Mar 28, 2012

Guest Post: 3 Favorites With Erebos Author Ursula Pozanaski (+Giveaway)

Erebos by Ursula Pozanaski
January 19th, 2012 from Annick Press

When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname.

Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game.

Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur. This utterly convincing and suspenseful thriller originated in Germany, where it has become a runaway bestseller.

Guest Post: The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry (+Giveaway)

The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry
September 2011 from AuthorHouse

My novel The Earthquake Machine tells the story of a 14 year-old American girl named Rhonda who runs away while on a river rafting trip in Big Bend National Park. Rhonda leaves behind her tragic family situation to flee towards the Mexican state of Oaxaca in search of her family’s yardman J├ęsus. In order to be able to travel more safely, Rhonda transforms her appearance so that she can “pass” as a Mexican boy named Angel. The story chronicles Rhonda/Angel’s sexual and spiritual coming-of-age.

The novel explores the borders between Texas and Mexico, English and Spanish, adolescence and adulthood, life and death; but it also pushes the boundary separating Young Adult and adult coming-of-age novels. (I imagine this novel to have wide crossover appeal and it’s primary audience to be women age 16—35 years old).

Waiting on Wednesday - The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez

The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez
October 16th, 2012 from Simon Pulse

From the author of Virtuosity, a novel about two sisters and the secrets they tell, the secrets they keep, and the secret that tears them apart.

Amelia is used to being upstaged by her charismatic younger sister, Charly. She doesn’t mind, mostly, that it always falls to her to cover for Charly’s crazy, impulsive antics. But one night, Charly's thoughtlessness goes way too far, and she lands them both in serious trouble.

Amelia's not sure she can forgive Charly this time, and not sure she wants to…but the situation is even worse than either of them realizes. Amelia has no choice but to give up everything--her friends, her future, her dream--in order to cover for Charly’s huge mistake.

Amelia doesn't understand how her sister could have done this to them both. What she doesn't know is that Charly is hiding a terrible secret—one with the potential to change everything.

Mar 27, 2012

Slide by Jill Hathaway Swag Giveaway

Happy Book Birthday to Jill Hathaway and her debut Slide! Jill is an awesome gal and to show my support, I am hosting a little giveaway. Let's feature the book first!
Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

Mar 26, 2012

Cover Reveal - Passenger (The Marbury Lens #2) by Andrew Smith

I've said it a thousand times and I'll say it again, I HEART ME SOME ANDREW SMITH! I got a lovely email yesterday that held the cover to his newest book, Passenger, which is the much anticipated sequel to The Marbury Lens. You can find my review right HERE and an interview HERE. You may have also heard of Stick, one of my absolute top five from 2010. It's a fantastic contemporary set in the 1970s that will blow your mind. Read my review right HERE and an interview HERE. Now, let's get on with the reveal:

Jack and Conner have a plan.

They think it's the only reasonable way to deal with the Marbury lens.

But the four boys - Jack, Conner, Ben, and Griffin - end up scattered in different places at different times. Jack is lost in a Marbury that isn't Marbury, a Glenbrook that isn't Glenbrook, pursued through every crumbling not-world by an uncaring cop trying to solve the mystery of Freddie Horvath's murder, and a deceitful kid named Quinn Cahill who believes he is the King of Marbury. Jack's universe is collapsing in on itself. He finds his friends. He finds his home.

There's always just one thing, and Jack knows it.

This can't be it.

Review - The Five Lives Of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin (+Interview & Giveaway)

The Five Lives Of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin
April 1st, 2012 by Amulet Books

Oona and her brother Fred aren't thrilled about their beloved cat Zook (Zucchini) being kept at the vet after an illness. They decide to take matters into their own hands and break the cat out of kitty jail. In order to convince Fred that Zook will get better, Oona tells some pretty tall tales about the previous lives of Zook. Zook has been a Royal Cat among princes and princesses, and a Ghost Cat living with a wretched old woman. Each story reflects Oona and her brother's Fred lives as they try to accept their father's death two years prior and their mother struggles to move on. As Oona and Fred fantasize about Zook's previous existences, Oona wrestles with the real-life events that led Zook to live with them.

I am still smiling months after reading this book! I love the dynamic characters, especially Oona, and the way Oona puts her own little spin on everyone. Her mom's new potential boyfriend is "villain" not Dylan, for example, and she has such an analytical and inquisitive mind. She is more than just creative, I would venture to say that she is one smart cookie (that is a real scientific term), and her use of rebus's to engage her brother are quite genius. She is more than likable, and when the tender moments come along with Zook and even her mother, I proudly bawled like a baby!

