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Friday, April 29, 2011

Video Contest!

Hey all!  So, exciting new contest starting.  It’s a video contest!! (yay!). 
Wanna win some awesome prizes?!
Here’s what I’m offering:

Also, I’m going to be giving away some cool swag.  So all of this is going to go to one winner.  Wanna know how you can be that winner?
Here’s what you do:
Make a book trailer of your favorite YA book.  You can send me the video – or a link to it if you upload it to Youtube or what have you – at thebookheist(at)gmail(dot)com
That’s all.  I’ll pick which video I’ll like best, and that’ll be the winner! 
Contest ends May 29, 2011 at midnight.

Book Review: Secrets and Shadows by Shannon Delany

Title: Secrets and Shadows

Author: Shannon Delany

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Publication date: February, 2011

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the second in a series

Softcover: 320 pages

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: I already read the first book in the series, 13 to Life (and loved it), so I knew I needed to continue reading the series.

Synopsis:

Nothing’s simple when you run with werewolves. Jess Gillmansen thinks she’s seen it all but her eyes are about to be opened to even more danger and a reality far more paranormal than she’s suspected. With Jess’ realization that the Rusakovas’ mother is still alive and imprisoned, the group’s choices become harder and trust more important. Lines are drawn and relationships change as the broken Rusakova family struggles to reunite to free their mother – and those who Jess thought to be normal people show themselves to be much, much more…

Review:

I really love the 13 to Life series.  I actually haven’t read too many books about werewolves (compared to the vampire books).  I really love how Delany delves deep into the lives of the Rusakovas, making them seem like actual people instead of just werewolves.  I also love the relationship between Pietr and Jess.  It seems like they are friends before they are anything else, and that understanding is what really makes the story sweet and relatable.  The only problem I had was with Pietr dating Jess’s sort-of-friend, Sarah.  Even throughout the story when things started changing between them, Pietr allowed Sarah to kiss him and hang on to him.  I felt as shocked and hurt as Jess!  Besides that, I don’t want to say what else I had a problem with, because it contains some spoilers.  Overall, I really loved this installment in the 13 to Life series, and I can’t wait for the next one in August.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Contest Idea

Hey all!  I’m thinking of hosting a new contest, and I want your opinion on my idea.  I want to have a book trailer contest, where you pick your favorite book, and make your own trailer for it.  It doesn’t have to be spectacular–you don’t even need to be a computer wiz.  I just want some awesome homemade trailers, and the one I like the most will win some awesome prize. 
What do you think?

Book Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Title: Hourglass

Author: Myra McEntire

Publisher: Egmont USA

Publication date: June 14, 2011

Hardcover: 400 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Seriess–this is the first in a series.

How I got this book: ARC from Egmont USA

Why I chose this book: I thought the synopsis of this book sounded excellent.  I didn’t orignally know that this book would involve time traveling, but I’m so glad it did.  It really gave a new atmosphere to the story.

Synopsis:

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Review:

I really couldn’t get enough of this book.  I read the entire thing in one sitting!  It, in all seriousness, took up my entire day.  I probably shouldn’t have done that, but it was too addicting!  The plot, the characters, the writing style…Myra McEntire captivated me. 

I liked that Emerson, the protagonist, was a believable badass.  Too many times authors try to create a strong main female character, and the only traits that make her strong is that she hits people.  Yes, Emerson flipped Michael, the other main character (and hottie), over her shoulder…But there’s more that makes up her “strongness” as well.  I also love the name Emerson.

The concept of time traveling isn’t entirely overwrought in the YA genre.  Though it is becoming popular, McEtnire is releasing her book at the perfect time to join a new revolution.  Dystopia, look out, Time Traveling is coming to take your place! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Title: Halo

Author: Alexandra Adornetto

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication date: August, 2010

Hardcover: 496 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the first in a series

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: I love reading books about angels.  (I’ve been in an angel penchant lately).  I’ve had this one sitting on my shelf, unread, for a while.  I finally decided to crack it open.

Review:

The Cover: I really love the cover of Halo.  I think it’s beatiful.  I also love that the
figures shown are only silhouettes, and nothing more.  It gives the reader more freedom
to imagine the characters the way they choose.

