Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's ARC and Audiobook Giveaway!

(Thank you to Stephanie @ Poetry to Prose for making this gorgeous blog button. It's pretty awesome, huh?)
Happy New Year! Today is the first day of 2012! The Holiday season is slowly dwindling, everyone is making their New Year's Resolution, but everyone is still being thankful. Christmastime is a time to be thankful for everything in life, and I wanted to take a moment to thank all you authors, readers, and bloggers who have come to my blog and supported it, followed it, spread the word about it. I'm relatively new to the blogging world, but I feel like I've been doing it forever by the way all of the bloggers have welcomed me into the community.
To thank all you amazing readers and bloggers who stop by my blog, and authors who have answered questions for interviews or given swag to include in giveaways, I'm hosting a giveaway!

To show my thanks, I'll be giving away three highly anticipated ARCs that I've got on my shelf. One lucky winner will win an ARC of Slide by Jill Hathaway, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, and Cinder by Marissa Meyer. These three titles are highly anticipated and have been highly raved about!

 Another winner will receive two audiobooks courtesy of Macmillian Audio. The winner will receive an audiobook of All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin and The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson! All These Things I've Done is an amazing, emotional dystopian that I am so excited to giveaway!

 What are you waiting for? Enter! (US Residents Only, Must be 13 Years or Older)

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer



Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Page Count: 387 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.
 "A quirky, action-packed, edge-of-your-seat thriller that kicks of 2012 with a bang. Told in a masterful prose through the eyes of a wholly believable protagonist, I am in love with this book!"

When I first heard of Cinder, I wasn't overly enthused. Not because it sounded back or poorly done, it just...wasn't the book for me, you know? Cyborgs, space...people? Not really the way I roll. But I received an ARC and...put it away. The cover wasn't very good and I found myself hesitant to pick it up. Just recently, actually, I picked it up, and read the first two chapters.

 Oh my gosh! Instantly, I was in love with the way Marissa wrote. It was haunting almost, the way she didn't necessarily pack on the emotion in the moment, she used vibrant, vivid words, and used them scarcely. She had a way of writing that it took you a second to realize the enormity and the emotion behind the words, behind the events.

 Not only was there emotion in the words, Marissa made Cinder chalk-full of action. There was not a single dull moment in the entire 387 pages. Literally, I was never bored. Something was always happening, peril was always surrounding our characters. I was on the edge of my seat every second and I literally could not put this book down. And it wasn't just because things were going on, it was because Marissa is an imagery-genius. Cinder is the epitome to a good action novel. With crisp, precise writing to depict and portray heart-stopping action, you can visualize what is happening, and it results in you not being able to put it down.

 The uniqueness of the book will help Cinder tremendously. With that creepy, intriguing cover and eccentric, different plot, I have no doubts an everyday  book buyer will be obliged to buy themselves a copy! Full of adrenaline-pumping action, sizzling romance, and a twisty-turny plot and ending that will leave you breathless, Cinder kicks off 2012 with a bang!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review: Remembrance by Michelle Madow



Title: Remembrance
Author: Michelle Madow
Publisher: Self Published
Page Count: 302 Pages
Release Date: July 27th, 2011
Format: Finished Copy
Source: Author

New Hampshire high school junior Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England ... but she doesn't know it yet.

Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can't she seem to get him out of her mind?

Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, the pair of them soon find that fighting fate isn't going to be easy.
"A solid debut from an author that has a lot of promise. Michelle's writing style is light and well-done, but a few signature author pitfalls keep Remembrance from achieving it's full potential."


I was extremely reluctant to start reading Remembrance. I knew the author was one of the nicest people I'd ever met, and when I got her book in my hands, I read the first chapter and...lost interest. Putting the book down, I noticed how Michelle seemed to try a little too hard to prove that she knew how to write. It turned me off instantly. So, I read many other books, and just recently picked it back up.

 Surprisingly, I read a good fifty pages within the next thirty minutes, and by the next night I was done. A light, fast read, and a solid, good jump into the publishing world for a debut, self-published author like Michelle. She's definitely gotten eyes on her book, and I've heard about it from a lot of bloggers and seen it on a ton of blogs. I think it's really, really cool how big this book is, and it deserves to be.

 Michelle has a nice writing style. It was easy to read, nothing to advanced, and i was able to connect and slip into the characters. She used a simple vocabulary, and the conversations and thoughts going through the character's heads were normal, relateable, and not awkward or stilted. Everything flowed well, everything was attached and well written.

 But there were a few problems with Remembrance, the first one being the overall lack of real plot. The book is 98 percent romance and about 2 percent about the whole reincarnation thing. From the very first chapter the main focus is how drawn our main character is to our new, mysterious boy, and her choice between the one she used to love and the new, mysterious love. Somewhere in the middle of the book, we have this odd thing happen, and suddenly our main character just knows she's been reincarnated?

 I thought that the big reveal of the story didn't have as big of an impact as I thought it would. When the "flash" from the past came to Lizzie, she went home and just went to Google and went to look for reincarnation. She's like: OMGZ guys I'm reincarnate...NBD <3! And it was just...dull? I wanted some big reveal, some huge, life-changing thing that would affect her. But all she seemed to care about was Drew, the boy who's mysterious and connected to her.

 The characters also kept me from totally loving this book. I get easily irritated about the stereotypes that Twilight and it's sequels have plagued many novels with, and I noticed a good one hundred pages into the book that Lizzie, our main character, was annoying backboneless and let her boyfriend, who was a total jerk, push her around. It annoyed me.

 And Drew, our mysterious boy who walks in on the first day of school, got many an eye-roll from me. The love triangle mixed with the hunky, mysterious boy who Lizzie is "drawn" to led to a little impeding in Remembrance reaching its true potential.

 The character development was crafted well, though. Lizzie changed over the course of the novel, and I found myself liking her a lot more now that she'd gotten a backbone and didn't flinch away when people insulted her. She stood up for herself and thought for herself, which was something she was unable to do for the first one hundred pages.

 Self published novels that are actually good are hard to come by. I just happened to stumble upon Remembrance, which is an enchanting debut that is written fabulously and characterized well. Michelle, like any author finding her feet, finding her voice, has fallen into the pitfalls of an every-other YA novel, but overall made up for it with good characterization. Michelle has room to grow, and I have no doubts she will, and I will be eagerly picking up the next installment in the Transcend Time Saga!

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Problem with Trilogies

This is me when I'm scavenging through Goodreads looking at books that everyone has on their to-read piles. It's usually a time when I'm bored, so I click on random books and think about what they're about. Usually, I find some really, really good books that hadn't been on my radar before. But for almost 90 percent of the time, the blurb reads one thing, and thing only:

THE FIRST BOOK IN A [Insert flattering word] NEW TRILOGY.

 Why must every book nowadays be the FIRST in a breathtaking, groundbreaking, riveting, etc. trilogy. What ever happened to...a stand-alone? Why can't there be a Dystopian that can stand on its own as a single book, a single title? Because, frankly, a lot of trilogies have a persistent disease. Let's start with book one, shall we?

 The Book One Building Syndrome - Yes, you know what I'm talking about. Book one of a Dystopian or other type of trilogy, are building up and getting you acquainted. Yes, I know, we do need to be introduced to all of our characters and our world. But see, a lot of the first installments take forever to get off the ground. And a lot of the time? We don't actually feel any plot taking shape until the last fifty pages, and then, there's that giant cliffhanger.

So, you spent 300 pages learning about every single character and finding out every single little thing about their past and the world around them, and by the end of the book the author has finally decided to shape some vague goal, and...the book ends. End of Book One. Now we must wait for book two. And when the blurb comes out, we see THIS:

THE SEQUEL TO THE [Insert flattering word here] FIRST INSTALLMENT THAT ENCHANTED READERS ALL OVER THE WORLD.

 The Book Two Filler Syndrome - The second book. The "pivotal" second installment, notice the quotation marks around it. Those are to let it be known that the word is a complete lie. The publishers lie to you, the blurb will deceive you. Because 9 times out of 10 the "pivotal" second novel consists of romance that wastes 300 pages. Nothing happens that will affect book 3. It's all little stuff that may seem big when you're reading, but when you close the book and try to tell someone the big things that happen, you can't find anything.

 Sadly, I've only read one or two sequels in which big things happen in the second book that have a TON of affects on book three. Namely, the STAR of big things happening in the second book is Catching Fire, the literally earth-shattering sequel to the amazing The Hunger Games. If you've read it, you know what I'm talking about. Book 3 is what book 3 is because of book 2. Unfortunately, not all books are like this. Most of the time, you wasted a day of your life reading useless, lukewarm plot. And then, finally, 6-7 months later, you see this:

 THE FINAL INSTALLMENT IN THE [Insert flattering word here] THAT HAS CAPTIVATED READERS ALL OVER THE WORLD!

 The Final Book Flop-or-Win - This is it, folks. The final book, you've slaved through two installments, and you're desperate to find out what the heck is going to happen to all the characters that you have either come to love or to hate. I've experienced it before (*cough**cough*Mockingjay*cough**cough*) and it's almost unbearable.

 There are two paths that the final book in a trilogy can go down. The first one is the WINNER. This path is where the book has tons of action and plot development. But wait, that's not it. Every last book in a series has action, whether mental or physical action, but all the action leads up to  a climax, and that climax can make or break a book.

 The winning climax: The good guys win, yet the world is not perfect. Peace is not totally restored. We end on a double meaning sentence that is painfully ambiguous, and are left awed and...

 

The losing climax: The good guys wins, and bad guys die completely. Ending scene includes a passionate kiss and a cheesy line. Something about how perfect everything was  in that moment, something about how everything had worked out in the end. Something so terribly cheesy you just..

really?

My point? I want something different. I want a stand alone dystopian, I have yet to read one! I want a two book series. I want a four book series like Cinder. I want a 6 book series like Gone Series. Because I'm sick of every amazing book I read being a park of a new trilogy. Because, face it, you're never going to get another Hunger Games. You're never going to get another Uglies Series or Inkheart Trilogy.

