Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wish List Wednesday: Mechanica

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell, August 25, 2015. Published by Clarion Books.
Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.
Why: Blame Cinder for my need for yet another Cinderella retelling. This one sounds interesting; never really considered that a steam-punk retelling of Cinderella might be interesting. If my library doesn't have it I'll be suggesting it for a future purchase. 

Season's Readings: Winter

Summer shines, Spring blossoms, Winter glistens and Autumn crunches. Seasons affect our lives constantly. As part of Nori’s Book Blogger Creativity Project #BBCreativityProject, the Hot Pink Team are celebrating and honouring the seasons with some special book posts over the next month.
We have all worked really hard and hope you enjoy what we have created.

I see the time has finally arrived for me to talk about the season of winter. For me, winter is more of the time of year where I would prefer to hibernate until warmer weather returns, so, it has taken me some time to even put together something that works for me on the topic of winter. With that in mind, I decided to go with the one series that I cannot go without reading every December because my winter would not be complete without journeying into the book's world and following the characters through all the perilous adventures that they face. As well as the fact that I will take any and every chance to bend an ear when it comes to this series of my heart.

So, what is the one series that I cannot face winter without reading, well, my dear readers that would have to be The Chronicles of Narnia. Even though I always feel bereft at the end when it comes to saying goodbye to the world and characters (and have been know to wonder the house muttering "Narnia"), I cannot keep myself away from this series. I love it in a way that is, to my sisters at least, unfathomable. It makes me laugh. It makes me tear up. Hey, it even makes it nearly impossible to contemplate starting another title because of the infamous book hangover that befalls me (EVERY SINGLE TIME)!!

There is not a single time that I have walked away from a re-read of The Chronicles of Narnia without coming away with a new perspective on it. Each time I enter the world of Narnia there's something buried within the text that is waiting to be discovered. And the character development and how they, okay, mainly Edmund, changes throughout the book, now that is something that always hits me hard. I just love seeing him change and how he has to learn to forgive himself for the things he did and to move forward. I'm terribly sorry, okay not really, but y'all are going to get all my Narnia feels in this post. I could talk to you from here to next year about the great things hidden within this book. From theology and the overall magic that is C.S. Lewis's wonderful, wonderful book.

If you ask, I will be more than willing to talk more about this book and the underlying story. All you need to do is ask; or, if there's a question you have about the series (or maybe something that you didn't understand about how it ended), I'm always up for clearing things up.

Seriously though, there is nothing better than getting lost in The Chronicles of Narnia, especially the books that have the Pevensies', while being snuggled up in a blanket with a hot cup 'o tea to make winter feel a little bit distant...well, once you get past the White Queen's icy reign of terror that is. Since you have so bravely endured my feel-sy post on one of my absolute favorite series-EVER- I'm going to share with you some books I'm excited to tackle during the upcoming winter.
and of course................

So, tell me, what books do you like to get lost in during winter? Any books that you are hoping to cross off your TBR during the frigid months ahead? TELL ME!!*waits patiently to add for books to her ever growing TBR*

For now, I shall leave you with a quote from the dedication of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe-
But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Beastkeeper

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, October 26, 2015

YA Review: Beastkeeper

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellison, February 3, 2015. 208 pages. Published by Henry Holt & Co. (BYR). Source: library.
Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She's grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn't know that it's magic her parents are running from.

When Sarah's mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents--people she has never met, didn't even know were still alive.

Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever. 
First Sentence:
The air was full of ice the night Sarah's mother packed all her bags and walked out.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wish List Wednesday...on a Thursday: Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George, January 8, 2008. Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's.
Blessed--or cursed--with an ability to understand animals, the Lass (as she's known to her family) has always been an oddball. And when an isbjorn (polar bear) seeks her out, and promises that her family will become rich if only the Lass will accompany him to his castle, she doesn't hesitate. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle, which is made of ice and inhabited by a silent staff of servants. Only a grueling journey on the backs of the four winds will reveal the truth: the bear is really a prince who's been enchanted by a troll queen, and the Lass must come up with a way to free him before he's forced to marry a troll princess. 
Why: Okay so East is one of my favorite books, so, I of course want to read yet another retelling of this story. I'm really curious to see how this one will differ from East and to see the author's take on the story. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Teaser Tue...Wednesday: Scarlet

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!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Vintage Reads YA Review: Scarlet

Vintage Reads, where the not so new young adult and middle grade books get some much deserved attention. From old favorites to new discoveries, both good and bad, you can see my thoughts on some titles from the past two years and back!!

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, 2) by Marissa Meyer, January 1, 2013. 454 pages. Published by Square Fish. Source: traded/own.
Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison--even though she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive if she does--in this second installment from Marissa Meyer.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana.
First Sentence:
Scarlet was descending toward the alley behind the Rieux Tavern when her portscreen chimed from the passenger seat, followed by an automated voice: "Comm received for Mademoiselle Scarlet Benoit from the Toulouse Law Enforcement Department of Missing Persons." 

Monday, October 19, 2015

All About Middle Grade Interview: Victoria Forester [blog tour]

I am so excited to welcome Victoria Forester, author of The Girl Who Could Fly and The Boy Who Knew Everything, to the blog to discuss her latest book. I was hoping to have a review to go with this post, but, I can't read book two until my library copy of book one comes

About the author:
Victoria grew up on a remote farm in Ontario, Canada.  After graduating from the University of Toronto, her passion for storytelling led her to write and direct a short film for the CBC.  When her next film was completed (The Pony’s Tale which aired on Global Television) she eagerly, and perhaps rashly, set off to Los Angeles.

The famous independent film producer, Roger Corman, mentored Victoria and gave her the opportunity to write and direct her first feature film, Circuit Breaker for Showtime starring Richard Grieco and Corben Bernsen.

You can haunt Victoria Forester at-
Website | Goodreads |

Can you tell us a little about The Boy Who Knew Everything

Conrad Harrington III is a super genius, the son of the newly elected President of the United States and the only person on the planet who can uncover the truth of a long guarded secret.  With his best friend Piper McCloud at his side, Conrad has his hands and his mind full!
 Three things about Conrad? Are he and Piper ready to embrace their powers and save the world? 

At the beginning of The Boy Who Knew Everything there is a lot of tension between Conrad and Piper because Conrad is perfectly happy to embrace his abilities but only in secret while Piper wants to stop hiding.  By the end of the book this thorny issue in their friendship is finally resolved. 
Victoria, can you share a two sentence (non-spoiler) teaser from your favorite chapter? What is it about this teaser or chapter that you enjoyed?

Chapter 44 is my favorite because it is the chapter when Conrad finally achieves his goal. I like this chapter for two reason – the first being that I love it when people or characters finally get what they have been struggling for. In my life I have know both failure and success and in my experience success is much, much better. The second reason I like this chapter is that it contains my favorite line in the book when Conrad turns to Piper and says;
“It was a terrible secret and it is a terrible truth but it no longer has any power over me and that is freedom.”

Before your first book, The Girl Who Could Fly, debuted what was the most interesting (or weird) job you've held?

   Great question. I used to direct films and while that wasn’t in itself weird the things I had to do while I was directing were weird. Once when I was working with a young actress in the wilderness I ate a worm to show her how to do it.  (Tip – swallow but don’t chew worms.  The minute you chew a worm you’re in for a whole new level of disgusting.)  Another time I was walking in the bushes with my crew and a bee climbed up my pants and stung me in a place that a lady should not be stung.  Let me tell you that particular bee had a mighty sting on it. Holy Moly but it hurt!  I had to strip my pants off in front of the entire crew so that the bee could be removed from my, ahem, from my private regions. 
If you could have tea with any author living or dead, who would it be?  What would be the first question you would ask him?

I wish that I could have met Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell was a fascinating man who dedicated his life to studying and understanding story.  To this end he traveled around the world collecting stories from every culture.  He studied the stories and identified common themes and archetypes that he then wrote about in a book called The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  I am greatly inspired by his work and if I could sit down with him I would instantly want story advice!  What writer wouldn’t want some good tips from the story master himself? 
The world has fallen into robot invasion, and only one heroin/hero can save the day, who would you choose? 

Wonder Woman would have to save the day.  I have a need for a ride in her invisible jet!
Last middle grade book that kept you reading late into the night?  

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan.  It is an amazingly emotional book. 

Victoria, that is such a great quote from the book!!! Thank you so much for stopping by and answering a few questions!!

Readers, I don't know about you, but I'm super excited to read Victoria Forester's newest book...okay, I'm excited to read both of her books!! *hurry up library*

The Boy Who Knew Everything by Victoria Forester, October 27, 2015. Published by Feiwel & Friends.
Conrad Harrington III doesn't want to be a super genius; he just wants to live a normal life. But with Conrad's father the newly-elected President of the United States, he knows being normal isn't really an option. When suspicious disasters suddenly start happening all over the globe, his best friend Piper McCloud knows the world needs Conrad's gifts--and that all of the exceptional children need him to lead them in order to put a stop to it.
Can they work together to save themselves. . . . and the world?

Find out in this action-packed sequel to The Girl Who Could Fly.

You can add The Boy Who Knew Everything to your Goodreads shelves.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wish List Wednesday: Nameless

Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins, October 6, 2015. Published by Month9Books.
Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors.

Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe.

What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.
Why: Yeah, because this one sounds really, really interesting. I'm mean, did you read the synopsis?!? My curiosity is piqued, so, I do believe that I'll be suggestion this one to my local library so that I can test it out.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: The Life and Times of Benny Alvarez

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, October 12, 2015

All About Middle Grade Review: The Life and Times of Benny Alvarez

The Life and Times of Benny Alvarez by Peter Johnson, June 24, 2014. 224 pages. Published by HarperCollins. Source: Publisher.
Everyone thinks Benny Alvarez is Mr. Negativity. According to Benny, he's just realistic about seeing the "other side" of things—when it comes to just about everything. But maybe there's another way to deal with the things Benny can't control—like his ailing grandfather, his wild younger brother, and the know-it-all girls at school. In this poignant novel about acceptance, Benny Alvarez will have to decide . . . is the glass half empty or half full?
First Sentence:
First, a test:
      Let's say you're cruising on your skateboard down a street you know better than the secret places where you stash forbidden sticks of gum or that red joy buzzer you trick your younger brother with, when out of nowhere a squirrel cuts you off, making you fall and break your ankle. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Review: Seven Deadly Sins: A Visitor's Guide

Seven Deadly Sins: A Visitor's Guide by Lawrence S. Cunningham, November 26, 2012. 128 pages. Published by Ave Maria Press. Source: publisher.
Lawrence Cunningham guides readers on a tour of and personal inquiry into the seven deadly sins--their roots in the mystic experiences of the desert fathers, their modern manifestations, and how to supplant these invasive, destructive habits with virtue.

Sloth, envy, gluttony, greed, anger, lust, and pride: when and how were they first identified? Who grouped them together? Can we truly resist their pull? Renowned theologian Lawrence Cunningham explores these questions and others in his newest book. He traces the roots of the seven deadly sins to the mystic experiences of the desert fathers, who--in total solitude--experienced and identified these corrupt inner desires as forces that twist us away from God. He offers examples and insights from scripture, Christian tradition, and modern life, helping readers meet each of the seven deadly sins with a corresponding virtue.
First Sentence:
Although I confess to a mild predilection for watching sports on television, certain events cause me to reach immediately for the remote because of their sheer capacity to bore.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

On My Mind (4): SHERLOCK

As one can probably presume from the header of this post, I have decided to start doing discussion posts here on The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia. Call it me trying to let y'all inside my head and to start a dialog with you my fellow readers.

Okay, so, if you've been following me on Twitter than you already know that I decided to give the show Sherlock another chance to impress me. Well, let me just say this: I NOW UNDERSTAND WHY IT'S SO POPULAR!!!

The first time I tried watching Sherlock a few years ago it didn't go very well. I was not a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes or Martin Freeman as John Watson. It really just did not work for me. Yet, after seeing him in Star Trek, as well, as seeing Martin Freeman in the Hobbit movies I decided it was time to it another shot. Let's just say, the second chance watching went very well!!

I ended up loving the show so much that I'm (sadly) already up to season three in my binge watching of Sherlock (thank you library). While I have really enjoyed seeing this modern take on the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, it has been the overall story-arcs and the interactions between Sherlock and Watson that have really sold me on the show. I just love the banter and craziness that goes in each episode!! Yet, as I draw closer to the end of available episodes I cannot help but wonder when/if more seasons are on the way. Because let's face it, if I'm thinking I need more of the show in my life, how are you guys who watched it when it premiered holding up?!?!

I have not been this excited over a show since I started watching Doctor Who!! Like I cannot wait to watch more and yet I want it to last forever!! Surprisingly enough, I have managed to not have any of the episodes spoiled for me. Shocking I know. Sure, I knew the big season two ender and season three surprise....reason being I read the books! I would have been more surprised if things had gone a different way in regards to that!

Okay, now that I have flailed my newly found love of Sherlock all over the internet today I think I'll be kicking off my watching of Season three tonight!! Is my heart ready for the next installment? I'm not sure, but I do know that I cannot wait any longer to see what happens next. Plus, I really just want need more of this show in my life!!!

Before I go: Do you watch Sherlock? Do you love it or did you drop it?? I need to know!!!!!

P.S. Feel free to flail about the show with me!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wish List Wednesday: Incarnate

Incarnate (Newsoul, 1) by Jodi Meadows, January 31, 2012. Published by Katherine Tegen Books.
New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
Why: I know, this book is like three years old...but, I'm intrigued by the synopsis and by how many people seemed to truly love it. While it wasn't really one that caught my eye when it first released I am considering seeing if my library has a copy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Murder is Bad Manners

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, October 5, 2015

All About Middle Grade Review: Murder is Bad Manners

Murder is Bad Manners (Wells and Wong, 1) by Robin Stevens, April 21, 2015. 320 pages. Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. Source: borrowed from library.
Deepdean School for Girls, 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia's missing tie. Which they don't, really.)

But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident - but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there's more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.

Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test? 
First Sentence:
This is the first murder that the Wells & Wong Detective Society has ever investigated, so it is a good thing Daisy bought me a new casebook.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Review: Our Lady, Undoer of Knots

Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena by Marge Fenelon, September 8, 2015. 128 pages. Published by Ave Maria Press. Source: publisher.
Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena is a unique guided meditation from veteran Catholic journalist Marge Fenelon, who has created a new devotional practice from this classic novena that is a favorite of Pope Francis. Since the seventeenth century, Catholics facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles have turned to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots through a special novena-nine days of prayer for divine intervention. Catholic columnist Marge Fenelon resurrects this ancient tradition, also known as the Unfailing Novena, by reflecting on nine sacred sites associated with Pope Francis's 2014 pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Reflecting on such holy places as Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives, and the Temple Mount, Fenelon helps readers explore the "knots" or impossible situations in their own lives in order to find peace.