Monday, April 29, 2013

Broke Down...

... and bought 9 books. Woops! Last Thursday after a butt-whooping week of class, I was lying in bed, thinking about what to read after I finish Extras. And I looked at my Books to Get list and the last few books I've read. Lordy, I've read a lot of dystopian. And the rest of the books on my shelf here at school? Dystopian.

And onto B&N.com I went, and purchased some of the books I've been wanting to for months (Crown of Embers, Serpent's Shadow, etc). And, very exciting, I got The Elite by Kiera Cass! Yes, I know it's another dystopian, but the Selection was was one my favorite books I read last summer,

The books won't get here till Wednesday or Thursday. This is the only thing that makes me sad.

Have a tolerable Monday!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Interview with ELSKER's ST Bende

Today I have the honor of interviewing ST Bende, whose NA Paranormal Romance was released on April 22 through Entranced Publishing, Blush imprint.


ELSKER, Book One in THE ELSKER SAGA, follows twenty-tear-old Kristia Tostenson as she leaves her small town to find adventure at Cardiff University in Wales. Kristia gets a lot more than she bargained for when she falls in love with Ull Myhr. He's not just a graduate student-- he's an Asgardian Assassin  and the Norse God of Winter. Kristia's orderly life is about to get seriously complicated.

Now for some fun!

If you could tell anyone in the world five things about yourself that really define "you," what would they be?

(1) Cats is my favorite musical. This seems kind of silly, but there's actually some sentiment behind my choice. It's the first play I ever saw in the West End, and the only one I went on to see 30+ times. (I hear how ridiculous that sounds as I write it, but I'd see it again tomorrow if it were still in production.) It's a near verbatim production of TS Eliot's poems to his godchildren, which he wrote under the pen name Old Possum. (How sweet is that?) And it's got a character that appears t be based on either Elvis or McJagger. Now that's just awesome.

(2) My favorite play is Much Ado About Nothing, though whether this is because of Shakespeare's snarky banter or Kenneth Branagh's amazing interpretation of Benedick, I'll never know. It's also my favorite movie. (See Kenneth Branagh above.)

(3) I could read the Harry Potter books over and over and never get sick of them.

(4) My heritage is Scandinavian and I love learning about the Nordic countries. The mythology fascinates me, and the waffles keep me coming back for more.

(5) I've been trying to learn Norwegian for the better part of a decade. I'm terrible at languages. But I'm fluent in Pig Latin.

What was your inspiration for Elsker?

I stopped at a drive through coffee shop on a road trip along the Oregon coast. Itty-bitty Nahalem had 300 people, one stoplight, and some of the prettiest scenery I've ever seen. When the college aged barista handed over my beverage, my imagination started turning. What would it be like for someone from such a small place to encounter something so much bigger than all of us? I snapped a picture of the coffee hut, and I'm so happy I did. That was the moment ELSKER was born.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of this book?

I have to confess that I wrote ELSKER by accident. It was a story I wrote just for me, in my journal, and I never intended for anyone else to read it. Ever. One day I realized it had reached a pretty substantial page count. and by then I was so in love with Kristia and Ull that I wanted other people to meet them too. I split the story half and it became ELSKER and its sequel, ENDRE. I probably wrote most of ELSKER in three months or so. At the time it was just a journal entry that I couldn't walk away from. Ull had me hooked. ;)

What is your writing/editing process? Pantser? Outliner?

Since I never meant for anyone to read this story, I just wrote what I wanted to write, when I wanted to write it. Then I connected the dots later. Major pantser.

What are your favorite YA/NA books overall? Recently?

The Harry Potter series is my absolute hands down favorite series ever. But specifically in YA, Jacqueline Gardner is a fabulous indie author with some amazing YA books - her Thoughtless series is fantastic. And since I'm a sucker for a happy story. I have to confess that I love the Princess Diaries books. Mia Thermopolis is just awesome.

Favorite type of ice cream?

Anything chocolate is always good, and I'm a fan of all coffee flavored ice creams. All of them.

THE ELSKER SAGA is available from Entranced Publishing. 

TUR, the prequel, can be downloaded for free HERE.

ELSKER, Book 1, is available from Entranced, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Find ST Bende on Twitter (@stbende), Goodreads, or her website.

And be sure to stop by http://stbende.blogspot.com/p/elsker-tour.html between April 11th and May 20th to enter to win fabulous prizes in Waffle Fest -- the ELSKER Release Month of Giveaways! 