Discussion Time!
What is your verdict on the trilogy? Do you like the idea of a trilogy?
What did you think about this post? Agree, disagree?
Argue, disagree, but do not be hateful!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thank You! Yes, YOU!

The holiday season is upon us. Lights are up, presents are wrapped, and everyone is in the holiday spirit. Part of the holidays is giving back, being thankful for all that you have been blessed with in life. It's a time to celebrate for a year well spent and a new one coming towards us. And I have a TON to be thankful for.

 And this post is to say thank you! Yes, YOU!


YOU! The person that is reading this post. The person that took the time to click over to the link and read this post. Thank you to all the people who have been with my blog and stuck with it when I had the tacky green layout that was uglier than a porcupine (unless you think porcupines are cute. If you think that, then come up with another attractively impaired familiar and insert it where porcupine goes in my case.)

 Thank you to authors who have answered questions for the interviews on my blog. Thank you to publishers for taking a change with the little-blog-that-possibly-could and sending me your amazing YA novels that seriously chilling. Thank you to bloggers who have accepted a noob like me and been so kind and shared your books and advice with me.

 Specifically, I would like to thank authors Lisa McMann, Julie Cross, and Jodi Meadows.

 Ms. McMann, you are the best author I know, as a person and skill-wise. You got the Facebook inbox in early August from "that boy who talked to you on Facebook a few times" who'd started a small blog and wanted you to answer three questions. You were so kind about everything and supportive about that small blog.

 And you introduced me to MELINA, but she'll pop up in a second.

 Ms. Cross (I know you love it when I call you that,) you wrote a kick-butt time travel novel with a male protagonist that FINALLY showed readers that not all guys are total assholes (excuse my language.) Seriously, your book gave me hope that other authors will dare to write the male protagonist view and not make us look like total jerks. And you're also so kind and supportive. You spread my name around your editors and such and that is SO kind of you!

 Jodi (because you told me I can't call you Ms. Meadows because it makes you feel old,) you're the best! No one has been as supportive and caring as you. You are so kind and so supportive, you sent me swag and that letter you wrote me I cherish so much. And you wrote amazing, amazing, amazing debut that has set the mood for the awesome of 2012!

 There are  other authors I'd like to thank as well: Michelle Hodkin, Tahereh Mafi, Jay Asher, Andrew Smith and so many more. But if I mentioned everyone, this post would be a novel :D!

 Bloggers I would like to thank by name are Melina from Reading Vacation, Hafsah from IceyBooks, MundieMoms, and Angela at Reading Angel.

 Melina, you are seriously the best. You found this little blogger who was your age and you welcomed him into the blogging world with open arms. You shared your books AND your advice. And we live in the same exact city? It was perfect. You are so sweet, like, no kidding. You are THE SWEETEST, and you're hilarious too.

 Hafsah, could words really describe you? You're hilarious, and you're heart is so big and full of happiness. Life may not always be easy for you, but you make the most of it. You are the funniest, too, and so joyful. You've always got a joke up your sleeve, and you're in my bookclub :D!

 MundieMom, you guys are amazing. Probably one of the biggest blogs in the blog-o-sphere and you stumble upon this tween with a book blog that's been going for 3 months and you follow it and tweet about it and spread the word about it? It was so amazing of you to spread the word, and my blog is more popular because of that. And y'all traded books with me, which is a plus!!!!!

 Angela, my BOOK MOM! Whenever I don't know if a book is appropriate, I always log into Twitter and go to you. Is it appropriate? You're hilarious too. Fantasticakes topped with awesomesauce? Industrial awesomesauce from "The Club," you're just a bubbly  person.

 Other bloggers I'd like to thank: Kristi at The Story Siren and Pam from Bookalicious!

 And finally, THANK YOU READER! I said it before, and I'll say it again, thank you for reading this post, following the blog, reading my reviews, spreading the word about Reading Writing Breathing. I do this for you guys.

 You haven't seen the last of me. I'm just getting started, so expect more reviews and fun from me!

 Thank you. Yes, YOU!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review - Tempest by Julie Cross

Tempest (Tempest #1)



Title: Tempest
Author: Julie Cross
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page Count: 334 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: ARC from Publisher 
Release Date: January 17th, 2012
Reminds Me Of...Hourglass by Myra McEntire


The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

"An action-packed thrill ride with more heart and soul than you would think. Tempest will take you by the neck and will not let you go! I LOVE this book with all my heart!"

Words cannot accurately described the utter awe that Tempest is. I am still in shock. Everything about this book is marvelously done, expertly woven and presented! I. Love. TEMPEST!

 Yes, I know, a book told from a guy’s point of view. Not often is there a YA book from a male’s perspective! I haven’t read one in all of 2011. It’s so refreshing to hear a guy’s take on romance, to not have all the girly: OMG I love him he’s so hot wish he would kiss me but he’s a jerk. Jackson ISN’T a jerk! He’s a normal guy who can travel back in time. He’s a normal guy who has time travelers and secret agents hunting him down and trying to murder him and recruit him. He’s normal, right? Well, kind of. But he doesn’t treat his girlfriend like she’s below him or like she’s his minion. He cares about her! FINALLY! Thank you, Julie, for not painting us boys in a  bad light!

