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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mini Review: The Education of Bet

The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pub. Date: July 12th, 2010
Pages: 192
Age Level: 13+
Source: Gift

Synopsis via Goodreads
When Will and Bet were four, tragic circumstances brought them to the same house, to be raised by a wealthy gentleman as brother and sister. Now sixteen, they've both enjoyed a privileged upbringing thus far. But not all is well in their household. Because she's a girl, Bet's world is contained within the walls of their grand home, her education limited to the rudiments of reading, writing, arithmetic, and sewing. Will's world is much larger. He is allowed, —forced, in his case, —to go to school. Neither is happy.

So Bet comes up with a plan and persuades Will to give it a try: They'll switch places. She’ll go to school as Will. Will can live as he chooses. But once Bet gets to school, she soon realizes living as a boy is going to be much more difficult than she imagined.

Review
After reading, and loving, Crazy Beautiful by Baratz-Logsted, I couldn't wait to read another one of her books. The Education of Bet was like a historical fiction version of the movie She's the Man (Amanda Bynes), and I really liked that!

Bet was a strong, and brave protagonist with a great sense of humor. I loved watching her fumble through all of the aspects of pretending to be a boy. Though he wasn't there much, I really liked her relationship with Will. Then there was James, Bet's roommate at school. Oh ho ho...did things get interesting there. That's all I'm sayin' on that. There was an array of secondary characters, none of which were very developed, but at under 200 pages, that's to be expected. Mrs. Smithers was probably my favorite.

Even though this is a historical fiction, it was pretty light and not overly dedicated to historical detail. This is one of those books you grab when you want something quick, relaxing, and fun. Though there are a couple of slightly more serious moments, in general it's humorous and light. There was one 'big plot twist' that was at the end, but unfortunately it was a very obvious one that I'd seen coming since shortly after I had started reading. I wasn't all that bothered by it though. The writing was good but nothing really stood out about it for me.

The ending was tied up into this pretty little package with a bow stuck on top and that worked great for this book.

In Essence

Characters: Cute and fun variety of characters with a great heroine.
Writing: Nothing spectacular but good.
Plot: Predictable but adorable and quick historical fiction story.
Ending: Tied everything up nicely.
Enjoyment/Likability: A relaxing light read that I really enjoyed.
Recommendable: Yes. Great for MG and YA readers.

Overall: Nothing too heavy in the historical department so good for anyone who likes a quick and fun story. Could have benefited significantly from being longer.

Cover: Pretty!


Buy The Education of Bet
Amazon / B&N / Kindle / Nook / Book Depository



Saturday, December 29, 2012

ARC Giveaway: What the Spell by Brittany Geragotelis


What the Spell
By Brittany Geragotelis
Simon & Schuster
January 29th, 2013
Young Adult


Synopsis via Goodreads
A teenage witch juggles popularity and romance while keeping her powers a secret in this spellbinding debut.Almost-sixteen-year-old Brooklyn feels invisible, but she desperately wants to be pretty, to be popular, to be adored by a cute guy. Luckily for her, she’s a witch about to come of age—so she’s only a few spells away from making it all happen.

On her milestone birthday, Brooklyn’s conservative parents finally unbind her powers, which include the ability to magically match couples with a love spell. Brooklyn uses her special skills to get a makeover, new friends, and the attention of her crush, Asher. But the popular clique Brooklyn wants to infiltrate puts her in the same precarious position as her Salem ancestors: If she’s found out, she could be vilified—and lose Asher in the process. Can she make the most of her magic, or will she be luckless and loveless? Be careful what you witch for!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, I received an ARC of this book unsolicited in the mail. Honestly, it doesn't really seem like my kind of book so I thought this would be the perfect place to pass it on. Open to US & Canada. Must be 13 or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, December 28, 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (ARC) by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: April 24th, 2012
Series: Blood Eden, #1
Pages: 485
Age Level: 14+
Source: For Review

Synopsis via Goodreads
"In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity."Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of "them." The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked--and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend--a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what--and who--is worth dying for.

Review
After hearing so many wonderful things about Julie Kagawa and her books, I was pretty excited to be reading one of them. Let's just say, The Immortal Rules did not disappoint.

Allison is a feisty and strong heroine, though I didn't really take to her much in the beginning. I actually didn't grow to like her until after Part 2 of the book started. Something about dying and becoming a despised bloodsucker gave her a sense of humor and a more dynamic personality. I loved watching her grow throughout the story and her inner conflict surrounding the question of her humanity added a much appreciated depth. Kanin was...oh I liked Kanin! Such a shame he wasn't in the book more as I'd really like to learn more about him. Then there was Zeke, a suitable romantic interest whom I didn't love but liked well enough. I was pleased to see his reaction process to finding out about Allison took a pretty realistic path. Jeb, curious old goat, that one. He definitely added to the plot and while I generally disliked him, he had a couple of redeeming qualities. Ruth, OMG I want to hi-five that chick so bad. In the face. With a chair. I could not stand her and she is definitely one of those, 'you love to hate' characters. Then there is the little boy Caleb. Just one word. Adorable! Then we have a pretty rockin' villain, who comes onto the scene pretty late in the game, by the name of Jackal. Can't wait to see where things go with him. There were even more characters but it would take too long to discuss them all. Needless to say, Kagawa produced quite the cast with a wide array of masterfully developed main and supporting characters.

The Immortal Rules takes place in a future, post-apocalyptic type world that I must say was wonderfully imagined and developed by Kagawa. Combining dystopian-like elements with the paranormal, this book was a fresh and exciting take on vampires. There was tons of butt-kicking awesomeness and while the book had some spots where the plot seemed to drag, I don't recall there being anything I felt should have been left out. The beginning and ending were both very gripping so it wasn't that some of the 'drag' parts throughout the middle weren't good, because they were, they just weren't quite as good.

I don't really know what all to say about the writing except that I greatly enjoyed Kagawa's style. It was the perfect combination of dark and edgy creativity, witty humor, and thought-provoking depth.

As for the ending...oh...don't even get me started! Two words. Bad ass! I love when books end the way this one did, that is provided there will be a book to follow it, which in this case, there will. This ending definitely left me amped up and ready to claw my way, rabid-style, into the sequel when it releases.

In Essence

Characters: A wide array of dynamic characters, both main and supporting. Great cast!
Writing: Now I understand why everyone loves Kagawa and her books so much!
Plot: A refreshing take on vampires set in an imaginative, impeccably crafted world.
Ending: Bad ass, dramatic ending. Loved it!
1st in Series: Great, solid beginning!
Enjoyment/Likability: Really enjoyed but would have liked more if it weren't for a few 'drag' spots.
Recommendable: Yes!

Overall: So original with terrific characters, an exciting story-line, and lovely, yet gritty, writing! Can't wait to read more from Kagawa, especially the sequel to this awesome book!

Cover: Pretty pleased with the cover. Deliciously dark. Fits the book. Killer font. 


Buy The Immortal Rules:
Amazon / B&N / Kindle / Nook / Book Depository


Book Trailer: Falling For You by Lisa Schroeder!


By Lisa Schroeder
January 1st, 2013
Simon Pulse
Young Adult

Synopsis
Rae's always dreamed of dating a guy like Nathan. He’s nothing like her abusive stepfather—in other words, he’s sweet. But the closer they get, the more Nathan wants of her time, of her love, of her...and the less she wants to give.

As Rae’s affection for Nathan turns to fear, she leans on her friend Leo for support. With Leo, she feels lighter, happier. And possessive Nathan becomes jealous.

Then a tragedy lands Rae in the ICU. Now, hovering between life and death, Rae must find the light amid the darkness…and the strength to fight for life and the love she deserves.




I absolutely love Lisa Schroeder's books and I'm so glad that I only have a couple more days to go before this new piece of, what I'm sure is going to be, awesomeness releases!

Order Falling For You



Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: Venom by Fiona Paul

Venom by Fiona Paul
Publisher: Philomel
Pub. Date: October 30th, 2012
Pages: 432
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose
Age Level: YA
Source: BEA


Synopsis via Goodreads

Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, 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 fiancé, 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.

Review
I had been wanting to read Venom for a very, very long time. When I was able to obtain an ARC of it at BEA, I was so excited to have it. While some small things kept me from falling completely in love with it, I still found myself utterly captivated.

Cassandra is a young, somewhat sheltered, middle class girl who longs to be free of the confines of society's, and her family's, expectations of her. Take that and throw it in with a murder mystery, courtesans--and their less respectable counterparts--and a dashing-scoundrel-artist of a hunk and things are bound to get interesting. I really appreciated Cassandra as a protagonist. She could be a bit flip-floppy when it came to Falco, though it isn't like this was completely unjustified, which bugged me a tiny bit. That and, every now and again, she made some dumb choices (don't even get me started on the "girl in a horror movie mistake #4" that she made in the latter half of the book). However, her emotions felt very genuine and resonated off of the pages. I thought that, overall, she was a strong, well-rounded heroine for this story. Then we have the mysterious Falco. *drools* My goodness can I just make him real, please? He definitely had his rogue-ish qualities and he was funny, an artist, and just ermahgerd swoonworthy! He, too, annoyed me at times. Honestly, over half the books out there would have no plot line if the characters would just communicate with each other. The chemistry between Cassandra and Falco was positively combustible. Of course, then waltzes in Luca, who has to go and mess it all up. *insert love triangle here* Really, I don't hate Luca, and I could see where Cass might end up with him. With that said, Falco's my man. Madalena, Siena, Agnese, and others made up the cast of secondary characters. I would have liked to have seen more involvement from them throughout as I thought they were all intriguing characters who had something to offer. That said, they were barely a glimmer next to the shining star main characters of Cass and Falco.

This book was a harmonious balance of beauty and darkness. As I said before, with the combination of elements that this book had going on, Venom had a lot going in its favor right from the get-go. There is mystery, romance, secrets, and all set upon the historically rich and luscious backdrop of Venice, Italy, with its canals, mansions (or palazzo), and the occasional graveyard. I didn't know who the villain was until just moments before Cass did. In other words, the book was pleasantly unpredictable, and while it wasn't the most fast-paced read, I didn't mind. It is one of those books you take your time with, so you can savor every last detail.

This brings me to the writing. Oh the writing! Fiona Paul, has an exquisite writing style, with her fluid prose and masterful imagery; I just ate it up! I've never been the hugest fan of reading books in the third-person perspective, but I didn't feel like that formed any sort of gap between me and the character, as I sometimes feel with other books. Also, Paul knew just when her writing needed to be serious and when the time called to lighten things up with some snark and humor. An overall fantastic writing style!

The ending was realistic and I should have been happy with it, especially since there are more books to come. However, and this does not attest to the quality of the ending, I wanted Cass to sail off into the sunset with Falco, by golly! Have no fear, that was not a spoiler. Well, not really. The ending is basically left kind of open in that department, leaving room for, I guess, a more well thought out decision in the next book. 

In Essence

Characters: Well developed. Distinct. Would have liked to see secondary characters play stronger role.
Plot: Unique, dark and lovely historical fiction.
Writing: Exquisite and lush!
Ending: Liked but didn't love.
1st in Series: Great foundation.
Enjoyment/Likability: Really enjoyed.
Recommendable: Highly, especially to his-fic and YA fans.

Overall: A fantastic debut from Fiona Paul! I can't wait to see what more this series, and this author, have to offer.

Cover: Beautiful!

Buy Venom:
Amazon / B&N / Kindle / Nook / Book Depository


Friday, September 14, 2012

Entice Me Blog Tour: Violet!

Becoming the Person You Are Destined to Be

Kickboxing, marathon training, rock climbing—Violet Eden is not a girl to mess with. What she wanted for her future was an art scholarship and to finally have her kickboxing trainer look at her as more than a friend. What she got instead was a gift from her long-dead mother and a complicated web of folklore and mythology, angels and exiles, and a central role in the eternal battle between light and dark.

And then there’s Phoenix. And Lincoln. Both guys pretty high on the hotness scale. But Violet isn’t exactly a swooning kind of girl.

Vi has two rules: I don’t run and I don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on her. Violet is the perfect blend of light and shade—the new hope in an endless war. And she’s not afraid to kick some ass.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the famous Sydney Opera House, Jessica talks about the character she knows better than she knows herself!



To learn more about Violet, check out her Bio!

Also, take a quiz and vote on your favorite character quotes here.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Amazing Kindle Scores!

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~For $2.24~



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~For $3.22 & $3.99~

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~For $4.50~

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back to Books Giveaway Hop: Defiance by C.J. Redwine!


Back to the Books Giveaway hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer & Buried in books!

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Defiance
C.J. Redwine
Atom
September 6th, 2012
Young Adult

Synopsis
Rachel’s world is confined to the protective walls around her city. Beyond them are violent wanderers, extreme terrain, and a danger straight out of legend: a beast called the Cursed One that devastates everything in its path.

When Rachel’s father goes missing, she is desperate to search for him. But her attempts to flee the city bring her to the attention of its overbearing ruler. His efforts to control her make the world within the walls seem as dangerous as that outside.

Her only chance at escape is Logan. Once her father’s apprentice, and now her only protector, he feels that helping her might mean losing her completely. But if he can put his feelings aside, they might be able to save more than Rachel’s father. They might be able to break down the walls, and set their people free.

~~~~~~~~~~~

For the Back to Books giveaway, I'll be having one finished copy of Defiance by C.J. Redwine sent to one lucky winner!







Thursday, August 23, 2012

Alice Bliss Blog Tour: Guest Post & Giveaway!

Brief Bio:

Laura Harrington is an award-winning playwright, lyricist, and MIT professor. Her debut novel, ALICE BLISS, was published by Pamela Dorman Books, Viking/Penguin.

"This may be the Our Town of the 21st Century." Anne Roiphe, author of Epilogue, a Memoir
ALICE BLISS is a Richard and Judy Summer Book Club Pick in the UK.
ALICE BLISS is a People Magazine "People Pick" with 4 out of 4 stars.
ALICE BLISS: "The Best Books of the Summer" Entertainment Weekly.
ALICE BLISS has been selected for the Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" program.
ALICE BLISS: School Library Journal's "Best Books of 2011" in the category “Adult Books for Teens.”
ALICE BLISS Listeners’ Top Book Picks for Books of Summer on NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook.
ALICE BLISS chosen "Book of the Week" by Stylist Magazine in the UK.
A Massachusetts Library Association "Must Read" for 2012
Nominated for the 2012 Alex Award
Foreign rights for ALICE BLISS have been sold in the UK, Italy, and Denmark.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Best Items to Include in Military Care Packages
By Laura Harrington

In Alice Bliss, Alice, Ellie, Angie and Gram send a package to Matt in Iraq. They each choose things that have meaning to them and to Matt. Ellie sends drawings, Alice sends a letter she has been working on for days as well as some of her favorite photos, Angie is a little secretive about what she puts in the box, and Gram has done her research and baked Matt’s favorite Harvest Bread which she hopes will survive the trip.

Here are some ideas for successfully sending care packages to soldiers.

I’ve searched the web for suggestions on what soldiers want and need in their care packages from home, and put together the following list. There are many resources online, but with this list I tried to draw together and organize the best of the best suggestions.

All care packages are appreciated and the more personal you can make them, the better. If you’re sending a package to someone you know well, you’ll be able to include things you know that person will enjoy and appreciate. But if you’re sending a package to your best friend’s brother or sister, for instance, ask about what he or she enjoys so that you can choose things that will surprise and delight.

I read over and over again that soldiers love books. You can buy used books at your local library sales and at yard sales for a dollar or less. Well-known titles and mysteries or thrillers are always popular. But think of how meaningful it would be to receive a selection of books labeled: “These are the best books I’ve read this year. I hope you will enjoy them.”

Personal Items:
Deodorant
Body Powder
Foot powder
Socks
Toothbrushes and toothpaste
Inflatable pillow
Sewing kit
Shoelaces for gym shoes
Shoelaces for boots
Boot socks
Hand warmers
Foot warmers
Razors

Food treats/staples/ candy:
Jelly Beans
Rice Krispie treats
Altoids or mints
Beef jerky
Snack mixes
Sunflower seeds
Chewing gum
Nuts
Ziploc bags (for keeping things airtight, watertight, and fresh)
Coffee
Gatorade
Jaw breakers
Cookies or muffins in individual packages
Microwave popcorn
Ramen noodles
Mac and Cheese
Granola bars
Hot cocoa mix
Juice boxes
Soup mix

Games/ recreation:
Playing cards
Dice
Dominoes
Sudoku
Crossword puzzles
Hacky-sack
Word puzzle books
Board games (travel size)
Music CDs
Books, books, books
Newspapers
Magazines

To keep in touch:
Disposable camera
Blue and black pens
Notepads and envelopes
Thumb tacks/ pushpins (to tack up favorite photos from home)

Always needed:
AA batteries
D batteries
Long Distance Phone Cards

Websites to check out for sending packages:

http://www.armywifenetwork.com/?page_id=40 
http://www.anysoldier.com/WhereToSend/ 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Synopsis via Goodreads
When Alice Bliss learns that her father, Matt, is being deployed to Iraq, she's heartbroken. Alice idolizes her father, loves working beside him in their garden, accompanying him on the occasional roofing job, playing baseball. When he ships out, Alice is faced with finding a way to fill the emptiness he has left behind.

Matt will miss seeing his daughter blossom from a tomboy into a full-blown teenager. Alice will learn to drive, join the track team, go to her first dance, and fall in love, all while trying to be strong for her mother, Angie, and take care of her precocious little sister, Ellie. But the smell of Matt is starting to fade from his blue shirt that Alice wears everyday, and the phone calls are never long enough.

Alice Bliss is a profoundly moving coming-of-age novel about love and its many variations--the support of a small town looking after its own; love between an absent father and his daughter; the complicated love between an adolescent girl and her mother; and an exploration of new love with the boy-next-door. These characters' struggles amidst uncertain times echo our own, lending the novel an immediacy and poignancy that is both relevant and real. At once universal and very personal, Alice Bliss is a transforming story about those who are left at home during wartime, and a teenage girl bravely facing the future.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Contest Details
Thanks to Liza and the publisher, one lucky winner will get a copy of Alice Bliss. US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Nameless by Lili St. Crow!


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Nameless
Lili St. Crow
Razorbill
April 4th, 2013
Tales of Beauty & Madness, #1
Young Adult


Synopsis via Goodreads
A dark and eerie retelling of Snow White from Lili St. Crow,
New York Times bestselling author of the Strange Angels
series.

Sixteen-year-old Camille doesn’t remember her life before she was adopted by the powerful Vultusino family—the missing childhood years that left her scarred and silent. Now she lives a life
of luxury, protected by the supernatural Mafia Vultusinos, specially Nico, her adopted brother.

But Cami knows that she is not really Family. She is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it’s not until a mysterious boy approaches her and reveals scars of his own that Cami begins
to uncover the secrets of her past . . . to find out where she comes from and what danger she now finds herself in.

~~~~~~~~~~

First off, I love this cover. I'm not a huge fan of the title font, the style or the yellow of the author's name, but the cover over all is very pretty to me. Also, I really enjoyed Strange Angels, and while I do need to read the others, I'm really excited for this one. It sounds quite enticing and I can't wait to see how it is. Oh April...why must you be so far away?!



Monday, August 20, 2012

Perception Cover Reveal and First Chapter!



PERCEPTION
by Lee Strauss
ESB Publishing
September 12, 2012
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads
Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP—a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans.

Her brother Liam is missing.

Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they’ve created between those who have and those who don’t. He doesn’t like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically.

Zoe’s carefree life takes a traumatic turn. She’s in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her.

