Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 The End Is Here!



There you have it folks. I got all those last minute posts done.

A few very last minute things!
*2010 brought me to BEA, I celebrated my 1 year blogoversary, posted 327 times, read 144 books, gained 100s of new followers, learned the ropes of Twitter, started a Facebook account for Red House Books and shared much book love!  
Among other things ;)

In 2011 I hope to:
*Continue to blog because I love it not because it's a chore or a 'job'
*Become a better blog follower - meaning, only follow blogs I know I will enjoy reading and COMMENT MORE!
*Work those social networks more - engage in conversations on Twitter instead of just lurking, update that FB page more, post more reviews to Goodreads -- be more outgoing!
*Be more organized! In blogging, in reading, in life!
*Attend BEA11 :)
*Read! Read! Read!
Among other things ;)

Thanks for sticking with me today and everyday! I hope you all know how much I appreciate you and how very happy every comment makes me. You guys rock!

I couldn't have done all I have in the last year without you guys! Hope you stick with me in 2011!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Years!!



(Post 10 *and final post* of my End of Year Post Overload Giveaway! - click for more info and don't forget the comment love!)

2010 Reading Challenges!

I was really thinking I wasn't going to participate in any reading challenges in 2011 since I was so bad at keeping up with challenges in 2010. But then I remember how much fun I actually had with my 2010 challenges :)

I'm going with estimates here since I was a real slacker BUT 2011 will be better - I swear ;)

2010 Debut Author Challenge
Hosted by: The Story Siren
Goal: as many as possible :)
END TOTAL:  33 Books!





Books Read:
1. The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
2. Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
3. Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
4. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
5. The Line by Teri Hall
6. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
7. The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter
8. Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr
9. Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecourt White
10. Freaksville by Kitty Keswick
11. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
12. The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones
13. Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
14. Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
15. The Krybosian Stairpath by S.R.R. Colvin
16. Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
17. The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman
18. The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
19. Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
20. Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
21. Other by Karen Kincy
22. The Death (and Further Adventures) of Silas Winterbottom: The Body Thief by Stephen M. Giles
23. Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
24. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
25. Hush by Eishes Chayill
26. Fledgling: Jason Steed by mark A. Cooper
27. The Absolute Vaule of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
28. 13 to Life by Shannon Delany
29. The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos
30. Awakened by Ednah Walters
31. The Mark by Jen Nadol
32. Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
33. Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Support Your Local Library Challenge
Hosted by: Home Girl's Book Blog
Goal: To check out 75 books from my local libraries
END TOTAL: about 35 books :(







Graphic Novels Reading Challenge
Hosted by: Graphic Novels Challenge
Goal: 10+ novels
END TOTAL:  14 BOOKS!




Books Read:
01. Stitches by David Small
02. Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel by Jordan Mechner
03. Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer
04. The Merchant of Venice: A Graphic Novel by Gareth Hinds
05. Serenity Vol 1: Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon and others
06. Serenity Vol 2: Better Days by Joss Whedon and others
07. The Drained Brains Caper by Trina Robbins
08. Return to Labyrinth Vol 1 by Jake T. Forbes
09. Return to Labyrinth Vol 2 by Jake T. Forbes
10. Return to Labyrinth Vol 3 by Jake T. Forbes
11. Return to Labyrinth Vol 4 by Jake T. Forbes
12. The Adventures of OOk and Gluk by Dave Pilkey and George Beard
13. The Good Neighbors by Holly Black
14. Twilight The Graphic Novel Vol 1 by Stephenie Meyer

Monthly Reads - December 2010

Hello New Year! Well, almost :)
I'm doing nothing tonight - except maybe playing a killer game of Killerbunnies with my guy. (What? You've never heard of Killerbunnies? You are missing out man!)

Lots of stuff happened this month but I can't remember all of it :) Can't believe Christmas is actually over. The tree is still up and there are still a few more family members to visit and a few more presents to open and I'm on vacation so it's all good to me!