 And, yes, the action! There is not a second in Tempest where there isn’t a gun or some kind of peril or suspense! Even the first PAGE had suspense! I could feel it rising, building, but a dam was covering it. It would build, build, build until SNAP, everything came flood out and the action was on high. The adrenaline was pumping as I flipped violently from page to page, needing to know what happened next! It isn’t often a book does that to me, makes me almost itch with the need to know what happens next! Julie doesn’t even end her chapters in cliffhangers. She puts all the surprises in the middle of the chapter, and lets the shock of the reveal sink in while more things are going. I started to freak out at parts because people were jumping from 1992 to 2009 to some unknown future and back and forth. But it was a GOOD feeling to be utterly engrossed!

 The way time travel was explained was not info-dump, it was not: Let me explain every step of time travel in a ten paged chapter. Nothing, just hard-core facts that will make you want to throw yourself off the top of a building. Nothing like that. Little bits of important info about time travel that need to be known in that moment, and at the end you put all the tiny pieces together and begin to pray to God and thank him for Julie Cross.

 And, I repeat, Jackson is not a jerk-butt boyfriend who goes around feeling angst and talking about women and thinking about women and cussing and being all stereotypical bad-boy character in every stinkin’ book. He isn’t a jerk at the beginning of the book, he isn’t a jerk at the end! The romance is more real because there isn’t a love triangle, there isn’t insta-love, there isn’t abuse or an overload of sexual innuendos. It’s two college students who love each other. They aren’t suicidal or full of teen angst. They don’t cuss or constantly talk about sex. The romance is real because it consists of two REAL people. Not a bad-boy who rides a motorcycle, not a girl who is a “babe” with long legs, full lips, high cheekbones. Holly is REAL. Jackson is REAL! And their romance is everything a romance needs to be: real. No fluff, no love-triangles. Just normal love. With time travel, of course!

 Tempest is the book. It is the book that will make you sob. The emotion is so deep and so passionate at parts I was literally holding back tears. It is the book that will make your heart stop. The action is so non-stop and in your face and marvelously described I was literally screaming and jumping up and down. It is the book that will have you up late reading. There is no way to predict where this book will go, or WHEN it will go!

 Tempest will leave you full of wisdom, sorrow, happiness, adrenaline, and a small void that only the second book can fill. I’m in LOVE with Tempest, and I want you to read it so you can be in love with it too!


Cover Comments
A seriously insane cover. Well done and shows a lot of inner angst between the two characters. Are they flying towards each other? Is she falling? And it relates to the story!

Tempest Giveaway of Epic Proportions!

Thank you to Macmillian for providing me with the awesomeness to giveaway to all you awesome readers! Not just ONE winner, but TWO winners, will receive one of the two awesome prizes up for grabs! One winner will receive an ARC of Tempest by Julie Cross. One winner will receive an Audiobook of Tempest by Julie Cross! Tempest is a seriously AMAZING book, check out my review HERE!

Enter to win!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Win a Manuscript Critique Through Book Wish Foundation

Book Wish Foundation has recently contacted and asked me to share with all you FANTASTIC YA and MG writers about a contest being held where six lucky winners will win a manuscript critique from six amazing authors. Here is the press release:
"Win a literary agent or acclaimed author's feedback on your unpublished manuscript for young adult or middle grade readers. This rare opportunity is being offered to the six winners of an essay contest recently announced by the literacy charity Book Wish Foundation. See http://bookwish.org/contest for full details.
You could win a manuscript critique from:
  • Laura Langlie, literary agent for Meg Cabot
  • Nancy Gallt, literary agent for Jeanne DuPrau
  • Brenda Bowen, literary agent and editor of Karen Hesse's Newbery Medal winner Out of the Dust
  • Ann M. Martin, winner of the Newbery Honor for A Corner of the Universe
  • Francisco X. Stork, winner of the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award for The Last Summer of the Death Warriors
  • Cynthia Voigt, winner of the Newbery Medal for Dicey's Song and the Newbery Honor for A Solitary Blue
All that separates you from this prize is a 500-word essay about a short story in Book Wish Foundation's new anthology, What You Wish For. Essays are due Feb. 1, 2012 and winners will be announced around Mar. 1, 2012. If you win, you will have six months to submit the first 50 pages of your manuscript for critique (which means you can enter the contest even if you haven't finished, or started, your manuscript). You can even enter multiple times, with essays about more than one of the contest stories, for a chance to win up to six critiques.

If you dream of being a published author, this is an opportunity you should not miss. To enter, follow the instructions at http://bookwish.org/contest."
 This sounds stinkin' AWESOME in my opinion! What do y'all think? Talk about getting into the publishing scene with a bang! Be sure to spread the word about this awesomesauce contest!

Interview with Julie Cross, Author of TEMPEST











The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.
Julie lives in central Illinois with her husband and three children where she works as a YMCA Gymnastics Program Director. She never considered writing professionally until May of 2009. Since then, she hasn’t gone a day without writing.

What was your favorite part about writing TEMPEST?

My favorite part was (and is), hands down, writing the relationships…of course Jackson and Holly. But also, Jackson and his twin sister, Courtney. And Jackson and his dad. The relationships really are the foundation of the story for me.

There are not a lot of books told from the male POV nowadays, why did you chose to write a book from a guy's POV?

I can’t even remember how it started, but it’s always been Jackson’s story. I think maybe, at the time, I didn’t realize how rare it was and then when I did discover this, I was a little worried it might not go over well. So, the great reception to a male POV YA has been such a nice surprise.

What was the hardest part about writing TEMPEST?

Time-travel and keeping everything straight. I always have the skeptics and the sci-fi experts in the back of my head, debating what they’ll find to pick apart. I tried to make it as seamless as possible, but that takes a lot of drafts and exhausting rounds of edits.

Did you have to do a lot of research on time-travel before you started to write?

I probably did more research on New York geography and the years 2007 and 2009 than I did on time travel. I kinda did my own thing with the science part. I think they were some biological questions that I had and also a lot of CIA research. I have a feeling they might monitoring me now.

What interests you most about time travel?

The idea of reliving something in your own life and seeing it from a whole new perspective. From an older, wiser point of view.

What does it feel like to know your book will be on the shelves for everyone to read very soon?

Frightening and amazing. Seriously. I don’t even think it’s sunk in yet. And secretly, I’m a little afraid of sobbing with joy in the middle of a bookstore. Hopefully, it will just be a few tears that I can cover up with the, “I have something in my eye” excuse.

Let's not avoid a big problem with Tempest: THAT ENDING! When did you decide to leave it like that? Have you always liked reading books with cliffhangers?

Part of the ending was my editor’s idea, just the outcome of it. And he suggested it before I even had a finished first draft. I actually slammed my laptop shut and couldn’t look at his email again for several hours. But then…I had a vision of how it would play out, the exact scene that is now the final chapter, and I knew it was the perfect ending for TEMPEST. It’s not exactly a cliffhanger. It could be considered complete? Usually, I don’t like cliffhangers…but sometimes they’re awesome. Maybe it’s one of those things that nobody actually wants but is willing to accept once they’re invested in the story.

Tempest has been widely talked and buzzed about, and been optioned for films right by Summit Entertainment! What does it feel like to know your book has become so widely popular?

It’s crazy! I think I’ll be relieved once it out for people to buy and we can ditch that word “hype.” Hype is super scary. I’m ready for people to read the book and see how it goes from there. But I did squeal like a little girl when MTV covered TEMPEST and did a fantasy cast of my main character.

What do you hope reader's get from your book?

I guess I hope that people get what they’re looking for from TEMPEST. By that I mean, some readers are wanting to dive into a commercial, fast paced novel and others might be looking for something more literary, and I think if you can look past some of the buzz and hype and comparisons to other series, you’ll see that there’s a lot going on under the surface in this trilogy.


Three words to describe Tempest. GO!

Crazy, complicated, and emotional

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Book Review: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Title: Under The Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Page Count: 400 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY.
"A promising beginning that starts with a bang sets up this ultimately disappointing debut novel. Under the Never Sky lacks originality, interesting, driven characters and steady pacing."

Is there something wrong with me? Because I've heard, like, everyone has loved Veronica Rossi's debut novel. I feel like some black sheep when I'm hating on a book that half the blogging population has fallen in love with.

That's me, not liking Under The Never Sky. Thinking that the pacing was all out of whack. The first twenty pages were amazing. Bam-bam-bam action after action non-stop IN YOUR FACE! It was hypnotizing and there was a certain point where I "slipped" into the characters. The way that Rossi crafted the action sequences was well done. I knew I was just going to LOVE this book!

 And then, without my noticing, I started not liking this book. Then, this not-liking turned into a feeling of anguish when reading time came and I knew I would be reading this book. Don't get me wrong, there were certain moments when I LOVED Under The Never Sky, but, for the most part, it lacked originality. Perry was...the boy. The boy who is wild and on the "outside," forbidden. And, get this, our heroine FALLS IN LOVE WITH HIM! OMG!

 Totally new spin on Dystopian, right?

 The relationship between Aria and Perry is...odd. It's not even sweet, it's forced and not really passionate or meaningful.

 And their witty banter? Yeah, i felt something like this:



 Aria and Perry lacked chemistry. They seemed forced together because, well, they were. They had nothing in common the entire book, which turned me off immediately. I mean, why would i like a relationship when our main character has lived a totally different life than you? How can i enjoy a book when our main character is constantly thinking the boy is scum? I just couldn't connect to either of them because of how they treated each other. This resulted in my distaste of their "witty banter."

 Aria was a flat character, so her side of the "relationship" was full of air-head comments, arrogant thinking, and a tepid personality. She bounced back and forth between happy and sad. Sure, Veronica did a nice job of making her "sheltered" and seem "out of it," but couldn't Aria have at least some ounce of personality or INTELLIGENCE? By the time I finally gave up I was like:


 But the downfall of this book was in the pacing. Oh, the pacing. How horrid it was to endure. All these things are happening one minute. That beginning was amazing and action-packed. I was in love. And then, for one hundred pages, it was lukewarm characters sluggishly moving from one backdrop to another. Perry's world and tribe was thinly imagined and poorly executed.

 By the middle of the book i was like: OH HERE WE GO! ACTION! And then, nothing. Nothing. Nothing. For about one hundred pages: nothing.

 And throughout this entire story, one thing irked me. One thing that stood out among all the rest that just flat out got on my nerves: was the Aether. Not the Aether-storms themselves, but the constant mention of it. OH MY GOSH i was going to THROW THE BOOK ACROSS THE ROOM if Veronica tried to describe the blue Aether ONE MORE TIME! We get it, it "looks like liquid" or "like ribbons" and "looked like a stream!" But we do NOT need a description every page.

 Am I being a Negative Nelly? Because I sure feel like one! Under The Never Sky needs a lot of work. There is a TON of filler space that could be cut out, and the size of this book could surely be cut in half. A few things about it were not dreadful, but the good outweighed the bad. I think I'm falling off of the dystopian bandwagon.

 My blogging friends, on the other hand, ADORED Under The Never Sky. Check their reviews out!

 Melina from Reading Vacation
 Hafsah from IceyBooks

Saturday, December 17, 2011

In My Mailbox - 17 - The One Where I Absolutely Adore Book Bloggers!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the one and only Kristi @ The Story Siren! It's a time to share what you got this week via for review or bought, or from your local library or a friend! Let's get started!


FractureOn a Dark WingSaving June
The Catastrophic History of You and MeA Touch Mortal (A Touch Trilogy, #1)Everneath (Everneath, #1)The Implosion of Aggie WinchesterGoing UndergroundAmplifiedStill Waters


For Review -
Fracture by Megan Miranda - I had borrowed an ARC from Kari, but I had other pressing reads, and now I'm on the BLOG TOUR for it, so I'll be reading it soon!
On A Dark Wing by Jordan Dane - Jordan may be the sweetest person I've ever met, and I am SO excited that I got a copy of On A Dark Wing from HarlequinTeen! This one looks AMAZING!
Saving June by Hanna Harrington - Publisher said they saw my Thirteen Reasons Why review and that if I love that then I'd love this. I HAD to say yes!

Thank you Bloomsbury and HarlequinTeen!

Gifted -
Thank you Hafsah @ IceyBooks
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg - This was a complete surprise and I am SO excited for this one! The chapter titles are SONG lyrics.
A Touch Morbid by Leah Clifford - OMG!!!!! I have been PINING for this one and I open the package and THERE IT IS! I am SO excited for this one!

Thank you Angela @ Reading Angel!
Everneath by Brodi Ashton - The cover. Is gorgeous. The dress turning into smoke reminds me of Fury. This one is a spin on the Persephone Myth, which I LOVE!

Thank you Mundie Moms!
Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard - Melina and I have been PINING for this one, and I traded Mundie Moms for it! It said it was "For fans of Thirteen Reasons Why"...OH YES!

Thank you Shanyn @ Chick Loves Lit!
Amplified by Tara Kelley - This one has to do with music, and I've heard great things about it!
The Implosion of Aggie Winchester by Lara Zielin - For some reasons I REALLY want to read this one! I love the cover!
Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepherd - This is Sara's adult mystery, and I have NOT read Pretty Little Liars. But I think this has crossover appeal.
Going Underground by Susan Vaught - This was a surprise, and it looks great!

Thank you Wendy @ Back In The Midnight Garden!
Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne - Traded for this one and all I have to say is: !!!!!!!!!!. I am SO excited about this one!

What did you get in YOUR mailbox this week?

Link me in the comments and I'll stop by and leave a comment!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Interview with Gemma Halliday, Author of Deadly Cool







Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool.


But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim.
***


Gemma Halliday started writing fiction in 2002 and after winning several awards as an unpublished writer, her career kicked into high gear in 2005 when she won RWA's prestigious Golden Heart Award. One month later she was offered her first book contract, saving her from adding another dead-end to her eclectic employment history. After stints in Portland and Los Angeles, Gemma now makes her home in the San Francisco Bay Area where she is hard at work on her next book.

***


Did you infuse a lot of your own personality into the main character of Deadly Cool? 

Yes, I have to admit that I did. I think there’s always a lot of me in any of my main characters, but especially in Hartley, the main character in DEADLY COOL. She’s a lot like I was as a teenager, and her friends remind me of the kids I used out hang out with. 

Obviously, Deadly Cool has some humor transfused into it. Have you always liked mysteries with a touch of humor? Was it hard to keep parts of the book light with a dash of humor?

I do prefer mysteries with a dash of humor. They can get just a little too bogged down in death without that. For me, humor comes pretty naturally – I have a hard time taking anything too seriously. 

What is the hardest part about crafting a mystery novel? 

Keeping the clues, plot, and characters consistent is always the hardest thing for me. I generally tend to get to the end of my books, then go back in and add clues. So making sure that everything lines up just so is the trickiest thing for me. 

Social Suicide, the sequel to DEADLY COOL, is coming out soon, since Deadly Cool was just released. Did you sell the series to HarperTeen planned and written?

I had the first few chapters of DEADLY COOL written when I sold it, but had not yet started on SOCIAL SUICIDE. However, it was sold with a series in mind, which both HarperTeen and I were thrilled with. I’ve actually just finished copyedits for SOCIAL SUICIDE, so I’m excited to start on book number three now! 

What is your favorite part about crafting a mystery novel? 

Wow, it would be hard to pick just one thing. I guess the characters are the most fun for me – just creating new people with interesting twists and turns to their personalities. And, at least in this series, I’ve had a blast writing some of my former teachers into cameo roles!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Album Review - Ceremonials - Florence + The Machines


Ceremonials
Florence + The Machine
Sophmore Album
Release Date - October 28th, 2011
Record Company - Island

"A stunning second album that lets all hesitant listeners know that Florence is back, and delivers a sophomore album that has no slump!"

There is always that one album that is filled with not just one type of genre. Always that one record that in itself is a diverse group of Motown, R&B, Classical, Pop, and even a little bit of rock. There's that one artist, that one band, that ventures into every inch of the musical land and blends it all together into a package that is so alluring and so chilling you cannot help but listen to it all. the. time.

That's what Florence + The Machine has done this with Ceremonials.

I was a HUGE fan of Lungs, Florence's debut album. It was fresh and the lyrics were poetic. Florence's voice is lilting and haunting and delicious. It casts a certain spell on your that lures you into the song and you're in a certain dream-like state as you listen. Ceremonials doesn't have as many lilting tracks, those haunting gems that sink into your skin. Ceremonials is much more professional and structured.

The sophomore album shows that Florence has shed her usual screeching voice and eased into a professional, controlled state. Her voice shines in every track as she flaunts her lyrical, poetic songwriting style and her chilling vocal range that still astounds me.
Best tracks on the album...Shake It Out, Spectrum, What The Water Gave Me, Lover to Lover
If you like this album, try...Adele, 21, Florence + The Machine, Lungs, Lily Allen, It's Not Me It's You

Friday, December 9, 2011

Book Review (Essay, really) - Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher


Thirteen Reasons Why
Jay Asher
Publisher - Razorbill/Penguin
288 Pages
Release Date (Hardcover) - October 18th 2007
Format - Paperback
Source - Bought

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
I've written this review four times. This is my fifth try, and i don't know. I don't know what to say that can truly explain what this book has done to me, is doing me as i write this review. I don't want to wait any longer to get my feelings out, because these emotions are intense and there. Even after a whole day, a whole night's sleep, i feel like this:




 I want to say so many things about Thirteen Reasons Why. But let's start with how much i loved the characters. There are only three really present characters that are in the actual story in the flesh. Hannah is one of them, because really, the way her tapes are, she's there. She knows how your feeling, she knows she messing with you. But she's not really there,

she's dead.

This is my first book to be read that deals with suicide, and i probably won't read any more. Not because this one turned me off of suicide books. It did the exact opposite, but i don't like suicide books, they're so depressing. This book is depressing, but also so many other things.

 The thirteen reasons for Hannah's killing herself are thirteen individuals. But see, i couldn't necessarily hate all of them. Because some of the poor kids that were mentioned were being teenagers. Stupid, hormonal, angst-filled adolescents. Some of them were a little worse, some vulgar and simply terrible, but some...i just had to feel bad for. Hannah even admitted on the tapes that some of the people didn't even know what they were doing. And that makes everything else so tragic and heartbreaking.

 Every character was real. Every character was vividly painted and portrayed, even though almost all of them weren't there. The way Jay used Hannah's voice to flesh out the thirteen people that made her kill herself was masterfully done.

 This book is a contemporary no doubt, it's kind of obvious. But, there's one thing about this contemporary that sets it apart. And i just have to say THIS to Jay Asher about how he paced this book:

Oh my goodness!

The pacing. Is genius. If there's one thing about contemporaries that ruin them, it's pacing. It's constant thinking, but not good thinking. It's "hate my life but want to like it but i can't so i want to kill myself. But then this happens and i want it to save me so now let's spend 100 pages on me trying to not-die. Oh, but that's over and now...i'm dead." It's like four HUNDRED pages of useless back-and-forth between good and bad and then a page or two and you're DONE!



But Thirteen Reasons Why was...perfect. It was perfectly slow yet perfectly fast. Everything went slow when it needed to go slow. Jay had moments where a page was so perfectly crafted, every detail was so fine tuned. Mr. Asher channeled into the inner depths of so many characters at one time and honed them together to create something so beautiful it had me all over the place! It read like a mystery! Not like a spy mystery or a James Bond mystery, but it was fast and breathtaking, and we all wanted to know one thing: Where does our main character, Clay, come into all of this?

But let's just say, Thirteen Reasons Why did much more than read like a mystery. That was just one of the things that this book did. But the most important thing about the book is the message and what it did to me. Because, folks, this was me when i finished it -


No joke. Everything about this book tore me apart. Every ounce of my being and my soul was ripped out by Jay and his words and thrown onto the floor. I didn't prepare myself for this. I didn't prepare myself to be so everywhere and everything in me sore with sadness and grief and so many other emotions. It came at me from nowhere. But most of all: it changed me. Not like totally, not like i'm some totally new guy with a new attitude towards everyone. But for a BOOK to move me, to change me in the slightest way, to make me stop and think...I just have to say THIS to Jay Asher -

Bow Down

I don't know how you did it with your DEBUT. Authors work YEARS to get what you got in your debut. A book that had a true message, a message presented with clever pacing, a unique plot, fleshed-out, three dimensional characters, and a prose that was so undeniably different it just...hit. It hit you like a speeding freight train and before you knew it you were on the ground, dead. Dead from all the emotions and the feelings and the message.

 I can't...I just don't know...

 This book changes you. It changes you because it's well written, because it's well presented. This book gets into you and it doesn't leave. It's doesn't let you go. Even after i'd closed the final pages, the final breathtaking and heartbreaking pages, i couldn't forget. I couldn't forget it...

 In all, i can't even explain how...how...how moving and how heart-on-your-sleeve this book makes you. It's...masterful. It's chilling. It leaves you feel grief and longing and yearning and sadness and fury and anger and a need to change things. A constant reminder in your head that what you do really affects people. It's...stunning. Simply stunning.

 If you haven't gotten the message yet, read this book.

 Thank you, Jay Asher...thank you...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review - Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay


Love and Leftovers
Sarah Tregay
304 Pages
Publisher - Katherine Tegan Books/HarperCollins
December 27th, 2011
Source - ARC From Publisher

My wish
is to fall
cranium over Converse
in dizzy, daydream-worthy
love.


When her parents split, Marcie is dragged from Idaho to a family summerhouse in New Hampshire. She leaves behind her friends, a group of freaks and geeks called the Leftovers, including her emo-rocker boyfriend, and her father.


By the time Labor Day rolls around, Marcie suspects this "vacation" has become permanent. She starts at a new school where a cute boy brings her breakfast and a new romance heats up. But understanding love, especially when you've watched your parents' affections end, is elusive. What does it feel like, really? can you even know it until you've lost it?


Love and Leftovers is a beautifully written story of one girl’s journey navigating family, friends, and love, and a compelling and sexy read that teens will gobble up whole.
"A quirky contemporary that will make your heart melt!"


I'm going to tell you two things about myself that you may not know, because I'm fairly new to the blogging world! Maybe you do know, and can tell, but i'll educate those less perceptive and tell you!

 I've never read a contemporary YA before.

 *Cue dramatic music* *bring in gasps* *whispers* *uproar in crowd* *holds hand up* I know, i know, i know. Tell me about it. I've never read a book like Love and Leftovers. And book full of gushy love with gushy girl thoughts. But i decided, what the heck, i'll give this one a try! And i am so, so, SO glad that i did!

 This one is an odd one. The main character is a little off-beat and quirky, and her life is a little bit messed up and not right. She's struggling. Her boyfriend back home is just a step off, with a peculiar spice that adds a flare to the book. This is probably not the typical contemporary you'd pick off your shelves, but it was definitely a unique spin.

 And it was told in verse.

 The verse really set this book apart from other books. I was literally IN the story because the way Sarah used the poetry to her advantage portrayed depth and emotion that can only be made through verse. Metaphors were vivid and useful, they were not overused. Literary devices were utilized and put in the book without notice to convey emotions strong and whole. It was simply brilliant.

 Love and Leftovers is a quirky contemporary that will make your heart melt!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The (Possible) Fall of GFC: I'm Prepared. Are You?

Recently on Twitter, i've seen some mini-freak-outs about GFC being taken off non-Blogger blogs. This means Wordpress blogs will no longer have Google Friend Connect, or any other platform. For now, though, Blogger blogs will still have Google Friend Connect.

But we're preparing.

I'll be keeping my GFC up, because i love it with all my heart. Please join my blog via GFC still, but here are other ways to connect and subscribe to Reading Writing Breathing.

All the things below can be found in my header. You see the Twitter, Facebook, RSS, Email, and Goodreads links! Just click those!

Add Reading Writing Breathing to your Google Reader -

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I try to be active on Goodreads! I post ARC reviews on here, but not reviews of books i bought, unless they're seriously good! Shoot me a friend request, i always say yes!



I post the link to things that go up on the blog, but never try to post on my wall for important things, it's just to get a slightly broader audience!



I just started with LinkedIn, but you can still Link with me and see my links and other updates! This is a much more professional profile platform than Twitter!

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Please subscribe, but GFC is still staying up! Thank you guys for the support and joining the blog! I'm relatively new to the blog-o-sphere but y'all have welcomed me so warmly!

 HD