Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jen's Thoughts: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Published: June 5, 2012
Henry Holt, hardcover, 358pgs
Source: purchased
Goodreads Summary: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.
So I read Shadow & Bone and now I guess fantasy is my thing. And you know what? I completely submit myself to it. Because if all fantasy books were like Leigh Bardugo's, I would never read anything else ever again. Seriously, it's like I blinked and 300 pages had flown by. It was so easy to sink into this book and become one entity with it to where nothing else in life matters. I'm just happy that I was sick when I was reading it and had no other obligations.

Alina and Mal have been BFFs forever, but of course, she's in love with him. And hey, who could blame a girl? He's a fantastic tracker, he's super sarcastic, and he's so unattainable because Alina is SO PLAIN. (Don't make me sing "you don't know you're beautiful," Alina.) But then, as is typical in YA, we find out Alina has Phenomenal Cosmic Powers, making her the center of attention for multiple sets of greedy eyes--namely The Darkling. The good news is: Alina's plain pity party didn't get on my nerves. In fact, it was awesome seeing her confidence and awareness grow and flourish.

Now listen: I make excellent life choices. I do. But in books, all that is thrown to the wind. I love the Darkling. I love an evil villain who is just needing that one girl in his life to tame him and make him see the light. He is hands down my favorite character in this series. So complex and misguided and wanting to see the error of his ways. Or is he? LEIGH BARDUGO, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?

Shadow & Bone is an instant favorite. All the hype is completely merited. It's long enough that I feel I experienced a ton of in-depth battles, romance, politics, magic in just over 350 pages, but it's short enough (and oh, the easy writing style. LOVE!) that I was left wanting more. Immediately. I wanted more action, more of the epic cast of secondary characters, more Darkling/Alina/Mal drama. Shadow & Bone isn't a novel where you'll need to put much brainpower into understanding this or that. The story animates itself and plays out effortlessly and enchantingly.

And OH MY GOD, DreamWorks (see: producer of Harry Potter) is going to be making a movie of this? WHO WILL PLAY THE DARKLING? Can I suggest Ed Westwick? Please?

you can't even tell me i'm wrong. 

The Indigo Spell: Who is Marcus Finch? (#8)





You guys, The Indigo Spell comes out in less than a month. And you should be excited, because I've read it and OH MY GOD, it is fire hot. 

But there's this new guy, this Marcus Finch. He could save the day. Or he could ruin everything. And he's about to become a huge part of the remaining Bloodlines books.


___________________________

Educate yourself on everything Bloodlines

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scarlet Blog Tour + Amazing Giveaway

GUYS. I love Marissa Meyer. I love her books. And I love that she's on the blog today. But enough about me, Marissa is talking about Paris. And... GO.




When I decided to set SCARLET’S big climax scene in Paris, it was important to me to choose the perfect location for it to take place. I wanted something that had historical importance and beautiful architectural details that I could use to add realism and atmosphere to the story, but that wasn’t entirely overdone (like the Eiffel Tower or the Moulin Rouge).

In the end, and with some help from blog readers, I decided to set some of those critical scenes in Le Palais Garnier—the Paris Opera House.


As I mentioned before on the Scarlet Blog Tour, this posed one tiny little problem: I’ve never been to France! Which meant I had to be creative with how I researched the setting if I was going to do it justice.

I began with Google Maps—my go-to setting resource. Using Google Maps, I “walked” up and down the streets surrounding the Opera House, taking notes as to its impressive size, the intimidating porticos, the enormous gold sculptures of angels peering down as one approached the arched doorways.

I also spotted—or thought that I spotted—a fountain just across the street from the main entrance. And I thought: Perfect! I can use that. (We’ll come back to that later.)

I also spent some time searching for images of the Opera House’s interior, and reading the descriptions of different architectural materials described on the Opera House’s web site. Which was great, but… it still left me with a lot of questions, largely about the layout of the building. The Opera House has a small library in it… but where? I learned about a beautiful room called “La Rotonde de la Lune” and I knew I had to use it (for the Lunar reference, obviously), but… how does one get to the Rotunda?




It seemed I had hit a wall with my research until—bless the web site design team—I stumbled on a researchers dream.

A virtual tour exists on Le Palais Garnier’s web site.

Using the zoom, adjust, turn, and walk features, I was able to explore the Opera House in a way I never could have without buying an airplane ticket. I began to gather answers to some of those burning questions—where does that staircase lead? What’s through that door? How do we get to the theater balconies?

I could get a close-up look at many of the sculptures, decide if a ceiling should have murals or chandeliers or both, insert paintings or mirrors on the walls and determine if they should have gold frames or silver.

Naturally, of about ten pages of description I wrote down using the virtual tour, only a few paragraphs made it into the final book. But I hope those paragraphs will provide readers with the sensation of authenticity I was striving for.


The virtual tour isn’t perfect. It doesn’t go backstage (into the dressing rooms, prop storage, etc.), which meant I still had to use my imagination for some important areas. And the program is a little slow and jerky, which can get frustrating when you spend a lot of time with it. It’s certainly not like actually being there.

But—it made an enormous difference on the writing of these chapters.

It also saved my fountain scene.

Because, after I’d entirely rewritten the climax using the fountain I first spotted across the street, I made a disconcerting discovery. What I’d thought was a fountain on Google Maps was actually the entrance to the subway tunnels. Argh!

So I went back to the drawing board and spent some more time perusing the Virtual Tour of the Opera House. And what did I stumble upon, quite by accident?

A fountain! In the sublevel beneath the main foyer! (Or, at least, a basin… which was close enough.)



Clearly, that part was fate.

You can virtually tour the Opera House yourself HERE.
______________________

Thank you so much for dropping by, Marissa. Le Palais Garnier is absolutely GORGEOUS. You couldn't have picked a better setting!

Here are some fantastic Lunar Chronicles-related links
Download the short story Glitches for 99 cents!
Download the short story The Queen's Army for 99 cents!
Check out all the other amazing blogs on the Scarlet Blog Tour

And now, for the fantastical giveaway courtesy of the incredible Macmillan. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Carla's Thoughts - Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Published by Dutton (US) Random House (UK)
8 January 2013

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there's an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.


This isn’t a ‘girl meets boy’ story. This is a ‘girl meets boy, decides to go to Paris with him on a whim, boy leaves.’ story. And that is where the beauty lies; in the details and in the little moments of perfect imperfection. Because you know before evening turning the first page that this book is going to be different and what you discover the simple beauty of knowing the difference between a trip and a journey.

Allyson is on her last day of her tour of Europe, a tour that has been carefully structured (no doubt full of itineraries and rules), a tour that is dull and uneventful and too meticulously organised to ever be enjoyable. And then she meets Willem. Willem is Dutch, performs in a gorilla Shakespeare troupe, is ridiculously hot and likes canal boats. In act of spontaneity, that is totally our of character for Allyson, her and Willem travel to Paris. For Just One Day.

Forman’s delectable writing shapes this story into something that totally transcended any expectations I had. She creates a whole universe of opportunities and possibilities and manages to keep the story within the reach of us back here on earth; we feel and want and lust and strive to make connections with people just as much as Allyson does. We realise that Willem may not be the shining star that we want him to be and that’s where his character is at his strongest. And yet we still hope. He feels so real you can’t for one second be impervious to his charm or his marvelously developed page presence.  

Just One Day will make you melt from happiness. It will make you feel like you've just breathed in a cool breath of fresh air after being stuck inside. It makes you hope and dream and fall in love with not just the characters, but with Paris and the kindness of strangers (the statement ‘a stranger is a friend you just haven’t met yet’ stands strong with this novel). You will feel relief as Allyson breaks the binds that tie her to her feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

This isn’t a ‘girl meets boy’ story. This is a ‘girl meets boy and finds something she needs more; herself’.  I fell head over heels in love and I can’t wait to go on a journey with them again.

The Indigo Spell: Who is Marcus Finch? (#7)





You guys, The Indigo Spell comes out in less than a month. And you should be excited, because I've read it and OH MY GOD, it is fire hot. 

But there's this new guy, this Marcus Finch. He could save the day. Or he could ruin everything. And he's about to become a huge part of the remaining Bloodlines books.


___________________________

Educate yourself on everything Bloodlines

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Indigo Spell: Who is Marcus Finch? (#6)




You guys, The Indigo Spell comes out in less than a month. And you should be excited, because I've read it and OH MY GOD, it is fire hot. 

But there's this new guy, this Marcus Finch. He could save the day. Or he could ruin everything. And he's about to become a huge part of the remaining Bloodlines books.


___________________________

Educate yourself on everything Bloodlines

Monday, January 28, 2013

LOOK WHAT CARLA DID

She redesigned the blog. And she claims she sucks at HTML/CSS.
I am so proud and I love it.

IT'S SO CLEAN.

That is all.

The Indigo Spell: Who is Marcus Finch? (#5)




You guys, The Indigo Spell comes out in less than a month. And you should be excited, because I've read it and OH MY GOD, it is fire hot. 

But there's this new guy, this Marcus Finch. He could save the day. Or he could ruin everything. And he's about to become a huge part of the remaining Bloodlines books.


All these face tattoos... but why the Indigo?
_______________________

Educate yourself on everything Bloodlines

Jen's Thoughts: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepard


Published: January 29, 2013
Balzer + Bray, hardcover, 432pgs
Source: publisher
GoodReads Summary: In the darkest places, even love is deadly.
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.
Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.
Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

Why, yes. I did read this 400+ page book in about 4.5 hours, which would normally take me a day or so. To say that The Madman's Daughter was a wild ride would be the understatement of the day. I was hooked from page one and blasted my way through like my life depended on it.

Can we please pause to raise the roof for a snarky badass of a heroine? Because that is exactly what Juliet was and it was an absolute joy to read. I cackled with every wise ass comment, which is exactly what I love in my YA characters. If you're not here to stir the pot, then go home. 

Yes, there's definitely a little bit of a love triangle, but surprise! I didn't know what was going to happen, and I love it when the choice is not obvious.  I was Team Montgomery from early on, because he and Juliet have sort of a tender backstory. And because it's more of a challenge. After all, Montgomery is her crazy father's protege. Do you see where the struggle lies? I love my love stories with a dash of star-crossed.

Oddly enough, one of my favorite characters is Juliet's father. Oh, don't get me wrong. The guy is a madman. But the way that Shepherd brought him to life so vividly and frighteningly speaks volumes about her abilities as a writer. It's a god-given talent to be able to bring characters to life in such a way that the reader is deeply disturbed. And I am a masochist when it comes to books. If you can disturb me and make my face go white with fear/nausea/disgust, then you are my new favorite person. 

The plot kept me guessing, and also disturbed the whole way through. THE WHOLE WAY. What the crap is wrong with people, for real?! All of Dr. Moreau's experimentation was horrifying and gripping and WHY, GOD, WHY?! The ending, for me, didn't quite sit well. I'd say because it was unbelievable, but hey, sci-fi books are supposed to be unbelievable. That being said, I will read on in this series. I have to know what happens next. So many questions to be answered!

(And The Madman's Daughter has been optioned for film, according to the back of the ARC? OH MAN. If this becomes a movie, I will squeal with delight.)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jen's Book Haul (70)

I decided to shorten the title to Book Haul. I'm lazy. Inspired by memes hosted at The Story Siren and Tynga's Reviews.

HEY. Don't stop by without entering to win The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead and Unremembered by Jessica Brody!

I had a great week in books. I seriously have so much incredible reading ahead of me that I think it's time to add a couple extra days to the week dedicated solely to reading. What say you to that?


For Review
Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox
The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith (you guys, this cover is EFFING CREEPY.)
thanks, MacMillan!

E-Books for Review
Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
Parallel by Lauren Miller
Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle
September Girls by Bennett Miller
Transparent by Natalie Whipple
Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
thanks, NetGalley, Edelweiss, Penguin, & Harper Teen!

Borrowed
Boundless by Cynthia Hand (thanks, Anna!)

Purchased
Vortex by Julie Cross

Have you read any of these titles? I'd love to hear your thoughts!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Indigo Spell: Who is Marcus Finch? (#4)




You guys, The Indigo Spell comes out in less than a month. And you should be excited, because I've read it and OH MY GOD, it is fire hot. 

But there's this new guy, this Marcus Finch. He could save the day. Or he could ruin everything. And he's about to become a huge part of the remaining Bloodlines books.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Either way, Marcus has been a bad boy.
___________________________

Educate yourself on everything Bloodlines

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jen's Thoughts: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza


Published: March 12, 2013
Katherine Tegan Books, hardcover, 480 pages
Source: Edeweiss
GoodReads Summary: Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.
Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past —that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.
Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.
Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity–style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.

For 480 pages (at least that's what GoodReads says. You'd best not be lying, GoodReads!), Mila 2.0 is a lightning fast read. Or maybe the book was just. that. good. Time flies when you're reading kickass books. I am beginning to love these books about girls who aren't what they seem. (Looking at you, Cinder and Unremembered!) Have you ever seen Bicentennial Man? The million-minute long tearjerker (or suckfest, depending on who you ask) with Robin Williams? This reminded me very much of that movie, minus all the government business.

I really sympathized with Mila. It's not really a spoiler since it's in the summary, but can you imagine? One day you're flirting with a super cute guy who you think "hey, this bro probably wants to smooch me, maybe" and considering giving in to your human instincts when the bomb is dropped that you might not be human. Like, at all. BUT you still have human emotions enough to suffer the mental consequences of "well, I still want to kiss him but I'm not sure how he'd feel about locking lips with a heartless hunk of metal." (Oh, Tin Man. You and Mila would be such BFFs.)

Action-packed? Absolutely. Tear-jerking? Oh, yes. Lack of boring spells? You bet. And for once, I haven't the slightest idea where the romance is going. AT ALL. There's a minor set up for a love triangle, but my mind is rampant with the HOW and WHY?

Don't brush this one off as just a pretty girl on a cover. There's depth to Mila 2.0 and I can't wait to find out where Debra Driza takes this story. AND THE ROMANCE. Dying, here.


The Indigo Spell: Who is Marcus Finch? (#3)




You guys, The Indigo Spell comes out in less than a month. And you should be excited, because I've read it and OH MY GOD, it is fire hot. 

But there's this new guy, this Marcus Finch. He could save the day. Or he could ruin everything. And he's about to become a huge part of the remaining Bloodlines books.



But why does he have information about the Warriors? Is he in cahoots? We shall see.
___________________________

Educate yourself on everything Bloodlines



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Indigo Spell: Who is Marcus Finch? (#2)



You guys, The Indigo Spell comes out in less than a month. And you should be excited, because I've read it and OH MY GOD, it is fire hot. 

But there's this new guy, this Marcus Finch. He could save the day. Or he could ruin everything. And he's about to become a huge part of the remaining Bloodlines books.


Sure, sure. That doesn't seem like too much of a shocker. But he's not just ANY human...

______________________________

Educate yourself on everything Bloodlines

The Bloodlines Website
Like 'Bloodlines' on Facebook
Read the first chapter of The Indigo Spell (you know you want to.)

Or treat yourself to some Bloodlines eye candy...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Indigo Spell: Who is Marcus Finch? (#1)


You guys, The Indigo Spell comes out in less than a month. And you should be excited, because I've read it and OH MY GOD, it is fire hot. 

But there's this new guy, this Marcus Finch. He could save the day. Or he could ruin everything. And he's about to become a huge part of the remaining Bloodlines books.

Together with Razorbill, for the next two weeks I'll be posting clues about this mysterious character to help pump you up for the coming insanity of the next book. GET EXCITED.


Makes him sound like a hero, doesn't it? OR IS HE?
_____________________________

Educate yourself on everything Bloodlines

The Bloodlines Website
Like 'Bloodlines' on Facebook
Read the first chapter of The Indigo Spell (you know you want to.)

Or treat yourself to some Bloodlines eye candy...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Giveaway: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead




In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

The Indigo Spell will be released in less than a month. HOLY CRAP. And to help get you excited, I'll be taking part in the Who is Marcus Finch? promotion for the next two weeks leading up to the release, thanks to Penguin Teen.

But that's not all!

Together with the fab publisher, I'm giving away one hardcover finished copy of The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead. There's never been a better time to start this series than now (well, except maybe when all the books are out, but isn't the wait part of the excitement?!) So go ahead and enter if you're in the US/CA and cross your fingers! And hey, check out our privacy policy beforehand, please.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jen's Thoughts: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

Published: February 12, 2013
Razorbill, hardcover, 432pgs
Source: publisher
Previous Titles: Bloodlines, The Golden Lily 
Goodreads Summary: In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.
I finished The Indigo Spell at 3:30am. Sure, I'm naturally a night owl, but this time it wasn't the insomnia keeping me up. It was the fact that I was so inexplicably floored at the events that had just concluded the book I've been waiting my whole life the last several months for.

I am
JUST.
SO.
HAPPY.

Richelle Mead never fails to keep the action fresh and The Indigo Spell is no exception. It hits the ground running. New dangers. New obstacles. New reasons Sydney finds why she and Adrian can't be together (WHY, SYDNEY? What is so repulsive about the delicious, sensitive, snarky artist who loves you more than he loves clove cigarettes or vodka and calls you things like "The Most Beautiful Creature to Walk This Earth?" WHYYYY, SYDNEY?!) Perhaps I feel a bit passionately about Sydney's life choices. And hey, I get it. It's all in the interest of tension.

Speaking of: are you ready to sizzle? Because the tension is flammable. Reading The Indigo Spell was practically hazardous to my health with all the palpitations and sleep deprivation and the brain-exploding frustration (DAMNIT, SYDNEY) but it hurt so good. Just when you thought Adrian couldn't be any more hilarious, charming, deep, mesmerizing, The Indigo Spell happens. I could give you specific page numbers that highlight the heart-stopping moments, but I'd prefer to let you guys uncover them on your own. The Sydney/Adrian moments have never been hotter.

I'll just say one thing: when you read the words "Alpha Yam Ergo," prepare yourselves.

The Indigo Spell leaves us with a handful of conflicts that could destroy everything (and us, in the meantime) as well as some cameos from some beloved characters. Oh, and remember Wolfe, by the way? Never has such a small character had such a massive impact on me. And we have an epic setup for the rest of the series. And Marcus Finch: is he good or is he bad? So many things could go horribly wrong and the masochist in me is totally pulling a Mr. Burns right now. No one does heart-wrenching like Richelle.

Eeeeeexcellent.

I'm at a loss, though. How does Mead manage to keep it so fresh, so new, so jaw-dropping, after 9 books in the VA world? Does she ever lose steam? Not this time, lucky for us fanatics. For now, we have the perfection that is The Indigo Spell: a Sydrian fan's dream come true.

PS. Remember that time Anna and I met Richelle? 




Saturday, January 19, 2013

Jen's Book Haul (69)

I decided to shorten the title to Book Haul. I'm lazy. Inspired by memes hosted at The Story Siren and Tynga's Reviews.

I didn't buy any books this week and I'm getting over a sinus, upper respiratory, and ear infection which left me practically incapacitated for a couple days. However, the UPS man did manage to make me feel a little better with these beautifuls.


For Review
Penguin, I bow to you. Thank you x infinity forever. Also, I'm sorry for scaring my cats and husband when this arrived. No, that wasn't a seizure.

I've never read anything by Francesca, but this look absolutely enthralling! Thank you, Macmillan!

I just finished Shadow and Bone like, yesterday. And holy effing crap, am I glad I have this baby on hand. Again, Macmillan, you rock my world.
________________________

On Makeshift Bookmark this past week...

Monday: Find out why Robin Benway's ALSO KNOWN AS has me dancing to "Bulletproof" by La Roux (and help yourself to your own little dance party.)
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday features some 2013 Debuts that are vital to my existence.
Wednesday: Click here! Look here! Win UNREMEMBERED by Jessica Brody!
Thursday: I reviewed Tiger Lily and included a rather awesome GIF of Tinkerbell throwing the bitchface.


Have a fabulous week, all!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jen's Thoughts: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson


Published: July 2, 2012
HarperCollins, hardcover, 292pgs
Source: purchased
GoodReads Summary: Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .
Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.
Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.
With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.
Confession: I totally had the hots for Disney Peter Pan when I was a young'n. (Don't be jelly, Mr. Jen. You know redheads aren't my thing. Also, the whole "someone drew him and flipped pages rapidly to make him move" thing means it probably never would've worked.) For real, though. He was the ultimate playboy. He flew into girls' windows with his sweet promises of "no wrinkles" and throwing responsibility to the wind, then took her to Neverland where he's got a WHOLE LAND full of catty women ready to beat down the competition. (Does anyone remember those bitchy mermaids? And how Tinkerbell got the Lost Boys to throw rocks at Wendy?) It was totally obvious that Peter was in love with Tiger Lily. They nose-kissed all over the place. Right in front of Wendy. RUDE. And I always just chalked it up to "oh, that's just Peter Pan. He's so wily and fun-loving and adorable."

The good news is: I don't care about that anymore. Because Jodi Lynn Anderson's book has me a certified Wendy-hater.
The bad news is: all my childhood feelings and excuse-making for Peter are destroyed.

Tiger Lily is a girl of few words. She lives a rough life, but she's strong and prefers to throw on her bitchface and stew in silence. That is, until she meets Peter Pan, who makes her see the world differently. Makes her want to be different and forget all she's ever known. But this is not a happy love story. This is a story of obligation, heartbreak, and resignation. And who seriously would've thought that such a story would end up being one of my favorites of all time?

Tiger Lily is narrated by Tinkerbell, which is one of my favorite aspects. Finally, the fairy who never speaks gets nearly 300 pages to tell a story. So not only do we get a look into one of the most underrated characters' lives (that's you, TL!) but also a glimpse into Tink's thoughts and why she was so uppity. And it's clear: Tink is awesome. Their story is far darker, murderous, and twisted than I ever imagined. And I loved it. And it's heartbreaking and infuriating to see just how misguided and broken Peter Pan is.
i love you, tinkerbell. make wendy walk the friggin' plank.

Tiger Lily isn't the action packed movie versions. It's a subtle read. It infiltrates your mind and soul and grabs hold of your heart strings and plays a sad, desperate tune. It's delicate, awful, and quietly chaotic. The last chapter (DON'T READ AHEAD, GUYS) was one of the most profound pieces of literature I've read in recent memory. (Or distant memory.) It made me feel feelings I had forgotten. (Or possibly had never known to exist.)

Whatever you know of Peter Pan, whether it be the original novel or just the movie versions (like me), read Tiger Lily. It makes me want to be all proper and use words like "profound" and "superb." Or maybe even make up words that can describe how MOVED I am after this epic reading experience.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Giveaway: Unremembered by Jessica Brody

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?
I read it. I reviewed it. I raved about it.

Now I want you to do the same thing (at least I hope. Don't make a liar out of me, people!) Just enter below and you can, too!

Oh, hey. And please read our privacy policy. This one's US/CA only, guys. Still recovering from Christmas, here.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top Ten 2013 Debuts I Need...STAT.



Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and born & raised by Jamie. Today we're talking 2013 authors and the debuts that are sure to rock our worlds. (All links go to GoodReads.)

1. Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans. You guys have no idea how stoked I am for this book. Lenore has been one of my favorites since 2010 when I started blogging and I so looked forward to her Cat Tuesdays (seriously, her Birmans are TO DIE FOR CUTE.) And lo and behold, she's got a book coming out. So proud of this girl!

2. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke. Gothic horror and crooked smiles. Yes and yes. I think I've read the book summary, like, five times in the last minute and this sounds unbelievably JEN. Plus, I'm in lust with the cover.

3. Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. I don't know what it is with me and dark, dreary covers, but I am drawn to them. The cover says "a novel of beauty & betrayal," and I do love me a good betrayal.

4. Infinite Sky by C.J. Flood. Aside from this cover being drop dead gorgeous, there are GYPSY BOYFRIENDS, you guys. Be still, my heart. 

5. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner. I loved Meagan's book Skylark, which was beautifully written and perfectly paced. And with this title? OUTERSPACE. My newfound YA love.

6. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett. Again, a book over which I'm drooling. A girl who invades the dreams of a cute guy. Oh, the potential scandal!

7. Transparent by Natalie Whipple. An invisible girl who is a weapon for her father's crime sprees? Color me intrigued!

8. Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller. Love triangle, the Bermuda Triangle, and a cruise ship. This one just screams guilty pleasure.

9. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd. It's a given that I will read anything with the word "gothic" in the synopsis, but this summary sounds all kind of insane. PLUS, a mad scientist for a father will probably produce some pretty quality storytelling.

10. All That Glows by Ryan Graudin. HA. This summary mentions things like "partying prince falls for a Kate Middleton-esque fae," and then "palace murder," and "paparazzi mayhem." GOOD LORD, it's like the Supernatural National Inquirer.



Monday, January 14, 2013

Jen's Thoughts: Also Known As by Robin Benway


Published: February 26, 2013
Walker Books, 380 pages
Source: publisher
Amazon Summary: Believe it or not, there are some drawbacks to being a 16-year old safecracker, daughter of spies, and member of a Robin Hood-esque organization that fights corruption. On the list: never getting to stay in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend, being the only spy ever to have a 10 p.m. curfew, and being sent on assignment to Russia. In the winter. For Maggie Silver, the major perk thus far has been the avoidance of high school, and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple Masterlocks on the lockers(If it’s three digits or less, why even bother?). But when Maggie and her parents are sent to New York on a major assignment, though, all of that changes. She’ll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school’s security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the information she needs to crack the case, all while trying not to blow her cover.

For those of you who enjoyed Ally Carter's Heist Society books: Also Known As is better.

There is just something about teenager girls who excel at criminal activity that just makes me fist pump all over the place. Maggie (Margaret, Meg, Peg, Mags, etc.) has been cracked locks and opening safes since she was 3 years old. No big deal, right? Except it is, because she is a total badass. And she helps bring big wig criminals to justice....by a life of essential crime, herself. But I like to think of it as a Robin Hood deal. The good intention cancels out the rule-breaking. Right? Right?!

So she's had high-profile international cases for the past 16 years of her life. Now she gets to go to high school and be the star in her own case. Except this one involves infiltrating the life and heart of a super cute boy and well.... hormones come into play. And can I give Robin Benway a high five for writing some of the best, most entertaining, and most supportive parents in recent memory? It's so refreshing to read about parents who are present and active in YA's lives and it's one of Also Known As' shining qualities.

After Audrey, Wait! I knew that anything written by Robin Benway would be chock full of wit and awesome and hilarious. Also Known As brought it, just as I'd hoped and dreamed. I flew through this book. Favorite part? Maggie feeling her way through her first date, first kiss, and first love. Jesse Oliver is so endearingly insecure and eager to please. When do we ever see that in YA? SELDOMLY. Definitely a coming-of-age story intertwined with incognito spy work, not to mention a lot of awesome best friend sprinkled on top. I loved La Roux. In fact, I am gonna need Robin Benway to write a best friend like this into existence for me, because these types of people just don't exist! (Also, Bulletproof played in my head every time I read her name. A little appropriate for the story, right? Crime? Spies? Bullets?)

Fans of Heist Society's nonstop action and of Audrey, Wait!'s wit and proper sarcasm (and sweet and awkward romance) need to drop what they're doing at this moment and preorder Also Known As.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

IMM (68) / Stacking the Shelves (9)

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 bought/borrowed/received for review/whatever, and get to see the awesomeness that others got, too.
_____________________________


All the awesomeness from Christmas and more!
The Entire Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin. Because my husband is awesome.

Alchemystic by Anton Strout (thanks, NAL!)
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (thanks, HarperTeen!)
The Lucky Ones by Anna Godbersen (thanks, Tara!)
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Defiance by CJ Redwine
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas