Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Blog Tour: Island Sting - Bonnie J. Doerr - Interview

As part of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for Island Sting, I have Bonnie J. Doerr here today answering some questions. I reviewed Island Sting yesterday, and found it a highly enjoyable eco-read. If you would like to follow along with the tour, please click on the banner, and it will open up the tour details in a new page. 

If you were faced with the same situation Kenzie is faced with, what would you do? Would you have done anything differently?

I wouldn’t handle life the way Kenzie did in either Island Sting or Stakeout (to be released in early 2011). I wouldn’t approach nabbing criminals the way she did. Not as an adult or when I was a teen. Kenzie is everything I wish I were. I don’t have her courage or fearlessness. I’m a planner, not impulsive. Though I envy impulsive people the excitement in their life. Even as a teen, I was always aware of consequences. Doesn’t mean I didn’t sometimes make the conscious decision to jump and suffer them afterwards. But I considered options before leaping. Maybe that trait is the result of growing up in a serious scouting family—the “Be prepared” mindset.

I would definitely have taken on the Keys Teens Care cleanup campaign though. The part of Kenzie that wants people to stop trashing the environment is definitely me. The fundraising and organizing is the kind of thing I did when I was in high school. I still have great memories of the after-prom, all night dance party I put together. Our class had a blast. But as far as tackling a dangerous criminal, not me. I would have, however, hounded the state to send additional wildlife personnel to help solve the crimes. I would have written letters to the editor and motivated others to also ask for public support, and I would’ve contacted the media to help push the state to assist all local law enforcement. I’m more of a behind the scenes instigator.

If you could meet a character from any book ever written, which character and book would you choose, and why?

There’s no question that I’d love to meet and party with Stephanie Plum, the wacky bounty hunter from Janet Evanovich’s mystery series. Stephanie’s a regular gal who without planning to lives an irregular life that’s equally horrifying and tantalizing. I’d love to listen to Stephanie’s notorious stories about one after another of her cars being blown up. I’m sure she’d dish about her hot and cold, tangled relationships with Ranger and Morelli, too. I’d invite Granma Mazur to join us so I could laugh with her about her latest funeral parlor escapades and ask if she’s accidentally shot anyone lately. And then I’d hope that Lula would arrive to entertain us with her colorful boyfriend exploits and recent, wild, and snug wardrobe additions. I can’t imagine an evening of more laughs!

What books would Kenzie read and call her favorites?

Kenzie loves Anne of Green Gables. Not surprising when you think of Anne’s passion, red hair, love of nature, and her affectionate, intellectual rivalry with Gilbert Blythe—a handsome boy who rescued Anne from a river... All elements in Kenzie’s own life.

When she was younger, Kenzie also loved reading The Secret Garden because it transported her from a concrete NYC world. She loved the take-charge personality that Mary Lennox developed and all the secrets that were being kept from adults. The mysterious Dickon, who had such an intimate relationship with his environment, and old Ben, the rough, wise gardener, may have initiated Kenzie’s appreciation for the charming, eco-savvy Angelo and the kind, world-wise, but unschooled, elderly Fisher—two characters she met when she moved to Florida.
Soon after she moved to the Florida Keys, Kenzie met Meg Cabot in Key West and immediately became a fan of anything Meg writes. She also loved 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher and when prodded admitted to falling for the Twilight Series.

What would the front page headline of a newspaper say about you?

Can’t imagine how it would end, but it could start with Against All Odds.

If you could be a tree, which would you be, and why?

I would be a southern magnolia. They make a beautiful statement all year long with leaves that are shiny, brilliant green on top and velvety brown below. They’re stubborn-strong, graceful, and stand independent. Many universities grow magnolias on campus. That’s where I’d want to be. In the middle of the action providing shade for creative and independent thinkers. Though I’d be tough as nails, I’d produce large, stunning flowers with an unrivaled fragrance and grace countless homes with decorative beauty in both spring and winter. My bright red seeds would provide food for birds, and at the end of my time, I’d be versatile enough to provide timber for fine furniture or tough construction.

I love your in-depth answers, Bonnie! Thank you for being here today! :)
Final question. Who would you choose: Morelli or Ranger? ;)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Island Sting - Bonnie J. Doerr - Blog Tour Review.

Kenzie didn't expect her first summer in the Florida Keys to be murder. Or cute guys, awesome boats, endangered species, and gun-toting thugs...

When city girl Kenzie Ryan moves to a Florida wildlife refuge, she plunges straight into an eco-mystery. Kenzie trades New York streets for Keys pollution cleanup, and now, instead of hailing cabs, she's tracking down a poacher of endangered Key deer. Her new home does have some benefits-mainly Angelo, an island native, who teams up with her to nab the culprit. But will they both survive when the killer turns from stalking deer to hunting humans?

Island Sting includes notes on the endangered Florida Key Deer and the National Key Deer Refuge.
(Synopsis taken from goodreads.)

Title: Island Sting
Genre: Young Adult, Eco-Mystery
Publisher: Leap Books
Publication Date: January 6, 2010
Source: Received from author courtesy of Teen Book Scene. Many thanks goes to Bonnie J. Doerr, and Teen Book Scene for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. Please click on the Island Sting banner to view tour details.
My rating: 4/5

Kenzie has just moved halfway across the country, and is finding life in the Florida Keys completely different from life in New York City. Almost immediately she saves the life of a deer, and then finds out that someone is poaching the endangered Key deer. With her heart on her sleeve, she sets out to find the poacher, while making new friends and also creating an eco-project to help clean up the islands. Will she be able to juggle the Keys project while looking for the poacher, or will the poacher set his sights on her? 
Island Sting is a book that I knew I would enjoy right off of the bat. The fact that it's about endangered wildlife, and is eco-friendly made it a fun read. I loved reading about the deer, the wildlife and the habitat. The setting just seemed to pull me in and I couldn't get enough of it.
I did have a hard time getting into the book at first, with respect to Kenzie's character though. I found her almost too impetuous and too dramatic, but she did win me over with her enthusiasm for the Key deer and her clean-up the Keys project as the story progressed. She meets a local boy, Angelo, and quickly becomes friends with him. There is a romantic element between the two characters but it is not the focal point of the plot. It's hard to decipher who wants to capture the poacher more, Kenzie or Angelo. Though they have different ideas on who the poacher is, they are united in their mission to find him and stop him from killing any more deer. 
The attention to detail in respect to the wildlife and habitat of the Keys will have animal lovers everywhere enthralled in the story, and they will want to know what happens next. Though this book wraps up nicely, it could also be the start of a series. With all of the endangered animals in the area, I can just see Kenzie stepping up to the plate to take care of them should they also fall under the gaze of a poacher or become more endangered due to pollution and littering. 
All in all, this is a quick and fun, eco-friendly read. I loved the fact that it revolved around the Key deer and their habitat, and I can't wait to see what kind of trouble Kenzie gets into next. Readers at every age will enjoy this one, and I recommend it for teens and adults, as well as middle-grade readers. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Black Sun - Graham Brown

In the heart of the Amazon, NRI operative Danielle Laidlaw makes an incredible discovery: a translucent Mayan stone generating massive waves of energy while counting down toward the infamous apocalyptic date: December 21, 2012. And somewhere, there are three more just like it.

What power will be unleashed if all four stones come together? Who created them—and who has them now? Using a cryptic Mayan map and a prophecy that points to the end of the world, Danielle and her team race toward answers. But one staggering question remains: Were these artifacts meant to save us—or to destroy us once and for all?
(Synopsis taken from goodreads.)

Title: Black Sun
Author: Graham Brown
Genre: Adult Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks to Dana from Kaye Publicity for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
My rating: 4/5 

Ever since the discovery of a powerful Mayan stone several years ago, in Black Rain, Danielle has been consumed by the need to find the remaining three stones. She also is hoping to find some answers in her race against time as the stones are counting down to December 21, 2012. With the stones revealed, and their energy unleashed, will they destroy the world, or save it? 
Black Sun follows the discovery of a Mayan prophecy and stone in Black Rain. Danielle, Hawker, and Professor McCarter all come together again in this thrilling installment as they are on an apocalyptic treasure hunt for the remaining Mayan stones. They aren't the only ones looking to find the stones though, and they will have to move quickly to evade certain death if captured by any of the other parties pursuing the stones. With adversaries hailing from China and Russia, and in-fighting within the American government, this book is riddled with action, and  intrigue. The characters have their own demons to confront as well, and this makes for a well-rounded read. 
I have to confess that I have not read Black Rain yet, but I look forward to reading it, as I thoroughly enjoyed the fast pace used in Black Sun. The setting is also one that I think many have a veiled interest in, and Brown creates a plausible scenario for such an event. He backs up his work with a scientific approach that validates the characters need to unveil the stones, be it for the salvation or destruction of the world. 
All in all, a well-rounded story. I absolutely love reading thrillers and fully became immersed in the quest that Danielle and her team were on. I absolutely fell in love with the addition of Yuri to the team, and can't stress how much I loved his character. With a completely liberal outlook on events in world history, Brown has created an engaging, high-octane, and compelling read. I look forward to reading more about these characters in the future as I hope this isn't the last we'll see of them. Fans of Matthew Reilly or James Rollins are sure to enjoy Brown's work. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop - Winners!

It's kind of cold and snowy here... I'm not actually at home for the next few days and am blogging from 'the road', so my blog posts are going to be hit or miss. I apologize in advance, BUT they will be back to normal after the new year. I even forgot the book I am currently reading at home! Ah well, I'll find something in my bag of books to read. ;) 

I need to post results though for the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop. I was absolutely blown away by how many people entered the giveaway to win a copy of either Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton or Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Seriously. 294 of you entered the giveaway with a total of 815 entries altogether. That is just ridiculously awesome. Thank you! Thank you to those of you who decided to stick around. I hope you continue to do so. Thank you again! You are ALL very much appreciated! Thank you for making 2010 such a spectacular blogging year!!!! :) 

I'll stop gushing now and get on to the important part. The winners. ;) 

Winners were chosen using random.org.

Angelfire winner: # 264. Elise (expogenic)

Delirium winner: # 235. Debbie

Congratulations! I have emailed both of you! I hope you enjoy the books!
Thank you again to everyone who entered. Feel free to check out the other giveaways that are ongoing. More are on their way!

I hope you all have an amazing and SAFE holiday season. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday E-book Giveaway from Jason Ancona.

Hi everyone! Jason Ancona has announced that he is giving away e-book copies of his novel, Covert Youth Agency until December 31, 2010. The only rules are that you must follow him through Google Friend Connect on his new website, and on twitter. You can visit his website at www.jasonancona.com and it hosts all the information needed to win a copy of his e-book. Feel free to head on over to his website, and check it out! 

Happy Holidays! :) 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop - International

Hi everyone! I hope you are having a fantastic week! I can't believe that it's Midwinter's Eve already! Thank you to the lovely Kathy of I am a Reader, Not a Writer for hosting this hop! This is my first blog hop, so I'm going to keep things short and sweet for this one. Extra entries if you are a follower, however following is not mandatory. Stick around and check out all of the other contests that are currently running as well. 

Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL through the Book Depository.
There will be two winners. One for each book.
The books will be finished copies and will be pre-ordered for you.
Giveaway ends Wednesday December 22, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST. 
Fill out THIS FORM to enter. 
Comments, while appreciated, will not be counted as entries. Thank you!
Happy Holidays everyone, and Happy Hopping! :)

Dark Prophecy - Anthony E. Zuiker with Duane Swierczynski

The second book in the groundbreaking bestselling trilogy, from the creator of the CSI franchise.

Steve Dark was once a lost soul, torn between his family and his one-of-a-kind talent for hunting and catching serial killers-especially those so-called "level 26" killers whose depravity exceeds law enforcement's official scale of evil. In his reluctant pursuit of justice Dark once crossed the ultimate line, a line that might cause a lesser man to lose himself completely.

Not Dark. When the world took everything from him, when it destroyed the very thing Dark once lived for, it brought a moment of clarity that few before him have witnessed, and sparked a transformation that, several years later, is only just complete.

Dark is now a man on a mission. A mission that no longer requires law enforcement support. A mission unbound by authorities, moral or otherwise, and supported by a mysterious benefactor with unknown goals of her own. A mission that, at long last, allows him to embrace his destiny. Dark is finally ready- ready to take justice to the next level.
(Synopsis taken from goodreads.)

Title: Dark Prophecy (Level 26 #2)
Author: Anthony E. Zuiker with Duane Swierczynski (Level 26 website)
Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: October 14, 2010
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Laura from Penguin Canada for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
My rating: 4/5

Steve Dark lost almost everyone he has ever loved to a vicious serial killer. Now, 5 years later, he is still picking up the pieces, and is teaching university classes rather than work for the Special Circs division of the FBI. Just because he isn't working with the Special Circs division, doesn't mean that he still isn't keeping an eye out for ritualistic and gruesome murders. When such a case makes headlines, Steve can't seem to stay away from it, and when the case suddenly hits closer to home, he will stop at nothing to solve it. 
I jumped at the chance to review this book as it was written by the creator of the CSI franchise. I was intrigued at the aspect of this being a 'digi-novel' and wanted to see what it was all about. Unfortunately, my computer was acting up when I was trying to sign up for the site to view the footage that goes along with the story, and I couldn't finish the sign up process. Though I missed out on the digital aspect, I don't feel like I really missed out on anything. This is the second book in a series and it read like a stand-alone novel, leaving me feeling like I was up to date on the goings on in Steve's life. I may revisit this world and read the first book one of these days, but it is not imperative to read the first book before this one. 
Steve is a tortured character, making his way through the aftermath of having everyone, except his young daughter, taken from him. He's trying to find his way back from the edge, and has taken up a safe vocation as a part-time professor. He still has night terrors, and is constantly perusing the internet for any cases that are out of the norm. When a crime scene photo is leaked to the press, something triggers in his mind, and he can't help but try to puzzle out what is so familiar about the scene. He reads as the ultimate broken hero, rising up from the ashes of his old life, trying to reclaim some of his dignity and prowess. When he is approached with an offer that he can't refuse, he joins the search for the killer, or killers. With his benefactor under wraps, his colleagues from Special Circs are intently watching him, to see if he has snapped, or if he truly is working on the case. 
The only thing that grated at me in this book, is that for a character so savvy, it took him 3 crime scenes and 120 pages to figure out what seemed so familiar to him in the first crime scene photo. Other than that, I found his intellect astounding, and he made leaps and bounds over the Special Circs team. With the team watching Steve to see if he has made the jump from hunter, to killer, this makes for an intense read. Time is running out, and only Steve seems capable of puzzling out where the killer or killers, are going to strike next. Will he be able to stop them before they follow through with their plan, or will it come out that he is party to the killings? 
All in all, a thrilling, intense, and fast-paced read. Fans of CSI will enjoy this one. Graphic, ritualistic, and sadistic murders abound. This is not a read for the faint of heart.

Indulgence in Death - J. D. Robb

When a murder disrupts the Irish vacation she is taking with her husband, Roarke, Eve realizes that no place is safe--not an Irish wood or the streets of the manic city she calls home. But nothing prepares her for what she discovers upon her return to the cop shop in New York City. . . .
A driver for a top-of-the-line limousine service is found dead--shot through the neck with a crossbow. The car was booked by an executive at a venerable security company whose identity had been stolen. Days later, a stunning, high-priced escort is found killed at Coney Island, a bayonet stuck in her heart. And again, the trail leads to a CEO whose information has been hijacked. 
With a method established, but no motive to be found, Eve begins to fear that she has come across that most dangerous of criminals, a thrill killer, but one with a taste for the finer things in life--and death. Eve does not know where or when the next kill will be, or that her investigation will take her to the rarefied circle that Roarke travels in--and into the perverted heart of madness. . . . 

Title: Indulgence in Death (In Death #31)
Author: J. D. Robb
Genre: Adult Fiction, Futuristic, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: November 2, 2010
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Laura from Penguin Canada for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
My rating: 4/5 

Eve Dallas is back in this, the latest installment in the In Death series. She and her husband, Roarke, are spending some quality time together on vacation while visiting Roarke's family. While in Ireland, she stumbles over a body in the woods. Though she can't officially participate in the case, she does help the officer in charge, and he wraps up the case quickly and efficiently. With Eve and Roarke's vacation coming to an end, they make their way back to New York City, and find themselves walking into a disturbing case. With bodies piling up in increasingly odd, and unusual ways, it'll take everything Eve has to find the person responsible, and put him behind bars, before the body count escalates any further. 
I'm a huge fan of this series, and appreciate the fact that it is set up so that each book can be read as a stand alone novel. This is one of those rare series that I've never actually read in order, and I never feel like I'm missing anything by reading it out of order. All of the characters are introduced or re-introduced in each installment, and I enjoy reading about the various situations that they find themselves in with each book, no matter how random the order I read them.
This book showcases the evolving relationship between Eve and Roarke, especially at the beginning while they are on vacation. Eve seems more open to trying things outside of her comfort zone, like vacationing in the countryside with Roarke's family, or suggesting they throw a dinner for friends. If you know Eve, you know she is all about her job, and Roarke is the one who usually has to drag her away from work to functions that aren't work related. 
With Eve just back from vacation, the pace picks up quickly, and we find her involved in a bizarre case almost immediately. She utilizes Roarke to bounce ideas off of him, as she does with Peabody, and seems to have a good idea of who is behind the murders. With Eve looking back into the suspect's sordid past, a startling pattern begins to emerge. Hopefully she will be able to build a solid case against the killer before he strikes again. 
All in all, another solid and well-plotted book. Though the identity of the killer is unmasked early on, it is a race against time to see if Eve can pull together all of the evidence she needs to stick him behind bars before he kills again. Fans of the In Death series will love this installment, especially Eve's ill at ease outlook on shrubs and country life. With plenty of intrigue, and a sick and twisted villain, this one will definitely keep the reader invested in the outcome.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

In My Mailbox - 48-

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren every Sunday. In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that lets everyone see what books you have received or bought that week.

This week was another slow week for me, but I'm not complaining. I'm looking forward to playing catchup on all of the books that I have sitting on my shelf waiting to be read and reviewed. I can't believe it's almost Christmas! Less than one week to go... which also means that the Wintery Goodness Giveaway that Kari (A Good Addiction) and I are hosting will be ending in a week. If you haven't entered yet, go do it! It's international! 
For Review
1. Shadow of the Sun (Timeless #1) - Laura Kreitzer

Many thanks goes to Laura Kreitzer and Teen Book Scene for sending me this book for review. 


The Sacred Oath (by D. C. Grace) giveaway ended yesterday. Using random.org I chose a winner, and have been in contact with her already. The winner was... 


Congratulations, Vivien! Thank you to everyone who entered! I hope you'll keep stopping by as I have some more giveaways in the works over the next few weeks. 
I will state, that I'm making a change to when I announce the winners of the giveaways on my blog. I'm hoping to announce the winners in my IMM posts now. I'll still email the winners as soon as the contests end, but will hold off on posting the results on the blog so I can wrap up everything in one post. Thank you for your understanding! :) 

Anyway, that's what I got in my mailbox this week, what did you get in yours? 

Happy Holidays everyone!!! I hope you all have a safe and blessed holiday season!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Blog Tour: Night School - Mari Mancusi - Excerpt & Giveaway

As part of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for Mari Mancusi's Night School, today's stop is an excerpt. Clicking the banner will lead you to the tour details. Enjoy! The giveaway is posted below the excerpt.

“This is so not good. So not good!” Sunny moans as she hits disconnect and sets down her cell phone after leaving her gazillionth message for Magnus to please, please call her. After attending the play, her vampire boyfriend had hopped on his private plane back to New England, where the Blood Coven's headquarters are. He’d be incommunicado, he’d told her, for at least five hours. At the time, it hadn’t seemed like a big deal; Sunny had assumed she’d spend a peaceful night with Mom and Dad—a rare treat—and then jump on a plane herself the next morning to join him back home.

Now everything has changed. Our lives have been flipped upside down. And not being able to share the news with Magnus is tearing Sunny apart. My own boyfriend, Jareth, is also traversing the world somewhere without cell phone service, but, to be honest, I am in no great hurry to mention the skeleton wings in our family closet. I mean, fairy princess? Could there be anything more embarrassing for a self-respecting vampire? After all, everyone knows real vampires don’t sparkle.

After hearing the news, we somehow convinced Mom and Dad to let us out of the condo for a few precious moments of decompression. We’d found a local diner and gotten a booth, each ordering a cup of coffee to keep the waitress Nazi at bay. I’d have preferred a vodka straight up but unfortunately my fake ID was confiscated last night at the Excalibur and also as a vampire I can’t get drunk, so the spirits would be worthless anyway.

“Sunny, relax,” I tell my twin as she bangs her head against the table in frustration. I look around and catch the waitress eyeing us suspiciously from across the room. “It’s going to be okay.”

Sunny looks up, tears streaming down her cheeks. “In what freaking universe do you live in that any of this could possibly be okay?” she demands.

“Uh,” I look down at my mug and notice a faint stain of pink lipstick on the rim. Good point.

“Why does this keep happening to me?” Sunny wails. “First I get turned into a freaking vampire. Now I find out I’m an effing fairy princess!”

“At least you’ll probably find the fairy wardrobe preferable,” I mutter, wishing she’d keep her voice down. “Lots of pink?”

Sunny shoots me a glare.

“All I want to be is a human,” she sniffs. “A normal, everyday human who grows up and goes to college, gets married, has babies and lives in a four bedroom two and a half bath house with an open kitchen, granite countertops and a pool out back. Is that so wrong?”

“It’s pretty specific, but I guess it's not wrong,” I say, reaching out to her, squeezing her hand. “But you know, Sun, we can’t always get what we want.”

“Please don’t start quoting Rolling Stones songs. Seriously, I will stake you.”

I let go of her hand. “Look. You gotta have faith. And no--” I hold up a hand “--I’m not quoting George Michael, so don’t even start. Dad’s working on it and he's assured us that everything will be okay."

“Like how he assured us he’d be there for our birthday last spring?” Sunny asks pointedly. She picks up her cell phone. “I’m going to try Magnus again. Maybe he had a stop-over…”

I give up, pushing away from the table and throwing a handful of change down for my un-drunk, lipstick-stained mug of coffee. “You know you’re not even supposed to be telling anyone any of this, remember? Dad and Mom were both pretty clear on that. They said it could be dangerous.”

“It’s not anyone,” Sunny says, phone to ear. “It’s Magnus. If anyone can help, he can."

“Of course. All while achieving world peace and solving the nation's financial crisis while he's at it, I'm sure," I mutter. To my sister, Magnus is not only coven master, but Superman, Batman, and The Incredible Hulk all rolled into one. But I don't buy it. After all, the guy couldn't even tell that his own freaking Blood Mate was an evil imposter. "I'm going home."

I can hear her scrambling after me as I stalk out of the diner and another stab of pity bites into my gut. I don’t mean to be short with her—she has every right to be upset about the situation. But I hate that she won't let me help her. I’m her twin—I’m supposed to be there for her. Yet all she cares about is her stupid boyfriend. Sigh.

She catches up, but still has the damn phone glued to her ear so I ignore her and cross the street, taking a right into Dad’s condo building. I hear her leave yet another co-dependent message as she steps into the elevator behind me.

“I hope he didn’t get in a plane accident,” she comments worriedly as the doors slide close. Argh. If I didn’t love my hair so much I’d be pulling it out until I was bald right about now.

As the doors slide open on the seventeenth floor, I grab her by the shoulder and turn her to face me. “Look, I know you’re upset,” I say, my voice as stern as I can make it. “But try to suck it up in front of Mom and Dad, okay? They’re doing all they can and Mom’s clearly freaking out. So don’t go and make her feel even worse.”

Sunny scowls. “I won't. Geez. Give me a little credit here."

Shaking my head, I push open the apartment door. Mom, Dad and Heather are curled up together on the couch, eating a big bowl of popcorn and watching that eighties movie Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. Mom bursts out laughing.

"Oh that Ferris!" she says, giggling. "He's such a scamp."

“Clearly freaking out, huh?” Sunny mutters in my ear.

“So, uh, what’s the plan anyway?” I ask. Dad grabs the remote and pauses the movie and the three of them look over at us, surprised.

“Your mother and I are going back to fairyland tomorrow with our Slayer Inc lawyer,” Dad says, “to plead our case. You guys are going to stay here with Heather.”

“What about school?” Sunny asks. “We’re supposed to go back Monday.”

"Consider it a bonus vacation. I’ll talk to your teachers,” Mom replies.

“But I’ve got a field hockey game on Tuesday!”

“Then you’ll have to miss it,” Dad butts in firmly. “I'm sorry, but you can’t go back. It’s not safe.”

“The court knows where you live,” Heather adds. “Their soldiers been watching the house. If you hadn’t had that super security system installed, I’m not sure your mom would have gotten out so easily."

David. I’ve had my squabbles with the guy, but thank goodness he was there for Mom while we were away. I should have never come to Vegas in the first place after he told me she might be in danger. What kind of slayer/daughter does that?

“Then when can we go home?” Sunny cries, sinking to a nearby chair, her face ashen. I realize she’s back to thinking about Magnus again.

Mom rises to her feet and goes over to give her a hug. “I don’t know, honey,” she says, smoothing her hair. “But we’re together and that's the important part. And there’s no way the fairies know we’re here.”

Suddenly, as if on cue, a weird thundering noise assaults the apartment. Like the buzzing of a thousand bees. I look over to the window and my jaw drops as I see a shirtless man hovering outside, peering in...

Beating his wings.

“Um,” I say, pointing. “Are you sure about that?”

© Mari Mancusi

That's it, I'm hooked. Are you? :)


Courtesy of Teen Book Scene, and Mari Mancusi, I have a finished copy of Night School (Blood Coven #5) to giveaway. Thank you, Mari for providing this copy! 

Contest is US/Canada only. Sorry to those of you who are international. :(
Contest ends December 27, 2010.
Giveaway has ENDED. Thank you to those who participated!
Please fill out this FORM to enter. Comments are deeply appreciated, however they won't count as entries. 

The Naughty List - Suzanne Young

Everybody knows Tessa Crimson is the purrfectly perky captain of the Smitten Kittens cheer squad. What most people don't know is that the Smitten Kittens double as spies-for-hire. Their mission? Catch cheating boyfriends in the act and bring justice to the girls of Washington High. So far, every suspect on their Naughty List has been found 100% guilty!
Thank goodness Tessa's relationship with basketball captain Aiden is strawberry-smoothie. Or so she thinks.

Inter-Kitten Communication
Dear Smitten Kittens, 
Brace yourselves, girls, for this latest catastrophe--we received the following anonymous alert this morning:

Another name for your possible cheater roster: Aiden Wilder. Who would've guessed, right? Hope the rumors aren't true!

Tessa's about to begin her biggest mission yet: Could her boyfriend be just as naughty as all the rest? 

Title: The Naughty List (The Naughty List #1)
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: February 4, 2010
Source: Borrowed from library. 
My rating: 4/5

What would you do if you suspected your boyfriend was cheating on you? You'd investigate him! Well, at Washington High, the cheer squad doubles as an elite spy squad, and they are all about catching cheaters. Tessa heads the cheer squad, and SOS. Things are going well for the squad; they are exposing their straying classmates left and right, but unfortunately, it's looking like every male investigated is found in a compromising position. When Tessa's longterm boyfriend Aiden, is rumored to be a possible cheater, she doesn't know what to think. Could he really be cheating on her? 
The Naughty List is a light-hearted read, with the Smitten Kittens forming an elite group to help out the female population of their school, expose their boyfriends for the unfaithful boys they are. Though many of the boyfriends are caught in compromising positions, Young leaves something to the imagination. When we find out that Tessa is intimate with her boyfriend, Aiden, we realize that their situation is also left more or less to the imagination. Their intimate relations are alluded to, but not explicitly detailed. Young gives us just enough information to make the read sexy, rather than crass. 
Tessa is not your stereotypical cheerleader. She has a brain, is quite independent, and she respects herself. She holds the team together, and gives them direction when they are working a case, as well as cheering. She is quirky though, in the respect that she does not like cussing, and tones down those around her when they spout off an expletive or two. She integrates other sayings in, rather than cursing, and I have to say, some of the sayings she comes up with had me laughing out loud. She seems almost too perky at times, especially when she's obviously not happy with what is going on, but I give her kudos for trying to make the most of her situation. 
Aiden is also not your stereotypical jock. He's sweet, sexy, and smart, which is refreshing to see. He and Tessa make the cutest couple, and when things start to become complicated between the two, it made my stomach drop. I really hoped things would work out between them, but I wasn't sure if they would. 
Christian is a character who entertains the idea of dating Tessa. He flips around between being sweet, and creepy. The word that immediately came to my mind for Christian was skeezball, and I couldn't shake that feeling throughout the book. Regardless of my feelings, you'll have to read the book to find out if he ended up being the sweet, loving boyfriend that he hoped to be for Tess or if he was just a skeezball. 
Though the book revolves around the cases that the girls are on, it does not solely rely on them, and a lot of Tessa's relationship woes take focal point. I liked the inclusion of the SOS team, and found that they brought more humour to the story with their antics. They really are a supportive group, and banded together when things started to unravel for Tess.  
All in all, a cute, light-hearted, and sexy read that depicts the dating lives of the students of Washington High. Though there are some adult themes, they aren't explicitly detailed, therefore allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions to the various situations that the students found themselves in. I think many teens will enjoy this read, and will enjoy the humour inserted throughout. The conclusion wraps up the story nicely, leaving it at a good stand-alone ending point, but it also leaves it open for a continuation to Tess's story. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

I'm going to resurrect the Waiting on Wednesday meme on Lost For Words. It's been a while since I posted it, and I LOVE posting about new books, especially ones that I am waiting for impatiently. 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill from Breaking The Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

First up, I'm currently craving:

Synopsis taken from goodreads

The long-awaited sequel to Green Rider, First Rider's Call, and The High King's Tomb.

Once a simple student, Karigan G'ladheon finds herself in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand when she becomes a legendary Green Rider-one of the magical messengers of the king. Forced by magic to accept a dangerous fate she would never have chosen, headstrong Karigan has become completely devoted to the king and her fellow Riders.

But now, an insurrection led by dark magicians threatens to break the boundaries of ancient, evil Blackveil Forest-releasing powerful dark magics that have been shut away for a millennium.

Why it's on my wishlist:

This series blew me out of the water with the first book. Honestly, I can't say I've ever been hooked so completely by a series since James Clemens' The Banned and the Banished series. Fantastical elements, an elite group of riders who are messengers and guardians for the king, and a powerful and evil adversary. What's not to like? I'll be picking this one up the day of release. Luckily it is scheduled for release the first of February, so the wait won't be to much longer.

Synopsis taken from goodreads:

One choice.

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

Or, one choice can transform you.

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

Why it's on my wishlist:

A dystopian read that sounds like a truly epic and frightening world. It sounds like it's going to be a gripping read, and I can't wait to get my hands on it. This one is scheduled for release in May, so a few months of drooling and wanting still to go yet. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blog Tour: The Healing Spell - Kimberley Griffiths Little - Guest Post & Giveaway

Yesterday I reviewed The Healing Spell, and today Kimberley Griffiths Little is here with a two-part guest post courtesy of Teen Book Scene. Feel free to click the banner to follow along with the tour. This book is MADE of win. Honestly guys, it is such a sweet, sweet read, I loved it. Certain parts brought tears to my eyes, but honestly, it's a keeper. Anyway, let's get to Kimberley's responses to my questions. Teasers abound! 

What were some of your favourite books growing up?

HARRIET THE SPY and NANCY DREW as well as all of Phyllis Whitney’s mysteries tops my favorites when I was a kid. My best friend Starr and I used to pretend we were Harriet and sneaked around her big old house with pens and spirals. She had the biggest backyard with this huge weeping willow tree and a tree house with a fireman’s pole that we slid down. We spent days spying on her brothers and sister and made notes in our Spy Notebooks. Starr and I also wrote a whole novel together when we were 11-years-old about two girls who get kidnapped and whisked away to Venus in a spaceship! For the character’s names we used our middle names; Anne and Elizabeth respectively, of course!
I also adore the book THE LITTLE WHITE HORSE by Elizabeth Goudge and THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin. When I was about 13-14 I loved A LANTERN IN HER HAND and JANE EYRE – bawled and bawled at the ending of both those books.

What books would Livie identify with or enjoy reading?

Livie is like my imaginary soul sister. Or the girl I used to be. Or the daughter I was never blessed with.
I actually think we would have similar tastes in books, but Livie is much more adventurous than I am so I think she’d love to read about hunting and fishing and a How-To-Make-Your-Own Pirogue book, too. And then she’d go off and actually do it!
But she’d also love quiet, thoughtful books about friendship and girls because girls that age love those kinds of books very much. I’d like to think that Livie would enjoy the book I just finished writing that will be out next October, 2011. It’s called CIRCLE OF SECRETS and takes place in her hometown of Bayou Bridge, Louisiana. It’s about girls and friendships and old secrets and charm bracelets and there’s a ghost, too. And a haunted bridge with blood stains. And Livie makes a "sort-of" appearance. How’s that for a tease!

You are right, that is a tease! I can't wait to read Circle of Secrets when it comes out now!! October seems so far away. :( I love your book list as well, that novel must have been so much fun to write!

This book trailer is so awesome. I LOVE Livie's voice in it and it is exactly as I imagined it would be when reading the book. 


Courtesy of Kimberley Griffiths Little, I have a SIGNED hardcover copy of The Healing Spell to give away. Thank you Kimberley! This is the same copy that I read (I promise I was gentle with it), and I hope you understand that I do not want to give it up. That said, I'm giving it away regardless of my feelings, and will be buying a copy as soon as possible to replace it on my shelf. Yes, it is THAT awesome.

So. Rules. I guess I should make a few, eh?
Contest is open to US/Canada only. Sorry to those of you who are international. :(
Contest ends December 28, 2010.
Giveaway has ENDED. Thank you to those who participated!
Please fill out this FORM to enter. Comments, while appreciated, you know I love them, will not be counted as entries. Thank you everyone! :) 

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Healing Spell - Kimberley Griffiths Little - Blog Tour Review

Eleven-year-old Livie is keeping a secret, and it's crushing her. She knows she is responsible for her mother's coma, but she can't tell anyone. And it's up to her to find a way to wake her mamma before anyone uncovers the truth of what really happened. 
Added to the list of Livie's problems are being stuck in the middle of three sisters, trying to hide a forbidden pet alligator, and possibly disappointing her daddy, whom she loves more than anyone else. Livie feels like an outsider and prefers the solitude of the wild bayou to her ever-crowded home. But she can't run away from her troubles, and as she struggles to find her place within her family, Livie learns a lot about the powers of faith and redemption. Is her heart big enough to heal her mamma and bring her family back together? 
Kimberley Griffiths Little's beautiful, vivid writing brings Livie's lush world on the bayou to brilliant life, and depicts Livie's journey with a sensitivity and wisdom that's sure to resonate with readers of all ages. 

Title: The Healing Spell
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: July 1, 2010
Source: Received from author courtesy of Teen Book Scene. Many thanks goes to Kimberley Griffiths Little and Teen Book Scene for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This review is part of the Teen Book Scene blog tour. Please click here or on the banner below the review to view the tour details. 
My rating: 5/5

Livie's summer is off to a horrible start. Her mother has been in the hospital for the last eleven days in a coma. No one but Livie knows what happened to cause her momma's accident. Her daddy brings her momma home to tend to her while she is still in a comatose state. Livie is scared, and feeling guilty, and is also feeling like an outsider in her own family. Will she come to terms with the new status of her family, or can she find a way to help cure her momma?
I have to say that this book is so atmospheric, and so vibrant. I connected with Livie right away, as I was a tomboy growing up too, (you could say I still am). She and her mother don't get along, and it seems like they are from two different worlds. Livie can't understand why anyone would want to dress up, or do anything girly, and so she relegates herself to exploring the bayou behind her family's house. She spends a lot of time with her daddy going frog hunting, and emptying the crawfish traps. She is wholeheartedly a daddy's girl. Her voice throughout is strong and pure. I couldn't help but commiserate with her feelings, and I hoped that things would work out for her and her family. I loved reading her interactions with various family members, and chuckled when things went awry. Most of all, I loved her realizations about  faith, and letting in the good memories while letting go of the bad. 
Livie's voice brings you into this world of bayou's and alligators, and from the first page I was hooked. The inflection in her voice, and the cadence of the words jumped out at me and enticed me into her world. It wasn't hard to imagine that I was on the bayou with her, making friends with a baby alligator, or getting into hot water with her family. The setting is so vivid, and so brilliant, I couldn't help but fall in love with it, and with Livie's story. I was immersed so deeply in Livie's world that I hated to stop reading. It's an easy and quick read, but I found myself slowing down to savour it. I can't stress enough how beautiful this book is. 
All in all, a gorgeous, vibrant, and beautiful tale about the journey one girl takes on the road to discovery and recovery. A family uniting, wild bayou countryside, hope and faith mesh together to create this warm, inviting, and beautifully descriptive read. I know that this one will definitely be a world that I re-visit. I'd highly recommend this one to people of all ages. Middle grade readers, and their parents as well as teens will enjoy The Healing Spell.