Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cinema Saturday (Purposely & Purposefully on Wednesday) {@FoxHomeEnt @AmmaAsante]


My Cinema Saturday posts about movies usually get posted on, well, Saturdays. For this one, though, I wanted to post it during the week when more people might see it.

Belle
20th Century Fox
August 26, 2014
Rated PG; 104 minutes
starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Matthew Goode
IMDb /Blu-Ray on Amazon


Belle is a movie I was interested in seeing back when it was in theatres, but it never came within an hour of me. So, I was super excited to be able to watch it recently.

About the film: 
The mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in 18th century England. (from IMDb)
and the trailer:



 Based on a true story, Belle is the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a biracial young woman in 18th century England. It is a story I was wholly unfamiliar with prior to the film. I wished to see it both for the appeal of the story and how beautiful the filming seemed to be.
Now that I have seen it, I'm at least a little bit on love with Belle. It was even better than I had hoped. A cast of great actors - Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Felton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, as Belle - gorgeous filing and costumes, and such a compelling story, come together to make a great movie.
After seeing it, I did look into the 'real' story a bit more. While, Belle does romanticize some parts of Dido's story and some events are moved around, the heart of her story is unchanged. It is a fantastic story of perseverance, self discovery, and overcoming the odds. It's also a love story and a look at a point in history you may not know much about or see portrayed very often. The writing does a very nice job not only giving us Belle's life but a great glimpse into the time and characters.

Belle
 tells a remarkable story, of Dido Elizabeth Belle and the period in Britain, and does so beautifully. This is a movie I am so happy to been able to see and one I know I want to see again.
 

Fans of Bright Star, Amazing Grace and/or historical based-on-a-true-story dramas or romances should absolutely watch Belle.



Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice by Paula Byrne was published to coincide with the film's US release. and tells the true story. (The synopsis does give away some things that you may not want to know are coming if watching the movie first.)



There is a ten minute extended preview available on Amazon.







digital copy of Belle watched thanks to ThinkJam and Fox for honest review

Waiting On Wednesday [@lbkids @Jenn_Rush]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:
Reborn (Alienated #3) by Jennifer Rush


An action-packed, romantic, and suspenseful third book in the Altered series.

The Branch is in shambles, but Anna, Sam, Cas, and Nick can't rest easy. Remnants of the organization lurk unseen and the flashbacks to their old lives are only getting stronger--especially Nick's.

Following scattered memories and clues from his Branch file, Nick sets off alone in search of answers and in search of the girl who haunts his dreams. But the sleepy town where she lives in full of secrets and Nick soon learns that uncovering their shared past may have deadly consequences.

Little, Brown Young Readers will publish Reborn on January 6, 2015.

Add Reborn to your Goodreads / pre-order from Book Depo / see on Amazon

(my reviews of Altered and of Erased, the first two books in the series)

The Altered series is a fun read and I'm excited to see where things go  - the surprises in Erased have me curious about what's to come!


That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me or link me to your WOW post in the comments!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Release Day Blast: The Beautiful Ashes ~ Jeaniene Frost [@harlequinbooks @Jeaniene_Frost]

Title: The Beautiful Ashes
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Publisher: Harlequin
Expected Publication: August 26th, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance, New Adult

the beautiful ashes
About The Beautiful Ashes

In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate. Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her. Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

Buy Links Amazon | BN | Kindle
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About Jeaniene Frost: Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international
bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, and the upcoming Broken Destiny series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her. For information on Jeaniene's books, reading the first 20% of each book free, book trailers, deleted scenes, creature mythology, and more, please visit: www.jeanienefrost.com

Excerpt:



A familiar song was playing, but I couldn’t remember the name. That bugged me enough to open my eyes. A wall of black met my gaze, slick and smooth like glass. I reached up to see what it was, and that’s when I realized my hands were tied. “Silent Lucidity” by Queensryche, my mind supplied, followed immediately by, I’m in the backseat of a car. One that was well taken care of, going by that flawless, shiny roof. With those details filled in, I also remembered what had happened right before I’d passed out. And who I was with.

“Why are my hands tied?” I said, heaving myself into an upright position. For some reason Adrian didn’t have a rear view mirror, which was why he had to glance over his shoulder to look at me.

“Does anything make you panic?” he asked, sounding amused. “You’re tied up in the backseat of a cop-killer’s car, but I’ve seen people get more upset when Starbucks runs out of pumpkin spice flavor.”

Anyone normal would panic, not that it would do any good. Besides, I ran out of “normal” a long time ago, when I realized I saw things no one else did.

Speaking of which, why wasn’t I in pain? The lump where Mrs. Paulson had whacked me was gone, and my shirt was red from blood, but aside from a mild kink in my neck, I felt fine. When I pushed my shirt up, somehow, I wasn’t surprised to see smooth, unbroken skin on my abdomen. Well, that and a bunch of crumbs, like I’d eaten a dessert too messily.

“Why does it look like I have angel food cake on my stomach?” I wondered aloud.

Adrian snorted. “Close. It’s medicine. You were injured.”

“You can tell me how I’m not anymore,” I said, holding out my bound hands, “after you untie me.”
Another backwards glance, this one challenging.

 “You may be the calmest person I’ve ever been sent to retrieve, but if I tell you now what you want to know, that will change. So pick—the truth, or being untied?”

 “Truth,” I said instantly.

  He let out a laugh. “Another first. You’re full of surprises.”

  So was he. He’d just admitted that he regularly kidnapped people—which was how I translated “retrieve”—so I should be trying my damnedest to get free. But more than anything, I needed answers.

Besides, I still wasn’t afraid of him, and somehow, that had nothing to do with him magically healing me.

  “Truth, Adrian,” I repeated.

  He turned once again and his gaze locked with mine, those odd blue eyes startling me with their intensity. For a moment, I could only stare, all thought frozen in my mind. I don’t know why I reached out, awkwardly touching his arm to feel the hard muscles beneath that bulky jacket. If I’d thought about it, I wouldn’t have done it. Yet I couldn’t make myself pull away.

  Then I gasped when his hand covered mine. At some point, he’d taken off his gloves, and the feel of his warm, bare skin sent a shock wave through me. The touch seemed to affect Adrian, too. His lips parted and he edged over the back of the seats— He yanked on the steering wheel, narrowly avoiding another car. A horn blared, and when the driver passed us, an extended middle finger shook angrily in our direction. I leaned back, my heart pounding from the near collision. At least, that’s what I told myself it was from.

  “Dyate,” Adrian muttered.

  I didn’t recognize the word, and I was at a loss to place his accent. It had a musical cadence like Italian, but beneath that was a harsher, darker edge.

“What’s that language?” I asked, trying to mask the sudden shakiness in my voice.

  This time, he didn’t take his eyes off the road. “Nothing you’ve heard of.”

  “I picked truth, remember?” I said, holding up my bound hands for emphasis.

  That earned me a quick glance. “That is the truth, but you don’t get more until you meet Zach. Then we can skip all the ‘this isn’t possible’ arguments.”

  I let out a short laugh. “After what I saw on Detective Kroger’s face, my definition of ‘impossible’ has changed.”

  Adrian swerved again, but this time, no other car was near.

  “What did you see?”

  I tensed. How did I explain without sounding insane? No way to, so I chose to go on the attack instead.

  “Why were you in my hotel room? And how did you heal me? There isn’t even a mark—”

  “What did you see on his face, Ivy?”

  Despite his hard tone, when my name crossed his lips, something thrummed inside me, like he’d yanked on a tie I hadn’t known was there. Feeling it was as disturbing as my inexplicable reaction to his clasping my hands.

  “Shadows,” I said quickly, to distract from that. “He had snakelike shadows all over his face.”
I expected Adrian to tell me I’d imagined it, a response I was used to hearing. Instead, he pulled over, putting the car in park but keeping the engine running. Then he turned to stare at me.

  “Was that the only strange thing you saw?”

  I swallowed. I knew better than to talk about these things. Still, I’d demanded the truth from Adrian. It didn’t seem fair to lie in return.

  “I saw two versions of the same B and B earlier. One was pretty, but the other was old and rotted, and my sister was trapped inside it.”

  Adrian said nothing, though he continued to pin me with that hard stare. When he finally spoke, his question was so bizarre I thought I’d misheard him.

  “What do I look like to you?”

“Huh?”


  “My appearance.” He drew out the words like I was slow. “Describe me.”

  All of a sudden, he wanted compliments? I might have finally met someone crazier than me.

  “This is ridiculous,” I muttered, but started with the obvious. “Six-six, early twenties, built like Thor, golden brown hair with blond highlights, silvery blue eyes...you want me to go on?”

  He began to laugh, a deep, rich baritone that would’ve been sensual except for how angry it made me.

 “Now I know why they came after you,” he said, still chuckling. “They must’ve realized you were different, but if they’d known what you could see, you never would’ve made it out of that B and B.”

 “You can stop laughing,” I said sharply. “I get that it’s crazy to see the things I do.” Lots of kids had imaginary friends growing up. I had imaginary places, though at first, I didn’t know I was the only one who could see them. Once my parents had realized that what I kept describing went far beyond childhood fancifulness, the endless doctor visits and tests began. One by one, diseases and psychoses had been crossed off until I was diagnosed with a non-monoamine-cholinergic imbalance in my temporal cortex.

In other words, I saw shit that wasn’t there for reasons no one could figure out. The pills I took helped a little, though I lied and said they got rid of all my hallucinations. I was sick of doctors poking at me. So whenever I saw something that no one else did, I forced myself to ignore it—until Mrs. Paulson and
Detective Kroger had tried to kill me, of course.

  Adrian did stop laughing, and that unblinking intensity was back in his gaze.

  “Well, Ivy, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is, you’re not crazy. The bad news is, everything you’ve seen is real, and now, it’ll be coming for you.”

“Brace yourself, Ivy. You’re about to meet a demon.”





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Monday, August 25, 2014

Six Feet Over It ~ Jennifer Longo (earc) review [@jenlialongo @randomhousekids]

Six Feet Over It
Random House Books for Young Readers
August 26, 2014
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Home is where the bodies are buried.

Darkly humorous and heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Jennifer Longo’s YA debut about a girl stuck living in a cemetery will change the way you look at life, death, and love.

Leigh sells graves for her family-owned cemetery because her father is too lazy to look farther than the dinner table when searching for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she meets two kinds of customers:

Pre-Need: They know what’s up. They bought their graves a long time ago, before they needed them.

At Need: They are in shock, mourning a loved one’s unexpected death. Leigh avoids sponging their agony by focusing on things like guessing the headstone choice (mostly granite).

Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to stand up to her family and quit. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her grave digger. Surrounded by death, can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?

With Six Feet Over It, I like the cover and I like the book, but I don' think the cover reflects the book very well. Yes, there's a headstone, a girl and it's in a cemetery, but that girl is not very reflective of Leigh.

Fourteen-year-old Leigh is not loving her father's choice to move them from their seaside home to a inland cemetery. Leigh knows people are going to give her a hard time for where she lives, it is high school, after all; she just wishes they would get their facts straight. It's not like there are dead bodies in her basement.

But death is definitely a part of Leigh's life. For years it felt like it was just around the corner while her older sister Kai had cancer. Now, with Kai in remission and the family moved to live in/run the cemetery, it's Leigh's job.

Leigh's family is a dysfunctional one, to say the least. Her father moved the family with seemingly no discussion from the only home the girls ever had; her mother spends her days pining for and painting the sea. Neither seems to know what's going on with their daughter. The one person Leigh could share her pain with - the stress of moving, the trouble at school, the loss of her best friend - is her sister, Kai. Except she can't.

Leigh's feelings for her sister, her feelings about herself in relationship to her sister are all sorts of jumbled.

I like that Leigh does not always make sense. She has a story we slowly find more out about as the book progresses. It's not just her new, unconventional home causing turmoil in her life, she's holding in a lot of guilt and grief. The location and her job provide an interesting outlet for all that's in Leigh's head.

