Showing posts from 2012

2012 Reading Wrap-Up

The year is coming to an end, and it's time to reflect on the countless books I've read - some of them painful, some of them mediocre, and some of them just plain outstanding. Normally I do a Best Books of Such-and-Such Month, but seeing as this is the beginning of 2013, I decided to do something special (there's also the glaring fact that I only read two amazing books in December). So, Readers, I give you the Best Reads of 2012 that I read (not necessarily released this year), and the Worst Reads of 2012, in alphabetical order by author's last name.

Review: Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lilyby Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genre: YA, classic retelling, romance
Published on July 3, 2012
Published by Harper Teen
Pages: 292
Read From: 12.13.12 - 12.15.12

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Review: The Castle Corona - Sharon Creech

The Castle Coronaby Sharon Creech Genre: Middle Grade, fantasty Published on October 2, 2007 Published by HarperCollins Pages: 336 Read From: 12.11.13 - 12.12.13

SYNOPSIS Long ago and far away, there was a castle. But not just any castle. This was a castle that glittered and sparkled and rose majestically above the banks of the winding Winono River: the Castle Corona.

Review: Rage Within - Jeyn Roberts

Rage Withinby Jeyn Roberts
Series: Dark Inside #2
Genre: YA, post-apocalyptic
Published on September 4, 2012
Published by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 368
Read From: 12.3.12 - 12.11.12

Aries, Clementine, Michael, and Mason have survived the first wave of the apocalypse that wiped out most of the world's population and turned many of the rest into murderous Baggers. Now they're hiding out in an abandoned house in Vancouver with a ragtag group of surviving teens, and trying to figure out their next move.

Guest Post: The Writing of a Roman Epic

Hazel West, YA historical fiction Author of On a Foreign Field and Ballad of the Highwayman, has agreed to join me once more in a guest post about her experience in writing her newest book, By Blood or By Bond.

Mara asked me to write about my experience writing By Blood or By Bond, and I think it’s a wonderful way for everyone to look a little into my writing exploits as a whole and the reasons I wrote the story in the first place. From the start, By Blood or By Bond was actually somewhat different than some of my other books. A lot of times, I will write novels I have read about extensively because I love the time periods and find all kinds of awesome ideas while reading about them, but this book, I actually had to research nearly from scratch. Apart from Rosemary Sutcliff’s wonderful novels and Scarrow’s Eagle series, I really had not looked into Roman history besides what I had learned in school. Okay, I’ll admit, my first step of research was that brilliant BBC kids’ show, Horrible…

Author Interview: Hazel West

Hazel West, Author of On a Foreign Field and Ballad of the Highwayman, has been kind enough to agree to a Q&A session, as part of her blog tour for the release of her newest book, By Blood or By Bond - a Roman/Celtic epic inspired by the wonderful works of Rosemary Sutcliff. She's going to tell us a bit about her newest book and herself. At the end of the interview, there will be a sneak peek from By Blood or By Bond!

Blurb:Which ties are stronger - those of Blood or those of Bond? Caolán, the son of a Celtic chieftain, awaits his first pitched battle against the Roman invaders, knowing that this is the moment in which he will truly become a warrior, of the tribe.

Viggo Callias is a seasoned centurion in the Roman army on his first deployment to Britain with his newly enlisted son, Aulus. Serving under an incompetent commander, he wonders whether victory will be theirs. But fate takes a hand in both Caolán and Viggo’s lives when Viggo’s son is killed by a spear meant for him. Enra…

A Merry Christmas to All!

It's that time of the year again - Christmas time! I hope all of my Readers are having a very merry Christmas, just as I am. This December has been crazy. Christmas kind of snuck up on me this year, so it was a busy few weeks scrambling to get everything ready. And I got it accomplished, and then some! I even managed to go and see the King Tut exhibit at a local museum before it leaves North America for good - that was amazing. I had seen it before at the Chicago Field Museum, back in 2006, but the King Tut exhibit is one of these things that you can never go too many times. My friend and I had a lot of fun (and I learned a valuable lesson when it comes to walking up and down hills in heels; even sensible heels such as I had on), and I managed to get the last of my Christmas shopping done while we were there. Some other fun events I managed to fit in to this busy month were: I got to see The Hobbit. Despite the massive differences between the movie and the book, I did kind of enjo…

Review: The Scorch Trials - James Dashner

The Scorch Trialsby James Dashner Series: The Maze Runner #2 Genre: YA, post-apocalyptic Published on October 12, 2010 Published by Delacorte Press Pages: 360 Read From: 11.30.12 - 12.3.12

SYNOPSIS Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

Review: Don't Turn Around - Michelle Gagnon

Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon
Series: PERSEFoNE#1
Genre: YA, suspense, thriller
Published on August 28, 2012
Published by HarperCollins
Pages: 309
Read From: 11.30.12 - 12.2.12

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa stats to wish she had someone on her side.

Review: Princess Academy

Princess Academyby Shannon Hale Series: Princess Academy #1 Genre: YA, adventure Published on July 6, 2005 Published by Bloomsbury Pages: 314 Read From: 11.25.12 - 11.29.12

SYNOPSIS High on the slopes of Mount Eskel, Miri's family has loved forever, pounding a meager living from the stone of the mountain itself. Miri dreams of working alongside the others in the quarry, but she has never been allowed to work there - perhaps, she thinks, because she is so small.

Review: The Akhenaten Adventure - P. B. Kerr

The Akhenaten Adventureby P. B. Kerr
Series: Children of the Lamp #1
Genre: Middle Grade, adventure, historical fantasy
Published on October 1, 2004
Published by Orchard Books
Pages: 355
Read From: 11.23.12 - 11.25.12

Meet John and Philippa Gaunt, twelve-year-old twins who one day discover themselves to be descended from a long line of djinn. All of a sudden, they have the power to grant wishes, travel to extraordinary places (and not necessarily on public transportation), and make people and objects disappear.

Review: Reached - Ally Condie

Reachedby Ally Condie Series: Matched Trilogy #3 Genre: YA, dystopian, romance Published on November 13, 2012 Published by Penguin Pages: 512 Read From: 11.18.12 - 11.24.12

SYNOPSIS Cassia's journey began with an error, a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect facade of the Society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.

Review: Without Warning - Dennis Hamley

Without Warningby Dennis Hamley
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on October 9, 2007
Published by Candlewick Press
Pages: 336
Read From: 11.20.12 - 11.23.12

England, 1914The piercing tone of the bugle changes a sleepy British village and Ellen Wilkins forever. It is the call to enlist - a chance Ellen's brother, Jack, won't miss. And that call also puts Ellen into motion as she leaves the safety

Hedgie's Must Reads: November 2012

The month of turkey, pumpkin pies, family get-togethers, and thanksgiving is coming to a close (and soon it'll be the Christmas month! Yay!), and here are some books that I was truly thankful to read over November. I would love to hear about the good books you've read this month!

Review: Beautiful Lies - Jessica Warman

Beautiful Liesby Jessica Warman Genre: YA, mystery, paranormal, thriller Published on August 7, 2012 Published by Walker Childrens Pages: 432 Read From: 11.15.12 - 11.18.12

SYNOPSIS No one can tell Alice and Rachel apart. But the twin sisters' connection goes beyond their genetic similarities: when one is physically injured, the wound also shows up on the other twin's body, no matter how far apart they may be.

Review: The Maze Runner - James Dashner

The Maze Runnerby James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner #1
Genre: YA, post-apocalyptic
Published on October 6, 2009
Published by Delacorte Press
Pages: 374
Read From: 11.10.12 - 11.14.12

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is blank.

Review: Sapphire Blue - Kerstin Gier

Sapphire Blueby Kerstin Gier Series: Ruby Red Trilogy #2 Genre: YA, time travel, romance Published on October 30, 2012 Published by Henry Holt Pages: 362 Read From: 11.7.12 - 11.11.12

SYNOPSIS Gwen's life has been a roller coaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve. When not searching through history for the other time travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she's been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

Craving Something Yummy!

Readers, remember reading about those scrumpious November Cakes in The Scorpio Races and really craving one? Craving one now as we slide further into November? Well, Maggie Stiefvater kindly posted the recipe on a Twitter update! So get your November Cake recipe here! I tried the recipe out myself today. I substituted the orange extract with lemon extract (because I prefer lemons over oranges) for the roll filling, and instead of using water and butter for the icing recipe, I just used milk and powdered sugar. It's the same type of icing I use for my very popular (and highly unhealthy) cinnamon rolls. The glaze the recipe calls for surprised me. It has a very mild caramel flavor, which was nice, because I don't like caramel, but a slight caramel-ish flavor was fine with me.
When I bit into my first November Cake, my thought waswow. They are amazing, and they really hit the spot when it comes to craving a delicious, warm, baked good. And considering that it's something akin …

Review: Splendors and Glooms - Laura Amy Schlitz

Splendors and Gloomsby Laura Amy Schlitz
Genre: Middle Grade, historical fantasy, mystery
Published on August 28, 2012
Published by Candlewick Press
Pages: 384
Read From: 11.5.12 - 11.10.12

The master puppeteer Gaspare Grisini is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini's act and invites him to entertain at her home. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with his caravan, puppets, and two orphaned assistants.

Review: The Hunters - John Flanagan

The Huntersby John Flanagan
Series: The Brotherband Chronicles #3
Genre: YA, adventure
Published on October 30, 2012
Published by Philomel
Pages: 403
Read From: 11.1.12 - 11.6.12

Hal and his brotherband crew are hot on the trail of the pirate Zavac and they have one thing only on their minds: Stopping the bloodthirsty thief before he can do more damage. Of course, they also know Zavac has the Andomal, the priceless Skandian artifact stolen when the brotherband let

Review: The Thirteen Treasures - Michelle Harrison

The Thirteen Treasuresby Michelle Harrison Series: Thirteen Treasures #1 Genre: Middle Grade, fantasy, mystery Published on April 12, 2010 Published by Little Brown Pages: 368 Read From: 11.2.12 - 11.5.12

SYNOPSIS Though her mother cannot see the evil fairies that rouse Tanya from her sleep, torturing her at the slightest mention of their existence, they are as real to the thirteen-year-old as anything she's ever known. If she could wish them away, he would, but instead it is she who is sent away - to live at her grandmother's secluded countryside manor.