Friday, September 27, 2013

Older ARC Giveaway

I was going through my bookshelves this week trying to find room for new books, and I came across a few books that I decided to give away.  These were either books that weren't for me or ones that I just don't have time to read.

So, here are the 3 ARCS I'm giving away this time (more to come in the future as I continue to clean out my bookshelves).

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

 
Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
 
 
All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry
 


One winner will win all 3!  So, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter and keep your fingers crossed!!!!!
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black


The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
ARC received from fellow blogger, Jen at Jenuine Cupcakes.  Thanks!
Release Date:  On Shelves Now
Reviewed by:  Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say:  Gripping and Sexy, Crossing my Fingers for a Sequel!
Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

I like vampires, but that being said, I really haven’t read many books centering on them.  So, I’m not one of those people who is burned out on them; and even if I was, I would have loved this one!  Though not overly unique, I still felt like Holly Black created a new and exciting world where twists and turns and shadows and blood will chase you into your darkest nightmares.

I really liked the main character, Tana.  I loved how resolute she was about the vampire epidemic.  She knows exactly how she feels about ever becoming one, and even when she meets an alluring, somewhat “good” vampire, she still doesn’t waver (even though I wanted her to).  She’s tough and doesn’t let fear knock her down; instead, she faces the darkness head on.  Now, her kind heart did get on my nerves at some points.  There were times when I wanted her to just say, “Screw it,” and leave, letting the vampires and “soon to be” vampires deal with their own problems.  I kind of wish it was a sense of adventure or desire to know that spurs her to action, instead of her wanting to help everyone.

Now Aiden (the ex) drove me nuts!!!  He is such a jerk, and I just wanted someone to smack him really hard in the nose.  But, like I always say, if an author can elicit a strong emotion (even a negative one) from me, then he or she is doing something right!!!  Way to go Holly on the annoying, jerkface Aiden.

And then there’s Gavriel, the mysterious, somewhat mad vampire.  He reminded me of the vampire version of the Mad Hatter.  He rambles these cryptic messages and seems to always be deep in thought.  I LOVED this about him.  He straddles the lines of madness and sanity, and every so often, he would dip to one side of the other and we would discover something new and amazing about him.  I am so hoping that Holly writes a sequel just so I can see more of him!

There was plenty of action in this one, and while the plot was slow at times, it wasn’t so much so that it lost my attention.  I also loved the idea of the “Coldtowns,” paralleling those of the ghettos during World War II.  It was intriguing to see how the other side lived, and furthermore, to see how fear can make people do horrible things.  In this case, the fear was warranted, as vampires are blood thirsty, dangerous creatures.  But they weren’t like rabid vampires, they were cold and calculating, embracing politics to manipulate the Coldtowns along with the rest of the world.

Overall, this was a great read, and I highly recommend it to vampire and Holly Black fans!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blog Tour & Cover Reveal Sign-Ups: Breakable by Aimee L. Salter


Hey Blogger Friends!

We've got a new book that we hope you'll be interested in helping us promote!

About a year ago, I had the pleasure of reading a manuscript that BLEW. ME. AWAY. I was at Eldest Sister Amy's house when I read it. If I recall, she was catching up on The Vampire Diaries, and I kept interrupting with various noises of shock and sorrow and delight. (Yes, I'm one of those readers who emotes often and loudly while reading).

From the opening pages, this book hooked me into the story and the lives of the characters. And it was one of those rare stories that makes you ache alongside the characters. When I told Amy about it, I told her that it reminded me of the way I felt reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak or Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly or The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. It's not similar in plot to any of the above (though it does have a touch of the fantastical like Book Thief and Revolution), but it gripped my soul in the same way those books did. I was still thinking about it days later, and as I was reading I was continuously marking favorite quotes that just nailed me to the page.

Now, I'm so happy to say that that manuscript will soon be available to the masses. And I hope that you all will be interested in helping this underdog of a book get the exposure that I 100% know it deserves. That book is Breakable by Aimee L. Salter. And here's a little bit more about the story:

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Whenever seventeen-year-old Stacy looks in the mirror, she can see and talk to her future self. “Older Me” has been Stacy's secret support through years of battles with their neurotic mother, the relentless bullying at school, and dealing with her hopeless love for her best friend, Mark.

Then Stacy finds out Older Me lies. A lot.

When Stacy becomes the victim of a school-wide humiliation that also threatens her last chance with Mark, she reaches breaking point.

Literally.

BREAKABLE is told in a fractured timeline. The premise was inspired by the “Dear Teen Me” website in which adult authors write letters to their teen selves. Despite the magical element of the character “Older Me”, BREAKABLE reads like a realistic, contemporary story, suitable for both teens and adult fans of the young adult genre. Early readers have compared their journey to Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

Seriously guys... I cannot tell you how much I love this book. The concept is fresh and inventive. And yet, despite the magical realism of the story, it reads like real life. I know these characters. I've been these characters. Their stories are heart-breaking and authentic and absolutely riveting. 

