Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Review: "The Everafter" by Amy Huntley


MADISON STANTON doesn't know where she is or how she got there.  But she does know this- she is dead.  And alone, in a vast, dark space.  The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive.  And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can re-experience, and sometimes even change moments from her life:
Her first kiss.
A trip to Disney World.
Her sister's wedding.
A disastrous sleepover.

In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and sometimes frightening truths about her life- and death.

This is a haunting and ultimately hopeful novel about the beauty of even the most insignificant moments- and the strength of true love even beyond death.


Madison finds herself in an unknown place she calls "IS".  This is also known as the "Everafter".  Maddy quickly discovers this place is filled with several floating important objects and items from her life.  Maddy learns that she can use these objects to travel back to sad, funny, and confusing episodes from her childhood.  While she relives these experiences, Madison realizes that the simplest moments had such a significant impact shaping her life.  For the most part, each chapter brings you back to a time where Madison lost one of her belongings.  As you begin to piece together these moments and pieces of her life, you discover and learn more and more about her.  She hopes to understand how and why she passed away.

A lost orchid takes Maddy back to her boyfriend, Gabe.  You learn very quickly how important Gabe was to her. First, a rattle brings Madison to a time when she was an infant.  Then a twist happens.  Madison has been alone in "IS" throughout the novel.  When a floating hair clip sends Madison to a childhood sleepover, she encounters another ghost.  She watches the girls at the party playing with a Ouija Board.  As they are playing, she realizes that she is not the only ghost in the room.  While the girls are using the board, a spirit named "Tammy" reveals that she is sorry that Madison is dead.  Maddy has no idea what has happened to her, but she still doesn't have any memories past the age of 17.  Next, a floating object of her lost physics homework brings her to Gabe, who Maddy now realizes is also dead.  What they witness together may solve all of Madison's unanswered questions.

I really enjoyed reading this story.  I don't usually pick up books about death, however this novel was completely different.  The desire to find out how and why Madison died kept me intrigued and insanely interested.  I had a really tough time putting this one down.  All I wanted to do was continue reading this book non-stop until all of my (and Maddy's) questions were answered!  This story shows the beauty of how important the little things in life are.  How we take for granted our every day life.  It makes the reader appreciate more of ourselves and experiences better than before.  At 245 pages, a quick read that you will not want to put down.  I will definitely look for more from Amy Huntley!


**This book was provided for review by Harper Collins Publishing in exchange for an honest review of the book.  No monetary compensation was awarded for the review, simply a copy of the book.**

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book Review: "NUM8ERS" by Rachel Ward

("NUMBERS" in case you didn't get that one!)

Since the day her mother died, Jem has known about the numbers.

Numbers that pop into her head when she looks into someone's eyes.  They're dates, the numbers.  Dates predicting with brute accuracy each person's death.

Burdened by such grim knowledge, Jem avoids relationships.  Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance.  Maybe they can find happiness together, if only in the brief time that remains before his expiration date.

But on a trip to London, Jem forsees a chilling chain of events:

The city's a target.
The clock's running out.
The countdown is on to a blowup!

MY REVIEW: we go!  Not many books lately have been getting enough of my attention to finish them through :o(   It's been somewhat depressing because I've wanted this "big" comeback on out site, and I've been waiting like a major league ballplayer waits for those first few perfect pitches to come out of his slump and triumph on top breaking some sort of record (without the use of HGH of course!)  Well, this book for me was like that "first perfect pitch."  The one that was a 100 mph fastball, but looked like a lob.  The one I knocked out of the park on my way to great things!  Ok, so yeah... I really liked this book.  I had ordered it from Scholastic (and yes, for those silly new rules put down on us book bloggers...."this book was provided to me by Scholastic Inc. for review.  There is no monetary compensation involved, just a review copy of the book for my honest opinion...HAPPY????   <------ such a waste of time) Back to the book.... awesome!  I couldn't stop reading it and started it yesterday night before bed and went way into the early morning hours until the end.  The end...ah, one of the most surprising endings I have read in any book.  Not that it was "life changing" or anything (well, for Jem it was) but it was just a bunch of surprises in a row that kept hitting me like 1-2 punches from Mike Tyson (while in his prime, of course).  Here's what the deal is......

If you haven't guess it yet, Jem sees people's date of death when she gets a good square look straight into their eyes.  It is something that has bothered her for her whole life and has been the cause of her miserable life, for the most part.  She knew her mom's and was there when mom died of an overdose, which was a horrible way for a young girl to see her mom go.  Well, set in England, they call them "Mums" which was weird to get used to, but throughout the book, there were terms that I had to get used to as well, like "dossers" which I think means street kids.... Anyway, Jem is moved around to many foster homes and many schools, but they usually don't work out.

