Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Teen Book Scene: Dark Souls's Miranda (This or That List)

Introducing the author of Dark Souls, Paula Morris...


Paula Morris, a novelist and short story writer of English and Maori descent, was born in New Zealand. For almost a decade she worked in the record business in London and New York. In 2010, after six years in New Orleans, where she taught creative writing at Tulane University, she moved to Glasgow, Scotland. She now teaches at the University of Stirling.
Paula's first novel, Queen of Beauty, won best first work of fiction at the 2003 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Hibiscus Coast, a literary thriller set in Auckland and Shanghai, was published in 2005 and has been optioned for film. Her third novel, Trendy But Casual, a comedy set in New York, was published by Penguin New Zealand in 2005. Paula is also the editor of The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories (2009).
Paula's first short story collection, Forbidden Cities (2008) was a regional finalist in the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize. 
Ruined, her first YA novel, was published by Scholastic US (2009). A mystery with a supernatural twist, set in post-Katrina New Orleans, Ruined has also been optioned for film. Paula is represented in the US by Richard Abate at 3 Arts: 49 West 27th Street, Fifth Floor, New York, NY 10001. 
Paula is the director of the Scudder Road Circus and Literary Journal. Currently, Scudder Road is neither selling tickets nor accepting submissions. 

Start with the basics: Lip gloss or Chapstick?
Miranda’s a no-nonsense girl, so I think she’d go for chapstick.

Cafe or Bakery?
When she’s in England, Miranda goes to a great place in York called Betty’s CafĂ© Tea Rooms. (You can see it here: http://www.bettys.co.uk/) Back in the US, she lives in a Midwestern college town, and hangs out sometimes in coffee houses. Maybe something like the Java House in Iowa City. (http://www.thejavahouse.com/) But she’s not a coffee drinker. Miranda is a big fan of hot chocolate.

Ghosts or Angels?
Since her best friend died in a car accident, Miranda can see ghosts. That’s the trouble: she can see them everywhere.

Fantasy or Reality?
There’s so much of the supernatural in her daily life, I think Miranda would rather read realist fiction. Though ever since she started traveling with her family, she’s been an avid fan of the reality TV show THE AMAZING RACE.

Boots or sneaks?
Sneakers at home most of the time. In York she buys some high-heeled suede ankle boots, even though she knows she’ll hardly ever wear them.

TV shows or movies?
Miranda likes watching whole TV series on DVD. Right now I think she and her brother, Rob, are watching the creepy Danish (original) version of THE KILLING.

Cell phone or iPod?
She wants an iPhone but can’t afford it. So Miranda has an old cell phone she keeps dropping, and a Nano she got for Christmas a couple of years ago.

Love interest: Real or Incorporeal?
Hmmm. She meets someone in York, but if you want to know if he’s real or not, you’ll have to read the book …

Music: jazz or pop?
Actually, Miranda has a secret passion for classical music. (Her mom conducts an orchestra.) Though she still really likes The xx, and wishes they’d release another album.

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
Chocolate, every time. 

Thanks to Paula and Teen Book Scene!

LiLi

Friday, September 23, 2011

Winners: 400 follower Giveaway!

Since no one reminded me of doing this post, it is a little late. Totally your fault. Anywho, onto the factiods...

Factoids: 141 entries (holy smokes!), 34 entrants.

First Place prize winner is (drum roll, please)...

TawndaM

Second Place prize winner...

Robin K (Intense Whisper)

and finally Third Place prize winner...

Kate

THANK YOU ALL FOR ENTERING and being followers! I will be emailing all winners soon, and hosting my next giveaway soon as well. I cannot express how awesome you guys, but you don't need me to tell you that. ;)

LiLi

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Teen Book Scene: Trey's Music Feature


Introducing Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey...

Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.
After a terrifying vision reveals imminent danger for the uncle who raised and instructed him, Braden retreats to Belle Dam, an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties. As rival family heads Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe desperately try to use Braden's powers to unlock Belle Dam's secrets, Braden vows never to become their sacrificial pawn. But everything changes when Braden learns that Jason is his father--and Trey, the enigmatic guy he's falling for, is Catherine's son.
To stop an insidious dark magic from consuming the town, Braden must master his gift—and risk losing the one he loves.

Now onto Trey's Music Feature...

Trey strikes me as being more of a traditional guy. He would probably listen to a lot of the modern rock and alternative stuff that I would, but he also listens to a LOT more classic rock. Like, I fully expect that he's got the entire discography of The Cure, The Who, etc on his iPod. So I tried to pick a mix of songs that fit for him.

Foo Fighters - The Pretender: This is one of those songs that fits Trey just as much as it fits Braden. But with Trey, it's part of his life growing up. Everyone in Belle Dam has something up their sleeve, or some secret they're concealing. Everyone's putting on a mask.

Linkin Park - By Myself: Again, another one of those "it's hard to be Trey" songs . Not only is he the heir apparent, but in order to "play the game" in Belle Dam, he has to put on masks of his own, and separate what he really thinks and feels from how he responds.

Favorite line: "If I’m killed by the questions like a cancer / Then I’ll be buried in the silence of the answer."

The Who - Behind Blue Eyes: How do you deal with being heir to a supernatural feud that you're fully expected to maintain and foster. This is such a Trey song to me - the close-guarded angst and loneliness of being his mother's heir, and how he's supposed to become his own person outside of this role that has been cast for him.

Dire Straits - Romeo and Juliet: I mean, come on. This one's a little obvious, isn't it?

Basically, any and all of the greatest hits of classic rock are right up Trey's alley. He'd get along great with Dean from Supernatural in this regard.

Thank you, Scott and Teen Book Scene!

LiLi

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Hardcover: 288 pages 
Publisher: Simon Pulse (February 22, 2011) 
ISBN-10: 144240924X 
ISBN-13: 978-1442409248

Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is. Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued. She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very…different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her. Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

Review:

Ari is a freak among the norms, and when she arrives in New 2, she slowly comes to find that she also might be a freak among supernatural freaks too. From foster home to foster home, Ari has been abused and ridiculed about her looks and not being able to fit in tends to weather a girl down. Stumbling upon the kids in the Garden District veers Ari's journey to find out about her biological father a bit off course. Uncovering the truth about New 2--the independent, yet partially revitalized New Orleans--and all its many facets comes as not too big of a surprise after hearing all sorts of preternatural rumors outside The Rim.

It's only when Ari really starts digging into the curse pass down the female line of her mother's biological family that things start to heat up real fast. There's vampires, witches and demigods aplenty but when there's a real goddess around--one that tends to caress the evil tactics of the gods--there just has to be a god-killer to, right?

It's no secret that Keaton has a gift when it comes to writing. If you've ever read her adult series, you'd be captured in the first chapter. The overtones of that amazingly and concisely descriptive writing definitely shines its light in Darkness Becomes Her. Keaton was not afraid to throw in a heroine with a touch of monster in her blood and an attitude--and "bad" mouth--to suit her. Ari, short for Aristanae, was dark-fully crafted. I was entranced when I was able to view through her eyes the world and misfortunes it has thrown at her. Developed background on her alone would have made for an captivating read. Her foster parents and all the kids and motley of powerful adults introduced were a breath of fresh air to read about; all individuals that contributed to the main plot skillfully. Most did lack some background knowledge that would have been helpful to personalize them and give their uniqueness some flare.

The plot was utterly bewitching, and while the pacing had me second-guessing the two battle scenes' timing because of its unpredictable staggering progression, the events that lead up to that cliffhanger ending just ensnare you enough to keep your heart pounding even after you've read the last word.

Grade: B+/A-

Source: Bought

LiLi

Friday, September 9, 2011

Teen Book Scene: This or That List with Kody Keplinger


Introducing Kody Keplinger...


Kody was born and raised in rural western Kentucky, where she attended high school and began writing her first long pieces of fiction. Kody wrote THE DUFF during her senior year at McLean County High School.
Kody is now twenty and lives in New York City, where she continues to write YA novels. SHUT OUT, her second novel, will be out in September 2011 and another, A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHTMARE, due in 2012.
She loves books, Converse tennis shoes, New York City, and popular TV teen dramas. When she isn't writing, she's spending time with her friends and exploring New York City.
Contemporary or Fantasy?
Contemporary (though I'm a HUGE fantasy buff)

Digital Cable or Internet?
Internet!!!! I'd DIE without it!

Soft- or Hard-candy?
Soft-candy.

Hardbacks or Paperbacks?
Hardback.

Music or Movies?
Music, but I'd be sad without movies.

Feisty, Witty, Sassy Heroine or Skillfully Violent, Controlled Anger, Bad-ass?
Haha, which do YOU think? No, seriously, fiesty, witty, sassy heroines. I've always been drawn to them.

Print or Ebooks?
Print, print, print!!! Ebooks care me a little.

Hairbrush or Comb?
Comb. (I have a perm, so the hairbrush is a bad idea! I end up with a poof!)

Swag: Buttons or Bookmarks?
Bookmarks. I'm always loosing my page!

Phone: Touchscreen or old-school keyboard?
Old school keypad all the way! I"m retro, yo.

Thanks to Kody and Teen Book Scene!

LiLi

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Teen Book Scene: Author Interview with R. T. Kaelin



R.T. Kaelin is a loving husband, father of two wonderful children, and a lifelong resident of Ohio, currently in Columbus. After graduating from college, for the first twelve years of his career he has worked as a software engineer. After creatively writing a local gaming group, it was suggested he try his hand at writing something more prodigious. Encouraged, he finally committed to the undertaking, writing the first book of his The Children of the White Lions series, Progeny. When he is not writing, he loves to travel and has a passion for cooking. 

Could you tell readers more about yourself?

I am just a person in my early thirties (with a birthday later this week) who decided to take a crack at writing a novel. I had read a few bad books, said to myself “I could do better than that,” and decided to try. I am married to an awesome wife and have two small children (who are the namesakes and inspiration behind the two main characters in the book). I live in Ohio but would love to be able to move to someplace warm. Phoenix would be nice. Or I could deal with Italy. I’d suffer the cold there if I could live in the Tuscan countryside.

How long did Progeny take to write?

From the moment I decided I was serious about writing the book, about a year in total. First, I spent a few months building the world with its countries, cultures, people, geography, history, etc. That was followed by seven months of writing and editing on my own and a two-month period of working with my copyeditor.

What was the basis of your inspiration for Progeny?

As a sort of an extension of my first answer: good stories and bad books. I love a good story. Love it. I love reading books and finding little nuggets that the author dropped in, hints of what’s to come without giving away the plot. I adore books where I find new things each time through that makes me realize there is a grand scheme behind everything. After reading three books in a row that were nothing like that – predictable from beginning to end and devoid of intricacy – I wanted to come up with my own sweeping tale. Now, the inspiration behind the characters – most started out based on a person in my life. Some evolved away to be their own character, some did not.

Do you have a favorite character - if so, who and why? (I'd find this one hard!)

You are right. This is a tough question. I like them all for different reasons, even the antagonist. How about I change the question to: Who was your favorite character to write? That one’s easy: Nundle Babblebrook, Master Merchant of Deepwell. Hands down. Writing him is so easy and fun – it’s like writing stream-of-consciousness style. He says what he thinks, when he thinks it – I just type the words.

As an author how did you accomplish seamlessly tying so many stories into one? How did you keep track of them all whilst writing?

How did I keep things so seamless? A lot of planning followed by a lot of editing when the story took on a life of its own. I kept a three or four chapter outline ahead of where I was at all times, so I knew for what I was aiming. Sometimes I had to adjust, but the method worked well most of the time. Once or twice, I wrote parts of future chapters before it was ‘their turn’ just so I knew what to expect. You think trying to keep all the details and storylines woven together was hard for Progeny? Try doing it across books.

What are you future plans as an author - how many books will there be in this series?...When is the next one due out?

My plans are to keep promoting Progeny. It is a self-published novel (literary agents were scared away by its length for a debut author) via my own small press. The goal is to get picked up by a large publishing house and get some national exposure for the book. My writing has received comparisons to Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Scott Lynch, and David Eddings which is immensely humbling, but evidence that I am not completely fooling myself into thinking I can do this (I’m only mildly delusional). The Children of the White Lions series was meant to be four books when I sketched out the overarching story. However, I am thinking it will be more like five. I am in the midst of writing number two, and four novels will not contain the story. As for when the second comes out…it all depends on what happens with Progeny.

Are Eliza and Aryn's stories complete - it's hinted at that they may be dead but not confirmed?

The safest way I can answer that question: No comment at this time.

Will there be a definite winner of Sabine's affection in the next book...or do I sense a bit of sibling rivalry to come?!

I am literally smiling as I write this answer. As I said, I am in the midst of writing the second in the series, so I have a very clear idea of what happens with Sabine and the others (intentionally vague). Some things become clearer, then foggier, then a bit clearer, before getting foggier again. Then everyone’s world turns upside down.

Thanks to R.T. Kaelin and Teen Book Scene!

LiLi

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Audiobook Winners

Winner of The Adoration of Jenna Fox paperback + The Fox Inheritance audiobook:

Factoids: 24 entrants, 30 entries

Congrats...

Kapri


Winner of Death Cloud audiobook:

Factoids: 10 entries & entrants

Congrats...

Donna / Happy Booker 

Winner of All These Things I've Done audiobook:

Factoids: 14 entrants, 34 entries

Congrats...

Small Review

Winner of Glow audiobook:

Factoids: 29 entrants, 69 entries

Congrats...

Vivien

Thank you to everybody who entered all these awesome giveaways, and don't forget that my 400 follower giveaway is still in full-swing! I have already contacted all the winners and am waiting for their addresses. Each person will have 72 hours to get back to me or else I am choosing another winner.

Also...I'm thinking of adding more prizes to my follower giveaway. What do you guys think? :)

LiLi