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12/31/11

REVIEW: WinterTown by Stephen Emond @lbkids @stephenemond

Book Description

December 5, 2011
Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent's divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she's changed. The former "girl next door" now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, "Old Lucy" still exists, and he's determined to find her... even if it means pissing her off.

Garden State meets Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist in this funny and poignant illustrated novel about opposites who fall in love.

About the Author

Stephen Emond is the creator of Emo Boy, which ran for twelve issues and two collections with Slave Labor Graphics. He also won a national contest for his comic strip series Steverino, which ran for several years in his local Connecticut newspaper. His first novel, Happyface, was published in March 2010. You can find him at www.stephenemond.com. 

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (December 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316133329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316133326
SOURCE:  PUBLISHER

MY THOUGHTS
LOVED IT

Evan has lost his best friend, Lucy, in more ways than one when she moves away from New England to Georgia to live with her mother after her parents divorce.  They still see each other once a year during Christmas vacation when she comes back to stay with her father, but in the last year or so, Evan has noticed Lucy has begun to change.  She isn't the "Old Lucy" anymore and he finds her difficult to connect with as well as some other physical changes.  Evan has always been the perfect son, striving in school and extra curricular activities so he can get into an Ivy League school for college.   The story mostly covers a two week period over their latest holiday break and is told through a combination of cartoon strips, drawings and words.  Both Evan and Lucy are gifted artists, but while Evan has tried to downplay his, Lucy has stopped caring about everything in her life.

Without being judgmental, Emond depicts a fact of life for most teens these days; that their parents are divorced, they must shuttle from one household to another and at times, their parents don't even notice them.  Evan sees what is happening to Lucy, but is clueless as to how to help her.  She is in such a dark place because neither of her parents take them time to make sure she is ok. This pretty much broke my heart.  Evan tries everything to get her back to the "Old Lucy" but he only sees glimpses of the happy girl he used to know.   He also has his own issues at home, with a father who only wants him to get into a good university and not whether he is happy in his life or not.

Overall, this is a very classic look about how childhood friends try to stay close while growing apart and the sad fact of life that not everyone has the perfect family unit and most are quite dysfunctional.  The illustrations go a long way in providing the feel for this book and provide some much need humor to a story that could be extremely sad.  Lucy and Evan do end up losing touch with each other by the end of the book and I only hope that they reconnect in better circumstances.  There are mentions of alcohol, alcohol abuse and sex, but not in any graphic form. 

WANT TO WIN MY ARC?  Go over to my YA blog HERE


REVIEW: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

EXCERPT

We whirled around. Grimalkin sat on an overturned
bucket, a bushy gray cat with his tail curled around himself,
watching us lazily.
“Oh, of course!” Puck exclaimed. “There you are. Do you
know what we’ve been through to find you, cat? Have you
been there the whole time?”
“Do not make me state the obvious, Goodfellow.” Grimalkin
twitched his whiskers at him, then turned to me. “Greetings,
prince. I have heard that you were looking for me.”
“If you knew, why didn’t you come to us?”


DESCRIPTION

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.

Unless he can earn a soul.


To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.


Source: www.juliekagawa.com


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.
When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.
To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time.
Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon puppy.

Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373210361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373210367
SOURCE:  PUBLISHER

MY THOUGHTS
LOVED IT

The conclusion of the series brings Prince Ash to tell his tale and the story is an epic journey full of quests and obstacles to overcome in order for Ash to obtain a human soul so he can be with Meghan in the Iron court.  Puck and Grimalkin are helping Ash find the solution to his puzzle of becoming human.  The trail leads them through some harrowing clashes (several of them between the group itself) and they meet some unique foes with a good sense of fun brought in by Puck.  Oh Puck, how I love you!  The comic relief he brings to the story is priceless.  The conclusion of the series made me like Ash a bit more since some of his gruffness is worn away a bit.  The bond that forms between Puck and Ash is extremely well done and really helps move the plot along.

Meghan is not the star of this book, but she is in the back of Ash's mind constantly and his loyalty towards her is extremely gratifying for the reader. I honestly kept thinking that this would make a really great movie done in a Monty Python fashion since the trials that the group must endure and overcome had that bit of weirdness and whimsy.  Kagawa does an amazing job of writing the perfect dialogue for these characters.  This is a series I will definitely go back to savor again and again.  I am a bit sad that it is over and hope that the author has something equally wonderful for me to read next. 



REVIEW: Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay @harperteen

December 27, 2011
My wish is to fall cranium over Converse in dizzy daydream-worthy love.
(If only it were that easy)
Marcie has been dragged away from home for the summer—from Idaho to a family summerhouse in New Hampshire. She’s left behind her friends, a group of freaks and geeks called the Leftovers, including her emo-rocker boyfriend, and her father.
By the time Labor Day rolls around, Marcie suspects this “summer vacation” has become permanent. She has to start at a new school, and there she leaves behind her Leftover status when a cute boy brings her breakfast and a new romance heats up. But understanding love, especially when you’ve watched your parents’ affections end, is elusive. What does it feel like, really? Can you even know it until you’ve lost it?
Love & Leftovers is a beautifully written story of one girl’s journey navigating family, friends, and love, and a compelling and sexy read that teens will gobble up whole.

