Monday, January 31, 2011

Wereling, Book 2: Dark Moon by Steve Feasey, Review + Giveaway!

Happy Monday everyone!


Okay, so no one REALLY thinks it's all that happy.  I mean the weekend is over and work or school is pretty much the norm for most this week but cheer up!  There's plenty of good reading ahead to keep you well entertained during your free time.  In fact, several of the "plenty" are releasing tomorrow (seriously, check the right hand side bar....there's multitude of books coming out) but one of those releases is being featured here TODAY.  Excited now?  *fist pump*

The book featured today is the second in a trilogy of YA paranormal books featuring one werewolf (among other creatures) by the name of Trey Laporte.  Despite my love of keeping you in suspense as long as possible, I'll sidestep that tactic in order to share the sheer bookish magic found within this one.  Ready?  Today's book of choice is...

Wereling, Book 2:
by

**Okay so if you haven't read the first one, this one is bound to have a spoiler or two...just be warned.**


Trey Laporte has spent most of his life hoping to have the one thing that many of us take for granted....a family. Now that he has one, no matter how unorthodox it may be, he plans on keeping it. Unfortunately, there are outside forces that have other ideas...much darker and fouler than the blackest night. Lucien Charron, his new mentor and guardian of sorts, is in grave danger. He may not be a member of the living breathing human race, but his undead status is rapidly changing to just plain dead thanks to the evil mastermind Caliban, his brother. Sibling rivalry be darned, he's out to end Lucien's life and turn the world into his playground (we're talking doom and gloom, not a theme park)...that is unless Trey can stop him. A big task for one person, even one werewolf type person...good thing he has a few friends on his side, namely Alexa (Lucien's daughter), Tom (Lucien's strong man), and Charles (a mage of extraordinary power). Will it be enough to stop the coming darkness or has the light of day finally met its match?

With depth, intrigue, and characters you love to hate and those you love to love (okay, you know what I mean...)....it's the formula for a successful page turner every time and one that author Steve Feasey seems to have a great grasp on. I love how the story was built in such a way that you WANT to follow it around each twist and turn, over each obstacle and through each triumph. The author's ability to lead you in one direction totally anticipating the next move only to have the story shift ever so slightly so that the possibilities you saw never come to pass and yet you are not disappointed by the change...fantastic.

We see Lucien disabled to the brink of death, yet still a source of strength for those that surround him. Trey has now accepted his heritage and utilizes his strengths (along with a few newly acquired ones) to help achieve the groups goal. Alexa faces a past better forgotten and a potential reunion that could change everything for better or worse. Tom...well, he's Tom and he is nothing is not cavalier in his attempts to keep everyone safe while toting along his weapon of choice of the moment. All your favorites are back and then some....but the then some consists of some unlikely heroes as well as new foes that are bit too much to describe right here. ~shudders~

Now don't be fooled....it's not all sunshine and rainbows, though I don't think the title, cover, or summary lead you to believe it is. There are battle scenes, a bit of descriptive gore (not too much, but enough), and darker magical creatures (think netherworld demons, not unicorns) in this chapter of Trey's story...I mean come on, he is a werewolf with a vampire mentor for crying out loud. It just lends the story an appeal to both female and males readers.

The only thing I can say I wasn't a fan of...the cover. Call me what you like (okay, not really...I have feelings too!), but a cover can capture my attention for good or for not. To be honest, had I not read the first one and been dying to see what happened next....I might have by passed it on the shelf, same goes for the first one. (A big mistake...let me tell you!) My ARC of the first one had this plain yet intriguing cover...black with silver white writing for the title, a classic moon with a cloud drifting by image and some haunting words from the story. Now THAT was a cover...or at least one that in my opinion may appeal to a broader audience. The actual final copy covers seem to cater more perhaps to the male reader (fellas, feel free to weigh in here)....but girls, don't dismay! The story is a great one and certainly not lacking in strong female leads.

Overall, a fantastic read from start to finish. The chapters are short and sweet catering to any avid readers need to finish "just one more" before calling it a night. You'll laugh (definitely). You'll cry (maybe...a little at least). You'll gasp in awe and fear of just what's been unleashed or where things are going next (for certain). If you haven't read the first book, I'd highly recommend it so you have the background regarding all the events taking place and the future taking shape. One final note...there's a little "Which Nether-Creature Are You?" quiz at books end...according to my score I'm borderline between the Werewolf and Vampire...go figure. ^_^

Recommended for fans of the YA genre with a paranormal persuasion....but with story enough to carry the demons, creatures, and magic along. ARC for review courtesy of Ksenia at Feiwel and Friends. (THANKS!) This book is scheduled to be released (as of this post) on 02/01/11. For more information on this title as well as the publisher's full catalog, feel free to visit their websites (1 and 2), check out the blog, or follow along on Twitter. Want to know more about the authors comings and goings? Check him out online both at his website and on Twitter.




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Now...for the other half of what you've been waiting for...the GIVEAWAY!  Thanks to the Ksenia over at Feiwel and Friends I have the pleasure of giving you a chance to win not only one book, but two.  That's right!  You have the chance to win a copy of both Wereling AND a galley of Wereling, Book 2:  Dark Moon!  Entries will be accepted starting RIGHT NOW and run through midnight CST Friday, February 18th, 2011...just in time for the full moon (hehe).
Here's all the details...


The prizes...

 
One winner will receive....
(1) finished copy of Wereling
AND
(1) galley copy of Wereling, Book 2:  Dark Moon
by Steve Feasey


 

How to enter...
Fill out THIS FORM.




 
Looking for bonus entries?
No worries!  There's several options listed on the form but here is one to get you started.  It's sort of a play off the quiz at books end, but without the benefit of a scoring system.  If you could be a paranormal creature, which one would you be and why?  We're talking werewolves, vampires, faeries, ghosts, etc...take your pick, share your thoughts in the comments below and score an extra entry (but remember you still have to fill out the form)!



The rules...
*Open to US/Canada mailing addresses only!  No P. O. Boxes please.
* Entries will be accepted from Monday, January 29th, 2011 through Friday, February 18th, 2011 at midnight CST.  The entries will be tallied and entered into the random.org randomizer, after which a random number will be picked by their number generator.  (This way all the entries are mixed up nicely.)
* All entries must be submitted using the form accessible through this post.  You MUST include your email address in order to be counted as well as contacted should you be chosen as the winner!
*The winner will be announced and contacted via email by Monday, February 21st, 2011 and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address.  Should they fail to respond in the given time frame, a new winner will be chosen.  If you choose to include your full name and mailing address in your contest entry, no worries....the time frame issue is erased.
*Winner's name and address will be forwarded to Ksenia at Feiwel and Friends for prize send out only and then discarded.


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There you have it.
So what are you waiting for?
Go, go, GO!


Until next time...good luck everyone...and happy reading!



Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Shopping Bag (65)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
Through her guidelines, your post does not actually have to be named the same and thus my post shall be..."In My Shopping Bag".  (just fits with the "foodie" theme a bit better in my humble opinion)
Let's take a peek inside my shopping bag this week....


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Review

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis (ARC)
(courtesy of Lucille at Simon & Schuster)
Ironically enough I had just finished looking at a teaser post on this title the day that it arrived in the mail.  A happy surprise indeed.  Proceeded to read chapter 1 (thoroughly enjoyed it as well) complete with an English accent.  ^_^  Scheduled for release April 5th, 2011.





Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester L. Laminack
(courtesy of Peachtree Publishers)
Now just try and tell me you didn't laugh/smile/chuckle at that cover...LOL!  Too cute...and I have it on good regard the story is just as good.  How do I know?  Oh, um...I don't know.  It couldn't possibly be that I read it the night it came in. (hehe)  Scheduled release date for this little charmer is March 2011.




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Received

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
(from Nayuleska of Nayu's Reading Corner)
Yay!  They came they came....and I'm guilty of reading the first two chapters of N&N right out of the box.  ^_^  Quite a bit of foul language in this one but I think the story will win out overall.  As for BYT, if it wasn't OH-SO-LATE when I opened the box, I would have read beyond were the teaser from 4 months back left off....was tempted though.



---------------------------------------------

Won

SIGNED Across the Universe bookmark and bookplate
(via contest from Arena at The Nerd's Wife)
Yay!  So glad to see these arrive safe and sound....and now they shall sit in a place of honor whilst my copy of the book wings its way to me.  ^_^)


 




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That's it for this week.
What did YOU get?
Do tell!
Until next time....happy reading!


The Roving Reader

If the beautiful background and overall scene wasn't enough....they had to add the little mouse with such a look of wonderment on his/her face.  So cute!

Young Fredle
by
Cynthia Voigt


Check it out!


** The Roving Reader is a MEME type feature created by yours truly to share those book covers spotted when out and about that catch your eye for one reason or another. Want to get in on the fun? You're welcome to use the MEME, just give a little credit love. Simply snap a picture of your recent find and post away! Happy reading! **

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Roving Reader

Now how much fun is this?!
A book full of pop out designs to fold and glue into little monsters!
I'm saying it....it's crafti-licious (yep, I went there).
^_^


Papertoy Monsters
by
Brian Castleforte


Check it out!


** The Roving Reader is a MEME type feature created by yours truly to share those book covers spotted when out and about that catch your eye for one reason or another. Want to get in on the fun? You're welcome to use the MEME, just give a little credit love. Simply snap a picture of your recent find and post away! Happy reading! **
 

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's Friday...AND a CSNStores.com Giveaway!

Happy Friday everyone!
Hopefully the week has treated you well and everything is line for a great weekend.  If not, hey, there's still time...use it wisely.  Anywho...  It's been a busy week both here on the site and in life so I thought why not give everyone a little fun break today.  Now I know what you're thinking...Friday is usually a break from the reviewing norm.  While that may be true, this particular break is set to score one lucky reader a chance at a rather nifty prize if I do say so myself.



Recently, I was contacted by Sean with CSNStores.com about a fabulous opportunity that I had the option of choosing for myself or sharing with all of you.  This involved some serious thinking on my part (*think*think*think*), I mean really, their items are all so grand and the choices are never ending.  Seriously!  You can get everything from this great bookish table set (see the image below and prepare to SQUEE) to modern bar stools, bookcases to blankets, and a little bit of everything in between.  It was a hard choice!

No...you're eyes are not deceiving you.
That IS a table and chairs that closes up to look like a bookcase!
Okay, so it wasn't that hard a choice really because honestly, my first thought was to share it with all of you.  (Okay, stop hugging the computer....there's more to read and a giveaway to enter!)  So here we are!  Let's get down to the nitty gritty details and get this giveaway started, shall we?

The prize....


(1)  $75 gift certificate to CSNStores.com
It doesn't cover the shipping costs, but you can use it on ANY product from ANY of their sites...and many of their products actually have free shipping so...score!



How to enter...
Just fill out THIS FORM.


I promise, it's short and sweet...and has a few options for extra entries.
In fact, here's a peek at one of those bonus options now. 

Click on over to the site using the link in the post above and take a look around.  Tell me one thing that REALLY catches your eye....and leave it in the comments below.  No worries, you don't have to buy that item if you win; this is more of a look and share to uncover more of the interesting things in their virtual catalog (and perhaps add to a wish list or two...hehe).




The rules...
*Open to US mailing addresses only!  No P. O. Boxes please.
* Entries will be accepted from Friday, January 28th, 2011 through Friday, February 25th, 2011 at midnight CST.  The entries will be tallied and entered into the random.org randomizer, after which a random number will be picked by their number generator.  (This way all the entries are mixed up nicely.)
* All entries must be submitted using the form accessible through this post.  You MUST include your email address in order to be counted as well as contacted should you be chosen as the winner!
*The winner will be announced and contacted via email by Monday, February 28th, 2011 and since it's an electronic prize no worries....the time frame issue to receive a response is erased!
*Winner's name and email address will be forwarded to Sean at CSNStores.com for prize send out only and then discarded.

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There you have it.
Can't wait to see what you guys find on the site...there is SO much to see!
Get your entries in now and start making that wish list.


Until next time...good luck everyone...and happy reading!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

No Name-Calling Week: Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy

Hi guys!


It's day two of the posts in support of National No-Name Calling Week here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  What's that?  You still haven't heard about this event?  So, now I know who didn't read yesterday's post.  *raises eyebrow*  Just kidding!  Really, it's a great movement to help end one form of bullying that touches almost everyone's life at one time or another.  For more information and how you can get involved, check out their website.  Moving on to the bookish side of things....

I think I've struck undiscovered bookish gold yet again with today's selection.  Curious?  You should be.  It's a great little children's book that encourages individuality and acceptance, a perfect fit for this week, don't you think?  Without further adieu, today's book of choice is...

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun
by
illustrated by
Kimberly Shaw-Peterson

Lucy has a problem.  She likes ketchup on toast and spaghetti in a hot dog bun, but that's not the problem.  Her problem is named Ralph.  Why?  He's chosen to be a bully and Lucy is his target.  Having tastes different from the masses is enough to make you stand out from the crowd, but since she looks different as well, she seems to be wearing a giant target for his snide remarks and cruelness.  Lucky for Lucy she has friends.  Lucky for Lucy she has family.  Lucky for Lucy she knows who she is even at this young age and that her tastes are her own...but will that be enough to stand up to this bully?

When I was contacted by Ms. Dismondy regarding this book, I was first taken in by the quirky title.  I mean, it's not your usual food choice (well, for Lucy it is) and it just made it a must to see just what this book was about.  Add to that the adorable cover art, a facial portrait of little Lucy holding her favorite treat.  Her sweet disposition and innocence is captured in her eyes and smile....not to mention a little gleefulness if I may say so, I mean she is obviously about to treat herself to a snack she adores.  Looking past the first layer charms, I happily found a book that not only was a pleasure to read (and share) but imparted many wonderful messages along the way.

Lucy shows great courage in both sharing her troubles with her Papa as well as taking the high road when the tables are turned later on in the story, but that's only the beginning.  Sharing.  Caring.  Treating others how you wish to be treated.  Speaking up for yourself.  BEING YOURSELF.  They're all there for little ones (and older readers) to see, read, and understand that it's okay to be different; in fact, it's part of OUR charm.  Imagine a world where everyone was the same and nobody ventured from the "norm".  We'd never get to try anything new, see something through another's eyes because the view would never change.  Without the things that make us different, we would lose so much of ourselves that we'd look like one giant cookie cut out after another.  Besides who says what the "norm" is anyway?  Us!

As for pairing this book with National No Name-Calling Week, it was a natural...after all Lucy's tormentor teases her on everything from her hair to what she eats.  He even goes as far as to fake an apology only to insult her further and on a more public level.  This easily could have crushed poor Lucy, saddling her with self doubt and second guessing for the rest of her days, but it did not.  Why?  Because in this case, she had a wonderful support system....her family, and friends.  They couldn't fight her battle for her, but their advice and support echoed in her heart and mind so when the time came to make a pivotal decision on how she'd handle the situation, she made a choice reflecting the values she'd been taught.  Was the outcome for the better?  Here, yes....in life, sometimes no; the important thing to remember is that you don't have to face it alone.  Use your support system and surround yourself with those that make you a better version of you.  Keep the positive close to keep the negative at bay.

In short, a wonderful little book to share with young readers just beginning to notice the difference between themselves and others to help build their self-esteem as well as make them more open to accepting what they see in lieu of fighting against it.  However...it's also a great reminder to readers well beyond the intended audience as for so many the message of acceptance learned however long ago can get muddled as we travel through life.  Share in little Lucy's story and remember what it means to be different in some ways....and yet the same where it really counts.

Review copy courtesy of author Maria Dismondy.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this book as well as her other, feel free to visit her website or check out her Facebook page.  Special note regarding the website....check under the 'resources' link for great activities to add to this empowering reading experience including a "Proud to Be Me" award and a few coloring pages for "a rainy (or snowy) day".

Until next time...stay just the way you are...and happy reading!



Taste Testing Tuesdays...on a Thursday (63)


Good morning (or whatever time it is where you are), everyone!
Welcome to another installment of Taste Testing Tuesdays here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  Taste Testing Tuesdays was inspired by 'Teaser Tuesdays', a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading
On the menu this week...one book that is still lingering much like the characters in it (you'll see)...and another that is flying by faster than a speeding bullet.  Ready for a taste?  Here we go!

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Lady Catherine snapped her fingers a second time, and another ninja charged -- this one unleashing throwing stars as he advanced.  Elizabeth drew her Katana and shielded herself from the first three flying weapons, then snatched the fourth out of the air and threw it back at its originator -- striking him in the thigh.
-- pg 130, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

What can I say...it has it moments...they just seem to come at about the same speed as the unmentionables.  Alas, much like Elizabeth herself, I am bound and determined to finish this one off this week....one way or another... (insert ominous music here)










It checked over its shoulder again before returning its attention to the paperwork.  The table of data showed nothing more interesting than the use, for the last few weeks, of a particular spell, and the demon pushed the paper away, positioning it in exactly the same place that it had been beforehand.  It was looking for notes of some kind, anything that might suggest what the Irishman, the vampire's brat daughter, and recently, even the werewolf boy might be looking for.
--pg 43-44, Wereling, Book 2:  Dark Moon by Steve Feasey (ARC)
Now this one is another story altogether.  Thoroughly enjoying it as much if not more so than the first book and can't wait to see what happens in the BIG showdown to come....







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Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
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 participants can add the book to their TBR.* 

 
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Until next time....happy reading!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No Name-Calling Week: Not Just For Breakfast Anymore by P. V. Lundqvist

Hi there!
Welcome back to another day here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
You may have heard (or may not, which in that case...let me be the first to tell you) this week is National No Name-Calling Week


Normally this is the part where I would "explain all about it " but the official site does such a lovely job, pardon me while I allow their words to speak to you....


No Name-Calling Week was inspired by a young adult novel entitled "The Misfits" by popular author, James Howe. The book tells the story of four best friends trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression. Motivated by the inequities they see around them, the "Gang of Five" (as they are known) creates a new political party during student council elections and run on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds. Though they lose the election, they win the support of the school's principal for their cause and their idea for a "No Name-Calling Day" at school.



Motivated by this simple, yet powerful, idea, the No Name-Calling Week Coalition, created by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, and consisting of over 40 national partner organizations, organized an actual No Name-Calling Week in schools across the nation during the week of March 1-5, 2004. This year, No Name-Calling Week will take place the week of January 24-28, 2011. The project seeks to focus national attention on the problem of name-calling in schools, and to provide students and educators with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities.
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Quite a good cause if I do say so myself.  For more information and resources, feel free to click through to their site via the link above.  Now on to the review...

Today's title is again in the category of "little known" though it's been overlooked in my opinion as it's quite original with not only a great story on the surface, but bigger lessons and messages hidden just below (which also makes it a perfect book to feature during this particular week).  May I have the pleasure of introducing you to today's book of choice....

by
P. V. Lundqvist

All Benny Shoats wanted was a pet...well, that and a "normal" name (real name is Bengt...those in the know call him "Benny", those not call him "Bent") , but he'd settle for a pet just the same.  Seeing as though it's his birthday and he and his mother are visiting the Pet-o-rama pet store, he feels he has a pretty good shot.  Taking a visual inventory uncovers the usual suspects:  reptiles, kittens and every boys dream....puppies.  Now THAT'S a pet he could really have some fun with.  Teach him tricks.  Talk him for walks.  Feed him. Groom him.  Play catch and fetch with him.  Yep, a pup would be just the ticket to Benny's continued happiness.  Good news for Benny...he is in fact getting a pet for his birthday!  ~happy dance~  Bad news...his parents like to do thing "differently" and it's not quite the pet he had in mind.  Benny wants to keep the news quiet, but things have a way of coming out and the new arrival to their small town is enough to start more than a few conversations.  Will this be the ruin of young Benny's reputation or will it be the start of many life lessons learned that reveal what true courage, friendship, and love are all about? 

To say the story was a surprise would be an understatement as I truly didn't know what to expect when I first started.  I mean it seemed that all that was going to happen did in the first chapter or two.  Birthday came.  Pet came.  Unhappy birthday boy dealing with the unexpected present.  What more could happen to keep my attention for the next 150+ pages?  More than first glance would have told me that's for certain.

Okay, spoiler or no spoiler...you'd find out soon enough; Benny's new pet is a Vietnamese Potbellied pig. Now you see why he wasn't so keen on the idea of his new pet....at first. You see, Benny was picked on all his life most everywhere they went for one thing or another and although this little piggy doesn't seem ideal for the young man, they make quite a match by books end, teaching each other many a lesson along the way. He learns about responsibility (taking care of a pet is no small matter), acceptance (not just of his pet, but of others...even those standing against him), standing up for oneself (no matter how small....go piggy go!), true friends will always be there (and never give up either), and that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. There is always a choice to be made in every situation; making the right one is the tough part but it's also what helps us to grow.  Speaking of growth...

I bet you're wondering why I chose to feature this book this week, am I right?  Well, simple really....aside from the fact that I read it recently and wanted to share the bookish goodness, there is a school bully (Danny Doodlesack) within these pages that is guilty of name calling (and so much more), an offense that hurts the receiving party more than they may know.  Benny is given advice from his parents a few times on how to deal with this formidable opponent albeit indirectly since he is unwilling (perhaps unable to a degree....pride and all) to just come out and tell them what's happening.  Try as he may, nothing truly seems to work but the point is he tried.  Grant it, some of the actions taken were not exactly civil (boys will be boys sometimes...and take suggested courses of action to the extreme) but the intent was the same...to just stop the unwarranted bullying from occurring.  As it turns out, Danny had his reasons for taking things out on Benny (it comes out in over the course of the story), but it doesn't in any way make his actions right. 

Moral of the story...don't be afraid to let someone know you're being bullied whatever the manner may be.  If they silence your voice, they've won...plain and simple.  Just hiding your head in the sand about the situation won't work either...it doesn't often stop on its own.  SPEAK UP.  Let someone know what's happening be it a parent, teacher, principal, or other adult you trust.  You don't have to endure bullying in silence as so many children (heck, even adults) do.  You deserve to be you.  You deserve to be different (stand tall Bengt!), unique (yay for unusual but cool pets!), a 100% original version of whoever you are right now in this moment (go you!).  I mean really...who wants a world where EVERYONE and EVERYTHING is the same?  Say it with me now....b-o-r-i-n-g spells BORING.  Do your own thing, just be considerate of others as they do theirs as well.

In summary, a great book in both message AND story.  From the quirky cover art (did you see the little guy flying through the air by the title?) to the final scenes, it'll keep you turning pages to see just how this chapter of Benny's life turns out and leave you with a tear in your eye for all those suffering in silence in one way or another....but believe me, you will remember it.

Author P.V. Lundqvist
Review copy received courtesy of author P. V. Lundqvist.  (THANKS!)  For more information, feel free to visit his blog or follow along on Twitter.  According to his bio, the author is "...a writer and father...loves his kids, pet pigs and baseball -- in that order.".  Well, well, well....who'd have thought?  A bit of personal experience in the book perhaps?  *ponders*

Until next time....happy reading!




Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.


Is anyone else noticing how quickly 2011 is flying by?  I mean really, it feels like only yesterday we were celebrating the holidays and next week...it's February already.  *shakes head*  I suppose part of that has to do with the incredible amount of books that are coming out this year, a good portion of which are definitely anticipated by this reader as I'm sure they are for you.  This past weekend was definite a triumph in the reading category for me.  I was able to finish two books I had only started last week AND read a good chunk of another one I've been straining at the bit to read.  Yep, a well read reader is a happy reader.  Time to share one of those reads with you.  Ready?

The featured title today is from an author whose name many would recognize in the Children's Fiction genre, though this was my first encounter with his work.  It's also the release date for the title so we're celebrating its book birthday with a review.  Grab your noise makers, put on your funny hats, and wish a HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to....

The Genius Files:
by

May I introduce you to Coke and Pepsi...McDonald.  Now before you even ask, no...that's not a new corporate takeover in the making or bid to drive rumors of some strange agreement between the companies; it's merely the names of our lead characters as given by their parents.  You see, they were expecting one child, a boy to be precise, and they were naming him Coke not after the fizzy drink (which in its diet version I LOVE very much) but after a solid product coming from the distillation of coal (check it out on Google or Wikipedia).  When the birthing process was over....Mrs. McDonald begged to differ and thus Pepsi was born (so to speak)!

If having names like these doesn't suit your fancy, no worries...you're in the same boat as them but after a while Coke and Pep (her nickname) were so far over it, any taunts were more amusing than irksome.  The twins have your typical sister brother relationship.  They annoy each other but deep down they are family and would do whatever was necessary to ensure their well being.  Good thing too because in their foreseeable future is quite a lot of butt saving (and kicking) thanks to a little something called "the Genius Files".  But what they are and exactly what they have to do with the twins is a mystery...at least until drastic events bring their knowledge of the files from "need to know" to "better tell them now so they might help us out AND survive".  Too bad it's the beginning of summer vacation, aka their road trip across the U.S.A. on their way to a relatives wedding.  They're gonna miss all the "adventure" (read as "threats on their lives")....or will they?  Bad guys can travel too you know.  Yep...this is one family trip that's going to go down in history...secret history, but history nonetheless.

First things first....overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Seriously!  The writing is fluent; the story gracefully moves from page to page, chapter to chapter without missing a beat.  The reader is drawn in from the start by the characters themselves.  Coke and Pep (aka Pepsi) are a riot!  The fact that they don't develop a complex after all of the dangers that befall them is amazing in and of itself (think jumping off cliffs to escape certain doom and trying to save your life with SPAM -- yes, the food...you have to read it, but it's worth it).  Their parents, though more intentioned as side characters, shine through with their wacky personalities; Dad loves history whereas Mom loves history....of the off-kilter variety (think professor versus Guinness World Records) providing for several interesting situations along their trip.  The third party narrator whose identity remains a mystery throughout the book is wonderful giving the work an unbiased voice that is still fully interactive in the events shared.  Speaking of interactive.... 

This is one book to read with a computer handy.  I'll give you second to digest that.  Yes, a book to read with a computer nearby.  Why?  We're right back to the interactive aspect of the book.  The narrator invites you to look things up online and follow their journey through Google Maps, MapQuest and the like.  Really!  They actually take a moment to pause and tell you to look it up, or have a little blurb in the sidebar with instructions on how to follow along to bring their trip to life.  It makes everything in the story more real then words on paper, presenting readers with something tangible that connects to the world around us...and creates an instant itinerary for future road trips.  I'd love to see some of the places described...though I'm not certain the giant ball of twine would be at the top of my list (or what befalls the baddies at this particular pit stop along the way ~shudders~).

Along with the good, must come of drop of the not-so-good I'm afraid....and what struck me as off in this particular book was worth a mention in my mind.  Let me reiterate, I enjoyed the story, but how they achieved the ending (for the time being) doesn't sit well with me.  *MINI-SPOILER PROCEED WITH CAUTION*  Dr. Warsaw who was the creator of "the Genius Files" attributes his innovative idea of using the genius children of the world to solve its problems to his experience at the Pentagon...on 9/11.  *moment of silence*  I mean I get it.  Sometimes tragedy sparks innovation and so I'm not as opposed to including the events as something that sparked a change for the better but the ending was simply wrong (my opinion).  It makes a mention in two places (in my ARC at least) to his going crazy because of the events he witnessed (the story goes that he stepped out of his office a few moments before the crash occurred and witnessed the whole event whilst escaping with his life).  A low blow in my humble opinion and though I can see how it may not be as noticeable to the intended age group...it really put a damper on an otherwise highly enjoyable story.  I mean, some of the kids (and adults) reading this work lost people in those attacks either physically or mentally....is it really right to say something like that even for the sake of a fictitious work? *SPOILER OVER - PROCEED AS USUAL*

All in all, I did enjoy the story, which my devouring it in a mere 2-3 days from when it was received certainly echoes.  Set aside some time when you begin this one because you won't want to put it down until you've reached the final page....which by the way, is not the end per se since book two is alluded to (yay!).  Part two of this family trip should be rather interesting to say the least.  Recommended for readers of all ages...there's a little something for everyone in here (even a lesson on the differences between codes and ciphers plus a chance to solve a few along the way!).

ARC for review received via LibraryThing Early Reviewers and HarperCollins.  (THANKS!)  For more information on either bookish entity, feel free to check out their sites as linked, or you know they're on Twitter too so search them out!  Scheduled release date for this book was 01/25/11 (TODAY....happy book birthday to you...) so be on the look out at a bookstore near you.

Until next time...happy reading!


Monday, January 24, 2011

In My Shopping Bag (64)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
Through her guidelines, your post does not actually have to be named the same and thus my post shall be..."In My Shopping Bag".  (just fits with the "foodie" theme a bit better in my humble opinion)
Let's take a peek inside my shopping bag this week....


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Review

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy
(courtesy of the author)
When the author approached me about this one, I took one look at the cover (okay, okay, and a brief look at what it was about) and knew I wanted to share this with my readers.  The cover art is fabulous and the story (which I may have read as soon as it arrived...*whistles*) sounds like it has a great message to convey.  Speaking of messages...check out the one the author sent along with the book about bullying....


...couldn't have said it any better.  Review coming soon for this one...stay tuned...






The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly
(courtesy of Pamela Dorman Books)
Have been seeing several tweets on Twitter about this one.  Sounds like an interesting read, so I retweeted to spread the word as so many of us do.  Low and behold, I was offered a copy to review!  How I could say no?  ^_^





Sudden Moves by Kelli Sue Landon
(courtesy of the author, Bostick Communications, and Outskirts Press)
This one will be stopping through on a blog tour some time in February...more to come as details are made available, but it sounds like a YA mystery with potential.



The Branding by Micaela Wendell (ARC)
How to Slay a Dragon, Book 1:  Journals of Myth by Bill Allen
(2) promo stickers each from Haint Misbehavin' and What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader
(1) bookmark/clip
(courtesy of BelleBooks and Bell Bridge Books)
Fantasy AHOY!  Can't wait to see what these two fantasy finds have in store for me...and share it with you of course.  ^_^




A Book of Angels by Sophy Burnham (ARC)
Seeking the Sacred by Stephanie Dowrick (ARC)
(courtesy of Tarcher/Penguin)
These two ARCs were add-ins sent along with something else...get to that in a second.  The first one is scheduled for release in April, while the second is set for June.  Though not my typical reading choices, I may give one or both a go.  If not, perhaps they will find a new home with one of you.  Now back to that OTHER part of the package....



The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart (ARC)
This was the original intention of that package....TWO ARCs to be given away to two lucky readers!  Watch for the contest coming soon to a blog near you (okay, my blog...hehe). ^_^  Feel free to check out my review in the mean time for a sneak peek at what awaits you within....

 

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Won

The Genius Files:  Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman (ARC)
I admit it.  I dove into this one as soon as it arrived.  Why?  It wasn't completely intentional either.  I mean I usually check out the first few pages when a book comes in but when I stopped "checking out the first few pages" I was already 50 pages into the book.  ^_^  Added to my reading rotation.  Scheduled for release 01/25/2011.




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Received

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (ARC)
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 2:  The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood (ARC)
(from one of my bestest blogger buddies ever...Danielle from There's A Book)
Can I just say that bookish friends are the best?  Seriously!  How many other people do you know that have the opportunity to go to bookish events and get all sorts of fantabulous goodies...and think about sharing them with their online friends?  Yep....big SQUEE of joy was heard when this arrived.  I knew about the second one (and was thrilled to pieces) but the first was a TOTAL surprise (and a rather happy one indeed!  YAY!)  Special thank to Danielle for the fabulous goodies!  If you haven't checked out her site yet...well all I can say is you are TOTALLY missing out on great posts and great conversation.  ^_^



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That's it for this week.
What did YOU get?
Do tell!

Until next time....happy reading!



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