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Insurgent!!!

Friday, March 30, 2012
LOOK AT THAT SHINY AWESOME COVER. I AM SERIOUSLY FREAKING OUT OUT. SO. EXCITED!!!


Along with the book, I have gained a faction, all of whom will be revealed on Monday, so be on the lookout for that!! ;)










Other AWE-INSPIRING books I received from HarperTEEN:
A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young

  • Loved A Need So Beautiful - I was just talking about it to one of my classes the other day - and am looking forward to reading this!

Sweet Evil

  • I read the first chapters on Inkpop back in the day and am super excited to have the chance to review it!

Book Review: Starters

Starters (Starters #1)
by Lissa Price

5 Stars: Recommended
Publication: March 13, 2012 (Hardback)
Pages: 368
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Buy it: Amazon (Hardback) | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

HER WORLD IS CHANGED FOREVER

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .

Dystopian, mystery, and thriller come together in this novel. There are secrets, deception, and the threat of the unknown. From the first page, Lissa Price had me questioning the structure of this dystopian society and trying to find answers in a tangled web of loose threads.

Callie is a wonderful protagonist. She is strong and independent, but her love for her younger brother exposes her vulnerability. Her desperation to protect him is a reminder that Callie is still a teenager fighting for survival in a world where her parents and would-be mentors have been wiped out from the disease. She can only rely on herself to protect her younger brother and herself.

Prime Destinations seems to be the solution. It's shady, but Callie has no other way of securing herself. When she wakes up, she realizes that there is more to the deal than she thought there was. The characters that she meet are fascinating. While the story doesn't have a romantic focus, there are fun interactions between characters and interesting plot twists.

Starters is a chilling debut from Lissa Price that contemplates life in a world with a huge age gap in the population. The villains are compelling; the plot is enticing. Every chapter built the intrigue and engaged me. I highly recommend that you pick up a copy if you are looking for a dystopian that haunt you from the first page and even as you pick up the sequel Enders next year!


Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Leticia Blog Tour Stop

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Today, I am author interviewing with Lindsay Kendal on her tour for her book Leticia.

What has been the most meaningful part of writing Leticia for you?
I think its all meaningful to be honest, I love the genre and the characters. However, the place where the story is set is especially close to my heart. I live around 20 minutes away. It’s one of the most beautiful places and I spend as much time there as I can. It’s steeped in history and is supposedly very haunted. I believe it since I’ve had several strange and spooky experiences up there.

Sounds like a gorgeous place. Where in all that beauty have you found is the best place to write?
I spend a lot of time writing in my bedroom. When I was writing Leticia I spent a lot of time in the Northern Peak District and the Yorkshire Moors. It really helped to be sat in the location the story was set. It helped me to describe the surroundings and I hope my readers will be able to imagine just how beautiful this place is.

Speaking of Leticia, if you were to be a character in Leticia, what role would you play?
I’d play Leticia, definitely. Mainly because she is close to Jackson! He’s gorgeous. But also because she has good morals and ethics, plus werewolves are pretty damn cool.

If you were to write a spinoff from one of your works, who would it be about and why?
I’ve never really thought about this before but I’d have to say it would be from my trilogy, Bloodlines. The character would have to be Keira. She is the main protagonist and I can sum her up in one word – Awesome! I could see her doing more and growing tremendously. I would like to think that one day in the future I would be able to bring her back and write a storyline, maybe even with some of the other supporting characters.

What books have inspired you growing up?
I was never really a big reader, although for a couple of years while I was in school I used to read the Point Horror novels. I used the love all the paranormal characters and the teenage romance. I sometimes used to wish I was one of the characters.

Do you plan on branching out into genres other than fantasy and horror?
At the moment I would have to say no. I’ve had a love of all things weird and wonderful from being a little girl. I’ve seen more horror films than anyone else I know and have watched them from being around five. The only problem now is that nothing seems to scare me. I really wish it did.