About the Author

Sarah Tregay is a graphic designer. When she isn’t jotting down poems at stoplights, Sarah can be found hanging out with her “little sister” from Big Brothers Big Sisters. She lives in Eagle, Idaho, with her husband, two Boston terriers, and an Appaloosa named Mr. Pots.


 Details

  • Reading level: Ages 13 and up
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (December 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062023586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062023582
MY THOUGHTS

LOVED IT

I am so in awe of authors who can write in free verse and so far, I have been very lucky with my choices in this genre.  This is truly a heart warming story that is a bittersweet and will have so so emotionally involved by the end of the first chapter your head will spin.  Marcie's parents have been breaking up and the final straw is her father announcing he is gay, while her mother proceeds to fall apart.  She is dragged off to a family vacation home in New Hampshire for the summer while her mother tries to collect herself.  With no friends and the school year fast approaching, Marcie finds herself in the middle of new school far away from the safety of her nerdy friends known as the leftovers.  She is also without her wonderful boyfriend who composes songs in her honor for his band to play.

While stuck in New Hampshire, Marcie finds that to get anywhere she must walk, so when the walking turns into an enjoyable run, she find that she is losing weight.  She also get all of the long hair she used to hide behind cut off and discovers that she has become someone all together new.  Which doesn't go unnoticed by the new boy that turns out to be one of the popular kids and the total opposite of her school life in Idaho.  With mixed feelings, she must now return to Idaho and her old life to live with her father since her mother is not quite capable of caring for her.  With some truly awkward moments, she reunites with her old friends and boyfriend that is now her ex.

There were so many emotional issues discussed in this book about divorce, learning to trust yourself, depression that, at times, it seemed like such an endurance trial that Marcie is forced to live through. She has to become the caregiver for her mother, that she can't face the fact that she was dishonest to her boyfriend and the feelings that she has for her father even though she thinks he has destroyed his life as well as her own.  The ending nicely brings together all these complicated feelings that Marcie is having and shows how much she has grown. 





      12/30/11

      REVIEW: The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories by Joseph Gordon-Levitt

      Book Description

      The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories December 6, 2011
      From hitRECord, the immensely popular open collaborative production company, and its founder, Golden Globe-nominated actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, comes The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1.

      The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of tiny stories.

      From hitRECord, the immensely popular open collaborative production company, and its founder, Golden Globe-nominated actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, comes The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1.

      The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of tiny stories.

      To create The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, known within the hitRECord community as RegularJOE—directed thousands of collaborators to tell tiny stories through words and art. With the help of the entire creative collective, Gordon-Levitt culled, edited and curated over 8,500 contributions into this finely tuned collection of original art from 67 contributors. Reminiscent of the 6-Word Memoir series, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1 brings together art and voices from around the world to unite and tell stories that defy size.

      About the Author

      HitRECord founder and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt's acting career has managed to garner a massive popular appeal while maintaining a widely respected artistic integrity. He recently starred in Christopher Nolan's Academy Award-nominated Inception and received Golden Globe, Independent Spirit and People's Choice award nominations for his performance in (500) Days of Summer. Currently earning rave reviews for his performance in 50/50, also starring Seth Rogen, his upcoming films include David Koepp actioner Premium Rush and Rian Johnson's sci-fi thriller Looper, with Bruce Willis. He is currently in production on The Dark Knight Rises, the third installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, and will next begin work opposite Daniel Day Lewis in Steven Spielberg's Abraham Lincoln biopic, Lincoln
       

      Details

      • Hardcover: 88 pages
      • Publisher: It Books (December 6, 2011)
      • Language: English
      • ISBN-10: 0062121669
      • ISBN-13: 978-0062121660
      SOURCE: PUBLISHER

      MY THOUGHTS
      ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT

      How much do I love this book? An infinite amount.

      Each story is a combination of images and words all for maximum impact.  Much like Six Word Memoirs and Hemingway's short story, this slim volume is huge with concepts.  Created by a multitude of artists, this multimedia collection is a true treasure that would make a wonderful gift for those hard to please people that generally don't like books.  I had no idea who the mastermind is behind this wonderful compendium but looking around, I found that the he is an actor and collaborates online at RegularJoe HERE.  Sorry, if you end up spending a lot of time there, but the site is truly addicting.






        Friday PhoDOGraphy

        Meet Cocktail Frank and he is just in time for New Years.  My son bought me this for Christmas and he is adorable and another additional to my growing cache of dachshund item.  I inherited two collections, one from my grandmother and most recently from my mother. I think there are over 200 pieces now! 

        Schatze is NOT impressed.

        And she would prefer to bit the head off.  


        Don't forget to stop by FRIDAYS WITH FRED over at Mina Burrows blog HERE

        12/29/11

        Happy New Year! Give@way: BOOK OF YOUR CHOICE!





        Welcome to the Happy New Year  Giveaway Hop! 

        This hop is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer (HERE) and Babs Book Bistro (HERE)
        There are hundreds of blogs participating and each has their own entry rules and geographic limits, so be sure to read the rules for each one.  This hop starts December 30th and and runs through January 3rd,  midnight.

        HERE IS WHAT I HAVE FOR ONE LUCKY WINNER:

        Either 
        US Only
        $10 USD Credit


        WANT TO WIN A $10 Gift Card or Book Depository Credit to order the book of your choice?

         Contest is open to anyone over 13 years old and living within the delivery areas of Amazon or Book Depository
        This ends 1.3.12 midnight Pacific Time and the winner will be chosen by Random.org on 1.4.12.
        Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email or a new winner will be chosen
        This giveaway is sponsored by me for ONE WINNER.

        Complete the below form

        Complete the form below!
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        +1 Follow me on Twitter HERE 
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        AND THE WINNER IS: Mid Winters Giveaway Hop @kherbrand



         Kristi @ Books and Needlepoint


        An email has been sent to the lucky person named above
        The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
        Thanks to all who entered.
        PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM FOR THE EMAIL FROM BOOKHOUNDS @ HOTMAIL REQUESTING YOUR MAILING ADDRESS!

        Didn’t win?  Order your copy from my Amazon link:





        12/28/11

        Waiting on Wednesday: Underwater Love by MaryJanice Davidson

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

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

         

        Book Description

        February 7, 2012
        Sleeping with the Fishes

        Fred is a mermaid. But she's not blonde, or buxom, or even perky. In fact, she can be downright cranky-especially when weird levels of toxins are found in the local seawater. There is one perk: Thomas, the gorgeous marine biologist helping in the investigation. If you thought it would be easy for a mermaid to get to the bottom of things, think again.

        Swimming Without a Net

        To visit the undersea realm of Artur, the High Prince, and her royal merfamily, Fred's brought along Thomas to explore where no "lander" has gone before. But Fred is soon caught between two factions of merfolk: those happy with swimming under the radar-and those who want to bring their existence to the surface...

        Fish Out of Water

        The existence of the Undersea Folk is no longer a secret, and someone needs to keep them all from floundering in the media spotlight. Fred and Artur have all the right skills for the job, if not for staving off an impending civil war. But all the while, Fred has something else on her mind: the sexy human landlubber she left behind...

        About the Author

        MaryJanice Davidson is the bestselling author of several books, most recently Undead and Undermined, Undead and Unfinished, Undead and Unwelcome, Undead and Unworthy, Dead Over Heels, and Fish Out of Water. With her husband, Anthony Alongi, she also writes a series featuring a teen weredragon named Jennifer Scales. MaryJanice lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two children and is currently working on her next book. 

         Details

        • Paperback: 464 pages
        • Publisher: Berkley Trade (February 7, 2012)
        • Language: English
        • ISBN-10: 0425247198
        • ISBN-13: 978-0425247198

        12/27/11

        REVIEW: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

         Book Description

        Delirium February 28, 2012
        I’m pushing aside
        the memory of my nightmare,
        pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
        pushing aside thoughts of Hana
        and my old school,
        push,
        push,
        push,
        like Raven taught me to do.
        The old life is dead.
        But the old Lena is dead too.
        I buried her.
        I left her beyond a fence,
        behind a wall of smoke and ?ame.
        Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden


        About the Author

        Lauren Oliver captivated readers with her first novel, the New York Times bestseller Before I Fall, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. She followed that up with Delirium, the first book in her bestselling, heart-stopping trilogy. Oliver is also the author of a luminous novel for younger readers, Liesl & Po. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU’s MFA program, she lives in Brooklyn, New York.


        Details

        • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
        • Hardcover: 384 pages
        • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 28, 2012)
        • Language: English
        • ISBN-10: 006197806X
        • ISBN-13: 978-0061978067
        SOURCE:  AROUND THE WORLD ARC TOURS

        MY THOUGHTS
        ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT

        ****probably has spoilers, so just go with that*****

         Amazing. 

        That is all this review needs is that one word.  I am amazed that I had Delirium sitting on my shelf since it first came out and didn't pick it up until I had Pandemonium in my hands.  I admit I didn't read Delirium until after I read Pandemonium.  Did it ruin it for me?  Nope, not one bit.  I think I might have enjoyed it a bit more but that would have been hard since I clicked instantly with the story and the characters.   So keep your slings and arrows to yourself and don't come hunt me down for that sacrilege.  I fully repent.

        Lena is barely alive, Alex is gone and most likely dead.  She finds herself in the care of a collection of revolutionaries in the Wild.  In the collective, it is all for one, one for all and there is a strong leadership in place that is making plans is trying to fight those who rule.  Although those plans aren't fully known to Lena, she knows she is better off in the Wilds as an Invalid than in the City where everyone is in the process of being CURED for the deliria.  The story is told though alternating chapters of Lena in the Wild and then working for the Resistance.  The could have been horrible sequencing but it really did work for this story.  While working undercover for the resistance, Lena meets and saves Julian, the leader's son and that opens up a whole new can of worms since towards the end she discovers that Alex is not quite dead.

        The world of Delirium is a quite fascinating dystopian one where love is considered a disease and the only cure is to have surgery which could possibly kill or maim.  This book is a real page turner (I hate that term, but nothing else will work for this one).  It didn't take me long at all to read it straight through since there is so much action and you felt like you were running with Lena as she is fighting for the resistance.  There are so many little twists and turns with amazing secondary characters and location descriptions that seemed to read more of a movie plot than anything else.  I am now desperately waiting for the conclusion!












        REVIEW: Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

        Book Description

        Angelfire January 31, 2012
        Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined. Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven's warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who she really is has come out, so have Hell's strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night. She's been warned. Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information of Bastian's new plan to destroy Ellie's soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of them, the revelations of those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything - including herself. She'll be betrayed. Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be Hell to pay.

        About the Author

        Courtney Allison Moulton lives in Michigan, where she is a photographer and spends all her free time riding and showing horses. She has always loved reading about ancient mythologies, studying dead languages, and telling scary, romantic stories. Angelfire is her debut novel.


        Details

        • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
        • Hardcover: 384 pages
        • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (January 31, 2012)
        • Language: English
        • ISBN-10: 0062002368
        • ISBN-13: 978-0062002365
        SOURCE: AROUND THE WORLD ARC TOURS

        MY THOUGHTS
        LIKED IT

        Ellie is still trying to have a normal high school life while hunting demons and practicing fighting techniques with her Guardian, Will.  She longs for a relationship with Will and like any teen age girl, moons over him.  As bits and pieces of her past lives come forward, she learns that a relationship with Will just isn't in the cards because he is forbidden to be anything more than her protector.  The evil demons are becoming more and more aggressive, attacking in daylight and out for blood.  Literally out for Ellie's blood.  That part about her blood is truly an interesting twist towards the end of the story.

        I enjoyed this first in this series and it reminded me a bit of Buffy and there are sparks of brilliance in the dialogue but the whole story was a bit slow for me.  I really like the characters and when the action kicks into high gear, it is a wonderful thing!  Ellie also has a new admirer in the form of a demon named Cadan.  He is dark and full of fun where Will is light and sweetness.  I can see he is a real match for Ellie since Will is pretty much off limits for her.  Of course there is an epic battle and you are left wondering who the victor will be in this fight between good and evil since the ending is not complete where it leaves off.





          BOOK TRAILER TUESDAY: WOULD IT KILL YOU TO STOP DOING THAT? by Henry Alford


          12/26/11

          GIVE@WAY: Best of 2011 Bossypants by Tina Fey




          Welcome to the Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop! 

          This hop is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer (HERE
          There are OVER a hundred of blogs participating and each has their own entry rules and geographic limits, so be sure to read the rules for each one.  This hop starts December 27th and and runs through January 1st, midnight.

          HERE IS WHAT I HAVE FOR ONE LUCKY WINNER:







          WANT TO WIN A NEW COPY OF BOSSYPANTS BY TINA FEY?

           Contest is open to anyone over 13 years old and living within the delivery areas of Amazon or Book Depository
          This ends 1.1.12 midnight Pacific Time and the winner will be chosen by Random.org on 1.2.12.
          Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email or a new winner will be chosen
          This giveaway is sponsored by me for ONE WINNER.

          Complete the below form

          Complete the form below!
          You MUST Follow Me

          +1 Follow me on Twitter HERE 
          +1  Add me as a Friend on Facbook HERE
          +1 Friend me on GoodReads HERE
          +1 you can social network once daily (twitter, blog, facebook) this once, just leave me a link in the comments! 





          A New Chnace for one of Author Josie Brown:'s Books and a G!ft Card

           FROM JOSIE BROWN:

          This year, I've had some blessings I'd like to share:

          - THE BABY PLANNER tour was hosted by real baby planners, numerous sponsors, and retail stores all over the country. Thanks to all of you whom I met along the way. You can find a list of them, here...

          - SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES will produced by Jerry Bruckheimer as a new ABC TV series.

          - Readers are rediscovering my debut novel, TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES. In fact, it's ranked below 900 on Amazon.com.

          This contest is my way to say thank you. Just read an excerpt of THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN'S HANDBOOK, answer the question at the end correctly for a chance to win a $25 gift card from the any bookstore, with a personally autographed copy of SECRET LIVES. Two runners -up will also received personalized copies.

          The deadline is midnight PT January 15, 2012, For details, go to www.HousewifeAssassinsHandbook.com
          Wishing you a wonderful holiday, and a healthy and happy 2012,
          --Josie

          12/23/11

          AND THE WINNER IS: Eden by Tony Monchinski @librarygrinch


          DAWN M

          An email has been sent to the lucky person named above
          The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
          Thanks to all who entered.
          PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM FOR THE EMAIL FROM BOOKHOUNDS @ HOTMAIL REQUESTING YOUR MAILING ADDRESS!

          Didn’t win?  Order your copy from my Amazon link:

          AND THE WINNER IS: Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis @justpeachy36 @donnas1

          CONNIE

          JUST PEACHY

          DONNAS


          An email has been sent to the lucky person named above
          The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
          Thanks to all who entered.
          PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM FOR THE EMAIL FROM BOOKHOUNDS @ HOTMAIL REQUESTING YOUR MAILING ADDRESS!

          Didn’t win?  Order your copy from my Amazon link:

          Friday PhoDOGraphy


          Don't forget to stop by FRIDAYS WITH FRED over at Mina Burrows blog HERE

          REVIEW: Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

          Book Description

          November 15, 2011
          A poignant story about making peace with the past and opening your heart to love. Seventeen-year-old Holly Mullen has felt lost and lonely ever since her boyfriend, Rob, died in a tragic accident. But she has no idea that as she goes about her days, Rob’s ghost is watching over her. He isn’t happy when he sees his best friend, Jason, trying to get close to Holly—but as a ghost, he can do nothing to stop it. As their uncertain new relationship progresses, the past comes back to haunt Holly and Jason. Her Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather claims to be communicating with the ghost of Rob. Could the messages he has for Holly be real? And if so, how can the loved ones Rob left behind help his tortured soul make it to the other side?

          About the Author


          HEATHER DAVIS is the author of Never Cry Werewolf. She lives in Seattle.
          www.heatherdavisbooks.com

           Details

          • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
          • Hardcover: 320 pages
          • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; None edition (November 15, 2011)
          • Language: English
          • ISBN-10: 054750151X
          • ISBN-13: 978-0547501512
          SOURCE:  AMAZON VINE / PUBLISHER


          MY THOUGHTS
          LOVED IT


          Holiday Mullen is struggling with life after a devastating car accident in which her boyfriend, Rob, dies.  Her mother is working two jobs, her ailing grandfather has moved in with them, she has to babysit her little sister Lena and now Holly must do everything all while trying to be a high school senior.  Her grandfather, Aldo,  is suffering from Alzheimer's and begins to hear and see a young man named Roberto.  Roberto turns out to be Rob, Holly's boyfriend in ghost form with whom he can communicate easily with even though he has problems getting his point across with everyone else.  To complicate matters even more,  Holly and Rob's best friend, Jason, are now finding themselves falling in love. 


          The story is told by each character, Rob, Holly and Jason in alternating chapters.  As Holly and Jason start to have feelings for each other, Rob confides to Aldo everything he thinks he did wrong in his relationship with Holly and confesses that he believes he caused the accident.  Rob seems to wander the earth in an endless progression from place to place trying to help where he can.  Jason steals my heart when he tries to lighten Holly's load while Holly tries really hard to do it all herself. 


          This book brought tears to my eyes several times since there are parts so sad you wonder if Holly will ever make it out of her sad existence and find some happiness.  You wonder if Rob will ever find peace and if Aldo will find some way to communicate.  Davis does a wonderful job of bringing together a struggling family and shows that a teen can be responsible while still being true to herself.  I really wonder how many teens there are like Holly in this world, struggling to help keep their family just exisiting and getting by.




          Name Your Link

          12/21/11

          Waiting on Wednesday: Wild Thing by Josh Bazell

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

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


          Book Description

          February 8, 2012
          It's hard to find work as a doctor when using your real name will get you killed. So hard that when a reclusive billionaire offers Dr. Peter Brown, aka Pietro Brnwa, a job accompanying a sexy but self-destructive paleontologist on the world's worst field assignment, Brown has no real choice but to say yes. Even if it means that an army of murderers, mobsters, and international drug dealers-not to mention the occasional lake monster-are about to have a serious Pietro Brnwa problem.

          Facing new and old monsters alike, Dr. Brnwa's story continues in this darkly funny and lightning-paced follow up to Josh Bazell's bestselling debut.

          About the Author

          Josh Bazell is the author of the national bestseller Beat the Reaper and holds a BA in writing from Brown University and an MD from Columbia. He lives in New York. 

          Details

          • Hardcover: 400 pages
          • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books (February 8, 2012)
          • Language: English
          • ISBN-10: 0316032190
          • ISBN-13: 978-0316032193

          12/20/11

          Mid Winters Eve Give@way




          Welcome to the MidWinters Ever  Giveaway Hop! 

          This hop is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer (HERE) and Oasis for YA (HERE)
          There are hundreds of blogs participating and each has their own entry rules and geographic limits, so be sure to read the rules for each one.  This hop starts December 21th and and runs through December 27th,  midnight.

          HERE IS WHAT I HAVE FOR ONE LUCKY WINNER:







          WANT TO WIN A  2012 Book Lover's Calendar PLUS 2 Holiday themed romance books?

           Contest is open to anyone over 13 years old and living within the delivery areas of Amazon or Book Depository
          This ends 12.27.11 midnight Pacific Time and the winner will be chosen by Random.org on 12.28.11.
          Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email or a new winner will be chosen
          This giveaway is sponsored by me for ONE WINNER.

          Complete the below form

          Complete the form below!
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          BOOK TRAILER TUESDAY: Pure by Julianna Baggott




          REVIEW: Immortal City by Scott Speer

          Book Description

          Immortal City April 3, 2012
          Jackson Godspeed is the hottest young Angel in a city filled with them. He's days away from becoming a full Guardian, and people around the world are already competing for the chance to be watched over by him. Everyone's obsessed with the Angels and the lucky people they protect - everyone except for Madison Montgomery.

          Maddy's the one girl in Angel City who doesn't breathlessly follow the Angels on TV and gossip blogs. When she meets Jackson, she doesn't recognize him. But Jackson is instantly captivated by her, and against all odds the two fall in love.

