Monday, August 30, 2010

Book Review: The Death (and Further Adventures) of Silas Winterbottom: The Body Thief by Stephen M. Giles

Age: 10+ (my guess)
Publication Date: August 2010
Tags: mystery, adventure, family secrets
Pages: 240
Series: 1st in a series
Book Acquisition: received an ARC from the publisher

My Rating: 5 / 5 Star

(from publisher's website)
And you thought your family was strange.
I am dying. . . I might get the chance to know you before death takes me...I would like you to be my guest at Sommerset. . .I have enclosed a check for $ 10,000. . . Should you accept my offer...
Uncle Silas has always been greedy, evil, insulting, and extremely rich! But a dying uncle with a vast fortune is definitely one worth getting to know. Even if it means spending 2 months on his secluded island home with a houseful of suspicious servants and a hungry pet crocodile.
But what is Uncle Silas really up to? Will Adele, Milo, and Isabella outlive Uncle Silas to inherit his money? And just who is that mysterious "guest" in his basement? Is it worth the money (or their lives) to stick around and find out?

My Review:
Silas Winterbottom is a truly despicable character. Rich, shellfish and downright evil. When he invites his nephew and 2 nieces to stay with him at Sommerset, his secluded island mansion, I knew he was up to no good. What follows is a highly enjoyable tale. The characters were so well developed and the plot twists kept me very well entertained. For a middle grade read, this one has become one of my favorites. Definitely something I'll keep around and recommend to my daughter as soon as she's old enough to read it :)

I really loved hating Silas. He's methodical and calculating. And cunning. I was pretty sure I knew what he was up to but I was very happy to find out I hadn't quite figured it all out.

On the other side of the playing field we have Adele, Milo and Isabella. Each with their own reasons for coming to Sommerset. Each with their own feelings about dear, old, sick Uncle Silas. For a relatively short book, I think the author did a wonderful job giving these three characters the depth they deserved. Without a strong understanding on who these 3 children where, the book wouldn't have really worked. Just as I grew to hate Silas, I grew to love Adele, Milo and Isabella.

Reminded Me Of: A Secret Garden -- more so in setting then anything else. A creepy old mansion with hidden secrets. There's even a hidden, mysterious garden....but you'll have to read the book for yourself to find out exactly how mysterious this garden becomes.

Who Would Enjoy It: Middle grade readers for sure - both boys and girls. Older readers too. The story is anything but boring or predictable. This is the type of book I would have loved to have had to read in school. I could easily see it on a recommend class reading list in the future.

Linkage Love:
Sourcebooks
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tidbits:
*Stephen M.Giles hails from Sydney Australia and The Death of Silas Winterbottom is his first book.
*In Australia, the book was published under the title "Silas and the Winterbottoms"

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In My Mailbox - August 29, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Hello my sweeties! How are you all doing? I'm supper!

Ok - not really.

You see, I recently bought this book. You know the one. Pretty blue cover, everyone's been talking about it. Ring any bells? Ok, here's a hint:
AND! You see...well....I didn't really like it
*gasp*

BUT, I am happy I bought it AND while I might not be reviewing it, I'm glad I read it.
AND! I got some other goodies this week too!

Wanna see?

Of course you do!!

For Review
Hide!!! by Jeff Foxworthy, Illustrated by Steve Bjorkman
I already read this one to my 4 year old and she loved it! Such a cute book. Expect a review soon.
(from publisher's website)
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy tells the story of a neighborhood hide and seek game and invites readers to join in! With vivid illustrations and a hearty dose of silliness, each page includes a hidden child, a seeker, and a whole bunch of other hidden objects for kids to find. Hide!!! is guaranteed to charm readers of all ages. Can you help Rachel Green find Sue, along with one raccoon, two spoons, three mops, four flip flops…?

For Review
Guardians of the Ga'Hoole Book 1: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky
I've heard great things about this series and I really want to see the movie
(from Goodreads)
In the first book in the GUARDIANS... series, the reader is introduced to Soren, a barn owl and the centerpiece of the series. When Soren is pushed from his family's nest by his older brother, he is rescued from certain death on the forest floor by agents from a mysterious school for orphaned owls, St. Aggie's. When Soren arrives at St. Aggie's, he suspects there is more to the school than meets the eye. He and his new friend, the clever and scrappy Gylfie, find out that St. Aggie's is actually a training camp where the school's leader can groom young owls to help achieve her goal.

For Review
The Beatles: The Music and The Myth by Peter Doggett and Patrick Humphries
I love The Beatles and this book is pretty awesome!
(from Goodreads)
It's an album-by-album, track-by-track run down of every Beatles song on record and includes "The Beatles Live At the BBC" album, various compilations and the three best-selling Anthology sets released in 1995 and the 1 compilation, the Love medley CD and the re-mastered back catalogue albums.

(a big thank you goes out to Chelsy at Big Honcho Media, Beth at Omnibus Press and Kate from Smith Publicity)

Bought
Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs
The newest Temperance Brennan book - I always buy these in hardcover because I love Bones! :)
(from publisher's website)
John Lowery was declared dead in 1968—the victim of a Huey crash in Vietnam, his body buried long ago in North Carolina. Four decades later, Temperance Brennan is called to the scene of a drowning in Hemmingford, Quebec. The victim appears to have died while in the midst of a bizarre sexual practice. The corpse is later identified as John Lowery. But how could Lowery have died twice, and how did an American soldier end up in Canada?
Tempe sets off for the answer, exhuming Lowery's grave in North Carolina and taking the remains to Hawaii for reanalysis—to the headquarters of JPAC, the U.S. military's Joint POW/ MIA Accounting Command, which strives to recover Americans who have died in past conflicts. In Hawaii, Tempe is joined by her colleague and ex-lover Detective Andrew Ryan (how "ex" is he?) and by her daughter, who is recovering from her own tragic loss. Soon another set of remains is located, with Lowery's dog tags tangled among them. Three bodies—all identified as Lowery.
And then Tempe is contacted by Hadley Perry, Honolulu's flamboyant medical examiner, who needs help identifying the remains of an adolescent boy found offshore. Was he the victim of a shark attack? Or something much more sinister?

Bought
Jealousy by Lili St.Crow
3rd Strange Angels novel and while I'm not really liking that cover, I can't wait to read it!
(from Goodreads)
Dru Anderson might finally be safe. She’s at the largest Schola on the continent, and beginning to learn what it means to be svetocha–half vampire, half human, and all deadly. If she survives her training, she will be able to take her place in the Order, holding back the vampires and protecting the oblivious normal people.
But a web of lies and betrayals is still closing around her, just when she thinks she can relax a little. Her mentor Christophe is missing, her almost-boyfriend is acting weird, and the bodyguards she’s been assigned seem to know much more than they should. And then there’s the vampire attacks, the strange nightly visits, and the looks everyone keeps giving her. As if she should know something.
Or as if she’s in danger.
Someone high up in the Order is a traitor. They want Dru dead–but first, they want to know what she remembers of the night her mother died. Dru doesn’t want to remember, but it looks like she might have to–especially since once Christophe returns, he’ll be on trial for his life. The only person who can save him is Dru.
The problem is, once she remembers everything, she may not want to…

So, what's in your Mailbox?

Thursday, August 26, 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 are to Goodreads

The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black - February 2010 from Big Mouth House
Short stories, some previously published, in one volume. Includes 2 new Tithe world stories.

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe - December 14, 2010 from Razorbill
A thriller / mystery that reminds me of the writings of R.L. Stine or Christopher Pike

Crossing Over by Anna Kendall - October 2010 from Viking Juvenile
About a boy who can cross over into the land of the dead. Sounds a little creepy :)

Forsaken (The Demon Trappers #1) by Jana Oliver - January 7, 2011 from Macmillan
Ooo, demon hunting...sounds sexy ;)

Kindred by Tammar Stein - February 2011 from Knopf Books
If archangel Raphael asked me to help him save the world? Yeah, I'd do it too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book Review: Other by Karen Kincy


Age: 14+ (my guess)
Publication Date: July 2010
Tags: paranormal creatures, shapeshifters, pookas, mystery
Pages: 326
Series: 1st in a series
Book Acquisition: received a finished copy from the publisher

My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

(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. 

My Review:
First off I need to say - I would very much like to live in Gwen's world. Paranormal folks living side by side with 'normal' people? Pretty cool. These 'Others' as they are called are pretty much accepted by society. They still face a lot of prejudice and challenges though. These facts made the book more believable to me. The situations felt very real - like, these things could actually happen.

While I pretty much figured out who the bad guys was early on, it didn't hurt the suspense factor. There was some romance that I found rather sweet - not overdone. Some sex too, which, in my opinion wasn't necessary but it was realistic so it worked with the story. There might be the makings of a love triangle for the sequel, which I'm not so happy about but I guess I will have to wait and see.

Speaking of sequels, Bloodborn comes out in the Fall of 2011 and I know I'll be picking up a copy. I love a good paranormal story and Other really came through for me. The story held my attention for start to finish and the characters were really likable.

Reminded Me Of:
The Strange Angels series by Lili St. Crow. Not as much action and not quite the same paranormals. But the setting, for me, seemed similar. Young girl, looking for answers in a world full of secrets.

Who Would Enjoy It:
Fans of paranormal YA fiction who like a little romance and mystery.

Books in the Series:
Other
Bloodborn (Fall 2011)

Linkage Love:
Flux
Author's Website
Goodreads

Giveaway: Win a copy of Spaceheadz! by Jon Scieszka

Spaceheadz! by Jon Scieszka

The perfect combination of the age old experience of holding and pouring over a physical book with newest media technology that kids love!
Michael K. just started fifth grade at a new school. As if that wasn't hard enough, the kids he seems to have made friends with apparently aren't kids at all. They are aliens. Real aliens who have invaded our planet in the form of school children and a hamster. They have a mission to complete: to convince 3,140,001 kids to BE SPHDZ. But with a hamster as their leader, "kids" who talk like walking advertisements, and Michael K as their first convert, will the SPHDZ be able to keep their cover and pull off their assignment?

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Jon Scieszka's new middle grade book Spaceheadz! PLUS a neon Spaceheadz pencil!

Jon Scieszka is the author of one of my favorite children's book, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. So, when I was asked to hold this giveaway for his latest creation, I was thrilled! I just finished reading the book myself and I loved it! Perfect for young readers (or young at heart readers ;) Stay tuned for my review.

To enter, please FILL OUT THIS FORM

Some more about Jon:
Jon Scieszka is the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, named by the Library of Congress. He is the author of some of the best known and funniest books written for children including The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, The Time Warp Trio series and the Caldecott Honor Book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Fairy Tales. He is the creator of the Trucktown series, of which Smash!Crash! was an NY Times bestseller for many weeks. Jon is a former elementary school teacher, and a avid promoter of literacy—particularly for boys. His website www.guyssread.com focuses on his national campaign. Jon lives with his family in Brooklyn, NY.

Contest Details:
*2 winners will receive a copy of Jon's book AND a neon Spaceheadz pencil!
*Open to residents of the US 13 years and older (if you are under 13 please have your parents email me at WilowRaven[at]yahoo.com before entering)
*Contest ends September 10th 11:59 EST
*You do not have to be a follower but you must FILL OUT THIS FORM to enter

Some more goodies to check out!
The SPHDZ website - sign up and help the Earth from being turned off!
See what the government is doing to protect the Earth from the alien menace
Visit Michael K.'s fifth-grade class website




Monday, August 23, 2010

Author Visit: Blog Tour with Brenda Pandos


This wonderful Blog Tour is being hosted by the equally wonderful Eleni of La Femme Readers

Brenda Pandos has graciously agreed to answer some of my questions about her writing process. 

