Saturday, October 31, 2009


The Lateiner Gang is wishing all of you a Happy Halloween!
Be safe, but have fun! It's Saturday, so you have ALL DAY to go collect as much candy as you can! Dentists have been waiting for this day all year!

What are you being for Halloween?
Remember to go back to our post from a few days ago and submit your (or your kids) Halloween pictures!  We are going to be giving away a prize (or more) for cool costumes!

Also, check back tomorrow as it will be a "prize" day.  We feel like giving away some books tomorrow.  Also, don't forget that if you leave a comment on a review, go add your extra entry for the contest!

We hope you enjoy your day!

David, Mara, Lauryn, and Sami

Book Review: "Gone" by Michael Grant


Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents-unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers-that grow stronger by the day. 

It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent.

The first in a breathtaking saga about teens battling each other and their darkest selves, GONE is a page-turning thriller that will make you look at the world in a whole new way.

My Review:

Hopefully by now you guys have heard of this series.  Book 2 which is out already called "Hunger" is screaming for me to read it, but you guys know my rule... no two books in a series back to back.  Aarrgghh.... why did I ever have to promise myself that?!?!  So, hopefully you are getting the point that this one goes on my "DO NOT TOUCH UNLESS YOU ARE ME" bookshelf.  Still not sure how much I liked it?? When the Gang met Michael a few weeks ago and I heard what the book had in store for me, I already knew this was going to be a cool one.  I was 100% completely hooked after "Gone" kept me up at night like few books ever have.  In 3 nights, the book was completed.  Night 1-sleep at 6:00 am,  night 2-sleep at 4:30 am, and night 3-bed at 4:00 am.  Oh yeah, and I get up for work at 7:00 am.

So, here is the scoop and as usual, no spoilers, just the story line... Most of the book takes place in a tiny town called Perdido Beach and a private school called Coates academy as well as the surrounding area including a desert and some woods and the nuclear plant.  Everything is honkey-dorey and then right smack on the first page it happens, everyone over the age of 15 disappears- just vanishes. Talk about an opener.  It got my attention pretty quick.  Of course there is a reason why everyone over 14 vanishes, but telling you that would not be fair.  The other thing that goes on throughout the book is that if you were 14 when it started, and your 15th birthday comes along, well you just vanish as well.  The other quick fact before I get into the "meat" is that there is a border, a wall, which cuts through everything in it's path and is as high as the eye can see. This "wall" traps everyone inside it from leaving and everyone outside (if there is anyone outside) from entering.

With no adults and trapped within a zone, my first thought was "Lord of the Flies."  It did stick in my mind as jobs had to be established and maintained, food had to be rationed, some sort of law/justice system had to be put into place and a few other similarities.  There is a handful of main characters- the Perdido kids, led by Sam including Quinn, Astrid, her autistic, yet powerful unbeknownst to himself little brother Petey and Edilio to the Coates kids led by Caine including Drake, Diana, Computer Jack, Howard, and Orc.   Then you have Lana, who is kind of neither and does play a significant role as a "healer".  Another significant character, who happens to be a talking coyote (he was given the ability to do this by "the darkness", who I am not discussing at all) leads packs of coyotes and desires the knowledge to destroy all humans.  Shortly before people started to vanish, there was something strange going on, children developing powers such as super speed, the ability to levitate and move objects and people, a strange and powerful light beam shooting from people's hands, teleportation, and a few others that i'm leaving out intentionally.  So really there are 2 mysteries going on here.  First, what caused the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) and second, where did these strange powers, which are measured by a few kids who can "read" people's strength on a scale similar to that of the reception bars on your cell.  By the end of the book, you know a bit about who and/or what started these situations, but not totally why or how.  I believe the series is going to be 5 or 6 books so there is plenty of room to figure that stuff out later.

The problem that occurs, besides the expected, like food starting to run out, people just vanishing on their 15th birthday, is really that the FAYZ ends up with 2 groups.  One leader, (Sam from Perdido) being the intelligent, good natured guy who only takes somewhat of a lead because he believes it can help his people who are looking up to him for answers to the other leader, (Caine from Coates) who is totally into the power trip (by the way, both happen to be at least a 4 bar, which is the highest power ranking detected so far) so much that he even wants to take over the Perdido crowd and be the # 1 all around.

With Sam and Caine's time running out until their 15th B-Days (which happen to be pretty close to each other, hmmm...), and the two of them, the leaders, trying to figure out what is going on, why it's going on, how things happened, and what the future holds for everyone and the FAYZ itself is a the chunk of the book.  The conflicts between both sides builds throughout and leads to a sort of war at the end between both sides.  The book ends a tiny bit after Sam and Caine's 15th birthday.

Now, I left a whole lot out intentionally (the book is appx. 550 pages), but I will tell you this... the author Michael Grant, with expert precision, had surprises and new developments around every corner, exactly where you'd least expect them but most hoped for them.  This is what made the book so hard to put down and kept me up all night.  Every time I told myself, "ok, right after this chapter, I'm done until tomorrow" there was something that shocking and exciting that I just kept going until I passed out.  The character's were each so unique and thorough, you developed feelings for each, and held emotions for them as well.  Did I forget to mention what you had probably guessed by now, that there is a tiny bit of romance involved?  I will tell you just this... Sam and Astrid, and Caine and Diana.

One of the top books I have read all year, Michael basically said when we met him that there is much more to come and it only gets better.  I can not wait to dive into "Hunger" but I will wait, as long as I can hold off! Once again, if you have read "Gone", please feel free to add your thoughts and anything else you want into the comments.  The books are widely popular, so I was hoping there would be a few out there who have something to say about this.  My most important from me--- read "Gone" asap, you won't be sorry!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

ATTENTION MOM'S AND ALL FOOD BUFFS....Live Event on Thurs 11/5/2009 "The Dumpling: A Seasonal Guide" by Wai Hon Chu


Next Thursday, November 5th, 2009 Mara and I will be attending an educational cooking event on how to create our own "dumplings".  We were invited by a wonderful publicist at Harper Collins ( I don't know if I can say her name, so thanks J.M.!) to what should be a really fun hour of learning how to stuff, roll, seal, and cook different kinds of delicious dumplings.  The event will be hosted at Whole Foods, one that happens to be about 2 miles from our house.  (Woo Hoo!)

The class will be taught by author and master dumpling chef, Wai Hon Chu.  We are actually really excited to go and will take some pictures there for you as well as hopefully coming back with some great ideas that we can share.  Wai, author of "The Dumpling: A Seasonal Guide" is no stranger to the kitchen and is not just a "dumpling" specialist.

Wai completed his culinary training at The Art Instituter of New York and has worked in the kitchens of March, Clementine, and The Russian Tea Room.  In 1999, he launched El Eden Chocolates, which grew into a Manhattan storefront offering more than 25 truffle varieties nationwide.  His handmade chocolates garnered rave reviews from The New York Times, Food & Wine, Chocolatier, Fortune Small Business, New York Magazine, Time Out New York, National Public Radio, and others.

Chu was born in Hong Kong and moved to New York City's Chinatown where his father worked as a butcher and a restaurant chef for more than 23 years.  He currently teaches cooking classes at the Institutes of Culinary Education, The Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health, and the Bowery Culinary Center at Whole Foods Market.

To Check out the book and visit Wai Hon Chu's official "dumpling" site click HERE.

We will report back after the event, so if you are interested in hearing more from us when we come back from the class, drop us a comment and let us know!  IF WE SEE SOME INTEREST FROM YOU GUYS HERE, WE MAY JUST HAVE TO GET OUR FRIEND AT HARPER "J.M." (WHO WILL BE THERE WITH US) TO GET A SIGNED COPY OF 'THE DUMPLING" FOR US TO GIVE AWAY HERE!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blog Tour: "The 13 Days of Halloween" by Carol Greene & Illustrated by Tim Raglin

"The 13 Days of Halloween" Blog Tour is hosted by Sourcebooks-Jabberwocky.

Initially, Lauryn and Sami were going to participate in the blog tour by themselves as it appeared to be a "younger" book. After Mara and I went over their review with them, we were curious to read it ourselves.  Once we did, it quickly became a "family" review.