          Maddy is swiftly caught up in Jackson's scene, a world of glamour, paparazzi - and murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels' wings for the police to find on the Walk of Fame. Even the Guardians are powerless to protect themselves in the face of this threat … and this time it's up to Maddy to save Jackson.

          About the Author

          Scott Speer is a music video and film director who lives in Los Angeles. Immortal City is his first book. 

           Details

          • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
          • Hardcover
          • Publisher: Razorbill; 1 edition (April 3, 2012)
          • Language: English
          • ISBN-10: 1595145060
          • ISBN-13: 978-1595145062
          SOURCE:  AROUND THE WORLD ARC TOURS

          MY THOUGHTS
          LOVED IT

          This story is a unique entry into the angel versus demon theme that has become so popular lately.  Told is an almost People-esqe fashion, the story combines brand name dropping with extra beautiful people as angels who aren't quite as honorable as they should be.  The angels have made themselves known to mankind and as guardians, they now work for those who can afford their protection services.  For enough money, you can pay them to save your life.  If this all sounds not quite as altruistic as angel lore, you are correct and that is the fun part about this book:  angels that profit and are a bit bad!


          The story centers around Jackson Godspeed, his ex, Vivian and the girl next door named Maddy.  Maddy is an orphan, living with her uncle and working as a waitress in his restaurant. They are broke and Maddy knows she will be lucky if she gets to go to college.  Los Angeles has been renamed as the City of Angels, literally, since this is now where they congregate.  She pays no attention to the rock star angels unlike the majority of her school mates.  When fate throw Jacks into Maddy's life she finds herself infatuated with this immortal creature, but doesn't fully buy into the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

          Maddy finds herself in the middle of an angelic war when she herself is found be a missing link between the human and angelic worlds.  There is a war unfolding and with Maddy's recently discovered skills and gifts, she could be the turning point in the battle.  This book was a truly happy accident that I was able to read since I really enjoyed the whole thing and now look forward to the sequel. 





            12/19/11

            REVIEW: Good Dog! Practical Answers to Behavior Questions by Steve Dale

            Description

            Whether you are a first-time or long-time dog owner, “Good Dog!” is the book to keep readily at hand. Author Steve Dale, a certified animal behavior consultant and syndicated columnist on pet behavior, provides insights, tips, and tools for handling all range of behavior issues. “Good Dog!” tackles some of the most common and difficult behaviors, using positive reinforcement to correct them.

            Written with pet owner questions and answers from Dale’s columns, “Good Dog!” covers such topics as dogs’ aggression--towards people or each other; training challenges; noise and separation anxieties; curbing excessive barking, jumping, or chewing; and cognitive dysfunction. A section on unusual topics gives advice on everything from bringing home new pets and people to how to handle a reluctant pooch’s costume on Halloween.


             Details

            • Format: Kindle Edition
            • File Size: 717 KB
            • Publisher: Tribune Media Services (December 1, 2011)
            • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
            • Language: English
            • ASIN: B006H69JZS
            SOURCE:  PUBLISHER

             MY THOUGHTS
            LOVED IT

            This is the perfect book for any dog owner whether they have a problem or perfect dog.  The author provides wonderful insights and ideas to help understand your pet a bit better.  Written in a question and answer form, this easy to follow guide will help you find the issue easily and comprehend what your is happening with your dog.  It covers everything from aggression to training in friendly and conversational articles that should help with even the most difficult problem. 

            I have a dachshund and they are notoriously difficult to train.  She is actually well behaved but she still has a few issues I want to correct.  With fragile backs, dachshunds shouldn't jump and I bought her doggie stairs to help her move from the bed to the floor since she loves to take a flying leap off the top. She would not have anything to do with these stairs, so I used Dale's method of positive reinforcement and she now bounds up and down them with ease. There are lots of other helpful insights and tips into dog behavior as well as the usual potty and leash training tips. 

            SHELF AWARENESS: Meg Rosoff

            Meg Rosoff: Confronting the Big Questions

            We spoke with Meg Rosoff during her recent visit to the U.S. from England, where she now resides, to promote her new YA novel There Is No Dog (reviewed below). The book depicts God as a sex-starved 19-year-old smitten with a human named Lucy. Its content got her blackballed from an event this fall in Bath, England. Here she discusses the roots of the idea, and the surprises that evolved with its flowering (or should we say, "de-flowering").
            Where did this idea come from?
            My husband's a painter and he happened to be home doing some drawing one day and listening to Radio 4, the English equivalent of NPR. They were doing a program about all the actors who'd ever played God in the movies. My husband said, "Why is it that it's only old white guys who get to play God? Why not a teenager?" And I thought, "Oh a teenage God! That explains everything."
            How did you come up with the idea of "team leaders" Bob and his "assistant," Mr. B?
            Mr. B and Bob were the central relationship from the beginning. Mr. B is me, really. I worked in advertising for 15 years, and they were always bringing in a guy who's 22 and hadn't done anything. They'd say, "We think he's got potential." Nearly always they turned out to be complete f*&%-ups. Mr. B gives Bob the benefit of a doubt. Mr. B's the one who's seen all the creative directors come and go. He's sort of a lovable character because he doesn't lose his faith in humanity. Here I am an atheist, and the only two characters I care about in the book end up taking over the role of God. You could almost read that as a confirmation of faith.
            Tell us more about the Eck, Bob's pet.
            The Eck was a turning point. Once God had a pet, things just kind of clicked. He started being more three-dimensional. I love that the Eck is so full of attitude, kind of resentful and funny, and yet it's terrible this poor little guy is going to get eaten. He's one of my favorite inventions. What's the point of writing if you can't invent the last in a species that's nearly extinct? I have an old friend in New York [Nicholas Godlee, a renowned costume designer] who designed the plush Eck for me. Each has a tag: #22 from extinction, or #23.
            We have a soft spot for Bernard, the vicar.
            I like looking at those characters whose lives might have gone in directions that have a slight sense of puzzlement. Like in that David Byrne song, "How did I get here?" You wonder a bit about Laura [Lucy's mother]. She doesn't seem to be happily married yet wants to marry off her daughters. You see snapshots of people in early youth, and then you see Lucy's mother and Bernard, and you see, "Okay it doesn't always turn out perfectly."
            Judy Blume's editor, Dick Jackson, has said that it was the word "God" that got the book Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret banned. Do you think it's your depiction of God that got everyone riled up in the recent cancellation of your scheduled appearance in England at the Daily Telegraph Bath Festival of Children's Literature?
            That's what's so memorable about that book, that wonderful title and the fact that Margaret is talking to God. I said in my blog, "Burn the Witch," I'm not the one who's going to bring God down. I'm interested in the discussion of theology and why people believe. I always get pissed off at people like [Richard] Dawkins who say that people who believe in God are morons. We have billions of people on the planet, and five or six billion have faith. To say there's no God does not deal with the fact that something important is going on.
            And adolescence is precisely when kids begin searching for their own answers.
            Even people who are devout believers have to struggle with faith. Religion is not a static state any more than marriage or love is. It has to be explored and questioned. I wonder if it's left over from that idea that there has to be some kind of priest who comes between God and the individual, which is a bit medieval. I think religion can handle discussion. It's a big topic with a lot of depth and history behind it. If it's going to crumble the first time someone writes a book that says maybe God is a 19-year-old, we're all in trouble. I think it's the job of writers to confront big questions, and that's why people read books. --Jennifer M. Brown

            Link to Web site and Eck:
            http://www.megrosoff.co.uk/shop/buy-an-eck/

            REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM SHELF AWARENESS here

            REVIEW: There Is No Dog by Meg Rosoff

            Book Description

            January 24, 2012
            What if God were a teenaged boy?

            In the beginning, Bob created the heavens and the earth and the beasts of the field and the creatures of the sea, and twenty-five million other species (including lots of cute girls). But mostly he prefers eating junk food and leaving his dirty clothes in a heap at the side of his bed.

            Every time he falls in love, Earth erupts in natural disasters, and it's usually Bob's beleaguered assistant, Mr. B., who is left cleaning up the mess. So humankind is going to be very sorry indeed that Bob ever ran into a beautiful, completely irresistible girl called Lucy . . .

            About the Author

            Meg Rosoff (www.megrosoff.co.uk) was born in Boston and currently lives in London with her husband and daughter. Her debut novel, How I Live Now, won the Michael L. Printz Award and was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Her second novel, Just in Case, won the 2007 CILIP Carnegie Medal and was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. What I Was, Rosoff's third novel, was shortlisted for the 2008 CILIP Carnegie Medal. 

            Details

            • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
            • Hardcover: 256 pages
            • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (January 24, 2012)
            • Language: English
            • ISBN-10: 0399257640
            • ISBN-13: 978-0399257643
            SOURCE:  AROUND THE WORLD ARC TOURS

            MY THOUGHTS
            ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT

            Bob, like most teen boys thinks about one thing and one thing only:  sex. The problem with this is that Bob has a job as GOD and he is moody, a slob and well, a teenaged boy!  He has created the earth and everything that goes with it and the earth responds to his moods with earthquakes, tsunamis and bizarre weather patterns. Especially if he forgets his running bath and well, you know what happened when it rained for 40 days.  Mr. B is his personal assistant and roommate, but in all actuality, really runs the place taking care of paperwork and responding to prayers worldwide.  Bob doesn't really pay attention to such things except every once in awhile, so when he does happen to intercept a prayer of Lucy wishing to fall in love, all hell breaks loose.

            Oh and Bob has found out that his mother got him the job as god, that and no one else really wanted it.  Mona who probably stars in the Real Housewives of the Heavens also has an insane gambling problem and has lost Bob's pet ECK in a multi galaxy card game to Estelle's father, a probable gangster as a featured dinner.  The ECK was my favorite little furry, penguin with an anteater nose creature ever!  He squeaks and squeals and shouts ECK!  whenever he is truly disturbed with Bob, which is quite often.  Bob and Lucy really connect over the Eck since she works in a zoo. Of course the romance doesn't work out since Lucy will have none of Bob's nonsense.

            I just adored the tongue in check, sarcastic tone of this story.  Much like Neil Gaiman and Christopher Moore, the wittiness and fantasy are just so pleasurable that this really was a quick read for me.  I still kept hearing Joan Osborne's song "What if God Were One of Us" while reading this.  Overall a fun and quirky read that should enable discussions about what else is out there. 

              12/18/11

              REVIEW: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

              Book Description

              Nightshade January 3, 2012
              The third and final installment of the international bestselling Nightshade trilogy!

              Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there's more at stake than fighting. There's saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay's wrath. There's keeping Ansel safe, even if he's been branded a traitor. There's proving herself as the pack's alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers' magic once and for all. And then there's deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is. In this remarkable final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, international bestselling author Andrea Cremer crafts a dynamic novel with twists and turns that will keep you breathless until its final pages.

              About the Author

              Andrea Cremer (www.andreacremer.com) lives in Minnesota, where she teaches at Macalester College and hangs out with her husband, pug, border collie and parakeet. 

               Details

              • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
              • Hardcover: 416 pages
              • Publisher: Philomel (January 3, 2012)
              • Language: English
              • ISBN-10: 0399256121
              • ISBN-13: 978-0399256127
              SOURCE:  AROUND THE WORLD ARC TOURS

              MY THOUGHTS
              ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT

              No way around it:  SPOILER ALERT

              ARGHHHH -- NO MORE NIGHTSHADE. 

              Ok, now that it is out of my system, I can try and write this review, but how to keep it spoiler free?
              The conclusion of the Nightshade trilogy left me wanting more, but satisfied with the ending since I got what I wanted.  I know I don't hold the popular position with a lot of readers since I didn't care for Ren.  Calla drove me up the wall at times since she couldn't make up her darn mind about which one she wanted.  For one that is supposed to be a leader, she didn't seem able to decide one way or the other until the very end, when I guess when it was most important.  She did show some leader like skills when she force Ren and Shay to pretty much fight for her affections and keep them both from becoming liabilities.

              The story starts out by setting the stage for an epic battle to be fought between the Keepers with the Guardians at their side and Calla right behind Anika.  Shay has come into his own powers both as a wolf and a mage as the Scion.  There are several trials the trio must go through in order to capture key components necessary for the group to succeed and the struggles and demons they each face will only make them stronger as a group.  There are some serious page turning moments and once you start, you won't be able to put this book down.

              You could probably hear me yelling at Ren begging him to not be so annoying and for Shay to grab that golden ring that is Calla.  Yes, there, I have said it:  Team Shay.  I fell in love with Shay's humor and personality while thinking Ren was just a giant alpha wolf and nothing more.  There were some really interesting twists in the plot that were truly amazing.   I am still thinking about the worlds Cremer has created and can't wait to see what she comes up with next.







              REVIEW: The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

              Book Description

              February 16, 2012
              Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she's abandoning their plans - and Colby - to start college in the fall.

              But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what's next?

              Morris Award–finalist Nina LaCour draws together the beauty and influences of music and art to brilliantly capture a group of friends on the brink of the rest of their lives.
               
               

              About the Author

              Nina LaCour (www.ninalacour.com) is a high school English teacher and former bookseller. She is the author of the award-winning Hold Still. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Nina lives in Oakland, California. 
               
               

               Details

              • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
              • Hardcover: 304 pages
              • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (February 16, 2012)
              • Language: English
              • ISBN-10: 0525422196
              • ISBN-13: 978-0525422198
              SOURCE:  Around the World ARC Tours

              MY THOUGHTS

              LOVED IT

              Colby is in love with his best friend Bev who is in a band called The Disenchantments. They have made plans to tour at the end of high school before moving on with their adult lives, to college and for Colby to visit his mother now living in France and separated from his father.  His father is a musician that at one time was pretty well known.  Bev had gone along with Colby's plans to visit his mother and then backpack through out Europe before deciding what to do with the rest of theirs lives.  So when Bev tells Colby she is accepted into art school, his life unravels and he must now make plans on his own.

              The story takes place while the band is winding it's way from San Francisco to Seattle and Portland, stopping here and there to play at coffee houses, bars, rec centers or where ever they can find a place.  They meet some interesting people along the way but what really grabbed me was that Colby's mother is an artist and had painted the cover of his father best known work.  He finds a tattoo artist that has a picture of a man with the art work as a tattoo, so it becomes his quest to find the man and understand what made him get the tattoo. 

              The story winds around much like the path the band is taking in their travels, not straight and with no clear purpose except to get from one point to another and deposit one of the band members at her college.  There were parts that are a bit existentialist and really seemed to serve no purpose except to wonder why Bev isn't honest with Colby and just goes along with him by agreeing they should go see his mom when she has been making other plans all along.  Overall, it is a great look at what happens to kids once they start becoming adults and how friends become disjointed once they leave their protected existence in high school. 







              12/17/11

              AND THE WINNER IS: Gift Card Giveaway Hop



               LISA P. 

              has chosen the Amazon Gift Card! 


              An email has been sent to the lucky person named above
              The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
              Thanks to all who entered.
              PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM FOR THE EMAIL FROM BOOKHOUNDS @ HOTMAIL REQUESTING YOUR MAILING ADDRESS!