Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Forbidden Game

The Forbidden Game: The Hunter; The Chase; The Kill
The Forbidden Game: The Hunter; The Chase; The Kill
by L.J. Smith

# of Pages: 750
Age Range: 13/14+
Rating:4/5

It all started with a board game. But what was supposed to be an evening of friends, fun, and games, becomes a night of danger, drama, and obsessive love. Because when Jenny and her friends try to play the Game, it comes to life. Suddenly they are in a dark world where Julian, the gorgeous guy who sold Jenny the game, rules as Prince of the Shadows. Julian is in charge, making their darkest nightmares reality. And he will do anything to claim the beautiful Jenny as his prize. The Game is real, and these friends must play through - and the only way to win is to face their most secret fears. To lose the Game is to lose your life. And that is only the beginning...

After reading many of her series, L.J. Smith has become one of my favorite authors. Her books are like paranormal chick-lit. Fun, romantic and suspenseful, I know I'll get a good story from every one of her books, even if the writing is similar. Since most of L.J's new books released from Simon and Schuster are reprinted bind-ups, I had already heard of her Forbidden Game series awhile ago and I had wanted to read it so I was excited when I got a chance to read it.

The first book in the bind-up was The Hunter. I loved the first book, it was like Buffy and the gang mixed with Jumaji. Though Jenny wasn't BA like Buffy, her relationship with Julian was just like Buffy and Spike. If you are a BtVS fan you will definitely enjoy this book, and recognize the similarity. The plot was addictive, I kept waiting to see what new nightmare the characters would have to face and new twist Julian would spin on the game.

The second book, The Chase, wasn't as action-packed as the as the first and it felt a little bit like a filler for the space between the first and second book. However, I liked seeing Julian and Jenny's relationship grow. Unfortunately for me a J and J fan, Tom, Jenny's boyfriend bugged me. I didn't feel anything for him, and didn't feel a connection between him and Jenny. Every time Julian and Jenny got together, Tom just pulled her away. Groan!

The Kill, the final book in the series, was better than The Chase but still wasn't as great as the first book. Julian was much more subdued, which was interesting. Readers will get to see a very different side of him in this book. All of the characters really grew from the first book, which helped move the book along. The ending was sweet, but sad.

Overall, it was a great series, with it's flaws of course, but still fun and seductive. I loved the romance between Julian and Jenny, even if i felt like Jenny was just playing with him. (Total Buffy/Spike right there.) The writing was good but simplistic, nothing too serious or deep - which works for these books. When it's all said and done though, L.J. Smith is still a master at creating great young adult books that are sure to hook readers no matter what.

If you liked this book be sure to check out:

Dark Visions: The Strange Power; The Possessed; The Passion
The Morganville Vampires, Volume 1
The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall
The Secret Circle: The Captive Part II and The Power (Secret Circle (Harper Teen))
Thirst No. 1: The Last Vampire, Black Blood, Red Dice
Dark Secrets 1: Legacy of Lies and Don't Tell

Visit L.J. Smith HERE - she's having a cool contest for the release of The Forbidden Game at her blog

-M.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ARC's + Stores = ???

As many of you know, arc's are like rare gems that we are sometimes lucky enough to own, or obtain. What makes them so special is the fact that they are not something you can simply buy at your local Barnes and Noble or at Amazon.com.

So what do you think of bookstores selling arc's? And how many bookstores actually get copies but do not sell them or share them?

Most of us know about the Strand, a famous New York City bookstore that is infamous for selling arc's in it's basement. And I am not innocent in this either, I've purchased an arc there before, I love them, so to me The Strand is my book heaven, but does that make it right?

I was doing some research about this online when I stumbled across this post where the blogger actually thought it was a good thing to sell arc's because it brought buzz to the book. I never looked at it that way, and maybe  that blogger has a point.

So what if Publishers sold arc's? Not on their websites of course but with fake ebay accounts or something, all so that more buzz could be generated about the book but they would not be getting ripped off from other people selling them. Crazy? Perhaps. It depends on how you look at it, I'm indifferent.

But I am wondering about bookstores. Which ones get arc's, especially the no-name stores, and how?
And if they get them, then what do they do with them if not sell them? I find that I am itching to know. The only book store I know that publicly sells arc's is The Strand, but a place called The Book Mobile is my area "has" Arc's available, but they are not for sale and cannot be looked at. So what happens to them...? It seems like a waste that they just sit in a closet somewhere.

Thoughts? To sell or not to sell?

-M.

Theif Eyes

Thief Eyes
Thief Eyes
by Janni Lee Simner

# of Pages: 259
Age range: 12/13+
Rating: 3.8/5

After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. There, amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley meets gorgeous Ari, a boy with a dangerous side who appoints himself her protector.



When Haley picks up a silver coin that entangles her in a spell cast by her ancestor Hallgerd, she discovers that Hallgerd's spell and her mother's disappearance are connected to a chain of events that could unleash terrifying powers and consume the world. Haley must find a way to contain the growing fires of the spell—and her growing attraction to Ari.

I enjoyed Simner's book Bones of Faerie so when I heard she had a new YA book out I was excited to read it. When I saw a copy in the library I picked it up and read it in one day.

Haley, our main character, convinces her father to take her to Iceland over the summer to search for her missing mother - or at least get some answers to her disappearance. She learns more than she bargained for however when Haley becomes part of an ancient cure that has run through her family for years. Luckily, she has Ari there to help her.

The beginning of the story was a little confusing, especially with the curse part. As the story unfolded though, It became much clearer. Although the story was set in modern times, this is a pure fantasy novel, with talking animals and everything. I enjoy those types of books, but be forewarned this is no 21st century "rescue mission" novel. I will give it to Simner though, that even when the plot was really out there, she wove a good story and I wanted to see what would happen to the characters next.

As for Haley and Ari, I wanted them together from the beginning. You know that feeling when you just want something to work, that's how I felt with those two. Unfortunately, there was the small matter of Haley's boyfriend back in the states that got in the way.

Overall I enjoyed the novel. The writing was good, the plot original -even if it was slightly confusing. I also enjoyed the characters, and Haley's strong will and devotion. The ending was not my favorite. I liked how it was happy but realistically so - there was still some loss - but, I didn't get any sense of closure between Ari and Haley. Major bummer.

If you liked this novel be sure to check out:


Princess of the Midnight Ball
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow 
The Princess and the Hound
Bones of Faerie
Princess Ben

Visit Janni HERE

-M

Sunday, June 27, 2010

IMMB 31

Hey everyone!

Here's to another week of IMMB, cheers! And here's to the story siren for hosting this lovely meme, hoo-ra!

From the Library:

Devil's Kiss
There's Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself....And Billi SanGreal.

As the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn't normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a soldier in her order's ancient battle against the Unholy.
Billi's cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He's ready to reclaim his place in Billi's life, but she's met someone new: amber-eyed Michael, who seems to understand her like no one else, effortlessly claiming a stake in her heart.
But the Templars are called to duty before Billi can enjoy the pleasant new twist to her life. One of the order's ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have protected for hundreds of years -- a cursed mirror powerful enough to kill all of London's firstborn. To save her city from catastrophe, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than any of the Templars could have imagined.


Thief Eyes

Thief Eyes

After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. There, amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley meets gorgeous Ari, a boy with a dangerous side who appoints himself her protector.


When Haley picks up a silver coin that entangles her in a spell cast by her ancestor Hallgerd, she discovers that Hallgerd's spell and her mother's disappearance are connected to a chain of events that could unleash terrifying powers and consume the world. Haley must find a way to contain the growing fires of the spell—and her growing attraction to Ari.

Numbers
Numbers

Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city. But while waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, JemJem's world is about to explode!

Bought:


The Forbidden Game: The Hunter; The Chase; The KillThe Forbidden Game: The Hunter; The Chase; The Kill

Jenny Thornton wanted the perfect game for her perfect boyfriend's birthday party. And the nondescript hole-in-the-wall shop manned by an unnervingly handsome blue-eyed boy seemed to carry just the right thing: 'The Game'.


To win, the players' paper avatars must race through a constructed cardboard house. Each room contains a 'nightmare'; conquering the nightmare is the only way out.


'The Game' is fun at first. That is, until Jenny and her friends get sucked inside the house to find the blue-eyed boy waiting for them. His name is Julian, and he is a demonic Shadow Man. Now, Jenny and her friends must play the game for real. They must find their way out of the cardboard house by morning, or they'll be stuck in the Shadow World forever...

Fall of LightFall of Light

Opal LaZelle is a special effects make-up artist, transforming actors into fantastical and grotesque creatures. Unknown to the casts and crews of the films she works on, Opal is gifted in the art of magic—and she applies more than make-up when altering an actor’s features.

Her latest job requires turning Corvus Weather into a dark god of the forest. But when Corvus’s performance becomes too convincing—on set and off—Opal realizes he’s not acting. Something has taken possession of Corvus. Something sinister tied to the town’s past, with the ability to absorb the very essence of life. Something Opal doesn’t have enough power to confront, much less drive from the man she has fallen in love with.

That's it for me! So how did you do this week?
 
-M.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

WINNERS + Winning entery Top 10 List!

It's time again to announce our lucky winners for the fantastic Swoon contest, generously donated by the lovely Nina Malkin.

Contest #1:

I am happy to announce - no seriously, I am happy. I swear if I had to add in another entry I think I may have gone berserk - the winner of Swoon contest #1:

After mentally calculating 785 entries (no I'm not joking), I finally got our winner through random org!

And our lucky winner is....entry #746, Ashley!

Contest #2

The winner of contest #2, a contest where you had to come up with your own top ten ways to swoon this summer list, was picked by Nina herself.

And that lucky winner is entry #9, Raquel Vega-Grieder!

Her winning entry is below:

"1) Attend A Book Signing. You Know When You Finally Get To Meet An Author Who's Characters Have Touched You In Some Way.


2) A Stroll Along The Beach At Sunset. You Know Walking Hand And Hand With The One You Love That Is An Amazing Feeling.

3) Taking A Long Bubble Bath With A Good Book. Every Mother Knows How Hard Is Is To Get ""Me"" Time So A Bubble Bath Gives You That With The Added Enjoyment Of A Book.

4) Kissing In The Rain. Everyone At One Time Or Another Has Played IN The Rain Well Kissing Makes It More Fun.

5) Watching The Movie Twilight While Drooling Over Robert Pattinson A.K.A. Edward Cullen. Do I Even Need To Explain That One....;^)

6) My Kids. Watching Them Enjoy All That Summer Has To Offer Is Pretty Great.

7) Going On A Book Shopping Spree. Some Women Love To Buy Shoes, Me I LOVE To Buy Books.

8) A Girl's Only Road Trip. That Is One Of The Best Ways To Pass Your Time With Really Good Friends Reminiscing.

9) Spending The Day At The Beach. You Got The Sun, The Sand, And Possible Some Really Nice Eye Candy.

10) Being With The One You Love. There Is Nothing More Swoon Worthy Than Spending Time With The Person You Love."

And now a note from Nina herself....

Thanks so much to everyone who entered Meg’s 10 Ways to SWOON Contest. I loved reading all the entries and am tempted to combine them into the Ultimate Ways to SWOON List. Some lists I really related to—like the girl who said she was going to buy that pair of high heels she’d been swooning over for weeks. Others I couldn’t relate to at all—like the mom who said her kids make her swoon—but still found charming. And of course I was deeply tickled by anyone who included communing with another species as swoon-inducing. Clearly, I had a tough time picking a winner—but ultimately I chose the list by Raquel because although none of the items on her SWOON list were the same as mine, they all sound incredible to me and I can’t wait to try them! SWOON on!
 
Thanks Nina!
 
For those of you who didn't win, have no fear! There will be plenty of opportunities in the future to win other great prizes. But if you are really bumming because you totally wanted a copy, have no fear, pick a copy of Swoon up at amazon! In the mean time, if you did win, I will email you shortly for your addresses. Congrats!
 
-M.

The Iron Daughter

The Iron Daughter (Harlequin Teen)
The Iron Daughter
by Julie Kagawa

# of Pages: 304
Age Range: 13+
Rating: 4.5/5

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

When the opportunity came for me to review The Iron Daughter I jumped right at it. I had loved the Iron King and couldn't wait to dive into the next book in this fabulous fey series.

The Iron Daughter did not disappoint. Right from the get-go Meghan is immersed in adventure and intrigue as she struggles to survive in the winter court on her own and without the help from Ash. Alone, and powerless, Meghan takes the first chance she gets to escape but is just as soon thrown into a whole new adventure. As more mysteries to her past and present unfold, Meghan must make some of the hardest choices she has ever faced in the whole series.

I loved it! As usual Kagawa presented an original story with our same favorite heroine and supporting characters. The love triangle that is Puck, Meghan and Ash deepens, which is sure to excite many dedicated readers. The writing worked perfectly for the story, and the characters developed fittingly in as much space as the story allowed - although it usually takes the whole series to be complete before the characters become fully developed. Meghan especially though, because at the beginning she was definitely more weak and insecure but grew stronger by the end.

I highly recommend this book if you were a fan of The Iron King, also be sure to check out:

Glimmerglass (Faeriewalker, Book 1) by Jenna Black
Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa
The Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1) by Cassandra Clare
Darklight (Wondrous Strange) by Lesley Livingston
Captivate by Carrie Jones

Visit Julie Kagawa HERE

-M.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Message from Bloomsbury

"To get the word out about Alyx Harvey, author of Hearts at Stake and the upcoming Blood Feud (Book 2 - June 22nd) and Out for Blood (Book 3 - December 2010), we are creating a “Get to Know Alyx Harvey” video. In the video, Alyx will give a tour of her haunted farmhouse and maybe answer a question from YOU!


What you need to do: Submit a question for Alyx Harvey along with your name and hometown to kate.lied@bloomsburyusa.com by Monday, July 5th, 2010. If you’d like to post the contest on your blog so that your readers can enter as well, that would be great!

Why?: If your question is chosen, it will be answered by Alyx in the video and your name and hometown will appear as well! Look for the video after September 1st on www.thedrakechronicles.com to see if you are a winner! PLUS everyone who submits a question will receive an exclusive sneak peak of Out for Blood!"

****

Thought I would share this with you all!

-M.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Infinite Days

Infinite Days (Vampire Queen)
Infinite Days
by Rebecca Maziel

# of Pages: 336
Age range: 14+
Rating: 5/5

"Throughout all my histories, I found no one I loved more than you...no one."


Those were some of Rhode's last words to me. The last time he would pronounce his love. The last time I would see his face.It was the first time in 592 years I could take a breath. Lay in the sun. Taste.Rhode sacrificed himself so I, Lenah Beaudonte, could be human again. So I could stop the blood lust. I never expected to fall in love with someone else that wasn't Rhode.But Justin was...daring. Exciting. More beautiful than I could dream.I never expected to be sixteen again...then again, I never expected my past to come back and haunt me.

I have been hesitant to read anymore vampire novels after reading countless numbers of them following the twilight phenomenon. However, Infinite Days had a unique twist to the "cliche vampire book" that drew me in right from the synopsis. I was extremely excited when I received a copy for review from St. Martin's Griffin, and eagerly dove into it the day it came in the mail. And I didn't stop until I was done.

From page one I was captivated by Maziel's story, and by Lenah's character. Watching Lenah step into our world - as a human, after hibernating for one hundred years as a vampire - was so interesting to see, and I thought Maziel expertly portrayed Lenah's emotions. The flashbacks to her vampire days throughout the book were woven into the story seamlessly, and the thematic "Gothic romantic darkness" of vampires rung throughout the whole story making the novel more intense and intriguing.

I loved the action and  romance that Maziel spread throughout her novel. Not only was the writing extremely well done, but the plot flowed nicely and the characters developed as they should in any notable book. The ending held closure but also left readers waiting expectantly for the next installment in this series.

I'm so glad I was able to snag a copy of this book, and can not wait to read the next one. If you like this book be sure to check out:

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Evernight series by Claudia Gray

Visit Rebecca HERE

UK trailer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fat Cat

Fat Cat
Fat Cat
by Robin Brande

# of pages: 336
Age Range: 13/14+
Rating: 5/5

You are what you eat. . . .



Cat smart, sassy, and funny—but thin, she’s not. Until her class science project. That’s when she winds up doing an experiment—on herself. Before she knows it, Cat is living—and eating—like the hominids, our earliest human ancestors. True, no chips or TV is a bummer and no car is a pain, but healthful eating and walking everywhere do have their benefits.

As the pounds drop off, the guys pile on. All this newfound male attention is enough to drive a girl crazy! If only she weren’t too busy hating Matt McKinney to notice. . . .

I don't know what it is about purple books but behind their plum colored covers seems to always lie a great story. Fat cat - although not my favorite purple cover - was no exception.

The story starts off with our main character Cat, painfully aware of her size and desperatly wanting a change. A great science project allows her the perfect oppertunity to shave off the pounds and revert back to a healthy lifestyle - one filled with veggies, fruits, girl jeans, boys, and kissing. The more Cat changes physically, them more she changes emotionally as well. And it is Cat's inspiring change and overall development that made this story great. But it was Cat's funny and shockingly real voice that made the story great for me.

Robin Brande expertley wove together this story, with solid facts and fun fiction, and a lifestyle that even the biggest of us candy junkie's would envy. There were plenty of times throughout this story where I wanted to leave the book, and go for a jog, and maybe eat an apple while I'm at it.

If anythin,g I would say this story is inspiring. A well written, original plot, fun characters, romance and a powerful message bearing story all rolled into one. You could say I liked this book. Another bonus for me were the short chapters. They worked well for the book and made the story easier to pause through because I could stop practically wherever I needed to without stopping mid-chapter.

I definitly suggest this book for those of you wanting to read a funny, yet inspirational tale. Also check out the following:

How to say goodbye in robot: Natlie Strandiford
Very Le Freak: Rachel Cohn
Suite Scarlett: Maureen Johnson
Evolution, me and other freaks of nature: Robin Brande

Visit Robin Brande HERE

Buy Fat Cat at Amazon.

-M.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson (Mini Review)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
by John Green, and David Levithan

Pages: 304
Age Range: 14+
Rating: 4/5

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

It was the shiny cover that drew me in, but it was what was on the inside that made me stay. I loved how original the plot was and how well the characters developed. The writing was great, as only experienced authors can make it. The homosexuality in the novel (yes there is some) was actually refreshing because it is not always common in books but it is such a huge part of our culture today, so I'm glad it was brought into this book.

My only complaint is that I felt there was a lack of a main character per say, which can be fine in most cases - depending on the novel - but in this instance I felt like the two will grayson's were supposed to be the main characters yet Tiny had an equally big part. Ah well, nothings perfect!

Definitely pick up this book if you want a new and different read with lots of musical numbers and witty fun.

-M.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Starlet Giveaway + 300 followers

So I went on the blog today and my eyes popped. There under "Followers" was the number 300. O.M.G. I can't believe it, what a milestone! Thank you everyone so, so, much for reading the blog and following, I really appreciate it.

With that being said, I am so excited to be able host this awesome giveaway generously donated from Regal Literary.

The Starlet: A Novel

It’s a not-so-well-respected rule in Hollywood that what happens on location stays on location. But when a hot young leading man winds up dead in his Rome hotel room, his costar’s life is about to go off the rails in a very public way—even by celeb standards.



At the tender age of twenty-three, Mercy Talbot has won an Oscar, battled addiction, wrecked more than her share of cars, and burned down her house. Her look-alike mother keeps her on a tight leash (and fueled with an endless supply of OxyContin and cocaine) and her producers demand a grueling schedule. By the time she stumbles across Juliette Greyson, a Hollywood insider on a much-needed vacation, Mercy is surrounded by photographers and about to emerge drunk, high, and naked from a public fountain. Whisking her away to an idyllic Tuscan ‘retreat,’ Juliette is about to discover another rule of Hollywood: wherever the starlet may go, the drama will follow.

Enter here:

To win 1 of 3 copies of The Starlet: A Novel, fill out this form HERE

giveaway ends: 7/5/10

Other cool prizes:

Regal Literary is offering a contest open to everyone with these fabulous prizes:


  • A weekend getaway in Los Angeles, complete with two nights at the Four Seasons, a four-star lunch at the Beverly Hills hotel, a guided tour of Hollywood, and more!

  • Four days and three nights in the rolling Tuscan countryside at Spannocchia, Italy, for you and a companion, half price tickets for two from New York to Rome, and more!

  • 100 signed copies of The Starlet

Enter HERE (Not for bookmac contest)

Good luck, and thank you!

-M