Monday, October 31, 2011

YA Spooktacular Grand Prize Giveaway!!


This past week has been a blast! A little hectic and a lot of crazy (hello snowstorm in October!) and I still have no internet - this post is going up from a Dunkin Donuts - but the YA Spooktacular was an enormous success and it couldn't have happened without so many authors generously donating their time and so many bloggers kindly contributing and posting along with us.

But the week has come to a close and Halloween is here, so the Grand Prize Giveaway is here too.

The giveaways spread out within each story are all open until midnight EST tonight - click the banner above to be taken to the master post to see where each giveaway is. The prize packs for each story are all open until November 3rd, so go enter! And you can still read each by clicking on the story image. You'll find the forms for the US grand prize and the international grand prize below. Thanks for following along and best of luck to all entrants :)





Sunday, October 30, 2011

No Power=No Posting

I currently have no power (doing this from my phone) and I'm not sure when it will be back. I'll try to post from work or something today and tomorrow. If I can't, you can find the grand prize for the YA Spooktacular tomorrow at frenzyofnoise.net

Be safe and have a her happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Review: The Shattering by Karen Healey

Title: The Shattering
Author: Karen Healey
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown
Hardcover, 305 pages
Date Published: September 5, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn't prepared for her brother's suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna's brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers.

As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year's Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most.

As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?
The Shattering combines a smattering of subjects, but does it very well. Karen Healey presents the reader with a town plagued by suicides. Only Janna, Sione, and Keri don’t believe they’re suicides. They believe the boys that have died over the years – including each of their older brothers – were murdered.

From this springs the hunt for a murderer and three very well-developed and distinctive characters. Keri is one of those strong without really trying types. She exudes confidence, despite the emotional despair she faces with the sudden loss of her brother. Sione is almost the complete opposite of her. He appears meek and quiet, not confident of himself or facing the same dismay over the death of his brother. Then there’s Janna, who is outwardly cool, chasing boys and her brother’s killer. She’s not easily ruffled, but is forced to confront the worst parts of herself as the plot progresses.

In fact, that’s one of the best aspects of The Shattering. Healey tackles, suicide, cultural prejudices, sex, love, loss, and even the reality of coming out in a small town; all while ensuring her characters stick to their goals of finding the murderer. Parts are a little predictable, but others aren’t. I didn’t even see a huge part of the plot coming into play. But I liked it and I really liked how the story played out.

The Shattering is a character driven story that reads like a faster-paced contemporary, but has this tiny paranormal twist to it. The twist works splendidly though because it keeps the story rooted in reality, while making things just a little more complicated for Keri, Janna, and Sione. If nothing else, The Shattering is different from other YA books, as it isn’t a love story or about angels or demons or vampires or any other overdone subject. Karen Healey keeps it interesting with her richly detailed setting and characters that jump, scream, and fight off the pages.


Opening line: The first time I broke my arm, I was ready for it. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages: The telephone shrilled as I locked the front door, but I didn’t turn back for it. I went, dressed in blue denim and my brother’s blood, to destroy his murderers.
Completely. ~ pg. 240
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Karen Healey online:

Buy it online:

Friday, October 28, 2011

YA Spooktacular - The Corn Stalker - Kimberly Derting + Giveaway

Welcome to story 3 - The Corn Stalker - of the YA Spooktacular. This stop is a few installments into the story, but if you click The Corn Stalker banner below, you'll be brought to Page Turners, who are hosting the first piece of the story by Nick James.

Kimberly Derting

Kara hesitated, her grip tightening.  “Let’s get out of here,” she insisted, taking a step backward, already dragging me away from that eerie whistling, the one that had nothing at all to do with the wind.  The one that was completely out of place in the middle of a cornfield.
I chuckled, but it was an uneasy sound.  “Isn’t that what we’ve been trying to do?”
Even in the dark, I could feel the glare she shot my way.  “Not funny, Josh.”  But her voice was barely a whisper this time.
She was right, it wasn’t funny now.  I let her pull me along, hating the way sweat prickled across my forehead despite the crisp breeze.
I had no idea if she knew where she was going—I doubted it—or if she had a plan at all.  But I followed anyway, guessing that her sense of direction was as good as mine at this point.
When the whistling came again, this time closer, almost at our backs, her nails dug into my skin.  
“What the—“
“I don’t know,” I tried to sound calm, but my throat was constricting and it came out on a wheeze.  For the first time in months, maybe years, I wished I’d brought my inhaler. Honestly, I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d needed the stupid thing.  Yet here I was, stranded in the middle of a corn maze, my airways collapsing in on themselves.  
“It’s okay,” Kara assured me, recognizing the panic in my voice—and what it meant.  “We’re almost there, I know it.”
Somehow her words—lies or not—made me feel better, and my breathing came easier.
That was when we heard the other sound…the scream.  Only this time it didn’t sound like one of those fake, pre-recorded soundtracks.  It wasn’t all static-y, or playing on a repeating loop.
This one was real.
“Run!” I insisted, and now I was dragging her, as branches from the cornstalks whipped at us from both sides, stinging and slicing us.  
It was impossible to see where we were going, and more than once we ran smack into a thick stand of the corn shoots, only to have to turn around and go back, feeling our way around.  We were awkward and clumsy.  
I almost didn’t notice when Kara fell. I almost didn’t realize her fingers had slipped from mine.
“Josh—”  
I froze, panting as I turned to face her.
“What is this?” she whimpered.
I took a step closer, reaching for the cell phone in my pocket.  I already knew we didn’t have service all the way out here, but I held it up anyway, using the LED screen to find her in the darkness.
She was holding her hands out to me, holding them up for me to see.
The leaves around us rustled as the wind kicked up, and somewhere, not so far away, something snapped—a twig or a branch.
“I slipped in it.  It—it’s so…sticky,” she said more quietly this time, the last word nearly lost on the breeze.
As I came closer, she was illuminated by the light from my phone. She gasped at the same time I did.
Her hands were covered in something red…and sticky.
Blood.


To continue the story, go to Portrait of a Book

Kimberly Derting was born and raised in the Seattle area, with the exception of a few short stints in Phoenix, Boise, and San Jose. Kimberly first fell in love with writing (giving up her childhood dreams of being a Veterinarian, and then her later aspirations of "lady trucker") when she signed up for Journalism as her 7th grade elective. It was supposed to an easy A, but it soon became her passion. She moved on to be Copy Editor of the high school yearbook so that she could correct other people's writing mistakes and fill in when they missed their deadlines.

The Body Finder was Kim’s debut, followed by Desires of the Dead and the third book in the series, The Last Echo, will be released in April 2012. Kim’s short story, ‘Skin Contact’, can be found in the anthology Enthralled and The Pledge, a new dystopian book, will be coming out this November from Margaret K. McElderry Books.
*Bio paraphrased from Kim's website

Find Kimberly Derting online:
Buy Kim's books online:
GIVEAWAY

To win an ARC of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and an ARC of Grave Mercy by Robin (R.L.) LaFevers, check out the cover collage below and fill out the form - form can be found by clicking on the Trick or Treat banner.

Cover Collage - All covers are from books in a series or companion books:
Click collage to make it larger

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Think About It Thursdays (19): Halloweeny Books

Image used under Creative Commons - Original belongs to Salady
 
It's almost Halloween, and even though I doubt I'll have time to read Halloweeny books, I'd love some suggestions. I've been wracking my brain and can't think of very many books that truly scared me.
 
What are some of your favorite Halloween reads? Have you read anything that completely freaked you out?
 
The only books I can think of are things by Stephen King (I haven't read many) and very few YA books. The Devouring series by Simon Holt is really good and kinda scary. The first one starts off very, very creepy and I loved it! In fact, I loved all of them. 
 
Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz freaked me out a lot - it's about a mental hospital in Danvers, MA (totally real place and not too far from me). I think the realness and the closeness of it is what made the book that much more freaky to me. 
 
Aside from that, I'm drawing scary book blanks.
 
Help me out, will you? Share some of your favorite scary books in the comments!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

YA Spooktacular Story 2 - PARTY TIME - Is Live!! Giveaways Everywhere!

Story 2 - Party Time - in the YA Spooktacular is now live! Links can be found below and there are a ton of giveaways to enter. Giveaways for story 1 - The Pond in the Forest - are still live as well. Click the YA Spooktacular banner up above to find links for story 1, as well as the big prize pack for story 1.
Tessa Gratton
Gretchen McNeil
Ariane Mandell
Leigh Fallon
Leanna Renee Hieber
Heidi R. Kling
Amy Garvey
Cindy Thomas
Ilsa J. Bick
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Lani Woodland

Story Installment Links:
 Reading Teen - Story by Tessa Gratton - GIVEAWAY
The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia - Story by Gretchen McNeil
- GIVEAWAY
Read This Instead - Story by Ariane Mandell


Reading Angel - Story by Leigh Fallon


Mundie Moms - Story by Leigh Fallon
- GIVEAWAY
Fallen Archangel - Story by Lani Woodland & Melonie Piper
- GIVEAWAY
YA Bookie Monster - Story by Leanna Renee Heiber


Overflowing Shelf - Story by Gretchen McNeil
- GIVEAWAY
Red House Books - Story by Heidi R. Kling
- GIVEAWAY
I Like These Books - Story by Cindy Thomas
- GIVEAWAY
Hooked To Books - Story by Ilsa J. Bick
- GIVEAWAY

The Book Cellar - Story by Heidi R. Kling

Two Chicks On Books - Story by Amy Garvey
- GIVEAWAY


Ticket to Anywhere - Story by Amy Garvey

Supernatural Snark - Story by Jennifer L. Armentrout
- GIVEAWAY

ALL GIVEAWAYS OPEN UNTIL OCT. 31st AT MIDNIGHT

story 2 giveaway goes up on 10/27
Lisa Potts - Story 2 Giveaway - Open until Nov. 3rd at midnight

Monday, October 24, 2011

Book Review: The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Title: The Future of Us
Author: Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Razorbill
ARC, 309 pages
Date Published: November 21, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
It's 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet.

Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM.

Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on--and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future.

Everybody wonders what their Destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.
In the age of Facebook and smartphones, it’s almost difficult to remember a time when every American household didn’t have at least one computer. But that’s exactly the life that Emma and Josh live. 1996 was the year of Toy Story, but for these two used to be best friends, now awkward moment neighbors, 96’ is the year they discover their future selves; all thanks to AOL and the appearance of a website with profiles that very much resemble themselves and people they know.

As far as the premise goes, The Future of Us had me sold. Back that with talented authors Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, and I was more than eager for this book. I’m happy to say that the book had all the aspects I had looked forward to, but it didn’t blow me away.

Emma can be quite whiny and annoying at times, complaining that she has to change what she believes is a horrible, unhappy future, and all based on her future self’s random postings. In 200 characters or so, Emma decides that her future sucks, but since she’s still in 1996, she can change that. And does so more than willingly.

Josh, on the other hand, is much more wary of changing the future on purpose. He’s laid-back and more level-headed than Emma. He also has that pining away for a girl who doesn’t want him thing down pat. Readers will like him and feel for him. I know I did.

The Future of Us is a fast read, with short chapters that alternate between Emma’s and Josh’s POV. At times, it tries too hard to be 90’s and it never manages to actually do that. Still, it’s fun to see Emma’s utter confusion about what Harry Potter is and why it’s one of her favorite books, as well as her future self’s excitement over a night of Netflix and Glee. If you’re looking for a quick read that will entertain you, The Future of Us is sure to do just that.

Opening line: I can’t break up with Graham today, even though I told my friends I’d do it the next time I saw him. ~ pg. 12

Favorite lines/passages: “He broke your heart! How can you call it love when he hurt you so badly?” Kellan pops another fry into her mouth. “It was love because it was worth it.” ~ pg. 54

*This is the 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 Jay Asher online:
Blog | The Future of Us Facebook

Find Carolyn Mackler online:
Blog | Twitter

Pre-order it online:

Friday, October 21, 2011

2011 YA Spooktacular Spread the Word Contest!!

So there's this HUGE event happening on October 24. You may have heard it.

*Contest is at the end, I promise!

Can I just tell you HOW AWESOME all this is going to be? Because it's going to be wicked awesome. So awesome that I'm hosting the event with Nikki at Wicked Awesome Books.

Since the event starts on Monday, we're here to give you a full run-down of what's going on! Some things you should know about the Spooktacular...there are THREE stories. Each story is Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, where you can pick which direction the story goes. It's going to be a week full of tricks, treats, spooky adventure and lots of PRIZES.

There are a lot of stops along the way with some giveaway TRICKS or TREATS--and there's at least one international giveaway at every story. Although, the prize packs aren't international (unless you have a local address we can send to), there will be an international Grand Prize Pack posted alongside the US/Canada one on Halloween Day.

What a list, right? Right. You can check out a complete list of participating bloggers AND all the Story One, Story Two, Story Three & Grand Prize Packs by visiting Frenzy of Noise. I'll try to have pictures of the prize packs up soon as well.

Story One posts on October 24 at midnight. You can start the beginning of the story at Pure Imagination. 

Story 1 Authors:
Beth Revis
Lia Habel
Kate Kaynak
Shannon Delany
Ty Drago
Jen Nadol
Kim Welchons
Caroline Richmond
Christina Ferko
Zoraida Cordova
Nova Ren Suma

On October 25, you can enter the Story One Prize Pack by going to Tangled Up in Words.
Story Two will post on October 26. You can start the beginning of the story at Reading Teen

Story 2 Authors:
Tessa Gratton
Gretchen McNeil
Ariane Mandell
Leigh Fallon
Leanna Renee Hieber
Heidi R. Kling
Amy Garvey
Cindy Thomas
Ilsa J. Bick
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Lani Woodland

On October 25, you can enter the Story Two Prize Pack by going to Lisa M. Potts.


Story Two will post on October 28. You can start the beginning of the story at Page Turners Blog.

Story 3 Authors:
Nick James
Jessica Spotswood
Scott Tracey
Patricia Osei
Jennifer Rush
Elizabeth Miles
Kimberly Derting
Kristi Cook
Victoria Schwab
Danielle Bunner
Adele Griffin

On October 29, you can enter the Story Three Prize Pack by going to Christina's Books.

The Grand Prize giveaway will go up on October 31st both here at Wicked Awesome Books and at Frenzy of Noise.

***************************************
Now, you can help us spread the word! Tweet! Use the #YASpooktacular hash tag on twitter. We'll be there all week! Or post something on your blog/faceboook. Feel free to grab our YA Spooktacular button, header, or write another post telling all your followers about the event. The more people that know about it, the better! 

We're also going to give you an opportunity to win something NOW. What? If you leave a comment(s) on this post or the one at Frenzy of Noise (either here or there, we'll be picking one winner from comments on both blogs) --with a link to anywhere you posted/tweeted/etc about the #YASpooktacular, then you can be entered to win a mini-prize pack before the event even starts! It runs from now until October 23 at 10pm.
  • ARC of In Darkness by Nick Lake
  • ARC of The Radleys by Matt Haig
  • ARC of Enthralled anthology
  • ARC of Going Underground by Susan Vaught
  • ARC of A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
  • ARC of The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
  • Welcome to Bordertown anthology
  • Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
  • Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters
Happy Tweeting! Get ready for the #YASpooktacular!

Stay up to date with everything YA Spooktacular

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review: The Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: The Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown
Hardcover, 418 pages
Date Published: September 27, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
Words cannot adequately describe the monumental beauty and perfection that is The Daughter of Smoke & Bone. The first chapter, the first page, hooks the reader and gives us a character to care about, and to root for. Karou has this magnetic personality that I was instantly drawn to. She’s funny and witty and has this edge to her; but she’s also has this utterly vulnerable side that shows just how broken and empty she is.

The setting of Prague and Marakesh come alive with vivid clarity. Laini Taylor places the reader on the twisting cobblestone streets alongside Karou and guarantees that we live her every experience with her. In doing so, Laini Taylor demonstrates this flawless prose that captures the best and the worst of every character and every scene.

Not only is Karou intriguing, but so is Brimstone’s world of hidden knowledge and secrets long kept. The chimaera are cloaked in mystery and since Karou knows little about them, the reader remains in the dark as well. Then there are the black handprints and Akiva. Both are tied to the chimaera, but, at first, it’s unclear how. The tension between Karou and Akiva crackles with energy and the two characters alternating chapters keeps the story moving without pause.

Karou’s fight for the truth – and for her life many times – is fast-paced and complex. Nothing is ever what it seems. The omg-worthy twist towards the end does pull the reader out of the story a bit, but if you stick with it, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most perfectly told stories and one of the most intricately detailed plotlines in young adult literature.

The Daughter of Smoke & Bone
is so much more than just a tale of angels and demons. It’s about secrets and wishes and love and hope. Taylor is an extremely talented storyteller who knows how to hook her readers and never let go. Believe me when I say that this is a must-read.

Opening line: Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages:
It was like stepping into the pages of a book – a book alive with color and fragrance, filth and chaos – and the blue-haired girl moved through it all like a fairy through a story, the light treating her differently than it did others, the air seeming to gather around her like held breath. As if this whole place were a story about her. ~ pgs. 78-79
Because it's impossible to pick just one:
“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.” ~ pg. 288
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Laini Taylor online:

Buy it online:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cover Reveal: Revived by Cat Patrick

So you remember this book, right?
And you remember I LOVED IT (and you should too), right?
Now, did you hear about Cat Patrick's new book?

It's called REVIVED and it comes out May 2012. Here's the blurb on it:
A riveting thriller about "the God Project," a hush‐hush government program that is testing a controversial drug that can bring people back from the dead.
*Taken from Goodreads

And since I know you want to see the freaking awesome cover, I'm sharing it with you today!
In fact, today is the big cover reveal, so make sure you head over to Cat's blog, where she's revealing the cover too, and let her know how much you love it :)

Currently scheduled for release on May 8, 2012

And, here's the for reals synopsis:
As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash.

Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life.

When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency's true goals, she realizes she's at the center of something much larger - and more sinister - than she ever imagined.
Add Revived on Goodreads

Find Cat Patrick online:

Buy Forgotten online:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

In My Mailbox Vlog - (10/16/11)

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.

Okay, this video has a lot and I mean A LOT of books in it. My pre-orders came in, I received some great review books, and I went to this little thing called NEIBA - it was freaking awesome!! It was small (like a tiny, itty bitty corner compared to BEA), but it was 1000x better. I was actually able to stop and chat with reps from the pub houses and it wasn't a mad rush for books. Oh, and I picked up more than a few awesome things.



For Review:
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

On NOOK:
Sign Language by Amy Ackley
Touch by Jennifer Snyder
Between the Sea and the Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore


Bought:
Past Perfect SIGNED by Leila Sales - love listening to Leila read from her books!
The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3) by James Dashner
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Finally shipped!)
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Ditto from above)
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan (Again, finally!)
Storm Glass SIGNED by Maria V. Snyder
Inside Out SIGNED by Maria V. Snyder
Poison Study SIGNED by Maria V. Snyder


From NEIBA - not all are listed, but here are some:
Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King by William Joyce & Laura Geringer
Dear Bully edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Legend SIGNED by Marie Lu
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
My Name Is Mina by David Almond
Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet
The Flint Heart by Katherine & James Paterson, Illus. by John Rocco
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Pandemonium (Delirium, #2) by Lauren Oliver
Perception (Clarity, #2) by Kim Harrington
Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley
Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1) by R.L. LaFevers
The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams
A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2) by Beth Revis
Revived by Cat Patrick


*I cannot express enough thanks to Little, Brown, Bloomsbury, Amy Ackley, Jennifer Snyder, Leila Sales, Maria V. Snyder, HarperCollins, Penguin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Random House, Scholastic, Candlewick, Sourcebooks, any publisher I missed, all the reps that I had the opportunity to chat with, all the booksellers I met, that incredibly kind author from Keene, and each and every other lovely person I met at NEIBA - the day was wonderful beyond belief

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Review: Wildefire by Karsten Knight

Title: Wildefire
Author: Karsten Knight
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
e-ARC, 401 pages
Date Published: July 26, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads): 
Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

You know that feeling you get when you finish a really good book and you’re dying to read more? Wildefire gave me that feeling. Actually, it gave me that feeling and then some because when I read that last line, I wanted to literally scream that I NEED MORE! I plan on berating Karsten Knight over and over because of the giant freaking cliffhanger he ended Wildefire with.

So obviously, this book is great. In fact, it’s phenomenal – with strong, intelligent characters and a protagonist with so much presence, she leaps right off the page. Ashline is chock-full of sarcastic wit and hilarious snark. She has a tough girl attitude, but is a total marshmallow underneath. Seeing both sides of Ash makes her that much more real. Seeing Ash come into her own and realize who she is one of the best parts of the book. On top of the mythology, Ashline’s family issues are just as interesting as her newfound volcano goddess issues.

Eve, Ashline’s sister, is one of those hard, angry, bitter girls with a little remorse. She’s everything Ash is not and the sister’s interactions crackle with tension. Ashline’s fellow Blackwood Academy students add another layer to Wildefire’s already complicated story. Raja, Ade, Rolfe, Lily, Jackie, and gorgeous park ranger Colt all stand out in their own ways. Knight manages to imbue each character with personality and vigor. And as much as I don’t want to pick favorites, Ade and Rolfe both stole every scene they were in.

The mythology in Wildefire is fundamental to how the story plays out and Karsten Knight has worked some serious magic in the book’s pages. Not only is the premise fascinating, but it’s full of unexpected twists and turns. There’s a prophet, gods and goddesses, several different nationalities in a small boarding school – thank you for a perfect explanation on this one, Karsten – and a little romantic drama to spice things up a bit.

Karsten Knight has delivered a stellar debut in Wildefire; packed with plenty of action, some insane happenings, and a cast of some of the most superbly fleshed out characters,  any and all readers will find something to enjoy. The mythology involved is inventive and intriguing, mixing different cultural beliefs flawlessly. Knight tortures the reader by jolting them in one direction and then promptly altering the path. I thought I knew what to expect, but boy was I wrong. Be prepared to for a cliffhanger, but not one you’ll ever expect. Wildefire recently just came out, but I’m prepared to beg Karsten Knight to give me anything from Embers & Echoes.  

*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

In Which I Neglect to Have Any Post Ready

Life has been busy lately.

I know I'm not alone there, but my plan was to keep up with the blog while at this new job. I haven't. At least not as much as I'd like. In fact, I try to post a review every other day and have other posts in between, but it hasn't been happening like that. I seriously need to start scheduling stuff, but at the moment, I have one book review for a book that's already out and the rest don't come out for at least a month; most of them several months.

I've been reading less, blogging less, working more, and haven't been able to figure out a way to balance everything. Hopefully I do, but for now my blogging won't be as regular as I'd like. 

There will still be reviews and I'm hoping I can still manage at least two reviews per week, but no guarantees. 

The YA Spooktacular is coming up in 11 days with a spread the word giveaway soon - probably Monday - so that's been taking up a little of my time, but it will be worth it. So, so, so worth it. I'm getting together with the event's co-host - Danielle over at Frenzy of Noise - this weekend to sort out prizes. And yes, there are so many that we need to sort them out and divide them up.

So please forgive my lack of blogging, twitter presence, and commenting. I promise I'm trying!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - The Marked Son (10/11/11)

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

The Rules:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) or so “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

I'm just a few chapters in, but I love the writing style in The Marked Son. Dylan, the main character is so wonderfully jaded and I'm at a point where THINGS ARE HAPPENING. I think this one is going to be a perfect October read. Here's an ominous snippet:
Soon, the approaching storm will block out all the light. I scan the area, and just when I'm about to give up and breathe easier, far within the trees there's another pale flicker of movement.
     Someone – or something – is definitely in the woods. ~ pg. 41

Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he's never met, he had no idea what.

When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents' farm, he knows he's seen her before...in his dreams. He's felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.

Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he's completely insane or he's about to have the adventure of his life, because where they're going is full of creatures he's only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death...

*Description taken from Goodreads

Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Review: Family by Micol Ostow

Title: Family
Author: Micol Ostow
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Egmont USA
Hardcover, 376 pages
Date Published: April 26, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
i have always been broken.
i could have.
died.
and maybe it would have been better if i had.

It is a day like any other when seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco, leaving behind her fractured home life and a constant assault on her self-esteem. Henry is the handsome, charismatic man who comes upon her, collapsed on a park bench, and offers love, a bright new consciousness, and—best of all—a family. One that will embrace her and give her love. Because family is what Mel has never really had. And this new family, Henry’s family, shares everything. They share the chores, their bodies, and their beliefs.  And if Mel truly wants to belong, she will share in everything they do. No matter what the family does, or how far they go.

Told in episodic verse, family is a fictionalized exploration of cult dynamics, loosely based on the Manson Family murders of 1969. It is an unflinching look at people who are born broken, and the lengths they’ll go to to make themselves “whole” again.
Family is one of the most disturbing and terrifying, yet oddly captivating, books that I have ever read. As someone who only knows the barest facts about the Manson family murders, Micol Ostow’s take on 17 year old Mel’s descent into cult life is haunting and creepy. We get to see her slowly, but surely lose herself to this notion of family; which is ludicrous and all kinds of messed up, but for someone who has come from so little and so much pain, it makes sense to Mel.

I couldn’t see the appeal or allure that Henry (the Charles Manson-esque figure) has. It’s difficult to understand why so many people would follow him willingly and look at him like a Jesus Christ figure. Mel, Sherry, Leila, Junior, and all the people we don’t hear from view Henry as a savior and a preacher.

Ostow solidifies this fact with her episodic verse, having Henry’s name, His references, be the only things that stand out with capitalization. It’s to ensure that he reader knows, without a doubt, that Henry is running the show. He has essentially brainwashed these people, forced their lives to revolve around him, and has put them into a drug-induced stupor at times, to benefit His own wants and needs.

Mel’s life has become the Henry show and she’s willing to do whatever He wants, whenever He wants. It’s incredibly sad. Mel’s life before Henry was miserable, but her life after Henry isn’t really a step up at all. At times, I wanted to hug her, but then other times I wanted to slap some sense into her; yell at her so she could see what’s going on, that she has been indoctrinated into a desolate cult that’s only purpose is to serve this Henry. What she’s experiencing isn’t love and even though a part of Mel knows that, she doesn’t care. Her desire to be wanted and accepted – even if it’s false – overrides the voice in the back of her mind that’s telling her not to trust her situation.

Family is incredibly disturbing with its back and forth from the slow, despondent fall into cult life, to its hints of the danger that’s to come. Ostow has taken a story that many have at least the vaguest idea of and expanded upon it, dropped the reader into an endlessly forlorn situation and done so splendidly. Episodic verse works in this situation, making each day more painful and fractured. Knowing that things are going to end in a bloodbath makes Mel’s life that much more affecting and I was glued to the page.

Opening line: i have always been broken. ~ pg. 3

Favorite lines/passages:
when i was twelve years old, i drowned.
    luckily, it didn’t take. ~ pg. 6

     infinity has always felt impossible to me. there is
nothing, after all, that doesn’t end. ~ pg. 10
3.5
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Micol Ostow online:

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Boston Area Bookish Events

I'm not sure how many (if any) of you live in or around the Boston area like I do, but we've been lucky to have have some great author events lately and even more coming up. Below is a brief list of YA author events coming up in the Boston area in the next month or so:

*All events are subject to change/cancellation without notice - always check the store's website/call to verify event details

July 28th (Saturday)
G.M. Browning - Cerulean Isle - Toadstool Books - Keene @ 2PM

August 7th (Tuesday)
Gina Rosati - Auracle - Toadstool Books - Milford @7PM

September 29th (Saturday)
Gina Damico - Scorch - Brookline Booksmith @ Time TBA


 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Review: Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Title: Past Perfect
Author: Leila Sales
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse
e-ARC, 303 pages
Date Published: October 4, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated…even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it….
Past Perfect is a contemporary novel in the broadest sense, considering it takes place in the present day, but much of it is in 1774 and then a century later during the Civil War. Chelsea’s job as a historical reenactor is hilarious, especially because of the War her coworkers have with the Civil War reenactors across the street. War strategy, planting of historically inaccurate objects (phones!), and a little romance make Leila Sales sophomore novel a winner.

Sales has a talent with humor and Chelsea – historical name: Elizabeth Connelly – is funny. Her interactions with her parents, particularly with her talker of a father, had me giggling. The drama within Essex is unbelievable (in a good way) because these teens get so into their jobs. The War and the historical reenactment bring about some new words too; my favorite being ‘farbs,’ which is an insult towards the reenactors. I just want to run around giving dirty looks and calling people farbs now.

The story focuses mostly on Chelsea and, surprisingly, not too much on her love life. It’s more about her; growing up and moving on. Sure, Chelsea has an ex-boyfriend and things are complicated and painful between them, and now there’s Dan and all the complications of liking a Civil Warrior, but really, it’s more about Chelsea learning from the past and living in the present. Sales’ writing of Chelsea and her situation is witty and intelligent. Everything with the War and all the historical information is absorbing. On top of that is a cast of supporting characters that are endlessly entertaining with their one liners and dedication to the War.

Past Perfect
is another wondrously amusing and charming book from Leila Sales, and even though I was sold on it before, now I know there won’t be a book by Sales that I won’t love. She gives us delightful characters, witty dialogue, comical situations, and romance that is both sweet and alluring. It would be incredibly difficult to not love this book and I can’t recommend it enough. Leila Sales is contemporary force to be reckoned with.

Opening line: There are only three types of kids who get summer jobs at Colonial Essex Village instead of just working at the mall, like the normal people do. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages:
The lamest guy I know wants to date me. My ex-boyfriend wants to be friends. The only guy who has any potential lives ninety years too late. I hate boys, and my life is a joke. ~ pg. 69
And I lovelovelove this one:
     “So it seems like all of history is concurrent. It’s not a linear series of events. It’s all happening simultaneously. There is one moment, and that moment is now, and we are always present in it. So I’m not reenacting history so much as just living every time at once.” ~ pg. 175

*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 Leila Sales online:
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