Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox - July 30, 2011


In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Vlog in which you can all witness my mad editing skills...yeah.....




Links are to Goodreads :)

Books Bought
*Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
Why? Debut author. Zombies. Nuf said.

*Always A Witch (Witch #2) by Carolyn MacCullough
Why? Read an egalley and loved it just as much as book 1, Once A Witch

*Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2) by Kiersten White
Why? Loved Paranormalcy!

*Wildefire by Karsten Knight x2
Why? Read egalley and loved! Went to Karsten's launch and picked up an extra signed copy for one of you ;)

*Scott Westerfeld's Uglies Series - Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras
Why? Love the new covers and printing and I've always wanted to read the series

*Guardian of the Gate (Prophecy of the Sisters #2) by Michelle Zink
Why? Already read but now I have a nice new paperback that matches my copy of book 1 :)

*Deception (Haunting Emma #1) by Lee Nichols
Why? My friend Nikki gave me book 2 and I thought I already owned book 1 but I didn't but now I do :)

*Secrets and Shadows (13 to Life #2) by Shannon Delany
Why? Own and read book 1 and I couldn't resist the sales at Borders :(

*Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Why? So many bloggers rave about how good this book is - wanted to check it out for myself

*Daniel X The Manga Vol 1 by James Patterson
Why? I'm loving Patterson's Manga version of Maximum Ride and this series looks really good

*Jim Henson's Legends of The Dark Crystal, Vol 2, Trial by Fire by Barbara Randall Kesel
Why? I love the movie and I really loved the manga editions of The Labyrinth - wanted to try out this series

For Review
*Dael and the Painted People (Zan-Gah #3) by Allan Richard Shickman
Why? Really loved book 1 (need to read book 2 :)

*Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe
Why? Debut author! Written in verse :)

So, what's in your mailbox?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

NetGalley July Twitter Chat Q&A


Last night the Lovely Lindsey was generous enough to join us on twitter to answer all our pressing NetGalley questions.

Below are all of the questions asked (I think I got then all!).  
As was the case in April, there was a lot of awesome info shared.

Highlights of the chat:
*Future upgrades to NetGalley's site will hopefully include some batch updating functionality (announced by Lindsey)
*NetGalley October is a go! (announced by me :)

Both questions and answers have been summarized and / or expanded on for clarity.

**************************************************************************
Q: Lindsey, do you have an ereader?
A: Of course! Lindsey has a Kindle and she also uses Bluefire's reader app on her iPhone. Other NetGalley team members have Nooks and Sony Readers as they like to keep all their bases covered. 

Q: What happens when you get approved for a title twice? Should we upload our reviews twice or archive the extra?
A: For duplicate approvals, it is fine to archive one but also fine to send review twice if you want to be extra sure :)

Q: Is there anyway to delete a book from your archive - essentially deleting all records of a request from your account?
A: No. You can archive any book but you cannot delete it. You can delete Requests from your account, but not titles. It is however something NG can consider for future changes.

Q: Any plans in the works for batch updating? Being able to mark more then one book at a time as 'viewed' or 'accepted' would be great!
A: Yes! NG is hoping to add "batch" functionality in the future.

Q: How long after a book is removed from NetGalley for requesting can a review still be submitted?
A: Even books that have expired will still be in your account (In "My Reviews") and publishers what to know when books are reviewed. So, if you have reviewed it, you should submit it.

Q: Is there a reason why NetGalley books expire? And why do they have to?
A: NG leaves it completely up to the publisher - they have to be neutral. Most publishers have DRM galleys (so they expire) but other publishers offer DRM-free galleys which won't expire. It depends on the publisher's view on security. BUT if you send a galley to your Kindle, it never expires - no matter which publisher it came from. The reason Kindle is different is because Amazon has their own proprietary DRM, not Adobe DRM like others.

Q: So, Kindle downloads never expire - what about galleys I put on my Nook?
A: For Nooks, or any other ADE-compatible device, the galley will expire. You can re-download from NG if the publisher hasn't archived it. 

Q: Is it up to the individual publishers to decide when / if to archive a title?
A: Yes, each publisher decides IF and WHEN to archive each title. Most do so after or around the publisher or on-sale date.

Q: Is it better to wait until I post my review on my blog or can I post to my NetGalley account first?
A: Publishers want to know WHERE and WHEN your reviews are posted so it's best to post first to your blog and then to your NG account.

Q: Will publishers be putting more titles from their catalogs on NetGalley?
A: Yes! Many more titles are coming. Some "big" publishers are still getting started but will be rolling out by imprint.

Q: Do new titles go up on a specific day of the week or is it random and up to the publisher?
A: It's up to each publisher. Some do it monthly or by season and others do it one at a time when the file is ready.

Q: Does NetGalley check books prior to allowing them to be posted? Sometimes the formatting is a little off.
A: NG does try to check ever single file but sometimes there is nothing they can do about formatting - especially when it comes to the Kindle. Amazon converts PDFs into their proprietary Kindle formats and the formatting isn't always great. NG does email publishers all the time to ask about re-formatting so if you see something weird, let them know and they will try to have it fixed.

Thanks again to Lindsey and everyone who participated!
If you have questions about NetGalley, don't hesitate to email or tweet Lindsey (support[at]netgalley.com / @NetGalley)

Next week I'll be asking everyone who participated in NetGalley July for their list of books read so stay tuned for that post!

If you couldn't join in on the fun this month - there is always October! 


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Author Event Updates

Hey guys!
If you're in the Boston area tomorrow night you should come to Karsten Knight's book launch event! 

He'll be at the Framingham MA Barnes and Noble at 7pm singing copies of his debut book, Wildefire - which I loved and can't wait to get my own copy of!

More info can be found on my New England Author Event page which I just updated!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Pages: 441
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: ARC from BEA 2010

Summary:
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Delirium was a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. I started out really enjoying it, then I found myself really disliking Lena. After a while, she grew on me and I was able to enjoy her story but then the ending left me feeling unsatisfied. So many people have raved about this one but overall, it fell a little short for me.

The dystopian world that Lauren has created is great. Love, or rather, amor deliria nervosa  has been classified a disease. Science has found a cure but it can only be given to those over the age of 18. So, of course the helpless, uncured youth must be monitored at all times. They must learn of the dangers of amor deliria nervosa. It must be drilled into their heads until they are afraid to even look at a member of the opposite sex. Until they yearn for the cure.

Society as re-written itself. Fairy tales, great works of literature, even the Bible have been retold. I found this aspect of the story interesting. Love is such a basic human emotion and when you remove it, you're also removing emotional responses. People don't act or react to situation the same way. History and religion and science take on whole new meanings when feelings are removed. A pretty fascinating scenario.

Have to say, even with my wishy washy feelings for Lena, I was routing for her in the end. She really never knew what she was missing out on and after she sees the light so to speak, a whole new world opens up for her. I wanted her to experience that world and I was excited and afraid for her.  Forming an emotional connection to a character makes for a very enjoyable read.

The romance between Lena and Alex was a little predictable. I mean, he is the first boy she's had any extended contact with so yeah, she's going to fall for him. His reason's for falling for her though weren't as fleshed out. He likes her from the moment he sets eyes on her - not instant love but close.  So, their time together was enjoyable to read but not exactly surprising or exciting.

The ending though? A little to be desired. I didn't quite get why things played out the way they did - especially in the last few pages.  The cliff hanger and series fodder were a little frustrating. Not in the same way, but it reminded me a little like the ending of the movie Titanic. The 'why can't you make room for him on the raft' sort of feeling. Not logical or playing nice with the rules of the storyline. Read it and see if you agree with me.

Will I pick up book 2? I will because, unlike most of the characters in Deliruim, I am emotionally involved. I very much want to know how Lena's story plays out.

A very well laid out dystopian tale. Likable characters, great plot line and even with the not so satisfying ending, I'm looking forward to the sequel. A book I would very much recommend to fans of YA dystopian romance.

Overall Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Delirium Series:
Delirium
Pandemonium (March 2012)
Requiem (February 2013)

Linkage Love:
HarperTeen
Author's Website
Goodreads

Sunday, July 24, 2011

NetGalley Month Mini Challenge + Twitter Chat Update!

Hey guys!
I've been a bit MIA in the world of blogging this week. Some scary and sudden 'real life' issues have come up that have totally scrambled my brain and my ability to make coherent sentences. 
One of the few good things to come out of the last week and a half has been my book consumption -- including some tasty NetGalley reads.

Hope to get back in the swing of things soon but in the mean time I have some NetGalley Month announcements and updates :)


TWITTER CHAT ANNOUNCEMENT
The lovely Lindsey Rudnickas, NetGalley's own Digital Concierge will be joining me, and hopefully all of you, for a NetGalley Twitter Chat.

When: Friday July 29th at 5pm EST
Where: Twitter - using the hashtag #NetGalleyMonth

We can chat about what we've been reading, gush about how much we love NetGalley and most importantly, ask Lindsey any questions we may have.

You can check out NetGalley April's twitter chat questions and answers for a look at what's it's all about.

And if you haven't already, check out NetGalley's Blog announcement :)


UPDATES
*As of today there are about 65 people signed up! Awesome!

*You can still DECLARE YOURSELF
If you've been reading NetGalley books all month but haven't declared yet - do it now. If you haven't been reading NetGalley books this month but think you can squeeze in one before the month is over, declare yourself now.

*Remember to keep track of all your reading and be ready to report back to me in August ;)


MINI CHALLENGE / EXTRA GIVEAWAY POINTS
In case you forgot, 2 lucky NetGally Month participants will be receiving $15 worth of books from The Book Depository (as long as they ship to your country). Simply declaring yourself gave you 1 entry in the giveaway.
Want to earn more points? Of course you do ;)

Do one or all of the following - only stipulation is that you must comment on this post (with the same comment name you declared yourself with) and include links if applicable.

*Tweet about NetGalley July 
Use the hashtag #NetGalleyMonth and/or @WilowRedHouse AND this link: http://redhousebooks.blogspot.com/2011/06/in-which-i-declare-july-to-be-netgalley.html
+1 for each tweet -- once a day only please -- comment and link after each tweet

*Tweet about the Twitter Chat 
Use the hashtag #NetGalleyMonth and/or @WilowRedHouse AND the link to this post (the one you are reading right now :)
+1 for each tweet -- once a day only please -- comment and link after each tweet

*Preform some personal NetGalley account maintenance
+1 for taking some time to really go through your NetGalley Active Review Requests and make updates (Archive books you've already upload reviews for, Mark as "Accepted" books you're going to read, ect.)
There is no way for me to check on what you've actually done so honor system here folks!

*Post your reviews
+1 for EACH review you post to your NetGalley account. Remember to write (or cut and paste your review and necessary information), click the "Review Completed" radio button AND click the orange "Save and Close" button
Again, please use the honor system!

*Submit a question for Lindsey
Can't make the twitter chat or afraid you will forget your burning questions before Friday? Ask me now. Comment with any and all questions you have and I'll ask Lindsey myself. Q and A transcript of the chat will be posted Friday night or Saturday so be sure to check back!
+1 for any and all questions asked - must be legitimate and NetGalley related. Only 1 point for this one but ask as many questions as you have (if you don't think you'll be joining us)


OK!

I think that's enough for my brain (and yours) for now!
As always, let me know if anything is unclear or if you have questions about anything :)

Happy (NetGalley Month) reading everyone!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Not in my mailbox...but maybe in yours :)

My life has gotten a little scary / crazy pants in the last few days!

My head is a big old void of anything even slightly creative or coherent so no vlog or IMM this week. 

Might not post much in the coming week as well but that's life!

In the mean time, I have a few contests running that if you're interested in and haven't checked out yet, now is a great time.


So...nothing in my head...I mean mailbox...but maybe some goodies in yours :)

Win Miss Peregine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
CLICK HERE to enter
Ends July 25th

Win Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
CLICK HERE to enter
Ends July 29th

And don't forget about:


Thanks guys and hope you all have a great week!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Contest! Win Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Regal Literary I'm giving away this great zombie tale!

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.
R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.
Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving. (from Goodreads)

CONTEST DETAILS:
*Open to US and Canadian residents 13 years and older
*Ends July 29, 2011 at 11:59 EST
*Fill out form below to enter :)




Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is hosted by Book Chick City :)

This one is new to me! Don't know how it escaped my notice as it sounds fantastic! Saw it in the bookstore this weekend and I might just have to go back and bring it home.

June 2011 from Greenwillow

The Night of Souls—when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest—is only days away.
Albion is at war . . . and losing.
The wardens have descended, kidnapping innocent citizens for their army, but looking for one in particular.
And fifteen-year-old Kate Winters has just raised a blackbird from the dead.
As her home is torn apart by the wardens, Kate's discovery that she is one of the Skilled—the rare people who can cross the veil between life and death—makes her the most hunted person in all of Albion. Only she can unlock the secrets of Wintercraft, the ancient book of dangerous knowledge. Captured and taken to the graveyard city of Fume—with its secret tunnels and underground villages, and where her own parents met their deaths ten years ago—Kate must harness her extraordinary powers to save herself, her country, and the two men she cares for most. And she'll make a pact with a murderer to do it.
Those who wish to see the dark, be ready to pay your price. (from Amazon) 


Originally released in the UK as Wintercraft, Shadowcry is it's US release title - new cover too!
UK Editions:
Wintercraft and Blackwatch

What do you guys think? Was this book on your radar already? Anyone in the UK read this one yet?
If you see it, pick it up - the cover really is beautiful! 

Thank you Book Chick City for hosting :) 
So, what's on your wishlist?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness Wishlist

Isalys and Vanessa from Book Soulmates have started something I think it pretty awesome. It's called Random Acts of Kindness or R.A.K. -- an awesome (did I say that already?) -- an AWESOME way to brighten a fellow book lovers day with a surpirse gift.

I didn't sign up in June but I was able to send out a bunch of books in May :)

As Isalys and Vanessa have said "There's nothing like the feeling you get when doing something thoughtful for another person without expecting something in return." I couldn't agree with them more!

Here are the rules:
• Sign up each month you'd like to participate in.
• Show off your participation! Grab one of the buttons available :)
• Create a wishlist and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.
{Post on your blog, Amazon, where ever as long as there's a link to it.}
• If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wishlist and contact that blogger for their address.
• At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K!
{Make a post saying 'Thank You' to whoever granted one of your wishes :)

Check out their blog for more information
Thanks Isalys and Vanessa for coming up with such a terrific idea!

For those participating in R.A.K. here is
MY R.A.K. WISHLIST
In no particular oder :)
(last updated: 7/12/11)

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I Am J by Cris Beam
Errant by Diana Peterfreund
Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble
Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Vesper by Jeff Sampson
666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce
The Line by Teri Hall
Away by Teri Hall
Secrets and Shadows (13 to Life #2) by Shannon Delany
Mieradome by Kate O'Hegarty
So Shelly by Ty Roth
Matched by Ally Condie
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Haven by Kristi Cook
Legacy by Cayla Kluver
Ghost Huntress #3 by Marley Gibson
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
Deadly LIttle Games (Touch #3) by Laurie Stolarz Faria
Challenge (Wicked Lovely: Desert Tales #2) by Melissa Marr
Sea by Heidi Kling
So Many Boys (The Naughty List #2) by Suzanne Young
Crossing Over by Anna Kendall
The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike
The House of Dead Maids by Clare Dunkle
The Last Good Place of Lily Odilon by Sara Beitia
One Hundred Candles (Past Midnight #2) by Mara Purnhagen
Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
Defiance (Strange Angels #4) by Lilith Saintcrow
Island Sting by Bonnie Doerr
Stakeout by Bonnie Doerr
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Betrayed by Ednah Walters
Fire by Kristin Cashore

More books are listed on my Goodreads Wishlist :)

Book Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Pages: 323
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.
Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.
Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.
When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Bumped is...well...it's different. It's nothing like any young adult book I've every read and it's really nothing like current dystopian books flooding the market these days. And...well...I'm not sure this is a good thing.

In Bumped, the entire human race as lost it's power to procreate after the age of 18. No reason for this is given, aside from it being a virus so that was a little frustrating. For me, the best type of dystopian stories are ones with a believable and solid catalyst. Something that turns the world as we know it on it's head. And while the world of Bumped is surely turned very upside down...there is a lot to be desired in the dystopian department - for me at least.

Another reason I never really warmed up to this book was the overall loveless and degrading nature of the society portrayed. So humans can't conceive after the age of 18. Ok. But to go from that to girls as young as 14 'bumping' for profit? For such things as amateur (will sleep with anyone to get preggers) to professional (will only have sex under contract) 'bumpers'? For there to exist absolutely no room for the love a mother should feels for her child -- one she 'bumped' herself or bought? And I'm still unsure if any teenagers are allowed to keep their babies. It seems like every child is bought and sold - no matter what. Whoa. Feel like we missed a few crucial societal, civil and human degradations to drop us down to this level of depravity.

I've seen reviews that bash Bumped for a lot of the same reasons I've listed above. The bashing, I do believe is unwarranted. While, I did not enjoy this book, I think I get what the author was trying to say. I mean, everything (EVERYTHING) is so over the top, in your face, sex sex sex sex sex! That is has to be satire? Right? I honestly don't know but, I don't think Bumped was written to offend  - I say this because I do believe a lot of people will find Bumped very offensive. And, have to say, it's a little hard to argue for Bumped when it contains such dialog as this: (taken from finished copy)
"Hey, there's nothing wrong with humping when you're bumping. Raimundo and I went at it like crazy for the full forty-two and my first pregg didn't come out all cock-knocked in the head."
Yeah…most of the book isn't this bad but yeah…

Final verdict:
So, was Bumped for me? No. And not because I was offended by it's overly sexual and degrading content. I didn't enjoy Bumped because it wasn't a believable dystopian story. I never connected with any of the characters and the added addition of the religious elements really just didn't work for the story -- for me.

Would you enjoy Bumped? Go into it with an open mind but if you don't enjoy reading about sex then do not pick this one up.  AND - the story doesn't end. No cliff hanger really - felt more like I was missing the last page - or chapter. I read an e-galley but I don't think the finished version is any different - someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Overall Rating:
2 / 5 Stars

Books in the Series:
Bumped
Thumped (2012)

Linkage Love:
HarperCollins
Author's Website
Goodreads

Monday, July 11, 2011

Contest! Win Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I absolutely loved this book and thanks to the wonderful folks at Quirk Books, you could win your very own copy!

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. (from Goodreads)

CONTEST DETAILS:
*Open to US residents 13 years or older
*Book will be shipped by the publisher
*Ends July 25, 2011 at 11:59am EST
*Fill out the form below to enter :)


Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Pages: 352
Series: ? (I hope so!)
Acquisition: received a copy for review

Summary:
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
First off, you need to hold this book in your hands. I know it must sound strange but this book has a particular feel to it. It's heavy and it's sleek and it just begs to be opened and read. And once you do? You won't be disappointed.  The picture on the cover is only the beginning. Inside there is so much visually to take in that I was never left wanting.

I have a lot of love for this book. I loved the characters, I loved the mystery, I loved the pictures and I loved the….now wait...don't want to give that little tidbit away.  Let's just say that there aren't too many authors, in my opinion, that can pull off the supernatural elements that Ransom Riggs did and still keep the story real and believable. Did I mention how much I loved this book!?

The story itself is unique and boarders on the fantastical. Even before we are given a firm grasp on who and what exactly Miss Peregrine's children are there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that we, as readers, need to put in their places. But that's the fun of it. I loved collecting all these pieces and I couldn't wait to see how they all fit together.

And that's another reason why I loved this book - all the pieces do fit together. They work with the story and I wasn't left hanging. There is more to this story to tell - I don't think we could ever know absolutely everything there is to know about these children and the world they live in. But, as a reader, I'm looking forward to more story instead of dreading it.

I'm still not sure if Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will be a series but if there is a book 2 it will be because there needs to be a book 2. So many YA books these days are series books because series books sell. That may be the case but if Ransom writes books 2, I'm pretty sure it's going to be because he doesn't have a choice. These peculiar children will not be silenced.

Unlike any other YA paranormal / fantasy / fiction book out there. Hard to put down and visually stunning - you will not be disappointed with this book! So far, my favorite read of 2011.

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Quirk Books
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tidbits:
*Ransom Riggs says "All the pictures in this book are authentic, vintage found photographs, and with the exception of a few that have undergone minimal postrocessing, they are all unaltered." When you see the photos for yourself, you will realize how amazing this is!

*I'm normally not a big fan of book trailers but this one captures the book perfectly!



Saturday, July 9, 2011

In My Mailbox - July 9, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Vlog in which my webcam decides to freak out....or maybe I just need a new computer *hint* *hint* ;)




Bought:
A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
Maximum Ride The Manga Vol 3 by James Patterson

From Nikki at Wicked Awesome Books:
Cut by Patricia McCormick
Betrayal (Haunting Emma #3) by Lee Nichols
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

From "Hot Boys With Wings" author signing :)
Angelfire, A Touch Mortal and Original Sin SWAG!

For Review:
Boyfriend From Hell by E. Van Lowe

Big Thanks to Courtney Allison Moulton, Leah Clifford, Lisa Desrochers, Nikki, and E. Van Lowe + Roxanne from Bewitching Book Tours

So, what's in your mailbox?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

NetGalley July - Checking in + EXTRA GIVEAWAY ENTRY


Hi guys! With 1 week of July already finished, I wanted to check in with you to see how everyone's NetGalley July is going.

Have you signed up yet? THERE IS STILL TIME :) 

So far, we have about 40 people participating. This is great but I bet we can do better...no? ;)

For an extra entry in the giveaway, tweet the following:

#NetGalleyMonth is here! Join @WilowRedHouse and declare yourself now! http://bit.ly/nUK4tQ Please RT :)

Leave a link in the comments below when you're done :)

Remember to Declare Yourself first if you haven't already!

You can tweet as many times as you like (but let's say no more then once a day) between now and the end of the month. Each comment / tweet will earn you an extra point.

I've gotten 1 books finished and I'm almost done with a 2nd. Me thinks me need to step it up a bit! How about you?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

FREE e-Book Alert

I love a free e-book, how about you? Will you try out this one?

Witches 101: A Witches of East End Primer by Melissa de la Cruz
Book #0 in The Beauchamp Family series

Also available from iBooks for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Book Review: Witches of East End by Melissa De La Cruz

Reading Level: Adult
Publication Date: June 21, 2011
Pages: 272
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: received and ARC at BEA 2011

Summary:
From the author of the highly addictive and bestselling Blue Bloods series, with almost 3 million copies sold, comes a new novel, Melissa de la Cruz's first for adults, featuring a family of formidable and beguiling witches.
The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid--live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret--they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.
For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.
With a brand-new cast of characters, a fascinating and fresh world to discover, and a few surprise appearances from some of the Blue Blood fan favorites, this is a page-turning, deliciously fun, magical summer read fraught with love affairs, witchcraft, and an unforgettable battle between good and evil. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Not sure how I feel about this one. I really enjoyed the story and I really liked the characters. But...I'm not quite sure I like how all the pieces fit together. And, Melissa made fun of Long Island in the first chapter so...you know...I shouldn't like the book on principle. Kidding! I actually did enjoy reading this one. I just didn't love it.

I guess the one word I could use to describe how I felt after reading Witches of East End is unsatisfied. There is so much back story to these characters. Tons of myth and legend surrounding their lives of the Beauchamp Family but I wish, as a reader, I was given more. Some passages read like a steamy romance, some like a common contemporary and I would have rather seen more of the mystery and the myth.

Joanna, Freya and Ingrid have powers and abilities beyond what anyone could imagine. They can't use these abilities but that doesn't change who they are. For such powerful people, their lives are pretty boring. It has to be, it is said. They can't risk defying the ban and using their magic. Very bad things would happen, so we are told. But then they do break the ban. They do use their magic. In silly ways sometimes. And I kept waiting for the big bad things to start happening and...nothing.

There is a climatic to the story but it's more so a solving of the mystery rather then an all out dramatic bam of a ending. The ending did have a few twists and turns - most throw in a little fast - but by the last page, the story felt flat to me.

I haven't read Melissa's Blue Blood series but fans of her YA books might gleam more into the world of The Beauchamp family then I did.

Witches of East End is marketed as an adult novel. I can see why - the age of the characters, the setting and the few instances of sex are on par with the adult label. But I can see older teens and adult YA lovers really liking this book.

Aside from my little issues with bits and pieces of the story, overall, I did enjoy reading Witches of East End. While reading, I was thinking that my review would hold a solid 4 Star rating. Unfortunately the page and a half of Epilogue did me in. The story was over, or so I believed. And really, that last page or so? It seems like sequel fodder. I didn't enjoy it and I can see where book 2 might be heading and I'm not sure I'm going  to enjoy that either. We'll see though. I probably will pick up the sequel when it comes out because I do very much enjoy Melissa's writing style and Joanna, Freya and Ingrid have kind of won me over :)

Overall Rating:
3 / 5 Stars

Books in The Beauchamp Family Series:
#0 Witches 101: A Witches of East End Primer
#1 Witches of East End

Linkage Love:
Hyperion
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tidbits:
**After writing this review I found Book 0 of the series- listed above. I'll definitely be reading this one! Goodreads says "In this primer, you' ll meet the three Beauchamp women - Joanna, Ingrid, and Freya - learn a little bit about their special powers, and even get some tips so you can cast a few spells of your own." I'm excited!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Monthly Reads - June 2011

June was...I have no idea. I'm not sure I actually remember any of it. Looks like I read a bunch though - that's good. And I think it rained a lot? Or was that May? Yeah....

Oh oh -- it was hot! Well....sort of hot...the sun was out a lot - you know, during the day and all...

I had a yard sale....no...it was already July when that happened...

Ok - I give up. Anyone want to tell me fun and exciting things that happened in June that I obviously missed (or maybe I didn't ;)

On with the books!

And yes, for anyone paying attention (but really, why would you :) I did post date this post (again) because I go a little crazy when my Month Reads isn't the very first post of every month. So let's all just pretend it's July 1st...at least while you're reading this ;)

Books Read (number of pages):
Divergent by Veronica Roth (487)
Undercurrent (Siren #2) by Tricia Rayburn (352)
Wildefire by Karsten Knight (393)
Captain Awesome to the Rescue by Stan Kirby, Illustrated by George O'Connor (128)
Heidi Heckelbeck Has A Secret by Wanda Coven, Illustrated by Priscilla Burris (128)
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey (352)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (352)
Witches of East End by Melissa de la cruz (272)

Short Stories (number of pages):

Graphic Novels:
Maximum Ride The Manga Vol 1 by James Patterson
Maximum Ride The Manga Vol 2 by James Patterson

Children's Books:
Chester Raccoon and The Big Bad Bully by Audrey Penn
A Bedtime Kiss for Chester Raccoon by Audrey Penn
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: The Experience 'by' Flying World Inc.

Audio Books (length):
The Dark and Hallow Places by Carrie Ryan (11 hours)

Monthly Totals
BOOKS READ: 8
SHORT STORIES: 0
PAGES: 2465
GRAPHIC NOVELS: 2
CHILDREN'S: 3
AUDIO BOOKS: 1
HOURS: 11

Challenge Updates
Yearly Totals