Thursday, March 31, 2011

Anxiously Awaiting...

by Marie Lu

Publication date: Nov. 2011

The United States is gone, along with its flooded coasts. North America's two warring nations, the western Republic and the eastern Colonies, have reached a breaking point. In the midst of this broken continent and dark new world are two teenagers who will go down in history....

Born into the slums of Los Angeles, fifteen-year old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family's door with an X--the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it.

Born to an elite family in Los Angeles' wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic's most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country's highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country--until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital.

Only one person could be responsible.


And now it's June's mission to hunt him down.

The truth they'll uncover will become legend.

This sounds like it could be EPIC.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Liar Society

The Liar Society
by Lisa and Laura Roecker

Since when do the dead send emails?

Kate Lowry's best friend Grace died a year ago. So when she gets an email from her, Kate's more than a little confused.

Subject: (no subject)
I'm here... sort of.
Find Cameron. He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell. They'll hurt you.

Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace's death was more than just a tragic accident. She teams up with a couple of knights-in-(not-so)-shining armor-the dangerously hot bad boy, Liam, and her lovestruck neighbor, Seth. But at their elite private school, there are secrets so big people will do anything to protect them-even if it means getting rid of anyone trying to solve a murder... (description from

This was one of those books that I finished and I was happy. Just happy. It was fulfilling. I've seen a lot of people online already asking for book 2, but for me, The Liar Society ends at a spot both plot-wise and in Kate's emotional life that I am satisfied with...for me it could be a standalone.

It is a great Veronica Mars like mystery. There's danger, good friends, and snarky attitude. Everything I desired! Kate was a great heroine. Though she was still massively grieving her best friend's death and had no clue what was going on, she was fighting for justice!

My favorite passage from the book is AWESOME and epitomizes everything I loved about Kate:

p. 332 I had to laugh. Something about me running through underground tunnels with a sword was beyond funny, but I took it with me anyway. A girl could never be too careful. Besides, I was ready to start slaying my own damn dragons.

My only complaint - that Kate wasn't wearing an awesome pink wig as she ran through those tunnels with a sword!

Kate's journey is full of twists and turns and mysterious Latin puzzles (that I loved) and her biggest helpers, aside from the romantic lead that was definitely swoon-worthy, were a very hilarious redheaded sidekick who made me think of a cross between Ron Weasley and Agent Fox Mulder and a kick-@ss security guard who I think may honestly have been my favorite character in the whole book. Did I mention how much I loved how much time Kate spent hunting down clues in the Library??

Kate kept me on my toes and Lisa and Laura Roecker are hilarous-ness embodied. If you haven't checked out their blog yet, you must do so immediately! You'll find information about the book, their touring, what they're working on next...oh yeah, and their family stuff, celeb gossip, and did I mention I'm pretty sure this is where Kate got her snarky attitude??

Signing off in true PINK fashion one last time...

Full disclosure: ARC borrowed from the awesome Jen at Yabooknerd.
2011 Debut Author Challenge title

Monday, March 28, 2011

Black Wings

Black Wings
by Christina Henry

As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black is responsible for escorting the souls of the dearly departed to the afterlife. It's a 24/7 job with a lousy benefits package.

Maddy's position may come with magical powers and an impressive wingspan, but it doesn't pay the bills. And then there are her infuriating boss, tenant woes, and a cranky, popcorn-loving gargoyle to contend with.

Things start looking up, though, when tall, dark, and handsome Gabriel Angeloscuro agrees to rent the empty apartment in Maddy's building. It's probably just a coincidence that as soon as he moves in demons appear on the front lawn. But when an unholy monster is unleashed upon the streets of Chicago, Maddy discovers powers she never knew she possessed. Powers linked to a family legacy of tarnished halos.

Powers that place her directly between the light of Heaven and the fires of Hell... (description from

I really enjoyed this urban fantasy. It's the start of a new series and I'm already looking forward to Black Night, which comes out on July 26th. Christina Henry's writing was fast-paced, funny, engaging, and the world building was very well done.

Maddy was a great heroine. She had strength, she had faults, she made me laugh, and she made me cry. Her bewilderment was not so overwhelming that I felt like strangling her...unlike some other female protagonists *cough, cough...Bella...COUGH* that shall not be brought forth as examples. Her sidekick, the lovable gargoyle, Beezle, is one of my new favorites. His love for popcorn made me snort and all I could think of was what it would be like if my dogs could talk. :)

I will say that I am curious to see how all of the romantic entanglements play out in the next few books of the series. Poor Maddy's in love with one guy, engaged to another, and has another hottie (my personal fave) panting at her heels. I'm anxious to see how this all plays out. What's great about this book, though, is that the romance is important, but it is definitely NOT the only fact, it could even be called a sub-plot. Maddy's discovery of who she truly is, how it endangers her, and how it will affect the rest of her life are the true focus of the book.

I tore through this book! If you like urban fantasy, I urge you to pick this one up soon.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

In My Mailbox - March 27, 2011

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!

This is two week's worth because I was at a baby shower in NY last week and didn't get a chance to post!

From the Library

Library Wars: Love and War vol. 4
Gossip from the Girls' Room
by Rose Cooper
by Carolyn Turgeon

For Review

by Alyson Noel
Spies of Mississippi
by Rick Bowers

*Thank you to Book it Forward ARC Tours for Wither by Lauren DeStefano!!*

*Thank you to Harlequin Teen for The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross to read before I meet the author at our state's library association conference in May!!*

I also got five manuscripts to judge for Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award's young adult division, but I can't post any info about them. They'll be keeping me busy for the next few weeks. :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places - Teaser Trailer

OMG. So excited to finally read this third book in the series! I love Carrie Ryan's zombie books.

Diana Wynne Jones

I am so, soo, sooo sad. I just realized that one of my favorite authors of all time, Diana Wynne Jones, passed away today. I for one will sorely miss her contributions to children's fantasy.

The first Diana Wynne Jones book I ever read was Charmed Life from the Chrestomanci series. I loved this book so much that I, uh, accidentally "stole" it from a great friend in fifth grade...I don't know if she ever realized that I just never returned it!! I went on to read EVERYTHING I could find from Jones. Her books are amazing.

I wanted to live in Cat's world when I was in middle school. A world of magic, mystery, and a place where the quieter people actually have a lot of power. This book and Tamora Pierce's Alanna: The First Adventure still rank as two of my all time favorite books and are what kept me going whenever I wanted to completely retreat from the heinous existence that was middle school!!

I will deeply miss the potential for any more Chrestomanci books. :(


by Emily Whitman

When Addy is swept back in time, she couldn't be happier to leave her miser-able life behind. Now she's mistaken for Lady Matilda, the pampered ward of the king. If Addy can play her part, she'll have glorious gowns, jewels, and something she's always longed for—the respect and admiration of others. But then she meets Will, the falconer's son with sky blue eyes, who unsettles all her plans.

From shipwrecks to castle dungeons, from betrothals to hidden conspiracies, Addy finds herself in a world where she's not the only one with a dangerous secret. When she discovers the truth, Addy must take matters into her own hands. The stakes? Her chance at true love . . . and the life she's meant to live. (description taken from

This was a great historical fiction read. I really loved how the original setting is 1913, but when Addy time travels she goes back to the Medieval period (which I LOVE). It was sooo interesting to compare the customs, fashion, and morals of each time.

Though Addy and Will's secret relationship is the surface focal point of the book and I really enjoyed their romance, I was much more interested in what I consider to be the true theme of the book...Addy learning to be okay with herself and having the strength to make her life what she chooses.

Born a bastard, Addy's life choices in 1913 are minimal. She wants so desperately to rebel, to escape, and when she gets the chance she takes it. Soon, though, she finds that even a Medieval Lady, with wealth, prestige, and beauty, is trapped within the social structures of her society. She has very few real choices.

The subplot when Addy begins training in falconry was fascinating, not just because I really love birds of prey, but also because of the symbolism that ran rampant. Addy was longing for the freedom to leave her jesses behind...and yet, for the right man, she could be whistled happily home.

This is another well-written and compelling book from Emily Whitman, who is fast becoming one of my new favorite authors. I loved her debut, Radiant Darkness, a retelling of the Persephone myth.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Tale Dark and Grimm

A Tale Dark and Grimm
by Adam Gidwitz

In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches.

Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after. (description taken from

I am amazed that this is Gidwitz's debut novel. His nod to the Grimm brothers is clearly evident in the gruesome traditional stylings of the fairy tales found here, but the clever melding of one into another to make one long, harrowing journey for Hansel and Gretel is so well done and original.

Though this is not my favorite fairy tale retelling, partially because I just am not as fond of the traditional Hansel and Gretel tale as some others, the tone of the book is amazing. The narrator repeatedly cautions readers to take small children out of the room, taunts readers with "The End...sort of..." over and over, and generally adds a witty humor to the dark, creepy, bloody tales.

For anyone who enjoys a good, cautionary tale this would be the next book to check out!

Red Riding Hood - Movie Review

Red Riding Hood
starring Amanda Seyfried

I saw Red Riding Hood last night with two friends from work. I enjoyed it. (Ironically, I think I liked the previews for "Suckerpunch" more, but the steampunky, live-action anime style of that movie has me BEYOND excited!!)
Anyway... I thought Amanda Seyfried was really good in this role. She can play sultry (much better than Kristen Stewart - to whom comparisons in this role can definitely be made), she can play strong, she can play vulnerable...she really showed range. The two male romantic leads were also very good...I especially enjoyed watching the scenes with Peter, the woodcutter. *wipes sweat off brow*

I thought that the family relationships were complex and interesting. The introduction of the church as almost vengeful, Templar like warrior figures was really well done, too. I thought the werewolf lore was awesome, and NO. I am not going to ruin it for you and tell you who the werewolf was...I'll just say that I was actually surprised. I had thought I knew what the big surprise was, but nope, they threw me for a loop. Well done!

Overall, I really enjoyed it and will probably watch this one again several times.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

OMG!! It's finally coming out!!!

Announced today!!!
Christopher Paolini's fourth book in the Inheritance Cycle, aptly named Inheritance will be coming out on November 8, 2011...Finally!
It IS the final book in the series.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Invincible - Book Trailer

Happy release day to Sherrilyn Kenyon!
Today, Invincible , Chronicles of Nick, book two hits the bookshelves.

"Nick Gautier's day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul.

His new principal thinks he's even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to things he can't even mention and the girl he's not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him.

But more than that, he's being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn't learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them..."

For more information, you can check out Sherrilyn Kenyon's website for an excerpt!!

I love the Dark Hunters series that Nick's character originally comes from...don't forget to check those out too!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sweetly - Blog Tour

by Jackson Pearce
companion book to Sisters Red

Publication date: Aug. 23, 2011

As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too.

Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They're invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.

Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past-- until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn't gone-- it's lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak's infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen it's next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is.

Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.
(description taken from

I really enjoyed this companion to Sisters Red. Jackson Pearce has a great way of retelling fairy tales in the original vein that they were meant to be utilized, as cautionary, slightly gruesome tales. They are eerily reminiscent of the original Grimm's Fairy Tales, and I love them!

Pearce did a great job taking the original Hansel and Gretel (here Ansel and Gretchen) tale and merging it with a world where werewolves, or Fenris, as they are called in both books, hunt young girls for prey. The way that she incorporated the witch and her gingerbread house was pure genius! ...and I was starving for a piece of chocolate through most of this chocolatier centered story...

The relationship that Ansel and Gretchen has is deep and layered. Their lives are so wholly wrapped around one another that it took being kicked out of their own home and having to venture for a new one in order for the two to be able to begin to heal and become their own individual personas. The introduction of a love interest for each was really well done. The fact that Ansel's girlfriend and Gretchen's boyfriend each have their own deep secrets and gray shades of morality adds tension and depth to their relationships and their becoming a larger family.

What I loved most about this story, similar to what I loved most in Sisters Red, was the fact that the main character, Gretchen, absolutely refused to play the victim. She fights to the end, trying to save not only herself, but also her brother, her love, her friends, and those who don't know that there are things that should scare them in the night.

Another gritty, fierce, and wonderful "fairy tale" from Jackson Pearce!

Full disclosure: ARC received from Little, Brown for review, ARC received from Book It Forward Blog Tours


by Kate Brian
Private series, book fourteen

After the shocking revelations made in the Private prequel, The Book of Spells, Noelle and Reed know they are descendants of the original Billings Girls and their legacy includes a mysterious coven of witches. But it's nothing compared to what happens next.

One by one, Billings Girls go missing from campus.

The entire community bands together to find the lost girls, hoping they are still alive. Reed can't believe tragedy has struck Easton again, and she begins to wonder if the Billings Girls are cursed. But when the first body shows up containing a message just for her, she fears her friends are worse than cursed: they're doomed. (description taken from

I am so sad that this series is almost done. This is the second to last book. The final one, Vengeance, will be coming out August 30th and I have bittersweet feelings about reading it and finishing the series.

I was glad to see Brian managed to tie in the supernatural prequel, The Book of Spells in a way that did not feel contrived. As much as I was dreading adding a supernatural element to my favorite realistic fiction series, it's done well and it's coming at the end of the series so it's not changing the overall feel. (I not-so-secretly revel in the whole soap-opera feel!!)

I have been fascinated with Reed and Noelle's relationship for the entire series. At the end of Vanished, their relationship changes in a very dramatic way and I loved the new light that is cast upon Reed's family. It plays neatly into the information found out in The Book of Spells about the Billings founding families, as well!

At this point, I can't really speculate how Brian can possibly wrap up the entire series in one final book, but I am sure looking forward to reading it.

If You Like: Retro Edition

If You Like…” is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love. This week includes suggestions for some favorite older titles and childhood favorites.

I just started contributing to this feature at The Reclusive Bibliophile's blog. Check out the Retro Edition here for some great recs!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Eona - Blog Tour

Eona: The Last Dragoneye
by Alison Goodman

Publication Date: April 19, 2011

Eon has been revealed as Eona, the first female Dragoneye in hundreds of years. Along with fellow rebels Ryko and Lady Dela, she is on the run from High Lord Sethon's army. The renegades are on a quest for the black folio, stolen by the drug-riddled Dillon; they must also find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona's power and the black folio if he is to wrest back his throne from the selfstyled "Emperor" Sethon. Through it all, Eona must come to terms with her new Dragoneye identity and power-and learn to bear the anguish of the ten dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered. As they focus their power through her, she becomes a dangerous conduit for their plans. . . . (description taken from

At almost 650 pages, this conclusion to Eona's story is epic. I received this ARC as part of a tour where you only have seven days to read the book before you pass it on and honestly, I felt really rushed trying to squeeze this book into such a short time frame. I absolutely want to go back and read this one again as soon as it comes out. There are portions I'd like to linger over, to sink into, to really immerse myself in again.

I love, absolutely love the Eastern flavor of Eona's story. One reason that I felt Eon: Dragoneye Reborn was so amazing when I first read it was because it really introduced a whole different cultural feel to epic least for me. I love the connections to the Chinese Zodiac, the clothing styles, the swords, the political this second book, I loved the descriptions of the fishing villages, then the contrast with the pleasure gardens...I have never really been interested in traveling all the way to Asia and yet, Alison Goodman makes me want to find a way to travel back in time to an earlier Asian era, though I'd be sorely disappointed without the accompanying dragons.

I really enjoyed how Goodman can steep Eona's story with the horrors and terrifying uncertainty of a country on the brink of war and yet counterbalance all of those negative images with small moments of positive personal interactions. Moments of passion, friendship, even just decency and kindness. Eona learns to come into herself as a woman, not just a warrior in this book. She also learns what truly constitutes family - both the blood kind and the chosen.

I must read this book again. The ending is very well done. The spiritual completion of Eona's journey was great and I really want to read it over again slowly to really fully catch all of the nuances. This is not a book to skim. Though I am happy with this book as the sequel to the first, I am sad that there is not a planned third. It's not that I feel anything was left out of Eona's story...I just really love her world and would love to go back!

Well worth the read.

Full disclosure: ARC received from Book It Forward ARC Tours

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Shimmer - Book Trailer

Check out the book trailer for Alyson Noel's Shimmer. This is the sequel to Radiance book one in the Riley series, the spin-off from the super popular Immortals series. Honestly, I actually like Riley's series better. Here's my review of the first book, Radiance.

Katniss has officially been cast!

Jennifer Lawrence has officially been cast as Katniss Everdeen in the upcoming movie version of "The Hunger Games."

Here's a link if you want to check it out.

Burlesque - Movie Review

starring Cher and Christina Aguilera
I saw Burleque the night before last on DVD and loved it. It's one of those movies that made me want to get up and dance. It also made me want to admit out loud that yes, though I am at least not tone deaf, no, I really can't sing. Man, both Cher and Christina Aguilera were PHENOMENAL. Those ladies both have "awesome sets of pipes," as my husband likes to say.
I loved the supporting cast, as well. This was Stanley Tucci in my favorite type of role for him! Very similar to the part he played in "The Devil Wears Prada." Also, Kristen Bell was one of the dancers...a real Biatch...and I loved it. I have adored Kristen Bell since "Veronica Mars" hit the air. Eric Dane from "Grey's Anatomy" a.k.a. McSteamy fame played a major role and Alan Cummings from "Center Stage" even had a small role. OH. Did I mention my new favorite guy crush? Not yet? Well...
This is Cam Gigandet. It's so funny, I didn't even remember seeing him before until I looked him up and realized he was in "Twilight." Duh. Now I can totally connect it. He shines, and totally this role. I believe I'll be checking out whatever movies he's in during the next few years. Yeah.
Anyway, *Wipes drool off face, embarassed* for a really great singing, dancing, romantic, dramatic movie, check out "Burlesque!"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Beauty Queens - Blog Tour

Beauty Queens
by Libba Bray

Publication date: May 24, 2011

Survival of the Fittest!

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up? (ARC jacket copy)

It is hard to believe, but it is only the middle of March and I think I just read my favorite book of this year. I think I may have just read my new favorite book...period. This book is...pure genius. Libba Bray is amazing. I am absolutely giving this book a gold some, well it deserves a tiara for goodness sakes!!

This book is not just great. It is astounding. Thoughtful, tongue-in-cheek, laugh out loud funny...I mean, there is a girl who spends the entirety of the book with a plastic airplane tray sticking out of her forehead! Who else but Libba Bray could pull that off!?!

No, really. I think that EVERY woman, most men, heck everyone should read this book! Go out and get it as soon as it comes out. It will blow your mind. IT.WILL.BLOW.YOUR.MIND. There are beauty queens who learn to become not just real women, but real kick-ass women. There are sexy, sometimes stupid, reality tv pirates, an angry dictator with a taxidermied advisor, a secret laboratory/lair underneath a volcano, and subtextual references to current culture galore.

Besides the obvious, yet subtly disguised references to actual people (David Levithan, for one!) and products (Bratz dolls, Barbie, tons of makeup, etc.), Libba Bray also gave a shout-out to librarians!
p. 379 - Some in the crowd tossed copies of Ladybird's book into the fire while a librarian pleaded with them not to do that and grabbed a fire extinguisher.*
*(footnote) Really, being a librarian is a much more dangerous job than you realize.

OMG. Yes! This caused me to bounce up and down on the couch, laughing until I cried, and finally spluttered out what I was reading to my husband, who then said, "Oh, has she been following you around at work lately?" and I died again.

I cannot sincerely recommend this book enough. Yes, it is full of subcontext. It brings up a lot of morality issues, political issues, questions about feminism, covers a lot. What makes it a great book is that while everything is right out there in the open, it's not preachy. It's laugh out loud funny! Then when you're done, you sit back and think. Really think. this book. Read it as soon as you can. You won't regret it.

Full disclosure: ARC received as part of Book It Forward ARC Tour

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox - March 13, 2011

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:

The Candidates by Inara Scott

For Review:

Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz
*Thanks to the publisher, Philomel, for sending this book!*

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Eona by Alison Goodman
*Thank you SOOO much to Angela at Book It Forward ARC Tours for sending these!!*

Luminous by Dawn Metcalf
*Thanks to SLJ for this one.*

What an AWESOME book week! Did you guys get anything great this week?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wake Unto Me

Wake Unto Me
by Lisa Cach

Caitlyn Monahan knows she belongs somewhere else. It's what her dead mother's note suggested, and it's what her recurring nightmares allude to.

Desperate to flee these terrifying dreams--and her small town--she accepts a spot at a boarding school in France. Only, when she arrives, her nightmares get worse.

But then there are her amazing dreams, so vivid and so real, with visits from an alluring, mysterious, and gorgeous Italian boy from the 1500s. Caitlyn knows they are soul mates, but how can she be in love with someone who exists only in her dreams?

Then, as her reality and dream world collide, Caitlyn searches for the real reason why she was brought to this school. And what she discovers will change her life forever. (description taken from

I really enjoyed this book. The description was intriguing and it fulfilled everything that was promised. First, let me say that I LOVED the setting. The descriptions of the castle that the Fortune School is housed within made me want to jump right onto a plane to head for some of Europe's famous castles. Each stained glass window, each weather-beaten stone stair, each hidden statue just fed more and more into my love of historic buildings. *so good*

Then, even though I couldn't buy at first quite how Caitlyn didn't question her good fortune to win a scholarship to this amazing school, I got wrapped up in everything that was going on in her life and I began to understand exactly how that could happen. Caitlyn's mother's passing, her not fitting in at school, her nightmares...all combined to make one unhappy home life. Of course she jumped at the chance to potentially, irrevocably change her life forever!

However, things never go as easily as they should and Cach did a great job at bringing all of Caitlyn's past right with her to a new setting and then intensifying it. She really ramped it up a notch. Soon poor Caitlyn's so confused about what's real and not that she's spinning in circles and failing her classes.

There are layers upon layers built here of ghosts, prophetic dreams, prophecies, time travel, and dangerous plots. Cach masterfully wove all of these elements together. Though the romantic element was wrapped up a little neatly for me at the end, the other things all falling into place was very satisfying. A great debut.

Full disclosure: ARC copy sent by author for review

2011 Debut Author Challenge title

Covers Comparison - Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer

These are the original hardcover versions of Nightshade and Wolfsbane.
Nightshade's cover was brushed and beautiful and the deckled edges of the pages gave even more character to the book. I was really looking forward to the matching book, Wolfsbane, when it came out this fall.

Andrea Cremer just announced on her blog, however, that they redesigned the Nightshade cover for the paperback edition, and created a matching cover for Wolfsbane. So, the cover you see above is no longer the cover for Wolfsbane.

Though I like these new covers (they feel very urban fantasy to me), I think I actually preferred the originals. If I had not seen the originals, I might be more inclined to love these...but I'm not sure... What do you all think?

Cover Reveal....Goliath

by Scott Westerfeld

Publication Date: September 20, 2011
Final book in the Leviathan trilogy

Cover Craving...and Anxiously Awaiting!!

by Ally Condie

Publication date: November 1, 2011
Sequel to Matched.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nightspell - Blog Tour

by Leah Cypess
companion book to Mistwood

Here be ghosts, the maps said, and that was all.

In this haunted kingdom, ghosts linger—not just in the deepest forests or the darkest caverns, but alongside the living, as part of a twisted palace court that revels all night and sleeps through the daylight hours.

Darri's sister was trapped in this place of fear and shadows as a child. And now Darri has a chance to save her sister . . . if she agrees to a betrothal with the prince of the dead. But nothing is simple in this eerie kingdom—not her sister, who has changed beyond recognition; not her plan, which will be thrown off track almost at once; and not the undead prince, who seems more alive than anyone else.

In a court seething with the desire for vengeance, Darri holds the key to the balance between life and death. Can her warrior heart withstand the most wrenching choice of all? (description taken from

The concept and world building for this book are phenomenal. A kingdom where half the inhabitants are ghosts... where you cannot be sure someone is a ghost until they disappear before your very eyes? I thought this was very original and startlingly intriguing.

With only one character to tie this book to Mistwood, though she is a great connection, this can absolutely be a stand-alone book. I LOVED Mistwood and it was absolutely one of my favorite books of last year, but in some ways I think that Nightspell is even better.

The main characters are very interesting and rich. Callie, Darri, and Varis have a really complex sibling relationship. They all love each other and are loyal to one another to the end, but Darri and Varis are, shall we say, not very fond of each other...Callie resents that Darri let her be sent off to a foreign kingdom, Varis doesn't trust either sister, and neither sister trusts him. As the story develops, each relationship changes a little and they band together to attempt to get out of Ghostland alive.

With a great, interesting setting, intriguing characters, and a magical storyline again following some twisted royal politics, Nightspell is another great offering from one of my new favorite authors.

Publication date: May 31,2011

Full disclosure: ARC received to review for blog tour hosted by Book It Forward ARC Tours

The First Five Pages

The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Keeping Out of the Rejection Pile
by Noah Lukeman

Whether you are a novice writer or a veteran who has already had your work published, rejection is often a frustrating reality. Literary agents and editors receive and reject hundreds of manuscripts each month. While it's the job of these publishing professionals to be discriminating, it's the job of the writer to produce a manuscript that immediately stands out among the vast competition. And those outstanding qualities, says New York literary agent Noah Lukeman, have to be apparent from the first five pages.

The First Five Pages reveals the necessary elements of good writing, whether it be fiction, nonfiction, journalism, or poetry, and points out errors to be avoided, such as

* A weak opening hook
* Overuse of adjectives and adverbs
* Flat or forced metaphors or similes
* Melodramatic, commonplace or confusing dialogue
* Undeveloped characterizations and lifeless settings
* Uneven pacing and lack of progression

With exercises at the end of each chapter, this invaluable reference will allow novelists, journalists, poets and screenwriters alike to improve their technique as they learn to eliminate even the most subtle mistakes that are cause for rejection. The First Five Pages will help writers at every stage take their art to a higher -- and more successful -- level. (description taken from

This was a really helpful book on the writing craft. While I had to read it in several sittings and I took TONS of notes, as long as I paced myself, I did not get overwhelmed. Each chapter deals with a different foible that writers should avoid and ends with both examples of what not to do and how it was done right and then exercises for working on your own writing.

I had been critiqued and told that I needed to work on showing versus telling readers about things in my plotlines...I had no clear idea what that really meant. Lukeman's chapter on Showing versus Telling gave GREAT examples and I'm a lot more confident about fixing my writing, though I know I have a LOT of work to do on it.

The first section also gave really great, concise directions for actually formatting a physical manuscript...and why those very specific details can make or break a writer's chance with an agent.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is working on writing their own books. No matter what, your writing can always improve in some way!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President

I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President
by Josh Lieb

Oliver Watson, an overweight 12-year-old from Omaha, NE, fools his family and classmates into thinking that he is slow-witted when in fact he is the world's third-richest person and an evil genius. He overthrows foreign dictators, owns corporations, is a successful inventor and investor, and is on the way to attaining his goal of world domination. His father and arch nemesis is too involved in running a local PBS affiliate to be involved in his son's life. What Oliver really wants is his dad's approval and attention. He decides that the way to get this is to win the election for president of the eighth-grade class at Gale Sayers Middle School.

At first, I found Oliver's snarky tone to be a little obnoxious and almost overwhelming, but as I continued reading, I came to really enjoy this book. It feels very much like the Artemis Fowl that I miss...the pure evil genius from the first book of the series... Oliver begins to hide his genius at a very young age to shelter his unprepared parents, then evolves to hiding his genius to get revenge on his uncaring father. As he makes his way up the world domination ladder, he continues to subconsciously look for approval.

I loved how he continuously looks out for his mother, adores his adopted doggie, pines for the meanest/cutest/pinkest girl in school, and befriends a homeless recovering alcoholic who becomes his "cover." This is all interspersed and contrasted by his actions towards his father, his election opponents, and other threats to his worldwide standing. Though he behaves badly quite a bit, as you read more you begin to see where his motivations come from.

Personally, I loved his snarkiness by the end of the book. I can very much see how this book will appeal to a large audience...there's revenge plots, teens showing up adults, secret codes and lairs, and one teen setting out to rule the world. This book is nominated for our state's book award for seventh and eighth graders...if it wasn't up against something like The Hunger Games, I would have said it had a shot at winning!

PS - If you are looking for an amusing audio book, I'd definitely recommend this one. It was only five CDs long, but the narrator uses distinct voices for each character and it's really well done!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Anxiously Awaiting... The Pledge

The Pledge
by Kimberly Derting

Publication Date: November 15, 2011

Synopsis: Words are the most dangerous weapon of all.

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

Check out Kimberly Derting's blog for an excerpt and more info!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Sisters Club

The Sisters Club
by Megan McDonald

Meet the Sisters Club: twelve-year-old Alex, aspiring actress and born drama queen; eight-year-old Joey, homework lover and pioneer wannabe; and smack in the middle, ten-year-old Stevie, the glue that holds them together — through dinner disasters, disputes over stolen lucky sweaters, and Alex’s going gaga over her leading man. Playfully weaving Stevie’s narration with Alex’s scripts, Joey’s notebook entries, and hilarious elements such as "How to Swear in Shakespeare" and "Dear Sock Monkey" letters, this hugely engaging novel showcases Megan McDonald’s ear for dialogue, comic timing, and insight into the ever-changing dynamics of sisterhood. (description from

This was a cute tween read! I love how the three sisters, even when they have their scuffles, still have a strong bond. They consistently come back to each other, to their self invented "Sisters Club." I love, too, that they and their parents put on plays together and eat dinner together and support each other...always. What a wonderful family!

I love the format of this book, too. It's partly a diary, partly scenes from a play, partly fake homework, and altogether charming. The illustrations are cute and I especially love the sock monkeys!!

In My Mailbox - March 6, 2011

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!

Blog Tour:

Nightspell by Leah Cypess
*Thanks to Book It Forward ARC Tours!!*

For Review:

Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison
Fashionably Undead by Meg Cabot

From the Library:

Artemis the Brave by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Small Persons with Wings by Ellen Booraem
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
My So-Called Death by Stacey Jay

On My Nook:
Retro Demonology by Jana Oliver
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin