Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Discussions (6): The ARC

For this week's discussion, I want to talk about the elusive ARC. A lot of people have already written about it but I'd like to give my opinion and then hear what you all have to say!

When I first started blogging, I had no idea what ARC stood for (Advanced Reader Copy) or what a Reviewer Copy even was. I found out after some research that they are essentially unproofed bond copies of a manuscript and are used to promote an upcoming novel. I thought this was really awesome.

I learned my info from The Story Siren's Dear Publisher Edition.

Now that I'm a bit more established, I've started receiving ARCs from publishers and couldn't be more excited. Then I ran across a debate going on around the web. Do ARCs work and who should get them?

Some people believe that bloggers shouldn't get ARCs and feel really strongly against giving them away. Some people believe the exact opposite. So here's my thinking:

If I receive a copy of an ARC chances are I have requested it from publisher. If I love the book (3.5 stars or more) then you can bet your bottom I'm going to go out and buy myself a finished copy. Most people are against bloggers having ARC because they believe the book lose sales because it. In some cases, this maybe true but it usually isn't the case here. Generally speaking, I either buy the book for myself or I host a giveaway on my blog for a finished version of the book. Why? Because if I loved the ARC that much, I WANT to own a finished copy and help the author sell novels. I started my blog to express my opinions on books and to network as an aspiring writer. I want to help the world I'm trying to break into, not hinder it.

Another arugement is that some people believe "regular" folk shouldn't be collecting ARC and that it's more for prestige than for actually reviewing. Do I like seeing a review copy on my shelf: Heck yeah I do! I love seeing them side by side with the novel I enjoyed reading. I'm not quite sure what's wrong with that. It's the same as hunting down a first edition signed copy of a novel you love. It's not like I've got an ARC on my shelf to say hey world, I'm better than you. I've got it because I loved the book and want to keep it. Sort of like a souvenir from a trip (because hey, that's really what books are, mini-vacations from the world).

Some of the same people who say this also condemn bloggers who give away ARCs on their blog instead of giving away real copies. I can understand this a little bit more. In one sense, I'm sure the publisher wants the ARC to go as far as it can because it's a marketing tool. The more hands they get into, the more buzz. But it also likely means that this could hurt the sales. Not everyone buys the ARCs they get. So I'm a little funny about giving away ARCs. I'd rather give away a finished version of a book.

The ironic part about this is I've just received a second ARC of a very anticipated novel and am planning to give it away next week. My stipulation will be that whoever enters must have a blog or place to review it as I want it to be used as it was intended to be used.

My closing thoughts: I think book bloggers are a good source to give away ARCs to because they can help spread buzz. There have been numerous books I've added to my list because trusted bloggers have told me they are good. I'm a little funny about giving away ARCs because I'd rather support the author with a sale of their finished copies.

Here are some books I've purchased after reviewing the ARC (most of these are numerous copies since I've given them away and recommended them early to my friends):

I want to take this last bit of time to sincerely thank all the wonderful people who have been kind enough to send me ARCs to review on my blog. I couldn't feel more blessed to be able to receive and read novels I'm incredibly excited about early and spread the joy!

So please, I'd love to hear your thoughts on ARCs!

And next week I'll be talking about: Do book bloggers help sell novels?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Review: Illusions by Aprilynne Pike

Illusions (Wings #3) by Aprilynne Pike

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (May 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061668095
ISBN-13: 978-0061668098
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Cover: It's odd but for some reason this is my least favorite cover of the three. I do like that's a little brighter than the other too though and that it looks like it belongs in the series!
First Sentence: "The halls of Del Norte  High buzzed with first-day-of-school chaos as Laurel wedged herself through a crowd of sophomores and spotted David's broad shoulders."

Mini-Review: The best in the series yet! From beginning to finish, Illusions never disappoints!

Book Summary:
Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice. 

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

Book Review:

Illusions is one of those novels that is a game changer in the series. With tension pulled tight, answers hanging suspended in the air from the previous novels being solved and the character's all making choices that will change everything, Illusions is truly excellent. By far the best one in the series so far!

Like a string pulling the reader through the pages, the tension is so high in Illusions it is hard to put down. While the last two novels wrapped up neatly, they felt small. But Ms. Pike uses Illusions to show the reader how each point connects to the last and expands Laurel's world. The plot has plenty of twists and Ms. Pike is particularly talented at balancing this heavy danger hanging over the characters heads without repeatedly throwing it in the reader's face.

The characters continue to be pushed in life-altering directions and Ms. Pike isn't afraid of making them make decisions. Laurel truly has learned her lesson from the previous novels and no longer takes crap from either of the boys. Plus, she's decided to become smart, not just book smart but actually thinking things through before walking into the woods alone in the middle of the night. I was also impressed with Tamani's character in this novel. He was a little less go-for-it-with-everything-I-have and a little more sensitive to Laurel's feelings. The tension between Tamani and David was palatable, wafting right off the page and it was great to see how tired it made everyone else.

