Monday, April 30, 2012

The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

The Peculiars
by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
354 pages
YA Steampunk
Release Date: May 1st 2012

Book Jacket Summary
This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance.
On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena's father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.

My Thoughts
I highly enjoyed this one! This is what I am looking for when I read a fantasy/steampunk/alternative history book. As you well know I am a bit obsessed with books that take place in a Victorian/Frontier setting. There is just something romantic about traveling by coach or train.
Lena is considered very odd because of her extremely long fingers and toes. She has an extra joint on both making shoes and gloves hard to find without custom order.  Her Nana blames her father, who ran off when Tessa was five, for giving her Goblinism. Nana tells Lena that she is evil and will go bad. Her mother does love her but is weaker willed than her own mother. Lena grows up believing that she has no soul and will ultimately show the world that she is bad.
 Lena does not always make the best choices but it is understandable because she is desperate for acceptance and love. Lena travels to a land called Scree to find her father and find out who she really is; a human or a goblin. She makes a “friend” of the local Marshall, Thomas, in Scree but he is asking her to spy on a Mr. Beasley and find incriminating evidence that he is helping Peculiars. Thomas Saltre has his own agenda and uses Lena to get his way. He is constantly showing her signs of affection but you know how he really feels about Peculiars. She had already met Mr. Beasley’s new librarian, Jimson, on the train ride to Scree and stuck a genuine friendship. Jimson is a genuine sweetie and I really like his character! He is smart and makes the best of all the situations he is thrown into with his association with Lena and Mr. Beasley.  Lena is readily accepted into the household and she feels guilt for spying. I won’t tell you anymore because it is such a good book!
The book incorporates an alternate history of the American frontier with a bit of Steampunk thrown in. It reminded me of the Frontier Magic Series by Patricia C. Wrede but it has a faster pace and a bit more action. Plus there is a dirigible! Sometimes I just want to shake Lena and tell her that she is being an idiot but at the same time I understand her need to be loved. I just wished she choose the right person from the start. However, she does grow up and becomes a strong character and make amends to the people she has hurt. Overall I would recommend this one to anyone who likes fantasy or Steampunk. Hope there are more books that incorporate the world of Scree. McQuerry has really struck a cord with me and I hope that Lena, Jimson, and Mr. Beasley get another book!
Book Pairings
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1) by Kady Cross
Thirteenth Child (Frontier Magic, #1) by Patricia C. Wrede

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fated ARC Giveaway Winner

The winner of Fated (ARC) is:

#18 Lauren

The winner has been contacted by e-mail! Thanks for entering to win!
I am currently a part of the YA Fairy Tale Giveway Hop. Plus I will be putting up some more ARC's I got from TLA up for grabs soon!

Drawing from Memory by Allen Say

Drawing from Memory 
by Allen Say
Picture Book

Book Jacket Summary
Caldecott Medalist Allen Say presents a stunning graphic novel chronicling his journey as an artist during WWII, when he apprenticed under Noro Shinpei, Japan’s premier cartoonist DRAWING FROM MEMORY is Allen Say's own story of his path to becoming the renowned artist he is today. Shunned by his father, who didn't understand his son's artistic leanings, Allen was embraced by Noro Shinpei, Japan's leading cartoonist and the man he came to love as his "spiritual father." As WWII raged, Allen was further inspired to consider questions of his own heritage and the motivations of those around him. He worked hard in rigorous drawing classes, studied, trained--and ultimately came to understand who he really is.
Part memoir, part graphic novel, part narrative history, DRAWING FROM MEMORY presents a complex look at the real-life relationship between a mentor and his student. With watercolor paintings, original cartoons, vintage photographs, and maps, Allen Say has created a book that will inspire the artist in all of us.

My Quick Thoughts
This memoir-esque picture book chronicles the life of Allen Say and how he became an artist. The illustrations range from sketches, to color illustrations, to cartoons. Drawing from Memory is perfect for young artists who are looking for inspiration. They should be encouraged to look for someone to tutor them or start an art club of their own. They should take Say's advice and practice what they love.
I would recommend this book for older elementary and middle school students because it covers a lot of information. It is an amazing book that shows how far Allen Say has progressed in his career. The story line of him and his sensei (master/teacher) Noro Shinpei is very moving. Especially when they meet again after Allen moved to the United States.

Book Pairings

Friday, April 27, 2012

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Let's Pretend This Never Happened
(A Mostly True Memoir)
by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess
318 pages
Personal Copy
Memoir, Humor, For Adults

Book Jacket Summary
For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris-Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.

When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father (a professional taxidermist who created dead-animal hand puppets) and a childhood of wearing winter shoes made out of used bread sacks. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

Lawson's long-suffering husband and sweet daughter are the perfect comedic foils to her absurdities, and help her to uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments-the ones we want to pretend never happened-are the very same moments that make us the people we are today.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened is a poignantly disturbing, yet darkly hysterical tome for every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud. Like laughing at a funeral, this book is both irreverent and impossible to hold back once you get started.

My Thoughts
This quote should tell you if you want to read this book or not... Continue at your own risk.
"This could be viewed as 'clunky and awkward' but I prefer to think of it as 'intelectually challenging and chronically surreal. Like if Momento was a book. About dead dogs and vaginas and puppets made of squirrel corpses.' You can feel free to use that quote if you are reviewing this chapter, or if you're a student and your teacher asks you, 'What was the author trying to say here?' That was it. That's what I was trying to say.  -p.258 

I discovered The Bloggess, aka Jenny Lawson, a few months ago after the Beyonce story ran in a Ladies Home Journal (I work in a periodicals office). I instantly knew that this woman was insane and just like me only with a penchant collecting taxidermied animals. I know, right? This book delves into her past and produces some laugh out loud moments, fits of giggles, and some silent tears of sadness.
   She talks about her panic attacks, life long anxiety, and humorous moments that her childhood produced. I am so glad I did not grow up in rural Texas, instead I grew up in a larger city in Texas. I understand many of the references that she put into her book about how crazy we Texans are but still was able to distance myself from the crazier West Texas antics.
I love this book and read it in two days and then quickly loaned it to a friend to read. It is irreverent, strange, and hilarious all at the same time! This one is for adults and try out her blog if you are unsure if you want to buy the book. If you love the blog, buy the book. It has one or two of the same stories but it is mostly new content or adds more information to the stories. I cannot wait to get it back and reread it!

Book Pairings
Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by
Bossypants by

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

YA Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop

Featuring YA Books with a fairy tale theme!

I have always been a fan of the Beauty and the Beast tale but I grew to love it when I saw the 1946 black and white production of la Belle et la Bette. It is a French movie with glorious costumes and the story line of the original with its own twists. Belle is the beautiful daughter of a merchant who has enormous debts and she is not ashamed to do all the housework while her sisters try to fit in with society. Belle/Beauty has been portrayed in many books, movies, and plays. I have always been a fan of her story and how brave she was to take her father's place in the Beast's castle- sometimes with or without her father's permission. One of my favorite tellings (in book form) is Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley and that is the book that I will be giving away!
 Rose Daughter
by Robin McKinley

Book Jacket Summary

Once upon a time an enchanting young woman named Beauty nurtured a rose garden in barren soil. Her gift for cultivating such rare flowers was truly magical and her roses adorned homes throughout the village, bringing joy and love to all who chanced upon their exotic scent.

But one summer, Beauty's roses did not blossom. Without their presence her family and neighbors became ill-tempered and nature itself lost the light and warmth of the season. Even more heartbreaking, the roses no longer protect Beauty from her nightmares of a monstrous Beast? A Beast it is her destiny to meet and whose heart and soul she must nurture with love?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pie by Sara Weeks

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at GreenBeanTeenQueen.
by Sarah Weeks
read by Kate Rudd

Book Jacket Summary
From the award-winning author of SO B. IT, a story about family, friendship, and...pie!
When Alice's Aunt Polly passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous pie-crust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily surly cat Lardo . . . and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice.
Suddenly Alice is thrust into the center of a piestorm, with everyone in town trying to be the next pie-contest winner ... including Alice's mother and some of Alice's friends. The whole community is going pie-crazy . . . and it's up to Alice to discover the ingredients that really matter. Like family. And friendship. And enjoying what you do.

My Thoughts
This is an adorable book and just what I needed after a row of depressing books. Alice's Aunt Polly has just died, leaving her famous pie crust to Lardo (a fat white cat) and has left Lardo to Alice. Alice loved visiting her autn's pie shop, named Pie (of course). Aunt Polly would not take money for her pies but still ran a successful business. Alice is crushed by her aunt's death, especially when the town goes pie crazy! Everyone is trying to win the coveted Blueberry, the most prestigious pie award in the country. Polly had won it thirteen years in a row! Alice gets caught up in a catnapping, pie stealing race to find Aunt Polly's recipe. Will Alice and her friend Charlie be able to find it before the bad guys?
This is a cute book that could be for everyone. Just don't read/listen to it when you are hungry! Lots of pie recipes and eating go on in this book! Alice gets caught up in a mystery surrounding her Aunt Polly's pie crust recipe but you always feel that Alice genuinely misses her Aunt Polly. Some may find the book to sweet for their taste (pun intended) but I like this throw back to the 1950's. I did get mad at Alice's mother several times throughout the book because she seems like such a rotten mother, putting her needs before Alice and forgetting that Alice is grieving after her aunt's death. She does ultimately redeem herself but just be aware that you will want to shake some sense into this character before long. 
I would recommend listening to this audiobook. The narrator is very good and she does sound like Alice and she makes characters seem unique. If you want a copy of all the pie recipes, I would recommend buying the book. Overall, a fun read and a great read for Spring. 

Book Pairings
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
Hound Dog True by Linda Urban

Top Ten Tuesday (3): Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters In Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a state that you don't have to worry about being deprived of more books as long as you're near a library. ;)
This week's Top Ten is:

 Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters In Books
1. Edmund from the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
There is nothing better than a redemption story and I have always loved how Edmund changed for the better in the Narnia series. He was tempted by the White Witch but ultimately becomes a source for good and one of the High Kings of Narnia.

2. Daine from The Immortals Quartet by Tamora Pierce
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Daine! She could talk to animals and heal them with a touch. What is not to love? She was stubborn, could shoot a bow (before it was cool), and could shapeshift! Plus she got the coolest guy ever!

3. Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Oh Mia, what can I say about how I felt when I first read this series. I felt that someone actually understood how strange I was and bottled her up into one character. She was clueless, had weird hair, and neurosis about everything. She also taught me what it meant to be self-actualized.

4. Ashleigh Griffen from the Thoroughbred Series by Joanna Campbell
When I was in elementary school horses were everything to me and Ashleigh had access to the best horses ever through her parents training job. She raised a weakling horse into a Triple Crown winner and ultimately owned her own stable! How could a horse crazy girl resist?

5. Harry Potter from Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
Um, it's Harry Potter... Need I say more?

6. Suze from The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
If you glanced at this list you might see that Meg Cabot is listed here three times and there is a reason for that. Her books are so funny and her heroines are fantastic. Suze has a wicked fashion sense and lives in Carmel, California. She can see ghosts (one particular sexy ghost) and rescues people in need. I read these books over and over and I still do!

7. Much Afraid/Grace and Glory from Hinds Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard
Much Afraid follows the Shepard into the unknown and becomes more than she could ever imagine. This allegory is one I read about once a year and I am amazed at Much Afraid's faith. She leaves behind everything to follow and although is tempted, does not turn back.

8. Ameila Peabody from The Amelia Peabody Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters
Amelia Peabody is one of those characters that you do not forget! She is a spit fire who will knock out a bad guy with her steel parasol and make it seem elegant. She makes things up as she goes and has a wonderful relationship with her husband Emerson. I love Amelia Peabody and I read this series when I am blue because she never fails to make me smile!

9. Jessica Mastriani from 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU/Vanished Series by Meg Cabot
Meg Cabot again? Yes, this is Jess and she was struck by lightning and can find missing people. She also has the best boyfriend ever! I love Jess because she is not afraid to punch the bully in the face for making fun of a friend. Awesome!

10. Cat from the Cat Royal Series by Julia Golding
  Cat is loyal  and true to her word. She is a red-head with a quick temper and I want to make her my little sister. I love this series and have to buy the newest one throught the UK Amazon site but it is so worth it to find out what trouble Cat has been caught up in!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lisa Burstein Guest Post: Pretty Amy Blog Tour

I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein and when I heard that there would be a blog tour I jumped at the chance to be a part of it. I asked Lisa to write about a funny experience from high school but she came up with her own unique story! I was never quite as adventurous as Lisa or Amy and I sobbed the first (and only) time I got detention in high school. This is why I read, to experience what others have done and things that will never happen to me. I encourage you to pick up Pretty Amy and experience her story. Without any further ado, here is Lisa's guest post: 
I am supposed to be writing about a funny experience from high school and even though PRETTY AMY is laugh out loud funny in parts, my high school experience wasn't. Oh it was fun, but funny, not so much. Anyway, I am going to write about the biggest lie I told my parents when I was high school.

