Hello and Welcome!

Red House Books is going through a bit of a update!

I've always had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted this space to be but I've been detoured from my path by...lots and lost of other people's opinions and ways of doing things...

I'm committed to this little chunk of the interweb but I've also branched out into other places so! Now it's time to think of Red House Books as more of a hub of all things me! And Me is a hell of a lot of book love!

Stay tuned!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

In My Mailbox - January 30, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Ok, so you know how the last couple of weeks were "oh, I didn't get too much and that's ok"? Well, I think I was making up for it this week! I got a TON of great books :)

From the Publisher:
Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu -- 2010 Debut Author!

Everyone has secrets. Some are just bigger and dirtier than others.
For sixteen years, Lucy has kept her mother's hoarding a secret. She's had to—nobody would understand the stacks of newspapers and mounds of garbage so high they touch the ceiling and the rotting smell that she's always worried would follow her out the house. After years of keeping people at a distance, she finally has a best friend and maybe even a boyfriend if she can play it right. As long as she can make them think she's normal.
When Lucy arrives home from a sleepover to find her mother dead under a stack of National Geographics, she starts to dial 911 in a panic, but pauses before she can connect. She barely notices the filth and trash anymore, but she knows the paramedics will. First the fire trucks, and then news cameras that will surely follow. No longer will they be remembered as the nice oncology nurse with the lovely children—they'll turn into that garbage-hoarding freak family on Collier Avenue.
With a normal life finally within reach, Lucy has only minutes to make a critical decision. How far will she go to keep the family secrets safe?

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain - 2010 Debut Author!
Signed copy! Already read and reviewed this one :)

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

Bought New
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa - 2010 Debut Author!

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

For Review from 1 ARC Tours
The Line by Teri Hall - 2010 Debut Author!

An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It's said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line.
Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel's dad died in the last war. It's a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.
Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right?

Bought New
Firespell by Choloe Neill
Fade by Lisa McMann
Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo
Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe
Magic Can Be Murder by Vivian Vande Velde

PaperBack Swap
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Won from Erica at The Book Cellar
WTF by Peter Lerangis
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Title: The Dark Divine
Author: Bree Despain
Publication Date: January 2010 (was out in December)
Genre: YA
Pages: 384
Series: 1st in a series (I believe)
Book Acquisition: received a copy from the author

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

Wow! This book totally blew me away! I devoured it in about a day. I have to say, I was a bit skeptical at first. I didn’t think I would be able to warm up to a preacher’s daughter. I also assumed her parents wouldn’t play important roles in the story – only there for the occasional reprimand. I’m glad I was wrong on both counts.

Grace Divine is such a strong character. Her family isn’t perfect and although her mother does try to cover up a few of the families short comings, Grace’s father is very real. It’s is faith and his belief in forgiveness that really drives the book. If he didn’t raise Grace the way he did, if he didn’t expect and trust her to make her own decisions, her life could have turned out much much different.

Without giving much away, I do have to say that the paranormal element in The Dark Divine is one we have seen many times before. The author did put a few different spins on it though, which I liked. I have to stop myself; because each time I think “I’m done reading books about (insert popular paranormal character here)” I find a book, like The Dark Divine that totally makes me eat my words.

I’m excited by the fact that there seems to be a sequel in the works. Again, without giving anything away – a few of the characters have some unfinished business that needs attending too. I can’t wait to see what happens.

For those of you that like romance in your YA fantasy books, there is a nice amount here. It is by no means the driving force behind the book, which, again, was nice.
I highly recommend this book to any YA fans – fantasy, fiction, whatever. For her first novel Bree has done a tremendous job!

5/5 stars

Linkage Love:
Publisher's website
Author's Website
Author's Blog

Other Reviews:
I Want To Read That
Teens Read And Write
The Neverending Shelf

Flashback Friday Review: The Secret Circle Volume I: The Initiation by L.J. Smith

Flashback Friday is a feature were I'll review a book that I read as a teen, reread now years later :)

Title: The Secret Circle Vol I: The Initiation
Author: L.J. Smith
Publication Date:1992
Originally Read: circa 1992

The Circle's Power has Lured Her Home...
Cassie must confront a shattering challenge: an ordeal that could cost her life or gain her more than she's ever imagined...
Charmed by the Secret Circle, she's initiated into the mysterious "in crowd," a coven of young witches whose power has controlled New Salem for three hundred years.
Hopelessly in love with the coven leader's boyfriend, Cassie risks falling prey to dark powers in order to have him. But if she does, her endless love could destroy the coven, New Salem, and her!
...And She Will Emerge the Leader or Perish!

As most of you know, almost all of L.J. Smith's books have been reprinted and re-released by the publisher. Most series have been combined in strange ways, in my opinon at least :) So! Unless you can find an old used copy somewhere, this book is pretty hard to find. The new Vol 1 is a combination of the orginial  Vol 1,The Initiation and half of Vol 2, The Captive (strange I tell you!).

Fantastic Fiction does a pretty good job of laying out all her books for easy reference (and by easy I mean, it has pictures :)

I got this book when it first came out, waaaaaaayyyyy back in 1992! Back then there were only a handful of YA authors that were writting paranormal /sci fi/ fatasy books. And I loved them all! Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine and L.J. Smith were my absolute favorites. I was lucky, my parents pretty much bought me any book I wanted. They loved to read and their houses were always filled with books!

Flash back to present day....I have no idea where my orginial copies of all these books are. Sadness!

Over the last couple of years as I have rediscovered my YA love, every time I enter a used bookstore I'm on the lookout. I have managed to snag quite a few which makes me happy!

Ok - enough reminicing! On with the review!

So! This book? I have to say my love for it is pure memory love. Honestly? Reading it again now? I didn't really like it at all :( More saddness - I know!

The writing is pretty bad, the characters are way bad and the plot left very much to be desiered. The evil characters are just too evil, the good , a little too good. I had totally forgotten how really horrible the 'love' triangle started out between Cassie, Diana and Adam. Cassie and Adam spend about 5 minutes of their lives together - they speak to eachother for all of 2 minutes and poof! Love! True Love! Pure Love! Forbideen Love!

Puke Love is more like it.

Am I sorry I re-read this book? I don't think so. I would still recommend it to people - young people - like I was when I first read it. I just don't think it stands the test of time. And this maybe because there are so many great gerat YA books out there now. I wish there were even half as many back when I was growing up.

This book will forever be a part of my childhood. My love for it is not sullied. My love is undying and I will continue to collect all of Smith's orginially publsihed series because they make me happy :)

Anyone else out there read this when it first came out? Anyone read the newer releases?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Thursday!

Hey guys!
I'm home sick today and I was hoping to catch up on some posting but since I got up this morning I've been hearing this voice in my head calling to me....

No I'm not crazy!

Well...um...at least not today :)

It's my bed - calling I mean. It's so warm and it's snowing outside and I'm sick and feel icky :(

So! That's where I'm going. I would take my computer but it doesn't like to cuddle so it has to stay under the couch where it lives :)

Ok - now you really do think I'm crazy.


I really really hope to get a Flashback Friday up for tomorrow (tomorrow is Friday right?) but if not I think it's ok :)  (and I hope you guys do too :)

Hope you are all feeling better then me and if you're sick too I hope you get better soon!!!

I'll be back!

oooo maybe I'll have enough energy to get started on my next contest...hehe...lots of books...lots of winners - how does that sound?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mini Reveiw: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publication Date: 2008

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.
Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves-Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.
(from PaperBackSwap)

This book very much surprised me :) Now, don't get me wrong, I liked the Twilight Saga. I liked it. I didn't love it nor did I think it was a litterry masterpiece. The writting was ok, the story was ok. The characters were ok. They were the only works by Meyer's that I had read. SO! I was expecting the same from The Host - and ok book. A good read but nothing to rage on about.

BUT! If I wanted to? I really could rage on about it!

I really really liked this book! I thought the setting was excellent, the chracters well developed and the story unique. It totally blew me away! I was not expecting such a great scinece fiction book out of The Host.

The imagery that Meyer's presents stayed with me. So much so that even now, more then a year since I have read the book , I can still picture every scene in my head.What I also liked was the fact that the story is as much about Melanie and her fellow humans as it is about Wanderer and her alien species. You get both sides of the story

If anything, I wasn't overally fond of the ending. I wanted a little more closure.

I would highly recommend this book to sci fi fans. And although it's labeled 'adult' verses YA I think it would appeal to a younger audience.

**In my Mimi Reviews I explore older, sometimes obscure books I have found in my travels and wish to share with my reader**

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book Review: Nightlight by THe Harvard Lampoon

Title: Nightlight: A Parody
Author: The Harvard Lampoon
Publication Date: November 2009
Genre: YA
Pages: 160
Series: no
Book Acquisition: bought new paperback

About three things I was absolutely certain. First, Edwart was most likely my soul mate, maybe. Second, there was a vampire part of him–which I assumed was wildly out of his control–that wanted me dead. And third, I unconditionally, irrevocably, impenetrably, heterogeneously, gynecologically, and disreputably wished he had kissed me.
And thus Belle Goose falls in love with the mysterious and sparkly Edwart Mullen in the Harvard Lampoon’s hilarious send-up of Twilight.
Pale and klutzy, Belle arrives in Switchblade, Oregon looking for adventure, or at least an undead classmate. She soon discovers Edwart, a super-hot computer nerd with zero interest in girls. After witnessing a number of strange events–Edwart leaves his tater tots untouched at lunch! Edwart saves her from a flying snowball!–Belle has a dramatic revelation: Edwart is a vampire. But how can she convince Edwart to bite her and transform her into his eternal bride, especially when he seems to find girls so repulsive?
Complete with romance, danger, insufficient parental guardianship, creepy stalker-like behavior, and a vampire prom, Nightlight is the uproarious tale of a vampire-obsessed girl, looking for love in all the wrong places.

Guys? This book was hil-lar-ri-ous! I pretty much laughed out loud every couple of pages. Warning though, if you truly love Twilight...this book might make you a little mad :)

The Harvard Lampoon took just about every bad joke made about Twilight and it's characters and put it in this book. Belle is absolutely ridiculous.  Tottally clueless to the world. Edwart was actually a pretty real character - which would be in right form considering the fact that the real Edward was pretty fantastical.

I have to share with you one of my all time favorite paragraphs - from page 5 - Belle is at the airport waiting for her dad to pick her up:

"When I saw him waiting for me outside the terminal, I walked towards him shyly, tripping over a toddler and soaring into a keychain display. Embarrassed, I straightened up and fell down the escalator, somersaulting over the roller luggage inconsiderately placed on the left side. I get my lack of coordination from my dad, who always used to push me down when I was learning how to walk."


And you know what? The ending was actually kinda sweet - a happily ever after type that made me smile :)

Definitely for those who have read Twilight. If you haven't read it, most (if not all) of the jokes and satire won't really hit home.

3.5/5 stars

*The first volume of the Harvard Lampoon appeared in February, 1876. Written by seven undergraduates and modeled on Punch, the British humor magazine, the debut issue took the Harvard campus by storm. (taken from the book)

Linkage Love:
Vintage Books
The Harvard Lampoon

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Book Review: Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell

Title: Shadowed Summer

Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publication Date: February 2009
Genre: YA
Pages: 183
Series: no
Book Acquisition: 1 ARC Tours

Iris is ready for another hot, routine summer in her small Louisiana town, hanging around the Red Stripe grocery with her best friend, Collette, and traipsing through the cemetery telling each other spooky stories and pretending to cast spells. Except this summer, Iris doesn’t have to make up a story. This summer, one falls right in her lap.
Years ago, before Iris was born, a local boy named Elijah Landry disappeared. All that remained of him were whispers and hushed gossip in the church pews. Until this summer. A ghost begins to haunt Iris, and she’s certain it’s the ghost of Elijah. What really happened to him? And why, of all people, has he chosen Iris to come back to?

Ghost stories really appeal to me and Shadowed Summer is a good one. It's a pretty simple story about Iris and the mystery she uncovers one summer. Iris is a 14 year old growing up in a small town. It's summer and her and her best friend Collette don't have a whole lot to do. That is until Elijah decides to start haunting. I really liked Iris but I couldn't really warm up to Collette. I guess some could argue that she was a typical 14 year old full of sass but I just thought she was mean.   

While reading the book, some of the things that Elijah did made no sense to me - until I got to the end and then all the pieces fell together. I really like books like that. You can tell it was planned out well and all the parts built upon themselves, giving us an all around good story.

I did have a small problem with the plot. I don't want to say too much but it involves Elijah. Like I said, by the end of the book I understood the 'why' behind his actions but I never really got a good handle on why he started haunting Iris in the first place.

Ok - I can't help it :)


Elijah asked his friends to cover up his actions. Now maybe what they did wasn't something he had in mind but still - they spared his mother the agony of knowing her son had taken his own life which is what he wanted SO! Why did Elijah want Iris to find is body so badly all those years later? If he was aware of what his disappearance did to his mother he would also have been aware of the fact that learning the truth wouldn't have helped. Maybe he couldn't be at rest until everyone knew what had happened to him? But you would think, if he took his own life, he didn't have any unfinished business and his spirit wouldn't have been hanging around at all.


So :) Expect for my spoiler rant above, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the way it ended, I liked (most of) the characters and I liked the story itself.
I would recommend this book to any YA fans of ghost stories.

4/5 stars

*Shadowed Summer as been nomiated for a 2010 Edgar Award in the Young Adult category -- Congratulations Saundra!!

Linkage Love:
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Author's Website
Author's Blog

Other Reviews:
Page Turners 
Rhiannon Hart

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In My Mailbox - Jaunary 23, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Only a few again this week. - again, not complaining as I have sooooo many books on my TBR pile!

From BookMooch - hardcover edition which is great because I love this cover. This has been on my wishlist forever so I'm supper happy to have a copy

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?
This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication.

Also from BookMooch - I can't believe I got this one! It's due out in May! I only recently added it to my wishlist :)

ARC of Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw

Eva and Gabe explore the golden forest of their seaside Maine town, unknowingly tracing the footsteps of two teens, Evangeline and Gabriel, who once lived in the idyllic wooded village of Acadia more than one hundred years ago. On the day that Evangeline and Gabriel were be wed, their village was attacked and the two were separated. And now in the present, Gabe has mysteriously disappeared from Eva.
A dreamlike, loose retelling of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous love poem “Evangeline,” Anxious Hearts tells an epic tale of unrequited love and the hope that true love can be reunited.

So, what's in your mailbox?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flashback Friday Review: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Flashback Friday is a feature were I'll review a book that I read as a teen, reread now years later :)

Title: Anne of Green Gables
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Publication Date: 1982
Originally Read: circa 1992

This is the classic and immensely popular first novel in the series about Anne Shirley, an irrepressible red-headed orphan. The Cuthberts decide to adopt an orphan -- a strong, hardworking boy to help with the farm chores. Anne is sent to live with them by mistake. Talkative, romantic and imaginative, Anne must convince the Cuthberts to keep her. Once adopted, Anne embraces her new life with energy, and no one who meets her is ever the same.
As soon as Anne Shirley arrived at the snug, white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she wanted to stay forever... but would the Cuthberts send her back to the orphanage?
Anne knows she's not what they expected -- a skinny girl with decidedly red hair and a temper to match. If only she could convince them to let her stay; she'd try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes or blurt out the very first thing she had to say. Anne was not like anybody else, everyone at Green Gables agreed; she was special -- a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreamed of the day when she could call herself Anne of Green Gables.
 (from PaperBackSwap)

This book takes me right back to childhood. I can remember my cousins and I taking turns reading out loud - sitting in the backyard pretending we were on the Cuthberts farm instead of in my crowded Long Island neighborhood. It was easier for them, they were from the city and my postage stamp yard was more grass then they were used to. I had a harder time pretending I wasn't surrounded by fences and noisy neighbors :) We even tried to put on a play but it all feel apart when we had a fight over who had to play Matthew.
What fun we had!

I try to read this book every couple of years. The memories it brings back are wonderful and the book itself is such a great story. I absolutely love Anne (with an 'e') Shirley. I think she is one of my all time favorite literary characters. She is so full of hope and wonder.

I can't wait to share this one with my little girl in the years to come. If you haven't read Anne of Green Gables I highly recommend that you find a copy :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Best YA Books You Haven't Read!

Hello All!
Recently I was contacted by Kelly over at YAnnabe. She had a great idea she wanted to share with the blogging world. I happen to think it's a great idea as well so I'm joining her today to present to you:


Who says they are the best? - Well, this is my list so the answer is me :) hehe
How do I know you haven't read them? - Well, technically I don't but I can tell you how we came about making our lists. Everyone participating today has a  LibraryThing account. When looking at your (or any other member's) catalog  it's pretty easy to see how many other members have the same book listed. We have all taken a look at our lists and picked some great (by our standards) YA books we share with less then 500 other members.
Why are we using LibraryThing? For simplicity to start with - it's very easy to see others catalogs and unlike some book cataloging sites, the LT member count takes into consideration every edition of each book - so if people are listing their books by ISBN every edition is included in the final count.

Now of course, this is all for fun!

Please keep in mind, I only used LibraryThing statistics. No sales data was collected, no polls were taken. Again - just for fun because books are fun and I for one LOVE to spread the BOOK LOVE!

If you find this interesting (which I hope you do!), please take a look at Kelly's blog post today. Everyone partisipating should be linking up their posts. Who knows how many great books you'll find!

So! With that all said, I would like to introduce to you a few YA books I have read over the last year or so that you may not have read. I have picked only books that I would recommend to others.

If you have any quesitons about any book - let me know :)

Ok - here we go - In no particular order!

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents' marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude.
When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.
Alexis wants to think that it's all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening--to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she's the only person who can stop Kasey -- but what if that green-eyed girl isn't even Kasey anymore?

Quick Thoughts: A pretty good ghost story. Creepy and spooky with a lot of potential.
My Reivew

Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search--and the stranger--will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.

Quick Thoughts: An interesting story about an interesting witch family. Some romance, some scares and lots of fun!
My Reivew

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Blessed—or cursed—with an ability to understand animals, the Lass (as she’s known to her family) has always been an oddball. And when an isbjorn (polar bear) seeks her out, and promises that her family will become rich if only the Lass will accompany him to his castle, she doesn’t hesitate. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle, which is made of ice and inhabited by a silent staff of servents. Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth: the bear is really a prince who’s been enchanted by a troll queen, and the Lass must come up with a way to free him before he’s forced to marry a troll princess.

Quick Thoughts: A new take on an old story. Full of myth and ledgend with some wonderful characters.
My Review

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman
Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek . . . and Ryan and Sarah are trying to get to the heart of it. But after an eerie accident leaves Ryan housebound and forbidden to see Sarah, their investigation takes two tracks: Ryan records everything in his journal, while Sarah uses her videocam to search things out. . .and then email the clips for Ryan to see.
In a new, groundbreaking format, the story is broken into two parts -- Ryan's text in the book, and Sarah's videos on a special website, with links and passwords given throughout the book.

Quick Thoughts: A tottally different take on story telling. The online componant is just plain creepy - in such a good way!
My Review

The Faerie Path by Ferwin Jones
On the eve of Anita's sixteenth birthday, her date with her new boyfriend, Evan, is interrupted by an accident that lands them both in the hospital. After a series of dreamlike visions, she awakens in Faerie as Tania, the seventh daughter of King Oberon and Queen Titania, who has been missing for 500 years. Anita doesn't know what to think, and while she is trying to figure things out, she uncovers a plot that could destroy both worlds. The writing is occasionally awkward, and the book's setting and characters are typical fantasy fare. Even so, there's enough mystery, suspense, and romance to carry readers to the inevitable happy ending, and girls fond of magical princess stories won't be disappointed.

Quick Thoughts: I haven't reviewed this one on my blog but it's the first book in a 5 book series. It's full of magic and wonder and I absolutly loved it!

Everlost by Neal Shusterman
Nick and Allie don't survive the car accident...
...but their souls don't exactly get where they're supposed to get either. Instead, they're caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no onger exist. It's a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.
When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he he's found a home, but allie isn't satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the "Criminal Art" of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost. In this imaginative novel, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between.

Quick Thoughts: A ghost story like no other! These characters are mesmerizing!
My Review

So, what do you guys think?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mini Review: Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn

Title: Summers at Castle Auburn
Author: Sharon Shinn
Publication Date: 2001

Coriel, the illegitimate daughter of a high-ranking aristocrat, spends most of her life learning herbal medicine from her grandmother, but she spends her summers with her half-sister, Elisandra, at the royal castle where Prince Byran resides.
Corie has always been secretly in love with Byran, but she is slowly realizing that he is a spoiled, selfish, dangerous man - and that Elisandra dreads her upcoming marriage to the prince.
Corie hopes tht the prince's cousin Kent will save Elisandra, while she wonders if the taciturn guard Roderick might play a bigger part of her own life.

(from author's website)

Named to the ALA list of Best Books for Young Adults

Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite authors and this book is one that I find myself reading at least once a year. It's a simple story really, with realalistic characters set against a fantasy setting. There is some romance involved but it's not over done. The characters are very likable. Especially Elisandra. She's such a strong young woman and I find myself admiring her every time I read this book.

Summers at Castle Auburn is very much a feel good type of book for me. It always makes me smile :)

If you have never read anything by Sharon Shinn, I would recommend this book. She writes both YA and Adult fantasies and I adore them all.

**In my Mimi Reviews I explore older, sometimes obscure books I have found in my travels and wish to share with my reader**

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book Review: Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

Title: Hearts at Stake: The Drake Chronicles
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Publication Date: January 2010
Genre: YA
Age: 12+
Pages: 320 (approx)
Series: 1st in The Drake Chronicles
Book Acquisition: received ARC from the publisher

Watch out, Buffy! A reluctant vampire princess takes on all comers in an action-packed, romantic, and snarky addition to this red-hot genre. 
On Solange's sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that's not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father's killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.

Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange's right to a normal life, whether she's being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange's eternal life—Lucy and Solange's brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover's heart.

Even fans of the genre who've seen it all will find a fresh read with kick-butt characters and family dynamics that ring true for all brothers and sisters—vampire or otherwise.
(from publisher's website)

I hadn't heard anything about this book before I got it and I honestly didn't think I was going to like it. I'm very glad I was wrong.

Hearts at Stake is a fast paced thrill ride of a book that I sucked up in a few hours. There were a few different reasons I liked this book. The most important, I think was the fact that there are two first person narratives. We get Solange - loving, caring, overlly protected vampire to be. And we also get Lucky, aka Lucy, Solange's best friend - witty, no nonsense, and loyal as hell.

Another reason I liked this book was the pace. A lot of the story takes place within the span of a few days.. While this wasn't nearly enough time for me, I think it worked well for the story. Hearts at Stake is the first in The Drake Chronicles and it sets a very good stage for more to come. I have no idea how many books there will be but I can see Alyxandra taking this series far.

I have heard others descibe this book as a guilty pleaseure and I can tottally see why. The romance between Solage and Kieran the teenage vampire hunter and also between Lucy and Nicholas, one of Solange's brothers is sometimes silly, sometimes sappy but totally addicting.

I think because the book is so fast paced and because I read it so fast, a lot of the supporting characters didn't make that big of an impression on me. Also - there are a lot of supporting characters. If you visit The Drake Chornicles website (link below) there is a pretty cool Field Guide 'written' by Lucy that helps explain all the living and dead we encounter in Hearts at Stake.

I'm interested to see where this series goes. It's a book I can see myself reading again.

4/5 stars

Linkage Love:
Publisher's website
Author's Website
The Drake Chronicles

Other Reviews:
I Want to Read That
The Book Butterfly
Bloody Bookaholic
Fantastic Book Review

*Release date was January 2010 but the book was avilable in December 2009
*Both the Hardcover and Paperback are available now for purchase

*The UK Title of the book is My Heart Lies Bleeding

Sunday, January 17, 2010

2010 Debut Author Information



So many great debut authors this year!
Here you will find my feeble attempt at organizing and listing 2010 debut authors of middle grad (MG) and young adult (YA) books.

Information has been gathered from a variety of sources including but not limited to:
2010: A Book Odyssey
Authors Now!
Class of 2K10
Various publisher and author websites

This post will be updated monthly
LAST UPDATE: May 4, 2010

Are you a debut author of a MG or YA book? Have I missed you? Commence the throwing of rotten fruit! Or...you can leave me a comment or send me an email and I'll get your info added.
Readers, do you see any debut authors I have missed? Let me know! (and if you really want, you can throw rotten fruit too :)

Have to say it -- I'm doing this purely for fun for the benefit of myself and my readers. Why? Because books are awesome and I love them! I'm also using this post as a way to update books I have read over the year. Any reviews I've posted could be found by using my search box.

So many great books!

Books without dates are already IN THE WILD! (including early December Releases)
(books in bold are ones I have read  :) 
(books with a * have been featured in On My Wishlist Posts)
(books with ** I own but have not read yet)

Bree Despain The Dark Divine
Alyxandra Harvey Hearts at Stake
Jacyln Dolamore Magic Under Glass

Alexandra Diaz Of All the Stupid Things
Lindsay Eland Scones and Sensibility
Elizabeth Eulberg The Lonely Hearts Club

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich Eighth Grade Superzero
Dia Reeves Bleeding Violet*
Jennifer R. Hubbard The Secret Year
Irene Latham Leaving Gee's Bend
**Yxta Maya Murray The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Kidnapped*
Anna Jarzab All Unquiet Things
Jen Nadol The Mark
Julie Kagawa The Iron King
Bonnie J. Doerr Island Sting
Alexandra Bullen Wish

Cynthia Jaynes Omololu Dirty Little Secrets
Kristin Walker A Match Made in High School
Suzanne Young The Naughty List
Josh Berk The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin*
Katie Pickard Fawcett To Come and Go Like Magic

Mara Purnhagen Tagged
Rachel Hawkins Hex Hall*
Amy Brecount White Forget Her Nots*
Teri Hall The Line
Laura Manivong Escaping the Tiger
**Jacqueline Houtman The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
**Kimberly Derting The Body Finder*
Lindsey Leavitt Princess for Hire
Holly Nicole Hoxter The Snowball Effect
Alexandra Bracken Brightly Woven*
Caragh O'Brien Birthmarked*
**Lauren Oliver Before I Fall
Ryan Potter Exit Strategy
Dawn Lairamore Ivy's Every After
Swati Avasthi Split
Judith Graves Under My Skin*
Jandy Nelson The Sky Is Everywhere

Karen Healey Guardian of the Dead*
Kay Cassidy The Cinderella Society
Jame Richards Three Rivers Rising*
Sarah DeFord Williams Palace Beautiful
Stephanie Burgis A Most Improper Magick (Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson)
Phoebe Kitanidis Whisper*
Scott William Carter The Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys
**Leah Cypess Mistwood*
Jessica Brody The Karma Club
Tom Leveen Party

1-May Christy Raedeke Prophecy of Days, Book One: The Daykeeper's Grimoire
1-May Holly Schindler A Blue So Dark*
1-May Kat Falls Dark Life
1-May Mira Grant Feed
**4-May Jeri Smith-Ready Shade
5-May Jennifer Cervantes Tortilla Sun
11-May Chelsea Campbell The Rise of Renegade X
11-May Christina Diaz Gonzalez The Red Umbrella
11-May Greg van Eekhout Kid vs. Squid
11-May Alyssa B. Sheinmel The Beautiful Between
13-May Janet Fox Faithful 
13-May Kristen Chandle Wolves, Boys and Other THings That Might Kill Me
13-May Joelle Anthony Restoring Harmony
13-May Pat Brisson The Best and Hardest Thing
13-May Jenna Burtenshaw Wintercraft
18-May Jennifer Murgia Angel Star
24-May Kate Milford The Boneshaker
25-May Kristina McBride The Tension of Opposites
25-May Tara Kelly Harmonic Feedback
25-May Stephen Messer Windblowne
May Shari Maurer Change of Heart

1-Jun Angie Frazier Everlasting
1-Jun Erin McCahan I Now Pronounce You Someone Else
8-Jun Jessica Leader Nice and Mean
10-Jun Emily Horner A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend
10-Jun Heidi R. Kling Sea*
10-Jun Suzanne Young So Many Boys
15-Jun Shaun Hutchinson The Deathday Letter
15-June Jacqueline West The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere #1)*
22-June Lesley Hauge Nomansland
22-Jun NH Senzai Shooting Kabul
22-June Holly Cupala Tell Me A Secret
22-June Shannon Delany 13 to Life

1-Jul Karen Kincy Other
6-Jul Stacey Kade The Ghost and the Goth
6-Jul  Barbara Stuber Crossing the Tracks
13-Jul Anastasia Hopcus Shadow Hills
16-July Kate Hegary Mieradome

2-Aug Sheila A. Nielson Forbidden Sea
24-Aug Inara Scott Delcroix Academy
31-Aug Kelly Creagh Nevermore
31-Aug Dee Garretson Wildfire Run
August Sarah Dooley Livvie Owen Lived Here
August Blythe Woolston Freak Observer
August Laura Toffler-Corrie The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz, Eight Grader

**1-Sep Erin Bow Plain Kate
1-Sep Mara Purnhagen Past Midnight
1-Sep Steve Brezenoff The Absolute Value of -1
**7-Sep Kody Keplinger The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
7-Sep Denise Jaden Losing Faith
**16-Sep Brenna Yovanoff The Replacement
21-Sep Kiersten White Paranormalcy

1-Oct Matthew Kirby Clockwork Three
1-Oct Hilary Wagner Nightshade City
5-Oct Mindi Scott Freefall
12-Oct Cindy Callaghan Just Add Magic
18-Oct  Jackie Morse Kessler Hunger
19-Oct Andrea Cremer Nightshade
26-Oct Laura L. Sullivan Under the Green Hill
October Michaela MacColl The Prisoners in the Palace

November Margie Gelbwasser Inconvenient
**November Daisy Whitney The Mockingbirds

9-Dec Stephanie Perkins Anna and the French Kiss

Fall Guadalupe Garcia McCall Under the Mesquite

Caitlin Kittredge The Iron Thorn
Rae Mariz The Unidentified

Not enough? Check out the Elevensies.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

In My Mailbox - January 16, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Not too many books this week which is probably a good thing!

From 1 ARC Tours

Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
(from inside cover)
Summer in Ondine, Louisiana is always predictable: hot and boring. 
Not this one.
This summer, Iris is fourteen. This summer she doesn't have to make up spooky stories for excitement. Because a real one falls right in her lap.
Years ago, before she was born, a teenager named Elijah disappeared. All that remained of him were whispers. Until this summer. A ghost begins to haunt Iris, and she's convinced it's the ghost of Elijah. 
What really happened to him? 
And why, of all people, has he chosen Iris?

From BookMooch

RowanHood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest by Nancy Springer
(from publisher's website)
Rosemary has nowhere to go when her beloved mother dies. She has never met her father-the outlaw Robin Hood-and she's grown up among the woodland creatures her mother loved. So she decides to change her name to Rowan, disguise herself as a boy, and undertake a perilous journey through Sherwood Forest, in search of Robin Hood. But how will she find him? And will he offer her a home?

Also from BookMooch - so so lucky to get this one - it's due out in March!

ARC of Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap
(from publisher's website)
In Susanne Dunlap's dramatic new novel, the fate of Russian tsarina Anastasia Romanov-long thought to have perished with her family during the Russian revolution-takes a different turn.
For Anastasia Romanov, life as the privileged daughter of Russia's last tsar is about to be torn apart by the bloodshed of revolution. Ousted from the imperial palace when the Bolsheviks seize control of the government, Anastasia and her family are exiled to Siberia. But even while the rebels debate the family's future with agonizing slowness and the threat to their lives grows more menacing, romance quietly blooms between Anastasia and Sasha, a sympathetic young guard she has known since childhood. But will the strength of their love be enough to save Anastasia from a violent death?
Inspired by the mysteries that have long surrounded the last days of the Romanov family, Susanne Dunlap's new novel is a haunting vision of the life—and love story—of Russia's last princess.

So, what's in your mailbox?

Book Review: Prince of Persia The Graphic Novel by Jordan Mechner and A.B. Sina

Title: Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel
Created by: Jordan Mechner
Written by: A.B. Sina
Artwork by: LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland
Color by: Hilary Sycamore
Publication Date: September 2008
Genre: YA Graphic Novel / Fantasy
Age: 14+
Pages: 208
Series: no
Publisher's website: First Second Books
Book Acquisition: Library


Long ago in Persia, there lived a Prince -- a man of honor, of valor, and full of strength -- a man for his people, who lived with them and took on their trials and hardships.  And he was loved.
His name is no longer remembered.  When people speak of him, they call him merely, 'The Prince of Persia,' as if there have been no others, and his descendants are enjoined to live like him, to be like him, to the ends of their days.
Long ago in Persia, there were many princes, one following another, sometimes quick, sometimes slow, sometimes fat, clever, joyous, and all more or less honorable.  And in some of those princes there shone the spirit of The Prince of Persia, for in Persia time spins like a wheel, and what is to come has already happened, and then happens again, year in and year out. 
This is the story of two of those princes, and of the destiny that threads their lives together.
(publisher's website)

Confession time -- I am a huge geek! I've been this way since my early childhood thanks to my dad -- "Thanks dad!!"

In the early 80s he worked for (at the time) a huge computer production company called Ontel which was later bought out by Visual Technology.
Why am I telling you this? Because! Visual Technology made one of the first 'portable' computers AND my dad had one AND it was on this computer I played my very fist game of Prince of Persia :)

Yes, that is a handle! The screen folded down to cover the keyboard. You could then carry it around with you where you went. My dad remembers that it even had an internal battery - that lasted all of about 10 minutes :) We were so cool that we even had a external monitor with color - 4 or 5 colors to be exact!

The first Prince of Persia game was created by Jordan Mechner and developed by Broderbund in 1989. I played the MS-DOS version on my dad's Commuter and I loved it! It was my very first computer game and I've been hooked ever since.

So, as you can imagine, I have a soft spot for our good old Prince.

I don't own a lot of graphic novels but fortunately my local library has a pretty good collection. As I'm pretty much a novice in this genre I browsed the shelves until I found something that caught my eye and when I found Price of Persia I couldn't pass up the chance to read it.

The story itself ventures "to the heart of the legend" (from back cover) and I have to say, I very much enjoyed my travels. The Prince of Persia is set in both the 9th and 13th centuries of the fictitious city of  Marv. The people of both centuries have troubles and problems a plenty. I was a little confused with the switching between the centuries - a lot of the characters looked the same to me and had similar names. I think it was just my naivety in the genre though because once I relaxed my reading a bit and let myself see what the story was showing me, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

I did find it a little graphic (um...duh?). You know - bloody and violent. Not much sex or nudity so I would say it is age appropriate.
The story line itself was interesting - with the past (9th century) and present (13th century) coming together via one boy and a mysterious prophecy.

If you're a fan of Prince of Persia - old or new or a fan of Middle Eastern fantasy I think you would like this book.

4/5 stars

Linkage Love:
Wikipedia entry for Prince of Persia video game
Old-Computers.com where I found information on the old Commuter
Book Trailer
Jordan Mechner's website
A.B. Sina publisher's site
LeUyen Pham's website
Alex Puvilland's website

Friday, January 15, 2010

Flashback Friday Review: Prom Dress by Lael Littke

Flashback Friday is a feature were I'll review a book that I read as a teen, reread now years later :)

Title: Prom Dress
Author: Lael Littke
Publication Date: 1989
Originally Read: circa 1989

No one who wears the dress is ever the same again. 
Robin is too poor to buy a new dress for the prom. Then she finds a perfect, beautiful dress in the attic of her mysterious employer's house. She "borrows" it to wear to the prom...and dances into her worst nightmare.
The Felicia finds the dress. The price she pays for wearing it is more than any girl should pay...
But Nicole is too smart to be caught by the dress. Isn't she? Poor Nicole!
And then there's Gabrielle, Robin's little sister. Did she find the dress? Or did the dress find Gabrielle?
Can anyone stop the fatal attraction of the...
Prom Dress?
(from back cover)

Oh my! Does anyone else remember this one? I loved it back in 1989! :)
I was very much on a horror novel kick at the time and this book was perfect. There's mystery and suspense. Tragedy and hope. Romance and hate. And you know what? Reading it again more then *gasp* 20 years later - I still kinda love it :)
It's a pretty simple read and the story itself is pretty straight forward. I had forgotten how interconnected the characters are and I totally forgot about the twist at the end!
I always thought this book would make a good cheesy horror movie. Although, if we are going by fashions of the late 80s - pretty sure the dress wouldn't stand the test of time!
I'm so glad I was able to find another copy of the original printing. There are actually quite a few out there so I guess the book isn't too popular :) It is with me though so I'm keeping mine!

As a side note, the publisher Point, which is a imprint of Scholastic, also published a bunch of R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike books back in the day - which I also love and hopefully will be reviewing in future Flashback Fridays :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mini Review: The Wish List by Eoin Colfer

Title: The Wish List
Author: Eoin Colfer
Publication Date: 2003

Eoin Colfer has made millions of fans around the world with his much-loved character, Artemis Fowl, the star of his hugely best-selling series. Now, in a beautifully written novel that is already breaking records in his native Ireland, Colfer introduces readers to a lovable but troubled heroine, who has been given the opportunity for a special kind of redemption. Meg Finn is in trouble-unearthly trouble. Cast out of her home by her stepfather after her mother's death, Meg is a wanderer, a troublemaker. But after her latest stunt, finding a place to sleep is the least of her worries. Belch, her partner in crime, has gotten her involved in the attempted robbery of an elderly man, Lowrie McCall. And things go horribly wrong. After an accidental explosion, Meg's spirit is flung into limbo, and a race begins between the demonic and the divine to win her soul. Irreverent, hilarious, and touchingly hopeful, The Wish List takes readers on a journey of second chances, where joy is found in the most unexpected places.
(from PaperBackSwap)

I have pretty much loved everything I have read by Eoin Colfer. Even though I did like The Wish List, so far, I would have to say it is my least favoirte book by the author.
It was a pretty easy read. The characters were definitely interesting. Meg gets herself in trouble, dies, and while on it's way to Hell, her spirit is misdirected.This places her in limbo - fighting to right the wrongs she committed in life in order to make it to Heaven. Simple enough right? The only problem I had was with the fact that Meg was on her way to Hell in the first place. She wasn't actually a bad person - Hell seemed like a pretty hard punishment to me.
The Wish List is an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to any fan of Colfer's

**In my Mimi Reviews I explore older, sometimes obscure books I have found in my travels and wish to share with my reader**

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is hosted by Book Chick City :)

Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund
(from PaperBackSwap)

Aerin Renning is a loner with no future; Dane Madousin is the son of one of the Alliance’s most influential people and thus has a perfect future. They both attend Academy 7, the most exclusive school in the universe. For Dane it is a divine right; for Aerin it is a shocker. The pair contends with one another for the top students at school. They share in common dark secrets in which neither reveals much about themselves to others and a competitive streak as they vie for the top student slot.

Dane slaughters her in debate, but Aerin kicks his butt in sparring. When Dane breaks a rule, he inadvertently got Aerin in trouble. During their joint retention, they become friends as each slowly trusts the other with their secrets especially special talent. They fear others especially Dr. Livinski will exploit them even as an unknown adversary sets a deathtrap to destroy them and the school.

Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw
(from Publisher's website)

“Evangeline,” he repeated, calling at a whisper. “Evangeline.” He was not calling that she may hear, he was calling that somehow her soul might know that he was devoted entirely to her, only to her. “Evangeline, I will find you.”

Eva and Gabe explore the golden forest of their seaside Maine town, unknowingly tracing the footsteps of two teens, Evangeline and Gabriel, who once lived in the idyllic wooded village of Acadia more than one hundred years ago. On the day that Evangeline and Gabriel were be wed, their village was attacked and the two were separated. And now in the present, Gabe has mysteriously disappeared from Eva.

A dreamlike, loose retelling of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous love poem “Evangeline,” Anxious Hearts tells an epic tale of unrequited love and the hope that true love can be reunited.

What are you wishing for?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Book Review: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Title: Liar
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Publication Date: October 2009
Genre: YA Fiction.
Age: 14+
Pages: 384
Series: no
Publisher's website: Bloomsbury
Author's website: Justine Larbalestier
Book Acquisition: Library

Micah freely admits that she's a compulsive liar. And that may be the one honest thing she'll ever tell you. Over the years she's duped her classmates, her teachers, and even her parents. But when her boyfriend, Zach, dies under brutal circumstances, the shock might be enough to set her straight. Or maybe not. Especially when lying comes as naturally to her as breathing. Was Micah dating Zach? Or was Sarah his real girlfriend? And are the stories Micah tells about the "family gene" she inherited real, or is it something that exists only in her mind. Breathtaking in its plotting, Liar is a roller-coaster read that will have readers grasping for the truth until the very last page. Honestly.

Um...this book...was...um...

So yeah, I'm kind of at a lost for words. This book was pretty awesome and I can fangirl ga ga over it for pages and pages (paragraphs and paragraphs?) Whatever. The point being - I pretty much loved this book.

Can I tell you why?
Um...not really.

Well, I could but then you would know what I know and I really don't want you to know what I know from me, rather I want you to know what I know by knowing it for yourself :)

In other words: READ THIS BOOK

I can honestly say, I have no idea what really happened. And I'm pretty sure Justine wants it that way. There is no doubt about it - Micah is a liar. We only get her point of view - first person narrative. So...do we ever really know what is true and what isn't? Nope!

Liar is unique.Unique in a pretty fantastic way.

I got my copy from my town library. Once I got it home I noticed the "Fantasy" sticker on the spine. I was confused - I mean, nothing in the synopsis points towards a fantasy story. I was sure that the library had labeled it wrong. And then I read it. And, well, you know - I'm still not sure!

I'm sorry if this review is frustrating. It's very hard for me not to frantically type all my questions in the hopes that someone out there has some type of direct link into the author's brain and can tell me exactly what it was that happened in Micah's world.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is in the mood for a different take on story telling.

5/5 stars

Other Reviews:
Rhiannon Hart
Presenting Lenore

Monday, January 11, 2010

Newbery Book Review: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Title: Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH - Hardcover Title
Title: The Secret of NIMH - Paperback Title
Author: Robert C. O'Brien

Ever since last summer, Mrs Frisby has been worried about Timothy, her younger son. Timothy has had pneumonia--he almost died--and now he is too frail and weak to be moved. But if the Frisbys don't move immediately, they'll all be killed!

Mrs Frisby is frantic. Then she hears about the wonderful Rats of NIMH--rats who are strong, smart, able to do almost anything. They've escaped from the lab at NIMH. They can save the Frisbys. But will they?

This movie is one of my all time favorites. In researching books to read for my Newbery Winners Challenge I came across Mrs. Frisby and at first thought it was a different story. I guess when the movie The Secret of NIMH came out, the book came out in paperback under the same name. Confusing :)

I have to say, I loved this book as much as I love the movie. It's magical. Full of adventure and myth. The Rats are ingenuous creatures and everything they accomplished I could believe actually happened. Mrs. Frisby and her mice children are so lovable. Actually, it was pretty easy to fall in love with every character.

If you have seen the movie but never read the book, here are a few differences:
  • Nicodemus isn't old and ancient in the book. He's about the same age as Justin
  • There is no scary battle at the end between the 'good' rats and the 'bad' ones in the book
  • A rat dies at the end of the book but we don't know who it is!
  • The book isn't nearly as scary as the movie is!
I'm so glad I found an old copy of this one - with the movie cover :)   

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Review: Stitches by David Small

Title: Stitches: A Memoir
Author: David Small
Publication Date: September 2009
Genre: YA / Memoir / Graphic Novel
Age: ?
Pages: 329
Series: no
Publisher's website: W.W. Norton
Author's website: David Small
Book Acquisition: Library

Finalist for the 2009 National Book Award (young adult category): the prize-winning children’s author depicts a childhood from hell in this searing yet redemptive graphic memoir.
One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that he had cancer and was expected to die.
In Stitches, Small, the award-winning children’s illustrator and author, re-creates this terrifying event in a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka. As the images painfully tumble out, one by one, we gain a ringside seat at a gothic family drama where David—a highly anxious yet supremely talented child—all too often became the unwitting object of his parents’ buried frustration and rage.
Believing that they were trying to do their best, David’s parents did just the reverse. Edward Small, a Detroit physician, who vented his own anger by hitting a punching bag, was convinced that he could cure his young son’s respiratory problems with heavy doses of radiation, possibly causing David’s cancer. Elizabeth, David’s mother, tyrannically stingy and excessively scolding, ran the Small household under a cone of silence where emotions, especially her own, were hidden.
Depicting this coming-of-age story with dazzling, kaleidoscopic images that turn nightmare into fairy tale, Small tells us of his journey from sickly child to cancer patient, to the troubled teen whose risky decision to run away from home at sixteen—with nothing more than the dream of becoming an artist—will resonate as the ultimate survival statement.
A silent movie masquerading as a book, Stitches renders a broken world suddenly seamless and beautiful again.

Before I start my review - a small disclaimer, while this book has been technically classified as YA, in my opinion it would be better suited for those 18+. The subject matter isn't 'adult' but it's a true story. A very moving, yet somewhat terrible true story. 

Now with that said, I can say - this book was pretty amazing. I could remember hearing about it around the blogosphere a while back and it was on my reading wishlist. I tried really hard to find it at my local library and I failed the first time because I was looking in the totally wrong section. In my library, at least, it was in the non-fiction section. It is non-fiction, it is also a YA novel as well as being a graphic novel.

David Small is a wonderful story teller. His story is made all the more powerful by the fact that it's his story. His childhood, shared with us through his graphics, which are also wonderful. I don't think this book could have really been told in any other way but through graphics. It's such an intense and moving story and the pictures add so many layers. So much is said in a single image. Much more then could be said in pages of text.

I devoured this book in one sitting...and then read it again.

5/5 stars

Other Reviews:
Graphic Novels Challenge
Shootings Stars Mag

Saturday, January 9, 2010

In My Mailbox - January 9, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Tons of books this week! Between the Library, BookMooch and Christmas gift cards I have a TON of reading to get through - but I wouldn't have it any other way :)

For Review:

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
Pub Date: May 2010
(from Harcourt's website)
Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents' rules - especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father's office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.
To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen's sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill's accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything - even Tristen's love - just for the thrill of being... bad.

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