Free YA Audiobooks from SYNC – 2013 Summer listening schedule

This is a wonderful program sponsored by Audiofile Magazine and the audiobook publishers to introduce the joys of listening to the YA audience.

The audiobooks are in MP3 format so they work for both Mac and PC. All you need is Overdrive Media Console to download and your favorite listening device. Each download will be available for 7 days so don’t miss out! After you download the audiobooks though you can listen to them at your leisure.

And many of the titles are available to international listeners – only 5* titles have international restrictions. Click here to find out more details about international availability by title.

Sign up for text alerts by texting syncya to 25827 to find out when the latest audiobooks are available. Read more about the program at SYNC.

Featured Author of the Month…Lisa O’Donnell with Giveaway!


Welcome my featured author of the month for June, Lisa O’Donnell.  Lisa O’Donnell winner of The Orange Prize for New Screenwriters with her screenplay The Wedding Gift in 2000. Lisa was also nominated for the Dennis Potter New Writers Award in the same year. She moved to Los Angeles with her family in 2006, penning her first novel The Death of Bees in 2010.

My review of her book:

Enter to win a copy of “THE DEATH OF BEES” by clicking on the book cover below!


Doll Bones By Holly Black (For Ages: 10 – 14)




A doll that may be haunted leads three friends on a thrilling adventure in this delightfully creepy novel from the New York Times bestselling cocreator of the Spiderwick Chronicles.

Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they’ve been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her.

But they are in middle school now. Zach’s father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she’s been having dreams about the Queen—and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave.

Zach and Alice and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen’s ghost to rest. But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen. Is the doll just a doll or something more sinister? And if there really is a ghost, will it let them go now that it has them in its clutches?

Nora’s Ark By Eileen Spinelli: Download a FREE copy!





The weatherman predicted rain.So Nora built an ark.Just like Noah.Well….Not just like Noah.

Noah welcomed a host of animals two-by-two. Nora’s passenger list includes two backyard spiders, a pair of battery-operated monkeys, and a couple of unimpressed cats. Nora also employs her little brother, some dusty wooden boxes, and a sizeable dose of contagious imagination in her distinctive re-creation of the timeless story.

Charming and inventive, Nora’s big voyage, and its stirring conclusion, provide entertainment and inspiration for readers of all ages.

Download here for **FREE**

Ashfall (Ashfall #1) By Mike Mullin


Published:  October 11th 2011 by Tanglewood Press

Series: The Ash Fall Series

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don’t know it’s there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.

This was a quick read for me.   Ashfall is a story dealing with the eruption of the super volcano under the Yellowstone National Park. If you didn’t know, the eruption of a super volcano such as this would have terrible consequences for life on earth. The amount of ash that would be released into the atmosphere would compromise crops, block the sun, cause health issues on humans and animals and basically have a long-lasting effect that could potentially mean the end of human life on earth.

Ashfall follows teenager Alex, left alone for the weekend when his parents and baby sister go away to visit his uncle. The story starts in the direct aftermath of the supervolcano’s eruption. Alex is miles and miles away from it but feels the repercussions almost immediately: his house is destroyed, all means of communication fail, the ash starts to fall continuously and the day becomes night. He is taken in by his next-door neighbours and they spent the first few hours huddled in darkness and in panic trying to figure out what is happening. After a violent encounter with a looter, Alex decides to make his way across the state to try and find his family and that’s when things get really heavy.  The first few pages of Ashfall are some of the most gripping – and terrifying – ones I have ever read.  I was really surprised on how quickly the book progressed and how quickly bad things started to happen.

Parts of this book are not for the queezy as we follow Alex on his journey to find his parents.  Survival includes eating right?

Make no mis­take, Ash­fall is more than a slightly depressing novel. It’s dingy and bleak and bloody terrifying when you consider Mullin has done his best to cre­ate as real­is­tic a pic­ture as pos­si­ble if the super vol­cano at Yel­low­stone National Park were to erupt, which, theoretically, could happen in our lifetime.

Ashall has an ominous tone that won’t be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. Alex and Darla face challenge after challenge and I was never quite certain if they would survive  There were times when the story was a lit­tle slow, usu­ally when Alex is trav­el­ing by him­self, but even then these quiet moments served to high­light how incred­i­bly alone Alex is and just added to the over­all bleak­ness of the story. Mullin by all accounts, seems to have put in a lot of research for Ash­fall and his take on life in the after­math of a vol­cano erup­tion feels uncom­fort­ably realistic.

I look forward to reading the next installment in this series Ashen Winter!


Zoo by James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge


Published: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“For some reason, animals are turning on humans — someone has to find a way to stop this!”

I have never read anything by James Patterson, surprisingly as he is a top selling author!  This book was a bullet to read!

-All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities.-

Biologist Jackson Oz has been expelled from college and rejected by the scientific world for his wildly improbable theory, HAC — Human-Animal Conflict.  His hypothesis is that animal behavior is changing  and not for the better.  From extensive research into the increase of animal attacks on humans, he’s concluded that throughout the world, species after species are displaying hyper- aggressive behavior toward one particular animal…man! And it isn’t just wild animals, either, as reports of injuries from cats and dogs have been increasing, as well. But he can’t get anyone to take him seriously. That is until the attacks continue to escalate.

As scientists come to grips with the reality that the human race worldwide is in danger of annihilation from the packs of roaming animals, they finally turn to Oz for help.  But is it too late to figure out what is causing the problem and to rectify it in time to save mankind? And will the solution Oz comes up with work for the entire world?

James Patterson’s ZOO is an epic, non-stop thrill-ride!  It was a good ‘first impression’ for me of his writing!



Glorious Gift Books: The perfect way to dress up a coffee table


On This Earth, a Shadow Falls
By Nick Brandt
192 pages; Abrams
Available at: | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore | IndieBound
In Nick Brandt’s On This Earth, a Shadow Falls stunning black-and-white photographs show wild animals—cheetahs, rhinos, giraffes, and elephants—stampeding, grazing, and wading through the equally untamed grandeur of the Serengeti.






See the World Beautiful
By Anne Menke
240 pages; Glitterati
Available at: | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore | IndieBound
See the World Beautiful (Glitterati) captures the colorful individuality of indigenous communities and the landscapes they inhabit, from Mongolia to Argentina, in images taken by fashion photographer Anne Menke.






Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in Everyday
By Jordan Matter
240 pages; Workman
Available at: | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore | IndieBound
Bodies of breathtaking grace and agility transform ordinary spaces, seemingly defying gravity as they plié and pirouette through busy streets, a record shop, along a heliport tarmac, and under the Santa Monica boardwalk in Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday, by Jordan Matter.
Underwater Dogs
By Seth Casteel
144 pages; Little, Brown and Company
Available at: | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore | IndieBound
The arresting portraits in Seth Casteel’s Underwater Dogs reveal what’s happening below the surface. Teeth gnashing, paws paddling, primal and hilarious, these canines bubble with irresistible energy.
South Pole
By Christine Dell’Amore
136 pages; Assouline
Available at: | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore | IndieBound
Drawing from Captain Robert F. Scott’s diaries, Christine Dell’Amore chronicles the doomed 1910–1913 British expedition to Antarctica in South Pole. Photographs from the voyage illustrate the haunting account.
By Nealy Blau
64 pages; Decode
A tree trunk curving toward a stream; leaves ablaze in autumn. Nature—or illusion? In Elsewhere, Seattle artist Nealy Blau accentuates the authentic by photographing the artificial: dioramas displayed in museums.
201004-omag-book-coelho-284xFallThe Alchemist: A Graphic Novel
By Paulo Coelho
208 pages; HarperOne
The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel reinterprets Paulo Coelho’s international best-seller with dramatic illustrations, offering readers a fresh take on the magical tale of a shepherd’s journey.
By Catherine Johnson
208 pages; Phaidon
Who knew that Fido and Flossy had such a thoroughly delightful family album! Dogs (Phaidon) brings together 450 vintage, vernacular snapshots of pooches posed under tables and on front porches, in portrait studios and in the loving arms of children and grown-ups. Taken between the turn of the 20th century and the early 1950s, these images of pups—attentive and aloof, perky and proud—tell us all we need to know about the enduring bonds of affection between the humans and the adorable pets who so effortlessly steal the spotlight from their owners.