Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Rules For Disappearing Review + Giveaway

5-24-13


Synopsis via Goodreads:

She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.
Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.
 
But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, a Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.

The Review:

I had this on my to-read list on Goodreads, so when it finally came out on the fourteenth, I got an e-mail notification. Of course, I'd been awaiting it's release, and so when I saw a blog tour for The Rules For Disappearing I did a little happy dance and hurriedly signed up. I somehow forgot to read my arc until I received the Goodreads notification, which was, coincidentally, the same day the blog tour began. Thankfully, I still had ten days until my scheduled post. Because, of course, I stayed up until well past midnight to finish the book in one day. Obviously, because when a book is that good,  that's what you do. Anyway, so, the book?

When a synopsis has the words Witness Protection, and Survival, I'll read it. Sadly, this is the first book I've ever come across with those two words, but it definitely lived up to expectations. My absolute favorite part of the entire book were the actual Rules for Disappearing, written by Prisoner #18A7R04M (also known as Meg). For example:
You can only disappear successfully if you know who you need to disappear from.
And another:
Lay a false trail. You make it look like you're going this way. Then everyone looks that way. And then when they;re going that way, you really go the other way.When everyone gets to where they thought you were, you're somewhere else. Pretty simple, huh?
 
I really love these kinds of books. It reminds me of the 39 Clues series, except aimed at an older audience and with a completely different plot line. Maybe not so similar. First of all, there's that whole it's-not-contemporary part, because, truthfully, that's what I thought it was. Anyway the stuff that happens will probably never happen in real life, like, ever (because I read Room and then look what's on the news. It's...eerie and mega disturbing.)

The book was truly wonderful. You can connect with the characters their emotions and feelings, an the plot itself is very fast and thriller-y. I loved Meg and her family members, because although they're not perfect, they're believable and perfect in their own way. The book is humorous, sweet, scary, suspicious - just so many things all rolled up into one delicious book. And the mystery!! I absolutely love mysteries, and this was not exception. Although I was doing that one-eyebrow-raised thing as soon as Meg had her first nightmare. And of course, the major twists. I'm a sucker for twists, like, major plot -turn-it-upside-down-and-shake-it-up twists, and this had a few. And lots of other good stuff like Agent Thomas. Who is the awsomest character ever. I'm going to shut up now. 

Ashley Elston has a way with words. Sometimes YA books are told in an amateurish way, that the writing, the story, doesn't even flow together. Ashley's writing is the opposite. This is her debut novel, but she's definitely an author to keep an eye on. 
There were two minor things I didn't like. Ethan is perfect. Like, perfect, perfect. And the ending. Is there going to be a sequel? Please let there be a sequel. And then I'll excuse the ending, entirely. 
I'd really recommend this book to everybody. So hurry up and go read it. Or enter the giveaway below and cross your fingers.

Expected Publication: May 14th 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
 
Purchase: Amazon

About the Author

Ashley Elston lives is North Louisiana with her husband, three sons and two cats. She worked as a wedding and portrait photographer for ten years until she decided to pursue writing full time. Ashley is also a licensed Landscape Horticulturist and helps her husband run a commercial lawn and landscaping business. They also custom harvest pecans and have cows. Yes, cows.



The S-Word Review Stop

5-2-13

First it was SLUT scribbled all over Lizzie Hart’s locker.
But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie's looping scrawl. 
Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she's caught with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie's own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out. 
Debut author Chelsea Pitcher daringly depicts the harsh reality of modern high schools, where one bad decision can ruin a reputation, and one cruel word can ruin a life. Angie’s quest for the truth behind Lizzie’s suicide is addictive and thrilling, and her razor-sharp wit and fierce sleuthing skills makes her impossible not to root for—even when it becomes clear that both avenging Lizzie and avoiding self-destruction might not be possible.

 I'd imagine this book is like Going Under by S. Walden. Although I've only read the synopsis of Going Under, and need to get my hands on the book, so take my comparison with a grain of salt. 

