Hello and Welcome!

Red House Books is going through a bit of a update!

I've always had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted this space to be but I've been detoured from my path by...lots and lost of other people's opinions and ways of doing things...

I'm committed to this little chunk of the interweb but I've also branched out into other places so! Now it's time to think of Red House Books as more of a hub of all things me! And Me is a hell of a lot of book love!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Short Story Review: Raising the Dead by Mara Purnhagen

I loved Past Midnight, so I was excited to read Raising the Dead. A 84 pages (approx) short tale that fits perfectly between books 1 and 2. It was really a condensed, mini mystery. I love the characters of this series so this short story was a real treat.

All the same characters we were introduced to in Past Midnight - a twist or 2 and a neat happy ending.

Available as an ebook for around $3.00 - well worth it in my opinion and a must read for fans of the series.

5 / 5 Stars

Download now:
Kindle / Nook / Sony / Kobo
Also available from iBooks for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

The Series:
Past Midnight - Goodreads / My review
Raising the Dead - Goodreads
One Hundred Candles - Goodreads
Beyond the Grave - Goodreads (September 2011)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book Review: The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: March 7, 2011
Pages: 293
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: NetGalley

Summary:
It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.
When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
A truly fascinating and magical story! Historical fiction with a touch of the paranormal - blending together perfectly!

Plain and simple, I loved this book. I was swept up in the story from page one and I was sad when it was over. I wanted more!  I couldn't stop thinking about it long after I had read the last page.

It's hard for me to do this book justice. I was so completely pulled into the story and into the world Amelia lived in. 1889 is a hard time period for my mind to visualize but Saundra painted such a perfect picture of not only the setting but of the characters. I never felt lost in this world - even when things turned upside down a bit.

Somewhat sad, but not without hope. Very easily a book that could stand on it's own but it is a part of a series so I am VERY excited and interested to see what come next for Amelia.

Also, I know this a strange thing to like about a book but there was romance (not always my favorite) BUT with NO LOVE TRIANGLES! Or squares or parallelograms or dodecahedron nonsense. Very realistic actions by very likable and realistic people (even with those tasty paranormal elements ;)

I highly recommend The Vespertine to paranormal / historic fiction / romance young adult book fans!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Series:
The Vespertine
The Springsweet (2012)

Linkage Love:
Houghton Mifflin
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2011 Debut Author Updates

Hey guys,
Just wanted to let you know I updated the MASSIVE LIST PAGE
Still need to get some Goodreads links in but it is now updated through May! 

If you haven't seen my Massive List of 2011 MG and YA Debut Authors - take a look! 
I started it as a way to keep track of debut authors and it's grown into something I'm very proud of :)

Thanks guys!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Review: Percival's Angel by Anne Eliot Crompton

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Pages: 224
Series: no
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
Lili, an apprentice of the Lady of the Lake, is the childhood friend of Percy, the boy who will become one of Arthur's greatest knights. But as they grow older, Lili begins to see their differences. She has otherworldly magic while he has the magic that lives within the Human Heart. Lili dreams of knowing human love while Percy dreams of finding the Holy Grail. Neither can succeed without the other.Once again Crompton weaves together nature, feminist perspective, and Arthurian legend for a tale that is sure to appeal to readers of all ages.(from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
A very strange read for me. Chapter one was utterly confusing - I had no idea who the characters were and it was really hard to even tell what they were talking (or thinking) about. Some improvement as the book continued but not a whole lot.

The switch between first and third person narrative, with the added sporadic internal thoughts made for a confusing read. I couldn't really warm up to the characters and it wasn't until about half way through the book that I felt like I had a firm grip on the plot.

Also, it was a bit more sexual then I thought it would be. Not gross or over the top but it's there.

But still, not a terrible read. If you're a big Arthurian legend fan, you might enjoy Percival's Angel. The main characters you would expect take a back seat to some quirky fey, human and magic folk. A big mix of things going on really.

Even with the issues I had, the writing itself was strong. I could tell the author had a firm grip on her characters and their actions, even if I didn't and I would defiantly pick up another book by Anne.

Overall Rating:
2.5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Sourcebooks
Goodreads

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In My Mailbox - April 24, 2011 FIRST EVER VLOG!!

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

My very first ever vlog! Woo hoo!! 
Also to be know as 'the one in which I can't hide my Long Island accent and I get distracted by shinny things'

Please be honest and let me know what you think? 



Books and coolness mentioned - book links are to Goodreads

Bought:
Ascendant (Killer Unicorns #2) by Diana Peterfreund
The Dark and Hallow Places (The Forest of Hands and Teeth #3) by Carrie Ryan
In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Sati by Christopher Pike

Won:
Head Games (A Pretty Touch Novel #3) by Keri Mikulski
**Pretty Tough (Book 1) and Playing With the Boys (Book 2) were written by Liz Tigelaar**
Big Thanks to Cindy from Princess Bookie and Keri Mikulski

RAK:
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Big Thanks to Nikki from Wicked Awesome Books

For Review:
Cinderella Ninja Warrior (Twisted Tales #1) by Maureen McGowan
Sleeping Beauty Vampire Slayer (Twisted Tales #2) by Maureen McGowan
The Undertakers by Ty Drago
Flawless by Lara Chapman
OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy
Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
Big Thanks to Teddy + Virtual Author Book Tours, Silver Dolphin Books, Sourcebooks and Bloomsbury

WOW! That was tons of fun :)

So, what's in your mailbox?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

NetGalley April Update 3 - VERY IMPORTANT :)


Oh my! Can you believe that April is almost over?! Inconceivable! ;)

VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT NETGALLEY APRIL BELOW 
PLEASE READ IT ALL :)

I hope you all have had a great month so far and for all of you participating in NetGalley April, I hope you have read (and are reading) tons of great NetGalley books!

Entries are holding steady at 67 participants but if you want to try to squeeze in a NetGalley book (or 2 or 3) before the end of the month, you can still SIGN UP and be entered to win the prizes. 

Speaking of prizes! Over the weekend, I'll be visiting all your blogs (or twitter account or Facebook) to remind you of the upcoming end of the month - and the end of NetGalley April **sad face** 
(for a **happy face** see the very end of this post ;)

To be eligible to claim your prize, if you are chosen by the mighty gods of random.org, you will have to put forth a little effort - not much - don't worry! 

I'll be asking EVERYONE, in the first week of May to either:
*Do a blog post highlighting the NetGalley books you read OR wanted to read but just couldn't

*Do a similar type post in Facebook (on your fan page or as a note or even just as a status update)

*Comment on my Wrap Up post - which will go live May 1 - with what you read or again, wanted to read but couldn't

*Email me your reads

Some very important points to note:
*You do not need to have actually read any NetGalley books in April! That was the whole point of this event but realistically, life always has a mind of it's own and for me, the intention to read is what matters. 
(but please, don't sign up the last day of April and say 'tried but didn't have enough time' - that's just cheeky!)

*Doing the above task (blog post, FB, comment, email..) is not required of everyone BUT the winners will have to something in order to claim their prize. See - this is the 'I'm making you work for it' clause. But not bad, right?

So! Expect to see me stalking visiting you on your blogs, twitter etc in the next couple of days and start thinking about how you'll want to share with us what you read for NetGalley April

**Happy Face** Time!
NetGalley July as been proclaimed!
That's right folks, I'll be doing this all over again in July :)
Still working out some details but if nothing else there will be prizes, and another twitter chat with the lovely Lindsey from NetGalley (for transcripts from our first NetGalley chat - click here)

Ok folks, that was long but important!
If you've made it this far and comment and you are one of the 67 signed up to participate, you'll gain an extra entry to win those prizes!

Thanks guys for making April such an awesome NetGalley month! Can't wait to see what everyone has been reading!!

Sequel Saturday

Sequel Saturday is hosted by Elie from Ellz Readz :)

A special post to celebrate all the great sequels coming out!
They have not been forgotten :)

This week, I picked book 4 in a very awesome middle grade interactive mystery series:

May 1, 2011
Scholastic

Part text, part video, all spine-tingling mystery.
Patrick Carman's Skeleton Creek returns to thrill.
Strange things happen in Skeleton Creek - and when they do, Ryan writes them down and Sarah captures them on video. They've solved old mysteries. They've followed clues all over the country and underground. They've investigated secret societies. They've found their answers.
Or so they thought. Because there are still some secrets that Ryan and Sarah haven't uncovered yet. And there's still a shadowy figure standing in their path...someone who doesn't want Ryan and Sarah digging up any more of the past. (from Goodreads)

For my review of Skeleton Creek Book 1, which I posted my very first month of blogging :) CLICK HERE

I know this series is meant for younger middle graders but it still freaks me out! In a good way :) Can't watch those videos without my Sista near by ;)

Have any of your read this series? Patrick Carman is an awesome author and if you enjoy middle grade fantasies and mysteries you should check him out!

