Thursday, January 31, 2013

Curmudgeon's Corner: Notes on Les Miserables: the movie, after reading the book

(Note: this post will have copious spoilers for both the movie and the book, and assume you have seen one or the other.)

Okay, I finally saw the movie Les Miserables and it was totally wonderful!

Les MisérablesI saw it right after embarking on -- and finishing -- a reread of the 1500-page brick! Normally, going back to the source text for me is a terrible idea when I see adaptations, but for this movie? It totally helped me appreciate the movie more! And after about the fifth time I said to my sister in reply to some point, "Ah, but you see, in the book --" she was all, "So, maybe you would like to write a post about this?" :)

In the movie, they interpolated a lot of lines that weren't in the original musical. (Note: I also have the Complete Symphonic Recording of the musical -- that is to say, I have the entire thing pretty much memorized, so I knew when they were adding stuff.) Most of these lines -- although sometimes they were kind of weird because they didn't have any meter, what happened there? -- to me, elucidated something that was drawn out in the book but wasn't clear in the musical, or contributed to further character development following the book.

Javert: Okay, do not even get me started on how I actually am very unhappy with both Crowe's singing (though, okay, whatever) and his interpretation of Javert (which is much more woobly than the book, in which Javert is quite a bit more harsh and unyielding and I DO NOT LIKE FILM JAVERT, although I do acknowledge that it is a perfectly valid interpretation and makes Javert more human! And see my notes on Marius! Though it makes his suicide a little more strange in context). However! There were lines added about how Javert wants to resign because he denounced M. le Maire as a convict, and I loved those added lines because it really does give Javert more character.

Valjean: I adored Hugh Jackman like anything! His interpolations: While I was not a huge fan of "Suddenly," the new song, as a standalone song, I really loved it because it brought out something that Hugo spends a great deal of time on in the book: the way that Valjean's life is transformed by having Cosette in it, that having something to love changes and redeems him. The other lovely thing was the couplet they gave him about how he has always feared the day a man would come to take Cosette away from him, because this is kind of a central conflict for Valjean in the book: that he has to save Marius despite, actually, loathing the guy (there's a line about how he's trudging through the sewers and gazing at Marius in hatred. It's awesome!) -- showing the struggles he has to go through.

Marius: Marius' character is basically completely different from the book, except that they're both lovesick kids. Marius in the book is extremely self-righteous and kind of a prig and actually not all that likeable. He basically talks to Eponine, like, once during the book, and doesn't know her at all. He doesn't consider any of the revolutionary college students his friends except for Courfeyrac. He is basically the cause of Valjean dying at the end (by giving him the cold shoulder once he finds out Valjean is a convict). I think Hugo had reasons for this, mind you! But in the movie, Marius is a nice kid who is friends with and cares about Eponine, who considers all the other students his friends and even his brothers. Normally (see Javert) I don't like changes in book canon, but here I love it, because movie Marius is quite a bit more likeable! (I know movie Javert is quite a bit more likeable too. Shut up.)

Eponine: Eponine, in the book, is a much more pathetic -- but also fascinating -- figure than in the musical. She is a street rat. She isn't pretty. She's ugly, dirty, has a raspy voice, is basically alive because it's too much trouble to die, but figures that one way or another that won't last long. She may or may not have something going on with Montparnasse (in addition to being in love with Marius). She tells Marius to go to the barricades (I think... this may happen in the movie too? Can't remember) because she figures this way if she can't have him, at least no one can have him -- but at the end is redeemed by her love for him. In the musical/movie, she doesn't get a whole lot to do besides be in love with Marius, but at least they gave a nod to her interior struggles in the movie, I think.

Cosette: I thought movie Cosette was pretty close to book Cosette, but neither gets a whole lot of screen time.

The Bishop of Digne: Looooooved that he showed up at the end; the book has a strong implication that the Bishop is present at Valjean's death, and thematically it makes a whole lot more sense than Eponine (although the trio with Eponine sounds really nice).

In conclusion, I LOVED THIS MOVIE SO MUCH!

What about you? Anyone else read the book? Did I forget to discuss anyone's favorite character?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Runner up Readers Choice: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1) You guys gave me some really great books to read, thanks! Check out the newest poll!

Goodreads Book Description: “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

My Review:
Ever since I read and loved Shiver, I knew I had to continue reading more of this lyrical author's works. The Raven Boys was next on my list because it was the runner up to my blog's poll about which book I should read next.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater stars Blue, an eccentric girl who lives with an even more eccentric and magical family. Her relatives can tell the future, and they keep reminding her of one fact-- the boy she kisses will die. That just seems like a really awful thing to tell your kid, but I digress. A host of rich, popular guys from an affluent prep school nicknamed "Raven Boys," enter the picture. Blue sees one, Gansey, in a vision. She is told bluntly by her family that this either means he is her true love or he will die. Gansey is looking for ley lines (magical lines of energy in nature) to awaken a magical king who will grant wishes. I will say no more, as the secrets that are revealed are really fun to find out.

As you might imagine, I spent some time feeling very "blue" for Blue. She is a quirky and fun character, but her family really doesn't do her justice. I was glad when she got to break out of the mold a bit when she meets the Raven Boys. I admit, this was a slow starter for me. It reminded me of Graceling, a book I struggled with for months, and then right around 50%, it takes off and never looks back. At that point, I was hooked and couldn't finish it fast enough. If you can get through 50% of this book, which is enmeshed in character and world building, you won't be disappointed after that. There are some great reveals, and I don't want any of you to miss out on that.

But if you don't make it that far, I honestly don't blame you for putting it down. That is probably the biggest issue I have with this book.

Overall, a slow start, but at 50% picks up pace magnificently with amazing twists and turns that will only have you itching for Book 2.


What did you think of this book? Also, enter some great giveaways at the links on the right hand side :-) 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Interview with Beth Revis, author of the Across the Universe Trilogy

I am absolutely thrilled to introduce Beth Revis, the bestselling author of the Across the Universe series to Ensconced in YA!

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)

Goodreads Book Description of Across the Universe:
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder. 

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.


Beth RevisAuthor Blurb: Beth Revis is the author of the NY Times Bestselling Across the Universe series, published by Razorbill/Penguin in the US andavailable in 17 countries. The first book in the trilogy, Across the Universe, is a “cunningly executed thriller” according to Booklist, and the second book, A Million Suns, was hailed by the LA Times as “a fast-paced, action-packed follow-up.” The final book of the trilogy, Shades of Earth, will be released in early 2013.

Author Interview

1) I am thrilled to get to interview you on my blog. Across the Universe was one of my favorite YA novels after the Hunger Games hype. Where did you come up with the exciting world for this series? Any particular inspirations whether it be other authors, loved ones, or pets?

The books came from a life-long love of reading--I loved Agatha Christie mysteries growing up, and had just read a book with an unreliable narrator (The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner) and I wanted to combine those two elements--in space! The actual setting of Godspeed probably came mostly from my being a teacher in rural North Carolina. Seeing my students in the wide-open country were still often trapped (by family obligations or low socio-economic situations) influenced the idea of literally trapping people in space. 

2) I think that alternating perspectives between Amy and Elder was a great choice. First, what was it like to view this experience from two different perspectives? Second, what was it like to get inside the head of someone so different like Elder? What was easy and what was difficult?

I LOVED showing things from different perspectives! There are a few scenes--such as the kiss--that was just so much fun to explore on both sides. One of the specific things I tried to do was turn the "instalove" trope on its head. I'd read a lot of books where the girl falls instantly in love, and the boy is stand-off-ish. So I did the opposite--in AtU, Elder falls instantly in love, but Amy's hesitant. 

For Elder, the hardest part was nailing down the boy voice--not that he was from the future or born on a spaceship! There's a scene when he first sees Amy--she's frozen, and, under the ice, completely naked. I spent pages describing what she looked liked, and then had my husband read it. "Does this sound like the way a boy would describe a girl?" I asked.

"Nope," he said.

I was crushed. "Why not?"

"Well, she's naked, right?" he asked. I nodded. "If I was seeing a naked girl for the first time, all I'd be thinking about was boobs."

So I cut all the flowery description and had Elder think about boobs. That definitely helped with writing a male voice. 

3) I love all of your characters-- they are all very different with distinct personalities. Who was your favorite character to write and did any of them surprise you and why?

Perhaps my most favorite--and definitely the most surprising!--was Harley. I NEVER planned for him to be a significant part of the story. He was supposed to randomly show up and fade into the background--but he became a much more important and integral part of all three books, actually. 

4) Talk to us about designing the Godspeed and the wonderful intricate map of the ship. Who did you talk to and what sources did you go to help research its structure?

Hahaha! I definitely have to thank my publisher for helping me develop its structure. When I came up with the ship, I invented everything as I went. Need to get from one level to another? Grav tube! See the city? Colored trailers! There was NO planning from the start; when I needed something on the ship, I invented it. 

Then, when my publisher told me they wanted to make the map, they asked for my drawings. I had nothing! I ended up sketching something with a Bic pen and notebook paper. My publisher asked what the outside of the ship looked like. "I don't know," I said, "none of them go outside." In the end, I sent over a picture of Futurama's Planet Express to model the outside of the ship on!

5) For the aspiring writers out there, I was hoping you could talk a little bit about plot and pacing. In both books, you have some great plot twists and reveals, which I believe happen at exactly the right time. Can you tell us about the process of putting together a novel and making sure events happen at the right time without dragging?

This is actually something very simple for me. Whenever I, as a writer, started to feel that the story was dragging or going slowly, I killed off a character and/or blew something up.

6) I might have liked A Million Suns even more than the Across the Universe, which is very unusual for me. It definitely did not suffer from middle book syndrome. Can you talk about the process of writing a sequel and what challenges you encountered and ways that you overcame them?

So many challenges! The biggest for me was that I didn't start AtU intending it to be a trilogy. I actually intended it to be a stand alone novel, and the reader would just never know what happened to Amy and Elder. So pulling together all the threads to make the second (and ugh, the third!) was particularly difficult for me. Next time, I'm planning more!

7) Everyone is thrilled to see the conclusion of this series. Can you tell us about the third and final installment without giving too much away?

I can say that in Across the Universe, my favorite bit was the chapter that was only a sentence long. In A Million Suns, my favorite bit is the page that has only one word on it. In Shades of Earth, my favorite bit is the blank page.

What a great interview! Thanks again, Beth, for giving this terrific interview! Don't forget to enter the giveaway that includes the entire Across the Universe trilogy!
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Interview with Nickie Anderson, author of Bright Star and International Giveaway


Enter this awesome giveaway for:
1) An e-copy or print signed copy of Bright Star
2) The entire print trilogy of Across the Universe by Beth Revis (shipped by The Book Depository-As long as TBD ships to your country, you are eligible for this prize)
Which countries does The Book Depository ship to? Click here.
3) $25 Amazon gift certificate!


Now to introduce a talented new writer-- Nickie Anderson and her book, Bright Star.

Bright Star
Goodreads Book Description:
It's bad enough that Sadira Pascal's father doesn't make it home to celebrate her fifteenth birthday. He might be a busy hovership engineer pulling overtime on a new design, but he's always been home for the important things. It's worse when she discovers her father decided to ride on the maiden voyage of his newest ship, the CAS Bright Star, without even telling her. But things really fall apart during Sadira's field trip with her class to observe the hovership launch. Instead of a successful flight, she watches the Bright Star fall out of the sky.

The Central government confirms her father's death, leaving Sadira to pick up the pieces of her former life. While she struggles with her loss, Private Baruj Haddad tries to convince her that her father and the rest of the Bright Star crew are still alive. At first, Sadira doesn't believe there's any hope. But then she stumbles across a message that makes her think maybe, just maybe, her father is still alive. As she digs deeper into the Bright Star's crash, Sadira uncovers secrets about her father's work, secrets that put her and everyone she loves in danger.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

My Amazon Review: Bright Star Review

Author Blurb: Nickie Anderson has her Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, which she's put to good use by writing, reading, and tutoring. She loves cooking (because the cook gets dibs on the food!) as well as jogging and biking (because she has to make up for all of the eating!)
She lives in North Carolina with her husband, where they perpetually renovate their home.


Image of Nickie Anderson
Author Interview 
1. Tell us a little about how you got started as an author and how you came up with the idea for this book.
I've always enjoyed reading and writing. Heck, when I was a kid I'd read the encyclopedia when I got bored.

But I never thought I could be a writer. I mean, a writer? They're like unicorns -- mystical and rare. They weren't real people. It was a pipe dream.

Then my dad passed away last year. It was a real wake-up call. Life is short. I could waste it sitting here, dreaming about being a writer, or I could take a chance and actually WRITE.

So I wrote.

'Bright Star' was inspired by a dream (one of those super-vivid ones that stick around). In my dream, a young boy and girl see a helicopter take off from their military base, and then see the helicopter crash. They want to help the people on board, but none of the adults on the base would help.

This got me wondering -- why wouldn't the adults help? How far would those kids go to reach the helicopter crew? What adventures and adversity would they face on their journey?

The protagonists became a bit older, and the helicopter became a spaceship, but the core of 'Bright Star' came from that dream.

2. I love the sand setting for your novel. Can you tell us a little about how you chose that to be your setting and if you went to a particular location for description purposes? 
 The desert came with the dream. Isn't it nice how our brains sometimes gift-wrap these ideas for us?

I thought about changing the scenery, but the more I thought about a desert setting the more I liked it.

I didn't do any traveling for this story, unfortunately. Maybe next time! I was actually born in the Mojave Desert, though. My earliest childhood memories are of that desert heat and sand.

3. Which author/authors or particular books have inspired you?
Whew, good grief, there's too many to name. I was a serious bookworm as a child, and literally read everything: newspapers, magazines, the back of the cereal box, you name it (remember, this is encyclopedia-reading girl here).

I'm a huge fan of Roald Dahl -- he had a way of writing humor into every line. I also tore through Madeline L'Engle's books as a kid (Calvin O'Keefe is my fictional dream guy!)

Of course, this list wouldn't be complete without Harry Potter. Rowling made that world of magic feel so real that I'm still wondering why my owl forgot my Hogwarts invitation!

4. Where do you get your ideas for characters? In particular, did you steal some characteristics from yourself or people you know for Sadira, the main character? The other character I want to know about is Dr. DeWitt (possibly my favorite character in the whole novel!)
Ideas for characters came from many places. When I sat down to start 'Bright Star', I knew I didn't want one of the impossibly kick-butt heroines I'd been seeing so often in fiction lately. The whole 'strong female protagonist' has been taken way too literally. We're seeing a glut of girls who can slice and dice with a sword, or who have deadly accuracy with a gun.

I wanted to showcase the other side of strength -- that inner strength of personality, of friendship, and of faith. Sadira is that inner strength. The only thing I really have in common with her is a love for math. She's much more serious than me, and more cautious.

Dr. DeWitt is an amalgamation of every awesome school teacher I've had. I think everyone needs a mentor like him, and he provides Sadira with support when she needs it most.

The most fun part of writing the story was discovering the characters. I started off with a rough outline of each person, but the more I wrote, the more clearly I heard their voices (especially Baruj's!) 

5. Tell us a little about the title and cover for your book. How did you go about brainstorming and did anyone else have input?
Oh man, the cover. I spent forever designing it. The Samalut base is set in a futuristic Egypt, so I want to capture a bit of Middle Eastern flair. I wanted to include the desert as well, since it's such an integral part of the story.

The cover went through a couple of iterations, one which was just stars in the background, and another with hoverships (it was terrible). I ended up turning to my husband and my mother-in-law for most of the feedback.

6. A lot of people go into making a novel. Who were your greatest critics?
I am my own worst critic. I think that's because I'm the only person who had to read the first draft of this story :) I got fantastic feedback from my husband, especially on the action-y scenes (thanks, honey!). My editor, Kelly Hashway, also provided amazing insight on how to clean up my writing and close up any plot holes. I had several critiquing partners while editing, and they gave me excellent advice on how to strengthen the story.

7. Without giving too much away, can you tell us a little about what is in store for Sadira and her friends?
The next installment, 'Dark Skies', is due out in April 2013. Sadira's inner strength is going to be tested to the breaking point, and shell have to decide whether to forgive the people who've betrayed her. She'll learn a bit more about her father's work and the Central government, and she'll have to decide how far she's willing to go to be reunited with those she loves.

We'll also see a lot more of Ghazi's character (he's been a ton of fun to write in the sequel).

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review of Bright Star by Nickie Anderson and New International Giveaway

Because I love my readers so much, I'm once again opening up this giveaway a little early. Lots of great stuff coming up this week! :-) Don't forget that my interview with Nickie Anderson and Beth Revis is coming up in the next few days!


Bright Star
Goodreads Book Description:
It's bad enough that Sadira Pascal's father doesn't make it home to celebrate her fifteenth birthday. He might be a busy hovership engineer pulling overtime on a new design, but he's always been home for the important things. It's worse when she discovers her father decided to ride on the maiden voyage of his newest ship, the CAS Bright Star, without even telling her. But things really fall apart during Sadira's field trip with her class to observe the hovership launch. Instead of a successful flight, she watches the Bright Star fall out of the sky.

The Central government confirms her father's death, leaving Sadira to pick up the pieces of her former life. While she struggles with her loss, Private Baruj Haddad tries to convince her that her father and the rest of the Bright Star crew are still alive. At first, Sadira doesn't believe there's any hope. But then she stumbles across a message that makes her think maybe, just maybe, her father is still alive. As she digs deeper into the Bright Star's crash, Sadira uncovers secrets about her father's work, secrets that put her and everyone she loves in danger.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

My Amazon Review: I was asked by the author to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Bright Star by Nickie Anderson is about Sadira, who watches her genius father, take off in a spaceship that then loses control and crashes. He is presumed dead. Sadira meets another young soldier whose brother was lost in the crash, and together, they realize there is more going on than meets the eye. These two journey across desert sand and harrowing dangers to try to find their loved ones as well as piece together a mystery that just seems to get more confusing as they learn more and more.

I don't want to give away more than that, because finding out the book's secrets is part of the fun. I loved the world building-- I could taste the sand from the setting. Everything is so gritty and dry, and Anderson does a great job giving the prose that feel. Sadira is a great protagonist-- smart, resourceful, but yet scared-- a perfect combination of strong traits yet growth that needs to happen. My other favorite character has to be her nutty professor friend who helps her piece together the puzzle. The plot had plenty of twists and I was entertained from start to finish.

I do wish there were a bit more world building in the sense of I'm not sure why the society is the way it is-- perhaps more will be revealed in the next installment as Sadira learns more. Also, I felt that one particular character became rather two dimensional-- but again, maybe we will learn more in the second book.

Overall, a fast paced, imaginative dystopian with a winning protagonist. I'm eager to see what Anderson has up her sleeve!

Go ahead and enter this terrific giveaway a day early! Win a signed copy of Bright Star, the entire Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis, OR $25 Amazon GC. This giveaway is international, but you must be located where the Book Depository ships to be eligible.

Which countries does The Book Depository ship to? Click here.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)Couple of updates:
1) I've shut down accepting books for review until 2/18/13. Sorry for the inconvenience!

2) I have some great interviews/giveaways up right now so everyone should enter. Look at the right hand side of my blog to see what's still going on.

3) The Young Adult blog hop giveaway is coming up in a few days and one of my great indie authors, Nickie Anderson, is giving away copies of her book and the entire Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis so stay tuned!

4) Shout out to Antony John and Fiona Paul-- thanks for a terrific night of great eats, drinks and book talk!

Warning: This post has some mild spoilers (actually most are in the book description itself, which can be guessed by the name of the third book) to those who have not read the first two books.

Goodreads Book Description: The final book in the  New York Times bestselling trilogy, perfect for fans of Battlestar Galactica and Prometheus!

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.

FUELED BY LIES.
RULED BY CHAOS.
ALMOST HOME.


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

My Review:
I have been so excited about this final installment in the Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis. I've been following along ever since the first book came out, and with the cliffhanger in A Million Suns, I pre-ordered this book (which I rarely do) to make sure I didn't forget to read it.

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis takes our two protagonists Elder and Amy finally to Centauri Earth where we have been headed the whole time. The Godspeed, the ship that has taken them here, has been the location of intrigue and hidden secrets by the prior leaders of the ship. Amy and Elder never found Orion's final secret, but it doesn't seem to matter since they have finally found the planet. Half of the population stay behind on the ship, and the rest travel to this unknown but beautiful planet. Amy eagerly and finally unfreezes her parents and the rest of the frozen travelers, but this joyful reunion is interrupted by political scheming and military takeover. There is more to this planet than meets the eye, and explosive secret after secret is revealed until the book's necessary outcome.

I liked the other two books, but for lack of a better phrase, this book really brought the series home. Revis as usual, has a lot of tricks hidden up her sleeve, and although I could guess many of them, they were exactly the right moves. Amy and Elder have grown as characters and really grown up in this dangerous world. There's nothing Amy's parents can do about that when they come into the picture. I love the way the book resolves, and all I can say is, get your hands on this book as soon as possible!

Overall, a thrilling and extremely satisfying conclusion to the Across the Universe series, and by far, my favorite of the three. Congrats to Revis for completing such a terrific trilogy. I can't wait to see what she has up next!

I am excited that we have a giveaway coming up for all three of the books in the Across the Universe trilogy, hosted by Nickie Anderson, one of the indie authors, who wrote Bright Star, also a great book! I am also hosting an interview with Beth Revis. So stay posted!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

International Giveaway and Interview with Bella Forrest, author of A Shade of Vampire

A Shade of Vampire Goodreads Book Description: On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.  She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.
 

An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.
Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.
 

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.
 

Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I was asked by the author to read and review this book.

A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest is a novella about Sofia, a teenaged human girl, and Derek, the leader of vampires. This story is told in alternating viewpoints between these characters. Initially, I was worried that I wouldn't like this book because the beginning is pretty stereotypical of the "classic" vampire story. Then once Sofia is captured by Lucas, Derek's evil brother, and Derek wakes up from an enchanted sleep, things start really getting interesting. We get introduced to their lair, and the hint of danger from the outside Shadowhunters as well as the danger to Sofia on the inside. Derek finds Sofia intriguing and different from any other girl he's ever met, and Sofia too starts to realize that he is more than just a vampire. Mix in a best friend that Sofia once had unrequited love for, and you got some great twists.

I really enjoyed reading particularly Derek's perspective. It was neat seeing someone who has woken up from a 400 year enchanted sleep and start to learn basic knowledge of current events. I thought that Sofia and Derek's relationship as well done, and the world building was intriguing. The pacing was good once I reached the 20% mark. Readers should beware that the beginning is a bit slow, but to keep on reading.

The one thing I would have suggested would be to make this a full length novel. I think we could have learned more about the Shadowhunters and maybe seen one in action. Right now, it just doesn't make any sense why they are so terrified by these people (are they even people?). It would likely still need to be a trilogy to fit all the lore and plot twists, but I think more could have been explored.

That said, it was a fun first installment in this series, and I'm interested to see what Forrest has up her sleeve next for these characters.






A Shade of Vampire available now from Amazon:

USA, paperback:
http://www.amazon.com/Shade-Of-Vampire-Bella-Forrest/dp/1481280767
USA, eBook: http://www.amazon.com/A-Shade-Of-Vampire-ebook/dp/B00AOHDMFE

UK, paperback:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shade-Of-Vampire-Bella-Forrest/dp/1481280767
UK, eBook: http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Shade-Of-Vampire-ebook/dp/B00AOHDMFE

Connect with Bella:

Add on Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/17158457-a-shade-of-vampire
Follow Bella’s Blog: http://bellaforrest.blogspot.com


Author Interview
1) Why vampires?
I find their interactions with humans fascinating to write about and explore.


2) How many installments are you planning for the series?
I'm not sure exactly at this point, but I think at least 3 installments.

3) Who is your favorite character and why?
I've been torn between Derek and Sofia. But I'll probably have to go with
Derek because he's the most interesting to write about.

4) What is your favorite all time YA read, and what was your favorite
read of the past year?

That's a tough question because there are so many books I love. But I'll
go with Harry Potter.

My favorite read of the past year...well I'm still reading it actually:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is probably going to be my favorite.

5) What do you have in store for Sofia and Derek in the next book without giving too much away?
There will be some twists and turns that will likely be quite shocking for
readers...that's about all I can say at this point!

And now... for an excerpt of the book!


Excerpt from A Shade of Vampire

I’d been walking along the sea shore for about an hour when I suddenly sensed that I wasn’t alone. Someone was approaching me from behind. My heart leapt. I was so sure it was Ben, that when a stranger showed up beside me, I couldn’t hide my disappointment.
He must have noticed, because a smirk formed on his lips. “Were you expecting someone else, love?”
I eyed him suspiciously, remembering how many times my father told me not to talk to strangers. I looked him over from head to foot, taking in his appearance. I held my breath. I couldn’t find words to describe how fine a man he was. He was almost beautiful. The first thing I took notice of was how his blue eyes were about three shades brighter than any I’d ever seen before. It was such a stark contrast to his pale – almost white – skin and his dark hair. I next noted how he was easily more than half a foot taller than I was. His height, broad shoulders and lean build reminded me of Ben, but he had a presence that was far more imposing than my best friend’s.
My gaze settled on his face.
I realized that he was inspecting me just as closely as I was him. His eyes on me suddenly made me feel uncomfortably vulnerable. I gave my father’s advice a second thought, but quickly canceled out all notions of heeding to his counsel when I reminded myself that he stopped caring a long time ago. I straightened to my full height and mustered all the courage I had to keep myself from running away from this stranger.
Big mistake.
The confident smirk didn’t leave his face for even a moment. “Like what you see?”
I frowned, annoyed by his audacity. “A bit full of yourself, aren’t you?”
He stepped forward, closer to me, and leaned his head toward mine. “Don’t I have the right to be?”
He knew he looked good and wasn’t about to act like he didn’t.
“Whatever,” was my oh-so-brilliant comeback.
My shoulders sagged with defeat as I took a step back, overwhelmed by how close he was. I rolled my eyes and did a one-eighty, not quite in the mood to play whatever game this stranger was proposing.
I would soon realize that I was about to play his game whether I liked it or not. He grabbed my arm and turned my body to face him. The motion alone made every single internal alarm I had go off in a frenzy.
This man was danger and I knew it. I tried to wriggle away from his touch, but I was no match for his strength.
“Tell me your name,” he commanded.
I was about to refuse, but was horrified to find myself blurting out my name in response. “Sofia Claremont.”
He traced his thumb over my jaw line. “Hello, Sofia Claremont. You’re one stupid girl for taking a walk alone at this time of night. You never know what kind of evil a pretty little thing like you could happen to come by.”
I found myself wondering exactly what kind of evil he was. But I was suddenly overcome by the sensations that were surrounding me. My senses took everything in at once. I heard the waves, felt the sand beneath my feet, smelled the ocean salt, tasted the flavor of cherry on my lips and saw the stranger’s manic appearance as he stuck a needle to my neck. The effect was instant. I was barely able to gasp, much less scream. I went from sensing everything to sensing absolutely nothing.
My last conscious thought was that I may never see Ben again.

Enter to win this book-- either a signed copy OR one of two e-copies!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MEGA INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY Featuring the Transcender Trilogy by Vicky Savage and Jaden, Princess of Domerica

Welcome back, everyone! I am so thrilled to once again promote one of my all time favorite Indie authors, Vicky Savage. She's been on this wild ride with me from the beginning, as her first book, Transcender: First Timer, was one of the first (and best) books I ever reviewed. She's back and even better with the second installment (which I liked even more than the first book), Streaming Stars, which continues our journey with Jaden, our fiesty female protagonist from the first book in the adventure filled land of Domerica. Plus, we get to see more Transcender coolness!

I'm triple thrilled because this is the BIGGEST giveaway I have EVER put together. Check out these terrific prizes donated by the lovely Ms. Savage!!!

Amazon Gift card $50 
Amazon Gift card $10
2 Amazon Gift card $5
2 signed book packs of Transcender/Streaming stars
5 e-copies of Transcender AND Streaming stars

Regardless if you win or not, you should read these books, they are terrific.


Transcender: First-Timer


Goodreads Book Description: Ripped away from her quiet Connecticut life with the force of a lightning bolt and glitched into a weird alternate universe, Jaden Beckett lands smack in the middle of a kidnapping--her own!
The powerful Inter-Universal Guidance Agency (IUGA) engineers her escape and is working overtime to return her home.

But now Jaden's not sure where she belongs. In this world, she has her mother back (a miracle she never imagined). She's known as Princess Jaden, a member of the royal family of one of the three surviving nations,and against her better judgment, she's fallen insanely in love with Ryder Blackthorn, the most wanted outlaw in the land.

Can the IUGA force her to go? Or is Jaden what others in the land beleive she is--a Transcender with the ability to travel among alternate worlds at will?

She's not sure what to believe or who she can trust--except herself.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Amazon Review:  Transcender: First Timer

Streaming Stars (Transcender Trilogy Book 2Goodreads Book Description: Eighteen-year-old Jaden Beckett has thirty days to make the ultimate decision about her destiny. Which path will she choose? Her current life with her loving family in Connecticut? An alternate life in an intriguing parallel world with the man she loves? Or the astonishing life of a multi-universe Transcender?

In Streaming Stars, Book 2 of the Transcender Trilogy, Jaden and her mentor, Agent Ralston, return to Domerica, where she reunites with her  mother and her fiancĂ©, Ryder Blackthorn, embarks upon fantastic Transcender adventures in exotic parallel worlds, and narrowly escapes a hit squad of Black Knights.

In the end, Jaden’s decision is anything but simple.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: Streaming Stars Review

About Vicky:
Vicky Savage practiced law for a number of years before taking time off to raise her two children and begin her writing career. She lives on the water on the west coast of Florida with her husband, son, and two dogs. Her daughter attends graduate school in Washington, D.C.

Interview with Jaden, Transcender and Princess of Domerica

Jaden, thanks so much for joining us at Ensconced in YA! It's not often we get a Transcender here
Can you tell us a little bit about Transcenders?
Thanks for having me. This is my first interview, so I hope I don’t suck at it. I’ll tell you what I can about the Transcenders, but I’m sort of in the learning phase myself. Apparently there’s something in Transcenders’ DNA, a defect maybe, I don’t know, but it makes us able to release the electromagnetic fields holding our atoms together. It’s like we just lose our mass and transform into a kind of wave. It allows us to travel faster than light speed through walls and also through dimensions to parallel worlds. It’s really astounding. I’ve been to a few amazing places recently—some on purpose and some accidentally. I’m still getting the hang of it. Anyway, the whole thing is kind of scary awesome, if you know what I mean.

Wow, that's so cool. I wish I were a Transcender. Back to Earth, for a little bit. Tell us about where you grew up in Connecticut and your family.
Oh well that’s easy enough. The town I grew up in, Madison, is exactly what you think of when someone says New England. Quaint, charming, tons of trees. We have a busy little town square, and lots of pretty and close-knit neighborhoods. My dad’s a senior cardiac nurse at St. Ignatius Hospital, and my big bro is studying pre-law at Duke University. My mom was a Superior Court judge, but she died in a car wreck a few years back. I had kind of an idyllic childhood up to that point. Since then … things have been like a roller coaster ride.

What are the best and worst parts of Connecticut? Of Domerica?
The best part of Connecticut is that my friends are there and I’ll always think of it as home. The worst part is that it can be a bit provincial. Translation: boring. The best parts of Domerica, for me at least, are all the fantastic perks of being part of the royal family—great clothes, great food, being sort of pampered. Also, the countryside is storybook gorgeous and the weather always perfect. The worst parts: no iPhone, no music, no TV, no internet. Oh, and it seems like somebody’s always trying to kill me. That can be annoying.

What was your favorite dress in Domerica and why?
Well, I kind of have a weakness for pretty clothes, and I got to wear some killer outfits when I was in Domerica, but I’d have to say my favorite was this white gown, covered with crystals. I wore it to a feast in Unicoi. It was awesome. The crystals cascaded in diagonals all the way down the skirt, and it had a little train in the back. But it was pretty tight—one of those dresses you have to wear sans panties, so it wasn’t the most comfortable thing to sit in. In fact, by the end of the night, the crystals had made little indentations on my butt. Oops, is that TMI for an interview? Anyway, I still loved it.

Tell us a little about your gorgeous horse.
Oh man, I used to be afraid of horses because they’re just so big. But in Domerica, horseback is the major mode of transportation, and the princess, my mirror in that world, was supposed to be this accomplished horsewoman, so I had to get up close and personal with them whether I wanted to or not. The first time I saw my horse, Gabriel, there was this kind of a soul connection between us. And then when I took him for a test ride, I knew I had to make him mine. It was such an adrenaline rush. His coat is glossy and jet black, his mane long and silky, and he’s fast as lightning. I have to admit, I’m kind of partial to tall, dark, and handsome.

We think that Ryder is totally hot. Can you tell us a little about the first time you met him?
The first time I laid eyes on him, I thought he had to be an angel or something, because no normal guy really looks like that—flawless golden skin, gleaming raven hair, and bottomless blue eyes. He stole my breath away. Once I realized he was in the process of kidnapping me, though, his six-foot-five frame, black armor, and wicked long sword, made my heart race faster for a different reason—stone cold fear. Weird as it sounds, even though he was holding me against my will, his kindness and decency shone through, and I couldn’t hate him. In fact, I was kind of crushing on him that first day, and I worried it might be some bizarre Stockholm Syndrome thing. But it turns out he really is a great guy.

Have you ever played a joke on Ralston? If so, tell us about it!
Seriously? I’m always playing jokes on Ralston. He’s not what you’d call gullible, but he’s a little stuffy, so I can’t resist ruffling his up-tight British feathers from time to time. Once I “borrowed” his glasses without asking. They don’t have corrective lenses, but they do have some very interesting capabilities that I was hoping to try out. He was furious! I won’t be doing that again.

We LOVE your Skorplings. Will you tell our readers a little more about them?
Fred and Ethel are amazing. A Skorpling looks like a cross between a koala bear and a monkey, furry, gray, and cuddly. Plus they can actually speak. Their vocabulary is limited and they can’t pronounce certain letters, but they’re adorable, and different as night and day. Ethel is a sweetheart, always smiling and kissing me. Fred is a total prankster, always getting into some kind of mischief. But I love them both so much. I highly recommend them as pets if they ever make their way over into this dimension.

Since you can Transcend anywhere, what's on your to see list and why?
There are rumors circulating in the Transcender community about a parallel world where people actually have wings and can fly. I don’t know if it’s true, but that’s something I’d really like to see. Also, I want to visit Venice, Italy. During carnival time. I can't imagine anything more romantic and exhilarating than losing myself in a sea of beautifully masked faces and dancing my way along the Grand Canal at midnight.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope we'll see you again soon!
Thanks for inviting me. It was fun!

Sign up to win some INCREDIBLE Loot! And please ask Vicky some great questions! She'd be thrilled to answer you!
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Readers Choice: Review of Cinder by Marissa Meyer

First, I just want to say THANKS! to all of my loyal readers who voted on the poll of which book I should read next. I really loved Cinder, and now I get to share my views with the rest of you who already loved it!

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1) Goodreads Book Description: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (you guys got it right!)


My Review: This book was chosen by my blog readers as the most important next book for me to read. Their decision just proved I need to do this more often-- they were more than right.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer is about a cyborg, Cinder, who lives in a futuristic China. In a breathtaking and most unique retelling of the Cinderella story, we are introduced to a world of technology and wonder-- in addition to governmental intrigue, and another dominating species, the Lunars. Prince Kai meets our Cinder very early on in the story to ask her help in repairing his android, and it becomes clear that he may have to marry the evil Queen Levana to avoid all out war with the Lunars. While some of the aspects of the story are similar (evil stepmother and a ball), most of it is not, and it enthralled me from start to finish.

Lauren Oliver, the best selling author of the Delirium series, told me in an interview that this was her favorite YA read of the year. I know now why. The world building is terrific and I kept wanting to see more. The characters are very interesting, and the ethical dilemma of what makes a human kept cropping up in subtle but interesting ways. Furthermore, the protagonist was wonderful-- Cinder is probably the antithesis of the typical Cinderella image, but that's part of her charm. I loved that she was a mechanic and that she was down and dirty working on electronics-- that she wasn't the typical heroine.

I wasn't surprised by the big reveal, because hints were placed early on, and I can't still figure out why a certain doctor didn't reveal more earlier on, except as merely a plot device, but that was my only qualm.

Overall, a terrific and unusual retelling of the Cinderella story in futuristic China-- well written with wonderful characters. Meyer is an author to watch.

Please share your comments, especially if you voted in the poll! I want to know what you guys thought!

Current Giveaways
1. Dreaming of Books Blog Hop, Featuring J. Meyers, author of Intangible, signed copy of Intangible and signed bookmarks (INT), 1/18/13-1/24/13
Intangible Giveaway

2. Back to the Future Blog Hop, Featuring Samantha Durante, Author of Stitch, e-copy of Stitch or $5 Amazon gift card (INT), 1/22/13-1/28/13
Stitch giveaway

Review and International Giveaway of Stitch by Samantha Durante

Stitch (Stitch Trilogy, #1) Goodreads Book Description: Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa's body screams at her to run... but yet she's powerless to move.

Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence. In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees - and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell - Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless. But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.

Because what Alessa hasn't figured out yet is that she's not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university's idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface...

The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:  I requested a copy of this book from the author to review and she graciously complied. I had some trouble rating this book-- it's between a 3.5 and 4, but closer to a four, which is what I ended up rating it.

Stitch by Samantha Durante is an amalgam of genres-- but I won't say more so the reader can discover its secrets without me ruining it. In brief, Alessa is a college student who has lost her family and is still dealing with the aftermath. In her sorority house, she sees a handsome ghost who she must learn more about. With her best friend Janie, Alessa goes further than she could imagine to connect with this ghost from the past.

There's a lot to like about this book. I love all of the twists and turns and the characters are very likeable. I was impressed with how I didn't see one of the big twists coming, and I thought it was nicely done. I like Alessa, the main character, and Janie, her best friend, was probably my favorite character.

That said, I had a couple of issues with this book. First, there is a lot of telling of backstory, rather than showing. The prose is the strongest when we are in the action. Because there is a lot of introspection, I wonder if this would have been better written in first person instead. Also, I wasn't thrilled about the change in perspective randomly in the middle. I think either it should have been upfront with alternating chapters between characters or just one character's viewpoint the whole time.

Overall, I think it was a solid first novel that with some tweaks could have been great. 


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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Back to the Future Giveaway Hop, Featuring Stitch by Samantha Durante


Back to the Future - A Giveaway Hop Across Time

January 22nd to 28th

Thanks to both Inky and Kathy who put together this terrific giveaway hop!
And now on to our featured author, Samantha Durante who wrote a great book, Stitch.
Stitch (Stitch Trilogy, #1) 
Goodreads Book Description: Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa's body screams at her to run... but yet she's powerless to move.

Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence. In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees - and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell - Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless. But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.

Because what Alessa hasn't figured out yet is that she's not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university's idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface...

The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Stitch Review

Photo of Samantha Durante, author of Stitch 
Blurb about our author: Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. Stitch is her first novel. Learn more about Samantha at www.samanthadurante.com

Interview with Janie, a character from Stitch

Me: Thank you so much, Janie, for joining us on Ensconced in YA, for this interview! I would love to hear a little about your background-- where you grew up, what you are interested in studying in college, etc.

Janie: Thanks so much for having me, Christina!  I'm super excited to be here.  :-)
I grew up in an average suburban town not far from my college, Eastern State University, and to be honest, I really don't know WHAT I want to study yet!  I enrolled in ESU's liberal arts program, so I'm taking a lot of different classes right now and using my freshman year to figure it all out...  In the meantime, I've just been trying to make new friends and get to know the girls in my sorority, Z-E-Pi.  (And if you're wondering what the REAL answer is, all I can say is that this isn't *too* far from the truth, but my priorities my first year at ESU were actually a lot more... complicated... than just making friends and picking a major.)

Me: I think we all know what freshman year is like-- it's a year to really explore your options! Tell us how you first met Alessa, your best friend.

Janie: Haha, oh man, the day me and Less met at ESU was AMAZING - she made quite an impression, lol.  I was moving in to my room in the Z-E-Pi chapter house and all of a sudden I hear this GRUNTING noise from down the hall and I'm like, "WHAT is going on over there?"  And I'm super nosy, so naturally I went to check it out.  Lo and behold, I turn the corner into what I would later learn was Alessa's room to find her TRAPPED ON THE BED UNDER A MINI-FRIDGE.  No joke!  She had apparently tried to lift it out of the box alone and toppled backwards, getting herself stuck underneath, so I walk in to find what looked like 80 lbs of metal with arms and legs flailing in every direction.  I almost DIED laughing, but I managed to hold myself together long enough to rescue her and we've been best friends ever since.  :-)  It really feels like we've known each other forever!

Me: Wow, your adventures make me want to go back to college. Although, probably not stuck under a mini-fridge. All of my readers want to know, any special boys in your life?

Janie: Sighhhh, no, not at the moment.  There was this one guy - Josh - a friend of a guy that Alessa brought to a party once, and he was... omg, he was just RIDICULOUSLY hot.  I didn't think men like that even existed in real life, I don't know WHERE they found him - oh, I mean, disregard that last comment (spoilers, sorry!) - but anyway, I was lucky enough to get to hang out with him for that one night, at least until things went sour with Alessa and her date.  Who knows, maybe I'll find someone special in one of the next books?  (Samantha, if you're reading this, WINK WINK!)

Me: Ooooh, he sounds really cute! You'll have to keep us posted. What is your favorite college class and why? Your least favorite?

Janie: My favorite class this semester was psych.  It was just so interesting learning about how people think, why they behave the way they do, what motivates them, etc.  It really made me consider things from a different perspective (and it was applicable not just to my life as a student, but to my REAL life as well...).  My least favorite - hands down - was physics.  Ugh, it was so hard.  I just took it so that I could have a class with Less and it turned out to be WAY more difficult than I expected.  Plus it has a weekly lab that meets outside of lecture, so it takes up more time than most of my other classes.  What a pain!

Me: Labs always tend to take up more time than they are worth. Well, enough about school-- on to the good stuff. What is the best and worst thing about living in a sorority house?

Janie: Best thing?  Definitely the parties.  Alessa always complains about having tons of people running around the house making a mess, but I think it's fun.  Worst thing is the drama...  SO much drama!  It's amazing what people can get into fights over.  I actually watched two of my housemates get into a heated argument over which dress one of my other housemates should wear to a semi-formal.  Seriously?  It was absurd.  But the parties just about make up for it, haha.

Me: Wow, you'd better hide your dresses from all the other girls to avoid the drama it sounds like! And lastly, we all want to know-- do you REALLY believe that Alessa is seeing a ghost? Have you ever seen this mysterious boy?

Janie: Ooohh this is a loaded question, Christina!!  I definitely believe that Alessa is seeing... something.  A ghost?  I'm not so sure.  I believe that SHE believes it, and in the end, that's what really matters, right?  But no, I've never seen him myself and I'm not really much of a believer in the paranormal.  However, I know that there is more going on here than initially meets the eye... and she's seeing something, all right.  I'll just leave it at that.  :-)

Me: Thank you so much for joining us today! Best wishes!

Janie: Thank YOU so much! This was so much fun. Talk to you soon!

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review of Intangible by J. Meyers, a YA Paranormal, and International Giveaway!

IntangibleGoodreads Book Description: Twins Sera and Luke Raine have a well-kept secret—she heals with a touch of her hand, he sees the future. All their lives they’ve helped those in need on the sly. They’ve always thought of their abilities as being a gift.

Then Luke has a vision that Sera is killed. That gift they’ve always cherished begins to feel an awful lot like a curse. Because the thing about Luke’s ability? He’s always right. And he can’t do anything about it.


My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review: I have had this book on my to read list for a while. It didn't disappoint. I award this book 4.5 stars.

Intangible by J. Meyers is a compelling read about twins-- Luke and Sera who have secret powers that they can't really share with anyone they know. Even their parents who have probably seen some of their powers don't talk about it. Sera meets a dark, handsome stranger with a big secret as well, and also runs into someone else who may possibly be a... vampire? What happens next is really fun and because of that, I am not going to talk any more about the plot.

After reading a lot of duds recently, this book was refreshing. The two main characters and their powers were intriguing and I found myself caring about what happened to them. The supernatural world that Meyers creates has a new twist on what we know from other books-- nothing is exactly what it seems. I found myself getting sucked in and not able to step away until the end. The book is complete in itself but keeps enough questions open that this could lead to a sequel or two.

I wish I could talk more in depth about all of the characters because all of them are delightfully three dimensional-- but I fear that will give too much away. Just suffice to say, this book was entertaining from beginning to end.

Overall, a terrific, fast paced read, with engaging three-dimensional characters. I will definitely be sticking around for the next book.


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