Young Adult Giveaway Hop

Contests, Food For Thought, Random

Guess What Readers!?!?

ya hop

That’s right! I’m participating in the Young Adult Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not a  Writer and BookLove 101.  You’ve probably noticed, if you’re a BookBandit Blog regular that I’ve been participating in several hops. And you’re probably asking yourself why?

Well, it’s a great chance for me to give great books to equally great homes.  And it’s a great chance for me to make room for some new books as well. It’s a win/win situation!

This time around I am giving  one very lucky winners a chance to win one of these two prize packs:

Prize Pack #1:

A (used) hardcover copy of Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly. If that wasn’t great, Angel Burn is signed by L.A. Weatherly! Of course I will also include an assortment of bookmarks/swag.

Now that you know what’s up for grabs, let’s get down to business.

Giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only, ages 13 years or older

Giveaway hop is open from January 29th (12:01 a.m. ) until February 4th (11:59 p.m.) To enter simply leave a comment on THIS blog post (only) telling what you’re most favorite YA book (of all time)  is. Please make sure to leave a valid e-mail address in your comment.

Winners will be selected via random number generator on February 5th. They’ll also be notified via e-mail on that day as well. Winners will have two days, until February 7th to respond to e-mail with mailing/shipping information. If response e-mail is NOT received, a new winner will be selected.

There are a TON of blogs participating in this hop, so please make sure to check them all out here!

Good Luck and Happy Hopping!

Book of the Week: I’m Bored

Book of the Week, Children's

I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Published: 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

This book didn’t bore me … not at all.

I love how the simplicity of this book speaks volumes.

The little girl, the main character of the book, remains nameless throughout. I think this will make it easier for readers to identify and sympathize with her.

We’ve all been bored at some point in our lives.

Is it true: if you’re bored than you’re boring? I don’t think so, personally.

I love the potato.

The potato is bored too … obviously.

What is the girl supposed to do with a potato?

potatoes by nature are boring. All they do is sit there and roll around.

The potato thinks kids are boring. And it’s up to the little girl to prove that maybe other kids are boring, but she is not.

She can turn cartwheels, spin herself into a dizzy oblivion, do ninja kicks, and imagine wild adventures.

I love how this book clearly illustrates the importance of using your imagination.

Children will adore this book! And will see a little of themselves, in the little girl and the potato.

With your imagination hard at work you can be: a famous ballerina, a lion tamer of the most ferocious lion, a dragon taming princess, and best of all a green monster with sharp teeth waiting to gobble up the town.

Kids can also be potatoes.

The only thing the potato likes are flamingos.

Even when the little girl is dressed like a potato, the potato STILL thinks she’s boring.

Flamingo’s finally show up. And guess what?! They’re bored!

Kids are better than potatoes, they aren’t flat.

I love th expressions on all the character’s faces – they are so … deadpan.

This book was as funny as I expected it to be.

This book was short, sweet, and to the point.

The Face on the Milk Carton

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney

No one ever believes the milk carton. All these “missing” children aren’t really lost or missing. No, they’re probably just runaways who don’t want to be found. That’s what Janie Johnson thought.

Until she sees her own three-year old self on one of those milk cartons.

Janie knows this has to be a mistake. Mommy and Daddy would never even think of committing a crime, let alone kidnap a little girl from a New Jersey mall. There has to be an explanation.

Distraught and confused, Janie doesn’t want to confront her loving parents. Confronting them would only mean that she’s accusing them. But if she doesn’t confront them, she’ll never really know who she is.

But when Janie finally confronts her parents, she learns more than she bargained for. And that learning will cause Janie to give up everything and everyone she knows.

Will Janie have to trade in her comfortable life to go live with a family she doesn’t know or want to know?

The Face on the Milk Carton, written by author Caroline B. Cooney, is the first in the Janie Johnson series.

First and foremost, I just want to say this: I fully understand that The Face on the Milk Carton is a beloved book, and the start of a beloved series.

The Face on the Milk Carton hints at several genres. There’s the element of mystery seamlessly weaved into raw emotion. Who is Janie Johnson, is that even her real name? Who kidnapped her, and why?  What will her become of her life if she’s forced to move in with her biological family?

Then there’s a splash of romance. Janie, is head over heels for neighbor and best friend Reeve, and when he reciprocates those feelings she’s practically over the moon. While their romance is innocent, the feelings are honest. Readers will feel the chemistry bubbling between them.

And above all things, The Face on the Milk Carton is realistic. So real that readers will be left wondering what they would do if they were in Janie’s shoes, would they react the same way?  Because this book is so realistic, emotions run rampant on the pages.

Beyond the blending of different genres, Cooney’s The Face on the Milk Carton is a quick read that is extremely well written. Cooney’s writing truly is the shining star, and the main reason why I kept with the book. Her way with words makes readers interested and invested.

Now, knowing this is a beloved book, I didn’t love it as much as others out there. Mainly because I was left frustrated — with main character Janie, who I found to be not as strong as I would have liked her to be.

I found her to be whiny and a bit self-absorbed. But keeping in mind her young age, and the situation she has found herself in, is understandable.  As an adult if I were placed in the same situation as Janie, yeah, I’d be whiny and self-absorbed too.But still, those qualities, no matter how understandable they were, didn’t make her a likable character.

And beyond taking issue with main character Janie, I was frustrated by the fact that I was left feeling very much on the fence about this. I really enjoyed the writing. And thought the plot line was unique and thought-provoking. But what I loved most about the book as a whole wasn’t enough to make me truly love this book. In the end, I feel very “meh” about the book.

Either way, The Face on the Milk Carton kept me interested enough to want to find out what happened to Janie, to Reeve, to the Johnson family after it was discovered Janie was, in fact, kidnapped.

The Face on the Milk Carton is a read that will pique curiosity, but ultimately will not answer all the questions that pop up. However, I’m sure, being that that this is the first in a series that those questions will eventually be answered. At least for those who decide to stay vested in it.

Book of the Week: Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs

Book of the Week, Children's

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Published: 2012 by Balzer + Bray

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

I love retellings of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Mo Willems is a genius.

I love the end papers: crossed out title possibilities. For example: Goldilocks and the Three Squirrels, Goldilocks and the

Three Accountants, Goldilocks and the Three Goats, Goldilocks and the Three Rocket Scientists. All one is funnier than the last.

I love that there’s a Papa Dinosaur, a Mama Dinosaur, and some random Dinosaur from Norway – who just happens to wear a hat on top of one of his pointy spikes.

The Dinosaur’s telephone is dino-sized. The receiver is like three times bigger than the rest of the phone.

All the furniture have claw feet.

Willems has an eye for detail, that’s apparent and appreciated.

Instead of porridge, the dinosaurs make chocolate pudding. Why? In order to make chocolate filled girl bonbons, of course!

I love how there’s a pigeon in the cookie jar! What you don’t see him? Look close.

I love how, unlike the three bears, the three dinosaurs are totally trying to trap an unsuspecting little girl.

Where are the dinosaurs going? To Someplace Else!

I love the evil looks and laughs of the Dinosaurs.

Goldilocks wasn’t really lost, just unsupervised.

Goldilocks, on the way to the dinosaurs house doesn’t even realize that there are three, scheming dinosaurs hanging out in the trees she passes.

Goldilocks has no problem barging into stranger’s houses.

Goldilocks has to climb a ladder to reach the chocolate pudding.

I love how, at one point, Goldilocks appears to be swimming – yes swimming – in one of the bowls.

The pigeon is still in the cookie jar! What? You don’t believe me, do you?!

Goldilocks isn’t like all the other Goldilocks’. She’s actually smarter than the rest of them.

She realizes, before it’s too late, that all the furniture is way too tall. Even for a bear.

Using her smarts, Goldilocks runs out the back door and to safety just as the dinosaurs are getting ready to burst in and EAT HER!

I love how the rug by the back door says “Wipe Your Talons” Cause you know, dinosaurs have them.

There are morals to this story. For Goldilocks: “If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.” For the Dinosaurs: “Lock the back door!”

Willems writing is strong, inviting, and whimsical.

I love the illustrations! They’re done in signature Willems style!

Kids and adults will love this book.

The Dead and Buried


The Dead And Buried by Kim Harrington (Received from publisher for review)


For as long as Jade could remember she’s always wanted to move, to live somewhere different. She’s dreamed for so long about living in a big house in a nice, quiet suburb. So when her father and her stepmother Marie announce their plans for a new home and a new life, Jade is overjoyed.

So much so that she doesn’t mind moving away from her childhood home, the one that reminds her of her long gone mother. Nor does she mind being considered the “new” girl going into her senior year.

Looking forward to a new school and a fresh new life, Jade feels comfortable and confident in her new home and neighborhood. Even if her neighbor is a bit creepy. Even if the boy with the dreamy eyes seems spooked by her. Nothing can get her down.

That is, until her little brother Colby tells her about the glimmering girl he sees in his room, the girl who wants to speak but can’t. At first Jade brushes him confession off, but when strange things begin happening to her she can’t ignore it any longer.

Kayla Sloan, the once popular it girl, who fell to her death on the very stairs Jade walks up and down daily, may be dead, but her spirit certainly isn’t. And she will not rest in peace until she gets what she wants.

The Dead and Buried written by author Kim Harrington is a twisted thriller that will keep readers, not only tangled up in this tale of horror and revenge, alert, aware, and biting their nails.

Author Harrington has managed, not only to weave a memorable tale, but to weave it well. Her stellar writing really brings The Dead and Buried to life. Readers will be thoroughly creeped out by Kayla, will whole heartedly believe in the power of Jade’s pendants, and will be left guessing who or what pushed Kayla down those steps?

Beyond a well written, gripping story, Harrington creates charismatic characters that readers will find easy to relate to. Not only are they full of depth, they are real. Jade, The Dead and Buried’s leading lady is fierce! Smart and strong, Jade doesn’t back down, not even when she’s deathly afraid. And let’s be honest, Jade is the kind of girl anyone would want to be friends with.

But Jade isn’t the only character who pops off the page. Alexa, Jades first friend in her new school, is a quirky girl who readers will want to get to know. Donovan, the brooding love interest, is down right swoon worthy. And even wanna-be mean girl Faye, is a fun character who’s simply fascinating.

The Dead and Buried is a really great read with lots of twists and turns. Spanning several different genres, there really is something for everyone who picks up this book. There’s romance, possibly even a – dare I say it – love triangle. There’s spine-tingling suspense. There’s bone chilling horror. I promise you readers, you will not be disappointed.

No Strings Giveaway Hop

Contests, Food For Thought, Random

no strings attached

Hello Readers!

Another hop means another great prize for you!  Like I did last year, I am participating in The No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop hosted by hop extraordinaire Kathy over at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (Thanks Kathy!)

Before I reveal what the prize is up for grabs, I want to share a little story with you (yes, this story is connected to part of the prize).

Every year a plethora of teen authors get together for one very special reason: The NYC Teen Author Festival. At the end of a week full fun events these said authors gather at Books of Wonder, NYC’s local  children’s bookstore, and hosts one massive author signing. Now, I’ve attended many of the events that happen throughout the week, but the one event I make sure NEVER to miss is the mega signing.

Last year was no exception, armed with (a ton of ) books and a sharpie marker I made my rounds to all the authors I wanted to meet.  And there were many. But while I was getting books signed, I also got a flier signed …. by almost every author I met that day.

You’re wondering what’s up for grabs, aren’t you?

One lucky winner will win this:

A (used) paperback copy of The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler, an assortment of bookmarks, and the NYC Teen Author Festival Flier signed by: Gina Damico, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Susane Colasanti, Jeri Smith-Ready, E. C. Myers, Carolyn Mackler, Charlotte Bennardo, Kim Harrington, Kate Ellison, Stephanie Perkins,  John Corey Whaley, Arlaina Tiensky, Melissa De La Cruz, Jon Skovron, Victoria Schwab, and Barry Lyga.


Contest open to U.S. Residents only.

Entering is simple — leave a comment on THIS blog post with your name and a VALID e-mail address. Giveaway Hop is open from January 15th (12:01 a.m.) until January 21st (11:59 p.m.). Winner will be chosen via random number generator, and will be contacted via e-mail on January 22nd.

Like always, there are many, many blogs participating and all are giving away some great prizes. Make sure you stop by each one and check them out!

Good Luck and Happy Hopping!

Book of the Week: This Moose Belongs to Me

Book of the Week, Children's

This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

Published: 2012 by Philomel

Reasons why I liked this book, and Chose it As Book of the Week:

It’s an Oliver Jeffers book, need I say more.

There’s a moose in this book.

I never realized it, but I really like moose!

The cover of this book looks like it should be on a postcard – it’s so picturesque.

The main character, Wilfred, names his pet moose Marcel. It’s a fitting name.

Wilfred and Marcel do everything together. They listen to music, they go for long walks, and they basically enjoy each other’s company.

Wilfred has many rules that will help Marcel become the best pet moose he could possibly be.

Rule # 4: “Not making too much noise while Wilfred plays his record collection.” Marcel is a pro at keeping quiet. He doesn’t say a word!

Rule # 11: “Providing shelter from the rain.” Marcel makes a great umbrella.

The only rule Marcel has a slight issue following was the one where he shouldn’t stray far from home. To correct that, Wilfred simply used a long piece of string to remember which way is home.

Wilfred is a dreamer with big plans – – he dreams of riding the waves in a barrel with Marcel.

When riding these waves Wilfred wears a bright blue helmet with sparkling stars.

On one of their adventures Wilfred makes a terrible discovery:  Marcel is someone else’s moose.

And his name isn’t Marcel, it’s Rodrigo.

Wilfred tried everything in his powers to convince both Marcel and the old lady who’s moose it really is.

Wilfred’s powers don’t work as well as he hoped they would.

Wilfred wears suspenders and a bow tie – he’s very dashing!

Wilfred, upset at the recent turn of events, runs away, and gets tangled in the string that was supposed to help him find his way home.

Stuck, he lays there, helpless.  Until Marcel, faithful moose and good friend comes and finds him.

While laying there, he thinks of all the animals that would make great pets. A bear, a penguin, a shark — all will not make great pets. Only moose will make a great pets.

And Marcel, upon finding a very tangled up Wilfred, actually followed one very important rule: Rule #73 “rescuing your owner from perilous situations.”

I love how this book shows that friends always prevail.

And that friends forgive and forget.

The writing that fills this book is fun and well written.

The illustrations are exceptional.

There isn’t one thing that I didn’t love about this book.

Book of the Week: A Home for Bird

Book of the Week, Children's

A Home For Bird by Philip C. Stead

Published: 2012 by Roaring Brook Press

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

Even though I’m not huge fan of birds in real life, I do think they make great characters.

Bird isn’t your typical bird. He’s a Cuckoo bird! Yes, one that lives in a Cuckoo clock.

I like cuckoo clocks, even though many people find them annoying.

The fact that one of the main characters is a cuckoo clock bird makes me love the unique-ness of this book.

The other main character is a small frog named Vernon.

Vernon is a perfect name for a frog. And he likes to forage for interesting items like, soda caps, a pink yo-yo, and a battered baseball.

Vernon is very considerate, and very caring. He knows that Bird is lost, and possibly home sick since he’s so quiet, and vows to help him find his way home.

Vernon has many friends, among them are Skunk and Porcupine.

The yo-yo’s rope gets tangled in Porcupine’s quills.

Vernon shows Bird all the things he loves to do: sitting quietly by the river, collecting acorns in the forest, and even cloud watching.

Bird said nothing during their outing.

Vernon’s a little worry-wart.

Sad that Bird is sad, Vernon decides to take action to make his new friend happy. He decides to travel alongside bird to find his home.

This is an adventure book!

Vernon prepares a boat and an oar – a tea cup with a straw and plaid napkin for the said, and a spook for the oar.

Vernon is one smart frog!

They say goodbye and set said. Together Bird and Vernon try different homes.

From mailboxes to birdcages to bird feeders. But Bird’s silent all the way.

Vernon will not settle until Bird chirps his happiness.

I love how, when trying out a mailbox for a home, Vernon has to stand atop of a pink flamingo to see inside.

The two traveling companions meet many new friends.

A big red balloon helps them along on their journey to find a home.

Sailing high above the clouds they finally come upon a quaint farm house in the hopes of resting for the night.

It’s there, in the farm house’s kitchen that Bird finds a home – in his own Cuckoo Clock!

Vernon knows Bird loves his home because he finally speaks. Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo!

Vernon is happy because Bird is happy.

Vernon is a great friend.

I love how this book really drives the “there’s no place like home” sentiment home.

I love how this book also shows that friends can be friends no matter who or what they are.

I love the artwork that fills this book. It’s both playful and sophisticated.

The writing is strong, and the story is a really sweet, tender story.

The Believing Game


The Believing Game by Eirann Corrigan (received ARC – Advanced Readers Copy – for review)


Greer Cannon is a chronic shoplifter. She’s out of control, and quite frankly doesn’t give a damn. But when she get’s caught lifting items from a local store, her parents are fed up, not only with her disgraceful behavior, but with her. So much so, that they do the one thing Greer doesn’t see coming: ship her off to a reform school.

MacCracken HIll isn’t so much a reform school as it is a rehabilitation school for misfits and screw ups. It’s a place where wealthy family can sweep their problems under the reform school rug. It’s a place where screwed up teens can make good and rid themselves of their vicious vices: drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, violent behavior, teen pregnancy, etc..

Not really caring about MacCraken Hill or it’s misfit residents, Greer resigns herself to simply get through. She has no plans or intentions to get caught up in the therapeutic lingo and or her fellow MacCraken students.

That is, until the day Addison Bradley saunters into her English class and changes everything.

Addison Bradley is the kind of guy that girls and grown women fawn and fall all over. He’s definitely caught Greer’s attention, but guys like that simply don’t notice Greer. But Addison is obviously different, and within a few weeks they are officially an item.

For Greer, things are perfect. At least until she meets Joshua – Addison’s much older mentor. Greer wants to like him – trust him even – as much as Addison does, but she just can’t.

There’s something off about Joshua. Something to leaves Greer feeling both uncomfortable and suspicious. As time moves on, and she begins to spend more and more time with both Addison and Joshua, she quickly realizes that she doesn’t trust Joshua at all.

More and more Greer is starting to see that Joshua is a manipulative user whose main goal is life is to control unsuspecting teens.

Greer’s too smart to fall for his lies. Or is she?

The Believing Game written by author Eireanne Corrigan is a realistic thriller that will keep reader’s guessing. Surrounded by an aire of mystery, reader’s will find themselves asking a number of questions – who is Joshua Stern really? What are his motives and why?

But Corrigan’s writing, though solid, doesn’t lend any answers to any of theses questions. She paints a vivid picture of the people and the places that all apart of Greer’s life. However, her plot line isn’t so vivid. As a reader I found myself stumbling over plot holes, mainly because of those unanswered questions.

Corrigan’s characters, though realistic, are difficult to relate to. None of them, main characters Greer, Addison, and Joshua included, are easy to sympathize with. Greer seems to flop around. At the opening she immediately appears to be a strong leading lady, in both character and of mind. But by the end Greer is revealed to be a character dependent on the males around her, Addison specifically.

At first The Believing Game seemed like my kind of book. It’s a straight up thriller with a deranged cult leader that caught my attention from the start. I mean, what’s not to love about it?!? But after reading, and really letting the book as a whole sink in, I found out there were too many flaws for me to really enjoy the book. I really wanted to love this book. Why? Because Corrigan’s writing is solid, because she presents a unique story that hasn’t appeared in contemporary books, because she makes readers what to read.

Even though this was not the book for me, I’m positive there’s a definite readership for this book. And I’m positive that many readers will love this book.