I love paranormal romance and urban fantasy, nothing else really hold my attention. I am currently working on something as a side project, its a mixture of both genre but it will be aimed more at over eighteens. There will be interesting characters, demonology, crime and passion.

If you were to host a dinner for three authors from any time and age, who would you invite and why?
The first on my invite list would be Mr. Bram Stoker. I cannot put into words just how much I love Dracula, both the book and the film adaptation. It’s simply amazing. I would love to speak to him about it and learn what inspired him to right such a gothic novel.

Secondly I would have to have the Bronte sisters. I love the period dramas and anything to do with history. I’d like to speak to them to learn what it was like to live in those times and what inspired all their works.

Thirdly I would have a new author Ashley Fontainne. Ashley has a special place in my heart and although we have never met face to face, I consider her a friend. We met online when she sent me her first novel Accountable to None, for review. Which it a great thriller/suspense. We just seemed to click. She told me all kinds of things including the inspiration for her novel. We have been in touch ever since and she is now an author with my publisher. It would be lovely to actually meet her face to face.


Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive an e-copy of Leticia in the format of choice.

Details
Open internationally Ends April 11th
To enter, fill out the form below. Do not leave your email in the comments.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom
by Brendan Halpin, Emily Franklin

3 stars: A Good Read
Format: Hardback
Publication: March 27, 2012
Pages: 257
Brendan: Website | Twitter
Emily: Website
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Buy it: Amazon (Hardcopy) | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

Lucas and Tessa’s friendship is the stuff of legend in their small Midwestern town. So it’s no surprise when Lucas finally realizes his feelings for Tessa are more than friendship and he asks her to prom. What no one expected, especially Lucas, was for Tessa to come out as a lesbian instead of accepting his heartfelt invitation. Humiliated and confused, Lucas also feels betrayed that his best friend kept such an important secret from him.

What’s worse is Tessa’s decision to wear a tastefully tailored tuxedo to escort her female crush, sparking a firestorm of controversy. Lucas must decide if he should stand on the sidelines or if he should stand by his friend to make sure that Tessa Masterson will go to prom. Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin tackle both sides of a ripped-from-the headlines story to show that true friendship will triumph after all.

Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin bring humor and teen angst together in a book about the different forms of love. It is easy not to see something if you aren't expecting it, even if it has been there all along. Tessa gives Lucas many clues about her sexuality, but he doesn't want to see it. On the flip side, Lucas believes that he is in love with Tessa, but she hasn't noticed his feelings either. When Lucas asks Tessa to prom in the flashiest romantic way he knows, their feelings come to a head and threatens to ruin a beautiful friendship.

Most LGBT books that I read are serious in nature. While the characters are serious about the issue in their own ways in this book, I couldn't help but feel that this book takes a lighter tone, which may be a result of the characters' voices. And I like it. From Tessa, we see the thoughts and emotions of a lesbian after her sexuality is exposed. From Lucas, we see the reactions of a teen who learns that his best friend is a lesbian.

The alternating perspectives of Tessa and Lucas rounds out the story and drives home the message that some secrets shouldn't change friendships when they come out into the open. Homosexuality is a part of life. Gay people are no different from any other people. While the coming out of Tessa's sexuality causes a huge disruption in her town, Tessa herself views it as a normal part of her life and takes everything in stride as angry as she is about the town's reaction.

Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom is a quick, light read. It isn't bogged down in detail, which may not appeal to those of you who like books filled with imagery, and only the main characters' stories are fully developed. If you can't get past these, however, you will find Lucas and Tessa's voices and the teen angst relatable.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Book Review: Invisible Sun

Monday, March 26, 2012
Invisible Sun (Black Hole Sun #2)
by David Macinnis Gill

4 Stars: Recommended
Publication: March 27, 2012 (Hardback)
Pages: 352
Author: Website
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (Imprint of Harper Collins)
Buy it: Amazon (Hardcopy) | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

Obsessed with MUSE, the clandestine project that created the AI in his brain, mercenary chief Durango draws the ire of the government when he steals part of the secret project data and hightails it with his lieutenant, Vienne, to an ancient monastery. There, he meets the monks who raised Vienne from an orphan and also encounters soldiers working for his old nemesis, the crime lord Mr. Lyme. Lyme controls the territory surrounding the monastery, as well as the datacenters housing the rest of MUSE.

Undeterred, Durango and Vienne pull off an ill-advised raid on Lyme’s complex. During the ensuing battle, however, Vienne is captured, and Durango is beaten and left for dead. Now, wounded and shaken, Durango must overcome bounty hunters, treacherous terrain, a full scale civil war, and a warrior monk with an eye for vengeance (not to mention his own guilt, self-doubt, and broken arm) to find Vienne and free her from Archibald, a brain-washing pyromaniac with a Napoleon complex who wants to rule Mars--and kill Durango in the process.
This is going to be a short review for a book that deserves way more than this. However, it's a good book, and I do not want to give away too much.

The world building and culture development are excellent. The Martian laws and the people's ways of life both incorporate Chinese elements from Chinese philosophy to swearing in Chinese. It is amazing to read about, and I can only imagine what it would be like to live there. The characters are strong as well. I'd be pressing hard to ask for a better character to follow than Durango. He is a fun character with great humor, and I enjoyed reading his conversations with Mimi. Vienne is mysterious and interesting, the latter of which applies to many secondary characters. Not to mention the terrific villains.

The writing is as witty and interesting as the characters. There was never a dull moment. Overall, Invisible Sun is an epic read that I highly recommend. Silly me didn't realize that this is the second book in a series. While it works as a stand alone, I definitely missed out on something here and will be revisiting this book as soon as I've read book one.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Book Review: Slide

Friday, March 23, 2012
Slide (Slide #1)
by Jill Hathaway

4 stars: Recommended
Format: Hardback
Publication: March 27, 2012
Pages: 256
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Buy it: Amazon (Hardcopy) | KindleB&N | Book Depository

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

Vee's ability both fascinates me and frightens me. It's an ability that I haven't seen in many books, and I enjoyed seeing what Jill Hathaway does with it. However, it isn't one that I would want to have. Imagine sliding into a private moment or the moment right after someone takes an innocent life. I would not want to be Vee then.

And it happens. She learns that Sophie was murdered, and she doesn't know who to confide in. The writing has a good flow and pacing. The story is intense in the right places and filled with twists and turns. While the side character are rather flat, the main characters are well developed and appealing.

Vee is a nice girl and a wonderful character, perfect for the story. She is a nonconformist with a purpose; she knows who she is and why she is the way she is. Her abilities do not rule her, as much as they disrupt her life. There are two dynamic relationships in her life that play major roles in the plot: Rollins (her best friend, who's been keeping secrets) and Zane (the new guy, who's gorgeous and perfect boyfriend material).

Slide is a gripping novel that I would recommend to readers who enjoy a good mystery/thriller with paranormal elements.


Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Book Review: Pretty Crooked

Thursday, March 22, 2012
Pretty Crooked (Pretty Crooked #1)
by Elisa Ludwig

3 stars: A Good Read
Publication: March 13, 2012 (Hardback)
Pages: 358
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Imprint of Harper Collins)
Buy it: Amazon (Hardcopy) | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

Willa’s secret plan seems all too simple: take from the rich kids at Valley Prep and give to the poor ones.

Yet Willa’s turn as Robin Hood at her ultra-exclusive high school is anything but. Bilking her “friends”-known to everyone as the Glitterati-without them suspecting a thing, is far from easy. Learning how to pick pockets and break into lockers is as difficult as she’d thought it’d be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are ostracized just for being from the “wrong” side of town, is way more fun than she’d expected.

The complication Willa didn’t expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, Valley Prep’s most notorious (and gorgeous) ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her-evening the social playing field between the have and have-nots. There’s no time for crushes and flirting with boys, especially conceited and obnoxious trust-funders like Aidan.

But when the cops start investigating the string of burglaries at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could he wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?

Willa is a fun character. Not only does she have a captivating voice, she's a character balancing precariously on the thin line of morality. She makes choices that I would make; other times, I want her to change her mind. Nevertheless, I respect her desire to give to the poor what the rich really don't need, especially as the mean girls are mean mean. I have no problem with Willa taking from them.

I admire Willa's desire to help the poor by stealing from the rich, and I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't entertained with the scenes where Willa... takes (steals) ... from people. It was interesting learning how the social system at Willa's school worked. I do wonder what Willa sees in Aidan, however. I can't see whatever she's seeing. There are nicer guys out there, and I'm hoping that she opens her eyes a little in the next book. Something else that I'm hoping to see resolved is Willa's mother and her suspicious behavior.

Pretty Crooked poses one big moral question. Is this right, or is this wrong? I constantly asked myself if I would do the same thing in Willa's place and whether or not she was in the right or wrong with her actions. There were some things that I wouldn't have done, but other times I found myself agreeing with Willa's decision even if I wasn't completely sure that it was morally right. Overall, Willa's character is a little young and naive for me, but her story makes for a quirky, light read for those of you looking for one.


Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Pure Blog Tour Stop


Today, I am excited to be hosting an "If..." interview with Jennifer L. Armentrout on our favorite characters from the Convenant series for the Pure blog tour hosted by StuckInBooks!

If Alex were to go undercover at a circus, what act would she be performing?
A lion tamer. She wouldn't settle for anything less.

If Aiden were to become a pilot, where would he fly?
He'd fly everywhere. There isn't a place he wouldn't visit.


If Seth was a bird, which one would he be?
A pterodactyl... extinct or not.

If Alex and Aiden were to go out for a day like a normal couple, where would they go?
Aiden would take her some place she'd enjoy, like the zoo.

If Alex and Seth spent a relaxing day at the beach, what would they do there?
Seth would try to get her alone somewhere, so I doubt a day at the beach would be very relaxing for Alex.


If Alex and the boys crashed a party at the White House, what would be their choice of dress?
The boys would dress in tux's, and Alex would have to be forced into a dress. Left to her own devices, she'd tried to dress like a ninja


Giveaway

To gain an entry in either/both of the tour giveaways for Pure, leave a comment here with your original answer to one of the questions above, replacing one of the character names with your own.

e.g. If I (Kris) were to become a pilot, I would first fly to England to visit the Lake District with my friends. I recently re-watched Ms. Potter with my friends, and we want to see the land she helped preserve with our own eyes.

Then go to StuckInBooks and/or A Cupcake and a Latte with the link to your comment to complete your entry! Here is another link to the tour schedule, so you can visit more blogs and comment on more amazing posts!

Book Review: Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Erebos
by Ursula Poznanski (author), Judith Pattinson (translator)

3 Stars: A Good Read
Publication: January 19, 2012 (Paperback)
Pages: 434
Publisher: Annick Press
Buy it: Amazon (Paperback)Book Depository

An intelligent computer game with a disturbing agenda.

When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname.

Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game.

Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur. This utterly convincing and suspenseful thriller originated in Germany, where it has become a runaway bestseller.

Ursula Poznanski is an award-winning children’s author. She lives in Vienna, Austria.

There is mystery and intrigue behind the game. Everyone knows everyone, but they aren't allowed to reveal their identities in the game to one another. For much of the first half, Nick's character in the game goes on quests. I'm more of a book nerd and not much of a gamer, so Nick's descent into obsession with the game fascinated me. It is when the game begins to know too much about him that he becomes suspicious.

Nick faces a moral dilemma when the game asks him to complete a task with consequences. He must decide whether or not to let his addiction to the game control him. I'm not a gamer, but I can understand in relation to books and how I can spend a whole afternoon reading away without a care for the outside world. That is where my relationship with Nick ends. While he is the only character that is really developed, he wasn't likable. I have no idea why he is so popular.

As Nick realizes that the game isn't a regular game but that it's plot reaches out to the real world, he and some other plays make it their mission to uncover its plans. The plot kept me guessing, and it had its surprises. Overall, this was an enjoyable and very different read for me.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Book Review: The Vanishing Game

Monday, March 19, 2012
The Vanishing Game
by Kate Kae Myers

4 stars: Recommended
Publication: February 14, 2012 (Hardback)
Pages: 353
Author: Website
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Buy it: Amazon (Hardback) | KindleB&N | Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn follows clues apparently from her dead twin, Jack, in and around Seale House, the terrifying foster home where they once lived. With help from childhood friend Noah she begins to uncover the truth about Jack's death and the company that employed him and Noah.

Jocelyn's twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he's dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from "Jason December"-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn's childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House.

But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house's powers weren't just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in? The answer is revealed in a shocking twist that turns this story on its head and will send readers straight back to page 1 to read the book in a whole new light.

What stands out the most is the plot of the story. It is mind-engrossing, suspenseful, and so confounding that you will either stay up all night to finish it or you will put it aside only to pick it up again at a later time. Just when you think you have a grasp on the mystery, Myers throws something else at you. I had a fun time trying to solve the riddles along with Jocelyn.

The writing is simple and concise. This works well for a story that rides on the plot as much as this book. You hardly notice the lack of ornamentation with a story as engrossing as The Vanishing Game. I got so into the story that my heart rate accelerated, and I sought sunlight and company every time Myers brought me near the Seale House along with the characters. That being said, if you're looking for romance, however, this isn't the book for you. As much as I love the characters, the story focuses on the bizarre events taking place in the Seale House.

I did not see the ending come. In fact, I'm still not sure if I have the whole picture straight in my mind, though it definitely wowed me. I'm tempted to reread the book now that I have a better understanding of what's happening. It'll be interesting to see how I look at happenings with the knowledge that I have now. This is a really good mystery/thriller read, and I would definitely recommend reading it!

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Book Review: Sisters of Glass

Sunday, March 18, 2012
Sisters of Glass
by Stephanie Hemphill

2.5 Stars: An Okay Read
Publication: March 27, 2012 (Hardback)
Pages: 160
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf BFYR (imprint of Random House Children's Books)
Buy it: Amazon (Hardcopy) | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

Maria is the younger daughter of an esteemed family on the island of Murano, the traditional home for Venetian glassmakers. Though she longs to be a glassblower herself, glassblowing is not for daughters—that is her brother's work. Maria has only one duty to perform for her family: before her father died, he insisted that she be married into the nobility, even though her older sister, Giovanna, should rightfully have that role. Not only is Giovanna older, she's prettier, more graceful, and everyone loves her.

Maria would like nothing more than to allow her beautiful sister, who is far more able and willing to attract a noble husband, to take over this role for her. But they cannot circumvent their father's wishes. And when a new young glassblower arrives to help the family business and Maria finds herself drawn to him, the web of conflicting emotions grows even more tangled.

This story was a little too packaged for my enjoyment. I enjoyed the glass working and setting, and Maria is a nice girl. However, the verse didn't work for me. While there was lovely imagery worked into the verse, the feelings didn't convey themselves to me, and the story seemed to be  given to me instead of taking place in my mind. The verse ended up looking like a prose whose lines have been chopped up and separated; if it worked, it would have made this even more of a fairy tale. Those who enjoy stories with nice, packaged endings might enjoy this as a light read.



Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm giving away your choice of an ARC of Glimmer or A Touch Morbid. International entries welcome.
  

To enter, fill out the form:

THE FORM


We also have other giveaways going on. Check the top of the sidebar to the right for what we're giving away!

List of other participating blogs in the hop.