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Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Wonderland!

Hey, guys! If you haven't checked out Winter Wonderland you should head on over to Book Rat and do that! There are tons of awesome post going on like wintery reviews, guest posts, and giveaways. Its lots of fun, so don't be left out!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Write it Down!

How many of you have heard authors say that you should carry a notebook with you everywhere you go? How many of you do? I can't help but think that this is terribly good advice. Good advice that I, nonetheless, refuse to follow. I constantly have a monologue and/or paragraphs worth of prose going through my mind. And I always feel like I will remember it when I need it. But I don't. Writing things down more often would probably make me a better writer as well as a better blogger.

The funny thing is that I've known this for a while and yet I never do anything about it. So, since I am always complaining about never having time to write and constantly having writers' block (Could this, possibly be my own terrible form of procrastination? Probably.) I've decided to challenge myself and see if it works. For the next week I will be carry around my notebook and writing everything from quotes to epiphanies, story ideas and thoughts for the blog.

I would love it if some of you would do this "challenge" with me. Then at the end we can see how much of our thoughts have been immortalized on paper and if it actually helped in the least with our writing. There is a difference between doodling and truly drawing but even the simplest of scribbles can influence the most beautiful of paintings.

January 27 - February 3

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! This week I'm waiting on Steel by Carrie Vaughn to be released March 15, 2010 by HarperTEEN.

"When Jill finds a rusty sword tip on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued—and little expects it will transport her through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Will a dark enchantment, salty kisses, and a duel with an evil pirate captain leave her stranded in the eighteenth century forever?

Drawing on piratical lore and historical fact, Carrie Vaughn creates a vivid world of swaying masts and swelling seas, where blood magic overrules the laws of nature, romance is in the air, and death can come at the single slip of a sword."-Goodreads

Sounds great, huh? I am so psyched for this book! I've never read a Carrie Vaughn book, but I've heard great things. And, of course, you guys know how much I adore pirate books! (:

Click here to enter the Goodreads giveaway!
To pre-order Steel from Amazon.com, please click here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Lost on Spirit River by Tommy Batchelor 4 of 5 stars.

Thirteen-year-old Tony's parents are in the middle of divorce, his mother sends him to his Grandpa's along the banks of the Flint River in Southwestern Georgia. With his younger cousin Kathryn, they set out to look for a Christmas tree for the holidays, along with Grandpa's aging beagle, Sally. The three become lost in a snowstorm. Finding shelter in a hidden cave, stumbling upon Ancient Native American wall art. Now the adventure really begins. . . (Book blurb)

When I agreed to review Lost on Spirit River by Tommy Batchelor I was terribly excited because it was set not far from my home. This is the first book I've read that I could actually go "Oh! I know that place." It was super fun to read about a blizzard going through South Georgia, but, unfortunately, I don't think many others will get the irony in that.

The story is about two cousins; one a country girl, the other a city boy. When they are caught in a freak snow storm, they find themselves swept up into an adventure full of danger, art, and ancient Native American spirits. They never would have guessed all that they would learn about themselves along the way.

While I enjoyed Tommy's book and saw great potential in it, I can't help but feel that it should not be marketed toward the YA audience. The MG audience, however, I am sure would adore it. The story was cute and fun as an adventure for youngsters. I would have devoured it in third or fourth grade, but as a teenager I found it over-written and at times dragging.

If you enjoy reading lower MG novels particularly, than you would probably love it! And I am certain that it would make a great gift for anyone you know in the 8-11 age group.

To order Lost on Spirit River by Tommy Batchelor from Amazon.com, please click here.

Check out Tommy Batchelor's website here!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday!

Hi everyone! For this week's WoW I have Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini. That's right. Its the book that sparked huge interest when HarperTEEN signed a multi-million dollar deal to the author calling it "Percy Jackson for girls". But I don't just want to read it for all of the hype. It sounds like a wonderful book, and HarperTEEN does general know what they're talking about. Anyway, this beautiful book will be out on May 31, 2010.

"Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart."-Goodreads

Sunday, January 16, 2011

WINNER of the ENTICE Giveaway!

Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a splendid Sunday morning. It has warmed up here ALOT today, but unfortunately, I don't think its going to stay that way.

Okay, so I know you are all wondering who the winner of the Entice Giveaway right? My elf-helper-person drew a piece of paper out of a hat (or, more accurately, a bowl) and the winner is...


Congratulations! I'll be sending you an email shortly.

As for the rest of you, better luck next time! And happy reading until then. (:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

In My Mailbox!

*Comes in happy dancing* I don't mean to brag but Mr. UPS Man dropped off an AMAZING surprise today. I don't know exactly where it came from (I'm guess Goodreads?) but Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran showed up. As a HUGE Michelle Moran fan I am really excited about reading it, but I fear it will be another week or so before you see my review.


"When Marie Tussaud learns the exciting news that the royal family will be visiting her famed wax museum, the Salon de Cire, she never dreams that the king's sister will request her presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. As Marie familiarizes herself with Princess Elisabeth and becomes acquainted with both Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, she witnesses the glamorous life of the court. It's a much different world than her fome on the Boulevard du Temples in Paris, where bread can only be had on the black market and men sell their teeth to put food on their tables.
The year is 1799, and men like Desmoulins, Marat, and Robespierre are meeting in the salons of Paris, speaking against the monarchy; there's whispered talk of revolution.
Spanning five years from budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling save her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom." Book Blurb

Have you guys gotten any awesome goodies in the mail this week?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! This week I have a really awesome book for my WOW. Its Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter. After reading Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran, I've been incredibly intrigued by Cleopatra Selene. What strength it must have taken to get through an imprisonment by the man that killed her family.

Cleopatra Selene is the only daughter of the brilliant Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and general Marcus Antonius of Rome. She's grown up with jewels on her arms, servants at her feet, and all the pleasures of a palace at her command. She wants only to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a great and powerful queen.

Then the Roman ruler Octavianus, who has always wanted Egypt's wealth, launches a war that destroys all Selene has ever known. Taken to live in Octavianus's compound in Rome, she vows to defeat him and reclaim her kingdom at all costs. Yet even as she gathers support for her return, Selene finds herself torn between two young men and two different paths to power. Will love distract her from her goal--or help her achieve her true destiny?

Extraordinary in detail, this ravishing novel reveals the fascinating journey of a young woman long hidden in history: the remarkable Cleopatra Selene."- Goodreads

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blog Tour: The Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie + Author Guest Post

The Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie 5 of 5 stars.

After her father's death from cancer, Carlie's mother is forced to sell their cherished oceanfront home and move the family to dreaded Las Pulgas. At her tough new urban high school, Carlie is nicknamed "Princess" because of her aloof attitude. But what her classmates don't know is that Carlie's in mourning for everything that mattered to her. In their uncomfortable new environment, her younger brother Keith becomes angrier by the day, and even their cat Quicken goes missing, sending Carlie and Keith to search for her beside their seedy garden apartment complex. They're soon accosted by a rifle-toting cowboy who ejects them at gunpoint from his property. But when Carlie finds him amiably having coffee with their mom the next day, she begins to realize that in Las Pulgas, nothing is what it seems. (Book blurb)

Carlie's life used to contain all of the comforts a beach front home and amazing school could offer, but after her father's slow fight with cancer ends she finds the rest of her life falling down around her. When Carlie's mom is forced to move her and her brother to shady part of town in a small run-down apartment Carlie is swept from her charmed life into a sharp-edged high school and the heady world of Othello.

While trying to "become" Desdemona, figure out how to keep her old friends away from her new home, and prove to a certain infuriating Othello, Carlie must also deal with a terrible guilt that has been dogging her since before her father even died. With so much craziness, it is no wonder that Carlie's family seems to be falling apart.

The Princess of Las Pulgas is the charming and heartbreaking tale of a young girl who has been torn from everything she'd ever known. I both laughed and cried as I read Carlie's beautifully told story. From loss to love and back again, it is undeniably inspirational to watch Carlie grow through the experiences that are changing her life.

I've been wanting to read one of C. Lee McKenzie's books for a long time now, and I was far from disappointed. The story was so well written and engrossing that I read it in nearly one sitting and then immediately afterward read the majority of it again.

The characters were my favorite part. Carlie is definitely an extremely lovable and relateable main character as she loses her preconceived notions about the dreaded Las Pulgas and grows to love the people in her high school. Her friend Sean was also a bit of added texture to the story. His sweet and brotherly nature always made me smile. And then there is Anthony's character. I could almost wish for a story told from his point of view. I always kind of felt sorry for him. But my favorite was the Mexican Othello, AKA the "infuriating" Juan. I couldn't help but hope that Carlie would end up with him.

I would suggest this book to anyone, truly. Whether you typically care for realistic fiction or not. C. Lee McKenzie's writing could charm anyone. As the first book I read in 2011, it was an AMAZING start!

To order The Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie from Amazon.com, please click here.

C. Lee McKenzie 

Top 10 Favorite Places

"Wow. The most difficult thing in  the world for me is to rank favorites. At least you didn’t ask me  to do books because that’s totally impossible. So about the places  in the world I love from best to least:

Home, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA. That’s  my all time favorite place. If it wasn’t I’d have to move.

Turkey, especially the old part of  Istambul and Fethya: I’ve been there several times and never get enough  of that beautiful, east-west, ancient country.

Italian Alps: I think this is one  fabulous place for people who love to hike. My family is from little  towns called Bellinzona and Revecchia near Lake Lugano, so when I go  there I feel like it’s a second home.

Nicaragua: I love beaches without  crowds.

Hong Kong: I love taking the Star  ferry to Kowloon and the hikes up to the top of the mountain and over  to Aberdeen to see the junks and eat fresh fish.

Seville, Espana: It has such beauty,  the people are generous with food and hospitality, I can’t get enough  of the Alhambra.

The Cotswolds in England: Beautiful  and endless paths that take you through some of the most unspoiled country  I’ve ever seen, yet allows you the luxury of an inn at the end of  a long day’s hike.

Scotland: The lochs, the Viking castles  that seem to be around every corner, the Hebrides where the only access  are the ferries (I seem to like the idea of ferries.) Again long and  beautiful walks. Have to admit I’m not fond of Haggis, but then neither  are a lot of Scots!

San Francisco: It’s close to home.  It has so many districts to explore: China Town, Little Italy, Castro,  Union Square with all the shops and glitter. I never get tired of exploring  San Francisco.

London. It is the most kinetic and  exciting city and it only comes later in my list because it’s a city,  and I favor more open spaces, but when I’m in the mood for plays or  museums or some wild night life, London pops into my head."-C. Lee McKenzie

Thanks to the fabulous author for sharing this and also to the Teen Book Scene for allowing me to participate in this blog tour!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In My Mailbox! (Playing Catchup!)

Okay, so I know I haven't done a 'In My Mailbox' in a while, so I thought I would play a bit of catchup today. (:

So here it goes:

Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey

I did not request this book, but from what I understand the Entice tour and the tour for this book were done together (sort of?) so that's probably why they sent it to me. It looks like a pretty cool book though! But I have to say-- the guy model is in no way good looking. Since I haven't read the book, I don't know, but maybe he's not supposed to be. On my ARC copy I swear he looks like a girl. Okay. I'm done cover bashing for a moment.

Lost on Spirit River by Tommy Batchelor

Again, not the best cover art in the world. However, I will be doing a blog tour for this book in a couple of weeks, so I have high hopes for the story.

Lore: East and Eight by Chad T. Douglas

So I don't have the actual cover for this book yet (online), but it is pretty awesome. Its the second book in the awesome Lore Trilogy, so I am dying to read it! But I'm sticking to my resolution (hah!) and waiting until I finish The Fellowship of the Ring first.

That's about it! Has anyone else gotten any awesome reads in the mail over the holidays?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Win Madame Tussaud from Queen of Happy Endings

Check out Queen of Happy Endings's awesome January Giveaway for a chance to win Madame Tussaus by the amazing Michelle Moran!

Happy New Year + Resolution and The Best Books of '10!

Happy New Year, everyone! Its the first day of 2011, and I figured I'd let you in on my one resolution for the new year. I'm usually not into resolutions because I feel terrible if I don't go through with them, but I think this one will be fairly easy.

I'm going to read WAY more classics in 2011. I'm not giving up on the contemps entirely (you know I couldn't if I tried!), but I'm going to try to incorporate more of the books I've been wanting to read and never really had time to because I'm reading so much other stuff. Like Le Morte d'Arthur and Lord of the Rings and Wuthering Heights!  I usually don't like writing reviews on classics because, well, who am I to judge these well-loved tales? But I'm going to try. Since alot of the books I want to read are much longer than the average book, I'll probably also be doing discussion posts along and along.

Now for the best part of all...
 The Best Books of 2010
1. Freefall by Anna Levine
2. Poisoned Honey by Beatrice Gormley
3. Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner
4. Insatiable by Meg Cabot
5. The Enchanted Quest by Frewin Jones
6. Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie 
7. Entice by Carrie Jones
8. Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
9. Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink
10. Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry

The books on this list are here because they either inspired me in some great way or made me remember them far more vividly than the rest of my 2010 reads. They are all beautiful and haunting in some great way and I expect to remember them far after 2011 has past as well.

Now, its time for me to go in Southern tradition to eat some black eyed peas and mustard greens. You can expect to hear from me plenty more in the months to come.

May 2011 be the best year yet!

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