Friday, May 27, 2011

Winners of Starcrossed: Perigee

Hi Guys! The giveaway ended tonight and here are the winners of Starcrossed: Perigee by Tracey Lee Campbell:

ALoveForBooks and Teen Readers Diary!

Congratulations and keep an eye out in your inboxes for your prizes!! I’d like to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated!

-Sarah

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: Unwind

Unwind (Unwind, #1) by Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Format: Audiobook
Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
Source: Purchased from Audible
Amazon | Audible | Goodreads
★★★★☆
In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them.

Conner’s parents want to be rid of him because he’s a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev’s unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family’s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed – but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges listeners’ ideas about life – not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive.
Imagine for a second that you are a teen living in a world where at any moment your parents or guardians may choose to have you unwound. If you disobey them or become unwanted in any way, they may sign the papers and have you shipped off to a “harvest camp” where you will be prepped and then taken piece by piece. If you’re born into the right religion you may even have the privilege  of being tithed (aka unwound with an honorable connotation). Satisfying both pro-life and pro-choice advocates, the justification of unwinding is that the teens live on within the bodies of the people given their parts. Disturbing? Definitely. Unrealistic? A bit… But this story and the characters brought such life to the idea, that is quickly became real.

Unwind has a very chilling concept! I loved it. Being my first audiobook experience, it took a little getting used to. I think I adjusted to listening vs. reading pretty fast. The narrator, Luke Daniels, was great!! He must have had over 10 original voices. It was very impressive and brought another dimension to the story.

Surprisingly, this was not a very emotional book. I expected it to be, but it was more- sit-at-the-edge-of-your-seat I-must-know-what-will-happen-next addicting. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a little love story in the background that was not gushy whatsoever.

Neal Shusterman has a definite winner here! Unwind is a chilling, action-packed, nail-biting, thriller. Supposedly Neal is working on a second book in the series titled, Unwholly that is due out in September 2012. You can bet I will be trying to get my hands on an ARC of that one! It also appears that Neal is working on the script to a movie based on Unwind. I’m extremely excited for that as well! Give this book a shot, or better yet try this as an audiobook, and you will be guaranteed a thrilling ride.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

News: New Blog Design

Hi Inklings!

I'm looking for some feedback on my new blog layout! I think it matches my blog title a bit better and is easier to navigate. What really matters is what my readers think though! Any feedback positive or negative is appreciated.

All credit goes to the wonderful Katie from KD Designs. She was a pleasure to work with and was great with all of the edits and changes that I had her do. Highly recommend her :)

Anyway, please give me some feedback on anything you think should be changed and/or what you like about it.

Oh and I will be adding a button to the page shortly, if you would like to add it to your blogrolls. Keep an eye out for that. I will have a separate announcement for it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Interview & Giveaway: Tracey Lee Campbell


Tracey Lee Campbell
Author of Starcrossed: Perigee

Blog | Twitter | Buy The Book | Read My Review

Tracey was kind enough to provide me with a copy of her book: Starcrossed: Perigee. I must say I was plesantly surprised!! I did not expect to love Starcrossed: Perigee as much as I did. I found myself lost in her world and in love with the characters. If you would like to read my review, please follow the link above. It was so good, that I asked if she would be willing to do an interview. I extremely happy to say that she has agreed! Starcrossed: Perigee is her debut book and I'm sure there are many great things in store for this talented author.



What was it like writing your first novel!?

It was a roller coaster ride! I wrote it for many reasons - a challenge to myself, an outlet for my ideas on the paranormal, a story for my daughters, and a way of leaving my little mark on the world. All of this meant I had quite an emotional investment in the book, and when it wasn't going well - when the words weren't flowing, when the sentences felt clumsy and sticky no matter which way I wrote them, I sometimes wondered whether it was all worth it. Published authors are lucky - particularly the ones who know they can hand their work in to the editor at the end and know they'll be published and read - they've already proven their credibility. But new writers don't have that validation, so the doubts which I'm sure all writers suffer from occasionally can be all the more debilitating. There were plenty of times though, that my writing was going along smashingly and it was fun to write, and it was at those times when I thought 'I can really do this!' To cope with the ups and downs, I decided my main goal would just be to finish the story and make it the best it could be for myself. I am a terrible procrastinator, so the fact that it is finished and published is a huge achievement in my life.

