Monday, April 1, 2013

Comparison: Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Beautiful Creatures


  Since I have two books to reviews, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Beautiful Creatures, I thought I would tackle them the way I did in so many high school essays: the good, old-fashioned comparison. I'm sure you'll forgive me for breaking essay form. (I mean when was the last time you heard anyone say, "I just can't get enough of comparison essays"?)

Hot, mysterious girl with magical powers- Karou, from Daughter of Smoke and Bone has wish-beads, strange tattoos, blue hair that she swears comes out of her scalp that way, the ability to speak fifty languages and unusual strength. Her best friend complains she is always doing mysterious things like disappearing, often for days at a time, and frequently returning back to school injured. Lena, from Beautiful Creatures, is a darkly beautiful new girl at school who can break windows with her mind, control the weather and read the thoughts of others. She too is shrouded in mystery. Why does the strange black dog always follow her? Why does her uncle never leave his mansion? Why are their number inked all over her hands?

Hot, mysterious girl with magical powers doesn't know truth about her parentage: Karou was raised by creatures called chimera who live in another world only accessible by secret portals, but her foster- alligator-dad won't tell her who her parents are. She uncovers the truth over the course of the novel. Lena was raised by random relatives, particularly her uncle. She is told her parents died in a car accident when she was a toddler, but she learns the truth of her parents' fates by the end of book.

Love conquers all- Karou falls for an enemy of her people, and she and her magical boyfriend are set on the course of bringing about peace. Lena's cursed, doomed to become evil, probably. But her mortal boyfriend is determined to free her from the inevitable, and you know he will. At least until the sequel.

Stern male figure- Karou has her grouchy, half-animal foster father, Brimstone who shields truths about her own origins from her, withholds affection from her and even scratches her, in order to keep her from great danger. Lena has her non-mortal uncle, Macon, who keeps the truth about her origins from her, has his dog follow her, discourages her relationship with her boyfriend and doing normal social activities like attending prom.

Wacky, Happy-Go-Lucky Friend who is in on the secret- Zusann is the tiny and protective friend of Karou's who makes goofy puppets and sends funny emails to Karou. Link is one of Lena's few allies at school, a jokester who plays bad music in his band aand is a sucker for hot girls. He downplays all the hatred directed at Lena to make her feel better.

But, wait! There's more! I shan't divulge every likeness between these novels, but I shall tell you that the greatest similarity is that these books are both beyond incredible and a joy to read. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

State Of Emergency Promo and Excerpt

State of Emergency 
by Summer Lane

Amazon Barnes & Noble 

What would you do if the world as you know it ended in an instant? How far would you go to survive? 

Cassidy Hart is your typical High School graduate: a little shy, a little sarcastic, and a little naive. But when an electromagnetic pulse takes down the United States, she's forced to kick into full survival mode when she gets separated from her father. Yeah. Things suck. But with the help of a handsome soldier named Chris, she just might find her dad without getting into serious trouble. Emphasis on might. Oh. And there's the matter of avoiding getting killed in a world that's quickly turned into an active war zone. It's going to change Cassidy's life. It's going to be a major pain in the butt.

Read more:

About Summer Lane

Summer Lane is the author of the YA/NA Dystopian Romance, State of Emergency. She is a freelance writer, publicist and lover of all things feline. Summer is also the author of Snappy Social Networking: How to Dominate the Blogosphere & Everything in Between. 

In her spare time, Summer is the creator of the online magazine/blog, Writing Belle, in addition to being a frequent contributor at NA Alley, a website dedicated to all things New Adult.  

Summer began writing when she was 13 years old, due to the fact that the long afternoons after school were somewhat boring, and writing stories seemed to make the time pass a little quicker. Since then she has written many books about jungle cats, secret agents, princesses and spaceships. She is also a non-fiction writer, but her debut novel, State of Emergency, is her favorite book yet. You can find Summer hopping around on the Internet by following her on Twitter@SummerEllenLane or swinging by Writing Belle.

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Excerpt {Prologue}

I don’t know how it happened.  Nobody does. There are only theories, empty rhetoric and doomsday prophecies. None of them are right, but none of them are completely wrong, either. They all have a grain of truth. All I know is where I was and what I was doing when it happened. 

The day had started out like every other day of my life.  I hit the snooze button on my alarm about five times before dragging myself out of bed. I combed back my unruly red hair, threw on some clothes, and went into the kitchen. As usual, my dad hadn’t gone to the grocery store, so breakfast consisted of burnt toast and a teaspoon of olive oil. 

Because fatty acids are supposed to be healthy for you. 

And because there’s nothing else to eat in my house except a can of string beans from 1999. 

Being nineteen, graduated from high school and unemployed, I didn’t have much to do besides surf the internet looking for interesting stories and reading my stack of books from the library. Lately I had applied for a multitude of different jobs, including a flight attendant, car washer and hotel manager. Needless to say, none of those positions panned out. 

I’m more of the independent type, getting paid by my dad to help him out with his job as a private detective. He’s been letting me poke around in his cases since I was a freshman in high school. I’m good at it, too. Criminal justice, that is. I even wanted a degree in it, but since I’m flat busted broke and stuck in a two-bedroom home with an empty refrigerator, my options are kind of slim. 

Anyway, after I looked for a few jobs online, I closed my laptop and started cleaning the house. My dad and I lived in a small house in the outer suburbs of Los Angeles. Culver City, to be exact. It’s about ten minutes away from Hollywood. The land of spray-on tans and yoga classes. 

It’s a nice place to live as long as you don’t drive about five miles in the opposite direction. In that case you’ll end up in the middle of a ghetto. A visit to the grocery store might end up becoming a drive-by shooting. 

Unsurprisingly, I’m an introvert. 

So that day, that regular, average day, turned out to be a day that not only changed my life – but everybody else’s. 

It was the day technology turned on us. 

It was the beginning of a major pain in the butt. 

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Participating Host Sites ~ March 26, 2013

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Claiming Words Excerpt

  The Claiming Words by Tricia Drammeh

Using all my strength, I quickly grabbed his ankle and pulled until he was airborne for a split-fraction of a second. He fell on his behind, but sprang to his feet with unnatural speed, and faced me once again. I briefly wondered whether or not he used a little magic, but decided it didn’t matter. Bryce smiled at me, nodding once to acknowledge the fact that I’d bested him. He darted forward, and I launched my body to the side, remembering to keep low. I managed to dig my elbow into his side, and was rewarded by his quick intake of breath. Score another point to me. 
The battle quickly went downhill from there. Bryce was faster, stronger, and had the advantage of professional training, not to mention magic. Before I knew it, I was lying on the mat flat on my back with Bryce straddling me, his forearm on my throat. He’d managed to disable me without hurting me at all. He hovered over me and I could feel his breath in my ear. Leaning close he said softly, “Well, done, Alisa.” He stood quickly and reached down to help me to my feet. 

The Claiming Words by Tricia Drammeh
The Alexanders have always kept their secrets hidden…
When sixteen-year-old Jace Alexander moves to the small town of Oaktree, Georgia, he attracts the attention of every girl in school. Shy, introverted Alisa Cole immediately casts Jace in the leading role of her latest fantasy, but she assumes he’ll never return her interest. After she saves Jace from a Hunter, everything changes. Her accidental discovery of Jace’s secret propels her into a world of magic and danger. Alisa’s newfound courage is put to the test when Jace introduces her to his intimidating older brother, Bryce, and she decides she would rather battle a Hunter than endure another moment under Bryce’s intense scrutiny.
Jace and Bryce aren’t the only ones with secrets…
Rachel Stevens is the girl who has it all. She’s beautiful, popular, and in possession of an ancient power which endangers not only her, but those sent to protect her. Jace is drawn to Rachel—and he isn’t the only one. The Demon Re’Vel will do anything to claim her—even if it means waging a war with the entire Alexander family. As layers of secrets are peeled away, revealing the truth of her heritage and her family’s betrayal, Rachel struggles to resist an immortal suitor who stalks her in her dreams. With the Alexanders fighting to protect her, can Rachel escape the power of the Demon and his Claiming Words?

Author Bio:
Tricia Drammeh is a wife and a mother of four children. Although she currently lives in Missouri, she has called many places home, including Georgia, Ohio, and California. She’s worked in retail, customer service, sales, and accounting, but writing has always been her dream career. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, drinking vast amounts of coffee, and spending time with her family and the multitude of animals who have taken over her home. Tricia is currently working on her sixth novel.

The Book’s Site:
Author’s Website:
Author’s Blog:
Twitter: @triciadrammeh

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dazzle Review and Giveaway

Website links:
Dazzle synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Delaney Scott possesses a special gift. Ever since she was a child she has known about her calling and the duty she's expected to fulfill. However, all Delaney wants is to be normal. That's why she is drawn to Sam. He can offer her the life she's always desired. Only Sam has secrets of his own. Secrets that are deadly. Secrets that can change everything.

My Review:

Dazzle is action-packed from page one, where we find heroic Micah and Delaney rescuing a mysterious girl. I love when novels don't slowly pull you into the story, but rather, throw you in and keep you racing through the pages to the very end, and this novel definitely does that. The characters are likable and fleshed out. There's sort of a love-triangle in the plot, which, despite all my resistance, is something I'm drawn to. Sam, the boy-next-door type is my personal favorite. Dazzle is also loaded with twists, and if you have read other reviews I've written, then you know that nothing wins brownie points with me like a good plot twist. Amber Garza clearly has a lot of natural writing talent and can write action very well and produces some beautiful metaphors.

