Bookish News and Contest Winners...

Friday April 30, 2010

Wow, can you believe it is the end of April already? Only 31 days of school left here at HMS...anyway I wanted to pass on some links from the  newsletter which has a very cool site...

My review of The Last Summer of the Death Warriors is HERE....such a great book I want to continue supporting it....

Francisco X. Stork’s latest novel, THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS, is loosely based on Miguel de Cervantes’s classic DON QUIXOTE and portrays the unlikely friendship formed between two very different young men. In our interview, Stork describes how he was able to put himself in the shoes of his two characters and discusses the parallels between this book and his previous acclaimed work, MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD. You can enter to win a copy of THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS. Just read this excerpt, and click here for contest details. 

Another great book that I loved was Alice Hoffman's Green Witch (my review HERE

GREEN WITCH by Alice Hoffman is a story of survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Read the first chapter of this supernatural tale, and enter our contest for your chance to win a copy of the book. 

And finally...Vote, Vote, Vote!

April showers bring May flowers...and the Children's Book Council's 2010 Teen Choice Book of the Year! It's almost time to tally the votes. Have you had your say yet? Polls close on May 3rd, so click here to vote and show some love for one of the following five finalists: BLOOD PROMISE: Vampire Academy, Book 4 by Richelle Mead, BLUE MOON: The Immortals, Book 2 by Alyson Noel, CATCHING FIRE: The Second Book of the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, CITY OF GLASS: The Mortal Instruments, Book 3 by Cassandra Clare, and SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater.

I also have contest winners for The Dark Divine Nail polish!

 Lindsay's Photographys
Georgia Mist

All the winners have been emailed! Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered!

Book Review - Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison

Thursday April 29, 2010

Sing Me to Sleep
by Angela Morrison
March 4, 2010
From GoodReads: Beth has always been “The Beast”—that’s what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Beth’s only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is, until she’s selected to be her choir’s soprano soloist, and receives the makeover that will change her life forever.

When Beth’s choir travels to Switzerland, she meets Derek: pale, brooding, totally dreamy. Derek’s untethered passion—for music, and for Beth—leaves her breathless. Because in Derek’s eyes? She’s not The Beast, she’s The Beauty.

When Beth comes home, Scott, her best friend in the world, makes a confession that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous, intense new feelings she has for Derek?

The closer Beth gets to Derek, the further away he seems. Then Beth discovers that Derek’s been hiding a dark secret from her …one that could shatter everything.

Review: I fell in love with Angela Morrison's writing when I read her first book Taken by Storm. She really proved to me that you can have all of the steamy tension between teens without actually taking it all-the-way...and also giving perfectly good reasons on why some teens make that choice...all wrapped up in story lines that will keep readers coming back for more! 

Reading about Beth and her life before her "conversion" from beast to beauty has me looking at these kids at school walking through the hallways and wondering what their inner voice tells them (based on what they've heard others say.) It broke my heart to keep seeing Beth refer to herself as "The Beast" and "Da-amn Ugly" only to have it reinforced by the bullies at her school. Luckily she has her gift of singing to keep her afloat, it is the one thing she KNOWS she's good at and no one can take that away from her...that and her best friend Scott who's got her back 24/7.

When Beth meets Derek and he tells her he fell in love with her because of her voice and that she sings him to sleep at night with a recorded song he has, how can she not fall for that? From the very beginning they are both hiding their "real" selves from each other...Derek has no idea that Beth's beautiful appearance is only very recent and that her inner voice still tells her she is the beast she always was. Beth has a feeling there is something about Derek she doesn't know, although at times he gives himself to her completely  and only reaffirms his love for her...she can sense that he is keeping her at arms length...what is he hiding?
When Beth and Derek arrive home from the choir competition in Switzerland the situation does not get any better. At first I was irritated at all the things that Beth overlooked when it came to Derek, she kept forgiving him time after time even though he kept hurting her. But if you have ever seen a teen in love people, this is reality! Teens in love will forgive a LOT if it means the person they love will stay with it or not, its true. Especially for a teen who has never felt this way before. I did appreciate the fact that Beth's mom kept on top of the situation and there was actually a caring adult in the story for Beth to rely on. 

