Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fool for Books Giveaway Hop 2013!



We're back with another giveaway!  As always, a huge thank you to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting this fantastic giveaway hop and to Forever Romance and KTeen!  We are thrilled to be giving away two awesome books in this Hop!  

First up:





And, because we love you and Jessica Sorensen - 




You know the drill, fill out the Rafflecopter below and we will pick a winner next week.  Good luck!

~Shel

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Secret of Ella and Micha (The Secret #1) by Jessica Sorensen Blog Tour & Giveaway


* * * * 1/2




Ella and Micha have been best friends since they were kids. But one tragic night shatters their friendship and their lives forever.

Ella used to be a rule-breaker with fiery attitude who wore her heart on her sleeve. But she left everything behind when she went to college and transformed into someone that follows the rules, keeps everything together, and hides all her problems. But now it's summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home.

Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. If Micha tries to tempt the old her back, she knows that it will be hard to resist.

Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to bring his best friend, and the girl he loves back, no matter what it takes.


I'll sum up my reaction after reading this in just one day: WOW! I first read this as an e-book a couple months ago and am so thrilled that it's now in paperback. Sorensen has written two very intriguing characters that I could not get enough of. I was instantly interested in what made Ella and Micha best friends and what eventually derailed that friendship.

Ella turned her back on her past but she can’t run too far from it especially when she has to return home for the summer from college. When she left, she did so without saying goodbye to anyone or where she was going. That included Micha. As soon as she gets home, she’s confronted by what she did and who she left behind. Micha represents so much that is at once so beautiful and painful about a moment in her life she wants desperately to erase. For his part, Micha is angry, confused and yet so relieved to see her again. He has spent the past few months worried out of his mind for her hoping that she was okay. Seeing her again releases a tidal wave of emotions that he wants to share with her but she keeps him at a distance.

It’s clear from the get go that both Ella and Micha are messed up from whatever it is they have experienced. Aware that any sudden move might scare her off again, Micha reaches out to her by reminding her of her connections at home and most importantly to him. In different hands, he would be an arrogant stalker unable to take a hint. But these people are so well written that he comes off as charismatic and irresistible even with his arrogance. He bares all his feelings to her never once hiding that he wants to take their friendship further. Ella on the other hand is plain scared and unable to bring herself to confront her fears or the truth that she feels the same way about him.

Many things make The Secret of Ella and Micha work. Both are complicated people with  issues that they have to work through mostly regarding their parents. They are so guarded about themselves yet there’d be no hesitation to help the other one out. There's this struggle to find a balance between the need to change but not give up your identity completely in the process. Both have friends who are surprisingly insightful despite the lack of information they’re privy to. Ella’s college roommate Lilah, seems like a privileged kid but she’s quite astute about Ella’s problems as they slowly come to light. Ethan, Micha’s best friend knows him better than anyone and has no problem calling him out when needed.

Perhaps the best part of the book is the mind-blowing chemistry between the two. Holy cow do the pages sizzle with sexual tension! There are as many steamy moments as there are tender ones. I could not break away from it. I loved Micha’s point of view - the way he looked at Ella, adored her, needed her. Seriously, there was a lot of swooning and knuckle-biting happening on my part! 

The Secret of Ella and Micha makes for fantastic reading. Sorensen did such a bang up job here and after reading a couple of teasers for the next book, I am not exaggerating when I say that I CANNOT wait to get my hands on The Forever of Ella and Micha.

~ Bel


Jessica Sorensen Interview & Giveaway 



Readers, I'm so very thrilled for BiblioJunkies to be a part of The Secret of Ella and Micha Blog Tour. As you can tell from my review, this is one of my favorite reads so far this year. And I'm very excited to have Jessica join us today for a quick Q and A.






You write the story from both Ella’s and Micha’s point of view. With either having their own baggage I was struck by how well you’d given them their own distinct voice. How conscientious were you about that when you were writing as each of them?
I was a little skeptical when I first decided to write from dual POV’s because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to give them a distinct voice, but I was surprised by how naturally it came out.

So spill – I had a lot of fun reading them but how much fun did you have writing those steamy scenes (which was pretty much every time they looked at each other)?
There was so much sexual tension between Ella and Micha and I loved every second of it.  In fact, the steamy scenes between them were some of my favorite scenes I’ve ever written.

Music plays a huge part in your books. What song do you feel describes Ella and Micha’s relationship best?
I have two actually, that remind me of their relationship. “The Story” by Brandi Carlile and “All the Same” by SickPuppies.

Time for silly questions. The BiblioJunkies motto is “boys, books and pie”. What’s your favorite sweet treat?
Hmmm… I think I have to go with cheesecake.

Who should play Ella and Micha if it were to be a movie?
Off the top of my head, I’d say Chace Crawford for Micha and Emma Stone for Ella.

Finally, can I have a sneak peek of The Forever of Ella and Micha? Pretty please? I’ll get you Chevelle tickets :-) (I have to try!)
Lol, okay!


I shuck off my shirt, climb onto the bed, and cover my body over her. Her fingers trace my stomach muscles and the black cursive font of my tattoo on my ribs.

“I’ll always be with you, inside and out,” she reads it. “Through hard times and helpless ones, through love, through doubt.”
I lean back a little, bring her hand to my mouth, and gently kiss her palm. “You know I wrote that for you.”

“No you didn’t.” Her eyelids flutter as I breathe on the sensitive spot of her wrist. “You wrote that when you were like sixteen.”

“Actually fifteen.” I release her hand and lie down on top of her, supporting my weight up with my arms.  “I remember sitting down to write it and the only inspiration I had was your sad eyes—I couldn’t get them out of my head.”

She pouts out her lip. “I don’t have sad eyes, do I?”

I brush my finger along her cheekbone and underneath one of her green eyes. “You did. All the time. And sometimes you still do.”

“You look sad sometimes too,” she tells me with her auburn hair spread out across the pillow. “But right now you look happy.”

“That’s because I am happy.” I start singing her the lyrics and it makes her grin broaden.
“There we go,” I say and kiss her deeply, nipping at her lip and tracing my tongue along the inside of her mouth.

She encloses her long legs around me and things turn heated. Threading my fingers through her hair, I caress her neck with my tongue until I know she’s going to have a hickey.  Her shoulder shudders upward from the touch of my breath and she giggles.

I put a small gap between us and look her in the eyes. “Does that tickle?”

She shakes her head with a solemn expression on her face. “No, not at all.”

I pinch her side playfully and she jerks sideways, attempting to roll out from under me.

“Please don’t.” She laughs, struggling for air. “Pretty please.”

I listen to her, because there’s something else I’m dying to do.  I begin to undress her, deliberately at first, but then my movements turn desperate and I end up ripping some of the buttons off her shirt.

Minutes later, our clothes are in a pile on the floor. As I stare into her eyes, I consider begging her to come with me on the road, but the moment is fleeting and I realize I just can’t do that to her.


Oh. My. God!!! Now I'm even more anxious for this book to come out! 

Thank you Jessica for stopping by! You can learn more about Jessica and her many books, music loves and even incredible sneak peeks of upcoming books by visiting her blog or by following her on Twitter @jessFallenStar.

I'd like to thank Forever Romance for inviting us to be a part of this blog tour, arranging the interview and also for supplying us with a copy of The Secret of Ella and Micha to giveaway to one of you lucky ones out there. Click here to enter: The Secret of Ella & Micha Giveaway.

~ Bel



Friday, March 29, 2013

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

***1/2



From HarperTeen:

Kimberlee Schaffer may be drop-dead gorgeous . . . but she also dropped dead last year. Now she needs Jeff's help with her unfinished business, and she's not taking no for an answer. When she was alive, Kimberlee wasn't just a mean girl; she was also a complete kleptomaniac. So if Jeff wants to avoid being haunted until graduation, he'll have to help her return all of the stolen items. But Jeff soon discovers that it's much easier to steal something than it is to bring it back.

Paying for your mistakes takes on a whole new meaning in this hauntingly clever twist on The Scarlet Pimpernel. 


I'm a fan of Aprilynne Pike's Wings series, so I was excited to read her latest endeavor.  Life After Theft is unique and interesting.  Ghost stories usually do not interest me, but there was more depth to this than your average ghost story.  It's about redemption and learning to see and love yourself.  All good lessons.  I also enjoyed the story being told through Jeff's voice and many of the visual's were hilarious!  

The description from HarperTeen says that fans of Ally Carter and Kiersten White will enjoy Life After Theft, and I have to agree.  It's a tad paranormal and a tad about sneaky thievery plans combined to make a fun read.

HarperTeen Impulse has a prequel short story One Day More, releases on 4/2/13 - I cannot wait to see what Kimberlee's last day was like!



~Shel

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead


Being Henry David
* * * *

Seventeen-year-old "Hank" has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything --who he is, where he came from, why he's running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or "Hank" and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of--Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead's remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.





Review:

When I was in my mid to late teens I mostly read classics such as Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, etc.  At the time I tried to read Thoreau’s Walden but just couldn’t get into the language.  Now, many years (we won’t say how many) and multiple copies (we own three) later, I still haven’t made another attempt to read it.  But that doesn’t mean the idea of it doesn’t continue to fascinate me.  Which is why I was thrilled to receive this title from Albert Whitman Teen via NetGalley.

Our hero, Hank, wakes up in a train station to a homeless man asking him if he plans on eating his copy of Walden.  As Hank struggles with the realization that he has no identity or any idea where he might be, the bum steals the book and starts eating it.  This is just the start of what will prove to be a bizarre and scary day.  Over the next 24 hours Hank meets two homeless teens, almost kills a crazed addict, steals a guy’s wallet and runs away from a crime boss.  This is just the beginning of Hanks adventure to discover who he is and why he has no memory of his life before waking up.  With the cash from the stolen wallet and his half-eaten copy of Walden, Hank sets out for Concord, MA in hopes that visiting Walden Pond will shed some light on who he is.

Hank was a likeable character.  Even with the possibility that he was running away from doing something terrible couldn’t stop me from caring for him.  The other characters in this book were also excellent and all played a part in helping Hank come to terms with his memory loss and identity. My favorite was Hank’s newly acquired mentor and confidant, Thomas.  He reminded me of Joe from Amy Lane’s Sidecar - a big softie with a tough guy exterior.

And then there are the descriptions.  They were strong without being overwhelming or boring. I felt as if I were in Concord.  It has always been a place I wanted to visit (huge Luisa May Alcott fan here) and now I can’t wait to see it and see what I recognize from this book.

This book was excellent.  Armistead took a story that could have been gloomy and slow and made it fast-paced and hopeful.  And believe it or not, I am seriously contemplating reading cracking open one of our three copies of Walden now that I have read Being Henry David.

Nat

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (57)




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.


This Is What Happy Looks Like
By Jennifer E. Smith
Publication Date: April 2, 2013

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs? 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Undeadly by Michele Vail

***


The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird…

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she's shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath.

Life at Nekyia has its pluses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another…except, there's something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain—Molly's got an undeadly knack for finding trouble….

The Bad:
I'm not a fan of zombies.  Vampires, wolves, shapeshifters - all these I get, but zombies just don't do it for me.  So when I realized that Undeadly was zombie-centric, I was disappointed.  (Here's the thing, I never read cover blurbs, reviews, etc when I choose books.  I don't want to know much of anything when I start a new book.  In fact, if I know things about books it generally makes me reluctant to pick them up.  Just ask Bel and Nat about trying to get me to read The Hunger Games or finish the Iron Fey and Mortal Instruments series').  The only other downside to Undeadly for me was that it is very similar to Jennifer Estep's Mythos Academy series, which I love, so for my money, Mythos Academy is better, but until Midnight Frost comes out, Undeadly will do.

The Good:
I love mythology.  Greek myths are my preference, but I do enjoy Egyptian mythology as well.  I thoroughly enjoyed Vail's portrayal of Anubis as a sarcastic, but caring god of the dead.  I also enjoyed Vail's (somewhat) realistic look at the vain, shallow teenage girl Molly was and admitted to being.  Undeadly was well written, well researched and a delightful way to spend a winter afternoon (and thankfully after the you get into the heart of the book, there aren't any zombies!).  I will definitely tune in for the next installment of the Reaper Diaries.  If you enjoy the Mythos Academy Series (Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost, Dark Frost and Crimson Frost), then you should grab Undeadly.  

~Shel

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Peek In The BiblioBin #56





Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Stand In Star by Rachel Johns

***

From Carina Press:

As an anthropologist, Holly McCartney is more comfortable in a museum than shopping on Rodeo Drive. She isn't prepared for the media frenzy on her arrival in L.A. to accept a posthumous acting award for her late sister...or for her sister's gorgeous friend Nate Devlin to come to her rescue. Though he resents her for some reason, she can't fight their irresistible chemistry--especially when the paparazzi force her to stay at his mansion.

Photographer Nate only agrees to help Holly survive Hollywood for her sister's sake, but she soon gets under his skin in a way no other woman has. The more time he spends with her, the more his attraction grows and he finds himself opening up to her in ways he never expected. But will ghosts of the past stand in the way of their perfect Hollywood ending?






The Bad:

I admit, there's not much bad about Stand In Star.  It's a quick, easy, enjoyable romance.  

The Good:

I enjoyed Stand In Star more than I thought I would.  It's not great, but it was a solid story.  The parts about dealing with the sister's death was a little deep and Nate's character was a little too good to be true, as heroes in romance novels tend to be, but overall, if you are looking for something to read on a Sunday afternoon, give it a shot.

~Shel




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Double Whammy by Gretchen Archer

*1/2


From Henery Press:
Davis Way thinks she’s hit the jackpot when she lands a job as the fifth wheel on an elite security team at the fabulous Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. But once there, she runs straight into her ex-ex husband, a rigged slot machine, her evil twin, and a trail of dead bodies. Davis learns the truth and it does not set her free—in fact, it lands her in the pokey.
Buried under a mistaken identity, unable to seek help from her family, her hot streak runs cold until her landlord Bradley Cole steps in. Make that her landlord, lawyer, and love interest. With his help, Davis must win this high stakes game before her luck runs out.

The Bad:
The writing was disjointed, jumping from flashbacks to present day and from situation to situation without transition.  I did not find the main character, Davis to be very likable and frankly the "love" interest seemed to be thrown in at the end as a given, without any development or build.  This is Ms. Archer's debut and the first in the series, so I hold out hope that the series will improve.    
The Good:
There were a couple of scenes that made me giggle, but mostly I found this book difficult to finish.    
~Shel

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (56)



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.


Deadly Sting (Elemental Assassin, #8)By Jennifer Estep
Publication Date:  March 26, 2013


Red is definitely my color. Good thing, because in my line of work, I end up wearing it a lot.

Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me — Gin Blanco, aka the Spider — it’s just part of the job. Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’ priceless possessions is not only the place to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place.

Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sweet Stuff by Donna Kauffman

**


From Kensington Books:

Double Fudge. . .Toasted Coconut. . .Key Lime. . .Strawberry Cream. . .
Every bite is a mouthful of heaven.
And the women of the Cupcake Club are bringing their appetites . . .


Riley Brown never imagined she would find her bliss on Georgia's quiet Sugarberry Island after years of Chicago's city life. With a new career and fantastic new friends, she's got it all--except for eligible men. But a gig staging a renovated beach house delivers a delicious treat--six feet of blue-eyed, gorgeous writer as delectable and Southern as pecan pie. Quinn Brannigan has come to Sugarberry to finish his latest novel in peace, and suddenly Riley has a taste for the bad boy author that no amount of mocha latte buttercream or lemon mousse will satisfy . . .

Riley's friends are rooting for her to give in to her cravings and spice up her life, but it's Quinn who needs to learn that life's menu just might include love, in all its decadent, irresistible flavors. . .

The Good:
I enjoyed the premise of this book, with the famous author hiding out and trying to decide what direction to take his career meets woman who fled a bad relationship to end up in a small town.  Quinn reminded me a bit of Castle, which of course made me think of the delectable Nathan Fillion...

The Bad:
While I enjoyed the premise, I wasn’t a big fan of the execution.  I’ve read books by Donna Kauffman before and enjoyed them, but the execution of these characters just didn’t resonate with me. 

For my money, if you are going to read Donna Kauffman, I recommend the Fairy Godmother series.  Super fun and interesting.

~Shel

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Peek In The BiblioBin #55






Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Deep Betrayal (Lies Beneath #2) by Anne Greenwood Brown

* * * 1/2




It's been thirty days, two hours, and seventeen minutes since Calder left Lily standing on the shores of Lake Superior. Not that she's counting. And when Calder does return, it's not quite the reunion Lily hoped for. Especially after she lets her father in on a huge secret: he, like Calder, is a merman. Obsessed with his new identity, Lily's dad monopolizes Calder's time as the two of them spend every day in the water, leaving Lily behind.

Then dead bodies start washing ashore. Calder blames his mermaid sisters, but Lily fears her father has embraced the merman's natural need to kill. As the body count grows, everyone is pointing fingers. Lily doesn't know what to believe—only that whoever's responsible is sure to strike again. . . .

After the impressive debut of Lies Beneath, I was very much hoping its sequel would continue to carry that sinister sense of foreboding.  Deep Betrayal features complicated family dynamics, a menacing threat to the Bayfield community and a deepening mystery of mermaid mythology.

Once Lily exposes the truth to her father, he becomes obsessed with embracing his merman side. His many long absences take a toll on the family. Lily is still concerned for his safety as Calder’s sisters’ whereabouts and motives are unknown. Her mother’s physical condition appears to be getting worse and her younger sister, Sophie seems to be keeping her own secrets.  As these things unfold around her, Lily also begins discovers some startling abilities of her own.

Deep Betrayal has some intense, creepy moments which I appreciated. It has the same dark undertone as Lies Beneath but with more at stake this time.  The dead bodies washing ashore have brought unwanted attention to Bayfield and the publicity could mean danger for Calder, his sisters and Lily’s dad. Lily’s friend Jack, is unstable and is threatening to expose the mermaids and all the events which previously unfolded, Lily and Calder doing plenty of damage control.

If you enjoyed Lies Beneath, Deep Betrayal will be welcome addition to your “to be read” pile – its alluring plot will keep you well hooked!

~ Bel

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (55)



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

It's been a while since all three of us were so eager for the same book release.  Ms. Cassandra Clare gets us everytime!


Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)By Cassandra Clare
Publication Date: March 13, 2013

Danger intensifies for the Shadowhunters as the New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy comes to a close.

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Emblaze (Violet Eden #3) by Jessica Shirvington


* * * *


Once again Violet Eden faces an impossible choice ... and the consequences are unimaginable.

Violet has come to terms with the fact that being part angel, part human, means her life will never be as it was.

Now Violet has something Phoenix - the exiled angel who betrayed her - will do anything for, and she has no intention of letting it fall into his hands. The only problem is that he has something she needs too.

Not afraid to raise the stakes, Phoenix seemingly holds all the power, always one step ahead. And when he puts the final pieces of the prophecy together, it doesn't take him long to realise exactly who he needs in order to open the gates of Hell.

With the help of surprising new allies, ancient prophecies are deciphered, a destination set and, after a shattering confrontation with her father, Violet leaves for the islands of Greece without knowing if she will have a home to return to...

This is the third installment in the excellent Violet Eden series. People I was so excited to get my hands on this that I may or may done have done a little jig in celebration. The appeal of Emblaze for me is simply Violet. She was empowered from an early age even if she wasn’t aware of it. Her friendship with Lincoln has been the key to her survival and as a result we’re not stuck with a simpering, sniveling helpless young woman. Instead, we have someone who has had all the training and resources at her disposal to prepare her for her calling. It’s refreshing and in order words, Violet is kick ass. Her skills are continually developing and she is beginning to trust her instincts.She doesn't forget who she is even when she's making tough decisions. Everything she does, she does with purpose. Violet is impressive in this one, especially when it comes to her fierce loyalty to her best friend, Steph.

Emblaze also finds this peculiar motley crew of Grigori and Exiles become a more cohesive unit. Other than Violet herself, only Lincoln and Griffin are aware of her true nature and they’re determined that it remain a secret, especially from Josephine, the second in command at the Academy who comes to supervise and observe this group. With the devastating deaths from the previous expedition still casting its ugly shadow over them, Violet and Lincoln know that they cannot be together and work very hard at keeping their distance. It’s maddening and unfair and every moment between them is charged. Violet’s reaction or attraction rather to Phoenix makes things all the more perplexing for her. Stuck in the middle between two hotties – oh what’s a girl to do?

Same as in Entice, the gang is off to another exotic location – Greece –  this time to stop Phoenix from unleashing all hell. There are some dubious alliances and questionable motives all of which had me reeling through some pretty suspenseful moments. With so much at stake, it's great to see what everyone's special powers and gifts are and how they come together to stave off this crisis. And by the time it all comes to a head, Violet receives the shock of a lifetime that unsettles her completely. These new revelations mean unknown ramifications for her and her family. I honestly have no idea where it can go from here but I tell you what. I'll be glued to every single page when the next book comes out!

~ Bel

Click here to read the Jessica Shirvington interview and contest!

Interview With Jessica Shirvington and Contest


So I'm certain you have all gathered by now from my review of Emblaze, I’m a bit of a fan. Okay, a lot! It's a fun series with a kick-ass heroine, how can it not be anything but? With that I am now extremely thrilled to have Jessica Shirvington join us today to talk about Emblaze, Violet and the rest of the gang. (And don't forget to check out the giveaway at the end of the interview too!)


Jessica, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview.  
You are welcome. Thanks for having me as a guest! 

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Embrace books and am excited that we are part of your blog tour! By the way, every time I use honey now, I think of Lincoln. That is in no way a complaint!
Haha!

Congratulations on getting picked up by CW! How did you celebrate the news?
There could possibly have been some awkward happy dancing. But to be honest, there are so many stages to a production getting off the ground, right now I am just in a holding pattern waiting to see what happens.

Do you remember the moment that sparked the idea for Embrace?
It was never one perfect moment when the entire story came into my mind. I clearly remember the day I opened my laptop and typed the names Violet and Lincoln at the top. I remember that day because it was the beginning of a major shift in my life. From there it was research and building blocks.

Violet really develops into her own in Emblaze. I’m sure you’ve had a lot of fun watching her grow up. What’s your proudest moment of her?
Yes, she has. My intention has always been for her to grow on the page in every way. And I guess it sounds kind of geeky, but I am proud of her character. She is strong and determined, but she is heartfelt and fallible too. She makes big mistakes but she can admit to them too. In EMBLAZE she puts everything on the line for her friendship with Steph. When others want to put her safety first she has none of it. I think in many ways, those scenes bring her into her own.

Violet and Lincoln have a very clear sense of what’s right and wrong.  Phoenix and Onyx on the other hand are wild cards being Exiles. Do you feel you have a wider berth with their characters because they’re much more unpredictable?
Definitely. And at the same time, I feel that because of their innate darkness I have to be always aware and true to it. No one just flips a switch and makes someone who has only ever known darkness suddenly only choose light. It was very important to me that that never be the case. Especially with Phoenix. He struggles against who he is, but he is who he is at the same time (does that make sense...?)

We’re going to have a bit of fun now. Our motto here at BiblioJunkies is “books, boys and pie”. So … what book had the biggest impact on you as a teenager?
When I was a teenager, I was reading a lot of Patricia Cornwell. The Kay Scarpetta books were one of the few series that really held my interest.

If you could put together your dream cast, who would you have as Violet, Lincoln and Phoenix?
I really don't know. I get asked this a lot and I have given answers before like - a Jensen Ackles or Chace Crawford for Lincoln, or Sebastian Stan for Phoenix. But the truth is I love the idea of unknown actors playing the roles. It seems weird having actors step into their characters when they are already famous for playing someone else. 

Finally, if Lincoln were to make you a sweet treat, what would that be?
He'd probably make something relatively healthy, but also divine. Maybe a perfect apple tart tatin with gooey vanilla ice cream. :-)

Thank you Jessica for spending some time with us today. It's been fun! And also a big thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for helping to arrange this interview. To learn more about Jessica, check out her website http://www.jessicashirvington.com


And as a special treat for stopping by, BiblioJunkies is giving away one autographed copy of Entice. To enter, simply answer this question: Which side would you be on - Grigori (light) or Exile (dark)? This contest will run through Sunday, March 17. One winner will be chosen and contacted. This contest is open to US residents only. 

Good luck and happy reading!
~ Bel

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Peek In The BiblioBin #54




Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy Bennett


Rapunzel Untangled

* * 1/2


Rapunzel is not your average teenager. 

For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction. But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is. 

Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale.







Review:

I had read Cindy Bennett’s Geek Girl when it came out and I really enjoyed it.  So much so that is was in my Top Ten of 2011.  So when we received a request to read and review her new novel, Rapunzel Untangled, I jumped at the chance.

Fairytale retellings are hit or miss for me.  Even though I had read a book by this author before, Rapunzel Untangled is such a different type of story from Geek Girl that I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The story started out interestingly enough.  We read from Gothel’s point of view when she first sees Rapunzel and decides that the baby with the long beautiful hair must be hers.  It was creepy enough to me.  Probably because I am a mother and just the thought of someone taking my children makes me absolutely sick to my stomach.

After that, the story is told in Rapunzel’s point of view.  I felt like Rapunzel was not socially awkward enough for someone that has only had communication with one person and that has never seen the outside world.  Sure, there were moments where she was confused by phrases, words and ideas.  But I guess I expected more awkwardness to go along with that ignorance and innocence.  I think maybe I was a little spoiled by the book Room by Emma Donoghue.  Her depiction of someone growing up isolated was done with such intensity and thoroughness that my expectations are pretty high.

Then there was Fane.  He was likeable enough.  He was kind of a tool but nice.  And he had good intentions.  The problem I had was the romance.  Boy saves the girl scenarios don’t usually bother me too much.  They aren’t my favorite but at the same time I can separate the fantasy from the reality enough to enjoy it.  But the story of Rapunzel?  A girl locked in a tower who then falls in love with the first person she ever meets?    It just seems so predatory of the hero.  This isn’t Cindy Bennett’s fault.  This is a problem I have with the story of Rapunzel.  The romance is just as creepy as the girl being held hostage.   I think I would really like to read a retelling of Rapunzel where another girl saves the girl in the tower and they become life long friends.  

The middle of this book was great.  When Rapunzel and Fane started exploring the house things began to happen.  There was plenty of suspense and mystery.  It was pretty dark.  But then how could it not when a girl has been kidnapped and kept locked in a tower by a crazy person?  This was the strong part of the story and I really enjoyed it.  So much that I hated to put it down.  I felt that the ending played out a little too easy and was a little too romantic - see my above noted issues with the Rapunzel romance - but it fit well with the rest of the story.

All in all, if you enjoy the story of Rapunzel you will probably enjoy Rapunzel Untangled.

Thank you to Cindy Bennett and Sweetwater (imprint of Cedar Fort Publishing) for giving us the opportunity to read and review this story.

Nat