Friday, March 25, 2011
However, I would like to raise an important point since what I heard alarmed me. There was some encouragement on this author's blog to boycott Dorchester books. Now, I'm all for boycotting things to make a point, if it will make a point, but I think there's an important distinction that needs to be made here. Not all authors are unhappy with Dorchester. There are plenty who are willingly sticking with the publisher, and who wish to continue to advance their writing careers with the people there.
With that said, I think it is selfish for whoever agreed to participate in this boycott to refuse to buy all books associated with Dorchester. Who are you truly harming when you do this? I'll tell you who: it's the authors. Wonderful people like Leanna Renee Hieber--a woman I will shamelessly promote on this blog because she deserves the praise--suffer because you refuse to buy Dorchester books. If you've read anything by Leanna, then you've seen how the woman can beautifully weave a sentence together with such sophistication and grace, it could bring a tear to one's eye. If you've ever read her blog or twitter, then you know that she's incredibly kindhearted and supportive of all those around her. And if you've ever been blessed to meet her in person... Well, you'll just have to see for yourself how sweet she really is. Do you really want someone, with so much skill, kindness, positivity, and potential, to suffer from any boycott?
Think about it in a different way. If you were an author, and you heard other authors complaining about your publisher, would you want potential fans to refuse to buy your books because you were associated with that publishing house? I think most of us would say "hell no!" so why should these authors be forced to deal with the added stresses? Why should certain authors, who already spend so much of their precious time writing, revising, imagining new and inventive ways to execute ideas to impress us readers, sweating, crying, and self-promoting suffer?
This post is going to sound self-righteous to some, but I do not think other authors on twitter should be supporting any boycotts of books (unless, of course, the support is for abstaining from buying anything Dorchester sells written by the authors who complain). Of course the authors in question may want to support those who were wronged... but they're also potentially harming those who weren't wronged. Sometimes it's better to simply keep quiet and let things play out the way they should, instead of adding more negativity and drama to the situation.
Just remember that there's always consequences. Think about who you're truly hurting when you boycott a publisher's books.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Kailia Sage (twilightforever.edward@...)
Smash Attack (SmashAttackReads@...)
Congratulations you two! Please respond to my email by Tuesday night. If I don't hear from either of you by then, I'll pick new winners.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Hardcover - 368 pages
ISBN 10: 1442409053
ISBN 13: 978-1442409057
Released: March 22, 2011
Buy it via the Publisher
Buy it via Amazon
Obtained: ARC Tours
Genre: Young Adult - Dystopian
Series: The Chemical Garden Trilogy
You know, I really wasn't buying all the hype for this book. I figured, "Oh, WITHER is going to be exactly like all of those other mediocre YA debuts I've seen in 2010, and it'll probably have some horrible love triangle to boot." And of course, unsurprisingly, after reading this book, I could slap myself. Perhaps 2011 will be the year where debuting authors redeem the genre for me? I truly hope so.
...because I read this book in one night. I missed reading books that sucked me in and kept me going from cover to cover -- especially books from the YA genre, a genre that I have a love-hate relationship with. I've found that, ever since starting Book Faery, I've generally become more critical of the texts I read. That's good for me when it comes to my own writing, but it's also bad because I get burnt out when forced to face off against a string of so-so books. Reader burnout, anyone?
WITHER is one of the most enjoyable dystopians I've read thus far (though I'm not entirely sure how reliable that statement is, considering I haven't read many). Be forewarned: this novel is not for the faint of heart. It's dark, it's gritty, it deals with death, what love is, monogamy, the concept of having multiple wives. You name it, and this book probably has it.
The universe this world is set in is even more unique than its themes. America still exists, yet after a World War 3 which wiped out a lot of the countries around the world, and with a disease affecting younger generations, the human population is suffering. Girls can only live until they're 20 and boys until they're 25. Parents are forced to become parents at extremely young ages, abandoning their children due to a premature death. Men in white coats stalk the streets to kidnap girls from their families to sell to rich young men as sister wives. It would be a nightmare living in this kind of world, and yet, I literally felt like I was living in it while reading WITHER.
Rhine is the heroine of our story and I loved her from page one. She's got this exhausted-yet-I-will-survive air about her that I could not get enough of. I respected her and I loved her determination to escape and find her twin brother. It was inspiring reading about her character. I wish more heroines were this determined.
The relationships that develop between Rhine and her sister wives almost brought me to tears at one point while reading this story. One does not think much of the two girls initially, but as time progresses, I felt as if I was part of this trio, an inseparable group of girls determined to survive despite what the house they live in throws at them. It was tragic witnessing what eventually happens to the three, and yet, despite the tragedy in this story, I still have some sort of hope that things will be okay for them.
I felt despair. I thought about how miserable life would be if I could only live until I was 20. It got me brooding about some... well, less than happy thoughts (which I could have avoided), but the book was so beautifully written I would have faced the feelings of despair all over again to re-experience this world and its characters.
Like I said earlier, WITHER completely deserves all its hype. After about a week passed (back in Dec 2010 when I wrote this review), I still look back fondly when thinking about this book. Oh, and check out that cover. The people at S&S outdid themselves by picking up an excellent novel/author and creating a cover that truly captures what this story is about. There is major symbolism on this cover folks. Highly recommend checking this novel out if you want to read a good dystopian. Cannot wait to see what will happen next in this series.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Hardcover - 608 pages
ISBN 13: 978-0385341677
Released: January 18, 2011
Buy it via the Publisher
Buy it via Amazon
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Fever Series
1. Darkfever (book review)
2. Bloodfever (book review)
3. Faefever (book review)
4. Dreamfever (book review)
MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.
Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.
What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.
In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.
Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?
From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.
Well, the fever series has finally come to its conclusion (or has it?) with the release of SHADOWFEVER. I have heard plenty of mixed opinions about this book: some have loved it, some hated it, and some, like me, feel ambivalent. Regardless, certain questions will be answered. By the end of this book, you will understand what Barrons is. You will also discover who Alina's murderer is.
Aside from those answers, and a few other reveals, I was left scratching my head. Even now, while I have a general understanding of Mac, I'm still somewhat confused about what she is supposed to be. Likewise, I would have appreciated more of an explanation regarding the Sidhe Seers and their origins. That one particular part was briefly mentioned, and then it was forgotten. Both instances left me feeling disappointed and ripped off. Instead of all the thinking Mac does, perhaps more focus could have been spent on the important questions that needed to be answered in more detail.
The first chapter almost reduced me to tears. Then, after more understandable anguish, Mac enters a phase, transforming into this new character that I did not care for. I understand her motives, but I felt this part of the story dragged on for too long. She gets angsty, then bottles everything up, and when she soon discovers she had no reason to be angsty, she reverts to her old, ignorant self. After all the declarations she made, I felt frustrated (like a number of other readers) about her regression. I would have much preferred seeing something change at this point, instead of having to have a certain someone practically slap her upside the head to wake up.
As for the climax of this story, I felt the two showdowns were way too anticlimactic--especially when we had four books which painstakingly lead up to this point. I remember, as I finally finished reading both scenes, asking myself "that's it?" It would seem that Moning is not a fan of gritty fights or sex scenes, which ultimately lessened my enjoyment of this book since I believe both would have truly enhanced the storyline.
Despite all my criticisms, I couldn't put this book down whenever I picked it up. That alone should reveal just how intriguing this storyline actually was. If I could tolerate all those thoughts Mac had, and still managed to enjoy the series overall, then I believe anyone can.
The characters and their journeys through this book and series was one of the most interesting elements. I loved how much growth, and yes, regression, there was within these pages. I loved how they felt so lifelike as I kept turning pages. At some points, I swear I could hear them speaking and arguing in my head, they felt that real.
The imagery is also a strong point, and something that I appreciated. I felt like I was in Ireland while I was reading this, and it's so nice to experience another country--even if it's something as simple as its weather and geographical elements. The fae realms that interfered with the human world were so vividly described, it felt like Moning painted the picture on the inside of my eyelids.
Final consensus about SHADOWFEVER: it's not my favorite book out of this series, but I was happy about Mac and Barrons. Some elements could have been focused on and explored further, but overall, the book's got a satisfying ending I think many will enjoy--especially if readers are dying for some semblance of a HEA. I know that, after immediately closing this book once and for all, I smiled because of the ending (before I started thinking about it critically).