December was different - not much snow in NH really but WAY TOO MUCH in NY where I spent Christmas. How good of a job did NYC do in cleaning the streets of Queens? Here are two examples:



That top one would be a city bus - abandoned a few blocks from my Dad's house.
The bottom one is my Dad's block - taken out the windshield of my no-wheel drive, 4 inches of ground clearance car. Oh the joy!

You know what is truely joyous though? The number of books I read in December - oh yeah!

01. The 39 Clues Book Three: The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis
02. The 39 Clues Book Four: Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson
03. The 39 Clues Book Five: The Black Circle by Patrick Carman
04. The 39 Clues Book Six: In Too Deep by Jude Watson
05. The 39 Clues Book Seven: The Viper's Nest by Peter Lerangis
06. The 39 Clues Book Eight: The Emperor's Code by Gordon Korman
07. Entice by Carrie Jones
08. The 39 Clues Book Nine: Storm Warning by Linda Sue Park
09. The 39 Clues Book Ten: Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix
10. Out fro Blood by Alyxandra Harvey
11. Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck
12. The Good Neighbors by Holly Black
13. Ghost in the Machine: Skeleton Creek Book 2 by Patrick Carman
14. The Crossbones: Skeleton Creek Book 3 by Patrick Carman
15. Emily the Strange: The Lost Days by Rob Reger
16. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
17. Twilight The Graphic Novel Vol 1 by Stephenie Meyer

Woo hoo! I think I did pretty good :)
I've very much looking forward to January and 2011! How about you guys? How was your December?

Challenge Round Up!

Here is were I will update my 2011 reading challenges throughout the year
Last updated: 6.1.11

Debut Authors Reading Challenge
Hosted by The Story Siren
Goal: 40 books
Progress: 18/40
Books Read:
01. Human .4 by Mike A. Lancaster
02. XVI by Julia Karr
03. The Water Wars by Camerson Stracher
04. Clarity by Kim Harrington
05. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
06. The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner
07. Those That Wake by Jesse Karp
08. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
09. OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy
10. Divergent by Veronica Roth
11. Wildefire by Karsten Knight
12. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
13. Bumped by Megan McCafferty
13. Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
14. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
15. Griffin Rising by Darby Karchut
16. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
17. The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
18. Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James
19. Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe
20. Fury by Elizabeth Miles
21. Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
22. Flyaway by Helen Landalf
23. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
24. Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
25. Enclave by Ann Aguirre

***********************************

Audio Book Challenge
Hosted by Teresa's Reading Corner
Goal: 20 books
Progress: 7/20
Books Listened to:
01. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
02. The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillio
03. The Ask the The Answer by Patrick Ness
04. The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
05. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
06. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
07. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
08. The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

***********************************

100 Books In A Year
Hosted by Book Chick City
Goal: 200 books
Progress: 85/200
Books Read






***********************************

Mystery + Suspense Challenge
Hosted by Book Chick City
Goal: 20 books
Progress: 0/20
Books Read:

Mystery + Suspense Challenge 2011


Mystery + Suspense Challenge 2011 is hosted by Book Chick City

Reasons for participating?
Really only one big one - I love adult mystery and suspense novels and I have sorely neglected them in 2010.
I already have a ton on my shelves that need reading but check out this list of possibilities from Book Chick City!

Head over to Book Chick City for all the details and to join yourself - just click the button above.

100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge 2011



100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge 2011 is being hosted by Book Chick City

I have 3 reasons for joining this one -
*I read over 100 books in 2010 but I wasn't very good in keeping up with exactly how many I had read at any given time - hoping this challenge will force me into noticing my benchmarks.
*I love Book Chick City
*I love the challenge button! Isn't it so cute!?

For all the details and to sign up for yourself click the button.

So, how many books do you think you can read in 2011?

