Sunday, December 30, 2012

In My Mailbox (74)

This is a meme that I first heard about from Kristi over at The Story Siren and immediately wanted to jump on board. I'm always picking up new books, because I never tire of reading, but the other thing I like about this meme is that it gives everyone an opportunity to check out what other book fanatics, bloggers, etc... got for themselves. I've gotten great recommendations from this meme and hope that keeps up in the future.

Here's what I got, what did you guys get this week?

For Review:

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin (Thanks to Laura)

If He Had Been With Me tells the romantic history of a teen girl and her childhood best friend leading up to his tragic car accident in which the passenger seat was occupied by another girl.

The Rules (Project Paper Doll, #1) by Stacey Kade (Thanks to Disney-Hyperion)

1. Never trust anyone.

2. Remember they are always searching.

3. Don’t get involved.

4. Keep your head down.

5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…

And from my family and friends:

100 Unforgettable Dresses by Hal Rubenstein

100 Unforgettable Dresses is filled with the stories, secrets, intrigue, and insights behind the most indelible dresses in our collective memories. Featuring looks from the runway, film, television, the red carpet, and the worlds of royalty and politics, this book celebrates the staying power of these gorgeous, sleek, sultry, and outrageous creations as well as the lasting impact they've had in fashion, popular culture, and our own lives. More than two hundred images, a witty, informative text, and exclusive interviews with the designers and the women who wore the dresses reveal the initial spark and captivating drama behind the making of each dress. Also featured throughout are extensive anecdotes and observations about great style makers--Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Cher, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Cate Blanchett--highlighting the conception of their most spectacular looks and examining their lasting influence.

Here is the tale of how a canny Gianni Versace helped an unknown Elizabeth Hurley become world famous overnight, thanks to the paparazzi frenzy whipped up by her red-carpet appearance in his now legendary safety-pin dress. Learn about the unique wedding gown Narciso Rodriguez designed exclusively for Caroline Bessette-Kennedy that inspired a whole new generation of brides. Go on the set of Top Hat, where Ginger Rogers's ostrich-feather-laden dress began to molt immediately upon arrival, its flying feathers bringing the film's production to a halt. Of course, the seminal work of exemplary designers--Yves Saint Laurent's Mondrian dress and Christian Lacroix's pouf, Chanel's little black dress and Valentino's infamous red ones, Diane von Furstenberg's iconic wrap and Marc Jacobs's grunge collection--is featured throughout, with plenty of inside information on what inspired the invention of each piece.

With its wonderful anecdotes, fascinating facts, and just enough juicy gossip, 100 Unforgettable Dresses is a bewitching read for everyone who enjoys sensational clothes, movies, television, and music. Whether you're a fashion maven, a red-carpet addict, a celebrity tracker, or a pop-culture aficionado, you won't be able to put this book down!

Cupcakes and Cashmere by Emily Schuman

Based on Emily Schuman’s popular lifestyle blog of the same name,Cupcakes and Cashmere is the must-have guide for those looking to establish their own sense of style, organize and decorate their home, or throw an easy and stylish party. Organized by season, the book expands on Schuman’s blog by including DIY projects, organization tips, party-planning ideas, beauty how-tos, and seasonal recipes. Cupcakes and Cashmere features original material that has not been previously published on the site. With her signature photographic layouts, Emily creates a lifestyle that is chic and achievable for every reader, making this the ultimate style guide for living a fashionable life.

The Truth About Style by Stacy London

The hilarious, beloved cohost of TLC’s What Not to Wearexamines the universal obstacles all women—including herself—put in their way 

With her unique talent for seeing past disastrous wardrobes to the core emotional issues that caused these sartorial crises, style savant Stacy London has transformed not only the looks but also the lives of hundreds of guests who have appeared on What Not to Wear. Now for the first time in print, London turns that expert X-ray insight on herself.

Like the women she’s transformed, London has plenty of emotional baggage. At eleven, she suffered from severe psoriasis that left her with permanent physical and mental scars. During college, she became anorexic on a misguided quest for perfection. By the time she joined the staff at Vogue, London’s weight had doubled from binge eating. Although self-esteem and self-consciousness nearly sabotaged a promising career, London learned the hard way that we wear our insecurities every day. It wasn’t until she found the self-confidence to develop a strong personal style that she finally became comfortable in her skin.

In The Truth About Style, London shares her own often painful history and her philosophy of the healing power of personal style—illustrating it with  a series of detailed “start-overs” with eight real women, demonstrating how personal style helps them overcome the emotional obstacles we all face. For anyone who has ever despaired of finding the right clothes, or even taking an objective assessment in a full-length mirror, The Truth About Style will be an inspiring, liberating, and often very funny guide to finding the expression of  your truest self.

100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know by Cindi Lieve, Glamour

Once upon a time, there was an easy roast chicken recipe, handed down by a fashion editor at Glamour magazine to her assistant, who was in search of a dish to prepare for dinner with her boyfriend. She made the chicken. Her boyfriend loved it. He had seconds. And shortly thereafter, he proposed. But that's not all: Three more young women at the magazine made the chicken for the men in their lives who then, in short order, popped the question. Glamour published the recipe--dubbing it, naturally, Engagement Chicken--and since then, the magazine's editors have heard from more than 60 women who have gotten engaged after making the dish. Commitment-phobes be warned: This bird means business! Of course, there is more to life than weddings. And there's more to this cookbook than Engagement Chicken. 

100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know also includes 99 of the magazine's other most-loved, best-reviewed dishes, all designed to get you exactly what you want in life, exactly when you want it. From Prove to Mom You're Not Going to Starve Meat Loaf to Impress His Family Chardonnay Cake, these recipes will help you cook with passion and persuasion. And they're all written with your real life and real needs in mind. Because whether you're a novice or an expert, cooking should never be intimidating--and it should always be fun. Don't miss these easy, essential recipes: He Stayed Over Omelet Skinny Jeans Scallops No Guy Required Grilled Steak Let's Make a Baby Pasta Forget the Mistake You Made at Work Margarita Bribe a Kid Brownies Hers and His Cupcakes "Recently I met some beautiful young women from Glamour magazine. They make a roast chicken they call 'Engagement Chicken' because every time one of them makes it for her boyfriend, she gets engaged! How wonderful is that? That's the best reason I ever heard to make a roast chicken." --Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa cookbooks

Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don't kill him first, that is.

Lonely Souls (The Witch Avenue, #1) by Karice Boulton

It’s two weeks before Triss turns 18, and her world is about to change into the most magical one imaginable as she readies herself to enter The Witch Avenue Order... that is until her mother’s disappearance. Instead of celebrating her transformation, she finds herself spreading rose petals into her mother’s empty grave.

When Logan, her best friend from junior high, moves back to town for college, he vows to help her find the answers she so desperately seeks surrounding her mother’s disappearance. As they begin uncovering clues, it becomes apparent that the life of white magic they both grew up loving is not what the majority practices, and their lives are in danger.

With a haunting feeling that her mother may still be alive, she begins to hear a call to the wilderness. Triss realizes that in order to find the answers she needs, she must learn the ways of her ancestors and become the hunter, not the hunted before it’s too late, and she becomes part of the lonely souls.

Deep Blue Secret (The Water Keepers, #1) by Christie Anderson

California teen Sadie James thinks her life couldn't get any better. She has great friends, an energetic mother she adores, and the beach practically in her own backyard. But her carefree life is turned upside down when she's rescued by a mysterious and strangely familiar boy who won't even tell her his name. Each time the boy appears, Sadie's unexplainable attraction to him deepens along with her need to unravel his secrets. The boy is there to protect her, but as wonderful and exciting as it might be to have an irresistible boy with crystal green eyes protecting her every move, every minute of the day...why does Sadie need one? As Sadie finds answers, she realizes her life isn't as perfect as she thought. Not only is she caught in a world of dangerous secret agents she never knew existed, but it turns out her true identity may be the greatest secret of all.

Friday, December 28, 2012

10 Trends for 2013

I recently received an email from a friend over at Scholastic and I couldn't resist sharing what I learned with you guys.  2012 has flown by so quickly and it's been packed full of amazing reads that I couldn't even begin to hope to read them all.  And 2013 is shaping up to be exactly the same.  Over at Scholastic the editors have come up with a little prediction for the forecast of what could be trending in 2013 for Children's Books and here's what they've come up with....what do you guys think?

Trend #1:  Bullying is THE Timely Topic in Kids' Books

The fact is nearly every child will face or witness the effects of bullying at some point in their lives.  Children's authors recognize this as a major concern for kids and have become more adept at weaving bullying themes into storylines, from picture books to young adult titles.  In 2013 look for The Meanest Birthday Girl by Josh Schneider, and the Call of the Bully: A Rodney Rathbone Novel - the sequel to How to Beat the Bully Without Really Trying by Scott Starkey.

Trend #2:  '13 Will be a Lucky Number for Science Fiction Fans

While the end of dystopian novels in no-where in sight, fans can expect to see a new theme uncovered, bringing some stellar new titles with a "true" science-fiction edge.  Books to watch for in the New Year include Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles: Scarlet, Enders, the second title in the Starters series by Lissa Price, and Pulse by Patrick Carman.

Trend #3:  Intriguing Nonfiction

Biographies have always been a staple in kids' literature, but fans are going to see even more great ones in 2013.  With the new Common Core State Standards, which are currently adopted in 46 states, the way students learn in school is changing and there is an elevated importance being placed on non-fiction, or "informational texts."  Standouts in 2013 will be Nelson Madela by Kadir Nelson, A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet, and Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin.

Trend #4:  Novels-in-Cartoons

With the success of the Bone, Captain Underpants, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, there continues to be an insatiable demand for the "novels-in-cartoon" genre.  The illustrations provide entertainment value and urge kids to continue reading, especially for reluctant readers.  Fans are going to see a great flood of fun, new reads in 2013 such as: Chickenhare by Chris Grine, Stick Dog: A Really Good Story with Kind of Bad Drawings by Tom Watson, Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers and Bad Kitty: School Daze by Nick Bruel.

Trend #5:  Kid Lit on the Screen

In 2013, readers will be seeing the pages out of their favorite books on the big screen!  Get ready to watch the movie versions of Scott Orson Card's Ender's Game the supernatural romance, Beautiful Creatures (based on the 2009 series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl), and the action adventure saga Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (based on the 2008 series by Cassadra Clare).  Middle grade readers will also find the second film from Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series in theaters in late summer: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.

"While there is never a shortage of works about the undead and paranormal in young-adult literature, we've recently seen the release of a wide range of post-apocalyptic novels brimming with action and romance," said Ed Masessa, Senior Manager Product Development for Scholastic Book Fairs and New York Times bestselling children's book author.  "But perhaps the bigger trends are the return to realistic action-packed novels and to books that reinforce the positive messages of tolerance, hope and acceptance.  Regardless of their reading preference, children will find that 2013 is going to be a banner year."

Trend #6:  War

Whenever we reach a historical anniversary, there is an increased interest in books related to the topic.  2013 marks the second year of the American Civil War Sesquicentennial (150th anniversary), so history buffs will see an influx of Civil War titles to read.  Wars in general will be making their way on to the bookshelves in 2013, which is great news for teachers looking for great non-fiction to supplement classroom learning and help kids meet the Common Core State Standards.  Look for a broad selection of Cival War books including I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg by Lauren Tarshis and What Was the Battle of Gettysburg? by Jim O'Connor, John Mantha and James Bennett.

Trend #7:  Tough Girls

Katniss from The Hunger Games is building a legion of strong girl protagonists.  In 2013, readers can expect to be introduced to more powerful female characters that exhibit the willingness to accept challenges.  These characters do not set limits for themselves or take the easy way out - an important lesson for both boys and girls.  Books with exceptionally resourceful lead characters include:  Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Legend and its sequel Prodigy by Marie Lu, Lawless by debut author Jeffrey Salane.

Trend #8:  Survival Stories

Survival stories have always been popular, but they have become more prominent as a result of popular movies and reality television shows.  Whether the setting is historical as in Finding Zasha by Randi Barrow or contemporary like Stranded by Survivor host Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts thrilling page-turners filled with tension and excitement will set their hooks into young readers.

Trend #9:  Spotlight on Diversity

Kids want to see themselves in the novels they read, and publishers are embracing their individuality.  Readers can learn about their families, cultures, and themselves with these books that focus on cultural diversity.  Historical novels like The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine will provide plenty of home and classroom discussion.  Novels with more contemporary settings include Hold Fast by Blue Balliett.

Trend #10:  Nature Runs Amok

From campy, fantastical sci-fi to more realistic eco-thrillers, there is nothing like adventure in the wild.  Readers will come face-to-face with more and more page-turning sci-fi titles that cover the unrealistic to the actual - yet the common theme is that they are focused on ecology and the environment.  Books like Killer Species:  Menace from the Deep by Michael Spradlin, Infestation by Timothy J. Bradley, and Last Dogs:  The Vanishing by Christopher Holt will keep kids reading well into the night.     

All the books listed above will be available through either Scholastic Book Fairs and/or Scholastic Book Clubs and book stores.  I don't know about you guys but after reading the 2013 predictions I can't help but want to add even more titles to my TBR list and begin even more countdowns to bide my time until I can get my hands on a few of these titles for myself.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) by Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. 

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. 

Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Here is a book that I've been anxiously awaiting to hit the shelves and I must admit I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  Since it's a first for Maas I had no prior experience or predictions for what her writing style what be like, how fast or slow her pace would be, or what to think her characters might turn out like.  I'm glad I went into this read with no firm expectations or ideas because it was a fresh start and one I found myself enjoying.  The world Maas has created and dreamed up for this series was fun to be introduced to and get to know along the way.  There are still many secrets and hidden histories that I'm sure she's waiting to reveal in future installments down the line but for now we get a good idea of what's what and who is who.

There's always a lot of pressure on the female leads in books like these I find.  I'm not sure if its the genre they fall into, or if readers (like myself) just expect them to be a certain way or hope they've behave a certain way.  Whatever the reason, I am happy to say that in my opinion Maas created a strong, brave, and quite (pleasantly so) outspoken leading lady.  But along with this new female lead we're introduced to many side characters and dare I say it....the beginnings of a potential love triangle?  Granted there were only hints here and there through this series opener, but I'm ashamed to admit I've already chosen sides should there end up being a ring for these guys to throw their hats into, and I'm firmly on Team Chaol!  There, I said it!

I know this title has gotten mixed reviews around the blogging community, but truthfully I found Maas' writing style to be smooth and entertaining.  I felt like things moved along at the pace I was hoping for and there was definitely more than one moment where I caught myself wanting to cheat and look at the end of the book to see what would happen because the tension got to me and almost pushed me over the edge.  So if you're looking for a new author to check out, this one might be the way to go.

I gave Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) 3 shamrocks!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Countdown: March 2013 (3)

As one of my favorite months on the calendar, due mainly to my Irish roots and the chance to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, it's always a month I look forward to. And in addition to one of my favorite holidays there are a ton of great titles that will make March that much more of a fabulous month next year. Chalk full of great authors, potential new and exciting series, and a few titles that I'm sure will find a permanent home on my bookshelves.

There's even one of two titles that are expected to come out in March that I will be camping out in front of bookstores to make sure I get myself a copy of as soon as humanly possible. OK so I might not be camping out exactly but I will be getting myself to the stores on the release dates or ordering myself a copy and having it beamed my Kindle to get it to me even faster.

Countdown Pick #1:  Legacy of the Clockwork Key (Secret Order of the Modern Amusementists, #1) by Kristin Bailey (03/05/2013)

A teen girl unravels the mysteries of a secret society and their most dangerous invention in this adventure-swept romance set in Victorian London.When a fire consumes Meg’s home, killing her parents and destroying both her fortune and her future, all she has left is the tarnished pocket watch she rescued from the ashes. But this is no ordinary timepiece. The clock turns out to be a mechanical key—a key that only Meg can use—that unlocks a series of deadly secrets and intricate clues that Meg is compelled to follow.

Meg has uncovered evidence of an elite secret society and a dangerous invention that some will stop at nothing to protect—and that Meg alone can destroy. Together with the handsome stable hand she barely knows but hopes she can trust, Meg is swept into a hidden world of deception, betrayal, and revenge. The clockwork key has unlocked her destiny in this captivating start to a trilogy. 

Who's excited for a new trilogy?  I am!  Now of course I've got to check out the first book before I make a final judgement on whether or not it'll be a trilogy that I'll continue to follow, but just the idea that there's a new one coming out gets me excited and anxious to dive right in.

Countdown Pick #2:  The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar (03/21/0213)

He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan of attack for everything, from landing the lead in her high school musical to dealing with her increasingly absent parents. But when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the opportunity to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Especially since Oliver--not blue-skinned, not bottle-dwelling, but a genie nonetheless--can see more than what she's willing to show him. With one peek into her mind, he can see the wishes that even Margo herself doesn't know she wants.

But Oliver comes with more than just mind-reading abilities, a flair for magic, and the prettiest eyes Margo's ever seen. Someone from his past is hunting him--someone bent on killing him, along with all the other genies in the world, for the sake of honor. And as Margo soon discovers, it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

Countdown Pick #3:  The Murmurings by Carly Ann West (03/05/2013)

A teen girl starts hearing the same voices that drove her sister to commit suicide in this creepy, suspenseful novel.

Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…

How about this cover?!  I'm already over the top aware of how this book will probably keep me up at nights, but with this cover combined with the book's description and it's too much for me to have any chance of resisting adding it to my library.  I have to know what the mystery is, and what's going to happen to Sophie!

Countdown Pick #4:  Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (03/05/2013)

"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

I can't even begin to describe the cuteness feeling that I got when I read this book's description!  How adorable it sounds, how fun and great these characters seem to be, and the potential this story has with it's fresh take on a love story.  All of that combined had me adding this title to my countdown with no hesitation.

Countdown Pick #5:  Panic by Sharon M. Draper (03/12/2013)

This gripping and chillingly realistic novel from New York Times bestselling author Sharon Draper shows that all it takes is one bad decision for everything to change.

Diamond knows not to get into a car with a stranger.

But what if the stranger is well-dressed and handsome? On his way to meet his wife and daughter? And casting a movie that very night—a movie in need of a star dancer? What then?

Then Diamond might make the wrong decision.

It’s a nightmare come true: Diamond Landers has been kidnapped. She was at the mall with a friend, alone for only a few brief minutes—and now she’s being held captive, forced to endure horrors beyond what she ever could have dreamed, while her family and friends experience their own torments and wait desperately for any bit of news.

From New York Times bestselling author Sharon Draper, this is a riveting exploration of power: how quickly we can lose it—and how we can take it back.

Does the offer Diamond received sound too good to be true?  Yes of course, but it's always easy to say things and make judgements or criticisms in hindsight isn't it?  I can't even imagine what this book will do to me, because at this moment after only reading the short description, I'm already anxious and scared for this character and I haven't even cracked the book's cover.  How this story will turn out is any one's guess, but I know that I have to add this to my library because at this point I have to know what happens and becomes of Diamond.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Review: Minder (Ganzfield, #1) by Kate Kaynak

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn is special, but she needs to figure out how to use her new abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place. 

Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control. 

A stray thought can burn a building to the ground. 

And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey. Especially once she meets the man of her dreams...

Love, Love, Love!  Kate Kaynak has now been added to my list of favorite authors.  I can't help it, she's got me hooked on this series with no chance of resisting.  I hate that I waited so long to start this series, but I'm excited that there are already several installments in the series available so that I can power right on through the series without having to wait for new installments to hit the shelves, which I love!  No countdowns in my future for this series at the moment which is always a welcome outcome.

I'll admit that I've always been a fan of X-Men, whether it was the comics, movies, didn't matter, I was an avid fan.  I'm not saying that this series lines up with that exactly, but there is a good amount of similarities that I've found between the two and it's very different from a lot of the other YA titles that I've been reading which I think helped boost my excitement levels as well.

Maddie, Trevor, Cecilia, Drew, you name it and I became a quick cheerleader for Kaynak's characters in this series.  Her writing is fresh and fun, as well as capable of throwing me into anxiety with her tension inducing action sequences where to be honest I wasn't sure what to expect with each turn of the page.  I was kept on my toes and had fun throughout the entire read.  Like I said I have already decided that I want to continue to read the rest of this series as quickly as possible and I'm so thankful that not only are there plenty of other installments out on the shelves now, but that I already have the next two on my bookshelves at home to start right away!

I gave Minder (Ganzfield, #1) 4 shamrocks!!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

In My Mailbox (73)

This is a meme that I first heard about from Kristi over at The Story Siren and immediately wanted to jump on board. I'm always picking up new books, because I never tire of reading, but the other thing I like about this meme is that it gives everyone an opportunity to check out what other book fanatics, bloggers, etc... got for themselves. I've gotten great recommendations from this meme and hope that keeps up in the future.

Here's what I got, what did you guys get this week?

For Review:

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead (Thanks to Albert Whitman Teen)

Seventeen-year-old "Hank" has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything --who he is, where he came from, why he's running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or "Hank" and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of--Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead's remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.

Hysteria by Megan Miranda (Thanks to Walker Childrens)

Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others. 

In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again.

Pantomime by Laura Lam (Thanks to Strange Chemistry)

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

Delirium (Delirium, #1) by Lauren Oliver (Thanks to Lyric)

THEY SAY that the cure for Love will make me happy and safeforever. And I've always believed them. Until now.

Now everything has changed. Now, I'd rather be infected
with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Scent of Magic (Healer, #2) by Maria V. Snyder (Thanks to Harlequin UK)

Hunted, Killed—Survived?

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Countdown: March 2013 (2)

As one of my favorite months on the calendar, due mainly to my Irish roots and the chance to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, it's always a month I look forward to. And in addition to one of my favorite holidays there are a ton of great titles that will make March that much more of a fabulous month next year. Chalk full of great authors, potential new and exciting series, and a few titles that I'm sure will find a permanent home on my bookshelves.

There's even one of two titles that are expected to come out in March that I will be camping out in front of bookstores to make sure I get myself a copy of as soon as humanly possible. OK so I might not be camping out exactly but I will be getting myself to the stores on the release dates or ordering myself a copy and having it beamed my Kindle to get it to me even faster.

Countdown Pick #1:  When We Wake by Karen Healey (03/05/2013)

My name is Tegan Oglietti, and on the last day of my first lifetime, I was so, so happy. 

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027--she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies--and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity--even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn't all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?

Award-winning author Karen Healey has created a haunting, cautionary tale of an inspiring protagonist living in a not-so-distant future that could easily be our own.

As a fan of Healey's previous title, Guardian of the Dead, I'm confident this future release will satisfy my craving of suspense and thrilling mysteries for a little while.  One of my favorite things about Healey's previous writing was the way she was able to unravel a story and slowing but with perfect timing unveil secrets and answer questions her readers were waiting for with baited breath.

Countdown Pick #2:  Poison by Bridget Zinn (03/12/2013)

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

While I'm not sure how I feel about the prediction that teenage girls everywhere will be swooning over this combination of elements, I'm thinking there's a good chance this will be a highly entertaining and fun read.

Countdown Pick #3:  The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson (03/1/2013)

A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.

The lush city of Palmares Tres shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Tres will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

Pulsing with the beat of futuristic Brazil, burning with the passions of its characters, and overflowing with ideas, this fiery novel will leave you eager for more from Alaya Dawn Johnson.

I just think this sounds so different don't you?  I'm constantly looking for great reads, and often times I find myself reading something within the same genre, or centered around the same type of paranormal characters, etc...and every once in a while its nice to have a bit of a change of pace or to add a little variety to keep myself from falling into a slump.

Countdown Pick #4:  Strands of Bronze and Gold (Strands of Bronze and Gold, #1) by Jane Nickerson (03/12/2012)

The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.

I've never read the original Bluebeard fairy tale but I want to now!  Have any of you guys heard the tale?  From the book's description I'm curious not only about this future release but the original as well and I'm thinking I might read the original first and then check out the fun Nickerson's got in store for the remake.

Countdown Pick #5:  Being Henry David by Cal Armistead (03/01/2013)

Seventeen-year-old "Hank" has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything --who he is, where he came from, why he's running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or "Hank" and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of--Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead's remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.

Who doesn't want to find out what happened to Hank?  I know my curiosity has been piqued and I'm super excited to find out what he'll have to do in order to rediscover the pieces missing from his memory and who he really was and where he'll go from there.  Very interesting concept and one that I haven't come across before very often, so it seems like this read could be a pleasant change of pace.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Countdown: March 2013

As one of my favorite months on the calendar, due mainly to my Irish roots and the chance to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, it's always a month I look forward to. And in addition to one of my favorite holidays there are a ton of great titles that will make March that much more of a fabulous month next year. Chalk full of great authors, potential new and exciting series, and a few titles that I'm sure will find a permanent home on my bookshelves.

There's even one of two titles that are expected to come out in March that I will be camping out in front of bookstores to make sure I get myself a copy of as soon as humanly possible. OK so I might not be camping out exactly but I will be getting myself to the stores on the release dates or ordering myself a copy and having it beamed my Kindle to get it to me even faster.

Countdown Pick #1: Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg (03/01/2013)

A hilarious new novel from Elizabeth Eulberg about taking the wall out of the wallflower so she can bloom.

Don't mess with a girl with a Great Personality.

Everybody loves Lexi. She's popular, smart, funny...but she's never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi's sick of it. She's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she's sick of having all her family's money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren't going to know what hit them. Because Lexi's going to play the beauty game - and she's in it to win it.

By far and away Elizabeth Eulberg can do no wrong! Her books are beyond amazing, full of laughs, great characters that I wish could be my friends in real life, action and intensity, and romance!!!! Her romances are never super easy and obstacle free, but that's what makes them great and worth rooting for. Her characters go through a lot and usually have to get over themselves before they can get chance to get their happy endings. I love the premise of this read and can't wait to see what Elizabeth has in store for us with Lexi and her plan to get back at the non-wallflowers she's been dealing with.

Countdown Pick #2:  MILA 2.0 (MILA 2.0, #1) by Debra Driza (03/12/2013)

Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past —that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity–style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.

OK so basically despite the fact that science fiction is not normally my go-to genre, the last part of this book's description left no room for me to doubt whether or not I'd be racing to the stores in order to get myself a copy of this release the second it hits the shelves.

Countdown Pick #3:  Spellcaster by Claudia Gray (03/05/2013)

When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed - and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed. 

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them. Shimmering with magic and mystery, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s new novel is sure to draw fans of the Hex Hall and Caster Chronicles series, and fans of the hit CW TV show The Secret Circle.

As a longtime fan of Gray and her previous books and series I'm really looking forward to seeing what's she come up with next for her readers.  And a tale of witchcraft and mystery might be exactly what we all need to break up some of the werewolf and vampire overload that occasionally dominates the YA genre.

Countdown Pick #4:  If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch (03/26/2013)


A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen-year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey's younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and the girls are found by their father, a stranger, and taken to re-enter the "normal" life of school, clothes and boys. 

Now, Carey must come to terms with the truth of why their mother spirited them away ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won't let her go ... a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn't spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

This does not sound like a situation anyone wants to be in, but I cannot even begin to imagine what types of twists and turns Murdoch has in store for her readers.  Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?  Why isn't her sister talking and what could possibly drive Carey's family to have come apart at the seams the way it did?  All in good time I hope.

Countdown Pick #5:  Unremembered (Unremembered, #1) by Jessica Brody (03/05/2013)

The only thing worse than forgetting her past... is remembering it.

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author, Jessica Brody comes a mesmerizing and suspenseful new series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

How awesome is that cover?  I love it and the book's description could not have gotten me more anxious to read this future release.  This will be my first experience with Brody's writing but her reputation precedes her and I've seen so many great reviews of her past work that I can't help but cross my fingers that her style and talent aren't going anywhere.


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