The Characters:

I have a hard time connecting with Bethany.  She’s the protagonist, and an angel, so
maybe that’s a good thing.  But sometimes I find myself angry with her–especially
since she cries so much.  Other than that, I really admire her purity and sense of
mind.

Xavier Woods infuriates me.  He doesn’t act like a typical boy.  This can be a good
thing, but it can also be a bad thing.  Sometimes I found his attitude too atypical and
just unbelievable.  But he is a likable character who can easily influence your emotions.

One of my favorite characters was Gabriel.  He was aloof, almost cold, and not at all
how I would expect an angel to be.  But the way that Adornetto describes him, and
relays why he commits such actions makes so much sense.  I found that I was really
feeling for Gabriel throughout the book.

The Story:

We follow the great love of Bethany Church – angel – and Xavier Woods –
regular boy – as they go against fate.  I had a hard time beliving how fast these two
fell in love at first, but I do think that what they feel for each other is all encompassing
and admirable.

But I also felt that this stories was at times unbelievable and fake.  Don’t get me
wrong, I liked it, but it felt like it was already done.  Like I’ve read the story before. 

Now that I’ve wrung that sheet dry, let’s move on to the good parts.  The characters
are all different, and had their own personalities.  I felt like I got to know everyone
very well.  I feel that if, by the end of the story, I can remember most of the
characters first and last names, then the author did a good job characterizing them. 
The love portion of the book (besides it moving so fast!) was amazing.  I felt my heart
pumping faster with each word as the characters got cloer together.

Overall: I really liked Halo.  I will be looking for the future installments.  The next one
to come is Hades.

Spare Thoughts: Towards the end of the book, I was a little dissappointed with the
action seens, and found myself skipping paragraphs.  There is a lot of description
throughout the book.

Final: Halo is thought-provoking.  I would rate it 4 stars.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Expo America

So I have the amazing opportunity to go to Book Expo America this year. (BEA for short.)  If you’ve never heard of BEA, it’s one of the biggest gatherings of book lovers/authors/publishers/everything to do with books in America.  There are over 500 authors there signing their books.  I can’t wait to go–May 24-26!  Some authors that are going to be there are R.L. Stein, Mary Higgins Clark, Sarah Dessen, and so many more!  While I’m there, I’m going to be giving you a day-to-day detailed access point via my website.  Once I have more information I’ll let everyone know, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book Review: Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

Title: Lost in the River of Grass

Author: Ginny Rorby

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Publication date: March, 2011

Hardcover: 255 pages

How I got this book: E-galley from Netgalley

Why I chose this book: I’m not exactly sure why I chose this book.  I’ve never come across a book that proclaims to be about fighting for your life after taking an air-boat for a side-trip, so I thought, “I’ll give it a go.”

Synopsis:

A science-class field trip to the Everglades is supposed to be fun, but Sarah’s new at Glades Academy, and her fellow freshmen aren’t exactly making her feel welcome. When an opportunity for an unauthorized side trip on an airboat presents itself, it seems like a perfect escape–an afternoon without feeling like a sore thumb. But one simple oversight turns a joyride into a race for survival across the river of grass. Sarah will have to count on her instincts–and a guy she barely knows–if they have any hope of making it back alive.

Review:

Original, refreshing, addicting, I loved it!    What I really loved is that there are mainly only two characters that the story focuses on.  It allows the reader to really see the growth of the characters and how they change in dynamics.  We follow Sarah and Andy as they sneak away from a school fieldtrip to take an unauthorized ride on an airboat.  But things soon turn awry, as we’re left with the mystery of survival.  I couldn’t put this book down.  I started reading it in the afternoon and didn’t put it down until I finished in the wee hours of the morning.  I would reccomend this book to readers of any genre.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinks

Title: The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group
Author: Catherine Jinks
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books

Publication date: April, 2011

Hardcover: 416 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone

How I got this book: E-galley from Netgalley

Why I chose this book: It looked funny and interesting.  I hadn’t had a chance to read The Vampire Support Group, but I wanted to read that as well.

Synopsis:

When Tobias Richard Vandevelde wakes up in hospital with no memory of the night before, his horrified mother tells him that he was found by the police. At Featherdale Park. In a dingo pen. 
 
As if that isn’t weird enough, suddenly a very menacing looking guy and a priest show up at his door. 
 
As the mystery unfolds, Toby finds himself keeping company with some very strange and sickly looking people – members of a suburban vampire support group. And when he’s abducted in broad daylight, he will need all their help to break free … and to come to terms with his own incredibly rare condition.

Review:

Interesting, funny, and a new spin on this whole werewolf debacle!  Toby Vandevelde is a wonderfully bizarre character that I had fun reading about.  One thing about this book is that it is appropriate for younger readers as well as young adults and adults.  Everyone will love it.  Though I absolutely loved MOST of this book, I had a little problem with the ending.  It seemed unconnected to the rest of the story, as if it were just a filler to finish up the required word count.  Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t take away all the praise I gave earlier.  I would definitely recommend this book.  Also, I would recommend the Vampire Support group as a previous or follow up read. 

Book Review: Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish

Title: Savannah Grey

Author: Cliff McNish

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Publication date: April, 2011

Hardcover: 266 pages

How I got this book: E-galley from Netgalley

Why I chose this book:  I really love the cover.  I also thought that the synopsis sounded interesting and new, and I was really anxious to read this book and see what it was all about.

Synopsis:

Savannah Grey needs to keep moving. She doesn’t know why, but she can’t let herself get tied down by too many people. It’s almost like she’s being chased by something. And now something strange is happening with her neck–with her throat. Savannah Grey never thought she’d meet someone like Reece–a guy who seems to understand her. He even knows about her neck. The same thing is happening to him. It’s as if their voices are becoming weapons, warming up for some kind of attack. Savannah Grey has no idea what might be chasing her or why her voice suddenly feels like the most powerful weapon on the planet, but she’s about to find out. Nature is preparing for battle with the universe’s ultimate monster. The time to fight is almost here. The weapon is Savannah Grey.

Review:

Cliff McNish’s Savannah Grey is a haunting horror story.  I really must say that this story is quite original.  I’ve never read anything like it on the YA market.  I also loved the Monsters McNish created.  But on a different note, I’m note sure how much I liked the story overall.  I thought the pace of the story was a little slow, and it took me a while to get into the story.  It’s not something I would re-read. (I love re-reading books.  Especially Sarah Dessen).  It has some quirks in it that I think need worked out before I would recommend it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Review: Son of Eden: Tales of the Guardian by Brianna J Merrill

Title: Son of Eden: Tales of the Guardian
Author: Brianna J Merrill
Publisher: Night Writer Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: January, 2011

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the first in a series

Softcover: 314 pages

How I got this book: Sent to me from the author.

Why I chose this book: After reading the synopsis of this book, I was excited to start reading it.  It really seemed like it could turn out to be exciting and original.

Synopsis:

Imagine a moment of unseen intervention on your behalf. What would you do if you discovered invisible beings surrounding you? What if you were the key to their survival? SON OF EDEN introduces a world where unseen beings really do exist, love has no limits, and the realization of one’s self worth is pivotal. Tormented by sadness over her mother’s death, Emily Wallace wonders if life really has any purpose. Her question is answered when she meets Alexander. Transgressing the laws of his kind, Alexander reveals his true nature to Emily and the two find life without one another is not an option. But, forming such a cosmically unique relationship comes with a price. It becomes apparent that some will stop at nothing to ensure an ancient prophecy surrounding these two is never fulfilled. Is the Opposition motivated by the knowledge of Alexander’s true identity? Or, are they more concerned with who Emily is destined to become?

Review:

Addicting, yet frustrating.  I really loved the ideas woven into Merrill’s Son of Eden.  Alexander stole my heart with his proclomations of love and his overwhelming compassion.  Amd while I enjoyed Son of Eden, I couldn’t help but think of it as unfinished.  I think it would be a good first draft, but it needs some changes.  My major problem was how quickly Alexander and Emily fell in love.  Since Alexander is Emily’s guard, I can understand his love.  But Emily’s…not so much.  One thought I had continuously throughout the book is that I think it would make a wonderful play.  I will definitely be reading the next installment.