Book Review: Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It's an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle's hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.

But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he's there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena's sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom--an impossible union it's up to Jena to stop.

When Cezar's grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can't imagine--tests of trust, strength, and true love.

My Review: The first chapter or two of this book nearly made me put it down. It was just... bleh. The writing didn't catch me, I didn't really like the characters, there were weird Russian words and a pet frog that could possibly talk... But then it got interesting.

After the first chapter, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. If you've been here for a while, you may have picked up on how much I love fairytales. This had plenty of fairytale references, each with a little bit of a unique new twist.

There was such a wide variety of characters in this book! It was actually pretty awesome! There was the strong heroine, the bookish sister, the love-struck older sister, the adorable little sister, the sister who wants to be grown up, the overbearing cousin, the doting father... It made for an intricate story (but not at all complicated).

This is definitely a good one for your fairytale shelf :). I highly suggest this one for anyone looking for a quick enjoyable read, and for anyone who loves their fairytales.

Thanks for reading!


Book Review- Noah Zarc: Cataclysm

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Thirteen-year-old, Noah Zarc, rockets to Venus in a quest to learn more about his past. He just can’t believe his father is really the monster everyone says he is. Maybe there are valid reasons for everything he’s done, including abandoning Noah at birth.

While searching for answers to secrets no one wants to talk about, even those that have remained hidden for over a thousand years, Noah becomes embroiled in a mission that could end up causing the greatest cataclysm in the history of the solar system. And the name, Noah Zarc might be forever linked to the most devastating crime in humanity's existence, all because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

My Review: This is the second book in the middle grade series by D. Robert Pease and I loved it! Like book one, book two was full of all kinds of action and plot turns that made it impossible to put down and kept me on my toes. I loved how Noah was a bit more grown-up in this book. There weren't a lot of new characters, but we got to see a lot more of the characters from book one. The plot was really exciting and interesting. Space-time travel abounds in this one, and it was just as interesting, if not more, than in book one. 

This series is really creative and exciting and refreshing. I highly recommend it! 

Release Party Notes

Noah Zarc: Cataclysm, the second book in the Noah Zarc series, is about a boy named, surprisingly enough, Noah Zarc. If you haven’t read the first book, Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble, then you probably want to start there. But if you are well-versed in all things Zarc, then take a gander at the description of the next book below. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Noah Zarc: Mammoth TroubleOVERVIEW
Thirteen-year-old Noah Zarc rockets to Venus in a quest to learn more about his past. He refuses to believe his father is really the monster everyone says he is. Could there be valid reasons for everything he’s done, including abandoning Noah at birth?

While searching for answers to secrets no one wants to talk about, even those that have remained hidden for over a thousand years, Noah becomes embroiled in a mission which could cause the greatest cataclysm in the history of the solar system. And the name, Noah Zarc, might be forever linked to the most devastating crime in humanity's existence, all because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com (available in paperback or as an eBook.) Other online retailers listed below.

Guess what? You could win a $50 Amazon gift card as part of this special release party. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $50 too by having the most comments. So tell your friends to stop by and comment on this post too! You have until the end of December to comment.
Also, we will be giving away one pair of signed books (Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble, and Noah Zarc: Cataclysm) to one winner as well.

D. Robert PeaseTHE AUTHOR
D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn't been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer's Sirens. It's not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters.

Discover ways to connect with the author by visiting his site at www.drobertpease.com

THANK YOU! for visiting. And don't forget to comment below for that chance to win the $50 Amazon gift card. And of course head on over to your favorite online book store and buy a copy of Noah Zarc: Cataclysm, for you or for the kids in your life.

Amazon Paperback | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble Nook | Kobo | Amazon UK

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Haunted Week: Beware of Book Review (Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman)

{This Girl Reads}
To finish off a week of spook-tastic fun, review a scary story of your choice!

 Synopsis (from Amazon.com): In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close. The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own. Only it's different. At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

My Review: I don't really read a lot of scary books exactly, but the scariest (more like creepiest) book I've read in a while was Coraline. 

This book was brilliant. It was very visual, and painted excellent pictures without being too wordy. The characters were extremely well written, especially Coraline and her "Other Mother". Everything was beautiful, dreamlike, and creepy sort of all at the same time. My favorite thing about this book was definitely the "other" world. The change from the ideal world to a nightmare was perfectly done. And the button eyes. Because of this book, I can't do button eyes. ;)

This is a fairly short book, and though I often find myself wanting more after a particularly good book, the end of this one was another thing that was perfectly done. It didn't leave me hanging, and it was left with a sense of completeness, but not necessarily finality. If that makes any sense. 

I loved this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good, creepy read!

So that's all for Haunted Week! I hope you all enjoyed it, and I can't wait to do it again next year! You can see all my other Haunted Week posts here, and if you click on the button at the top of this post, it will take you to a list of the other participants. 
Thanks for reading!


Haunted Week: Written in the Tombstone

{This Girl Reads}
The epitaph is the inscription on a tombstone—you could say it's a person's last words. Today, quote the last line of five books. (No spoilers, please!)
I'm going to have a lot of fun with this one. :)
"'That sounds perfect," Kendra said. And she meant it."
"As ash rose black agains the brillian sky, Fire's fiddle cried out for the dead, and for the living who stay behind to say goodbye."

 3. Reckless by Cornelia Funke
 "He only had to find it. Somewhere."
"But there are much worse games to play."
"I am haunted by humans."

I would have LOVED to put the last words of The Raven Boys up there, but that was just a little bit too spoilery.
I hope you enjoyed these! Thanks for reading!


Haunted Week: Tricked or Treated

{This Girl Reads}
Some books aren't at all what you expected—which can be good or bad. Today feature five books you read that were either a pleasant or nasty surprise.
Ooooh I've got lots of books I could use for this post. I'll try to narrow it down to five. ;)
This book just sounded like it would be really cool. Books where things go "horribly wrong" always have some promise, right? Well, this one did NOT live up to it. At all. Definitely a trick!
I saw the cover of this book and I fell in love with it. I bought it, expecting to fall into a beautifuly written original fairytale. Well, that fairytale turned out to be one of the most ridiculous things I've ever read. Another trick!

3. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
I am not generally a fan of contemporary novles of any kind. So when I won this in a contest on RandomBuzzers.com, I was fully prepared not to read it. Well I did, and it was amazing! It was super cute, a fun read, and one I'd be content to read again and again. Definitely a treat!

4. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
I am a hard-core hater of traditional sci-fi. Aliens, spaceships, anything like that. I sat down with this one expecting to despise it, but was pleasantly suprised when it turned out to be fantastic! Another treat!

 5. Brain Jack by Brian Falkner
This is one I heard about on RandomBuzzers.com, so when I saw it at my school library, I thought, why not? It'll kill some time at the very least. This book turned out to be really cool. It totally made me want to be a computer genious. Treat!

What do you think? Would any of these be on your list? What books have been tricks or treats for you? I can't wait to hear what you think!
Thanks for reading!
See the other Haunted Week posts here!


Haunted Week: It Came From the Web

{This Girl Reads}
You never know what's going to creep onto the web. Sometimes, however, you get a pleasant surprise. Today feature and link to five amazing book blogs you've found recently.
These are mine, in no particular order:
Leather Bound & Lovely

Christy's Love of Books

Pen to Paper

Rainy Day Reads

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh

What are your favorites?
Thanks for reading!
See the other Haunted Halloween posts here!


Haunted Week: Back From the Grave

{This Girl Reads}

Get ready to dig up your past and bring some of your old friends back to life: Today feature five books you read and loved as a kid.

My teacher read this to my class in fourth grade, and I loved it! I made my mom get it for me at the next book fair. I've re-read it lots of times since then, and still have it on my shelf today!

This is the first Harry Potter book I ever read by myself, and it's one of the first "chapter books" I ever read. This one started it all. ;)

When my dad went to Iraq, people donated toys and books to the families left behind. This is a book I got that Christmas. I've read this poor book to death! It's completely tattered, but I still love it!

I had two copies of this one when I was little. I've since lost one of them, but this has always been one of my favorites. But who doesn't love Wilbur?

I was around ten when my mom bought this one for me. I think this is one she got for me while I was getting my hair permed. I loved this one because it was super exciting, and it took place in Germany, and it was just awesome! I still have this one too!

 This one was a super hard one for me, because I have so many books I loved when I was younger! Like The Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Peter and the Starcatchers, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, A Series of Unfortunate Events... I could go on forever! I would love to hear what your favorites were, so please! Leave me a comment!


Haunted Week: Skeletons On My Bookshelf

{This Girl Reads}

Supposedly, everyone has a few skeletons in their closet—I think everyone has a few on their bookshelves, too. Today feature five books you've owned for a long time but never read.

I actually just recently sat down and read all the skeletons on my bookshelf, except for one! So I'll list that one, and feature four others that took me FOREVER to get to:

1. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

I've had this one since August and just haven't had the time or proper motivation to get to it. Hopefully things will wind down for me and I'll be able to get to it soon!

2. The Haunted by Jessica Verday 
I just recently got around to this one, after probably close to a year of owning it. I won it in a giveaway, but didn't realize it was book 2. I didn't want to start it without having read book 1, but it took me a while to actually get up and look for book 1. 

 3. Peaceweaver by Rebecca Barnhouse
This is one I got from Randombuzzers.com. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get to this one, but once I did, I really enjoyed it!

That's really all I can think of. I try not to let book sit too long on my shelf. What are the skeletons on your shelf? Let me know in the comments!


Haunted Week: Bats in Your Book Pages

{This Girl Reads}

Even the biggest book enthusiasts have some bats in their belfries about things in books that drive them insane. Today tell your readers about five things that drive you crazy in books.

I talked about a few things that drive me insane in the last Haunted Week post, so you may see a few of those here as well. Here's my five:

1. Too Much Cussing
 I don't cuss, and most of my friends don't either. In fact, most of the people I know don't usually cuss. It drives me crazy that some authors seem to think that every other word that comes out of a teen's mouth is a cuss word. 

2. When the writing is fantastic, but the story goes nowhere.
I don't even know what to say when this happens. I want to love the book because the writing is awesome, but I'm irritated with the book because hardly anything happens.

3. The main character being "irresistibly drawn" to the "dangerous boy."
What about all the perfectly good regular boys? And also, "irresistibly drawn." That phrase is sooo unrealistic and overused. 

4. When it takes the main character pages and pages and pages to realize that, Yes. This is actually happening. 
I would think that if you didn't think it was real at first, you would have left and not just gone on with it. Just sayin'.

5. YA Parents.
Real parents with teen don't let their children do whatever they want. They usually notice pretty quickly when their teen is sneaking out. They aren't all rich. There are usually two of them. Not all families are dysfunctional. Oh, and they often times have more than one kid. 
Some of the "bats in my book pages" would be alright if they didn't happen in EVERY. SINGLE. BOOK. I'm exaggerating of course, but still. What about you? What are the bats in your book pages? If you are participating in Haunted Week, feel free to leave links in the comments!


Haunted Week: Ghosts of Books Half-Read

{This Girl Reads}

Ever had the feeling that someone was watching you? It just might the spirit of a book you haven't put to rest. Today feature five books you began but never finished.

Hmm, this is a tough one because it's not very often that I don't finish a book... Lets see if I can think of five:

1. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

I started this one sometime last year hoping that I would love it. I think I stopped before page five. Of all the things that really bug me in books, unnecessary cussing is the worst. That and 'graphic' scenes are usually my reason for closing a book.

2. Magyk by Angie Sage

I'll be the first to admit that I am a severe Potter-Addict. So when HP ended, I went looking for a replacement and ended up with this. I quickly found out that nothing will ever live up to Harry Potter for me. So maybe I would have liked this one if I hadn't started it expecting something like HP, but now we'll never know...

3. Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson

I got this one for Christmas when I was in fourth grade. I started it, and loved it, and just never finished it. I still have it on my bookshelf, I have just never gone back to it. 

4. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

This one just completely rubbed me the wrong way. Just... ugh. I stopped about a fourth of the way in.

5. The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

This is one I bought hoping to really enjoy. I read two pages then went to get my money back. Only two pages in and I could tell that the MC and plot were definitely not going to sit well with me. 

So I managed to think of five I never finished for a variety of reasons, and now that my brain juices are flowing properly, I'm thinking of quite a few more... But anyway, if you're participating in Haunted Week, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments! If you're not, I'd love to hear about the ghosts of books half-read haunting you!

Book Spotlight: Catalyst (The Passage of Hellsfire Book 1) by Marc Johnson

Synopsis: For centuries, the kingdom of Alexandria has protected Northern Shala from the monstrous creatures lurking in the Wastelands. Now, a dark force threatens that fragile peace. Far from home, Alexandria’s princess is abducted. When a young villager named Hellsfire stumbles upon her and her captors, he rushes in to rescue her, alone and unarmed. His fear and fury unleash an uncontrollable magical force that grants him the power to save the princess—and change the world. Hellsfire has never craved nor dreamed of power. But such magic as he now possesses has not been seen in Northern Shala for a thousand years, since the devastation of the War of the Wizards and the creation of the Wastelands. Now Hellsfire must leave all he’s ever known, and make a dangerous journey to learn to master this wild, ferocious power—power he knows he is not ready to wield. More difficult still, he needs to master his emotions. If he can’t, the power will consume him, Alexandria will fall, and darkness will eclipse the land, destroying everyone he loves. In the dead of cold, the spark shall burn...
Places to Buy:
 More About the Book:

So what do you think? Does this sound like your kind of book? Let me know in the comments! If it does, stick around for a chance to win a digital copy!

Thanks for reading!


Emily's Trial by Natalie Wright: Giveaway!

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Two years ago, Emily's journey began. She learned the ancient magic of her Celtic ancestors, and became a modern Celtic Priestess. The golden torc, forged by faerie hands, is still wound around her arm, fused to her soul. She was entrusted with powerful magic - secret knowledge. But even a Priestess can feel desire - temptation - and the quest for love. Will passion entice Emily to use her sacred magic in a forbidden way? Can new love take root in a world of nightmares? And will her friendships survive Emily's Trial? The Journey Continues . . .

My Thoughts: For anyone looking for a good Halloween read, this is definitely a good one! Beside the absolutely gorgeous cover, the story has some major Halloween brownie points, including Halloween! I loved reading more about Emily and her friends, especially in this new setting. This "world of nightmares" is another reason this will make a great Halloween read. ;)

On to this awesome giveaway: I am co-hosting this giveaway with the author, Natalie Wright. To enter, my giveaway guidelines say that you must be 13+. For more rules and guidelines check out my policy page, and stop by Natalie's Blog. (All the entries below apply to Natalie's blog). There are a bunch of awesome prizes, so check out the raffelcopter form below for a chance to win! 

Thanks for reading!

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Haunted Week!

{This Girl Reads}

Hey Readers! 
This is my intro post for this awesome event hosted by Cheyenne over at {This Girl Reads}! I'm super excited to start this event, and it sounds like a TON of fun, so check back starting October 24th for a week of awesome posts! I will be linking to and from this post during that week, so you can check back here for more info when we get closer.

Thanks for reading!

In My Mailbox (22)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi over at TheStorySiren.com and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It's a fun way for book bloggers to show off what books they've recieved via mailbox, library, bookstore, friend, etcSign up for the linky list here, and if you are participating this week, I'd LOVE to see what books you got, so leave me links in the comments!

I haven't participated for a while, so this post will have quite a few books. ;)

1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
I ordered a signed and doodled-in copy from Fountain Books, and I love it! I've already read and reviewed it (the link will take you to my review). 

2. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

I read this one way back when it first came out, and I thought it was kind of complicated. So I'm going to try again. I got this one from the lovely library downtown.

3. Emily's Trial by Natalie Wright 

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review. Check back tomorrow for an awesome giveaway!

4. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

I bought this one at Barnes and Noble for my English class.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I got this one from B&N for my English class too. 

6. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

One of my bookish friends brought this over for me to read last week. :) I haven't gotten to it yet, but I can't wait to start it!

7. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

I've been sooooo excited for this one to come out! My brother bought it last week and I seem to have a way with words, because I convinced him to let me read it first. ;) 

That's my IMM for this week! I'd LOVE to see what you all posted about today, so leave me links in the comments! If you don't participate in this meme, I'd love to hear your thoughts anyway! 

Thanks for reading!

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