Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Shore Thing

A Shore Thing
by Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi

It’s a summer to remember . . . at the Jersey Shore.

Giovanna “Gia” Spumanti and her cousin Isabella “Bella” Rizzoli are going to have the sexiest summer ever. While they couldn’t be more different—pint-size Gia is a carefree, outspoken party girl and Bella is a tall, slender athlete who always holds her tongue—for the next month they’re ready to pouf up their hair, put on their stilettos, and soak up all that Seaside Heights, New Jersey, has to offer: hot guidos, cool clubs, fried Oreos, and lots of tequila.

So far, Gia’s summer is on fire. Between nearly burning down their rented bungalow, inventing the popular “tan-tags” at the Tantastic Salon where she works, and rescuing a shark on the beach, she becomes a local celebrity overnight. Luckily, she meets the perfect guy to help her keep the flames under control. Firefighter Frank Rossi is exactly her type: big, tan, and Italian. But is he tough enough to handle Gia when things really heat up?

Bella is more than ready for some fun in the sun. Finally free of her bonehead ex-boyfriend, she left home in Brooklyn with one goal in mind: hooking up with a sexy gorilla for a no-strings-attached summer fling. In no time, she lands a job leading “Beat Up the Beat” dance classes at a local gym, and is scooped up by Beemer-driving, preppy Bender Newberry. Only problem: Bella can’t get her romantic and ripped boss Tony “Trouble” Troublino out of her head. He’s relationship material. Suddenly, Bella’s not sure what she wants.

The cousins soon realize that for every friend they make on the boardwalk, there are also rivals, slummers, and frenemies who will do anything to ruin their summer—and try their relationship. Before July ends, the bonds of family and friendship will be stretched to the breaking point. Will the haters prevail, or will Gia and Bella find love at the Shore?
(description from

I can hear you all now...why on Earth did you bother to read that book??
I have to admit something somewhat shameful...I am an unabashed, full on, Jersey Shore addict. Yes, I said it! I love that show. It's soooo ridiculous, but I can't not watch it whenever it's on.

So, that being said. I have not yet read any of the "how-to" books by The Situation or JWoww, but when I saw that my beloved, god awful, hilarious Snooki had "penned" a novel. I knew I had to check it out. Call this my ultimate guilty pleasure.

...and I loved it. This book is exactly what I would read if I went to the beach. It was so over the top, out there ridiculous that I literally laughed my way through it. I read parts out loud to my husband...I quoted funny lines to friends...

You know those dog breeds that are so ugly they become cute again? That's what this book's literally so BAD that it becomes great. This book was written so that it read as if you were reading a script for one of the Jersey Shore episodes. OMG. Funny. It was literally SNOOKTASTIC.

Would I recommend this? Eh. Unless you actually like the Jersey Shore or are looking for something to read that requires absolutely no thought Did I love it. Yes. It is a "special" book for certain readers. Whatever you do, though, don't spend money on it!! :P

My Favorite Band Does Not Exist

My Favorite Band Does Not Exist
by Robert Jeschonek

Sixteen-year-old genius Idea Deity believes that he exists only in the pages of a novel written by a malevolent, omnipotent author . . . and that he will die in chapter 64. Meanwhile, an older teen named Reacher Mirage sings lead vocals for the undercover rock band Youforia . . . a band that exists in Idea’s world only as an Internet hoax that Idea himself perpetuated. Then there’s beautiful and mysterious Eunice Truant, who links their destinies. When Idea and Reacher plunge into the reality of Fireskull’s Revenant, the twisted epic fantasy novel they’ve both been reading, chapter 64 bears down on them like a speeding freight train on an unstoppable collision course. Being trapped in a bad book can be a nightmare. Just ask Idea Deity. (description taken from

This was one of those rare books that I put down and I literally could not decide how I felt about it. Now, since I was formally reviewing it...that's an issue! Sadly, I've submitted my review and I'm still somewhat conflicted.

The conceptualization of this book is amazing. It's sophisticated and interesting.

The characters all have really weird names that kept distracting me.

There are sections of a book within the book that look like a different book...I both liked and hated that.