She ends up with a foster mum, Karen who really cares for her.  She tries to give Jem as much as she can, considering she has a whole lot of other kids she took in as well.  Jem is an outcast at school, when she actually attends.  She mostly spends all of her time alone, wandering around, passing the days by.  Until she meets Spider.  In the book the point of him being like a 6'4, skinny, black kid is made many times BECAUSE eventually they are on the run, and with his description, he is not hard to miss.  back to the story... Jem befriends Spider, almost not by choice, as he is all up on her grill no matter how much she tries to get rid of him.  The reason she doesn't want to get to know him, is she has clocked his #.  And it's soon, real soon!

Well, here's the deal, and this is not spoiling anything as it is a major point of the story that you will know and it will set the plot for most of the book.  Jem and Spider are at a place called the "EYE" in London one day while playing hookie.  Jem starts to clock everyone around them and sees that their date of death was all the same, that day!  She puts one and one together that something is going to happen and makes her and Spider high tail it out of there.  Just as they are seen running away, and have made it to the other side of the river, the "EYE" blows up and everyone there dies!  Now, even though the book clearly states it was terrorists who done it, when you see a couple of people (especially a 6'4, skinny, black kid who stands out in any crowd running away from it right before it happens, it's natural to make them lead suspects, isn't it???  I would assume (since she never told anyone....yet) people do not know that her "gift" led her to get the heck out of there asap!

(here's the quick deal on the majority of the book without really getting into it) So...a good portion  of the book is spent trailing Jem and Spider while "on the run" even though they really didn't do anything.  The book focuses on a relationship built between the 2 of them (even though Jem insists for  good while she has NO interest in Spider) and deals with the lives of children (each 15 yrs old) who are less fortunate.  CHildren who are not part of the typical family with 2.4 kids, live in the suburbs, average job and celebrate Christmas huddled around the living room with hot chocolate and presents.  Basically, the poor ones.  The ones that dream of being part of a "normal" family and their struggles in life.

The book is pretty much straight forward, with a few surprise happenings throughout.  What was really cool, was that I thought those "random" happenings were going to lead in certain directions, and they never did.  Instead, i'd say the last 25 pages or so were by far the best of the entire book.  So much happened that the plot was leading into, but I never expected to happen.  As always, I will end with some questions.... What is obvious, and known throughout the book, is that Spider's "number" was clocked in the beginning of the book as a few weeks away form the current date.  That contributed to a lot of the emotions Jem had for him, especially since she never told anyone their number.  Does Spider actually die on his "date" and if so how????  Does Jem die?  Are they slated to take the heat for the terrorist bombing at the "EYE" or do people believe her story about seeing those dates??  I have to say, the way the author ends the book was amazing.  Simply amazing.  I had not expected it AT ALL!  Now that I look back (and hind sight is ALWAYS 20/20) I said that I should have figured all of the ending out as it was soooo crystal clear.  But I had no clue while reading it.  To me, that means that the author just did a great job.

Worth reading, and again, the book that I was looking for to get me back in the game.  Ever since the problems I had with my dad, I have been half hearted about everything, including this site.  I just didn't have the drive or motivation to get going again full force.  This book gave me the spark I needed.  It reminded me of why I do this site to begin with.  There are books out there that are so moving, I can't thin of anything else i'd rather be doing then reading them and sharing them with you guys!  So... "NUM8ERS" gets an A from me!  

SInce i'm now motivated again big time, here's what to look forward to in the near future, like today and tomorrow...and this is a promise:

Triple threat with Frank Beddor, author of "The Looking Glass Wars", which is all set up and ready to be posted.

Another review or 2 that I have been waiting to post.

An announcement of a Sami's first triple threat.

More fun stuff that is going on behind the scenes.

THANKS for having continue faith.  Now that i've been "gone" and out in space for a little while, I have to get the excitement going around here again.  I thank each and every one of you who has stuck around and hope that as we get moving again, you will help me create some buzz!

As always...  Thank you so much!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Book Review: "INCARCERON" by Catherine Fisher



INCARCERON is a prison unlike any other: It's inmates live not only in cells, but also in metal forests, dilapidated cities, and unbounded wilderness.  The prison has been sealed for centuries, and only one man, legend says, has ever escaped.

Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, can't remember his childhood and believes he came from Outside Incarceron.  He's going to escape, even though most inmates don't believe that Outside even exists.  And then Finn finds a crustal key and through it, a girl named Claudia.

Claudia claims to live Outside- her father is the Warden of Incarceron and she's doomed to an arranged marriage.  If she helps Finn escape, she will need his help in return.

But they don't realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye.  Escape will take their greatest courage and cost far more than they know.


My Review:

I had been waiting for this one to come out for a while now.  I had read about it on a trade site some months ago, and to be honest, the story along with the shiny, cool cover with the giant-crystal key on it had caught my attention.  Although not the best book I have ever read, a pretty good one none the less, and I will be looking for book # 2 soon, supposedly titled, "Sapphique" after the legendary one man thought to have escaped Incarceron.  In my little review here, as I usually go deep into a story without spoiling much for you guys, I am going to leave out most of the story itself.  There is a TON of things that happen that I do not even hint about.  It's a very "full" book, and will definitely keep you engaged throughout.  At 440 pgs, I finished it in about 2 days.  I truly didn't find a boring part in the book.  With that said...

So, what's up with Incarceron??  There are really 2 full stories and 2 different settings in the book that slowly mesh and come together.  First lets talk about Finn and his gang in Incarceron.  Finn and his "oath brother" Keiro are part of a gang in Incarceron call the Comitatus.  They are fearless and I would say they are criminals and free spirits who do what they have to in order to survive.  They are feared, loathed, and respected all at the same time. The 2, along with Gildas, a Sapient (the sort of highly respected, wizard-like, people who have been known for centuries) and Attia, a slave girl basically make up the main "prison" group of characters in the book.  They each have great personalities and the author has done a very good job of explaining their backgrounds and getting you to know each of the characters.  What is great is that throughout the book, you learn of the personality of Incarceron itself.  For  all I will say about it is that it is alive.  Yes, the prison itself is alive.  I think it would be better to not discuss it and let you read it yourself.  The "life" of the prison is developed throughout the book and I think it was done in a very understandable way, so I think I'll leave that part of the story for your doing.  

Next, on the "Outside" we have a totally different world.  It is made up of some high class, and some royalty.  We have Claudia, who is the Warden of Incarceron's daughter, slated to marry the Queen's son in an arranged marriage.  Her best friend, and life long mentor, is also a Sapient named Jared.  Jared has educated Claudia since she was a baby and basically she has trusted him and come to feel as if he is as close to her as a father can be.  The job of warden of Incarceron is a difficult and demanding one, and her real father has not been around all that much as she has grown up.  So.....the story:

As Finn and his crew, led by the thoughts of Gildas, the legend of Sapphique, and the "crystal key," the gang is on a mission to escape Incarceron.  Although it seems highly unlikely that this is possible, they still decide (for reasons that leave them no real choice) to try and find a way out.  Their journey leads them through Incarceron, which happens to be a world of it's own in size.  Through this journey, they come across many unexpected events that hinder their journey, as expected.  However, these events are all exciting and kept me wanting more for sure.  At some point which I will get to later on,  Finn and his group meet Claudia and her group.  Well, they "meet" them at first through the crystal key.  An exact replica of the one Finn has, Claudia has one as well.  Let's get to find out a bit about Claudia then we will talk about how the 2 groups come together.

Claudia (around 15-17 yrs old) was raised motherless and again, with a father who was not really around all that much.  In the "outside" although technology has been overly advanced (my guess is this is sometime in the future a few hundred years) the world had been set to protocol, around the 16th or 17th century, and these advanced technologies are around, yet hidden and forbidden.  I mention this as throughout the book, these "forbidden" technologies play a big role in the story.  Years ago, Claudia had been slated to marry the heir to the throne, Giles- who is about the same age as Claudia.  He was found dead at a young age (about 7) and his brother Casper had taken his place as the new heir to the throne and also as Claudia's new groom.  As Claudia really liked and missed Giles, she can't stand Casper and does not want to marry him.  Ok, ok, the story already.......(I had to get you guys familiar with the background first)

Now that you got all that, here's what happens, and remember- just an outline.  This was a really well thought out plot, and I don't want to get too into it.  I think you guys will really like this one, so I'm going to leave a lot for you to read yourself.  Basically, Claudia wants out of the marriage.  At the same time, she has always wanted to find out about Incarceron, but never was able to.  She gets hold of a magic crystal key, which let's her communicate with Finn and his group.  Finn's group is trying to escape Incarceron, and once they have contact with the outside (Claudia), it makes them believe that there is a way out.  Up until then, escape has only been by legend.

Where the story ties together, and I will tell you and want you to realize, that I am DEFINITELY NOT spoiling anything, because nothing is as it seems in Incarceron, is that Claudia believes beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Finn is actually Giles.  Yes, now hopefully it ties a bit together.  There is good evidence supporting this claim, which makes her determined to help him get out of there, and marry him.  Now, some obstacles that stand in her way: her Dad- the Warden, the Queen, and Incarceron itself.  It seems that her dad and the Queen have been involved in some secret conspiracy for years, and the marriage to Casper is arranged for specific reasons.  Behind all of this, is also a second conspiracy to get rid of the Queen AND Casper right after the wedding.  Who is behind this and why is what I'm not telling (and you will not guess).  Incarceron becomes a problem because it is alive (not explaining that) and does not want anyone to escape it.  What the heck does he mean "alive?"   Yes, it IS alive.  It took me getting through the book to figure that one out, so I am going to leave the same chore to you.

So, here are some of the questions to think about when deciding whether or not to read this one based upon what I have told you.  Who is Finn really?  Does he and his gang escape?  What happens to Claudia? The Queen and Casper? WHAT is Incarceron?  WHERE is Incarceron? (2 great questions with equally great answers) Who gets killed, if anyone?  What happens to the Warden? What is the Crystal Key and what does it do? (it's a really cool little toy, i'll tell you that!) A great question that I have mentioned NOTHING to hint at the answer, or even the situation, but who is Claudia???  That answer was probably the most shocking to me of all.  It doesn't come until almost the end of the book, but I will tell you this...what makes Incarceron a great read is that NOTHING in Incarceron is what it appears- NOTHING.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Hunger Games" Book 3 Cover Revealed! "MOCKINGJAY" To Be Released In August!


AS A HUGE fan of Suzanne Collin's "Hunger Games" series, I am pleased to show you all the highly anticipated cover to the conclusion of the series, titled "MOCKINGJAY" and might I add it is simply delicious looking!  

How Cool does that look??  The book is due to be released on August 24th, 2010.  I am working on getting an ARC, but from what I hear so far, there might not be any.  Apparently, the book is so highly anticipated that Suzanne and Scholastic are keeping things under tight wrap.  I am hoping that at the BEA in May, if there is an ARC to be made, I can get a copy there.  Speaking of BEA, Mara and I have secured our "press" badges and are excited to be participating in the BEA's new "blogger" addition to their show.  It should be lots of fun and we plan to blog right from the headquarters they are setting up for us smack in the middle of the convention!  

We are working on a bunch of things now for you guys, and have received a package in the mail today from Frank Beddor, author of "The Looking Glass Wars" series.  As soon as the second box arrives, (day or so) we will post our "triple threat," which will contain some really, really cool (signed) stuff for you guys from Frank!  Looking forward to it as well as a few other surprises.  This weekend, we will be blasting you guys with a bunch of posts that we have been waiting to put up.  Some reviews, a triple threat, and an insight to some potential things we have working for you guys so we can get your feedback.  Thanks for sticking in there and we promise you will be excited at our big comeback!

Speaking of, I want to take this time to thank all of you who have reached out to ask how my dad is doing.  He is feeling much better now and we hope that the procedures he had done will "take" and he will not have to undergo any further ones.  So far, so good.

Thanks again for all your support, and we are thrilled to be able to show you the cover for "Mockingjay."  I am SO looking forward to reading this one.  I will do WHATEVER I can to get my hands on a copy of it!  Of course, if there are ARC's that exist and are given out at BEA, be rest assured that one (remember that Mara and I are both attending!) copy will go up on the site for you guys!


Saturday, February 6, 2010


First of all, The Lateiner Gang would like to extend a HUGE Thanks to NYT Best Selling Author of "Hush, Hush" Becca Fitzpatrick for making this contest possible with us.  Second, we would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who entered.  Lastly, we want to thank all of you who are dedicated to our site on a regular basis and take time from your days to visit us and share your kind thoughts with us.  There are many of you out there that are "regulars" at our site, and we want you to know that you mean the world to us.  Without you, we would not have the desire to keep on keepin on. 

We are going to have 4 runners up, who will each win a copy of "Hush, Hush" (possibly signed by Becca, but not 100% sure yet) and then we will have our grand prize winner who will take home a copy of "Hush, Hush" as well as the Barnes and Noble e-reader, the "Nook" (provided by Becca) and an accessory package to go along with it. (provided by the Gang).  All the entries will be tallied up in order and the winners will be picked using

We will be sending out an email to the winners shortly, and we ask that you please send us your mailing information so we can get your prizes out to you as soon as possible.

SO....  The Runners Up taking home a copy of "Hush, Hush" are:


MISTY (paranormal book lovers)

MELISSA (I swim for oceans)

BIANCA (wicked good books)





Congrats Charlie on being our Mega, Super Duper Nook Contest Winner!


We have a few more "MEGA" contests that we are working on for you guys, and trust us... you will not be disappointed!  What we will be doing next (probably over the next week) is posting a "Triple Threat" with Best Selling author of "The Looking Glass Wars" series, Frank Beddor.  Frank has offered up some really nice prizes for the contest, so check back soon as Frank is worldwide famous for his "true story" of what really happened to Alice in Wonderland.  For those of you who have already read Frank's work, you know this will be a good one!

Thank you again on behalf of The Lateiner Gang and Becca Fitzpatrick for entering and participating in the contest.  Also, a special thanks to all of you who went out and purchased a copy of "Hush, Hush" and sent us a copy of the receipt.  We hope you enjoyed the book as much as we did!