Mar 24, 2012

In My Mailbox

IMM is a meme brought to us from The Story Siren. Basically, it's a good way to add books to your TBR pile, get a head's up on what is coming soon, and to totally covet books. All cover photos will take you to the Goodreads page.

For review:
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
Baby's In Black by Arne Bellstorf
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 

Mar 23, 2012

Review - Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith (+Giveaway)

Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith
March 20, 2012 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

When Max, Kyle, and Emma are sent to live with their reclusive grandfather, they think he’s crazy, especially when he tells them about his time machine. But after Emma is kidnapped at the exact time that her grandfather predicted, Max and Kyle are forced to believe his eccentric stories—even the one about the Chronal Engine in the basement. Now, to save Emma, Max, Kyle, and their new friend Petra must pile into a VW Bug, and use the Chronal Engine to take the road trip of a lifetime—right back to the Cretaceous period. With dangers all around, the teens find themselves dodging car-crushing herbivores in addition to the terrifying T. rex. In this ancient environment, can three contemporary teens hunt down a kidnapper, forage for food, and survive long enough to return home?

After their grandfather predicts his own heart attack (you read that right) and their sister Emma is kidnapped and vanishes into thin air, Max, Kyle, and Petra ban together to rescue Emma. Full of jaw-dropping moments, car chases, and man eating giants all set in prehistoric Austin, Texas, this story is all about surviving. The characters are all smart in their own way, but Max is the brains and the dinosaur extraordinaire. That may come off as a little nerdy for an 8th grader, but he doesn't care. Turns out mom and dad were right, nerds do rule the world and Max is one of them! Max is curious and observant, and I love that he is more or less the hero in the story. His dino knowledge gets everyone out of hot water many times and without him, the rest of the group would not have lived in the wild for five minutes. As we make our way through the story, Max is teaching us about the prehistoric landscape, its inhabitants and how to survive. Max (and Greg) make learning about dinosaurs fun and totally interesting to any novice.

Mar 19, 2012

One Word Reviews: Born Wicked, The Butterfly Clues, Chopsticks

One Word Reviews are back! I have fully reviewed all of these titles and the links to those reviews are linked with the photos. One Word Reviews is simply just a tease to get you thinking about a book. Maybe it is a title that you have skipped over or haven't seen before. Regardless, here you are:



Mar 18, 2012

In My Mailbox

IMM is a meme brought to us from The Story Siren. Basically, it's a good way to add books to your TBR pile, get a head's up on what is coming soon, and to totally covet books. All cover photos will take you to the Goodreads page.

For review:
Black City by Elizabeth Richards
Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein
The Implosion of Aggie Winchester by Lara Zielin
The Waiting Sky Lara Zielin
Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
Tracks by Diane Lee Wilson
Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy
Alice on Board by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Beyonders by Brandon Mull

Mar 16, 2012

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop

Welcome to another hop! This one is brought to us by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, Books Complete Me, and author Cindy Thomas. This is a great way to do your good deed of the day (by giving away awesome books) and to get the word out there on some fantastic recent reads. I'll keep things nice and simple with only one rule, you need to be a follower. ALL ebooks are international and the others are US only unless specified. Check out all of the participants right HERE. Let's hop!

Giveaway #1
ARC of Code Name Verify by Elizabeth Wein
Add to Goodreads
You can find Wein at her website

Giveaway #2
eBook of Cicada by Belle Whittington
Add to Goodreads
Check out the book trailer
You can find Whittington at her website

Mar 15, 2012

Audio Review - The Summer I Learned To Fly by Dana Reinhardt

The Summer I Learned To Fly by Dana Reinhardt
July 12th, 2011 from Random House Listening Library

Eighteen-year-old Drew recalls the summer she was thirteen when her best friend was a rat, her mother started telling her lies, and her life long crush finds his true love - who is not Drew. Hanging out at a gourmet cheese shop may not sound like a good time to most, but for Drew she enjoys spending every waking moment surrounded by stinky Gouda and pungent Swiss. Plus, her crush Nick works there and she is content to stare at him all day long. When a strange boy named Emmett shows up in the alley of the cheese shop, she begins to think that maybe hanging out with her pet rat in a cheese shop is a bit overrated.

Drew and Emmett (a rat enthusiast and master paper crane maker because his last name is Crane) are both quirky and odd, and they make good companions for each other. Don't expect them to fall madly in love and sneak kisses next to the cheddar. It doesn't happen, but they do have something very special and unique. Drew is only thirteen after all! There is an air of mystery around Emmett. He is quiet and isn't quick to open up about his past. Drew's innocence comes through when she misses the signs that maybe Emmett doesn't have a picture perfect life. Before long, she realizes that Emmett is the first true-blue friend she has ever had. Only problem is, she may have figured this all out too late.