PERCEPTION is a ( SF/mystery/romance) Young Adult novel that takes place in the not too distant future in a world changed by climate extremes, natural disasters and impending wars, and where scientific breakthroughs cause class divisions—both financially and philosophically. It explores the clash between faith and science and how differences can separate us as enemies or ally us together. And in some cases, even in the midst of betrayal and personal crisis, there’s room to fall in love.

This is the first book in a planned three book series.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Exclusive Excerpt!

PART ONE
ZOE

Chapter 1

I balanced on my surfboard, right thigh burning and salt water stinging my eyes, while the best wave of the early morning carried me like a goddess on a pedestal to shore. My older brother Liam and I shared a friendly competition, and it gave me a certain, blissful satisfaction to catch the same wave and to get to shore first.
“Beat ya!” I shouted over the noise of the crashing surf.
Seagulls flocked and circled over us, squawking loudly, adding to the cacophony.
The sun glistened off Liam’s damp blond curls as he shook them out. His eyes sparkled as his lips tugged up into a grin. “I let you win.”
“Did not!” I smacked him playfully on the arm. “One more ride?”
Liam unzipped his wetsuit letting the top half fall down past his waist. He was in fine form, and I understood why all the girls raved about him. He was responsible for a long list of broken hearts.
“I gotta get going,” he said, lifting his board.
I fell into stride beside him, my feet sinking into the cold, wet sand. “So soon?”
He nodded, the glint leaving his eyes. My lips tightened into a frown “You’re taking off with Jackson again?”
Jackson was my boyfriend but lately he’d been spending more time with my brother than he had with me. It was starting to tick me off.
Liam stared straight ahead. “Lab stuff.”
“What are you working on?” I rushed to keep up with my brother’s long, strong strides. He flicked his head, tossing the hair out of his eyes but didn’t answer.
“Come on,” I knocked into him sideways. “Tell me!”
“It’s just stuff.”
“Just stuff? Like what? Top CIA stuff? I know you’re smart but I think the government has been doing a good job without your help.”
I meant it as a joke, but Liam huffed. “It’s just stuff, okay? So leave it.”
I stopped short shocked that he’d snapped at me.
He turned around and exhaled, “Zoe, I’m sorry.”
“Fine. If you can’t tell me, you can’t tell me.”
We resumed our trek along the beach, and I pushed back my frustration. Liam used to include me in everything. It was always him and me against everyone else. Him and me against Alison and Paul, aka our mom and dad. Him and me against the surf. We were a team. When did we start keeping secrets from each other? Rather, when did he start keeping secrets from me?
I re-adjusted my board under my arm. Maybe I could get Jackson to unzip his lips. Especially if I helped him. He could be easily persuaded if I poured on the charm. I hated to go behind my brother’s back for information, but something about all this--this, whatever it was that Liam was doing--made me uneasy. I couldn’t pinpoint why, it just did.
We reached our home, a massive glass box with two floors of windows facing the Pacific Ocean. It was built after the San Andreas Fault shifted and triggered the Big Quake that, along with the subsequent tsunami, wiped out ten miles of shoreline.
A nearby white-stucco storage shed housed all our water toys. We stopped there to hang up our wetsuits to dry.
“Thanks for surfing with me today.” Liam said, smiling at me, back to his jovial self. “I know it was a sacrifice for you to get up so early.”
I smiled in return. “No problem. It was fun.” Surfing with Liam was one of my most favorite things to do.
“You’re back for dinner?” I asked.
Liam didn’t know it, but once he left, I’d be spending the rest of the day preparing for his surprise birthday party. He’d turned twenty-one yesterday and had celebrated at a bar with his friends. I couldn’t go because I was underage, and it irked me that Jackson went and that he and Liam had once again shared a significant moment without me. I took consolation in the fact that Alison and Paul gave me free reign to plan this party. My heart beat with excitement, and I couldn’t wait to see his face when he got home and found the house full of his friends.
“Yeah, I’ll be there,” he answered.
I bit my cheek to keep my voice even. “Good.We’ll see you, then.”
Our property tiered twice before connecting with the sandy beach. Three glass doors slid open disappearing into the corner and creating a wall-less view of the stone patio that encased an eternity pool. Its waters slipped over the far edge into a waterfall that was collected again on the second tier.
Liam strode into the house, through the living room and down the hall to his bedroom at the back, his wet shorts dripping on the glossy white tiles.
I tightened the towel around my waist and climbed the open-slat staircase to my room.
As I passed the maid, Saundra something, her brown face blanched. She stumbled slightly before grabbing the rail and catching herself.
“Excuse me,” she said softly at my astonished look.
The woman really didn’t look well, and I was thankful for my enhanced immunization. I was glad I didn’t have to worry about diseases brought in from the outside.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
She nodded weakly, and proceeded to clean the rails.
A trill of anticipation reclaimed my thoughts. I couldn’t wait for tonight.
The door beside my bathroom opened into a second room, a walk-in closet big enough to house another bedroom set. Racks of clothes and shoes lined the walls, a well-lit mirror station was located near the sky light and a cushioned leather bench was placed in the middle for sitting. I stood in my closet and stared at the rows of sundresses, blouses and shorts.
What to wear?
I settled on a lace blouse and cotton shorts, then went to take a luxurious shower, rinsing the sea water out of my long, blond hair. I leaned into the built-in seat that was designed specifically for my body height and shape. Laser lights mapped my head and twenty-eight silicon fingers reached out to massage my scalp while shampooing and conditioning my hair. Most days I had to watch or I’d doze off, but today I was excited. I commanded the water to turn off as soon as the rinse was done.
When I was dressed and my hair combed out and tied back, I slipped my platinum Communication Ring onto my left middle finger. I tapped it which produced a holographic image of my phone apps on my palm. I touched the clock icon and holographic digital numbers appeared in the air.
Ten already? Where did the time go? That was the thing with summer holidays; every hour ran languidly into the next.
I imagined the cook and her crew were busy preparing for the party in the kitchen. I’d requested fresh sea food and simulated roast, fresh fruit and vegetables, an assortment of fancy chocolates and baked items plus a three-tiered, surfer-themed birthday cake.
I skipped down the stairs to check on the progress, but in my hurry to the kitchen, I slammed into a body.
“Sorry,” a male voice said.
I stepped back agitated. I recognized the dark-haired boy wearing the white tunic my mother made the male staff wear. He was the maid’s son.
He held a wet mop in his hand, and I figured he’d been cleaning up Liam’s spotty water trail.
He stepped politely out of the way, but the expression on his face was stoic. Even though he was clearly from the outside and the help, I still expected some small sign that what he saw when he viewed me was pleasing. A twinkle in the eye, a slight upturning of the lips. These were the responses I got from all the boys. The straight ones, anyway.
He wasn't especially attractive but I didn't see people with his appearance very often. He had eyes the color of imported coffee beans and skin like caramel candy. His nose was wide and his jaw-line sharp. I was suddenly intrigued by him and surprised myself by thinking he looked exotic.
“Excuse me, what was your name again?” I asked.
“Noah.”
Right. I remembered now. I waited for him to say something, but he stayed quiet.
Footsteps echoed from the hall above. My parents spoke together, their muffled voices floating across the high ceilings.
“Do other maids send their sons to do their work?” Alison's voice had a brassy tone that carried through the cavernous space.
I felt a flare of red creep up my neck when I realized Alison was talking about Noah. My eyes darted to his, but he kept his averted.
“He does a good job,” Paul responded. “That's the main thing. Besides you know they need the money.”
“So we're charity now?”
“What's wrong with a little charity? Besides, they're not just anybody.”
“I don't care. I still don't trust him.”
I was mortified. My feet felt cemented to the floor and I didn’t know what to say. Anything would come off as trite since nothing I could say could undo what Noah had heard.
“Did you know the Pikes have a household robot now?” Alison, again. “Apparently it’s very efficient, and at least Mary doesn’t have to worry about things going missing.”
Noah’s jaw tightened and he turned his back to me. He attacked Liam’s dried and dusty water spots aggressively and soon had disappeared around the corner.
“Zoe?” Alison click-clacked down the wooden stairs. She wore a pale yellow pant suit and high heels even though it was Saturday. She was in-between careers now, having spent the last fifteen years in law. She barely looked thirty years old and with lots of time ahead of her, she could do anything. Probably several things.
“Mom! You have to keep your voice down. How many times do I have to tell you your voice travels in this glass box?
“Oh.” She looked mildly shaken. “No matter. Is everything coming together to your satisfaction?”
“I’m just checking in on things now.”
“Your father and I are meeting people for lunch. What time is the party again?”
I blew a frustrated breath. She could at least pretend she cared enough to remember details I’d told her a dozen times already.
“Seven.”
“Right. We’ll see you at seven.”
Things proceeded throughout the day as planned and I was pleased with my ability to pull off an event like this on my own.
The decorators showed up at 1:00 as promised.
The band arrived to set up at 3:00.
I got dressed at 4:30, having bought a thigh-length mini-dress that sparkled with tiny crystals just for the occasion.
My hair and makeup girl arrived at 5:00.
I tapped my ring and called Jackson at 5:30.
“Where are you?” I said to the three-inch holographic image of him that popped up above my palm. “You said you’d help.”
“Sorry, Zo. Got tied up at home.”
“Are you okay? You don’t sound so good.”
It was odd. No one in Sol City ever got really sick, but it wasn’t unheard of to get run down if you pushed yourself too hard. Jackson had been working a lot lately.
“I didn’t sleep well last night. Uh, spent most of the day in bed.”
I felt a little panicky. “You’re still coming, aren’t you?”
“Of course. I’ll be there soon.”
Alison and Paul arrived at 6:30 along with all of mine and Liam’s friends.
I hushed everyone at 6:55, giving instructions on when to shout “Surprise!”
It was all a wasted effort.
Liam never showed.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Hope you all enjoyed the first chapter and will be giving this one a try when it releases! Thanks Lee for sharing! :D


Thursday, August 16, 2012

2000 Followers Giveaway: 2 Big Mystery Boxes!


Contest Details
In celebration of having hit 2,000 followers, I will be giving away 2 mystery boxes containing 10 to 15 books each, one to 2 winners, that I have to pass on. All of them are YA and are a mix of newer and older, ARCs and finished copies. I will give you a couple of names though, just to tease you a bit: Magisterium, The Farm, Entice, Airhead, Lament, and My Soul to Take. Please read the Terms and Conditions and happy entering!

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Monday, August 13, 2012

In Which I Apologize (with pics & gifs) for My Epic Blogger Failureness!

Okay folks, first off, the apology. The epic "I'm so so so soooooooooooooooo very very very very very sorry" apology. Seriously! Please forgive me...



I mean, you should see me. I'm a total wreck. But so is this bunny...and the bunny is cuter. So look at the bunny. LOOK AT IT! Pretend it's me.



See...total wreck.

I have been a very bad bad blogger this year. What with college, and then my dad dying, and then my somewhat hectic summer where I've either been totally busy or totally unmotivated to do anything. The number of books I've read that weren't for college this year is so horrifically abysmal I dare not even mention the number. My posts, reviews, etc have been suffering. And I haven't gotten nearly as far in the book I'm writing as I've wanted to. I should have been keeping ya'll more updated. I should have done recaps for BEA. I shoulda this and shoulda that. I shoulda coulda woulda...but I didn't...obviously. And I feel really ashamed. The fact that so many of y'all are still following me just blows my frikin' mind. Kind of like this...



I'm trying to be better. In fact I've already got some stuff planned for next week. I made a "priority to-read" list of books I absolutely must try and read before my college classes start on the 27th. I'm going to try my best to stay more active blogging and reading while at college than I did my freshman year, and there will be a lot less stress on me this go round. Except for the part where I can't afford all of my Spring Semester and will thus have to seek a part time job to go on top of my school job. But hey, I have friends starting out this go round and no one is dying. I'm really going to try and be better guys and I'm sorry if I've let any of you down, that means authors and publishers too.

That said, I somehow manged to hit 2,000 followers. THANK YOU! I want to do something big but I can't afford to do anything like that so I'll probably be doing at least one mystery box and maybe a couple of small prize packs as well compiled of books I've pulled from my shelves for various reasons lately. So stay tuned.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Indie Giveaway: eBook of Wings of Arian by Devri Walls!

Wings of Arian by Devri Walls
Publisher: Stonehouse Ink
Pub. Date: April 24th, 2012
Series: Wings of Arian, #1
Pages: 462
Age Level: YA+

Synopsis via Goodreads
Kiora thought she had never heard a lie until she was sixteen. But she was wrong. Her entire existence was based on nothing but. She thought that evil did not exist. Lie. That magic was not real. Lie. And that the land of Meros was all there was. One more lie.

With Aleric telling her that evil is knocking on the door and that she is the only one who can stop them she has a choice to make. Refuse, or start the wildest most painful ride of her life.
She reluctantly dips her toe into her new existence of magic and threads, dragons and shapeshifters, and the person who wants to take control of it all: the evil Dralazar.

However, this journey was never meant to be hers alone. She will be accompanied by a Protector. To her disbelief, and utter irritation they name the hotheaded, stubborn, non -magical, (albeit gorgeous) Prince Emane. They will have to trust each other with their lives, but right now Kiora would settle for a non hostile conversation.

And now it comes down to this, If you had never heard a lie, would you know when you heard one? Is knowing good from evil innate? Kiora finds herself having to decide who lives and who dies on those very questions.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Contest Details

Thanks to the author, Devri, one person will win an eBook of Wings of Arian.

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Entice Teaser Trailer!

Entice Teaser Trailer from Sourcebooks Inc on Vimeo.


Dangerously exciting, darkly romantic – the teaser trailer for the next book in Jessica Shirvington’s Embrace series is here! In Entice, the war between Exiles and Angels is on—and Violet Eden is wanted by both sides. Living a secret life as a warrior protecting innocent human lives isn’t easy. Knowing who to trust is key, but when Grigori reinforcements arrive, it becomes clear everyone is hiding something. Even her partner, Lincoln. And with Phoenix more dangerous than ever, Violet is truly on her own.

Plus, join me for a fun meet-up with other Entice fans during the Entice Me Day 8-day celebration in September! Meet the book characters, bring your friends and come back for the big party on Sept. 15th where you’ll see the full book trailer, get sneak peeks and win prizes!




Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop: Venom by Fiona Paul!

Venom by Fiona Paul
Philomel
October 30th, 2012
432 pages
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, 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 fiancé, 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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Contest Details

As part of the YA Giveaway Hop, one lucky winner will get an ARC of Venom by Fiona Paul from my blog!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Unremembered by Jessica Brody!



Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Unremembered
By Jessica Brody
Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
March 3rd, 2013
Young Adult


Synopsis via Goodreads

The only thing worse than forgetting her past... is remembering it.

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author, Jessica Brody comes a mesmerizing and suspenseful new series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let me start by saying that I've never really had an overwhelming urge to read one of Jessica Brody's books...until now. This one just sounds so intense and suspenseful and exciting! I'm really looking forward to this one! What about you?



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Author Interview: Kira Snyder!


TBP: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

KS: My background is in drama and computer game design, and it’s been a blast to get to use all those skills in writing an interactive series. I’m currently a screenwriter based in Los Angeles, working on the Syfy TV show “Alphas.” I also wrote for “Eureka” and the cult hit vampire drama “Moonlight,” which is where I fell in love with blending paranormal romance and mystery. As for not-so-paranormal romance, I’m engaged to a fantastic man and we’re getting married in August – so I’m juggling wedding planning along with “Alphas” and writing Parish Mail Book 2!

TBP: Describe Dead Letter Office using nine words or less.

KS: Veronica Mars meets True Blood: magic, murder, hot ghosts...

TBP: What was it like writing an interactive story and how did you come about the decision to write Dead Letter Office in that fashion.

KS: I’ve found writing interactive books both very challenging and very rewarding. I create two documents, an outline and a flowchart, when developing the story, and those are how I track the narrative beats as well as the various choice points and paths. There’s a lot of story “testing” to make sure the reader sees the right text after making a certain choice – sometimes the changes are quite subtle from version to version.

I had been considering writing Parish Mail as a TV pilot and even as a movie, but after talking with Lisa Rutherford at Coliloquy it quickly became clear that an interactive, episodic series of books would be such a rich, fun way to tell these stories. I love the idea of letting the reader shape their own reading experience. Would you rather follow forensic clues with hottie Donovan? Or magical clues with your quirky BFF Tilly? Which suspect should Celia chase? Only an interactive book can give you that freedom.


TBP: Dead Letter Office is set in the beautiful, history rich city of New Orleans. What is your connection to New Orleans and one of your favorite things about it?

KS: I’m fascinated with urban history, particularly cities where the very new and the very old exist side by side. In America we don’t have many of these places, but New Orleans is one, and is unique in its cultural evolution and everyday acceptance of the supernatural.

But – true confession time – I’ve never been to New Orleans! Not yet, anyway… it’s a city I’d dearly love to visit, and might try to as I’m finishing up Parish Mail Book 2. I did grow up partly in the South (Virginia) and I did a ton of research both online and off- including several interviews with a friend who’s a 16th-generation New Orleans native.


TBP: The emotions that Celia goes through after the loss of her father are so palpable and real. Have you experienced a similar loss?

KS: Celia’s loss is a devastating and emotionally complicated one that I’m trying to portray as truthfully as I can with having never gone through it myself. People in my life have passed away, and those are some of the experiences I’m drawing on here, but I am so fortunate in having both of my wonderful parents around.

TBP: Now, time for some fun. Let's lighten things up a bit. You just murdered a celebrity. Who was it, why, and how?

KS: For someone who kills people in stories all the time, I’m actually pretty live-and-let-live! But I wouldn’t mind if I had a machine to zap those annoying, selfish, greedy reality show stars off to a desert island, never to be heard from again…

TBP: If you could shapeshift into any animal, which would it be and why?

KS: I've always envied the elegance and mystery of cats. And their ability to nap for 22 hours a day.

TBP: You wake up in the hospital and are told you were electrocuted. What stupid thing were you doing to cause that to happen?

KS: My bathroom is tiny with badly-placed outlets, so I’m gonna go with dropping my hairdryer into the sink.

TBP: Zombies are taking over the world and it is up to you to stop them. You can choose ANY three people to help you fight them off and one supernatural power? Who do you pick and which power?

KS: Supernatural power: the ability to start and control fire. Useful for roasting zombies, and even better to set up defenses, protect ourselves from other survivors, and to keep warm in a world without electricity.

As far as my posse, my fiancé for sure – he and I have long discussions all the time about zombie apocalypse preparation and defense. I’m not even kidding. He’s very handy, and so could build things we’d need to survive. I’d also invite along a doctor, bonus points if he or she had a bag of antibiotics and other medical supplies. And probably an expendable, out of shape guy just in case: as the old joke goes, we don’t have to outrun the zombies, we just have to outrun him.


TBP: Anything else you'd like to add?

KS: Thanks so much for having me on your blog! I’m really excited to bring you and your readers the Southern Gothic/urban fantasy/teen detective spicy gumbo that is the Parish Mail series. Hope you enjoy it!

~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks, Kira, for that wonderful interview. And thanks to you readers who've stopped by to read it. I hope you enjoyed it. To find out more about Dead Letter Office and see what I thought, check out my review.


Buy Dead Letter Office
Kindle / Nook




Monday, July 23, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry Giveaway!

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: July 31st
Pages: 384
Age Level: YA

Synopsis via Goodreads
"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

"An edgy romance that pulls you in and never lets go. I was hooked!"-Gena Showalter, New York Times bestselling author of the Intertwined series.



~~~~~~~~~~~~

Contest Details
Thanks to Karen with Media Masters Publicity, one lucky person will win a copy of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry!

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About Me

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Georgia, United States
Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

My Partner in Crime...er...I mean reading. :P

My Partner in Crime...er...I mean reading. :P
Meet Rudy everyone!