Monday, May 31, 2010

DOUBLE REVIEW: " Cherub - The Recruit " by Robert Muchamore and " The Gardener " by S.A. Bodeen

CHERUB agents are highly trained, extremely talented- and all under the age of seventeen. For official purposes, these agents do not exist. They are sent out on missions to spy on terrorists, hack into critical documents, and gather intel on global threats- all without gadgets or weapons. It is an extremely dangerous job, but these agents have one crucial advantage: Adults never suspect that teens are spying on them.
James is the latest CHERUB recruit. He's a bit of a troublemaker, but he's also brilliant. And CHERUB needs him. James has no idea what to expect, but he's out of options. Before he can start in the field, he must first survive one hundred grueling days of basic training, where even some of the toughest recruits don't make it to the end...

My Review:

I must say that I really enjoyed CHERUB. FIrst of all, it was really easy reading and it left me most hungry for the rest of the series. Problem is that it was released over-seas in it's entirety but have only begun here in the U.S. which means we have to wait for the release of future installments that are technically already released. I know you can obtain books from other countries, but these are impossible to find. Now that is out of the way, let's move on to the story.

James and his sister are orphaned by their mother and Jame's step dad, who is also his sister's real dad takes her into custody and wants nothing to do with James. He ends up in a few homes until finally he is brought to CHERUB HQ and given the opportunity to join this elite group of "kid" spys. He decides to give it a shot and then goes through the most dreadful 100 days of his life through basic training. Once he makes it out, he is sent on his first mission.

In this mission, there is a sort of hippie crowd I would relate to the Woodstock type but only 1/1000th of the scale. They have lived in this area for quite some time and some of the tribes members are suspected of terrorism. His job- to infiltrate their circle and find out what he can in order to prevent a massive attack.

I will not go into detail about the mission but will tell you that it was really cool to read. It has everything you would want out of a tween espionage story. I like the twist of having kids a lot as it makes the book quite enjoyable. At the end, Jame's little sister joins him at Cherub after his first successful mission. Again, a bit upset that future adventures are sort of released and it has been difficult for me to get my hands on. Besides that minor complaint, I am ready to continue on the CHERUB missions for sure. I will continue the series either as it comes out or as quick as I can get my hands on them. Definitely a light read that you will not regret.

Mason isn't supposed to know
about the Greenhouse. He isn't supposed to meet the beautiful girl who is part of the experiment, and who doesn't need food or water to survive.

Now, Mason is on the run with the girl. And the Gardener, who is the mysterious mastermind of an institution that grows humans, wants them both, dead or alive.

My Review:

Since "The Compound," I have been a fan of S.A. Bodeen and continue to be after "The Gardener." I will be the first to say that her work from the 2 that I have read so far reminds me of a twilight zone sort of short story collection. Her mind is definitely working in areas that most of ours does not. Overly creative and imaginative is the best way to describe how her mind works.

I think for this one giving you the basic plot will be plenty enough to convince you that you must read more. That, with my thumbs up that you will want to continue and read on should make this an addition to your TBR pile. I'm not saying to go out and buy it today, but definitely add it for some time when you have a solid 3 hours and want to get a whole book in during that time. I guess that's the best way to describe it.

So, the plot...Well, as I am thinking about what to write, I am realizing that it is even harder to explain than I thought. I will just spill it and hope you guys can put the pieces together. Mason lives with his mom who works in some sort of nursing home. Their town is controlled by this giant corporation that has a strange aura to it. Weird, and I mean weird stuff goes on with them. Mason meets this girl (where and how he meets her are cool and are what really get you engaged in the story) who is supposed to have had a severe accident and is basically a moving vegetable. He somehow (and you have to read how because it is important to the story) gets her to snap out of it, kind of, and act somewhat like a human. Only thing is she wants to get away and fast. Get away from "The Gardener." 

Well, Mason make a life changing decision to take the girl on the run from this "Gardener" and soon realizes she doesn't eat much or drink much, though he can not figure out why or how. It turns out that this an a huge web that gets untangled at the end of the book. What you find out is- (and NO spoilers here!) Who is Mason's dad that he has only seen in a video tape that only shows his body from the neck down? Who is this girl and what the heck is up with her? What experiment is going on and who is behind it- an experiment that messes with mother nature and seems like something that is just plain WrOnG! How does Mason tie together in all of this mess? 

The book moves quick and you will definitely read it straight through in a sitting or 2 tops. Bodeen does a great job of taking a bunch of different situations and tying them together very well in what happened to be an all out mega ending where everything came together and human morals were seriously questioned. Another great one, I will definitely continue to read Bodeen's new work and will even venture back to the beginning and see what she is really all about. She get's an A for Gardener.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Three Letters for you- B E A ! (Book Expo America)

Wow... Mass Chaos is the best way to describe it. The whole Gang, including Lauryn and Sami attended BEA. (it was adorable how "special" the 2 of them felt wearing their "press" badges)Yesterday was kind of like the quiet before the storm. Today was just a crazy monsoon of everything to do with books. A gazillion people scavenging through the halls of the Javitz Center with a common theme- run around and get as many books as you can, see as many authors and get their autographs as you can, and "OMG- I am going to need an ice bath after carrying around 100lbs of books on each shoulder." Here's the one and only downside to BEA- too much is going on, all at the same time. Imagine yourself trying to be in as many places as you can at the same time in what was like 20 football fields worth of space with everyone else in the world doing the same. Lots of bumped elbows and quiet "ouches" to myself. It was basically a "right time, right place" sort of thing. Wherever we were something was going on that we wanted to do. Very difficult to get everything we had planned on. With that said, let's look at the positive, what we did do today...

Well, we sat in traffic getting into the city for long enough that we missed Dashner's signings, but thankfully Lauryn spotted him walking around right before lunch time. Like always, James was his usual friendly self and seemed super happy to see the Gang. I am psyched to confirm that Dashner has agreed to give the Gang an interview to be posted on Scorch's release date. Sort of a tradition now I guess, we had the very first interview with Dashner that was released the day Maze came out. What I love about the guy is he is genuine. Thanks Dash for keeping your word and always being friendly. Anyway, here is a pic of our "sneak peek" booklet containing the first 5 chapters of Scorch Trials. And, before you ask, or if you are wondering Dashner delivers as promised. It is only the first 5 chapters, but still you have read enough to just know that you are going to read it cover to cover straight through. LOVED the first 5 and can not wait for the ARC's to be out. Lauryn said that she THINKS she heard Dash saying they were being printed as we speak. Cool news.

What else did we get? Ok, so we got an autographed copy of James Patterson's second book in the Witch and Wizard series, "The Gift" and he was cool enough to talk to the girls and hold up a line of at least 100 people to chat it up with them. Did you know the guy holds the world record of 55 books on the NYT best seller list by Guiness Records and has sold over 170 million copies world wide?? Holy Moly. Another cool dude- he was slapping himself silly in the face (literally) when he asked, and the girls said they were 12 and 10. He couldn't believe they had a book review site! Well Jimmy, here ya go- welcome to TLGBRS!

Here is some more of the books that I, (Dave) picked up. I got:

Torment (A Fallen Novel) by Lauren Kate
Crossfire and Private (double book) by James Patterson
 The Obelisk by Howard Gordon (exec producer of "24")
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Sapphique (Book 2 to "Incarceron") by Catherine Fisher
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells (signed)
The Exiled Queen (book 2 of the Seven Realms series) by Cinda Williams Chima
Escape From Dubai by Herve Jaubert (signed)
The Hourglass Door by Lisa Magnum
Mission of Honor by David Weber (signed)

I also got a few more books and a whole bunch of chatchkies (swag). Mara and the girls got their own stuff and it seemed that everyone walked away happy. Again, so much going on so it was difficult to get everything I had planned on for today. We are not yet sure if we are going back tomorrow as today was long enough and it happened to be a HOT 90 degrees in NYC, which didn't help the mass confusion going on. Don't get me wrong, I know how fortunate we all were to go and we are nothing short of thrilled. I just wish it wasn't crammed into 2 days (BEA is 3, but the "floor" is only open 2 days), that's it.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. I had anticipated getting more books to give away, but we will hold a few contests as promised. Email us on to let me know which books you would want to see up for a contest. I will take what you email me and the 3 books that get the most votes will go up. Just please do not vote on any books that we designated as autographed or signed. Those are for us :o)

Also, there is a review coming up probably later on tonight or tomorrow on "Cherub" by Robert Muchamore (LOVED IT!) We were waiting for BEA to basically be done and then we have a bunch we are about to launch here. There is a couple "triple threats" waiting in the wings, some giveaways (besides the BEA books) and more reviews from all of us. Lauryn and Sami have read some really good books recently and want to share with you guys. Mara is waiting for the completion of her "NJ Housewife" interview. Once she gets the answers back, she will post them.  

Alright, I suppose that is all for now and I am happy that I was able to report to you guys on our day. The coolest was that we did it together. Honestly, it was really cool. The kiddies were excited (50% to be there, 50% that they missed school today and it was actually for educational purposes! By the way, we bumped into Sami's librarian there!) and we seemed to work really well together as a family to maneuver through and survive the craziness of BEA.


Sunday, May 23, 2010


our sometimes weekly column

HELLOOOOO... We have 3 letters for you- B E A!!

SO excited to be going, Mara and I have mixed emotions. We can't take the little ones. We are thankful that we are allowed in at all, just wish the kiddies could come. Bummer, but they will be taken care of well and we are going to have a few days of FUN in NY!! I spent the day today looking through a listing online of all of the books and ARC's that are going to be given away at BEA and I am soooo psyched. Remember, we are going to be getting one copy of whatever we get for us, for you guys too! Hope you didn't forget, since we are both going, one of us will get a whole slew of books to give away here on the site. If you get a chance, go to the BEA site and check out their listing to see what we are so excited about. Almost everything cool coming out for the rest of the year will be there! PLEASE, if you will be attending, let us know! Here is a link to their site- 

Well, sometimes it's better to quit while you are ahead. For the sake of being excited as heck for Tuesday, I am not going to ramble on about what's been going on around here since last time. I am just going to tell you to check out the site this coming week for news on BEA and also, if you get a chance, check out the review I just posted before this "Scoop." It took a lot for me to post a review on that book, but I enjoyed it so much I had to. I think it is a book that almost any adult will find makes them laugh until they almost cry- as it did to me. Check it out!


Book Review: "Sh*t My Dad Says" by Justin Halpern ***NOT INTENDED FOR CHILDREN***

with that said....

After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, 28 year old Justin Halpern found himself living at home with his 73 year old dad. Sam Halpern, who is "like Socrates, but angrier, and with worse hair," has never minced words, and when Justin moved back home, he began to record all the ridiculous things his dad said to him.

More than a million people now follow Mr. Halpern's philosophical musings on Twitter, and in this book, his son weaves a brilliantly funny, touching coming of age memoir around the best of his quotes. An all-American story that unfolds on the Little League field, in Denny's, during excruciating family road trips, and, most frequently, in the Halperns' kitchen over bowls of Grape-Nuts, Sh*t My Dad Says is a chaotic, hilarious, true portrait of a father-son relationship from a major new comic voice.


Wow, a tough decision on this one. I obviously struggled with "should I, or shouldn't I" be reviewing this one on the site. Well, there has been a ton of controversy on this book and I thought that if I am sticking true to form, I will ignore it all and put up the review because I absolutely loved the book and bottom line is- that is what our site is all about.  So, Oh My God... I honestly was laughing to the point where I had tears in my eyes. Now, considering I think I am one of the funniest people that ever walked the earth and nobody could be funnier, that says a whole lot.

The downside to the book is that the language is so foul, it makes Andrew "Dice" Clay look like Mr. Rogers or Captain Kangaroo. If you can get past that, than you will laugh your head off. As soon as I could get Mara away from the girls, I was reading her parts and quotes from the book. Another downside was in my opinion, the book was too short. To begin with, the book is about half the size of a "normal" new hardcover, and it is only around 150 pages in all. I definitely got the feel that the book could have been longer and I would have happily endured more of it. So not-so bad things, but still, that's what I would have done differently.

Justin's dad is the kind of guy that you tell just hates everyone. He thinks that the world is messed up and people are just not normal. He rules with an attitude of wanting his kids to learn about the reality of things- how day to day life really treats you, and no holds barred. I had a really hard time looking through the book for quotes for you guys. Here are a few events and the respective comments made by Justin's dad that were clean enough to put up:


"Watching TV all day is not an option. If this were Let's Make a Deal, that would not be behind one of the doors to choose from."


"You thought it was hard?? If kindergarten is busting your *ss, I got some bad news for you about the rest of life."


"There's chips in the cabinet and ice cream in the freezer. Stay away from knives and fire. Okay, I've done my part. I'm going to bed."


"No, I'm gonna stay home. You can take a family vacation, and I'll take a vacation from the family. Trust me, it'll make both of our time more enjoyable."


"I just want silence... Jesus, it doesn't mean I don't like you. It just means right now, I like silence more."

Those were just a few.  The book is a sort story, of when Justin moved home after ending a long relationship and the confrontations he had with his dad since.  In between the chapters are a bunch of quotes like up top. Again, language is terrible, but definitely makes the book what it is, a near pisser! 


**This book was provided to me by it's publisher for review in exchange for my honest opinion of it. There was no monetary compensation for the review. All of the opinions of the book expressed in this review are of my own.**

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Book Review: "House of Dark Shadows" by Robert Liparulo

House of Dark Shadows


When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends love to create amateur films...but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.

But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into-as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house. 

They soon discovered there's something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.

Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading to far-off places- in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen's dream come true...or his worst nightmare.


Another find while scouting out Barnes and Noble online as I do basically every time I have some time on my hands. Not such a smart thing. My "tbr" pile is big enough already, and I ALWAYS find something new that finds it's way to # 1 on that list real quick while skipping all the rest. So, that is how I landed upon "House of Dark Shadows." It is book 1 in a series containing 6 books in all, the most recent, "Frenzy" is due out around the end of May (but might be floating around already).

I have my "series" favorites and have been leaning away from them recently. I am sure glad I decided to give this one a chance. A real winner in my opinion. Granted, it could also be enjoyed by a 9 year old just as easily, it kept me engaged through the whole thing. I actually read this one cover to cover (about 285 pages) in about 3-4 hours. Just didn't put it down. Why?? Let's see....

This is a good one to review because I can tell about the story and totally not give away the ending.  The author has this subtle way of hinting towards it throughout the book, but doesn't give up the big surprise until the last 10 pages. Well done.

Xander, his little bro David, and their lil sis Toria have moved to a new town after living in Pasadena their whole lives. Their dad gets a job in the local school as the principal. They end up buying this really weird house where strange things start happening from the minute they lay eyes on it. Even that itself was spooky.

Strange noises, footprints, and other weird things like people walking into one room and coming out of another happen right from the get go. If that isn't weird enough, the boys (and later bring their dad in on it) find secret passages and hallways in the house that contain several strange rooms. These rooms are basically portals to different "adventures," each having some gear (clothing, weapons, tools, etc) in their respective room pertaining to that specific adventure. 

The story takes you through the boys going on strange, dangerous, nail biting adventures through these "rooms" and the dangers they face. At the same time, there is a strange man that keeps appearing in the already freaky house. The boys and their family struggle to live in their new home until the inevitable happens- one of them disappears.

Who disappears? What really is going on with this house? What danger does the family face?

Totally cool book. I already went online and placed my order for books 2-6. I will no doubt finish the series. The book was really easy to read and I am so looking forward to where the adventures go. The rest of the series has long lost relatives, more rooms (did I mention that the "themes" of the rooms changes often creating an endless supply of situations to find oneself in?), family secrets, and one big hunt for someone. Even more exciting is that it is not just the house that the family has to worry about- as it appears  as if the fate of the world also rests in their hands.

