Monday, May 31, 2010

Review: Hourglass by Claudia Gray

Book Description from Goodreads:


Bestselling author Claudia Gray’s Evernight series continues. In Hourglass, Bianca and Lucas have found a way to be together. But it means lying to the people who care about them the most.

After escaping from Evernight Academy, the vampire boarding school, Bianca and Lucas seek refuge with Black Cross, the elite group of vampire hunters led by Lucas’s stepfather. When Bianca’s close friend—the vampire Balthazar—is captured by Black Cross, Bianca knows she has to do whatever it takes to save him. But at what cost?

Hourglass, the third book in this gripping vampire series by the author of the New York Times bestseller Stargazer, has all the romance, suspense, and page-turning drama that have made Claudia Gray’s books runaway successes.

Source: Won from June! (Thank you!)
My Thoughts:

Bianca came with Lucas. She is safe with Black Cross. Safe as long as she they don’t know that she’s a vampire which could only be avoided by keeping her strong and fed. But living with Black Cross means she has to endure training and lockdown, with all her connection to the outside world cut – especially her source of blood. Living closely with Black Cross is always a threat to her and she knows that despite their smiles and laughter, once they know the truth about her, they will turn on her. And kill her the way they were trained to do.

Life as a member of the Black Cross is hard to endure. Bianca is left with few options to none at all. Privacy is not a luxury in the cell. She has rare chances to eat. Claudia Gray is getting better with every book that she writes. The challenges that she lets her characters experience provide so much tension and excitement on my part. The heavy threat that the mere existence of Black Cross poses is heightened with the proximity of Bianca to them. Vampire hunters and vampires rarely mix. And when Balthazar gets caught after an attack and tortured, Bianca realizes how far Black Cross can go.

Lucas and Bianca’s relationship is propelled by their longing to be together. Being together makes everything worth it but it doesn’t mean that everything is alright, enemies are still after them – enemies that can’t be trusted and enemies that can be trusted to some extent. They are still on the run. The wild series of chases in this novel had me reading fast. And to add to that, Hourglass is even more unpredictable than Stargazer. Another amazing twist will change everything. This is definitely the best book in the series so far.

The wraiths don't haunt her anymore. But that doesn't mean that they're done with Bianca. Far from it. Her thirst burns inside her in a maddening level and it's getting worse. The vampire inside Bianca is stirring restlessly. Will she be able to contain her desires? Being half vampire and half wraith has never proven to be difficult until now.

Hourglass is an echo of the romance of Romeo and Juliet with a paranormal twist and a touch of tragedy that makes this the most thrilling and exhilarating of all the books in the Evernight Series.

Rating:
 


5
 
 

Fast Forward Monday (14)


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.

Nice and Mean by Jessica Leader

Release Date: June 8, 2010


Book Description:

Marina is mean. Sachi is nice. Marina is Barney's. Sachi is Burlington Coat Factory. It's bad enough that they have to coexist in video class—but now they're being forced to work together on the big semester project. Marina's goal? Expose her wanna-be BFF as a giant kiss-up to the entire middle school. Sachi's goal? Prove that she's not just another honor-roll Indian student and broaden her classmates' cultural horizons. Work together in harmony? Yeah, that would be no. How can Sachi film something meaningful, and Marina, something fabulous, if they're yoked to each other?

Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto by Eric Luper
Release Date: June 28, 2010


Book Description:

Seth Baumgartner just had the worst day of his life: His girlfriend dumped him (at Applebee’s), he spied his father on a date with a woman who is not his mother (also at Applebee’s!), and he lost his fourth job of the year. It’s like every relationship he cares about is imploding, and he can’t figure out what’s going on.

To find answers, Seth decides to start an anonymous podcast called The Love Manifesto, exploring “what love is, why love is, and why we’re stupid enough to keep going back for more.” Things start looking up when Seth gets a job at a golf club with his hilarious and smut-minded best friend, Dimitri, and Dimitri’s sister, Audrey. With their help, Seth tracks down his father’s mystery date, hits the most infamous bogey in the history of golf, and discovers that sometimes love means eating the worst chicken-salad sandwich you can ever imagine

Shadow Grail #1: Legaciesby Mercedes Lackey, Rosemary Edghill
Release Date: July 6, 2010


Book Description:

Shadow Hunt is the first book in the Shadow Grail series.

Spirit White wasn't exactly a normal teenager; but when a freak accident left her the only survivor in her family, she found herself the legal ward of a strange boarding school and orphanage in the middle of Montana--the Oakhurst Academy--and its even stranger headmaster, Doctor Ambrosius.

Manifest by Artist Arthur
Release Date: August 1, 2010


Book Description:


Krystal Bentley is an outsider at her new high school, having just moved to a small Connecticut town. Lately she's been hearing the voice of a teenage boy in her head, and he has become her friend and confidant. The only problem is, he's dead...

Ricky Watson was killed a year ago in the alley behind Krystal's new school. The rumor mill is filled with stories of Ricky and his untimely death. Unfortunately, as a ghost, Ricky is unable to investigate his own murder, so Ricky needs Krystal to find the truth and she needs someone to listen. When Krystal befriends Sasha and Jake, both outcasts at her high school, the threesome soon discover that they have more in common than their outsider status. Each has a unique paranormal ability and an unusual birthmark in the shape of an "M." Jake announces that the M must stand for misfits, and so the three form an unusual clique. They soon realize that solving Ricky's murder can help them understand the mystery behind their powers and may reveal whether there are others like them.

What book are you looking forward to? As of now, I'm itching to read Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare and Sea by Heidi Kling!


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Weekly Update

I think it will be a good idea to sum up what I've done during the week so that I could keep track of my blogging duties and of course, this is another reason for me to maintain my level of enthusiasm in reading and reviewing otherwise I will be so ashamed to post a Weekly Update that is empty.

Books I've read:

Stargazer by Claudia Gray
Hourglass by Claudia Gray (review to be posted)
Inside Out by Maria Snyder (review to be posted)
Wind Warrior by Cynthia Roberts (still reading)

Reviews:


Spotted Interview:


Comments:

I'm glad to have read 3 books in a week. I guess I really got addicted to the Evernight Series. I seriously did. I couldn't sleep. I kept saying to myself: Just one more chapter. But I found myself unable to close the book. I can't wait for Afterlife!!

I started a blog feature called Blue Book Weekend last week but this weekend I have nothing to post partly because I haven't received the post for it yet, partly because I haven't received the book (this is an amazing Tenner book) yet, and mostly because I'm out of blue books. Hopefully, I'll receive the post and the book soon!

Oh. and I'm planning to have a 150 follower giveaway soon! I'm just waiting for the books. :) Thank you for reading my reviews, my interviews and my other posts! Thank you for finding the time to click that link in your blogger dashboards and see what I've written yet again.

Check back for the Hourglass Review and Inside Out Review (I loved both books!)


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Review: Stargazer by Claudia Gray

Book Description from Goodreads:


The vampire in me was closer to the surface...

Evernight Academy: an exclusive boarding school for the most beautiful, dangerous students of all—vampires. Bianca, born to two vampires, has always been told her destiny is to become one of them.

But Bianca fell in love with Lucas—a vampire hunter sworn to destroy her kind. They were torn apart when his true identity was revealed, forcing him to flee the school.

Although they may be separated, Bianca and Lucas will not give each other up. She will risk anything for the chance to see him again, even if it means coming face-to-face with the vampire hunters of Black Cross—or deceiving the powerful vampires of Evernight. Bianca's secrets will force her to live a life of lies.

Yet Bianca isn't the only one keeping secrets. When Evernight is attacked by an evil force that seems to target her, she discovers the truth she thought she knew is only the beginning....

My Thoughts:

Bianca is still in Evernight and with each passing day, the longing gets stronger. Lucas is back with the Black Cross, hunting and killing Bianca’s kind. To keep on seeing each other, Bianca needs to lie to Mrs. Bethany, the head mistress of Evernight Academy, to her parents and to her friends.

The thirst for blood escalates with every chapter, proving that the vampire in Bianca is closer to the surface than she assumed. As Bianca’s thirst becomes stronger, an ancient evil and the enemy of the vampires comes to haunt Evernight, disturbing the sanctuary with frost and attacks and worse – appearing to single out Bianca out of all the students. This made me think. A lot. All my guesses weren’t even close to what was the truth behind the wraith attacks. And I really really loved that I wasn’t able to guess! The quality of surprise was awesome.

Claudia Gray’s second book exceeded the first one. I got to see deeper into the characters and the plot was amazing. I loved the twists Claudia weaved within the story. Unpredictable and deceiving, the events unfold with heightening danger and tension. The near-ending is a bloody and thrilling massacre that leads to a disturbing and threatening conclusion that left flashes of death, action and worry in my head even after I’ve already closed the book.

Exhilarating and suspenseful, Stargazer brings the story to a whole new level, playing with the antagonistic sides of the vampires and the wraiths and spinning the lies of Bianca’s life with the secrets behind each one of them. When Bianca discovers that the haunting is connected to her, she will find uncover a truth like no other – one that will shatter everything she believed in.

Rating:



SPOTTED: Mary Hanlon Stone + Invisible Girl

I'm with Mary Hanlon Stone, the author of Invisible Girl which comes out today! I'm fortunate enough to be able to spotlight her here at Fragments of Life with such short notice. Here's the short interview...

What inspired you to write Invisible Girl?


As a deputy district attorney, I have worked with many girls who have been neglected or abused and I have fallen in love with their courage and vulnerability. You don't realize how much a part of you people become until you start writing. Stephanie, the main character in invisible girl is kind of a compilation of a lot of the girls who've trusted me to take care of them in court.

What lessons will readers learn from your novel?

I hope they will learn hope! That no matter where you come from or how you grow up, you don't have to let other people have power over you.

Can you tell us what Stephanie is like?

Stephanie is someone who very much wants to be loved like all of us. She has to go through the tough stuff of middle school, but it's even harder for her because of her background. At the end, we see who she really is and she's someone with a lot of courage.

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

None of it was hard to write since the story seemed to be already in my head, but the first chapter was really hard to go back and read. I felt like putting a footnote at the bottom of the page to let people know that the book had a happy ending.

How does your mood affect your writing?

Very good question! As I analyze it, I think I can answer it better that my mood doesn't affect the writing, but the writing affects my mood. Whatever mood I'm in, as soon as I get back into my character's life, I'm really happy.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on the rewrites for the Comedown Life which comes out next year at this time. The main character is sort of the opposite of Stephanie in some ways, she comes from a lot of money and is sent to a factory town to live with a father she barely knows.

Today is the release of your novel. Invite them to grab a copy!

Since today is the release of invisible girl, I would be thrilled if anyone were so kind as to enter the world of my girl and see if you feel as protective about her as I did.

Thank you Mary!
_______________________________________________________

Book Description via Goodreads:

When poor Boston girl Stephanie is abandoned by her abusive mother and taken in by Annie’s Beverly Hills family, she feels anything but home. Her dark complexion and accent stick out like a sore thumb in the golden-hued world of blondes and extravagance. These are girls who seem to live life in fastforward, while Stephanie is stuck on pause. Yet when a new rival moves to town, threatening Annie’s queen-bee status, Stephanie finds herself taking sides in a battle she never even knew existed, and that feeling invisible is a wound that can only be healed by standing up for who she is.

Brilliant newcomer Mary Hanlon Stone delivers a compulsively readable insider’s view of growing up in a world where money and privilege don’t always glitter.

For more info and updates, visit Mary's Official Website.






Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Release: Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

The New York Times-bestselling author with over 19 million books in print, Sherrilyn Kenyon is renowned the world over as "the reigning queen of the paranormal genre that she pioneered long before the world had heard of Twilight.

And now she has a new book. Young Adult. Paranormal. Infinity.

Book Description from Goodreads:
At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.

Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead.

But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he’s next on the menu.

As if starting high school isn't hard enough. . .now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that?



For a sneak-peek into the book, go here to read the chapter excerpt.
Want to listen to the song? Download it here.

I like the sound of this book. Don't you?


Monday, May 24, 2010

Fast Forward Monday (14)



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.


Passing Strange (Generation Dead #3) by Daniel Waters

Release Date: June 1, 2010-05-24


Book Description:

Karen DeSonne always passed as a normal (if pale) teenager; with her friends, with her family, and at school. Passing cost her the love of her life. And now that Karen’s dead, she’s still passing—this time, as alive. Karen DeSonne just happens to be an extremely human-like zombie. Meanwhile, Karen’s dead friends have been fingered in a high-profile murder, causing a new round of antizombie regulations that have forced them into hiding. Karen soon learns that the “murder” that destroyed their non-life was a hoax, staged by Pete Martinsburg and his bioist zealots. Obtaining enough evidence to expose the fraud and prove her friends’ innocence means doing the unthinkable: becoming Pete’s girlfriend. Karen’s only hope is that the enemy never realizes who she really is—because the consequences would be worse than death.

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
Release Date: June 1, 2010


Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Bronwen Oliver doesn't just want a family. She has one of those, and there's nothing terribly wrong with them apart from bickering grandparents, an image-obsessed mother and a brother she describes simply as Jesus. But there's no natural sense of connection between Bronwen and her family, leaving her with the belief -- and the hope -- that she was switched at birth, that she was never supposed to be Bronwen Oliver but someone else entirely.

When she begins dating college senior Jared Sondervan, she finds herself thoroughly embraced by the loving family she has always wanted and does not hesitate to say yes when Jared proposes on her 18th birhday. Plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her junior year of college become plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her freshman year of college. And a wedding so soon isn't exactly what Bronwen wants. But Jared is. And his family is. Or so she thinks.

Before Bronwen can determine what she truly wants, she must first determine who she truly is, and the answer, she discovers, is only partially what she thought it was. She wasn't switched at birth, but she's also not Bronwen Oliver and hasn't been for a very long time.

Lifted by Wendy Toliver
Release Date: June 8, 2010


Book Description:

Poppy Browne is none too thrilled to be the new girl in Pleasant Acres, Texas--especially after her mother enrolls her in a private Baptist school. But to her delight, Poppy is pulled into the cool clique on her first day at Calvary High, and her new friends, Mary Jane and Whitney, are as genuinely nice as they are gorgeous and rich.

The catch? Her new pals have a nasty shoplifting habit, and before long Poppy is also a theft enthusiast. But when the girls' addictions get out of hand and friendships are threatened, it's up to Poppy to set things right ....

Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex
Release Date: July 1, 2010


Book Description:

Doug Lee is undead quite by accident—attacked by a desperate vampire, he finds himself cursed with being fat and fifteen forever. When he has no luck finding some goth chick with a vampire fetish, he resorts to sucking the blood of cows under cover of the night. But it’s just not the same.

Then he meets the new Indian exchange student and falls for her—hard. Yeah, he wants to bite her, but he also wants to prove himself to her. But like the laws of life, love, and high school, the laws of vampire existence are complicated—it’s not as easy as studying Dracula. Especially when the star of Vampire Hunters is hot on your trail in an attempt to boost ratings.…

Leave it to Adam Rex to create a thought-provoking novel that takes on teen angst, sexuality, identity, love, and undeath in ways that break it out of the genre.

What are you looking forward to?

*Book descriptions are from Goodreads and Wendy Toliver's website.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Review: Evernight by Claudia Gray

Book Description from Goodreads:

Bianca wants to escape.

She's been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He's not the "Evernight type" either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.

"I couldn't stand it if they took it out on you," he tells Bianca, "and eventually they would."

But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.

Source: Won from June (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Upon picking up Evernight, I didn’t know what to expect. Maybe in the back of my mind, I expected something like Twilight or Vampire Academy. But when I started reading, I found an addicting novel. Claudia Gray wrote smoothly with words freshly dripping with the emotions of Bianca. I adored it. Reading her lines gave me a sense of enjoyment that I haven’t found in other books. She weaved the story with tension and surprise, bringing together Lucas and Bianca in the midst of guilt and lies.

Bianca was pulled out from the world she knew – from her home, her place, her school, and her friends. And when she’s enrolled at Evernight, she didn’t fit in. I guess this is understandable since Evernight gives her a feeling of uneasiness. Bianca is probably the most unvampiric vampire that I ever read about. She doesn’t seem like one to me until her inner vampire unexpectedly surfaces. And when it did happen, a deep hunger strikes her since, giving her fire that burns her heart.

Lucas is one of the few students that don’t fit in. He assumes the role of a protector, looking out for Bianca and warning her about Evernight Academy. His hot temper and his strength is a risky combination that gets him in fights. But I guess when you have a mom like Lucas did, who has ingrained in your mind that people are divided into two: predator and prey, you will probably end up like him. He softens because of Bianca, feeling something so strong that makes him forget his being and his purpose.

The other characters were amusing as well. Bianca’s parents were both endearing teachers. And I really liked the way Bianca’s mom bounced on the balls of her feet when she gets excited. To me it was something so human. And of course, Balthazar the centuries old vampire is swoon-worthy. I hope I’ll get to see more of him in Stargazer, the sequel.

