Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop
May 1st – 7th

We're gonna cut right to the chase with this one, guys.  Here's what's up for grabs:

-- choice of one of the following spring new releases --

  • This giveaway is international.   As long as The Book Depository ships to your location, you are good to go.  (You can double-check that here.)
  • One entry per household.
  • All entries will be verified.  Any entry found to be falsified will result in disqualification of all entries for that participant.
  • Winner will be notified via email.  Winner will then have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected.  Please check your SPAM folder!!!
  • We are not responsible for lost packages.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now that you've entered here, be sure to stop by the other 150+ giveaways on this hop:

Thanks for entering & happy reading!

Teaser Tuesday 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, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Mendy was too busy to stop and send me her teaser, so I'm sharing two from the books I'm currently reading:

Add to Goodreads
Title: Chantress
Author: Amy Butler Greenfield
Series: Chantress Trilogy, book #1
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Source: galley received from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Sing and the darkness will find you.

Shipwrecked on an island seven years ago, Lucy has been warned she must never sing, or disaster will strike. But on Allhallows' Eve, Lucy hears tantalizing music in the air. When she sings it, she unlocks a terrible secret: She is a Chantress, a spell-singer, brought to the island not by shipwreck but by a desperate enchantment gone wrong.

Her song lands her back in England — and in mortal peril, for the kingdom lies in the cruel grasp of a powerful Lord Protector and his mind-reading hunters, the Shadowgrims. The Protector has killed all Chantresses, for they alone can destroy the Shadowgrims. Only Lucy has survived.

In terrible danger, Lucy takes shelter with Nat, a spy who turns her heart upside-down. Nat has been working with his fellow scholars of the Invisible College to overthrow the Lord Protector, and they have long hoped to find a living Chantress to help them. But Lucy is completely untrained, and Nat deeply distrusts her magic. If Lucy cannot master the songspells, how long can she even stay alive?

Beguiling and lyrical, dangerous and romantic, Chantress will capture readers in a spell they won’t want to break.

My teaser:

The pink left his face, leaving it stark white. "That's rich, coming from you. Have you forgotten how you spied on me--on my mind, on my memories?"
-- Loc 1941, 64%

I'm not very far into this one, but I'm dying to know what this argument is about!  =)

Add to Goodreads
Title: Spark
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elementals, book #2
Publisher: Kensington/KTeen
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Source: finished paperback from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.

Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can't.

Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he's not doing it.

And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.

Gabriel can't let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that's right at his heels. But there are some risks he can't help taking.

The fuse is lit...

My teaser:

     Hunter sighed and gave him a look. "Come on, baby, don't be like that. Did you pack your Midol?"
     "All right, all right." Gabriel climbed out of the car, slamming the door behind him. "I don't even know why I like you."
-- page 168

I absolutely adore the bromance that's developed between Gabriel and Hunter!  Loveitloveitloveit!  :D

What are you teasing this week?  Share it in the comments or leave a link so we can visit!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Add to Goodreads
Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Series: Program, book #1
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

Imagine a world where you were likelier to commit suicide than graduate high school.  And imagine that the only cure for this epidemic was to erase any and all tainted memories...any memories that might lead to depression.  Would you take the cure?  Or would you rather die your own way, painful but real memories intact?  What if that choice was taken from you?

I'm not going to lie; I'm a little burned out on dystopian novels.  And so I was a little hesitant to pick The Program up, even though I was excited about it when I first discovered it on Goodreads last summer.  But it helped that I'd already read and enjoyed the author's previous work.  And although I noticed a lot of similarities between this novel and several others like it -- one reviewer on Goodreads even said it sounded like "Delirium but with suicide" and I'm inclined to agree -- I think it's the execution that really made The Program an enjoyable read.

Sloan and James are trying to hold it together long enough for them to both turn eighteen and be out from under the threat of the Program.  But with more and more of their friends and classmates becoming infected, it's hard to hold on to hope that they'll make it out of there with their memories complete.  Their agony and anguish after dealing with loss upon loss -- whether to the Program or to suicide -- was so palpable, it nearly broke my own heart.  This story was so intensely sad and the characters were even more so.  But it's not just a story about suicide or even about bucking the system.  It's also about an enduring love, one that I rooted for from the very beginning.
     James turned and looked over at me.  "You know I'm never going to be able to not kiss you again, right?" he said.  "For the rest of my life, every time I look at you, I'll have to kiss you."
     I smiled.  "The rest of our lives is a long time, James.  I'm sure there will be other lips."  The minute I said it, I hated the words.  But James just slowly shook his head.
     "Naw," he said, rolling to lean over me once again.  "These are the only ones I'll ever want."  And he kissed me again.
The romance in this book was so sweet, beginning as a platonic friendship and morphing into a full-blown love story.  Those are always my favorite kind of romance, where the friendship existed first.  Sloan and James have known each other forever because James was Brady's best friend, before Brady killed himself.  Brady, who was Sloan's slightly older brother.  They had already been secretly dating before the tragedy, but they were the only reason each other survived it afterward.  Seeing how close they were and sensing what was coming, it made it really difficult to read on and see how their world was about to deteriorate.
     "I think I broke my femur," James says, as he lies underneath me. "On the console when you were attacking me? I think I broke it."
     I laugh. "Shut up."
     "I didn't mind though," he says conversationally. "Like when you bit my shoulder. It was—"
     I reach up and put my hand over his mouth, not moving it even after he licks my fingers. "Shut up." As if agreeing, he pulls me closer, resting his cheek on top of my head. When it's quiet, I move my palm and rest it on his chest.
     "It was nice," he whispers, but not jokingly. "It wasn't weird, either. And that's... kind of weird."
I was pleasantly surprised with the turn the story took, and though it was a little predictable and some of the foreshadowing was fairly obvious, it was still a pretty great novel as a whole.  It was suspenseful, but not to the point that I was screaming "Just tell me what the eff happened to Brady already," or anything like that.  The anticipation always came with a nice build-up, followed by a flashback to answer any lingering doubts.  I'm actually reasonably impressed with the whole effect.  But even more than that, I loved the epilogue.  And I usually don't like epilogues.  But with this one, we get a behind-the-scenes look at the Program, not a wrap-up of the novel.  It was very much appreciated, especially since I learned something that I had otherwise disregarded in the body of the novel.

Yes, you've probably seen this premise, or one like it, before.  But as someone who's also read a ton of dystopian, I can honestly say that this novel is just different enough to stand out...to stand on its own.  And even if it wasn't, you want to meet James...trust me.  And regardless of any similarities, it's still a very gripping and engaging story.
     James smiles as he traces his finger over my mouth.  "I think..."  He stops and looks into my eyes, his stare arresting, pinning me in place.  "I think I'm in love with you," he whispers.  "Is that crazy?"
     His words strike my heart, and the ache that's been a constant in my chest goes away completely.   I lick my lips and smile.  "So crazy."
     "Then I guess I love you madly."  And then he leans down and kisses me again.

Rating:   photo 4-1.png 1/2

About the author:

Originally from New York, Suzanne Young moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She currently resides in Tempe, where she teaches high school English. When not writing obsessively, Suzanne can be found searching her own tragic memories for inspiration.

Suzanne is the author of several books for teens, including THE PROGRAM, A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL, and A WANT SO WICKED.

Find Suzanne:

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Add to Goodreads
Title: Crash
Author: Lisa McMann
Narrator:  Allyson Ryan
Series: Visions, book #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

If what you see is what you get, Jules is in serious trouble. The suspenseful first of four books from the New York Times bestselling author of the Wake trilogy.

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

In this riveting start to a gripping series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann, Jules has to act—and act fast—to keep her vision from becoming reality.

What can I say?  Not impressed.  This book just dragged out at times.  I feel as though I could have read maybe the first two chapters, one somewhere in the middle, and the last one or two (they are very short chapters, btw) and known all I needed to know about the book.  So much filler.

The narrator for the audio, Allyson Ryan, just has this voice that annoyed me.  She made Jules' voice sound so boyish and the guys' voices all pretty awful as well.  There were several long pauses throughout that made me question if something was wrong with my phone (that I was streaming it on), but no, just Allyson's weirdness.

I'm sitting here trying to remember exactly what happened to try and critique this, but, I'm serious, there's not really much to go off of.  If I told you what I liked or didn't like, I'd be giving away the few things that actually did happen.  One thing I will point out.  The truck with the giant meatballs they had to drive around for their pizza shop.  I'll admit, it's pretty funny, but I do feel like it was mentioned maybe just one too many times.

My sis told me there's a sequel, which I wasn't aware of.  I thought, "huh?  she's got even more dumb stuff to write about two rival pizzaria-owning families?"  You've got to be kidding me.  It left off with a little bit of a cliffhanger, but I still feel like that could have been the end of it.  Everybody eventually learns to get along.  The end.  I'm not sure I care to read the next one.  Might just have to let Jen read it and tell me if it's worth the agony.  LOL.

Rating:   photo 2-1.png

About the author:

Hi, I'm Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of fiction for young adults and children.

My fantasy series is for ages 9 and up, called THE UNWANTEDS. It's about a society where 13-year-olds are sorted into groups. The strong and intelligent kids are Wanted and they get to go to university. The creative and artistic kids are Unwanted and they are sent to their deaths. Follow 13-year-old twins Aaron and Alex as they are forced down opposite paths. Book 2 in the series, THE UNWANTEDS: Island of Silence, comes out Sept 4, 2012.

I'm also the author of the WAKE trilogy, about a seventeen-year-old girl named Janie who gets sucked into other people's dreams. I have two stand-alone thrillers, CRYER'S CROSS and DEAD TO YOU. Coming soon: CRASH -- it's the first book in the VISIONS series.

I grew up in Michigan and now I live in Arizona with my husband, two teenagers, and two cats.

Find Lisa:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Sunday, April 28, 2013

image source
Short stories are awesome.  They give us in-depth insight into characters, providing anecdotal proof of why some characters are they way they are.  They entertain by creating a certain mood or focusing on a singular effect...some instance in a previous body of work (or one to follow) that might have been glossed over or ignored completely in a longer novel. 

And so, every Sunday for the foreseeable future, I would like to highlight short stories and novellas set in worlds I've already come to love and learn a little more about some of the secondary characters in my favorite novels.  I'll be underscoring some of my favorite aspects of these short works of fiction, in addition to offering up a mini review of each work.

This week I'm featuring a prequel story as part of the Elementals Read Along:

Add to Goodreads
Title: Fearless
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elementals, book #1.5
Publisher: Kensington/KTeen
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Being a force of nature doesn’t keep you safe.

Hunter Garrity is used to watching his back. The kids at school sense something different about him. And they’re right.

Hunter has powers that have nothing to do with how hard he can throw a punch.

Maybe that’s what Clare Kasten is picking up. She’s shy, quiet, and intense, but she’s sought him out. There’s no telling what she wants from him.

But Hunter knows enough to sense a secret when it’s close. And getting close to Clare is a danger he’s ready to face…

Hunter Garrity entered the Merrick brothers' lives as a bit of an enigma.  But in this novella, we get a peek at what happened before Hunter tracked them down, who he was before.  And it's not all rainbows and sunshine.  Don't get me wrong...he didn't have a crappy childhood or anything...just a really strict upbringing.  His father expects him to handle all Elementals business in the same fashion that he himself would, but Hunter is still learning.

Hunter is a Fifth, which is a pretty lonely existence.  People are drawn to him but rarely with the best intentions. But he hopes that Clare's intentions are merely those of a girl interested in a boy when she approaches him out of the blue.  Considering the turn their first conversation takes, though, it's probably obvious to everyone BUT Hunter that there's more to the story, but he's new to this whole "reading and analyzing people" thing. Poor kid.

I enjoyed this brief glimpse at what makes Hunter tick, why he blew into town the way he did in Storm.  I don't think this novella changed my opinion of him any, but it did make me more anxious to continue the series so I can get to his full-length book.

Rating:   photo 3-1.png 1/2

Don't forget we're discussing this book over on Steph's GR review later today as part of the Elementals Read Along.  You still have plenty of time to join!!!

Elementals series

Elemental (Elemental, #0.5)Storm (Elemental, #1)Fearless (Elemental, #1.5)
Spark (Elemental, #2)Breathless (Elemental, #2.5)Spirit (Elemental, #3)

About the author:

Brigid Kemmerer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, and several stops in between, eventually settling near Annapolis, Maryland. Brigid started writing in high school, and her first real “novel” was about four vampire brothers causing a ruckus in the suburbs. Those four brothers are the same boys living in the pages of The Elemental Series, so Brigid likes to say she’s had four teenage boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years. (Though sometimes that just makes her sound nuts.)

Brigid Kemmerer finds the time to write somewhere between caring for her family and working at her day job, but sometimes she ends up mothering her coworkers and managing her family. Storm: The Elemental Series was her first novel.

Find Brigid:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Elementals Read Along

Saturday, April 27, 2013

In My Mailbox #79

Saturday, April 27, 2013 with 16 comments

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It's a weekly meme where we all get to brag about the books and swag we got in the mail, for review, won in contests, etc.

We're out at EdgeFest today checking out some great music and meeting some awesome authors while we get our books signed.  It's okay to be jealous.  =)  Just know that some of those signed books are for a giveaway to celebrate our 2nd blogoversary.  Until we can announce that, check out what we got this week and what's been happening on the blog...

The Haul:

Insomnia (The Night Walkers, #1)
Jellicoe RoadUnbreakable (Unraveling, #2)Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love, #1)What I Didn't Say

For Review:

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke - Ermigerd!  I have been dying to read this gothic novel since I first discovered it on Goodreads, and not only have the book gods shown me favor again this week, but they've proved to me that Penguin does know I exist!!!  It is seriously killing me that I can't dive into this one immediately.  Soon, my precious...soon.

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson - Mendy saw the package from Penguin and immediately called dibs on this one.  It sounds cute, right?

Goddess by Josephine Angelini - I really need to learn to be more patient.  I got this one on an ARC tour earlier this month, but then I was selected for the blog tour for this book, so I got an ARC for keeps.  Look for my stop on May 20th.

Insomnia by J.R. Johansson - I love books featuring a dreamscape...there are so many possibilities.  I know that's not the focal point of this book, but the rest of the premise sounds just as entertaining.


From a Facebook giveaway on the Siege and Storm page maintained by MacKids, I won a Siege and Storm prize pack, which contained an ARC of the book (which meant I could send Jen hers back!), a Shadow and Bone poster that reverses to show a map of Rivka and the surrounding lands, and a S&B bookmark.  I can't wait to get a frame for that map.  It is going to look so awesome in my office!


On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - I got a HC of this book at HPB months ago, but I still hadn't gotten to it.  I was looking for my next listen and saw it and I couldn't help myself.  And I am sooooo glad I made that purchase.  I'm still thinking about the story!  So good.  My review should go up next week.

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris - Loved the first book so much that I switched back and forth between the ARC and the audio so that I could continue the story no matter where or what I was doing.  I've only just started the audio for the sequel, but it's already pretty intense.

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park - Keep seeing this around.  A friend rec'd the audio, so I thought I'd give it a try.  Plus, it sounds like something Mendy would like, and since we share audio, that works out well.  ;0)

What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor - A Goodreads friend let me know that this book was free for Kindle, so obviously I had to snatch it up.  As of the moment I'm typing this post, the Kindle ebook is still free and the B&N ebook is $0.99.

So, that's our haul.  How about you?  What did you get this week?

The Week in Review:


Current Giveaways:  SIGNED copy of The Collector (ends 4/30), Shower of Books Giveaway Hop & SIGNED copies of the first three Elementals books

Recent Winners:  Laura won signed copies of Wings & Spellbound in the Signed Books Giveaway Hop!

Tours/Promotional Posts:  The Elementals Read Along is officially under way!  We'll be discussing the first book, Storm, tomorrow on Steph's Goodreads review.

Jen's Currently Reading/Listening:

Unbreakable (Unraveling, #2)The Program (The Program, #1)I'm still not very far into this one, but I keep hearing how awesome it is.  What I've read so far is good, and I'm hoping to finish it up this weekend in order to review it on Monday.

LOVED Unraveling.  Loved it.  Multiverse novels are inundating the YA market right now, but I haven't read one yet that I didn't like.  :)

Mendy's Currently Reading/Listening:

My Life Next DoorCrash (Visions, #1)

Still working on this one.  Maybe I won't forget it at the office this weekend and can squeeze some reading time in on Sunday.  ;0)

I might have actually finished this audio before this posts.  My review should go up on Monday.

The Week Ahead:

Reviews of Fearless (SSS), Crash (audio), On the Jellicoe Road (audio), The Program, Unbreakable (audio) & maybe My Life Next Door

The Spring Fling Giveaway starts on Tuesday!

As I mentioned before, I'm one of the Elementals Virgins on the Spirit Blog Tour hosted by The Midnight Garden!  You can read more about it over there, but check out this post for details on the read along I'm co-hosting with Steph from Cuddlebuggery!  We'll be discussing Storm here on Sunday, March 28th.  And it's not too late to sign up!!!

Have a great weekend!!!

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