Friday, September 30, 2011

Expecting a baby? Have a young child or younger brother or sister? Grandchild? If you said "yes", this book giveaway is for you!

Macmillan Children's Publishing is having a lovely promotion of a beautiful new children's book by Nancy Tillman, 'The Crown on Your Head'. The words are sparse and heartfelt, exemplifying the love that one has for a young child. It's a perfect gift for a new mother or a mother that's been in the role for a while. It rekindles that loving feeling of why you gave birth to that bundle of joy after too many sleepless nights and diaper if you're not a mom, if you have a young child in your home or you want to read to your little brother or sister, or grandchild, it's a very special book. Get it and keep it for your future child someday.

...Bestselling author and artist Nancy Tillman has found another beautiful way to celebrate the embraces of our dear ones, and to reassure us, no matter how old or how young, that we are loved."

Learn more about the author here:


The publisher is giving away a copy. If you'd like a chance to receive it, just leave a comment telling me who you plan to read the book to. That is all. Don't forget your email. 

The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only. It ends Wednesday October 5, 2011.

The Crown on Your Head by Nancy Tillman released September 13, 2011 by Macmillan.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Waiting on Wednesday is the weekly post that let's everyone know what are the highly anticipated books. It was started by that brilliant girl, Jill over at Breaking the Spine. I'm letting go of the supernatural this week. I'm casting the paranormal aside and getting real--realistic. I'm going for contemporary YA! It's the latest book of one of my favorite real-life authors: Sara Zarr. Check out the blurb from How to Save a Life...

Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.

Mandy Kalinowski understands what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she's sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It's harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy--or as difficult--as it seems.
Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about the many roads that can lead us home.

I met Sara at a writer's conference last year. She was the keynote speaker. She's a truly talented writer and so down to Earth. Love, love, love her stuff. If you haven't read her books, what in world are you waiting for?! Get to!

How to Save a Life releases October 18, 2011.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Release Day! Book Review and Giveaway: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is the latest novel of National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor. It’s a young adult book. It’s a magical and intriguing fantasy. It’s a love story.
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
The jacket copy is intriguing and it could be just another paranormal story, but Laini  Taylor exemplifies why she is a National Book Award finalist. She takes us into the world of Karou, the seventeen-year-old art student with the ultramarine colored hair—yes. It grows out of her head that color—and her most unusual family. They’re monsters, their anatomy consisting of a patchwork of varying creatures. Karou lives the life of an average student—when she’s not running errands for Brimstone—the closest thing Karou has for a father. Human arms and torso, a ram’s head and claws for hands—that’s what Brimstone consists of. He sends Karou on missions to collect the teeth that he needs. She slips in and out of doors that lead to all parts of the world and all these doors lead back to her family—back to Elsewhere—that is nowhere and everywhere. Karou has tried to make sense of these creatures that have loved and cared for her as long as she could remember. And there lies the problem. Karou knows there are missing components of her life. It’s like waking from a dream and parts fade away like mist, into the ether of the atmosphere, leaving a lingering flavor of a greater substance that is now obscured.
Taylor writes with a lush use of words. They’re lyrical and sweeping. The characterizations are layered and full-bodied. She’s created a fanciful, but intense mythology. Karou shows us what she’s made of right from the start. She deals with an ex-boyfriend in ways that will make you laugh and clearly shows the depth and determination of her character. You know this is a girl that’s not going to give up and the reader is fully engrossed in her journey and her world and what a picturesque and rich world it is. The author has traveled to lush and exotic locales. She has a colorful, quirky spirit and shocking pink hair of her own! Her luxuriant descriptions and original turns of phrase are clear evidence of her creative sensibility.
This is a tale of star-crossed lovers. Karou’s connection to Akiva, the beautiful warrior is a mystery. The truth is shocking. The conclusion of this tale will leave you with a gaping mouth. It must be continued. And will be in the sequel!
The publisher sent me the Arc and the hardcover. I'm undecided as to which one I'm giving away. I'll figure it out by the time the giveaway ends. If you're open to receiving either one and you'd like to enter the giveaway, leave a comment that answers this question: Do you believe supernatural creatures exist? Why or why not? Don't forget to include your email. That is all.
The giveaway is open to residents of the US only this time. If I do decide on the hardcover, that book weighs a ton and I need to watch the postage, folks. I haven't even decided when the giveaway ends. I guess it'll end when I say it'll see. You can enter until I'm ready to pick a winner. I'm telling you. You're going to love this book. It's awesome.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Book Review: A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

A Beautiful Dark is the debut novel of Jocelyn Davies. She’s an editor of young adult fiction and decided to take the plunge into the genre herself. We all know the old saying: don’t judge a book by its cover, but the cover of this novel is truly eye-catching. It’s an enigma. Who is this girl? The background is dark and stormy; the title is evocative of an intriguing mystery. It begs for one to crack the spine and explore.
Skye, the protagonist, age seventeen is living a normal life—sort of. She’s the unrequited crush of a young man that works at the coffee shack, she’s trying to negotiate school and friends and come to terms with the loss of her parents, killed in an accident. Having Mom’s best friend as her guardian is great, but it can’t remove the pain that is always brewing beneath the surface.
Missing parents are a common device in YA fiction to allow for situations that would be a lot more difficult if not impossible if adults were present—at least if you want a credible story or the writer is utilizing irresponsible parents as a plot device. That’s not the case here. The missing parents are an integral part of the mystery. They’re part of a delicious little twist that is essentially only hinted at. I’m hoping to see it explored more thoroughly as the story continues in the next installment.
Jocelyn Davies does a nice job of worldbuilding.  It was easy to fall into that world and visualize that cold, ski-town in Colorado, the crunchy ice and the hot, steaming coffee that await the teens who meet up at the intimate shack. When two hot boys who are diametrically opposed to each other, appear in Skye’s life, things begin heat up—and it has nothing to do with that coffee!
Skye finds herself jockeying between these two strange boys.  Who are they and what do they want? They’re on a mission. Each is familiar with the other and it is clear they despise each other. Skye struggles to understand how she factors into their apparent feud. The author is to be commended for giving Devin and Asher very unique and distinctive personalities. They both had their strengths and flaws and it isn’t clear who the bad guy is or who to root for. Their emotions had depth. The attraction and repulsion they had in their connection to Skye was nicely nuanced.
The ending is a total shock and a huge cliffhanger. This is no stand-alone novel. One must read the next book in the series to get to the bottom of things and I look forward to digging in and finding out!
A Beautiful Dark releases September 27, 2011 by Harper Teen

Thursday, September 22, 2011

And the Winner of Dreamland is....

Thanks for dropping in guys and checking out the giveaway. I won't delay the announcement. The winner of Dreamland is...

Bookish in a Box!!

Please email me with your address so it can be passed on to the publisher. If the winner doesn't respond in 48 hours, another will be chosen in her place.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: INSURGENT by Veronica Roth

Book Two
Book One
Waiting on Wednesday is the meme started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It lets everyone know what are the hotly anticipated books. This week I'm looking at the next book in a trilogy: Insurgent, the second book in the Divergent series. There's no blurb available yet, but according to the author, Insurgent will pick up where the first book leaves off. The factions that were not featured in Divergent will have a more prominent role. I guess that would be Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent) and Amity (the peaceful). Insurgent will also go into Tobias’ history more. Remember him--Beatrice's love interest, the boy who trained her? I tell you. It's a good thing they're not taking too long to publish the next book because I had to look at the first one to remember how it ended!  Roth said the second book is about consequences for the most part. The repercussions of what Tris did, and what Jeanine did at the end of the first book, in particular. Can you remember what Jeanine did? I can't!

We've got a bit of a wait. It doesn't release until the Spring, but I have a feeling that will be here before we know it. So, tell me. Who's in?!

INSURGENT releases May, 2012.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book Giveaway: Dreamland by Alyson Noel

Hey, guys. The publisher is offering one winner the chance to get the third book in the Riley Bloom series: Dreamland by Alyson Noel. Check out the blurb...

"Riley's finding that the afterlife can be a lonely place when all you do is focus on work. So she goes to the place where dreams happen, hoping to find a way to contact her sister, Ever. She meets the director, who tells her about the two ways to send dreams. As a Dream Jumper, a person can jump into a dreamer's dream, share a message, and participate. As a Dreamweaver, an entire dream can be created in a studio and sent to the dreamer. But Dreamweaving was outlawed decades ago, and the studio was boarded up. Thinking it's her only way to reach out to her sister, Riley goes in search of the old studio. There she finds a ghost boy, who's been creating and sending nightmares to people for years. In order to stop him and reach out to Ever, Riley is going to have to confront and overcome her own fears."

Alyson Noël continues the bestselling story of Riley Bloom as she learns how dreams are made and tries to make contact with her sister, Ever.

If you're interested in trying to be the lucky winner, just leave a comment that tells me what other Alyson Noel book you've read and why you like it. If you haven't read any of her books, that's okay. Just say so. Don't forget your email!

The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only at publisher's request. It ends, Thursday, 9/29/11.

Learn more about the author here:
Macmillan page for Alyson Noël: 

Dreamland released 9/13/11.


In MY Mailbox...Publishers have been good to me. I thank them.

It's been a while since I've participated in an IMM meme. I've received some books that I wanted to read so badly, I had to acknowledge them. What surprised me is that some publishers sent me ARCs of the books, then followed up with the hardcover edition. That was very kind and generous of them. I'm certainly going to share the blessing and have a giveaway of either the ARC or hardcover edition of each of these books.
Arcs & Hardcovers

Dystopian Novels

I loved Daughter of Smoke & Bone so much, I had to buy the author's other books! I'm waiting for one more to arrive.

My friend, Jeff published his debut YA novel!


I left this ARC behind in another state by mistake, but it was sent to me! It was just as beautiful in person. A book can be "in person",


Thursday, September 15, 2011

And the Winner of All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin is....

Thanks so much for the great answers you gave in response to the question: what do you love so much it should be declared illegal. It was fun to read your responses. I wish there were more books available so you could all get one. Unfortunately, the publisher is only providing one *sigh*. So, that one winner is...

Congrats. Please email me with your address so I can pass it on to the publisher. If the winner doesn't respond in 48 hours, another one will be selected in her place. The winner was chosen randomly using


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Waiting on Wednesday has come around again. It's a great way to learn about new books coming out and what folks are eagerly anticipating. It was started by the marvelous Jill over at Breaking the Spine. This week, I'm leaving the supernatural behind and going for a contemporary YA. It's called Bunheads. That's a heck of a name, isn't it? publisher put me on to it and I'm intrigued by it. Check out the blurb...

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 author danced with the New York City Ballet from 2000 until 2009. I did some ballet myself as a kid though nothing as professional as the New York City Ballet. My group did perform at Lincoln Center in New York as well as Carnegie Hall, though! Those are awesome memories.

I love the rather abstract design of the cover. It makes me think of some kind of esoteric garden of some sort or lillypads--cool. For years, I wore my hair like that. It drove my friends crazy. People would beg me to take it out so they could see how long my hair was. I always promised to do it, but never did. It's all about the mystery, ya know? Ha ha ha...So, what do you think?  Are there any bunheads in your future?

BUNHEADS releases October 10, 2011 by Poppy (Little, Brown)


Friday, September 9, 2011

A New Dystopian Novel for Your Pleasure: All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zavin: A Book Giveaway

All These Things I've Done is an interesting mix of dystopian and romance set in the future that was just released. Check out the finer details as to what it's about...

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family. 

The publisher is giving away a copy to one lucky winner. To have a chance to receive it,  answer this: name something you love so much, it should be declared illegal. Don't forget to include your email. That is all.

Learn more about the author at these locations:

Macmillan page for the book & author:

Become a fan and see Gabrielle on tour this Fall:


All These Things I've Done released 9/06/11 by Farrar Straus and Giroux

Giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only at publisher's request. It ends Wednesday, September 14.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

And the Winner of HADES is....

Thanks for dropping in guys and a special thanks to those who answered the question as instructed. The winner of HADES by Alexandra Adornetto is...

Sean Anand!!

Congrats Sean. Please email me with your address so it can be passed on to the publisher. If you don't respond in 48 hrs, another will be selected in your place.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel

Waiting on Wednesday posts weekly and let's everyone know what are the hotly anticipated reads. It was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This week I'm interested in After Obsession. Let's see what's being said about it...

Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts, and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other for the first time, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel strongly that something, or someone, is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life - and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney, but everything around her...

Filled with heart-pounding romance, paranormal activity, and rich teen characters to love - and introducing an exciting new YA voice in Steven Wedel - this novel is exactly what Carrie Jones fans have been waiting for. Meet your next obsession.

I wonder if this is written in alternating point of view. Did Carrie Jones write the part of Aimee and debut author, Steven Wedel write the guy, Alan's part?

Hey, guys. Did you notice something in the description? Courtney has invited a demon into her life. Then it says they have to exorcise the ghost! Is a demon and a ghost one and the same? Are the two words synonyms for the same creature? Are you willing to accept this? Or not?! What do you think?

After Obsession releases September 13, 2011 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Book Giveaway: HADES by Alexandra Adornetto

Book Two

HADES is the second book in the HALO trilogy by teen author, Alexandra Adornetto. She's from Australia, but attending college now, down south, in the US. I met her last year at a book signing and had the pleasure of interviewing her (put her name/book in the search section to the right to check that out). I love this series and can't wait to sink my teeth into the second book. Let's get a sense of what HADES is about...

Book One
Heaven Help Her.

Bethany Church is an angel sent to Earth to keep dark forces at bay. Falling in love was never part of her mission, but the bond between Beth and her mortal boyfriend, Xavier Woods, is undeniably strong. But even Xavier’s love, and the care of her archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can’t keep Beth from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell. There, the demon Jake Thorn bargains for Beth’s release back to Earth. But what he asks of her will destroy her, and quite possibly, her loved ones, as well.

The story that Alexandra Adornetto built in her
New York Times-bestselling debut, Halo, comes alive in action-packed and unexpected ways, as angels battle demons, and the power of love is put to the test.                                                                                                               

The publisher is graciously offering the opportunity for one winner to receive a copy of HADES. If you're interested in being that winner, just leave a comment that answers these questions: can you name any other books you've read with demons as a main focus? How about angels? Of course if you haven't read any, that's okay, just say so. Don't forget to leave your email address. That is all.

The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only at publisher's request. Giveaway ends Thursday, September 8, 2011.

HADES released 8/30/11 by Feiwel and Friends (Macmillian)

Learn more about the author here:

See Alexandra Adornetto on tour this Fall:

Macmillan page for the book & author:


Release Day! Book Review: THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE by Jeff Hirsch

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0545290147

ISBN-13: 978-0545290142
Genre: young adult
Subgenre: dystopian
Release date: 09/01/11
The Eleventh Plague is the debut novel of Jeff Hirsh. It’s a dystopian story that follows the saga of fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn. He’s growing up in a new America—what the country has become after a devastating war with China. A virulent stain of the flu—the eleventh plague, wipes out two thirds of the country. Now, the survivors have to forge a new path and make their way in the new world, a world that can be desolate, cold and brutal. Stephen, his father and grandfather scrap by as salvagers, but when the grandfather dies, Stephen’s dad decides to free himself from granddad’s iron-clad influence. It’s a risk he’s willing to take and the consequences change his life and Stephens’s beyond anything they could have imagined.
We’ve all heard the old cliché “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but the cover of The Eleventh Plague immediately captures one’s attention. It’s atmospheric and connotes a world gone wrong, bad. It begs to be opened and the contents within, explored. In the opening pages, the writing is stark and direct, sparse. There is a blunt sensibility to the characters that made me question if they were likable. Would these be characters one could relate to? The answer is a resounding yes.
The author draws one in to take the journey along side Stephen. You are there sharing the emptiness, fear, dread, surprise, the new discoveries and yes, the hope.  It is a fact that many boys are reluctant readers. The Eleventh Plague may be one of the answers to that problem. It’s a young adult novel, but it also has a middle grade sensibility that is sure to captivate younger readers as well.
This is a stand-alone novel, but the premise and ending certainly leave room for a continuation if the author wished to pursue it. His next work—whatever that may be—is eagerly awaited.