Saturday, June 19, 2010

In My Mailbox aka Amber plays catch up

In my Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren in which bloggers share the books they have received each week.

Holy smokes it's been a while since I've posted one of these so here we go!

For Review:

  • Manifest by Artist Arthur (Publisher for Blog Tour)
  • The Replacements by Breanna Yovanoff (Publisher - Surprise book!)
  • The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Millers (Publisher - Surprise book!)
  • The Tensions of Opposites by Kristina McBride (Publisher)
  • Lifted by Wendy Toliver (Author)
  • Deception by Lee Nichols (Publisher for Blog Tour)
  • The Boy Who Could Fly by James Norcliffee (Publisher)
  • Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Publisher)
  • Grace by Elizabeth Scott (Publisher - Surprise book!)
  • The Secret Diary of Ashley Juergens (Surprise book from publisher and yes, it's the chick from The Secret Life show)
  • You Wish by Mandy Hubbard (Publisher - Surprise book! I already read this via Around the World Tours and thought it was pretty cute. Review will be posted closer to release date.)
  • Freefall by Mindi Scott (Traveling ARC Tours)
  • Under My Skin by Judith Graves (Author for participating in her blog tour)
  • Love Bites: A Vampire Kisses Novel by Ellen Schreiber (Publisher - Surprise book! This is #7 in the series...I've never read the other books. Anyone know if they're good??)
Not pictured:
  • Siren by Tricia Rayburn (Publisher)
  • Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs (Traveling ARC Tours)
  • Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner (Traveling ARC Tours)
  • 13 To Life by Shannon Delany (Traveling ARC Tours)
Last month I wasn't able to go to the Cassandra Clare signing in St. Louis like I had planned, but the awesome Emma who has been trying forever to get me to a signing with her (one day!) was nice enough to get my copy of City of Bones signed and also get my sister's copy of City of Glass signed. She even sent me a poster and a bookmark. 

Also last month I got a birthday package from my wonderful amazing friend Sab! *does happy dance* Inside was a signed copy of If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This book is one of my all time favorite reads and bonus Sab got me the paperback which has my favorite cover on it :) Thanks again Sab!! You rocks my socks :)

Even though I already showed it once in the above pile, I have to give a special spotlight to the book I'm currently reading:

I'm only half way through, but I think this is going to be one of my favorite debuts of 2010! I love a main male character and Mindi has hit the nail on the head with Seth.

All right kids, that's it for me. What did you get this week and what are you reading?


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rock This! Thursday Interview with author Lee Nichols

Rock This! Thursday is a weekly feature we have where we discuss books that are about or centered around one thing we love the most: MUSIC! Once in a while we'll even throw in a concert story, a band/artist you should hear, or feature bloggers and authors in an interview.

If you are an author or blogger who would like to participate in Rock This! Thursday click here.

Where did the idea of Deception come from?

Wanting to write a contemporary gothic novel with a kick-butt heroine.

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
The only thing I can come up with is Staying Alive. The Wyclef Jean version. I don't know what that says about me. Probably nothing good.

I know some authors make playlists for their novels. Did you have one for Deception? If so, can you share a few songs with us?
I think Elbow's Mirroball makes a good theme song. And I played over and over a couple songs with nasty lyrics that I'd probably get in trouble with parents for posting. Let's just say the refrain from one of them was "I'm a bad man.”

Did you base your main character Emma off of anyone you know?
No. I almost never write about people I know.

Name a song that you think would make an interesting read.
Good question. Why aren't more movies based on songs? I'm sort of obsessed with Elbow lately. They've got a song called Grounds for Divorce that would make a great, but sad film. I think the song is about alcholism and a friend who recently died, but it has so many great lyrics that could mean anything. I'd love to write a paranormal YA novel inspired by the line "There's a hole in my neighborhood down which of late I cannot help but fall." Where does it lead? Someplace cool. And the "Seldom Seen Kid" would be such a great title. And I love the line, "I've been working on a cocktail called Grounds for Divorce," though should say, this has nothing to do with the state of my own marriage.

How many books are going to be in this series?
Three. BETRAYAL comes out next March and hopefully the third book, POSSESSION will be out late 2011.

You're given a golden concert ticket to see ANY band from ANY decade - who's it going to be?
That's like asking me to pick my favorite novel. I just can't make a decision.

Finally have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?
Only in my own mind.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Review: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready (Book #1)

Released: May 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult - Paranormal - Series
Pages: 309
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart.

Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.

Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.

It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding--and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.

As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Published: April 2010
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary Fiction - Romance
Publisher: Walker & Company
Pages: 304
Source: My sister's bookshelf

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.


Being a huge fan of the first book in this series, Perfect Chemistry, I was more than thrilled when I finally got my hands on this. It's hard obviously not to compare the two books together because it's the same series and they're a lot of like.

This time around we're introduced to a bad boy named Carlos.  Oh...where do I begin with him? Alex has nothing when it comes to this Fuentes brother. While borderline obnoxious, the things that would fly out of this Carlos's mouth had me laughing and sometimes blushing like mad. Sparks start to fly shortly with Kiara who was your average girl without being a typical Mary Sue. The reaction between the two were always amusing and sometimes extremely steamy. Which is why I would recommend this more for older teens rather than younger due to some scenes in the book.

Even though the plot is slightly cheesy, it still kept me glued. But you know what? I love cheesy. I can't see anyone putting this book down because while Kiara and Carlos's attraction wasn't as powerful as I thought it would be, I had to know what's going to happen to them. Simone Elekes knows how to make you care about her characters up until the very end. Did I think Rules of Attraction topped Perfect Chemistry? No, but it was still a great read. I'm so looking forward to reading the last installment of the Fuentes brothers.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blog Tour: Rock This! Thursday Interview with Shannon Delany

Welcome to Shannon Delany's Start Your Day with Serial Tour! Shannon's debut novel (and first in her YA paranormal series) 13 to Life started as a winning cell phone novel written in serial segments. During the tour you can read bits of the book in order. Miss a day? Hop to Shannon's blogand check the link to the blog tour calendar in her sidebar.

And now we're going to kick back and discuss some music and books with Shannon!

How does it feel being a debut author?

Being a debut author is all at once exciting, terrifying and mind-blowing. You never know what's going to happen next and most of the time you want to scream (for me that's equal parts out of thrill and horror)! It's like having a five year old child. VERY much like it. ;-)

When writing 13 to Life were there any songs that you felt fit the theme of the story? If so you could share a couple with us?

YES! Music is always playing in the deep, dark recesses of my brain and each of my main characters has his/her own playlist. There are a few songs I think fit one of the themes and some of the emotional background of this series... Nickelback: "If Today was Your Last Day," 3 Doors Down: "It's Not My Time," and Spill Canvas: "All Over You."

You're walking down the street - what song is following you?

The Middle by Jimmy Eat World --It's on my author's playlist for the mornings I'm dragging my way to coffee and writing.

Let's say your character Jess gets two tickets to see whatever band she wants. What band is it and who would she take with her?

Wow. She'd either go with Pietr to Snow Patrol or with Amy to Linkin Park. (Geez, I know I'll totally change my mind on both of those in five minutes...)

Who is your favorite singer/band? Why are they you're favorite?

I *so* can't choose a favorite. My taste is actually freakishly eclectic. I listen to everything from musicals (Les Miserables, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar being favorites currently) to the Gorillaz, My Chemical Romance, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi and Metallica. (Yes, I'm old. LOL) I can even enjoy classical music from time to time. In small doses. Otherwise I start to twitch. ;-)

Tell us a song that you think would make an interesting book?

Wow. There are so many that would make great scenes for any number of books! A whole book from one song? Can't come up with a single single! I guess I always think of a book with a soundtrack of music (like a movie). Different songs for different scenes and emotions.

We're always up for new music. Care to share five songs we should be listening to

Yikes! I should totally be asking *your* readers that question... So, gang, what five songs would you say give insight to the current teen experience? Like, if I wanted to be better educated musically (having been a teen mumble-mumble years ago) what should I be listening to? OR. When YOU think of werewolves and paranormal mayhem, what songs play in the back of *your* heads? I'd say (just for rounding out a listening experience) listen to Imagine by Lennon, In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel, Face Down by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Zombie by The Cranberries, Desert Rose by Sting, and Whenever Wherever by Shakira. Crud. That's six. That's why I have an agent--don't like the counting. ;-)

Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?

Heck yeah! When we were first preparing for contract negotiations for this series we got contacted by a movie producer. Since then we've heard of a couple other production companies expressing interest in 13 to Life. Who knows what'll come of it? But stuff like that makes you feel like a rock star as a writer *just* because someone noticed it. Heck, getting signed for a three book deal with a NYC publisher first time out was definitely a rock star moment for me. I kept waiting for them to look around and go, "Hey! You're nobody. Forget it. We thought you were somebody else." LOL (Refer to #1's answer regarding such neurotic writer moments. ;-)

If you weren't an author what else do you think you would be doing?

I'd still be freelancing in art and writing and working to make my farmstead self-sufficient. *shrug* Still writing--always writing. :D

If you could meet any musician - living or dead - who would it be?

I'll be greedy and choose two--Sting and Bono. They're both diversely talented and have done amazing stuff for other people. *That* rocks!

Shannon's hosting several contests during the Start Your Day with Serial Tour. The big contest will award one lucky winner with a royal amber pendant, pietersite jeweled bookmark, stuffed wolf, 13 to Life mousepad, pen, tote, signed poster, personalized copy of 13 to Life and both of the 13 to Life pins. All you need to do is comment at 13 of the blogs hosting Shannon during her 30 day tour. Everyone who does so will be entered into a random drawing. Winner may be international.

As part of her tour, Shannon's also giving out sneak peeks throughout the month from her book:

For information on the previous section, visit He Followed Me Home...Can I Keep Him?

13 to Life: Chapter 3, part J (used with the author’s permission)

My eyes must have gone saucer-wide at the insult. Amy's hand grabbed my wrist, my fingers tight around the fork I was ready to launch at my newest nemesis. "What?" I demanded, narrowing my eyes.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Released: May 2001 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 352
Source: Big Honcho Media

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.


Amy & Roger's Epic Detour is definitely a book you do not want to miss out on if you've ever wanted to take a cross country road trip. What a wonderful way to explore America without ever leaving your house! I thought the maps, playlist, pictures, and Amy's entries in her travel journal were a clever touch to really make you feel like you were with Roger and her.

Amy was pretty bland at the beginning of the novel. It made the read a bit drabby at first, but after I passed the first fifty pages - I was pretty much sold. While being on a road trip just for about a week doesn't seem like that long of a time for a person to change, it is. Knowing more and more about Roger and Amy and seeing them both tackle things in their past made the pages fly by. The plot itself isn't very fast paced, but it makes for a great character growth read. I think those that like a more action fast plot might not like this one too much.

One thing I have to point out is how much I enjoyed seeing both characters experience everything around them. Neither of the characters had really been outside of California so when they stumbled upon the Midwest (where I'm from) I was probably cracking up a bit more than I should have. Especially when they arrived at a Sonic, and had no clue what it was. Or when they hit Kentucky and never had sweet tea. (No sweet tea? You people are living without!) It was pretty neat seeing all the differences that many states have. 

After I read this book, I texted my sister asking if she wanted to make a small road trip of our own. So at the end of the month we're hitting up Graceland! So I say pick this book up, enjoy Morgan Matson's wonderful writing, and see where it takes you. Who knows, you might end up on a road trip of your own. 


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red (#1) by Jackson Pearce

Released: June 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: Paranormal - Fairy Tales - Series
Pages: 336
Source: Around the World Tours

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris-- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.


I'll admit I wasn't overly impressed with Jackson Pearce's debut novel so I was a bit weary on reading another one by her, but I'll just say it now: This book was completely and utterly awesome!

I haven't read a book with such a kick ass opening in I don't know how long. From the synopsis you can tell that this is in a way a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood. That's also a fairy tale I used to love as a kid. I absolutely could not get enough of Jackson's spin on things.

Sisters Red is written in modern times, but yet still had the magic that an old tale would have. Both sisters were written so well and very developed. I loved reading the sisterly bond between Scarlett and Rosie. They were so much alike yet so different it was the perfect balance between the two. Though sometimes I wanted to strangle Scarlett in her overly stubborn ways, I could sympathize why she was the way she was.

The world of how the Fenris are and how one becomes this creature was awesome! I never felt lost like I do in some paranormal type reads. The action in this book will keep you on your toes not to mention the twists that come along as well. Jackson Pearce has won me over and I'm so excited to read more of her darker type of tales.