New YA Releases: 1 November, 2011

October 31, 2011

Here are some upcoming releases this week.


Paperback:


+ Seizure by Kathy Reichs
+ Reckoning by Lili St. Crow


Hardcover:


+ Crossed by Ally Condie
+ Tigers Voyage by Colleen Houck
+ Last Breath by Rachel Caine
+ Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
+ The Outcasts by John Flanagan

Book Blogger Hop (6)

October 28, 2011

Book Blogger Hop
Hosted by Crazy for Books

“What is your favorite Halloween costume?
Even if you don’t celebrate, what kinds of costumes do you like?”

I don't really have a favourite costume, but I love the weird and funny ones!

I have only actually gone trick-or-treating once, and I went as a mermaid. I will not share any photos though. Firstly, because I don't have any on my computer. And secondly, the few there were are pretty embarrassing...

If I did go this year, I would like to wear this costume I bought for a dress-up themed formal I went to earlier on in the year, which was a mental patient. The shirt looks like a straight jacket! It is pretty awesome.



However, I let a friend borrow it so if anything pops up I will probably have to go with my baby costume, which looks similar to this:



I went to a dress-up party earlier in the year with this. We were separated into groups (our group was 'Big Baby') and we went on a scavenger hunt at our mall and around the suburbs. Was hilarious!

What about you? What costumes do you like?

Interview with Jason Letts

October 26, 2011

Jason Letts is the author of The Inevitable Trilogy, The Powerless series and the Spencer Nye Trilogy. He was kind enough to send me an eBook copy of the first book in his Spencer Nye Trilogy, Suspense which I have just reviewed. Jason Letts was also more than willing to answer a few questions about his writing, and Suspense!


What inspired you to become a writer?

I started writing when I was living in Japan, and it was a great way to relieve stress or tension that I was having being in a different culture and with the language barrier and all. I've always been a heavy reader, and then I just started putting together the ideas for a story, and then one word after another I started ending up with books. Now I'm lucky enough to be writing full time.


Do you usually work with an outline, or just write your stories without much more than an idea?

I'm actually a compulsive planner, and for Suspense especially the planning was absolutely crucial. That's not to say a lot of the story isn't discovered along the way, but it's good to have a lot of it down to know what I have to get out in each scene. Crossing fingers and hoping something great will come out probably wouldn't work for me.


Suspense is a very unique story and there is so many interesting elements of the world you have created, like Connect, defying gravity and all of the amazing technologies, let alone the plotline! I did not expect that ending. How did you come up with Spencer's story? What inspired the world and everything in it?

There were a couple of deep interests that came together to form this story. A girl getting a taste of fame. A perfectly secure world where people had complete freedom (to contrast so many books where there are absurdly oppressive regimes begging to be overthrown). A meaningful friendship between two female characters instead of just love interests. And I've also really wanted to up the action and push the envelope a little bit in terms of what YA is. The book was a lot of fun for me to write!


When writing Suspense, did you have any characters write themselves into the story or attempt to take over?

I have had this happen before where I needed a character who hadn't been planned at all. For Suspense, I pretty much had the cast down, but I've been surprised at how big a role Taka has had to play in the whole trilogy. That was completely unexpected, but it should work out great. There's a lot more going on with her than just what we see in Suspense.


What was the hardest scene you had to write?

I hate to give anything away, but there's some body switching that happens in the book, where characters end up switching genders, and it was tough making that work the way I wanted it too. There's a lot in the book that I feel emotionally invested in, but that doesn't stop me from writing.


Is anything you write about based or influenced by your personal experiences? Or are they purely imagination?

I'm sure there are, bits of character here or there, or experiences that I've had with various things. Some jokes I've come up with in real life conversations end up in books too. I came up with them, so why can't I use them, right?


Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming book, Expense (Spencer Nye Trilogy #2)?

Expense is actually set to release in just a few days, and I'm excited to see how readers respond to it because there's plenty that's different while so much is the same. The challenges are different and more difficult, requiring some deep thinking to resolve, and there are revelations that cast events in Suspense in a whole new light. There's a lot more going on than just meets the eye, and I'm hoping that draws in readers and makes this a trilogy that they can really get invested in.


Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions!

I'd like to take a moment to send a big Thank You to Catriona for all of her time and effort. I wish you the best of luck with the Little Book Owl blog and all your future reads. Thank you!

-- Jason

Suspense by Jason Letts

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Suspense by Jason Letts
Released: September 3, 2011
Series: Spencer Nye Trilogy [Book One]
Format: eBook edition
Source: Author
Buy it: Amazon


Spencer Nye can’t control the rage bubbling under her skin over the world around her. The trouble is, by the year 2102, the world has solved most of its great problems. Without hunger, war, greed, or even money, people obsess over the glamour of the Culture Industry and its mega-celebrity Idols, who vie for followers over the social networks of Connect.

