Saturday, February 27, 2010

In My Mailbox - February 27, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Not too many this week...but still probably too much right? Never! :)

For Review from the publisher:
Bro-Jitsu: The Martial Art of Sibling Snackdown, 126 Techniques to Gain Family Domination by Daniel H. Wilson, Illustrated by Les McClaine
April 2010
(from publisher website)
Practiced by countless siblings but mastered by few - here is the definitive guide to the martial art of tormenting your brother or sister.
Bro-jitsu is a highly stylized form of physical and mental combat that has been practiced and honed to perfection over countless millennia by billions of human beings who all have one crucial thing in common: annoying siblings. The book breaks down Bro-jitsu into three strategies: offensive moves, defensive moves, and psychological manipulation. Each section delivers step-by-step instructions on performing crucial techniques, from the classic Wet Willy to the inventive Full-Body Defensive Fish Wiggle. No sibling should be without it!

BookMooch
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder -- I have Poison Study and I really should read it :)

Traded with fellow blogger
ARC of Fallen by Lauren Kate - This one has been getting mixed reviews and I can't wait to read it.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - woo hoo!

So, what's in your mailbox?

Friday, February 26, 2010

New Header and Button plus contest update

Hey Guys!
Do you like my new header? I'm still going to tweak a few things but I really like it so far.

AND!

I finally have a button (points to the right). Please grab me, I don't mind at all :)
Something got messy with the code for all of your lovely buttons that I grabbed in the past so I took them down for the moment. Should have them up again soon.

On a final note - my 5 Winner ARC contest is slated to end today but I know I won't get a chance to add up entries until possibly Monday so! I'm extending the contest through the weekend. If you haven't already entered - do it now!!

5 Winner ARC Contest-ends Feb 28th 11:59EST

Long week for me - so I'm taking a break from the blog world for a few hours tonight :)
I have more exciting news to share and lots of great 'mailbox' books for you to go gaga over so stay tuned!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Series In Review: Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riordan

I tend not to review books if they are the 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) in a series. A lot of times, even the synobsis will give away too much. A Series In Review was born out of my wanting to share some great series books with my readers - SPOILER FREE!

Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riordan

Book 1: The Lightning Thief     
Book Two: The Sea of Monsters
Book 3: The Titan's Curse     
Book 4: The Battle of the Labyrinth
Book 5: The Last Olympian

With the fifth and final book, Riordan ended a series that in my mind stands out far above other middle grade books. The world of Percy and his friends (and enemies) is captivating and these stories really drew me in. 

Percy doesn't know who he is, he doesn't know why he has so much trouble keeping himself out of trouble. He starts off on his new life, as a Half-Blood, a Demigod, confused, scared and totally out of the loop. The adventures and terrors that follow, shape him and his friends into people they never imagined they could be. 

Just dealing with the fact that all the Greek mythology he ignored in school isn't quite as mytholocial as he would like would be enough to make any 12 year old go running for the hills. And even after Percy comes to terms with his new existence, there's more. Ancient enemies born anew, betrayal, prophecies, eminet death at almost every turn - not to mention dealing with adolescence complete with awkward moments, embarrassing incidents and of course, girls.
I really enjoyed this entire series. Each book answered questions while at the same time opening up more unknowns. I loved Percy as a character and I loved the Greek mythology. Sometimes funny, sometimes really intense but always a great read. Percy and his friends grow up as the books progress and as a reader, we are a long for the entire ride. 

I was sad to see the series end but I think Riordan did a great job with the fifth book. It's by far the most intesne and I almost didn't want it to end for fear that something horrible would happen to ruin the entire series for me. My fears were unnecessary - the story ends perfectly, in my opinion at least. 

I can see myself reading these books over and over again - and sharing them with my daughter once she is older. I would recommend this series to fany ans of MG fantasy, and also to reluctant young readers. 

For those of you, like me, who would love to see more of Percy's world, I give you this excerpt, taken from the "Acknowledgments" at the end of The Last Olympian - "As the first Camp Half-Blood series draws to a close..." The first? Will there be a second? Oooo, I hope so!

Series Extras

The Demigod Files
How do you handle an encounter with Medusa on the New Jersey interstate? What's the best way to take down a minotaur? Become an expert on everything in Percy's world with this must-have guide to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Complete with interviews, puzzles, games, and original short stories by Rick Riordan. The Percy Jackson Files will delight Riordan's legions of fans with its witty, in-depth "field-guide" approach to the series. Knowledge-testing puzzles and games add to the fun. No Percy collection is complete without it!

This collection of short stories was released before the 5th and final book. It's safe to read after you have read the first 4 books but it doesn't flow with the story and could just as easily fit in after the 5th. Deffinally a book written for fans.

The Ultimate Guide -- WARNING! Do NOT read this book if you haven't read the series!
It's the handbook no half-blood should be without: a fully illustrated, in-depth guide to gods, monsters, and all things Percy. This novelty companion to the best-selling series comes complete with trading cards, full-color diagrams, and maps, all packaged in a handy, "manual-size" POB with a crisp, magnetic flap enclosure

I couldn't resist this one. With full color graphics of my favorite (and not so favorite characters) as well as some extra titbits it really is a companion book to the series. 

Overall Series Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Clear Away The Clutter Challenge

Clear Away The Clutter Challenge is being hosted by the wonderful Kate at The Neverending Shelf
Click on the pic for more information and to join!

What a great idea!
Guidelines:
  • The mini challenge begins March 1st and ends May 31st. You can join at anytime once the challenge as begun.
  • Anyone is welcome to participate in the mini challenge.
  • By the end of the challenge, you MUST get rid of all the titles that you do not absolutely love. You can hold a contest, donate, give to a friend, etc. Your ultimate goal here is to clean off your shelves.
  • You do not have to have a blog to participate. If you are interested, please email Kate at neverendingshelf@gmail.com for more information.
  • Please create a post for titles you plan to read. You can of course update and modify this list at any time.
  • Once a novel is completed, let us know what you plan to do with it. You can put this information beside the title in your challenge list post. Right now, Kate is planning to host a large contest for all the novels that she reads and does not absolutely love at the end of the challenge.
  • Crossover with other Challenges is welcome.  
Levels:
    * Packrat: Read and clean out 5 titles
    * Mini-packrat: Read and clean out 10 titles
    * Organizer: Read and clean out 15 titles
    * Cleaner: Read and clean out 20 titles


I'm going for the Mini-Packrat! (don't know if I can do it but I'm going to try!)

Like Kate, I think I'll have a massive contest for any books I decide not to keep - so stay tuned!

In no particular order:
*Gone by Michael Grant
*Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede
*Fade to Blue to Sean Beaudoin
*Demon Chick by Marilyn Kaye (read - will giveaway in a contest)
*Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin (read - need to keep this one!)
*The Devouring by Simon Holt (read - will giveaway in a contest)
*The Declaration by Gemma Malley
*Merdian by Amber Kizer (read - will giveaway in a contest)
*Switch by Carol Snow (read - will giveaway in contest and donate to my library since I somehow wound up with 2 copies)
*East by Edith Pattou

On My Wishlist - Tenners Edition!!

There are so many wonderful books coming out in 2010 and for some reason I seem to want them all! For those reasons, On My Wishlist posts for the rest of the year will be dedicated to upcoming 2010 Debut Authors! Go Tenners!!

On My Wishlist is hosted by Book Chick City :)

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
March 2, 2010

(from Goodreads)
When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-Gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary.  But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard. Three powerful enemies who look like supermodels; a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock; a creepy, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect.  Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all prodigium, especially her.

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
March 16, 2010

(from Goodreads)
A serial killer on the loose. A girl with a morbid ability. And the boy who would never let anything happen to her.
Violet Ambrose can find the dead. Or at least, those who have been murdered. She can sense the echoes they leave behind... and the imprints they leave on their killers. As if that weren't enough to deal with during junior year, she also has a sudden, inexplicable, and consuming crush on her best friend since childhood, Jay Heaton.
Now a serial killer has begun terrorizing Violet's small town... and she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cover Love - Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent

Hey guys - I posted my review of My Soul To Take today and I just learned that the 3rd book in the series, My Soul To Keep will be out in June!
I love these covers!

 
Online Prequel
  

August 2009


January 2010


June 2010

Book Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Title: My Soul to Take
Author: Rachel Vincent
Publication Date: Aug 2009
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Pages: 279
Series: Soul Screamers Book 1
Book Acquisition: bought new paperback
My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

She doesn't see dead people, but…
She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.
Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next…

I was very much surprised by this book. I have to say, the above synopsis didn’t do too much for me. I had however seen some pretty good reviews around the blogosphere so I decided to give it a shot! I’m so glad I did!

As most of you I’m sure know, young adult books these days are full of paranormal elements. A lot of reoccurring themes pop up – often predictable. One of the reasons why I loved My Soul to Take so much was that it wasn’t predictable at all. The paranormal world we are drawn into is unlike others I have discovered in the past. It was refreshing! It was also a wonderfully written story.

I really enjoyed Kaylee as a character and I loved Nash – almost too sweet to be true! Another thing this book had that I was pleasantly surprised by was the suspense. I’ve read books where the characters just seem to plod along. Going about their day as if the boogie man wasn’t actually in the closet even if they know better. I didn’t get that feeling from My Soul To Take. The characters were always very aware of what was happening. Almost every page was dedicated to figuring out what was going on and trying to make it right.

I also really loved how involved Kaylee’s family (her whole family) was. I won’t say too much because I don’t want to give too much away but there was a twist at the end that I did not see coming!

I highly recommend this book to fans of young adult paranormal stories. And I can't wait to read My Soul to Save :)

Books in the Series:
0. My Soul to Lose (online prequel)
1. My Soul to Take (Aug 2009)
2. My Soul to Save (Jan 2010)
3. My Soul to Keep (June 2010)

Linkage Love:
Harlequin Teen
Author's Website
Free PDF of prequel - My Soul To Lose
Series website

Other Reviews: (*if you would like your review added please leave me a link in the comments*)
Once Upon a Bookcase
The Book Cellar

Sunday, February 21, 2010

HTML Header HELP!!!!

Hey guys,
I'm in the process of changing around the layout and template of my blog and I have a huge problem I need help with.

Basically I'm trying to get rid of the 'custom' header I inserted. Problem is....I can't find the specific HTML code for my header to delete AND I think when I inserted it in the first place I deleted the default header code...

SO! This is what I'm asking for - I know it's a big favor but I'm willing to 'pay' someone (with books, swag, eternal gratitude).

What I'm asking is this - I need someone to take a look at my HTML code and tell me what I need to delete to get rid of the header I currently have and what (if anything) I need to add in. I'm hoping it is as easy as deleting the code and being able to change templetes.

I can cut and paste the code and email it to you.....

Anyone?

Please?

Pretty Please?

If at all interested please email me -- WilowRaven[at]yahoo[dot]com

please?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In My Mailbox - February 20, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Lots of goodies this week!
Some of these are adult rather then YA novels and there is a reason for this. I have decided to get my adult book review blog up and running. Nothing to fancy, and most of my time will still be spend here at Red House Books. I'll probably even post links here to reviews there :) Stay tuned!



Other Shelf Tours
  • The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan -- I'm reading this now and it's fabulous! Can't wait to review it.
Won from Ashley at Books Obsession
  • Explorer X-Alpha by LM Preston -- 2010 Debut Author - woo hoo!
Bought New
  • Percy Jackson & The Olympians The Ultimate Guide by Rick Riordan -- love this series! Stay tuned for a massive review of the entire series :)
  • Remembering Raquel by Vivian Vande Velde -- impulse bargain book buy
  • All Hallow's Eve: 13 Stories by Vivian Vande Velde -- impulse bargain book buy
  • The Solstice Cup by Rachel Dunstan Muller -- love the title!
  • My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent -- OMG  My Soul to Take was so good I couldn't pass this one up!
  • The Naughty List by Suzanne Young -- my very own finished copy! Love this book!
Gift
  • Bones of Betrayal by Jefferson Bass
BookMooch
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  • Veracity by Laura Bynum
  • Faces in the Fire by T.L. Hines
PaperbackSwap
  • Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett 
  • The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro
So, what's in your mailbox?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flashback Friday Review: The Gratitude of Kings by Marion Zimmer Bradley

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

Title: The Gratitude of Kings
Author: Marion Zimmer Bradley
Publication Date: December 1997
Originally Read: early 1998

Lythande, a centuries-old magician with a secret, is summoned to the wedding of an old friend. But from the moment she arrives, deadly court intrigue ensues, sounding a warning of danger deep in her soul. And with the future of the kingdom at stake, she finds she must rely on a very different kind of magic than her own, one born of a friendship and faith stronger than any sorcery....

I was in college when I first read this book. I have a very distinct memory of sitting in my boyfriend's dorm room. It was his book and I loved MZB so I borrowed it. It's actually a short story - only about 100 pages or so.

I will always remember this book and it's for a pretty silly reason. Soon after reading this book I set up my very first email account (ok - I think they gave me one in college but no one every used it so it doesn't count :) I can remember sitting at my friends computer staring at the "Welcome to Hotmail" screen. I couldn't for the life of me think of a user name. I finnally decided on eirthe@hotmail.com.
Eirthe is Lythande's very good friend - she's a candle maker whose best friends are fiery salamanders. I loved her character and I loved her name so I stole it :)

Other email addresses have come and gone but eirthe as remained. Granted, I don't use it that often and I'm pretty sure no one of importance sends me email here but still. It was my first and I'll keep it forever :)

As far as The Gratitude of Kings goes - it's a really good story. Like I said, it's short but this doesn't take away from the tale. It's pure fantasy with the all elements fans of MZB have come to expect. I really wish it were longer. I feel in love with the characters - especially Lythande and Eirthe.

I found this book at my local library this week and I'm so glad I did. Fantasy is my true love - in pretty much any form. This short story is a true gem and I plan on getting my own copy soon so I can read it whenever I want :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Book Review: The Line by Teri Hall

 
Title: The Line
Author: Teri Hall
Publication Date: March 2010
Genre: YA
Age: 10+
Pages: 228
Series: 1st in a series
Book Acquisition: ARC from 1 ARC Tours
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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?


I pretty much loved everything about this book. The characters were very real, and some were pretty fascinating. There was mystery and suspense. Lost loves and new beginnings.

I love dystopian stories and The Line did not disappoint. Imagine a world, basically the United States as we know it but cut off from the rest of the world. Cut off from anybody and anything that might have existed before a devastating attack and the emergence of an all consuming, all powerful government. This is Rachel's world.

There are so many questions in this book! What really happened when The Line went up? What is Away really like? Who can Rachel trust? 

The pace was awesome. Not too fast but not too drawn out. Each page gave just enough. I don't know about you, but when I read, I have a running picture in my head of what's going on. A internal movie. I find I have problems with books I can't visulize well. The Line was perfect! From start to finish, I had a perfect head movie going on!

I love this book!

Wait, did I say that already? Oh well :)

The Line is Teri's first book and I think she did a fabulous job!
I would recommend this book to any dystopian YA fans. Also, the ending? Wow! I want more!

Books in the Series:
The Line - March 2010
Away - Early 2011

Linkage Love:
Dial Books for Young Readers
Author's Website

Other Reviews:
Cornucopia of Reviews
B.A.M. Book Reviews

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Month 2 Tenners Updates!

Hi guys!
We're in month two of 2010 and with that has come a ton of new happenings in the world of 2010 debut authors - aka The Tenners!

All great things Tenner can be found at their awesome blog - 2010: A Book Odyssey.

If you're participating in The Story Siren's Debut Author Challenge or even if you're not, you should really check out their blog. There are so many great and talented new authors in 2010!

In this post I'm attempting to sum up some of those aforementioned new happenings. I know I can't possibly list everything and I'm hoping you guys will help by letting me know if there is something extra special I forgot about (comment on this post and I'll get it added!)

Book Review: The Merchant Of Venice: The Graphic Novel by Gareth Hinds


Title: The Merchant of Venice A Graphic Novel
Adapted and Illustrated by: Gareth Hinds
Based on the play by: William Shakespeare
Publication Date: May 2008
My rating: 4 / 5 Stars

With elegant, contemporary artwork and a faithful but succinct adaptation, this graphic novel casts a classic drama in a provocative new light.
Here is the tale of young Bassanio, who, to win the love of fair Portia, entangles his dearest friend, Antonio, in a dangerous bargain with the moneylender Shylock. Only Bassanio’s heartfelt efforts — and a clever intervention by Portia — will save Antonio from paying Shylock "a pound of flesh." Moody and mesmerizing, this graphic novel adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s more controversial plays boasts a chic modern cast, high drama, and all the dark, familiar beauty of Venice. 

In the words of the author the "text is greatly alteered from the orginial", with large amounts cut inculding scenes and cahracters. Some modern prose as been added but most of the dialog is verse. Having never read the actual play, I can't say how this graphic novel has been altered but I did really enjoy it.

If nothing else, I got the gist of the play - including some wonderful prose.
I still don't know how I feel about reworked classics but I would recommed this one to anyone willing to give a reworking a try.

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

Monday, February 15, 2010

Book Review: Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines


Title: Girl in the Arena
Author: Lise Haines
Publication Date: October 2009
Genre: YA
Age: 14+
Pages: 336
Series: no
Book Acquisition: Library
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

It’s a fight to the death—on live TV—when a gladiator’s daughter steps into the arena
Lyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through.  Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family.  Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator.  Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying. The rules help the family survive, but rules—and the GSA—can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him... For fans of The Hunger Games and Fight Club, Lise Haines’ debut novel is a mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence—a modern world that’s disturbingly easy to imagine. 

Another hard review for me to get through. I didn’t love this book. I didn’t hate it either. I didn’t like it but I didn’t dislike it. The story wasn’t great but it wasn’t horrible. You see my dilemma?

When I first heard of GITA months ago and read the synopsis – I couldn’t help comparing it to The Hunger Games. I was told not to do this as the two books really aren’t similar at all. After reading both I have to agree. Where The Hunger Games was a dystopian roller coaster of a ride, Girl in the Area was a weird, alternative reality type society full of surprisingly shallow people. In dystopian stories, often, extreme circumstances lead to understandably extreme actions. The world of GITA isn’t dystopian but it is extreme. It’s pretty much modern day America – with the addition of The Gladiator Sports Association.

As true to real life this book was, I couldn’t get over the idea that society has actually disintegrated to the point where these Gladiator games were an acceptable part of life. I also couldn’t really warm up to Lyn. I think my favorite character was Tommy, and he wasn’t around very long.
I did not like the ending at all. It seemed very rushed. A lot of build up for a few pages of closure.

The story itself was interesting. It was different, and I liked that.

Overall, not horrible, but I’m not sure who exactly I would recommend this one to.

Linkage Love:
Bloomsbury
Author's Website
Goodreads

Other Reviews:
Bookworming in the 21st Century
The Book Butterfly
Who, What, When, Where, Why
Fantastic Book Review

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In My Mailbox - February 13, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Another slow week for me - but yet again - I'm really not hurting for books to read so it's all good!

Bought Used 
Couldn't resist these two oldies but goodies :)

Teacher's Pet by  Richie Tankersley Cusick 
Kate likes a little thrill. She likes a little scare. And she loves getting the chance to go to the exclusive week-long writing conference taught by the famous master of horror himself. He's so good at being so bad.
With a teacher like that, you expect a little competition. With a teacher like that, you practically have to kill to get his attention.
Does Kate have what it takes to be teacher's pet?

The Forbidden Game Vol 1: The Hunter by L.J. Smith
 To capture the love of Jenny Thorton, Julian--a visitor from a dark world--draws Jenny and her friends into forbidden games; the contest for a human soul. The prize is Jenny's freedom. The stakes are all of their lives. Jenny's friends are determined to help her win. But Julian is the master of the Game. Jenny's most desperate fight will be with him, this eerily handsome boy with electric blue eyes. He knows her deepest secrets, her darkest fears. He has almost infinite power. And the only thing he wants is for Jenny to surrender to him--body and soul.


Bought New
 I'm such a nerd and I absolutely love Link! There are more Zelda inspired mengas out there and I will own them all! hehehe
 The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time Part 1 and Part 2 by Akira Himekawa

Part 1: Link a young boy, finds out he's no ordinary Kokori.He soon finds himself fighting monsters in a great tree called 'The Deku Tree'. He slays the monster deep inside andc the deku tree dies. Link sets out on an even bigger journey.

Part 2: After completing his training Link begins his journey to find the Remaining Sages. Meanwhile, Ganondorf continues looking for Princess Zelda and plotting to capture Link with the aid of the witches known as Twinrova.
At the urging of the mysterious Sheik, Link enters the Haunted Wasteland to find Zelda. The journey will be dangerous, but Link is determined to overcome Twinrova's traps and survive to face Ganondorf in an epic final battle!

So, what's in your mailbox?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Flashback Friday Review: Remember Me by Christopher Pike

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

Title: Remember Me
Author: Christopher Pike
Publication Date: 1989
Originally Read: circa 1993

SHE DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THAT SHE WAS DEAD.
When Shari Cooper awoke at home after being at her girlfriend's birthday party, her family acted like she wasn't there. They didn't hear a thing she said. They wouldn't even look at her. Then the call came from the hospital. Her father and brother paled. Her mother started to cry. Shari didn't know what was wrong. Not until she followed them to the hospital. There she found herself lying on a cold slab in the morgue. The police said that it was suicide.
Shari knew she had been murdered. Making a vow to herself to find her killer, Shari embarks on the strangest of all criminal investigations: one in which she spies on her friends, and even enters their dreams -- where she comes face-to-face with a nightmare from beyond the grave. The Shadow -- a thing more horrible than death itself -- is the key to Shari's death, and the only thing that can stop her murderer from murdering again.

Totally love this book! I loved it when I was teen and I still love it now :) 
No respectable reading flashback list for me would be complete without a slew of Christopher Pike books. I read every book of his I could get my hands on. Like so many of my teen books - I have no idea where my originals are now but I am slowly working up my collection again :)

Remember Me is esentially a ghost story - told by the ghost. Shari dies and although she doesn't know quite what has happened at first, she quickly learns the ins and outs of no longer being among the living.

This book was great for me the second time around because, although I remembered who the good and bad guys where I had forgotten the twist at the end.

Pike as a way with story telling that I find extreamly enjoyable. If you have never read anything by him - do it now!

I suspect there will be quite a few of his books appearing in my Flashbacks :)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Book Review: Night Runner by Max Turner

Title: Night Runner
Author: Max Turner
Publication Date: September 2009
Genre: YA
Pages: 272
Series: 1st in a series
Book Acquisition: bought new paperback
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

For Zack Thomson, living in the Nicholls Ward isn't so bad. After his parents died, he developed strange and severe allergies, and the mental institution was the only place where he could be properly looked after. As strange as it was, it was home. He could watch as much television as he wanted; his best friend Charlie visited him often enough; and Nurse Ophelia--the prettiest no-nonsense nurse ever--sometimes took him bowling. Of course, that didn't mean he had it easy. His allergies restricted his diet to strawberry smoothies, and being the only kid at the hospital could get lonely. But it never once crossed Zack's mind to leave...until the night someone crashed through the front doors and told him to run. Now he's on a race for answers--about his past, his parents, and his strange sickness--even as every step takes him closer to the darkest of truths.

I really thought this book was great. As far as the paranormal goes – there isn’t anything in Night Runner you probably haven’t encountered before in your readings. But Turner does such a wonderful job with character development that I did not want this one to end! I really fell in love with Zack and I really enjoyed the male, first person, point of view.

Charlie is also pretty great. Comic relief combined with an unfaltering friendship. Luna is sweet, although we don’t see very much of her. I suspect she will play a bigger role in the next book of the series.

There was one part near the end that I wasn’t too happy about. I yelled out when I read it – ready to throw the book across the room. The very very end of the book, however was fantastic! I loved how some loose ends were tied up but others weren’t, leaving so much more of the story to be told. 

 Night Runner is Turner’s first book and I think he did an excellent job! I can’t wait for the next one!
Also - love the cover!

I would recommend this one to paranormal, urban fantasy fans. As well as male readers who may not always warm up to all those female protagonists out there :

Linkage Love:
St. Martin's Press

Other Reviews:
Book-lover Carol's Reviews
The Story Siren
Becky's Book Reviews

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday

There are a ton of books on my wishlist and I love to share :)
Here's one I just heard about.

 
The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
March 16, 2010

Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don't like you best friend's boyfriend.

Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He's easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he's paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna's boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah's best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she's thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. It's wonderful...and awful.

Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can't stop herself from wanting more...

So, what are you guys wishing for?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Book Review: Artemis Fowl The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer


Title: Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
Adapted by: Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
Art by: Giovanni Rigano
Color by: Paolo Lamanna
Publication Date: October 2007
Genre: MG Graphic Novel
Age:10+
Pages: 112
Series: Yes (see below)
Book Acquisition: PaperBackSwap
My Rating: 5/5 stars

In 2001, audiences first met and fell in love with a twelve-year-old criminal mastermind named Artemis Fowl. Since then, the series has sold over seven million copies in the United States alone. Now, this phenomenally successful series is being translated into a graphic novel format. Eoin Colfer has teamed up with established comic writer Andrew Donkin to adapt the text. For the first time, rabid fans will be able to see what Foaly's tin hat looks like; discover just how "Beet" Root got his name; and of course, follow their favorite criminal mastermind as he plots and connives in action-packed, full-color panels.

The Artemis Fowl series have got to be some of my favorite middle grade books of all time. I loved every one of them and I hope there aren’t plans to end the series soon :)

Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel is just that – the first book in the series in graphic novel form. Some might say this is silly but I thought it was brilliant. I loved seeing some of my favorite characters in full color staring back up at me from the pages. This book is really beautiful.

The story line doesn’t differ from that of the original novel. I didn’t learn anything new about the characters but the experience of seeing their story told in picture form was fabulous.
I would recommend this book to any fans of Artemis. I would also recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read the full series but wants a taste of what you’ve been missing. I also would recommend this book to young male readers. I know it’s hard sometimes to get young boys to read. If they try this graphic novel and love it – give them the second full novel to try. This series really drags you in and keeps you wanting more.

And there are so many books! Between the full novel series, the graphic novels and the extras – so many wonderful stories and I love it!

The Series:
Books:
1. Artemis Fowl (2001)
2. The Artic Incident (2002)
3. The Eternity Code (2003)
4. The Opal Deception (2005)
5. The Lost Colony (2006)
6. The Time Paradox (2008)
7. The Atlantis Complex (2010)
Graphic Novels:
1. Artiemis Fowl (2007)
2. The Artic Incident (2009)
Extras:
The Seventh Dwarf (2004)
The Artemis Fowl Files (2004)

Linkage Love:
Hyperion Books for Children
Author's Website

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cover Love + Wishlist

 

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
September 2010

Do I need to say anymore?
In case you aren't already hooked, here's the description.

Mackie Doyle seems like everyone else in the perfect little town of Gentry, but he is living with a fatal secret - he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now the creatures under the hill want him back, and Mackie must decide where he really belongs and what he really wants.
A month ago, Mackie might have told them to buzz off. But now, with a budding relationship with tough, wounded, beautiful Tate, Mackie has too much to lose. Will love finally make him worthy of the human world? 

Me want!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Contest Time! ARC Giveaway with 5 Winners!

You guys like contests don't you? I know I do! This one is kind of a selfish one for me. I have some questions I need your help with - mostly about the design and format of a blog reviews. I'm having a hard time making some decisions, so I thought I would ask you guys for some help - with incentive of course ;)

HOW TO ENTER:
*Fill out THIS FORM
Comments on this post are welcomed, especially if you have questions, but they will not count as an entry


WHAT YOU CAN WIN
*ARC of Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert (cover is different)
*ARC of The Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda (cover is different)
*ARC of Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe
*ARC of Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore (old cover)
*5 Bookmarks - The Heretic Queen, Nefertiti, Cleopatra's Daughter, Twenty Boy Summer, The Dust of 100 Dogs

There will be 5 winners!
1st prize gets 1st pick, 2nd prize 2nd pick and so on, unless there is an international winner (who can only win the bookmarks)
Books can only be won by US residents (sorry!).
Bookmarks are open to International residents.
Contests ends on Feb 26, 2010 11:59 EST --- EXTENDING TO THE 28th!

Again - please fill out THIS FORM to enter!

Let me know if I forgot anything and good luck everyone!

In My Mailbox - Feburary 6, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

So, I'm still sick (silly head cold!) and I could be wrong but I think I only got a few books this week. Didn't buy anything, didn't get anything from BookMooch.....One book from PaperBackSwap for my next giveaway so I'm not telling :)
AND - one book for review that I gave you a sneak peak at on Wednesday.

So...my mailbox has been lonely :) I have a bunch of books on the way though so I'm hoping next week will be much better :)

What's in your mailbox?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book Review: The Mark by Jen Nadol

Title: The Mark
Author: Jen Nadol
Publication Date: January 2010
Genre: YA
Age: 14+
Pages: 272
Book Acquisition: ARC from publisher

A gripping debut novel that deals with death, fate, and a teen girl's ability to change them both.
Sixteen-year-old Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark—a light glow reminiscent of candlelight. The only time she pointed it out taught her she shouldn't do it again. For years, the mark has followed Cassie, its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until the day she watches a man die. As she revisits each occurrence of the mark, Cassie realizes she can see a person's imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.
Now armed with a slight understanding of the mark, Cassie begins to search for it. Even as she hides her secret, Cassie mines her philosophy class, her memories, and even her new boyfriend for answers about the faint glowing mark. But many questions remain. How does it work? Why her? And finally, the most important of all: If you know today is someone's last, should you tell them?

I wasn’t quite sure how to review this one. Simply put, I liked it. It was an enjoyable story, easy to read, the characters were enjoyable. But, when I tried to write out exactly why I liked it, I feel short.

My one dislike was the ending, loose ends didn’t seem to be tied up – not the way I would have wanted them to be at least. There was some Greek Mythology to this book – but only a tiny bit and it was almost like it was thrown in here and there after the fact. I would have liked to see more.

So, why did I like it? Again – I’m at a loss. I guess I could see it’s potential. And the fact that the plot was original. Being able to tell the day someone dies? Not a common talent.

I’m interested in reading more from Nadol. The Mark is her first novel and if nothing else, it has gotten me wanting more.

3.5/5 stars

Linkage Love:
Bloomsbury Teens
Author's Website

Other Reviews:
Katie's Book Blog
Parajunkee's View
Wicked Awesome Books
Fantastic Book Reivew

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In My Mailbox - SNEAK PEAK!

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)
This Sneak Peak is a book I didn't want to wait for this weekend to tell you about :)

 
 
Available now :)

Phyllis Sorin has seen all sorts of people. With two kind Aunts who rent out the rooms of their house to anyone in need, the people she calls family are a little different from most. There’s Bill, who takes on the personalities of movie characters. There’s Quincy, whose best friend is a drag queen. There’s Anna, an opera singer and kung-fu master.
    And Phyllis, well, she’s not exactly normal herself. But even as she begins to navigate high school’s social jungle, Phyllis finds comfort and humor in her odd home.
    When Dominick Siddons moves in, however, all of Phyllis's priorities become inferior to finding out his secret. A young lawyer with a vicious wit and ferocious temper, Sid may understand Phyllis in a way no one else can. And through truth and fiction, through the inevitable chaos of the house, Phyllis finds much more than she bargained for.

Emma was kind enough to send me a copy and I'm excited to read it. She's a debut author AND a full time college student. I can't remember having much time to think during college, let alone write a novel so - kudos to you Emma!

For more information on Emma and her book, visit her blog.

Happy Reading everyone!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Book Review: Need by Carrie Jones

Title: Need
Author: Carrie Jones
Publication Date: January 2009
Genre: YA
Age: 12+
Pages: 220
Series: 1st in a series
Book Acquisition: bought new paperback

Zara collects phobias the way other high school girls collect lipsticks. Little wonder, since she's had a pretty rough life. Her father left when she was a baby, and her stepfather just died. Her mother's pretty much checked out - in fact, Mom's sent her to live with her grandmother in cold and sleepy Maine to "keep Zara safe." Whatever that means. Zara doesn't think she's in danger; she thinks her mother just can't deal.
Zara's wrong. The man she sees everywhere - the tall creepy guy who points at her from the side of the road - yeh, he's not a figment of her imagination. He's a pixie. And not the cute, sweet kind with little wings. Maine's got a whole assortment of unbelievable creatures, like pixies and were-people. And they seem to need something - something from Zara…

I was pretty disappointed by this book. I really really wanted to like it but I can’t say that I actually did.
The beginning was awesome – I really got hooked into the story. I wanted to know what was up with this small, cold, Maine town. It was about halfway in that I started to loose interest. I just didn’t warm up to Zara. I found her silly and a bit dumb. Oh, and after she meets up with Nick – forget it! You know how people make fun of Twilight because every other page is a testament to how beautiful Edward is? That’s how I feel about Need. Nick was “beautiful” and Nick was “cute” and Nick was “perfect” and oh, why did Nick do that? It must be because he’s perfectly beautiful and cute. I’m exaggerating a bit here but you get my meaning.

The characters just didn’t seem real to me. They didn’t make me want to like them. Zara is in danger really before the book even starts and I honestly wasn’t rooting for her. I almost wanted something to happen to her so we could see some real action.

Oh – and I get it – Maine is cold. It’s not really that big a deal.

I know I’m being harsh and I really wish I weren’t. I’m just disappointed. So many people love this book – and I wanted to be one of them. Bottom line, this book just isn’t for me. I urge you to read it for yourselves – and to check out other reviews I have posted below. If you have read it, I would love to hear your thoughts.
I have the second book in this series, Captive and I will be reading it. I’m curious as to how much more story Jones can get out of these characters and I’m interested to see where she takes them.

2.5/5 stars

Books in the Series:
Need - January 2009
Captive- January 2010

Linkage Love:
Publisher's website
Author's Website

Other Reviews:
Once Upon A Bookcase
All Things Urban Fantasy
Wicked Awesome Books
Page Turners

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monthly Reads and Challenge Updates - January 2010

I know I say this every month but - WOW! Where did the time go?
January brought tons of snow (although not as much as last year :) Tons of Birthdays (7 family members) and Tons of books! Woo hoo!
This is my first January blogging and I have totally embraced 2010 reading challenges. I did limit myself though because I know I could easily get overwhelmed trying to read challenge books and not have enough time to focus on all the other great books out there!
Also, as not to crowd up my posts with weekly updates on Challenge statuses I'll only be posting updates monthly.

Lastly! I have a big contest in the works. Multiple books, multiple winners with an easy entry form. Stay tuned!

Ok - on with the show!

Books Read In January - For links to reviews - visit this post
1. Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
2. Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer
3. Stitches: A Memoir by David Small
4. Liar by Justine Larbalestier
5. Prom Dress by Lael Littke
6. Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel by Jordan Mechner
7. Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
8. Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
9. Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
10. Need by Carrie Jones
11. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
12. Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer
13. Fade by Lisa McMann
14. The Line by Teri Hall
15. The Merchant of Venice: A Graphic Novel by Gareth Hinds

SO! I think I did pretty good in January - even if a some of these books were graphic novels :)
Most of my Challenge Books are included in the list above so I think I'll just list out my goals and totals so far. More info on each Challenge can be found by clicking on the Challenge button images in this post or in my sidebar.

Hosted by The Story Siren
5 books so far!

 
Hosted by J. Kaye
8 / 75

Hosted by Chris and Nymeth
4 / 10 
I might be upgrading my level on this one :)

So, how was January for you guys?