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Book Haul (8)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Won: (Thank you to Michelle Hodkin for that contest! Incase you're interested, here's a link to my contest video)
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin [Just finished this and it was just... I just can't even. ALL THE STARS for this book.]

Received: (Thanks to Steph from Cuddlebuggery Book Blog for lending me this book!)
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes & Michelle Rowen

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
If I Lie by Corrine Jackson
Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff

Be sure to leave me a link to your In My Mailbox, Book Haul, or Stacking the Shelves with your comment!

Blog Tour - Giveaway: The Serpent's Ring by H.B. Bolton

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Serpent's Ring by H.B. Bolton
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Release Date: July 2012
PurchaseAmazon | Kindle | B&N

Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum ... that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.
Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous bird and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.

The giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. One winner will receive a paperback copy of The Serpent's Ring, a rune treasure box, and a signed bookmark.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back To School Tips: Bloggers Edition

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's another year of high school for me.

It's actually not as bad as I thought it was going to be. But I always end up like this after school:

A couple days ago, I was asked how I manage blogging and school at the same time. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out how to handle both. I am truly amazed by bloggers who are going to school and are still updating their blogs. High-five to you amazing people. So instead of answering the question myself, I went out and asked fellow bloggers how they are handling this. 


I have a very busy schedule. Still... I always make time to blog. The reason why? It's my way of having fun after a extremely long day. Write your blog for you, not the followers. 

3. Jen - A Reading Daydreamer

Make sure school comes first. If you're starting to feel very stressed about balancing blogging and school, take a break, or hiatus, and let your readers know. Make sure you know what YOUR priorities are.

4. Ishita - The Reading Fish

Make sure to put school first. Blogging should always come after you have done your work. Have fun and don't stress out!

5. Zareen - Reach for the Stars

Schedule some posts so that it wouldn't be so difficult to keep up now.

6. Willa - Willa's Ramblings

Keep a calendar: it helps a ton in remembering what extra stuff other than reviews are happening, especially with everything else on our minds!

7. Bailey - IB Book Blogging

It always takes me a few weeks to balance the two when the new school year starts, but don’t stress! Don’t let your blog become a job. School work sucks enough as it is. If you need to step back and take a break, readers understand.

8. Monica - Cover Analysis

This is my first year blogging and one thing I have learned is that it's hard and something you have dedicate time to. If you have school/work to do then do that first. There will always be time to book talk later.

9. Meredith - Mint Tea and a Good Book

Know when to take a step back from blogging when you're feeling overwhelmed. Blogging shouldn't be a burden, it should be fun!

10. Elena - Novel Sounds

I think I would go with make a schedule! Since I am a last minute poster, I rarely schedule posts, but having a schedule certainly helps so I can have an idea of what I am going to post.

11. Sam - Paper Cuts

Keep a planner! There's an awesome iPhone app called iStudiez. 

Schedule your posts. You'll life will be loads less hectic if you don't feel pressured to post every day.

13. Audrey - Holes in my Brain

Be prepared to be busy, and don't anguish at the fact that you have other things to do - your blog isn't going anywhere.

Anna from Literary Exploration did a great discussion post on how she manages blogging, school, work, and life. Be sure to go check it out here.

Pssstt! Guys, guess what. I just remembered that Audrey (Holes in my Brain) and I share the same birthday, and that our birthday is today! Be sure to tell Audrey ( @pinkcreamsoda ) happy birthday!


Guest Post & Giveaway - The Breeders by Katie French

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The Breeders by Katie French
Website | Facebook

Release Date: August 1, 2012

Sixteen-year-old Riley Meemick is one of the world's last free girls. When Riley was born, her mother escaped the Breeders, the group of doctors using cruel experiments to bolster the dwindling human race. Her parents do everything possible to keep her from their clutches-- moving from one desolate farm after another to escape the Breeders' long reach. The Breeders control everything- the local war lords, the remaining factories, the fuel. They have unchecked power in this lawless society. And they're hunting Riley.
When the local Sheriff abducts the adult members of her family and hands her mother over to the Breeders, Riley and her eight-year-old brother, Ethan, hiding in a shelter, are left to starve. Then Clay arrives, the handsome gunslinger who seems determined to help to make up for past sins. The problem is Clay thinks Riley is a bender-- a genderless mutation, neither male nor female. As Riley's affection for Clay grows she wonders can she trust Clay with her secret and risk her freedom?
The three embark on a journey across the scarred remains of New Mexico-- escaping the Riders who use human sacrifice to appease their Good Mother, various men scrambling for luck, and a deranged lone survivor of a plague. When Riley is shot and forced into the Breeder's hospital, she learns the horrible fate of her mother—a fate she'll share unless she can find a way out.

Sex and Young Adult Literature

Let’s not beat around the bush. Fifty Shades of Gray and all its replicas have made everyone hot and bothered. The erotica trend has hit the mainstream and everyone’s blood is pumping. Unfortunately folks in the industry are now scrambling to capitalize. One influential man who works runs a website devoted to mentoring new authors told a writer friend of mine to sex up her Young Adult male protagonist. She cringed.
“It’s for teens,” she bemoaned.
He replied, “Hey, there’s sex in YA now.”
And that one statement frightens me to no end.
Now, I know that there are plenty of books with teen sex in them. There have been for a while and I don’t see that trend ending. Most of them are the edgy, coming-of-age stories that show the gritty realities of the world in which we live. Myself and my friends write fantasy and science fiction, a genre that, in the past, has shied away from sex scenes. There is usually kissing. Someone may get to second base, but that’s it. It’s a genre that’s innocent in a way. And that is how I like it. 

If the new trend is every book must focus on sex in order to sell, I cringe at what we’ll be reading. Imagine Katniss in a sex scene or Thomas from The Maze Runner taking a break from running for his life to have a quicky. All those great scenes building worlds and racing from enemies will be rushed out of the way to get to the hot and heavy. And what will all this sex do to our teen readers? Aren’t they over-sexed as it is thanks to Barbie and MTV? 

Hopefully writers will take a stand and fight back against the onslaught of sex seeping into our literature. I’ve always believed in avoiding trends and sticking to what you love. For me, I love a great romance, a push and pull until the final moment where the heroine and her love interest kiss for the first time. There’s something magical about that moment. And for me, that’s enough.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You are more than welcome to share your own opinions down in the comments below. 
Please remember to keep things classy. Thank you!

Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Monday, September 17, 2012
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thomas Dunne Books, 336 pages
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Source: NetGalley
Purchase: Powell's

The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger—a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

It only took two pages before I knew that I would be highly enjoying this book.

Stormdancer is described as a "Japanese inspired steampunk fantasy", so I was already mentally preparing myself for the world of Stormdancer. It took me a bit before I fully took it all in, but it was incredible how vivid the setting was. There are people dying along with their land and the growth of the Lotus that is poisoning everyone. There are also creatures such as griffins hiding out in the land. GRIFFINS, PEOPLE. GRIFFINS.

Let's start with the super awesome Yukiko. She is skilled in fighting, can communicate with animals, and goes on hunting trips for the Shogun. Yukiko starts off as an angsty 16 year old and transforms into this fierce heroine. Buruu, the griffin, is my favorite character along with Yukiko. He develops from an almost barbaric animal with his thirst for killing into a complex, human-like creature. Buruu slowly builds a sense of sarcasm, and a great personality.

There were moments when the story was a bit slow, especially when things were being introduced and explained, but the story held my attention the whole time. Stormdancer was constantly entertaining with the writing, characters, and setting. I will most definitely be reading more of mister Kristoff's work.

Overall: 5 out of 5

Book Haul (7)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Won: (Thank you Sash & Em!)
Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Review: (Thank you Strange Chemistry)
Katya's World by Jonathan L. Howard

NetGalley: (Thank you to Scholastic Inc. and Tor)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse
Ironskin by Tina Connolly

*Older September Posts*

Don't forget to link me to your Book Haul, Stacking the Shelves, or In My Mailbox!

BBAW: Day 2 - Interview with Steph Su Reads

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Steph Su - Steph Su Reads
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | LibraryThing | Formspring

1. Tell us about yourself and the place you call home.

Home. Huh. That’s an interesting concept. Home is where my heart and mind are, and that is currently Shanghai, China, where I’m in my second year of being an educational consultant. There are approximately the same number of people living in Shanghai as there are in Taiwan total, so I’m learning new ways to negotiate society and cities everyday. Prior to Shanghai, I was a college student at Swarthmore, which is located in a decisively intellectual small town on the outskirts of Philadelphia. Three-story Victorian-style houses with multi-color paint jobs and towers (yes, towers) lined the sidewalked streets. And then I grew up in a town in New Jersey about 40 minutes outside of New York City, where there were very few sidewalks. Which is why I appreciate them so much now.

2. When and why did you start blogging? Has your blog image changed since you’ve first started? 

I started blogging in January 2009, because I had a large Word document containing reviews I had written and wanted to share them, and because I stumbled upon a few book blogs and thought I could do that too. It’s been quite a crazy 3+ years! Now, with my job, I have less time to work on my blog, so I really miss those days of painstakingly but passionately writing discussion posts and coming up with unique interview questions for authors or bloggers.

My current blog banner was designed by my talented artist friend Carey. I like the simplicity of a black-and-white layout. I designed my previous blog banner. It was cute, but it was much too girly for my taste. Hence the current theme. 

3. I first found your blog from discussions on Asians/Asian Americans in YA lit. I loved reading your discussion posts as well as reading about your trip to Shanghai. What were some interesting things you’ve learned from your trip to China? What were some of your favorite foods and experiences? 

Well, I’m still here, so my “trip” isn’t over yet! Chinese cities are astoundingly, fascinatingly different from American cities. There is a very clear mix of socioeconomic classes here. Near my office, women in pretty clothes and high-high-high heels stride past beggars calling for spare change in front of the rows of internationally recognized high-end stores: Gucci, Prada, Ermenegildo Zegna, Louis Vuitton. I’ve acquitted a repertoire of high-end brand names since being here.  

Walk a few blocks in any direction, though, and suddenly you’re strolling down nineteenth-century European-style apartment complexes, laundry strung across the lane and senior citizens lounging in bamboo-woven chairs right in the middle of the sidewalk. Everyone has an iPhone: on their breaks the street-sweepers in their light-blue gunk-resistant uniforms sit in a row on the curb and play Angry Birds.

Being in Shanghai has made me realize how little I knew of the world and mankind before coming here. The city is a rare beast that rewards you and yet threatens to devour you if you’re not constantly alert.

4. What are your favorite reads from this year so far? 

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta topped the incredible Finnikin of the Rock: it is an epic fantasy achievement that I need to sit down with and reread again, slowly and more carefully. Speaking of epic fantasy reads, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is another I was so glad to have read this year. Along different lines, Among Others by Jo Walton was an unexpected, odd, and delightful collection of journal entries from a bookish and slightly magical girl. Most recently, I was absolutely blown away by how R. J. Palacio delicately yet deftly wove together multiple narratives in Wonder, which was one of the most uplifting stories about humanity I’ve read in a long time.

5. If you were to share an apartment with three YA characters, who would they be? 

Stargirl will motivate me to try new things with her endless enthusiasm and optimism. A member of the Screw Crew (from Lili Wilkinson’s Pink), for the interesting intellectual conversations that would ensue. And I think Jubilee, from Maureen Johnson’s short story “The Jubilee Express” in the Let It Snow collection, could round out our apartment. Her wry personality can make things humorous but I think she’s also nerdy enough to appreciate everyone’s quirks.

6. How do you pick your next read? Are you more likely to read a book that has been hyped or are you more of a mood reader? 

I don’t have one particular method. I try to be good and prioritize review books, but I need variety in my reads: if I’ve read a string of fantasies, I’ll go for a YA contemporary, or if I’ve tired of reviewing six YA books in a row, I’ll pick up a classic work. I’ve stupidly let hype bite me in the butt more times than I care to remember, so I do my best to resist it now, and go for the books that will truly give me a rewarding experience. 

7. Has being part of the book blogging community changed you in anyway? I have noticed that ever since I’ve joined I’ve been more aware of current news. 

It’s made me a lot more confident! I usually never know what to say in a group, but with book bloggers I can talk for hours about books, genre tropes that bug us, our hopes and fears for the future of YA publishing. That confidence has spread into my “real life” as well: I find that I can carry on a one-on-one conversation much better now. I’m still hopeless in a large group, though.

8. Do you have a question that you always wished someone would ask you?

I can’t think of any one question that would help people better understand me. Well, maybe people can ask me, “Why are you so quiet in large groups?” and then I can say, “I’m better expressed through writing.” And then those who matter can find their way to my writings.

I had a lot of fun getting to know more about Steph. One of the many things I like about BBAW is getting to interact with other bloggers. Be sure to check out my interview on Steph Su's blog

Guest Post: The Burning Star by Jessie Lane

Thursday, September 6, 2012
The Burning Star by Jessie Lane
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Release Date: May 24, 2012
Purchase: B&N | Amazon | Smashwords | Createspace
*eBooks are FREE during 9/3-9/10/12*


She'll have to believe the unbelievable to survive.

The doctors have told Kay that she will die before she reaches her eighteenth birthday. Her mother’s determination to save her life leads them to a move outside of Asheville, NC to a new set of cancer specialists in the hopes to help her. But it’s not what Kay and her Mom find in the doctor’s offices in Asheville that lead them on the journey to save her before time runs out. It’s what Kay finds in the woods outside of Asheville, and an inhumanly gorgeous guy named Ryan, instead.

Myths and fairy tales come to life before Kay’s eyes, bringing her closer to the ultimate cure if she can stay alive long enough to get there. And if the cancer doesn’t kill her before she finds the cure the secrets her mother has hidden from her may be the beginning of the end.
Can she reach her destiny before tragedy strikes?

When The Going Gets Tough 

Remember that phrase? When the going gets tough, the tough get going. But what is the measure of being tough? Who do you see and think, “Wow, they’ve got a will made of granite. Unbreakable.”

Do you assume it’s the guy who looks as if he’s spent half of his life dedicated to the gym and has muscles on top of his muscles? Or do you look at the quiet, slight slip of a teenage girl sitting in the Oncologist office, and realize beneath her pain she holds more determination than a whole gym full of muscle bound tough guys?

When Kay, the main character from The Burning Star, is diagnosed with a fast moving terminal cancer, her world stops. Being only seventeen years old, Kay is devastated when the Oncologists tell her that she will not live long past her eighteenth birthday, which is just months away. She watches as her Mom refuses to accept the doctor’s diagnosis and starts making plans to find a miracle cure. Kay battles with her emotions as she does her best to comfort her mom. She regrets not living her life to its fullest and the missed opportunities she had to be more of the person she always wanted to be. She never planned on being the quiet girl in the corner reading a book. She wanted to live the adventure. Experience that once in a lifetime love. Not just imagine what it was like through her favorite characters in the books she’s read. Now she has to plan the best way to say goodbye to her mother.

Out of the blue she meets Ryan. An inhumanly hot guy who saves her from an animal that suspiciously looks anything but normal. But after Ryan assures her it’s just a rabid dog and then blows her away by asking her, Ms.-Completely-Awkward-Around-All-Hot-Guys, out on a date, she sees her opportunity to live a little before she dies. Maybe even experience her first kiss. Then the insane happens. Her cute satellite installer guy, Nick, also asks for her phone number. Suddenly the girl who had her life before her but didn’t live at all is now the girl who has a timestamp on her future but is cramming all that she can into that life.

When her first date with Ryan goes horribly wrong, and a chain of unbelievable events unfolds, Kay finds out that there is more going on in her life than her cancer. Now she’s surrounded by the fact that things she believed were only fairytales or myths in books are real. Ryan is trying to convince her that she’s something that she’s not, and her mother has secrets so big, that it could blow her whole world apart. And when the going gets tough, Kay gets going.

Kay takes on all of her new obstacles head on. She never lets the protective, but pushy, Ryan and Nick tell her what she should do, or how to do it. This is her adventure, and she’s going to live it. But halfway through her journey to everything she never dreamed would be possible; she finds out that there might be a miracle cure for her after all. With new hope on the horizon, Kay will do anything to find a cure. But will she live long enough to find it?

Now who’s tough?

Jessie Lane is the writing team of Crystal Leo and Melissa Pahl. The two sister-in-laws share a great love of breathtaking romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them. Because really, it is ALL about the characters. (They’re kind of megalomaniacs)

When not losing themselves in a story, they remember they have real lives. Crystal lives in Kentucky with her husband and two little girls who plot daily the many ways they can drive their poor mother crazy. At the end of the day, Crystal calls Melissa and threatens to ship her two nieces to their favorite Aunt with lots of air holes punched through their box. Melissa answers Crystal’s crazed calls in Washington state where she lives with her husband and big furry baby of a Rottweiler named Yuffie, and reminds her that children are not shippable.

This is their first novel, but they are all geared up and excited to be releasing other projects soon!

Read more for an excerpt of The Burning Star!


I'm Back + Updates

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Where have I been?

I've been traveling and such this whole summer, and I've also been staying home and learning how to play billiards, ping pong, and be a barrista. But now I'm back and I'm just in time before school starts on Wednesday.

How did the learning go?

1. I can say that I am AWESOME at ping pong.
Actually, I'm just okay, but I've been feeding my self-esteem a lot since I've been playing against my brother and it's usually 5 - 0 games. SUCESS.

2. Billiards. Yeah... My brother gets his revenge in billiards and the score is along the lines of 7-1. On good days I win 3 games... out of 10. ALMOST-SUCESS.

3. I'm not even going to talk about the barrista thing. I ended up being my parent's unofficial clean-up crew instead.


1. I've mostly been absent from blogging because I've been taking some independent courses and they were more time consuming than I thought. 

2. I posted my Mara Dyer video a while ago and some of you are wondering about the results. And guess what... I WON! Be sure to check out the rest of the winners at Michelle Hodkin's blog.

3. I finally got around to filming my bookshelf tour! I will be posting it sometime this week.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter:

Original Tweet
Original Tweet 

Wondering about these attractive photos? 

My final decision? That vlog will never see the light of day.
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