But Spencer discovers there is plenty to fix within the Idols’ competition for more popularity. She becomes a diehard and promises to do anything to help her Idol, a dreamy movie star named Cleary Mintz, bring his vision of hope and purpose to the world. When she stumbles onto a threat against his life, she’ll have to fight harder than she ever thought possible or lose the man who means more to her than any other.


Suspense was an entertaining, and very unique story. There is so much action, and this picks up almost immediately and the fast-pace helped in making this book a quick and easy read. The world in which the story is set, is digitally advanced, full of intriguing technologies and devices including "Connect", which is pretty much the ultimate social networking/internet database, the ability to defy gravity and walk on walls and molecular synthesisers which can produce anything and everything.

I loved the loyalty evident between the trio, Spencer, Patch and Jetta. Spencer has her flaws, and doesn't always make the right choices, but her friends still stand by her through everything. I would have really liked to get to know these three characters a little better -not so much with Spencer, as she narrated the story and you learn more about her than the other characters.

I found Suspense a fairly deep story. The messages brought up by the mass of technology reflect modern society issues and threats. Firstly, there is no need for money. The lack of money results in equality in socioeconomic status amongst everyone, as the molecular synthesisers are able to produce anything someone could want or need, for free. There is also the reflection upon how technology is an integral part of human life, and I think this is a realistic commodity for the future of humanity. We become so incredibly dependant that we are unable to fend for ourselves.

Lee, the antagonist, has motives which derive from the comparison and choice between what life is today, and the today ideas I described above. He tried to strip the humans of their dependency on technology, and awaken them to some unknown truth. So basically, the choice is between equality and sufficient resources for life, and our current state of living where we have more freedom, being able to rely on ones self and each other, and being able to set goals for ourselves and challenge our abilities. Alongside these positives, are the negatives to each society - becoming weak and solely dependent on technologies which can be taken away in a moment, or on the other hand - inequality and having to work for ones survival.

The ending of this book leaves you wanting more, as it finishes with a huge twist that explains the source of the technologies available in this world. Look out for Expense which will be released in a few days!





I also had the honour of interviewing the author, Jason Letts. Click HERE to take a look!

New YA Releases: 25 October, 2011

October 24, 2011

Here are some upcoming releases this week.

Paperback:

+ Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
+ Trance by Kelly Meding

Hardcover:

+ Destined by P.C & Kristen Cast
+ Mastiff by Tamora Pearce
+ Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
+ Phantom by L.J. Smith

Book Blogger Hop (5)

October 21, 2011

Book Blogger Hop
Hosted by Crazy for Books

“What is your favorite type of candy?”

I looooooooooove Hershey's Cookies n' Cream! So much. Om nom nom

Far From the War by Jeffrey David Payne

October 20, 2011

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Far From the War by Jeffrey David Payne
Released: September 17, 2011
Series: Far From the War Series [Book One]
Publisher: Roche Harbor Books
Pages: 366
Source: Publisher
Buy it: Book Depository (free shipping) | Amazon

Economic ruin and Partisian rancor have pushed America to the brink of a new civil war. Esther is caught in the middle, serving as a page in the United States House of Representatives when rogue politicians and military leaders stage a modern day coup d'etat. When the coup turns violent, she abandons Washington, D.C. for home. She must learn to survive on her own as transportation and financial networks fail, as the war disrupts food and water supplies. The result is a cautionary tale about political extremism and the true cost of war.

I will admit that I have never read a book based around politics and war. I was surprisingly pleased with it, though, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

The beginning was just a little slow for me. I am completely clueless and politics and all that, even more so considering it is American politics, so I was confused with all of the technical and political parts explored towards the beginning.

Esther was an interesting character to follow. I loved her wit and humour. Whenever Esther engaged in conversation with others, she managed to pitch in and provide some funny one-liners. I also really admired her boldness, bravery and determination. When it came to the war aspects, Esther's mind was set on survival. She was determined to get home and did whatever it took to get there. Not once did she consider giving up.

On the other hand, when the love interest was introduced, Esther took the initiative to make a move herself. I loved seeing the roles reversed with their relationship, and it was done in such a way that the male was not deemed as any less of a "man", so to speak. She was bold and did not hesitate to take chances. I loved the relationship between the two characters. Although I felt it was a little rushed, I understand that the story occurred over a long period of time, and it skipped forward a few months every so often.

The people Esther met and befriended on her journey home added so much depth to the story, and unfortunately more tragedy and pain for Esther. She grew so close with a select few, and the war ripped them away from her. This was bitter sweet - Payne crafted lovable and humorous characters, and just as you grew attached to them (alongside Esther), a sudden turn of events would take them away.

The action in this book was quite graphic and gruesome. This was shocking and confronting, but I did not have any issues with it, in all honesty I liked how Jeffrey Payne did not attempt to hide the harsh nature of war. It assisted with the realism and visual impact of the novel, but for those of you who may have an issue with this, be wary of the fact that it gets a little bloody. I would not recommend this book for younger readers, because of this factor. It is set during a civil war, and the conflicts Esther faces are described in a little bit of detail.

