Hello and Welcome!

Red House Books is going through a bit of a update!

I've always had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted this space to be but I've been detoured from my path by...lots and lost of other people's opinions and ways of doing things...

I'm committed to this little chunk of the interweb but I've also branched out into other places so! Now it's time to think of Red House Books as more of a hub of all things me! And Me is a hell of a lot of book love!

Stay tuned!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

May 7, 2013 from Entangled Teen

On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.


As a nerd that has never been afraid to shout my nerdiness from the rooftops I'm curious as to how Madelyne's story will play out.

What do you guys think?

As a bonus, Entangled is hosting a marked-to-read contest on Goodreads in April and May. Keep an eye on Leah's site for details on how to enter to win!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Take Your Child To A Bookstore Day

I read about this recently in Shelf Awareness and I think it's a fabulous idea!

Any project aimed at connecting kids with books gets my vote!


Scheduled for this Saturday December 1st the plan is simple - take your child, or any young person in your life to a bookstore!

Not that this isn't a weekly occurrence in my house but I'm going to try to make it fun for my little one :)

I'm also going to use this day as an excuse to kick start my butt into getting out of the house more with my daughter to do things she enjoys (not just running errands!). She absolutely loves books so our local indie shop and fabulous library are tops on my list.

What do you guys think? Even if you've never heard of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, will you be browsing shelves with a little one this weekend?

For more information, visit www.takeyourchildtoabookstore.org

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Reviews and You - How do You Blog?

I have a system in place for review writing.

Ok...several systems.

OK! Maybe it's more like one giant system with a lot of moving parts that all work perfectly together.

You know, except when they don't.

I love to read - reading has never been a chore or even a hobby. For me, it's a way of life and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Writing on the other hand was never something I excelled in. So when it comes time to get all those lovely little thoughts I have on a book out of my head, sometimes it's a challenge.

I TRY to write a review the second I finish a book. I close the book, get up, find my computer and write. I think this works for me because my reviews tend to be more about my emotional reaction to a book rather then it's form and function. I don't analyse style and literary markers - I like talking about how a book makes me feel. My reviews aren't technical and I don't think they ever will be.

So, what happens when I don't write up that review right away?

...bad things...very very bad things....

Ok, not really but it can be a challenge at times.

Today I'm asking you, as a blogger, as a reader - 
how do you handle your reviews?

Do you take notes while you read?

Are you always on the look out for nuggets of content from a book to add to your review?

Are you not even thinking of your review while reading?

As someone who really only writes when I'm blogging, I find other people's writing styles fascinating.

If you have a minute - drop a comment :)

I'll reply below and unless 'noreply-comment' makes an appearance, I'll email you back as well :)

Seriously, I would LOVE to talk to you guys about this!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Happy Day!


For those of you that celebrate,

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm away from my home base for a while, visiting with family.

This year, more then ever, I feel that I have a lot to be thankful for.

Let's hope the next couple of months aren't as crazy as the last, shall we?


That's my little girl's very first thanksgiving in which the turkey might have weighed more then she did!
I can't believe how long ago it was - feels like yesterday :)

I'll be back sometime next week and I hope you and yours 
have a fabulous and safe holiday

Happy reading (and eating ;) everyone!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Birthday Tuesday (9) - The November Edition :)


I'm a little late in wishing some of these lovely books a Happy Birthday and a little early on a few others but nonetheless, they all deserve a shout out (and maybe some cake? :)

A BIG Happy Happy Birthday to:

NEW



CONTINUING SERIES





NEW IN PAPERBACK


Links are to Goodreads :)

So, what books are you adding to your shelves this week?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Short Story Review: Free Four by Veronica Roth

Divergent #1.1
April 2012 from Katherine Tegen

Synopsis:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth retells a pivotal Divergent scene (chapter 13) from Tobias's point of view. This thirteen-page scene reveals unknown facts and fascinating details about Four's character, his past, his own initiation, and his thoughts about new Dauntless initiate Tris Prior. (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
Remember the part in Divergent with Four and Tris and the knife? Remember how obnoxious Four was? Ever wonder what he was thinking? I know I did!

Free Four is a short re-telling of that key piece of Divergent from Four's point of view. A very interesting point of view! It's short and sweet and if you have read Divergent it's a pretty awesome little bonus.

I can't help but think though, if I had read this short story before (or even during) Divergent, my vision of who and what Four is would have been very different. I would have to say, for fans of this series, it would be a good idea to read this one in between books 1 and 2.

Not really a story for those you haven't read Divergent as it doesn't make a lot of sense out of context.

Extras? Yes - excerpts from Divergent and Insurgent plus an introduction from the author.

Will I continue the series? Yes! Reading this really got me excited (again) for Insurgent.

Worth the price? It was free when I read it off of the Divergent Facebook page. Annoying because I really dislike Facebook. You can buy it now for $.99 or read a sample of it for free still on FB. It's only 16 pages long and even though it was interesting and I really enjoyed it, my bitter side says it's not worth the money. Wish the publisher had kept it free!

It's also available in the Collector's Edition of Insurgent - If you haven't bought yours yet, I would get this one!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Roundup (12) - November 18, 2012

Merriam-Webster defines 'roundup' as a gathering in of scattered persons or things (source)

Replace 'persons or things' with 'BOOKS!' and you'll have what happens in my house every week as I try to keep control of my hoard :)

This week I got…

For Review:
February 5, 2013 from Strange Chemistry
WHY? I think this one's about a mysterious circus in a fantasy setting - count me in :)

March 5, 2013 from Strange Chemistry
WHY? Hidden family legacies with paranormal twists - sounds great!

February 5 2013 from Feirwel and Friends
WHY? My daughter and I love reading together and this one looked very cute.

WHY? Picture books that teach something are always a plus with me.

Bought:
by Brayan Lee O'Malley
WHY? I was introduced to the movie Soctt Pilgrim by my boyfriend - never knowing that it's awesomeness came from a series of graphic novel / mangas written by O'Malley. If you liked the movie, you'll love these books!

WHY? Um...zombies! Gotta say though - I was a fan of this cover when I first saw it but upclose the girl looks way too old to be the Alice in the story...and it's another girl in a dress which got old a long time ago...ok...why did I like this cover? Oh yeah - does't matter - zombies!

WHY? Already read (and reviewed) the ARC but I needed a pretty finished copy for my shelves. The dust jacket of this one is all soft and soothing...nothing like the book!

WHY? So it's the 3rd in a series of a series I haven't even started yet...but it's part of Riordan's Olympus series and I already have books 1 and 2 in hardcover and it looked so pretty in the store and - don't judge me!

WHY? I *might* already own a signed copy of this one but THIS one is a COLLECTOR'S EDITION! Short story, poster, faction tattoos - come on? How could I resist? (you're judging me again aren't you?)

WHY? If you want to be actually thrilled and terrified by a book - read this series.

WHY? Been wanting this one for a while now and I'm supper happy they didn't redesign the cover for the paperback because I loooooove it!

Links are to Goodreads :)

How about your guys? What have you added to your hoard lately?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Review: Zombie Town by R. L. Stine

"...no matter who it's written for...R.L. Stine knows how to write suspense!"
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Publication Date: April 2012
Publisher: Amazon Childrens Publishing
Pages: 80
Series: no
Acquisition: I received a free ARC for review at BEA 2012

Summary:
This used to be such a nice, quiet town. But that was before all the zombies. When twelve-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, go to see a horror movie called Zombie Town, the last thing they expect is for the title characters to come down off the screen and chase them through the theater. And it’s not popcorn these hungry creatures want to chomp on—it’s human brains!
Now Mike and Karen frantically try to flee through the panicked streets of their hometown before shuffling bands of zombies turn every last citizen into a ravenous flesh-eater. But if Mike thinks he’ll be safe once he reaches his house and warns Mom and Dad, he'd better think again. When the zombies say it's lunchtime, no home is safe! Zombie Town is R.L. Stine’s delightfully spooky take on the horror genre that’s infecting the world, bite by bite. (from Amazon)
My thoughts:
I know this is a story for kids and it's only like 80 pages long and took me maybe 10 minutes to read BUT it really did scare the crap out of me! Even more so because right after reading this story? I went to a movie theater, like Mike and Karen from the book. And like Mike and Karen there was no one else in the theater! So, ok, people showed up a few minutes before the movie started, but for a while it was totally creepy. I really could not get this story out of my head!

It just goes to show that no matter who it's written for, no matter how long or how short the story is, R.L. Stine knows how to write suspense! His talent to scare is off the charts fantastic!

If you have a young reader in your life that enjoys being scared, Zombie Town would be perfect for them. If you're a fan of R.L. Stine, no matter your age, Zombie Town would be perfect for you too!

As an added bonus, there is an introduction from Stine explaining where his inspiration came from - loved this!

As a huge fan of R.L. Stine, this book is another perfect addition to my growing Stine library.

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Review: The Believing Game by Eireann Corrigan

"By the end...I had a pretty nasty taste in my mouth. I felt like I should have been wowed...but unfortunately I wasn't."
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: December 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 320
Series: no
Acquisition: I received a free e-galley for review from NetGalley

Summary:
A private academy. A cult leader. A girl caught in the middle.
After Greer Cannon discovers that shoplifting can be a sport and sex can be a superpower, her parents pack her up and send her off to McCracken Hill-a cloistered academy for troubled teens. At McCracken, Greer chafes under the elaborate systems and self-help lingo of therapeutic education. Then Greer meets Addison Bradley. A handsome, charismatic local, Addison seems almost as devoted to Greer as he is to the 12 steps. When he introduces Greer to his mentor Joshua, she finds herself captivated by the older man's calm wisdom. Finally, Greer feels understood.
But Greer starts to question: Where has Joshua come from? What does he want in return for his guidance? The more she digs, the more his lies are exposed. When Joshua's influence over Addison edges them all closer to danger, Greer decides to confront them both. Suddenly, she finds herself on the outside of Joshua's circle. And swiftly, she discovers it's not safe there. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I have to come right out and say it - I did not like this book. There isn't any one thing fundamentally wrong with it but overall, I can't say that I very much enjoyed reading it.

Everything about this story and it's characters are, for lack of a better term, messed up. The kids have issues, the adults have issues, the setting is just strange and the things that happen are beyond dysfunctional. Nothing makes much sense, the storyline moved at a snail's pace until the end where everything happens at once. It all doesn't amount to much of anything and the epilogue was a little ridiculous.

Maybe it's important to note that at no time did I consider not finishing this one. I think I kept waiting for something. Not sure what it was but for me at least, it never came. You might have a different experience though.

Final verdict:
By the end of The Believing Game I had a pretty nasty taste in my mouth. I felt like I should have been wowed by the psychological what-the-f-ery of the story but unfortunately I wasn't. I felt nothing for these characters and the absolute ridiculousness of the situation was just too over the top.

Not a book I could in good conscience recommend to fans of contemporary thriller stories, which is what this book is intended to be, I think? Still not totally sure what I was suppose to take away from this one but I don't think my feelings will chance over time. A disappointing read overall.

Overall Rating:
2 / 5 Stars

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book Review: A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

"There's a type of raw energy about this book. Nothing held back..."
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: June 2012
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 304
Series: no
Acquisition: I received a free ARC for review at BEA 2012

Summary:
Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.
Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her stepbrother...at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.
Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger's most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
This book is good. Like, I'll read a chapter or two before bed but no really I'll be staying up till 2 in the morning to finish it good.

I don't know how it happened but I got so caught up in Whitley's story that seriously, the book did not leave my hands until I read every word on every page. And! And? I cried. For serious. Real tears. Whitley had so much pain in her life and she went through so much and so many horrible things happened and so many wonderful things happened it was really just too much for me! In a good way :)

There's a type of raw energy about this book. Nothing held back, tell it like it is rawness that really got under my skin. Whitley is entirely herself and at the same time, she's been so molded by the people and circumstances of her life that she doesn't really know who she is.

And oh god I hated her father. I hated her mother. I hated everyone who had ever hurt her. Because even though she's a bitch to most people and she never lets people get close and she really doesn't give a shit you can't help but love her. You can't help but feel her pain and want to make everything better. You want her to have her happy ending.

The amount of emotion I felt reading this book is hard to compare. Damn you Kody! (the happy kind of damning...I swear) .

Final verdict:
In the end, it's a story about a girl and her family. But it's not just any girl and she doesn't have just any family.

She's full of piss and vinegar and I bet that you've met a girl like her before. A girl who always gets the guy and laughs off the horrible names everyone calls her. A girl who uses people and lets herself be used. A girl who stopped caring a long time ago. Ever stop to think about what happens to that girl in the end? Kody did. She wrote A Midsummer's Nightmare to give us Whitley - at least it feels that way to me. Whitley you won't have to wonder about. Whitley you won't forget.

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Book Review: Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

"...layered worlds...hidden secrets...veiled and not so veiled threats and horrors...it all really got to me..."
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 306
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: I received a free ARC for review from BEA 2012

Summary:
In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures--if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.
All Mallory knows of The City is that her father--and every other witch there--fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it's only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls. (from Goodreads)

MY THOUGHTS:
I honestly thought I was going to love this book. And while that turned out to not be true, I'm still glad I read it.

Carnival of Souls takes place in two different worlds. The 'real' world we all inhabit and a magical world called 'The City', which is full of daimons and once upon a time, witches as well. The powerful witches now reside in our world...for the most part. And the daimons keep to The City...usually. And everyone hates each other...unless they don't.

Honestly, it was all rather confusing at first. And the characters - there are tons of them. The entire book is in third person and I'm sure there's a term for 3rd person narrative where the point of view is from a particular character but I have no idea what to call it. This POV changes from chapter to chapter and sometimes from paragraph to paragraph. A character that seemed really important in chapter 1 doesn't make an appearance again till more then halfway through the book. Another character who was given the briefest of introductions turns out to be a key player in everything that happens.

Again? A little confusing. Or maybe rather then confusing I should say complicated. Not a bad thing but still a thing. A very big thing that at times, took over the story.

And there's romance. But I hated it. It's insta love and magic and a whinny heroine who you really couldn't care less about and I found the whole thing a little distasteful.

And then there's the part that I found REALLY distasteful. It was only a very small piece of the over all story but honestly, I almost stopped reading the book because of it. It was crass and vulgar and in my opinion, had no place at all in a book that 13 year olds will be reading. And coming from me, that's pretty harsh as I believe that children should not be sheltered and they are more then smart enough to know the difference between right and wrong, fantasy and reality. In this case however, this thing that happened did nothing for the overall story and didn't seem to even have a point.

FINAL VERDICT:
Carnival of Souls is a very dark book - and really, this is what I loved about it. The layered worlds, the hidden secrets, the veiled and not so veiled threats and horrors. It all really got to me and I'm very glad to have read it.

On the other hand, most of the characters left a sour taste in my mouth and I found it really hard to make connections with anyone. There is a lot of sex, a lot of violence and a lot of really brief glimpses behind the curtains of secrets everyone hid behind. Taken as a whole, it just wasn't for me.

The writing is spectacular but it was still hard for me to see this as a book meant for teens. I really wish it had been written for adults. I would have loved to see more grit and more horrors.

WILL I CONTINUE WITH THE SERIES? 
I'm a little disappointed right now but I know for sure that I'll be reading book 2. Even if the characters didn't quite mesh for me. The fantasy that Marr has created begs for more. Maybe a re-read before book 2 comes out? We'll see.

If you've read Carnival of Souls, I would love to know what you thought!

Overall Rating:
3 / 5 Stars