Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Review: Waking the Witch

Let me start by saying that I love Kelley Armstrong, and her Otherworld series. Which, by the way is now The Otherworld and no longer Women of the Otherworld. She opened it up so now she can write from a male's POV. However, she is currently contracted to 13, and 11-13 will be Savannah's novels. I've been reading her series since there was only two novels. And I've loved Savannah from the beginning. So I've been waiting seven years for this novel.

WAKING THE WITCH came out today. I ran to the bookstore this morning to pick it up. Thankfully, I got off early, so I came straight home to start reading. I finished it in a few hours, taking a break only for dinner. I've never read one of her books so fast. Usually I try to slow it down and make it take a few days, savor it, since I know the next book in the series won't come out until a year. But I couldn't control myself.

This was definitely one of the best books in the series. It surpassed expectation. The writing and the story-telling get better with each novel. And I love how the series has evolved, adding characters and different races of supernaturals. Despite the paranormal aspect, the world Kelley has created feels real, and she makes the reader feel like a part of that world.

We've known Savannah since she was 12. And Kelley said long ago, she wouldn't write a Savannah novel until she became an adult. So now Savannah is 21. It's interesting to see Savannah as an adult, especially since we've "seen" her grow up. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to spoil anyone. But I love that Jaime was in it. She is, as some of you know, my favorite character in the series.

If you haven't read the series, you need to do so. And if you've read the series, but haven't picked up WAKING THE WITCH, get it ASAP. You won't be disappointed.


The orphaned daughter of a sorcerer and a half-demon, Savannah is a terrifyingly powerful young witch who has never been able to resist the chance to throw her magical weight around. But at 21 she knows she needs to grow up and prove to her guardians, Paige and Lucas, that she can be a responsible member of their supernatural detective agency. So she jumps at the chance to fly solo, investigating the mysterious deaths of three young women in a nearby factory town as a favour to one of the agency’s associates. At first glance, the murders look garden-variety human, but on closer inspection signs point to otherworldly stakes.

Soon Savannah is in over her head. She’s run off the road and nearly killed, haunted by a mystery stalker, and freaked out when the brother of one of the dead women is murdered when he tries to investigate the crime. To complicate things, something weird is happening to her powers. Pitted against shamans, demons, a voodoo-inflected cult and garden-variety goons, Savannah has to fight to ensure her first case isn’t her last. And she also has to ask for help, perhaps the hardest lesson she’s ever had to learn.

And below is the cover for the Canadian version. One of my least favorite Otherworld covers.

I wanted to share this with you, in case you hadn't seen it. This image was released as the cover for the US, but it got changed. I do like the new one more. So I'm happy they changed it, but really wouldn't have been disappointed if they hadn't.

I'm going to reread the entire series, and will review them as I go. These books are so great, they need written reviews. Maybe after I finish my stack of ARCs.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Book Covers: The Dark and Hollow Places

The cover for THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES has been recently revealed. I actually just found it, so I had to post right away. I love these covers. They are very disturbing, and I think they really make you want to pick it up and see what it's about. I really can't wait to read this!

Also, because I want to plug Carries' other zombie stories, she has three stories in anthologies coming up: ZOMBIES VS. UNICORNS, THE NEW DEAD 2 (non-YA), and KISS ME DEADLY

Annah knows she has a twin sister, but she forgot her long ago. Back when they went to play in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, she and Elias lost her, and after that there was no going back to the village.

Life's been hard, but Elias has taken care of her, and living in the Dark City can help one to forget the horror of the Unconsecrated—if you try hard enough.

But when Elias disappears, Annah's world crumbles. To her, life isn't worth much more than the walking dead who roam the wasted world she lives in. It's not until she meets Catcher that she cares to start living again.

Yet Catcher has secrets. Dark, terrifying secrets that link him to a past she's longed to forget and to a future too deadly to consider.

Annah must decide: Can she continue to live a world covered in the blood of the living?
Or is death the answer to all her problems?

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Short Story Review: Winter's Passage

This short story is set in The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. I read THE IRON KING a bit ago, and I really enjoyed it. I downloaded this as soon as it was available. I read it today during my three-hour-long staff meeting. I figured it would be a good idea to do something productive during that time. It's set between THE IRON KING and THE IRON DAUGHTER.

As with the first novel in the series, it was a bit rushed. Danger comes and is defeated in just two pages. But it was enjoyable nonetheless. So if you're waiting for book two, this is a good appetizer.

It is available for download on Amazon Kindle for free. Kindle works on more than just the kindle device. Kindle for PC, Android, iPhone, and more... Get it while it's free!


Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl...until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck--Meghan's best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon--who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.

Yet Meghan and Ash's detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter--a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat....

Book Covers: Soul Screamers

I absolutely love the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent. Here are the covers for the series in the UK. I think I like the US covers better. They're very different, though, so it's hard to compare.

What do you guys think of these?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Book Review: Spice and Wolf

I came across this anime while browsing in FYE. And after reading the back, I thought it sounded interesting. Especially the part about Holo the wolf goddess of the harvest. So, the next time I was in the book store I picked up the manga, which inspired the anime.

It was a fun story. Holo, the wisewolf, is the goddess of the harvest in a small pagan town. But she escapes and ends up with travelling merchant, Kraft Lawrence. She and Lawrence become friends, and I love their relationship. Holo may be a wise goddess, but she looks about 15 and sometimes behaves as such. She is very playful and loves to tease her companion.

So, then I found out that the manga is actually based on a series of novels. The first manga basically covers the first half of the novel. So I would assume the second manga will finish the first novel. Isuna Hasekura is a Japanese author. There are currently 14 novels in this series, but only the first two are available in English.

The story was only okay for me. As I said it's about a travelling merchant, so trading goods is a big part of the story. But I love the characters enough that I kept reading. And I can't wait to read the second novel. I love Holo and Lawrence and their relationship. It's worth checking out for that alone.


Kraft Lawrence has been walking the lonely path of the itinerant merchant for seven years. His life changes forever when he meets Holo, the Wolf-God of the harvest, and the two begin traveling together. Soon they discover a unique opportunity to exploit the depreciating silver currency of the kingdom of Trenni, but their plans go awry when a competing organization captures Holo and threatens to turn her over to the oppressive, monotheistic Church. Lawrence rescues her, but in the course of the rescue, Holo is forced to transform into her terrifying true wolf-form. The two continue their travels with a much better understanding of each other than when they began.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Review: Twisted

Another great novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. I didn't like TWISTED as much as SPEAK and CATALYST, but I still loved it. It's written in first person, from a male POV. This is something we need more of, in my opinion. The teenage boys mind is fascinating.

Poor Tyler. It seems like he can't catch a break. It's one thing after another. And I've felt like that, too. He's a senior, who used to be one of the nerds. His best friend is nicknamed Yoda. And his little sister is a freshman who his best friend likes. And, of course, there's his crush, Bethany who is twin to Tyler's enemy, Chip.

An interesting thing about this book... Normally when I read YA, I could care less about the parents. The less they are involved, the better. But in this one I found myself really curious about Tyler's parents. I actually wanted to know more about them. It was clear something was going on, and I wanted to know what.

If you're wanting a good book with real situations and from a boy's perspective, check this one out.


High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn't believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father's boss's daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy — and Tyler's secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in school, in his family, and in the world.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Meeting Authors: American Library Association (ALA) 2010

Contest is over.

As much as I wanted to go to ALA both Saturday and Sunday, I had promised to baby-sit. But she cancelled last minute. So even though I got there late and missed Malinda Lo, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, and the BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS ARC signing, I got there in time to meet some other fabulous authors and grab some other ARCs.

Laurie Halse Anderson was the first author I met. She was number one on my list to meet on Saturday. I love SPEAK and CATAYST, and I’m currently enjoying TWISTED. I got all three of those signed, as well as WINTERGIRLS and a second copy of SPEAK. She was super friendly. And she used to live in my area, so we chatted about that some. It’s always nice to meet authors who are so down-to-earth.

After getting those signed, I ran over to Melissa Marr’s line, which had gotten smaller. I’ve met her a few times already. She is absolutely fabulous, and very focused on her readers. She recognized me, which was a “Woot!” moment. Though I shouldn’t be surprised. Just a few months ago we had breakfast and spent a few hours hanging out at RT (with Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Em from http://twistedfates.livejournal.com/ and Sandy from http://scribing-shadows.blogspot.com/). I finally got my copy of RADIANT SHADOWS signed and a spoiler (Shhh) from DARKEST MERCY which I am not allowed to share.

Diana Peterfreund was there. I took my copy of RAMPANT. But genius that I am, forgot that I bought a signed stock copy from a Borders that she did a signing at. She’s a local author. But I did pick up a copy of ASCENDANT, as well as an extra for my friend Sam from http://loonyreads.blogspot.com/

Holly Black was signing also. I’ve met her more than any other author. Probably 10 times… and this was the third this year. She does a lot of signings in the DC area. Anyway, they were selling paperbacks of her graphic novel, KIN, the first in The Good Neighbors series for $2. So I bought five, and if you follow me on twitter, you may remember the twitter only giveaway. She was great as always. And, of course, very funny.

I spent the rest of the day exploring the YA publishing booths. I picked up several good ones: THE REPLACEMENT by Brenna Yovanoff (one for me and one for Em from http://twistedfates.livejournal.com/), THE PAINTED BOY by the fantastic Charles de Lint, and DARK SONG by author Gail Giles.

Sunday was an even bigger day. I got in line for Simone Elkeles, Jessica Day George, and Carrie Jones, but then I saw the line for Andrea Cremer and Ally Condie. So I jumped over there to make sure I could pick up an ARC of NIGHTSHADE and MATCHED. I got to see Susan from http://www.wastepaperprose.com/ while waiting in line. I picked those up and got them signed. Andrea Cremer told me my name was fantastic, her favorite. For those who don’t know, my real name is Andrea. Friends (and fellow book bloggers) asked me to pick up an extra copy for them. So when I asked if I could get back in line and get a second copy, I was laughed at for thinking there’d be any left.

While waiting in line I met Vordak the Incomprehensible. Scott Seegert, the author of VORDAK THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE, was dressed up as his MC. He was very funny. He walked around handing out ARCs of his books asking if you “want to grow up and rule the world”. Of course, everyone said "yes". The kids loved him.

So… sad that I couldn’t get extra copies, I ran over to meet Simone Elkeles, Jessica Day George, and Carrie Jones and get books signed. The woman in front of me wouldn’t move on so I didn’t really get to chat with any of them. She wanted to have long convos with each of them and the lady that ran the booth had to move her down. FYI, it’s not polite to hog author time. You only get to talk while they are signing your books when there is a long line. The worst part… the lady didn’t even have their books. She just picked up their swag and got that signed.

After that, the Andrea/Ally line was small, so I got in line again. I picked up NIGHTSHADE for Catie from http://meow-mix85.blogspot.com/ and MATCHED for Kim from http://twistedfates.livejournal.com/ Woot, there were some left! Also, they told me the cover on the hardback on NIGHTSHADE, is even more amazing.

Other authors I wanted to see were John Green and David Levithan, authors of WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON, that I won from Melissa Marr. But their line was crazy long, and they cut it so I wasn’t able to get it signed. But I did meet David Levithan the previous day while getting books signed by Holly Black.

Speaking of Holly Black... she was signing again. Met some nice people in line. She also had a crazy long line that they had to cut. Simon and Schuster had a kinda uncool rule for passing out ARCs. You had to buy a book first. While I understand that rule, it stinks when you already own everything by the author. Which I do, and it's all signed. So I got another copy of VALIANT (this time for a co-workers daughter that I gave TITHE to a while back) and for buying that I got an ARC of ZOMBIES VS UNICORNS. She also had some cool swag. Buttons for zombies, unicorns, and The Curse Workers. And the best swag of the day… black Curse Workers gloves. And chapter two of RED GLOVE.

And for those interested... here is the entire scene from the ZOMBIES VS UNICORNS book.

While I was there I bought THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST and got it signed by Rick Yancey. Aside from author signings and ARCs, the next coolest thing was the cheap books. $2-$5 for paperbacks and $5-$10 for hardbacks. So I picked up the hardback. I’ve looked at this book numerous times, and I thought now was the perfect time to buy it. Too bad the paperback cover is much awesomer. *grin*

Next on the schedule (and, yes, I had a printed schedule for the day) was Elizabeth Scott and Nancy Werlin. For whatever reason, that made no sense, they had a line for each of them. Andrea and Ally were at the same booth and they had one line for both. So, basically, everyone had to wait in line twice. And we were in a small space which means confusion. Also, the lines criss-crossed each other. Not cool, but I got ARCs of GRACE by Elizabeth Scott and EXTRAORDINARY by Nancy Werlin. Also, I got IMPOSSIBLE signed.

I met Amy Brecount White months back when she invited me to her book release party. I also saw her at the Virginia Festival of the Book. So I swung by just to say “hi”. She really is a sweet lady, so if you get the chance to meet her, go…

I ran into Melissa Marr, so we hung out a bit. Picked up an ARC of THE GRIMM LEGACY by Polly Shulman. We got separated on our way to Libba Bray’s line. So, unfortunately, not much Melissa time, but any time is great.

Libba Bray was sweet. In line I met a lovely girl from PA and her aunt. The girl and I chatted a lot about fabulous books. While we were waiting, a lady came up and started chatting with the girls aunt who is a librarian in Montgomery County, MD. The other lady worked with her. And then after she left, her aunt told us that was Annette Curtis Klause. Too bad we didn’t know it was her while she was standing there so we could gush. But she's local, so I hold out hope to meet her again.

Ivy Devlin was next on my list. Ivy is a pen name for an author who is popular for YA fiction. She swore everyone to secrecy to not reveal who she really is. Sorry. But she’s a great author, as I’ve read several of her books and met her previously. I got an ARC of LOW RED MOON, her first YA paranormal. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I am excited.

While in line for Jeri Smith-Ready, I saw James from http://bookchicclub.blogspot.com/ He was chatting with Stacey Kade, author of THE GHOST AND THE GOTH. Hyperion practically tossed a stack of books to me earlier when one of the women working there and I chatted about the Percy Jackson books. So Stacey Kade signed my ARC. Hanging out with her was Stephanie Kuehnert. I won one of her books from Free Book Friday Teen, and bought the other, but have read none. So I had no idea what to say. “I have your books, and one is signed, but, no… I haven’t read them yet” seemed not so fantastic. Jeri Smith-Ready is another local author. I got my copy of SHADE signed. She was very sweet and kinda quiet.

Throughout the day I picked up I AM J by Cris Beam, PEGASUS by Robin McKinley, and CLOCKWORK ANGEL by Cassandra Clare. I thought for sure by the end of Sunday CLOCKWORK ANGEL would be gone, but they were sneaky and hid them, passing them out only to those that asked. They thought it would ensure they go to good homes where people really wanted them.

And I sadly didn’t get BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, JANE by April Lindner, PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White, and IMMORTAL BELOVED by Cate Tiernan, but the publishers are supposed to be sending me copies. *fingers crossed*






And now to the most exciting part of my post...

I ended up with about 24 ARCs, and while all of them seem interesting, I just don't have enough reading time to get to them all. So... if you are a blog reviewer you can enter to win.

There will be four winners. Each will get three ARCs. I've put them in lists, because some are YA and some are MG and some are already out. So... to even it out, I've made ARC Lists. First winner gets preference.

To enter:

1) You must be a follower.

2) Answer the following question: What book are you most excited about coming out this fall?

3) Leave a link to your blog, so that I can see you do review books.

4) You can receive one extra point per Tweet, up to five. Please leave a link to each, and no they don't all need to be in the same reply.

5) Leave me your email, so that I can contact you.

Winners will be chosen on Saturday, July 31, 2010 at 10:00PM EST.

ARC List 1: SOMETHING LIKE FATE by Susane Colasanti (YA), YOU KILLED WESLEY PAIN by Sean Beaudoin (YA), THE CLOCKWORK THREE by Matthew Kirby (MG)

ARC List 2: RADIANT DARKNESS by Emily Whitman (YA), THE ENEMY by Charlie Higson (YA), CLARA LEE AND THE APPLE PIE DREAM by Jenny Han (MG)


ARC List 4: THE GRIMM LEGACY by Polly Shulman (MG), THE CANDYMAKERS by Wendy Mass (MG), DARK SONG by Gail Giles (YA)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Book Review: Linger

I wish I had had the chance to reread SHIVER before this, but when I saw LINGER on the shelf early, I snatched it up. And, of course, had it read in two days. It was amazing. But what else can you expect from Maggie Stiefvater? Her writing is amazing. Whether or not you like the story, the writing is beautiful.

When I finished SHIVER, I loved the ending, and I felt that there didn't need to be more. It felt very much like a stand-alone novel. But, man, am I glad it wasn't.

I liked this one even better than SHIVER. However, with four POVs it was a little more difficult. I had to go back several times to see you was narrating. It states very clearly, but sometimes I forgot to look. Anyway, I liked Isabel even more. And I liked Grace better. Sam was swoon-worthy as before. He may be too perfect, but not too perfect for me. Perhaps this is why I'm single. I'm picky and haven't met my Sam. New character, Cole, was introduced. It took me til the end of the book to decide whether or not I liked him.

And... this one made me cry. SHIVER got the tears filling my eyes, but LINGER had them rolling down my cheeks. Wonder what FOREVER will do. I seriously can't wait to read it.

On a side note, something interesting about these books. SHIVER has a blue cover, and the ink inside is blue. LINGER has a green cover, and the ink inside is green. I don't know if FOREVER has been assigned a color. I hope it's purple, but I see it in my head being rose colored. Hmm...


In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in LINGER, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, LINGER is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Book Covers: Darkest Mercy

Melissa Marr just posted the cover to the final Wicked Lovely book: DARKEST MERCY. If you saw the leaked picture, then you can probably see that this one is even more gorgeous. The flower is amazing. Also, if you hadn't guessed, that's Donia on the cover. I seriously can't wait to read this book.

Also, Melissa said the vines are still being tweaked.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Book and Movie Review: Eclipse

So… I’d been wanting to read ECLIPSE by Stephenie Meyer before I saw the movie. And then all of the sudden, June 30 showed up. So I picked the book up last Friday and finished it Saturday.

The book was perhaps better than the previous two. Of course, I read those before the first movie hit theaters, so it’s kinda hard to compare. I’d heard negative things about Jacob in this installment, but I loved him. Or, well, I, at least, liked him more than Edward, who continues to be pushy. While he was not as creepy in this book, he was all about getting what he wants before Bella. Basically, she must marry him before he will turn her and sleep with her. Someone tweeted this the other day, and it made my day:

"Dear Confused Teen Girls: someone who sparkles and won't have sex with you isn't a vampire; it's a gay guy."


And another one I found today.

"Voldemort is truly evil. He turned Cedric Diggory into Edward Cullen."


Going to the movies to see this was an interesting experience. I took my roommates son who’ll be 12 next month. He loved the movie because it’s vampires and werewolves, and what could be cooler than that? There is a sad lapse of vampires in kid movies. I assure his mom there was no blood. Vampires and no blood… WTF, right?

So, we’re standing in line… The teen boy in front of us was talking with a friend, who was behind us. He said Eclipse was great, but he cried and told his friend to have tissues handy. Um… these were 15-year-old guys. Last time I checked guys didn’t cry in movies, or at the very least, they didn’t admit to it. Also, I didn’t cry… didn’t even tear up, and I’ve been pretty weepy lately. Despite the long line to get tickets, and everyone talking about Eclipse, the theater was pretty sparse. I’d say 40-50 people. Mostly couples in their 40’s. And I do have to admit, this movie was a lot better than the previous ones. Not sure why there are reviews saying this was the worst. It was far less cheesy, though it did have their moments.

And anyone who knows what teen Twilight/R-Patt fans are like, are usually prepared for the squealing. There were a few comments made during the film… by grown men. It was odd. Considering the comments… very odd. Thankfully, there was no audience excitement in seeing Jacob shirtless, because, well… he was always shirtless. But who would complain?

Another interesting experience… watching a movie with a kid who hadn’t seen the previous ones. We are going to fix that, however. Also, he tends to ask questions anyway, instead of waiting for them to get answered on their own. He’ll ask, “What happened?” and then miss his answer because he was too busy asking. The highlight of his comments.

A: What’s wrong with his (Edward’s) face? (The glittery effects aren’t so great)

Me: He sparkles.

A: What?

Me: He sparkles in the sun.

A: I thought vampires caught fire or blew up in the sun.

Me: They usually do.

A: So he sparkles?

Me: Yes.

A: Just the good ones sparkle?

Me: No, in this series all vampires sparkle in the sun.

A: Oh… that’s stupid.

Me: *nods*

What bothered me most… Edward’s sideburns. If he shaved them off, he’d look ten times better. The best part… Jacob’s lines. He had some funny ones. Charlie had some funny lines, too. I loved how they revealed Rosalie and Jasper’s pasts. I felt like we knew less of them than the other Cullen’s. It really makes you see them in a different light. Alice, though, remains my favorite in the series.

And as much as I like Bryce Dallas Howard, after seeing the film, I’m even more annoyed that they replaced Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria. I loved Bree. Why? She was barely in the film. The girl they cast was so adorable, and even though I knew what was coming, it made me sad. I almost hoped they had changed that part. Apparently, she’s 16. I would have guessed 13 or 14. Now, I kinda want to read THE SHORT SECOND LIFE OF BREE TANNER.