Sunday, February 28, 2010

In My Mailbox (9)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren


This week I bought:

Heist Society by Ally Carter (Disney-Hyperion Books, February 9, 2010)

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu (Walker Books for Young Readers, February 2, 2010)


From the library:

Need by Carrie Jones (Bloomsbury Books, December 23, 2008)

A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker (Razorbill, February 4, 2010)

Here is one you might not have heard of:

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (Clarion Books, September 14, 2009)

Summary from Goodreads:  Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchanting.
 
What is in your mailbox this week?
 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review - The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Published by Delacorte Press on March 9, 2010
Hardcover, 416 pages
Rating: 5 Bookcases

Summary from GoodreadsGabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

_____________________________________________________
 
Reading The Dead-Tossed Waves is like taking a master class in world building. From the very first chapter, Carrie Ryan immerses the reader in the world she has created. There is no adjustment period, you start reading and you are in Vista, the small coastal town where Gabry and Mary live. Within a short span of pages you know about the smallness and isolation of Vista as well as the endlessness of the ocean and the vastness of the forest that surround it.
 
The Dead-Tossed Waves is Gabry’s story, even more than The Forest of Hands and Teeth was Mary’s. Gabry lives a quiet life with her mother at the Lighthouse, until she and her friends break the rules and go over the Barrier into an abandoned amusement park. Their adventure quickly turns to horror as three people get infected and others get arrested. Gabry manages to leave before getting caught, but she must live with the consequences of her decision, beginning the next day as she watched her best friend being publically sentenced.
 
In the midst of dealing with guilt over not being caught, Gabry learns a piece of information about Mary and herself that changes her life completely. How Gabry deals with the information and how Mary reacts after telling her shapes everything: every thought Gabry has and every action she takes are a direct result of what she learns. At first, it makes Gabry reckless; she goes from being someone who is overly cautious to risking everything, but eventually she begins to see what is important to her and to the survival of everyone she cares about. Gabry knows that the only way to save herself and her loved ones is to escape from Vista and head into the Forest. She hopes she can find a place where they will all be safe. The constant wondering of “there must be more” is a thread throughout much of the second half of the book.
 
There is also romance, of course. Gabry is lucky to have two boys (men?) vying for her affection. I wanted to like both of them equally, but I felt that there was one who stood out, who would be a better match for Gabry. It just took her a long while to figure out who she really wanted to be with. This didn’t bother me because there were so many other important things Gabry had to deal with, that figuring out her love life did not need to be the focus of her thoughts. And really, in figuring this out, she is asking herself if she should take the easy way or let herself feel what she is feeling.
 
The ending is breathtaking. I was on the edge of my seat reading the last few chapters, hoping that things would end well. The ending is full of hope, even more so than the ending of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. There is hope that Gabry and her loved ones will be able to make a new life for themselves.
 
The Dead-Tossed Waves is an excellent second novel. Gabry is such a great character, her development throughout the novel is wonderful, she changes from a young, na├»ve girl to strong, mature woman. The book also has plenty of twists and turns, which keep the plot moving and interesting. If you enjoyed The Forest of Hands and Teeth, you will love The Dead-Tossed Waves.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Bit of Sunshine on a Snowy Day

Today is another snowy day in New York, so I thought I would spread a little sunshine.  I have gotten a few awards in the past few weeks and its time to pass them along.

Corrine at Lost for Words gave me two awards! The first is the Prolific Blogger Award:

A Prolific Blogger is one who is intellectually productive... keeping up an active blog that is filled with enjoyable content.

1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!
2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award.
3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to this post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.
4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we all can get to know the other winners. (Click here for the Mr. Linky page.)


The second award was the "Happy 101" Award.  Thanks Corrine!


The rules for this award state that I have to list 10 things that make me happy and then pass the award on to 10 other bloggers.

1.  Spending time with my family.
2.  Spending time with friends.
3.  Curling up with a good book and a cup of tea.
4.  Planning children's and teen programs at work.
5.  Finding the answer to a really tricky reference question.
6.  Reading the wonderful comments that you all leave on each post.
7.  Baking.
8.  Planning trips to Florence (not that I'm going any time soon, but its a good goal to have!)
9.  The Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner
10. 


Sara at Along for the Ride and Christina T from Reading Extensively passed along

             

I would like to pass along all 3 awards to a few blogs that I recently found and some that I have been reading since before I started blogging.


2. Danielle at There’s a Book

3. Adriana at ~*Loves to Read*~

4. Mel from He Followed Me Home

5. Sarah from Sarah’s Book Reviews

6. Sasha at The Sweet Bonjour

7. Beverley at The Wormhole

8. Christina at Confessions of a Book Addict

9. Bookish in a Box

10 Extreme Reader Book Reviews

 
Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Less Than A Week To Go!!

Here is a book that I can't wait to read and it's coming out next Tuesday!  You're probably thinking: umm Maria, why didn't you use Hex Hall as your Waiting on Wednesday this week?  Hmmm. . .well, I try to use W.O.W posts for books that are at least two months or so away from being published, books that I'm really excited about but have to wait a long time for.  And since Tuesday is only 6 days away, I thought I would give Hex Hall, it's own spotlight post.


Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Published by Hyperion Books
On Sale Date: March 2, 2010

Summary from Goodreads: When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-Gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard. Three powerful enemies who look like supermodels; a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock; a creepy, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect. Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all prodigium, especially her.

To learn more about Hex Hall or Rachel Hawkins visit her blog.

Is there a book coming out next week that you are excited about?  Let me know in the comments.

Happy Reading!

Waiting on Wednesday - 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine


13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale by Shannon Delany
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
On Sale Date: June 22, 2010

Summary from GoodreadsSomething strange is stalking the small town of Junction…

When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.

The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.
 
Maggie Stiefvater's Linger contest last week got me thinking about all the books about werewolves that are set to come out this year.  So for the next few weeks I will be spotlighting books with/or about werewolves.  This week's book is 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale.  In 2008, Shannon Delany won a cell phone novel writing contest which led to a deal with St. Martin's Press. That is just awesome!  The summary above and the cover really drew me to this book. The cover has so many elements - the full moon in the middle of the eye, the forest in the background and the girl in the foreground - that work together to create a mysterious feel. 
 
13 to Life has gotten some great reviews and I can't wait to read it when it comes out in June!
 
Want to know more about Shannon Delany and 13 to Life?  Visit her author website or her blog.
 
What book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan.  I loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth and couldn't wait to read Carrie Ryan's next book. The Dead-Tossed Waves was everything I was expecting plus more!



"Back the way we came I can still hear shouts.  I close my eyes, begging that just this once we'll have some luck, and they won't choose to come after us.  That we're not worth the risk."
~p. 228, The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's Moday! What Are You Reading? (Feb. 22, 2010)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme celebrating books you will be reading for the week, as well as books you've completed the previous week. It is hosted by Sheila at One Persons's Journey Through a World of Books


Last Week I Finished:

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (you can read my review here)

Shadow by Jenny Moss - A really good book that mixes paranormal with a historical feel.  Look for my review later this week.

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan - An awesome book, really well-written and well-thoughout.  Look for my review later this week.


Books I'm in the Middle Of:

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk - A very funny debut novel.  It definitely put a smile on my face. I can't wait to finish it.


What's Next?

A reread of The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

What are you reading this week?

I posted this a bit early, because my Monday is really busy with meetings for work and then lots of studying and paper writing! I hope to have some time to visit everyone's blog to check out your posts and hopefully find more books to add to Mount To-Be-Read. I promise to stop by at some point during the early part of the week.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that talks about books that have been bought, swapped, received for review or borrowed from the library.

This week I bought:

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk (Alfred A. Knopf Books, February 9, 2010)

Summary from GoodreadsBeing a hefty, deaf newcomer almost makes Will Halpin the least popular guy at Coaler High. But when he befriends the only guy less popular than him, the dork-namic duo has the smarts and guts to figure out who knocked off the star quarterback. Will can’t hear what’s going on, but he’s a great observer. So, who did it? And why does that guy talk to his fingers? And will the beautiful girl ever notice him? (Okay, so Will’s interested in more than just murder . . .)

Those who prefer their heroes to be not-so-usual and with a side of wiseguy will gobble up this witty, geeks-rule debut.

I started reading this as soon as I got home from the bookstore and couldn't put it down! It is laugh out loud funny.


From the library:

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (Delacorte Press, March 9, 2010)

Summary from Goodreads: Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

Our library copy came in early and since we are not allowed to put it on the shelf until the release date (March 9th), I asked if I could take it home for the weekend.  Okay, I had to do a little begging and much promising to bring it back on Monday.  But that begging was worth it!


What goodies did you get in your mailbox this week?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Recommend Me (4)

Recommend Me is hosted by Kate@The Neverending Shelf

Recommend Me is a weekly event in which you pick one of your all time favorite reads to share. This could be a book that you read as a child or even finished yesterday.


To play along, grab a favorite read and tell us about it. You can include
-- your thoughts about the novel
-- its summary,
-- your favorite memory related to the novel... the possibilities are limitless.
-- If you are up for a challenge, you can also include: your review of the novel, links to others' reviews of the novel or you can recommend the book to a general group of readers or if you want to be extra daring, to specific reader friends

Read more about this meme at http://www.theneverendingshelf.com/

This Week I Recommend:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Harcourt Children's Books, Oct 2008)

Summary from author's website: Graceling is the story of Katsa, who has been able to kill people with her bare hands since she was eight. Katsa lives in the seven kingdoms, where very occasionally, a person is born with an extreme skill called a Grace. Gracelings are feared and exploited in the seven kingdoms, and none moreso than Katsa, who's expected to do the dirty work of torture and punishment for her uncle, King Randa. But then she meets a mysterious stranger named Po, who is also a Graced fighter and the first person ever to challenge her in a fight. The two form a bond, and each discovers truths they never imagined about themselves, each other, and a terrible danger that is spreading slowly through the seven kingdoms.

Lately, I have been gravitating towards books with strong female characters.  By strong, I mean emotionally strong, sometimes combined with physical strength but not always.  Rampant by Diana Peterfreund, Shadow by Jenny Moss, and Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell are books with strong female characters that I have enjoyed reading recently.  So, for this week's Recommend Me, I wanted to showcase another book that has a strong female character.  Graceling is such a book.

In Graceling, Katsa, who has a killing Grace, must decide if she wants to continue being her uncle's tool.  She is tired of being sent after people who have angered him in some way and she is tired of being feared.  After meeting Po and learning about some strange happenings in another part of the Seven Kingdoms, Katsa decides she must find out what is happening.  She leaves everything and everyone she has knows to travel to Monsea and along the way learns about herself and who she really is.  I really like that Katsa's journey is not only about self-discovery, but about learning to trust other people and learning to be loved. 

Last year I was able to talk to Kristin about Graceling, her writing process and her thoughts on YA Literature.  She had some interesting things to say about her characters and the state of YA literature.  If you are interested in hearing that interview it can be found at The Mount Kisco Library Podcast.

What do recommend this week?

Review - The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 1, 2010
Paperback, 363 pages
Rating: 3.5 bookcases

Summary from Goodreads: Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined--the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series.

__________________________________________________

I have read many positive reviews of The Iron King so maybe I had high hopes and because I was expecting to be hooked into the story from the beginning. Instead, it took me about one third of the book to really get into the story. I read the first two chapters and put the book down thinking that I wasn’t sure about the story. I didn’t really connect with Meghan as a character in those first two chapters, she felt like a lot of other downtrodden teen characters. But it was clear that there was more to the character of Robbie and I wanted to know what or who he really was. After the adventures in the Nevernever start, the pace of the book picked up and Meghan began to change, she might not have realized it, but it was very clear that she had found the place where she belonged. That’s when I really fell into the story and when I was able to understand Meghan better.

