Monday, February 27, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris

Monday, February 27, 2012 with
Labels:
We have a very special giveaway today to get y'all out of your Monday doldrums. We are giving away a copy of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris to celebrate it's release tomorrow!

Before we get to the part where you can enter, here's the blurb:
book cover
From the award-winning author of Letters from Home comes a poignant novel of love and courage, set against one of the most controversial episodes in American history: the aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern's life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo. Her brother's best friend, Lane is the handsome, ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from their families, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. In the eyes of a fearful nation, Lane is no longer just an outsider, but an enemy.

When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Juilliard ambitions. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.
Doesn't that sound fantastic? Cherry (my roommate and occasional guest review on this here blog LOVED it). As a bonus, the novel includes fantastic Asian-fusion recipes--some of which we are going to try making very soon!

To read an excerpt, reviews, the reading guide and more, stop by the Kristina's website. Bridge of Scarlet Leaves will be released at your favorite bookstore tomorrow! Look for Cherry's review of this novel next week.

I have one copy of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves to give away to one lucky reader! Please read the giveaway details and enter below. A big thank you to Kensington for sponsoring this giveaway.

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See our "Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Thank you for entering and good luck!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In Our Mailbox (56)

Sunday, February 26, 2012 with
I got a bunch of books I've dying to get my hands on in the last two weeks. I made a vlog this week.

Books Mentioned
Pure by Julianna Baggott
Until There was You by Kristan Higgins
The Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Trafficked by Kim Purcell (for review)
The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
Deadly Dance (A-Tac #5) by Dee Davis
Run from Fear by Jami Alden
(A big thank you to Pocket/Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Little Brown)

Leslie got a book too: The Rivals by Daisy Whitney (for review from Little, Brown)


What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Friday, February 24, 2012

book cover Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Release Date: February 1, 2012
ISBN: 9780316175678

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.


Michelle's Review:
I started hearing about The Snow Child late last year and as soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I had to get my hands on it and read it. After hearing the all early buzz about it, my expectations were high when I began reading it. I am happy to say I was not disappointed.

I love Mabel and Jack right from the beginning and I just felt for them. We are introduced to Mabel in the first few pages of the novel and the first few scenes were so heart-wrenching that I wanted to cry (I didn't but I had a lump in my throat). They were both still hurting from losing their newborn baby years ago. They both lonely but they can't talk to each other and were drifting apart. When Faina came along, she brought color back into their lives--but you had the feeling that she was not there to stay and she may bring heartbreak to Jack and Mabel which in turn will break your [the reader's] heart... because Jack and Mabel are wonderful people and I grew to care for them and wanted their happiness.

I never really truly connected with Faina's character for much of the book but I don't think the reader was meant to. I really liked how the author crafted her character. She was this mysterious, otherworldly creature of the forest and throughout the novel you are never really sure if she was a real flesh-and-blood girl or borne out of magic.

And, of course, I cannot end this review without mentioning the setting. The novel was set in Alaska where Jack and Mabel claimed a homestead. A lot of the book was set in the winter time and the beautiful imagery that came to my mind transported me to Jack and Mabel's Alaska in the 1920s so that it was like I was there in that beautiful but [at-times] harsh environment (and I have never seen snow in real-life).

The words that come to mind to describe The Snow Child: achingly beautiful, magical and heart-wrenching. The pacing of this book is on the slow side (it may not be for readers who prefer their books fast and action-packed) but this is a book to savor. It is hard to believe this is the author's debut novel--this book is simply exceptional. I am eager to read more from her. I recommend this book to everyone, especially to book clubs.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

As part of the Trafficked blog tour, Leslie and I are delighted to welcome author Kim Purcell today. Her guest post is titled "The Cage of Fear". Intriguing, no?

Trafficked is about a 17-year-old Moldovan girl whose parents have been killed is brought to the United States to work as a slave for a family in Los Angeles.

Take it away, Kim...

Almost ten years ago, I was reading the newspaper and a story caught my eye. It was about a girl who was kept as a modern-day domestic slave in America. The article estimated that thousands of people were kept in people’s homes as slaves in America. It happened everywhere, in over 90 cities in America. In many cases, it happened in immigrant homes because they had the connections to bring girls from their countries.

There had been a lot of talk about people being brought over and used as prostitutes, which was horrifying, but seemed so separate from my own life. It was easier to ignore. But now I thought about my own neighborhood in Hollywood. My neighbor had a young woman living with them, cleaning and taking care of the kids. How did I know she wasn’t being kept as a slave?

As I read more, I learned that the girl in the article had many chances to escape. Neighbors saw her. She could have walked up to them and asked for help, yet she didn’t. I needed to know why.

At the time, I was teaching English as a Second Language part-time while working on another novel. I loved my students and thought about how horrible it would be if one of them found themselves enslaved in someone’s home. Would they ask for help? Or would they just stay in the horrible situation, hoping it wouldn’t get any worse?

After doing more research on the topic, I found that in every case, the girls had the possibility to escape at various times and they chose not to because they were afraid. They had good reasons. In all cases, the traffickers had physically and/or sexually abused them to keep them afraid. Often, the traffickers had threatened to hurt their families back home if the girls escaped. The girls also feared America itself. They feared they’d be sent to jail for entering the country illegally. They didn’t know where they’d stay or how they’d eat if they left. They feared people would find out what had happened to them and they felt ashamed.

I saw that modern-day slaves weren’t different from any of us who fail to do something because we’re afraid. We all build boxes around ourselves, limits, and say this is as far as we can go. This concept was what eventually made me drop my other novel and work on this one. I wanted to explore the concept of fear and how one overcomes it in the context of modern-day slavery. I felt that it was a metaphor for all of us. We limit ourselves every time we don’t speak up when someone treats us cruelly, every time we say we’re not good enough to do something we want to do, every time we say, “I can’t.” I thought that maybe if I could guide a modern-day slave to find a way out, as some of them do, that maybe I could find a way for anyone to get beyond fear, including myself.

This was the beginning of TRAFFICKED.

*******
A big thanks to Kim for stopping by our blog today. To learn more about Kim and her books, check out her website, follow her on Twitter and friend her on Facebook.

GIVEAWAY: To enter, please read the rules on the form carefully and just fill it out below:

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

Enter ONCE. Entrants who purposely fill out the form more than once will be disqualified.
(If you want extra entries, you can leave a comment and/or share the giveaway link.)


IMPORTANT: See our "Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Thank you for entering and good luck!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why Michelle covets this book: It's written by Kody Keplinger. I will read everything she writes. Her two previous novels, The Duff and Shut Out, have both been winners for me.

A Midsummer's Nightmare is going to be the perfect summer read come June! So excited!!!


book coverA Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
(released June 5, 2012)
Whitley Johnsons dream summer with her divorce dad has turned into a nightmare. She’s just met his new fiancee and her kids. The fiancee’s son? Whitley’s one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin’ great.

Worse, she totally doesn’t fit in with her dad’s perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn’t even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she’s ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn’t “do” friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn’t her stepbrother... at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger’s most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.
For more info about Kody Keplinger and her books, visit her website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.


What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.


"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here. It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

After our two-week book blogging hiatus, we are very happy to be back. Today, we have a special treat for you all...

We are back with an interview with author Julianna Baggott and a giveaway of her new book, Pure! It recently came out earlier this month and it's been getting quite a bit of buzz. But before we start the interview, here's the synopsis of Pure:
book cover
We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Hi Ms. Baggott! Tell us a random thing about yourself.
I am the approximate height of former President James Madison -- a mere 5'4"

4 things readers will learn from reading Pure.
There's beauty in ash. The desire to create is an enduring human one. Post-apocalypse, people still fall in love. Dystopian fiction is as much about hope as anything else.

3 things that make you laugh out loud or make you happy.
Jon Stewart, the novelist Rainbow Rowell, my kids/husband doing impersonations

2 favorite characters to write in Pure and why?
I can't pick the two most obvious, Partridge and Pressia -- so I'll go with Lyda and El Capitan, who surprise endlessly.

1 favorite scene in Pure.
I can't say more than that it involves Helmud. If you've read that far, you'll know.

*******
A big thanks to Julianna Baggott for answering our questions. To learn more about Julianna and her books, check out her website and follow her on Twitter. To find out more about Pure, visit its website.

GIVEAWAY: To enter, please read the rules on the form carefully and just fill it out below:

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

Enter ONCE. Entrants who purposely fill out the form more than once will be disqualified.
(If you want extra entries, you can leave a comment and/or share the giveaway link.)


IMPORTANT: See our "Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Thank you for entering and good luck!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

book cover Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Adams Media
Release Date: January 15, 2012
ISBN: 978-1440527548

Source of my copy: FSB Media
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
As a little kid, a boy would pinch the girl he liked. As a grown-up, Mark Svartz plans her ultimate demise through a number of twisted murder plots that involve lead pipes, escape routes, and David Hasselhoff. Some guys never grow up.
This book chronicles the eight months, sixteen days, and some-odd hours since Mark first laid eyes on the despicable, wretched wench he's destined to fight to the death. Every note, thought, IM, email, Post-It, and craigslist ad looking for a crime-scene clean-up is meticulously catalogued in Mark's journal.
Is it a diary of a mad man? Or a man madly in love? Who cares? It's seriously messed up. And seriously funny.


Cherry's Review:
After reading this book, I thought it was just okay but now that I think about it, it really wasn't! It's more than "just okay." This book was pretty twisted in a fun way. It described Mark Svartz's plan to fight Kelly Donahue to the death and he just met her! It's full of ridiculous plans to kill her, absurd details about her, and lots of illustrations! It was soooo silly but it was pretty amusing. At first, I thought Mark was a 10-year-old boy because young boys usually hate girls they like, so I was surprised to find that Mark was an adult!

This book is an easy read. I read it in about an hour and I couldn't put it down! I had to see if he was really going to fight her! I really wanted Kelly to win just to mess up Mark's months of planning!

This book also had a simple plot with such complicated characters even though there were only two of them! Despite this, I was totally surprised with how it ended and I think a lot of you will be too. If you need want something different from the usual young adult or even adult love stories, read this. You won't regret it! This book is freakin' awesome.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

In My Mailbox (55)

Sunday, February 5, 2012 with
It was a pretty good week in books for me.

Review Book
Pure by Julianna Baggott
A big thanks to Dana and Grand Central for sending Pure and for scaring the bejesus out of me when the blue [windup] butterfly flew out. It was indeed a surprise. :D

Birthday Book
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
It was my 25th birthday on Groundhog Day so, as I do every year, I treated myself to a new book.

Fun Swag
Signed Slide bookmark
The Way We Fall bookmark & signed bookplate
Cinder bookmarks and stickers, signed Poseidon bookmark & signed bookplate
(Thank you to Jill Hathaway, Megan Crewe and Marissa Meyer!)

Adult Books
I Hate You, Kelly Donahue by Mark Svartz (for review)
I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Enraptured by Elisabeth Naughton (for review)
(Thank you to FSB Media, Random House and Sourcebooks!)


What did you guys get in your mailbox?

inourmailbox
"In My Mailbox" is a weekly event that gives book bloggers a chance share with each other what books got added to their to-be-read pile for the week. It was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Forever's Paranormal Blog Tour GIVEAWAY

Thursday, February 2, 2012 with
I am so excited for our blog to be part of Forever's Paranormal [Romance] Blog Tour, featuring two fantastic romances. Before we get to entering the giveaway, check out the two books you can win.

First up is Firelight by Kristen Callihan and I just love the awesome cover! Firelight is a gothic retelling of Beauty and the Beast and the first book in the Darkest London series.
book cover
London, 1881

Once the flames are ignited . . .
Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity . . .
Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.
You can read an excerpt of Firelight here. For more information about the Darkest London series, stop by Kristen's website. Up next is Kendra Leigh Castle's Midnight Reckoning, book 2 in the Dark Dynasties series (but it can be read as a stand alone).

book cover
Two separate worlds ... One passion that binds them

Wild and passionate by nature, Lyra Black is not just any werewolf. She's the future leader of the powerful pack of the Thorn - if she can stay alive long enough to inherit the title.

One of the Cait Sith bloodline of vampire cat-shifters, Jaden Harrison has no interest in the wars plaguing the world of night. But when he rescues Lyra from a violent attack, they're both captured by an insatiable desire that threatens to overwhelm them and bind them together for eternity... just as ancient enemies prepare to strike. And when they do, the Thorn and the Cait Sith - and Lyra and Jaden's love - may never recover from the deadly blow...
For more information about the Dark Dynasties series and Kendra Leigh Castle, check out her website.

I have two sets (which includes a copy of Firelight and Midnight Reckoning) and that means TWO (2) winners! Please read the giveaway details and just enter below. A big thank you to Forever and Jillian for sponsoring this giveaway

This giveaway ends February 16, 2012.


Click HERE if you cannot see the form above. Good luck everyone!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

As part of the Fracture blog tour, Leslie and I are delighted to welcome author Megan Miranda today. Her debut novel is the dark, psychological thriller young adult Fracture.

book cover
Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine--despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.
Check out my review here. You can also click on the Fracture cover on the right (or HERE) to read chapters 1 and 2.

You have a science background. Did you have any unusual or little known science facts that you wished you'd somehow included in Fracture but couldn't find a logical way to add it in?
I would’ve loved for Delaney to spend a few chapters reading about all the rare brain disorders, but that wasn’t really relevant to the story at all. And it was probably only interesting to me J

If you can hang-out with one of your characters in Fracture for a day in your hometown where would you go and what would you do together?
Oh, this would be kind of awkward…. But we’d spend the day on the lake J Except we’re not in Maine, and it doesn’t freeze. This is how my family and I spend our free-time: out on the lake…either tubing, swimming, or just hanging out. Not sure if this would go over so well with the characters from Fracture!

What was the most challenging scene or part to write in Fracture and were you happy with what was in the final novel?
There were 2 scenes that were pretty painful to write, but they’re also two of the scenes I’m most happy with in the novel. I’m completely happy with everything that made it into the final version of Fracture, including those scenes. Without spoilers, they are the scenes that a) happen just outside of a car (no, not that one, the other one), and b) take place in the aftermath.

If you can mash-up Fracture with another YA novel, what novel would it be and would the characters get along?
I adored the book I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. I spent a good portion of that novel wondering what was going on and wondering what Ed was supposed to be doing with the cards he was sent (which each came with a time and location) – I think Ed and Delaney (and Decker) would have a lot to talk about, and would hopefully help each other find some meaning under it all.

*******
A big thanks to Megan for answering our questions. To learn more about Megan and her books, check out her website, follow her on Twitter and friend her on Facebook. Also, check out the Fracture book trailer:

Don't forget to pick up Fracture at your favorite book store! :D
Why Michelle covets this book: I loved Flynn Meaney's hilarious debut novel Bloodthristy (read my review HERE) and I am very excited to read her sophomore novel. I also love funny contemporary YA novels. The Boy Recession seems like a winner!


book coverThe Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney
(released August 7, 2012)
Where have all the boys gone?

Down-to-earth oboe-player Kelly is always the friend and never the girlfriend. But as her junior year of high school starts, Kelly is determined to finally reveal her true feelings for her long-time crush and good friend Hunter - that is, until the Boy Recession hits.

Over the past summer, an overwhelming number of male students have left Kelly and Hunter's small high school class. Some were sent to private school and others moved away. Whatever the case, the sudden population shift has left the already small Julius P. Heil High in desperate shape. The football coach is recruiting chess champs for his team, the principal's importing male exchange students to balance out school dances,and Hunter is about to become an unexpected heartthrob.

Content with his role as the guitar-strumming, class-skipping slacker, Hunter is unprepared to be the center of attention. Desperate coaches are recruiting him for sports teams, and the drama teacher casts him in the lead role of the school musical. Even the Spandexers, powerful popular girls in tight pants, are noticing Hunter in a new light - with a little work, he could have potential. He might even be boyfriend material...

In order to stand out from the crowd and win Hunter's heart, Kelly needs a "stimulus package" in the form of cougar lessons from a senior girl who dates hot freshman boys and advice on the male mind from her Cosmo-addicted best friend, Aviva. As if dating wasn't hard enough without a four-to-one ratio!

For more info about Flynn Meaney and her books, visit her website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.


What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.


"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here. It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!