Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (56)

**Thanks to The Story Siren for hosting IMM

'In My Mailbox' is a weekly post that spotlights the new books that were received during the week.  I also wanted to remind everyone to check out my latest giveaway.  I posted my BIG BOOK Giveaway and it is filled with good books and good swag!  These are just a few of the titles up for grabs (check out the post to see the rest!): Matched by Ally Condie, Extraordinary (arc) by Nancy Werlin, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, Intrinsical by Lani Woodland, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Going Bovine by Libby Bray and more!!!  It is open internationally and will close February 28th.  You can check it out HERE. 
Now on to the mailbox:

For Review:
Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2) by Rachel Hawkins

*Not Pictured... Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3) by Nalini Singh (Kindle edition)
Balefire by Cate Tiernan
Across The Universe by Beth Revis
Shadowfever (The Fever Series, #5) by Karen Marie Moning
Stormglass (Glass Trilogy, #1) by Maria V. Snyder
Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell 
XVI by Julia Karr 
Thorn Queen (Dark Swan, #2) by Richelle Mead
The Fallen: Raziel (Fallen Series, #1) by Kristina Douglas
*I also bought a super cute book light!

Now you know what I got!  What did you get?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Upcoming YA Releases and Book Birthdays!

I am so excited about all of the books that are coming out within the next couple weeks.  I put together a list of these releases mainly as a reference to myself, but I figured it might come in handy for you guys too!  If there are any mistakes or if I missed any just let me know in the comment section and I will fix it.  Today is a BIG release day with many highly anticipated novels hitting the shelves - So Happy Book Birthday!  

Release Date: Today! (1/25/11)

The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, #3) by Julie Kagawa
Drought by Pam Bachorz
Dark Goddess (Devil's Kiss, #2) by Sarwat Chadda
Blessed by Cynthia Leitch Smith
The Charmed Return: Faerie Path #6 by Frewin Jones
Vesper: A Deviant's Novel by Jeff Sampson
Throat by R.A. Nelson
The Fallen: Raziel by Kristina Douglas (Not YA- but I want it!)
False Princess by Ellis O'Neal
Famous by Todd Strasser
Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakely-Cartwright

Release Date: February 1st

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
The Demon Trapper's Daughter (Demon Trappers, #1) by Jana Oliver
Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin
Death Cloud (Young Sherlock Holmes, #1) by Andrew Lane
The Trust: A Secret Society Novel by Tom Dolby
Dark Moon: A Wereling Novel by Steve Feasey
Accomplice by Valerie Sherrad
Consumed (Possessed, #2) by Kate Cann
Haunted (Dreaming Anastasia, #2) by Joy Preble
Waterfall (River of Time, #1) by Lisa T. Bergren
Chasing Alliecat by Rebecca Fjelland Davis
The Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

Release Date: February 3rd

The Locket by Stacey Jay

Release Date: February 7th

Mindgap by Marina Cohen

Release Date: February 8th

The Iron Witch (The Iron Witch Saga, #1) by Karen Mahoney
Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
Angry Young Man by Chris Lynch
Cloaked by Alex Finn
So Shelly by Ty Roth
Pink by Lili Wilkinson
Father of Lies by Ann Warren Turner
Kindred by Tammar Stein
Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore
Will Work For Prom Dress by Aimee Ferris
The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander (middle grade)
Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
Four Seasons by Jane Breskin Zalben

Release Date: February 14th

Angel (Maximum Ride, #7) by James Patterson

Release Date: February 15th

Desires of the Dead (Bodyfinder, #2) by Kimberly Derting
Angelfire (Angelfire Trilogy, #1) by Courtney Allison Moulton
A Tale of Two Pretties (The Clique, #14) by Lisi Harrison
Secrets and Shadows: A 13 to Life Novel by Shannon Delany
The Girl Who Became A Beatle by Greg Taylor
Outside In (Inside Out, #2) by Maria V. Snyder
Rival by Sara Bennett Weaver
One Hundred Candles (Past Midnight #2) by Mara Purnhagen

Release Date: February 17th

Babe In Boyland by Jody Gehrman
Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen

* February 18th- Release of I Am Number Four movie!!!

