Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - For Darkness Shows The Stars

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

For Darkness Shows the Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
To Be Published On: June 12, 2012

Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Eighteen-year-old Luddite Elliot North has always known her place in this caste system. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. But now the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress and threatening Luddite control; Elliot’s estate is floundering; and she’s forced to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliott wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she abandoned him.

But Elliot soon discovers her childhood friend carries a secret—-one that could change the society in which they live…or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she has lost him forever.
Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it. (summary from Goodreads.)

I really enjoyed both Rampant and Ascendant - who doesn't enjoy reading about killer unicorns occasionally? So, I was happy to hear that there would be even more books by Diana Peterfreund out in the world (in addition to the also wonderful Secret Society Girls series). After reading the summary, especially that sentence that says it is inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, I'm even more excited to read For Darkness Shows The Stars.

What book are you eager waiting for?

Review - Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Date: December 27, 2011
Source: From publisher through NetGalley

I went into reading Every Other Day expecting one type of paranormal read, but got so much more. Every Other Day was action packed from the first page to the last, it kept me guessing and wanting to read to the end. And when the end came, I wanted there to be more words.

Every other day Kali isn't human: she's something else, something indestructible, something more. Because of this she tries to stay out of the spotlight. Kali's a master at blending in and being invisible on days that she is human. Kali is also has to deal with high school, she's content to sail through, but then she's approached by Skylar, who, while she may or may not be psychic, is definitely a target for the popular crowd. By lunchtime people are noticing Kali, the last thing she wants to happen. Then she notices a strange mark on one of the popular girls. A mark that means almost certain death, if Kali can't figure out a way to save her. Over the course of the next few days, Kali's life changes in more ways than even she thought possible.

Kali was a strong main character, she was pretty kickass, but she was so much more - snarky, lonely, guarded, reluctant hero are all words and phrases that could be used to describe her. Her development as a character was fully tied into the action and plot, so that as the story progressed the reader learned more about Kali. I've seen other reviews that compared her to Buffy (a completely understandable comparison, Kali does have some Buffyesque qualities), but I think Kali was her own type of heroine. Sure, on every other day Kali feels the need to hunt and kill supernatural creatures like chupacabras, zombies and hellhounds, but she has no idea why or what she is on those days. Her human days were spent being invisible and just trying to get through the day, until Skylar approached her.

My favorite character was Skylar, with her "I'm just a little psychic" routine and the way she kept her brothers in order by which one was her favorite. Skylar knew a lot more than she let on, especially about Kali and what she would eventually learn about herself. She was Kali's biggest believer and the most courageous character - what more could you ask for in a friend?

The last of the main characters was Bethany - the popular girl Kali noticed the strange mark on. Bethany proved to be much more than the pretty Queen Bee. Her back story was heartbreaking and added so much to her character. After meeting her parents, it was easy to see what she acted the way she did. In her own way, she kept people at a distance, only showing them what she wanted them to see. In this, Bethany and Kali were very much alike. It was a lot of fun watching Bethany and Kali's friendship evolve throughout the course of the novel.

The action starts from the first page, with Kali in full hunter mode, and lasts pretty much through to the end. There were a few spots were the breakneck pace did slow down, but these passages were welcome because it gave me the opportunity to process everything that had happened up until then. The mystery surrounding Kali's hunter days was brilliantly executed. A few times I thought I knew where this plot thread was going, only to be led in a completely different direction. Ms. Barnes leaves little hints and clues throughout the narrative, but they came together in a slightly unexpected way that made go back and reread whole passages so that I could see how they all came together.

There are so many other things I want to talk about in regards to Every Other Day, but I don't want to spoil any of the details. Definitely read Every Other Day if you want a different take on paranormal.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - Slide

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
To Be Published On:  March 27, 2012
Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered. 

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. 

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane. 

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again. ( Summary from author's website)

Slide sounds like it will be a great mix of mystery and paranormal (maybe that's not the correct word - but what Vee can do isn't normal). I love a good mystery, so I'm excited about Slide. Plus, Jill Hathaway is a 2012 debut author - yay!

What book are you eagerly waiting for?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Interview with Kiki Hamilton

I'm really excited to have Kiki Hamilton on the blog today. I love The Faerie Ring ... the setting (Victorian London), the characters (Tiki, Reiker, the princes...), the twisty plot...time for me to stop so you can read what Ms. Hamilton has to say...

The cover of The Faerie Ring is gorgeous.  Thank you so much!  I love it too! J What was the cover design process like? Did you have any input in the final design?
 I was very fortunate that my awesome editor, Susan Chang, did ask for my input at the very beginning of the design process, because I know most of the time, authors don’t get to give any input.  I gave her a list of things that I thought were important and some examples of covers I loved and did a few (very poor) mockups of my own.  Then she and the very talented Tor art director, Seth Lerner, took it from there.  And then I had to WAIT six months!!  I was SO THRILLED when I saw the cover because I think it is absolute perfection for the story.  And I’m happy to say that they included everything I asked for, down to the smallest detail! Thank you Susan and Seth!! J

Why Victorian London as the setting? How did you research the Victorian Era for The Faerie Ring?

I loved writing about Victorian London. It is one of my favorite time periods  - such a mix of technological change while at the same time belief in mysticism and the Otherworld was very strong.  I also love the idea of stories from the past slipping through the cracks, the untold story, if you will – the kind that if we all knew  - everything would change.  I did a lot of research online, but I’ve also found some great resource books that talk about life in that specific time period in London and give lots of great details.

I found the shifts in point of view interesting, how did you decide which characters' points of view to write from?
I like reading from two different perspectives and it’s always fun to figure out whose point of view to juxtapose from that of the main character.  It couldn’t have been any of Tiki’s family, as their perspective wouldn’t add any new information, for the most part.  Rieker needed to remain a mystery, so I didn’t want to write it from his POV. Prince Leopold, on the other hand, had a vested interest in the stolen ring and a completely different perspective on the event as well as his view on life and London, so he was a natural pick to share his thoughts.

How do you choose names for your characters?
To be honest, there isn’t a scientific process – it’s more of a gut thing. I knew Tiki’s nickname before I knew her real name. Though I have been known to change names, they usually come easily to me and are one of the first things I know about my characters.

I love hearing about books authors are looking forward to reading. What are 3 or 4 books from your to be read list that you just can't wait to read?
Ohmigosh…the towering TBR pile….I’m starting Amber Argyle’s WITCH SONG next, then Josie Bloss’ FAKING FAITH. I’m also very excited to read Kendare Blake’s ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD  - I’ve heard lots of great things about that one!!

A big thank you to Kiki Hamilton and Tor! For more information on Ms. Hamilton and her books visit her website

Review - The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Source: Received copy from publisher for review

The Victorian era is one of my favorite settings for books. Mix in a strong heroine; a twisty plot that keeps you on your toes, and a slow simmering romance and the book is sure to be one that I will want to reread over and over. Kiki Hamilton’s The Faerie Ring is one of those books.

Tiki and her “family” have been living in a small abandoned shop by Charing Cross Station picking pockets on the streets of London, stealing just enough money for food and coal. One cold day, Tiki finds herself in the Queen’s palace where she steals a ring. Her plan is to return the ring for reward money. But, when it’s revealed that the ring is more important than Tiki thought- it’s part of a treaty between the Queen and the fey- she realizes that it must be returned to the palace, but how? Soon after, Tiki notices that Rieker, a fellow thief, is following her. He claims to know about the fey and the ring, but can Tiki trust him enough to let him help her with the ring?

Kiki Hamilton transports the reader to 1871 London with her writing. It was easy to slip into Tiki’s world and it felt like I was right there with Tiki throughout all of her adventures. The shop by Charing Cross Station, the bookshop at the train station, the streets of London, and the palace ballroom were all equally vivid and easy to picture as I was reading. The story drew me in and I couldn’t put the book down until I got to the end.

Off all the characters, Rieker was my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I found Tiki to be quite likeable; she was strong, independent and caring. Right from the first scene, I cared about what happened to her. Her main concern was her family – Clare, Toots, Shamus and Fiona and getting enough money for them to be fed and warm. Even after she stole the ring and became a target of the fey, they were still her first priority. How can you not like someone who cares more for others than herself?

But, Rieker, he was a mystery and that made him interesting. Tiki knew he was a thief, but there was something more to him than that. I liked how his story was revealed as the book went on, how little details here and there made me wonder about his past and who he really was. And the scenes where he tells Tiki about his past, even though they were quite sad, were some of my favorites in the book.

 Another thing that I really enjoyed about The Faerie Ring was the romance. It was like a slow burn. Even though Tiki and Rieker have known each other for some time, it took awhile for the romance between them to start.
The plot had enough twists to keep me on my toes. The action moved along at a good pace and I found myself wanting to keep reading even though there were other things I probably should have been doing. The fey element was quite interesting; Ms. Hamilton’s fey are definitely not your garden variety faeries. They were vindictive, very focused on their ultimate goals, and a bit evil. I found myself wanting more of the fey in the book!
Overall, I really enjoyed The Faerie Ring. Like I said at the start, this is a book that I will definitely reread. I can safely say that this will end up in my top ten of 2011. Plus, I learned that is the first book in a series. I can’t wait to find out more about Tiki, her family and her past in the upcoming books.
A mix of historical, paranormal, romance and adventure, The Faerie Ring has a little something for every reader.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Quick Review - Gone by Michael Grant

Gone by Michael Grant
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: July 2008 (hardcover), May 2009 (paperback)

I know one thing for sure: I would not want to live in the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone). Michael Grant does a great job of showing what could happen when all the adults vanish, everyone over the age of fifteen, and the kids have to fend for themselves. Power struggles, mutations (both animal and human), and survival all increase the tension as the book goes on. It's more than just good versus bad in the FAYZ, it's also the powerful vs. the powerless and the threat of turning 15, because that's when you "poof.". If you had Power, how would you use it?

I can understand why this series is so popular. Grant gives the reader a very likable hero in Sam, very unlikable adversaries in Caine and Drake, and a cast of characters that are fleshed out. There was plenty of action to sustain my interest, despite the long length. My only grumble is the ending, I would have like a little more resolution, but with 5 more books in the series, it's easy to see why this book ended the way it did. I feel comfortable recommending Gone to readers who are looking for a dystopian/science fiction books

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review - The Death-Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: January 2010

Pepper Roux, Pepper Roux…what an odd child…

On the day of his birth, Paul Roux’s Aunt Mireille had a dream that he would die on his fourteenth birthday. Coddled and protected as a child, Paul, nicknamed Pepper by classmates, grew up sheltered, knowing more about last rites and funeral masses than fairy tales or sports. When his fourteenth birthday finally arrives and with it the realization that his family is waiting for his death, Pepper decides to go out and meet his fate head on. Instead, Pepper finds himself involved in an odd string of events, each more strange than the last.

After hearing quite a bit about The Death-Defying Pepper Roux I knew I had to read it. The cover lead me to believe that Pepper would possibly go on many adventures, most of them involving a ship. He is after all climbing towards what might be the ship's crow's nest. But as the story progressed, I had to reevaluate, several times, what Pepper’s journey was really about. Plus, I feel that this cover captures the feel of the novel better:

2009 Oxford University Press
It gives more hints about what may or may not happen to Pepper as he makes his way through France

Um, that's right; The Death-Defying Pepper Roux takes place in France, at the early part of the 1900s. There are certain details that place the action in the 1920s or 1930s - for example the fact that Pepper takes a taxi at one point, but I could be completely wrong. I felt that the setting and possible time period really added to the odd nature of Pepper's adventures and even lent them an air of mystery. 

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux is a strange book, but one that makes you think. A recurring line is “People see what they expect or do they see what they choose?” To me this was the central question, because how else would a fourteen year-old be able to fool so many people into believing he was a ship captain, a telegram messenger, or someone's thought to be dead husband?  Also, I think it took some suspension of belief and a "let's just see where this takes us" attitude for me to really enjoy Pepper's story. But in the end, I did like it. Plus, the language is terrific. It may scare off some readers, but if they stick with  it they will find a fun story that asks some interesting questions. 

I feel that The Death-Defying Pepper Roux skewed a bit young, so even though Pepper himself was 14, I would feel comfortable recommending it to intrepid readers as young as 9 or 10. However, older readers could enjoy Pepper's adventures as well, especially if they like quirky stories.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...