Sunday, January 31, 2010

In My Mailbox (16)

Despite the snow, the mail went on and I managed to accumulate a bunch of great titles this week.  Have you read any of these?

For Review:
Cat The Vamp by Christina Martine (my review)

The Mark by Jen Nadol (my review)
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Soulless by Gail Carriger
*My Zombie Valentine (this was a buy 1, get 1 free deal from Angie Fox)

Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard
La Vida Vampire by Nancy Haddock

Beneath The Skin, A Rush of Wings, and In The Blood by Adrian Phoenix all from Patricia's Vampire Notes (Thank You!!)

All links lead to goodreads.
IMM is hosted by The Story Siren who was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

YA review: Cat The Vamp by Christina Martine

They never imagined the temptations of power, love and blood...

As a child, Catherine Taylor never understood why her parents were so secretive and distant. After the death of her grandmother, Cat’s parents take her to a mysterious castle called Blacklune. They explain to her that they, and she, are vampires, part of a hidden community co-existing with humans. Now that she’s of age, Cat will be initiated into the community and undergo a period of training in its methods and morals, along with several other vampire students her own age.

At Blacklune, Cat meets a young man who had appeared to her in dreams, Morgan. She and Morgan form an instant bond, but success with their vampire lessons doesn’t come so easily. Tempted by the lure of blood and the powers they now have, Cat and Morgan push the limits over and over, ignoring the concerns of their classmates and the scolding of their teacher, River. As they become ever more reckless, Cat and Morgan risk going too far. It’s only when serious harm comes to someone else that they realize they have to control themselves--and it may be too late. (summary from

Click here to read an excerpt from Cat The Vamp. 

My thoughts...Cat the Vamp is not your typical young adult vampire novel.  This book reaches beyond sparkly vampires and romantic blood exchanges.  It is dark and dangerous.  Catherine, affectionately known as Cat, is a new vampire.  She learns at the young age of 18 that she is being sent off to receive special training so she can learn to about her new life.  While there,  she makes some new friends, including a very handsome young man named Morgan.  Morgan and Cat instantly bond, in a very erotic ceremony, and quickly discover that they crave each other and the very thing that gives them vitality,blood.  The desire for blood becomes an addiction and they have to find a way to control themselves and try not to hurt anyone in the process. 

The characters in the story were interesting.  The author, Christina Martine, did a great job of evolving them through the stages of dependency.  The story line kept me interested and turning pages.  I found myself gasping on occasion, in complete disbelief at the actions of the characters.  While the plot is similar to other YA vampire tales, it had several very unique twists.  I enjoyed the setting of the story.  The majority of the book takes place in an old castle full of secret passage ways, dark corridors and mysterious rooms.  One of my favorite scenes is an initiation ceremony which takes place in the ballroom.  The author did a brilliant job of describing the candlelit room full of mysterious people dressed in black capes.  The dark side of the story really set it apart from others that I have read. 

The cons...I enjoyed the story, but I do believe it should come with a huge warning. The characters in the story do use some strong language and there is a large amount of drug and alcohol use.  Also, there are several graphic sex scenes.  Parents of younger readers may want to review this book first or use it as an opportunity to discuss the pressures and issues teens face. 

Cover LOVE?  I think the cover is very plain, rather boring.  The picture is significant.  Cat spends quite a bit of time writing in her journal, and her necklace is shown, but if I saw this on the shelf, I wouldn't even pick it up. 

About The Author:  Christina Martine was born on October 22, 1988 in Vancouver , British Columbia , and penned her first novel at the age of 13. She began reading The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice and was immediately hooked. Christina read more vampire literature and found a common trend throughout the genre: most vampires were immortal and could be killed by sunlight. There were not very many modern vampire books available with original ideas, so at 17, she began writing Cat the Vamp. Intrigued with the idea of “real vampires,” she set out to create a novel that would reach vampire fans all over the world. Her unique vampires-who can walk out in the sun unscathed-with life energy deficiencies and blood addictions are sure to set one’s heart racing. She currently lives in British Columbia .

To learn more about this book or for purchase information, visit By Light Unseen Media

If you liked this book, you may also enjoy...
1. Mortal Touch by Inanna Arthen
2. Gideon Redoak by Anne Fraser

Got INK? (11)

I am fascinated with the number of books lately that feature INKED covers. In this weekly post, I am going to feature some of the ones I like best. Can you think of any, seen any inked covers?

The Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven
January 2008


Jack's best mate, Charlie, has always been effortlessly cool. When Charlie wakes up one day and finds a mysterious, moving BLACK TATTOO on his back, it's a clear sign that he's even cooler than Jack thought. To top it off, Charlie is suddenly able to fight like a kung fu master, fly, and control the minds of others. Yes, he's got super powers.

Or does he?

Jack soon learns the terrifying truth: Charlie's incredible powers come from an age-old demon called the Scourge, who is using Charlie to bring about its evil masterplan. To stop the Scourge, Jack and Charlie join forces with Esme, a girl with super powers of her own, trained from birth to fight the demon. But time is running out, as Charlie falls deeper under the Scourge's dark spell.

When the Scourge vanishes with Charlie, Jack and Esme follow their friend from the streets of London into Hell itself, where they face horrors that may well cost them their lives. Can they survive to outwit the Scourge, save Charlie, and stop an even greater evil?

Click here to read an exerpt from the author's website. 
For more information, visit the website of Sam Enthoven.

*Special thanks to Misty for recommending this one. 
*The Got INK? button was created by the talented KMont of Lurv A La Mode!

Friday, January 29, 2010

YA review: The Mark by Jen Nadol

Sixteen-year old Cassie Renfield has seen the mark since forever: a glow around certain people as if a candle were held behind their back.

The one time she pointed it out taught her not to do it again, so Cassie has kept quiet, considering its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until the day she watches a man die. Mining her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person's imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Cassie searches her past, her philosophy lessons, even her new boyfriend for answers, always careful to hide her secret. How does the mark work? Why her?

Most importantly, if you know today is someone's last, should you tell? (summary from authors website)

Click here to read an excerpt from The Mark. 

My thoughts...Let me start by saying that this book was not at all what I expected.  I knew the jist of the plot, but I still expected a story full of teen angst.  I was wrong.  While The Mark is not a love story, it is a very smart story about life, death, free-will, choices and consequences. 

Cassie, the main character, deals with seeing the Mark on people prior to their death.  Jen Nadol does a brilliant job with this character.  She is grieving from the loss of her Grandmother and is forced to stay with her estranged Aunt.  Her actions are realistic to the situation.  The character feels so real, I found it easy to identify with her and her concerns.  The other characters in the story play small parts, none of them left a very strong impression, but they did help the story move along. 

The paranormal element in this story, the Mark which Cassie sees around people, is very original.  It raises some interesting questions and evoked quite a few thoughts in my mind.  These psychological and ethical questions make the story very intriguing.  Like many people, I am afraid of death.  The idea that someone could see it coming and warn you about your impending death is frightening.  Would you want to know?  Cassie tries to come to terms with ability and tries to decide if it is a burden or a gift.  Cassie's self discovery leads her to learn about her deceased parents and to a love interest.  The story offers something for everyone.  I would recommend it to older teens as well as adults who like books that ask them to step outside their comfort zone and ask questions. 

The cons...Without knowing whether or not The Mark will have a sequel, I have to say the ending.  Cassie's present dilemma is resolved, but I was left with several unanswered questions.  I do hope we will have the opportunity to learn more about Cassie and the Mark. 

Cover LOVE?  I love purple, so I was immediately drawn to this cover.  It is very pretty and the illumination in the picture relates to the story.  Not to mention that every time I see a seeding dandelion, I think of the book.

**UPDATE: The is going to be a sequel to the Mark. It is titled The Vision and can be expected to hit shelves September of 2011!

For more information about Jen Nadol or The Mark, visit her website or you can find her on her blog
The Mark can be purchased at popular booksellers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Follow this link to read my interview with Jen Nadol. 

If you enjoyed this book, you may also like...
1, Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
2. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
3. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

YA review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ocker

According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.
TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer. (summary from authors site)

Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

My thoughts...If you are going to read Twenty Summer Boy, I suggest this checklist before you begin: 1. Snuggly Blanket  2. Big box of tissues  3. Some Chocolate (everything goes with chocolate).  Once you have these items you will be ready to jump into an incredibly beautiful journey in life.  This book covered some really tough subjects, took me through a roller coaster of emotions and left me smiling in the end. 

The main character, Anna, suffers the loss of her childhood friend and first love.  Her best friend Frankie's brother dies, leaving them both to sort out their emotions.  The only problem is that Anna's love for Frankie's brother is a secret.  I liked the main character Anna, although I was frustrated with a few of the choices she made.  She was in a very difficult situation and her character showed significant growth by the end of the book.  I was not able to connect with Frankie.  In the beginning of the story she was the outsider, one they were trying to keep the secret from.  After the tragedy, she she was a bigger part of the story and while I felt sympathetic for her, I did not care for her character.  I think the author did a good job of capturing the emotions of all the characters involved in the tragic situation. 

The plot of this story felt very real.  Death of a loved one is something that everyone will experience at some time.  Sarah Ockler did a brilliant job of writing the grieving process.  The story contained so many dimensions that wove a beautiful tale of life dealing with death.  I found it enjoyable and very inspirational. 

The cons...I do not have anything negative to say about the story, but I do feel it should come with a bit of a warning.  The girls in 20 Boy Summer are 16 and they put themselves in several adult situations.  I would recommend parents of younger readers review this book ahead of time.  Actually, some of themes in the story could be great for discussing some of the issues and pressures that teens face. 

Cover LOVE?  Yes, I adore this cover.  It goes along with the story perfectly, the colors are attractive and it is simple, yet effective. 

For more information about Sarah Ocker or Twenty Boy Summer, visit her website or her blog
Twenty Boy Summer can be purchased at Barnes & Noble and Amazon as well as other booksellers. 

If you enjoyed this book, you may also like...
1. Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
2. The Season by Sarah MacLean
3. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Bottoms Up feature-Kristina

I am hosting my first reading challenge this year. The Bottoms Up 2010 Reading Challenge requires you to read off the bottom of your TBR pile. You can still sign up, follow the link for more information.

I wanted to take the chance to feature the people who have signed up for the challenge. Each week, watch for a new mini-interview from a different participant. Be sure to stop by their blog and cheer them on!

This week will feature Kristina from The Cajun Book Lady.
The Cajun Book Lady

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself. 
K: My name is Kristina aka Kris or The Cajun Book Lady. I'm the mom too 2 energetic kids and wife to guy who puts up with my book addiction LOL! I'm an avid reader! I also enjoy scrapbooking and dabbling in photography.

2. Please tell us about your blog.
K: Well my blog is all things bookish...I started reviewing (about November or so) because while my family loves me, they don't get my book addiction. I like to let others know what I think about what I read so it works out.. You'll notice about my blog that there isn't much negativity...mostly because I won't read stuff that I don't think I'll like. I'll tell you if it wasn't my favorite but I'll also let you know who I think would like it. I love to do Giveaways and Q&A's with authors also so come check it out!

3. What kind of books to you like to read?
K: I like quite a few genre's actually. I love all things paranormal, urban fantasy, contemperary romance, horror...I basically read it all if I think I'll like it.

4. OK, time to come clean. How many books are in your TBR pile?
K: Yeesh...are you gonna make me count? That could be scary!

OK OK I have around 100 in my TBR pile but I find some really good deals and I just can't pass them up!

5. What is your reading goal for the Bottom's Up challenge?
K: Well I would like to read at least half of them so we'll say my goal is 50 books. Sound good? I hope I can do it! 

Wow, 100 books.  Sounds like you have your work cut out for you!  Thanks for participating. 

Happy Reading.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

REVIEW: Bite Marks by Jennifer Rardin

Jaz is possessed. After biting the neck of a domyter during a forced visit to his territory, she now has unwelcome voices in her head. While fighting for supremacy in her own mind, she finds herself confronted with a near-impossible task: perform perfectly on her next mission or face the unemployment line.

Click here to read an excerpt from Bite Marks. 

My thoughts...I am a series reader.  Picking up a book  from a series is like having lunch with an old friend or (wiggles eyebrows) an old flame.  In true Jaz Parks style, Jennifer Rardin does not disappoint with the sixth installment in this action packed series. 

Jaz and her team find themselves trying to save the Space Program.  She also finds herself with some extra company who makes their mission even more difficult.  All of my favorites are around to take part in the action including Cole, Cassandra, Raul, Vayl and Bergman.  He was my favorite in this book, we really see him start to come out of his shell.  I love the new side of him and I am continually impressed with his inventions.  Big props to Rardin for her latest idea, I want one for myself.  As in the other books, the team dynamic made the story interesting, funny, and even emotional at times.  

Although the plot seemed slower than previous books, a lot happened.  This book seemed to be a turning point in the series.  There were plenty of fight scenes with high-tech weapons, magic from Cassandra and her Enkyklios, and wit from Cole.  The end had a smooth finish, but definitely left the reader itching for more.   For any new readers, I highly recommend going in order.  The characters have developed so much at this point that you need to know their history. 

The cons...I have two small issues with this book. I am a devout Jaz Parks fan but this one did not hold my attention as well as the others.  I am not a huge fan of Science Fiction.  I love the vamps, witches, and all the paranormal creatures but aliens and mutant larvae are close to the edge for me.  That being said, little green men did not come down from Mars, I still enjoyed the story.  Secondly, I kept forgetting what mission they were trying to preform.  There were so many subplots that were much more interesting. 

Overall, I am a huge fan of the Jaz Parks series and I do recommend this series to new readers, especially if you like urban dark fantasy.  If you are already a Jaz fan, you need to read this book because the there are some huge events that I believe will shape the rest of the series. 

Cover LOVE?  I like the covers in this series in general.  This one is not my favorite of the series, but not my least favorite either.  I do think they do a great job of reflecting the story and the heroine. 

For more information about Bite Marks and the other books in the Jaz Parks series, visit the author's website

The Jaz Parks series reading order...
1. Once Bitten, Twice Shy
2. Another One Bites The Dust
3. Biting The Bullet
4. Bitten To Death
5. One More Bite
6. Bite Marks
7. Bitten In Two (coming soon)

If you liked this book, you may also enjoy...
1. Three Days To Dead by Kelly Meding
2. The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay
3. Deadtown by Nancy Holzner


The winner of the signed Mari Mancusi book is...
Congrats, check your inbox!  Thanks to everyone who entered and to Mari for the great interview and for donating the prize!

I realized I have not read that many books by male authors.  Please recommend some male authors in the paranormal or YA genre.  Thanks in advance. 

*This is a repost, I had a glitch with the original post. 

Kidz Korner (9)

This is a special post to help you share a special book with the little ones in your life. They will be reviewed by myself and my two sweeties (5 and 2). Children's books can be expensive, so we will give you some ideas of books that are worth your money.

Love, Splat
by Rob Scotton
Age Range: any
ISBN-10: 006083157X
ISBN-13: 978-0060831578

It's Valentine's Day and Splat has a special valentine for a certain someone in his class. Her name is Kitten, and Splat likes her even more than fish sticks and ice cream. But Kitten doesn't seem to like him at all—she always ties his tail and pokes his belly when she sees him. And then there's Splat's rival, Spike, who also likes Kitten. Will Splat's heartfelt valentine win Kitten's paw in the end?

In this funny follow-up to Splat the Cat, Rob Scotton captures the highs and lows of a first crush with humor and understanding. (summary from Harper Collins)

My thoughts...We are huge fans of Splat around our house.  The pictures are incredible.  They nearly jump off the page with vibrant colors, interesting characters, and entertaining scenes.  The reading level of this book may be a little higher (9-12), but the illustrations are sure to entertain readers of all ages.  The story line of Love, Splat is adorable.  Splat makes a special Valentine for Kitty, who constantly teases him.  You will fall in love with this book and want to read it again and again. 

For more information about Love, Splat or Rob Scotton, visit his website
Love, Splat can be purchased through Amazon or other popular booksellers.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Chat: Library Censorship

Today as I was leaving my daughter's story time at the library, I mentioned to the children's librarian that I have a bunch of YA books I would like to donate.  She said great.  Then she mentions that she just got a big box of  books  from another donator but she had to "pass most of them off" because they were not appropriate.  "You know I have to screen any donations, most of these books for teens are about vampires and demons, and they just aren't what parents want their children to read", she tells me. 

Hmm, as I consider what is in the box of books I have for donation, I don't think they would make her cut. 

She told me that they had a complaint from several parents about the content of the books and said the teen section should have more Christian fiction and less paranormal books. 

They do carry The Twilight Series, The Immortal Series, and Vampire Academy.  I have been trying to borrow the VA series, but there is always a wait.  That in itself should be an indication of what type books are in demand. 

Do you think the public library should be so selective about what books they carry? 

I know several of you are librarians, what is your opinion?  Do you screen the titles?

*Please note, this is not a slam against the librarian.  I think her actions are a result of her superiors and people in the community.  I just don't agree, I think if kids or adults for that matter are reading, then good let them read what they want.  It is a PUBLIC library. 

WoW: Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

2010 is going to be an incredible year for book lovers.  I am a HUGE Kim Harrison fan, so I would not miss this 8th installment in the Rachel Morgan series. Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill from Breaking the Spine.

Black Magic Sanction
by Kim Harrison

Publication Date: February 23, 2010 (not soon enough)

The eighth bewitching but overly dense Hollows adventure (after 2009's White Witch, Black Curse) updates the travails of Rachel Morgan, delectable magical jack of all trades. Having recently learned that Rachel is a witch-born demon whose children would be demons, a white magic coven is shunning her and accusing her of black magic. They offer her a terrible choice: sterilization or imprisonment in Alcatraz. Trent Kalamack, drug lord and elf in hiding, offers to get the coven off her back, but her double-crossing ex-rat ex-boyfriend, Nick, shows up and lands her in more hot water. As Rachel battles those she thought were on her side, her survival depends on a paranormal cornucopia of elves, demons, vampires, gargoyles, pixies, and even a leprechaun. This thrill ride celebrates the can-do spirit of one of urban fantasy's most charming witches. (summary from Amazon)

Click here to read an excerpt from Black Magic Sanction.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

YA Interview/Giveaway: Julie Kagawa

I am thrilled to welcome debut author Julie Kagawa to the blog today.  Julie's debut novel, The Iron King, is on bookshelves now!

1. The Iron King is your debut YA novel. Please tell us a little about your story.
JK: The Iron King is about a girl named Meghan Chase who, on her sixteenth birthday, discovers her kid brother has been kidnapped by Faeries and a changeling is left in his place. When she goes into Faeryland to get him back, she finds that her brother wasn't taken by the Unseelie Court, as she first thought, but by a whole new species of faery led by Machina, The Iron King. These are the faeries of progress and technology, the iron fey, and Meghan must face The Iron King if she wants to rescue her brother

2. How is progress coming on The Iron Fey trilogy? Are you working on any other projects?
JK: At the moment, I’m finishing edits to the last book of the trilogy, The Iron Queen. Beyond that, I do have a couple super secret projects I can’t tell anyone about yet. But I’m excited.

3. Meghan sounds like an exciting heroine, how would you describe her?
JK: Brave, stubborn, and extremely loyal to family and those she cares for. She’s a bit more mature and self-aware than other girls her age; she knows she isn’t popular, and doesn’t worry much about hair or make-up or fitting in. Her single-minded determination can be seen as recklessness sometimes, as she does tend to leap before she looks, but its all in the interest of saving her family. Mostly, she’s a normal teen who gets dropped into scary, dangerous, frightening situations and has to survive the best she can.

4. You used to live in Hawaii where you could explore the sea and the surf. How did that easy going lifestyle influence your life? Your writing?
JK: Lol, I don’t know if that lifestyle was easygoing, but it was interesting. I could tell you horror stories about Hawaii, with its giant flying roaches and foot-long poisonous centipedes and cane spiders as big as your hand. As for the sea, I do miss it sometimes. You could stand in front of the ocean and just feel so small, feel that there were things out there so much bigger than you. And maybe that played a part in my writing, I don’t know. Writing is about discovery, after all, finding out things you didn’t know existed. And that’s my philosophical comment for the day. 

OK, now for a few fun questions so we can get to know you better.

5. You discover a time machine while walking in the woods one day. Do you get in? If you do, are you traveling back in time or to the future. Also, what would you take with you on your voyage?
JK: Hmm, time machines are dangerous. I’m not going back in time; I could mess up the past, and I like the present how it is. Maybe I’d go into the future, just to see what its like. And I’d take nothing with me but a month’s supply of Mt. Dew (in case it doesn’t exist in the future, gasp!)

6. A mysterious man on the street is selling magic potions for things such as wealth, beauty, love, anything you desire. What kind of potion would you buy?
JK: I’d ask for a never-ending can of Mt. Dew! Dude, do you know how much money I could save with that? =D

7. Lastly, please share your favorite way to unwind after a hard day of writing. Any guilty pleasures?
JK: I’m horribly addicted to video games, and the fact that I have all three consoles: Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360, does not help at all. Right now, I’m completely obsessed with Dragon Age Origins. Yep, nothing more relaxing than slaughtering a few hundred darkspawn to save the world from evil.

For more information about Julie or her books, visit her website or her blog!
The Iron King can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or other booksellers.


Julie sent me some SIGNED BOOKMARKS to share with you.  (Thanks Julie)
I am going to throw in a brand new copy of THE IRON KING.  I love my INTERNATIONAL friends, so if The Book Depository can reach you, you can enter!

So that will be 5 winners!  To enter, complete the form AND leave a question/comment for Julie in the comments section.  Extra entries can be gained by spreading the word (tweet, post, sidebar, facebook, ect).  The deadline to enter is 2/5.  Good luck!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Reminder and Contest Finds

Just a reminder that Julie Kagawa will be here tomorrow to talk about her debut The Iron King.  Stop back for your chance to win a copy of The Iron King or an autographed bookmark!

I have discovered these great contests around the blogosphere, have you entered them yet?

*Teens Read and Write is having another Mega Giveaway.  So far there will be 8 winners!

*Vera at Luxury Reading is having a mega Rachel Vincent giveaway.  There will be 3 winners.  The first gets a copy of My Soul To Take and My Soul To Save.  Then two other winners will each get a copy of MSTS. The contest ends Feb10.  Good luck!

*Love To Read for Fun is having a followers contest. There will be two winners, the first taking home The Dreamcatcher series by Lisa McMann.  Visit her site for more details. 

*Win a set of All 4 Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs (+ all 3 Alpha & Omega books by Patricia Briggs if she passes 400 followers before the giveaway ends). Enter by Feb 28th at ALL THINGS URBAN FANTASY.

*Amy Brecount White is giving away a copy of The Mark, a itunes GC, and some Forget-Her-Nots swag.  Visit her blog to enter! 

*The Bibliophillic Book blog is having a giveaway to win a Nook, a Kindle, a Sony Touch, or a Sony Pocket Reader.  Please tell her Ellz Readz sent you!  Contest ends March 1st.

*StephSu REads is having a huge followers contest.  She is giving away some amazing arcs.  You don't want to miss this one.  The contest ends on February 28th.  Good Luck!

*Dakota Cassidy is giving away a $100 GC to Amazon.  Ends tomorrow, hurry. 

YA Melting Pot Monday (10)

Island Sting
by Bonnie J. Doer
Release date: 01/06/10

Kenzie didn’t expect her first summer in the Florida Keys to be murder. Cute guys, awesome boats, endangered species, gun-toting thugs...

When city girl Kenzie Ryan moves to a Florida wildlife refuge, she plunges straight into an eco-mystery. Kenzie trades New York streets for Keys pollution cleanup, and now, instead of hailing cabs, she’s tracking down a poacher of endangered Key deer.

Her new home does have some benefits—mainly Angelo, an island native, who teams up with her to nab the culprit.

But will they both survive when the killer turns from stalking deer to hunting humans?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Bonnie J. Doerr has always played with words, ideas, and nature. To be separated from nature—to be containerized—would slowly suck the breath from her. For years this therapeutic pursuit manifested itself in poetry. In recent years her play resulted in stories and novels for young adults. A lifetime educator, she has taught students from kindergarten to college in eight states. Degrees in reading education, combined with a brief post as a science teacher, led her to write ecological mysteries.
Years of teaching and living in the Florida Keys provided irresistible material. Her novels celebrate caring, involved, “green” teens who take action with attitude and a touch of romance. Her children’s book Kenzie’s Key was honored by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) with a grant for its use in environmental education. Her work has been included in Milkweed Editions literary field guides. When not at home with her heart in the Florida Keys, she lives in a log cabin in North Carolina.

Follow the link to order this book!

*The book summary and author information are from Leap Books.  Be sure to stop by their blog and enter the ISLAND STING giveawayYou could win a key pendant necklace or some adorable charms

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In My Mailbox (15)

My mailbox was not a busy place this week.  Blame it on the short week?  It is probably a good thing, I need to work on my stack.  (No pic this week, my camera has devoured all my batteries. )


Nice Girls Don't Live Forever (Jane Jameson , #3)
by Molly Harper

Nothing sucks the romance out of world travel like a boyfriend who may or may not have broken up with you in a hotel room in Brussels. Jane Jameson’s sexy sire, Gabriel, has always been unpredictable. But the seductive, anonymous notes that await him at each stop of their international vacation, coupled with his evasive behavior over the past few months, finally push Jane onto the next flight home to Half Moon Hollow — alone, upset, and unsure whether Gabriel just ended their relationship without actually telling her.

Dragon Wytch
by Yasmine Galenorn

The D'Artigo sisters are half-human, half-Fae operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Camille is doing her best to juggle magic, men, and the demonic war into which they've been thrust-until she discovers a secret that could change all their lives.

WON from Sidhe Vicious Review and Yasmine Galenorn

By Yasmine Galenorn

Meet the D'Artigo sisters: half-human, half-faerie, they're savvy-and sexy-operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But their mixed-blood heritage short-circuits their talents at all the wrong times. Delilah shapeshifts into a tabby cat whenever she's stressed. Menolly's a vampire who's still trying to get the hang of being undead. And Camille is a wicked-good witch, except her magic's as unpredictable as the weather, as her enemies are about to find out-the hard way.

*All book summaries are from
*IMM is hosted by The Story Siren who was inspired by Alea at  Pop Culture Junkie.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Chat-The Price of Books

Ilona Andrews has posted a fascinating post on her site about the price of books and discounts.  She gives us a GENERAL idea about the breakdown of the cost of book.  For example, she takes a $7.99 book and breaks down who gets what percent of the profit and what costs they incur during the process. 

She also answers one of my biggest questions.  "Who takes the cut from books sold from discounted retailers such as Walmart or Target". 

Go check it out, it is really very interesting. 

I always thought the authors made more, but I am beginning to realize how many hands go into the making of the books we love.  Where you surprised by the number of people involved?

*Thank you Ilona and Gordon!

Got INK? (10)

I am fascinated with the number of books lately that feature INKED covers. In this weekly post, I am going to feature some of the ones I like best. Can you think of any, seen any inked covers?

*I am sending some madd BUTTON LOVE to KMont at Lurv A La Mode for creating this awesome button for my Got INK? posts. Thank you so much! Stop by and check out her blog if you haven't already!!

Lords of the Underworld Series by Gena Showalter

There are actually 9 books in the series plus an anthology.  I just chose my favorite covers. I have not read this series, however it is on my wishlist.  For complete book summaries and exerpts, visit the Lords of the Underworld site on Gena Showalter's Blog.

*Special thanks to Mary and Jessica for recommending this one!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bottoms Up Feature-Mariana

I am hosting my first reading challenge this year. The Bottoms Up 2010 Reading Challenge requires you to read off the bottom of your TBR pile. You can still sign up, follow the link for more information.

I wanted to take the chance to feature the people who have signed up for the challenge. Each week, watch for a new mini-interview from a different participant. Be sure to stop by their blog and cheer them on!

This week will feature Mariana from Smart Girls Read

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
M: I'm a girl who loves reading and writing, music, movies, coffee and chocolate. I study Human Nutrition and I'm very persistent, I love books and to meet knew people in the blogosphere.

2. If you are a blogger, please tell us about your blog.
M: Yes, I have a blog: Smart Girls Read. Is a blog where I and my friend Keysha share our opinions about books, is a baby blog but we´re trying to improve it everyday.

3. What kind of books do you like to read?
M: Mostly YA books, but I also like some other books like Cecelia Ahern books and some classics like Austen.

4. OK, time to come clean. How many books are in your TBR pile?
M: There are like a hundred of titles :S, I just cant seem to reduce the pile, everytime I try there are new books I want to read xD

5. What is your reading goal for the Bottom's Up challenge?
M: Read at least 24 books from the bottom, I already read one this month :)

oOMarianaOo, thanks for participating.  Sounds like you are off to a great start!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

YA Review: Freaksville by Kitty Keswick

High school is hard enough when you’re normal. There’s peer pressure, book reports, the in crowd and the enormous zit that has a life of its own. Having a family whose skeletons in the closet lean toward the paranormal is not a topper on anyone’s list. Sophomore Kasey Maxwell is busy juggling the typical teen angst. Add visions, ghosts and hairy four-legged monsters into the mix and you get FREAKSVILLE. It’s a wonder Kasey has survived.

Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen-year-old Kasey would gladly give up. All she wants is a normal life. Shopping and talking about boys with her best friend and long-time sidekick Gillie Godshall consume her days. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from England. The vision leads her into new waters, a lead in a play, a haunted theater…and into the arms of the Josh. Yet, both Kasey and Josh have secrets lurking in dark corners. Can Kasey’s new romance survive FREAKSVILLE? (summary from author's website)

My thoughts...Freaksville is a very unique book.  The majority of the story takes place in an old auditorium which hosted many play and theatrical events over many years.  This was a brilliant setting for the story because it provided a perfect backdrop for romantic and very scary scenes.  The characters find themselves in mortal danger in a number of situations.  Beneath the main level of the stage is a prop storage area.  The prop room is full of old costumes and stage props, definitely a great place to let your imagination run wild.  The basement level also left much to the imagination.  Dark, dusty, old corridors, just thinking about it gives me goosebumps.  The plot of Freaksville was nicely developed.  Interestingly, the story is told not in chapters, but in  entries on the main characters blog.  It even has comments left by readers.  Initially I was not sure if I liked this, but as the story progressed, I found myself anticipating the comments.  The books did not have the fairy tale ending that I expected.  I will be curious where the next book, Furry and Freaked, takes the reader.

The characters in Freaksville were very likable.  Kasey, our heroine, finds herself dealing with a special gift, that keeps revealing itself in new ways.  As her powers increase, she learns to accept it and use it, a task which proves to be difficult.   Gillie, her BFF, is by far my favorite character in the book; she keeps Kasey grounded. Kasey finds herself in the lead of a play with foreign exchange student Josh. The author did a great job of including British lingo which helped keep the story interesting. There was even a dictionary in the back so you could double check the meaning of some of the words.  Overall, I think the characters were well written, funny, and interesting.  In my opinion, Kitty Keswick did a great job of capturing the character's behaviors, speech, and actions for that of sixteen year olds.  The character's relationships did not go beyond "snogging", which kept the story age appropriate. 

Another aspect of the story I enjoyed were the illustrations.  Now whoever made the rules that said chapters books for readers over the age of 10 shouldn't have illustrations is crazy.  Randomly placed pictures gave the reader a nice visual image while reading.  The whole layout of the book was very unique. 

The cons...I read an arc version of the story so it has not been through the final edit.  I found several discrepancies in the character personalities.  Actually, I have already forgotten all but one, so it really didn't effect the story.  There were also one or two parts of the story that were very wierd.  One scene in particular would definitely wierd out any male readers. 

Cover LOVE?  Abso-bloody-lutely!  The full moon on the cover gives suggestions about the story.  The font is bold, but not overdone.  I also like the touch of vines decorating the bottom of the book. 

For more information about Kitty Keswick and Freaksville, visit her website or the Leap Books page for Freaksville. 

If you enjoyed this title, you may also like...
1. Under My Skin by Judith Graves (coming in March)
2. My Prom Date's A Vampire by Kitty Keswick (free read)
3. Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr

*Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for my honest review. 

*Special Thanks to Leap Books!

Kidz Korner (8)

This is a special post to help you share a special book with the little ones in your life. They will be reviewed by myself and my two sweeties (5 and 2). Children's books can be expensive, so we will give you some ideas of books that are worth your money.

The Way I Feel  by Janan Cain
Age range: 2-8
ISBN-10: 1884734715
ISBN-13: 978-1884734717

This was the first book by author and illustrator Janan Cain.  The Way I Feel uses lyrical verses to talk about children's feelings and emotions.  The pages are brilliantly decorated with bold. colorful designs. 

Here is an example of some of the poems:
Angry is how I feel right now,
I shout with a mighty roar.
I mostly want to frown and growl
and stomp upon the floor. 
(goes with the red illustration)

Once upon a time I taught elementary school.  I used this book in several lessons.  It also would be great for a child with autism.  The bold colors, rhyming passages and expressive pictures would be effective to any learner. 

I was unable to find a website for the author, but the book can be ordered from Amazon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Button Test...

Coming soon...

HA, I made my first button.  I know, I know some of you are saying So What.  This was a major accomplishment for me.  Now if I could just figure out what buttons I clicked to make it usable....hmmmm. 

The background for this button is from photographer graur razvan ionut

WoW: Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

2010 is going to be an incredible year for book lovers.

This author, Carolyn Crane, will be dropping by in March for an author interview.
Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill from Breaking the Spine.

Mind Games
by Carolyn Crane
Book 1 of The Disillusionists Trilogy
March 23, 2010

While the citizens of Midcity are being terrorized by paranormal crime, Justine Jones is battling the paralyzing hypochondria that’s ruining her life. She’d do anything to break free.

She gets her chance when Packard, a handsome mastermind with strange powers, peers into her soul and invites her to join his psychological hit squad.

At first, Justine enjoys being part of the glamorous, thrilling world of neurotic vigilantes who battle Midcity’s depraved and paranormal criminals, though as a crimefighter, she’s far more like Monk than Anita Blake.

She also enjoys the unexpected affection that blossoms between her and Packard. But little by little, Justine begins to uncover strange secrets: like why Packard hasn’t set foot outside the Mongolian Delites restaurant for eight years. And the truth about the disillusionists. Soon their affection is destroyed in an angry inferno.

Things become more complicated when Justine falls for her most dangerous target, a dashing crime boss with a penchant for opera and paranoia about brain hemorrhages. Is he a ruthless criminal or her soulmate? How will she keep Midcity from sliding into a bloodbath? (summary from author site)

Learn more about Mind Games by visiting the website of Carolyn Crane. 
To preorder your copy, follow this link and choose your favorite bookstore. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Awards, Awards

I have been awarded these great awards by some special bloggers. 

The Honest Scrap Award from Ivana from Willing to See Less.  Did you know she is from Croatia.  How cool is that!  Thank you for my award. 

I have received this one before, so I am just going to send a big hug to Ivana. 

The Interviewer Extraordinaire Award from Charlotte at The Book On The Hill

You have to follow this link and see the illustrated interview done by her creative friend.  We learn some new tidbits about Charlotte and it is some nice art.  I helped with some of the interview questions. 

Thanks Charlotte!

You can view all the great awards I have received on my awards page

YA Interview and Launch Party News: Jen Nadol

Please help me welcome the very talented Jen Nadol who is the author of The Mark.  Her debut novel hits bookshelves today.  So let's get started!

1. Could you start by telling us about your debut novel, The Mark?
JN: It’s about a girl who realizes she knows when it’s someone’s day to die and has to figure out what - if anything - to do about it.

2. Will The Mark be a stand alone novel or a series? Are you currently working on any other projects?
JN: I have a finished YA novel on submission with my Bloomsbury editor now and two others are in the works, pretty early stages. Whether The Mark has a sequel/series is up to the powers that be…

3. A strong heroine makes a story worth reading. If you could describe your heroine Cassie, with only 5 words, which would you choose?
JN: Self-reliant, introspective, intelligent, vulnerable, sixteen

4. How do you find time to read with 3 children under the age of 7 running around?
JN: I don’t! There are so many good books out and forthcoming, I don’t even keep up my to-read list on Goodreads because I don’t want to look at all the stuff I can’t get to.

5. I have heard many authors comment that they dislike the editing part of writing a book. For you, what is the hardest part of the writing process?
JN: First drafts, for sure. I hate when I get to the point where I realize I’m going to be 100 pages short of novel-length or there isn’t enough at stake or that a character isn’t working.

Editing is the fun part because it means I’ve managed to work through most of that.

6. Did you have to do any research for The Mark?

JN: I read a lot of philosophy – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Kierkegaard. Much more than made it into the novel.

7. If you could travel back in time, where would you find yourself and what would you be holding? (is there anything you could not live without?)
JN: If I’m just going for the day, it’d be to junior year of college and I’d be holding directions to the Career Center to give myself (I’m guessing there was one).

If it’s for a few days, I’d go to early NYC and bring a camera.

If it’s forever, I wouldn’t go.

8. Lastly, what is your favorite way to unwind after a hard day of writing? Any guilty pleasures?
JN: Wine, good food and sleep. Maybe American Idol, Fringe, 24, or the World Series of Poker, if they’re on.

Thank you for taking the time to interview with me. Congratulations on your debut, I wish you the best of luck. I know this book is going to be a hit!

For more information about about Jen Nadol and her debut release, visit her website or on Facebook
The Mark can be purchased from your favorite bookseller including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

***Jen asked me to be sure and send you to her GIANT LAUNCH PARTY.  There will be special posts about THE MARK and what would a launch party be without PRIZES?  See you there!

Monday, January 18, 2010

YA Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

A prodigal son

A dangerous love

A deadly secret . . .

I stood back and watched his movements. Daniel had that way about him that could shut me down in an instant. . . . I kicked the gravel a couple of times and worked up my courage again. “Tell me . . . I mean . . . why did you come back? Why now, after all this time?”

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel's dark secret . . . and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul. (summary from author's site)

Follow the link to read a sneak peak from the book. 

My thoughts...This book surprised me with an unexpected plot.  I just skimmed the summary (I usually avoid them to avoid spoilers), knew it was a YA title, and knew I adored the cover.  What I did not expect were the OTHER aspects of the story.  I am going to be very vague, as I do not want to ruin the story for anyone.  The plot was VERY suspenseful.  I really did not know what was going on but the story pulled me in so strongly, that I had to keep reading.  Grace, who is shocked by the reappearance of her childhood friend tries to uncover why her brother becomes enraged in his presence.  The story is infused with tons of mystery, legends, Biblical references, and some romance.  The Dark Divine is very well written and should satisfy readers of all ages. 

The main characters in this book live in a very religious household.  Their father is a Pasteur in a relatively small area.  Their lives are sheltered with limited Internet access, strict curfews, and family rules.  This reflected in their decisions, especially Grace's.  She seemed to think about her actions and the consequences that would result from her choices.  She managed to be her own person despite everyone telling her how she should act.  I also think the book has some good overall themes without being preachy.  It briefly touched on some big issues such as drugs, violence, and rape.  These kids may have lived in a religious household, but they were not immune to the realities that most teen face. 

The cons....I don't have anything negative to say about this book.  The ending left room for another book which I am looking forward to devouring. 

Cover LOVE? YES, I love this cover and it's purple accents.  Does it go with the story?  The purple nail polish does, but at first glance it looks like she is floating and as pale as a lifeless body.  I like it and I would have picked it up even if I had never heard of the book before, but it doesn't give any story clues.  

For more information about this book and Bree Despain, visit her on her website

I am not going to do recommendations this time because I don't want to give any spoilers. 

*Disclaimer, I read this book from my personal bookshelf.

Melting Pot Monday (9)

Crossing the Bridge
by Michael Baron

Hugh Penders has been stuck in neutral for nearly a decade since his brother Chase died in a car accident. He carries with him two secrets that he has never been able to share with anyone: that he believes he might have been able to prevent the accident, and that he was deeply in love with Chase's girlfriend, Iris. When Hugh's father suffers a debilitating heart attack, Hugh must return to the New England home he's been running away from for the past ten years. One day, he encounters Iris -- who has long since moved away -- on the street. They begin a friendship and Hugh believes he's falling in love with Iris all over again. But the ghost of Chase haunts both of them. And when each reveals a truth the other never knew, their lives, their vision of Chase, and their chances for a future together will change forever. Charged with the power of desire and the impact of loss, Crossing the Bridge is a soulful, romantic novel that will speak to you deeply.

Click here to read an exerpt
For more information about the author, Michael Baron, visit his website.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


For those of you who are keeping track, the TENNERS post has been updated.  Follow the link to find the release dates of your most anticipated YA titles. 

This post is easily accessed if you click on the 2010 Debut Author Challenge button on my left sidebar. 

*Thank you Jennifer!

In My Mailbox (14)

So this is my first IMM in a long time.  On the top shows what I got this week.  On the bottom is a pic of what came since my last IMM, way back in the beginning of December.  

This week:

 Boys That Bite by Mari Mancusi
Bad Blood by Mari Mancusi
 Goth Girl Rising by Barry Barry Lyga from The Book Resort
Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison from Jessica at Book Bound
Freaksville by Kitty Keswick from LeapBooks
(Thank you)
There are some signed bookmarks from Julie Kagawa-those (with the exception of the one I am keeping for my collection) are for a giveaway.  Coming soon!  Thanks Julie.

OK, here is the old stack, some of these were Christmas gifts from friends and Secret Santa's, reviews, and contest prizes.  I am not going to list them all, there are just too many.  I do want to acknowlege some people below.  If I forgot someone, I am sorry. 

Special Thanks to :
The Shady Glade
Erica Hayes
My 2 Secret Santa's (one of which never revealed their identity (ahem)
Jessica @Book Bound
Mundie Moms
Sarah Ockler
Morgan @BLT
The Knight Agency (wow)
The Inkies@ The Enchanted Inkpot
Library Lounge Lizard

Thank you and MUCH LOVE. 

So that was my mailbox (for 5 weeks).  How about you?

*In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie

YA Review: Ancient Appetites by Oisin McGann

A story of murder, betrayal and other family traditions.

It is the nineteenth century and as the British Empire begins its slow collapse, huge business empires are beginning to take its place. One of the most powerful is controlled by the Wildenstern family.

When Nate Wildenstern's eldest brother, Marcus, dies in suspicious circumstances, Nate suspects foul play - for this is a family that has grown rich through ruthless ambition, whose members are trained from childhood in the arts of assassination and conspiracy. They have supernatural resilience and healing abilities and many live for more than a century. Others die early. In the Wildenstern family, it is considered acceptable to murder in order to advance your position.

Nate's investigations bring him into conflict with his sister-in-law, Daisy, his remaining brother, Roberto, as well as living machines, Fenian rebels, his implacable father, a host of hostile conspiring relatives and the thugs who do their dirty work. But when a disaster uncovers the mummified remains of four of their ancestors, the family divides along new lines and the struggle for power takes a new and horrible turn... (summary from author's website)

Follow this link to read the first part of the book.

My thoughts... This is the kind of book that no matter you age, grabs you and doesn't let go until the end.  The 18 year old hero finds himself in bad situation when he has to prove his innocence in his brother's death while trying to avoid the family business.   While the story does not come out and say that the Wildenstern Family are vampires, they certainly have some traits such as long life spans and rapid healing, especially with gold.  Also, the country is full of engimals, which are a cross between engines and animals.  All the characters in the story are fun and very imaginative. 

Ancient Appetites takes place in a  post-famine Ireland in an alternate reality.  McGann did a brilliant job making this land believable and even a bit creepy.  There are several themes that set an undertone for the book including social class, race, sexuality,  and women's rights.  I think this book would be perfect for boys who like to read YA.  There is plenty of action, mystery and cool, inventive machines. 

The cons...I would have liked to learn more about the engimals.  They were an exciting part of the story. 

Cover LOVE?  While the cover is shiny, it didn't do it for me.  This would be something that I would not even pick up, but I am glad I read it.  Just goes to show you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. 

For more information about Oisin and his books,  visit his website

If you enjoyed this book, you may also like...
1. Small Minded Giants by Oisin McGann
2. The Wisdom of Dead Men by Oisin McGann
3. Strangled Silence by Oisin McGann

*Disclaimer-This book was provided by the publisher for my honest review.

Review: The Dangerous Book For Demon Slayers by Angie Fox

Demon slaying powers should come with an instruction book …

Seriously. Why does a new hair dryer have a twelve-page how-to manual, but when it comes to ancient demon-fighting hocus-pocus, my biker witch granny gives me just half a dozen switch stars and a rah-rah speech? Oh, and a talking terrier, but that’s another story. It’s not like my job as a preschool teacher prepared me for this kind of thing.

So I’ve decided to write my own manual, The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, because no one tells me anything. Dimitri, my “protector,” may be one stud of a shape-shifting griffin, but he always thinks he can handle everything by himself. Only he’s no match for the soul-stealing succubi taking over Las Vegas. If I can’t figure out how to save him – and Sin City – there’ll be hell to pay. (summary from author's site)

Follow this link to read chapter one. 

My thoughts...Book 2 of Angie Fox's Demon Slaying series takes readers on a magical tour of Sin City.  This time she is up against a Succubus who has stolen her Fairy Godfather.  All of my favorite characters were there including The Biker Witch gang, Dimitri and little Pirate. I saw a different side of Dimitri in this book, he was very vulnerable.  Lizzy definitely grew into her black slayer books and her powers. 

The plot was fun, and it taught the readers more about the mysteries of Fox's magical world.  I enjoyed meeting several new paranormal creatures.  The new setting in this book left the story wide open for some crazy adventures.  The story flowed nicely and it was an easy, fun read.   This book was full of excitement, but like the first one it had a dark side too. I was actually scared in some parts of the story.

The cons...Hmmm, one of my favorite parts of these stories is the Biker Witch Gang and their antics.  They didn't start flinging spell jars until the end of the book, I missed them. 

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this second book in the Accidental Slayer series.  I can't wait to jump right into the next book in the series. 

Cover LOVE?  I like this cover too.  Pirate looks lovable and I like the shot with her Harley.

The Accidental Demon Slayer series reading order:
1. The Accidental Demon Slayer (2008)
2. The Dangerous Book For Demon Slayers (2009)
3. A Tale of Two Demon Slayers (January 26, 2010)

For more information about Angie and her books, visit her site or her blog.

If you liked this book, you may also enjoy:
1. A Tale Of Two Demon Slayers by Angie Fox
2. Kitty and The Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
3. The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay
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