Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review: Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

Queen of the Dead (The Ghost and the Goth, #2)
 Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade
After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.
Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.
Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.
Packed with romance, lovable characters, and a killer cliffhanger, Queen of the Dead is the out-of-this-world sequel to The Ghost and the Goth.
Published in US: May 31 2011
Source: Publisher-- big thanks to Hyperion!

My Review:

   This is a great book, and it did not disappoint me after being charmed by Ghost and the Goth. The characters are still all levels of awesome and it had moments that made me want to laugh and cry.
   Alona continues to grow in this one, in new and different ways through the plot twists, though there were times that I thought she was regressing and I wanted to scream. Things I never expected to happen did and a whole new set of people to understand and in some instances hate, came onto the scene.
   I just read there will be a third book in the series, and I am anxiously awaiting it, although I like the way this one ended.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley

Breath of Angel (The Angeleon Circle)
Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley

The stranger’s cloak had fallen back, and with it, a long, white, blood-stained wing.When Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard, age-old legends recited in song suddenly come to life. She discovers wings on the stranger, and the murderer takes the shape of both a hawk and a man.
Angels. Shape-shifters. Myths and stories—until now.
Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When the feud turns violent and Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without the repayment of an ancient debt—the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.

Source: For review from publicist
Published in US: June 21st 2011

My Review:
  Breath of Angel has a complex plot, with lots of mystery and detail. This is a well thought out world where things are never quite what they seem.
   We get to see Melaia's awakening to the fact that things she's long sung as stories is fact... or at least there are facts embedded in the songs. She doesn't know what to believe and what is true, but it was definitely a journey with her to find out what is what, and the path of her destiny.
    This is like no other angel story I've read!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Across the Galaxy Giveaway and Interview with Author Heather Hildenbrand

Cover for 'Across The Galaxy' Across the Galaxy by Heather Hildenbrand
Orphaned as a young girl, Alina Leone has spent the last few years in dusty Arizona, being raised by her guardian, Peter, and wishing for a friendship that isn’t filled with lies and deception about exactly what she really is. Just before she can begin senior year she meets someone from her past – a talking wolf from another galaxy who won’t stop calling her ‘Empress’ - and in a single moment, her future is changed forever. She becomes a fugitive, on the run from the Shadows, the same monsters who killed her parents, and flees to the safety of the planet Bardawulf for refuge. But not everyone in this magically protected fortress is what they seem.

--The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
Meet Alina, an orphaned high school senior and alien empress w/ Inter-galactic enemies who meets brooding hottie.

--How did you get the idea for the story?
I came up with the alien thing on my own but my kids (4 and 7 at the time) helped come up with a lot of the creatures and their names. They had so much fun with it.
--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?
Would love to have dinner with Ander. I’d have to pass on Tharos though. All the black ash and billowing robes sounds kind of un-appetizing.

--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?
Of course! I make time to read. If I’m slacking on it because of writing, I convince myself it’s necessary research of my trade and plop down with a YA Paranormal. I love Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments series is my fav!), PC Cast’s House of Night, Allyson Noel’s Immortal series and most recently, Amanda Hocking’s Trylle Trilogy.
--Do you have any other works in progress? Any teasers or release dates?
I’m working on one about a Werewolf Hunter now. It’s called Dirty Blood and will be out sometime in March.

--If a fairy godmother told you your life could be like a favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
Twilight. Having to choose between the vamp and the werewolf is one of those hard decisions every girl wishes she had to make. =)

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote?
Coffee, if it’s before noon. As for music, I prefer glorious silence since both my kids are in full day school this year- woohoo! But I just listened to ‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles the other day and it soo reminded me of the love interest in Dirty Blood so I had to play that on repeat for awhile.

--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I would be Peter, from that TV show, Heroes (it’s off air now but it was awesome!) He had the ability to take on anyone else’s powers just by touching them. If I had that, I could try them all. Assuming there were lots of others with powers, too…

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
House projects. We just bought a house last year and I’m still slowly trying to paint and decorate. I just did my dining room the color of blood so that was fun.

--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers?
I’ll be posting more info for upcoming books on my blog, so watch for updates. or connect with me on Twitter @HeatherHildenbr. Thanks for having me!

Giveaway Details:
-Ends July 18th
-US only please
-Leave a way to contact you in the comments section. 

Thank you Heather and all my followers!

