Friday, August 29, 2014

THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME Blog Tour: Heather Marie Interview


Welcome to my stop on The Gateway Through Which They Came Blog Tour! Here you will find my interview with the author, Heather Marie, which includes her Gateway Love List! 


THE BOOK

The Gateway Through Which They Came

Title: The Gateway Through Which They Came
Author: Heather Marie
Release Date: August 25, 2014
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Summary


To seventeen-year-old Aiden Ortiz, letting the dead walk through his body to reach the other side comes with the territory. Being a Gateway isn’t an easy job, but someone’s gotta send Bleeders where they belong. Heaven. Salvation. Call it whatever you want. Dead is dead. But when his search for Koren Banks––the girl who went mysteriously missing seven months ago––leaves him with more questions than answers, he finds himself involved in something far more sinister and beyond his control. 

With the threat of the Dark Priest's resurrection, and his plan to summon his demon brothers from hell, Aiden is left to discover his identity before the Dark Priest's curse infecting his blood consumes him, and before the world as he knows it succumbs to the darkness of hell on earth.



THE AUTHOR

Heather Marie lives in Northern California with her husband, and spends the majority of her time at home reading. Before she followed her dreams of becoming a writer, Heather worked as a hairstylist and makeup artist for several years. Although she enjoyed the artistic aspect of it all, nothing quite quenched her creative side like the telling of a good story. When the day had come for her to make a choice, she left behind her promising career to start another, and never looked back.


THE INTERVIEW

Summarize The Gateway Through Which They Came in one sentence:

Aiden Ortiz is a Gateway for the dead, but his gift becomes a curse when the Dark Priest's resurrection threatens to bring hell on earth, and leaves Aiden wondering which side he's truly on. 

What was the initial spark that created Gateway

I’ve mentioned this once before, but Ghost Adventures is the spark to quite a few of my ideas. The night was just a typical Saturday, and I was living alone at the time. I can’t remember how many episodes I had watched, but I’m sure it was several. Most of the time I do a marathon, until I’m thoroughly freaked out. And on this particular night, I want to say it was something about the investigation. The place and their surroundings, the story behind it. The idea for Gateway—a boy who passed the dead through his body—popped into my mind. The what, why, and how, came shortly after.

What were some of the subjects you researched?

Honestly, most of the things I researched was that of the church written within the book. I don’t describe myself as a religious person, seeing as I’ve been to maybe four churches in my entire life. It was important for me to have Gateway based, for the most part, within and/or surrounding a church. I didn’t want to get anything wrong, because this is incredibly important to a lot of people, so I was sure to do as much research possible to get it right. I also had several people read it that I knew could help me get everything how it should be. I just hope it was enough.

Who was your favorite character to write, and why? 

As much as I love Aiden as a character, I freakin’ adore his best friend, Trevor. He’s just so genuine and kind-hearted. He’s someone I wish I had as a best friend. Always loyal. Always brave. I kind of feel like I’ll miss him the most when the series is over.

Gateway is told from a male point of view (Aiden Ortiz). As a female writer, were there any tricks you used to make Aiden's voice more authentic?

I’ve been a tomboy my whole life. I grew up around the boys. I skated with the boys. I acted like one of the boys to the point where I think some people thought I was a boy. Finding Aiden’s voice is a lot easier for me than writing a female voice. Weird, I know. A part of me feels like I can be a little more real with Aiden. Like his brain and my brain are the same. He just… gets me.

What’s your favorite line/passage in Gateway?
  
Ooh. Gosh. I’ve never been asked this question. This is a tough one. I’d have to say when Aiden discovers that being a Gateway isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. He’s trying to be a normal kid when so much is happening, that when he tries to do his English homework he gets fed up and says, “I don’t know what this Hamlet guy is so worried about.” LOL. I can’t read that line without busting up. Actually, I remember my editor texting me right after she read it and saying she wanted that line on a shirt. We might have to make this happen.

Heather Marie's The Gateway Through Which They Came Love List Top 3 
  • I love the relationship between Aiden and his mother. At first, their relationship was really awful. I don’t know why I made her so angry in the first draft, but I’m so glad I reconsidered. Their relationship, I feel, is what makes Gateway.
  • Aiden’s best friends, Evan and Trevor, are absolutely hilarious together. They’re like two peas in a pod. There were several times during the drafting process that I found myself laughing out loud to their bickering. But, also, the three of them together are fantastic. Lots of love and loyalty going on there.
  • Gateway would be nothing without the Bleeders! Ooh, those poor people. I really made them grotesque and they must hate me for it. haha

Gateway is the first book in a series. How many books will there be, and what can you tell us about the series as a whole?

Hmm… I can’t say much only because nothing has been finalized. It’s no secret that I wrote book two, but there are a lot of deciding factors still in the works. I can say that book two will bring some new hilarious characters, and, of course, some Bleeder mischief. I think that people will enjoy the new twists and turns I put Aiden through. I just hope they get a chance to read about it! 

And that's it! My thanks to Ms. Marie for the awesome interview! :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How Do You Like It?: Book Tours/Promotion



What kind of book tour/promotion posts do you like? 
Which topics interest you, make you immediately want to click that link, read that post? 
And how big an impact do giveaways have?

Right now I tend to just do reviews, author interviews, or spotlights, but I'd love to start offering you guys broader content! Below is a list of blog tour post topics (if you know any others, do let me know!) - please comment below with what interests you! And how much impact do giveaways have on you visiting a book tour/promotion post? I'd like to know!

  • Review
  • Author Interview
  • Character Interview
  • This or That
  • Tens List
  • Dream Cast
  • Music Playlist
  • Guest Post
  • Excerpt/Spotlight
  • 10 Random Things About the Author
  • 10 Favorite Books Author Read This Year
  • Scavenger Hunt


(P.S. Blogger comments have been a little fritzy as of late. I recommend copying your comment before trying to post it, just in case it gets eaten. If it does get eaten, refresh the page, paste and try again.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Reborn (Jennifer Rush)


Have you entered my 2014 ARCs giveaway? 
Do so HERE!


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Reborn (Altered, #3)
Title: Reborn (Altered Saga #3)
Author: Jennifer Rush
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown BYR
Summary:
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.


Why I'm Looking Forward To ItI am a HUGE fan of this series - I swear, Jennifer is writing it just for me. (For proof, see my reviews of Books 1 & 2, Altered & Erased!) Looking forward to getting some more answers to the mystery and "seeing" the boy again soon!


So what book are you waiting on?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: The Fourth Wish (Lindsay Ribar)

The Fourth Wish
Title: The Fourth Wish
Series: sequel to The Art of Wishing
Author: Lindsay Ribar
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Release Date: July 31, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Rating: Older Teen (sexual situations, sensuality, some language, minor violence, bullying)
Told: First Person Singular (Margo), Past Tense
Format Read: ARC (from publisher)
Find It On: Goodreads

Summary:

Here's what Margo McKenna knows about genies: She's seen Aladdin more times than she can count; she's found a magic genie ring and made her three allotted wishes; she's even fallen head over heels in love with Oliver, the cute genie whose life she saved by fighting off another genie. But none of this prepared her for the shock of becoming a genie herself.

Everything Margo's taken for granted--graduating high school, going to college, hating math, performing in the school musical, even being a girl--is in question. Just at a time when she's trying to figure out who she wants to be, Margo is forced to become whomever her master wants. But Margo is also coming into a power she never imagined she'd have. How will she reconcile the two? And where will she and Oliver stand when she's done?


*          *          *

Why I Read It: I absolutely loved the first book, The Art of Wishing, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel.

Series: This is the sequel to The Art of Wishing, and completes the duology. You definitely have to have read TAOW before reading this book as it picks up immediately where TAOW left off. You can find my review of The Art of Wishing here.

Writing: Such an easy read - Lindsay's style makes me feel like a speed-reader! She has a mastery of description, pace, and her dialogue is superb.

Setting: The real world, but with genies. I think we were (and always have been, actually) in New Jersey? This came as a surprise when I realized it well into this book, but if it's not essential to the story I tend not to notice (I can be a bad reader like that ;).

Story: To my great disappointment, the story was a rollercoaster of frustration for me. I don't think I agreed or liked any of Margo's decisions, and when they were particularly disagreeable I had to put the book down and walk away for a while. As with the first book, I didn't agree with the ending, which really didn't surprise me by the time I got there. Both Margo and Oliver felt like completely different characters from the first book, and I didn't like who they were in this book at all.

Characters: Margo was selfish. Period. She wanted everything her way, on her schedule. It was only when her independent boyfriend resisted that she altered herself to fit him so she wouldn't lose having him all to herself. As mentioned above, this new personality led to no end of frustration for me. If she had stopped to give some thought to not only those around her but the person she had been in the first book, she would've seen the perfect solution to all her problems without doing harm to not only everyone around her but herself as well. And Oliver...I did not enjoy discovering the "real" Oliver. I loved Margo's Oliver in the first book (definitely book boyfriend material), but the "ancient genie with different masters" Oliver just wasn't for me. I understood him, and he was plausible, but he pushed Margo even further in the wrong direction and for it I just couldn't like him.

Romantic Relationship: They'd been together all of a few weeks, and (spoiler) sure she'd killed someone to save him (end of spoiler), but she focused her life around him more than was healthy. We're talking New Moon unhealthy here. While he was a new kind of bad influence, essentially he was the same bad boy rebel that most mothers rightfully warn against, and I just couldn't approve of him and what he did to her - and made her do.

Bullying: A lot of hot-button topics come up in this book, but one that I'm not seeing thrown around is bullying and I feel it warrants mentioning - and not in a good way. I did not like how the Ryan situation went down, and especially ended (spoilers, so I shall be vague). Don't get me wrong he was a first class d-word, but he was basically your average male teen driven by the brain in his pants and I don't think he deserved the level of bullying he received. Considering Margo essentially started the whole mess and did him wrong, when nothing came of it and she didn't learn the important lesson she should've - and the fact that it didn't seriously mess Ryan up when it really should have - I felt the whole situation was not portrayed or handled especially well.

Conclusion: As much as I adored The Art of Wishing, and as much as I wanted to adore this sequel, I just couldn't. It rubbed me the wrong way from all directions, and the changes to both Margo and Oliver's personalities were not good ones. Lindsay's writing was this book's only saving grace, and my love for the first book was the only reason I persevered with this sequel. I will continue to recommend The Art of Wishing to anyone who will listen, but will also be recommending they treat it as a standalone and skip The Fourth Wish.

Read It Again?: Sadly, no

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Friday Reads Review (8/22/14)


Have you entered my 2014 ARCs giveaway? 
Do so HERE!



Welcome to The Friday Reads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own Friday Reads Review on your blog, and then leave the link in the Comments below!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Not in the Script: An If Only novel
Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan (ARC)
Romance on the set of a teen television show - oh, the drama! The banter is really good (lots of literal LOL moments for me), and it's set in Tucson! Overall a pretty good read, although I have a few reservations.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)Perfect Lies (Mind Games, #2)
Mind Games by Kiersten White (ARC)
Perfect Lies by Kiersten White (ARC)
Catching up on Kiersten before she comes to Phoenix next month! This duology was SO GOOD, I can't believe I waited this long to read it. The layout made things a little confusing, especially in the second book, but Fia made it all worth it - she's one of the best characters I've ever read. Reviews to come.


>> READING NEXT <<
Trust Me, I'm a Ninja (Relax, I'm a Ninja, #2)
Trust Me, I'm a Ninja by Natalie Whipple (Pbk)
I'm not sure what I'll be truly reading next, but as soon as this beauty arrives next week I'm diving right in! I just finished re-reading the first book, Relax, I'm a Ninja, and I can't wait to see where this story goes next!


So what are you reading this week?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

2014 ARC Giveaway!


Cleaning out my giveaway box I realized I hadn't done a giveaway in FOREVER, so I present a 2014 ARC Giveaway for my lovely Followers! Thank you for sticking with me, you guys make all the hard work worth it. *HUGS*

The winner (or winners, TBD! ;) can choose two 2014 ARCs from the pic below. To win, you must Follow me and leave a comment with the two titles you want to win! Good luck!! :)



RULES:

  • US only (apologies to my International Followers!)
  • Must be 13 years or older
  • Must Follow this blog (via email, GFC, or Bloglovin)
  • Must leave a comment with 2 titles you want to win
  • Giveaway ends Sunday, August 31st

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: A Darker Shade of Magic (V.E. Schwab)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)
Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Tor Books
Summary:
Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London...but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, who first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.


Why I'm Looking Forward To ItThis. Looks. AWESOME. Just including magic in a story means I'm game, but magic plus Londons (plural), cross-dressing thieves, (aspiring) pirates, a royal who is equal parts Prince Harry and Jack Harkness, epic magicky fights scenes, and coats with more than two sides? SOLD.


So what book are you waiting on?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: The Rithmatist (Brandon Sanderson)

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1)
Title: The Rithmatist
Series: Rithmatist, Book 1
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Alternate Steampunk Fantasy Mystery
Told: Third Person (Joel, mostly), Past Tense
Content Rating: Teen (scary situations, some disturbing images)
Format Read: ARC (EpicLibrarian)
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.


*          *          *

Why I Read It: Caught in a reading slump, I decided to give it a try after a friend mentioned loving it.

Series: This is the first in the Rithmatist series (number of books in the series unknown). It has a complete mystery story arc, but also a series story arc with a villain that ends on an "until next time" kind of cliffhanger. The next book is currently untitled with a release date of simply 2015.

Setting: An alternate Earth where the United States are the United Isles, a collection of amalgam islands such as East Carolina, Georgiabama, and Nebrask, and elsewhere different countries advanced and conquered creating such countries as the JoSeun (Asians), Espania, and Britannia. Odd, but interesting. Technology has gone the way of springwork, steampunk but instead of steam it's springs (springpunk?). It sounded shiny but didn't seem very practical or plausible.

Story: This was first and foremost a mystery. On the surface it didn't appear to be one, but it was. I'm not one for reading mysteries, so if I had known this was a mystery going in I probably wouldn't have read it. That said, it was a very well plotted mystery that I was able to follow and saw to its conclusion without even the consideration of giving up, so definite brownie points for Sanderson's pacing and plotting. It had a very engaging climax, where we finally saw some action - the rest of the book focused too much on building the mystery and explaining the complexities of an actually rather simple magic system for me. Up until the last scene I hadn't imagined I would continue the series, but said last scene changed my mind considerably with the promise of much less mystery and much more action in future books.

Magic System: I consider Brandon a master of magic systems, but while this was undoubtedly an awesome system, how it fit into the world just wasn't that plausible for me. The scope of use was too narrow for the ability to be such a way of life-altering deal - and for it to be the only magic in the entire world. I needed at least one other system, or a more narrow world focus. The magic was cool, expertly structured and planned as I would expect from Brandon, but no matter what I just couldn't fully believe it in the setting. And while cool, it felt both overly simplified and overly complicated. There were only four lines (warding, forbiddance, making, and vigor), and they could really only be used one way just in different patterns - simple. Yet somehow we spent over half the book discussing them - complicated. I guess I would've liked more complexity, but without more complication. (Apologies if that doesn't make much sense.)

Characters: Joel was 16 going on 12. He barely noticed girls and was an obsessive fanboy about Rithmatics like some sickly young boy might obsess about sports even more than most because he can't play himself. But there is more study to Rithmatics than action, especially for a non-Rithmatist, so his obsession saw him more often than not with his nose in a book instead of drawing and fighting. This pure focus on academics left the story with very little action until the end, and for a reader like me that made the story drag quite a bit. Joel didn't become involved in the fight until the fight came to him, and it was a very long wait. Melody was odd but fun and very tragic. She brightened scenes considerably, but again didn't try hard enough to involve herself until she just was. The rest of the cast were very individual, and because of it were very enjoyable.

Romantic Relationship: There was none. There was some very minor middle-grade flirting, but otherwise Joel barely saw anyone as much more than occasionally pretty. This was the main reason the characters read so young - no matter how obsessed with magic a boy may be, an older teen would at least notice pretty girls on campus, c'mon.

Writing: Easy, laid back. It read more like Middle Grade than Young Adult, partially due to the simplistic writing style but mainly because of the more juvenile main characters.

Conclusion: While interesting enough at the surface, on a plausibility level the world and magic just weren't quite there for me. And said world and magic took a backseat to the mystery, which degraded both considerably, leaving many confusables and unbalances. Still, for a girl who doesn't enjoy mysteries, it was a relatively fun and imaginative read, and I will be interested in giving the next book a peek.

Read It Again?: Probably not, just because I'm not one for mysteries.

For Fans Of: fantastical mysteries

Scribble Rating
3 of 5 Scribbles

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Adult Mini-Reviews: Honor's Knight & Heaven's Queen (Rachel Bach)

(Find my review of Fortune's Pawn, Book 1 in the Paradox trilogy, here.)

Honor's Knight (Paradox, #2)
Title: Honor's Knight
Series: Paradox, Book 2
Author: Rachel Bach
Publisher: Orbit Books
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Rating: Adult (violence, language, minor sensuality, minor gore)
Told: First Person Singular (Devi), Past Tense
Format Read: Paperback (library)
Find It On: Goodreads

Summary:

Devi Morris has a lot of problems. And not the fun, easy-to-shoot kind either. 

After a mysterious attack left her short several memories and one partner, she's determined to keep her head down, do her job, and get on with her life. But even though Devi's not actually looking for it -- trouble keeps finding her. She sees things no one else can, the black stain on her hands is growing, and she is entangled with the cook she's supposed to hate. 

But when a deadly crisis exposes far more of the truth than she bargained for, Devi discovers there's worse fates than being shot, and sometimes the only people you can trust are the ones who want you dead.


*          *          *

Thoughts: Just as good as the first book, maybe even better! This plunged deeper into the mystery and intrigue, as well as ramping up the action to a whole new level. I enjoyed getting to know more about the misfit crew of the Fool when placed in their natural habitats, as well as the habitats themselves - Rachel created a fascinating world that was really fun to discover. While this book didn't end on a literal cliffhanger, much was definitely left up in the air.

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Heaven's Queen (Paradox, #3)Title: Heaven's Queen
Series: Paradox, Book 3 (final)
Author: Rachel Bach
Publisher: Orbit Books
Release Date: April 22, 2014
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Rating: Adult (language, violence, sex)
ToldFirst Person Singular (Devi), Past Tense
Format Read: Paperback (library)
Find It On: Goodreads

Summary:

From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell's doomed ship, Devi Morris' life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood, an incurable virus that's eating her alive. 

Now, with the captain missing and everyone -- even her own government -- determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible. The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi's never been one to shy from a fight, and she's getting mighty sick of running. 

It's time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.


*          *          *

Thoughts: While still on par as far as writing and content, and despite exploring even more of the amazing world, this wasn't as good as the first two books for me. There was way too much introspection and discussion where there should've just been action, and because of this the climax dragged on way to long (almost half the book). The mystery was fully revealed and answered, but answered a little too extensively for me - I like a mystery that retains some of its mystery. I felt the end was too neat and tidy and happily ever after for such a violent story, but considering everything the characters had been through it was certainly nice for them. As the last book in the series, it was a satisfying conclusion.


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Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)Honor's Knight (Paradox, #2)Heaven's Queen (Paradox, #3)

Series Thoughts: A fun and flirty adult sci-fi series full of action and intrigue with a pinch of fantasy and steam. I'd definitely be interested if Rachel decided to continue Devi's story, there is still a lot of potential with both the world and Devi's future - and I want to explore Paradox, darn it! (It was the one world we never fully delved into, and I was extremely disappointed.) Recommend for readers who enjoy their sci-fi light on the science and heavier on the action.

Re-read?: Maybe

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Trust Me, I'm a Ninja (Natalie Whipple)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Trust Me, I'm a Ninja (Relax, I'm a Ninja, #2)
Title: Trust Me, I'm a Ninja (I'm a Ninja #2)
Author: Natalie Whipple
Release Date: September 2014
Publisher: Whipple House (self-published)
Summary:

*SPOILER ALERT* If you have yet to read the amazing first book, Relax, I'm a Ninja, the summary will contain spoilers. You have been warned!
Life hasn’t exactly been rosy since Tosh Ito and Amy Sato rid San Francisco of the Akuma Clan ninjas. They still can’t control their powers, and no one really knows how to train them to be Inyo. Adding to their problems, Amy is distant and depressed and won’t say why.

Before Tosh can figure her out, the Akuma Clan makes a comeback. A gate to the kami realm is opened and strange creatures roam the city, causing chaos. Only Tosh and Amy can stop it, but they don’t know how, and they haven’t got time to learn. The gate is getting bigger, and something dangerous is waiting on the other side. Something hungry for the soul of an Inyo.


Why I'm Looking Forward To ItThe cover, summary, and release date have finally been revealed, so I can finally make this an official pick! I loved the first book in this series, Relax, I'm a Ninja, which at the time it released wasn't part of a series and by the end of the book I really wished it was. So needless to say when Natalie announced there would be more, I was ecstatic! And even more exciting is that this releases next month! Thank you self-publishing gods for having mercy on me. 


So what book are you waiting on?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Manga Review: Backstage Prince (Kanoko Sakurakoji)

Backstage Prince, Vol. 1 (Backstage Prince, #1)
Backstage Prince, Vol. 2 (Backstage Prince, #2)
Title: Backstage Prince
Japanese Title: Kiwametsuke - Gakuya Ura Ōji
Author: Kanoko Sakurakoji
Volume(s) Reviewed: 1 & 2 (complete series)
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Release Date: March & June 2007
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rated: Teen (minor sensuality)
Format Read: Paperbacks (purchased)
Find It On: Goodreads

Summary:

Akari is an average high school girl who fails to see why the other girls in her school are so interested in Ryusei, a young, talented actor also attending their school. But after accidentally injuring Ryusei and discovering his other life as Shonosuke Ichimura, the internationally famous kabuki actor, she volunteers to become Ryusei's assistant until he is healed. The reclusive and socially inept Ryusei accepts only because she gets along with his pet cat, but when Ryusei is finally better, Akari realizes she has fallen in love with him - and Ryusei reciprocates.

However, their relationship is put to the test by Ryusei's profession, popularity, and those who disapprove of their relationship, especially Ryusei's strict father and Naoki, another kabuki actor who loves Akari. Will their love be able to withstand the many obstacles they face?

*          *          *

Why I Read It: I followed the series when it was serialized in the Shojo Beat magazines years ago, and when it came to my attention again this year I couldn't help but purchase the volumes for my collection.

Story: Since there are only two volumes, it's a simple plot - average girl falls for and is loved by famous, unsocial boy, but the prestigious family and public do not approve and cause uncertainty and angst for the relationship at every turn. Each of the seven chapters encompasses a story of resistance and perseverance of their love - after much drama, of course. While a common storyline, setting it in the world of kabuki added an original flavor, although we really only skim the surface on the subject as our viewpoint character Akari doesn't understand any of kabuki and tends to fall asleep during performances. Ah well.

Characters: Akari was highly insecure both about herself and her relationship with Ryusei, and it could get a little annoying at times. As I said before though, it was necessary for the drama, and thankfully it didn't last long. She was otherwise very strong and very good for Ryusei, and even though everyone else seemed to think she wouldn't fit in with the kabuki world, she totally did.

Ryusei was needy and possessive, which is apparently how Sakurakouji-sama likes her boys (see also Kyo from her award-winning Black Bird series). It worked well with this story though, and insecure Akari found it amusing instead of smothering so everything worked out. His antisocial personality made for an interesting twist, and I wish we could've delved a little into the reason behind it.

Romantic Relationship: While an absurdly immediate case of instalove, one has to take into account that it is only a 2-volume series. The "I love you"s had to be exchanged almost immediately so the drama could get to pulling them apart. Akari's insecurity and Ryusei's neediness were a little on the extreme side, but hers moved the drama and his the resolution so it worked.

Art & Setting: The characters have soft features and are on the pretty side of beautiful, which makes them more realistic and relatable. The backgrounds are mostly simple backdrops with the occasional detailed shots that are quite impressive and almost feel more like photos. It definitely had the feeling of a play that the story was going for.

Conclusion: A short, quick and sweet story that I enjoyed in the Shojo Beat magazines and shall continue to enjoy in the volumes.

Read It Again?: Many times more

For Fans Of: Sakurakouji's other series, Black Bird

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Friday Reads Review (8/8/14)



Welcome to The Friday Reads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own Friday Reads Review on your blog, and then leave the link in the Comments below!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
I just finished The Rithmatist last night (see below), so I'm going into a new day without a read! In my priority stack are Not In the Script by Amy Finnegan, Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin, Mind Games by Kiersten White, and a re-read of Relax, I'm a Ninja by Natalie Whipple. What to read, what to read...


>> JUST FINISHED <<
The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1)
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (ARC)
I must begin by saying it was first and foremost a mystery, and mysteries just aren't my thing. That said, it seemed a well plotted mystery, with a very engaging climax. The end was the best part, when we FINALLY saw some action - the rest of the book focused too much on building the mystery and explaining the complexities of an actually rather simple magic system for me. Up until the last scene I hadn't imagined I would continue the series, but the last scene changed my mind considerably with the promise of much less mystery and much more action in the future. At least, I hope so. Review to come.


>> READING NEXT <<

Since I don't even know what I'm reading now, I have even less of a clue what I'm reading next! Decisions, decisions...


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Illusions of Fate (Kiersten White)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Illusions of Fate
Title: Illusions of Fate
Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Summary:
Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.


Why I'm Looking Forward To ItMagic + one of my favorite authors + a comparison to Downton Abbey = a must read for me! And goodness that's a gorgeous cover.


So what book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Cover Revealed: Trust Me, I'm a Ninja (Natalie Whipple)

For those who didn't sign up for her email newsletter (which you can easily rectify here!), today on her blog author Natalie Whipple revealed the cover for the second in her self-published I'm a Ninja trilogy, Trust Me, I'm a Ninja!! Just like with the first book (Relax, I'm a Ninja), Michelle of MDA Books has outdone herself, and I cannot wait to add this beauty to my collection! In her newsletter, Natalie also revealed the book's summary and release date, which along with the cover she has given me permission to share with you all! So without further ado, check out the cover and summary below, and be sure to add this awesome book to Goodreads! (Because who doesn't want to read a story about ninjas??)



*SPOILER ALERT* If you have yet to read the amazing first book, Relax, I'm a Ninja, the summary will contain spoilers. You have been warned!

Life hasn’t exactly been rosy since Tosh Ito and Amy Sato rid San Francisco of the Akuma Clan ninjas. They still can’t control their powers, and no one really knows how to train them to be Inyo. Adding to their problems, Amy is distant and depressed and won’t say why.

Before Tosh can figure her out, the Akuma Clan makes a comeback. A gate to the kami realm is opened and strange creatures roam the city, causing chaos. Only Tosh and Amy can stop it, but they don’t know how, and they haven’t got time to learn. The gate is getting bigger, and something dangerous is waiting on the other side. Something hungry for the soul of an Inyo.


Release Date: September 2014


You certainly can't beat that release date  - next month! *flails* 
Check out Natalie's full post on the reveal here and congratulate her on another outstanding cover!

Monday, August 4, 2014

YA Review: Hungry (H.A. Swain)

Hungry
Title: Hungry
Series: standalone
Author: H.A. Swain
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Rating: Older Teen (some language, sensuality, underage pregnancy, drugs/smoking, serious creepiness, violence)
Told: First Person Singular (Thalia), Present Tense
Format Read: ARC (publisher)
Find It On: Goodreads

Summary:

In the future, food is no longer necessary—until Thalia begins to feel something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. She’s hungry.

In Thalia’s world, there is no need for food—everyone takes medication (or “inocs”) to ward off hunger. It should mean there is no more famine, no more obesity, no more food-related illnesses, and no more war. At least that's what her parents, who work for the company that developed the inocs, say. But when Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that most people live a life much different from hers. Worse, Thalia is starting to feel hunger, and so is he—the inocs aren’t working. Together they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food.


*          *          *

Why I Read It: It sounded like such an original and interesting premise. (And it was.)

Cover: Love the sinister simplicity, and that soft blue is absolutely gorgeous. Sad that the tagline doesn't say anything, though - it's more confusing than grabbing.

Series: This is a standalone. The world is certainly big enough for a sequel, though.

Writing: Quirky; odd verbs and dialogue tags. Swain dropped us right into the future world on Page 1 with lots of futuristic talk and products, but as most of them were mash-ups of what we know now I only had a few confusing moments. The movement was pretty easy to follow, and she was seriously good with the creepy.

Book Layout: A big problem for me was the lack of chapter breaks. Instead of a normal layout the book was split into four parts, each of which designated a setting shift, with scenes separated by basic breaks. This made the read feel a lot longer than it was, like the story simply rambled on without end. I personally appreciate chapter breaks - they make a book feel like it's moving faster and encourage me to read longer because it's so easy to say, "I'll read just one more." Reading "just one more" scene in this book simply wasn't the same, more like pulling myself up one more rung on the ladder when I'm already exhausted. It was a "different" idea that just didn't work for me.

Setting: As Hungry is our possible future, it was set in a currently existing location. However, I never figured out where exactly that was, and I don't know that it was ever specifically told. I felt there were quite a few hints though, so maybe I just missed it? That aside, Swain did an amazing job introducing the structure of the world. It began as if Thalia lead an average life but then in gradual steps it is discovered this is most definitely not the case, not only in her "Loop" but in her world. The future mash-up products were a little ridiculous (EntertainArena, Silkese, Synthamil), but they did their job of feeling foreign and futuristic yet still familiar enough for us Relics to comprehend.

Story: This is the tale of Thalia's journey as she discovers what is wrong with her world. While the basic concept is nothing new, Swain made each Part a different subgenre - utopian, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and horror (it was horror to me, anyway *shudders*) - weaving them together into one relatively coherent story. It wasn't perfect, but it was definitely different. Out of the four Parts, Part 2 (The Outer Loop) was probably my favorite - the world really came to life for me there, especially at Basil's house. Part 4 (The Farm) was seriously disturbing. From its first page I got the creeps, and if it hadn't been the last Part of the book I would've stopped reading only a few pages in and never picked it up again. Since I did read it, however, now just the thought of it still makes my skin crawl. When it comes to the creep, Ms. Swain certainly knows her stuff.

Action: Most of the action felt forced, and too much happened coincidentally. For example, Thalia randomly acquired a phone with the ability to cloak, which was such an impractical feature for her. The girl was constantly losing her phone, but her father created a phone for her that could go invisible? Yeahno. But when she wanted to keep her phone with her on the run and hide it from people, suddenly the impractical cloaking feature came in handy. In this instance and in many more I felt the hand of the author making things happen, not things happening naturally, and it caused Thalia to act out of character more often than not.

Characters/Romantic Relationship: While Thalia was supposed to be 17, she read more like 12. But given the environment she was raised in, this was plausible enough I guess. After previously having her emotions and hormones suppressed, she was just discovering things that naturally hit one in middle or early high school. And if you hadn't eaten in 17 years, you'd be a bit petulant and cranky too. Still, she was completely driven by her hormones through the entire story, and it got old fast. Given her upbringing she should've been smarter than she was, but Basil always brought her down, making her feel stupid and small. Needless to say, I despised Basil. He yelled at Thalia, blamed her for his problems, made fun of her, made her feel like being a privy - which she couldn't help - was the worst form of life. He was an idiot and desperate; he abandoned Thalia several times, never listened to her, made her do things she didn't want to do. The only good thing he did in the entire book was awaken her to the world's problems. The fact that she fell for him, stayed with him, and wouldn't go anywhere without him because she was convinced he was "The One" only proves her hormonally-driven stupidity. I constantly wished she would come to her senses, or that he would die and put us all out of our misery.

Conclusion: I really wanted to love this one, but while the world blew me away, the juvenile characters, sluggish layout, and forced story left much to be desired. If you like your dystopians with a heavy helping of creep and don't mind hormonally-driven instalove, bully boyfriends, or a lack of chapter breaks, then maybe this is a book for you.

Will I Read Again?: No

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Friday Reads Review (8/1/14)



Welcome to The Friday Reads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own Friday Reads Review on your blog, and then leave the link in the Comments below!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Backstage Prince, Vol. 1 (Backstage Prince, #1)
Backstage Prince Vol. 1 by Kanoko Sakurakoji (Pbk)
Fell right back in my reading slump, so I've resorted to manga as I do. I originally read this 2-volume series in Shojo Beat magazine - this is my first time in book form! Enjoying the little extras.

Project P by Me (1st Draft)
I'm also using the lack of novel time to start editing Project P again! Hoping to maybe get it in some type of presentable shape before WriteOnCon, but given my track record it's a long shot at this point.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Heaven's Queen (Paradox, #3)
Heaven's Queen by Rachel Bach (Pbk)
The first series I've finished in quite a while! This wasn't as good as the first two books for me - there was way too much introspection and discussion where usually is action, the climax dragged on way to long (over 100 pages), and the end was just too neat and tidy and happily ever after for such a violent story. But overall I enjoyed the trilogy and wouldn't mind if Rachel decided to continue Devi's story even further. ;)


>> READING NEXT <<
Backstage Prince, Vol. 2 (Backstage Prince, #2)
Backstage Prince Vol. 2 by Kanoko Sakurakoji (Pbk)
See Currently Reading
As far as what novel I'll be reading next, I have absolutely no idea...


So what are you reading this week?