Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesdays: October 31, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each Wednesday, you share upcoming releases that you're eagerly anticipating.

by Laura Lam

Release date: February 5, 2013
Available as: hardcover, ebook
Pages: 392
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy

From Goodreads:
"R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays: October 30, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Each Tuesday, you grab the book you're reading, open to a random page, and share 2 teaser sentences from anywhere on the page.
NO SPOILERS - make sure the sentences you pick don't give too much away!

Sorcery & Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer

She probably enjoys cutting up everyone's happiness. Not to mention cutting up other parts of people; given her penchant for poisoning people and turning them into beech trees, I fail to see how she has reached thirty without leaving a trail of bodies behind her.

{Kindle edition, 35%}

Sorcery & Cecelia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot
by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer

Available as: hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 350
Publisher: Open Road Young Readers
Ebook publication date: May 22, 2012 (originally published April 15, 1988)
Suggested tags: young adult, historical fiction, fantasy

First in the Cecelia and Kate series. From Goodreads:
"Two girls contend with sorcery in England’s Regency age

Since they were children, cousins Kate and Cecelia have been inseparable. But in 1817, as they approach adulthood, their families force them to spend a summer apart. As Cecelia fights boredom in her small country town, Kate visits London to mingle with the brightest lights of English society. At the initiation of a powerful magician into the Royal College of Wizards, Kate finds herself alone with a mysterious witch who offers her a sip from a chocolate pot. When Kate refuses the drink, the chocolate burns through her dress and the witch disappears. It seems that strange forces are convening to destroy a beloved wizard, and only Kate and Cecelia can stop the plot. But for two girls who have to contend with the pressures of choosing dresses and beaux for their debuts, deadly magic is only one of their concerns.

This ebook features illustrated biographies of Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the authors’ personal collections.

Monday, October 29, 2012

New Release Round-Up: October 29-November 4, 2012

Young Adult

Touching the Surface
by Kimberly Sabatini

Release date: October 30, 2012
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 352
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Suggested tags: young adult, paranormal, romance

From Goodreads:
"Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.

When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

by Fiona Paul

Release date: October 30, 2012
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 432
Publisher: Philomel
Suggested tags: young adult, historical fiction, mystery

First in the Secrets of the Eternal Rose series. From Goodreads:
"Love, lust, murder, mayhem and high society converge in one thrilling debut

Cassandra Caravello has everything a girl could desire: elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, invitations to the best parties, and a handsome, wealthy fiancĂ©—yet she longs for something more. Ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman—with a bloody X carved across her heart—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans, and killers. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a poor artist with a mischievous grin . . . and a habit of getting into trouble. Will Cassandra find the murderer before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancĂ© or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, romance, and mystery weave together in a novel that’s as seductive and stunning as the city of Venice itself.

Other YA new releases for this week:

Middle Grade

Hollow Earth
by John Barrowman & Carole E. Barrowman

Release date: October 30, 2012
Available as: hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 400
Publisher: Aladdin
Suggested tags: middle grade, fantasy

From Goodreads:
"Imagination matters most in a world where art can keep monsters trapped—or set them free.

Lots of twins have a special connection, but twelve-year-old Matt and Emily Calder can do way more than finish each other’s sentences. Together, they are able to bring art to life and enter paintings at will. Their extraordinary abilities are highly sought after, particularly by a secret group who want to access the terrors called Hollow Earth. All the demons, devils, and evil creatures ever imagined are trapped for eternity in the world of Hollow Earth—trapped unless special powers release them.

The twins flee from London to a remote island off the west coast of Scotland in hopes of escaping their pursuers and gaining the protection of their grandfather, who has powers of his own. But the villains will stop at nothing to find Hollow Earth and harness the powers within. With so much at stake, nowhere is safe—and survival might be a fantasy.

Other Middle Grade new releases for this week:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Janie Series Ebook Sampler

From Publishers Weekly:

The Face on the E-Book: A Janie Electronic Sampler
By Shannon Maughan
Caroline B. Cooney’s bestselling thriller series, which began back in 1990 with The Face on the Milk Carton, is set to come to an end with the arrival of the fifth and final book, Janie Face to Face, in January 2013. In preparation for this milestone, fans can revisit – and new readers can acquaint themselves with – the first four volumes about Janie Johnson, the teenage girl whose life is turned upside down when she sees her own picture on the back of the milk carton, via the Janie Series Ebook Sampler. Delacorte’s just-released, 120-page e-book sampler contains excerpts from The Face on the Milk Carton, Whatever Happened to Janie?, The Voice on the Radio, and What Janie Found, as well as a sneak peek of Janie Face to Face, and is available for free from any outlets selling Random House e-books.

Read the full article here!

Download the Janie Series Ebook Sampler for free from Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

And check out Janie Face to Face, coming January 2013! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Review: Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman

Professor Gargoyle
by Charles Gilman

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 160
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication date: September 25, 2012
Suggested tags: middle grade, paranormal

First in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series. From Goodreads:
"Strange things are happening at Lovecraft Middle School. Rats are leaping from lockers. Students are disappearing. The school library is a labyrinth of secret corridors. And the science teacher is acting very peculiar – in fact, he just might be a monster-in-disguise. Twelve-year-old Robert Arthur knew that seventh grade was going to be weird, but this is ridiculous!

Professor Gargoyle (Volume I in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series) is full of bizarre beasts, strange mysteries, and nonstop adventure. It's perfect for readers ages 10 and up. Best of all, the cover features a state-of-the-art “morphing” photo portrait – so you can personally witness the professor transforming into a monster. You won't believe your eyes!"

{ I received an ARC for free through Early Reviewers on LibraryThing. }

Professor Gargoyle was just too much fun. As soon as I picked up the book and watched an average-looking professor morph into a sneering horned monster, I knew I was going to love it. Here, go visit Barnes & Noble's Professor Gargoyle listing and see for yourself... Isn't that great?? After seeing that, I tore this book open and devoured Robert's story like a gargoyle devours small mammals.

The synopsis doesn't reveal too much about the plot, which is good, because you get to learn all Lovecraft Middle School's secrets along with Robert. It's a brand new school, but it seems to have some alarming quirks, and its secrets get darker and more dangerous as the story goes on. Robert Arthur's the only one out of all his old friends that has to go to Lovecraft, except for the bully that's been picking on him for years, Glenn Torkells. Robert does meet a new friend quickly though - Karina Ortiz, a pretty awesome skateboarding girl who seems to know some of Lovecraft's secrets already. And later he meets two new friends, Pip and Squeak, in the form of a two-headed rat. While Pip and Squeak never say a word, they have a lot of personality and they help Robert out of some unusual situations.

I tore through Professor Gargoyle in two days. The action keeps you flipping pages as hints are dropped one by one about what might really be going on at Lovecraft Middle School. Gilman writes with enough detail to let you picture the whole scene in your mind, without slowing down the action with lengthy descriptions. There is some great character development and it all ends with a thrilling journey into the heart of Lovecraft Middle School to try and figure out exactly what is going on here.

If Professor Gargoyle is any indicator, the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series is going to be as exciting and un-put-downable as the Harry Potter series, but set in its own unique world with its own unique storytelling. It's definitely not a Harry Potter wannabe; it's an adventure all its own. Middle grade readers and older readers who like their paranormal stories full of monsters and mayhem will love Professor Gargoyle.

My ARC included a cover from the next book in the series, The Slither Sisters, which transforms innocent-looking twins into snake-haired monsters. (Check it out at Barnes & Noble.) Can't wait to read it! Gotta find out where those girls have been!

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Freebies: October 26, 2012

Click on each title to go to the Amazon Kindle edition listing. Be sure to double-check the price before you download!

Artemis Rising
by Cheri Lasota

Available as: paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 384 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Spirehouse Books
Publication date: July 24, 2011
Suggested tags: young adult, paranormal, mythology

From Amazon:
"Escape your name. Escape your fate...

On the voy­age home to the Azores Islands, Eva accepts the pagan name of Arethusa but learns too late that her life will mir­ror the Greek nymph's tragic end. Her mother reveals that her des­tiny lies with Diogo, the shipowner's volatile son. But Eva has a vision of another...

When the ship founders in a storm off the coast, Tristan, a local boy, saves her life and steals her heart. Destined to be with Diogo yet aching for Tristan's for­bid­den love, Eva must some­how choose between them, or fate will choose for her.

Last Kiss In Venice
by Martin Chu Shui

Available as: Kindle edition
Pages: 190
Publisher: unknown
Publication date: July 11, 2012
Suggested tags: young adult, paranormal, retelling

First in the Legend of the White Snake series. From Amazon:
"Beside a bridge over a canal in Venice, Charlie is spellbound not only by Caitlin’s absolute beauty but also by what seems like a mythical bond between them. The more he knows about her, the more mysterious she becomes. As they finally admit their love to each other in Paris, then move to settle down in Australia together, it looks like the start of Happily Ever After. But neither of them realizes that this is just the start of a heart-wrenching journey.

After a lifetime of searching, Caitlin finally finds her true love, settles down in the beautiful rolling countryside of outback Australia, and starts to raise a family, but her enemy is never far away. She loves Charlie deeply and is certain he is her soul mate, but she knows she can never reveal her secret; he must never know who she really is, and that is her downfall. Information in the hands of her enemy brings her life crashing down around her. To save all she has worked for, she must fight for her love and the right to survive.

“Last Kiss in Venice” is a reinterpretation of one of China’s most famous love stories, ‘Legend of the White Snake’. It is a supernatural love epic that encompasses both eastern and western culture to tell a story of love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, revenge and justice. This cocktail of oriental magic, vampires, and sword fights is a legend not easily forgotten.

The Scourge
by A.G. Henley

Available as: Kindle edition
Pages: 242
Publisher: unknown
Publication date: January 30, 2012
Suggested tags: young adult, dystopia

Book 1 in the series. From Amazon:
"Seventeen-year-old Groundling, Fennel, is Sightless. She's never been able to see her lush forest home, but she knows its secrets. She knows how the shadows shift when she passes under a canopy of trees. She knows how to hide in the cool, damp caves when the Scourge comes. She knows how devious and arrogant the Groundlings' tree-dwelling neighbors, the Lofties, can be.

And she's always known this day would come—the day she faces the Scourge alone.

The Sightless, like Fenn, are mysteriously protected from the Scourge, the gruesome creatures roaming the forests, reeking of festering flesh and consuming anything—and anyone—living. A Sightless Groundling must brave the Scourge and bring fresh water to the people of the forest. Today, that task becomes Fenn's.

Fenn will have a Lofty Keeper, Peree, as her companion. Everyone knows the Lofties wouldn’t hesitate to shoot an arrow through the back of an unsuspecting Groundling like Fenn, but Peree seems different. A boy with warm, rough hands who smells like summer, he is surprisingly kind and thoughtful. Although Fenn knows his people are treacherous, she finds herself wanting to trust him.

As their forest community teeters on the brink of war, Fenn and Peree must learn to work together to survive the Scourge and ensure their people’s survival. But when Fenn uncovers a secret that shatters her truths, she’s forced to decide who and what to protect—her people, her growing love for Peree, or the elusive dream of lasting peace in the forest.

A tale of star-crossed lovers, strange creatures, and secretive, feuding factions, THE SCOURGE introduces readers to a rich and exciting new world where nothing is as it seems.

by Lucienne Diver

Available as: paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 240 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Flux
Publication date: May 8, 2009
Suggested tags: young adult, paranormal, vampires

First in the Vamped series. From Amazon:
"Gina Covello's Perks and Pitfalls of Vamp Life
1. Hello?! Eternal youth and beauty!

2. Free. Designer. Clothes.

3. My hot new boyfriend Bobby went from chess dud to vamp stud.

4. No reflection! First order of business: turn my own stylist to stop the downward spiral from chic to eek.

5. Vampire vixen Mellisande has taken an interest in my boyfriend, and is now transforming the entire high school into her own personal vampire army. If anyone's going to start their own undead entourage it should be me.

I guess I'll just have to save everyone from fashion disasters and other fates worse than death.

Friday Finds #30

Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading. Each Friday, you share the great books you heard about or discovered over the past week: "books you were told about, books you discovered while browsing blogs/bookstores online, or books that you actually purchased."

Birdie's Book
by Jan Bozarth

Available as: paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 224
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication date: August 25, 2009
Suggested tags: middle grade, fantasy

First in The Fairy Godmother Academy series. From Goodreads:
"Where do fairy godmothers come from?

When Birdie goes to visit her grandmother for the first time, she learns that her grandmother is a fairy godmother—which means Birdie's a fairy godmother too! Trained by fairies in a magical land called Aventurine, human fairy godmothers have been hidden protectors of the world for centuries. Birdie' s family talisman, a singing stone, has been broken, and now only Birdie can use the stone to travel to Aventurine to repair it.

When she gets there she meets Kerka, a warrior-like girl who has been sent to help her find the other half of the stone. Will Birdie and Kerka have the knowledge and strength to banish the shadow that has come over both the garden in Aventurine and Birdie's family? One thing's for sure—no one who travels to Aventurine will ever be the same again!

For girls who are fans of Harry Potter and have outgrown the Disney Fairies series and the American Girl books, the Fairy Godmother Academy is the perfect series—fantasy books filled with magic and adventure but grounded by contemporary girls and issues.

By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead
by Julie Anne Peters

Available as: hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 200
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication date: January 5, 2010
Suggested tags: young adult, realistic fiction, contemporary

From Goodreads:
"Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she’s determined to get her death right. She starts visiting a website for “completers”— www.

While she’s on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, uncovering a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten. When she’s not on the Web, Daelyn’s at her private school, where she’s known as the freak who doesn’t talk.

Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she’s waiting to for her parents to pick her up. Even though she’s made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won’t give up. And it’s too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life…isn’t it?

National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters shines a light on how bullying can push young people to the very edge.

The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories
by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, & Brenna Yovanoff

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 304
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date: August 1, 2002
Suggested tags: young adult, short stories, paranormal

From Goodreads:
"From acclaimed YA authors Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff comes The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories.

- A vampire locked in a cage in the basement, for good luck.
- Bad guys, clever girls, and the various reasons why the guys have to stop breathing.
- A world where fires never go out (with references to vanilla ice cream).

These are but a few of the curiosities collected in this volume of short stories by three acclaimed practitioners of paranormal fiction.

But The Curiosities is more than the stories. Since 2008, Maggie, Tessa, and Brenna have posted more than 250 works of short fiction to their website Their goal was simple: create a space for experimentation and improvisation in their writing—all in public and without a backspace key. In that spirit, The Curiosities includes the stories and each author's comments, critiques, and kudos in the margins. Think of it as a guided tour of the creative processes of three acclaimed authors.

So, are you curious now?

by Richard Mosher

Available as: hardcover, paperback, audiobook
Pages: 272
Publisher: Graphia
Publication date: June 1, 2004
Suggested tags: young adult, historical fiction

From Goodreads:
"Zazoo is Vietnamese by birth but feels entirely French. She has lived with her adoptive Grand-Pierre in France in an old stone mill between the river and the canal since she was two, sharing poetry, adventures, and the predictable rhythms of the seasons. Then one misty October morning, a young man on a bicycle rides into Zazoo’s small village and asks a question from which many stories begin to unfold. A love story within a love story."

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Release Round-Up: October 22-28, 2012

Young Adult

Blind Spot
by Laura Ellen

Release date: October 23, 2012
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 336
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Suggested tags: young adult, mystery, contemporary

From Goodreads:
"There’s none so blind as they that won’t see.

Seventeen-year-old Tricia Farni’s body floated to the surface of Alaska’s Birch River six months after the night she disappeared. The night Roz Hart had a fight with her. The night Roz can’t remember. Roz, who struggles with macular degeneration, is used to assembling fragments to make sense of the world around her. But this time it’s her memory that needs piecing together—to clear her name . . . to find a murderer.

This unflinchingly emotional novel is written in the powerful first-person voice of a legally blind teen who just wants to be like everyone else.

Dark Star
by Bethany Frenette

Release date: October 23, 2012
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 368
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Suggested tags: young adult, urban fantasy

From Goodreads:
"Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it's hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she's lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human--something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn't fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers--livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person's memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers' next move. But Leon, her mother's bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won't let Audrey out of his sight.

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything--and everyone--she loves.

Other YA new releases for this week:

Middle Grade

The Vengekeep Prophecies
by Brian Farrey

Release date: October 23, 2012
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 304
Publisher: HarperCollins
Suggested tags: middle grade, fantasy

From Goodreads:
"Enk vessara, enk talmin.

You can't convict what you can't confirm.

Jaxter Grimjinx is a born thief. At least, he's supposed to be. For generations, the Grimjinx clan has produced the swiftest, cleverest thieves in Vengekeep.

The problem is, Jaxter is clumsy. So clumsy that in his first solo heist, he sets the Castellan's house on fire and lands his family in the gaol. Even Jaxter's skill for breaking magical locks can't get them out of this bind.

Then a suspiciously convenient prophecy emerges naming the Grimjinx clan as the soon-to-be heroes of Vengekeep. It's good enough to get his family out of the gaol, but with a firestorm, a flood, and a host of skeletal beasts among the dangers listed in the prophecy, Jaxter is pretty sure a life in the gaol would be a better fate.

Now—like it or not—Jaxter Grimjinx will have to become the hero he was truly born to be.

Who Could That Be At This Hour?
by Lemony Snicket

Release date: October 23, 2012
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 261
Publisher: Little Brown
Suggested tags: middle grade, mystery

First in the All The Wrong Questions series. From Goodreads:
"In a fading town, far from anyone he knew or trusted, a young Lemony Snicket began his apprenticeship in an organization nobody knows about. He started by asking questions that shouldn't have been on his mind. Now he has written an account that should not be published, in four volumes that shouldn't be read. This is the first volume.

The first volume in the four-part autobiographical account of his childhood, called All the Wrong Questions, will be released on Oct. 23, 2012. This will be Snicket’s first new series since the wildly popular A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Other Middle Grade new releases for this week: