Friday, April 29, 2016

Divah by Susannah Appelbaum

Welcome to YA Friday! Today I have a seriously creepy new release for you, Divah by Susannah Appelbaum. This one took me by complete surprise, so let me tell you about it.

The Book-
Itzy is a seventeen-year-old girl who is invited to spend some time with her snobby aunt at New York's Carlyle hotel. Once there she meets freaky people, and receives a torn up pamphlet about Divahs, or female demons. As her eyes are opened to the supernatural, she realizes she is surrounded by soul stealing demons and fallen angels.

When the Queen of the Damned checks into the hotel, with the intent on possessing Itzy for eternity, Itzy has to save herself and stop the Queen from opening the gates of Hell and unleashing death upon the world.

My Thoughts-
Truly a Gothic creep fest! This story is the time old tale of the battle between good and evil, one that replays itself several times throughout history. The setting really steals the show. The Carlyle hotel is the embodiment of long forgotten decorum and polite people who will sweep anything under the rug, even murder. The hotel is riddled with underground tunnels and strange staff members. There is even a bar filled with paintings of bunnies.

Itzy and Luc are the two main characters. Luc is a fallen angel who is trying to earn back his wings by protecting Itzy, and falling in love with her of course. We get  his back story, and learn all about how he originally was fooled by the Queen of the Damned back in Paris 1789. Itzy is a fun character with an interest in photography. I was amazed that she didn't run screaming from the hotel at the very beginning.

Possession, demons, oh my! The story is an original tale of horror and dark fun. I did find a couple plot issues, which kept me from giving this one a perfect 5. I'm going to mention them so that if any of you figure them out, you can let me know. **** SPOILER ALERT**** First, at the very beginning Luc mentions demons crawling into your bag if you place it on the floor. Why then does he not shake out Itzy's bag at the train station? It would have prevented the whole mess. Second, the only way to open the gates of Hell involves having an angel's feather. Itzy steals back the feather, so how is Divah still able to open the gates in the hotel? And last, regarding those gates. We are told that if they open it is the end of the world. Well, they open and nothing happens. Nothing comes out. Plus, they don't shut them again, just fill the basement with water. What? How is that supposed to stop demons. So, that's my two cents.

I did love the story telling and the characters are so rich and bold. I give this one 4.5 stars and if you like dark, humorous horror, you really should read it!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Submit Your Cover to the New York Book Show!


Some great news for self-published authors today! The New York Book Show, an event honoring the best of book design and production, has announced the addition of a new category: Self-Published Book Covers. All books self-published in print or electronic formats during the 2015 calendar year are eligible. Traditionally published books have a category too. Check out the link below.

Submissions are open now through May 5, 2016- so hurry. LINK

Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Spotlight- Pack of Dorks: Camp Dork by Beth Vrabel

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am spotlighting a fun book coming out next week:
Pack of Dorks: Camp Dork
(Sky Pony Press| On-Sale: May 3rd, 2016| 240 pgs)



Press Release-
Lucy and her pack are back, in this sequel to Beth Vrabel’s heartwarming and humorous debut, Pack of Dorks. Sheldon convinces Lucy, Sam, April, and Amanda to join him at a weeklong sleep-away summer camp—Camp Paleo: Live Like a Caveman. Like cavemen, they’re going to have to make do without air conditioning or a heated pool. They’ll learn archery and dig for fossils. And Grandma’s coming too; she’s taking a job as lunch lady for the camp next door.

 At the last minute, Sam backs out to go to a gymnastics training camp instead. Lucy wonders why she misses him so much—it’s not like he’s her boyfriend or anything. Why does the word “boyfriend” make her blush, even when she’s only thinking it? She needs a distraction. Enter Mr. Bosserman, the grouchy camp leader who won’t budge on the caveman aspect of the camp. The old man needs some softening up, and Lucy knows just the person for the job: Grandma.

One successful match made, Lucy starts to see potential lovebirds everywhere. And setting up couples keeps her from facing the question tickling the back of her mind: Is she in love with Sam? But when the wrong campers fall for each other, the pack falls apart, all under the watchful eye of a super secret blogger who’s been writing about the camp’s activities Gossip Girl–style. Even worse? A thief is targeting everyone but Lucy, setting her up to look guilty. Soon Lucy again finds herself alone, left to fix the messes she’s made and face her own feelings. If she fails, the pack may be splintered for good.

About the Author

 Beth Vrabel grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. She won a short-story contest in fourth grade and promptly decided writing was what she was going to do with her life. Although her other plans—becoming a wolf biologist, a Yellowstone National Park ranger, and a professional roller skater—didn’t come to fruition, she stuck with the writing. She is the author of the Pack of Dorks series and A Blind Guide to Stinkville and A Blind Guide to Normal (October 2016). Beth lives with her wonderful husband, two charming children, a spoiled rotten puppy, and two fat guinea pigs in Connecticut.

Pre-Order it Now!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs

Welcome to YA Friday! Today I am reviewing Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs, a recent release from Albert Whitman & Co.

The Story-
Elena Martinez is on the verge of turning eighteen, and a child of foster care. In just a few months she'll be on her own, and she needs a job, asap. When Aether Corp proposes a brief adventure for tons of money, Elena jumps at the chance. She is recruited for her perfect recall. The other teens in her group, Trent, Adam, Chris and Zoe also have skills. Skills that will be needed when they are sent into the future to spy on technology.

Right off the bat, Elena thinks something is hinky. She overhears scientists talking about problems with a previous mission, and when her group is sent thirty, not ten, years into the future, she knows she's in trouble.

At first, her group works at their goal, discovering future tech, but when they accidentally find out that in the past all but one of them is dead, they decide to do some research. They uncover that the four dead ones all suffered from future shock, a result of time travel that makes you have amnesia and turn crazy. Within twenty four hours of being back in the past, they will be murdered. Can they stop their future?

My Thoughts-
This is a fun sci-fi romp through time and space. From the get go you are sucked into the adventure, knowing that time travel will only bring disaster, like always. When the kids arrive thirty years ahead, they end up in an abandoned building, and the tension just rises from there.

 Elena is wonderful, smart and her ability to reason out problems is a plus. Her budding romance with Adam adds a great dimension, especially since the author leads the reader down an untrustworthy path with him. The key to everything really does end up being the relationship between Elena and Adam.

The future is a setting that is familiar, but with enough upgrades to make it seem legit. There are cars that drive themselves, computer generated smartclothes, and my fave, flexi's, tattoo's that actually connect the wearer full time to the internet. Money is no longer used, and products are bought and sold instantly by your scanned ID. The future world created is plausible, and matches up with the information given to the reader about the present times.

I have to give the author kudos for great plot twists and red herrings. Clues are dropped, but the full truth never comes out until the bitter end. Bonus points- because I didn't figure out who the true villain was ahead of time.

This is a great, fast paced adventure with just a touch of romance. I give it 5 stars!


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ninja and Bunny Blog Tour

Electonîca

Welcome to the Ninja and Bunny Tour with

Author Kara S Tyler and Illustrator Sarah Pacetti

It's Middle Grade Time! Check out my review below and make sure to enter the great giveaway at the end of this post with special prizes that fit the themes of adventure, fantasy, and heroism included in this book.


 About the Book-
NBCoverSmall-2A children’s tale of imagination and play, of love and loyalty, and of courage and determination.Marian loves playing make-believe, but what if her big sister Ruthie’s fairies have been real all along? What if Princess Isla is truly in trouble and needs their help? Marian and Ruthie must visit Fairyland and transform into Ninja and Bunny! Will they be able to save the princess? Find out in this tale of love, loyalty, and imagination.   Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end and get a FREE Ninja & Bunny Activity Book!

My Thoughts-
I have split thoughts on this one. First off, the pictures are amazing. The book is worth buying just to have your child follow the story, or make up their own stories, with the illustrations. Wow, I so enjoyed turning the pages just to see what the artist would draw next.

Where I have some hesitation is the story itself. It is very basic and easy to follow, which is good for early readers. However, I just felt something lacked in the plot department. We're supposed to believe this giant cat is threatening the princess, but it just turns and runs when Ruthie shouts at it. Then, at the climatic scene toward the end, it starts giggling with Marian. What? There is no real danger or story tension.

This story has great potential, but I would like to see it taken further. The author breezes by what could be some great material, like telling us about the amazing  places in fairyland that Marian and Ruthie pass through- cherry tongued forests, the bubbling waters of Malk and diamond crusted hills. I'm giving this one 3 stars!

Kara headshot Ninja BunnyAbout the Author

Kara S Tyler is the real world name of author Pavarti K Tyler. As Pav, her books have spanned genres and won many awards, however, they are geared toward an adult audience. Now that she’s writing children’s books, Kara has decided to use her real name. The Adventures of Ninja and Bunny first came about because of a fabulous conversation overheard between Kara’s two children during a very long car ride. The two young girls spent over two hours debating various aspects of Fae politics and social structure. Without realizing it, the girls were building a world so real, Ray Bradbury would be proud. Kara lives in Baltimore with her husband, two children and two terrible dogs. She is a full-time author and mother.

About the Prizes

The Tour has some fantastic prizes! You can win a $20 Amazon Gift Card, a Fairyland book, Temporary Ninja Tattoos or a Stuffed Ninja Bunny. Enter the Rafflecopter here:  
https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2e77192102/

Monday, April 11, 2016

Book Spotlight- Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Just Like Me
By Nancy J. Cavanaugh
April 5, 2016; Hardcover, ISBN 9781492604273
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky




Summary:
Who eats Cheetos with chopsticks?! Avery and Becca, my “Chinese Sisters,” that’s who. We’re not really sisters—we were just adopted from the same orphanage. And we’re nothing alike. They like egg rolls, and I like pizza. They’re wave around Chinese fans, and I pretend like I don’t know them.

Which is not easy since we’re all going to summer camp to “bond.” (Thanks, Mom.) To make everything worse, we have to journal about our time at camp so the adoption agency can do some kind of “where are they now” newsletter. I’ll tell you where I am:  At Camp Little Big Lake in a cabin with five other girls who aren’t getting along, competing for a camp trophy and losing (badly), wondering how I got here…and where I belong.

Told through a mix of traditional narrative and journal entries, don’t miss this funny, surprisingly sweet summer read!


Buy Links:
Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/ZaPcp
BooksAMillion- http://ow.ly/ZaPku 
!ndigo- http://ow.ly/ZaPvy 
Indiebound- http://ow.ly/ZaPCM 

Praise for Just Like Me

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

And the winners are...

Several winners to announce today!
Winners of the Goodreads Giveaway for a signed copy of The Awakening are:
Marylin C, Thao D, and Nile V. Congrats!

The Winner of Cassandra Clare's Lady Midnight is:
Valerie Mallette. Enjoy!