home           about           reviews           author insight           review policy

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Uncovered: Entice by Jessica Shirvington

The cover of ENTICE by Jessica Shirvington is here! And it's amazing! I'm also beyond thrilled to get a glimpse at what lies ahead for Violet, but first.... THE COVER! 

Two tutors and three students from the Grigori training center in New York were arriving in two days and I couldn’t be happier.  I was going to be able to learn from the experts and have people my own age to train with, something I really needed.  I was sure with their help I would be able to get over whatever it was that had been holding me back. 

Griffin had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the two senior Grigori –the intelligence, resources and backup they could provide was much needed.  The Scripture that can decipher the identity of all Grigori, even those who have not yet embraced and are therefore defenseless, was at stake. 

I would not stand by and watch it fall into the hands of exiles.  If they found they key to destroying all Grigori and gained the upper hand, the slaughter would not stop until all the humans knelt before them, worshiping them as gods.
 I just have to pause for a moment here and say how much I adore this cover. The first one was good. The second one is outstanding! If the cover is any indication, I can't wait to get my hands on the book. I know. *hangs head in shame. I'm not supposed to judge books but their covers, but... *points at cover* Purdy!

Anyway, here's the deal...

Seventeen-year-old Violet Eden’s is back! With a destiny is to protect humans from the vengeance of exiled angels it becomes clear that it won’t be easy as even her partner, Lincoln, is hiding something.  And now she has to learn to live with her feelings for him while they work together to stay alive and stop the exiles from discovering the key to destroy all Grigori.  It isn’t easy. Especially when the electricity between her and  Phoenix ignites and she discovers his hold over her has become more dangerous than ever.  Violet's power will be pushed to the extreme with a race halfway across the world to find the one artifact that could tilt the balance of power between Angels and Exiles.  And the ultimate betrayal will be exposed.

You can sneak a peak at the first two chapters HERE

Check out Jessica’s brand new video blog post where she sits down with a cup of coffee and invites us into her home.  From her favorite chair to her love of befriending characters in a series, Jessica chats with us about her perfect setting for a good read!  

And last but not least, some exciting news! Jessica Shirvington is coming to the U.S. for a two-week national book tour for ENTICE starting September 18.  Keep an eye on www.embracetheseries.com for more details.

More Author Insight: Writing Behind the Scenes

If someone had a behind-the-scenes pass to observe your writing process what would they see?

"Sadly, nothing exciting. I can't imagine a worse thing to have a behind-the-scenes pass to. It would involve watching a lot of me staring at the screen and pacing my apartment, then suddenly running to the keyboard and pounding away for anything from five minutes to five hours before pacing again." - Barry Lyga, author of I Hunt Killers

"Chaos, probably. Writing process sounds so impressive and orderly, but the fact is I fit it in when I can around my crowded life." - Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of My Life Next Door

"A possibly crazy woman listening to conversations in her head, jotting notes on a turquoise notepad, sipping peach tea, building playlists specific to a book or scene, and then a lot of throwing words at the page while personal hygiene, housework, and the ability to dress like an adult fall to the wayside." - C.J. Redwine, author of Defiance. 

"They’d see my secret to writing -- a troll hovers in a corner of the ceiling in my office. Whenever I’m stuck, he scurries down and climbs on my keyboard to help out. It’s nice, but I don’t like it when he’s too good." - Lissa Price, author of Starters. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

BEA Packing 101

Book Expo America is just days away and you're all packed, right?
Think again. 

Take five minutes and re-evaluate what you've packed. Yes, it's probably fine for your standard vacation, but packing for BEA is a whole different beast. Clothes and tolietries are essential, but there are a few things you should know about how to pack.

Light layers that mix and match. - I know everyone says this and you're probably saying "Yeah, gotcha. Next!" But I'm serious. Temperatures in NYC will be soaring and the climate of the Javits Center is always unpredictable so light layers are a must.

Roll up your clothes. - It saves space, and it prevents wrinkling. This is especially helpful with dress clothes and dresses. However, I wouldn't use up all the extra space you gain from rolling up your wardrobe. You'll probably mail 90% of your books back home, but there will be the precious few you want to take home in your suitcase and the extra space will come in handy.

Pack three bags in your luggage. - Outside of your tolietry bag, you'll need 1) a backpack, 2) a reliable tote bag, and 3) a purse or bag for walking the city (unless you're a dude). You'll get tote bags in the exhibit hall, but it's good to start out with one you trust to carry weight. The backpack is to carry your empty totes, water bottle, camera, wallet, etc and any books you need to stow quickly. You may be inclined to bring a messenger bag instead. Don't! The backpack is best for weight distribution. Your shoulders will be tired enough as is. The purse is self-explanatory, unless you're good with the backpack for non-BEA activity.

Don't pack books. - There are a lot of events going on during BEA, signings with authors you fear might not ever come near your city. Whatever you do, don't pack books to bring to get signed. You will be going home with plenty! If you do bring books, be selective. No more than a handful because you're not going to want to lug around the extra weight all day. (Although, the backpack would be excellent for this.)

Power up. - Keep all your power cords together in a Ziploc bag or a specific compartment of your luggage. Again, bringing power cords seems like a no-brainer, but there's a catch. Your cell phone charger should live on your person if your phone is prone to lasting less than 8 hours. Cell phones, specifically texting, are the ONLY effective for of communication in the Javits, and if your cell phone dies then you'll be stranded without a lifeline, despite being in a room packed so full of bodies you can barely breathe.

Waiting on Wednesday (13)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine 
that highlights eagerly anticipated books.

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl
Release Date: June 14, 2012
Publisher: Viking Children's Books
Author Website: http://www.patricekindl.com 

Seventeen-year-old Althea is the sole support of her entire family, and she must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors--or suitors of any kind--in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo. Then, the young and attractive (and very rich) Lord Boring arrives, and Althea sets her plans in motion. There's only one problem; his friend and business manager Mr. Fredericks keeps getting in the way. And, as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans . . . 

Why can't I wait? 
This is being touted as a witty take on the classic Regency- aka a tongue-in-cheek tale of modern day humor in a Jane Austen setting. In other words, a book made for Jessica.  I mean, there's a character named Lord Boring.  Just let that sink in for a second.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Author Insight: Writing Behind the Scenes

If someone had a behind-the-scenes pass to observe your writing process what would they see?

"I tend to binge write, where I sit down and crank out 5k at a time, usually at night. It’s mostly just me, planted on the couch with my MacBook Air, fingers flying and ignoring the world. My husband once stopped me and said, 'I don’t understand how you’re coming up with anything that actually makes sense over there.' Well, sometimes it doesn’t, but at least it’s words on a page that I can start revising!" - Lauren Morrill, author of Meant to Be.

"Many hours of near-motionless longhand page-filling. Occasional forays to the kitchen for carrots, crackers and peppermint tea, or to throw out one empty biro and pick up another. The left side of my hair becoming more and more disheveled as I pause and scratch my head for inspiration. I think the watcher would fall asleep fairly smartly." - Margo Lanagan, author of The Brides of Rollrock Island

"General sadness. No. My process is something I’m working on. The other day I wrote from 11 in the morning to 9 at night. But some days I look at stuff on the internet all day. Right now I’m trying to cut the internet out of the process. It’s so easy to tab over to some interesting article when a scene gets difficult." - Dan Krokos, author of False Memory

"It would make the world's most excruciating reality show. The player wakes up early. Often by 4:30 a.m., but certainly before sunrise. And, strangely, she does not use an alarm. She just … gets up. Puts on a hideous bathrobe that reminds her ever so much of the one her grandmother wore. She makes coffee. She sits down at her computer and writes as the sun rises behind her. She tells her children to go back to bed several times. Seriously, though, there is a lot of time spent at the keyboard. I do like to outline, write, outline some more, and sweat my way through a draft. The first draft is by far the hardest part. I outline to remove as much doubt and fear as possible, but I'm not the kind of person who can figure the whole thing out without spending some time figuring out the voices of the characters, and I do this by putting them in interesting situations that I suspect will be in the book. I have a great group of friends who are willing to read drafts (including my agent). And I just keep working until I can't." - Martha Brockenbrough, author of Devine Intervention

Monday, May 28, 2012

Author Insight Introductions

Author Insight Round 7 begins tomorrow, and we have yet another great group of authors. Here's who'll be sharing their insights on reading, writing and publishing this time around... 

Elizabeth Eulberg, author of Take a Bow, Prom & Prejudice, and The Lonely Hearts Club

Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of My Life Next Door.

Sarah Maas, author of Throne of Glass.  

C.J. Redwine, author of Defiance

Margo Lanagan, author of The Brides of Rollrock Island and Tender Morsels.

Dan Krokos, author of False Memory

Jennifer Hubbard, author of Try Not to Breathe and The Secret Year.

Joy Preble, author of Dreaming Anastasia, Haunted, and Anastasia Forever.  

Cyn Balog, author of Touched, Starstruck, Sleepless, and Fairy Tale.

Kirsten Hubbard, author of  Wanderlove and Like Mandarin.

Cara Lynn Shultz, author of Spellbound and Spellcaster

Lauren Morrill, author of Meant to Be

James Preller, author of Before You Go

Katie McGarry, author of Pushing the Limits

Sarah Tregay, author of Love & Leftovers.

Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone

Martha Brockenbrough,  author of Devine Intervention

Janette Rallison (AKA C.J. Hill), author of My Fair Godmother, My Unfair Godmother, and Erasing Time

Lissa Price, author of Starters

Jessi Kirby, author of In Honor and Moonglass

Greg Leitich Smith, author of Chronal Engine.

Dayna Lorentz, author of No Safety in Numbers

I hope you're all as excited as I am about reading what the author's have to say. Make sure you stop by tomorrow to catch the first installment!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

June ARC Giveaway

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Henry Holt and Co., 6/5/12

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
St. Martin's Griffin, 6/19/12

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

For Darkness Shows the Stars
by Diana Peterfreund
Balzer + Bray, 6/12/12

Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Struck Winner

Lily S.

Congratulations! I have forwarded your information along to the publisher who will send your copy of Struck out ASAP. Thanks to Macmillan for donating this prize and to everyone who entered. Stay tuned for more giveaways.

Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Release Date: April 2, 2011
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Series: Covenant #2
Pages: 320
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
There is need. And then there is Fate...

Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her.

When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon... and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude... or killing her.

When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

As a huge fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout, naturally I pre-ordered the paperback copy of Pure to go with my collection but when I found out that that it was going to be released early, I will admit to downloading a kindle copy on release day as I couldn’t contain my excitement!!!  Just to remind you about what’s happened so far, remember Alex’s mother who got turned into a daimon? Well, she might be gone but Alex is haunted by recent events, made worse by the fact that the attacks on Pure’s and Half Blood’s continue and this time, they’ve perpetrated the Covenants.  Everyone is a suspect and no one is safe.  In the midst of all of this, Alex is hauled up before the council to explain what happened and she’d better behave herself or she’ll have worse things than daimons to worry about!

 I’m going to start by saying that if Half Blood was Alex and Aiden’s book, I think that Pure is definitely Seth’s book.  If you weren’t in love with him before, you sure will be now!  He may be arrogant and cheeky but he does have a particular charm and don’t try to tell me that he just has an agenda, he DOES care about Alex otherwise he wouldn’t have held her hair for her whilst she barfed down the toilet or stayed with her for days when she was upset.  So there.  I have to say at this point that the swimming pool scene and the Orchid Brew scenes were two of my favourites from the book and it was AMAZING to read them from the guy’s point of view in other short stories released by Jennifer so go search them out!

That’s not to say that Aiden isn’t around of course but he’s backed off out of a sense of duty and responsibility towards Alex as he doesn’t want to see her hauled into servitude or worse.  Oh Aiden, what am I going to do with you?!  As Alex is training with both Aiden and Seth, spending time with them both ratchets up the tension levels a few notches and my oh my, I love a bit of angst.  Let’s not forget about the cryptic clues from the oracle about being with the one you love or the one you’re fated to be with.  Are they even the same? What’s a girl to do? 

Pure is an action packed sequel that does not disappoint and will leave you gasping for more, especially the ending with surprises you didn’t see coming and there WILL be consequences.  Overall, Pure was a very worthy sequel and I loved every minute of it. We’ll just have to wait for the next book to find out what happens! ARGH!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Torn by Amanda Hocking

US Cover

Release Date: Feb. 28, 2012
(UK: March 1, 2012)
Publisher: St. Matin's Griffin (UK: Tor)
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: UK Publisher
Series: Trylle #2
Pages: 336
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself—that she’s a changeling switched at birth—she knows her life will never be the same. Now she’s about to learn that there’s more to the story…

She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined—and they’ll stop at nothing to lure her to their side. With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers—and marry an equally powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who’s strictly off limits…and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.

Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she’s ever wanted…in both worlds.

As a special gift to readers, this book contains a new, never-before-published bonus story, “One Day, Three Ways,” set in the magical world of the Trylle.

UK Cover
Obviously, it goes without saying that if you have not yet read Switched (the first book in the Trylle series) which I reviewed here then do not go any further as you may encounter potential spoilers.

Torn is of course the eagerly awaited sequel to Switched and I devoured it just as quickly as I did the first book.  It’s just pure entertainment value and easy reading - and I mean that as a compliment.  Never in my life did I think I would enjoy a book about trolls! 

You may recall at the end of Switched that Wendy ran back home with her tail between her legs but guess what?!  SHE CAN’T STAY THERE and I’m sure that will come as a big shock to you all *rolls eyes*.  What I liked most about Torn I think is Wendy’s character development.  She starts accepting who and what she is more and more, even relishing in the role on occasion.  She develops a sense of duty as she comes to understand that the Trylle need a leader, a queen.  Speaking of duty, let’s talk about frustrating yet dutiful Finn who starts pushing Wendy away because he has nothing to offer her but banishment.  I get this, I do but ANGSTY ANGST, ARGH! You know? 

In the midst of it all, we have Loki, a young Markis from VIttra who tries to kidnap Wendy and bring her to the king whose interest in her is beyond political.  Amanda? THANK YOU for Loki.  I love a bad boy with a cheeky chappy sense of humour and he certainly fits the bill.  Loki and Wendy enjoy some flirtatious banter and this of course sets up a potential love triangle between Wendy, Finn and Loki but we’ll see about that ;)
Torn delves deeper into the world of the Trylle and I enjoyed learning that whilst we tend to think of the VIttra as the bad guys, let’s just say that it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

Torn is a very enjoyable sequel and I’m looking forward to Ascend (Trylle #3) which is out now! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine 
that highlights eagerly anticipated books.

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.

Why can't I wait?
As a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, when I heard Alice in Zombieland mentioned and Gena Showalter's name attached to it, I knew it was a must read. Plus, the White Rabbit Chronicles? Awesome series title!