Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Stone in the Sky

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, March 30, 2015

YA Review: Stone in the Sky

Stone in the Sky (Tin Star, 2) by Cecil Castellucci, February 24, 2015. 320 pages. Published by Roaring Brook Press. Source: publisher.
After escaping death a second time, Tula Bane is now even thirstier for revenge. She spends much of her time in the Tin Star Café on the Yertina Feray—the space station she calls home. But when it's discovered that the desolate and abandoned planet near the station has high quantities of a precious resource, the once sleepy space station becomes a major player in intergalactic politics. In the spirit of the Gold Rush, aliens from all over the galaxy race to cash in—including Tula's worst enemy.
First Sentence:
No one is safe when the warning sirens on a space station blare.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wish List Wednesday: A Curious Tale of the In-Between

A Curious Tale of the In-Between (Pram, 1) by Lauren DeStefano, September 1, 2015. Published by Bloomsbury Children's USA.
Pram Bellamy is special—she can talk to ghosts. She doesn’t have too many friends amongst the living, but that’s all right. She has her books, she has her aunts, and she has her best friend, the ghostly Felix.

Then Pram meets Clarence, a boy from school who has also lost a parent and is looking for answers. Together they arrive at the door of the mysterious Lady Savant, who promises to help. But this spiritualist knows the true nature of Pram’s power, and what she has planned is more terrifying than any ghost.
Why: Okay, I have actually never read one of Lauren DeStefano's books, but, this one calls to me! I'm quite curious to see what will happen in her middle grade debut since  A Curious Tale of the In-Between sounds so, so interesting. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Seeker

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, March 23, 2015

DNF YA Review: Seeker



Seeker (Seeker, 1) by Arwen Elys Dayton, February 10, 2015. 448 pages. Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers. Source: Library.
Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.

Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin's new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her.
First Sentence:
It would be nice to make it through alive, Quin thought. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula

Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula by Andi Watson, February 24, 2015. 176 pages. Published by First Second. Source: publisher.
Princess Decomposia is overworked and under-appreciated.

This princess of the underworld has plenty of her own work to do but always seems to find herself doing her layabout father's job, as well. The king doesn't feel quite well, you see. Ever. So the princess is left scurrying through the halls, dodging her mummy, werewolf, and ghost subjects, always running behind and always buried under a ton of paperwork. Oh, and her father just fired the chef, so now she has to hire a new cook as well.

Luckily for Princess Decomposia, she makes a good hire in Count Spatula, the vampire chef with a sweet tooth. He's a charming go-getter of a blood-sucker, and pretty soon the two young ghouls become friends. And then...more than friends? Maybe eventually, but first Princess Decomposia has to sort out her life. And with Count Spatula at her side, you can be sure she'll succeed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey

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, March 16, 2015

A Vintage Reads YA Review: Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey


Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey by Ann Rinaldi, January 18, 2005. 192 pages. Published by HarperTeen. Source: bought/own.
I had freckles.
I had sandy hair. I was too short.
Would my feet even touch the ground if I sat on the throne?

These are the words of lady Jane Grey, as imagined by celebrated author Ann Rinaldi. Jane would become Queen of England for only nine days before being beheaded at the age of sixteen.

Here is a breathtaking story of English royalty with its pageantry, privilege, and surprising cruelty. As she did in her previous novel Mutiny's Daughter, Ms. Rinaldi uses powerful, evocative writing to bring to life a teenage girl caught in the grip of stirring times.
First Sentence:
I don't know what they are going to tell you about me.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Catholic Review: The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition

The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina, March 5, 2013 (originally published February 1, 2011). 224 pages. Published by Image. Source: publisher.
An insightful and practical exploration of Catholicism’s most sacred tradition.
The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition is an engaging and authoritative guide to Catholicism’s most distinctive practice. And now, with the Church introducing revised language for the Mass, Catholics have a perfect opportunity to renew their understanding of this beautiful and beloved celebration.

With eloquent prose and elegant black-and-white photography, bestselling authors Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina guide readers through the different parts of the Mass, from the entrance procession to the blessing and dismissal, capturing the deep meaning of elements that are at once ordinary and mysterious: bread and wine, water and candles, altar cloths and ceremonial books.

Step by step, they explain the specifics, such as the order of the Mass, the vessels used, the unique clothing worn, the prayers and responses, the postures and the gestures. Then they explore the rich historical, spiritual and theological background to each. Prayerful but practical, fact-filled but readable, The Mass prepares readers to participate more fully and appreciatively in the sacred rite at the heart of Catholic life.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

{blog tour + Giveaway} What's Your Winner's Curse?


To celebrate the release of Marie Rutkoski's The Winner's Crime, sequel to The Winner's Curse, for the blog tour we were asked to answer the following question:
The ‘Winner’s Curse’ is an economics term that means you've gotten what you wanted – but at too high a price.  What would you pay too much for?

My Winner's Curse:

After much thought and deliberation, I have decided to take a lighter route with the question. While there are people (my parents, sisters and those I care about) that I would do anything for, I want to go a different direction with this post because I tend to be entirely too serious most of the time.

*note: this post has undergone three rewrites  and two revisions*

First off, this is a true story.......

Once upon a time there was a movie locked deep within the Disney vault. One that I love dearly that was starting to seem like it would be locked away forever. At least not for quite some time. This is where we find me, unhappily in a new state and disgusted by the cold.

Picture it, one day you see a DVD of it in what you thought was a comic book shop, they totally didn't deserve that title, and you have this great need for it. You begin to believe that it was destiny, it, surely must be destiny that has brought you to this store to find said favorite movie...until... you look at the cost. You know you should walkaway from the price, but it's your favorite movie in the entirely world and it calls to you with this siren call that you cannot resist.



Long, long story short. I ended up buying the really expensive dvd of my favorite movie. Was it worth it, yes! Do I regret spending that much (no, I'm not saying how much) on a single DVD...yes and no. I'm glad to have it, but that price was highway robbery.

As I've written this post many times, and changed topics even more times, since I first sat down to write this post. I think I'll end it here. The movie I had to have was 101 Dalmatians.



About the Author:
Marie Rutkoski is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Winner’s Curse (March 2014). She grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois as the oldest of four children and decided early on that she was Someone Who Loved Books.

After attending the University of Iowa and living in Moscow and Prague, she studied Shakespeare at Harvard University, where she honed her skill in referring to herself in the third person.

You can haunt Marie Rutkoski at-
Website | Goodreads | Twitter |

The Winner's Curse (Winner's, 1) by Marie Rutkoski, March 4, 2014. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR).
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction.

Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart. 
The Winner's Crime (Winner's, 2) by Marie Rutkoski, March 3, 2015. Published by Farrar Straus Giroux.
Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

GIVEAWAY:
US only.
One winner will receive, courtesy of Macmillan Books, a copy of either The Winner's Curse or The Winner's Crime.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Dream Thieves

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, March 9, 2015

A Vintage Reads YA Review: The Dream Thieves



The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle, 2) by Maggie Stiefvater, September 17, 2013. 437 pages. Published by Scholastic. Source: borrowed from library.
Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

First Sentence:
A secret is a strange thing.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Review: The Turnip Princess

The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales by Franz Xaver von Schonwerth, February 24, 2015. 288 pages. Published by Penguin Classics. Source: publisher.
A rare discovery in the world of fairy tales - now for the first time in English. With this volume, the holy trinity of fairy tales - the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Andersen - becomes a quartet.

In the 1850s, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth traversed the forests, lowlands, and mountains of northern Bavaria to record fairy tales, gaining the admiration of even the Brothers Grimm. Most of Schönwerth's work was lost - until a few years ago, when thirty boxes of manu­scripts were uncovered in a German municipal archive. Now, for the first time, Schönwerth's lost fairy tales are available in English. Violent, dark, and full of action, and upending the relationship between damsels in distress and their dragon-slaying heroes, these more than seventy stories bring us closer than ever to the unadorned oral tradition in which fairy tales are rooted, revolutionizing our understanding of a hallowed genre.
First Sentence:
One day a prince lost his way in the woods.

Friday, March 6, 2015

This Book is SO (2): Anger Inducing (LIES, IT'S ALL LIES)



You know sometimes you're in the middle of a book and are just about to explode with feelings, be they good or bad, and you just want get them out there and no one is willing to listen. Well, that's what "This Book is So" is for; tell us how your current read is making you feel. Are you head over heels in love with, feeling kind of 'meh' about it, or maybe it's making you feel rage-y.

Rules:
None...other than to have fun. You can either keep the title a secret or not, it's totally up to you. If you join in, please, link back to this post and leave a comment so I can check out your post. =)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

All About Middle Grade Review & Giveaway: Countdown Zero [Blog Tour]


AHHHH!!!!! I am so excited to be talking about Chris Rylander's newest release Countdown Zero, the second Codename Conspiracy book, today.

Countdown Zero (The Codename Conspiracy, 2) by Chris Rylander, February 3, 2015. 368 pages. Published by Walden Pond Press. Source: publisher.
From Chris Rylander, author of the breakout hit Fourth Stall saga, comes the second book in the Codename Conspiracy series, an incredibly funny and clever mash-up of middle grade school story and spy adventure.

Ever since Carson Fender was let go by the secret agency that had enlisted his services to help foil a nefarious plot perpetrated by one of their former agents, he's been back to hanging with his friends, pulling pranks, and not having to lie to everyone about how he's spending his days. And that's for the best, isn't it?

Of course, this was all before a note showed up in his school lunch, informing him that Agent Nineteen had three days left to live, and that there might still be someone inside the Agency working against them. Carson has always been able to rely on his friends--but what happens when there's no one left to trust?
First Sentence:
The darkness concealed me, even amid the bright white snow that drifted down from the night sky.



While I had held out hope my library would get Codename Zero in time for me to read it prior to reading Countdown Zero, that was not to be. Yet, even though I had not read the first book, I was able to easily jump into the setting and story of book two without really missing a beat (though you can count on it that I'll be getting to book one one day).

Since I really enjoyed Chris Rylander's previous series The Fourth Stall, it is no stretch of the imagination to guess how excited I was at the chance to read something new by him. You know what, Countdown Zero did not disappoint in the least! Yes, Chris Rylander's writing and storytelling were top notch in his latest and helping me to get over a few bad books.

Okay, while the first few chapters had me hungering to know what went down in book one and how exactly Carson came to work for the Agency. I quickly became so wrapped up in the story and Carson's inability to reclaim the thrill of the prank and how hard it was for him to keep his former spy activities secret from his two best friends. Man, Chris Rylander did a wonderful job capturing the restless feelings of Carson during this portion of the book, which, also made it nearly impossible for me to walk away. Something about the combination of restlessness and need for something more that plagued Carson made him a character that just jumped off the pages. Why, because I believe that things, albeit (usually) less adventurous, like Carson experienced and how it changes them is something that all readers, young or old, experience and of which they can relate to when reading Countdown Zero.

Even though I could probably talk about early book Carson for the entire review, I better move on.

While I really enjoyed the thrilling adventures that Carson embarked upon, or should I say found himself embroiled in, it was the his character development that really struck me. I thought the author did a great job of bringing him from a bored kid feeling unfulfilled with going back to his normal life to fully taking into account what he was signing up for. Yeah, just right there is why I loved reading about Carson and his story. For me, it was more than the whole secret agent thing, even though that made the book pretty awesome, because it showed there was more to him than prank pulling.
   Even though I really enjoyed the character development, that would have been a moot point in the writing had been as good as it was and able to carry the story forward. So, I am happy to report that Chris Rylander's writing does not disappoint. He just has this great way of capturing the characters and conveying what's going through their heads, as well, as creating truly interesting story-lines.

Hmm, I'm pretty sure this review can be summed up in three words: JUST READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!! Really those three words say it all. You really don't want to miss out on the action and adventure. Also, one of Carson's friends is totally awesome and brave...and they make one incredible team. Carson and said friend are one of the reasons I'm hoping there'll be a third one (need more of them)!!!!!!!!!

Final Verdict: Countdown Zero- Middle school-er secret agent, action and adventure, Chris Rylander's latest has much to offer to those looking for an exciting read with great characters. One cannot go wrong with Countdown Zero.

Countdown Zero earns



About the Author:
Chris Rylander is the author of the Fourth Stall Saga and the Codename Conspiracy series.  A fan of brown shipping boxes turned on their sides, dance-offs to win a girl's heart, and rice, he lives in Chicago.  You can visit him online at www.chrisrylander.com.

You can haunt Chris Rylander at-
Twitter | Goodreads | Website




You can keep up to date with Walden Pond Press by following them any number of ways (trust me, you want to keep on eye on the great things they do).

Pinterest | Twitter | Blog | Facebook |

Tomorrow, be sure to check out Aeicha's post at Word Spelunking for the Countdown Zero blog tour!

GIVEAWAY: One signed copy of Countdown Zero courtesy of Walden Pond Press.
US ONLY

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Shipwreck Island

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, March 2, 2015

All About Middle Grade Review: Shipwreck Island


Shipwreck Island (Shipwreck Island, 1) by S.A. Bodeen, July 29, 2014. 192 pages. Published by Feiwel & Friends. Source: publisher.
Sarah Robinson is deeply troubled in the wake of her dad’s second marriage. She now has to deal with a new stepmom and two stepbrothers, Marco, who is her age, and Nacho, who’s younger. Even though they’ve all moved from Texas to California to start life as a new, blended family, none of the kids seem remotely happy about it.

Sarah’s dad and stepmom then decide to take the whole family on a special vacation in order to break the ice and have everyone get to know one another. They’ll fly to Tahiti, charter a boat, and go sailing for a few days. It’ll be an adventure, right?

Wrong. Dead wrong.  
First Sentence:
Sarah Robinson had been ordered to pack a suitcase and, to the best of her ability, she was going to use that task to express her displeasure at the mess her life had become.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Catholic Review: Lent and Easter with the Holy Fathers

Lent and Easter with the Holy Fathers compiled by Peter Celano, February 1, 2010, 164 pages. Published by Paraclete Press. Source: publisher.
Spend this Lent and Easter in the Good Company of Popes Past and Present 
   As Pope Clement XIII said in a 1759 encyclical, Easter is the celebration “by which alone the dignity of all other religious occasions is consecrated.” The Church would not exist if it were not for what happened on that first Easter Sunday. Also, the events of this season are all connected: There would have been no Easter Sunday without Good Friday; Good Friday is best understood in the context of Palm Sunday; and the forty days of Lent are modeled after the temptations of Christ in the desert.

This is the story of the passion of our Lord. Our faith revolves around that passion, His death, and His resurrection. Without the events of this season, our faith wouldn’t make any sense at all. There is no better time to listen to the words of the Holy Fathers, then now.

  Praise for Christmas with the Holy Fathers   This is a marvelous book to give anyone who has a real sense of the Church and of the significance of the teachings of the bishops of Rome. I highly recommend it.” —Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel
First Sentence:
This day has two popular names: Shrove Tuesday and Fat Tuesday.
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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