Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test #2.5) by Aimee Carter

     Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for allowing me to read this egalley.  Once again Aimee Carter has done a wonderful job in retelling the myths of the Greek gods and goddesses.  She's given them lives and back stories, given us reasons to either sympathize with those we before didn't like, or given us reasons to despise those we used to feel sympathy for.  This is called 2.5, although really it could be categorized as 0.5, as they all lead up to where we start in The Goddess Test.  
     The first story, The Goddess Queen, is about Hera.  In the past I've always disliked her, or felt she was kind of a pain.  She was always so jealous and evil seeming, and even though I knew that Zeus was her husband and cheated on her, she was just always portrayed as a cranky old witch.  But this first story gives you sympathy for her.  As you see how she tries to just keep her power as queen.  She doesn't want to marry Zeus, she is, or thinks she is, in love with Hades.  But eventually Zeus does everything he can to change, and prove to her that he does love her.  And their marriage starts out great.  But soon, he is back to his old ways, and try to fight or prevent it, she does.  And she even tries to overlook and be forgiving, taking in his bastard children and trying to raise them as her own.  But more and more she is betrayed, by Zeus, and even her own sister.  She finally attempts to get the power away from Zeus, and distribute evenly among the original 6 of her brothers and sisters, but instead Zeus finds a way to make her guilty of treason and sends her away, stripping her of her power.  Obviously it is so much more understandable why she became the way she did.
     The second story, The Lovestruck Goddess is about exactly who you think it would be about, Aphrodite.  Again we are given a chance to see her side, to see who she really loves, and to learn that yes, you can love more than one person.  Something I saw a picture of from Eclipse, reminding me of when Jacob said the same thing.  You see the people she comes in contact with, and how she affects their lives.
     The third story, Goddess of the Underworld, is about Persephone.  While you somewhat begin to feel sorry for her, I still feel she comes out as selfish to Hades.  Especially what happens with Hermes.  But again, we get to see how she feels and why she makes the decisions she does.  You again think of Aphrodite as selfish, and see Persephone unselfish in her final love and sacrifice for Adonis.
     The fourth story, God of Thieves, is finally told from a male stand point, that of Hermes, who is James in The Goddess Test.  You now see him as not such a great guy as you thought he was in the first two books.  Even though we don't completely trust him in those, we see other reasons to not like him.  He has also fallen out of favor with the council.  But he has been sent to figure out why certain gods have been fading.  He has a theory, but instead of being able to go to the mortals to test it, he is sent on a mission to just see which other gods and goddesses might have faded.  After he does this though, he sneaks away to the mortals.  There he discovers it is because of a change in religions.  People no longer believe in all of them.  There is one god, or a few, but not all of them.  Before he can get back to save a mortal he has come to care for though, Zeus finds him and takes  him back to Olympus.  So again, a not so happy ending.
     The fifth and final story, God of Darkness, takes us to Hades, who has decided he wants to fade.  He goes to the council, they ask for 100 more years.  And this is the beginning of what will lead to The Goddess Test.  We get to meet the first girl, Ingrid, and watch Hades, or Henry as he is called now, fall in love with her in his own way, even though Persephone will always have his heart it seems.  But then she is killed.  And once again Henry is devastated.  We read about him going through this with all the other girls that we heard about in The Goddess Test, and at the end, we read the beginning of his last chance, when Kate is born.
     I love, love, love how this book ended.  The way it made me feel sympathy and root for Hera, even though I knew as Calliope she would be someone to hate.  You understood a bit more about why Henry is the way he is.  Aimee Carter really knows how to pull out the details and make the old myths and stories more personal, and even in a way that makes sense and seems like it could be real.  I'm so glad this book is here to tide us over until #3, The Goddess Inheritance comes out in 2013.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Desperately Wanting Wednesdays: Second Series Salivations

Desperatly Wanting Wednesday, hosted by Parajunkee's View

Desperately Wanting Wednesday, is inspired by the meme Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Breaking the Spine. But, unlike WOWs, Desperately Wanting Wedneday is not only for releases that I’m waiting on, it’s also for released novels that I just haven’t purchased yet, or might be sitting on my shelf that I want to read, but just haven’t gotten there yet.  
Two months ago, the Tunnels of the underworld came for Nikki Beckett. That night, Nikki's boyfriend, Jack, made the ultimate sacrifice. All Nikki wants is to save Jack before it's too late. All Cole wants is to find his queen - and he thinks Nikki is the one. Both determined, both desperate, Nikki and Cole form a tense alliance, leading them on a dangerous journey to The Heart of The Everneath.

When you're being hunted, who can you trust?

For the first time since she escaped from her school many months ago, Eve can sleep soundly. She's living in Califia, a haven for women, protected from the terrifying fate that awaits orphaned girls in The New America.

But her safety came at a price: She was forced to abandon Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. When Eve gets word that Caleb is in trouble, she sets out into the wild again to rescue him, only to be captured and brought to the City of Sand, the capital of The New America.

Trapped inside the City walls, Eve uncovers a shocking secret about her past--and is forced to confront the harsh reality of her future. When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve attempts to flee her prison so they can be together--but the consequences could be deadly. She must make a desperate choice to save the ones she loves . . . or risk losing Caleb forever.

In this breathless sequel to "Eve," Anna Carey returns to her tale of romance, adventure, and sacrifice in a world that is both wonderfully strange and chillingly familiar.
And finally, one that I've wanted for a long time, I had an ARC of the 1st and wanted an ARC of this so bad, but never got it, so I'm still waiting to get a copy:
One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

"New York Times" bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian "Divergent" series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.


What 2nd in the series books are you desperately wanting?

Monday, June 25, 2012

On Fire: A Teen Wolf Novel by Nancy Holder

On FireOn Fire by Nancy Holder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so excited when I saw that I could email the author and get a copy of this book for review. So I immediately did that, and very soon it came in the mail! So I put it on my next to read list since it had already been published. The reason I wanted to read this book is because I was first introduced to the writing of Nancy Holder from her Buffy the Vampire Slayer novelizations. And I always loved the ones that she had written. She has a way of capturing the characters' personalities and making it feel as if you are actually watching an episode of the show. And to be able to do this with such a well crafted show like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, well, you know what a great author that makes her. Teen Wolf is one of my new favorite shows. While I still love the original movie, and the tv show departs quite a bit from that, I love the characters in the show. Especially Stiles. I actually like him much more on the tv show than I did in the movie. Nancy Holder did not disappoint with this tv show tie-in novel.
Now I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that as I watched Teen Wolf during the 1st season, I would often be playing on the computer, so I'm sure there are a few storylines I missed. But I think this was one of those stories that didn't actually happen on the show, something that could have happened during the times we didn't see. And I liked getting the back story. What the relationship between Derek and Allison's aunt Kate was before. More information about Jackson. And I even like towards the end when Derek's memories gave us a little glimpse into the lives of both Scott and Stiles when big events were occurring in their families.
I have been more careful about what books I give 5 stars to lately. But since I feel this book captures the essence of the tv show so well, like the Buffy books I read by this author, I had to give this a 5 as well. And I really hope there will be more tie-in novelizations, especially done by her!
Oooh, and I just realized, I still need an "N" book for my A-Z Reading Challenge, and since this author's first name is Nancy, I'll use this to fill that in!!

View all my reviews

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer Review and Giveaway!!

I was very fortunate to be able to get a copy of the ARC at BEA this summer.  Actually, I got two copies, and if you read to the end of this post, you'll see a giveaway for this book!  But on with my review!  I know that this is partly getting lots of buzz because of who the author is, Chris Colfer from Glee, but I also feel like it is a very good book.  As I scrolled through the reviews on, I was first shocked to see the average rating was below 4 stars!  Yes, I can agree with those who talked about the length, it is a bit long, but think of how long Harry Potter is!!  I saw another review that mentioned it sounded like it was written by a child.  Well, that kind of makes sense when you think about how long Colfer says he's been working on it! Since he was 10 years old!  I think if it reads that way, it does in a good way, a way that will pull kids in to read it, because it sounds like how they would think.  I also saw a complaint about editing?  Well, since I assume they also have an ARC like I do, yes, I saw some issues too, but that is why it is called an ARC, not a final copy.  And there are my rebuttals to the negative issues brought up.
Now, I have to say how much I enjoyed the book!  I do love a good fairy tale retelling.  There are several reviews I've posted of these types of books, as well as I really enjoyed the new show Once Upon a Time this past year.  In fact, the story in here reminded me a bit of what was going on in the show.  I mean really, as kids, the evil queens and such are just evil.  But what if there is a reason why they became that way, something happened in their past to make them miserable and evil.  While the back story is different in this book than in Once Upon a Time, I thought it fit really well.  
The main characters are Alex and Conner Bailey.  They are twins and almost opposite personalities, Alex is the teacher's pet in a way, she's always answering questions, paying attention, etc.  Conner is the boy in the back of the room, always falling asleep and getting in trouble.  They lost their father, and their life has changed quite a bit as their mother has had to start working more to afford to take care of them.  Their grandmother stops by for their birthday and gives them the fairy tale book they loved being read to from as children.  Only Alex soon discovers that the book isn't just a book, it is a portal into the stories.  And once they fall into the book, they must find a way home, but of course, they have something the evil queen wants as well. And we find out what connection the kids really have to this storybook.  I guessed kind of who the guy who wrote the Wishing Spell journal was pretty soon on, and was glad to see I was correct, but I didn't guess right out who the biggest connection would be.
We get to glimpse all the old fairy tales and nursery rhymes and their characters in the story land.  And one thing I hope, since the ARC didn't have it, is that the maps that Chris Colfer drew and then had the illustrator re-draw for the book are actually in the book.  Maybe on the back of the jacket, or the inside of the cover?  I loved the maps, I love how much work Colfer put into this.  I think it is such a great incentive for students who are already doing the same thing.  Yes, I know it is his celebrity status that got him published, but to me it means that kids can see an example of how what they dream about and work on now can eventually, if they really want it and work at it, become a reality.  I mean I already love his portrayal of the character on Glee for my students to begin feeling more comfortable with themselves in public.  (Not that Glee has anything to do with the book itself, just throwing that in there).
In conclusion, I loved it, I can see it being a big hit, and the way it was left, I can definitely see a second book!  I just hope that Chris Colfer has lots more stories to share from his writing in this magical land!
Now, who wants to win a copy?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sisters' Guide to NYC Cupcakes by Nanette McClain, Nerissa Pinkston, and Nichelle Walters

First I have to thank the 3 sisters, specifically Nanette, as well as for another awesome giveaway that alerted me to this book.  When I saw this book about cupcakes in New York City, right before I was getting ready to go visit my sister who like me loves cupcakes, AND lives in New York City, I had to immediately enter the contest to win a copy.  I also posted in my "review" space on Goodreads about how I really hoped to win since I would be able to use the book when I got to NYC in a few weeks.  Well, I didn't win the contest, but one of the authors, Nanette, who is also a Goodreads author, saw my comment, as well as the fact that I live in Kansas City, where she is from, and offered to send me a copy!  I was so excited!  It came about a week before I left, so perfect timing!  Now unfortunately, my sister was not quite as in to going to as many cupcake places as possible, but we did go to several in the book, and since I'll probably visit her again in November, maybe we can try some more!  So, here is my rundown of the book first, then I'll go through each of the places I visited and what my sister and I thought of them.

I liked the way first off, that the book was arranged.  The Table of Contents listed the different bakeries, grouping them by area they were located in.  Although, the section that was Stand Alone Bakeries did actually have some that were located in the other areas.  I loved all the pictures of the cupcakes in the book! For each bakery it described what kind of cupcakes or other baked items were available.  They gave a description of the building and the area that the bakery was in.  Items that might be unique to that bakery were also listed.  So all in all you got a pretty good feel for each bakery, mostly.  I personally would have a bit of a different twist if I did the book, even though my sister kind of made fun of me for this.  To me, the BEST cake/cupcake, or what proves it is really good, is the plain old white cake with white buttercream icing.  Or, the chocolate cupcake with the white icing.  I know the unique cupcakes are awesome and can really help a place stand out, but I always want to start with my favorite and see if that is great, and then move on to try more exotic or unusual flavors.  This is not a bad thing about the book, just saying how I would put my own spin on it, and how my review of each place will be.

The first place we went was not actually out of the book, but it was on the way to the Javits Center, where I would be going to BEA, it was a restaurant called Burgers and Cupcakes.  The burger was pretty good.  The cupcake was only okay.  It was like a homemade cupcake, the icing was wonderful, but the cake was nothing special, a little dry.

Now, the next place we went was from the book, it was called Sweet Revenge and it was in Greenwich Village.  We set out to see this area, and to have a cupcake here.  It was a cloudy, kind of gloomy day, and it seems like as soon as we sat down in this quaint little shop, it started pouring down rain.  The front of the store was pretty open, so we got to kind of enjoy the rainy day while eating our cupcakes.  As I mentioned before, I had the basic white cupcake with white icing, called the Pure, and it was delicious!  This was a Mexican Vanilla cupcake with Mexican Vanilla icing.  I loved it, the cake was a bit unusual, and the icing was wonderful.  My sister had the Dirty cupcake, which was Valrhona chocolate cake with Dark Chocolate Truffle.  She said the cake was okay, and the icing was rich and delicious!  So our first stop from the book was a success!
The 3rd place we went was called Butter Lane Cupcakes and it was in the East Village.  We were actually heading down there to meet one of my favorite authors, and I consider a friend, Cara Lynn Shultz, at her husband's bar.  So we had dinner at a 10 cent wing place, and were really full by the time we headed over to the cupcake place.  And Cara had texted to say that she and her friend Nancy, a fellow blogger, were already at the bar.  So we had to hurry to get a cupcake.  And we also figured we get it to go because we were so full.  Now, the first thing, by checking in there for the first time on the app FourSquare, we got a free icing shot!!  And let me tell you, their icing is to DIE for!  Delicious! That alone probably made it my favorite place out of the book.  Unfortunately, my sister had the great idea of putting them in the fridge when we got back to her place, and when we got them out the next day, the cake was a little hard.  So, I plan to try this place again, but this time I will eat my cupcake right away.

So next we decided to try the Spot Dessert Bar in the East Village.  We had heard from Cara and her husband that the best cheap burger was at a place close by, so we went for this after the burger.  This sounded really fancy, and when we went in we were seated to be served.  But we looked at the menu and decided it was a little too different of flavors for us.  And so we left to go to another place out of the book.  So another place in the East Village was Pinisi Cafe and Bakery.  I decided to go on the wild side and try a red velvet cupcake.  There were two little chairs right in front of the shop, so we sat there and ate our cupcakes.  They were okay, I just kind of wished they'd had the daily special talked about in the book, as it wasn't necessarily something I just fell in love with.  Again, that could be because it was cream cheese icing, as appropriate for red velvet, instead of my buttercream favorite.  As we continued wandering around the area, we strayed over to what is called Nolita, or North of Little Italy, and walked right by The Little Cupcake Bakeshop.  Since we'd just had the other cupcakes, we kind of just walked in and looked around, and just got a lemonade.  Plus, it was about this time that I was starting to run out of money for my NYC trip, so I couldn't really afford to buy another cupcake.  Especially not knowing how long until we would go home, so I would have been carrying it around for awhile.  But I kind of wish we'd waited to get one here.  The selection and variety was huge!  And so yummy looking!  I think this will be on my list to possibly go try out next time I'm in NYC.

The next place we went to, or tried to go to was called Dessert Club, Chikalicous, but it was packed!!!  So instead we went across the street to the companion place called Chikalicious Dessert Bar.    Now, I was disappointed to not get a cupcake, especially when I saw the PRICES of the fancy desserts here.  I wish my sister had offered to just share one with me, not that it was a huge serving, just the cost was insane, and again, I was getting low on money.  It was a very fancy place, the desserts were prepared right in front of us, by the owner!  I'm glad I had the experience I guess, just wish it hadn't cost so much, and had been a cupcake instead.  We did however go back the next day, and first ate at a Mac and Cheese place, that was yummy!  Then, we went to the cupcake place, Dessert Club.  I think my sister was glad we did, because she had a dessert that she LOVED!!  I had a yummy Key Lime cupcake.

The last cupcake I had was at a place named in the book, but not at that specifically mentioned location.  It was the Crumbs Bake Shop.  It was like walking into a candy store, they did in fact even have candy that could be purchased.  I should have taken a picture, but I only took one of the specific cupcake I chose, which was a cotton candy flavored cupcake.  And it was good.  The icing was wonderful.  The cake was a little dry, but not too bad.  I would definitely order from them again, and my sister had actually gotten an extremely yummy cupcake a while back.

I'm really missing all the cupcake stores now that I'm back home in Kansas City, but I am realizing after talking to family and friends, that there are some more places that I didn't realize around.  So I'm glad to know I won't have to completely go without cupcakes.  So many more in the book still to try, and you should definitely get the book, and go do your own cupcake tour next time you visit NYC.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - BEA Wrap-up!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.
And, I thought I'd wrap up all my BEA stuff by listing the books that I listed before BEA that I wanted to get, that I didn't end up coming home with. Next week I'll hopefully get back to the "normal" Waiting on Wednesday post.  So, here we go!

1.  I was unable to get the Bill Amend book, I did get a poster signed by him, but they'd run out of the books by the time I got there. I'm guessing they didn't bring very many, as the line didn't seem to be quite that long, and he didn't have any left for the 2nd signing!
2.  I didn't get any of the books listed from 2-7 on my list:  Feed, Cursed, Ursula's Prism (never even saw this one, and so wanted it!), The Darkest Minds, Ten Tiny Toes (although I did get another book autographed by the illustrator!), and Gift (think I saw it, but forgot it was one I wanted!!).
3.  I almost would have had to list Frozen by Mary Casanova, but someone from her publisher saw me post about it and sent me a message asking if I wanted it, and I got it on Monday!  
4.  Since I hadn't read the first one, and really was only getting it for a giveaway, I'm not too disappointed that I didn't get Open Heart (Farsighted #2).  
5.  While I did get to meet Ally Condie and get her autograph, it was on Matched, which I did already have a copy of.  Reached is not being published for so long, that they didn't have it ready to hand out, and I guess Crossed is soon to be released as paperback, so they couldn't give us those, and didn't want to do hardcovers.  Which is disappointing since that is the one in the series that is out that I don't have a copy of yet!  Oh well.  Still waiting for the 3rd one!
6.  I saw Skinny, but was unable to get over and grab it.  I didn't see The Great Unexpected, so didn't get it either.  
7.  One I wanted really bad was Breathe by Sarah Crossan, but I was unable to get a copy of it.  I think I wasn't able to get in line because of another line that I chose over that one.
8.  I didn't get in line to see James Dashner because I thought he was just there for The Infinity Ring.  But then I heard later he gave out some short preview chapters of The Kill Order at another signing, and wanted to smack myself for not going to see him!!
9.  Since A Fractured Light was only going to be for a giveaway since I hadn't read the first one yet, I'm not too disappointed about not getting it.
10.  Unfortunately there were no copies available yet of Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick.  We did get to see what the cover would look like, and did get a copy of Hush, Hush autographed, as well as a really cool t-shirt!  And there were two hunky guys shirtless but wearing black angel wings walking around.  
11.  I also hadn't read the series, but really wanted to start it, Truancy City, but when I got in what I thought that line was, it was a different author, one I had heard of, so I stayed and got an autograph, and never saw if this author was anywhere else.
12.  Numbers 25-27 on my list were all for giveaways, so I guess not that big of a deal that I didn't get them:  Glass Heart, Hunter Moran Saves the Universe, and Invisible Sun.
13.  Now I was right in that while Tessa Gratton was there, she was there to promote The Curiosities with Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff, and not The Blood Keeper.  Although she did let me know there was a way I could get a copy of The Blood Keeper!
14.  Another one I wanted really bad was Masque of the Red Death, and I didn't get that one, was unable to get in that line, again because I chose other lines not realizing how bad some lines would get.  I also really, really, really, really wanted to get Insurgent, and I'm not positive, but I think these were both in that same line that I wasn't able to make it before they ran out of tickets.  I think another in that line was Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone.
15.  I think I saw The Geomancer's Compass, but decided to pass it by as I'd found so many other books that day by the time I came across it.
16.  Since I'd already met James Howe before, and the book Otter and Odder wasn't really one I cared to have, I once again decided to skip this line for another one.  Another line I skipped to make sure I hit the main ones was for The Blessed.  
17.  I was hoping to get Prodigy, the 2nd book in the Legend series by Marie Lu, even though I hadn't read the first, but I wanted to!  I didn't get the 2nd one, but did get a copy of Legend, so now I can read it, and decide if I will read on to Prodigy when it comes out.
18.  I think that I saw Throne of Glass but passed it up, again it might have been the end of the day when my bags were really full and I just didn't know for sure if it was a top choice.
19.  I didn't get Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry, but I'm okay with that because I did get the 2nd book in the series which I haven't read yet!  And I did learn from him that he did free Skype visits with schools.  If I could just get a library job, I would so have him do one for my school!  With Rot & Ruin being one of the state nominees, it would definitely be really cool!
20.  I never got to see Melissa Marr either, so no Carnival of Souls.  And the line for Ten by Gretchen McNeil was another one so big, I skipped it to go see an author I had already read their book and knew I wanted to meet for sure.  I do still think Ten sounds really good though!  Since I hadn't read the Angelfire Series by Courtney Allison Moulton anyway, I wasn't too upset to not get a copy of Wings of the Wicked.  
21.  It was very exciting to get to see Walter Dean Myers speak at the Children's book breakfast, but I was unable to see him and get an autograph at any point during BEA, so I didn't get a copy of All the Right Stuff.  I really wanted a copy of Unravelling, but I think the line was really long for that too.  Promised (Birthmarked #3) was really for a friend of mine, and I really wish I could have gotten it, but it was one I didn't even know where to get, never saw it. I also skipped out of waiting for Jane O'Conner's Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth as I don't know if my cousin's daughter would want that anymore.  Lauren Oliver was another author I really wanted to meet, but her book The Spindlers just didn't sounds like one I wanted to read, so I skipped her line.  Another really long line I had to skip was for Jackson Pearce's Fathomless.  I think the Ridley Pearson line was really long too, and maybe even ticketed, but I would have loved to see him for the new Kingdom Keepers V.  Didn't even try for Destined since I hadn't read any of the rest of the series, although I did see it.  The Turning is another one I passed over, forgetting it was on my list!!  
22.  I really wanted to get Cirque de Ole, a new SkippyJon Jones book for my niece Hadley, but I was unable to get in that line without missing some others I wanted.  
23.  I missed out on Shine, but as I hadn't read the series, and it would have been a giveaway, no biggie.  I also didn't get any books by Maria V. Snyder, and there were two I would have liked:  Inside and Touch of Power.  I also really wanted Nightwatcher by Wendi Corsi Staub, but never saw her either.  
24.  I did walk by where R.L. Stine was signing and see him and take a picture of him, but I didn't get in line to get a copy of Red Rain.  I did not get Soul Screamers Vol. #1, but that's okay because I already have it, and I did get Before I Wake which is a book later in the series that I don't have!!  
25.  I did not get Partials by Dan Wells, one I did really want.  I did not get Feedback (Variant #2) by Robison Wells either.  I didn't get Elementals, don't remember even seeing it.  I think I saw Wacko Academy, but decided not to jump into the crazy mess of people grabbing at that booth.  
26.  And finally, I think the Kat Zhang line was a really long one that I missed out on too, so I didn't get What's Left of Me.

Reading back through that it looks like I didn't get very many things that I wanted, but I did get a ton of cool stuff.  Stuff that I didn't even know would be there.  While I missed out on things on my list, I got so many others I didn't know but did want, or hadn't even heard of yet, that it totally made up for it.  The others, well, I guess I'll just be watching my fellow bloggers who went to BEA's blogs for giveaways of them.  :-)  
Did you go to BEA?  Did you get all the books you wanted there?

Monday, June 18, 2012

My BEA Experience

Julie Kagawa and me
Okay, so this is going to be a long one, and I'm probably going to work on it for a few days.  First, let me say what a great experience it was.
 The first day was the Book Bloggers Day.  I don't feel that it was necessarily worth how much it cost.  Although I did get some really cool books, Legend by Marie Lu for instance.  But, I only really got to talk to one author I'd really heard of, or wanted to.  Was so disappointed because I sat at a table hoping to get to meet Siobhan Vivian, but she never made it to our table. One kind of fun and silly thing about my first table though, after exchanging business cards, some of us were tweeting each other at the same table during the speakers.  I did get to meet Julie Kagawa at my 2nd table, and that was really cool!
And I did enjoy the panel talking about relationships between bloggers and publishers.  I learned some good things.  I guess what I'm hearing, I need to make some actual contacts with publishers!  I've gotten lots of egalleys from Netgalley, and I get lots of ARCs from the bookstore where I work or from the Shelf Awareness newsletter.  But I've rarely actually contacted a person for an ARC.  I guess I will try doing that for specific ARCs that I want to read.  In fact, I already have an idea of a couple I want to get over the next year, so I guess I need to start figuring out who to contact!  The highlight really of that day, even more than meeting the authors, was all the great bloggers I got to meet!  I think I got business cards from most of them, and I've gone and followed all of them on their blogs or their Facebook pages or their Twitter accounts.
Cara Lynn Shultz, Nancy, Me and my sister Sarah

Oh yeah, I also got to meet up with one of my favorite authors, Cara Lynn Shultz, that evening at her husband's bar Idle Hands.  Also meet a friend of hers who is also a blogger, Nancy, who blogs at Nancy's Book Blog.

Me and Aimee Carter
Day 2 was a bit more disappointing of a day.  It was the first "real" day of BEA.  At the end of the day, I did go back to my sister's apartment and wasn't sure that I would do this whole thing again.  But all in all, I really learned a lot this day, and it helped over the next two days, and if I do go back, I did learn quite a bit for future reference.  The day started out a little bad for me.  I walked by a booth that had posters and stickers, and didn't seem like a book type booth, but since I'd been told by people who'd been in the past that there was stuff out there for you to take free, I thought I could take one of the cool posters because there was a ton of them!  I didn't get far from the
Rachel Vincent and me
booth before I was corrected, and not only was it not free, you couldn't even buy it, so I was really confused.  Now, two days later, they were selling the posters, so again, color me confused.  I also walked by a booth, that I won't mention by name, because they do have books I like to get from Netgalley, but they were also quite rude about what was being passed out and what they weren't.  The woman told me to come back the last day and I could probably get it then.  I did go back the last day, they said come back later in the day, and when I did, they'd already passed the book I really wanted out.  So, this day was just hugely disappointing.  I also stood in line for Harlequin Teen to meet some awesome authors, Rachel Vincent, and Aimee Carter.  I got to meet some great bloggers while I was in line for what seemed like forever.  But, about 10-15 people in line before me, they ran out of books!!  I was so devastated!  The great thing though, is that Harlequin Teen still let me walk up and get pictures with them.  And even cooler, Rachel Vincent saw my post about being disappointed on Twitter and saved me a copy of her book and left it at the Harlequin booth for me to pick up the next day!  I love Harlequin Teen and their authors are all so great!
Andrea Cremer and me
This wasn't the only thing I missed out on either.  But I'm trying to not dwell on that anymore, it was a lesson learned!  I still barely made it home with two full shoulder bags of books.  Had to take the subway and walk, and by the time I got to my sister's apartment, I had red marks on my shoulders that didn't go away for the rest of the week!  Other authors I met on Tuesday were:  Andrea Cremer, Ally Condie, Gabrielle Zevin, Judith Viorst, and for the 2nd time, Maggie Stiefvater.  Which, I have a story to tell about Maggie, but I'll save it for when read and do my review of The Raven Boys since it has to do with that.
Me and Ally Condie
Me and Gabrielle Zevin
Maggie Stiefvater and Me

Me and Judith Viorst

Chris Colfer
So, the 3rd day I was a bit more prepared,or so I thought.  The day started out really great with the Children's Books Breakfast.  This was something I went ahead and spent a ton of money on, so that I could sit at the reserved tables at the front, and it also said I got to be first in line.  Well, I thought the first in line meant for getting autographs, and since Chris Colfer was there, I was excited to get to meet him.  I also thought that I could do that there, then I wouldn't need to see him at his other autographing time later in the day since that was the same time as another AWESOME group of Harlequin Teen authors all at once.  But once again, I learned my lesson, if it sounds too good to be true, even if it costs a bunch of money, it probably is.  Listening to both John Green and Lois Lowry was also great, they all seemed to joke together with Chris Colfer very comfortably.  And the opening speech by Walter Dean Meyers was inspiring, I loved his quote that "Reading is not optional".  I doubt I'd spend that much again on the breakfast since I didn't get to actually meet the person I wanted to, and I then had to go wait in another REALLY long line to get Chris Colfer's autograph.  And, the line for him was so long they wouldn't let you get it personalized or take a picture with him.  I wish I'd been in line with some of my earlier met blogger friends, they could have taken the picture of me by the table as he was signing so it kind of would look like I had my picture taken "with" him.  But, again, because of waiting in that line, I missed the Harlequin Teen line again.  Well, I did go wait in it, but they said they knew they were going to run out of books before my part of the line got there, so they did give us an ARC, that was cool, and I texted Cara, and begged her to save a copy of her book for me, which she did, because she's awesome like that!  So I got to pick her book up at the same time as I got the one that Rachel had saved for me at the Harlequin booth.  I also got to sit and talk to Cara for a while.  Now, I did have another author I really was excited to meet that I didn't know would be there till almost the last minute, Jonathan Maberry, (who does school Skype visits for free!) and I was able to fit him in right before I got in line for Chris Colfer.  As soon as I figured out it would be a waste of time to continue standing  in the Harlequin Teen line since Cara was saving her book for me, I knew I HAD to go get in line to meet Maureen Johnson.  I do love her books, but I really, really, really love following her on Twitter.  She is sooooo funny.  I open up Twitter on my phone and almost always laugh out loud when reading her tweets.  So I finally got to meet her!  And she and Daphne Unfeasible as she is known on Twitter both recognized my Twitter handle when I told them who I was!  Such a great day!  Other authors I got to meet on Wednesday were:  Becca Fitzpatrick, Bill Amend, Rachel Cohn, and for my friend Kim, Harlan Coben.  I kind of met Eoin Colfer when he came over to meet Harlan Coben, and I had to take a picture of them together, so they posed for me!  My one really big disappointment of the day was that they ran out of Bill Amend's books, and his comic strip is one of my all-time favorites, Foxtrot.  Oh yeah, and I ended up spending money to take a cab home because I didn't want to cart all those books on the subway again, my shoulders still really, really hurt!
Me and Maureen Johnson
Becca Fitzpatrick and Me

Me and Jonathan Maberry

Me and Bill Amend
Rachel Cohn and Me
Eoin Colfer and Harlan Coben

This was the last day.  It was a little quieter day.  Not so many signings to try for, although there were some! The day was mostly over by about 1 pm.  But I stayed till the last bit it seemed, and because I did, I got to meet an author I didn't realize would be there again till the last minute!  First I got in line for Justin Halpern, author of Sh*! My Dad Says, because I love that book!  Not the tv show so much, which he and I did discuss our disappointment with.  After him I got to meet Aimee Carter again, and actually got her book this time!  Then I got to meet Ellen Datlow.  I also waited in line to meet Crissa-Jean Chappell, who I've been a big fan of since her book Total Constant Order.  One of the first ARCs I remember getting and contacting someone to get it.  Plus when I reviewed it, she even replied to my review online!  It was my staff rec at the bookstore for awhile too.  I got to meet Jeff Hirsch and I had just recently finished reading his book The Eleventh Plague.  I got to see Maggie Stiefvater again, along with Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff, who I had seen together in Kansas City last year.  Then I waited in line for Leanna Renee Hieber.  And the surprise author was Mike Mullin!  I loved his book Ashfall because it really felt like it was being told from a boy's point of view.  Perfect to recommend to my boy readers.  And I told him this when I talked to him.  So I did remember to bring a rolling suitcase today, and if I go again, I will bring it every day!  It was a good way to end the convention.  I hope I can attend sometime in the future, whether it is next year or not, we'll see.  But it was a great experience.
Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff, and Maggie Stiefvater
Leanna Renee Hieber and Me
Me and Mike Mullin
Ellen Datlow and Me
Jeff Hirsch and Me
Criss-Jean Chappell and Me
Justin Halpern and Me

I know all my pictures are kind of wonky, but that would be because I don't know how to fix them.  Oh well, hope you enjoyed looking at my pictures and hearing about my experiences.  I'll do an In My Mailbox or similar meme later this week with all the books I got from BEA, and some other ones too.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

I was so excited to finally get to see Aimee Carter at BEA and get this book signed by her!  Instead of moving on with the egalleys I had on my Nook, I read it! And I was in no way disappointed!  In fact, you may have seen several posts from me lately about how the 2nd book in the series, while I found them necessary to move the story along, were not as good as the 1st book.  This book however, I actually think was just as good, if not BETTER, than the first one!  I of course had just downloaded and read the 1.5, The Goddess Hunt, before I started this one, but it wasn't needed.  There wasn't much reference to that in Goddess Interrupted, other than we know that Kate spent her 6 months off with James in Greece.  We start out with Calliope serving her punishment by meeting with one of the girls before Kate, Ingrid, that she killed.  But while she is here, she is distracted by a fog on the edge of Ingrid's After Life realm in the Underworld.  Turns out this fog is Cronus, the King of the Titans, and also the "father" of many of the gods.  As the mythology goes, they trapped the Titans in Tartarus, but now they are trying to break lose.  Which is not good for the gods or for humans!  Kate must rescue Henry, and also must figure out how to help the gods keep Cronus from rising.  But instead of coming home to the husband she is looking forward to getting to know and become close with, she comes home to Henry even more secretive and stand offish.  She keeps trying to get him to open up, to the point where she becomes quite a nag it seems.  In fact, this is the only part that almost kept me from giving it a 5 star rating on Goodreads.  With all the talk of how girls are not being strong and we are romanticizing bad relationships in these books, I could see how people might say this is the type of relationship they seem to have.  I don't agree, but I can see people saying that, so it was one thing that detracted from the book for me.  I loved though all the back stories we got, all the interpretations of the Greek myths.  I had to look some of them up online to see how close the book was coming once again to what I remembered reading.  Persephone comes back into the story, and so Kate's whole family dynamic is played out even more.  And while you want to hate Persephone, like Kate, you can see what happened, and kind of be a bit more sympathetic to her case.  Again, part of what will make Kate such a great queen of the Underworld is because of this empathy she has.  And wow, the end of this book, such a cliffhanger!!! And I can't believe who is the betrayer in this!  I had actually suspected this person a bit in the first book, so for it to be that person in this book, so unbelievable!  And I cannot wait till book number 3!!  Fortunately I do have the 2.5 book in the series, The Goddess Legacy to download from Netgalley!  I'll be doing that soon! And here is my picture when I got to meet Aimee Carter at BEA, even though I didn't get the book till the next day!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Clear Your Shelf June Giveaway Hop

Wow, with just getting back from BEA, I almost forgot I'd signed up for this!  So, to get this done, I have two books I'm going to make available.  I will have two winners.  The first winner will get to choose which of the two books they want, and the other book will be for the second winner.  These are two books that were won from, but either due to time, or interest, they just have still been sitting on the shelves.  They were donated to me by my friend Kim.  So, in order to clear off some of my shelves to put some of my haul from BEA, I'm offering them to two of my followers.  Here is the information on each one:

1.  An ARC of The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, according to

What if—whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished? Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?

That’s what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened—not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.

Kevin Garvey, Mapleton’s new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community. Kevin’s own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster: his wife, Laurie, has left to join the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne. Only Kevin’s teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she’s definitely not the sweet “A” student she used to be. Kevin wants to help her, but he’s distracted by his growing relationship with Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family on October 14th and is still reeling from the tragedy, even as she struggles to move beyond it and make a new start.

2.  Sara's Gift, Book One:  Comes the Crow by Carol Stucki, (YA), according to

Sara Stillsen is fourteen and has a gift for healing animals, but no one knows. She was told she would come into more power in her fifteenth summer. It's becoming more difficult to keep her gift a secret in the small ranching community where she lives. Come follow Sara as she discovers the source of this gift, while trying to keep it hidden from her family and friends, and falls in love along the way. With her spirit guide, a wolf-hybrid named Foxy, and Cherokee mentor, "Uncle Buck," she will learn the source of this gift. The crow is sent to protect and teach her about her gift. Now, at fifteen she must face her biggest decision. Sara will need to choose to continue the path of becoming a healer or walk away and be an ordinary teenager.

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below, and then check out the other blogs participating on the list below that for other great giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test #1.5) by Aimee Carter

So, I was getting ready to read my brand new autographed copy of Goddess Interrupted from BEA, when I saw something on the bookmark I got with it about this story.  And I know that you don't usually HAVE to read the short stories set in between the novels to keep up, but I decided to go ahead and quickly download the $1.99 e-book on my Nook and read it before I jumped into the next full length story.  This was an interesting and short look into Kate's world in the 6 months after she's married Henry (Hades), and has been sent out into the world to have experiences before she spend her first 6 months with Henry ruling the Underworld.  In it, she's taken off with James (Hermes), to do some sightseeing, and of course the first, and most likely place they visit is Greece.  James seems to have a plan though when he takes Kate and they get "lost" on a hike in the woods. It is here that they run into Castor and Pollux, who are on the run of course from the other gods.  See, one was immortal, the other was not, and they wanted to share the immortality, but Zeus, now called Harold, tricked them, and said while they could share, one would be on the surface, while one would be in the Underworld.  And the thing was that they had wanted to be together!  So Pollux has broken Castor out of the Underworld.  Well, James has always been nice to them, and so he seems to want to just visit with them.  But instead, they end up running into other gods.  I think the point of this little story is to give us a look into how Kate will rule the Underworld.  As we saw in the first book, The Goddess Test, she doesn't agree that the way the council of gods often rules or makes their decisions makes sense.  Henry learns that he doesn't want to lose his wife, and that her decisions are a fresh, new outlook that is probably needed in their world.
I read this really quickly, and moved on to Goddess Interrupted.  I have to say that what I am really liking about these books is that they are doing the same thing that the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan did in a way.  As I read about the stories of the gods as told by Aimee Carter, the author, I am having to go back and look up the actual myths to see how close the interpretations are.  And I love that!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

End of BEA Thoughts

Well, overall, BEA was a great experience.  I got to meet a lot of great authors, and talked to some really cool publishing companies.  I did have some experiences, waiting in line and being told 10 people before me that they'd run out of books, not being allowed to take books and being told to come back later, then those books were given away, that didn't make me too happy.  But I have learned how it works, and by the final day I pretty much made the main things I wanted.  So if I go again, I'll be a bit more prepared.  I am also exhausted, and honestly, haven't had much time to actually READ during the show.  I thought I'd be able to read while waiting in line, but most of the time I was surrounded by other awesome book bloggers and lovers, and so had lots of great conversations with them.  I will do some actual posts about who I met, and the books I got, but more of that will happen when I get home from NYC and can sit down in my own house and get unpacked, etc.  I have decided though, that I probably don't need to buy any books for quite a while!!!  I'm already a little stressed about how I'm going to afford to send all the books I did get home.  Hoping I can get that done for under $50, because I've got to have enough money to last till Wednesday before I go home, then I don't get a paycheck from the bookstore next Friday since I didn't work at all this week.  It'll be interesting to see how cheaply I can live!  Here are the pictures from each day of the things I got.  The only thing not pictures is my copy of Goddess Interrupted as I forgot to put it in the day 3 picture when I was talking it.

Stay tuned for more detailed reviews of the conference, including lists of books, and pictures of authors I met.  Also, the cupcake adventures I've had, and will continue having for a few more days!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Test (Goddess Test, #1)The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't know why I waited so long to read this, but I'm glad I finally did. I really enjoyed yet another take on the after life, as well as the Greek gods, or Olympians. Basically Kate is our main character, and Kate has just moved to the town of Eden, where her mom grew up. The whole moving thing is s good starting point for a lot of stories it seems. Her mom is sick, dying really. Kate knows there is little time left, so even though she loves living in New York City, she agrees to go with her mom to Eden, to let her end her days in the town where she grew up. Now, of course, things seem to start happening, weird things, right away. One night she almost has a car accident, and sees a very handsome teenage boy at the scene. At school, this one guy, James, who is cute, but kind of eccentric, immediately comes up and starts talking to her, even though she doesn't give him any encouragement. Then, one of the more popular guys seems to take notice of her, and his girlfriend, Ava, doesn't seem very happy about it. She calls Kate and tells her if she'll come to this big party this once, so that the guys can all meet her, she'll leave her alone. Kate agrees, just to get this girl out of her hair, because she seems to be like a mean girl. The girl comes and picks her up, and takes her out by this big mysterious mansion, near where Kate had seen the mysterious guy. She gets her to a stream, then says Kate has to swim to get there, or basically just tells her it's a big setup. But, Ava hits her head when she jumps in the water, and even though Kate is scared of water, she jumps in to try and save her. Well, Ava is dead, can't be saved. But the mysterious guy, Henry, shows up, and offers to save Ava, bring her back from the dead, if only Kate will agree to come live with him in the estate/mansion, and to read up on the myth about Persephone. She agrees, not thinking it is real. So then the next day or so at school, all of a sudden Ava is back and wants to be best friends with Kate. Which seems weird.
But when Ava dies again, because Henry says if Kate doesn't come with him he won't be able to keep her saved, Kate goes to the mansion to beg for Ava's life. Not to mention that as this all happens, Kate's mom goes into a coma and is at the hospital. So of course, Kate also wants to save her mom. Henry says at this point it is too late to save Ava, but he can give her a chance to say goodbye to her mother instead of her passing away in a coma. So of course, Kate agrees again. James, the cute guy from school, warns her not to give in, but promises to keep an eye out for her mother while she is gone.
Once Kate is at the mansion, she learns about tests she must pass, and what she is expected to do with this deal. She also learns that Henry's "life" is on the line if this doesn't work,and that Henry is Hades, and that all the other girls before her, didn't even make it until Christmas time from the start of fall without dying or not passing.
I really liked the book. I liked the story, the way Kate dealt with all that happened, as well as how she came about her feelings for Henry. Kate had so many familiar faces show up as the Greek gods, within the actual story, before you or she knew they were, and then at the end, an even bigger surprise, which I kind of had figured out from the little "prequel" chapter at the beginning. Really, good, can't wait to read on, kind of sorry that I didn't bring the 2nd book with me to NYC this week to read now!

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