31 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (26)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where book bloggers discuss the books that they are most anxiously waiting for! (And this fabulous button was designed by my dear blogger friend Lindsay at The Violet Hour)

This week I'm waiting on...


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
© 27 September 2011 by Little, Brown, & Co.


Pre-Order It! Amazon

Goodreads Description:

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.


In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.


And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.


Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.


When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
This simply sounds fabulous! :-) I've actually pre-ordered a copy of this--something that I don't normally do! I was just so excited and I was placing a big pre-order so....I figured why not! The sad thing is that the pre-order included an October release so I won't be getting this until well after 9/27!



Also, I figured I would combine this post with W.W.W. Wednesdays...so here is some more info about my reading for this week! To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…Grab the logo...and post your link at Should Be Reading!


What are you currently reading?



(Currently listening to...)


What did you recently finish reading?





What do you think you’ll read next? 




What are YOU waiting on this week?

30 August 2011

Book Birthday Shout Out! (6)

"Book Birthday Shout Out" is a weekly meme hosted by The Bewitched Bookworms over on their awesome blog.  Be sure to check out which books being release this week your fellow bloggers are super excited about!

This week's Book Birthday Shout Out goes to...


Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
© 30 August 2011 by Atheneum


Goodreads description:
High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.

It’s all a fake.


At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?

But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned—

Are about him.




5 Things People Might Not Know About Me

1) I like to eat alone in restaurants.  Why don’t other people like to do that?  It’s fabulous!
2) When I was little, I wanted to be either a trapeze artist or a jewel thief.  (Because my favorite movie was To Catch a Thief with Cary Grant.)
3) My favorite movie now is probably Blade RunnerCasablanca or The Wizard of Oz.  I know, everybody says those, but I can’t help it. Oh, or maybe Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  Love that one too.
3) If I hadn’t become a writer I think I would have been a good archeologist or paleontologist, or maybe a computer programmer.  I think that programming and writing a novel are more similar than people think–writing a novel involves a lot of thorny problem solving.
4) Witchlanders was not my first book.  I published two children’s picture books with Orca Book Publishers that are now, sadly, OP.

5) I don’t write alone!  I would not have been published without my fabulous writing group: Kathy StinsonHadley Dyerand Paula Wing.  (No, we don’t have a cute name for ourselves.  I’ve tried to suggest them, but they always roll their eyes at me.)


(from Lena's website)

I was lucky enough to read this book through Simon & Schuesday and LOVED it. You can read my review HERE!!


Whose "Book Birthday" are you celebrating this week?

Tween Tuesday: Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen focusing on MG literature. Do you read and review MG books? Hop on over and join the fun!



Release Date: 27 September 2011
Publisher: Walden Pond (HarperCollins)
Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Pre-Order It! Amazon | B&N

Goodreads description:

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn't help it - Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn't fit anywhere else.

And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it's never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack's heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it's up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she's read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn't the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel.
My Thoughts...

If you love modern retellings of classic fairy tales, then Breadcrumbs is a must read book! (Even if, like me, you aren't all that familiar with The Snow Queen) Well, really, even if you don't adore fairy tale retellings, there's a darn good chance that you should still most definitely read this book! It is an imaginative, fun read that will capture the minds and hearts of many a reader--MG age or otherwise!

Hazel and Jack live very much in their own fantasy world of dragons, hidden worlds in closets, and magic snow palaces where you can hide forever.  Their active imaginations complement each other in a way that weaves together complex stories and fantasies that they live out in their time together.  When Jack suddenly turns away from their imaginative times together, Hazel is distraught (as any young girl who loses her best friend suddenly would be) and convinced that something has happened to him.  Her journey to find who she is without Jack and then her journey to recover her best friend is eye-opening and fascinating to follow.

Ms. Ursu truly had me hooked on this book from the very beginning.  The descriptive writing is beautiful and incredibly evocative.  The opening description of snow and its effect on the world was fabulous and really set the scene right away--you can imagine being there, sense your surroundings. There are references that Ursu weaves in that make me smile, such as references to the His Dark Materials trilogy, Narnia, and Hogwarts, and add an element of nostalgia to the story for some readers.  The fantasy and magical elements seem a tad clunky at the beginning as Ursu pulls the worlds together but eventually weave together seamlessly as the story progresses. As Hazel journeys through the woods, I couldn't help but be reminded of the musical Into the Woods, where a number of classic stories weave together.

I would easily recommend this book to young readers who enjoy fantasy and adventure.  As I said before, it is a fun, imaginative read that encourages readers to keep pretending.

