Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Harry and JK Rowling!!

Today is a very momentous occasion.

It's July 31st, Harry Potter's 30th birthday!!
I know, he's lot older than he is in the movies. But he was born in 1980, and the movies take place a few years ago :) Happy birthday Harry! Hope you get a better cake than what you got when you were eleven!

It's also a momentous occasion for JK Rowling, who gave Harry the same birthday as her own!

Happy birthday to Daniel Radcliffe, the actor of movie-Harry, who turned 21 on July 23!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: Desires of the Dead

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: Desires of the Dead
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Suspense
Release Date: March 15, 2011

Goodreads Summary:

The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.
When Violet Ambrose's morbid ability to sense the echoes of those who've been murdered leads her to the body of a young boy, she draws the attention of the FBI. She is reluctantly pulled into an investigation that will endanger more than just her secret...but her relationship and possibly her life as well.

Why I Want This:

I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that this book will be as good as The Body Finder, if not better. The Body Finder (Click HERE to see a review) was one of those compulsively readable books, those that won't allow you to do anything productive until you reach the end of its tracks. Though it was not one of the best books I've ever read and I personally think that Violet and the plot of The Body Finder had a blander taste, I enjoyed it enough that I am eagerly anticipating the sequel. I do hope that Desires of the Dead will deliver a more shocking plot and provide even more reasons for me to love Jay Heaton :) I long to continue on with the story of Violet and Jay and I am quite curious to see what Violet's morbid "gift" will take me this time.

--> And by the way, though I find the cover very pretty, I still don't know what that thing is. Is it an echo? I had the same question about The Body Finder as well. Help?

What book are you waiting for? Please comment! I'd love to hear your thoughts! :) Have a good Wednesday!

Word of the Day?

So everyday, I get a text message from introducing me to a new word. I have learned many awesomesauce words thanks to them. Anyway, today at 12:46 pm I snatched my phone off the counter at the sound of vibrations. And there before me was the word...

behemoth \ bih-HEE-muhth \ ,noun;
1. Any creature or thing of monstrous size or power

illustration by Keith Thompson from the book Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Well, as you may now, Behemoth is the sequel to Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (click HERE to see a review). And indeed there are creatures of monstrous size and power in that book. This little coincidence basically made my day as depressing as that is, and I just thought I'd share. Okay bye :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Themed Teaser Tuesday x2 (The Kitchen Edition)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B at I Should Be Reading. Continuing on with our themed teasers, this week's topic is kitchens!

Okapi is currently reading The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson...

"I lean close to the wall and peek into the kitchen. Her back is to me. She spends most of her time in the kitchen preparing elaborate dishes." The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson, page 18

Rica Eat World is currently reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson...

"He gave her a wan smile, but said nothing. He motioned her to follow him into the kitchen. He plopped down on a chair by the kitchen table without turning on a light. the only illumination came from the street light beyond the window." - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by STEIG Larsson, page 114

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Title: The Cardturner
Author: Louis Sachar
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: All Ages
Number of Pages: Hardcover- 336 Pages

The summer after junior year of high school looks bleak for Alton Richards. His girlfriend has dumped him for his best friend. He has no money and no job. His parents insist that he drive his great-uncle Lester to his bridge club four times a week and be his cardturner-whatever that means. Alton's uncle is old, blind, very sick, and very rich. But Alton's parents aren't the only ones trying to worm their way into Lester Trapp's good graces. They're competition with his longtime housekeeper, his alluring young nurse, and the crazy Castaneda family, who seem to have a mysterious influence over him. Alton soon finds himself intrigued by his uncle, by the game of bridge, and especially by the pretty and shy Toni Castaneda. As the summer goes on, he struggles to figure out what it all means, and ultimately to figure out the meaning of this own life. Through Alton's wry observations, Louis Sachar explores the disparity between what you know and what you think you know. With his incomparable flair and inventiveness, he examines the elusive differences between perception and reality-and inspires readers to think and think again. -Summary from inside jacket flap

Armed with successful projects like Holes and Small Steps, Louis Sacher really had to work hard to bring something new to the table and please readers with high expectations for The Cardturner. He exceeded my expectations by a long run. While Louis Sacher had a history of crafting great stories with funny, unique, and mesmerizing voice, I must confess I initially thought The Cardturner would just be a 3.5 Hoot novel. In my mind, the synopsis provided assigned the adjectives "simple" and "most-likely-uninteresting" to the book, and so it didn't particularly spark my interest. Hearing of a boy who just turned cards for his rich, blind, uncle in hopes of receiving a load of money in inheritance, seemed like a book with not much prospects. But seeing that the author was Louis Sachar, I at least owed him so much of giving the book a go. Impressively, this novel had really proved itself as I journeyed amidst its pages and I am ashamed for even questioning it.

You would think that a book about the card game bridge would be incredibly boring and slow. Well, it is quite the contrary so erase the very thought immediately. Sachar truly has a gift for storytelling, for the story is quite captivating for readers even if they don't know the first thing about bridge and he made the game itself intriguing. He expresses the point that it is not just any other ordinary card game, it is one that requires strategic thinking, efficient communication with your partner, and the right mind set. The story is told through the perspective of Alton Richards, and so as Alton learns the many rules of bridge, you as a reader learns them too. Sachar interlaces a story of manipulation, secrets, fulfilling deeds, and friendship with simple, technical bridge descriptions. The bridge jabber is easy enough to understand and Alton even gives you the option to skip the "bridge manual" parts by providing a basic summary box at the end of the chapter for those who couldn't care less about the game. Personally, I find it quite interesting and Sachar words the explanations nicely so that I am able to follow along with ease. Actually after I read the book, I really wanted to put his directions to the test and attempt to play it myself.

Sachar is proclaimed for his wonderful yet wry sense of humor and in The Cardturner, he doesn't disappoint. The chapters are short and keep you turning the pages. And like I said before, Louis Sachar is indeed a fine storyteller. I don't even know how to explain it any way else. All the characters are fairly well developed. The cast is lovable including the good-hearted yet smart-mouthed Alton, his old uncle Trapp, and the shy and sweet Toni Castaneda. Even the more irksome characters, like Alton's mom, were fun to disfavor. Narrated by the main character, Alton Richards, readers are able to see life through his eyes, listen to his every thought, and become attached to him from the very start. Throughout the novel, I "watched" as Alton grew from just that boy who got dumped, to a caring man who carries out the unfulfilled wishes of his uncle. I loved every minute of it and it was a ride I wouldn't soon forget. I recommend it to everyone and once you flip over the last page, I'm sure you'll relish the savoriness of The Cardturner just as I did.

Cover: 3.5/5 - I find the layout and color scheme of the cover quite admireable. The blue and orange contrast and compliment each other nicely and I love the spade for the "a" in The Cardturner. The cover is simple and eye catching, however, I am not sure what the boy on the cover (I'm assuming is main character, Alton) in front of the train station with a book over his face, has to do with anything. I assure you, not once did the book describe anyone lying on their back in a train station. Though I like the picture, I think it could've been a picture that relates more to the book itself.

4.5 Hoots

Source: Won it for free! Thank heavens for Random Buzzers :)

WARNING: The paragraph below doesn't really tell you anything about the book or my thoughts on it. Only a little bit towards the end. The following is just an anecdote that I thought I would share. If you don't feel like reading about my life, just skip the paragraph.

The opportunity to read this presented itself in the most unusual of ways. It was just a typical weekday and Okapi and her dad, Wahoon, had just dropped me off at my apt. There was a man lugging a drawer chest through the front door, so I went past him, grateful that I didn't have to go through the hassle of digging through my duffel bag to find my keys to unlock the front door. I strolled up the stairs and stood outside the door of my apt. I noticed two packages from Random Buzzers laying at the foot of the door. I surrendered my hand into my bag, my fingers searching for the key. I came out empty. My mother had not returned home yet from work and she wasn't due until a few hours later. I was going to be locked out for a while. And so, I propped myself against the wall and stripped open the packages. Two books were set before me, including The Cardturner. Basically, this book saved my afternoon by swapping what would have been two hours of pure boredom, with two hours of living in the fascinating world of Alton Richards.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Themed Teaser Tuesday x2 (The Pie Edition)

Hello folks! Greetings and welcome to The Smarty Owl!
Since there are two of us, we decided to have our quotes match up to a special theme each week! While reading our books, we both discovered a common theme- Pies! So here is our pie-riffic Teaser Tuesday (hosted by MizB at Should be Reading)

Okapi is currently reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.

"I'm already yummy, " muttered Isabel. She handed two pans to Grace, and Grace deftly unfolded the pie pastry - magic - into the bottom of each. She began to show Isabel how to crimp te edges. The entire process seemed very well-worn; I got the idea that Grace could've done the whole thing a lot faster without me and Isabel in her way." - Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, page 263

Rica Eat World is reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini.

"Later in the day he bought three sticks of malt candy and a small piping-hot cherry pie. The hot food felt good after hours of standing in the snow. He licked the sticky syrup from his fingers regretfully, wishing for more, then sat on the edge of a porch and nibbled a piece of candy." - Eragon by Christopher Paolini, page 26

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Title: When You Reach Me
Author: Rebecca Stead
Genre: Realistic fiction/science fiction
Target Audience: Middle-grade (but everybody will love this)
Number of Pages: Hardcover - 208 pages

Four mysterious letters change Miranda’s world forever.
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:

I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late. - Summary from Goodreads

When You Reach Me is the quintessence of an adorable read.

My reading habits tend to stray away from middle-grade fiction after my elementary school ship sailed, yet I couldn't resist the muted pastel cover, now embellished with a gleaming Newbury Medal, and lauding reviews. After walloping this delicious gem of a novel in one sitting, I felt the sudden urge to read it again. And again. This fairly short book is separated into many chapters, each one charmingly titled "Things that...", the last word connecting to the chapter's content. It tells of comradeship, families, and growing up in the seventies, the plot lured on by the momentum of looming mystery. The author merges science fiction with normal seventies life in a subtle and elegant way, managing to give the book an original spin while still preserving the realistic fiction side.

Miranda narrates her explorations of sixth grade life in the late seventies, which is punctuated by obscure notes from an anonymous sender. The author executes this mystery beautifully. An amazing protagonist and overall good role model, Miranda is endearing, humorous, and flawed. This book swells with realistic tween turmoil, but caring about the drama is inevitable due to Miranda's honest, relatable voice, giving a unique scope to what I normally call cliche plot lines: broken friendships, boy drama, and tense mother-daughter relations. Towards the end, a light film of science fiction layers over the realistic, furnishing the book with a refreshing quirk. This book concludes quickly in a brilliant fashion; everything clicks together perfectly.

The author's lucid, quiet writing gracefully crafts Miranda's story, including small details that together construct a wonderful whole. The reader will learn of the freedom children had, roaming around the city by themselves. Told not necessarily in chronological order, the reader will assemble the pieces of storyline that Stead drops. While not at all sermonizing, this book shows Miranda's consequences for doing acts of right and wrong, and overall displays the astounding action of redemption.

This delightful coming of age novel prompts me to read Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, Miranda's favorite book that plays a key role in the plot. Though not my absolute favorite, When You Reach Me is one best examples of middle-grade fiction I've read in a long time, and it rightfully deserves its Newbury Award. It's a high priority on my re-read list!

Cover: 4.5/5 - At first glance, the cover seemed like an average city block, and I didn't pay attention to the haphazard placement of objects. The cover obtained more meaning as I read through the book, and I kept flipping back and having epiphanies as I realized what each object stood for.

4.5 hoots

Source: Bought from bookstore.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Firelight ARC Contest!

UPDATE: This contest is now *CLOSED*, but no worries. There will be other opportunities to enter different contests in the future :) So keep checking back!
Love, Rica et Okapi

You guys are the best followers ever. In just a little over two months, we have managed to get over 200 followers! We thank you SO much for all the support! You guys are so important to us that we decided you must be rewarded :) We present you our second giveaway!

An ARC of Firelight by Sophie Jordan!
This book has NOT hit the shelves yet and is due September 7th

One lucky winner will get the chance to read it before it even comes out!

- So here are the rules... -

  • You must be 13 or over to enter
  • Since we're honoring our followers, you must be one!
  • One winning entrant will get an ARC of Firelight by Sophie Jordan. Winner will be picked using or hat!
  • Contest limited to the United States (sorry, but our piggybanks are slightly emaciated.)
  • Contest ends August 15th at midnight EST.

To enter, please fill out the form below. Be sure to fill in all the required spaces accordingly!

Good Luck!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blogger HOP and Follow Friday

Book Blogger Hop

Hi guys! Welcome to Book Blogger Hop (hosted at Crazy For Books) and Follow Friday (hosted at Parajunkee's View) here at The Smarty Owl! 

Remember, once we reach 200 followers, we're giving away an ARC of Firelight

Anyhoo, here's a recap of what's been cookin' at The Smarty Owl this past week...

Rica Eat World reviewed the most disturbing book of all time, Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Okapi reviewed once of the most imaginative books of all time, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

We interviewed the fantastic Emma Michaels, author of her debut novel The Thirteenth Chime

We told the world about The Choir Boats, a novel by Daniel A. Rabuzzi that you can read online for free today!

Anyhoo, on to the Blogger Hop question of the week! This week's question is: 

If Okapi could read any book right this moment, it would be Leviathan's sequel - Behemoth! She cannot wait to continue to be immersed in Leviathan's riveting world of Darwinists, Clankers, fabricated flying whale ships, and scary metal contraptions.
If Rica Eat World could read any book right this moment, she'd pick the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy - Mockingjay!

Looking for something new to read? - Read a free book!

Hello lovely readers :) It's summer, and with summer always comes those days where you have nothing much to do, and so you turn to your most loyal of friends- books. Author Daniel A. Rabuzzi has introduced us to his debut fantasy novel, The Choir Boats and we thought we'd share so you could take a look at it too and perhaps add it to your summer reading lists.

Here's a summary from Goodreads:

London, 1812 | Yount, Year of the Owl
What would you give to make good on the sins of your past? For merchant Barnabas McDoon, the answer is: everything.
When emissaries from a world called Yount offer Barnabas a chance to redeem himself, he accepts their price—to voyage to Yount with the key that only he can use to unlock the door to their prison. But bleak forces seek to stop him: Yount's jailer, a once-human wizard who craves his own salvation, kidnaps Barnabas's nephew. A fallen angel—a monstrous owl with eyes of fire—will unleash Hell if Yount is freed. And, meanwhile, Barnabas's niece, Sally, and a mysterious pauper named Maggie seek with dream-songs to wake the sleeping goddess who may be the only hope for Yount and Earth alike.
And we just adore the cover :)

Here's the deal- during the month of July, is giving out the e-book version of The Choir Boats for free for download! So anyone could read it! Just make sure your device is PDF compatible and you and read it anywhere, just like a real book. You can download it HERE and no worries, it's safe; no viruses attached or anything. We both downloaded it ourselves. It is only available for free through the month of July, so hurry!

The book looks quite promising and we are currently reading the e-book. Keep checking back for a review on it! And if you've read it already, or when you finish, post your comments here! We'd love to know what you think :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Interview with Emma Michaels! (Author of The Thirteenth Chime)

PhotobucketOnce again, today is a very momentous occasion:
The Smarty Owl is honored to host its very first author interview with Emma Michaels, author of her debut novel The Thirteenth Chime. This book sounds absolutely fantastic, with it's fascinating premise and unusual, gorgeous cover art! Here, we're asking her thirteen questions about her book and being an author!

Description (from Goodreads):

No one knew of its existence until it was removed from the attic upstairs.
In a beautiful house that overlooks the sea, an antique clock has the power to change the course of their lives.
The power the clock resonates will not only force Destiny and ex-boyfriend David on a journey into the depths of one man's mind long dead, but into the mind of a man filled with hatred and bent on revenge.
With the only clues to the nature of the clock having disappeared into the sea, Destiny and David must retrace the steps the man had taken into the darkness, before they fall prey to the trap he had set in motion over half a century ago.

Hatred never dies.

Interview with Emma Michaels:

1. If you were to roam the world as an animal, what species would you be?

A) An owl. I love owls and they just have so many special qualities about them. Either that or if no one hunted wolves then a wolf but other wise I would be too scared to be one.

2. What advice would you give to your ten-year-old self?

A) I would have told myself to remember that anything is possible and that the sky is the limit. To never stop dreaming and to never give up, because as long as you are willing to see it, the world is filled with endless wonder and possibilities. I was going through a hard time and I really think that hearing that would have helped bt I am still happy for the past I have because it was the road that brought me here.

3. If you were a fictitious character from a book, who would you be?

A) Zedd from Terry Goodkind's "The Sword of Truth" series... well, If I were a man... and old. *laughs* He is always thinking with his stomach and acting straneg but his heart is so good in so many ways and he has his own unique way of loving those around him.

4. Have dreams ever influenced your book?

A) Yes they have. In fact, Many ideas I have come from my dreams, or I get inspiration from the world around me and I work it out in my dreams.

5. If you had to be locked inside a book for five years, which book would it be?

A) A nice, happy children's story. A violence free one. I would choose anything by Tamora Pierce but I would probably die before my five years were up.

6. Favorite Adjective? _________ Favorite Verb? __________

A) Adjective - old-fashioned (I just love teasing my fiance that he can be this way) and Verb - 'to eat' (because I just love to eat chocolate and I really enjoy it when my fiance bakes something with chocolate so that I get to get it) Then again, I am sure that my choices for both would change with my mood since those are the two things I am thinking. Mainly, the food part. *laughs*

7. If your book were a type of food, what would it be?

A) Dark Chocolate. The only downside is I might be tempted to eat it!

8. If your book were made into a musical, what songs would it feature?

A) Misery by Maroon 5. Of course, that isn't fair to Destiny, but still... :) I am sure if you read it you will understand *winks, hint, read read*

9. Fill in the blank! It took me _______ months to write The Thirteenth Chime.

A) The initial research took me almost two years of work. However, the actual writing process only took me one month to write the story in it's original draft form.

10. How would you describe your writing style?

A) In the reviews and the feedback I have gotten from bloggers and reviewers alike, we can't think of anyone with a similar writing style. I guess this is just one the fans will have to decide!

11. Your favorite place to write is _________.

A) My desk - because it is mine and I have it set up as my 'special place'. It is important to have a personal space set aside to write, especially if you are having to write emotionally charged scenes. That way you always have your own little corner of the world where you can feel free to let the emotions fill you and be translated into words.

12. Which of your characters do you relate to the most?

A) Probably Stephanie - she is the link that helps to heal the rift between David and Destiny and in many ways, she is the spirit to his head and her heart.

13. What is something most people don't know about you?

A) I absolutely adore Chinese food. My favorite place to go with my fiance is to go to a Chinese buffet close to us with AMAZING Hot and Sour soup.

Thank you so much for your time and to everyone reading! Your support means so much to me and I hope you all will love The Thirteenth Chime!!!

Thank you so much for your time! It was an honor hosting you on The Smarty Owl. Readers, look out for The Thirteenth Chime in stores on Friday, August 13th! We certainly can't wait!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Leviathan
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Genre: Steampunk
Target Audience: All ages, all genders
Number of Pages: Hardcover US edition – 434 pages (with illustrations!)

It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunitions. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. The Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksander Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way... taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever. - Summary from inside flap of book

Before Leviathan, steampunk was obscure to me, nothing more than an undefined sub-genre lurking in the background. Now, this fantastical novel, featuring two heroic protagonists and a living whale airship, has awakened me to the wonders of steampunk fiction, a science fiction/speculative book set in the past, usually in the nineteenth century. Scott Westerfeld exceeded all my expectations by crafting a world interlaced with history and futuristic science, teaching me about the confusions of World War I while sparking ideas about the possibilities of creating artificial life. The alternate history timeline, brimming advances in evolutionary science, one of my favorite things in the world, will rouse the imaginations of readers of all ages.

My most beloved books drip with setting, the plot taking place in vivid or unusual locations. The majority of Leviathan's plot unfolds in a highly unique setting, aboard the Darwinists' massive, hydrogen fueled whale airship, from which the book gets its namesake. It's obvious from the meticulous, facinating descriptions of the airship that Scott Westerfeld knows and loves what he's writing about. The tidbits of military terminology will engross both adults and children alike. While not aboard the Leviathan whale airship, the settings are still rich and stunning; journeying through the frigid, desolate Alps, or soaring through the vast skies of early nineteenth century London. The intricate illustrations, though sometimes slightly childish, assist my imagination in picturing the impossible. Without them, it would be hard for me to visualize correctly a giant soaring, breathing whale airship, complete with balconies and verandas. I might struggle to picture the giant walkers that Alek and his loyal crew men journeyed in. With at least one per chapter, the illustrations appear with frequency and give me flashes of nostalgia, as they remind me of those classic old adventure books that I used to read in my younger days.

Told through the alternating two viewpoints of Deryn and Alek, this book's plot drives on with a fast pace, since action is constantly happening to at least one of the narrators. When they meet in the middle of the book, the plot starts to flow even more smoothly, the two perspectives melding into an even more interesting tale. Imagination, not emotion, has always been Scott Westerfeld's aptitude, so I wasn't surprised to find that the character's emotions do not run very deep. However, the characters are still complex. Both the protagonists have their flaws, though end up being likable. Known to the crew as Dylan, Deryn Sharp, a daring airman with an even more daring secret, is cocky and very real. Aleksander Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire, can be slightly illogical and arrogant at times, exposing himself and his crew of men to danger on numerous occasions, though eventually develops into a likable person. The two build an endearing relationship, setting aside their differences to become trusting friends. Their endless bickering is entertaining, reminding me of Ron and Hermione's relationship in Harry Potter.

Like every good book, readers can learn important things from Leviathan. The stark contrast between the Austro-Hungarian Clankers, who build huge, steam-powered machines for weaponry, and the British Darwinists, who evolve animals for battle purposes, shows a perfect example of two very different cultures, each who finds the other to be very strange. At first, Alek, heir to a Clanker driven empire, recoils at the sight of living Darwinist beasties, finding them to be very disgusting and scary. When Deryn takes him into the Leviathan airship for the first time, Alek exclaims, “This is... disgusting! We're inside an animal!” Deryn laughs and retorts, “Aye, but the skins of your zeppelins are made of cattle gut. That's like being inside an animal, isn't it? And so's wearing a leather jacket!...[B]eing inside a dead animal is much more awful, if you think about it. You Clankers really are an odd bunch.” On the other hand, Deryn, a Darwinist, shudders at the thought of manmade, heartless Clanker machines. However, they both come to realize that each group has a lot to learn the other's fortes. In order to achieve their goal, Deryn and Alek must cooperate and use a combination of Darwinist and Clanker technology. This shows that combining the strengths of different cultural groups is a vital idea for a successful modern world, where diversity has never been more important than before.

Overall, Leviathan is an astoundingly hearty and refreshing read that will fuel the daydreams of readers of all ages. With the crisp writing, engaging plot, likable characters, and pure imagination, readers will immerse themselves in this book. It ends satisfyingly, while maintaining enough mystery so that readers will be excited for the sequel Behemoth, releasing in October, 2010. It's one of the books I'm the most excited for this year; I can't wait to dive back into Deryn and Alek's world of Clanker contraptions and Darwinist beasts. Leviathan definitely makes me want to read more steampunk novels!

Trailer (featuring the book's illustrations):

Cover: 4/5 - This cover is intense man. The mechanical gears truly capture the essence of steampunk and are very eye catching. However, it's not as pleasing to the eye as some book covers. I wish a few Darwinist beasties were on it, such as the Leviathan whale itself.

5 hoots!

Source: Local library

Question: Are there any other good steampunk novels out there? Please share in the comments! :)

Teaser Tuesday x2

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B at I Should Be Reading.

Once we hit 200 followers, we're giving away an ARC of Firelight, so please spread the word!

And now, presenting our teasers...

Okapi is currently reading Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce!

"When we were little, Scarlett and I were utterly convinced that we'd originally been one person in our mother's belly; we believed that somehow, half of us wanted to be born, and half wanted to stay. So our heart had to be torn in two so that Scarlett could be born first, and then I finally braved the outside world a few years later." - Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, page 46

Rica Eat World is currently reading The Cardturner by Louis Sacher!

"Hah!" he scoffed, but I noticed a hint of a smile. "You may find this hard to believe, Alton," he said, "but bridge is tiring. I get worn out after just one session. That probably sounds strange to you. From your point of view, all I do is sit on my keester for three hours."
"No, I know," I said. "It's like I told my friend Cliff. Bridge is more like a sport than a game. A mental sport."
-The Cardturner by Louis Sacher, page 52