Sunday, April 29, 2012

Onyx (Lux #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Onyx (Lux, #2)Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication: August 14, 2012
By: Entangled Teen 

"Everything is about to change."

I didn't think it was possible to love Daemon Black any more but I was wrong. *SWOON*

I was beyond excited when I received this ARC and I couldn't wait to see what was in store for Katy and everyone's favorite glow-worm, Daemon Black. 

Just like any other JLA book, I read this in one sitting because I couldn't put it down! I was laughing, crying and clutching my chest by the time I was done.  Seriously, CLUTCHING MY CHEST at the end! *cries* 

Onyx picks up where Obsidian left off with the DOD sniffing around and the tension between Katy and Daemon is just as hot and feisty as ever. *fans face* He's dead set on proving to her that his feelings are legit while she's convinced he's only doing it as a result of their weird connection.  He can't really have feelings for her can he?  This IS Daemon we're talking about...  (If Katy isn't into Daemon's affections, I'll make like Katniss, and step up, "I VOLUNTEER! I VOLUNTEER!!")  

The saucy Luxen is just as snarky as ever and even funnier that he was in Obsidian. We get to see a lighter side of him (no pun intended) and jealous Daemon is laugh-out-loud, snort-liquid-through-your-nose hilarious!  One of my FAVORITE scenes is when Daemon "helps" Katy with her blog. (My stomach hurt from laughing so hard it counted as my ab workout for the day.) And the scene at the Thai restaurant was a true "Daemon Invasion". *giggles*  

So much has changed for Katy in a short amount of time and she's struggling to make sense of it all and just "deal", really.  Add to that, her feelings for Daemon which run hot and cold, her Mom's love life, and the new guy at school whose not only hotsauce but showing serious interest in her and you can't blame a girl for wanting a slice of normal pie. (Especially if it's served up surfer dude a la mode. *wink*)

The problem is that everyone seems to be hiding something and the new guy, Blake is no exception.  When Daemon voices his "concerns" about Blake, Katy will have to choose between trusting herself or trusting Daemon and her choice could end up costing more than just her own broken heart. That would be the least of Katy's concerns if who she saw really is still alive and Daemon finds out because it'll mean the DOD will be on them faster than a fly on a cow pie.  She knows he'll stop at nothing until he gets the truth but what will the truth cost them?

In this action packed and often *face fanning* sequel, Katy and Daemon will discover that the DOD may not be their biggest threat after all.  Secrets are revealed, love declared, and friendship put to the ultimate test, forcing them to make choices that could have devastating results for them as well as those they love.  The only thing they know for sure is that everything is about to change...CLUTCHES.CHEST!

PRETTY AMY Prom Dress Giveaway


To celebrate PRETTY AMY entering the world on May 15th  


Lisa Burstein has launched a contest giving followers a chance to win one of three designer prom dresses from Kay Unger (Phoebe Couture), and 2 Sephora $20 gift cards in time for prom season. 

You read that right.  Win a Designer Prom Dress.  Lisa Burstein is celebrating the upcoming release of PRETTY AMY, and to sweeten the pot, 3 Phoebe Couture Evening Dresses are being given away.

Pretty Amy




PRETTY AMY starts on a prom night that goes horribly and hilariously wrong. Prom night or any special 
night doesn’t always go as planned. There is a lot you can’t control: the weather, your date’s breath and
sometimes even the whim of a policeman. 

Luckily, you can control the way you look and PRETTY AMY wants you to look good.
Designer good. $200 Designer good!
Contest starts 4/17 and goes until 5/17

See more at Lisa Burnstein's website

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Something Like Normal" by Trish Doller (Teaser)

Something Like Normal
Author: Trish Doller
Publication: June 19, 2012
By: Bloomsbury

"War is only half the battle."

When nineteen year old Travis returns homes from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, his life plays out like a sad country song.  He's lost his girl, lost his car, his parents are getting divorced and his brother Ryan barely speaks to him which is probably because he's the one who stole Travis' girlfriend. (Smooth move dude)

Travis' comeback is also marred by nightmares of his time spent in the desert and the death of his fellow Marine, and BFF, Charlie, for which Travis feels responsible for.  It seems like everyone around him expects life to go back to normal but Travis doesn't even know what "normal" feels like anymore.  It isn't until he runs into Harper, a girl he's known since middle school, that life begins to look up. The more time they spend together the more Travis realizes, Harper might be the key to helping him find a new normal.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

So this is how cool twitter peeps are... I know zilch about graphics & Heather was sharing her #Daemoninvasion yummiliciousness on the twitter this morning when I so eloquently *whined* about how I would lurve to have a cupcake one but didn't know how to make it. She took all of 5 seconds and tweeted me this... Behold.The.Daemon.... *licks screen* ;D
Waiting On Wednesday
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I have two WOW's this week because I couldn't decide which one I was waiting for most and then I thought, why not feature them both?  These are two different series but written by the same author, Jennifer L. Armentrout who I completely fangirled over a weeks ago. To read that post, click here.


Onyx (Lux #2)
Publication: August 14, 2012
Entangled Teen 
Onyx (Lux, #2)
The cover models, Pepe (Daemon) and Sztella (Katy) (who've been featured on many different book covers) are a real couple and are actually engaged.  How cool is that?!  JLA had the chance to interview them. To see what they had to say, click here.

From Goodreads:  

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarre connection. I’ve sworn him off even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But against all common sense, I’m falling for him. Hard.

Our relationship issues aren’t out biggest problem…
The Department of Defense is here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And when a new boy shows up a school with a secret of his own, things get complicated fast. I need to choose between my own instincts and Daemon’s.

But then everything changes…
I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. Daemon’s never going to stop searching until gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies...

 Deity (Covenant #3)
Publication: November 6, 2012
Spencer Hill Press

From Goodreads:

History is on repeat, and things didn't go so well the last time.
Alexandria isn't sure she's going to make it to her eighteenth birthday—to her Awakening. A long-forgotten, fanatical order is out to kill her, and if the Council ever discovers what she did in the Catskills, she’s a goner... and so is Aiden.

If that's not freaky enough, whenever Alex and Seth spend time "training"—which really is just Seth's code word for some up-close and personal one-on-one time—she ends up with another mark of the Apollyon, which brings her one step closer to Awakening ahead of schedule. Awesome.

But as her birthday draws near, her entire world shatters with a startling revelation and she’s caught between love and Fate. One will do anything to protect her. One has been lying to her since the beginning. Once the gods have revealed themselves, unleashing their wrath, lives will be irrevocably changed... and destroyed.

Those left standing will discover if love is truly greater than Fate...

Speaking of Aiden...  JLA tweeted this picture awhile back saying he reminds her of the saucy Sentinel. *stares*  Would you turn him into the Council?  Um, I'd have to go with, "No". 
 Photo credit of a young Matt Cohen c/o: photobucket

If you haven't read the other books in the The Covenant Series, Daimon (a novella), Half-Blood and Pure, or
the other books in the Lux Series are Obsidian (Lux #1) and Shadows (novella)
be sure to do so because, they're awesome! 

So what are YOU waiting to read?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY! The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) (ARC) ~ Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publication: April 24, 2012
By: Harlequin Teen

Thank you Netgalley & Harlequin Teen!

This is my third poem this week...don't laugh too hard.

Roses are red & violets are blue
If you were Turned like Allie
You'd cry tears of blood too
Tryin' so hard to keep her humanity
It's almost enough to lose her sanity

No family, no friends and nowhere to go
She sets out in search of a place to belong 
And stumbles upon Zeke, Caleb & Jeb
Who tell her she's welcome to tag along

The longer she stays the greater her need
Till one stormy night she's forced to feed
The truth is discovered, a monster uncovered, tearing new friends apart
Threats are made, promises broken, leaving more than one shattered heart

Now, with nothing to hear except her own voice
Allie will learn the true meaning of choice
To stay or to go, when life is at stake
Only she can decide; no room for mistake

Just when it seems all has been lost
And her thoughts linger on sleep
Hope returns, faith is restored
Yet everything comes at a cost

While light shines through the darkness
Allie's work is not done
With a whisper, a prayer, and a kiss
Her choice once again becomes life or death and a question
Can love be worth all of this?  (Um, definitely, yes)
Once again, Julie Kagawa has written an amazing book that is nothing like I expected!  I don't usually "do" blood, guts, gore and overall "ick" but this story is SO.MUCH.MORE. than all that!  It's a book about finding hope where all hope seems lost and seeing people for who they really are.

The world building is incredible, making you feel like you're inside the story but at the same time, the gory parts aren't overwhelming.  The characters are multi-layered and have depth without seeming stereotypical.

In a world where vampires are the ruling race and a plague has left the remaining humans at their mercy, living in fear of the Rabids, seventeen year old Allie dreams of day when the humans will rise up and take back all that's been stolen from them.  Their freedom, their choice and their lives.  She hates vampires with a vengeance but when she suffers a vicious attack one night at the hands of Rabids, she's faced with a choice, die or be "Turned"?

Desperate to survive, she chooses "life", and now has to learn to live with her "dead" herself.  The one who "created" her explains that what's left of her humanity will slip away the more she relies on human blood to survive.  Allie refuses to believe this, still hoping she can make a difference, especially now that she's immortal.  She even hopes to avoid being able to kill but Kanin assures she will eventually kill once her Hunger gets to be too much.  There are rules that come with this new life of hers but Allie is kinda stubborn, a trait that doesn't change when she's "Turned", and she breaks a few which results in her being hunted and having to go on the run. 

When she's on her own, Allie stumbles upon Ezekiel, or "Zeke" and his band of humans who are journeying toward, Eden, a "Promise Land" of sorts.  Eden is a land where there are no vampires, no Rabids and humans can live safely with all they need to better themselves.  The idea of Eden is bittersweet for Allie because it's exactly the kind of place she could only dream about when she was still alive and now is off limits to her "kind".  Zeke's group is led by Jebediah Crosse, a would be religious zealot with a deadly opinion of vampires.  If Allie is to remain with this group for long, she'll have to convince them she's as human as they are.  But the longer she stays, the harder it becomes and it's not just her Hunger that's being tested.

Zeke is unlike anyone Allie's ever met, human or dead.  He's kind, caring and puts the needs of others before himself.  (Did I mention, Preacher Boy has a first class ticket to Hotville?)  Allie's used to fending for herself, even before becoming what she is now but the more she gets to know him the more difficult he is to resist.  How is it that he seems to be able to see past the monster, to the good in her, even though he doesn't know what she is?  It's only a matter of time before the truth will come out and when it does, it will change them both forever. *clutches chest*

For Zeke, Allie is fascinating!  She's beautiful, exotic, and powerful with her pint sized Samurais self.  She makes him laugh and she challenges everything he's ever believed.  Everything he knows, he's learned from Jeb (his adopted father) and Allie makes him realize that while he may share some of the same beliefs as Jeb, his faith is his own, for his own reasons. (We can grow up with our parents faith but at some point we have to decide for ourselves what/if we believe and why. We have to own it.)  Zeke is convinced, like Jeb is, that vampires are soulless demons and should be killed but when a string of  bad luck hits their group and Allie's true nature is revealed, the lines between truth and conviction will blur. 

Cast out and on her own once again, Allie will have to decide her next move, fully aware of the danger that awaits the pack of humans she's grown attached to and the boy who promised to kill her if their paths cross again.  When the group find themselves in the hands of a vampire Prince who seeks the cure for those who've been "Turned" and will stop at nothing to get it, Allie can choose to help or flee but to help means coming face to face with Zeke.  The ending is heart pounding, action packed and left me breathless and CLUTCHING MY CHEST! 

Knowledge is power and there's a war brewing. The bonds of family and friendship will be tested, people will die but life is about choice. You can choose to live how you've been told to believe or you can choose to live based on what you've seen and know to be true. 

I was also left wishing I didn't have to wait so long to find out what happens next! 

PS - LURVE ME SOME PREACHER BOY!  Let's hope Cupcake Boy doesn't get too jealous. ;D

Allie, is stubborn and strong willed but not so much that she isn't willing to consider other people's point's of view and learn from them. She is exposed to both Jeb and Zeke's idea of faith and is able to see the difference between the two. One has lost complete faith and is simply fulfilling a duty while the other still has hope that God still exists, and there's still good to be found amidst the evil in the world.  She's brave, selfless and refuses to accept that she has to live her life a certain way.  Even when she's cast out of the group she still protects them, risking her own life in the process which goes against everything in her nature. It also dispels everything the group has ever been taught about vampires. 

Zeke is the BEST kind of hero!  He gives all that he has to others and even after he knows what Allie is, he comes back for her and is still willing to do whatever is necessary to save her.  How can you NOT love him?!  *SWOONS*

I enjoyed Kanin as well and he has good in him too. He may act like he's soulless and tell Allie that she's a monster but I don't buy it.  The fact that he's still looking for a cure and that he leaves something for his victims shows that he too is fighting to hold onto a part of himself.

Jeb has redeeming qualities too. Even if he no longer believes in God, he's determined to help as many people as possible get to Eden and he doesn't turn away anyone in need.  He certainly isn't perfect but this story is a good example of how judging people based solely on beliefs can mean missing out on an extraordinary person.  People are not always what they seem and something good can come from a bad situation there is light in darkness. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Unbreak My Heart" (ARC) ~ Melissa Walker

Unbreak My Heart

Author: Melissa Walker
Publication: May 22, 2012
By: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: Netgalley
4 Stars!

Buoy, is this a good read and such a pretty cover.  Definitely knot one you want to miss.  (See what I did there? If naut, you will...) 

Lifelong friendship, true love, the ultimate betrayal, and crushing heartbreak. "Unbreak My Heart" has it all, reminding us that while you may be able to choose your friends, you can't necessarily choose who you fall in love with or help who gets hurt in the process.  

Sixteen year old Clementine, or Clem was supposed to have the best summer EVER with Amanda, her BFF since kindergarten but all that changed at the end of Sophomore year.  Now, she's spending the entire three months at sea with her family aboard their boat, "The Possibility".  Here she'll be subjected to their overenthusiastic nautical attitudes (Ahoy Matey!) and their sympathetic eyes that tell her, "Everything will be OK."  If they only knew... 
Clem would love nothing more than to stay locked in her stateroom all summer where she can listen to sad music while flipping through her journal that replays everything that's happened over the past few months.  Going above deck and interacting with her family or anyone else for that matter doesn't hold any interest for her but may be exactly what she needs to help heal her broken heart.   

She's spent most of her time reliving the last year and wondering what, if anything she could've changed.  She and Amanda have been friends forever and she would never do anything to purposely hurt her.  Clem never expected to fall for Ethan but he was her friend too and everything seemed to be fine, until it wasn't.  Until their conversations seemed to be more comfortable, their chats lasting longer than they should.  Clem knows she should've put an end to things and she did tried once or twice but should she have tried harder?  Could she have even if she wanted too?  It doesn't matter now because once Amanda found out, Clem was the one everyone hated.  She was treated as if it was all her fault, even Ethan came out looking like a victim though he played as much a part in it as she did.  How is THAT even fair?!  

So, here she is stuck on this stupid boat with her family all.summer.long. with nothing to do but pine away for what she's lost.  The tides begin to change when they make their first marina stop and Clem and her sister Olive head into the dock deli for snacks.  It's there that they bump into James (literally) a tall red-headed boy with eyes as blue as the water and a great sense of humor.  Seems he's spending his summer on a boat with his dad and they're following the same route as Clem and her family are.  (Hmm, maybe the summer won't be so bad after all.)  James is funny, sweet and he's kind to all the ladies, young and old alike. *swoon*  He's also an artist who captures the realness of Clem in his very first sketch of her.  He always seems to be in an good mood no matter what which is kinda irritating to Clem at first but his smile makes cracking one herself virtually unavoidable.

As James and Clem get to know each other, at their many marina stops, dock delis and dingy rides, she begins to gain a new focus on all that's happened to her recently.  James can sense the sadness in Clem but she's reluctant to tell him what it is for fear that he'll think she's an awful person (like she's convinced herself she is).  She enjoys spending time with him, realizing that he's helping to heal the broken pieces of her heart by reminding her of what's "real".  So when Clem finally musters up the nerve to tell James everything that's she's done and he grows distant she wonders if her heart break all over again?

"Unbreak My Heart" is about a girl who follows her heart and in the process loses more than just herself.  Her feelings of guilt overwhelm her at times and blind her to the good that still exists within her.  But with the help of her family and a few new friends, she not only finds her way back to who she is but she also discovers that what matters most in life, what's right in front of you, is what's real.  

*Personal Thoughts/Potential Spoilers:
*Clem's parents and Olivia do their best to support her, pointing out that while she made a mistake, she's not entirely to blame and that if her friends are truly her friends they will stick by her through this.  They are patient with her and supportive, reminding her of "who" she is to them. I LOVED that about them!  *sniff*
*Her dad also explains that at sixteen, no one "belongs" to anyone which is so true.
*James - Oh, James... I *hearts* him!
*Ethan (not sure how I feel about him...) He was just as much to blame as Clem was for not putting a stop to what was developing between them and it wasn't fair AT ALL that she was the only one vilified but that's how high school is unfortunately. 
*Amanda seemed a little self centered to me.  The fact that she took Ethan back without even hearing Clem's side was so not fair.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Interview with Sebastian from "What A Boy Wants"

What A Boy Wants

I read a fun book this week called, "What A Boy Wants" by Nyrae Dawn. I really enjoyed that it's told from Sebastian's POV or Bastian as his friends call him. He's "The Hook-Up Doctor" offering anonymous advice to girls on how to get the guy of their dreams while he himself avoids love at all costs. That is, until he slips and falls in love, hard. I thought it would be fun to chat with the guy of the hour and I have to admit, my inner teen came out (just a 'lil bit) when he agreed. ;)

So, today, I'm talking to Sebastian, aka "The Hook-Up Doctor" from Nyrae Dawn's "What A Boy Wants". *giggles*
Don’t worry… I seem to have that effect on girls. *Winks at Jen*   (nearly.faints)

Hey Bastian, I know you're a busy guy and I really appreciate you taking the time to answer a few questions.
No prob. Gotta do my part, ya know?

A lot of readers have noticed the cover shot of you. *blushes* It's um, well, you're definitely not riding the ugly train and your hair is so cool but you already know this. *giggles* OK, sorry, I get easily distracted by sparkly things and the cover is definitely sparkly. *more giggling*  *clears throat*
Dude! We keep hearing about the cover. Stoked that’s the picture we chose. But yeah… thanks, and all. I do have nice hair, don’t I? ;)  (Yes. Yes, you do.)

