Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dear Book Bloggers, Be Nice

Dear Book Bloggers is a new feature that I may or may not continue. It's an open letter to the book bloggers about random happenings or ideas. It is entirely my opinion, but feel free to throw in your two cents in the comments.
BE NICE

The book blogging community can be very welcoming and kind, but beware, because there are going to be those Negative Nancy’s and Debbie Downers. There are an insurmountable number of book blogs nowadays and it’s hard to get noticed or be acknowledged by others, but your best bet is to always treat others with kindness and respect.

See, there’s been a whole mess of trouble with negative reviews and hate directed towards bloggers who post negative reviews.  Some bloggers are fine with it; others choose not to post negative reviews. Either way, it shouldn’t be a problem.

I you post a negative review, do it without attacking an author. That seems pretty simple, right? State what you found undesirable and move on. If a blogger is clear about his/her issues with a book, then there really shouldn’t be a problem. Is an author going to like it? Probably not. But don’t go tweeting about it and @replying the author with your review. That’s stupid and almost an open call for bashing.

Authors, for the most part, like book bloggers. We spread the word about their books, so keep that relationship open by using your head. Authors put their hearts and souls into their books and the last thing a blogger should do is tell them it sucks.

The same goes for commenting on other blogs. Keep it clean and keep it kind. Bloggers love comments. We thrive on them, so when someone looks down to read them and sees vitriol being spewed, it hurts. If you don’t like what a blogger has to say, then ignore it. If you hate In My Mailbox posts, don’t comment on them. If you feel it’s absolutely necessary to say something...don’t. Pat Benatar said love is a battlefield and no way should book blogging feel the same way.

So make your life, my life, and every other blogger’s life easier and, like the British say, “keep calm and carry on.”

With huggles to go around,

- CLOSED - March - Dazzling Debuts Giveaway

One person will win:
  • A copy of Clarity SIGNED by Kim Harrington + bookmark
  • The Liar Society bookmark SIGNED by Lisa & Laura Roecker
  • Haven bookmark
  • Class of 2k11 swag
  • Born At Midnight swag pack 
    • Bookplate SIGNED by C.C. Hunter
    • Poster
    • Bookmarks
    • Pen & notepad
    • Mirror
Giveaway is closed

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Open to US only
Fill out the FORM below to enter

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Author Interview: C.C. Hunter


C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she's not writing, she's reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels for Grand Central. www.christie-craig.com
*Bio taken from C.C.'s website
What were your first thoughts when you saw the cover for BORN AT MIDNIGHT?
Should I tell you the truth?  Okay. . .  My first thought was:  What the heck is my character doing wearing a dress while she climbs a tree in the woods?  Didn’t her mom teach her better?  Obviously, not because she’s also wearing a dress as she steps inside the falls in the woods on the next cover.  LOL.  In all seriousness, though, I love, love both covers. I felt as if I’d won the cover lottery when I saw them both.  To me, the most important thing about a cover is that it’s beautiful, and that it reflects the tone of the book.  I feel my covers for the Shadow Falls series with their spooky and eerie tones are perfect reflections of my books . . . and I hope my readers agree.  
I could picture your confused face with a question mark above it. Just a huh? moment, but I'm happy the cover grew on you. I absolutely love it. It's a definite eye-catcher and that's always a good thing. 

Is it different having a YA book coming out as opposed to an adult book? 
Oh, yes.  It’s like giving birth to a whole different kind of animal.  LOL.  Not only am I marketing to a slightly different audience, but this is my first book with St. Martin’s Press Griffin.  So it’s a little scary and a lot exciting.  The YA audience has a much bigger online presence than my romance fans.  That means, I have to have more of an online presence, too.  I’m having fun and learning a lot.  This year is my year for change, though.  I’ve also switched publishing houses with my romances, too, so everything is a little scarier this year.  But that’s okay.  Fear is good for us because it helps us grow.  And being so short, I could really use a few more inches.  LOL.
I guess I need some more fear in my life because I could use a few more inches myself.
If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?
Oh, this is hard.  Each of the supernaturals in my series has something great about them.  Vampires are fearless, werewolves are close to their family and friends, shapeshifters know how to fit into any situation, witches have a spell to fix almost every problem and the fae, well, they can soothe other people’s fears and insecurities.  Kylie, the heroine of the Shadow Falls series, is an unknown supernatural.  She has several of the traits of the others but she just can’t be categorized yet, and I think that sort of fits me, too.  I’m a little this, a lot that and a whole bunch of everything in between.
Ooh, sounds like the best of all worlds.
What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you?
Thing?  That means only one and that’s just not possible.  You see, crazy in my life is a constant.  I’m debating telling you about the memory of my first kiss that is tied to the memory of the worse case of hiccups I ever had, as well as the recollection of the first time I saw my grandfather in his tighty-whities.  Believe me when I say those three happenings should not be connected, yet they were.  It’s amazing the experience didn’t leave me kissing impaired.  But I’ll save that for a blog post.  LOL.

Maybe I should tell you about my bad hair day that turned into my first time I was threatened with a knife-- a knife that just happened to be big enough to skin Bambi—which happened on the same day that I had about ten guns pointed at me.  Eight of those guns were attached to L.A. police officers, who thought I was robbing the pizza place where I worked.  And the other two were attached to what appeared to be homeless people, a few hours later that same afternoon.  So to pull it all together for you, that day involved me working at a pizza place, a bad perm, a cook who accidentally triggered the alarm before we opened—I personally think it was the crazy permed hair and the fact that I hadn’t gotten into my uniform yet that made the cops think I was robbing the joint—a knife-bearing credit card thief who came in later that day, and some undercover cops disguised as homeless people who came to  rescue me from the knife-wielding thief, but when they pointed their guns at me and told me to get behind the counter, I didn’t know they were cops, I thought they were with the bad guy.  Let’s just say, I lived to tell about it, but I will not vouch to the state of my underwear after it happened.  And, yeah, that’s why I make my own pizza today.  LOL.
I don't normally use this expression, but OMG! That truly is crazy. I can't blame you for making your own pizza now. And for those who want to know more about the first kiss and grandpa's tighty-whities, check out C.C.'s blog
 
And the most important question last: What is your favorite kind of cookie?
Oh, I don’t even have to think hard about this one.  It’s Chocolate Chip with pecans.  Yum. 
Yum indeed!
 

 

Find C.C. Hunter online:

Buy it online:


St. Martin's Griffin has kindly offered up 1 (one) finished copy of Born At Midnight to one lucky reader.

Rules:
You do NOT need to be a follower
Open INTERNATIONALLY
Fill out the FORM to enter

Giveaway has ended
 
For more info, you can see my detailed Contest Policy
*Giveaway sponsored by St. Martin's and book will be shipped by publisher


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Review: Those That Wake by Jesse Karp

Title: Those That Wake
Author: Jesse Karp
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
E-ARC (via Netgalley), 329 pages
Date Published: March 21, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
New York City’s spirit has been crushed. People walk the streets with their heads down, withdrawing from one another and into the cold comfort of technology. Teenagers Mal and Laura have grown up in this reality. They’ve never met. Seemingly, they never will.

But on the same day Mal learns his brother has disappeared, Laura discovers her parents have forgotten her. Both begin a search for their families that leads them to the same truth: someone or something has wiped the teens from the memories of every person they have ever known. Thrown together, Mal and Laura must find common ground as they attempt to reclaim their pasts.
Those That Wake is one of those books that really makes you think. The book is labeled dystopian, but I’d say it’s much more sci-fi. Normally, I’d say I don’t do sci-fi, but I really enjoyed how Jesse Karp created this story based on society’s disconnect from human nature and our growing dependency on technology. That, coupled with this crazy, ‘I can’t believe this is actually what this book is about,’ twist, make Those That Wake such a thrilling story.

The post-terrorist attack New York isn’t so different from our actual NYC and that makes it just a little bit scary. People walk around with their hands and eyes glued to their cell phones, trapped in the world of technology and interacting with people less and less. The four main characters of the story, Remak, Mike, Laura, and Mal, see that when no one else does. They’re left in this world where no one knows or remembers them, seemingly hopeless, but still fighting.
The world was slipping away from these people, all right, and something else was slipping in. They were forgetting to care. When they finally bothered to look up, there would be nothing to keep them going. They’d never even put up a fight, because they let desolation consume them bit by bit without even knowing it. ~ pg. 206
At times confusing, always thrilling, and definitely high concept, Those That Wake is a story to ponder. It’s split into four parts and starts off a bit slow, but once part 2 rolls around, the energy picks up. It’s almost necessary to read this one quickly, otherwise the reader will get lost. I found myself re-reading passages just to make sure I was clear about what was going on, but it’s worth it. The ending messes with your mind, switching realities, confusing the reader, but ultimately hopeful. That last word there is important…read the story and find out exactly why.

Those That Wake
is a fascinating, fast-paced, mind-blowing take on our collective thoughts and how much life is actually worth. It’s a thought-provoking story with intricate twists and tension-filled scenes. Fans of dystopia, sci-fi, and Inception-style stories should get a kick out of it. Jesse Karp has given the YA community something truly unique that stands out and should be noticed. Not only is it well-written, but very well executed as well. I’ll be on the lookout for his future work.

Opening line: Mal looked in the mirror and saw a road map of mistakes. ~ pg. 3

Favorite lines:

“You think that the world exists apart from your apathy, your inadvertent disdain for things, but it doesn’t. They are bound together. Your minds are far more powerful than you know. Your conception destroys things even as it creates them.” ~ pg. 285
And this one:
“Your life was worth everything.” ~ pg. 316
*This is the e-ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Jesse Karp online:

Buy it online:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Winners!

Winner of the SIGNED Breathless Reads poster is:

Pikachu
I have to say I'm very honored to be able to ship this wonderful prize off to a lovely pokemon.

Winners of Num8ers: The Chaos by Rachel Ward are:

Jessi E.

Natalie at Mindful Musings

*All winners have been notified and have 48 hours to respond or alternate winners may be chosen

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: Wynter Chelsea: The Legacy by Becca Ritchie

Title: Wynter Chelsea: The Legacy
Author: Becca Ritchie
Publisher: Outskirts Press (self-pubbed)
Paperback, 377 pages
Date Published: October 18, 2008
Description (Taken from Goodreads): 
Four hundred years ago a creature descended upon the Earth. The supernatural hunted innocent lives wanting blood and vengeance. Two families, the Wynters and the Chelseas, knew of the darkness that reigned over the world. For thousands of years they hunted and killed to protect those who knew nothing of the dangers.

Amanda Chelsea vies to be a part of the Wynter Chelsea legacy, constantly craving the thrill of a lifetime that her older brother, Jack, and the two Wynter boys experience. At seventeen, Amanda’s passion to fight is overwhelming, and she cannot come to grips with why the boys are protecting her. Abilities are cast upon the new generation of Wynters and Chelseas, only in hopes of guiding them to vanquish the impenetrable creature. Even as Amanda Chelsea receives the power of empathy, feeling other people’s emotions, it brings more harm than a vital potency. Through the turmoil in New Jersey, Dustin Wynter is the only one able to relate to Amanda with a similar gift. As Jack’s rage boils over the edge, Dustin must put the pieces back together and hold the legacy up with a shaking arm and a quirky brother by his side.

When the world couldn’t seem to become anymore dangerous, both parents of each family go missing. Now with no choice but to bring Amanda along, she finally is able to fight without hassle, but is it worth it? Is the disappearance of the ones she loved a price that she has to pay for her dream to join the legacy? Traveling across the United States, the four young adults must confront their hidden emotions and ultimate reason for living.

Wynter Chelsea is a novel about finding truth in oneself and truth in the world amid the darkness that follows. Readers of the young adult genre will connect with Amanda’s coming of age story, where life seems to be at the tip of her fingers but she can’t hold on to it. Wynter Chelsea has a spark of comedy with Trevor Wynter and love with the bubbling young romance of Amanda and Dustin. With a strong sense of love, loss, and sacrifice, Wynter Chelsea connects the sentiment of the reader to the page. When the reader closes the novel, their heart will surely be left within the lines.
Wynter Chelsea: The Legacy is one of those stories that are jam-packed with everything a reader could possibly want. There’s do-or-die action, some mystery involving a legacy and some odd tattoos, unique characters with powers, followed by an interesting plot, and even a little romance thrown in. Becca Ritchie’s take on the paranormal is refreshing. The legacy involving these two families – the Wynter’s and the Chelsea’s – is complex and shrouded in lies. The youngest generation of both families don’t even understand their place in all of it. They think they do, but slowly, we realize they don’t.

Jack and Amanda Chelsea, with Dustin and Trevor Wynter, make up this group of rowdy young adults who yearn for a fight. Amanda is the main character of the story and while initially she’s very easy to like and understand, she can be a bit melodramatic; and for all her complaining about being considered weak, she doesn’t do much to disprove it. I was hoping for some huge show of her badassery, but it never happened. I did enjoy seeing how her empathic powers tied in closely to Dustin’s telepathy though.

Jack, Dustin, and Trevor are so different from one another and that’s a good thing, but most of the time, I could not stand Jack. He’s controlling and selfish and very destructive. He has very few, if any, redeeming qualities. On the plus side, Trevor is a riot. And Dustin’s a good guy for the most part. The slow reveal about the legacy is well done too. Each tidbit of information is punctuated with a killer action scene. And the romance feels very authentic and isn’t instant. I wanted to scream at Amanda that ‘the hot boy wants you, even if he won’t admit it!’ because she was not seeing it.

Wynter Chelsea: The Legacy is a thrill ride from first page to last. Ritchie’s storytelling is very well paced and while not all of the characters are all that desirous, their downfalls lend to the story. The book is self-published, so there are some grammatical issues, but it didn’t really take anything away from the story. My biggest problem was Amanda’s somewhat repetitive internal speech monologues at the ends of each chapter. Aside from that, the book was more than I had imagined and each small reveal left me eager for more. I’m so ready to pick up the sequel now.

Opening lines: Our family legacy is very simple. We hunt, kill, and destroy. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: “Fu-“ I tried again, but Dustin put his hand over my mouth.

“I think she was going to say something nice to me this time,” Trevor bantered. “Like funny Trevor or fun in the sun.”     ~ pg. 268
3.5
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Becca Ritchie online:

Buy it online:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Think About It Thursday (13): Self-Publishing

Image used under Creative Commons - Original belongs to Salady
 
Last week, I blogged about burnout, and in case you didn't notice, I took some of the advice to heart and haven't been devoting as much time to blogging. In fact, I even made it to an impromptu get together with some friends where we shopped and consumed some delish margaritas (all you underage peeps stay away!)
This week I want to get back to the blogging world to talk about self-publishing.
To me, self-published books are like a minefield. They are everywhere, littering the YA market. And many of them have a lot to offer, but you always have to be prepared for one of them to blow up on you and just...suck. Self-pubbed authors lack the editing and revisions that authors who are with a house have. This can lead to plot holes, grammatical errors, and other storyline issues, but it's not necessarily true for all self-pubbed books.
 
I'm more than open to reading self-pubbed books and have enjoyed several of them, but I also know that I've been pretty lucky because I've heard horror stories too. In fact, I know more than a handful of bloggers who aren't even willing to accept self-pubbed books because they don't want to hate them. That's not me though. I'm happy to read self-pubbed books, but you better be sure that I do my research on one prior to accepting review requests. 
 
What are your thoughts on self-published books? Like them? Don't like them? 
 
I normally determine whether or not to review a self-pubbed book based on other reviews and excerpts. Excerpts are key for me. If I'm apprehensive about a book, an excerpt could easily win me over. It could also sway me against the book, but it's better I don't read a book and write a negative review than to read a book, really dislike it, and have that negative review up for everyone to see.

Self-pubbed books are extremely easy to come by now, especially on e-readers. There are like 7 million self-pubbed e-books for the Amazon Kindle and as NOOKbooks. It's crazy and I'm sure I'd be disappointed by more than a few.

Share your thoughts on self-publishing in the comments! Is it good? Is it bad? Are you open to self-pubbed books or more wary of them? Have you been burned before or is it just the stigma that turns you off?
 
*I also wanted to point out and laugh with you about a NOOKbook that's free to download right now, called....wait for it....The Princess and the Penis. I actually laughed out loud when I saw it. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (3/23/11)

 
Waiting on Wednesdays is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

When I have nothing to post and it is a Wednesday, WoW's tend to take over for the day. It's all good though because there are some seriously awesome books that I'm uber excited for.


Future Imperfect by K. Ryer Breese
April 26, 2011

Ade Patience can see the future and it's destroying his life. When the seventeen-year-old Mantlo High School student knocks himself unconscious, he can see days and decades into his own future. Ade's the best of Denver's "divination" underground and eager to join the heralded Mantlo Diviners, a group of similarly enabled teens. Yet, unlike the Diviners, Ade Patience doesn't see the future out of curiosity or good will; Ade gives himself concussions because he's addicted to the high, the Buzz, he gets when he breaks the laws of physics. And while there have been visions he's wanted to change, Ade knows the Rule: You can't change the future, no matter how hard you try.

His memory is failing, his grades are in a death spiral, and both Ade's best friend and his shrink are begging him to stop before he kills himself. Ade knows he needs to straighten-out. Luckily, the stunning Vauxhall Rodolfo has just transferred to Mantlo and, as Ade has seen her in a vision two years previously, they're going to fall in love. It's just the motivation Ade needs to kick his habit. Only things are a bit more complicated. Vauxhall has an addiction of her own, and, after a a vision in which he sees Vauxhall's close friend, Jimmy, drown while he looks on seemingly too wasted to move, Ade realizes that he must break the one rule he's been told he can't.

The pair must overcome their addictions and embrace their love for each other in order to do the impossible: change the future.

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
May 24, 2011

One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington
June 2, 2011

A profoundly moving, uplifting novel about those who are left at home during wartime and a teenage girl bravely facing the future.

When Alice learns that he father is being deployed to Iraq, she's heartbroken. Matt Bliss is leaving just as his daughter blossoms into a full-blown teenager. She will learn to drive, shop for a dress for her first dance, and fall in love all while trying to be strong for her mother and take care of her younger sister. Alice wears her dad's shirt every day, even though the scent of him is fading and his phone calls are never long enough. Life continues without him, but nothing can prepare Alice for the day two uniformed officers arrive at their door with news.

Alice Bliss is a gorgeous, transforming novel about the support of a small town looking after its own in times of loss; the love between an absent father and his daughter; the complicated love between Alice and her mother, Angie; and first love between Alice and the boy next door. It's a universal story and yet it touches on something very personal: these characters' struggles amid uncertain times echo our own, lending Alice Bliss an immediacy and poignancy that are both relevant and real.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review: The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

Title: The Lover's Dictionary
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardcover, 211 pages
Date Published: January 4, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
A sweet and touching modern love story, told through dictionary entries.

basis, n.
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.

How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s
The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.
I’ll let the description speak for itself in explaining the book, but I will say: this is a short read. I finished it in about an hour and like always, David Levithan does not disappoint.

The format of The Lover’s Dictionary is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Short snippets of the lives of a couple are showcased through dictionary definitions. The chosen words play out in each scenario, some funny, some tender, some angry, and some a little heartbreaking. Levithan somehow captures the narrator and made me care for him. He remains nameless, as does the woman in question, but the two of them have this up and down, rollercoaster of a relationship that will get into your heart and make you feel for them.

The Lover’s Dictionary is not fun or lighthearted; it is real and full of aching and pain, but also the budding curiosity of new love and the hope for a forever. David Levithan is a force to be reckoned with and this book showcases that. Each page brought with it another line of inspiration or a few words that just jumped out and grabbed me. I don’t even have a favorite line, I have about ten.

Opening line:
Aberrant, adj.
“I don’t normally do this kind of thing,” you said. ~ pg. 3

Favorite lines (one of many): You were asleep, and I imagined you older and older. Your hair graying, your skin folded and creased, your breath catching. And I found myself thinking: If this continues, if this goes on, then when I die, your memories of me will be my greatest accomplishment. Your memories will be my most lasting impression. ~ pg. 161
 *This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find David Levithan online:

Buy it online:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Winner of February Dazzling Debuts Book + Swag

The winner of the February Dazzling Debut book of choice + the above swag is...


Jill of The O.W.L.

*CLAIMED

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In My Mailbox Vlog - (3/20/11)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is a list of any of the books you may have received in the past week from bookstores, libraries, authors/publishers, trades, etc.



For Review:
Chime by Franny Billingsley
The Dark City (Relic Master, #1) by Catherine Fisher

Won (from Random Buzzers):
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Bought:
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Goodies:
Rage poster from Jackie Morse Kessler

Random Acts of Kindness (RAK)
The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott (Thanks Emily @ Red House Books!)

If you don't know what Random Acts of Kindness is, then head over to Book Soulmates to find out and start spreading the love!

Gifted (Thanks Mom!):
The Mortal Instruments #1-3 audiobook by Cassandra Clare
(Includes City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass)
Sweep: Volume 1 by Cate Tiernan
Sweep: Volume 2 by Cate Tiernan
Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers
Deadly Little Games (Touch, #3) by Laurie Faria Stolarz
The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh

*Special thanks to Wiley @ Authors On the Web, LibraryThing, Penguin/Dial,  Random Buzzers, Jackie Morse Kessler, Emily @ Red House Books, and mi madre :-)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Contest Craze Mini-Challenge: Teams

Princess Bookie is hosting Contest Craze again and this is a little mini-challenge for it. She's asking us about teams. Which teams we're on and why.
Teams are a huge part of all YA books with a love triangle. Whether people like it or not, readers take sides and I'm usually very supportive of my 'team.'

The Hunger Games series is one of those epic stories that people argue over. Not so much about the story really, but about the two guys in it that Katniss is caught between. For me, there was never a choice between Gale or Peeta. It was always Peeta.

So what team are you on?
 
 Are you Team Gale? 
Avan Jogia pictured  
Or Team Peeta?
Alexander Ludwig pictured
*The actors pictured are in no way associated with The Hunger Games movie, though I have hope that they may be soon because they both seriously look the part to me :-)
 

Jennifer L. Armentrout's Half-Blood Teaser Trailer + Epic Contest

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout doesn't come out until September, but she recently posted this awesome trailer on her blog.



See? Aren't you uber excited for it now?

She also has this EPIC contest going on where several people can win uber awesome stuff. All you have to do is help spread the word about the contest, about the book, and about the awesomesauce trailer.

Head on over to Jennifer's blog and to see more details about the contest and enter yourself!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Review: The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Title: The Vespertine
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
E-ARC (via Netgalley),
Date Published: March 7, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.

When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.
The Vespertine is a stunningly elegant novel set in summer and autumn of 1889. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction, even when it has a slight paranormal twist, but Saundra Mitchell completely captivated me with her words. Amelia’s summer in Baltimore, learning the ways of women and finding a suitable husband, doesn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary, but when she begins to have visions at sunset and her world spins out of control, we get to see just how extraordinary it all is.

Amelia’s summer away from home and her overbearing brother is full of freedoms and adventure. She’s a young woman, but with her second cousin Zora, she’s a force to be reckoned with. The two girls live for slight misbehaviors and sidelong glances at boys they should not be after. Their interactions are very much sisterly and full of affection. Amelia’s instant attraction to Nathaniel, an unsuitable young man, is heady and delicious. Their encounters fan the flames of Amelia’s fiery heart and made me yearn for more.

If Mitchell’s vivid writing and incredible setting isn’t enough, Amelia’s sunset visions and the slow reveal of a ‘ruined girl’ make this impossible to put down. The time period lends so much to character development and growth because in 1889, young women were meant to be proper young ladies who did not go out alone and certainly did not attract or accept the attention of young men without the use of proper channels (i.e.: suitors calling on them). But Zora and Amelia enjoy flaunting the rules a bit and are much happier following their emotions and their hearts.

Mitchell’s writing, as I said before, is stunning. The words she weaves together form these beautiful sentences and this unforgettable story. It truly feels like the reader is not an outside party looking in, but someone who was there, alongside Amelia every step of the way. Amelia easily reels the reader with her tenacity and Nathaniel had me swooning with his straight-forward feelings without any pretenses or disguises. There is a sense of urgency throughout the book that makes it a page-turner. The autumn chapters in Maine that are interspersed throughout Amelia’s summer stay in Baltimore heighten the tension because it is clear that the future is not that bright. Getting there kept me on the edge of my seat.

The Vespertine is gorgeous and beautiful and full of words that made me sigh. Saundra Mitchell has created a story that I never thought I’d enjoy, yet I’ve discovered I love. Amelia, Zora, Nathaniel, and every single character in between are a delight to read; whether it’s for their good qualities or their bad. I wish this story was longer so I could have travelled along with Amelia through Baltimore, Maine, and anywhere the vespers would have taken her. I implore you – even if this doesn’t sound like your kind of story – read The Vespertine. It took me by surprise and I can only hope its magic works on you as well.

Opening line: I woke in Oakhaven, entirely ruined.  ~ pg. 3

Favorite lines: “Only a fraud can promise you everything. It’s truth that has limits.” ~ pg. 166
And this one is gorgeous:
Swept unsteady, I startled at the sweet pain that filled me. Since our first meeting, I ran mad with him; he ran wild in my veins. We had no quiet affection to spare between us, only tempting and taunting and impossible longings. ~ pg. 226
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Think About It Thursday (13): Burnout

Image used under Creative Commons - Original belongs to Salady
Merriam-Webster defines 'burnout' as: exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration
That's pretty close to how I'm feeling right now. Maybe not quite burnt out, but I'm getting there. And unfortunately, blogging is part of that. I've been posting now more than ever before - almost every single day and with the Dazzling Debuts feature, I feel almost obligated to read, read, read. This, on top of not having a real job, but working at least 5 days a week, sometimes all 7, leaves me dead by the end of the day. 

Sometimes, the last thing I want to do is pick up a book and read. Most of the time, I pull out a book, start to read or whip out my laptop to get to blogging/commenting and I wind up like this:
That's not to say I don't enjoy reading or blogging, but I'm working on finding a balance now. 

If you're a fellow blogger, are you ever overwhelmed by your TBR pile or balancing blogging with work and life? How do you handle it all? Day to day life can be overwhelming for anyone, so if you have any de-stressing tips, please share them.

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