Saturday, August 29, 2009

Book Review: Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson

As a little girl, Jane has no one. Her mother Vivienne Margaux, the powerful head of a major New York theater company has no time for her. But she does have one friend—Michael—and no one can see him but her. But Michael can't stay with Jane forever, and on her eighth birthday, her imaginary friend must leave her.

When Jane is in her thirties, working for her mother's company, she is just as alone as she was as a child. Her boyfriend hardly knows she's there and is more interested in what Vivienne can do for his career. Her mother practically treats her as a slave in the office, despite the great success of Jane's first play, "Thank Heaven." Then she finds Michael—handsome, and just the same as she remembers him, only now he's not imaginary. For once in her life, Jane is happy—and has someone who loves her back. But not even Michael knows the reason behind why they've really been reunited.


I would like to start off by saying that I truly enjoyed reading this book. It was again, a book that I could not put down! I was so involved with following Jane's life that I wanted to know more and more as the story continued. I felt her pain when she was sad, and her joy when her life became happy.

Sundays at Tiffany's begins with Jane, the daughter of Vivienne Margaux who is a divorced successful New York City Broadway mogul. Jane's mother isn't a very hands on Mom during her early childhood. Vivienne is extremely involved with her own career and personal life, therefore she has very little time for her only daughter. They do however, have a Sunday ritual where they both go to the St. Regis Hotel and have brunch at the Astor Court. While they eat, her mom sits at a table next to her, and Jane dines with her imaginary friend Michael. Following their meal, they go shopping at Tiffany's (notice the title), and browse all the beautiful jewels. Jane loves going there to shop, and she looks forward to the special time she shares with her mother.

Michael is the only consistent person in Jane's young life. She is very connected to him, he knows everything about her. He meets her in the morning to walk her to school, and picks her up at the end of the day. Jane considers Michael to be her best friend, and confides in him all her secrets and feelings.

One day, when Jane was talking to Michael about celebrating her ninth birthday, she noticed a change in him. All of the sudden Michael became sad, and his face became serious. When Jane inquired, Michael had to tell her that he was going away and not coming back. The rule for imaginary friends is by age nine, they need to leave their life for good. This devastated Jane. She was hysterically crying, begging Michael to stay. He had no choice but to say goodbye and leave her life. When the imaginary friend leaves, the child is supposed to have no recollection of him. This isn't so in Jane's case.

The following day, when Jane went down to walk to school, she expected to see Michael. Hoping it was all a dream, she skipped out of her building and looked down the block searching for Michael. He was nowhere in sight. It was not a dream, it was true, he was gone forever.

As Jane grows up, she continues to think about Michael. She blossoms into a beautiful educated woman, and follows her in mother's footsteps and also becomes a very successful producer. She works for her mother's firm, and begins to date a self absorbed jerk. She doesn't have high self esteem, so her choice in men aren't the best. Both Jane and Vivienne continue their Sunday tradition of brunch and shopping at Tiffany's.

Then, one day Jane sees a gentleman she recognizes. It's Michael! This time he can be seen by others! Needless to say, they reconnect and form a new relationship, as adults.

The book continues with the mature relationship of Jane and Michael, and you learn how their adult relationship evolves. They experience love, happiness, sickness, sadness, and they have to make major decisions as adults. It is a great story line, that keeps the reader in suspense. Escape into the fantasy and true, deep-soul affection and love of two people who can believe that anything is possible. I found the plot to be very clever. As the reader, you feel the roller coaster of emotions that Jane experienced throughout their relationship. It was well written, and I found it to be an easy read. I have not read James Patterson's other novels, but if they are similar to this one, I will absolutely read more of his books!


Book Review: "Groosham Grange" by Anthony Horowitz


Thirteen-year-old David Eliot was a disappointment to his parents. But to be sent to Groosham Grange? Hidden away on a lonely island, Groosham Grange is a school that is unknown to the outside world. Pupils forced to write their names in blood. An English teacher held together entirely by bandages. A soccer ball made of... well, you'd rather not know. What is the Chilling secret hidden behind the headmaster's door? And why are students disappearing in the middle of the night? Suddenly, David Has a lot more to worry about than pleasing his parents- like survival!

Getting into Groosham Grange is easy. Getting out alive is another matter....

He took in his first sight of Groosham Grange. It was a huge building, taller than it was wide; a crazy mixture of battlements, bared windows, soaring towers, slanting gray slate roofs, grinning gargoyles and ugly brick chimneys. As the Jeep pulled up outside the front door (solid wood, studded with nails and sixteen inches thick), there was a rumble overhead and a fork of lightning crackled across the sky. Somewhere a wolf howled. Them the door creaked slowly open.


My dad read this and told me that I would enjoy it and it wouldn't take me too long, so I decided to take a break from the 4th Twilight book I am currently reading, "Breaking Dawn".
He was right, I did like it and it didn't take me too long to read. There were parts that were really funny too!

David had been kicked out of a few schools and when he came home and told his parents that he was getting kicked out of his current school, Beton Academy, they were very angry. Suddenly, a letter appears telling them that David had been accepted to a school that promised to whip him into shape. The school, "Groosham Grange" was on it's own island, had only 1 vacation day a year, and parents were never invited to the school to visit!

David gets sent off and on the train and had met 2 friends on the train who were also being sent to Groosham Grange, Jeffrey, a fat little boy who stuttered and Jill, who was rich and rarely saw her parents. The first thing that they thought was weird about their new school was that each of their parents had been given different descriptions of the school and what the school could do for their child.

When they arrived, they quickly noticed that this was a very strange place. Many of the other students acted weird and the teachers were even stranger. One teacher looked like he was dead, another looked like she was 1000 years old, and one teacher, Monsieur Leloup does not show up for class when there is a full moon.

David and Jill try to escape a few times, but always seem to find themselves back at the school. They soon discover that they are each the 7th child of a 7th child and that on their 13th birthdays, something strange happens. The whole time they are there they both notice that all of the other children have special rings on their fingers that they do not have yet and only get on that 13th birthday.

I don't want to spoil the end of the book so I will just tell you that David, Jeffrey, Jill, and all of the other children there are not ordinary children, they are different and special. After they find out what is special about them they have choices to make. They have to choose whether to join the rest of the children there or well, be killed! I will tell you that no one dies, at least none of the kids do in this book. The end is really cool and got me excited to read the second book of Groosham Grange which came out a few weeks ago.

I really enjoyed reading "Groosham Grange". It was funny, not too scary, and didn't take me too long to read. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read an easy, fun book that they just want to sit one afternoon and finish the whole thing, just like I did. I also wanted to thank my Dad who saw that I needed something to do for a little while and suggested I give it a try. Thank you very much for reading my review and I am going back to reading "Breaking Dawn", book 4 of my favorite series, 'Twilight".


Friday, August 28, 2009

Book Review: "Dreamhunter" by Elizabeth Knox

You are now only 100 yards from the border to the Place.

Laura comes from world similar to our own except for one difference: It is next to the Place, an unfathomable land that fosters dreams of every kind and is inaccessible to all but a select few, the dreamhunters. These are individuals with the ability to catch larger-than-life dreams and relay them to audiences in the magnificent dream palace. People travel from all around to experience the benefits of the hunters' unique visions.

Now, fifteen-year-old Laura and her cousin Rose, daughters of dreamhunters, are old enough to find out if they qualify to enter the Place. But nothing can prepare them for what they are about to discover. In the midst of a fascinating landscape, Laura's dreamy childhood is ending, and a nightmare is beginning.


Well, I must first start out saying this book was VERY unique. Even though I will review this as best as I can, you still will not be able to experience the unbelievable aura of "the Place" until you read this yourself! You will close the book when finished reading it and wish you could cross to the Place and be a dreamhunter yourself. This is a promise.

Laura Hame and her cousin Rose, have been best of friends growing up their whole lives, inseparable. Laura's father, Tziga and Rose's mother, Grace, are 2 of the most famous "dreamhunters" to ever live. What is a dreamhunter? I think it would be better understood if we went over what "the Place" was first. Bordered on all four sides, the place is only accessible by those fortunate enough to be able to cross the border. There are distinct areas where the border is marked. When someone walks up to the border and tries to cross, 1 of 2 things happen. Either you continue to walk the same path you have been walking, or if you are one of the few, once you pass that imaginary border, you disappear and end up somewhere totally different, somewhere where the sun does not show itself or go down, the temperature does not change, water is nonexistent and fires can not be lit, "the Place". No one knows how big the Place is, although there are several maps of it, they are incomplete, as it has never been fully explored. Why go into the Place? What is so special about crossing this imaginary border and being transported to this strange place?

Those who can cross the border into the Place, shall travel to known (and unknown) parts, fall asleep, and catch a dream the way ordinary people catch colds. They catch a certain dream, bring it back across the border, and "perform" their dream for many people, hence the title "dreamhunters". This is done either in private parlors, other places such as hospitals and prisons (I bet your wondering why the heck in those places!) or in the Dream Palace. In the Dream Palace, the dreamhunter falls asleep in center stage on a lifted platform bed. Similar to box seats at a theatre, several of these suites are surrounding the dreamhunter. The difference is that instead of seats, there are bed. These people fall asleep, and the dreamhunter "shares" their dream with whomever is within the palace. Everyone shares the same dream, almost compared to that of a live performance or like going to see a movie.

Now that you understand what a dreamhunter is, heres the scoop. Laura's dad had discovered the Place some 20 years ago, being the first known dreamhunter. He came out and started sharing these dreams and soon built an enormous amount of wealth with his new found talent. In time, a select few others had discovered that they too possess this amazing ability. Some use their talents to soothe, others for entertainment, and then there are others who use them to manipulate the mind.

Rose's mom, Grace is also one of the most famous dreamhunters that exist. She and Laura's dad have performed their dreams over the years to support their families as well as for the general good of people. Since Laura lost her mother when she was young, her uncle, Rose's dad Chorley, stayed home and for the most part has been the girl's primary caregiver. When the girls turn 15, it is their turn to "try", which is a ritual where many line up and cross the border in hope of vanishing and appearing in the Place.

As Laura and rose "try", Laura finds out that she is a dreamhunter just like her father and aunt while Rose, who has expected to be her whole life, is not. From here, the action takes off. Tziga has disappeared and is nowhere to be found. He leaves clues for Laura that take her on a mission to correct some wrongs that he has created over the years. As she ventures to places that few have traveled so far into the Place, she learns that she has the powers to create a servant. This servant is created with an old family song and is made up of sand and clay. Called "NOWN", her servant has been created several times over the years by her ancestors. It is hard for me to describe this servant other than to just tell you to picture creating a giant person in the sand at the beach and having it come to life.

Laura and her servant follow clues that her father has left behind that ultimately lead her to a place where she catches a special dream, a nightmare of a dream. As powerful as Laura is as a dreamhunter, her father has instructed her to go to the Palace on a special day in which many of the prominent and wealthy all come out and share a special dream performed by her aunt, Grace. Tziga has instructed Laura, who is one of the few who can do this, to "overdream" her aunt's dream and fill it with her own, a horrible nightmare that her father once dreamed.

Tziga is thought to be dead. It is told that he entered the Place on a journey to attempt to cross the Place. Is that what really happened to him? Is he really dead? Why does he have Laura do such a horrible thing and put such a devastating nightmare (I can not spoil it and tell you what the nightmare is) in all of these people's minds? What will come of things now that Laura has shared this nightmare with so many? Well, you can find out some of these answers in "The Dreamhunter" and in the conclusion to the 2 part series titled "Dreamquake". My suggestion, BUY THEM BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. There is doubt in my mind that you will read the last page of Dreamhunter and immediately go to page 1 of Dreamquake without hesitation.

If that was a bit confusing, I apologize, but there simply is no way to really describe the contents of this book with any clear sense of words. If you are not sold on my review, and your head is spinning trying to figure out what the heck you just read, trust me...if you read this, it will all be clear and you will be amazed. And if you don't want to take my word for it, there is this little known author who wrote this little know book, Stephenie Meyer said about Dreamhunter, "It is like nothing else I've ever read. The characters are so real, you'll feel like you know exactly what they look like and how their voices sound and what they would say or do in any given situation. More than that, you'll want to hang out with them. Then the world is so amazing and unique. You will want to go there. You will want to walk into "the Place" and you will want to sleep in a dream opera."

Definitely a must read!


Ooh, while I have your attention (hopefully)....what are we going to give away for our next contest??? Im ARC of "Fire" by Kristin Cashore. For those of you who don't know, "Fire" is the prequel to Kristin's great first book "Graceling". If you have read "Graceling", then you are probably already waiting for "Fire" which comes out in October I believe. If not, get out there to your local bookstore (or as I have said before, if you are THAT lazy, there is a link to Barnes and Noble at the bottom of this page you can use) and check out " Graceling".....I loved it, so you probably will too! :O)

Sunday, August 23, 2009




Just To Update Everyone

Hi Everyone!
I know that my Hubby Dave basically maintains this site, I just wanted to post a quick note to fill everyone in. Lauryn and Sami are currently in the process of writing their next book reviews. They have read their books and are ready to put their thoughts on paper. We have been enjoying the last few weeks of summer going to the beach and spending quality family time together, so please accept our apologies for the delay! Our girls are excited to go indoor go-carting next. Tomorrow we are baking oatmeal raisin cookies from scratch, and trust me , they will be gone by Tuesday! The recipe is under the Quaker Oatmeal lid. They weren't kidding when they named them Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies! You should try the recipe if you enjoy them.

I have read two awesome books, Gilding Lily and Hedge Fund Wives both by Tatiana Boncompagni. She is a new author, her first book was published in September of 2008. I found one of her books when I was browsing the library shelves and surprisingly I could not put it down! I love to find new authors that are easy reads, and I wish there were more books out there written by her! There were a few days that I sat on the beach reading all day. They were both fantastic. I am currently reading The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, a story about the founding two young men of Facebook. I am a facebook addict, feel free to add me as a friend, I even have the application on my blackberry! It is really fascinating to read their story, and I am enjoying the book tremendously. Of course I will review this when I am done. Also, Dave is currently reading "Dreamhunter" by Elizabeth Knox, which he will also review shortly.

Thank you all so much for your kind and encouraging words! We all read your comments and appreciate all the positive feedback. We hope you will all continue on this exciting journey with us, and hopefully are inspired to read a book or two! Please also share with us anything you feel we might enjoy reading, as we are always open to suggestions. Good luck on our current contests, and keep checking back for new and exciting future ones! Enjoy the rest of the summer.

Happy reading!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Book Review: "Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow" by James Rollins

My first Review! I have read so many books that I had a really hard time deciding which book to review first. One of my dad's all time favorite authors is James Rollins. He does not usually write children's books, so when my dad told me he had a book coming out for kids this year, I was SO excited to read it and could not wait! What was even cooler was that my dad had the book signed for me by James Rollins! This is why I decided to write my first ever review on it.


The explosion blew away the emergency lights. Before Jake could react, the world fell out from under him. Blood rushed to his head, as if he were plummeting down a well. He knew something was staring at him out of the darkness. Then it began to move. A few words scraped into his mind, like fingernails digging at the lid of a stone coffin. "COME TO ME...."

When a mysterious envelope arrives for Jake Ransom, he and his older sister, Kady, are plunged into a gripping chain of events. An artifact found by their parents- on the expedition from which they never returned- leads Jake and Kady to a strange world inhabited by a peculiar mix of long-lost civilizations, a world that may hold the key to their parents disappearance.

But even as they enter the gate to this extraordinary place, savage grackyls soar across the sky, diving to attack. Jake's new friends, the pretty Mayan girl Marika and the Roman Pindor, say the grackyls were created by an evil alchemist- the Skull King. And as Jake struggles to find a way home, it becomes obvious that what the Skull King wants most is Jake and Kady- dead or alive.


I really enjoyed reading this book. It was full of adventure and a lot of information about how different civilizations like the Mayans, Romans, Egyptians, and Sumerians to name some, lived many, many years ago. The other thing I like a lot was that since the author James Rollins is a Veterinarian besides an author, there were different kinds of animals in the book. I really liked the dinosaurs. Some animals were real and some were made up, like the grakyl, an imaginary beast that was part human and part cursed beast.

Jake and Kady's mom and dad were explorers who went exploring one day and never came home. While they were away, they sent a coin that was broken in half home to Jake and Kady as well as a log book from their dad and a sketch book from their mom detailing their adventure. Each one of them promised to wear each half of the coin around their neck until their parents returned, if they ever returned. One day, while in a museum that was honoring their parents with an exhibit of their work, Jake and Kady found a little pyramid. Jake had noticed that their was a space that looked like it fit the 2 halves of the coins perfectly in them. When he put his half and Kady's half into the space, they were instantly transported to a far off world.

When they got to this new world, they made their 2 new friends, Marika and Pindor, when they helped save Jake and Kady's life from a T-Rex! They soon learned that their friends had lived together in a village with many other civilizations from throughout time. As time went on, Jake and Kady learned about their different cultures and shared things they knew from their own time, while always trying to figure out where they were. One of the things Jake had started teaching the people there was all about modern science. Of course these people already knew things about science, but had no idea that is what it was called. They also taught Jake about science from their own times.

One day, Jake and Kady, stumbled across a large pyramid that looked exactly the same as the one in the museum. Jake and Kady were not supposed to go in the pyramid. Only the leaders of the village were supposed to go in there. They had decided that somewhere in the pyramid MUST be a way for them to get home. While exploring inside the pyramid, Jake and Kady had found a pocket watch. Not just any pocket watch, but one that belonged to their very own father. They knew this because it had writing on the back of it that their mom had engraved for their dad as a present one day. They were so shocked and confused as to why the pocket watch was there and whether or not it would give them a clue to help finding their parents and a way home.

Jake and Kady explored more of the pyramid and came across different rooms that had different things in them like treasures and secret passages to other parts of the pyramid. One room they went into had a Mayan calendar in it that was run by a bunch of gears and wheels that looked like the ones found in a watch. As they got closer to the center of the calendar, they noticed that the hands on their parents pocket watch had started to go the opposite way! It was then that Jake realized that the question they had been asking themselves the whole time of "where were they?" was also a question of "when were they?".

Kady had decided to try and wind the watch and hoping that it would work the correct way again. She popped out the stem of the watch and began to wind it just as Jake yelled at her "NO!". What would happen he did not know, but he had a feeling that something would. When Kady began to wind the watch, as they were still standing in the middle of the Mayan calendar, they were instantly transported right back to the same spot they were at the museum where the exhibit for their parents were. They were now back in their own time and place. Even though they spent a lot more time in the unknown place with all of the lost civilizations, they arrived at the same exact time at the museum as when they had originally left. This was very strange.

What was even more strange was that when they arrived back at the museum, they still had their father's pocket watch. If it were not for that, neither one of them would have believed what had just happened to them. They didn't know where they had gone, when they had gone to, or why they had traveled to the strange place that they did. More than thinking about what had happened to them, they thought about what had happened to their parents. By finding the pocket watch, they had guessed that their parents had been to the strange place also. They still wondered was what happened to their parents and where were they now? Mostly, Jake and Kady though about one thing, were their parents still alive?

The best part of the book for me was how James Rollins left me wondering the same things Jake and Kady did at the end of the book. I kept trying to figure out if their parents had been to the strange place and had wanted Jake and Kady to go there too. Maybe that is why they sent them the strange coin broken in 2 halves. I also loved that since there were so many questions left unanswered, there will definitely be another book in the Jake Ransom series. I am excited for the next book to come out and can't wait to read it.

I hope you enjoyed my first review and I hope to write many more. This would be a great book for anyone my age and even a little bit older to read. It would even be good for some adults to read. My dad read it also and he loved it too. He told me it was just like the other book James Rollins writes, and that even though it was written for kids, adults would like it also.


A message from Dad (Dave)- Yeah! Sami did her first review! We have been going over which book to review for so long that I finally told her if she did not do a review soon, it would be The Lateiner Gang minus 1 (just for the site of course). That did the trick! Now, it should be easier for her. Anyway, we are so proud of her. Please feel free to comment on her review as we would like to encourage her to continue to write awesome reviews! (can you guess who the shy one is in the family?) Also, please go down to the post below this to read about "The Lateiner Gang" actually getting interviewed, or you can just go right to the interview. Plenty more coming your way shortly, so don't stay away for too long. See you soon.


Friday, August 21, 2009

"The Lateiner Gang" GETS Interviewed!! You Have to See This!!

Hey Guys and Gals, our friend Sheila from who runs one heck of a blog site interviewed US! Well, Sheila thought that the Gang had an interesting story and floored us by asking if she could have an interview and talk about our site. Check it out here and make sure that you check out the rest of Sheila's site also. She really trumps most of the other sites we have seen out there and puts her whole heart into making sure her followers are always engaged. Also, while you are checking things out, Sheila also introduced me to another site that is awesome, Here you can hang out with other bloggers, fellow readers, authors and just about anyone who loves reading and books.

We still plan to change things around on the site and go for that "face lift". We did work on it a bit today and came up with a few "technical difficulties", so it might take us a bit more time. It's too bad because our site looked really cool, but we lost most of the content, so we put it back to the norm. We are just going to fool around and hopefully real soon you guys will stop in one day and not know where you are! That is the goal....

As you all know, Dave mostly reads YA/Fiction/Fantasy, he was approached by an author who asked him if he would like to review his book that had recently come out titled, " A Circle of Souls". The author, Preetham Grandhi, also an M.D. and Child Psychiatrist, sent a copy of his book promptly after he agreed. Knowing in advance it was a thriller/murder mystery, Dave figured it wouldn't hurt to take a break from the norm and give it a try. Well, he got the book yesterday and had not planned to read it until next week. Having a few extra minutes while waiting for the 2 smaller members of The Lateiner Gang to get ready for dinner, he cracked it open just to get a glimpse of what was in store for him. The book ended up at the dinner table, on the couch, and then into the bed right along side him. For now, we will leave it at that, but once it is done, expect at least a review.


The Lateiner Gang

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


First of all, we want to thank you guys so much for sharing our site with us. You have made our site a ton of fun for us to do, seriously.

1. Just under 19 days left until we pick our winners for Maze and Alvor!!! Our personal goal was to have at least 50 followers by then, and at the rate we have been growing, we are on track. Keep up whatever you guys are doing to help spread the word about us because it is working (well, plus you get more entries for the contests of course)

2. We are going to try and give the site a "face lift" this weekend. We have been toying with different ways to make it look cooler, instead of this boiler plate page. We did add a 3rd column, but are probably going to wait until we update the site's appearance before adding anything else to it.....anything ELSE??? we added something to the 3rd column??? HELLO, (knock knock) PEOPLE..... we finally got a real pic of "The Lateiner Gang" up there instead of that silly stick figure drawing at the bottom of the page. Anyway, don't freak when we change the site. Different look, same gang.

3. Sami is due for her first review. At 9, our biggest dilemma has been which book she should choose to review. We nicely explained that if she doesn't choose one soon, she will be 10 before her first review. Mara is working on 2 new books as we speak. Lauryn is almost done with the last "Twilight", but isn't sure which book to review and Dave, well, being the reading/reviewing MoNsTeR that he is (did I make it too obvious that I wrote this post??) is reading about 5 different books right now, which he has never done before and actually remembering the story line in each one! However, this weekend, when that crisp new copy of 'Legacy" comes, all else will be cast aside and the goal is to have it done before the start of work Monday morning, this way we can get those interview questions over to Cayla ASAP. (And yes, Laura, you have taught me a new way to read, just simply stay up all night and go to work like a zombie! I'm just teasing as I know how bad you felt) Remember HOPEFULLY this weekend, a new look to the site. Check back and see you soon!

One more thing, since it is crazy to write out if you want to contact us, we made it easier and abbreviated to (aren't we lucky no one had taken up tlgbrs over at gmail or you'd be stuck typing that whole long email address) It will stay active, but we are guessing that it wont get much action for much longer.

The Lateiner Gang

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Book Review: "Graceling" by Kristin Cashore

"His eyes. Katsa had never seen such eyes. One was silver, and the other, gold. They glowed in his sun-darkened face, uneven, and strange. She was surprised that they hadn't shone in the darkness of their first meeting. They didn't seem human....

Then He raised his eyebrows a hair, and his mouth shifted into the hint of a smirk. He nodded at her, just barely, and it released her from her spell.

Cocky, she thought. Cocky and arrogant, this one, and that was all there was to make of him. Whatever game he was playing, if he expected her to join him he would be disappointed."

In a world where people born with an extreme skill-called a Grace- are feared and exploited,. Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middlunds, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meet Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no idea how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own -or a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.


Ok, well....I have this habit about reviewing books that I like a lot and those that I absolutely love. "Graceling", I loved! It's books like this that I can not put down, similar to the other books I have reviewed (Maze Runner, Alvor). Graceling takes place amongst 7 Kingdoms (and some water). They are: Nander, Wester, Middluns, Estill, Sunder, Monsea, and Lienid, which is detached from the other lands, accessible to only by boat. Katsa, the main character is raised and serves under her uncle, King Randa, in the Middluns.

A person who is "Graced" is one who possesses a special gift of a supernatural ability. However, one may be Graced in something as insignificant as baking, sewing , dancing, or gardening etc. When I say insignificant, I am comparing that to those Graced with more significant abilities that are feared by people across the lands, for example, those graced in swordsmanship or extreme fighting abilities or the ability to read minds. As all of the kings have the Graced under their courtship, the few with the extraordinary Graces are kept close by the King's side and are utilized to often carry out dirty or extreme work that can not be handled by the anyone else.

Katsa, who was feared by almost everyone across the kingdoms, was known for her "killing" Grace. Ever since she was around 8 years old, she discovered that she could kill a man with such ease that quite often they didn't even see it coming (and at the time didn't mean it). Over time, with practice, she sharpened her skills, learned to use weapons, and became one of, if not the most dangerous people in the 7 Kingdoms, always being able to strike before her opponents could even have time to think of what to do.

Ok, so the story begins when Katsa is out on a routine mission for King Randa in Sunden, land of King Murgon. Her job was to take out the guards and clear a path for the others who joined her on the mission. It was a rescue mission, as they were there to get the Lienid King Ror's father, Tealiff. No one had know why he was taken nor where he was hidden, but they had located him. After doing her job, she was leaving the kingdom when she ran into someone while exiting the gates of the kingdom. Let's just say that she had no problems getting past him, but something was strange about him. His tone of voice, his demeanor, just the way he did not fear her as everyone else did.

Shortly after, while back at the Kingdom, a random man, Po, who happened to be the same gentleman that Katsa had seen while exiting the gates of King Murgons, showed up asking questions about his missing grandfather. After all, he was a Prince from another kingdom and was welcomed there. He began to pay a bit of extra attention to Katsa (well, just bit of extra when they first met, as the story progresses, so does their......umm, pg-13 rated site for one another!?!?). Po, as well as Katsa, was Graced. His grace was the extreme ability to fight. Or is it????

Well, I do want you to read the book, so I will make the rest fairly short. (and trust me, I'm leaving plenty in between out). Po and Katsa travel through the different Kingdoms looking for clues as to why his grandfather was taken and what was the purpose of it. At some point, they had traveled to Monsea, the land of King Leck's to see Po's Aunt. Although Po was Lienid, his mother had married King Leck many years ago.

Upon arriving, something immediately goes terribly wrong. Po and Katsa watch Po's Aunt running towards them and just that instant, she was shot in the back by one of King Leck's own arrows. He shot his own wife in the back. What was more bizarre was that he began to immediately tell the people around him that it was a tragic accident and he meant no harm and kept rambling on about it being an accident until the people including Katsa believed him. It was only Po who was unaffected, not able to be sucked into the Grace of King Leck, the Grace to take away people's own thoughts and clog their minds with what he wants them to believe.

Now is when I can really speed the story up for you and still get you psyched to go read it. King Leck and Po's Aunt had a daughter Bitterblue, Po's cousin. Po and Katsa found her and saved her from the horrible things Leck was going to do to her. The ultimate plan was for Katsa to take Bitterblue back to Lienid, back to Po's castle to keep her safe.

By this point, Katsa knew that Po's "Grace" was not really his fighting ability. He had a different Grace completely. It was this Grace that allowed him to be such a great fighter, however it was not a fighting Grace. (I have to leave some things for you to be curious about. I will tell you this, he is not a "mind reader" but there are times that he and Katsa speak without using words and it's a pretty cool Grace to have!)

When they Arrived at Po's castle his family was not overly cooperative with Katsa or very welcoming either, even though she had pure evidence that Po had not only sent her, but loved her as well. There was a reason for this...Had they thought she killed "their" Po and came to claim whatever she could from his castle? Perhaps it was something they knew about Bitterblue that Katna didn't? Perhaps they had thought this was a trick from King Randa, sending the most feared of all Gracelings to the home of their son?

The answer could possibly be one of those, or none of those, but either way, I will tell you that you can find the answer in the book! Book 2, which is out in October of this year titled "Fire" is actually the prequel to Graceling. It takes place to the East of the kingdom's mountain ranges approximately 30 years before Graceling, in a place where no one has either gone to, or entered from, for now........ And, book 3 of the trilogy, tentatively called "BitterBlue" will probably be out in 2010 and takes place a short time after "Graceling".

So, I did love this book. I left a whole lot out as I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but at the same time, I do want you to get excited about it.

Remember, that if you have a chance to read this over the next month (after the 2 current contests end), please do, as we are giving away a brand new ARC of the highly anticipated "Fire", the prequel. You will not be able to put this one down either and it should be an easy read for you.
Please let me know if you guys think my reviews are good, bad, stinky, great, whatever you think, please critique me. I am not a pro writer, although you never know, so any feedback I can get in which I can learn from would be great. So far, most of you have told me my reviews were pretty good, but just like in almost any profession, your only as good as your last post!


Thursday, August 13, 2009


THE TIME HAS COME SHANKS! One of my favorite all time books, "The Maze Runner".....We have a new, shiny ARC (as you can see in the picture) just waiting to be read by 1 lucky as heck winner! The book comes out on October 6th, 2009 and wouldn't it be cool if you didn't have to wait that long to read it?? Well, we thought that what we would do here is have the contest end on September 6th, exactly 1 month before this book hits the shelves. It will be open to anyone and everyone.

**BY THE WAY, We just want to announce that coming soon will be yet another hot new ARC giveaway by Kristin Cashore of "Fire", the prequel to her best selling hit "Graceling"...keep your eyes open for further details and other books we have to give away. Back to business...the winner will be picked by a site that picks the winner randomly by us entering all of your entries (I still think thats such a cool thing!)


WHEN: Contest ends on Sunday, September 6th, 2009 at exactly 11:59 p.m. EST The winner will be notified by email (so make sure you include your email address) and posted on the site on Monday, September 7th. Heres is what ya gotta do....

HOW TO ENTER: there are a number of ways to gain entries to the contest. Whether you choose to just enter once, or have multiple entries, for this contest, the more entries the better your shot as I have a feeling there will be many entries to compete with....but, it's all up to is how to get your entries:

+1 for posting in the blog (about a great book you recently read or a favorite book of yours as we love suggestions) and leave your email address in the first post please.

+2 for following us (current followers start with +3 with their post)

+1 for linking our site (this contest) to yours (include link)

+1 for posting about our site (this contest) on another site, no max, the more you post, the more chances you have to win! (include links)

+1 for every person that sees your post elsewhere and mentions your name in their post

+2 for going and checking out the review AND interview posts about the other contest I am currently holding for a signed copy of "ALVOR" by Laura Bingham, as well as entering to win her your entry for ALVOR, post the name of Erin's dragon friend so we know you read the posts :O) Trust us, it's definitely worth it, and if you don't trust us, trust Mr. Dashner himself, who posted how much he enjoyed Laura's book ON IT'S BACK COVER! The coolest thing is that the main characters are given a magical brooch that they wear and it can be changed into anything they want it to be! Boy do I wish I had one of those!! Imagine what you could do with that!! If and when the posts hit 200, we will start a second post to continue the contest.

Seems like a lot of work, but it doesn't have to be. You can simply just enter once to win, after all, it only takes a post and a dream! Obviously the more you do, the more of a chance you have to win. GOOD LUCK AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING IN OUR JOYS OF READING!!

The Lateiner Gang



Ok, first of all, you MUST check out the last 2 posts, the review of "ALVOR", just so you want to win the book THAT MUCH MORE and also Dave's interview with Laura.

Since it is our first contest and we
do want to gain as many followers as we can, we are going to make this sort of easy and give you several chances to win. Once it is over, there is a website that will randomly pick a winner for us (pretty cool!)


WHEN: Contest ends 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, September 6th, 2009. (we know it's 3 weeks, but it is our first contest!) The winner will be notified by email and posted on the site on Monday, September 7th, 2009.

HOW TO ENTER: This was the tough part for us. We are a fairly new site and are trying to get as many new followers as possible so that is what we are going to base our entries on. You can have multiple entries. The more you do, the more chances you have to win, so here goes:

+1 for posting in the blog. Please tell us what you would do if you had a magical brooch and could change it into anything you wanted to! What is a magical brooch? If you read the review and interview, you will definitely find out! Also, please leave your email address in the first post so we can contact you if you are the winner.

+2 for following us (current followers start with +3 with their post)

+1 for linking our site to yours (include link)

+1 for posting about our site (contest) on another site, max 5 (include link)

+1 for every person that sees your post elsewhere and mentions your name in their post

Thats it! So there are many ways to gain entries. 10 possible pts for each of you (11 for current followers) + the additional ones from people who mention you, don't forget those, as they can add up! If and when the posts hit 200, we will post a second page for the contest!

Also, keep an eye out for our second contest to be held very soon for an ARC of James Dashner's " The Maze Runner "


The Lateiner Gang

Author Interview: LAURA BINGHAM author of "ALVOR"

I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura Bingham, author of her first novel titled "Alvor". I have posted a review of Alvor as well so check it out! It was a FANTASTIC book! As well, Laura has given me a signed copy of Alvor to give away which I will post a contest for here in a different post. Since the name of our site is sooo long, I will call us T.L.G.B.R.S throughout the interview. So......drumroll please.....I introduce to you, Laura Bingham.

T.L.G.B.R.S: Do you think you would have thought of the idea for "Alvor" if you did not have a set of twins yourself? The reason I ask is that I could not really imagine "alvor" without Bain and Erin in it.

Laura: It's impossible to know. The whole idea of the story included twins in the first place. I even tried to figure out how to make it not be twins, but I couldn't. It had to be.

T.L.G.B.R.S: As an author, especially right after your first book comes out, when someone compliments you on your book, or for example you told of a little boy who bought your book and you saw him a few hours later laying on the grass reading it, or the little girl who came up to you at one of your signings and sat down next to you and just chatted with you for a while...obviously it must feel great, but describe the feeling, tell us how you felt when those things actually happened.

Laura: Each experience is different. The boy reading on the grass happened a week after my book was released. It was the first piece of evidence I had that maybe Alvor was good enough to catch kids. With each experience, I don't think about how great my book is, I think about how great it is that there are people out there who want to read and learn and aren't afraid to live in the moment. It isn't until the moment is over that I realize how precious it is that I was given the opportunity to become a small part of someone else's life.

T.L.G.B.R.S: Lets see, mom of 5, wife, clogging and other dance teacher, you own a dog and 3 small horses (which i think is so cool by the way), seriously, how do you even have time to think, let alone have the time to create a book that is as wonderful as Alvor?

Laura: I usually tell people it's because I don't watch tv. But, really, I love writing. It's like a book that I can't put down. When I'm writing, I think about it and want so much to get back into the world and story that I'm creating. I only write for a couple hours a day, and only a few days a week most of the time.

T.L.G.B.R.S: You had mentioned that working with a smaller publisher is not a lot of pressure. No deadlines, no marketing expectations or expectations of future work. Now that you have completed your first "masterpiece" and the opportunity came along, do you feel "ready" to take on the big boys?

Laura: It's not like I would have said no to a bigger publishing house. I just decided to take the contract in front of me instead of waiting to find out if anything better would ever come along. My career goal is to keep moving forward.

T.L.G.B.R.S: You were told "writing a book is 1/3 of the work of writing a book". Obviously there is much more involved, but what would you say has been most difficult as a new author in writing your first book?

Laura: I may be able to write a book, but how do I get the rest of the world to buy it? That's the hard part.

T.L.G.B.R.S: SO, we know you are working on a part 2 to "Alvor" now, what is your actual goal? is it to be a trilogy? you must have some idea of where you want this to end up..share with us what you can.

Laura: Right now, I would say trilogy.

T.L.G.B.R.S: Do you have any other stories you are working on, or are you going to complete the Alvor trilogy and then begin any new projects? And also, if you are going to write other stories, will they be YA/fantasy as well, or do you have another genre that you are interested in writing?

Laura: Yes, I do have more ideas up my sleeve, as it were. I have completed a totally unrelated to Alvor fantasy story, which I have hopes of cleaning up soon. But there are still more concepts I want to explore. All young adult writing. I think that's where I fit the best.

T.L.G.B.R.S: Even though you have said that after your husband gave you an inspirational thumbs up to write you had the whole idea for Alvor just pop into your head, how long did it actually take you from start to finish, including revisions, editing, etc to come up with the finished product?

Laura: I spent 6 months writing Alvor and four months revising and editing it.

T.L.G.B.R.S: Even though there is a big age gap between your twins and the twins in the book, is the relationship with yours similar to that of Bain and Erin? Bain and Erin seem to be best friends and share such a love for each other. Is it the same for your kids?

Laura: The personalities of Erin and Bain are not shared by my own children, but the relationship is. Twins are such an unusual thing. There is a bond between them that I can't compare to anything else I've witnessed. They do look out for each other, understand one another and so many of the characteristics I have seen in my own children inspired the relationship with Erin and Bain share in the book. One of the sweetest gestures I see in my twins is them holding hands, especially if their nervous, excited, afraid or eager to share something. It is a potent thing to behold.

T.L.G.B.R.S: I have seen on your website that you have so many books that you love. Can you name a few that you have read that stand out as your "favorite" or a few authors that you most admire....

Laura: I'm not at home where I can see all my books, but I know a few I fell in love with. I don't want it to seem cliche, but I love the Harry Potter series, the Twilight series, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and Maximum Ride series.

I admire the authors as well as the books for the 13th Reality series- James Dashner is a shining example of opening doors for the world to get to know him, Fablehaven- Brandon really paved the way by taking small press and ending up on Times News Best Sellers, Hound of Rowen, The Tapestry series by Henry Neff- nice man, illustrates his own books- which I could never do, but I think is very cool.

But there are tons of other books that I love. I could no easier choose a favorite star in the sky. Each book teaches me something different and takes me for a different ride.

T.L.G.B.R.S: For anyone who has read your book, they will know why I am asking this. As a young girl, was CinderELLA one of your favorite books or was it just fitting?

Laura: I was just having a little fun, but what girl doesn't want to end up living happily ever after?

T.L.G.B.R.S: So you love ice cream...what food do you most despise?

Laura: Pineapple, bell peppers and anything deep fried.

T.L.G.B.R.S: How do all of your children and your husband feel about Alvor?

Laura: My husband says that, "Um, I've always been excited about the story. Um, You don't need to put everything that I say. hhhh. It's a fun story with very vivid descriptions that help me picture a world that I would want to be part of. I also enjoy seeing my wife's creativity."
Me- "Do I have to say that?"
him- "Yes."

My eight year old still dreams about it. My twelve year old helped me write by giving me feeback along the way. He made me read to him almost everyday.

Now my husband is reading it to my five year old twins, and they beg him for more every night.

It's so weird hearing someone read my book to my kids.

T.L.G.B.R.S: Do you ever have ideas about what you are writing "pop" into your head randomly when you are doing other things that you need to write them down, or do you do most of your creating when you actually are sitting down writing?

Laura: Yes. So much. In fact, I dream about books that I haven't even written yet. I never write things down unless I'm actually sitting at a computer or purposely writing in a notebook. I let the thoughts linger in my head and grow into a workable piece of material.

T.L.G.B.R.S: Besides dancing, do you have any hobbies that you love?

Laura: Reading and playing with my kids and taking walks. Do those count?

T.L.G.B.R.S: If you could possess any magical abilities or magical "tools" which one would you choose and why?

Laura: I'd like a changing brooch. I could do so much with that--- travel the world, that's definitely one of my biggest dreams.

T.LG.B.R.S: When you did teach science, what grade did you teach, and what was your favorite part of science to teach?

Laura: I taught eighth grade Earth Science. My favorite thing to teach was AP Biology. That rocked.

T.L.G.B.R.S: Give us a book and/or an author that you are very much looking forward to reading in the near future...

Laura: Maze Runner and Catching Fire

T.L.G.B.R.S: What is your favorite T.V. show?

Laura: I don't watch TV. Hardly ever. Probably have too much laundry or something. My most favorite TV experience in the world is sitting in my grandpa's living room while he's in his lazy boy recliner flicking through a hundred and twenty channels. I love that. We never really watch anything, but it's our unspoken way of hanging out together.

T.L.G.B.R.S: What would YOU do for a Klondike bar? (sorry, had to ask!)

Laura: Nothing. I'd pass. Now if you're talking cheesecake, you might have something.

T.L.G.B.R.S: You seem to be the type of author who really loves her fans and appreciates them. Tell us about your most memorable fan moment.

Laura: You're right. I love all my fans. The one that made me cry on the spot was a little seven year old who skipped into a book store I was signing at. She came up to me and gave me a big hug, and with her arms still around my neck, she told me that her big sister read my book and said it was just as good as Harry Potter, only better and because of that, she knew she was going to love it too. What could I do? I was powerless.

There you have it. Laura Bingham, author of the amazing book "Alvor". You can check out Laura's site from our homepage or by visiting her site at:

Laura was kind enough to give us a signed copy of Alvor to give away so check out our contest post for details. Laura, thank you so much for your time. It has been a pleasure speaking with you and I hope I speak for everyone when i say that i can NOT WAIT for the next book in this series!