Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Just wanted to say "Happy Halloween!!"

Posts may be fewer and far between during November, as I'll be busy writing my NaNoWriMo entry for this year... but that doesn't start until tomorrow! Today is all about candy, corny Halloween movies, and cheesy costumes! Enjoy.

In My Mailbox - October 31, 2010

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!

Signed by Author at "Ghost and Graves Tour" stop in Norwich,CT:

The Hollow by Jessica Verday
Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink

From the Library:
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee
For Review:

Gemini Night by Bonnie Hearn Hill
Cyberia: Prime Evil by Chris Lynch

For My Nook:
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Thursday, October 28, 2010


by Andrea Cremer

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice? (description taken from

This book has officially earned another one of my coveted gold stars!

There's been a lot of paranormal teen romance released lately...and not all of them are created equal. To be honest, when I got this ARC I was stoked, then I got inundated with reviews about it and I started to get worried it wouldn't live up to the hype; that again, the publishers had just pushed, pushed, pushed and it wasn't all I hoped it would be...then I started to read.

OMG. I usually rip through books. I feel like there is never enough time to read. I actually made myself slow down to read Nightshade so that the experience would not end. I took five whole days to read this! Five days!! Then I finished it and immediately wanted to start over again. That has not happened to me in...well, I can't remember the last time...oh wait, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That's the type of experience this was for me!

Cremer created a world that I longed to experience. As a werewolf fan, hers were perfect. Literally, the best werewolf society for me since Klause's Blood and Chocolate, to which I compare all werewolves! These characters were wolves wearing human clothing. Their instincts, their strategies, their loyalties, their passions...all pack based. It was INCREDIBLE.

Add to that a multilayered world built on the premise of uber-creepy Old Ones (witches) running things with enforcers like succubi and wraiths. Every new creature introduced in this book just blew me away.

Cremer also gave me the best, most realistic and TRUE love triangle I've run into in YA in quite a while. Most, I'm immediately and irrevocably drawn to one guy or the other (I know, I know, it could be girls...but, it's usually guys) and nothing will change my mind because the other character just falls flat for me. Now, that's not to say that I'm not swayed one way here (I am totally Team Ren...*blushes*...I love Ren) but both guys are actually good for Calla and want what they think is best for her. Either choice would be a good one.

It will be so exciting to see what happens in book two, Wolfsbane, coming out next summer, but until then I may actually re-read this least once!

Full disclosure: My friend Jen (i.e. Yabooknerd - awesome girl!!) grabbed this ARC for me at BEA 2010. :)

Cover Craving (Perfectly Pinks)

Two great new covers were released to the world today! They are both perfectly pink and I just had to share them together.

Summer in the City
by Candace Bushnell
The Carrie Diaries, book two

This cover fulfills the greatest desire that ever filled my twelve-year-old heart. A perfectly pink, tooled leather diary cover with an awesome gold lock. Swoon. Now that I'm grown up (at least sometimes! :P) it still makes me smile!

by Alyson Noel
The Riley Books, book two

I love the softness of the covers in this series. I'm sure in person the peachy pinks and purples must glow.

Lots of great covers are coming out now!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Fledgling Handbook 101

The Fledgling Handbook
by P.C. Cast
House of Night series, companion book

Merry meet, fledgling. Welcome to a new life, a new world, and a new you. Welcome to the House of Night!

This might seem like a scary time, Fledgling, but never fear! As you start your journey through the ancient halls of the House of Night, this indispensable handbook will aid you in your transition from human to fledgling. Within these pages you will find invaluable information about the history of vampyres. You will also come to a better understanding of your body’s transformation, as well as read words of hope from great vampyres of the past and learn essential foundations of rituals and lore. Now, Fledgling, read on. A new life awaits you; your path to that magickal future begins here!
(description taken from

As an avid House of Night reader, I was excited to know that a companion book was coming out to tide readers over until the next regular novel (Awakened, Jan 2011) in the series comes out. When it came into the Library, I snatched it right up and took it immediately home.

It was interesting. P.C. Cast obviously delved really deep into her worldbuilding to create the series. The "Handbook" gives a brief history of the vampyres, including stories about Cleopatra, Circe, a set of twins in Pompeii, and even William Shakespeare. Then there were also sections explaining the process of being "Marked," what happens during the change, imprinting and breaking imprints, fledglings with elemental influences, and different rituals.

It was interesting to flip through, but I'm really glad that I did not buy this book. It was not quite thrilling enough to make the cost worth it to me. I don't think I'd ever reread it. Very good for a Library to have, though, to satisfy all those rabid House of Night fans.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Anxiously Awaiting...

Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill
Publication date: May 2011

Freshly released back cover copy:
Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals--and they're camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan are ... tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else.

Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn't help that she can't tell who's on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who's tall, dark, and part of underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in theheady, dark heart of Chicago's supernatural society--a world full of vampires who seem to ready to fulfill the protesting human's worst fears, and a place where she'll learn that you can't be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands...

Taken from Chloe Neill's blog post here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Author Event - Ghost and Graves Tour: Jessica Verday and Michelle Zink

I was lucky enough to attend the "Ghosts and Grave Tour" stop at the Otis Library in Norwich, CT today. As some of you know, I am friends with their YA Librarian, Jen, also known as Yabooknerd. As soon as she let me know that both Michelle Zink and Jessica Verday were coming to her Library, I worked my schedule so that I could go be a little fangirl!

Both Jessica (left) and Michelle (right) read from their books. It was awesome to hear the authors read their own work. They also answered lots of questions and explained why they were touring together - answer: they both write what could be termed "YA horror" books, though Jessica's are contemporary supernatural and Michelle's are historical gothic.

I was beyond excited to meet Michelle Zink. I adored her book, Prophecy of the Sisters (see my glowing review here), and am beyond excited now to read my shiny new signed copy of its sequel, Guardian of the Gate.

As you can see I'm very happy with my signed copies of the books! I also got some really, really great bookmarks and a perfectly book sized bag, that said "Prophecy of the Sisters" on the side to take my books home in... *squee!

I also got to meet Jessica Verday, who was wearing the chicest outfit ever, btw., and found out that we actually have the same name! Verday is a "pen name" based on her middle name, but her real name is also Jessica Miller. :) OMG - I think she may be my way cooler, author alter-ego. Awesome!

I took home a signed copy of her first book, The Hollow, and will get its sequel The Haunted on my Nook eventually. I didn't have enough money to get it tonight... :( Oh well. As Jen's unofficial, semi VIP guest (*squee, again!), Jessica also gave me an awesome t-shirt, that I'm trying to figure out how I can incorporate into my work wardrobe.

The front of the t-shirt says, "R.U.H2?" The back says, " Haunted by the Hollow -" So cool!

*Update - Look I managed to rock my free t-shirt at work, paired with a skirt and swingy cardigan!*

As part of their tour, the ladies both gave out door prizes. Jessica gave out samples of the perfumes from her books, a copy of The Haunted, and a CD that helped inspire the books. Michelle gave out a copy of The Prophecy of the Sisters, a CD that her son originally composed that is inspired by the books (which I won, OMG!), and together they gave out an Ipod Shuffle.

Jessica and Michelle were super sweet and gracious enough to pose for pictures for Jen and I. I can't tell you how awesome it was to meet them both and we even got hugs goodbye!! (pictured above, Jessica Verday, Jen, Me, and Michelle Zink)

I want to give a huge shout-out and thank you to my friend, Jen, who was an amazing hostess (and even made awesome gravestone shaped cookies)!!

Cover Craving!

Just saw this cover for Bloody Valentine, Melissa De La Cruz's Blue Bloods novella, coming out on December 28, 2010 and it is totally crave-worthy!! *swoon*

Hunger Celebration - ARC Giveaway

by Jackie Morse Kessler
Horsemen of the Apocalypse, book one

Wayyyy back in May, I blogged about my love for Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler (see my review here). I was lucky enough to snag an ARC from BEA 2010. Well, it was officially released last Monday, October 18th.

To help celebrate Hunger's release I'm going to do a giveaway of my ARC. If you'd like to see what all the fuss is about and read Hunger for yourself, please leave a comment with your email address in it. On Monday, November 1st, I will choose a winner using and email them to get their mailing address (only within the U.S. this time, sorry!). If the winner does not contact me back with their address by Friday, November 5th, I will choose a new winner.

Good luck everyone! Don't forget to read Hunger, then like me you'll be drooling over the upcoming sequel Rage!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In My Mailbox - October 24, 2010

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!

From the Library:

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Zombie Felties by Nicola Tedman and Sarah Skeate

On My Nook:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Matched by Allie Condie - Book Trailer

A book trailer for the fabulous Matched by Ally Condie was just recently released. You can check it out below and my review of the book here. I loved it and hope you do, too. Enjoy!!

Matched comes out on November 30th!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Head's Up - Sweet Valley Confidential

Here's a look at the cover of the new, "Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years later!" This comes out in 2011.

DNF - Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex

The Atlantis Complex
by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl, book seven

Artemis has committed his entire fortune to a project he believes will save the planet and its inhabitants, both human and fairy. Can it be true? Has goodness taken hold of the world’s greatest teenage criminal mastermind?

Captain Holly Short is unconvinced, and discovers that Artemis is suffering from Atlantis Complex, a psychosis common among guilt-ridden fairies - not humans - and most likely triggered by Artemis’s dabbling with fairy magic. Symptoms include obsessive-compulsive behavior, paranoia, multiple personality disorder and, in extreme cases, embarrassing professions of love to a certain feisty LEPrecon fairy.