Being The Hook-Up Doctor, I'm sure you've gotten all kinds of questions. What's the most awkward question or advice you've been asked?
Umm… the ones asking for technical advice are always a little creepy. I mean, how do you tell someone how to kiss through email. And if you’re asking that? Yeah… not sure I can help. It’s hard though… when I get girls who put themselves down or whatever, it bothers me. (probably the being raised by a single mom thing). I’m always telling them confident girls are hot. Gotta be proud of who you are, ya know?   (Great advice actually!)

Best advice you've given?
Okay, so I know this is going to sound cocky, but I think all my advice is pretty damn good. I mean, I’ve seen a lot. Seen my mom make a lot of mistakes and yeah… that sucks, so I put a lot of thought into the advice I give. It may not seem like it, but I take it very seriously.  (I totes believe you.)

Any advice you've given that you wish you could take back?
Nah, not really. I don’t really want to give spoilers on the book, but if I would have known what was going down the whole time, I might have done things a little differently. Okay, so no might about it. I would have, but yeah. Lesson learned and all that.

What advice would you give your boy Jaden? *sighs swooney sigh* (See? Distracted again. Sorry.)
Jay is a hard one because he keeps that sh*t inside so much. I mean, you’ve read the book. You know I pretty much put everything out there. He’s not like that. He’s my boy and has been since we used to run around pulling girls hair on the playground instead of kissing them, but whatever he’s dealing with? He holds onto it. I still haven’t figured it out. I just make sure he knows I have his back. He needs me, he knows I’m there. Oh, but if I could give him girl advice, I’d tell him to hurry his a** up and admit how he feels about a certain girl we know…  (*smiles* At seekrits. And thoughts of Jaden.)

One of the things I enjoyed most about you was how well you took care of the people around you. I love the relationship you have with your Mom! What would you say your best character trait is?  What would Aspen say it is?  I'm sure she's not too far away since the two of you are BFF's. *waves to Aspen*
My good looks? My charm? Nah, I’m kidding. I keep hearing people talk about how I take care of people and I don’t see that as something special. It’s just what you do, ya know? You take care of the people who matter. Too many people out there who only care about themselves. That’s lame. And my mom? 
Hell ya I take care of her. What kind of man wouldn’t?  Plus, she’s a pretty kickass mom. She puts up with me. (I literally laughed out loud at the first part! ;D  *swoons*.... girls, the first clue to how a guy will treat you, is how he treats his Mom.)

What's your idea of the perfect date with the perfect girl?
Pre-book or now? Before, I wasn’t really down with the dating thing. Now… at the risk of sounding like a sap, I just like to be with my girl. (Sappy is good.)

OK, just a couple more and then I'll let you go...
Favorite Color?

Best book you've ever read?
Nyrae isn’t going to be happy with this answer, but I don’t read a ton of fiction. I read a lot of music books and stuff like that. We had to read Of Mice and Men in school and that book has stuck with me though.  (You're young, there's still hope for you yet.)

Animal you're most like? (Btw, Ninja's don't count as animals.)
Ha. That was a good one. But I am ninja! Hmmm, I’m going with lion. King of the jungle and all that.  (HAHA! Why, does this NOT surprise me?)

Favorite Beastie Boy song? (Mine's "Hey Ladies")
That’s hard. They all kickass. I’d have to go with Paul Revere.  :D

Cupcakes or Pie?
Pie. Apple with those crumb things on the top.  (Pie?! PIE?! *cries* I wonder if Jaden likes cupcakes... ;P)

Thanks again Bastian! Please tell the girls, Nyrae and Jaden I said, "Hey!" *fights urge to ruffle your hair*
No prob. It was cool. Jay and the girls are picking me up in a minute (still no wheels), so I’ll tell them. 
I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did! Click here to read my review of "What A Boy Wants" on YABC. 
You can click the links to find out more about Sebastian or Nyrae Dawn, and be sure to follow her on Twitter too!  


Thursday, April 19, 2012

What A Boy Wants ~ Nyrae Dawn

What A Boy Wants
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Publication: April 2012
By: Amazon Digital Services
3.75 STARS!

THIS.COVER. *fights urge to ruffle guys hair*

OK, So I have to be honest...the cover is what made me check this book out. *giggles* (I seriously wanted to run my fingers through his hair which is both funny and ironic. Read the book and you'll understand.)

This is a quick read that provides a funny and refreshing take on love and relationships from a guy's POV.  Sebastian is the "Hook-Up Doctor", an anonymous match maker who helps girls get their dream guys. He, himself doesn't "do" love or long term relationships because he's watched his mom crash and burn so many times he's lost count.  He figures keeping things strictly "fun" is the way to go. This theory works great until he falls in love with the last person he ever expected too.

His world is turned upside down and he becomes the sappy, lovesick, stalker guy he used to roll his eyes at.  But the "Hook-Up Doctor" won't go down without a fight.  He prides himself on knowing what girls want but now he'll have to figure out what a boy wants. (and hope he doesn't screw everything up in the process.)

I thoroughly enjoyed Sebastian!  He reminded SO MUCH of the guys I hung out with in High School, with all their "posing" and "game" but who totally had by back (or held my hair) when I needed them.  Sebastian comes off as a jerk in the beginning but as more of his story is revealed you understand why and can't help but love him just a little bit (or a lot). *brings him home and gives him hugs while listening to the Beastie Boys* ;)

I really liked Jaden too and would've liked to have known more about his story too.  Maybe in another book? *hint hint* Nyrae? ;D

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday 
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Defiance by C.J. Redwine 
Publication: August 28, 2012
By: Balzer & Bray

This cover alone makes me want to BE Rachel...just sayin'
Defiance (Defiance, #1)

From Goodreads:

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Just so there's no confusion, I haven't read Defiance yet BUT, I am TEAM QUINN. HE IS MINE. Y'all will have to take a number and get in line. ;)

"Quinn" c/o C.J.'s "Defiance Trilogy" board on Pinterest

You can find out more about the fabulousness that IS C.J. Redwine at the links below:  
Twitter @cjredwine 
OK, is it August yet?!  This whole "waiting/has to be patient for books I want NOW thing" isn't working out so well for me. *throws tantrum*

 How's that working out for YOU?  What book are YOU waiting to read? ;D

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole of AWESOME!

Yesterday, I attended the DC stop on the "Spring Into the Future Tour" with Veronica Rossi, Tahereh Mafi and Anna Carey.  This leg was held at Hooray For Books in Alexandria, VA, a super cute book store in the heart of old town Alexandria that has that great "book smell" that hits you as soon as you walk through the door. :) (You don't get that "book smell" at the mass book stores - they all smell like coffee.)

To say I was "excited" is a bit of an understatement.  This was my first book signing and the to have it combine three authors whose books I happened to thoroughly enjoy, made it even better!  

I'm a planner so I had everything laid out in my head of how I thought it was going to go.  I've said a bazillion times that the way I show my appreciation for someone is to bake them cupcakes so that's what I did. I made each author a box of turtle cupcakes and I found out (c/o of the twitter) that Tahereh is a fan of Skittles so I went to my local warehouse club and got the BIGGEST bag I could find. 

The twitter can be a great resource for information and I found out that fellow tweep, Sara McClung was going to be at the signing as well and I was looking forward to meeting her and her group of writer friends she dubbed, the DC Mafia. (more on them in a min...)

I was all set yesterday morning with my directions, my cupcake swag and my super cool YABC T that M.G. Buehrlen sent me to I could totally represent (WORD!) and off I went.

Here's the thing, I grew up not too far outside of DC and I've been through there countless times but I'm not usually the one driving which is key. I'm also not good with directions.  and I HATE any and all GPS systems.  Anyway, I ended up stuck in the heart of DC traffic yesterday for an hour.  Me + city + driving + traffic = I GOT YOUR CRAZY RIGHT HERE!
You do see the strangest things in the heart of major cities, like an entire parade of empty floats rolling slowly past. (Creepy much?) I also got screamed at by a dude who was crossing the street as I waited to turn right at a red light. (Maybe he would've preferred it if I'd ignored the "No turn on red" sign at that exact moment?) Of course, when you're a book nerd and a twitter addict, everything becomes about a recent read and how it relates to real life... (I should've asked him for a ride to the book signing.)  

When I FINALLY made it with a few minutes to spare, I dashed inside, found a place to stand and tried to catch my breath.  I briefly met Sara and I got the chance to meet Andye, Amy, Abigaile and Austin from Reading Teen (they were the hosts so be sure to check out their blog for pics, videos and interviews with the authors.)

A few minutes later, the women of the hour arrived and my "fan girl" switch was flipped to "ON".  If you'd asked me what my name was, I probably wouldn't been able to tell you.  They took their seats and began taking questions from the audience which seemed to consist of a lot of writers.  I was actually expecting to see a lot of teens but nope.

They were so gracious, funny and offered tons of great advice!  At one point, I did wonder if I was the only one there that was purely a fan and resisted the urge to scream, "I LOVE YOU TAHEREH, ANNA & VERONICA!"  (I figured that might creep them out just a 'lil bit.) 

The woman next to me was wearing a TEAM ADAM shirt and when Tahereh was discussing the complexities of Warner, she mumbled something under her breath about not liking his character and I said, "I kinda love Warner - somebody has too"...and then I wondered if I was gonna make it home alive. ;) (BTW, I love Adam too, but I have a soft spot in my heart for underdogs, bad boys, etc.) 

Anna shared how she used to think that books just magically "appeared" on shelves and how she imagined authors sitting down to write books, beginning to end and it being a fairly simple process. I used to think the SAME THING but have learned SO MUCH in the past few months. I have a new respect for those *sparkly* books that I like to go visit & sometimes pet at the store. 

Veronica discussed the challenges of writing while raising a family and making the time to fit everything in.  She's even under deadline NOW as she tours. 

When it came time to get the books signed and pictures taken, my nerves kicked into HIGH gear!  I introduced myself, gave them the boxes of cupcakes and was promptly greeted with hugs by all three!  Tahereh jumped up and said, "I totally thought you were joking about the cupcakes!"  To which I replied, "I don't joke about cupcakes." ;D  They signed the books I was picking up for YABC, signed extra posters too and gave me ANOTHER hug!  MADE.MY.DAY!    

It wasn't until I got home late last night that I looked inside the ARC of ONCE that I'm keeping, that I noticed what Anna wrote...

I met up with Sara after the signing and she invited me to grab a bite to eat with the rest of her writer friends, Cambria, Rick, Jessica, Sash, Sarah and Cristin (my food twin last night), all of whom are a complete bunch of AWESOME!!  I mean, really, here is this total stranger (me) who they let hang with them while they talked all kinds of writerly things, and all I could think of was, I'm sitting at the cool kids table and HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! :D  *wonders what rabbit hole I fell down* 
They were dropping names of people left and right, people they KNOW, people whose books I've read... 0_0... people who I can only hope to *fan girl* over one day!  WHAT?!  (THIS is better than the Oscars!)

As I looked around the table and listened to the chatter about ARC's, revising, agents, book deals, movie rights, and Josh Hutcherson (you had to be there) I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed and totally out of my element but in a good way. It dawns on me that maybe this stuff they're talking about is really *SEEKRITS?!  At first, I'm like, HOW COOL IS THIS?!  Then, I'm like, wait... what if it IS seekrits... do they remember I'm still here? ... and they call themselves the "DC Mafia"... yeah, this isn't gonna end well for me tonight. (I'm an excellent seekrit keeper though.)  

As if the night couldn't get ANY better, Veronica, Anna and Tahereh, showed up and hung out for a little bit. Anna sat at our table RIGHT.NEXT.TO.ME. I was almost finished eating but as soon as she sat down, I turned to Sara and said, "Here I go again with the fan girling."  She laughed and said, "Don't, she's just a person." I know this but it was still so cool! 

As I drove home, I received wonderful tweets from both Veronica and Anna, thanking me for their cupcakes and then a slew of HILARIOUS tweets from Tahereh! (I was trying not to run off the road while laughing!)
My heart was so full by the time I got home last night!  I felt blessed to have had the chance to meet these amazing, creative people, all of them. :)

Truly, one of the BEST DAYS EVER!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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

Timepiece (Hourglass #2) by Myra McEntire
Publication: June 12, 2012
By: Egmont USA

Timepiece (Hourglass, #2)

From Goodreads:

A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking...

Kaleb Ballard's relentless flirting is interrupted when Jack Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, timeslips in and attacks before disappearing just as quickly. But Kaleb has never before been able to see time travelers, unlike many of his friends associated with the mysterious Hourglass organization. Are Kaleb's powers expanding, or is something very wrong?

Then the Hourglass is issued an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he's stolen on the time gene, or time will be altered with devastating results.

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Jack. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough...

The follow-up to Hourglass, Timepiece blends the paranormal, science fiction, mystery, and suspense genres into a nonstop thrill ride where every second counts.

Honestly, this book had me at Kaleb... *wipes drool from chin*  He could spend the entire book explaining how to make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich and I'd still read it. *sighs...*

 I borrowed this from the girls over at Swootini (I hope the don't mind.)

I loved Hourglass and fell in devotion with Myra McEntire! (I wrote her a poem) I can't WAIT to see what Em, Michael and Kaleb (even though he's jail bait) get into next and I'm extremely jealous of ALL THE PEOPLE who've already read it but patience is a virtue, right?  ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Zero" (ARC) ~ Tom Leveen


Author: Tom Leveen
Publication: April 24, 2012
By: Random House

The cover of this book is what originally intrigued me and made me want to read it but I wasn't sure what to expect. After doing so, I found that the picture isn't completely accurate, (Mike doesn't have a mohawk) but I did enjoy it even if I didn't always agree with everything the characters were doing.  "Zero" is a realistic story with believable characters who struggle with real life issues like alcoholism, drug addiction, low self esteem, bullying and body image issues. 

Amanda, or Zero as she goes by, is a struggling artist with terrible self esteem.  When the books opens, her life is a total mess, at least according to her.  She's obsessed with the famed Salvador Dali and had planned to attend art school in Chicago, was even accepted but her scholarship was pulled at the last minute due to her lack of technical ability.  Her home life consists of an alcoholic father and an enabling mother and she's had a major falling out with her BFF Jenn.*  The only thing Z takes solace in at the moment is her painting and drawing but even those are have her doubting her talent.

In an attempt to drown herself in self pity, she heads out to a local club to catch one of the bands playing.  While there she has a somewhat painful run-in with Jenn but that gives her the courage to speak to Mike, the guy with the amazing eyes, who also happens to be the drummer for "Gothic Rainbow" a local band that's going places.  Mike and Z's first conversation is both awkward and funny and her insecurity is palpable.  It ends with Mike promising to call and Z doubting he will.

Mike holds true to his promise to call Z which shocks her and sets them on a journey of love, forgiveness and learning to believe in yourself.  Their first date, which is one of my favorite scenes in the book and takes place at "Hole in the Wall", is a blend of nervous energy and hesitant disclosures.  I found it to be funny and sweet especially when Mike presses Z about why she she came up to him that night in the club.  Here's a glimpse:

Then he goes, "So--- well, screw it, why'd you talk to me last weekend?"
Hell-oh! Forward much?  Slow down! 
Mike's still watching me.  My mouth goes dry again and I curl my fingers together into an abandoned church, broken steeple, no people. I stall with a sip of my drink. ...
"Your eyes, " I say at a volume of a quarter decibel.
Mike blinks.  "Say again?"
"You have incredible eyes," I say into my lap.
"And hair, " I add.
"And I liked your music," I mutter.
Ladies and gentleman, Amanda "Grace Under Pressure" Walsh! Yaaaaaay!
I can feel him staring at me. "Which came first?"
I glance up. "Huh?"
"Was it the band or ----- you know. Me. I guess."
It should sound like an arrogant question, but Mike's tone isn't that.  He looks mildly uncomfortable, in fact, like he gave the wrong answer in trig class.  
Feeling brave, I say, "Okay, so then why'd you talk to me? I assume it'll be the D.I. thing.  Feels like no one around here knows who they are, so probably he only came here tonight to talk about music.  Which is fine with me.  Mostly.
"I wanted to see if you were for real," he says, Um...
"Could you unpack that a little more for me here?"
"You...I dunno.  Got something going on."
I do? I can't resist a smile.
Mike shakes his head. "And that was a truly lame thing to say."
And I think: Like hell it was!

There's a lot more to this conversation but it's obvious he assumed the only reason she came up to him was because she was a groupie while she thought he was just humoring her because he has girls coming up to him all the time.  It's funny to watch the realization hit the both of them that maybe, just maybe they could be interested in one another because they're both worthy and interesting individuals.  

As their relationship continues to grow Mike shows Amanda that she's worth so much more than her nickname, "Zero"; that's she's beautiful and her artwork is, in fact, good.  She helps him learn to love again (even if he never verbalizes it) getting him to realize she loves him for him, not just because he's in a band.  As the summer winds downs, it becomes clear they'll be faced with some tough choices, choices they'll have to make together and separately but that will ultimately affect both of their futures.  When Mike's band is given the chance to go on tour and he asks Amanda to go along, she'll have to decide if this is the opportunity for escape she's been waiting for.  Is she strong enough to follow her own dreams even if it means letting Mike go? 

I was honestly surprised with the way this book ended.  I thought one of two things was going to happen, 1) Mike was going to be killed in a bus accident on the way to California because of the conversation he and Amanda had or 2) Amanda would've made the choice to go with Mike, to see the different cities and to have the opportunity to live a little.  I know I would've done that if I'd had a chance.  I never expected her to say no especially after she sold her painting, her Dad went to get help and she went to meet him at the bus station. Maybe she would've gone if Mike had actually told her that he loved her, which I think he did but just couldn't say the words.  The fact that he stayed behind to ask her to go on tour with him in person was his way of showing her that he loved her but I guess she needed the actual words from him.  

I'm an "Epilogue" junkie and would have LOVED to see what a year down the road looked like for both of them but no such luck.  I was actually so bothered by the way this book ended that I literally dreamed a different ending in my sleep last night. *sighs*

* The falling out that Jenn and Z have is over the fact that Jenn puts the moves on Z and takes things pretty far in fact.  They've been friends for several years and this is the first that Z has known Jenn is attracted to girls as well as guys.