Saturday, October 26, 2013

Adventures

So you guys may have noticed that I've barely posted this month. And I do apologize for that, because clearly I'm the most important person in your life. Well, here's why I haven't been around lately. It's been a crazy month. With school I'm generally so snowed under I barely have time to read for pleasure. The time I have left I generally try to spend with friends because I was sort of bad at that last year. But I do have some pretty cool news.

The next book I review will be the 100th review on this blog! How crazy is that? Pretty crazy. I'm contemplating doing a giveaway. I'll let you know if it comes to fruition.

And now to the adventure that was last night. I got an infection this week and so was on antibiotics and not feeling too hot. Nothing life threatening or anything, just sorta bleh. Then last night I had sudden, severe, spasming pain in my abdomen that did not go away. I got sick, I could barely stand, all that fun stuff. So last night I ended up in the ER, an IV sticking out of my arm and feeling kind of silly. Because all the tests came back normal. And as I lay there, the pain started going away. My appendix was fine, my kidneys were fine, I was fine.

But it was an interesting night to say the least.

Hope your weekend is less interesting than mine!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Grave Mercy

This week has been about standard. Which means busy. I have a midterm today. How crazy is that? I'm already almost halfway done with fall quarter. How the heck does time keep speeding up? Every time I think it's settled, suddenly it's January and not June anymore. But anywho, I actually sorta got ahead on work this week (gasp!) so I really spent some time reading. Normally this would mean reading two books in a week, but this time I read one book which was the size of two. At 550ish pages, Grave Mercy is a hefty book. I had to restrain a smile when my English teacher saw me reading and raised an impressed eyebrow.

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Retrieved from Goodreads
Ismae was rescued from an arranged marriage and sent to the sisters of Mortain, women who are the handmaidens of death. Under their tutelage, Ismae learns the art of poison, vengeance, and seduction. Then her skills are put to the test when she has to pose as the mistress of Gavriel Duval, bastard brother of the Duchess of Brittany. She is supposed to root out his treachery against the Duchess and kill him if necessary. But Duval seems to loyal to his sister. The only trouble is, he seems to be the only one. Drawn into the world of political intrigue, Ismae must play a key role in whether Brittany is subsumed by the French, if the duchess is married off to a monster, and if she can protect her own heart.

I had heard a ton of amazing things about this book. And seriously, I'm up for any book with a kick ass female assassin (see reviews for Throne of Glass books). And I was not disappointed. Ismae is pretty awesome, and she has a great loyalty to her, which was really nice. I was seriously rooting for Duchess Anne not to get married off to the heathen D'Albret, and I liked the interactions between Ismae and Duval. However, it didn't knock my socks off. I didn't really connect with a lot of the secondary cast. I also wished LaFevers would give the French regent a name. He was so important to the story, but was never referred to by name. Neither was the Holy Roman Emperor. It just bothered me. I will absolutely read Dark Triumph, though. At no point in this story was I bored.

Goodreads Rating:4 stars
Up Next: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Shadow Born Blog Tour

Today I have with me Nicole Camp, author of Shadow Born, a YA novel released on October 14th through my employer (and publisher) Entranced Publishing. Before I get to the interview, here's some stuff you should know about this lovely lady and her book.


Eighteen-year-old Raffin has been hiding on Earth since before he was born, but he's more comfortable in the shadows anyway. He's part of one of the most hated races in the universe. It's a secret he's forced to keep from everyone he meets.

On his first day at a new high school, Arianna Val crashes into his world, literally. One tumble on the track field and suddenly she's acting like they're best friends. Worse, Raffin doesn't mind her invading his shadows -- and that's before he realizes she knows his secret. But, she's not quite human herself, and her very life force is what Raffin needs to survive.

Can he trust her to keep his secret? Can he trust himself with Ari when his body yearns to drain her soul? Haunted by memories of death and destruction that aren't his own, Raffin has to come to terms with the truth. He is shadow born.

About the Author:

Author Nicole Camp has written three books to be published by Entranced Publishing. Her first book, "Shadow Born" will be released October 14th, 2013; followed by its sequel "Shadow Throne" in Spring 2014.

Nicole is an ice cream lover, who lives in Arizona with her family and pets. When not writing, she likes to explore the world through photography, snapping pictures of her surroundings.

