Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review-Tokyo Heist

I bought this book for three reasons.  One, Diana was doing a signing in my city (and it sounded like a good novel, so why not).  Two, it takes place in Seattle, which is where I live, so I just love to read books set in my city!  And three, it takes place in Japan!  I took Japanese as my foreign language in middle and high school (I just finished it this year) and it's always fun to read about something when you're not entirely lost when it comes to the culture and such.  That being said Diana's debut novel was basically a fun adventure that's perfect as a Summer novel.  The mystery was really great, it wasn't one of those plots that was so predictable you just went "really main character, how stupid are you?".  And the fact that there was another story going on within the story when it came to the manga the main character was drawing made it even more interesting.  Yes, I did figure out who-done-it just a little before Violet did, but that tends to happen more often than not when I read books.  Diana also managed to fill the book with such great pictures (no, not actual pictures, but words that formed pictures in my head ever so nicely), and seeing as I am a huge fan of manga but can not draw to save my life it was really fun "seeing" Violet's manga in my mind's eye as well.  All in all the novel was just so much fun and I can't wait to see what Diana comes up with for her next novel, because the research she did was fantastic, as well as the imagry she put in the book, and the character development as well.  I almost saw the novel as a sort of coming of age book in a way, and maybe that's not what it was meant to be, but in the end there were some good messages in an overall light-hearted read.

4/5 dust spirits

Saturday, July 28, 2012

(Late) May Debut Author Interview + Giveaway

Today on the blog I have the honor of hosting the lovely Kathleen Peacock, who's debut novel Hemlock ccame out on May 8th. You can see my review here and now let's get onto the interview.  Kathleen's answers are NOT in bold.

Before we start let me just say, your book was awesome and I can’t wait for book two!

Thank you!

Let’s start with the regular stuff but how about we spice it up? If your book had a biography what would it say?

I came in like an unruly guest, flopped down on the sofa, hid the TV remote, and howled until Kathleen paid attention to me. I also ate the last of her cereal and drank the last of the milk. (I honestly have no idea…)

What about you, if your life was a book what would the back cover say?

Herein you will find the tale of a girl who sat around and wrote some stuff. (I’m spectacularly dull…)

In your series werewolfism is a disease, if you were to contract it how would it have happened?

Probably from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Why werewolves? Some people could say that werewolves are getting a little old (along with vampires) although I think you did a GREAT job. What do you have to say about that? Do you think the werewolf trend it dead?

Thanks! I don’t think vamps and werewolves are dead. Their popularity tends to go through highs and lows. Right now we’re coming off a period of high popularity. It might taper down, but it won’t die out. There is a reason these creatures have been kicking around for centuries.

Your book reminds me of a supernatural murder mystery, do you watch crime shows at all? If you do do you have a favorite?

I don’t actually watch many crime shows—partly because I don’t have cable but mostly because I’m kind of a scaredy cat. Of the shows that are on, I sometimes make an effort to catch Criminal Minds. I really like Penelope, Morgan, and Reed. They’re great characters and the dynamic between Penelope and Morgan is so adorable. I also love Justified.

The ending leaves room for a book two, and I’ve seen that it’s going to be a trilogy. Can you tell us anything about book two? A snippet? A title? A release date?

Nope. Nope. And Nope. To quote River Song in Doctor Who, “Spoilers.”

How about characters? Did you have a favorite one to write? A least favorite one to write?

I love writing Amy. The dream sequences are just a blast to work with. I didn’t like writing Jimmy or Alexis because they’re such horrible people.

There are lots of talk of camps in the book, for there werewolves, do we get to see inside those camps in later books? They also remind me of Nazi containment camps, is that what you modeled them on?

Spoilers… (Highlight to read them)

The initial idea of the camps was loosely inspired by the Canadian and American internment of people of Japanese descent during World War II. It’s a bleak chapter in the history of both countries and shows how dangerous fear and hysteria can be.
Hemlock is the name of the town in the book, and I think it’s almost a character in the book. Can you tell us a little more about Hemlock the town?

Hemlock is (very) loosely based on the Canadian city of Fredericton. Fun facts about the fictional town of Hemlock can be found on my website at http://kathleenpeacock.com/hemlock-trilogy/explore-the-city/

How about the cover? I don't recall reading about a dress in the book, but maybe I just forgot? (It's a beautiful cover though.)

