Friday, December 10, 2010

House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo

Dream house . . . or bad dream?
When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.
But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into—as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house.
They soon discover there's something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.
Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places—in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen's dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.
This was a fairly good read, though it didn't quite meet my expectations. It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be, and the story kind of dragged in places, but it was still good. To me, there are two kinds of series: one where the first and third books are amazing, and the second is more of a bridge between those two stories (this usually only applies to trilogies), and the other where the first book is only there to set the scene for later books. This was definitely the latter.
It took about a quarter of the book for me to warm up to the characters, but in the end I found them rather likable. Xander and David had a great sibling relationship, though I feel like they sometimes forgot they also had a sister. There were a few times when I found them really frustrating and stupid, but only a few. I would have liked to get to know the other characters a little more, they seemed to fade into the background quite a bit.
The writing was excellent! There were a lot of parts that were just brilliant, but also a few of over-explaining. Liparulo did a fantastic job of bringing the characters and their emotions to life. I really felt their pain and anger in the end, which was probably the best part of the book. My only real complaint with the writing was that it was a little predictable at times. I guessed the seemingly major plot twist fairly early on, though a lot happened that made me question what I thought, to the point that for a while I had completely disregarded my original theory.
I liked the house. It had its own personality, in a way. It was really interesting to read about the different portals and all the other odd things about the house. My only complaint in that none of it was explained. Everything just was. It left the reader and the characters with a lot of questions, which I hope will be answered throughout the rest of the series.
This was a very enjoyable read, and I definitely look forward to the next book in the series.

I give House of Dark Shadows four roller skates.

Cover: I like it. The font is nice, and the house with the silhouette in the window is perfect for the story.

The book is rated PG-13. Learn more about the rating here.

Eclectically yours,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Heads Up! Major Changes Coming Soon

Okay, so for about a month now I've been making preparations for some MAJOR changes to the old bloggy. I'm talking huge changes, like you probably won't recognize it when I'm done.

Seriously, you might not recognize it.

What kind of changes am I making? I'm glad you asked! (You: "But I didn't ask." Me: "Shut up and let me answer the question!" You: T_T "I'm scared!" Me: "Mwahaha!!!" >=D)
Dahlia's Eclectic Mind will soon be no more. No, I am not leaving the blogosphere (I love it too much), I'm just getting a new blog name and screen name. Why? Because I crave newness for my blog, and after two years of looking at the same names, I'm a little tired of them (tired of names after only two years?! Let's hope I never have to name anything important, like children).

So, just thought I'd give you a heads up about the upcoming blog makeover. I don't want all my lovely followers to be going through their feeds one day and scratch their head when they see the new name, wondering when they started following that blog.

By the way, while I have your attention, I have a very important blogging question. Will I mess up followers' feeds/lose content/do something else bad if I change my URL without getting a custom domain? I'd hate for anything bad to come from the changes I'm going to make, particularly in the followers and content department, so any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated. Has anyone experienced problems changing their .blogspot.com URL? Would it just be easier to get a custom domain?

Thank you for reading. I'll post again on this subject when I start the changes. Be sure to check back when I do, because I have something planned that I'm sure you'll be interested in. Here's a hint: it involves the words 'free' and 'book' and '2011'. You won't want to miss it. :)

Eclectically yours,



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wish List Wednesday 31

What?


Bloodthirsty

by Flynn Meaney

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In My Mailbox 42

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

Won

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
Pub. date: May 2008
Phoebe Kendall is just your typical Goth girl with a crush. He’s strong and silent…and dead.
All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren't staying dead. But when they come back to life, they are no longer the same. Feared and misunderstood, they are doing their best to blend into a society that doesn’t want them.
The administration at Oakvale High attempts to be more welcoming of the “differently biotic." But the students don’t want to take classes or eat in the cafeteria next to someone who isn’t breathing. And there are no laws that exist to protect the “living impaired” from the people who want them to disappear—for good.
When Phoebe falls for Tommy Williams, the leader of the dead kids, no one can believe it; not her best friend, Margi, and especially not her neighbor, Adam, the star of the football team. Adam has feelings for Phoebe that run much deeper than just friendship; he would do anything for her. But what if protecting Tommy is the one thing that would make her happy?
I won this, along with a bookmark (that just happens to match my journal!) and an awesome zombie button, from Mrs. DeRaps at DeRaps Reads. Thanks so much, Mrs. DeRaps! I love the button, which has already found a home on my purse, next to all my book buttons.

That's all for me this week. Le sigh. I'm really not liking this book buying ban my family has put me under, it's really hurting my IMMs.

Eclectically yours,

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Awakening by Michael Carroll

Ten years ago, all the superhumans vanished. No one knows what happened to them…until now. Thirteenyear- olds Danny and Colin are shocked to discover that they are in fact the beginning of a renewed superhuman race. As they rise to take the place of the lost generation, the unimaginable truth behind the explosive final battle that occurred ten years ago between the superheroes and the supervillains is exposed. And when the past resurfaces, Danny and his fellow superheroes must face the new challenges that threaten their survival. On the run from everyone, and not knowing who is friend or foe, the one ability the new heroes are going to need most is the power to distinguish good from evil.
I really liked The Awakening. It was an excellent superhero book, though a little predictable at times. I kind of guessed most of the plot twists a few chapters before they were revealed. The predictability didn’t take away from the story at all, because while I guessed things correctly, there were always questions leading up to the reveal. Like, I’d think I figured something out, then something would happen to make me question my theory, only for it to be proven right anyway.
I rather liked the characters in this book. Renata is definitely my favorite. She’s kind of made of awesome! The parts with her were my favorite to read, though often very short. Danny would have to be my second favorite. I was a little annoyed at how much he faded into the background, when the story is about Quantum’s prophecy and the prophecy is about him. You’d think he’d be there more. I really liked what happened to him in the end! If you’ve read it and know what I’m talking about, you probably think I’m a little sick. I just love things like that in books. **SPOILERS** Any author that can maim a character like that is okay by me. **SPOILER OVER**
The villains were pretty good. Actually, they were very good. Just the right mix of craziness and personal agendas.
I can’t think of much to say about Colin. While most of the story was focused on him, he wasn’t that interesting. There were a few exciting parts in his arc, but they were few and far between.
One thing I would change about this book is the action, I would put more of it. When I think superheroes, I think action. They go hand in hand most of the time.
Despite the lack of action, this was a really good book. The pacing was good, the characters were excellent, and the story was very interesting. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series. There were lots of questions at the end about what side everyone would end up on, and I’m really looking forward to the answers.

I give The Awakening 3 roller skates.
Cover: Eh, it's alright. I don't really like the colors, but other than that it's an okay cover.

Eclectically yours,

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In My Mailbox 41

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

Won

The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi
Pub. date: September 2010
When a marauder destroys the underground sanctuary that Eva Nine was raised in by the robot Muthr, the twelve-year-year-old girl is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is searching for anyone else like her, for she knows that other humans exist, because of an item she treasures—a scrap of cardboard on which is depicted a young girl, an adult, and a robot, with the strange word, “WondLa.” Tony DiTerlizzi honors traditional children’s literature in this totally original space age adventure: one that is as complex as an alien planet, but as simple as a child’s wish for a place to belong.
Breathtaking two-color illustrations throughout reveal another dimension of Tony DiTerlizzi’s vision, and, for those readers with a webcam, the book also features Augmented Reality in several places, revealing additional information about Eva Nine’s world.
I recently won this from Sabrina at YA Bliss. Thanks, Sabrina! It sounds really interesting, and the illustrations look really good. It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be, and I just barely managed to fit it on my packed shelf (after removing the last of my three non-fiction books). I can't wait to read this! ^_^

Eclectically yours,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recap: First Nine of NaNo

The first nine days of NaNo have passed, and I managed to survive. I even managed to keep up with my word counts until Sunday. Here's a recap of my nine days of NaNoing.

Day 1: 2,143
Okay, I have to admit, I cheated a little here. I actually started writing Written in Stone sometime last year, but got stuck early on and decided to put it on the back burner and try again another time. I erased a lot of the first chapter (the part that led to my writer's block), but kept about a page and a half because I really liked them, and it's rare that I like the beginning of anything I write (it's the hardest part to write, and I usually scrap it later on). So, I really only wrote 786 words on day 1. It was really hard to build on what I already had.

Day 2: 4,068
I passed my word goal (1,667) on day 2 with a total of 1,925 words, which is when I started to get hope that I might actually win this year. Let's see how I was feeling about that on day 3.

Day 3: 4,912
Yeah, that hope I mentioned died a little on day 3. I was doing good... until I reached The Journal. See, there are supposed to be journal sections in the book from one of the characters (not the MC), and I had no idea how to start it! I tried a bunch of different openings for the journal, but they all sounded cliche and/or lame. Needless to say, day 3 was very frustrating.

Day 4: 6,329
Back on track! The Journal defeated (for now)! I didn't quite meet my word goal (only wrote 1,417), but it was still so much better than day 3 that I didn't really care.

Day 5: 8,828
Since I was a little behind from my lack of writing the previous two days, I got to work early and wrote like mad. Like mad, I say! And it really paid off. I wrote a total of 2,499 words that day, my current high score (haha) for NaNo, and managed to not only catch up to, but exceed the amount of words I needed by the end of day 5. Yay me!

Day 6: 10,866
Another day of writing like mad! 2,038 words written, putting me 864 words ahead of schedule. It was on this day the NaNo stats started saying I would actually finish in November. I was really excited about this fact until...

Day 7: 10,866
That number looks familiar. Where have I seen it before? Oh, I know, on my total words for day 6! Day 7 was not a good day for writing. I felt fine when I got up and had a long day of writing planned after church, but near the end of Mass my back started to hurt a bit. By the time we left the church it was killing me. When I got home I didn't feel like sitting in a chair for hours while I tried to meet my word goal, especially since that chair made my back hurt worse. So, after a barely tolerable few minutes online, I got off the computer and didn't get on again that day.

Day 8: 11,114
Feeling much better than I had on day 7, I was all ready to get back to writing and catch up on the day I missed, plus meet my word goal for day 8. I put on my big headphones, playing the soundtrack I made a few days before, opened the file with my book, and started writing. I felt like I was sort of on a role, but then it was time for dinner and I had to get off the computer, with less than 250 words. It also happened to be ZG's birthday, so their was dessert, and then me and ZG went and played video games for a while, and before I knew it, it was too late to write.

Day 9: 11,114
Another day of Absolutely. No. Writing. I honestly have no idea what happened on day 9. I was either sucked into Simpson's: Hit & Run on XBox, or the final case of Phoenix Write, Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations. I've been going through a gaming phase lately (it happens every now and then), and it's really been cutting into my writing time. I want to write, I really do, but the games are just sooo much fun! And they're addictive! I know, I'm a bad NaNoer. T_T

Okay, so that's my first nine days of NaNo. I am determined to defeat the laziness/procrastination/distraction monster that has taken over my life this week and get back to writing. I managed to get a little writing done today and now have 12,167 words, putting me 4,603 words behind, a number that will hopefully be much lower and/or non-existent by the weekend (trying to be realistic here).

Eclectically yours,

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Winner

The winner of the Eclectically Haunted prize pack missed the claiming deadline, so their lovely prize is going to someone else.
:( for the original winner.
=D for the new winner!

And the new winner, according to random.org is...

Lisa Bryant from TheBookWorshipper!

Congratulations, Lisa! You have 48 hours to respond to the winning notification, which has already been sent.

Eclectically yours,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wish List Wednesday 30

What?


Love*Com vol. 5

by Aya Nakahara

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Blogoversary Winners!!!

At long last it is time to announce the winners of the blogoversary contests! But first, a big thank you to all who entered! I wish I could give everyone a prize, but alas I am out of prizes to give (not to mention that would be insanely expensive).


First, the Eclectically Haunted prize pack giveaway. There was a total of 215 entries for 33 people. And the winner of the 6 book prize pack with swag is...


And now the Hauntingly Eclectic international giveaway. Out of 27 people and 210 entries, the lucky name drawn by Random.org is...

Darlyn from Darlyn & Books!

Congratulations! Both winners have been emailed and have 48 hours to reply, or a new winner will be drawn.

Once again, I'd like to thank everyone who entered. I'd also like to give a big THANK YOU to my lovely guest posters, Golden Eagle and Hania (read their posts here and here)! And I can't forget my blog twin, Orchid, co-hostess of blogoversary awesomeness. I wasn't feeling well yesterday, so she tallied all the entries and drew both winners on her own last night. Thank you, Orchid! You rock!

This has been a lovely blogoversary. I can't wait for next year's! ^_^

Eclectically yours,





P.S.
The answers to the cover guess will be announced later.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

In My Mailbox 40

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

Bought

Spells & Sleeping Bags by Sarah Mlynowski
Pub. date: April 2008
At long last, Rachel's powers have arrived and she's a bona fide get-your-broom-ready witch! And it's happened just in time. No Manhattan for her this summer—she's spending her vacation at Camp Wood Lake.

But she's having some serious issues:

Mosquitoes in the Adirondacks are incredibly thirsty.

Her stepmom keeps sending embarrassing feminine hygiene care packages.

She accidentally zapped away all her clothes.

And there's a backstabber in her cabin intent on making life miserable.