  1. If you could tell anyone in the world five things about yourself that really define "you," what would they be?
    Leaning on God moment by moment. Creative but not always organized about it. Stubbornly dedicated, sometimes to a fault. A constant story teller, not always a writer. I take the scenic route a lot, for better or worse - it's definitely more adventurous than the direct one.
  2. What was your inspiration for Shadow Born?
    It's been so long that it's hard to remember exactly what started the idea that ultimately become Shadow Born. I was between 10 and 12 years old and it was a concept that came to me while playing with my Barbies. Barbie and I didn't stay at Barbie's home and play house. We were super heroes, crime fighting detectives, and aliens with special powers - probably because I grew up watching "Star trek Next Generation" and reruns of the original "Dr. Who" from the 1970s and 80s.
  3. How long did it take you to write the first draft of this book?
    It took me two weeks over Christmas back in December 2011 to write the first draft of Shadow Born. It's still the fastest I have ever written a novel. The story that became Shadow Born was actually a rewrite of a handwritten novel. I had written this idea so many times before, both in my head and on paper, that I knew my characters by heart. They were old friends more than anything at that point.
  4. What is your writing/editing process? Pantser? Outliner?
    I am a panster when it comes to writing books. I pick a character and let them lead me through the story they want to tell, watching as things go along in the plot. As for edits, i've come to realize in the last few months that I never really "edited" any of the stories. Not a true edit. I wrote them, spell checked them, then sent them off into the world to see if they would make it. Probably not the best plan, because recently I have become aware that I am unfortunately greatly lacking in punctuation and grammar skills at times.
  5. How did you decide to go the indie/small press route?
    One of the editors at Entranced Publishing approached me on a writer's forum that I belong to, when I was about to shelve the Shadow Born idea for the umpteenth time. I really didn't think I could make the story any better at that point, and i was and am, ecstatic that my book found a home.
  6. What are your favorite YA books overall? Recently?
    My favorite YA books over all are "Beastly" and "A Kiss In Time" by Alex Flinn, "The Moor Child" by Eloise McGraw, "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, "The Silver Kiss" and "Blood and Chocolate" by Annette Curtis Klause, "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater, and "Twilight" by Stephanie Meyer. It's a mix of recent titles and older ones, not always in that order.
  7. Favorite type of ice cream?
    My favorite ice cream is Blue Bell's Coffee ice cream, or their Dutch Chocolate. Either one.
Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.camp.shadowbled

Giveaway Information:



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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Until There Was You

Well this week has been full of ups and downs. My weekend was awesome, receiving the cover of Balancing Act as well as getting promoted to senior editor. Then the school week hit, and I was snowed under with work. I ended up working myself to exhaustion and getting sick. So I've been fuzzle-headed and dry-nosed for going on four days now. And it's not fun. But I've been around this block so many times it's sort of hard to care about a cold. Anyways, because I had so much work, I didn't get to read for pleasure until Thursday (cue gasping crowd). And yesterday while waiting at a hair salon, I finished off Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins.


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Retrieved from Goodreads
Posey Osterhagen was stood up at the prom by a jerk, but it was really Liam Murphy who broke her heart that night. But that was a long time ago. Posey now owns a successful architectural salvaging company, has a wonderful family, and a huge Great Dane to gamble around with. Then Liam moves back into town. Now a widower with a fifteen-year-old daughter, Liam is not the bad boy he used to be. Now he's a wildly overprotective parent and a bit OCD. Posey should stay away from the guy who broke her heart, but fate seems to have other ideas.

How many of Higgins' books have I reviewed now? 5? 6? So it will come as no surprise that I enjoyed Until There Was You (although I still can't figure out the reason behind the title). Higgins' books are light on raunch and heavy on secondary characters. I loved strolling through the different stories, watching the painfully awkward moments with family, and commiserating with Liam's daughter. I am the daughter of two highly protective parents. Of course, it has lessened with time, but I could totally understand Nicole's frustration with her father thinking that she's going to get knocked up and addicted just because she has a crush on a boy. Still, none of her books have replaced Too Good To Be True and Fools Rush In as my favorites. If you want a fun romp with some funny characters and some sweet romance, this is the book for you. Well, any of Higgins' books are, really.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Up Next: Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

News and Other Stuff

I'm in week three of my junior year of college, and it feels like it's been three weeks of dead week. Which is sort of how I felt most of junior year of high school. Pattern? I think so. Here's why it's been so busy: I had a book due this week for work, I'm in a reading-intensive history class (300 pages last week), an intensive poetry class, an oceanography class (which isn't really hard, but it still takes up time),and I've been trying to have a social life.

