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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (35)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

I have a theme this week. Anyone wanna guess it? :P And yes, I'm doing three books this week.

My first pick is:

Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson - Release date May 18th, 2010

Torn between two destinies?

Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and gorgeous Matthew keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she's the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: she's a werewolf.

As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she must deal not only with her changing identity, but also with a rogue werewolf who is putting everyone she knows in danger. Claire's new life threatens her blossoming romance with Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. Now burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, Claire is struggling to feel comfortable in either skin. With her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, she will make a choice that will change her forever?

(Summary from amazon for a change. The goodreads one wasn't as detailed.)

Why I want it: Werewolves. Werewolves. Werewolves. Beautiful cover. Love the name Claire. Female werewolves. Werewolves.

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - Release date June 8th, 2010

At the age of four, Bryn watched a rabid werewolf brutally murder her parents. Alone in the world, she was rescued and taken in by Callum, the alpha of his pack. Now fifteen, Bryn's been raised as a human among werewolves, adhering to pack rule (mostly). Little fazes her.

But the pack's been keeping a secret, and when Bryn goes exploring against Callum's orders, she finds Chase, a newly turned teen Were locked in a cage. Terrifying memories of the attack on her mom and dad come flooding back. Bryn needs answers, and she needs Chase to get them. Suddenly, all allegiances to the pack no longer matter. It's Bryn and Chase against the werewolf world, whatever the consequences.

An exciting new paranormal adventure, with a heroine who rivals Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Raised By Wolves will leave you howling for more.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want it: Werewolves. Werewolves. Girl raised in a werewolf pack. Gorgeous cover. Werewolves.

13 to Life by Shannon Delany - Release date June 22nd, 2010

Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction...

When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.

The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want it: Werewolves. Werewolves. Russian werewolves which makes me squee. (Don't ask... it's just one of those quirks about me.) Stunning cover (notice that they're all blue this week? That was unintentional, cross my heart.) Shannon is awesome and supernice. Werewolves.

So did you guys guess the theme? ;)

On a sidenote, would you guys like to see a picture book theme? I don't know how many of you guys know this, but I work at the library in my town holding Storytime every Thursday for three to five year olds. So I read a lot of picture books. Would you guys be interested in maybe a weekly post about it?

Okay, so, that's everything.
Peace and cookies,

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About (27)

Fun Friday: Give me something to sing about! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

I know this is a little late, but I was busy most of today and then I plain old forgot. And as a little advance warning: I'm going to fangirl in this one.

This week is a song that the video for that was just released today, I do believe. It's called Trip Around the World and it's by Alexz Johnson.

SQUEE ISN'T IT COOL????????????????

Okay, okay, deep breaths, I'm being professional now. Trip Around The World is the first single off Alexz's upcoming album Voodoo which is set to be released March 30th of this year. If for some reason this video gets taken down, you can watch it on Alexz's website here and she Tweets here.

Let me know what you guys think!!
Peace and cookies,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (34)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Happy Wednesday, people!

My first book this week is:

Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw - Release date May 13th, 2010

Ten years ago Kate Winters' parents were taken by the High Council's wardens to help with the country's war effort. Now the wardens are back... and prisoners, including Kate's uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane - the High Council's most feared man - recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council's experiments into the veil, and he's convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace. The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft - a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft. To help Artemis, Edgar and herself, Kate must honour her pact with a murderer and come face to face with the true nature of death.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: I love the name Artemis. Seriously, it stems from my T'Witches days. Which also caused my blue streak longing... Plus, you know, it sounds really good and has a purdy cover and all that.

(Note on the amazon link - This book doesn't come up on amazon.com when you search it, but the amazon.ca link works, so... I'm just going with that one.)

My other choice is:

Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kills Me - Release date May 13th, 2010

When KJ Carson is assigned to write a column for her school newspaper about the wolves in nearby Yellowstone National Park, she’s more interested in impressing Virgil Whitman, the new kid in school and the photographer assigned as her partner, than in investigative journalism. But before long, KJ has a face-to-face encounter with a wolf that changes her and the way she thinks about wolves. With her new found passion for protecting these controversial animals, KJ inadvertently ignites the fuse of the anti-wolf sentiment in the community. First Virgil is injured during a town parade, and then her father’s store is set on fire in retribution. To stop the escalating violence, KJ follows Virgil to the cattle ranch of the most outspoken anti-wolf activists in town, against her father’s will. What she discovers there threatens everything and everyone she cares about.

In KJ’s fierce and funny attempt to make peace between the wolves and the people that despise them, she must first face her own long-held fears. It’s terrifying, but then, finding yourself always is.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Wolves. Wolves. Wolves. Did I say wolves?

I do want to point out something, though. Have you noticed how lately there have been a lot of books with similiar title formats to this one? Like: Food, Girls, & Other Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff (goodreads), Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman (goodreads), My Big Nose & Other Disasters by Sydney Salter (goodreads). Can you guys think of any others? Leave the titles in the comments if you do!

Okay, that's it for me for this week.
Peace and cookies,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (33)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The first book I'm waiting on this week is

Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones - Release date April 13th, 2010

Maxwell Unger has always loved the night. He used to do brave things like go tramping through the forest with his gran after dark. He loved the stories she told him about the world before the Destruction—about nature, and books, and the silver owls. His favorite story, though, was about the Owl Keeper.

According to Max’s gran, in times of darkness the Owl Keeper would appear to unite owls and sages against the powers of the dark. Gran is gone now, and so are her stories of how the world used to be. Max is no longer brave. The forest is dangerous, the books Gran had saved have been destroyed, and the silver owls are extinct. At least that’s what the High Echelon says. But Max knows better.

Maxwell Unger has a secret. And when a mysterious girl comes to town, he might just have to start being brave again.

The time of the Owl Keeper, Gran would say, is coming soon.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Multiple reasons. First of all, I love male narrators. I think they're pretty rare in YA and reading in a boy's head is fun. :D Second, I absolutely adore owls. Blame Harry Potter. Third, the role reversal of mysterious girl instead of mysterious boy is intriguing. And last, the owl on the cover is gorgeous.

I'm cheating a little bit now. This one is already out, and has been for a while now, but I want to talk about it and it fits so well in with the bird theme I've got going here.

Light Beneath Ferns by Anne Spollen - Released February 1st, 2010

Elizah Rayne is nothing like other fourteen-year-old girls. More interested in bird bones than people, she wraps herself in silence. Trying to escape the shadow of her gambler father, Elizah and her mother move into an old house that borders a cemetery. All her mother wants is for them to have "normal" lives. But that becomes impossible for Elizah when she finds a human jawbone by the river and meets Nathaniel, a strangely hypnotic and mysterious boy who draws Elizah into his world.

Only by forgetting everything she knows can Elizah understand the truth about Nathaniel—and discover an unimaginable secret.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: It sounds really good. I love smart girls in books, and Nathaniel sounds fun. :P Plus the cover is beautiful to me.

So there you have what I'm waiting on this week, with a little bit of cheating. What are you guys waiting for?

Peace and cookies,

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Gringolandia Contest Winner

Hey, guys! Sorry for the delay in this, I was offline working for a couple days. So 18 people entered my contest! Great job guys!! I'm sure if the contest had been open a little longer, more of you would have entered.

Anyways, random.org has picked a number.

And entry number 92 is... oh, hold on, I think I'll... there. I don't want to display anyone's email without permission, but you can still see it all. If you're curious, I can explain the numbers in front of the email addressed, but it's a bit long and showcases how OCD I am.

Congratulations, Samantha!!!! I've emailed Samantha informing her of her win.

Thanks to everyone who entered! I really appreciate it.

Okay, that's all! Have a great weekend.
Peace and cookies,

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About (26)

Fun Friday: Give me something to sing about! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

Eeep, need to find a song rated less than PG-13. Most of the ones I've been listening to lately definitely aren't. And I've been reading too many webcomics that I actually just wrote eep. Speaking of, do any of you read any good ones?

Oh, I found one! I love my youtube :D

This is called Explode (Makes My Head) by Ashes. The video was directed by Skye Sweetnam, who's one of my favourite singers.

Isn't it a neat song and video? What do you guys think? What are you listening to this week?
Peace and cookies,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (32)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

So I'm not here this week! Right about now I'm at my mom's store helping out with inventory. Since I'm working from 8:30am to 4:30pm, this post is scheduled!

First up we have:

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey - Release date April 1st, 2010

In less than a day I had been harassed, enchanted, shouted at, cried on, and clawed. I’d been cold, scared, dirty, exhausted, hungry, and miserable. And up until now, I’d been mildly impressed with my ability to cope.

At her boarding school in New Zealand, Ellie Spencer is like any ordinary teen: she hangs out with her best friend, Kevin; obsesses over her crush on a mysterious boy; and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. Then everything changes: In the foggy woods near the school, something ancient and deadly is waiting.

Karen Healey introduces a savvy and spirited heroine with a strong, fresh voice. Full of deliciously creepy details, this adventure is a deftly crafted story of Māori mythology, romance, betrayal, and war.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: The cover is... strange. But in a good way. And I really like the way the voice sounds. And savvy is always a good thing!

Next we have:

For Keeps by Natasha Friend - Release date April 6th, 2010

Josie’s never met her dad, and that’s fine with her. To Josie, Paul Tucci is just a guy who got her mom pregnant and then moved away. It all happened sixteen years ago, when Josie’s mom was still a teenager herself. But now Paul Tucci is back in town, and Josie has to deal with not one but two men in her life—her father and her first boyfriend, who Josie fears will hurt her just like Paul hurt her mother.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: This kind of story is sort of what I want to write. Only, you know, with some extras like werewolves half the time.

On a side note, though, what's with her hands? Is it just me or do they look gigantic? (Click the photo to enlarge it.) Or are his just tiny?

Anyways, that's it for me. See you guys soon!
Peace and cookies,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Contest closed!

The contest for the signed copy of Gringolandia is now closed! I'm probably not here right now, so leave a message after the beep.

Sorry, couldn't resist XD Anyways, in all seriousness, I'm working a lot this week, it's one of the busier weeks I've had in a long time. Wednesday I probably won't be online at all, and Thursday I won't be online until the late afternoon. So I probably won't be able to choose the winner until Thursday. But I will post as soon as I pick a winner!

Okay, so that's all! You can return to your regularly broadcasted programming now.
Peace and cookies,

Monday, February 1, 2010

Guest Blog from Lyn Miller-Lachmann + Contest - CLOSED

We have a very special guest blog today from Lyn Miller-Lachman (plus a contest!). I asked Lyn her advice for young writers and this is what she has to say!

* * *

My Advice for Young Writers: Never Give Up on Your Dream

Twenty years ago, my dream of becoming a successful YA author seemed within reach. I had already spent four years writing an adult novel that ended up in a drawer and then brought out a YA novel with a start-up press that I created after I couldn’t find a publisher anywhere else. That novel, set in New York City, received some favorable reviews and was chosen for the New York Public Library’s “Books for the Teen Age” list. My persistence landed me an editor with a major publisher, who was interested in my project about a refugee teen from Chile living in the U.S. whose father rejoins the family in exile after years as a political prisoner. In 1989, the manuscript won a work-in-progress grant from the Society of Children’s Book Writers
and Illustrators.

But everything I’d worked for came crashing to the ground one fall morning, weeks before I was supposed to leave for Chile to finish the research for the book. As I backed out of my driveway on my way to a school visit, I noticed a bundle atop a pile of soggy leaves — my award-winning manuscript, which the editor had decided to reject, breaking off our two-year relationship. I took the research trip anyway and spent three weeks staying in people’s homes, interviewing dozens of Chileans, and traveling throughout the country courtesy of the writers’ organization, pretending I had a soon-to-be-published book. But when I returned and got a few more rejections, I decided to quit writing fiction.

I gave up.

For a long time, I didn’t miss it. Yes, I felt guilty taking the SCBWI’s money and taking up people’s time. For a couple of years, my Chilean friends wrote me asking whatever happened to the book, and then we stopped writing each other. In the meantime, I raised two children, became editor-in-chief of MultiCultural Review, and pursued a variety of hobbies—building dollhouses, coaching a middle school boys’ basketball team, helping to clear a mountain bike trail in a vacant lot near my house, and running (unsuccessfully) for school board. I also found myself writing my son’s seventh grade creative writing assignments.

It was then I realized the mistake I had made in giving up on my dream. Just as my son — the third shortest boy in his grade — found a way to play basketball even though he never made a travel team, I had to find a way to keep writing even if I couldn’t get published. I started another novel that got rejected everywhere I sent it, but then I sold a short story to an online magazine. The children’s magazine Skipping Stones accepted another of my short stories. I signed up for classes. I rewrote the novel that kept getting rejected, and this time, an editor who’d at first turned it down now accepted it. Working with the editor gave me the skills and confidence I needed to return to that award-winning manuscript that had caused me to give up my dream of writing—the manuscript that became Gringolandia.

It took me so long to return to Gringolandia that what was once a contemporary novel now had to be rewritten completely as a historical novel. I was glad to do it, though, because I had learned the value of pursuing my dream in the face of all the odds against me. And the struggles I had gone through in my own writing found their way into Gringolandia and made the struggles of the characters more vivid and real. When Daniel’s father cannot find a magazine to publish his stories, he begins to wonder if he has lost his ability to write—something that I couldn’t fully understand until it happened to

* * *

Thanks Lyn! Lyn Miller-Lachmann is the Editor-in-Chief of MultiCultural Review, the author of the award-winning reference book Our Family, Our Friends, Our World: An Annotated Guide to Significant Multicultural Books for Children and Teenagers (1992), the editor of Once Upon a Cuento (2003), a collection of short stories for young readers by Latino authors, and the author of the novel Dirt Cheap (2006), an eco-thriller for adult readers. For Gringolandia, she received a Work-in-Progress Grant from the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators.

For more information about the book, check out my review! If I remember to, I'll link to it later tomorrow, but I'm prescheduling this post, so it's not up yet.

Don't forget to check out the other dates on the tour, too!

Feb 2nd: Read Into This!
Feb 3rd: Pirate Penguin's Reads
Feb 4th: The Bookologist
Feb 5th: Yay! Reads

Okay, now, contest time!!

The rundown on this contest:

The Prize:

One lucky person will win an autographed copy of Gringolandia.

The Rules:

This is open to everyone! But it's only open for a day, so enter quick! I'll set a post to go up when it closes because I probably won't be here.

To Enter:
Leave a comment with your email address. No email, no entry. I will not go to your profile to look it up. Leave it on the post, email it to me at
Laina1312@gmail.com, or no entry. If you email it to me, still comment on the post telling me you entered, please.

Extra Entries:

+1 Become a follower through my Google Friend connect widget. (If you use a feed reader such as Google Reader, that's fine, just tell me that.)
+2 Be a current follower.
+3 Leave a comment on my review. You don't have to link to this, but please do tell me here (not there) that you did.
+3 Link to this post somewhere. You can do that in a blog post, in your blog sidebar, on Twitter, on a message board, whatever you can think of, but it only counts once per place. A sidebar link and a blog post link do, however, count as seperate entries. Leave a link here or it won't count.

Remember, you do not have to do any of the extra entries you don't want to. You only need to either leave me a comment with your email address, or comment and email me your address to enter. That's it. The rest is completely optional.

And please do try to keep it in one comment. Obviously if you forget something or need to change something in your entry, you can post again, but please don't comment once per entry as that fills up my inbox like crazy and makes me slightly crazy(er).

Quick Recap:
Prize: One signed copy of Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachman
Open to: Everyone!! Unless you live on Mars, you can enter. :P
End date: 8pm Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010. I'll schedule a post for when it closes so you guys know.

Now get entering!
Peace and cookies,

NEWS!!! Liyana is offering a signed Iron King bookmark to the 30th entry!

Gringolandia Review

Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Published: May 1st, 2009 by Curbstone Press
Genre: Erm. I do believe that this is historical fiction, since it's set in the 1980s. Right? Right.
Page Count: 279 in my hardcover copy, but 272 not counting the glossary.
Part of a series? No, it's a standalone.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads/the inside dust jacket): Daniel’s papá, Marcelo, used to play soccer, dance the cueca, and drive his kids to school in a beat-up green taxi—all while publishing an underground newspaper that exposed Chile’s military regime.

After papá’s arrest in 1980, Daniel’s family fled to the United States. Now Daniel has a new life, playing guitar in a rock band and dating Courtney, a minister’s daughter. He hopes to become a US citizen as soon as he turns eighteen.

When Daniel’s father is released and rejoins his family, they see what five years of prison and torture have done to him. Marcelo is partially paralyzed, haunted by nightmares, and bitter about being exiled to “Gringolandia.” Daniel worries that Courtney’s scheme to start a bilingual human rights newspaper will rake up papá’s past and drive him further into alcohol abuse and self-destruction. Daniel dreams of a real father-son relationship, but he may have to give up everything simply to save his papá’s life.

My review: There are a few books in the world that everyone should read. Most if not all about them are about how cruel we as human beings can be to each other. This is one of them. It's a harsh, at time unforgiving book, but at the same time, parts of it you can't help but find heartwearming.

Gringolandia switches back and forth between Daniel's point of view, his father's, and his girlfriend Courtney's, but the majority is in Daniel's. After Daniel's, the largest portion is Courtney's. This is a rare time when POV switching was done very well, without being confusing or overbearing. One thing I thought was interesting was that with the POV switching, the font changed, so you could tell that it was different.

Plot: Oh, god, this has to be up in four hours and I procrastinated so badly that I'm only now just typing it and it's midnight, so I really can't. I just can't. Let's just say that the plot flows really well and move on, okay?

Characters: I loved Daniel's voice. Actually, to be truthful, I have a bit of a character-crush on him now. He's smart, cynical at time, he isn't perfect, but something about his voice kept me reading for a good two hours straight. I read all of Gringolandia in one sitting, half blinding myself, because of his voice.

My favorite quote from him is, "After a year or so, I learned enough English to avoid being a complete social and academic zero, and now I speak it with an accent that makes girls go wild." Because oh, how true that is.

That isn't to say that I didn't like Courtney's voice, though. She's a writer, and I could really connect to that. Combined with the intrique of a secret in her past, and other things, too, of course, she was a very interesting character. Plus she was older than Daniel at eighteen to his seventeen!

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: It wasn't a perfect book. I didn't always see the attraction between Daniel and Courtney, and a couple of times I had to reread something because I missed it the first time. This is one I'd probably recommend rereading for it to really sink in.

PG-13 stuff: The whole book was about very serious subject matter. Surprisingly, there isn't a ton of swearing, which I guess just reinforces that cursing isn't necessary to make an impact. Recommended for older/mature readers, though.

Cover comments: This is in the glossary and acknowledgements, so I thought I'd share it. The pool in the picture was used for water torture at Villa Grimaldi, an infamous torture center in Santiago, Chile that has been converted into a park for peace and human rights. The bird on the cover has significance, too, but you'll have to read the book to find that one out.

Conclusion: This is not an easy subject to read about. It shouldn't be. But this is definitely one you shouldn't miss. Four out of five roses.