Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross


Published: April 10th, 2012
Publisher: Egmont
Pages: 314
e-copy: Courtesy of publisher and Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads


Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns
.

I was originally drawn to this book because of the fairytale aspect - surprise, surprise!  I remained with this book, because it was utterly captivating and quite different.  From almost the very first page I was hooked - line and sinker included, by this amazing twist on our beloved fairytales.

What does this book have to offer?  A main character, Mira, who has been very sheltered by her guardians, so the occasionally rather stupid things that she does don't seem that way - there's an innocence to her that makes her actions believable, if still somewhat silly.   Two brothers, Blue and Felix, equally fascinating, and each hiding the real person behind a mask.  A perfect example of appearances being deceiving.  A host of lovable minor characters - teenagers doing everything in their power to fight their destinies, but keeping a sense of humour while doing so. A small quest that turns into a mystery, that turns into - well you'll have to read the book to find out!  An author who's not afraid to remember that the original fairy tales were not the 'Happily Ever After' stories that Disney has made us believe - thank you for that Ms Cross.

It only took me 2 days to read this wonderful book - which is quite a feat considering I worked each day and was out each evening (hello midnight showing of the Hunger Games!) - but I just did not want to put it down.  This was an absolute case of insta-love between Curlypow and Kill Me Softly. Fairytale lovers, give yourself a treat and try this out for size. I very much doubt you'll be disappointed.

Don't forget to check out our GIVEAWAY for a copy of all 6 volumes in the Galahad Legacy series

Friday, March 30, 2012

Follow Friday - March 30th




Feature and Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer! This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. This weeks question is:


Q: Do you read one book at a time or do you switch back and forth between two or more?

I am notorious for having at least 3 books on the go at the same time.  For instance, right now I'm reading The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong, Marked by Inara Scott, Bewitching by Alex Flinn and I've got my eye on a couple more.  I love to try and read books that have different themes.  That way I read whatever I am in the mood for.  At the moment, I can't seem to put The Gathering down.  I think I have about 40 pages left.  Curlypow is much the same.  The trick to reading several books at the same time is to vary the genres or themes so you don't get the plotlines confused. Gotta go, Ms. Armstrong is "Calling" me (book 2 entitled the Calling is coming out shortly...sorry, bad joke).


Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Don't forget to check out our GIVEAWAY for a copy of all 6 volumes in the Galahad Legacy series

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Published: August 2011
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 421
Copy Provided by: Bought
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
The first book in Richelle Mead's brand-new teen fiction series - set in the same world as Vampire Academy. 

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning. 

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood. 

Review:
If you are a regular follower of our blog, you will know that I'm kind of ridiculous about two series - The Mortal Instruments and Vampire Academy.  It is not often that I spend much money on books (sorry, practically live at either the library or bookstore and/or work there).  But when I had heard that Richelle Mead was coming out with a new series involving the Vampire Academy world, I just had to buy it.  Unfortunately, life intervened and it sat in my TBR pile until recently.

LOVED. LOVED. LOVED Bloodlines.  There are a few things that I love about Richelle Mead's writing.  She organizes her plotlines brilliantly and everything seems to wrap up so nicely.  There are no instances where I'm thinking to myself - what just happened?  It's more like OMG!!!  DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN?  Plus, she does delve into background information a bit to remind you of important events that have happened in previous books or series.  She is an excellent storyteller and Bloodlines is a great start to this new series.  

I wasn't sure how much I would like Sydney (since she seemed like she had a bit of stick up her butt in the Vampire Academy) but this series gives you more insight and background information into her upbringing and the Alchemist teachings. 

*spoiler*

For those of you who didn't like the ending to the Vampire Academy series, you'll love the fact that Adrian is one of the main characters in Bloodlines.  AND he's not hungover for the majority of the book!

*end spoiler*

Since I sped through the book, I only had a chance to get a couple quotes from Bloodlines

“Takes a lot of tries before you hit perfection." He paused to reconsider that. "Well, except for my parents. They got it on the first try." (Adrian)”

 "As I drove away, I decided the Alchemists needed an entire department devoted to handling Adrian Ivashkov." (Sydney)

For those of you who are Richelle Mead fans, you will probably be waiting in line for Book #2 of Bloodlines called The Golden Lily out in June.  Maybe I'll see you in line.  For those of you who haven't hopped on the Richelle Mead wagon, shame on you!  You don't know what you're missing!

Don't forget to check out our GIVEAWAY for a copy of all 6 volumes in the Galahad Legacy series

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Black Heart by Holly Black



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile. This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is -




Yet another title that I'm really excited about.  This is the last in the trilogy and I can\t wait to find out what happens to Cassel and his love life.  Not so sure about that cover tho', I prefer this one -


Don't forget to check out our GIVEAWAY for a copy of all 6 volumes in the Galahad Legacy series

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Musings by Knitwits



Once a month Christinabean and I like to bring a craft, knitting or cookbook to your attention. We both love to pick up a pair of knitting needles or some other type of needle, or putter about in the kitchen and we like to share the love when we find a book that will help. This months selection is:



Published: February 2012
Publisher: Sally Milner
Pages: 256
Copy: Purchased
Summary: Goodreads

How does color affect embroidery? How can it bring needlework to life? Crafters will uncover the possibilities in this unique, in-depth exploration of color in embroidery. From color selection and blending to choosing complimentary colors and creative contrasting and shading, it highlights a variety of techniques for surface and counted thread embroidery projects. More than 200 stitched examples with DMC thread keys, plus color schemes and projects such as roses, fruits, and birds will inspire stitchers.

Colour Confidence in Embroidery is, in my very humble opinion the best book available right now for embroiderers interested in designing for themselves, or just adapting existing patterns.  Trish Burr's book is a feast for the eyes from the very first page.  It's hard to tell from the picture above, but those birds and flowers on the cover are embroidered.  That's right, embroidered.  Trish is an absolute master at creating virtually flawless renditions of birds and flowers from nature, and she has put all she has learned about colour through the years into this wonderful book.

I was lucky enough last year to take an online course with Trish and I learned so much from her.   With her encouragement I designed a needle painted piece myself, but I had a big struggle over my colour choices.  With this book now in my possession, I'm ready to try even more.  She has put together pages and pages of colour selections and ideas to make life immeasurably easier for the embroiderer - or for anyone else who uses colour at all - artists, scrapbookers, knitters, anyone really.

The bonus here for embroiderers, is that there are 12 complete embroidery projects at the back of the book that are just amazing - four of them you can see on the cover. If you're not interested for yourself, this book would make an amazing gift for any friend or family member who is at all interested in crafting or art, if for no other reason than it is beautiful to look at. 

Don't forget to check out our GIVEAWAY for a copy of all 6 volumes in the Galahad Legacy series

Monday, March 26, 2012

In My Mailbox - March 26th

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers post about the books they have received for the week.  Books may be won, taken out from the library or bought from a store.


I saw this one in the bookstore and went to my local library to check it out.  I tend not to purchase titles that I don't know much about unless they are part of a series that I love.  This one looked so interesting!  Check out the summary (by Goodreads)

The Hallows. Ancient artifacts imbued with a primal and deadly power. But are they protectors of this world, or the keys to its destruction? 

A gruesome murder in London reveals a sinister plot to uncover a two-thousand-year-old secret. 

For decades, the Keepers guarded these Hallows, keping them safe, hidden, and apart from one another. But now the Keepers are being brutally murdered, their prizes stolen, the ancient objects bathed in their blood. 

Now, only a few remain. 

With her dying breath, one of the Keepers convinces Sarah Miller, a virtual stranger, to deliver her Hallow--a broken sword with devastating powers--to her nephew, Owen. 

The duo quickly become suspects in a series of murders as they are chased by both the police and the sadistic Dark Man and his nubile mistress. 

As Sarah and Owen search for the surviving Keepers, they unravel a deadly secret the Keepers were charged to protect. The mystery leads Sarah and Owen on a cat-and-mouse chase through England and Wales--and history itself--as they discover that the sword may be the only thing standing between the world... and a horror beyond imagining. 

Don't forget to check out our GIVEAWAY for a copy of all 6 volumes in the Galahad Legacy series
This year I'm trying to take only a few books out of the library and be more reasonable with what I can read at one time.  Sure, I have lots on my TBR page still but I can't read like a speed-demon like some bloggers can. (ahem...Curlypow....) :P  What's in your mailbox?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Poke by Dalya Moon



Published: January 2012
Pages: 142
e-Copy: from author for review
Summary: Goodreads

Zan is a teenage boy with a talent for discovering any girl’s secrets. If he asks a girl to poke her finger into his navel, he gets a psychic trip to Secret Town. Zan never likes what he finds.

When he meets mysterious, beautiful Austin, with her waist-length hair and mature laugh, he wants to get acquainted with her the slow way. Austin, however, can’t resist her curiosity, and when she pokes her finger into Zan’s belly button, he sees … nothing.

Austin dashes out of Zan’s house and out of his life, leaving Zan heartbroken and confused. To find peace, he must unravel the secret of his power. Is it a gift, or a curse? How can Zan love someone with no future? How can he not?

Poke is a fast-paced story about Zan's adventurous summer, as he battles witches, experiments with astral projection, and discovers the secret of his strange power, all to be with the girl he loves.



I have become a huge fan of Dalya Moon's fiction.  Her previous books Charlie Woodcock is a Minor Niner and  Practice Cake are wonderful and Poke did not disappoint.  While I didn't find Poke quite as laugh-out-loud funny as the other two, it still made me smile and the somewhat bittersweet love story was fun to read.

Zan's rather peculiar ability - to get a psychic reading when someone pokes his bellybutton - is a fun backdrop for a quick and interesting love story that doesn't follow the usual formulas.  It was surprising how full the story and characters appeared considering how short the story is.  At about 140 pages this novella still manages to feel like a much longer novel.  With a host of minor characters and some hilarious bad guys who are chasing Zan for his abilities, Poke maintained its breakneck pace yet never once felt rushed.

In amongst all the mayhem is a beautiful love story with a major twist.  Zan and Austin have a huge hurdle to overcome and the outcome is never clear, but going through this with them was a fun ride.  If you haven't discovered Dalya Moon's fiction yet, give yourself a treat and try them out.  You won't be disappointed.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Undercurrent by Tricia Rayburn


Published: July 2011
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: 352
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary:  Goodreads

Summary:
The sirens are back, but Vanessa may be the biggest threat of all. . . .
 
Nothing has been normal since Vanessa Sands learned that her sister was murdered by sirens—femme fatales of the watery depths—and that everything she believed about her family was a lie.

Her boyfriend Simon’s been the only person Vanessa feels she can really trust. But now there are some secrets she can’t tell even him. And when Vanessa finds herself in the sights of Parker, Hawthorne Prep’s resident charmer, she needs someone to confide in more than ever. Doubting her relationship with Simon, unsure of Parker’s intentions—and of her own—and terrified by what she’s learned about herself, Vanessa has never felt so alone.

But personal problems must be put aside, because the Winter Harbor sirens are back for revenge. Now, Vanessa must face her past and accept that she is just like her enemies—every bit as alluring, every bit as dangerous.
 
The eagerly anticipated second novel of the Siren trilogy, Undercurrentis a seductive paranormal romance that will leave you breathless. 

Review:
I just finished Undercurrent last night and wanted to try and do a write up before I forget.  Undercurrent is book #2 in the Sirens series by Tricia Rayburn.  I remember reading Sirens and enjoying it so unfortunately, Undercurrent has been in my TBR pile for a few months.  The trouble with series is that often, you forget what the first books were about.  You forget the characters names, what they were doing and significant events that occurred.  That is what happened to me in Undercurrent.  

As I was reading, I was desperately trying to remember what had happened in Book 1.  I would have liked more background reminders throughout to help job my memory.  I found the first 2/3 of the book a bit slower paced than I like.  I had to re-read a few different scenarios because they were hard to understand and I had questions about what other characters in the scene were doing as events happened.  However, I did stick it out and I'm glad I did.  The book really picked up in the last 1/3 as things started to shake up.  I enjoyed the novel overall and I have to say that I'm surprised that more bloggers haven't read Tricia Rayburn.  I'm not sure where I had originally heard of Siren (book 1) but its a nice break from the regular vampire/werewolf series if you're looking for something different but still paranormal in nature.

BTW, still LOVE the cover of the first book and am meh about the second....you can read my first review here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Giveaway, guest post.and blog tour - The Galahad Legacy by Dom Testra

The Paperback Princesses are thrilled to be part of a Scavenger Hunt blog tour for Dom Testa's new book The Galahad Legacy.  This title is the sixth and last in the Galahad series.   The others are: The Comet Curse; The Web of Titan; The Cassini Code; The Dark Zone and The Cosmic Storn.

Tor books have very generously agreed to provide a copy of all 6 books in the series - yes that's right all 6 books -  to one lucky winner.  Doesn't that just get you all excited? 



We were lucky enough to nab Dom and get him to answer a couple of questions for us.

1.  How did you come up with the premise for the series?

Curlypow, the original idea was based on this question: How would the best and the brightest of Earth's teenagers handle the staggering pressure of saving the human race? I wanted to tell a story of young people who learn to rely on themselves and each other in the face of catastrophe. In the process, they leave behind their families, their friends, and their homes. They're left to fend for themselves with no adults around. I was intrigued by how they would grow and change in that scenario.

2. What are your thoughts on bringing this extensive series to a close?

It's bittersweet, to say the least. These characters have been an important part of my life for many years, and it was hard to let them go. I've already had dozens of questions from listeners asking if there's any chance of a future Galahad novel - sort of a "what happened later?" story - and all I can say it...we'll see. For now, I couldn't be happier with the way the series draws to a close. I think The Galahad Legacy ends exactly the way it needs to, with some of the story lines wrapped up, but others left with question marks. I believe that's how it would be in real life, too.

Thank you Dom for sharing your thoughts with us today.  We also have an excerpt from The Galahad Legacy to whet your appetite:



The door opened and Gap strolled in. Triana couldn’t decipher the look on his face, which seemed perched somewhere between agitation and fatigue. He approached her and she slowly rose to her feet. They exchanged an awkward gaze before embracing in a tentative and equally-awkward hug.

“Glad to see you’re in one piece,” Gap said, moving across the room to collect a cup of water. “Feeling okay?”

“For the most part,” she said. “Physically I’m fine. My head’s still spinning from everything, but I’m getting readjusted. You got my note last night?”


Please visit Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers for the next excerpt from the second chapter of The Galahad Legacy.

  If you'd like to read more, check out the list below that shows all the blogs on the tour and you'll find other excerpts and may'be even more giveaways.  And don't forget to enter our giveaway at the bottom of the page - there are lots of ways for you to earn extra entries


05-Mar   Tor Blog http://torforge.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/scavenger-hunt-book-tour/.
                             
06-Mar I Am  A Reader, Not a Writer http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com
07-Mar I Read Banned Books http://www.jenbigheart.com/
08-Mar Seeing Night Book Reviews http://seeingnight.blogspot.com
09-Mar Steph the Bookworm www.stephthebookworm.com
10-Mar Books Devoured www.booksdevoured.com
11-Mar YA Bibliophile www.yabibliophile.com
12-Mar A Tale of Many Reviews www.ataleofmanyreviews.com
13-Mar All-ConsumingBooks http://tigersallconsumingbooks.blogspot.com
14-Mar Moonlight Book Reviews www.moonlightbookreviews.com
15-Mar Ticket to Anywhere www.tickettoanywhere.net
16-Mar The Book Smugglers www.thebooksmugglers.com
17-Mar YA Bound http://yabound.blogspot.com
18-Mar In the Outhouse  http://inthe-outhouse.blogspot.com
19-Mar Buried in Books http://wwwburiedinbooks.blogspot.com
20-Mar Eve's Fan Garden http://evesfangarden.com
21-Mar GreenBeanTeenQueen www.greenbeanteenqueen.com
22-Mar Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf http://laurenscrammedbookshelf.blogspot.com
23-Mar The Paperback Princesses http://allaboutyabooks.blogspot.com
24-Mar Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers http://insatiablereaders.blogspot.com
25-Mar The Readiacs www.thereadiacs.com
26-Mar Icey Books www.iceybooks.com
27-Mar Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile www.hopelessbibliophile.com
28-Mar The Elliott Review http://elliottreview.blogspot.com
29-Mar Missy's Reads and Reviews http://missyreadsreviews.blogspot.com
30-Mar Bookworm Lisa http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com
31-Mar Truly Bookish http://trulybookish.blogspot.com
01-Apr Kid Lit Frenzy www.kidlitfrenzy.com
02-Apr Star Shadow www.starshadowblog.com
03-Apr AdventuresofCeceliaBedelia http://ceceliabedelia.blogspot.com
04-Apr I Heart Monster www.iheartmonster.com
05-Apr VVB32 Reads http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com
06-Apr Bookaholics Anonymous Online www.bookaholicsanonymousonline.com
07-Apr iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books http://livelaughlovebook.blogspot.com
08-Apr Just Another Book Addict http://justanotherbookaddict.blogspot.com
09-Apr Manga Maniac Cafe www.mangamaniaccafe.com
10-Apr BookshelfBanter http://bookshelfbanter.com




**********
* Like Tor on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/torbooks
* Follow Tor on twitter: @torbooks
* Sign up for the Tor newsletter: http://www.tor.com/community/?task=registers
* Follow Dom on twitter: @HeyDomTesta
* Like Dom on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DomTesta

Follow Friday - March 23rd



Feature and Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer! This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. This weeks question is:


Q: What is the longest book you’ve read? What are your favorite 600+ page reads?

Hmm...I think the longest book I've ever read was Gone with the Wind.  It was over a thousand pages in paperback.  Scarlett was another good one and also fairly lengthy.  Lastly, one of my all time favorites was The Deathly Hallows.  It was so good I read it twice! (well, ok...I've read all of them twice...) 


Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Same Book, Second Look - The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Published: November 2011
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry
Pages: 323
Copy Provided by: Borrowed
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed. 

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

Review:
First off, let me explain that I LOVE Kimberly Derting.  Not only is is an amazing writer, she is humble and reaches out to her audience.  I've said it before but I do love a writer who reaches out to their fans via email, commenting on blogs, participating in chats, tweeting and going on tour.  

I first started reading Kimberly Derting's series - The Body Finder and have recommended it to just about anyone who will listen.  Its a supernatural mystery about a girl who can see the echoes of dead things.  A little creepy but the storytelling is wonderful and the characters are stellar.  Plus, another thing I love about her novels is that she doesn't have to bring out the sexuality and violence to captivate the audience.  The suspense is what keeps you reading.  Great work Ms. Derting!  Because I enjoyed The Body Finder series so much, I wanted to check out The Pledge.  Originally I thought it was another supernatural type spin but boy was I wrong!  When you first open the book, you'll discover that The Pledge was inspired by a personal account from World War II.  Keeping this in mind, I was able to delve deep into understanding what life must have been like in a world where you had to keep your identity a secret.  

The Pledge is complicated to explain and review because I don't want to give anything away.  I found the suspense to be just perfect for me to read non-stop.  I love to be surprised by a book and this one certainly surprised me. I really couldn't guess what was going to happen and it was incredibly satisfying to see how everything played out.  Can't wait for book #2!  Curlypow enjoyed it as well and you can read her original review here.

Unfortunately, I missed Kim on the Chicks Kick it Tour and she also did a signing in BC that I missed as well.  If you'd like to learn more about Kim, you can visit her blog here Uhh....I did notice that The Paperback Princesses was not one of the blogs she follows...I'll let it slide THIS time.... :P  And I'm still going to recommend you read her titles.  I like her that much....  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Fear by Michael Grant



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile. This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is -



OMG I am so excited that this one is coming out.  I just love this series!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fantastic Fairytales - The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy


Published: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: Walden Pond Press


Those of you who follow the Princesses regularly will know that I am a huge fan of fairytales in any shape or form.  Today I'd like to highlight a new and slightly different cracked fairytale  The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy.  This is an absolutely hilarious look at life from the points of view of the 'Princes Charming'. Yep, that's right, there's more than one of them, and this is their story. Hero's is aimed at a slightly younger audience, but take it from me, it is fun to read for anyone.  This month we have an excerpt and a sneak peak at some of the amazing artwork that can be found in the book.


 
“Art copyright © 2012 Todd Harris”. 

“Woo-wee! That’s a biggie!” Duncan shouted.

Liam quickly clamped his hand over Duncan’s mouth and shushed him. They were barely a spear’s throw from Zaubera’s stronghold and its colossal, cloud-skimming tower.

“Sorry,” Duncan whispered. “But it’s really tall.”

The four princes found hiding spots among the rock outcroppings at the base of Mount Batwing, from which they could safely monitor the big stone fortress and the meadow in which it sat.

“Is that the tallest building in Sturmhagen? It has to be, right?” Duncan asked, still mesmerized.

“Technically, we’re not in Sturmhagen anymore,” Gustav said. “As soon as we crossed to this side of Mount Batwing, we were in No-Man’s-Land. It’s a dead zone. No kingdom will claim it.”

“Are those bleachers?” Frederic asked as he spotted a semicircle of raised wooden benches that sat on the lawn facing the fortress.

“I wouldn’t have expected a witch’s hideout to have grandstand seating,” Duncan said.

“That certainly is odd,” Liam said. “I wonder what she’s up to.”

“Well, at least we know how to get inside,” Frederic added, pointing to the enormous double doors.

“You could drive a herd of elephants through those doors,” said Duncan. “Why do you think they’re so huge? For the giant?”

“No,” said Liam. “I’m pretty sure the witch makes him sleep outside.” He pointed off to the left of the fortress, where Reese was snoozing on the ground. Frederic gasped.

“That’s him!” Frederic squeaked.

“Yes, I figured,” said Liam.

“Wow, he’s big too,” Duncan said in amazement. “I mean, I know they call them giants, but I always thought, ‘How big could they really be?’”

“Keep it together, Duncan,” Liam cautioned. “Now, everybody listen. It’s time to put my plan into action. It’s all the better that the giant is asleep. That will make things much easier. I’m heading over to the fortress. You three distract the giant if he—”

But before he could finish, Gustav sprinted into the meadow with his sword drawn. “Wake up, giant!” he yelled. “We’ve come for the girl!”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Liam grumbled.

Reese opened his eyes and spotted the charging Gustav just in time to swat at him. His enormous palm smacked into Gustav and sent him flying over the bleachers. He landed in the trees with a crash.

I don't know if any of you have ever read Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's Sactaphrax books (Beyond the Deepwoods; Stormchaser and Midnight over Sanctaphrax), but Hero's seemed reminiscent of that style to me, with fantastic illustrations (as you can see) and a wonderfully humorous story.  (If you haven't read the Sanctafrax books I highly recommend them?)

I was lucky enough to get this second illustration as well:

 “Art copyright © 2012 Todd Harris”. 

Aren't these birds just hysterical?  I love them so much.  Thank you so much to Walden Media for allowing us to show them.

Keep an eye out for next month's Fantastic Fairytales when we will have a review  of The Hero's Guide to Saving our Kingdom and you will have the chance to win a signed copy of this wonderful book. See you next month.

Monday, March 19, 2012

In My Mailbox - March 18th

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers post about the books they have received for the week. Books may be won, taken out from the library or bought from a store.

Yea!  I was able to get this from my friendly neighborhood library!  What's in your mailbox?


Curlypow here, I just had to add my 2 cents worth here.  I lucked out at the library this week too:







Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey


Published: December 2011
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Pages: 278
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

For seventeen years, Eloise Hart had no idea the world of Faery even existed. Now she has been abducted and trapped in the Rath of Lord Strahan, King of Faery. Strahan was only meant to rule for seven years, as Faery tradition dictates, and then give up his crown to another. But he won't comply, and now chaos threatens both worlds.

The only one who can break his stranglehold on the Faery court is his wife. . . Eloise's aunt Antonia. Using Eloise to lure Antonia, Strahan captures his wife, desperate to end the only threat to his reign. Now Eloise must become the rescuer. Together with her best friends Jo and Devin, she must forge alliances with other Fae, including a gorgeous protector named Lucas, and Strahan's mysterious son, Eldric-who may or may not betray them.


Yet another wonderfully amusing and captivating read from Alyandra Harvey.  Just a little different from her Drake Chronicles, Stolen Away is about the fae this time and not vampires.  Written in her signature alternating voices, Eloise and Jo share the perspective of their first venture into the mysteries of faerie. I say first, but it could be only, although I'm seriously hoping this turns into a series. 

With believable human characters and drop-dead gorgeous fae princes, Stolen Away was a pleasure to read.  There is a nice mystery going on here with a reveal at the end that for some reason I didn't see coming.  There is also no triangle, but there is some lovin' going on, and insta-love or no, I enjoyed it.

'He cut me off with a deep kiss.  It turned sudden and desperate, heated so quickly I had to grab hsi shirt to steady myself.  Our hair tangled together.  His lips were clever, wicked.  I was like chocolate melting in the sun' (p199)

But what makes Ms Harvey's books for me, is her humour. This first quote had me laughing so loudly I woke up my husband!

'And then it all unraveled slowly, like a silk shawl coming apart at the fringes.  Couples and threesomes drifted off into the scented shadows, all bare skin and tongues.  I didn't consider myself a prude, but there were just some things I didn't need to see. Fae bums were one of them.' (p122)

'My mother was just coming out of the kitchen when she saw me fall out of nowhere, followed by a boy dressed like King Arhur.  She made a sound like "yaaargl" and then threw her cup right into the air.  She didn't even blink when hot tea rained over her.' (140)

Great characters, great story, great laughs - and a quick read to boot.  Definitely recommended!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Listen Up - The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig



Published: October 2010
Audio copy: Overdrive

Arabella Dempsey’s dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she accepts a position at the quiet girls’ school in Bath, expecting to face nothing more exciting than conducting the annual Christmas recital. She hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies…


Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh—often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation—has blundered into danger before. But when he blunders into Miss Arabella Dempsey, it never occurs to him that she might be trouble. When Turnip and Arabella stumble upon a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message written in French, “Meet me at Farley Castle”, the unlikely vehicle for intrigue launches the pair on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austens’ modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Dukes of Dovedale, where the Dowager Duchess is hosting the most anticipated event of the year: an elaborate 12-day Christmas celebration. Will they find poinsettias or peril, dancing or danger? And is it possible that the fate of the British Empire rests in Arabella and Turnip’s hands, in the form of a festive Christmas pudding?

Ladies, and gentlemen too, you are in for a treat.  This wonderfully comedic historical, romantic mystery will surprise and delight you.  Mischief of the Mistletoe is one of those books that takes you on a jolly ride and you just don't want to get off.  Admittedly, the premise is a little foolish - using Xmas puddings to relay sensitive, spy-type information - but Ms Willig makes it work all the way.

Turnip Fitzhugh is definitely not the sharpest crayon in the box, but it is precisely his open honesty that endears him to the reader.  There is no guile in Turnip,  what you see is what you get - tall, handsome, rich, caring, loyal, silly and remarkably steadfast.  He is everthing we don't realise we want in a man.  The sort of person who always ends up in the right place, but he gets there by accident.  I just adored every aspect of his character.

Arabella is the eldest child of a widowed and sickly vicar, who has spent her formative years as a companion to a rich, and remarkably silly, aunt.  When her services as a companion are no longer required she is forced to find work in Bath as a teacher, in order to help support her family.  That, my friends is when the fun begins. When Arabella first meets Turnip he knocks her off her feet, literally. Not an auspicious beginning for sure.  Arabella is pretty but not beautiful, sensible and protective of her family.  She has no illusions about her future and is very pragmatic.  The slow realisation of her love for Turnip is masterfully done and the dialogues between the two of them had me whooping with laughter. The two of them together try to solve a rather strange mystery and while I thought I knew the answer, I was never quite sure.

This time around I listened to Mischief of the Mistletoe and Kate Reading does an excellent job of conveying Turnip's slightly slow and self-deprecating manner. I'm sure there were several people who saw me in my car were wondering what on earth I was laughing at.  MotM was not written as a YA novel but it is perfectly suitable for any teen readers who want to lose themselves in a light historical romance.  I don't hesitate to recommend it and I'm sure you'll find it just as wonderful as I did.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Follow Friday - March 16th




Feature and Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer! This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact. This weeks question is:


Q: What is the best book you've read in the last month? What is the worst book you've read in the last month?.

Best book this month is really easy - it would be Legend by Marie Lu


I really enjoyed everything about this one.

The worst one, well that is more difficult.  I don't think I've read one that I really didn't like, but I do have 3 that disappointed me in some way or another - The Girl of Fire and Thorn; Allegiance and Revealing Eden.  Strangely enough it was the same factor in each book that I wasn't happy with and that was the main character's character.  I liked the idea behind all of the stories, I just didn't connect with the heroines  This month is looking up so far though.

Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg


Published: Feb 2012
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Pages: 400
Copy Provided by: Borrowed
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever. 

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally. 

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after. 

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

Review:
LOVED. THIS. BOOK.  I was absolutely blown away with this book.  You have to understand that I do not have much time to read.  Seriously, maybe 1/2 an hour once a day.  I read this title in 2 days.  That's almost unheard of for someone like me.  I even rated this title as a 5/5 for me on Goodreads and I don't do that often.  So let me tell you why I loved this title so much.

Everyone's had a first love and a broken heart.  It was heart-breaking to watch all over again and then see Brie suffer through even more misery.  There were misunderstandings and revelations about how Brie`s life really was.  The more I read, the more I wanted to continue reading.  I was gaining momentum and several times when I thought the book was over, something new would happen and I would be sucked back into the story.  Each time, I kept wondering...are all of these detours going to ruin the ending? But they didn't.  They just made the ending that much more enjoyable.  It was so worth it to see Brie's sorrow morph into something much more positive.

Interestingly, Patrick tells Brie that she will experience several stages of emotions before she accepts what has happened to her.  I think any life (or death) altering event will trigger these emotions.  I know I've been through it myself - Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness, Acceptance.  It's like a life lesson that we all should pay attention to. 

Lastly, one of my favourite things about this book were the chapter titles based on old songs and movies.  My favorites were

Don't you, (forget about me)
Its in his kiss
Ooh heaven is a place on earth
There's always something there to remind me

Quotes
Page 162
"Turns out, hell's not so much a burning, scalding pit of fire and misery.  It's actually much, much worse than that.  Hell is when the people you love the most reach right into your soul and rip it out of you.  And they do it because they can.

Page 375
"May you always have love"


So since I'm a fan of 80s/90s songs and films, I'm going to leave you with one.  Let's see if you can guess which movie it's from (I'm going by memory so it might not be exact)


"One of these days (Andie), your heart is going to be broken all over hell and maybe, for once, I won't be there."


Loved this.  Read it and let me know if you loved it too.  


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