The thing that did not work for me in Six Feet Over It, was Leigh's age. She's fourteen when the novel starts (closer to fifteen, but still fourteen). The 'slightly-too-old-for-her' character the synopsis mentions is almost twenty. That seems a bit more than 'slightly.' I wanted Leigh to be older, but her age did seem to fit, especially with how much time passes during the novel. Some of the mentions of what happened the year before, while in Mendocino, seemed to young, though. For an eighth grader, some of what happened seemed a better fit for a character a year or two younger.

Overall, this is an enjoyable book. Leigh's family - the whole lot of them - is definitely kooky but they are well developed and realistic, even in their eccentricities. Leigh herself is an interesting that I liked quite a bit more as the story progressed. Six Feet Over It will also make you want some York Peppermint Patties.




Another book you might also enjoy: Putting Makeup On Dead People by Jen Violi




advance digital copy received from publisher, through NetGalley for review

Friday, August 22, 2014

Vibrant Food ~ Kimberly Hasselbrink (arc) review [@TenSpeedPress @theyearinfood]

Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season
Ten Speed Press
June 17, 2014
224 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

The vivid colors of fresh produce inspire this artistic collection of whole foods recipes from the creator of the acclaimed blog The Year in Food.

Kimberly Hasselbrink, photographer and creator of the acclaimed blog The Year in Food, invites you to look at ingredients differently and let their colors inspire you: the shocking fluorescent pink of a chard stem, the deep reds and purples of baby kale leaves, the bright shades of green that emerge in the spring, and even the calm yellows and whites of so many winter vegetables. Thinking about produce in terms of color can reinvigorate your relationship with food, and in this collection of recipes, Hasselbrink employs aesthetics, flavor, and texture to build gorgeous yet unfussy dishes for every season.

Recipes take you on a journey through spring’s Pasta with Nettle Pesto and Blistered Snap Peas, summer’s Berry–Coconut Milk Ice Pops, fall’s Turkey Burgers with Balsamic Figs, and winter’s Sparkling Pomegranate Punch. Featuring photo pairings that celebrate not only the finished dishes but also the striking ingredients that create them—plus a photograph of each and every recipe—this book reveals an artistic picture of whole foods eating.

If Saturday morning for you means a stop at the farmer's market, then Vibrant Food is definitely the cookbook for you. From Kimberly Hasselbrink the creator and photographer of The Year in Food blog proposes we be inspired by the color of our food.

There's no doubt that the recipes featured in Vibrant Food look like something you want. It truly is a book of vibrant food, Hasselbrink's photographs are gorgeous. If you like looking at cookbooks, then do not miss Vibrant Food and its gorgeous photographs.

That's not all it has, though. The recipes are arranged by season - Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter - each section then subdivided by feature ingredient (stone fruit, persimmons, tomatoes). It's a very logical and helpful organization. It also aids readers in one of the books goals: using in season produce and ingredients.

The paragraphs that provide an introduction and background to each recipe, let readers know what gave Hasselbrink the idea for the recipe or what makes it unique and special. Then come the recipes. While I tend to prefer those presented in list form (ie 1, 2, 3) I do like how these are done in paragraph form. It allows for more description of what to do (how to choose and prepare squash blossoms without damaging them, for example).

Vibrant Food is a gluten free cookbook. More common (for those not following a gluten free diet) substitutes are given in the introduction. Though, if you're unfamiliar with the gluten free options, it can be hard to know what would be the best substitute for a given recipe.

The ingredients that make Vibrant Food so appealing both visually gustatorily, can also make actually making them difficult. While the author mentions living in San Francisco and what is available there, some things - fresh sardines, millet, etc - can be hard for those in other areas to procure. At least those in areas less metropolitan or nowhere near a Whole Foods.

The recipes themselves are tantalizing enough, though, that I know if/when I am able to get the ingredients, I wan to try additional ones. If you want a cookbook where you can easily run to the nearest grocery store and have all of the ingredients available, Vibrant Food may not be for you. But if you like cookbooks that can inspire, are visually stimulating and may just push you to try something new, check out Vibrant Food. Even if you're not able - right now - to make everything, you'll love looking at it.





received from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Into the Grey ~ Celine Kiernan (earc) review [@Celine_Kiernan @Candlewick]

Into the Grey
Candlewick Press
August 26, 2014
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

A pacy, chilling ghost story from the creator of the internationally acclaimed Moorehawke Trilogy.

