Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review: Across the Universe

Need to Know Info:

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Format: Hardcover, 398 pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Rating: 3 out of 5 HEARTS


Synopsis from Goodreads 
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

My Always Spoiler-Free* Review (*unless otherwise noted)
Across the Universe is like nothing of ever read before, mixing three genres (dystopian, sci-fi and mystery) effortlessly together to create a deeply complex novel that is truly haunting.

I love how the novel is told in alternating points of view since I think it adds great depth to the story and both main characters, Elder & Amy. Amy is someone I was in absolute awe of, she's just such a strong and brave young woman. I'm not sure if I could have handled half the things that happen to Amy but somehow she never gives in. Elder, though harder to relate to, is perhaps one of the most interesting YA characters I've ever been introduced to. He's someone so desperate for love and the truth that he will tear down everything he believes in to get it.

Godspeed definitely felt like its own character due to its immense size, structure and over all eeriness.  Beth Revis easily made me feel as though I was aboard the ship with its recycled air, florescent lights and huge metal dome, but its not a place that ever feels comfortable.

I have to be honest in saying that I felt the connection between Amy & Elder, though strong, is one more out of need, then romance. Though their is definitely an attraction between them, its a bit one side and feels more like a growing friendship then anything else. I mean both of them are looking for someone to fill a hole in their lives left empty be the circumstance they find themselves in. I would definitely never say this novel is romantic, so if that's what your looking for this may not be the book for you.

I also wish the murder-mystery plot had been much more complex and featured more suspects. I felt that it was very easy to figure out who was behind everything and could often see the set up for a reveal very early on, which was both annoying and disappointing

Though I greatly enjoyed the uniqueness and complexity of the world Beth Revis created, as well as the character of Amy,  I found the mystery aspect to be very lacking. I really wished it had been executed better or done differently since the plot realize so heavily on this part of the story. Though not for everyone, I definitely think its worth reading especially if your a fan of Sci-Fi or Dystopian novels. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #19

"Waiting On" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

What I'm "Waiting On" this week...

THE SHATTERING by Karen Healey
Release Date: September 5th, 2011 from Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Synopsis from Amazon
Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn't prepared for her brother's suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna's brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers.
As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year's Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most.
As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves? 

I have been enjoying murder-mysteries books as of late and The Shattering sounds like its one I simple can't miss. It feels as thought there might be an underlining supernatural element to the story as well, which has me equally excited!

What are you "Waiting On"?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - Across the Universe


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!
  • Share the Title & Author, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
 My Teaser:

"You didn't tell her?" I ask Harley.
"Of course I didn't," Harley growls, stabbing his canvas with his paintbrush. "Why would I insult her with such lies?"
Part of me is very glad that Amy doesn't know what Eldest has said. But Harley has always been this way, he thinks ignorance is the best way to protect someone and he doesn't understand that what we imagine is often worse than the truth.
"Will you tell me?"
I look up and Amy's eyes draw me in. "It was Eldest," I say. "He sent out an all-call to everyone about you. A, er, message. He sent everyone a message. About you." I pause again, unable to meet her big green eyes. "It was mostly lies."
Amy senses my hesitance to continue. "What kind of lies?"


~pgs 159-160 , Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Review: Clarity

Need To Know Info:

Title: Clarity
Author: Kim Harrington
Format: Hardcover, 242 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Rating: 4 out of 5 HEARTS

Synopsis from Goodreads
Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.
And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

My Always Spoiler-Free* Review (*unless otherwise noted)
I'll be honest in saying that Clarity was a book I couldn't wait to get my hands on and quickly created my own hype around it based on the premise alone! I had a widget on my blog counting down the days until its release and purposely avoided reviews of it, so I wouldn't accidentally read a spoiler. Although Clarity wasn't perfect, it was an immensely enjoyable book!

Clare is such a strong, smart & sassy protagonist that even when she's being reckless or stubborn, you can't hep but like her. She's also very easy to relate to, in spite of her psychic powers, since all she really wants is to be accepted and understood for who she is.

The dynamic between Clare, her brother Perry, and their mother is a tight and honest one, due to the way they've been treated by the town because of their abilities. They also share a family business and rely heavily on each other to keep it going. Although they don't always get along, there's a nice, fun banter to their relationship which shows off just how much the deeply care for one another.

Before reading Clarity I thought the supernatural/psychic side of the story would be the main focus. However, its the murder-mystery of who killed the teenage tourist that actually propels much of the novel forward. I found this to be very refreshing, since the mystery is very well crafted and features quite a few twists. I admit to believing I had unraveled the mystery rather early, only to realize I didn't at all.

Now you can't have a mystery novel without a bunch of supporting characters. Most noteworthy are: Justin, Clare's charming ex and the mayor's son, who's still totally hung up on her. The new police detective who shows up in town shortly before the murder and his son Gabriel, a brooding young man with his own secret. And lastly Nate, Perry's best friend and junior reporter, who's always looking for the next big scoop. You'll have a hard time figuring out everyone's agenda, as well as who to route for in the Justin/Clare/Gabriel department.

The novel has a beautiful rhythm to it and weaves the character development perfectly with the murder mystery. When the killer is finally revealed, you'll be glad to know that every plot thread is neatly tied up, leaving no loose ends or giant wholes in the story.

One of my only complaints with the novel is that Clare doesn't have any friends. I understand that Clare's ability might frighten or put some people off , but to not give her any friends seems both cruel and unbelievable. I just couldn't buy that not one single person wouldn't want to be her friend, I mean she basically has a super power. This point is further irritating by the fact that her brother Perry, who also has psychic powers, still has a best friend. I also wish their could've been more backstory on the Fern family's abilities but the ending of the novel suggests a sequel, so we may get some of that info soon.

Recommended to fans of paranormal or mystery novels, Clarity is a perfect balance of the two genres and a nice fit for anyone looking for a quick read with an extremely likable heroine.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

In My Mailbox #17

No vlog again this week, I know I'm just as bummed as you are. I hope to get back to doing them again soon.

In My Mailbox is a meme created by Kristi@ The Story Siren, its purpose is to encourage blogger interaction, as well as highlight books for our readers. IMM is not only for books you have received through the mail, but also library, borrowed, and bought books.

All books shown are ones I bought or received between April 15th-April 21st.
 
For Review:
~Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
~Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

(Thanks so much to Random House & MacMillan Children's Publishing Group)

 
From the Library:
~Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
~Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen
~Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Bought:
~White Cat by Holly Black
~The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (signed)


To hear more about the Kelley Armstrong signing I attended, go HERE.

That's all for me this week, what did you get in your mailbox?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Author Event - Kelley Armstrong Signing

This past Saturday (April 16th) I was lucky enough to attend one of Kelley Armstrong's book tour stops. As you probably know her newest young adult book, The Gathering was just released and she was out promoting it. I rarely get to attend author events, since the closest city to me is Nashville and its known more for its musical roots then literary ones.

After Kelley did a little introduction of who she was and why she was there, as if anyone there didn't already know, she read the prologue to The Gathering. I always think its so cool to hear a book being read by the author that wrote it. She then explained how The Gathering and its two upcoming sequels are essentially companions to her YA Darkest Powers trilogy. The characters from those 6 books will eventually met up and then go off into a new trilogy together. So in total their will be 9 books and you should probably start with The Summoning (Darkest Powers #1) if you've never read any of her YA books before. Then Kelley mentioned that she hadn't kept a good track of all her swag, so now she was pretty much out. Though she did promise to give the first few people who asked a question her email address, so that she could sent them proper swag, LOL!

After the reading, Kelley did a short Q & A. Although I don't remember everything that was said, I can share a few things. One person asked whether or not any of the characters from Kelley's adult Otherworld series would ever interacts with any of her YA characters? Kelley's said possibly, but it would be her YA characters going to her adult series because she'd never bring her adult Otherworld characters into her YA Series. Someone else asked how she came up with the powers for her characters? Kelley said she always though about which powers would bring her characters the most trouble and then she went with those. I asked her what made her decide to start writing for the YA genre? Kelley said she starting thinking about it around the time her daughter turn 13 as she then had a teenager she could openly observe, LOL. Also she found out many tweens were interested in reading her adult Otherworld series and wanted to write something which would include younger characters and be directed at them. Soon after, Twilight blew up and then she had a deal for two more books. Kelley's YA books have quickly become her most popular series and its why she's now locked in with her publisher for a total of 9 books, which could also easily turn into 12.

Lastly we all lined up to to get our books signed, there was a total limit of 5, so the line moved rather slow, but it was well worth the wait. Kelley was so lovely, I thanked her for coming and told her good luck, plus I got to take a picture with her! Please ignore the fact that I look about 12 in it, LOL! I bought all 5 of my books from the Barnes & Noble where the event was being held, I think its so important to support the stores when they are holding signings so they can do more in the future. Unfortunately there weren't any other YA book bloggers there, but I did met some really nice people.

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my experience at the signing. I really hope to attend another one soon, but I'll just have to wait and see which authors are headed my way next. Thanks for stopping by and I'm always glad to hear from you, so leave your comments below.



 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bookstalker Wants to Know #8

How do you feel about bloggers/readers who rate books they haven't finished? Are you someone who does this and if so, why?


I am completely against this, I mean how can you possible rate a book you didn't finished.  I understand if its hard to get through due to unlikeable characters or a boring plot, but why not just say that instead of rating the book. What's so wrong with leaving the rating area blank and still sharing the reasons you stopped reading it? Plus if I see a blogger/ or review who does this constantly, I usually just stop reading their reviews. How can I trust that their giving me honest reviews? How do I know their not just bashing books they've never even attempted to read? Lately this has been bothering me more and more as I've noticed people rating titles that aren't even available as ARC's yet. I know it may not seem like that big of a deal, but its sure to effect whether or not a person decides to read/ or buy a particular title.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - The Girl Who Chased the Moon


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!
  • Share the Title & Author, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
 My Teaser:

   He picked at imaginary dust on his sleeve. He knew he looked calm, but inside, his heart was knocking against his chest. "If you want me to tell you the story, I will." God, what was he going to say? "I think it's better if you know. I'm not sure I should be the one, though. Your mother should have told you. At the very least, your grandfather should have said something by now."
   "About what? They mentioned your uncle. Is this about him?"
   "Yes. We have history, you and I." He leaned in slightly, conspiratorially. "You just don't know it yet."
   She titled her head curiously. "That's a strange thing to say."
   "Just wait. It gets stranger."

~pg. 62, The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

My review of the book can be found HERE.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Review: The Girl Who Chased the Moon

Need to Know Info:

Title: The Girl Who Chased the Moon 
Author: Sarah Addison Allen 
Format: Hardcover, 269 pages 
Publisher: Bantam Books 
Release Date: March 16th, 2010 
Rating: 4 out of 5 HEARTS

 Synopsis from Goodreads
Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother, Dulcie Shelby's life. But the moment Emily enters her mother's childhood home and meets the grandfather she never knew - a reclusive, real-life gentle giant - she realizes that mysteries aren't solved in Mullaby, they're a way of life: There are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cake.

Julia Winterson's cakes are adored in Mullaby and she offers them to satisfy the town's sweet tooth but also in the hope of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Baking is the only way for proud but vulnerable Julia to communicate what's truly in her heart. But is it enough to call back to her those she's hurt in the past?

Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily's backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.


My Always Spoiler-Free* Review (*unless otherwise noted) 
The Girl Who Chased the Moon was like a light & fluffy piece of pie, which when quickly devoured, makes you desperate for just one more bite. With many likeable, yet complex characters and a small town atmosphere that will make you feel right at home, there are many reasons to be utterly charmed by this novel.

Although the novel is told through the eyes of multiple characters, you spend the most time with both Emily and Julia. Teenage Emily, finds herself the newest attraction in Mullaby but for all the wrong reasons, as she quickly learns she isn't welcomed. Julia has given herself a 6 month plan to get out of Mullaby, as it hasn't felt like home in a long time. Drawn together by their shared loneliness, Emily and Julia soon form an unlikely friendship that may just heal them both.

