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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spooky Reads For Halloween!




Happy Halloween, Cupcakes!!!
I hope your day is filled with more treats than tricks.
I know that many of you have been affected by the hurricane and snowstorms, so I wish all of you a very safe Halloween.

Throughout October, several awesome publishers sent me some great spooky, kooky, and chilling books perfect for Halloween reading, so I thought I'd share a few of those and a few of my favorite spooky reads, from Childrens to MG to YA, with all of you. And I'd love to hear about YOUR favorite spooky reads in the comments.

(click title to learn more)

Childrens Books



It's Pumpkin Day Mouse! by Laura Numeroff
Just Say Boo by Susan Hood


this was one of my favorite books as a child!
by Stan and Jan Berenstain
the Berenstain Bears books will always be my fave!

Middle Grade Books

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Scary School by Derek the Ghost
Always October by Bruce Coville


Gravediggers: Mountain of Bone by Christopher Krovatin
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Whispering House by Rebecca Wade


Dead City by James Ponti
this is a wildly fun read!
by Robert Gray
this is one of my favorite MG series!


Goosebumps Series by R.L Stine


Young Adult Books

The Turning by Francine Prose
Ten by Gretchen McNeil


Fang Girl by Helen Keeble
Dark Eden by Patrick Carmen
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake


Possess by Gretchen McNeil
The Vanishing Game Kate Kae Myers
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

This is, of course, just a small list of great spooky reads, so what are some of YOUR favorite Halloween or spooky books to read?! Let me know in the comments!

HAPPY SPOOKY READING!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday (51): Coda



"Waiting On" Wednesday...is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week I'm excitedly waiting on...

Ever since he was a young boy, music has coursed through the veins of eighteen-year-old Anthem—the Corp has certainly seen to that. By encoding music with addictive and mind-altering elements, the Corp holds control over all citizens, particularly conduits like Anthem, whose life energy feeds the main power in the Grid.
Anthem finds hope and comfort in the twin siblings he cares for, even as he watches the life drain slowly and painfully from his father. Escape is found in his underground rock band, where music sounds free, clear, and unencoded deep in an abandoned basement. But when a band member dies suspiciously from a tracking overdose, Anthem knows that his time has suddenly become limited. Revolution all but sings in the air, and Anthem cannot help but answer the call with the chords of choice and free will. But will the girl he loves help or hinder him?

Coda
Emma Trevayne
5/7/13
Running Press Kids

So, I'm kinda in love with this book's synopsis because it had me all "Freakin' sweet premise!" and "WTF?!" at the same time, which is always the sign of an awesome story. This has got to be one of the most original dystopian ideas I've seen in a long time and I'm super stoked to find out what it's all about. Definitely looks rockin'!

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING ON THIS WEEK?!


Teaser Tuesdays (54): The Fellowship For Alien Detection


Teaser Tuesdays...is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Juliette, Arizona is missing, and so is eleven-year-old Pennsylvania resident Suza Raines. Most people believe Suza was kidnapped, but there are others who are convinced something more sinister is going on…The night Suza vanished, everyone in her town dreamed they were being taken into space. And it turns out they were not alone. People in towns across the country have been having the same dreams…and it’s only getting worse. 
Enter Haley and Doger, two kids from opposite sides of the country who believe there is one explanation for these strange events: aliens. Having each been awarded a Fellowship for Alien Detection (a grant from a mysterious foundation dedicated to proving aliens exist), Haley and Dodger and their families set off on a cross-country road trip to prove their theories. They soon realize that the answers to their questions lie in the vanished town of Juliette, AZ, but someone…or something… is doing everything in its power to make sure they never reach Juliette. If Haley and Dodger don’t act quickly, more people may go missing, and the world as we know it will change for the worse.” Independence Day meets Holes in this thrilling new title from The Lost Code author Kevin Emerson.”

The Fellowship For Alien Detection
Kevin Emerson
2/26/13
Walden Pond Press

MY TEASER

Something hummed deeply, making Haley's teeth vibrate. She looked up to see the UFO lifting into the sky, shrinking and darting off into the night. The parking lot was plunged into darkness. (ARC, pg 131)


Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: The Torn Wing by Kiki Hamilton


TITLE: The Torn Wing
SERIES: The Faerie Rin #2
AUTHOR: Kiki Hamilton
PUB: Fair Wind Books
PUB DATE: 10/2/12
FORMAT: pb ARC
SOURCE: from author



London 1872 - A bloody escape, a deadly threat, a shocking revelation...As an orphan who stole the Queen's ring - only to find the ring was a reservoir that held a truce between the world of Faerie and the British Court - Tiki’s greatest fear suddenly becomes all too real: the fey have returned to London seeking revenge. As war escalates in the Otherworld, Queen Victoria’s youngest son, Prince Leopold, is attacked. In order to protect her family and those she loves, Tiki needs to know the meaning of an fáinne sí, the birthmark that winds around her wrist. But will she be brave enough to face the truth?

THREE WORDS: Fantastical Faerie Fun

MY REVIEW: Kiki Hamilton's TheFaerie Ring (first in the series) was one of my favorite YA reads last year and featured one of my favorite YA heroines, Tiki, so I was very excited to dive into the sequel The Torn Wing. And like its predecessor, The Torn Wing instantly transported me back to bustling Victorian London and plopped me back into Tiki's thrilling adventures.

The Torn Wing picks up several months after the events of The Faerie Ring and we find Tiki and her ragtag family of former orphan pickpockets living with the charming and wealthy Rieker. The Faerie Ring is safe, but the Otherworld is anything but peaceful, as the dark Unseelie King seeks to take over not only the Otherworld, but London as well. When Tiki's world and family is at risk and a shocking revelation is made, she must work with and trust a loathed enemy, and Tiki finds herself traveling to the dangerous Otherworld to save both worlds and all that she loves.

The Torn Wing is an excellent sequel that seamlessly transitions from book one, continuing the excitement and superb historical fantasy world-building of The Faerie Ring, while further developing the characters I came to love in book one and introducing a few new captivating characters. Hamilton's storytelling and world-building continue to shine as she takes Tiki and readers into the fantastical Otherworld.

The Torn Wing moves a bit slower than book one and, while I missed the fast-paced, breathless pace of the book one, Hamilton weaves another enchanting story that kept me completely enthralled from beginning to end. From the very first page, The Torn Wing swept me away once again to Victorian London, from the gritty streets full of pickpockets to the ballroom of Buckingham Palace. What I love so much about Hamilton's world-building is how intricately layered and real it feels, and in this sequel we are transported, not just to historical London, but to the magical Otherworld. And the Otherworld is richly and lushly imagined and developed. This Otherworld is both darkly and breathtakingly beautiful, with a fascinating mix of inhabitants.

We find Tiki and her family in a very different situation than we found them in book one, as they no longer need to steal or live on the streets, instead living in Rieker's posh home. I found it interesting to see the small, subtle effects this whole new world has on the main characters, yet comforting to discover that underneath their new, nice clothes and normal duties, these characters are still the same feisty, endearing, and lovable characters I fell in love with in book one. Although, Shamus' character felt almost like a prop in this book, as he did not feature heavily into the story and when he did he was either sleeping or mentioned in passing. I wish he was given more of a necessary purpose.

Tiki is faced with several life-changing revelations in this book and goes through quite the transformation, but through it all she remains determined, brave, plucky, and all about protecting those who can't protect themselves. Rieker, while still charming and swoon-worthy, is kind of frustrating with his mysterious secrets and absences  but he is still very much the Rieker I crushed on in book one. The romance isn't overly heavy in this sequel, it doesn't dominate the story, but it is certainly there. Hamilton introduces Dain, a mysteriously compelling faerie, to the story and he and Tiki have an intriguing connection. And while Tiki and Dain certainly have their own electric chemistry, this Tiki/Rieker/Dain situation never felt like an annoying love triangle. And as much as I adore Rieker and love the relationship between he and Tiki, I'm eager to see where Tiki and Dain's connection leads.

The immediate danger and peril is more palpably felt in this sequel as Tiki and Rieker race to find a magical stone, while working with and relying on the cunning Larkin, both in London and in the Otherworld. I love the dynamic between Tiki and Larkin and how I both love to hate and hate to love Larkin. Hamilton does a great job of building layers of story, with unexpected twists and climactic build-up, all of which come together to create a thrilling and wild adventure that lead to a wicked cliffhanger.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: With The Torn Wing Kiki Hamilton has crafted an excellent sequel in an already addicting and enchanting series. This a fantastical, fun faerie read!

MY RATING

Connect with the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository
Kiki Hamilton is the author of THE FAERIE RING fantasy series and a YA contemporary novel entitled THE LAST DANCE which will be released Spring 2013. She believes in magic and the idea of hidden worlds co-existing with our own. Kiki lives near Seattle, though she dreams of living in London one day. 


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Goodie Basket (24): Book Haul & Blog Recap



Goodie Basket...is a weekly feature hosted here at Word Spelunking that showcases all the goodies (books, bookish things, reviews, interviews/giveaways/guest posts, blog tours, etc) that popped up in the Goodie Basket that is Word Spelunking each week.

(This meme is inspired by other book haul memes such as Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, Showcase Sunday hosted by Books, Biscuits & Tea and Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer )

In my Goodie Basket this week...
I received another box of Holiday Promo books from Harper Collins, which included:

Beauty by Lauren Conrad
Starstruck (Fame Game #2) by Lauren Conrad
this book is so shiny!

FOR REVIEW


*finished copy* London Eye by Tim Lebbon
Pyr
sent from pub for review

Disney-Hyperion
sent from pub for review

*ARC* The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Disney-Hyperion
sent from pub for review
this is the second ARC of this book I've received from Disney-Hyperion, so I'll be giving one away soon!

PURCHASED


this is one of my favorite series and I was able to buy a signed copy at my bookstore!

by Catherynne Valente
I received an ARC of the second book in this series, but have yet to read the first, so when I saw it at my bookstore I knew I just had to get it!

GIFTED


I was gifted this AWESOME homemade bookmark (in my fave colors!!!) for an RAK/birthday gift from the lovely and talented Miki! This is seriously one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me! Thank you Miki!!

EBOOKS

*eARC* The Culling by Steven Dos Santos
Flux
sent from pub via Netgalley

Big THANK YOUs to Harper Collins, Pyr, Disney-Hyperion, Flux, and Miki for all the bookish awesomeness this week!!!

Weekly Blog Recap
Blog Tours
Reviews
Giveaways



What did you get this week?!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Winners, Winners! Cupcake Dinner!


Happy Friday, Cupcakes!
I have a few winners to officially announce today...

Signed Sweet Venom Giveaway
~Jenna D.~

The Nightmare Series Giveaway
Prize Pack Winner:
~Ellz Readz~

Ebook Winners:
~DeAnna S~
~Jennifer~

Stitch Blog Tour Giveaway
~Jackie~

All winners have been emailed and confirmed.
CONGRATS CUPCAKES!!!

Didn't win? Now worries, I still have several giveaways running and more to come!
Enter all my giveaways here

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Conjure Blog Tour: review and giveaway



I'm excited to have the Conjure Blog Tour stopping by today with my review and a giveaway...

TITLE: Conjure
SERIES: The Hoodoo Apprentice #1
AUTHOR: Lea Nolan
PUB DATE: 10/23/12
PUB: Entangled 
FORMAT: eARC
SOURCE: pub

Be careful what you search for...
Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry--hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.
When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends--are lost forever.

THREE WORDS: Fun, Mysterious Read

MY REVIEW: Lea Nolan's Conjure (The Hoodoo Apprentice #1) is a fun story full of mystery, intriguing supernatural elements, and cute romance.

Fourteen year old twins Emma and Jack Guthrie are spending their summer like they always do, with their father on the coast of SC, hanging out with their neighbor and best friend (and Emma's secret crush), Cooper Beaumont. But a mysterious 18th century message found inside a bottle turns their boring summer into one of life or death. Opening the treasure they find unleashes a Gullah flesh-eating curse, called The Creep, that attacks Jack. On the urgings of a mysterious beautiful stranger, the trio consult a Gullah Grannie, Miss Delia, to undo the curse and save Jack. Miss Delia takes Emma on as a hoodoo apprentice and teaches her all she knows.

Conjure took me on an exciting and fun journey into the world of hoodoo. Lea Nolan has crafted a unique story full of magical elements, sweet romance, and a likable heroine. Even though this book is 300+ pages, it was a quick read, and more importantly an enjoyable read.

The story took a few chapters to really pick up, but once it did the story moved at a great flow and I enjoyed the fast-pacing. The overall storyline is fairly predictable (I figured out the big reveal long before the climactic ending), but this didn't keep me from enjoying the journey. And Nolan does build-up the suspense and mystery well; there were plenty of twists and revelations that I never saw coming. The magical and supernatural world Nolan creates is really fresh and engrossing. I found the hoodoo elements quite captivating and very well thought out. Nolan has clearly done her research and adds a great authenticity to the story. I think readers will be riveted by Miss Delia's lessons in spells, herbs, gris-gris bags and the grotesquely fascinating curse.

For the most part, with the characters' ages and the less intense atmosphere, this story felt more MG than YA. Yes, there are darker supernatural and magical elements and life or death situations, but it just has a younger vibe to it. The teen characters who are 14 and 15 are a bit immature, but not unlikable. Emma is a realistic and smart heroine who really grew on me throughout the book. Cooper is a sweet guy, but his character development is a bit lacking; I hope we get to know him better in the next book. Jack was a bit harder to like, but I think that's because the curse made him act like a jerk. Miss Delia really shines as a great mentor character! She's funny, sassy, and irresistibly lovable.

Emma and Cooper's flirtation is definitely more cutesy and sweet than steamy. Emma's obsessive and repetitive musing about how hot/perfect/godlike Cooper can be a little annoying, but it definitely reflects her age.

The book concludes by wrapping up the storyline nicely, but setting the scene for the next installment and I will definitely be reading the sequel.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Conjure, with its fresh and fascinating hoodoo storyline, is a fun and entertaining book that will charm readers. A great first installment in what's sure to be an awesome series.


MY RATING

Connect with the author: Site / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
Purchase: Amazon / B&N 
Lea Nolan couldn’t read until the third grade. After a lot of hard work she finally got the hang of it and quickly learned the best way to get out of doing chores was to tell her parents she was reading. Soon she was hooked, devouring books by Roald Dahl, E.B. White, Judy Blume, C.S. Lewis, and anything with a shiny Newberry Award sticker on the cover. Books provided a portal to enchanted lands where anything was possible and characters relied on their wits to wiggle out of sticky situations. Today, even though she’s all grown up, Lea writes the kinds of stories she sought as a teen--smart paranormals with bright heroines, crazy-hot heroes, diabolical plot twists, plus a dose of magic, a draft of romance, and a sprinkle of history. She holds degrees in history and women’s studies concentrating in public policy and spent fifteen years as a health policy analyst and researcher. She lives in Maryland with her heroically supportive husband and three clever children, who’ve figured out how to get out of doing their chores.

Win an ebook copy of Conjure!
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor


TITLE: Days of Blood & Starlight
SERIES: Daughter of Smoke & Daughter
AUTHOR: Laini Taylor
PUB DATE: 11/6/12
PUB: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
FORMAT: eARC
SOURCE: from pub for review


In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.


THREE WORDS: Stellar, Stunning Sequel

MY REVIEW: Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone was one of my absolute favorite reads of last year, it was one of those books that moved me and never really left me, and I've been eagerly awaiting the sequel all year. And Days of Blood & Starlight is as equally stunning and stellar as its predecessor and enthralled me completely.

In Days of Blood & Starlight we find old characters facing the consequences of the climactic events at the end of book one, and are introduced to new characters, new places, and new revelations. Our heroine, blue-haired Karou, and her once angel-lover, Akiva, both find themselves in different worlds and entangled in a bloody war. Faced with mysteries, heartache, betrayals, death, and pain, these two characters must come to terms with who they are and what they must do for their people, for themselves, and for love.

I devoured all 500+ pages of Days of Blood & Starlight in one sitting, staying up into the wee hours of the morning, unable to put it down for even a second. From page one, Laini Taylor instantly swept me away into her fiercly beautiful world and carried me away with her breathtaking and captivating storytelling. Days of Blood & Starlight has a different, yet equally enrapturing, feel to it. Like the brief synopsis says above, the same “richness, color and intensity of the first book” is present in this sequel, but it is a different canvas upon which they've been painted.

Taylor's immensely gorgeous and lyrical writing and storytelling continues to enchant and impress. There are so many lovely passages and sentences in this sequel that I found myself re-reading, unable to look away. The intricate, layered and rich world-building of book one is deftly continued in book two. Karou finds herself in a very different place than her beloved Prague; a harsh, relentless place that Taylor somehow brings an eloquence to. And the world of Eretz is greatly expanded upon in this book, as both the worlds of the angels and chimaera are explored. This world and all its inhabitants is crafted with an exquisiteness that is both beautiful and bleak, enchanting and terrifying, irresistible and repulsive, and utterly spellbinding.

The story laid out in Days of Blood & Starlight is a stellar mix of fire and fierceness, love and heartache, humor and pain, intensity and softness, acceptance and new paths. As the middle book in a trilogy, it continues to connect the threads woven in the first book, while setting the scene for the climactic finale in book three. Taylor paces this sequel perfectly, balancing the suspenseful ferocity of the war the characters find themselves in with the unexpected truths and revelations as well as the rich character development and growth. Like in book one, this sequel has stories within stories, and all the important subplots are woven together seamlessly, creating a colorful and captivating tapestry full of action, love, and palpable emotion.

Taylor's characters continue to be some of my very favorites! The Karou we meet in Days of Blood & Starlight is a more mature, stronger, and maybe even darker Karou than the girl we met in book one. But this change is necessary and realistic; Karou has seen and discovered truths that she can't walk away from unscathed, and she has to either stand still and fall apart or go forth and grow. She chooses to bravely go forth and on. Akiva feels like a more complete and developed character in this sequel; his layers are exposed and explored greatly. There's a large cast of characters, some old, some new, some likable, some fun to hate. I think the character that really shines in this book is Zuzana. Her laugh-out-loud humor is infectious and endearing and perfectly placed. I think I'm a little bit in love with this feisty little fairy of a girl ;)

While the romance, or lack of, between Karou and Akiva, is not the dominating force in this sequel, it is intensely felt. The relationship between these two, not just the romantic one, but the simple, undeniable connection between them, is, in my opinion, still one of the absolute best written and explored relationships in YA fiction. Everything about this relationship- the electric connection, the heartache, the betrayal, the longing, the lust, the desperation, the need, the simple love- feels so intimately real and burns palpably.

This book ends a bit more quietly than the first book, but left me excited and desperate for book three nonetheless.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: I was scared that no sequel could live up to the beauty and superb storytelling of Daughter of Smoke & Bone, but this sequel has done just that. Days of Blood & Starlight is a captivatingly and darkly gorgeous story with a riveting plot, dazzling writing, excellent world-building and unforgettable characters. A MUST read book in a MUST read series!

MY RATING

Connect with the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter 
Hi there! I'm a writer of fantasy books for young people, but my books can be enjoyed by adults as well. My 'Dreamdark' books, Blackbringer (2007) and Silksinger (2009) are about faeries -- not dainty little flowery things, but warrior-faeries who battle devils. My first young adult book, Lips Touch, is a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award! It's creepy, sensual supernatural romance. . . about kissing. I am also an artist with a licensed gift product line called "Laini's Ladies."