Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dear Teen Me Blog Tour

The Synopsis:
Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends--and a lot of familiar faces--in the course of Dear Teen Me.
The Book Depository
Release: October 30th

I spent a really long time trying to figure out something original and different to share for this post.  But in the end, the only thing I could really come up with would be a letter to myself.  I'm not sure why, but that's what my mind kept coming back to.  Some of these letters in the book really spoke to me, made me understand that I really am not alone out there with my thoughts and problems.  And I would hope that by sharing my own letter, and by highly suggesting others read Dear Teen Me, people can read this book and really relate and connect to these authors, who, in all actuality, are no different than the rest of us.

Dear Lonely Me,

If you're reading this by any chance, the flux capacitor was never perfected.  I'm sorry.  Unfortunately, time travel was not used to get this letter to you.  If it was, I would have made sure this letter would have gotten to you sooner.  Way sooner.  Because, your loneliness goes way back to when you were in third grade.

You always knew you were different.  You weren't outgoing like your twin sister, and you were often compared to her by many.  You certainly didn't have a fashion sense like she had.  You thought that since you didn't like the color pink (you've always been a blue kind of girl) and you didn't like girly, frilly things like dresses and makeup, you must be a tomboy, because what else could you be?  So you went through this terrible stage where you wore boyish clothes and cut your hair uber short. I'm sorry, but *cringes* what were you thinking?

But you found a place where you could express yourself.  You found music.  You found the stage.  I know, you're thinking 'But I've been dancing for years now'.  It's true you have, but you found a deeper love for it.  You created a deeper connection between you and the stage.  It became sacred.  You joined the band and excelled at playing your clarinet and you joined all of the school plays.

Music and the stage are going to follow you all the way into high school.  You're going to pick up another instrument and join jazz band and play at all the football games.  You're going to learn that you really can sing.  And you're going to find great friends in both those places.

So you must be wondering why I said you're lonely when here I am, telling you that you make good friends and join groups and such, yes?

The thing is, you're never going to feel like you truly belong.  You're different.  You're weird.  You're nerdy.  You're geeky.  Because of the loneliness, you don't feel like you belong on that stage.  You doubt yourself and you always will.  You're not low on self esteem, but you're sometimes going to feel that you're not enough.  Not for the stage, not for first chair in band, and certainly not enough to write an entire book at the age of 15.  (Oh, yeah.  You wrote a book.  You love reading and writing.)  All because you feel like you don't belong in any group specifically.  You feel like you don't deserve it.  You feel that you don't deserve the attention even when you work so hard to accomplish the many things you'll do.  You feel that people don't or wouldn't notice you.  On top of that, you don't think anybody will ever understand what you're thinking, especially when your twin sister is the epitome of unrestrained optimism and confidence.

I'm not saying that things will get easier and you'll learn how to outgrow it.  Because you won't.  You'll just learn to cope with it, push yourself even further, and learn that you don't need outside help when you have yourself.  You'll eventually enjoy being alone.  You're going to take Mom's words--"You deserve it" or "Don't give up" or "I'm proud of you"-- and remind yourself every now and then that while you feel lonely, people do care.  People do notice you.  The good thing is, you'll outgrow that terrible tomboy phase by the time you reach junior high.  And from then on, you'll know who you are; you're not going to have to go through that 'finding yourself' phase.  Thank God. 

There will always be those times where you'll feel lonely, but all you'll have to do then is pick up a book and read.  Or write.  Or sing until your throat is raw and play instruments until your chops are blown.  Express yourself.  Follow your dreams.  You, dear one, are not alone on your journey through life.  You are loved, you are important.  You are you.  Don't ever change who you are because, honestly, you made me have no regrets. 

A possibly wizened you
Your twin and you behind stage for Wizard of Oz dress rehearsals.  You were jitterbugs.  You're on the left, by the way.

And for all of you, I have a giveaway!  Thanks to Zest Books, I've got a few goodies for you.  Just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sweet Peril Cover Reveal!

Guess what, guys!  Guess what! *jumps around, claps hands* I haz another cover reveal for you all this week! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?! Two awesome cover reveals in one considerably good week.  It is like there are Forces in the Book World that are sprinkling happiness on me right now. 

But you're probably wondering what the cover of Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins looks like, yes?  Good news! I have it!  And I will SHOW IT TO YOU!




