Friday, January 31, 2014

Life of a Blogger: Genres of Music


Again, Life of a Blogger is hosted by Jessi of Novel Heartbeat. Stop by her blog and to join in and learn more about your fellow bloggers.

This week's question is:
Genres of Music

Y'all have probably seen me mention it before, music I like, but here's the list of what I like and why. I'll even include a couple I cannot stand so...enjoy.

Favorites

Country:
I have been listening to country music since I was five years old, so, it's no wonder that its at the top of my favorite's list. What I enjoy about this genre are the songs that tell a story, yes, even in my music listening I enjoy a story, whether it's one of heartbreak or happiness I just enjoy imagining how the song would play out if it were a book.

Top 5 Singers:

  1. Garth Brooks 
  2. George Strait
  3. Johnny Cash
  4. Josh Turner
  5. Patty Loveless

Top 5 Songs:

  1. The Dance by Garth Brooks (this song can hit you in the feels)
  2. Prodigal Son by Dierks Bentley
  3. Long Black Train by Josh Turner
  4. Does He Love You by Reba McEntire
  5. Gods Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash 

While I do love the genre, I am not pleased with some  most of the newer acts because they don't sound country at all. Don't get me started on T Swift and her popiness because she is not country (some of her lyrics give me the creeps). Lately, I have been so disgruntled with what's playing on the radio that I'll just listen to the oldies station that plays the good stuff (Reba McEntire, George Strait, Garth Brooks, etc).

Kpop:

I'm not entirely sure how this happened, but I think it began when I was listening to an anime soundtrack on Pandora. Who cares how I started listening to it; the big thing is Kpop has a lot of great songs that I enjoy listening to while running.

Classic Rock:
My dad is the reason I enjoy some classic rock. While I may not always enjoy what happens to be playing at the time, there are a few songs that must be turned up when they play. Separate Ways, anyone.

Classical:
 Otherwise known as the soundtrack for Fourth of July fireworks. Yep, I base my enjoyment of classical music on the 1812 Overture.

Anime:
Yes, I have fallen into the whole of occasionally listening to the OST's to some of my favorite anime shows. There are some that are really good, and then there are the ones that are not.

Dislikes
Rap and Metal:
Frankly, most of the lyrics make me feel like my ears need to be cleaned out with soap. My other problems with both of these genres is that, for the most part, a lot of the lyrics are degrading to women and just too angry.

I'm sure there's some more I dislike, but I fear I may go off on a tangent on why certain "singers" are irksome to me.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

ARC Review: Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm (Grisha, 2) by Leigh Bardugo, June 4, 2013. 432 pages. Published by Henry Holt and Co. Source: publisher.
Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
First Sentence:
The boy and girl had once dreamed of ships, long ago, before they'd ever seen the True Sea.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

Hero's Song (The Songs of Eirren, 1) by Edith Pattou, September 1, 2005 (originally published in 1991). Published by Magic Carpet Books.
Collun has always been happiest working in his garden. But his peaceful life is shattered when his sister, Nessa, mysteriously disappears. He sets off to find her and soon realizes that he and his traveling companions, including the feisty young archer Breo-Saight, have become involved in something much larger and more sinister than he had imagined.
Why: Because I have book two and really want to read it, and thus my need for book one. What can I say, I enjoyed reading East (many times) and picked up Fire Arrow when I saw it at the used bookstore. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Young Adult Review: Fury of the Phoenix

Fury of the Phoenix (Kingdom of Xia, 2) Cindy Pon, March 29, 2011. 362 pages. Published by Greenwillow Books. Source: library.
The Gods have abandoned Ai Ling.

Her mysterious power haunts her day and night, and she leaves home—with just the moon as her guide—overwhelmed by her memories and visions and an unbearable sense of dread. For Ai Ling knows that Chen Yong is vulnerable to corrupt enchantments from the under-world. How can she do nothing when she has the skill and power to fight at his side? A dream has told her where he is, the name of the ship he is traveling on, his destination. So she steals off and stows away on board.

The ocean voyage brings with it brutal danger, haunting revelations, and new friendships, but also the premonition of a very real and terrifying threat. Zhong Ye—the powerful sorcerer whom Ai Ling believed she had vanquished in the Palace of Fragrant Dreams—is trapped in Hell, neither alive nor dead. Can he reach from beyond the grave to reunite with Silver Phoenix and destroy Chen Yong? And destroy whatever chance Ai Ling has at happiness, at love?
First Sentence:
Chen Yong was already on board the ship.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms, 4) by Cinda Williams Chima, October 23, 2012. Published by Hyperion Book CH.
A thousand years ago, two young lovers were betrayed- Alger Waterlow to his death, and Hanalea, Queen of the Fells, to a life without love.

Now, once again, the Queendom of the Fells seems likely to shatter apart. For young queen Raisa ana?Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells? inner turmoil, Raisa?s best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she's falling in love.

Through a complicated web of lies and unholy alliances, former streetlord Han Alister has become a member of the Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-throat world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizards alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it?

A simple, devastating truth concealed by a thousand-year-old lie at last comes to light in this stunning conclusion to the Seven Realms series.
Why: I am ashamed to say that I still do not own nor have I read the final installment in Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series. The sad thing is that I absolutely adore this series, but I haven't had the time or money to get a hardback to match what I own of the series. Even if I have to borrow it from the library, I will fins out how things play out before summer roles around.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, January 20, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: The Serpent's Ring


The Serpent's Ring (Relics of Mysticus, 1) by H.B. Bolton, July 22, 2012. 232 pages. Source: author
Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum ... thaGiant waves t is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.

Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous fish and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.
First Sentence:
Giant waves approached-closer, closer. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

All About Middle Grade Interview: Justin Swapp (Author of The Magic Shop)

Welcome back to the second week of the second year of All About Middle Grade's Interview series. This week, I would like to welcome Justin Swapp, author of The Magic Shop, to the blog to discuss his book. Hope y'all will give him a warm welcome.

About the Author:
Justin was born with an active imagination on a U.S. naval base in Spain, but has spent most of his life in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains of Utah. He is bilingual, and has lived all over the world. He has four children; two boys, and two girls, and one wife. He doesn't have any pets that he's aware of, but his children have been known to hide things under his bed.

In his free time Justin loves to read, write, and play games. He enjoys his close friends, and loves to make people laugh. To learn more about Justin, or his work, you can visit him at www.justinswapp.com

You can haunt Justin Swapp at-
Goodreads | Website | Twitter |


Interview


1. In Seven words, tell readers why the should be reading about Marcus' adventure in The Magic Shop?

** How about I give you a couple seven word snippets (ha!)?

#1 Someone read it in a single day

#2 It made a colleague late for work

2. What is the most difficult thing that Marcus will face down as he tried to develop his powers?

** The Crypt Keeper, or the keeper of the dead for the magical world. She will challenge Marcus to see himself as he truly is. Sometimes that is the hardest thing for any of us to do - stare in the mirror and understand what we're looking at.

3. Since there are many different magic types in fiction books, could you tell us what kind of magic power is used in your book, The Magic Shop

** There is magic that is lust at its core, and magic that is love. That may sound strange, but the two factions of magic users  really come down to that. There is a faction called the Dun-Bhar, which believe that magic should be taken and assimilated at all costs until there is one left standing with all the magic, and another faction, the Shar-Din, who believe that magic should be gained by more natural means. 

Magic is represented as colorful wisps with tendril movement. The colors indicate the kind of magic it is, and some of the things it can do. The magic can only be contained in a material called Uribrim, which can be shaped into various forms; a sword, for example.

4. Alright, time for one of the most dreaded questions. Who are two of your favorite author influences and what is about their writing that you enjoy?

** That's not too tough I guess. I would say, Anthony Horowitz and Stephen King. Both writers are both very clean and purposeful in the delivery of their prose. Also, there is an element of palpability to their writing. There's a little bit of darkness/creepiness there too. These are qualities that either I aspire to, or perhaps come out in my writing.

5. Last book you read that stayed on your mind long after you finished the last page? What about it left such a lasting impression on you?

** Now that's a tough one. Probably Raven's Gate (Book 1) by Anthony Horowitz. Again, there is just such a presence to his writing. You can feel it. I like authors that make me feel at the sentence level.

6. Justin, I hear that you're bilingual, so, what other language(s) do you speak?

** I speak Spanish. I served a mission for my church when I was younger, and lived in Spain for a few years (I was actually born there too). While I was there I learned that the hospital I was born in had been converted to a library. Fitting, huh? :)

7. Most interesting place you have lived? Somewhere you've never been that you'd like to take an extended visit to? Why?

** Spain is probably the most interesting place I've lived, though I've lived in or visited many places outside the USA. There is so much history in Spain. Castles and bullfighting arenas dot the map, as well as many other kinds of Moorish architecture. In Granada, Spain, they have the Alhambra, an old Moorish castle with the most intricate wood working I've ever seen. They also have wicked stories too. I've gotten great story ideas from some of the places I've been.

For example, I wrote a novella (that you can get on Amazon) called Mayan Blood. It was based on some experiences my wife and I had when we went to Cancun to visit the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá. I captured some of their traditions and myths in a fun little adventure. 

I probably would have liked to have gone to Jerusalem before the state of the nation had become what it has. I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights (Alaska) or visit the glowworm caves (New Zealand). 

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

** If we need a hero to stay alive in order to save us, I'd have to go with Gandalf. He just won't die. Balrog couldn't kill him, and, while Sauron gave him a good go, he came out on top again. Since we're talking about robots, we've got to get Gandalf something faster than a horse though. If he's going to ride off at at the most critical moments of a story to go do research on something, we need to make sure he comes back faster so he can be useful in a fight. So, yeah, Gandalf with a flying motorbike or something. Oh, wait, that's Hagrid. 

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

** My study is my favorite room in the house. Its the only room in the house with dark wood (like I like), and the ambiance is peaceful. I've got my guitars in there for when I need soothing (usually late at night). Also, I have a comfortable writing chair that I try to stay awake in while I am writing. 

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?  

** I've got a couple of projects that I'm working on right now. One is a compilation of my short stories that I'll call "Twisted Tales," or something like that. It will have a bit of a creepy angle to the themes. I'm also working on the sequel to "The Magic Shop," which I am tentatively planning on calling "The Shadow Lands."

Justin, thank so much for stopping by. Raven's Gate, now that is a book I wouldn't mind revisiting one day when I get the chance. I am supremely jealous of all the places you've been and the history of the places you mentioned. 



 The Magic Shop by Justin Swapp, July 4, 2013. 

Marcus is a troubled youth. When his grandparents decide it would be good for him to tend the family business, a Magic Shop, Marcus is thrown into a world that he never knew existed. Not only is the family business a front, but Marcus learns that he has been marked as a dead man from the time he was born. 
Marcus tries to develop his powers before the Dun-Bahr find him and assimilate the magic he was born with. Will he survive? Will he find his parents? First he must discover the secret his grandparents have been keeping from him all these years. It all comes down to what's hidden at the Magic Shop.
You can add Justin Swapp's The Magic Shop to your Goodreads shelf.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Life of a Blogger: The Craziest Thing You've Ever Done

I am sad that I missed last weeks "Life of a Blogger", so, I am bound and determined to get this week's question answered.

"Life of a Blogger" is hosted by Jessi of Novel Heartbeat. Be sure to check out this week's question and join in this fun feature.

 This week's question:
The Craziest Thing You've Ever Done?

 Okay, so I don't have any photographic proof, but the craziest thing I have done is tent camping for 17 straight days. You heard me right. Summer of 2012, we had moved out of our house but still had some things to finish up in town before hitting the road to head to Texas. Well, the weather was nice and we had all this camping gear that we hadn't used in a couple years, so, we spent the next couple weeks camping.

While it may not have been camping out in the woods with no facilities, it had it's crazy moments. Like when we went up to Virginia (still camping in the heat and humidity) and ended up spending the night in the car because the storms were so bad. That was after a couple hours spent huddled in the brick bath house because of the tornado warnings that were just miles away.

So maybe not crazy, but that many days of camping in extreme heat in tents is something I will not be forgetting any time soon. Even though it was uncomfortable at times, it was quite fun because we trekked to Busch Gardens, which was such a blast, especially all the thrill rides; drove up to D.C. for the day to visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the basilica was...there really are no words to describe my feelings upon being there. It was just so peaceful, and all the shrines were unforgettable.

Only other "crazy" thing I can think of was the time we visited three amusement parks in three days. A few years ago, while living in California, we visited Six Flag's, Disneyland, and Disney's California Adventure. everyone was exhausted when we finally arrived back home. Pretty sure I rode every big coaster each of the parks had to offer (I'm a thrill ride junkie).

So, what is "The Craziest Thing You've Done?"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Year, New Look

Earlier in the week, I looked at the blog and decided it was high time that I overhauled the design here at The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia. While I still really enjoyed the previous header and appearance of the blog, but after 3+ years, I was ready to see something new.

It does feel a little weird to change everything. Especially since I have had that awesome header since late 2010, but life is all about changing and being able to move forward. Which leads me to my next train of thought.
I really hope y'all will enjoy the new look here on the blog. 1. Because I was so nervous about unveiling 2. Because it is the first time I have created/shared something I have personally made.
While I still have a couple more design changes to make, I couldn't resist sharing the biggest portion of it now.

With the new year just getting going, not only is there going to be a change in appearance, there will be some changes into how I blog. I want y'all to get to know the girl behind the blog a little better (mainly because October will be my blog's sixth birthday). There's also going to be more Vintage Reads reviews and fewer blog tour posts.

I'm going to try and sprinkle the blog with some posts about me, minus books. I've even got a snazzy name for the feature, but I'm gonna keep mum on that till the first post. So, if there's something you've been dying to know about your's truly, just visit the Question page and let me know. Otherwise, I'll hit you with some random nerdiness. 

Wish List Wednesday

East by Edith Pattou, May 1, 2005. Published by Graphia. 
Rose has always been different.

Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose's birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home... but she can't suppress Rose's true nature forever.

So when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it-- in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family-- she readily agrees.

Rose travels on the bear's broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart-- and finds her purpose-- and realizes her journey has only just begun.
Why: East is one book that I have read a couple times before, yet still don't own a copy of my own. 
In my upcoming review, I'll try to explain why I find east to be such an incredible read. Know this, it is just so magical and thrilling. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, January 13, 2014

ARC Review: The Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue

The Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman, January 14, 2014. 176 pages. Published by Henry Holt. Source: Publisher.
On the night of February 18, 1952, during one of the worst winter storms that New England has ever seen, two oil tankers just off the shore of Cape Cod were torn in half by the force of the storm. This middle-grade adaptation of an adult nonfiction book tells the story of a harrowing Coast Guard rescue when four men in a tiny lifeboat overcame insurmountable odds and saved more than 30 stranded sailors. This is a fast-paced, uplifting story that puts young readers in the middle of the action. It’s a gripping story of heroism and survival with the same intensity as the bestselling book and movie The Perfect Storm. 
First Sentence:
Boatswain's mate first class Bernie Webber held a hot mug of coffee in his large hands as he stared out the foggy window of the mess hall.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

All About Middle Grade Interview: Louise Galveston (Author of By the Grace of Todd)


For the first All About Middle Grade Interview of 2014, I am very excited to welcome Louise Galveston, author of By the Grace of Todd, to the blog. I hope y'all will give her a very warm welcome.

About the Author:
Louise grew up on horseback in the Midwest. The only thing that could pull her out of the saddle was a great book or a game of Star Wars. The lone girl in her neighborhood, she always got to play Princess Leia, thus her mad lightsaber skills. (Yes, she had the cinnamon roll side-bun hair.) Louise even cleaned her room on occasion, but never found anything but a rogue hamster under her bed.

You can haunt Louise Galveston at-
Website | Blog | Twitter |

Interview
1. By the Grace of Todd sounds like quite the fun read. Since you created Todd, what are the first three words that come to mind when trying to describe him?

Messy, Insecure, Compassionate (Hmm, he sounds a little like myself. :))

 So, what to the Toddlians look like???

The Toddlians spawned from the grunge on Todd's not-so-lucky baseball sock, therefore they look exactly like ant-sized versions of himself--even the females!

2. Other than his, accidental, creation of the Toddlians, what else is in store for Todd in your book?

Todd's big dream is to attain coolness and avoid the swirly lords of sixth-grade as he enters middle school. When Max, (a massive behemoth of a sixth-grader who Todd thinks is "Mr. Cool" himself) befriends Todd, he just knows his dream is coming true. But then Max discovers the Toddlians, and things get pretty hairy (and scary). The Toddlians narrate some of the chapters, so readers get to journey with them as they travel from the safety of underneath Todd's bed into the wild world of middle school. We follow each of the three main Toddlians, (Lewis, Herman, and Persephone) on their adventures as well.

3. Louise, how'd you come up with the basis of the story-line for By the Grace of Todd

I was actually approached by my editor who asked me if I was interested in writing a story about a boy who found a civilization on his filthy sock. I have five sons, which makes me something of an authority on stinky socks; how could I resist? It was easy to get Todd into all kinds of trouble once I started writing because I related to his awkwardness, and I pulled from my own experience to develop the other characters. For example, Persephone, the Toddlian, sees a John Wayne film and becomes a self-styled cowgirl. My dad is a huge John Wayne fan and I've even written a Western musical. Daisy, Todd's evil genius baby sister, is remarkably like my own little girl.. (except my daughter doesn't sabotage her brothers' rooms, to my knowledge.) And then there's Princess VanderPuff, Todd's mom's demented poodle--I had a few of those growing up, too.

4. As the release date nears, how are you feeling about launching By the Grace of Todd into the wide world of reading? Nervous, excited or both?

Oh, both! But every day I'm getting less nervous and more excited. I had so much fun writing the book and developing the characters…I can't wait to share them!

5. Time for a little fill-in-the-blank fun: "When I was twelve, I wanted to be ____?" Now what was that twelve-year old you's dream job?

A veterinarian. Or a pet shop owner. I was an animal fanatic and raised just about any little critter you can name (including hermit crabs--although I took better care of mine than Todd does of his--poor Leonardo da Pinchy!) Of course, I was horse-obsessed, too, so I'd have settled for a few hundred acres of Kentucky bluegrass for my world-class stables!

6. Since we're at the beginning of a new year, can you tell us your favorite MG read from 2013 and why you liked it?

Great gassy goblins! I'm going to have to go with Vordak the Incomprensible Time Travel Trouble. Scott Seegert is a comic genius, and his books crack me up with all their caustic corniness. (As the founder of Alliteration Addicts Anonymous, I appreciate his skills in that department as well.)

7. So, what is your current favorite animal and why it's special to you?

We have a Nanday Conure parrot named BB. He was my late mother-in-law's baby, and he sounds just like her when he talks! 

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

Pippi Longstocking would make short work of those robots, I'm thinking. I loved Pippi so much that I used to try and sleep under my covers with my feet on the pillow, the way she did. I say "tried," because I guess I'm a little claustrophobic. That girl can do anything!

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

I have my "office" in a corner of our living room. This old roll-top belonged to my grandmother and I love all the little cubbies because I am unfortunately more of a crammer than a filer. It's deceptively tidy right now because I went on a cleaning spree over the holidays. I have a "sunshine" lamp because I do most of writing at night when the kids are in bed. 

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?  

I've just finished my first round of edits on the sequel to BY THE GRACE OF TODD. Todd gets his first crush, joins the swim team, and has to rescue the Toddlians (multiple times), because like a recurring nightmare, Max just won't go away. In fact, he practically moves in. There are lots more Toddlian-narrated chapters in this book, which is super fun! I'm also working on a funny sci-fi chapter book series but it's still under wraps right now.

Thanks so much for having me, Orchid!

Louise, thank you so much for stopping by and talking about your debut, By the Grace of Todd, and books with us today. Love the idea of your book and cannot wait till it hits shelves.

By the Grace of Todd by Louise Galveston, February 27, 2014. Published by Razorbill.
Perfect for fans of Andrew Clements and The Borrowers, By the Grace of Todd is the laugh-out-loud answer to what happens if you leave dirty laundry on the floor . . . and don’t follow your mother’s instructions to clean your room.
Twelve-year-old Todd has created life through sheer grossness.How did he become an accidental god? 
Ingredient A: A worn athletic sockIngredient B: Dirt from the Great and Powerful Todd himselfInstructions: Leave under bed for months. Do not clean room.
Yields: 50 ant-sized Toddlians
BUT WATCH OUT! When school bully Max Loving puts the future of the tiny Toddlians in jeopardy, Todd will have to do everything in his power to save the race his very negligence created.
Don't forget, you can add Louise Galveston's debut By the Grace of Todd to your Goodreads shelf.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Walking with Mary: A Biblical Journey from Nazareth to the Cross

Walking with Mary: A Biblical Journey from Nazareth to the Cross: A Biblical Journey from Nazareth to the Cross by Edward Sri, September 10, 2013. 176 pages. Published by Image books. Source: Blogging for Books.
Mary appears only a few times in the Bible, but those few passages come at crucial moments. Catholics believe that Mary is the ever-virgin Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven and Earth. But she also was a human being--a woman who made a journey of faith through various trials and uncertainties and endured her share of suffering. Even with her unique graces and vocation, Mary remains a woman we can relate to and from whom we have much to learn.

In Walking with Mary, Edward Sri looks at the crucial passages in the Bible concerning Mary and offers insight about the Blessed Mother's faith and devotion that we can apply in our daily lives. We follow her step-by-step through the New Testament account of her life, reflecting on what the Scriptures tell us about how she responded to the dramatic events unfolding around her.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

The Murder Complex (Murder Complex, 1) by  Lindsay Cummings, June 10, 2014. Published by Greenwillow Books.
Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.
Why: I have been eagerly awaiting Lindsay Cummings' The Murder Complex for what seems like ages. I am just so excited for the release of this one that it is hard to believe that there's still six months to wait... *stares at calendar* 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, January 6, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: The Path of Names


The Path of Names by Ari B. Goelman, April 30, 2013. 352 pages. Published by Arthur A. Levine Books. Source: publisher.
Dahlia Sherman loves magic, and Math Club, and Guitar Hero. She isn't so fond of nature walks, and Hebrew campfire songs, and mean girls her own age.

All of which makes a week at Jewish summer camp pretty much the worst idea ever.

But within minutes of arriving at camp, Dahlia realizes that it might not be as bad as she'd feared. First she sees two little girls walk right through the walls of her cabin. Then come the dreams -- frighteningly detailed visions of a young man being pursued through 1930s New York City. How are the dreams and the girls related? Why is Dahlia the only one who can see any of them? And what's up with the overgrown, strangely shaped hedge maze that none of the campers are allowed to touch? Dahlia's increasingly dangerous quest for answers will lead her right to the center of the maze -- but it will take all her courage, smarts, and sleight-of-hand skills to get her back out again. 
First Sentence:
Dahlia stared out the car window and thought of Harry Houdini.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

All About Middle Grade 2014


That's right, All About Middle Grade is back for it's second year. I had such a great time hearing about and talking to all the amazing middle grade authors last year that I couldn't see not doing it again this year. I'll be updating and tweaking things over the next few days while I recover from this cold, but fear not, if I missed your request for an interview last year you'll be getting the "all important" email with questions over the next could days weeks.

I really hope that this year can be just as well, strike that, even better than last year. I am looking forward to sharing my love of middle grade books and the amazing authors behind them throughout the year. Now that I'm settled with high odds of no moving in the future, I am ready to get this middle grade shindig going. *cues party music and bad dancing*

Authors and publishers, if you have any questions about the AAMGC or have a title you would like reviewed, please, feel free to email me at: hauntingorchid(at)aol(dot)com.  This is open to all traditional and self-published middle grade authors/books. Only MG books I cannot accept for review are ebooks, but feel free to sign up for an interview regardless.

For the details from last year, visit the All About Middle Grade page.  

Want to catch up on some of last year's middle grade interviews and reviews. *bam*

Friday, January 3, 2014

Life of a Blogger: Non-Bookish Hobbies

So, today I've been seeing all these posts for "Life of a Blogger" and wanted to know if everyone just had the same thought or what. After tracing it back to the source, Novel Heartbeat, and seeing the interesting questions, I've decided to jump in. Here's what I'm doing when not blogging.

Forgive the crummy pictures, I'm still getting over a cold and the lighting is not too good.

Life of a Blogger, is a meme hosted by Jessi of Novel Heartbeat.
This week's question is: Non-Bookish Hobbies. 
 Running:
Running is my number one go to when I'm not reading or blogging. Alas, I only get to run when I'm not knocked out from seasonal allergies, which unfortunately is most of the time. There's really nothing better then hitting the road to clear out the cobwebs. It also works wonders for de-stressing.

Gaming:

Since gaming systems are so expensive, I'm still gaming on a first gen Nintendo DS (you know the bulky silver thing). Sorry for the crummy picture, these are just some of my most-played games- Ace Attorney, Castlevania, Trace Memory, Rise of the Imperfects, and Dementium the Ward.

I ended up adopting my Dad's Xbox when he quit needing it after his final tour of duty on a Cutter (he really preferred ship duty to being stuck in the office). Couple of my favorites mixed with some that I'm almost done with.

Sadly, I don't get to game as much as I'd like. Not just because I don't have the time, but because the DS and Xbox have seen a lot of wear over the years.

Sewing:
Bet y'all didn't see that one coming. I've actually only vaguely started sewing a year ago, but it's something that I have greatly enjoyed. Odd things is that sewing is the only creative medium that I have had any luck with. Drawing, painting, knitting and such things do not agree with me.

I don't have a picture for this last one, but Archery is the final hobby that I do. Personally, I am all about the recurve bow. Archery is both relaxing and exhilarating; also so easy to get started on.
Almost forgot one...nerding out with sisters and crazy idea/discussions about Doctor Who and the timey whimey things.

Know you know some of the things I enjoy when not reading. Tell me, what non-bookish hobbies keep you entertained?
Are you a middle grade author, want your book to be spotlighted this year during the challenge on my blog? Than this post is just for you. All about Middle Grade Challenge

Sign up for the 2014 All about Middle Grade Reading Challenge.

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