Mar 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Dear Teen Me by E Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally (+Interview)

Dear Teen Me by E Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally
November 2012, from Zest Books

Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends–and a lot of familiar faces–in the course of Dear Teen Me.

It is rare when you are excited that a ton of your friends get to do something cool and you aren't invited, but  Dear Teen Me is exactly one of those cool things!! I am so excited for this book and even more excited to read some seriously embarrassing stories from some of my favorite people. I have stayed tuned to the Dear Teen Me website for(ever) a long time and I'm happy that all this will be wrapped up in a package I can share and take home with me. I can picture the release party right now.... I hope you check it out!

Mar 13, 2012

Review - Starters by Lissa Price

Starters by Lissa Price
March 13, 2012 from Delacorte Books

After the Spore Wars, Callie and her brother Tyler are desperate for food, shelter, and their long dead parents. At 16, Callie takes care of her brother by scavenging and scrounging, but her brothers declining health leaves Callie looking for more than scrapes of food. She heads to Prime Destinations to loan her body out to an Elder that needs a little vacation time in a young and beautiful body. Where do I sign up? Anyway, Callie gets more than she bargains for when she "wakes up" in the middle of her rental. Callie isn't sure where she is and what happened to Helen, her rental. Over the course of a few hours, she learns of a frightening plan that would put both Helen and Callie in a lot of danger. Callie decides to fake her way and pretend to be an Elder inside her perfect young body in order to stop the ill-fated plan. Everything would go a lot easier if she knew who to trust and learn why she keeps blacking out and waking up with guns in her hands.

Mar 7, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
June 5th, 2012 from Henry Holt

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, all she’s ever been able to rely on is her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’ve been sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.

When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. She is torn from everything she knows and whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes that she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the Sun Summoner. Only her power can destroy the Fold.

Overwhelmed by luxury, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to keep her wits about her without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her mastery of her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha—and the secrets of her heart.

Guest Post: The Galahad Legacy Scavenger Hunt with Dom Testa (+Giveaway)

I am happy to be a part of The Galahad Legacy Scavenger Hunt with Tor! I am stop #2 and have an excerpt and giveaway. Live in Texas? I have news! Here we go! 
The Galahad Legacy  (Galahad #6) by Dom Testa
February 14th, 2012 from Tor

“I’m sure you have questions galore,” Lita said. “Let me answer a few before you ask. Yes, you’re back safely; at least my preliminary scan doesn’t show any physical problems, unless you have any aches you want to share with me.” When Triana shook her head once, Lita continued: “Everyone here is fine, not counting the usual drama and a few bumps and bruises. The ship itself has a few problems, but Gap can get you caught up on that. And, let’s see…” She sat on the edge of the bed. “Lots of people have come by to welcome you back, but I’ve shooed them away for now. Oh, and the friend you brought with you is doing okay. Well, at least as far as I can tell.”

Triana stared up at Lita, then cleared her throat and croaked: “Where?”

Mar 6, 2012

Review - When the Sea Is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen

When the Sea Is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen
February 28th, 2012 by Farrar Straus Girous

After her best friend ends her life rather than be forced to marry, Felicita fakes her own death and walks away from her extravagant and spoiled life to pave her own path. She would rather spend her life on the streets than wait for her brother to marry her off and be forced to lead a dull, loveless life.  Felicita walks away from absolutely everything goes into hiding among the destitute Hobs in Old Town. Her first few days are not easy, but luckily she is taken in by a group of misfits who seem to be under the care of a charismatic young man named Dash. After bodies start washing up on shore, the town begins to think that an old prophecy is coming to flourishion. Felicita is afraid of what this means for her family and she must decide where her loyalties lie.

This book has so many strong suits! The alternative historical setting is interestingly rich with a culture that is new and so very intriguing.  We are swept away to a whole new world full of fascinating, dangerous people and creatures. Hellisen gives us characters that range the entire spectrum. What is even more notable is that everyone and everything has a purpose for being there. We aren't introduced to one unique being after another just for the sake of filling pages. These characters are vital to the storyline and some hold a mysterious air that leaves you wanting to know them more.Vampires called bats, poets called crakes, and people who seem ordinary like you and I, but turn out to be something different entirely. Felicita herself is a unique character. She has magic all her own, but it can't be called up without Scriv - a drug that allows her to control the air around her. A drug that her brother controlled in her own home and that comes with a high price in Old Town. Felicita is head strong, but recognizes her weaknesses and shortcomings from being raised in a privileged home. She isn't completely naive and we see her struggle to remain unnoticed and her dissonance about returning home.

Mar 5, 2012

Review - Riding Out the Storm by Sis Deans

Riding Out the Storm by Sis Deans
February 28th, 2012 from Henry Holt

Seven months have kept thirteen-year-old Derek from his sick brother Zach. Now that Zach is a ward of the state at seventeen and his parents have lost everything trying to help him, Derek and his grandfather board a Greyhound in the middle of a fierce snowstorm to see Zach for the first time since he was taken away. Along his journey we learn about Zach's illness and the devastating effects it had on his entire family. When Derek starts talking with a girl he has dubbed Purplehead, Derek thinks that maybe this long bus ride won't be so bad after all.

The story behind Zach's illness is revealed in short flashbacks as Derek recounts the demise of Zach's health and the series of hospital and doctor visits that lead to the loss of their family home. It all started with mild rebellion, but soon the family realized that Zach was more than just a little hot-headed. His highs and lows were more than the family could bare and after a suicide attempt, they lost Zach along with everything else. I really enjoyed learning exactly what happened to Zach. In the beginning, we weren't sure how sick Zach is or the nature of his illness. This part of the story slowly evolves over time and the pacing of the reveal was very well done.

Mar 2, 2012

Book Trailer Debut - The Mapmaker & The Ghost by Sarvenaz Tash (+Interview)

I am thrilled to debut the super cute book trailer for The Mapmaker & The Ghost! Up first, a quick interview with debut author Sarvenaz Tash. Kick back and follow the jump for the book trailer.
What was the working title of MAPMAKER? 
Oh, boy. I am notoriously awful at titling things. We went through a list of 72 suggestions before we hit upon The Mapmaker and the Ghost. I will tell you that when I first started writing it, it was called - you'll laugh - Goldenrod Moram and the Spitbubble Master. Yes, that is awful. For a bit of time, it was also called The Legendary Adventures of Goldenrod. Which I do still like, though I think The Mapmaker and the Ghost is really what it was meant to be all along.

When talk of cover art first started, what were your concerns and what did you want most?
You know, I really didn't ever visualize the cover because I knew that it probably wouldn't look like whatever I thought it should in my head so why set myself up for that? I also knew that there were going to be professionals working on it who were infinitely more talented in that department than I was. I was just excited to see what they came up with and I was not in the least bit disappointed. The illustrations by Gerald Guerlais were more beautiful and perfect than anything I could have ever dreamed up.

Mar 1, 2012

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters - Interview with Meredith Zeitlin (+Giveaway)

I am THRILLED to have debut author, Meredith Zeitlin on the blog today! Her book, Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters, is being released today! It is the, by far, the funniest and sarcasmatic book I've read in a very long time. I hope you all pick yourself up a copy. Welcome, Meredith!
You were a, geek (ducks) and a gifted singer. Anything online I can take a gander at? 
Hey, I went to Stagedoor Manor and Northwestern. How could I not own being a theatre geek!? So no need to duck... YET. (Mwahahahaha.)

I don't think there's anything online of me singing, except maybe a clip or two on my cartoon reel, though I'm voicing a little girl and a fish in those, so maybe not a great example. But here is a LINK to the playbill notice for an off-broadway show I was in about a thousand years ago before I stopped performing onstage. You may recognize my castmate and friend Billy Eichner, who is now starring in his own hilarious show on Fuse (very proud of him, obv)! Oh, and also me looking totally hideous. What is that pose about, exactly?!
Enjoy. Okay... that's enough now. Stop that laughing!

Here is a duet with a darling boy named Patrick Gagnon. I come in second... no idea how to alter the beginning, so your readers can just enjoy the whole thing. This is "Email Love Song," and it is about email. (because at the time email was brand new.) This is from the 1997 Waa-Mu show, Northwestern's huge (and huge deal, believe it or not, as in "stayed up all night to find out if I got cast") student-written musical. I was a freshman and it was a CRAZY huge deal that I had an actual part in the show with my own song - only 2 freshman girls were cast, period. Once again, I had juniors getting mad at me. Getting cast was one of the non-disasters. There were, of course, many disasters (like almost puking on the director after my audition because I was so nervous, for example). But that's a different post... ;)

Can you dish a little bit about the cover for FRESHMAN YEAR?
Well, I knew from a friend's experience with her debut novel that I would have exactly zero say about the cover - so I was prepared. The only thing I asked (read: begged) for was that they not use a picture of a real girl on it, because I always like to make up what characters I read about look like. Also, sometimes they change the covers later and put a different girl on there and you end up being like, "What!? That is NOT what Anastasia looks like at ALL!"