"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, March 30, 2012

Set your goals high!

And don't give up until you are DONE!



Hope you all have a productive and happy weekend :)

Five on a Friday!

It's that time again, and seriously, where have the last three weeks gone? Oh, yeah, I was busy revising (which in part explains why I have been somewhat lax on the blogging front). But it's not just the blogging. It's the laundry and the reading (I have not read a book in 3 weeks!) and the Wizard 101 playing. But it's now time to right all that, and on Sunday afternoon, all I plan to do is eat popcorn and play Wizard 101. I'm level 45 now, but I'm angling for Level 47 :)

Anyway, on to the five...

1) I'm not sure about the young or the haute part, but Saturday evening I will be featured as one of the Top Ten Haute Authors at the Friends of the SMU Libraries Table of Contents Fundraising Event (black tie optional!). I get to put on a fancy dress and talk about books all evening! Serious, how much fun is that?


My kids' reactions?

My 10yo son: Don't tell them how old you are.
My 7yo daughter: Mommy, you are totally hot. You get prettier and hotter every day. <3
My 10yo son: What she said is true. Seriously.

This is why I love my kids :)
Look for an update on the event next week!


2) I mentioned I haven't read anything is 3 weeks. It's a crazy place to be. But up next on my reading is...

BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore (Dial, May 1, 2012)


Yes, I have an ARC. Yes, I could probably be convinced to do a giveaway of said ARC :)


3) The sign of a good audiobook? When you listen to the book for all 28 hours, and then, as soon as you finish, you immediately download the 45 hour sequel and start listening to it. Review will be coming, but the book is...

THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss (DAW, 2007)


Yeah, it is that good.


4) Spring gets me in the mood for...
Planting and fixing up the house and TLA and...writing retreats! And I have a great one in the works! I cannot wait :)



5) So what have I been consistent about in the last three weeks (besides revisions)?

Kung Fu

I didn't even realize this until my husband pointed it out, but it's completely a part of my weekly routine, and unless I'm sick or out of town, I don't miss. Because what better way is there to release life's frustrations than to go kick and punch stuff and pretend you are cutting the heads off of zombies? :)

big weapons are better!

Hope your weekend is great!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo

I admit it. I'm a sucker for exactly this kind of book. So when it came delivered to my door in a really pretty package, and I read the cover copy and the personalized note inside, I had to read the book RIGHT AWAY! :)

SHADOW AND BONE (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo (Holt, June 5, 2012)


As seems to have become my standard, I'm going to give you five reasons why you should pre-order this book right now!

1) I couldn't put this book down! From start to finish, the story flowed so well, I hardly remembered I was reading. It kept me up until 2:00 in the morning, and even after I finished, I wished I had book 2 right there waiting! Le sigh. Now I have to wait an entire year!


2) I adore the completely Russian feel to the story. I've always been a sucker for stories involving the cold winters and warm coats and beautiful gala dances of this culture. And the white stag just felt so magical and perfect and was such a rich and wonderful addition.


3) I loved the masks the characters wore in this story. No one was quite who they seemed to be, and even as reveals were made, I was still left wondering what I could believe to be true. It's hard to pull off a reveal and not have it be telegraphed way ahead of time, but Leigh manages to completely make this work.


4) The idea of a girl coming from nothing and having an amazing opportunity presented to her that promises to change her life is not uncommon. But SHADOW AND BONE puts a new twist on this idea, and even when the main character, Alina, is given everything she could imagine, she still has to figure out who she truly is on the inside. I loved watching her struggle with what she wanted versus what she knew her responsibilities were.


5) In short... This book has it all. Magic. Forbidden romance. A completely well-done love triangle. Mystery and secrets. SHADOW AND BONE is a beautifully told story from a great new author and will leave you craving more!

Highly recommended for fans of rich fantasy and romance, seventh grade and up.


Comparable titles:
GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor
GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers

Source of book: Sent by publisher



From Amazon:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

Lucky Leprechaun Winner!

Thank you to all who entered the LUCKY LEPRECHAUN GIVEAWAY HOP hosted by Inspired Kathy at I am a Reader, Not a Writer. It's great to see so many new faces over here!

The winner of the ARC of

ASHFALL by Mike Mullin (Tanglewood, September 27, 2011)


is...
Vickie Reljin!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Five on a Friday...

