Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Zom-B

Zom-B (Zom-B, 1) by Darren Shan, October 16, 2012. 174 pages. Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Source: Publisher.
When news reports start appearing of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B's racist father thinks it's a joke-- but even if it isn't, he figures, it's ok to lose a few Irish.
B doesn't fully buy into Dad's racism, but figures it's easier to go along with it than to risk the fights and abuse that will surely follow sticking up for Muslims, blacks, or immigrants. And when dodging his fists doesn't work, B doesn't hesitate to take the piss out of kids at school with a few slaps or cruel remarks.
That is, until zombies attack the school. B is forced on a mad dash through the serpentine corridors of high school, making allegiances with anyone with enough gall to fight off their pursuers. 
First Sentence:
It was the darkest, most wretched hour of the night when the dead came back to life and spread like a plague of monstrous locusts through the village of Pallaskenry.

Wish List Wednesday

Doll Bones by Holly Black, May 7, 2013. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

Why: Doll Bones sounds like its going to like a crazy fun ride. The cover is what first caught my eye with this one and then the synopsis pulled me. *needs*

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Professor Gargoyle

Professor Gargoyle (Tales from Lovecraft Middle School, 1) by Charles Gilman, September 25, 2012. 160 pages. Published by Quirk Books. Source: publisher.
Every volume in the Lovecraft Middle School series is fully illustrated and features an original lenticular portrait on the cover. Display them on bookshelves—and then watch the cover characters morph into monsters as you pass by!
In Professor Gargoyle, we’re introduced to 11-year-old Robert Ashton and the strange world of Lovecraft Middle School. It’s a brand-new state-of-the-art facility—so why do so many creepy things keep happening? Why is the science teacher acting so strangely? And where are all the rats coming from?
As Robert explores with his new friends Glenn and Carina, he discovers that the school may be a portal to another world.
First Sentence:
Robert Arthur was surrounded by strangers.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cover Reveal: Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins

This is like the week of cover reveals on the blog...this makes three I think. Guys, while I may not have read Sweet Evil, I am super excited to help out with the cover reveal for Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins.

About the author:
Wendy Higgins was born in Alaska, grew up an Army brat, and lived all over the United States before settling in the Washington, DC area. She attended George Mason University for her undergrad degree in creative writing, and Radford University for her masters in curriculum and instruction. Wendy taught 9th and 12th grade English in a rural school before becoming a mother and author. She now lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and son. Sweet Peril is her second novel.


You can haunt Wendy Higgins at-
Twitter | Website | FB (Sweet Evil page) | Twitter (Kaidan Rowe) | FB (author's page) |

Sweet Peril (Sweet, 2) by Wendy Higgins, April 30, 2013. Published by Harper Teen.

Anna Whitt, daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a claim. She’d been naive about a lot of things. Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.
When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?
You can pre-order Sweet Peril at-

So what do y'all think of this awesome cover????

Cover Reveal: Blood Bound by Keshia Swaim

So excited to be able to share another Spencer Hill Press cover reveals with all of y'all. This time things are a little different, why, because there are two covers and y'all get to vote on which one you like best. Awesome right!

Blood Bound by Keshia Swaim, September 10, 2013. Published by Spencer Hill Press.
Starting college a year early is hard. Starting fae college and learning to protect the world from the Unseelie is harder.
   Brielle Reed has always been an over-achiever, but this time she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Between her crash course in fae politics, struggles to control her new mind-reading ability, training sessions with the demanding Dr. Schwartz, and discoveries about the father who is still a mystery to her, Brielle finds herself longing for a chance at a normal life.
   But she may not get that chance. Or chance at a life at all, for that matter.

Now that y'all have seen both covers, its time to vote in the poll and tell us which one you like best. Let me know in the comments why you picked the one you did. 

About the author:
Keshia Swaim grew up in a tiny Oklahoma town and, perhaps out of boredom, became an obsessive reader at an early age. After reading all the books the library had to offer, she began making up her own stories.
Like all good Oklahomans, Keshia attended the University of Oklahoma. She studied History, with a minor in Modern Literature, but her real goal was finding a husband. Two weeks after graduation she received her Mrs. degree as well.
She and Prince Charming still live in Oklahoma, where they’ve started a family. Between dirty diapers, Keshia tries to avoid reality as much as possible, stating that her own little world is a much more interesting place to be. Her ramblings can be found at 1bookaddict.blogspot.com.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blogoversary: Where I Interview N.D. Wilson

Continuing the blogoversary fun today with another awesome interview. This time I have N.D. Wilson, author of The Dragon's Tooth stopping by to answer some questions regarding a book I loved.

About the author:
N. D. Wilson is the author of Leepike Ridge, a children's adventure story, and 100 Cupboards, the first installment in a multi-world fantasy series. He enjoys high winds, milk, and night-time. He received his Masters degree from Saint John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, is the managing editor of Credenda/Agenda magazine and is also a Fellow of Literature at New Saint Andrews College. His writing has appeared in Books & Culture, The Chattahoochee Review, and Esquire. (from Amazon)
You can haunt N.D. Wilson at-
Twitter | Website | FB | Blog | GR |

 Interview Questions:

1.  It's your lucky day, neither Cyrus or Antigone is present when Billy Bones appears to pass along the Dragon's Tooth, do you head for the O of B as he ordered or do you instead hit the road?

Oh, I’m off to the O of B for sure. I’d be too curious about the Order to just take off. I would assume that if it turned out to be too dark and gnarly for my tastes, I could just hit the road then.

2. The Dragon's Tooth was one of the most interesting aspects of the book, how did you decide upon both the object and what it was capable of? Will we learn more about its capabilities in The Drowned Vault?

