Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waiting on Wedneaday (33): Glow, Enshadowed, and Dark of the Moon

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where you can post about upcoming books you're looking forward to.

This is a wonderful chance for blogger to show off what's coming out soon that they are excited about! Every week my wishlist balloons thanks to this awesome meme.

Glow by Amy Cathleen Ryan
What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue? 

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them... 
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth. 
But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside. 
Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.
Why I need this: Fan of The Hunger Games? Why yes I am! This novel looks so good in the way Across The Universe looked good. I am looking to fill my YA sci-fi quota and this amazing little beauty will definitely do the trick! Plus, I Think that cover is stunning in a that simple beauty sort of way!

Glow comes out September 27, 2011 from St. Martin's Griffin.

Enshadowed (Nevermore #2) by Kelly Creagh
While Varen remains a prisoner in the dream-world, Isobel is haunted by his memory. He appears to her in her dreams and soon, even in her waking life. But is she just imagining it? Isobel knows she must find a way back to Varen. She makes plans to go to Baltimore. There, she confronts the figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster—the same dark man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams, calling himself "Reynolds." 
Isobel succeeds in interrupting the Toaster's ritual and, in doing so, discovers a way to return to the dream-world. Soon, she finds herself swept up in a realm which not only holds remnants of Poe's presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen's innermost self. It is a dark world comprised of fear, terror, and anger. 
When Isobel once more encounters Varen, she finds him changed. With his mind poisoned by the dream world, he becomes a malevolent force, bent on destroying all—even himself. Now Isobel must face a new adversary, one who also happens to be her greatest love.
Why I need this: I was positive I needed the first one and though I haven't read it, I'm positive I need this one too. I've heard amazing things about it and can't wait for this sequel. Plus, that cover is gorgeous! You know how pretty it's going to look next to my copy of Nevermore

Enshadowed is out January 24, 2012 from Atheneum. 

Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett
Ariadne is destined to become a goddess of the moon. She leads a lonely life, finding companionship only with her beloved, misshapen brother Asterion, who must be held captive below the palace for his own safety.
Then a ship arrives bearing a tribute of slaves from Athens, and Ariadne meets Theseus, the son of the king of Athens. Ariadne finds herself drawn to the newcomer, and soon they form a friendship—one that could perhaps become something more. 
But Theseus is doomed to die as an offering to the minotaur, that monster beneath the palace—unless he can kill the beast first. And that "monster" is Ariadne’s brother . . .
Why I Need This: Talk about one tricky dilemma. You just CAN'T fall in love with the guy that's destined to kill or be killed by your brother. Tha't just horrible. I can't wait to see how this one plays out!

Dark of the Moon comes out September 19, 2011 from Harcourt Children Books.

A Wedding Announcement... or my entry to Leah Clifford's Contest

Dun, dun, dun, dun. Dun, dun, dun, dun!

Leah Clifford, author of A Touch Mortal, is holding a contest. So first and foremost, check out her website and her video.

Now that you've seen the awesomeness that is her contest, you can see why I am writing this post. So here's my "creative" (not crazy, I swear) contest entry. It's sort of The Bachelorette meets Choose Your Own Ending... but with books. I hope you enjoy!

A Touch Mortal stands beautiful in her long white dress and veil, waiting for her Mr. Right. But as they approach, she realizes she has a problem. It seems that A Touch Mortal is so beautiful and witty that she has attracted five of the most prominent and hunky bachelors of 2011.

Who will she choose to join her on the altar?

Your mission: Choose between the eligible bachelors and help A Touch Mortal get hitched! Just vote on which 2011 debut bachelor gets to make it to the aisle by voting in the form below!

Meet our bachelors:

Bachelor Number 1- Across The Universe by Beth Revis- Intelligent beyond his years, Across The Universe has been bred from birth to lead. Naturally curious, he is always ready for an adventure and very much wants to take A Touch Mortal with him. The only downside, sometimes he's a bit distant almost like he's across the universe.

Bachelor Number 2- Wither by Lauren DeStefano- Kind, gentle, well-meaning and very well off, Wither is your typical well bred young man. He's polite and likes the finer things in life (hence his attraction to our beauty A Touch Mortal) but has a commitment problem. He ends things before they ever get started but that could be because of how short of a lifespan he has.

Bachelor Number 3- Born At Midnight by C.C. Hunter- The good hearted bad boy, Born At Midnight is just trying to find his place in life. A Touch Mortal has just the right style to help him find it and he finds he can really open up to her. A little dangerous and with a rough past, Born At Midnight is really just wanting to open up and show A Touch Mortal who he wants to be. Unfortunately, who he is now always makes her life at risk.

Bachelor Number 4- Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton- Your typical nice guy, Angelfire has always been friends with the wonderful A Touch Mortal. He knows her, maybe better than herself because they've been good friends for many, many lives. Sweet, thoughtful and a bit angelic, he wants nothing more than to make her happy. Though that could be difficult for him since it's hard for him to admit his love.

Bachelor Number 5- Entwined by Heather Dixon- The true romantic at heart, Entwined just wants a fairytale romance. Big ballgowns, intricate castles and plenty of romantic dances, Entwined is a true knight-in-shining armor. Though Entwined really enjoys sweeping you off your feet, he also has the tendancy not to let you back down. He likes to keep things after all...

So which bachelor should A Touch Mortal accept? There can only be one to her perfect soulmate. It's up to you to help her choose!

Thanks everyone for participating! Voting will go on for 1 week and I'll announce the winner of this love story!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Novella Review: Outspoken by James Vachowski

Outspoken by James Vachowski

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 156 KB
Language: English
Source: Provided by author in exchange for a honest review
Cover: I like that this cover leaves the speaker ambiguous as it really works well with the story. I'm not sure this one would grab me on a shelf but it is boy-friendly and this is very much a boy novella.
First Sentence: "The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year."

Novella Summary:

Abraham Lincoln Jenkins is a teenage vandal, social activist, and aspiring revolutionary, but with only four months left until his high school graduation Abraham’s lifelong dream of attending Harvard College is put in jeopardy when he learns that he is still in need of two core credit hours in Physical Education. Unfortunately for Abraham, the only available spaces in a P.E. class are as a cadet in the Army’s JROTC program! 

Told almost exclusively through Abraham’s one-sided complaint letters, OUTSPOKEN is the natural result when the War on Terror collides with the War on Christmas.
OUTSPOKEN is a digital short at >18,000 and is a fast and funny read for both teens and adults.

I'll prefix this by saying this isn't going to be a normal review because this is a novella and therefore, it needs to be looked at a bit differently.

I can honestly say that I had no idea what I should expect when I opened this file. What awaited me was a slightly sarcastic, very intelligent and driven young character with a voice. Told in letter form through multiple people, Outspoken is truly trying to show us the difference between Abraham''s point of view and the rest of the small town he lives in. Though mainly Abraham's correspondence with everyone else in his small town, the other letters really do work to serve as counterarguments for him and allow us to see how his opinion vary from everyone else.

At times incredibly driven and others arrogant, Abraham isn't what I'd call a likable characters. He's opinionated, disrespectful to authority figures and generally sees himself better than everyone around him, but often times with good reason. He refuses to allow the authority figures stereotype him. Yes, he goes to a really bad school and yes, he works at McDonalds but those aren't the end terms goals and he knows it. He just chooses to see his time there as floater for his real life. Even though his condescending tone could be a bit much, I still rooted for him and the ending, though I was pretty sure i knew what was coming, was intensely satisfying. I enjoyed watching Abraham finally make the break away that he craved and was glad to see him thriving elsewhere.

Outspoken felt like something I might have been assigned to read in school to learn a point and it is one of those things that had I read it, I would have enjoyed and remembered it. The quotes at the beginning of every letter really helped provide the author's voice or thoughts on the next letter. Fun and witty, with an ability to make the pages fly by, Outspoken is an easy and enjoyable read.

But don't take my word for. The honorable Abraham Lincoln Jenkins has written in to tell you about his story in his own words:

Dear Esteemed Readers of this Weblog (as I am sure there must be more than three of you out there, let me apologize for not personally addressing this salutation),
                I would like to express my gratitude to Miss Amber Mitchell for consenting to review OUTSPOKEN and offering her commentary on my harrowing journey through the gears of the war machine that is the United States Army.  It is truly an honor to be held in comparison to such iconic Young Adult literary characters such as, but not limited to, Huckleberry Finn, Holden Caulfield, and that shirtless vampire from the Twilight series.      
                OUTSPOKEN is my own personal war story, the tale of how I narrowly survived one semester of JROTC at my dear old alma mater, Burke High School.  Although my current course load of pre-law studies at Harvard College has not yet afforded me time to actually purchase, download and read the e-book, I am told that it is magnificent despite the author’s marginal abilities. 
                Although certain members of the local, state, and federal law enforcement communities might have expected me to use the platform of a guest post to lash out against certain topics of significance such as first-world imperialism or institutionalized racism, I would instead to choose to leave you with one brief thought of both literary and economic import:
                OUTSPOKEN is available for download now, at only ninety-nine cents the copy.
Very respectfully,
Abraham L. Jenkins

Outspoken on Goodreads
Outspoken on Amazon
James Vachowski

TEAser Tuesday (32): Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston & Stay by Deb Caletti

TEAser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along, just do as following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include any spoilers so as not to ruin the book for others!
Make sure to share the title and the author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR piles!

Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston

"...unfurling, stretching, re-forming into the shape of a fearsome, black-winged dragon.

A freaking dragon.

With a hundred-foot wingspan.

In the middle of Central Park."

--Pg. 340 of "Tempestuous" by Lesley Livingston

I just finished reading this novel and all I can say right now is wow! This was an amazing ending to an amazing series.

Stay by Deb Caletti 

" "I want to kiss you, but I want to look forward to the thought of kissing you for a while first."

"I know exactly what you mean," he said. "Exactly."

--Pg. 131 of "Stay" by Deb Caletti

This is the one I'm starting next. Interesting concept, beautiful cover and something a bit different after the slew of paranormal and dsytopian novels I've read lately. I can't wait to get started!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Title Quiz

I found this from Becky over at Becky's Barmy Book Blog and though it looked like a lot of fun so I decided to give it a try. 

The object is to fill in the answers with book titles you've read this year. So here's my list!

Describe yourself: Tempestuous 
How do you feel: Entwined

Describe where you currently live: Across The Universe

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Abused Werewolf Support Group

Your favorite form of transportation: Torment

Your best friend is: The Demon Trapper's Daughter

You and your friends are: Angelfire
What’s the weather like: The Art of Racing In The Rain

You fear: 
Desires of the Dead
What is the best advice you have to give: Logic of Demons

Thought for the day: The Darlings Are Forever

How I would like to die: Falling Under

My soul’s present condition: Matched

That involved a lot of plugging and stretching but most of my answers make sense. If you are feeling a little crazy, give it a try!

Once Upon a Time Challenge

I've decided to enter the Once Upon a Time Challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. I love fairytale re-tellings and tend to gravitate towards them anyways, so why not add this to my list of challenges? This one is very simple and doesn't involve a lot of books.

The books that you can read are: fairytale re-tellings, fantasies, folklore, or mythology. There a lot of novels coming out with that theme so I figured I'm in. After looking at the list of "Quests" I am going with "Quest the First".

In this one, you must "Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres."

Here's a list of possible books that I might read:
  • Beastly by Flinn
  • When Rose Wakes by Golden
  • The Goddess Test by Carter
  • Dust City by Weston
  • Ash by Lo
  • Huntress by Lo
  • Another Pan by Nayeri
  • Mistwood by Cypress
  • Dark Mirror by Putney
  • Graceling by Cashore
  • Abandon by Cabot
So if fairytale re-tellings are your thing, I'd suggest you hop on over and sign up!

Book Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062001035
ISBN-13: 978-0062001030
Source: Provided by the publisher for an honest review (thanks HarperCollins)
Cover: This cover is exquisite. Her long flowing white gown and the frantic running through the garden. The castle in the background, powder blue against the yellow sky. The way the silver leaves and flower are entwined around the title. I love it!
First Sentence: "An hour before Azalea's first ball began, she paced the ballroom floor, tracing her toes in a waltz."

Mini-ReviewEntwined is an enchanting fairytale full of the best kind of magic. It will leave you dizzy!

Book Summary:

Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father's grief. What they don't understand--although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in-- is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Lush, romantic, and compelling, this debut novel by Heather Dixon will thrill fans of Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, and Edith Pattou.


Reading Entwined was like following a favorite dance complete with graceful spins in the plot, characters leading like a perfect partner, music to set the atmosphere and a touch of magic to quicken the pace. It truly was like a re-worked fairytale and a delight to read. Filled with magical objects, a fun array of words and phrases, and a whole bunch of dancing, it was enjoyable ride from the first step to the final bow.

Azalea was a fun young princess who you couldn't help but root for. Though a bit naive, she was brave when the time came and she would do anything for her family. After dealing with the death of their mother, Azalea becomes even more in charge of the rest of her brood-- that is eleven other sisters-- without a single compliant. I loved that she was willing to fight for them, even when it meant facing the king, her cold and aloof father. Not being terribly graceful myself, I thought it interesting to follow a character who puts merit in grace and is the best dancer of her sisters. I loved that Azalea has a passion for dancing and it was reflected in the wording of the story and how she sees the world. I also thought Azalea's journey from the naive princess who is willing to put trust into everyone to strong young woman who puts trust in herself was an awesome one to take.

It was also really interesting that the author chose to make the girls poor even though they were the princesses. All of a sudden, royalty isn't about who had the most money but who had the most where it counted inside. The king was a good one, from a strong bloodline and as such ruled through a level head and not money and power. I also liked that instead of dealing with the usual dilemma of having to marry someone she didn't love because he was promised to be the next king, Azalea had some choice in her own destiny. There were different problems, not relying on the cliched arranged marriage plot.

The cast of sisters and the gentlemen that courted them were wonderful. I liked that even though there were a lot of sisters, by the end I could read a name and associate a personality without getting confused. For me, that shows a mastery at characterization from the author's standpoint which is especially impressive since this is a third person novel. Mr. Keeper was equally parts alluring with his silky smooth voice and black ensemble but also incredibly creepy at the right times.

I really enjoyed that this novel felt like one long fairytale. The simple way the author explained things, the short sentences for dialog, all lended themselves to make this feel like a once upon a time storybook and I adored this. Dixon was especially good a mixing in sweet elements like the ribbons and lace on the girls' dresses and following it with a creepy little story about how the past king used to drink the blood of young girls. The short creepy little stories really helped to balance out the beautiful scenes and let reader know that while there is magic, something isn't right just underneath the surface.

My only complaint is that the novel felt a bit long in the middle. I think had it been a little tighter, the pace wouldn't have been affected so much and the storybook feeling would have been more solidified.

Entwined is worth a look. It's different from the other fantasies as out there in that it has a simple elegance. Dixon truly writes like a ballroom dancer moves--they make it look easy and so does Dixon. Filled with magic, a bit of silver, and a cast of characters to cheer for, Entwined is a delight to read. I'd say you should definitely accept it's invitation to dance.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Button Trade!

The amazing Lori over at Pure Imagination gave me this nifty button with my blog makeover and I haven't been promoting it like I should. I've just added a blog roll of blog I love but it's hard to find them all on my ridiculously large blog list. So I'm asking, do you have mine? Should I have yours? Please let me know and I'll add you!

Happily Ever Endings... Born At Midnight by C.C. Hunter

Happily Ever Endings... was born out of sheer frustration. You know how when you read a series and you love it but the last book takes a little while to come out and then you sort of forget parts of the novel? That's what these posts are going to serve to remedy. Happily Ever Ending... is a short post about what happened at the ending of each book that is going to be in a series for people who need a quick reminder of what happened in the previous installment. I hope this saves someone else the frustration that I went through!

Born At Midnight by C.C. Hunter

In My Mailbox (30)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme created by The Story Siren that encourages other book bloggers to share what they bought, won, begged for or borrowed. It is usually held on Sundays!

From Books-A-Million:
From Simon & Schuster:
  • Stay by Deb Caletti

So what did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

XVI Cover Re-Creation Contest

I need some entries!

Don't forget about my Cover Re-Creation Contest going on right now. I don't have a single entry!

What's up for grabs?
  • First Place- 1 signed copy of XVI
  • Second Place- A copy of XVI (or a copy of one of the other books from this event if you already have XVI)
Unfortunately, this is a US contest only.

Check out the original post for more info and to add your amazingly cool cover up!

The Vampire Academy: Question

Hey guys,

I've yet to read this series and I've been wondering lately, how many out there are like me? How many people wouldn't mind re-reading them? So I've been thinking about devoting a month to them on my blog. Would anyone else be interested in hosting giveaways, doing guest posts and challenges and reading them with me?

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Cornucopia of Dystopia: Megan McCafferty Interview, author of Bumped

Interview with Megan McCafferty

This is an interview for A Cornucopia of Dystopia event going on all this month. I was lucky enough to get a copy of BUMPED by Megan McCafferty early to read and review. On top of that, I got to interview the wonderful Ms. McCafferty about her novel. I hope you enjoy!

1) Will you describe BUMPED in five words?

Only teens can get pregnant.

2) I love novels with dual perspectives. Why did you decide to tell BUMPED through both Melody and Harmony?

When I was developing the premise, I realized that there wouldn’t be just one solution to the global infertility epidemic, there would be many approaches depending on where and how a girl was brought up. I thought about our own culture and how conversations about controversial  subjects like teen pregnancy tend to be dominated by voices on opposing ends of the spectrum. With two narrators, I could explore what happens when a society gives into extremes and crowds out more moderate opinions.

3) I really identified with Melody but when I originally read that back, I thought it would be Harmony. Did you find one girl easier to write than the other?

Growing up as a suburban overachiever, I had more in common with Melody. But what I didn’t understand about Harmony’s evangelical background I made sure I learned through extensive research. I read books about different religions, watched teens’ testimonies on YouTube, lurked on Christian blogs. I also thought a lot about my best friend in middle school, a minster’s daughter who chafed against her religious upbringing. Now I know both characters equally well and can easily shift back and forth between the two.

4) One of my favorite aspects of the novel was the lingo. If one phrase caught on and everyone was saying it, what would you like it to be? (My personal favorite was when someone would get so mad they'd go "terminal")

Thank you! Language influences culture—and vice-versa. I doubt any slang will catch on because it’s all a reflection of the commoditization of teen pregnancy specific to the world of BUMPED.

5) BUMPED deals with teen sexuality. What are some of the questions you hope people get out of the novel?

How do the pressures Melody and Harmony are under compare with those experienced by today’s teens? What factors have the greatest influence on the twins’ choices (parents, friends, religion, societal expectations, pop culture)? In real life? What changes could be made to encourage healthier attitudes about sexuality in both worlds?

6) Were there any scenes or characters that got cut during editting that you miss? Reversely, was anything added that you love?

At least ¼ of the first draft got thrown out entirely. There was a whole ridiculous tangent that involved a 35th Anniversary Legends of TRL Tour hosted by a sixty-something Carson Daly. There was a Battle of the Blondes (Christina vs. Jessica vs. Britney) and an All-Star Man Band with geriatric members of NSYNC, BSB, O-Town and 98 Degrees. (The irony is, I wrote this before the creation of NKOTBSB.) It was funny but had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the story so it had to go.

7) If the world of BUMPED was real when you were a teen, do you think you'd would have been Harmony, Melody or someone else?

I’d like to think that I would’ve bucked the system as a reproductive freedom fighter.

8) Do you listen to music when you write? Is there one song or band that represents BUMPED for you?

I always listen to music as I’m writing. For BUMPED it was a lot of LCD Soundsystem. Maybe I needed electronica to help get me into a futuristic state of mind.

9) Have you read anything that you loved lately?

I’m reading ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis. Wow. That first chapter is a doozy. Terrifying and unforgettable and oh so human.

10) Are you currently working on anything new? Can you tell us anything about the sequel to BUMPED?

I can only write one book at a time, so right now my priority is finishing up the sequel to BUMPED. So much can change between a first draft and final book, but I think it’s safe for me to reveal that the sequel picks up 32 weeks after BUMPED ends. I know triologies are the big thing right now but there won’t be a third book. Two sisters. Two narrators. Two books. That’s how Harmony and Melody’s story was always conceived. (Ha. No pun intended.)

Make sure not to miss this exciting and hilarious new novel coming out April 26, 2011 from Balzer & Bray.

Want more BUMPED?

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