First off, you would be very surprised that a children's holiday book could be so delightful.  Sung to the tune of "The 12 Days of Christmas", we actually took turns singing it!  The story is very funny and the illustrations are excellent!

  It is about a ghoul who is trying to win his female ghoul friend's heart with scary, spooky, presents.  The best way to explain what he was giving to her was for us actually to list them (this way you can sing the song at home with your family).  Ok, so here is what he gave her:

Twelve Cauldrons Bubbling,
Eleven Bats A-Swooping,
Ten Goblins Gobbling,
Nine Wizards Whizzing,
Eight Brooms A-Flying,
Seven Spiders Creeping,
Six Owls A-Screeching,
Five Cooked Worms,
Four Giggling Ghosts,
Three Fat Toads,
Two Hissing Cats,
And a Vulture In A Dead Tree.

I guess you are wondering about the thirteenth day, huh? On the Thirteenth day, his lady friend invited her good friend to tea, and gave him a present. She gave him a real, live..... and the author leaves us guessing!

Just as funny as the story is, the pictures are fantastic!  The illustrator takes each present she gives him and draws them into comedic scenes, each day depicting it's own little tale. The final scene, where she is giving him a present is drawn with the ghoul scarily beginning to peek into a present box that neither he nor we can see what's inside and the words "Guess What?" boldly printed on the page with all 12 days of presents in an orderly fashion.  Brilliantly done.

For sure, we would recommend this as a fun, Halloween book to read (or preferably sing) to your children before trick-or-treating.  Even better, if you are having a Halloween party, a definite fun read that will end with all smiles and everyone guessing what the ghoul's present was.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Sunday Scoop" The Gang's Weekly Column


Yes, before next week's "Sunday Scoop" you all will have trick-or-treated, or taken your kids like we will. Halloween on a Saturday, WOO HOO!! Lauryn is going to be a "preppy school girl" with a group of her friends from school. Sami is going to be a "baby", with a blanket sleeper and all! Mara and Dave have not decided yet, but usually they get dressed up as something.  Here come the usual disclaimers, but still, they are very important:

1. Go Trick-Or-Treating in a group and with as many people as you can.
2. Mae sure that your parents know where you are going to be and check in with often, especially this is going to be on a Saturday.
3. Make sure you carry a flashlight or glow sticks for when it is dark out.
4. I guess telling you "not to take candy from strangers" would not really be the best advice ON HALLOWEEN, so for just that one day, that rule can be overlooked BUT make sure you or your parents check all of your candy before you eat any!
5. HAVE FUN!!!

We are super excited that the contest is going great.  We had a few winners of some books.  Our latest went to "Marc" became our 250th follower! There are going to be many more things given away before the contest is even over. We are going to start thinking of some fun little games to earn entries or prizes. Possibly even before the "Scoop" is over!


In our last post, the Gang had asked that if anyone out there who follows us has a "button", that they put a link to their site in a comment for us and we will include it in our new scrolling list of friends. Also, we want to take this opportunity to tell you all that randomly we have been following many of you through our different names. Well, a new site look, a new few additions, and now we are starting over with "following" our readers blogs.  We are going to be following under "The Lateiner Gang."  What we'd love for you to do, to make our lives easier, is to email us your blog site's address. You can send your email to If you follow us, isn't it only fair that we follow you? Also, please continue to submit your web addresses to the "buttons" post so we can get your button up there as soon as possible.  IF you have a site you want us to follow AND a button, please just send the email with the address and tell us you also have a button there. No need to write it twice. 

Not much has gone on around the Lateiner Gang's household this past week.  AGAIN, a few of us were sick! Dave had strept throat and 103 degree fever. Lauryn also had a high fever and sore throat, but it went away in a few days. IT MUST BE THE FRESH NJ AIR!!  (cough, cough)  Poor Mara, having to take care of 2 sickies and Sami, who is a handful.  

The good news is that our NY YANKEES are about an inning away from making it to the World Series Again!  In case you didn't catch a subtle hint before, we are HUGE, DIE-HARD Yankee fans!!!  Hopefully by the time this is posted, we will have beaten the Angels and will be on our way to the series!

