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Mini-review: Killer Instinct (The Naturals #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Deets: 

Audience: YA
Pages: 386
Publisher: November 4th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion
ISBN: 9781423168324
Genre: mystery, forensic thriller
Source: eARC from Netgalley




Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists t…

Review: Chasing Power (Sarah Beth Durst)

The Deets: 

Audience: YA
Pages: 368
Publisher: October 14th 2014 by Bloomsbury
ISBN: 9780802737564
Genre: fantasy, mystery, adventure
Source: eARC from NetGalley



Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla's life.

Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.

But her summer plans change when she's caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he …

Review: The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1) by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

The Deets: 
Audience: Middle grades
Pages: 299
Publisher:  September 9th 2014 by Scholastic Press
ISBN:9780545522250
Genre: magic, fantasy
Source: eARC from Netgalley


Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst - and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .




















Move over Harry and Percy, Callum is in the house! 

This series is going to be the next big thing. I guarantee it. How could it not with Holly Block and Cassandra Clare as the authors? 

I'm almost scared to admit that I almost gave up on this …

Review: Frozen: Heart of Dread #1 (Melissa de la Cruz)

The Deets: 

Audience: YA
Pages: 336
Publisher: September 17th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
Genre: fantasy, dystopian-ish, magic
Source: eARC from Netgalley


Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a r…

Review: Stitching Snow (R.C. Lewis)

Deets:

Audience: YA
Pages: 338
Publisher: October 14th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion

Genre: fairytale retelling, sci-fi
Source: eARC from Netgalley



Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.





















Picture Book Saturday: Edie's Ensembles

Edie is known for her great outfits and stylish flair. She and her best friend Andrew spend a lot of time playing dress-up. The school hall is their runway. Edie loves the compliments and whispers of admiration, so much so that she begins dressing in increasingly outrageous outfits to get even more attention. No outfit is too bizarre, no costume too flamboyant for Edie.









Edie's Ensembles was cute. I really enjoyed the illustrations, but I'm not completely sold on the message. The book is aiming at expressing uniqueness and acceptance, but yet Edie goes a bit overboard. She's an attention hog that takes being different to a whole new level. In the end, she tones it down and finds her way back to her friend. But that bothered me. In the middle of her struggles, even her dearest friend abandoned her. I doubt that was the message intended, but it certainly made my mom feathers prickle.

Author Visit with James Ponti

I always complain that there are not enough bookish events where I live in Florida. We never have anything!

I happened to be in Barnes and Noble looking for a specific book for the youngest reader in my house when I came across an advertisement for James Ponti. I nearly caused a massive pileup as I pointed and screeched about how awesome this was. I made sure anyone within hearing distance knew, I can assure you.

Of course, I had to take a picture (so I wouldn't forget) and grab up a few copies of Dead City to be signed when I returned. Now, if you are not familiar with Dead City, you need to check it out on Goodreads. It is a Sunshine State Reader for Florida this year. But most importantly, it's a book that my tween son could not put down.

Actually, he would not put it down. We drove from Florida to Virginia this summer while he read this book. It was the most peaceful car ride in history. There was no fighting between the 12 year-old and 7 year-old. I was able to read a b…

Picture Book Saturday: An Armadillo in Paris

A winsome armadillo from Brazil takes a trip to Paris in this delightful new picture book from Julie Kraulis. Arlo is an armadillo who is always up for adventure. His grandfather, Augustin, loved adventure too. When Arlo was born, Augustin wrote travel journals about his favorite places for Arlo to use when he was hold enough to go exploring on his own. When Arlo reads about Paris and the one the French call La Dame de Fer, or Iron Lady, he decides it's time to strike out on his first adventure. He travels to France and, guided by Augustin's journal, discovers the joys of Paris: eating a flakey croissant at a café, visiting the Louvre, walking along the Seine and, of course, meeting the Iron Lady... But who is she? Each spread has a clue about her identity, and kids will see hints of her scattered throughout the book. This book is like a gorgeous stroll through Paris with an adorable new friend--a stroll you'll want to take again and again.



Minute review:The illustrations a…

book tour for Writing Great Books for Young Adults

 Writing Great Books for Young Adults
By Regina L. Brooks ISBN: 9781402293528 ● Trade Paperback/$14.99 With an 87 percent increase in the number of young adult titles published in the last two years, the young adult market is one of the healthiest segments in the industry. Despite this fact, surprisingly little has been written to help authors hone their craft and truly connect with the young adult audience. Writing Great Books for Young Adults gives writers all the advice they need to tap into this incredible and innovative market. Literary agent Regina L. Brooks shows writers how listening to young adults will help them create characters their audience can identify with. Topics covered include meeting your protagonist, engaging your readers,, trying on points of view, and many more. About the Author: Regina L. Brooks is the founder of Serendipity Literary Agency and has been developing award-winning authors and books for over a decade. She has been highlighted in several nat…