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Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Gift

















The Gift
by Andrea J. Buchanan

High school sophomore Daisy Jones is just trying to get by unnoticed. It doesn’t help that she’s the new girl at school, lives in a trailer park, and doesn’t even own a cell phone. But there’s a good reason for all that: Daisy has a secret, unpredictable power—one only her best friend, Danielle, knows about.

Despite her “gift” (or is it a curse?), Daisy’s doing a good job of fitting in, and a gorgeous senior named Kevin even seems interested in her! But when Daisy tries to help Vivi, a mysterious classmate in a crisis, she soon discovers that her new friend has a secret of her own. Now Daisy and her friends must deal with chilling dreams and messages from the beyond. Can Daisy channel the power she’s always tried to hide, before it’s too late? (description from Amazon.com

This book, originally self-published, could probably have benefited from a thorough editing job.  While the premise had moments of promise, there were too many small extra plotlines that were actually distracting from the main story. I also think that it seemed to take a little too long for the two major arcs of the story to come together. That *could* be partially attributed to the fact that I listened to this as an audio book, so the whole story took some time, but I really think the ghost/energy connection was too hard to piece together the way that the author presented it. 

Even though I didn't really enjoy the story, I was happy to find that the author included the songs that Kevin "performed" and also Danielle's diary entries (which I thought would have made a nice addition perhaps interspersed within the story...).  It made for a more interesting end.   

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for SLJ

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Elephant of Surprise and a Giveaway!!

















The Elephant of Surprise
by Brent Hartinger
The Russel Middlebrook series, book four

People aren't always what they seem to be. Sometimes we even surprise ourselves.

So discovers seventeen-year-old Russel Middlebrook in The Elephant of Surprise, a stand-alone sequel to Brent Hartinger's landmark 2003 gay young adult novel Geography Club (which has now been adapted as a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky).

In this latest book, Russel and his friends Min and Gunnar are laughing about something they call the Elephant of Surprise – the tendency for life to never turn out as expected. Sure enough, Russel soon happens upon a hot but mysterious homeless activist named Wade, even as he's drawn back to an old flame named Kevin. Meanwhile, Min is learning surprising things about her girlfriend Leah, and Gunnar just wants to be left alone to pursue his latest technology obsession.

But the elephant is definitely on the move in all three of their lives. Just who is Wade and what are he and his friends planning? What is Leah hiding? And why is Gunnar taking naked pictures of Kevin in the shower? (description from Amazon.com

I have to admit up front that I have not yet read any of the other books in this series.  Since seeing the preview for Geography Club, I have been very intrigued, but now that I've read The Elephant of Surprise, I'm definitely going to have to go back and start from the beginning! Especially if I want to see the movie... LOL.

This book was a great and different read for me. A little out of my comfort zone (y'all know that I LOVE fantasy/sci fi and tend to sway that way almost TOO often) being LGBT realistic fiction, but I loved that this book was light and funny and quickly-paced.  While there is indeed a focus on relationships, (and really in most YA lit, when is there not?) there was also a HUGE focus on these amazing friendships that I really loved.  Russel, Min, and Gunnar will basically do anything for one another and you have to admire that type of friend.  This REALLY made me want to go back to read Geography Club to see how they become that close.

I also really enjoyed learning more about Freeganism.  While I'd heard about the movement before (people who try to scavenge as much as possible - ie. not participate in our currency-based culture), I don't think I've ever read a book that dealt with it, and it was sort of fascinating to see how Hartinger made it work for the story.

Now...I know I mentioned the trailer for Geography Club. Would you like to see it? I KNOW you would, LOL.  Here it is!!


Doesn't it look good?? I LOVE some of the casting choices and like I said, I'm dying to see Russel, Min, and Gunnar become friends originally... 

I know that I'll be reading Geography Club soon, and I wanted to offer one of you the chance to read it, too, maybe even before seeing the movie! Enter through the rafflecopter below.  Good Luck!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: eARC received through NetGalley at the invitation of Brent Hartinger 


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Second Chance


Second Chance
by Heather Brewer
The Slayer Chronicles, book two

The summer after Joss failed to kill the vampire Vladimir Tod, he gets a second chance to prove himself as a Slayer. He is sent to New York City to hunt down a serial killer that the Slayer Society believes is a vampire. It is up to Joss to lead his Slayer team, and through their detective work, they discover that there are actually four vampire brothers who are on the killing rampage. Joss must use all his skill to save the innocent people of New York City from the murderers. Joss's status as a Slayer depends on it. (Description from Amazon.com)

Though I mostly enjoy these books as I'm reading them, I don't really remember them that well afterwards...I suppose that's a type of review in itself, right? Like the first book, First Kill, Joss' story is full of action, danger, and deception. No one can be fully trusted and I know that I was kept on my toes throughout the book.

What I liked best about this book, though, was the way that the author promised readers much more of a background to Joss and Vlad's connections later in the series. Even as I was following along with Joss hunting down the serial killers plaguing New York City, I was really just dying to get more into his family's secrets and background...

I need to get my hands on the next book AND I really need to go back and read the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series!

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for SLJ

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday's Movie and TV Talk! (8)


Welcome to Monday's Movie and TV Talk! I don't know if I'll do this every Monday, or just sporadically on Mondays, but I LOVE TV and movies, so I figured why not add some of that to the blog for fun?? It'll be especially awesome when I can tie things into the YA book world... 

Okay, so I've been a GLEEk since the beginning... I love high school dramas, I love singing...what was not to love? The first season was amazing and though the show struggled a little in season 3 (tacking on what I thought was a needlessly cruel final episode for the season), I persevered and hung on to see how the show's creators would continue in season 4. 

Now, though, I'm sad to say that I think GLEE has finally lost me. 









With storylines that are bouncing from one state to the next, characters being added, and old favorites taking on new (and mostly unwelcome) changes in their character choices, I just find that I no longer CARE.  

I LOVE THE MUSIC. I still love the music. I would watch just a 25 min compilation every week of their musical performances... I just have no desire to follow the character arcs anymore.  And, it breaks my heart. I used to be so invested in what was going to happen...who would find "true love," who would overcome adversity, who would back-stab whom... and now it all just seems meaningless. 

Has anyone else been experiencing this LACK of enthusiasm for GLEE?  Does anyone think I should hold on? I want to say I'll watch through the end of the season...but I'm not even motivated to watch the next episode... 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Gold Star Review: The Queen is Dead

















The Queen is Dead
by Kate Locke
The Immortal Empire series, book two

When her brother Val gets in over his head in an investigation of Half-Blood disappearances and goes missing himself, it's up to Xandra, newly crowned Goblin Queen, to get him back and bring the atrocities to light. Xandra must frequent the seediest parts of London, while also coping with what she is, the political factions vying for her favor, and the all too-close scrutiny of Queen Victoria, who wants her head. Add this to a being a suspect in a murder investigation, a werewolf boyfriend with demands of his own, and a mother hell bent on destroying the monarchy, and Xandra barely knows which way is up. One thing she does know is that she's already lost one sibling, she's not about to lose another.

Xandra Varden is the newly crowned Goblin Queen of England. But her complicated life is by no means over.There are the political factions vying for her favor, and the all too-close scrutiny of Queen Victoria, who for some reason wants her head. Not to mention her werewolf boyfriend with demands of his own, and a mother hell bent on destroying the monarchy. Now she's the suspect in a murder investigation --- and Xandra barely knows which way is up.

What she does know is that nothing lasts forever---and immortality isn't all its cracked up to be. (description from Amazon.com

I devoured this book. I really enjoyed the first in the series, but I think as Xandra came into her own in the second it really ramped things up a notch for me. I love the steampunk vibe of this series. I love the fiesty, yet at very infrequent moments, vulnerable, main character.  I love the worldbuilding. I love the twists and turns. I love the, well, love of the series...Vex...*fans self* whew...that werewolf is HOT! 

There was not one thing that I did not enjoy about this book. I loved every minute of the audio book and I plan to reread this series at some point (which is the highest form of praise from me, as I *never* have time to reread!!) In fact, I loved this so much, I'm stamping it with a great big GOLD STAR!! 












You can check out my review for the first book, God Save the Queen, here. 
I can only hope and pray that the third book, Long Live the Queen, which is coming out in November, will be JUST as good.  

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile Magazine, ebook purchased for my Nook

Friday, March 22, 2013

Under the Never Sky


















Under the Never Sky 
by Veronica Rossi

WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.

DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers. (description from Goodreads.com)

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book. We've had so many dystopias come out lately that I've kind of become leery of new ones. A few of my friends really enjoyed this one, though, so I decided to give it a good shot.

I'm glad I did! This one has a very cool world where the upper cast of human society has gone to live in sealed domes, protecting them from the elements...and from the less desirable portion of humanity. These people engage in a whole virtual world to keep them from being bored. That technology aspect was pretty cool.

What was even cooler, though, was seeing what had happened to the humans that lived outside the domes. Perry and his tribesmen had some neat abilities. Watching Aria adapt to surviving amongst them was fascinating and I found her to be a surprisingly strong character in the end.

I'm very much looking forward to seeing how things progress in the second book,
Through the Ever Night.

Full disclosure: Purchased on my Nook

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Marathon


















Marathon
by Boaz Yakin
illus. by Joe Infurnari

It was a turning point in ancient history.

It inspires men to greatness.

It was the foundation of one of the greatest and most prevailing global peace efforts of the 20th century.

It was the greatest feat—and the tragic death—of a man whose legacy will never be forgotten.

In 490BC, an Athenian messenger named Eucles ran 153 miles from Sparta to Athens, and in so doing preserved ancient Greek civilization from subjugation to the Persian Empire.

While this is an interesting point in history and I liked getting to see the origin of the word marathon, I did not really enjoy this graphic novel that much. I found the drawing style to be very dark. I also had trouble telling some of the characters apart after their initial introductions.

I would probably only recommend this graphic novel for use if you were reading as a group and could compare your reaction to the book, or if you are a hardcore graphic novel reader that enjoys history. Ancient Greece is fascinating and dark, but this graphic novel is also less reader friendly for new graphic novel readers.


Full disclosure: Borrowed through interlibrary loan

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2013 ABNA Update #1

I've mentioned before that I am one of the contracted Quarterfinalist judges for Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award each year.

This year I'm intrigued to see how things pan out with the new changes to the contest system.  In previous years, there had only been two categories for writers to enter, adult and young adult.  This year, Amazon decided to open things up more and now there are five categories: General Fiction, Mystery and Thriller, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and finally, Young Adult.  Unlike previous years, I am *not* judging in the young adult category. This year I am judging in the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror category.

I have received five anonymous manuscripts that I have to read and review by the beginning of April.  It is such an interesting process to judge for this contest because not only am I reading to see if the premise is intriguing and the characters engaging, etc, but I also have to take tons of notes as I read so that when I go back to do my review, I can cite each piece of information that I use to discuss the work.

While I have a lot of fun reading each new story (it's so fun to just read a book with NO prior knowledge of its content sometimes), the critical skills necessary to reading for this specific contest can become fatiguing.  It's absolutely rewarding at the end, though, like when I found out that one of the books that I read and pushed forward last year (Regina Sirois' On Little Wings) actually went on to WIN the category. I CANNOT wait to see that book resting on my Library's book shelves this summer.

This year I decided to tackle my largest manuscript first and though I cannot tell you about what I'm reading at this point, I will say that it's an interesting story with genetic mutations and an alien presence. Currently I'm speculating about how the main characters will save the world...

I'll try to keep you posted...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blog Tour - Poison

Today I am honored to be part of the blog tour celebrating POISON.  This was Bridget Zinn's debut book.  I have to tell you when I finished reading it I had the most bittersweet reaction... I LOVED Poison and it just about broke my heart knowing that there will never be a sequel.  Unfortunately, Bridget passed away before her book even hit the shelves. 

About Bridget:
Bridget grew up in Wisconsin. She went to the county fair where she met the love of her life, Barrett Dowell. They got married right before she went in for exploratory surgery which revealed she had colon cancer. They christened that summer the "summer of love" and the two celebrated with several more weddings. Bridget continued to read and write until the day she died. Her last tweet was "Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect."

Bridget wanted to make people laugh and hoped readers would enjoy spending time with the characters she created. As a librarian/writer she loved books with strong young women with aspirations. She also felt teens needed more humorous reads. She really wanted to write a book with pockets of warmth and happiness and hoped that her readers' copies would show the watermarks of many bath time reads.

Thankfully before Bridget passed, she had already begun the process to publish her debut novel POISON.  It is a beautiful legacy to leave behind. 

Book Description:
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she's the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom's future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
 
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.
 
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king's army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she's not alone. She's armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can't stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?
 
Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she's certainly no damsel-in-distress—she's the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this book.  It was funny, it was exciting, it had a great main character, and took place in an interesting world.  I'm really so sad that there will not be another book following this one.  In fact, I loved the lighthearted tone of this book so much that I am giving it a GOLD STAR review and recommend that everyone pick it up!!

 
Full disclosure: eARC received from Netgalley for review
 
YOU can get a copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, Powell's Books, the iTunes bookstore, or even your local library! You can also check out Bridget's website (which is still up and running and would love some visitors) at www.bridgetzinn.com.
 
For the final part of this blog tour, we were all asked to write about one of our FIRSTS, since this was Bridget's first book. I decided to write about my first strong reading memory.  I have been a reader for as long as I can remember. My Mom and Dad are both readers so I had great examples in my life.  My Mom used to bring us to the public library every weekend and we also would make regular trips to the bookstore.  Books were just a regular part of life for me growing up.
 
The very first really strong memory I have of reading is actually from when I was around 5 or 6, I think.  I was still young enough that my Mom was supervising my nightly bubble baths. It became a ritual that my mom would read to me while I was in the bath.  The very first book I can remember, and one that I still love, and occasionally reread, is Anne McCaffrey's DRAGONSONG.  No wonder I have a love of dragons and all things fantasy, right??  LOL.  Anyway, listening to the Harper Hall Trilogy definitely cemented my lifelong love of reading and for that I will always be grateful to my Mom and the legendary Anne McCaffrey. 
 
Don't forget to stop by the amazing Inara Scott's blog (she organized this whole tour in honor of Bridget) to find out where the other stops are for the tour!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

March Bookworms Meeting - One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

This past Thursday we had our third meeting of the 4th & 5th grade book club - The BOOKWORMS - at our library. It went really well! This month I had my first boy attendee and we had some awesome discussions about the book. 
 

For the March meeting, the kids chose to read ONE FOR THE MURPHYS. It is a heart-wrenching, but hopeful tale of a girl who learns what family love can truly be like from her temporary foster home.
Book Description:
Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she's blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong--until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live. She's not really a Murphy, but the gifts they've given her have opened up a new future.
 
I loved this book, the girls and our boy all loved this book (especially because there was no romance, ugh... LOL) and they really got into discussing all of the emotional and family issues that were tackled here.

To start the program, again we had a little trivia contest, with blowpops as the prize for most correct answers, and then I had a list of discussion questions that we talked about. Here are a couple quick examples:

*When Carley first goes to live with the Murphys she hopes NOT to like Mrs. Murphy. Can you figure out why she might feel that way?

*Carley learns a lot about courage and being someone's hero. What do you think true courage is? Who are your heroes?

*Why do you think the author chose to have Carley go back to her mom at the end? Would you have made the same choice?

Some of their answers were pretty insightful, and some parked excellent new discussions. I love hearing what their perspectives are on real life issues!
 

We finished up the meeting by doing a great and thoughtful activity.  The author, herself, actually put together a teacher guide for this book.  One of the things she posted on her website was a list of "culminating activities" and one was PERFECT for our group:
Fast forward twelve years into the future. Carley is now twenty five. Write a letter from Carley to Julie Murphy explaining what Carley's life has been like since she left the Murphys.  Where is she now and what is she doing?

Each of the kids brainstormed their own ideas about what happened to Carley as she grew up. I loved seeing how each of them pictured different outcomes.  Some of the kids had Carley growing up and naming her children after the Murphys, one had her become a firefighter like Mr. Murphy, and in my vision of her future, she became a school psychiatrist so that she could help lots of children work through their own family troubles.

