Sunday, July 31, 2011

Let the Hop Begin!

We at The Revolving Bookcase are super-excited to be participating in our first-ever blog hop! The premise is simple: The awesome people at I am a Reader, Not a Writer and BookHounds have put together a very large group of book bloggers (including us, of course!) who will be giving away great books or book-related prizes this week. To make it easy on everyone who wants to enter, they have provided a list of all the participating blogs (which we have links to at the end of this post), so you can just "hop" from one to the next! If you are going in order, we're #242 on the list!

Tanya and I are giving away THREE books for our giveaway: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, The Summer We Came to Life by Deborah Cloyed, and The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn. Just fill out the form below to enter. You may only enter once, and you don't have to be a follower to enter, but to show our appreciation, any followers will get an extra entry into the contest! (Sorry, at this time, we can only ship to US addresses) The giveaway runs from August 1-7th; the winner will be chosen randomly on the 8th, and contacted by e-mail. If we don't hear back from the winner in 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck to everyone! And happy hopping!!

Sunday Stunner

I have decided that on Sundays I am going to, at least once a month, pick a book cover that I think is STUNNING. Whether it be stunning beautiful or stunning horrible. As my first choice This week I am going to pick a cover, well covers, that I think are just stunningly beautiful. They are the covers to a book series by Cynthia Hand. The second book is not out yet but the cover was revealed back in May and I think its just a breathtaking as the cover of the first book.

I have not yet read either book, however I do have the first book in my ever growing to read pile. I have a habit of buying the books, and if I know it is going to be a series waiting until I have most of if not all of the books so I can read them all back to back and stay in the world the author has created. I picked up the first book sole based on the cover and after reading the blurb on the jacket I thought it would be an interesting read. I really enjoy how almost simple the covers are. All one color, no overly bright but still captures your attention on the shelf. I just want to give a kudos to whomever is designing these covers as they are just amazingly beautiful.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: Trapped

 Author:  Michael Northrop
Format:  Hardcover, 232 pp
Release date: February 2011
Publisher:  Scholastic Press (who else?)
Genre:  Young Adult (Lexile: 750L)

From the publisher:
  The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive....
Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision....
I found this book refreshing. Maybe it was because I was reading about a snowstorm in 90+ degree heat, but I think it was more to do with the story itself. No vampires or aliens. No witches or strange magical powers. What it did have was a strong lead voice who I think anyone can relate to and an entirely plausible premise. The author does a great job of bringing you right into that New England high school. Even someone who has never experienced a true Nor'easter will have no trouble picturing the snow mounting and feel the chill developing within the isolated school. I loved that the chapter headers start low and move farther up the page as the book goes on and snow piles up under them. Even the cover with its pale icy blue color and smoothness almost feels cooler to the touch than it should.

This book was a quick, fun read.  My only complaint was that maybe it was a bit too quick. I read a few reviews from people who hated the abruptness of the ending, but I disagree. I felt the ending was appropriate -- anything more would have taken away from the focus of the story. But, I did believe that the part leading up to the ending could have been expanded a bit. I was just starting to enjoy the tension and then all of a sudden, it was over. I wanted more exploring and looting of the school (no library to curl up in?) and better development of the secondary characters (especially the girls!), but overall I really enjoyed this book and getting "trapped" for a few days with the kids of Tattawa High School.

Book:  3.5/5    Cover/Design: 5/5 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children


Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
  Author: Ransom Riggs
Format: Hardcover, 352 pp
Publisher: Quirk Publishing
Release date: 06.07.11
Age Range: Young Adult 

From the publisher: 
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

 This is one of those books that immediately grabs your attention when you see it sitting there on the shelf. It just asks to be open and explored. Once you do open it, your interest is piqued even more. Flipping through its pages, you find many old-looking, curious photographs like the one on the cover. The book boards and end sheets are what looks like an old wallpaper print. The book itself is a work of art. 
  I wish I could say the same about the story. Yes, it is original in concept, but you need more than a concept to write a great novel. I never felt involved in the story. It was almost as if so much energy was used to develop the design that there was no more left for the actual writing. The characters lacked depth. The romantic aspect (which is minor) was sort of creepy. There are many inconsistencies throughout the book (which I cannot mention without giving away a big part of the story).  I have to say the last 50-75 pages of the book were, by far, the best, so I do have hope for the sequel (which is most obviously planned).
  I wanted to love this book, I was disappointed that I just didn't. 

Book: 2.5/5   Cover/Design: 4.5/5

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Read-a-thon Wrap-up!

So, my first Read-a-thon is coming to an end, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not that I ever need an excuse to read all day, but it gave me a sense of purpose doing so. I didn't quite hit my goal of 4 books, but I managed to finish the 2 books I had already begun reading, complete a third, and start a fourth. I also completed one mini-challenge and enjoyed reading all the updates during the "thon" from my fellow book lovers and bloggers! I will be posting reviews on my completed books shortly. Thanks to the great folks at Reading Angel, Pure Imagination, and Candace's Book Blog for hosting such a wonderful event! Can't wait for the next one! 

Read-a-thon books completed:

Book started (not completed):

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day One of the Once Upon a Read-a-Thon!

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

 Day One of the Once Upon a Read-a-Thon is drawing to a close and despite my best efforts, I've gotten relatively little reading done. I did manage a few pages of Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children while outside with my dogs this morning and while waiting in the lobby of Time Warner Cable. And then this evening I've read about 5 chapters of Jill Shalvis' The Sweetest Thing. I hope to get in at least another hour of reading before bed, and I'm looking forward to Wednesday when I have the day off and plan to read outside in my hammock for at least half of it. I did manage to stop by The Musings of ALMYBNENR and do a fun mini-challenge on book covers. I'm very excited about the possibility of winning one of the books she is giving away...choosing which one might be tough though.

If you haven't signed up for the read-a-thon, there's still time!  Just click on the picture above and happy reading!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

YA EVENT Wonderful as Always

What does one do on a Friday night in the Hudson Valley? Well if you are Laura and I, its go to another wonderful Hudson Valley YA Society Event. This past Friday night, my fellow blogger and myself went to our second event at Oblong Books & Music. This was the Survivor edition, all of the authors present had books out that had their characters surviving a quest, a blizzard or being stranded on a desert island.

The authors at this event (from left to right) were E. Archer (GEEK), Michael Northrop (Trapped) and the very funny Libba Bray (Beauty Queens). All of the authors were very funny and nice but I gotta say Libba stood out in the crowd. In order to tell us what her book was about, she did her own version of MAD LIBS. And a special congratulations to Michael Northrop as his novel was featured in NPR's list of YA picks for summer suitable for all ages. Check out article here. As an added bonus after the event we were able to choose an ARC from two baskets that they had there. I chose Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs and Laura chose Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. A very good Friday night.
Here is a picture of Laura and I while we waited for the event to start.

I am blessed to have such a great independent bookstore so close to me that runs these events about once a month. And I can not wait to see what next month's event will bring. Happy Reading! -Tanya


Once Upon a Read-a-Thon
Click on picture above to sign-up!

I'm very excited to be participating in my first read-a-thon starting tomorrow!  My sister (who happens to be a school library media specialist) told me about it, and it sounds awesome.  You challenge yourself to read more than you normally would, and post updates (which I'll be doing here, but you can do it on facebook or twitter if you don't have a blog).  Participants are automatically entered to win lots of cool book swag and giveaways from authors, publishers, and the bloggers at Reading Angel, Pure Imagination, and Candace's Book Blog (who are running the contest)!  My goal is to finish reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Just My Style: A Book About Fonts, and then also 2 more yet to be chosen, for a total of 4 books in 3 days!  Hope you'll join me!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I am new at this blogging and it is really becoming addictive. I did not know that this "book blogosphere" existed until chatting with the girls from The Novel Affair while on a long line at the BEA. And now all I want to do is read blogs so I can find out about books that I HAVE TO read. I knew there were great books to read but I just would wonder the shelves at my local bookstores and see what jumped out at me. Now I have a to read list that is quite a few pages long. I must say I am totally enjoying it. There now needs to be more hours in the day so I can read and accomplish everything else in my day. I don't think my boss or husband would like it if I read my day away, but that would be my idea of paradise. So I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Ashley and Marisa for chatting with me on that long line and exposing me to this AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL blogosphere.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Review Delirium by Lauren Oliver


Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Publisher : Harper Collins

Source: BEA Giveaway

I had heard and read lots of great things about this book and new it was on my to read list. When I found out the Lauren Oliver was going to be at the BEA this year signing this book, I knew I had to be on that line. After waiting for over an hour to get this book and meeting Lauren (who was extremely nice even after signing books for over an hour) I knew this was going to be the first book I read from my BEA loot. I must say I was not disappointed in my choice. I truly enjoyed this book. It started out a little slow for me, it was a lot of back round information but about 1/4 was into the book it started to pick up and by the last 100 pages I could not stop reading. One particular aspect of the story I liked was the Book of Shhh (The Safety,Health, and Happiness Handbook). I enjoyed the clever way the author gave you the rules from this book making this world seem possible. How people could find actual medical problems(e.g stress, depression, heart disease) as symptoms that were caused by love (amor deliria nervosa). The author put a lot of thought into creating this world and its almost is if she wrote two books. I was shocked by the plot twists towards the end and the cliffhanger she left us with. I know I will be anxiously awaiting the 2nd book of this series, Pandemonium which is slated to come out in March 2012.

BOOK : 4.5/5 Cover: 4/5 ( I like the cover for the special edition version more)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Reviews: Phantom Evil by Heather Graham & The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

I am reviewing these books together because they basically are the same book, with variations. They both are set in the South, about women who can see ghosts, an ability which will ultimately help them each solve a crime. Both are the first in a series of books (The Restorer is the first of The Graveyard Queen series, and Phantom Evil is the first in the Krewe of Hunters series).  Both are billed as "romance" novels, but the romance takes a backseat to the rest of the story. They do have their own unique pros and cons though... 

I read The Restorer first, and maybe that is one of the reasons why I liked it so much better. The heroine, Amelia Gray, is a 2nd generation graveyard restorer, who also happens to be able to see ghosts.  There are rules about this "gift," which she's always held fast to, until she meets Devlin. Because he is haunted by some of those ghosts (but is unaware),  Amelia knows she is supposed to stay far away from him. But, he needs her help, both professionally and personally. Together, they must solve a murder after a new body is found in the old graveyard Amelia is restoring. 
         I literally could not sleep while reading this book; both because I didn't want to put it down, and then did not want to turn out the light when I did. The story is fresh and compelling. The chemistry between the main characters is exciting. However, I did feel disappointed that so much was left unanswered at the end. I get it is part of a series, but the sheer number of loose ends in this book is more than a little annoying. Still, I cannot wait to read book #2.

         I wish I had the same enthusiasm about Heather Graham's Phantom Evil. It was good, it just wasn't great. Unlike The Restorer, it is very obvious from the start that this book is part of a series. Way too many characters are introduced quickly in the book, and their supposed instant chemistry is a bit forced -- as is the romance between the main characters. It's almost as if they get together because they have nothing better to be doing. The plot had potential, and for the most part was interesting, but became confusing at times. I did find most of the characters likable, I just felt like they all lacked depth, even the supposed main characters of the novel.  I did appreciate that although this is to be part of a series, there were very few loose ends left dangling.

In the end, I'll probably end up reading all the books in both series, but I'm definitely anticipating the end of Amelia Gray's story in the Graveyard Queen series more.

Note:  I received free copies of both The Restorer and Phantom Evil from their publishers at the BEA. 

The Restorer:  book: 4.5/5  cover: 5/5 
Phantom Evil:  book: 3/5   cover:  4/5