Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cover Reveal! Stained by Cheryl Rainfield

Book Description:
In this heart-wrenching and suspenseful teen thriller, sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for "normal." Born with a port-wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It’s that—or succumb to a killer.

Tag Line:
Sometimes you have to be your own hero.

Release Date:
Nov 19, 2013

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

From the author:
Like I did with SCARS and HUNTED, I drew on some of my own experiences of bullying, abuse, and trauma to write STAINED and to give it greater emotional depth. Like Sarah in STAINED, I experienced abduction, imprisonment, periods of forced starvation, mind control, and having my life threatened. And like Sarah, I tried hard to fight against my abuser, keep my own sense of self, and escape. I hope readers will see Sarah's strength and courage, and appreciate her emotional growth as she reclaims herself.

Available For Pre-Order on:
Amazon (hardcover): http://www.amazon.com/Stained-Cheryl-Rainfield/dp/0547942087 (well, it says you can get an email when avail)

Other Books by Cheryl
Stained: Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself. 
Parallel Visions: Kate sees visions of the future--but only when she has an asthma attack.
Hunted: Caitlyn is a telepath in a world where having any paranormal power is illegal. Monica Hughes Award finalist
Scars: Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself before it's too late. GG Literary Award Finalist, YALSA's Top 10 Quick Picks.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Week In Books

It's that time of year for me. I spent the whole week in bed getting over an awful cold and so have very little to show this week for my update post. I am so happy to finally be feeling better, but have so much to catch up on that I'll be busy!

Books Read:

Currently Reading:
Currently Listening to Audiobook

Purchased Kindle books
What did you read or purchase this week? Any recommendations for me?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Week in Books

Received/Purchased Audiobooks

Purchased Physical Books
Purchased Kindle Books

Currently Reading

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Sundering (The Swarm Trilogy #3) by Megg Jensen

Book Three in The Swarm Trilogy

After defeating the Malborn and losing the person she loved most, Lianne escapes to Chase's homeland. With her appearance forever marked by death, Lianne feels like a monster both on the outside and the inside. She retreats into herself, fearful of what she's become.

But she can't hide forever.

The Malborn, damaged but not broken, send a deadly message to Lianne. They are coming for her and now she's brought danger to a peaceful land that believed they'd driven the Malborn from their shores forever. Lianne must force herself to trust again and make the ultimate sacrifice to save everyone she loves. In a world ruled by whoever harnesses the most powerful magic, no one can be trusted – no one is safe

The Malborne's have retreated and the Dalagans have taken Lianne in. After her experiences she has become very withdrawn, depressed and suicidal. But Chase still refuses to leave her side. Over some time Chase is able to talk her into really looking at herself and see how pretty and strong that she is. When she begins to come out of her funk she finds passion in horses. She chooses to ride more dangerously than Chase would like, but at least she is feeling alive again.

Reychel (our lovely heroine from a past series by Megg Jensen)  is part of the council and Lianne has to convince them to side with her.  They tell Reychel one of her visions about finding the one with the "clear mind" that she must locate. Lianne states that because things are being kept from her is the reason why she keeps causing so much damage. that if people were truthful with her than all the mistakes could have been saved.

"find the one who's mind is clear" is what the goddess keeps telling her. "use the dagger, kill them all"  but Lianne says she cannot do that, she wants peace.

I was very happy to see Reychel show up in this companion series. She was amazing in her own books and I am happy to see how she can help Lianne in her struggles to make peace among the people. 

There is magic, death, travel and defiance. There is very little down time in her books, always something new happening and travels through lands, kingdoms and meeting people along the way. I find her books extremely enjoyable and recommend these to lovers of teen fantasy readers.  


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Carlousia: The Passing of the Guard by E.G. Carter

Eddie Caskitt is filled with relief. The worries of moving into a new neighborhood, making friends, and starting a new school have been weighing him down. But after spending just a few minutes with the kids of Drayton Woods, Eddie realizes that the adventurous summer he was hoping for might just happen after all. Eddie hopes all the fun he anticipates will ease the pain of knowing his grandfather is dying.

With his last bit of strength before he passes away, Eddie 's grandfather whispers that he has left something for Eddie in his barn and that the tall tales he has been telling Eddie for years are true. With the help of a magic bracelet he finds inside a secret hole in the barn, Eddie and his two new friends, Dan and Scotty, enter a portal where they are suddenly thrust into roles guarding the world of Carlousia. Now the boys must conquer fear, outwit predators, unfold betrayal, and overthrow evil all while pretending everything is normal at home.

In this extraordinary adventure, three boys take a wild, coming-of-age journey that intertwines risk, honor, loyalty, and the kind of danger that unfortunately may lead to unimaginable loss.

Paperback, 340 pages Published August 29th 2012 by iUniverse.com (first published November 15th 2011)  ISBN  1462055289 (ISBN13: 9781462055289)

Eddie is the new kid in town, but it seems that he's lucky to start off right away finding the perfect group of friends to hang out with and immediately begins great adventures for the Summer. But when his grandfather “pop” dies he finds out that he is the successor to enter the world of Carlousia, as his father passed by the opportunity years ago. It's a magical world of different peoples, lands and creatures.

When Eddie first makes the trip to Carlousia there is an overwhelming amount of information given to the reader to introduce us to the workings and rules, and of course it's people. We soon find that there is a war brewing and the prophecy says that it's Eddie that will be the Hero.

There were a couple things that distracted me from the feeling of true adventure while reading. It stood out to me that the author chose to make the main character 10 years old. I have never known a 10 year old to be as intelligent, emotionally guarded and protective as Eddie is. There was no difference in his IQ either in or out of Carlousia, completely baffling me as to why he wasn't 16 in the first place. As that age would be more reasonable to visualize them (Eddie and his friends) fighting in a war.

Another set back was the first half of the novel in which there was an overwhelming amount of info dumps given to the reader. As an example I have put one of the most confusing parts of the story in the link here. It is the explanation that Torgey gives to a 10 year old Eddie when first traveling to Carlousia regarding the age of successors entering Carlousia and the time frames they are allowed to stay. Mostly I am referring to pages 50-54.

At the point when Eddie and his friends fall through the waterfall and end up in Carlousia (40% into the story), was when I was able to sit back and enjoy the roller coaster adventures of Eddie and his friends in the magical and new world of Carlousia.

Upon reflection of the story I find similarities to the tales of Narnia. It's a highly imaginative world with a lot of danger and when the pacing kicks up it's something the reader will fly through to the end. An ending that also leaves us with much to look forward to in the sequel.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pure by Andrew Miller

Jean-Baptiste Baratte, an engineer of modest origin, arrives in the city in 1785, charged by the King’s minister with emptying the overflowing cemetery of Les Innocents, a ancient site whose stench is poisoning the neighborhood’s air and water and leaving a vile taste in its inhabitants’ food. At first the ambitious Baratte sees his work as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to both his own demise and that of the monarchy. Baratte expects the task to be unpleasant but cannot foresee the dramas and calamities it will trigger, or the incident that will transform his life. As unrest against the court of Louis XVI mounts, the engineer realizes that the future he had planned may no longer be the one he wants. His assignment becomes a year of relentless work, exhuming of mummified corpses and listening to the chants of priests, a year of assault and sudden death. A year of friendship, too, and of desire and love. A year unlike any other he has lived

For those that enjoy historical fiction here's a pick for you! I don't read much historical fiction but what got me interested in this particular one is it's set right outside the Palace of Versailles during the time of Louis XVII am a fan of the movie Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst
 and thought that it would be interesting to see what it was like for the people living outside the palace during the same time. 

While our main character's job is most undesirable, and most likely to fail. He only does some of the dirty work himself. Soon after arriving to clean out the remains of an overflowing cemetery he gets a crew of 30 men to dig. They find many things during their exhumations. 

Even though Jean-Baptiste is hired for this rather untasteful task, it does consume a year of his life. There is much more to this story than digging up the bodies. The church that lies above, in which the bodies are slowly encroaching and the nearby shopping center. The conflicts as well as intermixing concerns of both, and more!

He does find comfort in the arms of Héloise and a friend in Armand. Of course at the heart of the story is that there is revolution brewing. People are upset and want enlightenment. And during this day and age, their lives will literally go up in flames. 

A melancholy story full of dead bodies, but with love and friendship during one of the hardest years in their lives.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Week in Books!

 Since the new year I have decided I am going to try to do one of these posts every Sunday, since this is the first Sunday of the new year that leaves some overlap from last week so there's a little extra! Great for a first post :)
I got my Christmas order in from BookCloseouts! Yay :)

Most of these books I have already read/listened to but really enjoyed and wanted to have copies for my shelf!

City of Fallen Angels
Under The Never Sky
Jasper Jones
You Against Me
Die For Me
Shadow and Bone
Department 19; The Rising
No Right Turn
Masque of the Red Death
Article 5
 Then I got a great deal on some kindle books, well several kindle books!

