Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (89): Lailah by Nikki Kelly

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This week's teaser comes from Lailah by Nikki Kelly. I'm about to start this one and it looks like it could be pretty creepy. I guess I'll find out soon, but the cover is totally freaky. Pretty, but freaky.

Cracking its own neck from left to right, it trampled over the lifeless body, the curate's bones crunching underfoot. The creature strode through the chancel and crept inside the doorway of the vestry, where it waited.

{Lailah, Ch. 1}

Synopsis of Lailah:

The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely ally – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.

In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.

For more about Lailah check out these sites!

AmazonB&NBook DepositoryGoodreads

*All quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC. Quotes may not match the finished copy.*

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review: Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Title: Across a Star Swept Sea
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publish Date: October 15th, 2013

Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.

When I first read For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund I was swept up into a future dystopian society so unique, and yet so familiar, that I just knew the I needed to read its companion novel, Across a Star Swept Sea. I knew it would be equally fantastic, and boy was I right!

Across a Star Swept Sea had all the sci-fi, dystopian romance one could ever need, all wrapped up inside a clever and emotional retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel. The story revolves around Persis Blake, a seemingly ditzy aristocrat who's sole purpose in life is telling her princess best friend what clothes she should be wearing, and Justin Helo, the revolutionary grandson of the woman who singlehandedly saved an entire class of people and who is bound to follow in her footsteps. Oh, how two descriptions could be so wrong! Persis, for all her glamour and glitz, is living a secret life as The Wild Poppy, Albian's most illustrious spy. And Justin, no matter how hard he wants to do good for his people, seems to only be able to help his uncle, the tyrant ruler of Galatea, commit atrocities against them. Once these two, from warring countries, come together it's impossible to put the book down.

Persis plays up her stupidity to keep her secret identity, well, a secret. And Justin, never suspecting empty-headed Persis could possibly be the country's greatest rebel and the only hope for his people, gets incredibly annoyed with the dumb blonde. He picks and pokes at her lack of intelligence, casting her aside when he's trying to think. But, even with Persis playing up the dumb act, he still finds things about her to like and respect, which is why I liked Justin so much. He isn't the type to say "Hey, this girl's dumb, but super hot!" He states a few times that while he finds Persis physically attractive, he could never seriously be with someone he couldn't hold a conversation with. I respect that in a guy. Though, his attitude toward Persis could be annoying at times since, as the reader, we know her ditzy act is just that.

And poor Persis. No matter how much she accomplishes for the good of humanity, she's brushed aside because no on can ever know that she is The Wild Poppy. No one can know she has a solid head on her shoulders and cares more about philosophy than fashion. But she puts up with it because of the people she can save and because someone needed to do something to try and stop the horrors Justin's uncle was committing. I really enjoyed her as a character. She's a strong, courageous heroine who's willing to make sacrifices for the greater good. And I loved her relationship with Justin. Even though she liked him, she always put her people before her love life. Persis was definitely a heroine I admired.

Across a Star Swept Sea starts out looking enough like a companion novel, with the characters from For Darkness Shows the Stars make a brief cameo, but the stories of both books are intertwined to the point that it feels more like a true sequel. As I mentioned, it's also a retelling of The Scarlett Pimpernel by Emma Orczy, but since I've never read or seen any of the movie versions I can't say if it's a true retelling. I can say that I probably enjoyed this modern version far more than I would the original.

At its heart, Across a Star Swept Sea, is a tale of equality and what it truly means to be a hero. If you enjoy sci-fi or romance Across a Star Swept Sea is sure to suck you in and keep you begging for more.

For more about Across a Star Swept Sea check out these sites!

AmazonB&N • Goodreads

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (88): Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This week's teaser is  from Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts. I've been wanting to read this one for a while, so I'm really excited to finally have the chance. So far it's pretty good, though I do like Zac a little more than I like Mia at this point, but I haven't gotten too far in yet.

The truth is, I don't want to go to Disneyland or drive a Formula 1 with Michael Schumacher. When I finally get out of this room, the last thing I want is a fuss being made over me. All I want is to get under that huge blue sky, mucking about on the farm with Dad and Evan and playing football with the guys. Even helping Bec with the animals. I just want to be outside again, like I'm supposed to be.

{Zac & Mia, pg. 48}

Synopsis of Zac & Mia:

"When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics."

So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can't forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives.

The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.

For more about Zac & Mia check out these sites!

AmazonB&NBook DepositoryGoodreads

*All quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC. Quotes may not match the finished copy.*

Friday, August 15, 2014

Blog Tour Review: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

Title: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone
Author: Adele Griffin
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publish Date: August 12th, 2014

National Book Award-finalist Adele Griffin tells the fully illustrated story of a brilliant young artist, her mysterious death, and the fandom that won't let her go.

From the moment she stepped foot in NYC, Addison Stone’s subversive street art made her someone to watch, and her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more. I conducted interviews with those who knew her best—including close friends, family, teachers, mentors, art dealers, boyfriends, and critics—and retraced the tumultuous path of Addison's life. I hope I can shed new light on what really happened the night of July 28. - Adele Griffin

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffith is a unique contemporary novel that tells the story of a young artist, caught up in her own fame and the downward spiral that eventually leads to her death. It's a story of mental illness that really captures the reader and drags them into Addison's life, without her ever actually being present in the novel.

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone is unique because it's written as a biography. It's told entirely in interview form, which can be a little strange to read at first. Addison Stone, even if we're simply being told about her and never get to actually meet her, is so intriguing, so alive, it's not hard to get caught up in the story. But, I did find from time to time that I forgot which character was talking (at first), since there were so many interviewees. What's so interesting about learning about a character through interviews with others is that, while you learn about Addison, you learn more about the people themselves. Her parents each had their own story to tell, as did her teachers and friends, even her boyfriends. The guilt of failing Addison, of feeling they acted selfishly or thoughtlessly during her last days, can be felt in each of the characters interviews.

Like I said, there were so many characters throughout this book and they each had their own story to tell, but Lucy Lim, Addison's best friend, and Lincoln Reed were my favorite. It was the way they talked about knowing Addison, loving Addison. They don't just talk about themselves and what they were feeling and what Addy did to/for/at them. They talk about her and her feelings. They're the only characters that don't seem like they're imposing their own truth onto the story. It's through their eyes that you really feel like you're truly seeing Addison Stone.

One of the things that makes The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone special is that there's so much art throughout the book. Of course there would be, since Addison is a famous artist. There are Addison's paintings, photographs of Addison taken by friends or paparazzi. Personally, I enjoyed the mixed media presented in the book. I found myself reading about Addison's paintings and hoping there'd be a picture so I could see what everyone was talking about. It adds another dimension to the story and helps the reader better connect to Addison's life. Not to mention it makes the whole experience feel just a little more real, like Addison Stone could have been a real person.

Addison's life and art is the focus of the novel, but it's her mental illness that is at the heart of this story. It swirls around, constantly in the background, waiting to pounce. Griffin somehow made Addison's spiral into insanity seem real and terrifying, but still beautiful, much like Addison is described. Like the mental illness was just a part of her that she could never shake, no matter what meds she was on. But Addy doesn't start off crazy, just intense. The way you hear people describe some artists. It only takes a few pages to realize Addy sees the world differently than most people, but then things begin to escalate. Are the things she sees and hears real or is it all in her head? One thing's for certain, Addison's struggle is as real as they come and it's all laid out for us in this hauntingly tragic read.

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone is an addictive read. Like tabloid gossip. It's sensationalist and dramatic and it's perfect for Addison's story. It's got mystery, romance, just a touch of something that may or may not seem a little supernatural. This book is unlike anything I've read, so I'm not really sure how to recommend it other than saying: if the synopsis intrigues you, give it a shot. You will not be disappointed.

My Tribute to Addison Stone:

As part of the blog tour everyone was asked to tribute to Addison Stone in some way, so I wrote a little poem for her. Addison was an artist, a talent lost too soon, but she burned bright while she lived.

For more about The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone check out these sites!


Follow AddisonStoneArt on Tumblr!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (87): The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This week's teaser is from The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin, on sale today! If you like dark stories with a hint of mystery than this one is definitely for you. I really enjoyed it and I usually don't enjoy dark stories, but there was just something about this book. It's a faux biography about young artist Addison Stone and it's completely unlike anything I've read before.

I went to her gravesite a few days later. Had to see it for myself, by myself. All the flowers were blooming in the summer sunshine. It was real pretty. You wanna know something? You could still feel that girl's spirit. You could still feel all that love around her.

{The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone, pg. 11} 

Synopsis of The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone:

National Book Award-finalist Adele Griffin tells the fully illustrated story of a brilliant young artist, her mysterious death, and the fandom that won't let her go.

From the moment she stepped foot in NYC, Addison Stone’s subversive street art made her someone to watch, and her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more. I conducted interviews with those who knew her best—including close friends, family, teachers, mentors, art dealers, boyfriends, and critics—and retraced the tumultuous path of Addison's life. I hope I can shed new light on what really happened the night of July 28. - Adele Griffin

For more about The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone check out these sites!

Amazon • B&N • Goodreads

Monday, August 11, 2014

Author Interview: Jessica Stritch, author of The Man of a Thousand Faces

Today Jessica Stritch, author of The Man of a Thousand Faces, is stopping by to answer some lightning round questions in a mini interview! The Man of a Thousand Faces releases August 20th so mark your calendars!

Nineteen year old Achill has never left his training camp on Mars. With the revelation that his mother was exiled from the strict system after he was born he feels even more pressure to prove his loyalty and status as a fearless warrior who doesn't think before he kills. That is until he, who has never been taught of love or freedom, is sent on a secret mission for which he must travel through the other seven planets and fight for survival.

As his journey unfolds he will discover unknown truths, potential love and face the strangeness of the lives and culture of those raised so differently to him. He may even uncover the timeless mystery of the man of a thousand faces.

As tensions rise and the stakes are higher than ever Achill must decide who he is actually fighting for as he tries to understand both conflicts between the planets and also within himself.

Favorite book?

In the YA genre my favorite book has to be Jellicoe Road, I’ve read it a ridiculous amount of times now and have it as an audio book and its power never fades. The writing is raw and true, the characters broken and beautiful and the story woven together heartbreakingly. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to fully shake this book, it stays with you and every time I revisit it I’m rendered a wreck.

An author who inspired you?

Following on from that I’d have to say Melina Marchetta I think she is an inspiration as a YA writer because no subject is off limits no matter how small or grand. But her real power lies in her characters and the way she can make you fall in love with every last one of them even if you couldn't abide them at the start of the book. Their blended histories and discovery of their importance to each other are always so powerful that the characters live on in your head long after the last page.

Favorite snack to eat while reading/writing?

Ohhhhhh...Chocolate or toast J

Physical books or eBooks?

Tricky. I am old school at heart and I like to hold a real book, to feel the pages, to note it etc but you can carry so many ebooks on one device, I’m going travelling soon and if I were to take as many physical books as I am taking ebooks then my backpack would literally just be books. Not so practical I’m told.

Favorite quote?

This is a great question-I’m such a quotes person I've got my favorite ones stuck up all over my wall. If I had to pick one it would probably be:
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars. 
{On the Road}

For more about The Man of a Thousand Faces check out these sites!


Blog Tour: Ascension of the Whyte by Karen Wrighton

Today Karen Wrighton is stopping by with a Top Ten post as part of her Ascension of Whyte Blog Tour! Karen is telling us about the top ten places that epitomize The Afterlands, the world Ascension of the Whyte is set in. Check out all of the amazing real life places on the list as well as a giveaway and an excerpt from the book!

Sara Carson did not believe in life after death, Heaven, Hell or even reincarnation. However, what she didn't know was that some of us are special. For some of us, death is just the beginning of our next great adventure. Sara Carson was one of those special people, and her most incredible journey did not begin, until the day she died.

A magical début novel that will leave you breathless.

Top Ten Places That Epitomise The Afterlands:

Or... if I were a location scout for an Ascension of the Whyte Movie!

1. New Zealand: (The Afterlands)

No wonder New Zealand was chosen to represent Tolkien's LOR World, it is ideal as a fantasy land. I would LOVE to travel there!

2. Iceland: (Rhodium)

Iceland epitomises my idea of Rhodium. The combination of ice, snow and warm water is so fantasy land. It is definitely on my list of places to see before I die... or ascend!

3. Ireland: (Ferrum)

This land with it's wonderful, humorous people, it's captivating scenery and music gifted me my land of Ferrum and the Ferrish folk.

4. Lanzarote: (Hydrargyrum)

Bleak, and barren this volcanic land is so much like my idea of Hydrargyrum... I did visit here a few years ago, so maybe it is where I got the vision of Hydrargyrum and its people from. Here you can find geysers and active volcanic fire holes... it is a volatile place... ideal for dragons!

5. Peru: Puerta de Hayu Marka (Tollen's Gate)

The ancient Peruvians carved this (Stargate) into the rock... Just like Tollen's gate (only Tollen's Gate is round of course!) BEWARE AFREET!

6. Rome: Vatican City (Aurum Oratory)

I based my idea of the Aurum Oratory on the Vatican in Rome. I loved it so much when I was there and was blown away by its grandeur and opulence (Aurum is very Roman).

7. Japan: Terunobu Fujimori’s Tetsu Teahouse (Ebony Forest Houses)

This is exactly how I imagined the Ebony Forest Houses. I could not have designed them better myself, I could just picture the Elder Witch standing in the doorway here!

8. USA: Minnehaha Minneapolis (Frozen Falls)

Rhodium's famous Frozen Falls do not figure in book one, but hang on for book two when they do make a big splash, so to speak.

9. Sweden: Ice Hotel (Enisfrae's Great Ice Temple)

I fell in love with the idea of having ice cities in Rhodium, and what do you know, Sweden have got there already!

10. USA: Florida Green Swamp (Ferndell Swamp)

This is exactly how I pictured the woods around the swamp in Ferndell... I can almost hear the Rougarou howling, and isn't there someone lurking in the trees just there?

How wonderful would it be to be a location scout for a movie? If Ascension of the Whyte - The Movie, ever gets made, I think I will volunteer to check these out, but if not then they are going on my places to visit list (yes I am that sad, I do have a places to visit list!)

Karen Wrighton


Rose's response was swift, a perfectly executed block action accompanied by a clear command. The effect was instantaneous and dramatic, a blinding white energy stream flowed from her potens ring, transforming instantly into a rapidly moving wall of light which knocked Ash off his feet, lifted him up and carried him at great speed across the Arena. 
Goldin's hand shook as he retrieved his staff. He had never seen a novice perform a blocking spell with that much power.


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About the Author:

Karen Wrighton was born in a small town in the English county of Staffordshire and began writing prolifically and drawing from a young age. Karen trained as a Psychologist and Teacher before finally finding the time to pursue her love of writing, firstly by creating a successful Psychology blog and now by writing her first novel. Karen's début novel 'Ascension of the Whyte' is a magical epic fantasy novel for young adults and is to be the first book of the 'The Afterland Chronicles' series.

Karen's style is strongly influenced by the books she loves to read, such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. This is evidenced by the magical quality that pervades her writing.

Karen has two daughters and lives in Norfolk, England with her husband John.

To find out more about Karen and her book, or follow her on social networks click on the links below.

For more about Ascension of the Whyte check out these sites!


Follow the Tour HERE!

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