Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spellcaster

I know I've probably been saying this a lot lately, but, seriously, where did the school year go? I don't feel like it's time to start stripping the posters from my walls and putting everything in boxes. Do I really have a final paper due next week, and an early final as well? I guess so, because that's what my calendar is telling me. It just doesn't feel real. I've been doing a lot of reading lately, as you've probably noticed. Spellcaster by Claudia Gray is the second to last book from the batch I ordered about a month ago. I'm going to need to order more books for the summer soon...


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Nadia Caldini has just moved with her broken family to the coastal town of Captive's Sound. She knows immediately that there is dark magic at work here, and she can tell because she's a witch. Her mother abandoned her family right at the height of her training, and now Nadia is floundering. A new town, a new life, and no one to teach her the Craft. Then there's Mateo, the only son in a cursed family. Lore has it that once every generation, one of his family starts seeing visions of the future, and this leads to madness. And he's just had a dream about Nadia that's come true. Together with a new funky friend Verlaine, Nadia and Mateo are working to unwrap the dark mysteries around Captive's Sound before it's too late.

Loved this book. I haven't read anything else by Gray, but I hear good things about her other series. Here's what I loved about Spellcaster: Well fleshed out rules as to what witchcraft can and can not do, with enough limitations to seem realistic. A new enough spin that I was interested to see the changes in witchcraft. Verlaine. She is so fun and desperate for friends, and yet strong at the same time. The spells. They are linked to strong emotions, so you get to see fleshed out characters through small memories that flavor spells.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Next up: Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mila 2.0

Back in March I attended a stop on the Dark Days Tour consisting of Kiersten White (you'll recall I squeed because she said I looked familiar), Dan Wells, Debra Driza, Claudia Gray, and Lauren Oliver. While I had read Kiersten, Wells, and Oliver, I hadn't yet cracked open Driza's debut novel Mila 2.0. Well, this weekend I did.


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Mila was never supposed to know what she was. And the truth shakes her notions about her own humanity, if she has any. She is an android designed by the government to be a fighting machine. But one of her creator's saw the humanity in her, and stole her away from the organization's crazy leader. Now she's trying to lead a normal, teenage life in Minnesota. She has no real memories of what she is, and many of the memories she has of her past life are fake. She meets a boy named Hunter who makes her feel more human than should be possible. And then one accident ruins the facade of real life forever, and Mila and her mom must run, or risk capture.

What I loved about this book were the notions of humanity that Mila struggles with. She's programmed with emotions, but she swears she can really feel them. So she can't determine what is the evolving human in her, and the android. It's the ultimate kind of violation, not knowing your own body. And as Mila struggles with this, she also has to decide how much of the android she's going to let control her. Their need to escape requires her to be at least part machine, but every time she uses her enhanced senses, she feels less human. This is a hefty book, and takes a little extra reading time, but it's action packed and made me smile on numerous occasions. Would definitely recommend, especially if you liked Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Next up: Spellcaster by Claudia Gray

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Guys? I'm on Goodreads!

Yes, when I first signed my book deal, I was excited about being on Goodreads. I know I should be stoic and realize that it will be a bad thing to stalk reviews and ratings on this site. And I know other authors have had bad experiences. But I can't help it!

Balancing Act is on Goodreads!

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17856469-balancing-act?ac=1

There's no cover yet, or any description, but I don't care! An idle search last night produced this link, and made the fact that I'm going to be published a little more real. I can't wait to get my cover, and do my edits, and see Balancing Act soar from my hands into yours.

That's my little ramble for the day.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Elite

Thank goodness it's almost the end of the week. And what is on the other end of this week? A three-day weekend! Yay! I get to go work with my amazing family on the coast, and I'm going to read and eat good food and NOT DO HOMEWORK. Because, ugh. Can you believe it's almost the end of the school year? Can you believe I've almost completed my second year of college? I sure as hell can't. So over the past two days, I read The Elite by Kiera Cass, the sequel to The Selection.

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35 girls arrived at the palace to compete for Prince Maxon's hand in marriage. Only 6 remain. Up till this point, America was the clear favorite. But now she's having doubts about Maxon, and her own ability to be a princess. And Aspen guarding her door at night isn't helping matters. He's the foil to Maxon, always there, always steady, and not the future king. Meanwhile the competition with the remaining girls is heating up, and America might not be the favorite for much longer.

I absolutely loved The Selection. For a while there I wasn't sure what to make of the world, but I soon fell in love with the Hunger Games/Bachelor story. I love competitions like this - they are so wrong, but so fun to read. I missed that in this book. There were fewer competitions, probably because there are only 6 girls left. What interested me the most was how these remaining girls weren't at each other's throats. I mean, they're all dating the same guy, and they argue and know they're competing. I loved America's relationship with Kriss. It was my favorite part of the book. I am looking forward to The One, the final novel in this trilogy. Pleeeeease more competitions! I'm greedy.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars
Next up: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Crown of Embers

In the throws of holding off a cold, I've been reading The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. This is the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns, which I read over the summer. It's been rainy here in the Pacific Northwest, and for some reason it feels like it should be later in the week than Tuesday. Not because a lot has happened, but because not much has. But anyways, today I finished off this novel.


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Elisa is a hero. And a widow. The battle with the Inviernos is over, their animagus magicians defeated. Or so everyone thinks, until one burns himself alive during Elisa's birthday parade. Multiple assassin attempts, and an ominous prophecy about the enemy's gate are keeping Her Majesty's reign interesting. And now her counselors are pushing for her to take a husband, but all Elisa wants is to figure out how to be a strong queen, unlike her deceased husband. In her struggles are Hector, the captain of the Royal Guard, Mara, and Ximena, both ladies in waiting.

I enjoyed this book. Not quite as much as The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but I did. I love the fact that religion and magic were interwoven. Elisa is not a perfect queen, and I definitely didn't agree with all of her decisions. But it was these flaws that made me like her. Hector is such a sweet guy, and Mara really came out of her shell in this book to be a blunt confidant. I'd like to think I see a bit of her in myself. I'm excited to see the conclusion of this series. 

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Next up: The Elite by Kiera Cass.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

2 Year Blogoversary

Wow, I can't believe it's been 2 years since I started this blog. It seems like time is flying so fast lately, it's hard to keep track. Last year at this time I was writing Balancing Act during my freshman year of college, with only schoolwork on my mind and my social life. How times have changed.

I am now at the end of my sophomore year of college, I've gotten my first internship, my first job in publishing, and I've sold Balancing Act to Entranced Publishing. A year ago at this time, I was probably wondering "Am I good enough to be published? Will my books be good enough?" Now I can't imagine a better life than this one: spending my time reading, writing, and editing.

It's been an amazing 2 years of blogging, what with reviewing books and telling ya'll about my SNI's and the amazing, and sometimes not-so-amazing, parts of my life as a YA novelist. Thanks so much for being with me on this journey, and giving me such good advice along the way.

I couldn't have done it without you.

Happy Sunday!


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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Code Name Verity

This week has been crazy. I got slammed, what with my full class schedule (midterm), my internship (research), and my job (editing). It was such that I didn't get to finish this amazing book (Code Name Verity) for over a week! I wish I'd had more time, but honestly I know I can't hole myself up in my room and brick it  up with books, however much I'd like to. But I digress. I just finished reading Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.


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In 1943, a wireless operator was dropped into Ormaie, France, on a mission. The plane crashed, and the pilot proved dead by pictures. The operator was taken by the Gestapo and tortured until she promised to cough everything she knew about the British Allied forces in WWII. And she agrees. She tells the story of Maddie, a pilot who became her best friend, and who was by her side as she became part of the war effort. But there's only so much story to tell, and she only has two weeks before the Nazis shoot her. She's an enemy agent after all, and she can buy only so much time.

"It's like being in love, discovering your best friend." This one line sets the tone for this introspective, mind game of a novel. Verity tells the story of her friendship with Maddie to the Gestapo, and I absolutely loved it. There was no love V, no angst. It was simple survival, and that loving friendship every person should experience at least once in their life. I was always looking for clues in Verity's narrative, because I knew she would lie. She had to. And I didn't want her to die. I loved this book so much, I was picking it up to squeeze in a page or two before classes started. That being said, it's a dense book. There's a lot of information, and my eyes got tired. Nothing new there, of course. Would absolutely recommend to anyone with a love for learning about WWII.

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars
Next up: The Crown of Embers

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Serpent's Shadow

Yes, I know I said next on my list was Code Name Verity. And I'm almost done with it (spoiler: loving it). But the last three books I ordered (which were delayed again and again) were delivered! This included The Elite by Kiera Cass, The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson, and The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan. Because I had a pretty jam-packed weekend, what with Mother's Day, I decided on the last one, finishing off The Kane Chronicles.


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Sadie and Carter Kane haven't known about their Egyptian heritage for even a year, and they're being called upon to save the world from destruction by the evil snake god of Chaos, Apophis. There are some problems though. The other nomes of magicians are turning their backs on the family, refusing to follow the path of the gods like Sadie and Carter have. They have only a few days before the day Apophis will rise and swallow the sun. And they have no idea how to kill him. And Walt, one of their most powerful magicians, will probably die before the final fight. No end of problems. But Sadie and Carter have to fight, or risk losing everything.

I blew through this 400 page book in two days. My eyes were so tired from reading last night that they blurred when I looked at my keyboard. So I decided to take a few hour break to sleep and go to class before finishing it. LOVED IT. Of course, the element of surprise that was in The Red Pyramid is gone by this point, and I was mostly interested to see how they were going to defeat Chaos and live, not how the Egyptian magic worked. I loved The Kane Chronicles. I laughed, there was continual action, AND an extra short story about Carter meeting Percy, from the other Riordan series I'm reading.

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Will finish Code Name Verity soon. Maybe, ahem, tonight, if my eyes don't flip out again.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Interview with Jordan Link, author of The Sacrificed

Today I have the pleasure of having Jordan Link with us! Her fantasy novel, The Sacrificed, was released on May 6th through the Blush imprint of Entranced Publishing (disclosure: my employer).

Before we get to the interview, here's a blurb of The Sacrificed!

Emerald Hayden lives in the City of Centsia, a half-winged among the other walkers. She has no family, friends, or food: only a grim future filled with tiresome labor in the upper level's factories. But everything changes when she meets Dusk, a winged from the place that she previously scorned. He opens her eyes to a new possibility: the possibility of the unity of winged and walkers, of freedom, and of love.

Together, they decide to challenge the upper level's supreme, winged council. But when a friend betrays them, they must choose whether to sacrifice their belief and save their own lives, or to remain along the thin line that divides the city in two. Success could mean liberty; failure, death.

About the Author:


Jordan Link is currently contracted with Entranced Publishing for her novel "The Sacrificed" which was released on May 6th, 3013. She won first place in the Jack L. Chalker's Youth Writers Contest of 2012 for her short story "The Bubble," and attended Balticon 46 last year. She earned an honorable mention on December 3rd for the Young Voices Foundation Short Story Contest and will be published in their anthology "Oh, the Stories They Tell!" which will be available on Amazon. Her earl love of reading inspired an equivalent passion towards writing, and she plans to continue doing so.

  1. If you could tell anyone in the world five things about yourself that really define "you," what would they be?
    Faith, adventure, ambition, freedom, and happiness. Those are the five qualities that I seek to fulfill in life. Those qualities will triumph over wealth and glamor any day.
  2. What was your inspiration for The Sacrificed?
    My inspiration for The Sacrificed was a combination of many things: the success of other young authors, the dream of being free from the office life that many Americans face, and the creative allure that novels have to offer. After all, who wouldn't want to create worlds that others can indulge in, just by clicking a link or turning the pages of a book?
  3. How long did it take you to write the first draft of this book?
    Surprisingly, it only took a few months to write the first draft. I was very focused, and eager to complete Emerald Hayden's adventure.
  4. What is your writing/editing process? Pantser? Outliner?
    I've answered this many times, and I can't say that my answer has changed. I plot the main points, so that my characters don't run loose, misguided, throughout the story. But I let them have their fun whenever the action is falling or rising.
  5. How did you decide to go the indie/small press route?
    A small press is quite like a small town, where everyone knows, trust, and aids everyone else when called upon. I think a small town is a great place to live, especially if you are working your way toward the big city.
  6. What are your favorite YA books overall? Recently?
    Well, that's a tricky question. My favorite overall series are the Harry Potter books, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson, and Alison Croggon's Pellinor series. Recently, my guilty pleasure has been Allie Condie's Bachelor-esque Matched.
  7. Favorite type of ice cream?
    Chocolate - it's simple, reliable, and no matter the company, will always taste absolutely delicious.

Buy Links:


Author Links:

Twitter: @JordanLink3

Giveaway Code<a id="rc-8d9a3f9" class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8d9a3f9/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><script src="//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js"></script>

Excerpt:

Slowly, ever so slowly, she dropped to her knees and peered around the corner.
There was a winged boy standing there, muttering something to a few walkers. It was impossible to distinguish the color of his eyes, or even his expression from her sheltered position, but his features were still rather shocking. His hair was a creamy white, a pigment that Emerald has only ever seen on the heads of other winged. His skin was pasty and faded. She wondered between pounding heartbeats how the winged remained so pale when they spent so many days in the sky above Centsia, arcing near the curve of the sun and circling back around again as they went to and from their duties. The boy's wings, however, were by far his most striking features. The feathers seemed to form intricate pictures as they fluttered in the midnight breeze. Emerald continued to stare as the boy withdrew something from his pocket.
It was bread.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Shades of Earth

And now I have a review for ya'll. After a few days lounging and hiking around in the sun, I set out to finish Shades of Earth, which I have now done. Between studying for a midterm and attending classes and gazing out at the sun longingly, I did it. And had a nice time doing it.


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The shipborn and frozens have left Godspeed for Centauri-Earth. It's beautiful, and has no walls. But it's also nothing like what Amy and Elder expected. There are large carnivorous pterodactyl-like birds and flowers with neurotoxins. And there are ruins. Ruins that look like they were made by humans. But that's not possible, because humans couldn't have lived here. While Amy and Elder are trying to discover the planet's secrets, the now-unfrozen military personnel are having trouble getting along with the shipborns. Elder wants to be in charge of his people, and Amy's father, the leader of the unfrozen, wants complete control. But they might need to come together to defeat a threat that no one expected. The true reason Godspeed never landed on Centauri-Earth.

There are a lot of threads in this book. Amy and Elder experiencing the new planet. The conflict of power between Elder and Amy's dad. Amy getting to know Chris, a military man who's close to her own age. All the secrets that still surround Godspeed even though they've left the ship. And all the people who are being killed. I enjoyed this book. It was soooo cool to see them on Centauri-Earth instead of remaining on Godspeed the entire series. And, I'll be honest, that planet sounded cool! 

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Next up: Code Name Verity

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Short Break

Normally on Monday I would attempt to have a book review ready for you. And since I have received a ton of books recently, I honestly should have one. But I don't. I'm about halfway through Shades of Earth by Beth Revis and loving it, but it's not ready to be reviewed. Here's my explanation.

I had an amazing weekend. The sun is shining hard on the Pacific Northwest, and I spent most of the weekend outside. I went to parks and walked around town, and saw Iron Man 3 with my friends. In the process I gained quite a sunburn, a broken toe, and torn up heels. But it was totally worth it.

I got almost nothing of substance done. And I enjoyed every minute of it. Sometimes you just need to unwind with friends. Back soon with a review, though! Hope ya'll have a great week.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Sea of Monsters

In my last post I told ya'll that I'd bought 9 books, including some that I've wanted for a long time. Well, while 3 of them got delayed, I still received 6 yesterday. And, what luck, I had barely any homework which happens once in a blue moon. So I sat down and plowed through The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan, complete with many laughs.


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Percy Jackson has had a relatively calm school year. Nothing's blown up yet, anyways. But on the last day of school some cannibalistic monsters from Canada burn down his school, and Percy is blamed. He flees with his right-place-right-time friend Annabeth and new cyclops friend, Tyson. They head for Camp Half-Blood, which is in dire need of their help. The tree protecting the camp's boundaries is sick, and every day monsters are attacking. Tyson, Annabeth, and Percy set off on an unsanctioned quest to find the Golden Fleece to restore the tree's health and at the same time save Grover who's been captured by a bad cyclops.

As I have said many times in these reviews, I LOVE Rick Riordan. I don't care that I'm a college student and should be above finding a cyclops yelling "BAD COW" at a rampaging bronze bull funny, but I'm not. I had a good belly laugh at that. And reading this book made me even more excited for my copy of The Serpent's Shadow to arrive. I loved The Sea of Monsters. It has monster donut shops and hydras and ghosts of confederate soldiers. What more could you ask for? Next up! Shades of Earth by Beth Revis!

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars