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YA Book GIVEAWAY!!!

On Tuesday I posted my Top Ten Books Read so Far in 2013 and promised to highlight more of this year's favorites and offer them in giveaways. This is the YA giveaway.

This is open to anyone who lives where Book Depository ships for free.

Book Choices:











TO ENTER: Leave a comment below saying which book looks most interesting to you and leave a way I can reach you if you are the winner. (email address or twitter handle-If you are using Twitter it would be helpful if you followed me,@brandymuses, in case I need to DM you.)

Entries after Monday, July 1 8:00 PM EST are invalid. The winner will be drawn as close to 8 as possible. 

Yes, I still do my giveaways the old fashioned way.

MG Book GIVEAWAY!!!

ETA: WINNER CHOSEN-jpetroroy

On Tuesday I posted my Top Ten Books Read so Far in 2013 and promised to highlight more of this year's favorites and offer them in giveaways. This is the MG giveaway.

This is open to anyone who lives where Book Depository ships for free.

Book Choices:









Can you tell I'm not feeling the MG realistic fiction this year?

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below saying which book looks most interesting to you and leave a way I can reach you if you are the winner. (email address or twitter handle-If you are using Twitter it would be helpful if you followed me,@brandymuses, in case I need to DM you.)

Entries after Saturday, June 29 at 8:00 PM EST are invalid. The winner will be drawn that night (when I return from the event I'm attending). 

Yes, I still do my giveaways the old fashioned way.

City of a Thousand Dolls

I adore fantasies. I also adore murder mysteries. Combine the two and I am one happy girl, which is why I thoroughly enjoyed City of a Thousand Dollsby Miriam Forster.

In the Bhinian Empire there is a law stating that every family may only have two children. Boys being preferred over girls, it is the girls who are abandoned. The City of a Thousand Dolls was started to save the future generations. Families can send their daughters to the city where they will be trained to find a place in life as a wife, mistress, musician, healer, or scholar. Nisha is a resident of the city with no set place, the assistant of the Matron, her eyes and ears in the city. She has been trained in combat and music and is free to come and go in the houses as she pleases. Wherever she goes she is accompanied by one or more of the city's cats, whose voices she can hear. When girls in the houses start to end up dead and Nisha realizes her own future is not as secure as she thought, she begins working to find …

TTT: Top Ten Books I've Read so Far in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's TTT topic is Books I've Read so Far in 2013. (I am only including books already published and not books I've read ARCs for that have not been released yet.)

It is always hard to narrow the favorites down to 10. There is always a temptation to cheat and list all the books. I am being ruthless and limiting to 10. Sort of. I have devised a way to include more books, just not in this post and that way could possibly benefit you, Dear Reader. How? Check out the end of the post.

But first, the books (in alphabetical order, links are to my reviews for all but first):
A Coalition of Lions by Elizabeth Wein: If you were unaware that Elizabeth Wein was writing awesome historical fiction that takes place in Ancient Ethiopia prior to her Code Name Verity fame, you should acquaint yourself with these books now. I haven't written a review yet because I want to finish the rest of the series first. But for now kn…

Shorter Musings: Contemporary YA

Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. I jot down a few thoughts and then I move on. Some of those are starting to pile up so I thought I would put them all together in one post.

Some recent Contemporary YA reads, one of which I LOVED:

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle 
This is a well written and heart wrenching account of grieving and the process of moving on from tragedy. It is not a happy book to say the least, though it does have its lighter moments and the end is hopeful. It certainly had an effect on my mood when I was reading it, which says a lot for the strength of the writing. It is long and very character driven, there is little excitement in the plot. It is about a girl coming to terms with losing her family, being at peace with the person responsible, and making a new life for herself. I can't say I enjoyed it because it made me seriously gloomy, but I appreciate it what it for what it is. 

Love and Ot…

Cover Love AND Review: The Wells Bequest

I can not tell you how much I love the cover of The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman. I was therefore excited when I realized I was planning on scheduling the review for the same day as Cover Love. I decided I would gush over the cover and the contents at the same time.
Cover Love is hosted by Bookshelvers Anonymous and is for the purpose of sharing the love of amazing and wonderful covers.


 The picture of the cover is pretty amazing, but it's nothing to the beauty of seeing it up close. The colors are deep, rich, and gorgeous. I just adore the details too. How Leo is in motion, because he always is. And Jaya standing there so determined and fierce. Then there's the clock and the shifting city around them. Love. Love. Love

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Leo never imagined that time travel might really be possible, or that the objects in H. G. Wells’ science fiction novels might actually exist. And when a miniature time machine appears in Leo’s bedroom, he has no idea who the tiny,…

The Cadet of Tildor

When I first heard of The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell I was intrigued. I love political intrigue fantasy and this seemed to have all that. When my library got a copy I put it on hold straight away.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown's inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

The plot is even more complex than the synopsis gives it credit for. There are a lot of layers …

Implausiblity in Fiction

I have been seeing a lot of reviews lately that mention something being "too implausible". I have been guilty of questioning whether belief was being stretched too far, though I hope I have never used this bold a statement. I have been pondering this expression quite a bit. Is it possible for fiction to be too implausible, particularly fiction directed toward children?

The second half of that question is because I have seen this phrase used several places in regards to Holly Black's book Doll Bones. Yes, the kids do things kids typically wouldn't get away with. But when did that become a problem in a book? I am preparing to read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg with a group of 4th-6th graders, as I have done many years. Kids love this book and the implausibility of the situation is part of that love. Children want to believe they can run away from home, live in a museum, and succeed at it, only returning on their own terms. Kids…

Shorter Musings: MG Fantasy

Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. I jot down a few thoughts and then I move on. Some of those are starting to pile up so I thought I would put them all together in one post.

Here are some MG Fantasy books I have read recently with my thoughts.

In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz
I enjoyed this one more than I did A Tale Dark & Grimm. Jack and Jill are likable heroes and I enjoyed following them on their journey. I positively loved Frog, best fairy tale sidekick talking animal ever. I just think Gidwitz isn't a good fit for me as a reader. I hate narrators who talk to me and interject commentary, and for some reason this narrator annoys me even more than usual. I also feel like there it isn't so much of dark element of the fairy tales being shown as the gross element. Fairy tales are meant to be dark, but the darkness serves a purpose greater than raising the ick factor in the reading experience. I feel like G…

The Reece Malcolm List

The Reece Malcolm Listby Amy Spalding surprised me. Enough people I trust enjoyed it so I knew I would like it, but wasn't expecting to like it as much as I do. It is a really great book that is fun and has real heart and soul too.

Synopsis:
Things I know about Reece Malcolm:
1. She graduated from New York University.
2. She lives in or near Los Angeles.
3. Since her first novel was released, she’s been on the New York Times bestseller list every week.
4. She likes strong coffee and bourbon.
5. She’s my mother.
Devan knows very little about Reece Malcolm, until the day her father dies and she’s shipped off to live with the mother she’s never met. All she has is a list of notebook entries that doesn’t add up to much.
L.A. offers a whole new world to Devan—a performing arts school allows her to pursue her passion for show choir and musicals, a new circle of friends helps to draw her out of her shell, and an intriguing boy opens up possibilities for her first love.
But then the Reece M…

48 HBC: The End!

So technically I still have 45 minutes, but I'm wrapping up now because the Tony Awards are on at 8 and I need a shower first. 

The books I've read today:
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (my rage filled thoughts)
The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson (my thoughts)
Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo (my thoughts

Here are the final totals for the whole 48 hours:

Pages Read: 3,498

Time Reading: 28 hours 25 minutes

Time Reviewing: 2 hours 50 minutes

Commenting/Twitter/Etc: 2 hours

Time Sleeping: 10

Here is a tally of what I read:
2 Adult Books (1 Romance, 1 Mystery)
4 YA Books (3 Fantasy, 1 Conemporary)
5 MG Books (3 Contemporary, 2 Fantasy)

My favorite read: The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

I had tons of fun and am thankful to have my TBR down at least a little. It is still so massive though.

