blo Teens Read and Write: October 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

We know we need to add more books to the contest! We're up to...what? 15 winners nowadays? Thanks to everyone for participating! The boys and I will pick out the new books and have a post put together by tomorrow or Monday. But for right now, we're headed off to a party with family and friends. Even the creepiest of holidays bring us together.

Greg's going as an Australain two-faced phantom. I'm Carmen SanDiego. And Jake is The Merchant from Resident Evil 4. No idea what that is? No worries, I'm not entirely sure myself.

How do you guys celebrate all hallows eve?

Do you dress up?

Give out candy?

Go trick or treating?

Party all night long?

Watch scary movies?

Turn off your porch lights and hope no one comes knocking?

Everyone does their own thing?
Whatever you do...

Hope everyone has a safe and fun night!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Intertwined (Giveaway Points Post)

by Gena Showalter
pub: Sept 2009
448 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

There's something about the new guy at Crossroads High...Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside of him: one can time-travel, one can raise the dead, one can tell the future, and one can possess another human. With no other family and a life spent in and out of institutions, Aden and the souls have become friends. But now they're causing them all kinds of trouble. Like he'll blink and suddenly he's a younger Aden reliving the past. One wrong move and he'll change the future. Or he'll walk past a total stranger and know how and when she's going to die. He's so over it. All he wants is peace. And then he meets a girl who quiets the voices. Well, as long as he's near her. Why? Mary Ann Gray is his total opposite. He's a loner; she has friends. He doesn't care what anyone thinks; she tries to make everyone happy. And while he attracts the paranormal, she repels it. For her sake he should stay away. But it's too late... Somehow they share an inexplicable bond of friendship. A bond about to be tested by a werewolf shapeshifer who wants Mary Ann for his own, and a vampire princess Aden can't resist. Two romances, both forbidden. Still the four will enter a dark underworld of intrigue and danger - but not everyone will come out alive...

A good editor should have gone through the book with a stern hand, but overall I enjoyed it. It's a paranormal version of the old movie, Heart and Souls, with Robert Downey, Jr. (Great movie, by the way.)

Aden is a strong and smart, but hot tempered character. The interactions between Aden and the four souls is absolutely wonderful and provide great comical relief at times. Three of the trapped souls are guys; one girl crazy, one shy, one level-headed. The last trapped soul is a woman, Eve, the mother hen who keeps all the boys in line. They bicker, they offer support, they lend their abilities - I could go on and on about how much I liked the interactions between Aden and the souls, but...

With this book, you get a little of everything: werewolves, vampires, fairies, witches, goblins, zombies, demons, ghosts, and more. It's a paranormal fan's dream book. And there are two romances going on here, two couples. Each relationship is different, but satisfying.

Now to what bothered me. The book starts with a bang which I loved but then loses momentum. My brother, Gregory, has a short attention span when it comes to books. They have to be fast-paced and well written to keep his attention. He passed me Intertwined after reading a hundred-some pages saying, "It slowed down, but you've got the patience to wait for pay-offs way in the distance. Here." If you're like Gregory, you won't find this book satisfying.

Sometimes the book was a broken record. Mary Ann or Aden would discover something, we'd discover it with them, and then we had to listen to them re-tell everything we'd learned last chapter to the other characters. It happened often. It was like Showalter didn't trust us to understand things the first time they were revealed. She had to tell us over, and over again.

Also, I can't find the point with a lot of the subplots. Mary Ann, for example. Her relationships with Tucker and Penny did nothing but take up pages. Maybe in the next book it will mean something? I don't know but the reader should receive some sort of payoff for slugging through their talks and I didn't. A lot of the subplots lead nowhere.

I really liked the ideas and main characters but found myself skimming. Intertwined is a book for avid paranormal fans, but you have to slog through some extra flotsam to revel in the good stuff.

I will be looking forward to the sequel as I am invested in the characters and want to see what happens next!

The Cover: I think it's awesome. I like the menacing look of the boy on the cover and the placement of the title is clever and the font is cool.

We have a copy of Intertwined available in our MegaBook Giveaway. Go the the contest post to enter!

Saddled With Trouble (Giveaway Points Post)

Saddled With Trouble
by Michele Scott
pub: Dec 2006

272 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

Horse trainer Michaela Bancroft's husband is divorcing her for a twenty-two-year-old beauty queen. Stunned, Michaela is trying to rein in her life when she finds her Uncle Lou murdered in his prize stallion's stall. As she fends off debt collectors - and her ex-husband's renewed interest in her - Michaela begins to suspect that the killer may be someone close to her. When she'd nearly run off the road the night after her uncle's funeral, Michaela is convinced she's on the fast track to becoming the next victim.

The equestrian world comes alive in Saddled With Trouble, an enjoyable light read full of red herrings and fun. I have horses so this appealed to me and while the characters are all adult, I think young girls who love horses will have an especially good time with this book.

Our heroine, already dealing with her unpleasant divorce, is hit hard by the death of her favorite uncle. When it comes to light that he was murdered, Michaela goes on a quest to find the truth. She's an amature sleuth but gets some help (and romantic attentions) from the detective on the case.

So there's a little romance thrown in, along with the mystery, danger and suspense. Scott gives us enough suspects that the reader is guessing who-dun-it to the very end. Saddled With Trouble is a fun light read, and those who enjoy a look into the world of horses will appreciate it even more!

This is the first in the Horse Lover's Mystery series and she also has a Wine Lover's Mystery series where the stories take place around a vineyard in Napa Valley.

She also has a new MG fantasy called Zamora's Ultimate Challenge. I haven't read it but you can check out more on her website. I met her at a conference (where I bought the book) and she's a wonderful lady as well as a talented writer.

We have a copy of Saddled with Trouble available in our MegaBook Giveaway. Go to the contest post if you'd like to enter! Only ten more followers are needed for us to add two more potential winners (that would make it 15!) and more books to the pile! Good Luck!

La Femme Blog Giveaway for The Secret Year

Eleni over at La Femme Readers is giving away a copy of The Secret Year. Be sure to check out the contest post and enter!

Open to US and Canada and ends 11/20.

Good Luck!

Hush Hush Signed Copy Available!

I haven't posted my review yet but I loved Hush Hush and Library Lizard has a contest for a signed copy. You need this book!

Go to the contest post and enter. You'll love it! Good luck!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Midnight Charter (Giveaway Points Post)

By David Whitley
Pub: Sept 1, 2009
336 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

(This review is actually by Anna Hart. Thanks Anna!)

Do you need something? Well you aren't going to get it if you don't have something worthwhile to trade...not in Agora anyways.

Mark comes from the slums of Agora, only managing to escape the deadly plague because his father sold him. Lily is the servant who takes care of Mark in his new home. In their world where everything -including their lives- can be bought and sold, their only goal is survival.

When the two get a chance to switch lives, they take it. Lily goes outside in the world and Mark remains in the tower, acting as a servant to the mysterious Count. While Mark moves up in fame and fortune, becoming a wondrous astrologer, Lily starts the first Almshouse for the poor. Both of their lives remain entwined, seemingly by destiny. But when Lily discovers the Midnight Charter -started by Agora's founders- she realizes that her city and its elite have some very serious secrets. She and Mark are forced to make dangerous decisions...some that may alter the very future of Agora itself.

Creative and interesting, but also a book that makes you think. The Midnight Charter does have a distinct message hidden in it, but not the cliche messages that often bore one to tears when reading a YA novel.

In the beginning the book slid along quickly and smoothly, keeping me completely mesmerized by Agora's political intrigue and intertwined secrets. As the book slows down a bit, you are attached enough to the characters to continue reading. And if you stick with it to the end, well, the revealing of the mysteries was all the reward I needed.

Overall, I recommend this book for people who enjoy hidden meanings spiced masterfully with entertainment. I would read this book again, simply to uncover more and more of the secrets.

We have a copy of The Midnight Charter available in our MegaBook Giveaway. Go the contest post to enter!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Sea of Monsters (Giveaway Points Post)

The Sea of Monsters: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book 2
by Rick Riordan
pub: March 2007
304 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

Percy Jackson's seventh-grade year has been surprisingly quiet. Not a single monster has set foot on his New York prep-school campus. But when an innocent game of dodgeball among Percy and his classmates turns into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants thing get....well ugly.

And the unexpected visit from his friend Annabeth brings more bad news: the magical border that protect Camp Half-Blood have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and unless the cure is found, the only safe place for demigods will be destroyed.

Riordan delivers another winner! Sea of Monsters is fun, exciting, and action packed. Perhaps not as awesome as the first one, but it's great - almost as good as The Lightning Thief,

It started out with a bang which is a gift Riordan has with his writing, slowed down slightly through the middle but picked up supersonic speed at the end. I enjoy all the characters. Even the villains become like family - the annoying black sheep of the family but they're nothing if not interesting. Everyone in the book is a blast - including Hades!

The mythology is inventive and Riordan's ability to mix it into a fantastical tale without being boring is brilliant. The vivid description never bogs the story down.

If you want fast, fun, creative and just plain awesome pick up The Sea of Monsters or any book in this series. You won't be sorry!

We have a copy of The Sea of Monsters available in our MegaBook giveaway. Go to the contest post to enter. Good Luck!

Giveaway Update - 4 New Books and 13 Winners! (Giveaway Points Post)

We are thrilled to have over 175 followers.!Thank you to everyone for such great support and enthusiasm for our MegaBook Giveaway. The contest will now have a total of 13 winners of at least one book each. Awesome!

We were busy this weekend and didn't have a chance to let you know what books we're adding so here goes.

We promised Fire by Kristen Cashore if we made it to 150 so that great adventure is now up for grabs.

Since several commentors asked for some classic Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice has also been thrown into the pile.

A wonder new YA fantasy adventure novel, Midnight Charter, by David Whitley can also be yours.

And last but certainly not least a book from James Patterson's exciting Maximum Ride series has been added - Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever.

Hope you like the new picks and remember if you haven't entered the contest, please go to the MegaBook Giveaway post to get your name in the hat!
Thanks to you all!

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

Princess Bookie Challenge and My 8 Favorite Things

Princess Bookie is having a fun min-challenge. She has a bunch of books to giveaway!

She wants you to do a post listing your 8 favorite things. Here I go!

1) My Family
3) Books
4) Movies
5) Cheesecake (and food in general)
6) Sleep
7) Castle (TV show), Firefly and Nathan Fillion (I can't separate them!)
8) White Collar (TV show) and Matt Bomer (my new favs!)

What are your current favorites?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Shifter (Giveaway Points Post)

By Janice Hardy
Pub: October 6, 2009
384 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

When Healers lay hands on injured people they can absorb the injury and pain into their own bodies, and later move it from themselves into a stone called pynvium. At least they can in the medieval fantasy world created by Janice Hardy in her middle grade novel, The Shifter, due out in October.

The story centers around 15 year old Nya who is a Healer...but with a defect. She can only shift the pain and injury into other people, not pynvium. This little 'quirk' is something she and her younger sister, Talia, a normal healer, keep secret because they're not sure if the Duke would have Nya killed or use her as a weapon in his wars.

Talia lives at the League doing her regular healing stuff while Nya is left struggling on the streets, working when she can to keep from starving. Formally wealthy, the girls were orphaned and left penniless and alone when their parents were killed fighting during the last war. Talia helps her sister when she can but, for both their sakes, can't jeopardize her place in the league. The opening of the book finds Nya getting caught stealing eggs and I liked how the opening chase gets the story rolling with exciting action.

Soon Nya's secret is uncovered by a nefarious fellow and Talia is in eminent danger. Nya must use her gift in ways she dislikes in order to not only save her sister but other Healers in the league, and foil a political plot that could put the whole town in danger. In the process she also discovers abilities she never knew she had.

The Shifter starts out with a bang and, other than a few slow steps, keeps rolling quickly. Hardy covers a lot of ground. She touches on prejudice, moral choices, what should be given up for the greater good, family/friend loyalty, accepting yourself and others, personal sacrifice, and even throws in a pinch of romance between Nya and the young guard who chases her down in the first couple of pages. Every now and then the messages go to the brink of being too heavy handed but not too often and Hardy backs off just before becoming preachy.

Nya is likeable and believeable for the most part. She seemed to dither back and forth a lot. She'd have an epiphany but later rethink her position. That got mildly annoying about 3/4's into the book, but Nya and her little band of friends and family are characters you definitely care for and you're rooting for them to win in the end. Even the 'bad' guys had some depth and weren't simply two dimensional.

Hardy utilizes good description and some great lines. My favorite was when a ferry accident occurs during a storm and Nya can't get out into the water to help all the survivors. She says, "My heart reached farther than my hands ever could." How beautiful!

Good suspense, nasty political intrigue, a few surprises and a great twist on Nya's abilities. Overall The Shifter is a very enjoyable middle grade novel that is worth the read.

We have a copy of The Shifter available to giveaway. Go to our MegaBook Giveaway post to enter. We will have 11 winners so far! Go put your name in the hat and Good Luck!

Giveaway at the Book Pixie

The Book Pixie

What's the best kind of contest? We think it's the kind with a bunch of fantastic titles and multiple winners. The Book Pixie feels the same way and is having that kind of awesome giveaway. So head on over and enter. The titles include:

  • Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (HC)
  • Signed! Sliding on the Edge by C. Lee McKenzie (HC) (Donated by C. Lee McKenzie)
  • Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater (PB)
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (PB)
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore (PB)
  • Signed! Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle (PB)(Donated by Marissa. Thanks!)
  • ARC of Betraying Season by Marissa Doyle
  • ARC of Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe
  • ARC of Candor by Pam Bachorz
  • ARC of Hold Still by Nina LaCour
  • ARC of Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
  • ARC of Secret Society by Tom Dolby
  • ARC of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Don't wait another second, go enter NOW at this link! Open to US

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Soul to Take (Giveaway Points Post)

My Soul to Take

by Rachel Vincent

pub: Aug 2009

384 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

Something is wrong with Kaylee Cavanaugh. She doesn’t see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next.

Young, healthy teen girls start literally dropping dead in Kaylee’s neighborhood. Just before they do, Kaylee gets a premonition about their death and she has the need to scream. We find out she’s a banshee. You know, the mythical creatures from Irish folklore. Her mother’s dead, her dad lives in Ireland and she lives with her Aunt and Uncle (her dad’s brother) and their snotty daughter who hates Kaylee.

Kaylee does her freak out thing in a dance club and suddenly the hot guy from school, Nash, is at her side, and his presence is able to keep her calm. Nash is able to explain what’s happening to Kaylee but it is still a mystery as to why these girls are dropping like flies. Nash and Kaylee go on a quest to unravel this mystery with the help of a reaper, Tod.

The pace is fast and the adventure fun. I thought the mystery tracked well and the of twists at the end are very good. I like how the climax plays out. Vincent does and excellent job bringing the various characters together in the end and using them to connect the final solution. The ‘who did it and why’ makes sense. You may or may not figure it out but there is enough foreshadowing to make it a logical, as well as an interesting satisfying and bittersweet conclusion.

Kaylee is believable about how she reacts to the things happening too her. Nash is okay and while I liked him (he is supportive, honest and caring) I never felt the ‘hottie’ aspect of his character.

My favorite character is Tod. He’s a reaper – as in grim – a bringer of death, and he’s a secondary character but way more interesting and charming than the rest of the bunch. Honestly, I think Vincent should get rid of Nash and put Tod in as Kaylee’s love interest!

But that’s just me.

Things I didn’t care for…

Her cousin hates her but we never know why. And there are even references about how they adored each other when they were younger. Didn’t make sense. It feels more like a plot device to make Kaylee more sympathetic.

The instant attraction between Nash and Kaylee doesn’t track until the author uses something to explain their immediate “connection” so, okay. However, the romance didn’t do much for me. It was fine at first but then every few pages they were kissing and she was all gaga. And then she’d pull away. Then they’d kiss again, she’d go all gaga…and she’d pull away…or they’d get interrupted. It got a bit boring because it was always the same.

I don’t want them jumping into bed or anything but let’s at least get some different description in the various scenes. Romance is the most popular genre and it felt like the author kept throwing in kiss after kiss to ramp up the romance while keeping it a clean YA read. I’m all for romance but this became repetitive without being steamy.

And really…Tod is the hotter character – without ever kissing Kaylee once!

Some of the secondary characters fall a bit flat, except for Tod. Did I tell you about Tod? He’s a reaper and…oh, yeah. I already mentioned him.

Despite the flaws, I recommend My Soul to Take as a solid good read for paranormal/urban fantasy fans. I look forward to the sequel, My Soul to Lose, but unless Tod takes over as the romantic lead, I won’t be frothing at the mouth. I do love the cover!

We have a copy of My Soul to Take available to giveaway. Go to our MegaBook Giveaway post to enter. We will have 9 winners so far! Go put your name in the hat and Good Luck!

Friday, October 23, 2009

We Passed 125 Followers! (Giveaway Points Post)

Another exciting day! We made it past 125 followers when we weren't looking so it's time to add more books and two more winners!The contest will now have a total of 9 winners of at least one book coming out of our MegaBook Giveaway pile. And what books are we adding?

First is from a popular series and one of Gregory's all time favorite set of books, The Sea of Monsters. Written by Rick Riordan, it stars the lovable Percy Jackson, a young demi-god, and his friends who are always in some sort of trouble with the gods of Olympus (and the Underworld).

The second addition to the giveaway is a new paranormal, Possessions, by Nancy Holder. It's got lots of teenage angst and unpleasant ghosts to keep you interested.

Hope you like the picks and remember to enter at the MegaBook Giveaway post, it you haven't already done so. You can see the complete list of books there! Check the bottom of the post for earlier updates that list the previous additions.

If (when!) we make it to 150 Followers we promise to add Fire by Kristen Cashore to the giveaway pile so keep 'em coming! Thank you to all who are participating. You guys make our days!

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Giveaway Points Post)

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

by J.K. Rowling
pub: Dec 2008
108 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

From the Back Cover:
The Tales of Beedle the Bard, A wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers' attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger's new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes and illustrations by J.K.Rowling, and the extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore.

Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot," "The Fountain of Fair Fortune," "The Warlock's Hairy Heart," "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump," and of course, "The Tale of the Three Brothers." But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we now know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter.

What can we say...we love all thing Harry Potter and that includes this little treasure. The five fairy tales are full of good lessons about friendship, and true magic - the love and kindness within the human heart. The commentaries from Dumbledore are a fun touch. But even better are the inclusion of historical backstory about the magical world of Harry Potter.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a must-have addition for every Muggles library!

You can win a copy! Go to out MegaBook Giveaway post to enter and Good Luck!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Glass Houses (Giveaway Points Post)

Glass Houses
by Rachel Caine
pub: Oct 2006
256 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

Welcome to Morganville, Texas. Don't stay out after dark.

It's a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad comes out. Because in Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows - one that will spill our into the bright light of day.

Clair Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. The popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Claire really doesn't have the right connections - to the undead who run the town.

When Claire heads off campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life. But they'll have Clair's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.

Glass Houses is the first in Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series. It's fast paced, full of action and lots of drama. A great roller coaster ride with mystery, treachery and intrigue.

I like the way Claire changes through the book from shy to spunky. Overall the characters are believeable and fun. They have quirks and shortcomings which give them depth. Sometimes they act very immature but it's high school and, again, they aren't perfect.

I found the sarcastic and snappy dialogue enjoyable. The description is good without going overboard on details. And the vampires are creepy.

It's a fun vampire romp. Urban fantasy lovers will enjoy it. You can get through this book quickly, the only trouble being the cliffhanger ending which makes you hungry for the next installment. I don't mind setting up the next book, but I didn't like being left hanging...that's just me.

I wouldn't say Glass Houses is excellent but it's a solid good read. A fine start to a fun, light reading series.

We have a copy of Glass Houses as a pick in our giveaway. Go to the MegaBook Giveaway post to enter. Good Luck!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No Midnight Sun for Meyer - or Twilight Fans!

I was over at Jenn-ay's blog, Tea Time is My Book Time, reading her Wish List Wednesdays meme.

It got me thinking and I remembered that Stephanie Meyer had promised a book called Midnight Sun that was Twilight from Edward's point of view.

So I put in my comment and then thought, "Gee, I'll go to Meyer's website and see what's up with that," (because in my head I like to sound like a fifties sitcom). Anyway, I got a big unpleasant surprise.

Turns out her first draft of Midnight Sun was leaked to the internet and went viral (no surprise). Someone she trusted that she gave a copy to somehow let it go public. Naturally, Meyer is quite upset, but the worst part for us Twilight fans, is that she has now put the whole project on hold.

Yep, she has stopped working on the book. Indefinitely. She gives an explanation of the situation from her point of view here on her website.

Yeah, I'm bummed. I didn't know anything about it. I think it's terrible that this happened. Love or hate Twilight, this was wrong to do to an author.

In interesting twist, Meyer has put the first draft of Midnight Sun on her website so you can check out the whole 264 pages here.

I haven't read it yet, but I will since she has put it out herself. I'll even give it a review, remembering it's a first draft and manuscripts change dramatically from the first draft.

So what do you guys think? Was it wrong or right? Are you going to read the draft?

Lost Girls (Giveaway Points Post)

Lost Girls
by Robert Doherty
pub: July 2008
292 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

Deep in the Forest of Kentucky, a girl is held captive.
In Oklahoma, a young preschool teacher is murdered in front of her students.

In the Panhandle of Florida, a college undergrad is kidnapped from a nightclub.

These seemingly unrelated crimes catch the eye of the Cellar, the ultrasecret cell of operatives set up to police all other government agencies. Cellar operatives, Gant and Neeley, along with profiler Susan Golden, must track down those responsible. But these are not ordinary criminals. They are a highly trained Special Forces sniper team. Crisscrossing the United States as new Cellar head Hannah Masterson calls the shots from up high, the Cellar operatives soon find themselves being targeted,. Whoever is behind this knows the ultra top-secret Cellar's tactics all too well.
Underneath this web of death, deceit, and revenge lies an even more shocking crime...a conspiracy that powerful men will sacrifice their lives - and the lives of their families - to protect.

Lost Girls brings in a butt-kicking group of government operatives to find out who is killing and kidnapping innocent young women who are tied to government officials. This isn't my usual YA paranormal read but it's a lot of fun.

I'm a big Bourne Identity fan and this story is along those lines. Its fast paced, filled with action and keeps you turning the pages. Doherty gives you enough information to keep you guessing and trying to figure things out right along with the protagonists.

While Gant is your typical (and likeable) guy spy, I also like the fact that Doherty puts in strong female operatives as well. I actually heard the author speak at a conference (where I bought the book) and he said that when he wrote this and another book with the same characters, publishers weren't interested in tough female spies. Then things became popular, like the TV show Alias and of course Lara Croft was the bomb, and suddenly the publishers thought it was a great idea and the books sold.

The bad guys aren't flat either. They are a good bunch of fellows who go bad after the people they trusted most betray them. While you're not rooting for them, you can understand how they became who they are.

It's a great action yarn, with a good story, fun twists, and enjoyable characters. If you like this spy/government thriller kind of stuff, you can't go wrong Lost Girls.

We have a copy of Lost Girls available in our MegaBook Giveaway so be sure to enter!

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Books Added to Giveaway (Giveaway Points Post)

Happy Days!

We made it to 100 followers which means we added more books (and 2 more winners) to our Giveaway Contest. Out of your choices, it's no surprise that Catching Fire by Susanne Collins was the run-a-way choice so it is now available too!

That's a strong YA title so we are choosing Cornelia Funke's fabulous The Thief Lord for a middle grade pick.

And adding James Rollins' Map of Bones for the adult category.

Huge hugs and much THANKS to all who have entered the contest - old and new followers alike! We have enjoyed everyone's comments and participation. And one of the best parts is checking out the new blogs we are finding through the folks new to our blog!

Now we have 7 winners that will be picked from all you great people. And keep those entries and followers coming because remember, if we get to 125 followers we'll add 2 more winners and more books.

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! You MUST be a follower and comment on the Giveaway Post to be entered in the contest. Good luck!

The Summoning (Giveaway Points Post)

The Summoning
By Kelley Armstrong
Pub: July 1, 2008
400 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

She sees dead people and they see her.
Chloe Saunders used to have a pretty normal life. But that changed on the day she met her first ghost. When Chloe begins seeing dead people she's locked up in Lyle House, a group home for troubled teens. Imprisoned in the mad house, Chloe soon discovers that the home's residents aren't what they seem. Will Chloe be able to uncover the dangerous secrets of Lyle House...or will its skeletons come back to haunt her?

I read The Summoning after seeing the sequel's book trailer, The Awakening - which is pretty awesome by the way - so when I started The Summoning I knew a few things before they were revealed, I think that helped me get through it as fast as I did.

The Summoning is a very good adventure, although in the middle it seriously slows down while Chloe is trying to figure things out. However, once she starts putting it all together the pace just keeps picking up speed and you are flipping pages at lightening speed.

The ending was good and bad. Good in that I was running to the bookstore for the sequel. Bad in the sense that the end left me feeling Kelley Armstrong cut me off rather abruptly. She ended her book in the middle of the story line - actually the peak of the story line. There was no closure, with many open questions that needed answering... hence the speedy drive to the bookstore.

The only thing I didn't like about Chloe is that she would take a step back from everything and analyze it as though she were writing or directing a movie to cope with what was happening (she wants to be a screenplay writer/movie director). The first few times it was fun, but after a while it became distracting and I found myself skimming for when we got back to the plot. Other than that, Chloe is a unique character that is very easy to relate to.

I loved the opening scenes when Chloe sees her first dead guy - and totally freaks out. Very funny and realistic in her reactions. I also thought Armstrong did a good job with the main characters and their relationships.

On the whole, I love the trilogy so far and can't wait for book three The Reckoning. Kelley has a great website if you want to check out more about her and see the listing of her many books, most of them adult urban fantasy and very popular.

We have a copy of The Summoning available in our MegaBook Giveaway so be sure to enter!

Is Ginny Cheating on Harry Potter?!

Yes, Ginny Weasley is rumored to be cheating on Harry. Noooooo!

This is just gossip that has no real value because it's... well, gossip.

The word is that Bonnie Wright, who plays Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter movies is now dating Jamie Campbell Bower who plays Caius in the upcoming New Moon movie. Caius is a bad guy Volturi who is happy to see beloved Bella good and dead.

They met because Bower is playing Gellert Grindelwald in HP and the Deathly Hallows which is currently filming. Grindelwald is Dumbledore's childhood friend who later becomes a dark wizard and Dumbledore's sworn enemy.

So there's your dose of useless rumor and innuendo for the day!
(I got the original scoop on this from ilovemovie's tweet. Check her out if you love movies.)

We Made it To 100 Followers!

We are so excited that we made it to 100 followers and you know what that means! Two more winners have been added to our MegaBook Giveaway. We're still working on what books to add to the pile. We'll notify you soon!

So now we have
1st place - choice of 3 books
2nd place - choice of 2 books
3rd place - choice of 2 books

AND 4 more winners of 1 book each!
Hush Hush was one of the last additions so stay tuned for the next ones!

A Good Explanation about the New FTC Rules

For those of you following the new FTC guidelines about disclosure issues, Liz B at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy has a great post that explains the issue. She heard Mary Engle speak on the topic at KidLitCon. Below is an excerpt.

Engle then specifically said there is a difference between a product review place and a place that is part of a marketing review program. So reviews are not endorsements as the FTC sees it. (Also? the way the FTC uses the word "compensation" is not the way the IRS uses it. Sadly, or happily, I totally understand that, being the former lawyer. It's not just words that matter; it's how we use them and what our definitions are.)

Again -- the types of reviews here are not endorsements so under the FTC guide no disclosure is needed. (On a personal note, I will continue to say where I got the book I review for the same reasons I always have -- transparency and readers who are unaware that publishers provide such copies). It was specifically asked if receiving review copies had to be disclosed. The answer? No, not if you're an independent reviewer.

The good news is that it sounds like unless you're receiving some sort of monetary compensation for doing the review, you don't have to disclose where/how you got the book, but I agree that it is always a good idea anyway.

Check out Liz B's post to get all the scoop.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dragon House (Giveaway Points Post)

Dragon House

by John Shors

pub: Sept 2009

384 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

Dragon House is one of those reads that had me broadening my horizons (out of urban fantasy) and stretching my comfort zone.

The story revolves around a group of people opening a children’s center to help the street children in Vietnam, the poor and forgotten kids who have no one and survive on their wits…and not much else since food is so scarce.

Iris is the American adult daughter of a Vietnam veteran who died before he could make his dream of a children’s center into a reality. She comes to Vietnam to finish his work accompanied by a childhood friend, Noah, who is physically and emotionally wounded from his service in Iraq. There are a couple of Vietnamese people who also help get the center off the ground.

Mai and Minh are young kids who live under a bridge and aren’t related but have bonded together as much as any sister and brother could. Minh has a stump for one arm, doesn’t speak and plays a mean game of Connect-4. Mai does all the talking and sets up games for Minh to play with tourists for $1 a match (if he wins). Luckily, Minh rarely loses but most of their winnings go to Loc, who uses it to feed his opium habit…and he protects them.

Yeah. Right.

Okay, so Loc’s their Connect-4 pimp and a druggie scumbag who preys on defenseless kids.

Then there are Qui and her granddaughter, Tam, who are beggars. Tam is dying of cancer that didn’t have to be fatal, but lack of medical care has left her too far gone to be helped.

Shors puts these appealing (except for Loc) characters together in a tender heartfelt story of hope and human kindness. Of course the dregs of humanity are in here too (like Loc), and while the conclusion is satisfying, there aren’t happy endings all around. So be prepared.

At times this story was hard to read because of the brutal nature of the reality it portrays against children. I can read urban fantasy murder, mayhem and gore without getting nearly as creeped out as this stuff makes me…because while it’s fiction, this stuff really happens and it’s painful to think about so much suffering. But the novel does end on a hopeful note and reflects the idea that people can overcome adversity and make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Dragon House is a thought-provoking read full of compassion, compelling characters and the ultimate beauty and strength of the human spirit that also gives an excellent insight into another culture, country and way of life through evocative description. While not light entertainment, it’s worth the time to experience these characters and their story.

And Shors is the kind of guy who puts his money where his mouth (and his writing) is. Here is an excerpt from the Dragon House website:

It is my hope that Dragon House will be a success, and out of that success something good can happen. I plan on donating some of the funds generated from my book to an organization called Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. This group works with children in crisis throughout Vietnam. Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation offers disadvantaged children a wide range of services and support to help them break out of poverty, forever, by getting them back to school and helping them achieve their best.

To my delight, Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation already has a center for street children in Hanoi, and also has been reaching out to dozens of needy kids in Ho Chi Minh City. So, thank you, dear reader, for supporting me. Your support allows me to aid this wonderful organization, an organization that sits quite close to my heart.

If readers want to provide additional support to Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, please visit Anyone who goes to the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation web site, and donates $100 will receive an autographed copy of Dragon House. I’ll manage this process and will send out copies of my book. My goal is to help raise a substantial amount of money for Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation.

It’s always nice to see others giving back. And thank you to John for providing this copy of Dragon House.

We have a copy of DRAGON HOUSE that is one of the books available in our MegaBook Giveaway so be sure to enter!

Fans of Fangs Giveaway at Bloody Bookaholic

Taschima over at Bloody Bookaholic is have a great giveaway, especially if you're an urban fantasy fan!

She is offering VAMPIRES by Joules Taylor and WEREWOLVES by Jon Izzard.

Contest ends 10/20 so you'd better hurry. Good Luck! (Oh and please mention my name if you enter.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Circle of Souls (Giveaway Points Post)

A Circle of Souls

by Preetham Grandhi

pub: June 2009

352 pages

Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!

This books opens with a grisly murder of a 10 year old girl and sets the reader off on a journey to find out who-dun-it.

Shortly after the killing, child psychologist Dr. Peter Gram meets Naya, a 7 year old whose parents bring her in because they found her sleepwalking...almost right off their balcony.

The two events soon connect when Gram comes to the hard to believe conclusion that in her dreams Naya is talking to the recently murdered girl, who is giving Naya clues to the killing. An excellent artist, Naya expresses these experiences in drawings which Gram takes to FBI agent Leia Bines. While both Gram and Bines are skeptical, they can't deny that the clues are helping the investigation.

There are red herrings to keep the reader from guessing the killer's true identity and the investigation follows a logical path. The killer is a nasty piece of work but believable and not a cliche.

I could have done without so much info about the process of the psychiatric diagnosis. but this is Grandhi's field so it would make sense for him to include it. I pretty much skimmed through these parts, and besides, we know that Naya's visions are real and there is no mental health issue.

I enjoyed the action sequences but I also enjoyed Naya's interaction with Gram and the dead girl. Naya, who has a family history of psychic phenomenon (she's adopted) is an endearing character. Grandhi shines in capturing the essence of a 7 year old and I was invested in her well-being.

I also enjoyed the cultural insights into India's spiritual beliefs. The author weaves this into the story gracefully and uses it to create an inventive twist for his readers.

I kept turning the pages to not only find out the killer's identity but also to see how things resolved for Naya and Gram.

It's a good thriller with a bit of gore, a supernatural edge and engaging characters. I recommend this for older teens (a bit too dark and graphic for younger ones) and adults.

And "Thank You" to Preetham for the review copy. Word is he is working on a sequel and you can check out his website if you'd like to get more info.

I have an ARC of A Circle of Souls that is one of the books available in our MegaBook Giveaway so be sure to enter! Click the link or see the post below this one.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Our first MegaBook Giveaway - NOW CLOSED

This Contest is Now Closed.
Thanks to all who participated!

(FYI - Check for CONTEST UPDATES - book additions, etc - at the bottom of this post.)

Our first giveaway is finally here! And it's International so everybody's welcome!

Sorry for the delay but we've had some family stuff to deal with and didn't have to time to organize this properly until now. Wow, kudos to all bloggers who have had contests because this is a lot of work.

We tried to have an eclectic group and the good news is that you can have a say in what books we include!

The Initial Twelve Books:
Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires#1) Lost Girls by Robert Doherty
Saddled wth Trouble by Michelle Scott
The Wee Free Men by Terry Prachett
Midnight Reflections by Katrina Michaels
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling
Dragon House by John Shors
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi
The Shifter by Janice Hardy
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (Darkest Powers #1)
Marked by PC Cast

First Place Winner - First Choice of 3 Books
Second Place Winner - Second Choice of 2 Books
Third Place Winner - Third Choice of 2 Books


As we get more followers we will add more winners and books. We have 69 followers as of now but...

- When we hit 75 followers, we'll add 2 more books and 2 more winners (1 book each)

- Then for every additional 25 followers that are added after that, we'll add two more books and 2 more winners.

For instance - at 75 Followers, we'll have First, Second and Third place, plus 2 winners of one book each.

- at 100 Followers, well have First, Second and Third place, plus 4 winners of one book each

- at 125 Followers, we'll have First, Second and Third place, plus 6 winners of one book each

And so on.

The bottom line is that as more people enter, more people have a chance to win more books!

There are lots of ways to rack up entries and thanks to Froggy who gave us the heads up about how to do it you can.

The Rules

The only requirements are:
1) You must fill out the form (required items are noted).

2) You Must Be a Follower (old or new). You can sign-up easily on the right sidebar.

3) Provide your email (on the entry form)

4) Comment on this Post.

Anything will do but if you have a book you'd like us to add to this Giveaway, please tell us in the comments here. No guarantees but we will add one or more books based on the voting, so give us your input! (Just keep in mind it must be something available by the end of this giveaway.

5) Contest ends at midnight PST on November 15, 2009.


1) Most are listed on the ENTRY FORM. They include posting, and various ways to advertise the contest. FYI we're on Twitter as @teensrandw.
You can also receive 2 extra points every time you comment on a future post that relates to one of the books in this Giveaway. It could be a review or author interview. We'll be sure to make a note of it in the post to remind you. But comments will only count if you make them within 5 days of the original posting date. (That negates the possibility of someone going back at the end and commenting madly. Not that anyone would do that, we just have to cover the possibility.)

First, second and third place winners get to choose their books and will have 48 hours to respond before we offer the prize to the next winner. The remaining winners will either get a book pulled randomly out of a grab bag or we may give them a chance to choose depending on how many entries we have. We'll decide at the end of the contest.

So...All you need to do to enter is:

1) Be a Follower

3) Comment on this post (and tell us a book you'd like us to add if you have one)

4) Enter by midnight PST 11/15/09

Remember, it's international so spread the word and GOOD LUCK to ALL!!

We are so happy with our fast and furious response! We made it to 75 followers in 24 hours.

In celebration and appreciate, we will be adding four books to the list and 2 more winners for 1 book each. The top books requested were:
- Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
- Intertwined by Gena Showalter
- My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
- Sea Glass by Maria V Snyder

Yes we are adding them all to the list! Yee hah!

We made it to 100 followers so there are now 2 more winners added. The books now in the giveaway are:
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
Lost Girls by Robert Doherty
Thanks everyone and we'll have more additions when we reach 125 Followers!

We made it to 125 followers so there will now be a total of 9 winners. The books now added to the giveaway are:
Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Possessions by Nancy Holder
Thanks to all our participants and we promise to add Fire by Kristen Cashore when we hit 150 Followers!

We jumped to 175 followers very quickly which means we will now choose a total of 13 winners. The books added to the pile are:

Fire by Kristen Cashore
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Midnight Charter by David Whitley
Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever by James Patterson
Thanks to everyone and Good Luck! We'll add more books and winners at 200 Followers!

We made it to 200 followers so there will now be a total of 15 winners. The books now added to the giveaway are:
Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure by P.B. Kerr
Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
Thanks to all our participants and we'll add more books and winners when we hit 225 Followers!

We made it to 225 and as promised we added an ARC of
Fallen by Lauren Kate
Don't know what else we'll add yet but at least one more book and were headed to 250 so stay tuned. And we're now up to 17 winners! Thanks everyone!

250! We've made it to 250 followers and are adding more books! The first is an ARC of
The Hollow by Jessica Verday
Betrayed by P.C. Cast
There are now 19 winners so keep it up and good luck!

Nov 12 - Contest Update
325! We've added
Dead Girls Dance by Rachel Caine
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Manchev
The Wizard Heir by Cinda William Chima
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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