Saturday, December 31, 2011

Winner: A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Factoids: 3 entries, 3 entrants.



Thanks to all participants in this giveaway! Stay tuned to my next giveaway coming soon.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Teen Book Scene: Holly Cupala's Inspiring Places Vlog + Giveaway!

Introducing author of Don't Breathe A Word, Holly Cupala...

Holly Cupala wrote teen romance novels before she ever actually experienced teen romance. When she did, it became all about tragic poetry and slightly less tragic novels. She has worked with the Western Washington chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, been a readergirlz diva, and now serves on the board of the University of Washington Writing Program. When she isn't writing and making art, she spends time with her husband and daughter in Seattle, Washington. These days, her writing is less about tragedy and more about hope.

TELL ME A SECRET is her first novel, and her second, DON'T BREATHE A WORD, is coming October 2011 from HarperCollins. Ten percent of the author's proceeds go toward World Vision's Hope for Sexually Exploited Girls.

Onto Inspiring Places Vlog...

Joy Delamere is suffocating...

From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words - tender words, cruel words - until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.

Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength.

The Giveaway...

HarperCollins was nice enough to contribute enough books for there to be a daily giveaway for copies of Don't Breathe A Word.

-One automatic entry.
-For every post you comment on, it's one entry. (Don't forget to link to where you commented.)
-An extra entry if you tweet, facebook, blog post or in some way incorporate the giveaway on your blog.
-Fill out the form each time you do one of these things, and remember you can only do spread the word through one social media network one time. (Example: only tweet once, other tweets will not be counted as entries.)

-Giveaway is International, as long as The Book Depository can ship to you.
-US/Canada copies will be mailed from Holly and signed.
-Ends January 14 midnight CST.

Fill out this FORM to enter.

Thanks to Holly and Teen Book Scene!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Daughter of the Centaurs (Centauriad #1) by Kate Klimo

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (January 24, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0375869751
ISBN-13: 978-0375869754

Malora knows what she was born to be: a horse wrangler and a hunter, just like her father. But when her people are massacred by batlike monsters called Leatherwings, Malora will need her horse skills just to survive. The last living human, Malora roams the wilderness at the head of a band of magnificent horses, relying only on her own wits, strength, and courage. When she is captured by a group of centaurs and taken to their city, Malora must decide whether the comforts of her new home and family are worth the parts of herself she must sacrifice to keep them.

Kate Klimo has masterfully created a new world, which at first seems to be an ancient one or perhaps another world altogether, but is in fact set on earth sometime far in the future.

I love when stories--particularly with "selfless" female protagonists/heroines--live by the seat of their pants and know the skills--or slowly learn, in this case--how to survive and be independent. When Malora must leave her People and live alone forevermore with just her horses as company, she saw a restless but fortifying life ahead of her. When she went back to discover the desolation of her people it destroyed something in her. That's when they discovered that the People were not as dead as they thought. A society of human and horse hybrids have been living successfully since the war with the People of Mount Kamaria--known now as Mount Kheiron, habitat of the centaurs--occured. From Daughter of the Mountains, to Daughter of the Plains, to Daughter of the Centaurs, Malora "Ironbound" Thora-Jayke does not fail to capture the reader's heart and symbolize inspiration for a whole other race.

Such vivid descriptions of mountainous and barren landscapes. So easy to hear the hoofs of Malora's "boys and girls" stampeding across the plains. Without the need  to learn to read or write, Malora's voice captures more abstract concepts and appreciated the primal nature of the land she knows by heart. Her love of horses became my love of horses for all their nickering, whinnying, snorts and eye-rolls. When first encountering the Highlanders and their method of living, the frivolity was comforting but seen as a waste through the main characters'. The author's writing ability to depict all the monuments, murals and colorful aspects of a Highlanders' life was dazzling and absolutely awe-inspiring to behold. With the minor addition of its own terminology, Daughter of the Centaurs was originally created and uniquely executed. I did not want to put down this book for longer than six hours, couldn't part with it; not the world or the characters.

It was nice to see Malora grow throughout the time that she left her People and joined the centaurs. Granted she did lose herself from time to time with the centaurs but she never truly forgot her roots. That's what excited me the most. She could never truly be a centaur and she didn't spend useless time thinking she could; she just enjoyed the luxuries they provided that she never knew of. The plot was successful in appealing to the no-nonsense side of me. I can't stand when authors make up unnecessary conflict between two parties just to liven up a certain scene. The book's solitary, soothing tone after the bloody mess and grief Malora went through because of the demise of her people was easy to use as a filter to distinguish traits and personalities of other characters.

It is obvious, reading the ending and knowing all the other unanswered questions, that there will be a second book in the series. No doubt the "Centauriad #1" gave that away. Its the waiting that might do me in if I don't get another horse-y book-related fix in the next six months. 

Grade: A-

Highlight for minor spoilers: However, I want to know specifically Centauriad the series and Brion the Blacksmith and how Malora's training with her Hand goes, and not to mention, the decree the Apex made in the end should make life definitely more interesting for both Flatlanders and Highlanders.

e-Galley Source: Netgalley


Friday, December 16, 2011

Winner: Of Light and Darkness!

Factoids: 7 entrants and entries!

Congrats to...


Thank you to those who entered and don't forget to check out the current giveaway I have going on for a paperback copy of A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Teen Book Scene: A Dog's Purpose Giveaway!

This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here?

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.

But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders—will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog's Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.

In order to win your own paperback copy of A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron, just fill out this FORM. US residents only, giveaway ends on December 30th at midnight EST.

Thanks to Teen Book Scene!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Teen Book Scene: Shattered Soul's Lenzi (This or That List)

Introducing the author of Shattered Souls, Mary Lindsey...

Mary's writing is a natural expression of her love of reading and a fascination with the flexibility of the human imagination. Books make the impossible possible.

Prior to attending University of Houston Law School, Mary received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Drama from the University of Houston. She has taught drama and playwriting in a large public high school and English in a private school. Currently, Mary teaches acting to children and teens at a private studio in Houston, Texas.

Mary lives with her husband, three kids, two dogs, her daughter's pet rats, an Australian Bearded Dragon, and dozens of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.

She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

Onto female protagonist Lenzi's This or That List...

Hot-fudge sundae or Banana split?

Hot fudge sundae for sure. Chocolate is my thing.

Coffee or Tea?

I don’t really like coffee, so tea. I like Earl Grey best.

Boots or Sneaks?

Sneakers. Boots are too hot and uncomfortable.

Library or Bookstore?

It depends on whether or not I have money. I’d much rather buy a book than anything.

School Dance or Night club?

School is not my thing. Going to a school dance would be a nightmare. I don’t hang out at nightclubs, but I like the one where Zak played.

Smolder-hot bad boy or Sweet and sensitive?

Selfish of me, but I want all of those things. A sweet, sensitive, smoldering hot bad-boy. I think I’ve found one.

Internet or TV?

I love to lie on the couch and watch sitcoms, so TV.

Car or Bus/bicycle?

I wish I had a car, but we can’t afford a second one. Alden has one, though, so I’m good. Houston has a crummy mass transit system and you are in danger of getting smushed in some parts of town on a bike, so I’ll stick with car.

Indoor-sy or Outgoing?

I’m pretty indoor-sy. Maybe because I don’t really like the beach and that’s where I grew up.

Concert or Book signing?

Concert for sure.

Music or Movies?

Those are so different. I guess if I had to live without one, I’d choose music over movies. I need music.

A thrilling debut story of death, love, destiny and danger.

Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

Thanks to Mary and Teen Book Scene!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Touch of Power (Healer, #1) by Maria V. Snyder

Paperback: 394 pages
Publisher: Mira (December 20, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0778313077
ISBN-13: 978-0778313076

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life....

What a lot of you may not know is that when I won signed copies of Snyder's Study series--how lucky was I?--I devoured them consecutively. Since then, I've been wanting to read another Snyder novel no matter what. When I heard about Touch of Power, I knew I'd have to read it as soon as possible in order to get my fix. What shocked me the most about the first book in her new Healer series was how similar it was to Poison Study, the first in the Study series. Yes, it is a whole new batch of characters, with as intricate and distinct a setting and world as Ixia and all the other nations in the Study series, but it resembled the previous series so much I fell in love all over again. What? Did you honestly expect me to say it was a BAD thing?

Avry has always been proud of the powers she matured into during her teenage years. However, now 20, she has been on the run for three years to escape the hostility and accusations from the people of the Fifteen Realms. Her one weakness when it came to staying hidden and surviving manifested itself into the form of a sick child whose piercing cries cut through any hesitance Avry had of using her power. Being a healer in a world where they're executed, it's easy enough to figure out what not to do in order to avoid capture. However, what comes with being a healer is an innate will to heal all that are ill. When Avry's caught and sentenced to her execution, she is surprised by the mysterious band of men that break her out for the sole purpose that they need her magical help. Soon she learns that surviving and living are two very different approaches to life, but when she finds out who and what she will face at the end of the long journey, she may not be willing to stay with the men after all...

Plot: While there was rising and falling action, I can't officially say that Touch of Power had just one climax. One of the many things I like about Snyder's writing is that you can pick one of numerous peaks to be the most surprising, enticing, daring, shocking. The core of this book can be captured in two words: the plague. I know I didn't mention this above, but it's because of the outbreak of this pandemic plague that the healer's have been hunted down. When Avry joins Kerrick's rogue men on their journey to save the man that can potentially lead the Fifteen Realms to prosperity, she finds out she may be the last healer alive. I'd hoped to find out more about the Fifteen Realms and the survivors of the plague but Touch of  Power essentially focused on the constant movement through the forest and woods and the actual journey for the majority of the book. Another aspect of Snyder's writing that makes me keep flipping the pages is that by the time you get to the halfway point, you feel like you've grown to know the characters so well, there's no possible way the writer can pack in anything thing else.
The relationship between Avry and Kerrick grows to be more tumultous than I could have ever predicted but was amusing to read about nonetheless. The tension between those two, I tell ya....Kerrick has a temper like no other and knows what he wants and how to go about getting it. It comes as no surprise that he is the leader of men five years older than him.
As for the relations between the other men in Kerrick's crew, they were all I wanted them to be and more. 'Course two of my favorites had to be Poppa Bear Belen and over-energetic Flea.
The only thing I'm iffy about when it comes to the Fifteen Realms and all their glory are the Lilies. The Peace and Death Lilies could have been better portrayed as the significant figures they're made out to be in the book.

Characters: I honestly can't focus on each character that played a significant role because there were quite a few and I have tons of thoughts about each of them. Some can kiss my beautiful behind and others I'd like to train from, morally and physically. As the heroine protagonist, Avry of Kazan had a nonchalant attitude that was surprising because of it's effective to cause reactions in the people around her. She looked at her problems logically and matter-of-factly while still keeping an aura of nurturing that completed who she was. Kerrick could be aggravating at the best of times and downright cruel at the worst. He hides his heart well and only shows any sign of caring for others through his actions for his men.

Writing: It is not so much the descriptive prose or witty banter between characters that captures the essence of Touch of Power. It is more the syntax and ability to culminate that truly ensnares the reader to not be able to put the book down. At least, that's what happened with me. And I couldn't get enough of it in just the first sitting, I had to keep going. The originality was put into question when the tone resembled the Study series but it was not an issue with me, and ended up being one of the many things I loved about Touch of Power and the start of the Healer series.

Grade: A

e-galley Source: Netgalley


Friday, December 2, 2011

Teen Book Scene: Of Light and Darkness Giveaway!

When one human stands before an army of impossible obstacles, the likelihood of overcoming them in this coming-of-age modern fairytale may result in war between light and darkness.

Abandoned as an infant in Prague, naive and strong-willed Charlotte Ruzikova was raised by one of the last Vampires left alive. As a human, she knows no other home than the one nestled deep in the woods of Eastern Europe, where Witches drew spells of enchantment, Phasers threw tea parties, and Elves are the closest in kin. Charlotte has lived her life in the dark with her Guardian, content to having him to herself and reveling in his attention, until she's realizes she wants more...

Resident medical doctor and Vampire, Valek Ruzik fears the day his ward would come of age and blossom into a fine woman, and he is forced to confront his own motives as time is of the essence once his past catches up to him, and their lives become endangered...

As genocide and war threatens their secret society, the dictator in power is ready to wipe out Valek's race, but Charlotte will not allow that to happen. Fighting for the only one she's ever loved and truly believed in, she will do whatever it takes to save their love...before the sun comes up and light takes over.
In order to win your own paperback copy Of Light and Darkness, just fill out this FORM. Giveaway will end December 10th till midnight EST. Open to US residents only.