Archive | February, 2014

Cover Love #45

Cover Love

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

I don’t know who in the Harper design department owes their life to Mindy McGinnis, but her covers are always amazing. It’s just enough reminiscent of Not A Drop To Drink to be a gorgeous companion novel but also enough its own book to stand out in the best way.

I love that it shows the scope of the story’s travels. In Drop, we stay with Lynn at her house. We are constrained to her tiny world by the pond, so that’s what we see on the cover. But here, the characters are moving, journeying toward the looming mountains in the distance. The world is bigger here, but it is also just as dangerous, as the fire-glow to the left demonstrates. In a world drained of water, I can think of few things scarier than a fire in dry grass.

That’s enough of my squeeing. What do YOU think of this cover?

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Review: HOW TO LEAD A LIFE OF CRIME by Kirsten Miller

A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.

Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.

Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?

Oh my word. How To Lead a Life of Crime came out last year, so WHY DID NONE OF YOU PUSH THIS BOOK INTO MY HANDS?! I could have gotten lost in this wonderful book AGES ago, but noooooooo! Even now, over a month after I read this book, I can’t stop thinking about it. Continue Reading →

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Review: PLUS ONE by Elizabeth Fama

Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.

One of these days, I will learn my lesson, I promise. I don’t know what it is about Ms. Fama’s magical prose that makes me binge like a Augustus Gloop in a chocolate river. No matter how much I try to limit myself or slow myself down, I physically cannot stop reading. I read this book in five hours and received a headache and a heart full of feels for my trouble. Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (39)

Rewind and review

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Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Lots of fun stuff on the blog this week, but I especially want to point out that giveaway because it’s still open for entries! So go go go!

Stuff I Received

  • Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowen (from Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss)

 

Stuff I Won

  • ARC of Hysteria by Megan Miranda
  • ARC of Dance Divas: Showtime! by Sheryl Beck (both from Bloomsbury)

Thanks this week to Simon & Schuster, Edelweiss, and Bloomsbury!

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Blind Book Date Reveal

Good morning all! My blogoversary giveaway has officially closed. THANK YOU ALL for helping me celebrate in style!

While entering, so many of you asked me to reveal the identities of the Blind Book Date options, and you did it so nicely that I couldn’t refuse. I even added some graphics to give you one last hint. Below are all ten books, their true titles displayed in all their glory. Hop below the jump break to see how many you guessed correctly! Continue Reading →

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Interview with Danielle Jensen, Author of STOLEN SONGBIRD

Stolen Songbird Tour Banner

Happy Thursday, everyone! Cover Love has been pushed back a week to make room for a special blog post. I have with me Danielle Jensen, debut author of the upcoming fantasy release, Stolen Songbird. I think the story sounds fascinating, so I invited Ms. Danielle by to learn more.

S: Hi, Ms. Danielle! First of all, congratulations! I can’t imagine what it must feel like to see your brain-child about to hit shelves. The full, official synopsis is pasted at the end of this post, but give us your own quick, buzzword synopsis.

D: Hi Ms. Shae, thanks so much for having me on your blog! I’m counting down the days to my release, and so far, it’s been really fun and exciting.

Stolen Songbird is about a girl named Cécile who gets kidnapped by trolls to break the curse that has imprisoned them under a mountain for five centuries. You’d think she’d be all about escaping that situation, but instead she joins a revolution to help the half-bloods who are enslaved by the full-blooded trolls. A revolution that just happens to be led by the very enigmatic crown prince. There is lots of magic, strange creatures, intrigue, and kissing, so if you like those sorts of things…

What can you tell us about this curse? I do love a good curse.

According to troll lore, a human witch broke Forsaken Mountain in half, burying Trollus. She then cursed them to the confines of the rockslide for as long as she drew breath. They’ve been unsuccessfully hunting her using their human minions for the past five hundred years.

Based on what I’ve heard, Stolen Songbird has a fascinating mixture of myths. If you can say without spoiling, what tales influenced your story?

I’d say The Hobbit had the greatest influence, but only because of the troll aspect. My brother insists on calling the trolls’ world Bill-ville after one of trolls Bilbo encounters. There are a few nods to Tolkien in the story, and I’m always curious as to whether people will find them. Because of the rose on the cover, a lot of people have asked whether it was influenced by Beauty and the Beast, which is wasn’t. That said, if you were writing a book report you could probably find quite a few similarities between the stories, so maybe I was unconsciously influenced!

Tell us about the trolls. To be honest, when I think of trolls, I either think of the stupid-uglies from The Lord of the Rings or the little mossy things from Frozen. What are your trolls like? How are they similar to and how do they differ from the more common depictions of trolls?

I’m glad you have those preconceptions about what trolls are like! Cécile grew up on tales that said trolls were ugly nasty creatures who ate the flesh of human children, so she’s quite apprehensive about what they will be like. As far as how they are similar to Tolkien’s trolls, I will say that they are similarly confined by darkness. They are different in that they are extremely intelligent. But I’m not going to tell you what they look like because that would be a major spoiler!

I love mythology, but I also love a story filled with good, tricksy political scheming. What’s going on down in the troll kingdom and how does your heroine, Cecile, get pulled into it?

The trolls have an aristocracy that is loosely built on the 18th century French court, but importance is primarily determined by magical power and pureness of blood. There are a large number of half-bloods in Trollus, and all of them are slaves to the full-blooded trolls who treat them quite badly. The trolls are very disdainful of humans, which makes it a really big deal when Cécile is bonded to Prince Tristan in an attempt to break the curse. She comes to learn there is a revolution brewing that, among other things, seeks to improve the lives of the half-bloods, and she sort of tricks Tristan into revealing he is the leader. The stakes are high, though, because the King is notoriously clever and ruthless.

Is there anything else you’d like us eager-beaver readers to know?

That there is a twist you won’t expect.

Oooh! I’m notorious for ferreting out twists ahead of time. Sounds like an excellent challenge to me!

Stolen Songbird hits shelves and e-readers April 1st. Update: It’s been moved to a trade paperback release in December, so now you have plenty of time to get a preorder price. You can preorder the paperback for $9 or the hardcover for $12, so what are you waiting for?

For those who have loved Seraphina and Graceling comes another truly fabulous fantasy…

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined. 

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

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Cover Reveal + Giveaway: MORTAL HEART by Robin LaFevers

FULL DISCLOSURE

I am a rabid, never-say-die His Fair Assassin fangirl like you wouldn’t believe. My proof includes my reviews of Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph and the entire Attack of the Assassins! blog tour I put together last year for DT’s release. (See also the dozens of Top 10 lists I’ve written that have included the aforementioned books.) I am also Ms. Robin LaFevers’ intern, a title that came as a result of my fangirl status, not the other way around.

These two badges of honor are why I begged Ms. Robin to let me write this post. The cover for the final book in the His Fair Assassin series – Mortal Heart – leaked online Monday, but I was NOT going to let such a wonderful thing out without some fanfare. Along with eight other book bloggers (gotta catch ’em all!) scattered throughout the internet, it is my pleasure to show you the glory that is Annith.

Scroll down to see the fantabulousness that is Mortal Heart! Continue Reading →

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Help Wanted

Happy Tuesday everyone! Sorry, but no Top Ten Tuesday post today. It’s an interesting topic, but I have more pressing matters to address.

If you have been around this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of #RBWL, a Twitter hashtag that I started that stands for Reader/Blogger Wishlist. It’s a biannual event and tons of fun. I’ve posted about it here on the blog and, after, feedback from you all, opened up a searchable archive on Tumblr of all the #RBWL tweets I could find. And it’s been great! In going back through the tweets, I’ve come across some amazing ideas I missed the first time around, and it’s been fun to see different patterns emerge that I wouldn’t otherwise have noticed.

But I have a problem, guys. I’m exhausted. Apparently, when you all start talking about books, you REALLY start talking. In the October #RBWL event alone, you all tweeted almost TWO THOUSAND TIMES. And it’s not enough to just screenshot for the archives. (I’ve done that already, and believe me, that was the easy part.) Each tweet has to be cropped, organized, and tagged before they can be compiled into Tumblr posts and queued. It’s a lot of work. Jess from Read My Breath Away has been an amazing help, but we’re falling behind.

How far behind? Well, four months after the event, we still have AT LEAST another 500-600 uncropped tweets to go through, plus another 100 or so cropped tweets that haven’t been tagged and queued.

The #RBWL Tumblr has been silent since the 3rd, because I can’t bring myself to sit down and do more. (It’s the 12th as I’m writing this, so fingers crossed I get some more up when I’m done here.) Between my job, my blog, everything attached to my blog (Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.), and my two internships, just the thought of sitting down makes me squirm. And I know that Jess is just as busy, if not more so.

So here’s where you guys come in. I need some more hands. I need trustworthy #RBWL fans who wouldn’t mind devoting an evening or two every now and then to sort, tag, and queue the tweets with me. Not FOR me, but WITH me. I’ll still do what I can to shoulder the load. But it would be such a relief to know that if the week goes crazy and Jess and I can’t fill the queue, someone else is there to keep the archive afloat.

I don’t know what the response will be like. Maybe twenty of you will volunteer, maybe none of you will. And that’s okay. But if you’re interested, send me an email at shaelitblog [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject “RBWL” and we’ll swap details.

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Review: DEATH SWORN by Leah Cypess

When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.

If there’s one way to win this reader’s heart, it’s assassins. I do love a good clan of assassins with all their dark looks and sword play and sneakytimes. Death Sworn has all of these lovely elements but gives them a refreshing spin by looking at them through the eyes of a mistrustful outsider. Ileni has been sent to the caves to tutor the assassin sect in magic. She has also been sent to die like her predecessors, though hopefully not before revealing their killer. Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (38)

Rewind and review

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Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Stuff I Bought

  • Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • The Hollow by Agatha Christie
  • This Book Is Not Good For You (The Secret Series #3) by Pseudonymous Bosch
  • If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late (The Secret Series #2) by Pseudonymous Bosch
  • The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House #2) by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks

All of the above books were bought in good condition from a local thrift store for $16! Yay thrift stores!

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