Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Evolution: For better or worse...

Hi there readers!
Nice to see you once again here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  A quick reminder before we launch into today's review, the Imagin Books scavenger hunt ends tonight at midnight...up for grabs, bookish prizes galore!  Just click on the link in the right hand sidebar for all the details.  I promise, the entry is easy-peasey.  Moving on...

Today's featured title is an ebook I finished late last week and have yet had the chance to expound on the thoughts and theories floating through my head as a result.  Consider this post me making that chance.  The title is different, the cover unexpected....but the story is one you don't want to miss.  Without further adieu, today's book of choice is...

Darwin's Children, Volume 1

From the author....
Life can get pretty complicated for any seventeen-year-old girl, but for a home-schooled telepathic black girl trying to survive in a prestigious private school in small-town Jonesborough, Tennessee, it can be maddening – especially when her telepathic father keeps eavesdropping on her thoughts!

Jaycie Lerner’s family isn’t the usual mom-dad-kid setup. Her family's special – in more ways that one. Her mom’s MIA, but Allison, her personal live-in ‘trainer,’ is more than a mom, with her own special abilities, like being able to lift cars and run incredibly fast. And her godfather John can literally convince anyone to do anything.

But, as far as the rest of the world’s concerned, Jaycie’s on the outside looking in. The townsfolk love her pediatrician father, but she doesn’t fit in with ‘normal’ kids, and she doesn’t really want to. Most of her free time is spent training to keep her telekinetic and telepathic powers under control. But there’s one thing she can’t control – her feelings, especially when her best friend Matt is nearby. If only he knew what she was truly capable of...

Everything seems to be status quo for Jaycie and her family, until she receives a cryptic message from a stranger and meets a very unusual girl new to Jonesborough. Then all hell breaks loose!
Jaycie Lerner. How can one summarize this young lady? Studious for certain. Dedicated to everything and everyone. Oh yes...I almost forgot...a little spitfire just waiting to explode upon the world. Okay, perhaps she's not going to explode (at least not if her family has anything to say about it) but she can certainly unleash the wrath when necessary despite her outward appearance. At school and in life, she flies under the radar...almost successfully except for the taunts of some fellow students who just don't know when to quit, which leaves her as an outsider. As with most of us that have ever been in her position, looking in doesn't feel all that good and it saddened me to see her want to fit in so desperately given all her talents. Sad as that is, it does reflect the real world. We're not always that accepting of change or those that are "different". *shakes head* It's a shame too because we miss out on some stellar opportunities because of it. Anywho, where was I ...oh yes...

Jaycie is the girl with all the talent but there are several other formidable friends in her extended family that have powers of their own. From persuasion to mind control, super speed to super strength, it's a mixed bag of power just waiting to burst at the seams...or go up in flames as we discover two new characters that have a unique way of lighting up the night. Alison is her trainer, surrogate mother (hers is MIA), and friend, there when she needs her through thick and thin...even when it comes time to talk about self control in regards to relationships and growing up. Thank goodness she's there because is left unchecked, the chemistry between Jaycie and one particular fellow is enough to rock all our worlds...literally, or at least break a few windows. Her father is in a league of his own and certainly an example of what not to do if you're a parent with the ability to read your child's mind. *glares at character* Yep...a teenage mind is dangerous enough without them poking around in there too. But seriously, his character goes through growing pains as well and it's nice to see that relationship development and change throughout the story.

On the newcomer side, we have Haylee...who is much more than she appears and has suffered more than could be imagined. She's a strong girl despite initial outward appearances...think shrinking violet...and it's wonderful to see how she comes into her own eventually. It may not be the most peaceful path but its one that she has to travel and comes to terms with thanks to her new found "family". Continuing in the newbie vein, we meet and greet a few members of the Dey-Vah Guard as well as the more common Guardians. Let's just say though their intentions are for balance and keeping the peace, seeing one is not always a sign of good things to come. The Gray family has a brief stint towards the later half of the story but I sincerely hope we get to learn more about their family as they seem fierce and fascinating themselves. Add to this mix a love interest for Jaycie and've got a wide variety of personalities to sort through, but you're sure to find one you can identify with. Kudos to the author on that accomplishment! A crowded cast can be hard to manage but she pulls it off well.

