Monday, October 31, 2011

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. 

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her. 
Summary from Good Reads.I received this book from the author at no charge for a fair and honest review.  


Open Minds is unique.  It's set in the future when the water supply has been so contaminated it has bred a new group of people, mind readers. At first, it was a few people and they were rounded up in camps and experimented on, but soon when the source of this phenomenon was discovered, everyone eventually had the power by the time they reached a certain age. Everyone but the zeros. The ones who never got the ability to read minds and had to talk instead of read everyone's mind.


Kira is a zero.  Her family is still holding out hope that she'll change, that she's a late bloomer.  Her best friend Raf, who she is secretly crushing on, is holding on to the hope. But Kira feels it. It's not going to happen.  Even the school teachers teach by mind reading.  They just think their lessons which makes things difficult if you can't read minds.  Kira is forced to wear a hearing aid and her teachers wear tiny microphones.  But among her peers, she is the lowest of lows.  Except with Raf, he doesn't discard her because she can't mind read.  He talks to her at school so that she doesn't have to live through a silent hell.


One of the first things I liked about this book was the family relationship.  Though Kira didn't share things with her mother, she loved her mother and father a lot and her mother hopped right on it when Kira said she wanted a hearing aid.  And her brother Seamus, though he was at her school last year to protect her, this year the forbidding Seamus is at West Point.  But it doesn't stop him from protecting her and telling her who she should stay away from and what things mean because apparently touching from mind readers means something totally different than touching from 
zeros.  I loved the family connections.  However, Kira gets mixed up with the wrong guy who teaches her she has a different ability altogether and she starts to lie to her family and keep secrets.

It happens innocently enough, Kira accidentally trips over Simon's backpack and suddenly he wants to talk to her alone.  One of the popular kids wants to talk to her?  She finds out she can control the minds of others.  And not only control them, but keep others out of her mind.  She's super special in the mind jacker world.

I have to say, I didn't really like Kira at times.  And I think I didn't like her because all of the lies she told made everything worse.  Had she just told her parents, well, there wouldn't be a novel.  Because I liked her until she started hanging with Simon.  The novel becomes plot driven from there and though you know, okay, she has to do this, you have no idea how she's going to do it.  And you don't know if she's going to be successful.  The author isn't afraid of having Kira fail at her attempts to change things for the better so don't be too sure you know what's going to happen.

I think I jumped on Team Kira when she stopped thinking solely about herself and how to help herself and started thinking about all mind jackers.  She'd had a Great grandfather that had been in one of the first mind reader camps.  She remembered her grandmother talking about him.  It affected her greatly.  When Kira started thinking more globally we'll say instead of about Kira, she became more interesting and likable.  She grew as a character and was infinitely more like a heroine than a zero.  That's when she became a super heroine!

Her family was a constant.  They were like a lighthouse in the distance for her.  They were hope.

And I have to say, in her situation, I'd have wimped out big time.  I'd have given up and crawled in a corner and probably be dead.  But she just kept going.  That's why she redeemed herself to me. 

Of course the baddies were the government, but I'm not sure it was a government sanctioned operation or a one man vendetta. We get one clue as to the drive of the man operating the vendetta and I think it will be explained a lot more in the next two books.  But it's pretty clear in my mind what happened.  

There is a lot of action and I did have a hard time at first understanding the mind reading, mind jacking world.  But it's very clear after you keep reading.  Given the two powers, I'd love to be able to mindjack someone!  

This was a great new I think I'll go with sci-fi book.  I think older MG and any YA reader would enjoy this novel.  I only say older MG because they need to be able to understand the mind reading/mind jacking world.  I commend the author for the family relationship she portrayed and how much it influenced Kira. There's not a lot of that in the books I read and I was glad to see it, especially Seamus and Kira.  I hope we get to see a lot more of Seamus.

I highly recommend this novel for MG/YA lovers.  You don't have to like Sci-fi or Dystopians or whatever you want to classify this book as to enjoy this novel.  It's fast paced, plot driven and has the best weapons, your mind!




Heather





Susan Kaye Quinn, Author







Life, Liberty, and Pursuit (a teen love story)
To be notified by email about future releases, click here.
Open Minds (Available Nov. 1st!) on Goodreads now






When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.
Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye Quinn is available for $2.99 in e-book (Amazon US (also UKFrance andGermany), Barnes & NobleSmashwords) and $9.99 in print (AmazonCreatespace, also autographed copies available from the author).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

IMM SCORE!!


IMM is a meme started by Kristi at The Story Siren so that bloggers can share the books they've bought, won, found, gotten for review and swapped so that we can see what's out their and maybe find some new books for ourselves that we might not have heard of before.  It's a pretty good system!


I'd like to start with the biggest surprise I got and the one I did the happy dance about for at least ten minutes up and down the stairs. Of course , only another book lover would understand my excitement, my enthusiasm was met with mild excitement at home and some "Oh yeah, we met her at that book tour," from my two sons.  So, I'll get on with it! I received on my doorstep an ARC of 



Yes, yes I am very lucky and no I'm not bragging, just trying to make sure whoever sent it to me is properly thanked!  So Thank You to Beth Revis and Razorbill and Penguin!!!

