Sunday, March 31, 2013

March Wrap Up


It's April already? Wow, time flies! I apparently forgot to do one of these last month, so here's a chance to see how I've done since the end of January. Let's get to it!


(YA) = Young Adult / (A) = Adult / (MG) = Middle Grade / (C) = Children
** Books read in previous months


Books Read and Reviewed in March:
(YA) Keeper of the Black Stones by P.T. McHugh - Review (5/5)
(YA) Edge of the Falls by Nazarea Andrews - Review (4/5)
(YA) Escape Theory by Margaux Froley - Review (4/5)
(YA) The Culling by Steven Dos Santos - Review (4/5) **
(A) The Demi Monde: Winter by Rod Rees - Review (3/5)
(YA) Owlet (The Society of Feathers #1) by Emma Michaels - Review (3/5)
(YA) Earth Sim by Jade Kerrion - Review (4/5)
(C) The Man and the Moon by Jamie Martin - Review (4/5)
(A) Angelopolis (Angelology #2) by Danielle Trussoni - Review (4/5)
(MG) The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons by Barbara Mariconda - Review (4/5) **

Total Reviewed: 10
Towards month totals: 8


Books Read but not Reviewed:
(MG) Professor Gargoyle (Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1) by Charles Gilman (4/5)
(YA) Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton (4/5)
(YA) Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer (4/5)
(A) The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantine (4/5)
(YA) Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum (1/5) DNF
(A) Domino Falls by Steven Barnes (4/5)
(A) Untold Damage by Robert K. Lewis (3/5)


Total Books read in March: 15
Goal Progress: 42 out of 150 (28%)



It was a month of pretty awesome reads! A lot of 4 star reviews, and only one DNF. My favorite book of the month was definitely Keeper of the Black Stones by P.T. McHugh! I highly recommend you add this to your reading list if it isn't there already. 


That's it for me! How did you do this month?


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Book Review: The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons



Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons
Author: Barbara  Mariconda
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: Hardcover; 224
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Source: Library
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Content Screening: Nothing of note

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Those who enjoy a feisty female lead, and a read with ample adventure.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
An enchanted flute that vibrates when danger is near, sparkling mist that unlocks a drawer of family secrets, and a bookcase that expands to conceal her hiding place—these are the bits of magic Lucy P. Simmons has experienced since her parents drowned at sea.

The magic is helping Lucy keep her house—Father's beloved "ship on shore"—out of the hands of her greedy uncle Victor. Lucy thinks the magic is coming from Marni, a mysterious woman who seems to be one with the sea itself . . . and who bears a striking resemblance to the mythical siren in the painting in Father's study.

Together, Lucy and Marni devise a plan to stop Uncle Victor's conniving ways. In the process, Lucy makes unexpected friends and discovers that courage may be the most powerful magic of all. But will it be enough to prevail in the face of her evil uncle?

Barbara Mariconda's beautifully written and timeless story overflows with dazzling magic, swashbuckling adventure, and good, old-fashioned heart.

 In the vein of a Lemony Snicket novel, The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons opens with tragedy. Lucy's family is taken from her quite suddenly and her evil Uncle Victor comes to live with her as her legal guardian. His plan is to take over her family home. What is a young girl to do to fight back? Although the book opens with a rather sad note, I can tell you without a doubt that once it takes off it's hard to stop reading.

Lucy is quite a protagonist. Brilliant beyond her years, she is an easy character to fall in love with. Full of courage, and willing to take on whatever comes her way. In fact, one of Lucy's biggest draws is her ability to accept the unexplained. It allows magic to flow into her life and makes for an even more enchanting read. I see young readers being drawn in by the magical elements. The message here is clear and simple:

“Courage is not about being unafraid... Courage has to do with moving forward in the face of fear.”

I was simply disappointed by the lack of answers upon ending Lucy's story. The magic in this story is dazzling, but never really explained. We meet some wonderful characters during our romp through Lucy's life, but we never really see into their pasts.  I'm hoping that this means this is the first of the a series that will eventually wrap things up. I for one will be happy to follow Lucy to wherever she ends up next!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Starseed Excerpt + Giveaway

Tour Schedule



Starseed
Author: Liz Gruder
ISBN: 978-1937178291
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
Published: February 2013

SUMMARY
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Starseed concerns a sixteen-year-old girl who falls in love with a starseed boy who reveals that she, too, is half extraterrestrial, and is forced to choose her allegiance between Earth and her star family.
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Kaila Guidry has always known she is different. When she meets Jordyn Stryker at school, she finds out just how different.

Jordyn was born and raised far from Earth, a starseed, one of six new students sent to Louisiana's Bush High to learn human ways. But Jordyn didn't count on meeting someone like Kaila.

When Kaila is pushed to her limit by high school bullying and cruelty, Jordyn awakens her to a new reality—and to love. But to prove herself, Kaila must look the other way as the real purposes of the starseeds unfold.

As the horrific plan behind the starseed visit to Earth moves inexorably forward, Kaila and Jordan, caught in an impossible love, must determine where their true loyalties lie.


Praise


"After reading Starseed, my faith in YA sci-fi has been restored! ... I didn't want to put it down ... it had enough mystery and suspense to keep me going, page after page. Superb job 4.5 out of 5!"
-- The Forbidden Library Book Reviews

"I would recommend this book to all sci-fi lovers and, to those who aren't into it, take a chance. Who knows? You may love this book just as much as I did! Liz Gruder is definitely an author you should keep a look out for as she has great talent in writing and a huge imagination. Starseed was a wonderful read and very different from other books I've read. It was a very nice change from what I usually read and kept me enticed all the way."
--Starlight Book Reviews

"Interesting read. A lot like Roswell, but different. Gruder does a great job building the dark mystery of what the aliens are really up to on earth."
--Charity Bradford, sci-fi author, "The Magic Wakes"

“The story caught me off guard and won me over after the first chapter. The main conflict is a personal one for Kalia. Will she embrace her alien side or continue life as a human?”
--Pixie Dust Book Reviews

Starseed is a fun sci-fi read with romance. It brings light to the cliques of high school, and challenges the main character, Kaila, to be herself, instead of how others expect her to be.
--Kerri Cuevas, YA Author "Deadly Kisses"

"Liz Gruder's characters come alive through youthful, spunky narrative, and her headstrong heroine, Kaila Guidry, elicits a reader's encouragement from the first page. Fans of P.C. Cast will find themselves similarly transported into Gruder's exploration of the dark sides of faith, love, higher dimensions, and, of course, high school."
-- Jadie Jones, YA author "Moonlit"



Purchase



Author Liz Gruder

As a youth, Liz Gruder saw a series of UFOs with her best friend while riding bikes. Ever since, she’s held a fascination for the stars. An avid reader, she used to hide under her covers and read with a flashlight. She has degrees in English and Psychology from Tulane University, a nursing license and a yoga certification. After going through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Liz realized how short life is and is now slowly fulfilling her bucket list: she’s been to the Egyptian pyramids (totally awesome and thought provoking) and is now teaching yoga and writing speculative fiction. Starseed is her debut novel.



**********

Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/10/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Angelology cocktails + enter to win the books!





In honor of Verlaine and Evangeline’s story moving from the streets of NYC to the depth of Siberia we’ve decided to use some good old fashioned Russian vodka as the base for our ANGELOPOLIS specialty cocktail. 


Angelopolis (21+) 

In a cocktail shaker, muddle 3 fresh blackberries. Add ice, 1 ½ oz of ice cold Russian vodka, ½ oz of elderflower liqueur (like St.-Germain), and 1 tsp lemon juice. Shake, and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top off with soda water and garnish with blackberries and lemon peels.

Makes one cocktail. Drink Responsibly.


Angelologist in Training (all ages) 

Muddle 3 fresh blackberries. Add ice and top with sparkling lemonade. Stir and garnish with blackberries and lemon peels.


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Now... it's GIVEAWAY TIME!


 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book Review: Angelopolis



Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Angelopolis
   * Series: Angeology #2
Author: Danielle Trussoni
Publisher: Viking Adult
Pages: Hardcover; 320
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Source: NetGalley
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Genre: Paranormal Fiction

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Both fans of the first book, and newcomers! This one reads just fine as a standalone.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
A decade has passed since Verlaine saw Evangeline alight from the Brooklyn Bridge, the sight of her new wings a betrayal that haunts him still. Now an elite angel hunter for the Society of Angelology, he pursues his mission with single-minded devotion: to capture, imprison, and eliminate her kind.

But when Evangeline suddenly appears on a twilit Paris street, Verlaine finds her nature to be unlike any of the other creatures he so mercilessly pursues, casting him into a spiral of doubt and confusion that only grows when she is abducted before his eyes by a creature who has topped the society’s most-wanted list for more than a century. The ensuing chase drives Verlaine and his fellow angelologists from the shadows of the Eiffel Tower to the palaces of St. Petersburg and deep into the provinces of Siberia and the Black Sea coast, where the truth of Evangeline’s origins—as well as forces that could restore or annihilate them all—lie in wait.

Conceived against an astonishing fresh tableau of history and science,Angelopolis plumbs Russia’s imperial past, modern genetics, and ancient depictions of that most potent angelic appearance—the Annunciation of Gabriel—in a high-octane tale of abduction, treasure seeking, and divine warfare as the fate of humanity once again hangs in the balance.

Similar to Angelolgy, there was a lot that I liked about Angelopolis despite any qualms I may have had. In fact, I'm here to say that I actually enjoyed this book much better than the first. Perhaps it's because of the ample amounts of action, or maybe because of the discoveries that are slowly unearthed, but Danielle Trussoni managed to capture my imagination, and I eagerly paged through this book.

Evangeline doesn't play as big of a role in Angelopolis, instead giving way to more information about Verlaine and his posse of angelologists. As Nephilim become more of a threat, Verlaine must work even harder to keep humanity safe. It was so fun to follow him on the hunts, and be introduced to new characters. I'm a huge fan of the tough female characters that make an appearance here. Being an angelologist definitely isn't an easy job. Add in a mystery involving the Romanov family, and you have quite a story.

My one gripe, and this is the same one I had before, is that there is a large amount of descriptive writing that slowly bogs down the action. There are pages upon pages of historical information and angelic races. Although interesting in its own right, it does manage to pull the reader out of the overall mystery that surrounds the angels themselves. I'll admit that I skimmed more than a few pages, and yet I still managed to follow the story just fine. Still, this was done much better than the first novel so kudos on that!

As I said though, despite anything else I did actually enjoy the story in its entirety. The ending is a huge cliffhanger and so I know that there will be more to come. I'm in for the long haul now. Bring on more angels, more holy wars, and more action. I'll be here waiting for it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Children's Book Review: The Man and the Moon



Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Man and the Moon
Author: Jamie Martin
Illustrator: Kath McLaughlin
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Paperback; 24
Release Date: January 9, 2013
Source: Author
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Recommended to: Parents looking for an adventurous picture book to share with their little ones.

Difficulty Level: Elementary school readers should start to be able to read this on their own, although some vocabulary is a little advanced.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon
Two kids sneak out of their room and uncover a robbery! The old man is taking the moon! They rush after the man in hopes of setting the moon free. Easy read for children with a pleasant rhyme scheme and beautiful illustrations.

In the style of our favorite myths and fairy tales, comes The Man and the Moon. Jamie Martin brings a new story to the table about an old man who attempts to steal the moon from the sky, and two young children who save the day. With its adorable watercolor illustrations, and lovely rhyme scheme, this is a story that is sure to capture the heart of children and adults alike.

I know that I instantly fell in love with the illustrations. They have a dreamy feel to them, and if I loved them I know young readers will! These plucky little heroes have facial expressions that tell the story so very well. The writing and the illustrations go hand in and beautifully.

The one thing I would have liked to see improved was the typeface. The font takes away a bit from the dreamlike quality of the book. Still, this is a story that you definitely need to add to your shelf of favorites!


Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Rewind - March 24, 2013





Monday Book Review: Owlet
Tired of the same old paranormal creatures? Give Emma Michaels' Owlet a try!  A fresh take on this genre and an enjoyable read.

Do you have Laury Falter's Fallen on your reading list?  Check out this newly written piece from Eran's point of view!

On Wednesday I professed my dire want for Icons by Margaret Stohl!  Well I wasn't a huge fan of  the Beautiful Creatures series, this book sounds right up my alley!

Jade Kerrion is an amazing science fiction writer, but in this post she shows her prowess for making the reader think!  Check out how facades and truth play a part in her writing.

What if the world as we know it wasn't what we perceived it to be?  Ever wonder who to blame the current state of the world on? Jade Kerrion's Earth-Sim will give you that answer!

Kit Grindstaff's new book, The Flame In The Mist looks amazing!  This trailer? Just further cements my want of this book.


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BONUS ROUND!!!
Here are some links I think are well worth your time:


- I love Parajunkee anyway, but this week she posted an amazing article on The Top 10 Things You Need on Your Blog! A must for new bloggers out there!

- Looks like Shailene Woodley not only snagged the main part in the Divergent movie, but also in the upcoming The Fault In Our Stars movie! Wow.


Until next week....happy reading!


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Check out the trailer for The Flame in the Mist!



There's evil-a coming from up on the hill
If the Mist doesn't get you, the Agromonds will.
   —From an old Anglavian rhyme






The sun never shines in the land of Anglavia. Its people live within a sinister mist created by their rulers, the cruel Agromond family. The Agromonds' control is absolute; no one dares defy them. But things are about to change, for the youngest of them is not like the others...

Fiery-headed Jemma has always felt like the family misfit, and is increasingly disturbed by the dark goings-on at Agromond Castle. The night before her thirteenth birthday, Jemma discovers the terrifying reason why: She is not who she thinks she is, and the Agromonds have a dreadful ritual planned for her birthday—a ritual that could kill her.

But saving her skin is just the first of Jemma's ordeals. Ghosts and outcasts, a pair of crystals, a mysterious book, an ancient Prophecy—all these gradually reveal the truth about her past, and a destiny far greater and more dangerous than any she could imagine.

With her trusted friend, Digby, and her two telepathic golden rats, Noodle and Pie, Jemma faces enemies both human and supernatural. But in the end, she and her untapped powers might be the only hope for a kingdom in peril.


PRAISE:

"Fast, creepy fun. A bit of The Addams Family, a bit of dark fantasy, and a boatload of monsters and magic make this read a ghoulish delight." - Stefan Bachmann, author of The Peculiar


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EXCERPT:

Thunder roared, and lightning speared down. In its brief flashes, Jemma could see more shadows gathering. They looked like pale Mordsprites, small, bedraggled, skeletal. She lengthened her stride, but the ground was slick and she slipped, slamming face down in black mud. Hauling herself to her feet yet again, she came face to face with one of the shadows.

It was not a Mordsprite at all, but the gray silhouette of a child, a sunken-cheeked, hollow-eyed boy of no more than five, his ragged arms reaching out to her through the Mist.

Jemma stood petrified, her heart pounding as he swayed closer, oblivious to the chaos raining down around him. Others closed in behind him, a straggling band of waifs, all moving in the same direction.

Toward her.

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Kit Grindstaff was born near London, and grew up in the rolling countryside of England. After a brush with pop stardom (under her maiden name, Hain), she moved to New York and embarked on her successful career as a pop song writer. Kit now lives with her husband in the rolling countryside of Pennsylvania, where she still writes songs as well as children's books. The Flame In The Mist is her first novel.




Find Kit:

Buy Links:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Book Review: Earth-Sim


Media Type: Print Book
Title: Earth-Sim
Author: Jade Kerrion
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Kindle; 207
Release Date: February 2, 2013
Source: Author
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Genre: Science Fiction

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Those who adore an intelligently written and enjoyable Sci Fi novel.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Jem Moran has a reputation to prove and a secret to protect. The prestigious world simulation program seems the answer to both her problems, but only if she can succeed in spite of her partner, Kir Davos, and the uncooperative human beings who populate her planet. From the Great Extinction to the Renaissance, from world wars to intergalactic treaties, Jem’s conflict with Kir will shape Earth’s history, and their opposing management styles will either save or doom our planet. Either way, you finally have someone to blame for the shape our world is in.

A huge thank you to Jade Kerrion for reminding me of why I love the genre of Science Fiction so much! I loved Earth-Sim from the very first page, mainly because of the intelligent and immersing way that it was written. Suspend disbelief for a minute and imagine that our world is actually controlled by beings much like us. In fact, those beings are growing our world as a school competition. One well placed sneeze, one accidental bump, and our world falls into chaos. This is what Jade Kerrion builds in Earth-Sim.

I need to profess my adoration for both Jem and Kir as characters. They start out as two very different people with varying opinions on what their project really means. However as the book goes on, as they see the impact they have on their world (our world) they grow, compromise, and learn to work together. The layers of character building also deserve applause. Jem is more than what she seems and, although they'll be no spoilers here, it's interesting to discover the underlying motivations behind her decisions. I was a little saddened by the lack of romance, but then again that really wasn't what the story was focused on.

What the story was focused on was written gorgeously. Kerrion uses each chapter to slowly unravel the history of the world, and find wonderfully inventive ways to explain how we ended up where we are now. The emotions in this book are palpable, and I felt for Jem and Kir as they tried to navigate their way through being the parents of a whole planet. It was fascinating to watch history take place as they toyed with the various settings. One could almost believe that there is truth behind this story.

Now a note to the reader, this is actually a very accessible Science Fiction novel. I've read stories so full of jargon that I was lost despite my love of this genre. Earth-Sim is the perfect mix of contemporary story and Sci Fi elements. Kudos to Jade Kerrion for mastering this very tricky balance. I highly recommend you give this book a spot on your reading list. As the synopsis says, you might finally find someone to blame for the shape our world is in.



FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Facades and the Truth: A post by Jade Kerrion



Jade Kerrion is the guest of honor here on Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile today! She is the author of Earth-Sim, a quick moving Sci-Fi novel about a girl who has power over our history and, even larger spread, our whole world. Sound like something up your alley? Here's a synopsis!



What reviewers are saying:
5 Stars! “What a fantastic book by Jade Kerrion, it grabbed me from the very first page...Ms Kerrion's writing is exciting and well paced to keep you wanting to know more…”

Jem Moran has a reputation to prove and a secret to protect. The prestigious world simulation program seems the answer to both her problems, but only if she can succeed in spite of her partner, Kir Davos, and the uncooperative human beings who populate her planet. From the Great Extinction to the Renaissance, from world wars to intergalactic treaties, Jem’s conflict with Kir will shape Earth’s history, and their opposing management styles will either save or doom our planet. Either way, you finally have someone to blame for the shape our world is in.

Jade was kind enough to bring along a guest post for her tour! I was fascinated by her discussion of the use of facades in her writing. After all, what else is writing but its very own front? Enjoy, and don't forget to add her book to your reading list! Links are at the bottom.

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Facades and the Truth 


Do you have facades? I do. I have a façade that stays pleasantly sociable at large gatherings even though I would rather be at home lounging in my comfy clothes. For some other people, the difference is even more pronounced. The “me” at work might be diametrically different from the “me” at play.

In Earth-Sim, in a world when image enhancers can be employed to remove freckles or straighten a broken nose, facades are more than just the personality you display to the world. It can also literally be the face you display to the world, and Jem Moran is a girl with two faces.

If you use a façade, can you still identify the truth? That’s the question that Jem has to contend with as she wavers between the two faces that she wears—one famous and the other unknown…one beautiful and the other not. The reason for her façade is legitimate, but the facades create complications for Jem (and lots of fun, too, but mostly just lots of complications). How do you know if love is love if the “you” isn’t real? Can the person who fell in love with one version of you eventually accept and love both versions? And what should you do when the façade you prefer isn’t the “real” you?

In writing Earth-Sim, I wrestled with the idea of facades and their impact on the truth. I managed to stump myself on the very first question: what is the difference between a façade and a facet of your personality The determining factor, I think, is “Is it real?” A façade is ultimately false, and when destroyed, reveals the truth beneath. A facet, on the other hand, is just a different way of perceiving the same thing. Cut diamonds, for example, have facets. If worn for a long time, facades can become comfortable—just like your favorite pair of denim jeans. At that point, they may have integrated so fully into the person that they become a facet—just another way to perceive the same person.

How does this apply to my novel? Earth-Sim takes readers on a frequently whimsical and occasionally irreverent romp through Earth’s history as seen through the eyes of the two students and android assigned to manage our planet. In a way, Earth-Sim, too, has multiple facets.

On the one hand, Earth-Sim deals with serious life themes that include coming to terms with our true identify in spite of the facades we display to the world. The novel highlights the value of strong cross-gender platonic friendships, and wrestles with the difficulty of maintaining them. It emphasizes the fact that we all bring something of value to the table, and celebrates the diversity of approaches in dealing with problems.

On the other hand, Earth-Sim showcases Earth’s history in a seamless blend of popular culture, science, and religion. Fact and fiction fit together into a jigsaw puzzle that explains the extinction of the dinosaurs, the ten plagues of Egypt, and the Black Death. Did you want to know the truth about the Loch Ness Monster, the city of Atlantis, and that flying boy with the red cape? That’s in Earth-Sim as well. 

For a moment, I was tempted to ask the real Earth-Sim to please step forward, and then I realized, it’s sometimes just better to sit back and enjoy all facets of a book—or a person—for what it, he, or she is. I hope you enjoy Earth-Sim.


Jade Kerrion unites cutting-edge science and bioethics with fast-paced action in her award-winning Double Helix series. Perfection Unleashed and its sequels, Perfect Betrayal and Perfect Weapon, have been described as “a breakout piece of science fiction” and drawn rave reviews for their originality and vision. Her novel, When the Silence Ends, is a Young Adult spinoff the Double Helix series. She is also the author of Earth-Sim, a whimsical and compelling view of Earth’s history through the eyes of the two students assigned to manage our planet. 
Connect with Jade: 
Blog / Facebook / Twitter 
Purchase her book: 
Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords

 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (3/20/13)


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine! Each blogger spotlight one or more upcoming releases that they are eagerly awaiting.

This week I'm waiting on...


Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.
She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.
Release May 7, 2013


I can't even begin to express how good this book sounds! I'm always in for a really great sounding dystopian book, especially when it's coming from an author that I already love. I can't wait to dive in and see where Margaret Stohl takes me next :).


What are YOU waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A new piece from Laury Falter, author of Fallen!


Laury Falter is here again today!

If you'll recall, earlier this month I reviewed Fallen here on the blog. I've been waiting to see if Laury Falter would stop by with a guest post and, lo and behold, she agreed!

Below is not merely an excerpt, but a whole new piece of writing from the POV of Eran. Isn't that awesome? Whether you've read this book or not, chances are this will peak your interest. So enjoy, and don't forget to add the book to your reading list!


Add to Goodreads 



Eran's account of the first time he met Magdalene 


"It was explosive. She fought me, hard...and well," he paused to chuckle while shaking his head in amazement at the memory. "I'd watched her fight before, but I wasn't ready for her strength. That part of her originates from her stubbornness. One of my favorite characteristics and it happens to be the core of her personality. It's what drives her to help others, to put her life on the line for strangers. That's Magdalene…my Magdalene."

He smirked.

"She didn't know it, but I had seen her around. I heard about this girl training others like her to survive our enemies. That was impressive. We have powerful enemies." His gaze fell to the floor in deep reflection. "I found her training," he laughed through his nose, "of course. And I was enthralled, completely and absolutely void of any reasonable thought after laying eyes on her. The way her brown hair swung around, catching the wind from her speed, the blaze in her eyes, and those wings. I'd never, and haven't to this day, seen whiter appendages. She was stunning. So much fury and love was wrapped up in that little frame of hers that I was completely taken from that very second on."

Slowly, he nodded with certainty. "At that point, I knew. I knew that I'd be her guardian. That beauty, that innocence needed protection, and I was going to see that she got it. Nothing," he insisted, "would stop me from it. What I didn't count on was her rejection. I-" One side of his lips lifted in a confident grin. "I'm fairly capable of influencing women. But not her. Magdalene took time, several centuries, in fact. It took countless arguments, coddling of her sensitive ego - don't tell her I said that - and an incredible amount of patience. The fight, I tell you, is in her blood."

He drew in a deep breath, as if to let the feeling of her settle over him, while a smile played across his lips.

"I sensed all this on that first sighting. So I kept my distance, looking for a way in to dissolve that stubbornness." He shrugged. "That was pointless. When we finally did meet, I had a good understanding of who she was, so again I wasn't surprised by the fight she gave me. What surprised me…," his eyes turned warm, remembering. "What I'll never forget, what will stay with me forever, was the passion in her eyes…because it was aimed directly at me."

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A huge thank you to Laury Falter!

 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Review: Owlet


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Owlet
   *Series: Society of Feathers #1
Author: Emma Michaels
Publisher: Tribute Books
Pages: Ebook; 138
Release Date: October 13, 2012
Source: Author
----------------------------------------------------
Content Screening: Nothing of note

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy the paranormal genre but are looking for something a little different.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Somewhere between falling and flying… there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the façade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her; the truth or her life.

Owlet drew me in with its mysterious synopsis and gorgeous cover. As a reader of paranormal fiction, I'm always looking for something fresh to add to my bookshelf. I was instantly enchanted with the idea of a girl whose past slowly comes back to her in dreams. Iris has a voice that speaks to her, that tells her the truth and keeps her on the right path. Where does it come from, and why does she have such vivid dreams? I hoped to find out.

Sadly though, I really didn't. Which brought me to the first problem I had with Michaels' story. It is true that Iris is shrouded in mystery. The issue is that none of what makes her life so mysterious is fully revealed. There are little teasers, pieces of information that are cut off at the last second. I had no problem with this at the beginning of the book. However the further I read, the more I realized I was still just as lost as before. I won't spoil anything, but quite honestly I'm not sure I could if I wanted to.

Owlet reads like a much younger novel than the age group it was aimed at. Iris and her fellow characters are not really given the in-depth personalities that they deserve. In fact, for the majority of the book I felt like Iris was portrayed as a lot younger than her sixteen years of age. She is very impulsive, overreacts often, and has a rather simple thought process. When the romance started to move in, it felt forced to me. I truly think it was because I was still picturing her as so young.

Now before you start to believe I didn't enjoy Owlet, let me assure you that there were things I loved. For one, the idea that Iris' soul was so special. Again, no spoilers, but it truly is amazing how Emma Michael's has created a whole new breed of paranormal entity. I also really loved the setting. I could picture myself wandering the island with Iris and Falcon, and it was a definite treat. I can see the beauty in Emma Michaels' writing, I just think it needs to dive a bit deeper.

That being said, I'm looking forward to the next book. It is my hope that I'll finally have my questions answered, and maybe even learn more about Iris and Falcon as individuals. I'd recommend this book to those of you out there who enjoy a paranormal read. While it isn't perfect yet, it has definite series potential.



FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekly Rewind - March 17, 2013



Nazarea Andrews stopped by to talk about why she thinks romance is so important in dystopian fiction. After all, if the hero/heroine doesn't have anything to fight for, what's the point? 
Giveaway alert! --- It doesn't end until 8 pm tonight so hurry and get your entries in!


In case you needed further prodding to go enter the giveaway above, here's my review of this stunning book. Love, danger, and friendship? Oh yes, it's all here.


Margeaux Foley's book was a breath of fresh air! To me it felt like a mix between a soap opera and a Nancy Drew mystery. Very fun and quick read. Check out the full review!


It's not every day that you get to see into the mind of an author. Wondering why Mia Hoddell chooses to devote her life to writing? This post is for you.


Are you a fan of The Hunger Games? Welcome to your next read! While there are some parallels, this stellar book stands out just the same. Gritter, darker, definitely worth your time.


Okay, being totally honest? This book tried to be a lot of things and...sadly...ended up being a very long and confusing mess. I still liked some of it, but you'll find the rest of my thoughts in this review.


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BONUS ROUND!!!
Here are some links from around the web I think are totally worth your time:

-- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is being banned from Chicago Public Schools for "graphic language and images"

-- David Levithan's Two Boys Kissing has a cover and it's lovely! The best part though is definitely the story behind it all

-- And finally, a giggle worthy video for you. Why don't we ever get anything done on the Internet? Cracked sums it up for you right here.



Keep on keeping on my bibliophile friends!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Book Review: The Demi Monde: Winter



Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Demi Monde
   *Series: The Demi Monde Saga
Author: Rod Rees
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Pages: Hardcover; 522
Release Date: January 1, 2011
Source: Publisher
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Genre: Science Fiction

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Fans of down and dirty science fiction mixed with steampunk.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
EXPERIENCE THE ULTIMATE IN VIRTUAL REALITY. The Demi-Monde is the most advanced computer simulation ever devised. Created to prepare soldiers for the nightmarish reality of urban warfare, it is a virtual world locked in eternal civil war. Its thirty million digital inhabitants are ruled by duplicates of some of history's cruellest tyrants: Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Holocaust; Beria, Stalin's arch executioner; Torquemada, the pitiless Inquisitor General; Robespierre, the face of the Reign of Terror. But something has gone badly wrong inside the Demi-Monde, and the US President's daughter has become trapped in this terrible world. It falls to eighteen-year-old Ella Thomas to rescue her, yet once Ella has entered the Demi-Monde she finds that everything is not as it seems, that its cyber-walls are struggling to contain the evil within and that the Real World is in more danger than anyone realises.

Oh The Demi Monde: Winter, what do I say about you first? It's pretty obvious straight away that this is a very lengthy read. I'm a fan of Science Fiction and therefore I'm used to reading books that border on tomes. Still, I'm certain that many people are going to be scared off immediately by the hefty weight of this book. At 522 pages, this is definitely not a light read.

That being said, the book actually starts out very well. From the first page the reader is thrown into a skewed world that mirrors our own, but is infinitely more terrifying. Imagine a place where the worst villains  the most reviled of historical figures, make their home. A land where racism and sexism run rampant. All created by the government to fit into a training simulation for soldiers. The most advanced simulation ever seen, with the power to think for itself. Sound scary? Ella Thomas thinks so too, and yet she's headed in.

Now the real problem I found with this book was that Rod Rees was too ambitious. I know this sounds odd, but he packs so many different tropes into this story that after a while it becomes difficult to follow. I loved Ella. I loved everything about her intelligent schemes and daring escapes. Honestly, if the book had just followed her I would have been just fine. However there are social classes to remember, slang terms for different races, city names, wars, dates, and endless amounts of other information. If I was wondering why this book was so long, I found my answer.

The fact is, there are a lot of great things in this book. Wonderful characters, twists and turns. It just all happened to be buried under a lot of information that felt like it didn't need to be there. I skimmed a lot of this story if I'm being honest. Fact is, the parts I read still made up a whole story that was amazing. So now you see why my rating is where it is. Kudos to Rod Rees for taking on such an ambitious project, but perhaps the next book should have a little less in the info-dump department so the page count goes down.





FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Review: The Culling


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: The Culling
   * Series: The Torch Keeper #1
Author: Steven Dos Santos
Publisher: Flux
Pages: Paperback; 421
Release Date: March 8, 2013
Source: NetGalley
------------------------------------------------
Content Screening: Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Fans of gritty dystopian fiction with strong characters.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Recruitment Day is here...if you fail, a loved one will die...

For Lucian “Lucky” Spark, Recruitment Day means the Establishment, a totalitarian government, will force him to become one of five Recruits competing to join the ruthless Imposer task force. Each Recruit participates in increasingly difficult and violent military training for a chance to advance to the next level. Those who fail must choose an “Incentive”—a family member—to be brutally killed. If Lucky fails, he’ll have to choose death for his only living relative: Cole, his four-year-old brother.

Lucky will do everything he can to keep his brother alive, even if it means sacrificing the lives of other Recruits’ loved ones. What Lucky isn’t prepared for is his undeniable attraction to the handsome, rebellious Digory Tycho. While Lucky and Digory train together, their relationship grows. But daring to care for another Recruit in a world where love is used as the ultimate weapon is extremely dangerous. As Lucky soon learns, the consequences can be deadly...

I'd been eyeing The Culling ever since I first saw it pop up on Goodreads. I'm a huge fan of dystopian novels, but never in my reading history had I seen one with a gay male protagonist! Let's be honest, male leads are few and far between in dystopia as it is. One from the LBGT community though? Unheard of. Thus I couldn't help but jump up and down with glee when I was given the opportunity to read an early copy of this book. Even better? It absolutely didn't disappoint!

Now before you lament over the similarities between this and another very popular series out there, let me assure you that Steven Dos Santos' book is well worth your time. While there are parallels, I honestly couldn't say I loved one over the other. Think Battle Royale and you'll have a good idea of this book. Much bloodier, much grittier, way more action. The Establishment is a heartless, evil government in a bleak and brutal world. People suffer and people die. If you're not okay with violence in your reading, this isn't a book for you.

Honestly, what I loved most of all were the characters. Lucian is a very likable protagonist. He cares for his brother, and wants nothing more than safety for the two of them. Watching him slowly learn that the world around him doesn't pull punches is heartrending. Then Dos Santos throws in the other recruits and my whole life was turned upside down. Ranging from kind to utterly sadistic, each one brings their own brand of crazy to the story. I loved that the author wasn't afraid to show the dark side of people who are being forced to compete to survive.

I think what really made this a stand out read for me was the simple fact that there isn't a barrier between the reader and the characters. I felt what they felt, saw what they saw, and hurt when they hurt. There were some things that weren't fully explained for me, but I'm hopeful the next book will wrap them up. Again, I know this book is similar to others out there and yet I still stand by my opinion that it shines on its own just fine. The brutality might shock you, but the underlying themes of friendship, family, and romance will keep you reading.



FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why I Write: A guest post by Mia Hoddell


I'm pleased to welcome Mia Hoddell to the blog today! She is the author of Deadly to Love, a story about the power of love and the danger that it can lead to in the end. Sound tantalizing? Have some more temptation!

There is a love that is so dangerous, so powerful, so intoxicating that it embraces your heart and smothers your mind until it leaves you defenceless.

Serena knew that but still, it didn't stop her. His name was Kai. He was the most beautiful, irresistible man she had ever encountered. Their attraction was too compelling to fight and she knew she would go to the end of the world beside him. That is love.

However behind the allure was hidden a deadly secret – a secret that threatened her fragile life... But secrets best left unsaid never remain hidden forever. When Kai reveals his true identity, she is exposed to a frightening world she had no idea existed. Controlled by powerful Elemental forces her life is placed in mortal danger.

Unbeknown to them, their lives have been entwined from the beginning and it leads her to discover an even greater secret about who she really is. As the pieces begin to unravel and death becomes a reality, Serena is forced to decide what is more important...her love or life.


Mia is here today to share a bit about her motivation to write. I for one love getting to see inside the minds of the authors who write what I love, so I'll let her take it away!


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Why I Write

I have been asked this question quite a lot in the past and I still get people asking me now. The most common reason behind it is people don’t understand why I want to follow a career path that is as unpredictable as this one. I’ve heard people say that writing is one of the only acceptable careers not to make money out of and have even heard people say it’s not a real job. However there is more opportunity out there now than ever and even though I know it’s hard work, that doesn’t put me off.

Since I have decided to take a year out of education to focus on my writing this question has only been repeated more frequently. I have fought many battles with people who can't understand what I get out of writing and think I should go to university (not that I’ve ruled it out), get a degree and settle into a normal 9/5 job, before marriage and kids. Yes, I haven't even reached 20 yet and children have been mentioned!

Anyway, here are the reasons why I write and will continue to do so:

1. Escapism – For me, writing allows me to escape the real world for a period of time. I will  shut myself in a room in front of my PC and in that period of time anything goes. There are no rules or limits to what I have to write or do and I love the idea of creating a new world. While I am writing it also allows me to channel emotions into my characters and gives me a way to express myself. The prospect of being whoever I want to be, even for a split second, is exciting for me.


2. Passion – From a young age (I know I’m still only 18) I have loved writing. I started with poetry at the age of four and when I got my first poem published in an anthology at the age of 12 my passion grew, especially when I continued to get another published a few years later. My writing just got bigger, more developed and longer as I grew. I love everything about writing - well nearly, I hate editing – but besides that everything from planning, writing, promoting and cover design I would do all day without complaint. I can easily spend 12hrs writing and I don't regret any time spent doing it.

3. Creativity – I have always been creatively inclined. Yes I am good at academics and I could apply for top universities with the grades I get, but frankly this doesn't interest me. Even though I am good at the subjects I have no drive to study them if there’s a choice as they’re not what I’m passionate about. I would rather be making up my own stories, pieces of art and photographs than studying for an exam or sitting in an office all day. The traditional subjects hold no interest for me and even though people think I should pursue a job which brings status and a high income I want a creative job that will make me happy.

4. Driven – I am driven to succeed and meet the goals I have set myself. I don't like giving up or failing at things I enjoy and because I am so passionate about writing it is driving me to continue with it. I want to succeed at something I love as to me, writing doesn't feel like work and I will happily get up every morning without struggle to do it.

5. Happiness – Above all when I am writing I am at my happiest. I could spend hours doing it (which I have on many occasions). If I didn't get pleasure from writing I wouldn't be doing it. I feel lucky that I have found something I enjoy so much at an early age and as long as it continues to bring me the happiness it does, I will keep at it.


Thanks to Jessica for hosting me on your great blog, and remember to check out the rest of the tour stops found here: http://miahoddell.blogspot.co.uk/p/tour-schedule.html!

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Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading and her preferred genre is Young Adult, Paranormal Romance. Before 2009, Mia wouldn't even pick up a book and was more interested in sports. However she finally found some novels that captured her interest and developed a love of both reading and writing. Mia began with poems and after getting two published in separate anthologies she moved on to short stories. Although she enjoyed this, Mia found she had too much to tell with too little space, so later on she created her first series The Wanderer Trilogy and from there other ideas have emerged which she hopes to turn into novels as well. Elemental Killers is her second series and book two will be out soon.

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