Story wise it holds its own and then some.  It breaks free of the "book-one-in-a-series" syndrome early on leaving no doubt that you're in for quite a ride.  There's highs and lows.  Scenes of total control and total chaos but in the end, it's a well scripted plot that's carried out evenly throughout the pages and leaves you waiting for more...or at least it left me waiting for the next installment.  ^_^

There are two points though that did rub me the wrong way, which I'll touch on briefly here if you please.  The first one actually occurs near book's end.  One particular character is trying to recover from something or other (no, I didn't forget what happened, I just don't want to spoil it for you) and there is this dramatic build up of how badly they're doing and then POOF...they'll back in action.  I had a small case of reader whiplash from that turnaround.  It just seemed like an odd turn of events due to the speed at which it happened.  Does it affect the ending?  No...just raised my eyebrow for a page or two.
Second item to mention...that (at times) was maddening for me personally was the emphasis placed on a person's ethnicity.  For me, it doesn't really play a role for the most part.  I mean, my brain conjures the story into a movie of sorts and I can see all the characters based off the descriptions and such but their actual detailed features when brought front and center, would in fact be merely holders if you will.  Sure I can tell you who the blue eyed blond girl was or that the strapping young lad with the dark hair was following so-and-so, but at the base of it all is a love of the story.  The journey, triumphs, tribulations, loves gained and lost....all of the actual elements are what I embrace as a reader and though I certainly understand why the emphasis was placed (as well as the cover art....just Google any of the multiple discussions on the "washing" of covers and the like or even read through the author's thoughts on a similar branch to the subject)), it doesn't truly make a difference for me one way or the other.  In fact, it almost gets in the way of my reading experience...almost.  (Hey, I DID say I liked this one A LOT...didn't I?  ^_^)
All in all, an exciting start to a series I know will remain on my wish list until we reach the very end....though when or where that might be is any ones guess.  There is a world of characters and challenges left to explore in this literary's hoping the author takes her time showing us each and every one.  I for one, can't wait!  Recommended read for teens through adults as there are a few sensual situations, crimes of which shall not be named here scenes and retribution scenes that the kiddos could do without, but rest assured it's kept as clean as it can be considering what the one character lives through. 
Special thanks to My Love Affair With Books for introducing this title to me in one of their great bookish posts, thereby giving me the chance to make the connection with the author all through my little ole comment.  Gotta love how the blogging world many ways to reach out and influence each other.  My thanks as well to author Natasha Larry for the review copy as well as a fascinating read.  (THANKS!)  Curious how the series got its start?  Check out the author's blog post for a glimpse behind the creative process.  For more information regarding her work, check out her website (which at the time of this post looked to be still under construction) or follow along on Twitter.  ALSO...through September 29th, 2011, GoodReads has your chance to win a copy of the book to call your own so be sure to check it out! 
Until next time...happy reading!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Healing Crystal: Heir to Power by Michele Poague

Hi there readers!

It's me again.  Betcha didn't think you'd get TWO bookishly good posts today now did ya?  Admit it.  You were skeptical....can't say I blame you though what with my recent schedule (I was skeptical too!).  This week it's back to back work and very little time to squeeze in the reading...but squeeze I shall!  All those years of playing Tetris as a child pay off in the puzzle department, even where time is concerned.  (If you have to ask what Tetris is...O_O...please don't; just Google's not nice to make the blogger girl feel older than she is.)

Today's review features a title that I literally just in this morning.  Yep.  I was going to finish last night but it turned into the wee hours of the morning and yeah....I needed to grab just a smidge of sleep.  Once my eyes opened again, I was back to the book.  It's not a light read in any sense of the word but it IS a good one to say the least.  Allow me to introduce the book of choice for today.....

The Healing Crystal:
Book One, Heir to Power

From the website....
The colony of Survin has been hidden for centuries, protecting an ancient religious artifact called the Healing Crystal from men who would steal or destroy it. Kairma, heir to the Crystal, is destined to mate with the handsome Naturi and become the leader of the reclusive colony, but she is too young to realize the peril soon to arrive. At sixteen, Kairma is too young to realize many things ....

Kairma would rather go spelunking with her brother and his best friend than study ancient medicine and religious laws, but the discovery of a tomb containing ancient artifacts leads Kairma to question her religion and the true nature of the Crystal. To further complicate Kairma's ascent, a childhood illness has left her resembling a nearby race of men both hated and feared by the people of Survin. Because of this, Kairma's younger sister Kinter, who is in love with Naturi, believes she is the rightful heir.

Disease and infertility have decimated Survin, but bigotry and religious laws forbid the introduction of new members so things heat up when a traveling archeologist stumbles upon the reclusive colony and introduces a powerful new weapon. Forced into a larger world, the Survinees discover they hold an object of unimaginable power, a power other men covet, a power that might save or forever damn the human race.

Sounds exciting, right?  Now grant it, it takes a certain level of interest in stories that delve into the past and feature native societies in all their rich color....which despite my lack of enthusiasm for the 'Historical Fiction' genre, I have in abundance.  For me, it's not the accuracy of such stories that holds my interest (I don't want to measure everything against a timeline to see if events were researched down to the second), it's the story itself.  The mystical nature of such cultures in both how they lived and what they believed.  From the everyday comings and goings to the hard won battles against (or for) progress, it's the whole package in a story like this that had to pull you in or you may never find your footing...especially with a lengthy novel such as this.

As we've previously discussed, the first book in a trilogy or series is notorious for introducing us to the characters and general story, but not usually tackling anything rich and meaty.  In this case however, we get many an introduction but also quite a bit of forward motion in the storyline.  We glimpse the Healing family as well as the whole of the Survinee village in both childhood and present times.  We come to understand ,at least to the level that they understand, the teachings of their people and the value of the crystal beyond that of riches.  We see the struggles they face both now and ahead, especially with the interference provided by a recent influx of strangers.  Tie all of this together with an unexpected find within their temples, technology they certainly don't understand and a desire to keep the peace that when put to the test could withstand the blows of a thousand swords, this is one novel that doesn't suffer from the "book one syndrome".

Survin is an idyllic setting for a story such as this.  It's removed from the world as we know it allowing it to flourish and thrive for many many annums (years) without the forward motion of progress.  Some would say they should be pitied for being left behind, but for these people it's just another day, not another dollar.  Who wouldn't like to be stripped of all the worry that money troubles cause?  Grant it, I wouldn't be creating this post right now and my beloved books would be a thing of the past (or rather future?) but the ability to truly enjoy each and every day without that stress would be amazing...though don't get me wrong, they do have their own worries and at such a young age for some.  Hmm...perhaps no society is truly perfect, but at the very least this one is pure in their intentions even if those that surround them are not always that way.

Character wise, we've a wide range even in this small culture.  Kairma is a delight to see as next in line for the position of Miral.  She's uncertain, a bit rough and tumble, different in many senses of the short, not whom you'd expect for such a set group of people, which is exactly why I love the position she's in.  It gives readers a chance to see that destiny does not always knock on the door of the most popular (hardly), the most beautiful (though she certainly is, just not in the most accepted way), or the most cunning (yeah, I think her younger sister Kinter got that gene...unintentionally);  sometimes it simply chooses us for who we are and let's the rest take care of itself.  Her sister Kinter is one of those characters you want to throttle at times for their infantile behaviour while her brother Zedic is the epitomy of all a brother should be.  Her mother Jettena is carrying more emotionally than first meets the eye (which comes out later in the story) while her grandmother, Miral Isontra steals the show in her quiet yet commanding ways. 

Next we have the villagers with their many talents...and opinions.  What?  You didn't think everything the Healing family said was met without any disagreements now did you?  Ha!  Far from it.  Though most are settled rather quickly, opposition does show its war face now and then especially with several of the elders and their stiff ideas of what should and shouldn't be done.  Progress is the natural way of a degree....even in this remote society.  When change is introduced to their long held laws, they are not quick to welcome it; certainly adds for some lively discussions.  Let's not forget about the city folk (from the distantly neighboring plains) and the mysterious White Ones (they live in the surrounding caves, attack passersby once in a while but who or what they are is never fully explained...yet) who round out the extensive cast.  Rest assured there are many waiting to make your acquaintance in this book...

Moving on to two things we didn't see (and I know the author was simply holding out on us here)... first, the explanation of what they uncovered out at the God Stones.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone so I'll keep the details under wraps but it makes me curious about those that left it behind.  Are we talking future civilization or a past ahead of itself?  Only time will tell I'm afraid as the trilogy progresses.  Second on the list of things not seen....Kairma's Seridar.  It's sort of a coming of age party and her formal introduction as Vice Miral (or village healer) well as the time when the new Comad will be chosen, who just so happens to be her mating partner (aka husband).  Grant it, that's not the entire point of the story (the love interest portion at least) but it does provide for a rather interesting quandary as it flusters the characters involved, pushing them to sort out their feelings and stake their claim as it were before its too late.  I've got my favorite chosen...*cough*  Collin   *cough* ....but there is at least one other that is definitely in line for this role (Naturi) and he's certainly no "second choice" (as in if he's not off the market thanks to Kairma, there are many girls just waiting for their chance).  Hopefully this mini-cliffhanger will be answered in book two... *fingers crossed*

All in all, an enjoyable read through and through.  You get adventure, a taste of history, a smidge of romance, and danger all in one package making it easy for everyone to find some aspect they'd enjoy.  It's a book about the journey and time passing, not about a quick and tidy ending for a fast entertainment fix.  Best set some time aside when you start this 564 pager...yep, 500+ the people of Survin will invite you in with open arms so you'll never want to leave...even if you could. 

Recommended for teen readers through adults as the intimate scenes are demure and violence is sparse on details.  Review copy received courtesy of publicist BetteRose and author Michele Poague.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this incredible trilogy, feel free to visit the official website, 'like' them on Facebook, follow on Twitter, link on LinkedIn, or seek out her work at one of these bookish sites...GoodReads, Shelfari or LibraryThing.  Book one and two (Fall of Eden) are on sale now with book three (Ransom) scheduled to round out the trilogy in December of this year. 

Special note....if you do happen to be in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota area September 22nd, don't miss the launch party for book two scheduled that evening.  For more details, check out the 'News and Events' section of the author's site.

Until next time....happy reading!

Taste Testing Tuesdays

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 ebook title that I'm almost kinda sorta done with, hence the review will be coming soon.  Ready for a tastey sample of it first?  Here it comes!
He looked me up and down in a way that made me strain not to strike out at him. “You could be fine if you had some work done on you.”
-- pg 207, Hotblood: A House of Slide Novel by Juliann Wicker
O_O  Okay.  I don't even know who this is right off...but I want to smack them upside the head.  Really..a comment like that...*grr*  Stay tuned for more on this ebook read in the coming days....

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.* 


Until next time....happy reading!

Monday, August 29, 2011

In My Shopping Bag (87)

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 from this past week....

For Review
A Summer in Europe by Marilyn Brant
(ARC for review courtesy of the author and Kensington Books)
I actually spotted this one when checking out the giveaways on GoodReads and shared it with my fellow readers via Twitter.  Unbeknownst to be at the time, the author whom I've "talked" with before was working her magic and getting an ARC sent to me for review.  ^_^  (Thanks!)  Can't wait to see what story awaits us within this beautiful cover... *gazes at cover*....release date scheduled for November 29th, 2011 as of this post.

Darke by Angie Sage (ARC)
Instructions for a Broken Heart by
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
See's Candies truffles
This wonderful care package was received from a dear blogging friend...Danielle of There's A Book, perhaps you know her?  If not, you definitely should.  (Thank you so much not only for the package but your kind words and friendship. [hugs])
Thirst, No. 3 by Christopher Pike
Dark Visions by L.J. Smith
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

Zooborns by Andrew Bleiman
Assorted doggy office supplies ^_^

Twilight Journals

Picked Up
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
That's it for this week.
So, what did you get?
Do tell!
Until next time...happy reading!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Roving Reader

Hi there readers!
Check out this bookishly fun puzzle. It features a classic fairy-tale with the challenge of an actual puzzle which when all is said and done is stored in a box styled to resemble a classic book! Pretty cool, right?

What did you find when out and about this weekend?
Do tell!

Happy reading!

Friday, August 26, 2011

BLOG TOUR: Repairing Rainbows by Lynda Fishman

Hiya readers!
Welcome back to a special Friday edition of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  Why is it special you ask?  Good question.  Today is special due to the guests we have stopping by the site courtesy of the Tribute Books blog tour for Repairing Rainbows by Lynda Fishman. 

You may well recognize the book as something you've seen around here before...if so, good eye!  (If not, no can get acquainted with it in a moment. ^_^)  It is a book that I've featured once before, January of this year to be precise (wow....doesn't seem like THAT long ago) and one that was difficult to review.  How so?  (Gee...aren't we full of questions today...) The difficulty stems from the genre that the book belongs to....the memoir.  Non-fiction books, especially ones recounting intimate details of a person's life present a challenge unique to themselves because really, how can you discount what a person says or shares when its from real life experience?  It's a touchy subject but one that I believe can be tackled if it's approached honestly and openly....sharing your experience with the work and writing as opposed to the actual topics covered.  That's what I aimed for in my initial review and for my efforts, it was received rather well. 

When I heard about the upcoming tour from Nicole at Tribute Books, I wondered if there was a way to participate in order to share the author's story with you once again in a new way.  The's guest post.  Author Lynda Fishman was kind enough to indulge me once again and share with us an interesting analogy of her life story in comparison to....The Wizard of Oz.  Read on my friends, read on....


Guest Post:  Author Lynda Fishman
(Repairing Rainbows)

Throughout our lives together, people have been shocked when they hear our stories. When they ask how we've made it through all these years, and we seem so normal, we always said that you deal with what you have to deal with -- what choice did we have? But looking back, I realize that we did have choices. We always have choices. And we made choices. People don't always choose to deal with things the same way.

When I think back to those early teen years, I realize that it occurred to me, even then, that my life was comparable to Dorothy's in The Wizard of Oz. Like Dorothy, I intuitively understood that the decisions and the planning for the direction of my life was up to me.

Dorothy and her little dog Toto, were caught in a tornado and swept away to a land beyond the rainbow - the land of Oz. She didn't just stand there. She didn't walk aimlessly in circles. She embarked on a courageous quest to find a way to return home.

She chose to lean on the wonderful people she met as she followed the Yellow Brick Road - the people who were caring, positive and sincere - Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, the Munchkins, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Lion. Following the Yellow Brick Road together, they did their best to dodge the bad guys -- the ones who were miserable, negative or mean - The Wicked Witch of the West and the Flying Monkeys.

Sometimes Dorothy is a damsel in distress to be rescued by her friends, and other times it's the reverse, with Dorothy rescuing her friends. Throughout the story, Dorothy chose a direction, she stayed focused and optimistic, and she held onto her hope with persistence and determination.

Is that where the rainbows in your book's title come from? [I've been asked.]  The whole Dorothy thing was a memory (that I had totally forgotten about) that came to me when I was recently writing a speech. When I listened to the words in the song Somewhere Over The Rainbow, I was blown away. So it wasn't inspiration - it was validation!
Well said and certainly an interesting post, don't you think?
To check out an excerpt of Repairing Rainbows, click right here.
Interested in purchasing the title?  Here's a few more links to get you started...
Amazon     Chapters/Indigo       Kindle
Special thanks to author Lynda Fishman for providing that wonderful glimpse behind the scenes and to Nicole at Tribute Books for the chance to bring you another dose of this inspiring work.  (THANKS ladies!)  For more information on the book as well as the author's continuing efforts to help provide a positive influence in the lives of others, feel free to check out her website, or follow along on Twitter.  To check out all the excitement on the tour, be sure to stop by the official site.  Last but certainly not least, to find out more about Tribute Books be it their blog, publications, or book tours, be sure to click on the links I just left along the way and by all means, follow on Twitter...I know I do.
Until next time...happy reading!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

READ ALL ABOUT IT: Quirk Books Announces Untitled Sequel

Hi there fellow readers!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers...the place to read your voracious appetite for all things book related!  From reviews to contests, announcements and discussion posts, you'll find it all right here...including the opportunity to ADD to your Wish List, which just so happens to be the gist of this particular post.  (Hey don't blame me...I'm a reading enabler it's true, but you had to have the desire to enable first for it to we're equally guilty.)

Get ready.  It's time to....


QUIRK BOOKS has announced that there WILL in fact be a sequel to this year's break out New York Times Bestselling YA release, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (my review of said title can be found here...just in case you're curious).  It is currently slated for publication Spring of 2013....AND, as if that news wasn't exciting enough, it looks like BOTH books will be getting the movie star treatment.  That's options have already been sold!

To check out the FULL press release, simply click here.

As for me, I'm off to create a reminder (or two or three) about this forth coming work because believe me....I will DEFINITELY be reading it.

Until next time...happy reading!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

Hi there insatiable readers!
How goes your week thus far?  Good I hope.  Mine...ehhh, could be better, could be worse.  The short of it would be I'm hanging in there.

This week has been refreshing what with a little extra time to write up reviews in my usual fashion.  I'm certain not everyone is as happy about that as I since I tend to get a bit wordy when the time presents itself.. but you love me despite that, right?  ^_^  Anywho, onward to today's's a doozy!

The spotlight shines today on a book that made it's debut earlier this year from the good folks over at Knopf Books for Young Readers.  If you're one of THOSE readers that shies away from reading a title because the recommended age group doesn't include your own (as in it's written for younger readers), than I have a few words of advice.....GET OVER IT. 

It may seem rude, it may seem may seem like an insult from the 80's when words like that were apparently common place ~whistles~ but it is the truth.  There are so many good, no GREAT books that while intended for such and such an age range are perfectly enjoyable to the adult psyche and I for one will not be stopped by seemingly imposed limitations (well, they would be self imposed really because publishers put that on there as a guide for parents/guardians anyway...).  That being said, I give you the fantastical work that is today's feature...intended for younger readers but an adventure YOU CAN'T MISS!  Today's book of choice is....

The Books of Beginning, Book One:

From the publisher...

A snowy winter's night. Three small children are chased from their home by the forces of a merciless darkness. Ten years later, Kate, Michael and Emma are no closer to the truth about what separated their family.

The answer lies with an enchanted atlas.

A short and sweet summary of the wonder that lies within the pages of this novel...but just revealing the top of the iceberg on this title.  Being the first book in a series (trilogy, technically), it could have easily fallen under the curse of the first book.  What curse?  Oh you know...that stage where book one is merely used as a vehicle to introduce everyone and everything without actually getting into the actual story...that curse.  It's not that authors that choose that particular route are unwise in their decision, it's just that we as readers are left wanting MORE than more....we're still seeking sustenance.  This book?  Oh'll be satisfied and then some....and yet by books end, STILL craving another round.  Let's jump back to the actual story...

So, we begin by meeting our lead characters, three "orphans" left on the river banks of St. Mary's Orphanage.  You might be wondering why I used quotations marks there with the word I right?  Ah, fair readers...there is a reason for that, but one I can not divulge entirely.  Suffice it to say that while one is either an orphan or not (usually), these three fall into a new category altogether for the time being.  Ahem...getting back to that story....the children were left there to protect and hide them from those that would do them harm...and then subsequently moved from place to place to place in order to keep their location a secret. 

Landing at the Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans (I certainly hope there weren't any promo items with the name because WHEW try fitting that on a key chain!), Kate, Michael and little Emma try their best (sorta) to fly under the radar, when one Mrs. Lovestock (nice name) comes to see about adopting the children.  As usual, things just don't work out (she reminded me a lot of Grue {before his change} on Despicable Me with all her "no this" and "no that") and as their final option for adoption comes and goes, they are shipped out once again.  Final destination....Cambridge Falls.  Sounds picturesque, right?  WRONG.  The surrounding town is peculiar in that it lacks life, color...and children for that matter.  The new orphanage that requested their presence has exactly three orphans....THEM.  The caretakers Ms. Sallow and Abraham are certainly not your usual guardians and what of the tall, thin man that even in shadow eerily resembles a memory that Kate (the eldest) can't fully produce.  There's something amiss in this town...and the children intend to find some answers.  The mystery they uncover will not only change their circumstances but the very world they live in.

Oh the magic that is I love it so.  If a day goes by without it, I am worse for wear...know what I mean?  I must advise you on this one fair readers...once you begin this reading journey, you won't want to put it down.  Best set some time aside simply to read it straight through...and then a little more time to savor all that you've learned and yearn for the next installment.  The characters are uniquely individual and despite their brother/sister ties, each personality is strong.  This aspect of the children actually leads them on their own adventure filled paths within the book so not only is there the overall story, but smaller ones within it.  Still following me?  Good.  The growth they experience over the course of the tale makes them seem much wiser than their years and in fact they are in some or death situations will do that to you as well as dealing with a magical heritage that comes out of the blue.  Yep...this is one strong sibling trio and yet the roles given to each of them are not necessarily typical of your average story.  The youngest ends up the bravest...the middle child, somewhat devious but book smart...the eldest, self-sacrificing and true.  Apart they can stand on their own two feet but together they are a force to be reckoned with.

UK Cover
 The story itself was unique in my eyes, not the orphan portion or their being something non-earthly behind the strange happenings about, but the actual meat of the book....and the blank green book they discover on their journey.  I loved how things were revealed piece by piece....never too much nor too little at once.  The pacing was just right to allow readers the opportunity to know each character and explore each location but not overly done to where you got  lost in the explorations.  It would seem (to me at least) that the author's natural writing talents are right at home in the literary arena and I for one welcome the next installment with open hands. 

Recommended reading for 8-ish readers and up.  This is one adventure you should not ignore.  I see in some places it's being toted as the most exciting read since the infamous Harry Potter series.  The most?  That's a very tall bill to fill...but I can definitely say it ranks very high on that comparison list.  To explore this bookish world a bit more in depth, be sure to check out the dedicated website for the series where you can read an excerpt, meet the characters, watch the book trailer and so much more.  Book one is available in hardback now, so be on the lookout for it on a store shelf near you; if you prefer paperbacks, watch for its debut in early 2012.  Book two and three in the series are still unnamed at this time (darn it) but rest assured I'll be on the lookout for both...and holding a spot open on my wish list just for them.

Review copy received courtesy of Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House Children's Books.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this prolific publisher, be sure to check out their site, or follow along on Twitter!

Until next time...happy reading!

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