Thanks! I love how eerie and sad the cover is.

I think the dress may be the one Mac wears to a school semi-formal (mentioned in a flashback). Also, the book initially began with Mac getting ready for Amy’s funeral and wearing a too-big dress that she borrowed from her cousin. Though that scene was eventually cut, it’s possible that’s where the idea came from.

In your book Mac is a little oblivious and Amy is more observent. Do you think that opposites attract in real life, for friends and for lovers? I myself love when characters fall in love with their best friends, are you the same way?

I do think opposites attract with both friends and significant others. I tend to be very shy and quiet while most of my friends are confident and outgoing. I think they balance me out and vice versa.

I love the idea of falling in love with your best friend. When I was in the sixth grade, I fell head over heels for my closest male friend but could never quite bring myself to tell him.

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 haven’t read it, but I am RIDICULOUSLY curious about Velveteen by Daniel Marks. If I’m allowed to pick an older 2012 debut, Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (it debuted in January and is phenomenal).

And now for the most important question of all, Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Team Peeta. (Sorry Twilight fans: Peeta BAKES.)

I think I might have to switch my vote to be Team Kyle.
Now, I have some Hemlock swag donated by Kathleen and I'm going to give it away to one of you in honor of Kathleen's interview! All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter.  The contest will run for two weeks and the winners will then be notified.  The contest is open internationally, and you can win one of four prizes!
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cover Reveal + Giveaway

Today I have the honor of being part of the cover reveal for the second book in the Katana series by Cole Gibsen.  If you remember I also helped her reveal the cover for her lesser-known novel Breathless earlier this year, and now I'm back to help her again!  So without further fuss I give you the cover for Senshi, due out next year from Flux.

Awesome, right!?  Look at her eyes!  And her hair!  And that sword!!! Also, the throwing stars, HOW COOL ARE THOSE!?

Now I've also had the chance to ask Cole a few things about her newest book and the one that comes before it, just for good measure.

The names of the novels in the series could cause some confusion for some people, can you explain what the words mean?
Sure! Katana is the name of a type of sword favored by samurai. And Senshi not only means “warrior” but it is also the name of one of the characters in my book.
What can we expect in Senshi?
Two words: MORE NINJA. But seriously, Senshi is jam packed with the action, fight scenes, and comedy that you would expect after having read KATANA. And if you loved Quentin from the first book, I have a special surprise for you. He gets to do his own ass-kicking in book two. I am so excited for readers to get to see him come into his own.
What about the covers? Do they tell us anything about what's inside the books? What do you love about them?
Well I absolutely adore the cover for SENSHI. When I saw it my first thought was that it looked exactly like a Bruce Lee poster and I am the BIGGEST Bruce Lee fan, so I definitely found that serendipitous. I think it’s a great portrayal of what’s inside as SENSHI has so much more action, fight scenes, and ninja than book one.
Your Katana novels are very Japanese-y, have you ever been to Japan or studied the language?
I love superheroes. And my love of superheroes and comics grew and eventually I discovered manga because, hey, they’re in the same aisle at the bookstore. Later, Kill Bill came out and I was floored. Quentin Tarantino took a manga and made it a movie! And this got me thinking, could a manga be written in novel form?
So I started thinking about plot and I researched, read about, and watched every documentary on samurai I could get my hands on for a full year before I ever put pen to paper. And I didn’t do this with the goal to be a hundred percent accurate, because I knew I would have to research my entire life for that to be a possibility. My intention was to make sure I captured the flavor of the history as manga does so well. In other words, they’re strictly fiction and as historically accurate as Captain America fighting the Nazis or Abe Lincoln staking vampires.
If you could write a book about anything and have it come out amazing, what would you write about?
Oh man, I would love to be in charge of the next big superhero movie screenplay. You know who doesn’t get enough respect? Miss Marvel. I could totally do her right with her own movie. Though Black Cat would be fun, too…or Psylock…or Cloak and Dagger….or, you know, this could go on for awhile.

And now, last but not least, Cole has offered up something that even I don't have (with all of my swaggy goodness and ninja gear she sent me)!  You can win a signed copy of Katana, and although I have not read it it has swords on the cover, so come on!