Final consensus about the Fever series, and should YOU read it?: it's a mind fuck, plain and simple, albeit an enjoyable one.
There were a lot of philosophical ruminations that got me thinking, and for that, I am grateful. It's always nice when a fictional book gets a person thinking, while also entertaining them. In this way, I think the Fever series does something no academic book can do, because it appeals to the "average" reader.
There were just as many instances, however, where I wanted to yell because something frustrated me. This entire journey was mentally exhausting, but overall, I feel it was well worth it. Despite the ending of SHADOWFEVER, everyone should read this series at some point or other. There's plenty of humor and excellent writing within that more than makes up for the weaknesses in this series.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Two people who leave a comment on this post will receive their very own hardcover copy of CLARITY by Kim Harrington! Curious about what this book is about?
Clarity “Clare” Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It’s a gift. And a curse. When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case—but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare’s brother, who has supernatural gifts of his own, becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?
Kim Harrington lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son. She has no psychic powers and is cool with that. Clarity is her debut novel. Visit her online at www.kimharringtonbooks.com.
You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
* Open to US residents only.
* Leave a comment answering the question: "If you had Clare Fern's abilities, would you view them as a gift or a curse?"
* Include your email address in the comments!
+1 entry if you Tweet about this giveaway--make sure to include the link in your comment!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Released: August 24, 2004
Buy it via Amazon
Obtained: My secret-romance-novel-addiction buddy loaned it to me.
Genre: Straight-up Romantic Comedy
Series: None that I know of.
(Note: This book is awesome. I should be back to snarktastic reviews of terrible books shortly; consider this filler, like in a pie. Mmm, pie.)
Min Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man like Cal Morrisey, who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Cal Morrisey knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it’s not long before Min and Cal are dealing with meddling friends, wedding cake, a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kremes, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a frantic bride, Chicken Marsala, a mutant cat, snow globes, two Mothers-from-Hell, great shoes, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of including the biggest gamble of all–unconditional love.
My Rating: A pair of fabulous heels, an ice cream sundae and a girls' night out. (Translation: Fuckin' AWESOME, ya'll. But you'll probably gain weight and wake up with a hangover.)
I was having a day like that recently. Without going into a lot of detail, it was the mental and emotional equivalent of having your hands and feet spontaneously fall off. And then I read this book.
The synopsis above does give a pretty clear idea of the plot, and pretty much tells you right up front, "SERIOUSLY, DO NOT WORRY. THEY GET TOGETHER IN THE END, I PROMISE." What it does not tell you is how absolutely adorable, witty, odd and altogether fun this book can be. Also, despite the blatant advertising of "happy ending," there were bits in the book where I was like, "Oh noes, they will forever be apart! How can this happen??" immediately followed by, "Oh, wait, they're going on another date. Never mind." (As a side note, am I the only one who does this? I am beginning to suspect that I may be a bit dense when it comes to romance novels.)
I enjoyed the characters to no end. Minerva is such a bitch, you have to love her. She's short and plump and sassy and she doesn't need a man! No way, no how! She's got her work and her fantastic shoes and she's forever trying to diet and failing. (I can sympathize.) Cal is slick and a little slimy at first, to be honest, but he definitely redeemed himself to me when he took her out to dinner and told her, essentially, "You aren't fat, you're sexy. Now eat something, dammit!" Is it silly that that scene made me swoon a little? (Yes, probably.)
There's a nice - if fairly formulaic - supporting cast, as well. Horrible mothers, decent dads, the cynical best friend and the romantic best friend for both Cal and Minerva. There are some nice little sub-plots that work to bring Cal and Minerva into constant contact with each other while they're desperately trying to never ever see each other again.
This is a delightful, fluffy, romantic, funny book to read if you need a pick-me-up and enjoy reading books where you basically already know what will happen. However, it is not in any way substantial and should not be considered a full meal. ;)
Monday, March 7, 2011
Today they're here to inform all you wonderful blog readers of the grueling process they went through in order to get published, and also of a great giveaway you're definitely going to want to enter. For all you aspiring authors out there, I hope their story inspires you to never give up on your dream :)
Blog | Twitter | Goodreads
Buy THE LIAR SOCIETY:
Amazon ~ B&N ~ Borders ~ Book Depot
LILA ON WRITING
Our writing career began one fateful night...er morning...in July of 2008. Lisa was bored at work and Laura was on maternity leave and both were exploring other options.
Lisa: Let's open up a boutique.
Laura: Ooh, good idea. We can set our own hours, bring the kids with us, it will be so. much. fun.
Lisa: Seriously! Oh, but what about money? Ouch.
Laura: What about a movie theater? We could open one up and offer built-in childcare so moms can see movies during the day. It'll be a huge hit. (Laura's still ashamed of the fact that she actually did the following Google search: real estate, movie theaters, for sale, Ohio. Yep)
Lisa: Yes! But, um, movie theaters are probably expensive to build.
Laura: I've always wanted to write a book. Let's write a book together! I bet it's easy to get published. (Famous. Last. Words.)
Lisa: YES! I have the best idea ever. We can re-write the classics. I mean, no one's ever done that! (Famous. Last. Words.) I'll begin outlining stat.
And so it began. Our writing process then was exactly the same as our writing process now. Lisa writes the first chapter, Laura edits and writes the next chapter and sends it back to Lisa who continues until we're finished. If you own the document, you can change the document. No questions asked (although whenever we get the document back, we both scramble to past chapters and change BACK, but that's neither here nor there).
A month later we had our first draft of The North Shore, which we sent around to some fabulous beta readers (ie friends and family) who all said they adored it (well, except for our dad who said it wasn't his cup of tea. I guess we should have known). But no, we figured we were golden! We wrote a kick-ass query for a less than kick-ass book, earned a ton of requests, but then... Re-Jec-Tion. 1,902,607,341 rejections to be exact.
Okay, fine, we're exaggerating, but apparently we were not golden. So, what did we learn? Some very kind agents who saw a glimmer of something-something in our writing, provided some super-helpful feedback and we worked very hard to apply it. Just not to that particular book. That particular book needed to die. Instead, we started fresh, with a new idea and we *gasp* found beta readers who were not our family! Best advice ever. Find beta readers who WRITE.
When we queried with The Liar Society, then titled Finding Grace, we earned three offers of representation within a week! Many conversations later, we decided to go with Catherine Drayton, whose vision for the series most closely resembled our own.
And here we are.
Well... not exactly. Finding Grace turned into The Haunting of Pemberly Brown after editing for Catherine. And then editing some more. And more. And more and more and more. A lot of editors saw a little something-something, but only one saw the whole shebang. Dan Ehrenhaft acquired the book for Sourcebooks Fire, Sourcebooks' new YA line, and the rest is history. But let's just say there was a whole lot of editing involved in that history, including another change of title. Dan said The Haunting of Pemberly Brown sounded like a Jane Austen-style historical (not quite what we were going for) so The Liar Society was born. And then we edited for Kelly Barrales-Saylor and Leah Hultenschmidt and that's that.
So, what have we really learned?
1) Never trust friends and family as beta readers. They're just impressed you can write something longer than a term paper.
2) Connect with other writers. They need you just as much as you need them! Not only to read your crappy first drafts, but to support you along the way. Crying in your Cheerios is nothing to crying over Skype.
3) Don't be afraid to accept feedback. For better or worse, we're never completely married to our writing. It's always fluid and changing and we're not afraid to admit when something isn't working because usually, deep down, we knew it in the first place.
PS: We have a secret. Click here, hit the Pemberly Brown Plaque. The password is PINK.
And if you want to enter The Liar Society Blog Tour of Awesome contest, and really, who wouldn't want to enter!?! There's a $100 Amazon gift card up for grabs! Just click here and enter the super secret password, PINK, for an entry. Remember you can enter one time for each stop on our blog tour, so be sure to click here and see where else we're visiting this month to maximize your chances of winning.
Thanks for stopping by ladies! I think I need to take your advice to heart.
As you can see with this vibrant banner, you can win a $100 Amazon gift card. Just be sure to click on the image, which will direct you to Lisa and Laura's blog so you can learn more about this event. (If the picture link is giving you hassle, here's a text link for you).
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Paperback - 368 pages
ISBN 13: 978-1402256332
Released: March 1, 2011
Lisa and Laura's Website
Buy it via Amazon
Series: The Liar Society
1. The Liar Society
Sent: Sun 9/14 11:59 PM
Subject: (no subject)
I shouldn't be writing.
