Thursday, August 29, 2013

Writing By Hand: A Guest Post by Mary-Rose MacColl


I'm pleased to welcome Mary-Rose MacColl to the blog today! She is the author of a gorgeous book entitled, In Falling Snow. If the cover doesn't draw you in, I'm certain that the synopsis will. Take a peek at what you can expect between the pages of this lovely book.

A vivid and compelling story of love, war and secrets, set against the backdrop of WWI France. 'In the beginning, it was the summers I remembered - long warm days under the palest blue skies, the cornflowers and forget-me-nots lining the road through the Lys forest, the buzz of insects going about their work, Violet telling me lies.' Iris is getting old. A widow, her days are spent living quietly and worrying about her granddaughter, Grace, a headstrong young doctor. It's a small sort of life. But one day an invitation comes for Iris through the post to a reunion in France, where she served in a hospital during WWI. Determined to go, Iris is overcome by the memories of the past, when as a shy, naive young woman she followed her fifteen-year-old brother, Tom, to France in 1914 intending to bring him home. On her way to find Tom, Iris comes across the charismatic Miss Ivens, who is setting up a field hospital in the old abbey of Royaumont, north of Paris. Putting her fears aside, Iris decides to stay at Royaumont, and it is there that she truly comes of age, finding her capability and her strength, discovering her passion for medicine, making friends with the vivacious Violet and falling in love. But war is a brutal thing, and when the ultimate tragedy happens, there is a terrible price that Iris has to pay, a price that will echo down the generations. A moving and uplifting novel about the small, unsung acts of heroism of which love makes us capable

If In Falling Snow sounds like something that you'd be compelled to read, I'm sure you'll appreciate the guest post by Mary-Rose below. I was truly humbled by her take on the art of handwriting and how it comes to life in her own work. Please enjoy, and make certain you add this book to your reading list.

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Writing by hand

Handwriting is a skill we no longer need in a texting, emailing, wordprocessed world, so it’s hard to argue why we’d keep teaching it to children. And yet we do, sort of. What’s worse, I find myself hoping we won’t stop any time soon, we might even rediscover handwriting, we might see a “slow page” movement like slow food, leading us to enjoy the moment of writing itself.

The teaching of cursive writing, the writing we each develop into a unique handwriting style, is already being phased out in elementary schools in the US, replaced by keyboarding proficiency. In Australia and Canada too, handwriting is being dropped from curricula. And even when it is taught, handwriting is now more likely to be printed letters joined together. It’s not handwriting as most of us know it.

We called it running writing when I was at school. You learned it after printing, like a new language. We practised it a lot as I recall. I was never any good at it but I love it still, the capital D that looks like it was made for words like Delight and Delicate, the beautiful S with its supreme loopiness and potential for curlicues, those hills of small ns and ms that could just keep going. Oh God, I am starting to sound nostalgic. Quick, put on Radiohead and get out the iPad.

I confess I have a conflict of interest when it comes to handwriting; I write novels by hand. Not in a beautiful script, mind. I look at anything written by my grandfather, who was taught in an English public school, or my eleven year old, who’s taught himself various styles of writing, and it’s art. My writing is not art; it remains cramped, small, illegible even to me at times. I could have been a doctor with writing like mine. And I didn’t always write by hand. I typed my first novel on an Apple Classic II. Quite the techie, I didn’t even print it until I had a finished manuscript. But I soon found a computer file too linear for the way I work.

Since that first novel, I have written three more, all by hand. For one novel, I wrote on cards of different colours (which had the advantage that you could shuffle them when totally lost as to what to do), and now I like a particular kind of notebook for its narrow lines and plain cardboard covers. I write with a fountain pen. My favourite is a Waterman in a burgundy lacquer covered in little gold squares, given to me when my first novel was published. It only has one drawback – it no longer writes. I had an efficient little Montblanc that came with a leather notebook case, but I left it on a plane and like everything left on planes, it immediately vapourised. My day-to-day pen now is a hardworking Visconti made with cellulose using a refound technique – given me when I was researching In Falling Snow. I am also coveting a vintage Waterman, to replace the one that doesn’t work, although you really only need one pen to write and the more I focus on pens, the less I focus on getting a novel written.

I can’t say why I handwrite, in an age where handwriting has all but disappeared from our lives. I can type faster than most people can talk, I was using email before anyone had heard of it except my computer room colleagues (one of my first jobs was as a computer operator), and I mess about on the internet in favour of just about any actual task. But I can say that for my novels, handwriting feels about the right pace. Even Scrivener, which I love later in a project, is too structured early on. I write little sketches and scenes and eventually they coalesce into a novel. 

Many things we don’t need in life fade from view. If handwriting is dying as an art, perhaps I shouldn’t mourn its passing. I imagine the rationale is that it’s hard enough to teach children one set of letters, let alone two. And since few of us end up with a hand that even vaguely approximates that beautiful script we were taught, why try to teach it at all? Joined up printing will do. 

But before we altogether consign handwriting to the land of outdated technologies, we should take a moment to consider a small fact of history. The very first Macintosh computer was a winner, its creator Steve Jobs said later, because of its beautiful typography, which was unlike that of any other computer before it. Jobs had sat in on a calligraphy course on the way to dropping out of college and had seen the art of handwriting, the art in the science, he called it, which had inspired him.

So every time I type an email, thumb a text, or flick a page, I try to remember that the technology I’m using, the technology with which we are fast ridding the world of writing by hand altogether, is only available because the person who dreamed it up was in love with handwriting.


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Mary-Rose MacColl is an Australian writer whose first novel, No Safe Place, was runner-up in the 1995 Australian Vogel literary award. Her first non-fiction book, The Birth Wars, was a finalist in the 2009 Walkley Awards. In Falling Snow (October 2012), Mary-Rose's fourth novel, tells the largely unknown story of a small group of Scottish women who ran a field hospital for France in World War I in an old abbey. MacColl holds degrees in journalism and creative writing and lives between Brisbane, Australia and Banff, Canada with her husband and son.
Visit Mary-Rose: Website / Goodreads
 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Review: Disconnect (Divided Worlds #1)


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Disconnect
   *Series: Divided Worlds #1
Author: Imran Siddiq
Publisher: Flickimp Publishing
Pages: Paperback; 277
Release Date: January 27, 2013
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
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Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Fans of Science Fiction with vivid characters and rules.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Zachary, a 16-year old Underworlder digs in waste to find anything worth bartering. That is the rule of scavenging.

When he discovers footage of an Overworld girl, Rosa, he’s intrigued by her sorrow and breaks the rule.

That decision changes his life, and he will suffer for it.

Zachary must overcome worthlessness, prejudice, and not let a twisted lie devour the new reason that he survives; Rosa.

In space, love had boundaries.

Science Fiction has always held a special place in my heart. There's something about being transported to new worlds, places just within the grasp of our imaginations, that compels me to keep reading. When I read the synopsis for Disconnect I knew this was a book I'd want to read. The Overworld beckoned to me, and I answered.

What first struck me was how well Zachary's world is built. I was instantly sucked into the Underworld and everything that came along with it. Imagine living in the darkness, on borrowed air, and scavenging to make ends meet. Imran Siddiq has created a society that thrives on tenacity. This is Zachary's reality. He has learned to work alone. He has made himself as strong as he can. That is, until Rosa comes into the picture.

I wasn't sure how I felt about Rosa at first. She's the exact opposite of Zachary in every way. Then again Siddiq's concept of the Overworld makes it very apparent why. The Overworld is verdant, shiny and new. It's everything that the Underworld is not. Two very different places, two very different people, and yet they end up connected. The way things come together in the end surprised me, and I loved it!

It's tough to really share a lot without spoiling anything. True to Science Fiction form, this is a book that really must be experienced to fully appreciate it. What I can say is that the characters are well done, the plot was executed beautifully, and I was left happy at the end. Despite any small qualms I may have had, I did enjoy my trip into Disconnect. I can't wait to read more.


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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.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Books to Watch (8/26/13)


It seems it has been a few months since I've done on of these. No time like the present!

Time to spotlight some books and hopefully add them to your ever growing TBR pile. 
So, sit back and relax, while I share with you some books that I am loving/pining for and think you should too. 

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This edition is dedicated to Middle Grade books.


OUT NOW


Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis has been told for her entire life that her destiny is to become a poet, just like her famous namesake, Emily Dickinson. But Emily doesn’t even really like poetry, and she has a secret career ambition that she suspects her English-professor mother will frown on. Then a seeming tragedy strikes: just after discovering that it contains an important family secret, she accidentally loses the special copy of Emily Dickinson’s poetry that was given to her at birth. As Emily and her friends search for the lost book in used bookstores and thrift shops all across town, Emily’s understanding of destiny begins to unravel and then rewrite itself in a marvelous new way.