Good thing Rachel's a witch.
I really liked the first two books in this series, so I was very happy when I saw it in the Random Buzzers store. It took forever to get enough Buzz Bucks, but it was worth it. I can't wait to read it!

Out of Sight, Out of Mind by Marilyn Kaye
Pub. date: June 2009
Queen of Mean Amanda Beeson, 13, gets the shock of her life when she wakes up one morning to find herself in the body of one of her victims, Tracey Devon. Amanda discovers that Tracey, ignored at home and school, has the ability to become invisible. When Amanda finds herself in a special class that Tracey usually attends, it becomes clear that at Meadowbrook Middle School the definition of “gifted” has a whole other meaning. Can Amanda rescue her one-time target from obscurity and get her own life back on track? In order to do so, she will have to reveal her own startling gift and take her rightful place among Meadowbrook’s very secret clique.
I didn't really expect to find anything good on my third trip to the used bookstore in as many weeks, so I was very surprised, and happy, to see this tucked away on the crowded shelf. I can't wait to read it! It sounds really good! :)

Won

Banished by Sophie Littlefield (ARC)
Pub. date: October 2010
There isn’t much worth living for in Gypsum, Missouri—or Trashtown, as the rich kids call the run-down neighborhood where sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell lives. Hailey figures she’ll never belong—not with the popular kids at school, not with the rejects, not even with her cruel, sickly grandmother, who deals drugs out of their basement. Hailey never knew her dead mother, and she has no idea who her father was, but at least she has her four-year-old foster brother, Chub. Once she turns eighteen, Hailey plans to take Chub far from Gypsum and start a new life where no one can find them.

But when a classmate is injured in gym class, Hailey discovers a gift for healing that she never knew she possessed—and that she cannot ignore. Not only can she heal, she can bring the dying back to life. Confused by her powers, Hailey searches for answers but finds only more questions, until a mysterious visitor shows up at Gram’s house, claiming to be Hailey’s aunt Prairie.

There are people who will stop at nothing to keep Hailey in Trashtown, living out a legacy of despair and suffering. But when Prairie saves both Hailey and Chub from armed attackers who invade Gram’s house in the middle of the night, Hailey must decide where to place her trust. Will Prairie’s past, and the long-buried secret that caused her to leave Gypsum years earlier, ruin them all? Because as Hailey will soon find out, their power to heal is just the beginning.

This gripping novel from thriller writer Sophie Littlefield blazes a trail from small-town Missouri to the big city as Hailey battles an evil greater than she ever imagined, while discovering strengths she never knew she had.
I think this is the first ARC I've ever won. All the other ARCs I own were given to me by friends. Big thanks to Random Buzzers! This sounds like a really interesting read. :)

Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby
Pub. date: March 2009


Quiet, unpopular,non-cheerleading Mia is blissfully happy. She is dating super hot football god Rob, and he actually likes her and asked her to prom! Enter Samantha--cheerleading goddess and miss popularity--who starts making a move for Rob. With prom in a few days, Mia needs to act fast. So she turns to her best friend, Candice, and decides to do a love spell on Rob. Unfortunately, she ends up inflicting a zombie virus onto her whole class, making herself their leader! At first she is flattered that everyone is treating her like a queen. But then zombie hunter hottie Chase explains they are actually fattening her up, because in a few days, Mia will be the first course in their new diet. She's sure she and Chase can figure something out, but she suggests that no one wear white to prom, because things could get very messy.
I won this during Princess Bookie's Contest Craze. This has been on my wish list for a while, and I'm really looking forward to reading it! Huge thanks to Cindy and Amanda Ashby! ^_^

That's all I got this week. Really looking forward to reading all of these. :)

Eclectically yours,

NaNoWriMo 2010

It's that time of year again. Time to attempt the impossible (for me... so far) and try to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Yes, NaNoWriMo is here at last has sort of snuck up on me again.

BTW, you can find me on NaNo as EclecticDahlia.

I'm really excited for NaNo this year, despite the sneaking up thing. And okay, maybe it didn't totally sneak up on me. Maybe I started preparing for it earlier this month, then made a big change to my story that called for re-outlining the whole thing, and maybe I pushed off said re-outlining until the last minute. But even with an outline to rewrite, I'm still looking forward to it this year, and feel more prepared than the last two years (my first year, I didn't even hear about NaNo until about now, and didn't sign up until November 3).

So, a little about my story. It's a dystopian steampunk YA, I thought of it about two years ago and tried to write it last year, but got super stuck. I'm kind of glad I didn't finish it last year. I've made a few changes that I'm really liking so far, and think will greatly improve the book.
I can't give you a synopsis, because a) I'm horrible at writing them, and b) I'm paranoid about putting my stories online, but I can give you a title and a cover.


What do you think? It turned out better than I thought it would. Not only that, it has worked as a great visual aid for me. I always knew the main character would have a clockwork tattoo, but could never picture it right. I've tried drawing it, but with my lack of artistic talent it alwasy turned out wrong (and usually ended up taking up half her face).
Anyone that's looked at the My Books page will know this story as Whistle, the book's former online alias (I was just going to abbreviate it to WIS, until ZG pointed out that it sounded like "whistle", and I decided to go with that). Anyway, I decided to reveal the actual title after realizing it wasn't all that amazing or original and didn't give away much about the story.

So, I guess that's really all I can say about NaNo right now. I'll post updates throughout November, and add a word count widget to the left sidebar.

Before I go, I'd like to wish a big GOOD LUCK to all the bloggers and readers also doing NaNo this year. =D
Eclectically yours,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Last Day to Enter!

Today is your last chance to enter the blogoversary giveaways. If you want to win your choice of book for $10 from Book Depository, click here. If you're a US follower and want to enter for a 6 book prize pack, including a signed copy of Peeps by Scott Westerfeld, plus swag, click here.



Contests close at MIDNIGHT eastern time. Don't forget to read the rules before entering. Good luck to everyone who enters! Winners should be announced tomorrow (unless it takes longer to tally the entries).

Eclectically yours,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blogoversary Day 12: Guest Post from Hania of To the Point Book Reviews

 I am very happy to welcome my newest guest, Hania from To the Point Book Reviews.


To The Point Book Reviews Badge


I began to read for enjoyment after reading Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. I was 11 or 12 years old at the time, and for me, managing to complete a book so thick was quite an accomplishment. After reading HP5, I began to read the Sleepover Club series. Obsessively! I’d borrow four or five books at one time and read them as soon as I could, especially on the school bus. Any Sleepover Club book I could get my primary-school hands on, I’d read. Other series which I also remember reading was The After School Club by Helena Pielichaty. I had devoured them, alongside Paul Jennings short stories and the Fudge series by Judy Blume. For some awkward reason I never read the Goosebumps series.
My transition into Young Adult literature was in year seven, when I started secondary school. At my local library, an entire section was devoted to YA. I remember that when I was younger I would stay clear from the area, unaware of the books there. Actually, on a sidenote I am grateful that I didn’t start reading YA too early. An example which confuzzles me quite a bit is of ten year olds, who are reading The Princess Diaries. Seriously... haven’t you seen the rave reviews at the back of one of the PD novels by a 10 year old?
Anyways, continuing... my early YA reads were by Sandra Glover, K.A Applegate (Remnants series), Hilary McKay (Casson family series) and Melinda Metz (the Fingerprints series). However I still continued to read junior fiction (the On The Run series by Gordon Korman). I do admit that the stories I read then wouldn’t have had such an impact on me if I read them again, since I read mostly for the plot. I still do read for the plot, but if there’s a message, theme, character, scene or quote which provokes deeper thinking, I’m now more likely to dwell upon it (although this may be due to my English course. Too much literary analysis I say).
Currently, I continue to read YA although I suppose at my age I could transgress into ‘normal’ fiction. I love girly stories but also immensely enjoy a fast paced action or mystery.
I suppose my reading journey has been a pretty awesome one. I hardly ever read anything I don’t want to, and I actually do remember most of the books and titles I’ve read (although remembering the plot may be a bit fuzzy). My best book memories would be those shared with my friends, since my family isn’t too big on reading fiction (Mum reads non-fiction and every time I have a book in my hands she asks me, “how do you manage to read so many stories?!”). I’ve also noticed that I read a lot of books which are in series.
I’d like to thank Dahlia for allowing me to guest post as part of her Blogoversary celebrations Not only have I written a post, but now I’ve started thinking about my early days of YA.

Lovely post, Hania! Thanks so much for stopping by! ^_^

Eclectically yours,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blogoversary Day 9: The Eyes Have It (Extra Entries for Blogoversary Giveaways)

The surprise I mentioned last week can at last be revealed! Here is your chance to increase your entries for the Eclectically Haunted and Hauntingly Eclectic Blogoversary Giveaways!

I'm doing a cover guess, because they're fun and I love them. For every cover you guess correctly, you will earn one more entry into your blogoversary giveaway of choice. Here are the covers.
Kind of creepy isn't it? All those eyes staring at you.

Fill out the form with your answers. DO NOT POST ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS! Any comments with the answers will not be published. If you want to play without entering, just put not an entry in the name and email sections on the form. Make sure you've already entered at least one of the blogoversary giveaways at the top of this post before filling out the form.



Check out The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia tomorrow for even more chances to win!

Eclectically yours,

In My Mailbox 39

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

Bought

Darkside by Tom Becker
Pub. date: February 2008
Jonathan Starling's home has been attacked, his dad is in an asylum, he's running for his life, and there's nowhere to hide. Jonathan has stumbled upon London's greatest secret: Darkside. Incredibly dangerous and unimaginably exciting, Darkside is the creepiest place Jonathan has ever seen. It's a world of nightmares and secrets, where fear and evil rule, and Jonathan has to find a way out....
Since Tom Becker learned to hold a pen, he wanted to become a writer. In fact, when he was five years old, he wrote in a notebook that it was his dream was to be an author. Tom studied History at Oxford University and was inspired by the otherworldly atmosphere of this academic institution. He used to spend long days studying and reading in the University library, but now he spends long days writing.
It's not often that I buy books I've already read, but I really liked this one (and it was half off). I definitely look forward to reading this again, though I'll probably wait until I have the sequel. You can read my review of Darkside here.

So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane
Pub. date: June 2001

Thirteen-year-old Nita, tormented by a gang of bullies because she won't fight back, finds the help she needs in a library book on wizardry which guides her into another dimension.
I pick this up just about every time I go to the used bookstore, and this week I finally decided to buy it. It sounds sort of interesting.

The Key to Rondo by Emily Rodda
Pub. date: February 2008
There are three rules to the old, painted music box: Wind the box three times only. Never shut the box when the music is playing. Never move the box before the music stops.
Leo wouldn't dream of breaking these rules, but does his stubborn cousin Mimi listen? She winds the box four times—and suddenly the paintings on its side come to life and a powerful witch is released. Now it's up to Leo and Mimi to stop the witch, if only they can find the key to the music box—and the magical world it controls.
I literally squealed when I saw this. I love Emily Rodda! She's my all time favorite author. I probably would not be the bookworm I am today without her Deltora books. I'm so excited about this! I can't wait to read it!

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
Pub. date: March 2007
Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class.  The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl.  Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?  Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's on her most dangerous mission: falling in love.
I really liked this, as well as the rest of the series, so I couldn't turn down a new-looking paperback at the used bookstore. Now all I have to do is get the second one (in paperback, of course, otherwise it would stick out between books 1 and 3) and I'll have the whole series (until another book comes out...).

The Julian Game by Adele Griffin
Pub. date: August 2010
All new girl Raye Archer wants is a way into the in crowd, so when ice-queen Ella Parker picks her to get back at her ex, the gorgeous Julian Kilgarry, Raye is more than game. Even if it means creating a fake Facebook identity so she can learn enough about Julian to sabotage him. It's a fun and dangerous thrill at first, but Raye hadn't counted on falling for Julian herself--and igniting Ella's rage.
As Raye works to reconcile the temptress Elizabeth with her real-life self, Ella serves up her own revenge, creating an online smear campaign of nasty rumors and trashy photographs. Suddenly notorious, Raye has to find a way out of the web of deceit that she's helped to build, and back to the relationships that matter.
Adele Griffin's riveting novel explores the issues of generation Facebook: the desire to be someone else, real versus online friends, and the pitfalls and fallouts of posting your personal life online for all the world to judge.
I ordered this from Book Depository a while ago, and IT FINALLY CAME!!! SO EXCITED!!! It sounds really good, and I've heard excellent things about it. I absolutely love the cover!

The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
Pub. date: August 2010
A gripping new series combines Steampunk, spying, and a fantastic Victorian London.
The mysterious Mr. Socrates rescues Modo, a child in a traveling freak show. Modo is a hunchback with an amazing ability to transform his appearance, and Mr. Socrates raises him in isolation as an agent for the Permanent Association, a spy agency behind Brittania’s efforts to rule the empire. At 14, Modo is left on the streets of London to fend for himself. When he encounters Octavia Milkweed, another Association agent, the two uncover a plot by the Clockword Guild behind the murders of important men. Furthermore, a mad scientist is turning orphan children into automatons to further the goals of the Guild. Modo and Octavia journey deep into the tunnels under London and discover a terrifying plot against the British government. It’s up to them to save their country.
Ask and ye shall receive, or in this case blog and ye shall receive. ;) Really looking forward to reading this, but will wait because, honestly, the next book is a higher priority. I have a lot of steampunky goodness to look forward to! ^_^

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld and Keith Thompson (SIGNED!)
Pub. date: October 2010
The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.
Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.
So so so so sooooooo excited about this!!! Not only was the first one amazing (as well all the other books I've read by him), but I got this one SIGNED! And not the signed of all my other signed books, which I won in contests and simply arrived in the mail with an author's signature. I finally managed to make it to a book signing! It was so much fun! I'll post more about the event later.
 
Borrowed

Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson
Pub. date: January 2008
When 16-year-old Scarlett Wakefield transfers from St. Tabby’s to Wakefield Hall Collegiate, she is relieved that no one knows her dark, haunting secret. A few months ago, Scarlett was invited to an elite party with a guest list full of the hottest names in British society, including Dan McAndrew. Before the party, Scarlett had only imagined what it would be like to have her first kiss with Dan, but on the penthouse terrace, Dan leaned in close and she no longer had to wonder. Their kiss was beautiful and perfect and magical, and then . . . Dan McAndrew took his last breath as she held him in her arms. No one knows how or why Dan died, and everyone at St. Tabby’s believes Scarlett had something to do with it. But now that she’s safely hidden away at Wakefield Hall, Scarlett would rather forget that it ever happened. Only she can’t. Especially when she receives an anonymous note that will set her on the path to clearing her name and finding out what really happened to the first and last boy she kissed.
Hmm, Kiss Me Kill Me, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You. I'm seeing a pattern here, and it's a little disturbing. xD Though, beyond titles, I don't think they have much in common. Anyway, I saw this on Random Buzzers a little while ago, and thought it sounded interesting, so I looked for it at my library. Surprise, surprise, they had it! And it was checked in with no waiting list! So I ordered it, and it came in the same day as The Julian Game, which was also a day before I bought Behemoth. Library books usually have priority over books I own, but I'm going to have to make an exception this time. Sorry, Kiss Me Kill Me, but I'm afraid I'll have to send you back unread and check you out another time.

Anyway, that's all I got this week. I'd say this was one of my better book weeks. So excited to read all of these!

Eclectically yours,

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Daykeepers Grimoire by Christy Raedeke

Can one (super smart) girl
(who just wants to be discovered)
decipher the cryptic Mayan calendar prophecy and SAVE THE WORLD?
When her safe-cracker mom and code-breaker dad inherit a dreary Scottish castle, sixteen-year-old Caity Mac Fireland is not happy. Ripped from her cushy life and friends in San Francisco, Caity’s secret fantasy of being discovered by a Hollywood agent, talent scout, or even just a pageant coach seems more unlikely than ever.
But when Caity stumbles across a hidden room in the castle, its walls covered in strange symbols, her life takes a bizarre turn. She finds herself center stage in an international conspiracy involving warring secret societies, assassins, the suppressed revelations of the Mayan Calendar and the year 2012, plus the fate of humanity.
With the help of her friend Justine back home, and Alex, a gorgeous and mysterious Scottish boy, Caity must race to decipher the code and reveal its message to the world before time runs out.
I had very high hopes for The Daykeeper's Grimiore, and it met every one of them. I absolutely loved this book! From start to finish, though there were a few things I didn't totally like, I wouldn't change a thing.
Caity is officially one of my all time favorite characters! She was amusing, smart, and just a tad bit creepy when it came to Alex (in a hilarious, laugh out loud way). My other favorite character is Mr. Papers. I don't usually like animals in books that much (particularly ones that play a fairly big role, like Mr. Papers did), and I really don't like monkeys that much, but I loved Mr. Papers! He was adorable! And he did origami! How can you not love that?
Caity and Mr. P weren't the only good characters. Justine, Caity's friend in San Francisco, was really cool and kind of funny. I really started to like her when she had to do all the "spy" work for Caity. She's definitely a friend I'd like to have if I ever had to save the world.
Alex was an okay character, though I honestly can't remember that much about him (and I failed to make any notes on him).
This book had something that many YA books have been lacking: adults. I was a little shocked by the strong adult presence (even though Caity's parents were often out of the picture, though not unreasonably so). It was so weird, yet nice, to read a YA book where the teens weren't like little adults in an adult-free world.
I liked the mystery in the book, of never knowing who can be trusted, as well as the build-up to the reveal of the prophecy. Raedeke's writing is fantastic, it pulls you right into the story. This book was nearly impossible to put down.
Prophecy of Days: The Daykeeper's Grimiore was an excellent and original start to a promising new series, and one of the best debuts I've ever read. I highly recommend it.

I give The Daykeeper's Grimiore four roller skates.
Cover: I really like it! It has an interesting font, and a lot of important elements from the book, and I like the colors.

Eclectically yours,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wish List Wednesday 29

What?


The Hunchback Assignments

by Arthur Slade

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blogoversary Day 2 4: Hauntingly Eclectic INTERNATIONAL Blogoversary Giveaway (CLOSED)

I promised a treat for our international readers yesterday the other day, and now it's time to deliver (actually, it was supposed to be delivered Saturday, but I kinda forgot xP). We couldn't leave you out of the blogoversary giveaway love, so here's your chance to win...

$10 to a book of your choice from Book Depository!

To enter, fill out the form below.
Rules:

CONTEST CLOSED!

Good luck to everyone that enters! And don't forget to check back here later in the week for the SuPeR sEcReT sUrPrIsE I mentioned the other day. ;)

US followers, don't forget to enter for the Eclectically Haunted prize pack here!

Eclectically yours,

Blogoversary Day 4: Guest Review by Golden Eagle from The Eagle's Aerial Perspective


Today I am very happy to welcome The Golden Eagle from The Eagle's Aerial Perspective!


Title: Foundation
Author: Isaac Asimov
Publisher: Bantam Books
Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 244
Rating: 5 out of 5
Cover Rating: 3.5 out of 5. At first I thought it was too garish, but it grew on me. The man in the wheelchair fits into the story perfectly, and I suppose the orange-ness isn't so bad. It is eye-catching, and that's a big plus.

Back flap:

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire had ruled supreme. Now it is dying a slow death from entropy and corruption. Only psychohistorian Hari Seldon cane see the future--a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and intergalactic warfare. To preserve the accumulated wisdom of the ages and save mankind from oblivion, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire and leads them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy. There they will serve as a beacon of hope for future generations. He calls this sanctuary Foundation. And we are its inheritors.

My expectations: High. I loved I, Robot and liked Nemesis so I was really looking forward to digging into this trilogy.

My expectations were met!

About the book: If you've ever read science fiction, you've probably heard of Isaac Asimov, who was well-known for this very trilogy. Foundation (and the books following it) is complex, interesting, and reveals parts of human nature.

There is a lot of politics, scheming, and conspiracy in this book. Politicians, Emperors, scientists, and other leaders are all arguing about one thing--the fate of the human race. And Hari Seldon, the founder of Foundation, knows what that fate is. The Empire, however, doesn't want to hear it, for he is predicting their future disorder and eventual fall from power. They give him the option of death or exile; Seldon, through careful planning, chooses exile to a far-off planet in the Periphery, knowing that they'd give him that choice.

  • Plot:
Very, very good. The usual YA plot holds nothing against the events that occur in this book. Subtle manipulation, careful plotting, and influencing those around them result in many different people sliding in and out of power in surprising ways--all according to Hari Seldon's plan, of course.

  • Characters:
Hari Seldon was a genius, in the most literal sense. He knew what was going to happen by calculation via his extensive knowledge of psychohistory, and therefore can predict the probabilities of mob reactions. He's cold and brilliant.

Salvor Hardin (I keep getting him confused with Hari Seldon) was ingenious. He knew what he was going when he tried to become mayor and get through the Encyclopedists who ruled Foundation. He was an interesting character to watch.

Limmar Ponyets was devious. He knows trading, and he knows how to manipulate people into doing what he wants them to do. His plots are rather unpredictable.

Hober Mallow was similar to Salvor Hardin--aiming for the mayoralty and he certainly wasn't going to let much get in his way to do it.

There are lots of other characters. Each part is a different time in history, so almost every new part (there are 5) means a new cast. But the secondary characters are all very good and memorable for their own reasons--they show different personalities and attitudes.

  • Setting/Other Factors:
I love space, space-travel, SF, and books with politics in them, so this was right up my alley. The idea of Foundation was intriguing, and while right now we're still on Earth, it does raise the question: is the rise and fall of humanity completely inevitable?

Other: There are no women! Except for one man's wife (who took a very muted position against all the other figures) there are no major characters who are female! That sort of got to me. I want men and women in the books I read, and not stereotyped views, either. But other than that, there was nothing else that might make people question whether they should read it.

Do I recommend this book? Yes! Absolutely.

-----The Golden Eagle

Thanks for stopping by, Golden Eagle! Fantastic review! I may just have to read that now. :)

Eclectically yours,