Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Blogger Hop (17) + Contest Reminder

Book Blogger Hop

Hi everyone! Welcome to Fragments of Life! Look around and see if you like my little virtual home. If you do, you’re welcome to visit anytime you want! Comment below with your links so I can visit you too!

It’s time for another blog hop! As you all know, Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event that gives readers and bloggers the chance to get to know other people who share their passion and interests, as well as to discover blogs. Join the Hop!
This week’s question is:

"Summer is coming quickly - what 2011 summer release are you are most looking forward to?"

Actually, it’s already summer in this part of the world. I’m really looking forward to …

Blood Magic (The Blood Journals) by Tessa Gratton!

Zomg. I am a fan of The Merry Sisters of Fate (Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff and Tessa Gratton). I love their short stories and their novels. Shiver and The Replacement are two of my favorite novels ever! I’m excited to read Blood Magic. In fact, I’m dying to read it! (Free copies at BEA??) Aww…I’m halfway across the world. How can I go there? I wish I could find my book faery soon!

Don’t forget to enter my contests! Both are open internationally! :)

Win: Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler (loved this too! It’s a steamy summer read!)

What about you? What are you guys looking forward to?


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cover Covet: Summer's Crossing by Julie Kagawa

I just saw this cover a couple of minutes ago and I just have to post it here.
If you’ve read my reviews of The Iron King and The Iron Daughter (I’m getting The Iron Queen on Friday!!) you’ll know that I’m on Team Puck! I know it's not meant to be... Ash and Meghan’s love life is amazing. I have no problem with being on Team Ash and I admit that sometimes I’m on Team Ash. But…Puck! The poor guy… It’s just heartbreaking.

Anyway…time for the gorgeous cover of Summer’s Crossing!

Summer's Crossing is an Ebook novella told from Puck's point of view that accounts for the time elapsed between the end of Meghan's story, in Iron Queen, and Ash's tale, told in the upcoming fourth installment of Kagawa's Iron Fey series, called Iron Knight.

It looks amazing! And sounds like it too. I can’t wait for it!

Waiting on Wednesday: Falling for Henry + Winging It!

Falling for Henry by Beverly Brenna
Publication Date: October 2011
Published by: Red Deer Press

Falling for Henry (Red Deer Press, 2011) is a Young Adult time slip novel which relies on historical fiction to tell the story of fifteen-year-old Kate Allen who escapes the trials of her own teen existence in central London by traveling back to the court of Henry VII at Greenwich Palace. Once there, she masquerades as Katherine of Aragon, the young woman who will become the first wife of the young and charismatic prince once he is crowned King Henry VIII. At first seeing their courtship as an answer to her 21st century troubles, Kate’s changing heart provides a strong rhythm for this close look at relationships.

One of the sub-themes of the novel involves wolves of 16th century England who, close to extermination, have found a way to thwart extinction. This related environmental theme offers the life force Kate has been missing, and as she discovers ways to put her different pasts behind her, she also finds ways to come to terms with the present, including the panic attacks that have been increasing in duration since her father’s untimely death. Will the young wolf pup she befriends in Tudor Times make it back to reunite with its mother in modern day England? Will Kate ever find someone to replace a lost soul mate? Only time will tell in this fast-paced adventure, rich with British history and modern-day coming-of-age sensitivity. Thought-provoking reading for ages 11 and up.

Why I Chose This:

I’ve always wanted to read time travel novels. I like the historical element of the book, as well as the romance. It sounds like a cute, sweet read. Also, I absolutely like wolves! So when I read about a young wolf pup involved in the story, I couldn’t resist!

Winging It by Deborah Cooke
Publication Date: December 6, 2011
Published by: NAL Trade

Zoë Sorensson yearns to come into her powers as the only female dragon shifter. But being part of two worlds is more complicated than she expected. It’s bad enough that she’s the target of the Mages’ plan to eliminate all shifters—she also has to hide her true nature from her best friend Megan, a human. For her sixteenth birthday, all Zoë wants is one normal day, including a tattoo and a chance to see hot rocker Jared.

Instead, the Pyr throw her a birthday party but ban Megan from attendance, putting Zoë in a tight spot. Things get even worse when Zoe is invited to the popular kids’ Halloween party and Megan’s left out. Zoë knows the party is a trap laid by the host, an apprentice Mage. When Megan gets a last-minute invite, Zoë must save the day—and her best friend—without revealing her fire-breathing secrets ...

Why I Chose This:

I’m going to start the first book ASAP! I’m highly interested in anything related to dragons and I’d most definitely want to continue the series! I’ve heard great things about Deborah Cooke and I’m about to find out if all of those are true (which I’m about 95% sure of.)

Guest Post by Holly Schindler + Giveaway (International)

Hi everyone! Yesterday, I posted my Playing Hurt Review. Honestly, I didn’t expect Playing Hurt to turn out the way it did! It was unexpected, intense and strong. As part of the Philippine Playing Hurt Blog Tour, Holly will be talking about her characters’ pain, fears and healing. Stick around for a chance to win a finished copy of Playing Hurt!

In PLAYING HURT, I’ve got two characters who have both been hurt in different ways: Chelsea’s been hurt physically, in a horrific fall on the basketball court.  And Clint’s been hurt on an emotional level. 

I think that the worst scars, though, are the mental ones.  Both Chelsea and Clint are scared.  Why wouldn’t they be?  They’ve both endured the kind of hurt that completely changed the course of their lives.  Mentally, once you’ve endured hurt, you have this hesitation—you hang back, you don’t take risks, you guard yourself. 

That’s the toughest thing to get rid of—fear.  Sometimes, though, the best way to stop being afraid is to find someone else to be scared WITH—sometimes, that’s the best way to build up courage again.  And that’s why Chelsea and Clint connect so strongly.

Really, then, PLAYING HURT is every bit as much about getting over fear as it is about getting past the pain of losing the thing that makes you tick—the thing you love more than anything else in life…

Thank you for sharing, Holly! 
If you like the sound of Playing Hurt, you can try Holly’s debut, A Blue So Dark! Her book received amazing reviews from bloggers and critics!

Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura’s dad left them. Convinced that “creative” equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

Giveaway: Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Star basketball player Chelsea “Nitro” Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone’s admiration in her hometown.  But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.

As a graduation present, Chelsea’s dad springs for a three-week summer “boot camp” program at a northern Minnesota lake resort.  There, she’s immediately drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who’s haunted by his own traumatic past.  As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home.  Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain—or finally heal their heartbreak?


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Open internationally!

*for every comment you leave on any of the posts included in the tour, you get an entry!

Review: Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler + International Giveaway

Book Description via Goodreads:

 Paperback, 312 pages
March 8, 2011, Flux

Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.

That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?

Source: Holly Schindler via Philippine Playing Hurt Tour (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Chelsea lost her luster after she got injured in her last game, losing her confidence and the brilliant future that she got ahead of her. With a hurt hip, a shattered heart and a ruined dream, she has nothing left but the sweetest boyfriend on earth – Gabe. He remained beside her through the hard times, proving himself worthy of her love. But when she went to Minnesota for a three week vacation and met Clint, she found something that she did not expect.

I liked Schindler’s writing. It was like poetry. She could show readers a different angle of reality, an artsy and sensitive side of life. I admired every word in this novel. But what I admired more was the way Schindler showed Chelsea’s complicated feelings toward Gabe, Clint and her life. The intensity of the emotions in this novel made it very realistic to me. I remember experiencing those emotions as a teenager.

Gabe and Chelsea’s relationship was what I would call sweet and smooth, as long as nothing happens. Before Chelsea’s accident, she was a girl of strength and confidence. But after her last game, she fell down, lost the girl she once was to a deep sadness and ache for the past. Gabe held her hand through it all and assumed the role as her knight in shining armor. Chelsea loved him for everything he did. Enter Clint. Clint was Chelsea’s trainer for her boot camp in Minnesota with a dark and melancholy past of his own. He and Chelsea were strongly attracted to one another. At first, they were unwilling to be with one another but as the days passed, they found out that they were drawn to one another and were already starting to develop feelings toward one another. Racked by guilt, they suffer because of their relationship but the guilt soon gave way to desire.

I guessed how this would play out but I was surprised at how some of the things turned out. I liked the other characters. They were amusing. Brandon, a passionate bassist, found himself in a band in Minnesota, rocking a restaurant. Todd and Greg were opposites. Todd was quite dense and clueless while Greg was the sensitive one. The ending was not as I expected it to be. I didn’t expect it to end like that but it was satisfying nonetheless.

Playing Hurt is an emotional roller coaster that is engaging, steamy and intense. I was instantly pulled in. I read this fast! Sex in YA is usually not detailed. Schindler did none of that. I like how the rawness of the desire, the lust, the longing was tamed by the loving tone of the narration. It has become an art, an image of passion. I recommend this to older teens, to readers of romance and those who like contemporary reads!


Giveaway: Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler 

If you’re interested in reading Playing Hurt, this is your chance!


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Open Internationally!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays: Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Hi everyone! I’ve been busy that why I haven’t been posting any Teaser Tuesdays! But right now, I’m still awake so I might as well do it!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read.
-Open to a random page.
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)  
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I’m currently reading Hereafter by Tara Hudson! I love it so far!

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.

My Teaser:

At the sound of the knock on the window, we froze, our lips only a breath apart.
“Who is it?” Joshua asked me through clenched teeth. Without moving my head, I strained to see behind him.
“A girl,” I whisper.
-p. 151, Hereafter by Tara Hudson (ARC)

What’s your teaser? I promise I’ll visit later when I get home from school! 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Review: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Book Description via Goodreads:

Hardcover, 424 pages
April 5, 2011, Margaret K. McElderry

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.

Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

Source: Gifted by mom (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

I’ve read this for almost two weeks now but this is the only time that I was able to write a review. For the days after I read CoFA, the only thing that I could think of when I try to review this is one word: WOW. This is a more enthusiastic review, so please bear with me. So…now for my review:

I am in love with Cassandra Clare’s writing. It was simply beautiful, funny and breathtaking. I know some people were disappointed with this book but I was not. I think it was because I had no specific expectations. I just read for the sake of reading and continuing the story.

The relationships of the characters were given ample attention. Jace and Clary were having a bit of a ‘gap’ between but they had steamy, passionate moments together. Magnus and Alec’s relationship was great. I felt happy that Alec’s parents were able to accept his relationship with a warlock. I liked how I got to see into Maia’s past from another perspective. The characters had their own piece that fits into the whole story.

Simon finally plays a more important role. It was good to know about his daily experience and his feelings as a Daylighter. He was safe from everyone but at the same time, he was somewhat alienated from the vampire society because of his mark. The changes in his love life were amazing. Seeing their world through Simon’s eyes was a bit saddening. As someone who was once human, he missed the mundane things he used to be able to do such as eating and being able to enjoy it. The simple pleasures in his life were gone. I was glad to see Simon as an invincible character who had issues as both a Daylighter and a teenager. What was a bit unfair was that no matter how much Simon helped Shadowhunters, he would always be Other, an unwanted, a Downworlder among the defenders of humanity and of the Law. But as always, Simon’s sense of humour was one of the things that I love in TMI.

Clare’s writing still pulled me in as deep as the first three books of the series. The drama, the suspense and the action were enjoyable. Some of the things that happened were predictable but most of them were unexpected. There were moments when I was screaming ‘Noooooooooo!!’ at the characters, mostly at Clary, but of course, they couldn’t hear me and they got in trouble. There were mighty disturbing images in this novel, things that I would flinch at in real life, things that I would never ever want to see. It was so hideous that I found myself shocked, repulsed and worried for the characters. The fight scenes were well written. It was as if I was watching a movie in slow motion then it would speed up, I could see all the details. The ending was a killer! Be prepared, if you haven’t read it yet. Be prepared, that’s all I’m saying.

City of Fallen Angels excels in the action, romance and suspense department. Darker, sadder and more dangerous, this will leave readers begging for more. I recommend this to Clare’s fans and to urban fantasy readers!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Starcrossed Writing Challenge

InkPop is once again having a writing contest. But this week’s contest is for Greek mythology fans, especially those who are fond of reading about starcrossed lovers.

Helen Hamilton has always known there was something different about her, but it's not until she meets Lucas Delos that she finally realizes her destiny. Descended from Greek Gods Helen and Lucas's families have been embroiled in a deadly blood feud for centuries. Now it's up to these teens to correct the past and create their own future.

Starcrossed is a unique paranormal that leverages Greek Mythology to create a new story and world. Now it's your turn. Using folklore, greek mythology or some other historical text create a contemporary story or poem. You can turn King Arthur into a modern day football hero or Snow White can now be an independent feminist and seeker of justice. Use your imagination!

How to Enter:
Post your writing to inkpop through the standard upload process. Make sure to put the challenge ID, IC#58, in the title. Once your project is uploaded, post the project's URL link in this forum.

How many winners: Four

Prizes: Two writing winners and two commenters will be also be selected to win a copy of Starcrossed as well as three additional books of their choice from the HarperTeen catalog. Winners will be announced on inkpop Forums.

Starcrossed Writing Challenge Details:
 inkpop Challenge Marker: ic#58
Format Selection: Any
Genre: Short Story,Poem, Essay
Launch Date: April 21st, 2011
Deadline: April 28th, 2011 (12 p.m. EST)

Source: InkPop

Review: The Survivors by Amanda Havard

Book Description via Goodreads:

Hardcover, 283 pages
March 29, 2011, Chafie Press

In 1692, when witch trials gripped the community of Salem, Massachusetts, twenty-six children were accused as witches, exiled, and left for dead. Fourteen of them survived.
The Survivors is the first installment of the tantalizing tales of the fourteen ill-fated Survivors and their descendants, who have been content in hiding for over three centuries. Isolated on a Montana mountainside, only Sadie, the rogue daughter, dares to abandon the family's sacred hiding place. But no matter how far Sadie runs, something always pulls her back.
On a muggy summer night in Tennessee, she witnesses a shocking scene that will change her life forever. It is the first in a sequence of events that will drag her from the human world she's sought to belong to for over a century and send her back to her Puritanical family and into an uncertain future filled with cunning witches, mysterious nosferatu shape-shifters, dangerous eretica and vieczy vampires, millennia-old mythology, and the search for her own mortality. After all...
The Survivors will steal your heart and invade your mind. Fall into the pages of Sadie's life, a world so frighteningly similar to your own, you'll find yourself wanting to go to the Montana mountains to find the Survivors for yourself.
And it is only the beginning.

Source: Chafie Press & Amanda Havard (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

I found Sadie likable. She was trying to fit in among humans after more than a century of being protected and hidden behind the gates of her family’s secret city in Montana. After being isolated for so many years, she was right in the middle of humanity, being able to sense their feelings and observe their behavior firsthand. I loved her narration. Despite being immortal, she did not boast about it. Unlike most heroines, she was aware of her charm and her beauty but she was still humble. I liked her protectiveness of Corrina, her first human friend. I was fond of supernatural creatures with human emotions and human thoughts like Sadie.

Sadie’s family, the Survivors, was one of a kind. Their elders, the first Survivors who were exiled from Salem, had strong and somewhat strange ideas of what a family should be. Their purpose was deeply rooted in God but at the same time they overlook some of the teachings in the Bible. I have never encountered supernatural creatures that practice this. It was one of the things that really intrigued me. Throughout the years, they have believed that they were the only ones who were gifted with immortality and powers.

I loved the twists in the mythology! Havard has a very unique take on the paranormal. The eretica from Russia were startlingly hideous and creepy. The nosferatu shape shifters reminded me of a pack of werewolves. They were quite feral but deep inside, they were humans. It was good that there was a blend of Russian and Romanian mythologies with that of the usual mythologies of the Salem Witches and vampires.

While Sadie spent her days learning about humanity and fitting in, she travelled all over the world to look for ways to find her way to rest, to death. Even though she was searching for an end, she never failed to enjoy life to the fullest. She lived in style. Her too-long life has proven to be more than enough. Without her desire to stay with her family, she had no more reason to stay alive, to prolong her life. From time to time, there would be a memoir from Sadie’s perspective. These showed a younger Sadie who was brimming with questions and thoughts.

I found the romance to be perfectly sweet with a hint of hesitation. It was quite clean but there were passionate moments too. It was done well, not too cliché and not too ordinary. It was just right. Cole Hardwick was the gorgeous perfect gentleman that Sadie met in Corrina’s wedding. But there were too many limitations and complications with a human, unlike with Everett Winters. He was immortal too. He reciprocated Sadie’s feelings and he could be with her forever.

The Survivors is a promising debut and an incredibly unique paranormal romance. Unputdownable, engaging, realistic and dark, I promise this is unlike any other Salem-Witch-Trials-inspired-book. I was hooked right from the start. I recommend this to fans of paranormal romance and to those who seek novels about witches, shape shifters and vampires!