Friday, August 31, 2012

Join The Army of TEN!

The Army of TEN

Hey everyone! 

In response to one of the last major chain bookstores saying they will not stock her upcoming novel TEN in their bookstores, Gretchen McNeil has started up a street team in order to promote TEN and make sure everyone knows about it! Since I'm a huge fan of POSSESS, I knew the moment I saw this that I'd be signing up. 

By completely various tasks, you can earn different ranks -- from Private, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Major, General and Special Ops, also gaining different prizes for each rank you achieve (for example, reaching General status might get your name mentioned in the acknowledgements of 3:59, Gretchen's next novel)! 

If you're curious about The Army of TEN or are interested in signing up, go to THE ARMY OF TEN and check it out. 

Curious about the novel TEN? Read the summary below:
And their doom comes swiftly.

"It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?"


Thursday, August 30, 2012

COVERS: Chantress, Criminal, and Vengeance

One of the first things I notice about a book is it's cover, so I very much enjoy cover-hunting on Goodreads to see if I can find any covers that are new to me. These are a few of the ones I've come across:

         BLAZE                                 THE DIFFERENT GIRL
Awesome pink hair on the left. TDG cover is so odd...I don't really like it, but it does make me wonder about the story. 

 CHANTRESS                                  CRIMINAL
The Chantress cover reminds me of The Faerie Ring, but that's not a bad thing. I quite like the cover, especially the tagline and expressive font. And I love how there's a bullet shooting through the title on Criminal - it's dark, clean, and fascinating. 

            LEGEND                           VENGEANCE BOUND
The spray-painted effect change for Legend's cover looks great (and I'm glad they didn't change it too much). I love the sound of Vengeance Bound, but I wish the cover was a bit stronger. 

                  TIDES                          CHOSEN AT NIGHTFALL
I really like the cover for Tides, and how the two seem to reflect one another. And of course, I adore the lighting for Chosen at Nightfall.

Have you spotted any interesting covers?


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (91)

WoW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Premeditated by Josin McQuein
October 2013
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
"A week ago, Dinah’s cousin Claire cut her wrists.

Five days ago, Dinah found Claire’s diary and discovered why.

Three days ago, Dinah stopped crying and came up with a plan.

Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.

Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator’s camouflage.

Today, she’ll find the boy who broke Claire.

By tomorrow, he’ll wish he were dead."
I like how blunt his summary is - no filler, no nonsense. It has me very curious. The cover is creepy, but also slightly underwhelming in comparison to the summary. Yet, I'm interested. 

What are you waiting on? 


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top Ten Bookish Confessions

TTT is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!

Top Ten Bookish Confessions (...."You dog ear, you hated a book but said you loved it, you have $500 library fines...anything goes!")

1.  My library *may* have discontinued my library card. I have no idea why, but my library card no longer works on my library website. It claims my card number doesn't exist. Maybe they discontinued it because I kept racking up (but paying back!) small but repetitive late-fee fines? I need to see if I can get that fixed soon, I miss checking books out of the library.

2.  I mark up classic books (The Scarlet Letter, Walden, et cetera). I highlight and put asterisks by favorite passages. I don't think I'd ever do this for YA books, but I find it useful for the classics.

3.  I use thin, glossy hardcover books as mouse pads. Whenever I need to use a wireless mouse for my laptop, I grab the skinniest book with the glossiest cover I can find (glossy = smoothest surface for mouse), and use it as a mouse pad. I used to use Breaking Dawn (I figured I should get some use out of it since I felt like I'd wasted money buying it), but I've found thinner hardcovers are better. 

4.  It took me almost a year before I read The Hunger Games, because I wasn't a fan of the cover. Weirdly, I love the cover for this book now and think that it suits the story perfectly.

5.  I claim to have read Pride & Prejudice, but I've really never actually finished it. I made it about three/fourths of the way in, and gave up (twice). I've seen the Kiera Knightly movie though, so that counts, right? ;)
(Forgive my terrible art skills when it comes to the above cartoon of YA Book Queen as a kid, but I needed something to fill this space. Me + 15 minutes + Microsoft Paint = a very, very bad idea)

6.  I hated reading when I was younger. Absolutely hated it. It wasn't until fourth or fifth grade that I started to like it, when I was gifted The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. That book made me a fan of reading, so I've always had a soft spot for novels by Meg Cabot. 

