Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Zodiac Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway

Welcome one and all to the next stop in the ZODIAC Blog Tour. Three cheers for Romina Russell. Hip hip...HOORAY! Hip hip...HOORAY! Hip hip...HOORAY! Romina is here today to talk about ZODIAC and things like her favorite book of 2014. There will be a giveaway, so keep an eye out for that. But first, here's Romina!

1. How did you come up with the idea for ZODIAC?

My editor, Liz Tingue, and I came up with ZODIAC together—she brought her love of astrology, and I brought my passion for Space. We actually met ten years ago in a college class and have since been hoping for the chance to team up creatively—so I think ZODIAC was always in our stars.

2. Did you base any of the characters on people you know in your life?

I didn’t! I’m not sure I know anyone who is a perfect representation of their Zodiac sign, so I had to craft new people who fit the parameters of this universe.

3. What is your sign, and what does it say about you? Do you believe it to be true?

I’m from House Virgo, and we’re supposedly fussy, OCD, practical, analytical, controlling, perfectionists…basically, a bunch of words I’ve heard before…a few times…maybe.

4. What are you currently working on now?

The sequel to ZODIAC! It’s so hard to keep quiet about what happens to Rho next….

Oh?!?!? *Ahem* You and I can just talk about that later. Let's continue.

5. What is your favorite book that you read in 2014?

WINTER FALLS by Nicole Maggi, the first installment in a new paranormal trilogy.

6. In Twitter form (140 characters or less), tell everyone why they should read ZODIAC.

ZODIAC is a Sci Fi series that's more Fi than Sci, featuring 13 made-up cultures, 11 futuristic technologies, 2 hot guys, and 1 fallible MC.

If you haven't heard of ZODIAC yet, here's your chance!

"At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs. "

*Zodiac Website


Thanks to the fabulous people at Penguin Random House, I am giving away a copy of ZODIAC to one very lucky winner. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends December 28th.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine. It features each bloggers most anticipated books. My pick this week is JESSE'S GIRL by Miranda Kenneally (and now the song is stuck in my head...).

"Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?"

Why I Can't Wait: Maya Henry? Is she related to Sam Henry? I just squeed a bit. Anywho, I love each and every one of Miranda's books. They're fun and witty with these lovable characters I can't forget (HA, THINGS I CAN't FORGET). I love that this particular book involves music. I'm sitting here picturing a young me chasing after a very 90's Justin Timberlake- highlights, perm, and all! Now comes the hard part.

The waiting part.

Expected publication: July 1st 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire

*Add it on Goodreads.
*Preorder it at B&N.
*Excerpt from Miranda's Website

Monday, December 8, 2014

Review: Poisoned Apples

Title: Poisoned Apples
Author: Christine Heppermann
Published: September 23rd 2014 by Greenwillow Books
Source: Finished copy sent by the publisher for an honest review

"Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.

Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking."

Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again."

First line: (From "The Never-Ending Story") "Once there was a girl who wore her bones outside her body."

Thoughts: Ahh poetry, my old friend. We meet again. POISONED APPLES is a collection of poetry that circulates around real issues young people (and even adults) face today. A few examples include anorexia, vanity, feminism, etc. What makes this particular novel special? There's a hint of fairy tale lore and a whole lot of dark, sometimes gruesome elements and writing in it.

Though I enjoyed most of the poems in this novel, there were some that I thought to be either okay or didn't find very moving. Random even. The one I found the most relatable and interesting was Sleeping Beauty's Wedding Day. It's spot on. Weddings are very much a joyous occasion, but the preparation process can become somber, and I felt like this poem (and the photo that went with it) captured this.

Speaking of the photos, I have to say that my favorite part of this collection were the photos. They had this American Horror Story element to them, which also created a bit of a morbid yet fascinating atmosphere. It was perfect for this sort of collection and also reminded me of Ransom Riggs' MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN. With that said, I must admit that I did find the photographs more interesting than the poems. That's not to say I didn't like the poems, however, I just felt as though the pictures overshadowed the actual writing. It felt like the author used the photos for inspiration, and I thought it should've been the other way around.

Overall, I didn't love this collection, but I did like it. While it's not something I would immediately run out and buy, especially considering the book itself is very thin and kind of pricey for what it is, it is something I would consider buying at a discounted price or possibly borrow. I'd probably recommend waiting for the paperback to come out or maybe seeing if your local library carries it.


3 Stars

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: Half Lies (Half Bad # 0.5)

Title: Half Lies (The Half Bad Trilogy # 0.5)
Author: Sally Green
Published: November 13th 2014 by Penguin
Source: eARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review

"Set in the months before Half Bad, Half Lies takes the form of a diary written by Michele, the sister of Gabriel, Nathan’s Black witch friend. Having fled Europe for Florida, Michele falls in love with a local White witch boy. There, she finds that the divide between the Black and White witch communities is just as dangerous as it was in the life she's left behind."

First line: "We've been in the USA for five days now."

Thoughts: Of all the short stories and novellas I've read in the past, HALF LIES is (in my opinion) one of the better ones. I really enjoyed HALF BAD and was really excited when I heard this short story was both set before the first novel and also from Michele (Gabriel's little sister)'s point of view. I already love Gabriel. If I thought my love for Gabriel was strong before, HALF LIES only enhances it. Let us all please take a moment and let out one swoony sigh for Gabriel.


Anyway, this novella is told in a journal/diary type of form. I'm personally a huge fan of this and wish more novellas were written this way. The story is short (61 pages to be exact), but it definitely packs a punch. To say it's a roller-coaster is putting it lightly. I wasn't expecting to feel so much in such a small amount of time, and all I can think about now is how much I want to read HALF WILD. I love that it adds more to the HALF LIES world and also goes into details about things I both didn't know or had forgotten. And that ending? Holy cow! Have I mentioned how I cannot wait to read HALF WILD? I'll just mention it again.

Overall, I very much enjoyed the prequel. I do wish it had been longer, but then it would be a novel and not a novella. At any rate, I'm hoping for more of these journal entries, possibly from other characters? They're a lot of fun, and I recommend them for both current and potential fans of HALF BAD.


4 Stars

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review: Silver Heart

Title: Silver Heart
Author: Victoria Green
Published: July 25, 2013
Source: Bought

"There comes a moment in everyone’s life when they must decide which road leads to personal happiness. For Dylan Silver, this is that moment…

For the past twenty-two-years, Dylan has been living in her parents' carefully crafted world, always putting her own dreams on hold to play the role of a dutiful daughter. When her best friend coaxes her into a winter getaway to a mountain resort, she sees it as a chance to forget about the responsibilities waiting for her at home. At least for a little while.

But then her past catches up to her—in the form of sexy snowboarder, Sawyer Carter. Six long years had passed since Dylan bid goodbye to the only boy she ever truly loved. Now he's standing right in front of her, bringing up bittersweet memories and igniting suppressed desires as he dares her to be the person she has always wanted to be.

Dylan and Sawyer’s unexpected meeting is a second chance, but will a girl who doesn't believe in fate and taking risks be able to overcome her fears of losing control and finally embrace the life she desperately wants?

Only one thing is certain: after a week in Whistler, Dylan's world will never be the same."

First line: "'This is going to be the best vacation ever!'"

Thoughts: Technically, thanks to my good friend Vi from Vi3t Babe, I read this last year. It's finally getting cold again, so I decided to curl up on the couch, have a bit of a reread, and remind myself of how much I adore SILVER HEART. Verdict: Yep, still love it. Chemistry? Check! Drama? Check! Sexy Snowboarder? CHECK!

First off, can we please talk about what a great name Sawyer is? I love it, which ended up with me crushing on him before I even met him. The novel starts in the present (before the Winter Olympics) where Dylan, her best friend Maddie (whom I adore), and her brother Adam decide to take a bit of a skiing vacation. With med school in the horizon and the pressure from her parents, Dylan needs this break from her life. Maybe it'll give her a chance to photograph a few things. After all, that seems to be her passion.

It's here where Dylan "Silver" runs into her old friend and crush Sawyer. This is when the the good stuff happens. The chapters occasionally jump back to the past, so you get to see how Silver and Sawyer met and what happened to their friendship. This is also when things start getting a tad complicated and ridiculously steamy. Phew, let me fan my face for a few seconds before I continue.

What I love about this book is how relatable Silver is. Anyone who comes from a strict and demanding family knows how hard it is to follow your dreams. You're too busy following in your parent's footsteps or following their dreams that you ultimately forget who you are. I love how Silver deals with her issues and grows in this novel, basically evolving into the woman she's meant to be.

Of course, it also helps that she has this hunk of a man to help make this journey a bit more...interesting to say the least. Swoon worthy? You know it! The fact that he's also this down to earth guy and genuinely kind essentially makes him the perfect man. The sexy scenes were intense and though one of the scenes was surely unrealistic (you'll know the one), it doesn't change the fact that they were hot, hot, hot! After all, aren't vacations all about adventure and exploring cabins that belong to rangers?

Overall, I'm rather smitten with this novel and think you will be as well. Winter is coming, therefore, you should curl up next to a fireplace (or by a candle in my case) with this novel. It really is a fantastic winter read, and it'll make you kind of wish the Winter Olympics was happening now.


4 Stars

Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas + Minted

Can you guys believe it's already November? Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, and Christmas is in 41 days. Where did the time go?!

At any rate, every year the (now) husband and I take photos (usually with our cats), order Christmas cards online, and send them out to our friends and family. This year, I happened to stumble across Minted and cannot help but be floored by some of their card designs. They even have a blog where they discuss designing and DIY projects. Where have you guys been all of my life?

Since the holidays are just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to post some of my favorite card designs and ask you guys to help me pick one!

Winter brush foil-pressed
Okay, I'm a total sucker for calligraphy, foil, and all things gold. I like to think of it as classic with a modern twist.

Happy! Holiday Photo Card
Maybe it's just me, but does this card resemble the cover of THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE? Maybe that's why I love it so. I've always wanted to be on the cover of a book. *wink, wink*

Holiday Map
Shout out to all the Texas folks out there. Love, y'all! But seriously, this is the Midwest card? Aren't we...you know, southern?

Golden Bright Holiday
This one reminds me of The Great Gatsby, and I love it! Though it looks great in gold, I think I'm more attracted to the silver. Thoughts?

Patterned Tree
CUUUTE! Photo of the hubs and me here, Dexter there, Skittles in the last spot. Oh, the possibilities!

Gilded Type Holiday Photo Card
Cause, you know...I did get married this year.

Etched Holiday
Another book shout out! This one reminds me of WICKED GAMES.

What do you guys think? Which one is your favorite? Did you see another one on Minted that you like more? Let me know!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Top Ten Characters I Wish Would Get Their Own Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. I haven't done one of these in a while, so here we go!

1. Brennan from MAYBE SOMEDAY. Brennan is Ridge's brother, and even though he's not really in the book that often, I can't help but be curious about him and his life. Maybe it's because he's in a band? At any rate, I enjoyed what little humor he offered to the novel. Maybe, just maybe someday, he'll have a book of his own.

2. Cookie from BOOMERANG. Okay, I know she wasn't exactly nice, but I'm wondering what makes her so mean. Her story would be an interesting one!

3. Chaol from THRONE OF GLASS. Let's be honest- We all want this!

4. Julia from EVEN IN PARADISE. While he's one of the main characters from the novel, I can't help but wonder what she's up to now. I'd love to see how she views the world through her eyes, and not just read about it through Charlotte's.

5. Zuzana from the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE trilogy. It's the best friend thing. She is Karou's best friend, and I just want to know more about her. See how she sees the crazy alternate world, especially sense she's one of the few humans in the book.

6. Kim from IF I STAY. Again, it's the best friend thing. Would love to catch back up with Kim.

7. Kenji from SHATTER ME. Because why the eff not?

8. Drew from THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY. I've practically bribed, begged, and pleaded with Katja for this book. WHY ARE YOU TORTURING ME?!

9. Puck from THE TREACHERY OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS. I'd prefer Puck, but I'll settle for anyone from the novel.

10. Jesse from WINTER LONGING. I haven't read this book in ages, but I still remember Jesse, and I would love it if I was able to revisit that world (maybe sans the heartache), and see how he dealt with everything.

There you have it! I'm sure I left plenty of characters and worlds I'd like to revisit, which leaves me to ask you what characters you'd like to have their own book?