Posts tagged ‘littlebrown’

September 2nd, 2010

CLOSED! – A Megalodon of a Giveaway! (Wordbird's One!)

by Madeleine Rex

Yes. Yes, it is that big. And I have no idea what “Taucher” and whatever that other thing is mean either.


Oh my gosh!!! Wordbird turned one year old yesterday! Madeleine Rex has been blogging for a year. And I haven’t been that irritating or destroyed the World Wide Web accidentally with some wacky Rex Virus. Mission accomplished.

I hope you guys have enjoyed the past year as much as I have. I’ve met so many wonderful people over that time period. I can honestly say that joining this online community is the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing and bookish life . I have so many incredible friends here, all because my dear mother encouraged me to start a blog. I don’t think either of us really thought this would go anywhere… but, surprisingly, it has (and that might just be because you guys have boring day jobs, but I’d like to think there’s more to it than that – and that you guys love your jobs). I’m grateful for you support and friendship.

So, I’m giving you books! Lots of them.

(Links are to my reviews.)


  • Amazon Books 10$ Gift Card
  • The Devouring by Simon Holt (old ARC – new condition – Thanks, LB!)
  • Soulstice by Simon Holt (old ARC – new condition – Thanks, LB!)
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (HB – new)
  • Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick (old ARC – new condition – Thanks, LB!)
  • Happyface by Stephen Emond (old ARC – new condition – Thanks, LB!)
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore (PB)
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore (PB)
  • The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (PB)
  • The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (PB)
  • Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (old ARC – used – signed)
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (HB)

This giveaway is not international. I sincerely apologize. I simply can’t afford the shipping costs.

The “Grand Prize” winner will receive five books and the Amazon $1o gift card. The second winner will pick three of the remaining books, and the third winner will win the last three.

To enter the giveaway, use the form linked below.

No, not the one over there! Here.

This giveaway ends on Monday, October 4th. Extended to October 20th! We’ve had 151 entrants so far! (Edited October 4th)

So exciting!

Thanks again to Little Brown for the wonderful package of four books! I never cease to be amazed.














August 23rd, 2010

Dark Song by Gail Giles; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Dark Song

Author: Gail Giles

Published: September 7th, 2010

Number of Pages: 304

Rating: 1/5

Review Sent to Little Brown*:

Though slightly riveting and bordering on the side of tragic, Dark Song failed to capture my heart or nourish my mind. Doubtless, many readers will enjoy it for its intriguing surface qualities and surplus of drama, but I can’t honestly say the book will leave any sort of mark. This story is dark and made me feel dark. So, while I found the premise interesting and the prose pleasant, I was rather disappointed.


I hate rating things 1/5. I really do. It breaks my little bookish heart to say that I didn’t like a book. However, when I find enough factors of a book that give me discomfort or something similar, I have to.

Then again, I believe that Gail Giles did  precisely what she set out to do with this book, and she did it well. I have nothing to complain about concerning the prose or pace. The book is done well. Whether or not you enjoy Dark Song depends solely on what you hope to get out of the reading experience in general. I hope to find people to love within the pages, things that bring out my feelings so that I can slather my heart all over the page, and I don’t mind being taught something – or simply feeling happy as the result of the pretty little words tucked within the book covers.

So, before you read this review, I think it’s important you ask yourself: What do you want from a book?

Ames has the perfect family. The perfect home. Everything seems to play out just as it should, and it’s clear that her family is quite accustomed to their style of living. It’s when one thing goes wrong that their lives seem to fall apart. Her father loses his job.

With the aid of one wild snowball effect, Ames and her family find themselves at the bottom of a figurative pit. Ames isn’t the same person she was before, not even close. And then there’s Marc, the only person who seems to appreciate the Ames she is deep down, who fights for her and defends her against her family. Marc with the gun collection – the great liar (who also scares the heck out of me…).

As Marc pulls her closer to him and farther from her family, Ames finds herself in one heck of a predicament. To me, it was as though she was under some sort of wacky and terrifying spell. The book made it seem as though this was a sudden change of personality, but I thought there were a few hints of Ame’s possibilities – the her she could have been. The dark and dangerous one.

Honestly, I found fault with pretty much all the characters, excepting Chrissy, Ames’s little sister. It’s hard to respect people that can so easily lose touch with their family and crash and burn, when all they really had to do was crash. Not to mention the secrets revealed about many characters as the story developed that made you dislike them even more. I think they all could have used a few gallons of maturity.

Here’s the problem: Reading about a group of wildly unpleasant people that don’t seem to be fixing themselves but spiraling downward isn’t all that enjoyable. Even if you don’t care for them particularly, it always hurts to watch people ruin themselves.

Not to mention that there were a few sexual scenes that disturbed me greatly, and it was after the first one that I began to feel as though this book really, really wasn’t for me. The story seemed to lack any uplifting qualities, things that make me happy or feel as though I’m collecting stories that will keep me company for years. I love that feeling I get when I look at something and memories that aren’t mine are brought to mind, memories of characters’ I’ve read about. It struck me: I didn’t want these memories.

I also thought that things seemed a bit exaggerated. A perfect family to a terrible one. An expansive and wonderful living situation to a pit. The helpful and loving daughter to the dark and hateful one. I don’t know many people that have lived opposite extremes as these people do.

This review is morbidly negative, isn’t it? There are a few things I want to say to the book’s credit.

People are going to enjoy this book. It’s slightly haunting and very tragic, but it’s also fascinating. Sort of in the way an optical illusion is. You’re mesmerized by the craziness of what’s happening in the story. It carries itself well – meaning it flowed neatly from one chapter to another. It’s also full of surprises that I’m sure will shock and disturb readers.

Essentially, I can imagine many people being intrigued by this novel, but I didn’t reap any rewards from it. It made me feel dark myself, and I don’t like feeling that way at all. For that reason, I didn’t enjoy the book.

As I said, it comes right down to one question all readers should ask themselves: What do I want to get from a book?

Click here and here for more positive reviews.

*Thanks for the ARC!

August 4th, 2010

The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: The Thin Executioner

Author: Darren Shan

Published: August 1st, 2010 by Little Brown

Number of Pages: 496

Rating: 3/5

Review Sent to Little Brown*:

This book is one I feel very unsure about. I was satisfied by the ending and the beginning was nicely paced, but the middle was slightly tedious. I couldn’t focus as I read, and oftentimes I felt that the story was being told to me, as opposed to being shown. In the end, The Thin Executioner is a surprisingly heartwarming and inspiring tale, with its many frightening moments thrown in to spice things up, but its delivery could have been more upbeat and faster-paced. I think the book will appeal to people who take a great interest in human nature and believe that anyone can change.


In a kingdom of merciless tyrants, Jebel Rum’s family is honored as royalty because his father is the executioner. But Rashed Rum is near retirement. And when he goes, there will be a contest to determine his successor. It is a contest that thin, puny Jebel has no chance of winning.

Humiliated and ashamed, Jebel sets out on a quest to the faraway home of a legendary fire god to beg for inhuman powers so that he can become the most lethal of men. He must take with him a slave, named Tel Hesani, to be sacrificed to the god. It will be a dark and brutal journey filled with lynch mobs, suicide cults, terrible monsters, and worse, monstrous men. But to Jebel, the risk is worth it.

To retrieve his honor . . .

To wield unimaginable power . . .

To become . . .

The thin executioner

Inspired by theAdventures of Huckleberry Finn, international bestselling master of horror Darren Shan takes readers on a thrilling, fast-paced journey into a nightmarish world where compassion and kindness are the greatest crimes of all. [From Amazon]


It’s always hard to write reviews that aren’t as positive as you’d like them to be. This is one of those reviews. The concept of this book, the character, setting, etc – they all could be smashed together to make something special and great. The Thin Executioner is special. Great, however? Not so much. I nearly gave it a 2/5, actually. And there were three factors that spoiled the book a bit for me:

  1. As I said, Shan seemed to tell instead of show… a lot. I kept wondering how Jebel/Tel Hesani/[insert other person here] did whatever it was that they did. With a book that spans the length of time The Thin Executioner does (a year), I can understand the need to skim over things, but at times it did get irritating, and I felt that certain things that should have been skimmed weren’t and others that shouldn’t have been were. It made for a bit of confusion or boredom at times.
  2. I can handle novels in third person. Third person is great (as is first). The only problem with third person is that your readers are further detached from your character’s head. In this book particularly, I felt the characters were very distant. It wasn’t like Harry Potter or The Mortal Instruments books, where you are still very near the character. I had more of a problem with this when the story was lagging. Typically at times like that, I would rely on the characters and their voices to carry me through, but these characters weren’t always there for me. (Did that make any sense whatsoever?)
  3. The length of the book and the pacing. Most of you know that I can take rather uneventful books. Some characters I love so much that reading every minute of their day would fascinate me. However, as I didn’t connect very well with the main characters of this book, the parts where the story was lagging were kind of tedious. The book felt longer than it was, probably because I had to struggle through most of the middle.

Although there were only three major issues, they meant a lot. However, this book was special, and the world that Jebel lives in is so fascinating.

I loved that I couldn’t tell whether the book was set in the future, the past, or in a totally different universe. The cultures, religions, cults, social levels, etc. where very interesting and very different… but familiar. I could clearly see how easily our world could turn into theirs or theirs into ours. I loved observing the different ways of life, the beliefs of the various people, and the politics. I think that lots of people will be intrigued by these facets of the book.

Plus, the book is creepy. It’s disturbing. At one point, Jebel and Tel Hesani meet up with a religious cult with very “out-there” beliefs that, honestly, scared the crap out of me. If and when you pick this book up, prepare for odd people and a few moments that can be categorized as both gory and frightening.

Tel Hesani was a great character. I admired, respected, and completely understood him. He’s the mentor who preaches without seeming like he’s preaching. I enjoyed his side-comments, his views on the world and religion, and the example he set for Jebel. I think that everyone who reads this book will like him by default (well, almost everyone, because we know that never actually happens. There are probably people who hate Dumbledore… Okay, maybe not Dumbledore, but you know what I mean)

One thing this book got spot-on was character development. I loved watching Jebel grow, and it was particularly enjoyable when he didn’t realize he was changing, or when he tried to cover up something nice that he’d said. It was all very believable and heartening.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. The end (last 100 pages or so) made up for most of the troublesome parts in the middle. I’d recommend this book to people who are intrigued by foreign cultures and beliefs. I’m happy that I read this book because it really does give you a lot to think about.

*Thanks, Little Brown! You’re great.