*The giveaway is only for people with US mailing addresses due to postal expences.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I got an early copy of this book along with some other books by the publisher for review.  Next thing I know the release date snuck up on me and is waving a hand in my face.  When I first heard about the idea for this book I was completely enthralled because it sounded like it was going to be along the lines of The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, and now that I've finished it I can say that I'm happily pleased that it does fit into that sort of category.  The idea that Gina has come up with is such a great one, and to my knowledge it has never been used before, which makes it fresh and gives her extra points.  I also really enjoyed the fact that there were little bits of Japanese culture stuck in the book, and that most of the book takes place with the main character with no body!  It only took me about a day to read the whole book, and what I read I was very happy with.  Gina has told me that the book is not part of a sequel but I myself would love to read one, because I think there's some great potential for one, and maybe if this one sells well she'll consider it.  Also, just let me say that I really want a Rei for myself, and I totally wish I could astrally project my essence out of my body and go to far away places any time I wanted.  With a compelling plot, likable characters (except for Taylor, I just wanted to slap her some of the time, but I think that was the point), and a voice that I just fell into I can't wait to see what Gina comes up with next.  If you're a fan of paranormal romance books that go a little off the beaten path when it comes to ideas you should totally pick this book up and give it a shot.

Out August 7, 2012

5/5 dust spirits

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review-Pushing the Limits

Katie is one of two authors I'm interviewing this month as my debut author.  When I saw that Simone Elkeles had blurbed this book I decided that I just had to read it, because I loved Simone's books so much that if she loved a book I would love it to right? Right.  I was pulled in from the very first page and I codling's help but read page after page, even pushing aside my crazy Doctor Who marathon I had been having.  The writing was real, and the romance was great too, although I do have to say that the problems that the characters had in their lives were rather intense, so that could be a little upsetting for people who don't know what they're diving into.  It's the kind of book for people who like a love story that's not all rainbows and butterflies, much like Simone Elkeles' and Sarah Dessen's books.  Echo and Noah's story is one that will stay with me for quite a long time I think, because it was done so well.  The fact that Noah was a good boy character also made me very happy, because there seem to be too many cases of women writing male characters who don't seem to be realistic boy characters with realistic boy thoughts.  There is a sneak peak of Katie's new book at the end of this book, and it also seems like it's going to be a big hit.  If you've even thought about picking this one up I would suggest you go out and at least take a look at the first two chapters (to get a feel for both Noah and Echo), but if you dont' have a bookstore near you take my word for it and just buy this book.  Katie is another debut author I'm going to look out for, and I can't wait to see what happens in her second novel, because if it's anything like this one it's going to be amazing!

Out July 31, 2012

5/5 dust sprits

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Two years ago I picked up this cute little book on a Borders shelf and found that it wasn't just a pretty book, but fun and fresh too.  Now, having just finished the last pages of the last book in the trilogy I'm sad to see it end.  As with the first two books in the series Kiersten manages to make the book interesting and edge-of-your-seat action-y while still adding her signature humor to the mix and staying true to Evie's personality.  I think what makes her books so unique are that they're for teens but they have the nice light edge to them that means they could be read by younger, middle-school-aged kids and wouldn't end up being to much for them.  Also, the fact she doesn't swear but uses the word "bleep" is terribly amusing as well.  Almost all, if not all of your questions are answered when the book ends and there are characters from both books that come together to make the third book a real fun time no matter which characters you may like or dislike.  The book wrapped things up well for me, and in the end I really dont' have any lingering questions or complaints with the book, and even though I'm sad to see the series go I think it's one of those books that ended on a high note rather than a low one.  At the very end I shed a few tears because it's all over, but maybe in the future Kiersten will write a little something about the characters that happens in the future.  If you've read the first two books in this series you should definitely pick this one up when it comes out, and don't put it off until later, because this ending is worthy of Evie and her friends.

Out July 24, 2012

5/5 dust spirits

Burn Mark Blog Tour

Today I have the honor of being part of the blog tour for author Laura Powell's newest book BURN MARK.  It hit shelves June 19th, so even if you've read the book already or you own it you can stay and look at the short little interview I did with Laura.  If you don't have the book or if you've read it and don't own it you'll also have a chance to win a copy right here!

First let's look at the book trailer.

Now on with the interview.

1. If you could write a novel about ANYTHING in the world (or out of it) what would it be?

I'd like to find a way of writing about the Ancient Greek myths in a modern setting - I studied Classics at university and loved all the bloodthirsty gods n' monster stories. But I've never been tempted to write a historical novel (too much research) so I'm scheming ways of giving this stuff a contemporary spin.

2. What's one book you're looking forward to that comes out this year/early next year?

I think the fantasy writer Catherine Fisher's terrific, so I'm looking forward to her new book, "The Obsidian Mirror", which is publishing in October. Time travel and faeries ... what's not to like?

3. What's one book that you can't stop rereading?

So many! I re-read Persuasion by Jane Austen every year. I also love the picture book "Outside Over There" by Maurice Sendak - it doesn't feel like a kids' book; it's so mysterious and sinister.

4. Why did you choose to write a YA novel? Do you think it could appeal to adults too?

I love writing for the YA audience because it means you can write about anything you like in any genre - romance, historical, crime, sci-fi etc - and you won't get pigeon-holded. I think that's why adult readers are often tempted by teen books; there's so many different worlds to explore. Burn Mark certainly explores some quite "adult" themes.

5. What do you hope your reader will take away from your book?

I'd like them to think the world I've created feels real, and is somewhere they'd like to visit again. I hope they'll think about my characters, and what they might be getting up to after the story comes to an end. I certainly aim to send a shiver down my readers' spines, as well as increasing their heart rate in one or two places.

Now let's get onto the giveaway.  It will stay open for one week and international entries are welcome.  The book was provided by the publisher for the blog tour, but I will be sending it to the winner.  Good luck!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dire Day Wrap Up

As you know on Friday the 13th I participated in the dreadful #DireDay held by Harper Collins.
I ended up with FOUR boxes of the terrible things, and was faced with dispensing them around the city.  A few of them I gave to you, my lovely blog followers (and for that I am sorry), and I also left some with teachers, so they could spread the misery in school where it rightfully belongs.  Here are some of the places I left the wretched books, and unfortunately some of them found their way into the hands of other unsuspecting people.

 First I left a few copies around a toy store, and this is a copy I stuck with a bunch of free parenting magazines, to let people know what NOT to do with children.

 Then I went to a Starbucks, because everyone knows that coffee makes people happy, and that is unacceptable.

Next I went to Redmond Town Center and dropped a few there, in memory of the Borders that once graced the area, but is now a furniture store. If you think that's a good idea you deserve to be miserable!

Later in the day I left quite a few copies at the Meadowbrook Community Center and Pool, because these things make people happy, children especially, and with all this misery placed on me what better place to pass it off then an area teeming with happy people?

In the end ALL 128 copies of woe were given to someone else or left out on the street to rot, and good riddance. If you happened to pick up a copy I left out in the cold then I pity you, and if you did not get a copy all the better for you, but if you do want to see the misery of the three poor Baudelaire I'm sure you can find the book at any of your local bookstores.  Maybe next year I'll pass out book two (besides, one can only stand so much misery in one year).

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Review-Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone

I first heard about this book on Nova Ren Suma's blog and when I read the synopsis I knew I just had to have it.  So on Tuesday when it came out I went to the store and I bought it, and once I finished the book I was reading I dove right in.  I struggled a little with this book because it seemed to just have so much depth to it you needed to read it slow to take it all in.  The style of the writing is just so beautiful, and there are parts of the book that, if I did write in them, would be underlined and surrounded by stars and little hearts.  The grace in this book is really only matched by a few of the books that I've read in my life, including Nova's own Imaginary Girls and Lauren Oliver's Delirium.  I loved how Kat twined Amelia's story in with the main character's story, and the short chapters from her point of view were fresh and new too.  Kat also managed to do something that not many people can do, and that is to pull something over on me.  No, she didn't completely catch me off guard, but there were parts that made me raise my eyebrows and say "well done".  The imagery was just so beautiful, and I guess you could say that it might have been too much, or that the time line was confusing and caused me to re-read previous pages, but it doesn't matter, because the beauty in the novel drowned it all out so I couldn't have cared less.  This is one of those books that rarely comes around, and when it does it really doesn't get enough attention due to the next big paranormal book that's hit the shelves, and it really makes me sad.  If you see this book on the shelves and want something different from everything that's out there, and has some real heart to it too, I suggest you pick this book up.

