Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cover For Me 7

Cover For Me is all about book covers and what I think of them. Sometimes it will just be one cover, sometimes it will be different covers for the same book.

This week's cover is...

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wish List Wednesday 40

What?


Anna and the French Kiss

Sunday, March 20, 2011

On My Shelf (8)

On My Shelf highlights books I've acquired and read in the past week, as well as a little about what I'm writing, and other blog worthy news. I think it's pretty obvious where I got my inspiration for the feature from, but I will follow blog etiquette and link to Kristi (In My Mailbox @ The Story Siren), Sheila (It's Monday, What Are You Reading? @ Book Journey), and Kate (The Shelf Report @ The Neverending Shelf) anyway. ;)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wish List Wednesday 39

What?


The Demon Trapper's Daughter

CSN Giveway Winner

Since my CSN giveaway ended last night, it's time to announce the winner! First, I'd like to thank Orchid for helping me tally entries yesterday when I had a headache, and of course the people at CSN, without whom this contest wouldn't have been possible.

And the winner of the $35 gift code to CSN Stores is...

Brooke at Brooke Reviews! Congrats!

I've already emailed the winner, and since this is a gift code giveaway there's no deadline or anything. Thanks to everyone who entered! ^_^

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Scorpia Rising Book Trailer

I'm not usually one to post book trailers, but COME ON! It's Alex Rider, I couldn't resist! If you're a fan of Alex Rider, this video will only increase your excitement for the *sob* final book in the series. I can't believe Scorpia Rising comes out this month! I thought it would never come out, and now the release date has kind of snuck up on me. I'll definitely have to go buy it as soon as it hits the shelves.



Now go, count down the seconds until you can get your hands on Scorpia Rising.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Winner of Hex

The entries have been tallied, the randomizer has done its thing, and the winner has been picked. The person that will be receiving a copy of Ramona Wray's debut book is...

Aanchal of Book Flame! Congrats!

The winner has already been emailed and has 48 hours to reply with their mailing info, or another winner will be picked. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In Case You Haven't Heard

For those of you that don't follow me on twitter, just thought I'd remind you that it's the last day to enter my giveaway for Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale by Ramona Wray. If you're over 13, live in the US, and want this book, I suggest you go fill out the form on the giveaway post. The contest closes at midnight tonight, so you better hurry.

That's all for now. I'll announce the winner tomorrow.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

On My Shelf (7)

On My Shelf highlights books I've acquired and read in the past week, as well as a little about what I'm writing, and other blog worthy news. I think it's pretty obvious where I got my inspiration for the feature from, but I will follow blog etiquette and link to Kristi (In My Mailbox @ The Story Siren), Sheila (It's Monday, What Are You Reading? @ Book Journey), and Kate (The Shelf Report @ The Neverending Shelf) anyway. ;)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith


Beneath Heaven is Hell. Beneath Hell is Furnace. Furnace Penitentiary: An underground hellhole. A place of pure evil with walls soaked in blood. Murderous gangs and vicious guards rule the darkness. Horrific creatures steal people away in the dead of night. And the impossible - escape - is the only hope.
I had no idea what to expect from this book. I certainly knew what I wanted from it--good writing and a bit of a scare--and I got that. I got more than that.

Lockdown was... amazing. If you know me, you'll know that I don't often get attached to book characters, but not with this one. The whole time I was reading, I was afraid of what was going to happen to Alex and his friends. I have never worried about a character like that before. I didn't really like being stressed the whole time I was reading, but it really shows Smith's talent for characters. What I also loved about the characters was how flawed they were. Too often in YA books the characters are perfect, or only have one flaw you can tell the author only added to avoid perfection, but in Lockdown the characters were perfectly flawed. They all had something to offer the book, and I don't think it would have been as good as it was had even one of them been removed.

One thing I was not expecting from this book was humor. I mean, it's about teenagers being sent to a hell like prison full of murderers and insane guards (and many other frightening things), so humor was the last thing I expected to find here. I really don't think I would have liked it as much without this one element. The humor was perfectly woven in, never taking away from the story or ruining the scare factor.

Smith painted an incredibly vivid picture of Furnace, making it easy to imagine every horrifying detail. It definitely succeeded in scaring me, though I wonder how much of that had to do with the actual place or if it was more the things it contained. And yes, I means things. The beasts of Furnace were... Disgusting? Terrifying? Best left in the pages of a book? Let's go with all of the above. I have to say, though, I always imagined the blacksuits looking like the Stabbington Brothers from Tangled (mostly because I started the book the same night I saw the movie). That didn't make them any less terrifying, but they were definitely the most tame of the prison dwellers (after the inmates, of course). The wheezers and dogs *shudders* were definitely the scariest. I often regretted reading this late at night, because I rarely wanted to go to bed after scenes with the dogs and wheezers (especially since the wheezers only appeared at the blood watch).

I can't really think of anything else to say about this book, not without spoiling it. The pacing was excellent, and though one part of the story took a while to get going, I was never bored. In fact, there were times I wished less would happen just so I wouldn't have to worry about the characters so much! This is a new favorite, I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series and looking into anything else Alexander Gordon Smith writes. This book had it all; great characters, wonderful writing, interesting (and frightening) world, fantastic story. I don't think there was an emotion I didn't feel from reading this book. Not a lot of books can do that to me. This is a rare find, one of those books you read and wish you could give to everyone else. Pure awesome.

If I still used that rating system, Lockdown would get Too Much Rock for One Hand without question. But since that rating has been discontinued (I couldn't come up with a steampunk version), all I can offer is 5 cogs.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Interview with Ramona Wray, Author of Hex & Giveaway

I have a special guest visiting All By MySHELF today. Please give a warm round of applause to Ramona Wray, author of Hex, a Witch and Angel Tale! I had the great opportunity to interview Ramona, so without further ado, onto the Q&A.


1. Can you describe your book in 7 words?

Seven, let's see : funny, emotional, easy read, hopeful, quirky, entertaining.
2. Have you always wanted to be a writer, or did the Muse just strike you one day with a story you had to write?

I didn't always know I wanted to be a writer, but I've been writing all my life. It was just something I did, and I never stop to think and try to attach a purpose to it. I was lucky enough to receive a fair amount of positive feedback and I guess, ultimately, that was what got me thinking. Eventually, I wanted more.
3. Is there anything you can't write without, such as music, a certain snack, etc.?

I can't write for adults, but that's about it. Out of that context, I can't imagine anything I couldn't write about.
4. The impossible question: What's your favorite book?

Okay, that is impossible! I either love or, at the very least, like every book I pick up. Jenny Downham's 'Before I Die' was a great novel, and one that stayed with me. But then I love 'Sense and Sensibility' - I must have read it ten times, as I did with 'To Kill A Mockingbird'.  I'm sorry I don't have a simpler answer :)
5. Where's the most interesting place you've ever been?

Italy. I lived in Milan, and then up the coast for a while. It's a country that has it all - the history, the mind-blowing art, amazing food, and let's not forget about the shoes, and the fashion.
6. What's your favorite thing about writing? Your least favorite thing?

Writing hushes the world, for me. Everyday life is usually so loud, and busy, and overwhelming; when I write all that goes away. It's a great feeling.
I don't think I have a least favorite thing when it comes to writing. I just do it, and it feels right pretty much all the time. And, yes, that includes the editing :)
7. If you could take the place of any character, who would it be and why?

Ooh, I don't know. Jane Eyre, maybe. I can't begin to imagine how it must feel like, being so gracefully strong-minded. I've always had a fascination for people (and characters)  who cannot be sidetracked no matter what life throws at them. They're like ... superheroes.
8. If you could invite any three people to dinner, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Andrew Lloyd Webber - because he's obviously a genius who figured out how to do both : compose, and sell.
Mother Teresa - because she was a saint, and I would be curious. I mean, how many saints are there today, just walking the earth?
Jane Austen - because, well, who wouldn't want to meet Jane Austen?
9. What do you wish I'd asked you?

About the cover of my book. I've been getting loads of feedback on it, which is great because, for the most part, is my own creation. I love 'La vie en rose', the song by Édith Piaf; it was my inspiration for the cover. I wanted the final product to send a message: being different doesn't necessarily mean that one's life can't be 'en rose'  (French for 'in pink', and just another way of saying 'wonderful').
If you remember, a while ago I asked you, my readers, what you would like to ask Ramona. Here are the questions that were picked.

From Vivien:
Do you have to do any research for your novel?
I like to think a writer never stops researching. Researching is about observing people and seeing things others don't. It's about analyzing, finding patterns in the way strangers act and react, learning to read faces and draw conclusions based on the most subtle change in a facial expression. I'm a fantasy writer so, human element aside, my research consists of myths, legends, odd theories and so on. Last, but not least, there's the geographical bit which, depending on the setting of the book, has to be researched via maps, satellite imagery and so on. It's a fun process.
How do you choose your characters names?
I think about my characters- what (or whom) do they remind me of? For instance, Lily made me think about water lilies -beautiful, fragile, delicate, and impossible to get to because of the water surrounding it.
From Zombie Girrrl:
The cover is adorable; is it what you had in mind for the book?
Thank you. And, yes, absolutely. I wanted to see the little witch, alone with her cat, surrounded by all this pink, to say 'People who are different can be happy, too.' I love the way it came out.
From Holland:
Did you take any inspiration from local folklore?
Witches, as fictional characters, are pretty popular in Romania. There are many stories about them and what they can do; they're bad news. So, yes, I suppose I was inspired by my country's folklore, but Lily is a romanticized version of that. She's young, beautiful, and absolutely benign.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Ramona! It was great interviewing you, and I loved your answers.

Giveaway time! I have 1 copy of Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale to give away to one lucky reader! I'm reading it right now and really enjoying it. Trust me, you do not want to miss this chance to win such a fun read. To enter, you...
  • Must have a US mailing address
  • Be 13 years or older
  • Fill out the form by 11:59 pm (eastern) on March 13
About Hex.

Like most girls at Rosemound High School, seventeen-year-old Lily Crane is acutely aware of Ryder Kingscott. Hands down the cutest guy in school, Ryder is cool, mysterious, and utterly untouchable…especially for Lily. For when she touches someone, Lily instantly learns all about their lives. And while such a skill might seem nifty, in truth it is wrecking Lily’s life. So she is shocked when Ryder asks her out — and even more shocked to discover he has a rival. Lucian Bell is the gorgeous new kid who can’t take his eyes off of Lily. Being pursued by two hotties should make a girl happy, but Lily is skeptical. The boys act as if they’ve met before, hating each other with a passion that could only be rooted in a dark, dangerous past. A past full of terrible secrets. The kind of secrets that could get a girl killed.
Find it on Goodreads, Shelfari, and Amazon.



Saturday, March 5, 2011

On My Shelf (6) + Winner

On My Shelf highlights books I've acquired and read in the past week, as well as a little about what I'm writing, and other blog worthy news. I think it's pretty obvious where I got my inspiration for the feature from, but I will follow blog etiquette and link to Kristi (In My Mailbox @ The Story Siren), Sheila (It's Monday, What Are You Reading? @ Book Journey), and Kate (The Shelf Report @ The Neverending Shelf) anyway. ;)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cover For Me 6

Cover For Me is all about book covers and what I think of them. Sometimes it will just be one cover, sometimes it will be different covers for the same book.

This week's cover is...

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

US cover
I like the simple colors, they really fit the simplicity of everything Inside, and how clean it was. I also like the way the title was done, even though I'm not crazy about the font, but I like that the title is bigger than the author's name (I hate it when the author's name is huge and the title is teeny tiny). The model is a good pick for Trella, though the eye color bothered me for most of the book. I'm not sure how I feel about the ripping through paper thing. I guess it could work for one scene in the book, but then again not really. It looks okay, though.
This cover is... for me... I guess.

UK cover
Again, I like the colors. While it doesn't give the clean feeling of the first one, it looks more dystopian/sci-fi to me. The image is interesting, but maybe not quite right for the book. It looks more like a storage facility or construction site than Inside. But the pipes work well (even though Trella spent more time in ducts), and I really like the way the light shines through and looks sort of like a flower, with the girl silhouetted in the middle. The title font is almost too simple, but I like it. I think I like the title on this one more, mostly how 'Inside' is completely inside the O and how the O and U overlap.
This cover is... for me.

In short, one great book, two great covers.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Teaser Tuesday 9

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This week's teaser is from Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale by Ramona Wray.
Her face lit up like the Fourth of July pyrotechnic display Mom had insisted on last year. Turns out you can actually set trees on fire if you're a lawyer unused to handling firecrackers and yet willing to give in to your harebrained wife's every whim. Dad knew that now.
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