Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Teaser: Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

"As he reached for the jewel-encrusted bag, his arm brushed against a plain, wooden box, no bigger than a loaf of bread. There was no filigree or ornament adorning the lid, only a small brass lock. Peter touched the keyhole, and a quiver shot through his whole body. He knew that this was the thing he had smelled before, something more rare than all the riches that surrounded it. Unlike the cheap hats, this box really did seem to have come from another world -- someplace beyond the borders of the map."

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Near Witch review

Description: The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

My thoughts: The more books I review, the more timid I am about the books I get that (just about) everyone seems to love. Since I can be very weird at times, I sometimes go the opposite way of everyone else. So if everyone loves a book, I sometimes won’t even want to finish it.

And at first, that’s what seemed to be happening when I started reading The Near Witch. The village seemed dull, the stranger boring and the plot slow. But once the history behind the village and their “stories” were revealed, things got WAY more interesting. I can’t even believe how difficult it was to keep reading (until about the 8th chapter) because once I got into it, I couldn’t stop!

The plot itself was so suspenseful., because even though it was obvious that the main character had a time limit to finding the reason for the disappearances in town, and it was obvious who was doing it, there were still enough twist and turns to make me grip the book multiple times because I was so concerned Lexi couldn’t solve the “mystery” in time.

Speaking of Lexi, I love the way she narrated! Just about every section she spoke about pertaining to the Moor, her family (especially her dad), the stranger and the sister witches was “quotable” and eloquent. And those wonderful moments just showed how gorgeous the writing was in general.

And though Lexi was my favorite thing about this book, the Moor was my second. At times it was described in such a way that it seemed to become an actual character. It reminded me of the pagoda in Please Ignore Vera Dietz, even though the Moor never uttered any actual words.

With this mixture of a love story, mystery, fairy tale and gorgeous writing, The Near Witch made for an incredible debut from Victoria Schwab.

What are you reading on Mondays?,

Book(s) read last week:
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Currently reading:
Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Upcoming read(s):
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Monday, August 22, 2011

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

It turns out I did read a book last week (I forgot!):
It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
Currently reading:

Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Upcoming read(s)
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Author Guest Post:: Jennifer Estep

 Jennifer Estep, author of Touch of Frost was gracious enough to talk about some of her favorite books during her teen years on the blog today:

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to thank Kara for having me on the blog today. Thanks so much, Kara!

So today, Kara asked me to list some of my favorite books from my teen years. I always loved to read books in all kinds of genres – mysteries, fantasies, romance, and more. In fact, one of my favorite memories is going to the library with my mom every Saturday to pick out some new books to read for the week. So here are some of my favorite reads from my teen years:

Beauty by Robin McKinley: I’m a sucker for retellings of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, and McKinley’s book is just a lovely story about a girl who discovers just how kind and noble a beast can really be.

Beastly by Alex Flinn: This book actually came out a few years ago, but it’s another retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale from the Beast’s point of view. It’s a really cool book, and I think I would have loved it as a teen reader just as much as I do now as an adult.

The Baby-sitters Club books: I can’t even tell you how many times I read and reread these books when I was younger. I always enjoyed hanging out with Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Stacey.

The Sweet Valley High books: Nobody seemed cooler to me than Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, and these books made me want to be a California girl, just like they were.

The Nancy Drew books: I read tons of Nancy Drew books when I was younger, everything from the old classics to the more modern, updated versions. I always enjoyed trying to figure out the mystery, although I never guessed who the bad guy was before Nancy did.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: This book has a little bit of everything for fantasy fans – a noble quest, an epic adventure, a dragon, and most importantly a hero who’s a lot stronger than he thinks he is.

The Elenium trilogy by David Eddings: I became interested in epic fantasy when I was in high school, and these are some of the first books that I read in the genre. They’re just really fun adventure stories about the quest to save a young queen, and I still have them on my bookshelf at home today.

The Shannara books by Terry Brooks: I also read the Shannara books when I became interested in epic fantasy, and I enjoyed reading about all the perilous adventures that the heroes and heroines of the various books had.

Watership Down by Richard Adams: I’m also a sucker for animal stories, and this is a really cool, thoughtful book about a group of rabbits who are trying to find a new home for themselves, despite all the dangers they face along the way.

What about you guys? What are some of your favorite reads from your teen years?

Jennifer Estep writes the Mythos Acad­emy young adult urban fan­tasy series for Kens­ing­ton. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psy­chom­e­try, or the abil­ity to know an object’s his­tory just by touch­ing it. After a seri­ous freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Acad­emy, a school for the descen­dants of ancient war­riors like Spar­tans, Valkyries, Ama­zons, and more.

Touch of Frost, the first book in the series, was published on July 26. First Frost, a prequel e-story to the series, is also available now as a 99-cent download. Kiss of Frost, the second book, will hit shelves on Nov. 29. Visit www.jenniferestep.com for excerpts and more information.

 Check out the other Blog Tour spots by clicking on the banner above:

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Nothing. SMH

Currently reading:
Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Upcoming read(s)
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Saturday, August 13, 2011

In My Mailbox 66

I only got two books this week, but they were in a surprise package from Little Brown along with a cool beach towl! I always love surprise packages!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Looking Foward to...

Benson Fisher thought a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.

My thoughts: What kind of school is he going too?!! And who gives scholarships to a school like that?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Description: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do. 

My thoughts: I’ve been reading some really good books lately, but this was the first I’ve read in a while where I couldn’t go to bed until I was through (thank God it’s summer). It was so intense and enthralling that I HAD to keep turning the pages, even till after 4 a.m. in the morning.

The story of The Girl of Fire and Thorns was not the kind of story I would immediately associate with YA. Yes there were young characters, but they had lived through hard situations and were already dealing with adult issues. Not once did I think this story to be immature like other YA stories can and/or should be sometimes.

And there was so much action and drama packed into this book! Eventually I just stopped getting surprised when something new would happen to Elisa and she’d end up in different places (whether she wanted to or not) meeting new people and learning new things that made her (and I) question the people of her country and their faith (as well as hers).

The most unique part about this story was that the author included a character I’m not used to seeing too often. God. Sure, people mention God (or god) in other books, but you could have considered him to be a main character in The Girl of Fire and Thorns. He never actually spoke with words but he was definitely there throughout the whole story, which was different but awesome.

Throughout the story, Elisa discovered more and more about what she was given to do from God, and what that meant she needed to do. There’s something’s she didn’t know until the very end, but it’s a good thing she finally discovered those things.

I have no idea what the 2nd book could possibly be about, but the 1st book was great, which should make for an equally or even better 2nd book!

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny han

Currently reading:
Peter Nimble and is Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Upcoming read(s)
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Saturday, August 6, 2011

In My Mailbox 65

I'm so excited for all of these! Except for Dark Parties (which sounds good too), I've been wanting to read ALL of these books for a while now. And now that I'm in a Dexter like phase, Slice of Cherry sounds awesome, plus it was SO cheap I almost ran to the counter to buy it.

Fade review


For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open -- but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability -- and it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd feared.... 

My thoughts: It’s something about Wake and Fade’s simple writing that compels me to read each Dream Catcher book as quickly as possible. If it had been any other author conveying Janie’s story like this I’d probably say it was too young and childish. But the way this Lisa McMann does it makes the books seem real and honest.

I love how Cabel and Janie’s relationship is intense in a way that makes me think of both supernatural and contemporary couples. With Janie’s abilities, there is a supernatural aspect to the story that makes the love seem more special, and for lack or a better term more needed. But they’re still in a contemporary like setting. So there aren’t vampires and faeries, or lives at risk (in the same way) because of love. 

On top of the great characters, this book’s undercover work revolves around finding a sexual predator, which was such a realistic concept. I admit that I didn’t look at parties or grown men the same way for a few days, but the author included information that I either never thought about or at least didn’t know too much about.

Also, the main reason besides Cabel and Janie’s relationship that’s making me excited for the last book of this series is that things get more serious with Janie’s abilities. There are some things she finds out that will affect her in the present and the future for the better and possibly for the worst. I can’t wait to see how she decides to live with this new information in Gone.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Looking Foward to...

Description: Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRĂ­s.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

My thoughts: The cover is gorgeous, and I love that the setting is in Ireland!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Uncommon Criminals review

Description: Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

My Thoughts: I was a little nervous about Uncommon Criminals living up to its predecessor. But it turns out I had nothing to worry about, because Uncommon Criminals was as good if not better than Heist Society

My favorite reason for liking Uncommon Criminals more than Heist Society was because the author didn’t follow the exact same format as before. Sure the main characters needed to steal something again. But it wasn’t for the same reason or the same ways as the first time, and it didn’t include a typical evil character.

There were multiple layers of problems that Kat and her crew had to solve. They had to dig deep to come up with a fresh way to plan a heist, and I had to work to keep up with their thought process. Because there were multiple times when I was thrown for a loop and didn’t have any idea when the crew was doing things on purpose, or when things “Just happened” like that. But that’s what made it exciting. As well as the impressive tricks, new destinations and awesome yachts!

At this rate, if there’s going to be another book in this series, I can’t imagine what she’s going to do to top these first two books. But if there aren’t any more books in the series, then I can’t wait for the Heist Society movie!
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