Monday, October 29, 2012

Candace Reviews Crimson Rising (Skyship Academy #1) by Nick James

Spoiler free review of Book Two (for one and two), but the description may have some spoilers, so you may want to skip that.
Crimson Rising (Skyship Academy #2) by Nick James
Paperback, 360 pages
Published Sept. 8th, 2012 by Flux
Source: Purchased

Our best-selling sci-fi series continues

Following their dramatic showdown in Seattle, Jesse Fisher and Cassius Stevenson find their world’s been turned inside out. The faculty at Skyship Academy is keeping Jesse a prisoner in his own home, fearful of his influence over Pearls. And Cassius, once a loyal Pearlhound for the Unified Party, has been pushed into hiding, fearful of his government's retaliation.

When Jesse smuggles a mysterious red Pearl onboard the Academy, he sets loose a destructive chain of events, which lead him to a reunion with Cassius and a confrontation with Theo -- a bloodthirsty Pearlhound with a dangerous secret.

But a larger threat looms in the stars. An enemy is gathering, with plans to exterminate the entire human race. And Jesse and Cassius might just be the lynch pins that trigger mankind's destruction.

It was  probably two months since I read the first book but it was about right amount of time between the two because I still remembered everything but I wasn't burnt out on the world (which tends to happen to me).  This one starts out about 4 months after the last one ended and we get a little caught up with what everyone has been up to before the story really goes crazy.  I want to keep this spoiler free for the first book (the description is a bit spoilery though) so I'm going to be very vague.  Also, please note that this is a series you will definitely want to read the first book first.  Going into this second one without the first will just confuse you as there's too much to cover for the author to really rehash much of it.

I really enjoyed the characters.  I won't say I loved them, but I did like them.  And I think I may have liked Cassius more than Jesse this time around.  Jesse seemed very angry and determined, I guess.  He has a mission in mind and he's not all about sitting around doing nothing. Cassius hasn't had a chance to sit around as he's been on the run but as he goes through all this crap I really felt for him.  He grew up in a situation that pretty much makes it so he doesn't know who or what to trust.  He's pretty much on his own in figuring things out.   I felt like Jesse was more the impulsive one and Cassius was a bit more cautious.  Both of them were very brave and did what they needed to do though.

What really shines in this series is the world.  The world building is incredible!  The post apocolyptic sci fi stuff was brilliantly done.  I was able to picture and imagine everything so well, it was almost like a movie in my head. 

These are definitely great 'boy' books and I'm looking forward to getting my nephews to read them as I think they will love them! And they are also clean, I totally won't hesitate to give them to my 12 year old nephew. 

Find the author: 

Disclosure: I purchased this book and all opinions expressed are my own.


Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Candace Reviews Channeler's Choice by Heather McCorkle




Channeler's Choice (Channeler #2) by Heather McCorkle
Young Adult
Hardcover,
Published Feb. 27th, 2012 by Compass Press
Source:  Author *for review*

With her parents’ murderers dead, Eren can finally concentrate on fitting in at Spruce Knoll High, not to mention figuring out what it means to be a channeler. If only it were that easy. It turns out she isn’t normal even among channelers - she may be a legendary warrior meant to protect the earth in a last great battle.

But Mayan prophecies are the least of her worries as she involuntarily starts to gather her own Society, another girl moves in on Aiden, her powers rage out of control, and worst of all, someone is stalking her. To top it all off, Eren discovers she doesn’t have to be a channeler after all - she has a choice.

As an old threat closes in and she risks ending up like her parents, she is forced to decide. Be a normal teenager and leave the legendary warrior stuff to someone else, or embrace a dark destiny?

This review was first posted on Candace's Book Blog.
I like Eren and I like Aiden.  I like that they have such strength and that they truly love each other.  I also like that for the most part their relationship is issue free.  Though there was a spot toward the end where I truly felt Eren way overreacted to something, other then that their relationship was very smooth. 

The setting of Spruce Knoll is nice.  I've decided I like how it all works.  This town full of Channeler's is quite interesting.  I also like that there are issues of prejudice because the Irish think they should all marry Irish and Mayan should marry Mayan, etc.  Eren and Aiden are doing a good job at showing people that mixing races isn't so bad.  
   
Heather McCorkle is a great writer with a fantastic imagination.  She's created a world and characters that I enjoy reading about. 


Disclosure:  The author provided me with a copy for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.   

Some News:
  To thank her fans, and future fans, Heather’s historical fantasy novel (a standalone novel that ties into the channeler series) will be free Friday November 2nd and Saturday November 3rd on Amazon. And if Heather gets over 1000 downloads of To Ride A Puca in those two days she’ll give away a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card! So spread the word, get ready to download To Ride A Puca, tell all your friends to download it, and drop by Heather’s blog now to enter to win the gift certificate.

You can find all three novels in the channeler series (The Secret of Spruce Knoll, Channeler’s Choice, and Rise of a Rector) on Amazon and B&N, as well as other retail sites. The channeler novella~and prequel to The Secret of Spruce Knoll~Born of Fire is currently free on Amazon and B&N and you can find a short story about Fane from the series in the FREE anthology, In His eyes. You can add Rise of a Rector to your Goodreads lists at this link.
 Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Candace Reviews The Secret of Spruce Knoll by Heather McCorkle


The Secret of Spruce Knoll: A Channeler Novel by Heather McCorkle
Young Adult
Paperback, 328 pgs.
Published November 15th, 2011 by Compass Press
Source: Author

Following the tragic death of her parents, Eren Donovan moves to Spruce Knoll to live with an aunt she’s never met. Little does Eren know the entire town of Spruce Knoll is filled with “channelers”—a magical group of people who immigrated to the small Colorado town when they were driven out of their own lands.

