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Monday, December 31, 2012

My 2012 Year in Review


Hello All. I hope that you all had a fabulous year in 2012...even amidst the natural disasters, man-on-man violence, and predicted apocalypses every other month! I managed to have a pretty great year and I sincerely hope for a happy and healthy year in 2013 for all of us!!

Anyway, I just wanted to share some of the things that made my 2012 pretty great...and since this is a book blog, I'll also finish out the post with the list of books I read this year in case anyone wants to scroll through them all (I'm warning you now...it's A LOT of books and you may not want to take the time...).


Personal Things:
*Three of my best friends had their first babies (Addison, Zackary, and Beau) and I became forever more known as "Auntie Librarian" LOL.

*One of my best friends had the most gorgeous winter wedding.

*I finished writing the first draft of my YA novel and began the editing process. (Here's to self-publication in 2013 *fingers crossed*!)

*One of my best friends self-published her first book, The Secret World of Alaina Downs.

*I lost 17 pounds in 4 1/2 months (and that includes the holiday season!).

*I kissed a pig! A big pig. A bookish pig...and it was hilarious!

*Have been living vicariously through a High School friend's adventures in Australia... you can check out her blog here.



Work Things:
*I hit my one year anniversary at my new job, which I still LOVE!

*I not only read over 80 books just for this year's nutmeg selection committee, but I became Co-Chair of the 2015 Teen Nutmeg Selection Committee (CT State book award nomination committee for grades 7 & 8) which will be starting officially in February.

*I started a second book blog for my job, which you can find here. It's called Flippin' Pages at WSPL.

*I created Pajama Storytime at my Library...mostly so that I can wear pajamas to work once a month!!

*I discovered that Pinterest is a WEALTH of potential craft ideas for storytime and that I am an excellent craft replicator. :)



Bookish/Blog Things:
*Hit my 1000th post on the blog

*Created an online scavenger hunt for author, Alex Lidell, whose debut book, The Cadet of Tildor, will come out next week!

*Found out my blog was mentioned on a thank you page in the paperback copy of Marissa Meyer's Cinder!

*Participated in Roecker Sisters' The Lies that Bind Vlog Tour.

 *Interviewed 5 traditionally published and 2 self-published authors on the blog.
 
 *I attended BEA for the fourth year in a row, and attended the Children's Author Breakfast for the first year. I even covered the event for YALSA's The Hub!  

*...and speaking of The Hub, I started blogging for them in January 2012.  

*I was a judge for Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award in the Young Adult category for the third year in a row...and this year one of my choices to push through to the next tier of judging actually WON the whole thing!! So exciting.

*I got over my insane fear of circus books (delayed trauma from a book I was forced to read in college that scarred me FOR LIFE!!) and read Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, which was fabulous!   

*Realised that my Hunger Games Party post on the blog has been viewed more than 15,000 times!
  *I read 432 books this year (including picture books for storytime, chapter books, middle grade, YA, and adult books)...you can check out the list if you want!  
  • 1: The Pledge

  • 2: Vampire's Kiss

  • 3: Laddertop

  • 4: Hidden

  • 5: First Kill

  • 6: The Night Circus

  • 7: Anna Dressed in Blood

  • 8: Thief's Covenant

  • 9: Steampunk!

  • 10: Wolf! Wolf!

  • 11: The Wolf's Chicken Stew

  • 12: The Dog Who Cried Wolf

  • 13: Footprints in the Snow

  • 14: Salt

  • 15: Troy High

  • 16: The First Time

  • 17: The Unknowns: A Mystery

  • 18: Dead Is Not an Option

  • 19: Bear Snores On

  • 20: Otto Has a Birthday Party

  • 21: Boo to You!

  • 22: The Fantastic Mr. Wani

  • 23: Little Pink Pup

  • 24: Dear Tyrannosaurus Rex

  • 25: I'll Be There

  • 26: Doggy whys?

  • 27: Chicken Butt's back!

  • 28: Bear's New Friend

  • 29: Nobody's Diggier Than a Dog

  • 30: Bark, George

  • 31: Biker Pups

  • 32: The Patterson Puppies and the Midnight Monster Party

  • 33: The Summer I Learned to Fly

  • 34: Everneath

  • 35: In the Artic (Learn With Animals)

  • 36: Jeremy Draws a Monster

  • 37: Where's Walrus?

