Friday, February 28, 2014

Interview: Anne Leonard (Author of Moth and Spark)


This week, I am excited to welcome Anne Leonard, author of Moth and Spark, to the blog to answer a few questions regarding her new release. Hope y'all will give her a warm welcome.

About the Author:
I was born in Chicago and have lived in 8 different states, eventually ending up in California.  I graduated with a BA from St. John’s College and went on to get my MFA at the University of Pittsburgh. After this came a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University, and then a dry spell with no school for about six years before I started law school at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.  I am a licensed attorney.  I wrote the first draft of MOTH AND SPARK while in law school. (rest of of bio)

You can haunt Anne Leonard at-
Goodreads | website | Twitter | FB |


Interview

  • In five words describe Prince Corin:
    • Smart, dedicated, irritable, brave, late
  • Why did you choose to write about dragons seeking freedom from their bondage?
    • I wanted a situation where the dragons were more complicated creatures than flying furnaces, and I needed a situation with a deed that had political consequences. Having captive dragons needing to be freed worked for both of those.
  • What was your favorite thing about the world you created for Moth and Spark?
    • The most fun I have is the stuff that doesn’t show up in the book – the backstory of history and characters. But of what is in the novel, I guess I have to say my favorite thing is the wizards, because there is still a lot I don’t know about them and magic is always intriguing.
  • Weirdest job you've ever held?
    • After I graduated from college, I had a temp job performing inventory in the Virginia state prisons, which included going in to the license plate shop while the inmates were working.
  • I hear you’re a Cub's fan, so, what is about them that keeps you rooting for them?
    • Oh, I root for them, I just have no hope. My heart has been broken too many times.
  • Top three favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy books and why you like them?
    • I’m probably giving pretty inconsistent answers to this question, but this time I’ll say Tehanu, by Ursula K. Le Guin, because it is so understated and about being human; The Gunslinger, by Stephen King, because it throws so many different things together in ways that I never ever would have imagined; and The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, because it has a strong, smart heroine that boys look up to.
  • Which Jane Austen character do you believe that you are?
    • Well, some days I feel like I’m Mr. Bennett, sitting misanthropically in my study, but I’m probably most like Anne Elliott, who is quiet with deep feelings but not a pushover.
  • The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 
    • Spock, obviously, since he’ll be able to deprogram them the fastest. (I always favor brains over brawn.)
  • Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?
    • Right now it’s a disaster, so no pictures, but it has the usual accouterments of lots of books, office equipment, and occasionally a cat. There’s a large elder tree outside one of the windows, and often there are birds in it, and then the cat sits on the sill swishing his tail and chattering at them. It has a lot of natural light, which is nice.
  • Any upcoming projects that you can share with us?   
    • I don’t like to talk much about my works in progress, because sometimes I poop out or it takes forever, but I am working on another novel set in the same world. After that I want to do a grittier dystopian type SF in a world full of drought. (I live in California, and water is always on my mind, especially now, when we are in full-blown drought after the driest year on record.)
Anne, thank you so much for stopping by and answering a few questions. I really enjoyed the complexity of the dragons in your book Moth and Spark



Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard, February 20, 2014. Viking Adult.
A prince with a quest. A commoner with mysterious powers. And dragons that demand to be freed—at any cost.

Prince Corin has been chosen to free the dragons from their bondage to the Empire, but dragons aren’t big on directions. They have given him some of their power, but none of their knowledge. No one, not the dragons nor their riders, is even sure what keeps the dragons in the Empire’s control.

Tam, sensible daughter of a well-respected doctor, had no idea before she arrived in the capital that she is a Seer, gifted with visions. When the two run into each other (quite literally) in the library, sparks fly and Corin impulsively asks Tam to dinner. But it’s not all happily ever after. Never mind that the prince isn’t allowed to marry a commoner: war is coming to Caithen.

Torn between Corin’s quest to free the dragons and his duty to his country, the lovers must both figure out how to master their powers in order to save Caithen. With a little help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragonrider, they just might pull it off.

You can add Moth and Spark to your Goodreads shelf.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mine to Spell by Janeal Falor: Cover Reveal


Today we have something different for you.  Instead of just revealing a cover we are asking YOU to help us choose WHICH cover to use!   Mine to Spell by Janeal Falor is the second book in the Mine series. This is a YA fantasy and it is scheduled to release May 5th, 2014.

Do you like cover choice #1:

Or do you like cover choice #2:
Cast your vote here:

Cover #1 or cover #2?
  
pollcode.com free polls 
Be sure to stop by the authors website on March 6th for the final reveal of which cover was chosen!

MINE TO SPELL Description:

Cynthia has always hidden from her father’s hexes behind her older sister. When her family gains independence unheard of for women, she’s relieved that her days of harsh punishments are over. But as her seventeenth birthday approaches—the typical age to be sold to a new master—death threats endanger her sisters. She now faces two options: run or meet society’s expectations.
For once, Cynthia isn’t going to let her older sister shield her from the problem. She’s going to prove to herself, her sisters, and society that her family isn’t a threat to their traditions. She willingly chooses to be purchased by a new master. A bold step that takes her somewhere she never thought she would go and to a man she might possibly fall in love with. With his help, she may just find a way to save her sisters while discovering how to stand up for herself. If she lives long enough.

 

About the author:
Amazon bestselling author Janeal Falor lives in Utah with her husband and three children. In her non-writing time she teaches her kids to make silly faces, cooks whatever strikes her fancy, and attempts to cultivate a garden even when half the things she plants die. When it's time for a break she can be found taking a scenic drive with her family or drinking hot chocolate.


Giveaway:
 Ten Giveaway Combo Packs: ebooks of YOU ARE MINE and prequel, MINE TO TARNISH
Open INT
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This event was put together by CBB Book Promotions.
 

Review: Moth and Spark

Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard, February 20, 2014. 384 pages. Published by Viking Adult. Source: publisher.
A prince with a quest. A commoner with mysterious powers. And dragons that demand to be freed—at any cost.

Prince Corin has been chosen to free the dragons from their bondage to the Empire, but dragons aren’t big on directions. They have given him some of their power, but none of their knowledge. No one, not the dragons nor their riders, is even sure what keeps the dragons in the Empire’s control.

Tam, sensible daughter of a well-respected doctor, had no idea before she arrived in the capital that she is a Seer, gifted with visions. When the two run into each other (quite literally) in the library, sparks fly and Corin impulsively asks Tam to dinner. But it’s not all happily ever after. Never mind that the prince isn’t allowed to marry a commoner: war is coming to Caithen.

Torn between Corin’s quest to free the dragons and his duty to his country, the lovers must both figure out how to master their powers in order to save Caithen. With a little help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragonrider, they just might pull it off.
First Sentence:
Riding, riding, he had been riding when the dragon appeared overhead and came slowly, inevitably, down.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

The Shadow Throne (The Ascendance, 3) by Jennifer A. Nielsen, February 25, 2014. Published by Scholastic.

War is coming. . . . Join Jaron as he embarks on his final adventure!

Why: Because, just the first book in The Ascendance trilogy was enough to have me hooked and eagerly awaiting the chance to get my hands on the final book.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, February 24, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: The Shadow Throne (ARC)


The Shadow Throne (Ascendance, 3) by Jennifer A. Nielsen, February 25, 2014. 336 pages. Published by Scholastic. Source: publisher.
One war.Too many deadly battles.Can a king save his kingdom, when his own survival seems unlikely?
War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. But everything that can go wrong does.

His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves. But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country. Along the way, will he lose what matters most? And in the end, who will sit on Carthya's throne?
First Sentence:
In my life, I'd had my share of fights, sometimes with fists, sometimes with knives, occasionally with a sword. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: The Last Secret of Fatima

The Last Secret of Fatima: The Revelation of One of the Most Controversial Events in Catholic History by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, August 6, 2013. 192 pages. Published by Image Books. Source: Blogging for Books.
With an introduction by Pope Benedict XVI and including information previously suppressed, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, definitively reveals and explains one of the most controversial events in twentieth-century Catholicism—the 1917 apparition of the Virgin Mary at Fatima.

During World War I, three Portuguese children received a vision in which Mary, the Mother of Jesus, foretold great global turmoil. The first part of their vision—warnings about World War II, communism, and the spread of atheism—were widely publicized, but Vatican officials were hesitant to reveal the vision’s concluding images, thus creating the "secret" of Fatima. Speculation about this secret gripped many Catholics, and the aura of intrigue surrounding Fatima grew when the Church hierarchy barred the last surviving visionary from speaking publicly.

In THE LAST SECRET OF FATIMA, Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican equivalent of prime minister and a top advisor to Pope Benedict, breaks the Vatican’s official silence on the last secret. Rather than Armageddon, he claims, the final prophecy envisaged the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. Bertone argues the apparition at Fatima was a call to renewal for the Church, and he was assigned the task of promulgating this message by the Pope.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: Trash Can Days (ARC)

Trash Can Days by Teddy Steinkellner, August 20, 2013. 352 pages. Published by Disney Hyperion. Source: ARCycling.
Jake Schwartz is not looking forward to middle school. Puberty feels light-years away; he’s not keen on the cool clothes or lingo; and he has the added pressure of preparing for his bar mitzvah. The only saving grace is that Danny Uribe, his lifelong best friend, will be by his side…

Or will he? Since Danny’s summer growth spurt, there’s been a growing distance between him and Jake. Danny is excited to explore all that junior high has to offer…especially the girls (and most notably Hannah, Jake’s older sister). But gang life has its allure, too, and he soon finds himself in over his head.

Meanwhile, Hannah is dealing with her own problems–being queen bee is not easy. The other girls are out for blood, and boys are so…exhausting. Danny surprises her with his maturity, but can Hannah’s reputation survive if she’s linked to a sevvy? And what would Jake think about her hooking up with his best friend?

Dorothy Wu could not care less about junior-high drama. She is content to stay in her bedroom and write epic stories of her adventures as a warrior mermaid maiden. But that changes when she discovers the school’s writing club. There, she meets a young lad with heroic potential and decides that life outside her fantasy world just might have some appeal.

In the course of one year at San Paulo Junior High, these four lives will intersect in unique and hilarious ways. Friendships will grow and change. Reputations will be transformed. And maybe someone will become a man.
First Sentence:
Danny grew half a foot this summer. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wish List Wednesday

The Runaway King (The Ascendance, 2) by Jennifer A. Nielsen, March 1, 2013. Published by Scholastic.
Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?
Why: It's simple really, I need to know what is going to happen in the next installment of The Ascendance trilogy.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Shattered Secrets by Krystal Wade: Cover Reveal

Popular YA author Krystal Wade has a thrilling new novel coming out on March 3rd, 2014! Meet Abigail Nichols and Derrick Crawford in SHATTERED SECRETS, a story about love and magic that will keep you on the edge of your seat. We have a fun jigsaw puzzle of the cover for you guys! Go on, give it a try! ...but if you can’t wait, just scroll down and take a peek at final cover of SHATTERED SECRETS! Embed Code for the Cover Puzzle
         

Monday, February 17, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: The Runaway King

The Runaway King (Ascendance, 2) by Jennifer A. Nielsen, March 1, 2013. 331 pages. Published by Scholastic. Source: Won.
Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?
First Sentence:
I had arrived early for my own assassination.

So You Want to Know About The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Curious about why everyone is raving about Marie Rutkoski's The Winner's Curse, well, here's your chance to learn more about the book and author.

About the author:
Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders and The Celestial Globe. The Cabinet of Wonders, her debut novel, was named an Indie Next Kids’ List Great Read and a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, among other honors. Rutkoski grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She attended the University of Iowa, where she took Writers’ Workshop classes and studied with Pulitzer Prize-winner James Alant McPherson. After graduating, she lived in Moscow and Prague. Upon receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard University, she held dual appointments as a lecturer there in both English and American Literature and Language, and History and Literature. Rutkoski is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and creative writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and cat.

You can haunt Marie Rutkoski at-
Website | FB | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram |






The Winner's Curse (Winner's, 1) by Marie Rutkoski, March 4, 2014. Published by Farrar Straus Giroux.
As a general's daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin's eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him'with unexpected consequences. It's not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner's Curse is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

You can purchase a copy of The Winner's Curse from-
Amazon | B&N | Itunes | Indie Bound | Google Books | Books-a-Million |

Learn more about The Winner's Curse and add it to your Goodreads shelf-
Goodreads | Winner's Curse website | FB |



Sunday, February 16, 2014

Author Interview: Holly Schindler (Author of The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky) + Giveaway

Guys, I am so excited to be welcoming Holly Schindler, author of The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, to the blog and to be part of her blog tour for her debut middle grade book.

About the author:
I can’t remember the last time I left the house without a spiral notebook or some pages folded up in a back pocket. And I don’t think I’ve ever returned without fresh ideas, titles, opening lines, or poetry fragments climbing every one of those pages, racing up the margins, crisscrossing in as many different directions as the highways and interstates on a road map of Missouri (my home state).

I’ve spent my life making those notes in the margins—even as a little girl, my favorite activity was to write books bound by strips of red ribbon…and to scrawl comments next to my paragraphs like the most critical of editors. Lessons learned from this childhood pastime served me well, especially in college—I received a BA and MA in English, and while I was a student, I wrote piles of poetry, literary critique, short fiction, and even attempted my first novel. (read more about the author here)

You can haunt Holly Schindler at-
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Blog | FB |


Interview

1. Could you tell us a little about THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY’s main character, Auggie, and her story?

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets Because of Winn Dixie in this inspiring story of hope.

Auggie Jones lives with her grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town.  So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.”  But Auggie is determined to prove that there’s more to her—and to her house—than meets the eye.
What starts out as a home renovation project quickly becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time.
Holly Schindler’s feel-good story about the power one voice can have will inspire readers to speak from their hearts.

2. Since Auggie is your first middle grade character, what is it you enjoyed most about writing about her? Why do you think readers will enjoy reading her story?

Auggie may very well be my favorite character of all time!  Her sweetness and positive attitude are addictive.  She’s also got an incredibly poetic view of the world.  That view allows her to sprinkle metaphors and similes throughout her narration.  Auggie’s voice is actually my favorite part of the novel:

                       

3. What was the biggest difference for you between writing YA and MG?

To some extent, it’s similar.  Both hinge on knowing your main character inside and out…

But the main character in an MG has different abilities, different resources, and a different thought process as he or she attempts to get out of their sticky situation.  Even moving around through town is different for an MG character (teens can drive, but MG characters have their bikes—I’m not even quite sure it’s really all that believable to put an MG character on public transportation all alone anymore, at least not on a regular basis). 

While MG characters can come to grips with serious issues (in THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, we tackle poverty, eminent domain, and the definition of “art” and “beautiful”), they have to approach and deal with that issue in their own world.

4. Holly, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY is your debut middle grade novel. Could you tell us why you decided / wanted to write something for a younger crowd?

When I got out of grad school, I dove headfirst into my pursuit of publication.  While I didn’t have to have a full-time job (thanks to family support), I did teach music lessons out of my house, in order to pay my bills.  Teaching music lessons gave me an insider’s view into just how similar today’s kids are to the kids I knew when I was in junior high and high school.  When I started teaching lessons, I was only writing adult work; those kids and teens were so familiar, though, I decided to try my hand at YA and MG!  (I actually tried my hand at MG at the same time I tried my hand at YA; as I learned to write for the juvenile market, I was learning at both the MG and YA levels.)

5. Last book you read that you thought everyone should read and why?

I’m the administrator of a couple of group author blogs: YA Outside the Lines (yaoutsidethelines.blogspot.com) for YA authors and Smack Dab in the Middle (smack-dab-in-the-middle.blogspot.com) for MG authors.  What I love about those sites is the wide array of different authors and books; there’s just so much great work out there!  You can’t go wrong with any of those authors.

6. What is one thing you never leave home without?

Usually my dog, Jake.  (If he can’t go, I don’t go.  My idea of eating out is now grabbing takeout and heading to the park.)  I also usually have my Kindle with me, and something to write burst of new ideas on.

7. Let’s have a little fun with readers and see who can deduce the facts from fiction. Two truths and one lie about yourself? Readers—see if you can spot the lie.

1.      I’m a total music fanatic; one of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils taught me to play guitar.
2.      I did some work as a model when I was younger—my favorite gigs were floral shows (I modeled bouquets instead of different outfits).
3.      While I love fiction, I also write nonfiction as well; I have also written regularly for my local paper, THE SPRINGFIELD NEWS-LEADER.

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine / hero can possible save the day, who do you choose?

It seems it would take a machine to conquer other machines, save the weaker humans…maybe HAL from Clarke’s SPACE ODESSY series.

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include pictures if you want)?

My brother’s an antiques dealer, and I go with him on buying trips…So my office is just brimming with quirky little items and tchotchkes. 

10. Any upcoming projects that you can share with us?

FERAL is set to be my next YA; it’ll release with HarperCollins later this year!  I’m going to be setting up a fun blog tour for that book as well.  Check in on my website: hollyschindler.com for the latest, and contact me directly to be part of the tour: writehollyschindler (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Holly, thank you so much for stopping by and telling us about Auggie and her story in The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky.
  Readers' did y'all spot the lie in Holly's answer to question 7. Let me know which one y'all think is the lie in the comments.

Don't forget, y'all there's a giveaway at the end of the post; also be sure to visit the next stop on the tour tomorrow on:



The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky by Holly Schindler, February 6, 2014. Published by Dial.
August “Auggie” Jones lives with her Grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” Auggie is determined to prove that she is not as run-down as the outside of her house might suggest. Using the kind of items Gus usually hauls to the scrap heap, a broken toaster becomes a flower; church windows turn into a rainbow walkway; and an old car gets new life as spinning whirligigs. What starts out as a home renovation project becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time. Auggie’s talent for creating found art will remind readers that one girl’s trash really is another girl’s treasure.

You can buy The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky at Amazon and add it to your Goodreads shelf.


Giveaway:
Enter to win a signed bookplate and bookmark. There will be two winners.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book Blogger #LoveAThon: Mini Challenges

Mini Challenge 1:

Victoria and the Rogue('s)
Kiss of Deception
Jinx(ed)
The Shadow Throne('s)
Grave Mercy

Mini Challenge 2 (Book Valentine):

I got nothing....

Dear characters, just stop with the stupid decisions. You make me want to bop you on the forehead half the time.

Love me.

Mini Challenge 3 (Mad Libs):

Yeah...my allergies are acting up, so, if it makes no sense...

One day, I was exploring the woods with Jack. Out of the blue, a a chill wind came out of nowhere! It was so coldgusty and moaning like a banshee . At first, we were afraid, we were petrified, but we shook off the superstitious feeling it left. We hopped on our bikes to make our getaway.
As we escaped, we turned up the radio because Ireland came on and made me remember the fear I'd felt in the woods. Everything was extremely smooth sailing until a semi-transparent visage appeared in the middle of the road. We swerved to avoid it, but while Jack stayed on her bike, I got thrown onto my side in the woods.
I couldn’t get up, and felt wobbly as I lay there staring up at the trees. What was I going to do? I heard a high, moaning sound  among the leaves, and felt tense. Surely, this was going to be my end. As my eyes fluttered shut, the last thing I saw was a head of blue hair and silver eyes.
When I woke up again, I was on a hammock. My body hurt a whole lot less, and I could sit up. There was a desk and a chair in the room, along with gummy bears and Big Red. The door suddenly opened to reveal John, a concerned look on his face. I blushed and averted my gaze, but he whispered and said, “Don’t be shy. It’s okay.”
He came over to sit by me, and we started talking after I told him my name. We chatted about runningreading and archery and realized we had a ton in common! I thought he was cute and couldn’t help feeling a little swoony.
Just as he reached out for my hand, the door crashed open and in came Jack. “Don’t let him charm you 

Loveathon Interview Swap with Christina @ My Life in Books

Today marks the begging of the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon, hosted by Katlyn of Tales of Books and Bands and Alexa of Alexa Loves Books. *yay*

I am very excited to be participating for the first time this year (this is the first time I had the opportunity). Also, I am so excited to be introducing y'all to Christina and her wonderful blog My Life in Books. I hope y'all with give her a very warm welcome.


Interview
In seven words, why do you enjoy blogging?
New friends and great books all together

Last book you wanted/did throw across the room in disgust?
I haven’t been truly disgusted with a book since I read the Twilight series. And those, I can assure you, got tossed right out on their grammatically incorrect and misogynistic spines. 

If you could choose, which Disney princess would you be and why?
This is totally cheating but I’m going to say a mix of Belle, Elsa, and Megara. Belle for her love of books and loyalty. Elsa for her reserved demeanor that hides a lot of personal fears. Megara for her wit and cynicism. 

Author that made you fall in love with reading?
I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember so I’m not really sure who was the first author…but I’ll take a stab in the dark and say the Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene. I was OBSESSED with this series until my 4th grade teacher told me that if I wrote another book report on it she wouldn’t count it, hahaha. 

Time for some fill-in-the-blank fun: "When I'm not reading I enjoy doing _________?"
The internet? No really. When I’m not reading I’m working on posts, tweeting, catching up with blogs I follow, listening to music, watching YouTube videos, pinning, tumbling, and somewhere between all that I manage to work, eat, and sleep. I really should pick a weekend and unplug! 

Least favorite literary trope?
I don’t know if this is a trope so much as a trend, but romances that steamroll plot, characters, and anything else in its way. I like hot make-out scenes and implied intimacy as much as the next girl, but don’t sacrifice it for all the really important literary aspects. Especially when it means compromising a character’s true nature to make the romance work. Just no.

Why do you blog?
I really started blogging as a way to keep up with book trends and help my own potential career in the publishing business. While this is still my hope, blogging has become an outlet for my reading passion and a forum to meet other readers like myself. I don’t know what I’d do without it now!

Create a five track soundtrack for your current read
Intro - The xx
Speed of Sound - Coldplay
The Ends - The Naked and Famous
Demons - Imagine Dragons
Follow Me - Muse
The Flight of the Silvers (this is my Spotify playlist if you want to add it)

Genre you are tired of reading?
Honestly, straight-up romance novels; I used to read them like crazy when I was a teen. I’m finding more and more that if I need a steamy little bedroom scene, all I have to do is pull up some fan fiction. Instead of reading an entire 200+ page book to get to the juicy bits (pun intended), I just have to read a five, maybe ten page fanfic about characters I already know and love. 

The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 
Hermione? No, that’s too expected and same with Katniss. I’m gonna fall back on an old standby because I’ve been feeling the Tortall love lately and say Sir Alanna of Pirate’s Swoop and Olau (formerly of Trebond). Not only is she a sworn knight with skills in sword fighting, daggers, martial arts, horseback riding, archery, and tracking but she’s a healer as well. I’m sure a warrior like her could learn how to use a gun in no time and start kicking some robot butt. 

Seems so wrong that your teacher wouldn't let you continue writing reports on a series you loved! Loved that you consider yourself to be more than one Disney Princess, Christina (I think we can safely agree that being just one is too unlikely). =)


Want to learn more about Christina and her blog My Life in Books, then be sure to check it out.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Young Adult Review: Plain Kate

Plain Kate by Erin Bow, September 1, 2010. 314 pages. Published by Arthur A. Levine Books. Source: library.
Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden charms are so fine that some even call her "witch-blade" -- a dangerous nickname in a town where witches are hunted and burned in the square.
First Sentence:
A long time ago, in a market town by a looping river, there lived an orphan girl called Plain Kate. 

Feral by Holly Schindler: Cover Reveal

So excited to help reveal the cover for Holly Schindler's newest YA book, Feral. This book sounds creepy and so good.

About the author:
I can’t remember the last time I left the house without a spiral notebook or some pages folded up in a back pocket. And I don’t think I’ve ever returned without fresh ideas, titles, opening lines, or poetry fragments climbing every one of those pages, racing up the margins, crisscrossing in as many different directions as the highways and interstates on a road map of Missouri (my home state).

You can haunt Holly Schindler at-
Website | Blog | Twitter | FB | Goodreads |


Feral by Holly Schindler, August 26, 2014. Published by HarperCollins.
It’s too late for you. You’re dead.Those words float through Claire Cain’s head as she lies broken and barely alive after a brutal beating. And the words continue to haunt her months later, in the relentless, terrifying nightmares that plague her sleep. So when her father is offered a teaching sabbatical in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out of Chicago, away from the things that remind her of what she went through, will offer a way to start anew.
But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire quickly realizes something is wrong—the town is brimming with hidden dangers and overrun by feral cats. And her fears are confirmed when a popular high school girl, Serena Sims, is suddenly found dead in the icy woods behind the school. While everyone is quick to say Serena died in an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it—for she was the one who found Serena, battered and most certainly dead, surrounded by the town’s feral cats.
Now Claire vows to learn the truth about what happened, but the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to discovering a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley. . . .
With an eerie setting and heart-stopping twists and turns, Holly Schindler weaves a gripping story that will make you question everything you think you know.

You can pre-order Feral from Amazon and add it to your Goodreads shelf.
Alright, so, what do y'all think of Feral

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Well, since I didn't do any reading challenges last year and because my TBR is still kind of crazy (though I have knocked some off this year already), I've deiced it is time to participate in a TBR Reading Challenge. And the one hosted by the ladies of Bookish is the one that caught my eye.

Right now, I'm shooting for the level:

1-10 A Firm Handshake.

These are the books I've knocked off my TBR pile thus far.

1. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
2. Dewi and the Seeds of Doom by Maggie Lyons
3. The Last Secret of Fatima by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
4. The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen
5. Vin and the Dorky Duet by Maggie Lyons
6. The Fountain of the Earth by H.L. LeRoy
7. Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
8. Hypothesis by Ana Bastow
9. Good Pope, Bad Pope: Their Lives Our Lessons by Mike Aquilina
10. Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block
11. Journey to Galumphagos by Seth Eisner
12. Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer by Will Summerhouse
13. The Caged Graves by  Dianne K. Salerni 

Wish List Wednesday

The False Prince (The Ascendance, 1) by Jennifer A. Nielsen, April 1, 2012. Published by Scholastic.
In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.
Why:  I devoured this book in under four hours because I could not get enough of Jennifer Nielsen's writing. Seriously, this book must be read by anyone who loves fantasy books. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Shadow Prince by Stacey O'Neale: Cover Reveal

About the author:
Stacey O'Neale started her career in publishing as a blogger turned publicist for two successful small publishers. She loves to write stories with swoony paranormal heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

When she's not writing, she loves blogging and fangirling about books on twitter. Occasionally, she leaves her computer to go outside.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest





The Shadow Prince (Mortal Enchantment, 0.5) by Stacey O'Neale, March 25, 2014. Published by Phoenix Reign Publishing.

This prequel novella will be FREE and available on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble on March 25, 2014!

Every sacrifice has consequences.

Sixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission:

Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king.

Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he's capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Add to Goodreads

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Vintage Reads Review: East

East by Edith Pattou, May 1, 2005. 507 pages. Published by Graphia. Source: Borrowed from sister.
Rose has always been different.

Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose's birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home... but she can't suppress Rose's true nature forever.

So when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it-- in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family-- she readily agrees.

Rose travels on the bear's broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart-- and finds her purpose-- and realizes her journey has only just begun.
First Sentence:
Ebba Rose was the name of our last-born child.

Friday, February 7, 2014

All About Middle Grade Interview: D.X. Dunn (Author of An Unexpected Adventure)

This week, I am excited to welcome D.X. Dunn, author of An Unexpected Adventure, to the blog. I hope y'all will give her a warm welcome.

About the author:
D.X. Dunn lives in Western New York with a teenaged son and a not quite teenaged daughter. The Distania Chronicles were originally started to give her son, an early and avid reader, more to read. Years passed and that son got older and the Chronicles were largely forgotten. She recently dug them out for her daughter's amusement and was persuaded to try publishing them on Kindle Direct. She really hopes you enjoy them!

You can haunt D.X. Dunn at-
Goodreads | Twitter | Website |


Interview

1. In seven words, tell us why readers will enjoy reading about Christopher and his adventures?
Action, adventure, magic, best friends and dragons!
2. Could you tell us about Distania and a couple things that boys will encounter while there? 
Distania is an island that is part of the "Distant Lands," where the magicians and magical beings of the past moved to protect themselves as people stopped believing in them and their magic.  The creatures of magic and legend live there, safely shielded from discovery by the modern world.  Chris and Alex encounter dragons in the first book and a unicorn in the second.  Book four introduces readers (and Chris and Alex) to a special mermaid.
3.What was your inspiration for writing An Unexpected Adventure?
I had a young son who read very early and very well.  His reading level was well above his grade/age level and that made book selection difficult.  He also read very very quickly, which made book buying very expensive.  I started the Distania Chronicles for him; to give him interesting adventure stories that were age appropriate with strong male characters.  The books were written to allow for his still developing reading stamina.   The series has now evolved significantly.  The first book is almost exactly what was written for him many years ago, but the later books have been almost completely rewritten.  Books three and four are longer and more involved and, because my son now has a little sister, a number of very strong female characters have been added.  The series is still primarily about two best friends who find themselves experiencing a series of amazing adventures and I hope that it appeals to both boys and girls of all ages.  (I have heard from some readers who enjoy reading the stories to their younger children a chapter at a time for bedtime stories and I have a fan in California who is 67.  She bought the books for her granddaughter, but reads them herself as well!)
4. If your book, An Unexpected Adventure, had a playlist what three songs would best fit the story and characters? What is about those songs that makes you think that be a good fit for the book?
The books are all about friendship, so maybe Randy Newman's "You've got a friend in me," and the Beatles "With a Little Help from my Friends" would be good.  My husband suggested "Puff the Magic Dragon" to pull the dragons into the playlist.  I still remembering singing that song in a show in elementary school and it is still a favorite.
5. Time for a little fill-in-the-blank fun. "When I was twelve, one of my favorite books was _________? I enjoyed it because____?"
Little Women.  Growing up with a sister who was close to my age, it was easy to identify with the characters and their sisterly relationship.  I also enjoyed the historical elements of the story and as I got older, the love stories within the book gave me all sorts of romantic notions about relationships between men and women.
6. Scariest thing that has happened to you?
Has to be when my kids and/or my husband have been really ill.  (Hubby had an emergency appendectomy when our youngest was about 18 months old, that was really scary.)
7. Your top three favorite middle grade reads from 2013 and why you enjoyed them?
Not sure that they were all published in 2013, but I read these in 2013:

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George.  I bought this for my daughter to read and picked it up one day when I found it lying around.  Once I started it, I had to finish it.  It was fun reading someone else's very different take on dragons.  My daughter still hasn't read it, in spite of my nagging!  

Rules by Cynthia Lord.  Another book purchased for my daughter, I read it first to make sure it was age appropriate.  A great story about living with autism and about disability.  My daughter loved it as well.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio, which is a wonderful story about one child's struggle to fit in when he is very different from his peers.  My daughter, my mother and I all read this, one right after another, and it led to some very powerful multi-generational discussions!
8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 
Doctor Who (After living in Britain for 11 years, I'm convinced "The Doctor" can do anything!)
9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?
I couldn't possibly send a picture without spending hours cleaning it up first, and then I would never find anything in it again!  We have a spare bedroom in our home that has a plain wooden table in it.  On that table is my iMac and a printer and about six hundred pieces of paper in every size possible, including sticky notes, pages from a desk calendar, old receipts for things I bought years ago, etc.  Every piece has a note about something written on it.  I have notes about characters, plot development, blogs I've contacted, blogs I've read, upcoming promotions, past promotions, sales figures for any given month, etc.  I also have a ton of notes about stuff that isn't book related like things for the kids or bills to pay, which are far less interesting, but might be more important.  I know there must be at least a dozen pens and pencils in the mess somewhere, but I can never find one when I need it.  Somewhere in the chaos is an outline for the first nine books of the Distania Chronicles (of which four are now finished) and the next time I find it, I'm going to start working on book five!
10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?   
Book one (An Unexpected Adventure) is going on promotion and will be FREE for the Kindle and Kindle apps from the 27th of February to the 3rd of March.  This is a belated celebration for the release of book four which came out in early January.  I'm hoping to have book five out before the summer is finished.  (My daughter will be nagging all summer break if I don't get it done!)  The first three books are available in both Kindle editions and paperback editions, and I'm hoping to get book four into paperback before too much longer.  (Formatting is not my favorite thing to do.)

(I write three different series under three different pen names, so I can't devote all my time to Distania, although sometimes I wish I could.)

Thank you so much for stopping to talk about Distania. I cannot believe that you are the only person to answer question 9 with Doctor Who (who I agree would be an excellent choice for saving the day).


An Unexpected Adventure (Distania,1) by D.X. Dunn, April 22, 2013.
When ten-year old Christopher Knight gets an email from his best friend, now living two hundred miles away, he has no idea that it holds the key to another world. The two friends unexpectedly find themselves in the magical kingdom of Distania. There they must face a raging river, dragons, a mysterious prince and an angry king; and they need to get home in time for dinner!

You can add An Unexpected Adventure to your Goodreads shelf.

linkwithen

Blog Widget by LinkWithin