Channelers are tied to the fate of the world. As the world slowly dies, so do they—and they alone have the power to stop the destruction of Earth. Soon, Eren learns she not only lives among them, but she is one. When she meets local boy Aiden, his charm convinces her that being a channeler may not be all bad though.

As Eren and Aiden’s relationship develops, so too does a mystery in Spruce Knoll. The town holds many secrets—and many dangers. It soon becomes apparent that the untimely death of Eren’s parents was no accident and that her life might be in danger too. Only time will tell if Eren can embrace her unwanted power and protect the only family she has left.
This review was first posted on Candace's Book Blog
It seems like I've been a little down on paranormal type young adult books lately.  So much of it just starts to feel like the same ol' same ol' and while each book tends to have some unique aspect it's still hard for me to feel like I really love the book.  So I was a bit worried that this might end up being another so-so read.  But guess what?!  It wasn't! 

The book kind of sets off with a bang and sets up a mystery we look to solve through the novel.  The book didn't feel like a mystery though and the answers came pretty easily.  I think maybe the author could have made it a bit more mysterious and not given away so many details, but really it worked fine as it was as the 'mystery' wasn't really the focus of the book. 

I liked Eren right away but I was afraid I was going to get annoyed because she wasn't aware of Channelers and I was just waiting for her denial and her flip out {been there, saw that}.  Fortunately it all was pretty fast and we could move onto the story.  And she actually ended up being pretty sensible through the rest of the book.  I get annoyed with all these girls that think they are just going to run in and save the day and really it's just a stupid move.  And while Eren still made some decisions that made me concerned she knew what she was up against and didn't think for a second she could beat them with her powers and was usually prepared with a plan and backup. 

The town kind of made me cringe at first.  Yes, I admit it.  It just didn't seem realistic and just a bit cheesy or something that there's this whole town that made up of all channelers and these different society's.  But somehow the author made it work and it ended up not really bothering me after the initial introduction.  It actually ended up having a pretty interesting backstory and I'm curious and anxious to learn more about it.  


The power these people have is actually very fascinating.  I'm not sure I fully understand how it works but their power comes from the earth.  The earth needs to be healthy and free of toxins or they get sick.  I loved that aspect because this entire town is green.  Like really green.  They recycle everything, they ride bikes or walk and they don't drive.  While the book never focuses on this it is mentioned the different things they do because Eren is just learning about it all herself.  


The romance is pretty great!  The two of them spend time getting to know each other before anything romantic develops between them and Aiden isn't a 'bad boy'.  He has a bit of a temper and is protective of her but he's very cautious and concerned about hurting her.  He's all about protecting everyone else and while he doesn't have the best situation himself he never complains about it or tries to change anything. 


The writing, the characters, the plot, it was all fantastic!  I read the book in two sittings and the second half was pretty intense and hard to put down.  If you like young adult paranormal type reads I definitely recommend you pick this one up! 


Stick around for my review of the Channeler's Choice, the second book, tomorrow!



Some news:

To thank her fans, and future fans, Heather’s historical fantasy novel (a standalone novel that ties into the channeler series) will be free Friday November 2nd and Saturday November 3rd on Amazon. And if Heather gets over 1000 downloads of To Ride A Puca in those two days she’ll give away a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card! So spread the word, get ready to download To Ride A Puca, tell all your friends to download it, and drop by Heather’s blog now to enter to win the gift certificate.

You can find all three novels in the channeler series ( The Secret of Spruce Knoll, Channeler’s Choice, and Rise of a Rector) on Amazon and B&N, as well as other retail sites. The channeler novella~and prequel to The Secret of Spruce Knoll~Born of Fire is currently free on Amazon and B&N and you can find a short story about Fane from the series in the FREE anthology, In His eyes. You can add Rise of a Rector to your Goodreads lists at this link.

 Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Something Wicked Comes: Kimberly Derting's Top Ten Recommended Halloween Reads and Giveaway!

Taken from Heidi's blog at Rainy Day Ramblings:
Something Wicked Comes....bringing Zombies, Werewolves, Vampires, Ghosts, Witches and more Oh My!  What is this wicked thing?  Why a month long blogging event celebrating all books paranormal/supernatural or Halloween related.  Every day during the
month of October there will be several stops.  Each blogger will be featuring a favorite paranormal book and offering it for a giveaway.  Think of it as a month long Blog Trick or Treating Event...

List of participants is HERE.

We'll be featuring The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting, and Kim is on today to talk about her Top Ten Recommended Halloween Reads.  So let's welcome Kimberly Derting to the blog!



Top Ten Recommended Halloween Reads by Kimberly Derting
  
So anyone who knows me, knows I love a good scare, which pretty much makes Halloween the BEST HOLIDAY EVER!  It also makes my reading list a little...let’s just say...twisted...

So putting those two things together, I came up with a list of some of my all-time-favorite scary reads just in time for All Hallows Eve.

Here goes:

THE SHINING, IT, MISERY, PET SEMETARY, or anything, really, by Stephen King. He is the undisputed master of horror. Undisputed.

THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan. I love me some zombies, and Carrie Ryan had me at her version of a red-vested, fast-moving zombie.

THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin. I’m not sure whether these were vampires or zombies, or something in between, but be prepared for some effed-up dreams when you’re reading this one!

JURASSIC PARK by Michael Crichton. Really, Kim? Dinosaurs???  Trust me, this is one of the best edge-of-your-seat page-turners I’ve ever read. It’s nail-biting with a capital N!!!

GRAVEMINDER by Melissa Marr. It’s by Melissa Marr; need I say more???

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS by Thomas Harris. Okay, you’ve probably seen the movie, but I’m telling you, the book is equally (if not more!) creeptastic. Two words: Skin suit.

VELVETEEN by Daniel Marks. I just added this new release to my horror shelf. It has body-invading ghosts, fly-swarms, an underground revolution, and a serial killer who gave me the creeps. Seriously. Awesome.

DEMON’S LEXICON by Sarah Rees Brennan. Demons, demons, demons! Oh, and kissing.

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia. This one’s not so much scary as it is lush and gothic. It sets a great mood for a dark holiday!


And, on my Halloween To-Read List:


THE HUNT by Andrew Fukuda. Have I ever told you that I’m terrified of vampires? Well, I am. Terrified. Which, of course means I love reading vampire books!

I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga. Grisly serial killer book? Yes, please!

TEN by Gretchen McNeil. Ten kids who are stranded on an island and then picked off one-by-one. This is right up my alley! Plus, I just found out that it’s set right in my own backyard in the San Juan Islands. Sweet.


Thanks so much for the fabulous list Kim!  I'm easily scared, so for me this is the books to 'stay away from!' list.  ;)  Actually, I LOVED Beautiful Creatures and Demon's Lexicon was fab as well.  I have The Forest of Hands and Teeth and maybe I'll pick that one up soon.  


About The Body Finder:
 
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.
Find Kimberly Derting on her website: http://www.kimberlyderting.com/

About Kimberly Derting:
Kimberly is the author of the BODY FINDER series (HarperCollins) and THE PLEDGE trilogy (Simon & Schuster). She lives in the Pacific Northwest, the ideal place to write anything dark or creepy...a gloomy day can set the perfect mood. She lives with her husband and their three beautiful (and often mouthy) children who provide an endless source of inspiration.





The Giveaway:
You can win The Body Finder, Desires of the Dead, The Last Echo or a preorder of Dead Silence.   Kimberly Derting is also offering up an awesome swag pack of goodies from all of the books in the series (out so far) including bookmarks, stickers, etc.  Thank you Kim!
This giveaway is open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to you.  You must be 13 or older to enter. Ends 11/6/12
Fill out the rafflecopter to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Candace Reviews Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe


Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe
Hardcover, 464 pgs.
Published Oct 13th, 2011 by Viking Juvenile 
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Purchased

When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she's deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem's muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she's chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent.


This review was first posted on Candace's Book Blog.
 I'm a big fan of verse novels but I think it takes a perfect balance and use of words to make the style work to where you can really feel the story.  Because you're only getting the meat of the story and no extra detail the words used are incredibly important.  And I think Stasia picked a perfect subject to write about.  Her words were like a dance themselves.  The whole time I was reading I was thinking that it was perfect to write about ballet in a verse novel because it was so gorgeous!  
This book is about Sara who is thrown into a new place with new people when she goes off to school to study ballet.  The feeling I got was that she was very shy and didn't talk much.  She feels really insecure since she's from a small town and doesn't have as much ballet experience as the other girls.  She immediately notices Rem, a very cute older choreographer in the studio.  Things progress once he notices her and suddenly they are thrust into this relationship that is all about dance {and dance in the bedroom} and very few words.  Rem seems to not have a lot of respect for her but yet she's so eager, so desperate for his attention.  In the book we watch as she struggles with ballet, school, and her relationship with him.  She has a journey ahead of her to discover her true self and what she really wants.
I think many teens (and adults) can relate to Sara and her need to fit in, to be more, and to discover her true self.  Being a teen is hard but being thrown into a totally new place with only strangers is very hard and once someone gives you attention, well, who wouldn't want that?  
This book has the characters on the cover.  Normally I don't like that because I don't like picturing the people as the people on the cover.  This one is different.  I think they portray what I would imagine them to look like and the expressions on their faces fit perfect.  It's easy to fall for Rem, but yet being on the outside looking in we also see how damaging and wrong it is.  
This book is beautiful and inspiring and absolutely what I want in a verse novel.  The words used, the descriptions thrown in, it was all perfect.  I can't wait for more from Stasia!

Find the author:
Website
Disclosure: I purchased this book myself and all opinions expressed are my own, I was not paid or influenced in any way.
  Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Candace Reviews The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Paperback, 230 pages
First published: Jan. 1st, 2011
Source: Purchased
In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

This review was first posted on Candace's Book Blog

All you need to know about this is that this book is absolutely fantastic!  It's one of the funniest I've ever read, but yet one of the saddest.  The thing is, the book is done in a way that even when sad things happen Junior is dealing with it in a very unconventional way.  Yes, he grieves, but I think that he has to deal with so much that his coping is just to say and think funny and ridiculous things.   And that works for this book.  It works perfectly!

This book had me crying and laughing within the same sentence.  And I would laugh so hard I'd have tears running down my face.  I absolutely adored Junior and admired his strength and courage.

While I'm not an expert on any reservation it rang true to me.  I know enough about the vicious cycles, I had friends from the reservation (a different one) and while they didn't talk about it, I was able to gather how things went.  I also had friends that went on to teach at the reservation.  I admire Sherman Alexie for tackling a subject matter so touchy.  And I personally think he did a great job.

I highly, very highly, recommend this book.  I think it is one that everyone should read. 
 
Some new notes: I read and reviewed this book quite some time ago and when prepping this review for this site I was reminded of how much I really loved this book and I know it's one that will always stay with me.  Recently I was telling some of my family about it and I was surprised how much the book has stuck in my head.  I look forward to many rereads.
 
Find Sherman Alexie on his Website.
 
Disclosure: I purchased this book myself and all opinions expressed are my own, I was not paid or influenced in any way.


Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Event Recap: Candace Went to Wordstock!


This was first posted at Candace's Book Blog
Last weekend was Wordstock 2012.  Wordstock is the yearly book festival for the Portland Oregon area.  It's a weekend long event with panels and signings and all kinds of bookish goodness going on.  This event features authors and books for all ages and all genre's.  Luckily we have a fabulous coordinator for the Young Adult section of things (our friend Sara from Novel Novice) and every year it's an epic event.  Last year I got to meet Maggie Stiefvater, Lauren Oliver, Scott Westerfeld and many, many others.  This year ended up being about as great and I found some new authors that I love before I've even read their books!



Vy from Vy's Blog and I (Photo courtesy of Vy's dad)

I was a volunteer on the Young Adult Stage from 11 AM to 3 PM and while 'working' I was able to see Joelle Anthony and Stephanie Guerra speak about their books and answer questions.  After that was the Teen Thrillers panel with April Henry, Jeanne Ryan, and Kimberly Derting with Phillip Margolin as moderator.  In this panel they talked about what is appropriate for teen readers, the difference in writing YA and adult and things they may google that could get them arrested.  This part was *really* Kimberly Derting. ;)  If you've seen her at a signing you have likely heard some of the grisly things she googles...  It was a very entertaining panel and I think I actually learned stuff from it.  I couldn't take notes since I was working the door (and I just never do anyway...) but it was a very entertaining one. 
Teen Thriller Panel with Jeanne Ryan, Kimberly Derting and April Henry

Tamara Ireland Stone
Tamara Ireland Stone and Jackson Pearce
After that was the Jackson Pearce and Tamara Ireland Stone author appearance and this was the first I've seen Jackson Pearce.  It seems like she's everywhere online so it was cool to see her in real life.  She's very bold and 'out there' but it fits her personality and didn't make her seem crazy like some people may have come across as.  She told us the differences in some of the retellings.  The Little Mermaid is the one I recall the best and I never read the original version, I just know the Disney version.  And Jacksons version actually sounds really interesting.  Tamara introduced us to her book Time Between Us, which I own but haven't read yet.  It's one that really sounds great because I love time travel.  So the reading and introduction definitely has me eager to start it.


At 2 PM Kristen-Paige Madonia and Erica Lorraine Scheidt came on for their reading and discussion and for some reason I totally hadn't connected who Kristen was.  Fingerprints of You is a book that I noticed because of the cover but I hadn't read it and didn't own it.  Erica's book Uses for Boys comes out in January.  Luckily she gave me a copy cause her reading from it definitely got me curious!  This actually was one of my most favorite parts of the day because these two ladies were so nice.  And their readings were brilliant!  Some people can read well, and both of these ladies definitely read well.  They really made me feel their books.  In discussion they talked a bit about how YA is changing and there's not really a line on what is appropriate.  Both books seem to have some more mature content so it was an interesting discussion.  I'm thinking I may have them on to discuss it on here.

My shift was over after that so I went and got my books signed by both these ladies after picking up Fingerprints of You
David Levithan reading
After eating (I was STARVING) I headed over to the David Levithan panel.  Yes indeed.  I did meet David Levithan!  This was the most anticipated event of the day.  He read to us and he read NEXT YEARS BOOK (just a little) to us as well and can I say, I can't wait to read the whole thing!   He was another brilliant, passionate reader that really makes you feel the story.  After the reading and questions I went to get my books signed and I was afraid I was totally not going to be brave to talk to him, but my friend Mel was with and she was joking with him and I guess I forgot to get nervous (does that make sense?) I just said hi and gave him my books and told him I only brought my favorites even though I have them all, I didn't want to cart them around (I SO regret not bringing them all!) and then he signed my bag and I told him to please make it an obvious spot cause his is a signature I want to show off and don't want to have to search all over.  So he signed right under the "addicted" (it says Addicted to Books) so I can easily show the world every single place I go, that I met David Levithan and he signed my bag.  So HA!  It was awesome.  I also gave him my bookmark for my blog and told him if he ever decides to start reading blogs it was a good place to start... (He had said in his reading that he doesn't have time to read blogs.)

Lish McBride reading

Then the last panel of the day was New Trends in Teen Paranormal with Tamara Ireland Stone, Sean Beaudoin, Martha Brockenbrough, Lish McBride and Inara Scott as moderator.  I have to tell you guys, Martha is HILARIOUS!  Devine Intervention wasn't really on my radar at all but she read from it and I laughed the hardest I did all day.  I know part of it was her reading, she was great! But it sounds like it has a really funny narrator.  So I'm definitely picking it up in the future!  Sean wasn't really an author I knew much about either, but he was really funny as well.  And Lish McBride, the one I was most looking forward to seeing on the panel was awesome.  She had some good insights about things.  I know I suck remembering everything discussed, but really my back was killing me!  But it was a lot of fun and we laughed a lot.  Oh yeah, one thing talked about is covers.  It's SO important for a cover to be 'boy' friendly.  Without the girly covers most of these books (ALL the ones on this panel) would definitely be boy friendly by content.  But unfortunately the publishers just aren't listening good enough and it's really too bad.  I know that I wouldn't mind more boy friendly covers as I share my books with my nephew as well as my brothers and my nephew won't read it if it's a girly cover.  My brothers will, but they wouldn't pick it up on their own.  Anyway, after that we headed out and got our books signed by them and picked up some awesome swag (love that swag!).
Sean Beaudoin talking, Tamara Ireland Stone, Martha Brockenbrough, Lish McBride and Inara Scott (far right)

And for about ten minutes during that panel I ducked out to run over to meet Christopher Healy (The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom) and his publicist, Kelly.  I had told Kelly I would find them so I was glad I got in a quick hello.  I had already had Sara get the book signed just in case I missed him, but it was nice to say hello real quick.  

And that was the end of the day!  I chatted a bit with Sara and the other familiar faces around me like Inara Scott, my friend Mel (co-blogger here at Novels, News and Notes) and the authors still around.  Then I jumped in the car and made the long trek home! (It wasn't that long, maybe a half hour.)

Here's the books I got signed!  And then the David Levithan ones I got signed (I just HAVE to prove that he really did sign them!)

Thanks to Vy and Mel for sharing some photos.  I got some with my phone camera but they weren't very good quality at all.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Interview with Daniel Marks, author of Velveteen


This post was first published at The Non Reluctant Reader.

Hey guys! Today I'm excited to share with you my interview with Daniel Marks, author of Velveteen!
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.
Bonesaw.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.

It’ll be brutal... and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.
Interview
Where did you get inspiration to write about Purgatory?
I never shy away from taking on tricky, possibly controversial subjects—anytime you focus on an element of religious dogma, there’s an opportunity to offend people. I love walking that razor’s edge. And I’d like to say that was my reason for focusing so heavily on Purgatory, but I was actually more inspired by art. I went to visit my agent and editor (of my adult books) in New York and stopped by the Museum of Modern Art to kick around. MOMA was exhibiting the charcoal studies of George Seurat and I was fascinated by their grim grayscale, their somberness. A lot of the worldbuilding for VELVETEEN was born on that day.
 Did you find it hard to write a female POV?
Not at all. The story demands it in so many ways. The victims of serial killers are predominantly female, for one. But more than that, I was looking to explore the idea of reversals and gender traps. In many ways, Velvet takes on a quintessentially “male” role in the story as a result of her abuse, but also her upbringing, her parentification at her mother’s hands (this is a subtle issue and is seen as mostly positive, but serves to explain her strength and frustrations). Meanwhile, Nick takes on a passive much less heroic position in the story. I wanted to feature Velveteen as a girl who doesn’t need a boy’s love to feel complete, she has many avenues for that. In the end, their relationship is a choice of companionship and sexual attraction hinting at a deeper love, one that never fully reveals itself. I don’t think I could have written this book in Nick’s perspective. It just wouldn’t have gelled.
 Which parts of Velveteen were most fun for you to write?
The opening scene was, of course, fantastically satisfying. The story splays itself open like an autopsy in a matter of fourteen pages. I’m really proud of that chapter. I loved the shadow tentacle monsters, too and that they project horrors behind people’s eyes. But perhaps my favorite scene is the one in the bellows of the gas district, when Luisa and Velvet must pull Logan out of his drugged out haze. Love it!
If they made a movie out of Velveteen who would your dream cast be? 
I really loved Hailey Steinfeld in the remake of True Grit, she was so driven and bloodthirsty. I could see her easily slipping into Velvet’s shoes. For Nick, I’d go with an unknown, someone cocky, cornfed and athletic. Suggestions would be helpful in the comments! For Manny, I’d like to see someone like January Jones from Mad Men—beautiful but with madness twinkling in her eyes. If Quentin could be played by Evan Peters from American Horror Story, I’d be THRILLED. Kipper is clearly the lothario of the group, so I’d like to see someone like Ian Somerhalder from Vampire Diaries (though he’s older, as well). Which leaves Bonesaw. He is clearly an unknown. He could be anyone. Anyone.
 Describe Velveteen in three words. GO!
Brutal. Gruesome. Fun.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Danny!
Daniel Marks writes young adult horror and fantasy, spends way too much time glued to the internets and collects books obsessively (occasionally reading them). He’s been a psychotherapist for children and adolescents, a Halloween store manager, a cafeteria janitor (gag) and has survived earthquakes, volcanoes and typhoons to get where he is today, which is to say, in his messy office surrounded by half empty coffee cups. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Caroline, and three furry monsters with no regard for quality carpeting.
Find Danny on Twitter/Goodreads/Blog
About Me:
Hi, I'm Benji Kenworthy of The Non Reluctant Reader, which I've been blogging at since January of 2011. I'm one of those odd male book bloggers, and I'm also one of those young teenage book bloggers. So I'm pretty much a minority in the blogging community no matter how you slice it. A true Northwesterner, I can't stand the thought of weather over 60 degrees. I also go by many different names and titles, including but not limited to: The self proclaimed king of sarcasm. Soccer Fanatic. Pizza addict. Vegetarian. Lunatic. Remember, I eat the brains so you don't have to. Find me on Twitter and Goodreads.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Candace Reviews Sprinkles and Secrets by Lisa Schroeder


Paperback, 224 pages
First published: Sept 20th, 2011 by Aladdin

In this companion novel to It's Raining Cupcakes, twelve-year-old Sophie has a dream come true when she's offered a TV commercial spot. She's not just happy about the opportunity, she's over the moon happy!

But then she finds out what exactly she'll be advertising: the delectable, ever-popular brownies from Beatrice's Brownies, which just so happens to be the number one competitor to It's Raining Cupcakes, a cupcake shop owned by her best friend, Isabel's, family.

Sophie has a tough choice to make: Follow her dreams or crush her best friend. What's a girl to do?

I just finished doing a reread with my daughter with this one and realized I hadn't ever reviewed it the first time through.

This is a companion novel to It's Raining Cupcakes and features Sophie, Isabel's best friend. We get a good bit of Isabel as well and learn whether she won the cooking contest in NYC.

In this book Sophie has acquired an agent and is trying out for a commercial. But this commercial is for a company that could put Isabel's families cupcake shop out of business, so what does Sophie do? How can she even tell Isabel? This puts loads of pressure on her and she struggles to figure out the right thing to do.

I absolutely love every Lisa Schroeder book I read and her middle grade books are no exception. She creates the most realistic sounding characters that you can't help but completely adore. I loved Sophie and her family and friends as well. She has an adorable little brother who just loves anything outer space and their interaction was loads of fun!

Since I read this one aloud I want to mention that Sophie's voice is very easy to read and free flowing. I absolutely loved reading this one to my kids!

Find Lisa Schroeder on her Website.

Disclosure: I purchased this book myself.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Benji Reviews Velveteen by Daniel Marks

This review first appeared on The Non Reluctant Reader.
Velveteen by Daniel Marks
Release Date ~ 10/9/12
Format ~ ARC
Publisher ~ Delacorte Books
Source ~ Author
Purchase It!
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.
Bonesaw.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.

It’ll be brutal... and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.
   Sometimes, every once and a while, there's a book that makes you stop everything, act like a hermit and not leave your room all day. It feels so different and unique and groundbreaking you can't help trying to rush through it. You'll be urged to finish it and yet never wanting it to end. Velveteeen did that to me. And this is something only a few books have ever accomplished for me, but Daniel Marks has done that for me in his gem of a debut.

   The first thing in a long list of things that made me fall in love with Velveteen was Velveteen's voice. Though plenty of protagonists in YA have sarcastic voices, most of them don't even scratch the service of Velveteen's totally rockin' and unbelievably awesome voice. She was so dry and witty! And ballsy. She was very ballsy and didn't take (pardon my French) shit from anyone. Pretty much the best person to have on your side in anything. I happen to think her and I are two of a kind, though I know my sarcasm doesn't hold a candle to her flame.

    Nick, the "unbelievably hot" coworker as mentioned in the summary is someone who grows on your a lot. Though he doesn't really help for the image that teenage guys aren't complete and utter assholes (look at me, you need to wash my mouth out with soap today). He thinks about boobs and sex an awful lot, but you learn to love him anyway. He has a real swagger about him!

   Just like everything else, Velveteen isn't completely perfect. It's 99% perfect though. The one thing I really didn't like was how from the summary it sounded as though the main focus point of the novel was going to be getting revenge on Bonesaw, who when he appeared was a seriously awesome villain, but the main problem wasn't him and the climax wasn't centered on him. He did play a part in it but not the main one. It wasn't really Marks' fault, more a case of false advertising.

   Velveteen was pretty freaky too! There is a lot of gore and Daniel Marks used the perfect description words for it. There are a few losses of limbs so it's not for the faint of heart. Very macabre and goth, it felt like one of the classic black and white horror films of the '30s but with more modern characters.

    I thought purgatory was the perfect setting for this novel. It was such a bleak world and it matched Velveteen's personality exactly. The dark alleys and ruined buildings made it feel a bit dystopic without being a dystopian.

   A truly spooktacular read, if you're looking for the perfect read to curl up with between the horror movie watching, pumpkin carving and candy munching, read Velveteen, one of the most original debuts of the year!
Cover Comments:
I love the grey of Purgatory and how it looks all rocky. The model for Nate is great but I don't like the one for Velveteen at all.
About Me:
Hi, I'm Benji Kenworthy of The Non Reluctant Reader, which I've been blogging at since January of 2011. I'm one of those odd male book bloggers, and I'm also one of those young teenage book bloggers. So I'm pretty much a minority in the blogging community no matter how you slice it. A true Northwesterner, I can't stand the thought of weather over 60 degrees. I also go by many different names and titles, including but not limited to: The self proclaimed king of sarcasm. Soccer Fanatic. Pizza addict. Vegetarian. Lunatic. Remember, I eat the brains so you don't have to. Find me on Twitter  and Goodreads.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Candace Reviews Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey


Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey
Young Adult
Hardcover, 407 pgs.
Published Jan. 5th, 2012 by Penguin
Source: Purchased

Wilde Island is in an uproar after the recent death of its king. The uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is fraying, and a bloodthirsty witch hunter with a hidden agenda whips villages into frenzies with wild accusations. Tess, a blacksmith’s daughter from a tiny hamlet near the mysterious Dragonswood, finds herself caught in the crosshairs of fate when she is accused of witchery and has to flee for her life along with her two best friends.

Not even Tess’s power to see the future can help the girls as they set off on their desperate journey, but she keeps having visions of a man wielding a sword. And when she finally meets him, Tess has no idea how to handle the magnetic attraction she feels for him, or the elusive call she hears from the heart of the Dragonswood.

In this epic romance, an ancient prophecy comes true in a way neither dragon, fairy, nor human would have predicted.
This review was first posted at Candace's Book Blog.
When I heard the description of this book I was immediately drawn to it.  But then I saw reviews saying it was mediocre.  This worried me a bit.  But I still bought the book.  And I'm so glad I did!  The book pulled me in immediately and it kept me entranced the entire way through.  And while parts of the middle were slower, they still held my attention and I was still eager to continue reading.   


I really liked Tess.  She felt real to me.  She was brave and and strong and extremely loyal, but she still made mistakes, still gave in under pressure (aka torture) and that just made her all the more real.  She never seemed predictable to me as I saw her struggling with her feelings for different things and I loved being surprised by some of her decisions.  


The romance-  I loved it for the most part.  I felt the connection between the two but yet there wasn't any instant love.  They grew to care for each other as they got to know the other.  As she learned what a kind, gentle and loyal person he was.  As he watched her go through trial after trial but still work to repair her mistakes.  And I loved any and all interaction between them but I wanted more.  I wanted to see them together more and really feel that connection.  I felt like we only got a touch of what it could have been.  However it was still great!  


I loved the world created.  The medieval villages, the sanctuary filled with faeries, dragons and other mythical beings.  I loved the magic and the way everything worked.  The connections between the humans, the fae, the dragons, the royalty.  It was all fantastic!  The storyline was also amazing and while I was able to predict some things other things I never saw coming. 

I definitely recommend you pick this one up if you are a fan of fantasy!



Find the author:
Website



Disclosure: I purchased this book and all all opinions expressed are my own.  I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Interview with Kiki Hamilton, author of The Torn Wing


This post first appeared on The Non Reluctant Reader
Hey guys! Pleased to welcome author Kiki Hamilton here for an interview!
First a little bit about The Torn Wing!
London 1872 -

A bloody escape, a deadly threat, a shocking revelation...
As an orphan who stole the Queen's ring - only to find the ring was a reservoir that held a truce between the world of Faerie and the British Court - Tiki’s greatest fear suddenly becomes all too real: the fey have returned to London seeking revenge. As war escalates in the Otherworld, Queen Victoria’s youngest son, Prince Leopold, is attacked. In order to protect her family and those she loves, Tiki needs to know the meaning of an fáinne sí, the birthmark that winds around her wrist. But will she be brave enough to face the truth?
Interview
The first book in this series, The Faerie Ring, was published by Tor Teen, this book however you switched to self publishing. Why was that? How has your job changed as a self published author?
The decision to self-pub was made over a long period of time and not made lightly. I am so grateful to my editor and Tor Teen for giving me a chance as a debut and publishing THE FAERIE RING. It was a dream come true and they were wonderful to me. But my editor was not really interested in a second book, and we had very different ideas about where the story would go.
What kind of research did you do for The Faerie Ring and The Torn Wing?
A LOT! Actually, I do spend quite a bit of time researching Victorian England, in an attempt to keep the historical facts accurate, as well as spending time learning British faerie lore, but luckily, I find it fascinating. Plus, I’m trying to weave historical fact with fiction in an engaging way, so that adds a fun challenge. Honestly, it has amazed me sometimes how the pieces of the story have come together in a lovely, sort of synchronistic way.
If you could add one fictional character from another story to your book who would you add?  
Eugenides from Megan Whalen Turner’s, The Thief. He would make any story more interesting.
Which of your characters do you relate to the most?
I probably relate to Tiki the most because I’m a mom and that is really the most important aspect of my life. However, there are times when I would like to be as capricious and mercurial as Larkin, without giving a care what others think of me! I enjoy writing her the most! :)

Describe The Torn Wing in three words. GO!
Secrets, Fey, high-stakes. Which three words would YOU use?
 Thanks for stopping by, Kiki!
About the Author:
Kiki Hamilton is the author of THE FAERIE RING fantasy series and a YA contemporary novel entitled THE LAST DANCE which will be released Spring 2013. She believes in magic and the idea of hidden worlds co-existing with our own. Kiki lives near Seattle, though she dreams of living in London one day. Visit her website at: www.kikihamilton.com
About Me: Hi I'm Benji Kenworthy of The Non Reluctant Reader, which I've been blogging at since January of 2011. I'm one of those odd male book bloggers, and I'm also one of those young teenage book bloggers. So I'm pretty much a minority in the blogging community no matter how you slice it. A true Northwesterner, I can't stand the thought of weather over 60 degrees. I also go by many different names and titles, including but not limited to: The self proclaimed king of sarcasm. Soccer Fanatic. Pizza addict. Vegetarian. Lunatic. Remember, I eat the brains so you don't have to. Find me on Twitter and Goodreads.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Benji Reviews The Torn Wing by Kiki Hamilton

This review first appeared on The Non Reluctant Reader.
The Torn Wing by Kiki Hamilton
Release Date ~ 10/2/2012
Format ~ Paperback
Publisher ~ Self Published
Source ~ Author
Purchase It!
London 1872 -

A bloody escape, a deadly threat, a shocking revelation...
As an orphan who stole the Queen's ring - only to find the ring was a reservoir that held a truce between the world of Faerie and the British Court - Tiki’s greatest fear suddenly becomes all too real: the fey have returned to London seeking revenge. As war escalates in the Otherworld, Queen Victoria’s youngest son, Prince Leopold, is attacked. In order to protect her family and those she loves, Tiki needs to know the meaning of an fáinne sí, the birthmark that winds around her wrist. But will she be brave enough to face the truth?
    In Kiki Hamilton's sophomore novel, the second in her The Faerie Ring,  The Torn Wing is a full canvas, palatable, historical fantasy that blends the world of the fey, the otherworld, and Dickensian London in 1871.  Our journey takes us from the alleys to palaces to enchanted woods. In a nutshell, it's a really fun fantastical read with lots of historical accuracy mixed in.

   The main character, Tiki, is one of the best in the genre. She's very persistent and passionate about keeping her family safe and has a heart of gold.  She's kind and fiercely protective of her adoptive family, a band of orphan pick pockets who now live with Rieker/William, a guy with two identities - one as a pick pocket leader and the other as a lifelong friend of the royals. This book is filled with people with alternate identities - some are fey who have a "glamour" on when they're in the human world.

   One thing I really liked about The Torn Wing was there wasn't a ton of romance. I'm a guy who doesn't mind some (or sometimes a lot) romance in what I read, except it was a nice change in The Torn Wing. There was one kiss and a love triangle, but there wasn't a ton of sexual angst, everyone was focused on the actual problem without letting any of their romantic interests get in the way.

 Kiki Hamilton has a writing style unlike any other, it paints a large canvas picture in your mind and allows you to create your own images. You can see the Winter-y London along with the colorful (and sometimes dark) setting of the Otherworld.

    The Torn Wing is a strong, enjoyable second novel. Though Kiki has switched from publishing with Tor Teen to self publishing, it's still edited like a professional novel and should not be overlooked.
Cover Comments: 
I really like the various shades of blue on this cover! Really majestic with the snow.
About Me: Hi I'm Benji Kenworthy of The Non Reluctant Reader, which I've been blogging at since January of 2011. I'm one of those odd male book bloggers, and I'm also one of those young teenage book bloggers. So I'm pretty much a minority in the blogging community no matter how you slice it. A true Northwesterner, I can't stand the thought of weather over 60 degrees. I also go by many different names and titles, including but not limited to: The self proclaimed king of sarcasm. Soccer Fanatic. Pizza addict. Vegetarian. Lunatic. Remember, I eat the brains so you don't have to. Find me on Twitter and Goodreads.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Daniel Marks Velveteen Tour & Info

Have you heard about Velveteen? 

The new book that will be out next week by Danny Marks is sure to keep you awake at night...after you read it you won't be able to sleep. 


Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem. The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.
Bonesaw.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It’ll be brutal... and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.


Catch Danny on tour with special guests along the way including Gretchen McNeil, Lissa Price, and Leah Clifford.

10/8 Bellevue University Bookstore, Bellevue, WA at 6:30 p.m. This is a Young Adult Reading BLOWOUT featuring 7 authors! Including Megan Bostic, Marissa Burt, J. Anderson Coats, Daniel Marks, Marrisa Meyer, C.J. Redwine and Jennifer Shaw Wolf.

10/9 ••LAUNCH PARTY•• Garfield Books, Tacoma, WA with Special Guest Gretchen McNeil at 6 p.m.

10/10 University Books, Seattle, WA with Special Guest Gretchen McNeil at 7 p.m.

10/13 University Books, Mill Creek, WA with Special Guest Gretchen McNeil at 10 a.m. Did we mention...this events will have DONUTS. BONUS!

10/13 Jan's Books, Beaverton, OR at 7 p.m. with Special Guest Lissa Price


10/16 Timberland Library, Centralia, WA at 5:30 p.m.

10/18 Mukilteo Library, Mukilteo, WA at 4 p.m.  Come in and celebrate Teen Read Month with authors Kendare Blake - 'Anna Dressed in Blood', J. Anderson Coats - 'The Wicked and the Just', Jennifer Shaw Wolf - 'Breaking Beautiful' and of course Daniel Marks - 'Velveteen'.  These special authors will share about their books, the writing process and getting published.  Books will be available for purchase.  Come prepared to get autographs and meet the authors!

10/23 B&N, Pacific Place, Downtown Seattle, WA at 5 p.m.  This event features special guest Leah Clifford - 'A Touch Mortal' & 'A Touch Morbid'.  Come see them and stay for dinner following the event.

10/27 Emerald City Writers Conference Book Fair, Bellevue, WA. This event is from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.  Head over early to get in and around to see Danny and all the other amazing authors! Event Info

Candace Reviews The Wikkeling by Steven Arnston

Title: The Wikkeling
Author: Steven Arntson
Details: ARC, published in Hardcover, 304 pgs.
Published: June 14th, 2011 by Running Press Kids
 isbn: 0762439033 (ISBN13: 9780762439034)
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Source: Publisher


Description:
Young Henrietta is about to uncover a mystery she was never supposed to solve. In the new-age world she lives in, everything is ruled by computers, and every person's movements and actions are watched and analyzed. Henrietta feels suffocated by technology's rule and questions a world she's expected to blindly accept. She and her two newfound friends believe that there is more to life than what's expected of them—they just haven't found it yet. That all changes when Henrietta finds a wounded Wild House Cat in the attic above her bedroom. This discovery sets off a chain of events that begin to poke holes in the secrets left behind by the well-hidden past. It also awakens a mysterious creature called The Wikkeling . . .


This review was first posted on Candace's Book Blog.

I wasn't sure what I would think of this book when I accepted it for review.  But it being labeled a dystopian got my attention and I couldn't turn it down.  I'm very glad I didn't because this was a fun and unique read.  It also had a bit of a quirky tone to it that really made it even better!

This is set in our world in the future and everything is computerized and books are actually considered dangerous (mold can grow on them *gasp*).  I got the giggles at times when reading because in school they have to type things like "Why swimming is dangerous", "Why running is dangerous", etc.  Everything is way over the top about being safe.  Now that's not the focus of the story at all, but we get to see it a bit when Henrietta goes to school.

This book definitely has a middle grade tone to it but even as an adult I found myself being okay with that and still enjoying it.  The characters aren't real in depth (it IS middle grade) but we get to know them pretty well and their personalities are all interesting and unique.  And they each grow quite a lot.

I think my favorite things about this book are how it shows us what we could become in the future if we become completely computerized.  Books would become obsolete.  And even when cities take over everything then there is no more wildlife at all.  Just the world itself was very interesting.  I also liked that this book was a touch fantasy.  Not high fantasy at all, but just a touch and it was perfect!  The book also has amazing illustrations scattered through it and has some entries, handwritten, from a Bestiary book that Henrietta gets from her grandfather.  These journal like entries are about creatures and has illustrations included which I found to be very cool!

Overall this was really a great read and I recommend to anyone who enjoys dystopia, loves cats, enjoys a touch of fantasy and loves to read middle grade books. 


Find the author:
stevenarntson.com


Disclosure: I received this book for review but all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way. 

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.