This past weekend, Dave participated in a 24 read-a-thon.  It was going well until we lost power for a few hours and he had to take care of a few things around the house.  Once the lights came back on, back to hittin the books!  One book he read, and you will get a review for is "Gone" by Michael Grant. He seemed to love it, so we are guessing the review will be a pretty good one.  Mara is finishing up "The Everafter" by Amy Huntley.  Look for a review from Sami on "Diary of a Wimpy Kid 4" and Lauryn is reading "Airhead" by Meg Cabot.  These will probably be up within a day.  We were hoping for today, but had a ton of things to catch up on.

Some good news regarding the contest is that this past week, we got Simon & Schuster and Little Brown and Co. on board with our contest.  Also, a few local Barnes and Noble stores are supposed to contribute some books to the cause.  This has been wonderful.  The participation and cooperation for the contest has been spectacular, both on the part of the publishers as well as you guys.  We have SO many entries already and about 3 1/2 weeks to go!  Thanks to all of you out there for making this special for us. 

There are some contests we are going to be running over the nest week.  Fist off, and most suiting, we want to have a HALLOWEEN COSTUME CONTEST.  Before next Sunday, 8 p.m. EST, email us a picture of you or your children all dressed up.  Obviously we don't expect many costume pics until later in the week for halloween parties or for dress up day at school, but regardless, email them to and in the next "Sunday Scoop" we will announce different winners for different categories!  Don't worry, if we can remember, we will send out a reminder later in the week.

Taking a quick break to check the Yankee Game....Uh oh, top of the 8th and the Yanks lost their 3-1 lead and it's now 3-2.  We better win this!  Ok, sorry about that.  Let's try something new for a week.  Let's have a "refer a friend week" for the Gang's contest.  Now, every time someone becomes a new follower and enters the contest, if you sent them there, you are supposed to go in and add a +1 in the comments section.  From now until next week's "Scoop" every time you "refer a friend" and they put your name down, go into the comments and add +3 instead of +1.  Thats 2 extra entries for each friend that signs up to our site!  A little marketing on your part, and you can earn a bunch of extra entries.

Also, during the week, we will hold a few mini challenges that we are currently thinking up.  The winners will each get a book from our pile of contest books.  We go the idea from Dave's read-a-thon.  Every hour, a few mini challenges were issued and winners were selected.  Dave even won one and got to pick out 2 books from the inventory as well as 6 bookmarks! 

Well, thats about it for this week.  The Yanks are rallying in the 8th inning and as much as we love you all, we want to go watch them celebrate making the series!

JUST A REMINDER, and we posted this in a few places, but to make sure everyone sees this, for linking our contest to your sidebar, you get +1.  If you additionally link our button to your site, you get an additional +2.  So, if you link, blab, or do whatever AND you post our button up there, you are good for +3!  There will be other ways throughout the contest to get extra entries, so stay alert.  The best part is we will randomly throw them in anywhere, anytime.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to read this.  We hope you all have a great, happy, and safe Halloween and we look forward to getting those pics in some neat costumes.

Dave, Mara, Lauryn, and Sami
The Lateiner Gang


We Want Your Buttons!!



If you are a follower of ours and have your own blog site with a button, please leave a link to your SITE in the comments part of this post, and we will grab your button! We hope you will return the favor and grab ours as well.

Since many bloggers are gravitating towards buttons instead of the traditional "link", we have removed the "list of sites we follow" section of our site and replaced it with a new scrolling section of buttons called "Our Friend's Buttons."  Since we have been overwhelmed lately AND most of the Gang has been sick on and off for the last 3-4 weeks, we have some catching up to do.  If you have a site with a button, please leave the link to your site in the comments section of this post, and we will sign up to follow your blog if we are not already, as well as add your button to our list.  If you do not have a button yet, as soon as you add one either leave the link in the comment section or email us at

Thanks and we look forward to adding you to our list and seeing your creative buttons!

The Lateiner Gang

FOLLOWER # 250... WE HAVE A WINNER! & Some New Contest Info.