  • 38: Sailing Off to Sleep

  • 39: Tacky the Penguin

  • 40: Way Up in the Arctic

  • 41: If You Were a Penguin

  • 42: Daddies

  • 43: What Dads Can't Do (Mini Edition)

  • 44: My Father the Dog

  • 45: My Dad's Job

  • 46: The Daddy Book

  • 47: My Dad

  • 48: Lenobia's Vow

  • 49: Oh, Daddy!

  • 50: The Death-Defying Pepper Roux

  • 51: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

  • 52: Bed Hogs

  • 53: Polar Bear Night

  • 54: How I Became a Pirate

  • 55: Katie Loves the Kittens

  • 56: Clinton Gregory's Secret

  • 57: The Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters

  • 58: Blood Red Road

  • 59: The Book of the Maidservant

  • 60: Arise

  • 61: The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

  • 62: Fighting Ruben Wolfe

  • 63: Owly and Wormy, friends all aflutter

  • 64: Tweak Tweak

  • 65: Tom's Tweet

  • 66: There's a Dragon in the Library

  • 67: Wodney Wat's Wobot

  • 68: 999 Tadpoles

  • 69: The three little aliens and the big bad robot

  • 70: E-mergency!

  • 71: Too Many Pears!

  • 72: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

  • 73: Adventures of Cow, Too

  • 74: Sakes Alive! A Cattle Drive

  • 75: Cow Who Clucked, The

  • 76: Millie Waits for the Mail

  • 77: Texas Gothic

  • 78: Why We Broke Up

  • 79: How to Save a Life

  • 80: Dragonswood

  • 81: Addie on the Inside

  • 82: Ghostopolis

  • 83: Every Other Day

  • 84: Library Lily

  • 85: Lola Loves Stories

  • 86: Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed

  • 87: Maybe a Bear Ate It!

  • 88: Georgia's Greatness

  • 89: Reading Makes You Feel Good

  • 90: Tiptoe Into Kindergarten

  • 91: New Socks

  • 92: Dino Pets

  • 93: Carlo Likes Colors

  • 94: Giraffe Trouble

  • 95: Fuchsia Is Now

  • 96: Cinderella Penguin

  • 97: Wolves

  • 98: Ship of Souls

  • 99: Cinder

  • 100: Clumsy Crab

  • 101: This Is the Ocean

  • 102: Yummy, Yummy! Food for My Tummy!

  • 103: I'm The Biggest Thing in the Ocean

  • 104: The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Extreme Junior Edition

  • 105: Chime

  • 106: Touch of Power

  • 107: Spring is here

  • 108: A Bedtime for Bear

  • 109: Children Make Terrible Pets

  • 110: The Bear Who Shared

  • 111: What About Bear?

  • 112: Bears! bears! bears!

  • 113: Bedtime for Bear

  • 114: Feyland: The Dark Realm

  • 115: The Fox Inheritance

  • 116: The Aviary

  • 117: The Chronicles of Harris Burdick

  • 118: A Girl and Her Gator

  • 119: Rain School

  • 120: The Greedy Python [GREEDY PYTHON-BOARD] [Board Books]

  • 121: A Turtle in the Toilet

  • 122: Epitaph Road

  • 123: Mudkin

  • 124: A Mud Pie for Mother

  • 125: Stuck in the Mud

  • 126: Green as a Bean

  • 127: Lizette's Green Sock

  • 128: Where Is the Green Sheep?

  • 129: There's an Alligator under My Bed

  • 130: Duck in the Truck

  • 131: A Frog in the Bog

  • 132: Mud

  • 133: I Wanna Iguana

  • 134: A Beautiful Evil

  • 135: except if

  • 136: Bedtime for Mommy

  • 137: Foxy and Egg

  • 138: My Mom Has X-ray Vision

  • 139: Mama, Mama

  • 140: My Mother Is Mine [MY MOTHER IS MINE-BOARD] [Board Books]

  • 141: What Moms Can't Do [WHAT MOMS CANT DO] [Hardcover]

  • 142: What Mommies Do Best / What Daddies Do Best

  • 143: Hunwick's Egg

  • 144: Mama, Do You Love Me?

  • 145: A Mother for Choco

  • 146: The Happy Egg

  • 147: Daisy and the Egg

  • 148: Monster Mama

  • 149: An Extraordinary Egg

  • 150: My Mom

  • 151: My Mommy

  • 152: Your Kind of Mommy

  • 153: The Cow That Laid an Egg

  • 154: Egg Drop

  • 155: Fever

  • 156: Enchanted

  • 157: Alice in Wonderland

  • 158: Jane Eyre

  • 159: The Mostly True Story of Jack

  • 160: Looking for Luna

  • 161: Duck Tents

  • 162: Do Not Disturb

  • 163: Monk Camps Out

  • 164: Cat Skidoo

  • 165: Sheep Take a Hike

  • 166: Where I Belong

  • 167: Love-a-Duck

  • 168: Scrawl

  • 169: Article 5

  • 170: Otto the Book Bear

  • 171: Stay Close to Mama

  • 172: College success for students with physical disabilities

  • 173: Under the Mesquite

  • 174: Tall Story

  • 175: The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin

  • 176: Promise the Night

  • 177: My Name Is Not Easy

  • 178: Edenbrooke

  • 179: Island's End

  • 180: Dead Is a Battlefield

  • 181: ABNA 1a

  • 182: Perception

  • 183: Dinosaur vs. the Library

  • 184: Dinosaurumpus!

  • 185: Dinosaur, Dinosaur

  • 186: ABNA 2a

  • 187: ABNA 3a

  • 188: The Blood

  • 189: ABNA 4a

  • 190: ABNA 5a

  • 191: Starters

  • 192: Freshman

  • 193: Page by Paige

  • 194: Circus Galacticus

  • 195: Body of Water

  • 196: Mangaman

  • 197: Spell Bound

  • 198: Magritte's Marvelous Hat

  • 199: The Summer My Life Began

  • 200: A Million Shades of Gray

  • 201: Chopsticks

  • 202: A World Away

  • 203: If I Stay

  • 204: Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth

  • 205: The Future of Us

  • 206: The Council of Mirrors

  • 207: Yummy

  • 208: Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop!

  • 209: Press Here

  • 210: The Selection

  • 211: Smile

  • 212: Pinkalicious

  • 213: I don't want to be a pea!

  • 214: Cloudette

  • 215: 172 Hours on the Moon

  • 216: Insurgent

  • 217: Vespers Rising

  • 218: Mindblind

  • 219: Kick

  • 220: Black Dawn

  • 221: Brave New Love

  • 222: Five Flavors of Dumb

  • 223: What the dog said

  • 224: Partials

  • 225: Partners in Crime

  • 226: Curveball

  • 227: Americus

  • 228: Playground

  • 229: The Goddess Hunt

  • 230: Struck

  • 231: Paper Covers Rock

  • 232: The Wild

  • 233: Kill Me Softly

  • 234: Dirty little secrets

  • 235: The Lions of Little Rock

  • 236: The Fairy Ring

  • 237: Something to Hold

  • 238: Dead End in Norvelt

  • 239: The Apothecary

  • 240: Kiss the Dead

  • 241: The Warlock

  • 242: Sleepover Stakeout

  • 243: The Garden Intrigue

  • 244: Fairie-ality Home: Inspirations from Nature

  • 245: Scary School

  • 246: The Enchantress

  • 247: Timepiece

  • 248: Black Howl

  • 249: What Happened to Goodbye

  • 250: Graveyard Shift

  • 251: The Assassin and The Desert

  • 252: Wings of the Wicked

  • 253: The Traitor and the Tunnel

  • 254: The Shepherd's Tale

  • 255: Loss

  • 256: The Man in the Moon (Guardians of Childhood)

  • 257: The Scorpio Races

  • 258: The Fear

  • 259: Fairest of All

  • 260: Glow

  • 261: The Land of Stories

  • 262: Crunch

  • 263: Michael Vey

  • 264: The Man in the Moon

  • 265: Draw the Dark

  • 266: Innocent Darkness

  • 267: This Dark Endeavor

  • 268: Hothouse

  • 269: Spark

  • 270: Throne of Glass

  • 271: Liar, Liar: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Deception

  • 272: No T. Rex in the Library

  • 273: The Lion & the Mouse

  • 274: Sorry

  • 275: A Dinosaur Called Tiny

  • 276: How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?

  • 277: YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND!

  • 278: Wildwood

  • 279: Bedtime for Monsters

  • 280: Robot Zombie Frankenstein!

  • 281: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

  • 282: Show Me a Story: Writing Your Own Picture Book (Writer's Toolbox)

  • 283: How to Raise a Dinosaur

  • 284: Miss Malarkey Doesn't Live in Room 10 (Miss Malarkey)

  • 285: A Good Night Walk

  • 286: Yoyo Goes Next Door (Yoyo)

  • 287: Sidewalk Trip (Growing Tree)

  • 288: How to Catch a Star

  • 289: Blue Sky

  • 290: Summer Days and Nights

  • 291: Blackout

  • 292: Zoom, rocket, zoom!

  • 293: Masque of the Red Death

  • 294: Bluefish

  • 295: The Girl Is Murder

  • 296: Camo Girl

  • 297: The End of Infinity (Jack Blank Adventure)

  • 298: Home Is Beyond the Mountains [HOME IS BEYOND THE MOUNTAINS] [Hardcover]

  • 299: The 10 PM Question

  • 300: The Initiate

  • 301: The Peculiars

  • 302: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

  • 303: The Assassin and the Empire

  • 304: Queen of Hearts

  • 305: Sweet Shadows

  • 306: If I Grow Up

  • 307: The Red Umbrella

  • 308: Fever Moon

  • 309: Payback Time

  • 310: Wicked Business

  • 311: Freaks

  • 312: Heartless

  • 313: Flesh and Blood So Cheap

  • 314: Biting Cold

  • 315: What's New at the Zoo?

  • 316: Origin

  • 317: Winter's Passage

  • 318: Prized

  • 319: Rift

  • 320: Bad Hair Day

  • 321: Tiger Lily

  • 322: All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep

  • 323: Live Through This

  • 324: Pandora Gets Greedy

  • 325: The Name of the Star

  • 326: The Girl Is Trouble

  • 327: Framed & Dangerous

  • 328: Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 7

  • 329: Dust Girl

  • 330: Seraphina

  • 331: Palace of Stone

  • 332: Two Weeks' Notice

  • 333: Rocket Writes a Story

  • 334: Three little dinosaurs

  • 335: Chloe

  • 336: Dragons Love Tacos

  • 337: All by Myself!

  • 338: The Insomniacs

  • 339: Nighttime Ninja

  • 340: Oh No, Little Dragon!

  • 341: No Go Sleep!

  • 342: The Unruly Queen [ THE UNRULY QUEEN BY Redmond, E S ( Author ) Feb-28-2012

  • 343: A Giraffe Did One by Pallotta, Jerry, Mai-Wyss, Tatjana [Hardcover]

  • 344: The Drowned Cities

  • 345: Dead & Gone

  • 346: It's Kind of a Funny Story

  • 347: Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 8

  • 348: City of Lies

  • 349: How To Be a Good Cat

  • 350: Cat Secrets

  • 351: Fuddles

  • 352: Some Cat!

  • 353: Our Cat Flossie (Unicorn Paperback)

  • 354: I Love Cats

  • 355: Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs

  • 356: The Perfect Nest

  • 357: Over the River

  • 358: April Foolishness (Albert Whitman Prairie Paperback)

  • 359: Where To, Little Wombat?

  • 360: The Grandpa Book

  • 361: When Papa Snores

  • 362: Jake Gander, Storyville Detective: The Case of the Greedy Granny

  • 363: 10 Fat Turkeys

  • 364: Gobble-Gobble Crash, A Barnyard Counting Bash: A Barnyard Counting Bash

  • 365: The Ultimate Guide to Grandmas & Grandpas!

  • 366: Animagicals: Homes: Handprint Books (Animagicals)

  • 367: How to Babysit a Grandpa

  • 368: Where's my t-r-u-c-k?

  • 369: The Present

  • 370: Ivy loves to give

  • 371: Good Night, Harry

  • 372: Bath Time

  • 373: Amy & Ivan

  • 374: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

  • 375: Splintered

  • 376: Island of Silence

  • 377: My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer

  • 378: Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal

  • 379: Girl of Nightmares

  • 380: Thank You for Me!THANK YOU FOR ME! by Bauer, Marion Dane (Author) on Mar-23-2010 Hardcover

  • 381: Thanks, Mom

  • 382: Thank You, World

  • 383: A Fractured Light

  • 384: Light the Candles

  • 385: My First Kwanzaa

  • 386: Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star

  • 387: Dolphin Finds a Star (Glitter Book)

  • 388: A Confusion of Princes

  • 389: Liar & Spy

  • 390: Dying to Meet You

  • 391: Iced

  • 392: Hidden

  • 393: See You at Harry's

  • 394: Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet

  • 395: Merge / Disciple: Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion

  • 396: Nightsong

  • 397: Dead Is a Killer Tune

  • 398: Tempestuous

  • 399: The Tempest

  • 400: Craft-a-Day: 365 Simple Handmade Projects

  • 401: The Humming Room

  • 402: The Heretic

  • 403: The Iron Queen

  • 404: One cool friend

  • 405: The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?

  • 406: Oink-a-Doodle-Moo

  • 407: The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!

  • 408: Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo

  • 409: Personal Effects

  • 410: Path of Beasts

  • 411: Fake Mustache

  • 412: Scent of Magic

  • 413: The Island of Thieves

  • 414: Farm Flu

  • 415: Snowballs

  • 416: Farmer Duck

  • 417: Click, Clack, Moo

  • 418: Cock-a-Doodle-Moo!

  • 419: Snowball Fight

  • 420: First Snow

  • 421: The Pig's Picnic

  • 422: Old Macdonald Had A Farm

  • 423: Mouse In Love

  • 424: What Do You Love?

  • 425: Froggy's First Kiss

  • 426: The Day Leo Said I Hate You!

  • 427: I love my daddy

  • 428: I Loathe You

  • 429: Big Hugs Little Hugs

  • 430: Navigating Early

  • 431: Bad Yeti

  • 432: The One and Only Ivan


  • I've probably forgotten to mention some things...and that's okay. Every year packs so much in that it's hard to keep track. Anyway, here's to a great 2013!! See you in the New Year!!

    Sunday, December 30, 2012

    This Week's Library Loot (5)

    Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
     
    My Library Loot:
    by Rachel Caine
    The Morganville Vampires, book 13
     
    by Kim Harrington
     
    by Beck McDowell
     
    So, that's what I picked up at my Library this week... did you swing by yours or did the holidays keep you away?? 
    
    

    Friday, December 28, 2012

    Scent of Magic

    Scent of Magic
    by Maria V. Snyder
    Healer series, book two
     
    As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomaniacal King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confidant, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.
     
    Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon's opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon's most horrible creations yet: an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.  War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible…again. (description from Amazon.com) 

    Snyder writes another engrossing tale.  Though I did not love this one as much as Touch of Power, I did rip right through it.  I think what I missed in this one (and it's the same element that Poison Study had which I adored...) was the burgeoning romance.  Snyder has a magic touch when it comes to two characters discovering that they cannot live without one another. 

    While I missed the romance, I did thoroughly appreciate the danger and excitement of this book. With all of the realms at war, some conquered, some still holding out in hopes of maintaining their independence, danger lurked in all corners.  Armies of walking dead, a false king that can hurt with a touch, and roving packs of dead ufas...all elements that upped the "creeptastic" factor as I read.  Not only can poor Avry not find a safe place in all the realms, but the losses she suffers among friends and family broke my heart. 

    With another ending that leaves you hanging, I cannot wait to read the final book in the trilogy!

    Full disclosure: eARC received from NetGalley for review

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

    Cover Craving...Indelible by Dawn Metcalf!

    Indelible
    by Dawn Metcalf
    The Twixt, book one
     
    Publication date: 2013
     
    In a sea of covers with girls in pretty dresses, and teens with only half a face, or mysterious chopped photographs, this one stands out!
     
    I love the simplicity, the colors, and the way that it looks almost like a tattoo. Gorgeous. 

    Wednesday, December 26, 2012

    My Best Books of 2012 List (with a Giveaway)!!!

    For a few years, I painstakingly agonized over all of the books that I read that year and carefully chose one great book for many, many different genres or categories. Then, last year I simplified! I realized that I already had a great system in place for my "best of" choices... my GOLD STAR reviews! Duh. LOL.

    So, without further ado, in the same style as last year, and in order only by alphabetizing the title (not reflective of one being chosen over another), here is my BEST BOOKS OF 2012 list:

    by Kelly Keaton

    by Carrie Harris











    by Deva Fagan

    by Jordan Sonnenblick

    by Julianne Donaldson

    by Alethea Kontis

    by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

    by Amy Kathleen Ryan

    by Jo Knowles

    by Rachel Hartman

    by A.G. Howard

    by E.M. Kokie

    by Kimberly Derting

    by Maggie Stiefvater

    by Maria V. Snyder

    Since I loved these books so much, I want to give someone the opportunity to love at least one of them, too.  If you'd like, you can use the Rafflecopter below to enter to win any ONE of the books you see above...whichever one you'd like to have the most.  Unfortunately, since shipping is getting so expensive, I have to limit this to US/Canadian shipping addresses only.  Sorry!!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Monday, December 24, 2012

    Happy Holidays!




    Wishing you all a very merry holiday!!

    Check back here the day after Christmas for my best of the year list and a giveaway!


    Sunday, December 23, 2012

    This Week's Library Loot (4)

    Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
     
    My Library Loot:
    by A. S. King
     
    by James Patterson
     
    by Sir Terry Pratchett
     
    by Simon Pegg
     
    by Candace Fleming
     
    by Verlyn Klinkenborg
     
    So, this is actually what I picked up at my Library in the last couple of weeks, because I was too sick to post last weekend... 
     
    Did anyone patronize their local library recently??

    Saturday, December 22, 2012

    Personal Effects

    Personal Effects
    by E.M. Kokie
     
    Ever since his brother, T.J., was killed in Iraq, Matt feels like he’s been sleepwalking through life — failing classes, getting into fights, and avoiding his dad’s lectures about following in his brother’s footsteps. T.J.’s gone, but Matt can’t shake the feeling that if only he could get his hands on his brother’s stuff from Iraq, he’d be able to make sense of his death. But as Matt searches for answers about T.J.’s death, he faces a shocking revelation about T.J.’s life that suggests he may not have known T.J. as well as he thought. What he learns challenges him to stand up to his father, honor his brother’s memory, and take charge of his own life. (Description from Amazon.com)
     
    Wow. This debut novel blew me away.  Before I tell you why, let me note that this book is getting what will probably be my last gold star for the year!
     
     
    This book was touching. This book was funny.  This book was...it was everything.  I ran the gamut of emotions right alongside Matt as he discovered who his brother actually was...and who that makes him. 
     
    This book touches on some heavy topics.  Grief, homosexuality, abuse, love, and it does it all while still feeling natural.  Matt is a fully realized character surrounded by people that have interesting facets, as well.  The way that even characters who are no longer in the story manage to become fleshed out as the tale progresses...that takes talented writing and storybuilding. 
     
    My heart broke for this character and then rejoiced as he was reborn into a stronger, more complete person.  Well done.  Impossible to put down and well worth reading. 
     
    Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for SLJ

    Friday, December 21, 2012

    Path of Beasts

    Path of Beasts
    by Lian Tanner
    The Keepers, book three
     
    The city of Jewel is in peril once again, as it is held captive by the frightful Fugleman, his band of Blessed Guardians, and an army of merciless mercenaries. There's no doubt that Goldie and Toadspit want to get their city back, but how can a small group of children fight against such overwhelming forces of evil? And how, as Goldie is determined, can they avoid bloodshed in a war that will set thieves against soldiers, and trickery and deception against a mighty cannon that shoots cannonballs bent on destruction? As Toadspit fights the Fugleman in a duel to the death, Goldie must face her hardest task yet. If she is to save the city, she must walk the mysterious Beast Road, deep inside the Museum of Thieves. No one knows where it goes and no one has ever returned from it. (description from Amazon.com)
     
    
    An amazing end to the trilogy.  While I felt that things were not quite as strong in book two as they were in the first (which I absolutely loved!), I am sooo pleased to say that book three did not disappoint in the least.  Goldie, Toadspit, Bonnie, Mouse, and even Pounce team up to save their city, defeat the evils they could face directly, and even indirectly, and each finds the place they belong forever.

    Strong characters, an intriguing and danger-filled plot, and a Museum that once again left me longing for a chance to explore it... this book packed quite the punch.  I cannot wait to read more from this author, even though this particular story may be finished.

    Full disclosure: eARC received through NetGalley

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

    Cinder Paperback News!!

    I have some exciting news that I just had to share... well, exciting for me, anyway.  I read and reviewed Marissa Meyer's CINDER back in February.  I LOVED it, absolutely loved it.

     
    Here's an excerpt from my review:
    All in all, this was book was so close to what my perfect reinvisioning of a fairytale could be it was sort of eerie. I wish that we knew a little more of Cinder's story at the end, but I am SO absolutely looking forward to reading more of her journey in the following books. I cannot wait for Scarlet to get here!!

    And, while we're waiting for SCARLET to come out in February, the paperback version of CINDER is coming out on January 8th...just in time for me to get a copy with a giftcard...

    BECAUSE...

     
    It's so very exciting!! In addition to the publisher adding the bonus story, Glitches, a Q&A with the author, a reader's guide, *AND* a sneak peek of SCARLET...
     
    They also added this...
     
    A super cool blogger thank-you page!  My blog is actually mentioned right at the top of the foot arch on the right... :)  What a great thing to include all of us in.  
     
    This is just a preview copy they sent to all of us. I can't wait to see it in real life. 

    The Humming Room

    The Humming Room
    by Ellen Potter
     
    Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

    As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

    Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret.

    Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write. (Description from Amazon.com)

    It's been a long time since I've read The Secret Garden, but as I was reading this book based on it I found things coming back to me.  I liked Roo as a character, finding her brusque, but understandably so. I thought that the new setting on an island at an old children's tuberculosis hospital was creepy and interesting.  It gave a really remote feeling that would have been hard to come by otherwise in a modern retelling and allowed for a very distinctive secretiveness surrounding Roo's new friend, "the river spirit."

    The backstory and description of the garden held me captivated and I found myself wanting to see it.  When the family reunites over the garden's restoration, I felt touched.  Things wrapped up very quickly at the end, though, and I was left wanting just a little more. 

    The book did leave me wanting to reread The Secret Garden. Since I probably won't have time (and because a co-worker keeps telling me that the movie is one of her favorites of ALL TIME), I checked out the movie version instead. This will allow me to revisit the original story and see if there was a little more at the end and what things may have been left out in this newer version. 

    A quick and intriguing retelling of one of my favorite classic childhood tales.

    Full disclosure: Borrowed from my library

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Hidden

    Hidden
    by Sophie Jordan
    Firelight, book three
     
    A dangerous journey.
    Shattered bonds.
    Undying passion.

    Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the "prince" of their pride. But she resisted her fate long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian's sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

    The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there's no guarantee they'll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning. . . . (description from Amazon.com)

    
    Though I realistically knew the way that the author would end this book and I enjoyed the action and the introduction of some new dragons, I was still horribly disappointed with how the romance worked out.  It's so hard when you latch on to a character and desperately want the main character to end up with them and yet, you know that they won't...

    Aside from my heartbreak, this was a very good ending to the series.  I still love how Jordan can make these books steamy and adventurous without getting too graphic! The draki are still amazingly cool and I loved how Jacinda and her sister both really figured out exactly where they needed to be in the end.

    But...I'm still Team Cassian... and my heart just broke for him.

    Full disclosure: Borrowed through interlibrary loan