Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Knuffle Bunny, a Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems

E's Pick of the Week is another one from Mo Willems, "Knuffle Bunny". As you can see, E loves his knuffle (pronounced kah-nuffle) bunny, but he loves the book even more than the stuffed cutey! We have been reading this book and its sequel "Knuffle Bunny Too" around five times a day for the past few days. He'll even sit on the potty without squirming if we read them. They're THAT good. Parents who have potty trained know what I'm talking about.

The story is about a little girl named Trixie who goes to the laundromat with her daddy and ends up leaving her best friend behind. Trixie doesn't talk so she's unable to tell her dad what is wrong. When they get home, her mom instantly notices that knuffle bunny is missing and they rush off to go find it. It's adorable and the art, as with all of Mo Willems' work, is phenomenal. It combines his rather simplistic drawing style with black & white photography. It's brilliant.

The Knuffle Bunny books are published by Hyperion and available in hardcover. I purchased mine at Vroman's when I was there for an Authors are ROCKSTARS! interview.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

It’s not often that I sit down to type down my initial review notes and find myself overwhelmed by the adjective choices. This book is ah-mazing. There, I said it. Let me first copy and paste my notes so I can share the adjective fun! (Who doesn’t like a good adjective?)
  • Creepy
  • Romantic
  • Thrilling
  • Sweet
  • Sexy
  • Scary
  • Mysterious
  • Adventurous
  • Endearing

Yeah, it’s all that and so much more. “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” is definitely in my top 10, maybe even my top couple books for this year. It started off a little rough, but once I really connected with Mara, there was no going back. I was hooked until the very end. I read this 450 page novel in less than 24 hours and man, I am DYING for book two.

Mara wakes up from a coma and finds out that her best friend, her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s sister are all dead after a terrible accident. Something isn’t quite right though. Somehow, she is completely free of major injury and now she’s being haunted by PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) hallucinations. Or are they? On top of it all, her family moves to help her deal with her loss and now her dad is defending a creepy murderer. Plus the infamously sex-crazed hot guy at school won’t take a hint and leave her alone.

I know it sounds like it could end up being the same ol’ cliche - girl falls in love with bad boy, he turns good, she deals with her demons. It isn’t though. Ms. Hodkin finds a way to take something that totally could have ended up being “the usual” and turns it into some magical. There is a mysterious paranormal element running through the whole book. She asks a lot of questions and really keeps you guessing the answers throughout the whole books. Is Mara really crazy? What is the deal with Mr. Hottie? Are the rumors about him to be believed? How in the world did she escape that accident unscathed? And what the heck is with all these weird things happening? Seriously, as I said, SO many questions. The book is creepy, but not in the way that will keep you up at night. It just keeps you guessing and in today’s world of accessible information, that’s a little creepy. :) Ms. Hodkin bakes up a book that is one part mystery, one part romance, one part paranormal and one part horror to create something extraordinarily delicious. You do not want to miss this one, folks. It may take you a little bit to get into, but once that connection with Mara snaps into place, you won’t want to let go.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is scheduled to be released tomorrow, September 27th, from Simon & Schuster. I received an ARC from the publisher to review.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

I always feel like I need to preface my reviews of contemporary YA with “I’m not usually a contemporary fan”... but let’s face it, while I do tend to gravitate towards paranormal/fantasy/historical/science fiction, if it is well written, I’m going to read it and love it. I will try not to continue using “I don’t usually read this” as a way of saying “OMG THIS IS GOOD”. I’ll just stick saying “OMG THIS IS GOOD!”

So, let me start out with, OMG THIS IS GOOD. Haha. Seriously though, “Shut Out” was a ton of fun. I read the entire thing on my plane trip from Long Beach to Seattle for KidLitCon. I laughed out loud quite a few times. I think the guy sitting next to me was jealous that I was so entertained and he was stuck watching morning programming on TV. For those of you who didn’t watch the book trailer (shame on you. It has ah-mazing voice over if I do say so myself. Hehehe!), this story is about a girl who is tired of fighting for her quarterback boyfriend’s attention. He’s obsessed with the rivalry between the football and soccer teams, as are all the players. When one of the soccer players gets hurt due to a prank gone awry, the girlfriends band together and form a pact to not “put out” until the rivalry ends. Along the way, our heroine, Lissa, and the young women learn a lot about themselves. She knew that putting teenage lust in check would be difficult, but the sexual tension between Lissa and soccer player, Cash? Well, she never saw that one coming!

This book is just plain FUN. If you’re looking for a sexy, sassy book, then check out “Shut Out” by Kody Keplinger. You won’t be disappointed.

And yes, I am totally going to post the trailer here ONE MORE TIME since it’s cute and I voiced it. Deal with it. ;)

“Shut Out” by Kody Keplinger was published in September of this year by Poppy (Little Brown). I received a finished hardcover from the publisher for review.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

KidLitCon Wrap Up

OK, I'm going to try and make this super quick, but I just want to say that KidLitCon was ah-mazing. Allison and I had such a great time presenting on podcasting, meeting authors and fellow bloggers, and just seeing Seattle. Let's bring out the good ol' bullet points for some highlights.
  • I MET KAREN CUSHMAN! My mother-in-law (who was my elementary school librarian/media specialist) gave me her books when I was in 5th or 6th grade and I fell in love. I have had my copy of "Catherine, Called Birdy" forever. It's totally been beat up, but I just haven't had the heart to part with it because I love it so much. I now happily own a new copy, autographed to me by the amazing author (and a copy of "The Midwife's Apprentice, another childhood favorite of mine). She was so sweet and dealt so well with me fangirling like crazy. I also got my mother-in-law a signed copy of "The Midwife's Apprentice" too! I showed it to her over Skype on Sunday and she was so excited.
  • I met Scott Westerfeld. Here's proof!

    His key note was fabulous - entertaining and so informative. I cannot wait to dive into his Leviathan series.
  • I seriously met so many inspiring authors. I came home energized about my own book ideas and cannot wait to get back to it. (Stasia, Holly, Amber, Deb, Karen, Scott... gosh. I could fill half this blog entry with the names of all the inspiring people I met!)
  • And with inspiring authors, I also meet inspiring bloggers. There were a lot of thought provoking panels on topics such as using the SCWBI's resources to Diversity in kid lit!
  • Presenting on Podcasting definitely also makes my highlight list. Despite the fact that I was losing my voice, the crowd was great and we ended up creating an awesome podcast from the active learning portion of our presentation. It'll be up on Authors are ROCKSTARS! later today or tomorrow morning.
If you are interested in the world of childrens and teen literature, then KidLitCon should definitely be on your list of "to do" conferences. Next year, it'll be in NYC! FUUUN! I know I cannot wait to do it all again soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

All Aboard the Dinotrain by Deb Lund, Illustrated by Howard Fine

This past weekend I was actually lucky enough to meet the author of E's Pick of the Week. However, I should state that even though she is a LOVELY person, I didn't pick her book because of that. It's actually been making my son's top contendor list for weeks now! E just loves "All Aboard the Dinotrain" by Deb Lund, illustrated by Howard Fine. What can I say? The kid is a DINONUT! Can I brag for a moment? (Of course I can! It's MY blog. Mwhaha!) The kid is 2 years old and already knows "tyranneousaurus rex/t-rex", "pteranedon", "stegg-OH-saurus" and “cera-TOPS”. Insane right? He just loves his dinosaurs. He also really likes trains so when I saw this at my local indie kid book store, A Whale of a Tale, I just had to get it.

Deb obviously had a blast writing it too, playing with words to make them "dino" while having a very fun rhythmic pattern going on. For example, "The dinostoker shovels coal. The flames are under his control." Adorkable, right? To top it off, the book has GORGEOUS illustrations by Howard Fine that your little ones will just love. I want to have a print of these for my son’s room! They’re classy looking, beautiful paintings. I love ‘em and so does E.

“All Aboard the Dinotrain” and her other dinosaur book “Dinosailors” are available in hardcover, paperback and board book form. They are published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Audiobook Review - Juliet Immortal by Stacy Jay, Narrated by Justine Eyre

This book surprised me. I have to admit - I was really apprehensive going into it. The story is a very unique spin off of Romeo & Juliet. In this version, Juliet and Romeo were two real teens who fell in love back in medieval Italy. Their story ended tragically, but not from starcrossed love. Romeo sold Juliet out in exchange for immortality to a society of paranormal beings that feed on negativity. Juliet ends up working against Romeo throughout the centuries for another group of paranormal beings who try to protect soul mates from the evil “mercenaries”.

Pretty wild, right? It is a bit out there, but it’s really well told. The voice of Juliet is full of angst over her lost life and her struggles with her current plane of existence. She now fights for the good guys, coming out of the “mists” to borrow and inhabit a body of someone within the vicinity of the soul mates she’s bound to protect. In turn, while she’s occupying that body, she tries to improve the life of the temporarily evicted soul. The story begins when Juliet inhabits a new body, a troubled young woman named Ariel. This cycle though is different than her others. Things are not all they appear to be and for the first time in 700 years, Juliet begins to have feelings for another human being. Can Juliet save the soulmates she’s been sent to protect and save herself in the process?

Wow, that was really hard to write! The book is complex, full of angsty twists. It’s a really different read that I think would appeal to paranormal fans and people who prefer more contemporary stories since most of the book takes place in a sort of normal high school setting. (Okay, how normal can it be when Romeo & Juliet are occupying bodies that don’t belong to them?) The narrator for this audiobook is a great actress, but her voice sounds really old. Like, I thought she could be Juliet’s grandmother. The actress isn’t old (I googled her) and voices a lot of YA audiobooks. Meh, to each their own, but her voice didn’t work for me. I almost had to turn the book off and switch to reading this book instead of listening. Ms. Eyre just has this vocal fry/texture going on that gives her voice so much depth and age. It was hard to buy that she was a 14 year old girl trapped in the body of a slightly older teen. I’m picky though about my audiobook narrators since I am one myself, so keep that in mind.

“Juliet Immortal” is a very different take on paranormal romance. It’s very angsty. It also has some very gruesome descriptions and violence, so I wouldn’t recommend it for younger teen readers. If you’re looking for something completely new though, this is definitely a book you should try. It was an enjoyable, unique read.

"Juliet Immortal" was published in August of this year by Delacorte. The audiobook was produced by Listening Library. I purchased it through Audible.com.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

In a world where war cycles between a nation practicing dark magic and the nations faithful to God, a gift from God is bestowed upon one child on their naming day each century. A beautiful stone is embedded in their body on their naming day by a bright light (God). Elisa, a princess, is the chosen one. Despite this special privilege, she doesn’t feel special. She’s overweight, treated disdainfully by her older sister, and on her sixteenth birthday, her family marries her off to a strange king from a neighboring country. This handsome king needs her, the chosen one, but all he gets is Elisa, a religious “sausage” of a princess. It isn’t until she is thrown into the middle of a war that Elisa finds her inner strength and the ability not only to help her husband and herself, but the entire world. That is, if she can figure out how to harness the gift God has given her and survive. Most chosen ones don’t make it to old age.

I have conflicted feelings about “The Girl of Fire and Thorns” by Rae Carson. Mostly good, but still, conflicted. This book relies a bit too much on “show” rather than “tell”. A lot of the character development stems from our heroine telling us things about the other characters. That being said, it wasn’t overrun by this problem and I happily read the entire thing in a 48 hour period. Elisa is an interesting character. It was really refreshing to have a heroine who isn’t thin and fair. However, her constant self-deprecation, while plot appropriate, did get a little overwhelming. I want to address two common complaints I’ve heard about this book.

1. Religion - Yes. It’s “religious” (though nothing real world - it’s all fantasy). When your lead character has a lifeline to God in her gut, her “Big Guy” is kind of going to be on her mind. It’s a fantasy, people. Relax.

2. Elisa getting skinny then becoming strong - Bologna! She was strong before, she just couldn’t recognize it in herself until she was forced to spend time reflecting. This time (trying to avoid spoilers here) also happened to inadvertently lose weight. It wasn’t like she had a magic “lose gut and kick butt” spell put on her. It was plot appropriate.

If you’re looking for a good, clean fantasy, with interesting magic and cultures, then this book is for you. There is some romance too, but it’s not what the book is all about. The book is about a young woman blossoming into a force to be reckoned with. I know I cannot wait to see what happens to Elisa next.

Oh and one more thing, THANK YOU Ms. Carson for writing a series book with a very satisfying ending. Always appreciated! Now go, pre-order you copy!

I received a digital ARC from the publisher, Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins) via Netgalley.com. “The Girl of Fire and Thorns” is scheduled to be published on September 20th.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Skippyjon Jones Shape Up by Judy Schachner

Oh goodness! It's 4:46pm on a Tuesday here in beautiful Orange County, California and I haven't posted E's Pick of the Week. Let me tell you, it has been CRA-ZAY! This morning, Allison and I got to interview SHANNON HALE for our October Authors are ROCKSTARS! podcast. OMG I KNOW CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I LOVE SHANNON HALE. She is my all time fav. (You can read my review of "The Goose Girl" here.) I've been busy preparing for that interview plus KIDLITCON! Yeeeeah baby. It's this Friday and Saturday. Allison and I are presenting. Are you going to be there? Let me know! I'd love to meet up. Be sure to come to our panel on Saturday!

ANYWAYS, yeah, busy busy, so without further delay, here is E's Pick of the Week. He has chosen "Skippyjon Jones Shape Up" by Judy Schachner. This adorable book features the lovable Skippyjon (or as E calls him, "stinkyjon" haha!) working out with different shapes and then in the end, admiring his manly muscles. It's adorable and E loves to call out the shapes that Skippyjon is using. The board book is nice and large too, making it an easy one for us both to hold.

"Skippyjon Jones Shape Up" is available in board book form and published by Dutton Juvenile (Penguin).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

I enjoyed this book. What can I say? I’m a sucker for science fiction, or as I have recently learned the proper name for it - SPACE OPERA. I know, doesn’t that genre name just invoke images of the opera singer during the movie “Fifth Element”? Ahhhaaaaahhhhhhhh. (That’s me singing opera, which I can sort of do. I was pursuing it for awhile when I first moved out to California.) Anyways, it’s a fun twisty drama set in deep space. It’s not too science fiction-y as far as technical stuff goes, so true sci fi fans, this may not be your cup of tea. It’s similar to Beth Revis’ Across the Universe... ya know, bad stuff, happening in space.

So, the general premise is that sometime in the future, the earth is in such bad shape that we left to create a new world. We sent out two ships with people grouped together that would get along. On one ship went the more religious sect and on the other, the more secular or people from differing faiths. The religious group left a year before the secular, separatomg the ships by some great distance. However, at the start of the book, we found out that that religious ship (New Horizon) actually slowed down to rendezvous with the Empyrean (the secular ship). To keep this summary from getting ridiculously long, things are not what they appear to be and bad things happen. It’s twisty and turny all the way through the end.

There are no clear “good guys” or “bad guys” in this one, something I really appreciated. The characters are real and truthful. We all have a bit of good and bad in us. Evil can be committed by good people if they think they are justified or doing the right thing. I really loved our heroine, Waverly. She is strong willed, but not to the point of being a walking stereotype. She really emerges as a leader under crisis and at the end, is dealing with some major emotional issues. Of all the characters, I am most interested to see what happens to her in the next book. We left her in the middle of a major decision making process. The plot also follows Kiernan, her boyfriend and the “golden boy” of the Empyrean. He has to go through some major struggles to become a leader and in the end, turns to religion. To be honest, this is my one major qualm with this book. Maybe it will be explained later... but really? God talking to him? Maybe it’s because I just read a fantasy series that had God as a main character, but man, I really hope this doesn’t become a big religious drama set in space. I liked it more as the action packed, survival story that dealt with some morality issues. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens in book 2.

Until then, if you’re a fan of SPACE OPERA, la la la!, then you should check out “Glow” by Amy Kathleen Ryan. It’s action packed roller coaster ride of plot twists and turns.

I was provided with an ARC from the publisher, St. Martin's Griffin. “Glow” is scheduled to be released tomorrow, September 13th.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In My Mailbox - 9/11/11

I'll keep this short and sweet. The only book in my mailbox this week was "Shut Out" by Kody Keplinger. I already shared the book trailer on here on Wednesday since I did the voice over for it. You can find that post here. Let me know what you think! I'm really looking forward to reading this on my way to KidLitCon next weekend!

That reminds me - let me know if you'll be attending KidLitCon! Allison and I will be presenting on Saturday about podcasting as well as doing a special Authors are ROCKSTARS! podcast. I can't wait! Now, to start packing. Gah! I am a t-shirt & jeans kinda gal, so dressing up always causes me headaches. I'm sure I'll figure it out though. Can my "TARDamask" shirt be dressy enough? It looks super cute with a skirt (I got the scoop neck version).

Anyways, enough rambling from me. See you next time! Oh and don't forget to sign up for my monthly giveaway. There are SO many awesome book choices this month.

In My Mailbox was created by The Story Siren. I'm just happy to participate! Also, I vlog regularly over at Michelle Writes!? Check it out.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Wow. That was the first word that entered my mind as I finished reading “Ashes” by Ilsa J. Bick. This story was intense and definitely not my usual read. It’s a thrilling tale of a survival in a world of chaos. Plus, um, it takes place in dah U.P. of Michigan, my college turf. It gets a little gold star for that.

So basically, Alex, a seventeen year old girl with a brain tumor, goes out into the wilderness. It’s kind of a last hurrah, a need to feel alive and connected with her deceased parents. Her treatments aren’t working. She’s out of options. She can’t smell, so she’s losing memories along with her sense of taste, etc. She’s out in the woods and runs across a Grandpa and his sassy young granddaughter. They share a cup of coffee and then BOOM! The world goes cra-zay due a bunch of EMPs going off. Some people, like the grandfather, drop dead while others are changed into something not quite human. Desperate to figure out what is going on, Alex takes the granddaughter and begins the journey to the ranger station. Along the way, she meets Tom, a soldier on leave from Afghanistan, and the three join forces and become a family of sorts, doing their best to survive in this strange new world full of familiar landscapes.

This story is essentially two stories (both about Alex and this apocalyptic world), put together. It seems a lot of my fellow reviewers enjoyed part 1 far more than part 2. The first part follows the story I summarized above, while the second part moves into Alex settling into a culti-ish community for protection. She battles with the decision to stay safe and accept the strange culture or to be free out in the wild. While I agree that the survival story was much more exciting, I really enjoyed seeing Alex in captivity, having her deal with the emotional troubles caused by her actions in part 1 and becoming attached to members of her new town. I’m not usually a reader of thrillers/survival stories, so had it continued to go on I probably would have put the book down. It was INTENSE. Wonderful, cinematic, but super intense. I needed a breather and so did Alex. It makes sense why she ended up where she did and why she struggled, trying to decide whether to stay or go. I liked it, but readers who prefer that level of intensity all the time, may be disappointed.

“Ashes” is NOT a book to read before bed or to give to young teens. It is chock full of violence in Alex’s battle to survive. Some of the descriptions are quite graphic and grotesque, but are appropriate to the story. As I said before, it’s intense. Be prepared for an adrenaline rush and the inability to put the book down.

"Ashes" came out this week by Egmont Publishing. I received a digital ARC via Netgalley.com for review. This book was also my Pick of the Month for the September Authors are ROCKSTARS! podcast.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

I just had to share this book trailer! As you all know, I'm a voice actor. I did the VO for this one. I cannot wait to read it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Spot Goes to the Park by Eric Hill

We're back! Sorry about not posting a "E's Pick of the Week" last week. E came down with a really bad cold, then I caught it! It was a rough week, but we're back and ready to roll. This week's pick is "Spot Goes to the Park" by Eric Hill. Yup, another Spot book. E is obsessed with Spot (or as he calls him, "fot" because his "sp" sound is still coming along). This is another flap book with lots of fun things for your little guy or gal to find. E has all the flap parts memorized now and he is in charge of "reading" them to me. It's so adorable! It's a must read for any little one who loves puppies and going to the park.

"Spot Goes to the Park" is published by Putnam Juvenile and is available in hardcover, paperback and board book form.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healy

If you’re looking for something to read that is very different from your run of the mill paranormal, then you should check out “Guardian of the Dead” by Karen Healy. This book takes place in New Zealand and is full of beautiful descriptions of the lush landscape and unique cultures. A lot of the book revolves around Maori myths, which I found fascinating. I’m not familiar with this culture at all, so I loved learning their different origin myths. Despite its refreshingly unique setting, I found this book tedious to read.

Here is part of the description from Goodreads.com:
Set in New Zealand, Ellie's main concerns at her boarding school are hanging out with her best friend Kevin, her crush on the mysterious Mark, and her paper deadline. That is, until a mysterious older woman seems to set her sights on Kevin, who is Maori, and has more than just romantic plans for him. In an effort to save him, Ellie is thrown into the world of Maori lore, and eventually finds herself in an all-out war with mist dwelling Maori fairy people called the patupaiarehe who need human lives to gain immortality.

My problems with this book:
  • Overwhelming - This applies to the cast of characters, the overall plot line (by the time I got ⅔ through, I just felt enough was enough!), the amount of myths being thrown at me, you name it. This book is overwhelming and it left me feeling agitated throughout reading it.
  • Romance - It kind of fizzled out for me after a lot of the mystery is revealed and I didn’t like the way it ended.
  • Boarding school - I am tired of this plot device.
Despite its faults, it is an interesting read that many people seemed to really enjoy. Perhaps if I didn’t have a bunch of other books waiting for me that I am dying to read, I would have enjoyed this book more. By the time I finished, I was just happy to be done so I could move on to something else.

I received a copy of “Guardian of the Dead” from the publisher, Little Brown. It was just released on paperback this month.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Monthly giveaway time!

It's time for my monthly giveaway. This month, I'm doing something a little different. You can either choose an August release or you can choose a book I reviewed in August (since I reviewed a few that were already on the shelves).

Here's the low down for those of you who are new to Never Gonna Grow Up! Reviews.
  • At the start of each month, I'll put up a Google entry form for you to fill out. You can earn 6 entry points - 1 for just signing up, 1 for tweeting or putting it up on Facebook, 2 points for being a follower of my blog, and 2 for commenting on one of the July release reviews. It's that easy!
  • For tweeting, the phrase to tweet is "I'm tweeting to win a book of my choice over at http://www.NeverGonnaGrowUpReviews.com! (@nggu_reviews) I hope I win ___. " and put whatever book you'd like to win. :)
  • The winner gets to choose what book they'd like me to send! The only restriction is that it has to have been released the previous month or that I reviewed in the month of August.
Your Choices: (Reviews of August 2011 Releases)
  • Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
  • Possess by Gretchen McNeil
  • Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
  • Fury by Elizabeth Miles
  • Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
  • Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  • Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
  • Vanish by Sophie Jordan
  • A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
  • Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Deadline to enter is Sunday September 18th. I'll announce the winner on the 19th! (EDIT: Date changed. Just realized I was going to be gone at KidLitCon, so I extended the deadline!)

EDIT: This contest is closed. The winner is Ashley H. Thank you so much Ashley and thank you to Random.org for helping me choose a random number.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

What can I say? This series holds a special place in my heart. I started blogging because I loved the Iron Fey series so much (read my review of “The Iron Queen”). Julie Kagawa finishes off this story with a bang. I stayed up way past my bedtime and had tears in my eyes by the time I reached the end. I do not think I’ll be able to do this wonderful finale justice, but I need to tell you all about it anyway.

This book is told from the perspective of Ash, as he pursues his quest to be reunited with Meghan in the Iron Kingdom. Team Ash fans, you are going to LOVE this book. Ash is such an interesting character. He grew up in the Seelie court, where emotion is a weakness and life is cruel. Somehow, he found love, not once, but twice. His first love was killed before his eyes due to the carelessness of his friend, the infamous Puck. He thought he’d never love again, but then he met Meghan, the half human daughter of the Summer King, and his world was turned upside down. As a faery, he can not step foot in the Iron Kingdom, the part of the Nevernever that Meghan now rules. He must figure out someway to be with her, even if he loses a part of himself in the process.

As I said above, I cannot tell you enough how much I loved this book. There are so many faery stories out there, but this one is seriously the best one ever written. Ms. Kagawa gracefully combines traditional faery lore with creative elements to compose a world that is both magical and frightening. Though Ash can be a somewhat cold character (wah wah, winter prince = cold, get it?), you really get to know him emotionally in this book. His quest is heartbreaking at times so be sure to have a box of tissues nearby, you’ll need them.

“The Iron Knight” is scheduled to be released on October 25, 2011 and is published by HarlequinTeen. I received a digital ARC from the publisher for review via Netgalley.com. The first three books in the series, “The Iron King”, “The Iron Daughter”, and “The Iron Queen” are available now.
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