Friday, February 28, 2014

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: February 25,  2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Tella’s brother is dying. Her parents move them from Boston to the middle of nowhere Montana to get some fresh air. At the beginning to Fire & Flood Tella is going a little bit stir-crazy. When a mysterious box appears in her bedroom she is propelled in to a race called the Brimstone Bleed. The winning prize is a cure for her brother.

I went back and forth on whether or not I liked Tella. It wasn’t that Tella wasn’t a consistent character; she was just consistently back and forth. One second Tella would be fighting her damndest to save her brother and the next she would be lamenting the fact that she didn’t have any makeup in the middle of the jungle. I had a hard time getting a good read on her, if she had been more focused on saving her brother rather then makeup and boys I think I would have liked her a little more. Although, this would have been a very different novel if Tella hadn’t been so light. This novel was actually rather funny because of Tella.

What I didn’t like was the romance between Tella and Guy. It wasn’t the relationship itself that I disliked it was how it came to be and how Tella acted in it. In the beginning Guy is all stay away from me, I hate you. It was SO familiar I couldn’t take it seriously. Then after a few chapters they are together and he mysteriously doesn’t hate her anymore. On top of that Tella doesn’t need Guy. She is a badass in her own right, the ending of Fire & Flood showed that. It is really too bad that after Guy and Tella got together she depended on him rather then herself. I wanted her to be more independent.

One thing I really liked about Fire & Flood was the Pandora’s. They hatched from eggs and became companions to those competing in the Brimstone Bleed. I loved Tella’s compassion for these animal-like beings. I also enjoyed discovering their different powers.

The ending of Fire & Flood was amazing. The novel got off to a slow start but the last 100 pages had me engaged and rooting for the characters. It gave me the answers I had been clamoring for the entire novel and demonstrated how far Tella was willing to go for her brother. The ending definitely left me wanting more and I am excited for the sequel. I have high hopes that the story will hit the ground running and be even better then the first!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Life With The Walter Boys Blog Tour

My Life With The Walter Boys
Author: Ali Novak
Publisher: Sourcebooks Wattpad Series
Publication Date: March 1, 2014

Sixteen-year-old Jackie Howard is devastated when her parents are killed in a car accident. She has no one to turn to except for her mom's best friend Katherine Walter. Jackie quickly discovers that Katherine is no stranger to being a mom-she's got twelve boys! And every single one is a handful...
Adjusting to life with the Walter boys is not going to be easy, especially when two of them start to show an interest that definitely goes beyond brotherly.
Goodreads ♥ Amazon ♥ B&N 

Author Interview

Who is your favorite character in The Walter Boys? Why?
Hands down, Alex is my favorite.

Out of all my characters, Alex most closely resembles myself. I’m a bit of a geek or, as I call myself, a closet nerd. I love everything fantasy and science fiction, and I can spend hours playing videogames. Just like Alex, I’m a sensitive person and can sometimes be a bit naïve. For those reasons, Alex is very dear to my heart.

Your journey as an author is very unique. Can you tell us a little about what it was like writing on Wattpad and then having your story published by Sourcebooks?
My journey started when I was fifteen. That was when I wrote the first draft of My Life with the Walter Boys. I can still remember the opening line of the original draft. It went like this: “Hey! My name is Jackie Howard and I’m a New York City girl.” (Wow, just reading that makes me cringe!)

I uploaded the story to Wattpad in 2010, and it wasn’t long until the story took off. Since then, My Life with the Walter Boys has been read more than 29,000,000 times! Explaining it like that makes the process sound easy, but I promise it wasn’t. I wrote online for three years with very little success before I discovered Wattpad.

It wasn’t until 2013 that I got my break. That was when Wattpad formed a partnership with the publishing company Sourcebooks. I will never forget the moment I was officially offered my book deal. When I read the email, I started bawling. Like snot dripping down my face and everything.

Publishing is a dream come true, but the process was a huge change for me. The transition from writing online to writing under a contract was challenging, mainly because of the deadlines. In the past, I always updated my stories whenever I had free time, which wasn’t often. Having a consistent writing schedule was a foreign concept to me, and suddenly I had to rewrite an entire novel in less than three months! Let’s just say I spent many long nights at my desk chugging coffee and cranking out new chapters.

Of course, there were plenty of perks too. The best part of my transition was the wonderful staff at Sourcebooks, mainly my editor Aubrey. I’ll be the first to admit I’m horrible at editing, so to have a pair of professional eyes look over the book really helped whip it into shape.

Now that My Life with the Walter Boys is officially being published, it’s weird to think that I’ll never edit the story again—especially considering I’ve been fiddling with the manuscript for seven years. But I can look back on my journey and know that writing this book made me the writer I am today.

What does your writing space look like or consist of?
I really wish I could send you a picture of my writing space. The trouble is, I don’t have one. I’m in the process of moving from one state to another, so I don’t have a desk to write on! I can promise you that if I did, it would be a complete mess and buried under sheets of notebook paper with ideas scribbled on them. As of lately, I’ve been working at my local Starbucks.

If The Walter Boys had a theme song what would it be?
This is such a great question and I wanted to find the perfect answer, but you don’t understand how terrible I am with songs. I probably spent an hour looking through my iTunes library and nothing stood out at me. “We Are Family” annoyingly kept popping into my head, but that doesn’t fit the Walter Boys at all. Ideally their theme song would be a country one (I love country), and it would be wild.

What was the last book you finished and loved?
I devoured The Darkest Minds and its sequel Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken. It was the best dystopian novel I’ve read since The Hunger Games. If you haven’t read it already, I highly suggest you check it out.

About The Author 
Ali Novak is twenty-two-year-old debut author and a recent graduate from University of Madison Wisconsin's creative writing program. She wrote her first full length novel My Life with the Walter Boys at the age of fifteen. Since posting the story online, it has received more than 24 million reads and will be published by Sourcebooks Fire in March 2014.

When she isn't writing, Ali enjoys watching Food Network shows even though she can't cook, and reading any type of fantasy novel she can get her hands on. She is a Wisconsin native and hopes to make a career out of writing.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top 10 Books I Just HAD To Buy...But Are Still Sitting On My Bookshelf

1 The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Immediately after finished The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer I bought this because I HAD to have it. It has been on my shelf since release day.

2 Chasing the Skip by Janci Patterson
I became semi-obsessed with getting this book and the instant it was on my shelf I kind of forgot it was there...I still really want to read it though!

3 White Lines by Jennifer Banash
I tend to really enjoy books with drug use/issues so I HAD to have this one.

4 Immortal City by Scott Speer
I saw some really fabulous reviews for this on Goodreads and bought it on Amazon on a whim.

5 Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
I started to read this book and just wasn't feeling it so I decided to give it a couple weeks since I really liked Unearthly. Weeks have turned in to a really long time...It don't think I will be getting to Hallowed any time soon either. My cat just passed away and his name was Tucker, so I'm not sure I can bring myself to read this just yet.

6 Born Wicked by Jessica Sportswood
This was a pure case of cover lust. I still need to find out if the pages inside match the pretty outside.

7 Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
I love Richelle and I couldn't wait to start her new series. Only, apparently I could wait since it's still on the shelf.

8 Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
I finished Anna and the French Kiss in a day, bought Lola at Barnes & Noble the next and have been putting off reading it ever since. Clearly something is wrong with me.

9 Dark Mirror by MJ Putney
I can't even remember the reason I got so obsessed with owning this book. I can't remember the synopsis, or anything about it to be honest. Just that two summers ago I HAD to have it. I really should read it already.

10 Acid by Emma Pass
I had to trade for this since it isn't out in the US yet. It's been on my shelf for almost a year now with the US release date coming up I have a renewed reason to read Acid. As if the badass girl on the cover wasn't reason enough!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Do yourself a favor, go buy this book! You can abandon this review now, head to your local bookstore (or favorite online marketplace) and just buy this one. It is that good.

Rutkoski excels at world building. I was in love with the world she created in The Shadow Society and while reading The Winner’s Curse I was enraptured! I could feel the history oozing from the city, could see the war that took place between the Valorian’s and Herrani’s prior to the start of the novel. It has been a long time since I became so entrenched in a world.

Kestrel is the daughter of a general, this leaves her two options join the military or marry. Kestrel isn’t too interested in either option, she isn’t a fighter but a strategist, and the marriage prospects in the city aren’t exactly amazing. Kestrel would much rather play the piano and live through her music. I really liked Kestrel’s mind, she was sharp, clever, and steadfast. She really surprised me as a character and felt like a real person. It was interesting how she viewed conquering nations, when it was her father’s job to do the conquering.

While at the market Kestrel buys Arin. Arin is an incredibly multi-faceted character who you never really trust. Kestrel doesn’t treat Arin as a slave. She doesn’t treat anyone like a slave. It was really interesting to see Arin’s interactions with Kestrel and Kestrel’s interactions with the other slaves who live at Generals house.

When a big plot twist occurs I loved seeing how Arin and Kestrel changed with it, while still remaining the same people. There is so much working against their relationship. They are from nations at war with one another and both of them are loyal to their people and countries. I really can’t imagine their love overcoming all that is working against them, there is just so much in the way. That is one of the reasons The Winner’s Curse broke my heart.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I liked the secondary characters in this novel. Kestrels best friend and her brother were well fleshed out and added a depth to the story. I also loved the relationship between Kestrel and her father; they had their ups and downs. It felt very true to life.

Honestly, I could keep going, listing paragraph after paragraph of things I loved about The Winner’s Curse. The writing is well done; the story is intricate and ticked all of my mental boxes for an amazing story. I can not recommend it highly enough. I finished The Winner’s Curse in November and I am still thinking about it. Do yourself a favor, run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookseller and read The Winner’s Curse!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stacking The Shelves 97

Week In Review
Review: Lady Thief by AC Gaughen
Waiting On Wednesday: Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff
Indie Author Spotlight: Alana Jewel Mousseau
Review: Countdown by Michelle Rowen


Sublime by Christina Lauren
Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer

Push by Eve Silver
On The Fence by Kasie West

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Countdown by Michelle Rowen

Author: Michelle Rowen
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

I’ll say this about Countdown, it was very fast paced. From the second the reader is dropped in to this dystopian future the plot is always barreling forward. It had my heart beating quickly and kept me flipping through the pages.

The problem was that all this action didn’t allow for a lot of back story. Because this is a dystopian I expected a little more world building. This lack of world building left me confused. I had a lot of questions regarding how the Countdown operates, and why the world ended up as it did. 

I would have been okay with little world building had the characters been enough to keep me interested. Unfortunately, Kira and Rogan were really just tools for the action to happen through. To quote 10 Things I Hate About You “I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever be just whelmed?” That is how I felt by the characters in Countdown. I didn’t love them, or hate them. I just thought they were alright. 

The other thing I wasn’t too keen on was the relationship that develops between Kira and Rogan. I wasn’t buying it. They meet each other for the first time when they wake up cuffed to one another. From there a series of challenges ensue that do bring them closer together but…I guess I was just never really feeling the loooooove. 

For all of Countdown’s faults I did end up enjoying this novel. It was fast paced, entertaining, and it kept me interested right up until the end. If you’re looking for the book equivalent of an action-thriller movie, then this is definitely something you would enjoy!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Indie Author Spotlight: Alana Jewel Mousseau

Scars of Bifrost (The Scars Saga #1)
Author: Alana Jewel Mousseau
Publication Date: April 10, 2013

Freya Catten has lived on the fringes of society her entire life, growing up in hiding with her mother in the deepest, wild places left in North America -- the national parks and forests. Freya's mother taught her how to live off the land away from civilization – warning her of the dangers of getting involved with society and leaving traces of her DNA behind. But five years ago her mother abandoned her, leaving Freya to survive on her own. She knows how to stay alive hiding in the forest or running on the city streets. She changes her appearance often and owns nothing but her backpack filled with survival gear, clothes, a Kindle book reader, and iPod – her only two luxuries – and a necklace that had been her mothers.
Keeping one step ahead of social services isn't her biggest fear. Freya's true terror lies with The Takers -- who repel from silver cords out of the deep blue sky from nowhere. They snatch up their nearest victims then evaporate without a trace. Freya holds a dark suspicion -- that the Takers are really after her and they are closing in.
Now seventeen years old and starving for a family and home, Freya does what her mother warned her never to do -- she slips into a community.
Freya realizes if she is to ever have a normal life she must first find her mother and answer the questions that have kept her in hiding. Along the way, she meets Theron Hawk – a rugged teenage soldier from a war torn country and finds herself trusting more than she ever has.
As secrets are uncovered and she comes closer to solving the mysteries surrounding her life, blood, and the priceless necklace that lays around her throat, the Scars of the Bifrost will threaten to rip apart Freya's very existence.
SCARS OF THE BIFROST is the first story in The Scars Saga and is a Young Adult: science-fiction/fantasy, dystopian, and paranormal romance novel infused with wilderness survival, urban fantasy, and mythological realism.

About The Author

Alana Jewel Mousseau creates captivating YA worlds through the magic of ink. She writes brave but "human" female main characters, imaginative plots, and complex worlds; from high octane action to the exploration of the deepest emotions - you won't want to put your book down!

She can usually be found writing, playing in puddles with her children, hiking with her husband, or adventuring somewhere in the world. Her favorite place to write on warm days is outdoors, but when the weather gets too chilly she'll be inside at her desk, staring at the mountain-view from her home office in Montana, where she lives with her loving husband, children, and golden retriever.

She loves to travel and lived for three years in her RV with her family while visiting the national parks and forests of the U.S. and part of Canada. She is excited to add the rest of Canada and then Alaska to her travels in the near future!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Fiendish

Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: August 14, 2014

Clementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten.
Now she’s out and determined to uncover who put her in that cellar and why.

When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged

My Thoughts: I recently read The Curiosities which is a collection of stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Grattor and Brenna Yovanoff. As I was reading the stories I kept gravitating and connecting with the "Brenna stories". I can't wait to read this one!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen

Lady Thief (Scarlet #2)
Author: A.C. Guaghen
Publisher: Walker Children's (Bloomsbury)
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

I will admit no one was more shocked then me by how much I loved Scarlet. The book is written in dialect which is usually the kiss of death for me, and I have no prior knowledge, except the Disney movie, of the Robin Hood mythos. So, color me surprised, when I couldn’t put Scarlet down. Understandably, I went in to Lady Thief with some trepidation. So many series suffer from second-book syndrome, where the first is amazing and the second merely fills a gap from the first to the third books. Luckily Lady Thief does not suffer from second-book syndrome and I ended up loving it just as much as the first!

At the end of Scarlet the sheriff had been murdered and who was going to be the new sheriff was still a mystery. Lady Thief begins with Prince John’s arrival to Nottingham and his decision to hold a tournament which will determine who the new Sheriff will be.

I love Scarlet. She is the entire reason I love this series so much. Scarlet isn’t playing at being a badass, she just is. The more I learned about her upbringing and history the more enamored I became with her story.

I also loved the relationship between her and Rob. In the first novel it was more then hinted at, and then at the end we are left with shreds of hope that these two can keep it together. In Lady Thief I fell in love with Scarlet and Rob all over again! They really are perfect for one another. I have high hopes that no matter what Scar and Rob face they can overcome it together and I have my fingers crossed for a happily ever after

Lord Gisbourne was someone I hated in the first book. He was a great villain. My one main complaint is that in Lady Thief it felt like he became a completely different person. In Scarlet, Gisbourne was all swords out, scarring faces, killing people. In this story he was a very different man. It was a strange change of events and almost…almost had me feeling bad for Gisbourne.

Overall, Lady Thief was a great sequel to Scarlet. And that ending left me desperate for the third book! I have a feeling it is going to be a long wait.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Stacking The Shelves 96

Friday, February 14, 2014

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

It took me a month to read this book. I’m the type that finishes books in a couple days, even ones I don’t like. I usually finish pretty quickly because I give myself the ‘at least it will be over soon’ pep talk. The problem with The 5th Wave was that it would not end. I couldn’t give myself any kind of pep talk because after 2 weeks I was barely at the half way point. Another thing about me? I’m stubborn. Even though I was tempted to DNF I kept telling myself, you made it to the halfway point keep going! So it took me a month to read The 5th Wave but I did eventually finish. 

I want to tell you because it took so long that everything about this book was terrible. But honestly, it wasn’t all bad. There were portions of the story I enjoyed but other parts. Well…those were bad.

Let’s start with the good. I really liked Cassie, she was a survivor above all else and I could relate to that. I think that is how I would be if the world was ever coming to an end. She wasn’t trying to be a hero she was just trying to take it day by day. I also liked her steadfast dedication to finding her brother, and the relationship that develops between her and Evan. Actually, the only parts of the book I enjoyed were those chapters dedicated to Cassie.

What I wasn’t prepared for when I started The 5th Wave was 1. All of the backstory right in the beginning. The first 100ish pages was just back story. The back story was interesting but boring to read all condensed like that. 2. The shifting narration. After 100+ pages we got a new narrator. Then we got a third. Then I really lost interest.

Over half way through, on the second narrator I think, The 5th Wave took a turn for the Ender’s Game. I thought the mention of Ender’s Game in the synopsis was just warning, “Here There Be Aliens”, but no. The basic plot of Ender’s Game (child soldiers, alien fighting, lies) was thrown in to The 5th Wave. This plot made up much of the latter half of the story. I loved Ender’s Game but seeing it re-written and folded in to this story left a bad taste in my mouth.

The 5th Wave could have been half as long as it was, done without 1 or 2 narrators, and been a better story for it. The premise is interesting and I did enjoy the portions of the story narrated by Cassie. It was a very ambitious novel and, for me, all that ambition never morphed in to something I could enjoy.

If you ever wondered what it would look like if The Host and Ender’s Game had a love child then you should read this book.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Queen Of Zombie Hearts Cover Reveal

Today is the day! The cover of Gena Showalter's THE QUEEN OF ZOMBIE HEARTS is here! We're so excited to be able to share this with you as it joins an already stunning set! Ready to see it? Not quite yet lets take a look a the first two covers in the series!

First there was ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND...


Now get ready to EAT YOUR HEARTS OUT!!!

On-sale date: Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Add it to your TBR!  Goodreads

Pre-order your copy! AmazonBarnes & Noble

I have a plan.
We'll either destroy them for good, or they'll destroy us.
Either way, only one of us is walking away.
In the stunning conclusion to the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, Alice "Ali" Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She's ready to take the next step with boyfriend Cole Holland, the leader of the zombie slayers…until Anima Industries, the agency controlling the zombies, launches a sneak attack, killing four of her friends. It's then she realizes that humans can be more dangerous than monsters…and the worst has only begun.
As the surviving slayers prepare for war, Ali discovers she, too, can control the zombies…and she isn't the girl she thought she was. She's connected to the woman responsible for killing—and turning—Cole's mother. How can their relationship endure? As secrets come to light, and more slayers are taken or killed, Ali will fight harder than ever to bring down Anima—even sacrificing her own life for those she loves.

About Gena:

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, the Angels of the Dark, the Lords of the Underworld, and the Otherworld Assassins series.  In addition to being a National Reader's Choice and RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazine, and have been translated in multiple languages.  She lives in Oklahoma with her family and menagerie of dogs, and truly believes love conquers all.

Giveaway Details:
1 complete set of The White Rabbit Chronicles (first 2 sent as soon as the giveaway is over and the winner will get the first hardcover of book 3 when it's available!) US/Canada Only

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