Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 19th 2012
by Penguin Group USA, Inc
Rating: 4 stars
I recommend this book for ages 9-13
I recommend this book for ages 9-13
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published July 26th 2011
by Penguin Young Readers Group
series Nightshade #2
When Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemies, she’s certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer—one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack—and the man—she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.
Nightshade was at the top pf my top ten reads for 2010,so when I got an advanced copy unexpectedly in the mail of Wolfsbane I may have squealed *just a little.* What can I say other than that Andrea Cremer is one smart cookie?! First she created this amazing spin on wolf lore in her first book with the perfect love triangle. Then in the second installment, Wolfsbane, the readers are introduced to a whole new set of characters. Andrea adds layers upon layers of history, back story and twists of plot.
Wolfsbane picks up right where Nightshade left off. Many of the questions about the Keepers, Guardians and Searchers are answered from a very different point of view than Calla is used to. She and Shay are in enemy territory and are soon learning things are not as they once appeared. I would recommend readers have a concrete grasp of the difference between the three groups before plowing ahead. Wolfsbane has a whole lot of information power packed into those 400 pages. Teachers and book clubs may want to put together a vocabulary list with all the terms or a map of characters to keep things straight.
The thing I love about these book is that they are not a light fluffy read- they are deep and multi faceted as well as incredibly detailed. I fell in love with several of the pack members in book one and in book two I became attached to a couple of the Searchers. Connor kept me laughing with his snarky personality and I grew to love Adne for what we see in her during the last chapter. Be prepared for plenty of action, romance and witty sarcasm.
This is one of those reviews that is nearly impossible to write without spoilers. I will say I stand firmly as team Ren though he makes some really poor choices. Shay is just not my cup of tea with his possessive, jealous and pushy personality. If you loved Nightshade you will not be disappointed with book 2! Bloodrose, the final book, comes out in February. After reading the first chapter sneak peek I’m sure we are all on pins and needles. Click here to view content warnings.
To find out more about the series, read an excerpt, where to buy & more, visit the Nightshade book site. Follow the series on Facebook and read Andrea Cremer’s blog here. See the author giving an introduction to Wolfsbane on YouTube here. Penguin has graciously provided a set of the series for EACH blog on the tour to giveaway. So be sure to head over to Mundie Moms for a full list of all the blogs participating. Thanks so much to MM’s, Andrea Cremer and Penguin for including our blog on the tour!
Here at Fire and Ice we are giving away a paperback copy of Nightshade and a hardcover of Wolfsbane. This is for US residents only and ends August 16, 2011. Simply comment below to enter! Be sure your profile includes your email address where you’d like to be contacted if you win.
What’s worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you’ve been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan—the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah—unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan’s former-best-friend Noah.
Original and insightful, quirky and crushing, Joy’s story is told in surprising and artfully shifting flashbacks between her life then and now. Exquisite craft and wry, relatable humor signal the arrival of Emily Wing Smith as a breakout talent.
I should mention if there is one thing I love first and foremost about this book it is the author. Emily Wing Smith is one of the most down to earth, kind and honest people you’ll ever encounter. She has overcome some major life obstacles plus has a master’s degree and two published YA novels. If you ever get the chance you’ll want to meet her. When she called to ask if she could swing by my home to deliver an ARC of Back When You Were Easier to love I was both delighted and touched. How many authors do you know that find you as a fan and bring you their book? Really!? Emily Wing Smith simply rocks.
Joy is your typical teen who is enamored and a bit obsessed with her first love…bordering on stalker status. Having only lived in Haven, Utah for six months she is attracted to Zan’s bookish nerdy allure. He knows the Dewey decimal system, can speak several funky foreign languages and wears his grandfather’s loafers. The two of them decide that Haven is just too conservative and happy for their style so they set their sites on Joy’s hometown colleges in Claremont, California. Things are plunking along quite nicely until Zan decides to get his GED and head to Cali without her. Leaving no number, no address and no plans for their future, Zan is gone and Joy wants closure. Here’s the plan…surprise road trip back to her roots and to find Zan. The only problem is all of Joy’s friends aren’t too hip on Zan or on the trip and there’s only one taker on the idea, Zan’s ex-best friend Noah.
Noah is the epitome of what Joy is trying to avoid. He’s a “soccer lovin’ kid” …as nice and popular as they come. He’s decided that Joy is going to be his friend whether she wants to be or not. How the two end up alone together in his Saab 900 heading from Utah to Cali we’re still not quite sure. But there’s plenty of Sprite and Barry Manilow tunes to keep the silence from getting too thick. Both Joy and Noah are in for the big surprise that awaits them on their UEA adventure.
Back When You Were Easier to Love explores the harsh reality of the loss of first time love, the dangers in setting up stereotypes and the struggles of those with the desire to live outside of cultural expectations. So much of it I could relate to in my experience moving between high schools and then colleges in Utah and California. Whether you are of Joy’s faith as a Mormon or not there is a huge amount of culture shock between these two states. Emily does a wonderful job of teaching that we are all just people, not above or below each other. My only hesitation in content is that a lot of the book is told from Joy and Zan’s viewpoint…looking down. In the process of the storytelling, the very stereotypes Mormons try to avoid may be reinforced in the minds of others reading about us for the first time. Emily differentiated between belief and culture beautifully in the chapter titled “This I Believe” on page 106-107. LOVE loved it.
Main character Joy learns she has lost so much of herself trying to be what Zan wants her to be. As teen I think we all made that mistake in one relationship or another. So though sad, Joy’s realization of self and the way she comes to it is realistic.
The last 1/3 of the book is definitely my favorite. Noah and Joy are on their way home and take a little detour through Las Vegas. It’s fun and such a hopeful way to end. Joy’s favorite sights in Las Vegas include the Pirate/ siren show at Treasure Island, the mini- Eiffel Tower at Paris and the Statue of Liberty at New York, New York. Noah’s are between TI and the Mirage and M&M world (pages 266-267)
So, our Photography Friday post below is a series of Vegas photos from Heather Gardner Photography. They will give you a little taste of the fun to be had in the last chapters of Back When You Were Easier To Love. We are giving away 5 photo postcards of prints from our galleries in honor of the Vegas chapters. Simply comment on the post naming your favorite photo to be entered. Giveaway ends April 25, 2011 and is open internationally.
A million thanks to author Emily Wing Smith for the sneak peek. Here’s her fab trailer just released yesterday on You Tube.
by Brenna Yovanoff
Release Date: September 21, 2010
Book Summary (from Penguin): Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement—left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world. Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs. Edward Scissorhands meets The Catcher in the Rye in this wildly imaginative and frighteningly beautiful horror novel about an unusual boy and his search for a place to belong.
We are giving away one copy of The Replacement as part of the BIR 2010 giveaways. Simply fill out the form below to enter. Open to US residents. Ends December 15th, 2010