All in all, a FABULOUS meeting!

Next month: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

This Week's Library Loot (10)















 
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 Kathryn Fitzmaurice
 
by Margaret Willey
 
by Katharine Sands 

 
by Entrepreneur Press
 
 
So, that's what I picked up at my Library this week... did you swing by yours?
 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy Early St. Patrick's Day!!



Just wanted to wish you all the luck of the Irish this weekend!! (And...minions!)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Madness Underneath

The Madness Underneath
by Maureen Johnson
Shades of London, book two
 
After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to get back to her friends. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late. (description from Amazon.com)
 

While I enjoyed this sequel to the thrilling The Name of the Star, I found that it did not hold my attention quite as thoroughly as the first. While I found Rory's story to be interesting and there were sections that I thought were phenomenally done, there were also bits where I found my attention wandering...

Perhaps it was the initial focus on Rory's "recovery" from her ordeal that left me feeling a little detached. I'm not sure.  It wasn't until she really got back into ghost hunting that the book really picked up for me...and when the kidnappings occur...and the romantic tension...and... well, you'll have to read it to see.  The last third of the book had me on the edge of my seat!

Overall, though, I really enjoyed it and I cannot wait to read the next book.  This one leaves you hanging off a very interesting cliff...

Full disclosure: eARC received from NetGalley for review

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Anxiously Awaiting and a Cover Craving!!

The Wicked Within
by Kelly Keaton
Gods and Monsters, book three
 
Publication date: September 17, 2013
 
There's no official summary yet, but I loved the first two books SOOOOOO much that I just cannot wait to get my hands on book three.  This will be a pre-order on my Nook for sure! And, since it's just after my birthday... I won't have to feel guilty! :) 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cover Reveal - Demon Derby by Carrie Harris

So excited to be part of the epic cover reveal for Carrie Harris' newest book, Demon Derby!
Drumroll, please....


Isn't it amazing?! I love it. Very fierce, lol. And, after reading the description, I am literally salivating to get my hands on this book!! Check it out for yourself...

Demon Derby
by Carrie Harris

Publication date: March 2014

Summary:
Casey kicked cancer’s ass. Now a demon wants to kick hers...

Casey hates being known as the girl who survived cancer. She wants people to treat her like her old self, fearless and strong. And after a creepy encounter with a crazy guy in an alley, Casey is all about reclaiming her power.

So when she has a chance to try out for the Apocalypsies roller derby team, she jumps on it. Being a derby girl would prove that she doesn’t need anybody’s pity. It doesn’t hurt that Michael, the team manager, is almost unnaturally hot. Which makes sense when Casey finds out that he’s not even human.

Michael’s got a secret: he trains demon hunters. That crazy guy in the alley? Demon. And the fact that Casey went head to head with evil and lived makes her a threat to demonkind. Casey thought she’d already fought and won the battle of her lifetime. But it’s only beginning... (from Goodreads.com)  

About the Author:
Carrie Harris is the author of BAD TASTE IN BOYS and BAD HAIR DAY. Her husband is a cancer survivor and a ninja doctor, and her three kids are already in training to fight evil someday. She collects monster-themed clothing, is physically incapable of being serious for more than five minutes at a time, and isn’t a derby girl…yet.

Visit her at her website, on twitter, or even Facebook!

Thank you SO much to AToMR tours for letting me participate in this cover reveal!! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

DNF - Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish
by Dave Freer
 
The smallest thing can change the path of history.
 
The year is 1976, and the British Empire still spans the globe. Coal drives the world, and the smog of it hangs thick over the canals of London.  Clara Calland is on the run. Hunted, along with her scientist mother, by Menshevik spies and Imperial soldiers, they flee Ireland for London. They must escape airships, treachery, and capture. Under flooded London's canals, they join the rebels who live in the dank tunnels there. Tim Barnabas is one of the underpeople, born to the secret town of drowned London, place of anti-imperialist republicans and Irish rebels, part of the Liberty—the people who would see a return to older values and free elections. Seeing no farther than his next meal, Tim has hired on as a submariner on the Cuttlefish, a coal-fired submarine that runs smuggled cargoes beneath the steamship patrols, to the fortress America and beyond.  When the Imperial soldiery comes ravening, Clara and her mother are forced to flee aboard the Cuttlefish. Hunted like beasts, the submarine and her crew must undertake a desperate voyage across the world, from the Faeroes to the Caribbean and finally across the Pacific to find safety. But only Clara and Tim Barnabas can steer them past treachery and disaster, to freedom in Westralia. Carried with them—a lost scientific secret that threatens the very heart of Imperial power. (description from Amazon.com)

I very much loved the idea of this book. I'm very into steampunk and I loved the sound of a very interesting submarine adventure... As I read, though, I had a very hard time with the tone of this book.  Within the first few chapters there are some very exciting explosions and escapes, yet they are revealed in such a third person past-tense way that there was no EXCITEMENT.  It just fell flat for me.  Unfortunately I have so many books that I need to read that I just couldn't make the time to finish this one.   

Check out other reviews here:
Shiny Book Review
Justin's Book Blog
Lovey Dovey Books

Full disclosure: Borrowed through interlibrary loan

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Absent
















Absent
by Katie Williams

Publication date: May 21, 2013

When seventeen-year-old Paige dies in a freak fall from the roof during Physics class, her spirit is bound to the grounds of her high school. At least she has company: her fellow ghosts Evan and Brooke, who also died there. But when Paige hears the rumor that her death wasn't an accident—that she supposedly jumped on purpose—she can't bear it. Then Paige discovers something amazing. She can possess living people when they think of her, and she can make them do almost anything. Maybe, just maybe, she can get to the most popular girl in school and stop the rumors once and for all. (description from Amazon.com)

This book is short, but very good. It doesn't flinch away from the harsh truth of death and how other people perceive you...or how you perceive them. This story feels really genuine. The teen ghosts' despondency, Paige's quest for justice, vengeance, and the way that she yearns for acknowledgment from beyond the grave will definitely pull in most readers. As each student, both the living and the dead, finally find what they need to move on, you will not be able to put the book down until the very end. I know I couldn't!

There is some drug related content and other mature themes, so this would not be a great book for young readers, but it is extremely well done in the way that it does handle the situations with drugs, hooking up, homosexuality, and suicide. 

Full disclosure: ARC received to review for SLJ

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls


The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
by Claire Legrand

Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster—lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.)

But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out…different. Or they don’t come out at all.

If anyone can sort this out, it’s Victoria—even if it means getting a little messy. (description from Amazon.com)

Did you love Coraline? Are you a Lemony Snicket fan? If so, this is a GREAT book for you...

Everything in Victoria's town has gone just a little bit twisty. Kids are disappearing, adults are ignoring things, and no one is willing to talk to Victoria about it. She, however, is the last person to give up when she knows she is right...and she knows that something is wrong and the Cavendish Home has something to do with it. 

Once Victoria starts asking questions, though, she attracts the wrong kind of attention, and once she's been taken to the Cavendish Home, there may be no escaping.

Suspenseful and creepy.

Full disclosure: Borrowed from my Library

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Guest Post - Teen Author Boot Camp!

Hello All! I'm thrilled to be able to bring you a guest post today about a fabulous opportunity for TEEN authors... the Teen Author Boot Camp!

Here you tell you more is Tahsha Wilson, co-founder of Writers Cubed, and one of the creators of the Teen Author Boot Camp:

Hey everyone,

My name is Tahsha, and I’m a member of Writers Cubed. I’m here to talk about something I think is downright amazing:

Teenagers.

Particularly teenage authors.
 
Did you know that there are tons of teen writers out there?
 
There are. And guess what? They are freaking good at writing! Good chance is you are one of those teen writers, or maybe you want to be but you’re hiding behind your facade of coolness, not believing that you actually have the skills to be a writer.
 
That was true for me (though I’m not a teenager-even though I act like one half the time.) I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t believe I could. In fact, I was embarrassed to admit that I wanted to be. Silly, I know.
 
Then I found an awesome writing group, (feel free to pause and go to our website if you want to know just how cool we are--I’ll wait for you.) and we started learning how to write together. We attended classes and conferences that taught us that there is more to writing then just romantic tension.
 
Guess what we discovered through the process? There wasn’t much available to help the super talented teenage writers that we were friends with. So, with our combined brain power, super awesomeness, and freaking hard work…
 
Voila!
 
TEEN AUTHOR BOOT CAMP WAS BORN!!!
 
The boot camp, held in Orem, UT, has been so popular in the past, that this year Writers Cubed wanted everyone out there a chance to be a part of it, even if you live in the middle-of-no-where and even if you are just a teenage wanna-be like me.
 
So we are introducing the first EVER LiveStream of Teen Author Boot Camp. 
 
The keynote address by Newbery Winning Author Shannon Hale will be free for anyone to watch. It will be on March, 16th, 2013 at 9 a.m. MST. A subscription to the Live Broadcast costs $4.99 and includes the following:
 
9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.—Writers Cubed: Welcome
 
9:15 a.m. to 9:55 a.m.—Keynote by Newbery Award winner Shannon Hale (Princess Academy)
 
10 a.m to 10:45 a.m.—Tyler Whitesides (Janitors)  Class: Imagine and Create. 
 
10:55 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.—Janette Rallison (My Fair Godmother)  ClassBad dialogue can kill a story.
 
12:50 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.—NYT bestseller Kiersten White (Paranormalcy)  Class: Plot Like a Villain.
 
1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.—J. Scott Savage (Farworld)  Class: Finding Your Voice.
 
2:50 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.—Journey to Publication Panel: Agent Amy Jameson & authors Chad Morris, Tess Hilmo, J. Scott Savage, Cindy Bennett
 
3:35 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.—NYT bestseller Aprilynne Pike (Wings)   Class: World-building is the invisible foundation to your book.
 
4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.—Writers Cubed: Winner of the First Chapter Contest and closing remarks.
 
If you just can’t get enough of TABC, there is also an All Pass Subscription to the rest of the conference (including more than fifteen awesome presentations, including mine--haha). That only costs $9.99 and, as if it wasn’t a sweet enough deal already, you can watch the whole conference whenever you want for an entire year.
 
To register to watch Shannon Hale’s Keynote for free, visit www.teenauthorbootcamp.com and click on Livestream. It only takes a minute. While you’re there, check out the other presenters who will be teaching at the conference under the tab “Drill Sergeants.”
 
See below for details on how to win a subscription to the TABC Live Broadcast for FREE!!
 
Tahsha Wilson is a co-founder of Writers Cubed, a group of Utah writing activists who created the Teen Author Boot Camp in 2010. Please visit her website at www.writerscubed.com.
 
  
 

Are you a teen author? Do you know any teens who are looking to become writers? If you or someone you know is interested in attending the Teen Author Boot Camp, here is a chance to attend the live broadcast for FREE! (Open to teens ages 13-19)

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Anxiously Awaiting and a Cover Craving!!

Infinityglass
by Myra McEntire
Hourglass, book three
 
Publication date: July 9, 2013
 
The Hourglass is a secret organization focused on the study of manipulating time, and its members — many of them teenagers -­have uncanny abilities to make time work for them in mysterious ways. Inherent in these powers is a responsibility to take great care, because altering one small moment can have devastating consequences for the past, present, and future. But some time trav­elers are not exactly honorable, and sometimes unsavory deals must be struck to maintain order.

With the Infinityglass (central to understanding and harnessing the time gene) at large, the hunt is on to find it before someone else does.

But the Hourglass has an advantage. Lily, who has the ability to locate anything lost, has determined that the Infinityglass isn't an object. It's a person. And the Hourglass must find him or her first. But where do you start searching for the very key to time when every second could be the last?
(description from Goodreads.com)
 
I LOVE this series and these books have some CRAZY amazing covers. I cannot wait for this book to come out! It is already on my pre-ordered list. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

This Week's Library Loot (9)
















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 Sarah Ockler
 
 
by Mary Sullivan
 
 
by Heather Brewer
 
 
by Mary Lou Kirwin
 
 
by Boaz Yakin and Joe Infurnari
 
 
by Sharon Flake
 
 
by Lauren DeStefano
 
 
So, that's what I picked up at my Library this week... did you swing by yours?