Monday, May 31, 2010

In My Mailbox Monday

Books I received over the last week for review:

A Dog's Purpose
by W Bruce Cameron (July 6) & Insatiable by Meg Cabot (June 8)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday

I know I just reviewed the second book in Karen E Olson's Tattoo Shop Mystery series, Pretty in Ink but since it's Wednesday and like I said in my review, I really can't wait to read the next book...

Waiting On Wednesday: Driven to Ink: A Tattoo Shop Mystery

That's right, my choice for this week's Waiting On Wednesday book is the forthcoming third book in the series about Las Vegas tattoo artist Brett Kavanaugh, Driven to Ink.

It's not out until 7th September so there's not a lot out about it, but I was able to find this (on Amazon):
The latest in the cleverly designed tattoo shop mystery series. Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of Vegas's hottest tattoo shop, The Painted Lady. And in her spare time, she does some sleuthing. After discovering the corpse of a Dean Martin impersonator-sporting a spider web tattoo and a clip cord from a tattoo machine wrapped around his neck-Brett infiltrates That's Amore, a drive-through wedding chapel, as a bride-to-be looking for the mark of a murderer...

A Dean Martin impersonator and Las Vegas wedding chapels this time around? Count me in to read this one for sure :)

Here are the book of the series on Amazon and here's a link to the author's site.

My review of The Missing Ink (first in the series) and my review of Pretty in Ink (the second) is in the post before this--I don't have the link because I'm scheduling this so that hasn't posted quite yet, but I'll edit soon with the link :)

Pretty in Ink ~ Karen E Olson review

Pretty in Ink (Tattoo Shop Mystery #2)
320 Pages
March 2, 2010
Buy @ Amazon

Karen E Olson's Tattoo Shop Mystery series is one of the few series I actually get soon after it comes out and read it (I have lots of other series I read but most of them I purposely stay at least one book behind-it's a thing (; ).

In Pretty in Ink, Brett Kavanaugh and the rest of her coworkers/friends from The Painted Lady, her tattoo shop in Las Vegas are back for more mystery and craziness. This is the second Tattoo Shop Mystery after last year's The Missing Ink. This time around, Brett and Co are invited to Nylon and Tattoos show to see some of Las Vegas' best drag queens perform as a thank you for doing their tattoos.

The trouble starts--as it's known to around Brett--when one of the queens, Britney Brassiers, is fatally injured by a champagne cork shot at her. A less than cooperative detective shows up on the scene, increasing Brett's woes and soon another drag queen is poisoned and Homeland Security is involved. And Brett's in the center of it all, of course.

It does sound absolutely insane to have drag queens, tattoos/tattoo shops, poison plots, and Homeland Security, along with the (more) average character relationships and struggles all in one mystery . . . But it makes for a really entertaining story. I love that while this series is not your typical mystery series--the characters are unique, the plots are definitely different--it's also a very good mystery series.

The fun and 'different' isn't used to hide things that are lacking in other parts of the book. The tattoos and the drag queens aren't a gimmick used to cover up a weak plot or characters, they're the characters in a fun to read, good mystery.

I liked that characters, plot points from the first book carried over to this second book but not so much so (and were also explained in such a way) that you couldn't read this book without reading the first book. The two books build on each other just enough to be a series that's enjoyable to read in order (and keep me wanting the next one) but where you can also read them as stand-alones.

I think my least favorite part of the book was probably the ending. It was not in the least bit bad, it just didn't stand out as much as the other nine-tenths of the book. It concluded things well, though and tied things together. And I definitely wish the third book were already out!

(A little note about the cover: I love how well they--and especially this one--seem to both fit the book and also contain little bits of the story without being obvious about it :))


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Twenty Boy Summer ~ Sarah Ockler

Twenty Boy Summer
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
320 Pages
May 1, 2010 (paperback)
Buy from Amazon

Anna, Frankie, and Frankie's brother Matt were always friends, doing things the three of them. Except that Anna had a secret crush on Matt for years, one she didn't even tell her best friend (his sister) about. Then one warm night, something changed and Anna and Matt started a secret romance. Not even Frankie knew.

Matt made Anna promise she would let him tell his sister about them. Anna promised. Then Matt died before either of them ever had the chance.

Now, one year later, Frankie still doesn't know. And Anna's going with on the family trip to California Matt and Frankie's family took every summer. Convinced that this is going to be the best summer ever, boy-crazy Frankie comes up with a plan for the two of them: Twenty Boy Summer. They'll meet a new boy every day of the trip and, surely, Anna will manage to have a great summer romance that way.

Twenty Boy Summer sounds not that complicated--like two friends off to have a great, fun summer while one of them's trying to find a way to tell the other a secret. There's so much more to it, though. It's how it's written (and how well) that make it so much more and make Anna and Frankie's tale bittersweet. The pain of Matt's loss is evident among all of the relevant characters and rings incredibly true. The fun the two girls have is enjoyable and fits with a summer read book-but also with the characters.

Because there's the juxtaposition of the carefree, beachy summer with the pain, grieving, and guilt it really seems like two girls (and one's family) who are trying to move forward after a tragic death. I hurt along with Anna while she worried over what to do about her secret and about Anna. This was really a book that when characters cried, you wanted to cry, too. Sarah Ockler's writing is definitely storytelling with an emotional impact.

I hope you'll read this one if you haven't already and I can't wait for Ockler's next novel Fixing Delilah Hannaford which is out in November.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Everlasting ~ Angie Frazier review

June 1, 2010
336 pages

Seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has spent the best moments of her life aboard her father's ship. She loves the adventure and the sense of freedom it gives her so, of course, she is dreading her upcoming marriage. Marrying a wealthy man will mean better standing in society (this is 1855)--no more whispering about her--but will also mean an end to her sailing days. (And this is actually all I knew about the book before I read it! I purposely ignored the synopsis, so you can skip to my more review-y part if you want.)

It is on her final voyage with her father before her marriage to Randall when everything unfolds.

Camille learns that her mother is not, as she has believed her whole life, dead but actually living in Australia. And in possession of a mysterious map. A map believed to lead to a magical stone.

Then, when the ship goes down in a horrible storm and Camille's father is killed, it is up to her and Oscar, her father's first mate to decide what to do in Australia (all with Camille's impending marriage looming over them). William's (Camille's father) adversary McGreenery is also after the stone and not afraid to hurt someone to be the one who gets it.

Camille and Oscar have a complicated relationship, he's been around their home more like a family member than a crew member and the feelings they have for each other are far from easily definable. And he and Camille's fiance, Randall can't stand each other.

It's like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle with a splash of Oregon Trail, a pinch of Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie and a little bit of The Merciless and some of the best parts of Pirates of the Caribbean--but really, it is its own unique tale. A tale with ships, love that's not meant to be, family obligation, treasure maps, bushrangers, and the expanses of Australia.

Love, loss, the high seas, a mythical stone, and some serious bad guys--Everlasting seriously has it all.

I'll admit, readily, that Everlasting is now one of my favorite books. I got really interested in it because of the 'ship' parts but that's actually not a huge part of the book. Their adventures across Australia make almost a Western (think 3:10 to Yuma or something since I seem to have little reference for Westerns) or PoTC with something around every corner, ready to get them and making them improvise. There are some guns and explosions and chases but not much-and not a lot of violence.

Camille being such a strong willed, reluctant-to-join-in-with-society's-expectations character also made the story so enjoyable. Camille, internally, and other parts of the plot struggled with where a girl/woman should be and what she should be doing in that time period. And I really liked that it was not a PSA but a part of the story.

The plot of this really wasn't predictable. Even when I thought I had an idea of where things were likely going, there was always something else thrown in that changed things up at least a little bit. I loved it; it wasn't predicable, but also never had anything that came out of nowhere.

And then-and I'm not saying how to save it-the ending was super amazing and creative and I loved it.

I loved the relationships built in Everlasting, the period accuracy that seemed to be used, the adventure (and suspense), the smart challenging of what was expected out of women then. I hope that there will sometime be more about Camille--either set in the future or maybe even the past--and definitely more from Angie Frazier.


Thank you to Angie Frazier for getting this book sent to me :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday

Sorry if anyone saw this when my 'ctrl' + the wrong key posted it too soon earlier...hopefully I have it right now...after some coding errors ;)

Banished by Sophie Littlefield (October 12, 2010)

How amazing is it that all of these books are coming out right around my birthday? (Hunger, Nightshade, and now this one!)

There isn’t much worth living for in Gypsum, Missouri—or Trashtown, as the rich kids call the run-down neighborhood where sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell lives. Hailey figures she’ll never belong—not with the popular kids at school, not with the rejects, not even with her cruel, sickly grandmother, who deals drugs out of their basement. Hailey never knew her dead mother, and she has no idea who her father was, but at least she has her four-year-old foster brother, Chub. Once she turns eighteen, Hailey plans to take Chub far from Gypsum and start a new life where no one can find them.

But when a classmate is injured in gym class, Hailey discovers a gift for healing that she never knew she possessed—and that she cannot ignore. Not only can she heal, she can bring the dying back to life. Confused by her powers, Hailey searches for answers but finds only more questions, until a mysterious visitor shows up at Gram’s house, claiming to be Hailey’s aunt Prairie.

There are people who will stop at nothing to keep Hailey in Trashtown, living out a legacy of despair and suffering. But when Prairie saves both Hailey and Chub from armed attackers who invade Gram’s house in the middle of the night, Hailey must decide where to place her trust. Will Prairie’s past, and the long-buried secret that caused her to leave Gypsum years earlier, ruin them all? Because as Hailey will soon find out, their power to heal is just the beginning.

This gripping novel from thriller writer Sophie Littlefield blazes a trail from small-town Missouri to the big city as Hailey battles an evil greater than she ever imagined, while discovering strengths she never knew she had. -Summary from Amazon since the coding ate the shorter one I had from the author website & Goodreads

Just from that it seems like a little bit of Playing with Fire meets Charmed meets Stacey Jay's Megan Berry series (in other words, a bunch of awesomeness all mashed up for a new story of amazingness).

Sophie Littlefield has an adult crime fiction series Bad Day for Sorry and Bad Day For Pretty (coming out next month) already. It's about a fifty-year-old woman who, after dealing with her own abusive husband (summary says she 'dispatched' him 'with a wrench' ;)), now helps other woman deal with theirs all the while trying to manage her sewing shop and her life.

The paperback of the first book is out on the 25th & the hardcover of the second is out June 8 (also a great book release day). I'm getting the first one from maybe the library as soon as I finish one or two of the books I already have, but the first bit's up on Google Books--you should look at it!(I think it works for fans of Stephanie Bond, Janet Evanovich, or maybe Janet E Olson's Tattoo Shop mystery books--though I haven't actually read much of it yet.)

Back to Banished, though, as that is my WoW book: There is an excerpt on the YA side of Sophie Littlefield's site, here so you can read more about it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Crispin: Cross of Lead ~ Avi reivew

Crispin: Cross of Lead (Cripsin #1)
Hyperion Children
May 3, 2004
320 Pages
buy @ Amazon

He's spent his thirteen years known simply as Son or Asta's Son for his mother, Asta never called him anything other than 'Son' (remind you of that Dos Equis commerical with 'The Most Interesting Man in the World?). Now, though, with his mother having just died and his father dead his whole life, Asta's Son is an orphan.

After paying the required death tax, he truly has nothing to his name (or lack thereof) even before being falsely accused of a crime and being run out of town to avoid being killed by anyone who might see him. It's during this flight from the only home he's ever know when he is told that he does, in fact, have a real name, one he was given in secret: Crispin.

Declared a 'Wolf's Head' (meaning he's no longer human and can be killed on sight) for the crime he's been accused of, Crispin must avoid everyone he's ever known while on the run. With no real idea where he's going, his only plan is to find a city with lots of people where he won't stand out and find a way to create his new life.

Set in the 14th century, Crispin: Cross of Lead is the first of three books about Cripsin. This first one really introduces who he is and where he comes from (with some interesting and unexpected twists, for sure). There's a lot of history mixed in but not in a way that makes it boring or weighs the story down. The history was an integral part of the plot, from the social structure to the geography to just the way the society worked in the 14th century.

The mixture of characters was really great because they kept the story moving, stayed true to the era (while still being fun, different, and not at all boring), and developed Crispin from where he was at the start to who he was at the end.

It took me a little while to get into the story--to be really invested in it, but it got much more interesting and . . . attention-grabbing after about one third of the book. I am really interested in reading the second book (and the third) to see what happens in it because so much was established in this first book. (Things were also resolved well at the end of the book, though, so that you can read it as a stand-alone book, too.)

While it was an MG/Children's book, some of the word choice made it seem like it fit like it fit better at the top end of that.


(I do think of Jeaniene Frost's series and this series with the name Cripsin, though...)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

This One's For The Girls*

Edgemont's running a pretty great contest over on Facebook celebrating The Cinderella Society's release . . .

All you have to do is become a Fan and post how you're going to be 'extraordinary' for the day. And if you already saw this somewhere else and thought you missed it, they've extended the deadline from the 30th to May 14.

Here it is straight from the Facebook page:

"Do you like these shoes? They can be yours… Celebrate the launch of The Cinderella Society with our “Be Extraordinary” Sweepstakes for a chance to win a pair of designer shoes! Post your plan to be extraordinary for the day on the TCS Facebook fan page between now and May 14. Two lucky winners will be selected randomly on May 15 to receive a new pair of designer shoes! Just in time for prom, graduation and wedding season!".

So, think up some way you can be extraordinary and, who knows, maybe you'll get yourself some free shoes for prom or that wedding you're going to this summer!

*and yes that is a country song having nothing to do with the post/contest but it really is for girls more or less

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Comments & Award

This award is actually way old, but between not using my own computer and then my computers fun 'I hate blogs so I won't open them! Ha!' issue (it's four years old, it's about it's only issue, so I didn't push it) I didn't get it posted until now...

It's from Morgan @ Smitten With Books, though

This award is for those rare and kindhearted followers and friends who leave the sweetest comments and remind me why I love blogging in the first place.

I'll give it back to Morgan, for sure because she leaves me the the best (and most) comments :)

And, honestly, everyone who's kept up commenting at all with the crazy post schedule I've had lately thank you!!!

I replied to pretty much all my even somewhat recent comments meaning I probably re-replied to some :) Sorry if I did that :)

Stolen ~ Lucy Christopher review

Chicken House
May 4, 2009 (UK)/May 1, 2010 (US)
320 Pages(UK)/304 Pages (US)
Buy @ Amazon UK or US

Gemma is taken during a moment alone in the Bangkok airport while on a trip with her parents. They were on their way to Vietnam from their home in England when she stepped away for just a moment to get a cup of coffee and suddenly a young man was there across from her. A weirdly familiar, too old to be a fried, man who knew her name. A young man named Ty who had this all planned.

Ty offers to pay for her drink. Ty drugs her drink and soon has taken Gemma far away to a remote, harsh part of the world where it is just the two of them.

Stolen is Gem's letter to her captor. Her "letter from nowhere."

Because Stolen is Gemma's letter to her kidnapper, it tells the story of her kidnapping and imprisonment from her perspective, but also uses an interesting pronoun. As it's to him and not about him it uses 'you' and not 'he' or his name making the reading very, very interesting. At times it's like the reader is the 'you' in the book, the kidnapper that Gemma is talking to--definitely making for an intriguing go of things. Other times it's as if you're the 'I,' Gem who's been taken and telling her tale.

A slightly paraphrased quote from page 262 in the British version explains it, "I was you...But I was me....too. I was us both."

Pairing that with the story of these two characters and the unique situation they find themselves in and it's one of the most innovative stories I've read.

The interaction between Ty (or usually 'you') and Gem rings so true because the reasoning is there--illogical or crazy as it may be--the same way that it is when you hear about someone being abducted in real life. The back story was well built for both of the characters, the relationship between them made sense (given the story), and the setting really fit--and it all came together to make a fantastic novel.


Cover Twinlettes but Mostly Hunger

I posted my review of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher Thursday...just a few days after I saw this book (how slow to find things am I?), Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler.

As further evidence of my not exactly being super quick to catch on, it took me a little bit to realize Jackie Morse Kessler is Jackie Kessler. And I since I met Jackie Kessler at RT's Book Fair last year (where I am/was not this year like I'd planned D:) I thought now would be a great time for this post...

This post that now has a point: Am I the only one that finds the two covers similar?

Here's the synopsis (via B&
"Come on, Lisabeth," Death said, not unkindly. "It’s time to do your job."

The words didn’t make any sense. "My job?" Lisa said as Death helped her
to her feet. She was a seventeen-year-old high school junior in the suburbs; she
didn’t have a job.

"Thou art Famine, yo," Death said. "Time to make with
the starvation."

Lisabeth Lewis is no stranger to starvation. Her
life revolves around counting calories, constant exercise, denying herself even
the strongest cravings. Lisa is in a constant battle with hunger for control
over her body. When, in a moment of desperation, she almost gives up that
control completely, she is visited by a wisecracking messenger who turns out to
be Death. He offers Lisa a rare opportunity: to become one of the four horsemen
of the apocalypse—Famine.

As Famine, Lisa travels the world on her black
steed, visiting parts of the world where hunger is a painful part of everyday
life. She’s horrified to see her own power destroy crops and turn food to dust.
But when she finds a way to harness her power as Famine and use it for
nourishment rather than deprivation, Lisa finally gains the courage to face her
own problem.

A wildly original approach to the issue of eating
disorders, HUNGER is about the struggle to find balance in a world of extremes,
and uses fantastic tropes to explore a difficult topic that touches the lives of
many teens.
I think Hunger sounds like a splendiferously amazing book, though! Something that, for anyone lucky duck enough to get an ARC, to tide them over during the summer break of a certain TV show that also involves the Four Horsemen and a great read during the return of said TV show for everyone else :D (And again, another fantastic birthday present for me if I can't manage to become a duck!)

So, great cover, amazing synopsis, perfect release week (I may be bias), what else could you want?

(For the record, while I do think the covers are similar I don't think they're identical and I also don't think it's bad....I like the dark colors and lack of photos/people. And Incarceron is pretty much a mega-hit so it's not a bad book to look even kind of close to.)

** Incarceron is out now in hardcover & Hunger will be out October 18 in paperback **
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