Monday, April 30, 2012

Check out my goods ;)

Whenever my boyfriend gets to the mailbox before I do I have to ask:
"Did I get anything good?!"

Today I did!

For review from William Morrow

The Inquisitor's Key by Jefferson Bass
Love this series! I think this is the 7th in the Body Farm series and I think I might be 1 or 2 books behind...but I'll fix that soon!

Did you get any goodies today?

Book Review: Floors by Patrick Carman

Reading Level: Middle Grade
Publication Date: September 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 261
Series: 1st of a trilogy
Acquisition: BEA 2011

Summary:
Charlie had his chocolate factory. Stanley Yelnats had his holes. Leo has the wacky, amazing Whippet Hotel.
The Whippet Hotel is a strange place full of strange and mysterious people. Each floor has its own quirks and secrets. Leo should know most of them - he is the maintenance man's son, after all. But a whole lot more mystery gets thrown his way when a series of cryptic boxes are left for him . . . boxes that lead him to hidden floors, strange puzzles, and unexpected alliances. Leo had better be quick on his feet, because the fate of the building he loves is at stake . . . and so is Leo's own future! (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I feel the need to start out by saying that I am a huge fan of Patrick Carman's. I pretty much knew I would love this book before I started reading it. There is good reason for this as my expectations of Patrick's books have always been very high and to date, I have never once been disappointed!

What a wonderful and wacky place The Whippet Hotel is! I wish with all my heart that it was an actual place, full of actual people and run by a man that anyone would be proud to call friend. Merganzer Whippet is such an awesome character and I absolutely love the way he is portrayed.

In true Patrick Carman fashion, we are slowly given pieces of a puzzle. Or more actually, pieces that eventually make up bigger pieces that eventually show us a puzzle that may or may not be complete. Every little detail is important and everything is connected and when it falls together in the end, it's magical.

Final verdict:
The power of family and the power of friendships is very strong in this book, with plenty of twists and turns to keep young and old readers entertained. After traveling with Leo through Merganzer Whippet's crazy world, I was left with a s huge smile and a warm heart. Another Patrick Carman win!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Series:
#1 Floors #1
#2 Floors #2: 3 Below


Linkage Love:
Author's website
Book website
Goodreads
IndieBound

Saturday, April 28, 2012

On My Reader (11) - April 28, 2012



On My Reader posts are were I highlight recent ebooks I've added to my digital collection :)

One book this week!
Seriously - what would I do without NetGalley?!

For Review:
May 22 from Bloomsbury / Walker 


So, what's on your readers?
Let me know in the comments!

I'm still considering opening this feature up and putting in a linky every week.
Does anyone else think they would participate if I did?
Saturday posts with digital books you've added to your collection?
I'm using these posts to help me organize and wonder if anyone else could benefit as well!
Let me know! :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

DEBUT FEATURE: Zoraida Cordova Interview + A Giveaway


A big welcome to
Zoraida Cordova
whose debut novel
The Vicious Deep
releases May 1, 2012
from Sourcebooks Fire

For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.
He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.
His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he’s heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he’s suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.
Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea…and now it wants him back. (from Goodreads)

I'm so happy to be a part of Zoraida's Bloggers of the Deep blog tour (love that name :)

Today she's visiting Red House Books sharing some memories.

What makes you think of your childhood?
Mangoes. A neighbor in Ecuador had a tree and one of my great uncles used to steal them for me.

...your happiest memory?
My 23rd birthday. I got the best presents, a Lenox design statue of Ariel and Prince Eric

...your road to publication?
Papercuts. I prefer editing a hard copy manuscript. I remember carrying it all over the place. In the shuffle, many papercuts happened.

...your writing style?
Casual. Friendly. A friend who's telling you a story while you're hanging out.

...your family?
Christmas. It's when everyone is together no matter what! And presents!

...high school?
Pink hair gone wrong. I had an incident with pink highlight that went terribly wrong. I've since stopped dying my hair!

...snow days?
The first time I saw real snow when I was seven, outside JFK airport.

Thank you Zoraida!

Linky Love :)


Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have 1 copy of The Vicious Deep to giveaway!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS
*Open to US residents 18 and older
*1 winner - book ships from the publisher
*Ends May 3, 2012
*Fill out the form below to enter

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Stance On Plagiarism

It's wrong.

Don't do it.


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

In light of events recently brought to light I've decided to make a few changes.
I've thought long and hard about my decisions and I haven't made them lightly.

I AM NO LONGER:
Officially participating in The Story Siren's Debut Author Challenge.
I have removed the button from my sidebar and I have reworked my original challenge post.
(I have tried to delete my link from the challenge page sign up post but have been unable too do so)

I WILL:
Still be keeping track of debuts I read because, DEBUT AUTHORS ARE AWESOME!
Still challenge myself to read as many debut authors as I can in 2012.

I AM NO LONGER:
Going to post books I've received under the "In My Mailbox" meme

I WILL:
Still share with you books I've added to my collection each week but I'll do it without any affiliation to a particular meme and / or blog. I don't see anything wrong with this as one of the reasons I started this blog was to share and my Sunday posts will be just that - a sharing.

ALSO:
I've made some changes to the people I follow, subscribe to and 'friend' in various social media outlets (Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook etc) and while I will not be getting into particulars here, I am always open to honest, respectful conversations about...well...anything really.
Email me!

IN CLOSING:
I almost NEVER speak out on issues / drama / controversy that happens in the book blogging world. 

I almost NEVER speak out on these types of things as they come up in my real life.

I'm not about the drama - I'm about living life to it's fullest and for me, a full life is a life full of books.

I felt that I couldn't keep absolutely silent this time however.

If anyone wants to discuss these decisions and changes I've made I would love to hear from you! Email me, please.

I also feel the need to say - if this post sounds a little colder and / or more serious then posts you are used to from me - the effect is intentional. I'm upset and disheartened by recent events and I'm trying to take a logical and fair approach to everything.

No worries - I'll be back to my old care free, crazy, off the wall self soon!

Thanks for listening guys!

HAPPY READING!

BOOKS RULE!


On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is hosted by Book Chick City :)

This one only hit my radar recently - as much as I say I'm not a big vampire story fan I can't seem to stay away!
What do you guys think?
Anyone read this one yet?


Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London
May 29, 2012 from HarperTeen

This electrifying new trilogy blends the best of paranormal and dystopian storytelling in a world where the war is over. And the vampires won.
Humans huddle in their walled cities, supplying blood in exchange for safety. But not even that is guaranteed. Dawn has lost her entire family and now reluctantly serves as the delegate to Lord Valentine, the most powerful vampire for miles. It isn’t until she meets Victor, Valentine’s son, that she realizes not all vampires are monsters....
Darkness Before Dawn is a fresh new story with captivating characters, unexpected plot twists, a fascinating setting, and a compelling voice. Written under the name J. A. London by a talented mother-son team, the trilogy is perfect for fans of True Blood and the House of Night and Morganville Vampires series. (from Goodreads)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Audio Book Review: The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

Reading Level: Young Adult
Pub Dates: Book-Feb 2011 / Audio-Feb 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books For Young Readers
Length: 16 hours
Narrator: Katie MacNichol
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: Library

Summary:
In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.
Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Felt like I was kind of stuck in the middle for a lot of the book. I kept waiting for the plot to move forward and although it felt like it took awhile to get through, the end came before I was ready for it. A lot does happen in The Iron Thorn but it feels like it takes a little too long for the story to fully reveal itself.

I did very much like the characters. Although, there was a twist towards the end that didn't make a lot of sense to me. It felt convenient and it didn’t help to explain anything (for me).

The setting of this story is amazing! It's steampunk but it's supernatural at the same time. It's historic but nothing like the history we know. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the exact rules of this world but in the end, it was better to just go with it - letting the story carry me away.

Audio critique:
Very well done. A lot of different characters but I never felt confused as to who was speaking. Not heavy on the sound effects which works well for a book like this where there is already a lot going on.

Final verdict:
A multi layered story that screams steampunk awesomeness. A little heavy at times perhaps but it deserves it. There is so much story to tell and so much depth to each character that anything other then a massive tome would have been unsatisfying.

I'm glad I listened to this one. The imagery my mind created was more vivid, I think.

I'm defiantly reading book 2, or rather, I think I'll try to the audio book again. Don't let the size of this one hold you back - it's well worth the read (and listen).

Overall Story Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Overall Audio Book Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Iron Codex Series:
#1 The Iron Thorn
#2 The Nightmare Garden
#3 The Mirrored Shard (February 2013)

Linkage Love:
Author's website / Goodreads / IndieBound

Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review: Bleeding Hearts (Drake Chronicles #4) by Alyxandra Harvey - Spoiler Free!

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: December 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury / Walker Books
Pages: 347
Series: 4th in a series
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
Goodreads Link

My thoughts:
I love this series! The Drake boys are always a treat to read. Told in the same fast passed way as the previous 3 books, Bleeding Hearts gives us the story of Drake brother number 4, twin Connor.

We get a few new characters, most notably, Lucy's cousin Christabel, along with some vampires who are a bit...different then the norm we have come to except.

One of the things I love about this series is the pace. From book 1 to book 4 only a few weeks? Maybe months have passed. It's this driving force forward that makes these books very hard to walk away from.

I really enjoyed reading about Connor, the 'nerd' of the family that everyone is so quick to make fun of. Lots of Lucy and Nicholas too! Sloange is there...but there is something going on with her…

And OMG! The ending! I was gasping! Book 5 I'm sure will start off with a bang and I can't wait!

Final verdict:
With ever Drake Chronicles book I have read I have fallen even more in love with the world Alyxandra has created. I highly recommend this series to fans of vampire YA stories. The Drake family both encompasses what I love most about vampires and is different enough as to not be boring or predictable. Every book has been a big win for me.

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars


Books and short stories in The Drake Chronicles:
Corset and Crossbows short story e-novella
Lost Girls short story found in the US print copy of Bleeding Hearts
#1. Hearts at Stake
#2. Blood Feud
#3. Out For Blood
#3.5 A Killer First Date short story e-novella
#4. Bleeding Hearts
#4.5 A Field Guide to Vampires: Annotated by Lucy Hamilton short story e-novella
#5. Blood Moon (June 2012)

Linkage Love:
Author's website
IndieBound

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox - April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

This week I have 1 fabulous book to show you!
Or rather, 20 copies of 1 fabulous book!

I picked up my World Book Night box yesterday!

The first U.S. World Book Night is tomorrow April 23rd. For those of you that don't know:
      "World Book Night is an annual celebration designed to spread a love of reading and books. To be held in the U.S. as well as the U.K. and Ireland on April 23, 2012. It will see tens of thousands of people go out into their communities to spread the joy and love of reading by giving out free World Book Night paperbacks."
-From their Website

My book is Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
The printing they did for World Book Night is fantastic - there is information about the event on the inside covers as well as a list of all World Book Night books on the back.

I'll be giving these copies out all week, starting tomorrow - a little nervous as I don't usually talk to strangers but I'd do just about anything for the love of books!

Anyone else participating in World Book Night tomorrow?
Where are you handing out your books?


Saturday, April 21, 2012

On My Reader (10) - April 21, 2012


On My Reader is a new feature were I highlight recent ebooks I've added to my digital collection.
Inspired by In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren. 

I've been a bit MIA this week (or 2) - lots of real life stuff going on but it hasn't stopped me from reading or acquiring new books ;)

Book links are to Goodreads
Download links (when available) are to where I got my copies

For Review

From NetGalley
July 3, 2012 from Macmillan / Tor
WHY? Boarding school paranormal / mystery stories are usually a bit hit with me

From NetGalley
April 3, 2012 from Akashic Books
WHY? Love the original version and even though some say this clean version still isn't good for children I loved it and I know my little one will too.

Bought

From Amazon
WHY? I love Alyxandra! Part of my favorite vampire series :)

So, what's on your reader?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is hosted by Book Chick City :)

2012 Debut!
What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen
May 1, 2012 from Simon Pulse
In this suspenseful thriller, Sara and her mother are going to secretly escape her abusive father—when her mother mysteriously disappears.Sara and her mom have a plan to finally escape Sara’s abusive father. But when her mom doesn’t show up as expected, Sara’s terrified. Her father says that she’s on a business trip, but Sara knows he’s lying. Her mom is missing—and her dad had something to do with it.     With each day that passes, Sara’s more on edge. Her friends know that something’s wrong, but she won’t endanger anyone else with her secret. And with her dad growing increasingly violent, Sara must figure out what happened to her mom before it’s too late…for them both. (from Goodreads)

So, what's on your wishlist this week?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Review: The Springsweet (The Vespertine #2) by Saundra Mitchell - spoiler free!

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 2012
Publisher: Harcourt
Pages: 275
Series: second in a trilogy
Acquisition: gifted an ARC by a friend

Summary:
Goodreads Link

My thoughts:
I was swept away and loved every minute of it! Saundra Mitchell has such a way about her when she's crafting a story. You don't even realize what she's doing - drawing you in further and further until her characters are as near and dear to you as your oldest friends.

After reading book 1, The Vespertine, I had high hopes for The Springsweet. I was worried about how much I could enjoy reading about Zora, who we first meet in book 1. I didn't love her has a supporting character so...a whole book about her? I wasn't so sure.

I had nothing to be afraid of because not only did I grow to love Zora, I fell in love all over again with the world Saundra has created in this series. Technically, I do believe The Springsweet is a companion novel, rather then a straight out sequel? I guess you could read it without having read The Vespertine but I think your experience would be slightly off and not nearly as fulfilling. I see this book as book 2 in the series and I'm hoping book 3, due out next year, will bring the entire story together in a fantastic way!

Final verdict:
Historical and magical with just the right amounts of romance and mystery, The Springsweet is a book that is a must read for fans of Saundra and The Vespertine. If you haven't picked up this series yet, I recommend to do. Rich and inviting, I could very much feel myself walking side by side with Zora as she discovers her powers.

Can't wait for book 3!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in The Vespertine Series:
#1 The Vespertine
#2 The Springsweet
#3 Aetherborne (2013)

Linkage Love:
Author's website
IndieBound

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox - April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Hey guys!

I haven't done an IMM post in forever! I've been really really good and haven't bought a lot of book this past month :)

I have added quite a bit to my digital collection though.
For my latest On My Reader Post click HERE!

I have 2 awesome books to share this week - and both are signed!

Links are to Goodreads :)

Gift from author and publisher:
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
I participated in the tour for this book and Ellen was so sweet! She signed and personalized a copy for me. I'm supper excited to own this book as I really loved it.

Gift from my mom:
Shell Game (Kingdom Keepers V) by Ridley Person
I absolutely love this series! My mother and sister met Ridley at a signing recently and they picked this up for me. They said he was the sweetest person and took so much time to really talk to and interact with his fans. I think my mom was a little star struck :)

Gift from Courtney:
A small package showed up the other day and inside were this bookmark and signed photo from Courtney Allison Moulton - how sweet is that?

A HUGE thank you to Ellen, Esenia from Macmillan, my mother and sister, and Courtney!

So, what's in your mailbox?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

On My Reader (9) - April 14, 2012


On My Reader is a new feature were I highlight recent ebooks I've added to my digital collection.
Inspired by In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren

Some awesome NetGalley books for me this week.

Book links are to Goodreads
For Review from NetGalley:

September 8, 2012 from Flux Books

October 1, 2012 from Lerner / Carolrhoda Lab

...and speaking of NetGalley...
**************************************************************
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP FOR NETGALLEY APRIL'S READ-A-THON!?

HAVE YOU POSTED NETGALLEY BOOK REVIEWS IN APRIL?
**************************************************************

So, what's on your reader?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Book Review: Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 272
Series: no
Acquisition: borrowed

Summary:
After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As readers flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, they see a girl on the precipice of disaster. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Chopsticks is a book...with words. Well, with some words - mostly pictures. Well, mostly pictures and words that go together. Like a scrap book. Well, maybe like a scrap book you find in the street - author unknown. Or maybe it's a story someone told you and you've tried to fit all the pieces together the way you remember it and maybe you got it wrong. Or maybe you got it right. Or perhaps the true author of the story never knew what really happened in the first place.

Confused? I sure was!

But. But! I was also fascinated. I HAD TO know what happened. And after finishing it...I don't know that I can exactly tell you. There is a secret here - or perhaps more then one and I'm pretty sure I haven't figured it out. I loved this aspect of the story.

Final verdict:
Chopsticks is a story you're going to want to read more then once. I still haven't picked it up for a second time but I'm excited to do so. There's something about this mix of pictures and words - symbols and hidden meanings that just begs for discovery.

A different sort of book that I think can appeal to a lot of people. I was a little annoyed that I didn't understand the full story at first but I'm curious as to what exactly is going on. A book that kept me guessing!

Overall Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Goodreads
IndieBound

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Picture Book Review: The Sneezy Wheezy Day by Sharon Cramer


The Sneezy Wheezy Day written and illustrated by Sharon Cramer
January 2012 from PR By The Book
Received from NetGalley for review
In The Sneezy Wheezy Day, brother cub isn’t feeling well. As he and sister cub seek help for his cold, they encounter many well-intentioned forest friends who offer silly home remedies. One friend even tells brother cub, “Tickle your nose with the tail of a goose and do it before the next blue moon rise!” Although the recommendations help, the final remedy is a sibling’s love. (from NetGalley)

My Thoughts:
A little bit on the strange side but I think the off beat rhyming at something to do with my feelings. The Sneezy Wheezy Day is about 2 cougar cubs, a brother and sister who spend the day trying to find a cure for brother cougar's cold. In the end, all he really needed was his sister.

Really a very sweet story that I think children with siblings would really enjoy. My little one (who is 5) is an only child but she still thought the cubs were really cute. We read it several times through in one sitting :)

The illustrations were very bright and vivid and I think little kids will really enjoy the different animals the cougar cubs meet along their way.

3 / 5 Stars


Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Review: The Catastrophic History Of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

***2012 Debut Author***
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 2012
Publisher: Penguin / Dial
Pages: 400
Series: no
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.
BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.
But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.
With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces? (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I have to say, it took me a little while to warm up to this one. Probably because it took me a while before I began to feel anything for the MC, Brie. I really didn't think it was going to like her at all but I was wrong. It might have taken me a while to get into the rhythm of this book but I'm glad I stuck with it because by the end I was captivated.

Stories that start off with our main character dying can sometimes either be too traumatic to be really enjoyable for me or too silly to be appreciated. Fortunately, The Catastrophic History of You and Me failed to fit the norm! Surprisingly deep and light hearted at the same time - a rare find in my opinion.

This is one of the those, all the pieces fit together in the end, type of stories - which really are a favorite of mine.

Final verdict:
So...I'm a bit torn by this one. I really liked the 'heaven' of this book but in some ways it really creeped me out. I love a good ghost story but I don't love seeing a young MC die. Overall? I would have to say I'm a fan of this book but I don't think it's one I would pick up to read again.

What I do know is that I would most defiantly read another book by Jess Rothenberg in the future. The Catastrophic History of You and Me is her debut and although I didn't love it to pieces, I really think others will and I very much enjoyed Jess's storytelling and word building.

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Author's website
Goodreads
IndieBound

Sunday, April 8, 2012

NetGalley Reading Challenge April - Link Up Your Reviews!

Participants 
AND
Participants
It's time again to share some reviews

Haven't signed up yet?
No problem! You can still join the fun.
Head over HERE  to add your name to the NetGalley Reading Challenge list
AND / OR
Head over HERE  to participate in April's Read-A-Thon

Link Up Rules:

1. Be sure you are signed up for my 2012 NetGalley Reading Challenge  or the April Read-A-Thon

2. LINK UP 1 NETGALLEY BOOK REVIEW YOU POSTED IN APRIL
The link "Name" should be the book title and author.

3. Visit other links! Read reviews and leave thoughtful comments :)

4. For every review your visit and comment on, you can post another one of your reviews in the linky. Any review posted in April is eligible, so you can come back at any time and leave your link.

5. You can post up to 5 of your own reviews (1 for 'free' and 4 others IF you visited and commented on 4 other reviews)

6. Please be honest and please leave actual thoughtful comments (the same type you yourself would like to receive)


If you're one of the first to visit, be sure to leave your link and check back later for others.

Review links for previous months can be found to the right in my sidebar.

If you have any questions at all, please let me know either in the comments or via email :)


Saturday, April 7, 2012

On My Reader (8) - April 7, 2012


On My Reader is a new feature were I highlight recent ebooks I've added to my digital collection.
Inspired by In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren. 

Just 1 for me this week!
I couldn't find it listed on Goodreads so no link but you can search for it on NetGalley for more details - sounds fabulous!

For Review from NetGalley:
Case #01: The Haunting of Apartment 101 by Megan Atwood
October 1, 2012 from Lerner Publishing

So, what's on your reader?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 2012
Publisher: Random House / Knopf Books
Pages: 352
Series: no
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer. Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
There is a lot going on in this book. Intrigue and secrets and hidden secrets and lies - friendships and broken promises and in the end, a whole lot of mystery and suspense that adds up to a really fantastic read. I was really impressed with this book's complicated and engaging storyline.

I couldn't help but be reminded of Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series while reading The Book of Blood and Shadow. It has that same feel to me. Of ancient secrets of God and the unknown; secret societies and hidden clues. It was very easy to get wrapped up in it's world and taken in by it's mysteries.

What I really loved about this book was how different it is. It's a fantastic tale but it's not really paranormal. It's contemporary but at the same time, it's too far fetched to be real. It's a mystery but there are so many layers to it that you really need to pay attention to catch it all. It's also a book that really could fit any age range. The characters could just as easily have been in their 30s or 40s then their teens. The setting is modern day Prague, which was perfect for the story. While the scenarios the characters find themselves in aren't very believable, their reactions are. Especially Nora. I love Nora! By far, one of my favorite YA female characters.

Final verdict:
I highly recommend this book to mystery fans. If YA isn't your thing, pretend you didn't know this book was written for a younger audience because it really doesn't make a difference. The story is one that will appeal to all types of readers, not just young adult ones. The mysteries will drag you in and you will find yourself unable to put this book down until you unlock every one.

As an added bonus, The Voynick Manuscript? The book that leads Nora and her friends on this crazy and dangerous journey? It's real! How fantastic is that?

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Author's website
Goodreads
IndieBound

Monday, April 2, 2012

NetGalley April Read-A-Thon!


Happy April everyone!

Do you have a backlog of NetGalley books just itching to be read?

and / or

Are you participating in my NetGalley 2012 Reading Challenge but haven't done a great job with the actual reading part of the challenge?
(and YES if you haven't already signed up you still can 
and ALL NetGalley books you read in 2012 can count towards your goal!)

How about a month long READ-A-THON!

From April 1, to April 30 I challenge you to read as many NetGalley books as you can.
I also challenge you to do some NetGalley account maintenance - post your reviews, email publishers, request new books  :)

It's easy and fun:

*Write up a post, tweet about it, announce it on Facebook, tell your mom - I don't care as long as you declare your participation somewhere / somehow

*Link it up your blog below! (or for non bloggers, your Goodreads account, Library / Bookstore web page - wherever you post your NetGalley reviews)

*READ!

I'll be checking in with you guys from time to time, there will be a Twitter chat (and maybe more then one), and I'll be posting NetGalley info and tips all month long!

So, who's with me?


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Book Review: The Onyx Talisman (Talisman #3) by Brenda Pandos

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: December 2011
Publisher: Obsidian Mountain
Pages: 247
Series: 3rd and final
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
Unrest stirs deep in Scotts Valley. Filled with uncertainty, Julia anxiously awaits Nicholas’ return. Phil, hurt and unsure of his place as a sober vampire, holds the pieces of Julia’s fragile psyche together, secretly hoping Nicholas stays away forever. Scarlett bides her time, plotting for the perfect moment to prove herself and earn redemption. But somewhere in L.A., Alora conspires to reclaim her talisman and strip Julia of everything she holds dear.
Little do they know, a war is coming and more than one vampire would like to see the Prince of Vampires overthrown. As more and more vampires show up from nowhere, addicted to her scent, Julia must pick her allies carefully before it’s too late. Can Julia bargain with fate? When the time comes, will she even have a choice? Find out how it all ends in this explosive grand finale of The Talisman Trilogy. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I picked up The Onyx Talisman right after finishing book 2. It was hard not to because I realized that even though I didn't love everything about book 2, I really wanted to know what happened. I wanted to know how it all turned out. Julia still annoyed me but I couldn't not know what her fate was. Nicholas wasn't my favorite but I had to know what decisions he was going to make.

Have to say, there were a couple of twists to the story that I did not see coming at all! Julia's life gets even more complicated (which I didn't think was possible) and the choices she had to make were pretty heartbreaking.

Now, the ending threw me for a loop. Honestly, it didn't make a whole lot of sense to me and I had a really hard time accepting it. The rules that snapped into place at the last minute contradicted themselves a little bit and it was a little too neat and clean for my tastes. But! I actually really liked the ending Brenda gave her characters.

Final verdict:
So, not my favorite read but defiantly one that will stay with me. With vampires that I could both relate to and hate - as I should - and characters that I understood even if I didn't love, The Onyx Talisman was a mixed bag for me. I took some issue with the flow of the story and the actions of some of the characters but overall, the emotion and depth of love Julia has for the people in her life really won me over.

Overall Rating:
3 / 5 Stars

Books in the Series:
#1 The Emerald Talisman
#2 The Sapphire Talisman
#3 The Onyx Talisman

Linkage Love:
Author's website
Goodreads
IndieBound