MARC, You are the 250th!

250 followers is worthy of a prize, isn't it? Marc, we are going to give you a copy of "Rock'N'Roll Soldier" by Dean Ellis Kohler, provided to us by Harper Collins.
Please email us at with your mailing info.


We have some good news for you all.  We have added Simon and Schuster as well as Little Brown & Co. to our list of publishers that are going to be contributing to our already huge pile of giveaway books!  As well, we are currently working on a few local Barnes & Noble stores who have agreed to donate some books and other prizes!  The pile keeps getting bigger and bigger!  I guess that means we will be giving out more prizes and books throughout the contest as well as at the end.  We have never seen a contest like that before and it sounded like a fun idea to us, so we thought we'd run with it.  Keep checking back as you never know when or what the reason, but there will be plenty more coming up!

Tomorrow is the next issue of our "Sunday Scoop" and for those of you who are fairly new, you should check it out.  It is where we talk a little business, a little about our lives, and a little about whatever is on our mind.  It might also be a good place where we give things away.

Lastly, keep your eyes open as we are planning a few new reviews tomorrow!

Thanks to all of your out there for your support.  We look forward to making the next 28 days fun and exciting for you guys.  Keep in mind, the more people you go out and get to sign up for the contest, the more entries you can earn! 

The Lateiner Gang

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book Review: "The Shifter" by Janice Hardy

Pain dug into my temple and I thudded back to the ground. Heclar floated in the silver flecks dancing around my eyes, a blue-black pynvium club in his hand.
He Sneered and pointed the club at me. "Stinking thieves, both of ya."
Without thinking, I grabbed the night guard's shin and drew, knitting bone and yanking every hurt, every sting from his ankle. His pain ran down my arm, seared my leg, and chewed around my own ankle.
I seized Heclar's leg with my free hand and pushed. The agony the night guard hadn't revealed raced up my other side and poured out my tingling fingers into Heclar. Heclar screamed loud enough to wake the Saints. To be truthful, it was worse than he deserved, but sending me to prison for eggs I hadn't yet stolen was worse than I deserved too.

Nya is an orphan struggling for survival in a city crippled by war. She is also a Taker- with her touch, she can heal injuries, pulling pain from another person into her own body. But unlike her sister, Tali, and the other Takers who become Healers' League apprentices, Nya's skill is flawed: she can't push that pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal used to store it. All she can do is shift it into another person, a dangerous skill that she must keep hidden from forces occupying her city. If discovered, she'd be used as a human weapon against her own people.

Rumors of another war make Nya's life harder, forcing her to take desperate risks just to find work and food. She pushes her luck too far and exposes her secret to a pain merchant eager to use her shifting ability for his own sinister purposes. At first Nya refuses, but when Tali and other League Healers mysteriously disappear, she's faced with some difficult choices. As her father used to say, principles are a bargain at any price; but how many will Nya have to sell to get Tali back alive?


Another winner!  The great thing about the book is the bond that the main characters form, and how strong that bond continues to grow throughout the book. Nya and Tali are orphans. Their parents had both died in the last war that had swept through their city.  I believe there are going to be more books in this series, hopefully opening up to different "territories", but for now we have Sorille, Verlatta, Geveg (where this story takes place), and Baseer, where many of the authoritative figures in Geveg came from.

Tali, had lived in the League dorms, while Nya, who was living in a boarding home in the beginning of the book, was left to fend for herself for the most part.  Tali was a Healer, which meant she had a special ability to "take" people's pain from them and heal them, whether it be bruises, broken bones, or whatever pain that person had suffered.  She then had to take that pain and shift it to the pynvium, which was this metal that absorbed the pain from the takers.  A useful process.  Nya, had a very unique situation.  She was able to "take" like Tali, but could not shift the pain to pynvium, instead, she was able to shift the pain into other people.  Later on in the book, Nya discovers even more unique abilities that she possesses that we won't give away.  Let me just mention, that regarding the pynvium, there are also enchanters that can take pynvium with pain and create weapons with it, in turn flashing that pain out of the pynvium to be inflicted unto others.

