Friday, October 28, 2011

The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

Let me preface this review by saying I think Ms. Fallon has a lot of potential. I wanted to love this book. I have always been fascinated by Irish lore. This book though didn’t do it for me. It just felt unpolished and far too much like “Twilight”. I know a lot of people fall back on “Twilight”. It’s like a YA reviewing cheap shot, but seriously - this book IS like “Twilight”, just with a twist. Misty of The Book Rat posted a review on her blog that included a chart that breaks down the similarities.

Yeaaaaah. See? I’m not being lame. It’s TRUE. So if you like Twilight and don’t mind instant love, convenient coincidences, and the possibility of freakish monster babies, check this out. If not? Well, skip it... duh. ;)

“The Carrier of the Mark” was published by HarperTeen in early October. I received an ARC for review.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm a T.Rex! by Dennis Shealy, Illustrated by Brian Biggs

As you know from my post last week, my dad has been in the hospital. On Sunday when they called us, the prognosis was very very bad. Miraculously, he's still here and doing very well. His life will never be the same. He'll need dialysis and his time is still limited, but he has time. After what we were told by doctors that day, that's more than we could have ever asked for.

Anyways, my point to this is to a) update you all and thank you so much for your prayers/healing energy/warm thoughts and to b) tell you about this awesome Little Golden Book, "I'm a T. Rex!" by Dennis Shealy, illustrated by Brian Biggs. The Barnes & Noble was a sanity saver for my husband Jacob who was on full time Dad duty while I spent my days in the ICU with my father. Thank you thank you B&N for having a kid's play area. It was raining almost the entire time we were there and E was going stir crazy in the ICU waiting room. We picked up a few new goodies, including this darling book about E's favorite dinosaur, the T.Rex. It doesn't jazz up a T.Rex and make him all sweet like some kid books do. E loves the part towards the beginning where the T.Rex talks about all the different noises he makes (snarls, growls, and roars - oh my!).

This book is a must have for any toddler and preschooler who loves dinosaurs. It's fun, catchy and the illustrations are adorable.

"I'm a T.Rex!" by Dennis Shealy is available as a Little Golden Book. Go purchase it at your local bookstore today!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

“A Beautiful Dark” is a stereotypical, albeit well-written, paranormal romance. I don’t mean that as an insult though. I *like* the stereotypical paranormal romance formula. It works for me and I take comfort in its familiar feeling. It’s my old cozy shirt for reading - I know it has some holes in it, but I’m okay with that. This book was definitely a wonderful addition to that genre. Plus.. it was an angel oriented paranormal book that I liked. These are so few and far between.

The story revolves around Skye, who meets two mysterious handsome gentlemen on the night of her seventeenth birthday where they bust into her birthday party fighting. The next day, she discovers they are new students at her school and it seems they’ve taken a keen interest in her. They say they’re cousins, but something is just not right. They’re polar opposites, having only their good looks (although very different features) in common. She soon learns that they’ve come for her and that the life she knew isn’t as normal as she thought. She discovers two sides within herself, both in regards to the boys she can’t help but be attracted to and a war she now has become a key player in. What side and with that, what boy, will she chose? The world hangs in balance, waiting to find out.

Like my little dramatic summary? Why thank you! In all seriousness though, it’s well-written, good ol’ paranormal fun. Love Triangles with Hotties + Interesting Mythology + Action/World Deciding Decisions = crazy fun in my book. If that isn’t your cup of tea, skip this one. I personally cannot wait to find out what happens next. The cliffhanger is a doozie!

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies was published by HarperTeen in September. I received a digital copy to review via

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No updates

I am sorry, but I will not be updating this week. My father is in the ICU so I'm spending my time at the hospital. It is a grave situation. Pray, send positive energy, whatever you can.

Thank you,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolomore

I was telling my dear friend and podcast co-host Allison that I was in desperate need of some light, romantic fun after reading so many intense and dark books lately. She suggested that I read “Between the Sea & Sky” earlier than I had planned and I am SO glad she did! It was just what the doctor ordered. Cute, sweet, and full of magical fun!

Esmerine is a beautiful mermaid, who at the start of the book, is being inducted as a siren.
Sirens, in Dolamore’s mermaid society, are protectors of the mer people and a great honor. On the night of her induction ceremony, Dosia mentions that she has interacted with some human men and asks Esmerine to go meet them. Esmerine refuses and the next day, Dosia disappears. Fearing that her sister was kidnapped and forced to remain on land forever as a merwife, Esmerine goes on land in search of her, reconnecting with her childhood friend, Alandare, who is part of a winged species of people. They journey together to find her sister and by doing so, find something even more precious in each other.

