Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Entwined

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Entwined by Heather Dixon
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: March 29, 2011

Summary from Goodreads:  Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father’s grief. What they don’t understand—although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in—is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Luckily, Azalea is brave and steadfast. Luckily, a handsome young army captain also has his eye on Azalea. . . .

According to Publisher's Weekly, Entwined is a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, which is my absolute favorite fairy tale.  I read my copy of The Twelve Dancing Princesses until it was literally falling apart.  I always pretended I was one of the princesses and thought it would be so much fun to sneak out and dance all night.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Reads Review #2 - Sea by Heidi R. Kling

Sea by Heidi R. Kling
Publisher: G. P Putnam's Sons (Penguin)
Publication Date: June 10, 2010
Rating: 5 Bookcases
Source: Bought

Summary from Goodreads: Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother’s disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen-year old California girl Sienna Jones reluctantly travels with her psychiatrist father’s volunteer team to six-months post-tsunami Indonesia where she meets the scarred and soulful orphaned boy, Deni, who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met.

She knows they can’t be together, so why can’t she stay away from him? And what about her old best friend-turned-suddenly-hot Spider who may or may not be waiting for her back home? And why won’t her dad tell her the truth about her mother’s plane crash? The farther she gets from home, the closer she comes to finding answers.

And Sea’s real adventure begins.

Have you ever read a book that really made you think while you were reading it? And then it stuck with you for days afterword? That’s exactly what I experienced with Sea. While I was reading Sea, I was struck by the fact that not many books are set in Indonesia or Asia for that matter. I’ve only read one other book set in that region of the world this year, Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins. Once I was done, I couldn’t get the story and characters out of my head for days. I kept going back and reading chapters over and over.

Sienna used to be fearless and full of life until three years ago her mother died in an airplane accident. Still grieving over the death of her mother, Sienna is hesitant when, as a birthday gift, her father asks her to accompany him and his team to Indonesia. It is six months after the 2004 tsunami and Team Hope is traveling to Yogyakarta, Indonesia to help at an orphanage. After taking time to think about it, Sienna ends up going with her father and finds more than she thought possible, including bravery, romance and the truth about her mother’s death. 

It’s hard to believe that Sea is Heidi Kling’s debut novel because it is so well written, with rich details and an engaging story. The characters are well written and fully realized, even characters that are only part of the story for a page or two are individuals and completely recognizable. Part of the reason the details are so vivid is because the reader sees everything through Sienna’s eyes and everything about being in Indonesia is new to her. The different aspects of the story - the romance, the relationships Sienna develops with the orphans, dealing with her mom's death, overcoming her fears - don’t compete for the readers attention, instead they overlap and fit together perfectly to create a powerful story.

I really like Sienna as the main character. She is instantly relatable. Her fears are understandable and so is the courage it takes for her to get on the plane and travel across the ocean. Sienna changes and grows a lot from the beginning of the book to the end. At the beginning she was a bit withdrawn and wary of trying anything related to the ocean. As she travels and gets to know the children at the orphanage, Sienna begins to come out of her shell and starts the process of finally dealing with her mother’s death and some of her other fears.

Sea was a book that was hard to put down. I read it in one sitting. It made me cry and laugh and feel such a range of emotions that it felt like I was a part of the story too. I love books that pull you in like that, make you want to stay up all night reading and thinking about what just happened or what a character said or did. Sea should be on everyone’s to be read list. It is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2010.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - The Iron Witch

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: February 1, 2011

Summary from Goodreads:  Freak. That’s what they called seventeen year-old Donna Underwood in high school after a horrific fey attack that killed her father when she was just a child. Her injuries and rehabilitation resulted in magically enhanced strength, thanks to the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. As a child of the alchemists, she is both blessed and cursed with a magical heritage that doesn't leave much room for boys, parties and homework.

Now, after ten years of wishing for a normal life, she finally has to accept her role in the centuries-old war against the darkest outcasts of Faerie: the Dark Elves. Aided by a gorgeous half-fey dropout, Donna must race to save her best friend’s life - even if it means betraying one of the world’s greatest secrets and confronting the very thing that destroyed her family.

My top 3 reasons for WOWing The Iron Witch:

1.  The Cover! I love this cover!  From the short description of Donna in the summary, the cover seems to be true to the character with the iron tattoos.  And I'm wondering if what Donna has in her hands are related to the fact that her parents were Alchemists.

2.  Faeries - I've been really liking a lot of the recent faerie books.  This one sounds a little different with the addition of Alchemy (which I have to say is an interesting enough reason on its own to read The Iron Witch) and the fact that Donna's in a race to save her best friend.

3.  I loved Karen Mahoney's short story "Falling to Ash," which was part of the vampire anthology The Eternal Kiss, so I can't wait to read more of her writing.

What are you "Waiting on" this Wednesday?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lovely, Lovely Covers

Covers for two highly anticipated sequels were released today.  Both books will be published in December, so that's less than 6 months before they'll be on bookstore and library shelves.

The first is The Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead.  It's the sixth and last book of the Vampire Academy series.  But, on her blog, Ms Mead explained that this is the last book of Rose's story and that she's working on a "spin-off" series about other characters in the Vampire Academy world. Isn't that exciting?

The Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Release Date: December 7, 2010

Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice.

Now, with Rose on trial for her life and Lissa first in line for the Royal Throne, nothing will ever be the same between them


The second cover release is for The Lost Saint by Bree Despain.  It's the sequel to The Dark Divine. I'm interesting in seeing where Ms Despain takes Grace and Daniel's story.  Ms Despain is also holding a contest on her blog on the 28th of every month until the release of The Lost Saint in December.

The Lost Saint: A Dark Divine Novel by Bree Despain
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release Date: December 28, 2010

A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns.

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven.

Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot—a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel is put in danger—in more ways than one.

Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her—not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.

What do you think about the covers?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Afterlife

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Afterlife (Evernight #4) by Claudia Gray
Published by HarperTeen
Publication Date: March  8, 2011

Summary from Goodreads: The fourth book in this electrifying vampire series has all the romance, suspense, and page-turning drama that have made Claudia Gray’s Evernight books runaway successes.

Having become what they feared most, Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They must return to Evernight Academy, Lucas as a vampire and Bianca as a wraith. But Lucas is haunted by demons, both personal and supernatural. Bianca must help him fight the evil inside him, combat the forces determined to drive them apart—and find the power to claim her destiny at last.

Readers have fallen in love with Bianca and Lucas, and they will be thrilled to read this exciting conclusion to their romantic adventure.

After reading Hourglass, I was curious about what would happen to Bianca and Lucas next.  They've been through so much, that it was hard to imagine what could come next for them.  It looks like we get to find out next March.

What are you "Waiting On" this Wednesday?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Reads #1 - The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

Published by Miramax Books (Hyperion)
Publication Date: 2005 (Hardcover) 2006 (paperback)
Source: Borrowed from library

Summary from back cover:  Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

The Lightning Thief is a fun, fast paced, action-packed book. Rick Riordan combines Greek myths with references to modern culture. Greek gods, a cross country adventure, a reluctant hero’s quest, a traitor and friends who stick by you no matter what can all be found in The Lightning Thief.

Percy Jackson is not your average 12 year-old. For one thing, he’s been kicked out of six schools in six years for behavioral problems. He has trouble making friends; however, he does have one good, but odd, friend named Grover. Percy also has dyslexia and ADHD. Despite all of this, Percy’s Latin teacher has faith that he will succeed and pushes him to do well.

Soon, Percy learns that his father, who his mother always said was lost at sea, is really a Greek god. Injured during a run in with a mythological creature, Percy finds his way to Camp Half-Blood, where he learns about the gods and meets Annabeth, one of Athena’s half-blood children. When Zeus’ master lightning bolt is stolen, Percy becomes suspect number one. To prove his innocence, he must go on a quest for the lightning bolt. Percy is a reluctant hero at best, but he sets off with Annabeth and Grover on a cross country search for the lightning bolt.

I originally read the Percy Jackson books for a children’s literature class I took last year. The Lightning Thief was a required book and once I finished with it, I read the rest very quickly. I can see why the series is very popular and appeal to wide age range. The characters are very realistic and three dimensional. Percy is easy to relate to. I think it’s great that the main characters have learning disabilities, but still end up heroes. The action sequences were a lot of fun to read and made the story move very quickly. Percy is the narrator and the way the book is formatted, it is like he’s telling you about his crazy adventure.

I wholeheartedly recommend The Lightning Thief to kids of all ages, especially those who enjoy adventures and lots of action!

Looking for more information about Rick Riordan or the Percy Jackson series? Pay a visit to:

Rick Riordan's website
The Percy Jackson website

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Reads

This year's New York State Summer Reading Game theme revolves around water.  The children's theme is Make a Splash! Read! The theme for the Teens is Make Waves @ Your Library and the Adult theme is Water Your Mind.  Many of our library programs even have a water or ocean theme.  I'm even running an ocean themed Story and Craft program.  So far we've made rainbow fish and will be making seahorses, turtles, octopi, and origami frogs. 

Since, I've been thinking about water, oceans, beaches and the like, I thought it would be fun to read, and review, at least one ocean or beach related book per week this summer.  And since having set deadlines makes me more productive, I've come up with a read along list.

This is my list so far:

July 12, 2010

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan
**Not exactly about water, but this is the first pick for our "Read the Book, See the Movie" discussion group, so it might be a good idea to do a reread.**

July 19, 2010

Sea by Heidi R. Kling

July 26, 2010

Siren by Tricia Rayburn

August 2, 2010

Pirates! by Celia Rees

August 9, 2010

August 16, 2010

 Everlasting by Angie Frazier

August 23, 2010

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

August 30, 2010

Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli

That's the list for now, all the links go to each book's Goodreads summary.  I might more books to the list, if I can find more that sounds interesting.  Are there any ocean or sea related books that I'm missing or that absolutely have to be on my summer reading list?

Have you reviewed any of these book?  If you put a link to your review in with your comment, I'd be happy to add the link to the end of my review.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Wired

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Wired (Skinned #3) by Robin Wasserman
Published by Simon Pulse
Publication Date: September 14, 2010

Summary from Simon & Schuster: It's two months after the end of Crashed, and Lia is right back where she started: home, pretending to be the perfect daughter. But nothing's the way it used to be.

Lia has become the public face of the mechs, BioMax's poster girl for the up-and-coming technology, devoting her life to convincing the world that she—and the others like her—deserve to exist. Then Jude resurfaces, and brings some scandalous information with him. Is BioMax really an ally to the mechs? Or are they using the technology for a great evil...and if so, can Auden really be a part of the plan?

 Meanwhile, Lia also learns a shocking truth about the accident that resulted in her download...a truth that forces her to make a decision she can never reverse.
I originally picked up Skinned and Crashed (books 1 and 2 of the Skinned Series) to review for our library system Teen Services Blog.  These were the first books I had reach by Robin Wasserman and wasn't really sure what to expect.  But, I was blown away by both books, especially by how Ms. Wasserman weaves social and political issues into the storyline.  Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to learning about what happens next.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Review - Sleepless by Cyn Balog

Sleepless by Cyn Balog
Published by Delacorte Books
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
Review based on ARC, provided by Traveling ARC Tours
Rating: 4 bookcases

Summary from AmazonEron DeMarchelle isn't supposed to feel this connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human's life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia, a lonely girl with fiery red hair and sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. In the past, Eron has broken rules to protect Julia, but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't reach her. Eron's time as a Sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement doesn't seem to care about his charges. Worse, Julia is facing dangers she doesn't recognize, and Eron, as he transitions back to being human, may be the only one who can save her. . . .

Even once they've become human again, Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges. But Eron knows he won't be able to forget Julia. Will he risk everything for a chance to be with the girl he loves?

In Sleepless, Cyn Balog takes the Sandman myth and expands upon it to create a love story. Eron is a Sandman, a being assigned to help three humans fall asleep each night. One of his charges is Julia, a lonely teenager whose boyfriend died in a car accident. The story, told in alternating chapters from both of their perspectives, chronicles how their lives intersect and change.

It was interesting to see how Eron and Julia changed throughout the book. My favorite parts were when Eron reminisced about his life before he was a Sandman. Through his memories, it was easy to see how Eron became the being that he was and how he developed his feelings for Julia. It became clear why he was protective of her and how his actions changed his feelings for her. Out of all the characters, Julia changed the most. She went from a quiet, mostly introverted girl who was afraid to get close to others, to someone who realized her own self worth and accepted other people’s love.

Sleepless was a quick read, I read it in one sitting. It drew me in from the beginning and kept my attention right through to close to the end. However, the last few chapters felt a little rushed. I had to go back and read those chapters twice to make sure that I really understood what happened. The action and character development were executed so well up to that point, but then they went on fast forward. This was especially true for one character who did something that I wasn’t expecting. Perhaps if Sleepless were longer, he would have gotten to the place where his actions didn’t feel out of character.

Overall, Sleepless was a really good book. I think it will appeal to readers who enjoy books that rework and expand upon fairy tales and myths and to readers who like a good love story.


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