In some ways this felt over the top...but in others, all I kept comparing it to all of the things I loved about the hallucinogenic road-trip in Libba Bray's Going Bovine. The existential feeling that I got from this book was strongly reminiscent of hers...

I think that the people who like this book are actually going to LOVE it. I think it may develop a strong underground type of following. I also think that your average reader will skip right over this book...

Me? I still can't describe how it made me feel!

Full disclosure: ARC received to review for SLJ

Monday, May 30, 2011

Darkness Becomes Her

Darkness Becomes Her
by Kelly Keaton
Gods and Monsters, book 1

Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed. (description from

This book is...lush, dark, creepy, intriguing, entrancing, exciting...all the best things about a dark, urban, dystopian, paranormal fantasy. This is just how I like my books. I was sucked so deep into this story that I literally devoured it in one sitting, unable to put it down...bedtime be damned!

Ari won me over, heart and soul. She is tough, strange, mysterious, and heartachingly vulnerable at times. Unaware of who she really is, she delves into a dangerous, forbidden city and enters a lush, exotic world of people and things she never knew existed. She manages to be clueless and in control at the same time.

Oh, and can I mention New 2? Umm...I have never in my life wanted more to buy plane tickets to New Orleans than I did immediately after finishing this book. The descriptions are amazing and decadent and haunting. It was like being a post-disaster, creepy way. I loved it! The setting definitely helped to make this book.

Darkness Becomes Her is definitely at the top of my list of books I've enjoyed recently and as such, it earns a GOLD STAR REVIEW!!

I can not wait for the second book in the Gods and Monsters series, which will be coming out in Feb. 2012!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hotel No Tell - Blog Tour

Hotel No Tell
by Daphne Uviller
Sequel to Super in the City

The smart and sassy detective Zephyr Zuckerman is now armed and undercover in a Greenwich Village hotel where mysteries—from garbage-grabbing guests to the reservation system—lurk around every corner.

Now working as a junior detective with the New York City Special Investigations Commission, Zephyr’s gone incognito as a concierge to find out who laundered a hundred grand off the hotel books—and why. But the discovery of a prone, flush-faced guest gasping for air in room 502 only hints at the sinister goings-on inside this funky establishment. While the rapid response of the fire department leads to a sweaty date with a smooth-talking, rock-climbing rescue worker, Zephyr finds herself even more hot and bothered by an attempted murder on her watch. Could the smart-mouthed Japanese yenta across the hall know more than she’s telling? How are cryptic phone calls from a mysterious corporation linked to the victim in 502?

Under pressure and overwhelmed, Zephyr soon finds that a concierge cover is no protection in a place where crime, like the city itself, never sleeps. (description from

This was a romp of a read! I flew through it and giggled my way down the twisting path of poor Zephyr's case. Not only does this book have a good mystery, Zephyr is one of those characters that I just immediately connected with...

Zephyr is an SIC agent, solving cases for the city. When she's assigned to go undercover to figure out where some missing money went, she struggles a little bit because Zephyr has a close knit group of friends and family that she usually tells all about her work. Once in place at the hotel, though, Zephyr commits wholeheartedly and not only solves her case, but is an exemplary consierge, as well.

One of my favorite characters from the entire book is actually Zephyr's boss, Pippa. A classy, unapproachable woman who collects sea-foam green handbags and uses ferry rides to hold important meetings, she is determined to take Zephyr under her wing. She was both competent and sweetly quirky.

I enjoyed this read so much, now I have to go back and read the first book, Super in the City. I also really hope that we'll get to delve into Zephyr's life again in the future!!

Full disclosure: Book provided by Publisher as part of Blog Tour

Saturday, May 28, 2011

In My Mailbox - May 29, 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!

From The Library:

A Gaggle of Goblins by Suzanne Harper
Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz
Sidekicks by Jack Ferraiolo

Steel by Carrie Vaughn
Divergent by Veronica Roth

For Review:

Everfound by Neal Shusterman

From BEA:
I'm just going to highlight my favorites for the moment...

Signed: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter and Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Legend by Marie Lu, The Bridge to Never Land by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, The Secret Prince by Violet Haberdasher, and Floors by Patrick Carman.

The Water Wars

The Water Wars
by Cameron Stracher

Would you risk everything for someone you just met?