Now, that was all the positives. Just a couple of criticisms to point out. Not much, I did enjoy the book, but for a paranormal/supernatural work to capture my cold, cold heart it has to work especially hard not to be cheesy. Dazzle does a pretty good job of not being too predictable or fantasy-driven, but it has some very familiar ideas and conventions that kept me from being completely wowed by the story. (Judging by Goodreads, most other reviewers didn't have an issue with it, and in fact, they raved on this novel. Just so you know!) 

Now, there are no grammar errors in this novel that I've seen, so kudos to Ms. Garza for that, but with most indie books, I find myself mentally editing the whole time I'm reading. (And I'm an indie writer so in reading so many other indie novels, I have learned a much needed lesson. I have to confess,I am the shoddiest self-editor ever!) I just feel that this is a very good book and with a professional editor this could be another one of those books that gets turned into a series or a film. It has that much potential. 

My critical nature aside, Dazzle is an exciting, hard-to-put down read that will indeed dazzle most readers. But don't take my word for it! We have some copies to give away!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio:
Amber Garza has had a passion for writing since she was a little girl, making books out of notebook paper and staples. As an adult she's worked hard to make her dream of being published a reality. She writes while listening to music (mostly the Civil Wars), and drinking lots of coffee. Amber lives in California with her amazing husband, and two hilarious children who provide her with enough material to keep her writing for years.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

by Stephen Chbosky
4.15 of 5 stars 4.15 · rating details · 225,380 ratings · 18,917 reviews
Charlie is a freshman.

And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
Paperback, 213 pages
Published February 1st 1999 by MTV Books and Pocket Books
0671027344 (ISBN13: 9780671027346)

My Review:

Charlie, the sensitive and strange protagonist of The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a welcome departure from the brooding and angst-ridden narrators we so often get in young adult literature, aka realistic teenagers. Told through letters directed simply to "Dear Friend," the novel shows an uber- accepting, observant and philosophical high school freshman trying to "participate" in life, rather than just watching curiously from a distance. Charlie is gentle and vulnerable, a boy who makes no judgement, but rather practices extreme empathy. He comes off to me as a mix of Micheal Cerra and Harold from Harold and Maude. Just a genuinely innocent and sweet soul, though at times he was so innocent that I kept trying to figure out if I had missed a clue about his personality. Was he really an adolescent whose advanced intellect had him bumped up to high school? Did he have Asperger's or some other disorder on the Autism spectrum?

I cheered when Charlie found some friends who accepted and appreciated him as he was, naivete and all. And he becomes charmingly devoted to them, particularly siblings Sam (the girl he loves) and Patrick (the gay kid with inner torment.) And his introduction to them and their friends brings a lot of excitement and firsts for Charlie. He helps them with their conflict and heartbreaks, and they make him feel "infinite" and give him the courage to understand his panic attacks and a few painful memories.

There's an inner peace and wisdom that Charlie possesses that makes this book cool-headed, mild and easy to lap up, chapter after chapter. I absolutely adored it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Looking For Alaska by John Green Review

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads):

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

My Review:

Miles Halter, a very low-key, serene, teenage boy enrolls in a co-ed boarding school to shake his droll life up a little. On the first day, he falls in with a group of intelligent, though cynical, cigarette -smoking, booze-swilling pranksters, including the stunning girl named Alaska. The semester is spent sneaking around campus, pulling jokes, rapping, camping, drinking, telling stories, talking poetry and growing their bond. But beneath Alaska's confidence and spark is an element of tragedy, that leads to a heart-breaking twist that I never saw coming. Mile and his friends must come to turns with their lives after the tragic event and learn to be happy again.

John Green's writing style is like white bread: uncomplicated, pure, basic and once you start consuming it, you can't stop. And who doesn't like bread? The novel is almost entirely dialogue: funny, true-to-life dialogue, with dashes of interesting ponderings and action. They say a good novel has a character who changes himself or others. Looking For Alaska shows not one change in Miles Halter, but two. The first occurs in the "Before" portion of the book, where we find Miles's friends teach him to let loose and be a kid. In the "After" section, Miles has to learn to become an old, to come to terms with the more difficult things in life" death, guilt, disappointment and find a way to still be hopeful. Looking For Alaska is just a clean, brilliant look into the emotional year in the life of  thoughtful, extremely Holden Caulfield-esque kid. And it is nothing short of perfect. 

Favorite quote: 

"And the way her mouth curled up on the right side all the time, like she was preparing to smirk, like she'd mastered the right half of Mona Lisa's inimitable smile..."