SnapShot Reading

In an effort to keep my blogging simple I like to just share a book that I’m currently reading.

Today I’m sharing:


Me and Miranda Mullaly by Jake Gerhardt

So far it’s pretty cute!



Author Interview and GIVEAWAY Joel McGrath – Shrouded Secrets

On Fridays I like to take a step back and look at a group of readers often under-represented in the YA world – Guys!  During this time I’ll highlight or review a book great for guys.  
And sometimes I get the chance to highlight an author that helps represent this group.  

Today that’s what I get to do!  
I am welcoming Joel McGrath author of Shrouded Secrets.  
PLUS he has generously put up a copy of the book to giveaway!

Here’s a bit about the book if you don’t know it:

When a teenage brother and sister inherit secret metaphysical powers, they are unknowingly hunted by a group of clandestine immortals. While one of the siblings will reluctantly choose the path of righteousness, the other will defiantly dabble with the promise of true power and the darkness that accompanies it.  

As David James begins his freshman year of high school, he learns that his older sister Danielle’s popularity isn’t genetic. However, their lives change dramatically with the discovery that they possess power which grants them vast unearthly abilities. The more they strive for reasonable normality, the more unstable their powers become when combined with the stresses of high school teenage life. 

While jealousy, love, and anger unhinge their once typical lives, temptations to abuse their newfound gifts are manipulated by a shrouded and unyielding adversary who seeks to cast earth into a modern dark age. Soon secrets will injure the ones they love as the burden of true power begins to isolate them. Not even the ominous prospect of a crumbling world matters when each of them finds that they are helpless to control their own desires. 
Shrouded Secrets is an imaginative story in which David and Danielle James encounter the realm Eruditus. It is there they are taught to employ powers of the Artifex. The Galinea, knighted protectors of Eruditus, have those among them who have gone rogue. These malcontents, known as the Shroud, have set their sights on the two siblings. A perilous adventure ensues as David and Danielle become entangled with enemies who seek to claim their very lives.

And a bonus – a look at the summary for the sequel The Shadow Harvest

Immortality has been lost and in another realm, David James has been branded a murderer of the last in the royal line of Eruditus. The Doyen Council has locked the doors to the temple, and sealed the entrance that leads directly to Earth. In addition, they have charged their sacred warriors, the Galinea, with treason for the destruction of the peace that they were once sworn to keep. For the two siblings on Earth, everything has returned to an even more comfortable normal than they had ever previously experienced. Danielle accepts an unexpected scholarship to the Decayther School, an exclusive, co-ed boarding school in the quiet English countryside just south of London. Meanwhile, David is doomed to summer school because he was caught cheating on one of his final exams. At the same time, a massive and mysterious medieval, yet seemingly invisible, castle materializes, covering an entire mountaintop not far from where David lives. To those few souls who are able to view its ominous presence perched high above the California coastline, they have no question as to what its purpose is, and how it has suddenly appeared.
Soon a gathering of a few unique, yet otherwise ordinary children and teenagers begins worldwide. There are reports of tragic freak accidents that claim the lives of some, while others are abruptly taken, never to be heard from again. Late one night in a mostly deserted New York City subway, a strange supernatural battle occurs between two individuals who are seeking the same teenaged target. Local law enforcement is baffled when they arrive on the gruesome scene moments later. They discover that one of the two has met a most untimely and puzzling death, while the other has vanished into the night. While in England, nightmares of Danielle’s beloved Seth’s morbid demise at the hands of a ghastly creature, cause her angst, even though he is safely alive back in California. The night terrors become vivid and more frequent with horror-plagued images, which now overpower her once peaceful dreams. David is actively and unknowingly recruited as an asset that will help decide the fate of the shadow harvest. Even though his once unique strength has not returned to him, an unobtrusive force begins to manipulate him and those he loves. David’s decisions begin to tear his best friends apart, leaving them all in a weakened state, and ripe for the coming attack. First loves, old flames, and vicious betrayals are tempered by new allies, ancient enemies, and shattering revelations. A latent new order has emerged, and there is no middle ground left to claim. Governments begin to react irrationally as if their thoughts had become permeated with fear and mistrust, and no longer can be considered their own thoughts at all. Nevertheless, to the average eye, the world continues as it always has, and there appears to be no cause for alarm, but that will soon change. And unless both Danielle and David choose to believe in courage and to endure no matter the sacrifice, they will be powerless when what has been destine to occur is fulfilled beyond what any of them had ever envisioned. 

So with that welcome Joel to The O.W.L.!!!!

For Shrouded Secrets – what part/character/event are you most excited/proud about?
You know, my main characters go through a lot of adversity. Things like the separation of parents, social and economic hardships, plus they have to deal with uncooperative, annoying, and sometimes just plain mean people. That being said, they’re not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m proud of some of the choices that they make in Shrouded Secrets. David James, and his older sister, Danielle, face some complex emotions in Shrouded Secrets, but they know who they are, and that’s what mostly guides their day to day decisions in the end.

Tell about your writing process. How long did it take you to write Shrouded Secrets from idea to finish? Please tell about revision is you can

My writing process is a little unorthodox. I write all of my characters’ qualities, shortcomings, interests, and pet peeves in a notebook before I ever begin constructing a story around them. Wow, boy, it actually took me thirty months from initial idea to finished product. I never realized it took me that long. The revision process was painful. I read the same sentence like five times once, but my brain kept putting in the missing words for me, so my editor read the manuscript and I had my copy and we both had our highlighters out, marking the script until there was almost no white left on the paper.

Is the story and/or characters based on anything/anyone in your real life?

Yes and no; some of the characters are based on the many different types of people that I’ve encountered on either my trips from coast to coast, or the very odd jobs that I’ve held, going back to when I was twelve years old and a horrible excuse for a paperboy. I’ve met some truly wonderful human beings, and I’ve come across a few very bad ones as well. For the most part though, I’ve found that people are somewhere in-between good and bad. The good ones are usually 51% good most of the time, and the bad ones are bad about 51% of the time. I think that Shrouded Secrets attempts to uncover the reasons behind our choices, despite the circumstances behind the ultimate choice.

How much say did you have in the cover of this book?  What is the process for creating a cover (my students are always curious about this!)

I had a lot of say in designing the cover and since the release of Shrouded Secrets a few months ago, many people have told me that they loved the cover art. The cover is supposed to be parchment paper with prophecies being burned to hide the secrets that they possess. The process of creating a cover was totally about feel for me. Of course, the right colors, designs, and fonts are very important, but for me it really was about feel. I believe that literature is alive, and that’s why the cover art was so important in the end. 

You’re a male author in YA and that’s fantastic! We need more.  How is that?  Why YA?

Up until Harry Potter, there were many more YA male writers. On a recent trip to Wal-Mart, I counted like sixty-five female authors to about nine male authors on their shelves. I think there’s a perception out there that male writers aren’t as good at world building, character development, and description as our female counterparts. I personally think there’s a place for male YA writers again, but young men should read classics from the likes of Jane Austen as well as the Veronica Roth’s of the world. I have four brothers, but I also have four sisters and I think that females are more open-minded when it comes to their literary choices than are males.

I chose YA because it’s an age group that hasn’t, for the most part, become totally jaded by their worldly experiences yet. I love this age group; I think it’s the best and worst years of our lives because it holds out hope that the future can be or will be different, and better than now.

What kind of student were you?  Was English your favorite subject in school and did you always write?
Surprisingly substandard, not that I wasn’t smart, but I was bored with what was being taught most of the time. If it were something that was engaging though, I would learn it better than anyone else would. I did become a much better and consistent student when I got into college, probably because I was paying for it by then.

My grandmother was an English teacher, and my dad was kind of a stickler about English as well, but I preferred writing poetry when I was younger. I liked poetry because it could be raw yet beautiful, and heartfelt but heartbreaking at the same time. However, I never wrote any type of substantial fiction until I wrote Shrouded Secrets

And because it’s the owl my standard question always is: WHOOO do you admire when it comes to writing? Whoooo are your favorite authors now and when you were growing up?
I admire Agatha Christie, for sure, because she was extremely dedicated to bettering herself and her literary craft. I think that she both knew what kind of writer she was, and how continuing to refine her works would lend to their timelessness.

My favorite author now would have to be Ralph Waldo Emerson because I relate to many of his ideas and quotes as an adult. And my favorite authors growing up were, husband and wife team, James and Deborah Howe who co-wrote Bunnicula together.
Thanks Joel! Neat to see some thoughts from the male perspective!

Now the giveaway! 
To win a copy of Shrouded Secrets.
Fill out THIS FORM
Must be a US resident.
Ends in one week – Aug 19th

Book Review +GIVEAWAY The Power of Six

Title: The Power of Six
Author: Pittacus Lore
Publisher: Harper Collins


I’ve seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he’s a mystery. But to me . . . he’s one of us. 
Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We’re hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we’ll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I’ve been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?  

They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.  

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive. 
And I’m ready to fight

My Review
I liked this book.  I liked it better than I Am Number Four (which I read and never really reviewed).  When reading I Am Number Four I felt like I knew the story because of all the hype with the movie etc.  Had I read it before that I might have enjoyed it better.  The Power of Six never felt that way.  It seemed like a much “fresher” story if that makes sense.  It didn’t feel like I had heard it all before in a movie preview or review.  I actually stayed up late a few nights to read it.

I think what I really liked was that it went back and forth between John and Six and another one of the group – Number 7 or better known as Marina.  I liked her a lot.  Where John had a great mentor (????), she didn’t.  I liked seeing how she needed to struggle a bit more – that not everyone of them had the same life as John.  I know John had to move around a lot, but everything else was pretty good.  He always had a place to live and Henri’s support.  At points I thought it was too easy! But in this book you learn that not all of them had it that easy.  That some really struggled when coming to Earth.  Marina and her ???? were two that struggled at first.  I kinda made me like her more!  I liked seeing her strength come out when she realized she was going to have to do this on her own.  The series went from a great “boys” book to also a book with awesome strong girls! That’s great because now I can suggest it to both boys and girls.

The plot of this book revealed more of the story.  In I Am Number Four it seemed to just focus on John getting his legacies and learning a bit about his past.  This instalment really gives us more clues and pieces to what is a deeper story than it first seemed.  Having some key points explained or finally just told was great because it held my interest – I wanted to know what else had been kept hidden!

One point I didn’t care for – the whole John/Sarah/Six semi love triangle thing.  It just seemed unnecessary.  The book would’ve been as strong without it.

For the Guys?  Yup even tho the new character is a girl there is still lots of John and his story.

Final Thought:  Stronger than the first one.
Best stick-with-you image:  Marina healing Ella
Best for readers who: Like books with action
Best for ages 13+

Now for the giveaway!
I was asked to host a giveaway of The Power of Six!
To enter:
Fill out the form
Be a US Resident
Must be 13
Ends in Aug 23rd – when the book is released!

Waiting on Wed: Sprinkles and Secrets

This is inspired by a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. In this post I talk about books yet to be released that I’m excited about OR already published book’s I’ve seen that I’m really wanting to read. I also like to try and find books other bloggers aren’t sharing so that more books are shared.
I’m Waiting On:
Sprinkles and Secrets
 by Lisa Schroeder
Release: September 20

Why I’m Waiting

Simple one here:  I so loved the first book, It’s Raining Cupcakes, (well companion book since it’s not a true sequel).  It was such a great book for the tween set, so I completely believe this one will be too!  Besides that cover is adorable!!!!!


In this companion novel to It’s Raining Cupcakes, twelve-year-old Sophie has a dream come true when she’s offered a TV commercial spot. She’s not just happy about the opportunity, she’s over the moon happy!

But then she finds out what exactly she’ll be advertising: the delectable, ever-popular brownies from Beatrice’s Brownies, which just so happens to be the number one competitor to It’s Raining Cupcakes, a cupcake shop owned by her best friend, Isabel’s, family.

Sophie has a tough choice to make: Follow her dreams or crush her best friend. What’s a girl to do?

Book Review: Hot Ticket by Tracy Marchini

Title: Hot Ticket
Author: Tracy Marchini
Publisher: Squirrel Books


“Hot tickets could be awarded for doing something cool, saying something funny, or sometimes even just wearing something the ticket dispenser liked. All authentic hot tickets were two inch by six inch rectangles made from this orange cardboard material, with “HOT TICKET” written in big bold letters at the top. Hot tickets first started becoming popular about a month after school started. Then there was this rash of copycat tickets on regular paper, but people just tossed those in the trash. Everybody could figure out it was one of their friends that made it anyway. But an authentic ticket – that was something you kept. Some people had their lockers decorated in hot and shame tickets. Some people kept their hot tickets at home to prevent theft. If I got a hot ticket, I would definitely keep it taped on the inside door of my locker. Right now my locker only had a locker mirror, a picture of Lucy and I from my birthday party at Six Flags and these annoying cat stickers from the person who had my locker before me. Fifth grade did not prepare me for this at all.” Juliet Robinson is the only sixth grader in John Jay Jr. High who hasn’t received a “hot ticket” from the mysterious ticket dispenser. When one of the dorkiest kids in school – Crammit Gibson – receives a ticket before she does, Juliet decides that the ticketing system has to stop. With the help of her best friend Lucy, a Daria-esque Madeline and her almost-crush Crammit, Juliet is determined to climb a few rungs on the middle school social ladder and catch the ticket dispenser once and for all!

My Review 

This past year I watched Silly Bandz take over during the fall.  Kids would crowd around my desk and show off theirs and trade.  The more you had the cooler it was.  That soooooo reminded me of the hot tickets in this book.  All the kids wanted them, and the more you had the “cooler” you were, and if you didn’t have any you didn’t want anyone knowing.  I could completely see students getting caught up in these hot tickets and trying to figure out how to get some.

Juliet doesn’t have any.  None.  And she is bugged by it.  At first you can tell she’s just a little bugged, but as the story goes on she gets hyper-focused on these tickets and either getting one or, more importantly, figuring out the sender.  This becomes such an obsession with her that she almost looses her best friend!  This may be been a little over dramatic for the the purpose of the book, and as a grown up I was rolling my eyes a bit about her whole obsession BUT I knew it was completely realistic for a kid that age.

The whole mystery of who the sender of the hot tickets is was well done.  Just as Juliet’s clues and evidence kept her changing who she thought it was, the reader is kept uncertain as well.  If I had thought a little more instead of just enjoying the story, I might have figured it out before Juliet, but I chose to just enjoy.  It wasn’t really obvious, so that was great.  If I had known sooner, or figured it out sooner, the book wouldn’t have been as enjoyable.

My only slight concern with the story was the reaction of the teachers.  It seemed to take them a while to step in, especially with all the poster hanging.  I know that in my building the posters for sure would not have gotten that far before someone stopped them.  It’s only a minor thing, and I think that my being a teacher is the only reason why I noticed it.  A kid reading the book wouldn’t care!

For the Guys?  The cover is very gender neutral so I could for sure get them to at least check it out!  Not so sure they’d get Juliet’s obsession though!

Final Thought:  Popularity Fad like Hot Tickets are completely believable!
Best stick-with-you image: When Juliet figures the whole thing out!
Best for readers who are: 6th graders
Best for ages: 9-12

Make sure to read the guest post by the author when she talks about an experience she had as a 6th grader.  Fun memory that I know added to the fantastic feel of the story.

Guest Post: Tracy Marchini Author of Hot Ticket

Today for Tween Tuesday I have a fantastic guest posts from Tracy Marchini, the author of Hot Ticket – a super fun tween book that I’ll be reviewing later today.

Here’s the book summary, so you know what it’s all about:

“Hot tickets could be awarded for doing something cool, saying something funny, or sometimes even just wearing something the ticket dispenser liked. All authentic hot tickets were two inch by six inch rectangles made from this orange cardboard material, with “HOT TICKET” written in big bold letters at the top. Hot tickets first started becoming popular about a month after school started. Then there was this rash of copycat tickets on regular paper, but people just tossed those in the trash. Everybody could figure out it was one of their friends that made it anyway. But an authentic ticket – that was something you kept. Some people had their lockers decorated in hot and shame tickets. Some people kept their hot tickets at home to prevent theft. If I got a hot ticket, I would definitely keep it taped on the inside door of my locker. Right now my locker only had a locker mirror, a picture of Lucy and I from my birthday party at Six Flags and these annoying cat stickers from the person who had my locker before me. Fifth grade did not prepare me for this at all.” Juliet Robinson is the only sixth grader in John Jay Jr. High who hasn’t received a “hot ticket” from the mysterious ticket dispenser. When one of the dorkiest kids in school – Crammit Gibson – receives a ticket before she does, Juliet decides that the ticketing system has to stop. With the help of her best friend Lucy, a Daria-esque Madeline and her almost-crush Crammit, Juliet is determined to climb a few rungs on the middle school social ladder and catch the ticket dispenser once and for all!

One of the things my students always wonder about is what were authors like when they were in middle school.  They can relate to that!  Tracy fantastically gave us a look at her 6th grade self!  Oh can I see 6th graders doing this!
Welcome Tracy to The O.W.L.!
When I was in sixth grade…

My character, Juliet, is very concerned about changing her sixth grade reputation.  And if I was somebody who was known for ruining school dances, vomiting during assemblies and being incapable of completing the school cheer, I’d be concerned about changing my middle school reputation, too!
My sixth grade experience was completely different from Juliet’s, though.  I based John Jay Jr. High (aka Triple J) on the public junior high that my little sister went to.  She had a pretty large sixth grade class, who mostly followed her up through eighth grade and into the high school.  I went to a parochial school, and we stayed with our homeroom teacher for most of the day.  Like Juliet, I wasn’t the most popular girl in sixth grade, but unlike Juliet, my class had only twelve people in it.  So if Hot Tickets were introduced in my class, it’d probably take less than a recess period to figure out who was handing them out!  
To be honest, my little class of twelve caused a lot of trouble.  I was pretty quiet in sixth grade, but if the whole class was throwing their spelling books on top of the closet or declaring an impromptu ‘health class,’ then I joined in, too.  I didn’t get sent to the principal’s office nearly as much as Juliet does, but we had many classroom… incidents.  Here’s one of my tamer stories from sixth grade:

Our school had a lab for the science classes, which was also at one point the art room.  (When it was the art room, and our former art teacher had a headache, we were told to draw our shoe.  I happen to be an excellent drawer of Sketchers brown oxfords.  We then got a new art teacher, who did all sorts of great things – none of which involved our feet.)  
Anyway, one day there was a cage with a live rabbit in the science lab.  The girl’s room was right next to the lab, and I happened to take a peek into it on the way to the bathroom.
The rabbit was not in the cage.
I put my nose up to the door’s window.  The rabbit was loose, and there were droppings everywhere.  On the long wooden tables, on the floor, on the wet sink — it looked like someone took a ten pound bag of brown M&Ms and shot them out of a cannon in the middle of the room.
I ran back to the classroom, threw open the door and announced, “There’s a rabbit loose in the lab!”  Immediately, eleven hysterical sixth graders went rushing out of the classroom.
Our teacher was shouting, “Sit down!  Just leave it alone!”
“But it’s pooping everywhere!” I replied.
“It’s going to get hurt!” one of my classmates said, as they left the classroom.
We gathered around the lab door, and after the class had spent a sufficient period of time gawking at the rabbit, the janitor was called to catch it.  We eventually shuffled back to the classroom, though nobody ever explained why there was a rabbit in the lab to begin with.
Over the course of our junior high career, our janitor would also be called to clean up a dead bird (not our doing), wipe the baking soda from the lab-room-floor-turned-slip-n-slide (that was us) and figure out what, exactly, was causing that disgusting smell in the coat closet.  (It turned out to be a whole carton of eggs, which had clearly gone bad months before.  I think there may have also been a bad grapefruit.)  
In a major clean-up, we also discovered a ten-year-old jar of chicken fat, which was dumped down the girl’s bathroom sink.  (A word to the wise – should you discover a jar of old chicken fat and decide to dump it down the sink, there will be a smell so foul, so raunchy, so indescribably stomach-turning, that you still will not be able to think about it without going a little green fifteen or so years later.  Also, that room will become uninhabitable for the next three days.)

I would tell you more about my sixth grade experience, but I’m trying to protect the innocent… and not-so-innocent.  Besides, who knows what part I’ll use of it in the next book!

OMGosh that is super funny, and its those kind of memories that I could tell Tracy brought into the feel of Hot Ticket making it so fun and real!

Hot Ticket is available at Amazon US (UK or DE), Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.  More information about Tracy can be found at or on Twitter as @TracyMarchini.

Tween Tuesday was started by GreenBeanTeenQueen.

Cover Crush: Otherwordlies and Siren’s Cry

I soooo love book covers. Honestly I’ve been known to drag my sister through the bookstore to show her a cover I like or hunt down certain students to show them.  It really is like I have a crush.  So once a week I like to highlight these covers.
This week I’m crushing on:

This is a simple one.  I just love how this girl looks.  Although she looks older than the main character in the book, there is a naivety about her that comes through.  And the green eyes in Otherwordlies are great.  You can still see them in Siren’s Cry, but it’s neat to see a different angle of the face.  I know these aren’t the most exciting covers, but I first picked up Otherworldlies because of the cover alone!

The Return of IMM + Andrea Cremer Signing and GIVEAWAY!

Not a ton of people voted in my poll about whether you want to see IMM posts from me, but those that did clearly indicated that they would.  The people talk, and I listen.  I will return to doing an IMM post.  I may not do one each week (maybe bi-weekly), but I will jump back into them.
IMM is hosted by The Story Siren each week.

Here is a pic of what I got this week!

For Review
The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore (there will also be a giveaway so stay tuned!)
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
When my daughter saw this one she thought for sure it was part of the Wake/Fade/Gone series
The Fox Inheritance (audio book) by Mary E. Pearson
From Paperback Swap
Tempted by P.C. Cast and Kirstin Cast
Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
From NetGalley
Eve by Anna Carey
Eve (The Eve Trilogy, #1)
Variant by Robinson Wells
Lastly! I was lucky enough to go to the launch party for Andrea Cremer and Wolfsbane
 It was super cool, and she was very nice and down to earth.  Below are a few pics.  
She read a small part of Wolfsbane and signed books.

For one lucky reader I have a SIGNED copy of Nightshade to give out!
Must be US resident
AND MUST welcome me back to the world of IMM (silly one I know!)
Ends in one week, so Saturday Aug 13.

For the Guys – Book Review: The Cellar by A.J. Whitten

On Fridays I like to take a step back and focus on a title that would appeal to the boys.  I see tons of “girl” book in YA, but not as much “boy” books.  These aren’t always pure boy books, but they are books that I think boys could/would like.

Today I have a book review.

Title: The Cellar
Author: A.J. Whitten
Publisher: Graphia


Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep—he may be an actual monster. 

But her sister, Heather, doesn’t share Meredith’s repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understands her. In fact, she may be falling in love with him. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to Heather, it feels like fate. To Meredith, it feels like a bad omen. But if she tries to tear the couple apart, she could end up in the last place she’d ever want to be: the cellar. Can Meredith convince her sister that she’s dating the living dead before it’s too late for both of them?

My Review

You know when a finish a book, you know you should sit down and write the review right away but you don’t?  Well that’s what happened here, so forgive me if this review is a little short. I’m actually going to write it using the 5 W’s to help me remember and focus it 🙂

FIRST THOUGH.  Since I’m writing this review on a Friday my typical For the Guys day I want to address if it’s for the guys. For the Boys?  Even though the main character is a girl – yes I think so!  It’s got that horror movie vibe going, so they might like it!

Who:  The main character Meredith as great.  Strong.  Smart.  Capable.  I liked her quite a bit.  Her sister – not so much.  I get she was going through a very – very rough time but it just wasn’t enough to garner any sympathy for her from me.  I think the story would’ve been better if I wouldn’t felt more for her.  And the bad boy next store, Adrien ?  One word – CREEPY! Ok wait two words – and YUCKY.  He was suppose to be, so those aren’t really bad words.  Because part of the book is from Adrien’s view I do think the boys could buy into this one.

What:  What is this book about? Zombies.  Yup this story is about zombies.  A nice bit different look at them thought.  They aren’t brain dead, drag your feet along and moan zombies, but they are still creepy and yucky. Oh and about love.  But mostly the yuckiness of zombies.

When:  When did I cringe the most?   When they ate – and I don’t mean the two sisters.  I don’t normally cringe when reading but I did here!  It was pretty gross at parts.  That was intended! I showed you what Adrien was really like – and trust me after seeing how he did things you didn’t like him!  And if you’ve got a boy that’s ok with that kind of stuff – this book would be great for him.

Where: Where did the story lose me some?  Towards the end when I think I was suppose to feel something for Adrien .  After seeing how cruel and horrible he was, I didn’t buy into that much.  It was kind’ve a hard switch to make.  Blood and gore at one point, to seeing that he wants love the next.  I just found that a bit hard for me.

Why: Why did I like it and why might both boys and girls?  It was a very interesting retelling of Romeo and Juliet (ok that part might not interest boys).  I liked that it was the whole dieing for love bit with a sick little twist.  And I’ll admit that little twist was a nice change from all the other stories I’d been reading lately.  It took that kinda over-done love story and freshened it up – ok freshened it up with death and bugs and blood, but still it a nice change!  I think boys would like it for the same reason.

How:  How would I rate it?  I didn’t love it.  I didn’t hate it.  Like I said it was a nice change and great to see kind’ve a horror book show up in YA.  I guess I’d rate it a 3 out of 5 stars if I had to.

Final thought:  Zombies – check.  Love – check.  Blood and cringe worth yuckiness – check.  A change of pace – YUP.
Best stick-with-you image:  Adrien’s eyes
Best for readers:  Who can handle some graphic scenes
Best for ages: 13+

Guest Post: Jonathan Auxier Author of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes +GIVEAWAY!!

I have been seeing reviews on Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, so imagine my suprise and excitment when I was approached to have the author, Jonathan Auxier, guest post on my blog! But wait there’s more AND to host a giveaway for the book!  I love blogging 🙂
Ok, ok, enough of that – time to welcome 
Jonathan to The O.W.L.

Hey there readers — I’m pretty excited to be here at The O.W.L.!  My name is Jonathan Auxier, and I just wrote a brand-spanking-new book called Peter Nimble & His Fantastic Eyes!  It’s the story of a ten year-old blind orphan who also happens to be the greatest thief who ever lived. Today, I thought I’d talk to you a little bit about where I got the idea for my story.

Most every writer out there gets asked where their ideas come from. Whenever I’m asked this question, I tell people that I get ideas the same way Peter Nimble gets treasure:  I steal them!

Now before you call the cops, let me explain.  Pretty much every good idea is really a combination of older ideas.  I mean, whatare “ideas” other than observations about the sights, smells, sounds, and stories all around us?  My job as a writer is to keep my eyes and ears open, absorbing as many of these details as possible — jokes I’ve read in magazines, funny signs in shop windows, a new word I’ve never heard before.  Eventually these bits will connect with one another to form a story!

And how do I store all this wonderful material?  I keep it in one of these!

Every writer and artist I know uses a journal of some kind to put down the things they see.  Sometimes I have more words than pictures:

Sometimes I have more pictures than words:

 And every once in a while, I have an idea for a new character whomay just end up having his very own book!

It’s never too early to start journaling!  All you need is a pen, a notebook, and open eyes!  Here are some journaling tips I’ve learned along the way:

1) Find the right tools for you.  Every journaler I know has aspecific notebook and pen that they like to use.  Some people prefer a small notepad that fits in their pocket, others like a larger book with plenty of room to draw.  Let yourself experiment to find the perfect book/pen combo that is both convenient to carry around and easy to use.

2)  Stay away from “I”.  An artist journal is different from a diary.  In a diary, you write about yourself; in a journal, you write about everything but yourself!  Just take notes about the different things you encounter — eventually all those entries will become a sort of personal reference library for when you want to tell a story.

3)  Your Journal is NOT a work of art!  Don’t worry about making it pretty — no one’s looking over your shoulder. A journal should get beat up.  Words should be scribbled out. Rip pages out when you need scrap paper. Use it as a seat when you’re on wet grass. When you break your pen, use spit and a jelly bean to draw a picture (I have done this)!

4)  Never leave the house without it.  I promise that the one time you leave your journal at home will be the one time you’ll wish you had it!

5)  Write at least one thing down every day.  It doesn’t have to be a lot — just put something down.  Doing this will keep you in the habit of paying attention to the world around you. Also, all of those short entries will eventually add up to something pretty impressive …

That’s it for me!  If you want, come visit my website,, where I have information about Peter Nimble as well as a collection of pictures from my journals — and feel free to tell me about your own artist journal.  Happy scribbling!

Wow!!! Thanks Jonathan.  That was super cool to hear about and gave me lots of ideas for my own writing!
Now for the giveaway.
If you’d like to win a copy of
Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes:
Must be a US resident.
Must be at least 13
Must fill out form.
+1 for leaving a response for Jonathan 🙂
Ends Aug 11th