Get on this one if you haven't already!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Book Review: "will grayson, will grayson" by John Green and David Levithan

will grayson, will grayson


it's not that far from Evanston to Naperville, but Chicago suburbanites Will Grayson and Will Grayson might as well live in different planets. When fate delivers them both to the same surprising crossroads, the Will Graysons find their lives overlapping and hurtling in new and unexpected directions. With a push from friends new and old- including the massive, and massively fabulous, Tiny Cooper, offensive lineman and musical theater auteur extraordinaire- Will and Will begin building toward respective romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most awesome high school musical.


First of all, let me tell you this- the book shocked me. I think a good part of it was that for some reason I didn't feel like I would be able to get into it, and not even sure why not. Good thing I was totally in the wrong. LOVED IT!! What immediately caught my eye was that the entire book was written in small letters- no caps. That has nothing to do with why i liked it so much, but was pretty neat anyhow. I've never seen that before. Anyway, super cool book. I would say one of the better ones I have read in a good while.

What I LoVeD was how the authors tied the whole story together with the characters. Excellently done! The deal is this- 2 kids, both named Will Grayson are thrown into meeting each other at like the absolute worst time, yet it turns out to be alright. They are tied together through the book with a common interest- Tiny Cooper, who is the ULTRA gay and VERY fat best friend to one Will Grayson, and a love interest to the other Will Grayson . Both Will Graysons live totally different lives, but again are tied in together by the Wills. Just about every other chapter, sometimes in mid chapter (I think) the authors switched from the standpoint of each WIll Grayson and their respective, yet entwined lives to the other.

The best friend Will Grayson:

Average popularity, but has always been accused of being in love with Tiny just by the closeness of their friendship. Best friends since little boys, always have each other's back, etc. kind of BF's. This Will has a kind of yes, but kind of no relationship with Jane, who Tiny set up together. So, their part of the book is  about the true feelings and emotions of teenage children (about junior-senior year in HS age) that describe how it really is to be a teen. What is ultra big is that Tiny is writing this play for the school where he is acting in almost every capacity including acting, directing, costumes, set, etc. A lot of his stress throughout the book comes from this play (about his life growing up with Will) he is trying to make just absolutely fabulous.... 

The boyfriend Will Grayson:

Totally opposite the other W.G., this one is the kind that has no friends, is a lone loser and takes depression medication to make him happy because all he wants to do is die.  Basically, one of those who feels like he has no purpose and hates everyone and everything.  Happens to be gay and was outted by a good friend pretending to be someone else online. Meets Tiny through the other W.G. after their crazy first meeting. He becomes Tiny's boyfriend, but struggles with the fact that he really can not hold a relationship with him down just because he is such a loser (in his mind). What's cool about this is the authors have written a good part of these guy's conversations either in or discussing texts to each other. Again, unique writing style that I really enjoyed.

The thing is that Tiny is a very unique character.  Sensitive but sometimes forgets to think of others, he enthralls himself with this play that he is running as if there is nothing on earth that is more important. This causes for drama between him and the Wills. A really great story of friendships, different kinds of love, and just teenage life from different perspectives gives an excellent depiction of one's own identity- the one deep down inside.

Pleasant surprise... A real winner- a quick and HiGhLy enjoyable read, definitely worth adding to your library. My opinion- not too many people wouldn't love this one.

And just because I found his pic while looking for my logo on google.... A picture of my first cousin, Jordan Lateiner... Here's your shout out in front of the millions of people out there... What's up Cuz Jordan????

Sunday, May 2, 2010

"Sunday Scoop" The Gang's Weekly Column!


FIRST OF ALL- Make sure you read the book review posted today right below this scoop titled "The 13th Reality 3 - The Blade of Shattered Hope" by James Dashner. (please check it out - Dash is the man!)

We are just waiting for our giveaway copies of "The Big Book of Gross" and then we are going to launch that triple threat.  They are in the mail, so prob early this week, look for it- and be ready to enter!

Another contest that we will be running as part of another triple threat will be for #1 NYT bestselling author D.J. MacHale and his new book "Morpheus Road - The Light."  What's cool is it will be sponsored by our partners at Simon and Schuster and even cooler is that Lauryn will be doing the triple threat on her own!  Her first "Triple Threat" that she can totally own! GOOO LAUR!

The review and giveaway are almost sure things and we have given permission to go ahead and write up the interview, but are still waiting on final confirmation for the interview.  The guy is a best seller and is on tour... Hopefully we can get him to give us some of his time! 

Coming up from Mara this week will be what was earlier promised- "The Carrie Diaries" and Sami will be reviewing "When You Reach Me" by Rebecca Stead! (She has been dying to read this for a while and blew through most of it this weekend! I love it when the kids find one that they are sooo enthusiastic about!  It's what it's all about.

As for me Dave, I know that I have a list the size of Alaska in my "to be read" pile, but I was wandering through B and N today for a little bit this morning and found 2 books that I have been soooo waiting for and just couldn't resist.  I am going to have to just temporarily (and yes, I'll be quick) put on hold the tbr list and read these 2.  Just can not wait.  I picked up 2 new releases- "Will Grayson, Will Grayson" by John Green and David Levithan (you have all seen that one I'm sure!) 
as well as "Cherub: Mission 1- The Recruit" by Robert Muchamore.

  Interesting enough Cherub is huge oversees and is trying to make it here in the US as a series.  Both have been eyed by me for quite some time.  Since being recently overwhelmed, I have not been "shopping" for books in a while and was psyched to go in today and see a whole new line up on the shelves!  Ohh, how I love it!!  Another that I think will be floating around shortly that I will be purchasing on release day is "Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx" by one of my ALL TIME favs- James Rollins.  Rollins-an action adventure writer, has hit a homer with his children's series "Jake Ransom" and it's a must own for my collection. Super excited about my near term reads!  Hope you guys are psyched too since I will be reading them fast and getting up the reviews as soon as they are done.

Well, this week I want to have a targeted little discussion on E-Readers.  The Gang gave away a Nook in one of our previous contests.  As well, we have our own Nook and an IPAD.  As much as we love them both, here is something that has been itching me to talk about, but just haven't yet.  I think it's time, and I would love the feedback from anyone who has an e-reader.  What has irked me so much is that on any of the e-readers you can not too many hot, brand new releases.  I might be crazy, but I just don't see the books that just come out.  I mean, there are some best sellers up there, but I am talking about in general.  For example, I would have preferred to get those 2 books today on the Ipad (and by the way, nothing against the Nook, but since we got the Ipad well, watch out Nook.  It's just that Apple did SUCH an aMaZiNg job with the "I-BOOKS" app, that it's second to none) and I wasn't able to.  "Will Grayson, WIll Grayson" is available by e-reader, but "Recruit" was not.  To be honest, I didn't see Will Grayson until after I purchased the hard copy, but again, no Recruit. 

As I have seen more and more available, and quicker... I still don't think we are up to par.  Perhaps we say it's a work in progress?  I just don't understand what's taking so long.  I am hoping that soon it can come to the point where I don't have to visit the store anymore.  Am I the only one seeing this?  What do you guys think. I mean, the E versions are cheaper and so much more convenient to get.... right?

Speaking of e-readers, what do you guys have and what do you think about it?  Although we don't have a Kindle, we have heard lots of good things about them and their owners are faithful and swear by them.  Personally, I love the Ipad.  Besides the e-reader, which is in color and just super cool to use, the Ipad basically does everything else too.  Granted, we had to save up for one and they are a bit costly (we got the middle wi-fi version), the many purposes it serves makes it worth it.  Essentially, I use it as a laptop.  Apple soooo needs to get over the "Flash Player" thing, and once they do (we hear they are working on something) it will totally rock as the end all to personal computing needs.  Oh yeah, and what's with the no camera thing Apple?  Besides those 2 minor set backs, worth every penny.  We's really like to get some feedback from you guys on the whole issue.  Share whatever you wish, just tell us how you feel about e-readers.


BEA!  That's all on that one!  Well almost... we hear that Suzanne Collins will NOT be issuing ARC's of "MockingJay" at BEA...  AARRGGHHH!!!   That book has sooo much hype, we guess we see your point.  Never fear, there are TONS more that we are expecting to uncover for you guys!

Here's to hopefully a busy week at TLGBRS!

Dave and the rest of the Lateiner Gang

Book Review: "The 13th Reality - The Blade of Shattered Hope" by James Dashner

The 13th Reality
A Blade of Shattered Hope
James Dashner

Tick felt a pulse of energy sweeping through the air, through his skin, rattling his insides like a tuning fork.  He could sense it's source, just like he could tell from which direction he heard a radio or piano playing.


Again and again.
It was coming from the basement.


James Dashner..... a literary genius?  Yes, I am prejudice to Dash, but if you are a "real" fan you totally get me.  If you are not, I think it's time you take a look at him.  His 13th Reality series (currently reviewing book 3 out of.... 5 I think) is just the tip of the iceberg.  The Maze Runner trilogy is going to rock-rock-rock the house, and that's a promise! Ok, back to 13th...

For those of you who have not read books 1 and 2 of the series,  I will give you a veeeeeerryy basic recap of the situation- Tick (main guy with a huge amt of Dashner's version of "The Force," called Chi'karda) and his 2 best buds are part of this secret organization that goes through the 13 different realities (basically 12 other versions of our "now"... ya know like 12 other Dave's floating around in 12 alternate realities) fighting bad bad people like Mistress Jane (female Darth Vadar personality and Tick's arch enemy).  Through a host of other characters that Dashner has done a great job of bringing to life, you are kept on your toes almost every single page.  Now, about the 13th 3- Blade of Shattered Hope:

I have absolutely loved the first 2 in the series.  They have been easy to read and seriously, Dashner does put some sort of action on each and every page.  If you go to his site, you can find a recent interview about his 7 steps to writing or something similar.  I think it was either the last post or the one before that.  I recently read through them and then looked to the 13th 3 to see whether he followed his own rules or not.  He did, and I do believe he hit all 7 with just the right amount of umph... 

Tick has a big role in this one.  Not that he hasn't saved the day every other time he needed to, but this one has a bunch of twists and turns.  Biggest twist (NOT A SPOILER) is that I thought for sure the "Blade of Shattered Hope" would be something Tick faces at the very end of the book to either save the world or see the end.  It wasn't.  It is introduced early on in the book and when something goes wrong with it (It's a weapon of mass destruction basically) a whole new plot is uncovered.  Great work.  The same old characters- Master George, Paul, Sophia, The Higginbottoms, Rutger and of course Mothball (ooh..get to meet her parents in this one!) are seen in the Blade, and all have stepped it up and taken on some huge responsibility.  

In my opinion, the best part of 13th (AGAIN, NOT A SPOILER) is how Dashner gave each of the characters a main function in the book as well as individual character growth that really got me deeper into each.  Each one needed the other and through pure teamwork, they fight Mistress Jane with her most devious plan of all time.  All paths lead to her "Factory" where some weeeeeirrrddd stuff is going down.  While there, Tick must convince Mistress Jane to actually team up with the in order to save the world.... And I mean world-  All 13 realities are in danger of being wiped out of existence if they don't.  Needless to say, Dashner has progressed very well in the series and just when I thought he could not possibly have a better story for book 4-- BAM!!!  (just like Emeril! BAM!! BAM!! sorry had to get it out of my system).... leaves you looking on B& for the release date of his next one.  (At least I did)

There is a really cool website that Dashner had set up that is ALL about the 13th Reality series.  If you have not read any of his books, I highly suggest getting book 1 of the 13th Reality as well as Maze Runner.  You can check out his 13th Reality site by going to  Another great job Dashner.  Did not fail to please.