Posts Tagged: little brown

YA Review- This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith

01 Mar, 2013 by in poppy, This Is What Happy Looks Like, YA contemporary 3 comments

This Is What Happy Looks Like
by Jennifer E Smith
Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: April 2, 2013
by Poppy
ISBN 0316212822
book source: netgalley
4.5 stars
Summary from Goodreads: If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?
Heather’s Review: It’s been months since I have accepted any books from publishers for review or logged onto NetGalley, but when I saw Jennifer E Smith’s newest book I could not resist. Her last, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is one of my all -time favorites. Smith’s writing is fresh, clean contemporary YA at its best.
What Happy Looks Like is set in a small town Maine home of the perfect fourth of July celebration and the state snack– whoopie pies. Ellie has never tasted one, but teen heart throb Graham is out to change that. He is convinced the two need to meet face to face after their chance email mix up turns into more. Graham is headed to Ellie’s home town (leaving his pet pig behind) on a mission to film his newest movie and run into her, the anonymous face behind the name. His initial plan of attack at her work ice cream store named “Scoops” backfires and he is not experiencing love at first sight like he thought he would. Things turn interesting when she proves to be even more mysterious and aloof than he predicted as Ellie and her mother have a past that needs to stay hidden.
You’ll grin from ear to ear at the lengths Graham will go to to steal some alone time with Ellie, and the storyline tugs at your heart stings as it emphasizes the important of family ties. The setting is magical…summertime in a resort village with just enough home spun charm. Smith’s style is poetic, witty and even slightly melancholy. There are questions left unanswered with an open ending where readers fill in the outcome.  I really wanted to dig deeper into the characters. Hoping here is a companion novel or sequel out there, even a novealla in the future. But for now I am thrilled with another oustanding read from Jennifer E Smith and am waiting for another of her books I ordered to come in my mailbox.
Pre-order This is What Happy Looks Like. It is a perfect ray of sunshine to beat the winter blahs!
Content is suited for teens 14 and up. One swear word, otherwise clean.

About the author: Jennifer E. Smith is the author of the three young adult novels: The Comeback Season, You Are Here, and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City.

Book Review- The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell

26 Jul, 2012 by in Young readers Leave a comment

The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories #1)
by Chris Colfer
Hardcover, 438 pages
Published July 17, 2012
by Little, Brown Young Readers
ISBN: 031620157X
Book Source: ALA
4 Stars
Summary from goodreads: Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairytales.

The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about. 

But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

Cathy’s Review: Alex and Conner Bailey are 11 year-old twins. They have been in the same class in school since kindergarten. Alex is the smart one who always knows all the answers and Conner is the joker who sits in the back of the class and doesn’t really understand the class work. Their class, under the direction of their teacher Mrs. Peters, has been learning about fairy tales. Neither Alex or Conner really need to learn anything new about  fairy tales, because when they were young they would go to their grandmother’s cottage with their parents and their dad and grandmother would read them fairy tales late into the night. Unfortunately, their dad died on their 11th birthday, nearly a year ago. The twins know not to expect too much for their 12th birthday, things are tight for their working single mother, but they are surprised by a visit from their grandmother. She gives them their gifts and then as a special surprise she gives them the book of fairy tales that she had read to them when they were small. Alex is thrilled with the gift and quickly takes it to her room when she goes to bed, but realizes quickly that the book won’t let her sleep, it insists on humming and glowing off and on all night and the next several nights. Conner’s not sure what’s up with Alex, she’s acting strange, he finds out about the book a few days later at school. When the book interrupts their class, Alex knows that she needs to find out why it glows and hums. She goes home, opens it and sticks her hand inside and ends up toppling head first into the book. Conner follows and they realize that they are in a beautiful fairy tale world, a place that they both had only dreamed about before. The fairy tale world is a dangerous place though, filled with witches, wolves, goblins and trolls. They know that they need to return home to their mom, but just how are they going to manage that? 

I was sucked into this story from the prologue, the story itself is engaging, full of action and adventure and just plain fun. Who doesn’t want to meet such characters as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel? I really enjoyed Alex and Conner, I felt sad for them for having lost their dad at such a young age and then worried for them as they navigated the dangerous Land of Stories. This was a fun book!
Content: One mild swear word that I noticed.

About the author: Chris Colfer is an American actor and singer, known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on the television series Glee. “The Wishing Spell” is his first novel for children. Learn more about author Chris Colfer: goodreadsTwitterWebsite

YA Book Review- I Hunt Killers

03 Jul, 2012 by in Uncategorized 2 comments

I Hunt Killers
by Barry Lyga
Hardcover; 368 pages
Publication Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0316125849
Book Source: Publisher
5 stars
Summary From What if the world’s worst serial killer…was your dad?
Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could–from the criminal’s point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo’s Nod.
Danielle’s Review: The best serial murdering novel I’ve read since my Patricia Cornwell phase, I Hunt Killers is a phenomenal addition to the forensic crime genre with one little twist: it’s in the young adult genre.

Seventeen-year-old Jasper Dent is the son of a notorious serial killer who’s trying to live a normal life while his father rots in prison. When a copycat murderer comes to town, Jasper must convince the local sheriff that they can work together and stop the bloodshed. Trust doesn’t come easy with Jasper’s background, but he has his best friend, Howie, and girlfriend, Connie, to keep him grounded.

I found Jasper’s development and point of view riveting as he struggled against inner fears of turning out like his father. His dark humor and desperate groping for salvation only makes him human. The plot moves quickly yet delves into Jasper’s backstory and psyche, which I loved. There are plenty of suspects to choose from, so I was happy when the story resolved without the most predictable character as the solution.

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve read a book that I could not put it down but I Hunt Killers takes off from the very beginning and is so absorbing it can’t be put away until the last page is sucked down. In my personal opinion, the graphic nature and language in this thriller is over the top for the young adult genre, but I do recommend it to any CSI lovers over eighteen.

Content: Graphic violence, sexual references

Danielle Thorne

About the Author: Barry Lyga is a recovering comic book geek. When he was a kid, everyone told him that comic books were garbage and would rot his brain, but he had the last laugh. Raised on a steady diet of comics, he worked in the comic book industry for ten years, but now writes full-time because, well, wouldn’t you? The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl was his first novel.

Learn more at

YA Book Review- Revived

12 Apr, 2012 by in revived 2 comments

by Cat Patrick
Kindle Edition, 218 pages
Expected Publication Date: May 8th 2012
Book Source: publisher
5 Stars
Summary from Goodreads: As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger — and more sinister — than she ever imagined

Crystal’s Review: I just finished this book and I am not even sure how to start this review. My mind is still spinning from everything that happened in the book. I can say this, I loved this book! After reading the description I was immediately intrigued. Revived did not disappoint. The story was well paced and exciting right from the start. However there is much more to this book than just a super secret government program. The connections between the main characters in this book felt strong and real to me. I felt in-sync with Daisy as she began to really understand death from a different perspective. It is hard to describe how engrossed I was in this book without giving away important plot points. I guess the best way to put it is I felt like I was going through the book with the main character. I felt excited when she felt excited and sad when she was sad. As she begins to unravel the answers to her questions I found myself continuously shocked. During one of the last chapters when a big twist is reviled I literally sat here with my mouth open. This book kept me interested until the end, I was intrigued by the government program, swept away by the romance and touched by the friendship that develops in the book. You definitely do not want to miss this book! Pre-order Revived now or rush to your local book store when it comes out.

Content: One scene of underage drinking, brief sexual situation.


Cat Patrick is an author of books for teens. Her debut novel, FORGOTTEN (available now), is about a girl who can remember the future instead of the past, and was praised by NYT bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher, as a “mindbending,” one-sitting read. The book is being translated into 21 languages and Paramount bought the movie rights, with True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld attached to star as the main character, London Lane.

Patrick’s second (unrelated) novel, REVIVED, is about a girl who’s part of a secret government program to test a drug that brings people back from the dead. REVIVED will be available in the US May 2012, and in the UK and Australia Summer 2012.

Patrick lives near Seattle with her husband and twin 3-year-olds, and is afraid of zombies, planes, and zombies on planes.

Visit the author’s website/ facebook/ twitter

Book Review- Belles by Jen Calonita

30 Mar, 2012 by in YA contemporary 2 comments

by Jen Calonita
Ebook, 247 pages
Expected Publication Date: April 10th, 2012
by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN 0316091138
Book Source: Publisher
4 Stars
Book summary from Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her life by the boardwalk on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina. But when tragedy strikes, a social worker sends her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy privileged family. Isabelle is taken away from everything she’s ever known, and, unfortunately, inserting her into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove doesn’t go so well. Her cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn’t thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and, in addition to dealing with all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates’ Southern charm, a secret is unfolding that will change both girls’ lives forever
Crystal’s Review: Isabelle has lived on the wrong side of the tracks her whole life. Not knowing her father and her mother having died in a car accident she has spent the majority of her live being raised by her grandmother in Harborside, North Carolina. While many people believe Harborside to be a dirty, dangerous place Isabelle loves it. She spends as much time as possible in the water where she feels the most comfortable. She is a swimmer, just like her mother was, and even spends her free time giving free swim lessons at the local community center. As much as she loves this place things at home are complicated. Her grandmothers health has been declining quickly and the days when her grandmother cant seem to remember her are happening more regularly. Then one day everything changes, Isabelle’s case worker Barbra shows up and tells her that her grandmother will be going to live in an old folks home and she will be going to live with her uncle, a senator, and his family in Emerald Cove. Isabelle struggles to fit in with her new family, especially her cousin Mirabelle who seems sunny on the outside but soon makes it obvious that Isabelle is just a pain in her side, and the snobby rich kids who attend her new private school are even worse. Eventually she begins to find her way but just as she feels like she may finally be getting the hand of this new life a secret is revealed that may be too much for her to handle. Belles is the touching story of the differences that can tear a family apart and what it takes to bring a family back together. This book also gets bonus points for being set in my home state of North Carolina! I would definitely be suggest this book to anyone looking for a good read.

Content: One scene of underage drinking
About the Author: It’s no secret how Jen Calonita knows the inside scoop on young Hollywood. A former Senior Entertainment Editor at Teen People, Jen has interviewed everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Zac Efron. An entertainment journalist for the past ten years, Jen has written for TV Guide, Glamour and Marie Claire. It was her work in the entertainment world that inspired her first series, Secrets of My Hollywood Life. Jen has also published to stand-alone novels. When the self-professed entertainment junkie is not working, she can be found doing one of three things: scrapbooking, watching Glee, or going to the movies. Jen resides in Merrick, New York with her husband Mike, sons Tyler and Dylan and their Chihuahua, Captain Jack Sparrow. Learn more on her website/ facebook/ twitter/ blog

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Review and ARC Giveaway

27 Sep, 2011 by in Uncategorized 6 comments

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor
Hardcover, 420 pages
Published September 27th 2011
by Little, Brown & Company
ISBN 0316134023
Book Source: publisher
4 stars

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Last night at 3 Am when I couldn’t sleep I was up finishing the last few chapters of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. It’s been a long time since I’ve read something so truly unique. Taylor has fashioned worlds and characters the likes of which you’ve never seen. Let’s start with Karou, a blue haired teenager living in Prague and living a double life as an art student/errand runner for Brimstone- a wishmonger Chimaera. Her time is spent fetching human teeth from all over the world while on the side she’s fighting off the unwelcome sneak entrances of her ex-boyfriend, vampire actor Kaz. Not only is Karou a master with her pencil and paper, but she can handle old weapons with skill. Yet something fundamental is missing. She is lonely, empty and longs to be filled.