What if he had a secret worth killing for?

Welcome to a future where water is more precious than oil or gold...

Hundreds of millions of people have already died, and millions more will soon fall-victims of disease, hunger, and dehydration. It is a time of drought and war. The rivers have dried up, the polar caps have melted, and drinkable water is now in the hands of the powerful few. There are fines for wasting it and prison sentences for exceeding the quotas.

But Kai didn't seem to care about any of this. He stood in the open road drinking water from a plastic cup, then spilled the remaining drops into the dirt. He didn't go to school, and he traveled with armed guards. Kai claimed he knew a secret-something the government is keeping from us...
And then he was gone. Vanished in the middle of the night. Was he kidnapped? Did he flee? Is he alive or dead? There are no clues, only questions. And no one can guess the lengths to which they will go to keep him silent. We have to find him-and the truth-before it is too late for all of us. (description from

I love dystopian fiction. This is no secret. I've read a lot of books in this genre, but this was really the first that dealt so openly with an environmental issue that had completely changed society as we know it. Granted, books like Carbon Diaries, 2015 deal with how society might begin to change if our destruction of the environment continues, but in The Water Wars life has already been irreperably changed and life is just completely different because of a lack of water.

The only book I could really compare it to in that respect is Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. When a meteor strikes the moon and its orbit is suddenly altered, the effects on the earth's weather patterns and ecosystem are devestating. Volcanoes erupt, earthquakes strike, flooding is massive, and winter becomes an inescapable reality.

In The Water Wars, humans have devestated the earth. The polar ice caps have melted into the oceans, altering the face of our continent. Unfortunately, with that there is no longer enough drinkable water on the planet to sustain us. Wars break out across the globe as countries begin to fight for limited resources. In North America, the U.S. breaks down. No longer a government with 50 states, there are now six independent republics warring not only each other, but the mighty Canada. Yes folks, you heard me right...Canada. In this future, Canada is THE superpower in the globe. By damming off all of the rivers that flow out of Canada, they now control the largest percentage of drinkable water on Earth...and they aren't sharing.

Poor Vera and her brother Will live in Illinowa, a desert area. They live on strictly rationed water and take dry showers. They are used to being constantly thirsty. Then Vera meets the greatly intriguing Kai. A boy who isn't afraid to waste water. He brings them extra water, wonderful water that hasn't been chemically altered. He even shows Vera a hidden spring...and tells them of a secret river. Fascinated, both teens become obsessed with Kai and his river.

When he disappears, Vera knows he didn't just leave...he was kidnapped. They set out to find Kai and rescue him. Unfortunately, they themselves get kidnapped, and rekidnapped, and then rescued, and...well let's just say there are explosions and dead bodies everywhere! This book could definitely be turned into a movie that any 14 year old boy would be happy to sit through...

The Water Wars is exciting. It's also really thought provoking. I have to admit that though I know we need to conserve water, it wasn't until I read this book that I really thought at all about what life would be like if we didn't have drinking water, no agriculture, no showering, no washing goes on and on and on. This book really made me stop to think about desalinization of water and the chemicals that go into water to make it safe. The best part, though, is that it in no way detracted from the story...I thought about those things when I put the book down. This really is a thrilling read.

On a related note, we were lucky enough at our Library to have Cameron Stracher visit on Thursday night. I was sad to have a really small turnout, but Cam was very gracious and we had a really riveting discussion about the environmental future and how The Water Wars is based somewhat in fact. He also let us know that his next young adult book will be a post-apocalyptic science fiction adventure where the natural laws of the universe are failing. Time becomes fluid, gravity no longer holds, etc. I can't wait to read it already! It was a really good author visit!!

2011 Debut Author Challenge title

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Red Glove

Red Glove
by Holly Black
Curse Workers, book two

Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.

That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.

When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself?

Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose. (description from

I still can only commend Holly Black on how intricately she can build a believable, yet fantastic world! I love how her urban fantasies are wholly rooted in our world, yet have such strong elements that make them spring fully from her imagination. The world of the curse workers is intricate, flawed, and cool as hell.