Now, for the rest of my books:
Dearly Departed by Lia Habel and Darker Still by Leanna Renee Heiber are both purchases from Amazon
The Fourth Stall and the ARC of The Fourth Stall Part II and 2 DVDs Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader are from the ever so generous Kellie at Walden Pond who is The Greatest!
I know DVD's aren't books, but when you have a child like my 11yr old who needs incentives to make it to 12, Kellie just seems to go above and beyond to help me out.  Or maybe she's just trying to keep me out of jail!  In any case, thank you Kellie!!




Oh and Signs of Martha by Sarah Raymond is a loaner from Ashley at Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing , a truly awesome blogger!




So what totally awesome things did you get in your mailbox this week?


Heather

Friday, October 21, 2011

Legend of Witchtrot Road by E.J. Stevens Book 3 in the Spirit Guide Series

Legend of Witchtrot Road

Surviving agitated ghosts, irritated witches, angry werewolves, and the horrors of high school has never been so hard.

The night of Samhain may be behind them, but Yuki and her friends have only begun to face the challenges of their paranormal gifts. Tensions are rising--in the pack, at school, and within their tightly knit group of friends.

The tragic death of Wakefield High student Dylan Jacobs has emotions boiling over. The J-Team, Yuki's arch nemesis, have turned the entire football team against her. They claim that Yuki is a witch and blame her for the death of their fellow teammate. Will Yuki be able to solve the mystery of Dylan's death, and the legend of Witchtrot Road, before tempers flare and things turn violent?

Emma is the friend that Yuki turns to when things get tough, but she's been behaving strangely. Emma has been acting distant and seems to be coming down with a mysterious illness. What will Yuki and her friends do if their healer is truly sick?

Calvin has become Alpha and wants the best for his pack. He is a dedicated and compassionate leader willing to do anything for the good of his people, but will Cal be able to hold the pack together when a fiery, young werewolf comes seeking revenge?

Simon may still be a roguish playboy, but he is taking his role as Calvin's second in command deadly serious. Will Simon be able to focus on his pack duties when he is forced to face his dark, emotional past?

This is the third book in the Spirit Guide Series and all our favorite characters are back plus some new faces. This is definitely Simon's story and the beginning of Gordy's. We learned in the last book, Spirit Storm of Simon's tragic loss. In this book, it comes looking for him in the form of the younger brother. He's cocky, arrogant and a spoiled brat. And no one likes him. Not even Cal, who tries to get along with everyone. Welcome to the pack!

The story in this one starts out with the loss of a football player who crashed his motorcycle on Witchtrot Road. Some of the team is taking it very hard. Yuki is smelling his scent impression. And the J-team, that would be Jay and Jared of the football team, not the sharpest knives in the drawer, have decided to blame Yuki, "the witch" for putting a curse on him and killing him. Unfortunately, Cal has to rescue her from these Neanderthals, and Yuki has to rescue them from his wolf that almost takes hold. Neither one are very quick to catch on. They later trap Yuki in a storage closet with the whole football team having told them she has cursed them all. Yuki knows how to get out of a sticky situation, it's just lucky she can communicate with her feet! The J-team is definitely someone Yuki has to look out for during this book-bullies picking on someone that's different.

But the real trouble is Gabriel, the new wolf in town, who's gunning for Simon. And he wants to make Emma his mate. As if? The matchmaking going on in this novel is interesting to say the least, and the trouble is not the paranormal kind. The Legend of Witchtrot Road may be about a witch wrongly accused, but the things going on there are even scarier. Flying frozen toads and upside down cars. And just at the full moon Emma and Yuki decide to investigate. What were they thinking???

This caper is definitely scary. The danger is of a much more human nature and the accident Yuki and Emma have is surreal. It's how the book starts out and you have to go through almost the whole book to see if they are okay. And then there are those pesky dreams Yuki keeps having about the witches she stole the Amulet of Nera from. She's gotta find a way to get it back to them, but she needs it's protection. And there's still the J-team to worry about, especially when Cal isn't around.

This is my favorite of the three Spirit Guide Series stories. Probably because the stories are getting more complex and Yuki and Cal's relationship is deepening. I love the banter between Simon and Emma. It lightens the mood in sometimes tense situations throughout the series. And it doesn't hurt Simon's charms that he tacks, Love, on to every sentence he addresses to Emma and Yuki. (He had me at hello, love.) Again, the mystery isn't stressful, but the issue of bullies is addressed in this one and how Yuki has always been bullied and her wishes always ignored even by the teachers. And always as resolutions come to some things, questions arise about others.

I can't wait for the next book in this series. The are so much fun to read! The descriptions are rich but not heavy and they mysteries or spirit problems just don't feel heavy and dark. I think because Yuki never has to face anything alone. She's always got her friends and in this novel, it really helps. If you've enjoyed the other Spirit Guide stories, you'll love this one. If you haven't tried them, then get your feet wet with She Smells The Dead! October is the best month to read this series as the first two occur right around Halloween! So don't wait! And make sure you read this one! It's great! But She Smells the Dead will always have the best title of all YA books I've ever read!

Where to find E.J. Stevens
About E.J. Stevens
Twitter

Heather



And again, for visual aids click HERE
For my review of She Smells the Dead click HERE

For my review of Spirit Storm click THERE

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Always A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Always A Witch


The adventures of Tam and Gabriel continue with more time travel, Talents, spy work, and of course, the evil Knights.

Since the gripping conclusion of Once A Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother's prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.

*****This review may contain spoilers if you didn't do what I told you to previously and read Once a Witch. Continue at your own risk.****


Now, whereas I did not like Tamsin in Once a Witch, I'm loving her in this one. Not only is she looking out for herself, her family and their fate, but she's looking out for the servants in the Knight household and the poor urchins they experiment on. While Once a Witch went back and forth between light and dark, Always a Witch reads like a horror story. The Knight family, is bent on practicing the darker magics. And they don't care about spilling human blood to do it. Humans are considered beneath them and therefore if they kill one or two dozen for the cause, so be it. What do they want? Immortality.

Tamsin travels back in time without Gabriel, time affects those without her powers and he could die if he gets trapped back in time. She has to beat Alistair Knight back in time before he can warn the Knights of what the Greene family did to their powers. Now here, she did go off a little half assed if you ask me because once again, she didn't know where the Greene family lived before she went back in time. That would have been my first place to visit. And I would have known the names of my ancestors so they would believe me. Had some piece of information or heirloom so they could identify me.  But there's a big reason she can't ask where they lived or find out names and again in a round about way it has to do with Alistair Knight.  So she basically hits the late 1800's blind.  Dressed in a working girl's uniform and that's about it.  She was smart enough to look in the attic at home for a uniform or dress so she'd look the part and found some money as well.

Tamsin of course, snoops and gets caught, but now with her awesome powers, she thinks she's invincible. Not! Once again, Gabriel comes to her rescue. And her great, great grandfather.
There are lots of mysteries and betrayals in this book and just when you think you've got it figured out, the loophole closes and there's no way out. Gabriel is just as admirable in this book as in the last one and still, my favorite character, but as I said, Tamsin is a lot less whiney and more take charge in this one.

At the end, as things turn around, Tamsin suffers a terrible loss and becomes the ultimate heroine to me! She totally makes up for her mistakes in Once a Witch, and who knows, maybe it was fated for this to all happen this way anyway.

I really enjoyed this novel. I love time travel novels and most of this one takes place in the past. There is a lot of sleuthing and sneaking around, second guessing, a lot of surprising defeats and some very realistic hopelessness. As to whether there is a happy ending, you'll need to read it, but I happily and highly recommend this book and the series.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow to sign up for the giveaway for Always a Witch and read my interview with Tamsin.

Thanks for stopping by!

Heather

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spirit Storm by E.J. Stevens

Spirit Storm

"Let the spirits guide you, but never let them take you."

Spirits of the Dead are coming...

Yuki is about to face an army of lost souls on Samhain, the night of Halloween, when the spirits of the dead roam free. Yuki will need all the help she can get from her friends, but will Calvin be there for her when she needs him the most?

This is the second book in E.J. Stevens' Spirit Guide series and it's even better than She Smells The Dead. Yuki is such a great character. She's not your typical Goth girl. She smells the imprints of the dead. And she's in love with a werewolf who is also her best friend. Oh and he's the Alpha of the pack. And she's got an outspoken militant vegan female best friend, Emma.

And she's got the best assortment of boots I've ever read about in the history of YA. Oh, and she loves Cal Miller. She says that a lot and you might think that would get old, but it doesn't at all. Because it's so sweet that this tough (not really) looking Goth girl with her spikes and safety pins melts every time she sees Calvin Miller. And when he touches her or kisses her, time seems to fade for both of them. This is one of the sweetest love stories that plays out through a mystery that I have ever read. And it's very believable. They've been best friends forever and just seemed like they were always meant to be. But who knew they were actually soul mates. You need to read She Smells The Dead to read about how they become boyfriend and girlfriend.

Calvin Miller smells like wet dog and sunshine, a smell that Yuki finds very appealing as opposed to the Burnt Brownie smell she's smelling at the beginning of the book, the smell imprint of a werewolf that was murdered. Yuki has to help find his killer in order to help him pass on. But in this book that's not her only problem. First Cal gets hurt in a fight with the killer and is unconscious for several days. He visits her in her dreams and he doesn't look too good. And with the coming of Samhain, Yuki will be vulnerable to all the spirits of the dead when the veil is at it's thinnest. Yuki's spirit guide, the Scarab, or more commonly known as the Dung Beetle (yes she's so lucky) warns her to "Let the spirits guide you, but never let them take you."

Simon is second in command to Cal and he and Emma fight like cats and wolves. But you know how that goes. Simon is "old" in Yuki's eyes, but Emma is very responsible and mature. Still the two mix like oil and water. I'd watch that relationship though. Emma acts as pack veterinarian. She uses herbal treatments to heal when she can because the wolves can't exactly go to the vet or the hospital.

There is a good bit of paranormal in this story with ghosts, spirits, werewolves and spirit guides. Witches and faeries even play a small part. From murderers, to kidnappings, to travels in the spirit realm, to a real spirit storm to stealing, Spirit Storm has it all. And as Yuki would say, "Son of a dung beetle," you'll be kicking yourself if you don't find out why she wears a safety pin shirt or what the Amulet of Nera is.

This was a great second book in the Spirit Guide Series and in case you missed the pictures here's the link to pictures of Emma, Yuki, Simon, Cal and Gordy. Oh, Gordy? He's Yuki's friend from Anime club and he's dating Emma. Well he was, but he's still a part of the story. And a great friend to Yuki. So see their pictures Here and see why Yuki melts in Cal's arms and why Simon turns all the girls' heads.

This isn't really a heavy series at all, but it's sweet and light and very interesting for it's paranormal content.  There's nothing else like it out there.  And book three, Legend of Witchtrot Road is already out and it's great.  Look for my review later this week.

Highly Recommended for all ages!

Heather

Monday, October 17, 2011

Founder by LM Long




Founder by LM Long

They've been waiting for decades.
Hidden deep in the Amazon.
Financed by thousands.
A colony called Founder.
And one girl is about to unravel it all.


Founder was not anything like what I expected. I thought I would find a tribal society ruled by the girl on the front cover totally untouched by the human race. You know those tribes they always talk about on Discovery channel where they find indigenous people who have never seen a white person before. This wasn't that story. This was the opposite. This was a story of an Aryan race, a white supremacist group trying to make a completely pure group of blonde haired blue eyed people while weeding out the darker skinned, brown eyed, brown haired "Untouchables".
They live in seclusion in the jungles of Brazil and only a select few know that WWII was lost and that the world, for the most part, is free.


I knew the Untouchables were going to find out eventually that the real world wasn't like they thought it was and I couldn't wait to see it happen, but the way things happened was so surprising. Marta is one of the narrators of the story. She is an untouchable, dark hair and eyes, but her mother was a pure, the Fuhrer's wife. So she is allowed certain freedoms and protections that other untouchables, don't have. Days in the village are spent drilling for war, a war that will never come, and for the untouchables, doing chores for the pures.

Lara, a blonde haired, blue eyed flight attendant living in Redlands, California with her husband Sergio, is the other narrator of the story. She knows nothing of the Aryan nation in the jungles of Brazil. But through a series of coincidences and tragedies she comes to know of them or figure out about them and she, her mother and Sergio set out on a dangerous journey to look for them.

Marta, because of the way she was raised, is hard and used to taking orders so she always does as she is told. She doesn't want trouble in her village. She's afraid of change. She doesn't want anyone to be hurt, but she's outraged at some of the things that have happened behind her back. But she's scared, too. Because she's believed everything she's been told. All the propaganda.

Lara has been raised free and allowed to choose who to love and finds this Aryan race appalling. She wants to do something about it. Her sense of right and wrong drives her to the Brazilian jungle to find Marta's village Founder and let them know the truth.

This novel is so unpredictable and unforgettable. I loved reading it. I read it in one sitting. When Marta talks to one of the Pure guards, Henrik, I can't help but picture the guard in The Sound of Music. I received the paperback copy of the book in an incredible presentation and the book was very well edited. No mistakes that I saw. The writing is done very well, just enough description to know what it looks like and feels like, but not overdone. There is a good balance of dialogue and action and it's good to be inside of Marta's head to understand what she's thinking, why she makes the choices she does. Ms. Long's writing style is easy to read, it flows nicely.

There is some violence in the novel and some mature themes but it was never overly violent.
The ending is left open so I think there will be more novels to come. I hope so!

Heather

I received a copy of this book from the author free of charge for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

IMM



IMM is a meme started by Kristi at The Story Siren so that bloggers can share their newly purchases, won, swapped or found (I don't know where) books this week.

Here are mine!



From Amazon:
Without Tess by Marcella Pixley
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Awake at Dawn by C.C. Hunter


For Review:
Open Minds Bk One of the Mindjack Trilogy by Susan Kaye Quinn
Celia's Journey-The Book in the Attic by Melissa Gunther
Neversink by Barry Wolverton


Thank you to Susan Kaye Quinn, Hayes-Allan Publishing and 
Kellie at Walden Pond Publishing for the review books

So, what did you get in your mailbox this week?


Heather








Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Once A Witch


Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.

This was a good story.  Just not a great story.  I think I had trouble connecting with Tamsin and she was really the whole story so therein lies the problem.  Tamsin was supposed to be the witch of all time, greatest to be born in her family and she's a flop.  She didn't get her powers.  And it doesn't really seem like her family rubs her nose in it except possibly her older sister Rowena, who being a bitch anyway, would do that as a bigger sister.  That's what they do.  I had an older sister.
But Tamsin has this New York size chip on her shoulder, so big that she pretends to be her sister and that's where the trouble begins and it takes two books to fix her mistakes.

Yeah, there's some budding romance with childhood friend, just returned to the clan and looking much more sexy, Gabriel.  I liked him.  He was teasing, wary, friendly and always looking out for Tamsin.  More so than she deserved.

I know heroines are supposed to be risk takers, all bravado, make sure all the harm comes to herself and no one else, but Tamsin just doesn't think before she literally leaps.  If she'd just have shared once with someone then she could have saved what she valued so much and I'm realizing this review is spilling over into the next book, so I'll stop here.

Rowena was bossy and unlikable.  Tamsin, well I just couldn't get behind.  So you aren't like everyone else in your family.  That happens sometimes.  Deal with it.  I just didn't buy that as her reason for her angst and the impetus for starting this huge problem she started.  I loved Gabriel.  As I said, he was loyal, willing to do whatever was necessary to help Tamsin, and very protective.  I like protective guys.  Not smothering, just protective.  And Agatha, her roommate seemed great, what little we saw of her.  I'd like to have her for a roommate, but Tamsin had to keep her whole life a secret from her because of the witch thing and she could never even have her down to her family's house.  That would stink!  It's like only knowing someone halfway.

You do have to read this one though because the next book is a great treat!  A whirlwind of action and tragedy and survival.
And you have to have the background of this one to read that one.  So read away!  It's not a hard to read book.  It's just that in comparison, Always a Witch is by far the better book.

But do catch up because next week when I interview Tamsin, I'll also be starting a one week giveaway for Always a Witch.  I'll also be reviewing it!
Thanks for stopping by!

Heather

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

E.J. Stevens Spirit Guide Series

Since E.J. was kind enough to send me the next book in her Spirit Guide Series (it's not really hers, it's Yuki's and Cal's but they let her think she's running the show).  Anyway, E.J. also sent me some yummy Romance Cards from the first two books in the series.


The first book is called She Smells The Dead.  I think that may be my favorite paranormal title ever!




Poor Yuki smells the dead, but not in the way you think.  She doesn't smell rotting decaying people.  She smells a particular scent, like pickles or vinegar that is associated with the dead person and until Yuki solves that person's death, the smell won't go away.  Oh, and as a goth in small town Maine, she's kind of seen as a witch by the small minded people in her school.  Not all, just the small minded ones.  But thankfully she's got a big hunky boyfriend.  Well, first he's just a best friend, but the switch over comes pretty quick!  


Anyway, the next book is where the real terror starts to happen as all the spirits are coming together for the Day of the Dead in the Spirit Storm.  And guess what Cal is? 
Guess the picture gives it away.  But that is one mighty fine looking wolf wouldn't you say?




Now, as a treat I'm going to show you some pictures that are on the card E.J. sent just so you can get an idea of the hunky characters in this series.  Calvin and Yuki are together.  Simon is a lone wolf (lol) but the way things are going and the way they fight, I'd bet he and Emma are going to be a pair before long.  


So here they are:




And here are the cuties because I couldn't get them big enough
This is Calvin Miller and he is in love with Yuki.  And I mean really in love.  And his protective instincts are so swoon worthy, sigh!




And this is Simon!  But wait, there's another one!


And now to introduce you to the latest book in the Spirit Guide series  The Legend of Witchtrot Road.


I'll share with you what got me interested and hope E.J. doesn't mind.  But you've really got to read the series because it builds on itself.


"I heard the harsh, grinding creak of a ship's hull straining against stormy seas just as I felt the vertiginous tilt and roll of the waves beneath me.  I considered letting the motion lull me back to sleep, but one thought kept creeping in to ruin my slumber.  I wasn't on a boat.


With a jolt I tried to leap upright, but up was down and down was up, causing a searing pain to shoot through my shoulder as I dangled from the car safety belt.  I needed to get a look around, but turning my head didn't seem like an easy option.  My neck was stiff, like the time I fell asleep with wet hair, and my head was pounding a rhythm that matched the vampire bats gnawing in my stomach.  Come on Yuki, you can do this.


I had to find out how the hell she got upside down in the car and if Cal was with her (please no) or maybe yes.  She'd be safe.  But when you start the story with a car crash, it can't go anywhere but down!  And I don't think Yuki's extra sense (smelling the dead) gets her into trouble, it's her curiosity.  That silly dung beetle :)


You'll have to read the book to find out what the dung beetles are all about.  But it's a really fun series.  Yes, book one is mainly world building, but it's got a lot of fun things in it, like the dung beetles and the romance with Calvin and Yuki and Yuki's real name.  And I'll be reviewing Spirit Storm and Legend of Witchtrot Road later this week.


Hope you like the eye candy.  Thank EJ for that!


Heather
Thanks EJ!!



Monday, October 10, 2011

Egypt The Uprising Battle for Ma'at by Amira Aly

Egypt the Uprising
Battle for Ma'at
by Almira Aly


A debut novel like no other-- touches on the apocalyptic flavors of the times and tells of a history that transcends the past.

Why is the Arab world in turmoil? What instigated the Spring of Freedom?
There is more to the story than meets the eye...
The very fabric of the world is at stake.

And , believe it or not, your fate lies in the hands of one book-loving Egyptian teen with an extraordinary heritage .

Aya is an Egyptian teenage girl trying to mind her own business and take care of her brother. As their country is swept by the tides of a revolution against a tyrant nicknamed the vile pharaoh, Aya tries to stay adrift. But her blood has something different in store for her.

Learning what the Ancients have always known, She joins a battle for truth and freedom-- a battle for Ma'at.

It is not just a story, however, it is a world-within-world, and a fresh tantalizing outlook on the events in our modern events.

This elegant novella is an introduction to a multi-volume series... The Battle for Maat.



I hate to say it, but I have to say it.  I did not enjoy this book.  There are many reasons and most have to do with me, not the book.  First, I thought I was well versed in the mythology of ancient Egypt.  Not so.  Not by a long shot.  I had no idea who or what Ma'at was or half of the other ancients were in the Neteru discussed in the book.  I don't know if you can find fault with the author on that one.  Can you?  Except for, I left the novel still not really understanding who they were.  There were too many and each had too many names.  Maybe a glossary would have helped.  And I don't know that later editions didn't include one.


The second, the flow, it didn't.  It stopped at each part of the story.  First there was the revolution and the bloodshed.  Then Aya,'s brother joins the fray and she loses him.  It's never clear whether he's dead or just captured.  Aya doesn't know.  Then she's IM-ing the ancient goddess Ma'at.


There is a long slog through a tunnel under the Sphinx and I don't understand it's purpose.  Nothing is really learned.  People disappear and reappear with no explanation.  There is a secret society that Aya's mother was part of and it's possible she's still alive.  


The conclusion is not conclusive and one character is not accounted for at all.  The scientific explanations were not necessary to the story, though I understand why she included them for a certain character's background.  And I was totally lost with what the intent of the bad guys were doing and how they were using Sheddy.


So, I was clueless, bored, and confused as to where and what was happening.


I do think the story has a lot of promise.  After they get out of the tunnel under the Sphinx and meet more people, things get interesting and it was a fast read.  But that wasn't until the middle of the book.  Aya has some bits of humor sprinkled in that are truly great.  When Ma'at starts IM-ing her she says "What should I change my handle to Isis Goddes of Magic?" (p.6).  And this is one of the first novels I've seen the appropriate level of sadness for the loss of a loved one shown.  It seems that so many times that people go on the next day as if nothing has happened.


If you know a lot about Egyptian mythology and Egypt itself, you will find this novel fascinating.  They visit many sacred places, and touch on the idea of ley lines, vampires and of course immortality.  And World Destruction.  Those ideas are sometimes hard to understand, but also interesting, especially ley lines.  This isn't the first novel I've seen them mentioned in.


The writing is easy to understand.  The sentences are simple and it doesn't read like a translation at all.  I believe the author was educated in the US and writes in English very well.  No awkward phrasing or misuse of words.  


So that's my honest review.  I received this book from the author for no monetary compensation.  I doubt I'll be receiving the sequel.  


Heather

Sunday, October 9, 2011

IMM for two weeks

             In My Mailbox                                          




From Amazon- Fairy Metal Thunder by JL Bryan
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Eve by Anna Carey
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton


From the Bargain Bin At Amazon
Hardback of Perchance to Dream and Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Hardback of Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Paperback of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Paperback of Sisters in Sanity by Gayle Forman
Hardback of Tiger's Curse


For Review
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
Thank you Library Things and Penguin And Dial


Won
Forgive My Fins and Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs
from The Musings of ALMYBNENR A Book Blog and some Tera Lynn Childs swag.  
Big Thank You!!


From the same contest I also won
Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto and the 13 Reasons Why
from Candace's Book Blog along with some Jay Asher swag.


And again from the same contest Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare from The Bookshelf Review




A nice surprise from EJ Stevens was her third book in the Spirit Guide series The Legend of Witchrot Road and some trading card with yummy pictures of Cal and Simon (who really cares about the girls)  Pictures will be coming and bookmarks and postcards and all kinds of lovely swag in Halloween bags!  Isn't it fun to get a book you didn't expect, especially one you like with all those unexpected goodies.  And I've already started and it starts right in on the action with Yuki and Emma hanging upside down in a .... guess you'll have to get the book to find out.




From Paperback Swap I received:
Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith
and
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green


And finally I won the contest at Small Review to promote The River of Time Series so that Lisa Tawn Bergren can write book four in the series and won signed copies of all three books plus signed bookmarks!


So, this is for two weeks remember, but uh, that's a lot of books!  


I'm curious, have any of you read any of these?  What do you think?  Any I should read first?  And don't say Daughter of Smoke and Bone, because I already have and it's the most beautiful, perfect book I have ever read!  So what should I read next?


Heather



Friday, October 7, 2011

Dael and the Painted People by Dr. Allan Richard Shickman

Dael and the Painted People
A prehistoric adventure, this is the third of the Zan-Gah young adult books. When Dael, guilty and tormented, came to live with the tribe of the painted people, he longed for peace and restoration; but without knowing it, he made a powerful enemy. Luckily, Dael had friends-including a troop of crows-and his own mystical powers. The disturbed and violent hero learns from the Children of the Earth, and from his submissive wife, a new way of life that is peaceful and generous. Dael and the Painted People is a story of conflict, healing, hate, and love by the winner of the Eric Hoffer Award, a finalist for the ForeWord magazine Book of the Year Award, and the Mom's Choice Gold Seal for Excellence in a family-friendly book series.



Dael and the Painted People is the third novel in the Zan Gah series and the best yet in my opinion. This one read like a novel for middle graders set in prehistoric times. I don't know how historically accurate it was but it was a great novel.

Dael has had a hard life and parted ways with his people the Ba-Coro. His only companion is Sparrow, a mute girl that fell in love with a boy who couldn't love her. She doesn't have any idea why she's going with Dael, but she is. Different points of view are read throughout the story, but we get a really good look into the mind of Dael who left so crazy with anger and, well, kinda crazy. And into the mind of Sparrow.

It is wonderful to see Sparrow assert herself and grow into a chatty, friendly girl when they join the Painted People who have a language that uses clicks and guttural sounds instead of words. It's the first time Sparrow can communicate and she is a totally different person. She lives up to her name and makes the first friends she's ever had and builds her confidence. Dael is amazed by her and has to learn from her. But he's also comforted by her and they grow into a comfortable existence with the Painted People.

Dael is still haunted by victims of his past and the tortures he endured. And he has been getting a reputation as a medicine man because of his knowledge of healing herbs and his ability to be in touch with the spirit world. He incurs the jealousy of the local Shaman who tries everything to discredit Dael, who is so ignorant of the man's jealousy he doesn't watch out for himself.

Throughout the novel, life is portrayed much as we've all been taught our prehistoric ancestors lived. I think this is a great novel for anyone that has an interest in reading a novel set in this time period. The action in the story is compelling enough to move the story forward, maybe slower than other books, but it kind of mirrors the lifestyle of the Painted People. I found this to be my favorite of Dr. Shickman's books so far and read it quickly in an afternoon. With his descriptions and having read the previous two books, I expected to look up and find myself in the Painted land. I highly recommend this one!

Thanks to Dr. Shickman and to Earthshaker Books for the ARC of Dael and the Painted People. This in no way influenced my review of the book.






















Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Interview with Anya Parrish author of Damage

Today I have Anya Parrish, author of the paranormal, thriller DAMAGE.  You can read my review of it HERE


The Short Bio
Anya Parrish was born in Louisiana, grew up in Arkansas, went to college in New York, and found herself in California. She lives in Sonoma County, California with her family. DAMAGE is her first novel. Look for it in the fall of 2011 from Flux books.

The First Person Bio
I'm Anya Parrish. I write books about killer imaginary friends and falling in love. I have a very short attention span and I write for similar people who must have something HAPPENING on every page. I hope readers enjoy my 2011 debut, DAMAGE.
I'm also a mother of two and a wife to an amazing man in addition to a cook, a knitter, a wine drinker, a dancer, a game player, a song singer, and a mess. My house, however, is usually clean.
1.Well the first and most obvious question is, did you have some scary encounter with your imaginary childhood friend that prompted you to write this novel?

Sadly, no. I wasn't clever enough to have an imaginary friend--friendly, killer, or otherwise. I did have a lot of chatty stuffed animals, however.

2.One thing I wasn't clear on, what was Dani in the hospital for?

She's in the hospital for severe childhood diabetes. I think this confuses some people because--though diabetes is mentioned in the prologue--people don't think of it as a disease that's truly life threatening anymore. But it can be, especially for children.

3.What kind of research did you have to do, without giving anything away, to write your novel?

I did a lot of research about diabetes, ballet, winter sports in upstate New York, and secret government experiments in the Arizona desert.

4.On your web page you say "I have a very short attention span and I write for similar people who must have something HAPPENING on every page." Can you tell us what that sentence means to you?

There are times when I enjoy a quiet, meandering read, but more often I prefer the literary equivalent of an action movie. An action movie with nice character development that makes me care what happens to the people running from the bad guys/fighting the monster/escaping from the military installation. I write for people who enjoy the same.

5. Why the drastic difference in lifestyles between Dani and Jesse?

I wanted to illustrate the power of a shared experience--especially when that experience is a dramatic, painful one. That these two people from very different worlds and backgrounds can be brought together and learn to care about each other so quickly says a lot about how formative their childhood attacks were for each of them.

6. The story is far from completed. Can we expect another book or books with more mayhem from Rachel and "the monster"?

I would love to write more in this world--and already have a second novel plotted--but we're waiting to see how sales are for DAMAGE. If sales are strong, I'd certainly enjoy writing another book. I have several secrets about Dani, Jesse, and Mina that I'd love to explore.


Thank you so much Anya for visiting my blog today and taking the time to answer my questions.  I know you're busy.  I sure hope it's writing the sequel to DAMAGE!!!



Heather

The Girl in The Steel Corset by Kady Cross



In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one except the "thing" inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch...

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits. Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help-and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on, even if it seems no one believes her.

I read The Girl in the Steel Corset months ago. In fact, I read it as soon as it came out. That cover mesmerized me. I loved that metal glove on Finley's hand. I want one. I want that dress and a steel corset! And I really want a Griffin King after me! Or just subtly pursuing me. And I promise not to be as ignorant as she is of his interests. But that Finley Jane, she is so uniquely her own self, she defies category, definition even. I loved her character. Tough as nails when she felt her self preservation kick in, but ladylike when the case called for it. But what I loved most about Finley Jane and her personality was that she had this inner dialogue going on that never stopped, but was right on when it came to assessing a situation, a person, or a need. The only thing she never guessed right was everyone's regard for her and that was because she felt so beneath all of them and so bad about herself, she could never see what others truly felt about her. Except for the criminal element, Jack Dandy for whom she has an unnatural attraction. But then she thinks, she's common so why not? But Griff has other plans for her.

Sam was a character I never got around to liking. I know he'd had a hard time previous to the novel and he was part machine, part of what had almost killed him and he hated that. He hated Emily and Griff for saving him that way and he hated Finley. But Finley's only crime was that she was new to the group. He just needed a scapegoat. I really hated Sam throughout the book and that was hard, because Emily liked him and somewhere in all the hatred and anger, he liked Emily.

Emily was a sweetheart. I pictured her as a Pippi Longstocking kind of looking girl because she was always described with ropey braids. And she didn't seem to have time for fashion as she was always working on something in her laboratory. I liked her because she was the first to make Finley feel welcome at the house. She healed her wounds and Finley thought of her as her first real friend.

And then there was Griffin. Griffin the richest man in England. Richer than the Queen. An orphan at a young age, able to tap into the Aether, the spirit world, whenever he wanted or needed to see disturbances and try to track down the Machinist, the thing that had tried to kill Sam, had killed others and he suspected had something to do with the deaths of his parents. And he's met his match with Finley. She thinks her station so beneath him, that they are actually able to be friends. And his pursuit of her is taken very lightly by her. Because a man of his wealth and breeding could never be with a girl like her.

Oh these characters are so richly woven into the story with some additional side characters and the plot, to find the Machinist, is driven with the force of two very powerful beings, Sam with his anger and hatred and Finley with her strength and love to protect her new friends. The two clash on the battlefield and then find themselves up against a truly unbeatable force.

There is a cliffhanger ending on two counts and I cannot wait to read the next installment of the Steampunk Chronicles. Kady Cross weaves several different story lines together intricately never quite losing the thread of one for another so that they are all there being woven together loosely, but present. Her characters are full and colorful and some of my favorites in YA. Read it if you haven't! Even if you think you don't like Steampunk, there is no way you can't love this one!

Highly recommended!

Heather

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs


Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.

Sweet Medusa's stony stare! This was full of awesome!! I took my time reading this one savoring every bit of mythology and loving every little bit of discovery the girls came across, first Gretchen and Grace, then all three with Greer added! I have to say, and I know you aren't going to like me for this I loved Greer! This was a girl that was not going to let seeing monsters get in the way of her social obligations! "This monster fighting gig cannot...interfere with my social schedule."(p.338) Then later she admits "I'm joking." but she is serious. I just love that she fights a monster in Jimmy Choos and Kate Spade!

But seriously could any three girls be more different and yet have such a common goal and common powers and destinies? I totally loved everything about this book. The boys with names like Thane and Milo and the irreprssible Nick. I have a feeling there will be some mixing and matching going on and that Thane will somehow meet Greer. I just can't tell which boy is on who's side. Somebody has to be working for the other side. This story is full of holes and not in a bad way, just lots of questions for the next book. And I seriously am having withdrawal for the next one which seems like light years away. I don't think I've ever been left on such a huge cliff hanger. Who did that to them? And I loved that place! It was so cool, but obviously compromised.

So I've rambled enough, just to say, Sweet Venom is the beginning of a series worthy of the gods! You know how jealous they are so they'll all be clamoring for their own story, but this one belongs to one particular goddess I believe. And I love how Tera Lyn Childs has set this one up. It's got everything I love about YA. Mystery, mythology, danger, characters that wouldn't be together thrown together by circumstance and a little romance. I love it! And poor Medusa, misunderstood all these years!

I highly recommend this for all teens! Unless you're squeamish about killing monsters.

Heather

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