Yes! Pre-order arrived

                                           Now moving onto my Audible.com downloads

Here's a quick view of books I reviewed this week

Read/Listened but not reviewed yet
And Lastly!!! Picked up from Library

So that's been my last week or so in books, How was yours? Link ME!
What was your most recent read and would you recommend it?
HUGS and Here's to a Happy New Year of READING

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Afterlife (The Swarm Trilogy #2) by Megg Jensen

The fire inside Lianne threatened to consume her, but she fought back and won. Unfortunately the collateral damage of her decisions won’t stop haunting her. She embarks on a secret trip to find Mags and return her son, but her search leads her into another nest of lies.

Everyone’s safety is in Lianne’s hands as the Malborn, an enemy more fearsome than her own people, looms over them. Will Lianne be able to unravel the secrets in time to save the ones she loves the most? Or will her lack of faith in her own decisions lead to disaster?

Afterlife weaves some of the favorite characters from the Cloud Prophet Trilogy (Anathema, Oubliette, and Severed) into The Swarm Trilogy as Lianne comes face-to-face with a character introduced at the end of Severed

As Lianne has just lost what she thought was the love of her life in the last book. But also discovered a new love in a long lost friend. I was surprised to see that it as well didn't get to live as long as I was hoping it would. That is not to say that I don't like any of her love interests. These books are pretty short and reading them one after another I have found that the process of going from one boy to the next felt rather fast to me. Plus I liked the friend character and wanted to see him around more. 

When Lianne is on her quest to find Mags, pretty quickly she is herself kidnapped and taken to a safe hiding place. It seems that there are a lot of powerful and dangerous people looking for her. When we finally get to discover who they are, it's pretty shocking and leads to a very interesting twist. 

I fell in love with the Cloud Prophet Trilogy and besides the fact that this Swarm trilogy seems to fly by way to fast. I am a huge fan of Megg Jensen's work and recommend it to anybody. It's got magic, secrets, strong female heroine's. I have loved all of the books I read so far and they are great fun, quick and fast paced. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sleepers (The Swarm Trilogy #1) by Megg Jensen

An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she's filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.

Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?
Book One in The Swarm Trilogy

I love Megg Jensen's story telling it's gripping and layers of interesting characters and stories of interweaving ideas. When Lianne begins to not trust everything that she knew before. Her world turns upside down and she has very little time to try to save what she knows is true. Her friendship with Mags and the infant that the king has ordered to die. 

It's a non stop kind of story which I love. Ms. Jensen is always able to catch me off guard with her twists that I never see coming. Her books are somewhat shorter than most but there is so much content that it leaves you with a feeling as if  swept up in an adventure. 

Lies, secrets, magic, death and battles. (Don't forget the sexy guys!)  It's all packed into one great story. I think that this first book in the Swarm Trilogy really starts of with a bang and I loved every minute.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

REM by Cheryl Abbott

Seventeen-year-old Bradalynn Collier is used to enduring night after night of unbearable restlessness. In the quiet darkness while everyone else sleeps, dreams that are not only hers take possession of her mind. Brady thinks her gift for entering the subconscious minds of others is a curse-until she meets the mysterious Alexander Connelly on her first day of her junior year in high school.

Alexander is a new transfer student whose mesmerizing green eyes seem to stare straight through Brady. Against the advice of her best friend, Doug Rothen, Brady decides to venture into the dark nights of Alexander's slumber. As she suffers through his relentless nightmares, becoming emotionally attached along the way, Brady finds reason to finally gain control of her unique ability. But just as an unexpected relationship emerges and blurs the line in her friendship with Doug, a devastating accident forces Brady to make an unthinkable decision.

In this compelling tale, Brady must betray the trust of others and make a choice that has the potential to tear her away from the only dream she now desires-a life with Alexander Connelly

There were things that I loved and hated about this story. But overall it is something that was compelling and something that I would recommend that you pick up. If you don't mind some romantic aspects that lean towards an overly doting relationships. 

The most appealing relationship that I felt drove the story for me was the friendship between Doug and Brady. It had it's ups and downs, fully relateable and  something worth fighting for.

I also enjoyed the main character Brady. She is stuck with this ability that she really has no control over at this point and is doing the best she can with what she has. Brady is the type of girl that thinks through her decisions and sticks by them, to the very end. No matter what kind of resistance she comes up against she is true to herself. I always admire people that have the courage to stand by their decisions, even when it brings out the stubborn side.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Overnight Sensation by Hal Eisenberg

Fifteen year-old Jonah Levine is practically invisible at Applecrest High. His Facebook page is pathetic, his baseball skills are mediocre at best, and his IQ seems to drop 50 points when talking to girls. But everything changes when his rock band, Hitstreak, becomes the hottest teen sensation in the country. And now they’re about to perform in front of 15,000 screaming fans.

So why isn’t he jumping for joy?

Well, for starters, that hit on the radio wasn’t really recorded by his band. In fact, six months ago, he and his friends could barely play a note between them. And now they’re about to perform in front of 15,000 screaming fans. What begins as a mindless prank quickly spins out of control, involving his father’s secret past as a 70’s rocker, a high school bully who wants in on the action, and a powerful, ruthless, media mogul who will stop at nothing to claim the band as his own. Will Jonah prevail? Or will he and his band go down in flames and become the biggest farce in pop music history?
Paperback, 238 pages  Published July 28th 2012 by Bells and Castanets  ISBN  10:0985492 (ISBN13: 9780985492212)

With the summary and the cover it's hard not to mention that this story does have some predictability to it. You know what's going to happen in the end. It's the events leading up to it that counts. 

There is a lot of time that passes in this story. For the majority of the first half of the book it's dialogue, the going back and forth of "should we" and "what are we doing"  The boys take several actions as most young boys do with not much thought to the act. But then the guilt and turmoil of what the consequences will be when their parents find out.  

When the decisions are made, the plan is in action, the story builds in anticipation. Although our main characters are teen boys. I couldn't help but feel that the story reads more like a memoir. Reminiscing of the best time of their youth and what could have been. Perhaps as a reader I was playing off this idea because technically Jonah's father is vicariously living through him.

Perhaps this story is one of "What if's" and fly by the seat of your pants while you can.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ten Rallies by Pasquin

"Teacher doesn't like you reading this, bro. Don't blame me if they knock this book right out of your hand.
Got that straight?
Now, let's begin."

You wake up one morning and find your supposed-to-be easy senior year of high school is going to be demolished by something called CoreAmerica. Camera crews are everywhere. It's taking over your school, and they're calling it an experiment.
And in the middle of it all is this girl, Everett — man— she has it all. Never in a million years did you ever think you might get her. And she's smiling at you now, boy.

Problem is—to keep her—you'll have to give yourself up.

Hell of a senior year.

Seventeen year old Reed wasn't looking to change the world, just graduate high school. He didn't know he would first have to choose between who he loves and what is right

One thing stood out immediately when I started reading. This story has a different writing style than I have ever read. The author puts the reader literally in the main characters shoes. With narrative that explains You decide to go to class, you put your hand under her head. It is directly aimed at us to engage the reader into the story. And I'm not gonna lie, this stood out for me through the whole thing. 

With that off my chest, what I do want to add is that although this was something that I noticed while reading, it didn't deter me from liking and appreciating what the author has put together here. I have read stories that have themes to it. Main characters put through extreme situations to learn a lesson and get you thinking. 

That is what this story will do. It will get you thinking. The school that Reed attends is an experiment, the classes and students put there specifically to see what happens in a closed environment and their situations that have consequences. It's also a very politically based trials, government funded and ran. But it was handled in a very entertaining way that was compelling and worthy of discussions. 

This book would be great for libraries, in classrooms and book clubs. If anything you should pick it up just to learn more about what you would think about the situations they have to go through and what do you think you would do if really in his position?

Friday, January 4, 2013

We Are Savages by Jessie Atkin

We Are Savages is the story of 12 year old Tris and what she finds when she runs from the responsibility of her household and descends through a rain grate into the child run world of Nowhere. "You go to bed angry or sad enough you can wake up just about anywhere," the Savages tell her. Nowhere is a brick utopia hidden in the sewers; made up of sweets, sports, hammocks, and fireflies. But even this haven, free of parents and protocol, is not everything it seems. Haunted by dark specters known only as Phocydes, feared for their reputation of consuming children whole, Tris works both to hunt and to hide from these hooded shadows. But something about them is familiar; something about them fires her curiosity more than her fear. And Tris slowly begins to realize that, no matter where you go, fear and responsibility are not things you can escape. The only thing to do is face them.

Paperback, 296 pages
Published November 17th 2012 by Brady and Dustin Publishing

This book would be something to consider for younger teens, even older middle grade readers. Even though our main character Tris goes on an adventure, it's a plot geared solely towards the learning of a lesson and that knowledge coming full circle through the adventure.

A lot of the characters and the world building is not fleshed out. The relationship that Tris has with her parents felt a little off to me. And leads to thoughts that maybe the Phocydes are an interpretation of that relationship.

Younger readers will not be as critical to these things, but I feel that teens for sure may find a lot of these little faults unsatisfactory

The only real dilemma though with younger readers is the length of the book. At 296 pages and the age group it's appropriate for that they may not be able to stick with it to the end. It was not fast paced and has spots of action that push the story forward, but not as constant as I would have expected.

I feel that I would have enjoyed the story more if the main character was older 14 at the youngest. And maybe the side characters parents, other children, the world of Nowhere and the Phocydes were rounded out more, all the pieces would have fit together better.

As is, this book would be suited for discussion topics. Maybe libraries or classroom discussions could get going. Topics like character growth especially interactions with each other and the addition of fear and learning from your mistakes.

I give this story 3 stars for the interesting plot line and Declan and Tris. My favorite characters.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pineville Heist by Lee Chambers

Seventeen year old Aaron stumbles into the aftermath of a five million dollar bank heist gone wrong. Hiding under a canoe, Aaron partially catches the murder of one of the robbers. In the chaos he sneaks away with the money and heads straight for the closest place of safety, his high school. Terrified, Aaron tells his shocking tale to Amanda Becker, his drama teacher, but it doesn't take long for one of the psychotic robbers to show up. In the locked down school the pair are relentlessly pursued in a quest to get the money back and wipe out the evidence

From the Author Email
Have you heard about The Pineville Heist yet? No?  Let me fill you in...

“Aaron whipped through the long grass as fast as his legs would carry him. His eyes were filled with angst and adrenaline. He was still in shock. Not every day you see a dead man. Not every day you see that much money either – he glanced down at the backpack in his arms. Must – keep – running.”

The Pineville Heist is a YA novel which I adapted from my award-winning screenplay I co-wrote with Todd Gordon.  40,000+ ebook copies alone have been downloaded to date and The Pineville Heist made it as an Amazon #1 Best Selling Thriller and #3 overall in April.  It became one of five Award-winning Finalists in the 2012 International Book Awards in the Young Adult Fiction Category.

Very exciting times are ahead for The Pineville Heist as the screenplay is currently in the funding stages of becoming a major motion movie, having already attracted a Distribution and LA Sales Agent.

Teen movie star, Booboo Stewart, Seth Clearwater from the Twilight series, has also signed on to star in the lead role as Aaron Stevens.   He loved the story after reading the screenplay and is excited to be part of the project.   One of the main attractions for him being the action, “It has lots of action which I really enjoyed reading...This isn’t your average G classified movie; it has more of a punch to it,” and that idea really appealed to him.
 A book full of action packed fast paced scenes. Running, fighting and near death moments that made this novel an super fast read. 
When a large amount of money is stolen, Aaron takes it upon himself to find the money and get it to the rightful owner. But in his escape he is tracked down by some very dangerous men. He is able to get his teacher Amanda trapped in the school with the gunman as well. And loses some friends along the way.

The story takes many several twists as Aaron beings to learn things about his father, the family business and what that large amount of money is going to be used for. There were twists and one big wow moment that definitely makes this screen-worthy. It's going to make an awesome movie!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Book Review: Blood by KJ Wignall

"I do not remember being bitten. I wish I did, for then I would know the creature who did this to me and I would have a purpose, to track him down and repay him for the poisoned gift he gave me." Back in the 13th Century, Will was destined to be Earl of Mercia.  He never lived to inherit his title, struck down by a strange illness and buried beneath the city walls.  But Will was not dead, and only now, seven lonely centuries later, does he begin to understand that there was a reason for all of this, that he has a destiny.  To find it though, he will need help, and as ever, he will need blood. Cover and description from  Goodreads.com

Here is a story that I really enjoyed. Will's vampire character and Eloise's as his sidekick really worked for me. Will has awoken after several years and soon finds that he has risen for a reason. He is determined to find his maker and answer all the questions he has never truly tried to find an answer for before.
Eloise reminds me of an old friend. She is the one that the readers will connect with the most. After Will awakens, he is drawn to Eloise and she becomes his companion to help find his answers. She is skeptical but very open minded.
The writing was great! I really enjoyed walking through the streets, having the building described and picturing what it would be like to be with them. Will lives beneath an old Cathedral and imagining the structure, it's artwork and the mystery of what lies below was entertaining for me.
The ending does leave you with more questions, so I think that this is a beginning of a series, and one that I am very intrigued to find out what happens next  Blood (Mercian Trilogy)
Well as you can see, when I googled the link above for the book it does show it's going to be a Trilogy so that makes me very excited to know that I will be able to read more about these two characters! And especially to have some of my questions answered.