Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review & Giveaway: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended–Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer–one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack–and the man–she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive. (Synopsis from Goodreads

Do you remember that superbly written novel by Andrea Cremer? Yes, that one, the ever captivating Nightshade, in all of its amazing scenes and edge-of-your-seat goodness. Well, it has a sequel and it releases in less than a week! I'm sure you've heard of Wolfsbane by now, but if not, please stop reading and check out Nightshade first. My review isn't going to have spoilers for Wolfsbane, but you may find some from Nightshade. I will try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible.

My Review: Andrea Cremer has done it again! She has written another novel that can't be put down. With this epic sequel to Nightshade, she has done what many great authors before her have, which is to create a to-die-for sequel. Most sequels are the typical second book, the one that sort of ties up loose ends and answers questions from the first book while leading in to the third. Wolfsbane is definitely not one of those novels. Yes, it does have all of those elements, but Ms. Cremer gives the book a voice of its own. It is not just the second in the series, it is a beautiful, compelling novel, that leaves readers literally begging to read Bloodrose (the third novel). With the well written characters, and the one-of-a-kind plot, this series is bound to be one to top the charts and your reading piles.

Wolfsbane continues right from the end of Nightshade so readers are not missing any of the crucial scenes. Calla's strength and loyalty is put to the test many times during Wolfsbane. She has been taught that the Searchers are the enemy, but during the Samhain she learned to trust herself and began to uncover devastating secrets. She had always trusted the masters and they had always provided for the Guardians. When her world changes she must decide what is more important, fighting for freedom or living with the truth and knowing it is too late to change. When she makes her choice, events unfold that will change her life and those she loves forever. In Wolfsbane, she is determined to see her pack safe and unharmed and she is not prepared to face the reality of what remains. Shay is still the fun-loving guy that readers can't get enough of, but he has faced many changes of his own. Together they must decide how to move forward in their plans to reunite with Calla's pack. Readers are introduced to some spectacular new characters that are sure to work their way into your hearts. Prepare for Wolfsbane to tug at your heartstrings with the tragedies, laughs, and accomplishments that make this story so fantastic. I will admit that I got a little teary-eyed a couple times, but with the way Wolfsbane is written, it is hard not to get caught up in the emotions of the characters.

There really is so much more I could say about Wolfsbane, but it will not do the story or Ms. Cremer justice. This story demands to be read and offers so much in return. Readers will be thinking about Wolfsbane long after they finish the last page and will be eager to read it again. Bloodrose can not come soon enough, but with the good feelings will also be sad because Calla's story is to good to finish. I look forward to reading of her journey many more times. Hopefully we will see more of these characters in the future and I definitely can't wait to see what the future holds for Ms. Cremer. Maybe a new series? (wink wink)

 If you enjoy this series, why not tell her? Visit Andrea Cremer's blog or her website to leave a comment.


Oh and since I believe that you NEED to read these wonderful novels, I will be giving away one of them to you. =) The giveaway will close on August 27 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be chosen on August 28.

To enter you need to leave a comment telling me why you love Nightshade, or if you haven't read it, tell me what interests you about the series. You also need to tweet, blog, or facebook about the giveaway and post the link with your comment. Please see my giveaway policy for other rules and details. 

Following not required but is appreciated. How else will you know about new reviews, giveaways, and cover reveals? =)


*Note: I won this ARC from the author.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: Firelight By Sophie Jordan

A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy. Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

My Review: I absolutely loved this book! The plot is fantastic. One doesn't often see such cleverly written novels about draki, or dragons. I was a little skeptical for that very reason, but there was something about it that made me take another look. I am very glad that I did. Sophie Jordan's writing style is very well developed. She has published other novels, but this her first in the YA genre. I think she has done a fantastic job at writing for teens. Firelight is a novel that could convert any a person who dislikes reading into one that cannot stop. It is really that good. Ms. Jordan dragged me into her fantastic world where I was held captive until the very end.  

The characters and love interests are very well developed. Jacinda is very strong and determined. She experiences many trials before she realizes that happiness may well be within her reach. She not only has to fight to preserve herself but also for her family and Will. Jacinda will do whatever it takes to keep her future bright and stay "alive." To do so, she has to have Will in her life, even if that means putting the lives of other draki in danger. Her development is important to the story and to the series and she is well on her way. Will is a fabulous love interest. I found myself cheering for him from the very beginning. When Will is first introduced to Jacinda, you know that he is not like his family. He is much different from them in many ways, but to avoid spoilers I will say that he is much more sympathetic and curious. Will really develops in this story and I can't wait to see how much of a role he plays in Vanish, the sequel. Cassian remains a mystery throughout the story. Sometimes he is possessive and uncaring, while oter times he is sincere and kind. He I the future leader of their pride and is a very strong draki. He wants Jacinda for himself. She is mostly uninterested, but is a little unsure of her feelings.

The epic tale will have readers' hearts torn in many directions and desperately awaiting the next book. The characters and relationships are eloquently built. Readers will find that they dislike some and love other right along with Jacinda, and with good reason. This story is definitely worth a trip to the bookstore or library to check out. You won't regret it.  I know that I will be reading this again (possibly twice) before the sequel, Vanish, is released.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Interview with Josephine Angelini!

I am excited for you all to be reading this post! I recently asked Josephine Angelini, author of Starcrossed, if she wanted to help me with my first author interview. She graciously agreed and I am so happy to be able to share her responses! I can't say enough about Starcrossed and Ms. Angelini. They are both fabulous! =) When I first learned of Starcrossed, I had just finished with the Iron Fey trilogy by Julie Kagawa and was thoroughly obsessed. Her writing left me craving more and thinking about it long after I had closed the last page. I knew Starcrossed would be good, but I didn't think it would have the same affect as Ms. Kagawa. I was very wrong. Ms. Angelini wrote a compelling novel with characters that were exciting and natural, not forced. It had all the elements that scream "bestseller" and "you can't put this down!" Ms. Angelini and HarperTeen had posted the first 100 pages for free. I made a bad decision when I decided to read it. I was hooked on Starcrossed and Ms. Angelini before I even made it to the 100th page. That last page had quite the cliffhanger. But, of course, you will have to read it to find out exactly what I mean. I couldn't wait to get my hands on Starcrossed after that. I just had to know what happened!

I was leaving for vacation the day that it released and I didn't know if I could make it without finding out the next scenes. Luckily, I stopped by my local BN and they had it out Monday, so I didn't have to wait. I quickly snatched it up and raced back to my car where I sat for a few seconds trying not to squeal with joy. I couldn't resist the urge to read it, so once my boyfriend and I arrived at his family's for a Memorial Day cookout, I delved in to Starcrossed. I tried not to get lost in the pages since we were with family, but it was impossible. The story is just so captivating and magical, and frankly quite heart-wrenching. It was such a beautiful story. I did finally force myself to put it down to eat and chat. I ended up reading it in the car on the way to our vacation destination, which gave me motion sickness, but it was so worth it! If you haven't yet purchased Starcrossed or if it is still in your TBR pile, I urge you to open this book. You will not be disappointed by this stunning debut by a wonderful author.

Now for the interview, which I hope you enjoy. =)

SR: *Did any of your family members play a role in the development of your

JA: All of my characters are based on people that I know, but as I develop each character
they become unique. What I borrowed from my family was more of how we all are
when we get together—usually in the kitchen! I tried to recreate the experience of
being in a large, nuclear family for the reader. I wanted to write scenes that would
bring the reader right into the Delos family.

*What inspired you to become a writer?*

I’ve always written. I’ve kept a journal since I was ten, but it took many years for
me to gain the confidence I needed to do it for a living. I always had people nudging
me in the writing direction, like my sisters, professors at NYU, and directors that I
worked with when I was doing a lot of theater in New York. My husband, especially!
When we first started dating about a million years ago he gave me a laptop, taught
me how to write screenplays, and said, “Just write”. So I did.

*You appear to be such a fun, outgoing, and interesting person and I can't
wait to meet you. How has your personality contributed to your experience as
a debut author and to the stories that you create?*

Aw, thanks Raychelle. I can’t wait to meet you too! I think my personality has
helped me as a debut author. I put myself through college waiting tables and
bartending and I think that made me very outgoing. I have no problem walking up
to people and introducing myself, which is sort of what your debut year is like. It’s a
lot of introductions.

*Are you very attached to your characters or are there some that you can't
wait to write out of the story?*

I get attached to them. I’m writing the third book right now and I know that when
I’m done I’m going to miss them all. But still, it’s fun to kill the bad guys!

*The second book is titled Dreamless. Can you tell us anything about it?*

It’s darker than STARCROSSED. A large part of the story takes place in the
Underworld, so there’s a grittier feel, and there is a lot more action. I also introduce
a new character named Orion in this book. I have a feeling you’re going to LOVE
him, Raychelle.

*Did you always want to write Young Adult fiction? Are there any other
genres that you would like to explore?*

I love writing YA fiction, but never say never, right? I guess if I had an idea that was
better suited to a different genre I wouldn’t stop myself from exploring it, but for
now I’m happy where I am.

*After your Starcrossed trilogy is completed, what would you like to work on
next? Do you already have something in mind?*

I do have something in mind. Before I started writing STARCROSSED I outlined a
different YA trilogy, but it was a bit too dark and intricate for my first novel. I’d love
to get back to that idea after I finish the third book.

*Is there anything new that you would like to share or a little known fact
about yourself?*

I prefer licorice to chocolate.

(Thank you Ms. Angelini for your kindness, generosity, and beautiful work. =) I look forward to your future novels. I have a feeling that you are right about Orion. =D I can' wait to see what his character entails.)

That's it for the interview. I hope you all learned something new. I know that I did. =) You can find out more about Josephine Angelini and her novels here as well as reach her blog. She also has a twitter account and a facebook page. She is also hosting a very generous giveaway on her blog. Pull out your best toga, grab your copy of Starcrossed, and snap a pic. You could win a Tiffany heart necklace, which is the necklace that the MC Helen always wears. I hope you take the time to thank her for her wonderful interview and enter her giveaway. She loves to see how Helen is spending her time across the globe.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cover Reveals and Author News

First, some AWESOME news from Jennifer L. Armentrout, author of The Covenant Series (Daimon, Half-Blood, etc). Spencer Hill Press will be publishing Cursed, Jennifer's first book in a new series.  Here is the cover:
And the blurb:
Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.
Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?
But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.

Also, here are some of the newest covers to be released. I think they are fantastic! They are so unique and creative. I absolutely love them. What do you think?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Updates & "Stuff"

I thought since I have been behind with postings that I should fill you all in on recent happenings. First, I have several reviews to be posted this month. They include the Study series by Maria V. Snyder, Exiled by Matthew Merrick, Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, and several others. I have also contacted a special author about an interview. That post is almost ready. I just need to incorporate the questions and answers when she has time to respond. =) It is of course my first ever interview, so I am extremely nervous and excited. I think you should be very excited as well, but no need to spoil it. I must keep you guessing. ;) I will also be doing a giveaway of Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer towardthe middle of the month. I have a few cover reveals to post as well. I know they have been out for a couple weeks, but I think that a combined post of these covers will be good, especially if anyone has missed them. I have received some awesome swag and books in the mail recently, so I may include them in the Wolfsbane giveaway or I may do a separate swag giveaway. Any thoughts on that idea? That should be it as far as updates go right now. I am trying to finish up school (graduating in September) so if I am not posting frequently, I apologize. I will be posting more often once I have graduated since I will have much more time for you wonderful people. =)