Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop

Monday, April 30, 2012 with 4 comments


Whew!  I had such a busy weekend and neglected to schedule any posts, but I'm back and ready to give more bookish prizes away!  :D  And with that, here's just one of many great giveaways to come in the month ahead:

The Fame Game

Title:  The Fame Game
Author:  Lauren Conrad
Series:  Fame Game
Publisher:  Harper Teen
Publication Date:  April 3, 2012

In Hollywood, fame can be found on every corner and behind any door. You just have to know where to look for it. Nineteen-year-old Madison Parker made a name for herself as best frenemy of nice-girl-next-door Jane Roberts on the hot reality show L.A. Candy. Now Madison's ready for her turn in the spotlight and she'll stop at nothing to get it. Sure, she's the star of a new show, but with backstabbing friends and suspicious family members trying to bring her down, Madison has her work cut out for her. Plus, there's a new nice girl in "reality" town—aspiring actress Carmen Price, the daughter of Hollywood royalty—and she's a lot more experienced at playing the fame game... When the camera's start rolling, whose star will shine brighter?

Filled with characters both familiar and new, Lauren Conrad's series about the highs and lows of being famous delivers Hollywood gossip and drama at every turn.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: Destined by Aprilynne Pike

Thursday, April 26, 2012 with 4 comments
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Title:  Destined
Author:  Aprilynne Pike
Series:  4th and final book in the Wings series
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Publication Date:  May 1, 2012
Source:  ARC

Laurel now knows the truth: Yuki is a rare Winter faerie, the most powerful—and deadly—of all, and she is working with Klea to conquer and destroy Avalon. With Tamani, David, and Chelsea by her side, Laurel prepares for a fight she never thought she would have to face.

Filled with heart-pounding action, sweeping romance, and higher stakes at every turn, Destined is the series conclusion that readers have been clamoring for—with a twist that will leave them breathless.




First, let me preface this review by saying that if you haven’t read the other three books in this series, don’t read any further. I wouldn’t ever intentionally spoil something for you, but as I’ve been reading this series slowly over the last few years, I don’t remember what happens or what’s revealed in each book.

Now that that’s out of the way…where do I begin? How do I put my thoughts into coherent sentences so you know how much this series meant to me? Because you can’t really review a series finale without looking back on the series as a whole and evaluating it as such. Yes, all of my questions were answered. Yes, Laurel finally made her choice. But am I satisfied?

For the most part, yes. I had a good idea how things were going to play out, but it was still interesting to see how it all came to fruition. I liked getting to see Laurel making some actual decisions and, even if they did frustrate me at times, it was interesting to see why she did what she did. Laurel’s always been thoughtful, and even with one of the biggest decisions she had to make in this series, she didn’t rush into it. I’m just glad she finally made her choice and everyone involved can move on with their lives.

The author included some really unique plot twists in this final installment, some of which I NEVER saw coming, and they only enhanced the world she has created. I have always loved her version of Avalon, with its season-based sectors and caste system, but one twist after another nearly leads to the destruction of this utopia. Once again, it’s up to Laurel and her loyal-as-ever best friends to save the day. And this is where things get really exciting.

Except that they kind of don’t. The majority of the book is one intense battle. That might sound intriguing, but I could have done without all of the fighting. It would have been enough for me to simply see a bit of the battle and then jump to the ensuing aftermath. The devastation is massive, as is the loss of life, and yet I felt that was only lightly touched upon, considering how much time was spent deliberating on the mêlée itself.

I wanted to know more about the enemy, about Yuki, and about how things turned out after the war against the trolls. But after that’s over, things just kind of end. We know who Laurel chooses and who’s left to pick up the pieces, but I wanted more of a resolution for Laurel. How will she fit into this new world? What will become of her existence in the human world? The ending doesn’t really answer these questions…but there is an afterword of sorts told from David’s perspective, and it provided me with a sense of finality that I didn’t quite get from the rest of the novel.

Illusions was probably my favorite novel in this series. I loved seeing Tamani pretending to be a typical human in high school, and I loved seeing how Laurel and David adjusted to this change. I missed all of the mishaps and trouble this threesome got themselves into while both boys vied for Laurel’s affections, and so I simply can’t rate Destined as highly.

Though, if you’ve already started this series, or even if you haven’t -- and you’re still reading this even though I warned you against it – you absolutely must read this final chapter in the Wings series. I may have loved this book in a different way than I loved the previous installments, but it was still an exciting conclusion to one of my favorite series, and I’d definitely say it’s a great read for anyone who likes a slightly different take on faeries.

Rating:  Photobucket

Book-A-Likes:  The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 with 11 comments



Welcome to my stop on the Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop, where each participating blog will be giving away a YA book featuring a fairy tale theme.  In addition to the giveaway, I have the pleasure of interviewing my favorite fairy tale character ever, Belle from Beauty and the Beast!  Let's all give Belle a starry-eyed welcome!

Starryeyedjen:  Thanks for joining us, Belle!  I know you're short on time and need to get back to the castle, so I'll get right to it.  Are things finally settling down now that you've broken the curse?  Are you and the Beast, er, the Prince adjusting to the change?

Belle:  It's my pleasure to be here!  Hmmm...well, life in the castle is quite different from the way it was before, but we're all adjusting fairly well.  To be honest, I still spend a fair amount of time in the library, but Beast -- yes, I still call him Beast...he prefers to be reminded of his struggles to become a better man -- doesn't seem to mind.  Running the castle does demand quite a bit of his time, after all.

Starryeyedjen:  Wonderful!  But...since you brought it up, do you ever miss the beast he was, as opposed to the man he is?

Belle:  Oh, heavens no!  The beast is still inside the man he is now.  We've both come to terms with the past and made peace with it.  We're ready to start our future together.

Starryeyedjen:  I'm happy to hear that.  I wish you both all the best!  Before you leave us, would you mind telling us what book you're currently reading?

Belle:  I am so glad you asked!  I'm currently reading What to Expect When You're Expecting.

Starryeyedjen:  Does that mean congratulations are in order?

Belle:  It does indeed!  Beast and I are expecting our first child!  I'm so glad to finally be able to share the good news!

Starryeyedjen:  Wow!  Congratulations to you both!

Belle:  Thank you.  We're both very excited!

Starryeyedjen:  I'm sure!  And I can't wait to read about your little one's fairy tale adventures in the future. Thanks again for stopping by, Belle, and best of luck!


And now, on to the giveaway:

The Storyteller

Title:  The Storyteller
Author:  Antonia Michaelis, translated from German by Miriam Debbage
Series:  n/a
Publisher:  Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS
Publication Date:  January 1, 2012

Anna and Abel couldn’t be more different. They are both seventeen and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prisonlike tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own. Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces. It’s a beautiful fairy tale that Anna comes to see has a basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his “enemies” begin to turn up dead, she fears she has fallen for a murderer. Has she?  

Award-winning author Antonia Michaelis moves in a bold new direction with her latest novel: a dark, haunting, contemporary story that is part mystery, part romance, and part melodrama.
 




"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's WoW selection is...



Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Title:  Before I Wake
Author:  Rachel Vincent
Series:  6th book in the Soul Screamers series
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Publication Date:  June 26, 2012

I died on a Thursday-killed by a monster intent on stealing my soul. The good news? He didn't get it. The bad news? Turns out not even death will get you out of high school...

Covering up her own murder was one thing, but faking life is much harder than Kaylee Cavanaugh expected. After weeks spent "recovering," she's back in school, fighting to stay visible to the human world, struggling to fit in with her friends and planning time alone with her new reaper boyfriend. But to earn her keep in the human world, Kaylee must reclaim stolen souls, and when her first assignment brings her face-to-face with an old foe, she knows the game has changed. Her immortal status won't keep her safe. And this time Kaylee isn't just gambling with her own life...