Nya has kept her ability a secret for a long time, afraid that if she let on that she could transfer pain to others, she might be kidnapped and used as a weapon herself.  At the League, apprentice healers including Tali had been disappearing.  The "story" was that after a huge boat accident, and the healers did their thing on the injured, they developed some disease and were all being cared for in a separate wing of the League.  I will say that this is not true, that they did not have a disease, but I can't tell you what is really going on, as it would be a big spoiler.  I will give you a hint though.  All of a sudden, pynvium in Geveg, which has always been around was disappearing.  Supposedly there was none left. With no pynvium, the healers had nowhere to release their pain that they collected from those injured in the boat wreck.  If you have been paying attention you probably have come to a conclusion about what is wrong with the healers.

In the mean time, Nya, who finds her sister and knows that the Luminary, the head of the League, is up to something.  She, along with a few close friends, Danello (who I have a feeling in book 2 will be more than a friend), Aylin, Kione (a guard at the league), and Soek, another healer like Tali, realize exactly what the Luminary is doing with the healers as well as why there is supposed to be a shortage of pynvium.  

Along the way, Tali has some contact with Zertanik and a man who works for him named Jeatar (who later on proves that he was really not the bad person Nya thought he was, not Zertanik's real partner). Zertanik was a pain merchant, one who would pay people to take their pain, and in turn sell it on the black market to have it made into weapons.  He discovered Nya's talent, the ability to "shift" pain from one person to another.  For example, in the boat wreck, a family's young daughter was injured badly.  He basically made Nya take the pain from her, and transfer it to a fisherman, who had been paid a hefty sum to take this pain from the little girl. Zertanik used Nya to do this.  While he collected hefty sums from the rich, Nya got close to nothing for her services.  

There is a Duke who rules over all of the lands.  Without giving much away, Nya and her friends discover that Zertanik and the Luminary are working together in a master plan that involves amassing as much pynvium as possible, and traveling the different lands making a tremendous amount of money selling the pain within it as well as healing people to "re-fill" it with pain. The Duke is unaware of their little scam.  Let's just say that Nya and her friends find out what had happened to all of the "sick" healers, uncovered Zertanek and the Luminary's plan, and decided they needed to fix all of this or perhaps another war like the one that wiped out their parents would start.

It is hard for me to really say more about the story without giving anything away.  I always try to give as much info as I can to excite you to read the book, but don't want to give you enough info that you don't need to read it.  I did enjoy this book very much.  At 370 pages, it was a very easy, flowing read.  I definitely would suggest that you read it.  My suspicions tell me that there is much more to come in the rest of the series. As I stated, there are more unique things that Nya can do that involve taking, healing, pynvium, and flashing.  My guess is that in the next book, where the group decides that the Duke is up to no good himself and are on a mission to stop him, we see a few different things.  I am desperately hoping that we get to see more of Nya's abilities utilized, other healers with unique abilities (and I will give this away.... there are other healers that have unique abilities like Nya, and are not the typical "draw the pain from people and push it into pynvium", as well as hopefully different, new powers or abilities of the healers or from other people in different lands that we have not yet discovered.  I am also hoping that the author brings us to different territories.  Hopefully, the group will leave Geveg, and either go to Sorille, Verlatta, Baseer, or even territories we do not know about currently.  At one point near the end of the book, Nya does give what could possibly b considered foreshadowing, telling of possibly traveling to a land South, over the mountains, where her "grannyma" as she calls her, (who was a Luminary herself and got killed along with her parents in the last war) describes a place where different people live. 