2011 Audio Book Challenge



In 2010 I found myself listening to more audio books then in previous years combined. I plan on keeping up this trend in 2011 and what better way to motivate myself then an official challenge? :)

This year the 2011 Audio Book Challenge is being hosted by Teresa of Teresa's Reading Corner. Click the cute picture above to sign up for yourself!

There are 4 levels:

Curious -- 3 Audio Books
Fascinated -- 6 Audio Books
Addicted -- 12 Audio Books
Obsessed -- 20 Audio Books

I'm going for Obsessed! What about you? Do you like audio books?

2011 Debut Authors Reading Challenge

2011 Debut Authors Reading Challenge hosted by The Story Siren

I absolutely love debut authors and what better way to show this love then by challenging myself to read as many YA and MG debut books as possible! 

If you would like to participate please see Kristi's post here

There are so many great books coming out in 2011. I know I'll get to at least 12 of them (minimum number to complete the challenge) but it's so hard to pick just 12 right now! 

I'll be using my Massive List of 2011 Debut Authors as my own personally guideline but be sure to check Kristi's guidelines for the challenge.

To start though here are some books I know I want to read!

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Illegal by Bettina Restrepo
Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
Anna, Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Razorland by Ann Aguirre
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner

I really could go on and on! 

What 2011 Debut Book are you most looking forward to? Will you be participating in this year's challenge?

CSN Preferred Blogger

The wonderful folks at CSN have contacted me again!
If you haven't checked out their website you really need to. So many great products. I've bought 2 things from them so far and I plan on buying more in the upcoming year.

I've been looking at their site and I really wish I had a use for some home bar furniture. I've always wanted a home bar and if I did have one CSN has a TON of stools to choose from!

I'm so glad I have discovered the wonder that is CSN Stores. Their products really are top notch and their customer service team is one of the best I have ever encountered.

Check out their site if you get a chance - what would you get?

End of Year Post Overload! Now with a Giveaway ;)

**THIS CONTEST IS CURRENTLY OVER - I'M TALLYING ENTRIES NOW AND WILL ANNOUNCE THE WINNERS SOON***

Hey guys!! 
2010 is just about over and for me at least that means getting in some last minute posts. 

Over the next day or so I have at least 8 different posts to um...post :) 
Mostly end of month / end of year wrap ups with a few challenge posts thrown in.

What does this mean for you? You can read each of my posts and be bored silly - all day long! 

OR

You can read each of my posts, make a meaningful comment and be entered to win a book! 
I have a big old pile of books that need new homes - some are 2010 ARCs some are older paperbacks and hardcovers. Winners choice!

What do you have to do?

1 US resident who comments on EVERY post I put up today will get a book - if more then one person comments on every post I'll either pick one of you or maybe there will be more then one winner.

1 US resident who comments on THIS POST and ANY OTHER post I put up today will be entered to win a book as well. 

Again - all you have to do is comment. Something meaningful so I know you actually read the post. 
Comments will be tallied through the weekend with the winners being announced on Monday night.

Just a little end of year fun!

You can start by commenting on this post - I'll link up the others below as I get them done.
POST 2
POST 3
POST 4
POST 5
POST 6
POST 7
POST 8
POST 9
POST 10 -- FINISHED!

Books Read in 2010

001. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O' Brien
002. Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer
003. Stitches: A Memoir by David Small
004. Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
005. Liar by Justine Larbalestier
006. Prom Dress by Lael Littke
007. Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel by Jordan Mechner and A.B. Sina
008. Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
009. Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
010. Need by Carrie Jones
011. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
012. Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer
013. Fade by Lisa Mcmann
014. The Line by Teri Hall
015. The Merchant of Venice: A Graphic Novel by Gareth Hinds
016. The Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines
017. Remember Me by Christopher Pike
018. The Night Runner by Max Turner
019. My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent
020. The Gratitude of Kings by Marion Zimmer Bradley
021. The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan
022. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
023. Meridian by Amber Kizer
024. Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap
025. The Gratitude of Kings by Marion Zimmer Bradley
026. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
027. Teacher's Pet by Richie Tankersley Cusick
028. Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz
029. Captivate by Carrie Jones
030. Switch by Carol Snow
031. Thirteen Day To Midnight by Patrick Carman
032. The Crimes of Dr. Watson by Duane Swierczynski
033. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
034. The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter
035. The Devouring by Simon Holt
036. Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr
037. Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
038. Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey
039. Serenity: Those Left Behind graphic novel Vol 1 by Joss Whedon et al
040. Demon Chick by Marilyn Kaye
041. Serenity: Better Days graphic novel Vol 2 by Joss Whedon et al
042. Freaksville by Kitty Keswick
043. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
044. The Solstice Cup by Rachel Dunstan Muller
045. The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones
046. The Returners by Gemma Malley
047. Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
048. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
049. Love Is Hell by various authors
050. Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
051. Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
052. General Winston's Daughter by Sharon Shinn
053. Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
054. The Krybosian Mstairpath by S.R.R. Colvin
055. Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
056. Beautiful Creatures (audio) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
057. Green Witch by Alice Hoffman
058. iDrakula by Bekka Black
059. The Gardener by S.A. Boden
060. Virals by Kathy Reichs
061. Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson
062. The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman
063. Picture The Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown
064. The Tension of Opposites by Kristina Mc Bride
065. Clementine, Friend of the Week by Sara Pennypacker
066. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
067. Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
068. Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
069. Grimm Fairy Tales Vol 1 by Joe Tyler and Ralph Tedesco
070. Weekend by Christopher Pike
071. Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink
072. I Saw You That Night by R.L. Stine
073. Siren by Tricia Rayburn
074. Birth Marked by Caragh O'Brien
075. Clone Codes by The Mckissacks
076. The Julian Game by Adele Griffin
077. Other by Karen Kiney
078. The Drained Brain Caper by Trina Robbins
079. The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
080. The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin
081. Click by various
082. Jim Henson's Return to Labyrinth Vol 1 by Jake T. Forbes
083. Jim Henson's Return to Labyrinth Vol 2 by Jake T. Forbes
084. Jim Henson's Return to Labyrinth Vol 3 by Jake T. Forbes
085. Jim Henson's Return to Labyrinth Vol 4 by Jake T. Forbes
086. The Death (and Further Adventures) of Silas Winterbottom by Stephen M. Giles
087. The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire by various
088. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway
089. Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman
090. The Atlantis Complex: Artemis Fowl Book 7 by Eoin Colfer
091. Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka
092. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
093. The Baby-Sitter by R.L. Stine
094. The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green
095. Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson
096. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
097. The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
098. Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
099. Beautiful Dead: Jonas by Eden Maguire
100. Beastly by Alex Flynn
101. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
102. Hush by Eishes Chayil
103. Fledgling: Jason Steed by Mark A. Cooper
104. Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire
105. The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike
106. Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
107. The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
108. 13 to Life by Shannon Delany
109. Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler
110. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
111. Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
112. Firelight by Sophie Jordan
113. The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos
114. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
115. The Better Park of Darkness by Kelly Gay
116. The Adventures of Ook and Gluk by Dave Pilkey and George Beard
117. Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullogh
118. Awakened by Ednah Walters
119. Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
120. Candor by Pam Bachorz
121. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
122. The 39 Clues Book One: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
123. The 39 Clues Book Two: One False Note by Gordon Korman
124. The Samantha Granger Experiment Fuse by Kair Lee Townsend
125. Middlewood: The Jaguar Stones Book 1 by J&P Voelkel
126. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
127. Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
128. The 39 Clues Book Three: The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis
129. The 39 Clues Book Four: Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson
130. The 39 Clues Book Five: The Black Circle by Patrick Carman
131. The 39 Clues Book Six: In Too Deep by Jude Watson
132. The 39 Clues Book Seven: The Viper's Nest by Peter Lerangis
133. The 39 Clues Book Eight: The Emperor's Code by Gordon Korman
134. Entice by Carrie Jones
135. The 39 Clues Book Nine: Storm Warning by Linda Sue Park
136. The 39 Clues Book Ten: Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix
137. Out fro Blood by Alyxandra Harvey
138. Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck
139. The Good Neighbors by Holly Black
140. Ghost in the Machine: Skeleton Creek Book 2 by Patrick Carman
141. The Crossbones: Skeleton Creek Book 3 by Patrick Carman
142. Emily the Strange: The Lost Days by Rob Reger
143. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
144. Twilight The Graphic Novel Vol 1 by Stephenie Meyer
145. Secret Circle Vol 2: The Captive by L.J. Smith