Review: Accused by Kate Kaynak

Accused by Kate Kaynak
We have ways of making you talk. 
Who not has Isaiah's files? Someone in the government knows about Ganzfield... and he has special reasons to target Maddie.
Publishes in US: Aug 15th 2011
4th in Ganzfield series

My Review
  Kate did it again! Accused was thrilling and I never wanted to put it down. If you haven't read this series yet, you are seriously missing out, and I'm telling you--this is the good stuff, and you are missing one of the best series ever. 

  I'm already attached to Maddie, but I felt so much for her in this book. As if she hasn't gone through enough, she's taken on another rollercoaster ride, and Kate thinks up whole new ways to torture her. ;)
The details are amazing, and I feel like I'm right there with her dealing with everything she's going through even though some of it is not so pleasant.
   Trevor is as awesome as ever in this book, and there are some really intense scenes between him and Maddie, and although I can't really say much more than that, just prepare yourself! There were a few scenes that he absolutely surprised me, and I never really saw it coming, and now I can't wait to find out how it resolves, but alas, I'm left waiting and anxiously tapping my foot for more.
   Kate wrote some amazingly funny scenes in this one, and had me rolling and my husband giving me that look like he's trying to decide if I need to be committed...
   So, if you can't tell, I def recommend this one.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Giveaway: Amaretto Flame by Sammie Spencer

Amaretto Flame (Eagleton Coven)
Amaretto Flame by Sammie Spencer

Olivia has spent her life learning about her enemies, the deadly Venator - including how to kill them. What she knows nothing about is whiskey, playing poker, or rugged, copper-haired musicians. As punishment for a small 'crime,' Olivia is sent to a safe house in a human town and forced to live as one of them for a summer. There, she meets the charming Jackson Vance, and her real education begins. She soon discovers that she's being hunted, and figuring out why means she uncovers a secret that threatens to end everything she's ever fought for.
You can read my review here

-Open Internationally
-This is for an ebook
-Please fill out form
-One extra entry for: tweeting contest, following me, for following Sammie on Twitter or her blog
-Ends June 30th

Friday, June 10, 2011

Q&A with author Randy Russell, author of Dead Rules

Dead Rules
About Randy: Randy Russell has believed in ghosts since having to take the trash out at night when he was 12 and being chased back to the house by “something” in the darkness.

The Edgar-nominated author of five published novels for adults, two books of short stories about ghosts, and two volumes of Southern Appalachia folklore, Randy’s first paranormal novel, Dead Rules, will be released in hardcover by HarperTeen on June 21, 2011.

Randy is an academically trained folklorist who has collected hundreds of first-person accounts of ghost experiences from across the South. He presents regularly on “True Ghost Stories of the South” based on his interviews of people who have encountered ghosts.

“I know what a ghost encounter is like for the people who have experienced them,” Randy said in a recent interview. “But I have always wondered what the experience is like for the ghost and what it is like to be a ghost.

“By far, the most common ghost a person is likely to encounter is that of a loved one. Love is the binding element, in the main, that keeps a person hanging around after death. I wrote Dead Rules so I could learn what being a ghost might be like. I set it in a high school for the dead, because high school is when most of us are learning what love is… what it can be… and what it isn’t. It seems so unfair to die in high school.

“I write ghosts and dead people,” Randy said, “but my overriding concern in fiction is coming to an understanding of love. I figure each of us will fully understand what love is about 100 years after we’re dead. In that case, ghosts know. And I want to know what they know.”

Randy lives outside Asheville, North Carolina, near the end of a shady mountain cove road marked by a sign that reads “No Exit.” Randy thinks this means he will live forever.

Q&A with Randy:

1. You created an entire after-life in your debut teen novel Dead Rules. How’d you think of such a fascinating, one-of-a-kind idea for a novel?

Through years of research, including interviewing people from across the South who have encountered ghosts, I learned that some people stick around after they die. They just do. I thought finishing up high school, especially if you die pre-prom, is as good as reason to stick around as any.

2. You are literally a “ghost” writer, having authored four books about Southern ghosts. So tell me, are ghosts real? If so, can you prove it?

Ghosts are real. Encountering and interacting with a ghost, in whatever shape or form it may occur, is a rather common—and very real—experience for many people. Remember, when Thomas asked to see the wounds in the side of Christ it was to make certain that Jesus had not returned as a ghost. With this in mind, it’s easy to say that ghosts are something people were encountering two thousand years ago.

I cannot prove to you that ghosts exist and I wouldn’t try. I would rather wait until you experience a ghost, then you can share it with me. An interaction with a ghost is your own experience. And it is often a very personal one. I can’t give you a recipe or tell you how to make it happen. It just does. And it happens to as many people who don’t believe in ghosts as it does to people who do.

It really doesn’t matter if you believe in ghosts. Ghosts believe in you. And some of them know you rather well already.

3. Your characters in Dead Rules each have very unique stories – of their lives and deaths. What were you like at their age?

I was ignoring death and going to live forever like everyone else my age. Of course, forever meant until I was 25 or so. What happened in life after that was of little concern to me.

4. One of the favorite characters by far seems to be Beatrice, who skips around Dead School with a yard dart in her head. Your humor is hard to miss in Dead Rules. How does an author write “funny”?
I don’t know if I can answer this in a brief fashion. I’d love to engage in a longer conversation with people on this topic, though. What makes sense to me at the moment is that in order to write funny, a person needs to see funny. Seventy-three people will look at the same thing happening in the same room at the same time. One will laugh. When that person tells another person what happened, they’ll tell it funny because they saw it that way. Along with dogs, and a few cats, people are in general the funniest thing on the planet. At least, that’s the way I see it.

5. Mars Dreamcote is sexy and—no pun intended—dreamy. If Mars was alive and real, and if you had a daughter, would you approve of her dating this mysterious young man?

I wouldn’t approve of my daughter dating anyone who wasn’t in a coma. Mars is so very much alive, for a dead guy, that I fear he falls into the non-approval category. That said, he is one hell of a guy and I’d like to know him myself… I wouldn’t shew him away if he started hanging around the house. You know, if he got along with the dogs and all.

I’d also say I would hope my daughter was smart enough to date only people I didn’t approve of. It’s her life and I would want it to be interesting for her. And I sure don’t want to hear a bunch of stories about some numb-nuts type I’d approve of. I think the daughter’s proper role in any family is to make her father gasp.

6. What happens after Dead School – is there a college?

Higher learning, huh? Well, let’s just say that nobody in Dead Rules hasn’t gotten that far along yet. Graduating high school remains the goal at hand for these dead kids. That and surviving love, of course. No small challenge, that.

7. I hear you have more books in the works. Can you give us a sneak peek?

I kind of hate to say this, but people die all the time. So we have new kids showing up in Dead School, trying to get along as best they can with the kids who are already there. The stories in Dead School are potentially as endless as life and death—and love—itself. Love is unstoppable. Just ask any ghost you happen to see.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Character interview with Olivia of Amaretto Flame

This post is part of the Teen Book Scene tour 

Amaretto Flame (Eagleton Coven)
Amaretto Flame by Sammie Spencer
Olivia has spent her life learning about her enemies, the deadly Venator - including how to kill them. What she knows nothing about is whiskey, playing poker, or rugged, copper-haired musicians. As punishment for a small 'crime,' Olivia is sent to a safe house in a human town and forced to live as one of them for a summer. There, she meets the charming Jackson Vance, and her real education begins. She soon discovers that she's being hunted, and figuring out why means she uncovers a secret that threatens to end everything she's ever fought for.
Published in US: Mar 24th 2011
Character interview with Olivia

--Did you ever see Everett as more than a best friend or brother? At the beginning of your story, I honestly thought he’d be the love interest.
*giggles* Everett occupies a huge part of my heart, but not the romantic center of it! He's my best friend in every way and I love him to death, but for love? Eek.

--Can you describe your relationship with Ivanna? How did it change when you were sent away? How do you view it now?
When I left Eagleton, I didn't know what my relationship with Ivanna was. That was an odd feeling, since she had always treated me as a favorite. Now, I understand that everything Ivanna has done was to protect me. I think I have a lot to learn about the decisions one must make as High-Priestess.

--Forgiveness is a big theme in Amaretto Flame, can you tell us a little about how you were able to forgive yourself?
You know, I had never really known there was anything to forgive, but there was. I was punishing myself for things that were not my fault and it was a hard and a conscious decision to forgive myself. I don't think that I've completely mastered forgiveness yet (even for myself), but I'm working on it every day.

--Where do you see things going with Jackson?
*grins* I don't know. I have never felt this way. It's like walking around blindly and hoping you don't stub your toe. I just know that I don't want to be away from him!

--Have you ever wanted to play an instrument? Which one?
I haven't had the chance to learn how to play an instrument. I'm not sure I'd have the talent to make it work. Ha! I guess if I could learn anything it would be the drums.

--What’s your favorite book?
I don't read much, but I guess King Arthur stories would be my favorite. I love Morgan le Fay.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Review: Amaretto Flame by Sammie Spencer

This post is part of the Teen Book Scene tour

Amaretto Flame (Eagleton Coven)
Amaretto Flame by Sammie Spencer
Olivia has spent her life learning about her enemies, the deadly Venator - including how to kill them. What she knows nothing about is whiskey, playing poker, or rugged, copper-haired musicians. As punishment for a small 'crime,' Olivia is sent to a safe house in a human town and forced to live as one of them for a summer. There, she meets the charming Jackson Vance, and her real education begins. She soon discovers that she's being hunted, and figuring out why means she uncovers a secret that threatens to end everything she's ever fought for.
Published in US: Mar 24th 2011

My review:
  A good friend recommended this one to me, and our reading and writing preferences match up a lot of the time, and boy was she ever right. Amaretto Flame has a cast of awesome and vivid characters, and a story that drew me in from the start.
   The main character Olivia is awesome, she's strong and independent but she still manages that vulnerability around the people that she trusts. I'm able to connect and relate with her on a deep level, and I'm wholly invested in her story and what happened to her.
   Her friends, from Everett to Jenny are well developed and all play a part in telling Olivia's story. The secondary character of Jackson is well written, he's got looks, intrigue and a guitar. A winner in my book. I love how their relationship develops and how they learn each other's secrets.
   I'd recommend this to YA, and paranormal lovers alike.
I'd love to hear what you think of my review and/or this book.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: Bridger by Megan Curd

Bridger by Megan Curd
Ashlyn McVean doesn’t believe in fairy tales. That is, until Ashlyn is thrown into the crosshairs of grudges her grandmother created long ago. After finding out she is one of two people able to cross between faerie realms, Ashlyn is faced with trying to understand her abilities, along with navigating a new relationship with her boyfriend, Liam. As if being on a centuries old hit list and dealing with crazed pixies isn’t enough, her new abilities mean trouble for Liam. Knowing her new life puts everyone she loves in danger, Ashlyn must decide what’s most important in her life between friends, family, love, and ultimately, realms.
Purchase on amazon here
Source: ARC from author

My review:

Bridger creates a magical and intriguing world that held my attention and left me wanting so much more.
The characters are great and beautifully written. Ash had me at hello with such an emotional connection right away. Ash has a strong voice and I love how there are funny moments thrown in at all the right times.
I loved and hated the presence of MeMaw right away, she has such a strong personality, and I love where the character arc goes.
I also love the sarcasm and easy going nature between her and Jaime at the beginning, I’m such a sucker for sarcasm J The introduction of Reese kept me even more intrigued too. Their relationship is pretty undefined, but they have a different but still strong bond than with her and Jaime.
And if I thought I was attached to the story, I didn’t know anything until Liam came on the scene. Swoon!
This is action packed, and I never knew what to expect coming next, but Megan wove it all together and created one amazing story. She’s a genius and I can’t wait for more.

I def recommend that you read this one RIGHT NOW!  


Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Dead Rules 
Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Till death
Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were in love. They were destined to be together forever.
But Jana's destiny was fatally flawed. And now she's in Dead School, where Mars Dreamcote lurks in the back of the classroom, with his beguiling blue eyes, mysterious smile, and irresistibly warm touch.
Michael and Jana were incomplete without each other. There was no room for Mars in Jana's life—or death—story. Jana was sure Michael would rush to her side soon.
But things aren't going according to Jana's plan. So Jana decides to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true—no matter what rules she has to break.
Publishes in US: 6/21/11
Source: JKS 

My Review: 

   This is a very interesting approach to being dead. I really enjoyed this book, with it's dark touch and I appreciated the humor that was put in everywhere.
   The characters are interesting and I enjoyed reading about their deaths, which were mostly a little wild and out there, but added to the story perfectly. It was odd how your death became the pennacle of who you are and that is the first and most important thing people want to know about you--whether or not it attests to how the rest of your life was. Who you were and what you did all boils down to your death. It was also interesting how it seemed your status after your death was solely judged on your death, not on how you live. Some of the sliders to me seemed to have a better heart and be more worthy of being a riser than some of the risers.
   The switches in perspectives are pulled off really well, and it gives a more in depth peek into some of the secondary characters.