Thursday, July 18, 2013

WILL IN SCARLET - A Wild-Ride of a Novel by MATTHEW CODY



RELEASE DATE: October 8, 2013

FORMAT/PAGE COUNT: ebook/272 pages

PUBLISHER: Knopf Books for Young Readers


Will Scarlet is on the run.

Once the sheltered son of nobility, Will has become an exile. While his father, Lord Shackley, has been on the Crusades with King Richard, a treacherous plot to unseat Richard has swept across England, and Shackley House has fallen.

Will flees the only home he’s ever known into neighboring Sherwood Forest, where he joins the elusive gang of bandits known as the Merry Men. Among them are Gilbert, their cruel leader; a giant named John Little; a drunkard named Rob; and Much, an orphan girl disguised as a bandit boy.

This is the story of how a band of misfit outlaws become heroes of legend - thanks to one brave 13-year-old boy. - (From GOODREADS)


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having said that, there was a thread or two I would have liked to have seen the end of. But I'm sure that's just me. I do know one certainty about Will In Scarlet...young boys will LOVE this book. It would have been just the book I'd look for when I was a young teen. The hero is 13...he's fortunate, being a Lord's son...but he's not fortunate enough to be royalty. It's as his house falls around him that the story really sparks for me. He sees the other side of life and his first reaction is to try to make things better for those less fortunate than he had been in his previous station.

I found this to be very much like Siddhartha, in this respect. Will had the luxury of living in a castle and having servants. But when he sees outside the castle for the first time, when he escapes its overthrow, he sees poverty. Like Siddhartha, who took to the streets and witnessed poverty the first time he was paraded around his kingdom, Will has his eyes opened.

This novel is filled with rich characters and a lot of action. And the intensity of the peril was palpable, too. There's a great attack scene when Will and "Much" (a girl who lost her parents and joined the Merry Men disguised as a boy!) return to Will's lost castle to help the other Merry Men escape hangings. Look for it. The story really explodes there.

I loved the way Cody made Rob a fallible character...the reader sees him overcome himself just as Will sees it. His transformation from Rob to Robin Hood is not only timely and quite awesome...but fully believable. I also very much loved the POV switches between WILL's and MUCH's characters. I liked knowing what each was thinking about the other. There's a great push-me-pull-ya play with them. They go from almost hatred, with a touch of compassion, to admiration and...yes...maybe even BIG CRUSH TERRITORY. That's all I'm saying.

As I said, just a few loose threads that got to me. BUT...I am not aware of one thing! It COULD be a series. And if it is, I forgive the 4 1/2 rating. I would certainly be in line for a book two if this turns out to be a series. It seems pregnant with potential...and with such an exhilarating pace that keeps you reading until you've devoured the entire book in one sitting, I'd love to keep going!

I would highly recommend this title for boys of 10-14. But I wouldn't stop there. It appeals to the inner child big-time. Memorable characters and great action! It fully fulfills its promise to show us the boy behind the Robin Hood legend.

Size: 4 1/2

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B - A Review of the Novel by Teresa Toten

TITLE: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B


RELEASE DATE: August 27, 2013

FORMAT/PAGE COUNT: ebook/256 pages

PUBLISHER: Doubleday Canada


Two-time Governor General's Award nominee Teresa Toten is back with a compulsively readable new book for teens!

When Adam meets Robyn at a support group for kids coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he is drawn to her almost before he can take a breath. He's determined to protect and defend her--to play Batman to her Robyn--whatever the cost. But when you're fourteen and the everyday problems of dealing with divorced parents and step-siblings are supplemented by the challenges of OCD, it's hard to imagine yourself falling in love. How can you have a "normal" relationship when your life is so fraught with problems? And that's not even to mention the small matter of those threatening letters Adam's mother has started to receive . . .

Teresa Toten sets some tough and topical issues against the backdrop of a traditional whodunit in this engaging new novel that readers will find hard to put down. (From GOODREADS)



It's only the best books that suck the reader in so completely that they begin to experience the feelings of the main character. This book has reached that goal in SPADES! Be careful. This is a story of a teen with OCD...and the OCD group he attends. Toten does a spectacular job of injecting the reader into that group. What a ride! I was there, sitting in a circle looking at all the other OCD sufferers...listening to their facilitator, Chuck, as he attempted to lead the group to a healthier less obsessive compulsive lifestyle. I cannot say enough about the way Toten guided the reader through the real--and real painful--world of the OCD sufferer. Spectacularly crafted!

Though the backdrop of Unlikely Hero was OCD, there was so much more to the story. Toten takes the reader on a ride as the main character, Adam, falls in love while falling apart. I've a feeling this will be my pick for FAVOURITE READ of 2013. I love the way Adam's inner dialogue played out; his fears, his feelings for Robyn (the girl of his dreams), his thoughts on the interactions with his mom, his step-mom, his dad, his brother Sweetie, his therapist..and even Thor, the quiet hulk of a teen who attended the OCD group Adam was part of. Just a great insight into the main character's itchy scratchy obsessive compulsive world. This book is REAL.

Without giving away too much of the story, Unlikely Hero is, IMHO, a story of a boy struggling to keep it together AND the illness he takes on as a result of that struggle. His mother plays a keen role in this struggle. Adam tries desperately to combat the forces of his OCD by attending his therapist's teen OCD support group. But Adam's mother is a hoarder. As he tries to repair his ticks and obsessions, he lives in a home that is getting swallowed up by itself. Throw on the fact that his mother is being stalked, and Adam's stress level is a thousand. Amid the chaos, he is falling in love with fellow support group member Robyn. He complicates this relationship with his axiom, Everybody Lies.

I guarantee you will be on the edge of your seat as all the loose threads in this freight-train of a story begin to come together. Just when you think Adam cannot take another thing thrown into his path, something bigger and more stressful happens. And it all culminates in a satisfying ending that will have you gasping.

When this book releases, pick yourself up a copy. I will be purchasing a copy! It's one of those stories you can read again and again.

Size: 5 1/2 (1/2 for the feeling of OCD symptoms that plagued me for the duration of the story!)

Happy Birthday to My Own Novel AND Happy 10,000 Reads!

I'd like to take a moment to thank all the readers of this, my review blog. Sometime over the past few days I reached 10,000 reads. I hope I'm doing something right...suggesting the best of the best books, giving my readers some insights through interviews, etc. Thank you for stopping by AND I hope to see you again!

ONE MORE THING before we continue with scheduled reviews, interviews, etc. I don't do this often, but I wanted to give a shout out to my 2nd novel, SEBASTIAN'S POET! SB just hit its 1st anniversary! I'm giving away print copies on my author blog. You can read the post HERE. To enter for your chance to win a copy, all you are required to do is comment on the post. I'm keeping the contest open for the month of July. Winner(s) will be announced August 1st, at which time I will ask for a shipping address. Naturally, the prize includes shipping. (-:

Here's a book trailer for Sebastian's Poet:

AND, while I have you, here's a book trailer for my latest novel, The Reasons (PS: Check out the most awesome band in the background!) :

If you enter the contest, good luck!

Thanks so much. NOW...back to the regular business of this blog. (-:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cheryl Rainfield - STAINED - The New Cover! (and a sneak peek!)

I did a cover reveal for STAINED by Cheryl Rainfield a while back. The cover has since changed, so today I thought I would introduce you to the new one. With my schedule full, I missed the cover reveal date on this one...but I'd like to spread the word about STAINED all the same!

Before the cover, though, how about some advance praise for STAINED!

"Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!" ~ April Henry, New York Times-bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die
"A compelling, gutting, and ultimately triumphant read. You won't want to stop turning pages -- Or blink. Or breathe. -- until you reach the very last one." ~ Jennifer Brown, award-winning author of Hate List

"STAINED is dark, tense and gripping; a triumph of one girl's heart, soul and will to survive. Sarah's strength during her descent into terror kept me reading way past bedtime!" ~ Laura Wiess, critically acclaimed author of Such a Pretty Girl

I definitely would have taken STAINED out at Net Galley, if not for my hectic schedule of late. I plan on reading it at its release. Rainfield's work has NOT disappointed yet!

Now, here's the cover. You can look for STAINED in October, 2013. It promises to be a great read.

You can check out ALL of Cheryl Rainfield's books at Amazon on her AUTHOR PAGE.

What the heck! How about a sneak excerpt from STAINED?! I know you want to peek! Here you go:

"Today is the day I’ve been waiting for my entire life—the beginning of normal.

                I reach for the latest Seventeen and flip through its glossy pages until I find the perfect face. The girl is pretty, with wide green eyes, hollow cheekbones, and full, pouty lips. But what I notice most is her smooth, unblemished skin. It’s perfect. I cut the photo out and stick it above my bed, in the last of the space. Now I can’t even see the sunlight yellow of my walls—but the confidence that shines in these faces is even brighter. And today I’m going to get so much closer to that. I don’t care how much the treatments hurt; it’ll be worth it. It can’t hurt as much as the stares and rude comments I get every day.

                I know I shouldn’t let people’s ignorance get to me. Mom’s always telling me I’m beautiful; that it’s what’s inside that counts. But she’s not living in the real world. Sure, whether you’re kind or good matters. But pretty people automatically get better treatment. Ugly people get ignored ... if they’re lucky. And me, I get stares, taunts, or people going out of their way to pretend they don’t see me.

I try to think of it as fuel for my comic scripts. All heroes have to go through personal trauma before they find their true strength—and most of them feel like outsiders even after they do."

STAY TUNED! I will post a couple videos soon about STAINED. (-:


Monday, June 17, 2013

Ryan Dean West IS WINGER! A Novel by ANDREW SMITH - Review



RELEASE DATE: May 14, 2013

FORMAT/PAGE COUNT: ebook/448 pages

PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers



A teen at boarding school grapples with life, love, and rugby in a heartbreakingly funny novel.

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn infographics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking. (From GOODREADS)


Ryan Dean West. We all knew a Ryan Dean West back in school. Oh yeah. The little guy who was 100% completely fearless. You wanted to be like have the balls he possessed. Ryan Dean West, better known as Winger for the position he played on his private school's rugby team. He's the chihuahua who thinks he's a German Shepherd. Such a great character...whether you were Ryan Dean, dated Ryan Dean or you knew Ryan Dean, you'll love this book.

Ryan Dean comes off, initially, as a good boy. He's 14...practically a certified genius. You just know his parents are proud of him. But, at the story's onset, Ryan Dean finds himself in Opportunity Hall...the dorm for the baddies of his school. Pretty much every other baddy is bigger and meaner than Ryan Dean. He rooms with a bully he hates enough to spike his drink with **** (you'll have to read the book to know what he spikes the drink with!).

This story will have you laughing like crazy. But don't get comfortable. Ryan Dean steps into some pretty treacherous water throughout this novel. First of all, he's in love with his best friend, Annie. She's 16...and he's only 14. He feels that it will never happen. Great angsty moments ensue. As he shows his bad-boy side, by having heightened moments of passion with his bully roommate's girlfriend, you find yourself hoping he crashes and burns. But the anxiety and guilt he feels will make you hope he turns himself around. Under everything questionable and seedy, shines the light of a good boy who just wants to have the things he wants. He's confused. What 14 year-old boy isn't? Take this trip with Ryan Dean and I promise won't regret it.

There is an epic moment of tragedy that sneaks up on you in this story. It will break your heart. Just when you think you can't laugh any harder, or feel any greater for Ryan Dean and his group of friends, BAM! You're thrown into a crushing scene...and so subtly you won't even see it coming.

This is a fantastic read! You have to get it now. It's one of those stories that has everything. has some pretty whimsical Ryan Dean is a bit of a cartoonist...and as he tells some of his funnier tales, he includes some very cool comic-book accompaniment.


Size: 5 1/2

Tuesday, May 28, 2013





RELEASE DATE: May 28, 2013

FORMAT/PAGE COUNT: ebook (net galley)/288 pages

PUBLISHER: Random House Books for Young Readers

PURCHASED: Did not purchase (Net Galley)


  It's not like I meant for Danley to get hurt. . . .

   Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he's still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can't bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.

   Inspired by Mark Goldblatt's own childhood growing up in 1960s Queens, Twerp shines with powerful writing that will have readers laughing and crying right along with these flawed but unforgettable characters. (FROM GOODREADS)


I love this book so much! It’s one of those books you want to take with you onto the rooftops, hold high in the air and proclaim, “Ladies and gentlemen of Earth…read this book!” It’s also one of those books you want to hold close to your breast and say, “There, there…it will be okay!” Because you’re terrified it’s going to miss its audience. This is a splendid story, well told. By all accounts, it should fly off the shelves. I’m just worried that the time period may put some off. It is for young readers and I know young readers will love it. If they give it a chance. What I also know is that adults would LOVE Twerp too!

Julian, the narrator, makes a deal with his teacher. If he writes the stories of him and his friends he can get out of writing the book report for Julius Caesar. What the teacher has in mind—one would suspect—is that Julian face the scrutiny of his own introspection. And face it he does. It’s a lovely tale Julian tells. He shares his whole world with the reader…even the darker secrets he would probably normally keep to himself. He tells the teacher how he penned a love letter to woo a girl on behalf of his best friend, he tells his teacher how that event totally backfires in his face and causes his best friend to disown him, he tells the woe-begotten tale of how he fears he is no longer the fastest kid in his school, and he shares with his teacher the story of the suave new kid from Mexico who could be his Achilles heel in this regard. In short, there are several insightful stories that Julian allows us to glimpse along the way. The one he is reluctant to tell is the motivation behind the telling. All these stories relate to power struggles and manipulations between friends in some way. But the untold story, which eventually comes out within Julian’s narration to his teacher is the story of Danley Dimmel.

Set in 1969, Twerp is an integral story of the struggles kids face to balance on that thin line of bully and bullied, cool and uncool, leader and follower. It’s a great story…you will fall in love with the way Julian gives us the raw truth of the happenings within the child community of his New York neighbourhood. It’s a universal story most readers will easily relate to. I hope kids give it a chance…there is much to be learned within Julian’s stories. And much to be enjoyed!

I will definitely be purchasing this book. It's one I will revisit several times! Suitable for adults as much as it is suited to children. ENJOY!

Size: 5

Monday, May 27, 2013


 TeethMarco Impossible


AUTHOR: Hannah Moskowitz
RELEASE DATE: January, 2013

FORMAT/PAGE COUNT: Kindle/290 pages

PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse



A gritty, romantic modern fairy tale from the author of Break and Gone, Gone, Gone.

Be careful what you believe in.

Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life. (From GOODREADS)


Teeth. This is another pure Moskowitz title. A little bit of magical realism, a la Zombie Tag. We have Rudy, who is forced to live on a magical island because his brother can only survive by eating the fish that can only be harvested on said island.

Rudy feels an instant bond with the fish boy, Teeth. Moskowitz does a great job creating this truculent, jealous and envious little fish boy. With typical Moskowitz magic, the reader will actually like Teeth. I felt a lot of sympathy for him when his full story came I'm sure other readers will also sympathize for him.

Rudy has a lot to deal with, living on an island away from the life he knew. In untypical Moskowitz fashion, he deals with his brother's illness in a rather dark way. The reader gets the sense that Rudy's brother is a burden...the cross he has to bare.

Some complicated and intriguing relationships here. Moskowitz fans will love this one about as much as her other offerings!



AUTHOR: Hannah Moskowitz
RELEASE DATE: March, 2013

FORMAT/PAGE COUNT: Kindle/256 pages

PUBLISHER: Roaring Brook Press


Thirteen-year-old best friends Stephen and Marco attempt a go-for-broke heist to break into the high school prom and get Marco onstage to confess his love for (and hopefully steal the heart of) Benji, the adorable exchange student and bass player of the prom band. Of course, things don't always go according to plan, and every heist comes with its fair share of hijinks. (From GOODREADS)


I'm a bit reluctant to call this my FAVOURITE Hannah Moskowitz title. Not because I don't think it deserves it, but because I'd rather it share that place with Zombie Tag. Don't make me choose!

Marco loves Benji. And Stephen, his best friend, wants to help him get into the high school prom so Marco can profess his love to Benji. The sleuth team has been cracking cases for a very long time, but somewhere along the way on this newest case there are signs that this may be the last one. Moskowitz is brilliant in this story of two best friends and the jealousies and compromises and idiosyncrasies that go into making their relationship such a wonderful base to an awesome story!

Hannah wrote an amazing story here. The reader will follow these friends all over town as they take on this new adventure. From the tux rental store to the prom. Hijinks and gut-wrenching truths and observations will push the reader forward to an amazing and satisfying end. I don't want to say much about this...the reader will have to take my word for it. THE. BEST. MOSKOWITZ. EVER.

Size: 5.5

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Archived Giveaway! And the winner is...

I'm almost finished reading THE ARCHIVED and I'm not disappointed. What an amazing read! Much thanks to the 12 who entered the giveaway. (-: Here's a screenshot of the winning number from

So, the winner is #5. Which means...

KATHY ANN COLEMAN are the winner!

Now, for all of you who did not win...get yourselves over to Amazon, or to your local independent bookstore, and get your own copy of THE ARCHIVED by VICTORIA SCHWAB. You will LOVE IT!

Coming up on Try This Book on for Size, I will have a few new reviews popping up. Though I am behind in my reviewing, I am not behind in my reading. Look for reviews of The Archived, Teeth and a few other YA and NA books in the near future.

Thanks for playing! 

Kathy: Please email your mailing address to: kevintcraig @

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


After yesterday’s cover reveal of Cheryl Rainfield’s STAINED, I think it’s a great time to host a contest! How about a book giveaway?!

I happen to be ditzy enough to have pre-ordered VICTORIA SCHWAB’s THE ARCHIVED twice! That’s how excited I was to get her latest novel. I fell in love with Schwab’s writing while reading her debut novel, THE NEAR WITCH! You can click on the cover of The Near Witch below to read my review:

Here's the prize up for grabs:

I won’t make anybody jump through hoops for a book giveaway. I don’t think it’s fair…it only frustrates the participants, no? So, here’s how complicated this contest is—LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST BY FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1st, 2013 at 5PM my time (Toronto, Ontario). That’s it and that’s all. Simply leave a comment. I will use to pick a winner. You can only enter once.

The winner will be announced right here on TRY THIS BOOK ON FOR SIZE. The next step…all the winner will have to do is email their mailing address and I'll send them a fresh brand spanking new HARD COVER COPY of VICTORIA SCHWAB’s THE ARCHIVED.

My idiocy is somebody else’s gain. (-: I’m almost finished reading this book, and I can guarantee that the winner is in for an amazing treat! Such a great story, well told!


Good luck!

Now, should you wish to purchase either THE NEAR WITCH or THE ARCHIVED (I highly recommend both books!) please go to the following link:

Victoria Schwab's author page on

Follow Victoria Schwab on Twitter: @veschwab


Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cover Reveal! Cheryl Rainfield's STAINED!

It's cover reveal time!

I'm a big fan of CHERYL RAINFIELD. Her fiction is biting, relevant and true. She covers YA issues like nobody's business, yet she never comes off as preachy. Great stories, great issues, important reads and intuitive intelligent characters.

Today I have the privilege of sharing a cover reveal of Rainfield's next novel, STAINED! 

What is STAINED about?
In this heart-wrenching and suspenseful teen thriller, sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for "normal." Born with a port-wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It’s that—or succumb to a killer.

Sometimes you have to be your own hero.

When will STAINED be released?
Nov 19, 2013

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Here's what Cheryl Rainfield has to say about STAINED:
Like I did with SCARS and HUNTED, I drew on some of my own experiences of bullying, abuse, and trauma to write STAINED and to give it greater emotional depth. Like Sarah in STAINED, I experienced abduction, imprisonment, periods of forced starvation, mind control, and having my life threatened. And like Sarah, I tried hard to fight against my abuser, keep my own sense of self, and escape. I hope readers will see Sarah's strength and courage, and appreciate her emotional growth as she reclaims herself.

Where can you pre-order a copy of STAINED?
Where can you read my reviews of Cheryl Rainfield's previous books?

Where can you watch the book trailer for STAINED?