I loved how the book ended. It wrapped up quite nicely, yet still leaves you wanting to know what happens next, and how things turn out with the love interest. The second book, The Mail Still Runs is released next year, and I am really looking forward to continuing on with the story!


Top Ten Tuesday (1)

October 18, 2011



I am participating in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Each week, there is a specific topic for a top ten list.

This weeks topic is:
Top ten books, whose titles or covers made me buy it


1. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

I could rave about this cover for hours on end. I just love it so much! The colour scheme and the galactic background looks incredible - I'm a sucker for stars. This cover is just beautiful, and I picked up this book, the hardcover version, because of it's cover. Although the synopsis intrigued me, it was definitely the cover which made this a must-buy.







2. Divergent by Veronica Roth

Again, I was hooked by the synopsis, but the cover made it irresistible. I adore the cover. The fiery symbol looks absolutely incredible. One of my favourite covers of all time.










3. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I must admit, I have a few on this list which I bought in addition to the amount of hype and praise they received. I guess that makes me feel less guilty for judging the books by their cover. Anyway, I love this. The dark colours make is so mysterious and the title looks gorgeous.








4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Random Riggs

This cover is really creepy. And I love it! The girl is just floating above the ground, and the combination of the image with the name really intrigued me.









5. Nightshade by Andrea Dremer

Beautiful. I love the purple hues, and the girls face is so enchanting. The hardcover is also sparkly, which I think is incredibly awesome. I remember buying this off of Goodreads, simply because of it's cover - I didn't read anything about it.









6. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

In addition to the fact that this is dystopian, the cover of this got me hooked. It is really beautiful, and I love the subtleties that add to the overall image. The gold lines around specific items on the cover look really cool, and I love the fact that they are recurring patterns even within the book (chapter titles).








7. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I really can't decide between the UK and US versions of the cover. I love them both, but I bought the UK cover because I actually hadn't seen the US version at that point. I love silhouette's, particularly with trees, and I just love how it frames the cover. The title design aswell is really cool and kind of creepy - the dripping blood. I think it's a nice touch.







8. The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan

This was a combination of the title and the cover. The title sounds quite gruesome and disturbing. When I heard it, I was a little unsure as to what it means, but I was interested all the same. The cover is also gorgeous. It adds to the creep factor.









9. Supernatural #7: One Year Gone by Rebecce Dessertine

Okay, if you know me even a little, then this would be a no-brainer. I LOVE Supernatural. Dean and Sam are probably the two sexiest men alive, so the cover for this drew me in. As well as the fact that it is based off my favourite TV show.










10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

It was the title for this one. I remember my maths teacher mentioning it one day in class, and the title sort of stuff. I was really curious as to what it was about.. a dog? at night? huh?








So what about you? What covers/titles made you buy a book?

New YA Releases: 18 October, 2011

Here are some upcoming releases this week.

Hardcover:

+ Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
+ The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
+ Seizure by Kathy Reichs
+ Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
+ Swear by Nina Malkin

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

October 11, 2011


Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
Released: December 7, 2010
Series: Vampire Academy [Book Six]
Publisher: Razor Bill
Pages: 594
Source: Purchased
Buy it: Book Depository (free shipping) | Amazon

ATTENTION: As this is part of a series, please be aware that this review will contain spoilers for the series, but not for the book itself. If you have not read the rest of the Vampire Academy books, please keep this in mind.

It all comes down to now.
Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice.

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir's Academy with her best friends and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy the Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose - for a crime she didn't even commit. She's in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She'll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose's life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back.. And this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?



An epic finale to a truly amazing series. My favourite vampire series by far. However, my relationship with the books was kind of strange. I would be reading one, totally engrossed and fascinated, and then when it finished I would forget about it a bit. I did not jump at the opportunity to pick up the next. I don’t know why - the books are amazing, maybe it is just a result of the sheer size of half of the books.

I don't know what it is about Mead's writing style and the world she has created, but I get completely sucked into the story. This particular vampire world is so unique, and I loved it. I stayed up until 3am to read this book, because I just could not draw myself away. There is so much that goes on in the story, leaving no room for slow-paced, boring scenes.

Rose disappointed me a little bit in this book. Don't get me wrong, I love Rose. She is an incredible strong and ballsy character who is willing to take insane risks and sacrifice herself for others, however her relationship with Dimitri in this book brought out a side of Rose that I cannot commend. The main action I am referring to (which I will not explain, so as not to spoil the story) resulted in me losing some respect for Rose. I still think she is an amazing character, but what she did was unfair to one party, whom I adore.

I loved Lissa's development in this book aswell. After having Rose taken away from her and put into a very dangerous position, Lissa grows a backbone and works towards finding a solution to Rose's problematic situation. She is really strong throughout this book, and her intellect shines through as well, in various challenges she faces. I have always loved Lissa, she is kind, passionate and caring, but I really admire her determination in strength in this book.

The ending was good and bad. I liked where Rose had ended up, but I feel it was a little sugar-coated on her side, and then a lot of the side characters were ignored. I really want to know what happened to everyone else! And I guess that is a main reason for me wanting to get into Bloodlines.


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