What I will tell you that I suppose won't really hurt you to know is that besides what the Luminary was doing with the "disappearing" healers, the Duke had someone named Vinnot overseeing the hurt healers,  taking constant note of their symptoms, the changes in their symptoms, and constantly collecting and analyzing that data.  Lets just say the Duke has an inkling that there are others out there similar to Nya, and for some reason that is not known to us yet, he is doing everything in his power to find them and find what is unique about them.  So, the Luminary is utilizing the healers for a secret reason and on top of that, the Duke is utilizing the same subjects for his own secret, selfish reasons.  It sure would be a good thing if Nya and her pals were able to save all of those healers ;o)  


Sometimes, especially in a fantasy book like this, it is difficult to explain certain events that have occurred without really giving something away you feel would ruin that excitement the reader will get from reading it themselves. What I want to talk about briefly is a bit of a different format I would like you guys as well as myself to take within the comments section of these posts.  I want them to be more interactive.  Let me briefly explain...I would like the comments sections to become more interactive meaning that f you have read the book, or even if you haven't and you choose to participate, I would like to discuss the book in the comments section.  I know that many of you comment on the posts simply because it gets you an extra entry into the account, and that is fine.  Going forward, I might have to modify the "extra" entries to reward those who take to the new "interactive discussion" format.  I will of course honor all of the +1's for commenting, but I really would appreciate it if we can all make these comment sections more fun. Does that make sense to anyone?? I know that sometimes it will be hard to discuss a book without giving some important spoiler details away, but that is ok. If you have NOT read the book yet, and you want to get your +1, feel free to comment.  If you have not read it, but wish to participate in the interactive part, pleas understand that you will probably hear things regarding the story that give a ton more away than in my review. The more I've been thinking about it, a lot of energy, time, and dedication goes into our as well as anyone else's review site.  It would make us feel so much better and more rewarding to us about what we are doing if we actually engaged you guys, got into discussion. Well, this was obviously just an idea. I guess all that purple on the site is getting to my head, and the "creative" side is flaring. As you know, honest feedback is always welcome and appreciated.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

SURPRISE!! We Dropped the Bomb a Little Early!! We Could NOT Wait Another Day!! Here's Our New Site's Look!

I know that we said we were going to unveil the site's new look at the end of the contest, but it was IMPOSSIBLE to wait another day!!  So, here it is.  We hope you like it!  Surprises are always fun anyway, right??

To be fair, 99% of credit for our site's new look goes to PIXIE!
She has been absolutely wonderful, patient, and mostly hard working!  Working with Pixie, we saw a vision become a reality. 

The best part is Pixie runs her own review site.  Please check out her site PAGE TURNERS.



We absolutely love our new site and and are so psyched about it!

Enjoy, and look for more exciting news coming tomorrow about some fresh, new updates to the MEGA Contest....(usually updates mean more books and prizes to give away...SSShhh, don't tell anyone!)


The Lateiner Gang

Monday, October 19, 2009



A few quick updates to the contest.  First, we would like to congratulate WENDY for being our 200th follower!  We are going to  hand her a prize.  Wendy, You are going to get a copy of Angie Sage's "Syren", book 5 in the Septimus Heap series!  We still have our copy for the Mega contest, but there was an extra one sitting around.  It now belongs to Wendy!

Second, as the comments are piling up very fast and we JUST started the contest, if we hit 200, we will simply make another post and you will be able to continue entering (initial and extra entries as we post more reviews) on that post.

Throughout the contest, we are going to be giving out prizes randomly. It could be books, but also we will be giving out extra entries. (we will try to email AT LEAST 1 person a day with a code for them to post an entry on the house!) When we notify you of any extra entries you win, we will give you a unique code to enter so we can keep track of who we give them to.  This will happen as we see anything that catches our attention, so be creative.  We could also just give them out for no reason, say a particular time on a particular day....who knows???  But, it is a way to make the contest much more fun, so don't just enter and disappear or you will miss out on plenty of opportunities!

Lastly, besides getting +1 for posting a link, thanks to BOOKLOGGED (who was very creative...hint hint), you can get an additional +1 for using the "Community Chest" graphic at the top of this post in anywhere you link us for an extra entry.  So, +1 for linking us and an additional +1 for using the card above.  PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU INCLUDE THE LINK OR YOUR ENTRIES WON'T COUNT.  

Oh sorry, one more final thing.  To reiterate, we are still in the process of trying to acquire more books/prizes to include in the contest.  Currently there are over 30 books and a few other nice stuff up for grabs.  As (and if) we get more, we will either add them to the "pot" of books, or perhaps give some out throughout the contest like we did for Wendy here.

Any questions, please email us at OR

Good Luck to you all!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

THE MEGA CONTEST BEGINS! **Celebrate the Countdown To Our Site's "New Look", Our Publisher Partners, & You Guys!**

The Moment you have all been waiting for has come.
The Lateiner Gang is proud to finally announce our

The post is a bit long, but read through it as it will be well worth your time. We plan to have SEVERAL WINNERS! Also, FYI, this initial post of our contest will take the place of this week's "Sunday Scoop." We will return next week with a new edition of The Scoop for sure!

First, a bit about the background of "why" we are doing this. There are a few reasons we are having this Mega Contest. (in no special order might we add) The first reason is that we are going to be giving our site a "new look" and well, isn't that a reason to celebrate? Second, we want to take this opportunity to thank the publishers who have provided us with their continued support, review copies, and copies for contests almost since we started the site. And, the third and most important reason for this contest is to thank all of you out there who have become a part of our site and take the time out of your busy days to stop by and see what's going on around here. As the number of you grows frequently, we are always thinking of new things to keep you engaged.

Now, for the good stuff!  The contest will run until 11:59 p.m. EST on Saturday, November 21st, 2009.  (yes, it is a while, but hey, it's a MEGA CONTEST and you will be pleased, we promise! Also, it gives us a chance to gather more prizes along the way!)

As far as the PRIZES, we are going to be giving away a special prize from us personally, a $200 gift card for the Apple Store. The idea actually came from Dave's day job. They were doing a promotion there and it gave him a good idea. Lauryn got several gift cards for the Apple store for her birthday from everyone who asked what she wanted (and even those who didn't ask, she told!). After she got the Ipod she wanted, she had a balance of around $125 and it has basically been sitting around. Mara & David decided to "buy" her balance from her, add $75 and bring it to an even $200. The $200 was picked because first of all, our last name isn't Trump or Gates, and second of all, that amount can get you one of their cool Ipods including the "Touch". We also have some other things we are going to throw in, one of them being a copy of Angie Sage's "Syren", book 5 in the Septimus Heap series.

We received "prize packs" containing mostly YA/Fic/Fantasy books from the following publishers:
Harper Collins (YA and Adult)

We are currently working on a few more publishers and will update the post if things pan out.  We have 2 or 3 more publishers we are waiting to hear from as well as a few major bookstores that we are hoping will also contribute to the contest.

We were initially going to list all of the books each gave us, mix and match them, and come up with 5 different prize packs.  Instead, what we are going to do, is give you a few "teaser" titles and also leave the final amount of "prize packs" until later.  We have over 30 books to give away in all so far, so no worries, there will be plenty of winners. Again, keep in mind we are hopefully not done getting books to add to the mix! 

The Maze Runner 
by James Dashner, Ring of Fire by Pierdomenico Baccalario, Gone by Michael Grant, The Shifter by Janice Hardy, The Everafter by Amy Huntley, The Realm of the Rodent by Greg Hildebrandt jr., Bran Hambric by Kaleb Nation, Airhead by Meg Cabot, Deeper by Roderick Gordon, and The 39 Clues


The contest will be open to US residents only as we are paying for shipping, and on this many books, it will cost us a fortune! (sorry)
Perhaps you have a friend's address in the US we can ship the books to, as that would be perfectly acceptable.

      +3  For existing followers (as usual, membership has it's privileges)

      +2 For new followers

      +1 For each place you link the contest to (include link please)

+2  For placing our button up on your site. This is in addition to your entry for placing links!

+ 1 For everyone who enters & mentions you sent them

+1 For every post/review/interview you read & comment 
on (**starting with "Flash Forward" from 10/17 - only 1 entry for each of our posts though**)

+1 For going to our friend, author Laura Bingham's site & entering her new contest for her awesome book "ALVOR" (remember to tell her we sent you!) CLICK HERE

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at  or 

Thank you all so much for taking the time to come here and share in our passion with us.  It means the world to us and it is you guys who give us the motivation to work harder and harder on our site each and every day.  We hope this contest can be a small way of us showing our thanks.

Best wishes & Good Luck to you all!!!

The Lateiner Gang
Dave, Mara, Lauryn, and Sami