:  I love this book.  The cover is breathtaking and the story is just as entrancing—especially the poems the main character writes and then sends out into the universe.  Plus, the guy in here is totally hot. :)
So these are some of Piper’s picks.  How about you?  What are some of your go-to books?  Leave a comment (include your email addy) to be entered into the Around the World in 80 Kisses daily, weekly and grand prize drawing.


Want to know more about The International Kissing Club?  Check out the blurb below and don't forget to pre-order you copy--it comes out January 3, 2012!

The International Kissing Club
Description from Goodreads:  Piper, Cassidy, Mei, and Izzy have been best friends their whole lives. And they've always agreed on one goal: to get out of tiny Paris, Texas, and see the world. The school's foreign exchange program seems like the perfect escape: Piper will go to the original Paris; Mei will go to China; Cassidy will go to Australia; and Izzy, unable to afford the program, will stay at home. To add spice to their semester away, and to stay connected to their best friends, the girls start The International Kissing Club, a Facebook page where they can anonymously update one another and brag about all the amazing guys they're meeting. After all, these girls are traveling abroad: amazing guys abound at every turn! But sometimes fun, flirty vacation flings turn into more serious romances, and sometimes you don't return from abroad the same person you were. Will the girls' relationships-and their friendships-be able to survive?

Giveaway: 
Ivy shared some of Piper's favorite books, what are yours?  What are some of your go-to books?  Leave a comment (include your email addy) to be entered into the Around the World in 80 Kisses daily, weekly and grand prize drawing. (For more details about the giveaway visit http://tracy-deebs.blogspot.com/2011/11/around-world-in-80-kisses-blog-tour-and.html.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

E-readers: Before You Buy Buying Tips

I can't believe that December is almost here!  This year is flying by.  Once again at our library's reference desk we are having concerned family members seeking our advice about which e-reader they should buy their loved ones for Christmas this year.  Being a librarian, I really have no vested interest in what readers you buy, but I do know what works with the library's Overdrive program, and the readers that are the easiest to use with Overdrive.  I am not trying to sell anyone anything. I have a nook and I love my nook, but I am also extremely impressed with the Kindle.  While I will focus on Kindle and Nook in this post, many of these questions will be relevant to any e-reader you are looking at.

Even if you are buying for yourself or someone else, these questions and tips will hopefully help you select which device will suit you or the person receiving the gift best.

E-reader Buying Tips and Questions to Ask Yourself:
  • Cheaper isn't always better.  There are a lot of cheap readers on the market, some of them are exceptional, while others are not.  Make sure you know you like the device you are buying because if you don't it wasn't really a bargain.
  • Where do you like to buy books?  Do you like buying books better from Amazon (Kindle) or from Barnes and Noble (Nook).  Whichever device you buy, you will be required to register your device with their website before you can buy books.  This means giving your credit card number to that company.  Your buying preferences figure heavily here keep this in mind when you choose your device--make sure you are comfortable buying from that company.
  • Go somewhere that has the device out where you can touch  it and play with it.  I can't emphasize this enough.  Even though there is no Barnes and Noble where I live, I can go to Books a Million and hold a Nook if I want to see how the device looks, feels, and works in person.  The same is true for Kindle.  Find local retailers that have the devices out where  you can touch them, read on them, and try to navigate on them.  Look for these things as you handle the device:
    • Weight and size.  Although most ereaders are around the same size and weight, there are subtle differences that can influence your decision.  Hold the device in your hand, does it feel comfortable to hold, or is it too bulky (my reader an original nook is kind of heavy, and sometimes makes me wish I had purchased a newer lighter one), do you like the size and and shape of the reader?
    • Read on it!  This is probably the most important tip I can give you.  Whatever one you choose you need to actually read on the device.  Read at least three pages on the device.  
      • Can you read it easily? 
      • Does the glare bother you? 
      • Do you prefer your screens to be backlit? 
      • Adjust the font type--does that make it easier to read?
      • Adjust the size?  Do you like how the font changes with size? 
    • Turn the pages.  This is another important one.  Some e-readers have a really slow page turn.  While some of you may think that is no big deal, let me tell you a slow page turn can be extremely frustrating when you are reading.  Think about it...you finish a page and can't wait to see what happens next, but for some reason your e-reader is taking its own sweet time turning the page.  You are so excited you hit the button again and suddenly your e-reader flips ahead two pages.  Now you have to hit the back button and wait for it to flip back.  I am really not exaggerating here--I have seen this happen and have seen some very upset people trying to navigate on their readers.  Make sure the reader you choose is responsive.  By this I mean the e-reader turns your pages smoothly and quickly--you should not have to wait.  
  • Look for e-reader reviews! Not sure what you are looking for when you handle an e-reader?  If you do a google search, you can come up with a multitude of reviews from various sources.  If you are more traditional and prefer paper publications, you can find reviews from Consumer Reports and various electronics and computer magazines and journals.  You can also ask your friends if they have one what they like or dislike about their reader.  Make sure you are asking someone who actually uses the reader though!

