Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review: Slated by Teri Terry


Book Description via Goodreads:

ARC, 444 pages
May 3, 2012, Orchard Books

Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

She’s been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?

Source: Gifted (Thanks Kai!)

My Thoughts:

Kyla was different.

Kyla was Slated. She didn’t have the eternal-I’m-harmless-and-oblivious-smile that was pasted on the faces of young Slateds. She was very curious about everything around her. It had become her way of coping – mapping out her world and discovering every detail about it, including details that could get her in trouble. I liked Kyla a lot. I admired how she remained true to herself while adjusting to her world. Most of all, she sought out the truth behind every lie and she never gave up on that search.

The concept of Slated was terrifying for me. The idea of being Slated – losing your memories, your personality and your family, starting over without knowing how to claim your life as your own and how to find place in this all-new-world – was too much. Slateds were held back by manacles aka Levos, devices that looks like wristwatches that detect and measure their level of happiness. The stable level was 5 but if a Slated’s level would go down, it could lead to blacking out, seizures or worse, death. It was startling to know that they were forced to adjust to their new life with those Levos on. When you’re new, you’re bound to get upset, sad, frustrated and even angry at this phase.

Ben was a well-adjusted Slated. Everybody seemed to like him. He was nice to everyone, including Kyla. As the two became friends, they found out startling things about themselves and the society they belonged to. Lorders, people who maintained Law and Order, were always in school gatherings. People went missing and were taken for granted. No one seemed to be concerned about them. No one mentioned the missing, as if they didn’t exist anymore. It seemed that everybody who said the wrong thing at the wrong moment was caught. The tension intensified even more as terrorists made their move. But on top of it all, one of the things that really bothered Ben and Kyla was this: Ben, along with other Slateds, couldn’t seem to think for himself, couldn’t seem to notice things that were oh so wrong in Kyla’s eyes. The government messed with their brains.

I enjoyed and savored every page of Slated. It was the kind of novel that took both of your hands and pulled you into its pages, making you hesitant and even unwilling to leave it. As I questioned along with Kyla, I was struck with horror and repulsion at how people could easily be manipulated and silenced in her world. There was too much sugarcoating on every word that people spoke. People hid the truth with perfect smiles and nonchalant gestures. Kyla dug deep for answers. She certainly wanted them and she was willing to take risks. But when she does find them, things will never be the same for her.

Another thing I liked about Slated was the fact that not one character was the same from beginning to end. As the story progressed, I witnessed how their multilayered skins and masks peeled off to reveal their cores underneath. Every character had his/her own surprising revelation. Secret after secret exploded in this intense dystopian.

Slated is an addictive and unforgettable page-turner that is brimming with deception, suspense and mystery. With a smart, curious and inquisitive Slated heroine, plunge into the futuristic, intense and secret-filled story world of Slated. If you’re looking for a great May debut, this one is for you! I highly recommend this to dystopian and post-apocalyptic readers and mystery readers!

Rating:




Friday, April 27, 2012

Covers to Love + Trailers to Watch

Covers to Love. I have three covers. Just discovered the two today.
 
First is…Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder.


Initial Reaction: Smoking hot, romantic YA! I like the whole kissing in the rain concept. The look on the guy's face is just so...gentle (which is the opposite of what I imagine him to be after reading the synopsis.) I miss reading contemp love stories! That makes me even more excited for this.
  
FALLING FOR YOU, about a teen girl who relives the love of a dangerous boy, and unravels the secrets that haunt her family, as she hovers between life and death, searching for light amid the darkness--and a reason to hold on.

Next is the perfect book for hardcore Julie Kagawa fans aka people who would love to get their hands on a paperback compilation of all the novellas of The Iron Fey Series. The Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa.

 
Intial Reaction: Where did Ash and Puck from the front cover and back cover of The Iron Knight go??? And where did Meghan go??? It would have been better if the models from the previous covers appeared in this cover. But I still like the swirly font and curves.

Last up is Keeper of The Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger. It’s MG Fantasy – the perfect, fun, light, exciting read for everyone.

Initial Reaction: OMG, I want this. After reading the synopsis (below,) I knew I just had to!


Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She's a Telepath--someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It's a talent she's never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there's a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.” There are secrets buried deep in Sophie's memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.


Well, technically..it’s just ONE trailer. It’s for Winter’s Light by M.J. Hearle, the sequel to Winter’s Shadow, is coming out on May 1, 2012. This belongs to a paranormal romance series.

Blake is gone.

He sacrificed himself to save Winter, leaving her alone, unprotected... hunted.

An ancient enemy is rising, but Winter is no longer the innocent girl who was fated to die at Pilgrim's Lament. She will not wait to be saved. She will do what she must to survive, even accept an unsavoury alliance with those who destroyed her love.

In the gathering darkness, the enemy of an enemy is not always a friend, and Winter must find the strength to stand alone and fight for the one she loves. For she is the key to unlocking the secrets beyond the veil of shadows.

And she is Blake's only hope
.

Here’s a teaser trailer:








Thursday, April 26, 2012

Author Interview with Aimée Carter + Goddess Interrupted Giveaway

Hi everyone! Today, I have a Q&A with Aimée Carter, the author of The Goddess Test and Goddess Interrupted. Stick around for a giveaway!

How familiar were you with Greek myths and folklore before writing the Goddess Test series?  Was a lot of research required?

+ I first fell in love with Greek mythology when I was a kid learning how to read, and my infatuation only grew from there. I’ve studied various kinds of mythology for years, sometimes for class and always for fun, but even then I put a great deal of research into the Goddess Test series. Mostly as a refresher to make sure I was getting my facts right, but I also researched the various myths looking for ways to tie the plots and characters together in unexpected ways.

Was Goddess Interrupted any easier or harder to write than the first book in the series, The Goddess Test?

+ It was both easier and harder, in a strange way. I rewrote The Goddess Test multiple times, and I’ve never edited a book more heavily in my life. Goddess Interrupted did require some editing, of course, but it was much easier.

However, the pressure to deliver a sequel worthy of the series made the writing process for Goddess Interrupted more difficult than I’d anticipated. There’s something called the “sophomore slump”, where sequels or second books generally don’t quite match up to the second, and I wanted to avoid that at all cost. So that added a lot of stress, but in the end, I was very happy with the results.

You give the gods and goddesses in the series “ordinary names” – Zeus is named Walter, Aphrodite goes by Ava, Hermes is named James.  Why did you do that and do the more contemporary names have any significance?

+ This was something I went back and forth on multiple times. Initially the characters Kate encounters weren’t council members at all – I changed that very, very quickly though. By the second draft, I had a place for each of the Olympians, and I did some heavy rewriting to replace my first draft characters with the gods. I wanted to find a way to keep their names the same, but since they’re supposed to live among us in secret in the modern world, it didn’t really make sense. How many men named Zeus do you know, or women called Aphrodite? On top of that, keeping the council’s identities secret was incredibly important to the plot. So eventually I decided they would have changed their names when Western civilization stopped worshipping them as gods, allowing them to live freely among us.

I did choose each name for what it means, some more than others – Walter, for instance, means “army leader”, while James means “supplanter”. The exception is Calliope, which in the story was chosen by her counterpart for its Greek roots. The reason the gods changed their names – and why Artemis didn’t wind up with the name Diana – is explained throughout the series, but you get to actually see this happen in The Goddess Legacy (July 31).

Goddess Interrupted begins with the main character Kate Winters adjusting to her new life as an immortal.  Given Kate’s innate strength and stubbornness, was it difficult to switch gears to portray her as a bit more vulnerable and unsure of herself in her new role as goddess AND wife?

+ Not so much, to be honest – her progression felt natural to me. While Kate is very tough in certain ways, she’s extremely vulnerable as well. She’s emotionally dependent on the people around her (her mother in the first book, Henry in the second), and that in and of itself carves the path she takes in the sequel. She’s spent six months with Henry, falling in love with him and forming a relationship she thinks is going to last for eternity. But Henry is battling his own demons and isn’t ready to be the person she needs him to be, and because Kate is so stubborn, she has a hard time coming to terms with that. In the sequel, Kate really is her own worst enemy emotionally – her entire world has changed, after all, and that’s a lot for anyone to take – but it’s all part of her development into a goddess and queen.

Kate finds herself trying to work through her rather complicated relationship with James, as well as her relationship with her new husband, Henry (Hades).  Neither seems to be black and white, but rather varying shades of gray.   Were any of Kate’s feelings or situations based on any relationship struggles you’ve been through?

+ Not personally, no, but I did try to make Kate’s relationships with the people in her life as realistic as possible. She isn’t perfect, and neither are they, and that’s something they all have to work through at varying points in the series. None of the relationships in the books are based off of specific experiences I’ve been through though.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?  Least favorite?

+ Outlining is by far my favorite part of the process. I love the idea stage, where anything’s possible, and it’s such a shiny place. All of that comes crashing down when I write the first draft though, which is the hardest part for me. I tend to get mentally exhausted about two thirds to three quarters of the way into the manuscript, and it’s always a struggle for me to push through it, especially if I’m on a deadline. And inevitably there are a ton of problems I didn’t notice in the outline stage that have to be fixed for the story to work. I’m a perfectionist, so in order for me to continue writing the story, everything I’ve already written has to make sense.
Do you have a favorite quote or line from a poem or book?

+ I love so many quotes that I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite.

How did you get your first publishing deal and how did that feel?

+ My agent, Rosemary Stimola, sent the manuscript out to various publishers, and after a long submission process, Harlequin TEEN offered to publish it! I was stunned at first, but that quickly gave way to giddiness. It was an incredible feeling to know I’d be published, and to this day, I still can’t quite believe it.

When is the next book in the series due out? Any hints on what will happen in book 3?

+ Goddess Interrupted, the sequel to The Goddess Test, came out in late March. The next book in the series, The Goddess Legacy, will be out July 31. It’s a collection of five novellas told in the perspectives of Calliope, Ava, Persephone, James, and Henry, and together they form one story.

The third book in the series, The Goddess Inheritance, is currently scheduled to be released in March 2013. Unfortunately I can’t say too much about it, but the challenges that Kate will face are pretty clear by the end of the sequel!

After the huge success of The Goddess Test, Goddess Interrupted is on many, many TBR lists for this summer.  What’s on your TBR list?

+ I’m so excited for a slew of books coming out – The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, Grave Mercy, The Selection, The Serpent’s Shadow, Philippa Gregory’s YA novel, and a ton of others. I never have as much time to read as I want, but I’m definitely making time for all of those and more!

Yearbook Superlatives! If you went to high school with the Greek gods and goddesses, who would you vote for?
·        Most likely to succeed? - Hera
·        Class clown? - Hermes
·        Nicest? – Demeter or Hephaestus
·        Best dressed? - Aphrodite
·        Best dancer? - Apollo
·        Most school spirit? - Iris
·        Most likely to attend summer school? - Ares
·        Teachers pet? – Athena

 
Thanks to Harlequin Teen & MM Publicity, I have one finished copy of Goddess Interrupted to giveaway. All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below. :)


Review: Halflings by Heather Burch


Book Description via Goodreads:

Hardcover, 287 pages
January 7, 2012, Zonderkids

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

Source: Candice & Zondervan (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

First of all, Nikki was a girl with two sides. She was a fighter: strong, persistent and wise. But she was also an artist: sensitive, perceptive and emotional. I liked Nikki but there were times when her reactions just confused me. There were scenes in which she acted out of character – as if two parts of her were in battle. But so far, she wasn’t the lovey dovey type. She fought against her selfishness, her desire to be with Mace and her weakness throughout the story. She remained rational, weighing her options and considering the possible consequences of every action. I liked this about her.

The love triangle reminded me a bit of Elena-Stefan-Damon from The Vampire Diaries TV series, but instead of vampires, we get Halflings – Nephilim guys. Mace was the sweet, good guy. He was Nikki’s knight in shining armor. He was the type of guy that made girls melt with his warmth, his touch and his charm. He fell for Nikki the first time he saw her. Raven was the dangerous and irresistible badboy. He was handsome, like any Halfling, and he knew it. He used it to his advantage. But underneath the layer of cold calm, rule-breaking and unending tempting, he was vulnerable and suffering. This was probably one of the best forbidden love triangles ever. It really meant life or death, or in this case, eternal punishment without redemption. It was beyond tragic. The two brothers were in danger not just of falling in love with a human but also of falling over the edge. Nikki was torn between sacrificing her feelings and causing serious trouble for the two brothers. I really enjoyed reading about the push-pull drama of this. Sparks flew and hearts ran marathons.

The idea of Nikki having three gorgeous guardian angels was intriguing. First off, why three? Her case must be really serious for heaven to send three Halflings to protect her from vicious hell hounds and demons. The progress of the enemy’s attack as they strived to claim Nikki was good. I could really see how things got worse with every chapter. In the beginning, it was just Nikki. But as the story progressed, more and more characters got involved. The threat to Nikki’s life extended to her family. The urgency, sense of danger and suspense were there. However, I was waiting for the answers to my questions and I’m sad to say some of them weren’t answered. The suspense mounted up in me and I was really waiting, wanting, needing answers that will solve the mystery. But there were hints here and there, as well as big revelations that surprised me.

Halflings is a riveting paranormal romance that will keep readers satiated with its heartbreaking forbidden romance, heart-stopping Halflings and heart-pounding action and suspense. Burch gives readers an intriguing and fresh take on the Nephilim in Halflings. I recommend this to people who enjoyed Hush, Hush, Crescendo and Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick, paranormal romance readers and angel enthusiasts.

Rating:









Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Perfection + These Broken Stars + Two Gorgeous Covers


So for this Wednesday, I got a little too excited. In fact, I won’t be featuring 2012 books but 2013 books!  As usual, the books fall under the science-fiction/dystopia/post-apocalyptic umbrella.

Perfection by J.L. Spelbring
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Published by: Spencer Hill Press

The personification of Aryan purity, Ellyssa's spent her whole life under her creator's strict training and guidance; her purpose is to eradicate inferior beings. She was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier: strong, intelligent, unemotional, and telepathic.

Only Ellyssa isn't perfect.

Ellyssa feels emotions--a fact she's spent her life concealing. Until she encounters the epitome of inferiority: a dark-haired boy raised among renegades hiding since the Nazis won the war a century ago. He speaks to her telepathically, pushing thoughts into her mind, despite the impossibility of such a substandard person having psychic abilities.

But he does.

His unspoken words and visions of a place she's never visited make Ellyssa question her creator. Confused and afraid her secret will be discovered, Ellyssa runs away, embarking on a journey where she discovers there is more to her than perfection.

Why I Chose This:

I like novels that tackle genetics and perfection. I enjoyed Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt and I have a feeling – a strong feeling – that I’ll enjoy this one, too.

I’m sad, curious and excited all at the same time for Ellyssa. When emotions are thrown in the equation, things get complicated because engineered people tend to act on their feelings instead of acting on orders/rules.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Publication Date: 2013
Published by: Disney-Hyperion

Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen never should have met. She’s the socialite daughter of the richest man in the galaxy, and he’s a decorated soldier fighting back rebellions on newly terraformed planets. But when the vast luxury spaceliner they’re both traveling on crashes, they find themselves thrown together as the two sole survivors on an alien planet.

As they survive harsh conditions and dwindling supplies—not to mention each other—the two begin to uncover a mystery surrounding the abandoned planet that neither of them could have guessed.

The first in a trilogy, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a series of timeless, standalone love stories that span galaxies—and are linked by their shared worlds and one mysterious enemy.

Why I Chose This:

A soldier?? Reminds me of Chase from Article 5 (which was so awesome.) I loved Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan so I think I might like this, too. I really enjoy stories about two people meeting, drawn together by unfortunate circumstances. I can sense a bit of love-hate-thing here. Hope this meets my expectations!

And…I just couldn’t resist. Check out these swoon-worthy covers:

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa
Shine Light by Marianne de Pierres - formerly Blaze Dark

What do you think?