Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell, May 27, 2014. Published by Katherine Tegan Books.
When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. The stories all said the place was ruined by an earthquake, and Sand did not expect to find everything inside-from dishes to candles to apples-torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Why wasn't this in the stories?

To survive, Sand does what he knows best-he fires up the castle's forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place?

Unexpectedly, Sand finds the lost heir, Perrotte, a girl who shares the castle's astonishing secrets and dark history. Putting together the pieces-of stone and iron, and of a broken life-is harder than Sand ever imagined, but it's the only way to gain their freedom, even with the help of the guardian saints.

Why: I have two very short reasons for wanting to read The Castle Behind Thorns.
  1. I really enjoyed The Handbook for Dragon Slayers and am ready to try more of her writing. With her last book, I loved the characters and the story, which put her on my "author's to watch list".
  2. It sounds like an interesting read and I must know what happens and how things came about. In short, I'm very curious and intrigued.               

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply 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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Young Adult Review: The Fountain of the Earth

The Fountain of the Earth (Fountain of the Earth, 1) by H.L. LeRoy, November 22, 2013. 272 pages. Published by Tranquille Press. Source: Author
Terra Vonn is fighting to survive in a destroyed world,
surrounded by unspeakable horror . . .
and things are about to get much worse.

After witnessing the horrific murder of her mother, fifteen-year-old Terra Vonn has a singular focus—exacting revenge on the killers. But before she can complete her plan, savagery intervenes, and she is cast alone into a brutal post-apocalyptic world. As she trails the murderers south—through a land filled with cannibalistic criminals, slave traders, and lunatics—the hunter becomes the hunted. Terra quickly learns that she is not as tough or as brave as she thought she was. Worse, she may be the only one who stands between what little remains of civilization and destruction.
First Sentence:
My clan had decided when I would marry, and, as bad as that sounds, a few goats or chickens-more or less-were going to determine who would marry me.

After the Book Deal with Jonathan Auxier: Day Six


Guys, I am really excited to have Jonathan Auxier, author of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes and the upcoming The Night Gardener, to talk about what he's learned after his first year in publishing. Definitely an interesting and eye-opening series he has put together.

AFTER THE BOOK DEAL – Guest Post by Jonathan Auxier

The Internet is full of great advice about how to sell a book, but what about after the sale? When my first book came out, I found it was surprisingly hard to find answers to some basic questions. Like most authors, I learned most of the answers through trial and error. And so in anticipation of the launch of my new novel,The Night Gardener, I’ve decided to write down everything I learned so I don’t make the same mistakes twice!

AFTER THE BOOK DEAL is a month-long blog series detailing the twenty things I wish someone had told me before entering the exciting world of children’s publishing. Each weekday from now until MAY 20, I will be posting an article on a different blog. Follow along and please spread the word!

***

Day Six: Can I Have Your Autograph?

Last week, we discussed what to do before your book comes out, this week we’ll be moving onto the actual launch! First up: autographs!

My first signing event was at an ALA Annual Conference, and before the event, I was terrified. Luckily, before the event, I ran into a crew of nice authors who were willing to give me some lifesaving pointers. Below are five things every author should do before their first signing ...

1) Do a Dry Run
This sounds silly, but I was advised to practice signing a few books before I started doing autographs for actual people. The goal was to figure out a few basic things: what page I wanted to sign on, what pen I wanted to use, where on the page I wanted to sign. The experience of signing a book (even your own!) is stranger than you might think, and it’s nice to get a feel for it before you’re actually in front of a reader.

2) Pick a Catchphrase
Probably the best advice I got was to figure out a phrase or word from the book that I could sign in every copy. In the case of Peter Nimble, I chose “Adventure ho!” and for my new book, I simply write “Courage!” It’s not fancy, but it at least assures that every autograph is more than just an illegible signature at the bottom of the page. (A great alternative, especially for children, is to come up with a few easy/silly sketches that relate to the story—they don’t have to be fancy, just legible!)

3) Get a New Signature
Speaking of jumbled names, a few authors warned me about the danger of people misusing your legal signature and advised that I come up with something specifically for signing books. Whether or not that fear is valid, I do think it’s nice to create a distinction between Jonathan-as-author and Jonathan-as-citizen. In my case, there was an added benefit: for books I only write my first initial ... sparing me some major hand-cramp!

4) Perfect Your Pitch
Something authors hate doing (but MUST do!) is memorizing a one-sentence pitch for their book. I can’t tell you how valuable this is in signing situations. Often someone will walk near your table, pick up your book, and ask you what it’s about. You need to be able to answer with something specific and catchy enough to make them want the book. (And short enough to Tweet!) Spend some time crafting this pitch—because you’ll be repeating it thousands of times in the next year. In the case of my first book, here’s what I said:

Peter Nimble is the story of a small, blind orphan ... who also happens to be the greatest thief who ever lived.” 

And for my new book, The Night Gardener:

The Night Gardener is a spooky story about two children who discover an ancient, mysterious tree that seems to grant their heart’s desires ... but only at a price!”

Don’t worry about spoilers—you’d rather have someone learn the twist and read your book than have them skip reading it altogether! Basically, you want to tell them the thing you hope they may repeat to someone else in future conversation.

5) Don’t Guess Names—Ask!
Don’t ever assume that you know how to spell a person’s name. Always ask how a name is spelled—people would much rather spell it out for you than have you mess it up!

That’s it for AFTER THE BOOK DEAL! Tomorrow I’ll be at The O.W.L. talking about how to plan a book launch party. Follow along, and please-oh-please spread the word!

***
JONATHAN AUXIER writes strange stories for strange children. His new novel, The Night Gardener, hits bookstores this May. You can visit him online at www.TheScop.com where he blogs about children's books old and new.









Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier, August 1, 2011. Published by Amulet Books.
"Now, for those of you who know anything about blind children, you are aware that they make the very best thieves. As you can well imagine, blind children have incredible senses of smell, and they can tell what lies behind a locked door- be it fine cloth, gold, or peanut brittle- at fifty paces. Moreover, their fingers are so small and nimble that they can slip right through keyholes, and their ears so keen that they can hear the faint clicks and clacks of every moving part inside even the most complicated lock. Of course, the age of great thievery has long since passed;today there are few child-thieves left, blind or otherwise. At one time, however, the world was simply thick with them. This is the story of the greatest thief who ever lived. His name, as you've probably guessed, is Peter Nimble."


You can add Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, which is one amazing read, to your Goodreads shelf, trust me you want to read this one.

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier, May 20, 2014. Published by Amulet Books.
This much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Auxier’s exceptional debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, is a Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it’s also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling.

The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier’s exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

You can add The Night Gardener to your Goodreads shelf, I know I'll be adding it to mine. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Catholic Review: Journal of a Soul

Journal of a Soul: The Autobiography of Pope John XXIII by Pope John XXIII, November 9, 1999 (originally published in 1964). 544 pages. Published by Image. Source: Blogging for Books.
No other pope of this century has aroused so much interest and universal affection throughout the world as has Pope John XXIII. Journal of a Soul is an inspiring reading experience that records this pope's thoughts and traces his spiritual development from adolescence to the seminary to a career as a priest, a European papal diplomat, Patriarch of Venice, and finally Pope John XXIII.

This Image Books edition features a biographical portrait of Pope John by his personal secretary, Monsignor Loris Capovilla. It also includes several of his most moving prayers, sixty brief thoughts and aphorisms, his "Rules for the Ascetic Life," many of his letters, even his last will and testament. Christians everywhere will welcome the reissue of "one of the most original, interesting, and inspiring revelations of intimate personal experiences ever written," which "ranks well with the classic spiritual autobiographies" (Critic).

Journal of a Soul, the first ever such work from a Roman pontiff, opens new windows onto the soul of the man himself.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Review: Hypothesis

Hypothesis (Hekapolis, 1) by Ana Bastow, June 26, 2013. 298 pages. Published by Createspace. Source: author.
College sophomore Gabrielle Bridge is falling for the wrong guy. One would think a physics student would be smarter than that. In her defense though, he was wearing the most surprising disguise.
We meet our geek girl while she is plotting to win the Nobel prize one day. But with an absentee father and an alcoholic mother, she knows her chances are next to zero.
To achieve her goal she tries to recruit her current crush, the brilliant Toby Harker, as a partner. Sadly her big stupid mouth lands her pretty but dumb William Wyseman, instead. This unfortunate pairing though turns out to be enchanting -literally.
William is a wizard, magic is real.
There is a secret world hidden in plain sight, a world at war with Sekeem Soulless a sorcerer powerful enough to destroy it all.
William unable to beat him with his powers was posing as a science student to seek a human weapon to stop him. And turns out that Gabrielle might be what he needs: she is immune to magic.
William promises to help her prove to the world that witchcraft is real. The Nobel will be hers with this breakthrough. That is if they find out how to use her strange 'gift' before Sekeem kills her, with his own hands if magic won't do.
Gabrielle thinks she will learn the mysteries of magic. However, her most shocking discoveries are going to be about herself.
First Sentence:
Maybe because it was the most unreachable goal a woman like me could attain, I decided, the day my father left, that I was going to win the Nobel Prize one day.

While I'm Away




As I am counting down the days till I visit my new allergist, joy, oh, joy, I have determined that from April 24th (tomorrow...already) through May 3rd I'll be taking a brief hiatus from the blog and from returning emails. The reason for this is that for seven days prior to my appointment I'll have to stop all of my allergy meds (weeps at the thought of this) and with spring fully sprung down here I'm going to be pretty miserable and not up to keeping on top of things.
    As you've probably heard my allergies have been pretty bad the last two years, like worse then previous years, and I'm hoping to get them better under control. So, please, wish me luck on this front.


Now, don't go worrying your pretty heads, there will still be all the usual posts during my personal break you'll just be without my shining personality for a few days. I know, such hard time for all. So, if y'all have any questions, please, feel free to email me and I'll get back to you when I return from my brief break.

I hope that y'all will continue to check out the great, at least I think they're pretty great, posts that'll be going up while I'm away for a couple days.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

A Tale of Two Centuries (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, 2) by Rachel Harris, August 6, 2013. Published by Entangle Teen.
Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea.

One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility.

With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?
Why: Last week, I finished My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, I know, I'm behind the times, and was pleasantly surprised by it. So, of course, I must read the next book in the series!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply 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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Vintage Reads Review: The Thief


The Thief (Queen's Thief, 1) by Megan Whalen Turner, October 31, 1996. 220 pages. Published by Greenwillow Books. Source: library
The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.
First Sentence:
I didn't know how long I had been in the king's prison.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky

The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky by Holly Schindler, February 6, 2014. 240 pages. Published by Dial. Source: publisher.
August “Auggie” Jones lives with her Grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” Auggie is determined to prove that she is not as run-down as the outside of her house might suggest. Using the kind of items Gus usually hauls to the scrap heap, a broken toaster becomes a flower; church windows turn into a rainbow walkway; and an old car gets new life as spinning whirligigs. What starts out as a home renovation project becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time. Auggie’s talent for creating found art will remind readers that one girl’s trash really is another girl’s treasure.
First Sentence:
Old Glory shimmies like she's dancing the jitterbug.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: Journey to Galumphagos

Journey to Galumphagos by Seth Eisner, August 4, 2013. 84 pages. Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Source: blog tour/author.
Life can be tough for a loner like Emily. She's had enough of being the perfect target for bullies. She persuades her brother and sister to run away with her to Galumphagos Island, a paradise on earth. But they find out that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the street, or even the other side of the ocean. They need all their courage and cleverness -- and a little luck, too -- to get out of the mess they landed in. Seth Eisner blends humor and non-stop action in his story about three young children who learn that real courage isn't just about adventures. It's usually about ordinary things, like asking that other lonely girl if you can share her lunch table.
First Sentence:
Chloe Miller stood at her easel in the Rec Room.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

Minion by John David Anderson, June 24, 2014. Published by Walden Pond Press.
John David Anderson returns to the world of superheroes he created in Sidekicked with an entirely new cast of characters in Minion, a funny and emotional companion to his first breakout tween novel—perfect for superhero fans who also love the work of bestselling authors Rick Riordan, Louis Sachar, and Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Michael Morn might be a villain, but he's really not a bad guy. When you live in New Liberty, known across the country as the City without a Super, there are only two kinds of people, after all: those who turn to crime and those who suffer. Michael and his adoptive father spend their days building boxes—special devices with mysterious abilities—which they sell to the mob at a price. They provide for each other, they look out for each other, and they'd never betray each other.

But then a Super comes to town, and Michael's world is thrown into disarray. The Comet could destroy everything Michael and his dad have built, the safe and secure life they've made for themselves. And now Michael and his father face a choice: to hold tight to their life or to let it unravel.



Why: I am seriously excited for Minion, especially after reading Sidekicked last year. John David Anderson just has a way with words and creating characters that will keep you on your toes. Definitely looking forward to reading this one.

Want to know what I thought of Sidekicked, well, now's your chance to find out what I thought about it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply 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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Mortal Enchantment by Stacey O'Neale: Cover Reveal

Today, Stacey O'Neale and Phoenix Reign Publishing are revealing the cover for
MORTAL ENCHANTMENT, releasing on May 20, 2014!
Check out the awesome cover and enter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card!!!
On to the reveal!

Mortal Enchantment

“Mortal Enchantment spins a unique twist on elemental mythology. This series is not to be missed.” Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times Bestselling AuthorIn Kalin Matthew's world, elementals control the forces of nature. They are divided into four courts: air, woodland, fire, and water. At sixteen she will leave the life she's built with her mortal mother. Kalin will move to Avalon to rule with her father—the elemental king of the air court. Along the way, she's attacked by a fire court assassin and saved by Rowan, a swoon-worthy elemental with a questionable past.
Worst of all, she learns her father is missing.
To rescue him, Kalin will have to work with a judgmental council and a system of courts too busy accusing each other of deceit to actually be able to help her. But, they aren’t her biggest challenge. With the Midwinter’s Ball only five days away, Kalin must take over her father’s duties, which includes shifting control of the elements—power Kalin has yet to realize.
As Rowan attempts to train her, a war looms between the four courts. If Kalin fails, her father will die and the courts will fall, but the betrayal she’s about to uncover may cost her even more...
Add to your Goodreads TBR!!!

If you haven't read THE SHADOW PRINCE, you can download if NOW for FREE from Amazon and Barnes & Noble!!!


The Shadow Prince
Every sacrifice has consequences. Sixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission: Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king. Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he's capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Available for FREE on Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleAlso available in PRINT from Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Photoshoot-21Stacey O'Neale lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she's not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter. Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult paranormal romance and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing. Stacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Pinterest, and GoodReads. You can also visit her blog at http://staceyoneale.com/.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

A Vintage Reads Review: Assassin


Assassin (Lady Grace Mysteries, 1) by Patricia Finney, September 28, 2004. 208 pages. Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers. Source: Library.
WHEN MARGARET CAVENDISH, one of Elizabeth I’s Gentlewomen of the Bedchamber, lost her life in a bungled attempt to kill the Queen, her daughter, Lady Grace, became a protégée to the monarch, who takes Grace under her wing. Now Grace, a spunky girl who romps through the gardens with the laundry maids and court tumblers and rolls her eyes at her fellow
ladies, chronicles the court intrigues that swirl around her. . . .

It’s the spring of 1569 and 13-year-old Lady Grace, the youngest lady-in-waiting to the Queen, finds herself at a glittering ball choosing amongst three suitors. But the Queen’s generosity turns deadly as threats, dark secrets, and even murder descend on the Tudor court. And it is up to Grace to use her intelligence, stealth, and curious nature to solve the mystery that threatens the very lifeblood of England.
First Sentence:
I am supposed to use this book to write all my prayers and meditations in. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Catholic Review: Good Pope, Bad Pope: Their Lives, Our Lessons

Good Pope, Bad Pope: Their Lives, Our Lessons by Mike Aquilina, September 13, 2013. 140 pages. Published by Servant Books. Source: Won.
Why did the author pick the popes you’ll meet in the pages of this book? Why not Gregory I, whom many would call the greatest pope of all time? Why not Leo X, who was pope at the beginning of the Protestant Reformation? Why not Leo XIII, who boldly stood up for the rights of workers?

Every pope is by definition a remarkable man. But the popes whose stories you’ll read here were chosen because they reveal how the papacy developed. They show us how Christ kept his promise to his bride, the Church, not only in her health but also in her sickness. The great popes advanced our understanding of Christian doctrine. But even more remarkable, the worst popes could do nothing to damage the teaching of the Church.

That’s why, even in its darkest moments, the story of the papacy is a story of triumph. And that’s why it’s worth knowing these twelve popes.
First Sentence:
How's this for an ugly scene?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: Battle of the Beasts (ARC)


Battle of the Beasts (House of Secrets, 2) by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini, March 25, 2014. 480 pages. Published by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen. Source: publisher.
Since the siblings' last adventure, life in the Walker household is much improved—the family is rich and the Wind Witch is banished. But no Walker will be safe until she is found, and summoning her to San Francisco brings all the danger that comes with her and puts the Walkers in the crosshairs of a mysterious journey through Denver Kristoff's books. As the Walkers travel from ancient Rome to World War II to Tibet, they'll be tested in ways that cut deeper than before, by Denver Kristoff, the Wind Witch, and each other.
First Sentence:
Brendan Walker knew the package would be there by eight a.m.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle (League of Princes, 2) by Christopher Healy, January 1, 2013. Published by Walden Pond Press.
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You remember them, don't you? They're the Princes Charming, who finally got some credit after they stepped out of the shadows of their princesses--Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Briar Rose--to defeat an evil witch bent on destroying all their kingdoms.

But alas, such fame and recognition only last so long. And when the princes discover that an object of great power might fall into any number of wrong hands, they are going to have to once again band together to stop it from happening--even if no one will ever know it was they who did it.

Christopher Healy, author of the acclaimed The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, takes us back to the hilariously fractured fairy-tale world he created for another tale of medieval mischief. Magical gemstones, bladejaw eels, a mysterious Gray Phantom, and two maniacal warlords bent on world domination--it's all in a day's work for the League of Princes.
Why: I'm a little embarrassed to say that I still have not read Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle. It's especially bad since I absolutely adored The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom and the new direction that Christopher Healy took the princes' tales. Seriously, though, I really want a finished copy of this one.

Want to see my thoughts on The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, well, then you are in luck.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply 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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Young Adult Review: Tin Star (ARC)

Tin Star (Tin Star, 1) by Cecil Castellucci, February 25, 2014. 240 pages. Published by Roaring Brook Press. Source: publisher.
On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist's leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.

When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula's desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.
First Sentence:
There are few things colder than the blackness of space.

Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy: Cover Reveal + Giveaway

Today we're excited to bring you the release week promo and cover reveal of the middle grade novel, Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy.  K.L. Kincy is a pen name for author Karen Kincy, author of young adult and adult novels.   To make things exciting we have the cover artist, Kirbi Fagan, here to tell us about the creation of the cover of Deadly Delicious!  Deadly Delicious is out now!

Creating the Cover by Kirbi Fagan

Painting the cover for for the novel started with an email. When I heard the story was set in the 1950's, I knew it would be fun project for me. I'm always eager to paint strong young girls on an adventure. The magical twist of the story was icing on the cake --- pun intended!
Starting an illustration is the most exciting part for me, it is when I feel the most creative. When you have a great story like "Deadly Delicious," feeling inspired isn't hard, the ideas flow. Below is the first scribble of Josephine, drawn while reading the manuscript.
Picture1
After a many sketches, I worked with Karen to find a sketch that was just right. Flash, the dog in the story, was my favorite character and I knew I had to find a place for him on the cover. 
Picture2
Next, I grabbed my camera and started shooting the reference material for the painting. I photographed it all. Another illustrator even helped me out and photographed her dog at the angle I needed. Below are few shots of the zombie hands, frosting covered and all.
Picture3
A screen shot of a drawing in progress, figuring out Josephine's "look."
Picture4
On to the painting. I used both traditional and digital media to create the final artwork. Working digitally allows me to experiment with things I might not have the freedom to do with real paint. The traditional element allows me to create rich colors and real texture.
Picture5
Now about that type... what a mess! I won't be making a career change to a cake decorator anytime soon...
Picture6
At last... the cover!
Deadly Delicious - ebook cover (1)
For more information about myself and my work visit www.kirbiillustrations.com or tweet me @kirbifagan
 
About Deadly Delicious:
Twelve-year-old Josephine DeLune can’t take the heat this sweltering summer of 1955, and she was out of the kitchen long ago. An awful cook, she ruins recipes left and right, and she certainly can’t compete with her family’s reputation for extraordinary food. Her daddy’s parents ran one of the best restaurants in all of Paris, but Josephine lives in Paris, Missouri. On her mama’s side, she’s up against a long tradition of sinfully delicious soul food. Rumor has it, her Creole ancestors cooked up some voodoo to make tasty even tastier. Josephine knows the secret ingredient: she comes from a long line of conjure witches with spellbinding culinary skills. Disenchanted, Josephine works as a carhop at Carl and Earl’s Drive-In. Just plain old hamburgers, hot dogs, and curly fries, nothing magical about them. She’s got bigger fish to fry, though, when a grease fire erupts into a devilish creature who hisses her name with desire. Turns out he’s the Ravenous One, the granddaddy of all voodoo spirits, and he’s hungry for her soul. Josephine thinks he’s got the wrong girl—she’s no witch—but a gorgeous, dangerous night-skinned lady named Shaula sets her straight. Josephine is one of the most powerful witches alive, so overflowing with conjure that her out-of-control cooking simply catches fire. Josephine would love to laugh this off, but Shaula warns her that she must learn to master her magic before the Ravenous One devours her soul. Spurred into action, Josephine breaks out her grandma’s old conjure cookbook and starts cooking. Nothing grand, just the usual recipes for undying friendship and revenge. But soon Josephine can’t escape the consequences of her conjure. When the people of Paris start turning into zombies with a strange fondness for cake, Josephine looks pretty responsible for their undead reawakening…

Purchase at Amazon, available now for kindle and in paperback!
 
About the Author:
Karen - author photo2 (1)K. L. Kincy (Kirkland, Washington) loves zombies, though she hopes to meet only the cake-eating kind. Deadly Delicious is her first book for children. She has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.

K. L. Kincy also writes for teens and adults as Karen Kincy.
Find her online at:
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Giveaway:
One paperback of Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy
Open to US only.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Review: Catholic Bible Dictionary

Catholic Bible Dictionary edited by Scott Hahn, June 16, 2009. 1008 pages. Published by Doubleday Religion. Source: Blogging for Books.
More than a generation has passed since the appearance of the last major Catholic Bible dictionary. It has been a fertile generation for biblical scholarship, an eventful time for biblical archaeology, and a fruitful time for the Church’s interpretation of the Bible. It is time for a new resource.

Scott Hahn, internationally renowned theologian and biblical scholar, has inspired millions with his insight into the Catholic faith. Now he brings us this important reference guide, written specifically for Catholics, which contains more than five thousand clear and accessible entries and covers a wide range of people, places, and topics. From Genesis to Revelation, the whole of salvation history is presented and explained in smart, easy-to-understand prose.

Catholic Bible Dictionary is an invaluable source of information, insight, and guidance for Catholics and others who are interested in enriching their understanding of Sacred Scripture. Scott Hahn draws from two millennia of scholarship to create an accessible and comprehensive tool for deeper and more rewarding biblical study. 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: Vin and the Dorky Duet


Vin and the Dorky Duet by Maggie Lyons, August, 2012. 94 pages. Published by Halo Publishing International. Source: author.
When he walks through the door and sees the sharky grin on his sister’s face, Vin rightly suspects Meg is hatching a plot. Worse still, he’s central to the outcome. Meg tells him everyone expects him to play her duet for trumpet and piano at the student concert. Vin is horrified.

His only escape is to persuade another trumpet player to take his place. Meg has the hunky Brad Stewart in mind, and she challenges Vin to introduce her to him. To do that he must first befriend Brad’s nerdy brother, Eyeballs, the last person Vin wants to be friends with until Meg’s promise of a David Beckham autographed soccer jersey changes the seventh-grader’s mind. He has five days to accomplish his mission—Operation BS.

Vin’s game plan, thwarted by exploding fish tanks, magnetic compost heaps, man-eating bubble baths, and other disasters ultimately succeeds, but not exactly as he expects …
First Sentence:
I knew as soon as I walked through the door they'd hatched some kind of plan.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

The Case of the Missing Marquess (Enola Holmes Mysteries, 1) by Nancy Springer, February 16, 2006. Published by Philomel
When Enola Holmes, the much younger sister of detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared—on her 14th birthday nonetheless—she knows she alone can find her. Disguising herself as a grieving widow, Enola sets out to the heart of London to uncover her mother’s whereabouts—but not even the last name Holmes can prepare her for what awaits. Suddenly involved in the kidnapping of the young Marquess of Basilwether, Enola must escape murderous villains, free the spoiled Marquess, and perhaps hardest of all, elude her shrewd older brother—all while collecting clues to her mother’s disappearance!
Why: Ha, I like the idea of Sherlock Holmes having a, much, younger sister who tries to solve mysteries and elude her her brother. Sounds like my kind of read.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply 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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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