Saturday, December 18, 2010

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Entice (Need, #3) by Carrie Jones

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (December 14, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1599905531
ISBN-13: 978-1599905532

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that's not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned. She's Astley's queen.
 
Review:

Coming to terms with her new self is not something Zara is quite ready for, something that is shown repeatedly as she looks to her friends for comfort and reassurance. Being a pixie does have it's perks, she can't deny herself that. But after finding her friends time after time questioning her judgement and her sense of self, Zara still has her doubts as to if the transformation was the right answer after all. Entice has a dual duty when the theme is put into question: to save Nick--determination, and for Zara to blend being a pixie queen with her everyday life--acceptance. There's also a bigger power at work in her small town that must be dealt with in order to bring back Nick, their ultimate warrior against the ensuing battle. Will Zara succeed with Astley's help to find Nick in the mystical Valhalla? And Zara's most dreaded notion, will he choose to come back at all?

After reading Entice, you can vividly see that Zara is still the Amnesty girl who wants to save the world and have as much help as possible couldn't hurt. Astley is one of my favorite characters in Entice; if not my very favorite. He has his past and background hidden around him like a mysterious cloak, but his kindness toward Zara, his new queen, is undeniable and quite heart-warming. Dare I say, he looks after her and cares for her quite a bit more than rugged Nick ever did. I hope to see more of them as couple throughout later books if possible. Zara needs him repeatedly throughout Entice; and he's always there. They work together trying to find where Valhalla lies and for the return of Nick. The fluidity of Entice and how it flows as an installment in the Need series is put to the test when Jones throws in the difficult obstacles the characters must work through. I was anxious at first to see how their personality and loyalty to each other was tested and for some it did prove to be too much, but for others it started a revelation that showed their true colors as characters and supporters in Zara's story. The sacrifices made for Zara's benefit in gaining purchase on the Valhalla trail were crucial and cost dearly. That actually almost broke the spirits of some of the characters most loyal to Zara, but I loved seeing how they were real people who had action views on Zara's transformation and all the changes that came along with it.

I thought that Entice ended on a good note that will serve to intrigue readers into the further challenges ahead for Zara and her crew. Some rough spots were unanswered and I look forward to seeing if they will be resolved.

And of course, if you couldn't tell before, I'm Team ASTELY.

Grade: B
This ARC was sent by Bloomsbury for my uninfluenced review.

Other exciting Need series news...Check out the links below to answer polls, be a fan on Facebook and watch the trailer!

Poll on Team Nick or Team Astley: http://www.facebook.com/NeedPixies?v=app_138079047824
Be a Fan on Need Series' Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NeedPixies





Giveaway:

To enter to win your own finished copy of Entice by Carrie Jones and some new Need/Drake Chronicles bookmarks, just fill out the form below!
Giveaway ends January 2nd and only US participants may enter.


Giveaway is now closed.


LiLi

Friday, December 3, 2010

Captivate (Need, #2) by Carrie Jones


Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (January 5, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1599903423
ISBN-13: 978-1599903422

Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

Warning!
THIS REVIEW DOES HAVE SOME SPOILERS THAT OCCUR IN NEED, BOOK 1.

Review:

It's only after Zara saves a pixie king that things really start to get chaotic around Bedford, Maine. When she trapped her father, she originally thought that that was only the beginning when it came to dealing with the crazy pixies trying to take over her small, winter town. However, what she doesn't expect is for this pixie king to be nice to her. What's up with that? See, when Zara came to this pixie king's rescue, she encountered another untrustworthy creature that's recruiting for a war that's said to happen very soon. When bits of mythology and history of Norse gods come to life, Zara must try to do whatever it takes to protect her family and friends. In Captivate, Book 2 of the Need series, she will have to sacrifice more than ever before.

After I read Need I knew ultimately that I would go on to read the next book in this series because I felt the war that was brewing in Bedford. I liked many things about Captivate; mostly has to do with the trickling off of events that happens after the rescue in the first scene of the book. That definitely had me grasping for more, so much so that the first time I read Captivate I ended more skimming the end than actually reading it thoroughly--something I got to yesterday for the first time. Now that Entice, Book 3, is coming out, I thought I'd review Captivate now, since in a couple of days I'll be posting my review for Book 3 too.
Anyway, when Astley--the new pixie king--and Zara encounter each other numerous times before the great ending, you can definitely feel the tension between them. That, inevitably, creates tension between Zara and Nick. I really loved the similarities in personalities between the couple throughout the book and they definitely have their faults as well. However, I found some minor glitches that I couldn't get over while reading Captivate. Zara's behavior is more and more erratic closer to the ending and it's understandable but her mood swings are a little dizzying. She often finds that she's contradicting her own thoughts after she has them; and the Weres lack of trust in pixies creates a huge rift in the scheme of things. In the end, Zara and Nick really do love each other, and in the end, that's what's put to the test the most. Zara finds herself having to confront something she made up her mind on long ago. Her perseverance to see the people she loves safe is what I find the most admirable of all. Let's just say that if you liked, loved, Need then you will be dumbfounded about Captivate.

Grade: B-

This ARC was sent to me by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books for my uninfluenced review.

LiLi



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Minder by Kate Kaynak


Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (June 18, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0984531106
ISBN-13: 978-0984531103

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn is special, but she needs to figure out how to use her new abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place. Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control. A stray thought can burn a building to the ground. And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey--especially once she meets the man of her dreams...

Review:

Living a dull life, Maddie is all but eager to get away from her know-nothing town in New Jersey; and from the devastating attack that haunts her, even though her attackers are dead. When she finds out about her dormant abilities, she slowly gets adjusted to the idea of being able to read everybody's thoughts; and even project some of her own. However, the latter seems to be an unconscious, distressing ability during her nightmares and the flashbacks to the attack. Who but the ultimately unique telekinetic would be able to calm Maddie's minder mind? After Maddie and Trevor form a bond that's rare, even among the G-positives--the people with the cool powers--they're connection is put to the test as the book builds up to it's major action scene. (And I say major because there's more than one action scene in Minder!)

Unprepared but nervously excited were just a few of the stirrings in me when I started reading Minder, and now all I can say is...I wish I'd heard about it sooner. Starting from the top and working my way to the end I had nothing but smiles and laughs for the feisty Maddie and her adorable Trevor; not to mention the other G-positives. See, that's what really did me in on this one. Since I have a psychology class, I could actually follow what the genetic aspects of the powers that the G-positives have in their system. I could even understand the terminology. That's when I thought that I would really enjoy this book. What some other YA novels try to grasp in their heroine protagonists can't hold their flame to Maddie's wild fiery. She's, I guess you could say, someone to be reckoned with if you know what I mean; not only does that quality make her realistic but also that's she's a genuinely protective person.

Minder's also had an unsubtle approach to some volatile scenes. I admired Kaynak's forthrightness when it came to some imagery that involved detailed morbid graphics. I really hope to read more of that around this genre. With this book specifically I only had minor disappointments--like the G-positives could have had more of an intricate background story and the relationship between Maddie and Dr. Williamson as a parental figure further explored--but overall I was fairly stunned and satisfied with this book; and I cannot possibly wait to get my hands on the sequel, Adversary.

Grade: B+/A-

LiLi

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Winner: Blue Blood Series Giveaway

Factoids: 44 entries, 31 entrants. Now for the winner....

Entry: 23, Entrant: 20

Wilda85

Congrats!! I will contact you shortly via email and you will have 72 hours to reply with the address you'd like your prize sent to.
Thanks to all that participated in this giveaway, and for the enthusiasm shown throughout. :)

LiLi

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Giveaway: Blue Blood Series by Melissa De la Cruz

Giveaway now closed!

Blue Bloods, Book 1
PB

Schuyler Van Alen is confused about what is happening to her. Her veins are starting to turn blue, and she's starting to crave raw meat. Soon, her world is thrust into an intricate maze of secret societies and bitter intrigue. Schuyler has never been a part of the trendy crowd at her prestigious New York private school. Now, all of a sudden, Jack Force, the most popular guy in school, is showing an interest in her. And when one of the popular girls is found dead, Schuyler and Jack are determined to get to the bottom of it. Schuyler wants to find out the secrets of the mysterious Blue Bloods. But is she putting herself in danger? Melissa de la Cruz's vampire mythology, set against the glitzy backdrop of New York City, is a juicy and intoxicating read.


PB

Schuyler Van Alen wants an explanation for the mysterious deaths of young vampires. With her best friend, Oliver, Schuyler travels to Italy in the hope of finding the one man who can help?her grandfather. Meanwhile, back in New York, preparations are feverishly underway for the Four Hundred Ball, an exclusive gala hosted by the city's wealthy, powerful, and unhuman?a true Blue Blood affair. But it's at the after-party, a masquerade ball thrown by the cunning Mimi Force, that the real danger lurks. Hidden behind the masks is a revelation that will forever change the course of a young vampire's destiny. Rich with glamour, attitude, and vampire lore, this second installment in the Blue Bloods saga will leave readers thirsting for more.


HB


Have you ever wondered what secrets lurk behind the closed doors of New York City's wealthiest families? They're powerful, they're famous ... they're undead. Schuyler Van Alen's blood legacy has just been called into question - is the young vampire in fact a Blue Blood, or is it the sinister Silver Blood that runs through her veins? As controversy swirls, Schuyler is left stranded in the Force household, trapped under the same roof as her cunning nemesis, Mimi Force, and her forbidden crush, Jack Force. When one of the Gates of Hell is breached by Silver Bloods in Rio de Janeiro, however, the Blue Bloods will need Schuyler on their side. The stakes are high; the battle is bloody; and through it all, Carnavale rages on. And in the end, one vampire's secret identity will be exposed in a revelation that shocks everyone.


HB

With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss's true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival. Not to worry, love is still in the air for the young vampires of the Upper East Side. Or is it? Jack and Schuyler are over. Oliver's brokenhearted. And only the cunning Mimi seems to be happily engaged. Young, fanged, and fabulous, Melissa de la Cruz's vampires unite in this highly anticipated fourth installment of the Blue Bloods series.


To win the fabulous books above, this is all you have to do:
  • Be a follower!
  • Fill out the form below before Thanksgiving, November 25. That means this giveaway is only open for 2 weeks.
  • Be a resident of the US!
One winner takes all! Thanks for entering!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mini-Interview with Johnathan Maberry

Just to introduce Mr. Maberry and his insurmountable accomplishments...

JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. His books have been sold to more than a dozen countries.

His novels include the Pine Deep Trilogy: GHOST ROAD BLUES (Pinnacle books; winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel in 2006), DEAD MAN’S SONG (2007) and BAD MOON RISING (2008); the Joe Ledger series of action thrillers from St. Martin’s Griffin: PATIENT ZERO (2009, which was nominated for a Bram Stoker Best Novel Award and is in development for TV by Sony Entertainment), THE DRAGON FACTORY (2010; now available), THE KING OF PLAGUES (March 2011), THE OTHERS (March 2012), VISITORS (2013); THE WOLFMAN (NY Times bestseller from Tor, based on the Universal Pictures film starring Benecio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Sir Anthony Hopkins); the Benny Imura series of Young Adult dystopian zombie thrillers from Simon & Schuster: ROT & RUIN (Sept 2010) and DUST & DECAY (2011); and the forthcoming standalone zombie thriller DEAD OF NIGHT (Summer 2011)

His nonfiction works include: VAMPIRE UNIVERSE (Citadel Press, 2006), THE CRYPTOPEDIA (Citadel, 2007 –winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction; co-authored by David F. Kramer), ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead (Winner of the Hinzman and Black Quill Awards and nominated for a Stoker Award; 2008), THEY BITE! (2009 co-authored by David F. Kramer), WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE (2010 co-authored by Janice Gable Bashman), and THE VAMPIRE SLAYERS FIELD GUIDE TO THE UNDEAD (2001, written under the pen name of Shane MacDougall).

He writes a variety of projects for Marvel Comics involving CAPTAIN AMERICA, BLACK PANTHER, DOOMWAR, WOLVERINE, DEADPOOL, THE X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR, the NY Times bestselling MARVEL ZOMBIES RETURN, and THE MARVEL UNIVERSE vs THE PUNISHER. All of Jonathan’s comic book collections are released as Graphic Novel collections within a month or two of individual comic publication.

Recent short stories include “Pegleg and Paddy Save the World” (HISTORY IS DEAD, Permuted Press 2007), “Doctor Nine” (KILLERS, Swimming Kangaroo Press, 2008; and reprinted in THE STORIES (in) BETWEEN Edited by Greg Schauer, Jeanne B. Benzel, and W.H. Horner. Fantasist Enterprises, 2009), “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Greenbrier Ghost” (LEGENDS OF THE MOUNTAIN STATE 2, Bloodletting Books, 2008), “Clean Sweeps” (AND SO IT BEGINS, Dark Quest Books, 2008), “Family Business” (THE NEW DEAD, St. Martin’s Press, 2010), “Like Part of the Family” (NEW BLOOD edited by Patrick Thomas and Diane Raetz, Padwolf Press, 2010)), and “Zero Tolerance” (THE LIVING DEAD 2, Night Shade Books). Jonathan also created several Joe Ledger short stories for the Internet: “Countdown” and “Deep, Dark”, available through his website.

Jonathan is the co-creator (with Laura Schrock) of ON THE SLAB, an entertainment news show in development by Stage 9 for ABC Disney / Stage 9. He was also a ‘blog correspondent’ on Sony’s zombie-themed web show ‘WOKE UP DEAD’; and a recurring character on Laura Schrock’s ‘IT’S TODD’S SHOW’.

Jonathan’s Big Scary Blog (www.jonathanmaberry.com) focuses on the publishing industry. Jonathan’s interviews include Sandra Brown, Gayle Lynds, Alafair Burke, Charlaine Harris, James Rollins, Harlan Coben, Jeff Abbott, John Saul, Jonathan Kellerman, Barry Eisler, CJ Box, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jack Ketchum, Tom Piccarilli, Dale Brown, Kevin J. Anderson, Joe Lansdale, Peter Straub, Ramsey Campbell, Carrie Ryan, and many other best-selling authors.

Jonathan is a Contributing Editor for The Big Thrill (the newsletter of the International Thriller Writers), and is a member of SFWA, IAMTW, MWA, SCBWI, SFWA and HWA. He is a frequent guest at genre cons, writers conferences and publishing industry events, including ThrillerFest, San Diego Comic Con, Sisters in Crime, BackSpace, PennWriters, Dragon*Con, PhilCon, Horror-Realm, Boucher Con, HorrorFind, Monster Mania, New York Comic Con, Philadelphia Writers Conference, Balticon, The Write Stuff, Hypericon, Hypericon, KillerCon, NAIBA, LunaCon, and many others.

Jonathan was the Executive Director of the Writers Room of Bucks County (2005-06) and co-owner of the Writers Corner USA (2006-2009). Jonathan regularly visits local middle schools, high schools and colleges to talk about books, reading, publishing and the writing life.

Jonathan is a founding member of The Liars Club, a group of networking publishing professionals that includes celebrated authors L. A. Banks, Merry Jones, Gregory Frost, Jon McGoran, Ed Pettit, Dennis Tafoya, Keith Strunk, Don Lafferty, Kelly Simmons, Marie Lamba, Solomon Jones, Sara Shepard, William Lashner, and Laura Schrock. The Liars Club works to support booksellers, raise awareness and support for public libraries, and cultivate a joy of reading and books.

On the last Sunday of every month Jonathan hosts the Writers Coffeehouse, a free three-hour open-agenda networking and discussion session for writers of all genres and levels of skill. The event is held at the Barnes & Noble in Willow Grove Pennsylvania.

Jonathan has been a popular writing teacher and career counselor for writers for the last two decades. He teaches a highly regard series of classes and workshops including Write Your Novel in Nine Months, Revise & Sell, Experimental Writing for Teens, and others. Many of his students have gone on to publish in short and novel-length fiction, magazine feature writing, nonfiction books, TV, film, and comics.

In 2004 Jonathan was inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame largely because of his extensive writings in that field. His martial arts books include Self-Defense for Every Woman (Vortex Multimedia, 1985); Introduction to Asian Martial Arts (Vortex Multimedia, 1986); The Self-Defense Instructor’s Handbook (Vortex Multimedia, 1990); Judo and You (Kendall Hunt, 1991); Ultimate Jujutsu Principles and Practices (Strider Nolan, 2002); The Martial Arts Student Logbook (Strider Nolan, 2002); Ultimate Sparring Principles and Practices (Strider Nolan, 2003).

Visit his website at www.jonathanmaberry.com or find him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GoodReads, Library Thing, Shefari and Plaxo.


Obviously, John is a very busy man. I'm glad he could be here today to share his view on all things zombie.


CR: What is it about zombies that has you the most intrigued? Why?

JONATHAN MABERRY: Well, there are two reasons I dig my life-impaired fellow citizens. First, from a fan point of view, they scare the bejeezus out of me. I’m a pretty tough hombre –a former bodyguard, an 8th degree black belt with nearly fifty years in jujitsu—so I figure I’d do okay against a vampire and maybe even a werewolf (yes, I have spent way too much time thinking these things through). But zombies come at you in waves. Even with a sword or a gun, you’re eventually going to get tired (and they won’t) or you’re going to run out of ammo (and they can’t). That’s scary.
From a writer’s point of view, however, zombies offer an unlimited storytelling potential. The best zombie stories are NOT about the zombies. From the beginning of the genre (with George A. Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), zombies have been symbolic stand-ins for those things that frighten us. Personally and on a cultural level. They are the ‘BIG CRISIS’ that everyone in the story has to deal with, and which impacts every life, every action. This could be fear of a pandemic, racism, ethnic cleansing, rampant consumerism, the loss of identity in a busy world, fear of invasion, and so on.
Once introduced, the story then becomes about how people deal with this massive shared crisis…and that’s the basis for all drama. People in crisis. Stress and tension warp personalities; it causes personality traits to change so that our true selves emerge. A person who has always been timid may discover that in a time of crisis he is a natural leader. A tough jock-type might discover that his courage is only skin deep. And so on.
This gives a writer the chance to tell any kind of story he wants to tell, and that story will be character driven…which is the best kind of story. There needs to be action, of course, but action does haven’t enough meat to sustain a reader through an entire book. Good characters, on the other hand, are very nourishing to the readers.


CR: If you could meet a zombie, but it's a dead long-lost relative, would you approach? What would you say?

MABERRY: Zombies can’t talk and they have no personality. However, they were human once and if this is a relative, friend or neighbor, I would certainly respect the person they were. I would endeavor to ‘quiet’ them. That’s a concept I explore in ROT & RUIN. Tom Imura, the older brother of the protagonist, Benny, is a ‘closure specialist’. He’s hired by families to find family members who have become zombies. He reads the family’s last letter to them (even though the zom can’t understand), and then he kills the zombie in a quick and humane way…usually with a sharp piece of metal call a ‘sliver’ inserted into the base of the skull to sever the brain stem.
I’d attempt to do the same thing.


CR: Would you work again with the themes of death and apocalypse or try something new in another book?


MABERRY: I’m always trying new things, though most of what I write deals with combating darkness. My first three novels (GHOST ROAD BLUES, DEAD MAN’S SONG and BAD MOON RISING) dealt with vampires and ghosts. I did the novelization of THE WOLFMAN (based on the recent movie with Benecio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Anthony Hopkins). Then I did the first two (of at least five) mainstream thrillers, PATIENT ZERO and THE DRAGON FACTORY, which feature Joe Ledger, a Baltimore cop recruited by a secret government organization to stop terrorists who have exotic weapons. Then I did ROT & RUIN and I just finished its sequel, DUST & DECAY.
None of them are ‘about’ darkness or monsters. They’re all about the people who combat darkness. There’s a lot of hope and optimism in my novels. And there’s a lot of humor in my writing, too.

CR: What was the motivation that kept you interested in writing Rot & Ruin?


MABERRY: I love to write. It’s been my passion since I was a little kid and it’s wonderful that this is my full-time job!
ROT & RUIN…and the other tales featuring Benny Imura and the survivors of First Night (the zombie apocalypse)…are deliciously fun to write. I love the characters and I’ve been having a great time constructing their world, which is what our world might be like fifteen years from now –if a zombie plague happened today. I want everything to have a realistic, lived-in feel…as if this is all normal and natural (for them) and yet new and fun for the readers. That’s the kind of intellectual and creative challenge that revs me up as a writer.
And, quite frankly, I’m writing the kinds of books I would read…so I’m entertaining myself as I work.


CR: Any future works that you can enlighten us about?


MABERRY: This has been my most insanely productive year to date. Between novels, nonfiction books, short stories and comics, I’ve had something new coming out every month, and often multiple things coming out in a single week.
In early 2011, I have my third Joe Ledger thriller, THE KING OF PLAGUES, hitting stores in March from St. Martin’s Griffin. It follows PATIENT ZERO (2009) and THE DRAGON FACTORY (2010). The whole series has been optioned by producer Michael DeLuca (Blade, Magnolia, Se7en) and is in development for TV.
Then in summer 2011 St. Martin’s Griffin will publish DEAD OF NIGHT, a standalone zombie thriller –which I’m currently writing. It’s definitely NOT for kids! (I’m not even sure I’m old enough to read it!)
Next fall, Simon & Schuster will release DUST & DECAY, the sequel to ROT & RUIN. And we’re seeing some pretty serious film interest on this series. Fingers crossed.
I’ll also have some short stories out soon, including a GI JOE story in an anthology being edited by Max Brooks for IDW. Max has put together a great line-up of writers to tell some over-the-top JOE stories.
I also have three mini-series from Marvel in the pipeline. MARVEL UNIVERSE VS THE PUNISHER just finished and will be out as a hardback graphic novel in December (it’s a post-apocalyptic existentialist adventure. Very strange, even for me.) Next up is BLACK PANTHER: KLAWS OF THE PANTHER, kicking off in October; and then in January we launch CAPTAIN AMERICA: HAIL HYDRA, a five-issue Marvel Event that follows Cap from World War II to present day. And my graphic novel, DOOMWAR, debuts in hardcover on November 10. That collects the six issues of the limited series I wrote for Marvel in which the Black Panther, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, War Machine and Deadpool go up against Doctor Doom. 


Thank you, John for being here today and sharing your worldliness with my readers!

LiLi

Friday, October 22, 2010

Winner: Kissing Booth by Lexie Hill

Sorry this took so long, guys! 

Factoids: 13 entrants, 27 entries. And the winner is...

Entry #9, entrant #6 

Robyn M.

Thank you to all who participated! Robyn, I will be emailing you soon for you addy to send your prize out ASAP.

LiLi

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Giveaway: Kissing Booth by Lexie Hill

Kissing Booth

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 249 pages
Publisher: Point (January 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545078652
ISBN-13: 978-0545078658

Lisi has never been kissed. Sure, she could practice on her guy friend, Johnny, but he’s like a brother to her! So when it comes time to pick a theme for the Spring Carnival booth, Lisi suggests a "Kissing Booth," hoping it will give her the chance to get a cheek-kiss from her crush, the handsome, popular Brett. But on the day of the carnival, as rumors fly and kisses are stolen, Lisi discovers that the person she should really kiss may have been right in front of her all along.

Enter:
  • Fill out the form below
  • Open to US/Canada residents only
  • Giveaway ends October 18 at Midnight EST (My B-day!!)
  • Good luck everyone!
LiLi

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Winner: Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Factoids: 41 entrants, 71 entries. Fantastic! The winner is...

16th entrant, 31st entry:
KRISTA/pitchingpencils

Congrats, Krista! I will be emailing you soon for your address to send the prize out. Thanks to everyone who entered and stay tuned for upcoming giveaways.

LiLi

Winner: Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Factoids: 15 entrants, 15 entries. With the help of Random.org, the winner is...

#10 Renahe

I will be emailing you soon and asking for your address which I will then pass on to the publisher, Kate, who sponsored this giveaway. Thank you to all the participates and I hope you'll come back soon for another giveaway I have planned for an ARC copy of Seth Baumgartners Love Manifesto. 

LiLi

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blog Tour Review: Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin



Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (September 14, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599905108
ISBN-13: 978-1599905105

Avery Hood is reeling from the loss of her parents--and the fact that she can't remember what happened to them even though she was there.

She's struggling to adjust to life without them, and to living with her grandmother, when she meets Ben, who isn't like any guy she's ever met before.

It turns out there's a reason why, and Ben's secret may hold the key to Avery finding out what happened to her parents...

But what if that secret changes everything she knows about--and feels for--Ben?

Review:

After witnessing her parents brutal death, Avery Hood feels numb with the missing pieces from her memory still out of reach. Living with a grandmother she never really understood--and still calls "Renee"--Avery feels more lost and desolate than ever. When a new boy comes to Woodlake and ends up being her would-be neighbor, she feels like nothing has changed; and little did she know that he would turn world upside down.

Closing in on the mysterious murders in Woodlake gave the setting of Low Red Moon a suspenseful tone. The author created a town with its independent characters that share the knowledge of their town's inhabitants with a feeling of liberation. Avery's parents always thought it better to keep to the woods where they felt more at home than they ever could be badgered by the local real estate agent and their town's small strip mall. That is, until last year when Avery's parents insisted she start at the local high school. Further ahead in the book, I wondered if this was written as a convenience to have Avery already known at the high school during the events in the book were taking place. In relation to that, I wondered if a lot of the book's plot was written up for convenience to get to the next event.

Low Red Moon had a lot of repetitive sentences and rhetoric questions that soon got me thinking, "What exactly were the editors and other readers thinking when they passed over the same idea in different wording three times?"

This book does have its moments of brilliance. They mostly consist of the moments of imagery of the woods and its creatures. Devlin really made the traumatic, rural angle work for Avery's story of her parents tragic death.

Overall, I wouldn't call this a memorable book because it has too many common qualities with other YA Paranormal Fantasy novels (Raised by Wolves, particularly). It does end with a cliffhanger, so I expect their to be a sequel of some kind. I would like to know what happens with the town of Woodlake but I won't be "waiting by the phone."

Grade: C-

This Advanced Readers/Reviewers Copy was sent by the publishers at Bloomsbury Children's Books for my uninfluenced review.

LiLi

Blog Tour Giveaway: Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin


From Goodreads: 
Avery Hood is reeling from the loss of her parents--and the fact that she can't remember what happened to them even though she was there.

She's struggling to adjust to life without them, and to living with her grandmother, when she meets Ben, who isn't like any guy she's ever met before.

It turns out there's a reason why, and Ben's secret may hold the key to Avery finding out what happened to her parents...

But what if that secret changes everything she knows about--and feels for--Ben?


Enter to win your own finished copy of Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin.
Giveaway ends Sept. 30th at midnight EST. Open to US residents only. The winner's address will be sent to the publisher, who will send the book to you. Thank you, Kate! I will be posting my review of Low Red Moon later today.


This giveaway has ended.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Giveaway: Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Wings (Aprilynne Pike (Quality))

From Goodreads:

Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.
Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.
In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

Details:
  • Fill out the form below to win a paperback copy of Wings.
  • Contest ends October 1st at midnight (EST)
  • US participants only

Monday, September 13, 2010

(Mini)Author Interview: Rachel Vincent

I just finished reading My Soul to Take and yes, I cried a little at the end. ;) However, since I knew Rachel was awesome, I thought I'd conduct a short interview to answer some questions I had relating her two famed series:

Shifter
Alpha (Oct. 1)

Soul Screamers

Even though I haven't read them all, I suggest you start both series and you can thank me later. Now on to the grilling...

CR: If you switched places with Kaylee Cavanaugh for just one day, what would be the main thing you'd focus on first: Nash or her bean sidhe ability? Why?

Bean sidhe heritage. Because boys come and go, but your species is forever. ;)


CR: You've probably heard this one most often but what was the transition like between Faythe's world and Kaylee's? What would you say was the biggest difference between the two?

The biggest difference is the freedom that comes from Kaylee's world. The world building is on a much broader scale, so there are many more possibilities for plotlines, conflicts, and characters. But then, there's also the extra challenge involved in making sure the narrator's voice is authentically adolescent, allowing for the fact that Kaylee is no ordinary teenager. ;)

The transition between the two series can be tough, but I've done it several times now. The Shifters series is six books long, and I'm writing book five in the Soul Screamers series, so jumping back and forth is getting easier. But writing the books is not. ;)


CR: What's something you most liked exploring in Kaylee's bean sidhe story that you aren't able to in Faythe's Pride?

The Netherworld. Faythe's world doesn't have an alternate dimension.


CR: Where did Kaylee's character come from initially and what was the inspiration of using bean sidhe mythology?

I never know how to answer questions like this one. Kaylee didn't come from any one place. She developed over the course of the first book, and in fact, she's still developing and maturing, and losing a little bit of that shiny optimism in exchange for a really bitter dose of reality. But she's strong, and only getting stronger. And I don't think you could ever really stomp all the grit out of Kaylee. ;)


CR: Closer to the ending of My Soul to Take (and this is something I noticed deeply considering my personal relationship) what made you write Kaylee's father more of a non-existent character where as in the Shifter series Faythe's father is a fundamental character?

That wasn't a conscious decision, and for the record, he's much more of a real father figure in the subsequent books. But here's how it worked: When I sat down to write My Soul To Take, I thought about who I wanted Kaylee to be, including her strengths, her weaknesses, and her fears. Then I took her life and worked backward, deciding what would have to have happened to her in the past to create the girl I wanted to write about. Part of that backstory included a dead mother and an absentee father. Part included time spent in a mental institution, which gave her control issues and a fear of being confined. Make sense?




Totally makes sense, specially if you read My Soul to Lose, the prequel that started Kaylee's madness. It is a free short ebook that have no excuse for not reading.

Thanks again, Rachel!

LiLi

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Never Bite a Boy on the First Date by Tamara Summers


Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (September 29, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061721549
ISBN-13: 978-0061721540
  
I've got a few issues:
  1. I'm a vampire now.
  2. One of my classmates was found dead, with telltale fang marks.
  3. I didn't do it! (really!)
  4. Nobody believes me, so . . .
  5. I'm going to have to find the real killer. I've already got three suspects. (three very cute suspects.)
  6. One more problem: I am seriously falling for one of them . . . but what if he's the killer?

Review:

I really liked this one for it's humor and constant flings. Where should I start? First of all, we have Kira. She's been turned into a vampire after a car accident and now lives with her "family." After one nasty mistake of turning a jock into one of her kind, Olympia and Wilhelm "the parents" have not forgotten and make a point to lecture her on it every so often. So, of course, when there's a dead body on the front steps of their new school, who do we call? (Sorry, I thought Ghost Busters would be funny in this vampy tale.)
Anyway, to prove her innonence in this situation, at least, Kira sets off to find the real murderer. Instead, she gets three amazingly cute suspects.

I adored the writing style taken on in Never Bite a Boy on the First Date because it creates Kira into an even more of a believable character than she would be if the author had just stated Kira's background and moved on from there. I due admit that some times were predictable in the book, in the sense that you thought you knew who the murderer. I mean, I had my suspicions, but I was not prepared for the ending. Surprising, to say the least. Satisfying, at most. I couldn't get over how realistic Kira seemed when she confronted some of her past in the most unexpected ways. She's flirtatious, outgoing, vulnerable but strong, and knows her limit. Characteristics I find endearing in this particular heroine. The other characters were equally viewed as important through Kira's search, and were very convincing in their personalities. It felt like for every action they had a reason/secret behind it.

Recommended for it's great technique and cool perception of the vampire basics. (And because of all the cute guys, of course.) ;)

Grade: B+

LiLi

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices, #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare

Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (August 31, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1416975861
ISBN-13: 978-1416975861
Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
Review:

Arriving in London with the expectation of meeting with her brother, Tessa Gray leaves her lifetime home in New York and is quickly taken by two ladies called the Dark Sisters. After some grueling torment, the Dark Sisters find that Tessa, indeed, has the power to change into any person--dead or alive--by holding a trinket that was once theirs. From this discovery transcends the events that later follow when Tessa is rescued by a Shadowhunter named William Herondale. Keeping her safe at the Institute was the only solution possible, so the Shadowhunters thought. When new evidence is found that the reason for Tessa's kidnapping was more deeply cultivated than anyone thought, the Nephilim set out to find the Magister, in pursuit of stopping a formidable war.

I thought that the characters of Clockwork Angel might have been the best part, but when it got to some serious action, I was proved terribly wrong. The characters: Will, Tessa, Jem, Jessamine...Every single one had their unique personalities and histories that you can only find in a Cassadra Clare masterpiece. While I regret not having read City of Glass, I'd recognize Clare's style of writing and character-developing anywhere. The poetry and quotes introduced by Tessa's love of novels and books was a fascinating break to find in the blood and gore of the Shadowhunter mentality. And although I prefer the latter and didn't really partake in Tessa's brief belief that ladies were not meant to fight, it only added to the difference and era to be expected from London in 1878. In the Institute, Tessa learns about the world of Downworlders--what she is--and Shadowhunters, their background and way of life. It was excellent world-building on Clare's part and made an incredible guide for a newbie just diving into a new view of the universe they assume they've known they're whole lives. To quote something slightly from the book, as if from looking at the world as a flat surface to a round globe; paraphrasing.

I thoroughly enjoyed the twisted humor in the beginning and the Shadowhunters that came with it. Will and Jem seem to be a perfect match as they're so different. Both have different pain-filled stories to tell, and they even differentiate in the point of sharing who they are with others. All-in-all, from the cast of characters to the world-building and developing, Clare did a great job in creating this conjoined world and prequel of her original The Mortal Instrument series. I will be keeping my eye out for the rest of this series and can't stand that I must restrain myself for another year for the next installment in The Infernal Devices series.

Recommended to YA readers that have enjoyed Clare's work before, and even newbies that are just starting to discover her awesomeness.

Grade: A-

Source: Simon & Schuster

LiLi

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (4) (Book Three)'s

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Entice by Carrie Jones (Need, #3)
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (December 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599905531
ISBN-13: 978-1599905532
Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that’s not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he’s been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it’s taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there’s that other small problem: Zara’s been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn’t just turned… She’s Astley’s queen.


Absolution by Jennifer Laurens (Heavenly, #3)

Paperback
Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing (November 2010)
Book Three.

Zoe’s secret is out. And the powers of Hell are ravenous to claim her soul. Her brother, Luke, knows her secret: that she sees both good and evil spirits. Her boyfriend knows. At least Matthias is her guardian angel again. But now Hell’s most ruthless leader will stop at nothing to have her soul.
Albert, Matthias’ father, is relentless in his hunger for Zoe. He wants to destroy Matthias and will use Zoe to do so.
The battle between Heaven and Hell tests everything Zoe has. As she witnesses everyone important in her life suffering, she’s brought to the ultimate choice: will she sacrifice her soul to save the ones she loves?
What are you waiting on?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Contact Me!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Winner: Goth Girls Rising by Barry Lyga

Factoids: 3 entrants, 7 entries. Winner of GGR is:

Angela Z

You have 3 days to reply to my email with your address so I can send your prize. If you do not, I will pick another winner. Thanks to all participants!

LiLi

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (ATWT)

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA (June 8, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1606840592
ISBN-13: 978-1606840597

Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?

Review:

After hearing an ominous knock from the door, everything seems to fast-forward for four year-old Bronwyn who gets saved by a pack of werewolves after seeing her parents brutally murdered by a Rabid. Under the protection of the pack Alpha Callum, Bryn is theirs as much as the pack is hers. Growing up with the Stone River Pack means acquiring the pack mentality of when to submit to dominance, the Mark (three cuts on your waist) and the pack-bond (mind connection between all the pack members). When Bryn starts to notice the over-protective, cautious ways some pack members are being, she decides to investigate and what she stumbles upon breaks open a whole web of secrets that unravel with the presence of a new pack member. A boy named Chase.

Tough-as-nails Bryn makes a deal with her Alpha Callum to get to have supervised visitations with Chase because of mystery she's desperate to solve about her parents murderer. Is the Rabid really dead? Or is he continuing his tortuous ways and killing others?

Associated with the dominance and protectiveness over their few females, the Stone River Pack runs on a system of need-to-know. Being raised in such an environment, Bryn had to learn their rules and the power of the Alpha's law. Jennifer Lynn Barnes did a great job of creating this unique world ruled by werewolves and bringing in Bryn's past from the very beginning as a thoughtful tragedy and giving it depth throughout the entire novel. The characters in Raised by Wolves each have their own attributes that make them endearing and genuine. Halfway through I found the climax to be a bit dramatic but only to be added to the hype that made up the ending. Bryn was a strong-willed character with a mind of her own; not falling under the pressure of the constant compulsion that the dominance dictated unless she willing chose to do so. Barnes made almost every little detail connect to something bigger as the mystery of the Rabid unwound itself. The connection that Bryn shares with Chase is thoroughly analyzed in the second half, but I would like to have seen what connects them personally. Nonetheless, being such a thrilling, kick-ass novel, I would highly recommend it to all who like to see the heroin triumph.

Grade: A-
LiLi

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

When Blood Calls by J. K. Beck (Book It Forward Tours)

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Bantam (August 31, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 044024577X
ISBN-13: 978-0440245773

Sara Constantine is one of the country’s most tenacious prosecuting attorneys—and she’s just secured a well-earned promotion. At first she’s thrilled. Then she finds out her new job involves prosecuting vampires and werewolves. And nothing prepares Sara for the shock she receives when she meets the first defendant she’ll be trying to put away: Lucius Dragos, the sexy stranger with whom she recently shared an explosive night of ecstasy.

When Lucius Dragos kisses the beautiful woman sitting next to him at the bar, he’s only hoping to blend into the crowd and avoid the perceptive gaze of the man he’s following…and planning to kill. But what starts as a simple kiss to secure his cover ignites into a fierce hunger that leads to an all-consuming passion. Charged with murder, Luke knows Sara will do whatever it takes to see him locked away—unless he can convince her that he’s not the monster she thinks he is. And that might mean making the greatest sacrifice a vampire can make.

Review:

After winning a grueling case against a serial killer, prosecutor Sara Constantine had only planned to celebrate with a drink at the local bar; not expecting a one-night-stand with a delicious hunk of a stranger. And when she gets to work the next day, she definitely did not expect that same stranger to be defendant in her new high profile case, or the fact that he has the daemon in him and is a vampyre. Lucious (Luke) Dragos is the last of his lineage, and undoubtedly the only suspect in the murder of a Division 6 judge. He knows this of course, and that is why he has to convince Sara to believe in him and his reasons behind the murder and it's motive.

When Blood Calls is an action-packed, beautifully written debut of the new Shadow Keepers series. With strong-willed, justice-believer Sara Constantine, it seems from the very beginning that Luke doesn't stand a chance in court. However, being born in 122, Luke knows that things are never black and white; and it doesn't hurt that he has friends working inside the system.In When Blood Calls, you get to see from almost all the co-characters perspectives which only adds to the slight suspense that builds towards the end of it. While reading, I kept speculating who might have been behind the master plan in the end, even when everyone pretty much had a solid idea on who it was. However, never did it lose the intensity to keep the reader interested in every little detail that could possibly change the outcome. The different creatures/characters in this book have remarkable powers, especially the vampires that are not like any others. Instead of having no soul at all, what creates a vampyre in When Blood Calls is actually activating the darker side of your soon and fighting against it for control that brings out all their ugly.

I recommend this to whoever likes some of sexual content with an intricate plot full with on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense. I can't restrict this to a specific age because some people would be a bit hypocritical if they knew mine. :)

Grade: A

Also check out:

When Pleasure Rules (September)
When Wicked Craves (October)

LiLi