Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Shadow Prince + The Winner's Curse [2014 Edition]

*waves* Hello! So, it's been two months since I last participated in Waiting on Wednesday. I can't believe it's been two months! Anyway, for this week's WOW, I'm featuring 2014 releases. I've been so out of the loop lately that I did Goodreads-research last Monday. Here are some of the titles that caught my attention:

Book Description:

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Date of Publication: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

In the tradition of Kristin Cashore and Cassandra Clare comes this brilliant, unputdownable, star-crossed romance about the curse of winning.

Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: join the military or get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel’s real passion is music.Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave with a talent for singing, at auction. It’s not long before she finds herself falling in love with Arin, and he seems to feel the same for her. But Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for Arin is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart

Why I chose this:

It's been a long time since I read a historical novel. I just miss the old world vibe of it. To be honest, what really caught my attention was the gorgeous cover. Then the plot: sort of like a two-worlds-apart forbidden romance. Plus it's fantasy, a genre very close to my heart.

Book Description:

The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
Date of Publication: March 11th 2014
Publisher: Egmont

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

Why I chose this:

Back when I started blogging in 2010, Bree Despain's book, The Dark Divine, was one of the very first books I blogged about. I'm just so happy to see that she has new series! Plus, this is mythology-related and you all know I'm a sucker for that.

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

Blog Tour: Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Book Description:

Hardcover, 368 pages (Reviewer's Copy: ARC)
September 3rd 2013, Disney Hyperion


"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Source: Disney Hyperion (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

The time travel concept in All Our Yesterdays was simple yet backed by detailed explanation of its genesis, process and consequences. One of the main reasons why I loved All Our Yesterdays was because of the drastic consequences and aftermath of time travel, leaving lives changed forever, sometimes cut short, sometimes lengthened, in its wake.

The story revolved around Marina and Em, the past and present of one person. All Our Yesterdays' strength was in its well-developed characters. I was so shocked at how much the characters changed and matured over the course of time. I initially encountered Em, a semi-hopeless prisoner, frail and thin and hardened. She was once Marina, a daughter born in a rich family, shallow and naive about life.

Finn was a different story. Nerdy, a little bit awkward and charming in his own way, he managed to capture my attention. In the present, he wielded his charm to its full extent. His relationship with Em was a long, bittersweet one. United and separated by prison walls, Em and Finn learned to trust and care about one another. With nothing and no one else to hold onto but each other and what little hope they had, they grew closer each day. I enjoyed reading about these two. They shared what I liked to call a natural relationship, full of promise and spark. I'm sure romance readers will love these parts.

The plot was amazing and well-developed. There was never a boring part. All Our Yesterdays had me at the edge of my seat, holding on to the story with fast fingers, flipping the pages until I got to the end. The narration of the past and present united in a single story. Another thing that I liked was that I could see the fragmentation of the lives of the characters: Em's and Marina's lives differentiated and separated by time. By unraveling the past, I understood the present (and the future) little by little.

All Our Yesterdays is a beautifully written, strong, and unputdownable tale of love, loss, and change. 100% engaging and 0% boring, I was engaged and captivated. This surpassed my expectations, to be honest. I highly recommend this to readers of time travel and romance.

Rating:


Cristin Terrill is a young adult author and aspiring grown-up. She grew up semi-nomadic and graduated from Vassar College with a degree in drama. After getting her masters in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, she lived in London, Austin, Boston, and Washington, DC while working as a theatrical stage manager. Now she writes and leads creative writing workshops for DC-area kids and teens. All Our Yesterdays is her first novel.

Follow Cristin: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon: Buy All Our Yesterdays

There will also be a Twitter Chat with the author on September 17th. Don't forget to join!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

[Wavecrossed by Andrea Colt] Blog Tour: Guest Post

Thanks to my blogger friend, Dianne from Oops! I Read a Book Again for organizing the Wavecrossed tour. You guys seriously need to go and sign up for blog tours there, especially if you're into YA indie. Anyway, for today's stop, I have a guest post for you guys:


Dedicated To ...

Between a novel’s cover page and “Chapter 1” is a page that I never paid attention to until I started writing: the dedication page. As an author, the person to whom a novel is dedicated fascinates me. Why that person for this novel? Is it the author’s spouse, children, a friend who cheered the author on? I’ll always flip to the back of the book to see if the author explains in the acknowledgments.

For Wavecrossed, there were lots of people I could dedicate the novel to. My mom, who has always supported my dreams; my dad, who passed away when I was in high school but who always made a point of telling me and my sister how capable and smart we were; my friend who has liked Wavecrossed from its first, very different rough draft and throughout every single transformation it’s gone through.

As it turned out, however, there was one family member I’d forgotten about: my cat Winston.


I often referred to Winston as my muse because he would sit on the arm of my chair as I wrote. He’d stretch his head towards my hand as I was typing, hoping I’d pet him, and sometimes he’d fall into my lap. I’ve been working on Wavecrossed in various forms for years, and throughout every draft Winston, with his gorgeous green eyes and an emphatic “Mrow!” when I was wrestling with plot problems, was always there.

Until, suddenly, he wasn’t. He was only six years old this summer when he began to rapidly lose weight and strength, and the diagnosis from the vet and the radiologist was heartbreaking: lymphoma. He passed away less than a week after diagnosis. I won’t go into how awful those couple of weeks were, but pet owners will understand.

Winston (and our other cat, Havarti) kept me from being lonely while my fiancé was deployed in Afghanistan a couple years ago. He made me so mad yowling for breakfast, always 20 minutes before my alarm was to go off (one of his special gifts, lol), but he was impossible to stay angry with. He had the softest fur I’ve ever felt, and when he wasn’t watching me write, he was cuddled next to me on the couch as we watched TV at night. He and I episode-binged our way through Veronica Mars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer together.

I was working on final edits for Wavecrossed when Winston passed away, and it was difficult finishing up without him perched on the arm of my writing chair. Despite our heartache, my husband and I are grateful to have had the time with Winston that we did. And so, when it came time to dedicate the novel, the choice was easy.


I know this post got a little heavy--sorry about that! But Winston would not want anyone to be sad (he’d lick your feet until you felt better, because he was very strange!), so tell me: if you wrote (or have written) a book, what would/did the dedication read?

Book Description:

Title: Wavecrossed
Author: Andrea Colt
Date of Publication: August 22, 2013
Genre: paranormal YA

A young-adult paranormal novel about selkies, tasers, kissing and secrets.

To Cassandra Kelleher, trust is a dirty word.

A teenage selkie who grew up on land, all she wants is to free her family from the man who stole their sealskins long ago. With her twin brother Brennan losing hope and her window of opportunity disappearing like the beach at high tide, she’ll try anything.

Before long, however, Cassandra can’t tell whether her biggest threat is the man holding her family captive, a classmate who’s discovered her secret, or her own paranoia. Battling broken friendships and alarming romantic entanglements, Cassandra finds that trust could be the key to winning her family’s freedom … or losing her own.

Goodreads

Andrea Colt grew up reading and squabbling with her identical twin. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband, a fridge full of cheese, and two feline muses.

Follow Andrea:
Website
Twitter
Facebook



Monday, August 12, 2013

YA Freebie: The Silent Deal by Levi Stack

Today's YA Freebie is The Silent Deal by Levi Stack. It's free on Amazon until August 12th.Doesn't sound familiar? Let me introduce you to this YA historical fantasy with my review.

Why you should read this:
  • Original story
  • Superb worldbuilding
  • Vivid historical background
  • Old world fantasy
  • Rare YA male narrator/perspective
  • Suspense and msytery
  • Twists and turns = unpredictable

Book Description:

Paperback, 358 pages
May 2nd 2013

When Viktor and Romulus, two peasant boys, dig too deep into their town’s strange past, they awaken the wrath of a mysterious overlord. As the blood brothers struggle to survive, their search for answers takes them through gambling parlors, bare-knuckle boxing matches, and dark forests full of wild animals and men alike. But even with the help of their friends, can they escape the deathly experiments their foe is creating in Staryi Castle?

Enter the bold lands of the Russian Empire where the colorful characters of The Card Game dwell, from the fortune-tellers and fire-jugglers of the Romani Gypsies, to the dangerous criminals that make up the Thieves World, the predecessor of the Russian Mafia.

An explosive mixture of adventure and mystery, The Silent Deal is a young adult novel that will rip readers through the pages. A perilous journey awaits…

Note: On August 10 to 12, The Silent Deal will be free on Amazon.




Thursday, August 08, 2013

Review: The Weight of Souls by Byrony Pearce

Book Description:

Paperback, 350 pages
August 6th 2013, Strange Chemistry


Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…

She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.

But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.

Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?

And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

Source: Byrony Pearce (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

The Weight of Souls easily drew me in with its vivid storytelling an sinister vibe. Taylor, the heroine, was a very interesting character albeit a bit too troubled and battered in more ways than one. I cheered her on despite the too often gloom mood she was in.

I rarely read about Egyptian mythology in YA that it has become a breath of fresh air for me, leaving me hungry and breathless for its exotic tang. The Tale of Oh-Fa, the translated account of Taylor's family curse, broke the tension of Taylor's narrative. The otherworldly experiences of Oh-Fa alternated with the modern struggles of Taylor in school. The colliding spheres of the past and the present created a sense of balance in the story, as well as maintained the level of unpredictability and interest.

Taylor and Justin shared a passionate hate relationship. But when Justin died, the bully and the bullied learned to work together for both of their sakes. Through the weeks, they got to know each other better and most of all, they learned to care for one another. It was ironic seeing them like this when they could have done it before when they were both alive. Taylor and Justin were more connected now than they ever were before. Reminiscent of Hereafter's couple, they appealed to my inner romantic. But their relationship seemed a bit rushed for me. Although I loved their sweet moments, I felt that the transition should have been longer.

One of the things that I liked most in The Weight of Souls was the diversity. The book had a little bit of everything from Chinese and British culture, to paranormal and mythological concepts that clash and contrast with modern scientific ideas, to the popular clique and the outsider duo. I simply got the best of many worlds in one single story sphere.

Although the novel was paranormal, enough contemporary-ness was injected into the story to delve into social politics and high school student body hierarchy. Bullying, peer pressure, manipulation, loss and grief came into play, bringing out the raw feelings out of the characters. The ups and downs of friendship were also explored, centering on Hannah and Taylor. With their friendship pulled taut and strained by secrets and unexplained absences, the two took uneasy steps towards one another, knowing that sooner or later one of them might just quit.

All in all, The Weight of Souls is a refreshing take on ghost hunting and afterlife. Beautifully written, tragic, heartfelt and exotic, this gem was easy to read and get lost into. I recommend this to paranormal readers and mythology enthusiasts.

Rating:


4 Cupids = Strong book love.
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway: Uninvited by Leah Spiegel and Meg Summers

Book Description:

Uninvited by Leah Spiegel and Meg Summers
Series: South Hills Sidekicks #1
Publication date: February 11th 2012
Genre: Humorous YA Chick-Lit

Synopsis:

When Alley started her senior year at Upper East High in the South Hills area, it was supposed to be the usual drag of hanging out with people who spent more on one outfit than Alley did on her entire wardrobe. That was until Kirsten, a girl in their clique, suddenly goes missing and the only people who seem to care are her friends. All evidence leads to the new comer Shane, a cocky and self-pretentious person in Alley’s opinion, but the police seem uninterested so she and the rest of the girls start a little investigation of their own. But they are nowhere closer to finding Kirsten than when they started and now they had the police’s attention; just not in the way they expected. The girls have to start over and discover that maybe it wasn’t an outsider who took Kirsten, but someone within their own clique who has something to hide; a secret that just might have gotten Kirsten killed.

Source: Xpresso Book Tours, Leah Spiegel and Meg Summers (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Uninvited started out like any other typical high school-based story: with a group of 'friends.' The cliques were drawn out, especially the popular ones. Since our main character revolved in one of the popular cliques, I got to read about her daily-life commentaries.

Alley is an ordinary girl with a not so ordinary best friend. She was witty, smart and protective of her friends. She was easy to relate to. Though I didn't love her as a character, I definitely liked her. But what I liked most about her was her voice: witty and sarcastic at times, yet always thoughtful. It went well with her being observant, which came into play while she and her friends investigated and looked for Kirsten.

Val was Alley's bestfriend. Super tall, clumsy at maybe a little bit slow, Val never failed to bring humour along with her when she enters a room. Val was the real reason that Alley was part of their clique. Although she may be slow, she made up for it with her protectiveness. She would defend Alley whenever someone would question her about her position in their group. I loved this about her. She was so caring and thoughtful of her friends, although it was more of an act-first-think-later-scheme.

Shane: there's more to him than meets the eye. Overconfident, somewhat aggressive, teasing and yet purposeful, Shane really surprised me. I liked how he was a little bit of everything. His anger, irritation and cockiness balanced out the funny antics of the girls.

The story had a bit of Pretty Little Liars vibe for me, with a lot of humor. Though after a certain point, some of the events came with comforting predictability, I was still surprised by some of the twists. There was also something with the writing that made it so easy and fast to read, as if the words were superfluous. All in all, Uninvited is perfect for readers who are looking for funny YA contemporary novels with a dash of mystery and readers who are looking for a witty and sarcastic YA narrator. Ideal for a quick read.

Rating:


4 Cupids = Strong book love.
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Guest Post on World Building +International Giveaway: Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

Hi guys! Today I'm featuring an author from UK who wrote one of my most favorite science fiction novels in the history of history: Earth Girl. Her story world is stunning, vibrant, and easy to fall inlove with. If you're an aspiring writer, take this chance to learn from Janet about world building:



Janet Edwards lives in England. As a child, she read everything she could get her hands on, including a huge amount of science fiction and fantasy. She studied Maths at Oxford, and went on to suffer years of writing unbearably complicated technical documents before deciding to write something that was fun for a change. She has a husband, a son, a lot of books, and an aversion to housework.

Follow Janet: Website | Facebook | Twitter



Book Description:

Paperback, 358 pages
August 16, 2012, Harper Voyager

A sensational YA science fiction debut from an exciting new British author. Jarra is stuck on Earth while the rest of humanity portals around the universe. But can she prove to the norms that she’s more than just an Earth Girl?

2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ‘ape’, a ‘throwback’, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.

Jarra invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding at back of class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.

A freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, and the class is ordered to portal off-world for safety – no problem for a real child of military parents, but fatal for Jarra. The storm is so bad that the crews of the orbiting solar arrays have to escape to planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years. And one is on collision course with their shelter.

Book Description:

Paperback, 374 pages
August 17, 2013, Harper Voyager

Sequel to Earth Girl.

18-year-old Jarra has a lot to prove. After being awarded one of the military’s highest honours for her role in a daring rescue attempt, Jarra finds herself – and her Ape status – in the spotlight. Jarra is one of the unlucky few born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Derided as an ‘ape’ – a ‘throwback’ – by the rest of the universe, Jarra is on a mission to prove that Earth Girls are just as good as anyone else.

Except now the planet she loves is under threat by what could be humanity’s first ever alien contact. Jarra’s bravery – and specialist knowledge – will once again be at the centre of the maelstrom, but will the rest of the universe consider Earth worth fighting for?

What's up for grabs? A paperback of Earth Girl. I know it's hard to get your hands on this one since it's only available in the UK for now - it will be released in US soon - so this is your chance. :) Correction: Earth Girl is now out in the US, since March.

Open internationally!
You should be at least 13 years old.


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Monday, August 05, 2013

Indie Spotlight Review: The Silent Deal by Levi Stack

First of all, I would like to thank Levi Stack for introducing me to his work. I am proud and honored to say that I am the first blogger to review this gem. I don't usually review YA indie novels but I must admit that this novel really impressed me and went beyond my expectations. To the readers who dare to try fresh fiction and to those who are doubtful, give me a few minutes to convince you to read The Silent Deal.

Book Description:

Paperback, 358 pages
May 2nd 2013

When Viktor and Romulus, two peasant boys, dig too deep into their town’s strange past, they awaken the wrath of a mysterious overlord. As the blood brothers struggle to survive, their search for answers takes them through gambling parlors, bare-knuckle boxing matches, and dark forests full of wild animals and men alike. But even with the help of their friends, can they escape the deathly experiments their foe is creating in Staryi Castle?

Enter the bold lands of the Russian Empire where the colorful characters of The Card Game dwell, from the fortune-tellers and fire-jugglers of the Romani Gypsies, to the dangerous criminals that make up the Thieves World, the predecessor of the Russian Mafia.

An explosive mixture of adventure and mystery, The Silent Deal is a young adult novel that will rip readers through the pages. A perilous journey awaits…

Note: On August 10 to 12, The Silent Deal will be free on Amazon.

Source: Levi Stack(Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

The Silent Deal started out with an otherworldly narrative by Leshy, the spirit of the woods, in the lush, mysterious forest of Russia. Although delivered in English, the Russian vibe was kept alive through delving deep into the waters of Russian culture and mythology. The integration of Russian mythology into the story was one of the reasons why I loved The Silent Deal.

Viktor was a 14-year-old serf under the rule of Master Molotov. His perspective changed after he witnessed a man's hanging for possessing a playing card. Since then, he has wondered and searched for the truth behind the cards. Although daring, he still remained to be the rational one of the duo, weighing the consequences and implications of every move. Romulus, the boy of the forest, was the one who intrigued me more. He was a waking mystery, never failing to tickle my curiosity. Living in the first, he had distanced himself from the society of Aryk. Secrets cloaked him like a second skin. Distrustful, wild and uncontrollable, Romulus always did as he pleased. I loved how Stack delivered good character development in the persona of Romulus and Viktor. From a fearful, rule-following serf boy, Viktor hardened into a freedom fighter, thirsty for the truth. Meanwhile, Romulus softened into a trustworthy blood brother.

The gypsies of Kasta Way, fiery, bold and passionate with their music, art and horseback riding, were part of the reasons why I love The Silent Deal. The Crossbones clan were an entertaining bunch. Everything about them screamed daring and fearless. Belch, who was constantly quoting English plays, appealed to my theater-loving self. He was quirky, weird, and sometimes downright mental. The lot an side by side with the blood brothers Romulus and Viktor in their search for answers. Between two serf boys and gypsies, every little thing was bound to be amusing.

The Leopard was a blackhole sucking me into its darkness and mystery. I kept reading on partly because I wanted to find out who he really was. The mystery was well thought-out, from the past to the present, puzzling me, haunting me and intriguing me beyond expectation.

The plot was like an intricate and detailed tapestry, twists and turns were woven into the heart of the story. It was entertaining, injected with adventure, cryptic suspense, jolts of startling violence and death. Although I initially thought of recommending this novel to middle grade readers and younger teens, it seems that the level of maturity of The Silent Deal surpasses the bounds of Middle Grade fiction.

The Silent Deal is one of a kind, unforgettable and addicting with its well-developed characters, unpredictable and twisty plot and well-crafted, vivid story world. The story world was complex enough that you could lose yourself in its folds. There was never a boring moment for me. Each page promised new secrets to be revealed and more dangers to be encountered. Be prepared to be captivated with a haunting mystery, a chilling history and a perilous search. I highly recommend this for Young Adult historical readers, enthusiasts of Fantasy and mystery lovers. This is the best self-published debut I have read so far.

Rating:


5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!