The next part is some things you should consider if your library has Overdrive and you want to get free e-books from the library.

Getting Books From Your Library Through Overdrive:
Overdrive is a wonderful service, and I love getting free ebooks from my library.  Check with your library to see if they subscribe.  Each library has different lending rules--for ours we get the books for two weeks and then they stop working and we delete them off of our devices.  The one thing first time users, or anyone buying an e-reader, should know  is that how you download books from your library will vary from device to device.  If you are considering buying an e-reader, you should make sure that you are comfortable with how this will work for your device.  Most of this information will probably be available on Overdrive's website, or your library's, and if you have a Kindle you can find the information for you on Amazon.com.  Here are some things you should know about how Nook and Kindle downloads differ (keep in mind I am not covering specifics here--for details ask your library):
  • Nook
    • You currently need a computer to do the download.
    • You need to have Adobe Digital Editions downloaded to your computer.  Don't worry, Adobe is free, but you will have to register the software with Adobe and Authorize both your computer and your nook.  You only have to do this once, but set up can sometimes be daunting for people who aren't comfortable around computers.  Here is the link to Adobe Digital Editions for more info about the software.
    • You will search for books, check out books, and download the books to a computer before you will even touch your nook.
    • Once you download the book to your computer it should download it directly to Adobe Digital Editions.  Then you plug in your Nook.  Once your Nook appears on the Digital Editions page you click and drag the book to your Nook.  It really is as simple as clicking and dragging.  
    • You can delete the books (both library and purchased books--so be careful) off your device using Adobe Digital Editions, and you even have an option to return a book early using Adobe Digital Editions.  
    • When the book is on your Nook you will probably find it under My Files, or My Documents--my one wish is that Barnes and Noble would use consistent terminology, but alas no luck there.  Once you find it though you are ready to read.
  • Kindle
    • You need a computer to access Overdrive (we aren't sure if this is necessary for the Kindle Fire, but it is for the other Kindles).
    • You will search for and check out books from a regular computer before you will do anything with a device.
    • Once you have found a book and checked it out, you will click on a button in your Overdrive account that says "Get for Kindle."  
    • At this point you will be redirected to the Amazon page where you will log in with your Amazon account.  
    • Follow the instructions, select the device you want the book delivered to, and then sync your Kindle.  
    • If you have 3G you will need to download the book using your USB cord.  There are instructions for this on Amazon's website including a video, but here is the gist: Save the book to the external drive that your Kindle is on (:E or :F)  Once you save it, you will have to copy the title and paste it into the Kindle’s “documents” folder.  After you eject the Kindle from the external drive, the book should be on your Kindle.
    • For more details visit your library's website.
On the surface both sound complicated, but they really aren't that bad once you get used to it. I hope I am not scaring anyone away from library books from Overdrive. Just remember, talk to you librarians--they can help you with this. At my library we even have one on one trainings that you can schedule to learn how to get e-books from the library--ask your library if they do this.

The #1 thing to remember before you purchase an e-reader--test it out!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review: Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Title: Kiss of Frost
Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: Teen Fiction, Paranormal Fiction
Publication Date: November 29, 2011  (TODAY!!!!)
Publisher: Kensington
ISBN-13 Book: 9780758266941
Source: I received a copy for review from the publisher.  This is my honest review.


Kiss of Frost (Mythos Academy, #2)Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Gwen and friends are back in this second installment of the Mythos Academy series.  As the students of Mythos head off to Powder, a winter ski resort, for the Winter Carnival, Gwen is afraid another Reaper may be on her trail .  After several attempts on her life, Gwen is more concerned with staying alive than hitting the slopes, and Vic--he just wants blood.  Can Gwen find out who may be trying to kill her before they succeed?

I love how fast paced these novels are.  This is the second installment in the Mythos Academy series, and it starts out with plenty of action, and doesn’t let up until you turn the last page.  In many ways this book is better than the first because the author could step right into the story, without a lot of world building. 

I really enjoyed the setting for this novel.  Taking us off campus to a winter ski resort was a fantastic twist.  We got to see the Mythos students having fun, kicking back, and partying.  This novel also had some very nice meat to it that progressed Gwen’s story well.   

I love the action, I love the characters, and I love the mythology.  This novel leads to some important revelations, and Gwen developing new abilities.  Gwen’s character progressed and developed through this story, and it is nice to see those changes.  After turning the last page there was only one thing I could regret--that I have to wait until May for the next installment Dark Frost.  That is going to be one very long wait.  I can’t wait to see what happens to Gwen and friends next!

Overall, this is a fun series that I will continue to read and recommend to teens looking for more action packed paranormal mysteries.  I can’t wait for the next installment. 

View all my reviews

Monday, November 28, 2011

Giveaway and This or That with In the Forests of the Night Author Kersten Hamilton



Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Kersten Hamilton to my blog! I loved her first book Tyger Tyger and have been eagerly anticipating the sequel, In the Forests of the Night.  She is here today to tell us a bit about herself and her preferences!  Welcome Kersten!

This or That with Kersten Hamilton

1.  Chocolate or candy?

Chocolate. Dark and bitter. Yum!

2.  Surprises or something more predictable?

Surprises. I have very little patience for predictable, in plots…or in life!

3.  Books or movies?

Books, most of the time.

4.  Horror or Comedy?
Comedy with a dash of daring, a kiss of class, and a better than average adventure. I love the movie Much Ado About Nothing with Emma Thompson, the Amelia Peabody novels by Elizabeth Peters, and The Ananasi Boys by Neil Gaiman.

5.  Cats or Dogs?
When I was young, cats and dogs were my only friends. I met a mangy, one-eyed alley cat named Terrible Tom walking down a fence, and we loved each other at first sight. He didn’t like water; if he could get into the bathroom while I was taking a bath he’d jump in and bite me until I got out of the nasty wet stuff. He’d follow me to school and yowl outside the classroom door until the teacher sent me home. When I was thirteen, I saved a puppy and named him Shadrach. He grew up to be my best friend. How could I ever choose between them?

6.  Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?
Fall. I love chrysanthemums that face the frost with a blaze of courage.

7.  Traveling or Staying Home with Family?
Traveling…with family.


8.  Cooking at Home or Eating Out?
Do you mean ME cooking or someone else cooking? Because…I don’t cook. Nope. Just write. I do love it when people cook for me, though.


9.  Shopping or Hiking?
Hiking—and looking for dinosaur bones.

10.  Board Games or Video Games?
Board Games if I must. But I’d really rather read a book.

11.  Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
Yes, please! I love them all. Coffee to wake up, tea with good friends and hot chocolate for cold, rainy days.

12.  Ebooks or Paper Books?
Any old kind of book will do. It’s the story I crave, not the body it is wrapped in.


13.  Sweet or Salty?
Salty.

14.  Vampires, Werewolves, Dystopias,  or Goblins?
Goblins, of course.

15.  Morning Person or Night Owl?
I’m a Zone person. When I’m writing, I fall into the Zone, and time collapses. I don’t know if it is day or night, early or late. I just…write. Until I have to come back to reality for food or more coffee, tea or hot chocolate!

Thank you for having me on your blog, Melissa!



Thank you so much for joining me today!

In the Forests of the Night came out on November 22nd and is now available in stores.  I just started reading it this past weekend, and let me tell you, she has me hooked!  If you haven't read Tyger Tyger yet, go out and get it--it is now available in paperback and is definitely a fantastic fantasy!

Giveaway!!!
Click Read More for more details and to sign up!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Adult Book Review: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Title: Julie and Julia
Author: Julie Powell
Genre: Adult Nonfiction, Memoir
Publication Date: September 7, 2006
Publisher: Back Bay Books
ISBN-13 Book: 0316013269
Source: I purchased a copy from Barnes and Noble for my personal collection. This is my honest review.


Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking DangerouslyJulie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, you may not know this about me, but I am a wanna-be foodie.  I watch tremendous amounts of Food TV, and just about any other cooking show on TV.  Sometimes, when I am really desperate, I will watch them sell cooking utensils and pots and pans on QVC or the Home Shopping Channel.  The only magazine subscriptions I have are to food magazines, and although the titles will vary from time to time, I always seem to have at least two active subscriptions. Yeah, it is an addiction, but of all the addictions I could have, I guess it is a relatively harmless one.  But note I said wanna-be—in essence this means that while I would love to cook like they do, my talent for cooking seems to be limited to pasta and cheese.  Okay, I am a very picky, not very creative, wannabe foodie.

When two things I love come together like reading and cooking, I just couldn’t help myself—I had to see what all the hype was about.  Julia and Julia is a memoir of Julie Powell’s time attempting to cook all 524 recipe’s in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  It is more than about just the cooking though.  She spends a lot of time thinking about her upcoming 30th birthday, her dreary secretarial job, her tiny apartment, and her failure to become an author—guess that is one she can strike off the list.

You know, I am not the biggest reader of realistic fiction, and that I have to be really interested to even give it a shot.  I figured I couldn’t go wrong with a food book and for the most part I was right.

I love the bits and pieces that flashback to Julia Child—I learned so much about her life that I never knew, and I thought that it was interesting how Julie put Julia on such a pedestal and tried to be like her.  I discovered that I really wanted to know more about Julia Child, so much so that as we speak I have Julia Child’s book, My Life in France sitting on the desk next to me.

This was a surprisingly fast read for me.  Again because it was non-fiction I figured it would be hard for me to get through, but surprisingly it was a fun book to read.  There were laugh out loud moments, and moments where you were frustrated by Julie’s reactions to things.  She had a lot of negativity towards her work, and as someone who has done the secretarial job I can understand where that comes from—it reminds me a lot of the time I spent working for a call center that shall remain nameless.  I was surprised by how well I connected to Julie’s narrative voice.  I could see where she was coming from even when I didn’t necessarily agree.  Not that I could ever be as vocal as she is.

Overall, this book is about many things, not just about food and cooking—actually I kind of wish there had been more about the food.  It is about the changes we go through when we reach the age of 30, the frustration of being in a job where your opinions aren’t heard and aren’t wanted when you are heard.  Yes, there was a lot of frustration in the novel.  Not just with the cooking, but with life.  All I have to say is that Eric must be the most patient man in the world.  The “Project” as Julie calls it is amazing, I can honestly say it is something I will never attempt, but I might pick up Julia’s cookbook and give a recipe a shot.

Overall, this was an interesting read, and I loved the talk about food, cooking, and the things I learned about Julia Child.  If anything, I think it might have encouraged me to find out more about her.  We’ll see how far I get into My Life in France.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude Giveaway Hop



Welcome to the Gratitude Giveaway Hop! This hop is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and by All-Consuming Books!  Be sure to stop by as many blogs as possible for your chance to win some great books or book related items!

For my giveaway you have the chance to win a SIGNED copy of Ashfall by Mike Mullin!

Ashfall (Ashfall, #1)
Here are the rules:

* Contest will run from 12:01 am November 17th through 12:01 am November 28th.
* US entries only (sorry I don't have a lot of money to pay for postage)
* Must be 13 years of age or older.
* Winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
* Not responsible for items lost or damaged in the mail. I will pay for delivery confirmation.

Sign up for the giveaway using Rafflecopter below!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review: Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

Title: Prized
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Genre: Teen Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Publication Date: November 8, 2011
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
ISBN-13 Book: 9781596435704
Source: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.  This is my honest review!

Prized (Birthmarked, #2)Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Prized takes place shortly after the events of Birthmarked. We join Gaia who has run away from the Enclave with her newborn sister, who is barely surviving the wasteland. When she is found and taken to a nearby settlement, Sylum, Gaia hopes that she can nurse her sister back to health and find the grandmother who left the Enclave years ago, but when her sister is taken from her and she finds that her grandmother has been dead for years, Gaia must decide to leave Sylum without her sister, or stay in this rather unusual matriarical society. When she disobeys the Matrarc, she finds herself under house arrest, unable to help either her sister or Leon who has followed her to Sylum.


I enjoyed Birthmarked when I read it last year, and was eager to know what would happen to Gaia in her quest to leave the Enclave and find her grandmother. Gaia is a strongwilled character, and that was one of the things I liked about her. In this novel, the Matrarc seems determined to break Gaia, and make her into one of her proper Mlasses. I didn’t like some of the turns the story took, but O’Brien’s writing kept me interested enough that I definitely wanted to know what was going to happen.

This novel is a good sequel to the first, and it definitely keeps you interested, but I found myself wishing Gaia could have found her safety in a place that didn’t have controversies as bad if not worse than the Enclave. Aren’t there any normal societies left in Gaia’s world? I guess her finding a new home and living happily ever after wouldn’t have made nearly as interesting a story.

Characterizations are well done, and O’Brien is still finding time to drop those SAT vocab words—I loved finding those in the text, they were like little gems! While I knew what they meant, I know some of my teens will definitely be reaching for the dictionary. It’s nice when YA lit proves that it can be smart as well as entertaining.

Overall, this is a good sequel to Birthmarked. It is not a novel you will really want to tackle unless you have read the first, because you will need to know much of the characters’ histories in order to understand much of the emotional impact of the novel. If you like dystopian and you enjoyed Birthmarked you might want to see what comes next.




View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adult Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN-13 Book: 9780385534635
Publisher Audio CD: Random House Audio
ISBN CD: 9780307938909
Source: I checked out the audio from my local library. I purchased a copy of the book for my personal collection. This is my honest review!

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The circus arrives without warning.” So begins a novel like no other.  Two young illusionists are pitted against each other in a battle of skill that has far reaching consequences.  Both a love story and a tale of magic, this book will leave you wanting more.


Let me start by saying that there is no way this review will do the book justice.  I have fallen in love with this novel, and can’t seem to find adequate words to describe it.  I want to applaud the author for her originality.  This novel is unique and intriguing.  It was like nothing I had ever read before, and when I turned that last page I wanted more.  Given the originality of the novel, I think I must learn to live with disappointment and the fact that The Night Circus has ruined me for other novels.  

It is the mysterious challenge that propels the action of the novel, but the circus itself that keeps you turning the pages.  I found myself wanting to believe in that magical circus and find myself in that place of imagination.  I just wanted to go there and stay in that magic forever. 

The audio version of The Night Circus is produced by Random House Audio and read by Jim Dale who is probably best known for his narration of the Harry Potter audiobooks.  Dale is a superb narrator and probably one of the bests in the industry.  I think I could listen to him narrate the phone book, he is so good.  It comes as no surprise then that the audio version of The Night Circus would be so remarkable.  It is a great way to read this wonderful novel.   

Overall, The Night Circus is a story of imagination, love, and determination.  The Night Circus will take you places you have never been before and to places you will never want to leave.




View all my reviews

Monday, November 14, 2011

2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge






We all do it, purchase a book, win one for a prize, etc... and then take it home to sit on the shelf and remain unread, because we are too busy reading other things, newer books, etc...  When I came across this challenge hosted by Evie at Bookish, I knew I needed to sign up.  So this coming year in 2012 I am going to attempt to read down my reading pile.

There are several levels for this challenge and a whole group of hosts:

Levels:

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children


Thank you to all the wonderful blogs hosting this challenge--I hope I can do well and at least get through my ten!

Hosts:
Evie from Bookish - http://www.evie-bookish.blogspot.com @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - http://www.nicoleabouttown.com/ @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - http://www.handsandhome.ca/ @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.com/ @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - http://whatchyareading.net @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - http://missiontoread.com/ @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea -http://booksbiscuitsandtea.blogspot.com/ @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books - http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - http://fansoffiction.blogspot.com/ @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - http://mermaidvision.wordpress.com @mermaidvisions


For my challenge, I plan on starting small.  I am going to try to complete 10 books--the Firm Handshake level.  I am not sure I will accomplish it, but I am certainly going to try.  Here are a few of the books I hope to tackle:

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Torn by Erica O'Rourke
Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa (if I don't get to it this year)


and many more...
 

I'm Back! Reviews to Follow

Well, I am back and slowly recovering from our Battle of the Books competition.  After it was over on Saturday, I was ready to collapse!

It took place Saturday November 12th, and we had a total of 144 people there for the competition!  Thirteen Middle School teams competed to take home the Battle trophy and let me tell you those kids were prepared.  I couldn't have done it without help from my wonderful coworkers!

I spend all year working on Battle of the Books, and although it is a lot of fun, it is a lot of work.  Today, I start the preparations for next year's competition; choosing the books, reviewing what we can do better, and getting the awards out to the schools.

I have finished a couple books during my time away so expect reviews soon!  Thank you for your patience, and keep your eyes open for a giveaway later this week for the Gratitude Hop!  (Hint, hint...it is SIGNED!!!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why So Silent?

You have probably noticed by now that my reviews have slowed down a bit in the last couple of weeks.  To be honest, my reading has too.  I still have books I am working on:

The Night Circus

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4)

Prized (Birthmarked, #2)

The problem is I have been taking work home with me lately.  November 12th is our library's 26th annual Battle of the Books competition.  Each year I select 10 books for the competition and write 100 questions per book (usually 5 of the books are ones I have used in the past so I can reuse the questions).  This means I will write 500 questions for books this year.  Battle of the Books is a lot of work and now it is crunch time.  I need to finish writing questions for Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan and Julie Kagawa's Iron King.  Writing 100 questions per book is no easy task, and I do have help to get me through this.  But since our deadline is quickly approaching I have put off all my reading and started taking these books home to write battle questions.  After November 12th, I am hopeful that everything will go back to normal.  In case you are curious, here are our ten titles for this year:


Title / Author                                                   

5 new:
Iron King / Julie Kagawa                              
Dark Life / Kat Falls                                        
Leviathan / Scott Westerfeld                    
Demon King / Cinda Williams Chima     
Incarceron / Catherine Fisher       

5 reused:      
Hatchet / Paulsen                                           
Witch of Blackbird Pond / Speare            
Maniac Magee / Spinelli                              
Left for Dead / Nelson                                  
Down the Rabbit Hole / Abrahams         

Thank you for your patience!  I can't wait to get back to some real reading!   

Book Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Summoning
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Paranormal Fiction, Teen Fiction
Publication Date: March 31, 2009
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN-13 Book: 9780061450549
Publisher Audio CD: Recorded Books
ISBN CD:: 9781436197205
Source: I checked out the audio from my local library. I purchased a copy of the book for my personal collection. This is my honest review!


The Summoning (Darkest Powers, #1)The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Fifteen year old Chloe Saunders sees dead people. As a result of this startling discovery and being chased by a dead custodian, she is sent to Lyle House Group Home where she is diagnosed as having schizophrenia. But what Chloe can do is real, and as she soon learns, she isn’t the only one with special abilities at Lyle House. Something strange is going on, and if the dead can’t convince her, then she and her friends may be joining them sooner than they think.

This was an interesting novel, but you definitely get the impression this is a first novel in a series. There are a lot of questions left unanswered at the end of the book, plus a pretty big cliffhanger. The thing that bothers me about novels like these, is that they really have difficulty standing on their own. It is like I have only read part of a book, rather than a whole novel. I just wish I had more explanations and more of a solid novel that could stand alone.

Armstrong does incredibly well with the creep factor. The first scene in the novel sends chills down your spine, and I really wish I had gotten more of that. I loved the creepy parts, and want to know more about Chloe’s abilities.

Chloe and the other characters in the book can be more than a little bit unpredictable at times, but in a novel of suspense this is a good thing. The characters don’t always do what you predict they will do. Chloe is perhaps the most fully drawn character, and she is likable enough. You definitely want to know what is going on with the other kids at Lyle house, but a lot of that is left unexplained—for future books no doubt.

The audio version of the book is produced by Recorded Books and read by Cassandra Morris. When I first started listening to this novel, I had trouble with the audio version. The narrator sounded too young to be a fifteen year-old girl. As you progress through the story you discover that Chloe is a little underdeveloped for her age, and can excuse the too youthful narration. This is a good production, you just have to get used to it.

Overall this was an interesting series opener, that didn’t quite meet my expectations. I may go on in the series just simply because I want some explanations—I guess in that sense it did its job!


View all my reviews

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why I Love Halloween!

It isn't just Halloween that I love, I love the entire fall season leading up to it.  There is so much ambiance to this season, colors, scents, and fun.  I admit it, I am a sucker for this season!

