Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013 Cover Love

Expected publication: January 8th 2013 by HarperCollinsSummary from Goodreads: 

In the Urwald, you don’t step off the path. Trolls, werewolves, and butter-churn riding witches lurk amid the clawing branches, eager to swoop up the unwary. Jinx has always feared leaving the path—then he meets the wizard Simon Magnus.

Jinx knows that wizards are evil. But Simon’s kitchen is cozy, and he seems cranky rather than wicked. Staying with him appears to be Jinx’s safest, and perhaps only, option. As Jinx’s curiosity about magic grows, he learns to listen to the trees as closely as he does to Simon’s unusual visitors. The more Jinx discovers, the more determined he becomes to explore beyond the security of well-trod paths. But in the Urwald, a little healthy fear is never out of place, for magic—and magicians—can be as dangerous as the forest, and soon Jinx must decide which is the greater threat.

Sage Blackwood introduces a daring new hero for an innovative new world as Jinx is joined by friends, battles enemies, and discovers life beyond—and even within—the forest is more complex than he can imagine, and that the Urwald itself needs him more than he could ever guess.

  Image Originally published at Jacqueline West. Expected publication: July 16th 2013 by Dial  Summary from Goodreads: 
Olive thought she'd uncovered all the house's secrets. She was wrong.

It's Halloween night when strangers come to Linden Street...and something dear to Olive goes missing. To what lengths will she go to get it back? Can she trust the strangers? Will she turn to a new and dangerous magic within the paintings of Elsewhere? Or will she put her faith in her own worst enemies to save the people and home she loves?

The stakes grow higher, the secrets more dangerous, and mystery and magic abound as Olive, the boys, and the cats uncover the true nature of the house on Linden Street. A must-read fantasy series for fans of Pseudonymous Bosch, Coraline, and Septimus Heap.

Undead Ed

Undead Ed    
Summary from Goodreads:
 When Ed Bagley wakes up in a yucky sewer--and discovers he's a zombie--things can't get any weirder! That is, until his evil arm scurries off his shoulder and into the town of Mortlake to cause all sorts of trouble.  

Un-armed and dangerous, Ed teams up with his werewolf buddy Max Moon to track down his rogue limb and save Mortlake from the evil at the center of it all.

This formerly unlucky kid is out to prove he really is all guts! But when he's faced with gross ghouls, wormy wraiths, freaky fat babies, and some seriously sinister clowns, will Ed and his undead friends have enough skin on their bones to save the day? Or will this arm-y prove too tough to hand-le?

This is one of those books that I had a hard time getting into, I admittedly haven't read many zombie books, but there is something about a boys detached arm attacking him that well I didn't seem to get into.  Coupled with body parts that decay and fall off and the descriptions of rotting parts, again do we see why this one didn't grab me?  Or maybe it's just the times that Ed is hit by lightening or electrocuted or just hit by a truck, I don't know it's a hard sell for me.  (To be fair, my child enjoyed the cover of this one way more than I did.)  I think that any child who enjoys zombie type books with cartoon drawings will probably like the book.  I much preferred The Zombie Chasers and Zombiekins, less rot and decay for me.  Overall it was an ok book.  2/5 for me.   

Just for the record, copy of the book provided by Penguin publishing and won at Charlotteslibrary.blogspot. A big thank you to both

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Werewolf-head pj's and Frankenstein monster slippers

 Gustav Gloom and the People Taker (Gustav Gloom, #1)

 summary from Goodreads:
Enter an exciting new world of shadows from Hugo Award nominee Adam-Troy Castro. Meet Gustav Gloom. 

Fernie What finds herself lost in the Gloom mansion after her cat appears to have been chased there by its own shadow. Fernie discovers a library full of every book that was never written, a gallery of statues that are just plain awkward, and finds herself at dinner watching her own shadow take part in the feast! 

Along the way Fernie is chased by the People Taker who is determined to take her to the Shadow Country. It's up to Fernie and Gustav to stop the People Taker before he takes Fernie's family. 

Featuring a unique cover and beautifully dark full-page illustrations by Kristen Margiotta, Gustav Gloom is sure to be a hit with fans who love a little darkness in their lives.

This is a wonderful creepy book and I love love Fernie.  With her red hair pulled up wearing green Werewolf pajamas and Frankenstein monster slippers, she is just so adorable.  I even love Gustav who is sad, wears a black suit with a black tie and looks like he should be at a funeral.  You just want to hug him really tight.  I can see why Fernie and Gustav are drawn to each other.  Even Gloom Mansion with its mysterious shapes that arise from the floor or through walls and many rooms and hallways gives this book a very haunted feel.  I think there is something so creepy about the shadows and the way that they can move around and interact with the characters and the library of shadow books of ideas and books that never were written.  But the People Taker, who goes out each night hunting for people that he can" take", and his Beast who helps.  Man are they just down right evil.  When he starts talking in his reptilian tones, I get the shivers down my spine.  Overall, a wonderful story with beautiful black and white illustrations by Kristen Margiotta.  My copy is the hardcover, which on my copy has a little cutout (where Gustav is standing in the image above) and you see his shadow.  So, when you turn the page you see the image above.    I'm very happy to hear that there are more books planned in this series (looks like 4)  which I will definantly be looking for.  5/5 Book for me.  

 Just for the record, copy of the book provided by Penguin publishing and won at Charlotteslibrary.blogspot.  A big thank you to both.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Keeper of the Lost Cities

 Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #1)

12-year-old Sophie is a child prodigy with the ability to hear others thoughts (telepathy). Everything in her life has felt temporary and she never really understood where her ability came from. After having her picture posted in the newspaper, she meets Fitz a blue eyed telepath who reveals to her that she is an elf. Fitz takes her to the elf city where she meets Alden, Fitz's father, who begins to help her put some of the pieces of her life in place. Sophie learns that Alden has been searching for her for years while she was hidden away on earth and apparently she also has hidden information inside of her mind, secrets that she isn't aware of. To complicate things, Alden convinces her that it would be best if she leaves her life and family on earth and attends Foxfire, a school for teaching students to identify their talents and how to use them. Foxfire is kinda like a Hogwarts meets Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. There are tests, and plenty of instances where ingenuity and strength are needed. Sophie begins attending classes and learning about the various abilities that she possesses that manifest themselves when she is put into stressful situations, and boy does she see her fair share. I really enjoyed this first book in the series from Shannon Messenger. There is lots of action and magic. There are also further complications for Sophie as she meets new students at the school and tries to determine who she can trust. There is a little side romance/jealousy thrown in to keep things entertaining with three boys who appear to have a soft spot for Sophie. All the while that Sophie is trying to unravel the clues hidden inside her mind, there are mysterious outside forces (Black Swan organization) and unexplained magical fires happening on earth. The mystery's extend way back into why she was placed on earth with normal parents, why does she have bits and pieces of memories coming back and even who put them there. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, wish the next one was coming out sooner. Others have seen this book as similar to Harry Potter and I guess in hindsight I can see it too (glad I didn't read any review before reading the book), but I think that is what I enjoyed about reading this book. It kinda took me to a place that was familiar and cozy. Rekindled some of those same feelings I had in a different series that I so enjoyed reading.
This is one of those books that I've heard about via many of the blogs that I follow, and when it became available at the library quickly picked up. After reading the book, I will be buying this one as well.  (I know I will want to revisit it again, plus love the cover) Overall a 5/5 book for me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"To save the kingdom, he must master the beast within."

Rise of the Wolf: Book 1 

 I will be the first to admit that I haven't delved into the werewolf/shape shifting genre. I really wasn't sure how a book like this would turn out to be for younger readers.   Needless to say,  I was really drawn in by the wonderful realm Curtis Jobling  created.   Not only that, Drew is such a likeable character.  He strives to do the right thing above all.  The supporting characters also help add dimension to the story providing for the action that is to follow.

The story begins with Drew living in a small farm town as a shepherd's son.  This small town falls under the Seven Realms which are controlled by King Leopold the Lion a mean and ruthless leader.   Hints that Drew is somehow different begin to emerge when the farm animals begin to get skittish around him and then he appears to be suffering from some ailment.     Things drastically change when  a black creature breaks into the home attacking his mother.  Drew is forced into  transforming into a Werewolf.  Despite his efforts, Drew's mother is killed and upon his father's return, he is labelled her murder.  Drew flees into the forest when his father attempts to kill him.  Drew then  roams the forest until he is captured by the Bearlords men.  It is then he learns of his parentage and how he is sought after by non other than the King of Lyssia. There is way more to the story but I don't want to give to much away in my review. 

Drew's story is a mythical tale involving Kings and Lords, Princes who transform from a human form into their Werelord counterpart, be it a  bear, boar, fox or even shark.  The detail with which the  transformations for Drew are described can seem somewhat graphic (what with bones cracking and faces shifting) but intriguing and not to disturbing.  Not a book for the faint of heart, yet it is also a story of allegiances and a boy who is true at heart.  A delightful fantasy for a slightly older audience or someone who appreciates fantasy horror with plenty of action.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be looking for the next in the series as I want to see how the story progresses plus which Werelord will make an appearance next. Overall a 4 out of 5 book for me.   An interesting side note, author Curtis Jobling designed  "Bob The Builder."  He has also posted a missing chapter from the book on his blog this past Halloween. 

Just for the record, copy of the book provided by Penguin publishing and won at Charlotteslibrary.blogspot.  A big thank you to both.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"This House is keeping secrets...."

The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere, #1)

The premise of the book is that when Ms. McMartin dies the Dunwoody family moves into her house.  What at first seems like an ordinary house slowly reveals its many secrets to eleven year old Olive.  The first clue is amongst the items left behind by the late Ms. McMartin in the way of a pair of spectacles.  With these spectacles on the paintings begin to move and even wink.  Full of curiosity, Olive begins to test a theory that perhaps she can climb into one of these paintings.  It's like Alice going down the rabbit hole but way more spooky.  By venturing inside the paintings, she meets nine year old Morton who became trapped by "the bad man."  The house is protected by three cats who were once the familiars to the McMartin family.  They too try to guide Olive as she attempts to find a way to help Morton.  Things are not always what they seem in this house and it will take strength and ingenuity for Olive to make sure that "the bad man" does not have his way.  Yet, when Olive unwittingly free's someone from their painting will the cats come to her aide?
What I thought:
I first read this book back in 2010. If your interested in my first review its here: Since then there are two sequels with the fourth due to come out July 16th, 2013, I can't wait.  Although this was a re-read for me, I'm still drawn to the lovely cover with Olive climbing into Elsewhere or is she climbing out? 

I really love the character Olive that author Jacqueline West has created, she exudes middle grade girl with her hair pulled back, jeans and stripped shirt.  Well, maybe the kind of girl I was growing up.  I love how the paintings hanging on the walls seem to move and there is a hint of something in there just out of reach.  Just the idea of walking around and meeting the people inside the paintings is intriguing to me. Who can forget the three cats of the house.  Horatio who is mysterious and not always as helpful as he could be.  Leopold who guards the basement and Harvey who thinks he is one of many characters.   The descriptive writing coupled with the lovely illustrations by Poly Bernatene makes for a winning 5/5 book for me. 

Just for the record, Penguin publishing and Charlotteslibrary.blogspot offered this book as a part of their Halloween prize pack that I was lucky to win.  A big thank you to both for the first of these books.