In her third novel, Kathryn Fitzmaurice again weaves a richly textured and delightful story about unexpected connections, about the ways that friends can help us see ourselves for who we truly are, and about the most perfect kinds of happy endings: those that happen just on time.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I'm a huge fan of quirky main characters! That's honestly the best part of Destiny, Rewritten. Emily Elizabeth Davis and her friends are so much fun to follow through this adventure. What would you do if your whole life was planned out for you, based on your name? Emily's story blew me away. I hope it does for you too!

You can find my review here!


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COMING SOON


What happens when you can't do the one thing that matters most? Twelve-year-old Hope Toriella lives in White Rock, a town of inventors struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb's Breath—the deadly band of compressed air that covers the crater left by the bombs—than fail at yet another invention. When bandits discover that White Rock has priceless antibiotics, they invade. With a two-day deadline to finish making this year's batch and no ingredients to make more, the town is left to choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from the disease that's run rampant since the bombs, or die fighting the bandits now. Help lies in a neighboring town, but the bandits count everyone fourteen and older each hour. Hope and her friends—Aaron and Brock—might be the only ones who can escape to make the dangerous trek through the Bomb's Breath and over the snow-covered mountain. Inventing won't help her make it through alive, but with Aaron and Brock's help, the daring and recklessness that usually gets her into trouble might just save them all.

I was hooked as soon as I saw the cover for Sky Jumpers, but then I read the synopsis and fell even more in love! Action and adventure are huge parts of what make Middle Grade fiction for me. I can't wait to dive into a world where a twelve-year-old is so important to everyone around her. This sounds amazing!

This book release September 24, 2013.


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So there you have it!

Hopefully you've added some new books to your TBR. Happy reading!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: The Darwin Elevator


Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Darwin Elevator
   *Series: Dire Earth Cycle #1
Author: Jason M. Hough
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: Paperback; 472
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Source: Publisher
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Genre: Science Fiction

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who really enjoy science fiction and world building in their reads.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Jason M. Hough’s pulse-pounding debut combines the drama, swagger, and vivid characters of Joss Whedon’s Firefly with the talent of sci-fi author John Scalzi.

In the mid-23rd century, Darwin, Australia, stands as the last human city on Earth. The world has succumbed to an alien plague, with most of the population transformed into mindless, savage creatures. The planet’s refugees flock to Darwin, where a space elevator—created by the architects of this apocalypse, the Builders—emits a plague-suppressing aura.

Skyler Luiken has a rare immunity to the plague. Backed by an international crew of fellow “immunes,” he leads missions into the dangerous wasteland beyond the aura’s edge to find the resources Darwin needs to stave off collapse. But when the Elevator starts to malfunction, Skyler is tapped—along with the brilliant scientist, Dr. Tania Sharma—to solve the mystery of the failing alien technology and save the ragged remnants of humanity.

The Darwin Elevator caught me up in its premise initially. Anything compared to Josh Whedon and John Scalzi makes me take notice. I expected some action, space travel, and hopefully some characters I'd fall in love with. I'm a fan of Science Fiction. I hoped I'd be a fan of Jason M. Hough's work as well.

The book starts out by introducing the reader to the current state of Earth. Ravaged to the point of near-annihilation, the last hope for humanity lies in one city. Darwin, Australia has become home to all that is left of the human race. I was a little lost at first, I'll admit it. The book takes off really quickly. Once I caught up though, I was immersed in this world. One thing I'll say for Hough's writing, the world building is phenomenal.

I can't say the same for the plot, however. Things started out shaky for me when I learned the caste system in Skyler's world. The "immunes", those who can actually leave the planet, are for some reason at the bottom of the barrel. I was trying to figure out how the" non-immunes" managed to be the top dogs in this society. After that things became increasingly confusing. While the world that these characters populate is gorgeously desolate, the society doesn't really fit in it.

Then there are the characters. I will be honest and say that there were some that I loved. Sadly, they happened to be the ones that were barely focused on, and one even died. The main characters, like Skylar, were all very shallow. It was hard for me to believe that Skylar, a man who has no self-esteem, was captain. It took me a long time to get behind any of these characters and once I finally did the book was near its end. I hoped for more.

All in all The Darwin Elevator was a decent read. I would have liked more depth, but what was given to me was interesting enough to keep me reading to the end. I'm thinking that if the book had been a bit shorter, it would have been an easier read. Still, if you like Science Fiction, this might be a book that you want to try out.



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, August 25, 2013

Book Review: The Exemeus


Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Exemeus
   *Series: The Exemeus
Author: Folami and Abeni Morris
Publisher: Royal Colours Ink
Pages: Paperback; 337
Release Date: January 3, 2013
Source: CBB Book Promotions
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Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy books that are out of the ordinary, and looking for adventure.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon
Hyalee Smith is dead, she just doesn’t know it yet.

Her short life was devoted to love and to hate. Love of the man who stole her heart, hate for the man who stole the world. Murdered by the government she swore to destroy, she has been given another chance to make it right. But to save the planet, she needs the help of the most powerful mystic the world has ever seen—unfortunately he hasn’t been born yet.

In a world where fear is the only currency, Dephon has committed the ultimate crime: inspiring hope.

His only goal is to make it safely through ninth grade, but on a post-apocalyptic Earth run by the Treptonian government, it isn’t that simple. Heir to a legendary power, Dephon Johnson is the only threat to the government’s rule. And on Trepton, all threats must be eliminated. When hundreds of assassins are dispatched to neutralize him, Dephon is forced to fight back. His only chance of survival is to enlist the aid of the greatest warrior the world has ever known. The only problem is, she's been dead for 13 years.

Opening up The Exemeus was quite the experience. From page one, this story takes off at a manic pace. There is so much to absorb, so much to catch up on, that it all but left me breathless. This isn't like anything else that I've read lately, so it swept me up and made me want to figure things out. I'm just giving you a warning that this book doesn't stop to wait for you. It moves, and it moves quick.

The story follows Dephon as he slowly discovers who he is, and what he is meant to to do. As the heir to the one power that can save his society, Dephon is wanted man. We watch as his story ties up into Hyalee's over the course of the book, showing that these two are inexorably linked. The narration comes from both characters, but not quite the way you'd think. Dephon is our narrator, and he reads about Hyalee through a journal that is passed down to him. It's a very interesting perspective and done quite well. This story is all about cause and effect. If you change something, does it change the future?

In terms of plot, this book is fairly solid. There is a lot to learn about the people in Dephon's world and about the powers that they possess. The biggest problem comes in that you don't start to learn the majority of it until well into the book. I was fairly confused for a good five chapters or so. The saving grace was that I really liked Dephon, and I was willing to follow him wherever things might take him. He's brave, kind, and everything that a hero should be. While I never really felt he quite hit his full potential, I know there are more books coming around the corner.

Overall, I ended up enjoying this story. The Exemeus is a book that utilizes the "slow burn". You'll be scrambling to catch up but, once things start happening, the story sucks you in. Dephon and Hyalee's stories are intriguing. Especially in the way they link to one another. If you're looking for a different kind of read, and are willing to step outside the box, give this one a a shot.



Follow the tour! Click the button above.

Make sure to check out The Exemeus Scavenger Hunt, where you can win a Kindle Fire or $150! The first stop is at My Guilty Obsession, where you can get the first clues on this incredible journey for an amazing prize! The Scavenger Hunt starts on Monday, August 26th and runs through Friday, August 30th. Chances to win are through midnight on September 1st. Buy your copy of The Exemeus today, if you haven't already!




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.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Book Review: Craven Place


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Craven Place
Author: Richard Wright
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Paperback; 240
Release Date: June 22, 2013
Source: Author
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Genre: Horror / Thriller

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy books with plenty of twists and turns to keep them guessing.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
The author. The psychic. The vagrant. The hack.

An invitation to a crumbling cottage in the lonely wilds. The legend of the witch who haunts it still. A disappearance from a locked room and the rising, ancient power that may be culprit.

The hag has waited long for visitors, and guests are encouraged to extend their stay. For whatever remains of their lives.

Welcome… to Craven Place.

I'm rather in love with Craven Place. Although it took the story a little bit to pull me in, it wasn't long before I was caught up in Richard Wright's web. This book isn't as straightforward as you might think it would be. The twists come out of nowhere and that, more than anything, is what kept me reading on. I remember Richard Wright telling me that he believed this to be a very "British" sort of book, and I'm inclined to agree. 

The setting, a crumbling cottage in a desolate clearing, really sets the atmosphere. I felt the evil brewing within the walls of the house from page one. What's interesting is that I wasn't certain what timeline Wright's story takes place in. Tanith and Nicholas have a very old world feel to them, while the other characters feel like they fit more in current times. It makes for a story that feels broad, and allows you to sink into it. You might not believe the ghost story, but you'll still want to know what happens next.

More than anything what I want to share is how this isn't your normal ghost story. Part horror, part thriller and part mystery, it's almost in a genre all it's own. I don't want to spoil anything, trust me. Part of the joy of Craven Place is letting it unfold and lead you where it may. I have a feeling some readers might not like the change in pace throughout, but I for one thought it made for an intriguing read. To me, ghost stories don't always have logical endings. This is no exception.

If you're a lover of cozy mysteries, or ghostly tales, it's likely you'll enjoy Craven Place. As I said, it takes a bit for things to pick up. Once they do, it's hard not to keep reading on. I was a fan of Richard Wright's first novel, which was completely different than this. I'm a fan of this one too. Any author that can take their writing across genres and still shine is a winner in my book. More please.




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, August 23, 2013

Anyone But You: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet (Cover Love + Giveaway)


It's Friday my bookish friends! You've made it through another week and, in my opinion, that means you deserve something awesome. Which is why I'm so thrilled with today's post!

Authors Kim Askew and Amy Helmes are excited to offer a sneak peak at the synopsis to the third book in their “Twisted Lit” series of Shakespeare-inspired YA novels. This time around, they've put their unique spin on Romeo & Juliet.

Two Italian restaurants, both alike in dignity, in Chicago’s Little Italy where we lay our scene... After her family’s struggling eatery, Cap’s, falls prey to another of the Monte clan’s vicious and destructive pranks, sixteen-year-old Gigi Caputo finds herself courting danger during a clandestine encounter with Roman Monte, the very boy whose relatives have brought her family such grief. When the daughter and son of these two warring factions fall for each other, their quest to mend this bitter family feud turns out to be a recipe for disaster. Their story is irrevocably linked to the summer of 1933, when two twelve-year-olds, Benny and Nick, hop the turnstile at the Chicago World’s Fair. While enjoying some of the fair’s legendary amusements, Nick has a “love at first sight” encounter with Stella, a young girl who unintentionally causes a lasting rift between the two boyhood pals. Deftly winding its way through past and present day, this modern take on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet has much to do with hate — but more with love.

Published by Merit Press, Anyone But You will be released in January, and is currently available for pre-order at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Powell’s. You can find out more, plus visit Kim and Amy at the Twisted Lit Website.

Sounds scrumptious, am I right? Now, for the fun part! I read, and totally adored, Tempestuous by these two authors. It was such a fun take on Shakespeare's The Tempest. Which is why I'm super excited to be able to share it with you too! Kim & Amy have offered up one copy of Tempestuous to a lucky winner!

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form below.
Giveaway ends August 30, 2013.
Open to U.S. mailing addresses only.

Good luck, and happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mari Mancusi - This Author is a ROCKSTAR!



I'm so thrilled to be participating in the 2nd Annual Authors Are Rockstars Tour! We all know that there are tons of authors out there that deserve the spotlight, and I'm always happy to fan girl when given that chance! Which is why I'm totally prepared to answer....

WHY IS MARI MANCUSI A ROCKSTAR?

Let's be honest, this woman can write! The four books I posted above are just a small sampling of what you can find if you dive into everything that Mari Mancusi has done. Boys That Bite, the first book in the Blood Coven series, made me fall in love with vampires all over again. Sunny and Rayne stole the show with their witty banter and snark. Until, that is, I met Magnus. (*swoon*) Mari Mancusi knows to create characters who range from lovable, to quirky, to downright kick-ass, and she makes it look easy. Plus she has a hilarious personality and loves video games. Come on, need I say more? Mari Mancusi is absolutely a rockstar!

Her new book, Scorched comes out so very soon! I'm chomping at the bit, and totally stoked for the fact that it's all about dragons. Wouldn't you know it, so is her guest post! Enjoy, and don't forget to add some of Mari Mancusi's books to your reading list!

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Why did you choose dragons for your new series?


This could be answered in a one-sentence blog post…

Because dragons are AWESOMESAUCE!

But I suppose you want a little more than that. In truth, I have loved dragons ever since I was a little girl. There’s just something about them that’s so magical and fascinating. In one sense, they’re huge, fire-breathing monsters, capable of destroying the world—and yet, at the same time, they’re gorgeous, majestic, elegant and free.

I think I first fell in love with them when playing the old-school Dungeons and Dragons dice game when I was a kid. D&D got me into fantasy and that introduced me to some amazing dragon books. One of my favorites ever? The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. Now the dragon in that book, Maur, is not a good, touchy feeling dragon. In fact, he’s downright evil. But he’s also completely bad-ass. And I love the dragon hunter, Aerin, who is the only one brave enough to take him on.

Of course not all dragons want to flambĂ© us alive, thank goodness. The dragons in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern are quite willing to join forces with humans and help them take on the deadly thread that falls from the sky and destroys the planet. Those dragons form telepathic bonds with their riders and dragon and rider have a relationship like no other.

Which brings me to one theme I wanted to explore when writing Scorched. The question about whether dragons are inherently good or evil or are they just animals, like any other, fighting for their own survival and place on our planet? Unlike more common dragon tales, Scorched does not take place in a far off fairytale kingdom of vaguely medieval descent. It’s set in our world. In present day Texas. And it asks the question—what would happen if a dragon egg were to hatch here and now? Would dragons make our world a better place? Or would they tear it all apart?

Because let’s face it: who wouldn’t want a baby dragon as a pet?

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Find Mari Mancusi at:


Mari Mancusi always wanted a dragon as a pet. Unfortunately the fire insurance premiums proved a bit too large and her house a bit too small--so she chose to write about them instead. Today she works as an award-winning young adult author and freelance television producer, for which she has won two Emmys.

When not writing about fanciful creatures of myth and legend, Mari enjoys goth clubbing, cosplay, watching cheesy (and scary) horror movies, and her favorite guilty pleasure—playing videogames. A graduate of Boston University, she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Jacob, daughter Avalon, and their dog Mesquite.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Book Review: All Our Yesterdays


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: All Our Yesterdays
   * Series: Cassandra Chronicles #1
Author: Cristin Terrill
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: Hardcover; 368
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Source: Publisher
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Content Screening: Violence

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Absolutely everyone! Especially those who love time travel.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Well, I'm floored. If it was up to my current range of emotions, I'd just be babbling to you incoherently about how amazing All Our Yesterdays really is and how much you absolutely need to read this stunning debut. Luckily I still have a minor amount of brain power left to attempt a review. It's become a rarity for a book to really blow me away, but this one made it look easy. Yes friends, it's that good.

I don't care whether you classify this book as dystopian or science fiction, because in all honesty it's a bit of both. What you can classify it as is an expertly written story. Terrill takes a concept that is difficult to wrap our minds around, and manages to make it entirely plausible. Imagine a world where time travel is real. Where anything that was done was able to be undone. Where one decision ripples across the entire rest of time. What would we do with such a power? That's the question that haunts the reader as they traverse this story, and it creates a lightning fast plot.

Add to this vivid, three dimensional characters, and I was in love. Told from the alternating view points of Em and Marina, All Our Yesterdays becomes almost hypnotic in nature after a time. Events unfold from the viewpoint of each of these characters, before merging them into something that I wasn't expecting at all. The amount of raw emotion here, the perfectly flawed characters, the bold romance, it all pulls you in. I was under a spell as I watched the characters barrel towards the inevitable climax. You might manage to figure out what's coming, but you'll be powerless to stop flipping the pages.

I had no idea this was a series, and truthfully I have no idea where it's going. I say this because the ending is so perfect, so bittersweet, that I can't see where the next logical starting point is. Still, you can bet I'll be there to read whatever comes next. Cristin Terrill has written a gem of a book in All Our Yesterdays. One that will tear your heart out, make you question your choices, and create a hole that can only be filled with more story. Trust me, this book is absolutely worth your time! I wish I could travel back and experience it for the first time all over again.



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.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bout of Books 8.0: Goals Post

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

This is my third time participating in this read-a-thon, and I have to say that it is so much fun! Everyone involved makes it a week filled with books, friends, and tons of amazing giveaways. So, let's get started! I'm going to use this post to do my goals, and also to track my entire week of reading/participating. Feel free to come back here to see how I'm doing!


Time Devoted to Reading

Since I have to work (sadly) I'll be devoting train rides to/from work, and as much time as I can in the evenings to reading. I'll also be listening to audio books at work when possible!

My Goals

* Finish 2 to 3 of the Indie books I have pending for review.
* Complete 2 to 3 of my pending review copies on Edelweiss and NetGalley.
* Read my library book.
* Listen to two audio books.
* Participate/Comment as much as possible!

Books to Read

Okay, update time! Here's my list of hopeful reads. I'd love to knock these all out!

Angel in Flames by Keri Dudas
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Craven Place by Richard Wright
Invisibility by David Levithan and Andrea Cremer - 80% done
Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Rush by Eve Silver
The Lost Kingdom by Matthew J. Kirby - 25% done
The Cutting Room Floor by Dawn Klehr

Updates

Monday - 8/19
*Number of books I’ve read today: 1
*Total number of books I’ve read: 1
*Books read: 
Finished the last 20% of Invisibility 

*Books in progress:
All Our Yesterdays - 15%
Infinity - 20% (audio )

*How I'm feeling:
It was a slow start, but Mondays always are! I ended up napping on the train instead of reading. LOL. Ah, well.

*Interesting stuff:
I participated in both of the mini challenges today! I also made some new friend at the #pairathon chat. Told you. Bout of Books rocks!


Tuesday - 8/20
*Number of books I’ve read today: 1
*Total number of books I’ve read: 2
*Books read: 
All Our Yesterdays

*Books in progress: 
Infinity - 40% (audio)
Craven Place - 10%

*How I'm feeling:
Totally floored! Seriously All Our Yesterdays blew me away, it was SO good! I don't know how any other books are going to compare for a while. 

*Interesting stuff:
Today on the train I met a girl reading Thirteen Reasons Why and we chatted it up! It's awesome when you meet a fellow bookworm :).


Wednesday - 8/21
*Number of books I’ve read today: 1
*Total number of books I’ve read: 3
*Books read: 
Rush

*Books in progress: 
Infinity - 50% (audio)
Craven Place - 25%

*How I'm feeling:
Awesome! I finished another book today, although I wasn't a huge fan of it. Still I've been having so much fun!

*Interesting stuff:
I FINALLY have my turn to listen to the audio book of The Ocean At the End of the Lane so I might switch up my list. I'm so excited to hear Neil Gaiman narrate again!


Thursday - 8/22
*Number of books I’ve read today: 2
*Total number of books I’ve read: 5
*Books read: 
Craven Place
Angel In Flames

*Books in progress: 
Infinity - 60% (audio)
The Lost Kingdom - 46%

*How I'm feeling:
I read at breaks today and my train was delayed, so although I'm feeling a little annoyed I did get a lot of reading done!

*Interesting stuff:
Nothing really interesting today. 


Friday - 8/23
*Number of books I've read today: 0
*Total number of books I've read: 5
* Books read:
None

*Books in progress: 
Infinity - 60% (audio)
The Lost Kingdom - 46%

*How I'm feeling:
Wonderful! I spent today with my hubby instead of reading. It was refreshing.

*Interesting stuff:
I actually had some time to work on my blog today and catch up on backlogged reviews! It feels nice to be slightly ahead.


Saturday - 8/24
*Number of books I've read today: 0
*Total number of books I've read: 5
* Books read:
None

*Books in progress:
Infinity - 60% (audio)
The Lost Kingdom - 55%

*How I'm feeling:
A little sad I didn't get a chance to read more! Real life got in the way in the morning (ah, adulthood) and then we had a party in the evening. Still a fun day though!

*Interesting stuff:
I discovered a copy of Vampire Academy while cleaning out my boxes! I didn't think I had that book and I haven't started the series yet. I'm stoked!


Sunday - 8/25
*Number of books I've read today: 1
*Total number of books I've read: 6
* Books read:
Infinity

*Books in progress:
The Darwin Elevator

*How I'm feeling:
Sad that the read-a-thon is over! Still, I hit really close to my goal so I'm happy!

*Interesting stuff:
I can't WAIT for the next read-a-thon! Bring it on!


Monday, August 19, 2013

No Romance Required: An Interview with Cari Quinn!


Welcome to another week, my bookish friends! I can't think of a better way to start things off than with a sizzling new title! Cari Quinn's No Romance Required is in the spotlight today, and it's fabulous.

Faking it never felt so good…

Cory Santangelo is used to getting his way, both in the boardroom and the bedroom. Lately he hasn’t had much opportunity to do anything but work, but one unexpectedly sexy night in a gazebo with Victoria, his gorgeous and feisty interior designer, changes all that—especially when they’re caught on camera. Suddenly Cory’s sterling reputation is no longer above reproach. Since his impromptu encounter coincides nicely with his need for a girlfriend to get his well-meaning, meddling parents off his back, he decides to ask his lifelong frenemy for a favor.

To pretend to be his girlfriend for a month. No strings attached.

The only problem? Vicky Townsend wants those strings tied all around her. She’s battled a long-suppressed crush on Cory, and their combative work relationship has only fanned the flames. When he suggests his needs are more than she can handle, she’s ready to up the ante. And her bargaining chip is lots of delicious, inventive sex.

Until they discover nothing feels as good as making it real…

Delicious, am I right? Enjoy an interview with Cari, add No Romance Required to your reading list, and then enter the giveaway!

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Thanks so much for having me here at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile today!


1) Thanks for stopping by Cari! Let's get to know you, shall we? What three words would you say best describe you?

I’m thrilled to be here. J Hmm, three words to describe me are: stubborn, creative and amusing (or amused, since sometimes my jokes fall flat.) I considered going with coffee-addict because that definitely applies too!


2) I'll admit I giggled while reading your bio. From bible parables, to sexy romance! Can you share with us what your favorite part about being a romance author is?

Yeah, it’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it? I remember so well that I loved it when people responded to my stories back when I was in school. By far, that’s still my favorite part of writing. With all the ups and downs of this business – much like any other – one of the best things is hearing from someone that they enjoyed my book and that it helped them forget their real life for a while. Hearing that is just an incredible feeling.


3) What snack food can you absolutely not live without while writing?

Coffee. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking—coffee’s not a snack food. Ah, but it is! That’s why they invented chocolate covered espresso beans. If they invent coffee pellets, I’ll probably eat those too. I’m kind of a junkie. ;)


4) Are you a fan of romantic movies? Do you have any favorites to share?

Oh yes, definitely! My favorite romantic movies are probably Pretty Woman and The Proposal. Pretty Woman is all about silver-haired fox Richard Gere in a silver Ferrari—c’mon, peak of hotness! And The Proposal has Ryan Reynolds and the fake relationship trope, which I have to admit I’m kind of fond of, considering my latest release!


5) Finally, and thanks for playing along, I always like to end with a challenge!

No Romance Required is being made into a movie! What is the tagline on the movie poster, and who are the actors playing Cory and Vicky?

Oooh, good one! I’d have to go with the tagline on the book: Faking it never felt so good… And as for the actors playing Cory and Vicky, I’d go with Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks, the inspirations I used for the characters when I was writing the book. If your readers are interested, they can check out my Pinterest board for No Romance Required—which includes some Chris Pine in leather pants action. You’re welcome! http://pinterest.com/cariquinnauthor/no-romance-required/

Thank you! This has been so much fun! 


USA Today bestselling author Cari Quinn wrote her first story—a bible parable—in 2nd grade, much to the delight of the nuns at her Catholic school. Once she saw the warm reception that first tale garnered, she was hooked. Now she gets to pen sexy romances for a living and routinely counts her lucky stars. When she’s not scribbling furiously, she can usually be found watching men’s college basketball, playing her music way too loud or causing trouble. Sometimes simultaneously.
Visit Cari: 

Buy the Book:

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Post / Stacking the Shelves (8)





Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves are hosted by Kimba's Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Tynga's Reviews respectively. Click the buttons above to join in the fun!

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Hope your weekend was lovely, my fellow bookworms! It's been a pretty busy week around here, with another busy week to come. Let's see what's up on the menu. Shall we?




Are YOU ready for Bout of Books Read-A-Thon? I am!

If you haven't checked out BookLikes, here's a review and some reasons why you might want to!

Looking for a read that focuses on the dark side of vampire-kind? 

An interesting read. Historical fiction with a fantasy/paranormal twist.

A New Adult read with a twist!

What is a "hook" and is it even important? Check out Eric Bishop's guest post to find out.




Monday 8/19 - An Interview with Cari Quinn, author of No Romance Required

Tuesday 8/20 - Book Review: Angel in Flames by Keri Dudas

Wednesday 8/21 - Book Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terill

Thursday 8/22 - Authors Are Rockstars: A dragon-filled guest post by Mari Mancusi

Friday 8/23 - Anyone But You: Cover Reveal + Giveaway

Saturday 8/24 - Book Review: Craven Place by Richard Wright

*** Plus the whole week I'll be updating my Goals Post for Bout of Books and participating in the mini challenges!




Physical Copies:

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield
Broken by Elizabeth Pulford

Thank you Atria Books and Running Press Kids!


Digital Copies:

Into the Dark by Bree Despain
Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards
Contaminated by Em Garner



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