You ready for this?




Pub Date: April 30th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen

Anna Whitt, daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a claim. She’d been naive about a lot of things. Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.
When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

LOOK AT THE GORGEOUSNESS!!!  Did I ever think I'd see Anna wearing black?  No.  Did I ever think I'd see Kaiden looking like an innocent little angel--which he is not?  No.  Did I ever think I'd see Anna looking all dark, mysterious, and smexy?  Not in a million years!

This is all making me wonder.  What is going on here in the book that is Sweet Peril?  Has Anna gone to the Dark Side?  Is Kaiden love-sick?  In all, the want for this book is strong.  Very strong.

Meet the Author:
Wendy Higgins was born in Alaska, grew up an Army brat, and lived all over the United States before settling in the Washington, DC area. She attended George Mason University for her undergrad degree in creative writing, and Radford University for her masters in curriculum and instruction. Wendy taught 9th and 12th grade English in a rural school before becoming a mother and author. She now lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and son. Sweet Peril is her second novel.

Wendy's Website
Wendy on Twitter
Wendy on Facebook

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Synopsis:
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the
Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

My Thoughts:
Long synopsis, isn't it?

So, I think I probably knew about this book pretty much a year before it even came out, even before it had a cover.  For those of you who don't know, I happen to be a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater.  Huge.  I could probably use this entire review to just rant about her, but this is a book review, not a fangirl rant.  But when the opportunity came when Maggie did her launch for The Raven Boys in my state, it's safe to say that the day was filled with fangirling, squeeing, and hyperventilating.  Plus, I met my best bud, Monica from Cover Analysis!  That was a fun day.

When it came to the book, I'm wasn't exactly sure how to explain it.  There's Blue, a daughter to a family of psychics, but has none of their powers of premonition or clairvoyance and such.  However, she's got this ability to amplify a psychic's power, and that's why her family keeps her around. (Kidding! Her family loves her!)  And there was something about Blue that I really liked about her.  She's one that I can easily relate to.  Plus, she doesn't try to try.  What I mean is that she isn't fake when she's with the rich and adventurous Raven Boys.

The main part of the story is that Gansey and his friends Noah, Ronan, and Adam are on this quest to discover where this Welsh king is buried.  It has to deal a lot with the theory with ley lines, and if you don't know what lay lines are, you're not alone.  If I had not gone to the launch, I'm not sure I would even understand the topic well enough to understand it in the book.  So if you're curious about ley lines, go here.

The idea of The Raven Boys was so original!  I absolutely loved it.  The future books to this series have plenty of potential.  Unfortunately, I thought the beginning was a little slow.  I would get bored, and I understand what Maggie was trying to do was create anticipation and suspense, but I really wanted it to get to the point.  Things did pick up right around the middle of the book, however, so I can't complain too much because I extremely enjoyed the book.

The Raven Boys, I think, rivals The Scorpio Races in its genius.  I thoroughly enjoyed The Scorpio Races and its originality and with that piece, I felt that Stiefvater had truly outdone herself.  I was wrong.  Out-of-the-ballpark-wrong.  If anything, Stiefvater has outdone herself with The Raven BoysThe Raven Boys is not your average book in any way possible.  It was mysterious and dark, adventurous and quirky in a way that you can only identify as Stiefvater's work.  I can tell you right here that it is one of my top favorites of the year.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers like me can gush about what makes their hands all grabby.

Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you're close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner's heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .

Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister's shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . .

Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Josh, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed . . .

Only until up about two, three years ago, I had been dancing for nine years in a row.  I still love dance; there will always be a place for it in my heart, but I realized that books are more of my passion and that's how I ended up getting this blog up and running.  And you see those beautiful pointe shoes behind the title there? I wore those proudly and danced around the stage, pouring out my emotions into each dance. (sorry for the nostalgia)

Anyway, besides my emotional attachment to what seems to be a large part of this book, the idea for it sounds pretty cool.  And look at that cover! That makes me want to throw my pointe shoes back on and glide across the stage!  It's so beautiful.  I love the colors and it looks all creepy and haunting and stuff, like the synopsis suggests.

So what are you all waiting on this fine Wednesday?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shadow of the Mark Cover Reveal!

You guiiizzzeee! You have no idea how excited I am to be helping reveal the cover of Shadow of the Mark, the second book to Carrier of the Mark! (CotM review here.)  In short, I'm super excited for the release of Shadow and am pretty psyched to be doing this cover reveal. 

And if you're wondering what this absolutely gorgeous cover looks like, here it is:

Life for Megan Rosenberg just got a lot more complicated.

While she evoked the air element, and her feelings for Adam
intensified, a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal has been spun around her. With the Order tightening its hold, and the reinstatement of the Mark Knights, Megan has more questions than answers as the
Marked Ones grow in strength.

New people arouse suspicion, the DeRises start behaving
strangely, and Megan begins to unravel a destiny shrouded in mystery. It's a destiny the Order has struggled to hide, and a destiny someone from the past, far in the past, has already laid claim to.

Alliances will be made, and friends will be lost, as the
Order's dark secrets are revealed by the very thing they sought to destroy.

AAHHH!! Ermahgerd!! Isn't it fabulous??  Oh, just look at her hair! It's so red!  And how she suddenly poofs up in a cloud of purple . . . SWEET. 

Oh, and if you're thinking that it looks strikingly familiar to another book cover, check out what Leigh has to say about the cover!

I know, there's no mistaking it. This is definitely a Carrier Series cover, but that was the intention. After the amazing reception to the cover of Carrier of the Mark, HarperCollins wanted Shadow's cover to be instantly recognizable. And it is, but the new darker color palette reflects the darker tone that this installment brings, and the pink and purple really make it pop. I love it and think HarperCollins have done another amazing job. I hope you like it too.

I totally agree!

Also, this baby won't be released until July 9th, 2013.  Soooo, I suggest you either pre-order this baby or put it on every TBR list you may have.

About the author:
[Leigh1.JPG]I started out life in South Africa. A year later my parents moved home to Dublin, Ireland. When I was older and realized my parents had moved me from exotic Durban, to sedate Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, I was rightly ticked off.

Giving up lions for sheep, I grew up in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains where I went to a convent school and had to contend with uniforms, gabardines, and nuns. When not dodging the beady glare of the Sisters of Mercy, I was devouring every book I could get my hands on.

I traveled all over Europe while working in banking and treasury, but I gave up my calculator in favor of a keyboard and haven't stopped writing since. My first book, Carrier of the Mark, was published by HarperTeen in 2011.

Our home is in Cork in the south of Ireland, but we're currently on loan to Massachusetts in the US where I continue to write books about magic, ghosts, and romance, with a bit of Irish flavor.

Where you can find Leigh: - Her website
                                                                       - Twitter
                                                                       - Tumblr

But wait! There's more!  I haz a giveaway! Well, it's Leigh's giveaway, but it's a giveaway, nonetheless!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 22, 2012

Venom by Fiona Paul ARC Review

The Synopsis:
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancĂ©, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.
When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancĂ©, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?
Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.

My Thoughts:
First off, I must give a huge shout out and smooch on the cheek to the awesome Monica at Cover Analysis who let me read this review copy of this book!  Thank you, darling!

Have I ever mentioned that I love historical fiction?  Like, really, really, really, really love historical fiction?  Besides Greek mythology retellings, historical fiction places an easy second.  Sure, I enjoy reading paranormal and dystopian and apocalyptic and all those other genres out there, but I loooooooove everything historical.

I'm not going to geek out on you or anything, so I'll keep this brief.  Fiona, you are amazing!  The history was accurate and you brought the streets of Venice to life.  Cass was strong and defiant while the mysterious Falco kept me craving more.  Lots more . . . Yup.

Unlike many YA heroines that are strong naturally, Cass tried to prove to herself and others that she was strong and brave.  Her personality grew throughout the story and never once did she give up.  There were some moments where I was a little upset that she would shy away and I was like 'No!  You're supposed to be brave!  Don't scream.  No . . .'

Story-wise, could it be any more awesome??  Seriously!  Some killer is on the loose and Cass is determined to figure it out while trying not to get tangled with the dark and is-he-dangerous? Falco.  And did I mention that the two of them trek the seine together at night as they try to solve the murder mystery?  Can you say creepy while also being romantic?  Is that odd that I'm using those two words in the same sentence?  If it is, it doesn't matter because I think it's accurate.

Venom was a tale filled with dark secrets and romantic boat rides.  I was swept into this story, truly making me feel all Italy-nostalgic (Italians all the way!).  Anyway.  I wasn't sure what exactly to expect while reading this book, but what I got as the finished product wasn't it.  I was glued to the book until the very end.  Overall, it was a masterful piece that brings out the magic of Venice while bending your mind with its killer secrets.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

The Synopsis:
What happens when happily ever after... isn’t?

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.

My Thoughts:
When I first heard the synopsis to this one, I really wanted to read it.  Delilah sounded like one I can relate to.  She sounded just like me in so many different ways.  And when I started the book, I was like 'Yeah. She sounds just like me! Yay, bookworms!'  But somewhere down the line, I kind of got annoyed with her.  Just a little smidgen.  Not enough to make me toss the book, but enough to make me put it down every now and again.  Ahh, we just didn't connect.

The idea for the book was something so original that I couldn't help but enjoy it.  It really made me think.  What if our books were alive inside the pages once we closed them?  What are they saying?  What are they doing?  Does it only happen in picture books?  COULD I FALL IN LOVE WITH WILL HERONDALE?!?!?*  Yeah.  Questions like that. 

Overall, I thought the book was really cute.  If you know me, I'm not into books that don't have a lot of action and death and adventure in them.  Sure, I'll read an occasional contemporary because I'm a girl after all and I sometimes need to feel all heart-smooshy.  But if you didn't know this about me, now you do.

The best part about this book?  The illustrations!  I can't even remember the last time I read a book with pictures in them.  Second grade, maybe?  Anyway, it's been a while.  And they weren't like these little teeny pictures that were put in the corners of the pages (although there were plenty of them).  No.  The ones I'm thinking of were beastly giants that took up entire pages and they were magnificent.  So beautiful.  I'd stay on those pages just to study each and every small detail in each of them.  They were so beautiful. 

Another thing that was pretty cool?  There were three different point of views!  There was Delilah and there was also Oliver (our Prince!).  But the coolest thing was how, every few chapters, there would be a different story altogether.  It was the real, original fairytale from the book that Delilah picks up and from where Oliver is from.  I thought it was such an interesting idea, and I really was interested in what would happen to Oliver in the end (story Oliver, not love-sick-over-Delilah Oliver).

Between the Lines was a sweet tale where all the characters we love in our minds and hearts are alive--literally.  It was enjoyable and we follow Oliver and Delilah through their quest to get Oliver out, and each time, readers get to watch their sweet romance grow.  If you're into the impossible love story, Between the Lines has it!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

The Synopsis:
Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be...kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.
But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.
So much for normal.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed White's humorous writing.  I always catch myself smiling and even laughing out loud as I read her books.  The characters (mostly) are very likable and I can't help but care for the well being of Evie, Lend, and others.  All of the characters so far have grown gradually, and it's a learning process for everyone, including the reader.  Plus--oh, boy!--do I love the plot twists!

Evie annoyed me occasionally throughout Paranormalcy with her blind optimism and naivete.  Even though these are great characteristics in people, I wouldn't want to have them, so it was a little unnerving to read about.  Maybe this is because I'm just Miss. Grumpy Pants?  Maybe I'm cynical?  Whatever the reason, I sometimes have a hard time relating to Evie.  However, Evie didn't bother me as much as she did in the first book.  Also, she wasn't perfect.  She made mistakes countless of times throughout the books, but she learned from them and found a way to get over it.  She had such great and passionate determination to make things better for everyone that she sometimes forgot about caring for herself, and I loved that!

Enter Jack.  Holy musical Batman, I loved him! Right from the very beginning, I loved his playful banter with Evie and his . . . unconventional . . . idiosyncrasies.  I'm not going to spoil much about him because I don't want to ruin it for you if you've not read the book yet.  I'm still Team Lend--always will be--but Jack was the highlight of the book, brightening up each page he was on.  He was such an interesting and dynamic character that always kept me guessing.  Oh, and he made me laugh sooo many times! He was great!

I feel that in Paranormalcy there wasn't much mystery to it.  Yeah, sure.  IPCA isn't what we all thought it was, but in Supernaturally, these itty-bitty, teensy-weensy slivers of answers are given, so that means there are questions to be asked, which then means there are unknown things lurking about, which means I have no I idea how this is going to end up.  Supernaturally definitely kept me interested all the way through.

Things get interesting in this book, and by the end, there are more questions to be asked than answers given.  And I liked that!  All this information wasn't just dumped on me, but in these tiny little hints that kept me guessing and guessing.  Reth wasn't as troublesome as he was in the first book, but he certainly makes his presence known throughout the book, and I feel that the Paranormalcy Trilogy wouldn't be complete without him.

I really enjoy White's take on paranormals, and if you're interested in this kind of genre, I suggest you read it.  Readers are given a funny, action-filled book full with plenty of adventure and detective work.  The only thing I wish, though, is that I should have picked this series up earlier.  (Must I mention her pink taser for further confirmation of a great series?)

Happy reading, everyone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Unravel Me

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers like me can show you what makes our hands all grabby.

tick, tick, tick, tick, tick
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

You guiizzzee!  THIS BOOK!!  Ever since I read Shatter Me because my blogger/twitter friend, Monica from Cover Analysis, let me borrow her SIGNED copy of the book, I cannot stop thinking about Juliette and Adam and Warner. (Team Adam! WOOT!)  Reading Mafi's writing is like being snuggled by this giant fluffy blanket that tastes like marshmallows and smells like clean linen.  Yes.  That is her writing.  And I would like to return to that.  So, I cannot wait for this book. 

Plus, look at that cover!

Tell me what you're waiting on this fine Wednesday!

Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

The Synopsis:
In this dramatic conclusion to the Shade trilogy, Aura and Zachary’s relationship sizzles as the secrets of the Shift are revealed.
Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.
As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart.

My Thoughts:
Peeps, do you guys know how much I love Zachary?  Honestly, he is my fictional boyfrannn.  I love his determination and his hidden ninja skills.  (He's not like 'WA-CHOW!!!' ninja, but he's decent.)  I love his accent and how...ahem...patient he is.
See? Isn't he like your hot Scottish superhero?

And, while the YA Crush Tourney was in full swing, I was a full supporter of my Captain Patience.

Do I have to show you more about how far my love for Zachary goes?  When Aura would push him away, my heart would go out to Zach, who I could only imagine was very let down and sad.  How could you not resist his charm?  He's funny and daring. (who do you know that wore a kilt to prom? Hmm?)

In Shine, the stakes are even higher and more secrets are revealed.  And guess what?  There is adventure!  I mean, like, 3,000 miles away adventure.  Isn't that so much fun?  And even more than that, I don't even see my fictional boyfriend for the first half or so of the book!  I was hooked all the way to the very end with this one.  I couldn't put it down, and I'm so happy to see a happy ending to an amazing series.

I really did become invested with all of the characters, and I was sad that all this fun I had with them all would come to an end, but it felt right.  I'm happy to tell you that it ended because I know that in my mind the characters have moved on.  They're off to go on different adventures now. 

The writing of Smith-Ready's, I feel, is so authentic.  They travel to freaking SCOTLAND for Pete's sake and I felt like I was there with Aura and Zachary walking down the streets or sitting at the pub with them.  I can hear all of those people clearly as if they were standing right next to me instead of being a small voice inside my head (doesn't that sound like I'm mental?).

If you haven't read this series yet, I don't know what the heck you're doing with your life.  Aura is a badass character in her own ways.  Yeah, she's in love with a dead dude.  Yeah, there's a hot guy that has a heartbeat and has a Scottish accent because he's all foreign and stuff.  Yeah, I loved the series.  So, if you've not read this series yet, hurry up and get it right now!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just Because It's Halloween Giveaway (US/CAN)

Alrighty, everyone.  It's that time of the year where you gavone ALL THE CANDY and wear ALL THE BLACK EYELINER. (actually, I don't wear makeup, but you get what I mean.)  I especially love this time of the year because it's when the weather here in NJ is perfect--just the right amount of smokey smell from the fires and crispness--and the leaves begin to change their color to magnificent reds, oranges, and yellows.  I love it.  Luurrvee it.

Oh, and because I love Halloween and this time of the year so much, I wrote a little short story thing.  I did it for the heck of it,  and I was pretty darn proud of it at the time.  That was last year.  So, if ya wanna read it, you can.  If you don't, you can skip right to the giveaway.

Just make sure you're 13 or older and either live in the US or Canada. Also, it'd be nice if you play fair. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready

The Synopsis:
In the second book of the Shade trilogy from Jeri Smith-Ready, Aura is torn between the two boys who hold her heart—and determined to unravel the secrets of the Shift.  Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to.
Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one at her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift. She’s not the only one seeking answers, though, and danger grows as she discovers new truths.
Who can Aura trust with her secrets? And to whom will she give her heart?

My Thoughts:
Let me start off and just say that if I had gotten my hands on this book somehow I would have.  Being that I come from a small town and all, my library's YA section is little to nothing.  So for most of the books I want to read, I have to request them from other libraries in my county.  So for some strange reason, I requested Shade, they had it.  When I finished Shade, I almost instantly wanted Shift, but for some strange reason, they didn't have Shift, but the had Shine, the last installment to the series.  Like, what is up with that?  But I checked it out recently and saw that Shift was there and I nabbed it as fast as I could.

I was very surprised by the ending of Shade, and I couldn't wait to read ShiftShift starts off three months after the crazy ending of Shade.  Aura, being the good ex-girlfriend that she is, tries to make Logan as comfortable and not-shade as she can.  But it's hard when she has all these feelings for the gorgeous and foreign Zachary Moore because that makes very dead Logan a little jealous.  I can't blame her, though.  I mean, one dude's dead and the other one is very much alive and Scottish-speaking-like.

Speaking of Zachary, I must say this: Why did he not make it 'till the very end of the Crush Tourney??  I mean, this guy is gorgeous all over and cares so much for Aura.  He's like this adorable love-struck puppy.  I couldn't stand how Aura would do something that would break that little puppy's heart a little.  However, I did like how their romantic connection progressed a little more in this book. Me gusta.

I must say, there were so many plot twists that I can't help but admire Smith-Ready's writing.  I gotta hand it to her; she's got some serious plotting skillz.  I got a little bit of that government-in-control, evil-government-eats-kittens-for-breakfast feel, but I was not expecting at least half of the stuff that came around.  Answers were given, but more questions arose, which made me all giddy and excited.  And on top of all of that, I loved how it all began to tie with Zachary and Aura's research project.

Shift was an expertly written piece that kept me hooked until the very end.  I couldn't put it down, and once I did reach the end, I wanted more.  The romance was the kind that made my toes curl and a smile to appear on my face.  Shift is shrouded in mystery and packed with just the right amount of action.  If you are a paranormal fan, or if you like the kinds of books with foreign men and evil governments, I highly suggest this book.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers like me can show you what makes their hands all grabby.

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out

Okay, so the first thing that comes to mind here is 'AWESOME DRESS'.  (This coming from a girl that is not particularly fond of frills and such.)  The cover looks pretty cool, in all.  I read Ruby Red sometime last year, I believe, and I really got wrapped up in the story.  The only reason why I picked it up in the first place was that I heard that there was time travel, and being the big history geek that I am, I had to read it.

Secondly, I fell in love Gideon.  After I got past the ridiculousness of his name, I was digging his broody and hot-then-cold self.  I dunno.  I blame Bella and her irrational love for Edward even when he dumped her right on her head.  NO, it is NOT acceptable for men to just leave us behind with no promise of return while us fragile women wait for his not-so-promised return and then have him return and things go back to normal! NO.


Anyway, what are all y'all waiting on?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa eARC Review

This egalley of the book was provided by NetGalley and Harlequin Teen.  Thank you, awesome people!

The Synopsis:
Don't look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them. That is Ethan Chase's unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he'd dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister's world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My Thoughts:
Remember when Lady Kagawa* did the cover reveal for this books months back?  I do.  Crystal clear.  Because all I remember was that Ethan (precious Ethan!) was no longer little and he was shirtless.  Yup.  In the course of two seconds that fateful day, my thoughts of Ethan being all little brother-like and absolutely adorable changed into something polar opposite.  And did I mention that he was shirtless?

I wasn't sure how Lady Kagawa was going to continue this Iron Fey/Call of the Forgotten thread.  I mean, Megan finished her quest, saved a bunch of faeries, married a really hot faerie, and became a faerie queen.  It sounded like a pretty closed end to a series.  Then I read the little synopsis given above and I was all like, 'Whoa.  Dude, you can't hate the faeries! NOOOO.'  And with those 125 words, I became emotionally invested in the story.

So it's not very often where the reader gets to be in the head of a dark and broody guy.  Never in a million years did I think that Ethan would turn into this dark and broody guy because there in my head was that innocent image of Ethan all adoring his older sister and talking to the bogeyman that hung out in his room.  No.  No, Ethan no longer is that little innocent boy from the Iron Fey series and it's good to accept that now or risk your mind getting all conflicted and le depressed.

That's not to say that I didn't enjoy this new Ethan, because I did.  I really liked this whole new Ethan because . . . well, gimme a second here.  Besides him being all dark and broody (bonus hottie points!) he was like a ninja.  I joke you not.  Prepare to be mind blown by his mad ninja skillz.  Also, he really did care for the people around him even if he didn't show it the way a normal, non-broody person would.  I think his broodinees rivals that of Ash. (Yeah.  I said it.)

Story wise, it was awesome.  It was filled to the brim with adventure and exciting action scenes.  It was well plotted and well paced and never once did I get bored.  I could not put it down.  I was even a little sad to see it end because I wanted more.  More, more, more.**  And I'm not going to say anything else or I risk giving something away, which is a big no-no.

The Lost Prince was everything I expected and more from the talented Julie Kagawa.  Readers, prepare to be blown away by this new series debut.  The Lost Prince was the perfect amount of action, adventure, and romance with plenty of brooding narrative on the side.  I laughed, I gasped, and felt All the Emotions.  If you're a fan of Julie Kagawa or even a fan of faeries, picking this book up would be one of the best decisions of your bookish life.

*She is Lady Kagawa because she is Awesome and takes fighting with sticks classes which also makes her a ninja in the realz.
**By writing 'more' consecutively like I did, I have discovered that it is, in fact, a funny word to look at.  Or is that just me?

P.S Grimalking pwns you all!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

The Synopsis:
I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

My Thoughts:
Lauren Oliver has to have one of the best writing styles I've ever read.  It's absolutely gorgeous.  It's melodic and lyrical, sending my thoughts into an entirely different world. She sucks me in and refuses to let me put down her books until I'm finished.  Her writing is a book nerd's heaven.  Also, must I mention her amazing imagery skillz?  Yes, she's got skillz.  The imagery was so beautiful that it made me want to make a shrine for it.

I wasn't sure if I liked Lena in Delirium, but after I finished reading Pandemonium, there is no doubt in my mind that she is one of my favorite YA heroines.  She is strong, but she does have her doubts and she can get scared.  She is not stone, but she no longer is the Lena from Delirium.  She does not show her pain, and instead of wallowing around, she moves forward.  She pushes herself to her limits and she doesn't back down.  She is afraid, yes, but she's got the momentum now to look over that fear and do something about the corrupted government that lives beyond the Wilds.  She is the Resistance.

I thought it was very interesting how Oliver wrote this book.  She had alternating chapters, but they weren't in different POVs.  It was still Lena throughout the book, but there's the Then and Now chapters.  It wasn't confusing at all and the idea was so original and answered a lot of questions while creating a lot of suspense.

The ending, I thought, was a little predictable, but it left me with a very "WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?!" feeling.  A better word for that, I guess, would be frustrating.  If you've been hanging around my blog, you might have noticed that I used Requiem, the last installment to the series, for my Waiting on Wednesday post last week.  I want to read Requiem so badly.  So very badly.

If you haven't picked up this series yet, I suggest you do because WTF is wrong with you?  Why have you not picked up this book and experienced the adventure I have and other readers have been on?  If you have read this book, or at least read Delirium, then you must at least understand on some level why I so adamantly suggest others read these books.

Pandemonium is an emotional and heartbreaking tale about lost love, forbidden love, vengeance, and the bad guys.  There's violence, corruption, and evil all mixed in with a heart-warming romance.  Your feelings will be torn and you won't be able to put this one down.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers like me can gush about the things that makes our hands get all twitchy with want.

Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, EmmaRose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible.

While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything... until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.

Someone please tell me if they're not getting all excited by this.  How awesome does this book sound?  Pretty sweet, right?  Just . . . I'm envious of all those other bloggers that did get their hands on this book!  Eve and Adam looks like it's full of twisting lies and an interesting romance.  I'm not usually interested in dystopian, but this book in some odd way is pulling me to it with some type of magnetic force.

So what are you waiting on?
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