Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Reading List

Here is my list for 2011: start Jan 1 and end Dec 31.

N = Novel
Na = Novella
M = Manga
GN = Graphic Novel

Short Stories are listed at the bottom


1. Ash by Malinda Lo (N)
2. Bride of the Water God, volume 6 by Mi-Kyung Yun (M)
3. Counterfeit Magic by Kelley Armstrong (Na)
4. Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Peterson (GN)
5. Fables 14: Witches by Bill Willingham (GN)


6. Pretty Souls by Julie Particka (N)
7. Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr (N)
8. Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll (N)


9. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (N)
10. Resolve by Melissa Marr (M)
11. Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 by David Peterson (GN)
12. The Ghost of Vampire Present by Seleste deLaney (Na)
13. In the Storm by Karen Metcalf (Na)
14. Spice and Wolf, manga volume 2 by Isuna Hasekura (M)


15. Spice and Wolf, manga volume 3 by Isuna Hasekura (M)
16. Graveminder by Melissa Marr (N)
17. Pale Demon by Kim Harrison (N)
18. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (N)
19. Prince Caspian by CS Lewis (N)


20. The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (N)
21. Amaretto Flame by Sammie Spencer (N)
22. Solid by Shelley Workinger (N)
23. My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent (N)
24. Pirate Haiku by Michael Spradlin (GB)
25. Bride of the Water God, volume 7 by Mi-Kyung Yun (M)
26. Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories by Zack Whedon (GN)


27. Spice and Wolf, manga volume 4 by Isuna Hasekura (M)
28. Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong (N)
29. Climbing Out by Brian Ralph (GN)
30. Bride of the Water God, volume 8 by Mi-Kyung Yun (M)
31. Badlands by Seleste deLaney (Na)
32. Black Butler, volume 1 by Yana Toboso (M)
33. Black Butler, volume 2 by Yana Toboso (M)
34. Rose Red by Bill Willingham (GN)
35. The Tarot Cafe, volume 1 by Sang-Sun Park (M)
36. Black Butler, volume 3 by Yana Toboso (M)
37. Chobits, volume 1 by Clamp (M)
38. Red Glove by Holly Black (N)
39. I Wish... by Wren Emerson (N)
40. Chobits, volume 2 by Clamp (M)
41. Chobits, volume 3 by Clamp (M)
42. Chobits, volume 4 by Clamp (M)
43. Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley (GN)


44. Sugar Moon by Sarah Diemer (Na)
45. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (N)
46. Blood Work by Kim Harrison (GN)
47. Senior Year Bites by J.A. Campbell (N)
48. Stolen by Lucy Christopher (N)
49. Becoming (Deluxe) by Kelley Armstrong (GN)
50. Black Butler, volume 4 by Yana Toboso (M)
51. Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson (N)
52. Chobits, volume 5 by Clamp (M)
53. Chobits, volume 6 by Clamp (M)


54. The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (N)
55. Chobits, volume 7 by Clamp (M)
56. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, volume 1 by Gen Urobuchi (M)
57. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, volume 2 by Gen Urobuchi (M)
58. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, volume 3 by Gen Urobuchi (M)
59. Chobits, volume 8 by Clamp (M)
60. Clubbing by Andi Watson (GN)
61. The Centaur's Daughter by Ellen Jensen Abbott (N)
62. Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice, volume 1 by Masaki Hiramatsu (M)
63. Sea Princess Azuri, volume 1 by Erica Reis (M)
64. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis (N)
65. The Selchie's Seed by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim (N)
66. Smith of Wootton Major by J.R.R. Tolkien (N)


67. Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready (N)
68. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (N)
69. A Girl Named Willow Krimble by Giuseppe Bianco (N)
70. Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki (GN)
71. Black Butler, volume 5 by Yana Toboso (M)
72. The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci (GN)
73. The Initiation by LJ Smith (N)
74. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (N)


75. Black Butler, volume 6 by Yana Toboso (M)
76. Black Butler, volume 7 by Yana Toboso (M)
77. If I Die by Rachel Vincent (N)
78. How I Made it to Eighteen by Tracy White (GN)
79. Polly and the Pirates, vol 1 by Ted Naifeh (GN)
80. Laddertop, volume 1 by Orson Scott Card + Emily Janice Card (M)
81. How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (N)
82. The Spider and the Fly by Tony DiTerlizzi (GN)
83. Perfectly Human by Julie Particka (N)


84. Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (N)
85. Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr (N)
86. The Captive by LJ Smith (N)
87. The Stone Fey by Robin McKinley (GN)
88. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (N)
89. Avatar: The Lost Adventures by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino (GN)
90. Kimmie66 by Aaron Alexovich (GN)
91. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (N)
92. Magic Trixie by Jill Thompson (GN)
93. Magic Trixie Sleeps Over by Jill Thompson (GN)
94. The Super Scary Monster Show by Landry Walker (GN)
95. To Dance by Siena Cherson Siegel (GN)
96. Miki Falls: Spring by Mark Crilley


97. Burned by PC and Kristin Cast (N)
98. Hidden by Kelley Armstrong (Na)
99. 100 Girls by Adam Gallardo (GN)
100. Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey (N)
101. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (N)

Short Stories

1. "Beasts and BFFS" by Shannon Delany
2. "Retro Demonology" by Jana Oliver
3. "Old Habits" by Melissa Marr
4. "Cotton Candy Skies" by Melissa Marr
5. “Transition” by Melissa Marr
6. “Merely Mortal” by Melissa Marr
7. “Facing Facts” by Kelley Armstrong
8. “Bloody Sunshine” by Neil Gaiman
9. “Chivalrous” by Kelley Armstrong
10. “Niederwald” by Rachel Vincent
11. “Bridge” by Jeri Smith-Ready
12. "Hare Moon" by Carrie Ryan
13. “Dungeons of Langeais” by Becca Fitzpatrick
14. "Dream Dark" by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
15. “Lila the Werewolf” by Peter S Beagle
16. “Dark Beauty” by Taryn Browning
17. "Forever Summer" by Seleste deLaney
18. "For Fear of Dragons" by Carrie Vaughn
19. "Six Scents" by Lisa Mantchev
20. "Magnus' Vow" by Cassandra Clare
21. "The Power of Six" by Pittacus Lore
22. "First Frost" by Jennifer Estep
23. "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel" by Kim Harrison
24. "Burning Bright" by Cassandra Clare
25. "Of Loss" by Cassandra Clare

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Winners: Speak

And the winner, of one copy of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is...


*I was going to give away two copies, but due to the low number of entries, I'm giving away one now and will save one for a giveaway later

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Review: Witch Eyes

Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.

After a terrifying vision reveals imminent danger for the uncle who raised and instructed him, Braden retreats to Belle Dam, an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties. As rival family heads Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe desperately try to use Braden's powers to unlock Belle Dam's secrets, Braden vows never to become their sacrificial pawn. But everything changes when Braden learns that Jason is his father--and Trey, the enigmatic guy he's falling for, is Catherine's son.

To stop an insidious dark magic from consuming the town, Braden must master his gift—and risk losing the one he loves.

I was really looking forward to Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey. My best friend had talked about how much she was looking forward to it in 2010 that I immediately put it on my to read list. Not only that, but I put it on my 11 Must Reads of 2011 list. I got an early signed copy of it at PAYA back in August, and it took me a bit longer to get to it than I had planned. But I finally read it last week and loved it!

Braden, the main character, is a witch. And he's returning to Belle Dam where a witch feud has been taking place for a while. He has a special gift. A sight which allows him to see more than anyone else. But it causes him severe migraines, so he wears sunglasses to block it out. But he learns in Belle Dam that he is not the first with this gift. 

The history of the town and Grace Lansing were interesting. And Lucien was a fascinating character. I liked Catherine a lot, but I'm not sure I should. This is one of those rare books where the main character is narrating and you (and he) aren't sure who to trust, but you like everyone anyway. Usually, if I can't trust you, I don't like you. 

Other things I enjoyed: Braden is gay. It's something he's not had much acceptance for, but he and Trey fall for each other and are absolutely adorable together. It's also narrated by a male character. Something we're finally starting to see a lot more of in the YA collection. And witches! I love vampires, faeries, werewolves, etc... but I love none of them more than witches!

This is definitely a book to look for if you haven't read it. And look for Demon Eyes in 2012!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Giveaway

Happy birthday to me! On December 23 actually. So I'm giving away two copies of one of my favorite books: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

If you want to win a copy, you must:
1. Follow my blog via GFC.
2. Be 13 or older.
3. Have a US mailing address. (Sorry, I can't afford shipping out of the US at this time.)
4. Leave a comment on my blog about why you want to win Speak and your email so I can contact you.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Meeting Authors: Cassandra Clare, Michelle Hodkin, and a surprise

I went down to Bethesda Maryland last night to meet Cassandra Clare and Michelle Hodkin at an event at the library. When I got there, the room was packed, and I got in line to buy my books. Then this conversation happened. 

Me: I'd like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.
Bookstore Lady: There are no more. 
Me: What do you mean there are no more? 
BL: We didn't think many people would want this one. 
Me: Every time I come to a signing here with a stack of books you all are unhappy that I'm not buying books from you. Then I come here to buy from you, to support your indie store, and you run out. Next time I'll make sure I buy my books in advance. 

So then I walked out. It was a bit more dramatic then intended. And I was aware people were watching the conversation. I don't do dramatic, but I was annoyed. Because these people always lecture on supporting the indie, which I'm happy to do. And I had Cassie's signature in a couple of books already, so I was mostly there for Michelle Hodkin. Anyway, we're a few blocks from a B&N, so I was going to call and see if they had a copy. Then run over and get it. The bookstore lady followed me out to the doors of the library and said there was one copy they had pulled for the raffle, but they'd sell it to me instead. I was happy to get the book, but felt a bit guilty until I found out they had only brought 20 copies. And that this had been an issue before. 

Sending a well-known, successful author with a debut author is a marketing strategy. People will go for the author they know and love and hopefully pick up the other book. This isn't a trick. It's actually a good strategy. Though I was interested in Mara Dyer before this event. According to another event attendee, this same indie did something similar at another event. They stocked about 20 of the lesser known author's newest book, which was second in a series, and had ZERO of book one. That's not good business sense nor does it support the author and make attendees happy.  Now, while I'm all for supporting the indie book stores, I'm definitely going to be more careful. I'll be calling ahead to make sure they have the book(s) I want, and if I'm concerned about them having it, I'll be bringing a copy I've previously purchased. And if you're reading this, and you are an indie store, set polls or rsvps on your site to get an idea of how many books to order. I wouldn't be opposed to ordering ahead of time and pre-paying to ensure I get my copy. 

Now... enough of my ranting and on to the good stuff!

Cassie Clare talked a bit about her inspiration for her Shadowhunters. She said a tattoo artist friend of hers had a lot of runes in her sample book which made Cassie think about how warriors may decorate themselves with runes. And after a while the Shadowhunters were born. 

Most of the audience's questions were directed at her. Who's her favorite character? Which book is her favorite? Questions that are always hard for authors because it's "like choosing a favorite child." There were also a lot of "OMG! I just love this character!" followed by squeals. When asked which book guy she'd like to date, she responded, with no hesitation, Darcy. Someone asked her why The Infernal Devices was a darker series than The Mortal Instruments. Her reason is because of the time period. Victorian London was a darker place than our world. 

Michelle Hodkin also spoke about her inspiration for her book. She was a lawyer, doing civil anti-terrorism litigation. And while she was in New York, she met a woman whose daughter had survived a building collapse. Several of her friends died in that same accident. Michelle also met her daughter. She took their info to pass along to a lawyer who could help them. A year later, she tried to contact the woman and her daughter. Their number had been disconnected, and when researched, she could find no record of them. That night, she started writing the story. When Michelle was asked which book guy she'd like to date, she said she had no idea. However, she said she did like Simon from The Mortal Instruments. 

There were so many people at the signing, and I was on the far side of the room, I ended up at the back of the line, where I waited for an hour and 45 minutes. But when I got to the front of the line, Michelle recognized me. She said I was the first person she recognized from my Twitter avatar. This has happened once before, and I was really excited. I feel special! Haha! She was very sweet, and I glad to get to meet her.

And there was a surprise author at the event. While I was waiting in line I looked up and recognized Diana Peterfreund. I know she lives in the area, so it wasn't much of a shock to see her there. I'm not very good at recognizing people from their pictures online, but I've met her twice before. I tweeted that I saw her. And she found me in line, holding up her phone and asked me if I had tweeted her. She ended up standing in line with me while we chatted for about thirty minutes. She was very sweet as well.

All-in-all it was a really great event. I wanted to get pictures to post here, but i was seated in a bad place for taking them. I hope everyone else who attended had a great time as well.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Books vs. Movies: Hugo Cabret

Orphan Hugo Cabret lives in a wall. His secret home is etched out in the crevices of a busy Paris train station. Part-time clock keeper, part-time thief, he leads a life of quiet routine until he gets involved with an eccentric, bookish young girl and an angry old man who runs a toy booth in the station. The Invention of Hugo Cabret unfolds its cryptic, magical story in a format that blends elements of picture book, novel, graphic novel, and film. Caldecott Honor-winning author-illustrator Brian Selznick has fashioned an intricate puzzle story that binds the reader like a mesmerist's spell.

I have seen The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick on the shelves of book stores for a while now. But I must admit that I had never really paid attention to it until I realized a movie based on the novel would soon be hitting theaters. When I checked it out on Goodreads I found a review by one of my favorite authors, Maggie Stiefvater, who said she loved the book. So I checked it out from my library. I read it in only a few hours. Despite its length, it's a quick, easy read. And I would say probably close to 3/4 of the book is pictures.

The story of Hugo Cabret is beautiful and sad and marvelously entertaining. He lives with his drunk of an uncle in the walls of the train station after his father dies. He has no other family, and then his uncle disappears, but Hugo continues to keep the clocks at the train station running. He becomes a thief to keep himself as fed as he can and to fix his automaton. Before his father died, they began work on a small mechanical man who ran with clockworks. And Hugo continues on their work.

There are some interesting twists and turns, and many of the characters were much more than they initially showed up. As lovely as the story was, the images made it that much more charming. While this book is not written in comic form, it is definitely a graphic novel of sorts. The images are just as important to the story as the words.

Since I enjoyed the book so much, I had to see the movie in theaters. The movie has a shortened title. Just "Hugo". The actors were great, especially Asa Butterfield who starred as Hugo Cabret. In addition to the acting, the effects were great. They weren't over the top, as I've heard many say. I think they were perfect.

According to IMDb, author/illustrator Brian Selznick makes an appearance. I'll have to look for him next time.

As far as movie adaptations of a book go, this one was really close. The order of events weren't changed much. They added and subtracted little. They did, however, cut one of the major supporting characters from the movie. But they did well explaining things, small but important details that are often left out were well done here. My understanding of why so many stories are changed when turned into movies is because pacing in a book is different than pacing in a movie. While I found the book exciting, the movie was somewhat less so. It dragged in a few places.

So... read the book, and then see the movie. Don't miss out! Both were enjoyable.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review: Revealers

Witchin' ain't easy.

Jules has a rebellious streak, a massive crush on Connor, and the abilities of a Revealer witch. By day, she and her coven friends seem like typical high school seniors. By night, they have the power to make werewolves, vampires, and ghosts reveal themselves, so they can destroy them. It's not exactly cheerleading, but at least the girls know they're doing the world some good.

One by one, Jules's friends turn eighteen and are initiated into the coven's inner circle. And one by one, they are getting completely freaked out. Jules is the youngest, and though her friends are too scared tell her what's going on, something's clearly not right. As her birthday approaches, Jules realizes she's got to find out what's behind the shadows of her coven before it's too late to save her friends...and herself. But what she discovers may be too powerful for even the toughest witches to defeat.

I was pleasantly surprised by Revealers by Amanda Marrone when I read it a few years ago. Honestly, though, I wasn't expecting much considering the reviews I had read. But I picked it up anyway because it looked like a quick read. And I like stories about witches.

This is the first book I remember reading that was set in present tense. When I read the first few pages, I thought it would bother me, but I was quickly swept up in the story and forgot about that. It was fast-paced, so I think present tense worked well.

I liked the main character, Jules. I found the characters to be interesting, and I liked their interaction. I also found it interesting to see witches as the monster hunters. So often they're just another race of supernaturals who co-exist with vampires, werewolves, and the like. 

I really enjoyed Revealers and am looking forward to more books by Amanda Marrone. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fall Into YA Wrap up

Fall into YA is officially over. : ( But it was fun while it lasted. Thanks to everyone who participated. Congrats to FreakChiq for winning. And also congrats to runners up Spav, Rebecca T, Midnight, and Allie. And to Sandy from Scribing Shadows who didn't know the answers and I made her take the quiz for fun since she's not allowed to win the book she's giving away. =P

YA Quiz Answers

1. Perfect
2. Shut Out
3. Delirium
4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
5. Stolen
6. The Girl of Fire and Thorns
7. Kelley Armstrong
8. The Pledge
9. He kills the dead
10. Voices of Dragons
11. Wicked Lovely
12. Magnus + Tessa/Camille
13. If I Die
14. House of Night
15. Mockingjay

#10 seems to have been the hardest question. Only one person got it. Congrats, Spav! Here is the picture of the little dragon hiding under it's beautiful cover


There are lots of books with fun things hiding under the dust jackets. Check your shelves to look beneath the dust jackets of The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, the House of Night series, and The Hunger Games series. And, my favorite hidden gem, on Fragile Eternity.

Again, thanks to everyone who participated and helped make this event a fun one!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fall Into YA Giveaway #4

Welcome to week four of Fall Into YA. Sandy of Scribing Shadows is helping me celebrate, and this week we are definitely challenging you all. To a YA quiz!

Congrats to Em who won our last contest. Check your email! Here is her entry!

And our runner-ups!

The prize for week 4 is, you guessed it, a fall YA release. Here are the rules:
1. You must follow both blogs.
2. You must be 13 or over.
3. It's open internationally but please be sure The Book Depository ships to you.
4. Take this quiz!

You may leave comments on the blog asking clarifying questions. I spent a bit of time in the YA section to put this quiz together. None of the questions are spoilers. Most answers can be found by scouring Goodreads. Not every book on the quiz released this year. Most did. But there's nothing more than three years old. And all books are YA. Not adult; not MG; just YA.

This giveaway is open until Wednesday, November 30. The winner will be the person with the highest number of correct answers. If several people have that same number, a winner will be chosen at random from those individuals. Check back the next day to see if you've won. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Movie Review: Breaking Dawn part 1

I'm almost finished reading Breaking Dawn and since I saw the previous 3 Twilight movies on opening weekend, I had to stick with tradition. And I was far enough past the middle of the book to know I had read enough to see part one.

The good...

The acting was far superior in this film. I've been a long-time fan of Kristen Stewart. I think she was wonderful in Speak and Panic Room, so I was disappointed with her acting in Twilight. I'm not sure if it was script or directing or something else entirely, but scenes I was looking forward to laughing at weren't cheesy enough to laugh at. *shock* Not only was her acting better, but R-Patt and Taylor Lautner stepped up their game as well.

Charlie. This guy always gets the best lines. "I know Edward will be a good husband. I know this... because I'm a cop." Actually, out of all the wedding reception speeches, he was the only one that didn't make me cringe. That scene was so uncomfortable and awkward. It only reinforces me not wanting a big wedding.

The music. Of course! These movies have incredible soundtracks.

The bad...

This movie was quite boring. I felt myself getting restless halfway through. It did a good job of following the book, but there just wasn't enough action for my tastes.

CGI wolves. I swear... For a movie franchise that makes so much money I think they would have enough to step up the CGI. They made Bella look sick, completely emaciated, and then transform into a vamp wonderfully. Great scene, visually. And then... there are the fake looking wolves. My client, however, liked them. I work with adults with disabilities, and my one client, upon seeing the wolves, said, "Doggie! Doggie! Woof! Woof!" I was amused.

I think that Breaking Dawn part 1 was the best done movie, but I think it's probably my least favorite. That being said, I'm looking forward to part 2. There is a slight teaser halfway through the credits with the Volturi. I'm looking forward to seeing them in the next movie. Aro is so creepy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Meeting Authors: Jeff Kinney

I'm sure you all know how much I love going to book signings. I've been lucky enough to meet dozens of authors. And I've met my top five favorite authors on more than one occasion: Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Charles de Lint, Holly Black, and Maggie Stiefvater. So when I found out that Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, was going to be in DC to promote his new book, Cabin Fever, I knew I had to take my boy.

Like me when I was his age, he doesn't much care for reading. It's not that either of us were bad with reading or reading comprehension; the problem lies in poor self confidence. I've gotten past that. But not John. However, John loves the Wimpy Kid books, and he was thrilled when I invited him to go with me to DC.

Book six is entitled Cabin Fever. It involves poor Greg being stuck inside while a blizzard rages outside. So to celebrate that, they created a fake snow storm.

Look... fake snow!

Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of the snow on the ground and the snowball fight. John and I didn't participate. He was too caught up in reading his new book. In fact, by the end of the evening he was on page 181 out of 224. But I did get a few pics toward the end. They had life-size cut-outs of the characters and cartoon scenes from the book. Here is Rodrick. They had him se up as a ring toss game.

Jeff Kinney rolled in on this bus. Lots of kids screamed when he got off and walked in.

We were in group 7 of 9 with 75 people in each group. Yeah... The place was packed. They were expecting 1200 people, and with over 600 books sold, I'd bet there were close to that many. But people were in and out, so it wasn't too bad. (And nothing compared to how packed RT was when I went in 2010.) John was so excited to meet Jeff. The entire way back to the metro, he kept saying "I can't believe I actually got to meet Jeff Kinney." He was so excited I almost teared up.

He was also excited to find out that two kids from the movie were there. I hadn't told him beforehand, so it was a nice surprise for him. Zachary Gordon who plays the main character, Greg, and Robert Capron who plays his best friend, Rowly were both very sweet. John got a poster of the two of them, signed by both.

It was a great event, and I was so glad I got to take John. We both had an amazing time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: Beautiful Chaos

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is book 3 in the Caster Chronicles. I liked Beautiful Creatures, and I liked Beautiful Darkness even more, so I had high hopes for Beautiful Chaos. It didn't disappoint. I feel like I've been saying that in a lot of my reviews lately: it didn't disappoint. But it's true. I guess I've been on a roll with excellent books lately.

Ethan is back as our wonderful narrator. He is one of my favorite YA boys. He's smart, charming, charismatic, and protective without being overbearing. And his caster girl, Lena, is going through even tougher stuff after coming face-to-face with her evil mother in the last installment. And don't forget sidekick Wesley Lincoln, aka Link, aka Linkubus. I must admit I was never a fan of his til now. I mean, I liked him okay, but his character was so much more fun here, that I really like him.

One thing I love about these books are the characters: Amma, Macon, Ridley, the aunts, Marian... The list keeps going. It's impossible not to love than all. Except the baddies, of course. And the setting is amazing. I'm not from the south, but I'm close enough that I've been to the area where the fictional Gatlin would be if it existed. It's a beautiful area. But the gothic twist with secrets and interesting history weaves everything together so beautifully.

I'm seriously in love with Ethan Wate and these books. I can't wait to see what happens after the way Beautiful Chaos ends.

Fall Into YA Giveaway #3

Welcome to week three of Fall Into YA. Sandy of Scribing Shadows is helping me celebrate.

Congrats to Molly Gibson-Mee who won our last contest. (Check your email for a message from Sandy.) Her dream boyfriend pick was Simon from the Mortal Instruments series. There were more votes for Jace, but I'm going to have to stick with Molly on this one. Simon is a much better choice. Also, I agree with all of you who love Tod. He's always been my favorite guy from that series.

And for week 3, we are giving away a third fall YA release. Rules are as followed:

1. You must follow both blogs.
2. You must be 13 or over.
3. It's open internationally but please be sure The Book Depository (link) ships to you.
4. Recreate a book cover.

Pick any YA book that released this year and recreate that cover. Sandy and I will choose a winner. Feel free to post your cover on both blogs, but that isn't necessary. And it won't earn you extra points. But make sure you post it either here or at Scribing Shadows.

This giveaway is open until Wednesday, November 23. Check back the next day to see if you've won and to check out giveaway #3.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Into YA Giveaway #2

Welcome to week two of Fall Into YA. Winner of our first contest is April X who chose The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. Congrats!

This week, our contest is something you'll need to work for. ; ) Think of all the YA books you've read, and pick one character who you think would be the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend for you. Tell me who they are and why you picked them. Leave your email so I can contact you if you win. You must be 13 or older. Contest is open internationally, but please be sure Book Depository ships to you. Winner chooses any YA book that releases this fall.

Want an extra chance to win? Be sure to check Scribing Shadows for a similar contest. One winner chosen between both blogs/contests. Winner chosen at random so don't worry if your entry isn't original. Good luck!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review: The Harp of the Grey Rose

He is the Songweaver, but before he was a master of song he was merely Cerin of Wran Cheaping—a seventeen-year-old orphan raised by a wildland witch. Then he encountered the Maid of the Grey Rose—the lone survivor of the war that devastated the Trembling Lands and the promised bride of Yarac Stone-Slayer, the feared and terrible Waster. The mysterious beauty captured Cerin’s heart, drawing him into a world both dark and deadly, until, armed with only a tinkerblade and the magic of song, he would take on a man’s challenge . . . and choose a treacherous path toward a magnificent destiny. The Harp of the Grey Rose is award-winning fantasist Charles de Lint’s first novel, long out of print—and it hints of the wonderful stories to come.

Book Review: The Riddle of the Wren

Minda Sealy is afraid of her own nightmares. Then, one night, while asleep, she meets Jan, the Lord of the Moors, who has been imprisoned by Ildran the Dream-master-the same being who traps Minda. In exchange for her promise to free him, Jan gives Minda three tokens. She sets out, leaving the safety of her old life to begin a journey from world to world, both to save Jan and to solve "the riddle of the Wren"-which is the riddle of her very self. The Riddle of the Wren was Charles de Lint's first novel, and has been unavailable for years. Fans and newcomers alike will relish it.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Novella Review: Badlands

After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation's border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union.

Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen's assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever's reluctant ally.

As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands— if death doesn't find them first...

Out of everything I've read by Seleste deLaney, and I've read almost all of it, Badlands is my favorite. It begins with Ever, a warrior, who is in the midst of a battle. After being attacked, their monarch slain, Ever must escape the battle to find the queen's daughter who will be the new queen. As she scales a mountain she is picked up by an airship, The Dark Hawk. The captain of The Dark Hawk has his own mission, but together maybe Spencer and Ever can complete both.

I've not had the chance to read much steampunk. But the whole concept interests me. It's a fascinating period, historically, and then the added sci-fi elements really make it stand out within the fantasy genre. Badlands includes action, adventure, airships, clockwork animals, and romance. It's definitely not one to miss. (But keep in mind this one is not YA.) I can't wait for the sequel!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The winner for Forever Summer by Seleste deLaney is...


And the winner for The Scorpio Races is...

Samantha W!

Congrats to you both! And be sure to check your emails in the next few days on the progress of your book. : )

Fall Into YA Kick-Off and Giveaway

It's the month of November, and here at Aine's Realm we are celebrating Fall! But I'm not celebrating alone. Joining me is Sandy of Scribing Shadows.

Kicking off our Fall Into YA celebration will be a simple giveaway.

1. You must follow both blogs.
2. You must be 13 or over.
3. It's open internationally but please be sure The Book Depository (link) ships to you.
4. Fill out this form. Sandy and I are using the same form, so DON'T fill it out in both places.

What's the prize you ask? Any YA book that releases this Fall. Preorders count.

This giveaway is open until Wednesday, November 9. Check back the next day to see if you've won and to check out giveaway #2.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Review: If I Die

The entire school's talking about the gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck. Everyone except Kaylee Cavanaugh. After all, Kaylee's no ordinary high-school junior. She's a banshee—she screams when someone dies.

But the next scream might be for Kaylee.

Yeah—it's a shock to her, too. So to distract herself, Kaylee's going to save every girl in school. Because that hot new teacher is really an incubus who feeds on the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend's needy ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren't quite human, either.

But Kaylee's borrowed lifeline is nearing its end. And those who care about her will do anything to save her life.


If I Die is the fifth book in Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series. And it is, by far, my favorite. I don't really know how to review this book and keep it spoiler-free. But no worries... I'm going to try.

Kaylee and Nash are trying to work things out and get back to where they were. Sabine is still around and still in love with Nash. And poor Tod is still on the fringes, his feelings for Kaylee going unnoticed. Well... only unnoticed by Kaylee. Tod shows up one afternoon to deliver awful news. Kaylee's name is on a reaping list. And since her lifeline is borrowed, she can't trade it again. Which means she'll die. But before that, she makes it her goal to get rid of the new math teacher hottie, an incubus eager to reproduce, who comes on to Kaylee's bestie, Emma.

The plot in If I Die was more intense and complicated than the previous four novels. And it kept me on the edge of my seat, curious as to how Ms. Vincent was going to pull this one off. The main character is supposed to die, but be around to narrate book 6?!

If you haven't picked up this series... Seriously, what are you waiting for? The Soul Screamers is definitely one of my favorite YA series, and I cannot wait for Before I Wake.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review: How to Save a Life

...what it means to be a family and the many roads we can take to become one...

Jill MacSweeney just wants everything to go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. You can't lose one family member and simply replace him with a new one, and when her mom decides to adopt a baby, that's exactly what it feels like she's trying to do. And that's decidedly not normal. With her world crumbling around her, can Jill come to embrace a new member of the family?

Mandy Kalinowski knows what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, she knows she wants a better life for her baby. But can giving up a child be as easy as it seems? And will she ever be able to find someone to care for her, too?

How to Save a Life is written in first person narrative, alternating between Jill and Mandy. Jill has recently lost her father, her best friend. And she's a new person. Old Jill is nowhere to be found. She's coping in her own way, and her mother, Robin, is coping in her own way. One way her mother is coping is by taking Mandy in. Mandy is a pregnant teenager who wants to give her child up for adoption. To Robin. So after leaving her mother and Kent, Mandy travels by train to Denver to meet her baby's new family. 

Jill is against the adoption completely. She doesn't want a sister, and she doesn't want to see her mother get hurt should things not go as planned. And Jill has good reasons to not trust Mandy. She's lied about important details like the due date, and she refuses to go through legal channels. Red flag, right?

Mandy frustrated me at first. But I came to realize that it wasn't actually her. It was her mother. Someone we don't even see over the course of the story except in flashbacks and explanations for why Mandy is the way she is. (Her momma needs to be slapped hard.) And that's when I started to like Mandy. Which happened to be about the same time I started disliking Jill. I rarely see myself as characters in books. Sometimes I'll find a character I can identify with through a few commonalities. But with Jill, there were more than just a few. Even when she ticked me off and I wanted to slap her, I could see myself doing the same dumb thing, making the same mistakes. There are so many things I want to say but won't for fear of giving too much away. 

Due to many similarities between myself and Jill, and the similarities with me/my mom and Jill/her dad, it took me a bit longer to finish How to Save a Life than most novels. Sara Zarr's writing is fantastic, and I often found myself overwhelmed to the point where I had to put it down. The story was incredible and beautifully told and so realistic you feel like you're right there. If you loved Sara Zarr's other books, you'll love this one too. It might be my new favorite of hers. And any lover of contemporary YA will enjoy this one. Don't care for contemporaries? This one just might change your mind. I can't wait to see what Sara Zarr comes out with next!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Manga Review: Laddertop

The Laddertop - Gift to Earth's Future

Twenty-five years ago, the alien Givers came to Earth. They gave the human race the greatest technology ever seen— four giant towers known as Ladders that rise 36,000 miles into space and culminate in space stations that power the entire planet. Then, for reasons unknown, the Givers disappeared. Due to the unique alien construction of the Laddertop space stations, only a skilled crew of children can perform the maintenance necessary to keep the stations up and running.

Back on Earth, competition is fierce to enter Laddertop Academy. It is an honor few students will achieve. Robbi and Azure, two eleven-year-old girls who are the best of friends, are candidates for the Academy. They will become entangled in a dangerous mystery that may help them solve the riddle of the Givers...if it doesn’t destroy the Earth first!

Laddertop, volume 1 is the first installment in an American manga trilogy written by Ender's Game author, Orson Scott Card, and his daughter Emily Janice Card. It was illustrated by Honoel Ibardolaza. I was offered the chance to review this manga by its publisher, Tor Seven Seas. And I jumped at the chance.

We are introduced first to Azure and then to her best friend Robbi (short for Roberta). Both are middle school girls who are waiting to hear if they get to go to Laddertop Academy. Laddertop is one of four towers that extend up to outer space and culminate in a space station. And one of the jobs isn't something just anyone can do. These people have to be small enough to fit into the work space. Meaning they hire short middle schoolers for this job. And they are very selective. As suspected both girls are chosen and whisked off to training.

Right from the start I was under the impression that Azure was the heroine. She had the stronger personality. I could not have been more pleased when I found out I was wrong. That girl drove me crazy. Robbi, on the other hand, reminded me of myself. The other kids were fun and interesting, and, like many middle grade books, the adults aren't completely trustworthy.

The story started off slow, and a bit confusing, but it soon picked up and ended on an exciting note. I blame that on this being the first volume, thus needing the setup and world building. I'm excited for volume 2 where the story should be even more interesting and exciting. If you enjoy sci-fi and graphic novels, you won't want to miss this one.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Short Story Review: Forever Summer (and giveaway)

“Relax. I don‟t least not in public.”

With her dreams of a career by the sea shattered, Katya's trying to be happy with two weeks in the Florida Keys. But when her rental ends up infested, she's ready to go home. At least until Jay, the handyman next door, comes to her rescue.

Sweet, talented & sexy, he's all she ever wanted in a man. Too bad he's only hanging out with her because he's such a nice guy.

Or is he?

"Forever Summer" is the fourth story I've read by Seleste deLaney. The first two were paranormal short stories, and then a steampunk novella. "Forever Summer" was the first contemporary story she has published. It is currently available at only one place: 1 Place for Romance.

I really enjoyed this short story. It went back and forth between two points of view: Katya and Jay. Katya is horrified to find the rental house to be infested with bugs and the porch falling in as you walk on it. So she ends up sleeping in her neighbor's hammock. Enter super smexy Jay, who doesn't seem to bothered to find the lovely Katya using his hammock. Jay is the handyman, and while he fixes up Katya's rental, is nice enough to let her bunk with him.

This was a cute, sweet romance set in the lovely Florida Keys. It's fun, but far too short. And definitely not to be missed if you're a fan of romance. By the way, did you know it won the published author short story contest over at 1 Place for Romance?

Want to win an e-copy from me? Leave a comment on this review (must be a follower) and follow Seleste deLaney's blog. Must be 18 or older to enter. Please include your email address in the comments section. Winner drawn Nov 1.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Press Release: The Blacksmith's Daughter

Musa Publishing Launches Euterpe YA Imprint
An Imprint for YA Lovers in all Genres

Musa Publishing is thrilled to announce that its Young Adult Imprint, Euterpe, launches on Friday, October 21, 2011. With the growing demand for YA books, Musa is looking forward to offering diversity in genres for YA lovers from 13 to 113. From Sweet Romances and fantastical fantasies, to Sensational Sci-fi and a few more thrown in for flavor, Musa will offer something for everyone’s reading pleasure.

Come out for the launch, read about the authors, and join in the fun while picking up some new reading material.

The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Arley Cole is the first book in the Euterpe imprint.

She believes she is only a blacksmith’s daughter, but he must discover the truth or risk losing his land—and his life.

Acwellen Lex'Magen rules as liege lord of a small country bounded by forbidding mountains and powerful neighbors. When the neighboring baron, allied with a powerful wizard, attempts to take over his land, first by political, then by covert means, Acwellen finds an ally of his own in Enith Roweson, an unassuming blacksmith who possesses powers he’s only known of in legends. As he attempts to unravel both the plots against him—including the nature of the monsters sent to assassinate him—and the mysterious powers Enith is only beginning to understand she has, he also finds himself falling in love with the blacksmith’s daughter.

Check out this book and other YA books at
Follow the Euterpe Blog at
And Like us on Facebook!/pages/Euterpe-YA-Books/154593351291764

“Hearts set upon song, spirits free from care”~ Hesiod

# # #

If you'd like more information about Musa Publishing, please contact Elspeth McClanahan at or go to our blog

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Review: The Scorpio Races (and giveaway)

Cappall Uisce
Water Horse
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an arc of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I loved her previous five novels so I had high expectations for this one. And I wasn't disappointed.

Sean, the returning champion of the Scorpio Races, and his cappall uisce, Corr, return to the beach to train with new racers. Including Puck, and her horse, Dove. Puck intends to race Dove, a horse not much bigger than a pony, against several deadly cappall uisce. They emerge from the sea onto the island of Thisby, hungry for flesh each Autumn. They ravage sheep, dogs, anything they can find, and they return to the sea unless caught to be trained to race. Riders die before the race even begins, and people come from afar to bet on and see this race on the beach of Thisby.

Puck, who's real name is Kate, is one of our main characters. She splits narration with Sean. The two meet and share an instant dislike for each other. Sean doesn't want to see a girl and her horse on the dangerous beach. And Puck doesn't care for this bossy know-it-all. But as time goes by, things change.

Puck is racing to save her family's home - it's just her and her two brothers - and to keep the older one from leaving for the mainland. Sean is racing for the right to buy Corr, his red cappall uisce. But both can't win the races.

I loved this book so much. I almost felt like I was there on Thisby. My favorite part was the festival where the riders announced their decision to race. There were so many incredible aspects to that scene that I loved, but I'll leave those for when you read it. I'm also very much into faery lore. The cappall uisce, which translates to water horse, is a kelpie. Don't get on one's back in the water, or he'll drown you.

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Especially if you like faery. The Scorpio Races ranks in at number two of my favorite Maggie books, topped only by Ballad.

Maggie Stiefvater is doing a book signing in two days time. I plan to go and get a copy signed for myself. I also plan to get a copy for one of you! (If I don't make it to the signing, I will give away an unsigned copy.)

1. Must follow my blog
2. Must be 13 or older.
3. Open International (US cover).
4. Fill out this form.

Good luck! Giveaway ends 10/30, midnight EST. Winner announced on Halloween.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Short Story Review: Dark Beauty

For fifteen-year-old Seeker, Isabelle Crowe, ridding the Houston streets of the undead is an inherited duty, passed down from her Cherokee ancestors. During her first night without her mentor, she encounters Abram, a more experienced Seeker from Chicago looking to avenge his cousin's death. Isabelle quickly learns she must work with Abram to protect her city. With one Seeker already dead, Isabelle's love of the hunt becomes a fight to survive.

"Dark Beauty" is a short story prequel to the novel Dark Seeker by Taryn Browning. Isabelle is a Seeker, trained to hunt vampires. On her first night out alone, she runs into another Seeker. He's in Houston tracking something. Not vampires. Something new. Something worse. Isabelle's not too keen on this new Seeker, but agrees to work with him to destroy this new vampiric race.

"Dark Beauty" was a bit too predictable for my taste. I often felt like I knew what was going to happen before it did. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. They felt more like stereotypes then actual characters. This could be due to the fact that it was a short story. I plan on reading Dark Seeker and hope I enjoy it more than this short story.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cover Love: Bitterblue

I was so excited to see that Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore finally has a release date. May 1, 2012. As someone who's been waiting over two years for this book, I'm thrilled by the news. I've seen release dates announced. And I've seen those dates come and go. But this time... we have covers! So I'm going to believe that I will be able to hold this book in my hand next May.

This is the US cover for Bitterblue. It fits with the previous two books in The Seven Kingdoms series.

But, as with Graceling and Fire, I love the UK cover better.

Who else is waiting for this book? Which cover do you like better?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (and winner!)

Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

I was really looking forward to reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. It looked funny, and I had read such great things about it, I was sure it would be fantastic. Also, we don't get enough male POV in YA. The main character, Junior, is a teenage boy who lives with his family on a reservation. But he leaves the reservation everyday for school, to go to Reardon where every student is white and many of them are racist.

I was also looking forward to it because it's been challenged so many times, and it's been banned in more than one of those instances. Why was it banned? Partly because of language. Partly because of violence. But mostly because of sexual content. I read a review on Amazon wherein the reviewer gave the book 1 star and called it filth. Another reviewer basically echoed that and said it should not be read by anyone under 18. Junior admits that he masturbates and drops an f-bomb or two. OMG no wonder it's banned! Those are two things teens never do. Apparently, we're supposed to be 18 before we're allowed to read these words.

I'm very much against banning. You don't want your kid to read it, fine. But don't tell me I can't read it. Don't tell other parents that their kids can't read it. That's not cool. So I will stick up for this book. It shouldn't have been banned. It's almost a crime.

That being said... I wasn't a fan of this book. I liked Junior. His life on "the rez" was interesting. I felt bad for what he went through. And knowing this is semi-autobiographical makes it even more interesting. While I enjoyed the characters and the story, I just didn't care for the writing style. It felt like the author was doing his best to sound crass. And the "You know?" added to the end of a sentence on every other page got old. Okay, so maybe it wasn't that often, but it was there enough to irritate me.

One of the things I loved about this book were the cartoons. Junior is a budding cartoonist, so here were multiple cartoons per chapter. Those were funny and entertaining and caused a few laugh out loud moments. My favorite one was where Junior's friend said he loved books so much it gave him a "metaphorical boner". This book also had a few amazing lines. Lines that almost brought tears to my eyes. My favorite: “If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.”

While I didn't love the book, I think it's one everyone should read. It really makes you think. And I love books like that.

And now... to announce the winner. Congrats to:

Tara (Wild Irish Rose)!

I'll be sending an email shortly. ;)