Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Door to Time by Pierdomenico Baccalario

Title: The Door to Time
Author: Pierdomenico Baccalario
Publisher: Scholastic
Hardcover, 223 pages
Date Published: January 1, 2006

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Eleven-year-old twins Jason and Julia have just moved from London to an old mansion on the English coast. Their new home is filled with twisting tunnels and strange artifacts from around the world, and the twins can't wait to discover all its secrets. Before long, Jason, Julia, and their friend Rick stumble upon a mysterious-looking door hidden behind an old wardrobe. But none of the keys in the house will open it. What lies behind the door? And why has someone tried to conceal it? Jason, Julia, and Rick are determined to find out, no matter what it takes....
First off, the book is marketed as being Ulysses Moore, but is actually written by someone from Italy and has been translated to English. That being said, I think there were some things lost in the translation.

Our three main characters, twins Jason and Julia and their friend Rick, are fun to follow and each of them offers something different. Julia constant sarcasm and joking keeps the mood light, but Rick irked me a bit. The twins are 11 and Rick is 12, but, at times, their dialogue and knowledge base far exceeds their ages.

Still, the story is interesting enough and there is an air of mystery surrounding the twins’ home on the cliffside. The manor’s caretaker, Nester, is hard to figure out, which I like. I never really knew what to expect from the book, but at the same time, I wasn’t really that into it either. The children talk about things that were kind of over my head and I don’t see how middle grade aged children can really get a feel for something that they don’t really understand.

Aside from that, the story had its pros. Like I said, the mystery will keep the reader guessing about what’s going to happen and as the children discover more and more, it’s hard to put the book down. Budding explorers will get a kick out of The Door to Time, but they have to want it because the story moves fairly slowly. The ending is what the entire book should have been about, but since it wasn’t, I can only imagine that the second book, The Long-Lost Map, is much more exciting.

Opening line: The house appeared suddenly from around the bend. ~ pg. 2

Favorite lines: His destiny was not to die in some dark tunnel. No, he was meant for something more. ~ pg. 161
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Buy it online:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Out With a Bang Readathon

Info taken from The Bookish Type:
The Readathon will run from December 29 - 31 and participants will be reading as many books as they can during that time! This Readathon is mainly to finish off the fabulous debuts for the Debut Author Challenge, but participants don't have to focus on that category if they have non-debut books that they would like to finish before 2010 ends.

And, if you need an extra incentive to participate, we'll also be giving away tons of swag and books during the Readathon (and a lot of it will be signed!)

I've decided to join to try and get ahead of my reading for the new year. Even though any debuts I read won't count in the 2011 Debut Author Challenge, I still want to read them now. 

I have no idea what I'm going to read for the next few days aside from this one (I'll update as I go):

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation

Title: Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse
Author: Kaleb Nation
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Hardcover, 430 pages
Date Published: September 1, 2009

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
A six-year-old child, his only history a scrap of paper with his name (Bran Hambric), is found inside a securely locked vault in a large city bank. He grows into a strapping teenager, remembering nothing before the vault, mostly forgotten even by his foster parents. But elsewhere, Bran is not only remembered; he is sought by those who want him back. dead or alive.
What Kaleb Nation has done with Bran Hambric is what all aspiring authors should aim for. The Farfield Curse is interesting, enthralling, and extremely well-written. Nation infuses his characters with so much life and heart that they leap off the pages.

Bran instantly draws readers in with the mystery behind his story – who is he and why doesn’t he remember anything from his childhood? He’s intelligent and sarcastic and is surrounded by an insane family. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the Wilomas’ and their strange behavior, eccentricities, and very stilted values. Sewey, Bran’s father figure (if you can even call him that) does some of the most crazy things, but it makes the story that much more entertaining because I wouldn’t put anything past him. The relationship between Bran and Rosie, the ‘maid,’ is so touching and caring. I loved reading their interactions.

The city of Dunce is a magic-free zone, but signs of magic are all over the place. A favorite bit of the story for me was Dunce’s need to be magic free, including hanging a sign outside the gates that states:
no gnomes
no mages
A good number of jokes spring from this and I just loved how it was consistently tied into other aspects of the tale.

Even though Dunce is magic-free, Nation brings boatloads of magic to the story. The book is split into four parts and had the beginning not been so funny and filled with crazy Wilomas doings, I may have been bored because the magic doesn’t really begin until part two opens up. But once part two begins, magic takes hold of the story, in the best possible way.

Kaleb Nation has melded this fantastical world with the very typical, everyday life in ways that work in perfect harmony. Bran Hambric took hold of my heart and never let go. So much so, that I’m more than eager to pick up the next book to see where the gnomes, mages, and etceteras lead to next.

Opening line: The night was cold and dead, and so felt Clarence’s heart. ~ pg. xiii

Favorite lines: “You don’t know…or maybe you do know how it feels to lose something that’s so important to you, even when you’ve never had it, you miss it like your life is dependent on it.” ~ pg. 286
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 
Find Kaleb Nation online:

Buy it online:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review Snippet: Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting is the second book in The Body Finder series. Now, I read and reviewed The Body Finder earlier in the year and while I enjoyed it, the book wasn't quite what I had expected. 

Desires of the Dead on the other hand, is brilliant. Derting told the story that I had been hoping for from the beginning.

I'll be posting my full review closer to the release date, but here's a little snippet for now:

Packed with mystery, a good deal of humor (thank you Chelsea), and a creepiness I’ve come to expect from a novel about a girl who finds dead bodies, Desires of the Dead is even better than the first. Derting’s writing is vivid and illustrious – I could see, hear, and feel everything that surrounded Violet. I became entangled in her world and the echoes that assault her senses.

Find Kimberly Derting online:

Pre-order it online:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders | The Book Depository

To be released February 15, 2011

Winners of Human Blend

The winners of Human Blend by Lori Pescatore are:

For paperback
 Victoria Zumbrum

*Winners have been notified and have 48 hours to respond or alternate winners may be chosen

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Garden of Eve by K.L. Going

Title: The Garden of Eve
Author: K.L. Going
Publisher: Harcourt
Hardcover, 232 pages
Date Published: September 25, 2007

Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Evie reluctantly moves with her widowed father to Beaumont, New York, where he has bought an apple orchard, dismissing rumors that the town is cursed and the trees haven't borne fruit in decades. Evie doesn't believe in things like curses and fairy tales anymore--if fairy tales were real, her mom would still be alive. But odd things happen in Beaumont. Evie meets a boy who claims to be dead and receives a mysterious seed as an eleventh-birthday gift. Once planted, the seed grows into a tree overnight, but only Evie and the dead boy can see it--or go where it leads.
For eleven year old Evie, moving with her father from Michigan to New York is torture. Not only is she leaving behind her family and friends and the only life she’s known, but she’s leaving behind her Mom, who died ten months ago from cancer. For Evie, the apple orchard means nothing and her life is devoid of magic because her mom is gone, but with the gift of a seed an adventure blooms. One that may help Evie believe in magic once more.

Evie’s story is heartfelt with lovely little touches of fantasy. As a character, Evie is wholly realistic. Her grief radiates off the pages and is enhanced by the stark atmosphere around her. Her new home of Beaumont, NY is full of dead trees and empty buildings. Thought to be cursed, the orchard that her father just bought is not only their home, but also a place that sits directly beside a cemetery, constantly reminding Evie of her loss.

Evie’s father reminds me of people I’ve met in the past, lost in their own lives and doing the best they can in the only way they know how. He’s not the best, most sensitive father in the world, but he loves his daughter with his whole heart. Snippets of flashbacks to Evie’s mother Tally bring the woman to life and make both Evie’s and her father’s grief resonate that much more.

The fantasy elements arise with the story behind a seed given to Evie by Rodney, the man who used to own the house. Rodney had never met Evie, but he insisted that his sister give a girl named Eve the seed. With this, the Biblical story of Adam and Eve begins to play out. Evie goes on quite the adventure with a ghost boy named Alex, where they both learn that magic is all about believing.

K.L. Going has weaved a beautiful tale about grief, magic, hope, and life beyond death with The Garden of Eve. I’ve read some reviews that complain that the book is too overtly religious and has too many Biblical references, but I’d disagree. School age children are not going to be reading this book and thinking about Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. All these things are mentioned, but religion is so far from being the focus here. The Garden of Eve is the perfect story for a blustery day – with the right amount of grief, countered by a touching story of believing in the magic that still exists after death.

Opening line: “Once there was a beautiful garden.” ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: Watching him now was like meeting someone on the street who you hadn’t realized was missing – you felt all the pleasure of seeing them and all the pain of missing them at once. ~ pg. 29
And this one captures Evie's grief:
“How long ago did your mom die?”
“It’s been ten months now,” Evie said.
“How can you live without her?”
Evie studied the darkened trees. “Sometimes I don’t want to.” ~ pg. 115
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 
Find K.L. Going online:

Buy it online:

Holiday Break Reading Challenge Activity #11

Here's the info for Activity #11:
Today's activity requires you to create a sentence out of the books you have on your shelves. The main words for the sentence must come from the book titles, but you can add a small word or two in order to help it make sense if you need to. Just put your added words in [brackets]. You can use as many book titles as you want, but use at least 3.

And here's what I put together:
Mostly good girls ruined the line [and] the DUFF [took] the road into the wild nerd yonder, after falling under [the] spells [of] Enchanted Ivy.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

In My Mailbox: Christmas Edition - (12/26/10) + Holiday Break Reading Challenge Activity #10

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is a list of any of the books you may have received in the past week from bookstores, libraries, authors/publishers, trades, etc.

This IMM is from the past 2 weeks and while Santa was very good to me, I went on a crazy Netgalley spree:

Gifts (Thanks Mom+Dad+Santa+Jackie):
Adversary (Ganzfield, #2) by Kate Kaynak
Nook Color - His name is Oliver, but he's a little gender-challenged since the case my bro got me is pink
$20 B&N gift card for my Nook from my bestie

For Review:
Legacy (Ganzfield, #3) by Kate Kaynak (Thanks Kate)
The Ancillary's Mark by Daniel A. Cohen (Thanks Dan)

For Review via Netgalley:
Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber (Thanks HarperTeen)
The Cellar by AJ Whitten (Thanks Graphia)
Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish (Thanks Carolrhoda Lab) 
The Little Prince graphic novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupery & Joann Sfar (Thanks HMH Books)
My Favorite Band Does Not Exist by Robert T. Jeschonek (Thanks Clarion Books)
Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh (Book, #4) by R.L. LaFevers (Thanks Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky (Thanks Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Thanks HarperTeen)

Bought (all for my Nook):
Wish by Alexandra Bullen (For free on B&N)
House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings, #1) by Robert Liparulo (Free on B&N)
Reaper by Rachel Vincent (Free on B&N)

Like I said, I went a bit crazy with Netgalley, but I'm looking forward to using my Nook.

*Huge thanks to Kate Kaynak, Dan Cohen, HarperTeen, Houghton Mifflin Harrcourt, Clarion, HMH, Graphia, and Carolrhoda Lab.

2011 Debut Author Challenge

 Click the picture to go to the SIGN UP page

You all probably know how the challenge works/what it entails, but if you don't, then head over to Kristi's post and SIGN UP.

I have so many debuts that I'd like to read, but my goal is going to be 40 books, which is 20 more than my 2010 goal. Hopefully I'll read even more than that.

Anyway, here's the list so far (it's somewhat organized by month, but I doubt I'll read them in this order):
  • *Across the Universe by Beth Revis* Does not count - read in 2010 - REVIEW 
1. XVI by Julia Karr - REVIEW
2. Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal - REVIEW
3. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand - REVIEW
4. Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison - REVIEW
5. The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson - REVIEW
6. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton - REVIEW
7. Timeless by Alexandra Monir - REVIEW
8. The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge - REVIEW
9. Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton - REVIEW
10. Falling Under by Gwen Hayes - REVIEW
11. The Liar Society by Lisa & Laura Roecker - REVIEW 
12. Clarity by Kim Harrington - REVIEW 
13. Those That Wake by Jesse Karp - REVIEW 
14. Ada Legend of a Healer by R.A. McDonald - REVIEW 
15. Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer - REVIEW
16. The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder - REVIEW
17. Karma by Cathy Ostlere - REVIEW
18. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - REVIEW
19. With or Without You by Brian Farrey - REVIEW
20. Forgotten by Cat Patrick - REVIEW
21. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - REVIEW
22. Griffin Rising by Darby Karchut - REVIEW
23. Memento Nora by Angie Smibert - REVIEW
24. Abithica by Susan Goldsmith - REVIEW
25. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford - REVIEW
26. Exposed by Kimberly Marcus - REVIEW
27. And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky - REVIEW
28. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby - REVIEW
29. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab - REVIEW
30. Dark Parties by Sara Grant - REVIEW
31. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter - REVIEW
32. Open Wounds by Joe Lunievicz - REVIEW
33. Wildefire by Karsten Knight - REVIEW
34. Between the Lines by Tamarra Webber - REVIEW
35. Shattered Soul by Jennifer Snyder - REVIEW
36. Solstice by P.J. Hoover - REVIEW
37. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - REVIEW
38. Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout - REVIEW
39. Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James - REVIEW
40. Divergent by Veronica Roth - REVIEW
41. Ward Against Death by Melanie Card
41. The Marked Son by Shea Berkley
42. Sign Language by Amy Ackley - REVIEW
43. Hushed by Kelley York

    • Warped by Maurissa Guibord
    • Entangled by Cat Clarke
    • Haven by Kristi Cook
    • So Shelly by Ty Roth
    • Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave
    • Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
    • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
    • Entwined by Heather Dixon
    • Bumped by Megan McCafferty
    • Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
    • Future Imperfect by K. Ryer Breese
    • Die For Me by Amy Plum
    • Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
    • Hourglass by Myra McEntire
    • The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski
    • The Pull of Gravity by Gae H. Polisner
    • Flawless by Lara Chapman
    • Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
    • Possession by Elana Johnson
    • Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari
    • Bad Taste In Boys by Carrie Harris
    • Luminous by Dawn Metcalf
    • Eyes In the Mirror by Julia Mayer
    • Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey
    • A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
    • Possess by Gretchen McNeil

    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    Holiday Break Reading Challenge Activity #9

    Here's the info for Activity #9:
    Since today is Christmas and everyone will probably be busy, I'm making Today's activity easy. Here is what you have to do:

    1. Since today is the 25th, turn to page 25 in the book you are reading right now.
    2. Count down the page to line 25 and tell us what the sentence says. If there is a partial sentence or word in that line you can leave it out. If you don't have 25 lines on your page just choose the 7th line (2+5=7).

    But he knew the voices would return, seizing him fully once more, as they always did. ~ pg. 25
    From Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation

    Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Author Interview: W.C. Peever

    W.C. Peever (aka Bill) is the author of the new fantasy series, The Jumper Chronicles. Bill was incredibly kind to take some time out to answer my questions and now I'm sharing them with all of you.

    The world you’ve created in The Jumper Chronicles is complex and interesting. Where did the idea for Charlie’s story come from? 
    I had been craving a story that captivated me as much as Harry Potter did, Percy Jackson was great, Young Master Foul was fun, Twilight was distracting, but nothing was quite there.  I wanted to bleed with the characters; fall in love as they fell in love, and cry with joy as my protagonists over came adversity and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  So I began to write my own story, I did not plan the book, I didn’t even know where I would go with it, instead each page that I wrote was a surprise.  It was the long way around to write a novel, as I cut just as much as I wrote during the editing process, but in the end I found myself in the middle of an adventure coming of age story.  And yes I have found a book that finally captivates me in every way.

    If you were a student at Thornfield, what ability would you like to have?
    Invisibility, wouldn’t it be great to know exactly what people thought of you?  When I first read Tom Sawyer I was obsessed with the idea of finding out what people would think and feel if I died.  What a concept!  You could find out if the girl you liked, liked you back; sneak down Christmas morning and find out what Santa left you, the possibilities are endless!

    Charlie’s mom tends to burn her bacon, do you do the same?
    No but my mother did!  Ellen Burrows is a compilation of people in my life, but the cooking, or the burning in her case is defiantly my mother.

    Norse mythology plays a role in the book, as does the legends of Merlin, King Arthur, Excalibur, etc. Did you have to do extensive research prior to writing?
    Yes, I read every Norse Myth that I could get my hands on, as The Jumper Chronicles world is completely built upon this ancient oral history.  It took me three months of reading and sketching and then four more months of covering my room in pictures and post-its till I really understood the world that I was creating.  As I said it is deeply based on the 9 Kingdoms of Norse Mythology with one HUGE difference.  I asked myself what would those worlds look like if the Gods were exiled and they evolved on their own over 2000 years?  In book one, you get a glimpse of what this world is like, but that is it!  Book two introduces the world beyond the school (the only chapter that takes place in the school is the first chapter, after that…well let’s just say it gets very interesting). As for researching Merlin, Arthur and Excalibur, I did some dabbling, but my characters are so completely different from the original stories, that I did not dwell of that research.

    Do you have a favorite character to write or a character who is easiest to write?

    Professor Henry Grayson, Headmaster of Thornfield Academy.  He has been described to me by critics as the Dumbledore, and the Gandalf, and I agree with the basic character archetype.  He is the brave, slightly mad, sharp as a tack, brilliant, powerful, dichotomy that made both of these mentors so wonderful.  I wanted to give Charlie a mentor, and Grayson’s archetype is my favorite, and I hope yours as well.

    If you were a Jumper and could also travel through time, where and when would you jump to? Why there and why that particular time period?
    Sixth Grade, my past and warn me not to ask Ellen to the dance!  Oh the embarrassment, and humiliation still sticks with me today as one of the worst nights of my life!  It is amazing that we escape middle and high school with any sanity at all!

    Is there anything you need while writing? (Music, snacks, drinks, etc.)
    A hot beverage, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, the liquid does not matter as much as the fact that it needs to be hot!  I love watching the steam curl from the edges of the think ceramic mug, and when I am at a loss for words on the page, the relentless steam reminds inspires the words right out of me…read the book I am sure you will come across some obvious steam inspired writing!

    Are there a set number of books planned for The Jumper Chronicles? Are you currently working on book #2? (Please say yes!!)
    Book Two, is written and in the Publishers hands right now.  It will be called Path of the Templar, and will focus on the world outside of the castle, relationships (both plutonic and romantic), and I will introduce a new character to the mix, he will not be a fixture, but will definably pop in throughout the series.

    Who are your favorite writers? Favorite books? Are there any new releases you’re particularly excited for?

    I have two categories for books that I will share with you.
    Books that I return too time and again, reading them over and over, because they are both comforting, safe, and wonderful.
    The Hunger Games Book One; Harry Potter (all of them); The Hobbit; Homecoming (by Cynthia Voit); The Mortal Instruments (all three ---and yes I CAN NOT WAIT for book four!)

    Then there are book that I just enjoy and read more than once: The Percy Jackson Series, The Lord of the Rings, The Dark is Rising series, and Artemis Foul. 

    As you can see I am a Fantasy, YA, junkie!  But I think that YA novels are so much more entertaining, and imaginative than adult contemporary novels.  

    I want to give a HUGE thanks to Bill for stopping by and answering all these questions. Make sure you check out book 1 in The Jumper Chronicles, Quest for Merlin's Map. It's truly a wonderful fantasy story that readers of all ages will enjoy.

    *All photos link back to source

    Find W.C. Peever online:

    Buy it online:
    Amazon | Savant (The publisher) | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

    *I also want to point out Bill's ongoing contest for 11-18 year olds to get published. Check that out at the Jumper Chronicles website

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    The Jumper Chronicles: Quest for Merlin's Map by W.C. Peever

    Title: The Jumper Chronicles: Quest for Merlin's Map
    Author: W.C. Peever
    Publisher: Savant Books and Publications
    Paperback, 278 pages
    Date Published: December 25, 2010 (Originally published July 23, 2010)

    Description (Taken from Goodreads):
    Charlie is an awkward twelve-year old living a normal life till he is abducted and thrust into a world of ever-looming danger, a world of Magic, of Angry Gods, and Creatures that are should only exist inside of fairytales. 

    Charlie and his three friends must unravel the mysteries of their new found abilities, save the father Charlie has never known, and uncover a secret that will change their lives forever.

    Charlie Burrows is a normal 12 year old boy with a normal 12 year old best friend named Bailey. The two of them have grown up together in the seaside town of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Both of them have no idea where their dads disappeared to when they were mere toddlers, but the arrival of a strange man shakes up their seemingly normal world as they’re spirited to a far-away castle and a world they never knew existed.

    Peever has done something that rivals the likes of J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan. Charlie’s story is vast in nature and magical in its telling. Not only does Charlie discover a world hidden within our world, but he also discovers how pivotal a role he could play.

    The students at Thornfield Academy all have special abilities. These abilities can range from being a Guardian, to telekinesis, to the rare power of invisibility, and then to the even rarer ability to Jump from dimensions and maybe even time. I’ll give you one guess at what Charlie’s ability is. Yep, he’s a Jumper, as was his long lost dad. This rare ability may herald the coming of a new age, and for Charlie, that means he will be highly sought after; for both good and evil.

    The world that Peever has created is layered in Norse mythology, Arthurian legends, and some sci-fi alternate dimensions/parallel universes. He flawlessly weaves these elements into Charlie’s life and makes it entirely compelling and unputdownable. Not only does the story boast of wonderfully vivid and fantastical elements, but the characters are well-developed with their own nuances and intricacies.

    Charlie and Bailey make quite the best friend duo, in that they complement in each other in every which way. They are fiercely loyal to one another and love with a passion. Where Charlie is a more shy boy, Bailey is a brash, in your face kind of girl. She’s one tough cookie and, as it turns out, that is exactly what Charlie needs in his best friend. Thornfield opens up the possibility of new friendships and along comes Mick, a gruff older boy with a tendency to care for the underdog. His new role as Guardian means more to him than just keeping Charlie safe – he makes friends for life. Then there’s Tillie…

    The gorgeous girl that Charlie begins eyeing sort of throws a wrench into the workings of this newfound group of friends and I’ll admit that Tillie’s relationship with an older boy really bothered me. She’s twelve and this boy is a seventh year, making him 17ish? But I really did enjoy the tension she brings to the group and how, even though she could easily be viewed as competition to Bailey, that avenue is never explored. Bailey is Charlie’s best friends, no questions asked.

    The Jumper Chronicles: Quest for Merlin’s Map is well-written, entertaining and thriving with fantastical elements, Arthurian legends, and several history lessons hidden amongst the adventure. Any fan of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, or fantasy novels in general will be absolutely absorbed in Charlie’s tale. I was and I’m more than excited to see where Charlie’s adventures will lead to next.

    Opening line: The wind howled outside the small, colonial-blue, seacoast home of Daniel Burrows, as February bared its teeth in the small New England town of Marblehead. ~ pg. 5

    Favorite lines: “Time was never meant to be tampered with. Left alone, it should go on forever. But with many different realities all using the same fabric of time…” ~ pg. 81
    *This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

    Find W.C. Peever online:

    Buy it online:

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Teaser Tuesday - The Ancillary's Mark (12/21/10)

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

    The Rules:
    •Grab your current read
    •Open to a random page
    •Share two (2) or so “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    •BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    •Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

    This week's teaser comes from The Ancillary's Mark by Daniel A. Cohen:
    Stocked with Jack and Devil's Springs, the private bar in the corner started shelling out shots, and Marrow knew that it was almost time to get down to business. The monk tied up in the corner had yet to say anything.
    That was a problem. ~ pg. 26

    I bet you want to know what's going on because I certainly do.

    The legend of the Ancillary flower has existed for centuries. Foretold to bring out the limitless potential of its bearer, the flower and the legend have been forgotten by many. Recently, strange events in a shrouded Tibetan town have sparked rumors among those who still believe.       
    Jacob Deer is a quirky young man, bound for college, with an eccentric old librarian for a best friend, an obsession with sitting down in elevators, and a strange birthmark on his hand that's shaped mysteriously like the markings on the Ancillary's petals. When Jacob's mentor Mr. Maddock reveals to him his connection with the legendary Ancillary, it sets in motion a series of events that sends Jacob and friends across the world. Alongside an alluring young woman, a marine-reject, and a Tibetan kid obsessed with comic books, Jacob must face off against a vengeful maniac for the fate of the flower, the legend, and all mankind.
    *Description taken from Goodreads

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Music Mondays - Glee (12/20/10)

    Music Mondays spotlights a band/artist that I particularly enjoy.
    I'm nearly positive I used this exact same song last year around this time, but I love it, so I'm using it again. Here's "Last Christmas" from the cast of Glee.

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

    Title: The Graveyard Book
    Author: Neil Gaiman
    Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
    Hardcover, 309 pages
    Date Published: October 1, 2008

    Description (Taken from Goodreads): 
    Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy - an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack - who has already killed Bod's family.

    Master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel about life and death, love and growing up, and finding family in the most unlikely places.

    Nobody Owens is not a nobody at all. The sole surviving member of a family murdered in the middle of the night, Nobody (Bod for short), is welcomed into a graveyard full of ghosts and even some ghouls. His life is spent protected by the things that are normally thought of as haunting. But life is for the living and Bod is surrounded by the dead, so sooner or later, the past catches up and murder is once again in the air.

    This is the first (but certainly will not be the last) book I’ve read by Neil Gaiman. The story of Nobody Owens is a simple one, yet bursts off the pages and sucks the reader into this world of ghosts and Haunts; of things that go bump in the night, but of people that love and have been loved. As dark as the story may seem, The Graveyard Book is exactly the type of book that middle grade aged children (as well as older) will love.

    Bod is impossible not to care for, with his constant curiosity and bubbling personality. His eagerness to explore his world, as small as it may be, is only rivaled by his fierce ability to care for others. The ghosts that surround him are funny and full of tales from the past, but it is Silas, Bod’s guardian, who is shrouded in mystery and elusiveness, that controls just how much the reader knows.

    The man Jack, the man who murdered Bod’s family, is as much a mystery as Silas. He took the lives of Bod’s entire family and eventually, the boy must deal with and confront that fact. But before he gets there, Bod grows up, learns among the living, and has some wildly inventive and macabre adventures that Gaiman fills with mythology and lore that enticed me beyond the pages and forced me to do a few Google searches to ease my intrigue.

    Reminiscent of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book is about the benevolence in the world and a boy’s journey to become a man. Bod lives, as the living should, and grows, as the growing should, and in the process, he discovers just who Nobody Owens is and how to live a life filled with everything.

    Opening line: There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. ~ pg. 2

    Favorite lines: “You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.” ~ pg. 179
    *This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it. 
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    Friday, December 17, 2010

    Holiday Break Reading Challenge

    The Holiday Break Reading Challenge is upon us once again and I've decided to join up in hopes I can kick-start my reading/blogging.

    My goals for the challenge are as follows:
    • Read at least 3 MG books to finish off my goals for the In the Middle Reading Challenge
    • Post more regularly on my blog (I've sucked lately - sorry for that)
    • Figure out the details for the 2011 YA debut author feature I want to put together and start contacting authors about it
    • Organize my TBR pile, at least a little bit (figure out what needs to be read and when)
    • Comment more on other blogs
    For more info and to join, (there are activities and prizes) visit the Holiday Break Reading Challenge Blog or click the above picture.

    Books read:
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - REVIEW
    The Garden of Eve by K.L. Going - REVIEW
    Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation - REVIEW
    The Door to Time by Pierdomenico Baccalario - REVIEW

    Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Review to come in 2011)
    Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler (Review to come in 2011)
    Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus (Review to come in 2011)
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