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Friday, November 26, 2010

The 18th: I Spy

I hope that everyone had a fantastical Turkey Day!  Stuffed yourselves full of turkey, mashed potatoes and pie! Just like I did.  Haha.  And those of you who braved the stores for Black Friday, I salute you fellow comrades.  All the chaos was worth it in the end though!  I think I'm gonna crash at any minute...been awake for far too long.  

So to celebrate a nice end to the holiday here's a bit more creative fun for the birthday bash!  I created a sort of cover collage of different YA books.  And as you may have guessed, you guys get to figure out what covers are which.  Each little piece is identified with a number and therefore a book title.  For every title you guess correctly you will receive extra points to win a book of your choice.  So if you guess all 15 titles correctly you'll have 15 chances to win.  Extra entries from the form, will not go towards this particular contest.  Open internationally, as long as Book Depository ships to your country.  Send me an email at cantfindabookmark@gmail.com with your guesses! If you send in your guesses and then figure out new ones you can just update your email.  Have fun guys! This should be fun!  And hopefully I didn't make it too difficult/easy either way.  P.S. I would appreciate more cover re-design entries puhwease!!!!





Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The 18th: Ode to Poe

It's time for the next contest for the big bash! A few quick reminders!  If you want extra entries towards each contest you enter you must fill out the FORM!  Also get those cover re-design entries in!  Remember it is international as well.  You can enter multiple entries for fun, but you must clarify which one you would like for me to judge.  If you still wish to put your creative mind to use then check out the info HERE!

And onto today's contest!  I recently finished Nevermore.  I. Totally.  Loved. It.  So in love in fact that I decided that I'd add it as a prize to the bash.  All you have to do to win a brand spankin new copy is 1. be a follower and 2. tell me your favorite Poe poem or story.  I'm a huge fan of Poe and I thought it would be fun to know everyone's favorite.  Just leave a comment on this post with your contact info!  The cover art and synopsis follow! 

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!
— from "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe
Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.  Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.  As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.
His life depends on it.

 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kicking off the 18th!!!


Today’s the day! It is officially one year TODAY since my first ever blog post!  Today is going to be a wonderful day, simply because I get out of school today for an art trip.  And I’m typing this, on a bus, at seven in the morning, in the dark.  Awesome day.  ^.^  
If you haven’t and would like to gain extra entries fill out the form HERE!  I have lots of prizes lined up and some lovely people have donated awesome books.  So…. Since today is an art day for me, I’m going to kick off the birthday bash with a cover redesign contest!  I know these take some time on your part, but the thing I love about cover re-design contests is that you get to see how creative people are.  It’s always so cool to see other people’s interpretations of different books.  Instead of picking a supernatural book, I picked a historical fiction one.  Now if you actually read my reviews you’ll know that I really adored this book, but I hated the cover.  It was just god-awful.  So to satisfy my own need to have an amazing cover to match an amazing book, you guys get to re-design it.   You shall be re-designing Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl.  And if you pay attention to my posts at all, you’ll know that just for fun I designed a new cover for Andrea’s contest.  It got my mind thinking about how much I liked that book, and so now you guys get your shot at putting your own spin on it.  
Depending on how many entries I get, I’ll either judge them myself or have you guy’s vote for your favorite.  The winner will receive a copy of Prisoners in the Palace at the conclusion of the festivities.  You’ll have until December 1st to get your entries in.  So without further ado here’s the cover and synopsis to stimulate your creative minds!  

Synopsis: London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza's dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady's maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servant's world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the chance to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future queen?
Post your entries on the Mr. Linky below!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Extra Entries for The 18th Birthday Bash!

That's right!  Two days till the big event starts!  And I have yet to come up with a  better name, so ya... though Andrea was kind enough to make me a wicked awesome button!

Since I'm getting everything kind of sorted and put together the issue of extra entries popped into my brain.  In the past I've done the whole "Tweet +3, blog post +10, etc." and I HATE doing it for other blogger's contests and I promised to never subject you guys to it again.  However, I know that some people really love the extra entries and so I've come up with a compromise.  I will have an extra entry form, however it goes for the whole contest.  For every separate contest you are allowed one entry only.  If you fill out the extra entry form, then those extra entries will be added to each contest you enter.  Sound fair?  It is completely OPTIONAL.  You do NOT have to fill it out.  And here it is!



This is the only time you will have a chance to gain extra entries, so be sure to fill this out if you want to increase your chances! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanks to the 1st!

Hey strangers!  Guess what time it is?!  That's right!  A huge celebration of epic proportions starts today!  My dear friend and blogger buddy Andrea @ Loud Words and Sounds is hosting one huge ass shindig. I know a ton of people have donated to the event  (including myself) so get your bums over there and keep checking for new prizes!  I've known Andrea for almost two years now and she is one of the most creative people I know.  Plus she's a fellow art freak.  XD

Andrea is hosting an awesome cover re-make contest as well.  You can pick your favorite book from this year to re-design in order to win a copy of Mockingjay!  Now you know I adore cover remake contests, even with my severe lack of photoshop... so of course I entered!  Even though I'm only doing it for fun since I am on the panel of judges!  *wink*   I chose to re-design Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl.  I adored the book.  Hated the cover.  Here's the original, followed by my re-interpretation of it.  ^.^







So what do you think?  I like how it turned out.  You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a picture of a Victorian dressed girl.  O.o Muy dificil!  So if any of you out there have a creative bone in your body, enter the contest!  I would like something to judge thank you very much!  Haha!  And be entering all these upcoming contests as well!  


Scott's Tour Stop!

Hola!  Today is finally the day for Scott's Blog Tour!  Woot! And remember if you want to be eligible to win a Kindle 3 or Kindle DX all you have to do is comment with your contact info!  You get one entry per blog you visit so make sure to check out all the stops along the tour!  And without further ado here's Scott!

Okay, this feels like the day where I can’t think of anything fresh to say. Hopefully, that means it will be the best post of the tour.

The whole blog tour has been one big, crazy promo idea, designed to sell books and make me rich so I can sit on a big pile of cash and go “Bwahahaha. I win!”

Except I’m not that dumb. I know it doesn’t happen that way. The only way to become an overnight sensation is to get trapped in a mine for a couple of months, have your sailboat blow off course as a teenager, get born to a Palin, or else already be rich and famous. Or at least famous.

The rest have to stay slow and steady, meeting one reader at a time. Most writers and artists have to brainstorm with creative ways to sell their books, and I’ve probably worked as hard as it as anyone, though nothing compares to JA Konrath and his 500-stop book tour where he dropped in and signed copies across the country. Now Joe doesn’t have to promote, because everyone else does it for him. (See?)

But I’ve also done some crazy stunts like giving away three of my teeth to promote They Hunger (here is Shawn, a.ka. Monster A-Go-Go, with one of them). I also rounded up a photo shoot with a real model and an ancient casket, using the gimmick of “Buy my book or I’ll kill this vampire.” I printed up about 300 slick sheets of the promo and sent it to my publisher and never heard a peep, nor saw any, so I suspect they all got recycled. A monumental fail, but fortunately I utilized (a.k.a. “exploited”) friends for most of the work so all it cost me was for the model and the printing.

I’ve tied in real-world events with my promotion, especially in relating Appalachian ghost stories and the real places that inspired my novels. As a journalist, I know a local angle sells better when you’re trying to get coverage, and “I wrote a book” simply isn’t news anymore when Aunt Gertrude and her dyslexic offspring are self-publishing. My best efforts were on The Red Church, where I wrote a monthly column series following the year-long publication process of the book. It was widely published on the Internet and in writing newsletters and the book sold like hotcakes (in fact, it’s still one of my best sellers).

I’ve posted in numerous forums, been a member of four writing organizations, and written lots of free articles. All these blog posts on the tour equal about a novel’s worth of work, which is why I am going to collect them in a book when I’m done. I’ve given blurbs, written reviews, built up a Twitter community, and participated in a number of additional blogs. I run Indie Books Blog to help newer writers get some exposure.

I’ve had a number of contests besides Kindle giveaways, and maybe I’ve given away more books than I’ve sold. I’ve created press kits for all my New York books. I turned myself into a comic book character. I’ve conducted writing workshops for schools, libraries, and writing groups, and of course have done a few hundred store signings. What does it all add up to?

You.

I don’t know which of those activities got you here, but here you are. I hope I can share a book with you and give you a Kindle.

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This week’s Scott special is Disintegration, 99 cents for a limited time.

Scott Nicholson is author of 12 novels, including the thrillers As I Die Lying, Drummer Boy, Forever Never Ends, The Skull Ring,  Burial to Follow, and They Hunger. His revised novels for the U.K. Kindle are Creative Spirit, Troubled, and Solom. He’s also written four comic series, six screenplays, and more than 60 short stories. His story collections include Ashes, The First, Murdermouth: Zombie Bits, and Flowers.

To be eligible for the Kindle DX or Kindle 3, simply post a comment below with contact info. Feel free to debate and discuss the topic, but you will only be entered once per blog. Visit all the blogs on the tour and increase your odds. I’m also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and a Pandora’s Box of free e-books to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. Thanks for playing. Complete details at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/blogtour.htm
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I'm currently reading The Skull Ring and I have to say I am getting paranoid!  Julia's past keeps coming back to haunt her, and I'm feeling haunted too.  Every time I get in my car I look in the back seat.  O.O  Everything that keeps happening is cast as coincidences and just figments of her imagination but I keep just waiting for some creep to show up with a knife.  Like gah!  I mean I love having the crap scared out of me.  This is why I like scary movies so much.  Yet it is infinitely creepier reading a scary novel.  Can't wait to reach the end!  The anticipation is killiing me.  If you love a good scary story then you need to read it! 

A huge thanks to Scott for asking me to be apart of this tour!  Now all of you comment!  Ya know you want a Kindle!  XD

Friday, November 12, 2010

Review: Afterlife

Synopsis:The fourth book in this electrifying vampire series has all the romance, suspense, and page-turning drama that have made Claudia Gray’s Evernight books runaway successes. Having become what they feared most, Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They must return to Evernight Academy, Lucas as a vampire and Bianca as a wraith. But Lucas is haunted by demons, both personal and supernatural. Bianca must help him fight the evil inside him, combat the forces determined to drive them apart—and find the power to claim her destiny at last. Readers have fallen in love with Bianca and Lucas, and they will be thrilled to read this exciting conclusion to their romantic adventure.

My Review: Finally.  The last installment of the Evernight books.  Evernight was my favorite vampire novel for a very long time.  The originality and the amazing plot twist had me hooked.  As the books progressed however, I felt like my love for them kept shrinking.  Stargazer was a huge disappointment for me, but Hourglass really made up for the second one.  Hopefully by the end of this review I’ll have a concrete answer as to whether or not I liked Afterlife.   
 
Afterlife picks up directly where Hourglass left off.  Bianca has died and become a wraith, and Charity murdered Lucas and he became a vampire.  The irony that they both became what they most feared wasn’t even the slightest bit amusing.  More than anything I was annoyed by it.  I’ve felt ever since Stargazer that Gray has been “feeding the drama llama.” There was so much drama going on that it detracted away from the story.  Instead of getting tense when yet again something happened, I found myself rolling my eyes.  Ope Black Cross just popped up out of nowhere. Ha, Kate just tried to kill her own son.  Surprise ambush!  Wraith attack! Just uh.  I didn’t once feel legit concern over anything that happened because I knew that it would quickly subside and they would move on.  And guess what?  I was right.  Even the major “surprise” parts of Afterlife I called a couple chapters ahead of time.  It was just frustrating that not one aspect of the novel had me at the edge of my seat. 
It truly sucks that for the past 3 books I have been so unimpressed with the plotline, because I adore Lucas and Bianca.  They are probably one of my all time favorite YA couples.  Their love for each other goes beyond infatuation and physical attraction.  Lucas would do anything for Bianca and vice versa.  Yet at the same time other aspects of their life still remain important to them.  They’re not blinded by their love for each other and still remain practical about their situation.  I love both of their characters and their interaction with each other is just very well done.  Their situation in Afterlife is even more frustrating than previously.  With Bianca being a wraith and Lucas being a vampire, them ever having a chance of being together is slim to none.  They never give up on each other, but the situation just blows.  Those two deserve to be together and the fact that fate just keeps getting in their way is a huge bummer. 
When the plot moves back to Evernight, yes that’s right they go back to the school, the storyline stabilized a bit more.  It didn’t feel as forced as the beginning so I didn’t actually mind it all that much.  As per usual I adored Ranulf and Vic.  I would LOVE to have those two as my BFF’s.  Ranulf, just god, freaking most adorably awkward 1300 year old vampire ever.  He is always just so literal that it makes me laugh soooo much.  I want to ruffle that bowler haircut of his so much.  Vic is equally awesome.  His commentary on everything that happens always lightens the mood and makes it more enjoyable.  One of my all time favorite lines of the book dealt with Vic.  Vic asks for a weapon to break down a door.  Bianca turns around and says “I never thought they’d give him the flame thrower.”  LMFAO!  Just gah!  Hysterical!  Vic+ flame thrower=EPIC! I love those two to death. 
It has been a while since I’ve read the rest of the books, so I can’t really remember my impression of Mrs. Bethany very much.  However, in Afterlife I felt like I really understood her character a lot more.  I got her motivation for her actions and what events in her life lead her to be the person she is now.  While I understood why she was doing things, I still kind of think she’s a psycho.  I don’t really like how things ended for Mrs. Bethany either.  While she was an uncaring, ruthless psycho of a woman, I think she deserved some happiness in the end.
The whole wraith/vampire mortal enemies deal was FINALLY explained at length.  It was nice to know more about the wraiths and their side of the story.  When the wraiths were first introduced to the story I had the biggest WTF moment.  I’m pleased to say that I kind of like the wraiths now.  I more fully understand the concept of them and why they were so important to the story.  If anything, the wraith spin on the vampire story is probably the most original idea in the YA world. 
So in the end I enjoyed it.  While the plot wasn’t all that gripping, it was nice to get some closure to Lucas and Bianca’s story.  I loved the fact that Gray didn’t give us the perfect fairytale ending.  She left us on an optimistic note, but nothing was perfect by any means.  All in all, a good ending to a good series. :) 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Review: Hope in Patience

Synopsis:Fifteen-year-old Ashley Asher has spent half of her life living in fear. Her stepfather has been sexually abusing her for years, but her mother doesn't believe her. After his latest assault lands her in the emergency room, Child Protective Services finally removes Ashley from her home, and sends her to live with the father she barely remembers and his new family. Her new life in Patience, Texas, is much better. She's in therapy to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is trying to make her way in a new high school. She's getting used to living with her father, stepmother, and stepbrother, and she's made new friends in the summer course taught by her stepmother, Bev. She even joins the track team at the urging of her new African American friend, Z. Z. But Ashley is so traumatized by her past that she sometimes scratches herself until she bleeds and sleeps in her armoire, even though she knows she's safe now. Worse, when her stepfather is finally put on trial for hurting her, she learns that truth and justice don't always go together. Will Ashley adjust to a better life? Will she trust enough to date Josh, the cute guy on her track team who likes her? YA readers will be caught up in the heart-pounding story of a damaged girl trying to heal herself and get on with the rest of her life.

My Review: I love and hate these kinds of books.  They are always such wonderful stories with so much meaning, but they always make me horribly sad.  Hope In Patience was no exception.  I really liked this book, even though at times it was difficult to keep reading because I became so frustrated with where the story went.  I always appreciate authors who take a stance and write about difficult times in life.  Not many people are comfortable talking about such ugly issues, much less writing about them.  I don’t know whether or not this story stemmed from real life experience in some way, but even if it is completely fictitious, it still speaks for countless victims of sexual abuse.  
 
I have to say though, at the beginning of this novel I was sooooo confused as to what was going on.  The synopsis makes it seem like it’s a continuative narrative of what happened to her.  Not at all.  It all jumps back and forth so much that I was having a hard time keeping up.  All the talk of the trial, is not the trial I thought it was at all.  I was expecting Ashley’s SOB of a stepfather getting his comeuppance for sexually abusing her.  Wrongo.  The injustice of it all drove me insane!  I despise our judicial system now.    Beyond frustrating what some people get away with all on technicality.  Ashley’s stepfather broke her arm trying to forcibly remove her from her biological father’s care, and yet it gets written off as a misunderstanding.  Plus the fact that Ashley couldn’t fully explain why she was so terrified of her stepfather, because she couldn’t bring up events prior to the day her arm was broken.  What type of BS is that?! I mean come on!  I could probably rant and bitch all day about the unfairness of it all, but the truth is life’s not fair, no matter how much we’d all like to think that justice is served in cases like this.  It’s just horrible to face the fact that our justice system rarely delivers justice to those who deserve it. 
Rant aside, continuing with me being confused.  The synopsis describes her making friends during summer school and all these others things, but in reality it’s all already happened.  The narrative jumps back and forth a lot from Ashley as a child, to before Child Services relocated her, to summer school, etc.  It just really jumps around a lot at the beginning.  I didn’t really mind it, but it was a tad bit difficult to make 100% sense of it.  I got used to it when it mattered though.  In the end it added to the story, and I’m glad the author wrote it the way she did. 
Before I write this next part of my review, I want to clarify that I am by no means being flippant about anything that happened in this story in regards to real life.  Okay, now that I am perfectly clear on the matter… I’ve read a few sexual abuse/rape stories before and some things are always essentially the same about the story.  Where the MC has to come to terms with what happened to him/her and it’s usually all about them not blaming themselves.  I’ve always hated the victim mentality of “I must have brought this upon myself.”  I was so relieved that Ashley didn’t think this.  She knew it wasn’t her fault.  What Ashley struggles with is the fact that her mother didn’t protect her.  Even though Ashley told her mother what was happening, her mother let it continue to happen anyway.  She didn’t do anything to stop it.   She didn’t protect her; and it is because of her mother’s rejection that Ashley is unable to heal.  I cannot speak for rape victims, and I mean no disrespect, I was just glad that Ashley’s story did not take on the stereotypical version. 
There were many ways that I really enjoyed reading about Ashley’s recovery.  Her sessions with her psychologist were some of the best and most meaningful parts of the whole book.  Her psychologist pushes her and doesn’t beat around the bush.  It was really refreshing and it’s nice to know that there are people out there who are willing to stick their necks out to help others.  Ashley grows by leaps and bounds, and she begins to reach out again.  One thing I really admired about her character was the fact that she didn’t shut other people out.  She may not have told anyone besides her best friend what had happened to her, but she doesn’t close herself off to friends.  She’s not afraid of being hurt by her new friends and family, and I thought that unbelievably admirable.  If I was in her shoes, I don’t know how I would react, but her capacity for love was incredible.  I really admire her strength and perseverance and her willingness to move beyond what happened.  She was an amazing character and I loved reading about her struggle. 
Hope In Patience was a heart wrenching and powerful story.  You are literally with Ashley every step of her recovery, and feel her success every bit of the way.  It was a wonderful read, through and through. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: The Replacement

Synopsis:Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world. Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs. 

My Review:I finally bought it.  I finally dug my claws into it.  I finally finished it.  And I’m totally absolutely in love with it.  Love, love, love, love, LOVE.  It totally surpassed about every fae novel I’ve ever read.  That is saying something truly remarkable since I adore anything fae.  
 
Mackie is probably one of my all time favorite male MC’s.  Not because he was heroic or amazingly brave or witty.  I can’t even begin to describe him.  I think Lauren Kate put it best.  “Mackie Doyle is one of the sweetest, strangest, most magnetic heroes I’ve met in a long time.”  That pretty much says it all.  What I loved about Mackie was how awkward he was.  Not in a physical gangly way, but more socially than anything.  Mackie has always been told to not draw attention to himself.  To stay in the shadows, to never make people notice him, to never be normal.  Mackie has always kept to the shadows and the outskirts of life.  He’s quiet and soft spoken and yet he’s not timid by any means.  Just because he doesn’t often voice his opinion doesn’t mean he doesn’t have one.  Mackie wants nothing more than to be normal.  He wants to be able to touch a door handle without having a severe reaction.  He wants to walk onto hallowed ground without burning.  He wants to not faint if someone so much as gets a bloody noise.  He’s doesn’t despise what he is, he long ago accepted it, but he never stops wanting to be like everyone else.  Mackie is just a walking contradiction.  He’s a part of two very different worlds and yet he doesn’t belong in either.  In a way, Mackie ostracizes himself from others.  He cannot believe that he would ever be loved by others just for being himself.  He believes his parents love him out of obligation because he is their “son” even though his family knows that he is more than he seems.  For him it is almost inconceivable that anyone would simply like him for him, because in his mind he is not something worthy of love.  It’s heart wrenching and frustrating at the same time.  This almost sort of self loathing, yet it’s not to that degree.  I wanted to hug him and shake him at the same time.  I could probably ramble on and on about the utter complexity of his character this whole entire review but then I think you’d all just stop reading.  What it really comes down to with Mackie’s character, is that he believes in what is right.  He doesn’t take sides in the fae or human world, he simply does what he believes to be the right decision.  And more importantly, he acts on it.  To say that I adored him is rather an understatement.  I just want to be his BFF. 
The author is a genius.  Okay well I’m so ga-ga over this book right now I’ll be throwing praises left and right for a week, but truly I mean it.  One of the reasons this surpassed so many other fae books I’ve read, is because Brenna didn’t try to define them.  I refer to them as fae simply because it’s easier and more convenient.  Brenna truly captured the complexity and true uncontained nature of them.  In the book, Mackie asks someone like himself what they were, and he didn’t get an answer.  They are many things, but definable is not one of them.  I LOVED that.  They are like wisps of smoke, always twisting and turning and no name can ever define what they are.  They are as ancient as time itself and don’t conform to words like good or evil.  They simply are what they are.  The Morrigan is a little girl with rotting teeth and she holds court over the reanimated dead.  Is she evil? Are her intentions harmful? The saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ has never been more apt.  Mackie’s people are not good or evil, they just simply are and that’s what I truly loved about them. 
I also adored Tate.  She is quite possible the most kickass female love interest in the history of forever.  She was just so original I fell in love with her character almost immediately.  Tate doesn’t take bullshit from anyone and doesn’t sit back and blindly accept what is happening in Gentry.  She wants answers.  She wants her little sister back.  And she will have them.  She was in your face and always said what was on her mind.  One of the things I think I liked most was that she never apologized.  She’s comfortable with who she is and is never shy about it.  While her hot and cold attitude with Mackie was a bit confuzzling, in the end it’s clear she cares for him.  Another aspect I loved? The romance side.  It didn’t overpower the story one bit!  It only enhanced it and showed how Mackie grew from start to finish.  There were no proclamations of undying love or soulmates or other such nonsense (you all know my rants), but what made me love it all the more was that it was simply “I like you. A lot.” Ding, ding, ding, ding!  We have a winner!  *victory dance*  That right there is enough to make me shout praises 24/7.  It was REAL.  It wasn’t contrived and didn’t set out to be a romance story with a hint of a plotline.  I’m pretty sure Mackie is also the only one to say “I like you” as well.  If I remember correctly Tate doesn’t say it once.  There are no “I love you” or dramatic “I can’t live without you” moments.  It was just wonderful. Bravo!
And I just have to rave about Mackie a little bit more.  I thought for sure that Mackie was going to turn out to be some special fae, and have kickass powers or something.  Obviously I let my imagination run a bit wild.  But how events actually unfolded was just ten times better.  Mackie isn’t the dashing hero ready to challenge the Gods or anything quite so dramatic.  Things definitely don’t go according to plan.  He sucks at witty comebacks, doesn’t fight, and can’t out-think the villains.  He succeeds by simply being himself, and in the end that’s enough. 
Utter win.  Loved it, will probably be raving about it for a long while to come.  You. Need. To. Read. It. 


Celebrating Dual Birthdays!

A year...can you believe it?  I've been blogging a year!  It's a wonder I haven't completely lost my mind.  Okay...well that's up for debate.  I'm sure my slow spirally decay of rationality and intelligence has been pretty amusing to watch.  Well as a reward for putting up with my erratic behavior I've decided to host a little shindig.  As a weird coincidence of fate the day of my first ever blog post is the 18th of November and my 18th birthday is just around the corner. Fun right?!  Well I'm excited at least.  Hahaha.  I have a whole bunch of fun contests lined up and my dear blogger buddies are donating to the festivities.  Needless to say they are awesome amazing fantastical people whom I adore. 

So while the prizes and contests aren't finalized as of yet, it will be EPIC.  I'm open to any suggestions for potential prizes or contest ideas!  You all know that it will be full of creative contests as per usual.  At least I will try my very best to make them fun and creatively stimulating.  So be counting down the days till the 18th! And because I was in an uncreative fit when I came up with a name for the big party, you're just stuck with THE 18TH for now.  And my rather suckish word art button as well. XD

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: Other

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. Most Americans don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Others, especially not the small-town folks of Klikamuks, Washington. As if this isn’t bad enough, Gwen’s on the brink of revealing her true identity to her long-time boyfriend, Zack, but she’s scared he’ll lump her with the likes of bloodthirsty vampires and feral werewolves.  When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate-into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her. As she hunts for clues, she uncovers more Others living nearby than she ever expected. Like Tavian, a sexy Japanese fox-spirit who rivals Zack and challenges her to embrace her Otherness. Gwen must struggle with her own conflicted identity, learn who she can trust, and-most importantly-stay alive. 

My Review:I have been wanting to sink my claws into this book for a very long time.  I mean months.  It was a long wait, but it was so worth it.  I first came across this book when I was looking for gorgeous covers for an old meme I did.  I instantly fell in love with the cover and have been wanting to read it ever since.  It took a good many months and more than a few two hour trips to get to a B&N, but I FINALLY found it.   Needless to say I devoured it in a few hours.  It was THAT fantastical.  
 
In the alternate present day, “Others” such as vampires, werewolves, and fae are all out in society.  The world knows about their existence, but that doesn’t mean they have to accept them.  Others face constant prejudice for who and what they are.  Gwen is half pooka (look it up) and is more than a bit hesitant to reveal her true nature to the small minded residents of her home town and her boyfriend.  While Gwen isn’t ashamed of her heritage, she still hasn’t come to full terms with it.  She feels like she has to hide her Other lineage, and resists who she really is.  While Other is a great portrayal of a social group trying to gain equality from the rest of society, it is also a wonderful story of being comfortable in your own skin.  This quest for social equality occurs way too frequently throughout history and the present.  People will always be afraid of what they don’t understand, whether that be the color of their skin, religion, or sexual preference.  Tolerance for people different from ourselves is not something humanity is famous for.  While it is na├»ve to think that there will ever be a time when prejudice will cease to exist, the only way to combat it is through open-mindedness.  That’s one of the reason I loved Other so much.  While Gwen is a victim of this intolerance, she is also a culprit as well.  Even Gwen is guilty of stereotyping those she doesn’t fully understand.  Bloodborn Others such as vampires and werewolves are thought of as criminals with a glorified disease.  While you would think Gwen would be the last person to judge another, she judges Bloodborns without ever having met one.  I loved this flaw in her character, because, well frankly, it made her more relatable.  Everyone is guilty of judging others, myself included.  It just really added to her character and shows that no one is perfect. 
I found Gwen to be a very likeable character.  She full of attitude and wit and was just a blast to read about.  She’s even a blogger like myself.  ^.^  I really liked her POV and she was just really relatable.  I loved that she was half pooka too.  I’m a fae nut as you all know but the closest thing to a pooka I know about is a kelpie.  Not similar in the slightest btw.  So it was nice to get a fresh taste of some new creatures.  Speaking of new creatures I loved all the different types of Others as well.  There were driads, centaurs, sprites, and kitsune (fox spirits) the list goes on.  I found it all wonderfully creative and enjoyed all the different types.  Speaking of kitsune… time to rave!  I think I found my literature soul mate. 
Tavian, Tavian, Tavian.  Hmmm, mmm, mmm, hmmm.  Japanese with the kickass bones structure and amazing hair to accompany it.  He’s a blogger, draws manga, and works at a bookstore.  Can you say soul mate?!  I need to move to a more diverse community.  Even though we have foreign exchange students out the wazoo around here.  Too bad they’re all in college and barely speak English… darn my luck.  He was funny and honest and just a refreshing character.  Did I mention he was a kitsune?  Foxes are just plain adorable!  Sorry I’m gushing.  I just can’t help myself. 
Okay so I’m showing restraint here or else I could be raving about a fictional character for the rest of the afternoon.  So I’m choosing to rave about something else instead.  As the synopsis reveals, there is a killer of Others on the loose.  I thought I knew who the killer was as soon as he was introduced in the story.  I was like “Ope he be the one!” God I felt so dumb at the end!  Karen had me going throughout the whole novel!  Then just WHAM! Surprise!  Not who I thought it was.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  I thought I had it all figured out, but no.  Major props!  Loved the twist at the end.  Speaking of the end, god I was at the edge of my seat the whole time!  Talk about intense! I was freaking out!  Just plain awesome. 
To say I loved it is a bit of an understatement.  I can’t wait for the second one!  I feel like jumping up and down in anticipation.  Just plain awesome, definitely added to my top favorite books pile.  Gotta read it amigos! 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Review: Freefall

Synopsis: How do you come back from the point of no return?  Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend Isaac alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time where Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn’t wake up.
Convinced that his own actions led to his friend’s death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely. Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth will soon realize he isn’t the only one who needs saving . . .


My Review: I just have to start off by saying that I really, really, REALLY liked this book.  Seth is by far one of the best male protagonist’s that I’ve read about in a very long while.  He definitely made me love the book.  Now only if he was real… Lol. 

At the start of Freefall I was a bit confused on the timeline.  I didn’t realize that Isaac’s death had already happened until I was a good 7 pages in.  I liked the fact that the reader was kept in the dark about the circumstances of Isaac’s death for a good portion of the novel.  It added to the suspense and as more about Isaac’s death is revealed, the reader understands more and more about Seth.  So it served two purposes in the end.   When we’re first introduced to Seth it’s clear that he’s a big party go-er.  He’s a heavy drinker and doesn’t really care.  The only thing he cares about is making himself forget.  Drinking is a way for Seth to shut out memories he doesn’t want, a guilty conscience that haunts him, and the constant reminder that his friend is dead. 
Seth has screwed around his entire highschool career thus far, and his counselor finally bullies him into making sure he’s able to graduate with the rest of his class.  Which means extra period in the morning, and an extra period in the afternoon.  Seth isn’t thrilled to say the least, but he sticks with it.  Despite his bad habits he’s willing to make a change.  When he meets a girl in his extra afternoon class that really gets on him for drinking so much it kind of grates him.  Her reaction really bothers him, and he feels rather ashamed of his behavior.  He stops drinking, not just to try and impress her but because he knows that he can be better than that.  It’s one of the things that I really loved about Seth.  Yes he’s made mistakes, but he recognizes that he didn’t make the best choices.  He takes it upon himself to change and doesn’t expect a pity party or sympathy from others.  It’s why I adored his character so much.  You don’t often get characters who realize their own mistakes.  Seth was very refreshing and I could just rave about his epicness all day long. 
Throughout the novel, Seth’s character really grows.  He makes better and better choices not only concerning himself, but others.  He really begins to care for Rosetta and not in a “I want to get in her pants” way either.  He cares what she thinks and her opinion and goes out of his way to make her happy.  He’s always truthful with her as well.  Even if it’s not so flattering for himself, he never withholds anything.  It’s another reason why I loved him so much.  He always tried to be honest, no matter what. 
With all my raving about Seth you’re probably wondering is there anything else commendable about this book?  Well of course!  You know I’m not THAT easily won over.  While the plot wasn’t anything special it was still nicely done.  The whole point of the novel is to show how people can change, and it definitely accomplished that.  It was a heartfelt story and I really grew attached to all of the characters, especially Seth…not like you couldn’t tell.  Just awesome!  That’s pretty much all I have to say on the matter.  I can’t think of one negative thing about this novel.  I’m pretty sure I will be purchasing this book as soon as it’s in print.  Loved it!

 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Review: Her Me and You

Synopsis: First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two. Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred—and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred—and something about Adina—that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world…no matter the consequences.

My Review: When I read the synopsis of this book I really wasn’t all that intrigued, but I figured I would give it a shot.  Turned out I have better instincts than I give myself credit for.  What drove me absolutely crazy with this book was that it had no relevance.  Nothing.  Nada.  The pages could have been full of drawings to color in and it would have more content than the story.  Okay maybe that was a bit harsh.  I may be exaggerating just a tad.  I just can’t even begin to express my frustration with this book.  It had all the potential in the world to be a pretty decent read.  Sometimes potential is just not enough. 

While I am all for unique writing style, I have to say I did not enjoy reading this.  It was choppy and about 90% of it was dialogue.  Dialogue is all well and good, but even the dialogue didn’t hold much in the way of interest.  It was short, choppy, and really rather uninteresting.  There was no descriptors to accompany the dialogue either.  Maybe on a rare occasion…maybe.  For instance instead of ‘“I do not have a crush on Fred,” I replied indignantly, feeling my cheeks turn red,’ it was “I don’t have a crush on Fred.” The End.  With almost every single set of dialogue!  It was so vague that I had trouble picturing anyone or scenery.  I’m a creative person but even I had trouble filling in all the blanks.  Frustrating to say  the least. 
As for the plot…. What plot?  The most exciting portion of the whole book was when someone got in a car accident and I could honestly say I did not care one bit. It was just a whole bunch of teenage angst.  And I HATE teenage angst!  .  There was no conflict, no tension, barely even a romance. This is largely due to the writing style.  There were things that happened that would cause conflict and tension, but the writing was just so bare boned that it all fell flat.  The main character’s father cheated on her mother.  She hates and loves him, yet I didn’t catch a whiff of any emotion.  I didn’t feel what she felt, I didn’t even wonder because I just didn’t care.  It is truly rare when I could not give a rats ass about what happened in the story.  I’m not hard to please when it comes to books, so when I say I really didn’t enjoy this you will understand just how blah it was.  And truly that’s what it was.  It wasn’t bad.  It wasn’t offensive and there wasn’t anything in the characters or story that made me hate it.  It was just lacking in everything.  The story was non-existent, the characters uninteresting, and the writing was bland.  Just plain blah. 
Another thing that was bothersome was the fact that I got through the whole entire book and was just left with more questions.  The ending was so abrupt and just so weird I literally flipped the page and flipped back to make sure I hadn’t skipped one.  Adina’s weird obsession with her brother, why she was anorexic, why their father was always AWOL, and just what the heck was going through Adina’s mind was all not answered.  Nada! I just got the vague impression of “Well that’s F-ed up” and moved on.  That was what really irritated me about this novel.  The lack of answers.  Just utterly frustrating. 
Since I don’t have one single positive thing to say about this novel I won’t drag this out much longer.  Did I hate it?  No, I just couldn’t find one single thing that I liked about this novel.  It was just so bare.  As my Spanish teacher would say “Beef it up!”  The story and everything in general just needed MORE!  At least it was short and didn’t take me long to read.  I don’t feel like I wasted a significant amount of time reading it.  So ya.  First ever entirely negative review.  Shocker.  I didn’t think I had it in me.