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review: Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck

Publication Date: October 2010
Pages: 208
Series: no
Acquisition: received an ARC at BEA10

Summary:
Kerry is chosen by the coolest clique in school and so she thinks life has finally begun. But then it seems all over when her three friends are killed in a shocking car accident. Or are they? Only weeks after the accident, Kerry receives a text from one of the girls: We're all 3 here at my aunt's in the city. Take the 3:50 train. B there. Exhilarating, terrifying suspense is crossed with a thought-provoking examination of peer pressure in Richard Peck's return to his contemporary teen- and ghost-story roots. This is a master author's gift to the Gossip Girl/Twilight generation: his own smart, stylish, and fun take on the paranormal. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Richard Peck is one of my favorite authors of all times. He has been publishing books in the early 1970s and I grew up reading his stories. He is an amazing story teller and Three Quarters Dead is a shinning example of everything I love about his writing.

There is something fundamentally creepy about this book. I didn't actually like many of the characters but my dislikes worked for the story. The setting was somewhat ordinary but the plot was so well developed that it didn't matter. The ghosts? Not like any I have encountered before.

The additional aspect of modern day teen peer pressure added a layer to this story and for me, helped to enhance the creepiness of the ghost story itself. Kerry had issues before her 3 supposed best friends died but after their car accident, things really start to get interesting.

Final verdict:
Loved it! The creep factor alone would have been enough to make me pick up this one. Also getting the rich story telling of Richard Peck made this book truly enjoyable for me. If you're looking for something different in YA books, Three Quarters Dead might be for you. Especially if you like ghost stories - scary ones.

And as an added bonus, for me at least - it's not part of a series. It was refreshing to know that after the last page was turned, the story was over. At least for the readers. The characters in this one though, very much have a mind of their own.

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Penguin
Author's Fantastic Fiction page
Goodreads

Tidbits:
*Richard Peck was at BEA last May and he signed my copy of Three Quarters Dead. He is such a sweet man and I'm so happy I had the chance to meet him :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Contest! Win Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey

Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey
Book 3 in the Drake Chronicles

GIVEAWAY DETAILS
*Open to US residents 13 years or older (if you are under 13 please ask your parents to email me at WilowRaven@yahoo.com before entering)
*Ends January 25, 2011 11:59 EST
*Fill out THIS FORM to enter
*Extra entries for following (blog, twitter)
*Extra entry for commenting on my review - LINK
*Book will ship directly from the publisher -- thank you Bloomsbury for hosting this event!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Spoiler Free Review: Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey

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

Publication Date: December 2010
Pages: 304
Series: 3rd book in the Drake Chronicles
Acquisition: received an ARC for review

Summary:
Goodreads link

My thoughts:
Another win! The Drake Chronicles has never been your typical vampire series and Alyxandra has proven her worth once again with this third installment.

In book 1, Hearts At Stake, we are introduced to the Drake family and follow the tale of soon to turn vampire, Solange and her human best friend Lucy. Falling in love with Solange's 7 brothers and the rest of the Drake family clan wasn't hard to do. Book 2, Blood Feud, gives us Logan Drake the beautiful, Isabeau and even more adventure and romance. In Out for Blood we meet another Drake brother - the impish, playboy of the family, Quinn.

One of the things I loved about Blood Feud was the fact that it picks up right where Hearts At Stake leaves off. The same can be said of Out for Blood. All in all, the total time lapse of the first three books is a couple of weeks or so. It gives the entire series an edge, in my opinion. I feel like I'm not missing anything and that I'm getting the whole story. With the different points of view of each book, the story is that much more enriched.

Another thing that I really enjoyed was the fact that with the introduction of Hunter,  not only do we get more insight into another layer of the vampire world we still get all the yummy Drake brothers and other characters we have grown to love from books 1 and 2.

Reminded me of:
The setting very much reminded me of the first book in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. The characters aren't a direct match up but the Helios-Ra Academy, with it's secrets and young students, had me thinking of Rose, from Vampire Academy and her experiences.

Final verdict:
I really love this series. It's one that I can see myself reading again and again. The Drake family, with it's gorgeous 8 siblings and equally alluring parents, would be interesting even if they weren't vampires. 

I highly recommend the Drake Chronicles. If you haven't yet started this series and you're a fan of vampire young adult tales, you should defiantly pick these books up

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

The Drake Chronicles:
Hearts At Stake
Blood Feud
Out for Blood
Bleeding Hearts - November 2011

Linkage Love:
Bloomsbury Teens
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tidbits:
*A quote from my review of Hearts at Stakes was quoted in the ARC of Out for Blood! I literally fell over when I saw this! Thank you Bloomsbury!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wow! Readers' Choice Awards

I know I announced a bloggy silence through the holiday BUT I saw this today and it totally blew me away!

Natalie from Mindful Musing is hosting a Readers' Choice award for Best New Blog and Best Blog and someone out there nominated me! I'm really can't believe this!

I cannot say thank you enough! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The nominee list is full of some truly wonderful people and I encourage you to take a look - you might find a cool new blog or two.

You can also vote and be entered to win some yummy prizes! CLICK HERE for Natalie's post.

Hope everyone is having a happy and stress free week :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Break

Hello my lovelies! I hope your pre-holiday week is going smoothly (if you celebrate Christmas) and if you don't celebrate, I hope all those crazy people running around haven't caused you to hide in your homes until new years. Really wish I could hide...

Anyway! 

I'm traveling to my home turf of Long Island soon to celebrate with the family. I'll be taking a weekish long break from blogging. I have an awesome review and giveaway scheduled in a few days but other then that I'll be on boggy silent lock down!

Taking my computer with me but I plan on eating too many cookies, opening too many presents and finally relaxing so you won't be hearing much from me! 

I hope everyone has a SAFE and HAPPY Holiday! 

I leave you, for now, with a picture of my little girl playing hide and seek at the farm where we got our tree :)


Sunday, December 19, 2010

In My Mailbox - December 19, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Very quick one today - so so busy!! How can it possibly be December 19th already!?!?!

Here is what I got :) Links are to Goodreads

For Review:
Big Thanks to Karen and Media Masters Publicity

From PaperbackSwap

FROM MY AWESOME SECRET SANTA!
Event hosted by the equally awesome Kate from The Neverending Shelf
I have no idea who sent these! THANK YOU Secret Santa :)

So, what's in your mailbox?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winner!

Random.org has spoken!
The winner of an ARC of The Lost Saint + Nail Polish is....


Please email me your address - WilowRaven@yahoo.com

A big thank you to everyone who entered! You guys are the best.

Didn't win: Check out my latest contest for a chance to win a copy of Entice by Carrie Jones

Mini Review: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Publication Date: August 2009
Book Acquisition: e-book from my public library

Book Summary:
Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns... 
Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years. 
Or not. 
Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries. 
However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student ... an attraction that could jeopardize everything (from Goodreads)

Review:
Wow. This book blew me away! I don't know why I waited so long to read it. I think I was a little worried about corrupting my love of unicorns with Diana's version of blood thirsty killers. My unicorns have always been gentle and magical. The unicorns of Rampant - magical? Yeah. Gentle? Hells no! And you know what? I think I like them better that way :)

What I really liked about Rampant was the fact that the story doesn't rely on the novelty of the killer unicorns to make it work. The plot is awesome, the characters are well developed and really likable, and the setting was amazing.

So even if you discount the awesomeness that evil unicorns present, the story itself was one of the best I've read this year. I absoultly loved Astrid and I so saw myself walking the halls of that ancient cloister.

I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of book 2! I highly recommend this one :)

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Series:
Rampant
Ascendant

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

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Contest! Win Entice by Carrie Jones

Entice by Carrie Jones
Book 3 in the Need Series


GIVEAWAY DETAILS
*Open to US residents 13 years or older (if you are under 13 please ask your parents to email me at WilowRaven@yahoo.com before entering)
*Ends January 12, 2011 11:59 EST
*Fill out THIS FORM to enter
*Extra entries for following (blog, twitter)
*Extra entry for commenting on my review - LINK
*Book will ship directly from the publisher -- thank you Bloomsbury for hosting this event!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book Review: Entice by Carrie Jones

**Warning**
This is the 3rd book in a series. The summary below and my review contain spoilers for those folks that haven't read books 1 and 2

Publication Date: Today! December 14, 2010
Pages: 272
Series: 3rd in a series
Acquisition: received an ARC for review

Summary:
Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that's not quite how things have worked out. 
For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla? 
And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned. She's Astley's queen. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I was very pleasantly surprised by Entice. Sorry to say, I didn't love the first two books in the series. I have issues with the characters and the setting. I still have those issues but overall, Entice was a much better read for me.

One of the main reasons I'm not a huge fan is Zara. I still haven't warmed up to her. She comes off rather dull and somewhat unintelligent. She's dealing with some pretty huge problems. Problems that force her to turn pixie. Does she face these problems head on? She does. But at the end of the day we get a little too much 'bad Zara - now go to your room young lady' from her mother and grandmother. I didn't feel like Zara was allowed to develop as a character and she defiantly didn't develop her pixie side to it's fullest.

What saved Entice for me was Astley. I'd sign up to be pixie kissed by him any day! The way he cares about his fellow pixies and the way he tries to take care of Zara despite what her friends and family think of him,  really made my heart melt a little. He really cares for her. Very different from Zara's relationship with Nick, which I always felt was a little fake.

So yeah, Nick...Nick I never really liked. He reminds me of Edward from Twilight - which might do it for some but not for me. I didn't mind him so much in Entice because, well, he wasn't really in it :) We do get to see how much his friends really care about him and that I did like. And when he does show up on the scene? A bit predictable but I'm thinking his time away as changed him in ways that will make book 4 really interesting.

Oh, and I'm just assuming there is a book 4. There better be a book 4!

Final verdict:
A must read if you have already read books 1 and 2. If you haven't picked up this series, despite what my review ratings might show, I would actually recommend these books to fantasy YA fans.

I gave Need a 2.5 out of 5 Star rating. Captive got a 3 and Entice is getting a 3.5. Even if Zara still bugs me, I'm warming up to the series as a whole.

Entice has a pretty good ending but there is a lot more of Zara, Nick and Astley's story to be told. I still love the fantasy world Jones has created and I can see this series going far.

Overall Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Need Series:
Need
Captivate
Entice
Book 4 ?

Linkage Love:
Bloomsbury
Author's Website
Goodreads

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In My Mailbox - December 12, 2010

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

I've had a busy week getting ready for Christmas and getting a new roof on the house! Homeownership is a blast - let me tell you!

Some goodies managed to sneak their way in the house and since they asked so nicely I guess I'll keep them :)

All links are to Goodreads...the better to add to your wishlists ;)

For Review:
Big Thanks go out to: Egmont, Goodman Media and Sourcebooks 

From Holiday Yankee book swap party:
Won:
Tons of yummy swag!
Big Thanks go out to: StephSu and my friend MK

For Review (this is a bunch of weeks worth!): 
Big Thanks go out to: NetGalley.com, Houghton Mifflin and Harlequin Teen

So, what's in your mailbox?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Review: The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Fung-Fu Cavemen of the Future by George Beard and Harold Hutchins

Publication Date: August 2010
Acquisition: received a copy for review

Summary:
In this all-new graphic novel, George Beard and Harold Hutchins present the sensational saga of two silly cave boys named Ook and Gluk. Ook and Gluk have a pretty awesome life growing up together in Caveland, Ohio, in 500,001 BC-even though they are always getting in trouble with their nasty leader, Big Chief Goppernopper. But Ook and Gluk's idyllic life takes a turn for the terrible when an evil corporation from the future invades their quiet, prehistoric town. When Ook, Gluk, and their little dinosaur pal, Lily, are pulled through a time portal to the year 2222 AD, they discover that the world of the future is even worse than the devastated one they came from. Fortunately, they find a friend in Master Wong, a martial arts instructor who trains them in the ways of kung fu, so that they may one day return home and make things right again. And, like the other Captain Underpants books,The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future features the world's cheesiest animation technology;Flip-O-Rama, in every chapter.

My Thoughts:
A really fun read. I've always loved graphic novels and I know that if this book was around when I was a kid, I would have loved it.

Reading it as an adult, it was a little hard getting past the intentional grammatical and spelling errors. It's not really a criticism but, personally, I think I would have liked this book more if the characters weren't depicted as talking in 'caveman language'. Saying things like "Me think we made new friends" and "Maybe we drop bees on hims head?" got to me after a while. The spelling also was a little trying at times. BUT these features are intentionally there as a means to annoy grown-ups so I would say, it's a success! :)

With that said, I really did like the story. Ook and Gluk really do travel to the future, learn Fung-Fu and save their world. It was a pretty exciting adventure.

The flow of the graphics worked really well and like the summary says, each chapter contains Flip-O-Rama! A flip the pages really fast to see a cool 'moving' picture, sort of thing. It added even more fun into the overall story for me.

I think Ook and Gluk would make a good gift for young readers in your lives. I know I'll be holding on to my copy for my little one. Lots of laughs, adventures, dinosaurs, Kung-Fu and time travel - what more could a kid ask for!

Overall Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Scholastic
Goodreads

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

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

2010 is almost at a close. While I think I did a pretty good job reading as many 2010 Debut Authors as I could, here are a few I missed that I still plan on getting my hands on.

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Goodreads / Author Website
Why it made the list: Lots of paranormal elements with some real world problems thrown in. Also, it's been described as 'gory' which, have to say, I'm a sucker for.

Tagged by Mara Purnhagen
Goodreads / Author Website
Why it made the list: I read Past Midnight by Mara and really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to more of her writing.

Split by Swati Avasthi
Goodreads / Author Website
Why it made the list: I've read so many great reviews and I really want to add more realistic fiction into my reading mix.

Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
Goodreads / Author Website
Why it made the list: Some cool mind reading abilities with a cool sounding mystery thrown in.

Tell me A Secret by Holly Cupala
Goodreads / Author Website
Why it made the list: I read a chapter sample and pretty much loved it. Need to read entire book!

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Goodreads / Author Website
Why it made the list: I love, love, love Edgar Allan Poe and this one has gotten wonderful reviews.

Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Goodreads / Author Website
Why it made the list: Every single review of this book I have read have rated it as absolutely fabulous!