Aliens play such a large role in your book, so I must ask: Do you believe that aliens exist? If not, what propelled you to write about them?

I saw a UFO when I was a child - a classic 'flying saucer' with dancing lights on its bottom, hovering silently over a factory. Who, (or what!), was piloting it? I don't know! That sighting sparked a lifelong interest in the topic, and I've always had a feeling that the world isn't quite what it seems on the surface. As to the existence of aliens, I don't believe in them, I 'suspect' they exist - the evidence, if you really put the time into looking into it, is overwhelming. In my book I explore the premise of dimensions - I examine ancient mythical creatures, ghosts, aliens, religious and spiritual beings and try to explain them as dwellers of other planes of reality which exist alongside ours. Occasionally they get through to our reality. I like that idea - in fact, as crazy as it sounds, I think it's entirely plausible, and it leaves me with plenty of scope for creepy paranormal creatures to enter my characters' lives!

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a debut author and what advice would you give to those in your shoes?

I knew publicity was crucial, but I didn't realize just how incredibly hard to come by it is. Now I know why advertising costs so much - it is absolutely vital and therefore extremely valuable. These days, all authors are expected to do their own marketing, so hooking up with other writers using social media sites such as Twitter is a great source of advice and support. The internet provides a wealth of good information about writing and marketing your book, so be prepared to do your homework and put into practice the things you have learned.

What are your current projects and what can we expect from you in the future?

I am currently working on the second in the Starcrossed trilogy, entitled 'Dark Matter'. I have some great ideas for it and am itching to get it finished as I think it is going to be a cracker of a story. The main characters - Lucy and Aric, will have more tension between them, and I'm introducing some new paranormal creatures into the mix which is going to make for some great, creepy scenes! Once that's finished, I will be writing the third in the series. I have an overall plot for that one, and some cool ideas, but I'm still thinking on a working title.



Still not convinced to read this awesome book? Check out the trailer!





 I would like to thank Tracey for this interview and for allowing me the opportunity to review her book! Now for the really fun part: Tracey has agreed to give away TWO EBOOK COPIES (in a format of your choice) of Starcrossed: Perigee!  Just read the rules below and follow the link to the form to enter!



Official Giveaway Information:
  • DEADLINE: May 27th, 2011
  • Entrants must be 13 years of age or older.
  • This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway
  • Must be a follower of my blog
  • Extra entries can be gained the following ways:
    • Tweet about the giveaway
    • Create a blog post linking back to the giveaway.
  • ONE ENTRY PER PERSON PLEASE!
  • Check out my Giveaway/Privacy Policy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: Starcrossed: Perigee

starcrossed

Title: Starcrossed: Perigee (Starcrossed, #1)
Author: Tracey Lee Campbell
Source: Author provided, Kindle edition
Release Date: May 3rd, 2011
★★★★☆

Summary
After surviving a peculiar and unsettled childhood, Lucy Doyle's relatively normal teenage existence is turned upside down with the arrival of the enigmatic, impossibly good looking Aric Brennan - her uncle's new ranch hand. Lucy's suspicion that there's something 'different' about Aric is confirmed when she learns that his uncanny ability to mind read and charm the socks off of any female isn't just an accident - he was bred for this purpose. Aric is a 'whisperer' - a genetically manipulated human hybrid created by the Innaki - an alien race involved in a sinister abduction program.

When Lucy is stalked by Aric's unearthly creators, she must put her trust in the charismatic, 'perfect' stranger, unaware he holds a chilling secret which could destroy her world forever.

Review
I am SO happy that Tracey sent me her debut novel, Starcrossed: Perigee to review. It is a really, REALLY awesome book! It has a completely original concept that made it hard to put down. I must say that this is not my typical read… but I am very happy I gave it a shot.

The book started off a bit slow for me, but that quickly changed when Lucy met Aric! He was such a captivating character on the page, I can’t imagine what he’d be like in person! I definitely give Tracey two-thumbs up for writing such a kick-ass male lead. Lucy and Aric’s relationship progresses naturally. It was borderline twilight-y at some points, but only because Lucy had not known him that long and he has the ability to charm people. Other than that, it was a great relationship to observe.

You’ll quickly realize when reading Starcrossed: Perigee that there is a whole lot more going on in the world than everyone is aware of. Aliens and vampire-type creatures? Somehow she made it all work flawlessly! She creates a chilling world where you cannot be sure of anything. And not-to-mention she was great at keeping me on my toes! This book is filled with twists and turns that I wouldn’t have seen coming in a million years. I can’t wait to see where Tracey takes this series next! I imagine the next book will be quite epic judging from where this one left off. Thanks again Tracey and I’ll be looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy!

Oh, and if you buy the Kindle Edition on Amazon, it is only $0.99!! Can’t beat it. Trust me, it’s worth the dollar!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

News: Interview

Hi Inklings! 

Quick Announcement: I was interviewed earlier this year for a series of posts over at the Book Blogger Directory called "New Blogger Interview", and the interview has now been posted! 

If you're interested in learning a bit more about me, you can check the interview out here.

By the way, the Book Blogger Directory is a great way to get your name out there! If you are not already a member, I highly suggest your sign your blog up. You can sign up via the button below:


Parajunkee Design

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: Divergent

Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins, Inc.
Format: Ebook
Pages: 487
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Audible | Goodreads
★★★★★
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
This is seriously one of the best debut novels I have ever purchased! Roth does an amazing job of pulling you into this crazy world. At first I shied away from it thinking Divergent was just a fad and wouldn’t compare to the other dystopian books I have read. Boy was I wrong! This book is so deserving of each and every bit of praise it receives.

I loved all the characters, but Tris and Four were written so well. They were definitely my favorites. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but is Four not the most romantic badass that you’ve read?! I was swooning over him the entire book… Following Tris and Four as their relationship developed was certainly a treat. Roth has a great skill with romance.

This book was not all rainbows and butterflies… Tris faced quite overwhelming odds, heartbreak, death, and betrayal. Reading this, I couldn’t help but put myself in her place and wonder if I would be strong enough to survive. She was a very inspirational character for me..

I’m so happy that I decided to read this! This story is not only original, but action-packed and filled with twists! I swear I had no idea they were coming. I became so engrossed that it was an extremely quick read for me. I would sit in bed and think to myself “Just one more chapter…” and before I knew it, it would be 1am. I was so tempted to stay up and finish it.  You definitely need to pick this up if you get a chance. It is an original, strong story one that I likely will not forget. I’m very excited to see where the next book goes!
Post. Amazing. Book. Depression.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #4

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read Open to a random page.
2. 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!)
3. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Divergent
“Part of me wonders if this is a suicide mission disguised as a game. It isn’t the first time I’ve wondered that since the Choosing Ceremony. ”- Divergent by Veronica Roth
 
Now get out there and post some Teasers! I want to see what everyone else is reading :) Feel free to link them here as well!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Musing Monday #4

This week MizB of Should Be Reading asks…

Do you ever find scenes from previous books you’ve read popping into your head at random times? If so, does it bother you? If it doesn’t happen to you, why do you think that is?

This happens all too often. Especially with books like Forbidden; the ones that stick with you for what seems like forever. I find that the weirdest triggers can lead me to thinking of a scene from an old book. Personally, I think it depends on how much a particular book has effected me.

I'm generally a pretty random person anyway, so it definitely doesn't bother me... It makes me appreciate how powerful the written word is. If an author can write a scene that sticks with me like that, it really says a lot about the author's talent.

Visit Should Be Reading to start participating in Musing Mondays!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review: Forbidden

Title: Forbidden
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Publisher
Release Date: June 28th, 2011
★★★★★

Summary
Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending. – goodreads.com

Review
I don’t even know where to start with this book… It’s amazing, heartbreaking, tragic, beautiful, and perfect. My review, and the 5 stars I give it, will not do it justice. I was so emotionally torn up after reading this… There was no possible way I could write a review. That would mean that the story was over, that it was done, and the idea of such a thing left me utterly heartbroken. Now, a day later, I finally stop tearing up at just the thought of it.

First let me say, this is about incest, a very touchy subject for most people. But, I can promise you, if you open your mind and your hearts to the characters you will not be disappointed. I started reading this out of pure curiosity and out of a desire to have my beliefs challenged. And challenged they were.

My favorite thing about this book was the characters, especially Lochan. If the entire book was written from his point of view I would have been fine with it. His struggle, seemed much worse to me than Maya’s. Not only was he dealing with providing and caring for the family, but he also had a crippling social anxiety that prevented him from communicating with people he didn’t know well and from speaking in class. He was the most selfless character in the book… He was always putting his family before himself, unlike the mother who was rarely present, and hung-over when he was. She frustrated me so bad! I hate her… I hate her SO much. And I blame her too… For everything. I loved cute little Willa, Tiffin, and rebellious Kit. They weren’t the perfect family, but as I was reading it, they were mine…. they were real.

Suzuma’s writing pulled me into the story in ways that I never thought I could be. Her writing was just so… real. When Lochan was having his panic attacks, I was right there with him, pulse increasing and eyes bulging. When he was breaking down…. so was I… It was a wonderful and terrible thing to become so invested in these characters, particularly Maya and Lochan. I felt for them and empathized with them… I wanted them to be happy. I wanted them to be together without shame or guilt.

Even knowing this book was not going to have a happy ending, I kept hoping, wishing, and praying that it would.That maybe Maya and Lochan would go get a blood test and find out they weren’t brother and sister. It never happened… but I continued to hope. The ending of this story was so shocking and came up on me so fast, that it absolutely ripped me apart. I was helpless. Forbidden has devastated me. It has left me with a gaping hole in my chest. I feel so empty and lost that I truly believe this story will haunt me forever.

I can’t recommend Forbidden to everyone, particularly young readers, because of the subject matter, but for anyone who is willing to invest themselves emotionally, I strongly, strongly, recommend this…


If you do not know what P.A.B.D is please click the button to find out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #3

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read Open to a random page.
2. 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!)
3. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

forbidden

“Those are the parts that make me stammer and shake. But I force myself to continue, even when I can’t hold back the tears any longer, even when they start spilling down my cheeks and my voice starts to shake with repressed sobs, even when I feel their looks of revulsion merge with ones of pity.”- Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

 
Now get out there and post some Teasers! I want to see what everyone else is reading :) Feel free to link them here as well!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Review: Dragon Wing

dragonwing
Dragon Wing (Death Gate Cycle, #1) by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Publisher: Spectra
Format: Ebook
Pages: 417
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Goodreads
★★★☆☆
Preeminent storytellers Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman have redefined epic fantasy. Since the publication of their Dragonlance series, millions of readers have enjoyed their imaginative world-building, rich characterization, and intricate storylines. Now these bestselling authors bring their talents to one of the most innovative fantasy creations ever in Dragon Wing, the first volume in The Death Gate Cycle.
I really, really like the concept behind this book. It is a truly unique fantasy world that Weis and Hickman have created. Dragon Wing contains quite the crazy combination of genres/themes: post-apocalyptic, classic fantasy, and a fusion of technology and magic. They managed to seamlessly combine all of these genres into a unique, innovative world that readers will find addicting.

With that said… I loved the first half of this book, then somewhere along the way I got tired and bored with it. I kept thinking about stopping and starting a new book, but I had already invested so much time into it, I figured I should at least finish it (I’ll admit there was some skimming). For whatever reason, whether it was the writing or me, Dragon Wing was unable to keep my interest.

I did not mind jumping back and forth between the different characters, in fact, for once it was actually refreshing. If you are a fan of character-driven chapters, you will like this.

I really do believe that many people will embrace this story and this world! The characters are interesting and well developed and the setting is just awesome. I even found myself researching this world and it’s realms outside of reading. So why did I lose interest? I have NO idea. It has all of the elements that would usually make a book a winner for me. I am very perplexed by this.

That’s about all I can say about Dragon Wing. I don’t want to spoil anything for someone who may want to read this. Give it a shot if you think you may be into a classic fantasy story with a twist.

Announcement: Advice Girl Giveaway Winners!

winningThe winners of SIGNED copies of The Advice Girl by L.A. Shaw are: 

*DRUMROLL PLEASE*

……

Katie P. and Kaitlynne  W.
Congratulations!! Keep an eye out for the prize headed your way soon and thanks for participating!