29 August 2011

(ARC) YA Book Review: Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

Release Date: 30 August 2011
Publisher: Atheneum
Source: S&S Galley Grab

Pre-Order It! Amazon


Goodreads description:
High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.

It’s all a fake.


At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?

But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned—

Are about him.
My Thoughts...

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. It is probably the first real fantasy novel that I've read that I've truly enjoyed and I'm still trying to figure out why that is.  I've tried other fantasy books before and I've found the worlds cumbersome and difficult to immerse myself in.  This was not at all the case with Witchlanders. Lena Coakley's descriptions of the world, including its people and its history, flowed from the pages and completely drew me in.  The beginning was a bit of a slow burn and I admit that I almost gave up. Thankfully, I gave the book at least 100 pages to draw me in.  Once it did, I never looked back--I can't believe I almost gave up on reading this book!

Now, first off, don't let the pretty girl on the cover fool you. This story is fabulous and one of the elements that drew me to this book in the first place was the presence of not one, but two, male POVs.  The YA novels that I read tend to be inundated with female MCs, many of whom tend to suffer from the swoon-prone klutzy girl syndrome (although I'll concede that I have read a lot of kick-butt girls lately). It was a fabulous change of pace to read from male POVs and I must say that Coakley pulled it off well. I always wonder how easy it can be to get into the head of a character of the opposite sex.  Obviously, for Lena Coakley, not problem whatsoever as she has done a brilliant job.

Both of the MCs drew me in with their stories.  Each must deal with the loss of a loved one, whether well in the past or more recently, and each seems to be a on significant journey of self-discovery. Coakley uses brilliant foreshadowing to hint at the boys' connection but watching them discover it for themselves is quite an experience. Their views of each other and the pre-conceptions that they must overcome throughout their journey seem like a constant uphill battle with no end in sight.  Each must make decisions that will sacrifice the other and the reader is in constant conflict as to which side is right and which will prevail in the end. The characters also quickly become people that you can relate to. Their heartache is intense and each clearly has strong loyalties to family.

The ending leaves a lot for the reader to ponder and I know that I was particularly mystified. I honestly kept trying to turn the page on my Nook only to look up and discover that I had come to the end! I need to know if there will be more Witchlanders because I'm ready to read more!

25 August 2011

Hop & Follow Friday! (23)

Happy Friday, lovelies!

I hope you had a wonderful week and are looking forward to an awesome, book-filled weekend!



"Follow My Book Blog Friday" is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee's View and Allison at Allison Can Read where bloggers make new friends, including this week's featured bloggers--Caught in the Pages & Jenni Elyse!  Pop on over to Parajunkee's blog and join in the follow fun!!

This week's question: 

Q. In books like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish would come out of the closet, for real?
Faeries!! And I'm not talking about tiny little Tinkerbells that fly around and poke you.  I mean faeries like in The Iron Fey or Wicked Lovely or Wondrous Strange or Wings.  I think it would be fun.  Now, like any well-respecting mythical creature, they have their "bad" side but that's just part of the world we live in, right? Good people and bad people....good faeries and bad faeries. :-D


TGIF is a weekly meme hosted by Ginger at GReadswhere she poses a thought-provoking question to prompt some blogger discussion!

Book Associations: 
Which genre, authors, or particular books do you think people associate with your reading style?
My coworkers at the public library definitely associate me with YA books in a general sense.  More specifically, I'm often associated with the paranormal-type books simply because that's what I'm always reading.  I think that it's getting to the point where people also associate me and my reading style with dystopias. It really varies, but really, YA in general is associated with my reading style. :-) (Guess I just should have said that in the first place, huh?)



Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop is a fun (generally) bookish Friday meme hosted by Jennifer over at Crazy for Books! Be sure to jump over to her post, read the rules, and link up your post!

This week's question:
Non-book related this week! Do you have any pets?

These are my kitties! The blue and cream is Fuggles (she's named after an ingredient in beer...and yes, my husband named her). The white and gray is Quentin (name after the main character in John Green's Paper Towns).

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today! I love your comments and try my best to return follows! 
HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

(PS ~ See that link at the top of the page? The one for my potential 2012 challenge? Would you be so kind as to take a look and leave some feedback? I'd love to get an idea of if this is something that people would be interested in. Thanks!!)

Booking Through Thursday (6)

"Booking Through Thursday" is a weekly meme hosted HERE. Be sure to check it out and join in the fun!

This week's prompt...

Sometimes I feel like the only person I know who finds reading history fascinating. It’s so full of amazing-yet-true stories of people driven to the edge and how they reacted to it. I keep telling friends that a good history book (as opposed to some of those textbooks in school that are all lists and dates) does everything a good novel does–it grips you with real characters doing amazing things.
Am I REALLY the only person who feels this way? When is the last time you read a history book? Historical biography? You know, something that took place in the past but was REAL.
Earlier this year I had all kinds of plans to read tons of history books and nonfiction.  I have a house FULL of history books because (a) my husband and I both studies history as undergrads and (b) my husband is pursuing his PhD in history.  However, school and work tend to keep me busy--like, really busy. So, I have a tendency to stick with YA fiction books because (a) I love them and (b) they are generally quick, engaging reads that are relaxing to pick up.


So, what's my answer you might ask? Well, during my early, ambitious months of the year, I bought and read Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage and I have to say that it was incredibly well-written and very compelling.  It was a page-turner--trust me! I even cried toward the end, despite knowing what was coming because that was how attached I had become to the "characters." (This was even one of the first reviews that I wrote on my blog back in February)  This book honestly made me want to read more history and biographies....but I haven't made the time to do so since then.

(Also, as a side note, right after I finished college and before I got married and started working full time and went back to school, I read A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown and it was incredible--just in case you're looking for a gritty memoir to read.)

What's YOUR answer? 

24 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (25)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where book bloggers discuss the books that they are most anxiously waiting for! (And this fabulous button was designed by my dear blogger friend Lindsay at The Violet Hour)

This week I'm waiting on...


Pure by Julianna Baggott
© 8 February 2012 by Grand Central Publishing


Pre-Order It! Amazon

Goodreads Description:
We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again
This simply sounds fabulous! :-)



Also, I figured I would combine this post with W.W.W. Wednesdays...so here is some more info about my reading for this week! To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…Grab the logo...and post your link at Should Be Reading!


What are you currently reading?



(Currently listening to...)


What did you recently finish reading?




What do you think you’ll read next? 

September YA Book Club Selections



What are YOU waiting on this week?

23 August 2011

Tween Tuesday: The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen focusing on MG literature. Do you read and review MG books? Hop on over and join the fun!

Release Date: 30 August 2011
Publisher: Aladdin
Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

Pre-Order It! Amazon | B&N

Goodreads description:

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.

Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a place called Artime.


In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. 


But it's a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.
My Thoughts...

When Kirkus Reviews calls this "The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter," how can you NOT want to pick it up and read it.  Now, while I can see the comparison and appreciate the crowd it may draw, The Unwanteds stands on its own two feet. Yes--it's a dystopia where young children are cast out to their death (but not really).  Yes--there is magic and their use it to fight.  So I see the comparison--I really do.  However, The Unwanteds is truly a gem of a book that will make a fabulous read for people of all ages. It deftly brings popular dystopian themes to MG literature while spinning a unique, creative twist. (See what I did there? "Creative" twist? LOL)

The people of Quill are governed strictly by High Priest Justine and her entourage of governors.  At the age of 13, all young boys and girls are sorted into Wanteds, Necessaries, and Unwanteds.  The rare separation of twins into one Wanted and one Unwanted causes quite the stir. Alex, the Unwanted, believes that his brother should have been cast aside alongside him--but no one ever turned HIM in.  The situation is even bigger than Alex imagines as the teachers and leaders of Artime worry about Alex and the decisions that they forsee him making.

The creatvity of this world (no pun intended) is incredibly engaging to read.  It's easy to imagine the stark contrast between the gray, dismal world of Quill and the vibrant, thriving world of Artime.  I loved the detail in which McMann described the worlds; she managed to include enough detail that I could imagine the setting each step of the way but she was never just "telling instead of showing."  And seeing Artime through Alex's eyes was truly the eye-opening experience that it was meant to be.

I loved the characters in this book as well.  (Have you noticed the trend lately? Good characters can make or break a book for me.)  I don't know exactly what it was about them, but I wanted to spend time with them.  They kept me coming back for more in this story.  Each character has to struggle with difficult decisions and makes some good decisions and some bad decisions along the way. Alex and Aaron are the epitome of opposites although we see from some flashbacks here and there that it may not have always been that way.  Alex's new friends each play their own special role in his life as well, shaping his personality and decisions.  Mr. Today is quite mysterious; you get the idea that he is definitely one of the good guys but there are some things that he is hiding as well.  Everyone has their secrets and everyone has a past.  You'll leave this world with a new set of friends that you are dying to spend more time with.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Don't Eat Worms kit by Lorie Davison