Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith

Reading Level: Adult
Publication Date: August 2011 (reprint)
Pages: 176
Series: no
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
Having given up a boring nine-to-five job to become a private detective, Alison finds that most of her working life is spent spying on unfaithful husbands. In offices. From nine to five.
Until Project Brown Dog.
From somewhere on the coast of England rumours arise of the sinister genetic crossbreeding of unsuspecting animal species. Alison is assigned to investigate the truth. With her friend Taron - a woman with a hundred-candle smile and a unique, if ambitious, mission to improve the world - she travels from London to Weymouth and back, rocked by a shocking discovery. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
As I read primarily young adult books, I don't usually accept adult novels for review. At first I thought Alison Wonderland might have some YA cross over appeal so I decided to give it a try. After reading a few chapters, it was obvious, to me, that this was going to be more of an 'adult' book and in my opinion, not suitable for the under 18ish crowd.

It was an enjoyable read though. Nothing really stands out about Alison Wonderland but overall, the story kind of resonates with a type of implausibility and bizarre sense of reality that was entertaining. The synopsis of the book doesn't do a very good job describing what actually happens however. I thought I was going to read a modern sleuth mystery with perhaps some feminist overtones. What I got was a strange drug and sex filled story about a woman who perhaps solved a mystery no one really knew or cared about. A little weird but like I said, pretty enjoyable.

I don't usually give warnings about the content of books as I prefer readers to make up their own minds but I do feel the need to point out a particular part in Alison Wonderland that might not be for every reader. It involved a genetically engineered animal and a man having sex. It kind of fit with the storyline but still it seemed unnecessary and gross to me. Unfortunately, it also brought my rating down a bit.

Alison Wonderland was originally published in the UK in 1999 and the book is very much a British novel. The setting and the slang was all British. I had a few problems following along because I couldn’t quite figure out what a character was saying or thinking but it wasn't a huge problem. It would probably be very enjoyable to a reader from the UK or a reader to enjoys British colloquialisms and customs.

A middle of the road type of book for me that I wished was a bit more pulled together. I liked the randomness of the characters and what happens to them but I would have enjoyed this story more if the characters felt more connected to each other.

Overall Rating:
3 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Amazon Encore
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Can't wait to get my hands on...those lovely Drake boys :)

Two books from one of the best YA vampire series out there, in my opinion :)

Ruling Passion by Alyxandra Harvey
Contains Hearts at Stake, Blood Feud and Out for Blood - the first 3 books in The Drake Chronicles
Releases TODAY! from Bloomsbury
Goodreads / Amazon

I'm not always a fan of bind-ups but I absolutely love this series so even though I already own the 3 individual books, you can bet I'll be picking up a copy of this one.


Bleeding Hearts (Drake Chronicles #4) by Alyxandra Harvey
October 3, 2011 from Bloomsbury
Goodreads / Amazon

Like I said, the Drake Chronicles are pretty much my favorite YA vampire books. Book 4 features another yummy Drake brother, Connor and Lucy's very human cousin Christabel. Looks like we get more Lucy and Nicholas as well - love those two!


So what do you think? Are you a fan of bind ups? Have you started this series?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Review: Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James

***2011 Debut Author***

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 2011
Pages: 384
Series: 1st in the Skyship Academy series
Acquisition: BEA 2011

Summary:
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 slacker, 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)

My thoughts:
Such a fantastic read for me! I've always been a huge science fiction fan and recently I've discovered my love of dystopian stories. Nick combines both these elements perfectly so it was pretty much a win win situation for me. What really drew me in was how easily these two worlds fit together.

Jesse Fisher lives in what was once The United States of America. After a devastating attack, Earth has been rendered almost inhabitable. The government has reformed and priorities have shifted. It's only been through the saving grace of Pearls that so many people have been able to survive. These strange and powerful orbs began falling from the sky soon after the attack. Seeming to be made of pure energy, each Pearl can power a Chosen city or a Skyship for months. These Chosen cities and floating Skyships are havens where, for the right price, people can live in safety and comfort.

As with a lot of dystopian tales, there are many layers to the new world we find our characters in. Jesse has to contend with the world of the surface and the world of the sky and things aren't always as they seem. Also, in true science fiction fashion, the Pearls also have some secrets of their own. I really can't say much more without giving away too much! Definitely a book that you do not want to see spoilers of.

