Sneak A Peek Saturday: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Sneak a Peek Saturday is a feature that lets you "peek" into an upcoming book. Sometimes, it is a chapter or two and maybe even less, either way it is an amazing opportunity that I enjoy seeking out and sharing.

This week I have selected Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. What got my immediate attention was this eye catching cover that is positively gorgeous. Then I read this sample and knew that I had to share it.

Imaginary Girls

Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

Review: Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

TRIAL BY FIRE by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA (June 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606841688
Source: Publisher
Rating: YYYY Y

Bryn is finally settling into her position as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack- or at least, her own version of what it mean to be alpha when you’re a human leading a band of werewolves. Then she finds a teenage boy bleeding on her front porch. Before collapsing, he tells her his name is Lucas, he’s a Were, and Bryn’s protection is his only hope.

But Lucas isn’t part of Bryn’s pack, and she has no right to claim another alpha’s Were. With threats old and new looming, and danger closing in from all sides, Bryn will have to accept what her guardian Callum knew all along. To be alpha, she will have to give in to her own animal instincts and become less human. And at the end of the day, she’s going to have to do it alone.
My Thoughts

Trial by Fire is the heart stopping sequel to Jennifer Lynn Barnes Raised by Wolves series. I have been eagerly waiting for this read for nearly a year and was not disappointed in the least. I adore this series and it's kick-ass protagonist combined with a were story that is unlike any lupine adventure before it.

Trial by Fire shortly takes off after Raised by Wolves ended with Bryn being the Alpha in a newly formed and small pack. Bryn is taking each day in stride, testing her boundaries while keeping her pack safe. Then a severely wounded wolf literally collapses on Bryn's doorstep and he is seeking refuge, and that is bad news because he belongs to another pack of a sworn enemy. Bryn soon realizes that although she will do anything to save and protect her pack she is still human and no match for the power and ruthlessness of a were. Especially one that would rather see her dead, but that is the least of her problems for a new adversary makes their presence known and they play dirty. Bryn and her pack will have to work together to fight off their enemies but at what cost will she be willing to win?

Can I just say WOWZA! because I am style hyped up about this amazing read. I am a big fan of Bronwyn Alessia St. Vincent Clare aka Bryn a resilient protagonist that is intelligent, fearless and human alpha of a unique were pack. I know you might think that the idea of a human being in charge of a pack of wolves to be a bit off and unbelievable but that is the beauty of this story, for it totally works. You become immediately consumed with this story and just when you think you have things figured out the rug gets pulled from underneath you and you're left on your backside. . . .stunned. I know this occured when I read Raised by Wolves but this time the stakes have been raised and no one is safe. A new group of characters splash the pages and they are wicked to behold and witness as they demonstrate what they are capable off. I found them a great additional twist to the storyline even though they strongly reminded me of a certain breed of sparkly red-eyed vampires, minus the fangs.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes has penned an action packed adventure that is taunt with mystery, unimaginable situations and remarkable characters. When I read the last few pages I was left with my mouth wide open contemplating on how I would handle waiting for next book to come out because I need to know NOW what is going to happen next to Bryn and her company of wolves and you will also.

Memorable Moment: "Damn him for doing this to me. Damn him to hell and back, but I wasn't going to die crying. Given half a chance, I'd take out his eyes."

Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

ENTWINED by Heather Dixon
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 480 pages

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (March 29, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062001035
Source: Publisher and Audiobook
Rating: YYY

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

My Thoughts

Entwined is a romantic and lighter retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses and while charming and intriguing it could have taken a bit more polish to refine this novel and make it truly shine.

Let it be known that I truly adored this book and it's main protagonist Azalea and her many memorable sisters; Bramble, Clover, Delphinium, Eve, Flora, Goldenrod, Hollyhock, Ivy, Jessamine, Kale and Lily. They all had distinct personalities that made them distinguishable in the story, which is a plus. Azelea and her sisters loved to dance the routines they learned from their beloved mother, then all is halted when their mother dies and they must go into mourning for a year. Yet, when the girls need their father the most he becomes distant and leaves the palace with strict instructions that the mourning protocol be followed to the letter. This leaves Azelea and her sisters are saddened beyond words for dancing is their only source of comfort, something that brings them fond memories of their mother and now it is banned. Then with a bit of magic and longing the girls encounter a secret passageway and find a world of possibilities before them and "The Keeper". Soon Azelea and her sisters are dancing their nights away but all of this forbidden delight comes at a cost and the truth behind it is wickedly terrifying.

For the most part it was a pleasure to witness and become a part of this magical world that Azelea and her sisters inhabited. I adored the the family aspect of this read and reveled in the unexpected romances that gave my heart a bit of warmth not to mention the times I gripped my book whenever the mysterious Keeper became increasingly evil, but there were times that I would find myself drifting, lost in the storyline that seemed to have an overabundance of words. That fact is one of the crucial reasons that I struggled with reading this story. Imagine going to dinner and being forced to eat appetizer after appetizer when all you wanted was the main course then when you get to it you can only take a few bites because you are stuffed, that is how I can best described how I feel. If I had to read another time that our protagonist dug her nails into the palms of her hands to keep from unleashing her temper I think I would have lost it. So, now that I have gotten that out of my system I can move on.

It is not my intent to discourage others from reading this tale of magic infused with bits of romance and a good dose of scary because it is a good read that only needed a bit of magic tightening up to be truly spectacular.

Waiting on Wednesday: Legend by Marie Lu

Jill over at Breaking the Spine created the Waiting on Wednesday meme for us bloggers to showcase books we're waiting on.

My WOW for this week is LEGEND by Marie Lu. The cover was an instant win for me and it drew me in like a moth to a flame. Then I read the snyopsis and said "shut the front door" I knew this was a book I had to have. I am so very excited about this one.

Now that you know my WOW for this week, what is yours?

11/29/11 Legend: Legend Book One by Marie Lu

ISBN-13: 978-0399256752

Putnam Juvenile

The United States is gone, along with its flooded coasts. North America's two warring nations, the western Republic and the eastern Colonies, have reached a breaking point. In the midst of this broken continent and dark new world are two teenagers who will go down in history.... Born into the slums of Los Angeles, fifteen-year old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family's door with an X--the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it. Born to an elite family in Los Angeles' wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic's most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country's highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country--until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital. Only one person could be responsible. Day. And now it's June's mission to hunt him down. The truth they'll uncover will become legend.

Review: Hourglass by Myra Mcentire

Hourglass by Myra Mcentire
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA (June 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606841440
Challenge: Debut Author
Source: Publisher
Rating: YYYYY

ARC back cover synopsis: Since the age of fourteen, Emerson Cole has seen strange thing s- dead things – swooning Southern Belles, soldiers, and other eerie apparitions of the past. She’s tried everything to get rid of the visions: medication, counseling, asylums. Nothing’s worked.

So when Emerson’s well-meaning brother calls in yet another consultant from a mysterious organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to give it one last try.

Michael Weaver is no ordinary consultant. He’s barely older than she is, he listens like no one she’s ever met before, and he doesn’t make her feel the least bit crazy. As Emerson ventures deeper into the world of the Hourglass, she begins to learn the truth about her past, her future – and
her very life.

My Thoughts

Hourglass by Myra Mcentire totally surprised me on how much I adored it and how amazing it was. The reason I believe I was so pleasantly surprised is because I went in believing this book was about a girl with the ability to see ghosts, nowadays a plot that isn't original, but I was nevertheless intrigued. So you can imagine my surprise that the concept of this book was something altogether different.

Hourglass is a story about Emerson Cole a teenage girl that has been plagued with ghostly apparitions shortly before her parents death in a tragic accident. Since then she has had a difficult time coping but after a stint in a mental institution and years away at boarding school she is back in town as her scholarship runs out. Luckily she has her older brother Thomas and his wife Dru that have become Em's anchor and support. It is Thomas who finds Micheal, a consultant from the Hourglass whom he hires to help Emerson with her "problem" and from that day on she is never the same again. Normal is so overrated anyway.

There are many aspects of this story that I enjoy and one of them is the strong adult presence in Emerson's life. Many times stories have absent parents and adult guidance but this story is not the case. It was refreshing to see Emerson confide in her brother Thomas and that they have such a special bond and that he doesn't treat her as if she is crazy and he truly looks out for her *sigh* so heartwarming. I also admire Dru for she is a great motherly influence that has an awesome sense of style and she gives Emerson that balance that she needs.

As for Emerson Cole she a kick ass protagonist and she has won a special place in my heart. Her wicked sarcasm is consistently hilarious. "Holy Hormones Batman" is one of my favorite Emisms and I totally admit to using it. Her interactions with Micheal are sizzling, fun and you just never know what is going to happen next between them but you know you want more of it. Micheal lends that mystery and intrigue to the story that keeps you on the edge and as you get to know and understand him you are already half in love with him. As with the another character Kabel, yowza talk about someone to get the blood pumping faster than a roller coaster ride. Whenever he made an appearance I would be left fanning myself, what a lady killer and I cannot wait to see happens with him in subsequent novels as with the other characters that also became endeared to me.

I admired the whole science fiction concept of this book and considering that I am totally not a sci-fi fan that is saying alot. The idea behind Hourglass is so very innovative that I was eager to know what it was all about from the very beginning. I was made a captive audience and I did not want to stop reading. Hourglass has so many amazing twists, and although I saw a few coming I was completely blind-sided by some of the others and I loved that about this book.

I cannot sing enough praises for Hourglass and I know that the YA genre of readers will devour it greedily and demand more because it is that engrossing and original of a novel and in this market of overused themes and characters, that says alot.

Favorite Quote "I’ve never touched alcohol – doesn’t mix too well with pharmaceuticals – but I knew at that moment what it must feel like to be drunk. Everything in my world shifted, and I knew I would trade every breath I’d ever taken for more of him. In a heartbeat."

Sneak A Peek Saturday: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Sneak a Peek Saturday is a feature that lets you "peek" into an upcoming book. Sometimes, it is a chapter or two and maybe even less, either way it is an amazing opportunity that I enjoy seeking out and sharing.
This week I have selected STARCROSSED by Josephine Angelini. Harper Teen has a stunning line up for amazing books this year and this title is one of them. The cover is simply breathtaking, then you read the synopsis and think wow and once you read this excerpt you will be clamouring for more.

Just click on the book title to read an excerpt and enjoy.

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

Review: RAGE by Jackie Morse Kessler

RAGE by Jackie Morse Kessler
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 228 pages
Publisher: Graphia (April 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780547445281
Source: Publisher
Rating: YYY 1/2

Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.

My Thoughts

Having been a long time fan of Jackie Kessler and familiar with her Four Horsemen series I knew that I would encounter a gripping and intriguing read with newest YA novel, RAGE.

Having read HUNGER I was more than curious to encounter how RAGE would play out and was surprised to have enjoyed it more than I would have believed. It is not to say that I did not enjoy this series and where it was going but I did feel that with the first novel that there was much pre-character development prior to her role as Famine. Now with RAGE I feel as if I have a better grasp and understanding of the newest member of the four Horsemen, Missy aka WAR. Missy is a cutter dealing with life's unbearable situations with the edge of a blade. One night things go to far and she is given a life altering choice, one that she does not relish until she is in the throes of WAR and then she is a force of nature to be feared.

What I valued in this story was the understanding and sympathy that I felt for Missy. I witnessed her pain and anguish, understood her need for the release from all the misery to self iniflicted injury and while I did not agree with her actions I was aware. Self mutilation is a very sensitive subject and Jackie Morse Kessler did a great job of relaying the emotions and actions of Missy's everyday life. While in the grasp of War Missy learns to control her anger and hatred and as the stories progresses you witness her grow and own up to her problems. It was refreshing to see although I have to admit there were moments that I would have liked to gone all Rambo on some of her classmates.

As with her first novel in this series I adored Death, sounds creepy I know but every time he appears on the page I get happy and as you will see I am not the only one. He has an aire about him that makes him all the more alluring despite his day-night job. Another character that jumped from the pages was Famine and I really enjoyed the hostile yet guiding banter that flowed between Famine and War.

Despite my praises Rage is not an easy book to digest. It deals with a very serious issue and some of the passages in this novel with leave you seething in anger and sad from inflicted pain, but in the end you will come to peace with how things work out. I know I did.

Author Interview and Contest with Jackie Morse Kessler

"Fast-paced, witty, and heart-breaking! Jackie Morse Kessler is one of the most talented authors I know."—Richelle Mead, author of Vampire Academy

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Jackie Morse Kessler, author of several successful series including the new YA Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Her newest book release is RAGE (review to follow) So, please sit back, relax and join me as we get to know Jackie a little better.

RR: Jackie, you have been a successful adult author, what made you decide to venture into the YA genre?

JK: I had the idea for HUNGER percolating for 10 years. And one day, I mentioned the idea in passing to my agent, who told me that I had to write the book. :) (And a quick note about being a successful author: no matter how successful I am, I still have to change the kitty litter!) ((That last part was typed with Officekitty on my lap.))

RR: I noted that a portion of proceeds from the sales of each of the novels in the Riders of the Apocalypse series are going to worthy causes, what inspired that?

JK: If there’s a theme to the Riders of the Apocalypse, it’s how we choose to destroy ourselves, and how we choose to save ourselves as well. So donating some of the proceeds felt like the right thing to do.

I used to be bulimic, so I always intended on a portion of HUNGER proceeds going to the National Eating Disorders Association. When I was working on RAGE, my critique partner mentioned To Write Love On Her Arms as a possible organization; when I finished the draft, I looked into it, and I was blown away by TWLOHA.

LOSS, the third book in the series, will follow suit, as will BREATH.

RR: What is your book RAGE about?

JK: About 220 pages! :) Okay, condensed version: A teenage self-injurer becomes the new avatar of War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

RR: What kind of research did you have to prepare for RAGE?

JK: Going into it, I had no personal experience with self-injury. So I started doing some online research, and I found this one amazing site that really was eye-opening, in no small part due to questionnaire responses from people who self-injured. After spending a lot of time on this site, I felt like I had a good enough grasp of self-injury for me to create the protagonist. Luckily, Missy (the protagonist) took it from there. :)

RR. Who was your favorite character in RAGE and why?

JK: Heh. Death. Totally. He plays a mean guitar. And there are moments when you get a glimpse of what he really is, and those are rather chilling. And in LOSS, you’ll see a whole different side of Death. **whistles innocently**

RR: What do you want your readers to take away from your book?

JK: If people start talking more openly about eating disorders and self-injury, I’d be very happy. :)

RR: What was your favorite book that you read as a teen and why?

JK: Hmmmmm. I’d have to go with Tolkien’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS, because it convinced me that adventure awaited just around the corner and that you don’t have to be a hero to save the world. It also blurred good and evil so wonderfully—and convincingly! (The scene at Mount Doom? OMG. Frodo!!!)

RR: What are you in the process of writing next?

JK: LOSS. LOSS, LOSS, LOSS. Oy, this novel! LOL! It’s been a long process. When it’s done, I’m positive it will really work. But until I get to the finish line? Oy! Where’s my chocolate??? :)

Before I tackle BREATH, I’m going to write a middle-grade novel for my boys. **rubs hands gleefully**

RR: What is on your nightstand now?

JK: A manuscript I’m reading for a cover quote, and ENCLAVE by Ann Aguirre.

RR: With all the YA novels that are coming out this year, besides RAGE, what are you most eager to read?

JK: Ooh! EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS, by A.S. King; BITE CLUB by Rachel Caine; BLOODBOUND by Heather Brewer. And for middle grade: THE UNDERTAKERS: RISE OF THE CORPSES by Ty Drago and BEGINNINGS by Heather Brewer. (And for adult: GHOST STORY by Jim Butcher. Hurry up, July!!!)

RR: What is the best way for a reader to find you i.e. facebook/twitter/blog?

JK: LOL, until LOSS is done, I’m in hiding! But then Twitter is where I usually pop up — either @JackieKessler or @JackieMorseKess. I blog, but lately that’s very past tense. I’ll be much better about it once LOSS is done, I promise!

RR: Thank you, for this great interview and I hope to see you again. It has been a pleasure.

JK: Thank you so much! :)

Isn't Jackie the best? You have to pick up RAGE because it is really amazing. In the meantime you can enter this snazzy contest and try your luck there.

RAGE by Jackie Morse Kessler
April 2011 from Harcourt Graphia

Riders of the Apocalypse giveaway! Three lucky winners will receive one copy each of HUNGER and RAGE along with postcards and a mini-poster! To enter, send an e-mail to In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 4/30/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 5/1/11 and notified via email.

Jackie's next stop is Rebecca's Book Blog at

Review: BUMPED by Megan McCafferty

BUMPED by Megan McCafferty
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (April 26, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061962740
Source: Publisher
Rating: YY

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody's doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they search for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a
sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe,
both girls' lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony
realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.


What the Bump?? When I picked up BUMPED to read I did not have any pre-conceived notions....LOL, no pun intended. And although I found the plot thought provoking and darkly amusing I could not seem have interest for it's main characters or comprehend their actions.

With the many dystopian classified novels coming out in the literary world BUMPED does not seem to fall under that catagory, an alternate universe with some imaginative plot line yes, but dystopian I do not believe so. In the future a virus attacks the world population thus making everyone sterile once they reach the age of 18. So you can imagine the social situations that arise with this scenario. Long ago teen pregnancy was looked down upon by society but that belief has now drastically changed and teens are highly encourged and some even paid to become pregnant by any means possible. But, I should not say all of society because there is a faction of believe that people should become pregnant the old fashion way, through marriage...etc.

This story focuses on twin girls Melody and Harmony and both are on different sides of the fence in regards to getting "Bumped" aka knocked up, get the idea. Melody has secured a contract that will financially set her up for her future, while Melody and with her religious beliefs wants to "save" her twin and make her change her mind. Did I forget to mention that they did not know the other existed until they were sixteen? Think it sounds wierd? Just wait until the story progresses and the fecal matter hits the oscillating rotary and you will not know what to think.

While I enjoyed the new vocabulary and quirky situations I could not seem to enjoy this as much as I thought that I would, considering the fact that I love satire. Then towards the end the story seemed to get a little to religiously preachy for my tastes and I seemed to loose whatever interest I had going for it.

Contest: Signed Copies of Hex Hall and Devil's Kiss and tote bag

In March I had the pleasure of meeting Rachel Hawkins and Sarwat Chadda, both were amazing to listen to and visit with and since I had that amazing experience I wanted to share that with a lucky reader.

A signed copy of both Hex Hell and Dark Goddess for a lucky winner plus and awesome tote bag

Open to US contestants only
Must be over 13 and allowed to receive gifts in the mail
Contest ends May 5, 2011 midnight PST

GOOD LUCK!! just click on the image below to enter

Waiting on Wednesday: Legacy by Cayla Kluver

Jill over at Breaking the Spine created the Waiting on Wednesday meme for us bloggers to showcase books we're waiting on. This week for my WOW I have selected LEGACY by Cayla Kluver. Again, a cover has gotten my attention and isn't it seductively beautiful? Then I read the synopsis provided and was marking this as another for the wish list. Now that you know what my WOW is, what is yours?



by Cayla Kluver

ISBN-13: 978-0373210343

Harlequin Teen

The first boy disappeared on the day of his birth, on a night when the pale yellow moon of the nighttime sky turned red and bathed the heavens in the ghastly color of blood, on the same night the Kingdom of Cokyri abruptly ceased its merciless attack. Across the land of Hytanica, under the shadow of the crimson moon, infant boys continued to vanish. Not until the blood had faded from the sky did the disappearances stop and the bodies of the murdered infants were found outside the gates of the city, a final word from the greatest enemy Hytanica had ever known. For the next sixteen years, peace reigned, but one mystery remained unsolved. The Cokyrians had abducted forty-nine newborns, but returned only forty-eight bodies. Now, as seventeen-year-old Princess Alera of Hytanica is besieged from all sides by suitors vying for the Throne, a teenage Cokyrian boy, Narian, is encountered within the walls of her Kingdom, a boy who will show Alera a world where women serve a purpose and not just a husband. As Narian helps Alera find her voice, she struggles against an arranged marriage that will shatter the life she has scarcely begun to live. And when Narian's shocking past is uncovered, and war with Cokyri looms once more, he must fight to defy a fate ordained at his birth.

Before BEA: My Reading Goal

While on TWITTER the other night I noted a few bloggers talking about what they wanted read before they attended BEA. I really enjoyed seeing these posts and decided to post one of my own. My list is crazy and too daunting for words considering I work full time and have a parent that requires alot of my attention. Wish me luck.

So, are you attending BEA? and do you have a goal. If so, then I am curious and would love to know what it is.


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    Contest: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare madness

    Last week I had a great opportunity and attended two book signings with an amazing pair of authors, Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. Since I had such good luck. I decided to share my good fortune with one lucky contest winner. I have a signed pair of books: one signed copy of City of Fallen Angels and the other Red Glove. Plus a bonus of a chapter sampler of Black Heart and Clockwork Prince if contest entries reach over 100. If contest entries reach over 200 another bonus prize will be added.

    Contest Rules:

    Fill out the form HERE if you can

    You must be over 13 years old with permission to receive prizes in the mail.

    This contest is also open INTERNATIONALLY

    This contest ends May 5, 2011 midnight PST


    Review: The Iron Thorn by Caitlyn Kittredge

    THE IRON THORN by Caitlyn Kittredge Excerpt: Here Reading level: Young Adult Hardcover: 512 pages Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 22, 2011) Language: English ISBN-10: 0385738293 Source: Audiobook (Audible) Rating: YYYYY

    In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.

    Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

    My Thoughts

    When I began reading THE IRON THORN by Caitlyn Kittredge I had no idea that I was embarking on an adventure that would totally captivate me and and leave me clamouring for more. An epic read that I want to read all over again.

    Although The Iron Thorn is not my first venture into Steampunk literature it is by far my favorite. Among my many reasons for adoring this book is appreciating how Caitlyn was able to create a world with such imagination and precise descriptive narrative. She took well known paranormal figures and breathed new life into them as they appeared in this fascinating new landscape that was intriguing, original and made of awesome. Aoife Grayson is the protagonist in this dark tale and one of my favorite characters because she exhibits intelligence, inner strength and a vulnerability that makes her seem all the more believable. Yet, despite my admiration for Aoife, I must say that I have a huge crush on Dean and once you read this story you will understand why. He is just too wicked good for words and whenever he is around you are riveted to him and his interactions with Aoife always bring a smile on your face and leave you wanting more. Besides having characters that you will adore you will also have plenty to despise and I love that in a story and believe me you will have one character in particular that you will love to hate. My blood just boils thinking about it...grrrr.

    One thing that I must say about this book is that it may seem a bit confusing to start off with, especially with the different terms used for items we are familiar with and for all the new things involved in this story. Stick with it, because it will all makes sense as you go along, because with any new world it takes a bit of time to absorb but you will enjoy and appreciate it.

    The Iron Thorn has everything you could want in a epic read with high adventure, complex and engaging characters and a storyline unlike anything you have ever read before. Don't let its size intimidate you, because once you reach the end you will know it is not enough.

    Sneak A Peek Saturday: Divergent by Veronia Roth

    Sneak a Peek Saturday is a feature that lets you "peek" into an upcoming book. Sometimes, it is a chapter or two and maybe even less, either way it is an amazing opportunity that I enjoy seeking out and sharing. This week's sneak is DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. This book has been getting the most amazing buzz and after reading it I can understand why. For those that have yet to know what this book is all about will have an opportunity to find out. Enjoy!!


    First in a trilogy

    ISBN-13: 978-0062024022

    Katherine Tegen Books

    Just click on the book jacket for your sneak peek

    In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris, and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together, they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes-fascinating, sometimes-exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret: one she’s kept hidden from everyone, because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly-perfect society, she also learns that her secret might be what helps her save those she loves . . . or it might be what destroys her.

    Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

    DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth
    Reading level: Young Adult
    Hardcover: 496 pages
    Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 3, 2011)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 0062024027
    Source: Publisher
    Rating: YYYYY

    One choice

    One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs, and determines your loyalties . . . forever.

    Or, one choice can transform you.

    In Veronica Roth’s debut novel, Divergent, a perfect society unfolds into a dystopian world of electrifying decisions, stunning consequences, heartbreaking betrayals, and unexpected romance


    Divergent is unlike anything I have read before, an all consuming dystopian novel that I still cannot stop thinking about it. Veronica Roth has created a a truly fascinating and brutal tale that will leave you stunned and clamoring for more.

    As I began reading Divergent I was extremely pleased at how quickly I became acquainted with the intricacies of this new world. This story hits the ground running yet everything was well detailed and explained without ever being over redundant or boring. Beatrice Prior belongs to a society that makes all of it's sixteen-year-olds select what path they want to live out the rest of their lives and she has five factions to choose from: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). She was raised in the Abnegation faction, but never truly felt it's teachings guide her every thought, she craved more and when the faction selection process provided her with surprising results that she must keep secret and she takes a chance and makes a startling decision. What ensues next is the "daunting" journey that we experience alongside Beatrice and her fellow initiates. This new world that they encounter is cruel and frightening and with each challenge we witness Beatrice grow and develop into a character that you can admire and understand.

    With dystopian novels ever increasing in publication popularity it is satisfying to encounter a novel that was as riveting as this book. I appreciated this new world that was presented and as the mystery of Beatrice being a Divergent came to light I could not believe where it then took me and the climactic ending left me shell shocked. I cannot wait to see what happens next, but the idea of having to wait a year seems more than I can bear.

    Divergent is what amazing storytelling is all about, pefect pacing, memorable characters and riveting words. I literally picked up it up and could NOT put it down and every time I tried to give myself a break I found that I could not stay away for more than a few minutes, unwilling to stop until I read the very last word. If you only read one book this year then Divergent is that book and you will not be sorry.

    Four amazing days of author signings and pictures

    I am always told how fortunate I am for all the author signings and events that occur in my area, and I have to agree. I am very greatful for the amazing indie book stores that are around to host this great authors and their books. The past few days was positively out of this world. Saturday I went to A GREAT GOOD PLACE FOR BOOKS and met Ruta Sepetys and she had a signing for her debut novel Between Shades of Gray. AGGPFB is a great little shop that I recommend to anyone that wants to spend some quality time in a great book store that has a lot of heart. Sunday I went KEPLER'S to see Kelley Armstrong who was on tour for her newest YA novel, The Gathering. Although it was a small event, I had a great time catching up with Angela, Alicia and her Mom afterwards. It is always the best part an event to dish on books and such. Monday was spent at BOOKS INC. in San Francisco to see the amazing Cassandra Clare and Fabulous Holly Black. These ladies are amazing and I am always in awe of being in their presence. I also have to give a shout out to the Not Your Mother's Book Club for hosting this great event with yummy food, contests and gifts. Thank you!! Tuesday, and let me tell you I was a tired girl by this day but I was too hyped up on adrenline to notice much. I went to yet another event hosted my KEPLER'S to see Cassandra Clare and Holly Black again. Yes, again but I don't care I adore those ladies too much to miss an opportunity. I had fun seeing old and new friends and talking about books until I could not think about anything else but sleep.
    Holly Black reading from Red Glove and Cassandra Clare reading from Clockwork Prince

    Holly Black and Cassie Clare having a good laugh about writing cliff hangers Cassandra Clare raising the roof at the Menlo Park library
    Holly Black and Red Glove....Cassel *sigh* these earrings
    This event was quite full, did you find the bloggers?
    I WANT THESE SHOES, drat that Holly Black for making me obsessed
    My buddy Cinnamon and my Steampunk outfit that won me first prize ;)
    Holly Black in the rapid fire question round
    Cassandra Clare in the rapid fire question round
    Holly Black, Ted Naifeh and Cassandra Clare discussing books
    Kelley Armstrong talking about The Gathering
    Kelley Armstrong at Kepler's
    Ruta Sepetys discussing Between Shades of Gray
    Ruta Sepetys at A Great Good Place for Books

    Waiting on Wednesday: GLOW by Amy Kathleen Ryan

    Jill over at Breaking the Spine created the Waiting on Wednesday meme for us bloggers to showcase books we're waiting on. This week I have selected GLOW by Amy Kathleen Ryan. The cover is so wicked amazing that I am cannot stop myself from staring at it. Then I read the synopsis and I am one hooked reader. Here is another one for my wishlist. Now that you know my WOW choice for this week, what is yours?


    GlowSky Chasers Book One by Amy Kathleen Ryan

    ISBN-13: 978-0312590567 St. Martin's Griffin

    What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue? Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them... Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth. But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside. Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.

    Give-a-way and Review: Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell

    Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell Reading level: Young Adult
    Hardcover: 224 pages
    Publisher: Atheneum (March 22, 2011)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 9781416995852
    Source: publisher
    Rating: YYY

    Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation--and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much. It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in "like" with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment. Frances O’Roark Dowell’s fierce humor and keen eye make her YA debut literary and wise. In the spirit of John Green and E. Lockhart, Dowell’s relatable, quirky characters and clever, fluid writing prove that growing up gets complicated…and normal is WAY overrated.


    As I began reading Ten Miles Past Normal I had no pre-conceived ideas or expectations, but I realized instantly that what I had before me was a quirky story with a protagonist that I could not help but adore.

    This story is centered on Janie Gorman, a once city-gone farm girl extraordinaire that wants to be considered normal and not the girl with hay in her hair and goat pooh on her shoe. Can you say social suicide? Janie and her friend Sarah had grand plans for when they began High School but within her first few days Janie's dreams came to a screeching halt when her home life made her the "odd" man out at school. At first Janie tries to fit in but when she has deemed her quest as useless she realizes that embracing that what makes her different is her ticket to finding her niche.

    It was refreshing to read a YA novel that introduced loving and caring parents instead of the usual MIA parents in teen reads. Their relationship with Janie was honest and loving and it gave the story it's roots that anchored Janie. I also admired Janie's initial fear and how she used that to propell her forward. If your looking for a story that advocates embracing who you are and where you come from, then this is something you would enjoy.


    If you interested in this great read just drop a line in the comments section and tell me why you would like to read Ten Miles Past Normal and I will select a winner on April 24th (sunday) 2011 midnight PST. Good Luck

    Bay Area Event Reminder: Cassandra Clare and Holly Black at Kepler's

    Tuesday, April 12, 7:00 p.m.

    Menlo Park Library, 800 Alma St., Menlo Park

    Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to hear the YA dynamic duo Cassandra Clare and Holly Black talk about their new books, Red Glove and City of Fallen Angels. Cassandra Clare: City of Fallen Angels BUY NOW City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in the bestselling series The Mortal Instruments and takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. Someone is killing the Shadowhunters and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters. Tensions are running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. Holly Black: Red Glove BUY NOW After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov's retribution and finding out that Lila, the girl he has loved his whole life, will never, ever be his now that his mother has worked her, Cassel is trying to reestablish some kind of normalcy in his life. That was never going to be easy for someone from a worker family tied to one of the big crime families and a mother whose cons get more reckless by the day. But Cassel is also coming to terms with what it means to be a transformation worker and figuring out how to have friends. But normal doesn't last very long -- soon Cassel is being courted by both sides of the law and is forced to confront his past. A past he remembers only in scattered fragments and one that could destroy his family and his future. Cassel will have to decide whose side he wants to be on because neutrality is not an option. And then he will have to pull off his biggest con ever to survive

    Bay Area Event Reminder: Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

    Location: Books Inc. in Opera Plaza Additional: 601 Van Ness Ave City: San Francisco, Province: California Postal Code: 94102
    Bay Area readers, bloggers, family and friends. What are you doing tomorrow night? If you did not say THE UNDERWORLD BALL at books, inc in San Francisco then you must change your plans and head on out there. Why? because of all the flippin' awesomeness that will be there. Cassandra Clare and Holly Black...hello, it does not get any better than that. Well, yes it does because you can also go dressed. I know I am and It is something you cannot miss. Make sure to say hello. I will be the one wearing this amazing boots :)

    Bay Area Event Reminder: Kelley Armstrong at Kepler's

    Start: Apr 10 2011 4:00 pm
    Location: 1010 El Camino Real
    City: Menlo Park,
    Province: California
    Postal Code: 94025-4349
    Country: United States

    New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong brings all the paranormal thrills from her wildly successful Darkest Powers series to her newest title, The Gathering. Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her best friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.

    Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

    THE GATHERING by Kelley Armstrong Reading level: Young Adult Hardcover: 368 pages Publisher: HarperCollins (April 12, 2011) Language: English ISBN-10: 0061797022 Source: Publisher Extras: Browse Inside Rating: YYY

    Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake.

    Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.

    It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.


    As I began reading THE GATHERING by Kelley Armstrong I was reminded on how well she could wield a story that could leaving me hanging on tender hooks and not stopping until you finished the very last word.

    I began reading this book and had a bit of apprehension, not sure on where the story would take me. Yet, from the prologue I was in for the ride and wanted to keep going. Although certain names will appear and cause an old fear to kick up and spread the characters and this story are fresh and intriguing. I especially enjoyed Maya for she provided me with quite a few laugh out loud moments, and her quick witted banter with her father were priceless. It was refreshing to have a prominent parental roles in this book, unlike so other YA novels that seem to have absent parents. I liked how I came to understand and like her as her backround was slowly revealed as the story went. An added benefit was the ambiance of the story's secluded location, it provided a bit of a spooky vibe that worked.

    What I had a bit of issue with was of a few characters that I could not seem to understand. A certain character in particular still had me guessing about their intentions and I hope that it gets explained in the following novel. I also feel that the big reveal was not surprising to me, but it was written in a way that still had my interest piqued.

    The Gathering is a book that is consuming enough that you are compelled to keep reading until your are finished. It is quick, and entertaining and leaves you with enough questions to find out what happens next which I find is a good thing if you intend to keep your readers coming back for more.

    Have you seen the book trailer video?

    Sneak a Peek Saturday: The Girl In the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

    Sneak a Peek Saturday is a feature that lets you "peek" into an upcoming book. Sometimes, it is a chapter or two and maybe even less, either way it is an amazing opportunity that I enjoy seeking out and sharing.

    This week I have selected to showcase an excerpt from
    THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET: The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross. I have been on a serious Steampunk quest and this book is one that I cannot wait to read. Please read the tasty excerpt by clicking on the book jacket below and see what you think?
    May 31, 2011

    Harlequin Teen

    She thought there was something wrong with her.

    She was right. Finley Jayne has known for quite some time that she isn’t ‘normal,’ but when she beats up the son of her employer and is forced to flee, she stumbles into a world where there are bigger freaks than her. They take her in, treat her like family and demand her trust. How can Finley trust them when she can’t trust herself? And why is she drawn to the powerful Griffin as well as the dangerous Jack? She has to get herself under control before she gets into trouble she can’t get out of.

    Griffin King is one of the most powerful men in Britain but he couldn’t save his best friend from almost dying. He is determined to save Finley and help her become the person he knows she can be, but there’s evil afoot in London. Machines have attacked humans under the orders of a nefarious criminal called The Machinist. He has sworn to protect his country against such a threat, but he’s never faced any foe like this. However, when he discovers The Machinist’s connection to his past, Griffin vows to end the villain once and for all — but he’ll need the help of all his friends, including the beautiful Finley Jayne – the girl in the steel corset.