Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox #34

In My Mailbox is Hosted by The Story Siren.
 
*Don't forget to enter my Wildefire Giveaway HERE!
 
Bought: 

For Review:
Dark Parties by Sarah Grant
Witch Song by Amber Argyle
Class (The Gossip Girl Series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar
The Midnight Gate by Helen Stringer

Thanks to Little, Brown, Hyperion, Helen and Blue Slip Media, and Around the World ARC tours.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Touch of Frost {Teen Book Scene Tour}

Touch of Frost
Jennifer Estep
Published July 26, 2011
Received from Teen Book Scene for Review

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.
But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .  -Goodreads

Touch of Frost focuses on Gwen Frost, a Gypsy, who has just started at Mythos Academy after her mother was killed by a drunk driver. Gwen has no friends and no clue why she is at Mythos - a school for the descendants of warriors like the Spartans, Amazons, and Valkyrie. The only special thing about Gwen is that she has a gift of psychometry, which always her to see the feelings of objects and people - even if she doesn't want to.

When Gwen finds the body of Jasmine in the library with her throat cut - she is horrified - and even more so when she realizes no one on campus cares - even though Jasmine was the most popular girl in school. Gwen feels like there is something off with Jasmine's death - so she decides to do a little detective work and try to discover what happened to Jasmine.

Touch of Frost was a fast, fun read for me. I enjoyed Estep's writing style - it flowed very easily and was just relaxed and natural. I felt like I knew exactly what Gwen was thinking and feeling throughout the whole book without having to figure it out.

I think my favorite thing about the book was how Estep took the different myths and legends and pulled them all into one setting. I'm a sucker for boarding school books - and this boarding school was one of the most uniquely imagined ones I've encountered. Nothing much about the other characters stood out - Gwen is very likeable and you feel sorry for everything she's gone through. I would totally want to be Gwen's friend. Eventually, she starts to make contact with other people - Carson, who is a band geek, Daphne, who is a mean girl turned nice, and Logan Queen, a Spartan and one of the hottest guys in school. I would have liked to have seen more interaction with Gwen and other characters but it took a while - so I'm looking forwarded to the next book and to see how all the relationships develop.

Overall, I enjoyed this book very much. It was a fun read and had a unique story line behind it. I also liked the ending that knowing that Gwen isn't what she seems - you definitely need to read it to find out what!



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sync YA Audio Week #6!

 It's Week #6 of Audiobook Communities YA Audiobook Sync!
Details:
I've posted before about Audiobook Community's summer YA audiobook giveaway.

Here are some basic details again:

You can sign up for text messages reminding you to download the new title - which will be very helpful since I would forget about it last year until the last day it was available.

Text syncya to 25827 to receive text alerts about all the featured titles.

So, how it works. Every week they will be offering two free audiobooks - a newer YA paired with a classic.
This Week's Audiobooks: Available to Download July 28 - August 3

ASHES, ASHES ASHES, ASHES
By Jo Treggiari
Read by Cassandra Campbell
Published by Oasis Audio


In a future Manhattan devastated by environmental catastrophes and epidemics, Lucy
survives alone until vicious hounds hunt her and force her to join Aidan. Soon, they
learn that she is the target of the Sweepers.

"Campbell maintains an underlying tone of hope even when things look bleak. She
excels, in particular, at expressing the sweetness between Lucy and Aidan that is
an oasis in their postapocalyptic world."--AudioFile Magazine



RESCUERESCUE: Stories of Survival From Land and Sea
By Dorcas S. Miller [Ed.]
Read by Terence Aselford, Colleen Delany, David Elias, et al.
Published by Listen & Live Audio




Wild tales of survival in harsh conditions enliven this nail-biting collection of true travel
stories, from two teenagers lost in the Great Gulf Wilderness of New Hampshire to two
canoeists who battled the ravages of hypothermia in order to surive their ordeal.

"All the readers let the suspense come from the narrative itself, and there's action
aplenty . . . "--AudioFile Magazine

-Info from Audiobook Community Email

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Guest Post: 7 of Victoria Schwab's Favorite Books

I am so excited to have Victoria Schwab on the blog today. If you haven't heard by now (and really, you must be living in a cave) - Victoria is the author of the upcoming debut book, The Near Witch. The Near Witch is an amazingly, wonderful read that I absolutely adored. I will be posting my review for it in a few days - but you should pre-order it so you can experience the amazingness as soon as possible.

So, without further ado, here is Victoria's list of her favorite 7 books that shaped her.

******
1. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK and NEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman

--MOST books by Gaiman, actually, but these two in particular, both of which emphasize a duality of worlds and a richness of character that I die for. They take me away, to places I'd kill to see, and people I'd die to meet (and some I'd be terrified to encounter as well).

2. THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS by John Connolly

--Fairy tale meets terrifying. There's not much more to say, other than that this is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

3. JONATHON STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL by Susanna Clarke

--Magic woven through 19th-century England in such a way as to make it *almost* mundane, incredible writing, and fabulously quirky.

4. THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss

--I'm a hard sell when it comes to most fantasy, but Rothfuss single-handedly converted me.

5. THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett

--Anyone who has read NW probably won't be surprised by this. I read it in university (I know I read it earlier, too, but it stuck with me in university) and was absolutely smitten by the idea of nature as a character, by the respect for that nature, and the elemental nature of Magic, cloaked in the question of "is it real?"

6. WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS by Shel Silverstein

--This, more than anything else, or at least BEFORE anything else, shaped me. It shaped the way I hear words. The way I think. The way I write.

7. MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS by Kelly Link

--This book is why I started writing fiction. I had only done poetry, really, and was so taken with the worlds Link spun, their strangeness, that I set out to try it, too. The result wasn't good, but it was a start, and from there, I couldn't stop. I was hooked.

******
What an amazing list of books! I read The Book of Lost Things a few years ago and LOVED it. I was so excited to see it on her list. Also, Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell has been on my TBR list for forever. I might need to move it up some. 

Thanks for stopping by Victoria! 
And if you haven't yet, you can preorder The Near Witch HERE!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wildefire Giveaway!


Today is the release of the release of Wildefire by debut author Karsten Knight! 
To help celebrate his release, Simon and Schuster has offered to give five readers of Hooked to Books a finished copy of Wildefire! 

And make sure to check out my review of Wildefire coming up later this week! 

Just fill out the form below.
Giveaway ends August 9, 2011.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey!
It's a great way to share what you read the past week, what you are currently reading, and what you plan to read next! 
Finished:
35. Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
36. Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver
37. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
38. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Currently Reading:
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkins
Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
Blood Red Road by Moira Young (audio)
Fire by Kristin Cashore (audio)

Up Next:
Variant by Robinson Wells

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sync YA Audio Week 5!

 It's Week #4 of Audiobook Communities YA Audiobook Sync!
Details:
I've posted before about Audiobook Community's summer YA audiobook giveaway.

Here are some basic details again:

You can sign up for text messages reminding you to download the new title - which will be very helpful since I would forget about it last year until the last day it was available.

Text syncya to 25827 to receive text alerts about all the featured titles.

So, how it works. Every week they will be offering two free audiobooks - a newer YA paired with a classic.

This weeks free YA audio downloads are:
Available July 21 - July 27
Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest Post by Shawn Thomas Odyssey - The Wizard of Dark Street

Today we are joined by Shawn Thomas Odyessey - author of The Wizard of Dark Street. Shawn has written a guest post for us for the Teen Book Scene book tour. His book, The Wizard of Dark Street, looks great so make sure to check it out!

******

Oona Crate was born to be the Wizard's apprentice, but she has another destiny in mind.

Despite possessing the rare gift of Natural Magic, Oona wants to be a detective. Eager for a case, she is determined to prove that logic can be just as powerful as wizardry. But when someone attacks her uncle--the Wizard of Dark Street--Oona is forced to delve even deeper into the world of magic.

Full of odd characters, evil henchmen, and a street where nothing is normal, The Wizard of Dark Street will have you guessing until the very end. -Goodreads



*****



One of the curious things about writing a mystery novel set in a magical world is that, as a writer, your job is double duty.  You must build a watertight plot, where some crime has taken place, while simultaneously exposing the reader to the unfamiliar territory in which the misdeed has happened. 
A delicate balance must be struck between world-building and story advancement.  For instance, in a classic mystery novel, one that takes place in our everyday world, the reader is already familiar with what is and isn’t possible.  They can be reasonably sure that, despite the fact that the victim is found stabbed to death in a locked room, the murderer most certainly did not commit the crime and then teleport themselves out of the room with a snap of their fingers.  The reader would instead reason that the culprit must have entered the room through the window, the door, or perhaps the ventilation shaft or chimney.  Once the point of exit was deduced, the question would then be: who, when, and why?
When dealing with a magical setting, however, certain rules must be set up to give the reader a sense of what magic can and cannot do.  For instance, can someone be killed by magic?  Can anyone do magic?  Is it possible to teleport, and if so, would the criminal have been able to teleport the murder weapon along with themselves out of the room?  These questions must be answered along the way in order to establish a sense of logical deduction so that whatever crime has taken place, the crime solver and reader will be able to logically piece the events together, no matter how fantastical those events would be if they had happened in our everyday, mundane world.  It also provides the reader with a deeper sense of this new, if not somewhat abstract, world.
While the scenario I just provided does not occur in The Wizard of Dark Street, I faced an even more perplexing mystery that happened in a room full of suspects, and I was presented with the constant and wonderfully challenging predicament of riding the line between reason and the fantastical, and constructing a plausible yet outrageous alternate reality to play it all out in.  Indeed, when asked about the major themes of the book, I find one theme that I’m consistently drawn to is the relationship between that which is rational and that which is intuitive, or even supernatural; a balance that often seems impossible to achieve in a very practical world, yet can be found if one only learns how to look for it.  For when writing a novel, and a mystery novel in particular, that balance must be struck, and when it’s done just right, the results can be truly magical.
The Wizard of Dark Street is released on July 26th, 2011 in bookstores nationwide and online in both hardback and eBook formats.
Please visit: http://www.thewizardofdarkstreet.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Tomorrow Girls #1 - Behind the Gates

Tomorrow Girls: Behind the Gates
Eva Gray
Published: May 1, 2011
ARC Received from Scholastic

In a terrifying future world, four girls must depend on each other if they want to survive.
Louisa is nervous about being sent away to a boarding school -- but she’s excited, too. And she has her best friend, Maddie, to keep her company. The girls have to pretend to be twin sisters, which Louisa thinks just adds to the adventure!
Country Manor School isn’t all excitement, though. Louisa isn’t sure how she feels about her new roommates: athletic but snobby Rosie and everything’s-a-conspiracy Evelyn. Even Maddie seems different away from home, quiet and worried all the time.
Still, Louisa loves CMS -- the survival skills classes, the fresh air. She doesn’t even miss not having a TV, or the internet, or any contact with home. It’s for their own safety, after all.
Or is it? - Goodreads



I really enjoyed this middle grade dystopian focusing on four young teenage girls at a boarding school. Dystopian is the big thing right now and I'm excited to see it being written for the MG crowd as well. Tomorrow Girls is a fast, fun read that is perfect for the middle grade reader.


Eva Gray introduces the reader to a world that has been destroyed by war - a war that is still going on - and four girls that are sent to a boarding school by their parents. The main characters are Louisa and Maddie - best friends who are pretending to be sisters so Maddie can get into CMS with Louisa. CMS is suppose to be the best school for the girls - but when they get there weird things start to happen and Maddie starts to question her surroundings while Louisa thrives in the atmosphere.


When they get to CMS all the girls are stripped of any type of technology, jewlery, etc. - anything that has any meaning to them. When they question anything about the school they are given no answers and are not allowed to see/talk to their parents. Pretty scary, huh? I would be freakin' out. I'm 28 years old and talk to my mom at LEAST once a day. (Let's be real - it's probably 3 times a day.)


As Louisa and Maddie become more involved in the activities of the school - they start to realize that some things aren't as they seem and maybe it's not for their safety after all.


Being a middle school librarian, I was so happy to get this book for review. It is definitely something that I want on my shelves for them to read. While it is dystopian, it is also about survival, loyalty, and thinking for your self and not following the crowd. There were some things that I saw coming but if a younger student was reading this book I think they would totally be shocked. Gray really does a great job of crafting the story and taking a young reader on some twists and turns.


Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I don't mind that it is directed at a younger audience - it is still a fun, fast read and I'm thoroughly looking forward to the next book in the series to see how the girls survive all the twists that were thrown at them in Behind the Gates.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should be Reading 
Grab your current read 
Open to a random page 
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
 
This week I am reading:
 The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
ARC Borrowed from Heidi @ YA Bibliophile 
 
The trees, sidewalk, and the flashing lights spun around me as I felt it: the first unmistakable snarl in the delicate fabric of my sanity.
I laughed. I was that crazy.

From Page 81 of ARC - Subject to Change

Monday, July 18, 2011

Audio Review: I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four
Pittacus Lore
Published: August 3, 2010
Audio book from Library

In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.

The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I Am Number Four is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.

I AM NUMBER FOUR.
I AM NEXT.
  - Goodreads


So, I wanted to read this book before I watched the movie on DVD. I managed to get the book on audio from the library and was thrilled with my choice of listening rather than reading. The reader was great and really brought the whole story to life for me. 

I Am Number Four starts off somewhat slow for me - there is a lot of back story that the author has got to get in but I wanted more action! The reader is introduced to Four - a "alien" from another planet who is hiding out on Earth from the Mogadorian (another alien species who has killed off most of Four's species). Only nine young Lorians made it off their planet with their protectors and they are now being hunted and killed off one by one - but they must be killed in order. (Seems kinda crazy but the story makes a little more sense when you read it).

John Smith, aka Number Four, is next - and him and his protector go on the run again and keep hiding - this time in Paradise, Ohio. Something happens in Paradise that has never happened to John before - he makes friends and falls in love and when love is involved all sense and reason goes out the window. When John discovers that the Mogadorian are too close for comfort it might be too late to save his friends and loved ones from destruction.

Once the book got going I ended up enjoying it a lot (much better than the movie). John Smith is a likable character and you  really want to see him get the girl and save the world - but there's gotta be some problems and he definitely encounters them. The cast of characters surrounding him are also enjoyable - especially Sam. Every alien needs an alien-obsessed side kick, right? 

I listened to this on audio and loved the reader. He does a great job of making the characters each have their own unique voice and not being too dry. I usually don't like male readers but I definitely enjoyed this one and would love for him to read the next book in the series. 

I ended up enjoying this book - but not lovin' it. Now that the ground work has been built and we have a lot of the back story, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens to John Smith and the rest of his friends in The Power of Six.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox #33


In My Mailbox is Hosted by The Story Siren.

Bought:
Signed! Love the wolf doodle!
Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Darkfever (Fever Series, Book 1) by Karen Marie Moning

 New Touch Nook! Love it!

 For Review:
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Welcome to Bordertown - Various Authors
Variant by Robison Wells
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
Thanks to Random House, Harper Teen, and Teen Book Scene.

Swap:
Fateful by Claudia Gray
Thanks to Tirzah at The Compulsive Reader

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sync YA Audio Week 4!


 It's Week #4 of Audiobook Communities YA Audiobook Sync!
Details:
I've posted before about Audiobook Community's summer YA audiobook giveaway.

Here are some basic details again:

You can sign up for text messages reminding you to download the new title - which will be very helpful since I would forget about it last year until the last day it was available.

Text syncya to 25827 to receive text alerts about all the featured titles.

So, how it works. Every week they will be offering two free audiobooks - a newer YA paired with a classic.
Info From Email From AudioFile Magazine
This Week's Audiobooks: Available to Download July 14 - July 20

THE LAST APPRENTICE: REVENGE OF THE WITCHBy Joseph Delaney
Read by Christopher Evan Welch
Published by Harper Audio

In this first book in a chilling series about the seventh son of a seventh son, Tom Ward is sent off to apprentice with "the Spook," who has for years taken care of the evils in the county--boggarts, witches, and ghosts.

"Christopher Evan Welch gives a gripping and compelling rendering of each role . . . superbly builds the tension."--AudioFile Magazine




  BEOWULF
By Anonymous, Francis B. Gummere [Trans.]
Read by Rosalyn Landor
Published by Tantor Media


An anonymous Anglo-Saxon poem written more than a thousand years ago chronicles the battles of the hero Beowulf against the monster Grendel and other beasts that plague his fellow warriors.

" . . . the way Landor phrases the majestic syntax makes this a more accessible version of the seminal classic."--AudioFile Magazine

 
Template: Blog Designs by Sheila | Book Image: Can Stock Photo