7.  I've been reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak since March 14th, 2012. That's like, a little over five months. And I'm still not done. 

8.  I stop reading awesome books after 100 pages, only to have to reread the book  two or three more times before I actually finish it. Sometimes it can take me well over a year to finish a book when this happens. This might be my one bad reading habit. I did this with Jellicoe Road, Finnikin of the Rock, Code Name Verity....and maybe The Book Thief (see #7).

9.  If you ruin or otherwise destroy a book of mine, I might secretly resent you. If you ruin an ARC, that's fine. A finished copy that I purchased and let you borrow, thinking you'd actually take care not to bend the pages / poor water on it / rip the pages out / mark up with a pen or pencil / et cetera? Yeah, I might be mad at you on the inside (especially if you don't offer to replace it or apologize). 

10.  I likely won't let you borrow any of my finished copies (see #9). I always feel bad about this, but I will rarely let anyone borrow finished copies from me. I've had too many bad experiences with people not respecting my books or not paying me back when they do ruin them (it's even worse when the book is autographed, because that's so hard to replace), so I rarely let anyone borrow my finished copies unless I trust them completely. 

What's one of your bookish confessions? 
Leave a link if you wrote a post! 


Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass
Sarah J. Maas
August 7th, 2012
416 pages (hardcover)
Source - Netgalley
"After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined."
Celaena Sardothien is the kind of character that demands attention. I quickly became a fan of Celaena's character in the first three Throne of Glass novellas (especially in The Assassin and the Desert) because despite her cocky and better-than-everyone-else attitude, she does have some great moments and character growth in each novella. As a bonus, Celaena gets the job done in each of those smaller stories, and she's not afraid to kick some butt along the way.

In  Throne of Glass, Celaena is forced to reacquire and moderate her abilities for the sake of survival as she tries to win the privilege of being the King's champion. I expected action-packed story featuring gripping Tests as Celaena proves her worth, but strangely, I instead found that more focus is placed on Celaena's budding romantic relationships and the not-so-surprising mystery of who or what is killing off Celaena's competitors. In the end, I found the story enjoyable but was still somewhat saddened1 by how much emphasis was placed on trivial matters when there was so much potential for Throne of Glass

Highlights: Vain, deadly, and quick with fabulously witty comebacks, Celaena also contains a softer side underneath all those prickly edges. I enjoyed how Maas focused on only one of Celaena's romantic relationships, and how Maas showed Celaena's struggle to reach her peak after spending so long in Endovier. Each Test kept me eagerly turning the pages for more. Nox and Nehemia were both surprising and wonderfully written supporting characters that I hope to see in future books.

Lowlights: The switching 3rd person POV. The lack of time spent on the Tests, and the amount instead spent hanging out with Celaena in her rooms or flirting with her love interests, who don't compare to the ones present in the novellas. A bit too much time spent on things that got old quickly (Celaena flirting, whining, eating / adoring candy). The main love interest seemed a bit cliché. The mysteries unraveled too obviously.  


1 I liked this book, but felt a bit underwhelmed. Other readers seem to be loving it, so I'd recommend Throne of Glass to anyone craving a fantasy novel. I also highly recommend the ToG novellas, which are fantastic.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Queen's Library (16)

For Review
Uncontrollable by SR Johannes (e-arc)
The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa (Netgalley)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Netgalley)
Josie Griffin is Not a Vampire by Heather Swain (arc)

Free for Kindle
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

Purchased for Kindle
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

From Corrine Jackson
Autographed swag/bookmarks for If I Lie and Touched

Not going to lie, I freaked out when Scholastic accepted my request for The Raven Boys on Netgalley. I wasn't expecting to get accepted, so it was a nice surprise....Thanks to SR Johannes (and Kate), Netgalley, Harlequin Teen, Scholastic, Penguin, and Corrine!

What books did you get this week?


Credit / Inspiration

Friday, August 24, 2012

Why THE ARCHIVED Is On My Wishlist (And Why It Should Be On Your Wishlist Too)

I was patrolling Netgalley a week ago when I noticed a sneak peek for THE ARCHIVED by Victoria Schwab was available to read, and I quickly downloaded it for my Kindle. Fast-forward a few hours, and I was done, left both completely fascinated by the story and very upset that it is not January 22nd yet. But, while the release date may not be here yet, these are some reasons why THE ARCHIVED is high on my wishlist, and why this story should be on your wishlist too:  

Great Main Character
THE ARCHIVED features a strong and smart heroine with its narrator, Mackenzie. She's not quite like other YA protagonists, but I like that about her. Being a Keeper makes her unique from other bookish heroines, and I'm hopeful she'll continue being awesome as the story progresses. 

Interesting Narrative
There's (1) a main, present day narrative and (2) brief recollections of Da (Mackenzie's grandfather), and the latter proves itself to be very gripping. Sometimes little interruptions in narrations can be frustrating, but trust me when I say these ones will only make you want to keep reading. 

Strong Emotions / Writing
Mac and her family are still dealing with a death in the family, so emotions are a bit high-strung. Also, there's the fact that Mac's a bit more sensitive to emotions because she's a Keeper. Schwab manages to get these emotions to come across to the reader. I felt for these characters, related to them, and understood them. I just hope there will be some growth. 

Excellent Worldbuilding 
I was worried that the concept for this story wouldn't be fully realized and fleshed out, but I had no reason to worry whatsoever. Schwab expertly lays the groundwork for what it is to be a Keeper, what Histories are, and gives tantalizing glimpses into the Archive and the Narrows, giving just enough info at the right moments. Schwab seems to be developing this story slowly, so I'm sure there will be even more to learn throughout the entire novel. 

Multiple Mysteries
There are a few mysteries floating around in this story, and I'm curious to see what Schwab does with them.  

He is a very intriguing young man....This sneak peek left off at an interesting point with him. 

It Will Likely Get Even Better 
I'm just guessing, but it seems like a strong possibility that this book will be fantastic. You can't go wrong with a fascinating concept and a great protagonist. 

January 22nd, 2013
Disney Hyperion
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. 

"Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall." 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (times two!) (90)

WoW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
May 21st, 2013 
Simon Pulse

I have no idea what this book is about, but it's written by Sarah Ockler. Therefore, it is a must-read. 

Altered by Jennifer Rush
January 2nd, 2013 
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

"Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. 

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away."
This cover is a huge improvement: Love the branch effect and the disconnected font, and the shirtless guy doesn't hurt...however, I'm still not 100% sold on this cover. Maybe it's the partial-face that bugs me, it always looks weird on covers. But, I'm excited for the story inside!

What are you waiting on?


Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the Rock
(Lumatere Chronicles #1)
Melina Marchetta
February 9th, 2010
399 pages (hardcover)
Candlewick Press
Source - Purchased
"At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.

But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.

Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock--to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny."
Once again, I am the idiot who almost gave up after reading only a few chapters of a Melina Marchetta novel. You'd think I would have learned my lesson by now, right? Thankfully, I dove back into the story (fourth time's the charm), and finally discovered that WOW-factor that I was previously missing. Like all other Marchetta novels, it takes patience and time for the story to bloom into something extraordinary. 

Marchetta skillfully and slowly builds a world rich in unique cultures, religions, and characters in her high fantasy novel, Finnikin of the Rock. There are journey's that sweep across the land, incredible moments of character growth, and the writing in Finnikin of the Rock will sweep you off your feet and drop you into a world filled with danger, surprise, and intrigue1. I tend to use the word "magical" when describing Marchetta's writing style, and this novel is no exception. Quite honestly, if you are not reading Marchetta's novels, then you are missing out on reading extraordinary literature written by one of the most talented YA authors of our time. Marchetta is a skilled storyteller, so don't miss out! 

Highlights: The small surprises and the simpler moments between characters made this story wonderful. The characters eventually became some of my favorites because they are so realistic, flawed, and intriguing. The plot itself continuously surprised me and it gave me some wonderfully thoughtful moments to reflect upon. The included maps were helpful. I wish I could spend more of my time rereading Finnikin of the Rock, flipping through the pages and savoring each moment. This book is that good. 

Lowlights: It was very difficult to get into but it was completely worth the time that it took before I became fully hooked.


1 I'm keeping quiet about aspects of the plot. Trust me when I say that you want to go into this story with only the book jacket information -- it makes everything all the more magical that way.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Queen's Library (15)

ARC's From Netgalley
Shadows (Ashes #2) by Ilsa J Bick
Sneak Peek of The Archived by Victoria Schwab 

Purchase for Kindle

Thanks to Netgalley, Egmont for Shadows, &  Disney Hyperion for the sneak peek of The Archived! It made me very excited for the release :)

What did you get this week?


Credit / Inspiration

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Authors ARE Rockstars Tour: Guest Post by Gretchen McNeil & Giveaway

Today I have a guest post and a giveaway from Gretchen McNeil for this stop on the Authors ARE Rockstars tour, and I'm very excited to have her here as a guest! 

When I first read Gretchen McNeil's debut novel POSSESS, I knew immediately that Gretchen was a rockstar. She managed to write a novel filled with all the elements I love in a story: family, friends, sarcastic narrators, creepy talking dolls (okay, I don’t love this, but it freaked me out so that’s a bonus), diverse characters, sweet guys, and a captivating mystery. Gretchen McNeil is also a total rockstar because she sings with a circus troupe called Cirque Berzerk. How cool is that?  Plus, anyone that can take the song Ice Ice Baby and sing it in an opera style is a rockstar in my mind.  
"Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown.  Her YA horror POSSESS debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011.  Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – will be released September 18, 2012, and her third novel 3:59, sci fi horror pitched as The Parent Trap meets Event Horizon, is scheduled for Fall 2013.

Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk.  Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as 'Monday.'"
TEN by Gretchen McNeil
Releases September 18th, 2012
Balzer + Bray
And their doom comes swiftly.

"It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, both of which involve Kamiak High’s most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher. But what starts out as a fun-filled weekend turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly, people are dying and the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?" 
Top Ten Things You DON'T Know About My Books
by Gretchen McNeil

1.  While most people know that POSSESS was not the first book I wrote (there's a YA urban fantasy set in Ireland that my agent signed me for) most people don't know that the first book I wrote was actually and adult chick lit book called O'DONNELL WITH TWO L'S.  Also partially set in Ireland.  Go figure.

2.  There is also a shelved YA historical spy adventure novel with pirates and cross-dressing girl spies and a hot, hot Navy lieutenant that's just sitting in a drawer somewhere, waiting to see the light of day.  It's my pet project.

3.  POSSESS was originally titled BANISH.

4.  TEN is an homage to two of my favorite authors of all time – Agatha Christie and Christopher Pike.

5.  When I found out that Christopher Pike was going to blurb TEN, I cried.  True story, I read the email from Mr. Pike and burst into tears.  My boyfriend asked why and I explained that I was reading an email from the Christopher Pike.  His response?  "Why is the Captain of the Enterprise emailing you?"  Tears quickly turned to laughter.

6.  TEN is dedicated to the memory of the mother of a dear friend.  I was flying from LA to San Francisco for her memorial service the day I got the call from my agent that my publisher wanted to sign me up for more books.  It seemed appropriate.

7.  The idea for 3:59 came while I was waiting at a stoplight on my way home from my day job and had a weird doppelganger experience.  By the time I pulled into my driveway, I'd formulated a rough sketch of the plot.

8.  There are two significant surnames in TEN.  Pritchard (a nod to Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie's grandson) and Fletcher (from Jessica Fletcher of Murder, She Wrote.)

9.  I've always hated my first name. When I was in the second grade, we did a project about other names our parents were considering.  My mom told me that they'd almost named me Bridget.  The next day I started telling people to call me Bridget.  The teacher had to call my mom to clarify, whereupon my mom sat me down and explained that once I was 18 I was welcome to change my name to whatever I wanted, but until then I would be Gretchen.

10.  I pitched my next two books as Revenge meets The Breakfast Club.  Look for the first in 2014…

Thank you for the fascinating guest post, Gretchen! Gretchen's also sponsoring a giveaway for one paperback copy of POSSESS (US ONLY), so enter using the Rafflecopter below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cover Reveal: Perception by Lee Strauss

Lee Strauss (a.k.a. Elle Strauss, the author of the Clockwise series, as well as Seaweed) recently revealed a cover for Perception!

Perception by Lee Strauss
Releases on September 12th
"Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP—a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans.

Her brother Liam is missing.

Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they’ve created between those who have and those who don’t. He doesn’t like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically.

Zoe’s carefree life takes a traumatic turn.  She’s in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her."
Such a fascinating cover! What do you think of it?


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (89)

WoW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Catherine by April Lindner
January 2nd, 2013
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
"A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you've never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad's famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years -- a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn't die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her -- starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery."
I really enjoyed Lindner's novel Jane (a retelling of Jane Eyre), so I'm excited to see what she does with Wuthering Heights! 

What are you waiting on?