Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guest Post: Tracy Deebs & Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of having Tracy Deebs, author of Tempest Rising, here on the blog as a part of her blog tour. Tracy was kind enough to put together a list of items from her teenage years we would find if she were to have a garage sale.

Hi Emilie, thanks so much for having me here today. I love the idea of a garage sale from my teen-age years, though I’m not sure there would be much there of value, lol. But I’ll give it my best shot!

  1. My old pink and yellow surfboard: $20 Though it’s not a Brewer (Dick Brewer, master surfboard maker) like the one my main character, Tempest, got for her sixteenth birthday (funny, isn’t it, that she got the exact surfboard I begged my parents for way back when—some things aren’t forgotten, lol) it’s still a good board. It saw me through many surfing adventures up and down the California coast.
  2. My VCR tape of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid: $3 My absolute favorite movie from the time I was three until I was about seven (and switched allegiances to Wonder Woman) I watched it every single day for nearly four years. It’s a beautiful and poignant story, one filled with darkness and deception, but one that also involves sacrifice and true love. I’m convinced that it is the love of this story (and not the Disney version) that inspired me to write Tempest Rising to begin with.
  3. My Early ‘90s Alternative Music Collection: $35 First edition CDs of Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Counting Crows and Stone Temple Pilots. I can’t begin to count the number of hours I spent hanging out with my friends—or boyfriend—listening to these CDs. I did countless English projects dissecting the lyrics and probably had the words to every song on every CD memorized (to be honest, I think I still do).
  4. My four-inch heeled black leather, designer knee boots: $20 I saved for three months to buy these boots and wore them everywhere for two entire winters. Seriously, everywhere, and despite my propensity for clumsiness, somehow managed to never fall on my butt in them (something I can’t say about my current favorite pair of five inch high hot pink platforms)
  5. My Collection of Art Posters: $5 I love art. Love, love, love art. From Van Gogh to Picasso, from Kandinsky to Kahlo, I love art of all types. My high school bedroom, and college dorm rooms, were plastered in all directions with posters of famous works of art. While I have no artistic talent whatsoever, or maybe because of it, I love to write characters who are artist. Tempest, besides being a mermaid and a kick-butt surfer, is also an artist. Picasso is her favorite artist, too.
  6. My book collection, comprised of romance novels, existential works of literature, the complete collections of the Romantics and the Beat Poets and various other works: $6 I’ve been a reader as long as I’ve been a writer, which is about the same time I realized that those letters my preschool teacher made me practice actually made words when I put them together. When I was in junior high and high school, and even college—okay, for my whole life, if I’m being honest—I’ve gone through books at an alarming rate. My husband, who is not a big reader, always laments the amount of money I spend on books—and the copious amount of boxes he has to carry every time we move, but I can’t stop. It’s an addiction that led to me being a writer and a college professor. And when I was young, my Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and Sweet Valley High books saw me through many a crisis.

Okay, now it’s your turn. What one thing would you sell in a garage sale that represents who you are. Leave a comment with your answer and fill out THIS FORM (you need to do both!) to be entered to win lipgloss and nail polish in Tempest purple.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent (Divergent #1)
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: April 25, 2011
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts into the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series--dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

2011 has been the year of the dystopians and Divergent was another amazing one. Veronica Roth is an absolutely fantastic new writer and the story she wrote was just as amazing. I loved it and just couldn’t find it in me to put it down once I started reading it.

The time has come for Beatrice to choose what faction she’s going to live in for the rest of her life. Will she stay in Abnegation to stay close to her family or will she transfer to another faction? On Choosing Day, Beatrice decides to join Dauntless, the faction known for its bravery. On that day, Beatrice becomes Tris and begins the initiation process that will reveal if she has what it takes to be Dauntless. But becoming Dauntless may prove to be more difficult than Tris ever thought. And everything may not be exactly as it seems on the Dauntless compound. Not only does Tris have to survive the Dauntless initiation but she also has to figure out what is being planned because the lives of her family may just be in danger.

Can I just begin by saying “WOW!” Divergent was absolutely amazing. I knew people were saying it was a great book but I never imagined it was this great a book. And believe me, it was. I don’t even know that there are any words to describe just how great and amazing Divergent was. Veronica Roth is a brilliant new writer. The dystopian world she created was captivating and made me question what would happen to our world in the future. As far as the factions are concerned, I don’t have a clue which one I would choose. By process of elimination I would probably end up in Dauntless or Erudite. But I would lean more towards Dauntless if only because I don’t think I could spend my whole life studying. Though I’m not sure how well I would fare in Dauntless.

I loved Tris. She was a great protagonist and I loved seeing her grow and come into her own. As far as my favorite heroines go, Tris is pretty high up there on the list. She was just a very interesting character, especially when she was struggling to figure out how her Abnegation past and her Dauntless future fit together. Four puzzled me. At first I didn’t really understand him and didn’t think he would be as important as he ended up being. But the more I got to know him, the more I liked him. Now, I really like him. I loved seeing him open himself up to Tris more and more and see their relationship develop.

I’ll say it again, Divergent was absolutely amazing and Veronica Roth is a fantastic writer. It is by far one of the best books I’ve read this year and there is no way I can wait until next year to find out what happens next. 

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Need by Carrie Jones

Title: Need (Need #1)
Author: Carrie Jones
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: December 23, 2008
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Zara White suspects a freaky guy is semi-stalking her. She memorizes phobias and chants them when she’s nervous. And okay, she hasn’t exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But moving to a shivery Maine town to stay with her grandmother is supposed to be the perfect fix--so her mom says.

Except, this new plan of getting away to help Zara stay sane? Yeah, not working. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara’s imagination. He’s still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There’s something not right--not human--in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs are pointing to Zara.

Need just happens to be another one of those books that I had been hearing so much about but had yet to pick up. I recently gave in and read it and found out why so many people love this series. There was something different about the story but at the same time it also felt familiar and I highly enjoyed it.

After her father’s death, Zara is sent to live in the middle of nowhere Maine to live with her grandmother. Zara is not expecting anything exciting to happen but almost as soon as she arrives, weird things start happening. Young boys start disappearing and a strange man appears to be following her around. With the help of some new friends, Zara soon discovers that the man following her may not be a man after all, but actually a pixie trying to make Zara his queen. But pixies may not be the only supernatural creatures living in this small town in Maine.

I’ve read books with just about every supernatural and paranormal creatures imaginable in them but pixies were among the few that I hadn’t read about. I really enjoyed getting to know this new world that involved pixies and other paranormal creatures, but I don’t want to give too much away about that. Carrie Jones is a fantastic writer. She had me falling in love with her story more and more with every page that I turned. The story completely drew me in and I never really knew what to expect as the story moved forward. It kept me interested the whole way through and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next to Zara and her group of friends.

I really liked Zara and I particularly loved that she didn’t just accept that pixies and other paranormal creatures exist. She didn’t really believe in them until she more or less had proof and even then she had some doubts. I really liked Issie and Devyn. Issie was always so happy and I loved the relationship she had with Devyn was so fun to read about. They were really cute together and I can only hope that their relationship will grow. As far as Nick is concerned, I wasn’t entire sure about him at first but the more I saw him and got to know him, the more I started to like him. By the end of the book, I totally understood why Zara fell for him.

Need was a great book and Carrie Jones wrote a fantastic story that was captivating. Now I just need to get myself a copy of Captivate in order to find out what happens next.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Title: Abandon (Abandon #1)
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Point
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Pierce knows what it's like to die, because she's done it before.

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone…because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back. 

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid. 

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away…especially since he always appears when she lest expects it, but exactly when she needs him the most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Meg Cabot is really close to the top of my list on my list of favorite authors so whenever she has a new book coming out, I make sure to read it. I have yet to read one of her books and not enjoy it and this didn’t change with Abandon. It was a great story and a book I loved reading.

On the surface, Pierce appears to be a girl just like anyone else. But there’s one thing that makes her different, she died and came back to life. Ever since that event, Pierce hasn’t been the same. She can’t seem to focus on anything and keeps on getting herself in trouble. And then there’s John, the mysterious boy she first met as a child and again when she died. Now he just seems to show up whenever there’s trouble around. Now in Florida trying to make a fresh start, Pierce once again finds herself getting in trouble without really meaning to and once again John appears to save the day. Maybe now Pierce will finally get a chance to understand what is happening in her life.

Meg Cabot is an amazing writer. The way she writes makes it so the reader is drawn into the story right from the start and keeps you in until the very end. It was no different with Abandon. While it didn’t have as much of the trademark humor I normally love in Meg Cabot books, it was still a great story and one I highly enjoyed. I knew the broad likes of the Persephone myth on which the story is based but not in great detail. The way in which it is retold in the books was great. The way in which it was written makes it so you never really knew what was going on with Pierce and John until it was all laid out. And that is the kind of story I love.

I loved getting to know Pierce. She was a really interesting character and there was never a dull moment with her. She always managed to find herself in the most impossible situations and I never really knew how she even got there in the first place. She kept me highly entertained throughout the book. John was mysterious to say the least. It practically took me the entire book to figure him out and even now I’m not sure I’ve completely figured him out. I just can’t seem to decide if he’s a good guy or bad boy. Maybe in the next book I’ll finally be able to make up my mind about him.

Overall, Abandon was another great book by Meg Cabot. Like I said, I’ve yet to read one of her books and not enjoy it. Hopefully this will continue in the future with the next book in the Abandon trilogy. 

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Title: The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine #1)
Author: Bree Despain
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release Date: December 22, 2009
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Grace Divine--daughter of the local pastor--always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood.

Now that Daniel’s returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul.

The Dark Divine is one of those books that I had been hearing about but I hadn’t actually taken the time to read it. Now that I’ve read it, I can see why so many people were raving about it and I have to say that I would agree with all of it.

Grace never really understood what happened on the night that Daniel disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood. From that day on, no one talked about that night and Daniel’s name was never mentioned again. Except that now, Daniel is back in town and Grace finds herself drawn to him, despite everyone’s warnings that he is dangerous and she should stay away from him. As Grace gets closer and closer to Daniel, strange things start happening. Some things about Daniel just don’t seem to add up and Jude’s behavior seems to be changing drastically. Will Grace be able to figure out everything that’s going on around her?

To be honest, it took me a while to get into the book and got to thinking that maybe it wasn’t for me. But then something happened and I had trouble putting the book down, the story sort of crept up on me and all of a sudden I found myself enjoying it a lot more than I had a few pages before. Bree Despain wrote a captivating story that kept me guessing for the longest time. I’ll be honest and say that it really took me a while to figure it all out and understand who was what and even who was the bad guy and who was the good guy.

As far as the characters are concerned, I liked Grace and seeing her grow and develop. While there were some parts of her I had more trouble understanding there were others that I could completely relate to. At first I really liked Jude and wasn’t sure what to make of Daniel. But then as the story moved forward, my opinion of the two changed. I found myself liking Daniel more and more and liking Jude less and less. Though by the end of the book I could understand why Jude was acting the way he was, I still liked Daniel better, if only for the way he was with Grace.

Overall, The Dark Divine is a book I greatly enjoyed and regret not having picked it up sooner. Bree Despain wrote a great story that I look forward to continue reading in The Lost Saint

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It's a post where we write about the books received during the week either for review, from the bookstore or contests and swaps.

I haven't done an In My Mailbox post in a really long time but now that I have time and had a pretty good book week I decided I would do one. So here is what I had in my mailbox this week:

Bought (all links go to Goodreads):

- Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz (I bought the second book on bargain at Chapters a few weeks back so I decided to order the first one in order to be able to read the series)
- Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (I have been meaning to read this book for the longest time and I finally got myself a copy)
- The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (I have yet to read anything by Kelley Armstrong so I picked up The Gathering)
- Evernight by Claudia Gray (I haven't read this series yet and I've heard a lot of good things about it so I'm going to be giving it a shot)
- Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (Once again, another series I have yet to read that I'm going to be giving a shot. Plus I'm hoping to meet Melissa Marr when the Smart Chicks come to my town in October)
- The Liar Society by Lisa & Laura Roecker (I've heard really good things about this one and I can't wait to read it for myself)
- Divergent by Veronica Roth (With all the good things I've heard about Divergent lately, how could I not pick this one up)

So that was a pretty good week in terms of books. Hopefully the books to come will be as good.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Release Date: October 19, 2010
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Nora Grey’s life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn’t pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He’s more elusive than ever and, even worse, he’s started spending time with Nora’s arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadn’t been acting so distant. Even with Scott’s totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him--despite her lingering feeling that he’s hiding something.

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations as she searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything--and everyone--she trusts.

I loved Hush, Hush when I read it last fall so I couldn’t wait to get around to reading Crescendo. While it drew me in completely and I highly enjoyed reading it, there were some aspects of the book that felt forced and that I didn’t particularly like. But overall, and despite those things, it was a book I really enjoyed.

Nora is alive and now she has Patch as her guardian angel. When everything should be going well, strange things start happening and the relationship between Nora and Patch suffers from it all. Now Nora is having weird dreams, visions of her father and Patch is too busy with someone else to help her make sense of it all. Nora doesn’t know who to turn to as she finds herself in more danger than ever before. The only thing she needs to figure out now is who she can trust and who she should run from.

As much as I liked Nora and could relate to her in the previous book, this time she got on my nerves a little. I still like her, I was just annoyed with how she was reacting to what was going on with Patch, it wasn’t the reaction I was expecting from her. Patch was still as infuriating as ever and I still wanted to punch him half the time. Even after two books, I still don’t really understand him or figure out how sincere he really is. And then there were new characters that I didn’t really know what to make of. Between Scott and Rixon, I had a lot of trouble figuring out who was the good guy and who was the bad guy, and even now I’m still not entirely sure.

The story I had a little trouble with. There were some parts that felt forced, like Patch and Nora’s breakup, but at the same time there wouldn’t have been a story without it. Despite that, I was still completely drawn in to the story, it had me captivated from beginning to end. It was action-packed and full of twists. I didn’t really understand what was happening until the very end and even now I still have doubts about what I think happened. If is doesn’t do anything else, this is a story that will draw you in and entertain you for at least a few hours.

Overall, Crescendo was an entertaining and enjoyable read that drew me in right from the start. I can’t wait to see how Becca Fitzpatrick will bring it all to an end in Silence, the final book in the series.

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