Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Bookanista Review: PARANORMALCY

I’m having one of those days. You know, the kind of day when you restart the blog post about five bajillion times. Which, okay, doesn’t even make sense. Because it’s Bookanistas Thursday—what could be easier to introduce  than a book review?

My brain has turned to mush, I think.

No, not mush. Mush is delicious, actually. More like a slushy. A coke slushy. Wait. That’s delicious, too.

Never mind. It’s 4 AM. Metaphors are not my friends right now.

Shall we move on to the book review then?

Bookanistas_logo

Be sure to stop by and check out the books some of the other Bookanistas are celebrating:

Myra McEntire: SHADOW HILLS

Jamie Harrington: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

Elana Johnson: YOU

Christine Fonseca: LINGER

Shannon Messenger: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

Beth Revis: PARANORMALCY

Bethany Wiggins and Suzette Saxton: MONSTER HIGH

Lisa and Laura Roecker: YOU

 

PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy

Book cover summary: Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, despite the fact that she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie' prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

I will tell you right up front I did not pick up this book on a whim. I’d heard about it, so when I saw an ARC was available, I simply had to have it. So, yes, I read it with some pre-love. But come on, look at that cover! It’s just so shiny and pretty. And that dress is just so gotsta-have-it. It also seems remarkably fitting for Evie, the main character, who is also shiny and pretty. But she’s far more than that as well—she’s downright hilarious. I laughed my way through PARANORMALCY. Evie’s voice just pops in this. Not a line or an action feels out of place because the voice is true to itself. The sparkling teenage voice was so well established that by the end, I felt like I could predict what she would say in any given situation. And Evie herself was just. so. likeable. She was vivacious and quirky and had a really cool taser named Tasey. She was everything we wished we could’ve been as teenagers, except perhaps for one small thing…she has a freaky ability to see through paranormals’ glamours (enchantments that make paranormals appear to be human). Well, maybe you’d wish for that, too, but perhaps not all the danger she gets into. This books was one wild ride after another with Evie .

Now, while Evie got into a lot of dark, action-packed scrapes, it still felt fairly light to me because of the humorous voice. Yet it didn’t detract from the sense of urgency or the suspense, but it did make the book feel…fun. I guess that’s the word I’m looking for. But don’t mistake fun for shallow. There was a greater depth to Evie that allowed me to feel wholly invested in the story, wanting to know how things turned out. And what an adventure! It was such an original, clever premise, which seems pretty amazing to me considering it was packed full of paranormal creatures that have been written into stories for ages. And did I mention the romance? So sweet and touching. And a little bizarre, all things considered, but that’s part of what makes it so cool (I’d like to explain, but you’d hate me for giving away one of the most rockin aspects of this book).  You’ll just have to read it to find out.

And you can do so soon, too! PARANORMALCY is set to release August 31! But, you can also enter to win PARANORMALCY, as well as a signed ARC of MATCHED, and ARCs of FIRELIGHT, TORMENT, EXTRAORDINARY, PERSONAL DEMONS, and THE DUFF! Just GO HERE to ENTER my 7 ARC contest!! It is open internationally. Contest ends August 9, so HURRY!!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

POO

You ever get the feeling that you take on way too much with too few resources? This is me, burning the candle at both ends. It's taken me a while, but I've finally realized that I am a POTPY (as in Pot Pie--go with me on this).


Yeah, I've succumbed to using acronyms. Whatev.

POTPY: Princess Of The Perpetual YES.

Queen would've sounded better, but QOTPY sounds dumb.

By the way, this doesn't mean that I say yes to everything. If it did, I'd have at least sixteen really old, goopy-eyed cats, a few stolen televisions, jail time, and a husband named B.o.B.  Possibly an STD. (super tiny dog). But it does mean that I have a lot of really old furniture and boxes of my siblings' ancient stuffed animals and childhood memorabilia (thanks, Mom), a broken cappuccino maker, a painting of a tiger on velvet, and A LOT of writing projects.

Ask me for something, and my first instinct is to answer yes. Actually, I normally say, "What? I didn't catch that." And then I say yes. Occasionally, I do say no (B.o.B, the answer is still NO. Got it?) But it's not easy for me. Telemarketing boardrooms worldwide have a picture of my face with a bull's-eye right between my eyes. Buy your MaryKayAvonPamperedChefTupperwareMacaroniNecklaces? Babysit your champion team of Adirondack hamsters? Edit your  one thousand page ESL treatise of inhuman nature?

Dude, no problem.

It's not that I'm gullible, it's that I am the quintessential people pleaser. A POTPY, to be precise. Especially if you ask me to do something that I want to do. Or if I really like you. It doesn't matter that I have a thousand other things going on.

And OMfreakingG, how I stress myself out doing this! People tell me all the time I can't do everything and please everyone (including myself). It doesn't stop me from trying though. Because I really want to do it all. And I know ultimately, I'll pull it off. I might lose some hair, age a decade, and forget the names of my family members, but I can SO do it. Sleep is overrated anyway.

Sometimes...I fail, though. And I let people down. Because I promise too much.

That makes me POO. (Princess of Overextension)

This is why I'm prone to ulcers. I hate letting people down. People, POTPY always leads to POO. It's inevitable.

And ulcers, people. Ulcers.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, except to say that's what I've been up to. And why my blogging and comments on your blogs have diminished some. Okay, a lot. I'm rather up to my neck actually. That's POO for you. I hope you can forgive me. But maybe you can take a lesson from me? Try to do to much, and you turn into POO.

P.S.  It's my anniversary today. Sort of.

Happy 100th Blog Post to me!!!

As a present to me, I'm taking a sabbatical from blogging for a bit (yeah, I know, what's new). Well, I'll post my Bookanistas review tomorrow. And then a sabbatical. For one thing, I'm headed to the


 If you're headed to the conference yourself, do tell me, so I can look for you! I'll be the one who looks like POO.


This is not THAT B.o.B.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bookanistas Thursday: NIGHTSHADE



Just a little reminder of what the Bookanistas are about:


Bookanistas-logo-hisnhers (1) The Bookanistas: Books are the New Black. We are a group of writers who are in various stages of the publishing process -  and we have decided to band together and review the special books of our peers. We – as fellow writers – have decided to only post positive reviews, therefore, only reviewing the books we LOVE. No negative reviews here!








Other Bookanistas reviewing today:

Christine Fonseca is coveting the cover of A TOUCH MORTAL
Shelli Johannes-Wells is working some MAJIK
Bethany Wiggins is totally team Jay with THE BODY FINDER
Beth Revis recommends THE REPLACEMENT
Carolina Valdez Miller talks up NIGHTSHADE
Shannon Messenger raves about The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
Lisa and Laura Roecker and Kirsten Hubbard are coveting 2011 covers


And now, to tease your taste buds, I offer you a review of:

NIGHTSHADE by Andrea Cremer


Nightshade
Summary (from the book):

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche, and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?




Here's the thing about this book: I got it because someone handed it to me and said, "Check this one out. You'll love it." I had never heard of it, to be honest. So, I flipped it over and glanced at the cover and thought: WOW (yeah, my mouth even rounded out). It's truly beautiful, isn't it? It's gorgeous--so shiny and colorful and glittery and the calla lilies with the blood specks and the purple...it's bookcover as art. And it was enough to get me to read the book without even reading the summary. Which...had me a little thrown at first. Took me a couple of pages to orient myself, and then I realized why, it's because...WHOA...this books is not like anything I've ever read. A truly original premise. And utterly gripping--which is saying something because it's a massive book for YA. The ARC is 452 pages, and not once did I want to turn away from it.

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out what I think is the highlight of this book. Yes, it has shapeshifting wolves and other paranormal creatures, magic, and some super cool fantasy elements--but what really stands out is its kickass female. Calla is one tough little thing. She's strong and smart and the leader of her pack--a supreme alpha. But that's where the irony truly lies. Because as strong as she is, the control she has over her own life is really just an illusion--though it takes saving a human, despite the laws of her world, to make her realize it.

You might have guessed, then, that this human boy is the one she falls in love with. Now, I don't want to give anything away, but I will tell you that there's a love triangle that is one of the most complicated love triangles I've seen in YA. I kept flipping back and forth on who I wanted Calla to fall for. Both guys bring out a different side of Calla--and I couldn't decide which I liked better. Indeed, my emotions ran really high with NIGHTSHADE--at times I felt myself getting really angry with Calla's choices or with one of hthe boys, and at other times, I felt like I had to stop and fan myself to force the heat to die down. Talk about some steamy scenes (nothing too graphic, though). I feel like such a cougar even thinking about these boys as drool-worthy, so I'll...just...stop there.

But there's more than just romance and kissing and...stuff. There are some major adrenaline-charged scenes as well, scenes that had me flipping through the pages like an Olympic speed reader, especially in the final third of the book. There's a drawn-out fight scene that had my fingers cramping, I was gripping the book so hard. The werewolves are just a tip of the dark iceberg (although it's not a dark fantasy, per se). In NIGHTSHADE, the humans were the lowest common denominator, subject to the whims of the werewolves and their masters--yet the humans are completely oblivious. Cremer's approach to the paranormal was simply brilliant. Such a strong female mc...such passion...such a marvelous concept....

I devoured every page.


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If you haven't done so already, be sure to stop by and enter my contest to win one of 7 (or 8) ARCs: MATCHED by Ally Condie, FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan, TORMENT by Lauren Kate, EXTRAORDINARY by Nancy Werlin, PERSONAL DEMONS by Lisa Desrochers, HALO by Alexandra Adornetto, THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger. This contest is open internationally! Unless you live in Antarctica. Sorry. I have to draw the line somewhere.





























































































































































P.S. If you have an ARC or new book you think the Bookanistas would love enough to review, send me an email and we'll add it to our list.The Bookanistas give nothing but love!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Guess what? It Is Thursday. Let Me Light a Fire Under You


Guess what?

It's Thursday.

Bookanistas book review day! So in keeping with our new tradition, today I'm reviewing the ARC of FIRELIGHT.


Please be sure to visit the other Bookanistas participating today as well:



For my review, see below:

Yeah, not that far below.

FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan


Firelight_SophieJordan
Book blurb: Marked as special, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. When she breaks the most sacred tenet of her kind, she nearly pays with her life, only to be spared by a beautiful stranger sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki--a descendant of dragons whose ability to shift into human form is her best defense.


Forced to flee into the mortal world, Jacinda struggles to adapt. The one bright light is Will; Jacinda knows she should avoid him at all costs--Will and his family are hunters--but the passion he stirs within her can't be ignored, even if it means risking her life.... With this provacative tale of supernatural desire and danger, Sophie Jordan introduces readers to an exciting world that will appeal to fans of TWILIGHT, FALLEN, and EVERNIGHT.


Whoever designed this cover was a genius. I loved that this girl actually had a head and a (mostly) visible face. I get worn out sometimes with all the headless covers in YA. Still, you have no idea what this book is about because you can't see the body, but one glimpse at this (mostly) human face--the bright red hair, the glitter and the shine and the subtle scales--and you know that somewhere in there, there's some sparkly fantasy. I saw this cover and drooled just a little bit. It was enough for me to start coveting like a sinner.

I couldn't wait to dive into this book, and from page one, I was hooked. I mean, come on, a humanoid descendant of dragons saved by the dude who hunts her kind? Love it. Hunter falls for his prey? Okay, so I definitely got some TWILIGHT vibes there. So yes, TWILIGHT fans will probably like this book. 

(You know there's a giant BUT, right?)

BUT, while FIRELIGHT has the whole lion-falls-for-the-lamb bit going for it (a premise I think is brilliant, by the way), that's pretty much where the similarities end. For one thing, the female mc is the supernatural being, and a dragon-like shapeshifter at that. She has a special ability, too, and this ability creates a major conflict for her. Yet Jacinda has to deal with major responsibility, including the welfare of her mother and sister, so her own suffering has to be suppressed.

Overshadowing everything, however, is the romance with Will, which is just. so. dreamy....the lovers who have every reason to hate one another, but find themselves pulled to be together anyway--and yet their unchangeable identities make it impossible to be together. So Romeo and Juliet, no?

I loved the way the story played out. I can't say that I didn't suspect Jacinda and Will would fall for one another (eh hmmm, it IS a romance), but I did NOT see that end coming. Still, you'll want to read it for more than the end. I was captivated by the original handling of mythological concepts, the premise, the lively main characters, the interweaving of the paranormal and the reality-based setting, and the witty, genuine-feeling dialogue. I was sucked in from the start.

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Now, FIRELIGHT doesn't come out until September.

But guess what? I'll be giving away this ARC, too....

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Bookanistas, Matched, and Me

 Bookanistas logo
Holy cannelloni, isn’t this badge spanking hot? This baby belongs to the Bookanistas, a group I’m honored to be a part of. If you haven’t heard of us before today, don’t feel out of the loop—today is actually the official launch day. I only recently heard about the group myself. Actually, I could hardly contain my glee when I was asked to be a part of it. The other writers in the group are pretty dang amazing and worth every penny I spend bribing them to like me; I implore you to stop by and check out all of their blogs and stalk with all due haste (see their links below).

But what are Bookanistas, you ask? From the desk of fellow Bookanista Shelli Johannes-Wells:

Today is the first launch day of the new book review bloggers - The Bookanistas: Books are the New Black. We are a group of writers who are in various stages of the publishing process -  and we have decided to band together and review the special books of our peers. We – as fellow writers – have decided to only post positive reviews, therefore, only reviewing the book we LOVE. No negative reviews here!


The Bookanistas give nothing but love!


Starting today, we will post reviews every Thursday that cover various topics – upcoming ARCs, books we love, special diamonds in the rough, classics, and even cover reviews. This fashionable badge represents our group (club/gang/posse/secret society/peeps). Here is a list of the Bookanistas:  Christine Fonseca, Jamie Harrington, Michelle Hodkin, Kristin Hubbard, Shelli Johannes-Wells, Elana Johnson, Myra McEntire, Shannon Messenger, Coli Pinnell, Beth Revis, Lisa and Laura Roecker, Sarah and Katie (Plot this), Scott Tracey (and myself!)

So, on to my first ARC review as a Bookanista:

MATCHED by Ally Condie
Matched
Book Blurb: In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.


Cassie has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.


Admit it. You’re already in love with this book. That cover is stunning, isn’t it? I about died when I first got this ARC. I’d been chomping at the bit to read it. So, yeah, I might have entered into this book with a touch of pre-love, but you know, it was tempered by certain misgivings. I thought, ehhhhh, what if it’s too much like The Giver? Or like any other book about a utopian society that is secretly one big fat dystopia?

Well, you know what? It is that. And yet, it’s sooooo not just that (and it’s not at all like Lowry’s The Giver). Ultimately, Matched is a love story. And a frigging passionate one at that—without any sex, even (or a single curse word). Who knew it was possible? It’s also a story about choices, and the lack thereof. Condie brilliantly links Cassia’s sexual maturation and her growing awareness of her love for Ky, someone other than her Match, with the shedding of her ignorance (and subsequent loss of innocence) of the truth behind her society. Indeed, it’s difficult to even pinpoint which revelation leads to the other, or if perhaps they are not merely happening simultaneously or even despite the other.  But it doesn’t really matter. Its complexity just adds to its beauty. Even the love triangle is far more complicated than what is typically found in YA, because you will love Xander just as much as Ky. I know it seems like Condie is merely messing with your emotions, but really, who wants a love triangle where it’s easy to choose? It’s genius. I loved that it wasn’t obvious who Cassia should be with or who she would end up with.

Gawd, I could not put this book down. And by the time I was finished, I was emotionally spent and yet, I felt oddly ebullient. I beg you to run out and buy a copy as soon as it comes out. Good grief, even the language  and voice in which the story is told is absolutely breathtaking. Several times I simply had to set the book against my chest and sigh at the poetry.

I know it seems like I am messing with your emotions now, since Matched doesn’t come out until November 30, but I do have a signed copy I’ll be giving away soon. So stay tuned. I promise you: You. Want. This.

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Want to check out the other Bookanistas blogging their book reviews today? See my glorious list below. It’s full of gems.

Katie and Sarah Frances - ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS
Elana Johnson - THE HEALING SPELL
Lisa and Laura - STRANDED
Christine Fonesca - NIGHTSHADE CITY
Shannon Messenger - LINGER
Shelli Johannes-Wells - DARK GODDESS
Scott Tracey - OTHER
Kirsten Hubbard - THE DUFF
Beth Revis - PEGASUS
Jamie Harrington - ARCHVILLIAN
Bethany Wiggins and Suzette Saxton - NIGHTSHADE CITY

Got a book you think we might love enough to review? Shoot me an e-mail, and we’ll add it to the list.

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P.S. Be sure to stop by Sara McClung’s blog to see some pictures of our time at ALA 2010 (along with Alexandra Shostak)! I did my best monkey expression. I swear!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The S#!t Pile

Check out this nastiness on my front porch.

DSC01588

Ewwww, right? I came home from ALA 2010 and found THAT waiting for me. And then I looked up when I heard this cute little chirpity-chirp-chirp and saw this.

DSC01592

Awwww, right? There’s actually like three more that live in that nest, but my noisy clomping ways drove them off.

Anyway, it got me thinking. Can you ever just have something beautiful and sweet in life and NOT have to put up with s#!t? And why is it that we tend to notice the s#!t first? Like, say Bradley Cooper walks into a room—the first thing you notice is not how smokin he is, but the blonde booby bombshell on his arm.* Or even when a baby is born, the only one in the room who doesn’t seem to notice how scrunched up and hideous the baby is, is Mom. And even she might be a little leery. Or take love, for instance. When have you felt it and not also ended up eventually wanting to kill the object of that love? Remember that time his mother told you that maybe you should spank that child a time or two and he’d be better behaved, and Object of Love said nada??

Yeah. That’s the s#!t I’m talking about. Or let’s take it down a notch and discuss writing. It’s not a secret that you can’t publish a beauty of a manuscript without having to deal with all the s#!t involved. I mean, yeah okay, you could get lucky. Maybe your manuscript will s#!t a little less than others. Maybe you don’t have to market yourself and network and write and query for years before the BIG DEAL comes your way. If that’s the case, you’re one lucky S.O.B, and clearly your s#!t pile will be a little smaller than most. But, you know, it’s still a s#!t pile, right? Though if your s#!t pile really IS smaller than most, I’d keep it to yourself cuz nobody will like you. And no matter how many times you clean it up, as long as the beauty remains, so does the s#!t. You see, it won’t be until the birds flee for good that I’ll be done with this s#!t.

So what DOES this even MEAN? Frankly, I don’t know. I tried to come up with some fortune cookie answer, but the truth is, I really just wanted an excuse to say s#!t over and over.

But, I will say that I’m gonna beg my husband to hose down the s#!t so I can enjoy an untainted view of the birds—at least until the s#!t builds up again. I bet he’ll do it, too.

That’s love for you, people. L-O-V-E love. Makes the mother-in-law seem a little more worth it**.

*I don’t have a problem with blonde booby bombshells. I only have a problem with them when they are on Bradley Cooper’s arm. I think that’s fair.


**Sorry, Mama2. I was just trying to make a point. You just got caught up in it. It’s inevitable. Mother-in-law hatred is simply something people get. I don’t know why. Please don’t disinherit me.



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And so I realized I screwed up the date for the end of the contest. Our Barry Lyga Rocks Contest will actually end on July 6. As so many Americans will be on holiday July 5, we figured it made sense. So Barry Lyga Rocks!! Day will take place on Tuesday, July 6, too. Now you have an extra day to prepare your letters to Barry and make them super extra special. If for some reason you miss my tiny note and post on Monday, I swear I won’t flog you. I love you too much and it’s my fault. We’ll still link to you on Tuesday.