Monthly Archives: March 2012
Audiobook Info: YA Fantasy, Library audiobook, Audio length: 12 hours 6 minutes, read by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
In The Scorpio Races, contestants ride on bloodthirsty water horses, and the first to the finish line wins the grand prize. Sean Kendrick is the rider to beat, but Puck Connelly, the first female rider, keeps Sean on his toes. They both are playing for high stakes in this deadly race.
I had not heard of the Irish myth about the water horses, but because I’ve read all of Stiefvater’s other books I wanted to give this one a try. When I first picked up the book, I couldn’t really get into it and so I put it aside. Later I found the audiobook at the library and thought that might be a better way to experience this book. The audio narrators are wonderful and their spirited reading kept me listening. The slow paced story does take patience to get through, but the reward is an exciting race with characters you come to care about.
The story takes place in the made-up island of Thisby, and Stiefvater does a wonderful job bringing the island to life. It’s easy to envision the cliffs, the water, the colorful characters, and the mythological horses in Thisby. The race is all everyone can talk about in the month of November, and the promise of financial riches encourages riders to participate, even though the possibility of dying in the race exists.
The story has a dual narrative with Sean and Puck trading off. Sean is calm and quiet, and is playing to win something of inestimable value to him. Puck is determined and full of life. She’s a reluctant rider, but financial circumstances drive her to compete. The pair becomes fond of each other, which complicates things.
Sean and Puck have a low-key romance built upon their mutual respect for the horses and the island. It reminded me of Peeta and Katniss, where you don’t want either of them to lose the games/race. Theirs is a quiet slow-building romance that’s not the focus of the book, but helped me to get to know the characters better.
Steve West and Fiona Hardingham narrate the audiobook. The lovely prose and nature of the story lends itself well to the audio format, and the narrators convey the right tone, rhythm, and emotion for the story. Maggie Stiefvater performs the music in the beginning and end of the audiobook and it is well suited to the story. In addition, the author speaks at the end of the audiobook about the years spent working on this book, and all of the research involved. She even created a stop-motion trailer for the book. Check it out below.
Though I’m not usually a fan of horse stories, The Scorpio Races is a unique read with great world building and characterization, and it is a fantastic audiobook.
GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. Congrats to Brandi who won a copy of The Scorpio Races ARC.
Genre/Format: Young Adult, Own hardcover, 375 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
I waited so long for this book! I adored Delirium, and have been pining for the sequel for over a year. The last pages of Delirium left me feeling like I’d been punched in the gut, and it was hard to imagine the direction the sequel would take. Pandemonium is a new beginning with a new setting and group of characters, and even the main character Lena has grown into a different person. So even though the story picks up shortly after the events of Delirium, in a lot of ways it’s like it’s starting over. I couldn’t imagine how I’d enjoy the book without some of the pivotal characters from Delirium. But I was happily surprised to find myself quickly caught up in this wild sequel.
The story alternates a “Then” and “Now” timeline taking us from Lena’s time entering the Wilds and transitioning to current day in New York where she is an undercover resistance operative. The jumping timeline is a little jarring at first – maybe because there are so many changes to get used to. It is a lot to digest. My curiosity of seeing the “Wilds” as compared to Portland, Maine was satisfied and brought a lot of interesting information about the “uncured.” The New York setting is also an exciting backdrop with familiar landmarks and dangerous situations.
I liked Lena’s new independence now that she’s out of her aunt’s control. The changes in Lena are striking and even though past events haunt her, her strength and resolve carry her through. The Wilds are quite a wake-up call for Lena, and she doesn’t have a lot of time to feel sorry for herself. She has to pull her weight and take charge, even though she’s still heartbroken from leaving her loved ones behind. New characters are also introduced and help move the story in new interesting directions. (How vague is that? This review is tough!)
Pandemonium is a dark and gritty middle installment to the trilogy. Where Delirium was more romantic, Pandemonium is more about the action and rebellion. The book felt like a necessary and natural progression from Delirium. It answers a lot of questions hanging from the first book and sets up the final installment in true Lauren Oliver fashion: with a shocking cliffhanger. I didn’t finish the book feeling like I’d been punched in the gut this time, maybe more like I’d been slapped, and there may have been some cringing and eye-rolling. Regardless, the wait for the final book, Requiem, will be unbearable. I hear that Requiem will be told with two points of view, Lena and another female character. Can’t wait! In the meantime, Lauren Oliver fans, watch for her new middle grade book coming out in September called The Spindlers.
- Book review: PANDEMONIUM by Lauren Oliver (gingerjonesbooks.wordpress.com)
- Hollydiggity’s #CBR4 Review #02: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (cannonballread4.wordpress.com)
- Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (bookjourney.wordpress.com)
- Audiobook review: Pandemonium (thelupinelibrarian.me)
- YA Wednesday: An Exclusive Interview with Lauren Oliver (omnivoracious.com)
- Review: Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver (yabookscentral.blogspot.com)
Genre/Format: YA Dystopia, Received for review, 336 pages
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Starters is a thrilling Sci-Fi dystopia debut from Lissa Price. The creepy body rental concept and plot twists got me invested in the story from the beginning and kept me up late reading. It is fast moving and gripping and just the thing to get me excited about dystopia again.
As Starters begins, sixteen-year-old orphan Callie is struggling to survive in a near-future Los Angeles. She lost her parents to the Spore Wars, where the biological attack killed all adults aged 20-60, because there weren’t enough vaccines for them to be protected in an attack. Now Callie, and friend Michael, is responsible for her sickly little brother Tyler. Unclaimed minors like Callie (called Starters) are forbidden to have jobs, while the elderly (called Enders) live a luxury lifestyle, with job security, fancy cars, and mansions. But Starters do have something that Enders want, and that is youth, which is where Prime Destinations comes in.
With nowhere else to turn, Callie signs a contract with the body renting company Prime Destinations, run by the mysterious “Old Man.” This company rents the bodies of desirable Starters for up to a month to Enders seeking to be young again. After the Starter has fulfilled their contract by being rented 3 times, they in turn receive a big sum of money. But things don’t go as planned, and in the middle of a rental, Callie wakes up as herself in unfamiliar surroundings in the middle of a nightclub. She has to fight to keep control of her mind and body from her renter, who is cooking up a dangerous scheme.
The idea of body renting was so disturbing to me, and even though certain dangerous behavior was off limits, you never know what’s really going on. It’s interesting to see Callie portray someone else with her own body, and befriend other elderly “renters.” She gets an inside look into how renters view the donors and the dangers involved. It’s like an undercover operation for Callie as she gets pulled into a bigger mystery. I liked Callie – she’s resourceful and strong, and it made sense to me that she signed the contract in hopes for a better life for her brother.
There are no lulls in the action in this book. Callie is always on the move, and even though she has some allies it’s hard to know whom she really can trust. There are several jaw-dropping reveals that keep the story interesting. There is not a lot of detail about what led to the current circumstances in the world such as the reasons behind the war, why teens can’t work, etc. But for me, I was entertained just the same with the multi-layered characters, the action and the suspense.
The romance does not play a starring role in this book. There are two potential love interests introduced, but it was not enough of a focus for me to be invested in either character. Am interested to see how the romance develops in the sequel though.
The ending brings a surprising cliffhanger that will leave you clamoring for the sequel. The second and final book in the series, Enders, is due out in December, but in the meantime there are some short stories planned. And there is a prequel called Portrait of a Starter, told from Michael’s POV that is available now. If you are looking for something to read after Divergent or The Hunger Games, give Starters a try.
Giveaway has ended – Congrats to Paige who has won a signed ARC of Starters.
This will be my fifth year attending San Diego Comic-Con, but my first visit to WonderCon. When my sister offered me tickets last week to attend WonderCon, I couldn’t resist heading over to Anaheim to check it out. I didn’t know if it would be a mini Comic-Con or what to expect at all. Tickets were still available even during the event, so it was a nice option for locals shut out of Comic-Con tickets. The halls and panels were busy and crowded but not overwhelmingly so. It was a relaxed atmosphere and the smaller scale made for a more personal experience. My main interest was to go to the author panels and signings, but we managed to do some of the TV and movie panels as well.
We got up early Saturday and braved the pouring rain to pick up our badges at the convention center. The convention center seemed to be a similar size to San Diego’s but we found out when we entered that only about a quarter of the convention center was used for WonderCon. The rest of the convention center was used for a girls cheerleading and volleyball competition held at the same time. My husband thought it was strange that all these young girls were cosplaying as Claire from Heroes, but that was not the case. It certainly was amusing to see the cheerleaders walking amongst the stormtroopers, zombies, and superheroes in the convention center halls. It was a piece of cake to pick up the badges and it was easy to find our way around.
Saturday was the day for movie panels, so we mainly stuck to the Ballroom on the third level (about the size of San Diego’s ballroom 20) to check those out. Sunday was the day for TV panels, as well as the YA author panel, and several author signings throughout the day.
Some of the highlights from my visit to WonderCon:
1. Spotlight on Ernest Cline – The author of Ready Player One and screenwriter of Fanboys was on hand to talk about how he got his start in writing. Like a few other authors and filmmakers he started out by working in a video store. Ernie is a very engaging speaker and he talked for an hour about the turbulent making of Fanboys and the writing of Ready Player One. My husband and I both loved that book and it was great to see so many fans of the book in attendance. Ernie talked about his next book, which will be a coming age book about growing up in the 1980′s. Can’t wait to read it! There’s a good recap of the panel here.
2. 20th Century Fox Panel featuring producer Tim Burton’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Ridley Scott’s Promotheus – The Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter panel started with a video explaining why Tim Burton would not be there and showed a bizarre clip of a fake decaying body (Tim Burton) attended by two attractive nurses and by doctor Andrew Weil. We were asked to #PrayforTim when the clip ended. So strange! The trailer looks awesome, and I am more interested in seeing the movie than I had been. The author Seth Grahame Smith moderated the panel and said he was inspired to write the book when on book tour during Lincoln’s 200th birthday he would see a display of Abraham Lincoln bios side by side with a display of Twilight books. Damon Lindelof moderated the Prometheus panel with guests Sir Ridley Scott, Charlize Theron, and Michael Fassbender. This was most likely the most popular panel of the whole Con and the crowd was enthusiastic. I still don’t know that it’s my type of thing, but it was an entertaining panel regardless. Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender acting out the Prometheus trailer was a standout moment.
3. ABC’s Once Upon A Time – For this panel there was a screening of the episode that aired Sunday (Heart of Darkness) followed by a short q&a with series creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horovitz. They said they would love to add the Little Mermaid, Mulan, and Rapunzel to the show at some point. The panel ran a little late and I had to run to attend the…
4. Shivers, Shakes, & Swoon: The Young Adult books we can’t put down panel – This panel was moderated by author Andrea Cremer (Nightshade series) and included Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Kami Garcia (co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Novels), Gretchen McNeil (Possess), Lissa Price (Starters), Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky) & Ann Aguirre (Enclave). Great line-up, right? Andrea was a fabulous moderator and asked about their books and their favorite cosplayer at the Con. The authors took some questions from the audience, and premiered the book trailers for Starters and Under the Never Sky. There were a lot of people coming into the panel late that didn’t look like YA fans, and it turns out they were there for the next panel: Naruto: Shippuden! New YA fans in the making?
4. Author signings- One thing I missed from Comic-Con is group author signings. Because all of the signings were held at the tiny Mysterious Galaxy booth, they could only accommodate two authors at a time. So every hour I would dash back down to the 1st floor exhibit hall from the 3rd floor other end of the convention center, dodging cheerleaders along the way, to get to the MG booth for the next signing. Snuck in some good exercise there! I was disappointed to miss the Gretchen McNeil & Andrea Cremer signing in the morning but was able to pick up signed copies of Possess and Ten later. Yay! Kami Garcia was paired with Ransom Riggs so I got my copies of Beautiful Chaos and Miss Peregrine signed. There was not a rushed feeling at all, and the authors had time to chat and sign. Next I met Veronica Rossi who is really sweet and told me she is working on writing the next book in her series (Under the Never Sky). Finally, I met Lissa Price and Ann Aguirre. Mysterious Galaxy was giving out ARC’s of Ann’s book Outpost with a purchase of Enclave, so I snapped those up. Ann has written a lot of books – very impressive! And Enclave is her first hardcover book. Lissa Price had a big line of Starters fans, and she was ready with swag in hand. She told me she had heard of my blog and I don’t know if that’s true or not but it made me happy.
5-7. Alcatraz, Fringe, and Dr. Horrible – The Alcatraz and Fringe panels featured the cast and writers and took audience questions. I don’t watch either show but the panels were interesting anyway. The Con closed out with a screening of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. I hadn’t seen it before but my daughter is a big fan. It is hilarious!
8. The Exhibit Hall – There were a good mix of exhibitors and no big studio booths at this Con. You could walk around without too much pushing and crowding. Good comics presence and Artists’ Alley. My daughter was happy to find a My Little Pony Doctor Whooves t-shirt. The only bad lines at WonderCon were the food lines, which I avoided altogether.
9. The Sound of My Voice panel – The first 12 minutes of this cult drama about a woman who claims to be a visitor from the year 2054 were screened. If you like cults this may be the movie for you. I’m intrigued by the creepy mystery of it.
10. Cosplay – It’s always a fun part of the experience to see the creative costumes attendees put together! I didn’t have my camera with me, but here’s a gallery of highlights from Comic Vine.
I was not able to attend Friday, and missed a few other big movie panels like Snow White, Spiderman, and Looper, but I’m pretty pleased with what I was able to get to. A great time was had by all at WonderCon, and I would absolutely go again, even if/when the event returns to San Francisco. With tickets to Comic-Con so hard to come by, WonderCon is a nice easy-going alternative.
Giveaway has ended:
The winner of the Once Upon a Time journal is Reut! Congrats!
- WonderCon 2012: The Wrap Up (comicbooked.com)
- WonderCon 2012: ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER Panel Recap; Timur Bekmambetov and Benjamin Walker Screen Special Footage (collider.com)
- The Time I went to Wondercon (Adventures of a Book Junkie)
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and features a new top ten list each week.
Happy first day of Spring! It’s Spring Break here and appropriately enough this week’s TTT topic is Top Ten Books On My Spring To-Be-Read list. This Spring I want to read some of the books on my shelves (and kindle) that I haven’t had a chance to check out yet, along with some Spring new releases.
Listed in no particular order, here are are 10 books I can’t wait to read this Spring:
Books I Own:
1. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally – I’m not really a football fan, but I like Friday Night Lights, and this looks like a light fun contemporary romance.
2. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons – I think I was burned out on dystopia for a little while but Starters jump-started my interest and I’m ready to tackle this one.
3. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare – After finally reading Clockwork Angel, I’m going to keep the momentum going and listen to the sequel.
4. Truth by Julia Karr – Liked XVI last year and haven’t had a chance to read the sequel yet. Hope that I’ll be able to get up to speed quickly since it’s been so long since I read the first book.
5. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi – Got to meet Veronica at WonderCon last weekend, and listening to her speak about the book and seeing the book trailer enhanced my interest in reading it.
New Spring Releases (Apparently I will have a lot of reading to do the first couple weeks of May!)
6. Insurgent by Veronica Roth – The sequel to Divergent, out May 1. I know you all are sick of hearing me talk about this one!
7. Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready – The final book in the Shade trilogy, out May 1. Have enjoyed the series a lot and can’t wait to see how it all ties together.
8. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – A Contemporary choice, finally! Loved Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and can’t wait to check out Matson’s follow-up. Out May 8.
9. Until I Die by Amy Plum -The sequel to Die for Me, also out May 8. More romance and revenants in Paris!
10. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore - The companion book to Graceling and Fire, out May 1.The long wait is almost over!
What are your must-read books this Spring?
In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by The Story Siren where we get to share the books we received over the week for review, purchase, loan or trade.
Over the past week I received:
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (kindle purchase)
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (hc purchase – hoping to get this signed at WonderCon later today!)
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda (LibraryThing Early Reviewers)
Endure by Carrie Jones (NetGalley)
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (Audible sale purchase)
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell (Audible sale purchase)
Jaguar Sun by Martha Bourke (blog tour)
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (birthday gift)
ALSO, I currently have a giveaway going on now. Enter to win one of three sets of The Dark Divine trilogy here! (US, ends 3/26)
What did you receive in your mailbox this week?
Audiobook Info: YA Fantasy, Library audiobook, Audio length: 14 hours 35 minutes, read by Jennifer Ehle.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars
I’m a big fan of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series but for some reason have been slow to pick up the prequel series The Infernal Devices. I tried reading Clockwork Angel when it was first released but didn’t really get into it at the time, and finally decided to try the audiobook. I think that was the right choice. Clockwork Angel made me feel at home with Clare’s writing style, the superb world building, familiar terminology and the paranormal world that makes up TMI. Like City of Bones, I felt the story was slow at first, though by the end I felt more invested in the characters and eager to continue on with the series. The audiobook did make the experience more enjoyable with Jennifer Ehle’s outstanding narration, though due to the length of the audiobook and slow pace it still took me over two weeks to get through it.
Clockwork Angel is set in Victorian London, 130 years prior to the world of The Mortal Instruments. Tessa Gray goes to London to find her brother and gets mixed up with the Downworlders (supernatural beings) and finds she has her own supernatural ability and can transform into other people at will. She’s taken in by the Shadowhunters (warriors who fight the Downworlders to protect the mundanes/humans) who offer to help her find her brother if she users her talent to help them.
The Victorian London setting makes a charming backdrop for the story, and Clare has done her research and provided a detailed look at the time frame. The manners, locations, horse drawn carriages, and wardrobes set the scene perfectly.
The story is told in third person narration mainly through Tessa’s perspective. Tessa is scared and dealing with a lot of change in her life. She’s still coming to terms with this new world and how she wants to use her talents. The other supernatural beings such as Magnus Bane and the other Shadowhunters such as Will and Jem bring more humor and energy to the story with their snark and banter. There is a villain who is after Tessa, and this is a mystery with many twists and turns throughout the book.
Jennifer Ehle narrates the audiobook and gives each character a distinct voice and accent. And there are a lot of characters so I was impressed that she could keep track of them all. It was like listening to a play, the way the characters came to life. Her Tessa voice sounds appropriately young, proper and cautious. Ehle’s other female voices are easy to distinguish from each other and the male voices also sound convincing. One minor quibble it is that the narration was a little too slow for my taste. If I were reading the actual book I would have gotten through it much faster. At some points I wished I were reading so I could skim through the slower parts, which is impossible in the audio format. Even still, I would not hesitate to pick up another Ehle narrated audiobook.
The ending of the book did make me interested to pick up Clockwork Prince, the next book in the series. Although so far I prefer The Mortal Instruments series, The Infernal Devices is a good companion series and has a lot of potential. The blog community seems to like Clockwork Prince even better than Clockwork Angel, so I’m ready to be blown away. I have the audiobook in hand, and am eager to see how the new narrators handle the material.
- Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (lifeofanldsotaku.wordpress.com)
- Cassandra Clare signs up for new LA fantasy series (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Book Review: The Clockwork Angel (theliteraryphoenix.wordpress.com)
The Audies, sponsored by the Audio Publisher’s Association, are like the Oscar’s for audiobooks, and recognize distinction in several categories. Jennifer at Literate Housewife is hosting The Armchair Audies, and the idea is to divide up the listening responsibilities so that all of the APA nominees are covered between all interested bloggers. It would be near impossible for any one person to listen to all of the 28 categories, but 1 category per blogger is much more manageable. The Audies award gala is held in New York City on June 5, and we will see how our predictions line up with the winners chosen.
My chosen category is Middle Grade, aka Children’s Titles Ages 8-12. I was tempted by the Teen, Multi-Voiced, and Narrated by the Author categories but realistically can only pick one and Middle Grade won out. This is a great opportunity to expand my horizons in this area and I’ve had my eye on a few of the titles.
The five nominees for Children’s Titles Ages 8-12 are:
Countdown by Deborah Wiles. Narrated by Emma Galvin. Published by Listening Library.
The Hidden Gallery: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood. Narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Published by Harper Audio.
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz. Narrated by Johnny Heller. Published by Recorded Books.
The Flint Heart by Katherine Paterson, John Paterson. Narrated by Ralph Lister. Published by Brilliance Audio.
Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson. Narrated by Debbie Allen. Published by Harper Audio.
If you’d like to participate in The Armchair Audies head over to Literate Housewife to select a category and get listening. I’m off to see if the library has these titles so I can get started!
- Announcing the Armchair Audies (literatehousewife.com)
Cover Discoveries is a new feature that I will post on an irregular basis. The idea is to highlight recent book cover reveals that have popped up. These books are all new to me anyway, and look pretty interesting. Did I miss any recent covers that caught your eye? Which cover is your favorite below?
All book information contained below is from Goodreads.
Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction, Edited by Carrie Ryan, featuring stories by Heather Brewer, Saundra Mitchell, Diana Peterfreund, Laini Taylor, Margaret Stohl, Meg Cabot, Matt de la Pena, Simone Elkeles, Kami Garcia, Michael Grant, Malinda Lo, Lisa McMann, Richelle Mead. September 25th 2012 by Random House Children’s Books
Have you ever been tempted to look into the future? To challenge predictions? To question fate?
It’s human nature to wonder about life’s twists and turns. But is the future already written—or do you have the power to alter it?
From fantastical prophecies to predictions of how the future will transpire, Foretold is a collection of stories about our universal fascination with life’s unknowns and of what is yet to come as interpreted by 14 of young adult fiction’s brightest stars.
Velveteen by Daniel Marks, October 9th 2012 by Random House Children’s Books.
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It’ll be brutal . . . and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.
Venom by Fiona Paul, October 3rd 2012 by Philomel
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, access to the best balls, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.
But when Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans, and killers. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin. . .and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?
Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
The Glimpse by Claire Merle, June 7th 2012 by Faber & Faber
Once you’ve seen into the future, can you change your destiny?
In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.
Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.
Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not interfere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.
Love isn’t the only emotion to survive death . . .
When a visit to the Tower of London triggers an overwhelmingly real vision of a beheading that occurred centuries before, Cole Ryan fears she is losing her mind. A mysterious boy, Griffon Hall, comes to her aid, but the intensity of their immediate connection seems to open the floodgate of memories even wider.
As their feelings grow, Griffon reveals their common bond as members of the Akhet—an elite group of people who can remember past lives and use their collected wisdom for the good of the world. But not all Akhet are altruistic, and a rogue is after Cole to avenge their shared past. Now in extreme danger, Cole must piece together clues from many lifetimes. What she finds could ruin her chance at a future with Griffon, but risking his love may be the only way to save them both.
Full of danger, romance, and intrigue, Transcendence breathes new life into a perpetually fascinating question: What would you do with another life to live?
Serpent’s Kiss (The Beauchamp Family #2) by Melissa de la Cruz, June 12th 2012 by Hyperion
Joanna and her daughters, bookish Ingrid and wild-child Freya, are just settling into the newfound peace that has been cast over their small, off-the map town of North Hampton. With the centuries-old restriction against practicing magic lifted, casting spells, mixing potions, and curing troubled souls has never felt so good for the three witches. That is, until everything gets turned upside down—from Joanna’s organized kitchen to Ingrid’s previously nonexistent love life to Freya’s once unshakeable faith in her sexy soul mate, Killian Gardiner.
When Freya’s twin brother, Freddie, suddenly returns, escaped from Limbo and professing innocence on a long-ago crime, Freya should be ecstatic. The golden boy can do no wrong. Or can he? Freddie blames no other than her fiancé Killian for his downfall, and enlists Freya’s help to prove it. Now Freya doesn’t know who to believe or trust.
And for the first time in—well, forever, really—Ingrid is also busy in love. Matt Noble, the handsome and charming police detective, has won her heart. But can romance work between a virgin witch and a mortal who doesn’t believe in magic? Things get even more complicated when it appears Ingrid is harboring the prime suspects in Matt’s police investigation.
To add to the chaos, a dead spirit is attempting to make contact with Joanna—but does it mean to bring harm or help? Joanna asks her sort-of ex-husband Norman to help figure it out, only to accidentally invite him to a Thanksgiving dinner with a dapper gentleman she’s recently begun dating.
As the witches pull together to discover the serpent within their midst and the culprit behind Freddie’s imprisonment, everything is thrown into peril. Will the discovery come too late to save those they love most?
Black City by Elizabeth Richards, November 13th 2012 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR
A dark and tender postapocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war
In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection, that causes Ash’s long dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.
Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles #3) by Melina Marchetta, October 2012 by Viking Australia
The third book in the world of Lumatere. Set three weeks after the ending of Froi of the Exiles.
As part of The Savage Grace blog tour I’m excited to host author Bree Despain for an interview about The Dark Divine series. Make sure to read through to the end to enter a giveaway to win all three books in the series.
I asked Bree some questions about the Dark Divine series as a whole and to find out what’s coming up next. Congrats to Bree on The Savage Grace that is out in stores today!
Thanks for stopping by on your launch day, Bree! To start off, I was wondering which book of the trilogy was the hardest to write and why?
The third book in the trilogy, THE SAVAGE GRACE, was the hardest to write because there were so many things that needed to come together, and so many characters that needed their stories brought full circle. It was really important to me to find a way to wrap up the story in a way that would leave readers satisfied. While this was the hardest book to write, I think it is also the most exciting. The main characters really have a chance to grow into the people they are meant to be–plus, there’s a lot of action in this book.
I absolutely agree that The Savage Grace is the most exciting! It is gratifying to see the character growth in the book as well. Will you continue to write about these characters? Which character deserves their own book?
Right now, I have no plans to write any more books in the Dark Divine world–but I’m not going to say that I never will. I do have a couple of short stories in mind.
Once I was brainstorming ideas for a spinoff book and came up with idea that I thought was pretty funny. Just for fun, I wrote up a short synopsis of a book about “Baby” James as a16 year old. James is sick and tired of all the paranormal craziness his family has to deal with all the time, and he just longs to be normal. All he wants in life is to earn enough money to buy his own car so he can drive as far away from Rose Crest and the Divines as he can get. So when a job comes along that will get him enough money to facilitate his great escape, he jumps at it–only to find himself thrown into the middle of turf-war between rival werewolf packs. In order to stop the packs from destroying his town and family in the wake of their battle, James must save the life of a kidnapped werewolf-mafia-princess whom he can’t stand–at least not at first . . .
I sent the synopsis to a critique partner and my agent, meaning it to just be a funny joke–but they both wrote back saying that they liked the idea and thought it would make a fun book. I don’t know if I’ll ever write it, but it still amuses me to think about from time to time.
That is a fun idea, actually. I did get the feeling that baby James could be important in TSG. And after reading the book I definitely could get on board with a spin-off. Maybe about a certain werewolf? Speaking of which, when you are not writing, what are your favorite werewolf or other paranormal books to read?
I love Holly Black’s Curse Worker series. I also enjoy books by Becca Fitzpatrick and Rachel Hawkins. I think EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton, HOURGLASS by Myra McEntire, and UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi are three of the best books I’ve read recently. I purposely chose not to read any other werewolf books while I was writing the Dark Divine trilogy, but I have several like SISTERS RED, RAISED BY WOLVES, CLAIRE DE LUNE, and 13 TO LIFE waiting for me on my bookshelves. I am happy that I get to delve into them now.
I love that you have all these great werewolf books ready to read. I enjoyed SISTERS RED a lot and I’ll have to check out the Curse Worker series sometime.
Changing topics a bit, religion plays a role in the series and sets it apart from other paranormal books. Does the spiritual aspect reflect your own faith?
Yes. While Grace and I do not share the exact same religious background, I really wanted to write a book from the point of view of a character who deals with questions of faith, religion, and living up to expectations in her everyday life because that reflected my own personal teenage experience.
I think the spiritual theme ties in very well to Grace’s story, and it actually reminded me in a way that the series LOST referenced religious themes in the storytelling.
Switching gears again, what were your musical inspirations when writing this book or the series as a whole? What would you say is the theme song of the series?
I have a soundtrack/playlist for each book. I listened to a TON of Florence + The Machine while writing TSG. It felt like almost every single song in their Lungs album was pertinent to this book. I pretty much had it on repeat while writing. I don’t know if I have a theme song for the entire series, but I do have one for each book. THE DARK DIVINE is “Such Great Heights” by the Postal Service, THE LOST SAINT is “Giving Up The Gun” by Vampire Weekend, and THE SAVAGE GRACE is “Orange Sky” by Alexi Murdoch. Hmm, perhaps that last song is the theme song for the entire series.
I will have to dig out some Florence + The Machine to listen to now that I’ve read TSG. I love The Postal Service and Vampire Weekend.
All three book covers of the series are so gorgeous. The Savage Grace cover is a little bit of a departure in that we see more of the models upper body as opposed to waist down only. Any significance to the change?
I didn’t have any say about the changes. I don’t know what were the designer’s intentions, but I personally like to think that the strong image with the strong typeface is a reflection of the growth in strength that main character experiences in the book.
That sounds like a good explanation to me! I like that the covers are pretty and mysterious, and actually you’d never guess they are about werewolves.
Do you have anything exciting in the works that you can tell us about?
I have a new book I am working on that is slated for publication in Fall 2013. i don’t know how much I am allowed to say about it, but I can tell you that it is a story I started working on before THE DARK DIVINE was published and I am excited to be working on it again.
Can’t wait to hear more about it! Thanks so much for stopping by to share some behind the scenes info on your series, Bree. Congrats again on today’s release of The Savage Grace.
In support of the release of The Savage Grace the e-books for the first two books in the trilogy and the novella (The Dark Divine, The Lost Saint, The Lost Letters of Brother Gabriel) are $1.79 each. The sale ends March 19th.
GIVEAWAY has ended:
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and features a new top ten list each week. This week’s topic is Top Ten (Genre of your choice) Books and I’ve chosen to list some favorite YA music-themed books. I’ve been toying around with this list in my head for months now, because I think YA and music are a perfect pairing. There are still a lot of books I want to check out in this category, including many on this and this list. What are your favorite music themed books?
Listed in no particular order, here are 10 YA books with a beat:
1. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway – Probably the one that started it all for me. A break-up song turned #1 hit makes Audrey a reluctant star.
2. Amplified by Tara Kelly - Girl with something to prove forgoes college to join a band to show she has what it takes to make it in the music business.
3. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – Music loving teenagers in New York City have an all-night adventure.
4. Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer – Rivalry between two high school singers à la Glee.
5. The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas – Music is a healing agent for a girl grieving over her mother’s death.
6. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour – A quirky book about an amateur girl band on the road in the Pacific Northwest.
7. I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert – A girl with music roots starts her own punk band to bring her family full circle.
8. Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly – A girl that never fit in bonds over music and clicks with friends at a new school.
10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman – A gifted classical musician and rock musician are the main characters of this touching story about life and death, and music is one of the themes of the series.
Genre/Format: Young Adult Paranormal, Hardcover, 496 pages. Received ARC for blog tour.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
I enjoyed The Dark Divine trilogy. It’s nice when a series ends and it feels like each book serves a purpose and leaves you craving more rather than overstaying its welcome. The characters show growth throughout the books, and there is a good mix of romance, suspense and paranormal intrigue, along with spiritual themes. The final installment The Savage Grace is action packed and bittersweet, and delivers an emotional punch. The conclusion gives some closure to the werewolf curse storyline while also dropping some intriguing hints about the future. Even though I’m not as big on werewolves as I once was, the mythology, battle scenes, and surprises kept me invested throughout.
The Dark Divine trilogy is centered on Grace Divine, a pastor’s daughter who falls in love with Daniel Kalbi, a boy with a werewolf curse. The curse threatens Grace herself and her family, and wolf enemies emerge to cause even more trouble. The characters must battle internal and external demons to save their loved ones, and find a way to balance their human and wolf nature.
I recently listened to the audio of the previous book so I was all caught up with the story. The Savage Grace picks up where The Lost Saint left off, with Daniel in wolf form. Grace continues to come into her own in this book and is ready to kick some demon butt. She won’t give up on Daniel or her brother Jude, even when it’s sometimes hard to ignore the darkness within that wants to take over. Grace has a new mentor to guide her decision-making, and to develop her own hidden talents, all while trying to graduate from high school. The beginning addresses more personal demons than fight scenes, but that is in keeping with the series theme. Not to worry, there will be action aplenty.
Daniel emerges as an alpha wolf, and more strong and confident this time around. He even has a wolf posse to lead, and he seems to have more inner peace overall. Though it is interesting to see Grace manage things alone, the book is more exciting when Daniel shows up to help lead the pack. His character is much improved over the last book. The new wolf pack The Lost Boys won my heart too, and I enjoyed the dynamic between them, Grace and Daniel. Jude is not forgotten and also has a standout role in the conclusion.
The action in the last third of the book is intense as the conflict between good and evil comes to a head. I was surprised with how it all went down and the emotional impact. There is a twist that makes me a little uneasy with the ending but I love that everything is not perfectly tied up in a way. If you like paranormal romance, werewolves, and action give The Dark Divine trilogy a try. The spiritual themes also add a refreshing dimension to the series and set it apart from the average paranormal romance. The Savage Grace is available in stores now.
Read my interview with author Bree Despain and enter to win all three books in the Dark Divine Trilogy. There will be three winners – enter here!
In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by The Story Siren where we get to share the books we received over the week for review, purchase, loan or trade.
Over the past week I received:
Purchased with birthday gift cards:
Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Balthazar by Claudia Gray (kindle edition)
Bewitching by Alex Flinn
Review via Netgalley:
Talisman of El by Alecia Stone
Audiobook surprises for review from Penguin Audio:
Tough Sh*t by Kevin Smith
Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott with Sam Lamott
Chasing Midnight by Randy Wayne White
The Thief by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
Shades of Hope by Tennie McCarty
What did you receive in your mailbox this week?