Sunday, September 30, 2012

Arc Review: Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Author: Elizabeth Richards
Title: Black City
Publication: November 13, 2012
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Rating: 4 out 5


A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war. In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable–they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed–but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

Refreshing and original. 

Ash is a twin blood meaning he has no heartbeat, which is one of things he craves other than Natalie. He fits into neither human nor the Darkling world and desires to someday see the family that the wall keeps him from being with. At a young age his mother left to be with her lover, leaving him with his human father. Ash is an interesting character; he is more than those surrounding him believe. They see him as the Haze drug dealer, the heartless Darkling but Ash is a good bad boy and a preacher's son. Sound good to you yet? Wait there is more.

Natalie is expected to be obedient and follow the rules as the good Emissary daughter that she is.... not. She is rebellious and brave. She was forced to watch her father die at the hands of a sinister enemy and her sister forever deformed from that encounter. Her mother is cold, unfeeling and more concerned about her own political games, whatever they may be. Her behavior towards Natalie is shocking and confusing. She suddenly decides to send Natalie where she becomes drawn to Ash, the one boy she is forbidden to be with and the consequences are death if they are found. But for some reason she can't resist the tug that pulses within her heart whenever Ash is near. Do they risk everything to be together or will the sparks just be stifled flames.

It seems as if the author took a blend of genres and combined them to make this book. You have vampires who have two hearts, their hair moves to seek out available blood and they are being treated horribly by the government. There is no secrecy about their existence. Feels like everything I've read lately has some sort of dystopian aspect and this book is no exception. The government seeks to control the people by making them believe that the Darklings are bad and they should vote for Purian Rose's Law to not integrate the two races. So many things are going on in this book from the romance, pending uproar and the political struggles...

I really like the characters in this book; I think they are well developed. The concept of this work is fascinating and I look forward to what happens in the next installment. I think vampire lovers will find this take on the lore to be interesting. Told from the perspectives of Ash and Natalie, this made for a good read, so check it out! 

*Received this book from Around the World Arc Tours*

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

Author: Lauren Oliver
Title: The Spindlers
Publication: October 2, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: 4 out 5
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite, quite different.

When Liza’s brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.

She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.

To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers’ nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests—or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.

Heartwarming and magical story about sibling love.

Some little girls would love the opportunity to get rid of little pesky brothers that drive them insane but not Liza, she loves her brother Patrick. Sitting across from her with the words,  I HATE YOU! floating in his bowl scares her and she senses something is not right. This thing is not her wild, crazy and fun-loving sibling but an empty cavern occupied by none other than tiny spindler eggs waiting to hatch inside poor Patrick's body. Liza, knowing exactly what she must to do, goes into the basement, broom in hand and finds herself Below. A place where missing things are prizes traded for random goods and colors are quire popular. She partners with an unexpected guide, a rat named Mirabella, who promises to show her the way to the nest of the spindlers. Liza discovers that nothing worthwhile comes easy nor is life fair but she finds the strength she has within and hope in the smallest of places.

I found myself thinking about the movie the Labyrinth as I was reading this. Liza is adorable and I liked her tenacity to succeed in her quest to recover her brother's soul, no matter what happens. I loved how the story taught lessons but not in an overly obvious way(well to a child, maybe). The writing translates seamlessly from the page, which makes it easy to visualize the world that the author has created. My favorite part in the book would have to be the verbal banter between Mirabella and Liza throughout their journey in the Below world. Overall, cute read that shows how great it is seeing the world through the eyes of a child. Oliver has created a vividly colorful world with entertaining characters that I think children will love. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever. 

The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger—a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. 

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Thoughts: Yukiko endures many loses in her life. She travels on this fools quest with her father, who she seems to hate and believes him a coward for following the tyrant ruler Shogun's irrational wishes. There appears to be a strain on their relationship and her father bears a horrible secret that she doesn't know is the reason for his behavior. However in time, when she discovers the deception and lies surrounding the Shogun's rule, Yukiko will come to understand the true price of his loyalty and honor.

The writing is descriptively beautiful. The author has a poetic way of creating the scene and expressing the emotions of the characters. Yukiko strength is subtle in the beginning and I enjoyed watching her change into a warrior. My favorite character would have to be the storm tiger Buruu; he is intelligent, strong and fierce. I think what I loved most was the relationship between him and Yukiko, which makes the story so engaging. I also liked all the intricate details about the different clans and the Shima hierarchy. I found the dynamics of each entity intriguing, which gave fullness to the story. As I was reading this I thought about three particular series: Eon, Eragon and Harry Potter and I think others that have read these books will get why. However, this work stands to be an incredible series and I look forward to more.

Covers: Both are pretty cool and beautiful.

Author: Jay Kristoff
Title: Stormdancer
Publication: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Giveaway:Banned Books Week September 30- October 6th

Being that I am a Librarian, I couldn't pass on this giveaway. So, you can choose any banned or challenged book on this list. As usual, you will have multiple choices. You also can choose a book by an Author that tends to make it on the banned list, a lot. I was going to put why they each were banned but that would have taken too long. Happy picking!


  1. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  2. Forever by Judy Blume
  3. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  6. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
  7. Blubber by Judy Blume
  8. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  9. Burned by Ellen Hopkins
  10. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  11. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  12. Cut by Patricia McCormick
  13. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  14. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  15. The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa
  16. What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
  17. Push by Sapphire
  18. ttfn by Lauren Myracle
  19. Betrayed by P.C. & Kristin Cast
  20. Lush by Natasha Friend
  21. Sandpiper by Ellen Wittlinger
  22. Scars by Cheryl Rainfield 
  23. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
  24. Bone by Jeff Smith
  25. Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar(any one in the series)
  26. Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  27. Stolen Children by Peg Kehret
  28. Jubilee by Margaret Walker

Repeat Offenders(Banned Authors)
Lauren Myracle
Kim Dong Hwa
Chris Crutcher
Carolyn Mackler
Robert Greene
Sonya Sones
Dori Hillestead Butler
Sherman Alexie
Suzanne Collins
Aldous Huxley
Harper Lee
Eric Jerome Dickey
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Dav Pilkey
Cecily von Ziegesar
Judy Blume
Ellen Hopkins
J.K. Rowling
Laurie Halse Anderson
Ann Brashares
Alice Walker
Toni Morrison
Maya Angelou
Isabel Allende
Stephanie Meyer and more...

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Giveaway & Guest Post: Writing Tips with Author Andrew Goodman

A Writer’s Armour – Dealing with rejection

Why a writer needs to accept rejection
The ‘R’ word - such a difficult pill to swallow, yet one which we all have to get used to.
The rarified few who seem to magically attain success without having to make a detour into 'Rejection City' are, on the face of it, the lucky ones. But isn’t it through strength of character, the sheer doggedness of human nature to continue to strive against what appear to be overwhelming odds which makes us better people? It’s said that our destination in life, whatever that may be, is not important – it’s the journey that matters.

Standard form rejection
For a writer that journey of a thousand miles to success often begins with a single form rejection slip - impersonal, uninformative, unhelpful (in regard to your work), but the first in what may be many pieces of your Writer's Armour. And we all need a Writer's Armour - when your spouse is berating you for spending too much time on your 'hobby' and not taking an equal share of the domestic chores, when your friends make light of your unpublished efforts and your pipe-dream of becomming a successful full-time writer, when your boss piles more and more work on your desk - we all need this Armour to help us keep the determination and focus alive to continue writing.
Rejection doesn't always mean that your work is poor - sometimes it will - but it may be as simple as down to timing; a manuscript similar to yours has just been accepted, or the agent/publisher thinks that the particular genre you write in has 'had its day'. Fine. Move on, adapt, overcome. Where would we all be in life if the greats of industry had dgiven up the first time someone rejected their work or ideas? We would probably still be living in dank caves staring in awe at the miracle of fire.

There are anecdotal tales of some writers who post their rejection letters or slips onto the wall of their writing room, and every time they reach a difficult section of their work where they are not sure where to go, they look to those rejection slips and take heart. They are not endorsments which hold them back and belittle their ability, but are beacons of encouragement which drives them forward. JK Rowling - one of the most successful writers of all time - received rejection after rejection before her work was taken on. How do you imagine her family regard her strength and determination now?
Use the rejection slips you may recieve - use them to encourage you to greater heights, to improve your writing, to reach the goal you have set. Then set a new one; higher and more difficult, and look back at those rejections and laugh, thanking them for helping you to become the writer you are.

A Writer’s Armour – Designing a writing plan

Why a writer needs to create a plan of writing
"Fail to plan and you plan to fail" - this simple time-honoured adage sums it all up. For the vast majority of us writing is something we do in our spare time, crammed in between work, family and any other commitments we have, and as such it can easily slide into the realm of procrastination with the cries of 'manyana, manyana!' Most people write because of the love they have for it, but if you make it a chore, then a high percentage will stop. Unfortunately it's human nature to shy away from the things which are hard, and we follow the path of least resistance. Don't turn your writing schedule into a chore.

Joining a writers’ circle/group
Many writers find the blamket of support that many writers’ circles offer helps keep them going forward. Writers’ circles offer constructive feedback and encouragement which has helped many writers continue to improve their writing. Writing is often a lonely business and by being part of a community can help enormously. 

Setting your own writing targets
Whatever form of writing you choose to do you should always have a set plan of goals which you want to reach. If writing a novel is your thing make a plan on how to go about it. Determine that a certain period will be set aside for determining the plot - lets say two weeks, by which time the skeleton of your novel will be done. Then set the goal of writing, say, five hundred words a day, every day. No editing, no re-working. In eight months you'll have one hundred and nineteen thousand words. Fantastic. Now the hard part. Self-editing.
Set a target that for the next fourteen weeks you'll hack and slash your way through the jungle of your first draft manuscript, tightening up the prose, losing some characters who offer nothing to the story, cutting out whole sections of prose which don't push the story forward. Now let's say that after that time - one year from starting the plot plan - you have a second draft manuscript which may, I repeat may, be suitable to send out for submission. But on the other hand it may not. One of the most difficult things to judge accurately as an un-published writer is when stop editing. A new writer can edit their work six, seven, eight times and still not be happy with it. The key is to know when to stop and send it out into the big scary world.
In the above scenario, an author developed a writing plan to have a submission-grade novel writen and finished within one year of starting. But only if the targets that were set were met. How many people each year make a resolution to go to the gym? Some go once or twice, some not at all. Simply making the statement or setting the goal is the easy part, sticking to it is the tough bit. Make the goal achievable by doing small amounts of work on a regular basis.

Submitting your work
For most new writers this is the one most fear-inducing element writing has to offer. Sending your work out into the big scary world, where other people will judge and comment on it, is often a hurdle too many. Bite the bullet, anyway. If you think that your work is as good as it can get, then what do you have to lose except some postage and printing costs?
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you write a novel? One word at a time.

A Writer’s Armour – Creating sub-plot in fiction writing

Why a writer of fiction needs to introduce sub-plot to their story
Fiction writing without any subplot would be about as interesting as a postman who has a letter to deliver then ... delivering it. BORING! It is the side detail of any fictional character's journey which provides the lasting interest in a story. No? Don't believe me? Okay, here's a quick example. Harry Potter finds out about Lord Voldemort in his first year at Hogwarts, they meet that year, fight and Harry finishes him off for good. The end. How interesting is that? Certainly of no interest to Bloomsbury or JK.

Ogre have layers, stories have layers
It is the subplot which not only helps drive the story on but also rounds out the main characters or those connected to them. Some subplots may even sometimes even over shadow the central storyline, which sometimes may not be a bad thing. Let's take the postman idea I brought up earlier to demonstrate. Delivering a letter is not the most exciting thing in the world to read about, but his journey might be. Subplot possibilities may be: who is the letter for? is the letter to be delivered to someone he knows? what does it contain - information or an item? is there anyone who would want the letter to not be delivered? With just those four simple questions about the letter and either what it contains or why is needs to be delivered throw up a whole ream of possible subplots which would make the act of letter delivery a whole lot more interesting. The reader would find out more about the central postman character; is he a good guy or a bad guy? If someone doesn't want the letter delivered is it because it contains details of an illicit affair? Is the affair with the postmans wife?
Subplot helps an author immensely by rounding off characters. It gives depth to a piece of fiction - no one wants to read a two dimensional story and it maintains reader interest. And it is spossibly that last point which is most crucial. Reader interest. If a reader is bored and fed-up with a story early on then they will simply close the book and move on. A good subplot where maybe not everything is black-and-white, where it throws up questions in the reader's mind and makes him or her want to continue reading is just as important to a piece of fiction as the over building blocks: characterisation, plot, pace.

A Writer’s Armour – Correct spelling

Why a writer needs to be able to spell correctly
A writer should not solely rely on their computer spell-checker.

A standard computer operating system spell-check facility will not save those who cannot spell correctly from rejection after rejection. Including ‘there’ instead of ‘their’ or ‘they’re’ will pretty much guarantee a form rejection slip winging its way back to you. Some publishers may forgive or overlook one or two small errors, but most will not, so why take the chance?

How to improve your chances through the ‘Filter Process’
Submission editors are extremely busy people and will look for any excuse to shorten their workload by adopting a ‘Filter Process’. The first step may be simple presentation – old or scruffy paper, or not presented in the particular way they have requested, or large blocks of text which will give the piece a sluggish, heavy feel. Coming soon after will be ‘correct spelling’. If the author has made a number of basic spelling errors on the first page, sometimes even within the opening paragraph, many of the initial submission readers will pass the work to the rejection pile and move on to the next manuscript.

Why would they waste their time reading the first three chapters of a submitted book when the author has made mistakes in the opening page? What optimism or credibility will the reader have in the work if the author cannot be bothered to ensure their story is error free?

The same is not only true for creative writers, but also article writers and journalists, perhaps even more so owing to the tight time-scales which print publishers work to.

The importance of self-editing
Self-editing is one of the most useful skills a writer can have, and perhaps one of the most difficult to learn. A writer can become too close to their work to notice small errors. After going through the second or third re-write the author will know, almost by heart, what has been written and his/her brain will often fill in the blanks or overlook the incorrectly spelled words, because it will tell them what they want, or expect, to read.

One method which will help in overcoming this is by printing the work out and read it from the bottom up, covering each upper line with a piece of paper. Doing this will break the pace and flow of the work and the author will be able to ‘see’ what has actually been written. The small spelling mistakes, the grammar flow errors will be easier to spot and correct.

About the Book
On his sixteenth birthday Daniel Henstock's parents are murdered and he discovers that his life, so far, has been a lie. He's been genetically engineered and those responsible want him back.
To survive Daniel has to run. And run hard. But it was never going to be easy or simple.
When his liberator is captured Daniel returns and puts his life on the line to re-pay the debt.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Guest Post and Review: Ungentle Sleep by B. Lloyd

Author: B. Lloyd
Title: Ungentle Sleep
Publication: August 8, 2012
Publisher: Captive Press
Source: Author

Synopsis from Goodreads

When Aubrey Marchant's engagement to Eleanor Maydew was announced to his friends, he received mixed blessings.
‘The Maydews are a bohemian lot – not many servants, even before the War.’
‘Keen on brown bread and vegetables – don't expect too much in the way of creature comforts.’
‘Brave chap, I am sure you'll find the country air bracing.’
‘And Eleanor comes of good stock, too. Never mind the burst water pipes.’
Aubrey managed to shrug off most of these under a jocular guise. One of his closest friends however, let slip something that would come back to him later.
‘I wouldn't mind the rest of it – only I believe it may be a House of Spirits. Hope you can sleep all right at nights.’
Aubrey laughed at the time. ”

A crowded house party – with more guests on the way. Despite instructions to the contrary, the older part of the house is opened up . . .and something is inadvertently let out, to wreak mild havoc and insanity on the Maydews and their guests. That nasty incident involving Eleanor, followed by unpleasantness over Penny’s dress, and what is it Aubrey can hear, on the outer edge of his dreams? 
Hysteria, missed cocktails, and something nasty in the attic.
Snrrip, snrrip. Snip, snap.

Even the rats run away.

A ghost tale, almost not quite long enough to qualify as a novelette, created in celebration of M.R.James’s 150th anniversary.

Review: The story starts with Arabella being taken to the Queen to become her seamstress in order to assist her brother Thomas in paying his debts but things take a turn when she comes down with a fever and starts sleepwalking. Distraught by the sudden change in Arabella's health, her other brother, Edward decides to bring her home to care for her but one night she just disappears and no one knows why.First, let's say that I would not have stayed in that house after hearing and seeing a ghost. Second, why did they stay in that house as everyone was on edge and completely freaked out by the noises?  This is a well thought out, short and eerie ghost story. The author does a good job of weaving in the past history into the present time, which is set in the 1930s and goes back and forth to the year 1569. So, if you are looking for a short ghost story for Halloween, try this one, you may like it. 

Latest up in the Haunted House Tour: A Hallowe’en Party .Set in another haunted place, admittedly a little early in gothic literature, but still a favourite in ghostly legend. Imagine if you will, a clear, moon-lit night :  

‘Oooh, me back’
‘Tell me about it,’
‘All right – it starts right at the base, works its way up, then – cric-crac!’
‘Uh, look, Ted, when I say, tell me about it – I actually mean, don’t tell me about it. All right ?’
‘’S something called a colloquialism,’
‘Oh yeh, heard about those. Like a bloke turning up at a party with his head on back to front.’
‘Um, I think that sounds more like an aberration, actually.’
‘Well, stuck out like a fish out of water, didn’t he ?’
‘Surrealism, that’s what you’re thinking of . . .’
‘You done yet ?’
‘Wait a bit.’ Grunt, grunt, grunt. Clomp, clomp goes the spade in the damp, clay soil.
‘’Ere, ’ere, look what I found – ’
‘Oh no,  put it away will you ?’
‘No, look, hang on, hang on – how does it go again ? Alas, poor Yorick !’
‘For goodness sake, put it down, Ted, will you ? Stop giving me nightmares.’
‘Gah.’ Soft plump as solid comes in contact with soft. Short pause. ‘You do remember though, that day ?’
‘Which one ? There have been so many.’
‘We’d been busy right on this side, near the castle wall – and He walked up to us, in all His tomfool finery, with that broken feather in His hat – surely you remember ?’
‘Oh aye, that day. Yes, I do now.’
‘And He picked – that up – and turned it round and round in his hands  . . .and He said . . ‘
‘Yeh, yeh, all right, spare us the dramatics. Stop standing like that, you’ll topple over.’
‘I will not. This is just how he did it, see – picked it up, and stood just like this – ’
‘Don’t do the laugh – I said, don’t do the laugh . . ‘
‘-mwah HAH! And he said, right where I’m standing now –’
‘Alas,poor Yorick, ’
‘-I knew him well . . .’
‘Actually, I think he was standing over there  . .’
‘What ? You’re kidding me ! It was right here !’
‘Wasn’t. It was just where that leaning tombstone is – that one  with the drunken looking griffin on the top.’
‘And you might as well stop standing like that. It’s not anything like him.’
‘It is, I’m telling you – he always stood like that !’
‘I think if you recall, he was well-covered in opulent velvets and silks, - it does help to lend an air of majesty. You meanwhile just look ridiculous.’
‘Plus the fact he was at least well-nourished. I mean, look at you – nowt but rags and bone, as they say.’
‘Speak for yourself’
‘All right – the pair of us.’

Scrabble, scrabble comes from under their feet, followed by a gentle tapping.
‘You see – while we’re standing here arguing, poor old Frank’s still trying to get out, now come along, get hold of his arm, I’ll take the other one . . . All right then, Frank, up you get, one two . . .  three! . . There, how are you, old son?’
‘Oooh, me back,’ begins Frank.
‘Oh no, don’t you start as well.This is meant to be a a party, remember ? Now, where are the bottles ?’
‘Took me a while to get to the cellar. A year is a long time, I nearly forgot the way. Here you are.’
‘Right, let’s be off.’
Click click, clack clack go the bony feet across the marble tombs, swish swish swish over the wet grass, then cric, crac,cric, crac on the gravel laid pathway leading out of the castle grounds into the countryside. Three skeletal shadows holding cobwebby bottles are ready to enjoy an evening’s entertainment.

So don’t worry if you hear unexpected tapping at the door; it’ll just be the boys from the graveyard, offering to share a drink or two. Amongst other things . . .

No points for guessing who the boys from the graveyard are chatting about – but can you remember the name of the place he lived in ? If not (and before you go looking it up!) here is an anagram to jog the old memory cells : Orcs steal eel in …
Happy puzzling !

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

Author:Jeanne Ryan
Title: Nerve
Publication: September 13, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books
Rating: 5 out 5
Format: Arc
Source: Around the World ARC Tours


A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it's exhilarating--Vee and Ian's fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they're directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they're playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?

Thoughts:Sick and Twisted. Seriously it's reality show gone bad. Vee has decided to be daring and unpredictable as no one would've have expected her to join the game. At first she enjoys the thrill and the cool prizes don't hurt either. Plus, she gets the added bonus of hot teammate, Ian to sweeten the deal. Yet, how much of this is just a game and how much more of it is a crazy sadistic game orchestrated by some unknown weirdo’s that know her every move. 

Vee appears to be a timid, shy girl that lives in the background of her world. She pines for the leading man Matthew in the school play, which she works on as the make-up artist. The closing night she gets heartbroken when she the kiss between her best friend Syd and Matthew lasts much longer than it should onstage and it changes everything for Vee. She becomes someone even she doesn't know and takes big risks that are so out of her character.  

Now, personally I would have been much more skeptical than Vee about how these people know so much personal information. This makes me want to close down my Facebook page, grief. What I love about this book is Vee's growth; she becomes stronger and more confident in herself. The writing conveys the emotions of the characters deliciously. I liked the mystery and the intrigue of who are these Nerve people controlling this game and what do they get out it all. Some, well most of the activities that happen in this book are freaking creepy and scary...just plain wrong on so many levels. The Watchers of the game are as delusional and naive as the players who may come to realize too late that it is more than just a game. Nerve is edge of your seat good, and I hope there is more.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lullaby by Amanda Hocking

Author:Amanda Hocking
Title: Lullaby
Series: Watersong #2
Publication: November 27, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5 out 5
Format: Arc
Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Harper only wanted a safe, normal life. But when her younger sister Gemma runs off with a dangerous clique of beautiful girls, Penn, Thea, and Lexi, everything changes. Vowing to get her sister back no matter what the cost, Harper must face dangers unlike any she's ever experienced. Fortunately, she has Daniel by her side, a gorgeous guy who's devoted to helping her find her sister—and who's immune to the girls' dark powers. 

While Harper searches for her sister, Gemma struggles to adjust to her new life. Gemma's powers are growing by the day, and the longer she lives with her new "sisters," the harder it is to resist entering their magical world. It's a realm both dark and beautiful, and where she's plagued by strange hungers and unspeakable needs. Just as she's drifting far away from her old life, Harper and Daniel find her...but no one can deny how much she's changed. All she wants is to return to her family and the mortal world, but how can she do that when she's become something else entirely—and will they still love her once they learn the truth?

Prepare to fall under the spell of Lullaby, the second book in the Watersong series from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

Thoughts:She's stronger, more beautiful and she can turn into a mermaid. What more could Gemma want? Her life back, her family and to not become a monster like Penn. Gemma is doing her best to fight the change, now that she is a Siren. She refuses to kill anyone just for her survival and no matter how strong the ocean's call, she feels she doesn't deserve even that perk...well until her hair starts falling out. 

Harper's love for Gemma is strong; she has practically raised her as her own. She vows that no matter what, she will get her sister back and find a way to reverse the curse. She's teamed up with Daniel, the hot boat guy and Gemma’s boyfriend Alex. Sadly, every piece of information they find leads them no closer to finding Gemma nor a way to fix the curse. Harper also has to come to terms with how she feels about Daniel and whether she is willing to give herself that chance at love. 

I liked this one more than the first mostly because I was able to connect with Harper and Daniel. I think the heat between them is magnetic. Hocking's writing is good with a quick pace to the plot, so it didn't really drag on. This series is the first I've read by Hocking and think it's an interesting concept. Mythology was my favorite subject in school, so I love stories that put a new spin on them. I'm intrigued to see how Hocking will explain the mystery surrounding the boys of Capri. Overall, good read.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Update: Giveaway & Review: 2:32 A.M. by Emily Ford

Author: Emily Ford
Title: 2:32 AM
Publication: February 8, 2012
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc
Rating:3 out of 5
Source: Tour via Netgalley

Thoughts:What would you do if one night, while you were asleep, you were suddenly awakened by a strange man sitting at your bedside? Freak out! Well this is exactly what happens to Cat Townsend, a year before her 18th birthday, she learns that this man, Finnegan, has chosen her as his successor, so that he may move on to the afterlife. Cat appears skeptical at first and questions everything, a lot and quite repetitively. She is young and in love with her sweet heart Todd, but this secret she has to keep wears on her relationship, which is already strained from the pending separation as her boyfriend is leaving for football camp in the summer. Though she loves Todd, she can't help feeling drawn this mysterious boy in dreams that she just knows deep down is real and suddenly she comes face to face with him, a gorgeous stud named Rolf. Cat learns that he is a part of the destiny that Finnegan told her about. She attempts to fight the chemistry she feels for Rolf, but becomes difficult to resist. Struggling to find the balance between love and destiny, Cat must not only decide to embrace the task given to her but also choose between these two boys. Will it be Todd or Rolf?

This book was an okay read for me. It started off a little slow but towards the middle it picked up a tad. The characters are alright, I think I connected to Finnegan and Rolf more than I did Cat or Todd. I found Todd to be too intense because it seems he was putting a tremendous amount of pressure on Cat to have sex with him and this is partially why I'm a Rolf fan. Why Rolf? He has waited for her for 17 years and if she asked him to do so, he seems like the type to honor her wish of waiting until she is ready. Now this is a clean read and no sex goes down. There is action, romance and magic in this one, so if you are looking for a change from the usual, check this out.

A Chat with Cat Townsend
What did you dream your future would be like before the magic? How do you feel about the changes in your life?
That’s easy!  Like all my friends, I pictured myself going to College somewhere, and majoring in Psychology.  I’m not sure I knew exactly where that would lead, but I’ve always known I would work with kids.  But now with magic I’m a little unsure of my future. 
Do you believe in love at first sight? Or do you feel that it should happen gradually over time?
Me?  I’m a firm believer in love at first sight.  After all, I fell in love with Todd when I was, I think, six maybe.  And even though we moved apart for a time, the second I saw him again, whoa, there it was all over again.  I guess when it’s right, it’s right.  I’m a big believer in fate.
Is there anyone special in your life right now? Tell us about him?
Haha, you’re kidding right?  I’m totally in love with Rolf!!  But, I’ll never get over Todd.  That may not be completely over either…
What is your biggest fear?
That’s a toss up.  I’m afraid of magic, my future, the unknown, my shadow….
My life scares me right now.
Favorite color? candy? holiday? hideout?
Yellow.  Candy Corn.  Halloween.  The Tennis Court.
Did you believe in magic?
No!  No one does. Magic only exists in fairy tales, right?
You are granted three wishes, what do you wish for?
That, I can’t tell you.  The first thing Finnegan taught me about magic was how private a thing it is. Only when you use it does it become public.  

Click here to read an Excerpt from 2:32 A.M.

Debut novelist Emily Ford has always been a storyteller. As a kid at summer camp in Maine, she’d make up ghost stories at bedtime for her fellow bunkmates.

Her Djinn Master’s Legacy trilogy also began as a simple bedtime story, intended for Ford’s then adolescent children to have in writing and use to tell their own kids one day. By the time she finished writing, she had three very full books.

2:32 a.m., Ford’s first installment of her young adult series, caught early readers’ attention as a fiction book minus the typical vampire and werewolf characters.

The Texas writer interned each summer with KHOU-TV in Houston while gaining her bachelor’s degree in radio and television at The University of Arizona. She worked on the copy desk at The Dallas Morning News, and eventually started the marketing company KapsMark, Inc.

Cover Reveal: Abandon by Elana Johnson

Very pretty! Thanks to ATOMR for allowing me to participate in this reveal.
Book description: 

seduced by power,
broken by control,
and consumed by love...

Vi has made her choice between Jag and Zenn, and the Resistance may have suffered for it. But with the Thinkers as strong as ever, the rebels still have a job to do. Vi knows better than anyone that there's more at stake than a few broken hearts. 

But there is a traitor among them...and the choices he makes could lead to the total destruction of everything Vi has fought for.

Vi, Jag, and Zenn must set their problems aside for the Resistance to have any hope of ending the Thinkers' reign. Their success means everything...and their failure means death.

ALSO: Elana is running a Pinterest contest for the cover. She wants to get 500 pins (or repins) over the next two days. If we can get that many, she'll pick someone who pinned the cover to win a $50 Amazon gift card.  It's so easy to do this. All you have to do is click this PIN IT button and select one of your boards to pin the cover to. Elana has done everything else! Don't have a Pinterest board yet? Put it on your Tumblr page. Your Facebook page. Your twitter stream. Elana will count those too! Just be sure to tag her (@ElanaJ on twitter, Possession by Elana Johnson on Facebook).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Sweetness by Lindsay Paige

Author: Lindsay Paige
Title: Sweetness
Publication: November 11, 2011
Publisher: Createspace
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Source: Author

Emily wished she was invisible. But after moving to a new town with her dad, a charming boy makes it impossible for her to disappear. Despite her feelings of unworthiness, Emily soon finds herself drawn to the safety of Jake's world.

Good looking and the star of the hockey team, Jake has a lot going for him. What most people don't see is the difficult life he has at home. When quiet Emily steals his heart, Jake vows to help her discover she is worthy of love. 

Just when the two of them realize the sweetness of their relationship, they are put to the test. Only together can they overcome their haunted pasts to fight for a future together.

Thoughts: This story will tug at your heart. The chemistry between Emily and Jake develops beautifully throughout the story. It is nice to see Emily gradually become more open to how Jake feels for her and in a way it helps her become more receptive to how she feels. The story begins with Emily's mother verbally abusing her and making her believe that she is the reason her father left. In addition to that, she is submitted to physical abuse that her mother allows to be done to her. Thankfully, her father gets her out of that situation but the emotional damage simmers inside Emily. 

Emily finds a kindred spirit in Jake, who also has to deal with the emotional strain that he could have saved his mother. According to his father, who tends to see the world from the bottom of a bottle, Jake carries the burden of her death. Jake, also takes on the responsibility to see after his little brother, who needs some stability, that at the moment their father appears incapable of giving. It amazes and infuriates me when I think about what these two go through with their parents. It's just not right.

Can Emily and Jake find peace in the midst of all the chaos in their lives? Maybe. I really like this one. I think the characters are well developed and the emotional depth is great. The writing is good and the story flows smoothly. Overall, a touching story about overcoming fears, family and love.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wake by Amanda Hocking

Author:Amanda Hocking
Title: Wake
Series: Watersong #1
Publication: August 7, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3 out 5
Source: Own


Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs.  She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door.  He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back.  Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever.  She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove.  They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price.  And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

Gemma is an ambitious teenager with high hopes of someday making it to the Olympics. She is a very talented swimmer, and spends just about every moment she can in the water. Harper, her older sister has looked after Gemma since the car accident that took their mother's memory. So, she worries about her and the late night swims in the bay, as she is the one that has raised her, along with their father. Gemma, doesn't see it that way, she wishes her sister could understand the peace and serenity that she feels when she is out in the water under the stars. Well, Harper's worry is valid because Gemma's affinity for late night swims draws the attention of the three mysterious ladies that seem to pop up unexpectedly around Gemma. Then one night they convince her to do something that changes her life, forever and puts her family in danger. 

This book is okay. The writing is well done and I liked the quick pace of the plot. I'm just not one hundred percent connected to the characters. The mythological aspect of it is pretty cool and I'm wondering how everything will pan out in the end. I look forward to the next book in the series. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Promo:Giveaway for Rebel Princess by Anne M. Strick

Date to be Published: September 14, 2010

An insider's first-ever behind-the-scenes scoop on how movies are REALLY made: gritty,  grinding, tunnel-vision labor, back-stage intrigue, explosive dramas, parties, and relationships that last a night or a lifetime. Larger-than-life characters who live life with fervor, and contend with their own inner demons and one another, all in the pressure cooker of a location shoot in the exotic world of Mexico.  This romp of a story  follows 
the making of a movie from pre-production through wrap.  A hotly passionate love story elevate the stakes.
Complete with sex,  suspense and a possible murder.

About the Author Anne M.Strick has spent over twenty years in the movie industry. She has worked for Universal, Warners, Paramount and EMI, as a Unit Publicist, Project Coordinator and National Publicity Director,  and  with such Hollywood legends as Jack Nicholson, James Earl Jones, Sean Penn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Lynch, Sting and Dino De Laurentiis, among many others.  She has published theater reviews, articles in Parents Magazine , Frontier and The Nation, and six books: two novels, two self-help books, one memoir (a best-seller in Italy); and a non-fiction, scholarly critique of our adversary trial system. (”remarkable”) . Born in Philadelphia, and educated at Bennington College and UCLA, she lives in Los Angeles.
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: A Gift for My Sister by Ann Pearlman

Author: Ann Pearlman
Title: A Gift for My Sister
Publication: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Atria
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: 3 out 5
Source: Author

Ann Pearlman's The Christmas Cookie Club enthralled readers everywhere with a heartwarming and touching story about the power of female friendship. Now, in A Gift for My Sister, she once again explores the depth of the human heart, and this time it’s through the eyes of two sisters. Tara and Sky share a mother, but aside from that they seem to differ in almost every way. When a series of tragedies strikes, they must somehow come together in the face of heartbreak, dashed hopes, and demons of the past. The journey they embark on forces each woman to take a walk in the other’s shoes and examine what sisterhood really means to them. It’s a long road to understanding, and everyone who knows them hopes these two sisters can find a way back to each other.

Thoughts: I liked this story, I don't have any sisters but I can understand the sibling rivalry. Tara and Sky both assume that their mother gives more attention to the other. Tara, the wild child has always forged her own way and no matter what happens to her she is able to make "lemonade" out her situation. Sky is more of a planner, she is detailed about her life should be. She just doesn't understand why life is as cruel and unfair to her as she does everything right. She lost her father at young age and it was always just her and her mother. Things change when her mother decides to re-marry and then she gives birth to, Tara. Thus, the resentment begins. 

I liked the journey that the sisters take to get to each other. It was sad to read how Sky felt about Tara. At one point Tara tells her she loves her but she doesn't say it back. I felt so bad for Tara because wants that love from her sister and she just give the stink eye. Okay, so it's not all sour, they each discover something about themselves. Tara, has a fear of commitment, she feels because her father left her mom, that the same will happen with her relationship with her boyfriend Aaron. She feels that either he will leave her or she will leave him. Sky, suffers so much loss in life that it is no wonder she is so angry. She just needs to learn that life is more than the good but it's how you handle the bad that makes it worthwhile. Both girls must learn a valuable life lesson...things are not always what they seem but once you see how the other side lives, now that is clarity, which leads to love and understanding. The author has done an good job of creating the emotion in this story and this is what I really liked about this book. Overall, a great story about family, sisterhood, loss and most especially, love.

Side Note: At the end of the book, there are recipes of some of things the characters cooked and I really liked this. 
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