This is a mystery novel at heart, and I'm a detective at heart, so we worked together wonderfully.  loved the pacing. Not too fast, nor too slow, giving us the pieces to the puzzle at exactly the right time, and always leaving me wanting more. At the risk of sounding cliche, this is one of those stories full of betrayal, love, trust (more lack of trust, in fact), regret, lots of secrets, and a little psychoism. First of all, I love the emotions in this book. Usually, mystery books don't really leave you emotionally connected to the characters, but this was perfect. The plot is thrilling, a roller coaster ride. Also, the notebook pages were quite brilliant. Imagine a dead girls' diary entries appearing around the school, each entry to the corresponding person it talks about. That was probably my favorite part of the book. There's a huge plot twist - like, huuuge - towards the end, that leaves you gaping and blinking and trying to get your head around. A genius plot twist that earns the book an extra star. 

Lizzie's character is not perfect - far from it, in fact - but she's intriguing, complicated, and perfect in her own messed up way. And she makes an excellent sleuth. She's not sure what she's looking for. Why did Lizzie really kill herself? Why didn't she apologize to Angie, since everything was her fault? And how could what was supposed to be the best year of high school go so, so wrong? And, do you believe in ghosts? (Actually, no, there are no ghosts.)

I also like how Chelsea deals with the topic of having a friend commit suicide. She's overcome by guilt, by anger, by so many emotions that they end up overtaking her. 

I feel like saying anything else would spoil the book for you, so I'm going to shut up now.

I'd give this book a 6 out of 5 stars. Or 10. Simply amazing. Do NOT let this book pass you - a great read and I recommend it for everyone, even people who don't like mysteries. I promise you'll enjoy this one.


Release date: May 7th 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

PurchaseAmazon
About the Author

Chelsea Pitcher is a native of Portland, OR where she received her BA in English Literature. Fascinated by all things literary, she began gobbling up stories as soon as she could read, and especially enjoys delving into the darker places to see if she can draw out some light. 

Official links: chelseapitcher.com | @Chelsea_Pitcher

Book Blitz: Arrow Of the Mist

4-7-13




Arrow Of The Mist, a new YA fantasy from author Christina Mercer. It's a book Blitz thing, and because I love he word Blitz, I'm participating. Blitz, blitz, blitzy blitz. Plus, there's a giveaway, which ultimately means free stuff. And I'm pretty sure everybody out there loves free stuff. The book cover also looks cool, and I have two special excerpts for you as well. So it's a win-win situation. Even if you don't win the giveaway. And the giveaway is international (and all the way at the bottom)! For all my international friends out there.




Arrow of the Mist  by Christina Mercer
Publication date: March 21st 2013
Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis:
Terror strikes the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona when barbed roots breach the veil of a forbidden land and poison woodsmen, including 15-year-old Lia’s beloved father. Lia and three others embark on a quest to the forbidden land of Brume to gather ingredients for the cure. But after her elder kinsman is attacked and poisoned, she and her cousin, Wynn, are forced to finish the quest on their own.

Lia relies on her powerful herbal wisdom and the memorized pages of her late grandmother’s Grimoire for guidance through a land of soul-hungry shades, trickster creatures, and uncovered truths about the origin of Brume and her family’s unexpected ties to it. The deeper they trek into the land, the stronger Lia’s untapped gift as a tree mage unfolds. When she discovers the enchanted root’s maker, it forces her to question everything about who she is and what is her destiny. Ultimately she must make a terrible choice: keep fighting to save her father and the people of the lands or join with the power behind the deadly roots to help nature start anew.


PURCHASE: 


---
Excerpt

Nettles stung Lia’s flesh. She pressed her fingers against her mouth for relief. This is what I get for letting my thoughts wander. Grandma wouldn’t have been so careless while harvesting sting-leaf. She wouldn’t have let the villagers’ opinions prick at her mind, no matter how many called her mad for crafting remedies in the old ways.

Koun whined and nudged Lia’s arm with his nose. 

“I’m all right, boy.” Lia gazed into her hound’s violet eyes and then turned her attention to the friendlier mallow plant. Its white flowers matched Koun’s coat and its leaves and roots promised a soothing balm for the nettle’s bite. She’d make another batch of salve for Da, too. He swore her “potions” kept his hands fit enough for hewing wood and soft enough for holding Ma. Her ma could use a bit more mallow infusion for her soaps, as well, and she’d take a bundle of clippings to Granda—

Her thoughts scattered as Koun shot from the garden. Lia whirled around to the pair of horses charging up the path. She squinted in the dusky light and recognized Da’s friend, Kenneth, on one of the horses. Then her insides went cold. Across the other horse’s back lay Da’s limp body.

She dropped the harvested mallow and sped from her garden toward them. Ma’s scream shot like a bolt through her, but Kenneth’s words, “He’s alive,” offered Lia a morsel of hope.

Kenneth carried Da into the cottage, and Lia caught a glimpse of her father’s torn and bloodied clothing. “I’ll fetch Granda,” she cried, and hurried to her filly. 

Clad in her usual boy’s breeches and high leather boots, Lia raced her horse down the path with her heart pounding in rhythm to the hoof beats.
Reviews

“Ancient magic and herbal lore mark this engaging, fast-moving fantasy with a botanical bent. Lia, 15, is a winning heroine, discovering and wielding her magical gifts. Smoothly crafted writing conjures up a wondrous world where trees impart wisdom and dwarves tend ancient and powerful crystals. Well-developed characters, elegant dialogue, trickster creatures, exciting scenes of mystic battle and intriguing riddles stir up a powerful potion that will charm readers.” –Publishers Weekly

“Arrow of the Mist is an intriguing, well crafted fantasy novel for young adults. It abounds with magic, mystery and adventure. Lia is a girl whom the reader will cheer on as she labors to save her beloved father.” –ABNA Expert Reviewer

“A fresh voice in the YA fantasy genre, Mercer blends a delicious mix of Celtic lore, herbal remedies, threatening foes and the romantic tension of first love. Arrow of the Mist takes you on a coming of age journey with heroine Lia, leaving you breathless in the battle scenes and soothed in the tender moments.” –Susan Salluce, MA, Author of Out of Breath




AUTHOR BIO
Christina Mercer writes fiction in addition to mothering two young adults, a pack of large dogs, and about 100,000 honeybees. She's been an avid reader since she could walk and took her first writing job at age 10 as reporter for her local 4-H group. Her varied interests and ambidextrous skills prompted her to study creative writing in college, earn her official degree in Accounting from California State University at Sacramento, become a CPA., acquire a certificate in Herbal Studies from Clayton College of Natural Health, and become a hobbyist beekeeper. She took Writer’s Best in Show at the 2012 SCBWI CA North/Central Regional Conference and was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakout Novel Award Contest. You can find her at www.christinamercer.com
or blogging with the girls over at www.indie-visible.com 

Author Links:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, August 5, 2013

Submerged Blog Tour Interview

5 - 16 - 13


I got to do an exclusive interview  with YA author, Nicole Sobon, for the Submerged blog tour. Read on for why she chose to go the self-publishing route, how she almost lost her final copy of Submerged, and how she wrote a dystopian. (And is it just me, or does Nicole look a little like Katie Holmes in that picture?)

Submerged (Outbreak, #1)

Submerged (Outbreak #1)
Released: February 14th 2013
Purchase: Amazon

After a mysterious virus makes its way into the United States, the government demands that states seal themselves off from one another and do their best to protect their surviving residents. When the state of Florida is bordered off from the surrounding states, Taylen Fincher, a seventeen-year-old girl with a yearning for her former life finds herself wondering how much of what they’ve been told is true.

When Troum took control of the state, he told the residents that the other states had fallen to the virus and that he wouldn’t allow the same thing to happen to them. But Taylen doesn’t believe it. She insists that there is still life outside of the state, and she is going to do whatever it takes to prove it… but her actions will cost her more than she ever expected.

Troum kidnaps Taylen’s sister, Penelope, in hopes of coaxing her into behaving – into being a submissive resident, much like the others. But Taylen isn’t one to give in that easily.

Eager to rescue her sister, Taylen will set out on an adventure that’ll force her to open her heart to the unexpected and to uncover secrets that will change everything.
 
 
 
Nicole SobonAbout the Author

Nicole Sobon is a YA author of several novels, including Program 13, The Emile Reed Chronicles, Capture, No Place Like Home, and the latest Submerged. This is the first in her dystopian duology. 


And now, for the interview!



Are any of your characters inspired/based on real people you know?
There were a few characters from No Place Like Home that were inspired by individuals that I’ve met (their attitudes and habits), but otherwise, no. I try not to allow my personal life to inspire the stories I write.

Why did you want to write dysopia, and where did the inspiration for this story come from?
Submerged is a book that I worked on for approximately two years. I started working on it while I was revising Program 13 back in 2011. I had this story in my head, and I needed to get it out, so I started writing, not entirely sure where I was going with it. I never actually set out to write a dystopia, it just kind of happened, I guess. (Although I do enjoy dystopian books – Brave New World is actually one of my favorite books.)

What’s one of the silliest OR most horrifying stories that happened to you relating to the publication of this book?
Hm, this is a very good question. I think the most horrifying thing that happened to me when it came to publishing this book was that I nearly lost the final file. I tend to save numerous copies of my manuscripts, and I overrode the existing, fully edited, manuscript on accident. Thankfully I had saved a duplicate copy on my laptop (instead of my flash-drive), or else I would’ve needed to re-edit the entire thing.

Do you have a special writing spot? Is there a story behind it?
My special writing spot is actually outside on my patio. It’s easier to focus when I’m away from any distractions. (I tend to get easily distracted.)

Did you have to do any research for SUBMERGED?
I did have to do some research, mainly for the original beginning (which was cut). There were a lot of military references included in that version. Other than that, not really. The book is actually set in my hometown, so I knew the setting very well.

What are the top three books on your TBR pile?
Oh man. The top three books on my TBR pile are:
1.     Insurgent by Veronica Roth: I honestly have no clue why I haven’t read this one yet. I adored Divergent!
2.     Wait for You by J. Lynn: I’ve been too busy playing catch up with her other books, so I haven’t really had time to read this one yet. Soon!
3.     The Collector by Victoria Scott: I’ve heard great things about this one!

What are the three things on your desk right now? (Or on your bed – my bed is my personal desk, laptop and all ).
Three things on my desk:
1.     My laptop – I’m working on Deprogrammed right now, so my laptop is never out of my sight. ;)
2.     My Kindle.
3.     A notebook full of jumbled thoughts that will, hopefully, become a story at one point or another.

What’s the worst part of writing for you?
The worst part about writing for me would probably have to be editing. I love editing, and yet I hate it at the same time. By the time I’m finished with a story, I’ve already read it at least twenty times, so trying to catch my mistakes is going to be difficult, which is why I have betas and editors. Editing is certainly a pain, but the end product is always worth it.

What’s one question you wish interviewers would ask, but have never asked? And the answer?
Oddly enough, I’ve never had a blogger ask me why I went the self-publishing route. I did seek out traditional publishing, however, whenever I got close to signing with an agent or a publisher, something happened, and things didn’t work out. Some examples: agent signed a client a week earlier with a similar premise, they’d reached their publication limits for the year and wanted me to resubmit the same book the following year, and they couldn’t take on another sci-fi novel. Near the end, before I decided to self-publish, I had managed to get so close that I started to question whether it was worth it. But I had readers that were genuinely interested in the stories that I was writing, so I decided to seek out other forms of publication. Self-publishing just seemed like the best bet, and I am extremely happy with my decision.

And finally, when can we expect the next book of the series?
There will be a digital short from Ana’s POV released this June. As for the next book, that will, hopefully, be out by January. It really depends on when my writing schedule clears up. I want to have it ready by January, but I can’t promise anything just yet. 


Intro/Explanation

This blog is an archive. Which is kind of funny, since I haven't even started blogging on it, but it should link from my normal blog - where I regularly post (justsimplynothing.blogspot.com). All posts here are past blog tour posts. Why? Blog tour posts are kind of an advertising, which means there is a lot of unnecessary info that I'd rather not include - the author's bio and picture, his or her links, the books links, links on goodreads, on amazon, on every darn place the book shows it's cover, and a bunch of other annoying tidbits of information that's not particularly helpful to the post. I don't want to completely delete the posts, because, let's face it, that wouldn't be fair to the author, and it took time and brainpower to write those posts. But I now have so many blog tour posts on my blog that it feels cluttered - all that extra information everywhere you scroll. So, I'm simply moving all blog tour posts to this blog, which looks really ugly right now, but I promise I'll pretty it up when I have time. I will also include the original posted date at the top of the post, since it will look like they were all posted on the same few days. Enjoy!

P.S. What really sucks-butt is that any and all awesome comments will be deleted in the process.