Archive | February, 2013

Cover Love #23

Josie Byrne’s life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she’s betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can’t get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.

Jo’s life is everything Josie wants: she’s popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they’re just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo. 

Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo’s perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo’s boyfriend, he hates her. Jo’s mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.

By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

From master of suspense Gretchen McNeil comes a riveting and deliciously eerie story about the lives we wish we had – and how they just might kill you.

Oh my gosh! This cover dropped two weeks ago, and I knew immediately that I needed to feature it on Cover Love. Wowza. I love minimalistic covers. LOVE THEM. Don’t know what’s going on with glowy-eyed Creeper over on the side there, but I’m digging the black. Oh, and the flippy analog clock numbers!

(I know, I’m being incredibly articulate right now.)

Essentially, I like this cover because it’s different. The designers could have gone the whole mirror-image girls route like so many books have done recently. (Pivot Point only being the most recent example.) Those covers were cool at first, but now there are so many of them. But 3:59? This is different. It’s bold. It’s pretty. It’ll stand out on bookstore shelves (and nothing pleases me more than a spiffy-looking bookstore shelf). And it looks great when signed by a silver Sharpie.

Taken from a recent tweet by Ms. McNeil

See? Preeeeeetty. Also, may I just say that the the synopsis gives me heebie-jeebies?

What cover are you loving this week?

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Pay To Browse?

An article hit this week at The Bookseller talking about the possibility of bookstores charging their patrons to browse their stock. Supposedly, the idea is being floated around as a way for bookstores to stay afloat as they compete against Amazon and other cheap e-distributors.

David Tennant is baffled by your illogic.

As a bookshelver, may I just say that this is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.
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Top 10 Tuesday: My Top Auto-Buy Authors

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s topic is another one that I’ve looked forward to for a long while. I’m very careful with my money and loathe to part with it. I hate the idea of dropping $20 on a book only to find out that I dislike it. I read everything before buying; the library is my friend. But a few authors have proven themselves awesome enough and trustworthy enough to earn a spot on my mental auto-buy list.

In alphabetical order, here are those authors:
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Review: THE RUNAWAY KING by Jennifer Nielsen

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?

The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!

As this is a review of a sequel, be forewarned that I will not avoid any spoilers for the first book in the series. If you have not read The False Prince, I strongly suggest you archive this post for later. However, I won’t spoil The Runaway King, so if you’re all caught up, keep reading.
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4-in-1 Review: A Techno-thriller, Two Retellings, And An Anthology.

Good Wednesday to you all! Instead of a typical review, I decided to try something a little different. I have several books, both from last year and this year, that I read and never bothered to review. I just didn’t have enough to say to warrant separate reviews. Rather than toss them aside, I’ve decided to give mini-reviews. (Well, mini for me, anyways.)

Emma Townsend has always believed in stories-the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect-apart from a crush on her English teacher-is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre…

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known-and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own…

MY THOUGHTS: Not a particularly bad book, but I didn’t enjoy it. Emma bounces back and forth between both worlds. She enjoys both, but I feel comfortable in neither. I didn’t care what happened to Emma or the extra characters in either setting. Only once we get to the end when Emma defends her thesis do I understand the vibe I’m receiving. It feels like the thesis was, in fact, the author’s, and the story was an elaborate device mixed with fan fiction to further promote her point of view regarding the treatment of women in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Again, not a bad book, but it wasn’t for me.

An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf’s bailiff—a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past.

Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff’s vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf’s future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.

MY THOUGHTS: Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales, so Melanie Dickerson had big shoes to fill. I did like the twists she put on the story. Annabel (haha, get it?) is sent to work for the disfigured and “beastly” Lord Ranulf to save her ungrateful family from indentured servitude. Like Belle, she is kind, well-read, and patient, though she does have a temper. Unlike Belle, Annabel’s dream is to join the convent. In the place of Gaston is a handsy baliff, and Lord Ranulff’s housekeeper fills in admirably for Mrs. Potts.

I wasn’t overwhelmed by giddy feelings or anything, but the retelling was fairly decent. There were strong Christian overtones, of course, but they didn’t hamper the story. This is a respectable, middle-of-the-curve story.


Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side.

Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa’s talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation called AMRF threatens his life in no uncertain terms.

But what Noa and Peter don’t realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who’d stop at nothing to silence her for good.

MY THOUGHTS: I really could not get into this book. I’ve banished it from my mind so far that most of my notes don’t even make sense anymore. I remember disliking the unnecessary profanities, getting prickly at the stereotypical view of all foster parents as cruel/selfish/lazy/apathetic, and becoming annoyed at all the proper nouns. DTA felt like it capitalized everything. Ugh. I was also far more bored than I should be with this teen version of the hacker group Anonymous. Anonymous is cool. PERSEFoNE was not.

In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.

MY THOUGHTS: I’m afraid I was less than pleased. I wanted to like it. No, I wanted to love it, but so many of the stories fell flat. None of them made me shiver. None of them made me gasp. Very few had any strong connections to the rhyme chosen (okay, the one based on Hickory Dickory Dock did a pretty good job both at being interesting and connecting to its rhyme). Only a handful made me wish for a full-length tale based on the characters presented. In most cases, the authors seemed to think that having someone die qualified the tale as “dark.” As someone who has read and reread Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories That Scared Even Me, I beg to differ. Now THAT is a dark anthology.

~~*~~
Apparently, the only time I have nothing much to say is when I’m not thrilled with a book. Still, I know people who have liked each of these books, so I encourage you all to give them a try for yourself.
Note: I was given an ARC of Two and Twenty Dark Tales by the publisher for review via NetGalley. 
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BEA 2013 – Roommate(s) Wanted

It’s official, you guys! I’M GOING TO BEA!!

In case you all haven’t memorized every post I’ve ever written (for shame!), going to BEA this year was one of my resolutions for 2013. I agonized and moaned over the decision and the money involved for weeks, but I finally put on my big girl pants and registered.

Pardon me while I happy dance.

So I’ve registered, I’ve put in my notice for time off at work, I’ve booked my flight both to and from NYC. Now I just need to reserve a hotel room. I even have a nice place I’m looking at; I just haven’t booked it yet.

The problem is that NYC is kind of (read: REALLY) expensive. The best way to help defray those costs hotel-wise is to share some of that cost, which means I need a roommate for BEA. I just don’t have one yet, which is making me more than a little nervous.

The first motive for writing this post was to squeal/flail over officially preparing to go to BEA (and NYC! for my first time EVER!). But the second motive was to put out some feelers.

Anyone else need a roommate? Anyone else interested in finding a roommate? I’m not saying you have to commit or anything, but it’s past time for me to put out some feelers.

For those wondering: I don’t smoke, I don’t crazy-party, I’m relatively tidy (no comments from the familial peanut gallery, please), and I have no interest in murdering anyone in their sleep. See? Perfect roomie material!

If anyone’s tentatively interested (and for-sure-for-sure going to BEA), drop me a line, okay? OR you could say something in the comments, because even if you don’t want to room with me, you might find someone else to room with.

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Wishlist Wednesday #23

Hosted by Pen To Paper

Cory Graff is not alone in her head. Bound to a deal of desperation made when she was a child, Cory’s mind houses the Furies—the hawk and the serpent—lingering always, waiting for her to satisfy their bloodlust. After escaping the asylum where she was trapped for years, Cory knows how to keep the Furies quiet. By day, she lives a normal life, but by night, she tracks down targets the Furies send her way. And she brings down Justice upon them.

Cory’s perfected her system of survival, but when she meets a mysterious boy named Niko at her new school, she can’t figure out how she feels about him. For the first time, the Furies are quiet in her head around a guy. But does this mean that Cory’s finally found someone who she can trust, or are there greater factors at work? As Cory’s mind becomes a battlefield, with the Furies fighting for control, Cory will have to put everything on the line to hold on to what she’s worked so hard to build.

There are several Fury-related books coming out this year, but I think I’m the most excited for this one. The description on Goodreads describes it as Greek mythology meets Dexter. I haven’t watched Dexter, but the idea of a vigilante for justice has its appeal. I love that she used to live in an asylum, that she only works at night, and that she learns to doubt the voices in her head. I predict some major drama to come.

I sort of cheated on this one, since it’s not a book I’m technically wishing for. The ARC is sitting on my shelf, waiting patiently to be read closer to the release date. But still, I’m excited and wanted to share this book with all of you!

What book are you wishing for this Wednesday?

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Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Humorous Characters

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I do believe that this week’s topic was the hardest topic I have ever attempted. The original prompt was Top 10 Favorite Characters from X Genre. What? I knew myself. I knew I would pick either YA Fantasy or YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi, and then I would pick the same characters and books that I’ve talked about a million times. That’s just the way I am.

Instead, I decided to do things a little differently. Rather than focus on a specific genre, I pulled together a list of characters from all genres that genuinely made me laugh. It’s a very exclusive club, but I suppose you could say that the arrival of any of these characters on the page instantly reclassifies their book as humor. Did I bend the rules a little (a lot)? Yes. But do you see me apologizing? No.

I give you my Top 10 Favorite Humorous Characters by category.

The clown:

Kenji Kishimoto from Shatter Me and Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Kenji is the very first character that came to mind when I decided my theme. Dude is hilarious. He’s irreverent, laid-back, and a total flirt. Surrounded by emotastic friends and stressed-out leaders, Kenji is the class clown who gets everyone to take a moment to chill. He’s also a good guy with a tender heart, which makes me like him even more.

Roar from the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi
The ultimate platonic best guy friend, Roar is always there in a pinch. He’s roguishly handsome and charming, but he sticks by his friends to lighten their spirits or carry their load when needed.

The overreactor:

Maggie from Also Known As by Robin Benway
– Maggie is so… teenager-y, but in a good way. She’s over-the-top, insecure, and flighty. Sure, she’s a spy from a family of spies, but boys are a harder code to crack than WW2 ciphers.

Mia from The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot
Ms. Freak-out herself, Mia is brilliant. She is the teenage girl of all teenage girls, complete with an awkward triangular haircut and stork-like body. She deals with parent trouble and school trouble and boy trouble like any other girl. Unlike any other girl, she also deals with the stress that comes with finding out she’s a princess smack dab in the middle of her freshman year of high school. Being Mia, she takes the news less than gracefully.

Lex from Croak by Gina Damico
Unlike the other two girls, Lex is less dresses-and-pimple-cream and more black-hoodies-and-death. Whereas Mia and Maggie’s freakouts usually involve lots of babbling, Lex prefers to punch people. A lot. As a Grim Reaper with an attitude problem, Lex’ snarky asides had me in stitches for most of the book.

The fox:

Eugenides from The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
– C’mon. You had to know Gen would make an appearance. In addition to being crafty, devious, and manipulative, Gen is freaking funny. He has a dramatic flair that serves him well, as well as one of the sharpest minds I’ve ever encountered. Even after multiple rereads, Gen consistently makes me laugh out loud.

Sage from The False Prince and The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen
– Hee-hee, Sage, you’re so clever. Like Gen (off of whom I’m convinced he was based), Sage is rarely silly. He is, however, brilliantly self-effacing and sly. Even in the middle of a duel to the death, he cracks jokes, primarily to throw off his opponent.

The clueless:

Nawat from the Trickster series by Tamora Pierce
Ah, my little crow-man. As a crow who has recently turned human, Nawat knows very little of human life. Though he does grow and mature, his early days in human form are hilariously peppered with misunderstandings and mistakes.

Temp from the Underworld series by Suzanne Collins
Misunderstood, ridiculed, and mistreated, Temp and his ways stole my heart from the beginning. He’s often in the way and regularly disregarded, but is funny in all his ways and surprisingly wise. Who knew a giant talking cockroach could be so lovable. [I kid you not. Read the series, people.]

The thunder tiger:

Buruu from Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Buruu deserves a category all to himself. Fierce and often cranky, Buruu had me in stitches for much of the second half of the book. Like most cats, he can be very silly when the mood strikes him.

So there you have it! I can’t wait to read all of your lists, for I’m sure you were far more disciplined than I and actually followed the rules. Have you read any of the books listed above? Do the characters tickle your funny bone as much as they do mine? Tell me below!

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Review: BRUISED by Sarah Skilton

When Imogen, a sixteen-year-old black belt in Tae Kwon Do, freezes during a holdup at a local diner, the gunman is shot and killed by the police, and she blames herself for his death. Before the shooting, she believed that her black belt made her stronger than everyone else — more responsible, more capable. But now her sense of self has been challenged and she must rebuild her life, a process that includes redefining her relationship with her family and navigating first love with the boy who was at the diner with her during the shootout.

With action, romance, and a complex heroine, Bruised introduces a vibrant new voice to the young adult world — full of dark humor and hard truths.

Blast the trumpets! Throw the confetti! For I, Shelver, diehard fantasy/sci-fi addict and perpetually distrustful reader of contemporary, have found a contemporary book that she loves. And not just any contemporary book. An issue book!

Attribution

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Cover Reveal: A WOUNDED NAME by Dot Hutchison

Good MORNING to you all! I have a wonderful treat for you all today. I have the privilege today to be part of a cover reveal. My very first!

But not just any cover reveal, oh no. I get to reveal the cover of A Wounded Name, the debut novel of my dear friend Dot Hutchison! HUZZAH!! (Really, do you think I would use so many exclamation marks for anyone else?)

The cover and synopsis are below the jump-break, so head on down!

Keep going…

More…

Almost there…

TADA!

There’s a girl who could throw herself head first into life and forge an unbreakable name, an identity that stands on its own without fathers or brothers or lovers who devour and shatter.
            I’ve never been that girl.
Sixteen-year-old Ophelia Castellan will never be just another girl at Elsinore Academy. Seeing ghosts is not a skill prized in future society wives. Even when she takes her pills, the bean sidhe beckon, reminding her of a promise to her dead mother.
Now, in the wake of the Headmaster’s sudden death, the whole academy is in turmoil, and Ophelia can no longer ignore the fae. Especially once she starts seeing the Headmaster’s ghosts- two of them- on the school grounds.
At the center of her crumbling world is Dane, the Headmaster’s grieving son. He, too, understands the power of a promise to a parent- even a dead one. To him, Ophelia is the only person not tainted by deceit and hypocrisy, a mirror of his own broken soul. And to Ophelia, Dane quickly becomes everything. Yet even as she gives more of herself to him, Dane slips away. Consumed by suspicion, rage, and madness, he spirals towards his tragic fate- dragging Ophelia, and the rest of Elsinore, with him.
YOU KNOW HOW THIS STORY ENDS.
Yet even in the face of certain death, Ophelia has a choice to make- and a promise to keep. She is not the girl others want her to be. But in Dot Hutchison’s dark and sensuous debut novel, the name “Ophelia” is as deeply, painfully, tragically real as “Hamlet”.

What a cover, eh? Such a pretty, haunting model, and I’m digging the purple font. Really, if I weren’t highlighting this cover right now, it would have its own Cover Love post. (Though that doesn’t mean one of you can’t highlight it… wink wink.) Of course, the very best part for me is the name at the bottom.

Congratulations, Dot!

  • To add A Wounded Name to your Goodreads to-read list, click here.
  • To check out Dot’s blog, Scattered Pages, click here.
  • To follow Dot on Twitter, click here.
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