Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (6)


This is the 6th week that I'm participating in this wonderful Meme. Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event that lets bloggers and readers find new blogs to read and follow! This is wonderful opportunity for new bloggers, like me, to connect with bloggers and readers and also to discover other amazing book blogs out there! Further more, it's a great way to connect with other people who have the same interests as I do. Head to Crazy-for-Books to participate.

I'm excited to meet you guys! If it happens that you find my blog through the hop, please leave a comment so I can visit yours too!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Book Birthday: Burned by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Burned House of Night P.C. & Kristin Cast



Today is the official release of Burned. Go to the nearest bookstore and grab a copy now!
'Burned' is the seventh book in the House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast....

"Things have turned black at the House of Night. Zoey Redbird’s soul has shattered. With everything she’s ever stood for falling apart, and a broken heart making her want to stay in the Otherworld forever, Zoey’s fading fast. It’s seeming more and more doubtful that she will be able pull herself back together in time to rejoin her friends and set the world to rights. As the only living person who can reach her, Stark must find a way to get to her. But how? He will have to die to do so, the Vampire High Council stipulates. And then Zoey will give up for sure. There are only 7 days left… "

The New York Times-bestselling mother-daughter writing team of P.C. and Kristin Cast again prove why they have become a major force in teen fiction. With over 3 million copies of their books in print, a well-publicized film option, an updated interactive website, daily-growing fan base, the Cast duo will command your attention with every page turn.

Want more? Read the 1st Chapter.

Check out this new trailer for Burned:



Like the song? I know I do. The song can be downloaded here.

For more information, visit the House of Night Website.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: Evermore by Alyson Noel

Book Description from Goodreads:

Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste…

Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.

My Thoughts:

At first Impression, Evermore looked just like another YA book in the evergrowing YA genre. I actually thought it was about vampires or faeries because of the "immortals" thing. And I was quite surprised and delighted when I found out that their being immortal rooted from an old science - alchemy. Immortality is usually caused by a curse, damnation and things that are related to devilry. It was a fresh concept. And it was believable since when it comes to the field of alchemy, two things are always sought: gold and/or immortality.

I got a strong main strong character. Ever had changed dramatically since the accident. And with guilt weighing her down, she was convinced that she was destined for a life of misery and that her gift was a curse, some kind of punishment for what she did. But that all changed the moment Damen appeared. He was like her salvation in her dark and miserable life.

Damen was hard to figure out while I was reading about him. I never really could get and see what his intentions were. He was both hot and cold, which was a little frustrating. Ever saw what he does, but she never got inside his head, never got a reading. Damen could only be judged through his actions and words of the moment. No aura and no buzzing thoughts. He was like a forbidden drug to her. Her off switch that she believed she didn't deserve. However, his name was such a dead give away it was old like hell.

The plot was simple which was fairly common for series starters, with a few small twists. The real defining thing about her writing was the way she wrote the pace. It was smooth and free flowing. There weren't much slow moments. She really knew how to tell a story where the readers would not be bored. Sadly there were times when I just wanted to put the book down and watch TV. It was not that interesting and gripping to capture our attentions in an intense manner. The unfolding of the connection between Ever and Damen was a bit slow. It took quite a while for the story to reach its peak and for things to get into action.

When it came to other characters, Miles seemed fake in the sense that nothing stood out from his character very 2d-ish plus its like the story will still be the same with or without him. I wish I could have gotten more background of him and that he was given a role in the unravelling. Riley on the other hand, Ever’s dead sister was such a great character. She was a wonderful depiction of a lost soul on earth. She reminded me of the sweetness of childhood and the bitterness of death with her forever 12-year old self and shattered dream of experiencing adolescence.

Just a few comments. Noel kept using light language throughout the story. And given the fact that most of the readers would be teenagers, we thought that she needed to use deeper words to match the level of intellect of the readers. And the events were a bit predictable, a bit cliché such as the whole new-mysterious-guy concept. It would have been much more fun if the events were surprising and unexpected.

On the brighter side of things, I enjoyed several scenes in the novel. One of which was the scene where Ever was alone in the parking lot, surrounded by thousands of tulips. It seemed a symbolical and dramatic way of leaving – leaving but professing something at the same time.

Evermore is not your typical YA novel. It is the story of how Ever struggled in the sea of guilt and depression and how she swam up to the shore of normality through accepting her psychic abilities and her destiny as an immortal. This is also a story of forgiveness and of letting go. I recommend this to those who are looking for a fast read and basically, just want to enjoy a book and not overthink it. It's a step up from all this passive heroines that keep popping up in the YA world.

Rating:



Monday, April 26, 2010

Fast Forward Monday (10)


Fast Forward Monday is a Meme that I will be starting in Fragments of Life. It features books that will be released in the next three months.




Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

Release Date: May 25, 2010
Book Description:

Sixteen-year-old music and sound design obsessed Drea doesn't have friends. She has, as she's often reminded, issues. Drea's mom and a rotating band of psychiatrists have settled on "a touch of Asperger's."

Having just moved to the latest in a string of new towns, Drea meets two other outsiders. And Naomi and Justin seem to actually like Drea. The three of them form a trip-hop band after an impromptu jam session. Justin swiftly challenges not only Drea's preference for Poe over Black Lab but also her perceived inability to connect with another person. Justin, against all odds, may even like like Drea.

It's obvious that Drea can't hide behind her sound equipment anymore. But just when she's found not one but two true friends, can she stand to lose one of them?

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
Release Date: June 1, 2010


Book Description:

Jessamine Luxson lives with her father, Thomas, an apothecary, in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle. Thomas’s pride and obsession is his locked garden full of dangerous plants, which Jessamine is forbidden to enter.

When a traveler brings an orphan to their cottage, he claims the boy has special gifts that Thomas might value. Jessamine is drawn to the strange but intriguing boy, called Weed. Soon their friendship deepens into love. Finally, Weed shares his secret: He can communicate with plants. For him they have distinct personalities—and some are even murderous. From the locked garden the poisonous plants call to Weed, luring him with promises of deadly power.

When Jessamine falls inexplicably ill, only Weed’s relationship with the Poisons can save her. But Thomas is determined to exploit Weed’s abilities, even if it risks Jessamine’s life—or drives Weed to the brink of madness.…

Stranded by J.T. Dutton
Release Date: June 8, 2010


Book Description:

Who abandoned Baby Grace?

A farmer’s discovery in his cornfield thrusts a small farm town into a raging media frenzy—and Kelly Louise into a new home. Who knew a person could feel so completely stranded somewhere with national news coverage?

How is Kelly Louise supposed to shed her virginal status when the baby in the cornfield shadows her every hair flip, every wink? And the one boy around who rates anywhere near acceptable on the Maximum Man Scale only has eyes for her cousin, Natalie (who only has eyes for Jesus).

But Natalie has a secret. Everyone is so busy burying the truth about Baby Grace, they can’t see who they’re burying alive.

Welcome to Heaven, Iowa.

One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt
Release Date: July 20, 2010


Book Description:

Four dares - Two secrets - One night Eliza is in a full-blown panic. Her notebook has been stolen—the one that lists everything she wants but is afraid to go after. And the absolute worst person in the world has it: her ex-boyfriend, Cooper. Like it’s not enough Cooper was lying to Eliza for their entire relationship, now he and his friends are blackmailing her. They’re giving her just one night to complete the most humiliating tasks on her list or they’ll post her secrets online—including the ones that aren’t just about her. Eliza’s sure of only one thing: she isn’t going down without a fight. Cooper may have what’s left of her dignity, but she’s not the only one with something to hide ...




Saturday, April 24, 2010

Book Trailer: Karma Club by Jessica Brody

Book Description from Jessica Brody's Official Website:

Personally, I’m tired of waiting for the universe to get off its butt and start fixing stuff. I don’t want to wait around for Mason to get what’s coming to him. Or Heather Campbell, for that matter . . . I want to be there to see it happen."


Madison Kasparkova always thought she understood how Karma works. It’s that mysterious, powerful force that brings harmony to the universe. You know—do good things and you will be rewarded, do something bad and Karma will make sure you get what’s coming to you. A sort of cosmic balancing act.

But when Mason Brooks, Maddy’s boyfriend of two years, gets caught tongue-wrestling with Miss Perfect Body Heather Campbell, and absolutely nothing happens to either of them—except that they wind up the hot new couple of Colonial High School, it seems like Karma has officially left Maddy in the lurch. That’s why Maddy and her best friends, Angie and Jade, decide to start the Karma Club—a secret, members-only organization whose sole purpose is to clean up the messes that the universe has been leaving behind. Whether they’re modifying Heather Campbell’s acne cream as part of “Operation Butterface,” or righting a few wrongs when it comes to Angie and Jade’s own slimy exes, they know they’re just doing what Karma should have done in the first place. They’re taking care of one another.

Sometimes, though, it isn’t wise to meddle with the universe. Because it turns out, when you mess with Karma, Karma messes back. Now Maddy must find a way to balance her life for good, even as everything around her seems to be toppling to the ground.
________________________________________________________

This is another great novel by the international best selling author, Jessica Brody! Karma Club will be available in bookstores on April 27, 2010. That's just a few days from now. Mark your calendars!
Want to peek inside the book? Read an excerpt from the book.

Lots of people worked together to come up with this popular book trailer for Karma club. Watch it below.


And next month, Jessica will be having a huge giveaway on her website. She will be giving away four flip video cameras, as well as other awesome prizes! Right now, I'm referring you to her site. I'm sure you won't regret this one click. Have a nice day!



Friday, April 23, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (5)


This is the 5th week that I'm participating in this wonderful Meme. Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event that lets bloggers and readers find new blogs to read and follow! This is wonderful opportunity for new bloggers, like me, to connect with bloggers and readers and also to discover other amazing book blogs out there! Further more, it's a great way to connect with other people who have the same interests as I do. Head to Crazy-for-Books to participate.

I'm excited to meet you guys! If it happens that you find my blog through the hop, please leave a comment so I can visit yours too!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review: Firespell by Chloe Neill

Book Description:

As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face…

When Lily’s parents decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.

The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.

Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of a firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet…

Source: Won from Larissa (Thanks!)

My Thoughts:


Every student in St. Sophia seemed to be involved in some kind of drama before they were accepted there. Speaking of drama, the brat pack – a group of three girls, led by Veronica – was always looking for drama. And they found Lily, the new girl. A prank resulted to Lily getting locked up in the custodian’s room in the basement – a very bad thing.

Neill created a hidden world of power revolving around magic underneath an academic institution where every single day is a manifestation of power, wealth and connection.

St. Sophia was an interesting school. But what captured my attention more and drew me in like magnet was what was under St. Sophia. Lily already suspected that her roommate and new BFF, Scout, was in some kind of trouble. But what she didn’t expect was that she would find Scout being chased by people possessing powers. And during the chase, she got hit by something green, hot and painful. Firespell.

I enjoyed reading Firespell. There wasn’t a time that I was bored. Reading about Lily’s life and seeing her find out that her parents have been lying to her and that she has been marked on her back two days after she got hit by firespell was enough to make me so curious that I’m already planning to buy the sequel – Hexbound.

The hidden war of the Reapers and those who rebeled against them pulsed with tension. As it turns out, the rebels were actually the good guys, the ones who were protecting humans from any threat. Of all the rebel teens, Jason caught my attention. He claimed that he was different from the rest of the group, that his magic was something different. He came to care about Lily and worked to protect her in ways that she didn’t expect. As the story progressed, I got to see more of him, as well as hints about his identity. Paranormal fans will love this blue-eyed guy.

Some people say that almost all books have flaws and this was one of those books, unfortunately. Near the ending, there was a battle scene wherein Lily, Michael, Scout and another rebel teen named Jamie were fighting against the Reapers. They were outnumbered. And at that time only Jamie was doing the fighting for them. In the end, no one got seriously hurt which was impossible in my opinion. Because the Reapers were many and they could have attacked at the same time. Plus, their head, an elder of the Reaper, ordered them to “finish” Lily and company. Although I did like how Lily discovered her magical skill and ended the battle. I was looking for more action. At the back cover, it said that Scout’s rebel group fought demons and vampires too. I was kinda looking forward to that and was a bit disappointed that there weren’t encounters with the said enemies.

Firespell is a story of secret, friendship and trust in the dramatic world of St. Sophia and what lies underneath it. And it’s also about standing up for what we think is right.

Rating:



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SPOTTED: Jennifer Laurens + Heavenly & Penitence

Hi guys! Today, I'm here with Jennifer Laurens, the author of Falling for Romeo, Magic Hands, A Season of Eden, An Open Vein, Nailed, Heavenly and the upcoming sequel, Penitence!
Jennifer is one of the most generous and friendliest authors I've ever met! And I'm honored to present my interview with her...

What is your purpose in writing Heavenly?

I was at a crossroads in my life with my family. I have a child with autism, a son who suffered with addictions and I wanted to share some of our experiences trudging through the hardships in an effort to help myself understand better and maybe help others have hope.

What lessons will the readers pick up from your novel?

That there are spiritual forces of good out there waiting and willing to help us. That, no matter how hard life may seem, family and love and unity will help, if not heal completely, broken hearts.

Was Matthias really an angel from the time you started writing the draft?

yup. I write about angels from experience. Not that I've seen them, but I know for a fact that my daughter with autism has avoided being lost, hurt, whatever - because she's being watched over. Angels are an integral part of my HEAVENLY series and have been since inception the moment I wanted to share our family story with others who might benefit.

What is Matthias and Zoe’s relationship like?

Matthias is compassionate. He's all-loving and non-judgmental. He's what Zoe needs to have hope that, by knowing someone like him she can lift herself to be a better person, and she does. It's hard at first. She's mortal and she fights the human tendencies we all fight to be jealous, spiteful, angry. frustrated - every ugly human emotion is put to the test with her brother's addiction and the strain of living with a handicapped sibling.

Is Zoe or Matthias inspired by someone? Who?

Zoe is a combination of my two daughters. Matthias is a calming influence I've felt inside when I've needed to dig deep for hope and safety and trust when I've had nowhere else to turn.
_______________________________________________________

Favorites:


Favorite book?

Honest Illusions by Nora ROberts

Favorite author?

many

Favorite movie?

I like any romantic comedy that has that watch over-and-over again quality like Foul Play, Seems Like Old Times, the Holiday, Devil Wears Prada, etc.

Favorite scene in Heavenly?

Too many to mention. I love when Zoe first sees Matthias. I love when they accidentally touch. I love her sweet connection with Luke. I love the end, her thoughts, her wishes.
_______________________________________________________

Was there a part of the novel that was hard to write?

Any of the scenes with Luke. My son struggled with drugs for so long, the experience was so taxing on top of raising 6 children and having a daughter with autism, often I would write and weep. The good part was being able to control Luke's outcome. That's NOT something I was able to do for my son.

Did you include any personal experiences in the novel? Or was there a part of the novel that was inspired from your personal experience?

Heavenly is our family story is countless ways. Everything that happened with Abria, has happened at our house. Everything that happened with Luke, has happened at our house.

How does your mood affect your writing?

I listen to soundtracks I have specifically put together that keep me in the mood while I'm writing a novel. everywhere I go, driving, wherever - I play the soundtrack to 'keep in the groove' of my characters. That helps me. Heavenly, though an overall joyful story of family love and unity conquering the hardships of life, is a heavy-themed book with darker passages in Penitence and Absolution. Evil is real. I wanted to bring that to a very vivid exposure in the remaining books where Zoe struggles to keep her soul.

Is it important that you are in an ambience that you like when you write? If yes, why?

It makes writing easier.

Do you listen to music when you write? Do you have a specific song in mind?

See the Heavenly soundtrack. Yes, each novel has its own soundtrack my daughters and I painstakingly choose for the duration of the write - which is about 3 months.

See the Heavenly Playlist!
What are you working on now?

Writing a screenplay and working on another YA novel.

What tips can you give to aspiring writers (like me)?

Read across the genres, then find the genre that fits you and write. Find a supportive, non-biased critique group to give you honest opinions about your work. Write for the love of writing and not for gain and you'll always have satisfaction.

What would you like to say to the people who have read Heavenly or have included your novel in their wishlists and/or to-be-read piles?

Thank you. Please share the story with your friends. And find me on Facebook! :)

Thank you for dropping by Jennifer and thank you for sharing with us about your family and your novel!

you're welcome :)
_______________________________________________________

I met someone who changed everything. Matthias. My autistic sister's guardian angel. Honest. Inspiring. Funny. Hot. And immortal. That was the problem. What could I do? I did what any other girl would do-I fell in love with him. Zoe's sister darts in front of cars. Her brother's a pothead. Her parents are so overwhelmed; they don't see Zoe lost in her broken life. Zoe escapes the only way she knows how: partying. Matthias, a guardian sent from Heaven, watches over Zoe's autistic sister. After Zoe is convinced he's legit, angel and lost girl come together in a love that changes destiny. But Heaven on Earth can't last forever.

And if you're interested, you can read an excerpt of Heavenly and an excerpt of Penitence.

Watch this trailer for Penitence (from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot3dB6pbErc):



Right now, Jennifer is holding her Penitence Kick Off Contest at her blog.


Four lucky winners will receive a copy of Heavenly and Penitence!



Monday, April 19, 2010

Blue Book Contests

Heidi and Angie swapped ARCs and now they're both hosting Blue Book Giveaway in their blogs.
I just noticed: Blue Books are sooo in-demand right now. Don't you think so too?


EVERLASTING by Angie Frazier (signed ARC)
SEA by Heidi Kling (ARC)
REVEALERS by Amanda Marrone (signed finished copy)
ICE by Sarah Beth Durst (signed finished copy)
ICE bookmark
EVERLASTING Swag Pack (bookmarks & buttons--the round one says "Secrets, Sailors, and Scoundrels. Oh My.")
Signed mini Converse shoe and creamsicle stickers
SEA Swag Pack (bookmarks & postcards)


Aaaaand check this out:
Look at this cute orange converse!
It's like the one Sienna wears in Indonesia. And it's signed!
But it's made of felt and definitely smaller than the original. :)
I love.

Along with this, an Everlasting ARC is up for grabs!


Fast Forward Monday (9)


Fast Forward Monday is a Meme that I will be starting in Fragments of Life. It features books that will be released in the next three months.

Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Nielson
Release Date: July 1, 2010

Book Description:

When, one stormy night, a mermaid comes to take Adrianne Keynnman's sister, Cecily, down into the depths of te sea, Adrianne knows she must fight with every ounce of her strength to protect her little sister. On land, Adrianne toils away, trying to eke out a living for her mother, sister, and aunt, after a tragic accident stole her father. Now, life takes a strange and frightening turn as Adrianne's dreams are filled with the mermaid's singing . . .


Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman

Release Date: July 1, 2010


Book Description:


Everything changes when a terrorist attack kills Dani’s beloved aunt and unborn cousin.

Dani’s life in Argentina—private school, a boyfriend, a loving family—is crumbling quickly. To escape from a country in crisis, where it feels like every day the ground sinks a little more under their feet, Dani and her family move to the United States. It’s supposed to be a fresh start, but when you’re living in a cramped apartment and going to high school where all the classes are in another language - and not everyone is friendly - life in America isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Dani misses her old friends, her life, Before. In addition, she must deal with an angry father who seems more like a stranger every day.

Just when Dani is about to break, she meets a boy named Jon, who isn’t like all the other students. Through him, she becomes friends with Jessica, one of the popular girls, who is harboring a secret of her own. And then there’s Brian, the boy who makes Dani’s pulse race. In her new life, the one After, Dani learns how to heal and forgive. She finds the courage to say goodbye and allows herself to love and be loved again.

Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphill
Release Date: July 1, 2010

Book Description:

Wicked Girls is a fictionalized account of the Salem witch trials based on the real historical characters, told from the perspective of three young women living in Salem in 1692—Mercy Lewis, Margaret Walcott, and Ann Putnam Jr.


When Ann’s father suggests that a spate of illnesses within the village is the result of witchcraft, Ann sees an opportunity and starts manifesting the symptoms of affliction. Ann looks up to Mercy, the beautiful servant in her parents' house. She shows Mercy the power that a young girl is capable of in a time when women were completely powerless. Mercy, who suffered abuse at the hands of past masters, seizes her only chance at safety. And Ann’s cousin Margaret, anxious to win the attention of a boy in her sights, follows suit. As the accusations mount against men and women in the community, the girls start to see the deadly ramifications of their actions. Should they finally tell the truth? Or is it too late to save this small New England town?

The Ghost and The Goth by Stacey Kade
Release Date: July 6, 2010

Book Description:

Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star…and newly dead.


I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?

Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.

I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation?


Wonderful books coming out in July! I really really am excited for The Ghost and The Goth! Such a pretty cover! Pre-order!

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

Hi guys. This is just a shout out to all of you who haven't heard of the new young adult novel - Scars by Cheryl Rainfield. It took her 10 years to get this book published. And oh my, it's a blessing that Scars is available now! Officially released on March 24, 2010, Scars could reach out to teens all over the world. It's such a powerful novel. I hope it brings hope to people who need help. It's blurbed by the awesome, Ellen Hopkins, another proof that it is a great work.

Kendra, fifteen, hasn't felt safe since she began to recall devastating memories of childhood sexual abuse, especially because she still can't remember the most important detail-- her abuser's identity. Frightened, Kendra believes someone is always watching and following her, leaving menacing messages only she understands. If she lets her guard down even for a minute, it could cost Kendra her life. To relieve the pressure, Kendra cuts; aside from her brilliantly expressive artwork, it's her only way of coping. Since her own mother is too self-absorbed to hear her cries for help, Kendra finds support in others instead: from her therapist and her art teacher, from Sandy, the close family friend who encourages her artwork, and from Meghan, the classmate who's becoming a friend and maybe more. But the truth about Kendra's abuse is just waiting to explode, with startling unforeseen consequences. Scars is the unforgettable story of one girl's frightening path to the truth.





For more information, go to Cheryl Rainfield's Site.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Review: Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Book Description from Goodreads:


Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

Source: Won from VVB (Thanks!)

My Thoughts:

The novel started out with Laurel on her first day of school. It’s impossible to not notice how she didn’t like to be indoors. She liked the sun on her skin. And her diet included fruits, vegetables, water and sodas. At first, I just figured that maybe she was just behaving that way because she’s drawn to nature. But then, I found out that there’s more to that.

Pike tells the story of Laurel, a young faerie, who grew up with human parents and believed for such a long time that she was one of them. Until the unexpected happened - a flower grew out of her back. And along with this strange flower, doubt, uncertainty and uneasiness bloomed. Pike’s writing matches the pace of the story. In the beginning, it was relatively a walking pace, neither slow nor fast. And as the unusual flower thrived behind her, tension escalates and the pace quickens to catch up with Laurel as she evades death and escapes the clutches of danger.

Laurel is not your normal faery. She’s different from what we preconceive as the persona of a faery. Not a pretty face with a black heart. I love how Pike put a twist in the mythology of faeries and managed to connect it back to nature. By doing so, she created a refreshed image of faeries, as well as established a purpose for their existence. Plus, Pike gave a reason for the faeries’ wonderful looks.

Since moving to Crescent City, Laurel found a friend and perhaps someone more than a friend in David. I see David as the boy-next –door. He’s the type who’s always ready to listen, to help and to sacrifice. Above all, he’s human. He was there to listen and to help her when she confessed about the blossom on her back and when they discovered that Laurel isn’t human at all. But when Laurel visits her home for the first time since they moved, she meets Tamani at the woods behind her house, a sentry spring faerie with greener than green eyes. It turns out that he’s been looking after her since she was young and he seems to know so much about her. And Laurel feels so drawn to this stranger. She’s connected to both guys in different levels. And I’d like to see how this turns out in the sequel – Spells. Though, I really hope she’d end up with Tamani.

Wings is a novel of magic and wonders that will certainly be embraced by faery fans. Above all, it’s about sticking with one’s family, even after discovering that one isn’t truly related to them by blood. In Wings, a family is a group of people connected by heart and strengthened by love.

Rating:
 



Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Most Awesome Trailer Ever

I've watched the Sea trailer a few days ago. And I was totally impressed.
Honestly, I think it's the best trailer I've seen so far. :)



Love everything about it. Everything.
A few more hours before Heidi's contest ends.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Review: The Sight: Premonitions and Disappearance by Judy Blundell

Book Description from Goodreads:

Gracie has premonitions. They’ve haunted her since before her mother’s death, and she can’t get rid of them. She doesn’t know how to deal with them and she doesn’t want to--they’ve never led to anything good. She never knows whether she’s seeing the past, the present, or the future--it just comes to her. But Gracie is forced to try to use her premonitions. Her best friend, Emily, disappears, and the premonitions lead to the only clues to where she might be--and how she might be saved. Gracie’s long-absent father reappears, and his history appears to be mysteriously linked to the disappearance of a student many years ago--and the recent appearance of a body. Only Gracie’s premonitions lead to answers to some dark family secrets. In these two novels, Judy Blundell (writing as Jude Watson) takes readers on a suspenseful journey where premonitions become a matter of life and death.

My Thoughts:

I’ve always been interested in ESP, in visions, in those kinds of abilities. So it only took me three words to convince me that I need to buy The Sight.

Gracie has premonitions.

Gracie is still grieving for her mother’s death. There is so much pain in losing the one person she treated as her family and has invested so much love and loyalty in. After manifesting ‘troubled’ behaviour, she is sent to Beewick Island and moves in with her aunt, Shay and her cousin Diego. Gracie is the type of her person who wants to deal with her grief and fear alone. Oftentimes, she pushes people away and locks herself alone in her shell. But as time passes, she grows emotionally, learning to accept the true meaning of family and opening up herself to Shay and to Diego.

Judy Blundell takes readers into the labyrinth of questions through flickers of psychic flashes, revealing bit by bit of clues and information. Past, present and future collides in a chaotic and suspenseful experience that will leave readers thrilled and curious. Blundell explores the depth of pain and grief in this dark novel.

The second novel Disappearance captured my attention more than Premonitions did. There was a stronger pull with the flashes. The danger heightened to another level as Gracie discovered dirty secrets hiding in the shadows of Beewick Island. Blood is smeared in her visions. Her dad’s sudden reappearance makes her rethink her judgment of his character and his role in her life. But deep inside, Gracie knows that her dad is linked with the disappearance of a student a long time ago. What are the chances that his reappearance is related to a dead body that just turned up?

There are times that I was frustrated and slightly annoyed with Gracie. Let’s face it, she isn’t a likable character. She pushes away the people who want to help her, who want to reach out to her. I know that she wasn’t in the state of accepting outside help at that point. But a part of me was asking: What is she doing?! I mean, sure, you can turn down people’s efforts. But do it in a nice way. Another thing is her recklessness. When she assumes that she knows something because of her flashes, she just goes with it and oftentimes gets in trouble. Although, this could also be a factor of her being a teenager. She’s young. She doesn’t think as rationally as mature people.

And I wanted to read more about Zed. I hoped that he would get close to Gracie.

On the brighter side of things, I really liked the flow of the novel. The tension built up with every flash. And I wasn’t able to guess who the bad guys were. I got to peek in the heads of most of the characters via Gracie. It was great to be able to see the struggles of these characters in their lives, as well as their vulnerability.

The Sight is the story of Gracie, a girl with the gift and the curse of visions, a teenager struggling with grief and pain, a niece and a cousin who finds hope, love and acceptance in the house of her aunt. This is a novel that encourages us to use our talents, our skills, whether it is supernatural or not, for good.

Rating:
 



Book Blogger Hop (4)


About the Hop:

In the spirit of the Friday Follow, Book Blogger Hop was born to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! So, Crazy-for-Books created this weekly BOOK PARTY where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! Go to Crazy-for-Books to participate.

Personally, I think this is a good way to connect with readers, fellow bloggers and basically, people who have the same interests. If you happen to find my humble blog in the hop, please leave a comment so I can visit yours!

Bienvenidos! Welcome!


Birthday Phenomenon


Guess what? You've probably heard. Liz at Cleverly Inked is celebrating her birthday with a


Grand Prize Winner get to choose 10 books Plus a Mega Swag pack
Second place Winner will get to choose 8 books Plus a Mega Swag Pack
Third place Winner will get to choose 6 books Plus a Mega Swag Pack
Fourth Place Winner will get to choose 6 books Plus a Swag Pack
Fifth Place Winner will Get to choose 5 books Plus a Swag Pack
Sixth Place Winner will get to choose 5 Books Plus a Swag Pack
Seventh Place Winner will get to choose 4 Books Plus a Swag Pack
Eight Place Winner will get to choose 4 Books Plus a Swag Pack
Ninth Place Winner will get the remaining 2 books Plus a Swag Pack.
Then it will continue on until all the prizes are gone. ^_^

Check out the prizes:




Can I hear a WOW? Awesome, right?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lisa Schroeder: Writing in Verse (Guest Post)

Hi guys! Since April is National Poetry Month, I asked Lisa Schroeder, the author of Chasing Brooklyn, Far From You, I Heart You, You Haunt Me, and many more, to discuss something about poetry.



First of all, I’d like to answer the question – what IS a verse novel? Here is a definition for those of you who aren’t sure what it is, exactly.

A verse novel is a type of narrative poetry in which a novel-length narrative is told through the medium of poetry rather than prose.

A lot of people think – a novel written in poetry? Are you kidding me? How boring that must be. Ha! Think again. Authors like Karen Hesse, Sonya Sones, Ellen Hopkins, Lorie Ann Grover, and many more have shown us through the years that they are anything BUT boring. The poetic form gives us a bit different structure in which to write the story we want to tell, but there is the important point to remember. It is still a story. Even with a verse novel, I think most authors would agree with me when I say, story has to come first. The story must be compelling enough to cause the reader to want to keep reading. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the verse is, the story must pull the reader through the pages, like any other type of novel.

Precious asked me to talk a little about how I go about writing a verse novel. She asked, “How do you tell a complete story with such limited words?

I write my verse novels from beginning to end. Others may do it differently, but this works for me. I think in terms of scenes, and take it scene by scene. I ask - what is happening? What are the characters feeling? What information do I want to give now and what information do I want to only hint at, and share later?

I usually start with a scene that shows the reader something big has just happened or is about to happen to my main character. Some authors are good at writing lengthy, flowery descriptions – and they love opportunities to do that in their stories. I’m not like that. When I’m writing one of my verse novels, I look for brief, unique ways to describe things that get to the heart at what I want to say.

Let’s look at the opening poem in the first novel-in-verse I wrote:

***

“A Day of Black

I’ve never been
to a funeral
until today.

I see
dazzling arrangements of
red, yellow and purple flowers
with long, green stems.

I see
a stained glass window with
a white dove,
a yellow sun,
a blue sky.

I see
a gold cross,
standing tall,
shiny,
brilliant.

And I see
black.

Black dresses.
Black pants.
Black shoes.
Black bibles.

Black is my favorite color.
Jackson asked me about it one time.

“Ava, why don’t you like pink?
Or yellow?
Or blue?”

“I love black,” I said.
“It suits me.”

“I suit you,” he said.

And then he kissed me.

I’m not so sure
I love black
anymore.”

(from I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, copyright 2008)

***

In this poem, I’ve established who the main character is: Ava. I’ve established where she is: a funeral. I’ve hinted at whose funeral this might be, although the reader isn’t quite sure, and so will want to turn the page and keep reading to find out. And through repetition combined with imagery, we can see the scene, even though I gave very few words to describe the scene.

This is what we do in a verse novel. We use poetic devices to convey elements of the scene and the story to the reader. It should feel effortless to the reader. We don’t want the reader to have to work at figuring out what they’re reading. I think that’s one of the miconceptions about verse novels – people are often worried they’ll be hard work. They should be hard work for ME, the writer, so it’s not hard work for you!

Throughout the book, things about Ava will be revealed, and you will learn what kind of person she is. This is no different from any other novel. How I do it might be a little different, yes. I can’t just come out and tell you in two or three long and rambling paragraphs what makes her special and unique and what’s bothering her. I have to sprinkle little things throughout the coming pages, until eventually, you’ll have a clear picture.

I think that’s one of the important things about a verse novel. Details are sprinkled throughout, like a nice coating of sugar over the top of an apple pie. The hard part is figuring out what details are important and when, exactly, they should be sprinkled.

With each poem, I’m looking for the MOST important items to share with the reader. I want to make each word, each sentence, each phrase really count. I want the poetry to elicit emotions, but I also want the words to tell a story that makes the reader want to keep reading.

It’s a balancing act. It’s not always easy. But the payoff is huge. I hope if you haven’t ever read a verse novel before, you’ll give one a try!

Thanks for having me here, Precious! Happy Poetry Month, every one!

Thanks Lisa for sharing! :) If you guys haven't checked out her books, you better!
Photo was taken from Lisa's website: http://www.lisaschroederbooks.com/


Monday, April 12, 2010

Fast Forward Monday (8)


Fast Forward Monday is a Meme that I will be starting in Fragments of Life. It features books that will be released in the next three months.


Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner
Release Date: April 27, 2010

Book Description:

After her mother mysteriously disappears, sixteen-year-old Haley convinces her father to take her to Iceland, where her mother was last seen. There, amidst the ancient fissures and crevices of that volcanic island, Haley picks up a silver coin that entangles her in a spell cast by her ancestor Hallgerd, a sorceress intent on stealing another's life to escape her own.


To break the spell, Haley sets off on an epic adventure with gorgeous Ari, a boy with a dangerous side who appoints himself her protector. They soon learn that Hallgerd's spell and her mother's disappearance are connected to a chain of events that could unleash terrifying powers and consume the world. Haley must find a way to contain the growing fires of the spell—and her growing attraction to Ari.

She's So Dead To Us by Kieran Scott
Release Date: May 25, 2010

Book Description:

When having money is all that matters, what happens when you lose it all?


Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends -- friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn't like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.

Now, two years later, Ally's mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally's new low-key, happy life, it'll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.

But then there's Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake's friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it's Ally Ryan.

Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can't be forgotten. Isn't there more to life than money?

13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale by Shannon Delany
Release Date: June 22, 2010

Book Description:

Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction…


When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.

The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.

Other by Karen Kincy
Release Date: July 1, 2010

Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. Most Americans don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Others, especially not the small-town folks of Klikamuks, Washington. As if this isn’t bad enough, Gwen’s on the brink of revealing her true identity to her long-time boyfriend, Zack, but she’s scared he’ll lump her with the likes of bloodthirsty vampires and feral werewolves.


When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate-into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her. As she hunts for clues, she uncovers more Others living nearby than she ever expected. Like Tavian, a sexy Japanese fox-spirit who rivals Zack and challenges her to embrace her Otherness. Gwen must struggle with her own conflicted identity, learn who she can trust, and-most importantly-stay alive.


Oh. I just noticed that almost all the covers have hues of blue as the background. Thief eyes look icy. 13 to life has a pretty cover. Can't wait!