Like Amy, I was rebellious, very. My parents tried all kinds of ways to reign me in. I guess I understand this now. How many times can your little girl come home reeking of cigarette smoke and alcohol before you start grasping at anything to make her stop? So they grasped. Usually it was with weird rules. I say weird because they made no sense. I was allowed to sleep at friend's houses, but not for two nights in a row. I was allowed to date boys, but only one night a weekend. They had a thing about two days in a row, I guess ;).

This was never an issue until my junior year. Well it was sort of an issue, but never one I had to lie my butt off about. My best friend's parents were going out of town and she was throwing--along with her two older brothers a massive, weekend long party! It was going to be epic and I had to be there- all weekend. I wanted to be there all weekend. There was no way to accomplish this other than lying.

I told my mother we were going to my friend's beach house for the weekend. She didn't even have a beach house, but my mother believed it. She didn't ask to speak to her parents, she didn't ask for any proof, but maybe she needed the break. Life in our house was turbulent at best during that time. I was allowed to go, but I had to call "when I got there" and then "each day". I did this. No one had cell phones when I was in high school, so I walked to a payphone and called and lied my butt off. The beach house was beautiful! We were having so much fun! We played sand volleyball. Meanwhile, the party was raging at my best friend's house and my parents had no clue.

I told them about this lie a few years ago. They really did have no idea. I have no lessons to teach here, I am merely recounting just how far I was willing go to rebel. Just how much I would lie and cheat, to be able to do what I wanted to do. I sometimes feel like if my parents were a little less constricting I would have lied a lot less and rebelled a lot less, but that is hard to say. I know they were only doing the best they could to survive those years, just like me.
-Lisa Burstein

PRETTY AMY May 2012 Entangled Publishing


Saturday, April 21, 2012

IMM (3): TLA 2012 Edition

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where bloggers post about the books they have received in the past week whether for review, purchased, or checked out from the library.

I was lucky enough to go to the Texas Library Association's annual conference. There I was able to pick up some awesome books! I am just posting pictures for now because I am still trying to catch up from moving and being gone for a week. So excited to share what I got with you! I also started my first giveaway from my haul here: the ARC of Fated by Alyson Noel.
Here are the snapshots of the books I got while I was there:

I snagged some discounted audiobooks!

Picture books and elementary.


Signed Zita the Spacegirl graphic novels!

Signed books!

The Phantom Island series by Krissi Dallas (also signed)!

Tween ARC's!

More YA ARC's!

More Tween ARC's!

YA books!


Books for giveaways!
First giveaway is starting here!

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Amazon buy.

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

Unbreak My Heart
by Melissa Walker
Release Date: May 22, 2012
240 pages
ARC from TLA 2012
Contempory YA

Book Jacket Summary
Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart? Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.

My Thoughts
I do not usually like books about cheating but this is a very introspective look into Clem's life and how she is dealing with loosing her best friend due to a stupid mistake on her part. I like the way the story unfolds in pieces and you are not sure what the full story is and what happened between Clem and Ethan. There are times when I want to shake Clem and tell her to get over it but at the same time I get into these funks without any of the drama that Clem had to face. Clementine is constantly writing and rewriting letters to her best friend Amanda, or is now ex-best friend. You can really feel Clem's anguish over things that have happened in the past few months and her need to be alone to sort out her thoughts. She just didn't think she would meet someone like James on the boat tour.
James was great and just what Clem needed. He is constantly happy, even in the face of his own unfolding family drama. Clem's little sister Olive is the typical annoying little sister but Clem feels genuine love towards Olive and visa versa. That doesn't mean that Clem does not want her privacy but it does mean that there is genuine affection between the sisters. Her parents are understanding but also try to get her to come out of the bubble of shame she has placed herself in. They also tease, annoy, and love Clem the way parents should. These characters felt real to me and not the standard cardboard cut out parents and siblings that populate the YA circle. In fact I was happy to see both parents still living!
I would recommend this one for a great Summer read on the beach, on a boat, or lying in a hammock. This book made me wistful for the Summer I was able to spend time on a sailboat, although I do not envy the close quarters. I really felt like I was in the story and Walker has a way of making the surroundings come alive and make you feel like you are on The Possibility with the Williams family. Now I really want to go boating and meet that special guy.

Book Pairings
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan

Darkness Falls
Immortal Beloved #2
by Cate Tiernan
392 pages
YA Paranormal

Book Jacket Summary
You can run from your past, but it will always catch up.

Nastasya has lived for hundreds of years, but for some reason it never seems to get any easier. She's left behind her days of debauchery to find peace and forgiveness at River's Edge, a safe haven for wayward immortals. There she's uncovered her family's epic history, reclaimed her magickal powers, and met Reyn, whom she dubs "the Viking god. " Just as she settles into her new life, Nastasya learns that her old friends might be in town....

Reuniting with her gorgeous and dangerous ex-best-friend, Innocencio, Nas wonders if she'll ever be truly free of her dark legacy. Is Incy dangerous, power-hungry, and wicked? Or is he the only one who truly understands Nas's darkness? Either way, Nas is desperate to find out who she really is-even if the answer kills her.

My Thoughts

This is a sequel to Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan. There are spoilers to the first book.
Nas is really trying to fit in at River's Edge but things keep going wrong. She tries to give up her darkness but cannot seem to escape the taint of her leagcy. Plus Reyn, an old enemy, is unnerving her with thoughts about kissing him again. However, lingering thoughts about the people she left behind convince her to return to Incy. Her world is falling apart and she wants to fall back into the status quo. Nas has to decide what is right and whom to trust.
I hope Nas can regain her strength and rise above her old ways. River is sympathetic but not afraid to be a hard ass. Reyn is still sexy and brooding. We learn more about the others staying at River's Edge (Yay!) but I want to learn even more about them. There are some very interesting characters out there. Nas' flashbacks are very well done and I actually like the immortal part of the story. She has know suffering and darkness and just wants to push it away with partying and booze. She doesn't want to deal with that is going on in the past or present. Totally understandable. Who doesn't want to forget something? But Nas is realizing that the pain is part of who she is and she starts to realize right from wrong, something her old self never did before. I really like the character growth in this one and I am looking forward to the final book. Highly recommend to those who who love paranormal with angst, romance, and magic.

Book Pairings
Infinite Days by
Mercy by
The Eternal Ones by

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Giveaway: ARC of Fated by Alyson Noel

After two days at TLA I am finding that I may have grabbed a few too many ARC's. Looking at my pile of books I am trying to see what my blog readers might want right away and my eyes landed on :

Fated by Alyson Noel
(Soul Seekeers #1)
Release Date: May 22, 2012

The first book in a magnificent new series about a girl who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead by #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël.

Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.
There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.
This giveaway is for US residents only. Sorry!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

WOW: Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

by Juliet Marillier
Release Date: September 11, 2012

Book Jacket Summary
Its name is spoken only in whispers, if the people of Alban dare to speak it at all: Shadowfell. The training ground for rebels seeking to free their land from the grip of the tyrannical king is so shrouded in mystery that most believe it to be a myth
But for Neryn, Shadowfell's existence is her only hope. She is penniless, orphaned, and utterly alone - and concealing a treacherous magical power that will warrant her immediate enslavement should it be revealed. She finds hope of allies in the Good Folk, fey beings whom she must pretend she cannot see and who taunt her with chatter of prophecies and tests, and in a striking, mysterious stranger, who saves her from certain death but whose motives remain unclear. She knows she should not trust anyone with her plans, but something within her longs to confide in him
Will Neryn be forced to make the dangerous journey alone? She must reach Shadowfell, not only to avenge her family and salvage her own life, but to rescue Alban itself.
This first novel in a new trilogy from enchanting fantasy author Juliet Marillier is a captivating tale of peril, courage, romance, and survival.
I am a big fan of Juliet Marillier and I cannot wait to read this one!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (2): Top Ten Tips For New Book Bloggers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a state that you don't have to worry about being deprived of more books as long as you're near a library. ;)

This week's Top Ten is:

Top Ten Tips For New Book Bloggers

1. Love what you do
This one is kinda obvious but you should really love reading and reviewing because unless you have the passion it can get old fast.
2. You do not have to review everything you read
Yikes! I wish someone had told me this when I first started because I would have been a lot happier. Now I only review if I think I have something to say about the book. If I cannot take at least a page of written notes then it probably will not be a good blog post.
3. Host some Giveaways
These help you get noticed and may help you get followers. Plus you can clear out some of your bookshelves.
4. Have a few ideas in reserve
I have a few picture book review held back just in case I have not read anything over the weekend or during a particularly busy week.
5. Quality over quantity
Sometimes you feel like you have to post everyday or a certain amount of times a week. This is all well and good but make sure you aren't just putting sub-quality work out just for the sake of putting something up.
6. Network
Be sure to post on other blogs, join twitter, and meet people who love books! This helps you remember why you love it so much and you might find that great blog that gives you inspiration to read your next favorite book.
7. Memes are your friends
Now this does not mean do nothing but memes. Please post reviews every once in a while or at least have original content! Plus, you do not have to join in every week. Sometimes I do not know how to answer the question asked or I didn't read a tween book that week.

8. Critique but do not bash
So you did not like that particular book, try not to either totally bash the book or the author. This will just make you look bad, especially if someone else did love that book. Nothing turns me off more than someone totally bashing the book I like. However, if you have valid points and can see why someone would enjoy the book I most likely can forgive you for not liking my book.

9. Read other blogs
As I said earlier, you never know when you might find a review of a book that will become your next favorite. Plus you can a lot of the current trends, learn blogging techniques, and make friends.

10. Have fun!
Most important, have fun while you blog. If it becomes a chore, take a break or read a book or two with out blogging about it. Find the book that makes you remember why you started in the first place!

Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst

Into The Wild
Into the Wild
by Sarah Beth Durst
261 pages
Loaned Copy

Book Jacket Summary
Twelve-year-old Julie has grown up hearing about the dangerous world of fairy tales, The Wild, from which her mother, Rapunzel, escaped.
Now The Wild wants its characters back. Julie comes home from school to find her mother gone and a deep, dark forest swallowing her hometown. Julie must fight wicked witches, avoid glass slippers and fairy godmothers, fly griffins, and outwit ogres in order to rescue her mom and save her Massachusetts town from becoming a fairy-tale kingdom.
Sarah Beth Durst weaves a postmodern fairy tale that's fresh, funny, and sweetly poignant.

My Thoughts
I am very lucky to have found this gem because it could have passed me by completely. Instead it fell into my lap and opened into a wondrous world of fairy tales. Julie is the daughter of Rapunzel and lives on the edge of the fairy tale world and the real one. The Wild lives under her bed and wants to be free again to revert the world back to the fairy tales it knows. When it does escape, Julie must become the heroine of the tale, find her mother, and bring everyone out of the Wild. It is filled with dangerous tasks, sly dealings with magicians, ogres, and true hearts desires.
I loved this book and will  be finding the sequel as fast as I can. The book is everything I could ask for in a fractured fairy tale retelling, with most of the famous fairy tales showing up and ultimately combining into a glorious mishmash of excitement. Julie is a great heroine, who does what she has to although she is young. Her mother is Rapunzel so she knows how side step a fairy tale and keep out of the "fairy tale ending" to keep herself from loosing her memories to the Wild. Her brother Boots, from Puss 'n Boots, is her brother and he has his own slight agenda but their familial bond is strong. Gothel is Julie's grandmother and is cast as the evil witch expertly. She tried so hard not to revert back to that role but the pull is strong. Rapunzel is the hero from the last war against the wild but Julie must find her own path to free her family, her friends and the world.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good fairy tale. Many times I stopped reading long enough to look up and say to DJL, "This is an amazing book" or "You have to keep this." I even convinced her not to sell it! Love! Love! Love this book and I will be reading it again soon. That is saying a lot because my TBR pile is growing everyday but this book is to good not tho read again!

Book Pairings
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Inkheart by Cornelia Funk

Monday, April 16, 2012

Excerpt: Taste by Kate Evangelist

Taste Excerpt

I sat up and followed Calixta’s gaze upward. I rubbed my eyes. I didn’t know what I was seeing at first. A statue? ­My brain refused to snap together coherent thoughts.  I didn’t realize I’d fallen so close to one of the garden benches until I stared up at the boy that sat on one. He was strikingly beautiful. His tumble of blonde hair curled just above his sculpted cheekbones. He wore a silk shirt and a loosened cravat, like he’d become bored while dressing and decided to leave himself in disarray. His ivory skin and frozen position was what had me mistaking him for something carved from marble by Michelangelo. Then he sighed—a lonely, breathy proof of life. If I had to imagine what Lucifer looked like before he fell from heaven, the boy on the bench would certainly fulfill that image. My brain told me I had to look away, but I couldn’t.
“Luka,” Calixta said again, her voice unsure, almost nervous. It no longer contained the steel and bite she had threatened me with, which made me wonder who the boy was.
He leaned on his hands and crossed his legs, all the while keeping his eyes fixed on the night sky. His movements spoke of elegance and control. I’d encountered many people with breeding before, but his took on the air of arrogance and self-assuredness of someone used to getting what he wanted when he wanted it.
I only realized I’d been holding my breath when my lungs protested. I exhaled. My heart sputtered and restarted with a vengeance. Luka tore his gaze away from the stars and settled it on me. I’d expected pitch-black irises, like the other Night Students, but blue ice stared back at me.
“Human,” he whispered.
He reached out, and with a finger, followed an invisible trail down my cheek. I stiffened. His touch, cooler than Demitri’s, caused warm sparks to blossom on my face. He lifted his finger to his lips and licked its tip. He might as well have licked me from the way my body shivered.
Luka’s curious gaze held mine. “Leave us,” he said, but not to me.
“But—” Calixta protested like a spoiled child.
He spoke in a language I hadn’t heard before, remaining calm yet firm. The words had a rolling cadence I couldn’t quite follow, like rumbling thunder in the distance. They contained a harsh sensuality. The consonants were hard and the vowels were long and lilting.
Footsteps retreated behind me.
Luka reached out again.
It took me a minute to realize he wanted to help me up. I hesitated. He smiled. I smiled back timidly and took his hand, completely dazzled. Even with my uniform soaked from melted snow, I didn’t feel cold—all my attention was on him and the way his callused hand felt on mine. Without moving much from his seated position, he helped me stand.
“What’s your name?” he asked. He had a voice like a familiar lullaby. It filled my heart to the brim with comfort.
I swallowed and tried to stop gawking. “Phoenix.”
“The bird that rose from the ashes.” Luka bent his head and kissed the back of my hand. “It’s a pleasure meeting you.”
My cheeks warmed. My head reeled, not knowing what to think. I couldn’t understand why I felt drawn to him. And the strange connection frightened me.
From behind, someone gripped my arms and yanked me away before I could sort out the feelings Luka inspired in me. I found myself behind a towering figure yet again. Recognizing the blue-black silk for hair tied at the nape, relief washed over me. Calixta hadn’t come back to finish me off.
Demitri’s large hand wrapped around my wrist. Unlike the night before, no calm existed in his demeanor. He trembled like a junky in need of a fix. The coiled power in his tense muscles vibrated into me.
“What are you doing here?” Demitri asked.
I didn’t know he’d spoken to me until I saw his expressionless profile. I sighed.
I flinched. The ruthless way he said my name punched all the air out of me. “You owe me answers,” I said with as much bravado as I could muster.
“I owe you nothing.” He glared. “In fact, you owe me your life.”
“I don’t think so.”
Ignoring my indignation, he faced Luka, who’d remained seated on the bench during my exchange with Demitri. “Why is she with you, Luka?”
“I wasn’t going to taste her, if that’s what you’re implying,” Luka said. “Although, she is simply delicious. I wouldn’t mind if you left us alone.”
There it was again. Taste. The word that kept coming up between these Night Students and I was connected to it in an increasingly uncomfortable way. To taste meant to sample, but what? My flesh? They had to be joking because the alternative wasn’t funny.
“The sins of the father …” Demitri left his sentence unfinished.
Luka’s smile shifted into a snarl. “Obey my command.” His chin lifted. “Kneel.”
Demitri’s stance went rigid. His grip tightened around my wrist.
Okay, weird just got weirder. Why would Luka want Demitri to kneel before him? I thought back to Eli and the others bowing to Demitri when he questioned them, but they didn’t kneel. Seriously? Were they all living on a different planet or something?
Kneel.” Luka’s detestable smirk made his features sinister rather than angelic. The real Lucifer: a fallen angel.
Without letting go of my wrist, Demitri knelt down on one knee and bowed his head, his free hand flat at the center of his chest. “Your command has been obeyed,” he said formally.
Luka nodded once.
Demitri stood up and pulled me toward the school without telling me where we were going. Not having the time to thank Luka for saving me from Calixta, I risked a glance back. Luka smiled at me. His smile spoke of whispers, secrets, and promises to be shared on a later date.

Author Info:

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master's courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.

Author Website:
Twitter: @KateEvangelista
Crescent Moon Press page for Taste:
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