Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Giveaway and Blog Tour: Temple Run

I have one copy of the new Temple Run book up for grabs! One winner wins all 3 books! For your chance to win, post a comment to the blog and please include your first name, city, state and email. The winner will be picked randomly by Randomizer. Deadline for posts is September 25 at noon MST. Please check your email on that date. Winner has only 24 hours to respond to my email. The book will ship from New York courtesy of Egmont.
 
Temple Run: Run for Your Life: Jungle Trek
by Chase Wilder
Egmont
2014
Ages 8-12

 
 
Temple Run Book One Run for Your Life!: Jungle Trek
Chase Wilder    
978-1-60684-571-4          
On Sale: 09/23/2014      
Trade Paperback
You're a lucky kid--for your birthday, you're having a destination party: a campout and scavenger hunt in an exotic locale. Depending on the choices you make, you will reach safety in time to enjoy your party, or you will be kidnapped and held for ransom, buying Guy and Scarlett time to make off with the treasure. You decide!
 
Temple Run Book Two Run for Your Life!: Doom Lagoon              
Chase Wilder    
978-1-60684-572-1          
On Sale: 09/23/2014      
Trade Paperback
You are an intern and will be accompanying the curator of an antiquities museum during school vacation on a dive to a newly discovered historic shipwreck. Depending on the choices you make, you will either be stranded at sea, drown, explore the wreck, or discover buried treasure. You decide!
 
Temple Run Downloaded Apptivity Book
978-1-60684-573-8          
On-Sale: 09/23/2014      
Trade Paperback
Temple Run Downloaded is a cool, fast, addictive mobile game, and fans can relive the excitement with this activity book shaped like a tablet. Race down ancient temple walls, along sheer cliffs, and avoid evil monkeys as you challenge your brain to solve these fun puzzles. Temple Run Downloaded includes mazes, brain teasers, puzzles, 4 gatefold pages, and 4 sticker pages, with exclusive info about this favorite game and characters. Full color illustrations throughout.
 
 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Horror Pick: Mr. Mercedes

Mr. Mercedes
Stephen King
Scribner
2014
436 pages
ISBN: 9781476754451

Master of the macabre, slayer of sanity, wizard of witticism, and maker of mirth, Stephen King is just having fun now.  He even pokes fun at himself and his  earlier books and films--recalling shades of "Christine" when investigating the, "...cops expected the big gray sedan to start up by itself, like that old Plymouth in the horror movie." When the police find a mask worn by the killer, they both note that it's creepy not unlike Pennywise, King's creepy clown from "It."

Not only is it King's job to scare us, he has taken on the responsibility to show us what humans are capable of. And not good humans. Oh, no....not the good ones. He wants us to see the grim and grisly, the evil and egotistical, the broken and the bigot, the narcissist and the narc. King's characters get to say things that no American--at least not during these days of p.c.--- could say in public or polite conversation. But King's characters do! And they do it with a vengeance!

A madman in a Mercedes plows down  a crowd of people in the early morning hours as they line up for a job fair. Police are faced with  the impossible job of finding the car, identifying the driver, and figuring out why anyone would want to kill innocent strangers. Newly retired cop  Bill Hodges is bored and depressed. He watches game shows and inane talk shows and wastes each day, that is until he gets a letter from someone claiming to be the killer.

Now it's a game of cat and mouse, and Bill gets a new lease on life. With the help of a much younger neighborhood computer geek and good kid Jerome, Hodges realizes that in order to catch a rat, you have to set a trap---but a rat as smart as this one is going to take the world's greatest rat trap, and Hodges is nothing if not patient and thorough.

Stephen King tells an epic tale of a madman and the forces of good out to stop him.

 King has become almost Will Rogers-esque with his keen observances of the American culture--however depraved it  has become. This is no small town story. This is no fond remembrance of  times gone by. This is no Garrison Keiller and  Lake Wobegon. King's America is in-your-face, violent, sick and creepy. We have plenty to fear and the madness is everywhere.

It is obvious that King had help with the technical aspects of computers, Internet security and hacking, and computer platforms, and in the author's note, he gives credit to various individuals including two of his sons. It comes in handy to have a few digital natives close by.

Highly recommended for mature readers grade 9-up. If you love King, you will love Mr. Mercedes.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I purchased this book for my own reading.  I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)










Wednesday, September 17, 2014

YA Book Giveaway and Blog Tour: Tabula Rasa

I have five copies of Tabula Rasa up for grabs. For your chance to win, simply post a comment to the blog. Include first name, city, state and email contact. Deadline for comments is at noon MST on September 24. Winners are chosen randomly by Randomizer and will be notified on September 24 by 2:00 p.m. MST. Please check your email on that date. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York.

visit the next blog on the tour A Bookish Escape
"This is a snap-the-whip story, dark and fast. The sparks of humor in the voice won me over. Bottom line: I think the cocktail of suspense and believable smart-assery adds up to an addictive dose of reader appeal."—Blythe Woolston, author of the William C. Morris Award winner The Freak Observer
"A very entertaining game for thriller fans . . . . Both Sarah and Pierce are layered and appealing characters who don’t get too caught up in their own drama—the mayhem around them is excitement enough."—Publishers Weekly
 Publication of Tabula Rasa (September 23, 2014)
About Tabula Rasa
The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this action-packed debut thriller with a Katniss-esque heroine fighting to regain her memories and stay alive, set against a dystopian hospital background.
Sarah starts a crazy battle for her life within the walls of her hospital-turned-prison when a procedure to eliminate her memory goes awry and she starts to remember snatches of her past. Was she an urban terrorist or vigilante? Has the procedure been her salvation or her destruction?
The answers lie trapped within her mind. To access them, she'll need the help of the teen computer hacker who's trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, and a pill that's blocked by an army of mercenary soldiers poised to eliminate her for good. If only she knew why . . .
About Kristen Lippert-Martin
Kristen Lippert-Martin has an MFA from Columbia University. She's worked at Time, the world-renowned Brookings Institution, and even had a stint as a stand-up comic before turning to writing full-time. She was awarded the SCBWI's Work-in-Progress grant in 2010. She can be found online at http://kristenlippertmartin.com/.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Crime Pick: The Body in the Woods

The Body in the Woods
(A Point Last Seen Mystery)
by April Henry
Henry Holt
2014
272 pages
ISBN: 9780805098525

An unlikely trio of teens band together as a team after a horrifying encounter in the woods. Alexis, Nick and Ruby are part of a teen Search and Rescue Team who help Portland police search and locate missing people. Their first call is to find a missing autistic man. While searching the forest, Alexis happens upon a grisly discovery--a body in the woods. Ruby and Nick call for help. The crime scene is disturbed when a footprint is accidentally ruined by a medic.

Ruby goes into full crime scene detective mode--this girl is a walking encyclopedia of CSI and forensics television trivia. She notices the smallest details no one else does and carefully explains  them to the other kids and the reader. She realizes that this isn't the first body in the woods--there was another murder of a woman earlier in the year. Ruby takes her suspicions to the police--who shoot down her theory.

Ruby convinces Alexis and Nick that there is a serial killer on the loose in Portland.  As the kids close in on his trail, the killer speeds up his spree. Not only are the kids on a path to destruction, each must deal with his/her  own demons. Alexis deals with her mother's bi-polar personality, Ruby sneaks around to avoid her parents' ultimatum and Nick deals with his feelings of inferiority and missing his dead father.

When the police won't listen, the kids turn to each other and their detective skills. Ruby has an inquiring mind and loves solving a puzzle. The trio realizes that although they are very different, they each contribute to the team and their friendship grows.

This is a quick read and should draw in reluctant readers.

Recommended grade 7-up. Mature subject matter. Serial killer. No profanity.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the arc from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)










Monday, September 8, 2014

YA Blog Tour and Book Giveaway: Of Monsters and Madness

Of Monsters and Madness
by Jessica Verday
Egmont
2014
281 pages
ISBN: 9781606844632
(page count from publisher's webpage)

I have FIVE free copies of Of Monsters and Madness up for grabs! For your chance to win, simply post a comment tot he blog and be sure and include your first name, city, state and email. Winners are chosen randomly by Randomizer. Deadline for posts is September 15 at noon MST. Winners will be notified by 2:00 p.m. MST on that date. Please check your email. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York. Good luck and start posting! See the guest blog post and my review below.


Available September 9, 2014

What others are saying (from the publisher):



“Verday offers a haunting portrait of a lonely, intelligent girl, while serving up gore and abundant references to classic Gothic horror stories. A monstrous mashup . . . inventive and engaging.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Verday’s novel . . . hooks readers into the mysterious and gothic atmosphere of Annabel’s Philadelphia. The plot is thrilling . . . . Annabel is a strong character.”—School Library Journal
“The result is thoroughly dark and ominous, with a secret romance adding delicious tension.”—Booklist
“Lots of good characters and an in-depth plot will keep readers engaged. Pairing classic literature and modern paranormal fiction is very appealing.”—VOYA
I have FIVE free copies of Of Monsters and Madness up for grabs! For your chance to win, simply post a comment to the blog. Please include your first name, city, state and email. Deadline for posts is September 18 at noon MST. Winners are chosen randomly by Randomizer. Winners will be notified on September 18, so please check your email. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York.
Good luck and start posting! Pamela

Guest Post: Jessica Verday

Finding Your Place - OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS
 
When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to go to Thailand. But it wasn’t meant to be, and I found out at the last minute that instead, I was going to London. (Which was completely amazing in its own right.) But ever since then, I’ve had a fascination with Thailand and everything I missed. From the achingly gorgeous scenery, to the friendliness of the people, to the vibrant culture. So when I realized that I was going to need a place for Annabel to have called home before she moves to Philadelphia, Thailand was my first pick.  And to be historically accurate, I went with what Thailand would have been called in 1826 -- Siam.
 
In Siam, Annabel lived with her mother who was a doctor’s assistant, and she grew up with a love of medicine. Siam was home and the people there were her family and Annabel was happy. But when her mother becomes ill and eventually dies, Annabel is summoned from Siam to go live with the father she’s never met in Philadelphia. Leaving everything and everyone she’s ever known behind.
 
With Philadelphia and Siam on opposite sides of the globe, I had to make sure my readers felt every mile between them. Annabel’s new home is nothing like her old one. It’s cold and dark and miserable. Once comfortable in trousers and a shirt while helping her mother care for her patients, Annabel must now learn what it’s like to suddenly be squeezed into corsets and dresses and taught the socially acceptable behaviors of a young lady.
 
The most frustrating part of these rules is that Annabel is expected to give up her dreams of becoming a surgeon. Annabel struggles with finding her place in this new world and learning to live with a future that has such limitations. But one of the reasons why I love to write all of my leading ladies as strong, independent young women is that they will always find a way to claim their power and fight for their dreams.
 
And above all else, Annabel is most definitely a fighter. (post from the author)

My Review:

Madness most magnificent! Jessica Verday takes a vulnerable innocent and ships her halfway around the world from her home in exotic Siam to the bustling city of Philadelphia--a place she's never been.  Annabel is surrounded by a family she has never known, a creepy house that is ghostly and Gothic, a strange, demented father, his tall, dark and handsome assistant, and a string of grisly murders gripping the city in terror.

Annabel's maid Maddy is her first friend and confidant. Strange goings-on in the middle of the night cause fright, and Annabel is concerned with her father's weird behavior and strange appearance. The cooks warn Annabel to stay away from her father's lab, but Annabel is curious and suspicious. Annabel has no fear of the dark; she continually seeks out danger in the dark of night. Armed with only a candle and her own strong resolve, she wanders the expanse of the mansion searching for answers.

The mysterious murders continue and this has everyone in Philadelphia on edge. Annabel and Allan share a few fleeting moments, and she realizes that she is deeply, hopelessly in love. The house continues to hide its secrets, until one fatal night when Annabel sees too much.  Discovering her father's secret will change everything. Or will it?

Of Monsters and Madness is The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde meets Frankenstein meets Gothic horror meets The Island of Dr. Moreau meets Edgar Allan Poe. Verday seamlessly blends the old with the new and teens will love it! Verday assures readers that there will be a sequel. She writes, "Don't worry! I won't leave you hanging."

Highly, highly recommended for any fan of Poe's works and for those who love a Gothic tale. I truly enjoyed this mash-up, and so will you. Great fun!

Grades 7 and up. Some steamy kisses, some gore. No profanity.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

Visit the next stop on the blog tour here


Author's Bio:
Jessica Verday is the New York Times best-selling author of The Hollow trilogy. She wrote the first draft of The Hollow by hand, using thirteen spiral-bound notebooks and fifteen black pens. The first draft of The Haunted took fifteen spiral-bound notebooks and twenty black pens. The Hidden took too many notebooks and too many pens to count. She lives in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, with her husband.  You can visit her online at www.jessicaverday.com.
 
                                                               Jessica Verday





Thursday, September 4, 2014

High School Pick: Grasshopper Jungle

Grasshopper Jungle
by Andrew Smith
Dutton
2014
388 pages
ISBN: 9780525426035

Irreverent, irrepressible, irrational, and irresistible, Grasshopper Jungle breaks the mold for YA fiction. There are no shiny, pretty  vampires or hot werewolves; the protagonist is not a smoldering hunk. The love interest is not a hot, lean, long-legged vixen. The setting is not Gothic--nor exciting, nor metropolitan, nor the least bit "cool." Ealing, Iowa, is probably the most un-cool place on the planet, or so thinks our protagonist Austin Szerba. Austin tells the history of the world according to Austin, and the reader has to trust him because he's the only historian left to tell the tale.

Austin and best friend Robby spend their days chain smoking cigarettes, talking about the town's few people, wasting time before college, and skating (skateboarding). When they go up against a gang of bullies, Robby and Austin lose their boards and have to venture up to the roof to retrieve their shoes. This sets in motion the beginning of the end. Up on the roof, the boys notice a trapdoor  into the store below, and being curious-- and teenagers--they decide it would be okay to go inside the store after hours just to "look around."  Austin had always wanted to see what was in the boss's office anyway. The boys get an eyeful of that strange and weird office of doom. From a two headed baby to a jar of human hands, Austin's boss Johnny McKeon collects bizarre stuff. The boys look around but leave everything intact. If only every burglar left those jars intact, the plague that takes over would never have been set free.

Soon the town of Ealing faces an invasion of giant man-eating grasshoppers and no one is safe. Austin, Robby and Shann go underground...literally...to stay alive.  The trio uncovers the secret of Ealing and its early sci-fi experiments gone wrong. This coming of age story is truly like no other!

Friends Robby and Austin are lovable and laugh out loud funny. When visiting Shann's house, the boys question whether the house has a demonic presence or just smells like people died inside. Robby says, "You should get that kind of air freshener ##@* that you plug into outlets so it masks the scent of death and decay with springtime potpourri."

Smith delivered with Winger, and he continues to capture boyish bad behavior and humorous sarcasm. Austin is a true mess--overflowing with teen angst and ironic wit--he is a character you are not likely to forget...EVER! Andrew Smith may have just written this generation's answer to The Catcher in the Rye, and Austin Szerba will go down in literary circles as the new Holden Caulfield.

The book design is nothing short of genius. The bright neon green cover with even brighter yellow page edges set this book off on any shelf.

Highly, highly recommended grade 9-up. Overflowing with profanity and witty charm, this book is a real hoot! Sexual references and innuendo, mature situations, the end of the world and doom!

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)