What is your reading goal this year?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cover Reveal!!!

Sooooooo.....................I have a new segment for you! I don't know how often I'll do it, but we'll try it out! I have a cover reveal to show you! This is a new book from J.Scott Savage, and it will be out in the Fall of this year. Are you ready???? Drumroll  please...................

Pretty neat, right? Have I peaked your interest yet? Well, just in case, here is a little more info.:

Author Note:
Like many of my books, the inspiration for my new series Fires of Invention came from the collision of two ideas. The first time the story occurred to me was while I was watching the musical Wicked with my wife. The moment I walked into the theater and saw the huge mechanical dragon above the stage, I thought, Wow! I have to write a story about that! A few weeks later, I was talking with my nephew, who is probably the most creative kid I know, but whose inventiveness often gets him into trouble, and I thought, What if a kid who had the talents of my nephew lived in a world where creativity was against the law? What if the kids were building . . . a steam-powered dragon? Bam! I had my story.

Powered by great feedback from my agent, Michael Bourret, my good friend and author James Dashner, my publisher, Chris Schoebinger, and the song “Warriors” by Imagine Dragons, I wrote the entire first draft of the first volume in the series, Mysteries of Cove in four weeks. This book is unlike anything I have ever written. There are elements of City of Ember, Dragon Riders, and Hugo in it all mashed up together in a world I fell in love with from the moment I started writing.

I think what’s most exciting to me about this book is that it’s about giving yourself the freedom to imagine. To take chances. Too often we limit ourselves by only trying things we’re confident we can succeed at when what we need to do is give ourselves permission to fail. Often it is when we attempt things with no idea of how we can possibly pull them off that we achieve our greatest successes.

Book Description:
STEAMPUNK! Plus Dragons!
Trenton Colman is a creative thirteen-year-old boy with a knack for all things mechanical. But his talents are viewed with suspicion in Cove, a steam-powered city built inside a mountain. In Cove, creativity is a crime and "invention" is a curse word. Kallista Babbage is a repair technician and daughter of the notorious Leo Babbage, whose father died in an explosion-an event the leaders of Cove point to as an example of the danger of creativity.

Working together, Trenton and Kallista learn that Leo Babbage was developing a secret project before he perished. Following clues he left behind, they begin to assemble a strange machine that is unlikely anything they've ever seen before. They soon discover that what they are building may threaten every truth their city is founded on-and quite possibly their very lives.

Author Bio:
J. Scott Savage is the author of the Farworld middle grade fantasy series and the Case File 13 middle grade monster series. He has been writing and publishing books for over ten years. He has visited over 400 elementary schools, dozens of writers conferences, and taught many writing classes. He has four children and lives with his wife Jennifer and their Border Collie, Pepper, in a windy valley of the Rocky Mountains.
INSTAGRAM: jscottsavage

.........Are you excited yet???? Me too!!! I'm already on the list to review it when it comes out later this year, so I'll let you know what I think!!!...............Stay Tuned!!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Princess Academy

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale


"High on the slopes of rocky Mount Eskel, Miri's family pounds a living from the stone of the mountain itself. But Miri's life will change forever when word comes that her small village is the home of the future princess. All eligible girls must attend a makeshift academy to prepare for royal life. At the school, Miri finds herself confronting bitter competition among the girls and her own conflicted desires to be chosen. Yet when danger comes to the academy, it is Miri, named for a tiny mountain flower, who must find a way to save her classmates--and the future of their beloved village."

My Review:

My sister is always complaining that because my boys are oldest, I don't have enough good middle grade/YA book ideas for girls. I try to keep up with my boys, and so I haven't really read any good books in that age group for girls. Well, this review is just for her! I read it with my book group this month, and I am pretty sure we all enjoyed it. This book is well written. It's easy to read and understand, the character development is really good, there are some fun surprises along the way, and I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Hale's writing style. What girl doesn't dream of being a princess someday? This academy will give one lucky girl just that chance. I loved the individual personalities of the girls. It definitely took me back to my school days. The characters reminded me so much of my friends growing up. There are some that are extremely competitive, some that are loud, some that are timid, some that are angry no matter what, some are very studious, and some are always getting into trouble. I did not like Olana at all. She was the teacher at the academy, and she wasn't very nice. Miri drove me crazy at times, but at other times she was so strong and brave and courageous. She is a great character for these girls to be reading about because she has a lot of good, strong qualities. She has her moments, as do we all, but she is smart, fun, a little mischievous, courageous, and a good friend. I loved it when she took the information back to her village! There is some drama with other girls, but it's not the main story. There is a scene that is tense and may bring out the nail-biting, but it's not overly dramatic. It adds a different dimension to the story and spices things up a bit. I also loved the quarry-speech. It's very clever, and I loved how Miri studied, tried, learned, experimented, and ended up including all the girls. The ending is a bit of a surprise, and there are some fun moments. I really enjoyed this book! 

I loved especially that this book is clean! There is no profanity, no "intimacy," except for maybe a small kiss, and although there is a little bit of violence, it isn't gory or graphic. Nothing inappropriate happens. (Yay! Thank you!!!) It is great for fifth and sixth grade girls for sure. The fourth grade girls may be a little young, so I would recommend that the parents read it to make sure it is ok for their daughter. 

Rating: PG (Some very minor violence, and maybe a tiny peck of a kiss.)

Recommendation: Fourth Grade Girlies and up (If your daughter is in fourth grade then I recommend that you read it first to make sure you feel it is ok for her. If you have a daughter in fifth grade or above then she should be fine reading this book.)

Monday, May 4, 2015

That Night

THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens

*This post was originally written on 7/9/14. I'm reposting it because it is now out in paperback AND.....I have a copy to give away! The first person that comments below saying they would like it, gets it!) 

(Summary taken from shereads.org)
"They said she was a murderer.
They said she killed her sister.
But they lied.
As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.
Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.
Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.
But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all."
July's SheReads selection is "That Night" by Chevy Stevens. This is the first time SheReads has selected a suspense, murder mystery, and I was excited to read it. Chapter One intrigued me. There is this woman who is getting out of prison after what sounds like a very long sentence. I wondered what she had done to be imprisoned for so long. I wondered why she didn't have any family to pick her up or get her new clothes to wear. I wanted to know more of the story. And then I got to Chapter Two. Chapter Two flashes back to this same woman when she was in high school. Her name is Toni, as you later figure out. And that is where I lost interest. Seriously. I've read a bunch of the SheReads reviews of this book, and so far I'm the only one who didn't enjoy it. I think this is why: I am 100% opposite of Toni. I'm opposite in every way. I could not relate to her at all. Yep, I'm the one who was called "good-goody" and "teacher's pet" in school. I'm the one who would study rather than go to a party. I've never done drugs, smoked, or tasted alcohol. Those things never interested me in school, and they don't now. I know I'm in the minority in this so others may feel differently, but I just couldn't relate to her. I found her extremely unlikable and disagreeable. I cringed at all the things she did and started praying that my kids won't do those things. I didn't relate to Ryan either. Or Nicole. Or the friends. Or her parents. Ok, Toni's dad is probably the one person I kind of liked. But he wasn't that great either. It's not that I judge her, or anyone, for choosing those things, I don't, I just do not do them myself, and therefore can't relate to those experiences. The writing style was ok; there were some twists and turns that I hadn't anticipated. The character development was good. Even though it flashed back and forth between the present and the past it was fairly easy to follow, so that wasn't the problem. The problem was that I didn't like Toni or Ryan or really anyone. I couldn't find a way to like them or care about them. I also felt like Toni being bullied in high school, prison, the half-way house, and after was unrealistic. I didn't like her victim mentality. It just kept going and going. I did feel bad that they had been in prison if they were innocent, like they claimed, but that's as far as it went. And if she were that worried about being bullied, why would she go back there? Why not move somewhere completely different and get a fresh start? The other problem for me was the language. There is so much profanity in this book that I found it distracting. And it's not that easy to skip words, it's them plus dozens of the "f' word. And the teen-age intimacy, drug use, smoking. All of it put together just made this book completely unappealing to me. 
There is a gruesome murder, lots of teen-age intimacy, smoking, drug use, stealing, lying, fighting, and way too much profanity. There are dozens of "f" words and lots of the other words. I guess it did do a few things for me: if I had ever thought of wanting to go to prison (which I haven't)--I FOR SURE don't want to now! Also, Toni does realize that her drug use was a problem and she ends up quitting. So that was a positive.

Rating: R (Murder, teen-age intimacy, smoking, drug use, stealing, lying, fighting, lots of profanity, including many "f" words)
Recommendation: Adult (This book is NOT appropriate for YA or anyone younger than an adult.)

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.