Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review: Beyond the Grave (Past Midnight #3) by Mara Purnhagen

***SPOILER FREE***
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: August 2011
Pages: 256
Series: 3rd and final
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
Goodreads

My thoughts:
I absolutely loved book 1 of this series and book 2 was equally awesome. Sorry to say, I was a little disappointed with Beyond the Grave, book 3. I still really enjoyed it but I didn't love it as much as books 1 and 2.

The main reason I didn't love Beyond the Grave was the fact that it wasn't really a ghost story anymore. Too much random paranormal elements for my tastes. The basics that made books 1 and 2 great were still there - the same characters and some of the same types of situations but, there was a lot of 'other' paranormal stuff that just didn't seem to fit.

We met a new character, Michael and at first I was very skeptical because my 'oh no not another love triangle' radar was on full alert. But, thankfully, I was wrong. Michael isn't a love interest but there was a still a problem with him for me. I never got a firm grasp on exactly what he was. He plays this role - again - sort of just thrown into the story and I never saw the point of him being there.

Another issue I had was with the character Bliss. In books 1 and 2 she is the stereotypical bitchy snooty know it all and her and Charlotte never become friends. She isn't even really important to the stories. But in Beyond the Grave, all of a sudden, she is important. First as a confidant of Charlotte - which makes no sense at all and then as a player in the weird paranormal stuff going on - which again, didn't seem to fit - at least to me.

What did I like? Charlotte and her family and friends and everyone I grew to love in books 1 and 2. And even though I didn't like the paranormal elements throw in, I did like the overall story. I liked how everything played out and I liked the tidy ending.

Final verdict:
As the final book to the series, I think Mara did an excellent job tying up loose ends without tying things up too tightly. When I walk away from beloved characters, I want to feel as if they are continuing on without me watching over them and that's exactly how I felt reading the last page of Beyond the Grave.

Is this series worth the read? Defiantly. Especially if you like ghost stories with a few twists. I'm sad to say goodbye to Charlotte and her family and friends but overall, the entire series was a big win for me.

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Books in The Past Midnight Series:
#1 Past Midnight
#1.5 Raising The Dead ebook
#2 One Hundred Candles
#2.5 Haunting the Night ebook
#3 Beyond the Grave

Linkage Love:
Harlequin Teen
Author's Website

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2012 Debut Authors and Author Event Updates

While I still have power I thought I would share some updates I've recently made.

Updated New England Author Events (now with pictures ;) 
A few more events to add so be sure to check back later if you're interested.

Not much there now but soon enough if will look more like 2011's page :)

AND I'm still working on totals and tallies and winners for NetGalley July 
August was a little crazy and I'm a little behind
I'll post everything up as soon as I can but it's not too early to prepare for NetGalley October :)

Again - hope everyone in the Northeast is staying safe!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Everyone Stay Safe!

Hi guys!

I'm in the path of Hurricane Irene, hunkered down and hoping for the best!
Been helping my family in the NYC / Long Island this past week and I'm now glued to The Weather Channel so I don't have anything planned to post for at least the next couple of days :)

Hopefully we won't loose power but it is a possibility as Irene passes over my town as a tropical storm sometime tomorrow. 

Everyone -- STAY SAFE!! 


I'll be back as soon as I can :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 2010
Pages: 146
Series: no
Acquisition: bought

Summary:
Young Tabby Aykroyd has been brought to the dusty mansion of Seldom House to be nursemaid to a foundling boy. He is a savage little creature, but the Yorkshire moors harbor far worse, as Tabby soon discovers. The ghost of the last maid will not leave Tabby in peace, yet this spirit is only one of many. Why do scores of dead maids and masters haunt Seldom House with a jealous devotion that extends beyond the grave?
As Tabby struggles to escape the evil forces rising out of the land, she watches her young charge choose a different path. He is determined to keep Seldom House as his own. Though Tabby tries to befriend the uncouth urchin, her kindness cannot alter his fate. Long before he reaches the old farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, the boy who will become Heathcliff has doomed himself and any who try to befriend him. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Confession time - I've never actually read Wuthering Heights. I think I started reading it or maybe even had to read it for school but I know I've never read the entire book. So! I wasn't really sure what to expect from a book toted as it's prequel. Seriously though, I've wanted to read this book from the moment I saw that cover. Creepy! I love it!

The House of Dead Maids is a short book - I finished it up in about an hour - but even if it was longer, reading it would be time well spent. The creep factor starts with the cover and travels through the entire book - to the very end and through to the epilogue. It's mysterious and disturbing. It was full of questions - only some of which were answered and all these elements combined to make an excellent story.

Having only a small amount of knowledge regarding Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, it's hard to say if his actions as a small child are on par with the man he became. If I had to venture a guess, I would say that Clare did a very good job showing Heathcliff's dark side. If the facts of his childhood, as Clare portrays them, are seen as 'true', it might explain some of his future actions. Again - all in a very creepy kind of way!

I was captivated by the cover and I'm happy to say that I was not disappointed. Whether you're a fan of Wuthering Heights or not, if you enjoy creepy, gets under your skin tales, I would highly recommend The House of Dead Maids.

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Henry Holt
Author's Website
Goodreads

Monday, August 22, 2011

Book Review: Between by Jessica Warman

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: August 2011
Pages: 447
Series: no
Acquisition: BEA 2011

Summary:
Elizabeth Valchar--pretty, popular, and rich--wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday on the yacht where she'd been celebrating with her closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, she finds her own drowned body is hitting the side of the boat. Liz is dead.
She has no memory of what happened to her, and can only observe in horror the fallout of her death. She's also soon joined by Alex Berg, a quiet boy from her high school who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The two keep each other company, floating in and out of memories and trying to piece together the details of what happened to each of them. In her regular life, Liz was a runner. It wasn't abnormal for her to run 8-10 miles per day. But as memories from closer to her death begin to surface, Liz finds that she'd been running much more than normal, and that she'd all but stopped eating. Liz's mother, who died when Liz was nine, had battled with anorexia as well, and those around her worried Liz was following in her mother's footsteps. But something more sinister was consuming Liz from the inside out. . . . (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Ghost story, murder mystery, love story - Between has a little of all of these and more. I know I was in for a good read when after, only intending to read a page or two, I realized I had read about 100. The story was always moving and there seemed to be something waiting around every turn of the page that even with the slightly hefty weight of almost 450 pages, Between never dragged along. Instead I was pretty much at the edge of my seat the whole time.

I'm actually surprised I liked Between as much as I did because I really did not like it's MC, Liz. She's conceded, shellfish and shallow and she thinks she is better then pretty much everyone else. And after she dies, she doesn't really get much better. I almost felt like, as a reader, we were suppose to feel sorry for her and I never did. Even after finding out all the details of her life and her death, I didn't have much compassion for her. Might sound harsh, I mean, she is dead and all but...read it for yourself and maybe you'll see what I mean.

Between was a really easy book to get lost in. After Liz dies, she has very little memory of her life. She knows who she is and who her friends are but the details are all a little fuzzy. When Alex appears he explains to her that it was like that for him at first as well. By revisiting old memories, Liz might find out what exactly happened to her life.

As a reader, we're seeing things as Liz remembers them. Her knowledge is ours. I really liked knowing I would get answers only when Liz did.

I had figured out the 'twist' ending before it actually happened but it didn't really take away from the overall quality of the book for me. Some things might have been wrapped up a little too neat and clean and quick but again, it kind of worked with the story so it didn't really bother me.

All in all, I very much enjoyed Between. A different take on a ghost story mixed with a pretty classic murder mystery. Don't be daunted by it's size as it's definitely worth your time.

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Bloomsbury
Author's Website
Goodreads

Saturday, August 20, 2011

In My Mailbox - August 20, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Vlog in which I shamelessly make you love me via the cuteness of my daughter :)
She's been dying to help out and I think she did a great job!




Awesomeness mentioned -- it's sad that Borders is closing but if the don't close sooner I'm going to be in trouble....I can't not buy books that are on sale - it's like a disease ;)

Books Bought -- thank you Borders :(

Power Play (Kingdom Keepers IV) by Ridley Pearson
WHY? I love Disney and this series is just awesome! Really great books for younger teens and / or reluctant readers.

From Bad to Cursed (Bad Girls Don't Die #2) by Katie Alender
WHY? Loved book 1 - pretty creepy - and book 2 sounds even better.

The Ask and The Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick Ness
WHY? I own the audio books but I want my boyfriend to read the series because it's awesome!

Witch and Wizard by James Patterson
WHY? I've read very little Patterson but I do want to read more and I've had book 2 for a while now :)

Everfound (Skinjacker #3) by Neal Shusterman
WHY? Loved book 1 and I have book 2

Possession by Elana Johnson
WHY? Debut author, dystopian tale with reviews all over the place. Curious to see where my opinions fall.

Clean by Amy Reed
WHY? Because Danielle couldn't stop talking about it - had to see what all the fuss was about :)

Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
WHY? Honestly, the cover drew me in first and it's been on my wishlist for a while.

The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle
WHY? "A chilling prelude to Wuthering Heights" and that cover! And it's pretty short - looks like a good quick read

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman
WHY? Hoffman's newest and it was 50% off - I couldn't resist!

Behemoth (Leviathan #2) by Scott Westerfeld
WHY? I've heard good things about this series...and it was only $2 :)

Bought from Book Perk

WHY? I really love Lemony Snicket's writing and this one came with pins! (love those too :)

For Review


Oh man, I need to stop buying book! ....maybe next month? ;)

So, what's in your mailbox?




Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Review: Everblue by Brenda Pandos

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: July 2011
Pages: 304
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
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)

My thoughts:
I love the name of this series - Mer Tales - because that's exactly what it is. A tale of merpeople. Mermaids and mermen and the world they live in and the rules that govern them. There's more though. Action and love and friendship and devotion. It's all wrapped up together making for an engaging and thrilling story.

We are treated to 2 points of view. Ashlyn or Ash is a human, senior in high school who isn't very popular and doesn't seem to be all that sure of herself. Then there is Finley, or Fin, almost 18 and not human at all :) His sister Tatiana and Ash are best friends and have been for a long time. But as Ash discovers, there is a lot her friends haven't been telling her.

I did like this dual POV but for the first half of the book I felt like I was reading two completely different stories. Fin, Tatch and their parents leave, without telling Ash anything. So we have Ash going through the motions of high school with her rather obnoxious friend Georgia and then Fin, living in his people's underwater city, trying to fit in and figure out what is going on with his family. There is only 1 short chapter before Fin and Tatch leave so the story didn't really flow that well for me in the beginning.

And as much as I liked reading about Fin and his world, I was a little bored reading about Ash. I never warmed up to her and the way she acted, especially around the stereotypical 'hot guy' at school bugged me. This made it a little hard to root for her in the end. I would have liked to see more of Fin's world. There seemed to be a lot of layers to his people's lives and I really hope book 2 will give us more background and details.

Though, once Ash and Fin's worlds collide? Pretty much couldn't put this book down. I needed to know what happened and maybe at some points the story dragged a little but overall it didn't distract from the adventure.

Without giving too much away, I do need to say that I am not a fan at all of the romance in Everblue. It's almost calculating, as in, it has rules to follow and really? These rules take all the joy out of the relationship for me. We don't get to see the two love birds together very much until close to the end and then once they are together it's instant, I can't live without you love, which never sits well with me. But again, it's following a sort of order that the rules of the story have set forth so while it might not be my cup of tea, it makes sense for the storyline and the characters involved.

Final verdict:
Overall, I very much enjoyed Everblue. Brenda is awesome at weaving a story together and making you feel like you're there with the characters. And while I might not have liked all the characters or elements in Everblue, I felt engaged as a reader and really, that's more important to me.

Labeled as Book One, I can only assume there will be a Book Two and I for one know I will be reading it. Not so much a cliff hanger as a pile of unresolved issues was left at the end of Everblue and I'm really excited to see what happens to Fin and Tatch and hopefully learn more about the fabulous world they live in.

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Obsidian Mountain Publishing
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: March 2007
Pages: 485
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: bought

Summary:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know.... (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I might be one the only person who didn't absolutely love this book. It seems like this series is a favorite of a lot of people but while I did really enjoy the story...I can't say that it really captivated me.

I didn't like Clary much and I know that's a big reason this book didn't 'click' with me. She accepts things too easily and she never seems to ask the right questions. And I get it, Jace is sexy and annoying - but always being sexy and annoying got to me rather quickly. I loved Simon but he always got the short end of the stick.

The storyline was a little predictable but I liked the journey. No real strong feelings of love or hate for this one I guess. I did read the synopsis of the next books in the series (something I almost never do!) and I don't know that I like the turn (turns?) the romance took. Can't judge unless I actually read the rest of the series and I'm still on the fence about picking up book 2. If I had read this when it first came out I think I would have been more excited to continue the series.

Overall Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars

Books in The Mortal Instruments Series:
#1 City of Bones
#2 City of Ashes
#3 City of Glass
#4 City of Fallen Angels
#5 City of Lost Souls (May 2012)
#6 City of Heavenly Fire (Sept 2013)

Linkage Love:
Simon and Schuster / McElderry
Author's Website
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In MY Mailbox - August 14, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Vlog in which I get better at not saying 'Um' but fail at being distracted by...everything...




Awesomeness mentioned!
Book links are to Goodreads

Bought:
*Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
*Pretty Little Liars: Flawless by Sara Shepard
WHY? A very awesome teen saw me eyeing this series at Borders and she practically insisted that I buy them. How wonderful is that? Plus, I love the re-release of book 2 with the show pic - hope they do the entire series with new covers.

*The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate
WHY? I've been wanting to read Lauren Kate for a while. This one looks a little mysterious and maybe even tragic...and the cover is so soft! hehe

*The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
WHY? Already read (thank you NetGalley) and really needed my own copy.

*The Charmed Return (Faerie Path #6) by Frewin Jones -- and obviously when I said book 4 in the vlog...I meant book 6 :)
WHY? Love this series and all 6 hardcovers look so pretty next to each other on my shelf :) If you haven't heard of these books and like faerie stories, you should really check them out.

*Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
WHY? Already read (that you NetGalley) and really enjoyed it. (My review)

*Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
WHY? Love this series and I love books adapted to graphic novel form - book 1 was excellent. Eoin is one of my favorite authors.

*Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
WHY? Finally gave into the peer pressure - I just couldn't ignore all the rave reviews any longer.

*Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
WHY? Heard that it's creepy and dark and maybe not for everyone - so it should be perfect for me :)

RAK!
This one's from July - haven't signed up for August but maybe I will in September.
*666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce
WHY? Debut (adult) novel for Pierce - sounds like a good witch story.

Traded:
*The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
WHY? Debut author that everyone is buzzing about. The story seems really interesting and I'm curious to see if I'll love it as much as everyone else has.

A big big thank you to Miss Lauren from Ravishing Reads for the RAK -- and to Penelope from The Reading Fever for help with a shipping mishap.

Another big big thank you to Briana from The Book Pixie for the trade

So, I think that's enough for me ;) What's in your mailbox?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

***2011 Debut Author***

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 2011
Pages: 320
Series: no
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.
Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.
In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Dystopian stories are all over the place these days. I for one couldn't be happier. As far as dystopian tales go, Awaken was a pretty good one but at the same time, I had a few issues with it's world.

The youth of Awaken don't attend brick and mortar schools. Everything has done digital. And it's not just the kids, daily day to day life has progressed to the point where less and less people interact with each other face to face. It's actually a pretty believable future. Digital is cheaper and in the case of Awaken, it could be safer.

The issues I had with Awaken have to do with the rules that govern it's society. All schools are digital and most communication is done over computers. Our protagonist Maddie is under a sort of house arrest. She caused some trouble for her father who is the head of the very powerful company that started Digital School. So, there is a second layer of isolation for her. She doesn't have face to face friends and she doesn't get outside much but it seems like she could if she wanted to? It wasn't really clear and in fact she does spend a large amount of time outside her house with really little to no consequences so I was confused.

In one of these out of the house experiences, Maddie meets this guy Justin, who's only interest in her is her connections. Her father is powerful and Maddie could be helpful to Justin's cause. What is his cause? Well, at times if felt like borderline terrorism. His people are fighting Digital School - they feel it's dangerous for people to have no real interaction with each other. They rescue people who have broken the law and 'save them' and help them get off the grid so to speak and live a real life.

Ok..but...well...the problem, for me, was that this digital world didn't actually feel very dangerous. People still could, and did meet in person. There are coffee shops and live music and Maddie herself plays soccer and there is no government saying you can't do that or we'll arrest you. A lot of people don't want to interact face to face and in this society they really don't have to. If very much felt like a choice. Maddie hasn't really had much exposure to 'real' life but she's a special case. Most people it seemed had a choice.

So Digital School is bad and I never really found out why exactly. But people are fighting against it. And Maddie could be the key to it all if she betrays her father again and helps destroy all that is digital but I was never really sure what it was that she could do other then steal from her father. And really, couldn't anyone figure out how to do that? And Justin, this guy, who only wants her for what she could do for his 'cause'? Of course they fall for each other but for me, It was way to unrealistic to be enjoyable.

Final verdict:
As dystopian stories go, I would not rank Awaken among the top. As romance stories go, Awaken is way down on the list of my favorites - or rather, it doesn’t really make the list. Another take on the 'what if's' of our present society but without the believability or the actual danger everyone seems so afraid of. I would be hard pressed to recommend Awaken to fans of dystopian YA but as always, I encourage you to make your own decision.

Overall Rating:
2.5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

FREE e-Book Alerts

2 Free Summer Tween eBooks from HarperCollins!

Football Genius: A Novel by Tim Green
First book for young readers by former Atlanta Falcons star defensive end

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


The Magnificent 12: The Call by Michael Grant
From the author of the Gone series full of 'action, magic and laughs' :)

Kindle / Nook / Sony / Kobo
Also available from iBooks for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

***2011 Debut Author***

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 2011
Pages: 496
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: bought

Summary:
Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
From the moment ARCs starting falling into eager reader's hands I have heard nothing but good things about Divergent. Lots of fangirl excitement, lots of people lost for words at how very excellent they thought this book was. The hype was (and still is) HUGE!

And you're wondering…..was it warranted? I say - "Oh hell yeah!"

I love this book. I love it for it's characters, for it's dystopian world, for it's emotion - both of love and of hate. Best of all, I love it for it's simplicity. Dystopian tales run the risk of being too messy. Too many factors at play at once with too many possibilities. Not so with Divergent. It's dystopian playground is clean and believable. The world is different from ours today but it's still very much our world. This makes the actions of each character vivid and real.

And the characters! I really did fall in love with every one of them. Very believable and very enjoyable to read. Especially Tris. She is just a strong person, both emotionally and, she discovers, physically as well.

Again though, it was the dystopian world that Veronica created that kept my attention. It's a little strange and pretty harsh but it makes sense. The rules that govern society are logical and the characters actions fit exactly into the molds they should fit into.

That's not to say there weren't any surprises because there were but they were very welcomed and enjoyable to read!

Final verdict:
Divergent is a book that stays with you for a while after you turn that last page. I find myself wondering just what faction I would choose!

I'm very excited there will be more book in this series because I feel very invested in Tris's story and even though a lot of things were worked through in Divergent, there is the potential for a lot more to be told.

I highly recommend this book to fans of dystopian YA stories - I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Divergent Series:
Divergent
Insurgent (May 2012)
Untitled (2013)

Linkage Love:
Katherine Tegan / HarperCollins
Author's Website
Goodreads

Sunday, August 7, 2011

In My Mailbox - August 6, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Vlog in which we all could go dancing in the glowing light of the shinny book :)




Links are to Goodreads

From Paperbackswap:
*Morpheus Road by D.J. MacHale
Why? Um...I can't actually remember but it's been on my wishlist for a while now!

*7 Souls by Barnabas Miller and Jordan Orlando
Why? Another one from my wishlist - ghost / horror / thriller story - yum!

Bought:
*Shantorian (Trackers #2) by Patrick Carman
Why? PATRICK CARMAN IS AWESOME! Seriously, he could write a book about what he had for breakfast and I would buy it :)

*The Crazy School (Madeline Dare #2) by Corniela Read
Why? It's book 2 of a series I really want to read...now to find book 1 :)

*Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble
Why? Already read and wanted my own copy

*Blood Red Road by Moria Young
Why? Started reading it and really enjoyed the story. Now I can finish it :)

*Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Why? Read an ARC but wanted a finished copy. This edition has a new cover and an excerpt from book 2!

For Review:
*ARC of Everblue by Brenda Pandos
Why? For a blog tour hosted by Eleni of La Femme Readers - my review will post in the next couple of weeks. And I love mer-people stories and Brenda is awesome!

*Welcome to Bordertown edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner
Why? Not sure but thank you Random House :)

Other Goodies:
*Everblue bookmarks from Brenda
*Thank you card from Lisa The Nerd :)
*Postcard from Michelle Zink
*Swag from Suzanne Young

Big big thanks this week go out to the friendly staff at my local Borders - I'll miss you! And to Brenda Pandos, Eleni, Lisa, Michelle, Suzanne and Random House :)

So, what's in your mailbox?

Friday, August 5, 2011

NetGalley July -- Need Your Lists!

Just a reminder to submit your NetGalley July reading lists to me by Monday so I can tally it all up and pick some winners!

Check out my WRAP UP POST for all the details.

If I don't hear from everyone I might just have to start pestering you a little more ;)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Review: The Dead-Tossed Waves (The Forest of Hands and Teeth #2) by Carrie Ryan

**Spoiler Free**

Reading Level: Young Adult
Pub Dates: Book-March 2010 / Audio-March 2010
Length: 12 hours
Narrator: Tara Sands
Series: 2nd in a series
Acquisition: Library

Summary:
Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I absolutely loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth so I was very excited to begin The Dead Tossed Waves. Although, not as good as book 1 in my opinion, I still very much enjoyed it. A zombie story with raw emotion driving the characters forward.

Have to say, Gabry was a little annoying. She seemed very disconnected to her world and to her life. Everything for her is so 'very' and 'never' and 'always' - she 'tries' and she 'can't' and she never really seems to DO anything. Rather, she lets circumstance guide her actions. At times she was very weak, which didn't make sense because her mother, Mary is so strong.

My general problem with Gabry? Too much 'I' - 'I need', 'I want', 'I can't', 'I won't' -- gets old fast. It was told from her point of view but still. I really wanted to see more of Mary. I loved her character in The Forest of Hands and Teeth and I didn't feel like she got enough page time in The Dead Tossed Waves. However, once Catcher and Elias come onto the scene and the action starts moving forward a little more, I really got into the story and stopped being so hard on Gabry.

Audio critique:
Not too bad but it was a little hard to distinguish Gabry's inter monologue from her spoken word. I was confused, at times, as to whether she was talking to herself or speaking out loud. Not a problem if you read the book.

Final verdict:
The Dead Tossed Waves is toted as a companion novel rather then a straight out sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth but I would have to disagree. While although book 2 does take place many years after book 1, the timeline is still intact, the same characters make appearances and we learn more of the overall story. So yeah, defiantly a sequel in my book. AND a good one at that!

If you enjoy zombies and dystopian novels, you'll like this series. The series ends with The Dark and Hallow Places (book 3) but I wish it didn't because I love this zombie invested world Carrie has created and I don't think I'll get tired of it any time soon.

Overall Story Rating:
4 / 5 Stars
Overall Audio Book Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars

Pre-trilogy Short Stories
Hare Moon - available as an ebook or in Kiss Me Deadly
Flotsam and Jetsam - available in The Living Dead 2
Bougainvillea - available in Zombies vs. Unicorns
Scenic Route - available in Enthralled (September 2011)

Books in The Forest of Hands and Teeth Trilogy:
The Forest of Hands and Teeth
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Dark and Hallow Places

Linkage Love:
Delacorte / Random House
Listening Library / Random House
Author's Website

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

FREE e-Book Alert

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

Haunting the Night by Mara Purnhagen
An ebook exclusive Past Midnight series novella that takes place between books 2 and 3

Currently free for your Nook and Sony Reader and from Harlequin Teen if you 'Like' their Facebook page

Available but not for free for your Kindle, Kobo and Apple devices :)
Check back though as they might change over to $0 soon!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What has Twilight done for you?

It's happened to me and I'm sure it's happened to some of you. You're reading a book and someone asks what it is. And you tell them and they start looking for an Oprah Picks sticker or NY Times Bestselling Author banner scrolling across the top and when they don't see these familiar markers they give you 'the look'

And you explain.

You tell them what the book is about and you tell them how much you're enjoying it and their eyes light up for a minute and you think "Awesome!" and then they ask you where you got it and maybe they want to read it too and they're going to run to the bookstore RIGHT NOW and buy it and then....and then....you tell them where to find it.

"It will be in the Young Adult section", you say.

"The what?"

"Young Adult", you say again with a big smile and then, and then! They say

"Oh, I don't read Twilight books."

I don't read Twilight books they say.

I don't read Twilight

Well, you know what? I don't read Twilight either. Ok, ok, I did read the series but you know what, I wasn't impressed and I was actually shocked at how much of an impact the series made. But I also didn't care. People love it - good for them. Young adults are reading because of Twilight? Um...ok.... I guess I was living under the impression that young adults were already reading. I read as a young adult and I never stopped. My parents both love books, my teenage sister reads (a ton!) all her friends read....but I don't work with children and sure, ok, maybe me and my circle of friends and family weren't the norm but really? Twilight got people reading?

So, the point of this little rant?

I was browsing though my Google Reader today and I saw a blog post about a book called Bella and my VERY FIRST THOUGHT was, dear lord, why is everyone obsessed with Twilight?

Did you see that? Did you see what I just did? I made a ginormous assumption about a book based solely on the title.

Bella = Twilight. Really Emily? HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?

So, it got me thinking. What other Twilight induced assumption do I make about books without perhaps even realizing it?

And my answers were a little scary.

*When browsing a bookstore (or online) I quickly pass over books with covers that are mostly black and red.
*If a book blurb states that "Fans of Twilight will love it!" I quickly put it down and walk away
*ANY book with characters named Bella in it are suspect (I assume ridiculous paranormal elements and unhealthy relationships)
*I actively avoid displays in bookstores that feature Twilight related items (from the movies and books) because I don't want to be labeled as one of those readers who reads "Twilight" -- like it is it's own genre.

BUT THEN!

I started really thinking. And you know what? I'm lucky. My parents and family are all ferocious readers and I don't think I've gone more then a few days in my entire life without reading (or having a book read to me). But not everyone grows up the way I did and not everyone discovers the wonder of the printed word at an early age, or at all. Not everyone loves to read.

So, you know what?

If Twilight got people reading? If Twilight got people (not just young adults) reading other books? I'm glad. I'm ecstatic!

And you know what else? The next time I get 'the look' followed by the "Oh, I don't read Twilight books" comment - I'm not going to be sad or angry. I'm going to say.

"Well, you should."

Because maybe it's not just Twilight. Maybe Meyer just got really really lucky and her books hit the shelves at exactly the right time. Maybe there are more reluctant readers out there who will pick up a book and read it and love it and READ MORE because of it.

And who am I to judge Twilight fans (or Twilight haters?). Let people assume that all YA books are "Twilight books" and then prove them wrong. Show them how much young adult books have to offer.

I never realized, until today, how much Twilight effected my reading life, in the negative. I've perhaps overlooked books that I shouldn't have. And just as others have judged me because I read "Twilight books" I have judged them for being ignorant. And now, I see, that we are both very very wrong.

So, I ask -- What has Twilight done for you?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Contest! Win The Relic Master Series by Catherine Fisher


About the Series:
Welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: Ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are hunted by the governing Watch yet revered by the people, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. The only hope for the world lies in Galen, a man of the old Order and a Keeper of relics, and his sixteen-year-old apprentice, Raffi. They know of a secret relic with great power that has been hidden for centuries. As they search for it, they will be tested beyond their limits. For there are monsters-some human, some not-that also want the relic's power and will stop at nothing to get it.

RELIC MASTER is a four book series. Each book will be released over four consecutive months this summer:
     Book One: The Dark City, May 17
     Book Two: The Lost Heiress, June 14
     Book Three: The Hidden Coronet, July 12
     Book Four: The Margrave, August 9

Each book will include a piece of the map of Anara, the world of RELIC MASTER, on the reverse of the jacket. Collect all four books and you will have the complete map.

About the Author:
Catherine Fisher is the author of the New York Times bestselling duology Incarceron and Sapphique and in the Relic Master series has created a world equally as developed, dynamic and dangerous as that of Incarceron. Visit her at www.catherine-fisher.com

CONTEST DETAILS:
*Open to US residents 13 years and older
*Ends August 8, 2011 at 11:59pm EST
*Fill out the form below to enter :)



Monthly Reads - July 2011

July was hectic. Lots of bad crazy life stuff that really prevented me from blogging as much as I would have liked. But really, can't blame life for happening :)

On the upside, NetGalley July was a success and I was able to get a bunch of great books read.

As I'm writing this in September I can tell you that August was still had some crazy life stuff going on but it wasn't as bad.

I'm still a little off my game when it comes to blogging but it's not like I have to blog everyday, I just wish I could :)

So! Let's see what I got read in July, shall we?

Books Read (number of pages):
*Bumped by Megan McCafferty (336)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (441)
*Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly (449)
*Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky (320)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (309)
The 39 Clues: Vesper's Rising Book 11 by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman and Jude Watson (240)
The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers: The Medusa Plot Book 1 by Gordon Korman (224)
*The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (288)
*Calli by Jessica Lee Anderson (198)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (341)
*Beyond the Grave (Past Midnight #3) by Mara Purnhagen (256)

* = NetGalley Books

Short Stories (number of pages):

Graphic Novels / Manga:
Maximum Ride The Manga Vol 3 by James Patterson
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies The Graphic Novel by Jane Austen and and Seth Grahame-Smith

Children's Books:

Children's Chapter Books
The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by George Beard and Harold Hutchins
The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers by George Beard and Harold Hutchins

Audio Books (length):

Monthly Totals
BOOKS READ: 11
SHORT STORIES: 0
PAGES: 3402
GRAPHIC NOVELS / MANGA: 2
CHILDREN'S PICTURE: 0
CHILDREN'S CHAPTER: 2
AUDIO BOOKS: 0
HOURS: 0

Challenge Updates
Yearly Totals

NetGalley July FINAL WRAP UP


And.....stop!

NetGalley July has come to an end and now one question remains...

What did you read?

Remember when I told you to keep track? I meant it because now it's time to share :)

In order to be eligible for the giveaway, sharing is mandatory but it's also easy.

What to do:
*Write a wrap up post with all the NetGalley books you read in July and comment below with your link
OR
*Comment below with your list of books read
OR
*Email me your list (WilowRaven[at]gmail[dot]com)
AND
*Let me know if you would be interested in participating again in October :)

You have until next Monday August 8th
I'll be tallying things up as you comment and I'll announce our totals and winners next week

Remember, you need to have Declared Yourself in order to be eligible for the giveaway prizes (don't try to sneak it in now....I'll do this all over again in October so don't worry ;)
If you didn't declare yourself but still want the world to know what NetGalley books you read - let me know and I'll still include your reads in our grand totals.

Any questions? Do not hesitate to ask!

So again, I ask...

What did you read?