This is a very emotional story about self-worth, first love, loss and acceptance. You might be irritated by Beth and Derek's actions in this book but just remember, they are just like most teens out there...inexperienced and led by their emotions! Beth also finds herself torn between Scott, who has always been there for her and charismatic Derek. The singing and choir aspect of the story is lovely and the lyrics that Beth and Derek write are beautiful...just like poetry!

Oh, and isn't the cover beautiful?!

I really enjoyed this story and look forward to more by this author. Check out her website here: Angela Morrison

You can also find the trailer for Sing Me to Sleep HERE

Book Review - Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald

Wednesday April 28, 2010

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots
by Abby McDonald
April 13, 2010
Candlewick Press
From GoodReads: Can a boy-hungry Jersey girl survive the wilds of Canada with her eco-identity intact? A witty new YA novel from the author of SOPHOMORE SWITCH.

Jenna may hail from the ’burbs of New Jersey, but Green Teen activism is her life. So when her mom suggests they spend the summer at Grandma’s Florida condo, Jenna pleads instead to visit her hippie godmother, Susie, up in rural Canada. Jenna is psyched at the chance to commune with this nature she’s heard about — and the cute, plaid-wearing boys she’s certain must roam there. 

But after a few run-ins with local wildlife (from a larger-than-life moose to Susie’s sullen Goth stepdaughter to a hot but hostile boy named Reeve), Jenna gets the idea that her long-held ideals, like vegetarianism and conservation, don’t play so well with this population of real outdoorsmen. A dusty survival guide offers Jenna amusing tips on navigating the wilderness — but can she learn to navigate the turns of her heart?

Review: Jenna has big plans for the summer with her "Green Teen" friend Olivia as an intern for Earth Now...that is until her parents tell her the good news...her dad is going overseas for his job and mom is going to stay at grandma's. Not only destroying her summer plans but something tells Jenna that her parents just don't seem as happy as they used to be.

Thankfully Jenna talks her mom into sending her to visit godmother Susie up in Canada where she also meets Susie's new husband Adam and his daughter Fiona ( a very cranky angsty teen who listens to angry music and whose black hair is "dyed with cheap drugstore stuff so that it sucks all light and joy into its vortex of blackness.")

While basking in all the wilderness glory and despite being a little scared to go into the woods by herself, Jenna meets brothers Ethan and Grady and friend Reeve...all friends of Fiona who all grew up together in the very small town of Stillwater.  The boys give Jenna a hard time at first, making her feel like an outsider, a feeling she despises. Giving it her all she gets them to warm up to her, especially after she enlists their help in making a website for her godmothers new B & B.

I really enjoyed this fun. teen chick-lit read with heart. I especially enjoyed watching Jenna mature through out the book as she went from hardcore environmental activist to understanding that things are sometimes a little bit more complicated than they seem. She comes across as a truly genuine honest and loyal person. She also learns some surprising truths about her new friends and falls hard in love for the first time.

A fun, easy read for ages 14 and up (minimal references to sex and a few curse words.)

Visit the author's website to find out about her other books!

Tween Tuesdays (9)

Tuesday April 27, 2010

Tween Tuesday is a meme I first saw at Green Bean Teen Queen and really liked because she is also a librarian who deals with teens and tweens. So, since most of my blog is devoted to YA and teen books I figured that on Tuesdays I can do posts for all the tweeners out there!

Anna Maria's Gift
by Janice Shefelman
Illustrated by Robert Papp
April 27, 2010
Random House Books for Young Readers
A Stepping Stone Book

From GoodReads: When Anna Maria's father, a famous violin maker, dies, she is sent to live in the Pieta, an orphanage in Venice. Though she misses her father, she knows he will always be with her, as long as she has the beautiful violin he crafted for her.

Luckily, the Pieta is not just an orphanage—it’s also a renowned music school whose teacher is none other than composer Antonio Vivaldi. When Anna Maria becomes his star pupil, another orphan’s jealousy leads her to throw Anna Maria’s precious violin into the canals. With help from her beloved teacher and new friends, Anna Maria searches Venice’s bridges, streets, and canals, but it seems hopeless. Will Anna Maria ever find her father’s violin?

Review: A lovely, beautiful story about young Anna Maria and her life after the death of her father, a well known violin maker.

In a sense Anna Maria's story is, loss, jealousy, understanding and forgiveness, which won't be lost on young readers. The story flows nicely and readers will definitely want to see what happens. There are also some great supporting characters like the gondolier who helps Anna Maria and the sisters at Pieta (which was really one of the four orphanages in Venice.) I'm glad that the story does not adhere to the stereotypical strict, cold nuns that are often portrayed in historical fiction. The violin instructor, Antonio Vivaldi is also a real historical figure and there is a historical note at the end of the book that gives a little bit more history about him and the orphanage.

 The story has some black and white illustrations and the author supplements those with vivid descriptions of Venice and its illustrious culture.  An awesome pick for beginning chapter book readers!

Craft Book Reviews!

Monday April 26, 2010

Making Beautiful Jewelry
by Tone Rorseth
Available now
Martingale & Company
Chock full of fun and funky designs this book is definitely not for the faint of heart or traditionalist when it comes to jewelry, Making Beautiful Jewelry takes a look at jewelry at a whole new level!

When we think of making jewelry most of us think of the traditional materials like an assortment of various glass beads, stringing materials and wire...well Making Beautiful Jewelry will have you looking at something like a discarded button or an old piece of lace and wondering "What can I make with that?"

Some of my favorite ideas:
  • Making hearts out of colored spools of wire
  • Crocheted wire beaded pendant
  • Using felt and shells
  • Rose-petal hearts (with real rose petals!)
Even if you are an experienced beader and/or jewelry-maker I think this is a great book to help pull you out of rut and inspire you with new ideas! Some of the jewelry may not appeal to you but I'm sure you can take an idea from each piece and make something new and unique.

The tools and materials section is pretty limited so if you are fairly new to beading you may want to also buy a beginning beader's book to help you get started!

Your Seed Bead Style: Accents, Embellishments, Adornments
From the publisher of Bead & Button Magazine
Available now
Kalmbach Books
Do you ever wish you could have all your favorite seed bead projects in one place? Well here it is :) Each project featured in Your Seed Bead Style has been previously published in Bead & Button Magazine.

I have been making beads and jewelry for about ten years and bead weaving is something I just never tried. So this review will be from the perspective of an experienced beader new to bead weaving!
Up front there is a very  nice section on the basics:
  • Threads and Stitches
  • Knots
  • Wirework
Complete with nice graphics and fairly detailed descriptions.

Next up is the Tools and Materials section. As a beader I already had most of them I just had to purchase a bigger variety of seed beads (I usually just use them as an accent beads and in these projects they are the main ingredient!) I also bought some additional stringing materials so I had a more of a variety of colors, thickness etc.

The projects are seperated by the materials used and featured:
  • Crystals and Glass
  • Pearls and Shells
  • Metals
  • Gemstones
  • Fibers
Each project provides clear instructions with color pictures and illustrations. Being new to these projects I understood the directions and progressed nicely on my first project. Now, stating that, I think that if you are fairly new to beading you might want to also get a book that is strictly about learning the various stitches and also explains the various types of beads better. For instance as a newby, would you know what the instructions mean when they say: "Choose two similar colors of size 11 cylinder beads." 

With 27 projects in all you will find projects that range in difficulty from beginner to intricate designs better suited for more experienced bead weavers.  Here is a picture of the next project I'm going to try!
I like it!

In My Mailbox (36) or Girl, you got a lot of readin' to do!

Sunday April 18 , 2010
In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea @ Pop Culture Junkie is a way to share what new books you get each week.  They can be books you borrowed from the library, bought, traded, won or received for review.

So, without further adieu, the following are books I received this past week...enjoy!

Remember! I'm a librarian so that's why I received so many books this week! Even if you don't see ALL these books up on the blog I spread the word to other librarians :)

Links go to GoodReads with book covers and summaries!