*****

Where do you usually do your writing?
In my brain and at the computer are my usual places. During the busy times of my day, I focus on a scene and imagine my characters. The dialog usually flows from there. I get my best inspiration when driving or taking a shower. Later, I’ll write it out. When I’m actually writing, I’m sitting on my couch with my laptop on my lap or at the kitchen table. (Don’t tell the IRS, they think I always do it in my office).

Do you have a set space in her home, or do you write wherever you can?
I write wherever I can. Sometimes, I jot down dialog on a notepad if I’m somewhere I can’t take my computer, but it comes with me everywhere. You never know when you’ll get a moment to write a scene or two.

Computer or paper?
Both, but mostly computer. I don’t know how people did it before with only a typewriter. I’m a little OCD and rewrite stuff over and over.

Noisy or quiet?
I prefer quiet, but don’t always get it. If a kid TV show is on, I can usually tune it out and write. Editing is different. I need to be distraction-free because I get on a roll and I don’t want the creativity to stop. I try to get a lot done when my youngest naps.

Are there specific things you always need with you in order to write?
Mostly, my laptop and a thesaurus are a must. Well, and Google too. I’m always referencing something. I’m a very visual person, so seeing ‘things’ help me with descriptions. Slacker radio is ideal if I need music. I love trance because it’s usually wordless and perfect for getting into the mood of a scene when editing. Too many words in a song can distract me and I stop writing and start singing along. Lol.

Thank you so much Brenda!

I'll be reviewing The Emerald Talisman soon, so stay tuned. 

(from Goodreads)
To be normal, sixteen-year-old Julia Parker would shed her empathic gift in a second. Life has been difficult since her mother's mysterious disappearance ten years earlier - an event she witnessed, but can't remember. Julia's situation becomes more complicated after a near death experience from a blood thirsty stalker. As high school students go missing it is clear there is a connection to her own experience--past and present. Someone has to stop the madness and a chance encounter with a creepy psychic foretells that only Julia is the key to stopping the madness, but it may require the life of the one she loves.


Some other goodies:
The Emerald Talisman website
The Emerald Talisman on Facebook
Brenda on Twitter

Saturday, August 21, 2010

In My Mailbox - August 21, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

SO! I got one supper book in the mail this week!

The Darkest Edge of Dawn (Charlie Madigan, #2)
by Kelly Gay
The sequel to The Better Part of Darkness - one of my favorite books. I'm so excited! Thank you so so so much Kelly!!
(from Goodreads)
It takes a strong woman to keep the peace in a city of endless night. . . .
Deep beneath Underground, a cunning bid for power and revenge has begun—one that threatens to make Atlanta the new battleground in the ultimate confrontation between good and evil. The powers of hellish Charbydon have the upper hand after plunging the city into primordial night. And under the cover of darkness, a serial killer targets the most powerful Elysians in the city, the angelic Adonai. For Detective Charlie Madigan and her siren partner Hank, tracking deadly predators is all in a day’s work . . . but this case will test the limits of their strength and friendship as it draws them into a deadly world of power plays, ancient myths, explosive secrets, and a race against time that risks all that Charlie holds dear.

AND also this week - I took a little trip to cool used bookstore near me
See those? hehehe
Oh how I love R.L. Stine - and all for a buck! 

So, what's in your mailbox?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On My Wishlist - Debut Authors

On My Wishlist is hosted by Book Chick City :)

Some more 2010 Debut Author books coming up. 
Way to go Tenners!

