Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Blogger Woes (6)

I am a huge fan of First World Problems. I'll be the first person to scroll through their Twitter and laugh out loud to myself, thinking "yes. I DO THAT. In ALL of life." And honestly, guys? I do it in blogging, too. A LOT. I get all uppity about the most ridiculous things. Thus, Book Blogger Woes was born. Every so often, I'll be sharing a different blogger pain pertaining to all of the sulking... but in a comical way.

(Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels these things. You just have to. I can't be the only one.)

You take a seat on the bus/train/carpool and you can't wait to continue that steamy scene you dove into on your lunch break at your desk. YAY for public transportation allowing you to travel and read at the same time. Too bad the steamy scene is within a steamy book contained by a steamy cover. There's a bit too much cleavage and a bit too much man nipple up there. 
And now people are starting to give you the side eye. 
In the words of Joey Tribbiani,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

Published: October 2, 2012
HarperCollins, hardcover, 256 pages
Source: publisher
Goodreads Summary: One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite, quite different. When Liza's brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul. She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him. To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers' nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests--or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.
I rarely, if ever, read middle grade books. I feel I'm too far removed from that age group to truly enjoy them. So when The Spindlers showed up in my mailbox, I was a bit surprised (and, if I'm being honest, put off.) But it's Lauren Oliver, so I knew I had to give it a chance. I hadn't read her other MG, Liesl & Po, though Carla did send it to me sometime last year. (I KNOW, CARLA, I'M SORRY!)

So I open up The Spindlers and off I go. SURPRISE! It's about spider-people. Or people-spiders. WHO CARES which one, they have eight legs. And Liza is dead-set on finding her brother, Patrick, whose soul was stolen by the spider-monster-people. Or "The Spindlers," as they're officially called. You know that children's book "The Monster at the End of this Book?" I had this sense of impending doom the whole time, because I don't want to meet the spiders. I DON'T. But I kept reading anyway.

Of course people have differing opinions about Lauren Oliver, but we can all agree that her writing is fantastic. Especially her world-building. The Below was fascinating with so many creatures and features and a talking rat, Mirabella, who is super vain and wears lipstick and wigs. Mirabella grated my nerves a little, however. She was irritating with her constant repeating of things. I think she was supposed to be endearingly neurotic, but she just made me crazy. The fact that so many creatures were Below was great, but the moments they were around were so fleeting that I kind of feel they weren't relevant. And the characters, in general, were not fleshed out enough in 256 pages. I think there was just so much cramming so many different creatures and scenerios into a minimal amount of pages that the characterization suffered.

For the target audience, The Spindlers will be an absolutely fabulous read. I will be passing this off to a younger cousin, because it's LAUREN OLIVER, and kids deserve quality reading. It fell short for me, but that doesn't mean it won't light up the face of a young'n.  Personally, I'll stick to Oliver's delicious kissing books.

Buy from Amazon | Add to GoodReads

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting on: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

16-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare. Literally. Dusty is a magical being who feeds on human dreams.
Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder. The setting is Arkwell.
And then it comes true.
Now the Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

Well, this sounds interesting. I've never read a book about a nightmare before. It's almost like she's a succubus without the essential task that makes one a succubus. But feeding on human dreams? THIS sounds interesting. And a murder mystery? And ROMANCE? Plus that gorgeous cover? Sign me up for this book. 

The Nightmare Affair will be published March 5, 2013 by Tor Teen

Friday, November 23, 2012

Book Blogger Woes (5)

I am a huge fan of First World Problems. I'll be the first person to scroll through their Twitter and laugh out loud to myself, thinking "yes. I DO THAT. In ALL of life." And honestly, guys? I do it in blogging, too. A LOT. I get all uppity about the most ridiculous things. Thus, Book Blogger Woes was born. Every so often, I'll be sharing a different blogger pain pertaining to all of the sulking... but in a comical way.

(Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels these things. You just have to. I can't be the only one.)

It's 8:00am. You have absolutely nothing to do today. But you have a plan. You're going to CATCH UP on blogging and reading. Stupid life or work or cats always get in the way, but NO. Today will be your day. You will schedule ALL the posts. You will read ALL the books. You will write ALL the reviews. 
But you saw this really awesome recipe on Pinterest, though. (Along with some other stuff.)
Okay, so maybe just one trip to the grocery store to whip up these Pumpkin Sprinkle Chocolate Latte Pudding Cookie Balls. 
$300 later and you've made 3 scarves, 2 mason jar projects, those rubber band spray paint vases, crocheted a new blanket.
But no cookie balls.
And no reading, blogging, or reviewing.
Aaaaaaand now it's tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington

Published: January 1, 2013
Scholastic Point, hardcover, 304 pgs
Source: NetGalley
GoodReads Summary: A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.
Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.
Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school — until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?

We ALL read those awesome Fear Street books back in the day. They were my first taste of YA and I couldn't get enough of them. R.L. Stine infiltrated my reading experiences and set a precedent for all other YA romance/horror hybrid books.

Imagine my absolute delight when reading The Dead & Buried and getting that EXACT SAME FEELING.
Ease of reading? Check.
Unputdownable? Check.
A constant rundown in my head of all the suspects and characters and motives and WHODUNNIT? Check.

I knew Kim Harrington was something special when I read Clarity, and she solidifies her place as mystery book gangster with The Dead & Buried. You guys. This book was just SO. MUCH. FUN. It wasn't a "hide under your blankets in fear of the angry ghost" type of book, but it had its moments where it sent a chill down my spine (ANY books with any sort of possession just give me the heebie jeebies.)

Jade was a fun and quirky character, living in a haunted house, practically living the life of the dead girl who died at the bottom of her staircase. Now resident ghost, Kayla, is hellbent on finding out who murdered her and Jade is her pawn. And Kayla has no problem making Jade's life a living hell until she is avenged. Honestly, I had a tough time pegging the murderer in the beginning. The evidence is well-concealed and the fact that Kayla's diary entries are littered amongst the pages definitely add to the fun of The Dead & Buried.

I DID NOT PUT THIS DOWN. And I want more. MORE. Kim Harrington, can you please write a YA series with fun mysteries and enjoyable scares and name it something like Frightened Cul-de-Sac or something? I promise I'll not point out any similarities to that one 1990s series I may or may not have mentioned in the beginning of this review.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Published: January 15, 2013
St. Martin's Press, paperback, 240 pages
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads Summary: Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, brining home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own—until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high—the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna's new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can't know.
Then comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose—and something to offer. Real, shocking, uplifting, and stunningly lyrical, Uses for Boys is a story of breaking down and growing up.

So yes, I read the summary. It sounded like a heavy book. But then I looked at the cover and saw FLUFF AND KISSING. Listen, you guys. If that's what you're expected from Uses for Boys, you've come to the wrong place. This book reminded me a lot of the movie Thirteen, if you've seen it, minus the copious amount of drugs (but they're still there.) But don't let that deter you. Just because Uses for Boys is heavy and issue-y and...I'll just say it: depressing, doesn't mean you should write this one off.

I think the most striking aspect of Uses for Boys is the fact that I've known so many girls like this. So many girls who didn't have a strong female or male influence on them, so they go through life thinking that giving themselves sexually is the best way to compensate, make friends, and make people like them. Many times, this turns out not so great. These girls are called "sluts," "whores," "skanks," etc. And after hearing it from all their peers, they come to believe that these names are, in fact, what they are. They become numbed to this and have allowed society to set their own standard for them. It's absolutely maddening.

Anna's story made my heart ache and my stomach nauseated. I wanted so badly to MAKE IT OKAY. The atmosphere of this book was so dark and grim and even the one person that Anna thought she could rely on, her "best friend" Toy, was worthless. Uses for Boys is a story of lost souls, struggling and scrambling to find even the tiniest glimpse of goodness in their life. This book made me take a good look at my life and thank God for the hand I was dealt, because it could always be so much worse. Anna tried so hard to hold onto beautiful things in her life, yet used sex as a weapon and a security blanket for all of her alleged shortcomings.

Erica Lorraine Scheidt writes like magic. It's this lyrical stream of consciousness that invades your soul and makes you want to put yourself on the line in order to shield and protect her characters. I love to incorporate humor into my reviews, but with Uses for Boys, I want to be that voice of reason for Anna. To tell her that she's better than what all the mean girls made her out to be. That she is worth something and everything.

Uses for Boys is one that EVERYONE needs to read. It's haunting and beautiful and horrible. But Scheidt paints a beautiful portrayal of hope in the most shadowy, doubt-filled scenerios and I applaud her for it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Published: August 30, 2011
Tor Teen, hardcover, 316 pages
Source: purchased
GoodReads Summary: Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. 
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
I love horror books. And I love Halloween. But YOU GUYS, I am such a freaking chicken. It's like I torture myself, because I know scary books will do nothing more than give me nightmares. And okay, things about Anna Dressed in Blood that make me happy? Guy's point of view. That's significant badassness. But then you factor in the murderous ghost and I'm cowering in the corner of my bed, trying to fit my whole body under the lamplight so that the dark can't get me (that's where the murderous ghosts hide, you know.)

Cas was so awesome. He was a ghost hunter (ghost killer, really) and he had a purpose and was driven and was set in his ways. He was completely fearless, which is more than I can say for... you know, me. The climactic moment when Cas and Anna finally meet was exciting and terrifying. ANNA IS TERRIFYING. Favorite thing about Kendare Blake's writing? ATMOSPHERE. It's like she pulls you into the book and makes you part of it, creaking shutters, cracked siding, dark and murky air inside Anna's deteriorating home.

I knew the love story was going to develop and, honestly? I was okay with it. Because it's fictitious and these things can happen. Plus it's like the epitome of star-crossed lovers. Think Christina Ricci and Casper, except with more murder. I am rooting for Cas and Anna to make their absolutely impossible romance work.

Anna Dressed in Blood concludes with a huge cliffhanger that made me want to scream. I need Girl of Nightmares like I need cats in my life, and I can't wait to see where Kendare Blake takes this story next. I can only imagine the horror and night terrors the subsequent books in this series will cause and I welcome them with open arms (and closed eyes and clenched teeth.)

Other Bloggers' Thoughts

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: Epic Force by Alexi Raymond

Published: October 4, 2012
Self-published, e-book
Source: author
Goodreads Summary: Trinity has given up everything to reach her dreams as a professional wrestler in the national spotlight; even though it's breaking her heart to stay away from her trainer, Derek.
Derek knows the road Trinity is walking and wants to be there for her to see her succeed, but he wants so much more than that for them. 
After having a wrestler break her heart once, Trinity isn't willing to jump back into another wrestling-relationship. That doesn't stop her heart from pounding at the sight of Derek or her hands from trembling with their touch. 
Convinced she has to focus on her dreams, Trinity leaves the safety of home and wrestling federation,(Epic Force Wrestling), and heads out for the chance of a lifetime. The things she sees don't make her more sure of her goals, but they do make her sure of something else - she can't outrun her old wrestling school or the trainer that holds her heart in his hands.
Sometimes true love is an epic force all its own.

Secret time: I used to watch Raw and Smackdown back when I was like, 13. My main interest? The Rock. What a beautiful, beautiful man. I quickly grew out of the wrestling thing, never really got into the logistics or technicalities of it. I just saw it for what it was: strong dudes beating each other up and sometimes they looked like The Rock and those were my favorite times.

So I get a review request for Epic Force, a book about an independent wrestling federation and a girl who is busting her butt to make it. To be "one of the guys." This just reeks of Catching Jordan.'s better than Catching Jordan. Not only because Trinity, the protagonist, is more grown up than Jordan was. But she's more real. She's down to earth. She's tough. Epic Force would not typically be my kind of book, but the author is a wonderful person and I know what kind of fab writing she's capable of. I was not proven wrong.

I was not expecting to like Epic Force as much as I did. The camaraderie between Trinity and "her boys," (Derek, Dave, Fist, Seth, and even Nate) was awesome. I truly believed these guys loved her like a sister (even though they all called each other "brother," which made me laugh and think of Hogan Knows Best!) and seriously wanted her to succeed. It's amazing to see a female lead so driven, so devoted to her cause, yet be depicted as so flawed so that she's relatable. No one is perfect and I sure as heck don't want to read about someone who is written that way. Alexi Raymond knows that Trinity isn't perfect and not only is struggling with herself, but also her pride, her integrity as an aspiring professional wrestler, and a serious blow to her love life.

The mystery between Derek and Trinity (and the alternating POVs, YAY!) kept me on edge and I kept cheering for these two to find their happy ending. BFF Teegan kept Trinity in line. My favorite line was, "you have no idea who you are." Because seriously, don't we all need that best friend to smack us back into our place? I hated Nate, but wanted so badly to know what it is that caused he and Trinity to fall apart. Closure is so important and I think that this story had a PERFECT ending. The love scenes: explosive. You might blush. And by "might," I mean it's virtually unavoidable.

Despite not understanding the vast majority of the wrestling terms (and there being quite a bit of violence--hey it's wrestling), I couldn't help but smile on the inside at this close-knit family that Raymond has created in her characters. Don't let the idea of wrestling turn you off! Epic Force is a quality book with many, many sweet and fun moments. It reads just like what it is: a sassy (oh yes, I said it) new adult romance with some good lovin' and a whooooole lot of boys.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting on: Linked by Imogen Howson

Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere. 
Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. 
Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed. 
Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world. 
Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

Guys, what is it with me and psychological reads? I am so inexplicably drawn to unreliable narrators with hallucinations or mental disorders or now, apparently, seeing the world through someone else's eyes. AND SECRET TWIN SISTERS. And government attacks! I will do anything to read about dangerous secrets and this sounds absolutely mind-blowing. I can't wait until this one comes out! Plus, isn't that cover trippy?


Linked will be released on March 28, 2013 by Simon & Schuster.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Carla's Thoughts: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Publishing 5 March 2013 by St Martins Press

"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

It’s 1986. The year of Dollywood, Top Gun and the birth of yours truly. Eleanor is the new girl at school. From her bright red unruly hair to the fact that she wears men’s shirts and unstylish pants, not to mention not conforming to a stereotypical body shape, she is the metaphorical red flag waved in front of a crowd of bulls. If only that was the worst of the chicks problems.  Her step father is abusive and her large family are deep in the depths of poverty and despair.

Park is a shining light of brightness; unlike Eleanor he fits in, not just in school but in his family. He is loved by his parents, who in turn love each other, having fallen in love when his father was in Korea during the war. Hell yes for diversity – Park is half Korean and it was refreshing to read (he wasn't a token diverse character, a trope that annoys me a LOT, kind of like the gay best friend.) I love the juxtaposition between Park and Eleanor's family as it drove home the differences between the two and how no matter what, building a bridge to each other to connect is easy when you want something hard enough.

It starts with a bus ride and the simple act of offering of a spare seat (begrudgingly, but even so) and so it goes. Then comes the slow turned comic book pages and furtive glances and mixed tapes. The secrets and those soft quiet moments that carry all the weight. And finding friendship, The Beatles and first love.

Eleanor and Park as title is perfect, because this book is about them, both together and separate. Told from both points of view, sometimes whole chapters, other times just one sentence, we get to work out the puzzle that is them. And watching them develop as characters over the course of the novel was mesmorising. Rowell has a special way of enveloping you in her story so completely that you *feel* everything along with the characters. That all-consuming intense feeling of first love and how you feel that nothing could ever possibly feel like this again.

Rowell is not afraid to bring out the big guns with her Serious Issues. Nothing is sugar coated or polished over; it is as raw as reality and sometimes it will hurt your heart to read. But that’s what makes it so perfect; life is hard and even more so when you have obstacles to overcome that seem too tall to ever contemplate getting over. It’s these vulnerabilities and complications that make people who they are. It’s what makes Eleanor who she is and it’s what makes Park become who he wants to be.

It’s going to be hard let these two go, so I’m not going to, I’m going to keep them with me for a while. The perfect example of how we are the sum of our parts; how it’s the little things about us that make us who we are and that we should love every part of ourselves or find someone who will love those parts of us we haven’t yet accepted until we do. A Spellbinding novel.

Eleanor and Park, this is for you - There is a light and it never goes out.

Monday, November 12, 2012

In My Mailbox (64) / Stacking the Shelves (5)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga.

These bookish memes allow us to share with other bloggers the awesome books we got, and of course be jealous of everyone who got super awesome books, too!

So, I'm a little late. WHOOPS. I still got some super fabulous books this week. You know how you see those cheap self-pubbed books on Amazon and you're all "yes, I need dis," to EVERYTHING? That was me one early morning when I couldn't get back to sleep. Whatevs. They were cheap. Plus, I had 3 Audible credits that I hadn't used yet. 

For Review
The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark
Hysteria by Megan Miranda
Also Known As by Robin Benway
thanks, NetGalley, Random House, and Bloomsbury!

Speechless by Hannah Harrington
 thanks, Anna!

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Stalker Girl by Rosemary Graham
The Perfect Game by J. Sterling
Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts
Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
The Secret of Ella & Micha by Jessica Sorensen

Audible Credits
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Oh hey, you didn't miss a post this week, did you?

Monday, November 5: Jen reviews Scarlet by Marissa Meyer and succumbs to the fact that this is, in face, a story about a hot Big Bad Wolf. (Or at least that's what she focused on.)

Wednesday, November 7: Fail. No post.

Thursday, November 8: Jen reviews Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine and it's like coming home to her favorite bookish setting (and characters. And vampire boyfriend, Myrnin. WHAT OF IT?)

Friday, November 9: Oh, snap! It's Jen's stop on the Morganville Vampires Mayoral Election blog tour and she has LOTS of amazing goodies to give away. Not to mention Rachel Caine stops by to share her general bitchin' hilariousness.

Sunday, November 11: Jen does Book Blogger Woes and does the Sookie Scream over that dreaded NetGalley message: "This title has been archived."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book Blogger Woes (4)

I am a huge fan of First World Problems. I'll be the first person to scroll through their Twitter and laugh out loud to myself, thinking "yes. I DO THAT. In ALL of life." And honestly, guys? I do it in blogging, too. A LOT. I get all uppity about the most ridiculous things. Thus, Book Blogger Woes was born. Every so often, I'll be sharing a different blogger pain pertaining to all of the sulking... but in a comical way.

(Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels these things. You just have to. I can't be the only one.)

So, you see that book you've been dying to read forever, YOU KNOW THE ONE, on NetGalley. Holy crap, this is life-making. You request immediately, hoping that you're on the auto-approve list or that one of the magical publisher NetGalley workers are getting that little PING right now that your whole purpose in life is to read this book. 
So you wait.
And wait.
And wait.
And wait.
And YAY, it's 3 weeks later and you finally get that approval! You click on the title to download to your phone/Kindle/Nook/miscellaneous e-reader.

"This title has been archived."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ten Questions with Rachel Caine + Morganville Vampires Giveaway!

I am beyond thrilled to be part of the Morganville Vampires Mayoral Elections blog tour. And, of course, to promote the latest addition to the series, Bitter Blood. Rachel Caine was amazing enough to answer some of my most prying, obsessive questions (primarily about Myrnin, duh.) I'm here to share with you the answers that had me LOLing all over the place. 

Makeshift Bookmark: First off, thank you so much for stopping by, Rachel! I saw you at the RT Convention in Chicago this year, and someone made a joke that you could take a series and make 45 books out of it. How in the world do you manage to keep the plot lines so fresh and twisty?

Rachel Caine: I think it helps that I have a twisty, twisty brain … my natural question to any normal event is, how could this go wrong? And then I continue to explore that landscape of awful disasters until I find something that surprises me, like Invasion of the Rabid Squirrel People. But then I usually back up a step or two, because I don’t think the general public is ready for the Rabid Squirrel People series. YET.

MB: Whew, so there's still hope for Rapid Squirrel People. The bookish world needs this. What three items are essential to survival in Morganville?

RC: Friends, silver, and pizza delivery. What?! Are you going to go out for food at midnight? I DIDN’T THINK SO.

MB:  Not this chick, that's for darn sure. So hey, do you ever sit back and think "I wish I would've done ______ differently" when it comes to the Morganville series?

RC: Oh, sure … I think I’d be crazy if I didn’t. For instance … I’ve killed off at least one character that I regret losing now, because he turned out to be such a fan favorite. And there are always things in every book that I see later that I regret doing … but it’s part of a writer’s life to accept what it’s too late to change. (After approving page proofs!)

MB:  Would you ever consider a spin-off following the conclusion of the series? (I get all weepy when I think about The End, Rachel. I really do.)

RC: I was just discussing it today, and my feeling is I just don’t know yet. I’m going to take a 6 month vacation from deadlines in 2013, and when that’s up, I’ll know a lot better how I feel about the direction I want to go. I love Morganville, and I don’t want to leave it, so I imagine that I’ll be coming back for visits, at the very least. And there may be something else, like novellas. I’m mulling it over! I’m sorry for making you weepy. And yet, I’m delighted, too. That’s probably wrong, isn’t it?

MB: It's totally okay to be delighted. THIS IS HOW INVESTED I AM. Okay, give us the dirt: who would win in a brawl, Shane or Myrnin? (Fine, fine, Shane can have one weapon. Not the flamethrower, though.)

RC: Is it Good Myrnin or Bad Myrnin? Because dude. It makes a difference. If it’s Bad Myrnin, I’m not sure that even a flamethrower would help. And either way, I think if Myrnin seriously, really wanted Shane dead, Shane by himself would have a very hard time preventing it.

MB:  Mmmm, I love me some Myrnin. Good and bad. If you could describe his true feelings for Claire in one word, what would it be?

RC: Regard. It’s an old-school kind of word, but I think it fits: he holds her in high regard, which is a little touch of romanticism, a lot of respect, and a great deal of longing from afar. It’s a very Myrnin kind of emotion, I think.

MB: Ah, the longing from afar. It KILLS me. But focusing more on the political aspect of Morganville, we all know Monica wants her "rightful" place as Mayor of Morganville. What is she passing out as her campaign promotional goodies?

RC: She’s not passing out anything … it’s your job, dear voter, to give her things! She’s taking donations, of course. And she’s expecting sizeable ones, so you’d better get on that, quickly. Bribes are also highly acceptable. But don’t expect her to spend any money on bumper stickers or signs. She gets people to do that kind of thing for free, through intimidation.

MB:  Personally, I'd vote for Myrnin as Morganville Mayor. Let's face it, the pretense of order hasn't worked thus far in this city. Perhaps we need a little more crazy. And we all know Myrnin has a knack for ridiculous outfits. Please brief us on a hypothetical mayoral outfit.

RC: Obviously, a top hat is mandatory. It might or might not have a bell on it, but it definitely does have a peacock feather. I believe he might go with a relatively sane silk shirt, possibly black, possibly with a long, pointy collar. And a satin vest of an obnoxious color. Tailcoat, of course, because mayor is a formal position. And a sash. Probably a multicolored sash, with a giant florette pinning it together. Did I mention the boutonniere? It’d be a sunflower.

There. Someone, quick, draw that.

MB: Someone NEEDS to draw that. There are only a couple books left in the Morganville Vampires series, with some major villains out of the way (allegedly.) In a sentence, what can readers expect in the final few books?

RC: Well … without giving too much away, Bitter Blood brings us back to the idea that vampires without checks and balances are a bad thing … especially when they’re being egged on by personal ambition. And Shane will make a big, big mistake, which will have consequences in Fall of Night. There’s a change of scenery in Fall of Night, and some new, non-Morganville problems, but we’ll return home for Book 15, which is currently (and very tentatively) called Daylighters. I can safely say that you won’t see Book 15 coming.

MB: Finally, can we ever expect an onscreen adaptation out of Morganville? There's more than enough plotlines to keep us satisfied for, you know, 10 seasons of TV. This needs to happen!

RC: Oh, man, it’d be fun, right? But right now, the Magic TV 8-Ball is telling me “Not likely.” Problem is, vampires have been a bit too successful out there, and now the networks and studios are doubting that new vampire projects will achieve that kind of follow-through. It’s a very tough sell, and so far, we haven’t had much luck getting it done … but hope lives on! I think it’s a “bide our time” situation, personally, not a “never happen” situation.

MORE ABOUT Morganville Mayoral Elections:

Rachel Caine will be hosting a video contest on her website in which fans can submit their endorsement ads for their ideal Morganville Mayor!  
-    Videos must be 30 seconds or less
-    You can make an endorsement video for any character from the book about why they should be mayor
-    Videos must not contain copyrighted material such as TV, film, images or music from other sources
-    No language you wouldn't hear unbleeped on network TV

We will post the winning videos on the Morganville Vampire site, and winners will receive a prize package that includes: A signed copy of BITTER BLOOD, a Morganville Coffee Mug, an election t-shirt, and a tote bag.

To check out the first 3 videos/endorsement ads for each candidate (more to come soon!), check out:


Speaking of giveaways, I have one for you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine

Published: November 6, 2012
NAL, hardcover, 404 pages
Series: Book 13 of 15
Source: Tara (thank you!)
GoodReads Summary: For years, the human and vampire residents of Morganville, Texas, have managed to co-exist in peace. But now that the threat to the vampires has been defeated, the human residents are learning that the gravest danger they face is the enemy within…
Thanks to the eradication of the parasitic creatures known as the draug, the vampires of Morganville have been freed of their usual constraints. With the vampires indulging their every whim, the town’s human population is determined to hold on to their lives by taking up arms. But college student Claire Danvers isn’t about to take sides, considering she has ties to both the humans and the vampires. 
To make matters worse, a television show comes to Morganville looking for ghosts, just as vampire and human politics collide. Now, Claire and her friends have to figure out how to keep the peace without ending up on the nightly news… or worse.

What can I say about this series other than: with every book I read, I feel like I'm coming home. I feel like I am a resident of the Glass House and Shane, Claire, Michael, and Eve are my peeps. Rachel Caine writes her characters in such a way that even after 13 books, I'm still as invested and enamored with them as I was after the first book.

The great thing about the Morganville Vampires series is that you've spent so much time with these characters, watched them grow, witnessed Caine putting them through the ringer, that it feels personal to you. It's like watching friends suffer. And OH, DID MY FRIENDS SUFFER IN BITTER BLOOD. I wasn't a fan of the multiple points of view when they first debuted, but YOU GUYS. This time we get a look into Myrnin's mind. And it's delightful and tumultuous and delicious and batshit insane.

If I could use one word to describe this book, it'd be TURMOIL. There was so much craziness going on and FORBIDDEN MOMENTS and backstabbing and secrets. Bitter Blood is quite possibly my favorite piece in the Morganville game. I can't say too much without being spoilery, but A THING HAPPENED. Actually, TWO THINGS HAPPENED. Things for which I've been longing for and now it just makes it more excruciating waiting for book 14 because YOU CAN'T JUST LEAVE IT LIKE THAT. I need continuation of these moments.

Rachel Caine, you are a genius. Oh, and hey, if you want to write a spin-off of Myrnin & Bob saving the world, I'd be totally cool with that.

Bitter Blood wraps you in its' arms, chokes you a little, threatens to rip out your heart (and it feels like it does, at times), then gently releases you. I was left feeling quite uneasy, because Fall of Night (aka book 14) will bring mass amounts of change and new threats.

I love that feeling.

Other Bloggers' Thoughts

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Top Ten Rationales for Obsessive Book Buying

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and created by mastermind Jamie. If you love lists, this is the meme for you!

Okay, so we all have those moments where we're in a bookstore and we just so happen to see all the books we want to buy. Then we have to smuggle them in our house and sometimes, just sometimes, our husbands/boyfriends/families are like "you spent x amount of dollars at x store?!" Oops. A pox on online banking!

Naturally, we jump on the defense. Here are some of the top excuses I've given for my obsessive book buying.

1. "There are worse things to be addicted to. Hey, I'm not smoking crack, am I? I could be smoking crack."
Because, really, we all could be smoking crack.

2. "This is the last book I'll buy this month, I promise!" 
But don't specify whether it's a rolling calendar month or the actual end of the month. Works like a charm. Hey, you didn't lie.

3. "But I had to buy the new cover. Silly publishers decided to change the book's design on me and now I have to have all the books match on my shelf or I'll just LOSE my MIND."
No one wants to be responsible for bloodshed on account of unmatched books.

4. "I know that I already read the ARC. But sometimes story lines change in the transition from ARC to finished copy and I want to make sure I don't miss anything!"
It could happen.

5. "But the hardcover is way discounted on Amazon! See? I only paid $12 instead of $20 like I would at a bookstore. Aren't you proud of me for saving money?"
Put a positive spin on it and suddenly you're a budgeting hero.

6. "I saw this in the bookstore and thought of you. Wait, since when don't you enjoy YA contemporaries? I'll just read it myself, I guess."
Ugh, so ungrateful.

7. "I buy these books because I want to build an expansive library for our future children someday. You want our kids to be well-read, don't you?"
Won't somebody please think of the children?

8. "I'm going to a book signing. You can't just go to an author signing without buying their book. That's trashy!"
Sure, it's the only title of, like, seven by that author that you don't have. But you can't be rude. You have to have all the books signed or else THEY. WON'T. MATCH.

9. "I know I have 300 unread books, but I am gonna read this book as soon as I get home!"

9a. "And I'm gonna read all those other books someday, anyway."

10. "I had a bad day."
Retail therapy, ftw.

I know you guys have some amazing excuses, too. What do you tell your significant other/family?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Published: February 5, 2013
Feiwel and Friends, hardcover, 464 pages
Source: Tar
GoodReads Summary: Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. 
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner. 
So I opened up Scarlet and was completely blindsided by the fact that THIS IS NOT ALL CINDER'S STORY. I don't know what the crap I was expecting. Maybe I was in denial. Maybe Cinder was so effing amazing (and it was) that I cannot fathom why Marissa Meyer would want to tell the story from the point of view of a different protagonist. HELLO, CYBORG CINDERELLA. This is where your story's at, not some French chick who is decidedly UNROBOTIC. I don't like change. There is no need to fix something that isn't broken! Wait. Hold that thought a moment. This Scarlet girl? She's actually....interesting. WAIT. This is actually MORE intriguing than Cinder was. And the Big Bad Wolf is HOT? We have a story here, folks.

Scarlet picks up shortly after Cinder's conclusion. And WOW, Marissa Meyer bring it, yet again. Am I surprised? No. Should anyone be surprised? Yeah right. Meyer is here to stay and her story-telling towers above that of another author bearing the same last name. (Just putting it out there.) Luckily, Scarlet is written in third person so we get ALL the information, including some quality time with Cinder. Don't worry, she's still a BAMF. My fave cyborg has actually teamed up with a new sidekick, Military Guy (WHY can't I remember his name? And I didn't write it down. Fail.) who is phenomenally hilarious. Their witty banter is enough for a book in itself. Don't worry, guys, there's plenty of Kai. And it is fantastic watching his grow as a leader. Gotta give the dude props, especially considering the level of beotch that Queen Levana reaches.

But the stars of this story are Scarlet and Wolf. DARE I say that I ship them more than Cinder/Kai? I'll let you in on a secret as to why: Wolf = broken. And he possesses qualities that grant him some redemption, despite his shady past. OH, how I love the broken boy with some goodness that shines through. He just needs a good girl to fix him. Ahem, Scarlet. There are some MOMENTS in this book. You might shiver a few times and maybe break out into a cold sweat, because the moments are substantial and yummy and YOU WANT TO READ THIS.

Do I really need to sing the Dawson's Creek theme song? Because honestly? I don't wanna waaaaait (twenty million years for the next book.) I want to know right now, what will it be?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

In My Mailbox (63) / Stacking the Shelves (5)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga

These bookish memes allow us to share with other bloggers the awesome books we got, and of course be jealous of everyone who got super awesome books, too!

This is a couple weeks of books and MAN, am I bursting with excitement over them. So many pretties to add to the shizzelf.

For Review
The Murmurings by Carly Anne West
thanks, Simon Teen!
thanks, HarperCollins!

Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine
thanks, Tara!

Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart
So Many Boys by Suzanne Young
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer

Oh hey, you didn't miss a post this week (because of Sandy, that dirty wench!), did you?

Monday, October 29: Jen reviews Cinder in which Cinderella is a robot and there's a bitchy moon Queen and a deadly plague that makes me want to wash my hands RIGHT NOW AND ALWAYS.
Tuesday, October 30: This week's Book Blogger Woes features Carla discussing how to stay cool by totally losing your cool in front of authors. (They create WHOLE WORLDS, people. They're more than human.)
Wednesday, October 31: Jen is waiting on These Broken Stars because OH MY GOD, Meagan Spooner and outer space and a love story? Let's just throw all the good things in the world into one post, shall we?
Thursday, November 1: Carla calls If I Lie by Corrine Jackson: "A quiet unassuming debut that will surprise you with its depth and insight." (And includes a hilarious yet hot GIF of Jensen Ackles.)

We hope you guys had a great week!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Carla's Thoughts - If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

Published by Simon Pulse, 28 August 2012

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.

Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.

Just wanted to get this out of the way before I start gushing – if anyone tried to shame me for doing something that I thought was right, and then treated me like an outcast I would be all.....
Because seriously? You knock me down and I will get up and start throwing elbows. So, there were parts of the novel that maybe were a little lost on me – the only experience I have of living life the small town America way is from Friday Night Lights.


For a debut novel, If I Lie is one of the more sophisticatedly written contemporary novels I have read in a while; Jackson manages to invoke a lot of emotion in her writing so it packs a pretty decent punch.  This is the story of a girl with a secret and the lengths that she will go to keep the secret safe – the tight writing propels the story in the right direction; it never once veers into being saturated with purple prose or unnecessary dialogue. Every word will pluck at your heart strings making it an intense and emotional read.

Jackson doesn’t let you get comfortable – she throws you right into the shit storm that is Quinn’s life. Quinn is just trying to keep her head above the water, she’s just trying to see this thing through and remain loyal to her best friend. From her struggling to do what she believes to be the right thing, to her having to deal with the unforgiving community; everything interaction, every inner thought is realistic enough to drive home the fact that Quinn has been dealt a hand that she does not deserve, but she shoulders the burden with grace and strength that the people in her small town could only dream of ever having. Everything is infused with hope that things will get better. 

Special mention to George. I LOVE YOU. (no, I’m not telling you who he is, guess that means you’re going to have to read it yourself).

A quiet unassuming debut that will surprise you with its depth and insight.