Sunday, April 25, 2010

Book Review: Sweethearts

I read STORY OF A GIRL by Sara Zarr recently, and I loved it. So I decided to read her next book, SWEETHEARTS. I liked it a lot. I didn't like it quite as much as STORY OF A GIRL, but in my opinion they are both wonderful reads. After having read these, I have to agree with the panel of authors that said Sara Zarr books would be considered classics many years in the future. I highly recommend both of these. They are remarkably real, and I think would be touching for anyone of any age.

As children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts. They were also one another's only friend. So when Cameron disappears without warning, Jennider thinks she's lost the only person who will ever understand her. Now in high school, Jennifer has been transformed. Known as Jenna, she's popular, happy, and dating, everything "Jennifer" couldn't be -- but she still can't shake the memory of her long-lost frined.

When Cameron suddenly reappears, they are both confronted with memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have taken.

Book Review: Once Dead, Twice Shy

ONCE DEAD, TWICE SHY has been sitting on my shelf for a while. I'd heard less than good things about it. So, unfortunately, I continually put it off. I'm a huge fan of Kim Harrison's adult series, The Hollows, and I decided I really did need to read this book.

I LOVED IT! It's young adult urban fantasy. Madison was attacked and killed, but she found a way, accidentally, to stay on this world. So she's been studying with Barnabas, a light reaper. Kim Harrison puts a unique twist on the reaper myth. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series: EARLY TO DEATH, EARLY TO RISE, which comes out in about a month.


My name is Madison Avery, and I'm here to tell you that there's more out there than you can see, hear, or touch. Because I'm there. Seeing it. Touching it. Living it.

Madison's prom was killer - literally. Now, thanks to a mysterious amulet, she's stuck on Earth: dead but not gone. She has no idea why the dark reaper who did her in was after her, but she's not about to just sit around and let fate take it's course. With a little skilled light-bending, the help of a light reaper (one of the good guys... maybe), her cute crush, and oh yeah, her guardian angel, Madison's ready to take control of her own destiny once and for all, before it takes control of her.

Well, if she believed in that stuff.

Be sure to check out Kim Harrison's story in PROM NIGHTS FROM HELL: "Madison Avery and the Dim Reaper". It's the first story in the Madison Avery series, but since it's a short story, it's kind of a prequel.

Book Review: Artemis Fowl

So I finally read ARTEMIS FOWL by Eoin Colfer. It's a middle grade book, but that's most of the fun. It was a fast-paced, funny read. Artemis Fowl is a ruthless child, raised in a wealthy family, who thinks he's entitled to everything. With the help of Butler, he learns the secrets of the fairy world and thinks he can outwit the "good folk". It jumped from his POV to Holly's, to Foaly (a centaur who works at the base of the LEP).

If you're looking for a fun, easy, quick read. Check out this series.


Artemis Fowl, a charming but villainous twelve-year-old, takes on the dangerous world of Fairy People in this unforgettable story. In this extraordinary adventure, Artemis kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon unit, to help him decode the fairys magic book, which will lead him to a vast treasure of gold. But these are not the fairies of bedtime stories. They're cunning and dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl opens up a riveting world of fantasy and mystery where anything, literally, is possible.

And check out the new cover. The entire series was recently re-jacketed.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Book Giveaway: Romantic Times

Contest Closed. Winners Announced Soon!

Next weekend I'll be attending the Romantic Times Book Lover's Convention in Ohio to meet Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong again. I'll also be meeting Rachel Vincent, Ally Carter, Richelle Mead, MaryJanice Davidson, Jeaniene Frost, Jocelyn Drake, Vicki Pettersson, and Charlaine Harris. And the following weekend I'll be traveling up to Philly to meet Cassandra Clare and Holly Black.

So... why am I telling you this? Because I'm getting books signed to give away!!!

The books include:
WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr
THE SUMMONING by Kelley Armstrong
MY SOUL TO TAKE by Rachel Vincent
VALIANT by Holly Black
CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare
VAMPIRE ACADEMY by Richelle Mead
*all books are paperback

All seven books have now been signed.

What do you need to do to enter?

Please reply to this post and rank these books in the order in which you'd like them. Number one being the one you want most. The first winner will receive their top book. The second winner will receive their top book (that have not yet been claimed). The third winner... I think you got it. This will make seven winners. The winners will be drawn on Sunday, May 9th, at 8pm EST.

Extra entries:
+5 for following my blog
+4 for putting this contest on your blog (leave link)
+3 for following my twitter (twitter name)
+2 for being Rather Lovely (screen name)
+1 for every tweet (leave links)

Since this is such a big giveaway, and shipping is expensive, I'm making this one for people only with US addresses.

The Book Faery (3)

The Book Faery visited... three times!

The first time she brought me HEX HALL, BRIGHTLY WOVEN, and THE RECKONING. The second time she brought TALES OF THE OTHERWORLD and TWILIGHT: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL. And just today, she brought RADIANT SHADOWS, THE GREEN MAN, and WHAT I WORE TO SAVE THE WORLD.

I already read THE RECKONING. It was amazing. You can read my review below this post.

You can also read my review of RADIANT SHADOWS. I read an ARC back in January, but I'll probably read and review again.

TALES OF THE OTHERWORLD is an anthology of Otherworld tales by Kelley Armstrong. I read all of these stories years ago when they were available online for free. I can't wait to re-read them and the NEW tale about Eve and Kristof.

TWILIGHT... I'm not a big fan, but I have read the first two books. I picked this one up only because of the amazing art.

THE GREEN MAN is an anthology combined by the amazing Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. After learning more about the greenman at RenCon, I decided to pick it up. Lucky me, Amazon had it on clearance.

BRIGHTLY WOVEN by Alexandra Bracken and HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins are both new releases by debut authors. I've heard good things, so I can't wait to dig in.

And last we have WHAT I WORE TO SAVE THE WORLD by Maryrose Wood. It's the third in a series, and, um... I have not yet read the first two.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Book Review: The Reckoning

Kelley Armstrong is my favorite writer. I love her Women of the Otherworld series. And when she started writing YA, I knew I'd love these as well. THE RECKONING is the third book in The Darkest Powers trilogy, following Chloe Saunders on an exciting adventure as she finds herself in a house for "disturbed" teens... but what they really mean is "supernatural". She and her friends set out to save their lives from the people who helped to make them what they are.

Along the way there are ups and downs. You don't know who you can trust. But in the end, we find out who's on "our" side and who isn't and who Chloe ends up with. Derek? Or Simon? Honestly, though, my favorite part of the series is picking out the little hints/clues/whatever from the adult series.

If you love urban fantasy, be sure to check this one out.

They gave Chloe Saunders her power. Now they want to take it away. Big mistake...

Read THE SUMMONING and THE AWAKENING before the exciting conclusion to The Darkest Powers Trilogy!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ren Con 2010

So this year was the first annual Ren Con in Baltimore, MD. It was put on by the same people who do Faerie Con. It was small, but it was fun. I met Brian and Wendy Froud again. They are very lovely. And Brian is so funny.

The first panel I sat in on was led by Steve Winnick, Brian and Wendy Froud, Cailtin Matthews, and one of the Greenmen. It's interesting how prominent this figure has been in lore from all over the world. You can find them in cathedrals over most of Europe. If you've been there and haven't seen them, it might be because you didn't look up. They were always hid up high. They are also found all over the big cities in my country. New York has a lot of greenmen, but not so much DC. In recent times the greenman has been shown with horns. Possibly an influence from Herne or Cernunnos.

The second panel was love triangles. Caitlin started the panel with the story of Blodeuwedd, a Welsh flower woman who was created to marry Lleu Llaw Gyffes, but she fell in love with Gronw Pebr. She was created to marry, but not to love. She made a choice, and went after the man she loves. Another tale she told was of the Arthurian legend of the Cornish knight Tristan and the Irish princess Isolde. Tristan brings Isolde to his uncle, King Mark, to marry, but he falls in love. But most of the time was spent on Guinevere. She was in a triangle with Arthur and Lancelot, but those weren't the only two men she was between. In all the stories of Guinevere, she was abducted sixteen times.

The third panel I saw was Renaissance Songs and Ballads with Caitlin Matthews. She has an incredible voice. I love listening to her speak, but when she sings it's simply amazing... She and Steve talked about how ballads were long because they told stories. Some of the ballads they sang were "The Death of Queen Jane", "Riddles Wisely Expounded", and "The Prickly Bush".

After that, I was at the Heart of Faerie Oracle panel. Brian Froud said that what he paints is invisible, but he paints it so that it embodies truth. He says you can't pin them down, but only capture them for a moment. He says that's why you see things you hadn't noticed before, even if you've seen the image many times before.

The last panel I enjoyed was the Robin Hood. Is he historical or mythological? No one is sure. They are continually finding more and more references, and it's believed that it's an alias. All robbers were called Robin Hood. He is a very important figure in the May Day festivities. hile he is the hero of peasants, many people don't want to see him as a peasant, and he was believed to be an earl. Marian comes into the story quite late. In a lot of the ballads, he loses the fight, but because he's surrounded by his band, he isn't killed, and the guy who defeats them is offered a chance to join. His patron saint was Mary. In all his stories, he treats women reverntly, and even though he was killed by a woman, just before he passes, he insists they not take revenge upon her. There are some similarities between Robin Hood and Robin Goodfellow/Puck, and he seems to be part greenman. Both John and Steve recommend the old series "Robin of Sherwood" if you want to watch a good version.

Below is a purse that I got from CK FootWorks. It's made out of leather and handsewn. The front green piece is what sold it for me. It's crocodile. I'm not usually a big fan of leather, but it reminded me of dragon wings. So this is my latest accessory for festival!

And now I need to fawn over one of the artists there. Kimberley of The Goblin Bazaar. I had seen her stuff before, but was unable to purchase one. This time, I bought two. So far she has made only one troll doll, though she hopes to make more soon. It's done in the same fashion as Wendy Froud's stuff. You can see it in the picture below. It's the white one with the blue face, hands, and feet. She looks wonderful in my troll case, but sadly, the picture just doesn't do it justice.

I also got a Stray Sod. Most of her creatures look more like the one below. A faery creature that she "caught". The stray sod obviously looks like a small patch of grass. Be careful when walking through fields, because if you step on one, you'll likely be lost for hours. I've only seen or read about the stray sods twice before. One in the Spiderwick series and before that in a Brian Froud book.

Another wonderful artist I discovered is Mystic Swan jewelry. Check out Sharon's stuff here: Her stuff is beautiful. This is the piece I bought. I love the faeries... and the face on the tree.

Manga Review: Sanctuary and Challenge

I recently discovered that I loved manga. This happens to be one of my favorite series. It's a part of the WICKED LOVELY series. It's not a re-telling in manga form; it's a completely different story.

SANCTUARY was the first one. The main character is Rika, a former winter girl. She lives in the desert. Why? Because for so long she carried the cold, she never wants to feel cold again. She is friends is Sionnach (Shy) a fox faery, and she has a thing for Jace (a human). The art is amazing and the story is great.

The story gets even better in CHALLENGE. The same characters are in this tale, but we get to see someone else we know from the main series. Jace and Rika's relationship is sweet. Maili is causing more problems than ever. And Shy, as always, is the tricky fox.

Definitly check these out, but don't forget to read the WICKED LOVELY series.!
And here is the full cover art from SANCTUARY. Shy is on the left. Then Keenan, Rika, and finally Jace.

Book Review: The Blue Girl

I love Charles de Lint's books. I have most of his works on my shelves. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to read more than a handful. So far, what I had read of his was high fantasy, Lord of the Rings-style. But THE BLUE GIRL had been recommended to me so many times, that I decided to make that my next read by him.

This one is an urban fantasy, set in the town of Newford. Mr. de Lint said he created Newford so there wouldn't be inaccuracies that you might find if his books were set in an actual town. However, you may find bits and pieces of towns you recognize.

THE BLUE GIRL is written in first person and switches between Imogene, Maxine, and Adrian's POVs. Imogene is the main character. Maxine is her new best friend. And Adrian is the resident ghost. I really enjoyed reading from all three perspectives. It's interesting seeing who they are and how the others perceive them.

I love the way Charles de Lint describes the way the fairies look. They certainly aren't how most perceive them. So many fairies in art are perfect little women with wings. He draws scary fairies... the descriptions sound like something Brian Froud would draw. Pelly, Imogene's imaginary friend is describes as looking kinda like a hedgehog and monkey with some human-ish features.

This book comes highlt recommended by me for everyone... especially if you like urban fantasty and/or fairies.


Seventeen-year-old Imogene's rebellious nature has caused her more harm than good - so when her family moves to Newford, she decides to reinvent herself. She won't lose her punk/thrift-shop look, but she'll try to avoid gangs, work a little harder at school, and maybe even stay out of trouble for a change. But trouble shows up anyway. Imogene quickly catches the eye of Redding High's bullies, as well as the school's resident teenage ghost. Then she gets on the wrong side of a gang of malicious fairies. When her old imaginary childhood friend, Pelly, actually manifests, Imogene realizes that the impossible is all too real. And it's dangerous. If she wants to survive high school - not to mention stay alive - she has to fall back on the skills she picked up in her hometown, running with a gang. Even with her new friend Maxine and some unexpected allies on her side, will she be able to make it?

And for those of you interested in seeing the entire cover, without the writing...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Witchy Books Contest Winners

I think this contest had more entries than past contests, so thanks to everyone who entered. I have a lot of fun reading and sharing my opinion on books. Also, I love giving books away... especially books I love. I hope I can lead you to find some amazing books.

Anyway... the winners are...

Tiger Holland (ONCE A WITCH)

Congrats ladies... I will be contacting you by email to get your mailing addresses and then I'll drop them in the mail on Saturday. I hope you enjoy them.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Zephyr (2)

I feel the need to show off my baby some more. I took some more pics. She is so funny in her wheel. She runs and jumps, and she gets it going so fast she spins around. But she hides there, and peeks around. She actually looked out, pulled her head back behind the white piece, and then popped her head back out.

At night, or rather, during the day, she sleeps in my shirt. Now that it's warmer, she sleeps under it more than in it. Which creates a problem when I tried to get her out. I pull her out shirt and all, but if she's awake she grips the cage, and I can't get her. I took this picture after I put her back in her cage after playing. She wanted to sleep some more before she woke up to play. She really wakes up at midnight, and then she jumps around like crazy. But here, she's just kind of snuggling in to sleep.

I took this picture directly after the one above. I took the one above so you could see her, but I didn't like the bars, so I took this one. I almost didn't because you couldn't see her face so well. But turns out... it's my favorite picture of her. It's actually the background on my computer now.

She loves her wheel. So much. She reaches up to the bar that runs through the middle and climbs up into the top. Then she does one of two things. Sometimes she climbs out the top and crawls along the ceiling of the cage. And sometimes she just holds on and the wheel spins. She ends up upside down at the bottom of the wheel. It's her own little ride. This is my other favorite picture.

Book Giveaway: Witchy Books

After watching The Good Witch movies, I've been in an extra witchy mood. And I just so happen to have a couple of witchy books in my giveaway stack. This giveaway is for a copy of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl and ONCE A WITCH by Carolyn MacCullough. There will be two winners. The first winner will get to pick witch book. Hehe. The second winner will get the other book. Both are gently used.

"Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantaion, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything."

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

To be entered, please answer the following question: Would you want to be a witch? And why or why not?
+3 following my blog
+2 following my twitter (username)
+1 for each tweet (links)
+1 for being Rather Lovely (username)
Don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you. You have until Saturday, April 10, 11:59PM EST. Good luck to all.