Happy Friday! Here's my five!

1) I hope at least some of you got out to see THE HUNGER GAMES movie last night at midnight! I hope it was awesome! I'm planning on going on Friday, April 6th with the fifth grade boys' book club I run. (Yes, I think HUNGER GAMES is okay for fifth grade.) I did mention how they all loved it, right? When we go to the movie, I'm going to suggest we all fast for 24 hours beforehand :)

And can I say BEST SHIRTWOOT EVER!

(picture totally from shirt woot, and I'm only using it to get you to buy the shirt!)

You can order yours from Shirt Woot!


2) In the first of two t-shirt sites I want to mention...
My awesome friend, Debbie Goff, has started up a t-shirt design company with all things Zen in mind. From the company's description...

"The Horizen t-shirt line was inspired by that feeling you have when you are on vacation or after a deep meditation when you are able to attain peace of mind. When you can kick back, relax, and simply enjoy life. Some people get this feeling by doing what they love to do or by doing what inspires them. We are in the start up phase of our company and look forward to sharing our designs with you as we grow."


***

In the second of the t-shirt sites, I want to mention

GONE READING: BRILLIANT PRODUCTS FOR THE WRITING LIFESTYLE

They have a fantastic array of t-shirts that are perfect for readers, writers, librarians, or anyone who just loves books. I personally have my eye on this one...




3) If you're looking for plans tomorrow afternoon (Saturday at 2:00 pm), head to BookPeople here in Austin, TX. Greg Leitich Smith will be celebrating the release of his newest book, THE CHRONAL ENGINE (Clarion, March 20, 2012).

The program will include an author presentation and dinosaur cookies, cupcakes, and other refreshments. Be there!




4) I've received THE SUNSHINE AWARD recently, namely from Meghan Kirkland and Tabitha Olson. Thank you! I'm kind of horrible about actually doing these in response, but here goes...

Favorite color: RED
Favorite animal: ELEPHANT
Favorite number: 4 or 13 (both unlucky in certain cultures but very lucky to me :) )
Favorite non-alcoholic drink: COFFEE. BLACK. HOT
Facebook or Twitter: FACEBOOK
My passion: WIZARD101 (currently). WRITING. DISNEYWORLD.
Getting or giving presents: GIVING (to my kids). GETTING (from others)
Favorite pattern: POWERS OF TWO...2, 4, 8, 16...
Favorite day of the week: I LOVE EVERY ONE!
Favorite flower: DAFFODIL

I will do a global pass-on for this one. Please consider continuing the chain!


5) What am I reading now? Absolutely NOTHING! Which is bizarre. But I am buried deep deep deep in revisions, and I can't quite bring myself to open another book. But there is an end in sight, and I'm reaching it.


Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer A. Nielsen

I snagged this ARC at ALA Midwinter after agent Tricia Lawrence (not the agent who sold it, but at the same agency, EMLA) talked about how amazing it was and what a huge hit it was going to be.

THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic, April 1, 2012)


So, a friend read the book, and then another friend read the book, and both told me how amazing it was. And so first, I passed it to my son (10 years old) to read who gave it a huge stamp of approval. And as it worked out, the Scholastic Book Fair had copies early (whoot!), so I got enough for the fifth grade boys' book club I run, and it became our March read.

Our meeting isn't for a couple weeks, so I can't give you complete feedback on what they think yet, but I have read it myself now, and I've also talked to some of them ahead of time. And with that in mind, I'll give you...

...five reason why you have to read THE FALSE PRINCE!

1) You've been searching for a fun middle grade book. Okay, this is it. THE FALSE PRINCE is witty and charming and sure to have you cheering the whole way through. And talk about hard to put down. Once I hit the half-way point, there was no way I was going to bed. I had to know what was going to happen!

2) You love to root for an underdog! Sage is a character worth caring about. He's charming and sympathetic, and real, and I have a total sweet spot for him in my heart.

3) You love a happy ending. I mean, sure, the book is not all sunshine and roses. Things happen, and people are sad and lonely. But the ending rocks. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

4) You're trying to inspire a kid to read. I've had boys from the book club begging me to have the meeting sooner so we could talk about this book because they enjoyed it so much. I love that!

5) You love the rich feel of a high fantasy mixed with a fresh voice. You know everybody in kingdoms didn't talk all fancy and stuff. And you want to just be able to relate.

The consensus? This book is not to be missed! The boys loved it. Their sisters loved it. I loved it. And as far as middle grade goes, it doesn't get much better than this!

Highly recommended! And I'll go with 4th grade and up for this one.




Source of book: From publisher at ALA Midwinter



From Amazon:

THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

Nogical Love!

Hey! Hope your Tuesday is great!
I wanted to share a couple of darling Nogicals I received from kids at the last author visit I did.


I am totally digging the big ears on this one!


I love how the Nogical is wearing his "Nogicals Rule" shirt (just like I did for the author visit)!

Monday, March 19, 2012

THE IRON WITCH and THE WOOD QUEEN Winner!

Thank you go everyone who entered to win! The winner of

THE IRON WITCH by Karen Mahoney (Flux, February 8, 2011)

and its sequel...

THE WOOD QUEEN by Karen Mahoney (Flux, February 8, 2012)


is...

Savannah Sullivan!

*****

And don't forget I'm also giving away:
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

ASHFALL by Mike Mullin (Tanglewood, September 27, 2011)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lucky Leprechaun Hop—ASHFALL by Mike Mullin

I'm thrilled to be participating in the LUCKY LEPRECHAUN GIVEAWAY HOP hosted by Inspired Kathy at I am a Reader, Not a Writer. It's simple. Lots of blogs. Lots of giveaways. Visit them all, and you're bound to win something. The odds are totally in your favor.


To enter other awesome contests, visit all the blogs listed on I am a Reader, Not a Writer!

***

Today, up for giveaway is an ARC of

ASHFALL by Mike Mullin (Tanglewood, September 27, 2011)


I loved this book! You can read my review here!

From Amazon:

Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don't realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the Earth forever.

Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when the supervolcano erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.

Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait--to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.

With nonstop action, a little romance, and realistic science, debut author Mike Mullin tells a mesmerizing story. Readers will turn Ashfall's pages breathlessly, and continue to ponder Alex and Darla's fate long after they close the book.


*****

It's easy to win! Two things to note...

1) This giveaway is open until 12:01 am on March 23, 2012
2) Contest is US and Canada only!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

To enter other awesome contests, visit all the blogs listed on I am a Reader, Not a Writer!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DEAR TEEN ME!

I'm am so thrilled about this upcoming anthology for two really great reasons.

DEAR TEEN ME edited by Miranda Kenneally and E. Kristin Anderson (Zest, November 2012)


1) One of my very dear friends is E. Kristin Anderson, and I am so happy for her and this amazing anthology. I was with her at THE PLACE the very day she got the idea to start the Dear Teen Me blog.

2) I'm a contributor! Yes, I have written a letter to my Dear Teen self, and in November 2012, it will be shared with the world!


ADD IT TO GOODREADS RIGHT NOW!

PRE-ORDER IT FROM AMAZON OR BOOKS-A-MILLION!

***

What is DEAR TEEN ME?

Here's the description from Amazon:

Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends--and a lot of familiar faces--in the course of Dear Teen Me.

***

And who else, besides me, has written a letter for DEAR TEEN ME?

I'm going to give you the whole list along with titles for each of their pieces...

1. E. Kristin Anderson—Want. Take. Have

2. Jessica LeeAnderson—Contents Under Pressure

3. Tom Angleberger—Shhhhhh!

4. Sean Beaudoin—Frame Me and Nail Me to the Wall

5. CharlesBenoit—Reinventing Me

6. Robin Benway—9 Things You Need to Know

7. Ilsa J. Bick—The Knife

8. Marke Bieschke—Dance Dance Revolution

9. Joseph Bruchac—First Kiss . . .ish

10. Jessica Burkhart—Trust Is as Important as Love

11. Josh A. Cagan—Thank You, Oily Pizza

12. Riley Carney—Nothing’s Impossible

13. Tera Lynn Childs—The Future Isn’t Everything

14. Jessica Corra—The Principal’s Office

15. Heather Davis—Raising Me

16. Daniel Ehrenhaft—Getting Stood Up

17. Laura EllenLosing Your Sight Shouldn’t Mean Losing Your Rights

18. Beth Fantaskey—I Hope You Dance—to the Theme from Bonanza

19. Caridad Ferrer—Jekyll & Hyde

20. Michael Griffo—Be Honest with Yourself

21. Janet Gurtler—The Skinny Girl

22. Kersten Hamilton—It’s About to Get Worse

23. Bethany Hegedus—Going All the Way

24. Geoff Herbach—You Are the Electric Boogaloo

25. Faith Erin Hicks—No Calls from Spielberg Yet

26. Nancy Holder—When Dance Was Your World

27. K. A. Holt—Lois Lowry and the Space-Time Continuum vs. Boys

28. P. J. Hoover—Seeping Through the Cracks

29. Ellen Hopkins—Finding Your Voice

30. Stacey Jay—Who Needs Luck?

31. Carrie Jones—Seizures

32. Mike Jung—Regarding Your Commendable Decision to Live

33. Stasia WardKehoe—Getting Past the Fear

34. Tara Kelly—Bad Girl

35. Miranda Kenneally—Pick Up the Phone and Call Him Back. Right. Now.

36. Stephanie Kuehnert—He Broke More Than Your Heart

37. Mary Lindsey—Hope Until the Last Second

38. Nikki Loftin—The Ramifications of Mouthing Off to Cute Boys

39. Katherine Longshore—The Best Days of Our Lives? Really?

40. Ken Lowery—Winging It

41. Kekla Magoon—The Balancing Act

42. Mari Mancusi—What the Bully Stole

43. Gretchen McNeil—All the World’s a Stage

44. Jodi Meadows—The Pursuit of (Moments of) Happiness

45. Saundra Mitchell—This Is Not Your Story

46. Hannah Moskowitz—Get Better

47. Jenny Moss—What I Really Want

48. Sarah Ockler—Dancing with the Dead

49. Lauren Oliver & Elizabeth Miles—Best Friends Forever (for Real)

50. Stephanie Pellegrin—Just Be Yourself

51. Mitali Perkins—First Kiss

52. Cheryl Rainfield—Keep Hold of Your Strength

53. Dave Roman—Special Delivery from Your Excellent Future

54. Jess Rothenberg—Stop Obsessing, Kiss That Guy, and Party Like It’s 1999

55. Jennifer Rush—All Roads Lead Somewhere

56. Amy Kathleen Ryan—Smile!

57. Tom Ryan—Sing It Out

58. Leila Sales—I’m Not Going to Give You Any Good Advice

59. Cynthia Leitich Smith— Friends in Dark Places

60. JessicaSpotswood—Finding Him

61. Erika Stalder—Boys, Boys, Boys…

62. Rhonda Stapleton—Chunky

63. Mariko Tamaki—Keeping Quiet

64. Don Tate—Stolen Jeans, Smoke Rings, and Self-Esteem

65. Melissa Walker—You’re So Right But So Wrong

66. Tracy White—100% True, Guaranteed

67. Jo Whittemore—All Kinds of Sexy

68. Sara Zarr—What Is a Friend?

69. Jennifer Ziegler—Facing Facts: Makeovers Don’t Change a Thing

HUNGER MOUNTAIN: The VCFA Journal of the Arts


I am honored to be featured in HUNGER MOUNTAIN, the VCFA Journal of the Arts. Please stop by, read, and comment if you get a chance! And thank you guys for all your continued support :)


Monday, March 12, 2012

EARTHSEED by Pamela Sargent

This book first came out way back in the 80s (1983 I think, but I'm not exactly sure of the date), and sure, at the time, I wasn't reading YA because I was more stuck in that infinite Nancy Drew/Trixie Beldon loop. So I never heard of it and totally missed it. But now it's been re-released (and optioned for film by Paramount), and I was thrilled to get a copy after hearing it pitched at ALA Midwinter.

EARTHSEED by Pamela Sargent (Tor Teen, February 28, 2012)


What did I love about EARTHSEED?

1) Okay, it was written quite a while back, but even with that, it felt fresh. The science and emotions and adventure totally fit into today's young adult market. I'm actually awed at how well the author managed to do that.

2) It's like space and THE HUNGER GAMES all blended into one. These kids are on board a spaceship, but then they need to make sure they can survive on their own. And so they go to this part of the ship where it's like the outdoors. And it's so cool because I got just an amazing sense for how huge this ship had to be for this to happen.

3) The range of emotions these teens go through is vast (even bigger than the ship). Because when it comes right down to it, these are teens even though they have to learn to live on their own. And as teens, they have these crazy thoughts and emotions and do the most impulsive things. Even if you put the science fiction part of this novel aside, these characters are real and worth caring about.

4) Did I mention the author has won both the Nebula and Locus award?

5) A final thing that really makes EARTHSEED stand out among other YA books out there is the diversity. This ship has seeded people from everywhere on Earth, because in starting a new Earth on other planets, all races need to be represented, and I love how simply this is accomplished. Diversity at its best!

In short, I loved this book! EARTHSEED has it all, and the author has crafted a beautiful story of teens discovering who they are while facing the challenges of living in the real world with no one to guide them but themselves.

Highly recommended for girls and boys, seventh grade and up, fans of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, THE HUNGER GAMES, and GLOW.

Source of book: From publisher

From Amazon:

The classic YA science fiction adventure by Nebula and Locus Award–winning author Pamela Sargent

The ship hurtles through space. Deep within its core, it carries the seed of humankind. Launched by the people of a dying Earth over a century ago, its mission is to find a habitable world for the children—fifteen-year-old Zoheret and her shipmates—whom it has created from its genetic banks.

To Zoheret and her shipmates, Ship has been mother, father, and loving teacher, preparing them for their biggest challenge: to survive on their own, on an uninhabited planet, without Ship’s protection. Now that day is almost upon them...but are they ready to leave Ship? Ship devises a test. And suddenly, instincts that have been latent for over a hundred years take over. Zoheret watches as friends become strangers—and enemies. Can Zoheret and her companions overcome the biggest obstacle to the survival of the human race—themselves?

INVISIBLE SUN Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered to win! This is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year. And I also have to mention that I am loving Rafflecopter for organizing the entries!

Okay, the winner of

INVISIBLE SUN by David Macinnis Gill (Greenwillow, March 27, 2011)


is...

LEANNESSF!

***

And don't forget I'm also giving away
(CLICK HERE TO ENTER!)

THE IRON WITCH by Karen Mahoney (Flux, February 8, 2011)

and its sequel...

THE WOOD QUEEN by Karen Mahoney (Flux, February 8, 2012)



Wednesday, March 07, 2012

SXSW Panel: Future of Publishing

This Friday...

1) If you will be in the Austin area, and...
2) Are interested in books and publishing,

Don't miss the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference, all day Friday, downtown!

And yes, yours truly will be on a panel sponsored by the Texas Book Festival. Please come see me! :)

*****



*****

Here's the official blurb for the Friday conference as sent out by the Texas Book Festival:

Join us For a Future of Publishing Conference as SXSW Begins

Mini TOC Austin is a one day event of conversation focusing on Austin's thriving publishing, tech, and bookish-arts community.

This conference provides an opportunity for publishing and tech luminaries from Austin and around the globe to share how they are forging ahead in the publishing/tech/content space. The best and brightest of Austin (and SXSW's) art, business, craft, and technology community will be gathered for a day of collaboration and connecting around their shared love of the bookish.

The Festival’s literary director, Clay Smith, will moderate a panel titled “The DI(Almost)Y Author Marketing Platform” with writers Owen Egerton, P.J. Hoover, Jeff Potter, and Amanda Eyre Ward from 11:30am-12:10pm and will participate on a panel with writer Neal Pollack and journalist Ed Nawotka in the “What We Talk about When We Talk about Publishing” panel from 12:50-1:30.

When:
Friday, March 9, 2012 from 9:30am-5:30pm

Where:
St. David's Episcopal Church (map)
301 E. 8th Street
Austin, TX 78701

See you there!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

THE IRON WITCH and THE WOOD QUEEN Giveaway

Up for giveaway today are two amazing books by one amazing author!

THE IRON WITCH by Karen Mahoney (Flux, February 8, 2011)

and its sequel...

THE WOOD QUEEN by Karen Mahoney (Flux, February 8, 2012)




I was thrilled to review THE IRON WITCH last year on my blog and for New Age Retailer! (And trust me, it is an awesome book.) Now you can win both THE IRON WITCH and its amazing sequel THE WOOD QUEEN!

From Amazon (for THE IRON WITCH):

When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed Donna Underwood’s father and drove her mother mad. Her own nearly fatal injuries were fixed by alchemy—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. Now seventeen, Donna feels like a freak, doomed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. Only her relationship with her best friend, Navin, is keeping her sane.

But when vicious wood elves abduct Navin, Donna is forced to accept her role in the centuries-old war between human alchemists and these darkest outcasts of Faerie. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous guy with faery blood running through his veins and secrets of his own, Donna races to save Navin—even if it means betraying everything her parents fought to the death to protect.


From Amazon (for THE WOOD QUEEN):

"The wood monster is dead. I know this is true because I killed it. And yet my dreams are still full of fear and pain . . ."

To keep her best friend, Navin, from being killed at the hands of vicious wood elves, Donna Underwood stole the elixir of life. Now she’s facing an alchemist tribunal while her mother lies dying, succumbing to the elven curse that shattered her mind. In desperation, Donna seeks an audience with Aliette, the fierce and manipulative Wood Queen, who offers a deal: if Donna can use her strange and burgeoning powers to help the wood elves, Aliette will free her mother from the curse. Along with Navin and Xan, the half-fey guy she’s falling for, Donna struggles to unlock the secrets of her iron tattoos in time to save her mother’s life. But some secrets are better left untold.


Source of books: From publisher at ALA Midwinter



***

Now for your chance to win both of these amazing books! It's easy! Two things to note...

1) This giveaway is open until 12:01 am on March 17, 2012
2) Contest is US and Canada only!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Monday, March 05, 2012

STARTERS by Lissa Price

There are books I enjoy reading, and then there are books I love. I'd been hearing so much hype for this one that I had to move it to the top of the TBR list. And I'm thrilled that once I finished, this wound up in the "books I love" category.

STARTERS by Lissa Price (Delacorte, March 13, 2012)


Okay, you're probably sitting there wondering what makes this book different from other dystopian novels out there. And if this is the case, I'm going to give you five reasons why this should be the book you definitely decide to pick up.

1) I found myself forgetting I was reading. (okay, I know this sounds weird. I'll explain). As a writer, lots of times when I read, I know I am reading. I am not lost in the story. But with STARTERS the writing was super clean. I forgot the fact that I was actually reading a book, and I got lost in the story. I love when this happens. Very nicely done!

2) The characters were worth caring about. The main character, Callie, had already been through losing her parents at the start of the story, but she still had a younger brother to take care of. And yes, there is nothing like younger children in danger to really up the stakes in a story. (but it's not a scary thing, so don't let this dissuade you.)

3) I have to mention to cover. It's so haunting (sort of like in that ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD kind of way). It fits in with YA covers on the market yet is distinct enough to stand out. It does a great job drawing in the casual browser, and the story follows through.

4) The story is unique. First off, it has a great premise, and then, not far into the story at all, came a plot twist I loved. It immediately upped the suspense and was super-well done.

5) This was a story I didn't want to put down. And this was a book I totally want to read the sequel to. I wish I had it sitting in my hands already.

So, in short, STARTERS is highly recommended for fans of DIVERGENT or MATCHED, boys and girls, 7th grade and up. Loved it!


Source of book: From publisher by request on Netgalley

Oh, and I kind of love the book trailer, too!



From Amazon:

In the future, teens rent their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. One girl discovers her renter plans to do more than party--her body will commit murder, if her mind can't stop it. Sixteen-year-old Callie lost her parents when the genocide spore wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first--the very young and very old. With no grandparents to claim Callie and her little brother, they go on the run, living as squatters, and fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes via Prime Destinations, run by a mysterious figure known only as The Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to seniors, known as enders, who get to be young again. Callie's neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her rich renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, even dating Blake, the grandson of a senator. It's a fairy-tale new life . . . until she uncovers the Body Bank's horrible plan. . . .

Enjoy!

THE CHRONAL ENGINE Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered! The winner of

THE CHRONAL ENGINE by Greg Leitich Smith (Clarion, March 20, 2012)


is...

JULIE WITT!

***

And don't forget I'm also giving away:

INVISIBLE SUN by David Macinnis Gill (Greenwillow, March 27, 2011)
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!