blo Teens Read and Write: February 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

In Our Mailbox 2/28/10

Hosted by The Story Siren explores the contents of our mailbox on a weekly basis.

Our weekly stash includes:

The Demon’s Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow

Demons are preying on schoolchildren in her city, so Francesca Barnes does what any red-blooded librarian would do-she does some research and goes hunting. But the books she finds in a secret cache don't tell her the whole story. Chess has no idea what she's just stepped into or just how special she is.

Orion is Drakul, part demon, and a loyal servant of the Order. He doesn't ex
pect a motorcycle-riding librarian to be messing around with demonic forces, and he doesn't expect her to smell so damn good. But Ryan's got bigger problems. His partner has disappeared, and the forces of Darkness are rising.

Now Chess is Ryan
's only hope of finding his partner, and Ryan is Chess's only hope of survival because the demons now know Chess exists and that she is the heir to a long-lost power that could push back their dark tide. If Ryan can keep her alive long enough, she just might be the key to destroying the demons completely. But Ryan doesn't know he's been betrayed by the very Order he serves. And if Chess does, by some miracle survive, he won't ever be able to touch her again.

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

16-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science...and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate. There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship...and reality. Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?

The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.

Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother’s solution for Sylvie’s unhappiness. Her father’s cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family’s
history. And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way.

But Rhys—a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of h
er cousin’s—has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand. Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well?

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Love can be a dangerous thing...

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley

Mina Hamilton's parents want her dead. (Or undead to be precise.) They're vampires, and like it or not, Mina must decide whether to become a vampire herself. But Mina's more interested in hanging out with best friend Serena and trying to catch the eye of the too-hot-for-high-school Nathan Able than in the vampire training classes she's being forced to take. How's a girl supposed to find the perfect prom date and pass third-year French when her mom and dad are breathing down her neck--literally?

Lockdown: Escape From Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith

Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries.

Soon Alex discovers that the priso
n is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.

Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden fr
om the eyes of the world.

That's what we got. How about you?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

News and Updates

Hey guys!

The boys and I have had some family things pop up in the last few days, plus midterms but we'll be back on track in a couple of days.

We've got to add 6 books and we're up to 26 winners! .

(drum roll please)We're extending this contest another week so we can get our organization up to par. The contest now ends March 17th (St. Paddy's Day!).

As we get our ducks in a row
the last weeks of the contest should be jam packed with reviews and author interviews.
The authors include:
Libba Bray (Going Bovine and the Gemma Doyle series)
Lesley Livingston (Wonderous Strange and Dark Light)
Cinda Williams Chima (The Heir Chronicles and The Demon King)
Julie Kagawa (Iron King)
Amber Kizer (Meridian)
Aurthur G. Slade (The Hunchback Assignments)
Jacquelyn Wheeler (Rising Shadow).

We also have some new affiliates and will be starting a weekly post that highlights what they have been up to each week. Our latest Awesome Affiliates are:


Faye @ Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm

Kate @ the Neverending Shelf

Jenn @ Book Crazy

Lea @ YA Book Queen

We are thrilled to be affiliated with these fantastic blogs and bloggers. We look forward to lots of fun stuff ahead!

And that's it for now!

So that's our plan. With some luck and hard work everything will go according to plan.
Teens out!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

**Giveaway ALERT! A comment on this post (within 7 days of post date) gets you 5 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 enter! Good luck!

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
by Beth Fantaskey
pub: Feb 2009
368 pages

The undead can really screw up your senior year . . .

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a
bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©.

Armed with
newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess.

But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

Yes, another vampire book and I picked it up. Can't fight that addiction. This time that was a good thing.

This is a really fun vampire tale. Jessica is a charming character who is lucky enough to garner the attentions of the luscious Lucius.

He comes waltzing in (of course he can dance) and all he's missing is the gallant steed. I mean this guy is so hot and suave that the only
unbelievable part of this book is why Jessica doesn't swoon and fall at his feet from the get-go.

Yes, she is this analytical girl who sees things in black and white and doesn't believe in myths like vampires, but this guy is gorgeous and aced the Advanced Seduction course. He is every girl's fantasy of tall, dark, handsome and charming.

Yeah, he's a bit arrogant but he's a prince and doesn't that come with the territory? But he learns to appreciate Jessica's down to earth attitude, independent spirit and generous heart which only makes us adore him more.

The point of view shifts from Jessica's to Lucius, but the author does something interesting by giving us Lucius' point of view through his personal letters to his uncle, and I think it works well. Their differing perspectives on the same scenarios is often humorous.

This story is a fun romp to ride along on, with good characterization as well as twists and turns to keep the reader turning pages.

Of course, danger lurks, romance is threatened, the fate of the world lies in these two young lives, and Jessica doesn't realize what she's got until it's gone, at which point she must swallow her pride and fight for it.

Ah, yes, young love and vampire romance. This one delivers a good yarn for us vamp-aholics!

Cover: I think it's cute. Love her pretty dress.

First Line: The first time I saw him heavy gray fog clung to the cornfields, trails of mist slithering between the dying stalks.
Good. It gives me an eerie setting and feels mysterious and ominous while anticipating who this stranger is going to be.

Fantaskey's next book,
Jekel Loves Hyde is due out May 3. I'll double u p this post by listing it as a Waiting on Wednesday pick. I loved her knack of storytelling and think Jekel Loves Hyde will be another winner!

Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules – especially the one about ne ver opening the mysterious, old box in her father’s office.

But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's t
empted to peek inside, as the contents might be key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen’s sanit
y. Maybe his life.

But Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything – even Tristen’s love – just for the thrill of being… bad.

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side has just been added to the MegaBook Giveaway. Hope you enter and Good Luck!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Skulduggery Pleasant: Scepter of the Ancients (Giveaway Points Post)

**Giveaway ALERT! A comment on this post (within 7 days of post date) gets you 5 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 enter! Good luck!

Skulduggery Pleasant: Scepter of the Ancients
by Derek Landy
pub: April 2009
416 pages

Stephanie led a pretty quiet existence until her uncle died. Not only did he leave her his mansion, he left her a new best friend - Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton detective (sorry, a supernatural skeleton detective) - who waltzes into her life for keeps.

Now she's acquiring magical powers, endangering her life to fight evil, and trading snappy comebacks with something without a body.
So much for her quiet existence.
Stephanie's big job is to find the Scepter of the Ancients - a weapon capable of destroying anyone and anything - before the evil Faceless Ones steal it for themselves. She just has to defeat a bunch of ghouls, kick the butts of a clan of vampires, and hide her powers from the entire world (oh, and her parents).

No worries. She's got a bunch of bones on her side.

I loved, LOVED Skulduggery Pleasant. It's an absolute hoot and packed with action, suspense and a multitude of thrills!

It’s about, an unlikely 13 year old heiress named Stephanie, and a walking, talking, crime fighting skeleton, Skulduggery. Together they solve crimes in an urban fantasy world.

To find her uncle’s murderer, Stephanie must delve into the fantastical and magical world. Stephanie and Skulduggery are also in a race to retrieve the most powerful weapon in the world before the assassins on her tail get manage to kill her first.

My favorite character in the book is Skulduggery. He's hysterical! He’s a funny, smart detective, and an elemental whose magic revolves around fire, water, earth and air.

Working around the clock to solve cases is Skulduggery’s passion and he skillfully fights his way out of the most dire of situations because of his few centuries worth of battle experience.

As if I needed more reasons to love the chivalrous skeleton, he has an incredible car, a 1954 Bentley. Unfortunately, once the dynamic duo set out on their investigation the car’s fated to blow up.

His friend, Ghastly, enjoys making clothes that have magical powers and occasionally saves their lives. Some answers to Skulduggery’s mysterious past are answered but only make him more interesting and complex.

Skulduggery Pleasant is bursting with humor, thrilling action, creative brilliance, and characters that you are dying to hang out with.

I loved this book! Did I mention that? I had gotten it from the library and loved it so much that Alyssa and Jake bought me the entire series for Christmas.

Get your hands on this book and like me you'll be dying for the next in the series! This is great for guys and girls because you've got Stephanie on the female end and Skulduggery is a fantastic character that EVERYONE will love. Honestly, people, some parts of this book were so entertaining that I had to go track down Alyssa, Jake and Mom so I could read aloud to them.

Funny, witty, creative, fast-paced. Jim Butcher/Harry Dresden fans will love Skulduggery Pleasant!

Jo from Once Upon a Bookcase and Ink and Paper reminded me that I forgot to mention that this is the first in a currently 3 part series (there will be a fourth).

The Cover: There's a bunch of them (not sure why) but I love the top two with Skulduggery on it.

First Lines: Gordon Edgley's death came as a shock to everyone -not least himself. One moment he was in his study, seven words into the twenty-fifth sentence of the final chapter of his new book, And the Darkness Rained Upon Them, and the next he was dead. A tragic loss, his mind echoed numbly as he slipped away.

Great lines! Let's you know you're in store for an entertaining humorous ride!

Skulduggery Pleasant: Scepter of the Ancients is one of the many great books available in our MegaBook Giveaway. Be sure to ENTER!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Invisible lines (Giveaway Points Post)

**Giveaway ALERT! A comment on this post (within 7 days of post date) gets you 5 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 enter! Good luck!

Invisible Lines
by Mary Amato

pub: Nov 2009

336 pages

For Trevor Musgrove, life isn't always bright and cheerful. His family has just moved to Hedley Gardens, a tough housing project its residents call " Deadly Gardens." He goes to school with rich kids who have everything. while he has to work just to afford soccer cleats. It doesn't help that the star athlete in school, Xander Pierce, happens to have it out for him. Mistakenly enrolled in a advance science class taught by a odd but engaging teacher, Trevor is thrown headfirst into the world of natural science. Through all this, he will learn that life can spring up in the darkest places. Maybe even in Deadly Gardens.

I love soccer. I've been playing on teams since I was four and now play on a club team so when a book came along that had a soccer player as a protagonist, I was happy to dive in. While not my usual urban fantasy read, I wasn't disappointed.

I like the way that Ms. Amato combines art, soccer and science (learning about mushrooms, of all things) into an endearing story that takes you through a roller coaster of emotions with an interesting cast of characters.

Trevor has a gift for drawing and playing soccer. He's very poor so he makes money by drawing awesome designs on people shoes in order to pay for cleats for the club soccer team he wants to join, but can't afford.

His mom is struggling to make ends meet and support the family but it isn't easy. Trevor deals with one bad break after another. Life just isn't fair. The one positive thing he has in his life is his science teacher who is pretty cool. I wish I had him for my teacher.

Invisible Lines is a well written contemporary. So well written that it can be hard to read, emotionally. This kid has it rough. At times it seems like nothing can go right for him. And since you like Trevor, you connect with Trevor, and it's difficult to read about his trials and pain.

But ultimately
Invisible Lines is a book about hope, perseverance and the beauty and strength of the human spirit. This is a great inspirational middle grade novel. I highly recommend it!

Friday, February 19, 2010


**Giveaway ALERT! A comment on this post (within 7 days of post date) gets you 5 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 enter! Good luck!

by Alexandra Bullen
pub: Jan 2010
322 pages

For broken-hearted Olivia Larsen, nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone... until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep. The dress doesn't just look magical; it is magical. It has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back.

With Violet again by her side, both girls get a second chance at life. And as the sisters soon discover, they have two more dresses-and two more wishes left. But magic can't solve everything, and Olivia is forced to confront her ghosts to learn how to laugh, love, and live aga
asks the question: If you could have anything, what would you wish for?

Wish does ask some interesting questions. It's that old "be careful what you wish for" scenario. Not that Olivia's wish goes bad it just doesn't turn out like she expected. Do they ever?

This is a sweet story that uses magic to jump start the plot, but it isn't used throughout. The magic is in the dresses that grant the wishes but then Olivia has to deal with the consequences without the use of magic.

Wish is really more of a coming of age story. Olivia was the quiet twin while Violet was the one with the powerful, outgoing personality. Consequently, when she dies, Olivia is rather lost. Not only did she lose a twin but she had been in Violet's shadow. Now she has to find out who she is and determine her place in the world.

Bullen does a nice job with description and she develops her characters well. The relationships worked. While I haven't dealt with this type of tragedy, the feelings and reactions rang true. The family as a wh
ole is affected and while Bullen shows Olivia dealing with her friends, she also shows how Olivia and her parents must muddle through the trauma to find peace and acceptance on the other side.

The story did drag somewhat for me but again,
Wish is more emotional than action and I think it's done well. I wasn't quite sure why the need for all of the excessive alcohol and partying at the end but it didn't ruin the story - just took me out of it since it seemed unnecessary.

The ending wraps up nicely and some things I thought were iffy were given a plausible explanation in the final pages. There was also a nice twist. And the ending does give you a sense of hope. Yes,
Wish is about death and dying but it the tale is an uplifting one. Bullen handles a difficult subject well.

Wish didn't grab me as much as I had "wished" (sorry, couldn't help myself) but I liked it. It's good. Those of you who like emotional, thought-provoking, coming of age stories will enjoy it.

The Cover: It's lovely! The magical and etheral quality really appeals to me, as well as the colors.

First Lines: "You must be Olivia." His shoes came into focus first: squishy loafers with soft raised edges and thick sensible soles.
Don't like it. The dialogue holds no interest for me and who cares about some boring shoes.

Wish is available in the MegaBook Giveaway. Hope you enter and Good Luck!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blood Ninja

Blood Ninja
by Rick Lake
Pub: Dec 2009
369 Pages

In the course of a day, Taro's entire life changes: His father is murdered before his eyes, and Taro is taken by a mysterious ninja on a perilous journey toward safety. Someone wants Taro dead, but who--and why? With his best friends, Hiro, and their ninja guide, Shusaku, Taro gets caught in the crossfire of a bitter conflict between rival lords for control of imperial Japan. As Taro trains to become a ninja himself he's less and less sure that he wants to be one. But when his real identity is revealed, it become impossible for Taro to turn his back on his fate.

Young Taro is living the simple life of a fisherman with his best friend Hiro until he is assaulted by ninjas in his humble village.

Luckily he is saved by a mysterious ninja (hehehe) named Shusaku but before they are safe Taro is fatally wounded and must choose between death or becoming a myth - vampire.

Blood Ninja is an excellent book...until the end. It was like a Quentin Tarantino movie. But more on that later...

The characters feel real and the story is great if not a little cliched. The action and suspense is nearly constant throughout which I loved. Lake did an excellent job capturing the setting of in ancient Japan...maybe too good a job.

Throughout the book in order to give a sense of proportion, Lake compares things to tatami mats and torii gates. Funny enough, I'm not well versed in ancient Japanese culture. I have no idea what those things are, and without the perspective I had trouble getting visuals in certain scenes.

This is a typical Torii Gate (School Children Not Included)

Ironically he does describe things that are rather obvious or common knowledge. For instance, the book is about vampires and in the beginning he overhears two men talking about someone who had two puncture wounds on his neck and was completely drained of blood.

The characters discuss that they think a
is responsible. Automatically you think vampire but guys go on to explain the legend of the kyuuketsuki and it's all the usual vampire folklore.

Vampire myth I know and, okay if you want to go into it again, but you can't let me know if a room is 10 feet across! No, Lake has to tell me it's the length of six tatami mats. Come on! But all in all this is a minor issue that can be overlooked.

Remember I mentioned about the Quentin Tarantino movie? Well, that comes at the end. It's a blood bath, physically and emotionally. There's lots of sacrifice and betrayal and overall unpleasantness.

I felt some things in the final scenes were unnecessary and rushed, and some things just left me feeling cheated. It's like Lake thought at the end, "Crap! This is all TOO perfect!" and decided things had to go bad. I would have been happier with less bitter and more sweet.

Blood Ninja is a wild ride and loads of fun. But the ending... I would have preferred different but, hey, you can always pick it up from the library. And Tarantino fans - this is your book!

The Cover: That's pretty cool how they made the O's bleeding puncture marks, but a ninja is never so sloppy!

The First Lines: Taro straightened up, took a deep breath, and pulled back the string of his bow. There was a familiar twinge from is left shoulder, where a think silver scar traced a semicircle from chest to back, at intervals punctuated by darker circles suggestive of large tooth marks.
These lines are pretty good. They create tension and mystery right away. Taro is hunting something and he has been attacked before by a creature with large teeth. I'm interested.

Blood Ninja has great action, interesting characters and a rapid pace. It kept me turning pages and while I wasn't completely won over by the ending, it was a fun read.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Here are the winners for the last few contests! Congratulations to everyone!

-Cost of Dreams---
Theresa at Just One More Paragraph

---New Moon Calendar---
Reggie at The Undercover Book Lover

---Glee CD---
Jean at Turning Into YA Books
Carrie at In the Hammock
Bianca at Wicked Good Books
Nicole at Who What When Where Why

We have sent out all of the notification emails. If you haven't gotten back to us please do so soon or we'll have to pick new winners!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Candor (Giveaway Points Post)

**Giveaway ALERT! A comment on this post (within 7 days of post date) gets you 5 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 enter! Good luck!

by Pam Bachorz
Pub: Sept 2009
256 pages

In the model community of Candor, Florida, every teen wants to be like Oscar Banks. The son of the town's founder, Oscar earns straight As, is student-body president, and is in demand for every club and cause.
But Oscar has a secret. He knows that parents bring their teens to Candor to make them respectful, compliant–perfect–through subliminal Messages that carefully correct and control their behavior. And Oscar' s built a business sabotaging his father's scheme with Messages of his own, getting his clients out before they're turned. After all, who would ever suspect the perfect Oscar Banks?
Then he meets Nia, the girl he can't stand to see changed. Saving Nia means losing her forever. Keeping her in Candor, Oscar risks exposure . . . and more.

No paranormal elements, which normally isn't my thing, but this is enjoyable. The pacing is slow, but somehow it works for Candor.

Oscar's like a spy in enemy territory, always trying to fit in, with his cover always at risk. This makes for constant tension throughout the book. He has to watch every move he makes, every word that comes out of his mouth. It's tedious work, but he does it well. I'd be exhausted!

Oh, and not only are the kids insanely perfect and zombie-clone-like, but the parents are brainwashed too. And they're aware of the mind wipe going on in the town! Oscar has no allies. Just himself and...and the new kids that move in - but he quickly 'saves' them by moving them out. That is way too lonely a life. I would have gone nuts or escaped.

Enter Nia. Oscar's world is turned upside down.

It's a boy meets girl story. The whole brainwashed town with one rebel is a cool premise. The writing is good. I was on the fence as to whether or not I liked this until the end.

The bitter-sweet end.

If there was a sequel, I would have finished Candor with excitement and anticipation. Since I can find nothing on a possible sequel, I'm left rather depressed. Poor me.

It's a good read, but can't say I loved it. Again, without a sequel, the end really brought me down. This kid sacrifices a lot for the sake of others and in the end... It's not that it didn't make sense or isn't believable but... Okay, trying not to spoil anything but the end is not a completely happy one.

I know a lot of readers like this type of ending but I'm a big wimp. I admit it. I like my happy endings. Candor is available in the MegaGiveaway so hopefully it gets to someone who can adore it.

The Cover: I absolutely love the cover, without a doubt. It is amazingly fitting for the book. I mean, really, a glance at the cover and you already have a sense of what the books about before you pick it up. Kudos to the designer.

First Lines : CA-CHUNK, CA-CHUNK, CA-CHUNK. The sound drifts through my bedroom window. Pokes through my homework haze. Because it doesn't belong here. Ca-chunk, ca-chunk, ca-chunk.

Meh. I'm curious about the noise, but not that curious. And he's doing homework...just thinking about homework makes my eyes glaze over.

If you have your own review of Candor, please feel free to add your link below!

Storywings Giveaway

Over at Storywings she's having a great
Contest. Here are just some of the books shes offering.
  • Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
  • Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
  • Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
  • Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
  • Going too Far by Jennifer Echols
  • City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
  • Ballad by Maggie Steifvater
  • Shiver by Maggie Steifvater
  • Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
  • Firespell by Chloe Neil
  • Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
  • Darklight by Lesley Livingston
  • Fallen by Lauren Kate
Wings says, "There will be more, and I want to know what you want to win so suggestions are welcome!!! For every 25 followers I will add hmmm 3 books? Might be more though."

It's international and ends 3/19. Good luck, everyone!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ice (Giveaway Points Post)

**Giveaway ALERT! A comment on this post (within 7 days of post date) gets you 5 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 enter! Good luck!

by Sarah Beth Durst

pub: Oct 2009

320 pages

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother to
ld her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back -- if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her -- until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.

My Review:
Ice is a fun sweet fairy tale that had me smiling. Cassie is a strong young woman who grew up in the Arctic researching wildlife and chasing polar bears. She thinks her mother is dead but finds out that the stories her grandmother told her as a child are true.

Cassie's mother was the daughter of the North wind who disobeyed her father by not marrying the polar bear king and, instead, ran off with the human she loved, Cassie's father. The jilted king actually helps her escape because he makes a bargain that her daughter, Cassie, will be the king's bride. But the North wind eventually found his daughter, took her from her husband and daughter and sent her to remain prisoner in the troll castle.

Cassie's life is turned upside down by this revelation, she's a scientist after all, but she agrees to be the polar bear king's bride if he will rescue her mother. The deal is done and Cassie is now living in a magical ice castle with a polar bear who can also turn human.

I'm not giving anything away because all this happens in the first pages. The real story is the growing relationship between Cassie and Bear, her coming to terms with her new life, and then deciding what direction she wants to go with her future... and making it happen when things get in her way.

Cassie is strong and dedicated. And once she makes a decision, this girl does whatever it takes to protect the ones she loves and get what she wants.

This is more fairy tale than urban fantasy but I liked it. The relationships were real (as much as they can be when our protagonist is married to a bear) and the writing created a beautiful and fascinating world.

Durst does an excellent job of bringing the Arctic to life with her vivid description. I needed a sweater while I was reading this. And funny enough we had a snow storm going on at the time. Talk about atmosphere!

I will say that the quest in the second part of the book went a bit long for me but I foraged through and enjoyed the ending.

Love, family, commitment, independent thought, and sacrifice are all covered. There is also a big conservation and love of nature theme going on, as well as the idea that we are all connected and responsible for the care and respect for all living things.
Ice even delves into spirituality.

The sex in Ice is handled discreetly and happens once the married couple has built their relationship. Birth control is also discussed but again it was tastefully done and could make for good conversation between adults and teens.

But all these heavy themes are not heavy handed. At it's core,
Ice is a love story where true love conquers and the couple act as partners united in their commitment to each other and common goals. It's a wonderful fairy tale that you can choose to enjoy at face value or let provoke deeper avenues of thought.

Plentiful magic, fast pace (especially in the first half) and engaging characters make
Ice a delight.

The Cover: I like it. The polar bear is adorable and the colors give you a sense of the chilly Arctic.

First Lines: Cassie killed the snowmobile engine. Total silence her favorite sound. Ice crystal spun in the Arctic air. Sparkling in the predawn light, they looked like diamond dust. Beneath the ice-encrusted face mask, she smiled. She loved this; just her, the ice and the bear.

This worked for me. She's strong, capable, independent and I want to know what happens with the bear!

ICE is good enough that we might add it to the MegaBook Giveaway list if we keep adding followers so check for updates! It would be a great addition to the already top notch list of books. We hope you enter!

If you have your own review of ICE please link it below! We'd love to hear your thoughts!

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