Bookanista Review: HEMLOCK by Kathleen Peacock

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Feb 2, 2012 Under ARCs, Bookanistas, Young Adult


look at all the pretty!

Okay, so I just have to SQUEE a little over that fact that HEMLOCK is coming out in May:


*takes deep breathes*

*promises to save further squeeing until blog post is finished*

I have a confession—while I did recently receive and read a shiny new ARC of HEMLOCK (compliments of my awesome editor—THANK YOU CLAUDIA, YOU ROCK), it’s not the first time I’ve read it. I actually fell in love with this story back before Kathleen had an agent.

I have another confession—I loved HEMLOCK even more the second time around. Pretty amazing, since I never considered myself a huge werewolf fan–UNTIL NOW.


is anyone else disturbed by the lack of arms?

But here’s the thing–HEMLOCK isn’t just a werewolf story.  At heart, It’s a book about friendships and secrets, loyalty and betrayal, and that’s what makes it SO. FREAKING. AWESOME.  Yes, werewolves are an integral part of the scary world the main character Mac lives in, but there’s so much more to love in this book besides furballs. The mystery, the really creepy dream sequences starring Mac’s dead best friend, the complexity of the friendships Mac shares with steady Kyle, haunted Jason, and fun Serena, all combined to make this one hell of a page turner for me–despite the fact that this wasn’t my first time reading. And then there’s Mac herself—smart, funny, unfailingly loyal, and desperate to keep her friends safe—exactly the kind of narrator you can’t help but cheer for as she tries to unravel the mystery that’s tearing apart her entire town.

In an effort not to give too much away, I’m only including one of my favorite quotes (in which our awesome heroine tells off her two best friends, Kyle and Jason):

Mac: “Did it ever occur to either of you that maybe Mac doesn’t need protecting?  That maybe Mac finds your he-man acts both insulting and chauvinistic? In case you haven’t noticed, Mac is pretty good at taking care of herself.”

Kyle:  ”Why are you talking about yourself in the third person?”

(more hilarity ensues)

Have I mentioned that I love this book yet?

*excuses self so as not to break Vow of Squee-less-ness*

To find out more about Kathleen and HEMLOCK (you know you want to), visit her website at:


See what the other Bookanistas are up to:

Christine Fonseca  interviews author Denise Grover Swank

Jessi Kirby and Jen Hayley are wowed by WANDERLOVE

Corrine Jackson is mesmerized by MAY B.

Stasia Ward Kehoe  interviews DIES IRAE author Christine Fonseca

Gennifer Albin is starry-eyed for STARTERS

Katy Upperman delves into THE DISENCHANTMENTS

Nikki Katz  celebrates CINDER

Tracy Banghart  marvels at JULIET IMMORTAL

Jessica Love spotlights SHINE

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LARKSTORM (LARKSTORM #1) by Dawn Rae Miller

Here’s the official LARKSTORM summary:

In the years following the destructive Long Winter, when half the world’s population perished, the State remains locked in battle against the Sensitives: humans born with extra abilities. 

As one of the last descendants of the State’s Founders, seventeen-year-old Lark Greene knows her place: study hard and be a model citizen so she can follow in her family’s footsteps. Her life’s been set since birth, and she’s looking forward to graduating and settling down with Beck, the boy she’s loved longer than she can remember.

However, after Beck is accused of being Sensitive and organizing an attack against Lark, he disappears. Heartbroken and convinced the State made a mistake, Lark sets out to find him and clear his name.

But what she discovers is more dangerous and frightening than Sensitives: She must kill the boy she loves, unless he kills her first.


What’s your ideal YA novel?  Fantasy? Dystopian? Romance?  Perhaps all three rolled up into one delicious yet devastating package?  Then this is your lucky week!

LARKSTORM just came out in paperback, and I’m so excited to share this book with you that I’m giving a copy away!  I’ve loved this story for SO. LONG.—even in its early, pre-pubbed form, Dawn’s striking prose grabbed me and didn’t let go until the last heart-stopping moment.

Dawn created such a fascinating world and setting for Lark and Beck, and the relationship between the two of them felt so real. I love that Lark is a powerful character, and how the reader gets to experience the emotional roller-coaster right along with her.  I don’t want to give too much away, but fans of star-crossed love stories NEED this book.  N-E-E-D.


The Contest: 

Win a paperback copy of LARKSTORM by Dawn Rae Miller AND a $15 gift card to Amazon.

To enter, just leave a comment with your name, email address, and your favorite tragic love story of all time. (+1)

You can get additional entries by:

Tweeting this contest (+1)

Blogging or Facebooking this contest (+1)

BONUS:  Back when Dawn was first brainstorming titles for this book, a few of her friends came up with some really helpful (*cough*) attempts. IF you can come reasonably close to one of my spectacular title fails, I’ll give you your own free copy of LARKSTORM.

The Fine Print:

Contest ends on Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 at 6:07 pm Pacific Time.  (Okay, so I probably won’t be checking down to the minute, but still…it sounded more interesting than a round number)


(And if you don’t, you can buy your own copy of LARKSTORM here.)

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Bookanista Review: ANGELFALL by Susan Ee

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Jan 5, 2012 Under Bookanistas, Young Adult


Official blurb:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again


ANGELFALL is a self-pubbed book that I stumbled upon via twitter (thank you, Dreaming in Books blogger John Jacobson!) The premise sounded interesting, and for 99 cents I figured, what the heck?  Worst case scenario, my kids get 50 less cents each to buy Squinkies from those machines at the food court. Actually, maybe that’s a best case scenario. Anyway.

What this book is not:

A cuddly, feel-good, paranormal romance about a human girl falling in love with an angel. If you’re looking for that, you’d best search elsewhere. THESE AREN’T YOUR MAMA’S ANGELS.

What this book is:

A dark, gripping, visceral post-apocalyptic tale complete with the types of angels that will haunt your nightmares, a kick-ass heroine who won’t let anything deter her from her goal of saving her sister, and enough gore to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty reader.

The author drops you right into the story, and between the savage angel attacks, the vicious gangs that troll the ravaged buildings and whatever the unknown third horror is that shreds humans to bits in mere minutes, Penryn has her hands full just keeping herself, her crazy mother, and her wheelchair-bound little sister alive. But before the story barely gets started, a lone angel’s (Raffe) wings are severed by a flock of hostile angels, and Penryn’s sister is snatched by the attackers. What follows is Penryn’s journey as she uses Raffe’s wings as collateral to get him to lead her across the perilous remains of California to the angels’ nest, or aerie (A word I actually had to look up! Hey, ask me a dog word, and I guarantee I know it!)

Ms. Ee paints a world that is terrifying and bleak, yet not completely hopeless. The touches of humor provided some much needed comic relief, and I found the crazy mother to be one of the most fascinating characters in a long time. Also, while the main plot is tied up at the end, there are plenty of unanswered questions to make me want the sequel NOW NOW NOW. I love that while there’s a hint of romance brewing between Raffe and Penryn, it’s not the main thrust of the book—but I totally look forward to their relationship expanding in book two. Despite a few quibbles here and there, this was a compelling, if more-gruesome-than-average, read.

A couple of quotes that stuck with me, for different reasons:

“I’m an ant in the battlefield of the gods. There’s no room for pride or ego, and barely enough room for survival.”

““You’re like a little girl demanding answers to questions during a covert operation. Why is the sky blue, daddy? Can I ask that man with the machine gun where the bathroom is?

Readers who like their YA fast-paced, scary, and angel-laden should love this one!


Check out the links below to see what other Bookanistas are talking about!

Elana Johnson offers musings on her Bookanista moments

Jessi Kirby savors HOW TO SAVE A LIFE

Stasia Ward Kehoe delights in FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB

Nikki Katz is crazy for ASHFALL

Shelli Johannes-Wells celebrates January Bookanista books–plus a DISCOVERY OF WITCHES giveaway

Lila Roecker shouts for joy over SHATTER ME.


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Bookanista Review: Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Dec 1, 2011 Under Bookanistas, Young Adult

A.S. King

I’m so excited that my very first Bookanista review is for A.S. King’s new novel, EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS.  Here’s what the publisher has to say:

Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret–one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos–the prison his grandfather couldn’t escape–where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It’s dangerous and wild, and it’s a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?

Michael L. Printz Honor recipient A.S. King’s smart, funny and boldly original writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you and taking a stand against it.

First off, I want to confess that I’m a huge A.S. King fangirl. If you haven’t read her Printz Honor Book, PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ,  oh my gosh! What are you waiting for?  Because I can say with certainty: You. Are. Missing. Out.  I loved that one so much that of course I snatched this book off the shelves the second it was released (okay, so maybe they were the e-shelves, but still).

EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS didn’t disappoint. It had everything I was expecting from an A.S. King book–symbolism galore, serious subject matter, humor (King mixes the latter two unbelievably well), and of course, her signature dose of magical realism.  Don’t get me wrong–at it’s heart, this is a book about bullying, and how everyone, from kids to adults, flail when it comes to knowing what to do.  But while it’s very serious and dark at times, brutally honest and sad, it’s also not relentlessly depressing like some books on the topic tend to be.  The MC Lucky is lost, angry, and depressed, but he also has an offbeat sense of humor that’s guaranteed to make you smile from page one via his unusual choice of sociology project. Plus, the book is about finding the courage to stand up for yourself, so ultimately, the message is hopeful.

The dream sequences in the book are unlike any I’ve ever read, and even though I enjoyed Lucky’s waking moments more, they definitely formed a compelling and crucial part of the story. Overall, it was a great read–I finished in a day!

For more great reads, check out the other books my fellow Bookanistas are raving about this week:

Lisa and Laura Roecker gush about HOW TO SAVE A LIFE
Shannon Messenger raves about CINDER–with an ARC Giveaway!
Megan Miranda spreads the love for UNTRACEABLE
Corrine Jackson falls for UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Stasia Ward Kehoe celebrates MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE
Katy Upperman gets swept away by THE SCORPIO RACES



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Bookanista Book Love, November 10th

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Nov 10, 2011 Under ARCs, writing, Young Adult

Poking my head out of revisions to say Hey! I joined the Bookanistas!  So excited to spread the word on books we love to the blogosphere, WOOT!

See what the Bookanistas are highlighting today:

Elana Johnson gushes about THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS
LiLa Roecker sings for VIRTUOSITY
Shelli Johannes-Wells praises author Addison Moore
Rosemary Clement-Moore gets all wrapped up in WRAPPED
Jessi Kirby more love for VIRTUOSITY
Nikki Katz screams for LEGEND
Katy Upperman sets us all up for BEFORE I FALL


Happy reading!


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This tattoo is my favorite new POSSESSion.

Posted by houndrat on Monday Aug 15, 2011 Under contests, Young Adult

I interrupt my self-imposed revision exile to bring you this:

Whatever POSSESSed Fergie?

*Disclaimer:  No sleeping hound dogs were harmed in the taking of this photo.

Also, while I’m here–go check out MTV’s Awkward. It’s my fave new teen show by a mile.

Oh, Jenna.

Jenna and Matty...trying to DTR.

Now, back to the revision cave!!  Hopefully I’ll emerge long enough later this week to post a few SCBWI pics–especially since my pajama party costume was totally crazypants.



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First off–a cover reveal! Check out fellow Apocalypsie Jessica Spotwood’s cover for BORN WICKED–isn’t it STUNNING???

Check out her celebratory contest here.

So, some news. My blog posting time is going to be limited this summer as I dive into revisions for MILA 2.0.

Maybe *I* could learn to type with my feet…

I’ll try to not to disappear completely, but instead continue with updates, photos, and little bits of randomness.  In fact,  I’m going to kick off my revision-mania with an ARC giveaway!

This giveaway is for Andrea Cremer’s WOLFSBANE, the eagerly anticipated follow-up to NIGHTSHADE.



This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended–Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she’s certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer–one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack–and the man–she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive




If you’re a Nightshade fan then I know you must be panting after this book (cough, couldn’t resist), which comes at the end of July!

To win, we’re going to  play a little game called Name That Musk.  Tell me in the comments what you’d name a designer werewolf cologne or perfume.  You get an extra entry for tweeting about the contest, and entries close on Monday, June 20th, at noon PST.

Good luck!


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So, last week was the final week (sniff sniff) of the Divergent Faction Challenge (inspired by Veronica Roth’s book, Divergent), and we ended with:


From the Divergent fansite:

*****DAUNTLESS: fearless, undaunted.

Undaunted: courageously resolute, especially in the face of danger or difficulty; not discouraged.

It’s those two definitions (fearless, and undaunted) that I found so fascinating. Being fearless and being undaunted are two different things. And the characters in DIVERGENT struggle with that distinction. ******

Oddly enough, danger did not really rear its ugly head in my small northern suburb of San Diego last week. I’d like to think I would have held off an armed robber with my bare hands if the need had arisen, but the most dangerous event for me consisted of dropping my son off at school. Hey, don’t laugh—that parking lot is insanity on a stick.

Instead, I chose to embrace my dauntlessness by doing something I’d always wanted to do and never quite had the guts for:  dyeing my hair a crazy color.  I know, for some of you, this is a big SO WHAT?  But for me, it took courage. And it wasn’t just about the dyeing, but about dealing with the looks I knew I’d get post-streakage.

(there’s a peek-a-boo streak on the other side that you can’t see from this angle)

I’m kind of loving the pink, though. Strangely, I even feel a little empowered. Who knows? Today it’s pink streaks, tomorrow, maybe I’ll start  jumping off trains.

In all seriousness, I think we could use a little more dauntlessness in our lives.

Read other Dauntless week posts here:


Sarah Nicolas

Kate Hart

Lyn Almodovar

Sarah Enni

Kaitlin Ward

GotYA/Jamie Blair

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Week Four of the Divergent Faction Challenge (based on the book Divergent by Veronica Roth):

Well, this week was not a good week for the  Faction Challenge, and it had nothing to do with Erudite.  I just found it impossible to focus on anything beyond finishing up my MILA draft.  Right now, the only faction I’m good for is the Sleep Faction.

Here’s what it says about Erudite off the Divergent fansite:

ERUDITE: characterized by great knowledge; learned or scholarly
The word “erudite” focuses on knowledge rather than intelligence– intelligence being something you’re born with, and can’t necessarily control, and knowledge being something that you acquire. I find that interesting, given what I know about Erudite.




Although, come to think of it, the time constraints I had this week *are* relevant. Personally, I would love nothing more than to be a lifetime student. I love learning, and I love academic settings. I love researching topics that interest me–in fact, several of my friends have dubbed me “the Google Queen.”  But, as awesome as it might be, I can’t sit around all day and focus purely on the acquisition of knowledge.  Other commitments–kids, home life, work, etc–all have to take priority.
Plus, I only want to study things I have a genuine interest in–often, with the intent of using that knowledge in some way.  Knowledge for knowledge’s sake is all fine and dandy, but it seems like a better use of time would be learning how to implement some of that newfound information.
As usual, keep checking back in for links to other participants, which I’ll list below!  And make sure to tune in next week, where we conclude the challenge with….


Sarah Enni
GotYA/Jamie Blair
Kaitlin Ward
Sarah Nicolas
Jennifer Wood
Kate Hart


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Based on my looming deadline, this post will be superbrief.  Just a quick announcement to say it’s week three of the DIVERGENT Faction Challenge, and by request, the faction we’ll be trying to embody is…


Based on the Facebook quiz, this would be my faction. Personally, I’m  thinking the combination of sleep deprivation and honesty should require me to wear a warning sign.

Tune in Friday to find out how all the bloggers fared by telling it how it is.

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