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Review: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
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Series: Steampunk Chronicles #2
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy It: Powell's

In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous.
Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "strange band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves.
One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.

Finley and her "strange band of mysfits" are back, and this time they're headed for America.

Their team is headed for the states to save Jasper, who has found himself in the hands of an old, dangerous friend. Jasper was one of my favorites because he was always the light hearted and comical friend. The deeper the story goes the more we find out about his troubled past. While digging into his past we find out about Mei. She was the girl he left behind and the person being used as leverage against him.

Coming to the USA is just another playing field for Finley. New faces, new enemies, and new territories. She’s the same strong headed girl but now with even more drive behind her from her new friends. In order to help find Jasper, Finley sacrafices herself by joining the very group that kidnapped him. Finley playing the bad guy could only make this more interesting.

There is so much tension between Grffin and Finley. It's quite amusing seeing these two pining for each other but neither willing to admit it. Jack Dandy isn’t mentioned as often, but he's always be in the back of Griffin's mind. There's a silent competition between Jack and him for Finley.

The story is fast paced and filled with the same entertainment and fun from the first novel. The action is even more intense and the mystery continues to runs after the pages end.

Overall: 4 out of 5

Book Haul (2)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'll be doing book hauls every other week or so and just talk about the books I got. This 
week I talked a bit more about Novels, News, & Notes, which I also posted about here.
Links I talked about for NW bloggers and NW authors.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Won: (Thank you Vi from Confessions of a Vi3tBabe)
A bunch of book marks and other goodies :)

Black Heart by Holly Black
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

NetGalley: (Thank you HarlequinTEEN and Simon & Schuster)
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

I just joined Novels, News, & Notes!

Saturday, May 19, 2012
Banner designed by Sara from Novel Novice

Candace (Candace's Book Blog) and Mel (Shot in the Arm) has started the blog 

What to expect on the blog:
  • Updates on future book events in the NW 
  • Book Event Recaps
  • Reviews from books written by NW authors
  • Updates on blogger meet ups

Bloggers that have already joined: Are you a NW blogger? JOIN US!!! Sign up to be a contributor

List of some fabulous NW Authors that will be featured: Are you a NW author and want to be featured? Click here.

Holly Cupala                    Kimberly Derting                    Cat Patrick
Joelle Anthony                 Lisa Burstein                           Conrad Wesselhoeft                          
Stasia Kehoe                    Inara Scott                                Laini Taylor
Lisa Schroeder                April Henry                              Janet Carey
Colleen Houck                Maureen McQuerry                  Lisa Mantchev 


Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 13, 2012
photo credit: hepp via photo pin cc

Review: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Thursday, May 10, 2012
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
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Series: Hemlock #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Format: ARC
Source: Michelle - The Passionate Bookworm
Buy it: Powell's

Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.
Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.
Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.
Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

There are WEREWOLVES in this story. WEREWOLVES.

The story surrounds the mystery of a white werewolf who happens to be a serial killer. Werewolves AND serial killers? This was definitely my kind of book. Let the excitement begin.
It was interesting to read about lupine syndrome being known to the public and announced as if it was just a new disease spreading in the nation. Becoming a werewolf was treated as an incurable disease that was transferred through a scratch or a bite. With the new threat of werewolves, attacks become more common, especially in the small town of Hemlock.

Mac (Mackenzie), Amy, Jason, and Kyle, were as close group of best friends. The dynamic of the group instantly changed after Amy’s death. Jason was Amy’s boyfriend and her death sent him plunging into even deeper trouble. Which then leaves Mac and Kyle with a new awkwardness that was never there before. There is a start of a love triangle between the best friends, but each relationship come naturally and has been building up for years.
Kyle and Jason are both strong and... interesting. Jason comes from a rich family and is constantly neglected by his parents. He's often described as arrogant and spoiled, but occasionally has a good heart. Kyle on the other hand begins to uncover secrets that makes him a mysterious character. 

Mac is the kind of girl that wants to save everybody. She’s not afraid to stand up against people regardless of the dangerous situations she could end up in. The places she ends up for doing this are unbelievable and only feeds into her exciting character.

A part of the story that creeped me out, besides having an unknown killer on the loose, was the snippets of Amy. Her history was weaved in by her visits to Mac through her dreams. And those dreams were quite vivid.

The mystery, action, and romance of Hemlock fully captured my attention. I was kept guessing through out the whole novel on how it would end.

Overall: 5 out of 5

Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
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Series: Of Poseidon #1
PublisherFeiwel and Friends
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Format: eARC
Challenge: 2012 Debut Author
Buy it from Powell's

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.

Of Poseidon was perfect for my search for a mermaid/man story. It was hard to put down because it's FILLED with fun, sarcastic characters.

The story starts right off with Emma smacking into Galen. I instantly liked Emma for her response and actions after bumping into him. Emma doesn't fail to amuse through out the whole book. Galen took a bit longer to warm up to, but it may have been his inexperience with communicating with humans so he came off as stalker-ish when he tried to get to know Emma. As cute as it was awkward to read about Galen trying to fit it, it was more fun reading the hilarious moments Emma and him have together.

Galen didn't live by himself on his Emma stalking adventure. There's the sister, the best friend/sister's mate, and an assistent who has some kind of background with the mafia. There were no dull moments in this story, especially when his best friend is Toraf, who has the BEST personality.

The plot was well paced with the constant question of what is Emma. It was nice to see a different side of mermaids with Syrenas and how their society works.

THE ENDING. "ohmysweetgoodness", that ending. When the story starts to wind down with answers another question is tossed right back in.

If what I've been hearing is correct, then there will be a sequel following Of Poseidon.

Overall: 4 out of 5

Book Haul (1)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Received: (Thank you to Jaime from Two Chicks on Books, Cyndi from Dog-Eared and Bookmarked, Candace from Candace's Book Blog, and Michelle from The Passionate Bookworm)
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout bookmarks
Slide by Jill Hathaway bookmark
A lot more book marks and postcards
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Drain You by M. Beth Bloom

Kimberly Derting's Signing: (Check out my photos)
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting
Bookmark & Nail Polish

Spring into the Future Signing: (Check out my photos)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Eve by Anna Carey
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
And a some neat swag :)
*I will post up event recaps soon!*

The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols
The Story of Us by Deb Caletti
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

NetGalley: (Thank you to Egmont USA, Penguin, Bloomsbury, and Disney-Hyperion)
Timepiece by Myra McEntire
One Moment by Kristina McBride
The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I'm featured on Katie's Book Blog for a blogger interview!

Guest Post: The Vampire Underground by Brian Rowe

Friday, May 4, 2012
The Vampire Underground by Brian Rowe
Blog | Twitter

Series: Grisly High #1
Release Date: April 3, 2012

16-year-old Brin Skar hates everything to do with the supernatural, so the obsessive film geek isn't happy when she discovers that her junior year Film class at Grisly High is devoted to the horror genre. She's even more disconcerted when she learns that six groups in the class will be writing and directing their very own horror movies.
Brin and five classmates travel to Bodie Ghost Town in California to shoot their creepy film, but they soon find themselves fighting a real terrifying threat when a clan of mean, bloodthirsty vampires emerge from beneath the surface and start attacking the group. The teens, headed by Brin and the egotistical director Anaya Frost, have no help from the outside and become outnumbered by the vampires a hundred to one. But when Brin meets Paul, a helpful and smoldering vampire outcast who's had enough of his shameful life, she realizes he might be the only key to her survival.

I view writing a lot like how others view exercise—if I turn the practice into a daily ritual, after a while, it will feel as typical as eating breakfast and doing laundry. I don’t want to view writing as a chore in any sense; after all, it’s supposed to be fun. But facing that blank page every day is certainly daunting, and many wannabe writers feel too threatened by it to face the task of writing his or her first novel.

I was that way for a long time. I tried to write a novel once in high school, but felt too unsure of myself after five or six chapters, and I abandoned the project. I wrote short stories and screenplays over many more years but always felt too intimidated by the task of writing a novel to attempt it. Finally, after becoming inspired by an idea that I knew would work best not as a short story or feature script but as a book, I knew it was time to write my first novel. I was certainly scared, but one great man prepared me with some excellent advice, and that man was Stephen King.

For any aspiring writers out there, I recommend wholeheartedly Stephen King’s fantastic nonfiction book about writing, titled simply On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. In it the bestselling horror novelist not only discusses how he got his start writing and selling his books, but also discusses concise, important writing tips for budding novelists everywhere. I’ve read this book probably ten times over in the last few years, and I’ve tried to take most, if not all, of King’s advice in regards to sentence and story structure, grammar, dialogue, and, most of all, daily writing tasks.

What kept me for many years from tackling the seemingly enormous task of writing a novel was that it seemed next to impossible. It’s hard enough to write a short story. How in the world could I write a 70,000-word-plus novel? King spelled it out clear: write 2,000 words a day, every day, until you finish your first draft. A lot of writers, including myself, will work on a project for months and months, picking out hours at a time to do some writing, and then wait a week or longer to continue. It doesn’t matter what you want a write—a literary novel, chick lit title, YA paranormal romance, or horror rollercoaster ride—you can do it if you stop looking at the big picture and start looking at the small pieces.

I started writing my first novel Slate, influenced by the two years I spent working in feature film casting in Los Angeles, in early 2010, and looked at the task with both anticipation and trepidation. I had a brief outline of the plot, knew the first few chapters, the last few chapters, and some meat of the story in between, but I definitely didn’t know exactly how every storyline and character arc would play out. But I decided that I would start writing at least 2,000 words a day, every day, until I either finished the book, or died trying. The writing of my first book was difficult at times, yes, but it also turned out to be the most freeing and joyful experience of my creative life. When I finished the first draft, which stood at 108,000 words, I knew I had accomplished something special. But little did I know then, that the work of writing the book had only just begun.

That leads me to the important of revisions. Writing a novel is a process, a long one that takes months and months, and for some, years. If the hardest part about writing a book was completing that first draft, a lot more people would be doing it. But finishing the first draft is the first of many, many steps that will lead writing to a polished novel. I didn’t know it at the celebratory time I finished the first draft of Slate, but I ended up revising the novel in full over ten times in the course of the following year until I finally published it in March. My rewriting process begins like this: finish the first draft, print it out, put it in a binder, and don’t look at it for at least four to six weeks. I love to finish a project, put it away, and then work on something else for a while. Then, when I pull that first draft out of the drawer, it’s almost like reading something I didn’t write! It’s a great thrill, and it allows me to look at the words on the pages with a fresh eye.

I’ll spend a few weeks working on the second draft, and then put the manuscript away again. I’ll do this time and time again for six months to a year until I feel the material is ready to show to my closest friends and any fellow writers who’ll agree to review my work. After taking and using much of the feedback I receive, I’ll do one final polish, and finally prepare the work for eBook and print publishing (a whole other beast of a process!).

Happy Birthday to Me is my debut Young Adult novel, and it was something that I’d wanted to write for a long time. After my joy in writing my first book Slate, I knew I wanted to continue writing novels, and Happy Birthday to Me felt like the perfect second project. I spent nearly nine months working on this book, finally publishing it in April. It’s a funny, romantic supernatural tale that is truly for readers of all ages, and I’m so dedicated to this story and these characters that I am currently writing a sequel!

Eighteen months ago I wasn’t sure if I could even finish a novel. Today I’ve written seven novels. I have Stephen King to thank for his inspiring wisdom, and all the readers and writers out there like me who love a great story.
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