From HarperTeen:
Stranded by J.T. Dutton

From the wonderful people from Scholastic who are so awesome! Half my library book purchases this year were through book fairs and Scholastic dollars!
Dear America Series:
The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady: Voyage on the Great Titanic
The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple: A Journey to the New World
The Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart: The winter of Red Snow
The Diary of Piper Davis: The Fences Between Us

The Miracle Stealer by Neil Connelly

The Memory Bank by Carolyn Coman & Rob Shepperson

Archvillian by Barry Lyga

Star Crossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Bobby the Brave (Sometimes) by Lisa Yee

No Such Thing as Dragons by Phillip Reeve

Julia Gillian (and the Dream of the Dog) by Alison McGhee

Fish by Gregory Mone

Framed by Gordon Korman

The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh

Plain Kate by Erin Bow

Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel

From Random House:
Horse Diaries: Maestoso Petra by Jane Kendall

Unfamiliar Magic by R.C. Alexander

Nature Girl by Jane Kelley

Gimme A Call by Sarah Mlynowski

I So Don't do Makeup
I So Don't do Mysteries
I So Don't do Spooky by Barrie Summy

Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards

Out of the Woods by Lyn Gardner

Anna Maria's Gift by Janice Shefelman

From Blue Slip Media:
Ivy Ever After by Dawn Lairamore

The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells

From Thomas Nelson:
Caleb & Kate by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma

From Penguin:
The Secret of Saturdays by Torrey Maldonado

Book Review - Goddess of Partholon Series

Friday April 23, 2010

NOTE: This series is definitely different from what I usually review and it is very ADULT, I mean not over the top or anything but definitely for the over 21 crowd :)

This series is from P.C. Cast who wrote the very popular House of Night novels that are a HUGE hit in my library. 

The covers that you see here are the UK covers and are published in the UK by MIRA and priced at £6.99.

Divine by Mistake, Book 1
Going . . . Going . . . Gone!
The most excitement teacher Shannon Parker expects on her summer vacation is a litle shopping. But then her latest purchase -- a vase with the Celtic goddess Epona on it -- somehow switches her into the world of Partholon, where she's treated like a goddess. A very temperamental goddess . . . 

It seems that Shannon has stepped into another's role as the Goddess Incarnate of Epona. And while it has some very appealing moments -- what woman doesn't like a little pampering now and then? -- it also comes with a ritual marriage to a centaur and the threat of war against the evil Fomorians. Oh, and everyone disliking her because they think she's her double. 

Somehow Shannon needs to figure out how to get back to Oklahoma without being killed, married to a horse or losing her mind . . . 

Divine by Choice, Book 2
 Shannon Parker has finally come to terms with life in the mythical world of Partholon. She loves her centaur husband, her connection to the goddess Epona and the pampering that comes with both! She's almost forgotten her old life on Earth—especially when she discovers she's pregnant….

Then a sudden burst of power sends her back to Oklahoma. Without magic, Shannon can't return to Partholon—and so she needs to find help. Trouble is, it might take the form of a man as tempting as her husband. And along the way she'll discover that being divine by mistake is a lot easier than being divine by choice…. 

Divine by Blood, Book 3
Conceived in a lie and trapped in a tree throughout her gestation, Morrigan's birth was truly magical. After that start, she spent the next eighteen years raised as a normal girl in Oklahoma.

Upon discovering the truth of her heritage, her rage and grief take on a power of their own, carrying her back to the world of Partholon. Yet, instead of being respected as the daughter of the Goddess Incarnate, Morrigan feels like a shunned outsider.

In her desperation to belong to Partholon, she confronts forces she can't fully understand or control. And soon a strange darkness draws closer…. 

Review: I really enjoyed these quick, fun and sexy reads! Shannon is a very feisty heroine who is actually pretty easy to relate to! I found myself laughing at some of our similarities (besides being teachers) and although I adore YA its refreshing to read about someone closer to my age!

A fun fantasy read with a nice balance of action and romance. There are some creepy characters here and the "dark magic" in the books has a few perverse moments (but lets face it anything involving "dark magic" would realistically be perverse.) Sexual situations are pretty descriptive so again, 21 and over!
I definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys adult paranormal romance/fantasy books!

Review copies provided by PR agency and donated to local library

Time For More Mini Reviews!

Thursday April 22, 2010

I had some of these a few weeks ago and I received a lot of positive feedback from readers so I think I 'll do it on a more regular basis!

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors
By Francisco X. Stork
March 1, 2010
Summary: When Pancho arrives at St. Anthony's Home, he knows his time there will be short: If his plans succeed, he'll soon be arrested for the murder of his sister's killer. But then he's assigned to help D.Q., whose brain cancer has slowed neither his spirit nor his mouth. D.Q. tells Pancho all about his "Death Warrior's Manifesto," which will help him to live out his last days fully--ideally, he says, with the love of the beautiful Marisol. As Pancho tracks down his sister's murderer, he finds himself falling under the influence of D.Q. and Marisol, who is everything D.Q. said she would be; and he is inexorably drawn to a decision: to honor his sister and her death, or embrace the way of the Death Warrior and choose life. 

Mini Review: A beautiful thought provoking and intense story that deals with how revenge can consume a person and basically take over their life. When something horrible happens do we focus on getting revenge or focus on moving past it to acceptance and forgiveness? Is acceptance the same as giving up? Pancho must ask  himself these questions because his future depends on it. This book really packs a punch but ultimately leaves you thinking about just how precious life is. Highly recommended!

The Lonely Hearts Club
by Elizabeth Eulberg
December 29, 2009
Summary: Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It's a personal choice. . .and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways . . . which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like. . . .

Mini Review: Penny Lane Bloom (yes, her parents are Beatles fans) has been hurt for the last time. After being crushed by her last boyfriend Penny swears off the opposite sex and quietly starts the The Lonely Hearts Club (the name is of course inspired by her fav band)...when other girls notice her new lease on life they decide join too...I mean who needs all the heartache and drama associated with high school dating? Of course fate has other plans for Penny and she meets Ryan....then the school principal threatens to shut down the club when the poor boys in her class find themselves dateless :) Overall a very cute story with a lot of Beatlemania infused through out. If you want an empowering book all about girl-power and girlfriends before boyfriends, you've got it all right here! A Fun Read!

Some Girls Are
by Courtney Summers
January 5, 2010
St. Martin's Griffin
Summary: Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around.

Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first. 

Mini Review: An especially impacting story in light of the recent suicide of a high school girl who was bullied due to jealousy and hate. This book takes an unflinching look at the insidious nature of bullying and the devastating impact it can have on definitely takes the term "Mean Girls" to a whole new level. The excruciating twist to this story is that a former bully is now being bullied and Regina now has to face what she has done to others, especially when some classmates feel she deserves a taste of her own medicine. This is a powerful story that is one of those books I want all teens to read. Words CAN and DO hurt people and bullying can happen when adults least suspect it. Subject matter makes this book more appropriate for ages 14 and up. A Powerfully Good Read! 

Book Review - Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner

Tuesday April 19, 2010

Thief Eyes
by Janni Lee Simner
April 27, 2010
Random House
After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. There, amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley meets gorgeous Ari, a boy with a dangerous side who appoints himself her protector.

When Haley picks up a silver coin that entangles her in a spell cast by her ancestor Hallgerd, she discovers that Hallgerd's spell and her mother's disappearance are connected to a chain of events that could unleash terrifying powers and consume the world. Haley must find a way to contain the growing fires of the spell—and her growing attraction to Ari. 

A new book by the author of Bones of Faerie!

With all the hoopla around the Percy Jackson series and its Greek mythology centered plot, its exciting to see more middle grade and young adult authors using these type of fantastic resources as inspiration for new stories.

In Thief Eyes we find characters from a popular Icelandic adventure,  Njal's Saga... a medieval story about Iceland's early inhabitants. Most specifically Hallgerd, Haley's distant relative by a thousand years who conjures up a magic spell to escape her fate of an arranged marriage.

While in Iceland Haley meets Ari and discovers a secret that sends her reeling....literally, through time. Haley finds herself in the middle of an old Icelandic tale where she seems to be a central it possible that her mothers disappearance is related to her current situation? She also finds out that her actions could impact the entire world, Hallgerd's enchantment that has entrapped Haley may have more sinister implications.

With Ari's help Haley hopes to find her mother, break Hallgerd's magical spell and get back home to her father. Along the way they meet a variety of interesting characters and Ari finds out a few things about himself including the fact that he too has a somewhat magical past.

The story is well-paced and Haley and Ari are constantly finding themselves in life-threatening situations. The attraction between Haley and Ari is obvious and the fact that they have no one to rely on but each other only reinforces those feelings. The problem? Haley has a boyfriend back home in Arizona.

The climax of the story is a much anticipated confrontation between Haley and Hallgerd, but like any good story, the results may surprise you.

A sure hit with fantasy and even historical fiction lovers! Best suited for ages 12 and up.

Visit author Janni Lee Simner and Thief Eyes HERE

Book Review - The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones

Monday April 19, 2010

The Owl Keeper
by Christine Brodien-Jones
April 13, 2010
Delacorte Press
Maxwell Unger has always loved the night. He used to do brave things like go tramping through the forest with his gran after dark. He loved the stories she told him about the world before the Destruction—about nature, and books, and the silver owls. His favorite story, though, was about the Owl Keeper.

According to Max’s gran, in times of darkness the Owl Keeper would appear to unite owls and sages against the powers of the dark. Gran is gone now, and so are her stories of how the world used to be. Max is no longer brave. The forest is dangerous, the books Gran had saved have been destroyed, and the silver owls are extinct. At least that’s what the High Echelon says. But Max knows better.

Maxwell Unger has a secret. And when a mysterious girl comes to town, he might just have to start being brave again.

The time of the Owl Keeper, Gran would say, is coming soon. 

One part of being a librarian blogger versus a book blogger who reviews books for fun (don't get me wrong, I have a LOT of fun, but I also consider blogging as an extended part of my "job") is that I try to be a little bit more varied in the books I review so that I can reach a lot of different readers. As you might know my favorite books to read are paranormal romance...but when I read books like The Owl Keeper I pat myself on the back for being more open about the different types of books I accept for review!

With a dystopian view of the future where an all-knowing government, or High Echelon, has ruined the environment in a failed attempt to control the weather, Max Unger lives with his passive parents and his controlling and uber-weird caretaker Mrs. Crumlin. Max is allergic to sunlight and requires special visits from his own personal physician Dr. Tredegar. 

Max, along with his parents seem to be living in a perpetual dream-like state where they seem to be slowly losing their memories. When Max meets Rose, a strange, bossy and mysterious girl who shows up each night at his owl tree, a progression of events lead Max to believe that the people who claim to care about him most are lying to him. 

When Max finds out a terrifying plot to alter his future he knows he has to do something. With the help of his little silver owl and Rose, Max is determined to be brave. Using his gran's old stories and little clues that she has left behind, Max knows he must find The Owl Keeper...the future depends on it!

Such a great book! An action packed dystopian story filled with creepy characters that will give you the jeepers. There are these gross little creatures called Skraeks that are just...ewwww. Scary instruments like the Injectaport and an all-knowing, all-controlling government that is trying to move its citizens into "protective" domes where they can REALLY keep track of their citizens.

Oh, and I'm hoping there is a sequel, the story ends at a point where a second book could totally start!

Appropriate for ages 12 and up....mild violence

Visit the authors website 

In My Mailbox (35)

Sunday April 18 , 2010
In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea @ Pop Culture Junkie is a way to share what new books you get each week.  They can be books you borrowed from the library, bought, traded, won or received for review.

So, without further adieu, the following are books I received this past week...enjoy!

by Rachel Vail
June 1st, 2010
Consistently praised by readers and reviewers for her authenticity, warmth, wit, and penetrating insight, Rachel Vail brings her finely honed voice to the issues closest to the hearts of teen readers—friendship, school, family, love, and growing up.

In Brilliant, the conclusion to the Avery sisters trilogy, Rachel Vail delivers the ultimate summer story. Sixteen-year-old Quinn is in love, but it’s not that simple. Quinn is just about perfect: She doesn’t make a fuss—even when her family is facing the loss of their home and a financial meltdown; she doesn’t get angry—even when her younger sister screams her head off straight in Quinn’s direction; and she certainly does not fall head-over-heels for a guy totally out of her league and then mistakenly go off and kiss her sister’s boyfriend…till now. 

Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising
by Jason Henderson
May 1, 2010
A descendant of legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, fourteen-year-old Alex is stuck at boarding school near Lake Geneva, Switzerland, when he finds himself drawn into a web of paranormal intrigue. It turns out that Lake Geneva is also home to a secret school for vampires called the Scholomance—and now to a dangerous vampire clan lord known only as Icemaker, who’s using the Scholomance for his own dangerous endgame. 

With the help of his friends and of special agent Sangster, it’s up to Alex to fulfill his family destiny and stop Icemaker’s frightening plans once and for all. 

Forgive My Fins
by Tera Lynn Childs
May 19th, 2010
Katherine Tegen Books
Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

by Leah Cypess
April 27, 2010
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins
The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwod.

But when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty--because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can't help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.

The Gardener
by S.A. Bodine
May 25, 2010
Feiwel & Friends
Mason has never known his father, but longs to. All he has of him is a DVD of a man whose face is never seen, reading a children’s book. One day, on a whim, he plays the DVD for a group of comatose teens at the nursing home where his mother works. One of them, a beautiful girl, responds. Mason learns she is part of a horrible experiment intended to render teenagers into autotrophs—genetically engineered, self-sustaining life-forms who don’t need food or water to survive. And before he knows it, Mason is on the run with the girl, and wanted, dead or alive, by the mysterious mastermind of this gruesome plan, who is simply called the Gardener.

Will Mason be forced to destroy the thing he’s longed for most? 

by Heidi Ayarbe
April 21, 2010
With a con-man dad and a long-gone mom, the only thing that makes sense to Maya is science. In fact, every time her dad’s cons go wrong, she has a scientific way to fix it, to keep both of them safe and together.

Only this time Maya’s scientific method doesn’t work. She finds herself stuck in an orphanage, and then living on the street, where scientific laws don’t apply, with two unlikely allies, and she has to learn to live on instinct alone. But when Maya goes off in search of an aunt she’s never met in hopes of finding some semblance of stability in her chaotic world, she finds something even more important: her own strength.

Num8ers by Rachel Ward Contest Winners!

Monday April 12, 2010

Contest Winners!




Congratulations! I have emailed each of the winners.
Stay tuned for my upcoming HUGE Blogiversary contest...You don't want to miss this one!

Book Review - After Ever AFter by Jordan Sonnenblick

Friday April 9, 2010

After Ever After
by Jordan Sonnenblick
February 1, 2010
Scholastic Press
Jeffrey isn't a little boy with cancer anymore. He's a teen who's in remission, but life still feels fragile. The aftereffects of treatment have left Jeffrey with an inability to be a great student or to walk without limping. His parents still worry about him. His older brother, Steven, lost it and took off to Africa to be in a drumming circle and "find himself." 

Jeffrey has a little soul searching to do, too, which begins with his escalating anger at Steven, an old friend who is keeping something secret, and a girl who is way out of his league but who thinks he's cute.

This book is a sequel to Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie where eighth grade Steven tells his story of trying to be a normal teen while dealing with the fact that his four year-old brother Jeffery has leukemia.  

After Every After is in turn narrated by Jeffrey who is now a teen himself and dealing with learning disabilities caused by all the different medications he had to take as a child in order to save his life. He is also trying to escape his identity as "the kid who had cancer" as well as adjusting to the fact that his reliable and every-steady brother Steven has taken off to Africa to "find himself."

Jeffery's best friend Tad is also a fellow cancer survivor who still has to use a wheelchair. When Jeffery finds out he has to pass a state mandated math class in order to move on to high school he is terrified that his learning disabilities will keep him stranded in middle school forever. He turns to Tad for help and together they make a pact...Tad will tutor Jeffery in math and Jeffery, who is an avid bike rider, will get Tad in shape enough to walk across the stage at their eighth grade graduation. 

Through out all of this Jeffery is also falling for the very cute new girl who seems to like him though he can't figure out why. His one wish is that he could talk to Steven so he can figure out how to navigate through his perilous journey of love and middle school (not to mention overbearing parents.) But Steven has cut himself off, no email, no phone, no nothing!

I loved this heartwarming, well written read! I laughed, I cried and I smiled a lot. There are a lot of great characters to love including a hilariously described gym teacher who has the best of intentions but, well...think of your gym teacher :) Lots of humor and sarcasm balanced with the emotional cost of dealing with cancer and people who you think have let you down. 

A marvelous, must-have addition to any middle and high school library! Boys and girls alike will enjoy this one.

Find out more about both books here

Junior Library Guild Advanced Readers (6th-9th) pick for April 2010

Review copy provided by publisher and donated to school library

Book Review - Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White

Wednesday April 7, 2010

by Amy Brecount White
March 2, 2010
Greenwillow Books

Summary: When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door,Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn’t so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out.  In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum.  Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher.  When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. 

With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others.  But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her.  And her bouquets don’t always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin.  Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she’s soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom.

Review: After reading this book I felt like I should start planning a beautiful flower garden in my backyard. It seems I'm missing out on all the magical "powers" that flowers can have over people! I definitely fell head over heels for this book...the story of Laurel and her gifts and all the wonderful information on what each flower means...For example, I am giving you all a White Bellflower which means "gratitude" (as in thanks for checking out my blog:)

Laurel is a recent addition to Avondale School after the passing of her mother who was also a student there. Once she discovers she has a definite gift with flowers she is desperate to find out more about it and others like herself. Unable to reach her grandmother who is still mourning the death of Laurels mother, she does research on her own when she finds a mysterious old book in the library that is about the language of flowers.

Once word gets out Laurel is overwhelmed with requests for her special bouquets...from friends and mean girls alike. Without any real guidance, Laurel flounders and fails to understand her gift and how and when to use it. Things look up when a teacher at Avondale seems to understand what Laurel is going through.

I really loved and appreciated this wonderful coming-of-age story. Like the book says, this story is "blooming with romance, mystery and intrigue"!  A lot of teen readers may also identify with Laurels grieving process, as well as her feelings about her father and the fact that he may have started dating. This is balanced well with the funnier aspects of Laurels antics as she practices her gift and at one point has her cousin following the schools resident "mean girl" around like a love sick puppy! Not to mention the ghostly aspect of a possible haunting at the schools conservatory (think giant greenhouse).

A well written story that will be a sure hit with tweens and teens alike!

Find out more about the book and the language of flowers at the authors website:

Contest - The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Tuesday April 6, 2010

This last Saturday I was able to make it to Powells Book store in Portland, Oregon to see author Kimberly Derting. I had never been to an author signing before so it was fun to see the whole process. Kim answered everybody's questions, read from her book and then signed copies for everyone who bought a book.

Lucky for you :) I bought an extra SIGNED copy to give away here on the blog! Plus Kim gave me some extra swag to include so here is what you'll get:

  • Signed hardcover of The Body Finder
  • Signed poster
  • Two bookmarks
  • Two cool stickers
  • Body Finder bracelet
 Kim reading and answering questions
Kim signing my books!
Both of us! Yikes, bad hair day for me...
The Prize Pack!!!

Contest Time!

This contest will end Monday, May 3, 2010

+1 for commenting (MUST be a follower!)
+2 for each tweet on Twitter
+3 for a sidebar post
+5 for devoting a post about the contest on your blog

Good luck and thanks for entering!

The Dark Divine Blog Tour Contest

Monday April 5, 2010

The Dark Divine Blog Tour
Nail Polish Give-a-Way
The Dark Divine
by Bree Despain
Available now!

Win one of three bottles of Dark Divine nail polish!
A very pretty color that matches the gorgeous cover!

I LOVED this book! If you haven't read it yet you must!
Read my review HERE
I can't wait for the sequel :)
Visit the author website

Now on to the contest
Open World Wide!

This contest will end Monday, April 26, 2010

+1 for commenting (MUST be a follower!)
+2 for each tweet on Twitter
+3 for a sidebar post
+5 for devoting a post about the contest on your blog

Good luck and thanks for entering!