This book is such a nice, light read! I love the world Ms. Dolamore has created with her mermaids. It adds an interesting element to the friendship of Alandare and Esmerine. Not only is one winged and one finned, but they also have to deal with prejudices at home. Alandare’s species, the Fandarsee, are a very intellectual people who look down on humans and mer people as less intelligent, silly creatures. The mer people tell tales of the dangers of the surface world and fear that which is different. They do not understand Esmerine’s love of reading and writing, which she learned for Alandare as a child. They see her as being different and she’s been ridiculed for it throughout her teenage years. I also really enjoyed that the three tiers of this world (sea, land, and sky) all connected and interacted. It added a really interested complexity to this simple romantic fairy tale.

This book is full of fun, light adventure and tender romance. It’s a whimsical story that I think any fairy tale or mermaid fan will enjoy.

Between the Sea and Sky is published by Bloomsbury and is scheduled to be released on October 25th. My friend Allison was gracious enough to loan me her ARC since I was too impatient to wait for it to arrive via the Good Choice Reading blog tour. We will be interviewing Ms. Dolamore soon for Authors are ROCKSTARS! Be sure to visit the website or subscribe via iTunes so you won’t miss it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Authors are ROCKSTARS! featuring SHANNON HALE

I try not to cross promote in here too much because I know you're probably sick of hearing me yammer on and on about how much I love doing the Authors are ROCKSTARS! podcast with Allison. However, I cannot contain myself today. We got to interview SHANNON HALE guys. YES SHANNON FLIPPIN' HALE, Newberry Honor Winning author and all around FABULOUS human being. If you're been following here for awhile, you may remember my review of The Goose Girl and me mentioning that she is one of my favorite authors. So, yeah, I'm pretty psyched. You should go listen! Show Shannon some love and leave a comment! You can also subscribe via iTunes. Let us know what you think. We'd love to hear from you!

Alright, now back to your regularly scheduled review programming... ;o)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't know Harold when I was a child. I don't know how my mother missed this one since we both adored the color purple and had avid imaginations. Craziness! I'm happy to report though that E is in love with Harold's adventure tale. His Great Grandma gave him this book - how cute is that?

It's one of the longer books that E will sit through. He loves telling us what will happen to Harold next. It's also great for night time since it ends on the note of going to bed! Whoo!

If you are unfamiliar with this book, like I was, it's a must-read classic for any little one. Go on an adventure with Harold and his magical crayon today! :)

"Harold and the Purple Crayon" is published by HarperCollins and is available in paperback and hardcover.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

The hardest reviews to write are the ones where you enjoyed a book, but not quite enough to rave about it or wax on poetically about its beauty (coughDaughterofSmokeandBonecough). Shifting is one of those books. I enjoyed it. It was a quick, fun read, but nothing out of this world. It just felt like something was missing...some “oomph”.

Maggie Mae has led a tough life. She’s been bounced from foster home to foster home since her family was killed by animals when she was young. Some homes were great and some...not so great. In the last two years though, it’s been even harder. On the night of a full moon, she discovered a secret about herself, that she’s a shape shifter. She’s unable to control it and so, every full moon, she ends up naked and found by police. Her current foster parents just can’t take it anymore and at the start of the book, Maggie is being moved to a new home out in the countryside of New Mexico. Despite all her efforts to fit in, she just can’t. She is terrorized by the local girls due to her friendship with the school hottie and a creepy man is hunting her. He may just be a member of a group out of Navajo legend, people who traded their souls for the power to turn into the animals whose skins they wear.

It’s hard to put a finger on it, but I think the “oomph” that was missing comes from the fact that we don’t get a lot of the history of our love interest or the mythology until the very end. Then it all comes at you rapid fire throughout the climax. I can understand the author wanted to build up a sense of mystery and also perhaps make the book more about the character, Maggie Mae, than the actual paranormal elements. I did really enjoy how flawed and real Maggie Mae was. I enjoyed her back story and her strength to stand up for herself. However, it just felt a bit underwhelming to suddenly have the mystery unraveled and to not get an opportunity to dive deeper into the mythology of shape shifters and Skinwalkers. I would almost have preferred to cut the paranormal elements all together and had the bad guy just been someone shady from her past.

Despite the lack of “oomph”, I did enjoy this book. It was a light read with paranormal elements that are different from the usual fare of faeries, angels, and vampires - oh my! If you’re a paranormal romance fan, you should definitely still check it out. I’m hoping there is more in store for Maggie Mae and her love. I want to know what happens to them after that ending!

Oh and on a totally random note - I hate the official cover. Where the heck did the snake come from (other than it looking cool)? Um, there are no snakes. Lots of furry animals, some feathered, no reptiles to my knowledge. Maybe I missed something? My edition has Maggie with a cheetah, definitely more plot appropriate and still pretty.

Shifting by Bethany Wiggins is published by Walker & Co (Bloomsbury) who sent me an ARC to review. It was published in September of this year.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

As I sit here, attempting to put my feelings into words, I keep hearing a little scene from Wayne’s World (yes, I know):

I do not feel worthy to try and use my measly words to describe the beauty of Laini Taylor’s “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”. Nothing I could say could even begin to make you realize how wonderful and magical this book is. Laini Taylor is a master seductress - her words will draw you in with their beauty and then they will never you go. Weeks later, you’ll still thirsty for her words.

Karou is an art student in Prague. She fills her sketchbooks with magical creatures and tells her friends stories about them. Little do they know... these demonic creatures are actually real and are the only family that Karou’s ever known. She is able to take care of herself, attends great art school and has a wonderful best friend, but something feels like it is missing. It’s like part of who she is has been taken away. When she meets Akiva, a fire winged angel, something in her snaps. She instantly feels connected to him, despite the fact that at their first meeting, he tried to kill her. He feels it too and as they are faced with this strange and intimate connection, they find something extraordinary that may save a world that Akiva knows and one that Karou is soon to remember.

See? I cannot do it justice. I told you. Enough with my blabbering. Go read this book. NOW. I know you’ll love it. When Ms. Taylor’s magical world finally releases you, come back here and tell me what you think.

I received an ARC from the publisher, Little Brown, for review. This book is on sale now! Ms. Taylor will also be joining us on Authors are ROCKSTARS! later this month.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

1-2-3: A Child's First Counting Book by Alison Jay

E's Pick of the Week today is a book by one of my favorite illustrators, Alison Jay! I was first introduced to Ms. Jay's work by the covers of the Bayern series by Shannon Hale. She has a whimsical style that really suits the fairy tales she is referencing in this book. It is a very simple book, just counting up to 10 and back down. Each number is showcased with a fairy tale reference. For example, three little pigs or nine golden eggs. The illustrations are gorgeous and I love that it also works on counting down. Now I want to get one of Ms. Jay's prints for E's room! :D

1-2-3: A Child's First Counting Book by Alison Jay is published by Dutton Juvenile (Penguin) and is available in board book & hardcover. I purchased my copy at Vroman's in Pasadena.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

“Cold Kiss” by Amy Garvey is a fantastic character piece about a young woman learning to let go of her first love and becoming a stronger person while learning from her mistakes. Wren is a special girl. The women in her family can do things others can’t, so when her boyfriend Danny dies, she does everything in her power to bring him back to her. What she brings back though isn’t the Danny she knew and now she’s caught up in a world of secrets and lies. She’s been keeping Danny a secret for months now and suddenly, in one day, the new kid Gabriel has unravelled her web and knows what she’s done. His family can also do things others can’t and Gabriel befriends Wren to try and save her from the consequences of her impulse decision to save Danny. Things get messy though and in the end, Wren is the only one who can fix the wrong she made that night she brought Danny back.

If you’re looking for action and gore, then look somewhere else. This story is all about Wren and her relationships with her family, and her friends, Gabriel and Danny. If you like heart wrenching tales of love and loss, written in an incredible, beautiful and real voice, then look no further. Amy Garvey’s “Cold Kiss” is just for you. As someone who has gone through the grieving process recently (I lost my mother almost exactly two years ago to sudden and unexpected cancer), it was easy for me to connect to Wren, to understand why she did what she did and to hurt with her when she realized that life was never going to be the same again. Ms. Garvey’s writing is beautiful and will bring you to tears. Sure, there is a zombie and Wren is magical, but this isn’t a paranormal romance or zombie action story. It’s a story about loss and growing up.

“Cold Kiss” is published by HarperTeen. I received a digital ARC via to review. It was published on September 20th so go get a copy today! Amy will also be joining us on a special edition of Authors are ROCKSTARS! along with Kiersten White, Anna Carey and Claudia Gray so stay tuned.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Giveaway - countdown to 1 year!

Hi folks. I know I know, it's the first of the month which means GIVEAWAY time here at Never Gonna Grow Up! Reviews, but this month is different. We're just two months away from my 1 year anniversary as a blogger and I have something pretty big planned. So, no giveaways for October and November. Instead, I'm going to give you some early tips on how to increase your chances of winning my AWESOME anniversary prizes.

Alright, first tip - COMMENT! If you comment, you'll get extra points. Please don't be lame and just post "this was awesome!" Try to actually read the reviews and comment on the book. I'd love your feedback on how I'm doing as a reviewer and what books really interest you so I can improve in 2012.

Second tip - Become a follower. While I'm not that hung up on my follower number, it still is a nice warm fuzzy to see friendly faces following my reviews. I love my followers. *huggles*

Third tip - Tell a friend. Have them comment on a review and say that they came over here because of you and then of course, something relevant to the review would be nice too.

That's it! I want to reward my followers and those who are active participants here on my blog. I love getting into book discussions and learning what your likes/dislike are. I want to get to know you and when I get to know you, I'll want to give you presents. I like buying presents, ya dig?

Now, for what you really care about... the PRIZES. I have been gathering prizes all year long and am still working on gathering more as I attend signings throughout the rest of this year. I want them to be seeeeeecret so you'll just have to wait to find out.

There are a few more book events over the next couple months and will be picking up so many fabulous signed books and swag. So stay tuned folks. This is a giveaway you do NOT want to miss. Become an active participant here at Never Gonna Grow Up! Reviews and you will be rewarded. ;)
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