July 31, 2012

Tween Tuesday: Half Upon a Time

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens.

Today I want to share a book I just got a copy of - Half Upon a Time by James Riley.  
I think this book just sounds good, and I love the twist on a fairy tale.  Actually there seems to be a lot of books out like this now!

Jack lives in a fantasy world. Really. He's the son of the infamous Jack who stole the magic beans from the giant, and he's working hard to restore his family's reputation. He finds the perfect opportunity when a "princess" lands in front of him, apparently from the land of Punk, as her Punk Princess sweatshirt implies. May is from our world, and she's utterly confused to find herself in the midst of the fairy tale characters she has read about. But Jack and May have more in common than they realize--and together, they embark on a hilarious and wild adventre in this highly accessible, modern middle grade fantasy novel.

July 30, 2012

Cover Crush: Alice Bliss

I love book covers.  Love love love them! I've been known to drag my sister around Barnes and Noble and show her all the covers I like. I'll hunt down certain students in the morning because I know they'll love a cover as much as me.  I really think I develop a crush on certain covers!

Today I'm crushing on:

I have a file on my computer marked "cover crush", and sometimes I go through it to remember the ones I've loved right when I first saw them.  This is one of them.  
I love this cover.  One main reason: it's not a girl in a big flowy dress! 
The rain boots. 
The garden tool.  
The red/white dress.  
They just all pop to draw me to it.  I also love the font for the title and author.  
For some reason she seems determined, so I'm wondering why.
All together as a package it's perfect!

Tomboy Alice Bliss is heartbroken when she learns that her father, Matt, is being deployed to Iraq. Matt will miss seeing Alice blossom into a full-blown teenager: she'll learn to drive, join the track team, go to her first dance, and fall in love—all while trying to be strong for her mother, Angie, and her precocious little sister. But the phone calls from her father are never long enough. At once universal and very personal, Alice Bliss is a profoundly moving story about those who are left at home during wartime and a small-town teenage girl bravely facing the future.

July 29, 2012

Stacking the Shelves July 29

Stacking the Shelves is a meme started by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews.  Here's how she explains it:

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from firends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
To find out more go HERE!

This week I got:
and sorry I'm too tired to link them all :(

Bought for my new teaching position to read or reread
(I'll be teaching grades 5-8 high potential English and these are either full class for for lit circles)
The Maze Runner
Chasing Lincoln's Killer
The Giver
The Girl Who Could Fly
Tuck Everlasting
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
Island of the Blue Dolphins

For Review:

From Paperback Swap:
Guys Read: Thriller
The Magician
Wanted (PLL #8)
Rebel Angels
City of Lost Souls

July 28, 2012

Reluctant Readers Road to Recovery Guide +GIVEAWAY

As an English teacher I obsessed with making sure kids read! But what do you do if you have a kid that really doesn't like to read???  Because of that question I was excited when Sourcebooks contacted me to share with you a fun post about reluctant readers and a great giveaway! 

For for those of you looking for help!

Do you fear approaching your Reluctant Reader?  Have they been spotted this summer participating in questionable behavior with their books like building forts and extreme paper dolls?  Identified by their atypical behaviors, the Reluctant Readers Road to Recovery Guide is here to help you create successful encounters with hesitant young readers everywhere.  Panic no more and take control of rainy day havoc, poolside chaos and playground mayhem with a great book for your unique reader.

Reluctant Readers Road to Recovery Guide

The Make-Believer has more imagination frequent flier miles than a Pan Am stewardess!  The best cure for this case of Reluctant Reading is Elliot and the Last Underworld War by Jennifer Nielsen (Author of The False Prince).  The Make-Believer will be thrilled to join the sarcastically hilarious Elliot in the Underworld.  As the King of the Brownies, Elliot has battled Goblins, tricked Pixies, and trapped a Demon. But now, the Demon has escaped and he's ready for revenge.  So, the Pixies, Shapeshifters, Elves, Goblins, and Brownies must join forces to battle the Demon head on before he has the chance to destroy Earth.

The Daredevil thinks trick-or-treating should apply to everyday life, especially the tricks!  Cure their hunger for trouble with Horrid Henry and the Zombie Vampire by Francesca Simon.  Not even your daredevil will believe what Henry is up to next in these four new wonderful and wacky tales.  The international bestselling Horrid Henry series provides readers with a prankster whose relentless antics create a laugh-out-loud read.  WARNING: Do not allow daredevils to consume milk while reading or milk may spray from the nose!

The BFF has matching bracelets with all her friends and wins Miss Congeniality every year.  This is a case of Reluctant Reading that can only be cured with Hailey Twitch and the Wedding Glitch by Lauren Barnholdt.  Hailey Twitch and her spirited sprite Maybelle, return in the fourth installment to the fab, fab, fabulous series.  The BFF will be delighted to read as Hailey gets ready to be a flower girl in her cousin’s wedding!  Maybelle’s mischief and fairy magic is back and might land the duo in trouble!

Bruce Lee 2.0 can quote Enter the Dragon from start to finish and has broken table lamps with leg kicks. The only cure for such readers (and your house) is to follow the UK’s youngest secret agent in Jason Steed: Revenge by Mark A. Cooper. Set in a fast-paced 1970s Britain with non-stop excitement and martial arts fight scenes, Revenge is perfect for kids who aspire to be the next martial arts master and are looking for adventure stories and heroes who aren’t afraid to take action.  In the thrilling follow-up to Fledgling Jason is sent on a new undercover mission and must infiltrate a shadowy criminal organization –but his luck is running out.

Follow this guide and win a chance of snagging these great summer reads in a giveaway pack!

Elliot and the Last Underworld War by Jennifer Nielsen

Horrid Henry and the Zombie Vampire by Francesca Simon

Hailey Twitch and the Wedding Glitch by Lauren Barnholdt

Jason Steed: Revenge by Mark A. Cooper

To Enter
US resident only
Must be at least 13

Leave a comment with a way to contact you

You don't have to but for fun do you have any good ideas for getting reluctant readers to read?????

July 27, 2012

Book Review: A Bad Day for Voodoo by Jeff Strand +giveaway

Title: A Bad Day for Voodoo
Author: Jeff Strand

In this hilariously bloody comedy, sixteen-year-old Tyler has never had a meaner teacher than Mr. Click. So when Mr. Click falsely accuses him of cheating on a test, Tyler lets his best friend Adam convince him that a bit of revenge is in order, using a voodoo doll. 
Of course, Tyler doesn't believe in voodoo. He's just humoring his friend. But after he jabs the doll with a pin during class, he becomes an immediate believer. Not only does the doll work, it's more powerful than he could have ever imagined, and now Tyler has a dead history teacher.
Then, due to circumstances a bit too convoluted to get into here (but trust us, they're extremely entertaining), Tyler ends up with a voodoo doll of himself. Which gets stolen. And now Tyler, his girlfriend Kelley, and Adam must race across the city to get the doll back...before Tyler shares Mr. Click's gruesome fate!
My Review

Ok where to do I start?  With the fact that I laughed and laughed when telling people about this book?  That when I told my friend about the big thing that happens at the start I was laughing so hard I could hardly get it out?  Or that when I got to the intermission I literally burst out laughing?? Or that when I read chapter 20 to my daughter (age 13) we both laughed and laughed, and she said I HAD to read it aloud to my students next year (first time EVER she's said something like that when she knows I'll be her teacher!)? I'll just start with this - Ab. So. Lutely awesome book!!!

I'll warn you though - you have to be with dark humor or you'll not enjoy it because it's filled with it.  I mean to the point that when the first dark humor event happens I was left with my mouth dropped open! I was sitting in a waiting room jaw dropped and giggling because it was the last thing I was expecting!  The even totally caught me off guard, but in a great way! Loved it.

Now about the main character Tyler.  Loved him.  He's a great narrator for this book.  I could hear his voice (filled with terror, disbelief, confusion.....) telling the story.  Oh - good place to tell you that if you don't like narrators that talk to the readers not a good book for you either.  Usually I'm not thrilled by them, but Tyler was great!  Being a teacher I know what's typical for boys and it was spot on.  I loved with the author would give Tyler's whole array of thoughts on a situation, and you knew these all happened in like 1.2 seconds! I loved it because who hasn't been in a situation where 20 thoughts and possibilities assult you at once!  It was fun to see those thoughts slowed down.  Beyond all that I really had to feel for Tyler with all he had to go through.  Tough but how he handled it was beyond great!

The plot - I really really want to tell you all about my favorite parts but honestly if I did I'd give away things that you so need to have thrown at you! Knowing what's going to happen would totally take the fun out of it!  All I can say is be prepared for one thing after another and when you think you know - YOU DON'T!

Now I've warned you about the dark humor and narrator who talks to you, but I should warn too that if you can't handle grusome images you probably should steer clear! I loved the scenes with it because of the dark humor, but I know that some people would not like it at all.

Ok to sum it up! Love it!!! Laughed a lot.  Cringed a lot.  Wondered what thing to them could happen next a lot!  Love it - A LOT!

Final thought:  Haven't laughed so hard in a long time while reading.  
Best stick-with-you image:  Can't share or it'll give part of the book away but it was great!!!
Best for readers who: Like dark humor and are ok with bloody events
Best for ages: 13+

For the Guys?  YES!!!!!!!!!! So many guys would love this book because of Tyler.  He's such a guy's guy (yes I said that!).  Plus all the action and events will keep them interested.

PS I apologize for the over use of exclamation points.  But I was really excited about this book :)

Be sure to read Jeff Strand's guest post HERE and enter the GIVEAWAY on that post!!!

Guest Post: Jeff Strand - A Bad Day for Voodoo +GIVEAWAY

I'm super excited today to welcome Jeff Strand author of A Bad Day for Voodoo!  
He is here talking about his least favorite part of writing - reviewing galleys! 

First about the book! 

When your best friend is just a tiny bit psychotic, you should never actually believe him when he says, "Trust me. This is gonna be awesome."
Of course, you probably wouldn't believe a voodoo doll could work either. Or that it could cause someone's leg to blow clean off with one quick prick. But I've seen it. It can happen.
And when there's suddenly a doll of YOU floating around out there—a doll that could be snatched by a Rottweiler and torn to shreds, or a gang of thugs ready to torch it, or any random family of cannibals (really, do you need the danger here spelled out for you?)—well, you know that's just gonna be a really bad day ...
I'll be reviewing the book later today (hint - voodoo=fun-doo)

Now welcome Jeff to The O.W.L.!!!!

My Least Favorite Part of Being An Author

My least favorite part of being an author? By far, it's reviewing galleys.

Galleys are cool at first glance, because you actually get to see the book in its final layout. It looks like a real book, instead of something that's in 12 pt. double-spaced Courier New. You're sooooooo close to having this in the hands of readers!

When you go through the galleys, you get one last chance to find any errors. But that's really all you're looking for: errors. And not "Wow, does Chapter Sixteen ever suck!" errors, but tiny errors. If you send in a completely revised version of Chapter Sixteen at the galley stage, big scary men will show up at your house with crowbars.

Now, if you find a really HUGE mistake, like a loophole in your time-travel logic that means that your heroine is making out with her great-great-great-great grandfather, they'll probably let you fix it. But otherwise, the book in galleys form is pretty much the book in published form. Which means that while I review the galleys, I will think of hundreds of new jokes that should be in there, and funnier ways to tell the jokes that are already there through the book. Suddenly I want to change EVERYTHING!!! Lines that were totally fine the first thirty-nine times I went through the book, when I could change anything I wanted, now make me want to bury my head in the sands of shame.

My favorite part of the process is the final proofreading of my manuscript before I send it off to the editor. At that point, I'm a genius...no, a super-genius! This book is AWESOME!!! Go me! I'll be putting a down payment on that gold-plated mansion any minute now! Woo-hoo!!!

This thought process changes approximately 1.7 seconds after I click "Send." Then, every previously unseen flaw in the book bursts into my brain with a force that knocks me out of my chair and through the window in my office. I can't BELIEVE I sent the publisher that garbage. I am the epitome of lameness. I wait for the inevitable e-mail response that says "Dear Jeff: WTF?"

As time passes, my opinion of the book slips to somewhere in-between the two extremes.

In theory, the worst part should be months later when I actually read the published book, because then I really can't change anything, except with a pen and a lot of bookstore visits. But I don't read the published book. Oh, sure, I lovingly cradle it, maybe stroke the spine, but I never actually re-read any of it. That would make me cry.

I so love this guest post because I can completely relate to what he's saying (ok ok, so I'm NOT a published author but I did have to turn papers in during college!).  I was dubbed the Queen of Revisions in college, so I can relate!


I have one copy of a Bad Day for Voodoo up for grabs.  
Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter!

Must be US or Canadian resident
Must be at least 13

a Rafflecopter giveaway

July 25, 2012

Book Pushalooza! +GIVEAWAY

Welcome to the FIRST EVER BookPushalooza!

July 26th ONLY

9 Books, only .99.

With each purchase you get the chance to WIN while Helping Authors reach new heights in Amazon’s ranks.

It’s so easy a CAVEMAN could do it!

Follow the Instructions on the Rafflecopter Widget and for each book you purchase (or Borrow through Amazon Prime for Free) you get an entry in to WIN ---

(1) Grand Prize- $100 Amazon Gift Card

(2) Runners up of $25 Amazon Gift Cards

That’s not all! Purchase all NINE (9) books and get an additional 5 entries!

Don’t delay, this offer is good for JULY 26th ONLY!

Overview of Dark Isle

When evil begets evil, a choice is forced on Quinn, the one person who can see the danger. Does she save the ones she loves, or does she save the world from Chaos?

As the realms of Fae and human collide, Quinn's future has never looked so grim, or so damn impossible.

Genre- Urban Fantasy
Overview of Enemy in Blue

 The streets aren't safe when your enemy wears a blue uniform and a gold badge.
What if the good guys weren't good?
What if a cop went rogue and killed an innocent man?
What if it was all caught on video and the cop would do anything to cover it up?
Chase this lawless cop through the streets and to a scintillating series of showdowns with Cruz Marquez, a young attorney trying to nail down his enemy in blue.
Will justice be served?
Genre- Thriller

Overview of Land of the Noonday Sun

When two strangers have nothing left but their dreams, they must forge a relationship in Nantahala, North Carolina, a small town known as Land of the Noonday Sun.

A man with a traumatic past is able to turn his life around and is happy with his chosen career as a whitewater guide. Everything changes though when fate hurls a woman into his path. His carefree life is in turmoil, and his former weaknesses threaten to overtake him. Will he be strong enough when tragedy strikes and is once again in danger of losing everything he loves?
Genre- Contemporary Romance

Overview of This Time Forever

Delaney Brannigan and Blake Morrisson met at the Cedar Cove annual costume dance, known only to each other as the leopard and the cowboy--but, as Delaney soon discovers, the cowboy she'd thought had ridden off into the sunset never to tempt her again, is none other than the man she came from New York to find and discredit. Against her will, Delaney is drawn deeper and deeper into an overwhelming attraction to Blake--an attraction she can't give in to if she wants to keep the one thing she values more than anything else.
Genre- Contemporary Romance

Overview of Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula

Fourteen-year-old Cassidy Jones wakes up the morning after a minor accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist to discover that her body has undergone some bizarre physical changes. Her senses, strength, and speed have been radically enhanced.

Lives are put at risk when they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous, action-packed adventure. Soon they are forced to confront a maniacal villain willing to do anything - including murder - to reach his own ambitious goals.

Genre- YA/MG Superhero

Overview of Gray Justice

Gray Justice is the fast-paced debut thriller from Alan McDermott. When a killer walks free from court, the victim's father sees just two options: accept the judge's decision; or take on the entire British justice system. Tom Gray chooses the latter and his crusade attracts instant worldwide media coverage. It was just what Tom was hoping for, but it brought him a lot more than he bargained for.

Gray Justice is much more than a simple tale of revenge: it's a rollercoaster ride with an ending you'll never forget!
Genre- Thriller

Overview of Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00

"Their lives are in the hands of two 18-year-olds..."
A Prominent P.I. is gunned down - killed by a sniper - and it’s broadcasted on live TV.
Now, her daughter, along with her childhood pal, are thrust into a complex and riveting thriller forced to take on a secret club whose members call themselves The Privileged Ones.
Murder. Teen abductions and illegal underground parties.
They’re chased by men in ski-masks, nearly gunned down by members of a cartel, and the only way to bring down this criminal enterprise; is to crash a Mardi Gras bash and stop their private cruise ship from sailing off into the sunset.


Overview of Allegiance

Who do YOU pledge allegiance to?

After exposing one of the most notorious rings of police corruption in history, lawyer Cruz Marquez planned on starting a new life south of the border. That plan unraveled when an extremist group of Minutemen captured and tortured him and his wife.

Will Cruz pledge allegiance to do right, or will he do anything to serve up revenge?

Genre- Thriller

Overview of Curbchek Reload

Curbchek-Reload is a dark account of the streets as they were worked by Zach Fortier, a dangerously deranged cop. Welcome back to the inner city and the twisted mentality of Zach Fortier. Patrolling the streets, broken and mentally damaged from years of urban violence, Zach fights a losing battle to maintain a hold on reality. Join him in the passenger seat of a police cruiser for more of the darker and meaner side of life: The inner city. In Curbchek-Reload you get a front row seat to an attempted murder of a cop, suicide attempts, rapes, and DARK cop humor. Curbchek-Reload - Fasten your bullet proof vest and buckle your seatbelt, it is gonna be a wild ride!

Genre- Police Procedural 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/49be101/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

All winners will be notified via email July 28th 2012. For a list of winners contact onedaybookpush@yahoo.ca

52 Reasons to Hate My Father Trailer +GIVEAWAY

Today I'm very excited to share a great sounding new book out by Jessica Brody:
 52 Reasons to Hate My Father.

Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.
Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.
Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteenth birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.
In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.

Doesn't it sound great!!??!!!!

Now check out the Hollywood style trailer (the book has been optioned for a film!)

PLUS, right now until August 15, Jessica is doing a REALLY cool giveaway! 

The winner gets a Complete Heiress Make-Over which includes a personal wardrobe styling session with a professional costume designer (the same one who dressed Lexington in the book trailer!), as well as a gift card to Sephora, a free copy of the book, and lots of other cool goodies fit for an heiress!) The full details of the giveaway can be found on Jessica's blog.

Enter Below:

July 23, 2012

Cover Crush: Paper Valentine

I love book covers.  Love love love them! I've been known to drag my sister around Barnes and Noble and show her all the covers I like. I'll hunt down certain students in the morning because I know they'll love a cover as much as me.  I really think I develop a crush on certain covers!

Today I'm crushing on:

I absolutely love this cover!!! I'm drawn to black and white covers, so this one caught me right away.  But wow - look at the design in the dress. Do you see the snake-like thing?? What is that and why? Why the storm clouds? It's just amazing.


PAPER VALENTINE, in which a girl haunted by the troubled ghost of her best friend finds herself sucked into a darkly mesmerizing string of murders, in which a serial killer who leaves a paper-heart 'valentine' on his victims' bodies draws ever closer.

July 20, 2012

Friday is For the Guys - Today Specifically For Daniel

On Fridays I like to step back and focus on books for guys.  I find it VERY easy to find books to interest girls, but when it comes to boys I do struggle more.  Because of that I always want to make sure I step back and focus on them.

Well today I'm writing this post for one student specifically.  
Daniel this post is for you!

Daniel is a former student (he's going to be a freshman) that would come to be a lot for suggestions.  He emailed me this summer needing books to read. 
 I thought that instead of just sharing with him I'd share with everyone!

Daniel - here's some ideas for what to read:

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.
Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive. 
A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
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.

I Hunt Killer by Barry Lyga
What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?
Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.
But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could--from the criminal's point of view.
And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.
In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret--could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Don’t Sweat.  Don’t Laugh.  Don’t draw attention to yourself.  And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them. 
Gene is different from everyone else around him.  He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood.  Gene is a human, and he knows the rules.  Keep the truth a secret.  It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.
When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him.  He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.
By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

Others you might consider (click on them to be taken to Goodreads)
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons 
Partials by Dan Wells
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
The Iron King (the series!) Julie Kagawa

I hope this helps!!! Let me know if you need more suggestions :)

And everyone feel free to offer more in the comments.  
He likes all kinds of books and isn't afraid to read something with a girl main character like Divergent for example.

July 19, 2012

Blog Tour Book Review: Heirs of Prophecy

On Tuesday I had a great guest post by Michael Rothman author of Heirs of Prophecy plus a fantastic giveaway for a Kindle.  
You can check it out HERE.

Today I share my thoughts on the book.

About Heirs of Prophecy  - Goodreads | Amazon | IndieBound | B&N

The Riverton family had been enjoying a simple summer vacation when, through a fluke of nature, they found themselves in a strange new land.
The Riverton brothers quickly realize that in this world, they have gained unusual powers. Powers that their parents fear will attract the attention of Azazel himself - the merciless wizard who brutally controls this world. 
The two brothers soon learn that an ancient prophecy has finally been initiated by their arrival in Trimoria. As the heirs of this prophecy, they are destined to lead the armies of men, dwarves, elves, and even a misfit ogre against the prophesied demon horde. 
Only one thing stands in their way. 
The evil wizard who has learned of their presence, and has sent assassins to wipe them from existence.

My Review

Ok I'll be honest.  When I first got this book I wasn't sure I was going to like it.  And when I first started reading it I still wasn't sure.  If you read Michael's guest post on Monday you'll hear his thoughts on families in middle grade stories.  But I really kept waiting for something to happen to the parents or for their to be a huge divide between them and when it didn't happen I was kinda left lost! Stupid I know but it does show what my expectations are for middle grade lit sometimes! But once I started to get further into the story I really started to enjoy it!!

As the story starts out there are several strands of events happening separate from each other.  At first I struggled keeping them all in order in my mind, but that didn't last long.  Immediately my mind was working on figuring out how all these strands would start to come together in the story and how they could affect each other.  I was cool to actually watch it play out.  And by the end they seamlessly came together as a full story.  I'm always amazed when authors can pull that off!

Ok about the plot.  I loved the concept of a family being transported to a time and place they didn't know.  Haven't we all thought of that happening???  Especially to a land where magic is real!!  And how this played out was good.  I did thought, think they adjusted a bit too quickly.  I think for most of us we'd be a bit more freaked out.  They just accepted it and jumped right in.  I could put this aside and just enjoy the story. As the story came to a head with all the strands of stories coming together, the action was great and I was fully engaged.  I really wanted to see how this family worked together to succeed!

The characters were good.  The author used 3rd person and would change who the narrator was telling the story from.  So at one point we might be hearing about Aaron and what he's thinking and doing, but they it would switch to his brother.  At first I had to get use to this, but I ended up really liking it because I got to know each character really well.  It also allowed me to care about each character and see how they grew throughout the story.  For example Aaron was more timid at the start of the story, and I could really see how he changed.  This was true for many of the characters.  I did also like the role the parents played in the story and in the lives of the boys.  They weren't just these side characters.  They had a strong role and were solidly part of the boys' lives.  It was a great thing to see!  Beyond all that I liked the side characters especially ones that don't exist in our world.

I do have to say one thing about the cover of the book.  Ryan is suppose to be 14 in the book and Aaron 12.  When I look at the cover that is not at all what I see.  The boys look much much younger.  When trying to get some of my boy students to read this book I'm going to have to convince them of the main characters' ages.

Final Thought:  Great action, nice plot and love that it shows families can work together!
Best stick-with-you image: The sad home life of the ogre Ohaobbok
Best for readers who: Like new worlds
Best for ages: 9-13

For the Guys?  YES! Strong boy characters that really step up and do the right thing!

Now don't forget to read Michael's guest post and enter the giveaway for a Kindle!! 

And to see what other bloggers have to say about the book check out the rest of the tour.

Monday, July 16th -  Mundie Kids Tuesday, July 17th -  Owl for YA Wednesday, July 18th - Chapter by Chapter Thursday, July 19th - Book and A Latte Friday, July 20th -  Sweeping Me Monday, July 23rd - Reading in the Corner Tuesday, July 24th - Soul Unsung  Wednesday, July 25th - Proud Booknerd Thursday, July 26th - Bitter Sweet Enchantement  Monday, July 30th - My Reading Room  Tuesday, July 31st - Book Brats  Wednesday, August 1st - Paranormal Indulgenlence  Thursday, August 2nd - Mandy Kay Reads Friday, August 3rd - Snowdropdreams

July 17, 2012

Heirs of Prophecy Blog Tour +GIVEAWAY

I'm excited to be today's stop of for Michael Rothman's book Heirs of Prophecy hosted by Kismet!!

Michael has written a great guest post about himself as a middle school and how it affects his writing.

But first about the book and its sequel!

About Heirs of Prophecy  - Goodreads | Amazon | IndieBound | B&N

The Riverton family had been enjoying a simple summer vacation when, through a fluke of nature, they found themselves in a strange new land.
The Riverton brothers quickly realize that in this world, they have gained unusual powers. Powers that their parents fear will attract the attention of Azazel himself - the merciless wizard who brutally controls this world. 
The two brothers soon learn that an ancient prophecy has finally been initiated by their arrival in Trimoria. As the heirs of this prophecy, they are destined to lead the armies of men, dwarves, elves, and even a misfit ogre against the prophesied demon horde. 
Only one thing stands in their way. 
The evil wizard who has learned of their presence, and has sent assassins to wipe them from existence.

Tools of Prophecy
Book II in the Prophecies series

The TOOLS OF PROPHECY is the second volume in an epic saga which describes a prophecy that has placed the Riverton brothers in the lead roles of a struggle to save their world from being overrun by unspeakable horrors. This destiny requires that they face off with the demons that nearly destroyed their world over five centuries ago. 
In the first book, the population of wizards had been practically eradicated by the former tyrant. The Rivertons are now charged with creating an Academy of Magic, recruiting qualified students, and furthering their own training with secrets that have long been held by the reclusive elves. 
Despite their youth, a mysterious spirit has engaged them in an epic struggle to gain mastery of their newfound skills, help raise and train two armies, and stay alive long enough for their final showdown with destiny. 
The only things that stand in their way are the assassins hired to destroy them and the Demon Lord’s minion who holds a personal grudge and intends to witness the young boys’ deaths.

About Michael Rothman - Website  | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

I am an Army brat and the first person in my family to be born in the United States. This heavily influenced my youth by instilling a love of reading and a burning curiosity about the world and all of the things within it. As an adult, my love of travel allowed me to explore many unimaginable locations. I participated in many adventures and documented them in what will be a series of books, the first of which you have just read.

Some might put these books in the Fantasy genre, and I never had issues with this label. After all, the adventures were, without any doubt in my mind, fantastic. I simply quibble with the label of "Fiction" that some might put on these tales. These tales should be viewed as historical records, more along the lines of a documentary.

I've learned one thing over the years. Magic is real. Keep exploring, and you too will find your magic.
- Mike Rothman

I'm very excited to welcome Mike Rothman to The O.W.L.!!!

I asked Mike: What were you like in middle school (since I teach middle schoolers), and do you bring any of it into your writing?

I think I was generally the quiet type. I had always been the person who would hide in the back of the classroom and pray to all that was holy that the teacher never picked on me. It wasn’t because I didn’t do well in school, it was because I was horribly shy and allowed it to take over my personality at that age. One thing though – I was a huge reader. (Ironically, I didn’t care for writing whatsoever back then)

I am sure my teacher would have been shocked to find out that today (many years later) I do a lot of public speaking to very large crowds and sometimes find myself back in the classrooms or auditoriums talking to kids about writing and the stories I have written.

As to the writing that I do, I am very conscious of who my audience is, and I am a big advocate for writing tales that do not “dumb down” the vocabulary that a child is exposed to. As a reader first, I am convinced that my early exposure to the written word was responsible for my better than average vocabulary, so in my writing – I write without artificial constraints due to the lower age group. I’ve found that my books are usually very well received by children as early as fourth grade, and am pleased to report that I’ve had many gray-haired gentlemen and ladies who have also enjoyed the stories. I introduce elements that most age groups can relate to.

Since the lower range of the age group I write for is young, I do limit certain elements that might be popular in some of the teen age group material that has become quite popular. I suppose one might call me old-fashioned, but I wanted to write material that focused on relationships that were age appropriate, but tone down the hormone induced material to the barest minimum. Where the appropriate responses from a twelve year old might be some severe blushing or a peck on the cheek, I could only have wished for such at that age.  :)

I have also fought the trend that seems to be popular in Fiction, and was in-fact some of the advice I’d been given by some of my friends who are NYT bestselling authors. “You need to make the main characters orphans”  “You need their parents to die tragically”etc.

Let’s be frank – the rule of thumb for most fiction today is that your young protagonist(s) must have a hectic home life. Assume they are either an orphan, have family issues of all varieties, or are otherwise stressed by their day-to-day situation.

My books are written in opposition to such norms, and headline protagonists which are likable, fallible, but otherwise should be very relatable. Everyone knows a brother who is a pain in the butt who you would protect with your own life, or an over-protective mother, etc. I aim to prove that the action and strife need not come from the family, but through the situations and adventures they are put through.

Thank you Mike.  I love your idea of having books from the middle show that most of the time it is our situations and adventures that create the action in the lives of the readers! It's a great change in what we see many times!

To learn more about Mike and the book check out the tour schedule:

Monday, July 16th - Mundie Kids Tuesday, July 17th - Owl for YA Wednesday, July 18th - Chapter by Chapter Thursday, July 19th - Book and A Latte Friday, July 20th - Sweeping Me Monday, July 23rd - Reading in the Corner Tuesday, July 24th - Soul Unsung Wednesday, July 25th - Proud Booknerd Thursday, July 26th - Bitter Sweet Enchantement Monday, July 30th - My Reading Room Tuesday, July 31st - Book Brats Wednesday, August 1st - Paranormal Indulgenlence Thursday, August 2nd - Mandy Kay Reads Friday, August 3rd - Snowdropdreams

Michael is giving away a Kindle during the Tour! 
US/Canada only

To enter fill out the Rafflecopter form

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