Release Date: February 22nd

Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely, #5) by Melissa Marr
Haven by Kristi Cook
Darkness Becomes Her (Gods and Monsters #1) by Kelly Keaton
The Iron Thorn (The Iron Codex #1) by Caitlin Kittredge
A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce
Deadly by Julie Chibbaro
Exposed by Kimberly Marcus
Orchards by Holly Thompson
Ominous (Private, #13) by Kate Brian
The Visconti House by Elizabeth Edgar
Wonderland by Joanna Nadin
Unnatural (Archangel Academy #1) by Michael Griffo
Iron Crowned (Dark Swan #3) by Richelle Mead
Inside Out and Back Again by Lai Thanhha

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (55)

**Thanks to The Story Siren for hosting IMM

'In My Mailbox' is a weekly post that spotlights the new books that were received during the week.  I didn't have time to do an IMM last week, so this is two weeks worth of book goodness!  I also wanted to remind everyone to check out my latest giveaway.  I posted my BIG BOOK Giveaway and it is filled with good books and good swag!  These are just a few of the titles up for grabs (check out the post to see the rest!): Matched by Ally Condie, Extraordinary (arc) by Nancy Werlin, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, Intrinsical by Lani Woodland, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Going Bovine by Libby Bray and more!!!  It is open internationally and will close February 28th.  You can check it out HERE. 
Now on to the mailbox:

For Review:
Death Cloud  (Young Sherlock Holmes Series, #1) by Andrew Lane
Enclave (Razorland, #1) by Ann Aguirre
Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore

Tiger's Curse (Tiger Saga, #1) by Colleen Houck
Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
My Soul To Save (Soul Screamers, #2) by Rachel Vincent
Confessions of a Vampire's Girlfriend (Ben and Fran #1-2) by Katie MacAlister
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins *my original copy received water damage :( *

*Now you know what I got!  What did you get?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Review: Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Death Cloud (Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins, #1)  [4stars.jpg]
Death Cloud
~ Young Sherlock Holmes Series: Book 1~

Written by Andrew Lane
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux
*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ Thanks Macmillan!!!*

Summary from Goodreads:
"It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent."

My Thoughts:
I really didn't know what to expect from this book.  The extent of my knowledge base concerning Sherlock Holmes comes from the recent movie about him starring Robert Downey Jr.!  Death Cloud is the start of a series that follows a young Sherlock Holmes.  Through this series, readers will get a peek into his journey from teenager to legend.  Death Cloud introduces us to Sherlock at the age of 14.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked his character.  He was intelligent but still had much to learn.  His interactions and relationships with characters like Crowe, Mycroft and Matty provided the learning experiences necessary to begin transforming him from boy to legend.  Of course, he has a long way to go before he reaches legend status, but it is obvious that the skills he is beginning to learn in this book will be perfected through experience and time and eventually make him the legend he is.  A good portion of this book seemed to be devoted to character development, which is typical of many first installments in a series.  I enjoyed all of the characters, but I really liked Amyus Crowe and his daughter Victoria.  Crowe is Sherlock's American tutor.  He teaches Sherlock many valuable lessons outside of 'schoolwork' that help Sherlock develop his observational skills and his skill with logic and deduction.  In other words, he was teaching Sherlock how to be a detective!  Crowe's daughter Victoria was a great female character and I liked how she could take care of herself.  She was independent and strong and Sherlock found her very different from other girls that he knew.  He was intrigued by her and her 'American' ways.  An innocent romance is kindling between them and hopefully we will see her play a bigger role in future installments.  

Overall, the pace of the book was quick and the story flowed well.  There is plenty of suspense and intrigue to keep you turning the pages and a creepy villian with a diabolical plot that keeps Sherlock and his gang on their toes.  The ending was climatic and satisfying, but there are still plenty of questions that pave the way for future installments.  As a reader much older than the target age for this book, I did find parts of the story very predictable, but I am not sure that a 12 or 13 year old would be able to figure things out quite as easily.  You have to appreciate the book for its intended audience.  The predictablility and simplicity in the eyes of an adult wouldn't be obvious to a younger reader and my 4 star rating is based upon how I feel the target audience would enjoy the book.  This book (and series) will probably appeal more to boys (heavy on action/light on romance), but I think that any 12 to 16 year old who enjoys a good mystery will like this book.  I am looking forward to the next book (Rebel Fire) and discovering what new mystery awaits!

Check out the book trailer for Death Cloud!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday
"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill from Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.  It is always so hard to decide which books I want to feature on Wednesdays.  There are so many wonderful books coming out!  Waiting is such torture!  Here are a few that I am waiting for....

Written by Karsten Knight
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:
"Ashline Wilde never received an instruction manual on how to be a 16-year-old Polynesian volcano goddess. If she had, it might have contained helpful warnings such as:  
*Dreaming about your (thankfully) mortal boyfriend may cause your bed to spontaneously combust
*Oven mitts should be worn at all times during heavy make-out sessions
Instead, Ash has to learn these life lessons the hard way as her dormant powers erupt at the most awkward times. In the wake of a hometown tragedy, Ash transfers to Blackwood Academy, a boarding school nestled in California’s redwoods, where a group of fellow gods-on-earth have mysteriously convened. As if sophomore year couldn’t get any worse, her storm goddess older sister, the wild and unpredictable Eve, resurfaces to haunt Ashline. With a war between the gods looming over Blackwood, Ash must master the fire smoldering within her before she clashes with her sister one final time, which leads us to life-lesson #3:  When warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

*Ok... I know it's going to be awhile before this one comes out, but I just couldn't resist the BEAUTIFUL cover!  I also love stories about Gods/Goddesses, so I can't wait to get this one!

Original SinOriginal Sin
(Personal Demons #2)
Written by Lisa Desrochers
Release Date: July 5, 2011
Published by Tor Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
"When secrets and old histories come to light, Frannie realizes that nobody is who she thought they were. Hell won’t give up and Heaven won’t give in. Some are willing to hurt anyone close to Frannie in order to get what they want. It will take everything she has and then some to stay out of Hell's grasp.
And not everyone will get out of it alive

*Sequel to Personal Demons.... need I say more? 

Written Franny Billingsley
Release Date: March 17, 2011
Published by Dial

Summary from Goodreads:
"Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.
Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know."

*This sounds really interesting and I like the cover!

So these are just a few that I have on my wishlist!  What are you books are you waiting for?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: The Sapphire Talisman by Brenda Pandos

The Sapphire Talisman (Talisman, #2) [5stars.jpg]
The Sapphire Talisman 
(The Talisman Series, Book 2)
Written by Brenda Pandos
Published by Obsidian Mountain Publishing
Available NOW!!!

Summary from Goodreads:
"With the local vampire coven decimated, Julia and Nicholas try to begin a somewhat normal life together. Bound by secrecy from a shape shifter determined to see Julia’s world-saving prediction come to fruition, Julia isn’t allowed to tell Nicholas the leader survived, ransacking her happiness with guilt. When Alora returns, bent on revenge, the reunion forces Nicholas and Julia to choose what they are willing to live and die for."

My Thoughts:
I can't tell you how excited I was to get my hands on this book!  I loved the first book in the series, The Emerald Talisman, and the second book did not disappoint!  The Sapphire Talisman had me hooked from the get go.  The story picks up with Julia and Nicholas trying to have as 'normal' a life as possible after the events at the end of the last book.  Normalcy doesn't come easy for them considering Nicholas is a vampire slayer and half vampire himself and Julia is an empath and a MAJOR vamp magnet!  However, the two of them are taking advantage of this lull in vamp activity and enjoying spending time together.  But like all good things... it must come to an end.  It doesn't take long for evil to rear is vampiric head or for Julia to draw it right to them!  An old enemy has returned and Julia and Nicholas are once again thrust into another round of good vs. evil.  The stakes are higher this time and the lines become blurred between the two sides in a jaw-dropping kinda way!  I was super-excited to see some of my favorite characters from The Emerald Talisman make a return in this book.  I won't spoil the surprise and tell you who returns, but I will say that one in particular was completely unexpected and 100% AWESOME!!!  Brenda definitely keeps you guessing this time.  The plot is full of twist and turns and 'I can't believe that just happened' kind of moments.  The pace was quick and there was no lack of action or suspense.  The characters, especially Julia, did some growing up in this book and we learned some valuable family history concerning both Julia and Nicholas.  The characters also showed more depth, which allowed a greater connection with them while reading.  The ending offered closure to some pretty big questions, leaving me satisfied.  But like all good series, new questions arise that can only be answered in the final Talisman Series installment titled, The Onyx Talisman- which is due out in late 2011!  Kudos to Brenda for writing another edge of your seat thriller that will have you swooning and biting your nails at the same time!  If you haven't read this book yet.... What are you waiting for?  

*The Sapphire Talisman is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble,  and at

*If you would like to learn more about Brenda Pandos you can find her at

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Big Book Giveaway

It's that time again!  What time is that you may be asking yourself..... it's GIVEAWAY TIME!!  I love hosting giveaways and I always try to make them fantastic for you guys!  I hope everyone likes  this haul of goodies.  This is what's up for grabs:

Prize #1 ~ Matched by Ally Condie ~ Prophecy Of The Sisters by Michelle Zink (PB) ~ Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony (HC) ~ Swag Bag: BOOKMARKS: The Sapphire Talisman by Brenda Pandos (signed), Virals by Kathy Reichs, Intrinsical by Lani Woodland (signed), Soul Savers Series featuring Promise and Purpose by Kristie Cook (signed), Mistwood by Leah Cypess, Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs with a temporary tattoo!

Prize #2 ~ Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins ~ Swoon by Nina Malkin (PB) ~ Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (PB) ~ Swag Bag: BOOKMARKS: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins with Mockingjay temporary tattoo, Virals by Kathy Reichs, The Sapphire Talisman by Brenda Pandos (signed), Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Soul Savers Series featuring Promise and Purpose by Kristie Cook and a Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson pin!

Prize #3 ~ Going Bovine by Libby Bray (HC) ~ The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (PB) ~ Blood Promise by Richelle Mead (HC) ~ Swag Bag: BOOKMARKS: Intrinsical by Lani Woodland goodie bag, The Dark Divine by Bree Despain, Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs with temporary tattoo and an Oh.My.Gods pin and Goddess Bootcamp pin, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, The Sapphire Talisman by Brenda Pandos (signed), Virals by Kathy Reichs, and a cute vampire bookmark!

Prize #4 ~ Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin (ARC copy) ~ Graceling by Kristin Cashore (HC) ~ Goddess Bootcamp by Tera Lynn Childs (HC) ~ Swag Bag: BOOKMARKS: Goddess Bootcamp by Tera Lynn Childs with two Goddess Bootcamp pins, Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs, Intrinsical by Lani Woodland goodie bag, The Sapphire Talisman by Brenda Pandos (signed), Virals by Kathy Reichs, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly and a Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins temporary tattoo!

Prize #5 ~ Intrinsical by Lani Woodland (signed) and a Replica of Yara's necklace from the book! ~ Swag Bag: BOOKMARKS: Intrinsical goodie bag, Virals by Kathy Reichs, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs, The Sapphire Talisman by Brenda Pandos (signed) and a Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus pin!

This contest is open to all my followers (international included!)!  It will run until midnight on February 28th.  Just fill out the form below to enter and leave me a comment after entering!  Good Luck!!


Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 Debut Author Challenge

 I decided to join the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren.  I participated last year and really enjoyed it. There are so many exciting debut titles for 2011!  I know that my list will grow throughout the year, but these are the titles I know I am going to read:
(*own but haven't read yet)
  1. Warped by Maurissa Guibord*
  2. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
  3. Across The Universe by Beth Revis
  4. Vesper by Jeff Sampsen*
  5. XVI by Julia Kerr*
  6. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
  7. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford*
  8. Haven by Kristi Cook*
  9. Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison
  10. Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
  11. The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge*
  12. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney*
  13. So Shelly by Ty Roth*
  14. Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach*
  15. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  16. Entwined by Heather Dixon*
  17. Clarity by Kim Harrington
  18. Falling Under by Gwen Hayes*
  19. Enclave by Ann Aguirre
  20. Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
  21. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
  22. Luminous by Dawn Metcalf
  23. Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
  24. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
  25. Human.4 by Mike Lancaster
  26. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
  27. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
  28. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  29. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
I look forward to this challenge and I am going to really try to do better than I did last year!  Thank you to The Story Siren for putting so much time and effort into hosting this!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

CSN Product Review: Delonghi Retro Pump Espresso Machine

I have to start this post by saying that I LOVE CSN!  If you are looking for anything for your home, kitchen, outdoor space, pets, travel, and more, then should be your first stop!  I was very excited to have the opportunity to review another product from their wide selection.  I already have two bookcases and a dog bed that I couldn't be happier with!  This time I decided on something for my kitchen and more importantly... my caffeine addiction!  I chose the Delonghi Retro Pump Espresso Maker-BAR32.

It arrived in perfect condition- no assembly required!!

Doesn't it look great!?
My Thoughts:
I received my espresso machine just a few days after I ordered it.  It arrived in perfect condition (as have all the CSN products I have received!).  I was a little worried that it would be difficult to use, but I couldn't have been more wrong.  This espresso machine is not only user friendly and easily operated, but it is stylish!  It looks great in my kitchen and makes a mean latte!  I was surprised at how quickly I am able to whip up my favorite caffeinated beverages.  My house has now become a rival to our local coffee shop!  I would highly recommend this machine to anyone who loves a good espresso or latte.  Its easy to use, easy to clean, and makes a killer latte!  Thanks CSN!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, New Books, New Goals and More!

Wow! I haven't posted in a LONG time!  I apologize for that, but there is good reason for my absence.  I was super busy almost everyday of my holiday break with family, friends, and travel.  Now that I am back at work and the New Year is in full swing, I decided it was time to set some goals for 2011! One of my main goals is to become a better blogger!  I tend to blog in spurts.  I will have a month that I am pretty consistent with reviews and posts and then I will get caught up in my day to day life of juggling motherhood, marriage, and teaching and the blog takes a backseat for weeks at a time.  I know that there will still be lulls from time to time, but I am going to TRY to post at least three times a week.  Reviews are another area that I have to improve on.  I am soooo behind in my reviews now that it is a little overwhelming.  I am going to try and catch up, but I've also decided not to let blogging, reviewing and reading stress me out.  Reading is my escape and I never want it to feel like a job.  Hopefully this new outlook will ease the stress I feel when I gaze upon my review/tbr stack!  In celebration of the New Year I also have an exciting contest on the horizon.  Make sure you stay tuned because you DON'T want to miss this one!

I haven't done an IMM post in a few weeks and I really hope that Santa treated all of you as good as he treated me!!  I have so many new books to read that it makes it hard to decide what to read next!  In addition to all of my new books, I also received a fabulous camera from my wonderful husband.  So hopefully there will be some better quality pictures on my blog.  Santa wasn't the only one giving gifts this year, I also received some holiday goodies from the notorious 'A' from Pretty Little Liars (ABCFamily)!

So here is what I got: 
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Entice by Carrie Jones
Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens
Penitence by Jennifer Laurens
Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
Zombies Vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Banished by Sophie Littlefield
Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
Tempestuous by Leslie Livingston
Room by  Emma Donoghue
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
**I did some bargain shopping**
Jinx by Meg Cabot
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
The Debs by Susan McBride

Here are the wonderful gifts that I received from 'A' from Pretty Little Liars and ABCFamily (Thank you so much!)  Be sure to watch the new season that debuted this week!  It is a great show based on the super popular book series by Sara Shepard.  I received the digital photo frame, which contained sneak peek photos from the new season, for Christmas.  I received the beautiful calla lillies along with the bag of 'A' confetti and picture puzzle for New Years.  How awesome is that?!!

I hope the New Year brings happiness and prosperity to all of you.  Thank you for supporting my blog and bearing with me during my frequent absences!  I look forward to another year of blogging and I am really going to focus on making my blog a better place to visit.  Happy New Year!!!