Saturday, April 28, 2012


When I saw on Jenn's twitter that her book was coming out soon, and when I saw her awesome book trailer, I realized I had to get my butt in gear and read the  ARC I got.  Jenn is also coming to my city with a group of other authors for the Fierce Reads tour, and I really want to have read all of the books featured in the tour.  I read Struck in three days and was very pleased with the book.  Mia is such a strong character and her abilities are unlike anything I've ever read about (yes, I do realize she isn't actually a real person).  I've read some reviews of this book on goodreads, and they didn't like the religious aspect of the book, but I think that it was a very important part of the book.  I myself am not religious, and there were times I wanted to punch Prophet and his followers in the face (just ask Jenn, she knows) I still think it was a really important part of the book that couldn't have been left out.  The action was really well played out, and I loved the way that she talked about the lightning scars and what it felt like to be struck.  I assume that Jennifer has never actually been struck by lightning but when she described it I could almost feel it.  I also feel that underneath the whole plot there's a great message about learning to embrace who you are, and how even if you're just one person you can change things.  Jenn left it open so that she could write a sequel, and I would really like to see where she went if she ended up going ahead with writing one.  This debut isn't like anything else out there at the moment, and I think that it's a really good edition to the YA world.  I can't wait to see what Jenn comes up with next, and I myself would love to see a little more of Jeremy (finally, a YA guy who's sexy AND smart, and not an ass).

Out May 8, 2012


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review-Masque of the Red Death

When I first heard about this book I was SO excited to read it.  I was even more excited when I saw that Harper was the publisher (or at least a Harper imprint) so I asked my contact for a copy right away.  Unfortunately something went wrong and by the time I asked again they were all out, but I managed to win a contest on Bethany's blog so I got an early copy that way.  I seem to be in a little bit of a reading lull but it's not the books, it's me.  This one has a plague in it, and I love plagues.  Bethany crafts this great tale of horror and steampunk with her eerie writing.  In my mind the whole world was well thought out, and it had one of those settings where I couldn't tell if it was years and years ago or if it was some time in the future, and to me that's a good thing.  This book does have a love triangle, but it's not one of those that is totally obvious at the end of book one, which is another thing that I really enjoyed about it.  It's based on Poe's story of the same title, and although I've never read any of his works I still find him interesting.  The one thing that irks me about books like this is that the disease or parasite or such kills 100% of those infected (except for maybe that one person who's the hero, and then they're chased to the ends of the earth to be used to find a cure that will probably kill them) but again Bethany did it right.  There are those few people that don't die from what I think seems like a variation of The Black Plague (which I love), and even better, those who survive always have to live with the symptoms.  The world is lavish and terrifying at the same time, and with the introduction of the virus (this one reminding me of Ebola [HOW COOL IS THAT!?]) and all of the heart pounding action and those few snips of romance I was really pleased.  The end of the book leaves a cliffhanger that, although there, is not as bad as some, still left me wanting the next book.  If you like steampunk or Gothic horror (and a plague or two) then I suggest you pick this book up and give it a shot.  Bravo Bethany on your debut novel and keep up the good work.

5/5 dust spirits

Friday, April 6, 2012

Review-Catching Jordan

I bought this book when it first hit shelves, because, I mean, Simone Elkeles blurbed it and I loved her books, also, how awesome does this book sound?  Unfortunately I had so many other things I had to do and so many other books I had to read it got pushed aside, but I finished The Disenchantments and was under the impression my next book wouldn't be here for a few more days (I was wrong) so I started into this one with the advice of Trish (again).  I ended up reading this book in two days (for two reasons) and I just loved it.  The first reason, my next book got here early and I can't wait to jump in on it.  The second reason?  It was a really good book!  If you've ever met me you'll know that I'm the kind of person who is a lot like Jordan in this book, and no, I don't mean that in a way that I am a football star, but because I'm such a tomboy.  Miranda has written such a great story with a really strong female character who still has her flaws and all of us tomboys can relate to in the best possible way.  There was also football in it (duh), quite a lot, and even though I'not a football fan, I was able to keep up with the plays and players and such.  This book touches on so many things, first love, friendship, a woman's role in the sports world, how we're seen when we try to break through stereotypes, and the average high school male.  It's also just such a fun, quick book that won't take you long to read!  I think the only thing that could have made this book better was if it was from two points of view, like Simone's books are.  If you enjoy contemporary books, authors such as Simone Elkeles or Stephanie Perkins, or football I think you'll really enjoy this book.  And what's even better, it came out in paperback originally, so there's no need to worry about cover changes or waiting to buy it until it's cheaper!  I look forward to Miranda's second book (a companion to this one) because it's about baseball (and I do baseball) and Miranda is such a good writer!

5/5 dust sprites

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Review-The Disenchantments

I picked this book up because it had a blurb by Nova Ren Suma on it, and I just loved her book Imaginary Girls and because it was half off (it had been slightly used, but you couldn't really tell).  I finally picked it up because of two things, one: Trish Doller said it was amazing, and I loved Trish's book and I now look for her to contemporary book knowledge, and two: Nina is coming to Seattle this month for a tour with Gayle Foreman and Stephanie Perkins!  It really reminded me of a modern The Perks of Being a Wallflower which I enjoyed.  This book has so many great lines in it, and when I say this next part I really mean it.  This book is life.  No, I don't mean that it's my life or that it's the best thing I've ever read, I mean that it's one of those books that captures what it's like to be a teenager perfectly.  There were so many parts that just really struck me as being right just like when it came to Perks.  Nina's book is just beautiful, and what makes it even better is that it's from a boy's point of view, which you never really see, especially when it comes to contemporary novels.  The blend of music and love and life in the novel is just right, I don't know what else I can say to make you want to pick it up.  It's a coming of age book that I think everyone should read because it makes you think about your life, but it also lets you know that it's okay if you don't have it all figured out right now.  It touches on friendship and love, sex and music, it's also a great road trip story.  It's a fun, quick read that will make you laugh and make you nod your head in agreement because Nina knows what she's talking about and writes it so real it's almost scary.  I'm so glad I decided to read this book before I meet Nina and I'll be looking into her other book as well as any further books she publishes.  To say this book is a masterpiece is just about right and if you liked Perks or contemporary books in general you should pick this one up.

5/5 dust spirits

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Debut Author Interview + Giveaway

Today on the blog I have the honor of hosting the lovely Elizabeth Norris, who's debut novel Unraveling comes out on April 24th. You can see my review here and now let's get onto the interview.  Elizabeth's answers are bold.

First, thank you so much for taking time to do this interview with me.  Your book was truly amazing.

Thank you so much. It’s wonderful to hear that people have read the book and liked it.

Now, first things first, if your book was the “answer” in a Jeopardy tournament what would the “question” be?

A romantic YA thriller featuring Janelle Tenner, a seventeen year old girl, who briefly dies, uncovers a mysterious countdown to the end of the world, and finds to save her family, her world and the boy who brought her back from the dead.

What about you, if you were on Jeopardy how would Alec introduce you?

Elizabeth Norris moved from southern California where she taught high school. Now she lives in Manhattan. She loves used books, sunny days, nice guys, and her apartment. She harbors dangerous addictions to guacamole, red velvet cupcakes, sushi, and Argo Tea. Fortunately not all together.

Now for the fun questions.  First, just by reading the front of the book you know that the world is going to end, and the book has a count-down in it, what day does it end?  Like, a specific date, or did you not think about that?

When I was writing, I actually opened up a google calendar and logged the major events in the novel. That was the only way I could keep the countdown numbers straight. The countdown “ends” on 9/22/2012.

 *Now we all know who to blame if the world ends this September!

If you were to die and be brought back to life, like Janelle, how would you die and who would bring you back? 

If I was going to die, I’d want it to be quick like it is for Janelle. I definitely wouldn’t it want to be drowning or burning—that seems awful. In terms of being brought back by someone, I’d have to say my boyfriend. I didn’t do this on purpose, but when I read Unraveling now, I can see a lot of him in Ben. The way that he’s smart and courageous, and that he’d do anything for me.

I was very pleased when I saw that there was talk of Ebola in the book.  What do you think is the best disease out there? (No, I don’t mean to contract, I just mean the one that you find the most interesting).

I find diseases in general interesting, especially the ones that are really rare. I’ve always like watching medical shows like House because you can learn so much from them. Hypertrichosis is a disease that causes abnormal hair growth on the body. It’s also referred to as Werewolf Syndrome. I think it’s interesting that there’s a scientific explanation for the legends that spawned bad horror movies about wolfmen.

There’s also a great amount of nerd in the book, which made me very happy as well.  I know that The X Files play a pretty big role in the book, and I assume you’ve seen all the episodes, do you have a favorite?  What about a favorite sci-fi show?

I always loved The X-Files. Two of my friends and I used to watch it every week. I even had all the seasons on VHS. My favorite episodes our “Our Town” (season 2) where Mulder and Scully investigate a disappearance in a small town and find cannibals and “Home” (season 4) where Mulder and Scully investigate a baby that died from terrible birth defects. My favorite episodes were the “monster of the week” episodes because some of them were so scary yet also realistic.

I’ve always been really into science fiction shows. I loved Sliders and the first season of Roswell. Right now, I’d have to say that Fringe is one of my favorite sci-fi shows. The acting is brilliant, the writing is awesome, and it always manages to surprise me.

There were a few parts of your book that really caught me off guard, which is very hard to do (or at least I like to think so), did you plan the whole book out before you wrote it, or did some things surprise you as well?

I did. I outlined almost the whole book before I really started writing. I have a lot of manuscripts on my computer that I started, but I would get a hundred pages or so in and realize I didn’t know where the plot was going or that I didn’t have enough of a plot for a full book. By writing the whole plot out first, writing my first drafts was easier—and they came out better.

The ending was also very action packed and I can’t help but ask, will there be a sequel?  If so does it have a title/release date yet?

There will be sequel. It’s written and going through edits right now. The title is still to be decided (though I have a couple ideas), and I’m not sure about the release date. Probably spring 2013, but I can’t say for sure.

Could you tell us anything about book two?  Share a snippet? Just a tiny one!?

There’s another countdown, human trafficking, and more Janelle and Ben.


In your book there are three…four…five(!) rather appealing guys, not all of which have romantic involvements in the book.  Which one would you fall for if you were in Janelle’s place?  Is one of them most like a teenage boyfriend you had?

I’d definitely go for Ben. Like I mentioned he’s a lot like my current boyfriend who is wonderful. My high boyfriend was more like Kevin, which is probably while we’re not still together. He was cute and funny, but also kind of immature and a little bit of a jerk.

Did you have a favorite scene to write in the book?  Or maybe a scene that you really didn’t like having to write?  What about a favorite character?

One of my favorite scenes to write was the opening. I actually thought of it when I was sitting on the subway, and I opened up a notebook and wrote the first fifty pages or so in purple ink on the A train. One thing I love about the opening is that I can picture it so clearly—Torrey Pines beach is the beach I went to all the time when I lived in San Diego, and that road where Janelle dies. I’ve walked that same road before.

I love Janelle and Ben, but my favorite character is probably Elijah. He’s just that guy that doesn’t seem to care about anything and can be such a jerk, but underneath he’s messed up, sensitive, and misunderstood.

Despite your book being fiction there are some parts of the book that make you think about the science of our world.  Did you have to do research at all, or did you make it up? 

Most of it is made up. But I do have a subscription to Scientific American and a lot of information that I absorbed from their articles either made it into the book or influenced the things I made up.

Your book shows when the world is falling apart, which is something not many books do, why did you decide to write a book where you showed the world ending?  Would you ever think about a writing a novel about what happens a long time after the world ended?

I wrote Unraveling because it was really the story I wanted to read at the time—a story that could take place today or tomorrow, not thousands of years in the future. It’s about a girl who’s a normal junior in high school and she’s going through a lot of the same problems that other juniors in high school have. I think the world ending can be a lot scarier and more intense if it feels like it could happen tomorrow.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever write a more post apocalyptic or futuristic story. I think an author really has to have a strong vision of what that future might look like, and I’m not sure how I would do it in a new and different way.

You’re part of a group of 2012 YA debuts called The Apocalypsies, what books would you recommend we look out for in the coming year (no, you can’t pick your own)?

I read and loved Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, which came out in February. It’s an alternate history about three sisters who are witches.

I also just finished reading Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard which is awesome. It takes place in historical Philadelphia and the main character is trying to save her brother from a necromancer who is raising zombies and murdering people. It comes out in July.

And I’m super excited for Defiance by CJ Redwine, which comes out in September. I haven’t read it yet, but the cover is beautiful, the story, which is a YA fantasy sounds fantastic, and CJ writes a great blog.

It’s amazing how many wonderful debut books are coming out in 2012—I’m hoping to try to read them all!

And last, but not least (and possibly most importantly), are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?

So when I read the books I was totally Team Edward. I even got really mad at Bella when she was telling Jacob in Eclipse that she loved him too. I might have even yelled, “No you don’t!” when I was reading.

When I saw New Moon though, I may have been won over a little to the Jacob side. Edward seemed so romantic in the book, but he is significantly creepier on screen.

I think I might be Team Ben, but that’s neither here nor there.  Thank you so much for answering my questions, even though some of them were kind of crazy, and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to read your book! 

Elizabeth has graciously donated a finished copy of Unraveling for me to give away. Since my computer is broken and I've been using my mom's all you have to do is fill out the form HERE, no questions to answer. The contest will run until April 30th at 12:00 midnight and the winner will be notified...hopefully soon after that.

Review-Something Like Normal

Trish is my debut author to interview for June so I wanted to read her book before it came out. I think she's the only contemporary author I have in the line-up so far but it really doesn't matter. You know those books that pull you in and make you go "Woah"? This was one of those books, and the more amazing part of it is the fact that Trish is a debut author and she's writing a contemporary novel. Travis was SO great, because he wasn't too over the top. He wasn't extraordinary and he wasn't perfect,but that's what made him all the better. If you've read any of the Perfect Chemistry books then I think you'll really enjoy this one, because it has that same style.  The other part I loved was that it was told entirely from Travis' POV.  There are not enough books out there that are told from a Male POV, and even though this book is a little girly I still think that guys could enjoy it.  I read this book in less then 24 hours, and I was so pleased with it.  Yeah, there were vulgar parts (I mean, we're inside a teenage boy's head [no offense to all the teenage boys out there]), and yeah, there were war parts, and yes there was kissing (squee), but there was also depth to it.  It made me think about all of those teens coming back from the war and how they have so much to cope with.  Part of this book is about love and finding something normal in your world when it's been turned upside down, but the book is also about grief and about being a solider who has to come back to the real world for a while.  The book was so real and so good.  Those last few pages almost made me cry, and I can't wait to see what Trish comes up with next.  I'll be buying myself a finished copy of this book and I suggest that you all do the same.  Trish is yet another debut author I'll have my eye on from now on, and I hope that that book she teases us all with on Tumblr will be her next book on the shelves.

Out June 19, 2012
5/5 dust spirits