Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance: Candel Man book 1 Review

Title: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance (Candle Man Book 1) 
Author: Glenn Dakin 
Publisher: Egmont USA 
Publication Date: September 22, 2009 
Pages: 300 
My Edition: ARC Paperback 
Reading Level: Ages 9-12 
Where I got it: Good Man Media 

Summary from Amazon:
Murder, mystery, and adventure aren’t your typical birthday presents . . . But for Theo, anything that breaks up his ordinary routine is the perfect gift. A mysterious “illness” and Theo’s guardians force him into a life indoors, where gloves must be worn and daily medical treatments are the norm. When Theo discovers a suspicious package on his birthday, one person from the past will unlock the secret behind Theo’s “illness” and change his life forever. Molded into an exhilarating steampunk adventure that gives birth to the next great fantasy hero, Theo Wickland, Candle Man: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance is the first book in a trilogy by debut author Glenn Dakin. 

The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance was altogether pretty good. It had lots of action, adventure, and mystery. It starts of pretty intriguingly, and once I hit the middle I couldn't stop reading. I read about half the book without stopping because I wanted to know what would happen to Theo. There are lots of twists and turns that will make you wonder what will happen, and even some shockers. I really liked the different but weird characters, and the story is unlike anything I've read. 

The cover is really good for the story, but I think it could have been a little more attractive. I probably wouldn't picked this up at the store or library, but I'm glad I read it because I really enjoyed it! My only complaint with the story would be, at points I became confused at some of the mythical creatures and would often not know who some of the characters were. I would recommend this to younger middle school readers, but if you are older you would probably like it too. Candle Man book one is Glenn Dakin's first novel for children, and I think he did an excellent job. I'm looking forward to reading the next books in the Candle Man trilogy. 


Happy Halloween! and Other News : D

Happy Halloween everyone!! It kinda seems it's already over for me since my weird town always has trick-or-treat the Tuesday before Halloween and the Halloween Parade the Thursday before. It's really weird, but I'm used to it by now ; ) I was going to go to Hershey Park today because they're open for Halloween, but it's supposed to rain all day. Instead, I'm going tomorrow because I don't want to be at an amusement park in the rain. I'm so excited...I love roller coasters!

I couldn't think of any new covers for the Best and Worst of Covers, so I won't do that this week. I did just finish Candle Man, so I'll have the review later today. Also, my Fallen cover I made for one of Princess Bookie's Challenges moved on to round two, yay! I would love it if you voted for my cover here!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Princess Bookie Mini Challenge

Cindy over at Princess Bookie is having some mini challenges for some awesome ARCs, so go to her blog here to enter. I picked Option One because since I've started my blog, I LOVE any chance I get to use Photoshop : ) Option One is to recreate a book cover for your favorite book. I decided to do Harry Potter as one cover instead of one of the seven. I chose Harry Potter because I have fallen in love with the series and loved it for years. It will always be my favorite, and I never get bored reading or listening to Jim Dale reading it : ) My cover is kind of lame, but it's hard to recreate a book cover that has had amazing covers. The drawings are by Mary Grandpre who drew everything for the books. Here's my cover:

Friday Firsts (4)

The first line can make or break a reader’s interest. Just how well did the author pull you in to the story with their first sentence? To participate in this weekly book meme is extremely easy.
  • Grab the book you are currently reading and open to the first page.
  • Write down the first sentence in the first paragraph.
  • Create a blog post with this information. (Make sure to include the title and the author of the book you are using. Even an ISBN helps!)
  • Did this first sentence help draw you into the story? Why or why not?
The book I'm currently reading is the Liar by Justine Larbalestier. I'm about half way through so I should have my review pretty soon. This is the first sentence:

"I was born with a light covering of fur."
Haha wow that is a really funny but weird first sentence. It does really make sense though as the first sentence because it's a good starting point to Micah's story. It's really intriguing and it makes you want to know what the story is all about. The story is pretty interesting and is not like anything else I've ever read. The cover (which is so great!) had some controversy because the main character is a black female and on the cover the girl was white. I love the new cover, and think it's a lot better than the old one. See the covers below!

What's your current book's first sentence?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Superior Scribbler Award!

Yay, another award! Thanks so much to the awesome Donna. Check out her awesome and right now spooktacular blog here : )

- Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends

-Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award. 

-Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.

-Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

-Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

It's always hard to pick blogs for awards because everyone's are so awesome, but these blogger's have fantastic blogs! Check them out too:

~ B.A.M. Book Reviews
~ Brizmus Blogs Books
~ J'adorehappyendings
~ Michelle's Bookshelf
~ Princess Bookie

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (10)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly awaiting. This week I can't wait for Fallen by Lauren Kate. The cover is so gorgeous, and it sounds fantastic! Fallen comes out December 8, 2009.

By: Lauren Kate
Summary from Amazon:

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move. Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her. Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cleopatra's Daughter Review!

Title: Cleopatra's Daughter
Author: Michelle Moran
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: September 15, 2009 
Pages: 448
My Edition: Hardback
Reading Level: Young Adult/Adult
here I got it: Michelle and Random House 

Summary from Michelle's website:
The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s vengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt.  Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome, but only two—the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander—survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.
The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra’s Daughter.  Recounted in Selene’s youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters:
Octavia: the emperor Octavian’s kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra
Livia: Octavian’s bitter and jealous wife
Marcellus: Octavian’s handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir-apparent
Tiberius: Livia’s sardonic son and Marcellus’s great rival for power
Juba: Octavian’s ever-watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals
Selene’s narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place  —the possibility of finding love, the pull of friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture both the glories and horrors of the time. She dines with the empire’s most illustrious poets and politicians, witnesses the creation of the Pantheon, and navigates the colorful, crowded marketplaces of the city where Roman-style justice is meted out with merciless authority.
Based on meticulous research, Cleopatra’s Daughter is a fascinating portrait of Imperial Rome and of the people and events of this glorious and tumultuous period in human history. Emerging from the shadows of history, Selene, a young woman of irresistible charm and preternatural intelligence, will capture your heart. 

Review *minor spoiler alert*: 
Wow, I loved Cleopatra's Daughter so much! The characters make you just fall in love with the story, and I felt such a bind to Selene and Alexander when they become orphaned and taken from their beloved kingdom. You will feel for them as the their little brother dies and left as the only remaining Ptolemy heirs. Even though I knew little of the history the story wasn't very hard to understand. Michelle Moran explains everything (list of characters, glossary, and list of events) so perfectly you don't really have to know anything of the history. 

The ending was very sad, but then becomes very happy. I cried a little towards the end, but I won't say I don't ruin the story for you. I loved and hated many characters throughout the book which says a lot about the greatness of the writing. Even though the main character Selene is only 12 in the beginning, she never acts that young, and it never seems like you are reading about a child. At the end, she turns 15 and has her perfect ending. I can't wait to read other books by Michelle Moran. She made this Historical Novel fun to read and I wish it had never ended!


Princess Bookie's Read-a-Thon Challenges!

Princess Bookie hosted tons of contest this past weekend for the Read-a-Thon. A "mysterious" author and Cindy are hosting this very creative contest here! Also, a surprise contest here where you list 8 favorite things. These are my 8 favorite things:

My 8 favorite things:
1. Family and friends
2. All of my wonderful books
3. Movies, movies, and more movies
4. Candy : D
5. Harry Potter, Twilight, and Lord of the Rings (should count as 3 but I love them all the same)
6. TV shows~Lost & Gilmore Girls
7. My kitty
8. My iPod/Music

The book covers I created:
Option 1~Recreate one of the book images. I choose to recreate Chasing Brooklyn's cover:

Option 2~Make your own cover based on the title of the book. I picked the title Fallen:

Option 3: Recreate Something like Fate's cover. Here's my recreation with littler kids:

What do think of my covers?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Best and Worst of Covers (8)

Every Saturday, I post one book cover I love and one cover I dislike of books I've read. I include information for each book: the edition, summary, publisher, number of pages, reading level, and my thoughts of the cover. I've decided against using the word "hate" because it's a very strong negative word. Since I don't really hate the covers, I dislike some of them, so I'll be using "dislike" instead. This week the cover I love is Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran, and the cover I dislike is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. The book summaries are from Amazon.

The Cover I Love: 
Title: Cleopatra's Daughter
Author: Michelle Moran

Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: September 15, 2009
s: 448
Edition: Hardback
Reading Level: Young Adult/Adult

After the death of their parents, twins Alexander and Selene and younger brother Ptolemy are in a dangerous position, left to the mercy of their father's greatest rival, Octavian Caesar. However, Caesar does not kill them as expected, but takes the trio to Rome to be paraded as part of his triumphant return and to demonstrate his solidified power. As the twins adapt to life in Rome in the inner circle of Caesar's family, they grow into adulthood ensconced in a web of secrecy, intrigue and constant danger. Told from Selene's perspective, the tale draws readers into the fascinating world of ancient Rome and into the court of Rome's first and most famous emperor. Deftly encompassing enough political history to provide context, Moran never clutters her narrative with extraneous facts. Readers may be frustrated that Selene is more observer than actor, despite the action taking place around her, but historical fiction enthusiasts will delight in this solid installment from a talented name in the genre.

Thoughts of the Cover:
The cover of Cleopatra's Daughter is just so beautiful! I love the way the woman looks and how she's dressed. All the colors go so well together, and the bottom gold border is very nice and shiny when you see it physically in your hands.. The reds and golds make the cover look so perfect and very royal. It is the perfect cover to such an amazing book. I'm so close to finishing and can't wait to know the ending! My review should probably be up sometime tomorrow. The paperback doesn't come out for a while, actually it doesn't even have a release date yet, but it's cover is so gorgeous. All the gold is what makes these covers so great and beautiful. I highly recommend reading it!

The Cover I Dislike:
Title: Sisterhood of the Traveling of the Pants
Author: Ann Brashares
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 11, 2003
Pages: 336
Edition: Paperback
Reading Level: Young Adult

They were just a soft, ordinary pair of thrift-shop jeans until the four girls took turns trying them on--four girls, that is, who are close friends, about to be parted for the summer, with very different sizes and builds, not to mention backgrounds and personalities. Yet the pants settle on each girl's hips perfectly, making her look sexy and long-legged and feel confident as a teenager can feel. "These are magical Pants!" they realize, and so they make a pact to share them equally, to mail them back and forth over the summer from wherever they are. Beautiful, distant Lena is going to Greece to be with her grandparents; strong, athletic Bridget is off to soccer camp in Baja, California; hot-tempered Carmen plans to have her divorced father all to herself in South Carolina; and Tibby the rebel will be left at home to slave for minimum wage at Wallman's.

Over the summer the Pants come to represent the support of the sisterhood, but they also lead each girl into bruising and ultimately healing confrontations with love and courage, dying and forgiveness. Lena finds her identity in Greece and the courage not to reject love; Bridget gets in over her head with an older camp coach; Carmen finds her father ensconced with a new fiancée and family; and Tibby unwillingly takes on a filmmaking apprentice who is dying of leukemia. Each girl's story is distinct and engrossing, told in a brightly contemporary style. Like the Pants, the reader bounces back and forth among the four unfolding adventures, and the melange is spiced with letters and witty quotes.

Thoughts of the Cover:
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book cover could have been a lot more attractive. The pants used on the cover are actually pretty ugly and very plain. Also, the colors aren't really the greatest either; they are pretty dull. The book, however, is a great read and very funny. The only thing I really like the about the cover is that the background has all their names in this shiny color which looks pretty cool when you pick it up. The movie paperback cover is pretty cute, and a lot better than the original cover. The movie is really good, and the actresses who played the best friends were perfect. I wish the cover could've been almost as great as the book.

What are your thoughts on these covers?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Honest Scrap Award!

B.A.M. Book Reviews just gave me this awesome award. Thank you girls so much : D If you haven't checked out their blog yet, you totally should because it's amazing! I've never seen this award before, but it's really cool.

This is the Honest Scrap Award. It is for those bloggers who write from the heart. The rules are to pass it along to seven bloggers and then list 10 honest things about myself. Here are those deserving of this honour, bloggers who write from the heart and touch me because of it (and I'm going to try to nominate blogs that haven't already received this award, so that doesn't means I don't love yours!).

My list of Honest Scrap book bloggers:

A Flight of Minds

The Dreamer Reader

All of you are amazing, and I truly love everyone's blog!

10 honest things about me:
1. I love to read, but it seems like don't read as much anymore : (

2. I love to swim, but I hate swim team practice! 
3. I'm the pickiest eater ever, but I love fruits and veggies! Here are some foods I don't like at all: french fries, ketchup, mustard, seafood, pickles, tomatoes, squash, nuts, and several other things.
4.  I have way too many books I haven't read, it's at least 40.
5. I procrastinate way too much, but eventually I get it done.
6. I read really fast, but lately its taking me forever to finish a book.
7. I'm addicted to watching TV and movies.
8. I'm a huge Harry Potter and Twilight fan through and through! I've been a fan of both for a very long time.
9. I'm in love with Orlando Bloom as Legolas in Lord of the Rings aka one of the best movies ever : D
10. Finally I am way out of shape, so I need to start going to preseason swim practice : P

Wow, that was pretty hard. I hope they aren't too stupid : D

Thanks to all my lovely readers!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly awaiting. This week I can't wait for Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl which sounds really good. Beautiful Creatures comes out 12/1/09.

Beautiful Creatures By: 
Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Summary from Amazon:

There were no surprises in Gatlin County. We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere. At least, that's what I thought.Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong. There was a curse. There was a girl. And in the end, there was a grave.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Summer I Turned Pretty Review

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon and Schuster 
Publication Date: May 5, 2009
Pages: 276
My Edition: read online on PulseIt
Reading Level: Young Adult
here I got it: Read on PulseIt

Summary from Amazon:
Some summers are just destined to be pretty...Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer -- they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

The Summer I Turned Pretty was a fun, good, and entertaining read. It took forever to finish only because reading a book on the computer is hard on the eyes, and the pages took forever to load. The story was so good it kept me wanting to keep reading to find out who Belly would end up with. You will feel for Belly when she has to choose between: her best bud and first kiss, the boy she's loved since she was ten, or the boy she just met, all while going through many changes in her's and their lives. I loved all the characters and even teared up at the end (I won't say why though). 

It starts off a little slow, but once you get a few chapters in, you will become engrossed in Belly's story. The only thing I didn't really like was when there were flashbacks to younger ages. Sometimes I didn't see when it said age 10 or whatever age and would become confused. This is the perfect book summer book, and it made me really wish I was at the beach again in the ocean and sun. I highly recommend reading this if you're looking for a great summer read! I look forward to reading other books by Jenny Han and the sequels.


IMMB (10)

The IMMB meme was started by The Story Siren. This week I received many awesome things. From, I cashed in 45 swagbucks for a $5 Amazon card, so I picked out two bargain books, Cruel Summer and Secrets of My Hollywood Life, for 7 bucks! I won a hardback copy of A Map of the Known World which looks amazing and some Dust of Dogs bookmarks. Also, the amazingly generous Michelle Moran sent me a Romain bronze coin minted during the 2nd-4th century A.D.! The book summaries below are from Amazon.

Cruel Summer 
By: Alyson Noel
Seventeen-year-old Colby Cavendish's plans are tossed overboard when her parents decide she should spend the summer with her aunt on a remote Greek island. They are jeopardizing her hard-won spot as ultracool Amanda's "new best friend," and now that she's hooked up with hottie Levi Bonham, how is she supposed to hang on to him? Crazy Aunt Tally, who talks to her plants and sells handmade jewelry, doesn't have a cell phone, TV, or Internet access. Colby's feelings and experiences are relayed through clever, but sometimes typographically confusing, emails, journal entries, letters, postcards, and a "Cruel Summer" blog. (The island has an Internet café.) The story is one of understandable teen frustration and resentment: adults don't make sense to her, and she's insecure about her new social status. She's far away from the usual connections, electronic and otherwise, that she and many comfortably middle-class, modern American teens rely on. An islander, Yannis, complicates her feelings for Levi, and Colby finds herself becoming involved, against her will, in the rhythms and lifestyle of this charming, remote place. 

A Map of the Known World 
By: Lisa Ann Sandell
Cora Bradley dreams of escape. Ever since her reckless older brother, Nate, died in a car crash, Cora has felt suffocated by her small town and high school. She seeks solace in drawing beautiful maps, envisioning herself in exotic locales. When Cora begins to fall for Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died, she uncovers her brother's secret artistic life and realizes she had more in common with him than she ever imagined. With stunning lyricism, Sandell weaves a tale of one girl's journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love. They say no land remains to be discovered, no continent is left unexplored. But the whole world is out there, waiting, just waiting for me. I want to do things-I want to walk the rain-soaked streets of London, and drink mint tea in Casablanca. I want to wander the wastelands of the Gobi desert and see a yak. I think my life's ambition is to see a yak. I want to bargain for trinkets in an Arab market in some distant, dusty land. There's so much. But, most of all, I want to do things that will mean something.

Secrets of My Hollywood Life
By: Jen Calonita
Kaitlin Burke is an overworked teen celebrity who thinks it would be cool to be ordinary for a couple of months. She also wants to get away from her competitive costar, Sky Mackenzie, who has been making her life difficult. After a bit of brainstorming, she decides to enroll, incognito, in her friend Liz's high school. During the next few weeks, she discovers how nice it is to have friends who like her for who she is–or appears to be–rather than because she's famous. She even starts a relationship with Austin, a nice boy who, ironically, has a crush on Kaitlin Burke, but hasn't a clue that he's dating her. Things go awry when Sky is asked to host the school's spring fling, which has a Hollywood theme. Everyone dresses as a celebrity, and Kaitlin ends up going as herself. While at the dance, Sky nastily unveils Kaitlin's secret. It's not surprising that her friends, especially Austin, feel betrayed, but she manages to redeem herself in the end.