Friday, May 31, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday 2013 #4

Feature and Follow Friday is sponsored by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  The purpose of this event is to learn about the two featured bloggers each week, as well as to increase your own blog following by joining in on the fun!  Looks like I've been kind of lax with this meme this year.  Yikes!  Here's to participating more often now that school is out for the summer!  And now, this week's question:

Q: What blogger would you most like to meet in real life? Tell us about him or her.

So, this is a REALLY hard question. Because honestly, I would love it if I could meet ALL my blogger friends that I follow, or that follow me, or both, at some point.  And I've gotten to meet several, first at BEA last summer, then at RT Convention earlier this month.  I think, to go along with this event, I'm going to say that I really would love to meet the hosts of Feature and Follow Friday, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read!!  I've followed them both because of FF, and how they bring us bloggers together through this is just an awesome thing!  One other blogger I'd love to meet because of how much she does for bringing other bloggers together is Kathy at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.  She was so busy last year with some kind of giveaway, or two running pretty much every day of the year!  She's taking some time off this year, and I say it is well deserved!  Oh yeah, and I'd also like to meet Mary at Bookhounds, because she is a dachshund lover like me!!

How about you?  What blogger would you like to meet?  Or maybe who are some cool bloggers that you have already met?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Shade of the Moon (The Last Survivors #4) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  This week I've chosen a book from a series that I've read this year with my students, one that I read originally for a state book award, and used to read with students in an enrichment class several years ago as well.  The first book was Life As We Knew It, and that is the book we read.  Because of talking about this, the other teachers reading this right now also heard about how there is going to be a 4th book in the series.  Without further ado, here is the blurb from

The eagerly awaited addition to the series begun with the New York Times best-seller Life As We Knew It, in which a meteor knocks the moon off its orbit and the world changes forever.

It's been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?

Now, while I am very excited to follow these characters and see what has happened next, my fellow teachers and I have one problem with this.  Jon was a baseball player, so, how is soccer now his thing?  Speaking of which, that is a question I need to email the author and ask!  Other than that one thing, I'm very excited to read on, and if you haven't read this series yet, you should go ahead and get started so you'll be ready to read this when it comes out this August.

So tell me, what books are you eagerly anticipating this week?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber

I got a free copy of this book last summer at BEA, when I also got to meet the author.  I'd been interested in this book for a while even before that as it sounded very interesting, and was a new type of story compared to what was out there.  And of course, what a beautiful cover!
The main character is Natalie Stewart.  Natalie has been mute since her mother died when she was a young girl.  There is no reason she can't talk, she just doesn't.  Her father has decided to go ahead and bring her home from a school for the handicapped, where she really doesn't fit in, as there is no medical reason for her not to be able to talk.  Once home there is a painting of a Lord Denbury that there seems to be some mystery over, and it is coming to the museum where her father works, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.  After hearing the story about it, and seeing the picture of the painting, Natalie is drawn to him, and asks her father for a job at the museum.  He finds one for her, working with paperwork and sketching, etc.  She meets Mrs. Northe, who is really considering buying it.  In the end, she does, and donates it to the museum for safe keeping.  Only Mrs. Northe is a bit more than she seems.  She knows about psychic things, and sees that there is something going on between Natalie and the painting.  The first time Natalie is alone with the painting, something changes in it, and Natalie is not the only one who notices.  There also seems as if Lord Denbury, who is thought to have committed suicide, has an identical twin in NYC.  Although, not quite identical, he has very evil looking eyes, and is not the gentleman you would expect the Lord to be.  Once Natalie gets involved in the whole scenario, which includes a trip into the painting itself to actually meet the Lord, and fall in love with him, she soon must put her life on the line to try to save other women, as it seems there is evil surrounding the painting.  And if she can solve this mystery, and somehow reverse the curse, maybe she can bring Lord Denbury out of the painting, and they may have a chance together if that can happen.
A fun mystery story.  I loved hearing about the places in NYC, as I've been to the city, and now am always curious when I hear about certain places.  Definitely a fun, different type of paranormal romance.  I'll be sure to continue the series as time permits!  Also, here is the picture of me with the author:

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

I've been interested in this book since I first saw it at the bookstore.  I remember I started reading it one day when I was working at the cash register.  And it was a page turner!  I mean the story doesn't sound interesting, the way this author told it, or maybe just because of what the story is, it actually is very interesting.  There was a lot of science in it, but I feel the author did a very good job of explaining those things, which  makes sense because the family in the story didn't even really understand most of what was actually happening.  And that is probably part of what was so fascinating about the story.
Henrietta Lacks was a poor black woman who found out she had cancer in the 1950's.  At that time there was still a lot of segregation.  In fact she had to go to the John Hopkins hospital because of her skin color.  The doctors took some of the cells from her cervix to see what they were, and of course they found that they were cancerous.  As doctors do, they kept some.  Soon one doctor, George Gey, discovered the unusual qualities of these cancer cells.  They grew and stayed alive outside the body.  Which up to that point, had been impossible in almost every single case they had tried.  The cells were named from the first two letters of the patient's first and last name, and so they became called HeLa.  HeLa cells are so well known in the science community, and for the longest time, no one knew who they came from.  You see, at that time, lots of research occurred without the patients ever knowing they were a part of it.  This is one of those cases.  The things that HeLa was used to help, creating a Polio vaccine, etc., the list is long and amazing.  Where these cells have been, the fact that they are still alive and growing more over 60 years after Henrietta's death, well that is only part of what was so intriguing about this story.
Henrietta and her family themselves are an interesting group.  The things they've suffered through, the things they've overcome, it was very worth reading.  The family had been left out of the loop, had no idea exactly what was going on.  When doctors came back to take blood samples from the rest of the family later on, the family assumed it was to see if they carried the cancer she had.  In fact, the daughter, Deborah, was so scared when she got close to the age when her mother died, that she even started calling trying to find out the results.  But that hadn't been what they'd taken the blood for.  And so of course, they didn't have those answers, and had no record of any test results for the family.  Later on they even had a con artist say he was trying to help them get what they deserved.  This family without much education heard things from him about how their mother's cells had been cloned, or combined with plant cells, or animal cells, and they thought there were actual clones of her walking around, or hybrid creatures that meant Henrietta must be suffering.
So when the author of this book, Rebecca Skloot, tried to get in touch with Deborah, and other members of the family, she had a really hard time getting them to trust her enough to even talk to her.  And even then, one small thing could set them off and make them again lose trust and decide not to talk to her anymore.  The journey of this family, Henrietta's cells, and the author to find and share this story is one worth reading.  I read this while on vacation, and it didn't feel like I was reading something for school, it was like reading a fascinating biography.
If you have any interest in science, or biographies, or even of  how medical issues have changed, this is a book that I think you'll find as intriguing as I did.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

I finally gave in and purchased this book at the RT Convention the first weekend of May.  I'm glad I did.  It was a good read, and definitely a good change from all the dystopian I've been reading lately.  This book reminded me a lot of RL Stine and Christopher Pike type of stories.  Which are good scary stories!  It also reminded me of the movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer.  Not quite the same thing, but definitely it could make a good horror movie.
The main character is Meg, she and her friend Minnie have been invited to a party at the island house of one of the most popular girls in school, that Minnie used to be friends with before Meg came along.  When they get to the island, Minnie's ex-boyfriend's best friend, TJ,  is there to greet them, along with a guy named Ben, who may be the popular girl's latest guy.  But Minnie doesn't seem to care, as she and Ben hit it off right away.  Part of this is because Minnie is trying to make TJ jealous.  See, she's always wanted TJ, even dated his best friend, Gunner, for a long time trying to get TJ's attention.  During that time Meg and TJ became pretty good friends, and Meg began to like TJ, as well as he seemed to like her as well.  But, because of Minnie's crush, Meg had to turn down an invitation to go to Homecoming with TJ.  It seems however as if TJ might still be interested though!.  They get to the house, after walking by another house which seemed to be having quite the party themselves!  There are 6 other people at the house, Vivian, Lori, Gunner, Kumiko - Gunner's new girlfriend, Nathan, and Kenny.  And when a raging storm kicks up, it seems they may be stuck there without the rest of the people coming.  They decide to watch a movie, but all the DVD cases are empty, but one, and it says "Do Not Watch".  Of course they have to watch it, and on it is a mysterious video, showing a countdown from 10-1, and confusing poetry and images, and a menacing message.  Then the power goes out.  The phones are also out because of that, and of course there is no cell phone service.  Meg thinks maybe the internet will work, and goes to test it, but just as she begins to get online, that goes out too.  At dinner, one of the boys, Ben, begins to choke they think, but then they find out it is an allergic reaction to some nuts that somehow made it into the salad.
Feeling spooked and worn out, and having nothing to do with the power out, they all go to bed early.  Meg and Minnie have got the really cool room up in the tower.  Meg thinks she hears someone running barefoot and it wakes her up, so she goes out and sees a body hanging from above.  It looks as if Lori has hung herself.  And there is a suicide note, but something seems off about it.  With no way to contact the police, or get off the island due to the intense storm, the rest of them are stuck in the house, where a wall now has a huge blood red slash.  As one more is found dead, and another, more slashes are added to the wall.  They now must figure out if it is one of them doing the killing, or if there is someone out there trying to exact revenge, and if so, what for?
As I said at the beginning, this was very good.  While I could kind of guess what might happen next, and figure out who the killer might be, (well why a person would do the killing, but not who it actually was), it was still done very well, and kept me thinking and trying to figure out with Meg all along what was going on.
If you're in the mood for a scary story, you should give this a try, if you haven't already!
And, because I must share, below is my picture with the author, Gretchen McNeil, from the RT Convention.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  I wasn't sure what I was going to pick this week until I remembered a recent cover reveal that reminded me of a book I read at the end of last year that I just loved, Splintered.  Now the sequel, Unhinged, won't be released until January of 2014, but still, it is definitely one that I'm very eager for, and maybe if I'm lucky, I'll get another e-galley or ARC of it to enjoy before then!  And so, here is the blurb from
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

Now, if  you haven't read the first one yet, you need to get it.  It was such a new, unique story that I have been recommending it left and right, and really, I've not ever been a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland. But this book made me interested in the whole story behind the author and the person it was supposedly written about. 
 So, what book or books are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Breath (Riders of the Apocalypse #4) by Jackie Morse Kessler

I had to buy this last month when it came out just so that I could get it autographed by the author the first weekend of May at the RT Convention.  I could have bought it at the convention, but by purchasing it from the bookstore where I work, I got it at 30% off, whereas at the convention it would have been full price, and I'm a bit broke at the moment.  Although, if there was any book that was worth buying at the full price, which isn't bad, only $8.99, it is this whole series.  The reason for that is because a portion of the proceeds go to charity, To Write Love on Her Arms.
I would say this is a pretty fitting conclusion to the series.  Although truly, I would love to have some more books written, about the earlier riders, before the ones we've learned about from this series.  Not to spoil it, but in each of the prior books, the teen that was the main character ended up becoming the rider that fit what their issues were.  Famine for the eating disorder, War for the girl who had a lot of rage and took it out on herself by cutting, and Pestilence was the boy that was bullied and was taking care of his grandfather with Alzheimer's.  In this book we get to learn about Death, the rider who has pretty much been the same throughout the series.  Although we know that his form will change throughout history, kind of based on someone from that time period.  We learn how Death "became" Death.  And in this book, Death is tired, and feeling like he's ready to be done, suicidal if you will.  We learn about Death through another teenager, this time his name is Xander.  I won't give away any spoilers, but it wasn't a easily guessed story.  What happens, and how Xander fits in with Death and the rest of the Riders is a new twist and a welcome one.
Really a very enjoyable book.  While I was a little lost for awhile about why Xander kept having memory losses, and why Death might feel the way he did, it all wrapped up so neatly!  And with a really unique new take on the story of the Riders, etc.  I highly recommend you read the whole series.  While the first 3 really got to the heart of teen issues, this one was just a great look at the whole story of the Riders and Death.  And like I said, the price of the books is so reasonable, $8.99, and the fact that proceeds from that go to charity, is just incredible.
Great, great, great story!  And I'll have to include my picture with the author from the RT Convention!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

First, thanks to Houghton Mifflin for letting me read an e-galley of this.  First let me say that this was a pretty good book.  It is one I will definitely recommend to anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games and wants to read more stories like that.
This is a future America after many horrible wars with other countries, biological, nuclear, just about every type of war I'd guess, from what is left.  The main character is Malencia, or Cia, who is getting ready to graduate.  And she hopes that she will be called to the testing, like her father was.  But graduation comes and goes, even though there was a rumor of a Commonwealth official attending, they don't show up.  At least not that day.  But soon after someone does arrive, and there are 4 people chosen from her town.  Each town has been built back up, the people there are working on some kind of technology or science to help the world get back to what it was, at least easier living, and enough food.  Cia's town has been really good with agriculture, working on the genetics of plants to make hardier strains that can survive in the soils and with the water that has been left polluted from the wars.  They also are working on ways to fix the water and irrigation.  Before Cia leaves for testing, her father pulls her aside, and tells her that the testing is something that he can't remember, they wiped his memories afterwards so he wouldn't be able to give new candidates an unfair advantage.  But he still has nightmares, and he believes things happened that he doesn't want to remember, and so warns her not to trust anyone.  As soon as they get on the road, their official, I think his name is Michael, also seems to be giving Cia clues and hints.  One of the other people from her town going is Tomas, a good friend of hers, someone she's been attracted to, but never figured he would be to her, as he was very handsome, and sought after by most of the girls in the town.  She feels that he is someone she can trust, and she lets him in on what her father told her.  She also tells him when she notices cameras pretty much everywhere they go.  Because their transport was late, they are the last to arrive, and all the other testing candidates watch them as they come in.  They are seen to be probably weak, as their town hasn't had any candidates in a long time.  Although Cia had learned from her father, there may have been a reason for that, a teacher that kept them from going, to save them.  Cia soon learns how deadly the tests can be, even just solving logic problems, or teamwork.  If the stress of the testing gets to the candidates, the officials say that happens.  The final test is the ones leftover being released near what used to be Chicago, and having to find their way back to the town where they began.  They are dropped on their own, and there are no instructions to kill, but some do, to raise their chances of getting to the end?  Or just because that is the kind of people they are?  Don't know.  But the officials don't seem to care.  Cia must decide if Tomas is someone she can really trust, or is she keeping her enemy close.
So, really good story.  But, my only complaint, it was really so close to The Hunger Games.  As I was reading, I just kept feeling like all that had been written just like The Hunger Games.  Now, that's a compliment really, because The Hunger Games are so good.  But for me it was too much the same.  So as I said before, definitely a good read for people who want something just like that.  But as much as I read, I want something new, that I can't figure out what is going to happen, so that I can't stop turning pages.  And while this wasn't boring, I wasn't on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next.  It was a good read though.  So if  you like this type of book, and don't mind books being too similar to others, you will enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  My choice this week is one that probably a lot of people will be choosing in the next few months, the third and final book of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, Allegiant.  It took me a while to get to the 2nd one, due to the fact that I was refusing to buy it since I'd received an ARC of the first one, I just didn't want to have to buy it.  But then my brother got me the special Barnes and Noble edition of Insurgent for Christmas.  And then it sat for awhile.  But my sister had read the first one and was eager to read on, so I had to read it so I could pass it on.  Plus, I got to meet the author a couple weeks ago, so wanted to read it before then in case I'd have the chance to ask her any questions.  If you haven't read the series or the synopsis of the third book yet, here it is from

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Not much to go on, huh?  At least we only have to wait till October, and not just October, on my exact birthday, the 22nd!  Below is my picture with the author at the RT Convention, and this was taken at the Teen Day party, because I wasn't a fan of the one I had taken with her the night before at a different party.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Stacking the Shelves May 12th, 2013

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  This week, only one of the books I've listed is an actual physical book, the rest are all e-galleys which I often forget to list when I do this.  So let's start with the actual book. 

My friend that I went to the RT Convention with last Saturday ended up with two copies of Just One Day by Gayle Forman, so she asked if I wanted it for a giveaway on my blog, and I said, yeah, after I get to read it! Next are 5 e-galleys:

The three shown above are all from Edelweiss, so I get a little more time before they expire sometimes, which is nice.  Especially since the first one, Once We Were, is part two of a series.  I'll have to make sure to get the first one from the library.  The 2nd one is the sequel to a book I was just in love with last year, Unspoken, and now that I've fallen in love with the author as well, I was so excited to see it available as an e-galley so I didn't have to wait!  And the 3rd one above is a prequel to another series I've not heard of before, something I wish was a little clearer on the e-galleys.  But at least since it is a prequel, it won't matter if I've read the rest of the series, After the Snow.  In fact, I would guess it will help me decide if I want to read on into this dystopian sounding series.

The two books pictured above I got from Netgalley, so they are only available for 55 days.  The first one I guess is more of a nonfiction, as it is about the history of human experiments in the medical field.  So, I asked for it, but will see if it is one I actually get through.  The second one is a collection of short stories by David Lubar about death, murder, and revenge.  It is supposedly his first book like this for teens, I guess of horror stories, as I know he does write kind of funny stories for younger age kids.  When I requested Extremities, I also got an email saying I will now be automatically approved for any Macmillan/Tor books, which is cool!  

So, 5 more added to my TBR pile, digitally anyway.  How about you?  What did you get this week?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rise (Eve #3) by Anna Carey

I finished up the trilogy this afternoon.  And I wasn't disappointed.  I will say the ending seemed a bit, um, don't know how to put it.  Kind of an "oh yeah, here you go."  But not in a bad way.  And I won't tell you what I'm talking about, because I don't want to spoil it!  However, as I said in the review for Once, you probably shouldn't read on if you haven't read Eve, or Once.  I can't help but put some spoilers in there.

Okay, Caleb was shot at the end of book #2, so all that Eve can do now is marry Charles.  And all that the rebels want her to do, is poison her father.  She agrees, after he has killed her true love, why should she let him live, and getting rid of him seems to be the only way to save the city and help the rebellion take over.  With help from Moss, an undercover rebel in a high place in the Palace, she gets the poison and puts it in some of her father's medicine.  She finds out she is pregnant.  She knows the baby is Caleb's, and not Charles, because ever since the marriage, she's never slept with him, he sleeps on the couch in their bedroom.  But Charles has been nothing but sweet and always on her side.  He just hopes now that Caleb is gone, maybe one day she can love him.  And I must admit, I kind of like Charles and wish she'd give him more of a chance.  Her cousin Clara has also turned into a great friend, and soon to be confidant.  She is able to get a key to escape to Arden and Pip and Ruby.  But she is unable to know if they've escaped as the rebels begin attacking the city.  And while her father recovers from the poisoning, the rebels begin being captured and publicly hung.  And so Eve knows she must escape, and when she does, she finds some of the girls from the schools and brings them with her.  Clara is with her too, and must go in order to stay safe.  They try to travel back through the wilderness on the same path Eve had taken before, to get the girls safely to Califia.  Along the way they run into Pip and Ruby, both pregnant.  They are trying to stay safe as well as keep away from the soldiers.  Eve knows they will come for her, but she doesn't know if her father will kill her as a traitor now, or continue to shield her as his daughter.  In the end, there must be a change, right?  That is the purpose of the whole struggle right?  But I won't tell you just how happy it is or isn't.  Only know that the King's reign will be over.

Another great sequel.  While the 2nd book is still kind of my favorite, this was a good end to the story, and as good as the first in the series.  I highly recommend this whole series to any dystopian fans.  And, truly, for those who don't like love triangles, while Charles could kind of be seen that way, he isn't, and I like that.  I like that Clara becomes a friend, I like that most of the people in the story do have something good about them, you can even feel a bit for her father, so that is a positive spin to a story, when usually there are so many bad people.  I like to see the good in everyone if I can, probably part of being a teacher, and I like it in this book.
Now, since I got this book free at the RT Convention Teen Day Party, I just have to share my picture of me with Anna Carey one more time.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Once (Eve #2) by Anna Carey

This is one of the books I actually paid for at the Romantic Times Convention Book Fair last Saturday.  I was lucky enough to get the first one that I'd read as an e-galley, Eve, at the Avon Red Slipper party the night before for free.  And then, I got the third and final book in the series, Rise, for free at the Teen Party Saturday night.  I snapped this photo with the author when I purchased Once at the Book Fair.

Let me start off by saying that this book in no way fit into what I kind of call the sophomore slump of a lot of book sequels.  It was one that grabbed me right away and kept me reading.  It sucked not having the time I wanted to read as fast as I wanted to finish.  To give you an idea just how good it was, I took it with me when we took our students on a field trip to a local amusement park, and I sat and read part of the time because it was sooooo good!  If you haven't read the first one, you may want to stop now though, before I let out any spoilers.
We meet back up with Eve in this book, in Califia, with all the other women in a "safe" place for women.  Caleb, her true love, couldn't stay, because men were not allowed in.  But Eve is worried about him, because when he left he had been injured pretty bad.  Very soon in the story her friend Arden, who she escaped with in the first book, shows up, with a dog she named Heddy.  Heddy saved and protected Arden in the wild.  Word comes that Caleb has been seen, but also that the King is looking for Eve.  While Eve is warned not to go, she and Arden know that there is no way Eve can not go to find Caleb.  And so they sneak out.  Unfortunately it is a trap.  And what seals my dislike of the soldiers and the King is that they kill Heddy.  Anyone who kills or injures a dog like that is a horrible person in my book.  When they're caught, Arden is taken back to the "trade school" which they'd learned was really just a baby factory that the girls from the schools went to and were just impregnated and used to have as many babies as possible.  Eve is taken into the City of Sand where she finds out that the reason the King wants her so bad, is not to be his wife, but because she is his daughter, illegitimate, but all he has left.  And he wants to present her as the Princess and have her marry one of his right hand men.  A younger, handsome man, Charles, Head of Development, but still not Caleb.  When she is first introduced as the Princess to the city, she sees Caleb in the crowd, and she is elated.  She is given a message on where to meet him, and she is able to sneak out and see him.  She and Caleb fight to be together and to try to help the rebels.  But of course there will be obstacles, the King catching on thanks to Clara, her cousin, who is not at all happy that Eve is there, as she is in love with Charles.  But Caleb and Eve will have help from many unexpected sources, who I won't list, I'll let you find them out as they appear. And the rebels won't just accept Eve right away, knowing who she is.  She must do something to prove herself, and she does.  In the end, as this is the middle book, it isn't a happy ending for Caleb and Eve.  But we can only hope that Eve can be happy and find her way in the 3rd book, which is my current read!
A great dystopian series, and the 2nd was as good, if not better than the first one for me.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

This is an ARC I received last summer at BEA, and I got to meet Ellen Datlow, one of the editors!

I started reading it in February, put it in my master bathroom, for when I took bubble baths.  And then I finished the last few stories on Saturday finally.  It's not that it was bad, it just was only for reading at certain times.  Actually there were many stories I did like, and many that were okay, and a few that I didn't like.  These are stories basically told to show what happens right after the big event that causes the dystopian or apocalyptic stories that we read.  I guess it makes sense that stories by authors I'd already read and loved would be some of my favorites.  To make this a positive review, I'm going to talk about a few of my favorites in this anthology.

First is After the Cure by Carrie Ryan.  Ryan's books are zombie stories, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead Tossed Waves, The Dark and Hollow Places.  And this story takes place after they figure a cure for the zombies, so I would assume after the other books maybe?  It is the story of a girl who was cured.  She comes back and they give her father's house house, which is located outside of town.  That's a good thing, as people are still not trusting of the cured.  For example, school.  She's still about 16, so when she goes back to high school, she is put in segregated classes along with the other "cured".  We get a look into what caused it, as the main character sees on tv video footage of it as it all began.  She does have a boy named James who befriends her, he knew her before.  He's one of few that give her a chance.  All alone in her cabin in the woods, she can feel the uncured when they run around at night, and she has the strong urge to join them.  It's about her struggle with that, fitting in, and how she decides to deal with those urges and move on with her "normal" life.  I got to meet Carrie Ryan at Romantic Times Convention this past weekend!

My second favorite was The Other Elder by Beth Revis.  She is the author of the Across the Universe series.  I liked this one too as it gave us a bit of background on the Elders from the stories.  We learn even more about how they are raised, and more about what life is like for the Feeder level.  They talk about the rules the Elder must follow, and we see when one Eldest leaves, and an Elder takes his place.  This Elder sees video of what the ship was like before the Feeder level people became the way they are as we learn in the series.  When I got to meet Beth Revis at the RT Convention this past weekend, I asked her what I wondered the whole time I read this story, is the Elder in this the one in the full length novels?  And she wouldn't tell me!  Such a (wonderfully) maddening author!

The third story that really stood out to me was Faint Heart by Sarah Rees Brennan.  This was a story about a dystopian society, that in order to prevent the crime and violence, they must give the young, angry, disadvantaged men who were the cause of these things something to fight for, and eliminate the ones that didn't win.  So they had a bit of a real Survivor/minotaur and the maze task to complete.  And what did they win?  Why they would win the hand of the most beautiful woman in the kingdom, the princess.  How did they know she was the most beautiful?  Well, they created her.  All unmarried men must compete to win her hand, unless they were able to be pardoned somehow, usually the upper level men.  And so every time it was time to have a new princess, they created the exact same woman, again and again.  I loved this story, and while we don't really know who will win her, mainly because she decided to fight for herself to be free, it left you hanging, but in a good way!  I'd love the author to keep writing this one.  I also got to meet Sarah Rees Brennan at the convention, and I just fell in love with her!  Besides her Irish accent, my favorite accent in the whole world, she was just such a perky, funny person.  

The last story that I really liked and am going to talk about is Rust With Wings by Steven Gould.  I really liked one of his novels called Wildside.  This is a very sci-fi story.  We don't know exactly where they come from, no real background given.  But there are bugs that eat metal.  Any metal, and just destroy it, cars, buildings, even metal inside people's bodies, pacemakers, fillings, braces, etc.  The family is trying to escape them, and must figure a way to get away and even to hide the father who has a pacemaker I believe.  I liked this story, and would love to read more of it.  What's weird is that the bugs are staying in the southwest area of America, for some reason they don't travel outside of that area.  So again, lots of questions and things that could definitely make for a longer story.

I won't list the ones that I didn't like, I'll leave you to decide which ones you like on your own!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Absent by Katie Williams

First I must say thank you to Chronicle Books and Edelweiss for allowing me to read an e-galley of this book.
This was a good ghost story.  The main character is Paige, who has recently died from falling off the roof of her school.  She wakes up and can't leave the school grounds, in fact, the minute she tries to cross the line that marks the end of the school property, she is immediately back at the spot where she died, on the roof of the school.  She is not alone though, while no one seems to know she is there, that is no one living, there are two other teen ghosts, Evan and Brooke.  Paige knows Brooke, she died of a drug overdose at the school earlier in the year.  In fact, Paige's "secret" boyfriend, Lucas, was the one who found Brooke.  Evan on the other hand, has been there longer, they don't know who he is, and they can tell from his clothes that it was a past time.  While all day Evan goes to class, especially to the art teacher, Mr. Fisk's class, Brooke acts like the sullen stoner type girl she was in real life, Paige walks around and hears people say that she jumped.  But Paige had no reason to jump, and from what she remembers, she fell.  Soon Paige figures out that when people are thinking about her, she can possess their bodies, at least until they try to leave school property.  And she is going to change that horrible gossip.  And not only that, her best friend Usha seems to believe it and be mad at her!  Paige is so upset when she hears that Usha doesn't want to paint a memorial mural, especially when she figures out that the more people who see the mural, the more people will think about her, and the more she can possess people and try to change their minds.
While jumping into different people and trying over and over to change this gossip, Paige learns things, things that may explain a few more almost deadly injuries that occur to kids in the school.  She also goes and jumps in the body of the gossip girl that she feels started the lies, Kelsey, one of the popular girls.  She hopes if she gets her to take the thing back, people will believe, but as soon as she's out of Kelsey's body, she tells everyone she doesn't know why she said those things.  Paige is so mad, she tries to humiliate Kelsey by having her ask out a stoner, loser boy, one that seems to have had a thing for Paige.  Turns out that Kelsey and the boy, Wes, may get along better, and Paige may really have done her a favor.  We soon find out that maybe Paige's death wasn't an accident, was it something to do with Lucas, who seemed to be using her?  Did she really jump?  Or, well, I won't give it away, I'll let you read and find out for yourself!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Stacking the Shelves - 2013 RT Convention Edition

This week my Stacking the Shelves post hosted by Tynga's Reviews will be not only about all the books I got the past two days at the Romantic Times Convention, but also some stories about the convention itself.  I'll share the books first, then the stories after.

The picture above shows the books I was shocked and delighted to get for free at the Red Slipper Party put on by Avon Books.  From what I'd heard about past conventions, you were limited to how many free books you could get in different events like this.  But, it wasn't that way!  Here's what you see in the picture:

Possess by Gretchen McNeil, Wings by Aprilynne Pike, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, Slide by Jill Hathaway, Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier, So Close to You by Rachel Carter, Die for Me by Amy Plum, Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs, Hereafter by Tara Hudson, The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, and Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza.

I actually got a few more books than  you see here, they were ones I'd already read, so didn't put them in the picture, they were:  The Selection by Kiera Cass, Eve by Anna Carey, Invisible Sun by David Macinnis Gill, and not sure why I didn't put it in the picture but a new one by Melissa Marr:  The Arrivals.

This next picture shows the books that I bought at the Giant Book Fair on Saturday morning.  I had hoped to buy a few, 5 was my limit, but I wish more of these had been available in paperback.  Once by Anna Carey was in paperback, and I had to buy it because I loved Eve, and have been waiting to read on.  Dirty Little Secrets by CJ Omololu was one I planned to buy after hearing her talk about it in a panel on Friday, but I had expected it to be in paper back as well.  Now, I totally fell in love with Sarah Rees Brennan during all the panels I saw her during the convention, and I had already been a fan due to getting to read Unspoken as an egalley from Netgalley a while back.  So, I gave in and bought the book, even though it was hardcover.  Plus, she gave me a necklace like the one in the book, so how could I not?  Ten by Gretchen McNeil was the one I'd really wanted a lot, and while I had wanted to read Possession that I got for free the night before, I gave in and bought this too.  And finally, Shades of Earth by Beth Revis.  The 2nd book in the series, A Million Suns, left off with such a cliffhanger I couldn't wait to read this.  But, I'd been trying to win it so I wouldn't have to buy it.  I gave in and bought it.  So I stuck to my 5 book rule, but price-wise, it wasn't the paperback price I'd hoped for.  

I need to crop my pictures next time, sorry about the vacuum cleaner you see in the back.  These are the books that I got at the Teen Day Party Saturday night.  At first didn't think I'd get any because it was supposed to be "only" for the teens.  And maybe if anything was left over, the adults could have some, well, soon that changed, and we got to get some too!  The ones you see in the picture above are Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton, and I've been a fan of hers with her Blood Journals series, so am excited to see something new by her, even if it's not in the same series.  Then Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.  I've heard so much about this, but it doesn't seem my kind of book, but for free, well, I guess I can give it a try this summer.  Transcendence by CJ Omololu is one I've already read, and loved, and if you remember my posts from BEA last summer, it was one I'd really wanted, and I was kind of given a raw deal on getting a copy of it, which made me irritated.  Not to the author, but to the publisher.  So I was very excited to get a copy of it Saturday!  And then I now have all the books in the Eve series by Anna Carey because I got the final book, Rise!  One of the teens sitting at the table we were at gave it to me, so that was very nice!  I also got a copy of Firelight by Sophie Jordan, I figured I would give it a shot as I'd heard such great things about it. And if it doesn't turn out to be my favorite, it can be on my shelf for students at school, or I can have a giveaway here for it.  The one book that was sought after the most I think last night, and I felt a little bad because I wouldn't trade with a teen for it (because I wanted it!) was an ARC of 3:59 Gretchen McNeil.  Another book I've been curious about for awhile was Crewel by Gennifer Albin, so I picked that up.  And finally, The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan.  I have been interested in reading more gargoyle stories and this seems as if it is one.  I also got a paperback copy of Across the Universe by Beth Revis that I can leave in my classroom for my students to read.

It was soooooo awesome!  I recommend if you ever get the chance, definitely go to this convention!  If you're like me and are a YA fan, just choose to go to the Teen day, and possibly the day before like I did, where there were a lot of teen authors there.  I also got books I already had signed while I was there, got to meet Veronica Roth, and several other authors.  Authors I saw but didn't buy or get free books from were:  Carrie Ryan, Victoria Scott, Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder, Heather Brewer, and Ally Carter.
I also got to meet some great fellow book bloggers who were attending, and I don't know about you guys, but meeting fellow bloggers is almost as cool as meeting favorite authors!!  I got to meet The Book Nympho,  The Jeep Diva, The Book Savvy Babe, Kelly from Demon Lover's Books and More, The Bawdy Book Blog, Carmel from Rabid Reads, and Amber I from AwesomeSauce Book Club, and I know I'm forgetting someone!  I met up with them for dinner Wednesday night, even though I wasn't attending until Friday.  And then I ran into them on Friday and Saturday throughout the day as we passed on our way to panels and the book fair, etc.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Selection by Kiera Cass

I've been interested in reading this book for a long time.  Of course it has such a pretty cover, so that pulled me in at first.  Then I heard lots of great reviews of it.  I guess there are negative ones out there, but I didn't see them.  And I don't plan to go look for them either!  I have to say that I loved this book!  As I've seen it posted before, this is basically The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor.  In a good way though.
This is definitely dystopian.  This society has castes, that are numbered, and if you are in a caste, it is almost impossible to get out of it.  The main character is America Singer, and she is in the level 5 caste, which is for musicians and artists.  This society has also condensed all holidays into two or three a year, which makes it harder for this caste to make money because about the only time they are hired is to perform at holiday events or make gifts for holidays.  Whenever the current prince gets to a certain age, the way that they find a wife for him is through the selection.  35 girls are chosen from around the country, in all levels of the castes, to compete to win his heart.  In fact they go live at the palace and get to know him, in a very Bachelor tv show  style.
America doesn't want to go though, she is in love with a boy from her home, he is a level below her, but she loves him just the same, and he seems to love her.  But her mother wants her to apply when she gets the invitation.  Her mother of course hopes to see her daughter become the next princess.  Not to mention that while she is there her family will be compensated.  And it turns out that she will automatically be higher level in the castes even if she isn't chosen.  When America talks to her boyfriend, Aspen, he wants her to go as well.  She's shocked at first, but he says he doesn't want her to not try something because of him.  And then, one night, he breaks up with her  when he feels she's kind of taken his manliness in a way, because he wants to provide for her, not have her give him things because she is a higher caste.  America is upset because based on something Aspen's mother had said, she had been sure he wanted to propose to her.  So they end it, and America ends up getting selected to go.  When she gets to the palace, she gets a makeover, so this reminded me of The Hunger Games, because like Katniss she doesn't want to be made to look different.  And this seems to work for her.  There are all kinds of rules about how they must act and how they can interact with the Prince.  The first night there, America gets claustrophobic, but they're not allowed outside without guards because of rebels attacking.  So she runs out, and finally while the guards don't want to let her out, Prince Maxon shows up and allows her to go.  She yells at him, and basically does nothing to endear herself to him.  To me, I think Maxon is kind of wimpy seeming at first.  He gets better, and you like him more as you go on.  But there is always that little doubt in your head, like I'm sure for the girls on The Bachelor, that you don't know what is really going on with him and the other girls.  But he seems to like America, even when she can't seem to like him back, or at least not that way.
We don't know a lot about the rebels, and that makes this more of a dystopian book to me in a way, because we don't exactly know what they want, and what is going on is supposed to be what people thought was best.  So I'm hoping to learn more in the 2nd book about what all happened to get the society to where it is now, and how that will relate to America and Aspen, and even Prince Maxon.
I've had a great time the last 2 days at the Romantic Times Convention taking place here in my hometown, and last night I was able to get an autographed copy of the book, which will replace the copy I purchased with the gift card I won from The Reader's Den.  Now I loaned my autographed copy to my sister, so I can't show you the autograph, and unfortunately I didn't get my picture taken with her today at the book fair, I forgot to go back and get it I think.  Darn it!