30 June 2012
“Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby your worst may be inferred”
That’s a line from one of my favorite novels, the Scarlet Letter. Maybe it’s because I read that book at an impressionable age, but that line has stuck with me through the years and become something I live by. It inspired the transparency that permeates my life. It’s freeing because it removes the fear of “they wouldn’t like me if they knew [fill in the blank].”
I sometimes joke that I don’t make mistakes, but I do have lots of learning experiences. Everything that’s happened in my life, every choice I’ve made, has in some way molded and shaped me and my world into what it is today. And I like who I am today, so how can I regret those choices? They’re a part of me. I’m far from perfect, but I’m comfortable in my skin and I think I’m on the right path for my life.
Those two concepts – living transparently and not lamenting wrong turns of the past – not only help me navigate my life, but they drive the choices my characters make and how their worlds unfold. Often, when trouble develops in a novel, it’s because of a secret. Skeletons in the closet have a way of haunting a person at the most inconvenient of times.
If ever a character of mine had a reason to hide her past, it’s Neena from Jailbird. If ever a character had reason to be hardened by her past, it’s also Neena. Maybe that’s why she’s one of my favorite characters. Despite her terrifying past, she moves forward with her chin up, determined to set her life right again. She keeps her wit and fights to regain her sense of humanity.
Neena has her share of secrets – things she feels she can’t tell without putting herself and others in danger – but she’s constantly wrestling with herself over half-truths. She wants desperately to tell those she loves about her past. This, in many ways, is a book of unraveling secrets of the past.
On one side, there’s old money, cover-ups and corruption. On the other, secrets preserved to protect loved ones. When the two collide, everything explodes. But sometimes that’s what has to happen to build something new.
Heather Huffman writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense with strong female leads who refuse to lose hope. She sees her books as a way to not only entertain, but to also raise awareness of the realities of modern day slavery. She shares the passion of her resilient heroines to make a difference, and so dedicates both her time and a portion of her book royalties to organizations that fight against human trafficking.
Here's my haul for this week:
Physical copies for review:
Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin (ARC)
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (ARC)
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelli
Dreamless by Josephin Angelli
Winter's Shadow by M.J. Hearle
Winter's Light by M.J. Hearle
e-Copies for review:
Fire On The Island by J.K. Hogan (ARC)
Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis (ARC)
The Jelly Bean Crisis by Jolene Stockman (ARC)
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Slam by Nick Hornby
The Last Airbender: Prequel: Zuko's Story by Dave Roman and Alison Wilgus
Thank you to Tanglewood Press, Charlotte and Pan Macmillan Australia, J.K., Kaitlin, Jolene, and Aliana!
What did you get for your shelves this week? Link me up and I'll stop by!
29 June 2012
by Ron C. Nieto
Genre: young adult paranormal romance
Publication date: June 22 2012
Pages: 290 (paperback)
Source: Advanced Review Copy from author
Purchase this book | GoodReads
The princess of the school, Alice, is keeping a secret that could strip her of her high school fame. She is obsessed with the school’s outcast, Keith, but not just him – his music.This book was so heart-wrenchingly good. It filled my heart with rainbows and unicorns, but then broke it into a million teeny little pieces. This glorious debut novel stomped on the pieces of my heart with the burning fury of a thousand sumo wrestlers, and I am still trying to stitch the pieces back together as I write this.
Everyone thought that Alice was the epitome of perfection. Whenever she hangs out with her usual group, she has a laugh and a drink or two, but then her mind eventually drifts and she ends up outside Keith's house every night, hiding in the shadows. Nothing made her more alive than listening to Keith's music, Keith's heart. Before Alice, Keith lived and breathed music. He didn't care about anything else, he didn't think that anyone would understand him. But Alice understands his music, and every little part of his soul that he pours into a single note. She understands him. When she re-enters his life, it was as if he finally had something to live for.
Alice is part of the popular crowd, and in any other Young Adult book, that would automatically mean that she is part of the 'rah rah rah, go team!' perky pom-pom club. However, Alice is actually just a normal insecure teenager who constantly gives in to peer pressure and tries to mold herself into a girl that would scream 'perfection' everyday. I know that my description of her makes her sound a bit shallow, but she's definitely not. She feels very strongly about her own opinions, and toughens up when she has to stand up for herself or when she needs to protect the people she loves.
And Keith? Keith was anything but a douchebag. Keith was shy, honest, talented, caring, and sweet. He's a fragile soul, having been through a lot of tough situations. He's very lost and confused, and he is only 100% sure about one thing: he loves Alice with every fiber of his being. His love for her will never waver, it will never die. And Alice feels the same way. Their love will conquer even the oldest of evils.
This is a book about being lost and alone, and searching out and finally finding the one thing that will bring you back. It is humorous, romantic, lyrical, dramatic, and terrifying all at the same time. It was true to life and unabashedly honest. I laughed, I cried, I gushed, and I was terrified. I never thought that this book would instill those emotions so strongly within me.
Silent Song was a perfectly tuned book. It was paced so beautifully in such an intricate way. Like a song, even. The book started gentle and slow, but then built up from crescendo to crescendo, and then decrescendos so perfectly you think the song is about to end in that exact moment, but then a collision happens, and an Ad Libitum enters and another crescendo follows, then finally a bow. The way the plot went was so unexpected and it will overwhelm you and turn you into an emotional wreck. And it is the most amazing thing that you could possibly ever feel.
THE NUB AND GIST: 4.5 STARS
27 June 2012
Who is the mysterious third guy on the just released cover of The Indigo Spell? Why is he incredibly sexy? All these questions, and all I can say is this: the rendering of the images are a bit wonky.
24 June 2012
by Brooke Moss
Genre: contemporary romance
Expected publication date: July 7th 2012
Published by: Inkspell Publishing
Source: Advanced Review Copy from publisher
Purchase this book | GoodReads
BLURB: At a town fair on the coast of Oregon, handsome Native American carny, Vincent Youngblood, bestows an unforgettable kiss on shy, awkward teenager, Charlotte Davenport. Then he disappears without another word, leaving her baffled and enamored.
Before you read this book, make sure you have tissues nearby, because this book will make you cry like a baby. It is so heartbreakingly good, it is just about impossible to put down. In the early morning hours, when I should be asleep, I stayed up to read this. I am not lying when I tell you that the book was worth the deep eye bags.
The feelings, plot lines and emotions portrayed in this story really has you sympathizing with the characters. The characters are engaging and I loved the humour throughout the story. Charlotte was very real, and had raw emotions. She was left at the altar, and she was stuck with a job and a possible future that she wanted nothing to do with. But then the mysterious Native American carny named Vin re-enters her life and everything changes for the better. She starts to gain confidence and she stands up to the dysfunctional family that has been harassing her her whole life.
I fell in love with Vin as soon as he entered the story. He isn't your average Carny; there's much more to him than grease, mud, and sweat. He is a smart, witty, patient, and romantic guy who loves his family more than anything else in the world. Reading about how their relationship grew was quite a journey. I laughed, I sobbed, I mentally screamed at them for being so stupid. Their relationship had it's ups and downs, and a lot of misunderstandings along the way, but every one of those was a vital step in strengthening their love.
Brook Moss' writing was gorgeous. It was witty and romantic, and paid a lot of attention to details. All of the characters had depth too them, and none of them got left out. The plot is very unique, I think. I haven't heard of any other books with this kind of story line.
The Carny is a really enjoyable read, but my one complaint is the pacing. I felt that it was too rushed at times, and some scenes left me hanging. The pace does steady itself and the story continues to draw you in after a while, so it's not too much of a big deal.
The only time I give 5 stars is if a book has stuck in my mind long after I've finished reading it. And I constantly found myself thinking of this book night and day; obsessing over the ending, going through Charlotte and Vin's conversations in my head, wondering about what could have happened if things didn't go the way it went, and all the other things that psycho readers do when they've finished reading a book that they would remember for a long long time. So, 5 stars it is.
THE NUB AND GIST: 5 STARS
Cover reveals are popping up all over the blogosphere almost everyday, but the ones I posted are my favorites. It's really shallow of me, but the first thing I notice in a book is it's cover. If I saw any of these in my local bookstore, I would immediately add it to my cart. Are any of these books on your to-read list? Which ones are your favorites?
23 June 2012
So, I'm getting a copy of For Darkness Shows the Stars from TBD, and I decided to make a rafflecopter giveaway for my followers who would want to read FDStS as well. If you already have a copy of FDStS, you can pick a book with roughly the same price ($17.50). My 111 followers milestone giveaway is still ongoing, so this giveaway will end on July 7 2012. Two weeks from now, on my blog's third monthsary. This will be the last giveaway that I'm funding myself for a while. I need to save up first! So please don't cheat :<
01. You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
02. You must be willing to provide a shipping address.
03. Winners will be given up to 48 hours to reply to my email.
04. I am not responsible for lost or damaged items during shipping.
05. I reserve the right to end a giveaway without any prior notice.
06. This rafflecopter is open internationally, as long as The Book Depository ships for free to your country.
07. One entry per household.
I love love love the books I got this week! Here's a quick rundown of my hoard:
Physical copies for review:
The Fireball Rebellion by Eric Priuska
Mystery at Riddle Gully by Jen Banyard
thank you to Eric, Artemin Press, and Fremantle Press!
3 Signed Crux bookmarks
thank you Julie!
Digital copies for review:
Grasping At Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper
Love At The Speed of Email by Lisa Mckay
The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab
thank you Karen, Karinya Publishing, Lisa, Random House, and Edelweiss!
Free today on Smashwords:
Seaweed by Elle Strauss
Resurrected by Morgan Rice
Chasing McCree by J.C. Isabella
What do you think of the books I got? What did you get this week? Leave a link to your haul post and I'll stop by!
Oh, and I've been getting a lot of comments complimenting that my photos are great. See, photography is my second love and I take photos using my trusty Nikon D3100. If you want to see my photos of books, hauls, and a bunch of other things, You can access my online pseudo-portfolio here.
Who doesn't love free books? Well, I found a bunch of great YA reads that are free on Amazon, and I wanted to share them with you guys! Some of these are free forever, but others are free only today. So before clicking that 'buy' button, check the price. I don't want you to pay for something you thought was free! :p
The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys #1) by Abbi Glines
Being the good girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Ashton Gray has grown weary of playing the part to please her parents, and to be worthy of the town’s prince charming, Sawyer Vincent. Maybe That’s why she’s found herself spending time with Sawyer’s cousin, Beau, while he’s away for the summer camping with his family. Beau is nothing like her perfect boyfriend. He’s the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, dangerous in ways she’s only day dreamed about, and the one guy she should stay away from.
Beau never envied Sawyer his loving parents, his big nice home, or his position as quarterback. He loves him like a brother. Which is why he's tried everything in his power to keep his distance from Sawyer’s girlfriend. Even if he has loved her since the age of five, Ashton is Sawyer’s girl, so therefore she’s off limits. But when Sawyer leaves for the summer, Ashton, the one girl Beau would move Heaven and Earth for, decides she wants to get into trouble. Stabbing the one person who’s always accepted him and stood by him in the back, is the cost of finally holding Ashton Gray in his arms. Is she worth losing his cousin over?.... Hell Yeah.
by Cindy M. Hogan
She longs for it.
She will never be the same.
It takes more than a school trip to Washington, D.C. to change Christy's life. It takes murder.
A witness to the brutal slaying of a senator's aide, Christy finds herself watched not only by the killers and the FBI, but also by two hot guys.
She discovers that if she can't help the FBI, who want to protect her, it will cost her and her new friends their lives.
by Chanda Hahn
Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated, that is until she saves her crushes life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is descended from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business. Which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her it's next fairytale victim.
To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.
The Rock Star's Daughter
by Caitlyn Duffy
At the age of 15, Taylor Beauforte has only met her father twice in person. After all, he is the lead singer of a world-famous rock band, constantly on the cover of music magazines and giving interviews on MTV. He pays for Taylor to attend the Treadwell Academy, a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts, and provides her mother with monthly checks to cover her basic needs, but has never made much of an effort to play an active part in Taylor’s life. Taylor's mom Dawn is the only family she has ever really known, and because of Dawn's hard-partying Hollywood lifestyle, studious Taylor is happiest on the other side of the country in Massachusetts with her nose buried in a book.
When Taylor 's mom unexpectedly dies the summer before Taylor starts her junior year, she receives a crash course in fame. She has no choice but to join her father and his new family on their summer concert tour before she has even had a chance to mourn the loss of her mother. Life as the daughter of a rock star seems like it would be enviable, but Taylor can't figure her dad out.
by Elle Strauss
Casey Donovan has issues: hair, height and uncontrollable trips to the 19th century! And now this --she's accidentally taken Nate Mackenzie, the cutest boy in the school, back in time. Awkward.
Protocol pressures her to tell their 1860 hosts that he is her brother and when Casey finds she has a handsome, wealthy (and unwanted) suitor, something changes in Nate. Are those romantic sparks or is it just "brotherly" protectiveness?
When they return to the present, things go back to the way they were before: Casey parked on the bottom of the rung of the social ladder and Nate perched high on the very the top. Except this time her heart is broken. Plus, her best friend is mad, her parents are split up, and her younger brother gets escorted home by the police. The only thing that could make life worse is if, by some strange twist of fate, she took Nate back to the past again.
Which of course, she does.
22 June 2012
Hi guys! It's been a pretty busy week for me, since my classes officially started this week. But amidst the stress, I managed to squeeze in a few hours of internet time and I found these lovely covers that have been released just recently.
First up, we have the cover for the second book in the Everneath trilogy.
(Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton
Expected publication: January 22nd 2013 by Balzer+Bray
Two months ago, the Tunnels of the underworld came for Nikki Beckett. That night, Nikki's boyfriend, Jack, made the ultimate sacrifice. All Nikki wants is to save Jack before it's too late. All Cole wants is to find his queen - and he thinks Nikki is the one. Both determined, both desperate, Nikki and Cole form a tense alliance, leading them on a dangerous journey to The Heart of The Everneath.
My initial reactions was, "she has a face!" In all honesty though, I completely adore this cover. The model looks dignified and strong, but hasn't lost her femininity and grace. And, I love how the smoke blends in so cleanly with her dress. "White girl in a gown" is such a trend in YA covers nowadays, but this just leaves me speechless. I have to say that it looks slightly different than the first book, but I can easily live with that.
Next, we have the cover for Unravel Me!
Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi
This is just breathtaking. It looks so ethereal and dreamy; I am so in love with it! The colors are so beautiful, and the cover as a whole really speaks to the reader. And I really loved that they decided to follow the theme of the paperback of the first book! Here they are side by side:
Now imagine those two sitting on your bookshelf- covergasm!
Oh, and have you heard of the contest Wendy Higgins had on her blog? The cover-remake one? Well, I sent in some entries, and one of them made it into the final round! I didn't win, but it was nice to know that some of the voters thought that it was better than the original. Here it is:
It's a remake of February Flowers by Fan Wu. The girl on the cover is definitely not me- I'm not that gorgeous! The girl is a model on a stock photo set I found that was free for everyone to use. The stock was really bland so I played around with the color balance and curves, and added a few textures. And this is the end result! :)
So, what do you think about the covers? Love or hate? Also, what do you think of the cover I made for Wendy's contest? Share your thoughts! :)
16 June 2012
I'm sure you've noticed the sudden influx of cover releases around the blogosphere lately, but this cover will surely catch your eye. Thanks to RABT, I have the honor of presenting the cover of Seraphine by KaSonndra Leigh.
by KaSonndra Leigh
a young adult paranormal romance
expected publication date: September 2012
I really love the cover and the feel it gives off. It's very eerie and haunting, and the silhouette of the beautiful girl in the background gives an air of mystery. The cover is textured beautifully and it doesn't look flat. The colors blend well and it doesn't hurt the eyes. The hot guy, helps too. Haha! If I saw this in a bookstore, I would feel the urge to pick it up and read the blurb. Speaking of the blurb, I really loved that it didn't go into too much detail of what the story is about, but it gives enough to make a person buy the book. Here's the summary if you want to read it yourself:
About the Author
There was no one in the classroom besides the two of us. To admit this girl made me feel a little shaky sounded weak. I put on a manly face, squared my shoulders, and sat in the desk behind her. The little kid in me still wanted to run away like a baby, though.
So what do you think about the cover? Share your thoughts!
Oh and by the way, a full tour complete with reviews and giveaways will take place soon. If you're interested, check the Reading Addiction Blog Tours homepage. Sign-up forms for the tour should be posted there soon :)
Physical copies for review:
The Do-Over by Andrew Hessel
The Unsacred Gift by C.S. Dorsey
Exiled by J.R. Wagner (ARC)
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
e-ARCs for review:
Well, that's my haul. I am so happy with the titles I got! I'm reading the physical copies first, as stated in my policy, so watch out for my reviews soon!
Thank you Josh, Andrew, Candace, Thalia, Aliana, Brooke, Omnific Publishing, and all the amazing publishers who signed up and accepted my requestson Edelweiss! Thank you for your kindness! <33333333
I'm still kind of depressed though, since I was expecting a few other parcels to arrive in the mail this week but they didn't turn up. And they're really good books, too! Let me tell you this, I squealed when I read the email saying that I got accepted for those titles. I just hope that the post office is just being lazy and that my parcels didn't get lost in the shipping process :(
What about you? Did you get any books for your shelves this week? Link me up to your haul posts and I'll stop by! ;)
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I have received ARCs and finished copies for the purpose of a review, but receiving these products in no way affects my review of the book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.