Sunday, 30 May 2010

Review: The Sky is Everywhere

Title: The Sky is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Walker Books
Reading Level: 14+

Rating: 4/5

A special Thank You to Walker Books for sending me this book to review

Publisher's Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, with a nearly magical grin. One boy takes Lennie out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But the two can't collide without Lennie's world exploding...

Review:
I've just now finished this book. It is beautifully written. I'm still processing it. The prose is actually quite beautiful. Lennie is mourning her sisters death, why does she now feel alive when her sister is dead? The book is about her mourning. It is sad, beautiful, shocking, and understandable.

There is a love story that blooms in the midst of all this turmoil, and Lennie screws it up. She is just so hurt and lost now that her sister is gone. I don't know what to make of it. It is well written and the character development is wonderful. I'm going to say it was a great book. Interesting. Thought provoking, and wistful. I know I'll be thinking about this book for days. I love books that make me think. I can't get this story out of my head.

Quote:
"Life's a freaking mess. In fact, I'm going to tell Sarah we need to start a new philosophical movement: messessentialism instead of existentialism: For those who revel in the essential mess that is life. Because Gram's right, there's not one truth ever, just a bunch of stories, all going on at once, in our heads, in our hearts, all getting in the way of each other. It's all a beautiful calamitous mess. It's like the day Mr. James took us into the woods and cried triumphantly, "That's it! That's it!" to the dizzying cacophony of soloing instruments trying to make music together. That is it."

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Discussion: Library vs. Book Store


It's a debate folks. Library vs Book Stores. Which do you like better and why?

I like both for various reasons.

I'll always go to the library for a classic. There are also many great books out there that the book stores do not carry anymore, and the library will always have. When I have no money I head on over to the library too. I also know I'll get the attention from the librarian, who will usually have a Masters Degree in some kind of Literature or Library and Information Science. They will always have the time to help me find just what I'm looking for, instead of just stacking books and having no idea what I'm looking for. They usually have some great reading programs, book clubs, and community programs to get into.

I'll go to a book store for new and notable titles. I can usually count on them having the latest releases or some great 3 for 2 deal that I can't pass up. I also love adding books to my personal library too.

Which do you use on a regular basis? Your local Library or the book store? Is there something you like more about one than the other? Let me know your thoughts!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Review: The Iron Daughter

Title: The Iron Daughter
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication date: Aug. 1. 2010
Other titles in the series: The Iron King


Rating: 4/5

A special Thank you to Harlequin and Net Galley for sending me this book to review.

Publisher's Summary:
Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey, iron-bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's alone in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

Review:
WOW! This next installment is awesome! We finally get the character development that I so wanted. I got to know the characters better along with all the adventure and danger they get into! Really enjoyable. This series is going to be big. If you like faeries then this is for you.

What I liked:
ALL the romance! WOO HOO! I love a book with some kissing, and this love triangle is sweet! I didn't know who I was rooting for until the end. I just like both the boys. I'm a sucker for anything romantic!

What I didn't like:
There were parts where the charcters were just waiting around for something to happen. Just waiting. I thought that would be a good time for something romantic, since they weren't doing anything else...but we were just waiting. Other than that the book was great! I really enjoyed it!



WINTER'S PASSAGE,a free novella in the Iron Fey series will be available for download June 1st. It takes place between THE IRON KING and THE IRON DAUGHTER and follows Meghan and Ash on their perilous journey deep into the heart of Winter. Check out EnterTheFaeryWorld.com for more details.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Penguin
Reading Level: Young Adult


Rating: 5/5

A special Thank You to Penguin for sending me this book to review.

Publisher's Summary:
Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer -- they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

Review:
This is seriously THE cutest book! I grabbed as I was heading to bed tonight to start it, well I finished it in one sitting. LOVED it.

I wish I had had a summer like this when I was a teenager. I sort of did in my 20's when I worked onboard cruise lines cruising the Caribbean, but I wasn't a teenager.

Such a great story. There is a bit of everything! If you read one book this summer I would pick The Summer I Turned Pretty. Full of feeling and romance, as well as a coming of age tale, it makes for the perfect beach read. There is even a sequel coming out summer of 2011! I can't wait for that! But don't worry this one is all tied up nicely in the end. She doesn't leave you hanging.

Note to Parents: There is teen drinking and smoking in this book.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Author Interview: Lacey Weatherford

Let me introduce you to Lacey Weatherford, author of Of Witches and Warlocks: The Trouble with Spells and The Demon Kiss


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Buy the Books (USA)
Buy Of Witches & Warlocks in the UK!



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How did you come up with the idea for Of Witches and Warlocks: The Trouble with Spells?
It is a funny story actually, but my daughter had decided to dye her hair from a light blond to a deep brunette color. After she was done it was a near black in color and someone jokingly made the comment that people were going to start calling her a witch. For some reason that comment just stuck in my head and I started contemplating a story about two girls who were basically polar opposites of each other and the friendship the story would go through when one of them found out she was a witch. Of course the storyline evolved and changed from there to become more of a love story between the main male and female character, but that was how it all started.


You have had an interesting road to publication. Can you let us in on what happened and your advice for aspiring writers?
(Laughing) I really had no clue to what was involved in getting a book published. When my family and friends encouraged me to pursue it I basically did a little bit of research on the Internet to try and find out what to do. I made up a query letter and sent it out to about 20 agents/publishers. I received requests for additional manuscript from several of those. I had an offer to publish the book within about 2 days. Being naive and excited, I accepted that first offer. I wish now that maybe I hadn't rushed it so much since I was still receiving offers clear up to the week the first book was published. I was devastated when I got the book though and discovered that the unedited version of the manuscript had been placed in it. This was partially do to a misunderstanding of an email on my part though, so as a rule the company refused to make the changes to the book to fix it. I am happy to say they have since changed their minds and the changes are being made right now. That made me very happy! I learned a lot over the next few months about book pricing, discounts and return-ability. As a result of learning some of those things by trial and error I decided to venture out to find a new publisher who would better meet my needs as well as book buyers/readers. I researched companies by the hour and ended up sending a query letter to my first and only choice. Thankfully they accepted me!! I loved the creative control I was able to have with this company! It was a complete day and night experience for me and I love the product they have produced! My advice to writers would be to please do your research when you query companies. Research their reputations and know exactly what you are getting in to before you sign anything! It can be a very rewarding experience but there are definitely sharks out there!

For those who have yet to read Of Witches and Warlocks, what can they expect out of the series?
It is most assuredly a paranormal romance. The story revolves heavily about the struggles of this young couple, Vance and Portia, and what they have to go through to try to overcome obstacles that are surrounding Vance and his past. Vance hasn't had any stability in his past when it comes to family so when he falls for Portia he falls quick and hard, partly because she fulfills this missing piece inside of himself. Vance is also very drawn to the darker side of things so Portia tries to help him balance out those things that would possibly sway him to a less than desirable direction. However, outside forces are "hell bent", for lack of a better term, from letting them reach that happy ending they so desire.


What book are you reading right now?
I actually just finished the book I was reading. It was Hush, Hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick. A very good YA paranormal story also about a fallen arc angel. I really enjoyed it!


How did you decide to stray from traditional Wiccan beliefs and choose to have a Christian Coven of Witches?
That was actually sort of an accident! I originally had been doing research on Pagan deities and beliefs for the book when I came across a book that reminded me of another book I had read for a research paper several years ago for my college composition class. The book was actually about love spells and it encouraged people to practice magic in addition to their current religious beliefs rather than changing their beliefs completely. This sparked the idea in my head of having my witches be Christian in their beliefs instead. As I was looking for ways to have this paranormal romance differ from others that were out there I really liked the idea of taking it in a different direction, away from the normal genre a bit.

I must say that Portia and Vance are in my top 10 literary couples of all time. Are they based on anyone? How did you come up with their characters?
Why thank you! That is a huge compliment! The character of Portia is very loosely based on some of the characteristics of my oldest daughter, such as love and loyalty to those around her though the character herself is just who evolved out of the writing. Vance Mangum on the other hand was inspired by a great young Hollywood actor named Matt Lanter (Liam Court, 90210). When I came up with the idea of Vance I wanted him to be someone who had great sex appeal, who could be either a really "good" boy or really "bad" boy. I instantly had this image of Matt pop into my head but I didn't really know who he was at the time so I researched him and the roles he had played. He instantly became the image of Vance in my head to the point that I felt I could "see" Vance's reactions to everything. It made the character incredibly fun to write and I have been paying homage to Matt every since!!

Take us through a typical writing day.
I am a very laid back writer. Literally! I usually sit all propped up with pillows around me on my bed with my laptop, several bottles of water, and my itunes and I just type away. I get very easily caught up in writing and usually before I know it the whole day has gone by and I realized I haven't even eaten yet! Once my mind is on a roll it doesn't like to stop! It sort of becomes all consuming to me. I have to get it all out or I can't sleep! It is very easy for me to write for even 20 hours at a time when I get going. I get too excited to stop!

Do you have any other stories you'd like to publish?
I do have one book that I wrote prior to this series that I would like to go back and revamp and see if I could get it ready for publication. It is a fantasy/fairytale type of story that is a lot of fun that has a nice romantic line in it as well. I am very partial to romance. I do have a couple of fresh story ideas that I have been mulling around in my head also that I would like to give a shot eventually when I am finished with these other projects. Right now I am finishing up the edits for books 3 and 4 in the Of Witches and Warlocks series so will see where things lead me when that is done.

Is there anything you wanted to say to The Sweet Bookshelf Readers?
Absolutely! Thanks for taking the time to read about my books and I hope that you will feel inspired to take a chance on them and see if you like them! I really enjoy hearing from readers and I try to do my best to respond to those who get in touch with me so feel free to leave comments on my web pages/social networks! I would also encourage readers who enjoy any author's work to get on discussion pages and tell other people about it. Reviews by other readers are in my opinion the best form of advertising! I know that is the way I like to pick my books to read so share, share, share, your opinions with others and keep reading!:)

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Thank you so much for stopping by The Sweet Bookshelf Lacey! I'm anxiously awaiting my copy of The Demon Kiss and can't wait to get my fill of Vance! Best of luck in your career and we can't wait to read what's next!!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Review: The Iron King

Title: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Reading Level: Young Adult
Other titles in the series: The Iron Daughter (Aug 2010)


Rating: 3/5

Publisher's Summary:
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined...

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school...or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth— that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face...and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Review:
Good book. Loads of Faerie Lore and politics. A bit dark, and there is even a forbidden love! This story takes place in the mortal world as well as Faery. It has all the makings of a contemporary faerie story. Winter and Summer Courts, Un-Seelie and Seelie Realms, and a reference to Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well some of his characters making it into the book. The love story is what sets it apart in my eyes.

What I liked:
I'm a sucker for anything romantic, and a forbidden love is just the best. How can a love that is doomed from the beginning last? Ash is our dark hero, Prince of the Winter Court and he is DE-LISH! What is it about the bad boys? I definitely can't wait to learn more about him. I also like Puck. He is I think going to be the other part of a love triangle. Oh how I love a love triangle!! We'll see what happens in book 2. I'm secretly rooting for BOTH boys.

What I didn't like:
I'm more of a character development kind of person. This was more plot development. It left me wanting for more about the character's and their feelings. There is also just SO much of the typical faerie lore, which requires little imagination. You can google these things.

Quote:
"I licked my lips and whispered, 'Is this where you say you'll kill me?'
One corner of his lips curled. 'If you like,' he murmured, a flicker of amusement finally crossing his face. 'Though it's gotten far too interesting for that."

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Review: Forest Born

Title: Forest Born
Author: Shannon Hale
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Reading Level: Young Adult
Other Titles in the series: The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets

Rating: 3/5

Publisher's Summary:
Rin is sure that something is wrong with her...something really bad. Something that is keeping her from feeling at home in the Forest homestead where she's lived all her life. Something that is keeping her from trusting herself with anyone at all. When her brother Razo returns from the city for a visit, she accompanies him to the palace, hoping that she can find peace away from home. But war has come to Bayern again, and Rin is compelled to join the queen and her closest allies--magical girls Rin thinks of as the Fire Sisters--as they venture into the Forest toward Kel, the land where someone seems to want them all dead. Many beloved Bayern characters reappear in this story, but it is Rin's own journey of discovering how to balance the good and the bad in herself that drives this compelling adventure.

Review:
Shannon Hale's story's are full of girl power, which I love! Danger looms at every turn, and an old nemesis for Isi comes back to haunt. It is a wonderful story!! Only thing I wanted that I didn't get was a romance for Rin...but we do have a wedding, so I was OK.

Not my favorite of the series, but still pretty good. I really could get lost in Bayern and enjoy all my new freinds there!

If you've not read the series, you must. They are very cute, but full of adventure and romance. What's not to like?!

Quote:
"I hate them," Enna said. "Whoever is responsible for making me sleep outside without pillows, I hate them."
Mmm-hmmm...," Dasha said. Rin had noticed that the Tiran girl often had trouble remembering how to speak in the morning.
If Finn were here," Enna continued to mumble as she rewrapped her head cloth, "he'd let me rest my head on his chest at night. Or leg. Or arm. And then he'd find whoever was responsible for the whole sleeping outside with no pillows situation and hold him while I kicked him in the shins."

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Jr Correspondent Review: Bad Kitty Series

Title: Bad Kitty series
Author: Nick Bruel
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Reading Level: 4-8

Rating: 5/5 stars! (If I could do 10 than it would be 10 stars!)

Summary:
From the creator of The New York Times bestseller Boing! comes the riotous story of a cat gone berserk -- four times over an in alphabetical order each time. Kitty is not happy hen she's told that her favorite foods are all gone and all that's left are Asparagus, Beets, Cauliflower, Dill...and 22 other equally unappealing vegetables. So she: Ate my homework, Bit grandma, Clawed the curtains, Damaged the dishes, and so on, through Z. Only when tastier things arrive (An Assortment of Anchovies, Buffalo Burritos, Chicken Cheesecake...) does she Apologize to Grandma.

Review:

The Bad Kitty books are graphic novels, perfect for a kids who love pictures in their stories. Bad Kitty books are also very good for people who like to laugh. Kitty is really funny, and they just call her Kitty, that’s her name! In the first book, she was being really bad and then she was being good and her owners decided to reward her with a puppy, and that wasn’t a good idea! After that Kitty became even more mischievous. Bad Kitty is a black kitty with a little white fluff in the middle of her chest. She is a troublemaker, a little bit grouchy, and gets into a world of trouble. Find her at your book store or library today!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Review: River Secrets

Title: River Secrets
Author: Shannon Hale
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Reading Level: Young Adult
Other titles in the series: The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, Forest Born


Rating: 5/5

Publisher's Summary:
Razo--short, funny and not a great soldier--is sure it's out of pity that his captain asks him to join an elite mission--escorting the ambassador into Tira, Bayern's great enemy.

But when the Bayern arrive in the strange southern country, it’s Razo who discovers the first dead body. He’s the only Bayern able to befriend both the high and low born, people who can provide information about the ever-increasing murders. And he’s the one who must embrace his own talents in order to get the Bayern soldiers home again, alive.

Review:
OH MY GOSH! Is it possible this series could get any better?! I just Love Razo! What a spunky cool kid! This story is brimming with adventure and intrigue, mixed with some romance! What's not to like?!

This next installment takes place in Tiran. Yes that's right, the land whom the Bayern were in a war with in the last book. They are there to establish peace. This is Razo's story, and he is a spy for Bayern!

All of our favorite characters are still here: Isi, Geric, Finn, and Enna! Shannon Hale keeps getting better and better!! I think Razo is my favorite boy. He is such a cutie, and the girls love him in this book!

Quote:
"I'm Razo, a member of Bayern's Own,' he said, stopping himself from adding "Loafing is just a hobby of mine."
Bayern's Own? But you're a child.'
Razo looked up to the sky. 'I'm not a child, I'm just short."

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Review: Enna Burning

Title: Enna Burning
Author: Shannon Hale
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Reading Level: Young Adult
Other titles in the series: The Goose Girl, River Secrets, Forest Born

Rating: 4/5

Publisher's Summary:
Enna's life was not meant to be simple. When her brother, Leifer, brings home a mysterious piece of vellum that teaches him how to set fires — without a spark, without flint — Enna cannot decide if this power is one she wants for herself, or something that should be extinguished forever.

And when Bayern, their country, goes to war, the choice becomes nearly unbearable. Enna never imagined that the warm, life-giving energy of a fire could destroy everything she loves, but she must now save herself and Bayern before fire consumes her entirely.

Review:
GREAT addition to the series. I was surprised that I might actually like it MORE than The Goose Girl. Is that possible?

This story is about Enna, don't worry Isi is there! But this is Enna's story. It takes place in the Forest mainly. There is a war brewing and Bayern women accompany their men into war. It is so that they will remember what they are fighting for. There is a powerful language that Enna learns, fire. She needs to learn to control it to save her people and herself. It is a GREAT STORY!!

I also love Finn. I was so glad he was given a bigger part in this book. He is lovely, and is just what a man ought to be. Will romance bloom in the midst of war? Wait and see!

Shannon Hale does fairytale's like nobody else. She is a pro! You need to read this series! Get lost in Bayern!

Quote:
"All I've ever wanted was to be near you." ~Finn

Monday, 17 May 2010

Review: The Goose Girl

Title: The Goose Girl
Author: Shannon Hale
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Reading Level: Young Adult
Other titles in series: Enna Burning, River Secrets, Forest Born

Rating: 4/5

Publisher's Summary:
She was born with her eyes closed and a word on her tongue, a word she could not taste. Her name was Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she spent the first years of her life listening to her aunt’s stories and learning the language of the birds, especially the swans. And when she was older, she watched as a colt was born, and she heard the first word on his tongue, his name, Falada.

From the Grimm’s fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original, and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can lead the people she has made her own.

Review:
Oh how I love thee Shannon Hale. You never disappoint and always tell the best tales. The Goose Girl is a re-telling of the Grimm's fairytale and it is awesome. I'm a sucker for a good fairytale, and Ani proves to be one of my favorite heroines to date. You must read this coming of age tale! I give it 2 thumbs up!

My sister's Katie & Becca were after me forever to read this book. I've read it several times now, but decided to read it again as I just bought the rest of the series. There are 4 books of Bayern and I can't wait to find out more of the story!

Quote:
"They finished laughing and caught their breaths, and looked at each other, and Ani thought Geric looked at her too long, as though he forgot he was looking, as though he did not wish to do anything else. She looked back. Her took heart took its time quieting down."

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Winners!

I've got winners for my last 2 giveaways!


2 winners of a signed book and loot:
1. Sa Toya Tremaine
2. Deborah Corlett

5 winners of Loot:
1. Elaine Scott
2. Iffath Ahmed
3. Jean Oberlander
4. Rhoda Kellar
5. Rhys Jones




1. Sarah Poulton
2. Alicia Wroblewski
3. Lori Clark

Friday, 14 May 2010

Review: The Mermaid's Mirror

Title: The Mermaid's Mirror
Author: L.K. Madigan
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 4, 2010


Rating: 4/5

A special Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin for sending me
this digital galley to review.

Publisher's Summary:
Lena has lived her whole life near the beach - walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves - the problem is, she's spent her whole life just watching. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf. But her father - a former surfer himself - refuses to allow her to take lessons. After a near drowning in his past, he can't bear to let Lena take up the risky sport. Yet something lures Lena to the water ... an ancient, powerful magic. One morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman - with a silvery tail. Nothing will keep Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove. And soon ... what she sees in the mermaid's mirror will change her life ...

Review:
The cover alone made me pick up this book! Isn't it gorgeous?! I love the sea, and miss living in California so I knew I'd love this book. I wasn't disappointed. I really liked Lena's character and her draw toward the sea.

When she see's the mermaid for the first time she knows there is a connection, but doesn't know what it means. When she finally finds out what it is, IT'S HUGE!! Answers are finally provided. There is a bit of romance and first loves. Which I love!

It is a very cute story. I read it quickly and drank it all in. I'm hoping for a sequel, but haven't found anything yet stating there will be one.

Look for it in the fall!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Wintercraft Wednesday: Giant Giveaway!

Thanks to Headline Publishing I've got 2 signed copies of Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw to giveaway! We've also got loads of Loot!! Posters, bookmarks, etc!

2 winners will get:
a signed book and loot

5 winners will get:
The awesome Loot

What do you have to do to be entered? It's easy here at The Sweet Bookshelf!

Just enter your name, email, and mailing address in the link below and you'll be entered.

Worried about Privacy? Check out my Privacy Policy.

Giveaway Ends: Saturday May 15th


Wintercraft Wednesday: Want to Know More?

Want to know more about Wintercraft?

Check out the website www.wintercraft.co.uk

You'll find out about:

The Characters
Author Jenna Burtenshaw's Blog
News and More Reviews
Location Profiles
The Newsletter

Check out the trailer!

Wintercraft Wednesday: Author Interview with Jenna Burtenshaw

I'm so pleased to introduce you to Jenna Burtenshaw, author of Wintercraft!
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Wintercraft is your debut novel. How does it feel to be a published author? What's the best part?

It feels amazing and a little bit surreal at the same time! I started writing seriously almost ten years ago. Now I have a finished book sitting on my desk and seeing it there always makes me smile. The best part of being published has been getting to meet so many new people. The Headline publishing team are amazing and the people at my agency are lovely. Then there are the fabulous book bloggers and readers I have connected with online! Its a wonderful community and Im very lucky to be part of it.

I've never read anything like Wintercraft before, how did you come up with the idea?

The idea for the story came together piece by piece over a long time, but certain events and places in the book were inspired by real life. A smaller version of the hording actually happened in my garden a few summers ago when a group of starlings thumped into the windows one by one, and the idea for the City Below came from a school trip where my class was taken on a tour down a drift mine. That experience sent my imagination into overdrive and Ive never forgotten it. Ive always loved the idea of old books passing down ancient knowledge, so the book of Wintercraft itself grew from that. As great discoveries go, a book that carried the secrets of death would be an amazing find.


How many books will be in the Wintercraft series? Can you tell us anything about what's next?

At the moment there are set to be three books in the series. I love writing about Kates world and Wintercraft really is just the beginning of the story. Kate will discover more about her abilities and how to use them. She will delve deeper into the world of the Skilled and there will be some hard choices for her to face along the way.

Edgar and Silas are my favorite characters. I know they are more than meets the eye. Will we learn more about them and where they came from in the next books?

There is a lot more to come from the two of them, yes. Silas in particular has many secrets that are yet to be revealed. He is a fantastic character to write about as he is so mysterious and closed off from the world. Im glad he is one of your favourites!

Take us through a typical writing day.

I have coffee and breakfast, see to my dogs and rabbits then power up the computer at around ten oclock. I spend the morning rereading what work from the day before, replying to emails and dealing with the post. After twelve its time for serious business. I try to aim for 1000-2000 words a day, but sometimes I cut lots more than I write. Once thats done, I answer any interview questions Ive been sent, plan out rough ideas for future books and prepare for events. Throw in some internet browsing, random half-hours of reading and large chunks of staring into space and you have a pretty typical day.

What are your favorite books?

That is a very difficult question! The answer changes almost every day. I love books that put a different twist on reality and Ive always had a soft spot for dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction. 1984 was one of my favourites for a long time. Now I read a lot of YA fiction and love anything with a good adventure.

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

The hardest part (and the one that took the most time) was finding an agent. I wrote three books before Wintercraft and collected a lot of rejection letters. Then in 2006 I decided to set those early books aside and try something new. Wintercraft is a lot darker than anything I had written before. I signed with my agency at the beginning of April 2009, had meetings with publishers at the end of May and the book went to auction in June. Now, ten months later, it is out in the world for everyone to see!

Any advice you would give to aspiring authors?

Read as much as you can. It doesnt matter what it is. If a book jumps out at you from a shelf, read it. And while youre writing, dont be afraid to get things wrong. Your work will probably be terrible in the beginning but you have to keep going and experiment to find your own style. If it feels right, do it. Getting published is not impossible. And above all, dont give up!

What is your favorite sweet/salty snack?

For a sweet snack it has to be homemade oat and cranberry biscuits. And for something savoury... pickled onion crisps.

If you weren't a writer what would you be?

I think Id probably be an English teacher, trying to introduce teenagers to great books and getting them all swashbuckling around to Shakespeare!

Is there anything you would like to say to The Sweet Bookshelf readers?

Dont let anyone tell you that you cant achieve something. No matter what you want to do or how long it takes, just believe in yourself and go for it. Do what makes you happy and you cant go wrong.

Thanks for stopping by The Sweet Bookshelf Jenna! Happy Release Day tomorrow!


Wintercraft Wednesday: Review

Title: Wintercraft
Author: Jenna Burtenshaw
Publisher: Headline
Reading Level: Young Adult


A special Thank You to Headline for sending me this book to review.

Rating:
4/5

Publisher's Summary:
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.

Review:
What a great book! I've not read anything like this before. The idea is totally intriguing and new. I found myself trying to figure out all the in's and out's while reading, hoping to find my own escape for Kate.

I'm a fan of Silas. In the beginning I thought he was awful, and I hated him. As the story moved on I realized he is more than meets the eye. I'm looking forward to learning more about him and finding exactly what he is all about. We find out why he is the way he is in the book, but I wonder how he will change and/or what he was like before.

I also like Edgar. I secretly want some kind of romance to bloom with him and Kate. I'm a sucker for romance. I'll try and fit it in anywhere, but Edgar is this kind of hero that I want there to be much more with him. I'm awaiting the next book to find out!

Well written, fantastic debut novel. If you are looking for something a little different and dark check out Wintercraft!

Quote:
"The ways of Wintercraft are not for the careless, the arrogant, nor the unwise. You now hold a book of instructions which, if followed, shall allow the fearless mind to go beyond the boundaries of this world and step without restraint into the mysteries of another. Keep it safe. Keep it secret. And follow its words with care. This path is more dangerous than you can know."-written in Wintercraft

"Those who wish to see the dark, be ready to pay your price."-Written in Wintercraft

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Review: Of Witches and Warlocks

Title: Of Witches and Warlocks
Author: Lacey Weatherford
Publisher: Publish America
Reading Level: Young Adult


Rating: 4/5

Summary:
Portia Mullins had always lived the life of a normal teenager, up until her sixteenth birthday. She is then informed by her grandma that she is actually a witch who is a descendant from a long line of witches and warlocks. After overcoming her disbelief she finds that being a member of the coven comes with one great perk in the form of the school's handsome bad boy, Vance Mangum. Vance and Portia have an immediate connection as a budding romance begins, only to be threatened by turbulent skies on the horizon as Vance's checkered past rears its ugly head to haunt them. Portia is forced to use her untried powers in defense of everything she loves in a desperate attempt to hold on to the one thing that really matters in her life.

Review:
WOW! I was NOT expecting this from a small publisher! It is AMAZING! Too short though, only 205 pages, good thing there will be 2 more books.

I'm not a witches fan (other than Harry Potter) and had no idea even what a Warlock was. It's a male witch for your information. I didn't know what to expect, but it was fantastic! The love story is to die for, and I loved the take on contemporary witches. Very cool!! I'm SOOO needing the next 2 books. Like now. Seriously. I need to know what happens.

If you can get a hold of this book you won't be disappointed. It is a wildly romantic tale of a Witch and a Warlock!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Tune In Wednesday!

Tune in on Wednesday for Wintercraft Wednesday! It is the day before the release day for Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw and we want to celebrate!!


The celebration will contain:
  • reviewing the book
  • Interviewing author, Jenna Burtenshaw
  • Sharing tid bits about the book
  • and having a HUGE giveaway, with signed books and loads of loot!
Join us on Wednesday!!

The Newsstand {12}


The News Stand is a weekly feature. Here we dish on tidbits, news, and important things bookies should know. So scroll down to hear what you can glean from this week.
  • NetGalley is an inexpensive and green way for publishers to share their digital galleys securely. Professional readers—reviewers, media, bloggers, journalists, librarians, booksellers and educators—can all use NetGalley for FREE to read and request galleys they want to review. Check it out!
  • Penguins 75th Anniversary is here! They are having some massive giveaways! See what you could win!
  • Check out this Florida mom who wouldn't return her daughters library books because she felt they were too racy for teens.
  • Check out this article on letting children pick their own books to help encourage reading.
  • This 9 yr old wrote an award winning book! Check out the adventures of Carrotman!
  • Just in case you missed anything, check out our Monthly Review for April!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Review: Radiant Shadows

Title: Radiant Shadows
Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reading Level: Young Adult
Other titles in series: Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, Fragile Eternity


Rating: 3/5

Publisher's Summary:
Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.

Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries' coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani's death.

Ani isn't one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

Review:
I've been waiting for this book for a year.I have LOVED the series thus far. I am not sure this next installment was what I was expecting. I was hoping for more continuity with the characters we already knew, not adding more. The whole series is more like a bunch of companion volumes all centering around a certain setting, but not the same people necessarily. Yes it is confusing. Every book changes its focus characters. SO, nothing gets resolved with the last book, just more characters come into play.

The love story was nice, but short. It was still good, but not great. I might be done with this series because no answers are ever provided. It is a Dark Faerie Romance, if you like those you probably will enjoy this series.

Quote:
"In all of eternity, no faery born has overcome me in anything.'

Aaah. Pride goeth before the fall, my friend"--Irial stood and clasped Devlin's hand--"but you've already fallen, haven't you?'

And to that, Devlin had no answer."

Friday, 7 May 2010

Review: Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison

Title: Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison (Book 5)
Author: Brandon Mull
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Reading Level: Young Adult
Other Titles in the series:
Fablehaven
Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star
Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague
Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary



Rating:5/5

Publisher's Summary:
Since ancient times, the great demon prison Zzyzx has protected the world from the most dangerous servants of darkness, including Gorgrog, the Demon King. After centuries
of plotting, the Sphinx is on the verge of recovering the five artifacts necessary to open the legendary prison. Facing the potential of a world-ending calamity, all friends of
light must unite in a final effort to thwart the Sphinx’s designs and find a safe home for the five artifacts. To this end, Kendra, Seth, and the Knights of the Dawn will venture far beyond the
walls of Fablehaven to strange and exotic magical preserves across the globe, where the end of every quest becomes the beginning of another. In this explosive series finale, allegiances
will be confirmed and secrets revealed as the forces of light and darkness collide in a desperate struggle to control the keys to the demon prison.

Review:
W-O-W! What a series finale! There is more action in the first 100 pages than in the entire series to date. It is fast paced and adventure looms at every page! All the mythical creatures we've met thus far all come together in this last book for an adventure to rival the best!

We also meet a new character, Bracken. He is MY FAVORITE, and I wish he would have been here from the start. Better late than never. I craved more of him though, and was secretly waiting for a romance to brew between him and Kendra.

It is a big book full of action and adventure. I am sad to see the series end, but so glad that Brandon Mull will have a new series out next year for us to enjoy.

If you haven't picked this series up, you are sure missing out. It is a cross between Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia! What's not to like?! You won't regret it, Fablehaven is my favorite fantasy series!

Quote:
"For endless televison!" Newell cried charging into battle.
"For Frito-Lay!" Doren yelled, waving his knife overhead.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Junior Correspondent Review: Pout Pout Review

Title: The Pout Pout Fish
Author: Deborah Diesen
Reading Level: 4-8 yrs old

Rating: 5 Stars!

Summary:
"I'm a pout-pout fish
With a pou-pout face,
So I spread the dreary-wearies
All over the place."

Review:
Have you ever read The Pout-Pout Fish? It's probably at your local library. Sometimes a kiss is all it takes to turn things around. Well, that's what happens to The Pout-Pout Fish. I like how the fish changes in the end. I like how everyone tells the fish to be happy but he says he can't because he's a pout-pout fish and it's the way he's made. I love the illustrations and how the setting is in the sea, and how much detail it has. But is he really a pout-pout fish with a pout-pout face? Read the book to find out!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Jr. Correspondent Vlog {1}


Check out what our Junior Correspondent Lizzy has been up to in April!

video

Kids Contests:
Design Your Own Book Cover (UK)
Awesome Adventure Sweepstakes (US)

Books Mentioned:
Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
Littlest Detective in Paris by Suzy Brownlee
The Worst Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson
Igrain the Brave by Cornelia Funke
Clifford Goes to Hollywood by Norman Bridwell
Test the Stuff You're Made Of
Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food by Jane Yolen
Arthurs Truck Adventure by Mark Brown
DC Super Friends : Attack of the Robot

Author Interview: Mary Naylus

Last fall I read an amazing little time travel book called The Dresskeeper by Mary Naylus. I gobbled it up! It was so good! I read it in one sitting, and learned so much about history in the process. Let me introduce you its author Mary Naylus!

********************************************************

Thanks for stopping by Mary! How did you come up with the idea for The Dresskeeper?

Well, I love history, and the bits I love about history the most are the everyday, ordinary things like what people wore, what they ate, how they looked and so on. I tried to combine this love with a story that might appeal to a modern-day teenager, and asked myself: ‘What if a 21st century tomboy found herself back in the 1600s?’ Then I had to work out how to get her there – hence the dresses.


There is SO much history filled in your novel. I feel it is a great way to get kids to learn about history. Did you set out to write a historical fantasy novel?

Yes and no. As mentioned, I am fascinated by history but am conscious of not letting it overtake the story. So I set out to write a story about a teenager confronting changes in her life, and used the historical aspects and the time-travel as a backdrop.


Your next novel, The Plaguemaker is being released this summer, can you tell us anything about it?

Sure. The Plaguemaker uses history as well, but in a completely different way. This one is a ghost story – the ghosts being children who died as a result of the 1665 London Plague. This time, the protagonist is 15-year-old Blessie, whose experience of the ghosts leads her to delve into the past to protect her family’s future.

What is the best part about being a published author?

Having wonderful people like you and your readers appreciating my work. Unless readers like what I do, I feel the whole process is pretty pointless.


Take us through your typical writing day.

Well, I work from an outline (something Prospera asked me to write about in their Getting Published newsletter, in case there are would-be writers who are interested). So I start with four lines of action, and expand and expand and expand, adding in bits of research and story as I go. Finally, I add the dialogue and make the plot and subplots work, and once I have a first draft, I craft it into a final novel. Therefore, my writing day will depend where I am at in this process.


What books are you reading right now?

A book called ‘Eat, Drink and Be Married,’ about a Greek girl in Nottingham, and ‘The Traveler’, which is a tad Matrix-like.


Is there anything else you wanted to say to The Sweet Bookshelf readers?

Just a huge thank you for your interest and support for The Dresskeeper. I hope you enjoy The Plaguemaker when it comes out, and please don’t hesitate to contact me via Prospera’s website with any queries or suggestions.

All the best,

Mary Naylus, April, 2010.

Thank you so much for spending some time at The Sweet Bookshelf Mary! We can't wait to read what's next!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Kids@The Shelf News



Kids@The Shelf is a NEW Feature here at The Sweet Bookshelf. The 1st Sunday of every month we are having a group of kids let us in on their recommendations in kids books!

Grab the kids and let them check out what's cool in kids books here at The Sweet Bookshelf!


Julia's (6 yrs) Favorite's in April
-Favorite Library Loot: The book Julia liked the most in April was Disney's Pixie Hollow Pop-Up by Kitty Richards. This book even has a giant pop-up fairy tree in the very end!
-Favorite Illustrated Book: Julia loves the illustrations of Jackie Urbanovic who wrote Duck at the Door (among many others)
-Favorite Series: There is a brand new series called How to Convince Your Parents You Can... by Tammy Gagne. This series talks about pets and how to care for them. The books in this series she likes the most (so far) are How to Convince Your Parents You Can Care for a Hedgehog and Care for a Pet Sugar Glider.



Spencer's (9 yrs):
-Favorite Series: The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris D'Lacey
Ice Fire
The Fire Within
Fire Star
The Fire Eternal
Dark Fire

Benton's (7 yrs):
-Favorite Library Loot: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Laura's (5 yrs):
-Favorite Series: Reading The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder with her mom.

Want to know more about the kids? Meet them here!

May Borrow My ARC Tour Books

If you haven't heard about the Borrow My ARC Tour, find out the rules and regulations here.

To sign up for a book just fill out the form below. Fill out ALL of the form!!!

By filling out the form you agree to:

- Read, review and mail the book with in two weeks of receiving it.
- Email me when receiving, reviewing and mailing the book.
-You must live in the UK or Europe.

May ARC Tour Books:

Set in an apocalyptic future where rising oceans have swallowed up entire regions and people live packed like sardines on the dry land left, DARK LIFE is the harrowing tale of underwater pioneers who have carved out a life for themselves in the harsh deep-sea environment, farming the seafloor in exchange for the land deed.

The story follows Ty, who has lived his whole life on his family's homestead and has dreams of claiming his own stake when he turns eighteen. But when outlaws' attacks on government supply ships and settlements...... threaten to destroy the underwater territory, Ty finds himself in a fight to stop the outlaws and save the only home he has ever known.

Joined by a girl from the Topside who has come subsea to look for her prospector brother, Ty ventures into the frontier's rough underworld and begins to discover some dark secrets to Dark Life.

As Ty gets closer to the truth, he discovers that the outlaws may not be the bloodthirsty criminals the government has portrayed them as. And that the government abandoning the territory might be the best thing for everyone, especially for someone like Ty, someone with a Dark Gift.



Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Monthly Review-April

This month has been a big one for me! Plenty of NEW stuff here on The Sweet Bookshelf!

I got my new blog design and I love it! I'm also having some bookmarks printed and they will be here soon! How fun is that?! Here is a sneak peek:


In case you missed anything, here is what happened at The Sweet Bookshelf in April.

Book Reviews:
Spells by Aprilynne Pike
The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The 13 Curses by Michelle Harrison

Lizzy our Jr Correspondent (Kids info):
Jr Correspondent Introduction
My Secret Unicorn by Linda Chapman
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach by Carmen Agra Deedy
The Mad Scientist Club by Bertrand R. Brinley
How to Train Your Dragon by Hiccup Horrendous Haddock
Gone With the Wand by Margie Palatini

Author Interviews:
Nancy Turner (my Favorite author!)
Michelle Harrison
Carmen Reid

Discussions:
World Autism Awareness Day
Do You Re-read?
Donating Books
What Book Would You Recommend to a Stranger?
We Give Books
Favorite Genre and Why?


Giveaways:
The Cradle by Patrick Somerville (ends May 10th)

Books received for review from publishers/authors:
Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
The Other Countess by Eve Edwards
Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton
The Gypsy Crown by Kate Forsyth
The Puzzle Ring by Kate Forsyth
Of Witches and Warlocks by Lacy Weatherford
Kiss & Break-up by Kate Kingsley
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Dark Secrets by Elizabeth Chandler
Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani
Dark Life by Kat Falls
The Night of Solace by L.J. Smith


Books I Bought:
Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull
Spells by Aprilynne Pike
Forest Born by Shannon Hale
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
River Secrets by Shannon Hale


Borrow My ARC Tour:
International Borrow My ARC Tour rules and regulations
April Borrow My ARC Tour Book


The News Stand:
The News Stand {11}


Kids@The Shelf:
Introduction to the NEW Feature
Kids@ The Shelf News-Coming Soon!
Meet the Kids



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