Friday, August 31, 2012

Book Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Book One
I became a fan of Barry Lyga after reading his novel, Boy Toy. It's a tale that deals with the sexual abuse of a young boy by his teacher. Lyga told me he received a lot of flack for the book because of the graphic description of the sexual abuse. I didn't have a problem with it as was true to the story and as a counselor, I've heard a lot of cringe-worthy stories from children who were abused. It's real, it happens. Deal with it.

I Hunt Killers deals with another real-life entity: the serial killer. As Lyga was writing the book, I recall him talking about how much research it took as well as how huge his manuscript was.  He got the book deal at around the same time Libba Bray got hers for The Diviners. I couldn't wait to read them both. Check out the description of I Hunt Killers...

It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field.
Except for the body.

Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer, some might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, "Take Your Son to Work Day" was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could--from the criminals' point of view.

And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo's Nod. Again.

As I read the story I felt I was in good hands. I was confident that Lyga had done his homework and I was getting an education somewhat, into the mind and machinations of how a serial killer goes about his business. But this in not just about the ways and means of a killer. Lyga approaches the story from a unique and fresh perspective: the killer's adolescent son, Jazz. It explores the horror of having such a man for a father; how it affects Jazz's sense of who he is and what he fears he will do.

The author fleshed out the characters so well. They each had a unique voice and persona. Jazz's best friend, Howie was laugh-at-loud funny. And Connie the girlfriend...well she made me wonder if the author had a black girlfriend because he was dead-on about the black girl's obsession with her hair! Lol...

I Hunt Killers is an exciting mystery as the reader tries to figure out, along with Jazz, who the newest killer in town is now. When the killer is revealed, I pondered on how the author deftly executed that plot twist. He had me scrambling back through the pages to make sure the killer was who I thought it was. Genius. It was a real study in constructing an intriguing plot.

The story concludes firmly, but is clearly leading to another exciting installment in book two. I can't wait!

I Hunt Killers released April 3, 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness by Lili St. Crow

Book One
Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It offers us the opportunity to profile books we're anticipating reading.I recently discovered an interesting little story that I want to get my hands on. It's called Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness by Lilli St. Crow. The title pulled me in. Let's see what it's all about...

When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven - the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico.

Now Cami is turning sixteen. She's no longer mute, though she keeps her faded scars hidden under her school uniform, and though she opens up only to her two best friends, Ruby and Ellie, and to Nico, who has become more than a brother to her. But even though Cami is a pampered Vultusino heiress, she knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it's not until she meets the mysterious Tor, who reveals scars of his own, that Cami begins to uncover the secrets of her find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now.

New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow thrilled legions of fans with her dark paranormal series Strange Angels. Now she has crafted an evocative update of Snow White, set in a vividly imagined world and populated by unforgettable new characters.

Snow White?! I don't know about you, but this description didn't strike me as anything like the classic Snow White. I guess the Seven has some connection to the seven dwarfs? Now I'm even more interested in finding out what the heck is going on here! Oh, wait a minute. I just looked at the cover again. That has some Snow White sensibilities: the white dress, the red apple...but that's as close as it gets. I wouldn't have made that connection if I hadn't read the description.

What do you think? Now I want to check out the author's Strange Angels series. Has anyone read it?

I've got a bit of a wait ahead of me; the spring to be specific.

Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness releases April 04, 2013 by Razorbill (Penguin)

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Sugar Chronicles (1)

Do you believe in the power of commercials? I didn't give it much thought until now, until said commercials swept me into a pit that I'm now trying to claw my way out of. Are you familiar with the Magnum ice cream bar? The actress, Rachel Bilson runs across the tops of cars in a traffic jam to get to one. I've watched those commercials for the longest time and I guess they were affecting me more than I realized. I went on vacation this summer and saw the bars in a store. They looked so good in the commercial, I decided to give them a try. Bad idea. I loved them. And now I'm hooked. I struggle not to buy them. They dance in my head, tempting me, teasing me, begging me to give them just one more chance!!! Argh!!!!

 I lost three pounds and put it back on because of those darn bars. At between 290-310 calories per bar--depending on the flavor, is it any wonder they're a diet destroyer?--especially if you eat more than one--which I hate to admit I did. Ugh!

I went to the supermarket yesterday and stood in front of the freezer, staring at the bars like a little kid. I managed to walk away...this time.

Toodles, ya'll

And the winner of BUNHEADS is...

It was my pleasure to host this giveaway. As I said before, I love the cover of this book and wanted to keep it just because of that, but I didn't want to deny someone else the chance to read it. It nicely delves into the world of the professional ballet dancer and brings that world to life. Now to the important part! The winner of the lovely BUNHEADS is....


Congratulations, Marce! Please email me with your info and I'll head to the post office to get BUNHEADS your way. Enjoy :-)

The winner was selected randomly using



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Giveaway: BUNHEADS by Sophie Flack

BUNHEADS draws the reader into the professional world of the ballet dancer. The author is a former dancer with the New York City Ballet Company, so I know she drew on her real life experience to pen her tale. It was a delight. The healthy dose of romance added to the joy. Did you know that only particular dancer's can call themselves ballerinas? I didn't. BUNHEADS takes you along in the intimate journey of Hannah...

On-stage beauty. Backstage drama.
 As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.

But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?

The cover is gorgeous. The dancers are arranged like exotic, abstract flowers. I wanted to keep the book for that reason alone, but I have so many books and not enough room. I know someone else will enjoy it.

If you'd like to be that someone, just leave a comment with your email. That is all. The winner will be selected randomly. The giveaway is open to residents of the US, Canada and the Caribbean.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

My thanks to Jill of Breaking the Spine for developing Waiting on Wednesday. It's a great way to learn about new books. I also thank Entangled Publishing for sending me an Arc of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris. Check out the description...

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

I can't wait to start reading this story. I'm curious to learn how the author meshes a modern teen into a world of sixteenth century sensibilities. The cover of the "old world" girl with the backpack is a great dichotomy and I want to know if it works in the literary sense. I also want to see how Cat handles the old creeper sniffing around

What are you waiting to read this week?

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris releases September 18, 2012 by Entangled Teen.

Toodles, ya'll!

Friday, August 17, 2012

What would Bella do?!....

Kristin & Rob when times were good
I sure hope it wouldn't be making the choice that led to the debacle that poor Kristin Stuart finds herself in the midst of. You know, I always saw Kristen as kind of asexual, not exuding any real sex appeal to speak of. If anyone was the sex symbol it was Pattinson, albeit reluctantly. I first heard about this affair mess on that talk show, The Talk, with Julie Chen. Chen read Kristin's apology to Pattinson in which she said the "lip-lock" with her director was a momentary lapse of judgement and a one time thing. I bought it---until I saw those pictures.

It clearly wasn't something that happened once. You'd have to be a fool to believe that. I only posted a few, but some of the shots are so intimate, it's embarrassing to look at. The movie had long wrapped and been released. They had no need to be together. He called her and she hustled herself to meet him. Actually, it was the run-down, shabby neighborhood she drove to that attracted the photographer's attention. He decided to wait it out and see what the heck she was doing in a place like that. He's curiosity scored some major pics and broke up the king and queen of the teen scene.

Kristin & her director, Rupert Sanders
All this makes me think of a MTV Movie Awards interview that Kristin did with Pattinson in 2008. The interviewer asked if she and Pattinson had anything going on. Kristin's long-time boyfriend, Michael Angarano was standing to the side watching the interview. Kristin and Robert looked at each other in a very weird and pained way. I mean, it was striking to see. Robert looked so sad and they both looked upset. I viewed that interview several times to make sure I wasn't imagining things. Nope. I wasn't. I figured they either were really liking each other a lot and couldn't admit it, or they were secretly hooking up unbeknownst to anyone--including her clueless boyfriend Michael. It wasn't long after, that Michael was no where to be seen.
Kristin and Michael Angarano

I felt a bit bad for him. He had dated Kristin for several years and lost out to the hot, smokin' vampire co-star.

I guess Rob knows how he feels now...

Toodles, ya'll

And the Winner of THE RED CHAMBER is...

The winner of The Red Chamber by Pauline A. Chen is...

i heart book gossip!

Please email me with your address, so I can pass it on to the publisher. The winner was chosen randomly using


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Selection for Waiting on Wedneday: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. I learn about way more books than I can ever hope to read through this great resource! This week I'm going for something a little different, at least for me. It's called Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama. Check out the description...

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra's help, Hester investigates her family's strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean - but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

When I look at the haunting cover and read the description, it gives me the creeps. I was fascinated with mermaids as a kid and they're making a comeback. They're the topic of several YA novels, but none has caught my attention like this one. There's an undercurrent of horror brewing. I wasn't even sure if this was YA, but I learned that it is. It has a "something wicked this way comes" vibe. Creepy...

Monstrous Beauty releases September 4, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux


Friday, August 10, 2012

A Chinese DOWNTON ABBEY: Book Giveaway: The Red Chamber by Pauline A. Chen

Hi guys. If you're a fan of historical fiction, I think I have an intriguing book available for you. It's called The Red Chamber by Pauline Chen. There's romantic intrigue, family conflict and it sounds like elements of magical realism. Check out the description...

An epic reimagining of the Chinese literary classic, Dream of the Red Chamber, THE RED CHAMBER tells the story of three women in an aristocratic household in 18th-century Beijing.   Daiyu is an impoverished orphan adopted into the household who falls in love with Baoyu, the brilliant, unpredictable heir to the family fortunes.  Despite his love for her, the family betroths Baoyu to his cousin Baochai, who hides her own desires under a dutiful exterior.  Meanwhile, the young matron Xifeng struggles to protect the family from financial ruin, even as her husband spurns her for her inability to bear a child.  Linking the three women’s fate is the jade, a mysterious stone found in Bayou’s mouth at birth, which seems to foretell a strange and extraordinary destiny for him and the entire family.

If you'd like the chance to receive it, just leave a comment with your email. That is all. Please don't forget your email!

The giveaway is open to residents of the US only. My thanks to Grace, the publicist for making this giveaway possible.

The Red Chamber released July 13, 2012 by Knopf.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it's a great way to learn about new books. This week I can't wait to get my hands on Mila 2.0 be Debra Driza. Check out the description...

Pitched as a “Bourne Identity” type sci-fi thriller about a teenage girl who discovers that she is a Mobile Intel Life-like Android, an experiment in artificial intelligence created by the U.S. government, and her scientist mother, who kidnapped her when she was found to have human emotions.

This is such a fresh and different premise. YA is getting so crowded with stories that are fairly similar. A new idea really stands out--and gets my deep appreciation! And I love that cover--so clean and stark.

Debra is a kind soul. She's incredibly busy with her own career, but did look over some of the pages of my own fledgling manuscript and even offered to read and critique the entire thing. Now, if I could only finish it! Argh!!

Anyway, I've got a wait on my hands. Mila 2.0 doesn't come out until March 12, 2013. Maybe I can score an Arc...

Mila 2.0 will be released by Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)

Toodles, ya'll!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I Have a Confession to Make: I'm Addicted. And It's Not to Love...

It's taken me years to grasp this. I thought I understood it. I thought I had it all figured out, but I was wrong. I was totally off base. I didn't have a clue. I don't want to believe it, but alas, it's true. I'm an addict. Thank goodness it's not to an illegal substance, but maybe this substance should be illegal. It's a hidden killer, it prematurely ages you...but it tastes sooo good. What am I talking about? If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm taking about those white crystals, that smack, that delicious crunch. I'm talking about SUGAR!!!!! It's the bane of my existance.

I need to get healthier. I must lose some weight. Sugar is my nemesis. It stands between me and a lot of bad-ass clothes in my closet. I have to tackle my love of Sugar. I have to wrestle my desire for it and put it in a choke-hold. Can I do it? Honestly, I don't know. I've said yes in the past, but Sugar (Yeah. I'm capitalizing it. I'm personifying it. Um-hum) laughed at me and made me it's slave.

Oh heck. As I'm writing this, a commercial came on advertising a birthday cake flavored limited edition milkshake. I said to my friend, that I'm going to go get one--as I'm writing about ditching Sugar! *shakes head* Pitiful.

Yup. I'm sick. Join me as I try to beat this thing. As the need arises, I'll post about it---I think. I'll call it The Sugar Chronicles. Let's see how it goes...

Toodles ya'll

Friday, August 3, 2012

And the Winner of The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson is...

I'm always happy to pass on good books and this time is no different. The winner of The Name of the Star is...


Please email me with your contact info, so I can mail the book out to you. The winner was chosen randomly.