Thank you Elie for starting this meme :)
If you'd like to participate, feel free to do your own post and then head over to Ellz Readz to leave the link so others can see what you picked.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Short Story Review: The New World by Patrick Ness

Prequel to the Chaos Walking series, The New World is a 24 page short story about Viola before she landed on New World. I read it after finishing book 2 but I think it would also fit well between books 1 and 2. Very sad but insightful as well.

I love Viola as a character so it was a treat getting a little more of her back story.  For fans of the series, The New World is a little something extra that is well worth the read. A free download that I highly recommend. In only 24 pages I was still left amazed by Patrick Ness' writing and imagination.

5 / 5 Stars

Download it now:
Kindle / Nook / Sony / Kobo

The Series:
The New World - Goodreads
The Knife of Never Letting Go - Goodreads / My review
The Ask and the Answer - Goodreads / My review
Monsters of Men - Goodreads

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

***2011 Debut Author***

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: January 11, 2011
Pages: 398
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: bought

Summary:
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Everything good you have heard about this book is true! The hype is real people! This book was amazing! Too many exclamation points? I say, not enough!!!

Seriously, I devoured this book. My only complaint is that it wasn't long enough. I could easily have read 500 more pages of Elder and Amy. The basic story line is one I've read before - Earth can no longer sustain us humans, so we take to the stars. Seeking out a new home. The journey is long and hard but once we arrive all will be well again. Revis took this premise and turned it into a fantastical journey. The twists in the story, the secrets that everyone seems to be hiding and the complexity of the ship and it's people left me one happy reader.

I fell in love with Amy and Elder. Their alternating first person narrative really helped me get to know each one in depth. I understood Amy's outrage and I could sympathize with Elder's struggles.

While not all together unpredictable, I was still on the edge of my seat for most of the book. Also, after the 'action' dies down, there is one more little surprise that I did not see coming. Added even more depth to the story - had me rethinking everything. Loved it!

Final verdict:
I'm a science fiction junkie at heart and I absolutely love dystopian stories so Across the Universe was the perfect combo for me.  If you can, pick up a copy of the hardcover. The dust jacket is reversible and the inside image is a schematic of the ship.  As a very visual person, this added bonus was oh so very nice! The little movie in my head that played as I read the book had it's proper setting :)

I highly, highly recommend this book to science fiction fans in general, whether you prefer YA or adult novels. I'm also supper excited for the next books in the series. Can't wait to see where the Godspeed will go!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Across the Universe Series:
Across the Universe
A Million Suns (2012)
Untitled (2013)

Linkage Love:
Razorbill
Author's Website
Goodreads

Sunday, April 17, 2011

FREE e-book Alert

Digital words aren't for everyone and I don't think they will EVER take the place of printed books but for those of you, like me, who have grown to love them here are my latest finds!

The links below are for complete books (not chapter samples or previews).  Some might be available for only a short time and some are only available on certain platforms so make sure to read all the fine print : )


13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
With bonus material!

Happy Sunday!

No In My Mailbox post for me this weekend - too much house cleaning / pretending to be a responsible adult stuff to do!

Next week....I'm going to attempt a VLOG!

What do you guys think? Can I pull it off? Do you guys enjoy watching IMM vlogs as much as I do?

Hope everyone had / is having a great weekend!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

NetGalley Twitter Chat Q&A




Tonight's NetGalley Twitter chat was a roaring success! At least I think so ;)

Below are the questions posed by participants and the answers given by the lovely Lindsey from NetGalley. Lots of awesome info!

Two of my favorite things announced tonight:
*NetGalley will be at BEA this year! (announced by Lindsey)
*NetGalley July is a go! (announced by me!)

So, if you're going to BEA this year be sure to read below for info on meeting with some wonderful NetGalley folks and if you weren't able to participate in NetGalley April with me, plan to join in in July! More info to come ;)

Both questions and answers have been summarized and / or expanded on for clarity. For a word by word 'transcript' search for #NetGalleyApril on Twitter

*****************************************************************

Q: Is there a limit on the number of galleys a publisher will approve?
A: Not all publishers have an exact number of galleys they approve, some do. It's publisher and title specific.

Q: Is there a set time a blog needs to be up and running before requesting a galley?
A: Some publishers have preferences about how long you've been blogging - be sure to check the Publisher's Preference page for specifics -- http://www.netgalley.com/about/publisher-prefs/

Q: When was NetGalley created?
A: NetGalley began as a start-up but Firebrand assumed control in December 2008. Things really started rolling after that and recently NetGalley has been making a big effort to interact with the reading/blogger community.

Q: Does content of a review posted to NetGalley effect publishers decisions to approve future requests?
A: It definitely depends on the publishers. Some think any buzz is good, some want to use NG just for established reviewers.

Q: Where should be put the specific information that publishers are looking for such as blog 'reach' and statistics?
A: Defiantly include blog stats in the "Bio" field of your profile. The more information you give, the better - be sure to check the Publisher Preferences page to find out what types of info pubs are looking for. And remember to post your reviews!

Q: Do reviews ever get used [quoted] for anything else?
A: Maybe! Some publishers use blogger reviews for blurbs on press/marketing material or on their website, etc.

Q: Where should a review link be posted?
A: Anywhere in the text box when you use the Review functionality. Starting with your link and blog name and following with your review works well.

Q: Who as access to the information in our contact info and public bio?
A: No one but publishers can see your profile / bio information. And you can specify what you want to be shown -- email/address/phone/etc on the Bio page.

Q: Do you know what titles will be available in advance?
A: Sometimes, but usually publishers will upload galleys right before they make them available for requests. It's something NetGalley hopes to coordinate / promote more with publishers so members can see what titles are upcoming.

Q: Will anyone from NetGalley be at Book Expo America (BEA) this year?
A: Yes! At the Firebrand Technologies booth (booth #3718). There will be an announcement soon about a super cute/fun promotion. Also, Lindsey will be on the Technology for Blogging panel at the Book Blogger Convention on Friday.

Thanks again to Lindsey and everyone who participated!
If you have questions about NetGalley, don't hesitate to email or tweet Lindsey (support[at]netgalley.com / @NetGalley)

NetGalley Twitter Chat TONIGHT @ 5PM EST

Hey guys!

Just a quick reminder about the Twitter Chat today at 5pm EST

Lindsey from NetGalley will be joining us :)

Use the hashtag #NetGalleyApril to follow along.

Hope to see you all there!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Book Review: The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner

***2011 Debut Author***

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Pages: 208
Series: no
Acquisition: received an ARC for review

Summary:
While Nick Gardner’s family is falling apart, his best friend, Scooter, is dying from a freak disease. The Scoot’s final wish is that Nick and their quirky classmate, Jaycee Amato, deliver a prized first-edition copy of Of Mice and Men to the Scoot’s father. There’s just one problem: the Scoot’s father walked out years ago and hasn’t been heard from since. So, guided by Steinbeck’s life lessons, and with only the vaguest of plans, Nick and Jaycee set off to find him.
Characters you’ll want to become friends with and a narrative voice that sparkles with wit make this a truly original coming-of-age story. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I went through so many emotions while reading The Pull of Gravity.  I was sad and angry and happy (sometimes all at once). It was wonderful!

I absolutely loved the interconnectedness of this story. So many great little pieces all fitting together in just the right way. Family love and loss, unfaltering friendship, first loves, dying wishes, Star Wars and Steinbeck. Everything fit perfectly!

It was very easy for me to fall in love with Nick. He was very much a real character to me. He could have been my next door neighbor growing up or the boy I had a crush in math class. He was so very present. So very there in the moment that I couldn't help but be drawn to him and his story.

Nick's friendship with Scooter was another aspect that I really loved. Scooter is a character that you don't often come across in young adult novels or really any type of book. He was so very genuine. So very much himself and even though I knew what was coming, I was still in tears when it happened.

Final verdict:
Again I say, truly heartwarming.  I haven't read a contemporary novel that got to me the way The Pull of Gravity did. It's a book that will stick with you long after you turn the last page.

The characters were very much breathing, living people for me and the romance was sweet and special and just about perfect. And if I haven't already convinced you that you need to read this book - Star Wars. Lots of Star Wars references. Love!!

Gae is an author to keep your eye on. I can't wait for what she has planned next!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Author's Website
Goodreads

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Twitter Chat with Lindsey from NetGalley THIS FRIDAY!


Partially in celebration of NetGalley April and partially because Lindsey, specifically, and NetGalley, in general, is awesome, I'm going to be hosting a Twitter Chat this Friday, April 15 at 5pm EST.

WOO HOO!! 

For those of you that don't know, Lindsey Rudnickas is a 'Digital Concierge' at NetGalley - she's the one who sends out the emails, mans the NetGalley twitter account and I'm sure does a whole heck of a lot more!

Even if you aren't signed up for my NetGalley April event (click HERE for full details on that) please join in on the chat if you're interested in NetGalley, want to learn more, want to pick Lindsey's brain or just want to chat about all the great books you've been reading!

AND! If you are signed up for my event and spread the word about the chat on Friday, you'll earn an extra entry point in the contest : )

So - to recap!

***NetGalley April Twitter Chat 
THIS FRIDAY APRIL 15TH AT 5PM EST***

***With special guest, Lindsey from NetGalley 
All are welcome to join!***

***Use the hashtag #NetGalleyApril to follow along***

***Spread the word about the chat -- blog post, tweet, sky writing, etc. -- and gain an extra entry in my NetGalley April contest (assuming you already declared yourself). Be sure to leave a comment on this post with your link(s).***

I'll be using Tweet Chat (http://tweetchat.com) to follow along myself but any mystical ways you folks have of participating in twitter chats would probably work. (I don't know any other way beside Tweet Chat myself :)

Are you excited? I'm excited!! Can you tell I'm excited?!?

Ok...too much excitement :)

Hope you all will join in!

woo hoo!

Book Review: Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Pages: 240
Series: no
Acquisition: received for review

Summary:
Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers—known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. They grace the covers of magazines week after week. Their fan club has chapters all over the country. The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. Still, it's a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on. . . . Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until they're far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Really not what  I expected. I'm not much of a fan of contemporary tales - I much prefer paranormal stories BUT! I did enjoy this one.

A light, quick read about 2 teenagers whose lives have been consumed by their careers. They are actors in a family friendly, comedy / drama TV show and have been in the spotlight for as long as they can remember. Their entire lives are dictated by the show, the producers and the contracts they have both signed.

When their fake, off screen romance falls apart, the two must figure out a way to go on - with, or without each other. Their journey was a bit predictable (although I didn't see the Shakespeare element coming) and they were both a little annoying at times, but I found myself routing for them. I wanted them to get back on their feet and to really live their own lives for a change.

Final verdict:
An enjoyable book for me.  The flashbacks very much made me think of current Disney and Nickalodeon shows, but in a cute way.

Nothing heavy here, so a good choice if you've been feeling bogged down by your reading choices lately. A fun book that I would recommend to others.

Overall Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Walker Books for Young Readers
Goodreads

Sunday, April 10, 2011

FREE e-Book Alert

Digital words aren't for everyone and I don't think they will EVER take the place of printed books but for those of you, like me, who have grown to love them here are my latest finds!

The links below are for complete books (not chapter samples or previews).  Some might be available for only a short time and some are only available on certain platforms so make sure to read all the fine print : )

Wings by Aprilynne Pike with Bonus Material
AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD UNTIL April 18

In My Mailbox - April 10, 2011


In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

Really meant to get this posted yesterday but my little one came home with a cold on Friday and decided to SHARE! It was wonderful! ;)

Feeling better now though AND I was able to drag my butt to the library sale yesterday - hehehe

So! Let's see what I got!
Links are to Goodreads

For Review
*Kane Richards Must Die by Shanice Williams + bookmark
Hadn't heard about this one until it showed up in my mailbox. Shanice is a debut author and was only 18 when she signed her contract for Kane Richards Must Die. Looks really interesting!

Big Thanks to Lands Atlantic Publishing
RAK and Won
*Wither by Lauren DeStefano
A RAK gift from Orchid of The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia. How sweet is that! The reviews for this one have been a little all over the place so I'm excited to see what I think of it.

*Signed copy of Memento Nora by Angie Smibert + some bookmarks and Jelly Bellys!
Won this from The League of Extraordinary Writers.Can't wait to get started!

Big Thanks to Orchid and Angie

LIBRARY SALE!
You'll sense a theme here ;) I actually got a bunch more books for other folks in my family but these are the ones I snagged for myself. I'm on a quest to collect all the young adult horror / thriller books I read as a kid and I love Christopher Pike!
*Whisper of Death / Monster / The Last Vampire / The Last Vampire 2 / Die Softly / Remember Me / The Wicked Heart / The Eternal Enemy  - by Christopher Pike
*Silent Night by R.L. Stine
*Summer of Fear by Lois Duncan
*Violin by Anne Rice

So, what's in your mailbox?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sequel Saturday

Sequel Saturday is hosted by Elie from Ellz Readz :)

A special post to celebrate all the great sequels coming out! 
They have not been forgotten :)

This week, I picked:
August 2, 2011 (US release)
Farra, Straus and Giroux
Furnace Prison, where death is the least of your worries.
To escape, I must become one of them. We had one last shot at freedom and we failed. This time our punishment will be much worse than before. Because in the bloodstained laboratories beneath the prison lies the horrific truth behind the warden's plans. Down here, monsters are made. I'm changing: something evil is being pumped into my veins. I'm becoming one of them... a creature of Furnace. How can I escape when the Darkness is inside me? (from Goodreads)

Books 1 and 2 thoroughly freaked me out - in a very good way! Can't wait for this one!
(my reviews of Lockdown and Solitary)

How about you? Have you read the Escape From Furnace series? Do you want to?

Thank you Elie for starting this meme :)
If you'd like to participate, feel free to do your own post and then head over to Ellz Readz to leave the link so others can see what you picked.

Friday, April 8, 2011

NetGalley April Update 2


Hi guys!
How is everyone's April going? 

I'd love to see what NetGalley books you guys have been reading for NetGalley April.

I've finished The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell, I'll have Those That Wake by Jesse Karp finished by tonight and then I'm going to start In The Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane.

And now that Week 1 of April is just about over (how freaken fast did that go?!), I have some updates to announce

*As of today there are 64 people signed up to participate!*

*Sign ups are still open BUT I may decide to close them soon so if you haven't already, check out my original NetGally April post to declare yourselves!*

*As we have hit the 50 entry mark another prize has been added to the pot!
Courtesy of the wonderful ReaganStar of Star Shadow Blog a third US winner will receive ARCs of The Hunt Of The Unicorn by C.C. Humphreys and The Queen of Water by Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango

*For those that Tweet :) use the hashtag #NetGalleyApril to share! 
I'm thinking of scheduling a night for us all to chat maybe? Anyone interested? Might even ask the NetGalley folks to join in if they can!

Ok - I think that's enough updates for now.
Leave a comment or Tweet with #NetGalleyApril so we can all see whatcha reading!

Hope you all had a fabulous first week of NetGalley April ;)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Book Review: Family by Micol Ostow

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Pages: 336
Series: no
Acquisition: received ARC for review

Summary:
i have always been broken.
i could have. died.
and maybe it would have been better if i had.
It is a day like any other when seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco, leaving behind her fractured home life and a constant assault on her self-esteem. Henry is the handsome, charismatic man who comes upon her, collapsed on a park bench, and offers love, a bright new consciousness, and—best of all—a family. One that will embrace her and give her love. Because family is what Mel has never really had. And this new family, Henry’s family, shares everything. They share the chores, their bodies, and their beliefs.  And if Mel truly wants to belong, she will share in everything they do. No matter what the family does, or how far they go.
Told in episodic verse, family is a fictionalized exploration of cult dynamics, loosely based on the Manson Family murders of 1969. It is an unflinching look at people who are born broken, and the lengths they’ll go to to make themselves “whole” again. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I've never read a book told in episodic verse before. I didn't even know what episodic verse was before picking up Family. I think I've been missing out on something here. It's amazing that by using fewer words, Micol Ostow as managed to tell more story.

Family is exactly what the synopsis says it is. A story in verse based loosely on the Manson Family murders of 1969. The story itself is tragic, but it's the emotion behind the story that really needs to be told. It's the emotion that leaps off the pages and stays with you. Gets inside your head and makes you understand just how this tragic story came to be.

Beautifully told. I felt like I was reading a diary or a autobiography rather then a work of fiction.  Very raw, which lead to the feeling that this story could be true. Maybe it was true for a some young girl once.

At no time did I feel hatred for Melinda even though it was very obvious that she was putting herself in a bad situation. Micol managed to not only make me feel a deep emotion for Melinda and her troubles but also a deep understanding. The horrors of what she went through and what she did are just that - horrible. But I understood how she got there and why she couldn't walk away.

A powerful story and by far, one of my favorite works of young adult fiction read this year.

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
EgmontUSA
Author's Website
Goodreads

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Show Me Your Shelves

Hello and welcome to Show Me Your Shelves!
A feature where readers of Red House Books are given the opportunity to show us their book shelves, book cases, book piles....

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Joli from Actin' Up with Books

Joli's Show Me project was a labor of love!
Here's her story :)

"When you first put it out there that you wanted to see everyone's shelves, I jumped right on it. But then reality set in. My bookshelves were a hot mess and would need a major overhaul. I had no idea how exhausting that would be or how long it would take. Here is the before picture:
When we first moved in our house, we decided to remove the closet doors in the office and put the bookshelves in the closet. This had worked well for us, except for when we need to get in the attic. The entrance to the attic is in the closet, hence the ladder. (There was some weird rattling up there. After he checked it out, he didn't put it back. Go figure)

I started to organizing my books, removing ones that I no longer wanted and could donate or giveaway. Even after doing all of that, I still didn't have enough room on my shelves for all of my books, so I cleaned off my small shelf that held my magazines and music. Now it holds all of my newer books. 

Here are my main two bookshelves which I am always reorganizing and shifting books around 

And some close-ups


In addition to these bookshelves, i have another one in my spare bedroom. This one didn't need much organizing, I just cleared off some of the clutter.

I still have some books that need a home. These are either library books, books for review or books I just got within the past few weeks. (I don't usually keep them on the floor like this.)

I plan to continue to sort through my books, donate some or give some away so that all of my books have a proper home." 


Everything looks wonderful Joli - and don't worry - there will always be books that need a home! It's a sign of a true book lover!
Thank you so much for Sharing Your Shelves!

**************************************************

The waiting list is now clear but I would love to show off more of your shelves. If you'd like to share, please fill out THIS FORM to start :)
If you've already expressed interest and I'm just waiting on your pics - no problems! Get them to me when you can.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Winners!


The Winners of my Clarity contest are:


and



Congrats girls! I'll  be emailing you shortly :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Book Review: Clarity by Kim Harrington

***2011 Debut Author***

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Pages: 242
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: won author marked up copy

Summary:
When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?
This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.
Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.
And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most? (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I was about 12 pages into this book and I knew I was going to love it. And I was so right! Yeah! Go me! I mean, go Clarity because it's freaken awesome!

I love love love Clarity 'Clare' Fern - sassy, no nonsense, kick ass Clare. I wish she was real and I wish she was my best friend.

There really is a lot of this book to love. The setting - summer time on Cape Cod for a family of locals with unusual talents. The characters - a lot of people to find connections with, which wasn't hard since each one was so well fleshed out.  The mystery - not overly complex but not totally predictable either.

Also, for me at least, a pleasant surprise. I'm not a big fan of love triangles. I always identify and root for one guy (or girl) over the other - I guess that's the whole point. But, it's annoying sometimes. Especially when my pick doesn't 'win'. Now Clare has two very different guys vying for her attention.  And you know what? I kind of liked both of them ;)

Final verdict:
A big win for me! I pretty much liked everything about this book. The paranormal elements - Clare and her family's abilities - didn't need to be discovered or worked through. They were there from the start and they were what made Clare so unique and interesting. I loved how the mystery moved the plot along and I loved how all the pieces fit together in the end.

So very excited to see where Clare's talents and her crazy family will take her next!

Overall Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Clarity Series:
Clarity
Perception - March 2012

Linkage Love:
Scholastic
Author's Website
Goodreads

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness - Wanna see my RAK?

Isalys and Vanessa from Book Soulmates have started something I think it pretty awesome. It's called Random Acts of Kindness or R.A.K. -- an awesome (did I say that already?) -- an AWESOME way to brighten a fellow book lovers day with a surpirse gift.

I've sent out...5 books? And gotten 2!
Big big thank yous to Tishia and Cynthia!!!

As Isalys and Vanessa have said "There's nothing like the feeling you get when doing something thoughtful for another person without expecting something in return." I couldn't agree with them more!

Here are the rules:
• Sign up each month you'd like to participate in.
• Show off your participation! Grab one of the buttons available :)
• Create a wishlist and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.
{Post on your blog, Amazon, where ever as long as there's a link to it.}
• If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wishlist and contact that blogger for their address.
• At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K!
{Make a post saying 'Thank You' to whoever granted one of your wishes :)

Check out their blog for more information
Thanks Isalys and Vanessa for coming up with such a terrific idea!

For those participating in R.A.K. here is
MY R.A.K. WISHLIST
In no particular oder :)
(last updated: 5/8/11)

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I Am J by Cris Beam
Errant by Diana Peterfreund
Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble
Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Vesper by Jeff Sampson
666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce
The Line by Teri Hall
Away by Teri Hall
Secrets and Shadows (13 to Life #2) by Shannon Delany
Mieradome by Kate O'Hegarty
So Shelly by Ty Roth
Matched by Ally Condie
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Haven by Kristi Cook
Legacy by Cayla Kluver
Ghost Huntress #3 by Marley Gibson
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
Deadly LIttle Games (Touch #3) by Laurie Stolarz Faria
Challenge (Wicked Lovely: Desert Tales #2) by Melissa Marr
Sea by Heidi Kling
So Many Boys (The Naughty List #2) by Suzanne Young
Crossing Over by Anna Kendall
The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike
The House of Dead Maids by Clare Dunkle
The Last Good Place of Lily Odilon by Sara Beitia
One Hundred Candles (Past Midnight #2) by Mara Purnhagen
Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
Defiance (Strange Angels #4) by Lilith Saintcrow
Island Sting by Bonnie Doerr
Stakeout by Bonnie Doerr
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Betrayed by Ednah Walters
Fire by Kristin Cashore

More books are listed on my Goodreads Wishlist :)

In My Mailbox - April 2, 2011

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren : )

I've been having a lucky streak when it comes to winning contests. Got 2 great packages this week!

Also, got a few new NetGalley books -- in preparation for NetGalley April!

Links are to Goodreads :)

WON!
A singed copy of Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton and swag from Kim at The Book Butterfly
Big Thanks to Rachel, Katie, Kelly and Kim :)

For Review from NetGalley:
Big Thanks to NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin, Tanglewood, Disney Hyperion and HarperCollins

For Review from Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

So, what's in your mailbox?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sequel Saturday

Sequel Saturday is hosted by Elie from Ellz Readz :)

A special post to celebrate all the great sequels coming out! 
They have not been forgotten :)

This week, I picked:
September 13, 2011 
Feiwel & Friends
All Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has ever wanted is a true family of her own. And she’s close to reuniting her parents when her father disappears. Now Bertie must deal with a  vengeful sea goddess and a mysterious queen as she tries to keep her family – and the Theatre Illuminata – from crumbling. To complicate it all, Bertie is torn between her two loves, Ariel and Nate. (from Goodreads)

My review of Eyes Like Stars - click here
My review of Perchance to Dream - click here
I have a love / hate relationship with this series but I'll diffinatly be reading So Silver Bright.
What about you? Have you read this series? Will you be reading So Silver Bright?

Thank you Elie for starting this meme :)
If you'd like to participate, feel free to do your own post and then head over to Ellz Readz to leave the link so others can see what you picked.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Can you tell me? Answers

Earlier in the week I asked:

Bloggers, how do you cross post to other social network sites? Specifically, how do you publish your blogs posts to your twitter and Facebook feeds?

A few wonderful people answered and it was pretty much what I've been using.

Answer:

If you have a Networked Blog via Facebook, you can set it up to auto post to both Facebook and Twitter
OR
You can use Feedburner, to auto post just to Twitter

I currently have Feedburner doing my Twitter posts and Networked Blogs doing Facebook. No real reason why I do it this way it just works for me. Oh - and I've totally forgotten HOW to set up Feedburner to post to Twitter, but I did do it! (I know, not very helpful of me!).

Now, I have another question for you -- does it bug you when blogs auto post to Facebook and Twitter? Would you rather NOT see these updates and rely on the fact that you follow the blog itself and you'll see the post right from the horses mouth?

***Do you have a question you would like me to feature in an upcoming 'Can you tell me' post? CLICK HERE to fill out my form :)***

Monthly Reads - March 2011

This month was....different. It started with one of the worst storms we've had all winter (lost TONS of branches from our pine trees). Proceeded to rain for far too long. Gave us wonderful days full of 60 degree sunny goodness and now, it's ending with yet another snow storm. So large in fact, that I'm sitting here typing this with a large smile on my face because on April 1st I will be sitting at home enjoying (hopefully) my last no school / work snow day of the season! Gotta love working at a school!

As for books - which, let's face it - is WAY more exciting and important then the weather - I think I did pretty good. Still need to kick it into high gear if I'm going to hit 200 books this year but, it's still all good :)

Wanna see!!

OK!

Books read (with number of pages):
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner (208)
Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin (240)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (317)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith (320)
Family by Micol Ostow (376)
The Girl Who Was On Fire edited by Leah Wilson (194)

Short Stories (with number of pages):
Cotton Candy Skies by Melissa Marr (9)
Raising the Dead (Past Midnight #1.5) by Mara Purnhagen (84)

Audio Books:
ALMOST finished with The Dead Tossed Waves
ALMOST finished with Monsters of Men
but those don't count!

Monthly Totals:
BOOKS READ: 6
SHORT STORIES: 2
PAGES: 1748
AUDIO BOOKS: 0
HOURS: 0

Challenges Updated Here

Oh man, I take it back! I didn't do pretty good at all this month! Blarg!

Oh well - that's what NetGalley and April is for! hehehe