The Iron King has many good qualities. Meghan’s character development is well written, she changes from a girl who wants little to do with her faery father to a faery princess taking charge of her powers and responsibilities. At the same time, she keeps her eye on the goal of rescuing her brother. Meghan and Ash’s relationship felt very real and was given time to develop and grow along with the story. And, it was nice to read a book that didn’t have a romantic love triangle. While both Robbie and Ash had feelings for Meghan, she only had romantic feelings for Ash and it was clear from the start that this would be the romantic relationship. Not to write off Meghan and Robbie’s friendship, because that was a very important part of the story. The descriptions of the different parts of the Nevernever are wonderful; you really get a sense of how and why each area is different. My favorite nonhuman character is Grimalkin, part Cheshire Cat and part amusing commentator, who could often see the truth of what everyone was feeling and the reasons behind their actions.

The amount of time Meghan actually spends with Oberon and the Seelie Court is very short. There isn’t much time for her to get to know her father well, to develop any short of relationship with him or learn about court politics. It is clear that this lack of knowledge actually helps Meghan because she is not worried about how her actions will be viewed by either court. Throughout her search for her brother, Puck, Grimalkin and Ash do fill in some of the information, but it comes in small bits and pieces. As a reader, I would have liked to know more about the both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. With a sequel set to be released in August, hopefully there will be more explanation about them and their politics.

The Iron King is a good read. I recommend to readers who enjoy faery stories, as well as those who like reading books related to Shakespearean plays.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - The Demon's Covenant

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan
Published by Margaret K. McElderry
On Sale Date: May 18, 2010 (US) May 27, 2010 (UK)

Cover copy from Sarah Rees Brennan's LiveJournal: Mae always thought she was in control, but in the past few weeks control has turned into chaos. She’s learned that her brother Jamie has magical powers and that Gerald, the new leader of the Obsidian Circle, is trying to persuade Jamie to join the magicians. The same magicians who tried to kill Mae and Jamie last month in London. The magicians who get their power by feeding people to demons.

Mae turns to brothers Nick and Alan to help her rescue Jamie, but they are in danger themselves. Every magician in England now knows what Nick really is—and they all want him dead.
Nick’s new power has also caused a rift between the brothers. In the weeks they were gone something terrible happened, something that haunts them both. With Nick as unreadable as ever and Alan making secret bargains with a demon, Mae finds herself attracted to both brothers—though she knows she can’t trust either of them. The magicians are closing in on one side and the dangerous, seductive Goblin Market is tempting her on the other, and Mae has to form her own plan to save them all. She's going to find that the price she must pay is more than she ever imagined.

The covenant is binding. There is no escape.

The Demon's Lexicon was one of my favorite reads of 2009.  I can't wait to see what adventures Nick, Alan, Mae and Jamie get into next.  Plus, The Demon's Covenant is told from Mae's point of view, so we get to see her thoughts on Nick, Alan, Jamie, Gerald, and Sin.  Plus, according to Sarah Rees Brennan there is supposed to be lots of kissing.  Boys with swords, lots of kissing, and a great story. . . looks like The Demon's Covenant will every bit as good at The Demon's Lexicon (if not better!).

You can learn more about Sarah Rees Brennan and her writing on her website.  You should also visit her blog where she posts monthly cookies and is currently running a contest for an ARC of The Demon's Covenant.

(I couldn't resist showing both the US and UK covers.  The US cover shows a dancing Sin, while the UK cover has pink-haired Mae.)

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Review - Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Published by Dial Books on January 26, 2010
Hardcover, 442 pages
Rating: 4.5 bookcases

Summary from Goodreads: Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ...
________________________________________________________

Incarceron is a fantastic book. It has a very intricate plot, with many characters and two distinct settings. Incarceron has a bit of almost everything: political plotting, arranged marriages, secret identities, hidden loyalties, rooms that move and change locations, a strong female character, and a boy that needs saving. The two main characters, Finn and Claudia, are similar in that they know that their lives should be different and they are willing to whatever it takes to change them for the better.

In the first section, the chapters alternate between Finn’s point of view in Incarceron and Claudia’s point of view from Outside. This really sets up the differences and similarities between the two places. Incarceron, the prison where thousands of criminals were sealed centuries ago is a place that is ever changing and vaster than can be imagined. Outside is a place where nothing changes, because the rulers have forbidden it. While disease and germs have been all but eradicated, the citizens are stuck in an Era of corsets and breeches and extreme politeness, even though new technology exists, no one is allowed to use it because they must conform to Protocol. The beginning sets up all the questions: Was Finn really born in Incarceron? Are his fits really visions or could they be memories? Where is Incarceron located, specifically where is it located in relation to Outside? Can Claudia find a way into Incarceron? Can prisoners find a way out of Incarceron?

The following sections still alternate between Finn and Claudia, but they do so several times within each chapter. As Finn and Claudia search for ways out of and into Incarceron, they both encounter difficulties in the form of people who would rather they not discover the prison’s secrets. In addition to learning about Incarceron, Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, must deal with an arranged marriage to Prince Caspar, who she does not want to marry, but must within a few days. As she races against the clock, Claudia emerges as a strong, clever heroine, who sticks by her convictions.

About two-thirds of the way through, a light bulb went off and I realized how clever this book is, how Ms Fisher had set up the story so that each question had many possible answers until a character found the answer that best suited his or her purpose. Each answer also helps to weave the different plot elements and story lines together. The last two sections have revelation after revelation. It is a lot of information at once, but it is good because by this point in the story each answer or new piece of information confirms your thoughts and guesses, all while tying everything together.

I love the ending of Incarceron. It is not very conclusive. This is in part because there is a sequel, so the ending does leave some loose ends that need to be explored further. However, if there was no sequel and Incarceron were a standalone novel, the ending would still work. It gives the reader room to speculate about what happens next. I really like endings that aren’t so final and definite. They allow the reader to make up the rest of story how they see it. My question at the end of Incarceron was do I patiently wait for Sapphique to be published in the US or do I order the UK version?

Feel the Frenzy! Maggie Stiefvater's Huge Linger Contest Has Begun!

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.


Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I started The Iron King by Julie Kagawa this morning.  I'm not impressed by it yet.  But as there have been so many glowing reviews I have high hopes that it will turn out to be a good book.

"The horses surrounded me, snorting steam, their breath hanging in the air like clouds.  Atop their mounts, the knights glared down with unnatural beauty, their features too fine and delicate to be real.  "Are you Meghan Chase?" one of them asked, his voice high and clear like a flute.  His eyes flashed, the color of the summer sky."
~ p. 116 The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

 


Happy Reading!

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Feb. 15, 2010)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme celebrating books you will be reading for the week, as well as books you've completed the previous week. It is hosted by Sheila at One Persons's Journey Through a World of Books


Last Week I Finished:

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher - WOW!! An amazing book! I love how Catherine Fisher sets everything up and then weaves all the plot points together.

Gone by Lisa McMann - A satisfying end to an interesting series.  I put Willow aside to read Gone bceause I had to know what happened at the end.  It was a one sitting read with a thoughful ending.


Books I'm In The Middle Of:

Willow by Julia Hoban - I put this aside to read Gone (see above).  So far, Willow is really good.  Hopefully, I will finish it this afternoon (thanks to the day off work).


Books For This Week:


The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Shadow by Jenny Moss


What are you reading this week?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that talks about books that have been bought, swapped, received for review or borrowed from the library.

This week I bought:


All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab (Delacorte Press, January 12, 2010)

Summary from GoodreadsCarly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.
Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.
Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it—especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.
As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.  

I've seen All Unquiet Things on alot of other blogs and was curious.  When I read the cover copy, it sounded like an interesting read.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get to it soon.

Gone by Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse, February 9, 2010)

Summary from Amazon: Things should be great for Janie--she has graduated from high school and is spending her summer with Cabel, the guy she's totally in love with. But deep down she's panicking about how she's going to survive her future when getting sucked into other people's dreams is really starting to take its toll. Things get even more complicated when she meets her father for the very first time--and he's in a coma. As Janie uncovers his secret past, she begins to realize that the choice thought she had has more dire consequences than she ever imagined.

I was very excited for Gone to come out.  I even took a peek at the first chapter while I was online to pay.  This is next on my to be read list!

The Iron King by Julia Kagawa (Harlequin Teen, February 1, 2010)

Summary from Goodreads: Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined--the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series.

Another book I've been hearing a lot about.  To be read after Gone.


From the library: (I have to admit that I have a thing for cookbooks - more specifically for books about baking.  So I couldn't resist the  following cookbook.  I can't wait to try the recipe for red velvet cupcakes!)

BabyCakes by Erin McKenna (Clarkson Potter, April 2009)

Summary from Goodreads: Simply, BabyCakes is your key to an enlightened, indulgent, sweets-filled future. This is important news not only for parents whose children have allergies, for vegans, and for others who struggle with food sensitivities, but also for all you sugar-loving traditionalists. The recipes in these pages prove that there is a healthy alternative to recklessly made desserts, one that doesn't sacrifice taste or texture.

Having experimented endlessly with alternative, health-conscious sweeteners, flours, and thickeners, Erin McKenna, the proprietress of beloved bakery BabyCakes NYC, developed these recipes–most are gluten-free, all are without refined sugar–in hopes of combating her own wheat, dairy, and sugar sensitivities. In BabyCakes, she shares detailed information about the ingredients she uses (coconut flour, xanthan gum, and agave nectar, for example) and how to substitute them properly for common ones–all the while guiding you safely through techniques she’s spent years perfecting.

Enclosed within these pages are all the “secrets” you’ll need to bring the greatness of BabyCakes NYC into your own home.

For confectionists of all kinds, delicious alternatives lie within: Red Velvet Cupcakes, Chocolate Shortbread Scones with Caramelized Bananas, Strawberry Shortcake, and BabyCakes NYC’s celebrated frosting (so delicious it has fans tipping back frosting shots!), to name just a few. Finally, Erin’s blissful desserts are yours for the baking!

What's in your mailbox this week?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Recommend Me (3)

Recommend Me is hosted by Kate @ The Neverending Shelf

Recommend Me is a weekly event in which you pick one of your all time favorite reads to share. This could be a book that you read as a child or even finished yesterday.


To play along, grab a favorite read and tell us about it. You can include

-- your thoughts about the novel
-- its summary,
-- your favorite memory related to the novel... the possibilities are limitless.
-- If you are up for a challenge, you can also include: your review of the novel, links to others' reviews of the novel or you can recommend the book to a general group of readers or if you want to be extra daring, to specific reader friends

Read more about this meme at http://www.theneverendingshelf.com/


This week I recommend:

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld (Sleuth RazorBill, August 2005)

Summary from GoodreadsOne year ago, Cal Thompson was a college freshman more interested in meeting girls and partying in New York City than in attending his biology classes. Now, after a fateful encounter with a mysterious woman named Morgan, biology has become, literally, Cal's life.
Cal was infected by a parasite that has a truly horrifying effect on its host. Cal himself is a carrier, unchanged by the parasite, but he's infected the girlfriends he's had since Morgan—and all have turned into the ravening ghouls Cal calls peeps. The rest of us know them as vampires. And it's Cal's job to hunt them down before they can create even more of their kind. . . .

This past week, I posted a review of The Silver Kiss and started a small discussion about vampire books.  I am a fan of vampires (yes, I admit to reading and enjoying Twilight).  I remember reading Interview with the Vampire in high school and all of my friends thinking I was odd.  So, I think its great that there is a renewed interest in them.  But, I've been noticing that quite a few recently published books have the same exact premises and often very similar plots.  That got me to thinking about the vampire books I have enjoyed reading and realized that they all add something to the mythology or present vampirism in a unique way.  So, when I was looking for a book for this week's Recommend Me, I thought why not a book about vampires? 

I chose Peeps by Scott Westerfeld because it is a very different sort of vampire book.  Vampires aren't glamorous or objects of lust or love.  In fact, they aren't even called vampires: they are parasite positives or peeps.  This is how Westerfeld describes Peeps on his website: "Maybe there are too many vampire novels, I thought. But that was part of the challenge, to see if I could do something that felt new and interesting, while still being full of bitey goodness. (Unsurprising confession: I am a Buffy fan.) So the book had to be original, but also icky, scary, funny, tragic, and (ahem) not sucky." Westerfeld did a great deal of research and it is very evident, every other chapter contains information about real parasites and he even includes a list of sources. 


Want more interesting vampire books?  Check out:





Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine












Tantalize and










 Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith







What do you recommend this week?

Friday Follow

A fun part of blogging is finding new blogs to read and follow.  To help bloggers do this, the lovely One 2 Try, Hearts Make Families and Midday Escapades are hosting Friday Follow.  What is Friday Follow?  It's a blogging celebration and a way to discover new blogs and get new followers at the same time!


Here's how YOU can join the celebration:
--Visit one of the three host blogs
--Follow the Friday Follow hostesses listed in the first 3 slots.
--Follow as many blogs as you'd like.
--Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you're from Friday Follow.
--Follow back when you get a new follower through Friday Follow.

The Blog Hop is the same at each of the three hosts blogs so you do not have to add your blog at each site.

Just one - but you can follow each blog. Follow a few or follow them all.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Sea

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

Sea by Heidi R. Kling
Published by Putnam Juvenile
On Sale Date: June 10, 2010

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.
 
Another book with a great cover!  If I saw Sea on the shelf at the bookstore (or library) I would definitely pick it up.  I love the blues and the sun glinting off the water at the top.  And of course, the couple - I wonder if that is Deni or Spider with Sienna.  It looks like Sea will be a great romance/mystery.  I wish it was June already!


You can read more about Heidi R. Kling and Sea at http://heidirkling.com/


What book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Review - The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause

Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
First published in 1992
Paperback, 198 pages

Summary from GoodreadsZoe is wary when, in the dead of night, the beautiful yet frightening Simon comes to her house. Simon seems to understand the pain of loneliness and death and Zoe's brooding thoughts of her dying mother.

Simon is one of the undead, a vampire, seeking revenge for the gruesome death of his mother three hundred years before. Does Simon dare ask Zoe to help free him from this lifeless chase and its insufferable loneliness?

__________________________________________

It feels slightly weird reviewing a book that has been in print for eighteen years. So, I’m not really going to do a strict review, for a couple of reasons. The first is that The Silver Kiss is well written and other than a few very minor details that hint at the 1990s, the book is timeless. Secondly, I am just at the end of my tolerance for vampire books. Last year it felt like every other book I read had vampires as main characters. So, I was ready for a break from vampires (I don’t include Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series, since vampires are one of several types of supernatural creatures that appear in each book or Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey, which is more chick lit than vampire tale), but then I saw the January/February issue of The Horn Book (a magazine that reviews and discusses children's and YA literature). It contains an article titled “Bitten: From The Silver Kiss to Twilight,” that sounded interesting. It talks about the renewed attention to the romance between humans and vampires. It compares The Silver Kiss to Twilight, highlighting the differences. After reading the article, I knew that I had to read The Silver Kiss.

The Silver Kiss is ultimately about loneliness and the search for someone who understands your loneliness. Zoe, a sixteen year-old only child, and Simon, an over 300 year old vampire, are both looking for someone or something that validates their existence. Zoe’s mother is dying and her father spends most of his time at the hospital, leaving Zoe to take care of herself. Then she finds out that her best friend, Lorraine, is moving to Oregon in two weeks. Simon was turned into a vampire in the 1600. Everyone he knew is long dead, except for the one he is hunting. He is looking to avenge his mother’s death by destroying the vampire who killed her.

Zoe feels neglected, she wants someone to listen, someone to need her. Simon wants someone to know he exists, he is afraid that he doesn’t exist because no one knows his name. Simon sees Zoe in the park late one night and is instantly drawn to her, but startled by her at the same time. Their romance isn’t conventional. Zoe doesn’t fall head over heels in love with Simon and want to be with him forever. She thinks Simon is beautiful, but is disgusted when she comes across him feeding on a bird. When he shows up at her house, Zoe is hesitant about having him there but ends up listening to his story. Simon is honest with Zoe about what he is and why he is in Oakwood. Zoe realizes that Simon needs her and this is what ultimately draws her to Simon. Once they are together, Zoe keeps their relationship quiet, not telling Lorraine or her parents about Simon. Simon is relieved that someone knows that he exists and what he is.


I like that The Silver Kiss alternates between Zoe’s and Simon’s point of view. It allows the reader to see things from both sides, especially as they draw closer to each other.  Being with Simon and feeling needed gives Zoe confidence and the ability to see beyond her current troubles.  She is more willing to be proactive in her other relationships and ultimately sees that she is worthwhile and loved. Zoe gives Simon the ability to finish what he started so many years before.  Zoe and Simon's relationship is definitely not the usual human/vampire relationship, but I think that makes The Silver Kiss work so much better. 

Overall, The Silver Kiss gives a different spin on romance between humans and vampires.  It shows that just being listened to and understood by someone can change a person's (or vampire's) outlook and can make them value their life (or see the need to move on to the next stage) even more.  The Silver Kiss is a definite must read for fans of vampire books. 

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I just started reading Incarceron by Catherine Fisher yesterday.  Catherine Fisher is such a great author, her books are constantly being borrowed at the library, that I'm surprised that it so long for Incarceron to be published in the U.S.  But, thankfully, it finally was and now we can all enjoy it.  I'm only three chapters in and I am really liking it!



"Jared seemed to have forgotten his fear.  His narrow face was lit, he took the metal scrap and looked at it closely, then slipped a small bag from his pocket and sealed the object inside."
~p. 320 Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (Dial Books, January 26, 2010)




Happy Reading!

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Feb. 8, 2010)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme celebrating books you will be reading for the week, as well as books you've completed the previous week. It is hosted by Sheila at One Persons's Journey Through a World of Books



Last week I finished:
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (ARC)

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins (eARC)

Skinned by Robin Wasserman

Crashed by Robin Wasserman

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder

Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

Books I'm In The Middle Of:
None - I actually managed to get a lot of reading in and finished everything I started.

Books for This Week:

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher



Willow by Julia Hoban

 

 What are you reading this week?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that talks about books that have been bought, swapped, received for review or borrowed from the library.

This week, I only have two books in my mailbox.  Both from the library:

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (Dial Books, January 26, 2010)

Summary from Goodreads: Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ...

I am very excited to read Incarceron. I've been seeing it on a bunch of blogs, with some really great reviews.  I can't wait to read it! 


Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey (Walker Books for Young Readers, December 2009)

Summary from GoodreadsOn Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family. Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart. Even fans of the genre who’ve seen it all will find a fresh read with kick-butt characters and family dynamics that ring true for all brothers and sisters—vampire or otherwise.

 
Another vampire book!  It looks like Hearts at Stake mixes chick lit with fantasy.   And it sounds like it will be a fun read.
 
What's in your mailbox this week?

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