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