And now a little about the Author: 

Aimee L. Salter studied Communications and previously put her writing skills to good use in a wide variety of corporate roles. Since becoming a mother, she’s returned to her love of storytelling. After many years in New Zealand, in 2013 she returned home to southern Oregon with her husband and son.

BREAKABLE will be available for review October 7th, 2013, and will be released for Kindle, Nook, and in paperback on November 4th. You can add it on Goodreads here. You can connect with Aimee on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog. You can also read a preview of the first chapter of Breakable here

If this book sounds like something you would like or if you're just interested in helping out an up-and-coming author that I believe has a big future, I hope you'll consider joining the Cover Reveal and/or Blog Tour. 

If you're interested, please complete the form below! 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Not A Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis



Not A Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
eARC received from Harper Teen via Edelweiss
Release Date:  9-24-2013
Reviewed by:  Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say:  Quick and interesting read, but seemed a bit flat
Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water. Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

I already know it’s going to be really hard to write this review because this is one of those books that I enjoyed, but it won’t really stay with me.  I’m feeling kind of neutral about it, and I usually have something very opinionated to say about most books I read.  So, instead of jabbering on about my inadequate ability to form words—I’m just going to try and do a quick survey of my likes and dislikes.

First off, I enjoyed the survivalist idea of the book.  It wasn’t necessarily new or different from other dystopian/apocalyptic books out there, but something about it felt different.  I don’t know if it’s because there wasn’t a big journey or anything, but it felt like I was reading something unfamiliar.  This was definitely a good thing because it kept me interested, and I ended up reading the entire book in 2 days.

I also liked the characters, though I wasn’t blown away.  Lynn was strong and had been taught from a young age to be unsympathetic; so it was nice to see her learning to use her heart as well as her head.  I also found myself enjoying the language barrier between herself and the city family she meets later.  Living in the country, not knowing any other living being besides her mother, she was limited in what technology and slang she understood.  She didn’t even know what flirting was!  So, I was in for a few smiles as she tried to transverse a new understanding.

So, what bugged me?  I am still having trouble putting my finger on it.  The book just seemed flat in its action.  There was action here and there, but there were large periods of time where all we got was the day to day tasks that Lynn had to manage.  Adding Lucy and Eli helped a bit, but there still just wasn’t much substance to the plot.  I like big romance or big action, and that just wasn’t something that happened in this book.

The book was more about Lynn’s discovery of herself more than anything.  I wish there would have been more emphasis on the world, especially how bad the cities are getting.  It would have been great for Lynn to have to travel to get something from a city so that we could see the difficulties of life in this world.

Finally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the epilogue.  It didn’t say how long had passed, and it seemed like everything was wrapped up in a nice little bow.  This just seemed a bit unbelievable to me considering the harshness of life in the rest of the book.

Please don’t take this as a negative review because it’s not.  I consider this more of a 3 star, I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it review.  I do not regret reading it, but at the same time, I don’t think I would have been missing much had I skipped over it for another read. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Trust In Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout Sneak Peek

Guess what we have?!?! Yes!!! We have the first chapter of JLA's Trust In Me to share with all of you today!!! Yes, you get a sneak peek into the mind of the funny, charming and oh so swoon-worthy Cam!!!  I won't spend a lot of time up here ranting because I know you just want to get to Cam.  So, here you go!

Trust in Me (Wait for You, #1.5)
Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Jase Winstead was a cruel motherfucker.Going to Ass-tronomy 101was the last thing I wanted to be doing at nine in the damn morning, especially since all the class did was remind me of the first time I entered Professor Drage’s class and why I’d made a hasty, unplanned exit my freshman year. And I really didn’t need Jase’s taunting text messages about why scheduling classes before noon was unhealthy.Considering I was going on—oh, I don’t know, two hours of sleep—and I could still taste the tequila and other things I really didn’t want to even think about from last night, I was currently a walking poster child for how not to have a healthy and happy first day of fall classes.I watched the door to astronomy swing shut and then glanced back down at my phone. Jase’s text mocked me.Skip. I have beer. X-Box. FIFA ’13Well, shit. That was hella tempting. Ollie had trashed our Xbox the weekend before, during a brutal showdown of Call of Duty.I was a few minutes late for class.Astronomy, or soccer on the Box? Not really a tough call.Mind made up, I pivoted around and started to respond back to Jase when the double doors flung open like a tornado had ripped through the stairwell. My head jerked up just in time to see something small and something red come barreling straight at me.There was no stopping the collision.A little body smacked right into me and bounced back, arms flailing like a drowning victim. The bag, which looked like it weighed more than the owner, toppled her over.Reacting out of instinct, I shot forward, dropping my own bag and wrapping my arm around her waist, but the backpack went in one direction, the contents in the other. She was still reeling, like one of those inflatable pop bags. I tightened my hold, stilling her before she did some serious damage to herself. She jerked upright. Deep auburn hair flew forward, snapping me in the face. The scent of berries and something musky and good filled me.Holy shit, Strawberry Shortcake just ran me over.I chuckled and slipped my cell into my pocket, about to let her go, but the girl locked up. Every muscle seemed to go rigid. As tiny as she was, barely reaching my shoulders, she seemed to suddenly get smaller, shrinking into herself. Was she hurt?And did she somehow mistake Shepherd for a nearby middle school?“Whoa,” I said. “You okay, sweetheart?”No response for about a half minute, and I started to get real concerned. Then she dragged in a deep breath, causing her chest to rise flush against mine. I froze at the feel of her curves. Definitely not a middle schooler, unless they were developing in ways they hadn’t when I was there. And, if so, I was fucking envious of those boys.Okay, now I felt like I needed a shower, because even that disturbed me.Was I still drunk from last night? I was going to go with a yes.“Hey,” I tried again, voice lower. “Are you okay?” When there was still no response, I pressed two fingers under her chin. Her skin was soft and too cool. Wondering if it was possible for a person to pass out and remain standing, I gently lifted her head, my mouth opening to ask her again, but words died somewhere between my brain and my mouth.I blinked, because like a total dumbass, I thought that would change what I was seeing. Not that I wanted to change what I was seeing, but damn …What guy didn’t have a soft spot for a redhead?Pretty was too weak of a word to describe her. Her eyes were large and the color of warm whiskey. Freckles dotted the bridge of her small nose and her cheeks were well defined. Lips were a sweet cherry color and wide for her face, full and plump. The kind of lips that belonged to the kind of mouth that could and would bring a man—“Let. Go. Of. Me.”The hardness of her voice, laced with barely controlled panic, caused me to immediately drop her arm and take a healthy step back.She swayed a little at the loss of support, and I almost reached for her again, but I valued my balls. One day I’d like to have a kid or some shit, and I had a feeling if I touched her again, that would not be in my future.Pushing strands of thick hair out of her face, she cautiously stepped away from her bag. Thick lashes specked with red lifted, and, for a moment, neither of us moved and then her gaze moved over my face and then down. Chick was blatantly checking me out.Perhaps my balls weren’t in danger.A pretty pink flush spread across her cheeks. “I’m sorry. I was in a hurry to get to class. I’m late and …”I grinned as I knelt down, gathering up the spilled items. How one girl could have so many damn pens was beyond me. Blue. Purple. Black. Red. Orange. What the fuck? Who wrote with an orange pen?She joined me, grabbing the rest of her pens as her head tilted in a way that a wall of coppery hair shielded her face. “You don’t have to help me.”“It’s no problem.” I picked up a slip of paper that turned out to be her schedule. Quick glance at the classes confirmed she was a freshman. “Astronomy 101? I’m heading that way, too.”Jase and beer and FIFA ’13 were going to have to wait.“You’re late.” She was still hiding behind her hair. “I really am sorry.”Picking up her last notebook, I shoved it into the bag and stood. I handed it back to her, willing her to look up. I don’t know why, call me a mama’s boy, but I liked my girls smiling and not appearing like they were on the verge of tears. “It’s okay. I’m used to having girls throw themselves at me.” Her chin lifted up just the slightest, and my grin spread. “Trying to jump on my back is new, though. Kind of liked it.”Her head jerked up and all that hair slid back. “I wasn’t trying to jump on your back or throw myself at you.”“You weren’t?” My phone vibrated in my pocket. I ignored it. “Well, that’s a shame. If so, it would have made this the best first day of class in history.”She studied me as she clutched her bag to her chest, and my gaze dropped to the piece of paper I held. “Avery Morgansten?”“How do you know my name?” she snapped.What a touchy little thing. “It’s on your schedule.”“Oh.” She tucked her hair back and a slight tremor rocked her hand as she took the schedule.When I was little, my mom said I had a soft spot for the underdog. Wounded pigeons. Three-legged dogs. Skinny pigs. My sister was the same way. We had a sixth sense when it came to rooting them out, and I may not have known jack about this chick, but she was obviously new to this school, obviously uncomfortable, obviously having a shitty start to her day, and I felt bad for her.“My name is Cameron Hamilton,” I told her. “But everyone calls me Cam.”Her lips moved like she was repeating my name, and I sort of liked how that looked. “Thank you again, Cam.”Bending down, I picked up my bag and slung it over my shoulder. Knocking my hair out of my face, I smiled the kind of smile that usually got me what I wanted. “Well, let’s make our grand entrance.”I’d made it to the door to astronomy when I realized she hadn’t moved. Glancing over my shoulder, I frowned as she started to back away. “You’re going in the wrong direction, sweetheart.”“I can’t,” she croaked out.“Can’t what?” I faced her.Avery’s eyes met mine for a second and then she spun around and ran. Bag thumping off her hip, hair flying like a cape. The chick ran, actually freaking ran. My mouth dropped open.What in the hell had just happened?The door opened behind me, and a deep, slightly accented voice called out. “Mr. Hamilton, are you joining us today?”Shit. I closed my eyes.“Or are you planning to stand in the hallway the remaining time?” Professor Drage asked.Sighing, I turned around. “Joining the class, clearly.”“Clearly,” the professor repeated, holding a stack of stapled papers. “Syllabus.”I took one and then, on second thought, I took another. Just in case Avery Morgansten showed her face again.
Jase leaned against the back of my truck, one hand shoved through his brown hair, holding it off his glistening forehead. Several strands stuck straight up between his fingers. “It’s as hot as balls.”For late August, it was sweltering. Not even the shade provided by the large oaks surrounding the back parking lot across from White Hall provided any relief. I was dreading opening the door to the sweatbox.“Truest thing you’ve ever spoken.” Ollie squinted up at the trees. “It’s so hot the only answer is to get naked.”My gaze went to him. “You’re already as naked as you need to be, dude.”Ollie glanced down at himself and grinned. No shirt. Shorts hanging low. Flip-flops. Nothing else. “You know damn well I could get more naked.”Unfortunately that was true. We’d shared a three-bedroom apartment in University Heights for the last three years. Within a week of living together, Ollie had said screw it to modesty. I’d seen the guy’s junk more times then I cared to even think about. He was graduating in the spring, as I should’ve been, and I was going to miss the idiot.“Ticket.” Jase nodded at my windshield.I sighed, looking over. A cream-colored slip of paper was neatly placed under my wiper. The parking lot was reserved for staff, but with the lack of parking around these parts, I helped myself to whatever spot I could find. “I’ll add it to my collection.”“Which is massive.” Ollie pulled a band off his wrist and tugged his shoulder-length blond hair into a ponytail. “So, party tonight at our place?”My brows shot up. “Huh?”Jase grinned as he folded his arms across his chest.“It’s a back-to-school party.” Ollie stretched, cracking his back as he yawned. “Just a little get-together.”“Oh God.”Jase’s grin spread, and I wanted to knock it off his face. The last time Ollie had had a ‘little get-together’ it had been standing room only in our apartment. Cops might have been involved.“Order some pizza. I need to get—” Ollie stopped midsentence and turned toward a curvy brunette walking past. In a blink of an eye, he ditched us and was dropping an arm around the girl’s shoulders. “Hey, girl, hey.”The brunette giggled, wrapping an arm around Ollie’s waist.I turned, raising my hands. “What?”“Lost cause.” Jase rolled his eyes. “That fucker has eyes in the back of his head when it comes to girls.”“Very true.”“How he gets laid on a regular basis is beyond me.”“It’s the greatest mystery in life.” I loped around the front of my truck, grabbed the ticket, and then opened the driver’s door. Heat blew into my face. “Damn.”Jase angled his body toward me. “What happened with you today? You didn’t respond to my text. Thought the FIFA hooked you in.”“Aw, did you miss me?” I tugged off my shirt, rolled it up, and tossed it into the truck.“Maybe I did.”Laughing, I grabbed my cap off the seat and shoved it on, shielding my eyes. “I didn’t know we were dating.”“My feelings are hurt now.”“I’ll buy you a beer next time we’re out.”“That works. I’m easy.”I grinned. “Don’t I know.”Jase laughed as he turned, hanging his arms over the side of the truck bed. The easygoing smile faded as he slipped a pair of sunglasses on. I knew that look. Nothing good came from it. Very few people knew just how shitty life could get for Jase. It was easy for everyone to assume otherwise, with how Jase was the go-to guy for fixing other people’s crap, including mine.I turned the air on and shut the door, then joined him at the side of the truck. The metal was hot against the skin of my underarms as I leaned in, stretching my calves. “What’s up?”One dark eyebrow rose above the rim of his glasses. “You heading to the gym or something?”“That’s what I was thinking.” I switched my legs, working out the kink. “You wanna go with me?”“Nah,” he said. “I’ve got to swing by the farm. Check on a few things.”“How’s Jack?”A wide smile broke out across Jase’s face, causing a young professor walking past the truck to trip in her heels. “He’s great,” he said, his tone light like it was always was when he talked about his brother. “Told me yesterday that when he grows up, he wants to be Chuck Norris.”I laughed. “Can’t go wrong with that.”“Nope.” He looked over, peering at me above his shades. “How you doing?”“Good.” I pushed back, smacking my hands off the rail. “Why you ask?”Jase raised a shoulder. “Just checking in.”Some days that comment pissed me off. Other days it did nothing. Luckily for Jase, it was one of those days when the shit just rolled off my back. “I’m not about to end up in a corner, whispering ‘forever’ anytime soon. It’s all cool.”“Good to hear.” Jase grinned as he backed off, his head turning toward where the young teacher had disappeared. “Party at your place, right?”“Why not?” I headed to the driver’s side. “Half the campus will be there I’m sure.”“True.” Jase pivoted around. “See you later.”I climbed into the cool interior and headed out of the parking lot. My lazy ass needed to get to the gym on West Campus, but my ass also wanted to get to the couch for a nap.Turning left at the stop sign, I passed the duplexes on the right as a football flew out one of the doors, smacking one of the guys in the back of the head. Laughing, I reached over for the—Something red caught my attention.My eyes were heat-seeking missiles, searching out the source, and hot damn. My gaze narrowed. Was that Shortcake?A tree obscured my view for a second and then she reappeared, the sun reflecting off the wide bracelet circling her wrist.Hells yeah, it was.I didn’t even think twice about what I did next. Grinning, I slid the cap around backward and hung a sharp right, blocking the road.Avery jumped back onto the curb, her big eyes going round. As I hit the button to the passenger window, rolling it down, her mouth dropped open.I grinned, happy to see that Shortcake had made it through her first day alive. “Avery Morgansten, we meet again.”She glanced around her, like she thought I might be talking to someone else. “Cameron Hamilton … hi.”I leaned forward, dropping an arm over the steering wheel. She looked damn cute standing there, fidgeting with her bracelet. “We have to stop meeting like this.”Biting down on that plump lower lip, her gaze dropped, zeroing in on my tattoo as she shifted her weight from foot to foot.Shortcake was definitely what I would categorize as awkward. Maybe it came from having a younger sister, because the need to make her feel comfortable rode me hard, but it seemed like fighting a losing battle.“You running into me, me almost running over you?” I elaborated. “It’s like we’re a catastrophe waiting to happen.”Silence.Try this one more time. “Where are you heading?”“My car,” she said, proving to me that she could speak. “I’m about to run out of time. She shifted her weight again. “So …”“Well, hop in, sweetheart. I can give you a ride.”She stared at me like I asked her to get in the back of my kidnapper van. “No. It’s okay. I’m right up the hill. No need at all.”“It’s no problem.” Never had met a female so damn resistant to common courtesy. “It’s the least I can do after almost running you over.”“Thank you, but—”“Yo! Cam!” Kevin came out of fucking nowhere, jogging past Avery. “What you up to, man?”Oddly irritated, I kept my gaze on Shortcake and resisted the urge to nudge the dude out of the way with my truck. “Nothing, Kevin, just trying to have a conversation.”Avery raised her hand, wiggled her fingers, and bolted around Kevin and my truck. My gaze followed her as Kevin went on and on about some shit I didn’t give a flying fuck about.“Shit,” I muttered, sitting back in the seat.Avery ran again.And I had the craziest urge to give chase.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gold by Talia Vance Blog Tour Guest Post and Giveaway: Talia Vance on Time Travel in Books

 
Today we have the pleasure of hosting the Blog Tour for Talia Vance's Gold!!!  The YA Sisterhood loves Talia, and we always jump at the chance to read her books.  Gold is a must read, even better than Silver!!!
 
Gold by Talia Vance
Published by Flux and AVAILABLE NOW!
 
 
 
Descended from an Irish demigod, Brianna has fled to Ireland to escape destruction at the hands of her sworn enemies, the Sons of Killian. Taking refuge at the estate of her former nemesis, Austin Montgomery, Brianna discovers a rift in time that opens to an era before the feud began.

Wrestling with her newfound feelings for the more innocent Austin, Brianna begins to wonder if she can alter the past. But when Brianna and Austin learn that the Sons are raising an army of mythical beasts, the pair will need to use their magical strength in the present to avoid a tragic end.
 
************************************************
 
Talia Vance on "Time Travel in Books"
 
 
 
Time travel is one of those subjects that has always fascinated me, especially stories where someone travels to the past.  My favorite time travel stories don’t end with dramatic Back to the Future-style changes to the present, but rather show how the ripples created by the time traveler’s involvement in past events led to everything being exactly as it is and always has been in the present.  My theory of time travel is called the Theory of Compossibility (it’s a real theory- I looked it up)- which basically says that since the past has already happened, it’s set in stone and can’t be changed.  But the past is also part of a traveler’s future, because the time traveler, in the present, hasn’t experienced those events yet.  There’s a certain inevitability to it, fate, if you will, but also an enticing desire to believe that things could still be changed- since the time traveler still has choices and free will when he or she goes to the past.  I don’t think the events can be changed, but there is no question that the impact of those events have on the person who travels to the past can change the person who goes back.
One of my favorite time travel books is THE TIME TRAVELERS WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger.  In the book, Henry is afflicted with a genetic defect that causes him to travel into the future and past of his own life.  He’s anchored to people he cares about, so he often travels to visit family members.  At the beginning of the story, and adult Henry of various ages, travels back in time to visit his wife, as a child and a teen, before they ever meet in the present at college.  I loved the tension as various Henrys from the future and Claire got to know each other in the present, all while the present Henry had no knowledge that Claire even existed.  The moment when Claire “meets” Henry at college is perfect, because she knows all about him and has known him for years, but for Henry the “past” hasn’t happened yet.  Throughout their relationship in the present, as the travels back to see her, he gradually experiences those same events and “catches up” with Claire in the present.  It’s a beautiful, romantic story (one of my favorites), but I found myself frustrated with the ending, which I felt didn’t allow for poor Claire to have closure she needed after his death.
Another book with a great romance and time travel element is OUTLANDER by Diana Gabledon.  The main character (another Claire) is a mid-twentieth century nurse who travels back to eighteenth century Scotland, where she falls in love with James (“Jamie”) Fraser.  Although she stays in the past at the end of the first book, in the second book, Dragonfly in Amber, Claire returns to the present, changed by the great love and events of the past, and pregnant with Jamie’s child.  She stays in the present for 21 years, during which she investigates what happened to Jamie, believing he died in battle.  At the end of the second book, she learns that he did not die in battle as she had believed, and in the third novel, Claire goes back in time again to find him.  But when her adult daughter continues to research the past (in the present) and finds out that Claire and Jamie die in a fire in America, she goes back in time to try to save them.  The concept of going back to the past to try to change it is the great temptation of time travel.  But the conundrum is always this- if the time traveler succeeds in changing the past, how can she have learned of the horrible event in the future- such that she would be motivated to go back and change the past to begin with?  The past is fixed, isn’t it?  Perhaps everything the time traveler does is part of what makes the past happen the way it did.  Then again, the history we learn is not always the whole truth.  History is like a giant game of telephone, with information being twisted and lost as it’s relayed from one generation to another, and only tiny bits surviving at all.
These two stories probably influenced the time travel storyline in GOLD more than any others.  I GOLD, Brianna goes back in time to the year 1009, a time before the feud between the Sons of Killian and the Bandia- a time before Danu is killed.  She meets Austin in the past, a boy she has a relationship with in the future (Austin is immortal), and their relationship in the present is shaped by the things that happened in the past.  Brianna wants to take advantage of her ability to travel to the past, by preventing the events that led to the feud in the future, but Austin, who has already experienced those events (and Brianna’s efforts to change them) warns her it’s not possible.  I loved playing with the contradiction between what’s already happened and what’s still to come.  It was fun to see everything come full circle as the past caught up with the present and the future caught up with the past.  And, Brianna, if nothing else, got her closure.
 
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Talia Vance is a practicing litigation attorney living in Northern California with her real life love interest, two-point-five kids, and a needy Saint Bernard named Huckleberry. Talia has been writing since she could talk, making up stories for every doll, stuffed animal and action figure she could get her hands on. She grew up hoping to write the great American novel, but her life ran more along the lines of tortured romance and fast paced thrillers, so that's what she writes.

 
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Be sure to enter the giveaway and check out all the other stops on the tour!!!

The Giveaway is US Only.


Tour Schedule:

Week 1

9/9/2013- My Guilty Obsession- Guest Post

9/10/2013- Fiktshun- Blake Interview

9/11/2013- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Guest Post

9/12/2013- Ravenous Reader- Guest Post

9/13/2013- Taters Tall Tails- Austin Interview

 

Week 2

9/16/2013- Book Pics- Brianna Interview

9/17/2013- What the Cat Read- Interview

9/18/2013- Ya Sisterhood- Guest Post

9/19/2013- A Book Obsession- Interview

9/20/2013- Two Chicks on Books- Austin Guest Post- Quarters Scene from Austin’s POV
 
 


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Monday, September 16, 2013

Review and Blog Tour: When the World Was Flat (And We Were In Love) by Ingrid Jonach


When the World Was Flat (And We Were in Love) by Ingrid Jonach
ARC received from Strange Chemistry
Release Date:  Available Now
Reviewed by:  Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say:  Poignant and Bittersweet
Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.

When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.

But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.

When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.

An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.

I’m having a hard time coming up with the words for how this book made me feel.  While it was slow at times, it always had this aura to it, like I was slowly reading one of my favorite poems.  So, I guess I would describe it as poetic, an alluring mixture of science and beauty.

The first thing that attracted me to this book was the title—I absolutely love it.  It is so perfect for this story.  Have you ever had that nostalgic feeling, where you just look back on the great moments of your life and smile?  And you find yourself thinking about what it was like “back when”?  That’s what this title describes, that feeling of being happy and mesmerized—even if it only lasted for a moment.

I found this love story to be both beautiful and terrifying, but not terrifying in the horror sense.  It was terrifying in the “what if it ends” sense.  There were twists and turns in the road, and I really enjoyed the road to discovery that Ingrid paved.  In fact, I read this book in less than 3 hours because it just flowed so well.  It is also a short book, so you don’t have time to get caught up in overwhelming details.  (This might bug some people who like more definite world-building, but I’m not one of those people.)

The only thing that bugged me was the slow pace at the beginning of the book.  I think I was about 80 pages into it before it really hooked me, so that is going to turn some people off.  However, if you stick through the slower beginning, you will be rewarded with an endearing love story that rivals the ages.

While I did not like the secondary characters in this book, I did find myself hooked on both main characters, Lillie and Tom.  They were both broken in some way, but not so broken that they seem to have no hope.  I liked Lillie’s “I don’t care what you think” attitude because she pulls it off without being abrasive.  It’s not an “in your face” type of attitude; she just merely exists, like she walks through a shadow of her own making.  I liked that fierceness about her, whereas both her friends seemed to fall deeper into a pit of despair because of the problems of high school (bullying, peer pressure, etc.).

Then there’s Tom.  He’s not the type of guy who is going to sweep you off your feet, but he is the type that will make you smile at just the right moments.  He’s a fierce protector that stays on the sidelines until he is really needed.  He is stand-offish at first (and you discover why later in the book), but once you get inside his head, you can really see his heart.

Overall, I really enjoyed this romance with its touch of science fiction.  The ending did feel rushed, and I would have liked to know more about how the “science” came into being; but, it probably would have been too much to add all that science gibberish.  So, I’m happy with how Ingrid told her story.  I will definitely be looking for more of her books in the future.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Endless by Jessica Shirvington (Embrace #4)


Endless by Jessica Shirvington
Australian copy received from Brianna (Another thanks!)
Release date:  October 1, 2013
Reviewed by:  Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say:  A Rainbow of Excitement, Love, and Loss
Love will kill us all.

Angels are real. They aren't always kind. Violet Eden is certain of all this because she is Grigori - part angel, part human. She has felt the influence of both light and dark.

When Hell unleashes its worst, Violet must embrace every facet of her angel self to save the people she cares about and the world as she knows it. But death is not the worst thing that Violet will face. For her, the endless question 'Can love conquer all?' will finally be answered.

I don’t even know where to begin, other than, Jessica Shirvington, you have ripped my heart to shreds!!!!  I don’t even know where to begin to pick up the pieces.  This is one of those series that I am emotionally attached to—putting it in the esteemed company of The Covenant Series, Harry Potter Series, Mortal Instuments and Shatter Me.  I feel like I’ve come to know each and every one of the characters, and each one, good and bad, has managed to wriggle their way into my reality.  This series is unbelievably amazing, and as I much as I want to read what’s next, I wish it would never end.

Be prepared for heartbreak—there is your warning.

Instead of doing a normal review, I have picked out a few of the chapter headings to be my focus.

 

1.) From Chapter 3, “Can you hear Destiny laugh as she tiptoes toward you?  Destiny is heartless.” –Anonymous

Fate unfolds brilliantly in this fourth installment of the Embrace series.  You finally see more about Nox and Uri, and more importantly, you get more insight into Violet’s Angel Maker.  But these revelations won’t give you peace, not when you see how Destiny careens towards such a devastating cliff.  I loved how Jessica brought in the smallest details from the first books and brought them together, culminating in a remarkable set-up for action, betrayal, and revelations.

 

2.) From Chapter 8, “No man chooses evil because it is evil…he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” –Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

One of the things I like about Jessica’s story is that no one is without redemption, if they so choose it.  That being said, you just never know who is going to step out of the shadows and show themselves a traitor.  Everyone’s actions are circumspect, and I love the mystery that surrounds the Exiles and Grigori alike.  And Phoenix, of course, the Exile that stole my heart (even though I love Lincoln, too!) shows us the ace up his sleeve.

 

3.) From Chapter 15, “The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.”  Oscar Wilde

Oh what a tangled web we weave!  I can never seem to figure out what is going to happen next with this series, and that is truly a remarkable thing.  Books have become wholly too predictable, so it’s a breath of fresh air to not know what is going to happen with Violet, Lincoln, and Phoenix.

 

4.) From Chapter 30, “Let your plans be dark and as impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” Sun Tzu

The climax of this book is amazing!!!  It was morose and heart-breaking, but the scene that Jessica has portrayed is as vivid as any movie you will ever see.  More so, I love seeing how Violet comes into her powers, and believe me, she does strike like a thunderbolt.

 

5.) The final quote is the quote at the beginning of the book, but I left it until the end because it illuminates the epicness of what is to come:  “Light and darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers of one another.  They are inseparable.  Because of this neither are the good good, nor the evil evil, nor is life life, nor death death.”  The Gospel of Philip

Jessica has created a world where light and darkness co-exist and whose to tell which one is more good.  A world where good and evil exist as one, not separate entities trying to expunge the other.  It’s a world where life leads to death, and death may lead to true life.  I love this world, this book, these characters; and if I found myself on the edge of a cliff, being dared by an Angel to jump off; I might just give it a thought (you know, if there was a Phoenix and Lincoln waiting for me on the other side).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday:

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It spotlights books that have not yet been released, but ones that you should pre-order today! This week's book that we are anxiously awaiting is IGNITE ME by Tahereh Mafi.  It will be released February 4, 2014 from Harper Teen.
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The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love"

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end.

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I don't think it would be possible for me to put into words how much I want to read this book.  I just love Tahereh Mafi and her eclectic way of writing. I get lost in her metaphors, and her men just sweep me away--good or bad!!!!  It will be a sad and joyous day to see this series end.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Not So YA Friday: Levitating Las Vegas by Jennifer Echols


 
*********This review is recommended for ages 18 and up**************


Levitating Las Vegas by Jennifer Echols
eARC received from Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss
Release Date:  5-7-2013
Reviewed by:  Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say:  The magic and power of Las Vegas in a book!
Nothing up her sleeves...or so she’s been led to believe.

Showgirl Holly Starr is sick and tired of assisting her dad, a celebrity magician, in his Las Vegas casino magic show. As soon as he keeps his promise to her and shares the secrets to his tricks, she can break out on her own. But can she really make it? For years Holly has taken medication to stave off crazy hallucinations that she can levitate objects. Just when she thinks she’s ready to make a career and a life for herself, her medicine—and her luck—run out.

Elijah Brown suffers from a similar delusion—that he can read minds—and he’s out of medicine too. Determined to save himself and his old flame Holly, he kidnaps her and takes her straight to the source, a town high in the Rockies where their medicine is made. What they discover there leads them to suspect their powers are not imaginary after all...and neither is the intense attraction they feel for each other.

They make a pact to stick together as they return to Vegas to confront the people who kept them in the dark so long. But soon they’re pitting their powers against each other in a dangerous world where the nightlife is seductive, domination is addictive, the sex is beyond belief...and falling in love is murder.

My first Jennifer Echols book was Such A Rush, and I loved it; so when I saw her new NA novel up on Edelweiss, I knew I wanted to read it.  Yay for being approved!  I loved Jennifer’s world—full of misdirection and treachery, love and passion, danger and adventure; and like in the real world, what happen’s in Jennifer’s Vegas is supposed to “stay in Vegas.”

This book is told in 3rd person, which was a bit weird for me at first because it would pop back and forth between scenes and I had to do a double-take to see which character we were following at that point.  I only had this issue with Chapter 1, though, so I think with a few minor edits, it would flow much better.  As for the rest of the book, the writing and switching scenes/characters was smooth and definitely interesting as we see the magic of Vegas from multiple angles.

I really enjoyed the paranormal aspect of this book—seeing how powers could control people’s lives and cause them to do insane and dangerous things was thrilling, and I am really hoping that Jennifer writes a companion novel because I want to find out what’s next.  Holly is beautiful, charming, and innocent in her own way, and when she discovers that her powers are not a delusion, we see an entirely new side start to appear.  I really felt like this wasn’t just a story of magic and love, but a story of self-discovery as Holly had to decide how to weave her magic into her life without letting it take control.

Elijah is such a great love interest in this story.  He’s powerful in his own right, but his powers are also incredibly dangerous for himself.  As his powers evolve, he starts to feel himself teetering on the edge; and his struggle to maintain control of his life was empowering and emotional.  I really felt for him, and  I was cheering him and Holly on in their road of discovery.  Plus, he’s protective and hot—which I love!  Their romance was sweet and romantic, and while the scenes are still 18+, they aren’t overly sexual as many adult novels. 

Kaylee, Holly’s best friend, did annoy me at times.  She was very strong-willed and often callous in the face of danger.  I understand that she needed to be this way to protect everyone’s secret, but I wanted to feel like she was a person, too, not just the person who fixes all the problems.  You see a bit more of her soft side show through at the end, so that was a nice break.  Jennifer also says she is hoping to writing a companion novel on Kaylee, so hopefully we will see her as a bit more relatable in that one.

I really enjoyed the minor characters in this world, too.  Shane, Elijah’s roommate who has a major crush on Kaylee is hilarious, and I fell for him the moment I met him.  He was fun and sweet, but still had an edgier side to him.  I can’t wait to see more.  Then there’s Rob, the jerkwad.  I hated him, but his character was well-written, and the scenes with him really made me run the gamut of emotions.  Add those characters to Holly’s crazy parents, and I promise , you will see this rainbow of characters as amusing and emotion-charged as I did.

This world was powerful and enigmatic, and the magic really brought the setting and the world to life.  Don’t miss out on this new paranormal NA—it will really lift you off your feet!  J