Nomansland by Lesley Hauge
Release Date: In the wild now!
(from Goodreads)
Sometime in the future, a lonely, windswept island is populated solely by women. Among these women is a group of teenaged Trackers—expert equestrians and archers—whose job is to protect their shores from the enemy. The enemy, they’ve been told, is men. When these girls come upon a partially buried home from the distant past, they are fascinated by the strange objects—high-heeled shoes, teen magazines, make-up—found there. What are they to make of these mysterious things? And what does it mean for their strict society where friendship is forbidden and rules must be obeyed—at all costs?

Delcroix Academy: The Candidates by Inara Scott
Release Date: August 24, 2010
(from Goodreads)
Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that's not just because of her average grades or her less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia's mediocrity is a welcome cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just...happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt.  So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, belieiving this way she can supress her powers and keep them hidden. But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia's days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for diplomats' kids and child geniuses--not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies.  So why are they treating Dancia like she's special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome. And then there's her mysterious new friend Jack, who can't stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what.  But Dancia isn't convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her "gift" than they're letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it...But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy.

Plain Kate by Erin Bow
Release Date: September 1, 2010
(from Goodreads)
Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden talismans are so fine that some even call her “witch-blade”: a dangerous nickname in a country where witches are hunted and burned in the square.
For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate’s father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading fear of hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate.
Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he’ll give Kate the means to escape the angry town, and what’s more, he’ll grant her heart’s wish. It’s a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes she can't live shadowless forever -- and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.

Monday, August 16, 2010

In which I admit my brain is smarter then me

I give up!

Ok, not really :) BUT I have been having some major brain blockage issues when it comes to writing reviews lately. Instead of pushing myself and spitting out crap that I'll be disappointed in, I'm taking a small break. Not from blogging as a whole but from posting reviews. I'm thinking maybe a week? Maybe less? Sometime all it takes is making the decision NOT to do something to get my mind back on track :) Does this trick work for you guys?

Maybe I've just read too many good books lately and my brain is in a happiness coma :)

Here's what I've been reading and what you guys have to look forward to. What review would you most like to see?

iDrakula by Bekka Black
Virals by Kathy Reichs
Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink
Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
Other by Karen Kiney
The Drained Brains Caper by Trina Robbins
The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin
Click by Various Authors
The Death (and Further Adventures) of Silas Winterbottom by Stephen M. Giles
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway
Zan-Gah by Allan Richard Shickman

later gaters!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In My Mailbox - August 15, 2010


In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Some good ones this week :)

For Review:
Fledging: Jason Steed by Mark A. Cooper
Release Date: Septmebr 2010
(from Goodreads)
Tormented by his mother’s death...
Taken for granted by his father...
Trained in deadly martial arts...
Jason Steed is looking for a place to call home. He finds what he’s looking for in the Sea Cadets—an elite group of British youngsters being groomed for lifelong service in the military. But when a routine training exercise goes awry, Jason finds himself in the middle of a secret mission. The future of the world hangs in the balance…and Jason might be the only one who can save it.

For Review:
Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire
Relesae Date: October 2010
(from Goodreads)
There's been no sign of the Beautiful Dead for weeks. Darina achingly misses Phoenix all over again. But surely he will return with the rest of the Beautiful Dead as so much still remains unresolved. It's been ten months since Arizona drowned in Hartmann Lake. Suicide, it would seem. But something doesn't add up. 
Drowning herself in a hidden - away lake does not sound like strong, confident, Arizona: Ellerton High School's high-maintenance drama queen. Darina needs to help Arizona the way she helped Jonas. But time is running out...

For Review:
The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green
Release Date: September 2010
(from publisher's website)
In a world where nothing is certain, a little magic couldn’t hurt…right?
When Erin Channing’s favorite aunt dies, Erin is bequeathed a pink crystal ball and a set of weird instructions. Granted, Aunt Kiki (aka Aunt Kooky) always lived “outside the box.” But now Erin and her two best friends are convinced that the pink crystal ball holds the key to their future—or at least the key to getting dates…
Consider Your Fate to Be Sealed . . .
    * Absolute knowledge is not unlimited; let the planets be your guide to the number.
    * There are sixteen ways to die, but four of them you will never see.
    * The future belongs to you alone. Other voices will be disappointed.
    * One rotation is as far as you can see. Only uncertainty lies beyond.

From PaperbackSwap
Rumer & Qix: The Race to Terra Incognita by Kathleen S. Wilson
(from Goodreads)
Rumer, a petite apprentice reporter for the 31st century Global Quotidien with a flair for fashion, loves zipping across Nanjing with her loyal sidekick, Qix, in search of stories. But now, she’s furious with her boss for asking her to cover the exploits of Alfa, the planet’s wealthiest mega-conglomerate. Her parents died in an Alfa accident and she can’t understand how he can be so insensitive. She escapes into the indie networks and soon finds herself puzzling over an image of a bizarre nature sighting. Ever since the flora and fauna were replaced with Alfa’s Syncov™ replicas eons earlier, sightings like this have been routinely dismissed. When ethereal voices relay a message confirming Rumer’s hunch that things are terribly amiss, she slips away on a globe-trotting quest for answers. An epic battle is brewing between Dr. BigCo, the powerful Alfa CEO, and his nemesis, MoNa, the vulnerable matriarch of the cosmos. Will Rumer be able to turn things around before it’s too late?

So, what's in your mailbox?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book Review: Siren by Tricia Rayburn


Age: 14+
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
Tags: mythical creatures, family, romance, urban fantasy
Pages: 352
Series: 1st in a series
Book Acquisition: ARC from BEA 2010

My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

(from Goodreads)
Seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything—the dark, heights, the ocean—but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been there to coach her through every challenge. That is, until Justine goes cliff-diving one night near the family’s vacation house in Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day. 
Though her parents hope that they’ll be able to find closure back in Boston, Vanessa can’t help feeling that her sister’s death wasn’t an accident. After discovering that Justine was keeping a lot of secrets, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor, hoping that Justine’s boyfriend might know more. But Caleb has been missing since Justine’s death. 
Soon, it’s not just Vanessa who’s afraid. All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes host to a string of fatal, water-related accidents in which all the victims are found, horrifically, grinning from ear to ear. 
Vanessa turns to Caleb’s brother, Simon, for help, and begins to find herself drawn to him. As the pair try to understand the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance—and will change her life forever. 

My Review:
Very the very start, this book captivated me. I think it was the setting - small, rural town on the coast of Maine. I live in New England but don't get to Maine (or the coast) very often but even without prior knowledge, the first chapter or so instilled a strong sense of place in my head. This strong connection with the setting, and then with the characters really made this a great read for me.

Because of this deep connection I felt right away, the death of Justine seemed a little abrupt and harsh. I knew it was coming - the synopsis clearly states that Justine dies - but, for me, it was still a little bit of a shock. It didn't really take anything away from the story for me however.

The story was unique. I'm a big fan of paranormal fiction, especially when a not so common paranormal is involved. Not gonna say too much because I don't want to ruin it but the action / out of control aspect to the story really appealed to me.

One thing I was a little confused by were the family connections. I'm pretty sure the author laid it all out for us so I'm thinking it's just me :) In any case, there is a TON more of this story to be told!

Oh, and the ending! So ominous! Even after I learned the answers I felt there were too many secrets. So! How excited am I that Siren will have a sequel? Supper duper exited :) No info on it yet but I'm hoping we'll get more of Vanessa's back story - more Winter Harbor, more Carmichael brothers...ok...just more of everything :)

Linkage Love:
Egmont
Author's Website
Goodreads

Wednesday, August 11, 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 are to Goodreads

Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn - October 5, 2010 from Ace
I absolutely love Sharon Shinn. I will devour anything she writes but I'm really looking forward to this new adult fantasy.

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann - February 8, 2011 from Simon Pulse
A mystery about missing kids in a strange town. Sounds suspenseful. 

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton aka Kelly Gay - February 22, 2011 from Simon Pulse
Futuristic maybe? Sounds spectacular! Gotta check out the link for more info! Supper excited about this one.

Another YA trilogy(?) set in the same world as The Darkest Powers series. I heard that the 2 series might combine eventually.

A new series that takes place in the world of Percy Jackson and I love me some Percy Jackson!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Massive List Updates

For those of you unfamiliar with my "Massive Lists" :)

They are my feeble attempts at organizing and listing 2010 and 2011 debut authors of middle grad (MG) and young adult (YA) books. I first started these Massive Lists in early 2010 and have become quickly addicted to hunting down info on debut authors and sharing them with my readers.Links to these lists can always be found below my header.

On to the updates!


The Tenners!

Author / Book Added:
*Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Updated Release Dates:
*September 1st for Michaela MacColl's The Prisoners in the Palace
*October 5th for Rae Mariz's The Unidentified
*November 2nd for Daisy Whitney's Mockingbirds
*November 28th for Margie Gelbwasser's Inconvenient
Other News:
*Caitlin Kittredge's book The Iron Thorn has a new release date of February 22, 2011 and she has been moved to the Massive List 2011 :)


The Elevensies!

Authors / Books added:
*Tommy Greenwald - Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading -- Spring release
*Hereafter by Tara Hudson -- June release
*The Iron Thorn by Catlin Kittredge -- February 22
Release Dates added:
April 5 - Kat the Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis 
March - Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker
March 22 - Across The Universe by Beth Revis
Other News:
Added Author's Now website to reference list
Cover Love!
Head Games by Keir Mikulsk
Clarity by Kim Harrington
(check out the 2011 Massive List for more lovely covers!)

As always, I would love your help with these lists. If you are a debut author of a book coming out in 2010 or 2011 and you would like to be included on my Massive Lists please either comment below or send me an email -- WilowRaven[at]yahoo.com. I would love it!!

Any mistakes are mine alone and if you find any (spelling errors, release date errors, books that shouldn't be on the list, ect.) please let me know!!

Happy Reading everyone!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Review: The Clone Codes by The McKissacks

Age: 12+
Publication Date: February 2010
Tags: clones, slavery, cyborgs, human rights, science fiction
Pages: 192
Series: ?
Book Acquisition: bought used ARC

My Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

(from Goodreads)
The Cyborg Wars are over and Earth has peacefully prospered for more than one hundred years. Yet sometimes history must repeat itself until humanity learns from its mistakes. In the year 2170, despite technological and political advances, cyborgs and clones are treated no better than slaves, and an underground abolitionist movement is fighting for freedom. Thirteen-year-old Leanna's entire life is thrown into chaos when The World Federation of Nations discovers her mom is part of the radical Liberty Bell Movement.
After her mother's arrest for treason, Leanna must escape as she is chased by a ruthless bounty hunter. Soon Leanna finds herself living among the Firsts, and nothing will ever be the same again. But what does The World Federation want with the daughter of a traitor? So much is uncertain. Danger hides everywhere. Fear takes over. With help from unlikely sources, Leanna learns the origin of The Liberty Bell Movement and how its members may have answers about her past-and her new reality.
As family secrets are revealed, Leanna must face startling truths about self-identity and freedom. Through time travel, advanced technologies, and artificial intelligence, this exhilarating adventure asks what it means to be human and explores the sacrifices an entire society will make to find out. 

My Review:
I was a little disappointed in this one. The premise sounded really good - I love futuristic tales but I had a hard time getting over the voice and tone of the book. It felt more like it fit into the middle grade 8-10 year old range then young adult 12+. Might not seem like a big different but the characters to me, had a very 'young' feel to them.

Written in the style of a diary or journal, each chapter was pretty short - sometimes too short for me. I never really warmed up to Leanna and I felt that her mother, although a very important person in the story, was underdeveloped.

What I did love about The Clone Codes, and what really made the book for me was the message it portrayed. Even though it's the year 2170, we, as humans, still have a lot to learn about humanity. Slavery, in any form is wrong and the fact that there were people fighting for the rights of clones and cyborgs in Leanna's world sent a very powerful message.

The ending was a little unfinished so I'm wondering if this is the first of a series. If it is, I will be picking up the second book because, even though the characters  weren't my favorites, I do want to know how Leanna's story turns out.

This one didn't really remind me of any other book I've read and while I wouldn't strongly recommend it as a good dystopian read, I would recommend it to younger readers who are interested in human rights issues.

Linkage Love:
Scholastic
Goodreads

Tidbits:
*The McKissacks are Newbery Honor winner Patricia, her husband Fredrick and their son John. Together, Patricia and Fredrick have written numerous award winning books. The Clone Codes is John's first.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Questions for Anastasia Hopcus author of Shadow Hills – I need your help!

Coming Soon!
Anastasia Hopcus, author of Shadow Hills, is paying a visit to Red House Books next month BUT in order for this to happen, I need your help. Anastasia wants to answer YOUR questions!

About the book:
from (Goodreads) shadow hills
His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her. Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry. After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all. But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.
About Anastasia
(from her website)
anastasia hopcus Anastasia Hopcus wrote her first book in 2nd grade. It was entitled Fredrick the Friendly French Ferret and was seven pages long. During high school she wrote numerous short stories and started (but never finished) three screenplays, all as an alternative to doing actual school work. At the very wise age of twelve her career ambition was to dive a Mack truck, but when that didn't pan out, she tried acting, bartending, and being a receptionist in a dojo before finally returning to writing. Anastasia loves horror stories, Joss Whedon, obsessing over music, and British accents. She lives in Austin, Texas and her debut young adult novel is out Summer 2010 from Egmont.

Have you read Shadow Hills and have questions about the book?
Are you looking forward to reading it and have questions for Anastasia?
Ask them now!
I’ll be sending 4 or 5 questions to Anastasia to answer in an upcoming post.
Please ask your questions in the comments!
A big thank you goes out to Jenny Brod from Goodman Media, Egmont USA and Anastasia for making this possible.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

In My Mailbox - August 7, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Really excited about my books this week. Be sure to stop by tomorrow for something special!

For Review
Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka

(from publisher's page)
The perfect combination of the age old experience of holding and pouring over a physical book with newest media technology that kids love! 
Michael K. just started fifth grade at a new school. As if that wasn't hard enough, the kids he seems to have made friends with apparently aren't kids at all. They are aliens. Real aliens who have invaded our planet in the form of school children and a hamster. They have a mission to complete: to convince 3,140,001 kids to BE SPHDZ. But with a hamster as their leader, "kids" who talk like walking advertisements, and Michael K as their first convert, will the SPHDZ be able to keep their cover and pull off their assignment?

For Review
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
**STOP BY TOMORROW FOR A SPECIAL SHADOW HILLS POST**

(from Goodreads)
His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.
Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry. 
After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all. 
But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

From Paperbackswap
Shadowed Summer by Saundra Michell
Already read this one and loved it! Needed a copy of my own :)

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

Bought
Dreamhouse Kings Book 2: Watcher in the Woods by Robert Liparulo
Read book 1 and it was fantastic! Hope to get all the books in the series soon.

(from Goodreads)
Pretending everything's all right is harder than it sounds. But the Kings know that even if they told the truth about the bizarre things happening in their house, no one would believe them. They're hyper-focused on rescuing their lost family member before anyone finds out what's going on. 
But when a stranger shows up to take their house, their options start dwindling fast. Why would he be so interested in a run-down old place? And what secret is he hiding--just as he hides the scars that crisscross his body?
The mystery gets stranger with each passing day. Will the Kings be able to find a way to harness the house's secrets and discover who is watching their every move before another gets snatched into an unknown world?

So, what's in your Mailbox?