48 HBC: Udate the Third

Lamest. Update. Ever.

I totally crashed last night. Ah well, I knew it was coming.

Book Read:
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (my thoughts)

Pages Read: 347

Time Reading: 3 hours, 50 minutes

Time on Social Media: 10 min

Time Blogging: 10 min

Time Sleeping: 7 hours

I hope in this final stretch to get at least three more books read. My family is home today and I'm letting my husband sleep in. (He deserves it.) Fortunately, my kids are finally at an age where they can feed and entertain themselves until he is up. (Oh glorious day, I'm excited it has arrived.)

I still hope to read:
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson
A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchinson


48 HBC: Update the Second

So after a few hours of napping I was able to get back to it.  I got through more of my TBR because I ended up DNFing the longest book I was planning to read today.

The Books I've Read:
The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susan Cokal (Read 51 pages-why I DNFed it)
Hound Dog True by Linda Urban (my thoughts)
City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster (review coming later this month)
The Real Boy  by Anne Ursu (review coming closer to release date

Since Last Update
Number of Pages Read: 735

Time Reading: 7 hours, 25 minutes

Time on Writing Reviews: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Time on Social Networking/Commenting: 1 hour

Time Spent Sleeping: 3 hours

I have a feeling I will be sleeping more this next segment, so my goal is to finish two books before tomorrow morning:
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd


48HBC: Update The First

12 Hours In!

The Books I've Read:
The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand (my thoughts)
The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic by Uma Krishnaswami (review will post closer to release)
The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell (review coming soon)
Secrets of Shakespeare's Grave by Deron R. Hicks (my thoughts)

Number of Hours Reading: 10 hours (I'm pretty impressed I hit it exactly. I wasn't even trying.)

Number of Pages Read: 1,436

Time on Writing Reviews: 1 hour; 5 minutes

Time on Social Networking/Commenting on Blogs: 25 minutes

Time Spent Sleeping: 0 !!!!!!

So I read 4/5 books in my first goal. AND managed to not fall asleep. The books were too interesting. The no sleeping thing is over for now. Things are starting to blurr and I'm feeling woozy. I'm going to take a nap, but I will be back to update again this evening after getting some more reading in hopefully.

Goals by next update:
The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
Hound Dog True by Linda Urban
City of a Thousan…

48 HBC: AND GO!

I'm officially kicking off the 48 HBC now. (Ms. Yingling is hosting this year and there is still time to join in the fun!) I am going to see how long I can go without sleep but am not fooling myself that I won't have to stop and take naps. I am going to try my best not to, but I like sleep. It would be nice if I didn't have to though because this is the current state of my TBR:

And this doesn't include the e-galleys and recently purchased e-books on my Nook.

So to say that I need this 48 hours is an understatement.

Here is my goal for the first 12 hours:
The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand
The Problem with Being Slightly Heroicby Uma Krishnaswami
The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell
Secrets of Shakespeare's Grave by Deron R. Hicks
The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal

Honestly, I'll be happy if I make it through half of those by 8:15 AM tomorrow, when I will update. I read at a pretty good pace, but I slow down as I get tired so who knows what will actually be…

Eleanor & Park

Finally! I feel like I've been waiting to read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell forever. It's really only been months but still. My library was taking ages to get a copy and I had to wait until it fit in the book budget. Yay for birthdays! I really enjoyed this book. Rowell is great at really making you feel the emotions of her characters. I was not surprised at the announcement on Saturday that it won the Boston Globe Horn Book Award. It is certainly deserving of it.

Eleanor is surviving life and that is the best she can currently hope for. Starting a new high school, her first day gets off to the worst start when no one makes room for her to sit. Finally a begrudging boy orders her to just sit next to him and he's not exactly friendly. Park doesn't want to share his bus seat, especially with some one as odd as Eleanor, but as the weeks pass little things begin to intrigue him, like the song titles she writes on her book covers and the fact that she is covertly re…

Waiting on Wednesday: Being Sloane Jacobs

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might …