I think the fire changed us – me and Dom. I think that’s how the boy was able to see us. Though he’d been there for every summer of our childhood, we’d only been stupid boys until then. Stupid, happy, ignorant boys. And what in hell would he have had in common with two stupid boys? But after the fire we were different. We were maybe a little bit like him. And so he saw us, at last, and he thought he’d found a home…
"Pushed off the edge of the world into the grey nowhere . . ." (pg 114)

Set in Ireland in 1974, Into the Grey uses great setting (time and location) appropriate dialogue to really bring readers into the characters' world. While some of the words were not ones I knew (at least used as they were), nearly all were easy to decipher given the context.

Dom and Pat are two fifteen-year-old boys, twins, whose family is forced to move to their summer home by the sea after their home is destroyed. Without the carefree joy of summer, the boys see the differences in the house, the dust, how cramped it is.

But that's not the only different thing they see: there's also the goblin boy.

Soon, they find themselves pulled into a world they didn't even know existed.

The tone of Into the Grey is really fantastic. The closest thing I can think to compare it to is Help for the Haunted (though with more positive results for me). There are startling moments, spooky scenes and an overall creepy feel. Yet, it's that the whole thing is not a horror novel or a 'scary' story that made it so enjoyable for me. The focus is very much on the characters, whether it's the struggles within their family (extended, as well), caring for Nan after her stroke, adjusting to the new life . . . or if it's the possible, likely haunting of one of them.

Even as one brother struggles to save the other, to keep them all safe, he's learning, seeing countless things about his other family members he was unaware of previously.

Not only are the characters' relationships and their pasts something very interesting and compelling to read about, they help bring the whole story together. It was tricky, at first, to understand just how everyone connected, but that fit very well with how things came together for the characters. Once I had it figured, though, I loved it.

Into the Grey is a very rewarding story of friendship, brotherly love, familial bonds, war, death, ghosts and being found. Even if you don't usually read 'ghost' stories, this one is recommended.


Of the covers the different editions have received, this one from Candlewick is my favorite. It's not only eye-catching, once you've read (or are reading) the novel, it represents it so well.








egalley received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program from publisher and through NetGalley, for review

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Young World ~ Chris Weitz (earc) review [@lbkids]

The Young World (The Young World Trilogy #1)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
July 29, 2014
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon


After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.


The Young World was an okay read for me. It isn't the most original concept (the Gone series, The Tribe show), but was the first time I had read it. In the two years since the Sickness killed the adults and young children, Jefferson's group has established a sort of society around New York's Washington Square Park. Many things are missing from the life they knew, but they have things pretty well figured. Things work.

Which isn't to say there isn't danger. From the trips outside to find food and supplies, the other 'tribes' that aren't as peaceful, even regular injury and illness now that the adults (and thus doctors) are dead, everyday holds multiple threats.

So, when there's the possibility of discovering more about the Sickness, even maybe ending it, Jefferson knows they have to go. Have to try.

Along with Donna (named for singer Madonna) and a few others from their group, Jeff sets out for a mission more perilous than he imagined.

I enjoyed the beginning setup where we learned about the Washington Square group and how they operate their little 'society.' That part of the story seemed very well imagined and thought through. I was also excited for them to leave, so we could see what was happening in the rest of the city. It was interesting to see how differently those in other areas fared. Based either on individuals' actions or perhaps on the life they had Before.

I did wish there had been more of an explanation on how things had gotten to the point they were at, in only two years. With one group, we receive more of an in depth explanation - that makes sense - than with anyone else, even those in Washington Square. Maybe I was just too curious. It would be find in a movie to just see the state of each tribe, but in a novel I wondered 'why' or 'how,' I suppose.

For the most part, I really liked the characters. Jefferson is a fun character, who - though he doesn't seem sure he wants it - is a natural leader. He has a story, hs past, what's happened to him since the Sickness that is really creative and great background for his character. Brainbox, Peter and some of the other secondary characters were also great additions to the novel. They were different from each other and I liked seeing how they fit into this new world while still being able to see how they fit into (or didn't fit into) the old world.

The romance parts of this novel didn't work for me. The characters started to feel like different people (Donna especially) when it came into play and there just wasn't enough chemistry.

When that was paired with the cruelty to animals (yes, they kill people but the parts with animals seemed more in depth, more described), the lack of much demonstration of the Sickness, something so much a part of their world, and the ending, it really was just an okay read. The ending seems to just happen. There are several parts that seem to come out of nowhere and it is definitely a cliffhanger.

Some aspects of the story - the action, the different groups - seem they would have worked better on screen than in print. There is just enough intrigue in the ending that I will, likely, give the second book a chance.




thank you to LBYR and NetGalley for my egalley for review


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week: Talon by Julie Kagawa

published October 28th by Harlequin Teen
add it to your Goodreads/pre-order from Book Depo/or Amazon

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.


Because it's Julie Kagawa. Also? Dragons.


What's your pick this week? Link me to your post and/or tel me in a comment!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Girl from the Well ~ Rin Chupeco (earc) review [@SourebooksFire @RinChupeco]

The Girl from the Well
Sourcebooks Fire
August 5, 2014
272 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as "Dexter" meets "The Grudge", based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

"I am where dead children go," begins this tale full of atmosphere, superstition and horror. The Girl from the Well takes a ghost story from Japanese folklore and brings it into present day. The story was not one I knew prior to reading the novel, but, after looking it up, it seems Chupeco used it for brilliant inspiration.

Yet the old tale is not the story line that The Girl from the Well follows. Instead it is a character from that ghost story that is a part of the novel. The character, the 'dead girl who walks to streets,' stays true to the character from folklore while being developed enough to be a great, fully realized character integral to the story. (You can see a brief summary of the legend here - though if you don't know the story I think it's more fun to do after reading the novel.)

The dead girl, this vengeful ghost, is only one of the well done characters. While I enjoyed most of them - even some with very small parts - my other favorite character was Tarquin. How his story, his life and the story of the ghost girl* intersect is really smart. And something we do not fully realize until the end of the book. His character's history - the mysterious tattoos that he's had for years, even being now only fifteen, his mentally ill mother, his secrets - all combine for a very interesting character.

His character experiences great growth over the course of the story. From the beginning when he's distant and withdrawn (though with some great snark) to who he becomes, it's a great transformation. His tale is even better when paired with those of the other characters and the horror, haunting aspects.

The ghosts, horror, possessions and practices of this book are done fantastically. It is scary. That things are so established in fact, so well explained by past events, really makes for a creepy, startling story.

When everything finally comes together, it is somehow both reassuring and terrifying, at the same time.

The Girl from the Well is absolutely not to miss. It is what I want ghost stories to be: scary, but with great characters, some mystery or suspense and a plot that makes sense. If you enjoy ghost stories, horror stories, folklore or just love characters with unique tales, this is a read for you. I'm excited for the next book and its tale.

*While most reviews - even some synopses have the ghost girl's name, it isn't in the book until almost half way. I liked reading it and not having a name for her until then, so I'm keeping it out of my review.



received for review from publisher, via NetGalley


Cover Reveal & Contest [@CJ_Duggan]

Check out the Cover Reveal for two novellas in CJ Duggan's The Summer Series posted yesterday. I screwed up and it posted at 8:00 PM not 8:00 AM.

My apologies to the author Xpresso Book Tours who organized the reveal.

Be sure to take a peak at the great covers - plus enter the giveaway and get the free book!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Double Cover Reveal




Stan (Summer Series #1.5) & Max (Summer Series #2.5) by C.J. Duggan
Publication Date: December 2014
Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Now for the covers and the novellas synopses . . .





I had plans, big plans, but all that changed the night Bel Evans darkened my doorstep.

Stan Remington is the go-to man; what he doesn’t know about Onslow means one of two things: it doesn’t exist or it hasn’t happened yet.

And when it comes to Onslow, for Stan, being an only child has meant a guilt-riddled sense of duty to help out at his parents’ caravan park every summer. Same old town. Same old story.

Until Belinda Evans.

The wild and annoying doctor’s daughter spends her summer family holidays at Remington’s Caravan Park, and normally she’s not Stan’s problem. But then she sabotages his planned weekend escape. Now Stan finds himself not only caretaking the caravan park on his own, but also responsible for Bel.

Just the two of them.
Under the one roof.
For one long, long weekend.

In a world where mundane routine and small-town boredom is his norm, one weekend changes every element of his world to anything but boring.






Max Henry thought he’d left the dusty flats of Ballan behind, but when the past slams into his present, suddenly there is no escaping – even if he wanted to.

Melanie Sheehan didn’t set out to be a liar, but her last lie landed her in big trouble. Now Mel must suffer a harsh consequence – she’s not allowed out of her father’s sight.

No friends, no parties, no life.

Since impeccably good behaviour is now all she’s about, her dad, renowned Ballan local ‘Bluey’ Sheehan, is about to finally cut Mel some slack. The catch? While he heads out of town on business, she has to stay at the Onslow Hotel, and he’s entrusting Max Henry, the eldest son of Bluey’s best mate, to look out for her.

He just doesn’t know it yet.

Max, the new head barman at the Onslow Hotel, is the one boy Mel has been crushing on since forever. At a time when Mel plans to go on the straight and narrow, she is about to tell the biggest lie of all. Will Max be able to handle the fiery farm girl or should he be considered the last boy in Onslow to trust?


About the Author:

C.J Duggan is a Number One Best Selling Australian Author who lives with her husband in a rural
border town of New South Wales, Australia. When she isn’t writing books about swoony boys and 90’s pop culture you will find her renovating her hundred-year-old Victorian homestead or annoying her local travel agent for a quote to escape the chaos.

website // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter

The Boys of Summer is Book One in her international best selling New Adult Romance Series.


The 'Summer Series'
The Boys of Summer (currently free on Kindle)
Stan (Summer Novella)
An Endless Summer
Max (Summer Novella)
That One Summer
Ringer (Summer Novella)
Forever Summer

see the series on Goodreads
iTunes pre-orders:
Stan
Max
Ringer
Forever Summer

(more purchase links)














Riot ~ Sarah Mussi (earc) review [@sarahmussi @hodderchildrens]

Riot
Hodder Children's
May 1, 2014
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon UK/(in the US)

It is 2018. England has been struggling under a recession that has shown no sign of abating. Years of cuts has devastated Britain: banks are going under, businesses closing, prices soaring, unemployment rising, prisons overflowing. The authorities cannot cope. And the population has maxed out.

The police are snowed under. Something has to give. Drastic measures need taking.

The solution: forced sterilisation of all school leavers without secure further education plans or guaranteed employment.

The country is aghast. Families are distraught, teenagers are in revolt, but the politicians are unshakeable: The population explosion must be curbed. No more free housing for single parents, no more child benefit, no more free school meals, no more children in need. Less means more.

But it is all so blatantly unfair - the Teen Haves will procreate, the Teen Havenots won't.

It's time for the young to take to the streets. It's time for them to RIOT:

OUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE, OUR BODIES, OUR FUTURE.

In Riot's 2018 Britain, the population is reaching capacity and the authorities can no longer manage. The proposed 'Snip Bill' is their solution. The effort to pass the bill - forced sterilization for those finishing school without a suitable future outlined - is spearheaded by Tia's father.

The bill is only one of the many things Tia and her father fail to see eye to eye on it. While he's working for its passage, she is helping to organize protests against it. But, when those protests stop being the peaceful voices of dissent Tia planned, she is forced to make tough choices.

Just how far is she willing to go to stop the bill - and how far anre they willing to go to pass it?

Riot has a very unique and intriguing premise. The question is if one's ability to have children should be based on socioeconomic status.  And whether that decision should be made by the government. Though we get quite a bit of explanation from both sides of the issue, it felt somehow underdeveloped. The characters' emotional reactions to the proposal were very well done and brought a very human element to everything.

Where things never quite connected was with how everything connected. The Bill, Tia, Cobain, the riots, and all of the new things that sprung up as a reaction. It was hard, at times, to really grasp how A affected B and was because of C but not really, D, at least not how you thought.

I loved the characters, though. Tia is a somewhat naive girl who wants to stop the bill (that likely would not even affect her). Yet, it's that naivete, that ignorance, that has her believing the government will listen, that everyone will be okay. She can't imagine the lengths everyone - on both sides - will be willing to go to trying to get their way.

Cobain can. The notorious teen knows it won't be that easy. With his introduction to the story and to Tia's life, we being not only to see a different world than privileged Tia knows, but a growth of her characters as well.

The two characters' interaction, their different lives that have hem bringing such different expectations to everything, make for a great read. Their differences are good for each other and for the story.

Riot is a fast paced read with great characters and a very compelling premise, I plan to read more from author Sarah Mussi.







Other books you may also enjoy: When We Wake by Karen Healey; Legend series by Marie Lu, Numbers series by Rachel Ward



advance digital copy received from publisher, through NetGalley, for honest review

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Dare ~ Hannah Jayne (earc) review [@SourcebooksFire @Hannah_Jayne1]

The Dare
Sourcebooks Fire
July 1, 2014
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon


Two jumped off the pier that night...but only one came back alive

Bryn did everything with her best friend Erica. So when someone dared Erica to jump off the pier one night at Harding Beach, Bryn was right by her side. But when Bryn made it back to the surface, Erica was nowhere to be found. Bryn tries to make a fresh start by burying her memories of that awful night. But when a Twitter post from "EricaNShaw" pops up on her feed and a chilling voice mail appears on her phone, she realizes that someone isn't ready to let go of the past...

Hannah Jayne's The Dare is a book that keeps you guessing. Bryn is starting a new life - new town, new house, new school - and trying to leave the past behind her. The past where her best friend, Erica, drowned.

She is sure someone at her new school will know what happened, will know her part in it, and it will be like it was all over again. When it seems that Bryn is just the new girl, with no one knowing anything about her, she tries to relax.

But when she starts receiving tweets from 'EricaNShaw' and mysterious calls, it seems someone does know about Erica's death. Someone not ready for Bryn to start anew.

 The Dare has an interesting character in Bryn. It's clear that she's trying to have a fresh start, to get away from her past. It's also clear that won't be as easy as hoped. As the story progresses, we learn more about what happened the night Erica died and what happened to Bryn after. As we learn more, we're able to understand some of Bryn's actions and feelings more. Yet, it also becomes clear that readers, like Bryn herself, may not be able to trust her interpretations of things.

I liked that Bryn's feelings about the past, how she saw things now and even what was happening to her was not necessarily to be trusted. It brought an additional bit of mystery to the story.

We don't get to really know the side characters in The Dare. There's a group of friends who are part of the story, but we only scratch the surface with their characters. The little bits we're given make it seem like they are good characters, but we don't see enough. Evan, (whom my mind cast with Felix from Orphan Black) may be the exception to that. While we still only see bits of who he is, he's entertaining.

The ending was surprising in just how different events - both that we saw and hinted at - came together. It was abrupt, though, and left quite a few things unexplained. While I enjoyed the larger answers it gave, there were smaller pieces, parts of the story, that were not explained.

A spoiler-filled review would make it easier to clearly explain some of the issues I had, but I'm trying to keep this spoiler free . . .

Prior to reaching it's unsatisfying ending, The Dare was a fun read that kept its readers guessing - both about the plot and Bryn. If things had been left more resolved and/or we'd seen a bit more of the characters (which may tie in with the ending, as well), it could have been a really good read.






Other books you may also enjoy: The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee and Six Months Later by Natalie D Richards


thank you to he publisher for my copy to review via NetGalley

Video Veneris ~ Left Behind


While I haven't read Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins' Left Behind series, I know many people have - and the trailer for the movie based on the novel, is now out.

Starring Nicolas Cage, Left Behind will be released in October.

book synopsis:
An airborne Boeing 747 is headed to London when, without any warning, passengers mysteriously disappear from their seats. Terror and chaos slowly spread not only through the plane but also worldwide as unusual events continue to unfold. For those who have been left behind, the apocalypse has just begun (find it on Goodreads)

and for the movie:
A small group of survivors are left behind after millions of people suddenly vanish and the world is plunged into chaos and destruction. (on IMDb)




thanks to ThinkJam for letting me know about the trailer
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