The complex character relationships, the surprise attacks and break-ups, Laurel's understanding of who and what she is coupled with the rising tension make Illusions a spectacular read. By far the best in the series, Illusions doesn't disappoint. After finishing this last installment, the characters and plot were stuck in my head for days. It's rare to find a series that gets better with each book, but the Wings series makes growth look like child's play; this a must read!


So what did you think? Is this best in the series or did you one of the previous better?

Book Tunes (13)

Book Tunes is a new meme that will be held on Fridays and the point is to share the book your reading and a song you think represents it. Be sure to include the novel you are reading, the summary, the song you think fits it and an explanation of why you chose that particular song. So snag yourself a button, write a post and link up at the bottom of the page!
Summary from Goodreads:
Sometimes falling in love means you have to kill somebody. 

Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were destined to be together forever. Of that, Jana was sure. 
But Jana just died—in a bowling accident. And now she’s trapped in Dead School. Jana is certain that it won’t be long before Michael kills himself in order to spend eternity with her—but the days are passing and Michael is, inexplicably, still alive. So Jana decides to take matters into her own hands. And nothing—not even Dead School bad boy Mars Dreamcote’s enticingly warm touch or the devastating secret he holds about her death—will stop her from making her dreams come true. 
Romeo and Juliet meets Heathers in this hilariously macabre take on paranormal romance, packed with heart-stopping suspense and sizzling star-crossed love.

The Tune: Love Hurts by Incubus

The Lyrics:
Tonight we drink to youth
And holding fast to truth
(I don't want to lose what I had as a boy.)
My heart still has a beat
But love is now a feat.
(As common as a cold day in LA.)
Sometimes when I'm alone, I wonder
Is there a spell that I am under
Keeping me from seeing the real thing?

Love hurts...
But sometimes it's a good hurt
And it feels like I'm alive.
Love sings,
When it transcends the bad things.
Have a heart and try me,
'cause without love I won't survive.

I'm fettered and abused,
I stand naked and accused
(Should I surface this one man submarine?)
I only want the truth
So tonight we drink to youth!
(I'll never lose what I had as a boy.)
Sometimes when I'm alone I wonder
Is there a spell that I am under
Keeping me from seeing the real thing?

Love hurts...
But sometimes it's a good hurt
And it feels like I'm alive.
Love sings,
When it transcends the bad things.
Have a heart and try me,
'cause without love I won't survive. 

Why This Tune?:
Because Jana is in love with Michael and she's dead and he isn't. In Dead Rules' case, love truly is a spell but it isn't necessarily a good one. Jana is blind to everything but Michael and that includes some of the big no-no's like oh, killing him (for love's sake, of course). This song also applies to Mars who knows he has to tell Jana the truth about what he knows but can't bring himself too. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dark Days of Supernatural Tour: Summer Edition

I went to the Winter version of this little tour and now it's time for it to visit other cities with a whole new set of authors in the summer version!

Here's the schedule:

  • June 7th- Illinois
  • June 8th- Oregon
  • June 9th- Texas
  • June 10th- Arizona
  • June 11th- Michigan
Here are all the books on the tour:

I'm going to try to make it to the one in Illinois stop in June as an early birthday present to myself. Check out this amazing trailer HarperTeen put together!

I love, love that trailer! So tell me, are you going?

Waiting on Wednesday (37): Soul Thief, Frost and Past Perfect

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.

Riley Blackthorne’s adventures continue in the second spellbinding Demon Trappers novel, as she battles demons… and a love that could destroy her
At the start of the second thrilling installment of the Demon Trappers series, 17-year-old Riley Blackthorne has about had it up to here. After the devastating battle at the Tabernacle, trappers are dead and injured, her sweet boyfriend Simon is gravely injured, and now her beloved late father’s been illegally poached from his grave by a very powerful necromancer. Add to the mix: Ori, one sizzling hot freelance demon hunter who’s made himself Riley’s unofficial body guard, and Beck, a super over-protective “friend” who acts more like a grouchy granddad, and Riley’s almost ready to leave Atlanta altogether.
But as the demon count in Atlanta increases, the already crippled Trappers Guild has its hands full, and, when the Vatican finally sends its own Demon Hunters to take care of the city’s “little” problem, pandemonium breaks loose. Only Riley knows that she might be the center of Hell’s attention: an extremely powerful Grade 5 demon is stalking her, and her luck can't last forever. As Riley’s life becomes a dangerous balancing act, will she be strong enough not to tip? And who will be there to catch her if she falls?
Why I need this: I loved the first novel The Demon Trapper's Daughter and I just have to continue on the journey and see how Beck and Riley figure out the world without Paul (Riley's father) to help guide them. Both Riley and Beck were such amazing characters and had great voices. Can't wait for this one to be out! 

Soul Thief (Demon Trappers #2) is out August 30, 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin.

Frost by Wendy Delsol

Wendy Delsol’s FROST, is the sequel to her YA debut STORK. 
After the drama of discovering that she’s a member of the Storks, a mystical order of women endowed with powerful abilities, Katla Leblanc is finally settling into her life in chilly Minnesota. In fact, the ex-California girl even hopes for a white Christmas. But Katla’s wintry wish unexpectedly turns into the snowstorm of the century, drawing the attention of Brigid, a gorgeous environmental researcher with an amazing array of fur coats and an unusual interest in Katla’s boyfriend, Jack. 
Inspired by Norse mythology and Hans Christian Andersen’s THE SNOW QUEEN.
Why I need this: Besides that gorgeous cover?  I haven't actually read the first one yet but I own it and have read good things so of course I need to head on with the second one. Plus I love that it's inspired by The Snow Queen.

Frost is out October 11, 2011 from Candlewick.

Past Perfect by Leila Sales

A summer job is exactly the distraction that Chelsea needs in order to finally get over Ezra, the boy who dumped her on her a** and broke her heart to pieces just a few weeks before. So when Chelsea's best friend, Fiona, signs them up for roles at Essex Historical Colonial Village, Chelsea doesn't protest too hard, even though it means spending the summer surrounded by drama geeks and history nerds. Chelsea will do anything to forget Ezra.
But when Chelsea and Fiona show up for their new jobs, they find out Ezra's working there too. Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. ...or will this turn out to be exactly the summer that Chelsea needed, after all?
Why I need this: How cute is this plot? I love that in order to stop thinking about her boyfriend, she gets a job at a re-enactment village only for her old boyfriend to be working there too. Adorable concept, adorable cover. I am so there!

Past Perfect is out October 4, 2011 by Simon Pulse.

So that's what I'm itching for this week. What about you?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TEAser Tuesday (36): What Comes After by Steve Watkins

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!

What Comes After by Steve Watkins

"I knew Aunt Sue had plans to slaughter them in a few weeks or a month, but I plans as well--to keep them alive.

Which is why I named them:

Huey, Dewey, and Louie."

-Pg 115 of "What Comes After" by Steve Watkins

I'm almost finished with this one and it's intense in a very good way. She's referring to the three billie goats that are only about a month old in that passage. This novel certainly makes you think twice about eating meat.

So what's your teaser?

1000 Follower Giveaway!

In July, I started this blog to express my feelings on books. I remember hitting send on the very first post I made, my heart pounding. Then I waited for someone, ANYONE, to respond. And they didn't. And they didn't.

Less than a year later, I am celebrating reaching my 1,000th follower! Holy cow, how time flies and with it brings so many opportunities. The blogging community is one of the best I've ever known and I can't thank all of you enough for every comment, every page view, every like-minded review. So without further ado, I offer you, my wonderful followers (who have all chosen to fall down the rabbit hole) a gift!

There will be THREE lucky winners that can choose a pre-order of ONE of the titles below!

For Everyone:

For my US Followers only: Both of these titles are up for grabs as well (there will be 2 winners, first place picks one, second place picks the other)


  • Since this is a contest thanking my followers, you must follow me.
  • Must be 13 years or older
  • One entry per person
  • The top part is INTERNATIONAL (as long as the Book Depository ships to you, you can enter)
  • If you are a US citizen, you may enter both parts of the contest
  • Contest ends May 26, 2011
  • You must fill out the appropriate forms below:
International Form:

US Form:

Thanks to everyone who entered and good luck!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anyone out there going to BEA 2011?

Hey everyone!

Is anyone out there that is going to BEA this year willing to bring a few of my business cards with them for this blog? I would have loved to go but starting a new job just didn't allow enough time to get off.

If you are willing to, would you please email me or leave a comment and I'll e-mail you?

Happily Ever Endings... Spells by Aprilynne Pike

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!

Spells (Wings #2) by Aprilynne Pike
Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger--and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever. 

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

Click "Read More" to reading a synopsis of the ending of Spells by Aprilynne Pike so that you are ready for Illusions.

Book Review: Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Spells (Wings #2) by Aprilynne Pike

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (May 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 978061665067
ISBN-13: 978-0061668067
Source: Purchased from Books-A-Million
Cover: The simple beauty of this cover really draws me in. This novel is all about plants and flowers so I feel like this fits so well. There is something about that combo of green and pink that I love and I like the font the title is in!
First Sentence: "Laurel stood in front of the cabin, scanning the tree line, her throat constricting in a rush of nerves."

Mini-Review: Spells is every bit as enchanting as the first installment and will have you turning the pages like magic.

Book Summary:

Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger--and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever. 

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?
Book Review

Spells picks up where Wings left off, working to expand the world it created in the first one. Our favorite characters are back with an entire new plot and a head full of lessons they learned from the first novel. This time around Laurel knows who she is but what she doesn't know is how her future is going to play out.

Laurel spent most of Wings figuring out what she is and finding ways to cope with it in the human world. In this newest installment, she is learning about what her place in the faerie world really means. As a Fall, she is a higher class than Tamani and on a trip to Avalon she realizes what that actually entails. I loved learning about the faerie culture and found it to be one of the most interesting parts of the novel. It really helped me to feel for Tamani more than I did and worked to solidify Laurel's feelings for him.

Laurel is so much more her own person in this novel. She makes choices and has to live with these consequences, no matter how painful. I was really glad that she was pretty honest with her parents and had learned her lesson in the last novel. She was intelligent and I connected with her more in this novel. I also really loved that the Tamani and David love triangle was amped up. As a reader, I always felt Laurel made the wrong choice in the first book and I was glad to see her giving thought to the other option. Tamani played a perfect distraction to David's solid boyfriend role and I couldn't help but root for him. It's funny though because I feel really torn for Laurel. She doesn't seem right without either of them.

The beginning of the novel, while full of fascinating descriptions did read a little slow. I kept waiting for the plot to pick up and it actually didn't. It was odd after so much action in the first to see this one as a quieter version but once I realized that is what is was going to be, I was okay with it. Though Spells is written in third person, Ms. Pike is able to allow the reader connect with all the characters and I felt invested in their feelings. The writing was smooth and allowed for easy visualization without taking away from what was going on.

If Wings was about exploration, than Spells was definitely about expanding. Following Spells characters further down their path as they make choices they can't take back was a pleasure. Like Laurel takes in sunlight, I absorbed this novel and can't wait to see where this series is going to take me next.


As a side note, I always think it's exceptionally good character building when you can make me fall in love with the other guy. I'm the very a-typical reader/viewer who wants the girl to end up with her first love so when I'm willing to change sides... that says something. Based on this novel, I am firmly for Tamani and his happiness, no matter where that leads the other characters!

Are you like me and love Tamani or are you as loyal to David as Laurel?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (34)

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 Simon & Schuster for review:

From HarperCollins for review (Thanks for the epicly amazing mailbox!):
For A Tour From Teen Book Scene:
Bought from
So as you can see, my poor mailman was super busy this week. I can't tell you how excited I am about everything that came this week! What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday Discussions (5): How I Read

This week, I want to talk about how I read.

I'm not talking about where I read or why or even how fast. I'm talking about the actual act of reading. Because I break the golden rule. I read the last few sentences of a book before I actually reach them.

*Cue dramatic music*

I always start at the beginning of a novel. I just have to. But once I get about 40 or 50 pages in, I flip to the back of the book and read the last few sentences of the novel. Why? Because I want to!

But some people say that will ruin the ending of the book!?!?

Well, maybe for some people. But for me, I find it more satisfying to know where the novel is going. I still feel the same closure as I do when I didn't do this but it lessens the tension. As I confessed before in an earlier Saturday Discussions post I read really slow. So sometimes there is no way I can finish a book in one night but I have so much tension built up that I just need room to breath. I find the room by reading the last few sentences.

Another reason I do this is because I have the I'd Rather Be Reading Syndrome with really good books. Every time I'm reading a really great novel, I become obsessed with it. I have to know more, more, more. It clouds my thoughts and I'm kind of a grump to everyone around me. I hate being that way and I've found that if I must put the novel down, it helps me to lessen the tension if I know where it's going.

Some novels I've "cheated" with and looked at the last few pages:

The other thing I do:

I don't usually ever put a book down. I'm a through thick and thin reader. This is not so great since I'm a slow reader but will stick with novels I'm not wild about to the very end. I feel like I owe it to them not to pass judgment right away. At the very least, I feel like I can learn what not to do from things I don't love. There are only two novels I've put down and never picked back up. I don't really want to reveal them because, well, if you don't have anything nice to say. Don't get me wrong, I'll give a bad review but I'm not looking to go out of my way to hammer these novels to the ground.

So there are my odd reading habits.

What about you? Are you one of those weirdos (read: amazingly talented) that can pick a book up at any place and start reading? Are you like me and you break the number 1 golden rule? Let me know what you think!

Up for discussion next week: ARCs, do you love them or hate them?
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