Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

I have been itching for a horror story for YA. I am not sure why. OK. That's a lie. I am an avid lover of YA paranormal (romance), but lately I have been looking for a villain that tares my characters apart. Anna Dressed in Blood is the closest thing that I have found that comes close to this. I literally want to be freaked out and scared.  This novel was close.

Cas... I like him because he talks like my students. He swears. He's snarky. He conscious of how to pull the strings in high school. He's a real person, in the sense you could walk into my 11th grade class and be like you, you are just like Cas.

Cas has to fight ghosts and there are several scenes where I was like: Did I read that right? It was super gory including a person being ripped apart, literally. The ghosts are monsters. I LOVED IT.

Half way through it did turn into a paranormal romance ...kind of, not full on Bella and Edward, but the element was there.

I think the most haunting (ha. get it? it's a story about ghosts.) about this story is what and who Anna is as a ghost and how she died. Like I was pissed for her. What a crappy, horrible, way to die. I wanted to beat her murderer up, just like Cas wanted to.

I think this book has inspired me to work on my dream walking novel. I really want to make it a thriller. Alright, a little romance.

BTW - my giveaway for Michelle Madow's Remembrance is still going on. Tomorrow, the 30th, is the last day you can enter.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Remembrance by Michelle Madow and a chance to win a copy!

New Hampshire high school junior Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England ... but she doesn't know it yet. 

Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can't she seem to get him out of her mind?

Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, the pair of them soon find that fighting fate isn't going to be easy

Hey everyone! Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you are well and full!
Today I am doing a review of the book Remembrance by Michelle Madow. This review goes along with the interview I did with her yesterday. If you check out the interview you will have a chance to for an e-copy of this book. The link is here.

I don't typically read current day love stories. OK. I never do. But I saw the cover. Can we all take a moment to look at this cover? *Stares lovingly* ENCHANTING! I had to get a copy. I emailed Michelle, got the copy, and started reading.

I liked Lizzie immediately. I think it was because I related to her and her dwindling feelings for Jeremy. Most people have been there. You create this life where the other is a major part, but then you change or he changes, but you still care for them, just not in the same way, and you don't know how to say goodbye.  I did feel bad for Jeremy multiple times in this book. I think he loved Lizzie and thought she would always be there and then he was blind sided - bc he didn't see the signs.

Chelsea is a great friend and though I really am happy for Drew and Lizzie - I think she got the raw end of the deal on this one. She was a good friend of Lizzie's. She was crazy about Drew. Nobody is honest with her.

All sad things aside. I love the boy that is cold one minute and then hot the next in books. It doesn't matter the genre. That is Drew. He sends Lizzie on a roller coaster alone without having "memories" of their old life together.

To give a little of the premise - Lizzie and Drew both remember being in the early 1800's. They remember faces, names, places, outfits, actions - and these things slowly come out over the course of the book, leading up to a big reveal that explains a lot about Drew's behavior.

I think the sweetest thing about this book is the pull that Lizzie shows, you as a character, towards Drew. She doesn't want to bc of Chelsea but it is undeniable. She must be near him and I think that is something that teenagers go through and as an adult, something I miss.  This was a great read. It was a great change of pace for me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Author Blog hop! New authors and giveaways!

Welcome to the New Author Blog Hop. Saba @ Of Thoughts and Words and I are co-hosting this event to try and get the word out for new authors.  The blogging world is a great asset and we thought we would help out. There are over 40 bloggers and authors participating.  Please see the bottom of this post to see who else is posting. Most of them are having giveaways!

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Michelle Madow, the debut author of Remembrance! She also gave me an e-copy of her novel, so that is what I am offering up for a prize!  See details at the bottom of this post!

What has inspired you to pursue writing professionally?

I’ve always created stories in my head, but never knew people would be interested in
them until I took Intro to Creative Writing during college. For the first assignment, I
wrote the first chapter of a novel I’d created in my mind. I was totally surprised when my
classmates and teacher loved it and wanted to read more! That was when I realized that I would never know if I could succeed in completing a novel if I didn’t at least give it a try. So I tried, and ended up with Remembrance

Care to share the best (or one of) moment you have had during the post-acceptance
of being published?

My best moments I had after being published were when my first reviews came in.
Seeing that other people loved and appreciated my novel was an amazing experience, and I’m so happy to be able to share Remembrance with the world.

In your book, who is your favorite character and why?

I’m going to be lame and choose Lizzie, my main character. (I did focus the book on her,
after all ;) She’s a sweet girl, even though she’s still figuring out what she wants in life
and how to stand up for herself when what she has to say isn’t what others want to hear.
Plus, she gets to go on this awesome adventure of learning she’s reincarnated, which I
think is pretty cool.

Any new projects you have in the works?

Yes! I’m currently working on final edits for Vengeance, the short story that happens
right after Remembrance. Vengeance is releasing on December 8, 2011. After that I’m
going to start working on the third (and final) novel in the Transcend Time Saga.

What are five non-author facts about your self?

1. I absolutely love pizza and eat it a few times a week.
2. My favorite movie is Back to the Future. I can recite practically every line. I
have to restrain myself from saying them out loud when I watch the movie with friends, so I don’t annoy them.
3. My favorite musical is Wicked. I’ve seen it ten times!
4. I love wearing lots of bracelets, even better if they’re shiny and/or sparkly.
5. I’ve wanted to go to Antarctica since 5th grade, and I plan on making it there

Thank you so much for featuring me on the New Author Hop!

Visit Michelle’s website, www.michellemadow.com, to check out her debut novel,
Remembrance, and to add her on all her social media sites!

Remembrance is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and The Book

To enter the giveaway leave the following info in a comment:
Be a follower - leave your GFC name
Leave your email

Super simple! Tomorrow I will be posting my review of Michelle's book. Stop back and read it. I hope you enjoy the hop!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.

The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

This is my favorite book of the trilogy. It picks up right where it left off in The Maze Runner. Thomas and the gladiers go to sleep and when they wake up, Theresa is no where around, some people are dead and another "test" begins.

The group, dwindling now, goes through a scorching desert, trying to figure out what they should be doing. They run into some cranks, Brenda and Jorge, and find out they need to get to the safe haven.  Brenda immediately attaches herself to Thomas. At first I didn't mind this because I wasn't attached to Thomas, but then I did so, and his bond with Theresa seemed to torture the guy. I felt bad for him. Theresa shows up, kisses him, and takes off. Then she tells him it is going to get really bad but then it will get better thought their mind-speaking abilities. Brenda is still there, inching her way into Thomas. Seeing a relationship through a boy's eyes, left out the butterflies, and made it very realistic for me. He was torn, but he sought comfort.

I didn't trust Brenda.

Then Theresa does something horrible, and I wanted Thomas to forgive her, but I didn't know if he could. I didn't know if it was part of his nature.

Thomas is super important in the story (yes, I realize I am stating the obvious.). But we start to see that WICKED, through flashbacks and mini-trials, is specifically watching him and wanting him to survive.

Minho is a great - loyal - friend and even though he isn't destined to be as great as Thomas, I find his character to be essential to Thomas, more so than Theresa.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tiger's Voyage by College Houck

In the third installment of the Tiger series, Kelsey Hayes pushes through the pain of lost love and strengthens her friendship with Kishan. Despite his strong feelings for her, Kishan has agreed to be her ally in helping her reunite with the man she still loves. Together, they seek to help Ren regain his memory and begin the search for the third magical gift—an object of power that will help break the curse that causes them to live part of their lives as tigers. 

They board a luxury yacht and seek Durga's aid once again, who supplies them with her golden weapons. With Nilima, Mr. Kadam, Ren, and Kishan at her side, she soon learns that the task ahead will be even more difficult than the others. Confronting a dark magician, multiple dragons, and terrifying denizens of the deep seems easy when compared to facing the daunting task of stitching up her heart. Just when she thinks she's ready to set her feet on a new path, she is yanked back with a jolt to the one she's determined to leave behind. 

The jarring tug-of-war that ensues for Kelsey's heart leaves her anxious and confused. Combined with the stress of almost being killed every other day, it would appear that saving the tigers is almost more than she can handle. Still, she presses on, knowing that a choice is looming on the horizon. One she cannot put off making for long. 

No one paintball my house. I didn't love this one the way I loved the first two. I mean, I loved it. I did, but I wasn't as captivated. Mind you I have a bunch of stuff on the ol' brain, plus I am super freaking annoyed with Ren. I know. You are all probably sitting there going, Michelle, you are all about Team Ren. And I am, was. I dunno! I am really irritated with him in this book. He makes Kelsy's heart a swinging door and does some really romantic things followed up by some real d@ck moves. Was anyone else super annoyed with him?

Diana told me she was leaning toward Team Kishan and, I think I am jumpin' the fence and joining that team too. I am really angry at Kelsey and Ren for how they are so focused on "their" love that they don't see how much Kishan has changed and how stable he is for Kelsey.  And deep down, I know Kishan knows Kelsey is going to pick Ren in the end, but he still tries anyway. I totally think one of the brothers is going to die in the final installment.

On to the dragons. Houck does such a great job at coming up with new problems and Indian lore for our three main characters. The dragons were all so different in personality. I hated some. I really liked some other ones. It was good. I can't tell you much more because I won't spoil it.

The ending. Houck does try to murder me at the end of each of her books. Like the first two I had heart attacks because of her cliff hangers. This time I may have hyperventilated. (I'm beginning to think I liked this book more than I thought I did as I type this).

Loekshi - I hate you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thought I would re-post this since it is getting down farther on my list.

Have you recently published a book? Do you know a first time author recently published? It's tough these days getting our stories and books out there. This hop/giveaway helps to support first time authors whether published traditionally or self-published in getting their books noticed and read by the reading community. Let's support one another! Find and support new authors and their debut publications!

For authors: Provide details/summary of your book, places where your book can be purchased, review(s) etc. Giveaway is not mandatory but is highly encouraged.

For book lovers: If you have read a debut novel and loved it, help the author by sharing it with us. Write a substantial review and where the book can be found. A book giveaway is not mandatory but again, it is highly encouraged. Nothing draws a big crowd like a fun book giveaway! :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

The undead can really screw up your senior year ... 

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

I read this book like two years ago, but since the sequel is finally coming out, I needed to brush up on what the book was about.  I am not one to re-read unless I am completely infatuated. I REALLY enjoyed the book the first one and still enjoyed the book the second time.

One thing I really like about this book this time around is that the vampires are not cuddly. Lucius (AKA stud) is very charming but there is something very dangerous about him and very lethal. He's not a tortured soul, loving a human. (mind you there was a time when I loved this scenario) Lucius is in PA to let Jessica know that she is actually a vampire princess. While her parents (adoptive) were very much aware of this and the fact one day Lucius would come, Jessica doesn't believe in vampires. Lucius stays and starts to charm the socks off of her.

He's honor-bound to fulfill a pact that was sign by both of their parents before they brutally hunted down. This marriage will join families and prevent war. Noble cause right. Who doesn't want to stop a war. Um, how about the senior mathlete who cannot wrap her head around the fact that vampires exist.

Jessica doesn't immediately fall for Lucius. She holds on to her crush at school. He's nice to her. He's nice to look at. But eventually Jessica just doesn't want nice. She wants the vamp. It's a progression and I like how she doesn't up and believe in vampires right away. She's also pretty gutsy at the end of the novel.

I have a question for everyone: If you were faced with the paranormal creatures (vampires, werewolves, trolls, or anything of the like) how would you react?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reading slump - seeking suggestions

Hey everyone. *waves*

So since my life has drastically slowed down from all kinds of Student Council, Battle of the Classes, and the New York State Reading Association Conference fun, I have been cleaning, grading, and getting back on top of my game and still manage to get 7 hours of sleep. I forgot what sleep was. It's so nice. *sighs* Sleep.


I'm in a bit of a reading slump. I haven't read anything that I am like "OMG I LOVE IT!" since Tiger's Quest. Silence didn't really rock my world. I know, blasphemy. Don't worry - I am still very much Team Patch. I think I have just been super tired and haven't been able to fully commit to my closet love of books.

Anyway - any bombshell suggestions for me?

Maybe I am tired of paranormal. *ponders a second* Nahhhh. Never.

Also, I am looking to borrow two books. I have the sequels to these books. I need to review them for The Charlotte Award. I am not a big fan of reading a sequel without the first one. But I have had heard good things about both of the series.

Lisa Desrochers - Personal Demons
Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edhill's Legacies: A Shadow Grail Novel

If anyone has the e-book that would be great, or a pdf, or the actual book and want to send it my way, that would be great. Thanks!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I need your vote!!!

I signed my school up for a chance to win 25,000 dollars for our tech department. I made it to the voting part, except there is like 150 other people going for this. YIKES! Good note, we have to be in the top 15 of voting. I am at 119. Yeah, so I need some help! Your help. Please go to this website and vote. You can text, sign into facebook, or create a Pepsi account. Your vote will help us out.
Also you can vote daily!!!

Please go and vote and help out my students!!!! They will get their own netbooks!!! Come on vote!!! Yep, click that button!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RIggs

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography,Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows

At the NYSRA conference I was at, I said that I wanted more YA with pictures. I am not saying every page has to have a graphic, but a like twenty for a book of 200 pages. My friend Karen, who is on the Charlotte Award Council, got this book. I began reading it and you know what? It has pictures! Talk about getting what you wished for.

The pictures in the book, make the book. Creepy. Some people say real, some say not so much, I say - gave me better visuals in my head... some of them are downright creepy.

The word creepy leads me to my next paragraph. I really thought I had a Stephen King - make you freak out - book on my hands. The first five chapters are really creepy, there is a murder, and the details of the murder for Jacob are scary. Then no one believes him. They think he is crazy, poor kid.

This island has a lot of secrets and the story is well-developed, but once Jacob gets to meet the peculiar children, take away the peculiar aspect and it become a regular story. A good regular story, but the element of me being afraid at night when I put it down, was lost. I think I am looking for a really good scary book. Maybe my dream walker book will turn into one.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Where I'm From

George Ella Lyon wrote an awesome poem:

Where I'm From

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.
I'm from fudge and eyeglasses,
          from Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
          and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I'm from He restoreth my soul
          with a cottonball lamb
          and ten verses I can say myself.
I'm from Artemus and Billie's Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
          to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments--
snapped before I budded --
leaf-fall from the family tree.

At NYSRA I sat in on a memoir writing workshop. The presenter presented this poem, presented the one she had wrote in her format, and then asked us to do the same. This is my first draft.

Where I'm From,

I'm from cow poop smells and sounds of a prison, 
I'm from a forest of tress, a rickety, old cabin built in the 40's 
with a fresh water spring 
from a mountain side.
I'm from homes with swings, kickball games, tree forts
and ghost in the grass
I'm from a neighborhood of all boys who rebuilt engines, snowmobiled, and hunted, 
played hard; embraced me and beat up anyone who came to near. 
I'm from a father who still call me princess, 
a mother who I resemble more and more, 
and a brother who still tells me to look both ways when I cross the road. 
I'm from a place where I sprained ankles, pirouetted, leaped, spent my Saturday mornings
and preformed for faced blacked out by stage lights.
I'm from a place so far away it only exists in pages
and in the minds of Clare, Miller, Houck, and Lindsay. 
I'm from a past with a mistake, 
who was a liar, 
and broke my heart but taught me I deserve better. 
I'm from a man who wasn't my childhood prince,
but turned out to be a white Knight 
with a sense of humor, a kind heart, and desire to see the world. 
I'm from a long list of four-legged friends who greeted me every day.
I'm from clothes spilling out from closets and drawers on to the floor,
where papers are shuffled and piled one upon the other, 
where house can wait , because I have better things to do. 
I'm from two o'clock dance parties, Sunday Fundays, policies of friendships, and inside jokes. 
I'm from a dream of opening a Bead and Breakfast, 
being a published author, 
of being a mother, 
of being fulfilled.

It's a great writing activity.  If you write one, I would love the link or an email of it! You find out so much about a character (person) this way.