Thursday, August 30, 2012

Showtime (Marvelle Circus #1) by Chloe Kayne

Showtime (Marvelle Circus #1) by Chloe Kayne
Publish Date:  September 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-1300109
Pages: 345

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

As you know, I am extremely picky about self-published books.  I honestly had to go searching on this one after I read it - I was sure it was from some amazing small press that I hadn't heard of, but nothing shows up.  The editing was fantastic.  Ms. Kayne is going places, she's a fantastic writer!

Set in 1918, tis is the story of Laila, a girl who runs away with the circus. 

Laila's dad is pretty much out of the picture and her mom is a prostitute.  So she's growing up in a brothel.  Not the best place for a pretty teenage girl.  She's sure if she doesn't leave, she'll end up pushed into being a prostitute also and she's not in agreement with that. 

She doesn't plan to run away with the circus, but after accompanying a friend on a drug deal gone sour, she ends up in trouble and the Marvelle Circus owner offers her a job.   She can't believe that they'll take her in, much less feed,clothe, educate and train her!  It's a wonderful opportunity for a girl at that time.  It's easy to see Laila's confidence grow as the story goes on.

Laila has a small group of friends, but none of them are happy with her choice of crush - Dex.  Dex is mysterious and it's rumored he's dangerous, but no one wants to tell her what he's done.  But Laila trusts him.  Dex is in the freak show as the Disappearing Man.

The details about life behind the scenes at the circus were amazing.  I got lost in the wonderful descriptions! From the costumes to the train cars to the big top - you could smell the sawdust and see the lights glitter on the sequins.

I can't wait for the second book!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3) by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith

The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire #3) by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith
Publisher: Pyr
Publish Date:  Sept. 4, 2012
ISBN: 978-1616146740
Pages: 374

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The third book in the Vampire Empire series starts right off action packed and just doesn't slow down.  This is one of the best two-author series I've read, there's no telling who writes which parts.  I sincerely hope that this isn't the end of the series, I'd love to see what becomes of Gareth and Adele in a possibly peaceful time.

This time we find Gareth on the frontlines fighting on the side of the humans.  But don't worry, Adele isn't a girl to stay home during a time of war. 

It's great to see Adele grow into her powers - political and otherwise.  She's a strong woman and won't let anyone overrule her.  Gareth is fierce, loyal and protective, yet he knows to let Adele do her own thing.

If you haven't started this series, give it a try - it's a completely different take on vampires and humans and how they live together.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Be My Enemy (Everness #2) by Ian McDonald

Be My Enemy (Everness #2) by Ian McDonald
Publisher:  Pyr
Publish Date:  September 4, 2012
ISBN: 978-1616146788
Pages: 280

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The second installation of the Everness series begins with Everett getting hit by a car and waking up on the moon.  It just gets crazier from there.  The Everness crew continues to world-jump with Everett.

What's the worst thing you could encounter when world-jumping?  A frozen earth? Villians? War Machines? Nanotechnology run wild? Maybe...or it could be yourself.

Everett and Sen grow closer, but he still isn't sure he will ever be Airish enough to truly fit in.  The thing he wants most is to find his father, but I think the second thing he wants is to fit in with the Everness crew.  I really can't wait for the next installment - the series is amazing!

Everett shows that he's a teen - he doubts himself, he gets upset and frustrated and embarrassed.  He also shows that genius side that we learned about early in the first book.  He's a great character!  Sen is sassy and almost crazy, but then suddenly shows her softer side and you melt for her.

The writing is, as always, practically flawless.  If you want to dip into quantum physics and parallel universes - try this series.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Books Out This Week: August 27 - Sept. 2, 2012

Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer
Release Date:  August 28, 2012

From Goodreads:  Mia's ordinary life is disrupted in the most horrifying way possible when she is possessed by a hungry and powerful demon--and only saved by the arrival of relatives from Italy, the country her grandfather fled many decades ago. Now her cousins Emilio and Giuliano say the only way to keep her safe is for her to come back with them to Milan, to live, to learn Italian, to fall in and out of love, and to master the family trade: fighting all demons with the lore of bell, book, and candle. Milan is not what Mia expected, but it will change her forever, in this stunningly well-written novel about an American girl who, fleeing an ancient evil, finds her only salvation in her ancestral home.

The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Release Date:  August 28, 2012

From Goodreads:  She feels like a creature out of a fairy tale; a girl who discovers that her bones are really made out of stone, that her skin is really as thin as glass, that her hair is brittle as straw, that her tears have dried up so that she cries only salt. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t hurt when she presses hard enough to begin bleeding: it doesn’t hurt, because she’s not real anymore.

Sethie Weiss is hungry, a mean, angry kind of hunger that feels like a piece of glass in her belly. She’s managed to get down to 111 pounds and knows that with a little more hard work—a few more meals skipped, a few more snacks vomited away—she can force the number on the scale even lower. She will work on her body the same way she worked to get her perfect grades, to finish her college applications early, to get her first kiss from Shaw, the boy she loves, the boy who isn’t quite her boyfriend.

Sethie will not allow herself one slip, not one bad day, not one break in concentration. Her body is there for her to work on when everything and everyone else—her best friend, her schoolwork, and Shaw—are gone.

 Unwholly (Unwind #2) by Neal Shusterman
Release Date:  August 28, 2012

From Goodreads:  Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.

 Defiance (Defiance #1) by C.J. Redwine
Release Date:  August 28, 2012

From Goodreads:  Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

 Fifteen Love (Pretty Tough) by Nicole Leigh Shepherd
Release Date:  August 30, 2012

From Goodreads:  Maggie Anderson and her twin sister, Bella, are a doubles team destined for tennis greatness. They've just started their freshman year at Beachwood Academy and it seems like everything--even the Olympics!--is within their sights. But when Maggie quits the tennis team suddenly, she leaves Bella in the lurch.

 The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
Release Date:  September 1, 2012

From Goodreads:  When Katharine Tulman's inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle's world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. 

 Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed and Larkin Reed
Release Date:  September 1, 2012

From Goodreads:  "I was sixteen the first time my grandmother died . . ."

Sarah Parsons has never seen Amber House, the grand Maryland estate that's been in her family for three centuries. She's never walked its hedge maze nor found its secret chambers; she's never glimpsed the shades that haunt it, nor hunted for lost diamonds in its walls.

But all of that is about to change. After her grandmother passes away, Sarah and her friend Jackson decide to search for the diamonds--and the house comes alive. She discovers that she can see visions of the house's past, like the eighteenth-century sea captain who hid the jewels, or the glamorous great-grandmother driven mad by grief. She grows closer to both Jackson and a young man named Richard Hathaway, whose family histories are each deeply entwined with her own. But when the visions start to threaten the person she holds most dear, Sarah must do everything she can to get to the bottom of the house's secrets, and stop the course of history before it is cemented forever.

 Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Release Date:  September 1, 2012

From Goodreads:  Allie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school's production of Moon Over Mississippi, she's a terrible singer. Instead she's the set designer for the stage crew, and this year she's determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn't know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen, and when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier! 

 The Encyclopedia of Me by Karen Rivers
Release Date:  September 1, 2012

From Goodreads:  Tink Aaron-Martin has been grounded AGAIN after an adventure with her best friend Freddie Blue Anderson. To make the time pass, she decides to write an encyclopedia of her life from "Aa" (a kind of lava--okay, she cribbed that from the real encyclopedia) to "Zoo" (she's never been to one, but her brothers belong there).

As the alphabet unfolds, so does the story of Tink's summer: more adventures with Freddie Blue (and more experiences in being grounded); how her family was featured in a magazine about "Living with Autism," thanks to her older brother Seb--and what happened after Seb fell apart; her growing friendship, and maybe more, with Kai, a skateboarder who made her swoon (sort of). And her own sense that maybe she belongs not under "H" for "Hideous," or "I" for "Invisible," but "O" for "Okay."

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tell them about the dream

I was recently at a conference where we discussed MLK's 'Dream' speech.  You know he had a different speech ready and one of his supporters (I believe) told him not to use it and to just 'tell them about the dream!'

For some reason that touched me.  In a deep emotional place.  I wasn't sure I liked it, but it made me start thinking. 

Everyone has a dream, but no one asks about them.  I think instead of saying 'How are you today?', we should start asking people 'What's your dream?'.  I think the answers would surprise us.  I love to ask people what they want to do, but after they answer, I ask them what they are doing to get there and usually they're stuck and don't know  how to answer.

I'm 45 years old and really wasn't sure what, even now, my dream is.  I had to sit down and figure it out.  Once upon a time it was to be an accountant (I know, that was crazy talk), then it was to become a history/english teacher, then I thought I'd just stick with secretarial - a nice safe job to get me by.  Then I worked my way up a couple of levels - not that I really TRIED, it just always happens to me.  Then I thought it was to continue on in my current job and move up the ladder until I got to be a Dean and then retire.  Yes, I do change some lives and that's a good thing.  I have previous students who call and tell me how I changed their lives or how they want to do something nice for them because I helped them when they needed it.  Those are warm fuzzy feelings.  But is that the end of it?

So then I talked to my sister.  She can always get to the bottom of what I want, even when I don't know.  She's really good that way! 

I've always wanted to do something with books, but I ignored it in order to do the 'right' thing - make a decent living and have a family.  Looking back, I don't think it was right or wrong, but simply a choice made out of fear.  (not the family part!!)  So I started blogging book reviews.  I love it and often let publicists and authors know of misspellings and weird sentences in their books.  I really want to be an editor.  Yes, it's a late decision, but better late than never, right?

So I've asked around as to what kind of degree I need.  Turns out there isn't a specific one.  So now I'm working on getting publishers to notice me.  It's good to be working on a dream.  Definitely a warm fuzzy.

So tell me, what's your dream and what are you doing to get there?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go by Dale E.Basye

Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go by Dale E. Basye
Illustrator: Bob Dob
Publisher: Yearling
Publish Date:  April 28, 2009 (reprint)
ISBN: 978-0375840760 
Pages: 304

Marlo and Milton die in a freak accident involving a marshmallow bear and a bully.  Who knew the day would end so badly?   They find themselves in eternal 'darnation', a special realm for bad children to hang out until they turn 18.  At that point they will either be redeemed or go on to adult hell.

It seems to be a middle grade book, but the spoofs on historical figures might confuse them.  Bea 'Elsa' Bubb is the 'leader' of Heck, but I'm not sure if kids would connect that name with the devil.

The story has a lot of gross out scenes, such as crawling through the sewers and cutting open the teacher for biology class.

I think that the premise is excellent, but it's caught between YA and Middle Grade.  It's in Heck itself! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to Bataan by Jerome Charyn

Back to Bataan by Jerome Charyn
Release Date:  July 1, 2012 (original release 1993)
Publisher:  Tribute Books
ISBN: 978-0985792206
ebook format

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

BACK TO BATAAN is a coming of age story, set in New York City during WWII.  The main character, Jack, is only eleven years old.  From the cover I expected him to be a full-fledged teenager and so was understandably confused by the language in the story.  Once I realized that he was only eleven, the story made more sense. 

Jack attends a private school on scholarship.  His father died in the war and his mother works at a parachute factory.  When his 'fiancee' throws him over for a rich boy, he commits a crime and runs off to live with the hobos.  As expected for a boy that young, most of his decisions are very emotional. 

The story would, I think, appeal to the younger end of the YA group.  I had a hard time relating to Jack, but I think it's because he's so young.  It's a good story and I think that younger boys, as well as girls, would find it interesting.

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The Living Dead edited by John Joseph Adams

The Living Dead edited by John Joseph Adams
Publisher:  Night Shade Books
Publish Date:  September 29, 2008
ISBN: 978-1597801430
Pages:  487

34 short stories, all different takes on zombies, from some of the best writers out there.  Authors include: Clive Barker, Poppy Z. Brite, Neil Gaimon, Joe Hill, Stephen King, Laurell K. Hamilton, George R.R. Martin, Kelly Link and more.

Whatever type of zombie you dig, it's in here.  From the shambling mindless ones to the technology driven to the people pretending to be zombies - it's all here. 

There are stories that made me think 'Well, I never would have thought of that!' and stories that made me feel physically ill.  Yes, those are good too....or maybe I'm just weird.  I feel like it's good writing if it can make me feel ill, yet unable to stop reading it.

I won't review all the stories, it's an anthology - you can pick and choose what you like.  I think there's something for everyone in here and I read all of them.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Publisher:  Mariner Books
Publish Date:  January 1, 1959
ISBN: 978-0156030304
Pages: 324

My daughter simply could not believe that I've never read this book, so she checked it out of the library and gave it to me to read.  Nice kid, eh?

The entire book is written as progress reports by the main character, Charlie Gordon.  Charlie has a very low IQ.  He can read and write a bit, but desperately wants to be smarter.  He feels like everything would be better if he were smarter.  His parents put him in a home when he was just a child and he hasn't seen them in years.  Charlie's life isn't so bad, mind you, he has a place to live, a job and friends, but still feels like he's missing out.  The progress reports are an excellent way to show his intellectual and emotional progress.

A group of scientists have been doing experimental brain surgery and think they are finally ready for a human subject.  They've only worked on mice so far, but the latest mouse, Algernon, is a hit.  He's super smart and fast.  So Charlie agrees to the surgery and the doctors find his sister who also agrees to the surgery. 

It's fascinating to watch Charlie's language and understanding change...along with his personality.  It's an incredibly emotional book. It's impossible to not love Charlie and to feel his confusion and pain as he changes.  Charlie shows us that the most important things aren't money or IQ, but kindness and love.  Even in the end, he was more concerned with Algernon than for himself.

For a book that was released 53 years ago, it's very socially and emotionally relevant.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Books Out This Week: August 13 - 19, 2012

Michael Vey 2:  Rise of the Elgen by Richard Paul Evans
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads:  Michael was born with special electrical powers—and he’s not the only one. His friend Taylor has them too, and so do other kids around the world. With Michael’s friend Ostin, a tecno-genius, they form the Electroclan, an alliance meant to protect them from a powerful group, the growing Order of Elgen, who are out to destroy them. The leader of the Elgen, Dr. Hatch, has kidnapped Michael’s mother, and time is running out.

After narrowly escaping an Elgen trap, Ostin’s discovery of bizarre “rat fires” in South America leads the gang to the jungles of Peru, where the Electroclan meets new, powerful foes and faces their greatest challenge yet as Michael learns the extent of the Elgen’s rise in power—and the truth of their plan to “restructure” the world.

 Suck It Up and Die by Brian Meehl
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads:  Nearly two years after Suck It Up, all Morning McCobb wants is to complete his training at the NY Fire Academy and to stay head over heels in love with Portia for as long as the chronology-crossed lovers can, given that she's now eighteen and he's stalled at sixteen.
It's nearly the first anniversary of American Out Day, the historic day on which the Leaguer vampires of America began going mainstream without going bloodstream on their fellow mortal citizens.
The tension between Morning's wish for a simple, out of the spotlight life, and Portia's cinematic obsession with historic events escalates to the breaking point when a super-sinister vampire rises from the grave with a powerful thirst, for revenge.

 Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads:  You're dead Scarlett...

Previously a poor taste jibe from school frenemies, now a statement of fact. Scarlett is absolutely mortified (in more ways than one) to discover that she's accidentally killed herself while trying to get out of a school trip. Even worse, she's taken her entire family with her. Life as a ghost is pretty dull - if only some of her friends were dead too...

 Intentions by Deborah Heiligman
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads:  Rachel thought she was grown up enough to accept that no one is perfect. Her parents argue, her grandmother has been acting strangely, and her best friend doesn't want to talk to her. But none of that could have prepared her for what she overheard in her synagogue's sanctuary.

Now Rachel's trust in the people she loves is shattered, and her newfound cynicism leads to reckless rebellion. Her friends and family hardly recognize her, and worse, she can hardly recognize herself. But how can the adults in her life lecture her about acting with kavanah, intention, when they are constantly making such horribly wrong decisions themselves? This is a witty, honest account of navigating the daunting line between losing innocence and entering adulthood—all while figuring out who you really want to be.

 Heroes of Olympus: The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads: What dangers do runaway demigods Luke and Thalia face on their way to Camp Half-Blood? Are Percy and Annabeth up to the task of rescuing stolen goods from a fire-breathing giant who doesn't take kindly to intruders? How exactly are Leo, Piper, and Jason supposed to find a runaway table, dodge a band of party-loving Maenads" ("who just might be a little psychotic), and stave off a massive explosion...all in one hour or less?

 Touched by Cyn Balog
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads: Nick Cross always listens to the voice in his head. Because if he doesn't? Things can go really, really wrong. Like the day he decided to go off script and saved a girl from being run over . . . and let another one drown. Trying to change the future doesn't work.

But this summer at the Jersey Shore, something's about to happen that Nick never could have predicted. He meets a girl named Taryn and finds out about the Book of Touch. Now the path that he thought he was on begins to shift . . . and there's no way to stop things from happening. Or is there?

In a life where there are no surprises, nothing has prepared Nick for what he's about to discover--or the choice he will be forced to make. . . .

 False Memory (False Memory #1) by Dan Krokos
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads:  Miranda wakes up alone on a park bench with no memory. In her panic, she releases a mysterious energy that incites pure terror in everyone around her. Except Peter, a boy who isn't at all surprised by Miranda's shocking ability.
Left with no choice but to trust this stranger, Miranda discovers she was trained to be a weapon and is part of an elite force of genetically-altered teens who possess flawless combat skills and powers strong enough to destroy a city. But adjusting to her old life isn't easy--especially with Noah, the boyfriend she can't remember loving. Then Miranda uncovers a dark truth that sets her team on the run. Suddenly her past doesn't seem to matter...when there may not be a future.

 The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads:  Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.

 Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads:  Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school's staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she'd like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he's a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen's really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lost its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn't convinced she's the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it's her only chance of getting back to the present and her "real" life. What Miranda doesn't bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.

 Counting Backwards by Laura Lascarso
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads: 
Three weeks ago I tried to run away from home. Now all I want is to go back.

When troubled Taylor Truwell is caught with a stolen car and lands in court for resisting arrest, her father convinces the judge of an alternative to punishment: treatment in a juvenile psychiatric correctional facility. Sunny Meadows is anything but the easy way out, and Taylor has to fight hard just to hold on to her sanity as she battles her parents, her therapist, and vicious fellow patients. But even as Taylor struggles to hold on to her stubborn former self, she finds herself relenting as she lets in two unlikely friends-Margo, a former child star and arsonist, and AJ, a mysterious boy who doesn’t speak. In this striking debut, Laura Lascarso weaves together a powerful story of anger and self-destruction, hope and love.

 The Kill Order (Maze Runner Prequel) by James Dashner
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads: Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

 Soonchild by Russell Hoban
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads:  In the cold north where the white wind blows, lives Sixteen-Face John, a shaman.  His wife is expecting their first child - a "soonchild".  But Soonchild won't come out, so John sets out to find the World Songs that inspire all soonchildren to leave the womb.  Along the way, he must shift shape and size, converse with  animals and ancestors, and face demons and death.  But he also pursues a golden-eyed presence that hints at a connection with his past.

My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
Release Date:  August 14, 2012

From Goodreads:  Ten-year-old Jamie Matthews has just moved to the Lake District with his Dad and his teenage sister, Jasmine for a 'Fresh New Start'. Five years ago his sister's twin, Rose, was blown up by a terrorist bomb. His parents are wrecked by their grief, Jasmine turns to piercing, pink hair and stops eating. The family falls apart. But Jamie hasn't cried in all that time. To him Rose is just a distant memory. Jamie is far more interested in his cat, Roger, his birthday Spiderman T-shirt, and in keeping his new friend Sunya a secret from his dad. And in his deep longing and unshakeable belief that his Mum will come back to the family she walked out on months ago. When he sees a TV advert for a talent show, he feels certain that this will change everything and bring them all back together once and for all.

 The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
Release Date:  August 16, 2012

From Goodreads:  The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.

The Rising: A Department 19 Novel by Will Hill
Release Date:  August 16, 2012

From Goodreads:  James Bond meets Dracula in this epic saga of one boy and a ton of weapons versus the world's oldest evil--vampires as you've never seen them before!

Sixteen-year-old Jamie Carpenter's life was violently upended when he was brought into Department 19, a classified government agency of vampire hunters that was formed to deal with a little problem . . . known as Dracula.

But being the new recruit at the Department isn't all weapons training and covert missions. Jamie's own mother has been turned into a vampire--and now Jamie will stop at nothing to wreak revenge on her captors. Even if that means facing down Dracula himself.

 Spookygirl: Paranormal Investigator by Jill Baguchinsky
Release Date:  August 16, 2012

From Goodreads:  Violet doesn't remember much about her late mother, but she is certain of one thing: she too can see ghosts and communicate with the dead. But when Violet discovers paranormal activity in the girls' locker room, she finds herself ill-equipped for handling the school's ghostly echoes. Through Violet's own investigation and with the help of some unlikely allies, Violet discovers there is a lot she doesn't know about her special skill--and more still that can stand in the way of its power. With sharp wit and determination, Violet sets out to uncover the truth behind her school's haunting, to finish the investigation that led to her mother's sudden death, and to learn why the only ghost she has ever wanted to see is the one that has eluded her forever.

 The Diviners (Diviners #1) by Libba Bray
Release Date:  August 18, 2012

From Goodreads:  Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thank you!

This is the time of year that I fall behind in my blogging and reviewing and I do apologize.  The silliness of work in the real world sometimes keeps me from what I love doing most!  So I would like to thank all my readers for sticking with me, I really appreciate it!  Here's a little breakdown on how things are going if you want to play along:

It turns out that I'm big in the USA, Russia, Canada, UK, Netherlands (home of my ancestors), Germany and Australia.  It really amazes me that anyone in these countries cares what I have to say!

Most of you use Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome or Safari.  You're using Windows, Macs or Linux usually.  Yay for my Linus users!!

Typically an average of 53 people a day check in to see what kind of fascinating things I'm doing today.  The majority of you were brought here by one of the following sites: yabookblogdirectory, google, facebook or Auntie Heather Brewer!

My most popular posts?

1 - Contest for ARC of Soulbound by Heather Brewer
2 - Daniel Waters 'Generation Dead' interview
3 - Tithe by Holly Black (review)

I'm quickly coming up on completing my second year of blogging and it's been a joy.  I thank my sister for pushing me to do it and for sending me loads of books to get me started.  If she hadn't supported and frankly, pushed me, I would never have done it.  Thanks sis!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Callahan's Crosstime Saloon (Callahan's #1) by Spider Robinson

Callahan's Crosstime Saloon (Callahan's #1) by Spider Robinson
Publisher:  Tor Science Fiction
Publish Date:  June 1977 (originally)
ISBN: 978-0812572278
Pages: 224

Don't let the publish date or the old time cover put you off, this is a great book!

People, and aliens, are drawn to Callahan's Saloon.  There they will find a kind word, a ready ear and an open mind.  The regulars here all arrived in bad shape and were healed, so they stuck around to help others.

The tagline is 'Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased. Thus we refute entropy.'

It might sound a little dated or trite, but don't give up on it just yet.

The best part of all the stories, aside from the characters, are the puns.  Every week the patrons of Callahan's have a contest for the best pun.  They are amazingly groan-worthy!  If you hate puns, you should probably move on. If you love them, this is an awesome book for you.

What I like most about Spider Robinson's books is that they deal with humanity, differences and acceptance.  They're timeless.

If you can get this as an audiobook, please do so, the voice actor is fabulous.

Remember - don't forget the older books, some of them are gems!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Marked (Soul Guardian #1) by Kim Richardson

Marked (Soul Guardian #1) by Kim Richardson
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publish Date:  March 18, 2011
ISBN: 978-1461017097
Pages: 290

I got stuck in an airport last weekend, so I downloaded several free books on my Nook.  I sometimes like to live dangerously!

So basically, Kara dies and becomes a guardian angel.  She's partnered with David, who's been a GA for quite awhile.

The things I liked about the story:
1 - BAM!  The main character dies immediately.  The story starts out amazingly.
2 - the elevators in Horizon (level of Heaven) are run by primates.  Kind of nasty primates.  Funny.
3 - guardian angels aren't all perfect and beautiful.  They look just like they did in life.  Maybe wrinkly, maybe fat, maybe scarred.
4 - the story has an excellent premise

The things I didn't like about the story:
1 - the author seemed to obsess over description.  Once described, stop.  We get that David is handsome.
2 - the characters were under developed.  I wanted to get a bit more about them.  For instance, the whole thing with David and the other angel fighting all the time - there had to be more than what we heard about - it wasn't enough.
3 - David's reaction to Kara and the demons seemed out of place for his character

The story is basically good.  I like the idea, but think that a good editor and publisher would really put this one out there for a lot more people.  This is an entire series, but I don't think I'll read the rest.  There were points that were developed really well and the action was fast-paced and then the next part would be slow moving and confusing.  It has great potential!