Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Giveaway: Stork and The Knife of Never Letting Go


There will be two winners. 
First prize winner: a paperback of The Knife of Never Letting Go and hardback of Stork.
Second prize winner: a hardback of Stork.

To enter just fill out the form below.
Ends June 18th at midnight EST.
Open to US only, no PO boxes.


LiLi

Teaser Tuesday (2)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.


Teaser:
I was worried Demon Child would follow me to my apartment and get her freak on, so I made sure she was nowhere in sight before I climbed into Misery and hightailed it home. Just in case, though, I stormed into my apartment, tossed a quick hello to Mr. Wong, then rummaged through my entertainment center to lay out all my exorcism equipment. I kept it in my entertainment center because exorcisms were nothing if not entertaining. --pg. 37


Even though this teaser is 3 sentences and more debilerately selected than is decided by Teaser Tuesday guidelines, I felt it was my duty to share the hilarity of First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones because so far I can't stop laughing. :)

LiLi

Monday, May 30, 2011

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) by Darynda Jones

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (February 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 9780312662752
ISBN-13: 978-0312662752

A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper.

Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to go into the light. But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

This is a thrilling debut novel from an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense.

Review:

With her sense of sarcasm and spectacular name, Charlotte Davidson has known how to ride the APD--Albuquerque;Police Department--since she was five-years old with her being a grim reaper and all. The Grim Reaper. So when a new case opens up with three dead lawyers she knows there is something stinky afoot; especially when one of said lawyers is in her bedroom looking for justice. Consequently, Charley's dreams also have a distressing--yet pleasurable--theme with a sort of "ghost" from her high-school-freshman-year past. There's only one person who has ever called Charley, Dutch. And there's nobody more sexily mysterious than Mr. Reyes Farrow.

Just with the synopsis I first read of this book, I was hooked. I did expect some comedic relief here and there to give light to the whole talking-to-ghosts spiel but I did not expect for to have my laughing so hard I'm surprised neighbors didn't complain. It did begin where we expect all first books in a series to start, telling the history of the main character, describing and perceiving her view of the world--her world, to be exact. But what is seen in some books but is scarcely found is the leading male character to have such a strong relationship with the heroine right off the bat, instead of going through the whole getting to know each other period and then as the books progress the sex stage. No. Considering that Charley's supposedly doing it with him in her dreams already, it is safe to say we're past the "Do you have any baggage that I need to know about?" stage. Personally, I prefer my books to have the male lead already in a somewhat struggling relationship with my female lead. It just makes for better--and faster--conflicts and resolutions.

What I found pleasing about Jones' writing is that all her characters are genuine and grounded into their own personalities, that I don't think any of them even know what the word "insecurity" means. That, in itself, is a rarity in any style of paranormal romance writing because you most likely have characters who doubt themselves periodically throughout any PR book. I am putting my foot down in saying that First Grave on the Right is a PR book because urban fantasy novels are a lot more explicit when it comes to detailing their worlds and characters tend to have a lot more baggage; Charley certainly has enough. And let's face it, UF books tend to have more crime-fighting gore-ish scenes than PR. While FGotR has some they don't get to that extreme extent that UF has.

In all honesty, FGotR is one of my favorite books yet this year because it had that quality: I did not want to finish the book unless I have the next in the series handy. Jones should honestly be teaching aspiring paranormal romance writers how it's done.Given the fact that this is her debut just blew my mind; and to think that she'll get better is just...whoa. She had this style of repeating lines of what Charley thought was funny in a blunt way that I loved and when Charley would use her father and uncle to get what she wanted...it was like icing on the cake for me. She is a sophisticated girl that uses what she has, all her abilities, to shape the outcome to her liking.

My readers, you must read this book. If you won't take my word for it, look at the cover more closely above, because J.R. Ward wants you to read First Grave on the Right, too.

Grade: A-

Source: Bought from Borders.

LiLi

Monday, May 9, 2011

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (May 4, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1416990658
ISBN-13: 978-1416990659

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew—just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road—diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards—this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

Review:

From frozen yogurt (California), to frozen custard (Kansas), to derby pie (Kentucky), to Dairy Queen (Virginia), Amy Curry and Roger Sullivan travel the nation on in unrestricted journey from Cali to Connecticut and discover that meeting new people and overcoming old pains is just some of the many things that life may throw at you when you are completely unprepared. After a horrible car accident, Amy feels beyond repair when for so long her father had been a constant figure in her world who loved Elvis and Life Savers hard candy, and now she feels like moving across the country is the worst betrayal of all to his death. With her brother, Charlie, in a North Carolina rehab facility and her mother in their new house in Connecticut, Amy must go with Roger--a guy she barely remembers playing Spud with--on a road trip she's dreading for its significance. Only, when they take one small detour, they discover that there may be room for more if they take the scenic route instead of the convenient one.

I truly enjoyed the pace of this book because I felt that although it took its time in explaining many structures that made up the plot--the states, Amy's past, Roger's current conflicts and interests--Matson made the road trip feel like a fulfilling quest of independence and freedom. I learned the motto to a state I've actually been to and a meal that is so famous in the most expensive hotel there--I'm exaggerating. I love learning tidbits I've never known about the things that I've only bypassed and didn't spend the time to discover.

My favorite aspects of this book had to be the many people that Amy and Roger met while traveling Middle America. Walcott being my dream guy because I loved his soul-bearing rocker attitude so much and I could pretty much picture his future in my head, which of course would reside in Kansas since he has so much pride in his state, his home I should say. He would definitely be one of those mental heart breakers because you'd fall so deep you wouldn't begin to know how to get back up. Roger had the most fantastic college friends that I just adhered to because of their genuine personalities and wholesome feel.

While Amy helps Roger with his ex-girlfriend breakup, her problems take a backseat till you reach closer to the end of the book. This was fine with me because while he was taking of his problems Amy did not become an inactive character at all. She learned how to start to break down the barrier surrounding her and let loose some unbearable pain and resentment for the things that haven't been said aloud.

I believe that Matson is an artist at building relationships, situations and emotions between characters that bring them to levels of familiarity where none was expected to be found. I cannot recommend Amy & Roger's Epic Detour enough to adults and young adults who will appreciate the view into America and its winding roads.

Grade: A

Source: Library

LiLi

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blog Tour Review and Interview: Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0802722318
ISBN-13: 978-0802722317

Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.

Review:

Tempest has a lot on her plate with her seventeenth birthday coming up; it's not surprising that it comes as a shock to her when her mermaid tendencies come a couple weeks before they were expected to manifest. In fact, it comes as a terrifying revelation that they took up where they had left off six years earlier, where a sea witch was willing to drag Tempest to the sea floor for unknown reasons. For bad purposes are Tempest's guess.

When Kona/Kai is first introduced, it is doubtful you can resist his wash-board abs and mysteriously dark physique. While Tempest may have the perfect life--and no matter how hard she tries to hold on to it--Kai's addition makes for one rocking birthday that knocks Tempest back to the ocean in a confrontation with her dead-set decision she never thought she'd second guess.

Deebs mastered the waves that rolled and crashed in Tempest Rising. The main character, Tempest Maguire, was mindful of her past and she let it bleed into her perception of how she has viewed her mother for the past six years. Her resentment towards her is no secret, and she had long ago made her decision to be nothing like her mother. I believe that she had the right amount of blame for her mother and agreed with how she took it into consideration of all her mermaid-related choices. However, throughout the book, the reader gets a view of the variety of obstacles she endures in order to keep her secret hidden and her decision true. The book initially surpassed my expectations as I read the abrupt twists that were shocking and how fast Tempest was able to acclimate with it all. The plot was rough but original between the relationship of a mermaid and a selkie and their underwater world.

Honestly, I had low expectations when I saw in the synopsis that the author was going to attempt to create an underwater world to the plot's continuousness and I wasn't wrong to have them. I do believe that it could have been perfected and the knowledge behind underwater living could have been made more realistic but to a degree it cushioned the writing style of not going too in-depth of the scenery background and more into the character background. For that I was grateful.

My favorite character, who I just must mention because he had a major impact on the book subtly, was Tempe's father. Talk about the most loving and supporting dad ever. He not only was going through the same emotions that Tempest expressed in terms of her missing mother but he was compassionately supportive when  it came to be her time of decision-making.

The ending was a big hit with me as well, because it was written to accommodate the lessons and acceptance that Tempest was helpless to learn in her journey through the great big ocean. Overall, I enjoyed reading the struggle and adaptive qualities that made Tempest Rising an addictive debut. You not only want to know more about Tempest's relationships but also about how other characters will fare out in the future.

Grade: B+

ARC Source: Publisher


Interview:

1) To introduce new readers to Tempest Rising, what is your take on your fabulous debut?

I don’t even know where to start. I’m so excited that Tempest Rising is finally going to be on the shelves, but also really nervous (I swear, I have pterodactyls in my stomach instead of butterflies) as I wait for release day.

I really love this book. It’s my first YA, my first first person narrator, my first surfer book, my first mermaid book … you get the picture. When I was writing it, I poured so much of myself into the book that it’s both terrifying and exhilarating to realize that it will finally be out there for people to read and judge … I just hope my readers like Tempest as much as I do :)

2) With this new sweep on sea creatures going through the YA genre, what are your favorite sea-related reads and why?

I love selkies. I think they’re totally cool, and while I haven’t read another YA with them yet, I really like Virginia Kantra’s Immortal series with them. I also like the new books that are coming out with sirens as main characters—Siren by Tricia Rayburn was a great YA. I also really liked Tera Lynn Childs’s Forgive My Fins

3) If you could, would you consider living coastal-side in California, or is this your fantasy residence only?

I grew up in San Diego, and the beaches Tempest surfs in the book are the beaches that I surfed and roamed when I was her age. Though I am currently landlocked in Austin, Texas, I would love the chance to move back to the California coast.

4) Would you consider writing a sequel for Tempest Rising, or do you consider it a stand-alone?

I’ve always wanted the Tempest books to be a trilogy. The second book, Tempest Unleashed, is under consideration by my editor right now as we wait to see how Tempest Rising does.

5) How much would you enjoy have your own Kai that'd like to sweep you off your feet and into something even more dangerous? :)

I love Kai. I really love Kai (whose name, incidentally, got changed by my publisher to Kona in the final draft), although Mark is no slouch ;) I actually married my own dark, sexy and mysterious guy, and in some ways Kona is a much younger version of my husband (except for the whole selkie thing, which would have been very cool, LOL).

But seriously, when I created Kona and Mark, I wanted them to represent the best part of Tempest’s life on land and in the water. A choice between them isn’t just a choice of the guy, it’s a choice of the life she wants. In Tempest Rising, as she’s exploring the underwater world that she’s both loved and hated for so long, Kona really is the best choice for her. In subsequent books … we’ll have to see ;)

What! What is this "In subsequent books..." teaser? That's just plain mean. Thank you, Tracy, for answering my questions and congratulations on your debut, Tempest Rising releasing May 10.

LiLi

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (6)

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

This week I'm waiting on...


My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Acad­emy — a school of myths, magic and war­rior whiz kids, where even the lowli­est geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spar­tan guy in school, also hap­pens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jas­mine Ash­ton was mur­dered in the Library of Antiq­ui­ties. Then, some­one stole the Bowl of Tears, a mag­i­cal arti­fact that can be used to bring about the sec­ond Chaos War. You know, death, destruc­tion and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m deter­mined to find out who killed Jas­mine and why – espe­cially since I should have been the one who died...

Releasing July 26th from Kensington Publishing.

Genius author, love her adult Elemental Assassin series!

LiLi