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Monday, April 30, 2012

Blog Tour: UNRAVELING - Interview with Elizabeth Norris


Learn more about Liz at her website: Author Website
Follow Liz on Twitter: Author Twitter
Elizabeth Norris briefly taught high school English and history before trading the southern California beaches and sunshine for Manhattan's recent snowpocalyptic winter.

She harbors dangerous addictions to guacamole, red velvet cupcakes, sushi, and Argo Tea, fortunately not all together.

Her first novel, UNRAVELING (Balzer+Bray, April 2012), is the story of one girl’s fight to save her family, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming.
From author's website.


Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Publication Date: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Page Count: 445 pages
Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.
1. What/who was your biggest inspiration in writing Unraveling?
My inspiration came from a number of places, some more likely than others. I've always loved the idea of star-crossed lovers. Even in The Great Gatsby, Gatsby and Daisy are from such different worlds that it keeps them from being together...at least in the beginning. I was also in a long distance relationship when I started writing Unraveling and it really had me focused on the two people from different worlds aspect.

But I also really love science fiction, and television shows like The X-Files, Roswell, and Fringe definitely served as inspiration. I really wanted to read a book that pulled from the elements of science that I really found interesting.

2. Who was your favorite character to write?
A lot of the supporting characters are my favorite. I love Cecily and Elijah and Struz, but my favorite is Alex. He's Janelle's best friend and an extension of her family--he's the kind of best friend I think some of us are really lucky to have.

3. Who was your least favorite character to write?
I'm not sure he's my least favorite, because I love him, but Ben was the toughest character to write. First he's a little mysterious and secretive, especially in the beginning, and it's a hard balance to make him guarded but interesting and then even a little suspicious but still attractive. I didn't want him to be too perfect, but his flaws had to make people like him despite of them. Even more than that, I wanted him to be a character that has always looked out for Janelle and loved her a little from afar without coming across like a stalker. So these were all elements of his character and his backstory that I brainstormed before I started writing Unraveling, and then they were things I thought about as I wrote and when I went back to revise to try to make sure that I had done him justice.

4. What kind of research did you have to do while writing Unraveling?
I actually didn't do too much research. I taught at a high school for several years so a lot of the high school scenes are inspired by what I knew. The AP English scene where Ben and Janelle debate is an off shoot of a lesson plan I used to teach about comparing persuasive strategies in fictional marriage proposals. San Diego is a world I'm very familiar with and it was really fun to think of all the places there that I loved and incorporate them into the book. I have a friend who works for the FBI and I read Scientific American each month so I used elements of what I'd heard and read to draw from.

But I did do research on multiverse theory before I started writing. I read everything I could find on it--from scientific journals to random personal pages on the internet. I don't necessarily have a great grasp on quantum physics or anything, but I didn't want the story to get bogged down with scientific explanations either. So I just thought about everything I read and tried to create a world I could believe.

5. Are any of your characters based off of someone you know in real life? 
Not purposely. I would worry too much about people who didn't think my fiction portrayal of them was flattering. But at the same time, when I look at the book and the characters, I see glimmers of different people I know and love in all of them.

6. There are a lot of sci fi elements in Unraveling, but what genre would you classify it as? 
I suppose it's a romantic science fiction thriller. :) But if I had to narrow it down to one genre, I would say it's a thriller. There's (literally) a ticking clock and the stakes are of the "save the world" proportion.

7. Janelle is faced with the task of saving the world, how do you think you would react to having that responsibility on your shoulders? 
I don't think I could do it. Janelle is smart but she's also really tough. She has a few moments where we see the pressure getting to her, but she handles herself under that pressure better than I've ever been able to.

8. If you weren't a writer, what career would you want to have the most? 
For a long time I really wanted to be a flight attendant so that I could travel the world. I'm not sure I'm awesome enough when it comes to customer service (being friendly in the middle of a transatlantic flight must be tough sometimes), but I think it would be pretty amazing.

9. I absolutely LOVED me some Ben... will we be seeing more Ben in the next book? 
Absolutely. I also love Ben so it would be hard to write another book about Janelle without him.

10. Convince me to read Unraveling Twitter style: in less than 140 characters. 
UNRAVELING is a gripping story of one girl’s fight to save her family, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming.

Make sure you check out my 5 star review for UNRAVELING: HERE
And make sure you check out the other stops on the tour!

Wednesday 4/18: Liz Norris
Friday 4/20: Two Chicks on Books 
Monday 4/23: Justin's Book Blog
Tuesday 4/24: Release Day
Wednesday 4/25: My Five Monkeys 
Thursday 4/26: Good Choice Reading
Friday 4/27: Mindy Ruiz 
Monday 4/30: Literary Exploration
Thursday 5/3: Shortie Says

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Short Blogging Hiatus!


Quick Blogging Hiatus!

Hey lovely wonderful followers and friends! I just wanted to make this quick post to let you know I'm taking a short hiatus form the blog this weekend. I've been working my butt off with school and my new job, and I haven't seen much of my boyfriend or my friends so I'm going to take the weekend off from blogging to sort of settle my affairs if you will. I'd like to get some reading done, as well as some homework assignments I've been putting off. I'll also be spending some quality time with the man in my life and just doing some good ol relaxing. I hope you don't miss me too much, but I'll be back Monday :) I'd also just like to bypass Sunday completely at this point and pick up with "What I Got" post next week... Hopefully the drama will settle down by then! Have a great weekend everyone!!

P. S. I'll still be on le Twitter :) 

Waiting on Wednesday [36] Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

****"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.****



Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson
Expected Publication Date: October 9th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 336 pages
Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there.

What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.

Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.
Why I Can't Wait: Okay... this book sounds seriously unique. Also, the author is local so her launch party will probably be near me :) Anyways, it sounds incredibly AWESOMESAUCE! I can't wait until October, even though it's SO FAR AWAY!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday [33] Underworld by Meg Cabot

 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!

This week's teaser is from... Underworld by Meg Cabot
* If you haven't read ABANDON yet, this teaser may contain spoilers! *
"He kissed the palm of my hand. 'I'm sorry,' he said. All the laughter was gone, both from his eyes and his voice. 'Sorry for all of this - sorry for your nightmares, sorry for what your mother must be going through, not knowing where you are, and sorry most of all for the times when I... well, when I didn't behave around you as I ought to have. You weren't far from wrong last night you called me... what was it? Oh, right. A wild thing.'" (14)
* This quote is from an uncorrected ARC. Quotations in the final copy may differ *
 
Oh man, only 14 pages in and John already has me swooning!!! I can't wait to see what Pierce has in store for us this time :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Expected Publication Date: May 8th, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page Count: 293 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon
Don’t Sweat. Don’t Laugh. Don’t draw attention to yourself. And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?
Holy. Crap. This book is creeptastic! I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I started The Hunt, but I definitely loved every minute of it! Andrew Fukuda created a disturbing world where monsters are the majority and humans are hunted for food. Most believe humans are completely extinct, but some live among them, pretending to be monsters in order to survive. This was definitely a quick read, but that had more to do with the fact that I couldn't put it down than the length. I loved every minute of The Hunt and despite the nightmares it will probably give me later one, I am praying there is going to be another one!

I really liked Gene as a character. I didn't really connect with him emotionally, but I admired how far he was willing to go to survive. I definitely loved how he talked about his father and all of the things his father taught him about how to survive in a world of monsters. When he's chosen to be a part of The Heper Hunt his life is in jeopardy, but he fights through it. Of course, there is a bit of a romance, but it's definitely overshadowed by what's going on in The Hunt, although I do hope it's developed more (if there's a sequel!!!)

Fukuda's writing style is really well done. He's incredibly descriptive and there are scenes where some really gruesome stuff happens, but there is no sugar coating in The Hunt. People are ripped to pieces, melted in the sun, and you get a clear and disgusting picture of it. I absolutely LOVED it! Some parts gave me shivers and others had me gasping and screaming out loud. I didn't see much of anything coming, nothing is predictable. I definitely do not recommend reading this book at night.

Overall, despite the fact that I don't give ratings on Literary Exploration anymore, The Hunt gets 5+ stars!! I love a good horror story and this one greatly surpassed my expectations for it! It's horrific, terrifying, gruesome, and inspiring. A story of survival, loss, and sacrifice that had me reading late into the night and early into the morning. If you haven't already added The Hunt to your TBR I highly recommend it!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox [36]

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren where you can learn about all the awesome new books I've picked up this week!


I only got a couple of things this week so I'm going to hold on to them and show them off next week!! Hope everyone had a good weekend, and make sure to leave your links so I can stop by and see what you got!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Releases: Week of April 23rd

OH. MY. GOD. There are so many good things coming out this week!!!! I know I've read most of these already, but still. I'm definitely planning on picking up most of them at work this week :D Especially THUMPED! And a finished copy of UNRAVELING! SO STOKED!!!!!



What books will you be buying this week? Anything I missed?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Author Interview: Tera Lynn Childs & GIVEAWAY

Tera Lynn Childs is the award-winning author of the mythology-based Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp, the mermaid tales Forgive My Fins, Fins Are Forever and Just For Fins (July 3, 2012), and a new trilogy about monster-hunting descendants of Medusa, starting with Sweet Venom and Sweet Shadows (September 4, 2012). She has also epublished two fun chick lit romances, Eye Candy and Straight Stalk. Tera lives nowhere in particular and spends her time writing wherever she can find a comfy chair and a steady stream of caffeinated beverages.
I definitely feel super awesome having Tera on my blog today! I absolutely ADORED Sweet Venom and I'm stoked to finally read Sweet Shadows (which I have an ARC of :D) ! So, on to the awesomeness that is Tera!!!

1. Sweet Venom is about 3 sisters who are descendants of Medusa. What inspired you to write their story?

A magazine spread about snake-themed accessories. Seriously, I was flipping through a magazine (InStyle maybe) and saw this collection of snakeskin notebooks and serpent earrings and thought, "Wow, that's really cool." I was already writing about mythology so I put those two things together (snakes and mythology) and came up with Medusa.

2. What kind of research did you have to do on this specific myth?

Actually, I was amazed to find out how little specific information there is in classical mythology about Medusa. That's good news for me, though, because that means I get to play around with what information there is and twist it to suit my purposes.

3. Sweet Venom takes place in San Francisco, CA (The Bay Area! I live there!!), what kind of research did you have to do about the city to make it as accurate as possible?

This is the first time I went on a research trip for a book. In April 2010 I spent a week in San Francisco, just kind of wandering around and looking for locations for the books. I even made a Google map of those locations (with artistic license in effect) http://bit.ly/mRFsvX. Everywhere that in the book? I've been there. And I'm planning to make another research trip this spring to get everything I need to finish up the trilogy.

4. Out of the three sisters (Grace, Gretchen, Greer) who was your favorite to write? Who did you most identify with?

I am probably the most like Grace. I was good in school, I'm good with computers (though nowhere near as good as her), and I used to have a hard time standing up for myself. Gretchen is definitely my favorite girl to write, though, because she's so awesomely kick-butt and she also has a tough background. She's complicated. That always makes for interesting writing.

5. What can we expect from Sweet Shadows? I'm hoping we'll get to hear more about Greer?

Yes! While Sweet Shadows focuses a little more on Gretchen (like Sweet Venom focused on Grace) there is definitely a lot more Greer. I think readers will like her a lot more by the end of this book because, honestly, there wasn't much to love about her in the first one. I think I can safely say that Sweet Shadows is the book in which the $@#& hits the fan. Everything that was just starting to go wrong in Sweet Venom goes pretty off the charts. More boy time, more monsters, more mythology and more danger.

GIVEAWAY TIME!
- US ONLY
- Must be 13 or older to enter
- I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items
- Winner will have 48 hours to respond

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Expected Publication Date: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: Dial
Page Count: 545 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Book Club
* This is the third book in the Graceling Realm series. If you have not read the first two books in this series my review may contain spoilers! *
Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.
I absolutely adored both Graceling and Fire, but Bitterblue was so much of a disappointment, I don't even know what to say about it. I feel like Cashore spent so much time writing this one that she forgot about how beautiful and exciting her first two books were. Bitterblue is incredibly whiney and dependent on everyone around her (nothing like the fierce heroines of the first two books) and because she's always confused, I was always confused. I've spent the last 3 years or so impatiently waiting for a third installment in this series, and it was not worth the wait at all. This book is way too long and could have been so much better if it had been edited down and didn't involve so many plot twists.

There are way too many characters to remember in this book, and the only ones I genuinely enjoyed reading about were Katsa and Po. I fell in love with Katsa and Po in Graceling and I really wish there was more of them in Bitterblue. Bitterblue is one of the worst heroines I've read about in a long time. I understand that she's inherited this grief stricken kingdom that's slowly coming out of Leck's reign, but she doesn't seem to do much for herself. She basically relies completely on her advisors (who were once Leck's advisors) to tell her anything and everything about her kingdom, and they do a horrible job. I have to admit, she's a pretty terrible queen but she doesn't do a lot to fix that. And she's always calling on Po or other people to help her out of sticky situations rather than handling things herself which really rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, I loved how independent and fierce Katsa and Fire were in their books, and Bitterblue is nothing like them!

The writing itself is really incomplete and confusing at times. I wonder if Cashore meant for the book to be written with a sort of confusing plot line, because Bitterblue is so confused, but either way I didn't enjoy it. I was constantly having to backtrack and at some points I just felt like I had no idea what was going on or how the characters got from one place to another. Story lines became jumbled in my mind and I started forgetting who was supposed to do what, and who was who, and who was someone else, and why they were going here or there... see... confusing! I just feel like there was so much hype surrounding this book and it fell short on so many levels.

While Graceling was an amazing beginning and Fire had me burning for more, Bitterblue fell short in so many ways. I just had too many problems with this book to really enjoy it the way I wanted. I put it down more than once to pick up something else, and sometimes I even dreaded having to go back to it. I'm glad I finished it, because there were some amazing parts in the end, but overall I don't think this book was really worth the month it took me to read it. If you loved Fire and Graceling as much as I did then you might be a tad disappointed with this one. I really wish Kristin Cashore would write a continuation of Katsa and Po's story!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [35] - The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

****"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.****

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
Expected Publication Date: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 304
Happily ever after is a thing of the past.

A series of natural disasters has decimated the earth. Cut off from the rest of the world, England is a dark place. The sun rarely shines, food is scarce, and groups of criminals roam the woods, searching for prey. The people are growing restless.

When a ruthless revolutionary sets out to overthrow the crown, he makes the royal family his first target. Blood is shed in Buckingham Palace, and only sixteen-year-old Princess Eliza manages to escape.

Determined to kill the man who destroyed her family, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. She has nothing left to live for but revenge, until she meets someone who helps her remember how to hope—and to love—once more. Now she must risk everything to ensure that she not become... The Last Princess.
Why I Can't Wait: So I'm pretty sure this is basically a dystopian fairy-tale type story set in London. How freaking cool is that?! Also, it comes out in less than 2 weeks!!! I think this is definitely going to be one of those books that I pick up the day of release! Or the day after, since I'll be working the Wednesday after :) I am definitely excited about this one!!!

What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesday [32] Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

 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!

This week's teaser is from... Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
"That night and the two nights following, she went out again, visiting the two pubs she knew, listening to stories. Often, the stories were about Leck. Leck torturing the little cut-up pets he'd kept in the back garden. Leck's castle servants walking around with cuts in their skin." (45)
* This quote is from an uncorrected ARC. Some quotations may change in the finished copy *
I'm almost done with this one! Only 100 more pages or so to go, and I'll finally be through with it! I have to admit, I probably would have stopped awhile ago if I wasn't reading this for my book club... Sad day. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Expected Publication Date: May 8th, 2012
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Page Count: 305 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon
* I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own *
It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?
First of all, I absolutely love fairy tale retellings. Actually, I absolutely love fairy tales in general. Enchanted is an interesting mix of every fairy tale you can imagine thrust together in a one pot meal. While some elements of the different fairy tales worked well together, others seemed included simply because they were fairy tales, but didn't add much to the overall story. The novel is definitely on the shorter side, at around 300 pages, which was somewhat of a downfall as I felt like some elements were incredibly rushed and confusing. I enjoyed the overall story and I am definitely looking forward to reading more by Kontis, but this particular book didn't thrill me the way I had hoped it would.

Sunday is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, but she was really the only daughter I could keep track of. The rest of the daughters are quickly described in the beginning, but I had a hard time distinguishing each from the others. I think that sometimes it can get to a point where there are just too many characters to keep track of in one story, and this is one of those cases. I did really enjoy Sunday, she's so head strong and independent, while still being obedient and respectful to her family. Rumbold was kind of a flat love interest, I have to admit. There wasn't really anything about him that I found swoon-worthy, and he wasn't particularly enchanting. Also, a lot of the relationships revolve around insta-love, which was acceptable because it is a fairy tale after all!!

The story itself was cute, and it wasn't overly predictable like most fairy tales are. Kontis's writing is definitely elegant and beautiful, and kept me entranced even when the story fell short. I do wish there was more editing done, because I think that some things could have been taken out in order to build more character and story development. There were just too many things going on at one time, and some went by so quickly that I had to backtrack in order to understand what was happening. However, the story was cute and interesting enough to keep me reading, and by the end I was happy to have read it.

I am definitely looking forward to seeing more from Alethea Kontis. Her writing style is gorgeous, and I am hoping to read more about Sunday and Rumbold. While the story did have some flaws, my overall impression of it was that it was a cute and romantic fairy tale retelling. Fans of fantasy and fairy tales will definitely enjoy Enchanted. It's a quick and easy read that will have you smiling until the end.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox [35] The one with GILT!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren where you can learn about all the awesome new books I've picked up this week!



Books Mentioned:
Gilt by Katherine Longshore
Black Dawn by Rachel Caine
Silence by Michelle Sagara
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Uglies: Shay's Story by Scott Westerfeld
Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs

Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Releases: Week of April 16th

Hi guys!! I managed to find time to put together a New Releases post (yayy!) Just a quick update on my life before I get to the new books coming out this week. As most of you know, I started my new job at Barnes and Noble last week!! It's super awesome because I basically get to just shelve books and find books and tell people what books are good all day long, but it's also been really stressful because I'm still at my other job for another week, plus I go to school full time, so I haven't had much time to do anything else. Thus, my blog and my social life have been suffering. My school work's actually been suffering a bit as well, so hopefully I can pull myself out of this ditch pretty soon. This week is going to be my last week at my other job, so hopefully I'll be able to get my act together after the 20th! Fingers crossed :) Thanks for continuing to stop by, and I'll try to get on Twitter when I can!!

New Releases for the week of April 16th


Clicking on the images will take you straight to the Amazon webpage where you can purchase any of these books!! Looks like this week is pretty depressing as far as new releases goes! What's up with that!?

Anything I missed that you're waiting on?

Friday, April 13, 2012

[Giveaway] Printz Award Winners Maggie Stiefvater, Daniel Handler, & John Corey Whaley At Books Inc!


Remember that cool giveaway I did recently? Where I gave away a box of ARCs to ONE winner who purchased a book from the Robin LaFevers and Barry Lyga signing??? WELL... I am doing it again!!! This time, Maggie Stiefvater (author of Scorpio Races), Daniel Handler (author of Why We Broke Up),  and John Corey Whaley (author of Where Things Come Back) are going to be at Books Inc. in Opera Plaza (in San Francisco, CA) on Wednesday, April 25th at 7PM!!! Woooohoooo!!! So if you didn't get the chance to win some ARCs before, here's another one! If you'll be at the signing, GREAT! You can purchase your books there! If you won't be at the signing, no prob! You can order the books ONLINE at booksinc.net, or by calling the store! If you want to order SIGNED AND PERSONALIZED books by any of these authors, I recommend calling the store! Once you purchase your books, make sure to fill out the rafflecopter form! That's it!! If you attend the signing, be sure to get your entries in by 12PM the following day!!!

So, all you have to do in order to enter this giveaway are the following:
- Order any book by the above authors! (online: Books Inc., phone: 415-776-1111, in store!)
- If you want the book personalized I recommend calling the store directly. You can order a signed copy up until the 24th
- Fill out the information in the Rafflecopter form!
- If you have ANY questions, you can email me at literaryexploration@yahoo.com


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review: The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

Publication Date: December 8th, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Page Count: 360 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own *
Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine - a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it's undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingoes in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe - in love, in herself, and even in miracles.

A debut novel from an immensely talented new writer, The Probability of Miracles crackles with wit, romance and humor and will leave readers laughing and crying with each turn of the page.
I just finished Probability of Miracles about 3 minutes ago (this was on January 23rd!!!), but I really wanted to write this review while my emotions were still fresh. At first, I thought this book was going to be incredibly depressing, considering it’s about a girl who gets cancer, but it was actually so inspiring. Wunder is a wonder with words (teehee!) and I can’t wait to read more by her!

Cam is an awesome female protagonist. She’s so strong, despite having battled cancer for most of her life. She’s also seriously hilarious and snarky. I just loved her sarcastic attitude and how she doesn’t let herself get down just because she has cancer. And Asher.. ohh Asher. He is one of the sweetest guys I’ve read about in a long time. The relationship between him and Cam develops really slowly and naturally, which is fantastic because you know how I hate insta-love.

Wunder is an amazing writer and the way she develops her characters and her settings really made me feel like I was in the story and that Cam and her friends were all my friends as well. The way she describes the town of Promise is just breathtaking. And have you seen that cover? It’s so eye-catching and just pops!

Probability of Miracles is a fantastic read that I enjoyed from beginning to end. Despite Cam’s struggles with cancer, she really understands the need to live life to the fullest, and she doesn’t let people make her feel bad for being sick. Despite the fact that I thought this book was going to be a heartbreaker, it really made me look at the way I live life, and helped me understand that life is short and we should all appreciate the time we have. If you’re a contemp fan you’ll fall head over heels in love with this one!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Send Me to BEA!


Hey guys!! In case you didn't know, Goodreads is holding a special contest for Book Bloggers and they are going to send ONE blogger from each of four different categories to BEA!!! I'm entered in the Young Adult and Children's section, and I would really really love to go!!! Especially since voting opened up yesterday! MY BIRTHDAY! So if you all ban together and vote for me, it will be like sending me to BEA for my birthday :D Wouldn't that be AWESOME??? I think so :) 

All you have to do to vote is click on the link below and it will send you to my entry! Then you just click on the button that says "Vote for this blog!" THAT IS IT! Super simple right :) I would absolutely LOVE to attend BEA this year, but I can't afford it, so this is a special oppertunity for me, and of course you! Because we all know I'll be giving away some of the awesomeness that I get there :) So thanks in advance for voting, and I have my fingers crossed!!

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Waiting on Wednesday: Reached by Ally Condie

****"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.****



Reached by Ally Condie
Expected Publication Date: November 13th, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Page Count: 384
Cassia faces the ultimate choices in the long-anticipated conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy.

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

Why I Can't Wait: Although I didn't love Crossed in the same way I loved Matched, I am definitely excited to find out what is going to happen in the final book!! It's always depressing when a trilogy comes to an end, but I think Ally Condie is going to have something CRAZY awesome in store for us :)

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Expected Publication Date: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Page Count: 445 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon
* I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own *
Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.

When I first read the synopsis of this book (a girl who dies and then comes back to life to save the world?!) I was hooked. I went in to Unraveling knowing I was going to love it to death. And I absolutely did. Not one of my expectations was let down, and I am seriously hoping that Elizabeth Norris writes a sequel to this one, because I need more Janelle! And I need even more Ben!!!! All of the characters were so well written and Norris' writing style is just so beautiful. I know this is just a debut, but I can't wait to see what else Elizabeth Norris comes out with!

As I said before the characters are all really well written. While I didn't relate to any of them, I felt like I knew them. When disaster struck, I cried my eyes out. When some of the more romantic things happened, I smiled like an idiot and also cried my eyes out. Janelle is an amazing female protagonist; she's strong, smart, resilient, and incredibly selfless. She cares about people with her whole heart and she goes above and beyond to take care of her own. Ben is a great love interest, but I definitely wish there was more of him! The romance doesn't really set in until half way through the story, which is about 250 pages or so, and I just wanted more Ben!! Their relationships IS a bit insta-lovey, but I dealt with it because I was so in love with him, myself :)

The writing is fantastic, and the story is wonderful! I was constantly on the edge of my seat while reading Unraveling, and I could not for the life of me predict anything! Whenever I would sit back and think, "Oh this guy did it!" 20 pages later I would be proved completely wrong! Elizabeth Norris did a wonderful job creating something unique and fast paced, and I loved every minute of it! There is a quite a bit of swearing, so if you're uncomfortable with that then you probably don't want to pick this one up. However, I wasn't bothered by it, because I felt like it made the characters more realistic.

Overall, I absolutely loved Unraveling and I had a hard time putting it down. Fans of sci-fi. mystery, thriller, and adventure will fawn over this story-line. I was a bit confused sometimes, but I think the entire novel was just so well done. Usually I have a hard time reading books that are this long, but I found myself to immersed in the story that the length just didn't bother me. I can't wait to see what Elizabeth Norris comes up with next!!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In My Mailbox [34] - The one with UNRAVELING!!!!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at the Story Siren where you can learn about all the awesome new books I've picked up this week!





Books Mentioned
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Belles by Jen Calonita
False Covenant by Ari Marmell
172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
Endlessly by Kiersten White
Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (signed!)
Partials by Dan Wells (signed!)
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (signed!)
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (signed!)
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer


Bloggers Mentioned
Nicole at The Reader's Antidote

Friday, April 6, 2012

Discussion: Blog Tours and Author Interviews


Some of the more common questions on the request form have been about Blog Tours and Author Interviews. These two sort of go hand in hand, because typically during a Blog Tour you have the option of interviewing the author. Both of these topics can be pretty daunting when you first start blogging, and I know I was scared of both for awhile!!! When I found out how easy it really is to get involved in blog tours, as well as interview authors I was stoked! Now when I find authors I really love I immediately ask for an interview, and blog tours are great ways to help publicize both your blog and the books!
Remember, these are just my own opinions and experiences. I am not an expert in any way, shape, or form.

What is a blog tour?
A blog tour is basically an online book tour, that a tour manager will put together with a bunch of bloggers. Each blogger will be assigned a day and a post type that will go up for their scheduled tour stop. Your choices typically involve author interviews, guest posts (you pick the topic), reviews, character interviews, this or that, and many others! Sometimes the tour manger will specify the different types of posts that are available and you will have to follow certain guidelines. Blog tours are a great way to link up your blog with a bunch of other bloggers and help publicize great books, as well as promote yourself!

How do I get involved in a blog tour?
For a long time I would see one of my favorite bloggers, Giselle from Xpresso Reads, participating in a different blog tour every week! I thought to myself, “Wow, these look like so much fun! I want to be involved!” The first step to participating in a blog tour is to find out which ones are going on. This can be tricky if you don't know where to look. Here are some tips on finding fun blog tours:
  • Ask Twitter: A lot of the times, authors will host their own blog tours and if you send out some tweets showing interest in joining blog tours they will track you down. Also, friends and other bloggers may know about some good tours going on and will inform you of the correct person to email if you are interested.
  • Ask your friends: If you stop by a fellow blogger's page and notice they have a bunch of upcoming tour posts coming up, ask them how you can get involved! Sometimes tour managers will be looking for tons and tons of bloggers to participate! However, for bigger tours that are organized by publishers (like the upcoming Hemlock tour) you'll have to get an invite from the publicity person in charge, so if you didn't get one then it's probably going to be impossible to join in.
  • Novel Publicity: I've worked with this blog tour company before and it's usually pretty easy. Plus, they only send you blog tour info for books they think you'll be interested in, and no matter what type of post you choose to do, you'll get an e-copy of the book!
  • Tribute Books: This is another great tour site that I work with and I really love the way they manage everything. It's incredibly professional and the authors are very prompt with getting you all the needed information.
One thing to remember about blog tours is that you shouldn't post negative reviews for the book. At least, I don't think you should. In most cases, you're more than welcome to post whatever you want to say if you signed up for a review, but I myself cannot in good taste write a negative review for a blog tour. Yes, I will probably review the book on my blog on a later date, but as a courtesy to the tour manager and the author, I will only post my review for a tour if it is a 4 or 5 star review. I try to read the book about 3-4 weeks before my scheduled date so that if I am not interested in the book at all (which has happened) I can email the tour manger and let them know that I need to change my post because of my feelings towards the book. They will be more than happy to get you an interview or guest post as long as you let them know with enough time for them to talk to the author! If you don't mind posting a negative review for a tour, than by all means go for it, but I feel like it's a bit disrespectful to the author.

Guest Posts or Interviews?
Personally, I like to do author interviews more than guest posts. Guest posts tend to be easier because all you have to do is give the author a topic and they'll write a few paragraphs about it, and then you can copy and paste it into your blog. Done! But as a reader, I enjoy interviews MUCH more, especially when they're with some of my favorite authors. I think interviews give us more of an insight into the mind of the author and what inspired them to write the stories that we love so much. Also, I love learning about weird quirks authors might have, and the other things that make them so normal.

I absolutely love this author, how can I interview them?
Authors are some of the coolest people out there and I just LOVE interviewing them. Some of my favorite interviews have been with Jodi Meadows (author of INCARNATE) and Veronica Rossi (author of UNDER THE NEVER SKY) which are AWESOME debuts!!! I also have an interview with Tera Lynn Childs (author of SWEET VENOM) coming up that I'm really excited for :) Any ways, some people were wondering how they can go about getting an interview with an author, and honestly it's really quite easy. You ask them! You just go ahead and send them an email with the subject line: Interview Request. Then you tell them a bit about yourself and your blog, and then gush about their books because you loved them SO MUCH, and then you politely ask if they'd be willing to do an interview on your blog. Typically, I follow this up by saying, “If you are available for an interview, here are the questions I'd be interested in hearing the answers to:” and then list about 5-10 questions that I have thought up, that way they can just fill in their answers and email me back quickly. Then I say THANK YOU VERY MUCH, and maybe tell them again how much I loved them, and that's that! If they don't respond after 2-3 weeks I would just send a quick email asking if they received your first request, because occasionally your emails will get lost on the internet.

How do you think up the questions?
I try not to do interviews with authors until after I've read their book, that way I can ask questions that pertain to their specific books, rather than general questions. However, I do have a list of questions that I LOVE to ask all authors, because I think the answers are always so fun! If I haven't read an author's book, I'll just pick and choose questions off that list that I think will relate well to their books. Some examples of MY questions are:
  • What kind of research did you have to do while writing your book?
  • Which character did you enjoy writing the most? The least?
  • Which character do you most relate to?
  • Who has been your biggest inspiration?
  • If you weren't a writer, what kind of career would you like to have?
Those are just a few! Obviously you're welcome to ask whatever you'd like!! However, it's better to specifically ask for interviews of authors you love and adore so you can ask questions about their books, and let readers know what they're up to as far as what they can expect in an upcoming novel, or how they figured out their setting, or weird things like that.

What about you? How have your experiences been with blog tours? Do you prefer guest posts or interviews more? Do you have any advice for people who want to get involved in more tours??

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Expected Publication Date: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 464 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon Books Inc.
*I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*
What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

Tenderhearted Southern girl, Anna Whitt, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

A cross-country trip forces Anna to face the reality that hope and love are not options for her kind. Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?
When I first saw Sweet Evil on someone's WoW post I immediately ran to Goodreads and added it to my TBR. I love books about angels, preferably when demons are involved as well, so I was incredibly drawn to it. Plus, that cover is GORGEOUS. I honestly don't have a bad thing to say about Sweet Evil, Higgins did a fantastic job dealing with both the romance (no love triangle!) and the religiousness of it all. I commend her and I can't wait for the next one!

Anna (she has my name!!) is a great protagonist; she's strong, smart, brave, honest, and just an overall kick ass girl! I really felt like I could relate to her, because she's not a big partier, she spends a lot of time with homework, and she doesn't have a lot of friends (other than Jay! <3), but she's happy with her life. Of course, she meets bad boy Kai who totally changes that ;) Kai... ah *sigh* he is just SO dreamy and drool-worthy. I really need to get my own Kai. If you know me at all, you know I LOVE the bad boys :) The rest of the characters are also developed really well, I felt like Anna's friends were my friends! Everyone is just written so well, I connected with them all on such different levels.

The story is so different from what I've read before, Higgins does a fantastic job with writing an original angel story! I never once thought, "Now what can I compare this to?" because I really couldn't compare it to anything! The originality is so refreshing, and I can't wait to see what's going to happen next! And did I mention no love triangle?!?! Because there isn't one!! It's fantastic. The religious aspects are also done really well; while Anna is spiritual and moral, she doesn't shove religion down anyone's throat and she makes mistakes and lives life just like a normal teen. I was talking with Molli from Once Upon a Prologue about the difference between Religion and Spirituality and I think Higgins really captured that which was an awesome ability!

Overall, I absolutely loved this book and I don't have a bad thing to say about it!!! The characters are fantastic and so easy to relate to, and the story itself is just so well written, fast paced, and exciting! If you haven't ordered your copy or added Sweet Evil to your TBR you really need to!!! This book is amazing on so many levels and I definitely recommend it to angel lovers! If you're not a big fan of angels, I bet you'll still like it because of all the AWESOMENESS and hot Kai that is going on :) I definitely recommend buying over borrowing!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [33] Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

****"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.****

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 
Expected Publication Date: June 5th, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (BYR)
Page Count: 368
Purchase: Amazon
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near-impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one unlikely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life– a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha… and the secrets of her heart.
Why I Can't Wait: Leigh Bardugo is going to be at my local indie, and I'm super excited to meet her!!! I've been really interested in books with Russian influences in them, and this sounds like the PERFECT thing to read :) I DO have a copy sitting my shelf, that I've yet to get to, but I'm going to start it closer to release!!!

What are you waiting on this week? Make sure you leave a link!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Teaser Tuesday [31] - Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

 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!

This week's teaser is from... Of Poseidon by Anna Banks!
" 'There's nothing wrong with your daughter, Mrs. McIntosh. I said we're not sleeping together. I didn't say I didn't want to.'
She inhales sharply and releases him. Clearing her throat, she smoothes out his wrinkled shirt with her hand, then pats his chest. 'Good answer, Galen. Good answer.' " (83).
* This quote is from an uncorrected proof. Quotations in the finished copy may differ *
HAHA! This is Emma's mom and she is bat crap crazy! But I love it, she's hilarious!!!! Seriously loving this book it is AWESOME!

What teaser do you have this week? Make sure to leave a link!

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Disclaimer

According to FTC guidelines I must point out that all of the books that I review on my blog were either purchased by me or were given to me by the author/publisher. All words and opinions expressed are my own and I do not receive any monetary goods for writing reviews. I will state in my review which books I have received for review and which books I have purchased/borrowed. All images and synopsis are taken from Goodreads.com unless otherwise stated.
 
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