Akiva is a hardened warrior stolen form his mother at age 5 and raised to fight a war that is still raging between the Chimaeara and Seraphim. Across his fingers are the tally marks of the sacrifices he has made and in his heart is the brokenness of a forbidden love. When Karou and Akiva cross paths in a busy marketplace sparks and swords will fly.

A well spun fantasy with paranormal elements, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is incredibly rich in description and history. I will admit I was a bit lost for the first 95 pages with all the talk of teeth and little context to put things in to, but once I got used to the names and places it all started to fall together in one well orchestrated tale. It’s a story of holding on to hope when all else fails and believing in the possibility of a seemingly impossible future. Guaranteed this book is unlike anything you’ve ever read before! With side characters full of personality and so many multi layered elements Laini Taylor has an amazing imagination. Thanks so much to LBC for letting us be swept away into the world of Karou.

Content: moderate swearing, mention of sex with mature undertones through out the book, moderate violence. Not recommended for readers under age 16. Adult crossover title.

The Giveaway: Fire and Ice is giving away two advanced reading copies of Daughter of Smoke and Bone courtesy of Little Brown publishing. To enter to win fill out this form. Must be 16 or older and have a US mailing address.

Circle of Fire Trailer Behind the Scenes Part II

19 Aug, 2011 by in book trailer, Heather Gardner Photography, michelle zink Leave a comment

For my Photography Friday I bring you part II of the custom photos behind Michelle Zink’s Circle of Fire book trailer.

Alice and James

Lia and Dimitri

To view all of the COF trailer photos taken by Heather Gardner Photography visit my Smug Mug Galleries. Learn more about the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy on Michelle Zink’s website. Circle of Fire is currently number 20 on the Goodreads most popular books of August. Congrats Michelle! And be sure to check out the teaser and full length COF trailers now on You Tube.

Circle of Fire Trailer Unveil

03 Aug, 2011 by in book trailer, Heather Gardner Photography, michelle zink Leave a comment

A Very Happy Book Birthday to
Circle of Fire
Prophecy of the Sisters #3
by Michelle Zink
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 3, 2011
by Little Brown and Company

With time dwindling but her will to end the Prophecy stronger than ever, Lia sets out on a journey to find the remaining keys, locate the missing pages of the Prophecy, and convince her sister Alice to help–or risk her life trying. Lia has her beloved Dimitri by her side, but Alice has James, the man who once loved her sister–and maybe still does. James doesn’t know the truth about either sister, or the prophecy that divides them. And Alice intends to keep it that way.
There are some secrets sisters aren’t meant to share. Because when they do, it destroys them. This stunning conclusion to Michelle Zink’s Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy will make saying good-bye bittersweet for readers

I have been waiting forever for this release so I can finally unveil the custom photos I took for author Michelle Zink. So without further ado…

Here’s the trailer

Head on over to my site at Heather Gardner Photography for a look at all the photos taken for Circle of Fire .

Then be sure to stop by Michelle Zink’s site .

Special thanks to Michelle and her family for all of their hard work and for letting me have so much fun with some amazing models and wardrobes!

Circle of Fire Teaser Trailer

05 Jun, 2011 by in book trailer, Heather Gardner Photography, michelle zink, prophecy of the sisters 13 comments

I have been working with author Michelle Zink on the trailer for her upcoming book Circle of Fire to be published August 3rd from Little Brown books. Today, Michelle released a teaser trailer on YouTube featuring my photos which I costumed, cast and shot starting back in February for Michelle. SQUEE!!!

A full trailer will be released August 2nd, the day before the book, the third in her Prophecy of the Sisters series hits shelves. So stay tuned! A huge thanks to Michelle and her children for all the work they put into this project, to my amazing models and to Little Brown publishing.

To celebrate the teaser trailer release I’m giving away an exclusive Michelle Zink Prophecy of the Sisters wristband and 8×12 signed trailer still photo of your choice from the four in the collage below. Simply comment on this post to enter. Giveaway ends July 5, 2011.

Want more photos? Visit my Galleries online at SmugMug, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, Etsy and my site at Heather Gardner Photography.