June 23, 2012

Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Love can never die.
Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?
The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.
But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.
In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

This is not the usual type of book that I'd pick up to read. I'm not really big on the whole ʺZombieʺ thing. Once I started reading it, I was delighted that it's not your typical, crazed, flesh eating frenzy that so many other zombie stories tend to be. Some are mutated to the point of being beyond and semblance of civilized human function, while others are not. The main character and many others are not completely lost to the virus. Of course, there are always good guys and bad guys both human and zombie. With startling surprises from both sides. The storyline is very intriguing. The author makes you feel empathy for both. There is always a lot going on which keeps you turning page after page. Even though it's over 470 pages long, I finished this book in just 2 short days. It's just that interesting! I'm glad I decided to give this one a read. If you like Zombies, then you'll Love this book. If you don't like them, you should give it a try anyhow. I'm sure you'll be surprised and not disappointed.

Publisher-Del Rey
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by~Mechele
~Thank you to Time Bandit for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~


Review: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

This is a very interesting story. I have never read anything like it before. This is one of those books that just called out to me. It wanted me to read it. So, I did. Has that ever happened to you before, a book calling and begging for you to be the one to pick it up and read it? I am so very glad I did. The author is a very detailed writer who posses a vivid imagination. Filled with Acton, confusion, and ultimately betrayal. I had a hard time putting this book down. At first glance an unbelievable friend, turns into a foe and a cruel fiend. The main character has a lot of atoning to do to make all things right. The storyline is fast paced and very exciting. If there is to be a second part, I will be more than happy to continue on with the adventure. Really Good Book!

Publisher-Henry Holt and Co
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by~Mechele
~Thank you to the publisher for the donation of this book to the Read for your future book program!~


Review: Camille (Camille #1) by by Tess Oliver

At a time when society conforms to the strictest rules and most proper etiquette, sixteen-year-old Camille Kennecott and her guardian, Dr. Bennett, live a most unconventional life. They hunt werewolves.When unwitting victim, Nathaniel Strider, wanders into one of their full moon pursuits, Camille and Dr. Bennett believe they have found a specimen for their study. Finding a scientific key to unlocking the mystery of lycanthropy would end their late night excursions. Yet beneath the irresistible exterior, Nathaniel is transforming into a flesh-tearing monster, and as each experiment fails, Camille loses another inch of her soul to him. In a month’s time, she must face the prospect of destroying the boy who has stolen her heart.

 This book is very well written. It is filled with enchantment and wonder, but not too over the top. Camille, the nain character, does not live the ordinary life, and lives bidding work that haunts her past. Her forbinnen love may effect her future, and everything she believed in.

Reviewer Rating: 5 STARS
Reviewed by~Taylor Lairson
~Thank you to the author for the donation of the book to the Read for your future book program!~

Review: All These Things I've Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.
Engrossing and suspenseful, All These Things I've Done is an utterly unique, unputdownable read that blends both the familiar and the fantastic.

A strange tale of tainted pasts and uncertain futures. Sometimes the sins of your ancestors can harm your reputation. Guilty by association seems to be the theme. The main character works very hard to keep herself and her family off the radar. The trouble is her family's name is well known by everyone and disliked by many. Certainly not trusted. The storyline is elaborately put together. With all sorts of secrets and mystery lurking around every corner. Being the daughter of a major crime boss is never an easy situation to deal with. The story and all it's complexities really flowed together. Making for a very enjoyable read. Fast paced and different from the norm. A book worth reading.

Publisher-Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by~Mechele
~Thank you to the publisher for the donation of this book to the Read for your future book program!~

Review: Deadly Little Lies (Touch #2) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Since Ben abruptly left town, Camelia has been studying everything she can about psychometry, and wonders if Ben's abilities have somehow rubbed off on her.

A real good continuation of the first book in this series. A story all it's own. The same misfit band of friends are together again to lend support to the heroic main character. I like the way these teens deal with each other & people outside their circle. The storyline is filled with mystery and deceit. No one knows just exactly who to trust. The main character is surprised to learn that she is developing ʺtouchesʺ of her own. It's a family trait. Just when you think you have the bad guy figured out, you get a startling jolt. It all turns out for the best in the end. Definitely worth going onto the next book in the series. Hope you enjoy this exciting mystery.

Publisher-Hyperion Book CH
Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by~Mechele
~Thank you to the author for the donation of this series to the Read for your future book program!~

Review: Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1) by Anna Banks

Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk.

 This was yet another first for me. I have never read a book about Merfolk. Yet, I loved the fresh idea right away. It is an unusually refreshing story. Filled with lovable characters who have very feisty personalities. the main character is very endearing and funny. The best part is the wonderfully, frustratingly, irresistible love story that is thrown in for good measure. The author really knows how to capture your imagination. The storyline is solid and filled with myth, mystery and beautiful wonder. WOW!, what enchanting wonderful sites you get to see. Described with such detail you feel as if you're really there. Oh My Goodness!!, what a twist at the end. One I never, ever expected. I can not wait to get my hands on the sequel! This one has firmly made it to the top 15, in my opinion. I will definitely be adding this one to my wish list for Christmas. I have to add ʺOf Poseidonʺ to my personal collection. It's just an all around outstanding book.

        Publisher-Feiwel & Friends         
Reviewer Rating: 5 STARS!!
Reviewed by~Mechele
~Thank you to the author  for the donation of this book to the Read for your future book program!~

June 20, 2012

Guest blog post & Giveaway: Frank Nappi author of The Legend of Mickey Tussler & Sophomore Campaign (the sequel to The Legend of Mickey Tussler)

Written by author Frank Nappi:
Best Buddies/Challenger Baseball Inspirational on so Many Levels

One of the most rewarding endeavors I have ever pursued, one that has enhanced the quality of my life as well as the lives of my wife and children, is the volunteer work I have been fortunate enough to perform the last few years with groups such as Best Buddies and Challenger Baseball. Working so closely with autistic children and teens and getting to know their families has been more fulfilling than I ever could have imagined. There is something so genuinely warm and endearing about these special folks; I have found that my time spent in their company has enlightened and inspired me. The simplicity of heart and genuine affection that these amazing individuals have demonstrated toward me and my family, despite living in a society that by in large does not extend enough compassion and understanding, is truly remarkable. Breathtaking actually. So many “regular” people could learn so much from these special needs individuals; their affect and demeanor is most worthy of celebration and emulation.

Best Buddies and Challenger Baseball events embody everything that is right about the world – or perhaps everything that should be right. On any given occasion, one can observe this communion of souls, a special arena which spotlights people helping people – for no other reason except just that. The inimitable smiles and laughter of those who are “disadvantaged” is priceless, rivaled only by the glow of satisfaction on the faces of those who are there volunteering. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It is this beauty and inspiration that lead to my creation of my Mickey Tussler series. My character Mickey is the embodiment of all the magic I have witnessed over many years and has become a wonderful vehicle for me to further connect with families of special needs children and teens.

These events are a regular part of my life and the lives of my wife Julia and boys, Nick and Anthony. We have been involved with Challenger Baseball for several years and all of us look forward to every Sunday when we can give of ourselves, knowing (selfishly perhaps) that we are receiving so much more in return. We have all become part of Best Buddies as well, and have forged many special friendships there too. Our lives are enriched immeasurably because of it.

If anyone is looking to become involved in a worthy cause, one that will alter your life forever, working with special needs individuals is perhaps the perfect place to start.
                                       Giveaway of Frank Nappi's books

Midsummer's eve giveaway Hop

June 14, 2012

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop

An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of "Riding Lessons." "Gritty, sensual and charged with dark secrets involving love, murder and a majestic, mute heroine (Rosie the Elephant)."Q"Parade."

June 7, 2012

Review: Wide Open by Deborah Coates

When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on ten days' compassionate leave, her sister Dell's ghost is waiting at the airport to greet her.
The sheriff says that Dell's death was suicide, but Hallie doesn't believe it. Something happened or Dell's ghost wouldn't still be hanging around. Friends and family, mourning Dell's loss, think Hallie's letting her grief interfere with her judgment. 
The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn't have to. 
As Hallie asks more questions, she attracts new ghosts, women who disappeared without a trace. Soon, some one's trying to beat her up, burn down her father's ranch, and stop her investigation.
Hallie's going to need Boyd, her friends, and all the ghosts she can find to defeat an enemy who has an unimaginable ancient power at his command.

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!! Highly Recommend to everyone!

Publisher-Tom Doherty Associates         
Reviewers Rating: 5 STARS!!
Reviewed by~Emma Kitchen(Student at Franklin High School)
~Thank you so much to the author for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future Book Program!~

Review: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar

In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous.
Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves.
One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.

Finley Jayne and her gang of special friends (their talents are so unusual that no one would ever guess what they are!) go by airship to America to retrieve their friend Jasper from jail for murder. They are sure he did not commit murder. They don't think him capable of it, but there is that small doubt in the back of their minds.
While trying to free him, they find a girl with a collar put on her by the despot who holds their friend. The collar squeezes tightly if she does anything her captor does not like. There is drama and excitement in this book! I highly recommend it!

Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by~Alisa Humphry(Librarian at Franklin High School)
~Thank you to Alison.Lisnow at harlequin for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~