Here are my top 5 reasons for loving this season and Halloween:

  1. The scent of falling leaves.  Sometime when you are outside during this season take a moment to sniff the air.  
  2. I love the smell of apples on the tree.3
  3. I love scary stories told around the campfire.  (Or just scary stories in general.)
  4. I love to see the kids all dressed up and going door to door.
  5. I love the candy.
Those are my reason for loving Halloween and the whole season leading up to it.  What are your favorite things about Halloween.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teen Tales Around the Campfire

Last Friday night, my library did one of the best programs I have attended.  It was a simple affair, but we had a blast.  We had a night of roasting hot dogs and marshmallows while listening to Addie Hirschten from Fantastic Fables tell scary stories around the fire.  Addie did a superb job with the stories and we had a wonderful night.  I hope we can do it again next year--what a blast.  There is nothing quite like listening to a professional storyteller tell stories.  Add in s'mores and a campfire and you have a great evening of fun and food!  

And in case anyone asks--yes this city girl does know how to build a campfire.  My secret is the paper towels, but don't tell anyone. :)

Addie, thank you so much for visiting us!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!



Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop! This hop is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and by The Diary of a Bookworm!  Be sure to stop by as many blogs as possible for your chance to win some great books or book related items!

For my giveaway you have a choice of either of these two books!

Tighter
Darkness Becomes Her (Gods & Monsters, #1)
Here are the rules:

* Contest will run from 12:01 am October 24th through 12:01 am November 1st.
* US entries only (sorry I don't have a lot of money to pay for postage)
* Must be 13 years of age or older.
* Winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
* Not responsible for items lost or damaged in the mail. I will pay for delivery confirmation.

Sign up for the giveaway using Rafflecopter below! Don't forget to stop by the other blogs on the hop for your chance to win some great prizes!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-thon + Updates #boutofbooks


I am once again participating in the Bout of Books Read-a-thon hosted by On a Book Bender.  Once again I have a ton of book that I need to read, but little time to do it.  So I am going to try to squeeze in as many books as I can this week.  Here are a few of the titles I am going to attempt to read:

The Summoning (Darkest Powers, #1)

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4)



Wish me luck! 

Updates:
10/24
Number of books I’ve finished today: 0

Number of pages I've finished today: 50
Titles of Books Read:  Iron Knight
Total number of books I’ve finished: 0

Comments:  Working Monday evening and having a car appointment first thing in the morning really put a cramp in my reading time today.  Yeah, I got some reading done while waiting for them to finish my car, but really there were too many distractions there to really concentrate on my book.  Plus, the customer sitting next to me wanted to know about my nook.  She was thinking of purchasing a Kindle and wanted to know why I had chosen the nook.  Being the good librarian, who trains people on both devices at our library, I had to share with her what I knew about both the devices.




10/25
Number of books I’ve finished today: 0

Number of pages I've finished today:  10
Titles of Books Read:  The Night Circus
Total number of books I’ve
finished: 0
Comments:  I know pathetic.  The only time I had to read today was at lunch with one of my friends from the book group we just started.  In case you couldn't guess--the first title we are reading is The Night Circus.  When I got home this evening I had to spend all night writing my 100 questions from Incarceron.  I got 75 done.  Our Battle of the Books program requires that I write a 100 questions per book, unfortunately I haven't had time at work to get them done, so I have to take them home.  Only 3 more books to go.  (Hey does this count as reading?)

10/26
Number of books I’ve finished today: 0

Number of pages I've finished today:  10
Titles of Books Read:  The Night Circus
Total number of books I’ve
finished: 0
Comments:  Okay this is getting a bit disheartening.  Yes I read a few more pages at lunch today, but nothing significant.  Once more I ended up taking Incarceron home to write Battle questions.  I'm up to 92!  When I finish, I get to move on to Leviathan!  This is depressing.  #boutofbooks Twitter chat did make me feel better.  Thanks for the encouragement guys!

10/27
Number of books I’ve finished today: 0

Number of pages I've finished today:
Titles of Books Read:
Total number of books I’ve
finished
Comments:

10/28
Number of books I’ve finished today: 0

Number of pages I've finished today:
Titles of Books Read:
Total number of books I’ve
finished
Comments:

10/29
Number of books I’ve finished today: 0

Number of pages I've finished today:
Titles of Books Read:
Total number of books I’ve
finished
Comments:

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