28 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (11)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine which asks what book we're most looking forward to.

Velveteen by Daniel Marks
Publication date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Random House

Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that's not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it's not a fiery inferno, it's certainly no heaven. It's gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn't leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what's really on her mind.


Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she's figured out just how to do it. She'll haunt him for the rest of his days. It'll be brutal . . . and awesome. But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen's obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she's willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker. Velveteen can't help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

I have Asher at Paranormal Indulgence to thank for this one. It. Sounds. Amazing. I love revenge stories. This is probably because I choose to turn the other cheek in my own life, so I love to live through other people who choose to do the opposite. BONESAW!! I love it. Please let this be good. Please let this be good.

What are you waiting for?

27 March 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Play Hooky With

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish Every week focuses on a different topic and you make a top ten list from it! This week: My Top Ten Books (coming out in 2012) I'd Play Hooky With

First off, it's funny that I'd be playing hooky to read a book when I work at a bookstore. I see the irony. But, it's a job and I can't read books while on the floor, so hooky would have to be taken...

1. Shadows (Ashes #2) by Ilsa J. Bick
I almost peed my pants when my store got this book. It came upon me unawares and I got a tad excited. It looks awesome and it's thick. With the way Ashes ended, I can't wait to pick up this book, but I'd need a lot of time available to digest it.

2. The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
One of the books I'm most looking forward to this year. It sounds amazing.

3. Rebel Heart (Dust Lands #2) by Moira Young
Can't wait until I get my hands on this. The moment I do...*cough cough* I'm not feeling too well.

4. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
This is kind of a long book and I always reserve those for my days off so I can read as much as I can. It sounds great, but I'd probably like an extra day so I could take my time...

5. Gilt by Katherine Longshore
Honestly, it's not a book I'm so much looking forward to, but more like I feel obligated to read it (don't worry, I won't review it if my review is based on bias). I'm kind of "Tudor" obsessed and read/watch anything about it. I think Catherine Howard was...not smart and am not her biggest fan, but it helps that the story is told through a friend's eyes. One of my coworkers read it and actually really liked it, so that got me happy! I'll need a full day or two with this one.

6. Shine (Shade #3) by Jeri Smith-Ready
Because it's the conclusion to what has been an awesome series!

7. BZRK by Michael Grant
I started this one but had to stop because I knew it wasn't going to be a "quick read." I'd need a day to take my time with this one.

8. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
This book has appeared on many of my lists. I've been waiting to read this forever. I have a copy and now just need to find that right day.

9. Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

10. Onyx (Lux #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Interrupt me while I read this and I'll kick you. I'll take a day with no interruptions, please.

What books would you play hooky with??

26 March 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Robin LaFevers

Below is an interview with the fantabulous Robin LaFevers who's newest book is Grave Mercy. You can read my review of the fantabulous Grave Mercy here. And don't forget to enter the giveaway after the interview!

Robin LaFevers was raised on fairy tales, Bulfinch's mythology, and nineteenth-century poetry. It is not surprising that she grew up to be a hopeless romantic. She was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in California. She also writes books for middle grade readers, including the Theodosia books and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series. You can learn more about those books at www.rllafevers.com.

How did you come up with the idea for Grave Mercy?
I wanted to write the story of a girl who was utterly powerless and put her through all the trials and ordeals that would shape her into an instrument of power—not just the physical power of being an assassin, but also the power to stand firmly in her own self and make her own choices and decisions.

For that kind of story, I needed a big, sweeping canvas with high stakes and lives and kingdoms at risk, and a time when teens were in a position to shape the world around them. That search brought me to the middle ages and a world full of sacred relics, patron saints, and a highly developed sense of Other, waiting just around the corner.

Did you have a favorite scene you enjoyed writing the most?
One of my favorite scenes was the one where Duval had to tend Ismae’s wounded shoulder. That crackle and tension had been building for a while, and it was great fun to get them both in a room, close the door, and make them face it.

Your past series' have been for middle-grades. Did you find it a difficult transition writing for young adults?
Not at all! It was a great way to stretch myself and grow as a writer and have a chance to explore new subjects. The range of themes and depth of emotion is so very different in YA, and I loved getting to play with that. I really enjoy being able to write both, and anticipate doing so in the future. I have not given up on middle grade, by any stretch!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was eight years old and finished reading the Chronicles of Narnia. I had never read fantasy before and I was absolutely gob-smacked by the idea that you were allowed to make things up. I decided right then and there that was the career for me! Of course, it took me decades to actually get there...

Are you a morning or a night person?
Morning! I used to be an obnoxious, wake up cheerful and bubbly at the crack of dawn kind of person. Now I am merely a ‘prefer mornings’ kind of person.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Megan Whalen Turner, Libba Bray, Elizabeth Bunce, Mary Steward, Cate Tiernan, Juliet Marillier, Lois McMaster Bujold, Sara Zarr, Suzanne Collins, Francis Hardinge...I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there.

What do you do when you get “stuck” while writing?
Stop writing. I might take a walk or clean out a closet or drawer or pick up a research book. And I might stop writing for a couple of hours, a couple of days, or a couple of weeks, depending on how much percolating time I need. I don’t subscribe to the idea that you need to write every day and when I try to force it I produce utter crap. It is much more beneficial for me to take a break, let things ferment for a bit, then start fresh.

What's your favorite animal?

If you could pick a character from a book to have dinner with, who would it be?
Sauron from Lord of the Rings because I never quite understood why he was so intent on destroying Middle Earth and I’d like to hear his explanation.

Cake or pie?
Hmmm. Cake. Unless it’s cream cheese pie.

15 March 2012

Will return on 3/22

Howdy readers! I will be on a short break until Thursday 3/22. It's not something I was planning to do, but I was bitten by the writing bug (which hasn't happened in forever) and need to get a first draft of my TV pilot done. NEED. Once I churn it out, which I've given myself a week to do, I will be good to go back to reading and reviewing for your (and my) pleasure! Please don't think this is something I'll be doing all the time. It's just a special circumstance and it's a writing project involving a lot of research. Thank you for understanding, or I hope you do, and just so you know I'll be back...I'm leaving you with a giveaway!! A few days ago I reached 200 followers and to celebrate, you can enter my INTERNATIONAL giveaway here!

You can also enter my giveaway for I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga here!

Meanwhile, I'll still be on Twitter because how else will I procrastinate? See you next Wednesday with new reviews and posts!

UPDATE: It's taking me a bit longer than I thought. What good is a self-made deadline if I don't make it? I will return on Monday 3/26 with a fabulous author interview and a chance to win a signed copy of her book!! I know I'm excited about it! :)

200 Followers Giveaway

I've reached 200 followers!! Thank you so much to my readers and the support you give to my blog! I truly appreciate it! In celebration of reaching 200, I am having a giveaway! In this giveaway, you have the chance to win, not one, but TWO books and one is SIGNED!

PRIZES: signed The Catastrophic History of You & Me (hardcover) by Jess Rothenberg
Starters ARC by Lissa Price

Please read my contest policy before entering!
This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL! WOOT!

11 March 2012

In My Mailbox (16)

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren to share books we got in the mail or the library or the bookstore, etc. that week!

I got a few, but very EXCITING books this week! On to my mailbox:

Shadows (Ashes #1) by Ilsa J. Blick
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


Thank you Random House and thank you Nicole at Penguin!! 

What did you get this week?

09 March 2012

Future Release: I Hunt Killers and Giveaway

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Publication date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown

What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad? Jazz Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say. But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could--from the criminal's point of view. And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod. In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret--could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

Let me start off by saying that I Hunt Killers is for a more mature YA audience. Little, Brown recommends it for 15 and up and I would have to agree. With that being said...

I really enjoyed it.

I was sucked in from the very first line:
By the time Jazz got to the field outside town, yellow police tape was everywhere, strung from stake to stake in a sort of drunken, off-kilter hexagon. -quote taken from the ARC

This is the first book in a series of I don't know how many, and there is a lot to set-up for the next book, but I was never bored while reading. The author places many red herrings throughout, so I was constantly guessing and going back and forth as to who the killer was. Lyga does a great job of keeping the reader invested in the story and invested in Jazz. I couldn't help but love him. Jazz, raised by a serial killer and groomed to be one himself, is in a constant struggle with who he is and who he will (or won't) become. The cast of secondary characters aren't as complex as Jazz (nor should they be!), but I found them just as entertaining. On a quick side-note, Jazz's girlfriend, Connie, is African-American and I would like to give kudos to Lyga for including an interracial couple in his novel. It's not something one sees much in YA. Now back to the review:

The book is about serial killers so it has its fair share of gore. Some of the descriptions of the murder victims  are very intense which, I believe, is where the 15 and up rating comes in. These scenes aren't the most disgusting ones I've ever read, but they're still pretty strong for a young adult novel so fair warning. Also, there is a lot of use of  cursing. If you are offended by this (I admit it was a bit too much cursing than I'm comfortable with), I leave it up to you to make your decision. I started the book not knowing that there are going to be more so as I got towards the end and realized it wasn't "ending," I rolled my eyes and heaved a sigh. Another book with a sequel. It's okay, though, because once I reached the end, I didn't mind it. For a cliffhanger, I actually really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next one! I'm also looking forward to the television show it is currently being turned into. I'm curious as to how they'll adapt it...

I Hunt Killers isn't for everyone. I think it's for that special audience who is in love with Dexter (I, personally, can't handle that one!) and never misses an episode of Criminal Minds. If this sounds like you, I hope you pick it up in April and give it a read! If not, just know I think it's pretty great.

Please read my contest policy before entering!
This giveaway is US/Canada only.

08 March 2012

Review: Everybody Sees the Ants

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
Publication date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Lucky Linderman didn't ask for his life. He didn't ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn't ask for a father who never got over it. He didn't ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn't ask to be the target of Nader McMillan's relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far. But Lucky has a secret--one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos--the prison his grandfather couldn't escape--where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It's dangerous and wild, and it's a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?

It's been a long time since I read a book with "themes." Or at least books without themes like: the end of the world, zombies, and witches. Everybody Sees the Ants tackles issues like bullying, depression, suicide, and family dysfunction. And it is amazing. Here is why:

King's characters are three-dimensional. I, personally, think it's difficult to write a book with close to no action and to focus mainly on a character study.You know why? Because they can get boring. Luckily (pun intended), Lucky is so fascinating. He's a depressed teen who doesn't even realize he's depressed. One of the things I love about Lucky is his self-deprecating humor. Guys, the book deals with serious issues, but I found myself laughing out loud at moments (and some of them inappropriate, thank you A.S. King). I didn't find any stereotypical characters in this book. Even the bully, Nader, is taken to the next level as psychotic.

King's writing is superb. Her imagery is full of image and King had me feeling every feeling. For example, I was appalled at the bullying that Lucky is subjected to by Nader and was appalled at his passive parents for not doing all that they could. It took all of my strength not to put on my nonexistent Parenting Hat and jump into the book to do something about this. Yes, this is an actual power of mine and please don't tell the government.

I love Everybody Sees the Ants because it's one of those books that will have different interpretations for everyone. This is why I won't share mine with you. I'll let you decide what the ants are to you (as well as other symbols in the book). I don't usually do book clubs because I have so much other stuff to read, but I need to have a club for this book (it's cheating if I already read it, I know!). It's a perfect book club suggestion if you're looking for your next pick.

07 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (10)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine which asks what book we're most looking forward to.

Dark Star by Bethany Frenette
Publication date: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion

Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it’s hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she’s lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human—something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile. Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers—livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin. 

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person’s memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers’ next move. But Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won’t let Audrey out of his sight. When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything—and everyone—she loves.

SUPERHEROES! Sorry for the caps. I'm just really excited. I'm a nerd and get a little hot over superheroes. Does the description remind anyone else of Jana Oliver's Demon Trappers series (if you've read it obviously)? That might be another reason I'm drawn to it. And well...you know...SUPERHEROES. I hope there's more than just her mom and Leon.

What are you waiting for?

06 March 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Covers of 2012 (except 1)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish Every week focuses on a different topic and you make a top ten list from it! This week: My Top Ten Favorite Covers of 2012 (except 1)
1. Enna Burning by Shannon Hale: This is the one not from 2012. I had to put it on here because it is my favorite cover of all time. Alison Jay is one of my favorite illustrators. It's sad that they changed the covers of the Bayern series. I'm lucky I bought the first three when they still had these illustrated covers.

2. Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby: You'll realize by the end of this list I have a love for illustrated covers and think more should have them.

3. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows: It's a girl in a mask! A pretty mask! I'm not a fan of using the faces and full body shots of models, but this one is gorgeous.

4. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman: I think this cover is gorgeous.

5. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: This cover was released recently and I instantly fell in love. This is a cover that should always be faced out on a shelf.

6. Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould: Another mask! Weeee!! Love the colors in the cover. And I want that mask so badly.

7. Blood Red Road (paperback) by Moira Young: The paperback came out in January so it counts...I like it because, like its hardcover friend, it's an ambiguous cover so I can sell it to boys. I like the shadow of the girl and the colors are great too.

8. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund: Look at the shiny! I love shiny.

9. Timepiece by Myra McEntire: I wasn't the biggest fan of the first book, but they are definitely getting it right with these covers. Love it.

10. The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long: Remember my earlier comment about my dislike of covers that use the full body and face of a model? Yea, this one breaks all the rules but I can't help loving it.

What are your favorite covers??

05 March 2012

Future Release: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers
Publication date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

I think I already have my Halloween costume planned. I'm going to be Ismae, an assassin nun. No one will know who I am, but I won't care because I'll be an assassin nun. So. Cool. Can you tell how much I love this book? I was familiar with Robin's work before Grave Mercy, so when my store received the galley of her first young adult book, I knew I had to read it. Grave Mercy proves Robin's versatile writing ability. The prose is different than her middle-grade books and has a completely different, mature writing style.

Grave Mercy has a fascinating historical setting with all the political intrigue one could want. After reading, I wouldn't be surprised if the reader immediately went to Wikipedia and looked up everything they could find on Brittany. Or that may have just been me. Upon being introduced to Ismae, I immediately knew I was going to love her. She has an independent spirit that I adore in my female characters with just the right amount of vulnerability. Robin also gave me my favorite type of romance: the "dislike turns to love" kind. The romance between Ismae and Duval takes its time and happens naturally. There is definitely none of that immediate love that seems to have taken over the average YA book.

Grave Mercy is over 500 pages long, but it doesn't read like it. I found it to be entertaining every step of the way and it was over before I knew it. If you like Tamora Pierce, Graceling, or just historical fantasy, give this book a try. I hope you won't be disappointed! Meanwhile, I'll be waiting over here for the next in the planned trilogy.

04 March 2012

In My Mailbox (15)

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren to share books we got in the mail or the library or the bookstore, etc. that week!

I had such a big week last week, the universe gave me a book break. One was purchased. BUT I got my business cards for my blog!! I've had so many opportunities to hand cards out but never had any, so I got some made. So excited to start using them! Watch, now I won't need them anymore, haha! 

The glare is really bad in this picture. Just pretend SCARLET has a halo.
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

And look at my business cards! I'm fancy.

What did you get this week??

02 March 2012

Review: Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1)

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi
Publication date: January 3. 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins

Exiled from her comfortable home, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - called the Death Shop - are slim. Violent energy storms can strike suddenly, and even the air she breathes might kill her. Then Aria meets and Outsider named Perry. He's wild, dangerous - a savage. He's also her only hope. Because Aria alone holds the key to his redemption, Perry needs her, too. Their unlikely alliance will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

What a great start to a series.

The world that Rossi has created in Under the Never Sky is different from other YA books in its genre and, I think, it stands out among the rest. For example, I like her use of virtual reality and the tech gear used inside the Dome. Meanwhile, on the outside in the wastelands, Perry belongs to one of many tribes and lives a nomadic life. It's clear from the beginning of the book that Aria and Perry come from completely different backgrounds, so I was excited to experience when they meet up. Under the Never Sky has dual narration which sometimes doesn't work for me, but I think Rossi pulls it off successfully. I love both Aria and Perry, so I liked going into each of their heads and reading from their different perspectives (especially about each other!).

I also enjoyed the not-so-instant love connection Perry and Aria have. In fact, Aria smells bad to Perry for, like, the majority of the first half of the book. Adding that onto the fact he already doesn't like her (due to the blame he puts on her for his problems) leads to awkward companionship. You know what else is awkward? The fact that Perry can smell when Aria is on her period and the fact that she smells better when she is. I know for a fact this would probably not be true, but I guess it's nice to have that little fantasy none-the-less.

P.S. Perry has an excellent sense of smell. In fact, some characters born on the outside (I believe due to the Aether?) are born with heightened senses. I liked this idea, too.

I guess the only fault I have with it is the lack of explanation of the Aether storms. How, what, why? It's an excellent idea and one of the highlights of the story for me. It's a storm that I realize is deadly, but that I would love to stand outside and watch. Without dying. There are more books in the series, so I'm hoping there will be a gradual explanation.