They'll hurt you.
Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident. But secrets haunt the halls of her elite private school. Secrets people will do anything to protect. Even if it means getting rid of the girl trying to solve a murder...
THE LIAR SOCIETY is what I wish paranormal YA books would be like. While there were no paranormal elements in this story, I think a lot of YA authors could learn a thing or two by reading this.
First off, the heroine does not need to fall madly in love with some lame guy and drop everything for him, and I think Kate is a perfect example of how kick ass a heroine could be when she's not obsessing 24/7 over a guy. Loyalty is also an important factor to include in a book, which, surprisingly, just happens to be missing in a lot of YAs. Thankfully, there's plenty in TLS to compensate. Also, there was enough action and suspense in the story to make me forget that I wasn't reading a paranormal book. Who knew?
The writing is amazing, and for the most part, I forgot this was a debut while reading. The plot was excellent, and kept me glued to the pages (read it in one afternoon!). The characters were interesting, and it was easy to relate with Kate. I wanted to scream for her at one point while she was stuck interacting with her parents. I'm thankful mine never behaved like that, but I knew plenty of friends who had nightmarish parents like Kate's.
I only have one (minor) complaint about the use of Latin within the novel. At first, I thought it was both interesting and unique to include, but then there were so many instances of it being used, that it kind of made me lose interest (in the plaques). Extremely minor, and I believe that many will be able to overlook this. For some reason, I couldn't after a while.
I was not expecting the twist at the end of the book, which is what I think made the story that much better! Definitely looking forward to future books by the Roecker ladies, and I hope that everyone else will give this debut a shot too! You won't be disappointed.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Hardcover - 304 pages
ISBN 10: 0547482477
ISBN 13: 978-0547482477
Released: March 7, 2011
Buy it via Amazon
Obtained: ARC Tour
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Historical)
1. The Vespertine
When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.
I wouldn't say that this book blew my mind, but it was interesting enough (once we got past the somewhat boring start) to keep me glued to the pages and finish this in one evening. Now, reading a book in one day does not seem like such a big deal, and normally, it wouldn't be for me (a few hours would be, though!). However, as of late, I have been having THE WORST difficulties when reading books. I'm not entirely sure why my burnout is still harassing me, but alas, it is. In that regard, this book was a godsend since I was actually able to keep going.
Amelia and Nathaniel's relationship is what ultimately kept me so involved with this story and is the first thing that I remember after a few weeks since snapping the book shut. While the secondary characters and world were interesting, I do not recall any names aside from the hero and heroine's. Most of this story's world has faded away, only to slowly resurface after I reread the back cover summary about four times just now. That in itself would have earned the book a 3 star rating, except that the relationship redeemed this story in my eyes.
What makes THE VESPERTINE unique is the fact that Saundra writes the story at two different times in Amelia's life and alternates between them both. At first, this was somewhat confusing, and it definitely took some time to adjust to, but once I did, I looked forward to it. Our tale primarily occurs when Amelia is living with her cousin (I'm pretty sure Zora is her cousin), and then we fast forward a few months to where Amelia is currently. The contrast between the past and present Amelia are shocking. I initially thought she was a brat, only to pity her as the novel progressed.
I suppose some may find the hero to be somewhat stalker-ish; looking back, his behavior was borderline creepy, however, at the time, I enjoyed Nathaniel's black sheep persona. And when the two are discussing love... well, I sighed out loud. I'm such a sap.
Since time has passed since reading and writing this review, I don't have much to gush about. I would suggest this novel to others if one is searching for a story that will keep them entertained for a few hours. THE VESPERTINE is not the sort of YA that will make you want to throw your book against the wall, and this story is blessedly devoid of love triangles. I personally will not be buying a copy for myself after reading an ARC, but that's just because I'm broke and all the books I do currently own are trying to kick me out of my bedroom. For those of you who are intrigued by THE VESPERTINE, yet are somewhat reluctant due to it being a historical, I would suggest borrowing it from a friend or the library first to see if this sort of story is for you. For the rest of you, this is a solid paranormal YA that most will enjoy... with an awesome ending to boot!