4.5/5 dust spirits

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's a Dire Day for The Bad Beginning

As you know today is just a terrible day, it's Friday the 13th, and in honor of this most horrific of days I have a terrible surprise for you all.  If you hadn't noticed already I am participating in Harper Collin's Dire Day, which is when I get to unleash upon my part of the world a mass of hard back (to cause the most pain of course) copies of the first book in a series so chilling it's author even warns you not to read it.  What is that series you ask? A Series of Unfortunate Events, which happens to have 13 dastardly books and follows 3 unlucky children in their attempts to escape the misfortune that is their distant relative Count Olaf.  So, being followers of my blog I'm unloading some of the sorrow on you, six of you to be exact!  Have a particularly dreadful day and make sure to stay away from black cats and ladders.

The giveaway will go for 24 hours and will end once this day has gone and went.  No matter where you are on the Earth though I will be happy to pass of such an abysmal story for you to stick your nose in (or blow your nose in!).
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*Please note that this book is actually very good, it is not terrible or horrible or no good in any way at all!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review-My Soul To Take

I've met Rachel before, and there are so many people raving about these books, but I've never had time to read them, so when summer came along I decided to at least dive into book one.  I was at Target (it's like Wal-Mart) and I picked up the omnibus and started reading the prequel, and I had the sudden need to read it.  Thanks to others who had read these books before me I knew what the basic plot was, and when I finally got down to reading it I was very pleased.  Rachel writes about a fresh new paranormal species in her Soul Screamer's books, and although there are some sad parts in the book she manages to keep it overall up-beat with a good sense of humor.  Her writing style is something I really enjoyed, and although I saw quite a few of the twists coming there was one or two that caught me off guard, and to that I say "bravo".  This whole book was just so much fun, and Rachel really knows how to write some killer guys into her stories.  Due to other books I need to read I will not be diving right into the second book in the series (and I am a little sad about this), but I will pick it up, hopefully later in the summer so that I can continue on with Kaylee's adventure.  I have high hopes for the next books in the series, and from what I've heard the books make well on their review from Kirkus who states that "Twilight fans will love".  In being late to the ballgame on this series I'm sure there's not much I can say that hasn't already been said about them, but the first book is fresh, and any book with covers this beautiful demand to be picked up, even if you just read a few pages or the back.  Besides, you all know I can't resist a book where someone dies.

4.5/5 dust spirits

Friday, July 6, 2012

Review-Something Strange and Deadly

Susan Dennard is my debut author for July, and her book has zombies in it, so I was all for reading it ASAP!  Susan has created a great story that has romance, a strong female lead, action, and to top it all off zombies, what more could you want?  If I had to place this book in a genre I would say steampunk, because it does have that feel to it, but it doesn't exactly fit into the category with a nice little bow.  At first the main character did seem a little irritating, but as the book moved on I started to grow fond of her, and her attitude wasn't what you would expect of a woman wearing a petticoat either.  I found it strange that the zombies were not your usual zombies that come from a virus/infection, and all that they bite turn into them, but just your run of the mill necromancered dead bodies.  The sexual tension was extraordinary, and the fact that it was set in a time when a woman couldn't be seen with a man alone much less touch him in any way just made it all the better.  Although I'm not positive, I have no doubt that Susan did extensive research on Philadelphia in the time the book is set, which is another thing that you sometimes don't see.    The mother and a few of the side characters irked me a bit, but being a girl who is not caught up in frivolous ideals of fashion I can see why they would and feel they were important to the story and could not be gotten rid of.  There were some great twists in the book that, although did not catch me by surprise are sure to raise a few eyebrows and make people go "WHAT!?" which I think is something every author would like to do.  All in all I was very pleased with the book as a whole.  This book was a lot of fun and I can't wait to see what happens next, especially after all that Eleanor has been through, and I'm very excited to continue the journey full of necromancers (who are, in my opinion entirely underrated).

Out July 24, 2012

4.5/5 dust spirits

This ARC was given to me (not bought or paid for) by Secret Garden Books in Ballard (Seattle, WA), a lovely indie bookstore that has been in service for 35 years.