I found it very easy to relate to both Emily and Julia, even though each one of them is at a very different place in her life. Emily is a confident and curious young women, who always sees the good in people. She just wants to make new friends, move forward and hopes that soon Mullaby will feel like home. Julia, on the other hand, is someone so scared by her past, she rarely lets anyone in. Although having once been young and all alone, she refuses to let Emily suffer and decides to help her out anyway she can.

I was really intrigued by the three main male characters, Sawyer, Win & Grandpa Vance. The trio certainly help to deepen Emily and Julia's characters but are also quite integral to the town's history as well. You also get to see each man's POV, which really helps add more complexity to each one of them and helps fill in other supporting character's back stories.

While the plot itself might not be all that original, its the magical & paranormal undertones sprinkled throughout the story that gives the novel its own fresh and rather unique feel. It's also why I felt the novel was very well paced, it has a nice fluidity making it hard to put down.

Though others may find certain plot threads to be rather predictable or slightly disappointing, I was far to enchanted by Sarah Addison Allen's writing to be bothered by this. I look forward to reading more novels by her in the future.

An adult novel, that's sure to appeal to young adults, I found The Girl Who Chased the Moon to be a refreshing look at small town life, with romance, mystery and a touch of magic.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

In My Mailbox #16 (The EPIC RAK edition)

Sorry everyone, no vlog today! I'm off to attend the Kelley Armstrong signing, so I didn't have time to record one, its also the reason I didn't buy any book this past week. Look for my post about the signing later in the week.

In My Mailbox is a meme created by Kristi@ The Story Siren, its purpose is to encourage blogger interaction, as well as highlight books for our readers. IMM is not only for books you have received through the mail, but also library, borrowed, and bought books.

All books shown were ones I received between April 6-April 14th.


For Review:
~Walk the Wild Road by Nigel Hinton
~Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
~The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

(Huge THANKS to Sourcebooks, Dutton Juvenile, & Disney Hyperion)


From Author Signing;
~Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

(Thanks so much to my sister Carrie, who attended the signing & then sent it to me!)


RAK Gifts:
~Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma
~Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas
(Thanks to Sniffly Kitty)

~Divergent by Veronica Roth
(Thanks to Serena @ Pensive Bookeaters)

~Steel by Carrie Vaughan
(Thanks to Briana @ The Book Pixie)

~The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
~This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
(Thanks to Katie @ Book Love)

To say I am utterly blown away by all the lovely RAK gifts, is a total understatement. Thank you all so much for your enormous generosity and I hope to return the favor to all of you, if I haven't already. I'm deeply honored to call myself a blogger and be amongst such wonderful people!

To find out more about RAK go HERE and thanks to Vanessa & Isalys, the brilliant gals behind its creation!

So tell me fellow readers, what did you get in your mailbox?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Follow Friday - IRL Book Buddy

Follow Friday is hosted by Rachel of Parajunkee's View



Follow Friday Question of the week: 
 

Do you have anyone that you can discuss books with IRL? Tell us about him/her.

 
I discuss many of the books I've read/or reading with my sister, Carrie. She lives across the country though, so most of our talks take place on the phone. Still its nice, because we use to have very different tastes in what we read but now it seems we're reading many of the same kinds of books and giving each other recommendations. Also, one of my best friends (Jessica) wasn't a big reader but somehow after starting my blog, I got her to read The Hunger Games trilogy and the entire Sookie Stackhouse series. Now we talk a lot about what we're reading and frequently go book shopping together.

 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #18

"Waiting On" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

What I'm "Waiting On" this week...

CASCADE by Lisa T. Bergren
Release Date: June 1, 2011 from David C. Cook Publishing

From Goodreads 
(Contains Spoilers if you haven't read Waterfall)

Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead. But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever. 


LEGEND by Marie Lu
Release Date: November 29, 2011 from Putnam Juvenile

From Goodreads
The United States is gone, along with its flooded coasts. North America's two warring nations, the western Republic and the eastern Colonies, have reached a breaking point. In the midst of this broken continent and dark new world are two teenagers who will go down in history....

Born into the slums of Los Angeles, fifteen-year old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family's door with an X--the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it.

Born to an elite family in Los Angeles' wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic's most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country's highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country--until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital.

Only one person could be responsible. Day. And now it's June's mission to hunt him down. The truth they'll uncover will become legend.


I really loved Waterfall, you can read my review of it HERE, so I can't wait to read Cascade. I'm really curious to see where the story will take Gabi, Lia, Marcello & Luca. I loved the nice balance of romance, action and history the first novel had so I'm hoping for more of the same with this one. June really can't get here fast enough. As for Legend, is that not the most epic premise you've ever heard? It makes me think of an awesome action movie you haven't seen yet, but everyone else keeps talking about. Like how if you miss out on it, you'll be upset with yourself for being such an idiot. It has that same feeling to it, although I'm not really sure why, maybe its because I have the feeling that this novel will be HUGE!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: Waterfall

Need to Know Info:

Title: Waterfall
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook
Release Date: February 1st, 2011
Rating: 5 out of 5 HEARTS

Finished copy received for review from author

Synopsis from Goodreads
In Waterfall, American teenager Gabi Betarrini accidentally finds herself in Fourteenth-Century Italy . . . Knights. Swords. Horses. Armor. And Italian hotties. Most American teens want an Italian vacation, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives there with their archaeologist parents. Stuck on yet another hot, dusty dig, they are bored out of their minds... until they place their hands atop handprints in an ancient tomb and find themselves catapulted into the Fourteenth Century and in the middle of a fierce battle between knights bent on killing one another.

My Always Spoiler-Free* Review (*unless otherwise noted) 
Waterfall has everything one could possibly want out of a novel, it literally sweep me off my feet. With time travel, history, romance, action, strong dashing men & brave young women, there isn't anything I didn't love about this novel.

Gabi is a confident and capable young heroine who after being thrown into fourteenth century Italy, uses her historical knowledge, smarts and quick thinking to adapts to her surroundings. She's also fearlessly determined to find her missing sister, who she believes might have travel back with her. Not one to seat back and wait for others to aid her, she's often the one helping people through difficult situations.

Gabi's attraction to Marcello, a young knight, really pulled me into the story since its development is very well paced and never felt to rushed or to intense. Marcello is of course handsome & charming but its his admiration and respect for Gabi that really melted my heart. Despite the fact that his instincts tell him that women shouldn't be doing or acting the way Gabi does he never discourages her from staying true to herself and is more then impressed with her toughness. Marcello's best friend Luca won me over for the same reasons, but also has spunk of his own. He's more easy going then his friend and has the luxury of being able to flirt openly with Gabi, something that she both hates & finds amusing.

Lisa Bergren clearly did her research when it comes to fourteenth century Italy, as every page made me feel as though I was right there living within the walls of the Forelli castle or being chased down by knights on horseback. The smallest details such as the way people bathed or ate their meals added so much realism to the story. Your never overwhelmed by to many historical facts as the blend effortlessly into the story, much like the description of the vast landscapes and cities.

I found the beginning to be a bit slow since the story doesn't really pick up until after Gabi is sent back in time, but once there it doesn't really let up. Something is always happening, whether its knights fighting to the death, women being chased on horseback or fancy banquets inside the castle's great hall, the novel steadily moves along making it impossible to put down.

There are a few scenes that stretch believability, like Gabi's ability to wield a giant, iron sword because she took fencing or how easily she switches off talking like a teen from the 21st century. However none of these things really bothered me since I was deeply engrossed in the incredible characters and story.

Although the ending of the novel might be easy to predict, I didn't feel that it took anything away from the story since getting to the end was filled with so many twists & turns. Also the constant push & pull that Gabi felt to either stay or go was really well balanced, I struggled right along with her on what she should do. Thankfully its also doesn't end on a cliffhanger, which is always nice in my book and yet sets the stage for what's to come.

Waterfall is classified as Christian young adult fiction but I highly recommended the novel to any fan of fantasy, romance or historical fiction as the novel easily blends all three genres. Gabi is a mature, confidant young woman who will appeal to adults as well as teens. Also besides for a few scenes where Gabi wonders if God is the one who sent her back to the past and praying amongst the knights, religion is never really discussed. Please don't let either label effect your decision to read Waterfall, as its a beautifully written historical adventure, with an intelligent and strong young heroine.

Teaser Tuesday - Waterfall


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!
  • Share the Title & Author, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I already finished this one, but thought I'd tease it anyways.

 My Teaser:

They turned to me and frantically waved me over. "Come! Make haste!"
"Nay. I shall assist him," I said, gesturing over my shoulder to the knight. "He cannot do it alone, and if he breaks, you two will be caught as well. Climb!" I growled, rushing to my saddle.
Lady Rossi turned and scrambled up another rock, and then another.
"You cannot hold us off alone!"barked a Paratore knight, showing his allegiance with crimson colors. "Surrender or die."
"He is not alone," I said, heaving the ancient sword into the air. "You shall have to get through us both." 

~pg. 153, Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Saturday, April 9, 2011

In My Mailbox - 15, Vlog #5

In My Mailbox is a meme created by Kristi@ The Story Siren, its purpose is to encourage blogger interaction, as well as highlight books for our readers. IMM is not only for books you have received through the mail, but also library, borrowed, and bought books.

All books mentioned, were ones I got between March 27-April 5. The unicorn hat is a no show and I'm still trying to work out all those "ums", but thankfully there's less rambling in this week's vlog! 


Bought:
~Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
~Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
~Specials by Scott Westerfeld 

For Review from Author:
~Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren
(Thanks Lisa, Jeane & David C. Cook Publishing)

Won:
~Across the Universe by Beth Revis
~Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
~HarperTeen Dark Days Bookmarks!
(Thanks so much to HarperTeen, Kristin @ Beneath Shining Stars, Chanelle Gray & all the other authors @ YAtopia)

Gifted:
~Clarity by Kim Harrington (Thanks to my Hubby!)
~Stray by Rachel Vincent (Thanks to Loretta @ Between the Pages)

Cool Links:
YA Historical Fiction Challenge hosted by Sab of YA Bliss
RAK hosted by Vanessa & Isalys of Book Soulmates

Tell me fellow readers, what did you get in your mailbox?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Follow Friday - Judging a Book by its Cover

Follow Friday is hosted by Rachel of Parajunkee's View



Follow Friday Question of the week: 
 

Do you judge a book by it's cover?

Yes, but I try hard not to since sometimes the cover has very little to do with the premise or subject of the book. Also I think being a blogger has helped me judge cover's less harshly then I did before, since I've read or heard about so many wonderful titles that don't have the best covers. Although if a cover is eye-catching I'm much more likely to pick it up, especially if its a title I've never heard of it before. So there you go, I guess it just depends on my mood. LOL!

 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reader Questions w/ Lisa Bergren & Waterfall Winner!

It is now time for Part 2 of my interview with Lisa Bergren, author of Waterfall. (Part 1 can be found HERE) This time, thanks to you, the questions were submitted by my blog readers. Also we have a winner from last week's Waterfall giveaway! Hope you all enjoy the interview!

Q & A:

Question from Vivien: Did you have to do any research for your novel? Whether it's archaeology, history, geography.

LB: LOTS! Fortunately, I'd done a lot of medieval and Italian history research for a previous series, so I could utilize it again, here. You'd laugh at my bookshelves. Who else has two massive volumes of the MEDIEVAL ITALY: An Encyclopedia?? While I like to utilize historical fact, I use it more as a backdrop. Story comes first, so readers don't get bogged down. It's kind of like the right seasoning for the fiction soup, in my mind, not the stock.

Question from Word Lily: Did you read novels set in Italy as part of your research? Which ones do you recommend?

LB: I haven't seen much set in Italy! Closest I've come are those few scenes in the Twilight series. When I went to Venice, I read CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS, by John Berendt. It's nonfiction, but it's so entertaining, it reads like fiction. Highly recommended. It will totally change how you see that fascinating city.

Question from Jennifer O: Have you ever considered writing a novel with the setting in Eastern Europe? Castle, dense, dark forests, political strife...sounds like a good place to get lost in, at least in your head.

LB: Mmm, sounds delicious, but no, I haven't! I think I have to fall in love with a place before I make it my setting. Since I haven't been there yet...maybe it'll be a future locale!

Question from Carrie: Lisa, do you find the beauty of Colorado helps in your creative process? I live in Utah and have found the landscape has sparked a new photography addiction.

LB: I do! But I get most inspired by reading and traveling the world. Particularly Italy...

Question from Nicole loves Coacoa: Lisa, do you ever have trouble finding inspiration for your books?

LB: Never. Not if I'm writing the right thing. If I'm struggling, it usually means I should be writing something else.

Question from Pointy Star: What is the best food/snack to eat when you're stuck in your writing?

LB: Almonds. Crunchy protein deliciousness.

Question from Katelyn: When you were a teen, like myself, did you envision yourself being an author?

LB: I thought it'd be dreamy. But I thought it was only that--a dream. A Yeah, Right kinda dream. I'm living proof that you can do it!

Question from The Lovely Getaway: Do you have any travel plans coming up soon? What country/city would you like to visit that haven't had time to yet?

LB: I'm taking my #2 daughter to Rome this October for a research/mother-daughter trip. My eldest and I went to Venice for a similar trip when she was about the same age and had a blast. I'm really looking forward to it. I pretty much want to see everywhere in Europe, Turkey, Jordan, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand...name a country, and I'm pretty much wanting to go. We have a family travel web site--www.theworldiscalling.com--you can follow our travels there.

I want to thank Lisa so much for taking the time to answer all these lovely reader questions and for graciously offering up a copy of Waterfall to giveaway. 
The winner of which, is:

KATELYN

Congrats to Katelyn!!! Please contact me within the next 48 hours to claim your prize or I will have to choose a new winner! Thanks so much to everyone that entered and submitted a question, I really appreciate it! And thanks again Lisa!

Buy a copy of Waterfall 
Amazon/ B& N/ Book Depository

Add River of Time series on Goodreads

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Review: The Emerald Atlas

Need to Know Info:

Title: The Emerald Atlas
Author: John Stephens
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Rating: 4 out of 5 HEARTS

ARC received for review from Random House

Synopsis from Goodreads
Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.
Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.
Until now.
Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem.  And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

My Always Spoiler-Free* Review (*unless otherwise noted) 
The Emerald Atlas is a middle grade fantasy novel that had me absolutely captivated by its story and characters. Although the very beginning reminded me a bit of Harry Potter, that comparison quickly faded into a remarkable adventure of its own, with brave young characters, hidden secrets and an action packed plot.

Kate, Michael and Emma are wonderful young protagonists because although they've been shuffled around all their lives, they haven't become jaded and instead hold on to belief that their parents love them and will one day return for them. This also gives them a uniquely tight bond, that although at times is tested, never breaks! All three also have very different personalities, Kate is the level headed one, who's brave & determined. While Michael is more of an introvert, good with facts & strategies and Emma is stubborn & impulsive. 

The novel's pacing is really wonderful because although at times it moves quickly and multiple things are going on at once, it never become confusing nor did it feel rushed. I really enjoyed all the humor in the novel, since it came off very natural, especially between the siblings. Also the story got a bit dark at times, so it was a nice balance to that.

The fantasy world the children find themselves transported to, is described in such detail it feels as though I could just stubble upon it while wondering through the woods. I loved how it was beautiful yet surrounded by a feeling of dread.

The story is filled with loads of supporting characters, both good and bad (some familiar creatures, some not) that really help move the plot forward. I especially liked Gabriel since he was like a mash up of Aragorn from Lord of the Rings and Hagrid from Harry Potter. He also develops a very unique father/daughter bond with Emma that really helps develop her character and is rather important to the plot.

I loved the explanation of "The Book of Beginnings" and without spoiling anything I will just say that I wish the book had been used more. It's really hard to elaborate further, but hopefully when you read the novel for yourself you'll understand what I mean. My only other complaint is that of all three siblings the least amount of time is spent with Michael. Michael spends much of the novel alongside Kate, who is the focus of the novel, but doesn't get his own side adventure like Emma does. So while the two girls get loads to do, Michael is kept a little in the background.

Since this is the first in a trilogy, I was very pleased that this is actually explained in the novel, instead of coming to the end of the book and having it be left as some giant cliffhanger or trying to force a trilogy out of a story without much substance. Instead as the novel closes, we are left with the knowledge that the story will continue but the mystery of where it will take the children and how the plot will continue to play out.

Author John Stephen easily blends familiar fantasy elements into his own unique action packed adventure, filled with humor, suspense and three unforgettable characters. Recommended to fans of Harry Potter, C.S. Lewis, or Lemony Snicket, The Emerald Atlas is one adventure you shouldn't miss!


 

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Bookstalker Wants to Know #7

Its often mentioned in the blogging community that publishers/authors like to see reviews of their titles go up either right before or right after the release date and usually all within a 2 week period. So my question is: Does it matter to you how close to the release date a review, for an upcoming novel, is posted? If so, why?


For me it doesn't really matter when a review is posted. I've found some really wonderful books from blogs that posted a review for a title months in advance. Also if I've never heard about the book before and the premise sounds intriguing, I'm more likely to read the review. In fact I really get turned off when I see a million reviews for one title so close together, it's nice to see them more spread out instead of them all posting the week of release. Obviously you never know when others bloggers/readers will post their reviews and I can definitely understand wanting to post a review closer to the title's release to help generate interested and sales for the novel. For me though, I think the ideal time is a few weeks before the title's release or a few weeks after (2-3 weeks either way). I try to apply this to my own reviews, but if I'm asked to posted it closer to the release then I will.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Winners: YA Series Challenge Giveaway

 During the month of March, Farrah & Britney from I Eat Words and I, ran an international giveaway with 2 winners. The US winner would get a signed copy of The Dark Divine by Bree Despain plus sway. The International winner would get a YA Series book of their choice (under $12) shipped from the book depository. Now if you entered our giveaway, you already know all this so...
THE INTERNATIONAL WINNER IS:
DAPHNE of LOVING BOOKS

To find out if you are the US winner, you must go visit I Eat Words

The winners have been contacted and have 48 hours to respond or we'll be picking new winners. Farrah, Britney & I hope to do more giveaway in the future! Thanks so much to everyone who entered, and for those participating in our YA Challenge we hope you are having fun!

If you didn't win this time and live in the US, you are welcome to enter the Waterfall by Lisa Bergren Giveaway. Ends at 11:59pm on 04/06

Friday, April 1, 2011

Show Off Your RAK: March



I've mentioned RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) a few times on my blog, but just in case you weren't around before or you've been living under a rock, Isalys & Vanessa at Book Soulmates are the brilliant ladies behind its genius! Each month you sign up with your RAK wishlist, (I have mine through Amazon, but you can also use the Book Depository, your blog or anywhere else you'd like to post your list) and then you have the option of buying a book for someone else off their wishlist (you can do this anytime throughout the month). It's never mandatory to buy a book nor does it guarantee that you'll receive one, but its so much fun & pretty addictive! I've really enjoying browsing all the RAK lists and seeing what others want to read, plus I've loved sending out books when the person has no idea their coming! I've already signed up for April, YAY!!! Here's the link to my current RAK wishlist!
 
I sent out 6 RAK books in March and thanks to Shannon @ Books Devoured, Kelsey @ Kelsey Anne's Book Blog and Vanessa @ Book Soulmates I was given 5! Thanks ladies, I really can't wait to read all the AWESOME books you sent!!!


       *The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
~Thanks Shannon!
*Desires Of The Dead by Kimberly Derting
       ~Thanks Kelsey!          

*Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
*Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
*The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
~Thanks Vanessa!

If you wish to learn more about RAK or sign up follow this link:

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