Pages

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pawn

Pawn 
by Aimee Carter
The Blackcoat Rebellion, book one

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand. (Description from Goodreads.com

This book had me hooked from page one.  Aimee Carter set an immediately intense tone for the whole book, ratcheting up the suspense and basically never letting it drop.  Kitty's potential death was around every corner and I was amazed how fast I flew through this story! 

Kitty was a great character because even though her world was falling apart around her, she stands up for her beliefs.  She has strong morals and is willing to make sacrifices for them.  She's just the right mix of vulnerable and naive to help balance the strength, making her a very believable character.  I really liked seeing her assess what was important to the people around her and then making smart choices about how to trust and interact with them based on those observations. 

I liked the set up for the world, and though some elements felt familiar from other similarly conceptualized dystopians, the plot truly held me captivated.  I'm intrigued and looking forward to continuing the story with CAPTIVE in November!

Full disclosure: eARC from Netgalley 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore 
by Robin Sloan

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. (Description from Goodreads.com)

This was a great summer mystery.  Perfect for book lovers like me! There's an intriguing book store that literally houses thousands of one of a kind book, there are fabulously quirky characters on every page, and it feels as if you are solving a puzzle as you read Clay's forays into the secret world of the "Broken Spine."  I loved the juxtaposition between traditional paper books and the fabulous technologies of the present and  future. This book is very funny, but it also makes you think about a lot of things as you follow the mystery.  I highly recommend this title to any avid readers out there looking for a quick, fun summer read!  

Full disclosure: Borrowed from my Library 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blog Tour - How to Date Dead Guys guest post and a giveaway!










Today, I'm happy to be part of Ann Noser's blog tour for HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS. I did the cover reveal for the book back on June 2nd and today I'm super excited to give you all a little guest post from the author herself! 

First, some basic info about the book

College sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice: “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts”. But when charming Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters.

Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back. Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell. The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury. As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he isn't the only one.

Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a desperate victim determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand…at first. More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows. Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.


Now, some info about the author:

My to-do list dictates that I try to cram 48 hours of living into a day instead of the usual 24. I’ve chosen a life filled with animals. I train for marathons with my dog, then go to work as a small animal veterinarian, and finish the day by tripping over my pets as I attempt to convince my two unruly children that YES, it really IS time for bed. But I can’t wait until the house is quiet to write; I have to steal moments throughout the day. Ten minutes here, a half hour there, I live within my imagination.

Like all busy American mothers, I multi-task. I work out plot holes during runs. Instead of meditating, I type madly during yoga stretches. I find inspiration in everyday things: a beautiful smile, a heartbreaking song, or a newspaper article on a political theory. For example, a long drive in the dark listening to an NPR program on the SMILEY FACE MURDERS theory made me ask so many questions that I wrote HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS to answer them to my satisfaction.

I’d love to have more time to write (and run, read, and sleep), but until I find Hermione Granger’s time turner, I will juggle real life with the half-written stories in my head. Main characters and plot lines intertwine in my cranium, and I need to let my writing weave the tales on paper so I can find out what happens next.

Where you can find Ann Noser
Social Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

And, here's my guest post from author, Ann Noser!

THANK U

Do you remember the song "Thank U" by Alanis Morissette? Let me give you a hint—during her infamous music video she strolls naked around New York City. Fortunately for her, she had really long hair at the time. That's right, now you remember. But perhaps for all the wrong reasons. Because this blog isn't about nudity. Everybody will be keeping their clothes on-not sure if you'll be relieved or disappointed to hear that.

If you're not too distracted by the singer's nudity to listen to the beautiful, inspiring lyrics of the song, you might learn something about yourself.

This song encourages appreciation for both the good and the bad. That's not an easy thing to do. Personally, I'd rather hold a grudge.

"Bad times have a scientific value.
These are occasions a good learner would not miss."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Notice Emerson isn't saying "everything bad happens for a reason", because that discounts personal suffering as a necessary evil. I prefer to think of things this way:

"Sad things happen. They do.
But we don't need to live sad forever."
-Mattie Stepanek.

Our past may have stained us, left a residual melancholy. But accepting the past as a learning tool, and shedding any lingering disappointment, is healthier than dwelling on grief forever.

Here is my list (I encourage you to make your own):

1) THANK U for my failures, for they have humbled me and made me human.

2) THANK U for summer vacation (oh man, how I miss that) with absolutely no abilities in any sports activities whatsoever. I could blame it on poor vision, because I couldn't see the ball coming until it knocked me in the head and bowled me over. Or I could blame it on my ability to fall down when there's no bump in the road. But, either way, this lack of summer sports in my life left me much time to focus on reading.

3) THANK U for making me an only, lonely child, whose imaginary playmates lived on the written page. Yes, I had wonderful childhood friends, but they went home at night, deserted me to go on summer vacations, had sports activities to attend, etc. and their absence left me lonely…until I opened a book. Then I escaped the real world for something that, at times, seemed even better.

4) THANK U for my librarian mother. First she read me to sleep every night. Then she encouraged me to read books far above my level. I can't remember at which age I read GONE WITH THE WIND, but I recall needing a dictionary for almost every page. And I loved it. Isn't that fantastic?

5) THANK U…Oh dear, this one is hard. How can one be truly thankful for the miserable way I (and many others like me) were treated by vicious girls in junior high? I am thankful that at least people are talking about this now, admitting out loud that it's a problem. Schools actually have anti-bullying programs. I'm not commenting on how effective they are—that remains to be seen, and I'm sure it varies from school to school, but at least it's addressed as a real, legitimate problem. And for all you bullies out there—work on fixing the heartaches in your own lives, instead of ruining the lives of others. Because I still hold the belief that the bully is also unhappy, and that they take out their sorrow on those they perceive to be weaker than themselves. And perhaps I was an easy target.

At this point, you may be wondering how all this unusual appreciation ties in with my book, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS. Good question.

Writing this book brought me back to college, then back even further. My delving into Emma's character forced me to address my past. I infused her with all the insecurities I suffered at that age, due to an ego still bruised from bullies merged with the stubborn pride of a nerd. I needed to show that bullying affects the victim years after junior high or high school is over. Of equal importance are the prejudices the victim may unconsciously feel and need to overcome to become an unbiased adult.

HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS is Emma's story-not mine. Her life is one I didn't lead, but I had to give her a baseline to start from which I understood in order to determine what choices she would make given the tragedy she experiences.

Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour HERE and you can even enter to win a copy of the book...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally...where you can buy HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS: