Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Nine Paths to Chloe King: 1st & 2nd Paths

I was invited by ABC Family to play in a game revolving around The Nine Lives of Chloe King (it looks like it's going to be awesome!) and I definitely couldn't pass up such a fun opportunity. In order to play the game, I was sent a game box to play The Nine Paths to Chloe King, filled with various clues and an iPad. 

My first two "paths" of the game have been completed, so I think it's time for a brief recap of those challenges and the interesting things the Mai have shared! :)

Path One

My first set of instructions were found in the "Notes" section (sorry for no picture - I couldn't take a decent one) informed me to fold back the corners of the "birth certificate" provided in my game box, and it revealed the words "SMILA UKRAINE. FIND THIS ON YOUR MAIMAP NOW"

Referring to the MaiMap app and clicking on the Smila, Ukraine, a message popped up:
"Success! The First Path travels through Smila, Ukraine! The city of Smila has a very interesting history. To complete this Path, find the meaning of 'Smila'..."
Naturally, I Googled the answer. I then sent it along to the Mai (the lovely hosts of this game) via email: 

Answer: "The city of Smila was named for a local girl who guided the Kievan Rus army to invaders during the Golden Horde raids. They defeated these invaders, but the girl had unfortunately died from an enemy arrow. Her name was never known, but when later settlers established a city, they named it "Smila" (meaning "Brave girl") in her honor."1

The Mai sent me a picture of Uniter Scroll in return, for completing the challenge (pictured above - click to enlarge). 

Path Two
An email arrived on my MaiPad2 with a picture and instructions to answer these three questions, and then search YouTube with the three one-word answers:    

1.  What is the ancient Egyptian name for this statue?

2.  What very warm and bright star did ancient Egyptians originally connect to this statue?

3.  What city in Egypt contained a "cult" that was dedicated to the Goddess connected to this statue?

Answers (highlight to see): Bastet, Sun, Bubastis

After typing these three words into YouTube, it brought me to this very intriguing video:

Next two paths recap will go up later this week! But in the meantime, are you playing? Don't forget that one grand prize winner* who plays online will win a trip to the set of The Nine Lives of Chloe King! Click the photo below to start playing:

Click picture to start playing at ABC Family's website!


1 - Info courtesy of Wikipedia
2 - iPad (aka MaiPad) was provided by ABC Family in the Game Box that they sent to participants of the Nine Paths to Chloe King game free of charge. 
* US citizen, 13 yrs or older for the Grand Prize - check the Official Rules for more info. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

Release: June 28, 2011
Pages: 320 (hardcover)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Galley Grab
Sometimes there's no turning back.

Amber's life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of her family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell that he's also looking for an escape. Together they...Click here for more of this summary.
Thoughts: The Day Before perfectly exemplifies the beauty of words tied together through emotion - this story is poetic, lyrical...and just overall spectacular.

Amber needs this last day for herself, and only herself. Running off early in the morning with a backpack full of essential items - her drumstricks, P!NK blaring on her iPod, and of course, some jelly beans - Amber heads off for a day that she can control. Early on, she runs into Cade, the two of them click, and decide to see where the day takes them. As the day spirals onward into more adventures, the separate mysteries surrounding these two characters are slowly revealed. Mixed in, letters to Amber help hint at her predicament, but it's Cade's that will surprise the most.

Schroeder knows how to string words together beautifully. Her characters are easy to connect with and I couldn't help but grow quickly curious about what was going on in Amber's life. Her impromptu day trip alone intrigued me -- After all, who hasn't ever wanted just a day that you can control completely, where you can go anywhere and do anything?{1} The situations and issues revealed in this novel are a bit heartbreaking, but this story still manages to come across as endearing. 

From fun at the beach, to an awesome concert I wish I could attend{2} and so much more, The Day Before is truly an incredible story about one day and how easily life can throw some surprises your way. 

Highlights: References to various musical artists, movies were a bonus (especially for a current pop culture movie/music fan). But even more, I enjoyed how Amber and Cade bonded over music/movies. This novel is written in pure emotion and still remains very realistic to the narrator - despite being so lyrical, she still comes across like a teenage girl. I'm not usually a verse-novel fan, but I always find Schroeder's work enjoyable and worthwhile to read. 

Lowlights: It was far too quick, too short. By the time it ended, I wanted just more out of the story/characters to give them both a bit more depth. The attraction - while sweet - between Cade and Amber needed some more time to develop into something believable. 



{1} Raises hand*
{2} Trust me, you'd want to be at that concert too. *dances*

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Buy it: Amazon / Book Depository
Release: June 7, 2011
Pages: 464 (hardcover)
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Source: Amazon Vine Program
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back. 

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization. 
Thoughts: Blood Red Road is exciting and introduces a different style of writing that succeeds in creating a gripping and thoughtful story.

Narrated by Saba in writing that perfectly reflects her character, the story begins with Saba's life at Silverlake with her father, Emmi (sister), and Lugh (her twin brother). Saba herself comes across a bit unkind and very easy to dislike in the beginning, but her growth and gained maturity is  obvious throughout the story. Saba's broken knowledge of English shows on every page, but I eventually came to enjoy how the story was written in the way that she speaks - it creates an even more immediate connection to who Saba is and who she becomes. Emmi is another character that took some time to warm up to, but I ended up loving her personality. Lugh is one character we only know for a short time (which was a bit disappointing) but I had plenty of other characters to enjoy reading about. Secondary characters like the Free Hawks girls and Jack stand out and shine the way Saba does. 

The setting changes as Saba moves swiftly across the deserts of Silverlake, to Hopetown where gladiator-like battles take place, and the more unique Freedom Fields (as well as a few other intriguing places). Each new place Saba takes the reader blooms to life, and the possibility of danger at every turn made this story captivating to me. The storyline is both filled with exciting moments that will have you hooked, as well as slow, thoughtful moments too. Imaginations will run wild with Blood Red Road, and you'll definitely want more.

Highlights: Action. Adventure. More Action. Loss. Family. Love. These things are all at the heart of this story, and I love that. Even the romance, what little there was, did not take over the plot. This book is about coming of age, and about the crazy things you'll do for your family. I love a book with a plot that's actually worthwhile. This is by and far the most uniquely written story I've ever read. Plus, the characters are interesting (which is always a good thing).

Lowlights: I'm just curious how it all came to be, this society. I also thought a few aspects of the story were predictable. In addition, I almost gave up in the first 50 pages or so pages because I wasn't adjusting to the writing style/character - this story has a very slow start, but it does pick up the pace eventually.

Note: If you have issues with novels written in the voice of a character who really does not have the best diction, then you might want to check this one out at the library first (or read a chapter at the bookstore) to see if you'll be able to enjoy the writing. I thought I would hate this book, but I ended up enjoying how it was written completely in Saba's voice. 



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Nine Paths to Chloe King Begins!

About a week or so ago, I received an email from ABC Family asking if I wanted to sign up for the Nine Paths to Chloe King game. It's a game surrounding the upcoming new TV series, The Nine Lives of Chloe King. I had such a blast playing the Secret Keeper's Contest for Pretty Little Liars, so I knew that I had to say yes!

 And today, I received my game box! Check out the cool lid,
And inside....
*Cue childlike joy* 

Inside was a iPad MaiPad, courtesy of ABC Family, along with a few other items/clues...
And check out the Uniter design on the back of the iPad MaiPad

And it gets even better. Why? Because YOU can play too!!! Interested? Follow the link and start playing online, and be sure to enter the code "Circle" into the Circle Charm Giveaway box (you'll see it on the right side of the page) for a chance to win a Circle charm of your own! :)

PS: "A" from Pretty Little Liars still managed to sneak in a little message on my MaiPad 
Just when I think she's done stalking taunting me...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

WOW is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Release: September 27, 2011
Chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is increasingly scarce, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city’s most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine—going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until someone in her inner circle ends up poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she’s to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight—at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafiya family...read more at Goodreads
So excited for this book! It had me curious from the first sentence of that summary. Then again, any world where coffee and chocolate are illegal naturally intrigues me ;) 

And fortunately, I received a lovely box in the mail this week:
(chocolate covered espresso beans + book + confetti = awesome)

What are you waiting on this week?