Although it took quite a while for the author to show the vampire in Bianca, I found myself not caring about it. She writes too well that I realized I was simply reading for one purpose only: to enjoy myself. And I did. But the author did make up for the slowness with a thrilling and heart pounding race that leads to a hopeful ending.

Evernight is an addicting vampire novel that follows Bianca as she witnesses the merging of truths and lies, the good side and bad side of being a vampire and the surfacing of her thirst for blood and for love.

Rating:



Blue Book Weekend: Interview with Angie Frazier + Swag Giveaway (signed)

Hi guys, a few days ago, me and my friend Kirthi from Pages noticed that there are lots of Blue Books. And I thought of featuring them at our blogs in a feature called Blue Book Weekend. This week, I'm going to be interviewing the author of upcoming Everlasting, Angie Frazier!

Let's start with the favorites. Favorite book?  ETHAN FROME by Edith Wharton

Favorite author? Jane Austen

Favorite movie?

It’s a tie! “Far and Away” with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and “The Last of the Mohicans” with Daniel Day Lewis.

Favorite among the characters of Everlasting and why?

I’d have to say Ira Beam is my favorite character. He’s the Australian conman who befriends Camille and Oscar, and he was so much fun to create. He’s handsome and funny and such a rogue…I have a soft spot for Ira!

Favorite scene in Everlasting?

Oh, that’s a tough one to talk about without giving some spoilers away! But it involves Camille and Oscar and lots of romantic tension.

Okay, now to the more serious part. When did you start writing?

I was writing stories as soon as I knew how to sound out words and write. My mother recently gave me one of my earlier works: folded construction paper booklets, stapled together with crayon drawings and voice bubbles…in one bubble, I was saying how there were “stories were in my head.”

How long did it take for you to finish the draft of Everlasting?

Well, the first draft of Everlasting took only a few months to write, but that version of the book is gone now. Over the next 6 years I changed pretty much everything, except the characters and the setting. The entire plot is different than the first draft—and that is definitely for the best!

What inspired you to start writing Everlasting?

Mostly, it was just the need to write something fictional after spending four years in college as a journalism major and writing news stories for the campus paper. I knew I didn’t want to write for magazines the rest of my life. I wanted to be a novelist, and so I used the vintage travel posters on the ceiling of a cottage I was renting as inspiration. They were for exotic locations all over the world, including Australia, and I went from there.

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

Overall, the romance was the toughest part to write. Initially, I wasn’t comfortable—writing romance was way out of my comfort zone. But I’m really happy I did it, and am kind of addicted to romance now.

How does your mood affect your writing?

It doesn’t really. When I sit down to write, I leave everything in my life behind and fully submerge myself in my characters’ worlds. It’s a little magical to have that escape. The only time writing is impossible for me is when I’m truly exhausted or sick.

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

Absolutely! I need total silence and I need to be alone. Writing in coffee shops and libraries doesn’t usually work for me because I usually find myself “people watching” instead of writing. During the summer I love sitting outside and writing. I feel much more creative outdoors for some reason.

Do you listen to music when you write or not? Do you have a specific song in mind?

Nope, I can’t listen to music at all when I’m writing. The lyrics distract me. Though, classical music is great for “pre-writing” when I’m percolating a story idea. Individual scenes have their own feel and can often be matched up with a classical piece.

Do you write continuously or do you take breaks?

I definitely take breaks! I give myself writing goals for each time I sit down to write, either to make it to 1,000 words or write until a certain hour. I can’t force myself to write, but I do force myself to show up to write.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m finishing up revisions for my first middle grade novel, Suzanna Snow and the Mystery of the Midnight Tunnel, due to release in 2011. Then, I’ll begin revisions on the second Everlasting book, due to release in summer 2011. At the same time, I’ll be writing the second Suzanna Snow book (2012). It’s going to be one busy summer!

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

It’s been said time and again, but just don’t give up. Explore the craft of writing, learn from the mistakes you make, and don’t be afraid to share your work for critique. Mostly, just be stubborn.

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

There is nothing I love more than to hear that someone is looking forward to reading my first novel! I hope that when readers open up the book they allow themselves to be transported. I want them to know it’s an adventure, a love story, and a chance to escape to a different time and a different world. Mostly, just have fun!

Thank you Angie!
_______________________________________________________

Everlasting will be available in bookstores on June 1, 2010.

Book Description:

Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty. On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous - and alluring - magic. The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness to find the enchanted stone. As she and Oscar elude murderous bushrangers and unravel Camille’s father’s lies, they come closer to making the ultimate decision of who - and what - matters most.

Swag Giveaway: Angie kindly offered to send signed bookmarks + Everlasting buttons to three winners! So, if you want them just leave a comment below with your email. (So I can contact you if you win.) And yeah, anyone can enter. :)

I got this from Angie's blog, just thought of showing it to you guys - the bookmarks. Pretty.



I finally signed up for the 2010 Debut Author Challenge

I've seen this challenge a long time ago.I've thought about signing up when I first saw it, but I never got to that part. *sighs* Why didn't I? I don't know too. But now, I'm really signing up for it! I'm interested in reading new and fresh YA fiction!

2010 Debut Challenge

The objective is to read a set number of YA (Young Adult) or MG (Middle Grade) novels from debut authors published this year.
Anyone can join, you don’t need a blog to participate. If you don’t have a blog you can always share your views by posting a review on Amazon.com/BarnesandNoble.com/GoodReads/Shelfari, or any other bookish site.


The challenge will run from January 1, 2010- December 31, 2010. You can join at anytime! (I'm thankful for this one.)

After trying to finalize the list of the debut novels I want to read, I came up with this:

1. Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
2. Sea by Heidi Kling
3. Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia
4. The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter
5. Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
6. Everlasting by Angie Frazier
7. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
8. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
9. The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos
10. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
11. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
12. Mistwood by Leah Cypess
13. Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson
14. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
15. The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Quite a list. Let the reading begin! Goodluck to me!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Trailer: Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Hi guys, I found this trailer a few days ago and thought about posting it here.
Watch it and enjoy!



Book Description from Goodreads:

His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.


Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

Read Chapter One.

And for a chance to win Shadow Hills, Raised by Wolves and swag, go to Anastasia's blog. She's holding a contest.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Guest Post with Jennifer Murgia: Meet the Angel Star Characters + Trailer

So yesterday, I told you guys that today you'll get to know the characters of Angel Star. Jennifer wrote this guest post especially for you. Yes, you. I know you're curious about Angel Star. This is your chance to meet the characters before you buy the book! I present the guest post...

Reality Meets Fiction – Literally
This week marks the official release of my debut YA novel, Angel Star. I feel like this moment has been looming over me! I have been excited and jittery all at the same time and now that the big moment is here, just when I think I’ve gotten used to the hype and seen the cover splashed all over the internet and the blogs, read the posts and the reviews – I’m filled with that anxious tingling all over again!

It’s a bit surreal to me that the characters I know so well will be revealed. A few readers have already made themselves acquainted (those who had pre-ordered and read it already). For those of you who are still anxious to meet the ANGEL STAR “cast”, I am more than happy to introduce you.

~Teagan McNeel, our protagonist and heroine of the story, is your typical girl-next- door. She’s quiet and studious, but seems to find herself the constant target of ridicule and taunting by bad-girl Brynn Hanson, the queen bee of Carver High School.

~Claire Meyers is Teagan’s BFF since the third grade. She is the glue to Teagan’s sanity. Fun loving and quirky, she spends her time divided between Teagan and her boyfriend, Ryan Jameson.

~Ahhh… enter Garreth Adams. The new boy at school who has eyes for Teagan, but holds back from revealing a secret he carries until the right moment, for its not only his secret but Teagan’s as well.

~ Hadrian. He is dark, foreboding and tempting as he watches from behind shadows . . . lurking until that one moment when all is revealed and he can make his move.

Angel Star is a story of light vs. darkness – not only that which surrounds us, but what we sometimes choose to acknowledge deep inside. That voice we hear, that decision between right and wrong. Sometimes we listen to it and sometimes we choose to ignore it. But what if we were left to our own devises and that voice was no longer present? What would you do? I invite you to pick up your copy of Angel Star this week and enter that very world!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
And if you want to know more about Jennifer, as well as her debut novel, you can read my interview with Jennifer.
 
And here's the book trailer:
 

 
Angel Star comes out today! Happy Book Birthday Jennifer!
It is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Grab a copy now!
 

Monday, May 17, 2010

SPOTTED: Jennifer Murgia + Angel Star

So today I'm with an author who I simply adore...Jennifer Murgia, the author of Angel Star! I've spotted her and took the chance to ask her a few questions! Jennifer will be visiting Fragments of Life for two days, in time for the awaited release! Check back tomorrow to get to know her characters! For now, enjoy the interview.


What is your purpose in writing Angel Star?


Angel Star took me by surprise. It’s not a story I had planned, the thought merely played over and over in my head and the next day I started writing. It was about midway through writing that I realized the positive messages the book could give teens.

What lessons will the readers pick up from your novel?

Angel Star touches a lot of issues: bullying, temptation, friendship and loyalty and dealing with a first time love. The core of the story however, is finding and staying true to yourself and your beliefs.

What was it like writing from poems to novels? Was there any difficulty?

Actually, I think my poetic background was the perfect fuel I needed to write a novel. I’m very conscious of voice and flow and of transition.

Was Teagan inspired by someone? If yes, who?

One of the reasons I personally love YA is that it allows me to relive moments from my past. So, I guess it’s safe to say perhaps Teagan is a part of who I would be if I had the chance to go back and do it all over again. Like me, she is very quiet in the beginning of the story but really evolves into her own.

When you initially wrote the draft, was Garreth a guardian angel?

Yes. Always.

Where did you get the idea about the eight-pointed star?

I wanted to add a real symbol to the story. My mother actually helped find it. I had read the prologue to her over the phone and she was thumbing through a book of ancient symbols and suggested the octagram. It was perfect!

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

There was a scene that was a bit touchy. It actually begins with the prologue and picks up later in the story. It suggests suicide, but it isn’t. I needed to convey that I wasn’t giving the wrong message.

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

Hadrian’s character came from a dream I once had.

There is also a chapter about Teagan’s friend Claire and something that happens to her. I don’t want to spoil it because it is definitely a “wow” moment. Let’s just say I had a friend and something similar happened to her. I tried to channel the disbelief and shock I had felt years ago for that scene.

How does your mood affect your writing?

Well, like anything I have good days and bad days!

Is it important that you are in an ambience that you like when you write?

Not really, if there’s something knocking around in my head and needs to get out I can write anywhere.

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

Music played a bit part in writing Angel Star and I listened to it before writing. A lot of Evanescence, Linkin Park and Breaking Benjamin! If Angel Star needed a theme song, it would be Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls.

Do you write continuously or do you take breaks?

Oh goodness, I need breaks!

What are you working on now?

A secret. Shhhh….

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

Treat your writing like a committed job. I like to write first thing in the morning, take a break and go back to it later. If you stick to a schedule, you’ll get more accomplished. Also, feel the story while you write. Listen to your characters. If you start writing and constantly look to the future asking, “I wonder who will want this? Who should I query when I’m finished?” then you’re not writing for yourself. Push all of the maybes out of your head and enjoy getting lost in the story!

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

A humongous thank you! I get excited when I see my book on a wish list, or if the number increases on Goodreads. I just smile and say to myself, “that’s my book and someone wants to read it!”

It’s incredible!

Thank you for dropping by, Jennifer!

Thank YOU!
_______________________________________________________

Angel Star's official release date is tomorrow! Don't miss the chance to read this angel goodness!

Book Description:


Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams and soon discovers that her crush has an eight-point star etched into the palm of his right hand-the mark of an angel.


But where there is light, dark follows, and she and Garreth suddenly find themselves vulnerable to a dark angel's malicious plan that could threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows, and now, she is torn between one angel's sacrifice and another angel's vicious ambition.

Divinely woven together, Angel Star takes readers on a reflective journey when one angel's sacrifice collides with another angel's vicious ambition in a way that is sure to have readers searching for their own willpower.
For more information and updates, visit Jennifer's Official Website.

You can also follow her in twitter!


Review: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston


Book Description (from the back of the book):

Seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow always thought faeries were just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery. He’s a changeling - a mortal taken as an infant and raised among Faerie – and within short order he’s turned Kelley’s heart inside out and her life upside down.

For Kelley’s beloved Central Park isn’t just a park – it’s a gateway between her ordinary city and the Faerie’s dangerous, bewitching Otherworld. Now Kelley’s eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her, but to the heritage that awaits her…a destiny both wondrous and strange.

My Thoughts:

Wow. Just wow. From beginning to end, I was captivated with the whole story. This is the best faery book I’ve read so far! I’m looking forward to reading Darklight!

Lesley Livingston pulled me in with her poetic and hypnotic writing and compelled me to read on with her words. Lesley makes such vivid imagery that gave justice to the beauty and wickedness of the Fae. It was easy for me to picture everything. The modern setting was sliced with the magical realm, purposefully making Central Park the site of the convergence of Otherworld and ours. It intrigued me a good deal on how she made a famous landmark a place of magic and threat.

Kelley is in New York to fulfil her dream to become an actress. She is simply human in every way she could think of. She is of this world. At least that is what she thinks until the day she saw Sonny aka Handsome Stranger outside Avalon. With every strange and somewhat disturbing encounter with Sonny, she finds out that there’s more to Central Park than what meets the eyes and that there’s more to her than what she knows.

The simple glamour of Kelley’s play, the wonder and danger posed by Winter King Auberon, Autumn Queen Mabh and the Otherworld, and the budding love between Kelley and Sonny merges into an addicting story that is hard to resist. I devoured this novel and ended up satisfied. The tale of the Wild Hunt brought to life an enchantment twisted into a tragic and vengeful ending.

All the characters were interesting and entertaining. I especially liked Bob the boucca aka Puck. Naturally mischievous and humorous, he never fails to entertain and surprise me with his caring side for Kelley. And I discover that he plays such a bigger role than I initially suspected. Because of him Sonny and Kelley’s lives are tangled together in threads of vengeance and love.

Wondrous Strange is hypnotic and addicting with every page of magic, secrets and emotions wound through twists and turns. Everything is interconnected in this remarkable debut. I highly recommend this to fans of Faery and even if you’re not and would just like to try, I recommend this too. You won’t regret it.

Rating:



Fast Forward Monday (13)


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.


The Evil Within: A Possessions Novel by Nancy Holder

Release Date: June 10, 2010

Book Description:

Evil is a lot harder to fight when it comes from within

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling author Nancy Holder’s Possessions, Lindsay finds out that she, too, is possessed, and must return to creepy Marlwood Academy in order to rid herself of the spirit. Lindsay’s afraid of what the spirit is telling her to do—kill Mandy! But the secrets of Marlwood go much deeper than Lindsay thought. Sometimes the girls who seem like enemies are actually on your side. And the voices you trust the most—the voices that come from within—are the ones that want you dead.


Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph
Release Date: July 1, 2010

Book Description:

Even though you tossed me away, I'm here to stay.
Oh, Indigo, how could you let me go . . .

-from "Indigo Blues" written by Adam Spade, performed by Blank Stare

Indigo:

I never asked to be famous—or infamous. Such is my fate for briefly dating (and dumping) Adam Spade. Yes, the Adam from the indie rock band who wrote "Indigo Blues"—the song that gave the band overnight success, propelled them to New York City, and stole my precious anonymity. Now I'm pawed by fans, stalked by reporters, and pegged as a vicious heartbreaker. And Adam is still calling me. Doesn't he have better things to do?

Adam:

With a hit single and a promising career, I should be on top of the world. People on the street are beginning to recognize me, which is cool. And scary. The band is counting on me to write another hit, but I can't stop thinking about Indigo. Why won't she answer the phone?

The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2) by Julie Kagawa
Release Date: August 1, 2010

Book Description:

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey, iron-bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's alone in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

Take Me There by Carolee Dean
Release Date: August 1, 2010

Book Description:

Sometimes sexy, sometimes sad, and always intense, Take Me There is a dark and surprising novel about a boy on the run who's headed nowhere fast.


Dylan has a bad-boy past and a criminal record. He knows that rich, beautiful Jess is way too good for him—but she has always been the one person who sees through his tough exterior and straight to his heart, and he has been hopelessly in love with her from the first time they met. He would change his life for a chance with her.

But trouble follows Dylan wherever he goes, and a deadly mistake soon forces him to hit the road and leave his dreams behind. He’s on the run and in search of answers—answers to questions he wishes he’d never asked.

*Book descriptions are taken from Goodreads and Flux Site.

The Iron Daughter + Take Me There sound so great! For Take Me There, it only took one line to get my attention: Dylan has a bad-boy past and a criminal record.