I really loved the characters in this book. Jesse isn't the strongest or the best at anything but he doesn't let that stop him. Cassius finds out that being the strongest and the best doesn't mean all that much if you've been lied to your entire life. As for other supporting characters, some seem pretty black or white, good or bad...but I have a feeling I might be wrong about them. There is just so much mystery to this story it's hard to tell who's going to come out on top in the end.

This strange world full of floating cities, barren landscapes, magical Pearls, lies and mystery got me hooked from page one. A fantastic debut and I'm supper excited for book 2!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Flux
Author's Website
Goodreads

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Not in my mailbox...but some updates for you :)

Honestly, I'm just a little too tired and sick to put together an IMM vlog this week. I'm a few weeks behind so next week should be epic as I got a bunch of great books to show you!

In the mean time, here are some updates and awesomeness :)

Current Giveaway

Books to trade

NetGalley October

Hope you all are having a great weekend! 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guest Post: Author E. Van Lowe + Giveaway

Today it is my great pleasure to welcome E Van Lowe to Red House Books. 
E shares with us today the story of the beginnings of his TV writing career. 

*********************************************************
People always ask me how I got started writing for television.  Growing up in New York I had no desire to write for TV or film.  I knew I was destined to become a playwright/novelist.  I’m lucky enough to say I am a playwright and a novelist, but most of my career has been spent in TV and some film.

This started when I finished college.  I had written my first horror novel Child’s Play under the pseudonym Sal Conte.  My mentor/professor from USC, Shelly Lowenkopf had high hopes for the novel.  And since he did, so did I.  I envisioned getting one of those dream advances.  I would become a media darling, taking up the author’s seat on late-night couches.  That did not come to pass.

After Child’s Play was rejected by all the major houses, I got the manuscript back from my agent.  Dejected, I went to a newsstand and was looking over paperback original horror titles.  Many of them seemed to be similar to what I was doing.  I sent letters to a number of the publishers, and heard back from Dorchester.  I sent them the manuscript and a few weeks later I received a contract in the mail.  The advance was $5000.  If I wanted to write full time I needed a writing gig that paid a whole lot more.

I was lamenting my situation to a friend who said “why don’t you try writing for TV?”  My brother and I watched a lot of TV when I was a kid.  I mean LOTS of TV.  Having watched so much, I felt I had a good handle on TV, but I’d never seen a teleplay.  I’d spent two and a half years at USC and not bothered to look at anything dealing with television.

The calling card for a TV writer is his/her spec script.  This is an episode of a popular show that you write.  You have to make sure you don’t write subjects the show has already covered, and you have to sound exactly like the show.  That was the challenge for me: fresh idea on a popular show, while capturing the characters voices exactly.  It’s not as easy as it seems.  You need a good script, and a lot of luck to get the right people to read it.

Eleven spec scripts in, my luck kicked in.  I met a producer at MTM, one of the major production companies back then—Taxi, Bob Newhart and The Mary Tyler-Moore Show.  It was Mary’s company—MTM.  The producer was honest enough to tell me I was doing everything wrong.  He mentored me on writing a new spec script.  The script caught the eye of a few big companies.  Both wanted to sign me.  Happy days.  I signed with Universal in 1985, and haven’t looked back.  For Universal TV I wrote, He’s The Mayor, Charles In Charge and Knight Rider.  One thing I knew when I started working was one day I would return to writing books.  Books were my first love. What I didn’t realize is it would take twenty-two years.

That’s how it happened for me.  I kept writing and eventually got lucky.  That, to me, is the formula for success as a writer—if you keep working hard, and eventually you will get lucky.  However, while I was working at getting lucky, I think I gained some skill. The first four chapters (pdf) of Boyfriend From Hell are available for free right now on my website. Readers can go to http://evanlowe.com/  and click on the Boyfriend From Hell Sample link to get them.  Please read them, and let me know if the hard work and luck has paid off.   Peace.
*********************************************************

Thank you so much E for sharing your story! I absolutely love Knight Rider - so very cool that you wrote for the show, probably while I was watching it :)

E's first young adult novel, Never Slow Dance with a Zombie released in 2009 and his second novel, Boyfriend From Hell (Falling Angels #1) hit shelves earlier this month.

Place's to find E. Van Lowe
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter



GIVEAWAY
Thanks to Roxanne from Bewitching Book Tours  I have 1 print copy of Boyfriend from Hell for a US resident 13 years or older. Fill out the form for a chance to win! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

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

This one is special because it's really not just a book!
I adore Patrick Carman and I'm supper excited about this new project of his - check it out!

Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
November 1, 2011 from HarperCollins
SYNOPSIS:
Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night's experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?

DARK EDEN can be experienced in two ways. The series is enhanced by a downloadable app that enriches the elements of the traditional narrative through innovative story artifacts including still images, audio recordings, videos, scans, and text entries. For a complete explanation of how the app experience works, check out this video from author Patrick Carman.

The first free episode, THE ARRIVAL can be downloaded from the Apple/iOS App Store  and the Android Market

And if you're still not convinced how awesome this all is, check out the Dark Eden Exclusive Trailer



Other awesomeness:
Official Facebook Page
Official Website

What do you guys think? Is this one on your wishlist yet?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Books To Trade

I have a bunch of books I'm looking to trade. All are in great condition and my home is pet and smoke free.

I'm looking for a 1 to 1 trade (maybe 2 for 1 on the older ARCs and used copies)
We each pay shipping - sorry but I can only ship within the US right now

If you see anything you are interested in, take a look at my:


Both should be up to date but ask if you have any questions :)

Fill out the form below if you want to make a trade!

Thanks guys :)

UPDATED: 9/21/2011

Older ARCs
My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari

2010 ARCs
Beat the Band by Don Calame
Virals by Kathy Reichs
The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
SIGNED! Manifest by Artist Arthur
School of Fear: School is not Dismissed by Gitty Daneshvari
Hold me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride
SIGNED! Matched by Ally Condie
Fire Will Fall by Carol Plum-Ucci (a little beat up but still good)
Murder Afloat by Jane Leslie Conly
On The Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells
The Boy Who Howled by Timothy Power

2011 ARCs
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
The Traitor's Smile by Patricia Elliott
Going Underground by Susan Vaught
Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors
After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel
Nickel Plated by Aric Davis
Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith

Used Paperbacks
Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Red is for Remembrance by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

New Paperbacks
Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder -- Australian Edition
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
Specials by Scott Westerfeld
Heart of Joy by Steve Cushman
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Passing Strange by Daniel Waters
Hourglass by Claudia Gray

New Hardcovers
All You Desire by Kirsten Miller
Vixen by Jillian Larkin
The Time Traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky
Specials by Scott Westerfeld
7 Souls by Barnabas Miller and Jordan Orlando
Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
Bitter Melon by Cara Chow
Stork by Wendy Delsol
The Ivy by Lauren Kunze
Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
Elixir by Hilary Duff
Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


NetGalley July Totals and Tribulations

As some of you have (hopefully) noticed, I never posted the results of my last NetGalley event in July.

So many great people signed up to participate and I know tons of you read tons of NetGalley books - which is the whole point of the event!

Unfortunately, life got a little crazy and scary for me this summer and lots of things got pushed to the side. 

So! Even though I still need to post totals and pick winners (which I will do this week!) I am not going to dwell on the past :)
It's time to move forward - It's time to announce: 

NETGALLEY OCTOBER!!!

Going to make things a little easier for myself this time around - there will be Google Doc instead of comments, lots of check in posts with cool NetGalley tidbits and helpful hints, hopefully another Twitter Chat and of course, a few prizes. 

Starting October 1st, I challenge you all again to dedicate the month to reading as many NetGalley books as you can.  This month long read-a-thon is your chance to play catch up with all those lovely lovely NetGalley books I know you all haven't been able to keep yourself from requesting!

In the mean time, if anyone wants to design a Red House Books / NetGalley Month button for me I would be eternally grateful...and I'm sure I have a book or 2 around here I could 'pay' you with ;)

Check back on October 1 for the official sign-up post ;)

Any questions before we get started?
Are you excited? I am!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

***2011 Debut Author***

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 2011
Pages: 450
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: Trade

Summary:
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Wow. Just wow.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a book unlike any other I've read. You'll have to forgive me if this review is a tad short as there is very little I can say without giving away Mara's secrets. It is the secrets of this story and of it's characters that makes it what it is. And what it is, is the best book I have read in a very, very, very long time.

From hearing a few tidbits from those who read it and also from hearing Michelle herself speak of it, I knew there was going to be something different about this book. It was pretty hard for Michelle to even give a brief synopsis without revealing too much and now I understand why.

I was captivated and draw into the story from page 1 and it was very hard for me to put it down. I lost sleep and I was late for work because I just couldn't not read one more page! Michelle has a way with words and such a firm grasp on her characters, especially Mara. I felt what she felt and I questioned what she questioned. At no time did I feel like, as a reader, I knew more then she did about what was happening to her. This level of depth was fantastic and opened up the door to so many possibilities -- loved this!

And wow again - that ending! Shock and fright and amazement -- so did not see it coming and it was brilliant! I'm almost sad that I read this one early -- it means waiting even longer for book 2 and man! I need book 2 like yesterday!

A fabulous debut for Michelle and I can't wait to read more from her. As one of the best books I have read this year, I highly recommend The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer!!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Simon and Schuster
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

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

I haven't done one of these posts in a while!

Here is my little contribution to your ever growing Wishlists and TBR piles...hehehe :)

A deadly imaginary friend, an angelic fantasy world, a new series from a new favorite  and an new reprint from an old favorite - check out what books I can't wait to get my hands on!

Damage by Anya Parrish
September 2011 from Flux

There was a time when I prayed for Rachel to be real. Until the night I learned she'd always planned to kill me.
When Dani was eight, she fell from a building. No one believed her claim that she was pushed by Rachel . . . her imaginary friend. It took years of therapy to convince Dani that Rachel wasn't real.
Now fifteen, Dani wants to make it as a dancer. But a deadly freak accident sends Dani a terrifying message: Rachel is back, she's real, and she'll stop at nothing to kill Dani.
Complicating matters is Jesse, the school bad boy who's being stalked by his own invisible childhood nemesis. Dani and Jesse join forces to learn why their astral tormenters are back. Their investigation leads to a horrifying discovery—and the terrible experiment that binds them to each other. Goodreads Link

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
November 15, 2011 from Razorbill

Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?
Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped - and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie's whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be. Goodreads Link


Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey
January 17, 2012 from Walker / Bloomsbury

For seventeen years, Eloise Hart had no idea the world of Faery even existed. Now she has been abducted and trapped in the Rath of Lord Strahan, King of Faery. Strahan was only meant to rule for seven years, as Faery tradition dictates, and then give up his crown to another. But he won't comply, and now chaos threatens both worlds.
The only one who can break his stranglehold on the Faery court is his wife. . . Eloise's aunt Antonia. Using Eloise to lure Antonia, Strahan captures his wife, desperate to end the only threat to his reign. Now Eloise must become the rescuer. Together with her best friends Jo and Devin, she must forge alliances with other Fae, including a gorgeous protector named Lucas, and Strahan's mysterious son, Eldric-who may or may not betray themGoodreads Link


Amanda / Miranda by Richard Peck
January 19, 2012 from Speak

"Your future lies beyond a mountain of ice, where you will die, and live again." The wisewoman's prophecy disturbs Miranda, a maidservant who bears an uncanny resemblance to her rich and arrogant mistress, Amanda Whitwell. Thrust into a tangled web of lies by Amanda, Miranda watches helplessly as one fateful night, a prophecy once foretold becomes reality . . . aboard the Titanic. Richard Peck's newly abridged edition of his popular adult novel is an enthralling adventure that will capture the reader's imaginationGoodreads Link

Sunday, September 11, 2011

FREE e-Book Alert

This one is only available for a limited time!


Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
With bonus material - An excerpt from the sequel Beautiful Days and fashion tips on how to achieve the perfect flapper look.

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

Saturday, September 10, 2011

In My Mailbox - September 9, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Vlog in which I post the one and only take I recorded...which was probably a huge mistake. And I lie to you.
And seriously - what is up with my face in that still shot....




Awesomeness mentioned!

Bought! Because I have a problem and no, I still don't need any help for it! :)

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
WHY? Cover love first of all. Contemp which isn't always my thing but I really want to give them more of a try.

Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
WHY? Haven't really read much of Nancy's work and I like a good vampire tale...hopefully this one is good - have you read it?

Huntress by Malinda Lo
WHY? Pure fantasy - my favorite genre! Some magic too? Sounds like a pretty cool story.

Human .4 by Mike A. Lancaster
WHY? Already read it and loved it! (my review) Now I have a finished copy. Great sci-fi - I highly recommend this one!

Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke
WHY? Shape shifting dragons? Firelight didn't really do it for me but I love dragons so I thought I would give this one a try.

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell
WHY? Another contemp that I've heard good things about. Oh - and I said this one was a 2011 debut which I'm pretty sure is a lie...oops...

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
WHY? Love the cover! Weird sister thing going on - sounds interesting. And when I said I haven't heard that many great things about this one...that might also have been a lie...

For Review -- huge huge thank you to Sourcebooks!
ARC of Embrace by Jessica Shirvington -- March 2012

So, did I buy enough? Not enough you say? Go back to Borders this weekend you say? Well...if you insist...hehehe

What's in your mailbox!?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Review: After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 2011
Pages: 320
Series: no
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Told from 2 points of view, After Obsession is the story of a girl with healing powers and a Native American boy with a powerful spirit guide. Together they fight a demonic river being who has been killing people for years and is in the process of possessing their friend. Simply stated, this story line just really did not work for me.

There are a lot of reasons I did not connect with this book. The characters for one, were a big problem for me. Aimee is psychic...maybe? She has these dreams that come true but as cool as that is, it's not really important to the story. She can also heal people with her touch - which is never explained and really again, doesn't add anything to the story. Alan follows the ways of his Navajo people. Only, he's not even sure he is Navajo as his mother didn't know his father or his real name. And as far as I can tell, Alan never sought out other Navajos - he learns everything about 'his' culture from the Internet and books. Not really a big deal, but Alan's Navajo heritage plays such a big part of the story that the fact that it might not even be true makes a lot of what happens very unrealistic and unfounded.

And of course, they fall in love. In about a week. While fighting a demonic river spirit who has been killing townspeople for centuries.

It just really didn’t work for me. Too many paranormal elements - Aimee's abilities and Alan's spirit guide and this demonic being who's origin's are never explained. A little over the top for my tastes.

Those were the major problems I had. There were others but it's just my personal preferences. I like character with a lot of depth and I didn't really see that here. I like settings that are original and unique and this small Maine town with a river people happen to die in just didn't appeal to me.

I was very much reminded of Carrie's Need series while reading After Obsession. The same small town setting in rural Maine, the same types of characters and I think since I'm not a huge fan of Need, I can't say that I'm a huge fan of After Obsession.

BUT! With that said, if you are a fan of the Need series and of Carrie's writing in general I think you would really enjoy this book. I've never read anything by Steve and I was a little surprised to find out that every chapter written from Alan's POV was all Steve and every chapter from Aimee's was Carrie's because it all very much felt the same. I think this is a strength of the book. The fact that these two writers, coming from very different professional backgrounds, wrote a book that flowed well from chapter to chapter speaks to the strengths both writers possess. The fact that all the pieces of the story fit together nicely (even if I didn't like those pieces) makes for a very well put together story.

So, would I recommend After Obsession? Perhaps with a few caveats but yes, I would say I would. Another, 'not for me but I do think others will really enjoy it' book! I would recommend After Obsession to fans of Carrie's who enjoy more then one paranormal element in their stories. And I have to say, I would pick up another book written by this duo.

Overall Rating:
2.5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Publisher's website
Author's Websites - Carrie / Steve
Goodreads

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Review: The Warrior Sheep Go West by Christine and Christopher Russell

Reading Level: Middle Grade
Publication Date: August 2011
Pages: 224
Series: yes
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
In this follow-up book to the successful The Quest of the Warrior Sheep, the herd hoofs it to Las Vegas in another epic adventure. Last time they saved the Sheep God. This time they have to save all of sheepdom. A strange monster called Red Tongue has threatened all Rams, Ewes, and Lambs, and the Warrior Sheep know it's up to them to stop him. But they have a crazy scientist following them, and Tod and Gran have been thrown in jail by an over-zealous sheriff. Can the Warriors stop the mysterious monster? (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
What a fun book to read! Technically the second book in a series but not having read book 1, I wasn't at all confused or out of the loop having only read book 2. We are first introduced to these wacky sheep in Quest of the Warrior Sheep but in the beginning of The Warrior Sheep go West, we are quickly filled in on the personality traits and little quirks that make Jaycey, Sal, Links, Wills and Oxo so entertaining to read.

What I really liked about this book was how through a series of seemingly unrelated events these loveable sheep and their clueless human owners, travel thousands of miles together, thwart the evil plans of a mad scientist (or two) save the day and wind up back in the comfort of their English countryside - all without even realizing they were working together the whole time.

A quick read that I really think young readers would enjoy. Fun and lighthearted with a bit of mystery and suspense, The Warrior Sheep Go West is a book I would not hesitate to recommend to middle grade readers.

Although I didn't need to have read book 1 in order to read book 2, I think I'll buy myself a copy anyway to add to my home library. I can really see my daughter enjoying these stories in years to come.

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Books in the Series:
Quest of the Warrior Sheep
The Warrior Sheep Go West

Linkage Love:
Jabberwocky / Sourcebooks
Goodreads

Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Review: Sally's Bones by MacKenzie Cadenhead

Reading Level: Middle Grade
Publication Date: September 2011
Pages: 192
Series: no
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
Sally is a quirky character who loves Death Rock and faded blue jeans. She fits in better with the Addams Family than with a clique of catty sixth grade girls. After her mother's death, grief-stricken Sally begs for death...and death is exactly what she gets: a tail-wagging skeleton dog called Bones. A gift from beyond the grave, Bones is a dreadfully delicious girl's best friend.—In this cleverly written, alliterative tale the neighborhood's dog treats go missing and everyone blames Bones. Sally must solve the mystery to save her cadaverous canine from puppy prison. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Overall, I thought Sally's Bones was a very sweet story. Sally is a young girl who is understandably very upset and sad after the death of her mother. She asks for help and she seems to get it - in the form of a skeleton puppy she names Bones. Bones would do anything for her and the two become inseparable. And of course, trouble soon follows.

Have to say, for a middle grade (ages 9+) book, I found the beginning of Sally's Bones a little harsh and dark. I know a few young readers who do not enjoy books involving death in any form and I wouldn't be able to recommend this one to them for that reason. However, at the heart of the story is a very sweet girl with a wonderful family who learns about the power of love.

Even as a skeleton, it was hard not to see Bones as the supper cute puppy he is. Nothing creepy about him at all. Sally loves him so much and when the town and even Sally's father turn against him, Sally stops at nothing to clear his name.

The villains in this story were pretty spot on - the rich, pretty, mean girl Viola and her jealous mother were perfect and I loved how things played out in the end. Not giving it away - read it for yourself!

Sally's Bones, although perhaps a bit macabre, holds a loving message about family and I think young readers will really enjoy. As with most books for the younger crowd, I encourage you to read this one for yourself before passing it on but I think you'll enjoy it as much as the children in your life will.

I know I'll be keeping my copy to pass on to my little one in a few years. MacKenzie has done an excellent job creating mystery and suspense with characters I dare you not to fall in love with. As a debut, Sally's Bones is wonderful and I'm sure to be on the lookout for more from MacKenzie in the future.

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Jabberwocky / Sourcebooks
Author's Website
Goodreads

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In My Mailbox - September 3, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

No vlog this week because it would take me WAY TOO LONG to show you everything.
Bought a done of books these last couple of weeks and got a few other goodies too!

Links are to Goodreads :)


Bought:
Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
WHY? I'm loving the mermaid stories lately and this one is said to be "A Twist on the Classic Tale" - and it's not young adult like I previously thought. AND it was like $3 at Borders :)

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
WHY? I've never actually read this one...and I need to do something about that fact!

Shimmer (Riley Bloom #2) by Alyson Noel
WHY? I have Evermore and Radiance (Riley Bloom #1) but I've never read anything by Alyson before - hoping to motivate myself :)

Thirst No. 3 The Eternal Dawn by Christopher Pike
WHY? One of my favorite authors and I love how they have republished this series in omnibus form.

Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler
WHY? If you've never read one of Octavia's books, you really are missing out! I've read this one but didn't own it. Love the new printing.

Trance by Linda Gerber
WHY? It was on sale and I remember wanting to read it - anyone read this one? How is it?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Volume 2 (Halloween Rain, Bad Bargain, Afterimage) by Christopher Golden, Nancy Holder, Diana G. Gallagher and Pierce Askegren
WHY? I was never a huge Buffy fan but I love Joss Whedon and I'm hoping reading the stories will cause me to want to rewatch the show :) And this book was like 2 bucks and it's signed by Nancy Holder - very cool!

The Line by Teri Hall
WHY? Read it and loved it! Now I have my own copy.

The Candidates (Delcroix Academy #1) by Inara Scott
WHY? A 2010 debut book I didn't have a chance to read last year.

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
WHY? Honestly? I own an ARC but I couldn't resist the soft cover of the finished copy! hehehe

The Shepherd's Tale (Serenity #3) The Graphic Novel by Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon and Chris Samnee
WHY? More Joss Whedon love :) I have and have read the first 2 Graphic Novels and they are fabulous. If you're a fan of Firfly - these are must have books!


Gifted in exchange for shipping
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
WHY? I love mythology and this one sounds fabulous.

The Hollow by Jessica Verday
WHY? A creepy tale that has been on my wishlist for a while

The Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent
My Soul to Take, My Soul to Save, My Soul to Keep, My Soul to Steal, If I Die
WHY? I really really want to finish this series! Book 1 was fabulous.

Ghostgirl Series by Tonya Hurley
Ghostgirl, Homecoming and Lovesick
WHY? My sister loves this series and the books themselves are very visually appealing. So happy to own them all!

Between starting and ending this post I actually bought even more books...but you can see those next week ;)

So! What's in your mailbox?

Thursday, September 1, 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 surprise gift.

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. or looking to trade here is
MY R.A.K. WISHLIST
In no particular order :)
(last updated: 10/9/11)

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart
Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
Bloodborn (Other #2) by Karen Kincy
And Then Things Fall Apart by Tibensky Arlaina
Dark Angel by Eden Maguire
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Envy by Gregg Olsen
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Damage by Anya Parrish
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
The Vision by Jen Nadol
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I Am J by Cris Beam
Errant by Diana Peterfreund
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
Vesper by Jeff Sampson
Away by Teri Hall
Ghost Huntress #4 by Marley Gibson
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 Last Good Place of Lily Odilon by Sara Beitia
One Hundred Candles (Past Midnight #2) by Mara Purnhagen
Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
Island Sting by Bonnie Doerr
Stakeout by Bonnie Doerr
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Fire by Kristin Cashore

More books are listed on my Goodreads Wishlist :)

Monthly Reads - August 2011

August was a little less crazy then July - you know, if you take out the earthquake and hurricane. Thanks Ma Nature! :)

Not fully back to normal bloggy wise, life wise, everything wise but I'm working on it!

I'm really hoping I can get back into the swing of things, so to speak, in September. I'm behind on a lot of stuff - reviews and email and updates for NetGalley July and planning for NetGalley October and cleaning my house and getting my daughter ready for Kindergarten! Ok, she's ready....I'm not!

But you know, I'm not beating myself up over my lack of productivity these last couple of months. No sense in doing that :)

Ok - on to the books and let's hope for less crazy / more books in September

Books Read (number of pages):
Everblue by Brenda Pandos (304)
Between by Jessica Warman (447)
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (450)
The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch (288)
The House of Dead Maids by Clare B Dunkle (146)
The Raven (Skeleton Creek #4) by Patrick Carman (240)
Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James (384)
Between The Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore (240)

Short Stories (number of pages):

Graphic Novels/Manga:
Daniel X The Manga Vol 1 by James Patterson
Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer

Children's Books:

Children's Chapter Book:
Sally's Bones by MacKenzie Cadenhead
The Warrior Sheep Go West by Christine and Christopher Russell

Audio Books (length):

Monthly Totals
BOOKS READ: 8
SHORT STORIES: 0
PAGES: 2499
GRAPHIC NOVELS / MANGA: 2
CHILDREN'S PICTURE: 0
CHILDREN'S CHAPTER: 2
AUDIO BOOKS: 0
HOURS: 0

Challenge Updates
Yearly Totals

Cover Love: The Springsweet (The Vespertine #2) by Saundra Mitchell

Have you read The Vespertine? I loved it
Saundra recently shared the cover for book 2, The Springsweet

Due to release April 2012


What do you guys think?
Loving the dresses in this series :)