Thanks for stopping by!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pandemonium

And back to our normal programming after yesterday's amazing reveal! (If you missed it, I signed a book deal) Another dystopian review heading your way, this time Lauren Oliver's sequel to Delirium, Pandemonium. This book was read accidentally. I had just worked 6 straight hours on homework and edits, and I wanted a break. And I may have accidentally finished it off. Well... maybe not accidentally.


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Lena has escaped to the Wilds, and it's nothing like she imagined. For one, Alex isn't with her, having been killed as they fled. She now must learn to survive with other Invalids. It's harsh, but she has a sort-of friend in Raven, the leader of the homestead she stumbles upon. Flash forward in time and Lena has been reabsorbed into the civilized society, working undercover at pro-cure rallies. She and the youth-leader of the organization, Julian, are kidnapped by Scavengers and taken into the tunnels under the city. They work together to escape, and along the way grow close.

Looking back at my opinions of Delirium, I was in a cynical place. I read it on Valentine's Day, because what better way to spend that particular holiday when you're all alone than to read about love being a disease? Still, I felt the book was a bit slow for my liking. And while I felt this stayed the same in Pandemonium, it certainly picked up. There's lots of action and running and stabbing of things. I was confused by only one thing. I understand the need to discuss what happened to Lena in the Wilds before going back to the society. But I didn't see any meshing of the Now and Then stories. I didn't see how Lena came to join the Rising or what the big climax of the Now was. But that's my only beef. The rest was great.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Monday, April 22, 2013

Some Awesome News!

So, remember when I told ya'll about getting an internship? It was right before winter break, and I was so excited. My internship is with a diversity inclusion publisher, and my position includes doing research, drafting articles as well as quizzes, statistics, and small news summaries. A few months in to my internship I started looking at summer internships just for fun. I didn't expect to get one.

It was around this time I learned about Entranced Publishing, an e-book publisher focusing on romance. I saw a twitter posting about internship opportunities in the editorial department, and sent in my resume and cover letter. I got an email back asking if I'd prefer to be considered for an associate editor's position. Between my bouts hyperventilating laughter, I replied that, yes, I would. I am now an associate editor with Entranced Publishing.

A few weeks later I pitched Balancing Act, my third novel, to Entranced over twitter. I got a request for the synopsis and first three chapters, and was told it could take up to two weeks for a response. I got an email back 2 hours later asking for the full manuscript. A week later, I got another email.

Offering me a book contract.

Folks, I am here today to tell you, I am going to be published.

OH MY GOD AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Ahem. I spent most of the past few days hyperventilating and wanting to tell ya'll, but waiting until the sale had been announced. Which it has been. And which can be seen here: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/dealmakers/detail.cgi?id=26871

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sapphique

In keeping with the theme of this month's reading escapades, today I finished off Sapphique, the dystopian sci-fi sequel to Incarceron. I read Incarceron over a weekend in freezing cold weather in which both days were spent competing on my school's equestrian team. I liked it, if I recall, if lacking in character development. Sapphique was much the same.


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Finn has escaped to the Realm of Protocol, but it's nothing like the paradise he imagined. And when a pretender to the throne claims he is the true prince, both his and Claudia's lives are put at risk if he can't prove himself to be Giles. Meanwhile in the Prison, Incarceron is building itself a body to Escape. Attia and Keiro, after stealing the legendary Sapphique's glove, are ordered to bring it to the body of Incarceron, but they don't want to. Because if Incarceron can Escape itself, all the Prisoners will die.

For the most part I enjoyed this book. As with the first in the duology, the world building was what made me love it. Victorian era maintained with technology and a sentient prison? Um, yes please. But the characters. Sigh. They were so underdeveloped, I didn't feel like I knew them at all, or at least any more than in Incarceron. And the last 100 pages I had no idea what was going on. How can a prison escape itself? How is the prison sucking energy from the Realm? Why is the glove so powerful? I really wish I knew, because I would have liked this book more if it just told me. Next up, going to work through City of Lost Souls.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Brain vs. Sleep

The last four books I have read were dystopian. I have also started reading Sapphique, another dystopian. So the fact that my brain woke me up from a truly horrible dream this morning makes a bit of sense. That my brain (against my will, mind you) immediately started developing the horrible villain from said dream into the antagonist for a historical fantasy novel set in an alternate WWII history, makes a little less sense.

And, honestly, I wish I could have just gone back to sleep. I was so tired. My body has taken a pummeling from being sick for over a week, and I had a hard time getting to sleep last night because of a panic attack. And, sadly, I haven't had time to write in months. Origins is sitting on my computer, begging me every day to be worked on. And I have to tell it "I'm sorry, I have class/homework/internship/job maybe tomorrow." So to have a new idea for a book, while awesome, just made me sad today. I would rather have kept on sleeping.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Prodigy

Yesterday I went to my university book store to pick up my course books. All of the credit card machines were down, so I decided to wait it out for a while to see if they started working. I got Prodigy by Marie Lu (long story as to how using that credit card machine worked out) and started reading. I finished it this afternoon.

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Day and June have escaped from Los Angeles and are headed towards Vegas to find the rebel group, the Patriots. They join up with the Patriots just as the old Elector dies, leaving his barely-twenty son as his successor. June and Day's first assignment with the Patriots? Assassinate the new Elector, Anden. June and Day are almost immediately separated, June to pretend she escaped from the Patriots to get in good with Anden, and Day to getting into position to do the actual killing. But everything is not as it seems. June's convictions about helping the Republic collapse are shaken by how genuine Anden is. Day is also conflicted by meeting up with his old street friend Tess, and his hatred of the Republic but love for June.

OH MY GOD SUCH A GOOD SEQUEL TO LEGEND. Ahem. I mean, a lovely story with nonstop action and very good world building and character development. A gentle love square, real problems between the two main love interests, and addresses real issues as to why this dystopian society needs to be helped or destroyed. I read this book in two sittings because I had to sleep and maybe sorta actually do some reading for school. I finished it as soon as I got back from class today. NEXT ONE PLEASE, MS. LU!

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Crossed

I read Matched by Allie Condie on Christmas over two years ago. I thought it was a good book, and it was right at the start of when I was getting back into serious reading. But I wasn't so enthralled (like with Cinder and Daughter of Smoke and Bone) that I felt the need to rush out at get Crossed when it came out. I waited for it to come out in paperback. And waited. And waited. Seriously, it just recently came out in paperback. What's up with that? But anyways, I read it over the weekend.
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Cassia has been sent out on work assignment, and is about to be sent to work as a decoy in the outer provinces of Society to draw Enemy fire with her acquaintance Indie. She is told they will be out for six months, then return home. But no one has ever lasted six months as a decoy. Not even Ky. He's out in the outer provinces with Vick, and they are the longest survivors at a couple months. Finally, they escape out to the Carving, which is like a Grand Canyon, bringing with them Eli, another young decoy. Stuff happens, Ky and Cassia find each other, and they try to decide whether to join the Rising, a rebellion against Society.

This is a good book. Pretty slow though. For me the most interesting things happened while Cassia was trying to find Ky in the Carving. There's dying, a mysterious number of dead people, and an abandoned settlement in the canyons. Then it's like everything stops. They hang around the township, reading and saying very little to each other. They meet a guy named Hunter who doesn't like Society but doesn't want to join the Rising. Ky and Cassia sorta argue about going to the rebellion. There are a couple of small revelations. There are a lot of metaphors. I'll read Reached, but I'm more excited about Cress coming out next year.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars

Monday, April 1, 2013

Scarlet

I was wary when I picked up Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I ended up loving the book. So yesterday when I received a copy of the sequel, Scarlet, I dove right in. It helped that I have a horrible cold that makes me useless for anything besides mindless tasks. Today I finished it off in between the start of my new quarter of classes.


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Cinder is in prison as a traitor, a Lunar, and a cyborg. Emperor Kai hates her, Queen Levana from Luna hates her for being the princess of her nation, and she needs to escape. In her attempt she picks up a slightly dim but fun thief named Thorne who has a penchant for beautiful women and a shocking lack of intuition. At the same time Scarlet is in the south of France, desperately trying to find her grandmother who was kidnapped three weeks ago. All of a sudden she has a helper - Wolf, a guy with...well... wolfish qualities. He knows where to find her grandmother, and helps her along the way, dodging Leutomosis outbreaks and crazed brothers. Together, these two young women hold the hope of a future Queen Levana wants to destroy.

I have one thing to say to miss Meyer: WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING; YOU'RE SO CRUEL!!!! I can't believe I have to wait a year for the next book. Seriously, this book was that good I was mad when it was over. Not because there was a dramatic cliffhanger or anything, I just fell in love with the characters. Definitely definitely not a sophomore slump. There were revelations, excitement, betrayal, new love. Seriously packed a punch. I want Cress. NOW.

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars