Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Monday, October 31, 2011

In My Mailbox- Week of October 23

I apologize for the double vlog but my camera ran out of batteries so I had to finish up in a second vlog as I was in a bit of rush so couldn't redo everything. Enjoy!

Books Shown:

Amplified by Tara Kelly
When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellison
First Day on Earth by Cecil Castellucci
The Right and the Real by Joelle Anthony
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
A Touch Morbid by Leah Clifford
Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton
Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyers
Spin by Catherine McKenzie
The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa (plus awesome VIP Press Pass for blog tour!)
Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Also, I will be coming back to regular blogging tomorrow (though I guess I kinda did today...) with a review and I'll be doing my best to post everyday like I used to be doing. So please stick around and comment on those!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sirenz Back In Fashion Cover Reveal Bomb!

The Sirenz Back In Fashion Cover Reveal Bomb is ON! Sirenz Back In Fashion, the sequel to Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman will be hitting the shelves in June 2012—but for now, enjoy the new cover! We’re having a mega-giveaway to celebrate. The Sirenz Back In Fashion cover is debuting simultaneously on SEVEN different blogs.Visit all of us to enter and win prizes—yes, that’s PRIZES as in more than one!

How will the adventures of Meg and Shar continue? Visit these blogs to see if you can figure out what happens next:







Each blogger is giving away a very special charm necklace which symbolizes something from Sirenz Back In Fashion. It could be an important object, or represent a significant place or character… or god! Leave a comment on what you think of the new cover and what you think that particular charm means, along with your email address to enter. You can comment to win on EVERY participating blog! This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL—let’s spread the Sirenz love around the world!

Drawing end dates will be determined by individual bloggers- my end date will be Monday, October 24 at 9pm EST. Once all blogger drawings are complete, another drawing of ALL entries from ALL blogs will take place for a grand prize to be
announced at http://www.thesirenz.com and/or http://nataliezaman.blogspot.com and http://charlotteebennardo.blogspot.com.

If there are any questions at all, please leave it in your comment and I'll edit the post to include the question and answer. Good luck to all!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Blog Tour- Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

"First I find out that my boyfriend is cheating on me. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And now he’s depending on me to clear his name. Seriously?

As much as I wouldn’t mind watching him squirm, I know that he’s innocent. So I’m brushing off my previously untapped detective skills and getting down to business. But I keep tripping over dead bodies and I’m still no closer to figuring out who did it. And what’s worse: all signs seem to point to me as the killer’s next victim.

I really need to pick a better boyfriend next time."- summary from Big Honcho Media

Gemma Halliday started writing fiction in 2002 and after winning several awards as an unpublished writer, her career kicked into high gear in 2005 when she won RWA's prestigious Golden Heart Award. One month later she was offered her first book contract, saving her from adding another dead-end to her eclectic employment history. After stints in Portland and Los Angeles, Gemma now makes her home in the San Francisco Bay Area where she is hard at work on her next book.

and now here's Gemma talking about her teen years:

Thanks so much for having me! On this leg of my DEADLY COOL blog tour, I’m talking about my life as a teen. DEADLY COOL follows sixteen-year-old Hartley Grace Featherstone as she investigates a murder, tries to keep her GPA up, and tries not to fall for her high school’s resident bad boy. Along the way, Hartley finds herself wrapped up in the super cliquey social groups that control Herbert Hoover High School. Since high school social groups play such a huge part of the story, one of my readers recently asked me which social group I belonged to as a teen. And I had to answer: all of them!

The Jocks:

In DEADLY COOL, Hartley’s boyfriend Josh is a total jock. He’s on the cross country team, the water polo team, and just about every other team. Josh’s bedroom is littered with sports trophies. While I wasn’t on every school team imaginable, I did spend my teen years studying marital arts, which meant I spent a fair amount of time training with the jocks in high school. (Just on case you’re wondering, I hold belts in both Tae Kwon Do and American Kenpo, a form of street fighting.) In fact, my high school prom date was a hot karate guy and a totally cute jock. So I can relate to Hartley when she falls hard for Josh.

The Goths:

As Hartley investigates the murder at her school, she comes across a likely suspect in Shiloh, the hot goth girl who hangs out across the street smoking cigarettes at lunch break. I’ll admit, I was Shiloh for a short period of my life. Only back when I was a teen the reigning anti-establishment group were more grunge than goth. (Nirvana, anyone?) I wasn’t actually a smoker, but all my friends were and we delighted in standing just outside the 100 yard boundary from the school where smoking was prohibited. Take that, administration!

The Cheerleaders and Color Guard Girls:

At Hartley’s fictional Herbert Hoover High there are two warring factions: 1) the tattooed, short-skirted, slutt-tastic cheerleaders and 2) the 4.0 GPA, chastity club joining, volunteering Color Guard Girls. Though I never took life to the extreme in either way as a teen, I did have a 4.0 GPA in school and I did try out for cheer my freshman year. Unfortuntely, I did not make the squad as I wasn’t able to do a full side splits. An unrealized skill that haunts me to this day.

So what social group did you belong to as a teen? Even more dishy… which one did you despise as the evil force of your high school?

(P.S. Join me on the next stop of my tour where I’ll be chatting about what I wanted to be when I grew up.)


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Commercials + Contest- Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow by Daniel Nayeri

YA author Daniel Nayeri makes his solo writing debut on October 25th, when his collection of four novellas, titled Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow releases from Candlewick Press.

In an ambitious promotional project, Nayeri worked with a leading production studio, Plywood Pictures, to produce a series of four commercials to accompany each story from the book.

You can view all the videos here (it would take up too much space here since I've got other fun stuff to show off!), so enjoy them! They're absolutely stunning!

Says Nayeri about the final clips, "Each of these commercials tries to give a sense of the tone of each story. I tried as hard as I could to keep my nose out of it. The Plywood Pictures guys are pros. They've done this for companies WAY bigger than me. So I said my peace and got out of their way. I love what they came up with. I'd love to see more book commercials, instead of trailers. From a writer's perspective, they didn't mess around with a story that I spent years laboring over. They made their own thing."

Fast Facts about the Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow videos:

1. The visual effects side for "Our Lady of Villains" took about 45 hours..not including at least a day of screen tests and noodling around with the technology.

2 "Toy Farm" was filmed entirely in Plywood Pictures studio with green screen backgrounds. (photo attached). Using stills and some digital camera tracking tools, they were able to fill in the rest of the scenes digitally. The impressive train and trestle were filmed on the green screen, as were the puffs of cotton, but everything else was a conglomeration of various photos of national parks which were sourced online.

3. The real trick for the "Wish Police" commercial was simply the machine. The machine took a couple days to design on paper and then about 2.5 days to build. (early blueprint attached with photo of assembly)

About the book:

This bold collection of novellas by Another series author Daniel Nayeri features four riveting tales. These modern riffs on classic genres will introduce young adult readers to a broad range of writing styles that explore universally compelling themes such as identity and belonging, betrayal and friendship, love and mortality.

Straw House: A Western sizzling with suspense, set in a land where a rancher grows soulless humans and a farmer grows living toys.

Wood House: This science-fiction tale plunges the reader into a future where reality and technology blend imperceptibly, and a teenage girl must race to save the world from a nano-revolution that a corporation calls "ReCreation Day."

Brick House: This detective story set in modern NYC features a squad of "wish police" and a team of unlikely detectives.

Blow: A comedic love story told by none other than Death himself, portrayed here as a handsome and charismatic hero who may steal your heart in more ways than one. With humor, suspense, and relatable prose, this hip and cutting-edge collection dazzles.

Written entirely on an iPhone, this quartet of YA novellas by Another Pan and Another Faust author Daniel Nayeri showcases four different genres.

Doesn't it sound awesome? Since I'm posting about this before the on-sale date of Oct. 25, Candlewick is providing a copy of the book for me to give away! So if the book sounded good to you, go ahead and leave a comment by Sunday, October 23 at 9pm EST and I'll pick a winner then. USresidents only. Good luck to all!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In My Mailbox- Week of October 2 + Retrospective

Another vlog! I hope you all don't get sick of me.

Books Shown:

Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough
Scored by Lauren McLaughlin (x2)
The Gift by Cecilia Ahern
Seven Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker
Immortal City by Scott Speer
Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Handbook by Michelle Rowan and Richelle Mead
Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe
This One Time with Julia by David Lampson
Dark Eyes by William Richter
A Million Suns by Beth Revis
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Catwalk by Deborah Gregory
My Beating Teenage Heart by C.K. Kelly Martin
Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis
Paintings from the Cave by Gary Paulsen
Unforsaken by Sophie Littleford
The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall
A Plague Year by Edward Bloor
The Lost Songs by Caroline B. Cooney
All the Earth Thrown to the Sky by Joe R. Lansdale
Empire of Ruins by Arthur Slade

and here's my retrospective-

Monday- I reviewed Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, which is out in stores now!

Tuesday- I got to participate in a blog tour for Supernaturally by Kiersten White, where I featured a dossier of dryads!

Wednesday- I reviewed Supernaturally by Kiersten White, which is out in stores now!

Friday- I announced that I'm taking a break from reviewing and will be back when I can, but I'll still be doing IMMs and other random posts here and there. Just no reviewing. I also have been doing some new He Said, She Said posts with Little Willow. They can be found on the awesome blog GuysLitWire. We did posts on If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman and Adoration of Jenna Fox/The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson. Please leave comments (or even feedback and questions!)!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Break Time!

Alrighty, so here's what going on. I am taking a small break from reviewing at least. I've found that I just can't juggle reading and my job without pushing my writing to the side and I really don't want that to happen. It's hard to get everything done in the 4 hours or so that I have in between waking up and going to work. When a review goes up, I basically JUST finished that book and then I'm on to the next one that I want to review two days later. It's not fun. So what I want to do is take a break from reviewing, and stockpile reviews so that I can be ahead by a couple weeks when I get back into the swing of things.

I'll still be doing the occasional post, like IMM on Sundays (this upcoming one has a TON of awesome books) and I still have to do my National Book Festival recap (pics can be found here). I also have a blog tour post for Deadly Cool coming up next Friday. I'm not sure when I'll come back to reviewing; it really just depends on how quickly I get through books and can get ahead on reviews, but hopefully before the end of the month.

It'll be nice to kinda take a breather and not have to figure out how many pages I need to read each day to stay on schedule. I can get back to doing about an hour of writing a day because I'd really like to finish this book and start querying as soon as I can (and then start writing another book). I'm really excited for this to happen and I hope I can come back very soon. Wish me luck! :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

"Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be... kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself."- summary from Amazon

Last year, I loved Paranormalcy and was so excited for the sequel. I'd planned to get the book from the library eventually but imagine my luck when I get an email from the awesome Emily saying I'd won a signed copy of Supernaturally! I was so happy.

OK, on to the book, it's pretty much as awesome as the previous book. I loved getting back into Evie's world, especially now that she's out of the Center and trying to live a normal life. Of course, with Evie, there's never going to be normal and eventually she's doing random assignments for IPCA so we get to see a huge variety of paranormal creatures. That's one of the things I love about this series- there's more than just the usual vampires, werewolves, and fairies (although just having the presence of all three in one book is still pretty awesome).

Evie still has that wonderful sarcastic voice that I loved and that made Paranormalcy such a compelling, fun read. These kinds of books tend to be very dark so it's refreshing to read something that's a bit more fun. There are some dark bits, particularly toward the end as Evie learns more about her past and what she can do. There's also the romance between Evie and Lend, which was really cute, but also had its own bumps in the road and obstacles to overcome, mainly regarding honesty.

Overall, this book is pretty awesome just like the first book and I can't wait to read the final book next year!!

FTC: Won a signed copy from Emily's Reading Room! Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blog Tour- Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.

So much for normal.

Kiersten White is the NYT Bestselling author of Paranormalcy. She has one tall husband and two small children and lives near the ocean, where her life is perfectly normal. This abundance of normal led her to a fascination with all things paranormal, including but not limited to vampires, faeries, and pop culture. Visit her at http://kierstenwhite.com.

IPCA Employee Handbook Section 3.2.78

Level Three
Known Entity (Human Mimicry), Ancient Origin, Separate Evolution

Immortality: Lifespan tied to trees
Breeding: Anecdotal (likely false) evidence; no confirmed cases
Appearance: Young women with pale skin, green eyes, and hair in various shades of brown. Always in odd, anachronistic clothing, usually simple flowing dresses in shades of green.
Myths: Most myths revolve around Dryads being tied to or loyal to specific Ancient Greek deities which (as far as this agency has been able to determine) do not exist. (Please see, Appendices: Ancient Religions, Theories of Faeries and, Section 35.64.)
Facts: Dryads are shy and elusive creatures, tied to a specific area geographically. Deforestation has lowered their numbers, though an accurate count has never been made. Dryads transported to the IPCA Natural Preserve did not thrive until their trees were transported as well. Dryads have been found in all areas of the world that have trees.
Dangers: Dryads become enraged when their trees are threatened. Additionally, dryads’ glamours are very beautiful, and they have been known to use their physical beauty as manipulation.
Information contributed by Evelyn age 15 (please see Appendices Catalog, Section 7, for details on glamour-piercing abilities), transcribed from the original audio: Dryads’ glamours are always super pretty. I want to see a paranormal who has an ugly glamour, you know? Wait. I guess hags do. Anyway. So you’ll see a really beautiful woman, maybe in her early twenties, as the glamour. I see a really beautiful woman, with that smooth, ageless look like faeries. Only instead of green eyes, they usually have green hair and green skin. The older ones (I think) have browner skin, sometimes even with cracks like bark. But they’re still pretty. Just…greener. Like trees. I wouldn’t want to date a tree, but they’re still really pretty.
Artist rendering of Evelyn’s description:

Wasn't that fun? I'm so honored to have been asked to be a part of this blog tour and it'll be continuing over at one of my favorite blogs, Steph Su Reads, on Thursday, Oct. 6 where another paranormal creature from the Paranormalcy series will be featured. You can check out Kiersten's blog for links to the other blog tour posts. But not only is there a blog tour, but Kiersten is heading out on the road for some physical tour stops- go here to find out more info! A review of Supernaturally will be posted later today so be sure to come back!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

"Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket - a gifted inventor - steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door."- summary from Amazon

I was really excited for this book because I loved Perkins' debut Anna and the French Kiss (as did pretty much most of the YA community). While it was really good, for me at least, it didn't measure up to the awesomeness of Anna. It took me a little bit of time to get into the book and I did enjoy the characters, especially Lola's gay dads and of course Lola and Cricket, but I didn't feel the same spark as quickly as I did with Anna. To put it in perspective, I thought Anna was 5 stars and Lola was 4.5 stars, so still amazingly good but just slightly not as good as her debut.

Speaking of characters, Perkins continues to put some wonderful ones in this book. Like I said before, Lola's gay dads were fantastic side characters and I loved reading scenes with them. Lola was a great main character too with quite a bit of flaws and was really relatable. Perkins also does a good job with the romantic male leads- Cricket is pretty damn amazing and sounds very hot. I liked seeing his and Lola's friendship develop into a relationship, which really makes the romance more realistic. Also, I knew Anna would be mentioned in Lola (like how Sarah Dessen mentions previous characters in her books) but it was much more than I had anticipated- Anna and St. Clair are both pretty major side characters. I loved seeing them again!

Overall, this is a very good follow-up novel and I can't wait to read Isla next year as well as anything else Perkins writes! She's just an amazing writer and I usually like to call these books "romantic comedies with substance".

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

In My Mailbox- Week of September 25 + Retrospective

I told you another vlog would be coming! Mainly because I have a TON of books to show you. Not as much as last time but pretty darn close! So here we go (btw, I'm wearing a new shirt I just bought Saturday):

Books Shown:

The Death Cure by James Dashner (hardcover, Oct 2011)
Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch (hardcover from library, Sept 2011)
Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James (ARC, Jan 2012)
Havoc by Jeff Sampson (ARC, Jan 2012)
The Survivors by Will Weaver (ARC, Jan 2012)
Pink Smog: Becoming Weetzie by Francesca Lia Block (ARC, Jan 2012)
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (ARC, Jan 2012)
Lovetorn by Kavita Daswani  (ARC, Jan 2012)
Black Boy White School by Brian F. Walker (ARC, Jan 2012)
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (ARC, Jan 2012)
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (ARC, Jan 2012)
If This is Paradise, (paperback, Sept. 2011)
Going Underground by Susan Vaught (ARC, Sept 2011)
Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow by Daniel Nayeri (hardcover, Oct 2011)
Don't Let Me Go by Janet Trumble (signed ARC, Dec 2011)

and here's my retrospective (not much going on this week!):

Tuesday- I posted my review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, which is out in stores now!

Thursday- I helped reveal the cover for Last Rite by Lisa Desrochers, the final book in the Personal Demons trilogy. Not only that, but if you leave a comment, you're entered to win an ARC of the book and Lisa is also hosting a bigger contest- go to the post for details!

Also on Thursday, Little Willow posted a He Said, She Said discussion we did of the two Jenna Fox novels by Mary E. Pearson. Go check it out and leave a comment!

Friday- I reviewed The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, which is out in stores now!