Thursday, May 31, 2012

NetGalley Reading Challenge May - Link Up Your Reviews!

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 

Link Up Rules:

1. Be sure you are signed up for my 2012 NetGalley Reading Challenge 

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

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

4. For every review you visit and comment on, you can post another one of your reviews in the linky. Any review posted in May 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 and the NetGalley Feature page in the top menu.

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


Cover Reveal: Entice (The Violet Eden Chapters #2) by Jessica Shirvington

Here’s the scoop!

Seventeen-year-old Violet Eden’s is back! With a destiny is to protect humans from the vengeance of exiled angels it becomes clear that it won’t be easy as even her partner, Lincoln, is hiding something.  And now she has to learn to live with her feelings for him while they work together to stay alive and stop the exiles from discovering the key to destroy all Grigori.  It isn’t easy. Especially when the electricity between her and  Phoenix ignites and she discovers his hold over her has become more dangerous than ever.  Violet's power will be pushed to the extreme with a race halfway across the world to find the one artifact that could tilt the balance of power between Angels and Exiles.  And the ultimate betrayal will be exposed.

And here's the cover!

It releases in September from Sourcebooks Fire and I can't wait.

If you're impatient like me you can read the first two chapters now! Head over to Sourcebooks BEA page and click on the cover.

Still not enough? How about a special vlog Jessica made about her favorite reading space? Love the accent!




And! Be sure to keep your eye on www.embracetheseries.com for details about Jessica's two-week book tour in September.

What do you guys think of the cover?

I'm not sure I love it but I'm definitely excited for the book. 

Embrace was a fantastic read for me (check out my review) and I do love the insight Sourcebooks Fire editor Leah Hultenschmidt shared - "For Entice, we really wanted to have the cover reflect the darker edge of the story and Violet's toughness" -- I can very much see that! 

Add it to your wishlists or pre-order it now :)



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Can't Wait To Get My Hands On...BEA Edition! (19)

Can't Wait To Get My Hands On is a feature here at Red House Books that took a little brake but it's back now!

These usually weekly posts highlight books I can't wait to get into my hot little hands!

This week's books are all making appearances at BEA next week.

All links are to Goodreads.

October 24th 2012 by Little Brown

In a fading town, far from anyone he knew or trusted, a young Lemony Snicket began his apprenticeship in an organization nobody knows about. He started by asking questions that shouldn't have been on his mind. Now he has written an account that should not be published, in four volumes that shouldn't be read. This is the first volume.

The first volume in the four-part autobiographical account of his childhood, called All the Wrong Questions, will be released on Oct. 23, 2012. This will be Snicket’s first new series since the wildly popular A Series of Unfortunate Events. (from Goodreads)

September 18th 2012 by Balzer + Bray

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off the from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine? (from Goodreads)

September 25th 2012 by Simon and Schuster

Brooklyn teens Lucy, Cecelia and Agnes find themselves in the emergency room at Perpetual Help Hospital at the lowest point in their lives. Lucy, the superficial party girl; Cecelia, a drop out rock chick; and Agnes, a hopeless romantic. All rebels running from their lives and themselves, plagued by broken hearts and broken dreams. Enter Sebastian. Mysterious, compelling, seductive. He seems to bring each of them what they long for...

But in the battle for his heart, will they lose their souls? (from Goodreads)

September 4th 2012 by HarperCollins

In a city of daimons, the Carnival of Souls hosts a deadly competition. Once in a generation, every citizen can fight 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.

In our own world, Mallory knows that her father—and every other witch—fled the daimons’ city long ago. She trains to be lethal because it’s only a matter of time until the daimons catch up with them.

While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans there for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence that is the Carnival of Souls.

From Melissa Marr, bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series, comes a brand-new tale of secrets, love, and the struggle to forge one’s own destiny. (from Goodreads)

October 16th 2012 by Touchstone

The New York Times bestselling author of Goosebumps series adult horror novel. (from BEA website)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Review: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

Reading Level: Middle Grade
Publication Date: February 2012
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 192
Series: no
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.
As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.
Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret.
Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
The Humming Room is a retelling of The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. Now, I have to admit, I read the story ages ago but I've seen the Hallmark movie a couple of dozen times at least. Not the same, I know, but I still feel like I know the story well. Saying that, I also have to say that The Humming Room is a fantastic retelling. Set in a different time, a different place with very different people, it still has the same feel, the same essence as the original story.

The characters are wonderful. Tiny Roo who's never had a good reason to open herself up to anyone. Jack with his wild ways and gentle nature. Roo's uncle full of secrets and guilt. Plus a cast of other characters that are sure to leave an impression long after the last page of their tale is read.

Final verdict:
A quick read for me, but a very very good read.

I almost want to say I liked The Humming Room more then The Secret Garden. It's more readable in my opinion and even though the classic is well, classic in it's storytelling, The Humming Room had more heart to me. I felt more invested in it's characters and in it's world.

If you're looking for a great middle grade read for yourself or a young reader in your life I highly recommend The Humming Room.

Overall Rating:
4.5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Author's website
Goodreads
IndieBound

Monday, May 28, 2012

Double Take


Noticed this today!


On the left is the US hardcover edition of Saundra Mitchell's The Vespertine which came out last March from Harcourt Children's.


On the right is the Australian paperback edition of The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter which released in April 2011 from Harlequin Teen.

I would love to see the process by which book covers are designed and made. Especially in this case since these 2 released so close to each other. Don't you think people would check to see if an image had already been used elsewhere? Do you think this model knew her picture would be on the cover of not 1 but 2 books? Is it even an actual picture or was it computer generated?


I personally though the cut off head was a little strange on The Vespertine cover when I first saw it but after seeing the complete image, I don't know that I like it any better.


What do you guys think?

Book Review: A Beautiful Evil (Gods and Monsters #2) by Kelly Keaton

NO SPOILERS!

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 285
Series: 2nd in a series
Acquisition: bought

Summary:
Goodread Link -- only read if you have read book 1!

My thoughts:
So, pretty much everything I loved about book 1, Darkness Becomes Her, holds true for book 2.

Mythological creatures including Gods, Goddess and characters usually found in dreams and nightmares (and not the decaying urban fantasy playground of New Orleans)? Check! (and a double check for the urban decay factor - I really can't tell you enough how the setting of this book makes this story JUMP off the pages!)

How about vampires, witches, family feuds, ancient curses, magic and heartwarming friendships? Yep! Those are all here too! Fantastically so!

The story that starts with Ari's realization of all that she is and is to become in Darkness Becomes Her takes a few new and unsuspecting turns in A Beautiful Evil. The same characters we fell n love with in book 1 are here along with a few newbies to spice things up. Ari is still fighting the good fight - with kick assery and style I might add. AND the romance that I absolutely swooned over? It's here and it's wonderful and I haven't felt this good in a long time about the way 2 characters make connections the way Ari and Sebastian do. I've said it before and here it is again - it's a NATURAL relationship. No insta love no triangles no WTF moments.

Final verdict:
I'm a fan, I love these series and you should too.

Really, there are so many things that make these books great but you really shouldn't take my word for it, or maybe you should ;)

In either case - you should be running out to get your copies today!

Thank you Kelly!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Gods and Monsters Series:
#1 Darkness Becomes Her
#2 A Beautiful Evil

Linkage Love:
Author's website
IndieBound

Saturday, May 26, 2012

On My Reader (14) - May 26, 2012


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

Links are to Goodreads

For Review from NetGalley

July 31, 2012 from Harlequin Teen

Free Kindle Book


So, what's on your reader?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Review: Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 273
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: won a copy

Summary:
Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.
Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.
She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.
Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I'm a little ashamed at myself for letting this one sit on my shelf for so long. I absolutely love Kelly's adult series (written as Kelly Gay) so I was pretty sure her YA series and I would be a good fit. And you know what? I was 140% correct because not only did I love this book, I couldn't wait even an hour before picking up and devouring book 2. (*hint* *hint* get them both at once and prepare yourself for awesomeness).

Now, if I were to list out the supernatural and mythological elements contained within the pages of Darkness Becomes Her you might have a few questions and I wouldn't blame you for being a bit hesitant to pick this one up. BUT you would be wrong and I would be awesome (no wait, the book's awesome).

In any case here are just a few fun little goodies you'll find:

Vampires -- the kind that don't sparkle and certainly don't mack on girls 100 years younger then they are.
Witches -- the kick ass kind that you don't want to piss off.
Greek Gods -- very much in your face and full of themselves the way any respectable god should be.
New Orleans -- complete with voodoo, the French Quarter and Lafayette Cemetery.

More? Ok. How about the fact that it's the future (not too distant at all) BUT far enough ahead of time that Kelly is able to sneak in a natural disaster or two that turns much of New Orleans into a urban decay lovers dream come true?

Are you hooked yet? You should be. Not joking here - this book was awesome.

Final verdict:
Mythology and paranormal elements you might not think to wrap up together but somehow (it's probably because she's a goddess herself) Kelly has MADE IT WORK!

To finish off? The romantic elements in Darkness Becomes Her? Actual swoon worthy because the characters actually have substance and merit and their relationship follows a path that makes sense. IT MAKES SENSE PEOPLE! How many YA romances can you say that about these days?

Final final words? READ THIS BOOK NOW!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Gods and Monsters Series:
#1 Darkness Becomes Her
#2 A Beautiful Evil

Linkage Love:
Author's website
Goodreads
IndieBound

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review: The Thorn and The Blossom by Theordora Goss

Reading Level: Adult
Publication Date: January 2012
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 82
Series: no
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
One enchanting romance. Two lovers keeping secrets. And a uniquely crafted book that binds their stories forever.
When Evelyn Morgan walked into the village bookstore, she didn’t know she would meet the love of her life. When Brendan Thorne handed her a medieval romance, he didn’t know it would change the course of his future. It was almost as if they were the cursed lovers in the old book itself . . .
The Thorn and the Blossom is a remarkable literary artifact: You can open the book in either direction to decide whether you’ll first read Brendan’s, or Evelyn’s account of the mysterious love affair. Choose a side, read it like a regular novel—and when you get to the end, you’ll find yourself at a whole new beginning. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I don't use this word often but this book was truly a delightful read! Very unique in its telling and in its presentation. We get the dual perspectives of Evelyn Rose Morgan (the blossom) and Brendan Thorne (the thorn). There are two sides to this story, his and hers and you can read either one first. I choose Evelyn and I would recommend you do the same. Once I was done, I flipped the book over and started Brendan's story. Bound up accordion style, this book was unlike any I have ever read. Perhaps a bit awkward to hold at times, but the story itself more then made up for it.

Spanning many years, the story of this thorn and blossom is complicated but it's also routed in the simplistic. Well, as much as true love can be simple.

Pulled together by perhaps forces out of their control and thrown apart by misunderstandings, will they ever find true love? Has their time finally come? Or is no true fantasy fated to receive its happily ever after? You'll have to read this one for yourself to find out!

Final verdict:
I don't think I would have picked this one up on my own so I am very grateful to Quirk for offering it to me for review. It's not a very long story (I read it in one sitting) but it is a very thoughtful story. For skeptics and believers in true love alike, The Thorne and The Blossom is a heartwarming tale that will leave you with many questions but also with some very happy answers.

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Author's website
Goodreads
IndieBound

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend book haul thanks to a couple of great friends!

I spent the day yesterday with Nikki (from Wicked Awesome Books) and Danielle (from Frenzy of Noise). We talked, we ate, we psyched ourselves up for BEA, we SHOPPED! And of course, I walked away from the day with a nice little pile of books :)


I bought:
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente -- pretty sure she is signing book 2 at BEA and I've wanted to read this one for a long time

Partners in Crime (Sleuth or Dare #1) by Kim Harrington -- first book in Kim's MG series!

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross -- read the prequel to this series and I was hooked!

Across the Universe by Beth Revis -- had to buy the paperback after Nikki told me that my name was in a special 'thank you' section in the back :)

From Nikki and Danielle:
Wander Dust by Michelle Warren -- won this from Nikki (got some cool swag too :)

Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne -- borrowing this one from....I forgot who but it's mine for the time being - mwahahaha!

Auracle by Gina Rosati -- this one comes out in August and I have it on good authority that it's awesome - Danielle also gave me some swag :)

Vesper by Jeff Sampson -- been wanting to read this one for a while :)

Aren't my friends the best!?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Short Story Review: Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story by Lissa Price

E-novella / Short Story
Starters #0.5
February 2012 from Random House / Delacorte

Synopsis:
See how it all starts for Callie and Michael in Portrait of a Starter, an exclusive ebook original short story by debut author Lissa Price. Published one month before her novel, STARTERS, went on sale, the ebook is a perfect entryway into the world of STARTERS, and a must-read for fans who've already read the novel. (from Goodreads)



My Thoughts:
While this very short, short story did get me excited to read Starters, I really don't think the 11 pages added up to very much. Do you need to read this in order to fully appreciate book 1? I don't think so. Hardly anything happens - not even a chapter's worth of information about the character or setting so I can't imagine it being terribly important to the series overall.

I was actually pretty disappointed in this short story. The cynic in me can't help but think that charging so much for so little is just greedy.

I'll still be reading Starters but all in all, I wish I hadn't spend my money on this one.

Extras? No

Will I continue the series? Yes

Worth the price? Not in my opinion



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book Review: The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: March 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt
Pages: 240
Series: no
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I read The Night She Disappeared in one sitting. I just could not put it down. It's very much a stay awake till all hours of the night because you need to know what happens next, type of book. Short chapters from different characters POVs along with one page facts and clues about the mystery drove the story forward in a really compelling way.

A great mystery that kept me on edge. I couldn't help but be reminded of thrillers I've read in the past. Christopher Pike, Lael Littke, Richie Cusick - these were the stories that kept me up at night as a teen. The Night She Disappeared had that same feel. The thrill and the mystery, combined with a tangible threat and a lot of unknowns - love it! I also loved that as a reader I knew more then the characters did .

Final verdict:
A great thriller that will give you the creeps combined with believable characters and believable settings made for a great read.

The Night She Disappeared is my first April Henry book but I'm sure it won't be my last.

Overall Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Author's website
Goodreads
IndieBound

Monday, May 14, 2012

DEBUT FEATURE: Elissa Hoole on Books and Memory


A big welcome to
Elissa Hoole
whose debut novel
Kiss the Morning Star
releases May 15, 2012
from Marshall Cavendish

The summer after high-school graduation, a year after her mother’s tragic death, Anna has no plans – beyond her need to put a lot of miles between herself and the past. With forever friend Kat, a battered copy of Kerouac’s DHARMA BUMS, and a car with a dodgy oil filter, the girls set out on an epic road trip across the USA. Maybe somewhere along the way they’ll prove or disprove the existence of God. Maybe they’ll even get laid . . .
It’s a journey both outward and inward. Through the Badlands and encounters with predatory men and buffalo. A crazy bus ride to Mexico with a bunch of hymn-singing missionaries. Facing death, naked in the forest with an enraged grizzly bear . . . Gradually, Anna realizes that this is a voyage of discovery into her own self, her own silent pain – and into the tangled history that she and Kat share. What is love? What is sexual identity? And how do you find a way forward into a new future – a way to declare openly and without fear all that lies within you? (from Goodreads)

Elissa Janine Hoole has a longstanding love of road trips and beat writers, but it was a summer-long ramble out West that inspired this debut novel, when she and her husband set off across the country with a backpack full of Kerouac books.  Now settled in her home in northern Minnesota, Elissa teaches middle school English and writes until midnight, sipping cold coffee and ignoring the laundry.
She still suffers from acute wanderlust from time to time, but road trips now involve a mini-van and a chorus of “Are we there yet?” from two small dharma bums-in-training. (from Elissa's website)


Today Elissa is visiting to share some of her best book memories.

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

What book makes you think of your childhood?
The Laura Ingalls Wilder books remind me of childhood because I read them again and again and loved to play Little House with my best friend (I was Laura and she was Mary.)  There was so much rich description of that pioneer life, and the adventurous spirit made me happy.

What book makes you think of your happiest memory?
My happiest memories involving books are probably the memories I have of reading my favorite books out loud to my family, especially to my children but also to my husband.  For instance, I have such happy memories of reading the Neil Gaiman novel Stardust to my husband so many years ago in our tent at night with a flashlight, or on the shore of this tiny lake in Glacier National Park—I remember our campsite was so thick with bear sign that we would pause in between chapters to bang sticks together and shout to alert the bears that we were there.

What book makes you think of your scariest memory?
I can’t think of too much for this one except that I remember reading The Amityville Horror in my rocking chair on the first night we stayed in our house, right after we bought it, and my husband and son were both sound asleep, and it freaked me out.

What book makes you think of your road to publication?
Hm, for this one I’m going to have to say this book that a friend of mine gave me when I was going through one of those difficult moments when I didn’t think there was really any hope of being published (or, indeed, of even finishing the book).  It’s called The Writer’s Book of Hope, by Ralph Keyes, and I was skeptical of it at first because really, I’m the type of person who is wary of things that sound flaky or warm-fuzzy, but it was a really helpful read, and I keep it near my writing desk so that I can flip through it at random when I start feeling the downward tug of the writing and publication process.

What book makes you think of your family?
Right now the book that we’re reading out loud is the first Harry Potter book, and I love how exciting it is to experience Harry Potter with my sons for the first time.  Other books we have read together as a family and just loved are Sharon Creech’s Ruby Holler, the Little House books, the Ramona books, Kate diCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie and The Magician’s Elephant, Margi Preus’s novel Heart of a Samurai, and so many more.

What book makes you think of high school?
In high school, I read any book I could get my hands on, basically.  I think one book that I remember really making the rounds of all my friends, though, was the Anne Rice Interview with a Vampire books—we passed them from hand to hand, and everyone I knew was working their way through the series.

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

Thank you for sharing Elissa - those are some great memories :)



Saturday, May 12, 2012

On My Reader (13) - May 12, 2012


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

Links are to Goodreads

For Review from NetGalley

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond
September 4, 2012 from Angry Robot / Strange Chemistry

August 21, 2012 from Bloomsbury / Walker 
(no cover)

Bought from Indie Bookstore / Google Books

Homecoming (Witch Eyes #0.5) by Scott Tracey

Online read from Tor.com

Prophet (Struck #0.5) by Jennifer Bosworth

So, what's on your reader?



Thursday, May 10, 2012

BEA here I come!


In less then a month *gasp* I'll be heading to NY!

This will be my 3rd year attending BEA and I cannot wait!

I've had an absolutely fabulous time these past years and I can't imagine this year will be any different.
My schedule is pretty packed and I'm supper excited to be staying with some wonderful bloggers in the city this year instead of commuting. We have plans for awesomeness!

Now, I'm by no means an expert on...well...on anything really but if you have any questions about BEA let me know and I'll answer them the best I can.

AND! If you're going to BEA please let me know! I'm planning on attending a bunch of events and I would love the chance to meet up with some of you in real life if we have the chance :)

If I do get any questions I'll post again with my answers.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is hosted by Book Chick City :)

I absolutely loved Karsten's debut, Wildefire and it ended on such a cliff hanger that I can't wait to get my hands on book 2!


August 28, 2012 from Simon and Schuster

Ashline Wilde is about to discover that when you’re the reincarnation of a Polynesian volcano goddess, “new beginnings” are just a myth.
Leaving the fiery ruins of her sophomore year behind her, Ash travels to the sizzling beaches of Miami, hot on the trail of the little sister she’s only seen in visions. But her happy family reunion isn’t all palm trees and paradise. A cult of evil gods-on-earth, known as the Four Seasons, has kidnapped her sister to use in its terrifying new religion. Soon, the streets of Miami erupt in chaos and violence…and Ash gets caught right in the tropical crossfire
Ash isn’t without help, however. Unexpected romance arrives in the form of Wes, an Aztec god of night with his own vendetta against the Four Seasons. As memories of Ash’s previous life begin to flicker into her dreams, the boundaries between ally and enemy, life and death, and love and hate all bleed together. And when a mysterious trickster from her past reappears to derail her new quest, Ash must choose between the echoes of a once-forgotten yesterday and the embers of an uncertain future.
Because when old flames return from the dead, even a volcano goddess can get burned. (from Goodreads)

Anyone else excited for this one?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Picture Book Reviews: Up Dog and Up Cat by Hazel Hutchins

2 really cute and fun books for young readers from Annick Press
Written by Hazel Hutchins, illustrated by Fanny

Up Dog 
My little one really liked this book as she was able to read most of the words herself. She did a really good job with sounding out the ones she wasn't sure of. The repetition of the words really helped!
Up Dog is a really cute story about a silly puppy. My daughter thought it was really funny how the puppy got so dirty and made such a mess that his owner had to do all the clean 'ups'. The last page was her favorite because the puppy got lots of snuggles!

Up Cat
Lot of cute cat antics in this one. Simple words used in simple sentences made reading this one with my 5 years old fun and educational too. She was able to read a lot of the words herself - the perfect book for little readers in my opinion. We both really liked how the puppy from Up Dog made an appearance on one of the pages of Up Cat.


Received both for review from NetGalley


Monday, May 7, 2012

Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

***2012 Debut Author***
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Macmillian / Holt Children's
Pages: 368
Series: 1st in a trilogy
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Fantasy mixed with the supernatural combined with unforgettable characters. Can we say 'WIN!'? A first person POV with a female protag that acted and reacted in believable ways to unbelievable situations? WIN again!

Alina has had a hard life but she doesn't complain about it. She's had horrible things done to her but she doesn't back down. She doesn't need anyone to take care of her yet she longs for companionship. Weak is never a word I would use to describe her. She is fierce, which is made all the more alluring by the fact that she is her own person. She doesn't need anyone to define her - even when her life is thrown upside down she doesn't loose her sense of self. I really could go on and on - suffice it to say, I absolutely loved Alina. And she isn't the only one I feel in love with - even the bad guys got under my skin in a good way.

Even if Shadow and Bone didn't have such wonderful characters, I think the world alone would have done me in. Magic reins but magic also destroys. The world everyone lives in is angry with mistakes and full of reasons to be terrified. There are a lot of layers to this world and at the same time, everything about it felt within my grasp. I felt a connection right from the start and could easily imagine myself living on the edge of the Shadow Fold, fighting for my life.

Final verdict:
Love! Young adult fantasy at it's best. Layers and hidden meanings combined with romance and betrayal. Shadow and Bone was easily devoured and satisfying yet it left me longing for more.

Defiantly a series I will continue and Leigh Bardugo is absolutely an author I will be following closely!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars






Linkage Love:
Author's website
Goodreads
IndieBound

Saturday, May 5, 2012

On My Reader (12) - May 5, 2012



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

For Review from NetGalley:

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield
March 2010 from WestSide Books
Why? An intense read that has won a lot of rewards. I put this one on my wishlist when it first came out but never got the chance to read it. Looking forward to it now.

Bought:
I went a little crazy with the chapter samplers! I figure it's a good way to see how I feel about a book without committing to the entire thing - right? I'm hoping to be able to either add or delete some books from my wishlist.

The Last Princess - Free Preview by Galaxy Craze
The first 9 chapters

I Hunt Killers - Free Preview by Barry Lyga
The first 10 chapters PLUS Career Day, a bonus prequel short short


Pitch Dark: Dark Days of Winter Teen Sampler
Sneak peeks of: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, Bewitching by Alex Flinn, Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton, Balthazar by Claudia Gray and Slide by Jill Hathaway from HarperCollins

Pitch Dark: Even Darker Days of Winter Teen Sampler
Sneak peeks of: Magic of the Moonlight by Ellen Schreiber, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Hallowed by Cynthia Hand, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver and The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting from HarperCollins


Pitch Dark: Dark Days of Summer Sampler
Sneak peeks of: Destined by Aprilynne Pike, Insignia by S.J. Kincaid, Insurgent by Veronica Roth, Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, Partials by Dan Wells, and Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris from HarperCollins

Epic Reads Book Club Sampler
Sneak peeks of: Fall from Grace by Charles Benoit, The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson, Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard, Thumped by Megan McCafferty, Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, and A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young from HarperCollins

OK! I think that's enough for me for now!
What's on your readers?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

On My Wishlist - the Julie Kagawa edition :)

On My Wishlist is hosted by Book Chick City :)

Julie is on fire! She has yet to disappoint and I don't think she's going to start anytime soon ;)

April 24, 2012 from Harlequin Teen
I already read this one (thank you NetGalley!) but I really want to own a copy. Pretty sure the next time I'm at my bookstore, it's coming home with me.

August 28, 2012 from Harlequin Teen
3 novellas (Winter's Passage, Summer's Crossing and the NEW Iron's Prophecy) + a Nevernever guide and 'exclusive information' - woo hoo!

October 23, 2012 from Harlequin Teen
A new trilogy staring an older Ethan! Wonder how many other characters will make an appearance. Gotta say though, I don't love this cover.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Short Story Review: Dream Dark by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

E-novella / Short Story
Caster Chronicles #2.5
August 2011 from Little Brown Books

Synopsis:
When Link joined his best friend, Ethan Wate, on a quest through a mysterious network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, he knew the journey would be dangerous. But returning home to Gatlin, South Carolina was just the beginning...
Wounded during a climactic battle, Link discovers that tending his injuries won't be as simple as visiting a doctor and that healing his arm should be the least of his worries. For being bitten by a Supernatural does more than break the skin -- it changes a person, inside and out, turning Link into someone more and more like the dark creature who injured him. (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: An glimpse into the life of Link after the events of Beautiful Darkness. A very worthwhile read for fans of the Caster Chronicles. I really have to say though, it's a bit of a spoiler for book 3. We learn something that doesn't come to light until well into Beautiful Choas and while reading book 3 I kept forgetting this fact hadn't been found out yet.

Still, I really enjoyed the story and I think it's a must read for fans of the series.

Extras? Yes - contains the first 5 chapters to book 3, Beautiful Chaos

Will I continue the series? Defiantly!

Worth the price? I paid $1.99, which is the current price and I would have to say, yes, if you're a fan of this series, this short story is very much worth the price.