Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Words/Topics that make me buy a book

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week, they post a subject and the goal is to answer the question with your top ten picks. Once you've done it, link back to The Broke and the Bookish and check out what other bloggers have to say!
Top Ten Words/Topics That Make Me Buy a Book
1) Sequel- If I love the first/second book in a series, I am always going to give the next one a try.

2) Circus- There is something about the combined creepiness and magic about a circus book that makes me want it.

3) Magic- Or magical. Anything that feels slightly out of this world.

4) A quote from an author I love- If an author I love likes a book enough to give it a quote, I will normally pick up what they blurb.

5) A contemporary that uses technology- I like contemporary novels that use technology to its fullest. Think the use of tapes in 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

This was a pretty tough topic for me because I buy a lot of different books for different reasons. I don't really have one topic I love to read about. If it sounds interesting, I'm going to pick it up!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Anna Silver, author of Otherborn, Interview

Today I have Anna Silver on the blog answering some of my burning questions. In case you missed it, I reviewed (and LOVED) her book over here. You should take the time to check it out, you won't be sorry.

Kay, did you? Are you back? I knew you would be!

Check out what Anna had to say about which character she identified most with and what three items she'd bring if she were stranded on an island.

1) Can you describe OTHERBORN in 140 characters?

Awakening under the sedated monotony of a reprocessed world, London and her friends must dream their way to a New hope.

2) If London had a best friend from another YA book, who would it be?

That’s tough. London’s edgy and she doesn’t make friends easily but she also doesn’t take her friends lightly. I recently read PURE by Julianna Baggott and I think London would have a lot of respect for a character like Pressia, because she’s a survivor and London admires strength in others and cultivates it in herself.

3) Can you share one of your favorite scenes or sentences you wrote and why?

“It wasn’t her first kiss, but it was the first one that mattered.”

This may be my favorite quote in the whole book. (Mine too. I read it twice!) It’s simple and poignant. And haven’t we all been there? How many of us married our first kiss? Very few, I’m willing to bet. For most people, those firsts aren’t the ones that stick. For most of us, we have to kiss a few frogs to reach our prince. But we all know the experience of that first kiss to really make us weak in the knees. And it was probably our third, or tenth, or twenty-seventh kiss. The point is, we know when it matters.

4) Have you read anything great lately?

Well, I mentioned PURE already, and it was great. Also, my daughter and I both just finished SLATED and loved it, by Teri Terry. I also just read THE FORETELLING by Alice Hoffman, which is several years old, and it was excellent and beautiful.

5) Does OTHERBORN have a playlist or a song that represents it to you?

I do have an OTHERBORN playlist which you can listen to here! Just scroll down for the link; it’s on the right hand side. But I think one song in particular represented OTHERBORN to me, and that’s Bastards of Young by The Replacements. The chorus reads, We are the sons of no one… And that’s really the predicament for London and her friends. They have families, but they are kind of forgotten and orphaned by society. Plus, as Otherborn, they come from somewhere else entirely, not really belonging to either world anymore.

6) What is your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Cultivate persistence! This is not an easy road, but it is a wonderful journey. Hang in there, keep writing, submit until your fingers bleed, and get out and mingle at conferences, conventions, and signings. Teach yourself to keep going in spite of the rejection.

7) The setting of OTHERBORN plays a huge role in the novel. What was the most fun discovery you made about your world while writing?

The Astral is such an interactive setting that it becomes almost like another character. I loved that.

8) Which character in OTHERBORN do you most identify with?

Probably London. I’m not nearly so brash as she is, but I get her. I get her vulnerability and her need to protect herself. And, coupled with Si’dah’s wisdom, I get the full circle of her character.

9) If you lived in the world you created what item would you most want to have to survive?

Books! Or a book, if I had to do just one, but I don’t know how I’d ever choose which one. I cannot imagine a life without books. To me, a world without books is the ultimate dystopia.

10) If you were stranded on an island and could only have three things, what would you want to have? 

My iPhone, a cell tower, and one electrical outlet. Because then I’d still have access to books, and music, and the web! But that’s cheating, isn’t it? (I allow cheating!) Okay, in all seriousness, one good book, one big box of matches, and duct tape. My son says you can survive anything with duct tape. ;o)

There you have it folks! And I'd like to encourage you to snap up a copy of Otherborn. I went out and bought one to support the author because the novel is really that good!

Here are the links:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happily Ever Endings: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Happily Ever Endings is a synopsis of the ending of a novel that is part of a series. It is so that you can refresh yourself as to what happened in the last book so that you can be ready to read the next in the series!

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past. 
She can’t. 
She used to think her problems were all in her head. 
They aren’t. 
She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets. 
She’s wrong. 
In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

Click "Read more" to read the ending of The Evolution of Mara Dyer so you'll be ready for the next installment of the series!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Thought I'd Like MORE/LESS Than I Did

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week, they post a subject and the goal is to answer the question with your top ten picks. Once you've done it, link back to The Broke and the Bookish and check out what other bloggers have to say!
Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like More/Less Than I Did
I thought I'd like these LESS than I did:  
1) The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin- When I first got this novel, it had been hyper up a lot (which is crazy because I got an advanced reader's copy and it was still all I was reading about). I thought that it couldn't possibly be as good as everyone was saying. Or maybe it was but I didn't think I was a fan of unreliable narrators so I probably wouldn't be too crazy about it. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It was amazing from the first page to the last word.  
2) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- I jumped on this bandwagon after the second novel came out and I couldn't walk into a bookstore without seeing a huge display of the series. But it had a boring cover and all I knew was it was about a dsytopian world which was so not my thing. At the time, I wanted to read paranormal romance. But I had a coupon AND it was already on sale so  figured, why the heck not? Well, there went my next three nights. Addicted!  
3) Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling- I grew up seeing these books at every kid's house that I played at. But I wasn't much into reading and I really didn't think a book about a boy wizard was going to be very good so I ooked the other. Then the movie came out and I thought, what the hack? Yeah, it was epic. So I walked into the bookstore and being the idiot I was, I only bought the first novel...and finished it that night. At the time, I was 15 and couldn't drive so I had to wait the entire day for my mom to get home and drive me to get the next two. The fifth book was coming out at the end of the week and I knew I HAD to finish them so I could get. Been a fan ever since.  
4) 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher- It was really this book that made me realize that I loved all YA and not just YA fantasy/paranormal romance. I picked up because I couldn't get over the hook of the novel. But it was a contemporary and I didn't read them. I gave it a try anyway and was so touched by the story that I realized I'd been missing out on a world of possiblities.  
5) Across the Universe by Beth Revis- I keep saying this over and over again but I wasn't supposed to like this book because I've never been too in to sci-fi. That's the thing about these books, they made me break my rules and expand my reading horizons. Revis' book had the sci-fi thing against it and it was set on a spaceship which I really didn't like. Yet the moment I started, reading I couldn't stop. Beauty was bursting in every word and I was addicted. 

6) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs- A book filled with slightly unsettling to full on creepy pictures? Yeah, you've got the wrong blogger buddy because I...well look at that, this first chapter is pretty damn good. And the second one is even better. Yeah, I can't talk right now because I'm reading. It was creepy and eerie and not my thing and exactly what I wanted to be reading!

I thought I'd like MORE than I did:

1) Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer- I went back to the bookstore I used to work out and volunteered to host the release night party with my best friend because I loved those books so much. I was stoked to get behind the register and hand out a book to everyone that paid and couldn't wait to get home and start the book. I ended up being disappointed because I just didn't love where the story went.
2) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare-This book was super hyped up. Everyone loves it and loves the characters and the plot and the world. The problem was, I just didn't. I didn't feel drawn to the characters the way most people did and I didn't think the writing was that great. However, I always said they would make great movies and I do plan on reading the entire series. I just wasn't blown away by this one.  
3) The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda- Something was off about this novel. It had high stakes but it just felt so slow. I kept waiting for things to happen and they just never did for me. I really wanted to like this novel because it was so unique but it ended up not being for me.   Which books made your list?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring Into the Future Tour: Miami

Hey everyone! I'm so excited that Tahereh Mafi, Veronica Rossi, Anna Carey and Cynthia Hand are going to nbe in Florida this Sunday (4/28) and I happen to be off!

I've read Mafi's first novel Shatter Me which was one of the best books I've ever read. I've had the pleasure of seeing her And Rossi before and they are awesome!

I've also read Rossi's first novel Under the Never Sky and Roar's short story on my Nook and it surprised me how much I ended up loving it.

Carey's Eve and the second novel Once both took my breath away with its advanced world building and dire stakes.

The only book I haven't had the pleasure to read yet is Unearthly but I've decided to change that by starting it now.

What I want to know is if you are going to be at the Miami stop. I'd love to meet any of you that are!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Discussions: Do you re-buy books?

So it seems like a trend nowadays for series to get a cover change at least once before it is finished. While I think this is really annoying, sometimes it can be for the best. For instance, Shatter Me went from this:
Girl in a white dress with a glittery starburst in the background that has nothing to do with the book.

It was changed to:
Interesting, stange, arresting and completely unique much like the writing style underneath it.

This was such a good move, I can't even describe my happiness.

However, sometimes we get things like Across the Universe by Beth Revis. I love this series but three cover changes? One for EACH new book that was released? That's just craziness and sadly, I think they got worse.

First cover:
This cover is gorgeous and arresting and out of this world beautiful.

Second set:

This set is okay. I basically like that A Million Suns could sort of match the first cover from Across the Universe.

Third set:

Sorry, I fell asleep. I mean, really? You go from the first gorgeous cover to that? No freaking way.

So with all these cover changes, I want to know if you re-buy your books so you can have a matching set.

For me, it used to matter a lot. I used to have to re-buy the book so my set could look beautiful on my bookshelf. It just made sense to me. But as cover changes kept getting more and more ridiculous, I started hesitating. Now, I'll only re-buy books if I really like the new covers.

However, I feel like most cover changes hurt the books rather than help them because the covers never live up to the first one and I don't even want them on my shelf.

What about you, do you re-buy?

And to end this, here's a list of series made worse with cover changes:
  • Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer
  • Across the Universe series by Beth Revis
  • Fury series by Elizabeth Miles
  • Anna and the French Kiss (series) by Stephanie Perkins

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Divergent Casting News!

The Divergent movie news is really rolling now that we've got out main characters. I'm please to announce that some of the adults have finally been cast. This is especially exciting as I've been waiting to hear who got the part of Tris' mother, Natalie Prior.

Ashley Judd as Natalie Prior
Tris' mother has to have a certain softness about her while still being able to keep her secrets (and turn into a badass). I'm not really sure about this choice. I've really only seen Judd in softer roles so I'm not sure how she is going to come off as Tris' mom. I'm cautiously optmistic about this casting.
Tony Goldwyn as Andrew Prior
Don't know much about this actor at all but I think he looks enough like Woodley (Tris) to be her dad.

Ray Steveson as Marcus Eaton
Now this looks like a good choice to me. This guy is bulky enough to be intimidating but also looks like he might have a silver tongue. I'm definitely all for this choice for Marcus Eaton!

What do you think of the adults? Is Ashley Judd going to be strong enough to stand up to Kate Winslet?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Book Review: Otherborn by Anna Silver & Kindle Fire Giveaway

Otherborn by Anna Silver

Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing (March 4, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1938404327
ISBN-13: 978-1938404320
Series: Otherborn #1
Source: Ebook provided by publisher
Cover: As far as small publishing houses go, I think this cover is pretty great. It fits with the story, the font works well for it and the two girls that are both a little different keep me interested.
First Sentence: It wasn't like her to be this nervous.

Mini-Review: Otherborn is as alive with vivid characters as it is with a rich and diverse world.

London and her teenage friends live in a reprocessed world.

Confined within Capital City’s concrete walls, London has done the impossible and the illegal. She’s created something New- a song. But her mentor, club owner Pauly, is not impressed. Since the historic Energy Crisis forced everyone behind walls generations ago, the Tycoons have ensured there is truly nothing new allowed under the sun. Pauly warns London to keep her song to herself, if she knows what’s good for her.

What he doesn’t know is that London is keeping an even bigger secret: she dreams. And she’s not alone. London’s band-mates and friends have begun dreaming as well, seeing themselves in “night pictures” as beings from another world. As Otherborn, they must piece together the story of their astral avatars, the Others, in order to save their world from a dreamless, hopeless future.

When Pauly is murdered and an Otherborn goes missing, London realizes someone is hunting them down. Escaping along the Outroads, they brave the deserted Houselands with only their dreams to guide them. Can they find their friend before the assassin finds them? Will being Otherborn save their lives, or destroy them?

I went into Otherborn expecting it to be a hard read, not because of what it was about, but because I hadn't been able to focus on reading much lately. What I found was a vivid. detailed world the pulled me in with characters that made me want to keep turning the page until there were none left.

I've read in other reviews that some people found London a little rough. I can definitely see their point. She is hard headed and guards her heart stronger than her steel-toed boots guard her feet. It makes her harder to be likable but growing up in a world like London's, I'm pretty sure another girl wouldn't have survived. I actually found London to be the perfect blend of roughness and vulnerability. She is tough on the outside but she isn't without fear, without suffering. She doesn't like it, like many of us and chooses to push it away rather than dwell but again, I contribute that to the harshness of the world she grows up in. She's used to loss but she's also used to getting back up again and fighting for another day. I do think that her character leaves a lot of room for growth in the next installment which I am more than excited to see.

The other members of her ragtag band (quite literally, they play music and everything) felt flushed out too. Not as nuanced as London but they weren't the main character so I did expect them to be. The love interest, Rye, provided some softness to London's tough as nails attitude. While London preferred to act, Rye was a thinker. It does mean that he refused to act, but he thought through things more thoroughly and didn't let his temper control him the way London did . I thought he was a really good balance to her and I liked that I could feel like they had a history before we got there. I think it made their relationship feel more real. Zen, Kim and Avery all also felt unique. I loved Kim's fake British accent mixed with his family's proud Korean heritage and Zen's large frame containing an even bigger heart.

Perhaps a bigger character than even London was the place she was from. The use of a ruined world reminded me a lot of Anna Carey's Eve, in its inventiveness and ability to turn things we know on their head. Capital City felt alive from the dingy alleyway London stopped to take a smoke in behind Dogma to her hole in the wall room. Everything about the tight spaces and polluted air oozes off the page providing the perfect backdrop for a character like London. I liked seeing how the author chose to repurpose things--the gang running the city riding around in ice cream and mail trucks and things like paper being a rare commodity. Just as vivid were the lands beyond the city.

The other thing that I found very interesting was the choice to write this novel in 3rd person. Normally, I'm not wild about 3rd person but I think it worked exceptionally well for this book because it was close enough to London to still feel relevant. We get all of London's thoughts and at the same time, we get little glimpses of how the other characters are feeling too. The writing itself was really well done. Beautiful passages describing the world, first kisses, and bringing to life everything from a long stretching road to the smell of rot oppressing the city.

There were a few passages that could be broken up to prevent info dumping but they were far and few between. I also got a little confused switching between London and her Otherborn sometimes because I couldn't tell where the real world ended and the dream began but I get the feeling that was sort of the point. I also felt that the pacing might have been a little too fast for my liking. The one time I really noticed this is when we are told about a conversation that happened instead of shown it when Avery goes missing. Even that is minor though.

Otherborn combines all my favorite things about the dystopian genre while creating a new story that manages to feel fresh. With a slew of compelling characters, an atmosphere that I believed in and a fast paced plot, Otherborn is as hard to put down as a catchy song is to get out of your head. For a book that focuses on anything New being bad, this one sure does give us something fresh. I'd definitely recommend it!

You can buy Otherborn:
Amazon paperback
Amazon ebook
B&N ebook

Monday, April 8, 2013

Buffy fashions

Welcome, gentle viewers, to the 90's!

So maybe you're starting Buffy for the first time or the fortieth, one thing that you have to brace yourself for is the wild 90's Buffy fasions and there are some doozies. We're talking mini-skirts, barettes, bangs, character t-shits and baggy clothes (for the guys) galore! So I thought it might be fun to go through the fashion evolutions of Buffy with several of the main characters. Prepare your eyes for some pretty outrageous makeovers and unders as we live 7 seasons of highs and lows.

So we can't talk about fashion and Buffy without first looking at it's star. Let's take a walk through the many looks of Buffy...

Buffy- the early seasons

The first few seasons of Buffy had it's star flip-flopping a lot. It seemed like she was constantly at war with her age. Sometimes they wanted to remind us how young Buffy really was by throwing her hair up in a ponytail, giving her some high wedges and arming her with a lollipop and sunglasses. Other times, they wanted to sex her up giving her the 90's trademark miniskirts and cropped shirts. She wore a lot of pale colored dresses and skirts during the day and went with darker colors at night. Buffy's hair is in a constant state of change so you'd be hard pressed to find it looking the same in two episodes. In the beginning of season 1 it looks almost brown sometimes before they finally decide to keep it blonde.

Buffy- the later seasons
It's during the later seasons, pretty much right around the time she gets to college, that what I consider to be the "trademark Buffy" style starts to emerge. From about Season 5 on, Buffy's hair is light blonde and switched between super long or chin length short. She also varies it by wearing it wavy or straight. What I consider to be very Buffy is the spaghetti strap shirts or sleeveless tanks and the low riding trousers. She also wears quite a few long jackets in various colors. I think these seasons showcase the Buffy most people picture. It's all reds, black, and whites with leather pants and square-toed boots. Oh, and hoop earrings. Lots and lots of hoop earrings, especially when her hair is up.

Wanna dress like Buffy? Check out this my Buffy Polyvore collage:

Though Buffy went through quite a few changes, I don't think anyone changed their look as much as Buffy's witchy best friend Willow. Let's take a look back at some of Willow's looks.

Willow- the early seasons

In the earlier seasons, it was no question that Willow was young. In fact, most of the time she dressed younger than her age. We're talking t-shirts with cutesy characters on them, overalls, braided pigtails and I'm not sure if anyone can forget the pink fluffy sweater with the yellow flowers on it. She dresses in a lot of bold patterns and crazy colors. Her hair is always long and straight and most of her clothes are baggy and don't show her figure. In the early seasons, Willow dresses to fade out. She's a geek and she doesn't want to be noticed and it shows in her wardrobe. 

Willow- with Oz
Now, when Willow goes into college, her life is going pretty well. She's got herself a boyfriend who she's wild about and she's rooming with her best friend. Her newfound confidence is definitely evident in her wardrobe. AS the college year starts, Willow has adopted Oz's (her boyfriend) slacker style a little more. She wears a lot of long flowly skirts in wild colors and a lot of earth tones. I always remember Willow in this phase of her life in her matching brown felt jacket with Oz pictured above. Her hair is much shorter and flipped out and we get a lot of funky jewelry. She gets sort of witchy chic with a little bit of hippie tied in.

Willow- with Tara and beyond

As Willow finallty comes into her own as a witch, her style truly transforms. Gone are the days of overalls and pigtails. While her style was morphing into hippie chic with Oz, it goes full blown hippie with Tara. Now Willow start to wear a lot of long flowy sleeved tops that hug her figure and in the later seasons she goes back to more pants. We see a lot more make-up, sparkly jewelry and she bares her stomach more often. She definitely get a little more sexed up. It's great to see Willow confident!

If you want to hone in your witchy style, check out this Willow polyvore collage I put together:

Willow Style

Now that we've covered both girls so let's look at some of the men of Sunnydale. I'd like to start with everyone's favorite librarian!

Giles- through the seasons
In the beginning seasons, Giles is oh-so-deliciousy British. We're talking lots of tweeds in boring brown colors and plain shirt with ties. His straight laced ways are perfectly portrayed in his clothing. As Giles begins to carve out his own path and separate from his Council roots, his style morphs. He still goes for suits a lot of the time but he streamlines them. They are much more updated, better fitting and look mordern. Otherwise, he wear simple longsleeve sweaters and jackets. A bit of his rock-n-roll Ripper days begin to come out in his style which gives us a much more laidback look.

Do the gender swap Giles in this fun polyvore collage:

Giles- Librarian Chic

Finally, I think we should take a look at the one person's (alright, so person status is debatable) fashion that really doesn't change much at all.

Spike- through the seasons
Spike is the one character that you don't see change his look. He drove into town like a bat of hell, meant to be unapologetically rock-n-roll and he's stuck with it through the seasons. In the beginning, we saw him in a lot of open button up red shirts with a tight black tee underneath and dark pants. Let's not forget the stomp your face combat boots and peroxide hair. He also has his trademark black duster (which was driven over by a truck to look worn in) and chipped black nail polish.

As the seasons continue, we see lots of glimpses of Spike earlier in his life. He's either the bumbling poet William with his dirty blonde hair longer and loose or punk in the 80's with white washed jeans and a black tee shirt with cut-off sleeves. In the later seasons, he looses his colored shirt and is mostly pictured in black t-shirts and black pants and his duster. There is a stint where he goes into regular clothes while his mind is recovering but when he's truly himself, he's got on all black, all the time.

Check out how you or your guy can hone in on the Spike style:

Spike- Vampire fashion

I hope you've enjoyed looking at some of the Buffy characters through the seasons and talking about their fashion with me. It's been interesting seeing how the characters have evolved and how that is reflected in their clothing. It's been a doubly interesting experience since I finally got around to playing with polyvore. Hope you all enjoyed!

Please let me know if you decide to make your own Buffy collage on Polyvore. It's super simple and I'd love for you to share yours in the comment section below!
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