Giveaway! Signed copy of The Juvie Three


 The Juvie Three

Gecko Fosse drove the getaway car.
Terence Florian ran with the worst gang in Chicago.
Arjay Moran killed someone.
All three boys are serving time in juvenile detention centers until they get a second chance at life in the form of Douglas Healy. A former juvenile delinquent himself, Healy is running an experimental halfway house in New York City where he wants to make a difference in the lives of kids like Gecko, Terence, and Arjay.
Things are going well, until one night Healy is accidentally knocked unconscious while trying to break up a scuffle among the boys. Terrified of the consequences, they drop him off at a hospital and run away. But when Healy awakes, he has no memory of them or the halfway house. Afraid of being sent back to Juvie, the guys hatch a crazy scheme to continue on as if the group leader never left. They will go to school, do their community service, attend therapy, and act like model citizens until Healy's memory returns and he can resume his place with them.
But life keeps getting in the way...like when Gecko finds romance. Or Arjay gets famous. Or Terence starts reverting to his old ways. If the boys are discovered, their second chance will be their last.



Do you have a child at home that doesn't like to read? I bet you know someone that fits that mold...

You are in luck, then, my friend. I have the perfect cure for the reluctant reader: Gordon Korman's The Juvie Three. Better yet, a SIGNED copy of Gordon Korman's The Juvie Three.


It's pretty easy to enter this giveaway. See the Rafflecopter form below.

What's up for grabs? A signed, hardback copy of The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman (the edition shown above) and the joy of knowing you got a good book into the hands of a child. *Cue sappy violin music and puppy dog eyes now. * You can see my full review of the book HERE.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Mid-book Review: Beautiful Darkness (Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl)

Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, #2)Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

 

At page 300 I am only halfway through the second book in the Caster Chronicles. Wow. So much is (finally) happening, I thought it was worth a mid-book review.

So far, I am happy to see:

1. Ethan finally sounding like a typical teenaged boy instead of an overly emotional girl posing as a boy. In Beatuful Creatures he seemed way too intuned with his emotions to be a believable boy narrator. Now, he's still in tune with those emotions, but instead of expressing his undieing love for Lena on every page he is expressing jealousy and anger. Picking fights and punching things is much more believable than wanting to talk about your feelings-- at least for a male narrator.

2. New characters! Hooray! I love Liv and Link. Link is a nice dose of comic relief, while Liv is a nice catalyst to help move this slowly developing plot along. I am so glad she has answers that Ethan is missing, because I wouldn't have the patience to wait for his own self-discoveries. Ridley is also back, which is interesting. She seems conflicted, so we'll see how she changes. There is also a new villian in town (I think)-- John Breed. I've got a feeling who he might be, but only time will tell if I'm right or not. Oh, I can't forget about Lucille Ball! I love the traiterous cat. I have a pretty good feeling about her role as well, but again-- time will tell.

3. Finally, the authors seem to have a better grasp on their cliches this time around. Yes, there is some pie baking contest and beauty pageant that takes a lot of attention early on, but other than that the other characters sound less ignorant this time around. I think it should be noted though, that I have never been to a pie baking contest or a small town beauty pageant. Do those even exist?

So far, I'm enjoying Beautiful Darkness. I have a feeling that it will end with another bang, and I'm glad I have book 3 already on my shelf to read.

 


Review: Beautiful Creatures (Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl)

The Deets:
Reading Level: YA
Pages: 563
Publisher: December 1st 2009 by Little, Brown and Company           
ISBN: 9780316042673
Genre: paranormal romance/ mystery
Source: personal copy


Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
 

Why did I let this series sit on my bookshelves so long before I read it? WHY?! This blew me away. The setting, characters, and plot were phenomenal. Loved every page.

I'm a Southern girl, so when I find a (good) YA book set in the South I get giddy. Plain and simple. Some of the descriptions were spot on, but some were a bit cliche. I was able to overlook the insulting depiction of Southerns since the authors are not from the south. I figured, what do they know really? I mean, we aren't all ignorant an incapable of putting a grammatically correct sentence together. Unlike the "Southern Belles" in Beautiful Creatures. I'm just going to tell myself that the authors made them over the top to make a point. I'd also like to know what small town in South Carolina have a rich voodoo culture. Seems like the setting for this book would have been better in Lousianna somewhere than in South Carolina. I was also a little surprised by the point of view of the narrator. It was told from Ethan's perspective. Now, I love a good male narrator, but this didn't feel like a typical teenage boy. It felt more like a highly emotional girl was telling the tale. Not believable at all in my opinion. That was a drawback. But, like I said... I was able to over look all of this because the descriptions and amount of detail that went into building the setting was so fantastic.

The characters were also great. Ethan and Lena were interesting, even if they fell helplessly in love right from the start. I really have problems with that type of story, but that's for another time. It actually worked in Beautiful Creatures since their love story was based on a family curse from long ago. I would be wrong though, if I said they were my favorites. I really enjoyed Macon and Amma. They were my true favorites. I loved Amma's quirks and the mysteriousness surrounding Macon. I also loved the dog named after Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird. Priceless.

If you love a good paranormal romance/mystery, then this is for you! It has all the spooky elements of a paranormal read with just the right amount of mystery to keep you turning the pages.


Review: Ice (Sarah Beth Durst)

The Deets:
Reading level: YA
Pages: 308
Publisher: October 6th 2009 by Margaret K. McElderry Books           
ISBN: 9781416986430
Genre: mythology, adventure, romance
Source: library book


IceWhen Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back — if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her — until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.


Amazing. Simply amazing. Another hit for Sarah Beth Durst. Ice was one of a kind and exceeded all expectations.

This has to be one of the best settings for a story that I have read in a long time. It was highly original. You would think that a story that takes place in the Artic tundra would be lacking in descriptive details and originality, but you would be wrong. The descriptions were amazing, and the setting was phenomenal. I have to admit that I was drawn to this book partly based on the location since I visited Alaska this summer. I was able to identify some of the elements mentioned in the story because I saw them with my own eyes. If the author has never traveled to this area, I am highly impressed with her ability to capture its essence. A+ in this department.

The characters were very uniques as well. Cassie is your typical strong-willed teenager, but she is different. She's the granddaughter of the North Wind and the future wife of the Polar Bear King. Yeah, you read that correctly. I will admit, as far as depth goes, there wasn't much. Cassie does grow and develop throughout the story, but that's the extent of things. I didn't really connect with her, but that's ok. The story line was so good that I didn't need to feel that personal connection. Ice read like a myth, which had me engrossed until the very end.

Sarah Beth Durst is known for her original stories. It never ceases to amaze me how she can write books that are so different from one another. Ice is not like any of her other books that I have read thus far. In fact, I would challenge someone to find a book similar to Ice.

If you are a fan of mythology, get ready! You will love all the subtle (and not so subtle) references to mythology hiding among these pages. On the surface, this is a highly original tale of Cupid and Psyche. Complete with the West Wind (in this case the North, South, and East winds) wisking Cassie (Psyche) off to a secluded location. The invisible servants in the original myth are very uniquely described trolls in Ice. There is also Inuit mythology scattered all over the place. You see mentionings of Sedna and Inuit soul keepers.

Simply put, read this. That's all I can say. It's amazing, and it will knock your socks off.

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