Oct 30, 2010

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1), by Cassandra Clare

Release Date: August 31st, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Source: Web
Interest: Series
Other Titles in the Series: Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2), Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)

Summary from Goodreads:

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world... and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

My Opinion:

What an awesome book! Truly amazing; I'm embarrassed to say that this was my first Clare book (if you don't count her fanfiction, which is amazing as well). 

The the first book in the prequel series to The Mortal Instruments is beautifully written, it drew me in and didn't let me go until I'd finished it! And I like to read two or three books at once, but this one... this one kept calling me, telling me to finish it first!  

As the summary says, Tessa is a 16 year old American girl who is left without nothing and had to go to London to her brother because she has nowhere else to turn to. 

From the moment she sets foot in the city, the action begins. Tessa is captured by the Dark Sisters, ugly and evil warlocks who imprison her, and show her that there is a power locked inside her, a power she didn't even know she had. The power to transform at will, to nearly become the one she's turned into.

Tessa remains captive at the Dark House, until a Shadowhunter named Will comes to rescue her. 

She is introduced to the Shadow World, and the London Institute opens its doors to let her in. 
There she meets Charlotte, who runs the Institute; Henry, her husband; Jessamine, a Shadowhunter too; Thomas, Sophie and Agatha, the servants -all with the touch of the Sight-; and Jem, a Shadowhunter and Will's best friend. 

Charlotte promises that they'll do anything to help Tessa save her brother. But there's so much they don't know. 

They're fooled into traps, make scary discoveries, and begin to fall in love. 

While Tessa clearly shows feelings for Will, I wouldn't be surprised if in book two we saw her and Jem having a moment. 
It's so hard to choose a side! Will is witty and he has these moments where you can't suppress that aww escaping you, and Jem is kind and caring 24/7, but lacks the boldness Will posesses. For now, I'm going to say, Team Will! 

Oct 28, 2010

Hex Hall to be published in Spain in 2011

Spanish editorial Destino has revealed the new cover for the Spanish version of Rachel Hawkins's Hex Hall, which will be titled Condena (something like Conviction). They had a poll, and this is the cover that won:

To tell the truth I like the American cover better. What do you think?

The book is coming out in Spain next year, if I'm not wrong. Let's hope it comes to Latin America soon after its release in Spain.
This book is also in my TBR List, so hopefully I'll be reading it soon and reviewing it here.
Have you read it? Did you like it?
I quite like the premise, magic is my thing!

Oct 19, 2010

Happy Book Birthday Crescendo and Nightshade!

Nora should have known her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described as anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away, and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch, or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

(both summaries from Goodreads)

I cannot wait to read these! Hush, Hush is one of my favourite reads ever, and Nightshade is getting great reviews, everyone is loving it!
Happy birthdays, dears!

Both books are released today.

Oct 18, 2010

Elixir (Elixir #1), by Hilary Duff, Elise Allen (Contributor)

Release Date: October 12th, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 327
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Source: Web
Interest: Series
Other Titles in the Series: Devoted (Elixir, #2)

Summary from Goodreads:

As the daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington D.C. politician, Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. And though she dreads the paparazzi who track her every move, she herself is a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world.

But after Clea’s father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful young man begin to appear in Clea’s photos—a man she has never seen in her life.

When Clea suddenly encounters this man in person she is stunned—and feels an immediate and powerful connection. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father’s disappearance and discover the centuries-old truth behind their intense bond.

Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fate, together they race against time to unravel their past in order to save their future—and their lives.
My Opinion:

WOW. Just WOW.

When I first heard Hilary Duff was releasing a book, I thought, "Yeah, right. How much did she actually write?". But now I can definitely see that (with help), she's the one who wrote it. Elise Allen helped, how much, we don't know.

So you've read the summary, Clea is a rich girl who travels the world, camera in hand, and takes pictures of everything she sees. Until a man starts showing up in her photos, and she can't explain how he's there.

Ben and Rayna are her friends, Rayna is your typical "OH MY GOSH, tell me now, what happened with that guy!" sort of girl, and Ben is more reserved, nerdy and quiet.

Only, the man isn't just in her photos, but in her dreams too. Really vivid dreams, where she sees herself as four different women, all with the same guy, the one from the pictures. And she starts to find excuses to go to bed all the time, just to dream about him. Up until her fantasies turn into nightmares.

She has a new job as a photojournalist: she has to go to Rio, and capture every moment of the Carnival taking place there. Ben joins her. In Rio was also where her father went missing.

At the beach, after having taken photos and danced all night, Ben and Clea have a moment alone, one where you think, "Aww, kiss him!". But then Clea sees him, the man from her dreams, and runs after him.

From then on the novel takes a 360 degree turn, making it fast-paced and just plain awesome.

We discover the truth about this mystery man, and how he's connected to Clea. How he's destined to be with her.

Clea will start looking for her father, and learning more about the Elixir of Life in the meantime, about how it's changed her fate forever.

We're left with a terrible cliffhanger (in the good way!), that left me aching for the next part!

Seriously, I know you must have thought the same thing I did, "Could Hilary Duff have really written a book?". Just read Elixir and see for yourself.

Oct 14, 2010

White Cat (The Curse Workers #1), by Holly Black

Release Date: 2010
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 310
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Source: Won
Interest: Series
Summary from Goodreads:
Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.
Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love -- or death -- and your dreams might be more real than your memories.
My Opinion:

What an amazing book! I have nothing but great words for this book, it's awesome!

From the beginning we're trapped into this game of trust and deception, of cons and murders, of love and brotherhood. I loved the world Black has created and can't wait to read more about it!

The story is all about Cassel (pronounced like "castle", according to the author) and how he is a non-worker in a family of workers. To be a worker means to have a special ability: emotion workers can change your feelings just by touching you, memory workers change or block your memories, etc., etc. But transformation workers are the rarest workers in the world. Basically just one is born within a decade, or a generation even.
Workers work their magic by touching other, hence the use of gloves. To be seen without gloves is very serious thing, and "bare hands can be as dangerous as knives".

Cassel has killed his friend Lila, and now his guilt is coming back. And so is his mother, locked up in prison, and about to be set free. Cassel is asked to leave school after an incident involving the school's roof, and has to go home.

To prepare for his mother's arrival, his grandfather gets him to work on cleaning up their old house. There, he sees cats lurking around. And a white cat he thinks he's seen before.

From that point on the story gets more amazing and fast paced. We learn the truth about Cassel and the cat, and there's a scene towards the end that is just plain awesome.

The ending made me groan in frustration! How could Cassel's mother do that to her son? Ugh! Poor Cassel!

I really have nothing more to say, except that I loved this book and can't wait for Red Glove.

Visit Holly Black's website.

Oct 12, 2010

Lesson One: Stewardship and Oral Sex, (With Bits of Hebrew and Greek Thrown In) - Erin McCahan's Blog Tour Stop

Today I have the honour of being Erin McCahan's host in her blog book tour for her latest novel, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else.

If you visit Erin's website, you'll find a really funny story about her working at her step-dad's medical office. So for today's tour stop, I asked Erin if she had any other story as funny as that last one.

You've read this post's title! She suggested it! And I suggest you read the whole post, cause it's hilarious!
Go on, read the post!

Here's what she has to share with us:

            It was a Thursday when my minister, who was also a friend, called to offer me the job of youth minister at our church.  I had a religion minor in college because of one phenomenal professor whose classes I just kept taking, and even went to seminary after undergrad just to keep studying the topic.  Then in seminary, I discovered I really liked studying Hebrew and Greek – the ancient, as in dead, forms – so I did that for about a year and a half until I finally figured out that it was nothing more than an expensive hobby.
            So then . . . Thursday.
            My minister-friend sounded desperate, and I felt conflicted, because youth ministry was not anything that interested me.  I didn’t even baby-sit more than 4 or 5 times growing up.  But I could hear the desperation in my friend’s voice, so I agreed, and she said,  “Great.  You’re hired.  You start Sunday.  And, by the way, you’ve got junior high and high school.”
            Junior high and high school?! 
I wanted to shout that in horror but instead, in classic Episcopal, by which I mean terribly polite, style, I said,  “Okay, great, thank you.”
            If I liked the class in undergrad, I saved the textbooks.  Didn’t sell them at the end of the semester.  So I still had all my religion texts, and I got the things out and spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday creating a general outline for Christian education classes I’d be teaching and then created a couple very specific lesson plans beginning with Creation.
            Now, you have to keep in mind that Episcopal youth education is practically comical, it’s so bad.  I remember doing a lot of coloring in Sunday School, and a couple times we played Simon Says.  Apparently Simon was God, and God, for some reason, always wanted us to hop on one foot. 
            So having grown up in a church that treats Coffee Hour as sacred, I decided I was really going to teach my students something.  I’d turn them on to the incredibly fascinating stuff of God that that one professor in undergrad turned me on to.  I wouldn’t water it down.  I wouldn’t pander.  I’d more than spark their interest.  I’d ignite a fire in their hearts for God, and maybe, if they were lucky, I’d teach them some Hebrew and Greek along the way.  Because – really?  What’s more fun than lessons peppered with Hebrew and Greek?
            So Sunday arrives.  As it will.  I’m an hour early for my first class – junior high – setting up the room, arranging chairs, organizing pens, nametags, stuff.  And in walk 8 12- and 13-year-olds, which, for a suburban Episcopal Church, is a lot.  We do the introductions, and I launch my attack.  My sneak attack.  I’m telling a story to teach, building suspense, drawing them in with trivia questions, and it’s moving, moving, moving.  And they’re engaged.  They’re making eye-contact.  They’re eager for the next trivia question.  And I’ve got them hooked.  I know it.  And I come to the end of the lesson, and I ask for questions, and one boy’s hand shoots up.  Just shoots up, and, yes, Colin.  Yes!  He’s curious.  He want to know more.  I did it.  Yea, me.
            And Colin asks,  “Is oral sex sex?”
            For a second, maybe two, I was frozen. 
            This wasn’t in my lesson plan!  And – wait – how did we get from stewardship, and the Fall affecting the animal kingdom to oral sex?
            So I ask,  “Why are you asking?”
            Oh, geez!  Did I just ask a 12-year-old why he wants to know if oral sex is sex?
            I start sweating because Colin clearly is not shy about expressing himself.
            Fortunately – sort of; well, it could have been worse – this class met right at the height of the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky Oral Sex, Blue Dress, Cigar and Oh, Yuck Scandal.  It was in all the newspapers, on the Internet and on the nightly news.  And these kids truly were curious.
            I think, for a second, you could have heard crickets chirping as I stared at eight sets of eyes fixed expectantly on me.  And this was one of those “it” moments, as in This is It.  Make it or break it.  Stay or go.  Win or lose.   If I were going to have any kind of credibility with these kids, I’d have to answer, and I’d have to answer honestly.  So I did, but I did it with boundaries, seemingly for the shy kids but, in truth, for myself.  I was hoping to prevent further discussion.
            I said,  “Okay, I’m going to explain this, and if I use a term you don’t know, just wink at me or make a face or something, so I’ll know you don’t understand.”
            And then every couple of sentences, I’d stop, ask if we were clear, see 8 little heads nod – whew – and move on.  And apart from huge amounts of anxiety and some vocabulary acrobatics, it went pretty well.  
            So I found my minister later that afternoon and told her what had happened, and she was thrilled.  She said kids need to be able to ask these questions of someone who will answer honestly, and she thanked me, which was a relief.  I had visions of a parent walking down the hall, past my room that morning, hearing what I was talking about, and organizing a mob to drive me from the building with torches and pitchforks.  Episcopalians do not discuss oral sex in public.  Or in private.  And they certainly don’t write guest blogs about it and suggest the title:  Lesson One:  Stewardship and Oral Sex, (With Bits of Hebrew and Greek Thrown In).
            And how – you may be wondering – did I answer Colin’s question?  I’ll say what I say to everyone who asks after I tell this story:  I’m sorry, but I don’t teach that class anymore.


Thanks Erin for sharing that with us! I really enjoyed it!
All my best to you, I know you're feeling ill, and I hope you get better soon!

Oct 6, 2010

WoW #15: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

“I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.” So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

[Summary from Goodreads

I haven't read anything from David Levithan, and I want to so bad! His books aren't published in Argentina, and I don't have the money to have them shipped to me. I basically read ebooks, people. It's hurting my eyes.
But enough of my whining, this sounds really sweet and exciting! And it's set in New York, that's awesome! I'd love to read this!
Tell me, what are you waiting for? I love adding new titles to my never ending To Read List :)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Oct 5, 2010

Free Story Download: WAKE's Cabel's POV!

Cabel, from WAKE
If you loved WAKE by Lisa McMann, then you'll love this:
You can download a free short story from his POV from the Simon and Schuester website!
Click here to go to the download page.

Simon and Schuester is also holding a giveaway for debut author, Lauren DeStefano's Wither, a new dystopian novel, the first in its trilogy.

Don't miss out on this! And check out the FREE Books page at the Simon and Schuester website for more free stuff!

Oct 3, 2010

The #SpeakLoudly Donation Challenge


In the words of author Julie Kagawa:
In honor of Banned Books Week, and in response to the Wesley Scroggins debacle on Twitter and blogs across the country, I and several other bloggers are hosting the #SpeakLoudly Donation Challenge.

The challenge is simple: pick a book you own, or a stack of books, and donate them to your local library. OR buy a copy of a book (Speak, Slaughterhouse Five, and 20 Boy Summer are all good choices) and then donate it. Then post a blog saying you did it, and spread the word. Banned books, challenged books, non-banned or challenged books, it doesn't matter. I am donating two copies of The Iron King and The Iron Daughter myself. Let's get books on shelves and into reader's hands.

Let's celebrate the right to read what we want.
EFF YEAH! I'm definitely gonna do something like this, and let you guys know. And I strongly urge you to do the same. Let's spread our love of reading!

You can join the challenge by donating any book to anyone, and tweeting about it with the #SpeakLoudly hashtag and visiting SpeakLoudly.org.

Pretties, by Scott Westerfeld

Release Date: 2005
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 384
Overall: 4 Monkeys
Source: Bought
Interest: Series
Other Titles in the Series: Uglies (Uglies Trilogy, Book 1), Specials (Uglies Trilogy, Book 3), Extras (Uglies Trilogy, Book 4)
Other Titles Reviewed in TCM: Uglies (Uglies Trilogy, Book 1)

Summary from Goodreads: 
Gorgeous. Popular. Perfect. Perfectly wrong.

Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun -- the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom -- is a nagging sense that something's wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally's ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life -- because the authorities don't intend to let anyone with this information survive.
My Opinion:

Another great book by Scott Westerfeld. Now I feel bad I've only read two of his books, I'll have to read the rest! 
His way of narrating in the third person is amazing, sucks you right into the story. 

At the end of Uglies, we're left hanging knowing that Tally is going to turn herself in so she can become Pretty and be able to try the experimental cure Maddy, David's mother, has invented.

So, this book begins by telling us how much Tally's changed. The only thing I kept thinking was, "Please, let her go back to normal. She's got to go back to David!" But, oh oh, a new guy appears, named Zane. 

Now, if you read this book you'll know what I mean. Zane is great and all, he's definitely charming and he's fallen in love with Tally (how much of that is true, and how much is only there because of his perfect mind, I don't know) but I still want her to end up with David. It felt more real when I read about the two of them, than when I read about Zane and Tally kissing, trying to keep a clear mind.

First part of the book was kind of slow, the middle part began to pick up the pace and the last part was amazing. We're left with yet another awesome cliffhanger, which was kind of obvious to me, given the next book's title.

I can't wait to see how Tally manages to get out of that.

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