I'm still not as in love with Cassel as many other readers are, but I definitely grew to enjoy him more fully as a character in this second book. I think as he came to know the whole story of what he'd done and how his actions reflected on his personality and desires, he became more fully rounded and believable in my imagination. I loved some of the choices he made here and can't wait to see how he'll pull things off next!

I am definitely looking forward to Black Heart. So many life altering choices were made or inadvertently forced onto different characters in this book, that it will be really, really interesting to see where they all end up in the next. *Mwa Haa Haa*

Bad Taste in Boys - Book Trailer

Can't wait for this one to come out!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011



by Meg Cabot

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld. (description from

Check out the great trailer for this book, here.

I really liked this new twist on the Persephone myth. It was modern and fresh, though steeped in ancient mythologies. It was almost like watching an episode of Supernatural based on the Hades and Persephone story. LOVE.

I found it amazing that this book took place over the span of just a few days, but managed to feel like it was covering eons. Meg Cabot used flashbacks to cover incidents that had happened years before, keeping the book constantly moving. I do have to admit that until I got used to that, I was confused at a few points in the early chapters, but once I got the rhythm it was a really great way to add layers to the events that were happening and to foreshadow important clues about the people around Pierce.

As for Pierce, I really liked her. She was tough and vulnerable. Poor Pierce gets pulled into a darker world than most people ever have to deal with... the biggest problem? She's not always unhappy to be there...

John was...John was the sexy bad boy that I think we all secretly think about. He was broody and moody and just...smouldering in some spots. I loved learning more about his background and how he came to be a Death Diety. Very intriguing. Cabot managed to paint a very vivid picture of both the eternally young man and his Underworld that made me almost want to stay forever...

I will definitely be looking forward to the next book in the series, Underworld. There are a lot of questions left unanswered at the end of Abandon and I'm dying to see how Meg Cabot plans to get Pierce out of her sticky situation.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Heart of a Sheperd

Heart of a Sheperd
by Rosanne Parry

When Brother's dad is shipped off to Iraq, along with the rest of his reserve unit, Brother must help his grandparents keep the ranch going. He’s determined to maintain it just as his father left it, in the hope that doing so will ensure his father’s safe return. The hardships Brother faces will not only change the ranch, but also reveal his true calling. (description from

I hate that I truly judge a book by the cover so often! I heard great things about this book and so I checked it out from the library. sat on the shelf in my office for AGES because I kept looking at the cover and picking up other books instead. *sigh* I don't know why I can't break that habit!!

This book was GREAT! It's short and really easy to read, but still packs a really big emotional punch. I smiled, I cried, and when I put the book down, I was immediately kicking myself that I hadn't read this book ages ago when it first came out and started winning awards.

Brother is a great character. He is trying soooo hard to keep things going after his father goes to Iraq and his brothers are away. He's learning all these great things about the ranch (I learned some things, too) and he learns about himself. As you follow Brother's emotional journey, you become invested as a reader. I cried several times and when he makes the statement at the end, letting everyone know what he wants to do when he gets older, it just feels exactly right.

Parry's debut book is a knockout! Well worth the read, anytime.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Girl's Best Friend

Girl's Best Friend
by Leslie Margolis
A Maggie Brooklyn Mystery

Dogs are disappearing in her neighborhood, and Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair knows all about it. After all, she has a semi-secret after-school gig as a professional (ok, amateur) dog-walker. Maggie hates to see a pup in trouble, so she's even willing to help her ex-best friend Ivy recover her rescue-dog, Kermit. Kermit's being held for ransom, and Maggie has noticed some suspicious behavior lately. But she never suspected her crush Milo could be involved . . .(description from

This was a fun tween mystery! Maggie is a very relatable character, concerned with having a job, getting along with her parents and brother, dealing with other kids from school, and being true to herself. She has a really good relationship with her family which I thought was great.

She's smart and creative and honest. Maggie even has morals, not wanting to date Milo after she suspects that he's been doing something wrong. She is willing to help her ex-best friend, Ivy, even though they are now archenemies because Ivy's dog is in trouble. Though she's a great role model of a character, Maggie also feels real. In short, Maggie is the tween I wish I'd been.

I really liked this mystery too. Though I had an inkling of what was really going on, Margolis threw in just enough twists that I think the average tween will love this mystery and be kept guessing until the end. Definitely recommended and I hope there are more books coming in this series!

In My Mailbox - May 22, 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!

For Review:

Secrets of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar

From the Library:

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
The Ghoul Next Door by Lisi Harrison

Bite Club by Rachel Caine
4 Ingredients by Kim McCosker and Rachael Bermingham

Off to BEA on Tuesday (*squee!!!!!*) so I should have lots in next week's IMM! :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011


by Tara Hudson

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever. (description taken from

Tara Hudson wrote everything I like my ghost stories to be...this left me with a similar feeling to the one I had after I read A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb.

Hereafter is part chilling ghost story, part Romeo and Juliet and altogether fantastic. Hudson did a great job writing truly heartfelt, devoted romantic moments. She developed a fascinating and multi-dimensional afterlife. She gave me the full-on creeps. It was a fun reading experience and I could not keep myself from flipping the pages long after I should have gone to bed.

I cannot wait to see what Tara Hudson writes next...I will definitely be reading it!

Full disclosure: ARC received to review for VOYA

Some may call it BEA...but to me it will always be BOOK CHRISTMAS!!

The day I go to BEA each May, is my favorite day of the really! For me, it beats out my birthday, it beats out my anniversary (sorry honey!), it even beats out Christmas.

Well, because for me it is BOOK CHRISTMAS.

It is an entire day devoted to a love of books and all things bookish. There is nothing I love more than to be surrounded by authors, publishers, librarians, bloggers, and book lovers of all kinds. There is a wild book frenzy that hits the air. It's a palpable excitement that powers me through the day even as my feet, shoulders, and head begin to ache...

There is nothing like going to BEA. There are people everywhere. If you don't have a plan of some kind, you will literally go in circles. With some careful planning, comfortable shoes, and the knowledge that you will have a fangirl (or fanguy!) moment at least once that day where you cannot speak for the shear awesomeness of who is near you...

(Scott Westerfeld literally stood two feet away from me last year for about 20 mins - thought I would expire from the sheer awesomeness of his near genius...Rachel Vincent thought she knew me from somewhere else - "Are you sure we didn't go to high school together?"...I literally stammered when I met Diana Peterfreund because I am OBSESSED with her books...) will have an awesome time and most likely throw your plan out the window as soon as you get there! I cannot wait to go and will be there on Tuesday, May 24th this year. I hope to see some of you wandering the floors or in line for signings!!

Later next week I hope to have a post with all the awesome things I've picked up at BEA and some more great author/publisher stories to share!

Friday, May 20, 2011

First Look at Katniss!

I know that this image broke a few days ago, but I haven't had time to blog and I just wanted to share it again for those who may not have seen it, because I think they did a great job making Jennifer Lawrence into Katniss! I, along with everyone else, took one look at her blond hair, etc, and went..."ummm..." but this is the magic of movies! A little makeup, a lot of training, and whammo...instant new persona. I love it.

Now, finally, I'm really getting excited for the movie, because this is the first time it's really feeling, well...real, for me!

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places - Blog Tour

The Dark and Hollow Places
by Carrie Ryan
Forest of Hands and Teeth, book three

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah's world stopped that day and she's been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn't feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

Except, Catcher has his own secrets -- dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah's longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah -- can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction? (description taken from

This was an amazing conclusion to the Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy. The world, or at least as much of it as Annah, Gabry, Catcher, or Elias have ever known, has been overrun by the Horde. As each becomes trapped, literally to escape the Unconsecrated, and figuratively by their love for each other, they must all learn...are they will to do what it takes to survive? Is surviving the same as living?

I loved both the previous books in the series, but this final book is definitely my favorite. Every emotion is heightened. The love is deeper and becomes more desperate as the characters' situations, nay, the entire world's situation become so dire. The danger is amplified to the point that I doubted, seriously doubted some characters' survival. I was on the edge of my seat right until the end, and then I close the book with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face.

This book was definitely worth a gold star. It was a satisfying conclusion to the series, leaving readers with a vision of hope. A reminder that even when the world seems at its most dire...a simple light in the dark can be a symbol that life still exists, in all its messy, wonderful glory. That humans will always find a way to survive, to live, and to love.

*On a different note, I apologize for this post going up so late. I had thought it posted, but apparently it was temporarily lost in the "Great Blogger Debacle" of last week. Sorry if you saw it and then it disappeared!*

Full disclosure: ARC received for review from Book it Forward ARC Tours
2011 Zombie Reading Challenge Title

The Secret Kingdom

The Secret Kingdom
by Jenny Nimmo
Chronicles of the Red King, book one

Timoken is a prince born in a secret kingdom. At his birth, a forest jinni bestows magical gifts upon him: a cloak made by the last moon spider and a potion called Alixir. When the peaceful land is attacked, Timoken and his sister, Zobayda, must find a new kingdom to call home. Together, with only the magical gifts and a talking camel, the siblings set off.

In this brand-new series, bestselling author Jenny Nimmo takes readers on an extraordinary quest with one of her most powerful and mysterious characters, the one who started it all for Charlie Bone and the children of the Red King. (description taken from

I really loved the start of this new series by Jenny Nimmo. Having read the entire Charlie Bone series, it was great to learn more about where the infamous Red King came from, though you don't have to have read Charlie Bone to enjoy this new series.

There is more magic in this series than there was in the beginning of the Charlie Bone books. Yes, they had magic, but each child had only one gift and some were not discovered right away. Timoken is given many magical talents by the last forest jinni and so his journey contains lots of magic, as well as adventure...and danger.

I love the characters. Timoken is a good boy. His sister, Zobayda, is an honorable, courageous girl. His camel, Gibbar, is hilarious and lovable. The friends he meets along the way become loyal, brave, and willing to fight for Timoken. The evil beings that hunt for Timoken and his sister are both deliciously evil and kind of cool.

Well worth checking out! Oh, and the audio version, done by John Keating, is very entertaining. :)

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile Magazine.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Library Lions Interview

I was super excited to be interviewed by author Janet Lee Carey at her blog, Library Lions, which promotes libraries and Children's and YA Librarians.

Not only can you check out my interview here, but I would also recommend that you become a follower of her blog if you are interested in seeing what other libraries and (some really creative!!) Librarians are doing across the U.S.

Small Persons with Wings...(They Hate to be Called Fairies)

Small Persons with Wings...(They Hate to be Called Faeries)
by Ellen Booream

Ever since she was teased for believing in fairies, Mellie has adopted a strictly scientific and logical approach to life. But when her parents inherit her grandfather's inn, she learns that for generations, her family members have been fairy guardians. The fairies exchanged some of their powers for this protection but now they want their magic back. An evil temptress in disguise wants the magic too, and before she knows it, Mellie is turned into a frog, her grandfather is discovered alive, and her parents are trapped in an evil spell that only lets them see the truth (which can be awfully brutal). Thank goodness for Timmo - the cute boy next door - and Durindana, a fairy outcast, who help Mellie save the day and encourage her to loosen up her views on family, fairies, and friendship. (description taken from

I had a really, really hard time finishing this book. I wanted very desperately to love it, but something was just off for me. It took all I had not to just put the book down unfinished and walk away. *sigh* I hate when that happens.

What's really funny is I can't pinpoint at all why I didn't like this book. The storyline sounded right up my alley. I liked Mellie. I really liked her friend Timmo. I liked the concept of these selfish, quirky small persons with wings...whatever you do, don't call them fairies!

Maybe I was just in the wrong mood, but this was a book where when I put it down, I had NO compulsion to pick it up again. Not even a slight itch to know how it ended. Nothing.

It had a good ending, too. Mellie learns a lot about self-esteem, gains good friends, and her family works out some major issues that they'd had for generations. It just didn't speak to me. :(

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In My Mailbox - May 15, 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren, inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Every week bloggers can share what they received in the mail or at the bookstore or at the library. The goal is that everyone can be exposed to more books this way!

From the Library:

Quicksilver by Amanda Quick
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
The Charmed Return by Frewin Jones

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Ask Elizabeth by Elizabeth Berkley

For Review:

Populazzi by Elise Allen
Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

Library Wars:Love and War:Volume 4

Library Wars: Love and War: Volume 4
by Kiiro Yumi, illustrated by Hiro Arikawa

In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves--the Library Forces!

Iku and Commander Inamine are abducted by Bakushu-kai terrorists, who demand sensitive material from the library's protected collection in return for the hostages! Dojo is worried about Iku, his problem student with limited field experience. But what Iku lacks in training she more than makes up for in gumption, and she is not going to let library material go without a fight! (description taken from

Aside from the fact that this series rocks because it's about librarians fighting for peoples' rights and also has a really great love story, full of tension.

What I really liked in this volume was how, when Iku's parents come to visit, everyone rallies around her to help keep her secret, even Dojo! I love when a character has a crisis and everyone bands together and that person can see how much they've come to mean to their friends, family, coworkers, etc.

This series just makes me smile all around.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Winner! The Girl in the Steel Corset signed ARC

I am pleased to announce that the winner of The Girl in the Steel Corset signed ARC (via random drawing at is...

Diana at The Lovely Getaway!!

Check your have until Wednesday, May 18th to contact me with an address. Congratulations again!

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group
by Catherine Jinks
companion to The Reformed Vampire Support Group

When Tobias Richard Vandevelde wakes up in a hospital with no memory of the night before, his horrified mother tells him that he was found unconscious. At Featherdale Wildlife Park. In a dingo pen. He assumes that his two best friends are somehow responsible, until the mysterious Reuben turns up, claiming that Toby has a rare and dangerous “condition.” Next thing he knows, Toby finds himself involved with a strange bunch of sickly insomniacs who seem convinced that he needs their help. It’s not until he’s kidnapped and imprisoned that he starts to believe them—and to understand what being a paranormal monster really means. (description taken from

I had read The Reformed Vampire Support Group a few years ago, and though I enjoyed it, I didn't really love it enough to seek out the second book. Fortunately for me, it came in the mail!

Personally, I am more partial to werewolves than vampires (in case you couldn't tell from some of my previous so right off the bat, I liked this book more than TRVSG. It also had a lot more action and both Toby and his werewolf mentor, Reuben sucked me right into their world. The sarcastic humor of both the characters and the situations that they get themselves into was one of the things I liked most in the first book and I was really glad to see it continued in the second.

The audio version was really well done. The narrator is an Australian actor so the accent was authentic. He did some great varied tones for different characters and boy, did he have Toby's sarcastic teen voice down pat!

I would definitely recommend this book to both werewolf fans and teen boys looking for that action adventure book with a dose of teen snark.

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for SLJ
2011 Shifter Reading Challenge Title

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Down with CT "Plan B"

Normally I try not to get too involved in politics. I try not to discuss it too often because politics can make people really upset. However, there are a few issues that will make me speak out...

Our state government is in deep trouble. Somehow our Connecticut budget has gotten so bad that our Governor is now proposing the type of massive budget cuts that I've never actually seen, only just heard horror stories about.

On the chopping block - oh, lots of things...
Not only have almost 5,000 state workers already lost their jobs, but the Governor also wants to cut:

All 17 of the Vocational Technical high schools in CT.
The Office of the Child Advocate - completely
80 percent of the staff of the state Education Department
CT Historical Museum
CT state archives

...and for me, most devestatingly...


How is it possible that we could even consider closing the state library? Not only would it impact every single CT resident by taking away our CCar program (interlibrary loan), our CCard program (ability to use library card at any other library in the state), but it would also take away the state funded databases,, and the Library Service Centers which support libraries across CT. about we put it in a way that our politicians could understand directly? Where do our legislators do their research and house their archives? THE STATE LIBRARY.

What will THEY do without it? Talk about shooting yourself in the proverbial foot.

My heart aches for state workers all across the state. My heart aches for all those people that have not yet realized how much this move will impact their everyday lives. Unfortunately we need to acknowledge that people will immediately get up in arms about education...libraries? Sometimes they need a push.

For months we've been explaining to patrons at work about what CCar and CCard are...and what the difference between the two programs is...and what it will mean if we lose those programs. Just when we thought we'd saved them...Plan B. Grr...

Okay. My rant is done for tonight, but I had to get this out. I had to Speak Out. I had to shout to the rooftops, "Down with Plan B!" If this actually goes through I think that the state of Connecticut will be devestated. My hope - that enough people will stand up and refuse to accept this...that we can actually stave off this awful possibility.

So...if you live in CT or know someone who does, please, please, please make them aware of "Plan B" and what's being potentially cut. Not just for librarians, but for everyone in CT.

Cover Craving...

Darker Still
by Leanna Renee Hieber
Magic Most Foul, book one

Publication date: November 2011

Isn't this gorgeous?! I love the light behind her as she's disappearing into the picture frame.

“I was obsessed.

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I’d ever seen. Everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable. So lifelike.

There’s a reason for that. Because despite what everyone says, Denbury never did commit suicide. He’s alive. Trapped.

I’ve crossed over into his world within the painting and I’ve seen what dark dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked. And whatever demons may be out on the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan, we have no choice but to face them together…”
(taken from the author's blog)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Okay For Now

Okay For Now
by Gary D. Schmidt

As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. As Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer—a fiery young lady who “smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain.” In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. (description taken from

What an amazing book. I loved The Wednesday Wars when I read it last year, and I wasn't sure that Schmidt could live up to that standard, but he not only met it, he far surpassed it. This book was one of the few that touched me so strongly that I came home night after night to tell my husband all about the parts I'd heard that day in the car (I listened to it as an audio book - excellent narrator, btw!)

Doug is a great, great character. He's rough around the edges at first, hardened by his abusive father and caustic brothers, but as he adjusts to his new life, a much softer, strong, loyal, and inspiring young man grows out of the tough shell. Doug unknowingly inspires many of the people around him.

I loved this book so much I'm giving it a GOLD STAR.

I hope that whether you normally read realistic fiction or not, you will Doug and his story a shot. It was an emotionally uplifting, heart-warming, sincerely wonderful reading experience. Truly worth a gold star review!

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for SLJ

Fins are Forever

Fins Are Forever
by Tera Lynn Childs
Forgive My Fins, book two

On Lily Sanderson’s eighteenth birthday she’ll become just a girl—still a mer girl, true, but signing the renunciation paperwork will ink Princess Waterlily of Thalassinia out of existence. That leaves plain old Lily living on land, dating the boy she loves, and trying to master this being human thing once and for all.

Now that Lily and Quince are together, mer-bond or not, she’s almost content to give up her place in the royal succession of Thalassinia. But just when she thinks she has everything figured out, Lily’s father sends a certain whirlpool-stirring cousin to stay with her on land. What did Doe do to get herself exiled from Thalassinia and stuck in terraped form, when everyone knows how much she hates humans? And why why why is she batting her eyelashes at Lily’s former crush, Brody?

The seafoam on the surf comes when a merboy from Lily’s past shows up. Tellin asks Lily for something that clouds her view of the horizon. There’s a future with Quince on land, her loyalty to the kingdom in the sea, and Lily tossing on the waves in the middle. Will she find a way to reconcile her love, her duty, and her dreams? (description taken from

I can't tell you how happy I was to dive back into the beautiful world of Thalassinia. This is truly what I've always imagined the world of merpeople to be like...a beautiful castle, a lovely (and yes, at times, dangerous) kingdom full of interesting people with gorgeous fins. Really, didn't you always want to be a mermaid...or, er...merman?

I really enjoyed seeing Lily and Quince's relationship tested in this second book. They work really well together and had just the right amount of passion. I couldn't believe when TLC threw another merman into the mix! Talk about tension. I was really happy to see, though, how Lily managed to find the right balance in her life, politically and romantically. It made for a great ending!!

Speaking of learning to find of my favorite characters in this book was Lily's cousin, Doe. Her character had great depth here as she learned to accept humans as well as merfolk and finds her own true love. Her situation really helped Lily to cope with her own. What a great addition to the story!

One of my favorite series to recommend as we get closer to summer! Tera Lynn Childs manages to bring the ocean alive in the best possible way and just makes me want to start wading in to find my own merman. *sigh*

Full disclosure: ARC sent by author/publisher for review
2011 Shifter Reading Challenge Title