Thursday, January 31, 2013

Time Travel Reading Challenge: January Wrap-up + Giveaway: Vortex by Julie Cross


So the first month of the YA + MG Time Travel Reading Challenge is coming to an end...aaaaand Dianne and I have yet to review a time travel novel. However, as an explanation for the lack of reviews, January for us is the month of emailing authors, organizing the whole thing, preparing and updating our very detailed spreadsheets.

This is the list of posts we have so far:
Character Interview with Michele Windsor + Giveaway: Signed copy of Timekeeper(for everyone)
Character Interview with Philip Walker + Giveaway: Signed copy of Timekeeper (for participants only)
Spotlight: Vortex by Julie Cross
Character Interview with Baxter + Giveaway: Interred + Swag (INT, for everyone)
Guest Post: Time Bending Rules 101 + Giveaway: Interred + Swag (INT, for everyone)

Here's the list of time travel books released in January:

Timekeeper (Timeless #2) by Alexandra Monir
Vortex (Tempest #2) by Julie Cross
Interred (Chronicles of the Interred #1) by Marilyn Almodóvar

For February, only one time travel book will be released:

The Pirate Kings (TimeRiders #7) by Alex Scarrow

For our lovely participants, it's the time to link up your reviews!




Also...to thank you guys and to encourage other people to join the YA + MG Time Travel Reading Challenge (you can sign-up here), we're having a giveaway. What's up for grabs, you say? A finished copy of Vortex by Julie Cross! Big thanks to Andrew of Pan Macmillan Asia for this copy!

Open internationally!
Ends on Feb 28th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Dance + Love in the Time of Global Warming

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.

For this week, I'm desperately waiting for an upcoming YA novel by the author of my favorite historical-faery series (The Faerie Ring + The Torn Wing)!

The Last Dance by Kiki Hamilton
Publication Date: February 14, 2013 (Isn't that just perfect?)
Published by: Fair Wind Books

Two people couldn't be more opposite...

Kellen Peterson, the gorgeous star quarterback of the Griffin High football team, seems to have it all. Until the night of the Homecoming game, when Kellen gets tackled and suffers a traumatic brain injury - an injury that changes his life - including his ability to walk, talk and throw a football.

Ivy Ly is a senior and counting down the days until she can escape to college. Though her parents have big plans for her to be a doctor, Ivy is afraid to tell them she'd rather pursue music as a career.

Ivy's best friend, Mira, is obsessed with Kellen. When Ivy is asked to tutor the injured football player upon his return to school, she thinks it's the perfect opportunity for Mira to get to know him better - but sparks fly - in more ways than one...

Why I Chose this:

Why not? Kiki Hamilton is one of the nicest authors I've ever e-met and of course, she wrote one of my favorite series ever! I'm eager to read this! (And so curious as to how Kiki writes a contemporary novel.) I like the synopsis. Although it sounds simple, I can already imagine the sparks flying! Plus, I'm on a New Adult/Young Adult contemporary roll right now...so, yes to this! Another reason to want this: it comes out on February 14th, which isn't just Valentines day for me but also a special kind of day. ;)

Another book that I'm desperately waiting for is...

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block
Publication Date: August 27, 2013 (Isn't that just perfect?)
Published by: Henry Holt & Co. BYR

Seventeen-year-old Penelope (Pen) has lost everything—her home, her parents, and her ten-year-old brother. Like a female Odysseus in search of home, she navigates a dark world full of strange creatures, gathers companions and loses them, finds love and loses it, and faces her mortal enemy.

In her signature style, Francesca Lia Block has created a world that is beautiful in its destruction and as frightening as it is lovely. At the helm is Pen, a strong heroine who holds hope and love in her hands and refuses to be defeated.

Why I Chose this:

Key word: dystopia. I admit that...the last dystopian novel I read was...was...was so long ago I can't even remember the name of the book! See? I'm dystopia-deprived. But seriously, what really drew me in was the title. I'm imagining this as a chaotic and romantic book. I haven't read any of the author's novels before and I'm hoping that this will be my first.

What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Leave your links!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Out and about: Anak Bathala (Kalem) Book Launch


Out and about is a new feature here on Fragments of Life. I have always wanted to cover events and launches but for some reason, they just stick out because I don’t normally post about these things. So I decided to start a feature for events, book launches and movie adaptations.

For the first ever Out and about, I’ll talk about the Anak Bathala: Kalem Book Relaunch.


Me standing in front of the tarps at the event.

The Basics:

Who:


The authors are: Norman De Los Santos, Bernard H. Morillo & Edsel L. Africa.
The Publisher is: BHM Publishing.
The Organizer is: 2 P’s in a Pod


What: Book Relaunch (this is the second launch) of Anak Bathala: Kalem. Kalem is the first of a five-book graphic novel series that celebrates rich Filipino cultural heritage by weaving together rich elements of Philippine mythology, culture, beliefs, folklore and values through well-executed and artistic graphic illustrations Mr. Norman G. de los Santos, Mr. Bernard H. Morillo, and Mr. Edsel L. Africa.

Paperback, 128 pages
2012, BHM Publishing

Kalem's story begins as a strange young boy who comes of age in a world on th brink of change.

As mysterious creatures of lore pour into the land of Ma-I, the young Kalem faces his greatest challenges.

His childhood friend marries according to tradition, his adoptive father gone, a stranger becomes a new friend, unknown enemies lurk in the shadows, and his growing powers are becoming unstable.

Kalem must find out why they call him God-spawned; an "Anak Bathala."

When: January 18, 2013, 6:00 p.m. onwards

Where: 4th floor, Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City Fort, Taguig

Why: Why the book was relaunched: Since the first release of Kalem, the authors have worked towards a better and enriched version. This time around they focused more on the character development of Kalem to add depth to the book.

Why I went to the event: For the first time, I was invited to a book launch not simply as a reader but as a blogger. I was invited to cover the event and post about it on my blog. I was excited, of course!


How: This is the longish part.

Pearl from 2P's in a Pod started the event by introducing the authors and of course, the book. Unlike other bookish events that I've attended, this book relaunch was fun and light. The three artists/authors kept the vibe light with their jokes. The people who attended the event also had the chance to understand the background/behind-the-scenes-part of the graphic novel. The authors shared something personal in relation to the book and entertained questions from the audience in the Q&A portion. Meanwhile, everyone who attended had the chance to get an Alibata Henna tattoo.

I learned the following:

  • Norman now lives in California and has been living there for years. He's homesick and misses the Philippines. He started reading and doing research about pre-Spanish Philippines.
  • Extensive research was done not only on Philippine mythology but also about Philippine blades. So if you're interested in that kind of thing, pick this up!
  • Norman made a video game with the same concept: pre-Spanish Philippines. Some of the classes of characters were bayani (hero) and mandirigma (warrior)
  • The authors wanted to write/make a book for the indigenous people of Mindoro and integrate the baybayin/alibata.
  • They wanted to focus more on the character development of Kalem to give depth to the book.
  • The three of them work together while not seeing each other/meeting up. One is in Cali, the other is in Fairview and the other is in the province. They do everything via email. And apparently, it works well!

Of course, let's not forget the book signing:


Photo credit to the photographer at the event. I didn't even know this photo existed until my boyfriend gave me the link on Facebook.


The media kit given to me by BHM Publishing + 2P's in a Pod (Thanks, Paula!) had these inside:


If you guys have questions/comments, you can leave them below. ;) Oh, and if you have time, tell me what you think of Out and about!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Book Description via Goodreads:

Hardcover (US Version), 387 pages
January 3, 2012, Feiwel & Friends

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Source: St. Martin's Griffin and Netgalley for the ebook + Andrew and Pan Macmillan Asia for the hardcover (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

I have always been a fan of retellings, especially one that centered on my favorite tales as a child. Cinder gripped my heart and I knew right there and then that I would be fond of her. Cinder is a cyborg and a mechanic – two things that set her apart from the rest of the heroines of science fiction novels. But deep inside she has simple wants (well not entirely simple): she wants a dress so she could go to the royal ball; she wants a new foot – one that is preferably her size; she wants appreciation and love. Her stepmother held a deep grudge for the death of her husband and she blamed Cinder for it. She also somewhat enslaved Cinder by putting her in a booth in the market and letting her fix everything that needed to be fixed while she flitted here and there, thinking about gowns and royal balls. I respect Cinder for the way she treated her stepmom. She was civil, tried to be understanding and almost never talked back. Talent, manners and a vision, that were the things that Cinder had.

The storyworld of Cinder was superbly built. It was so detailed that I could imagine walking in the cluttered streets, the busy market and the sterile rooms of the Palace laboratory. What was incredible was how New Beijing seemed so Asian to me. Meyer made me feel that while I was reading her book and that was incredible. It was like a second home in a book. The attention to detail that was employed made the story all the more vivid.

Prince Kai was gorgeous, of course, and he had a great potential to fill in the empty throne that his father left. There were sweet, blush-inducing moments and I loved the push-pull reaction between Cinder and Kai. I felt that it wasn’t rushed and Meyer allowed the two to dance a series of attract and repel steps. However, I craved for a fireworks display. I’m excited to see if there will be blinding sparks when Cinder and Kai are together.

The element of Lunars injected into the plot was brilliant. I, personally, am not a big fan of aliens in YA science fiction but I was intrigued and fascinated with these mind-controlling moon creatures from the moon. Their biology and their gift were described into detail and was shown in the book in such a way that I didn’t raise my eyebrows at any of it.

Although I was able to guess the main plot points a few chapters in, do not let this discourage you. Albeit slightly predictable, Cinder will keep you entertained with politics, tragedy, humor, vivid imagery and of course, the flawless writing.

Cinder is a fairytale altered and injected with politics, tragedy and humor, with a one-of-a-kind heroine, an adorable android and an exotic setting that will captivate you. If you enjoy fairytale retellings and science fiction, this one is for you!


Rating:



4.5 Cupids = Obsessive book love.
Almost made it as one of my favorites! I strongly recommend this!




Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Character Interview with Baxter + Giveaway: Interred by Marilyn Almodovar + Swag!

Hi everyone! Today, January 22nd, is the official release day of Interred by Marilyn Almodovar. I've invited over the star of Interred, Baxter Jacobs, for a short character interview. Stick around to learn the basics (and of course, a giveaway.)




Baxter Jacobs Facts

What is your real, birth name?

Baxter Arabella Jacobs

How do you dress most of the time?

T-shirts, jeans, sneakers

Do you wear any jewelry?

Only when I’m forced to dress up.

What don't you like about yourself?

What do you mean? I like myself. *shifty eyes* Don’t you think I like myself?

What do you feel most strongly about?

Protecting those who need it.

What would you wish for if you found a genie?

Better interview questions...


Head over to Oops I Read a Book Again for a guest post on the world-building of Interred.

About the Author:

Marilyn Almodóvar is the author of a series of YA paranormal novels. Born in Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, Lyn is a lover of words whose reading tastes range from Victorian novels to the books of Stephen King. Her favorite past-times have always been reading and writing, two activities that let her escape to other worlds.

It was this love that propelled her to choose Theater and French as majors in University, with a minor in English Victorian Literature. Lyn lived for almost a decade in England followed by three years in France before returning home to the States. A self-confessed citizen of the world, she is fluent in English, French and Spanish, with basic knowledge of the Italian language.

Lyn could happily exist breathing the clean air of Narnia, trapped in a cupboard under the stairs with Harry, fighting alongside Captain Jack Sparrow, doing an internship in Torchwood, or traveling around time and space with the Doctor…as long as she can have Mr. Spock, Captain Kirk and Captain Mal as companions.

Lyn currently lives in Central Florida with her French husband, English-born eldest son, and French-born youngest son. Her debut YA Novel, Interred, will be published by Iambe books on 01/22/2013.

Follow Marilyn: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks to Marilyn, Dianne and I have some goodies up for grabs. But first, what is Interred all about?

Ebook, 256 pages
January 22nd 2013,Iambe Books

Time has never been an issue for Baxter Jacobs, but then she never knew she had the ability to Bend it.

As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Baxter inherits a pendant that will change her life. Connected to the pendant is a dark and mysterious young man named Declan Ashdown. Trapped in a Time loop for the past 122 years, Declan needs Baxter’s help to escape. The only problem is, she has no idea how to do it.

To acquire the power she needs to free him, she’ll become one of the Interred, those whose Magical abilities emerge as they come of age. When she does, she’ll discover that Declan isn’t the only one interested in the fact that she’s a Time Bender.

As the Interment arrives, Baxter knows this will be no Sweet Sixteen. A vengeful relative and ruthless Council are determined to control her. Declan’s powerful and charming descendant, Jack Ashdown, claims he can save her. She’ll soon have to decide who she can trust, and how to master her new abilities before Time runs out.

You can buy Interred on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form!

Rules:

Open internationally.
You should be at least 13 years old.
*Winners won't be posted on the blog, HOWEVER you can always go back to this page to see the winner's name on the Rafflecopter form. :) I always announce it.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Review: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

Book Description via Goodreads:


Paperback, 376 pages
September 1, 2012, HarperCollins Publishers

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK meets JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL in this gothic steampunk page-turner for readers of all ages.

Bartholomew Kettle won't live long. Changelings never do. The child of a human mother and a faery father, Bartholomew is a secret, despised by both his races. If the English don't hang him for witchcraft, the faerys will do something worse. So his mother keeps him locked away, hidden from the world in the faery slums of Bath.

But one day Bartholomew witnesses a mysterious lady kidnap another changeling through a shadowy portal, and he realizes the danger is closer than ever before. Changelings are surfacing in the rivers, their bodies empty of blood and bone and their skin covered in red markings. A powerful figure sits in the shadows, pushing the pieces in place for some terrible victory. When a sinister faery in a top-hat begins to stalk Bartholomew's steps, he knows it's his turn. Something is coming for him. Something needs him. But when you're a changeling there's nowhere to run...

Buy The Peculiar!

Source: Christine, HarperCollins + PBT (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

Before reading The Peculiar, I was prepared for steampunkery and faeries. I guess I expected a taste of the ambiance of Ironskin by Tina Connolly. But instead I got a piece of a cruel, cruel world, a glimpse into the lives of the people in the faery slums and a lonely changeling. In London, faeries, changelings and humans co-existed and shared a strained relationship. Bells rang every five minutes, hindering and molding the magical nature of faeries. Without a way home, they were forced to stay in the human world. I loved my short stay in the story world of The Peculiar. It was a vivid and imaginative world, with a balance between the elements of magic and technology. The attention to detail reminded me of the style of Cassandra Clare.

I enjoyed reading the story from two perspectives: Bartholomew’s and Mr. Jelliby’s. I liked how the author wrote this novel in such a way that the story of these two characters formed two halves of a whole. Bartholomew was a changeling living in the faery slums and as a changeling, he lived in fear of discovery. He was constantly reminded to be extra careful. He shouldn’t grab the attention of other people. Despite Barty being half-faery and half-human, he seemed more human than fay. He longed for friendship and was protective of his younger sister. I liked to consider changelings as the minority in this equation. They were often viewed so negatively in such a way that they were a menace and are easily disposable that their lives were in constant danger.

Mr. Jelliby was a character that I was fond of. He had the big heart of Mo from Liesl & Po and the gentlemanliness and sophistication of Jem from Clockwork Angel, only more posh, slightly unlucky and active in politics. He was super nice, to the point that he dreaded Privy Council meetings because it involved topics like murder, but he was not weak. Through his luck and persistence, Mr. Jelliby uncovered important bits of information and he didn’t sit still for one minute. He acted out. I liked how Mr. Jelliby’s strengths and weaknesses were balanced out and more importantly, I liked how he braved the danger he knew he was getting into.

The faeries in The Peculiar were the kind that interested me and creeped me out. For instance, Mr. Lickerish reminded me so much of a typical faery prince or a faery nobel. Powerful, gorgeous and elegant but with a mean streak and an innate coldness in him, in my mind I was associating him with the UnSeelie. Jack Box was the one that creeped me out and annoyed me the most but at the end of the book, I found pity and understanding for his character. Back to basic was what happened in The Peculiar and it was very effective. As Bachmann said in his guest post, sometimes faeries tend to be romanticized and I do agree with him. Showing the 'evil' side of faeries was something I liked.

The ending was heartbreakingly good. I was so sad that it ended there. It was that moment when you find yourself sitting at the edge of your seat, looking for the next page only to find out that you’ve finished the book. My only complaint was that there were times while reading it that I felt that the pacing was slow. However, I have no issues with slow pacing. I just felt that these parts weren’t in sync with the other parts where I flipped the pages like mad.

The Peculiar was a heart-pounding steampunk fantasy with a mystery that will keep readers at the edge of their seats and enough suspense to cause a heart attack. I recommend this to readers of steampunk, fantasy and fans of faery novels. Questions, creepiness and murder. If these things interest you, pick this up! If you liked Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, I believe you might like this, too – in my opinion, the true nature of the faeries were revealed. Minus the romance.

Rating:


4.5 Cupids = Obsessive book love.
Almost made it as one of my favorites! I strongly recommend this!


We have another giveaway! This one is for PH residents only (sorry US and International peeps!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget that there will be a Twitter Party on February 2nd after the tour! I think there might be more prizes. ;)






Sunday, January 20, 2013

Guest Post: Magic vs. Steampunk by Stefan Bachmann + Giveaway



Hi everyone! The Peculiar Blog Tour (for the Philippines) is in full swing. If you’re still undecided whether you should pick up The Peculiar or not, this guest post might help you decide. The amazing and talented Stefan is here to talk about:


Magic vs. Steampunk
A guest post by Stefan Bachmann

So, as Kai mentioned in her awesome review (Thanks, Kai!), The Peculiar is a bit of a mash-up of Victorians and creepy faeries and steampunk. And while I researched Victorians a ton before writing the book, and read piles of European folklore, I had basically no clue about steampunk. I guess I still don't have much of a clue. I keep hearing how it's a whole way of life with rules and stuff, but for me it was just something I liked from Disney movies. Treasure Planet, Atlantis, The Great Mouse Detective. . . Who doesn't like those movies. ;) All I knew when I started the book was that I wanted clockwork gadgets, and smoky, industrial cities, because they were cool

Of course, that's not a very compelling reason and could have totally backfired, so about halfway through writing I realized I needed to really make it a necessary part of the world-building. Luckily, steampunk fits pretty well with the Victorian Era. Not so much with faeries, but I love the whole magic vs. mechanics thing. I also love the idea of two opposite worlds competing, so I decided England should be this kind of busy, coal-fueled world, and the faeries a wild, sinister, thorny people thrust into the middle of it. And the faeries don't like it there. At all. So battles and intrigues and all sorts of creepiness ensue. 


But the very first reason The Peculiar has steampunk in it was actually because my sister's friend PurpleCat made a clockwork bird and my sister bought it and gave it to me for Christmas one year. I thought it was so amazing it had to be in a book.  



So below is the original clockwork bird. That's how I imagined it in the book. The cover designer imagined it differently obviously, but that's ok. I think he did a great job, too.



Cool, no? Anyway, thanks for reading, and thanks Precious for having me here, and if anyone's interested, you can read more about the different types of faeries in The Peculiar in this Faery Encyclopedia we made for my website. Bye! :)



Check out Stefan talking in Filipino:



Tour-wide Giveaway (This is an international giveaway and Philippines is just one of the five countries/regions involved!)

So there will be one winner of a signed hardcover from the Philippines! Plus a grand prize of a signed copy of The Peculiar and a Skype Chat with Stefan Bachmann!

a Rafflecopter giveaway