Saturday, October 30, 2010

Follow Friday (2) + the Weekend Book Blog Hop (3)

At long last, Friday has arrived!  Which means that it is once again time for Follow Friday (hosted by Parajunkee), and the Book Blog Hop (hosted by Crazy-for-Books).  I'm combining the two in a single post this week.  If you are dropping by via Follow Friday or the Blog Hop, then welcome to my blog!   
The weekly Blog Hop question is:
"What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?"

Well, I'm going to have to agree with our blog hop hostess on this one-- I would love nothing better than to have an enormous library filled to the ceiling with crammed bookshelves and scattered throughout with cozy chairs.  *Sigh*... one day.  As it is, I barely have room in my bedroom for two bookshelves. 

The question for Follow Friday is 'What books would you want your daughter to read?'  Well, if I had a daughter, I would all but force her to read the Harry Potter series-- of course.  Otherwise she might be missing out on half the things I say and all the nerdy HP references. :)

And this week's featured blogger for Follow Friday is Julia @ My 5 Monkeys  Be sure to stop by her blog as well to comment and follow.  And while you're at Parajunkee's View, don't be afraid to enter her Halloween Mayhem giveaway for a chance to win A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and other goodies related to the book.  Look for the Halloween Mayhem button on my sidebar for a direct link. 

While you're here, be sure to check out my reviews for Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, and Eyes like Stars by Lisa Mantchev.  If you're in the mood for just one last creepy read before Halloween, then check out my review of Bonechiller by Graham McNamee.    
Thanks again for stopping by and looking forward to meeting everyone.  Happy Follow Friday, and Happy Blog hopping. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

SISTERS RED, BY JACKSON PEARCE  published June 2010, by Little, Brown Books  (Hardcover 328 pages)

Synopsis (from the book jacket):   SCARLETT March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.
    ROSIE March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett's only friend--but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for? 

Sisters Red is a dark twist on the fairy tale we've all known since we were children.  Jackson Pearce takes the old story and makes it unrecognizable, swathing the wolf into a race of deadly werewolves called the Fenris, transporting the setting to Atlanta, and transforming the ignorant girl in red into two sisters with tragic pasts and some very bad-ass fighting skills.  

It's been a while since I've read a paranormal book as amazing as this one!  First off, I love the March sisters-- so much that I couldn't even say which one I loved more, Rosie or Scarlett.  Scarlett is a fearless bad-ass with major direction-- she wants nothing more than to destroy all the Fenris in the world in order to keep girls like she and her sister safe.  Sound a little familiar? Yes, she's a bit like Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but plus an eye patch and minus the occasionally annoying tendency to fall in love with her prey (or predators, as the case may be :) ).  More than that, I loved her strong bond with Rosie and how the sisters are half-convinced they 'share the same heart'.  Rosie is similar to Scarlett in some ways, and very different in others.  Scarlett is obsessed with the hunting of Fenris-- it's her passion, her life.  But Rosie has within her the desire for a normal life, the capacity to fall in love-- with Silas, a young woodsman, the sisters' oldest friend, and their only companion when they leave their small town behind in order to face the bulk of the Fenris who are gathering en masse in the city.  

The romance between Rosie and Silas progresses beautifully-- with great intensity and much sweetness.  Silas is awesome, because he's just so more realistic than the guys I often read about in YA paranormal.  There wasn't any point in the book when I sort of snorted to myself and said, 'No guy would say that!'   I confess I found myself flipping forward through the pages, eager to see when Rosie's next chapter started and if Silas was in it.  Yes, Sisters Red has dual narrators, so we can easily get into both the sisters' heads.  As for the Fenris (aka werewolves), they're baad.  No cuddly wolves or Jacob Blacks here-- these wolves congregate in packs and their sole desire in... eternity-- they're immortal unless slayed by a certain pair of sisters-- is to lure away and devour young girls.  As a mythology/folklore nerd, I can say that I love the cleverness of the Fenris mythology nearly as much as I loved the way the story unfolded. 

And... once again, I have an upcoming sequel to mention.  Sweetly, Jackson Pearce's companion to Sisters Red will be released in June of 2011.  It's a retelling of another Grimm tale: Hansel and Gretel.  Check out Jackson Pearce's latest blog post to get the full scoop on Sweetly.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eyes Like Stars

  EYES LIKE STARS, BY LISA MANTCHEV published July 2009 by Feiwel & Friends

           OVERALL RATING: 4/5

Eyes Like Stars (Théâtre Illuminata, #1)Synopsis (from All her world's a stage.
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She is not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but has no lines of her own.
Until now.
Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

Eyes Like Stars is one of the those books whose premis is somewhat difficult to explain (the offical synopsis is very vague).  Basically the novel stars Bertie, a wild and blue-haired girl who lives in a magical theater along with thousands of characters from Shakespearean and otherwise plays. (But mostly just Shakespeare.)  Bertie's best friends are the fun-loving (and argumentative) faeries from A Midsummer Night's Dream, her bedroom is located on a trapdoor over the stage of the Theatre where pirate ships frequently dock and plays are performed nightly, and the Theatre bathrooms are more often than not occupied by Ophelia trying to drown herself.  If all of that didn't make for a pretty hectic lifestyle, Bertie is also constantly at war over props and wall colors with the Stage Manager-- one of the few non-Player characters in the book. 
Bertie has two love interests, in the grand tradition of YA love triangles: Nate-- a swashbuckling and yet surprisingly pure-hearted young pirate who has captured Bertie's heart; and Ariel-- a seductive, brooding, and decidedly untrustworthy air spirit who hails from The Tempest.  It is Ariel who is determined to steal the Book which contains all the plays ever written and binds the players to the Theatre, therefore releasing them onto the real world.  
The writing of Eyes like Stars is occasionally a little difficult to follow-- I had to reread paragraphs a few times.  But the characters themselves are what makes the story, just like they make a great play.  Bertie is a headstrong and wacky kind of heroine and the dialogue is pretty funny, especially wherever the faeries are involved.  After finishing the book, I am definitely Team Ariel... 

...And I see that he and (a brunette??) Bertie are on the front cover of Lisa Mantchev's newest book Perchance to Dream, the sequel to Eyes like Stars!  (Which is even now moving up to the top of my to-read list.)  The third and last book in the trilogy-- So Silver Bright-- is set to release sometime in 2011.   

Eyes Like Stars is an unusual and witty fantasy populated by unique and lovable characters.  And it's absolutely a must-read for Shakespeare and theatre fans. 


Waiting on Wednesday (2): Plague

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted at Breaking the Spine where bloggers share what yet-to-be-released book they absolutely cannot wait to read. 

161 days, 6 hours, 21 minutes, 5 seconds and counting down until the release of.... 
PLAGUE, The Fourth Book in the Gone Series By Micheal Grant!!!

Synopsis (from This is a blood-pumping, white-knuckle sci-fi thriller of epic proportions. The FAYZ goes from bad to worse...The darkness has been foiled once again and the resurrected Drake has been contained. But the streets of Perdido Beach are far from safe, with a growing army of mutants fighting against the humans for power in the town. In a small room of a house near the edge of town, Little Pete lies ill on a bed. In his fevered dreams, he continues his battle with the hidden evil that seeks to use his power to bring about anarchy and destruction. 

The Gone books: Gone, Hunger, and Lies, make up one of my favorite all-time series.  Every single one of them are awesome-- you know how some series start out brilliant and end up mediocre?-- well, the latest book in the Gone series-- Lies-- is every bit as thrilling and all together incredible as the first book!  It's discouraging and unbelievably exciting at once to think that I still have to wait until APRIL 5TH, 2011 to read Plague.  But I know it will be well-worth the wait!  If you haven't read the Gone series, then go and read them NOW, so you'll be as anxious to read the next installment as I am. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I won a blog award

Yay!  Sarah at An Abundance of Books has given me my first-ever blog award! 

Thanks so much for giving me the Life is Good blog award and the opportunity to pass it on to other bloggers. :) 
Here's what to do upon receiving this award:
1.Thank and link back to the person that gave this award.
2.Answer the 10 survey questions below.
3.Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic. (Though I'll never be able to pick that many, seeing as I'm new to the community!) 4.Contact the bloggers you’ve picked to let them know about the award.

So you see, it's like a never-ending chain of blogging awards and... awesomeness.
Here are my answers to the 10 survey questions: 

1. If you blog anonymously are you happy doing it that way; if you are not anonymous do you wish you had started out anonymously so you could be anonymous now? 
I don't blog anonymously, though not many people in 'real life' know that I blog at all.  I have an About Me page and one day I'll get around to posting some pictures of me and my dog or whatever.  So no, I've never really considered blogging anonymously.
2. Describe one incident that shows your inner stubborn side:  That's a tough one, though I definitely do have a stubborn side.  Last Friday my family and I were in an awful car wreck in the middle of an intersection (near the bookstore where I was planning on going that night).  The next day I really wanted to go pick up some books before we left for a 'mini'- vacation, but my mom was hesitant because of the wreck the day before. My car wasn't totaled, luckily.  But I went anyway-- not to let a little thing like PTSD stand between me and books, I guess.
3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?  I see me.  Okay, I see a teenage girl with big eyes and hair that is a straightening iron's worst nightmare.
4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?  Lemonade!
5.When you take time for yourself, what do you do?  Usually I hole up with a book (big surprise there), surf other blogs, or head over to the barn and take my horse Magic on a quiet trail ride through the woods. 
6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it?  Well... I'm only sixteen.  I hope very much that high school is not the most important thing I will accomplish in my life. *shudders*  Yes, I hope to be a writer someday, writing YA fiction, or else an editor for a publishing house.  I also want to move out of my small town to go to college.  Short-term goals include finishing NaNoWriMo next month.
 7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever , the shy person, or always ditching?  Almost painfully shy.  I'm always the girl who finishes the work early and reads a book under her desk the rest of the class period. 
8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment of your life what would you see? Wow, that's a strange question.  I hate to dodge answering it, but I really have no idea.  Picking one 'poignant moment' to define your life is harder than it sounds, see if it isn't.
9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?  I don't mind sharing about 'my true self' in my blog, like giving my opinions and whatnot, but at the same time this blog is called 'A Myriad of Books', not 'A Myriad of Things About Kat'.  In my posts, I try to keep the focus on books and their authors.  That's why it feels kind of weird answering these questions-- it's not what I'm used to.
10. If you had the choice to sit down and read or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?
Huh.  Let's see, I run a book blog; almost every other sentence that comes out of my mouth relates somehow to books... and I live in the Stone Age and don't have texting.  It's a safe bet I'd rather read a book. :)

And here are *drumroll* the blogs to which I'm passing on the award to...

Miss Page-Turner's City of Books

Book Infinity

The More You Read, The More You Know

The Diary of a Bookworm

Eternal Night

Congratulations to all of you!  If you already have this award, then I guess you really deserve it. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010


 BONECHILLER, BY GRAHAM MCNAMEE  published September 2008  304 pages (hardcover edition)
Synopsis: Bonechiller is a supernatural horror thriller set in the Big Empty of Canada in a little town called Harvest Cove-- aka Nowhere.  The town's only inhabitants are the narrator, Danny, and his father, who've been on the run ever since his mother died of a brain tumor, the resident army base soldiers and their brats... and an ancient monster who has been stalking and killing teenagers in the frozen ice and snow since before written record.  The Windigo is a terrible, cannibalistic beast well-known to the Ojibwas (Native Americans) of Northern Canada.  It's all but impossible to kill, impenetrable to bullets, and it's glacier-bound lair is a place of unimaginable terror.  When Danny and his brainy friend Howie are selected by the Windigo as its newest victims, they find that disturbing changes begin to take place in their bodies: suddenly they're insusceptible to cold and they have nightly, all-too-realistic nightmares where they are hunted in dreams by the monstrous Windigo.  Even during the day the two are constantly haunted by the call, an irrestible pull to the arctic tundra where the Windigo patiently awaits their arrival.  Time is running out and when Howie ends up in the hospital, Danny is forced to take a final stand against the creature along with his sort-of-girlfriend Ash-- an army brat and five times as skilled a boxer as any of the guys-- and Howie's pyromaniac brother, Pike.  Pike has a crazy plan which just maybe could end the Windigo's ancient reign of terror and save Danny and Howie from an icy grave-- or else leave the four friends just four more skeletons in the Windigo's cave.

Halloween is just around the corner and everyone is busy seeking out scary stories and novels.  Bonechiller is a book I've read many times-- because it's just that good.  The first time I read this book, I just could not put it down.  It's part psychological thriller and part horror-flick style monster tale, the cold northern setting making the book slightly reminescent of 30 Days of Night.  The eerie, shadowy legends of the Windigo are a welcome change in a genre where vampires and werewolves often seem to have the run of the place.(Not that I don't love them both!) 
Bonechiller has just enough emotional depth to make the story feel very, very real and terrifying.  My favorite character by far is Ash-- she's a tough girl like no other I've read about and the romance between her and Danny makes it easy to root for them.  But it is the descriptions of Danny's long trudge home through 30 below temperatures and miles and miles of silent, windswept tundra and the apparition of the monster itself which will have you shivering beneath your warm covers at night, carefully closing the blinds of your window for fear of what you might glimpse beyond the glass.  Bonechiller is the perfect book for Halloween and anytime you just feel like reading something exceptionally creepy.
Graham McNamee is also the author of the Silence of the Lambs-esque debut novel, Accerlation, which I have yet to get my hands on yet.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly book blogging meme hosted by The Story  Go check out the Linky-List to meet other bloggers talking about what new books and other goodies they've gotten this week. 

I picked up two hardcovers at the B&N: the sequel to one of my favorite paranormal romance novels of all time, and another dark urban fantasy that I've been dying to read for FOREVER.

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl... 
I loved Beautiful Creatures.  Loved it.  The writing is gorgeous, poignant... the way the story unfolds is beautiful, nothing short of magical really.  Flipping through the pages of Beautiful Creatures, I can tell it's going to be as well-written as the authors' debut.  What happens in this continuation of the story of Ethan and Lena, Ridley, and all those snobby stuck-up Daughters of the Revolution remains a mystery to nobody post any spoilers! :)

A little teaser from the book (even though it's not Tuesday):

Seventeen Moons. It was always there.  I tried turning the dials on the radio, but it didn't matter.  Now it was playing in my head instead of coming out of the speakers, as if someone was Kelting the song to me.
Seventeen moons, seventeen years,
Eyes where Light or Dark appears,
Gold for yes and green for no,
Seventeen the last to know...

The second book:
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. 
It's a dark re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood, featuring two sisters who ain't scared of no wolf. (I apologize.) I've only read the Prologue, but so far Sisters Red is excellent.  As far as werewolves go, these are an ingenius and decidedly non-cuddly new take.  And the cover is absolutely gorgeous.  I can't wait to read more of this one. 

Reviews for these two books will be up within the next few weeks.  Oh, and big news (well, big news for me anyway): A Myriad of Books has finally been indexed by Google! Thank you, friendly neighborhood webcrawlers! 

So... what do you think of these books?  And what's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Body Finder

THE BODY FINDER, BY KIMBERLY DERTING, published 2010 by HarperTeen 327 pages

Check out author Kimberly Derting's blog at for more about her upcoming novel.

Synopsis (from Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers. Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.  Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself. 

The Body Finder is one of the most talked-about YA debut novels of 2010.  And it's a book well-deserving of all the hub-bub and praise which surrounds it!  It took me two days during which I hardly slept, studied, or ate, to read The Body Finder.  Every page, every sentence is exhilarating and full of the mystery and suspense its reputation promises.  It's a thrilling read evenly saturated with romance and chilling suspense.  

Our heroine Violet is not quite like the tough, fearless heroines and brilliant detectives who populate other recent debuts (I'm thinking Nightshade, Rampant, Graceling-- books whose take-no-prisoners heroines more than make-up for the passiveness of Bella in Twilight).  But Violet is a detective in her own right and her determination to catch the serial killer is admirable.  The chemistry between Violet and Jay was one of my favorite things about the book.  The mystery of the serial killer stalking young girls is one that never fails to quicken my heartbeat whenever I'm walking across a grocery store parking lot at night or taking a jog down a lonely road... In short, The Body Finder is chilling and disturbing, beautifully-written, and masterfully crafted.  It's a book that is certainly not to be missed.    

And on March 15th, 2011 , Kimberly Derting is releasing the sequel to The Body Finder: Desires of the Dead!!  It's definitely one for everyone's to-read list.  I can't wait to read this continuation of Violet and Jay's story and see more of her uncanny ability.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Follow Friday (1)

So this is my first time participating in Follow Friday, hosted by (There have been a lot of first times for the blog this week, because, if you didn't know already, A Myriad of Books is a brand-new blog!)

I'm really excited to be participating and to meet some new fellow bloggers! 

This week I'm reading The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting 
It's a YA debut novel filled with edgy suspense, romance, and a little of the supernatural.  It certainly took me long enough to read this book, considering that everybody seems to love it, but now I love it all the more for having pined for it so long! 
Look for my review, and nice to meet you all.  Happy Follow Friday!

To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and any one else you want to follow on the list
  2. Follow the Featured Bloggers -
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
  5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!  
  8. If you're new to the follow friday hop, comment and let Parajunkee know, so she can stop by and check out your blog!

Book Blog Hop (2)

I can't believe it is already my second week doing the Book Blogger Hop hosted by!!  'This weekly book party is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and just generally share our love of books!' 
It feels like it has only been a few days since I logged into my Google account for the first time and began an endless wrestle with templates and buttons and headers... and clearly we still have a few more rounds to go, that Design tab and I...
if you are stopping by via the Hop, welcome to A Myriad of Books!  I'm Kat and I don't usually babble about my struggles with HTML and inanimate objects (at least not online.) 
Later today I'm going to post my review of Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder, but for now I'm looking at the Blog Hop question for this week:

"Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"
Well, I actually do a lot of reading at school: under the desk in Spanish and in the computer lab when I'm supposed to be doing online classes but finish early and screw around on my blog instead.  At home I usually read outside by the pool (which is colder than the Arctic Sea right now).  Got to soak up those last few rays of sunshine before winter hits. *cringes* 
Anyway, what is your favorite place to read?  I wonder how many student bloggers follow the Hop, and if they have the same problem tearing their eyes away from the pages to study? 
Thanks for stopping by, and leave a comment so I can check out your blog as well.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (1) + a blog button

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine and this is my first week posting for it!

2010 has been a year of much-anticipated and awesome book releases in the YA genre, and on December 28th, it's going out with a bang. (I hope!!) 

I'm waiting on....

(Synopsis from Catherine Fisher herself) ...In the dark Prison of Incarceron, the prisoners tell tales of a legendary man – Sapphique, the only inmate ever to escape. There are hundreds of tales of his exploits, but are any of them true? Did he even exist?
Attia and Keiro certainly think so, and when they hear that a crazy magician called Rix is using Sapphique’s lost Glove in his magical act, they’re determined to steal it. Meanwhile, out in the Realm, Finn is not finding being a Prince easy, and he’s tormented by doubts about his own identity.
I wanted to explore all our uncertainties about ourselves in this sequel to Incarceron. Who are we? Can we do the things others expect of us? And can we ever escape ourselves?
Expect the terrors of the Ice wing, a chain-gang, a duel, a masked ball, and the fearful anger of the Prison as it prepares to abandon its inmates to darkness and death forever.

I read Incarceron at the beginning of 2010, and it absolutely blew me away.  It's sometimes billed as a children's book, but believe me when I say people of all ages will love and be enthralled by this book.  Here's to hoping the sequel is just as incredible!  And here's the trailer for Sapphique from Amazon.  

On an entirely unrelated note... I FINALLY MADE A BLOG BUTTON!! Yes, I realize people do it every day, but for me this is a notable accomplishment. So if you want to link to A Myriad of Books, then you can just scroll on down the page and grab my button. (Isn't Picnik amazing??  Best invention since the wheel, for us HTML-illiterates.  :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

In My Mailbox (1)

Here goes my first time participating in the In My Mailbox feature over at  A shout-out to everyone who found this blog via the Linky-List-- welcome to A Myriad of Books! 

This week I celebrated getting my driver's license (finally! after one epic fail attempt) by driving to the biggest library branch within 30 miles of my house.  I crammed a bag FULL of books, many from my wish list and a few which spontaneously caught by eye.  You can see most of them under my UPCOMING REVIEWS heading. 

BRIGHTLY WOVEN by Alexandra Bracken

I've heard good things about this one and the cover is beautiful.  Seems it's a traditional kind of fantasy... anything to do with witches/wizards and/or dragons, and I'm definitely in!

MADAPPLE by Christina Meldrum

This book was released two years ago and I never got around to buying it despite the rave reviews and intriguing premise... it's about a girl with a very eccentric mother who ends up getting blamed for her mother's death, as I understand it.  Lots of people say it's 'weird', but hey, I'm all about weird.  Can't wait to give it a shot. 

NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL, by Justina Chen Headley

Realistic fiction is a rare find among my library books, but I couldn't resist North of Beautiful.  It's a story about a girl who is the very poster child of magazine-beautiful, except for the noticeable birthmark which dawns across her cheek. 

NOMANSLAND by Lesley Hauge

The cover is AMAZINGly cool, isn't it?  This book is loosely based off the ancient stories of the Amazon women, who were fierce warriors and equestrians, except that it takes place in a colony of women living on an island in the distant future.

WINGS by Aprilynne Pike

Why haven't I gotten around to reading this one before now?  I don't really know-- but people have told me that it's brilliant!

THE BODY FINDER, by Kimberly Derting

I've already started this one and, after only one extended Spanish class, I'm nearly halfway through!  A serial killer, a realistic romance, a girl with a supernatural and uncanny talent... The Body Finder is brilliant stuff-- positively eerie and very suspenseful.

EVERLOST by Neil Shusterman

I've read a few of Neil Shusterman's books before...they range from pretty good to excellent, and most of them are fairly creepy. Everlost is about a couple of kids who died in a plane crash... and now wander the limbo-like realm of Everlost.

A TOKEN OF DARKNESS by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

The cover is an eerie one to be sure.  This book is fairly new and I haven't heard a lot about it, but most of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes's books turn out to be pretty great. 

Have you read any of these books?  What do you think-- are they absolutely incredible, or a waste of trees?  Let me know if you have any creepy/suspenseful/horror book ideas, because Halloween is coming fast!

Bones of Faerie


Synopsis: 15-year old Liza lives in a small town near St. Louis, a town which was devastated during the great war between human and faerie kind.  She lives a hard but satisfactory life with her cold-hearted father and distant, dreamy mother... until her father abandons her newborn baby sister on a forlorn hillside for the faerie-born creatures which prowl the night and her mother vanishes mysteriously without so much as saying goodbye.  Liza tries to reassure herself that things could be worse, even when her father beats her or rants about the dangers of Faerie and all those touched by its magic.
But when Liza herself begins to have strange and terrible visions brought on by the dreaded magic, she is forced to flee her hometown along with Matthew, a boy with a tragic past who is equally cursed and blessed with the magic of shapeshifting-- he can become a wolf.   Traveling through the war-ravaged wilderness where deadly creatures lurk and magic is never what it seems, Liza struggles to gain control of her magic while desperately seeking out her lost mother.  In the end, she discovers that there are two sides to the story of the great war-- that which her father has always told her, and that of the faeries themselves-- and that magic is a power both great and terrible.

I picked Bones of Faerie off the library shelf because I'm a fan of faeries, if my review of the Replacement didn't clear that up. :)  The cover is intriguing and so is the opening paragraph:
I had a sister once.  She was a beautiful baby, eyes silver as moonlight off the river at night.  From the hour of her birth she was long-limbed and graceful, faerie-pale hair clear as glass from Before, so pale you could almost see through to the soft skin below.  ...My father was a sensible man.  He set her out on the hillside that very night, though my mother wept and even old Jayce advised against it...
Faeries are common in YA fiction nowadays (lucky for me), but the faerie-kin of Bones of Faerie are unlike any others I've ever read about.  This is a classic-type fantasy novel with the traditional elements of magic and journeying and self-discovery gone dystopiaJanni Lee Simmer's faeries are a race apart from humans, but not quite so far apart as the creepy-cool denizens of Holly Black's faerie novels, and definitely not anything like Brian Froud's flower faeries.  Bones of Faerie is a short read-- only 247 pages, I finished it in only a day-- but the story is well-worth delving into.  The characters are what makes the story tick, beyond the eerie, forlorn feel of the post-great-war setting.  Allie, the little girl whose magic manifests in the power to heal, was definitely my favorite character.  Liza makes a good protagonist, too, and the few plot twists of this simple, relatively straightforward novel keep you hanging onto every word.  The writing is beautiful and delicately intricate-- not too wordy, but just perfect. 
And... I've just discovered that Janni Lee Simmer has written a sequel, Faerie Winter, to be released in April 2011!  I cannot wait, and hope anyone into dystopia and/or faeries will check out Bones of Faerie in the meantime. (It's only a dollar on Kindle the last time I checked!)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Girl in the Arena

GIRL IN THE ARENA, BY LISE HAINES published August 2010

Synopsis: Girl in the Arena is based in a world where gladiator 'Glad' sport has been resurrected from the days of Ancient Rome and is a violent subculture as popular and media-infused as modern wrestling.  18-year old Lyn is the step-daughter of seven Neo-gladiators and though she is not a Glad herself, she lives within the ever-present and often harsh light of the media and Glad-culture.  Her mother Allison is a famous Glad-wife who can't seem to resist snatching up the next Gladiator husband the instant her former one dies a bloody death in the arena.  Lyn's life consists mainly of taking care of her autistic brother, Thad, and trying to get into college so she doesn't end up becoming a Glad wife like her mother. 
But when Allison's latest and last (according to the rules of Glad society, a Glad-wife can only have seven husbands) husband, Tommy, dies a vicious death at the hands of the young and upcoming Gladiator Uber, the family is left in ruin.  For Uber emerges from the battle with Lyn's dowry bracelet, which she gave to her step-father before the battle.  According to the rules of Glad society, Lyn must marry her father's killer.
  Unless she can defeat him in the Arena herself. 

Girl in the Arena was nothing like I expected.  The synopsis on the back of the book sounds like it might be trying to ride the coattails of The Hunger Games, but the two books have little in common other than the premis where ordinary people are fight to the death.  Girl in the Arena doesn't actually even take place in the future, but in an alternate reality where Glad culture is a sub-culture like Goth and Punk culture in our world.  I also assumed the novel would be filled with high-adrenaline, edgy action scenes and bloody fights to the death in the Arena... once again, I was completely wrong.  Girl in the Arena is a story about family relationships, about how much Lyn will and does sacrifice in order to protect her family. 
Lyn's first-person voice is compelling and realistic-- she comes across as a pretty ordinary girl, and but she could hold her own in the Glad Arena.  All in all, I give this book a good rating because it's well-written and edgy, a compelling read despite its surprising lack of gory battle scenes.  There were a few things that kind of bothered me though.  First, that on the cover of the book Lyn is dressed as a Glad, with her long brown hair cascading across her face.  Now, don't get me wrong, this is a beautiful cover, but completely unaccurate, since in the book Lyn shaves her head after her step-father's death.  No, the thing that really bugged me was the ending: it was a total cop-out, no way around it.  I'm not going to spoil the ending, of course, but let's just say the tension of the climax goes from heart-poundingly tense to flat-line in about two paragraphs.
So, yes, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes science-fiction-type alternate worlds and societies gone mad and merciless (this is where Girl in the Arena is similar to the Hunger Games, not in the Arena itself).  But if you're looking for fights to the death, hard-core dystopia, and invincible female heroines then go pick up the Hunger Games and its sequels, Graceling, or the Gone series by Micheal Grant.
 Girl in the Arena is a somewhat haunting read which you will find yourself finishing in just a few sittings.  It is the emotional turmoil and vivid, engrossing imagining of the novel which bring Lyn's world to life.  It's full of surprises and twists-- one I never saw coming and drama of both the Glad and ordinary family varieties.  Enjoy the cool alternate history of Glad culture and just be prepared for the flat-line end to the climax-- this book is worth reading despite it. 

And even if you don't read it, you absolutely have to check out this bizar-- I mean, incredible book trailer.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Book blog hop! (1)

 So, this is my first-ever time doing the Book Bog Hop based over at  It's fantastic because I can get to know the book blogging community-- this blog is BRAND-NEW, if you hadn't noticed-- and pick up new followers!  Thank you so much to the awesome bloggers who have added me to their blog roll or let me add their blogs to my growing list!  And thanks to my new followers-- I promise I'll keep posting new reviews, immediately starting with Girl in the Arena, by Lisa Haines. 

This week's question is "When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move on to your next title?"

Well, I'll confess I'm not exactly the most patient reader in the world.  If I suspect a book just has a slow start, then I will almost always stick it out for at least a hundred pages.  But sometimes I encounter a book that someone has recommended that just is not for me.  Doesn't mean it isn't a good book, but not everybody is going to love your favorites.  Recently a friend of mine let me borrow The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Is it an international bestseller with international bestselling sequels that everybody seems to love?  Yes.  But was it my kind of book?  Not at all.  In this case, I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for my friend's sake, but I've been known to return books unread to the library, yes.

Anyway, what do you think?  I'm sure everyone on the Blog Hop has already considered this question a thousand times, but once more couldn't hurt. :)  And once again, thanks so much to everyone who has checked out or followed my blog.  You guys are the awesom-est.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Replacement


Synopsis: Mackie Doyle is just an ordinary teenager with ordinary dreams-- get hot head cheerleader Alice Harm to notice him and play bass guitar.  Except that he isn't.  He lives in the small town of Gentry, a prosperous and pleasant town where nothing bad ever happens.  Except that it isn't-- that's the lie They want you to believe.  Gentry is a town of eerie walking corpses and unconsecrated graves, a place where children are stolen from their cribs and the local band is far more sinister without their crazy stage make-up.  There's a whole world beneath the Gentry slap heaps, a world of 'tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a tattooed little princess' (Book jacket)  A world called Mayhem.  It's where Mackie Doyle comes from, the world where the real Mackie Doyle was stolen away to as a baby and sacrificed to a bloodthirsty witch, the embodiment of Terror herself.  Mackie has lived in Gentry with his 'adoptive' family for sixteen long years and he is slowly dying, wasting away beneath the suffocating iron of the human world.  He might be dead already, if not for his sister Emma, who nursed him back to health again and again though she knew this Mackie is not her brother.  He is the Replacement, one of the People beneath the slag heaps. 
Mackie has spent his whole life denying the truth he sees in the mirror: in his black eyes and terrible allergies to blood and the consecrated ground of the church.  But when an extremely irritating and yet very intriguing girl at his high school, Tate, loses her sister to the same sinister race that left Mackie in the baby's crib, Mackie and his friends are forced to confront the truth.  Because there's definitely something rotten going down beneath Gentry.  Evil plots and age-old battles being waged beneath the grime of the slag heaps.  And if Mackie and Tate want to rescue her sister before All Souls' Night, when she is to be sacrificed to pay an ancient toll, they're going to have to descend into Mayhem and outsmart the immortal and inhuman residents of a town most unlike their own. 
I bought The Replacement for two reasons: because faerie and dark faerie stories are some of my favorites, and because of the cover.  It's beautiful and intriguing, capturing both the sinister nature of the story and the dark beauty of Brenna Yovanoff's writing.  The cover features a quote from Maggie Stiefvater (author of Shiver and the Faerie Queen's Lament, etc): "I loved this eerie and beautiful story of ugly things.  It should be read aloud after dark, at a whisper."  No one could have said it better-- The Replacement is eerie and hauntingly lovely, surprising and a touch disturbing.  It is a horror story, and a dark faerie tale which reminded me somewhat of Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tale books. 
Mackie Doyle is definitely one of the more complex and intriguing protagonists I've read about recently.  He is at once a relatively normal teenage guy mostly concerned with girls and friends and a boy who feels like a stranger in the world around him.  Most people feel like that at least sometimes, and this is where The Replacement reveals itself to be truly deeper than the cover synopsis.  It is not just a book about a scary faerie race who steal away children, but also a story about finding where you belong, and who you are.  At times the book can be gory and haunting, but it is several cuts above most YA novels dealing with the supernatural.  I particularly liked Roswell, Mackie's best friend, and, of course, Tate.  She is as capricious and daring as the Mayhem people themselves, and possibly still more vicious when it comes to defending her friends and family.  Her determination to save her sister is powerful and utterly convincing.  The romance between Mackie and Tate is perfectly played out and never feels like an idealist Bella/Edward kind of relationship.  I'm really looking forward to reading more books by Brenna Yovanoff and hoping that they will be as brilliant as this entrancing debut novel!  The Replacement is also rare in that it's a book which can be enjoyed equally by girl and guy readers.  Amazing all the way; creepy enough to make you think twice about who or what you might encounter while walking home alone after dark.
Watch the awesome book trailer for The Replacement from Youtube...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Release Dates for Upcoming 2010 YA books

This is a carefully compiled list of upcoming teen releases, both the highly anticipated and the little known, for the rest of 2010.  Please let me know if there is a title I should add!  Highlighted titles are very highly anticipated sequels-- and one debut.




Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Zombies vs Unicorns


My first blog review ever... but here it goes!! Right down to business...
ZOMBIES VS UNICORNS published October 2010 OVERALL RATING: 5/5
STORIES BY... Garth Nix (Abhoren Trilogy, The Ragwitch), Diana Peterfreund (Rampant, Ascendant),  Cassandra Clare (the Mortal Insturments), Kathleen Duey (Skin Hunger, Scared Scars), Scott Westerfeld (Uglies Trilogy and Leviathan to name a few), Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries, Airhead series), Libba Bray (Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Going Bovine), Maureen Johnson (Little Blue Envelope books), Carrie Ryan (the Forest of Hands and Teeth), Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels), Naomi Novik (His Majesty's Dragon), and Alaya Dawn Johnson (Spirit Binders Trilogy). *gasps for breath*
Edited by Justine Larbalester and the phenomenal Holly Black-- team leaders for Team Zombie and Team Unicorn, respectively.


Zombies vs Unicorns has been on my Books-I-Must-Have-Right-NOW list for a while.  Just by scanning the cover--beneath the slip cover-- any zombie and/or unicorn fan can tell they are in for a treat.  OBSERVE:

The twelve authors each chose a side and battled it out via short story. 
Myself I am firmly on the side of Team Unicorn... but you'll have to read this circa 400-page anthology to make your own decision!


Nobody could expect anything but brilliant from Garth Nix, national bestselling author of Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, and the Keys of the Kingdom series.  This is also the ONLY story in the collection to feature both zombies and unicorns. (Irony much?)  Young Princess Jess has a major problem in the form of her newly-resurrected and zombified mother.  The story opens with Jess taking her mother to her father, the King,'s private castle to fulfill her mother's last wish of seeing him again before she lapses still further into...un-death, and gives into her more... brain-consuming urges.  Luckily Jess is a virgin with the assistance of the unicorn Elibit.  The climax involves a clever and somewhat amusing showdown with Jess's cold father and his witchy mistress... but I'm not giving anything away.  RATING: 8, great but not the best in the book


I've never read any of Ms. Johnson's books, sad to say.  'Love will tear us apart' is definitely the most romantic zombie tale here-- that's right, I said romance and zombie in the same sentence.  I love reading M/M and F/F pairings in YA, 'cause they're rare in the genre.  Philip has a crush on Jack, a guy at his high school... the only problem is that Philip's a wanted zombie on the run and he'd also like nothing better than to take a bite out of Jack's delectable hand...or possibly brain.  This story is romantic, sweet, funny, with just a little bit of brain-devouring gore thrown in for good measure.  What more could you ask for?    RATING: 9, definitely brilliant


Forget chalices, kings, and ye olde-unicorns encountering dainty virgins.  Alison is a teen who recently moved out on the streets...and she's definitely not a virgin.  One hungover night, she is awoken by an honest-to-god unicorn poking her with his horn.  Belacazar-- that's the Unicorn's name, hee hee-- doesn't care that Alison's no virgin; he just wants to enlist her help in saving a gang of super-adorable, super-aggravating baby unicorns from the evil wizard Otto Penzler.  This is a unicorn-satire, with more than a few corny jokes that will make you snort with laughter.  'The correct name is actually Land of the Faerie', Belacazar said stiffly, somehow managing to squash in a whole bunch of extra vowels'. (from page 67)
RATING: 8, pretty great


I've been a die-hard unicorn fan from age six... but Carrie Ryan is enough to make anyone consider switching over to Team Zombie.  Her phenomenal books The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-tossed Waves are two brilliant zombies books no zombie or unicorn fan should miss. ' Bougainvillea' is set in the same post-apocalyptic-type world as her two novels...basically Iza is the daughter of the self-made governor of a Belgian island which is secluded from the Mudo (zombie)- infested outside world.  Keeping the zombies away is a full-time job for her father's personal army, and there are bound to be slip-ups... coupes and attacks.  That's about all I can say without spoiling anything.  Iza is an intriguing if selfish heroine-- very different, I thought-- from the heroines of Ryan's novels.  This is brilliant stuff, and I love the twist ending.  Perhaps the best of the collection.  RATING: 9, definitely brilliant


WOW.  What to make of this intriguing, engrossing, if utterly bizarre and a touch disturbing, story?  Personally, I loved it, but I can see many people skipping to the next story in disgust after they figure out the story's strange twist.  The kingdom is in uproar after their princess is stolen into a flower-ridden wood and raped.  Her kidnapper is apprehended, but the princess swears the man is innocent...and what of the supposed kidnapper's strange tale of a beautiful white stallion with a spiraled horn whom he observed leaving the grove where the princess lay?  This is a story which will keep you pondering long after you finish it.
RATING: 9, definitely brilliant (for the writing and the sheer mad genius of the concept)


If you know Maureen Johnson, you know that most anything she writes is a laugh-a-minute.  'The Children of the Revolution' was no exception.  A teen stuck in England for a summer of 'fun' on a work-and-travel farm ends up babysitting for an eccentric and famous actress.  The actress's five children live in a playpen and have their mysterious meals delivered to them on a bizarre conveyor belt.  They're an unhealthy bunch, our heroine thinks...and, guess what, they're infectious.  Just like this hilarious story.  Does for zombies what 'Purity Test' did for unicorns.  RATING: 8, pretty great


This is definitely one of the best unicorn stories in the book.  Diana Peterfreund is the author of Rampant, a novel about Astrid Llewellyn, teenager descendant of Alexander the Great who discovers she has an affinity for attracting (and slaying) unicorns. Serious Buffy similarities here, for me, but Diana makes it original.  This story is set in the same universe-- one where unicorns have recently been discovered as being not, in fact, extinct.  Our heroine Wen is of an unusual breed: spunky, but steadfastly religious (Christian).  She saves a newborn unicorn from being euphanizing via drowning at a carnival (long story) and proceeds to take it home, where little Flower proceeds to tear apart her garage and devour her family's meat supply. (What, you didn't know unicorns are carnivorous??)  Funny, utterly original, altogether excellent. RATING: 9, definitely brilliant


Scott Westerfeld is one of today's best YA sci-fi writers, without a doubt.  'Inoculata' is a brilliantly-told, awesomely-imagined story about a group of teenagers who live fenced in by zombies... and who find a surprising immunity and the courage to attempt to escape their safe prison.  I love that the main romance pairing is F/F (girl/girl), which is very rare in teen writing.  I'm always amazed by Scott's ability to get inside his characters (present, future, boy, girl, gay, straight...) and tell their stories with such blunt and convincing reality.  One of the book's best for sure.  RATING: 9, definitely brilliant


The title alone made me laugh out loud.  This is indeed a unicorn-farce, even funnier than 'Purity Test'.  The characters are mostly shallow stereotypes, which is probably a combination of both irony and typical Meg Cabot.  However...Liz is pretty ticked when her weird commune-aunt sends her a real-live unicorn for a birthday presents.  A unicorn who farts rainbows, shimmers, glitters, and bears the name Princess Prettypants none-the-less.  (Sort of like a lifesize My Little Pony with a horn.)  The plot is pretty typical, with few surprises, but the unicorn herself was so hilarious I had to like it.  RATING: 7, very decent


Cassandra Clare is a talented writer...99% of the time.  With this story, I think she fell a little short of her usual mark.  Now, I liked 'Cold Hands'.  But I didn't love it; it didn't stand out in this superior collection of stories.  Adele is in love with the heir to the Dukedom of Lychgate, an odd little town where half the inhabitants are zombies.  She's going to marry her boyfriend James and become the next Duchess... until her boyfriend dies.  It's up to Adele to decide if she wants him to rise again, and what she will do to end the reign of his murderous uncle, the Duke.  This story was well-written, but had no twist whatsoever.  Not much excitement, besides the fact that Cassandra's zombies are intriguing and deviant.  RATING: 7, very decent


Yeah... I was so sick of freak'in virgins by the time I reached this story.  The unique thing about 'The Third Virgin' is that it's told from the unicorn's point-of-view.  The unicorn is alone in the world, both revered and isolated from everyone and everything she has known throughout the centuries of her life.  Until she meets the third virgin, a horribly scarred girl with a tragic past and a secret burning desire.  The idea of a masochistic unicorn is an interesting one...but this story came a little too late in the book for me.  RATING: 7, very decent


Leave it to Libba Bray to close the curtains on this brilliant anthology with a bang.  She is a fool-proof author, consistently WOWing with her novels and short stories.  'Prom Night' is no exception.  This story is a glimpse-- a snapshot, rather than an actual story.  A snapshot of a small Arizona (?) town where the adults have turned zombie and it's left to the kids to clean up the mess they've left behind.  Tahmina and her friend Jeff are self-declared cops in this strange new world, trying to reclaim order among zombie-wrought madness.  Still, it makes for one hell of a Prom Night.  Libba Bray has created a world that begs for a novel to take place within its boundaries.  RATING: 9, definitely brilliant
A Myriad of Books
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