BUT I am not here today to complain. I am here to tell you all two awesome things that happened this weekend.

1) I received the cover of Balancing Act. I can't show it to you guys yet, but it is so beautiful and wonderful I want to cry. I had a hard time picturing a way in which multiple aspects of Callie's life could be portrayed on a cover, but the cover artists at Entranced just nailed it. I can't wait to show it to you all.

2) I was promoted from associate editor to senior editor at Entranced Publishing. There was a position open, I threw my name in the ring, did the editing test, and then spent the next week obsessively refreshing my email. As a senior editor I'll be doing content edits on books instead of line edits. I know I say it a lot, but so much has changed since last year. I was a line editor for eight months before getting this promotion, and looking back it's hard to believe it's been that long. I can't wait to start my new job.

That's about the extent of what I've been up to. Work, school, homework, and a bit of play. I hope to have a review for you by the end of the week. This one proves to be just as crazy as the last.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cover Reveal: Breakable by Aimee L. Salter


Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you all the cover of Aimee L. Salter's self-pubbed novel, Breakable. Breakable is a YA Magical Realism novel, and is set to be released on November 4th. It will be available for purchase on Amazon (kindle and paperback) and B&N (nook). Here you are!

When seventeen-year-old Stacy looks in the mirror she can see and talk to her future self. "Older Me" has been Stacy's secret support through the ongoing battle with their neurotic mother, relentless bullying at school, and dealing with her hopeless love for her best friend, Mark.

Then Stacy discovers Older Me is a liar.

Still reeling from that betrayal, Stacy buries herself in her art. But even that is taken from her when her most persistent tormentor uses her own work to humiliate her - and threaten her last chance with Mark.

Stacy's reached a breaking point.

Literally.

About the Author:

Aimee L. Salter is a Pacific North-Westerner who spent much of her young (and not-so-young) life in New Zealand. After picking up a Kiwi husband and son, she's recently returned to Oregon.

She writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, are still in touch with their inner-high schooler.

Aimee is the author behind Seeking the Write Life, a popular blog for writers at www.aimeelsalter.com. You can also find her on Twitter (www.twitter.com/@AimeeLSalter) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/AimeeLSalter). You can add Breakable to your to-read list on Goodreads at http://goodreads.com/book/show/18377058-breakable.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thirteen Reasons Why

Okay, I'm really late in reading this book. I've been hearing good things about it for years, but I hadn't picked it up. I'm still not sure why. But I ordered it a few weeks ago, and then a couple days ago I sat down and started to read. I was just going to read a few chapters before starting my vast amounts of homework (more for a later post). I ended up reading it in one sitting. Woops. Keep reading for why that happened.


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Retrieved from Goodreads
Two weeks ago Hannah committed suicide. Today, Clay comes home to find a package on his doorstep. Inside are 7 cassette tapes and a map of the town marked with stars. When he turns them on, he hears Hannah's voice. Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself, and Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why, and what the other twelve reasons are. Told from the two perspectives of Hannah's tapes and Clay, he discovers what led to the death of his classmate and crush.

This book. Oh my lord, where do I start? I thought the beginning was rather choppy, cutting out of the tapes to Clay's rather uninteresting actions. But then, somewhere along the way, I was hooked. I looked up and suddenly I was halfway through the book and didn't know how it happened. Hannah's story is compelling in that you know how it ends. You get to see her depression progress through her interactions with the thirteen people on her list. The snowball effect of small actions lead her to a dark place where she can't get out. And waiting to find out how Clay made this list made me keep flipping pages. I've read some reviews that state that they thought the reasons behind Hannah's death weren't enough in their opinion. That the people around her couldn't possibly be so stupid as to not realize she was in trouble. But that's why I liked this book. Hannah is not perfect. She is not the straight A student with everything going for her and a happy go lucky attitude. It's almost like she is more willing to accept death than life. And while that's definitely not a good thing, it made her more real in my eyes. To address the second part of the arguments, I would like to point out that people are essentially self centered. And people with depression and suicidal thoughts can be very good at hiding their pain. Combine these two, and I could see how Hannah's signs could be missed. Is it awful that all these people missed the signs? Absolutely. But it happens. It's not good, but it happens.

I loved this book. It made for a tiring next couple days because I had to catch up on work, but it was totally worth it.

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars
Up Next: Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce