Thursday, June 30, 2011

In which I declare July to be NETGALLEY MONTH! With prizes ;)


My oh my! Is is July already?
I for one, couldn't be happier since today marks the start of another fabulous month in which to declare our love for NetGalley :)

If you have no idea what I'm talking about here is the condensed version --  In April, I declared it to be NetGalley month and I challenged all of you to read as many NetGalley books as you could. The Lovely Lindsay from NetGalley was kind enough to tweet chat with us, prizes were offered and a massive amount of books were read! In a word - it was awesomesauce!

Because of the popularity and the amount of fun I had, I decided to do it all over again in July :)
A few changes and a few new things but overall the goals are the same. Read as many NetGalley books as you can this month!

So, who wants to join me?
It's really simple and there are prizes :)

DETAILS:

*DECLARE YOURSELF*
Post on your blog (preferable), your Facebook wall, on Tumblr -- somewhere on the interwebs -- and link back to this post. Basically, tell your followers and friends about NetGalley July and comment below with your link
Or
Tweet about the event using the hashtag #NetGalleyMonth
The only real criteria is to have a link back to this post somewhere in your declaration and you must comment below :)

*READ*
As many NetGalley books as you can in July -- make sure you keep track of them because this time, in order to be eligible for a prize you must report your reads to me. Another post, an email, a comment on the wrap up post in August - doesn't matter - I just want to know what you read :)

*PRIZES*
2 people will win $15 worth of books from The Book Depository!

Other Details:
*You do not need a blog in order to participate - you only need to be a member of NetGalley
*You do not need to follow my blog -- you only need to declare yourself AND check back in with me in August with your totals. But you may want to at least bookmark or RSS subscribe so you don't miss out on updates throughout the month.
*Prizes are open to everyone The Book Depository ships to!
*Please use the hashtag #NetGalleyMonth on Twitter and (hopefully?) talk it up as much as you can during July :)
*Extra entry points will be offered for completing NetGalley tasks throughout the month - more on that later :)
*Another Twitter chat with Lindsey will take place later in the month - more on that soon :)

Questions? Do not hesitate to email me -- WilowRaven(at)gmail(dot)com

So, now that I've DECLARED MYSELF -- how about you? 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review: Wildefire by Karsten Knight

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: July 26, 2011
Pages: 393
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: received for review via SandS Galley Grab

Summary:
Every flame begins with a spark.
Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
First off - have to get it out of the way -- "Holy Cliff Hanger Batman!"

The story was pretty much over and there was some wrapping up to do, which I liked, and then….wham! Seriously?! What the hell was that!?

With all the things that bug me in YA lit (love triangles and vampires that sparkle instead of kill to name a few)  you would think I would also hate cliff hangers, right? They are kind of mean. Like the author is dangling book 2 in front of your face going "Oh, you want to know what happens next? Sucks to be you!" But no, I don't hate them. I personally think they are inspiring. Cliff hangers fully root a book into my brain. It stays with me. It lingers and when book 2 does come around, I am so ready! Even if I wasn't already really enjoying Wildefire by the end, those last couple of sentences did me in!

Aside from really digging the suspenseful ending, I absolutely loved Ashline. She is strong and she is determined and she never backs down - no nonsense and tough as nails. Characters like her really appeal to me. I felt invested in her story and I was routing for her. I love when this happens.

I also really loved Ash and her sister's back story as there is so much more there to explore. Also, I'm hoping we find out more about the other gods and goddesses. There is a lot going on and I'm not sure who to believe yet. The mystery of it all really moved the story along.

Final verdict:
With Wildefire, there wasn't one main thing that I loved about it. Rather, it was all the little pieces individually.  If you were to take out any one element and drop it in another book it would still work for me. Ashline, I loved. The setting was believable and easy to envision. The supporting cast were original and pretty kick ass in their own respects. And the myth and mystery? Spot on. Love it.

The elements you'll find in Widlefire aren't ones you typically find in young adult novels these days and that, in my opinion, is a very good thing. It's more mythology then paranormal. More mystery then adventure. Wildefire has a lot more...well...just more.  Every page was a pleasure to read and seriously, that cliff hanger was just...arg!

I highly recommend this one and I'm dying to get my hands on book 2!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Simon and Schuster
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Review: Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Pages: 352
Series: no
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.
Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies? (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Historical, paranormal fiction? Pretty much rocks if done right and Haunting Violet is oh so very right! A ghost story that is so much more. I was pulled in pretty much from the first page.

What I really liked about Haunting Violet is the way all the elements of the story work together. We have Violet and her newly discovered ability to speak to the dead. Violet's mother, a fraudulent medium with some deep issues of her own. The Victorian setting, the ghosts, the mystery -- it was all spot on! And it all worked!

The romance was also very very well done. No love triangles, no instant infatuations. Falling in love with Colin was easy. Despite his role, he is an honest and sincere person. Really, everything he does, he does for Violet. The certainty of their love for each other, mixed with the uncertainty of their situations made for some really sweet scenes. I would read Haunting Violet again for the romance alone.

The ending, while dramatic, was maybe a little too good to be true? Unrealistic perhaps but even so, I really loved it. All the pieces fit together.

Reminded me of:
Not all books remind me of others but Haunting Violet did. The setting and even some of the characters had me thinking of The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell. The paranormal elements and the settings aren't exactly the same, but the overall feel of both books are. As for the mystery - I was reminded of Lauren Baratz-Logsted's The Twin's Daughter. No ghosts in that one but the enclosed, secretive worlds that spurred on both mysteries are the same.

Final verdict:
A really great read for me. Whether writing about vampires or ghosts, Alyxandra Harvey's words are always captivating.

Haunting Violet is a stand a lone novel but I can see it working as the first in a series as well. No loose ends to tie up but I would very much enjoy reading more about Violet, Colin and the new world they have found themselves in.

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 stars

Linkage Love:
Bloomsbury
Author's Website
Goodreads

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cover Love: NEW COVER for Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James


Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James
September 8, 2011 from Flux

A devastated Earth’s last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space, and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers—political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth’s stratosphere—and the corrupt Surface government.
Jesse Fisher, a Skyship brat, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. Their chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable—and dangerous—abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess. Enemies thrust together with a common goal, Jesse and Cassius make their way to the ruins of Seattle to uncover the truth about their new powers, the past they didn’t know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls. (from Goodreads)

To compare, here is the old cover:
I'm a fan of the new one - definitely one I would pick up off the shelf for a closer look.
What do you think?

Others places to find Nick:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

In My Mailbox - June 25, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Vlog number 5 in which my crazy makes an appearance...or two or three




Awesomeness mentioned:

Patrick Carman (who is awesome) -- Dark Eden Goodreads page and Facebook page

Victoria Schwab

The Secret Lives of the Four Wives by Lola Shoneyin

Welcome to Bordertown edited by Holly Black and Elen Kushner

Big thanks to Patrick Carman, Victoria Schwab, William Morrow / HarperCollins and Random House / Random Buzzers

So, what's in your mailbox?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's almost time to show some more NetGalley Love!

I can't deny it any longer....June is almost over.

BUT! Do you know what that means?!?!

It's almost time for.....


WOO HOO!!!

NetGalley April was such a success and so much fun, I decided to do it again in July :)
I'll be posting again on July 1 with all the details but in the mean time: 

*Take a look at my NetGalley April Posts to get a preview of what's in store (DeclarationTwitter Chat with Lindsey Rudnickas from NetGalleyFinal Wrap UpTotals and Stats)

*Start spreading the word -- Please use use #NetGalleyMonth, @NetGalley, @WilowRedHouse and / or a link to this post if you tweet :)

*Sit back and wait for the awesome!

Ok, you might also want to load up those computers and e-readers with lovely lovely NetGalley titles...but don't start reading until July...hehehe....just kidding

Are you excited?
I'm excited!!

Spread the word and be sure to stop by again on July 1st!
All your questions will be answered then :) But if you really really can't wait, drop me an email.

So excited!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is hosted by Book Chick City :)

Links are to Goodreads

Future Release
August 30, 2011 from Pocket
Why I'm wishing for it: I absolutely loved the first 2 books! Some of the best urban fantasy I have ever read!

Already In Stores
March 2011 from Crown Publishing
Why I'm wishing for it: I'm really grooving on the mermaid theme in books lately and this one sounds just right.

So, what's on your Wishlist?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Review: Undercurrent (Siren #2) by Tricia Rayburn

***SPOILER FREE***
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: July 12, 2011
Pages: 352
Series: 2nd in a trilogy
Acquisition: BEA 2011

Summary:
After losing her sister and finding out who- or what- she really is, Vanessa returns home for her senior year. Everyone at Hawthorne Prep has questions about her tragic summer, but knowing who to open up to is impossible. As she walks the halls without Justine for the very first time, Vanessa has more to worry about than just making a new life for herself.
Because the sirens are out for revenge. To protect herself and the ones she loves, Vanessa must call on powers she believes she has but does not know how to use. To learn, she'll have to seek help from the only person who truly knows her. But first, she must admit the truth about her real identity.(from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Undercurrent picks up only a short time after Siren ends. I really love when sequels do this. I don't like missing out on anything so it was refreshing to be put right back in the action, so to speak.

Overall though, I have to say I was a little disappointed. I absolutely loved Siren and I couldn't wait to read the sequel. But...well...I didn't love it. There were parts that I loved and there were parts that I hated and everything else fell a little flat. The writing itself was very well done and very well played out but the story and the characters weren't what I was expecting.

I'm saddened by this because I loved the storyline of Siren. I loved the characters and I loved the plot. Undercurrent very much felt like a bridge book. Things happened that needed to happen to move the series along but a lot of the book felt like filler. And...a pet peeve of mine….there is a love triangle. I hate love triangles. That's just me though.

Because of these reasons, I found myself growing distant with Vanessa. This shouldn't happen. I should be invested in her and her life and her story and her feelings and….at times I found myself really annoyed with her. There were also some logistical things that got to me. Too many 6 hour drives up and down the east coast that didn't feel right fitting into the timeline.

Final verdict:
Am I sorry I read it? Absolutely not. While it might not have been my cup of tea and while Vanessa herself might have lost some appeal to me, I am invested in the story and the world that Tricia has created. I need to know what happens! With one? more book in the series to go, I'm very much wishing it were already in my hot little hands!

Overall Rating:
3 / 5 Stars

Books in the Siren Series:
Siren -- My Review
Undercurrent
Book 3?

Linkage Love:
Egmont USA
Author's Website
Goodreads

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cover Love: Everblue by Brenda Pandos


July 31, 2011 from Obsidian Mountain Publishing

Best friends share everything with each other. Or do they? Seventeen-year-old Ashlyn Frances Lanski is tired of her boring, single life. Spending time with her best friend Tatiana, dreaming about kissing Tatiana's twin brother Fin, and swimming competitively are her only sanctuary. The girls plan to leave their drab lakeside town far behind for college. But when Tatchi fails to return home after a family emergency, and no one knows where the family has gone, Ash chooses to do something drastic to find them.
Ashlyn is about to discover what she’d thought to be true her whole life, wasn’t, and the truth, too fantastical to imagine. Secrets lurk beneath the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe, secrets that will change Ashlyn's life forever. (from Goodreads)

Isn't that cover beautiful!
Thank you Brenda for sharing it with us :)

Places to find Brenda
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New England Area Author and Book Events

I shall update this post whenever I find out about author and book events in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

If you know of events not listed below please comment or email me (WilowRaven[at]gmail[dot]com) and I'll get them added!

Also, if you know authors who live in New England, please let me know!


**********************************************************************
Wellesley MA -- Tuesday September 20th at 7pm
Author Signing: Suzanne Lafleur (Eight Keys)

Wellesley Books
82 Central Street
Wellesley MA 02482




**********************************************************************
Brookline MA -- Wednesday September 28th at 6pm
Author Event and Signing: Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis (Wildwood)
**TICKET EVENT -- SEE WEBSITE FOR DETAILS**

Coolidge Corner Theatre
Harvard Street
Brookline MA 02446

**********************************************************************
Nashua NH -- Thursday September 29th at 7pm
Author Signing: Mike Lupica (The Underdogs)

Barnes and Noble
235 Daniel Webster Hwy
Nashua NH 03060




**********************************************************************
Wellesley MA -- Friday September 30th at 7pm
Author Reading: Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)

Wellesley Free Library
530 Washington Street
Wellesley MA 02482



**********************************************************************
Concord NH -- Monday September 19 at 7pm
Author Signing -- Lois Lowry (Bless this Mouse)
*details to follow*

Gibson's Bookstore 
27 South Main Street
Concord NH 03301
603-224-0562


**********************************************************************
New Haven CT -- Wednesday October 19 at 8pm
Mark My Words: An Evening with David Baldacci, John Grisham and Jodi Picoult
***TICKETED EVENT***

500 College Street at Grove Street
New Haven CT
**********************************************************************

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guest Post: Author Charlie Higson

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Charlie Higson to Red House Books.
Charlie is the author of The Enemy series. Book 2, The Dead, releases today in the US. Thanks for visiting :)

****************************************
People often ask me why I write horrible stories in which children are terrified, chased around, killed and eaten. After all, my biggest fear, as a parent, is that some harm might come to one of my own kids. Well, maybe that’s the answer. In order to frighten others (the main, though not the sole, purpose of a horror story) we must write about what frightens us. I think novelists have always used their books not only to explore things they are interested in, but also to unload their own fears, neuroses and concerns; they play with their darkest thoughts and utilize their most unpleasant characteristics.

It must be said that children love horror, and the biggest consumers of horror movies are teenagers. I was a horror movie fiend when I was younger, but I’ve found, like many others, that my appetite for gory movies has diminished as I’ve grown older and the impactions of what we’re being shown on screen sink in. As an adult I am all too aware of (to borrow a film title) the consequences of violence. Kids just love horror movies for the gore and the gross out effects. It’s no surprise that the adjective ‘sick’ has now come to mean something especially good. Teenagers don’t realize the lifetime of fear and pain and guilt that real violence can cause, which is why they can so casually attack other teenagers for status. As an adult I increasingly question the use of killing and violence for entertainment, but it hasn’t stopped me writing these books. So I guess I’m a big fat hypocrite.

There are several reasons to write horror books, though. I am revisiting my teenage love of the genre. I am trying to show that violence and death are actually not very nice and, to be honest, I am also trying to keep my teenage boys happy. They are all massive horror fans. Actually that’s no strictly speaking true. My middle boy is a little bit more sensitive and gets freaked out. He hasn’t yet been able to read The Dead.

So we use horror to explore and confront our own fears, maybe it’s a fun and not too ‘on-the-nose’ way for young people to learn about death and disease and injury… to come to terms with their own fragile morality. Also, it must be said that all the best horror has an allegorical/satirical edge. George Romero’s zombie films became increasingly political, but what gives even his first film – Night Of The Living Dead (the first and the best of the cannibal zombie apocalypse movies, and the film that got me into zombies when I saw it as a teenager) – its bite is its strong element of satire. Something which is perhaps not unexpected in a movie that was originally made as a student film project in the radicalized late 60s. The film explores notions of racism, police brutality and government indifference. Zombies originally took hold in America as a twisted representation and critique of slavery, and since Romero re-invented them as flesh-eating cannibals they have been perfect metaphors for mindless consumerism.

So what do the adult zombies in my books represent? Well, just that… They represent adults. For a while now we have been brainwashed by the media into thinking that teenagers are a threat, that they are mindless, out of control, monsters who terrorize us poor adults. Come off it. As I say, I have three teenage boys of my own, and I see a great deal of them and their friends. Modern teenagers, in my view, are on the whole friendly, decent, open, sensitive and caring. It’s us adults who (as the title of the first book in my series suggests) are The Enemy. We’ve screwed things up for kids. Most problems in young people’s lives are our fault, and in writing these books I wanted to redress the balance a little. Oh, the kids in my books aren’t all precious little angels, and there are some pretty nasty cases, on the whole, though, they’re the ones who are trying to ape the old ways, to behave in the way they observed adults behaving in the past.

In future pieces for my blog tour I’ll be further exploring the theme of kids vs. adults in literature, so stick around and watch out for further details.

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

Thanks again Charlie. If you haven't yet picked up The Enemy and The Dead, you should! For more information, visit Charlie's website.

Book Review: One Hundred Candles (Past Midnight #2) by Mara Purnhagen

*** Spoiler Free***
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 15, 2011
Pages: 240
Series: 2nd in a series
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
(highlight to read if you've read book 1)
It's taken a long time for me to feel like a normal teenager. But now that I'm settled in a new school, where people know me as more than Charlotte Silver of the infamous Silver family paranormal investigators, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with a popular football star like Harris Abbott? After all, it's not as if Noah is anything more than a friend….
But my new life takes a disturbing turn when Harris brings me to a party and we play a game called One Hundred Candles. It seems like harmless, ghostly fun. Until spirits unleashed by the game start showing up at school. Now my friends and family are in very real danger, and the door that I've opened into another realm may yield deadly consequences. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Oh man!  I know I shouldn't start talking about a book by talking about the ending but seriously! Really not what I was expecting at all! So much darker and bleak then the rest of the book. It worked with the story and it was a little hard to take in but I liked it. As for what came before this heart retching ending -- I liked really liked those parts too.

Even when I thought I knew what was coming, I enjoyed the journey to get there AND I was surprised a few times. I love Mara Purnhagen's writing . It's very easy to get immersed in her style and I loved feeling like I was experiencing the story instead of just reading about it.

Not a whole lot I can say without giving too much away. BUT if you like ghosts stories like I do, you should really pick up this series.

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Past Midnight Series:
Past Midnight (#1) -- My Review
Raising The Dead (#1.5) -- My Review
One Hundred Candles (#2)
Beyond The Grave (#3) -- September 2011

Linkage Love:
Harlequin Teen
Author's Website
Goodreads

Spring Cleaning is done!

Hi guys!
All the books I am able to ship are accounted for and will be off to new homes soon!
I think I have 10 bundles ready and waiting to hit the mail......need to find more boxes.....

If you emailed me before the cut off yesterday morning then you should have gotten an email back. I'm only waiting on 1 person for an address. I'll try to email the rest of you today to say thank you and I wish I had books for everyone!!

I'll be doing this again probably at the end of summer.

Hope I inspired some of you to pay it forward and share the book love in your own way :)

Happy Reading everyone!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Spring Cleaning! aka Who Wants My Books?

SPRING CLEANING GIVEAWAY IS ON HOLD
I received a ton of emails and I'll be going through them and getting back to people this week.
If there are still books and I still have funds to ship, I'll open it back up.
Thanks everyone for helping me clean my shelves!!
I'll be doing this again at the end of the summer.

So, I cleaned and organized my bookshelves recently and wound up with a large pile of books that I no longer want. I already brought a ton to my local library and I thought about a contest but I really just want them to go to a good home. SO! Here's the deal.

I'm listing them out below. If you live in the US and there are any you want, email me at WilowRaven[at]gmail[dot]com. I would prefer to ship only a box or two so don't be shy! I'll fit as many as I can into whatever boxes I can find. USPS Media Mail only (so it might take a while to get to you).

Don't be greedy and say you want them all so you can sell them or whatnot. If you want to read them or want to give them away yourself, that's cool.

I'm not looking for trades or anything but if you feel the need to balance the universe out you can send me an Amazon gift card ;)  Unless you only want ARCs....I would feel dirty getting money for giving these away.

Seriously though - I want them out of my house and into the hands of another book lover (or two or three ;)

I'll leave this post up for a few days or until I get enough responses to fill up some boxes and I'll probably do this again at the end of the summer.

If you have any questions, please let me know!

Book coding:
N: New or very much Like New
U: Used but still in good condition
PB: Paperback
HC: Hardcover
ARC: Advance Review Copy (they are all from 2010)

THE BOOKS!!!
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey -- N, PB
The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey - N, HC
Never Slow Dance With A Zombie by E. Van Lowe -- N, PB
Percival's Angel by Anne Eliot Crompton -- N, PB
Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin -- N, PB
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler -- U, HC
Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey -- N, PB
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer -- U, HC
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray -- U, PB
Cirque Du Freak (book 2) The Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan -- U, PB
Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan -- U, PB
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer -- N, PB
Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul -- N, PB
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent -- N, PB
Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein -- N, PB  --- signed 'For Jennifer'
The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch -- N, PB
The Named by Marianne Curley -- U, PB
The Den Of Shadows Quartet by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes  -- N, PB
Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast -- U, PB
Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast -- N, PB
Betrayed  by P.C. and Kristin Cast -- U, PB
Chosen  by P.C. and Kristin Cast -- U, PB
Untamed  by P.C. and Kristin Cast -- U, PB
Gone by Michael Grant -- N, PB
Hunger by Michael Grant -- U, PB
Ttyl by Lauren Myracle -- U, PB
Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz -- U, PB
Red is for Remembrance by Laurie Faria Stolarz -- U, PB
White is for Magic by Laurie Faria Stolarz -- U, PB
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick -- N, HC --- UK edition
L8r, g8r by Lauren Myracle -- U, HC
The Vampire's Assistant (3 book omnibus) by Darren Smith -- N, PB
Libyrinth by Pearl North -- U, HC
Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis -- N, HC

ARCs -- all are from 2010
Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein -- very used!
Halo by Alezandra Adornetto
Plain Kate by Erin Bow
Hush by Eishes Chayil
The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
Girl Parts by John M. Cusick
The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
Fixing Deliah Hannaford by Sarah Ockler
Along the River by Adeline Yen Mah
Beat The Band by Don Calame
Monster High by Lisi Harrison
Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Again - pick from the list, email me and hopefully some (if not all) of these lovelies will find new homes!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In My Mailbox - June 11, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Awesome book week cause I got to meet Angie Frazier and I bought all her books and she signed them and she's awesome and it was good :)

Oh - and this is the vlog in which I am very distracted...but really? What else is new?




Awesomeness mentioned!
The coolest bookstore ever
Angie Frazier

Books I bought:
Everlasting, The Eternal Sea and The Midnight Tunnel: A Suzanna Snow Mystery by Angie Frazier
Maximum Ride The Manga Vol 1 and 2 by James Patterson

For Review:
ARC of Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Thanks Bloomsbury!

So, what's in your mailbox?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Audio Book Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Reading Level: Young Adult
Pub Dates: Book-Oct 2008 / Audio-Jan 2009
Length: 471 pages or 12 hours
Narrator: Katsa is voiced by Chelsea Mixon*
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: Library

Summary:
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Love! Can't believe it took me so long to read this one! I feel in love with every single character - even the disagreeable ones :) I love fantasy and Graceling is pure in that form.  Very epic in it's story telling. Both in words and in the audio features.  I really was drawn into this story fast!

Katsa is one of my new favorite fantasy female characters (say that 5 times fast ;) Even though her world is purely fictional and the circumstances of her life could never be replicated, I still see her as an excellent role model for young girls. She has to overcome so much but she never, EVER gives in. Even her flaws are admirable.

And Po! Oh how I fell for Po!  Such a lovable character. Ever action of his seemed so very genuine and true that even the most critical of readers would find it hard to dislike him.

The story held a very deep mystery that I didn't realize at first. As the layers were uncovered I became even more invested in the story. Really a complete package of fantasy young adult awesomeness!

Audio critique:
Have to say, I didn't much care for the audio of this book. The voice actors were spot on - and there are a lot of them. Each character has his / her own unique actor / voice BUT the musical interludes (chapter endings, dramatic 'ah!' moments) were so cheesy! They really sounded out of place. I was reminded of those read-a-long stories I listened to as a kid - like say the hero is running really fast up a flight of stairs, there would be fast paced tinkling bells after the words "Our hero ran very fast up the stairs". Yeah - really hokey in my opinion and a little distracting to the story.

Final verdict:
Would have to recommend the print version of this book over the audio book. The story is amazing and if you like fantasy you'll love Graceling!

Overall Story Rating:
5 / 5 Stars
Overall Audio Book Rating:
3 / 5 Stars

Books in The Seven Kingdoms Series:
Graceling
Fire
Bitterblue (June 2012)

Linkage Love:
Harcourt
Full Cast Audio
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tidbits:
*Just as the name suggests, Full Cast Audio books feature a full cast of voice actors. For the complete list of cast members in Graceling, visit their website.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2011 Debut Authors Massive List Update PLUS Giveaway!

So, it only took 5 months but I have finally fully updated my 
(ok, so June and July are missing their Goodreads links at the moment....will fix this soon!)

My Massive List is a labor of love and I want to share it with the world!! 
Or at least my little corner of it ;)

So, I invite you all to CHECK IT OUT!!

To celebrate the (almost) done-ness of the Massive List,  I'm giving away a debut author prize pack and some lovely swag :)

Follow me, don't follow me, check out the list, don't check out the list -- anyone can enter :)

CONTEST RULES
*One winner from the US, 13 years or older, will win Prize Pack
*One winner from outside the US will win Swag Pack
*One entry per person, contest ends June 28, 2011 at 11:59am EST
*You can gain 1 extra entry for tweeting: "I checked out @WilowRedHouse's 2011 Debut Author MASSIVE LIST. Have you?" AND include the link to THIS post! 
*You can gain 1 extra entry for commenting on my Massive List Page

A comment should say something that leads me to believe you actually looked at the list ;) Or better yet - found an error or omission! 

What can you win? So very glad you asked :)

Prize Pack
(for US residents)
Includes bookmarks, cards, pins and other goodies
ARC of Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
ARC of OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy
Finished copy of Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
SIGNED Finished copy of Popular by Alissa Grosso

Swag Pack
(for those outside the US)
Some lovely bookmarks

To enter please fill out the form below

Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Review: The Girl Who Was On Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy by Leah Wilson

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
Pages: 210
Series: no
Acquisition: received ARC for review

Summary:
Katniss Everdeen’s adventures may have come to an end, but her story continues to blaze in the hearts of millions worldwide.
In The Girl Who Was on Fire, thirteen YA authors take you back to Panem with moving, dark, and funny pieces on Katniss, the Games, Gale and Peeta, reality TV, survival, and more. From the trilogy's darker themes of violence and social control to fashion and weaponry, the collection's exploration of the Hunger Games reveals exactly how rich, and how perilous, protagonist Katniss’ world really is.
• How does the way the Games affect the brain explain Haymitch’s drinking, Annie’s distraction, and Wiress’ speech problems?
• What does the rebellion have in common with the War on Terror?
• Why isn’t the answer to “Peeta or Gale?” as interesting as the question itself?
• What should Panem have learned from the fates of other hedonistic societies throughout history and what can we?
The Girl Who Was On Fire covers all three books in the Hunger Games trilogy. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
This book was so very interesting. I know how I feel about the Hunger Games series but it was fascinating to see what authors thought of it. Authors whose brains are fine tuned to pick up on and analyze facts in such a wonderful way.

I thought I had the Hunger Games all figured out, but these great writers took it a step further for me. Made me see past the hype and really look into the books. Pulling out bit and pieces I overlooked or had forgotten.

It reads almost like a documentary would. Like, if the Hunger Games was real, this is how the world would interpret it. The part of me that loves to research and analyze things loved this aspect.

CAUTION: Do NOT read this book if you haven't read all three books in the Hunger Games Series -- EVERYTHING is discussed and there are major spoilers if you haven't finished the entire 3 books.

You might already know the authors but here are the full chapter names as well to give you a taste:

*Why So Hungry for The Hunger Games? Or, The Game of Making Readers Hungry for More, Why Readers' Imaginations Caught Fire, and My Sad Inability to Come Up with a Wordplay for Mockingjay by Sarah Rees Brennan

*Team Katniss by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

*Your Heart Is a Weapon the Size of Your Fist: Love as a Political Act in the Hunger Games by Mary Borsellino

*Smoke and Mirrors: Reality vs. Unreality in the Hunger Games by Elizabeth M. Rees

*Someone to Watch Over Me: Power and Surveillance in The Hunger Games by Lili Wilkinson

*Reality Hunger: Authenticity, Heroism, and Media in The Hunger Games by Ned Vizzini

*Panem et Circenses: The Myth of the Real in Reality TV by Carrie Ryan

*Not So Weird Science: Why Tracker Jackers and Other Mutts Might Be Coming Soon to a Lab Near You by Cara Lockwood

*Crime of Fashion by Terri Clark

*Bent, Shattered, and Mended: Wounded Minds in The Hunger Games by Blythe Woolston

*The Politics of Mockingjay by Sarah Darer Littman

*The Inevitable Decline of Decadence by Adrienne Kress

*Community in the Fact of Tyranny: How a Boy with a Loaf of Bread and a Girl with a Bow Toppled an Entire Nation by Bree Despain

A little heavy at times but, if you're a fan of the Hunger Games series, I highly recommend The Girl Who Was On Fire. An in depth look at this fascinating world that Suzanne Collins has created that might just lead you to re-read the series with a new frame of mind.

Overall Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
BenBella Books
Goodreads

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In My Mailbox - June 5, 2011 -- THREE WEEKS WORTH!

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Hi guys! No vlog this week because you do not want to look at my ugly mug today :) I'm exhausted! I'm a big wuss and I'm still recovering from my vacation in NY. Sure, BEA wore me out but dealing with my family REALLY wore me out! Hehehe

So! This haul is about 3 weeks worth of books that arrived before, during and after BEA. For books I got at BEA, clickity click HERE

All links are to Goodreads

Bought at 2K11 Event
All are signed! 
It was such a pleasure meeting these great authors!!

Bought from Bookperk
Flask reads "Three sips to mind the dead...Graveminder by Melissa Marr May 2011" -- how cool is that!

Bought from my local Indie Bookstore
I own this one already but my copy didn't match the others in the series I also own..and I'm OCD about my books matching :)

She'll be signing at the store I bought this one from! So excited to meet an author in my home town :)

For Review:
From the author - her first novel!

If you see this one in a store, pick it up - it's a beautiful book to hold - and then try not to take it home with you ;)

Second copy for me so look out for a giveaway soon!
You want to read this one - Geoff is such a great guy!

From the author - her first novel for Young Adults :)

2nd book The Enemy series

This one was a surprise. An adult mystery type with a dark twist - might give it a try but if anyone reading this really wants this one to review for yourself, please let me know!

I NEED to read more Meg Cabot as I've heard she is fabulous!

Big Thanks go out to: Marlee Morgan, Quirk Books + Eric, Sourcebooks, Shelia O'Connor, Authors On The Web + Hyperion, and HarperCollins

Most favorite Mailbox Item!!
A wonderful Thank You card from Cialina from Muggle-Born.net
How sweet is she?!
I need to send out Thank you notes more :)

So, what's in your mailbox?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

FREE e-Book Alert

Digital words aren't for everyone and I don't think they will EVER take the place of printed books but for those of you, like me, who have grown to love them here are my latest finds!

The links below are for complete books (not chapter samples or previews).  Some might be available for only a short time and some are only available on certain platforms so make sure to read all the fine print : )



Summer's Crossing by Julia Jagawa
An ebook exclusive novella from Julia's Iron Fey Series


*currenlty avilable for Kindle for $2.39
*currently avilable in iBooks for $2.99

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

BEA - The Books

I debated posting my BEA book haul because I thought maybe everyone was tired of seeing everyone's piles by now :)
BUT then I remembered how much I enjoy looking at everyone's piles :)
SO! I present:

My Book Expo America Books!
I might be missing a few...and I think one walked into two different pictures...and I was really tired when I took these....and....I'm too tired now to link up each book....and....ok...that's it! Enjoy!

AUDIO BOOKS
*Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play by Ridley Pearson, Disney Hyperion / Brilliance Audio (CD)
*Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly, Candlewick / Brilliance Audio (MP3)
*The Great Secret by L. Ron Hubbard, Galaxy Audio (CD)

ARCs
*Laddertop Volume 1 Graphic Novel by Orson Scott Card and Emily Janice Card - October 2011, Tor
*The 39 Clues Chills vs. Vespers Book One The Medusa Plot by Gordon Korman - August 2011, Scholastic
*Day of the Predator (Time Riders #2) by Alex Scarrow - October 2011, Bloomsbury
*Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan - September 2011, St. Martin's Griffin
*The Predicteds by Christine Seifert - September 2011, Sourcebooks
*Forever by Maggie Stiefvater - July 2011, Scholastic
*Fury by Elizabeth Miles - August 2011, Simon and Schuster
*The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen - September 2011, Egmont
*Mind Over Monsters by Jennifer Harlow - October 2011, Midnight Ink / Flux
*Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison - October 2011, Egmont
*How To Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston - September 2011, Poppy / Little Brown
*The Shadowing: Hunted by Adam Slater - September 2011, Egmont
*Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Tylor - September 2011, Little Brown
*Super Diaper Baby 2 The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers (Book 3) by George Beard and Harold Hutchins - June 2011, Scholastic
*Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby - October 2011, Scholastic
*Shut Out by Kody Keplinger - September 2011, Poppy / Little Brown
*Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver - October 2011, Harper
*The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - October 2011, Scholastic
*Legend by Marie Lu - November 2011, Penguin
*Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey - September 2011, HarperCollins
*Eve by Anna Carey - October 2011, HarperCollins
*Captain Awesome To The Rescue No 1 by Stan Kirby - April 2012 BOUND WITH *Heidi Heckelbeck Has A Secret by Wanda Coven - March 2012, Simon and Schuster
*Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore - October 2011, Bloomsbury
*Between by Jessica Warman - August 2011, Bloomsbury
*Going Underground by Susan Vaught - September 2011, Bloomsbury
*WinterTown by Stephen Emond - December 2011, Little Brown
*Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis - September 2011, Balzer and Bray
*The Traitor's Smile (The Pale Assassin #2) by Patricia Elliott - October 2011, Holiday House
*Shelter by Harlan Coben - September 2011, G. P. Putnam's Sons / Penguin
*The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch - September 2011, Scholastic
*Fracture by Megan Miranda - January 2012, Bloomsbury
*After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel - September 2011, Bloomsbury
*Variant by Robison Wells - October 2011, HaperCollins
*Dark Eden by Patrick Carman - November 2011, HarperCollins
*Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - November 2011, Harper
*Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - August 2011, Razorbill / Penguin
*Floors by Patrick Carman - September 2011, Scholastic
*The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler - November 2011, Razorbill / Penguin
*Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout - September 2011, Spencer Hill Press
*Pure by Julianna Baggott - February 2012, Hachette

SIGNED ARCs
*Nightshade (The Poison Diaries #2) by Maryrose Wood - October 2011, Balzer and Bray / Harper
*Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber - November 2011, Sourcebooks
*Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey - September 2011, Flux
*Witches of East End by Melissa de la cruz - June 2011, Hyperion
*The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton - October 2011, Tor
*Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - September 2011, Little Brown
*SkyShip Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James - September 2011, Flux
*Bunheads by Sophie Fleck - October 2011, Poppy / Little Brown
*The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon - October 2011, HarperCollins
*Entrhalled Edited by Melissa Marr & Kelly Armstrong - September 2011, HarperCollins
*Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters - September 2011, Quirk
*Frost by Wendy Delsol - October 2011, Candlewick
*Undercurrent (Siren #2) by Tricia Rayburn - July 2011, Egmont
*Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick - September 2011, Egmont
*Crossed (Matched #2) - November 2011, Dutton / Penguin

SIGNED FINISHED COPIES
*Bloody Valentine by Melissa De La Cruz- Hyperion
*Draw The Dark by Ilsa J. Bick - Carolrhoda Lab
*Original Sin (Personal Demons #2) by Lisa Desrochers - Tor
*Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton - HarperCollins
*Vampire Empire Book One: The Greyfriar by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith - Prometheus
*Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly - Candelwick
*Family by Micol Ostow, Egmont
*Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely #5) by Melissa Marr, HarperCollins
*Minder by Kate Kaynak - Spencer Hill Press

BEA recap and things I learned

First off - I love my friends! It was absolutely fabulous to reconnect with these awesome ladies!
I spent most of my time with Eleni (La Femme Readers), Lexie (Poisoned Rationality), Jenn (Reading with Tequila), Taschima (Bloody Bookaholic), Sherry (Flipping Pages for All Ages), Sandy (Pirate Penguin's Reads), Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) and Danielle (Frenzy of Noise), Bri (B.A.M. Book Review) and Amelia (Imagination In Focus).

BEA itself was amazing! The amount of book love going on at the Javits Center was off the charts!
Last year was my first time attending and I did a lot of walking around not quite sure of what I was doing. This year, I took the slow and steady approach. I didn't rush to get to anything and if I showed up at a signing or publisher booth and there weren't any more books, or the line was way long and I didn't feel like waiting, I did something else :) And you know what? I'm not disappointed with anything!

Was there blogger drama? (I know you know what I'm talking about). Sure there was. Did I pay any attention to it - or more importantly, witness any of it myself? Nope. That's not to say there weren't rude people. But really? Rude people exist everywhere. Being a blogger (or author or publisher or librarian or teacher) doesn't mean you are a perfect person that never makes mistakes. My life is drama free and I think my attitude severs me and my lifestyle very well :)

Provided you are still reading, you might be asking yourself, but Emily, what did you learn this past week? So kind of you to ask :)

BEA 2011 -- WHAT I LEARNED
*My friends are awesome

*Publishers, for the most part, want to work with bloggers.
     Not saying they haven't wanted to in the past but it was a more prevalent theme this year. I was (a little) more outgoing as far as talking with people and handing out my card but I also felt like the reps I talked too were interested in talking to me. Very cool feeling

*DO NOT use the BEA Shipping area / box up your books room...thingy
     Ok, I have no idea what this is actually called, but this year I finally understand what it is. It's been said that people take things from your box if you check your books, or that the area isn't secure and I've been like - what are you talking about? Boxes? Not secure? Well people - you know what? THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT PLACES TO LEAVE YOUR BOOKS! BEA itself has a shipping room. You can (buy?) a box and fill it up all week and then pay BEA way too much money to ship it for you. THIS ROOM IS SKETCHY! This is the room where people have had their boxes 'broken' into and books stolen.
     BUT! The Jacob Javits Center has a BAG CHECK station. They do this for all events they hold and it isn't actually affiliated with BEA. It's basically an area set aside on the lower level where you can check a bag. You can pay the $3, visit your bag all day, have the somewhat pleasant ladies watch it for you (every bag has a tag and you have to jump through major hoops to prove who you are if you loose that tag!). The check does have set hours and you can't leave your bag overnight but it's secure.

*Commuting sucks a little
     I grew up on Long Island and my family still lives there so I stayed with them and took the LIRR in everyday. It's cheap and trains run all day and it's a very quick ride for me. So, kinda awesome. BUT! I was so exhausted by the end of each day and I had books to carry that I wasn't up for after hours events. Next year, if we can all swing it, a bunch of us are renting an apartment or hotel in the city. More money, yes - but totally worth it! With NYC declaring Book Week during BEA week each year - there are tons of things going on in the city!

*My friends are awesome
     So awesome in fact that it needs to be said twice

So....did I take pictures? Um...really not as many as I wanted to! Even with Eleni saying "we should take pictures!" a dozen times (pretty sure she didn't take a lot either ;) But  here are a few of my favorites. (You all will NOT be seeing the 'hold camera at arms length and try to fit you and your friend in the frame' pics of Eleni and I b/c those are just sad)

Spent some time on Monday at the Harry Potter Exhibition - it was made of awesome!
That ===> slightly blurry picture is of Lexi, Taschima, Bri and Jen - some of the wonderful people I spent my Monday with.
Monday I also attended the Teen Author Carnival in the smallest, hottest, hardest to find library in NYC.
While there, I snapped this pic of Lexi and Karsten Knight, author of Wildfire due out in July. I'm reading it now and it is fabulous - you should go add it to your wishlists!

I had intentions of taking as many pictures as I could of the wonderful authors who were signing but alas, I only took one:
The beautiful Leigh Fallon, author of The Carrier of the Mark, due out in October.

I really do love NetGalley
And see that lovely lady on the right?
That is the amazing Lindsey Rudnickas, NetGalley's own Digital Concierge.
She was so supportive of my NetGalley April adventure and I can't wait for NetGalley July - we're cooking up some more fabulousness for all you NetGalley lovers out there!

So! There is so much more I can babble on about but I'm already tired of writing so I know you are tried of reading! If anyone has any questions about my BEA experience, email or tweet me and we can chat it up :)

Monthly Reads - May 2011

May was pretty amazing. With the start of Spring and BEA and visiting with my family in New York, I had a really great month. I didn't do so well in the reading department. I did however add 2 groupings to my totals. You'll probably see more children's book reviews on the blog because NetGalley + Picture Books + Daughter who loves books + iPad = very much awesomeness!
Need to get back into a regular reading program - like setting aside an hour every night just for reading (and no computer!). We'll see :)

Oh - and I'm so post dating this post back to June 1st...because I'm a little OCD and my Monthly Reads post needs to be the first one of every month :)

Ok - so on to the books!

Books read (number of pages):
Rage (The Horseman of the Apocalypse: The Rider's Quartet #2) by Jackie Kessler (213)
OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy (256)
Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson (304)
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (608)

Short Stories (number of pages):
Turned at Dark (Shadow Hills #0.5) by C.C. Hunter (71)
Hare Moon (The Forest of Hands and Teeth #0.5) by Carrie Ryan (27)
Giovanni's Farewell by Claudia Gray (from Enthralled anthology)  (26)
Scenic Route by Carrie Ryan (from Enthralled anthology) (28)

Graphic Novels:
Spirited Away Vol 1 by Hayao Miyazaki
Spirited Away Vol 2 by Hayao Miyazaki
Spirited Away Vol 3 by Hayao Miyazaki
Spirited Away Vol 4 by Hayao Miyazaki
Spirited Away Vol 5 by Hayao Miyazaki
The First Escape (The Dopple Ganger Chronicles #1) by G.P. Taylor
The Secret of Indigo Moon (The Dopple Ganger Chronicles #2) by G.P. Taylor

Children's Books:
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
A Pocket Full of Kisses by Audrey Penn
A Kiss Goodbye by Audrey Penn

Audio Books (length):
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (10 hours)

Monthly Totals:
BOOKS READ: 4
SHORT STORIES: 4
PAGES: 1533
GRAPHIC NOVELS: 7
AUDIO BOOKS: 1
HOURS: 10

Challenge Updates
Yearly Totals