Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Book Review: Picture The Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown

Age: 14+ (my guess)
Publication Date: May 2010
Tags: ghosts, family, civil war, photography, mystery
Pages: 272
Series: no
Book Acquisition: received a finished copy at BEA

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

(from Goodreads)  
Jennie’s connection with her twin brother, Toby, grew stronger after he died in 1864. Now Jennie must rely on her ability to communicate with the dead to find out what has happened to her beloved fiance, Will, while he was off at war. The army says he died honorably in battle. His brother confides that he became a violent criminal and died in a prison camp. Jennie begins to doubt that anyone is telling her the truth. 
This intriguing combination of historical romance, paranormal thriller, and clever mystery is illustrated by bestselling artist Lisa Brown. The unique visuals originated from real Civil War daguerreotypes that were transformed into eerie mementos for Jennie’s scrapbook. 
With the help of a spiritualist photographer, the spirit of her dead fiance, and the clues she discovers and keeps in her scrapbook, Jennie must put together the pieces of this mystery before she loses her home, her fortune, and possibly her life.

My Review:
Ghost stories are up there on my list of favorites. Done well, a ghost story can get under your skin and into your head in ways that some relish and others run from. Because of my love, I was very much looking forward to reading Picture The Dead.

I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised. Ghost story? Yes but it's so much more! Did my skin tingle? Oh yeah. Did I run? Not a chance. This was a mystery I had to know the ending of.

The thing I liked most about this one was how all the pieces fit together. The civil war, spiritualism and photography were only the tip of the iceberg for me. Picture The Dead has the feel of a classic mystery - very hard to put down, lots of twists and an awesome ending!

Oh, and the illustrations? Wonderful. They added a layer to the story and to the mystery that I found really compelling. It was really hard for me to put this one down. In fact "Almost every character in Picture the Dead has a real-life 19th century counterpart, unearthed from the archives of the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress." (taken from Picture The Dead website) How cool is that? Check out the photos they used here and here.

All in all, this was a fabulous read for me. I was lucky enough to meet Adele and Lisa (very briefly :) at BEA this year when they were signing and giving out the book. They were both supper supper nice AND they were in costume!

I would recommend this one to fans of ghost stories and mysteries who like a little extra something in their readings.

Linkage Love:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Can't wait to get my hands on...

Hope you enjoy my little contribution to your ever growing Wishlists and TBR piles - As always, I'm here to serve ;)
Links and info are from Goodreads

Published: June 2010 by Bloomsbury
I've been reading more realistic fiction lately and this one caught my eye -- 16 year old bad boy comes to terms with his troubled past after spending some time in jail.

Published: October 1, 2010 by Flux
From a debut author, sounds supper interesting -- A dystopian novel about a group of teenagers sent to Africa to help repopulate the continent.

Published: July 13, 2010 by Egmont
This one sounds pretty strange to me, and I love strange -- An orphan switches places with a bird like creature, only to discover that the outside world isn't always what is seems.

Published: August 2010 by HarpperTeen
Saw this one at BEA but wasn't sure what it was about until now -- A teenage boy has to come to terms with the fact that 1. he is an alien from another planet and 2. there are people trying to kill him.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Spoiler Free Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

*Spoiler Free reviews are reviews of 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) books in a series with no fear of spoilers!*

Age: Young Adult
Publication Date: August 1, 2010
Tags: fey, faeries, romance, adventure
Pages: approx 368
Series: 2nd in the series
Book Acquisition: e-book via NetGalley from the publisher

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Goodreads Description

My Review:
OMG! I don't care how silly I might sound but - I FREAKEN LOVE THIS SERIES!!! Like seriously, if someone told me I would have to give up chocolate, music and puppies for a whole year in order to get my hands on the final book, I would not have a problem with that!

Have you read The Iron King? No? What is your problem?
Kidding! (sort of :)

It's so hard to say much about The Iron Daughter without giving anything away but I can say - if you read the Iron King, you need to read this next one. So much more of the story is told and Oh my! The ending? I still don't know what to make of it. I don't know if I hate it or if I love it or if I need to read it again to make sure I really did read what I think I read....

It was pretty much amazing, and I'm really not exaggerating. The world that Julie has created is both magical and very real. I felt a connection to every character - so much so that it was almost painful at times - in a good way, mind you.

I can't wait to buy my own copy of this one when it comes out in August. This series is defiantly one I can see myself reading over again - and not many books fall into that category for me.

I would recommend this series to urban fantasy lovers who also like adventure and romance. I had a hard time putting this one down (or in this case, shutting off my computer!).

Thank you Julie!

Books in The Iron Fey Series:
The Iron King
   Winter's Passage
The Iron Daughter (Aug 2010)
The Iron Queen (Feb 2011)

Linkage Love:
Harlequin Teen
Author's Blog
Goodreads

Tidbits:
*Winter's Passage is a downloadable novella, available for free until July 31st. Check out Harlequin's site for more info.
*In case you didn't know, Julie Kagawa is awesome!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In My Mailbox - June 26, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

This week I got a few goodies that I'm really excited about!

For Review from the Publisher - Thank You Flux!
Other by Karen Kincy
(from Goodreads)
Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. Most Americans don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Others, especially not the small-town folks of Klikamuks, Washington. As if this isn’t bad enough, Gwen’s on the brink of revealing her true identity to her long-time boyfriend, Zack, but she’s scared he’ll lump her with the likes of bloodthirsty vampires and feral werewolves.
When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate-into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her. As she hunts for clues, she uncovers more Others living nearby than she ever expected. Like Tavian, a sexy Japanese fox-spirit who rivals Zack and challenges her to embrace her Otherness. Gwen must struggle with her own conflicted identity, learn who she can trust, and-most importantly-stay alive.

From Traveling ARC Tours
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
(from Goodreads)
In less than a day I had been harassed, enchanted, shouted at, cried on, and clawed. I’d been cold, scared, dirty, exhausted, hungry, and miserable. And up until now, I’d been mildly impressed with my ability to cope. 
At her boarding school in New Zealand, Ellie Spencer is like any ordinary teen: she hangs out with her best friend, Kevin; obsesses over her crush on a mysterious boy; and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. Then everything changes: In the foggy woods near the school, something ancient and deadly is waiting. 
Karen Healey introduces a savvy and spirited heroine with a strong, fresh voice. Full of deliciously creepy details, this adventure is a deftly crafted story of Māori mythology, romance, betrayal, and war.

(from Goodreads) 
2097 is a transformed world. Thirty years earlier, a mysterious plague wiped out 97 percent of the male population, devastating every world system from governments to sports teams, and causing both universal and unimaginable grief. In the face of such massive despair, women were forced to take over control of the planet--and in doing so they eliminated all of Earth's most pressing issues. Poverty, crime, warfare, hunger . . . all gone. 
But there's a price to pay for this new "utopia," which fourteen-year-old Kellen is all too familiar with. Every day, he deals with life as part of a tiny minority that is purposefully kept subservient and small in numbers. His career choices and relationship options are severely limited and controlled. He also lives under the threat of scattered recurrences of the plague, which seem to pop up wherever small pockets of men begin to regroup and grow in numbers.
And then one day, his mother's boss, an iconic political figure, shows up at his home. Kellen overhears something he shouldn't--another outbreak seems to be headed for Afterlight, the rural community where his father and a small group of men live separately from the female-dominated society. Along with a few other suspicious events, like the mysterious disappearances of Kellen's progressive teacher and his Aunt Paige, Kellen is starting to wonder whether the plague recurrences are even accidental. No matter what the truth is, Kellen cares only about one thing--he has to save his father.

(from Goodreads)
For over two hundred years the powerful stories of the Brothers Grimm have enchanted millions around the world but there has never been an adaptation as intriguing or provocative as this… 
Grimm Fairy Tales volume 1 explores a much darker side of the infamous fables you heard as a child as these classic tales are retold and re-imagined with a terrifying twist you’ll simply love as an adult. 
Red Riding Hood is forced to confront the insatiable hunger of terrifying beast; Cinderella seeks a shocking vengeance for the years of torture she’s endured; Hansel & Gretel realize that the problems they left behind at home are nothing compared to the horror that awaits them on their ill-advised journey; A desperate girl makes a deal with the hideous Rumpelstiltskin only to find she may lose much more than she ever imagined; Sleeping Beauty learns that narcissism can be a very gruesome trait to possess and an envious sister finds her extreme measures to capture the man of her dreams may lead to much worse than just heartbreak from the Robber Bridegroom. 
Enter a world where morality is constantly tested and the shocking repercussions of one’s choices must always be faced… 
Enter the world of Grimm Fairy Tales. Books 1-6 reprinted/collected here.

So, what's in your mailbox?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book Review: The Krybosian Stairpath by S.R.R. Colvin

Age: 8-12
Publication Date: October 2009
Tags: mystery, adventure, fantasy, family
Pages: 204
Series: no
Book Acquisition: Traveling ARC Tours

My Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

(from Goodreads)
In a refreshing change, along comes a children's book that does not rely on magic to explain the unexplainable. The Krybosian Stairpath  puts forth the notion that just because you don't understand something, it doesn't mean there must be magic behind it. Knowledge and perspective can make all the difference.
Enter a world of wonder deep inside the earth as 11-year-old geologist Madison Terrence follows her pet gopher down a stairpath portal she discovers in her family's cavern. When she descends the Krybosian Stairpath, a mystery from her family's past begins to unravel. She soon realizes her arrival in the interior world of Krybos is no accident. Madison discovers that she's been pulled into a sinister plot to destroy the most beautiful place she has ever seen.

My Review:
As a kid, I loved books that were full of adventure. I also was pretty in love with rocks - I filled the back of my dad's car with nothing but rocks one summer :) I really wish this book was written years ago so I could have read it as a kid! (no, I'm not telling you how many years ago that would be!).

Adventure and geology? Awesome!

For me, the Krybosian Stairpath was a really cute middle grade story that I think would really appeal to young kids. The characters are very likable and the situations were pretty exciting.

Even before Madison enters the world of Krybos I was captivated by the setting of this book. Madison and her family live in a house built into the side of a mountain. The stairpath appears in her family's cavern - that is literally what it is - a huge cavern that is essentially her backyard.

A very easy read, but also an enjoyable one. I would recommend this book to young kids - the age range seems just about right to me. Anyone really though who enjoys MG adventure stories, I think will enjoy The Krybosian Stairpath

Linkage Love:
Publisher's website
Author's Website

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book Review: The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride


Age: 14+
Publication Date: May 2010
Tags: fiction, kidnapping, sexual and emotional abuse, friendship
Pages: approx 288
Series: no
Book Acquisition: read ARC from Traveling ARC Tours

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

(from Goodreads)
It’s been two years since Noelle disappeared. Two years since her bike was discovered, sprawled on a sidewalk. Two years of silence, of worry, of fear. 
For those two long years, her best friend Tessa has waited, living her own life in a state of suspended animation. Because how can she allow herself to enjoy a normal high school life if Noelle can’t? How dare she have other friends, go to dances, date boys, without knowing what happened to the girl she thought she would share everything with? 
And then one day, someone calls Noelle’s house. She’s alive. 
A haunting psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines, The Tension of Opposites is a striking debut that explores the emotional aftermath of a kidnapping on the victim, and on the people she left behind.

My Review:
This book was a pretty powerful read for me. I really didn't know what to expect and I was worried that Noelle's kidnapping would either be glossed over or thrown right in our faces in too graphic a way. I really think Kristina did a great job finding a middle ground. I hesitate to say 'comfortable' middle ground because there isn't anything comfortable about kidnapping or abuse, in any form. With that said, I have to say, I was pretty comfortable with Tension of Opposites.

Told from the point of view of Tessa, Noelle's best friend, the book is more about what Noelle's kidnapping did to Tessa then the horrible details of what Noelle endured in the two years she was held captive.

Really, the only thing I didn't like about this book was Tessa's relationship with Max, the sexy new guy in town that seems to fall instantly for Tessa. I understand why he was included in the story - Tessa needed a way to get on with her life, needed a sounding board for her emotions. But at the same time, I didn't like him. I didn't think he fit with the story of Noelle and Tessa.

Even this small dislike didn't really take anything away from the story for me. I couldn't imagine going through what Noelle did. The pure raw emotion of the situation might have been too much to handle and for that reason, I really liked seeing things from Tessa's point of view.

I very much look forward to reading more from Kristina McBride in the future. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a powerful, true to life, young adult, fiction book.

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

Monday, June 21, 2010

BEA - My Adventure


It's still hard to believe that BEA was almost a month ago ago. I keep reliving the week over again in my head :) I had such a wonderful wonderful time! It really was just as amazing as everyone said it would be. The books! The people! I was pretty much in heaven!

I've heard that in years past the Exhibit hall was open 3 days - this year it was 2 and even though I have never been, it did seem like the schedule was pretty packed. I have heard it through the grape vine that next year they will be going back to the 3 day format. Mark your calendars!

BEA 2011
May 23 - May 26

This year, I went to BEA all three days - although Tuesday the Exhibit hall wasn't open. What I did do was get my Press Pass - which made me feel very cool. I was pretty nervous but soon after meeting these three great ladies, I felt right at ease - Eleni from La Femme ReadersTaschima from Bloody Bookaholic and Jennifer from Reading with Tequila.

We hung out at the Jacob Javits Center for a while and then after Jennifer headed home, Eleni, Taschima and I took a trip to The Strand. It was awesome! Made me pretty happy I don't live in NY anymore because I know I would spend way too much time there if I did.

Wednesday was the day things really got started! Eleni and I met at Penn Station and found Sherry of Flipping Pages for All Ages. The Jacob Javits Center was hopping! People everywhere! We found Jennifer (who was there way eariler then us and scored me some tickets to some supper cool author signings! Thanks Jenn!). We also met up with Lexi of Poisoned Rationality and later in the day I met Sandy from Pirate Penguin Reads. The day was full of author signings, sore shoulders, frantic text messages and books everywhere! There were some pretty funny moments and some awesome ones too! The above mentioned bloggers really made my day!

Oh - and in case you didn't know - I'm a HUGE dork and one of the few pictures I managed to snag was this one:
Oh yeah - that would be Jason and Grant from Ghost Hunters. I was in heaven!

Wednesday night was a little crazy for me. Because, even though I have been ridding the Long Island Railroad my whole life I manged to buy the wrong ticket, get on the wrong train AND get off at the wrong station :) My dad managed to find me though and I made it home safe and sound with all my books!

Thursday morning I almost couldn't get out of bed...but there was no way I wasn't going back! A little less crazy then Wednesday - a few less people (maybe?) but deffinatly less author signings. 
I did get these awesome signed books though:

Thursday night was the Book Bloggers Convention meet and greet. (it probably had an actual name but I can't remember it! ). It was pretty cool though. There was a bunch of bloggers, and a bunch of publishers, authors and publisitcs. Oh - and there was a guy with a puppy! (He wrote a book about a dog...so it kinda made sense). Before the meet and greet was halfway over, Jenn and I realized we were way too tired to mingle and took a break sitting at a back table. Apparently it was the cool place to be because tons of people came over to talk to us :) Oh yeah, we were the cool kids that night!
Even though I was very tired, my night wasn't over yet. Eleni and I went out to dinner with the fabulous Jacquelyn Wheeler! If you haven't checked out her Soterians Series - you should! She is the best and I'm so glad I met her! 

Friday was the Book Bloggers Convention - the first ever! I really didn't know what to expect but I'm really glad I went. I was pretty much wiped out by this point in the week but I did feel like I got a lot out of BBC, even if not all the panels pertained to me and my blog. I took a lot of notes and met a lot of people. If they hold it again next year, I'm deffinatly going.

So that was my adventure! So much more happened then I could possible bore you guys with :) but the one thing I am truely greatful for is the wonderful bloggy friends I got to meet! I can't wait to see them all again next year! You guys are the best!!!!

Lastly - I will leave you with a few pictures of the wonderful books and swag I got. Already posted these in a mailbox post a while back but I love looking at the lovely piles :)


Saturday, June 19, 2010

In My Mailbox - June 19, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

This week's mailbox is a little bit of everything. In straightening up the house I found random piles of books all over the place :) I realized I never posted the books that actually came in my mailbox the week I was in New York for BEA. I also forgot about a few books I won, some that I bought....so this week I'm playing catch up!


For Review from publisher - Thank you Penguin!

Won:

From Eleni of La Femme Readers - Thank you Eleni!


Bought used from Better World Books:

From BookMooch:

From PaperbackSwap:

Bought New:


For Review from the author - Thank you Holly!
Tell Me A Secret chapter sampler plus swag by Holly Cupala

Won:
Wicked Lovely Bracelets

So, what's in your mailbox?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

On My Wishlist - Debut Authors

All On My Wishlist posts for the rest of the year will be dedicated to 2010 debut authors!


On My Wishlist is hosted by Book Chick City :)


Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century #1) by Cherie Priest
Release Date: In Store Now!
(from Goodreads)
Thirteen year-old Natalie Minks loves machines, particularly automata—self operating mechanical devices, usually powered by clockwork. When Jake Limberleg and his traveling medicine show arrive in her small Missouri town with a mysterious vehicle under a tarp and an uncanny ability to make Natalie's half-built automaton move, she feels in her gut that something about this caravan of healers is a bit off. Her uneasiness leads her to investigate the intricate maze of the medicine show, where she discovers a horrible truth, and realizes that only she has the power to set things right. 
     Set in 1914, The Boneshaker is a gripping, richly textured novel about family, community, courage, and looking evil directly in the face in order to conquer it.

13 to Life: A Werewolf Tale by Shannon Delany
Release Date: June 22
(from Goodreads)
Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction… 
When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort. 
The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.

Other by Karen Kincy
Release Date: July 1
(from Goodreads)
Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. Most Americans don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Others, especially not the small-town folks of Klikamuks, Washington. As if this isn’t bad enough, Gwen’s on the brink of revealing her true identity to her long-time boyfriend, Zack, but she’s scared he’ll lump her with the likes of bloodthirsty vampires and feral werewolves. 
When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate-into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her. As she hunts for clues, she uncovers more Others living nearby than she ever expected. Like Tavian, a sexy Japanese fox-spirit who rivals Zack and challenges her to embrace her Otherness. Gwen must struggle with her own conflicted identity, learn who she can trust, and-most importantly-stay alive.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Can you tell me? ANSWERS

Last week I asked:

Can you tell me...in Twitter, how can I shorten my links? I've seen tweets with truncated links but have no idea how to do it myself.

I got some great answers from some great people. I was assuming there was some function of Twitter I was missing, I never considered using an outside source for link shortening. The most popular recommendation was for bit.ly. Two others mentioned were TinyURL and HootSuite. They all work basically the same way - you imput a link and it will spit out a shortened version for you.

I couldn't figure out HootSuite - it does much more then shorten links and I think you have to create a user name and password. I did try out bit.ly and TinyURL though. I started with the link for my lastest review for The Gardener:

http://redhousebooks.blogspot.com/2010/06/book-review-gardener-by-sa-bodeen.html

Here is what each site shortened it to:

bit.ly -- http://bit.ly/bxG7fH

TinyURL -- http://tinyurl.com/2fh593y

Isn't that cool? How did I not know of this?
A big thank you to everyone who answered! You guys are the best!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Review: The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen

Title: The Gardener
Author: S.A. Bodeen
Publication Date: May 2010
Genre: Young Adult
Tags: sci-fi, friendship, family secrets
Age: 12+
Pages: 240
Series: no
Book Acquisition: Around the World Tours

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

(from Goodreads)
Mason has never known his father, but longs to. All he has of him is a DVD of a man whose face is never seen, reading a children’s book. One day, on a whim, he plays the DVD for a group of comatose teens at the nursing home where his mother works. One of them, a beautiful girl, responds. Mason learns she is part of a horrible experiment intended to render teenagers into autotrophs—genetically engineered, self-sustaining life-forms who don’t need food or water to survive. And before he knows it, Mason is on the run with the girl, and wanted, dead or alive, by the mysterious mastermind of this gruesome plan, who is simply called the Gardener.
Will Mason be forced to destroy the thing he’s longed for most? 

My Review:
For some reason, I thought this was going to be a futuristic dystopian story. It's not futuristic and it's not dystpoian but I would venture to call it a pre-dystopian tale. It takes place in today's world and there hasn't been any devastating destruction but there are those who see disaster looming and they are preparing for the worst. After a life full of half truths from his mother, Mason finds himself right in the middle of these secret plans.

A quick and easy read for me, I really liked this one. I'm finding that I really respond to male protagonists lately and Mason was so easy to like. The story itself was a little odd - but not in a bad way. I couldn't really warm up to the 'beautiful girl', Laila, that Mason finds and tries to help. Mason's best friend Jack on the other hand, I really loved.

The plot is fast moving - with all the action taking place over a couple of days. The ideas put forth by TroDyn, the company that 'raised' Laila, are interesting to say the least. Humans becoming autotrophs? Not something I have come across before - but it makes for some great sci-fi.

I would recommend this one to fans of light science fiction who also enjoy a good mystery.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Flashback Friday Review: Missing Since Monday by Ann M. Martin

Flashback Friday reviews are of books that I read as a teen, reread now years later :)

Title: Missing Since Monday
Author: Ann M. Martin
Publication Date: 1986
Originally Read: circa 1990

(from Goodreads)
Maggie's taking care of her four-year-old sister for a week. On Monday morning, she puts Courtenay on the bus to school. That afternoon, Courtenay doesn't come home. She never made it to school that day. She's missing. The detectives looking for Courtenay have hardly any clues. Then Maggie starts getting threatening phone calls...and she thinks she's being followed. Whoever took Courtenay is after her, too. One thing's for sure: If the police don't find Courtenay soon, Maggie will be the next one missing.

Another Scholastic Point classic. Some of my favorite memories of elementary school are of the days the Scholastic book fair set up shop in the lobby. Carts and carts of books especially picked out just for us. I loved it! Missing Since Monday was defiantly a book fair find.

Wow - 1986? Really?! Kinda hard to believe I read this one 20 years ago. So, I wasn't quite a teen ;) I had almost forgotten about it but as soon as I saw the cover it all came back to me. Also, about 4 pages in, I remembered the ending :) Have to say, the synopsis makes the book seem a lot more exciting then it really is.

After finishing it, I realized that there are a lot of things we take for granted these days - cell phones, Amber Alert, electronic phone tracking, the Internet - tons of tools that just didn't exist in the mid 80s. Also? Today's bad guys seem to be a lot scarier. It could just be me though.

Missing Since Monday is a book that doesn't really stand the test of time. A young adult reading it today might be confused as to why the characters are using VCRs and payphones instead of DVDs and cell phones :) The subject matter however, unfortunately, will probably never seem dated. Children go missing everyday and the facts and points of reference that the author brings up in this book still hold true -- we should all teach children to memorize their phone numbers, never talk to strangers and never get in a stranger's car - among other things.

I very much enjoyed my second read, and I would encourage anyone out there who might have missed this one to give it a try. Ann M. Martin has written a ton of books and I am finding that they are just as enjoyable to me now as they were all those years ago.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vacation for me!

Happy Thursday everyone!
Tonight I am starting my first real vacation in years! Woo hoo! Flashback Friday post tomorrow but for the rest of the weekend I'm out of here! Might be able to check in on things while I'm gone...but maybe not :)

Hope you all have fabtabulous few days - see you all soon!

Woo hoo!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

CSN Review Coming Soon!

Hey guys!
The folks over at CSN Stores have been nice enough to let me review one of their products! I'm so excited! What will I review? I'm not sure yet but what I can say is that I wish I knew about their lighting store before now! My boyfriend and I took forever to pick out a new light for out kitchen.

I've had my eye on a new bookcase for a while and there are so many things to choose from! If you haven't already, you really should check out their stores. There are a ton of items will free shipping - which is just awesome since the stores near me have pretty poor selections when it comes to bookcases.

I'll take lots of pictures and let you guys know what I think about it....and then I will probably fill it with books and need to start all over again :) hehe.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Can't wait to get my hands on...

In this edition of Can't wait to get my hands on, I'm going to highlight some much anticipated, next in the series, books. Mark your calendars!

Release Date: August 24th
Scholastic Press
The 3rd and final book in the Hunger Game trilogy. Have you started this series? If you haven't - you should. Some of the best books I have read in the last couple of years
Books in the Series:
1. Hunger Games
2. Catching Fire
3. Mockingjay

Release Date: October 12, 2010
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
The Maze Runner ended on such a cliff hanger - I can't wait to read The Scorch Trials. If you haven't started this series you should wait until October and then gobble them both up!
Books in the Series:
1. The Maze Runner
2. The Scorch Trials
3. ?

Release Date: June 22, 2010
Release Date: November 1, 2010
Bloomsbury
(dates and cover for Out For Blood taken from Goodreads)
I absolutely love the Drake family and hope there are a lot more chronicles to come. I highly recommend this series to fans and even non-fans of vampires
Books in The Drake Chronicle Series
1. Hearts at Stake
2. Blood Feud
3. Out For Blood

Release Date: June 10, 2010
Release Date: November 25, 2010
Razorbill
The Naughty List was such an enjoyable read. I'm looking forward to seeing where Suzanne takes the girls of Society of Smitten Kittens :) Love the titles of these books!
Books in the Series
1. The Naughty List
2. So Many Boys
3. A Good Boy is Hard to Find
4. Book 4 (no title yet)

This just in! Melissa Marr has announced (via Twitter!) the release date of the 5th and final Wicked Lovely Book!
Release Date: February 22, 2011
HarperCollins
Eeek - I don't know if I can wait that long! I'm in love with this series. Although, that is plenty of time to do a reread of the first 4 books ;)
Books in the Series
1. Wicked Lovely
2. Ink Exchange
2b. Stopping Time Part 1
2c. Stopping Time Part 2
3. Fragile Eternity
4. Radiant Shadows
5. Darkest Mercy

Monday, June 7, 2010

Can you tell me?

In the course of blogging, learning the ropes, trying to get a handle on Twitter, I have discovered that I have a lot of questions about random things.

Occasionally, I'm going to pose a question to you. Something random but bloggy / social networky / techy in nature most likey. (what? those are all real words, I swear)

I'll post up answers in a few days - cause, maybe you don't know the same things I don't know...you know?

This week I ask:

Can you tell me...in Twitter, how can I shorten my links. I've seen tweets with truncated links but have no idea how to do it myself.

Thanks guys!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

In My Mailbox - June 6, 2010


In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

This week I got....NOTHING! WOO HOO!!
Why am I so happy for an empty mailbox? This is why:

I finally finished organizing 1 bookcase with some of my more recent unread books. Mostly new releases, second in a series, and books for review. Oh, and it's two books deep. For each book you see, there is another one behind it you cannot see. Oh, and notice how I said 1 bookcase? There are 10 others in the house. Books are everywhere and I love it!! hehe

So, no new books to showcase this week but I did do some exciting things. Check out my pages! (points above). See those links under the header? Been meaning to do that forever!

Another exciting thing I've been working on is setting up some posts for some guest reviews. From who, you ask? My wonderful sister, mother and boyfriend. I love sharing books with them (oh, and believe me, they have a ton of their own!) so I thought it would be fun to ask them to submit reviews of books they have read.

My sister is 14 and loves to read as much as I do. I'm looking forward to seeing what she has to say - being in the age bracket most YA books are written for.
My mother has been reading her whole life and is a much better writer then I am. Her reviews, I'm sure, will be supper enjoyable.
My boyfriend shares my taste in books and he and I sometimes have different opinions on the same book which I think will be interesting to see.

I'm in the process of thinking of nifty pseudonyms for them all - what fun! Ooo maybe even some cute icons too.

Sorry for the off topic post :)

What did you guys get in your mailbox?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Contest Winner!


Random.org has spoken! 
The winner of A New Dawn: Your Favorite Authors on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series edited by Ellen Hopkins is:

vampireprincess2468

Congratulations! I will be emailing you soon. If you see this post first, please email me your address at WilowRaven@yahoo.com

Thank you to everyone for entering and a big thank you to BenBella Books for making this giveaway possible.

Clear Away the Clutter Challenge Wrap-Up


The wonderful Kate from The Neverending Shelf hosted this challenge and sadly it has come to an end. I managed to clear my shelves of  5 books! May not seem like a lot, but I have to say, they are books that would probably still be sitting there if I hadn't participated in this challenge. I tried to pick books I know I had been putting off reading for whatever reason.

The books I read:

Demon Chick by Marilyn Kaye 
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin 
The Devouring by Simon Holt 
Merdian by Amber Kizer 
Switch by Carol Snow

I have decided to keep Elsewhere because I really loved it! The others will be part of a yet to be determined massive blogoversary giveaway in July - so stay tuned!

This challenge was really fun for me because it forced me to set aside specific books to read in a specific time - something I never do. Thanks Kate!

Did any of your participate? How do you feel about challenges aimed at helping us clear of shelves?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Flashback Friday Review: Everworld by K.A. Applegate

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

Title: Search for Senna: Everworld Book 1
Author: K. A. Applegate
Publication Date: July 1999
Originally Read: right around the pub date

(from Goodreads)
In the dark past, Zeus and Odin, Huitzilopoctli and Ra, and the other gods of myth decided to abandon the real world. They created another universe, where magic rules, where all the mystery and terror of these capricious immortals holds sway. It is a place where Vikings still sail in the name of Thor, where the Aztecs still make human sacrifices to Huitzilopoctli, and where Merlin still weaves his subtle webs.
For a thousand years and more, Everworld has existed apart from the real world. But now Everworld is in trouble. The cozy universe created by Earth's ancient immortals has been invaded by the creatures of myths that are no part of human tradition. The gods are under attack, divided and terrified. And in this moment of supreme danger, Loki, Norse god of evil, reaches across the barrier between Everworld and the real world to seize a new power: Senna Wales.
Senna carries with her four ordinary high school kids from the Midwest: David, the insecure hero and Senna's love; Christopher, the joker Senna spurned, who hides his own anger and bigotry beneath a glib veneer; Jalil, cold, calculating, and so devoted to rationality he can't even acknowledge his own strange tie to Senna; and April, Senna's half sister — actress, flirt, and Senna's most dangerous enemy.

My thoughts:
I was home from college for the summer, and I can remember my friend 'M' getting into my car and handing me this book.
"It's my brother's. I just finished it and it's good - you have to read it!" she said.
I was more then happy to agree, after all, it was 'M' who convinced me to read the first Harry Potter book. I took her suggestions pretty seriously :)

I can remember being fascinated by the story. One minute these kids are walking towards the shore, the next, they are in this strange land where the normal rules of life do not seem to apply. What led them here? Senna. A strange girl who is definitely more then she appears. The adventures of these unwilling travelers were so enjoyable to read. Caught between the land of Everworld and the real world, they have to fight and cajole their way out of deadly situations while almost simultaneously surviving high school.

Search for Senna is the first in the Everworld series, and sorry to say, the only one I have read. My library seems to have the complete set though so I'm thinking about having a Everworld readathon to try to get through them all!

A great middle grade book. I really think young kids who enjoy action and adventure stories would suck up this series!


Everworld
1. Search for Senna (1999)
2. Land of Loss (1999)
3. Enter the Enchanted (1999)
4. Realm of the Reaper (1999)
5. Discover the Destroyer (1999)
6. Fear the Fantastic (2000)
7. Gateway to the Gods (2000)
8. Brave the Betrayal (1999)
9. Inside the Illusion (2000)
10. Understand the Unknown (2000)
11. Mystify the Magician (2000)
12. Entertain the End (2001)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Book Review: Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia


Title: Angel Star
Author: Jennifer Murgia
Publication Date: May 2010
Genre: Young Adult
Tags: angels, romance, good and evil
Age: 13+
Pages: 256
Series: 1st in a series
Book Acquisition: ARC from Other Shelf Tours

My Rating: 5/5/ stars

(from Goodreads)
Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams and soon discovers that her crush has an eight-point star etched into the palm of his right hand-the mark of an angel.
But where there is light, dark follows, and she and Garreth suddenly find themselves vulnerable to a dark angel's malicious plan that could threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows, and now, she is torn between one angel's sacrifice and another angel's vicious ambition.
Divinely woven together, Angel Star takes readers on a reflective journey when one angel's sacrifice collides with another angel's vicious ambition in a way that is sure to have readers searching for their own willpower. 

My Review:
Pretty much loved every word on every page. Yeah, that's all that needs to be said :)

I've had a thing for angels ever since reading Sharon Shinn's adult Sameria Series. I love the idea of fallen angels, good and bad angels, angels who fall in love with humans...they make me swoon. So, let me tell you, I did a whole lot of swooning while reading Angel Star.

One of the things I liked most was the characters. They were so likable. Even the bad one...ok....maybe especially the bad one ;)

I was worried that the romance would turn me off - romance in YA book have been doing that lately. I had no reason to worry. The romance in Angel Star was so sweet, so genuine.

I'm not going to give anything away but there was one thing that happened that did not make me smile at all. It was actually pretty upsetting. I have to say, I was a little mad for a while. But, after reading the entire book, I understood why it happened. It needed to. The gravity of the situation had to be brought home. The fact that all angels aren't good needed to be shown. I don't think Teagan would have been able to get through everything that happened if this one thing didn't happen first. Heartbreaking, yes but necessary. Just one more way Jennifer played with my heart - and I'm glad she did!

I highly recommend this book to fans of angels and paranormal teen fiction. I really can not wait to see what happens in Lemniscate!

Books in the Series:
Angel Star (May 2010)
Lemniscate (Spring 2011)

Linkage Love:
Lands Atlantic Publishing
Author's Website

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

On My Wishlist - Debut Authors 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!


On My Wishilst is hosted by Book Chick City :)

Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
Release Date: In Stores Now!
(from Goodreads)
I’d love a cup of coffee. I wish she knew how pretty she was. I wish I could drop this kid in the dryer sometimes. I just want her to be happy. I hope she didn’t find out what Ben said about her. I wish I knew how many calories were in a bite of muffin…
Joy is used to hearing Whispers. She’s used to walking down the street and instantly knowing people’s deepest, darkest desires. She uses this talent for good, to make people happy and give them what they want. But for her older sister, Jessica, the family gift is a curse, and she uses it to make people’s lives—especially Joy’s—miserable. Still, when Joy Hears a frightening whisper from Jessica's own mind, she knows she has to save her sister, even if it means deserting her friends, stealing a car and running away with a boy she barely knows—a boy who may have a dark secret of his own.

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
Release Date: In Stores Now!
(from Goodreads)
Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.
As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.
Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.

Sea by Heidi R.Kling
Release Date: June 10, 2010
(from Goodreads)
Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother’s disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen-year old California girl Sienna Jones reluctantly travels with her psychiatrist father’s volunteer team to six-months post-tsunami Indonesia where she meets the scarred and soulful orphaned boy, Deni, who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met.
She knows they can’t be together, so why can’t she stay away from him? And what about her old best friend-turned-suddenly-hot Spider who may or may not be waiting for her back home? And why won’t her dad tell her the truth about her mother’s plane crash? The farther she gets from home, the closer she comes to finding answers.
And Sea’s real adventure begins.