Unfortunately, Atlantis Complex has struck at the worst possible time. A deadly foe from Holly’s past is intent on destroying the actual city of Atlantis. Can Artemis escape the confines of his mind – and the grips of a giant squid – in time to save the underwater metropolis and its fairy inhabitants? (description from

It saddens me to admit that I did not finish (DNF) this book. I have been a big fan of this series and loved the last two volumes, but I don't know if I'm just in the wrong mood or what, but I just could not get into this particular addition to the series.

The premise sounded good. I really wanted to see what would happen next in Artemis and Holly's friendship. I really love the idea of the fairies still holding Atlantis and finding out more about that. Colfer just could not grab me.

In the future, I might try to pick this one up again, especially since I know that the next book is the last in the series and I'd like to know how it really ends, but I just could not make myself push through this one when I have about 10 other books that I'm really excited to read calling to me from my bookcases!

Enchanted Glass

Enchanted Glass
by Diana Wynne Jones

Aidan Cain has had the worst week of his life. His gran died, he was sent to a foster home, and now malicious beings are stalking him. There is one person Gran told Aidan to go to if he ever got into trouble—a powerful sorcerer who lives at Melstone House.

But when Aidan arrives on the doorstep, he finds that the sorcerer's grandson, Andrew, has inherited the house. The good news is that Aidan can tell immediately that Andrew's brimming with magic, too—and so is everyone else at Melstone. The bad news is that Andrew doesn't remember anything his grandfather taught him. Chaos is swiftly rising, and he has no idea how to control it. A sinister neighbor is stealing power from the land, magic is leaking between realms . . . and it's only a matter of time before the Stalkers find Aidan.
If Aidan and Andrew can harness their own magics, they may be able to help each other. But can they do it before the entire countryside comes apart at the seams? (description from

I have loved Diana Wynne Jones' books since I was about 12 and first picked up Charmed Life. Her fantasy is light, humor-filled, character driven, and just in generalmakes me happy every time I read something she's written. This particular novel of hers was not my favorite, though.

Now I'm not saying that it wasn't good. It was. There are interesting characters, the magic works in a neat way - combining influence from the People, pagan gods and nature, and just sheer luck sometimes - and the setting was interesting. Aidan and Andrew, though, just weren't able to pull me in like Eric or Christopher Chant could (characters from her epically fantastic Chrestomanci series).

If you have a middle school aged fantasy reader, though, that you need to recommend something clean and fun to, this would be a good book. It has a young character surrounded by good people that just want to save him. There's only mild violence and nothing inappropriate. I would, however, strongly encourage anyone to read Jones' other books, especially the Chrestomanci series!! They are truly some of my all-time favorite books.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Cruisers

The Cruisers
by Walter Dean Myers

Zander and his friends, Kambui, LaShonda, and Bobbi start their own newspaper, The Cruiser, as a means for speaking out, keeping the peace, and expressing what they believe. When the school launches a mock Civil War, Zander and his friends are forced to consider the true meaning of democracy and what it costs to stand up for a cause. The result is nothing they could have expected, and everything they could have hoped for.

Zander Scott and his friends, Kambui, LaShonda, and Bobbi are in trouble. Even though they're students at DaVinci, one of the best Gifted and Talented schools in Harlem, their grades are slipping, and Mr. Culpepper, the Assistant Principal and Chief Executioner, is ready to be rid of them.

When the school starts a unit on the Civil War, and kids split up into Union and Confederate sympathizers, Zander and his crew are given a charge - to negotiate a peace between both sides before the war actually breaks out.

That's when Zander comes up with the idea to launch an alternative school newspaper called The Cruiser. What he and his friends learn is that their writing has power to keep the peace, but that words can be weapons, too. Soon everyone at DaVinci is forced to consider the true meaning of democracy and what it costs to stand up for a cause. The result is nothing they could have expected, and everything they could have hoped for. (description from

I was surprised how much I really enjoyed this book. I would never have picked it up on my own, but I'm glad it was sent to me. The Cruisers is short and relatable, but also thoughtprovoking and profound.

It manages to teach civil war history, discuss whether slavery was at all morally right, and how we all still relate to each other now. The action was interspersed with snippets of newspaper articles from the different ones published at their school which gave a really personal perspective to the different viewpoints.
Well done.

Full disclosure: Received audiobook to review for SLJ.

Anxiously Awaiting...

Kiss of Death
by Lauren Henderson
Scarlett Wakefield, book four

Publication date: May 10, 2011

Anxiously Awaiting....

by Rachel Hawkins
sequel to Hex Hall

Publication date: March 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2010

Just wanted to share that I am now officially signed up for the
NaNoWriMo 2010!!!

If you haven't heard of it, the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel during November (National Novel Writing Month). I did it earlier this year off month, writing 50,000 words in January, but I am an official participant this year!!

