Monday, January 30, 2012

Review- The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander

The Fourth Stall
by Chris Rylander
Walden Pond Press
Available Now

Chris Rylander delivers a funny Ferris Bueler-style middle grade novel with The Fourth Stall

Do you need something? Mac can get it for you. It's what he does—he and his best friend and business manager, Vince. Their methods might sometimes run afoul of the law, or at least the school code of conduct, but if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can pay him, Mac is on your side. His office is located in the East Wing boys' bathroom, fourth stall from the high window. And business is booming. 

Or at least it was, until one particular Monday. It starts with a third grader in need of protection. And before this ordeal is over, it's going to involve a legendary high school crime boss named Staples, an intramural gambling ring, a graffiti ninja, the nine most dangerous bullies in school, and the first Chicago Cubs World Series game in almost seventy years. And that's just the beginning. Mac and Vince soon realize that the trouble with solving everyone else's problems is that there's no one left to solve yours.

Chris Rylander knows how to write funny.  I think humor is probably one of the hardest things to write, maybe because I'm not all that funny, but Chris Rylander must be, because I was laughing all the way through The Fourth Stall, even when I was trying not to.  Even my very hard to please kids (12 and 15) laughed at the lines I read out loud to them. And when I told them how Mac and Vince got their "office" in the bathroom in the fourth stall under the high window (I know it's a mouth full, but in a bathroom, isn't next to the window important?), they snickered a little.  It had to do with a bottle of superglue, a toilet seat and the principal's extremely regular visits to that particular stall, but it's not exactly what you might think. There was a whole lot of glue involved and Mac and Vince had nothing to do with it.  Anyway, you know I enjoy my middle grade fiction, but this one, was better than most of the YA I've been reading!

I was so tired of reading about angels and saw that The Fourth Stall II (the boys and I got a kick out of why they didn't call it number two, I do live with all boys,  even the dogs I have to laugh at bathroom humor), was coming out in just a few days and I hadn't read it yet. So I figured I'd better read the first one. I could hardly put it down last night. I even picked it up before my morning coffee so I could finish the last few pages of it, it's that good.  

As you can probably tell from the front of the book, Mac named for MacGuyver because he gets things done and Vince run a business somewhat like the Godfather. My husband noticed the resemblance. He doesn't read much and tunes out on book discussions.  But if it's the Godfather he perks up. "Hey, that looks kind of like the Godfather," he says after I've been reading all day.  "Yes, honey, because these two sixth graders have a business kind of like that, they get things done for kids and if the kids can't pay, they owe favors."  "Wow that's a great idea for a kids book."  "Yes, that's probably what the author thought when he wrote it."  "So what happens?"  "I don't know. As you can see, I'm still reading." "Oh, I'll let you finish. Tell me tomorrow.  Anybody named Sonny?" "No!"  So , yes Mac and Vince run a business during morning and afternoon recess and lunch in this very far away bathroom that no one uses. Mac has a desk and people come to him with their problems and he solves them. Vince keeps the books.  And they have muscle at the door, Joe the biggest kid in the school who only lets one person in at a time and keeps the crowd low so it doesn't look suspicious .  Mac and Vince are the biggest Cubs fans in history and they are saving to go to a World Series game. And this year looks like it could be their year. This was another fact my husband was interested in because he told me the Cubs were the worst team"in the history of the free world."  When he tacks that phrase on, I know they must be pretty bad.  Anyway, I figured, this is fiction so why couldn't the Cubs go to the World Series.  I was keeping an open mind about the whole thing as I'm sure Cubs fans do every year!

Things are running smoothly until their worst problem in years comes in, a pint sized third grader who has been placing bets with the fabled Staples.  Until that day, no one even knew that Staples was even real, he was just a rumor.  Staples is sending The Collector after the third grader, Fred, and he's afraid of what The Collector might do to him. As Mac and Vince make plans to take down Staples who has infiltrated their school and therefore their business, they find they have a spy in their midst, a thief, they have to meet and work with the schools nine biggest bullies (reading about Kitten alone is worth the price of the books) and their World Series funds begin to dwindle.   What ensues is a systematic take down of Mac and Vince's business and friendship and a backfiring and double cross of all the plans Mac makes to take Staples down.     And as is always the case, the best laid plans of mice and men go awry and Mac has to step back and get his priorities straight before he loses everything. 

The ending couldn't be more perfect and I wish I could tell you about it.  But I don't want to spoil it. It is absolutely fabulous and not something I would have imagined in a million years but can picture with such clarity and I'm still laughing!  The mental image is hilarious except for Kitten, I might have nightmares of him.  There is a set up for the next book, kind of like the old detective movies something along a sixth graders version of, "I knew the dame was trouble the moment she walked in."  And I'm getting ready to dive into The Fourth Stall (number two) Part II.  (Barnes and Noble will never accept this review with that in there.   I'll have to write a whole different review, but maybe that's for the best.)  But it's my blog, and I can write my review, here, how I want it!

As I wrote in the beginning, the book is peppered with humor from Vince's crazy Grandma's sayings to the boys trying to trip each other up on Cubs trivia.  Rylander's writing style is easy for any middle grader to read, though some of the subtle meanings may be harder for younger (8-9) readers to pick up on. It just depends on the reader.  None of the situations are inappropriate for anyone in the MG age group.  I loved the friendship that Mac and Vince had.  They had been best friends since Kindergarten or even before, when Mac moved in to the trailer park where Vince lived.  Vince is quirky, but Mac gets him and loves him, really, they love each other.  They don't say it, but you know they do and they aren't afraid even to cry in front of each other.  That's a true testament to a boy's friendship with another boy.  And I loved that Rylander showed that even in 6th grade, it was okay to cry, because when you get the snot beat out of you, you might feel like crying.  And during an emotional time, like when your Dad dies, you might also feel like crying, and your best bud says, hey it's okay and he doesn't think any less of you.  That's what I hope kids will take away from this book when they read it.  Kudos to Chris Rylander for and outstanding novel!!

Enjoy the rest of the day!
Heather

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review- Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James

Forbidden
by Syrie James and Ryan M. James
Available Now


She should not exist. 

He should not love her. 

Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger. 

Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans. . . . 

Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her?

Do you ever feel like reading some YA is a guilty pleasure?  I do. Especially some of Harper Teens books. And this was one of those.  Prop up my pillows, have my coffee and my music and turn off the phone. Be quiet, I'm reading.  Forbidden is a little on the youngish side of the YA spectrum, but it was an interesting addition to the already large pile of angel books in YA today.   

The main character, Claire Brennan is a junior at an elite prep school, on scholarship and has to keep her grades up in order to keep her scholarship.  She's in all honors classes and oh yeah, she's sixteen and just hit puberty, in that girl way.  So life is going swimmingly, especially when she meets the cute new boy with the Scottish accent standing in line in front of her and her friends waiting to get his school i.d.  She can't tell if he's shy or stand offish or if that's the Scottish way when he doesn't really talk to them. So, she puts him out of her head, especially when her major crush of two years comes up and talks to her two friends, totally ignoring her.  As a character, I like Claire.  She doesn't push her mother for answers that are long overdue. She is assertive at times and shy at others, but eventually gets comfortable enough with herself that she asserts herself. She knows what she wants and doesn't waffle back and forth.  She accepts her fate with grace  and her losses a little better than I would have, but it was reasonable considering the amount of time the novel takes place over.  But, she's just a bit vanilla.  No kickin' gifts. At least not yet.

Now, Alec MacKenzie he has some kick ass gifts.  As an angelic descendant, he's got powers that helped him fulfill his past duties. Now he's AWOL and hoping to blend in with the students at Emerson Prep. But, when he sees Claire, he loses his ability to form words. Yep, insta like.  But he keeps it to himself.  He's got a lot of things to hide and his weird little habits make him a much more interesting character than Claire.
He obviously has super strength when he breaks Claire's locker the day they meet, but funnier than that, is his inner dialogue which I love that we get to hear!  I wish all authors would let us hear both sides of the story, girl's and guy's points of view.  It makes the story that much more enjoyable to me.  We get both points of view at various times and it really adds to the story.  Alec is more complex than Claire because he knows who and what she is, how much danger she is in, how much he can't be with her and what his duty is concerning her.  But he wrestles with all that in the few weeks they know each other.  And, he's hiding out himself and afraid of being caught himself. I did have a problem with the Scottish part of Alec.  A big deal was made of his accent, but the only time he said anything remotely Scottish was "aye".  There weren't even a few "bloodys" thrown in though there were a few  "shites" and then the American version of that word thrown around.

The best friends, Brian and Erica were awesome!  Great supporting roles and really in the know. Claire told them everything.  Erica especially.  But she really didn't keep anything from Brian so she had someone to bounce ideas off of and to help her stay sane during the turmoil she goes through.  They were the best friends anyone could have asked for. They even humored her with her theory that Alec was a vampire.
Can't ask for a better friend than that!

The story is really very simple, but it's a pleasure to read and the ending had a neat little twist to it that left me wanting more.  I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series.  I didn't see series on the cover, but I do hope it's a series because there is a lot left open and I like HEA's in my Harper Teen books! It's why I get almost every one!  

This was a mother and son writing team and I think they did a great job.  It didn't feel like one person was writing and then another was writing.  I  read that Ryan M. James is an editor for the video game industry. I could see some of his visions in the "special effects" that one of the characters can do.  They did an excellent job making their collaboration seamless.

A small bit of language, nothing excessive and kissing.  Teen pregnancy was mentioned but it's not who you think.

Heather

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review- New Girl by Paige Harbison

New Girl
by Paige Harbison
January 31st, 2012
Harlequin Teen


They call me 'New Girl'... 

Ever since I arrived at exclusive, prestigious Manderly Academy, that’s who I am. New girl. Unknown. But not unnoticed—because of her. 

Becca Normandy—that’s the name on everyone’s lips. The girl whose picture I see everywhere. The girl I can’t compare to. I mean, her going missing is the only reason a spot opened up for me at the academy. And everyone stares at me like it’s my fault. 

Except for Max Holloway—the boy whose name shouldn’t be spoken. At least, not by me. Everyone thinks of him as Becca’s boyfriend but she’s gone, and here I am, replacing her. I wish it were that easy. Sometimes, when I think of Max, I can imagine how Becca’s life was so much better than mine could ever be. 

And maybe she’s still out there, waiting to take it back.

Teens have a hard enough time trying to figure out who they are as they go through their years between 12 and 17 or 18.  But imagine being called "New Girl" all through the school year, because that's who you are and no one tries to get to know you. They're too busy trying to tell you who you'll never be. You'll never be the effervescent  Becca, the other new girl, last year's new girl who is missing.  She is assured time and time again that she will never live up to Becca's image, personality, nor will she ever be allowed or gain the interest of Max nor Johnny because they both were in love with Becca and are just waiting for her return to rekindle their romance.  Everyone believes she's coming back, or so she's led to believe.

The beauty of this novel is that we never get a name for the New Girl.  She just goes with New Girl and allows people to call her that and treat her like the New Girl. She futilely tries to stand up for herself and we are inside her head knowing that she is not some spineless creature, she's just never been in this position, friendless, outcast, social pariah.  She's always been friendly outgoing, social. It's new territory, for the New Girl.  And trying to deny she's wanting Becca's life is pointless because in some ways she does. Who doesn't want to be beautiful and loved by everyone and she kind of does like Max and she feels bad about all of it.

But this is the year that things change for the New Girl.  I didn't think she should have put up with the treatment she got from Max. I wouldn't have. She deserved better than that. Max was sweet with her sometimes, but he blew so hot and cold, she couldn't count on him.  The New Girl learned to rely on herself and that she could make it by herself in a place of isolation. She grew up. Found out what the real world was like and tested the waters for the coming years.  Her plans had always been to go to FSU (boo hiss) with all her friends from high school, but this year away, taught her that maybe, she should challenge herself. Maybe step out of her comfort zone.  In her isolation, she learns who she really is and isn't.

The chapters are told in alternating points of view, though it might be told three chapters Me as in the new girl and two chapters Becca which was the year before.  We can tell she, Becca,  is a troubled girl, certainly narcissistic , but also more  impressed with appearance than her own happiness.  Max plus Becca equals most beautiful couple on campus, and Becca most envied. But is she happiest with him? It doesn't seem to matter. She does seem to have a heart and we see bits and pieces of it leak through her plans.

But the "New Girl" garners the most sympathy from us. Be it a tirade from her roommate who was Becca's one true friend and former roommate  or a "You can't like Max or Johnny, because you'd just be hurt when Becca is comes back. Max is going to marry her. We're trying to spare you from getting hurt," talk from Madison and Julia.

This novel was filled with tension from the time the "New Girl" set foot on the campus of  Manderly until she graduated. I kept waiting for Becca to return, or for her roommate to try to kill her. And I'm not saying attempts were not made on her life. Her roommate was extremely abusive.  The climax is unexpected and the accusations that fly are extremely revealing.  I loved this book. The tension, the "New Girl" finding herself and refusing to give in to the constant pressure of being something she wasn't, the mystery behind Becca's disappearance, it all lead to a great story. I've never read Rebecca so I don't know how it did as a retelling, but as a novel for today, I thought it was excellent!

Oh, as a rating, there was a lot of casual sex, drinking and drugs, the typical fare of boarding schools that actually does happen parents.  So be advised.  The sex is not detailed, but there is a lot of it and the drinking is excessive. You've been warned.  I think all of it was necessary for the story.
****There is a rape scene as well that I didn't remember when I posted this review*****

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WOW

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme started by Jill at Breaking the Spine to showcase books we can't wait to read. Here are a couple I'm looking forward to:

Splintered by A.G. Howard that doesn't come out until late 2012 or early 2013.
There isn't even a cover for it, but there is a trailer for it so here it is:

Here is the Good Reads book synopsis for it:
For sixteen years, Alyssa Gardner has lived with the stigma of being descended from Alice Liddell -- the real life inspiration for Lewis Carroll's famed novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But cruel jokes about dormice and tea parties can’t compare to the fact that Alyssa hears the whispers of bugs and flowers ... the same quirk which sent her mother to a mental institution years before. 

When her mother takes a turn for the worse and the whispers grow too strong for Alyssa to bear, she seeks the origins of their family curse. A set of heirlooms and a moth tied to an unusual website lead Alyssa and her gorgeous best friend / secret crush, Jeb, down the rabbit hole into the real Wonderland, a place more twisted and eerie than Lewis Carroll ever let on. 

There, creepy counterparts of the original fairytale crew reveal the purpose for Alyssa’s journey, and unless she fixes the things her great-great-great grandmother Alice put wrong, Wonderland will have her head.
If you want to find out more visit A.G. Howard at her blog.

My other choice also doesn't have a cover but is just too enticing to pass up, so I'm using her new blog header as the book cover which is also very lovely.

The book is The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
This one is published by Tor and again will probably come out late Winter 2012 or in 2013



16-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare. Literally. Dusty is a magical being who feeds on human dreams. 

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder. The setting is Arkwell. 

And then it comes true. 

Now the Dusty has to follow the clues--both within Eli’s dreams and out of them--to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target. 

Mindee Arnett’s debut novel, THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR (80,000 words), is Paranormalcy meets Hex Hall.

If you'd like more information, please visit her at her newly decorated blog.

Just a note- The Apocalypsies had a huge giveaway this week with over 50 blogs participating and I won some swag. They say they will be doing it again, so you might want to keep checking back with either your favorite authors or on the Apocalypsies website. That would be www.apocalypsies.blogspot.com

So, what are YOU waiting for??? I WANNA KNOW!
Heather





Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tempting Tuesdays Week 4


Week Four Discussion Questions: Chapters 13-15 + epilogue

1. Chapter 13 opens with Merit describing her new job routine as House Sentinel. Considering that every job at Cadogan House is important in helping to make the house run efficiently, which job do you think you'd like to have (guard, cook, social director, gardener, etc.) and why?


Is there a job that you could lay around and read all day? Probably not. How about house historian. They must need someone like that. Catalog the days events. Get the history of newbies they just initiated into the house. Record the recent events. That would be the job I'd like to have. Something to do with writing and my mind. Yeah, so maybe I made it up, but somebody has to keep that Cannon up to date!

2. In the supernatural world of Chicagoland Vampires, politics seem to play an important role in the way the Houses are run. Now that you've been introduced to the Rogues, do you think it's better for vampires to be a part of a House or to live outside of one. 

For the vampires, I'd say live in a house. Yes they have to follow rules, but I think it's safer for them. If a murder happens, as it does in the book, they won't be rounded up and thrown in jail just because they don't have a house.  To me the house seems kind of like a union. They get medical, dental and a lawyer if they need one!

3. After Morgan openly asks to court Merit, she feels betrayed when Ethan commands her to accept for the show of alliance it could bring to Cadogan House. Do you think her reaction was warranted?

Hell yes!  Here it seems they have feelings, or at least attraction to each other and he's basically saying 
you have to date this guy for the good of the house. He doesn't ask if she likes him or if it's okay, he's basically rejecting her and forcing her to pretty much prostitute herself out to Morgan all in one command, not that she has to sleep with him, but still.  It's like a slap in the face.

4. When Ethan meets with the perpetrator of the murders, were you surprised to discover who it was? If you suspected someone, were your suspicions correct? What did you think of the perpetrator's motive?

Celina was always suspicious, but I didn't think Amber would betray him. She didn't seem to have the brains for it.  And that a rogue did the killings was no surprise. But Celina's reasoning was that of a madwoman, which is often the case.  There was no way it would work. They should have stayed hidden to begin with and everyone would  have been much safer.

5. What was your favorite/least favorite parts of Some Girls Bite?

My favorite part was when Merit challenged Ethan to a fight and held her own. Actually it was always when she stood up to him. I loved the banter back and forth. She was gutsy and I liked her for it.

My least favorite, and I know I'm going against the grain here is Mallory and Catcher together. Alone, I could accept them, even like them, but the constant groping and fighting and PDA just turned me off.

6. What do you think is coming up next for Merit, Sentinel of Cadogan House? Will you continue reading this series, and if so, what do you hope to see happen in the next book?

I'm pretty sure Merit is going to be tested in ways she never imagined as Sentinel. I don't know what those ways are, but I know they won't be easy or fun.  And yes, I plan to continue reading the series. I really enjoyed it. I love these read alongs! When is the next one? 

Thanks Missie! These were great questions and thanks to everyone that participated! I had so much fun answering the questions and thinking more about the novel than I might have otherwise. I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone else answered the questions!

Heather

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Incarnate
by Jodi Meadows
Harper Collins Children's Books
January 31st, 2012

NEWSOUL 
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why. 

NOSOUL 
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame? 

HEART 
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all? 

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life

Insanely jealous.  That's how I felt after reading Incarnate.  How can a writer use words and phrases I've read and heard all my life and put them together so differently to tell a story so mesmerizing that I didn't feel time go by, I didn't eat, I didn't acknowledge anyone. I was immersed in this new world and the people in it and mostly, in the private world of Ana and Sam.  To say I liked this novel would be an understatement.  Part high fantasy with dragons, centaurs and other monsters, part dystopian with the High Council making decisions about the citizens of Heart and part Science Fiction with drones and lasers it is completely fascinating.

The characters are well developed beginning with Ana or NoSoul telling us bits of her early life from her eighteen year old self as she leaves Li the woman that raised her, that gave birth to her, but certainly not the woman that deserves the title of mother.  Not as we read further about how she treated Ana and see how undeserving Ana feels of even the smallest kindness.  Li festered under my skin like a wound I wanted to cut open and bleed. She was a warrior, yes, but heartless and cruel.  And when she sets Ana out for her trip to Heart by herself, she sends her the wrong way with half truths and a broken compass.

Sam, who has lived for thousands of years as a man and as a woman has the most compassion and empathy for Ana and seems to understand her almost immediately.  When she acts like a frightened deer, he takes more time, never turned away by her harsh words, when she lashes out before he can lash at her.
He slowly comes to understand her more, but learns how to treat her, very early on, so she doesn't run away.

Music plays a big part in this story. It's always been Ana's comfort and Sam enjoys it too.  The way it is  developed into the story as more is very interesting.  I know the piano a little, but have never written music.  I was fascinated at how the description of the music sounded.  It's something you'll have to read to discover and enjoy.

Heart, is not an accepting place, despite it's name.  There is very little acceptance of Ana, but then don't people always fear the unknown, differences.  And she is unique, one of a kind.  No one knows why she exists. Or how. And more importantly if they will be the next to not reincarnate.  They are afraid and place all that fear into anger against her.

The world Jodi Meadows paints is slow to be revealed, exactly as I like it.  Some of it could be our world. Some of it could be what I've read in history books.  Sam describes the time of cave people.  And then there are the fantasy elements, the reincarnation, it's not hard to grasp or believe.  It's not filled with rules I don't understand or complex societies.  It's very basic.  And that's Ana and Sam's problem.
Jealously, greed, fear.  

There were elements of danger, romance, violence, war with dragons and sylphs.  Ana finds herself in unusual and unlikely places. There are attacks and accusations. A lot of danger in Heart, some place you'd think would be peaceful.  The conclusion is satisfying in that there is no cliffhanger, but it definitely leaves you wanting more.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for my review.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WOW-Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme started by Jill at Breaking the Spine so we bloggers can show everyone the books we are waiting for longingly!!!

I don't know if anyone else is aware of the YAmazing Race going on at the Apocalypsies various websites
but go to that link right there and get the 411!! There are over 50 YA and MG debut authors participating in this contest and it's absolutely fun to do and not that hard!  And great prizes are being given away, but more importantly, I found out about 40 plus books I'd never even heard about. And a couple of them are being featured here today! The contest ends January 23rd so you need to hustle on over because it takes some time to visit 50 blogs!!

So my first book is so far from being published they don't even have a cover for it. But don't let that stop you!
The book is described as a dystopian Japanese inspired Steampunk Fantasy. Now how's that for hitting all the genres I don't love!  And yet, I gotta read this one- it's got a GRIFFIN in it!  I have loved Griffins since HP!
It does come out in the spring- here's what I know:

This art is straight from the author's webpage Mr. Kristoff

The Trilogy is The Lotus War and the book is called STORMDANCER
Here is what his website says about the book:

STORMDANCER is the first novel in THE LOTUS WAR; a fantasy trilogy set in a Japanese-inspired steampunk dystopia. We don’t have anything quite so cool as cover art yet, but here’s the official elevator pitch:
A DYING LAND 
The Shima Imperium is verging on the brink of environmental collapse; decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshippers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, land choked with toxic pollution, wildlife ravaged by mass extinctions.
AN IMPOSSIBLE QUESTThe hunters of the imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary beast, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows thunder tigers have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.
A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD GIRLYukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a hidden gift that would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.
But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.
STORMDANCER is set to be released in 2012 through St Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne books in the US, and Tor UK in the United Kingdom. Tentative release date is September 1 for the US/UK/AUS.
You can find it on Goodreads here.
For more information, Jay Kristoff can be reached via misterkristoff-AT-gmail.com



How does that sound for a new idea???  And OMG you guys there were so many books I found I've got about twenty five weeks worth if the books don't come out first!! You have got to visit the Apocalypsies website!!!  Okay, for the next book.  It was really hard choosing, though some have already been featured, there was this one.  Sorry I just love my Faeries!!!

Innocent Darkness

We've got Steampunk Faeries!!!!!

Wish. Love. Desire. Live. 

Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.

Bet reform school ain't looking so bad right now to Noli. I can't wait to see how she gets out of this or if she does. Who knows, she may not be the main character. Or she may be dispensable. These authors are keeping us on our toes these days. Beth Revis will kill off lead characters right and left. Better watch out, never know who's next!  Timepiece is coming out. No telling what Myra McEntire  will do. She'll kill anybody that stand in the way of her story.

Anyway, back to the business at hand-

This one comes out in August and is published by Flux. You can find it on GoodReads Here.  
And just a hint, I saw more than one Merman/ Mermaid tale in the list. Oh, gosh, you have got to go look.
Please visit Apocalypsies you will find so many amazing books set to release!! You'll spend hours there!
Truly looking forward to all the Apocalypsies books and hope I get a chance to read them before the world ends!

What are you waiting for???

Heather

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tempting Tuesdays 3


Today's Tempting Tuesdays is brought to us by Rummanah Aasi at Books in the Spotlight!
Thanks Rummanah Aasi for the great questions!

Discussion Questions Chapter 9-12 


 1. Catcher and Ethan share some personality traits. What makes Mallory, Merit, and even us readers attracted to these guys? Would you date/mate with someone like these guys in real life?

They are Alpha males. Strong personalities, demanding, very sure of themselves, arrogant (It doesn't mean I don't like him Linds!), and extremely good looking. The stop in the street turn around and look. I'm attracted to those guys in my books. I even like the take charge kind of guy sometimes outside of my books, but that's usually because I'm falling apart. In general, no I don't want to be paired with an Alpha male. I'm not an Alpha female and I know how that relationship works-it doesn't. No an Alpha Male needs and Alpha Female. Someone that won't take their attitude and who will stand up to them. And best them every once in awhile just to humble them and keep them human (Ethan). Plus I'd never trust him to be faithful to me if he's looking that good! I've seen the looks you've all been giving these guys!


 2. In Chapter 9 we learn of another murder. Do you see any patterns with the previous murder and Merit's attack? Do you have any guesses as to who is responsible and the motive behind the murders?

Ya got me! Of course I read straight through to the end so I know who did it, but I had no clue while I was reading. There are a lot of red herrings!  Yes, there are some similarities.  The girls all look similar to Merit. And I don't know why. I don't even know that it was explained at the end. But at this point, I had no idea who was doing it. I thought maybe a rogue vampire. We don't know much about them.


 3. The commendation is my favorite moment in the book and a significant event in Merit's life. She has finally come to terms that she is a Cadogan vampire. Were you surprised at all that Merit resisted Ethan's call and that he made her a Sentinel? Do you think she'll do well in this position? Why or why not?

I didn't realize that's what was happening. I thought she was freaking out. I thought she was changing her mind about going up there. Or something else weird was going on. I just didn't understand until Ethan came down and yelled at her. Then I got it. And yeah, I was really surprised she could resist a vampire that old and that she was made Sentinel. It took me a bit to understand that she wasn't his personal guard, but that she guarded the House Cadogan. So potentially, she could kill Ethan if he threatened the House.  And yes, since she's taking things seriously now, I think she'll do well in this position. She seems to have special abilities. She's big and strong. A skilled fighter, but also she can be diplomatic (unless it's Ethan).  I think she'd put her position before her own needs.


 4. Loyalty is a reoccurring theme throughout the book and much of this series. Why is it so important to Ethan that he needs Merit's allegiance? Is it solely a Master and Sentinel thing or does it imply something else?

I think it implies something else. Certainly the show she put on when she fought him showed she challenged him.  He needs her to show allegiance, now.  But also, something is stirring in the vampire world and if Merit is blessed with super powers, then he really needs her to show allegiance to him and House Cadogan.  It's political. She's got the human family with the name. Her grandfather is the Ombudsman. He's in a pretty good position with her in his house and she has to protect the house at all costs, even if he's gone.  I also think it's a setup for future novels. But I haven't read any others, yet.

 5. If you had the opportunity to sit down with Ethan, Merit, Mallory, and Catcher for a bite to eat like in the beginning of Chapter 12, what questions would you ask them at this point of the story?

Oh, now I'm going to have to find the book. Hang on! Oh my Chapter Twelve does not start with eating! Not at all!! Have to go a few pages in for the food.  Okay, hot dogs. First, I'd ask Ethan why he let Merit watch and why Merit did. Bet their faces would be burning!!  Then I'd ask them when they were going to stop playing games and get down to business. And I'd want to know from Ethan everything he knows about what's going on. Was he following Merit so that he just "happened" to be on the scene when she was attacked?  Does he know more about Merit than we do?  And Catcher- Why isn't he training Mallory if she needs to know magic so much. And what's his bond with Ethan? And why did he get thrown out of Magic School or whatever it was? Other than that one, I don't have many questions for the girls. I think I know enough from them.  It's always the guys that are keeping secrets.  You gotta drag it out of them!

These were really fun questions Rummanah Aasi!!! Thanks for hosting Tempting Tuesday this week!
Heather

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review- The Candidates by Inara Scott

The Candidates
by Inara Scott
Hyperion
Available Now

Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that's not just because of her average grades or her less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia's mediocrity is a welcome cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just...happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, believing this way she can suppress her powers and keep them hidden.
But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia's days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for diplomats' kids and child geniuses--not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies. So why are they treating Dancia like she's special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome.
And then there's her mysterious new friend Jack, who can't stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what. But Dancia isn't convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her "gift" than they're letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it...But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy.
This was a great book to read over Christmas.  It wasn't that long and it wasn't gloomy.  It was an interesting mystery. First it took place at a boarding school for "special" kids.  Blend into the woodwork Dancia  is not sure why she's at the Delcroix Academy. But everyone seems to think she belongs there. And for the first time in her life, she's got friends.  I loved the friends.  Two very solid, very thoughtful and good friends.  Hennie and Esther, unique names for some very unique but loyal friends.  No real mean girls in this one except for Dancia's roommate, Catherine. Not Cathy or Cat. Catherine. Yeah she's uptight. But she's more of a control freak and lonely than anything else. That was my impression anyway.
The school is unique. The selection of courses is vast and electives are varied-until you find what you're "special" at, you take all kinds of things. Dancia finds that she is not" special" in public speaking nor pottery. But she is good at attracting the attention of the resident bad boy, Jack who keeps telling her there is some kind of conspiracy going on at the school.  The locked gates bother him. They, the kids at the school, are told it's to keep anyone undesirable out, but Jack thinks it's to keep them in and he shows Dancia some pretty good evidence that makes her question what she's been told.
But she's also got the attention of the hottest guy on campus, the boy that came to her house to recruit her to come to Delcroix.  He goes out of his way to pay attention to her and make her feel special. Now, as I read it, I had my doubts.  Dancia is 15 and he's probably 17. What does a junior want with a 9th grader? I was suspect of his motives and what he wanted from her (not that!).  But Dancia, being 15, doesn't question his attention to her.  She thinks Cam's attraction to her is believable. When I told my husband about this part he nicknamed him Scam and I can't get past calling him that.  Anyway, Dancia has to sort out who to believe and who can be trusted and the answer is surprising.  And what Delcroix is really all about, besides producing senators, and famous painters and actors and ambassadors, is well, one of my favorite things- something paranormal
This was a quick read but left a lot to think about.  I'm glad there is another book coming out soon so I can see what else goes on at Delcroix! Oh and Dancia finds out what she's "special" at. 
This book is appropriate for older MG and any YA reader who like paranormal reads with romance.
Heather

Sunday, January 15, 2012

IMM 1-15-12

IMM
This is a meme started by The Story Siren  as a way for bloggers to share books they've received over the week.  It's a good way to learn about new and old books alike.

So here's what I received or bought this week.

From Net Galley:
Revealing Eden-Save the Pearls by Victoria Foyt
The Fairy Letters from Prince Kian to Queen Breena by Kailin Gow
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Queens of All The Earth by Hannah Sternberg

Purchased for Kindle
Angelfall by Susan Ee
Every Last Kiss-The Bloodstone Saga by Courtney Cole

For Review:
The Prince of Powys by Cornelia Amiri
Barking Mad A Reginald Spiffington Mystery (Kismet Tour Book) by Jamieson Ridenhour
The Priest and the Peaches by Larry Peterson
The New Death and Others (Short Stories and Poems) by James Hutchings
And Crazy by Amy Lynn Reed no picture available (from Simon and Schuster Galley Grab)

Thanks to Random House, Delacorte Books For Young Readers, Bancroft Press, Bookmasters, Sandollar Press, Cornelia Amiri, Tribute Press, Jamieson Ridenhour and James Hutchings , Sparklesoup, The Edge Books and Simon and Schuster.

Won from Book Sake's 1100 Follower's Contest
These are all by Julie Anne Peters
Luna, Far From Xanadu with a new title called Pretend You Love Me, Rage and She Loves You She Loves You Not
Thanks to Book Sake and Julie Anne Peters. They were all personally autographed to me and the author sent a book plate for By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead which I already own.

Bought 
Dreamdark Blackbringer by Laini Taylor
Dreamdark Silksinger by Laini Taylor
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

and finally from PaperBackSwap
Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh
Dracula, My Love by Syrie James
My Blood Approves by Amanda Hocking
Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee

Whew!  My Mailbox was really busy. Both my Kindle and my real mailbox. 
I saved one of my favorites for last. From my friend Kellie at Walden Pond I received a wrapped book in the mail.  When I unwrapped the wrapping, I saw this inside-
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. It doesn't come out until May but you have to read the premise.
Enter a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems. 

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You've never head of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as "Prince Charming." But all of this is about to change... 

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Guztav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it's up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other associated terrors to becom the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

If you love fairy tales, you're gonna love this one!!

Hope you all got good things and have a good week!
Smiles and  Happy Reading
Heather


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