Thursday, September 27, 2012

Banned Book Hop

The Banned Book Week Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and I Read Banned Books. There are over 100 sites involved in the hop so make sure you visit every site for a greater chance to win!

I'm so excited to be participating in the Banned Book Hop again this year. Banned or challenged books are a topic I care a great deal about. While I was in high school I literally had a book ripped from my hands during study hall from the librarian because it was banned from the private school I was attending. The book I was reading was Huckleberry Finn and it was from my favorite English teacher. She had given me her own copy because she thought it might be something I would enjoy but sadly neither of us were ever given that copy back. I didn't know it was banned from the school and I especially didn't understand why reading a book would get me sent to the principals office.


 
For this stop on the hop I'm offering one of my favorite banned or challenged books to one winner. The winner can choose either The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, or Looking for Alaska by John Green. The giveaway is open to US residents who are 13 or older. Good Luck!




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Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Something Strange and Deadly
By: Susan Dennard
Released: July 24, 2012
Source: Purchased
Purchase the Book: Amazon

"The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia… Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper— The Dead are rising in Philadelphia. And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother. Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance." (Summary from goodreads.com)

I really enjoyed Something Strange and Deadly and devoured this book in one sitting. The plot immediately captured my attention and didn't let go. Eleanor is worried about her missing brother which is why she goes to the Spirit-Hunters for help. The Spirit-Hunters protect the city from The Dead or otherwise known as zombies. Eleanor is a character that was easy for me to like and I really love how she develops over the course of the story. She was raised and taught to behave like a lady but she can't sit by any longer and do nothing. I liked that she is stubborn and doesn't give up easily.

I loved meeting and getting to know the Spirit-Hunters. There is Joseph, Daniel, and Jie who make up the team of protectors. I found each character to be strongly developed and I loved learning each of their back stories.

I thought the plot had a great balance of action and romance. I liked that this story was not just about zombies but it also involved a great deal of dark magic. I  also loved the setting in Philadelphia in 1876. The details that Dennard includes made it easy for me to picture the streets, the Exhibition, and even the dresses that Eleanor wears. Some parts were predictable from the beginning though but that didn't stop me from wanting to keep on reading.

I do have quite a few questions left about the characters and the world but I'm hoping the next book will help answer some of those. I will definitely be highly anticipating the sequel because I can't wait to see where Dennard will take this story next. Overall Something Strange and Deadly is a captivating and exciting story with romance, zombies, and dark magic.


My Rating:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #68: This Is What Happy Looks Like


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

This Is What Happy Looks Like
By: Jennifer E. Smith
Released: April 2, 2013

"If fate sent you an email, would you answer? In This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith's new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don't even know each other's first names. Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles. When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?" (Summary from goodreads.com)

This book sounds so good and I love this cover! I really loved The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith so I'm looking forward to another book by her.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant

Eve and Adam
By: Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant
Released: October 2, 2012
Source: ARC from BEA
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

"Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, EmmaRose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible.  While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything... until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely." (Summary from goodreads.com)

I loved Eve and Adam and read this book in one sitting because I didn't want to put it down. When I first read the summary of this book I thought it sounded great. I never thought that I would enjoy it as much as I did though because there is so much more to the story than what I originally expected.

Eve is in a serious accident and her mother takes her to recover in the laboratory that she works in. To keep Eve busy, her mother gives her the project to create the perfect boy. I liked Eve and found her to be a realistic character. She is smart but she also isn't perfect herself. She also cares a great deal about her best friend Aislin who is the complete opposite of her.

Solo has spent most of his life growing up in the laboratory but he questions the way that it is run. I really liked Solo because he was also a realistic character and I enjoyed getting to know him better. I loved the alternating chapters between Eve and Solo because it helped the plot flow. Also I liked learning more about Eve and Solo separately and what their perspective was on certain events.

The plot was really captivating and picked up immediately in the first chapter. It could get predictable at times but that didn't stop me from enjoying every page of this story. Some moments were funny and romantic while other moments were more intense. I especially loved the second half of the book as everything began to come together. I really enjoy science fiction stories so I loved exploring the laboratory with the characters. I also loved the setting in San Francisco but that might just be because it's one of my favorite cities. Overall though I really enjoyed Eve and Adam and strongly recommend it because it's a fascinating story!

My Rating:


Check out a sample from the audiobook:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

Dearly, Beloved (Gone With The Respiration #2)
By: Lia Habel
Released: September 25, 2012
Source: Netgalley
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

"Can the living coexist with the living dead? That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites. Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety. Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target. As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse." (Summary from goodreads.com)
I loved Dearly, Beloved and thought it was an excellent sequel to one of my favorite series. I really loved the first book in this series so I had high expectations going into this book. What I love so much about this series is the world that Habel creates. The zombies who are still capable of control are now trying to live amongst the living.

Nora is one of my favorite female protagonists. She is tough and capable of taking care of herself. She wants more freedom though. My favorite chapters were definitely the ones from Nora's perspective. Then there is Bram who is the zombie soldier that has completely stolen my heart even more in this book. I loved seeing Bram and Nora working together more. I also loved seeing the return of many characters and meeting some new ones too.

The plot was really exciting and instantly grabbed my attention. I actually read this book in one day because I didn't want to put it down. I loved all of the action and how there is a great balance of suspense and romance mixed in too. This book kept me on the edge of my seat and even brought me close to tears.

I love Habel's writing and I think it's so gorgeous. The chapters alternate between a lot of characters but I think that it works really great for this story. I think it helps move the plot along and also builds the suspense even more. I'm finding it hard to not spoil anything but when I put this book down I just couldn't stop thinking about how much I loved it. I strongly recommend Dearly, Beloved and the first book in this series, Dearly, Departed! It has everything; strongly developed characters, a fantastic setting, zombies, action, and romance. I will definitely be reading this book again very soon.

My Rating:

Uncontrollable by S.R. Johannes Launch


 
Yay! Uncontrollable is out today!
 
Uncontrollable is the second book in "The Nature of Grace" series by S.R. Johannes. Untraceable, the first book in the series, has won and been nominated for several awards including Winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award (YA), 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (YA Nominee), and a finalist in The Kindle Book Review's "Best Indie Book of 2012 (YA)".

Kirkus reviewed Untraceable as "A thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance. The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."

If you like a page turner, you will love this series!

Head over to Mundie Moms for a Big Uncontrollable Launch Party with tons of prizes and then over to SR Johannes blog for even more.

To continue on with the blog tour, check out the line up! Where SR talks about anything from marketing to writing to her books to personal interviews and giveaways.

Book Summary

As 16-year-old Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program".

While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants.

After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues.

Little does she know, she is being hunted too.

On Sale Now!

Uncontrollable is on sale in paperback and ebook at all major
booksellers including Amazon, iBooks/Apple (coming soon),
Smashwords, and B&N.

If you haven't read Untraceable, you can get it in paperback and ebook
at all major booksellers including Amazon, Apple, Smashwords,
and B&N.

Author Bio

S.R. Johannes is the author of award-winning and Amazon bestselling Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and new tween paranormal, On The Bright Side. She has also published short novelettes as well as a teen romance anthology with 16 other authors titled, In His Eyes. Uncontrollable, the sequel to Untraceable, is scheduled for September 2012.

S.R. Johannes is a winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Awards (Young Adult) and was also recently nominated for 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (Young Adult). Untraceable was also recently named a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review's Indie Book of the Year (YA)

After earning an MBA and working in corporate America, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.


Connect!

Follow S.R. online on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

You can also sign up for her newsletter to keep up on author or book news.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap: September 16 - September 22
 

Books I Reviewed This Week:
 
 
 
Books I Purchased This Week:
 
So how did your week go?

Author Interview: Travis McBee

Travis McBee, author of the Bridgeworld series, kindly took the time to stop by and answer some questions about his series.


1.) First tell us about the Bridgeworld series.
   Bridgeworld is about a world where aliens are very much real, but unlike those strange things you see in movies, the aliens in Bridgeworld are human just like the rest of us. The only difference in them is that they happened to grow up in a different place...a place with zero gravity gyms, devices that allow you to speak any language, and where you take a flying saucer to earth to scare terrestrials for a bit of fun. The main character, Will, is born to two people who moved to earth before he was born. He doesn’t know anything about his parent’s past until a strange man offers him a scholarship to their old high school, Bridgeworld. He decides to take the plunge and finds himself in a world that is familiar enough to be totally strange.

 
2.) What inspired you to write the series?
   I came up for the idea for Bridgeworld while sitting on my couch, thinking about a book I had read years before about a boy who finds out his entire community was aliens. I wondered what would happen if he had to go back to his parent’s community without his friends.
  Not being much for books with aliens, however, I decided to take it one step farther. What if there were aliens out there, and they were human just like us. From there, the idea took hold and I began hashing out the back story of how humans came to live in space, what their civilization was like, and what problems it might encounter. The first book is mostly about Will adapting to his new life, but in the second book he learns about the “true” history of Earth.

 
3.) Do you listen to any particular music while writing?
   I can’t have any music when composing; it distracts me. While I’m editing, though, I will turn on classic rock, dubstep, classical, really whatever fits the mood of the scene I’m working on.

 
4.) Since the Bridgeworld series involves aliens what is your favorite alien movie?
   Here’s a shocker: I’m really not that into aliens. That was one of the reasons I wrote the extra-terrestrials in Bridgeworld as human. The first stalled drafts of the book had your stereotypical aliens, but they bored me, and I quit on them. Making the characters in space human seemed like the best way to make them both more relatable and interesting. That said, my favorite “alien” movie would probably be “Predator”. Nothing special, I know, but I do like getting to the chopper.

 
5.) What is your all time favorite book?
   That’s a hard one. I would guess I’d have to go with Harry Potter if you can count a series. If not, I’d roll out Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.

 
6.) What was the last book you read?
   The last book I read was Hideaway by Dean Koontz

 
7.) Are you currently working on anything new?
   At the moment I’m idling away at a new novel which is quite different from anything else I’ve written. Once I’m done with that, I’ll probably get started on the Bridgeworld universe again


Thank you again Travis for answering some questions. Check out Amazon and Goodreads to find out more about the Bridgeworld series.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Opal Cover Reveal

 
Opal (Lux Series #3)
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: December 11, 2012
 
"No one is like Daemon Black. When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on. But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.  After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever. Together we’re stronger... and they know it."
 
Follow this link to an ~~~ EPIC CONTEST ~~~ Announcement. You will want to bookmark this page!
 
 

 USA TODAY Bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout, lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn.
Find Jennifer on: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Blog
 
 
I love the cover for Opal! It's gorgeous! I'm so excited for this book because this is one of my favorite series and I can't wait to read what will happen next!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Giveaway: The Raven Boys Signed By Maggie Stiefvater

 


On September 19 I attended a book signing for Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys) and David Levithan (Every Day). The signing was so much fun and both authors even did hilarious readings of their books.
The q&a was also great because of the fun banter that Maggie and David had going on. Both authors not only gave some great advice on publishing and writing but also talked quite a bit about their own personal writing experiences. I especially found it interesting when Maggie explained how she begins her books by writing the ending first. Overall though the signing was great and I loved having the opportunity to meet both of these authors.

 
 
Giveaway:
While at the signing I picked up an extra copy of The Raven Boys signed by Maggie Stiefvater to give away here because so far this is my favorite book of the year. (Read my review here
The giveaway is open to US residents only and to anyone 13 or older. To enter just fill out the rafflecopter form below. Good Luck! :)
 
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Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

Shine (Shade #3)
By: Jeri Smith-Ready
Released: May 1, 2012
Source: Purchased E-Book
Purchase the Book: Amazon

"In this dramatic conclusion to the Shade trilogy, Aura and Zachary’s relationship sizzles as the secrets of the Shift are revealed. Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past. As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart." (Summary from goodreads.com)

Shine was an excellent ending to one of my new favorite series. I admit I was a little hesitant about picking up Shine after the way Shift ended. I didn't know where Jeri Smith-Ready would take this story next but I am happy to say that Shine is my favorite book in the series now.

Aura and Zachary are finally uncovering even more about the Shift. Aura's life is definitely changing drastically. I love how much Aura has developed over the course of this series though. She has grown to become much stronger and more confident. I also really enjoyed getting to know Zachary even more, especially in Shine. I felt that he was developed much more strongly in this book too.

I loved seeing the return of other characters from the previous books but I also loved meeting some new characters. I particularly enjoyed getting to know Martin. Another aspect of Shine that I really enjoyed was the change in setting. I enjoyed seeing the characters interacting in a new and different place. 

The plot was exciting and picked up instantly within the first few pages. I was immediately lost in this story and finished it rather quickly. The plot also included several unexpected twists that I did not see coming. I loved how everything started to come together but it was definitely not how I thought it would. When I think back on everything that happened in Shine, I feel like a lot happens. However while reading, I never felt overwhelmed. Once again I need to mention how much I love the music that is mentioned in this story. I love having a playlist to listen to while I read. Overall, Shine is a great conclusion to a captivating and romantic series with characters you can't help but fall in love with. It's sort of bittersweet to say goodbye to this series already because I have grown quite attached to these characters. I strongly recommend the Shade series though because it's one of my new favorites. I definitely plan on reading more by Jeri Smith-Ready in the future and of course rereading this again soon.

My Rating:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Beautiful Creatures Trailer

 
Beautiful Creatures
Release Date: February 13, 2013
Book series by: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
 
I'm really excited about this movie! I love this book series a lot and was really excited when I first heard it was being turned into a movie! I love this cast and I think the trailer looks amazing! It totally left me with chills. I will definitely be at the theaters to see this on opening day in my Dark Caster t-shirt!
 
What do you think of the trailer?

Waiting on Wednesday #67: Things I Can't Forget


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Things I Can't Forget
By: Miranda Kenneally
Released: April 2013

"Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker. Set at summer camp, this book is about a girl named Kate falling in love for the first time." (Summary from goodreads.com)

I can't wait for Things I Can't Forget because I loved Catching Jordan. Even though the summary is short it still sounds great.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cursed Release Day Blitz

Cursed Release Day Blitz:
 
 
Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout is out today!
I'm a big Jennifer L. Armentrout fan and I especially loved this book! You can read my full review here: Cursed.

Buy a copy from Amazon or Barnes and Noble
 
I thought to help celebrate the release I would share just a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

"I guess it could be worse, I admitted. If I was going to hallucinate, then at least it was some hot dude instead of something gross." (10)


"He flinched and dropped my arm. "That's not true. I'm here for you." (75)


""What are you still doing up?"
I twisted around, spotting Hayden in the doorway. "Watching the...uh," I turned back, frowning at the screen, "the...way tigers mate." I sighed. Damn you, Discovery Channel." (105)


"My hand rose reflexively, wanting to touch him. I stopped myself a mere inch from his cheek. Helplessly, my fingers curled around thin air" (189)

Check out some more Cursed Release Day Blitz posts here