I spent a lot of time working on the Tooth and its properties long before I started writing. I really liked the idea of something incredibly potent hiding in plain sight on an old man’s key-ring. You’ll definitely learn more about the Tooth in The Drowned Vault (and the rest of the series).

3. The Order of Brendan was definitely intriguing, was it difficult coming up

You know, I’d spent a fair amount of time researching medieval, independently sovereign military and monastic orders, and I thought it would be awesome to have something similar survive into the modern age, but dedicated to completely exploration and guardianship of the world’s secrets.

4. What was the hardest part about writing The Dragon's Tooth, easiest? 

As the first book in a five book series, I really wanted to get the tone exactly right, I needed to love the characters completely, and the plot had to be pitch perfect because I was going to be spending so much time in these adventures. Because of that (and because I had never planned a five book series before), I went through more drafts of this story than anything else that I have ever written. As for the easiest part? That had to be writing Cyrus Smith. I get along really well with him and some of his punkishness is, ahem, quite natural for me.

5. Dragon's Tooth has definitely been one of my favorite reads of the year so far. Was Ashtown Burials a series that you had been wanting to write for awhile or one that hit you one day and felt that you had to write?

It hit me one day, but it hit me long before I had the time to write it. I was finishing out the 100 Cupboards trilogy at the time, so I had to postpone the Ashtown Burials series for a few months before I even got to start planning the thing. So I guess the answer is a bit of both. It hit me, and then I was waiting impatiently…

6. ND, I hear that you're working on the third book in the Ashtown Burials, but am curious if you have any other upcoming projects that you can share with us? 

I already have an early draft (and huge number of notes) on Ashtown Burials III, but I’m also working on a standalone project that’s a little more similar to my first book (Leepike Ridge). It’s not pure fantasy, so it’s a fun change of pace. I’ll tell you more about it as soon as I can!

7. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose?

I go with Rupert Greeves, Avengel of the Order of Brendan. I feel like if I stuck close to him, I’d be just fine.

Rapid Fire 5:

1. Favorite childhood game (hide n' seek, tag...etc)?

Cannibals. My sisters and I used to get ourselves captured by cannibals in the backyard all the time. And when I wasn’t escaping their large boiling pot, I was Zorro.

2. There's a fork in the road, which direction do you choose left through the dark forest or right along the open road?

Ha! It depends. What time is it? How cold is it? Am I expected somewhere or just out exploring? Of course, none of this really matters because I would always (always) end up at least starting out in that dark forest…even if I beat a quick retreat when the giant spiders showed up.

3. Book that made the biggest impact on you?

Tough one. But I’m going to go with That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis. I loved Narnia growing up, but finding another deeper, darker, crazier gem waiting for me as an adult was just awesome.

4. Sunrise or sunset?

Sunset. Unless I’ve just about finished a book and I’m not going to rest until it’s done. Then…both. But sunset first.

Thanks so much, N.D. Wilson, for stopping by my foruth blogoversary! Loved your answers (Cannibals sounds like something my sisters and I would have played). Ooh, a new project that's not pure fantasy, I'll definitely have to keep that on my book radar.

Y'all be sure to check out my review of The Dragon's Tooth and enter to Small Medium at Large swag giveaway.
What was y'all's favorite answer of N.D. Wilson's from the interview?

The Dragon's Tooth (Ashtown Burials, 1) by N.D. Wilson, 2011. Published by Random House Books for Young Readers.
For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run a sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone tattoos arrives, demanding a specific room.
Less than 24 hours later, the old man is dead. The motel has burned, and Daniel is missing. And Cyrus and Antigone are kneeling in a crowded hall, swearing an oath to an order of explorers who have long served as caretakers of the world's secrets, keepers of powerful relics from lost civilizations, and jailers to unkillable criminals who have terrorized the world for millennia.
N. D. Wilson, author of Leepike Ridge and 100 Cupboards, returns with an imagination-capturing adventure that inventively combines the contemporary and the legendary.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blogoversary: Where I Interview Christopher Healy

I am so excited to announce today's blogoversary guest, Christoper Healy, who was kind enough to answer a few questions for an interview here at The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia. Be sure to check out my review of Christopher Healy's debut The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, which I absolutely loved.

About the author:

Who is Christopher Healy? (or, A story in which many people and things are born)
Christopher Healy was born in the quaint Northeastern town of New York City. It was there, while still an infant, that Christopher chewed the pages of his very first book. Later, he learned that the squiggles on those bound-together pieces of paper had meaning. And thus, a lifelong reader was born.
Even in his youth, Christopher knew he would someday be a writer. And he wrote numerous Tables of Contents to prove it, a few of which sounded like they might have been pretty great books had he ever written the stories to go along with them. It would be quite some time before Christopher actually got the chance to write for a living. And his career took many detours in between: cashier, actor, toy store shelf-stocker, person who types things from one place into another place, haunted house zombie, person who checks the spelling of celebrities’ names, etc. Eventually, he cobbled together a tiny little video game review — and it actually got published. Thus, a writer was born. (from author's website)
You can haunt Christoper Healy on-
Twitter | Website | FB |


INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTOPHER HEALY

1. I loved reading about the 'Princes Charming' in The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, if given the chance, which of the princes would you like to be for the day? Why?
I guess it would depend on the day. If we’re talking about me being one of the princes on one of my average days, well, it might be nice (and very different) to as brave, strong, and self-confident as Liam. But I wouldn’t want to be Liam on one of his average days, fighting bandits and witches and such. If we’re talking about me being in the princes’ world, I’d choose Frederic, whose days are mostly filled with art, music, fine food, and a generally peaceful atmosphere.

2. One of the most enjoyable things, for me, in the book was how different the princess were when compared to their original stories. So my question is, which of the princes/princess stories did you enjoy re-telling the most. 
Definitely “Snow White,” because it’s the story in which the original prince’s actions make the least sense. He’s wandering by himself in the woods, comes across a girl in a glass coffin surrounded by dwarfs, and he decides to kiss her. It was a challenge to come up with a legitimate motivation for that.

3. Earlier, I asked which of the princes you would like to be for a day, now would you care to share with us which character you consider yourself to be most like? Why?
Frederic. I’m not nearly as fancified as Frederic, but when faced with danger, I’d be less of the brace-yourself-and-meet-the-challenge-head-on type and more of the scream-and-hide-under-a-table type. Frederic prefers to think his way out of problems, to use words instead of fists, which I can relate to.

4. What you drew you to wanting to tell the princes side of the story?
Basically, it was the fact that the princes’ stories hadn’t really been told before. In Prince Charming, we have one of the most famous heroes in all of literature, and yet, when you really thought about it, you knew virtually nothing about the guy. And most of the time, what he did in those stories didn’t actually sound too heroic. I wanted to change that.

5. Any authors or books that inspire you as a writer?
The Lord of the Rings, The Westing Game, and Winnie-the-Pooh has big impacts on me in my youth. But I get inspired all the time. This year alone, I found inspiration in books like R.J. Palacio’s Wonder, The Drowned Cities by Paolo Baciagalupi, and Barry Wolverton’s Neversink.

6. Chris, any upcoming projects that you can share with us? *absolutely excited to see what you'll do next*
Well, The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle comes out on April 30th. And I’m already into the writing of Book 3. So Hero’s Guide is taking up most of my time right now. Though I do have plans for what comes next…

7. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 
Practically speaking, you gotta go with Superman. He’s invulnerable.

Rapid Fire 5

1. In five words describe yourself?
Someone bad at short descriptions.

2. Time of day when you do your best writing?
Right after lunch.

3. Favorite season? Why?
Spring. Flowers and no jackets.

4. Last book that kept you reading late into the night?
I want to say The Cloak Society by Jeramey Kraatz, because I read it in one sitting, but technically, I finished it before dinner. The last book that I actually lost sleep reading was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

5. Care to share your writing cave with us (include a picture if you want)?
My cave is a pretty standard home office, but I do have a Legend of Zelda sword on my desk.

Thanks so much, Chris, for the excellent answers! Now that y'all have gotten to read the interview give us both your thoughts. Have you read The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom? Do plan to read it? 

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christoper Healy, 2012. Published by Walden Pond Press.
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You've never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it's up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.
Debut author Christopher Healy takes us on a journey with four imperfect princes and their four improbable princesses, all of whom are trying to become perfect heroes--a fast-paced, funny, and fresh introduction to a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems.

Don't forget to stop by yesterday's interview with Joanne Levy and enter to win some Small Medium at Large swag. 

Wish List Wednesday

The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin, August 21, 2012. Published by Razorbill.
Lorelei is bowled over by Splendid Academy--Principal Trapp encourages the students to run in the hallways, the classrooms are stocked with candy dishes, and the cafeteria serves lavish meals featuring all Lorelei's favorite foods. But the more time she spends at school, the more suspicious she becomes. Why are her classmates growing so chubby? And why do the teachers seem so sinister?
It's up to Lorelei and her new friend Andrew to figure out what secret this supposedly splendid school is hiding. What they discover chills their bones--and might even pick them clean!
Mix one part magic, one part mystery, and just a dash of Grimm, and you've got the recipe for a cozy-creepy read that kids will gobble up like candy.
Why: The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy sounds like a delightful read and I am just dying to know the secrets behind Splendid Academy and what the nefarious plans they have in store for the children.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blogoversary: Where I Interview Joanne Levy + Giveaway

Guys, I am beyond excited to have had the chance to interview the lovely Joanne Levy, author of Small Medium at Large. Be sure to check out my review of Small Medium at Large to see why you must read this book.

About the author:
Joanne Levy’s love of books began at a very early age. Being the youngest and the only female among four children, she was often left to her own devices and could frequently be found sitting in a quiet corner with her nose in a book.
After much teenage misadventure, Joanne eventually graduated from university and now spends her weekdays as an executive assistant at one of Canada’s big banks planning meetings and thwarting coffee emergencies. When Joanne isn’t working, she can usually be found at her computer, channeling her younger self into books.
Joanne still lives in Ontario with her husband and kids of the furred and feathered variety. You can follow Joanne on Twitter or find her on Facebook.
Interview Questions:

1. In the spirit of Small Medium at Large, what would be the craziest/embarrassing advice you've received from the "Bubby Dora" in your life? 

Ha! Well there was an actual real Bubby Dora – my great grandmother, who lived to be about 103 or so (we don’t know for sure because when she was born, there were no birth certificates or official records) and she was a real feisty lady. By the time I got to know her, she’d mellowed quite a bit, so I didn’t get a lot of crazy/embarrassing advice from her myself. But Bubby Dora in SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE is a bit of a mashup of both the real Bubby and also my own mom, who is a lot like her. I do remember way back in elementary school, that my mom bought me these frilly camisoles to wear to school. I wasn’t a big fan of them, but still wore them under my shirts. When it came time to change for gym class, all the girls made fun of me, saying I was wearing a bra already. I went home very upset and told my mom and she said, “Pshaw, those girls don’t know anything about fashion. Those aren’t bras; they wouldn’t hold up anything, even if you did have them.” So yeah, that was embarrassing.

2. Like Lilah, the main character in Small Medium at Large, if you were to be struck by lightning and gained the ability of your choosing, what would it be? Why?

 I wish I wasn’t quite so introverted. It’s easy to be outgoing online and through books (maybe a reason why I write!), but when it comes to being in the company of strangers outside my computer, I tend to be a bit of a wallflower. I’m working on it, but it’s not something that comes easily to me. If I could harness lightning to give me a special power, you know, without killing me, I’d want that.

3. As a fellow bookie, can you tell us what book has had the biggest impact on you? Why? 

SO MANY books have had a huge impact on me, but I’d have to say ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET is probably the one that had the biggest influence on me as an author. When I started writing middle grade, that was the book I went to as my ‘gold standard’ of what I wanted my stuff to be like. I wanted to nail the voice of the tween the way Ms. Blume does. And I’ve heard my book compared to some of hers (which is a HUGE honor), so I think I did something right.

4. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

Can I make one up? I’m thinking someone who can control the weather. Like WeatherDude or someting—he would rain on the robots and make them all rust. Unless the robots are made from some sort of anti-rust titanium or something. In which case, I think we’re all doomed.

5. Joanne, any new projects in the works that you could share with us? Because I for one cannot wait to read more of your work. 

Aw, thanks, Orchid! I’m always working on something, although nothing concrete on the books just yet. I have some other middle grade projects I’m working on, along with a sequel to SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE (keep your fingers crossed that it will get picked up) and a YA book that I’m working on. Keep an eye on my website (joannelevy.com) or twitter (@joannelevy) as I’ll post news there as soon as I have any to share.

Rapid Fire 5:

1. Last book that kept you reading late into the night? 

I recently read Jennifer Nielsen’s THE FALSE PRINCE and can’t stop thinking and raving about it. Have you read it? I think you’ll love it if you haven’t.

2. Favorite 'guilty" pleasure (movie/show..etc)? 

The Food Network, and in particular, Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives.

3. Morning or night?

 Night. I’m a morning person out of necessity (that pesky day job thing) but if it weren’t for that, I’d totally be a night owl.

4. Which character which you want to be? Why (in seven words)? 

Diana Barry – Anne of Green Gables would be my BFF (sorry, not quite 7 words!)

5. Care to share your writing cave (include picture if you want)? 

Sure! My writing cave is in my spare bedroom. What you can’t see here is that behind me is a dog crate and lots of stored items – books, mailing supplies, books, swag, oh and did I mention books?

Thanks so much, Joanne for stopping by the blog and answering all the questions. I shall be keeping my fingers crossed on a sequel to Small Medium at Large and more books by you. 

Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy, July 3, 2012. Published by Bloomsbury.
After she’s hit by lightning at a wedding, twelve-year-old Lilah Bloom develops a new talent: she can hear dead people. Among them, there’s her over opinionated Bubby Dora; a prissy fashion designer; and an approval-seeking clown who livens up a s√©ance. With Bubby Dora leading the way, these and other sweetly imperfect ghosts haunt Lilah through seventh grade, and help her face her one big fear: talking to—and possibly going to the seventh-grade dance with—her crush, Andrew Finkel.
Thanks to Joanne Levy, I have some signed bookmarks and SMaL rubber bracelets to giveaway. Y'all are super lucky because the bookmarks are gorgeous ...and did I mention signed. 

You can haunt Joanne Levy on-
Twitter | FB | Goodreads |

Rules:
International
Fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Blog Tour- Audiobook Review: Invisible Murder + Giveaway

Invisible Murder (Nina Borg, 2) by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis, read by Katherine Kellgren, October 2, 2012. 11 hours 21 minutes. Published by AudioGo. Source: publisher.
Red Cross nurse Nina Borg's life is at a turning point. Her husband, Morten, has pleaded with her not to get involved in any more dangerous projects (with her network of volunteers who assist illegal immigrants and refugees). But when Morten is away on business, Nina agrees to help her friend Peter at a camp of mysteriously ill Roma refugee children. The situation reveals itself to be much more complicated and perilous than she could have imagined, and suddenly more than her marriage is at risk.
First Sentence:
"Maybe we'll find a gun," Pitkin said, aiming his fingers at the guardhouse next to the gate. 
 ________________________________________________________________________________
Story

Last year, I had the opportunity to listen to and review The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis for a tour, and could not turn down the chance to listen to the next book in the series. While I really liked it, I enjoyed book one a little more.

Invisible Murder starts out with a bang and the tension in the plot just kept on climbing. This was perhaps one of the most stressful books I have read in along time because things go from bad to worse for Nina and a whole bunch of characters.

One of the things I like most about this series is that the book has a wide range of characters from different countries and with varying back rounds. It definitely makes the book all the more interesting to listen to since the reader does such a great job with all various accents. It was just cool to have all these different views and thoughts from the characters, it definitely made the book all the more interesting.

What I liked most about Invisible Murder is that the authors did a really good job of making their characters and there problems real-like the trouble between Morton and Nina brought on by the work Nina does. While the outcome of their relationship may not have been for the best I liked that felt real, and that the tension between them was something that could and has actually happened between couples.

While everything about the plot and writing is most excellent in Invisible Murder some of the content, like excessive swearing, was a huge turnoff for me. I can only take so much swearing in a book, so when a character starts spouting off a whole slew of cuss words you can see my eyes about popping out of my head from shock. If you read the content section of my review you'll be able to see what I mean and learn more about what you'll be reading/listening to with this one.

Content (will contain spoilers;highlight to see):

Goodness gracious! While I enjoyed the story in Invisible Murder I am disappointed by how much swearing there was in the book. Things would be going smoothly and then the characters would just star swearing up a storm and making my poor little ears burn. If you like swearing in your books, and colorful swearing at that, then you'll most likely find nothing wrong with the book.

As for violence and sexual content, there is fair bit of violence in this book. Including a couple of beatings, which is definitely not cool in any book (I mean real life). Some of it is of 'screen' while some is pretty in your face with what is happening.
Then there's Nina's daughter who is kidnapped, beat, and more may have happened to her, but things got a little laud and I missed what happened so I'm afraid I cannot inform y'all on that count.

Narration
Katherine Kellgren is perhaps one of the best female narrators that I have listened to, ever. Even though this is only the second book that I have listened to were she was the narrator, I just loved the way she reads all the various accents and dialects in the books' that she reads for.

Even though I already mentioned how great Katherine Kellgren is when it comes to the various accents in Invisible Murder, I must repeat that since it is my favorite part of her narration of this book. Her ability to do all of them is just amazing and makes the book that much more enjoyable to listen to because its almost like your there in the book going through what the characters are going through...or at least eavesdropping on them.

I actually do not have anything that I don't like about the narration. But there were a couple of things I did not like about the book, which you can see above.

Final Verdict: Invisible Murder was one of the most gripping, heart-pounding reads I have come across.

Invisible Murder earns 4 out of 5 pineapples.

Nina Borg:
The Boy in the Suitcase
Invisible Murder

Want a taste of Invisible Murder, well you are in luck because I have a clip from the excellent audio book. Just a little note for those who choose to listen, the clip does have some foul language with the use of the f-word.

Giveaway Rules:
Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada (tour rules)

Cover Reveal: Shadow of the Mark by Leigh Fallon + Giveaway

Oh my goodness! Y'all I am so excited to help Leigh Fallon with the reveal for Shadow of the Mark, the second book Carrier trilogy. If y'all have forgotten, Carrier of the Mark was one of my favorite reads last year...so be sure to visit my review of it.

About the author:
I started out life in South Africa. A year later my parents moved home to Dublin, Ireland. When I was older and realized my parents had moved me from exotic Durban, to sedate Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, I was rightly ticked off.
Giving up lions for sheep, I grew up in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains where I went to a convent school and had to contend with uniforms, gabardines, and nuns. When not dodging the beady glare of the Sisters of Mercy, I was devouring every book I could get my hands on.
I traveled all over Europe while working in banking and treasury, but I gave up my calculator in favor of a keyboard and haven't stopped writing since. My first book, Carrier of the Mark, was published by HarperTeen in 2011.
Our home is in Cork in the south of Ireland, but we?re currently on loan to Massachusetts in the US where I continue to write books about magic, ghosts, and romance, with a bit of Irish flavor.
You can haunt Leigh Fallon at-
Website | FB | Twitter | GR | Carrier of the Mark FB | Blog |

And now, for the moment y'all have been waiting for the cover of Shadow of the Mark..........

Shadow of the Mark (Carrier, 2) by Leigh Fallon, July 9, 2013. Published by Harper Teen.
Life for Megan Rosenberg just got a lot more complicated.
While she evoked the air element, and her feelings for Adam intensified, a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal has been spun around  her.  With the Order tightening its hold, and the reinstatement of the Mark Knights, Megan has more questions than answers as the Marked Ones grow in strength.
New people arouse suspicion, the DeRises start behaving strangely, and Megan begins to unravel a destiny shrouded in mystery. It's a destiny the Order has struggled to hide, and a destiny someone from the past, far in the past, has already laid claim to.
Alliances will be made, and friends will be lost, as the Order's dark secrets are revealed by the very thing they sought to destroy.
What Leigh has to say about the cover:
I know, there's no mistaking it. This is definitely a Carrier Series cover, but that was the intention. After the amazing reception to the cover of Carrier of the Mark, HarperCollins wanted Shadow's cover to be instantly recognizable. And it is, but the new darker color palette reflects the darker tone that this installment brings, and the pink and purple really make it pop. I love it and think HarperCollins have done another amazing job. I hope you like it too. 
You can pre-order Shadow of the Mark at-
Amazon |

I absolutely love this cover. Of course, I totally loved the last one for Carrier of the Mark and am so excited that they kept the theme going with book two.

Let me know what y'all think of the cover for Shadow of the Mark by Leigh Fallon. You can also enter this awesome giveaway that Ms Fallon is hosting (below).

Monday, October 22, 2012

Four Years and Counting

When I first started The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia four years ago today, I never once thought that I would reach this incredible milestone.
My mind is absolutely blown that I have managed to keep the blog alive and how much it has grown since I first started out. *does crazy dance*

Be sure to check out the three awesome authors that will be visiting this week on the blog. Here's a hint as to who will be stopping by: They are all authors of mid grade books that have been reviewed on the blog this year...late summer to more recently. I cannot wait to share their posts with y'all.


The Good Things About Blogging:
  • Being able to share your thoughts with like minded people. Honestly who other than fellow book nerds is going to listen to me ramble on about the books I love and the ones that fall flat.
  • Its so cool knowing about books before must people...and some times even having the chance to read them early always makes me smile.
  • Sometimes getting that early read that makes you want to dance with joy because you've been thinking about it since you first heard about it.
  • Realizing that there are actually people out there reading what you write and even leaving the occasional comment. Very cool.
The Bad Thing about Blogging:
  • Sometime you just want to runaway and hide from your emails. *tell me I'm not the only one*
  • Little too much drama sometimes for my taste. Pretty sure I don't need to elaberate on this.
  • Some many great books that one wants to read, but finding the time to do so can be nearly impossible when life is busy.
A glimpse into the past four years on The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia.
  • 350+ reviews
  • 465 GFC followers
  • 25 subscribers on Feed Burner
  • 417 subscribers
  • 1108+ published posts
  • 4 author interviews
  • 15 guest posts (author and blogger)
  • and...61,130 pageviews
To you my long time followers, thank you for sticking around and making the blog feel loved over the past four years. To those just discovering the blog, I hope y'all will enjoy what you see and stick around for the long run..

Keep on being awesome everyone and don't forget to enter my blogoversary giveaway tomorrow...plus the blog tour one starting tomorrow and the other ongoing tour giveaway.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Audiobook Review: Guys Read: Funny Business

Guys Read: Funny Business (Guys Read, 1) by Jon Scieszka, Kate DiCamillo, Jeff Kinney, David Lubar, Adam Rex, David Yoo, Mac Barnett, Eoin Colfer , Christopher Paul Curtis, Paul Feig, Jack Gantos, narrated by Bronson Pinchot, Michael Boatman, John Keating, September 22, 2010. 5 hours 46 minutes. Published by Harper Audio. Source: YA Audio Sync.
It’s here: Volume One of the official Guys Read Library. Jon Scieszka’s Guys Read initiative was founded on a simple premise: that young guys enjoy reading most when they have reading they can enjoy. And out of this comes a series that aims to give them just that. Ten books, arranged by theme, featuring the best of the best where writing for kids is concerned. Each book is a collection of original short stories, but these aren’t your typical anthologies—each book is edgy, inventive, visual, and one-of-a-kind, featuring a different theme for guys to get excited about.
Funny Business is based around the theme of—what else?—humor, and if you’re familiar with Jon and Guys Read, you already know what you’re in store for: ten hilarious stories from some of the funniest writers around. Before you’re through, you’ll meet a teenage mummy; a kid desperate to take a dip in the world’s largest pool of chocolate milk; a homicidal turkey; parents who hand over their son’s room to a biker; the only kid in his middle school who hasn’t turned into a vampire, wizard, or superhero; and more. And the contributor list includes bestselling author, award winners, and fresh new talent alike: Mac Barnett, Eoin Colfer, Christopher Paul Curtis, Kate DiCamillo (writing with Jon Scieszka), Paul Feig, Jack Gantos, Jeff Kinney, David Lubar, Adam Rex, and David Yoo.
Guys Read is all about turning young readers into lifelong ones—and with this book, and each subsequent installment in the series, we aim to leave no guy unturned.  
First Sentence:
Ernest was a nerd, but it was fourth grade: we were all nerds.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blog Tour: Tears Water the Seeds of Hope + Giveaway


Tears Water the Seeds of Hope by Kim Tews, September 10, 2012. 240 pages. Published by CrossHouse.  Source: author.
Tears Water the Seeds of Hope is the inspiring true story of a Midwest husband and wife that become disenchanted with the relentless pursuit of the American Dream and embark on a journey that spans six countries and redefines their values and lives. The story begins in a small town in Wisconsin and weaves its way through South and Central America as the couple gathers an army of supporters and establishes an organization to save the lives of children in the end stages of starvation in eastern Guatemala.
First Sentence:
The setting sun painted a backdrop of cotton candy pink clouds over the roadside bar and grill where we would soon hear our favorite acoustic guitar duo sing Jimmy Buffet songs.

It is rarely that I review memoirs, not because I don’t find them worthy of reading, but to criticize a book based on someone’s life that is where my trouble lies. On the other hand, I have absolutely no trouble when it comes to reviewing crazy fiction that comes forth from a writer’s mind.

It was incredibly nice for a change to read about someone with strong faith, especially because the road that Mrs. Tews’s and her family and friends took was not an easy one to start down let alone continue on with. For me, one of the highlights of this memoir will always be their perseverance in the face of danger and their trust in the lord even when all seemed lost.

 While the journey of the Tew’s and the organizations that helped out and then founded was remarkable, what I really enjoyed was reading about the love and care they showed for those they came into contact with. It was to put it mildly, refreshing because it gives you hope in the human race to see people going out of their comfort zone to spread comfort, hope and love with those who know suffering.
What I enjoyed most while reading this book would have to be that the author, Ms. Tew’s, does a very nice job of sharing her faith and belief while not making the reader feel like they are being preached at-there was just no other way to put it.

While the message contained within Tears Water the Seeds of Hope is one that I believe should be shared with all, I do have one thing that I did not like about the book.  I know that the book was written as a memoir, but at times the writing felt a little too much like the author was just trying to get the words out as quick as possible without leaving the reader time to dive into each section of the author’s journey.
Even though the writing was a little rushed, I think that this is one y’all should all read because of the message of hope and that one person can make a difference in the world, even if it is just a small difference.

Final Verdict: If you’re looking for story that will restore your hope in humanity, then this book should be at the top of your list. Small things can make a difference.


About the author:
Kim Tews was raised in Madison, Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Economics. She and husband, Randy, pursued careers in real estate before beginning mission work together in Ecuador, South America in 2001. In 2005 they established the 501 (c) 3 non-profit Outreach for World Hope to save the lives of starving children in eastern Guatemala. The couple lives in Verona, Wisconsin with their three children, traveling back and forth to Guatemala frequently to facilitate the ongoing programs of Outreach for World Hope.
Where you can buy Tears Water the Seeds of Hope and learn about the author, Kim Tews. 
Amazon | B&N |Outreach to World Hope | Author's Page | FB |

You can check out the other tour stops by visiting Escape with Dolly Cas. 

Giveaway:
One paperback edition of Tears Water the Seeds of Hope (open to US/CA only)
Fill out Rafflecopter form to enter. 

Blog Tour: Excerpt Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista (Part Two)

Yesterday, y;all got to see the first part of the excerpt for chapter one of Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista, which means that today y'all get to see how it ends.  I would love to hear what y'all thing of both parts excerpts.


AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 1 OF EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION BY PAUL BATISTA


As if briskly covering the topics on an agenda, Ali Hussein said, “Months in one room, no contact with other people. Shifted from place to place, never knowing what country or city I was in, never knowing what month of the year, day of the week. Punched. Kicked.”“Do you have any marks on your body?”“I’m not sure yet what your name really is, or who you really are, but you seem naive. Marks? Are you asking me if they’ve left bruises or scars on my body?”Byron felt the rebuke. Over the years he’d learned that there was often value in saying nothing. Silence sometimes changed the direction of a conversation and revealed more. He waited.
Hussein asked, “How much more time do we have?”“Only a few minutes.”“A few minutes? I’ve been locked away for years, never in touch for a second with anyone who meant to do kind things to me, and now I have a total of thirty minutes with you. Mr. Bush created a beautiful world.” “There’s another president.” Byron paused, and, with the silly thought of giving this man some hope, he said, “His name is Barack Hussein Obama.”Ali Hussein almost smiled. “And I’m still here? How did that happen?”Byron didn’t answer, feeling foolish that he’d thought the news that an American president’s middle name was Hussein would somehow brighten this man’s mind. Byron had pandered to him, and he hated pandering.
Ali Hussein then asked, “My wife and children?”No one—not the ACLU lawyer, not the CIA agent with whom Byron had briefly talked to arrange this visit, not even Hussein’s heavy-faced, brooding brother—had said a single thing about Hussein other than that he had been brought into the United States after years away and that he was an accountant. Nothing about a wife and children.
“I don’t know. I didn’t know you had a wife and children. Nobody said anything about them. I should have asked.”It was unsettling even to Byron, who had dealt under tense circumstances with thousands of people in courtrooms, that this man could stare at him for so long with no change of expression. Hussein finally asked, “Are you going to come back?”“If you want me to.”“I was an accountant, you know. I always liked numbers, and I believed in the American system that money moves everything, that he who pays the piper gets to call the tune. Who’s paying you?”“No one, Mr. Hussein. Anything I do for you will be free. I won’t get paid by anybody.”“Now I really wonder who you are.” There was just a trace of humor in his voice and his expression.
As swiftly as Ali Hussein had appeared in the interview room, he disappeared when two guards in Army uniforms reached in from the rear door and literally yanked him from his chair. It was like watching a magician make a man disappear. 
Want your own copy of Extraordinary Rendition, you can purchase it here -
Amazon | B&N |

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blog Tour: Excerpt from Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista

Greetings fair readers. Today I am excited to be posting an excerpt for Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista. Hope y'all will enjoy the excerpt.

About the author:

Paul Batista, novelist and television personality, is one of the most widely known trial lawyers in the country. As a trial attorney, he specializes in federal criminal litigation. As a media figure, he is known for his regular appearances as guest legal commentator on a variety of television shows including, Court TV, CNN, HLN and WNBC. He’s also appeared in the HBO movie, You Don't Know Jack, starring Al Pacino.
A prolific writer, Batista authored the leading treatise on the primary federal anti-racketeering statute, Civil RICO Practice Manual, which is now in its third edition (Wiley & Sons, 1987; Wolters Kluwer, 2008). He has written articles for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The National Law Journal.
Batista's debut novel, Death's Witness, was awarded a Silver Medal by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). And his new novel, Extraordinary Rendition, is now being published—along with a special reissue of Death’s Witness—by Astor + Blue Editions.
Batista is a graduate of Bowdoin College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and Cornell Law School. He’s proud to have served in the United States Army. Paul Batista lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.

AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 1 OF EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION BY PAUL BATISTA
When the guard left, the iron door resonated briefly as the magnetic lock engaged itself. Byron sat in a steel folding chair. Directly in front of him was a narrow ledge under a multi-layered, almost opaque plastic window, in the middle of which was a metal circle.Ali Hussein seemed to just materialize in the small space behind the partition. Dressed in a yellow jumpsuit printed with the initials “FDC” for “Federal Detention Center,” Hussein, who had been described to Byron as an accountant trained at Seton Hall, in Newark, was a slender man who appeared far more mild-mannered than Byron expected. He wore cloth slippers with no shoelaces. The waistband of his jump suit was elasticized—not even a cloth belt. He had as little access to hard objects as possible.He waited for Byron to speak first. Leaning toward the metal speaker in the partition and raising his voice, Byron said, “You are Mr. Hussein, aren’t you?”The lawyers at the Civil Liberties Union who had first contacted Byron told him that, in their limited experience with accused terrorists, it sometimes wasn’t clear what their real names were. There were often no fingerprints or DNA samples that could confirm their identities. The name Ali Hussein was as common as a coin. It was as though genetic markers and their histories began only at the moment of their arrest.
“I am.” He spoke perfect, unaccented English. “I don’t know what your name is.”The circular speaker in the window, although it created a tinny sound, worked well. Byron lowered his voice. “I’m Byron Johnson. I’m a lawyer from New York. I met your brother. Did he tell you to expect me?”“I haven’t heard from my brother in years. He has no idea how to reach me, I can’t reach him.”“Has anyone told you why you’re here?”“Someone on the airplane—I don’t know who he was, I was blind-folded—said I was being brought here because I’d been charged with a crime. He said I could have a lawyer. Are you that lawyer?”“I am. If you want me, and if I want to do this.”All that Ali’s more abrasive, more aggressive brother had told Byron was that Ali was born in Syria, moved as a child with his family to Lebanon during the civil war in the 1980s, and then came to the United States. Ali never became a United States citizen. Five months after the invasion of Iraq, he traveled to Germany to do freelance accounting work for an American corporation for what was scheduled to be a ten-day visit. While Ali was in Germany, his brother said, he had simply disappeared, as if waved out of existence. His family had written repeatedly to the State Department, the CIA, and the local congressman. They were letters sent into a vacuum. Nobody ever answered.
Byron asked, “Do you know where you’ve come from?”“How do I know who you are?”Byron began to reach for his wallet, where he stored his business cards. He caught himself because of the absurdity of that: he could have any number of fake business cards. Engraved with gold lettering, his real business card had his name and the name of his law firm, one of the oldest and largest in the country. Ali Hussein was obviously too intelligent, too alert, and too suspicious to be convinced by a name on a business card or a license or a credit card.
“I don’t have any way of proving who I am. I can just tell you that I’m Byron Johnson, I’ve been a lawyer for years, I live in New York, and I was asked by your brother and others to represent you.”Almost unblinking, Ali just stared at Byron, who tried to hold his gaze, but failed.
At last Ali asked, “And you want to know what’s happened to me?”“We can start there. I’m only allowed thirty minutes to visit you this week. Tell me what you feel you want to tell me, or can tell me. And then we’ll see where we go. You don’t have to tell me everything about who you are, what you did before you were arrested, who you know in the outside world. Or you don’t have to tell me anything. I want nothing from you other than to help you.”Ali leaned close to the metallic hole in the smoky window. The skin around his eyes was far darker than the rest of his face, almost as if he wore a Zorro-style mask. Byron took no notes, because to do so might make Ali Hussein even more mistrustful.
“Today don’t ask me any questions. People have asked me lots of questions over the years. I’m sick of questions.” It was like listening to a voice from a world other than the one in which Byron lived. There was nothing angry or abusive in his tone: just a matter-of-fact directness, as though he was describing to Byron a computation he had made on one of Byron’s tax returns. “One morning five Americans in suits stopped me at a red light. I was in Bonn. I drove a rented Toyota. I had a briefcase. They got out of their cars. They had earpieces. Guns, too. They told me to get out of the car. I did. They told me to show them my hands. I did. They lifted me into an SUV, tied my hands, and put a blindfold on me. I asked who they were and what was happening.”He paused. Byron, who had been in the business of asking questions since he graduated from law school at Harvard, couldn’t resist the embedded instinct to ask, “What did they say?”“They said shut up.”“Has anyone given you any papers since you’ve come here?”“I haven’t had anything in my hands to read in years. Not a newspaper, not a magazine, not a book. Not even the Koran.”“Has anyone told you what crimes you’re charged with?”“Don’t you know?”“No. All that I’ve been told is that you were moved to Miami from a foreign jail so that you could be indicted and tried in an American court.”There was another pause. “How exactly did you come to me?” Even though he kept returning to the same subject—who exactly was Byron Johnson?—there was still no hostility or anger in Ali Hussein’s tone. “Why are you here?”In the stifling room, Byron began to sweat almost as profusely as he had on the walk from the security gate to the prison entrance. He recognized that he was very tense. And he was certain that the thirty-minute rule would be enforced, that time was running out. He didn’t want to lose his chance to gain the confidence of this ghostly man who had just emerged into a semblance of life after years in solitary limbo. “A lawyer for a civil rights group called me. I had let people know that I wanted to represent a person arrested for terrorism. I was told that you were one of four prisoners being transferred out of some detention center, maybe at Guantanamo, to a mainland prison, and that you’d be charged by an American grand jury rather than held overseas indefinitely. When I got the call I said I would help, but only if you and I met, and only if you wanted me to help, and only if I thought I could do that.” “How do I know any of this is true?”Byron Johnson prided himself on being a realist. Wealthy clients sought him out not to tell them what they wanted to hear but for advice about the facts, the law and the likely real-world outcomes of whatever problems they faced. But it hadn’t occurred to him that this man, imprisoned for years, would doubt him and would be direct enough to tell him that. Byron had become accustomed to deference, not to challenge. And this frail man was suggesting that Byron might be a stalking horse, a plant, a shill, a human recording device.“I met your brother Khalid.”“Where?”“At a diner in Union City.”“What diner?”“He said it was his favorite, and that you used to eat there with him: the Plaza Diner on Kennedy Boulevard.”Byron, who for years had practiced law in areas where a detailed memory was essential, was relieved that he remembered the name and location of the diner just across the Hudson River in New Jersey. He couldn’t assess whether the man behind the thick, scratched glass was now more persuaded to believe him. Byron asked, “How have you been treated?”“I’ve been treated like an animal.”“In what ways?”

Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista, May 1, 2013. Published by Astor + Blue Editions LLC
When Ali Hussein—suspected terrorist and alleged banker for Al Qaeda—is finally transported from Gitmo to the US mainland to stand trial, many are stunned when Byron Carlos Johnson, pre-eminent lawyer and the son of a high-profile diplomat, volunteers as counsel.  On principle, Johnson thought he was merely defending a man unjustly captured through Rendition and water-boarded illegally. But Johnson soon learns that there is much more at stake than one man’s civil rights.
Hussein’s intimate knowledge of key financial transactions could lead to the capture of—or the unabated funding of—the world’s most dangerous terror cells. This makes Hussein the target of corrupt US intelligence forces on one side, and ruthless international terrorists on the other.  And, it puts Byron Carlos Johnson squarely in the crosshairs of both.
Pulled irresistibly by forces he can and cannot see, Johnson enters a lethal maze of espionage, manipulation, legal traps and murder. And when his life, his love, and his acclaimed principles are on the line, Johnson may have one gambit left that can save them all; a play that even his confidants could not have anticipated. He must become the hunter among hunters in the deadliest game.
Written by no-holds-barred-attorney Paul Batista, Extraordinary Rendition excels not only as an action thriller, but as a sophisticated legal procedural as well; tearing the curtains away from the nation’s most controversial issues.
Provocative. Smart. Heart-pounding. A legal thriller of the highest order.
You can purchase Extraordinary Rendition at-
Amazon | B&N |

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