Good luck to everyone else who's signing up. If you want to be my writing buddy my username is jmlib923. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex

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!"

The Atlantis Complex
by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl, book seven

p. 209

Luckily, it only took the barest spark of magic to mesmerize humans.
Because they are weak-willed and stupid. But funny, like monkeys.

Tween Tuesday - The Lost Hero

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme to highlight great reads for tweens hosted at GreenBeanTeenQueen. My pick for this week is:

The Lost Hero
by Rick Riordan
The Heroes of Olympus, book one

After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Now, in a brand-new series fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods. (description taken from

Fans of Percy Jackson, rejoice! This opener for the new Camp Half-Blood series rocks...seriously! Though I enjoyed The Red Pyramid, it just did not have the same feel that the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series did. I missed it and did not realize how much until I fell back into Camp Half-Blood!

Jason, named after the epic hero Jason, who bridged the gap between Greece and the emergence of the Roman Empire, is another strong and likeable hero. He has no memories, but seems to have skills and be trained to fight. Journeying with him as he discovers his real identity is fun and interesting. When you find a link to Percy (yes! Percy is involved, though not present in this book) readers are just drawn deeper into their world.

Jason's fellow heroes, Piper (daughter of Aphrodite) and Leo (son of Hephaestus), are also eminently likeable and very skilled. I love Leo's sense of humor and adventure. I love Piper's moral strength and determination. Their strength as a group is undeniable.

I also really enjoyed how Riordan began to infuse Roman mythology into this series. I cannot wait to see how things end up...I can't say more for now without giving spoilers, but if you loved Percy you must pick up this book - NOW! Tweens will love diving back into this world. I guarantee it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

White Cat

White Cat
by Holly Black
Curse Workers, book one

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen. (description taken from

I had heard a lot about this book before reading it. I'm a huge Holly Black fan, so I really wanted to read it. The world building was fantastic, of course, but there had been a lot of "oohing" and "aaahing" over Cassel as a heartbreaker. I just didn't quite get that.

The curseworker world is fascinating. I love the way that everyone must wear gloves to keep from being worked. The charms that could prevent working are also a great idea. I also thought it was great how Black set things up with politics and world issues based on the curseworkers and their relation to society. Cassel goes to a sleep specialist who wants to give him the "test" - one that can determine if he is a that may soon become mandatory - for the safety of everyone in their society.

That typs of worldbuilding is just absolutely captivating. What didn't quite pull me in was the relationship between Cassel and Lila... I guess because he thought she was dead when the book began, I just didn't really believe the whole unrequited love thing he had for her. More believable was what he went through with Aubrey, the girl from school. I also loved his friendships with Sam and Daneca, his relationship with his grandfather, and the screwed up way that he related to his brothers and mother. Those relationships I felt were very believable.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, even if I didn't swoon over the main character. I will definitely read book two, Red Glove, when it comes out. Holly Black is a master worldbuilder.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Always a Witch

Always a Witch
by Carolyn MacCullough
Witch series, book two

Since the gripping conclusion of Once a Witch, Tamsin Greene has been having nightmares. Though she should be enjoying her new boyfriend, Gabriel, or discovering more about her newfound magical "Talents," she's too busy dealing with her sister, Rowena's bride-zilla wedding demands and worrying about the resurgence of her enemy, Alistair Knight. But most of all, Tamsin is haunted by her grandmother's prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision. A choice so terrible, that it could destroy her family forever.

When Tamsin discovers that Alistair successfully went back in time to Victorian Era New York, in order to destory the Greene family, she's forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the 19th century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, bustling about as a servant, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the lascivious advances Liam Knight. As times runs out, Tamsin's brash demeanor and sardonic wit place her in the center of the fray as both families square off in a thrilling display of action and magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.
(description taken from

I really, really enjoyed this sequel to Once a Witch. Tamsin, now aware of her power, is still trying to come to grips with her new status in the family. Her relationship with Gabriel is her stabilizer...what helps her balance family, friends, magic, no magic. Unfortunately, even Gabriel can't help balance things when Tamsin discovers that her family is doomed. The Knights are determined to wipe the Greenes out.

Tamsin decides to travel back to the future, alone. The situation she lands in is by no means a comfortable one. She discovers some horrible secrets about the Knight family. Eventually, she must figure out how to save the entirety of her family...or she won't ever be able to return to herown time and place.

Full of mystery, danger, romance, and some horror, this was an excellent sequel! I'm not sure if there will be a third book or not, but if there is I will absolutely read it! The way that book two ends...well, I won't give it away, but it's really, really well done!

Full disclosure: E-galley provided for review by publisher and Netgalley
Publication date: August 1, 2011

In My Mailbox - October 17, 2010

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!

For My Nook:
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
For Review:
Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson