Sunday, November 23, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: THE TERRIBLE TWO by Mac Barnett & Jory John

THE TERRIBLE TWO
Mac Barnett & Jory John
Amulet Books
Ages 8 - 12

Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game.

It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud.

In The Terrible Two, bestselling authors and friends Mac Barnett and Jory John have created a series that has its roots in classic middle-grade literature yet feels fresh and new at the same time.

MY REVIEW:

The Terrible Two is hilarious! I read it out loud to my 6-year-old son who loved every single word of it. The illustrations are a crack-up! I'm in love with the cow. Yes, the COW!

Fans of Captain Underpants and Diary of Wimpy Kid will be enthralled. Reluctant readers will chomp at the bit to turn the pages. If your kids read one funny book this year, this should be it. Really. It's that good.

The Terrible Two doesn't come out until January -- so not fair!!! But you can pre-order it here. Then just stick a photocopy of the book cover in your kid's stocking. Trust me, it'll be worth the wait.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

WINNER ANNOUNCED

Congratulations to Bethany Nelson who won a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card for the Spooktacular Giveaway Blog Hop!

BOOK BLITZ: THE BROKEN - DESTINY by Carlyle Labuschagne

Title: The Broken Destiny: A Broken Novel Book two Author: Carlyle Labuschagne
Genre: Dystopian. Science- Fiction. YA
Release Date: November 2014
Publishers: Hallowed Ink Press


Blurb: "You cannot know what light is if you have not experienced darkness"  Ava and her people have been exiled to the planet Poseidon for reasons she can't fathom. Upon meeting a boy from a different sector, her life turns into a beautiful chaos. She begins to feel things she isn't allowed to, thus motivating her to find out the truth about why her kind are so different, and why the Council are so interested in her. Once her mind is freed, with it comes a terrible power that could either save her kind, or destroy them all. But Ava is not the perfect heroine. She will become what she hates to save the ones she loves, and the cost of such a burden is deadly at best.
Carlyle Labuschagne is a South African award winning author working her way into the hearts of international readers with her first two books in the Broken Trilogy. Her first young adult dystopian novel "The Broken Destiny" reached top 3 in its YA debut Category. The Sequel Evanescent won YATR literary award for best Sci-Fi book 2013. Her become a published author prgramme for students launched Feb 2014. She is not only an author, but works as a marketing manager by day. She holds a diploma in creative writing through the writing school at College SA. Carlyle loves to swim, fights for the trees, and is a food lover who is driven by her passion for life. Carlyle also writes for IU e-magazine India, an inspirational non-profit magazine that aims at inspiring the world through words. The drive behind her author career is healing through words. Carlyle is also the founder of the first annual book drive – Help Build A Library in Africa Project. And hopes to launch her very own Indie book festival in Johannesburg March 2015. “My goal as an author is to touch people’s lives, and help others love their differences and one another.”
Author Links:
Buy Links: Amazon

Prologue

All my life, I had searched for something; something I thought I ought to be. I felt like I was living someone else’s life, waiting for the awakening of my own. I felt like an empty shell burning for life. That was, until the day I lay dying in the prince’s chambers. I could no longer feel the pain from the tear in my gut. The only sensation left was a hollowed-out feeling that I had made a huge mistake in assuming that taking my own life, would have stopped the ancestors’ spirit from raging out. I had given up. I didn’t want to see myself killing the ones I loved.
I was the Chosen One, but I threw it all away for what I thought would save a life. Could you end a life to save a life? I did, and I have regretted it ever since. I realized then that things like me were not meant to exist.
What had been missing my whole life? It was I. To find myself, I had to lose myself in the worst possible way. The consequences of my actions became the legend of ‘The Broken’.
Excerpt two: 

Chapter One

Oh, Star

I wasn’t sure why they called us ‘The Broken’, but what I did know for certain was that we were different from the other ‘human’ inhabitants of this planet. We were the third generation of our kind, with a huge―some would say, cursed―destiny. We are also the last of our kind, a dying race. I used to believe that the reason we were exiled to Planet Poseidon was because we were a lot different from the humans on Earth. They tell us at assembly every morning that we are what survived of Earth because of those differences.
 Global warming, war and evil undertakings were said to have contributed to Earth’s destruction in the late twentieth century. Greed stripped Earth of its ‘magic’ and caused the planet to turn on itself. A way of getting rid of the ‘virus’, so to speak. Did I buy into those lies anymore - No. I believed that there was a lot more to the story behind our origins and our extradition to a long forgotten sector within the Titan galaxy was no accident. I could feel it in the cold burn of my legs as I walked the hollow halls of our institutions, and I could see it on the eerie motionless faces of my peers every day. Little by little, small things started changing and I started believing in the signs my mother wrote about in her secret journals.
A haunting feeling stared back at me as I looked upon my reflection in the monitor every morning, clearly remembering as a young child my iris were a lot bluer. At first I thought it was the effect of the changeover from mirror to monitor. I used to think that maybe the mirror was the lie. That it was evil and that that was the reason it had been outlawed. But so many new laws had been put into place over the last few years, I was beginning to doubt our perfect Utopia really existed, that beneath the surface something deceivingly dark was brewing, and the nightmares my biological mother wrote about were real events the council had stripped from her memories. Keeping it on paper was the only way she could decipher real memories from the planet ones.
Excerpt 3
My mother has me in some kind of arranged marriage, to the chief’s idiotic son of all people. I don’t want that. But it’s my duty. I have to. ” She said staring into the ground.
 “You don’t have to anything!” I shouted defensively. “No one can force you into a life you don’t want.”
My heart was racing, as my feet hit the wooden platform of the bridge. But the look on Maya’s face made me calm my anger and consider my words carefully, because the truth was that people did make me do things I didn’t want to.
Maya didn’t speak for a moment. From her facial expressions, I could tell she was having a fascinating debate in her own head. My eyes fell on the small stream. Only, the stream was no longer gentle.
“What do you suppose this means, then?” I asked Maya as I stopped to look over the edge of the bridge, my hands grasping the rail firmly as I peered all the way down the shallow canyon. By the look on her face, I knew I wasn’t imagining things and that she was concerned, not excited to have the planet alive again. Surely this would mean the cycle of autumn is finally over? She stood motionless on the overpass. We were both looking down on what used to be the tiny stream that snaked through the pebbles and disappeared over the ridge among the rocks and into the valley.
Maya grabbed my right arm tightly and tugged me away with such force that I almost fell over my own feet. Our footfalls clattered loudly over the bridge, as it slowly swayed beneath us.  
“Slow down, will you?” I yelled at her in frustration. “What’s going on, Maya?” The urgency in my voice momentarily startled us both.
“The prophecy,” she said distantly, keeping her eyes straight ahead.
“What?” I snapped.
But all she would say over and over again was: “It’s too soon! Too soon. Something’s wrong.”
I heard a loud thud. The bridge suddenly swayed dramatically and I looked down, trying to figure out what could have caused the sudden erratic motion. I noticed Maya extracting a sharp object from her boot. She was crouching down, baring her teeth like a wild cat. I tried to turn, but a sharp sting shot through my thigh. I looked down to see a long, red splinter protruding from my skin.
Maya shrieked and came at me, a thin dagger gripped tightly in her hand. She came hard and fast. I stood frozen in shock. What is she doing?My vision blurred and I started feeling dizzy. Maya yelled for me to get down, but I was frozen with fear. Suddenly, she ran around me and up on to the railing. She came crashing down―not on me as I had expected, but on something behind me. I staggered and fell on my hands and knees, barely feeling the hard wood as it pressed against my trembling palms and bony knees.
There was shouting. The bridge continued to sway beneath me, making it hard for me to clear my head…to get away. I managed to turn my neck just in time to see two dark figures climbing over the railing, reaching for me. Four powerful, dark hands clamped down on my arms and legs and lifted me off my feet. I heard Maya scream my name, but I was limp and couldn’t move.
As I was hurled away, unable to struggle, I could make out Maya’s form standing over the body of one of our attackers. She struck out at the two remaining assailants who were dragging me away. Another sudden shudder shook the bridge. I could hear the sound of weapons and fists flying around me. I dropped to the floor, suddenly free. By now I was completely numb. I didn’t feel the thud. It should have hit me full on. Instead, I tasted dust and then copper; blood.
Maya stood over me and yelled for someone called Enoch. I looked up at her as my vision faintly perceived two Zulu warriors grabbing her. I shouted for her safety, but the words got stuck in my throat, and I was lifted to my feet once more as they tore her off me. Maya screamed and fought her way out of our attackers’ claws. I heard an object slice through the air, passing over my head with a soft whistle. A dull thump and a soft growl followed, before the hands let me go.
This time I didn’t hit the ground. I kept on falling. I could barely hear the water over the shouting and after what felt like an immense force, I was underwater being overpowered by the cold.
Crystal blue eyes floated towards me like shooting stars, and I allowed myself to surrender to the darkness.

Monday, November 17, 2014

BLOG TOUR: ENDISNGER by Jay Kristoff




ENDSINGER: LOTUS WAR, BOOK III
Jay Kristoff
St. Martin's Press
Ages 10+
Available November 25th

With Stormdancer, Jay Kristoff came roaring onto the fantasy scene—he has been praised as “the master of unique and intense plots and huge twists” (USAToday.com), while critics raved about the novel, calling it “[A] fast-paced, fantastical adventure [that] is sharp as a Shogun's sword.” (The LA Times).  And with healthy sales in hardcover and electronic—fueled by Jay’s inventive, enthusiastic, and relentless promotion on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere—we know readers are hungry for the finale to his wildly inventive Lotus War saga.

As civil war sweeps across the Shima Imperium, the Lotus Guild unleashes their deadliest creation—a mechanical goliath, intended to unite the shattered Empire under a yoke of fear. Yukiko and Buruu are forced to take leadership of the rebellion, gathering new allies and old friends. But the ghosts of Buruu’s past stand between them and the army they need, and Kin’s betrayal has destroyed all trust among their allies. When a new foe joins the war, it will be all the pair can do to muster the strength to fight, let alone win. And as the earth splits asunder, as armies destroy each other for rule over an empire of lifeless ash and the final secret about blood lotus is revealed, the people of Shima will learn one last, horrifying truth.  An exciting, vivid conclusion to a critically acclaimed series, Endsinger is sure to have fans racing through the pages to savor every last revelation.

Monday, November 10, 2014

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY!

The author of THE AWAKENING is giving away a copy of her book through Goodreads. Check it out!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Awakening by Dorine White

The Awakening

by Dorine White

Giveaway ends December 10, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Sunday, November 9, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: THE REPLACEMENT

THE REPLACEMENT
Brennah Yovanoff
Penguin
Ages 12+

Many high school students feel like outsiders, but in this dark fantasy Mackie Doyle has better reason than most to be alienated. Mackie is a changeling, a fairy child exchanged for a stolen human baby. Everyone knows it, though no one will acknowledge it, for fear of upsetting a deal the town made long ago. What, after all, is one baby taken every seven years, in exchange for continued economic prosperity? "Everyone else's unemployment skyrockets, and their tech plants go bankrupt and their dairy farms fail, but not ours," says Mackie's sister, Emma, one of the few who will acknowledge the town's secrets. Mackie, however--sickened by iron, terrified that his neighbors will turn on him--has paid a terrible price, as has Tate Stewart, who is traumatized by the loss of her baby sister, the latest stolen child. Eventually, the two teenagers join forces in an attempt to overturn the town's intolerable status quo. Debut novelist Yovanoff offers well-developed characters, a fascinating take on the Fairy Court, and an exciting story line.

MY REVIEW:

I'd heard great things about this book, and it's been on my TBR list for ages. I finally got around to listening to it via Audible, but my response to it was luke warm. The premise is a good one, a town where every seven years a human infant is replaced with an otherworldly creature so the human can be sacrificed to a rather self-absorbed demonness.

While the potential is definitely there, I felt the story didn't quite reach that potential. However, I did enjoy the odd, creepy creatures who live underground. They alone made the book worth reading. And I think it borders on horror, but not quite, so it is a good selection for teen readers who enjoy stories by Darren Shan or James Dashner.



CONTENT RATING:

Profanity:  High
Violence:  High
Sexuality:  Moderate

Friday, November 7, 2014

COVER REVEAL: THE AWAKENING by Dorine White

Skyrocket Press is proud to reveal the cover its next book release, THE AWAKENING by Dorine White! Coming in December 2014!


Nightmares really do come true, and for fifteen-year-old Kyler Birkwood, they are just beginning. Raised on a farm by his Aunt Martha, Kyler has no clue about the magical heritage swimming through his blood. When he discovers evidence of a mythical creature, a terrifying beast thought only to exist in fairy tales, his safe world shatters.

Left at a school of magic to hunt for clues, he is overwhelmed and disbelieved. As loved ones begin disappearing and Orcs roam the land, Kyler must undergo a journey that takes him from the High Courts of the King to the unknown forests of the East. His magic just awakening, Kyler is the lone hope for a world that will not listen.