Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Welcoming the Fall Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered to win VAMPIRE HAIKU. This is my favorite book in Ryan Mecum's Haiku series.

Welcome to all of my new followers. Be sure to check out my contests for HUSH, HUSH and BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS. Be sure to follow me on twitter (@AineFey) for contest announcements both from me and fellow bloggers. I also randomly do Twitter only contests.

And now for our winners...

My US winner is jellybelly82158 from Kentucky

And my International winner is Diana from Mexico.

Congrats to you both. Since you've already supplied me with your address, your books are packaged and ready to be shipped out this Saturday!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Short Story Review: Kat and Hunting Kat

"Kat" in THE ETERNAL KISS introduces us to Katiana. She is from the same world as The Darkest Powers series, and, you guessed it, a girl who was experimented on by The Edison Group. As with many of Kelley Armstrong's stories, you find out things that the characters in The Darkest Powers didn't know. Such as, vampires were experimented on. That's not really a spoiler, as it's set in a vampire anthology.

Other authors in this anthology are:Holly Black, Libba Bray, Melissa De La Cruz, Cassandra Clare, Rachel Caine, Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié, Cecil Castellucci, Maria V. Snyder, Sarah Rees Brennan, Lili St. Crow, Karen Mahoney, and Dina James

Katiana is back in an all-new story by Kelley Armstrong. It's called "Hunting Kat" and can be found in KISSES FROM HELL. It picks up more-or-less where Kat left off. The Edison Group is still after her. And other teens who've escaped. But everyone is not who they seem.

Other authors in this anthology are: Kristin Case, Alyson Noël, Richelle Mead, and Francesca Lia Block

Definitely pick up both of these anthologies. They are worth the price for Kelley's writing alone. Not to mention the other fabulous authors involved.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Second Hand Haul (3)

THE TAKER by JM Steele

Carly Biel’s future is right on track: she’s a great student (mostly A’s and B’s); her boyfriend, Brad, is captain of the lacrosse team; and she’s a shoe-in for Princeton (her dad’s an alum – love that legacy status!). She’s never been great at standardized tests (so nerve-racking!), but she always figured she’d do well enough on the SAT to get by. Guess what? She tanks. Really tanks. Now she only has one more opportunity to take the test, and she’s sure she can’t pull her scores up by much. That’s why, when she gets a mysterious note from “The Taker,” she can’t resist. Now she’s hired someone to take the test for her – but what if she gets caught? And what if she doesn’t?

THE SWAN MAIDEN by Heather Tomlinson

In the quiet hour before dawn, anything can happen. Doucette can dream of being a creature of flight and magic, of wearing a swan skin like her older sisters. But she must run the castle household while her sisters learn to weave spells. Her dream of flying is exactly that . . . until the day she discovers her own hidden birthright. Sudden, soaring freedom—it is a wish come true. Yet, not even magic can protect against every danger, especially when the heart is involved. As she struggles to find her own way in the world, Doucette risks losing the one person she loves most of all.


Mercy Kaplan doesn’t want to be like her mother, saddled with crying kids and failing crops for the rest of her life. Mercy longs to be on her own—until her wish comes true in the worst possible way. It is 1918 and a deadly flu epidemic ravages the country, leaving her utterly alone and penniless.

Mercy soon finds a job with Mrs. Wilder. But there’s something unsettling about the woman, whose brother died under mysterious circumstances. And then there’s Daniel, who could sweep a girl off her feet if she isn’t careful.

The Chronicles of Prydain 1: THE BOOK OF THREE by Lloyd Alexander

Taran, The Assistant Pig-Keeper, longs to be a hero.

He begins his journey with a strange assortment of companions on a dangerous mission to save his beloved land, Prydain. Packed with action, humor, romance, and gallantry, Taran's adventures chronicle his beloved Prydain and his battle with the forces of evil.

OH BABY! by Randi Reisfeld and HB Gilmour

Before heading off for college, sixteen-year-old small town girls Abby and Jamie are headed for the big cities! Shy, innocent Abby will be a nanny for a posh New York City family, while smart, no-nonsense Jamie works her nanny gig in sunny, celeb-studded L.A. Talk about culture shock. And, between the eye-popping parties, hot boys, high-maintenance kids, and a heaping of drama, the girls can barely squeeze in time for e-mail catch-ups. But their wild summers on opposite coasts will teach Abby and Jamie things they never knew about love, lust, truth, lies, themselves . . . and each other.


With ears like a bat and webbed toes, it seems as if ten-yearold Jake could fly right out of reality into the freedom of his dreams. No more worries about asthma, special reading class, or his parents’ fighting—just sky. But Jake can’t simply fly away. There’s his little sister, Cassie, to tell stories to when the night sounds become frightening, amazing facts to learn from his best friend Luke, and a safe place—Dragon’s Nest—to build in the backyard.

This beautifully written middle grade novel tells the courageous story of Jake—a night watchman—a protector in the truest sense of the word who finds hope in crickets, friends, teachers, and dreams.


Aurora is an artist, like her father. Through years of drawing lessons, he taught her about light and color, perspective and form. The great thing about art, Rory thinks, is you can bring back something you’ve lost and keep it forever. But when her father leaves the family, it’s Rory who is lost. In this exquisitely told story, a young girl must find her own way of creating, her own way of connecting, and her own way of being.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Baltimore and National Book Festivals

My best friend, Melissa, and I spent Friday at the Baltimore Book Festival. It was HOT, but a lot of fun. There were some fun characters walking around, such as Curious George,


Clifford, and one of my favorite pairs, Frog and Toad. If I thought I was hot, I'm sure they were sweltering. We spent a few hours just wandering around, checking out all of the vendors and their merchandise. There were several booths with authors selling their own books and several booths selling used books. One of the first tents I stumbled upon with fun stuff was Squid Fire. I almost got a tote with the Cryptozoology pattern and didn't. I kinda wish I did. And, unfortunately, I don't see that tote on the site.

There were two other vendors worth noting, as their stuff was handmade and unique. The first was Rebound Designs. The woman who makes the purses and wallets scours used book stores for books that are falling apart, but have good covers. She uses hardback books to make purses and soft bound book covers to make wallets. She also uses images found inside the books to make necklaces. And she does custom orders.

The other vendor was The Black Spot Books. Here they use leather and paper to make tiny books that can be worn as a necklace. They also make small journals. Personally, I want to get one of their larger necklaces to wear to signings... and get authors to sign the pages. Definitely check these sites out. Very fun and unique.

Ted Naifeh

The Children's Bookstore Tent had two presentations. The first one was Ted Naifeh. Some of you may recognize his name, as he is the artist of Holly Black's graphic novels, The Good Neighbors, which I love. I found out that he has written some of his own work. I definitely recommend checking out his Courtney Crumrin series. They are middle grade, but also very enjoyable for adults. I picked up the first four and started reading immediately. He also has a graphic novel targeted a little younger titled Polly and the Pirates. He had brought along his portfolio full of original pieces for The Good Neighbors. If only I had more money... a few called to me to buy them.

Next up was the big panel, Zombies vs. Unicorns. Possibly the funniest author event ever!

Diana Peterfreund sporting a unicorn shirt!

Team Zombie was led by Justine Larbalestier, joined by (her husband) Scott Westerfeld and Carrie Ryan. Scott started off the arguments comparing the two greatest books on the topic: WORLD WAR Z by Max Brooks and a self-published unicorn book that I can't remember the title of. He was called out by an audience member who yelled "Peter S Beagle!" He read an excerpt from both. Of course, biased as he is, he read a fantastic section of WORLD WAR Z. The unicorn book... all about rainbows and sunshine and happiness. Scott added that unicorns are so into rainbows, they fart rainbows. Diana had to interject that Lisa Frank tied rainbows to unicorns in the 80's. (I still have Lisa Frank rainbow unicorn stickers from the 80's.) He also claimed that Wesley Scroggins was Team Unicorn and why would you want to be on his team. (Agree to that last point!) Scott also argued that unicorns were horses with a deformity and horses were skittish. And there was something about honey on the horn to attract a partner. He really wasn't nice to the unicorns.

Justine argued that zombie books were better because when you brought home a zombie book it would catch your parents attention. They may be worried. And that would be fun. Kathleen countered with it being more fun to bring home unicorn books that your parents didn't realize should be worrisome. Justine also said zombies were better because they weren't all white; they're multi-cultural. Carrie, considering her books are post-apocalyptic zombie books, brought up the excitement of preparing for a zombie apocalypse. What you'd need to survive and that it would be more fun than battling unicorns.

Carrie, Scott, and Justine

Team Unicorn was led by Holly Black joined by Diana Peterfreund and Kathleen Duey. Of course, Diana had a lot to add. She brought up the unicorns history and the art being prominent since medieval times. Unicorns, sweet and good or evil and deadly, were nice to look at in art. Zombies... not so much. What is appealing about rotting flesh?

Holly's argument was fantastic. I think it gained the most laughs. She brought up the point of if you looked in a mirror and saw a zombie, you would know your life was over. All you were interested in would be eating brains. But... if you looked into a mirror and saw a unicorn, you could likely walk through that magic mirror and explore a magical world where you are long lost royalty and can speak with woodland critters.

Kathleen, Diana, and Holly

It became even more fun as they opened the floor up for us to add to the debate. One girl claimed to be Team Zombicorn! Holly asked why it was always zombie unicorns. Why couldn't it be sparkly zombies... which led to some cracks about Edward Cullen. And that's always a good time. Some girls who were on Team Unicorn brought up the coolness of robot unicorns and ninja unicorns. Another little girl, probably 8 or 9 said she liked the idea that there were some killer unicorns and that they all aren't girlie and prissy.

A girl on Team Zombie said zombies were cool because you could enslave them to be your housekeeper, butler, etc... Diana asked about a union for these zombies. And she got a quick response of "what about a unicorn union?" and Holly quickly said "Unicorp!" Video games were brought up. What's cooler than Robot Unicorn Attack? Apparently, Plants vs. Zombies... which is fun. There was also singing. One girl argued that Thriller made zombies cool, but apparently Mariah Carey used a unicorn in a video. A great argument made by a tween girl... unicorns have the advantage. Zombies, you run from. Unicorns, you'll run to, to pet, to ask it to grant a wish, heal an illness when BAM! They impale you.

As you can see, the longer it went on, the funnier and more ridiculous it went. Although, I have to agree on Ted Naifeh's point. If you're a zombie, you've already lost. Apparently, Team Zombie won in NY, but in Baltimore Team Unicorn kicked butt.

The following day, we traveled by train (which is better than driving in Baltimore) to the DC mall. Which, in case you don't know, is a big grassy area. We got there pretty much just in time to hear Suzanne Collins talk. She began with a line that went something like "I'm excited to be at the Capital talking about the Capitol." She had some interesting stuff to say about her inspiration for The Hunger Games series, as well as her MG series Gregor. Both series are about war. She grew up with a dad in the army. He went away to the Vietnam war. She said she had thought it wasn't bad... until she saw footage on the tv. Then with the Iraq war, she thought her son hadn't quite realized all that was going on. And she said she realized she was wrong about that.

The inspiration to write about war came from that, as well as her infatuation with the Romans. Why did Katniss fight in a jungle? Because when Suzanne was little, she was told her dad was going to war in a jungle. The arena? The animal attacks? Roman influence. Remember the movie, Gladiator. The idea to have it be kids fight came from a lot of Greco-Roman myth where kids were the target. They were attacked or killed as punishment to the parents. And the televised events... because it was for entertainment, as it was in the gladiator matches.

What she said made a lot of sense, and considering I'm infatuated with Greco-Roman myth, I'm surprised I didn't realize it sooner. Her reason for wanting these stories told was because there are wars going on, and kids hear more than a lot of parents think. And considering the topic of war, it's something that needs to be fully discussed, not partially understood. Also, another good point she makes is that in some of these wars, there are kids fighting. Maybe not on the US side, but in other countries, definitely.

Katniss is put in many situations where she is dressed up to promote an image. She said this was inspired by her work on TV where she was behind the scenes. And the ridiculousness of it all, came from reality TV. She did a question and answer section where she very kindly said "No MOCKINGJAY spoilers!" My friend was very pleased. She answered a question about Panem, where she said she would not put that world on a map. However, Panem is the US and Canada. The Capitol is near the rockies and District 12 in Appalachia. The name Panem comes from the Latin term Panem Et Circenses, which means "bread and circuses", "a derogatory phrase which can describe either government policies to pacify the citizenry, or the shallow, decadent desires of that same citizenry. In both cases, it refers to low-cost, low-quality, high-availability food and entertainment" (from wikipedia).

I left during part of the question and answer section to get a good spot in line for the signing. Yeah... good spot. There were separate lines for her, about 50 people or more in each line. I got a spot at the beginning of line 10, where they promptly cut the line. If you hadn't heard, Suzanne hurt her wrist which meant no signing. Not happy she got hurt, but... because of the stamp situation, she was able to get a lot more people her signature. I was in line for about an hour and fifteen minutes before we moved. But once we moved, we got to the front in 5 minutes. She was very nice. No time to chat, but she thanked everyone for coming out and waiting in line.

View from Katherine Paterson's line

Katherine Paterson was my next priority. That line moved very slow. And it was very hot. I waited for over an hour, and, thankfully, she was sweet enough to extend her signing time, or I would've missed out. I was very excited to get my copy of BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA signed.

Next, we headed over to the Botanical Gardens where our friend, author of FORGET-HER-NOTS, Amy Brecount White was talking about her book, the magic of flowers, and making tussie-mussies. In my tussie-mussie, she put rosemary for remembrance, pink roses for sweetness, sunflower for adoration, white chrysanthemum for truth, iris for messages, and oregano for joy.

I missed Isabel Allende and Margaret Peterson Haddix because I was in other lines. And while there were other books I wanted signed, we had to leave. So I missed Michael Buckley and Allegra Goodman. But it was hot, I was tired, and had blisters on my feet.

They were two long, hot days, but I was glad we got to go. It was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book Giveaway: Beautiful Darkness

Contest closed!

I hit 250 followers!!! So to celebrate I'm giving away BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS.

To enter:
1. You must follow my blog
2. You must be 13 or older.
3. You must fill out this form. Contest closed!

Giveaway ends on October 12, the BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS release date. Open to US or anywhere The Book Depository ships.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Speak Up!

I wanted to write a post about SPEAK on Sunday when Twitter exploded with messages about a man named Wesley Scroggins and his wanting to ban SPEAK. (If you haven't heard about this, you can read about it here and check the hastag #SpeakLoudly on twitter). But I wanted to reread it before I wrote the post, since I read it more than a year ago.

The first thing I saw in my platinum edition of SPEAK is a letter from the fabulous author, Laurie Halse Anderson. I love the line about revisiting the “agonies of adolescence” because that is so true. I love young adult fiction, but was not a happy teen. School was torture because I was constantly picked on.

As I flipped to the next page, I got to the message Laurie Halse Anderson wrote in my book at ALA a few months ago. Can anyone guess what she wrote? “Speak up!”

This book really touched me… for a number of reasons. A number of my friends are rape survivors. One friend was attacked by a stranger who grabbed her as she walked down the street in broad daylight. Another girl who was attacked by a friend of hers. It happened a few times before she realized that she could say “no”. A third friend was attacked while she was too inebriated to fight back. And another friend, my best friend at the time, was raped by the guy she was seeing. And believe it or not, I have many other friends who have been in similar situations and one who was sexually abused for ten years by her father and uncle.

Perhaps you don’t know the statistics. According to RAINN 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men are attacked. Every 2 minutes a woman is raped in the US. 73% of women know their attackers and 60% of assaults are not reported to the police. And 44% of these women are under the age of 18. I think most of you would agree with me that those are scary statistics. We live in a free country… where it’s a high probability of being raped… The rates have risen from a few years back, and I hope it’s because more women are speaking up. And I hope every one of them understand that it is never anyone’s fault but the rapist.

Found this banner here.

Because this kind of thing happens to so many of us, it’s a very important topic to talk about, which is another reason SPEAK is an important book to read. I really identified with Melinda for a number of reasons. I think a lot of girls would. A lot of teens (and adults) feel alone. They feel they can’t talk about something that needs to be brought to light. Whether or not that something is rape.

My best friend was raped while we were in college. She reacted much like Melinda. She cut herself off from everyone. I didn’t hear from her for months. She didn’t tell her mom or anyone for a long time after. It makes me mad that someone could make her feel that way. She was always outgoing and open. Eventually, she found her voice and spoke up.

I was very pleased to see that SPEAK is being taught in high school. Even if you don’t like the story or the writing, the message needs to be heard. SPEAK tells women and girls that they are not alone. I believe Melinda can help girls find their voice and tell their stories. And for those who have not been sexually assaulted, it might help you understand a friend who has. Also, while Melinda may turn out to be a positive role model for girls, I think guys would definitely benefit from this book. I don’t know that men understand how hurtful and devastating this can be for women. It completely changes us, as anything that traumatic would.

On Sunday night I was telling a friend of mine (who is not in the YA book blog community) about this ridiculousness. She asked if Scroggins wanted to ban rape, too. It seems clear to me Mr. Scroggins didn't actually read the texts himself. It still baffles me that people are trying to ban books in 2010. Trying to stomp on our constitutional rights after all this time. And it baffles me even more that someone is trying to ban SPEAK by calling it “soft porn”. Along with SPEAK, Scroggins wanted to ban SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE and TWENTY BOY SUMMER. I ran out and bought TWENTY BOY SUMMER, since wanting to ban a book is as good as a recommendation. If it might be banned, it's probably worth reading. =P

So… speak up! And fight to keep books from being banned.

Book Giveaway: Welcoming the Fall

For my Welcoming the Fall Giveaway, I'm giving away two copies of VAMPIRE HAIKU by Ryan Mecum. I've read this book, and it is fantastic. There are lots of references to previous vampire books and movies. And there was a lot of laughing.

There will be two winners. One from the US and one from anywhere else. You must be 13 or older to enter. You must also be a follower. If you don't follow, you aren't eligible. And you may only enter once. Giveaway runs from September 22-29, so enter now!

Contest Closed! Winners announced here.

And don't forget to enter all the other giveaways, listed below:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Review: Such a Pretty Girl

I was in Borders the other day - I spend more time there than anywhere else - and SUCH A PRETTY GIRL by Laura Wiess caught my eye. To be honest, the title caught my eye more than the cover. I could guess what it was about by the title alone. I decided to read a chapter or two in the store and next thing I know, I'm a third of the way into the novel. Of course, I couldn't leave it there, so I took it home and finished it that night.

It was amazing... in a horrifying way. Meredith is 15, and her father is getting out of jail six years early. He had gone to jail because he raped a number of kids, including his own daughter. While he was not allowed to live in her home, her mother got him a place as close as possible. And she was not to be left alone with her, but her mother did. Meredith's mother chose to side with her husband, a man who raped her daughter.

It was a heart-breaking, powerful story. The thing about this book that makes it so sad is that there are girls who aren't safe in their own homes, as Meredith wasn't safe. This happens way too often in society. It's a hard story to read, but the writing is amazing, and I highly recommend this one.

You can read a preview of it here.


They promised Meredith nine years of safety, but only gave her three.
Her father was supposed to be locked up until Meredith turned eighteen. She thought she had time to grow up, get out, and start a new life. But Meredith is only fifteen, and today her father is coming home from prison.
Today her time has run out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Covers: The Gathering

Kelley Armstrong's next YA trilogy is Darkness Rising, telling Maya's story starting with THE GATHERING. While it is a new trilogy, it is in the same series as her first trilogy. It comes out next spring, and I am really excited!

With Kelley's adult series, the UK always had different covers. They didn't do that with The Darkest Powers trilogy. But they did with this one. I love it!

What do you think? I think I prefer the UK cover.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Review: Mockingjay

I'm glad I waited to read THE HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE because then I didn't have to wait for MOCKINGJAY. Suzanne Collins definitely wrote an amazing trilogy. Each book stands out strong... and in different ways. But I have to say MOCKINGJAY was my least favorite and CATCHING FIRE was my favorite.

One thing that really interested me about this series, that I failed to mention in previous reviews, is the clothing and style of people in the Capitol. Since this book takes place in the future, it takes something we do now and makes it unbelievable. I'm not a fan of the idea of cosmetic surgery. But it's something that is becoming more and more popular among people. I feel like it started out as something that only celebrities did, and now regular teens are having it done.

Cosmetic surgery in the world of The Hunger Games series is even more extreme. Coloring hair and skin to unnatural colors. Can you imagine living in a world where someone's entire body is dyed lavender or striped like a tiger? Or someone having cat-like whiskers surgically implanted in their face? To be honest, this was my favorite thing about MOCKINGJAY.

I've heard a lot of complaint about the ending of this book. There was death of characters I liked and characters I didn't. One, in particular, made me cry. I don't want to giveaway spoilers because I know not everyone has read it yet. There were sad parts and parts that tried to be happy. But when you're in a war, it's just too hard to be happy some times. I cried again at the end... at the epilogue. And for a while after.

I'm just happy I don't live in a world like that. I think that's one of the benefits of reading dystopian novels. It makes you realize that your life isn't as bad as you may have thought. We live in a free country. Not a country where you can be shot to death to punish a relative that pissed off the president or annoyed a peacemaker. Peacemaker=exterminator.

I think I'm still Team Katniss. And while there were parts of this book I really didn't enjoy, I've enjoyed thinking about all that's happened. I hope everyone who's read the previous two will read this. If for no other reason than to see how it all ends. There was a lot of controversy over how it ended. It seemed people either loved or hated it. And I think it all had to do with how it was read. Anyway, I liked the ending.


Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.

Book Giveaway: Hush, Hush

Giveaway is closed!

So you may have heard of HUSH, HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick... and that she has a sequel coming out in a little over a month called CRESCENDO. And if you are like me and often late to the party, you'll want to get your hands on this fantastic book before October 19.

There will be two winners.

First place prize: HUSH, HUSH hardback, swag (including HUSH, HUSH bookmark), earrings inspired by the novel, and fallen angel journal.

Second place prize: Fallen angel journal and swag (including HUSH, HUSH bookmark)

To enter:
1. Must be a follower.
2. Must be 13.
3. Must have a US address.

Contest closes Friday, October 1 at 9PM EST. And don't forget to leave your email.

Want extra points?
+2 Following my twitter @AineFey (leave username)
+1 For tweeting, tweet up to once a day (leave links)
+2 For getting a friend to follow my blog (leave their name)
+1 For being Rather Lovely (leave rath username)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Review: Catching Fire

I recently read THE HUNGER GAMES. And while I did not love it, I liked it enough to continue the series. I’m glad I already had CATCHING FIRE on my shelf. I picked it up almost right away. I read it in six hours and loved it. I have to admit that I was concerned. Many friends of mine who had read THE HUNGER GAMES and loved it weren't huge fans of CATCHING FIRE. Imagine my surprise when I liked it more.

Katniss is back at home after The Hunger Games, and she and Peeta are about to go on tour. The thing I love about these two is that they are rebels. They continually act out, even though they know that it could cause punishment, including death. I love that we got to see more Gale in this one, though he still didn't get enough "screen time".

There was one scene that caused tears. Poor Gale! I can completely understand why Katniss is so torn between her two guys. Both are fantastic. I am still unable to choose sides. Currently still Team Katniss! And even though I was late to the party, I'm glad I was. This way, I didn't have to wait a year!

And again... Down with the Capitol!


Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Manga Review: Labyrinth and Dark Crystal

The fourth RETURN TO THE LABYRINTH installment hit shelves last month. It was the final volume in the series. If you're familiar with the 1980's movie Labyrinth, then this is for you. Whether or not you've seen the movie, I honestly think you'd enjoy this. However, if you have seen the movie, it will make reading these that much more enjoyable.

Even after 15 years, Jareth, the goblin king, is still in love with Sarah. And he has been keeping his eyes on the baby. Though, Toby is no longer a baby. Toby is to be the successor to King Jareth's throne. But is this high school slacker up for the job? And is Jareth being fair?

Other lovable characters show up to help along the way: Ludo, Hoggle, Didymus, the worm. "I said 'Ello." And we get to meet a few new characters as well: Hanna the wingless faery and her friend who's basically a baby Ludo.


The Goblin King has kept a watchful eye on Toby: His minions secretly guiding and protecting the child... Legions of goblins work behind the scenes to ensure that Toby has whatever his heart desires... Preparing him for the day when he will return to the Labyrinth and take his rightful place beside Jareth as the heir to the Goblin Kingdom... That day has come......but no one has told Toby.

While I enjoyed RETURN TO THE LABYRINTH, I loved LEGENDS OF THE DARK CRYSTAL. It follows Lahr and Neffi, two gelflings, whose homes and villages have been destroyed by the garthim. Again, I think this would be more enjoyable to someone who has seen and loved the film, but everyone could enjoy it. The evil Skesis are behind the garthim attacks.

If you've seen the movie, then I'm sure you remember the Skesis often saying "Hmmmmmmm". They say it a lot in these books, and I can hear their "Hmmmmmm" as though I was watching the film. These books take place before the movie, a prequel, and is set at a time when there were more geflings. Aughra and the mystics, make their appearance, of course, making this a thoroughly enjoyable series. I'm sad there's only two books.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Short Story Review: Of Course I Try (and giveaway)

Contest Closed! The winner is... Sandy!

I was recently asked by a friend to review her first published work. It is epublished by Decadent Publishing, a company that publishes erotica (which is what this is) as well as various sub-genres of romance and even some YA. Seleste deLaney is a penname for... actually, I can't tell you that. =P But you can read an excerpt here.

She pitched it to me as an adult story with some paranormal thrown in. The paranormal is the part that attracts me to a lot of stories. Jocelyn is our MC, and she is in love with Max. Or perhaps it's just "in lust with". And I can see why. Unfortunately, I can't say too much about the story, or you'll know the big secret that's revealed at the end.

The only complaint I have is that it's just too short. I wanted more. The writing is superb, and I am looking forward to more from her. Hopefully, longer pieces, and, of course, I'd read more short stories as well.

This type of story isn't for everyone, but if you're an adult and enjoy erotica, you'll definitely enjoy this tale.


Love is a wonderful thing. Unless you don't get a choice in the matters of your own heart.

Jocelyn has loved Max since the day she met him. Even when he scares her enough to leave, she can't resist going back. No matter how many times she tries to break free from him, she ends up in his arms and bed again. Not this time. Jocelyn needs to be free and Max isn't going to stop her from walking away -- no matter how hard he tries.

And I liked it so much, that I'm giving away a copy. This is only published in eformat, so this contest will be a bit different. I will send you a gift certificate for the exact amount on Amazon, and by entering, it means you will use it for that. Honor system. Contest runs through 9/10. You have until 9:00 PM EST.

1. Leave me a comment to be entered.
2. You must be 17 years of age and a follower of Aine's Realm.
3. You do NOT need a kindle, as you can download kindle for PC or Mac.
4. This is open to US, Canada, and UK. Let me know which country so I can order from the right amazon, though I'm not sure it actually matters. =P
5. Extra point for following @SelestedeLaney on Twitter (leave name).
6. Extra point if you promise to review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Author Interview: Dianne Salerni (and giveaway)

I’ve wanted to do author interviews at Aine’s Realm for a while now and, unfortunately, had been rather lazy about it. A few weeks ago I met a bunch of wonderful authors at PAYA, including the lovely Dianne K Salerni, and she graciously agreed to be my first author interviewee.

Aine: First off, Dianne, can you tell us about your book, We Hear the Dead?

Dianne: We Hear the Dead is a fictional retelling of the story of Maggie Fox, one of two girls credited with starting the spiritualist movement in the 19th century. Maggie was a fun-loving and mischievous girl who became caught up in the 1800’s equivalent of a “viral video.” The clever prank that she and her sister Kate pulled on family and neighbors snowballed into a phenomenon, a social pastime, and even a religion. Pretending to be spirit mediums lifted Maggie and her family out of poverty, but she was never fully comfortable with the deception. When she fell in love with a famous Arctic explorer from a higher social class, Maggie was forced into a crisis of conscience, deciding between the man she loved and her family duties.

Aine: I absolutely loved We Hear the Dead. There were so many good scenes. Which scene was your favorite to write?

Dianne: I loved writing the romantic scenes between Maggie and her beau, Elisha Kane. As part of my research, I read many of the actual love letters between these historical people. They were both very playful and enjoyed using clever words to needle each other. Elisha called Maggie a fraud, and Maggie punctured holes in Elisha’s (rather large) ego. While I was writing, I became totally caught up in weaving the real words exchanged between these lovers 150 years ago into their conversations on the page.

Aine: Were there any events that happened in Maggie’s life that you wanted to include, but had to cut for length or storyline purposes? Can you tell us about one of them?

Dianne: One event that had to be cut involved a narrow escape from exposure. A sister-in-law of their sister-in-law (if you follow that) overheard Maggie and Kate discussing the manner in which they really produced the ghostly knocking sounds. This woman spilled the beans to a gentleman named C. Chauncy Burr who was trying to discredit the Fox sisters. Burr went around the state denouncing the girls and demonstrating how they faked the knocking sounds. Maggie and Kate’s older sister Leah salvaged the situation through good marketing! Leah reduced the prices for the séances and made sure clients were happy, while Burr insulted believers and made more enemies than friends.

Aine: I know you originally self published a few years ago. How much editing/rewriting happened between High Spirits and We Hear the Dead?

Dianne: 30,000 words worth of editing happened! I cut that much out of the original version. Events lost along the way included the Burr episode, various small things that happened to Kate, and a long story about Elisha Kane’s Arctic adventures.

Aine: How is the We Hear the Dead screenplay coming along? Any movie news you can share?

Dianne: I am working on another draft of the screenplay this fall – it’s the 8th draft by my count. This draft will mostly stick to the previous version, but add one layer of depth over top of what I already have. I am really excited about the proposed changes, because I think it will give the whole movie a better sense of purpose. The producer, Amy Green of One Eye Open Studio, plans to roll out the screenplay to financial backers this fall. She would like to see filming start in late 2011!

Aine: What do your students (or past students) think about having a teacher who is also a published author? Have any of them read We Hear the Dead and if so what kind of feedback have you gotten?

Dianne: My students (and their parents) have been some of my best supporters. I know the students were excited to see the book on the shelves of stores last spring, and I can’t wait to see their reaction when they spot it in the Scholastic TAB Book Club flyer this September! We Hear the Dead is geared toward older readers, but some of my fifth graders have read the book anyway. One of last year’s students even read the original (longer) version and wrote a wonderful review of it on our classroom blog! I can also credit my students with naming the book. When Sourcebooks decided to change my original title (High Spirits), it was one of my students who suggested “We Can Hear the Dead.”

Aine: What can you tell us about the book you’re working on?

Dianne: I have two projects I’m working on right now. I’m working on the first draft of a historical mystery surrounding two caged graves in a lonely mountain town in Pennsylvania. The graves really do exist, and the story behind the cages is shrouded in mystery. I also have a manuscript set in the Victorian age about a girl orphaned under mysterious circumstances who confounds a group of scientists investigating psychics. This story is also based on true events, and I am working on revisions to plot structure and pacing.

Aine: How much of your summer vacation did you spend writing? And do you prefer to write your first drafts long hand or on the computer?

Dianne: I spent ALL of my summer vacation writing -- first the screenplay, and then the caged graves manuscript, with periodic revisions on the other piece as I collected feedback. I write completely on the computer. The only time you’ll catch me working long hand is during a faculty meeting, when I’m pretending to take notes.

Aine: Any chance we’ll see more from you about the Fox sisters? I, personally, have my fingers crossed for a Kate story.

Dianne: Well, there are eight drafts of a screenplay about the Fox sisters! LOL! I’ll never say never regarding a follow-up novel, but Kate is a tricky subject. Unlike Maggie, she never confessed to fraud, nor did she commit her inner thoughts and personal dilemmas to paper. I can historically justify what I wrote about Maggie based on her letters, but Kate … is an enigma.

Aine: How did you celebrate the release of We Hear the Dead?

Dianne: Coincidentally, the same day We Hear the Dead was released, my husband and I were scheduled to attend a Sweetheart’s Ball at the local Rotary Club. It was originally a Valentine’s Day event that was postponed to May because of a blizzard. So, on my release day, I had my hair done, dressed up in a fancy gown, and had a night on the town with my husband.

Aine: And some random questions, because those are sometimes the most fun… What book are you most looking forward to that is released this fall?

Dianne: In the YA genre, I am looking forward to Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. In adult fiction, I’ve preordered a copy of a novel called Cryoburn, by one of my favorite science fiction authors, Lois McMaster Bujold.

Aine: What is your favorite sweet treat?

Dianne: Cheesecake – or my husband’s homemade vanilla ice cream.

Aine: What toppings do you like on your pizza?

Dianne: Black olives, spinach, and feta cheese.

Aine: What is the one place you want to visit most in the world?

Dianne: I’d like to visit Greece someday and possibly take a cruise around the Greek islands. I’m especially interested in visiting Minoan ruins.

Aine: And… what does the K in Dianne K Salerni stand for?

Dianne: The K stands for Katherine, my middle name. I get some ribbing because I have a Facebook account under Dianne Marenco Salerni – so high school and college friends can locate me by my maiden name. But then people want to know if I think Marenco starts with a K! I probably ought to fix that.

Aine: Thanks again, Dianne, for allowing me to do this interview. I don't think we could split a pizza, but I'm definitely in for some cheesecake. =P

Don't forget to check out Dianne's website for information on her other works and her blog to read more about her upcoming projects, the Fox sisters, random musings, and book reviews by her daughter.


Now for the winner of WE HEAR THE DEAD, signed by the one and only Dianne. As chosen by, our winner is Maggie. Congrats!