Why I'm waiting:  Tod. TOD. TOD!!!  Was there any question?  Okay, it's not ALL about Tod...just mostly.  I love this series.  LOVE IT.  And I just finished Rachel Vincent's Shifters series on audio, which was good, but it left me even more excited for this next chapter in the Soul Screamers world.

What book are you waiting on this lovely Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Title:  The Immortal Rules
Author:  Julie Kagawa
Series:  Blood of Eden
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Publication Date:  April 24, 2012
Source:  ARC

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die, or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.




Whereas most of my reading buddies were firmly on one side of the line or the other when it comes to this book, I found myself conflicted. I liked it. It definitely had its moments, but I expected to love it, based on previous experience with Kagawa’s novels. Allow me to explain.

The world-building is pretty phenomenal. Yes, vampires have been done…overdone, if you ask some. And dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels are all the rage right now. But neither has been done quite like this. In most situations, vampires are a species to be feared and reviled, and the same is true of Kagawa’s monsters. But in The Immortal Rules, vampire masters are kings of their domains, ruling over lower-level vampires and keeping humans as pets. On the fringe of these vampire civilizations are registered humans, used for blood-letting and kept alive by the king for this purpose alone. There are those who rebel against the system, refusing to be registered and constantly scavenging for their next meal because they will not submit and become the equivalent of human pin cushions. But in the ruins of what used to be North America, lies a fate far worse than that of the Fringe. Out there, lying in wait for their next victim, are Rabids -- vampire-hybrids that know nothing but blood lust. There is no safe place in this vampire-run future…only danger, in one form or another.

Allie, the main character, was a miss for me, at least in this first book. I say that because the protagonist in Kagawa’s The Iron Fey series bothered me in the first book of that series, as well, but throughout the following installments, she showed real growth and I slowly became attached to her and her plight. I’m going to venture a guess that the same will hold true of the MC in this series, as well. There was nothing wrong with how Allie was portrayed, per say, but I never felt any connection to her character, beyond what was on the surface. Only toward the end of the novel did I see any real depth to her character, which is why I choose to believe that I will grow to love her character the better I get to know her, just as I did with Meghan in The Iron Fey books.

The supporting characters, however, I found quite intriguing. I really think Kanin deserves his own book. He’s the vampire master who shows Allie the ropes in the beginning, but it’s obvious that he is so much more than that. If he had appeared more during the middle of the book, it might not have drug on so badly for me. Zeke’s appearance near the middle helped further the story and recaptured my interest, but it was lost again for a time while Allie wandered along with his group. It wasn’t until Jackal entered the picture that the book grabbed me again. I love the bad guy who speaks eloquently and tries to convince you he’s not really the enemy here.

The synopsis for this story doesn’t do it justice, but maybe it’s better going into this one with few expectations of what the story is really about. The story is interesting in and of itself, but the subplots really keep things interesting. Considering Kagawa freely admits in the acknowledgements of this book that she never intended to write a vampire novel, I find it extremely entertaining that she’s written such a fascinating, out of the ordinary story about said bloodsuckers.

So, my star rating came down to this:
  • World: great
  • Main character: so-so
  • Supporting cast: great
  • Originality: great
  • Willingness to give the next book a chance: great

If you’re a fan of vampires, you’ll probably enjoy this book. If you’re a fan of Kagawa’s writing style, you’ll probably enjoy this book to some degree. If you’re expecting this book to be like The Iron Fey series, I think you’ll have better luck elsewhere, though I know several others who will disagree with me on that last point. Still, it was an engaging read, and I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of the series.

Rating:  Photobucket

Book-A-Likes:  Blood Red Road by Moira Young (dystopian elements are similar) and Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (because of the whole monster-grows-a-conscience-thing)





 

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


This week's teaser comes from the following book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Title:  Shine
Author:  Jeri Smith-Ready
Series:  3rd and final book in the Shade series
Publisher:  Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
Publication Date:  May 1, 2012
Source:  finished copy provided by publisher

In this dramatic conclusion to the Shade trilogy, Aura and Zachary’s relationship sizzles as the secrets of the Shift are revealed.

Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.

As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart.
 

My teaser:
 
"Finally I fled to my car, parked in the same place as the night Logan had passed on.  I didn't want anyone to see me through the windows, so I sat behind it, leaning against the tire.
 
That's where Mickey found me." -- p. 232
 
I can't believe I managed to hold off reading this book for nearly TWO weeks!  But I've finally got the time to devote to it, and I shall savor every second!
 
What are you reading this week?
 
 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In My Mailbox #28

Saturday, April 21, 2012 with 15 comments



In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It's a weekly meme where we all get to brag about the books and swag we got in the mail, for review, won in contests, etc.





So, this week's mailbox didn't yield a lot of spoils, but that's okay because honestly, I have a lot of reading to catch up on as it is.  I'm weak, and every new addition to my library makes me reconsider my next read, even though I have a schedule I'm supposed to be working by.  However, I have won a couple of contests recently, and I expect those winnings to land on my doorstep any day now.  :)

That said, here are the books I received this week:

Purchased:

Um, so, Audible had another sale.  And, so, I...uh...picked up another four audiobooks.  This wouldn't be a big deal if I didn't already own hardcopies of two of the four I purchased.  *sigh*  But if I don't listen to the audio, who knows how long it will be before I get to read these!?!

Supernaturally by Kiersten White
A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Eve by Anna Carey



What goodies did you find in your mailbox this week?  Share them in the comments!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Title:  Masque of the Red Death
Author:  Bethany Griffin
Series:  Masque of the Red Death
Publisher:  Greenwillow, an imprint of HarperCollins
Publication Date:  April 24, 2012
Source:  ARC

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.
 



I was highly anticipating this novel, especially after reading some awesome reviews from those I trust most in the bookish world. However, even when the masses are fawning over a book, I like to go in with a clear head and no expectations so that I can fully appreciate the book for what it is, not what I’ve been told it is. Still, I shouldn’t have been surprised to be instantly grabbed by this book. Drugs, debauchery, betrayal…this book didn’t waste any time getting to the good stuff.

The world Araby lives in isn’t terribly difficult to imagine. She lives in a decaying city, surrounded by marshlands and full of crumbling buildings, remnants of a time before the plague hit. Crocodiles and plague-riddled bats are a real fear. The wealthy drive steam carriages and careen through the vestiges of streets that have long since seen better days, while the impoverished live on the other side of the city, covering their faces in cloth since they cannot afford the porcelain masks that the wealthy wear to hinder the contagion in the air. There will always be the haves and have-nots, and never is that more obvious than in times of despair and desolation.

Araby is ruined, tragic, and more than a smidge self-deprecating. But she is also moral and kind. Araby harbors insurmountable guilt over the death of her twin brother. To assuage this guilt, she demeans herself, along with her friend April, in the Debauchery District, where all manner of depravity can be found. There are sexual encounters in dark corners and casual drug use and underage drinking, but in the society remaining after the destruction caused by the plague, this doesn’t seem uncommon or even illegal, and so it seems appropriate, considering how the world has progressed thus far.

Despite her best efforts, and a vow to her dead brother, Araby finds herself the unlikely love interest of two very different boys. Differences notwithstanding, both boys have something to offer Araby. They’re not just pretty faces, vying for the attention of a beautiful girl. Elliott, although arrogant and of questionable motives, is not what I expected from a poetry-writing university guy. He shows Araby that she is strong and capable of making much-needed changes in their decaying world. And he wants her by his side so that they can enact these changes together. Will, on the other hand, is sweet and honorable and also not what I expected, considering he’s pretty much a tattooed bouncer at the club frequented by Araby and April in their quest to forget the world around them. It’s because of Will that Araby overcomes her survivor’s guilt and lives for her brother Finn instead of denying herself pleasures because of his death.

Both boys are clear about their feelings with Araby, but it takes Araby a lot longer to trust Elliott because of his questionable motives. The problem with this triangle is not that it exists; it’s that I liked both boys so much. Many times I switched teams in this one, only to be swayed to the other side again. I loved seeing how both sides lived, for Will lived on the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak, and Elliott lived a spoiled life of decadence, much like the one Araby was accustomed to. My only regret is that it took Araby so long to realize she felt something more for Elliott, but honestly, I don’t think I could’ve trusted the guy with my heart either, especially when he says things like this:

“And I’m falling in love with you,” he whispers. “But I would throw you in the water and watch crocodiles tear you to bits, if I thought that doing so would accomplish my goals. Do. Not. Trust. Anyone. Especially me.”
But even so, I think Elliott stole my heart. His brutal honesty won me over, I guess.

This book will definitely make it to my list of top reads this year. Between the gritty, desolate surroundings and the rich, lavish lifestyles and even the disparity between the characters, I could not put this book of contrasts down. It was such a strange, entrancing mix of everything I love to see – a dystopian society, steampunk and gothic elements, and a budding romance – and it all came together to produce this amazing novel. It’s absolutely one of the best books I’ve read this year, and I’m actually kind of scared to pick up another book so soon, for fear that nothing I read for awhile will compare.

Rating:  Photobucket

Book-A-Likes:  obviously Poe's version, Wither by Lauren Destefano, or Legend by Marie Lu


 


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Showers of Books Giveaway Hop

Thursday, April 19, 2012 with 7 comments


They say April Showers Bring May Flowers!  This April will find you showered in books during the "Showers of Books" Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & One A Day YA!

For my stop on this hop, I'm giving away my ARCs of the following, to two separate winners:


Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe








Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life.

Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

OR

The Drowned Cities









Soldier boys emerged from the darkness. Guns gleamed dully. Bullet bandoliers and scars draped their bare chests. Ugly brands scored their faces. She knew why these soldier boys had come. She knew what they sought, and she knew, too, that if they found it, her best friend would surely die.

In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool--who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible.

This thrilling companion to Paolo Bacigalupi's highly acclaimed Ship Breaker is a haunting and powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.


This contest is open to residents of the US only, sorry.  Make sure to tell me which book you prefer to win in the form below.  Also, check out my other awesome giveaways:

Blogiversary & Birthday Giveaway of Epic Proportions -- you could win a Nook & other awesome prizes, ends 5/31
No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop -- win a swag pack, no hoops to jump thru, ends 4/22


Wednesday, April 18, 2012



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's WoW selection is...



Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Title:  Of Poseidon
Author:  Anna Banks
Series:  unknown at this time
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan
Publication Date:  May 22, 2012

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma’s gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .

Told from both Emma and Galen’s points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.



Why I'm waiting:  Just as vampires and werewolves before them, mermaids -- or maybe I should say sea creatures, in general, just to be politically correct -- are the new trend in YA literature this year.  In addition to Of Poseidon, I'm also looking forward to Lies Beneath and Monstrous Beauty, both due out later this year.

I've been a fan of mermaids ever since the first time I saw Disney's The Little Mermaid.  Well, probably even before that, but that movie solidified my love for all things "under the sea".  Heh.  But in all seriousness, this particular mer tale boasts some serious potential and has already garnered some spectacular reviews.  I can't wait to dive in!  Okay, okay...I'll stop.  I just had to get that last one in.  :D

What book are you anxiously awaiting this week?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Title:  Socialpunk
Author:  Monica Leonelle
Series:  1st book in the Socialpunk trilogy
Publisher:  Spaulding House
Publication Date:  March 27, 2012
Source:  egalley from author

Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.
 
 




Monica Leonelle is a well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit.




Excerpt:  Prologue

After playing God for six years with the world he created, he couldn’t control any of his subjects, none at all. Over the years, he had watched them evolve and become the sum of their own choices rather than the sum of his; and for that, he regretted ever giving them life.

A small, blinking red light from just inside his eyelid reminded him of the news they sent him earlier that morning. The company had cancelled his funding and would shut down his project within three months. According to them, the project cost too much and took up too much space, and the inconclusive results couldn’t be published reputably, now or in the future.

Six years of his work, tens of thousands of lives at stake—and he could do nothing to save any of it. He bowed his head, letting his chin rest on the rim of his breakfast smoothie. The smoothie reeked of powder—crushed pills—but he supposed he had better get used to it. He wouldn’t be able to afford the luxury of real food after they canned him.

He closed his eyes and called up the camera view of one of his favorites, number 3281. She fascinated him; he couldn’t deny it. When he had designed her, her pre-teen rebelliousness lit fire in her eyes. A survivor, he’d thought. He’d meant for her to have it all—to grow up, to get married to the love of her life, and to have a beautiful family of her own someday.

But he had only given her sadness so far. Instead of creating a strict father, he had given her an abusive one. Instead of creating a loving boyfriend, he had given her a friend who could never love her. And instead of creating a strong, proud mother, he had given her a meek one, who watched the whole thing unfold and did nothing about it.

He looked at his last and final creation sitting in the chair across from him—his own son, not awakened yet. The law forbade him to have any children of his own, so this boy would substitute.

But he had done the unthinkable with this creation—he had bestowed on it his own thoughts, emotions, and decision-making processes. He’d given the boy his own mind, his own physical characteristics, his own wants and desires.

He had never done so with any of the others because of the dangers of investing too heavily in any one of his subjects. But who could he kid? He had not stayed objective thus far, watching some of his subjects more closely than others, wishing for the happiness of some at the expense of others. He had become an abomination, a monster of his own doing, who had created subjects only to watch them suffer.

He couldn’t forgive himself; not now, not ever. His eyes lingered on the vial that sat next to his breakfast smoothie, that he’d stowed away for the day when they destroyed all his work, his entire world. He would save it, tuck it away for now, for as long as he could protect them. When things spun out of his control, he would drink it and end himself the way he had ended them.

In the ancient stories, gods frequently gave their sons as gifts. Now, he would give his son as a gift to her, number 3281. So she could be happy in her last months on earth, before they destroyed her with the rest of them.


And the giveaway:

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


This week's teaser comes from the following book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Title:  The Immortal Rules
Author:  Julie Kagawa
Series:  1st book in the Blood of Eden series
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Publication Date:  April 24, 2012
Source:  ARC

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.


My teaser:

"Whoops."  Zeke put out both hands to steady us.  For a half-second, we were face-to-face, so close I could see the rings of silver around his pupils, hear the pulse at his throat.  The Hunger stirred, and I clamped down on it, hard. - p. 277-278


I love Julie's The Iron Fey series -- so much so that I forced it upon my bestest book buddy, who is reading it now after loving The Immortal Rules -- and I can't wait to delve further into this futuristic vampire world she's created! 

What are you reading this week?

Monday, April 16, 2012

No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop

Monday, April 16, 2012 with 12 comments


Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, this hop is for all the people who hate jumping through hoops to enter giveaways. This is a no strings attached, no requirements to enter hop.

On my stop, I have a figment tote bag filled with all kinds of bookish swag:



Sunday, April 15, 2012


Okay, so my blogiversary/birthday isn't until the beginning of May, but I can't contain my excitement any longer, so I'm opening up this contest now.  My blog is finally a year old, and I am turning a modest 30, and to celebrate, I'm giving away a Nook Simple Touch and a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card as the grand prize.  Sorry, the opportunity to win the Nook is only open to U.S. residents.


However, I'm also offering the following ARCs, and this part of the giveaway is open internationally:






Open to U.S. residents ONLY:

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