Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA

The Story: “It seemed so right. Danny was mine, I was his, and that wasn’t going to work if he was dead. So I would make him not dead, not anymore. I didn’t think any further than what it would feel like to kiss him again, to wrap my arms around him and bury my head against his shoulder.
That was my first mistake. It also turned out to be the biggest.”


When her boyfriend, Danny, is killed in a car accident, Wren can’t imagine living without him. Wild with grief, she uses the untamed powers she’s inherited to bring him back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy she once loved.

Wren has spent four months keeping Danny hidden, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school and somehow, inexplicably, he can sense her secret. Wren finds herself drawn to Gabriel, who is so much more alive than the ghost of the boy she loved. But Wren can’t turn her back on Danny or the choice she made for him—and she realizes she must find a way to make things right, even if it means breaking her own heart. 

My Review: After losing her boyfriend, Danny, to an awful car accident, Wren can hardly think straight she's so grief-stricken. She has powers that aren't exactly honed, but nonetheless she makes the difficult decision to bring Danny back to her. It becomes clear that this isn't a decision that was fully thought through and Wren soon finds herself wondering if she'd done the right thing. She had her boyfriend back, but she had to hide him from the world and he very much wasn't the same boy he'd been when he was alive. 

The problem is, well, there are lots of problems. Wren has powers, but she doesn't know exactly how they work because her mother refuses to talk about it. All of the women in her family have powers, but the full extent of their abilities is kept a mystery from Wren. So even though Wren has returned her boyfriend from the dead, she isn't exactly sure what she can do about it now that she's realized her mistake. 

And then there is the new and remarkably kind Gabriel who is new to Wren's school, but somehow knows more about Wren than anyone ever has. Despite trying to avoid him, Wren can't deny she's intrigued by him and more than a little curious as to how he knows what he knows about her. Gabriel turns out to be an important ally for Wren and seems to only want to help her come to grips with her grief. But when you love someone as much as Wren loved Danny, how do you ever say goodbye? Can you truly?

I loved, loved, loved this story. I was immediately pulled into Wren's sadness. She was suffering when she'd lost Danny and now she was suffering because of what she'd done. The decision she had to make was heartbreaking and felt entirely real on the page. Amy Garvey has a way with words that will draw you deeply into the story, not releasing you until the very last word. But truthfully, not even then was I released. Because months after finishing this book, I'm still wondering what is happening with Wren, Danny and Gabriel. I want to know how Wren's family is dealing and if there can ever be a happy ending to such a painful story. There were plenty of questions left unanswered in Cold Kiss, but in the good way you want books to leave things. It'll definitely leave you wanting more.


One of my favorite things about this book was the gift that author Amy Garvey has for imagery. I couldn't get enough of her ability to paint a picture with words. It was breathtakingly beautiful and eerie at the same time. I am definitely excited to see how this story plays out in the next book.
My Rating:


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guest Post: Jocelyn Davie's Top 10 Writing Necessities

Every writer has things they need to write. It could be anything from good music to complete silence. Seriously, it seems like every author has something they must have to have a successful writing session. Today, we have the incredible Jocelyn Davies here with us to share her top ten writing necessities.

Her book, A Beautiful Dark, just came out this week from HarperTeen and if you haven't already, you should go out and grab/order a copy right now. It's so good!

Read below for info about A Beautiful Dark and the author.

Book Synopsis: Skye first sees dark, charming Asher and golden, reserved Devin on the night of her seventeenth birthday. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move. They even know things about her that strangers could never know. Soon she begins to question not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past. Skye's torn between the one she can't help falling for and the one she can't stay away from. The consequence of her choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine. 

About Jocelyn Davies: Jocelyn Davies was born and raised in New York City, where she now works in Young Adult publishing and foregoes sleep in favor of writing. This is her debut novel.

Find Jocelyn online at: Twitter / Website / Goodreads / Facebook


Jocelyn's Top 10 Writing Necessities:

1. COFFEE.
2. A great idea.
3. A spark of inspiration.
4. The right place to work. A lot of thought must be put into this. It can't be TOO quiet, because then I'll get distracted, but if there's noise, then there has to be A LOT of noise, otherwise I'll eavesdrop on other people's conversations and get distracted. So basically the takeaways here are that I'm hard to please and easily distracted. :)
5. Snacks, preferably Snyder's Honey Wheat Pretzels.
6. The right mood music BEFORE and AFTER I sit down to write, but never during. I get too distracted listening to the lyrics (see #4).
7. A friend close by who is also working. Must be close enough so that I feel solidarity that we're both hard at work, but not too close by or else...(see #4)
8. Time to go to the gym. Seriously, I know this sounds like something my mom would say, but I get all my BEST thinking done at the gym. Something about the endorphins, I don't know. Ideas flow when I'm on the elliptical. I don't question it.
9. A good book to read. I'm always at my most creative in my own writing when I'm reading an amazing book.
10. Sleep. :)

Check out A Beautiful Dark's awesome book trailer:




Catch Jocelyn Davies live on the Dark Days tour in the following cities:

Friday, October 14th
7:00 PM
Tattered Cover
Highland Ranch, CO
with Claudia Gray (FATEFUL), Kiersten White (SUPERNATURALLY), Amy Garvey (COLD KISS) and Jocelyn Davies (A BEAUTIFUL DARK)

Saturday, October 15th
1:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
Boulder, CO
with Claudia Gray (FATEFUL), Kiersten White (SUPERNATURALLY), Amy Garvey (COLD KISS) and Jocelyn Davies (A BEAUTIFUL DARK)

Sunday, October 16th
2:00 PM
Anderson’s
Naperville, IL
with Claudia Gray (FATEFUL), Kiersten White (SUPERNATURALLY), Amy Garvey (COLD KISS) and Jocelyn Davies (A BEAUTIFUL DARK)



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Interview with Laini Taylor & Daughter of Smoke and Bone Giveaway

I am so thrilled to have author Laini Taylor with us here today. Her latest book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is as incredible as books come. The writing is exquisite, the story breathtaking and the characters mysterious in all right right ways. To keep my gushing short, this book is phenomenal.

I was lucky enough to be part of this blog tour by Little, Brown and had the extraordinary honor of interviewing Laini. Plus, be sure to check below for your chance to win a finished copy of the book for yourself. You seriously want this book.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy

Book Description: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

***Interview***

BCM: You have three scuppies. What do you wish for?

LT: Scuppies, well. They can’t do much. They are great for annoying people, of course—I don’t think I’d be above sending out itches every now and then. Guy talking too loud at the cafe? Itch. Mean kid on playground? Itch. Crazy Michelle Bachman? Itch itch itch. (Ooh, I sense a career in plaguing awful politicians! Just imagine those pasted on smiles going all tight and grimacey )

When I was a teenager I’d very likely have used scuppies for pimple-banishment. Thank goodness I don’t need that anymore! Wishing stains out of clothes, maybe, as mundane as that sounds. I never thought about the way that having a toddler would ruin my clothes! Silly me. Little handprints everywhere.

A shing, now, I would definitely make use of a shing in the same way Karou did. I would wish my hair naturally pink so I wouldn’t have to go to the salon! 

BCM: Which wish from DoS&B is your favorite? I'm partial to the itch myself. :-)

LT: I thought Svetla’s eyebrows were pretty wicked punishment—if slightly unfair. Kaz was the one most deserving punishment! He got it, of course, eventually 

My favorite wish would have to be Karou’s gavriel wish, I don’t want to say what it is. I didn’t always know I was going to do that, and when it hit me, I was so glad the book went in that direction. It was such fun, and it felt like an “of course” when it played out.

BCM: If you were chimaera, what attributes would you possess and why?

LT: I would have to go with Kirin: high-human aspect with bat wings, gazelle horns, and legs that taper from the knee to antelope’s feet. Horns are just cool. In the earliest freewrite I ever did with these characters, out of which the whole story grew, Karou was teasing Brimstone by telling him she was going to have horns surgically implanted in her forehead. 

This was before I knew who these characters were; I only knew there was a father-daughter relationship going on, in spite of the “father” being a monster. Karou was more antagonistic and more troubled in her very earliest incarnation, but the roots of her were there, and she soon found herself.

Like her, I would dream of flying. Wings are beautiful. A fox’s tail would be fun too. That made its way into the book in a small scene. 

BCM: What is the weirdest/creepiest errand you've ever been sent on?

LT: There was that terrible time I had to bring the One Ring into Mordor and throw it into the fires of Mount Doom …

Oh wait, okay, that wasn’t me. But that has to be the worst errand ever. Poor Frodo.
For myself, nothing is coming to mind! I’m pretty bad at errands, actually, pretty bad at many daily life things like laundry and bill-paying too. Head in the clouds. Thank goodness my husband steps up and does these things. 

I can say though (this isn’t an errand), that while traveling in Vietnam in the 1990s, I did visit an animal market in Saigon like Karou does early on, and her reaction to it was pretty much based on my own. It was a horrible place, every imaginable animal being sold as food or parts or medicine or whatever. It made me ill.

BCM: Do you have any drawings of Karou's that you could share with us?

LT: Here are two that Jim has done of her, and I love them! (Writers: marry illustrators! It's so handy!) I love that these are so beautiful but you still don’t get a clear sense of Karou, and can visualize her as you wish.


 
Want to learn more about this awesome book and it's even more awesome author? Check out these sites:


***Giveaway Rules***
  • Thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers we have one (1) finished copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone to give away;
  • Must be 13 years of age or older;
  • Open to U.S. mailing addresses only;
  • Giveaway ends midnight on Friday, October 7, 2011;
  • Fill out the form below to enter.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mara Madness: Who is Mara Dyer? + Giveaway


Happy Release Day to one my absolute favorite books of all time: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer! Author Michelle Hodkin is here with us today to answer a question we've all been asking: Who is Mara Dyer? 

Oh, and there are TWO awesome giveaways below. Check them out. 

Who is Mara Dyer? 

I was asked by the amazing Cindy at Books Complete Me to write a guest post on the topic “Who is Mara Dyer?”

As you may (or may not) know, that’s the tagline Simon & Schuster developed for the book. But it’s also a tagline I had in mind dating back to February 2010. Why? The first sentence of the book is:

“My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something.”

There are 449 pages that come after that very first one, and a sequel planned for Fall 2012. So, as you’ve probably already guessed, I can’t really tell you more about who Mara Dyer is—you’re going to have to learn more about her as she does.

I can, however, tell you about things you’ll find in the book. Here’s a short list of some of them:
If you’ve read MARA DYER, clicking on the links might make you think, “Oooooh.”

If you haven’t read MARA DYER yet, viewing this list might make you think, “What the f—?”

That is a legitimate reaction. And if you’re curious to find out more, you can, because THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER is out today.

***Giveaways***

Giveaway #1

Thanks to Michelle Hodkin we are offering you a chance to win a SIGNED, FINISHED, FULLY ANNOTATED copy of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. You want it right? Here are the rules:

Below is a link to a form that you can fill out to enter. You will be asked several questions on this form that you will need to try to find the answers to. These answers can be found on various stops of this tour and on Michelle's blog. All answers are available to be found today. A winner will be chosen randomly from those who get all the answers correct. 

You can find links to all the stops from this tour on the Official Mara Dyer Tour Page HERE

You can find Michelle's blog HERE.

  • We are giving away one (1) signed, annotated, finished copy (Check Mundie Moms for another chance to win!);
  • Open to U.S. Mailing Addresses Only;
  • Giveaway ends at midnight 9/30/11.
  • Fill out THIS FORM to enter.
Giveaway #2

There are 21 stops on this tour. Each stop will be posting a letter or character that makes a complete phrase from the book. It's a very important phrase, but even if you haven't read the book, you should be able to figure this one out. Click on the links to each post to find the correct letter and once you have the phrase figured out, fill out THIS FORM. Ends 9/30 at midnight. 

Our letter: g

Be sure to stop by Mundie Moms today another chance to win some awesome prizes and to collect their letter for the puzzle.

Monday, September 26, 2011

This Thing Called the Future by J.L. Powers - This or That



Check out the whole book tour for J.L. Power's This Thing Called the Future, hosted by Teen Book Scene.

This or That with J.L. Powers!!

Pen or pencil I will always choose the pen! I used to experience serious pen lust on a daily basis. It was all I could do to keep my hands off of a good pen. In fact, I used to make jokes about it when I’d hand a pen back to a friend after borrowing it. “I don’t want to be a pen thief,” I’d say, all moral and righteous, while in truth I was thinking (in the back of my head), “Sucker! If your pen was halfway decent, it’d be mine, all mine, hahahahahahahaha.”

I had a serious case of pen kleptomania for years.

The pen didn’t need to be expensive. In fact, cheapo pens were good, as long as the ink flowed well. My drug pen of choice? Pilot Precise V-7 point, with blue or black ink.

A guy once seduced me because of his Pilot Precise V-7 point pen with light blue ink, something I had never seen before. Later, when I emailed him to say, “Sorry for stealing your pen, ha-ha,” he wrote a long email back letting me know he’d noticed how I glanced longingly at the pen, how I kept caressing it after he’d let me borrow it, how I kept subtly offering to return it to him even while snatching it back, how I’d secretly and surreptitiously (or so I thought) secreted it in my purse.

I was a goner for him.


Car or bike Actually, I will choose neither. Instead, I’ll walk! I love walking, and if the destination is less than 2 miles away, I’ll usually choose to walk rather than to take the car. Maybe I’d bike if my bike was accessible but sadly it is hidden behind lots of heavy boxes of books in the garage.

Gum or mint Despite the fact that I don’t like to look like a cow chewing his cud, I will always choose gum over mint. Mint leaves a residual taste that seems kind of gross.

Skirt or pants 99% of the time, I wear jeans. Skirts feel like dressing up. And because I work at home, I don’t have to dress up.

Flowers or chocolate Chocolate gives me migraines, sadly, so I will choose the flowers. And lucky for me, my husband likes to give me flowers.

Gym or personal trainer Gym. I don’t need a personal trainer all up in my bid-ness. But actually, I hate the gym. It’s boring. I prefer to go for a long walk or on a hike, where the scenery changes.

Jewelry or none None! I could never be bothered. I buy jewelry on occasion but I always forget to wear it. I have earrings but I wear the same little hoops every day so I don’t have to think about it.

Painting or craft Painting. I was always bad at crafts. It was my least favorite subject in school. In fact, the idea of making crafts still stresses me out, probably the same way a lot of people feel about writing an essay.

Plane or train Oooooh, trains are much more romantic. But sadly, I will go for the plane since it’s faster.

Ebook or physical copy Physical copy! I love love love books. Having said that, I’ve asked for a Kindle for Christmas. We just don’t have space in our house for any more books. All available space, including the walls of the garage, is lined with books. It hurts me to give books away. But in the last year, I’ve done it because I had to.

Laptop or tablet I write with the laptop. It’s much faster. Also, it doesn’t hurt. A few years ago, before I had a laptop, I took a lot of handwritten notes in the Yale University archives while I was working on a master’s degree in African history at SUNY-Albany. I worked so hard that I hurt myself badly and spent the next several years using voice-activation software because my hands were that badly mangled in the process. Oh, the pain. And still to this day, if I write too much, the pain returns. So laptop it is!

Thanks so much for joining us today, J.L! 

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon Blog Tour: First stop - The Marina - guest post by Leigh Fallon

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Published by Harper Collins
Release date October 4, 2011

Welcome to the first stop on the Carrier of the Mark Blog Tour. 

Each stop on the tour features an exclusive guest post from Leigh offering a look at an important place in the book.

BCM is lucky enough to not only have the first stop on the tour, but also the Marina as our featured location:

Kinsale in County Cork is one of the most picturesque, popular and fashionable resorts of the south-west coast of Ireland, and is twined with Newport, Rhode Island.  It is part of Cork Harbor, which is the second biggest natural harbor in the world!  Just outside of Kinsale, beyond the Old Head of Kinsale is the resting place of the Lusitania, the beautiful ocean cruise liner that was sunk by a German U boat in 1915.  On sunny clear days, from the sky, you can actually see the ship on the sea bed. 
Another interesting fact about the harbor is that it was the last port of call for the Titanic.  She left from Cobh, on her last ill-fated voyage.  There are memorials, graveyards, and museums dedicated to the great ships and their passengers in both Kinsale and Cobh.
Kinsale Marina is nestled between the hills of the town and the sheltered shoreline where the sea meets the Bandon estuary. The Marina has been busy for hundreds of years with the comings and goings of the French, Spanish, British, and Americans.  Each culture has left its stamp on the town.  It was from the Marina quay side that James II of England, fled from Ireland following his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690!
The Marina today is buzzing with sailing enthusiasts and highflying European aristocracy. During the summer months it’s a who’s who of the rich and famous & sailing royalty.  It also has a big educational side with the Kinsale OEC (Outdoor Education Centre) running sailing courses year round. 
In Carrier of the Mark, Megan’s dad manages the Kinsale Yacht club.  And the gorgeous Adam DeRís works there.  It is on one of the OEC’s sailing lessons that Adam finally discovers the truth of his bizarre attraction to Megan.

The marina has a lot of significance in this book. It is also, just by looking at the pictures, breathtakingly beautiful.
What location will we be seeing on the next stop? Make sure you stop by Starry Sky Books on Wednesday September 28 to find out! 

About the book:
Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRís.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

My review:
This book was very beautifully written. Leigh has a way of putting words together that enable the reader to picture what exactly is going on. The characters are well developed and believable, as well as being likeable. Although there is just enough mystery to keep you guessing on whether or not any of these likeable characters are hiding something. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to the next book in the series. 

About the author:
Leigh Fallon was born in South Africa, raised in Dublin, Ireland, and moved to Cork in her twenties. While living in beautiful Kinsale, her novel, Carrier of the Mark, was conceived. She promptly abandoned her “riveting” career in corporate treasury and discovered Inkpop, a website for budding writers of teen fiction. Within weeks, her manuscript hit the coveted top-five spot and was reviewed by an editor at HarperCollins. A few emails and some hysterical screaming later, she signed her first deal. Leigh and her family now share their time between Ireland and the United States.

 
 

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer Book Trailer Is Here!

Ahhh! It's no secret I love, love, love this book. But this trailer? Man, this trailer is freaking awesome! Enjoy!


Winners!



We have several winners to announce. Congratulations to everyone! You should have emails in your inbox.
The winners are:

Delirium Special Edition by Lauren Oliver:

Maureen E.

Signed Firelight by Sophie Jordan:

Kelsey S. 

After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven A. Wedel:

Regina L.

Thank you so much for everyone who entered! Be sure to check out the two giveaways we have going on right now. Links are on the right sidebar. 

Congrats again!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guest Post with W. Bruce Cameron & Giveaway

I'm so thrilled to have author W. Bruce Cameron here with us today. I absolutely loved his latest book, Emory's Gift, and  am pleased to share this guest blog with you. Also, you can enter to win Emory's Gift for yourself below. Enjoy!

**Guest Post**

In my new novel, Emory’s Gift, 13-year-old Charlie Hall comes face-to-face with a grizzly bear and also something even more terrifying:  junior high school. 


Just as A Dog’s Purpose, my first book, was about a real dog, Emory’s Gift is about a real boy.  Charlie’s struggles to survive the social pressures of being a 13-year-old will ring true to anyone who has ever been a 13-year-old.  So yes, there’s a bear hanging around his property in northern Idaho.  Yes, Charlie, who has lost his mother to a long illness and has a father who has so withdrawn into a world of grief, actually tries to make friends with the bear, whose name is Emory.  And yes, when Charlie realizes he must enlist his father in an effort to save Emory from those who would kill the bear, events take a completely unexpected turn.  Yet for all that, Charlie cares most that “a torrid wave of making out had rampaged through the school like a fever, but it had passed me by as if I had been inoculated.” 

What I wanted to give my readers was a boy who navigates hugely significant  events—not only in his life but in the lives of many others—and yet really, honestly, basically, is just a boy trying to figure out how to be a man.  His desperate fight to protect Emory is equally as important to him as the idea that a girl named Beth might agree to be his girlfriend.  A looming court trial is less critical than the upcoming school dance.  This is Charlie, involved in both the profound and the prosaic, placing equal priority on both.


And, just as with A Dog’s Purpose, a spiritual element enters the equation, causing questions that ultimately touch on faith, family, and love.  I wanted to do more than write a novel with a page-turning plot, I wanted to raise some issues that are always there but which we don’t talk about, even bringing the word “God” into the discussion.  There are so many people who believe in some sort of Supreme Being, and yet we so rarely read references to this fact in our fiction—it’s as peculiar to me as it would be to ignore sex, or love.  This is not to say I set out to preach, I just set out to ask some questions, to stir up some thoughts in my readers’ minds.

So we have Charlie giving us his side of the story, a story with all these elements and questions, and yet mostly what he dwells on is what he considers to be the hardest part of his life, which is simple, basic, adolescence.

Perhaps for some of my readers, being 13 years old wasn’t difficult.  For me—well, I’ll just say that if, as A Dog’s Purpose suggests, reincarnation can happen, I’ll be happy to be reborn but I’m not ever doing junior high again.

 **Giveaway Rules**
  • Thanks to  Forge Books, we have one (1) copy of Emory's Gift to give away to one lucky reader;
  • Open to U.S. mailing addresses only--no P.O. Boxes;
  • +1 entry if you leave a comment on this post;
  • Giveaway closes at midnight EST on Friday, September 30th;
  • Fill out THIS FORM to enter.
 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hush, Hush Wallpaper!

I love this awesome new wallpaper for the graphic novel of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, so I thought I'd share it with you all. Feel free to snag it if you want. What do you think? Do you love it?

Be sure to check back often, as there should be more to come. 


Thanks so much to Sea Lion Books for sending it over!

Review: Emory's Gift by W. Bruce Cameron

Emory's Gift by W. Bruce Cameron
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: Forge Books
Audience: Everyone

The Story:  After 13-year-old Charlie Hall’s mother dies and his father retreats into the silence of grief, Charlie finds himself drifting lost and alone through the brutal halls of junior high school.

But Charlie Hall is not entirely friendless.  In the woods behind his house, Charlie is saved from a mountain lion by a grizzly bear, thought to be extinct in northern Idaho. 

And this very unusual bear will change Charlie’s life forever. 

My Review:  I had heard of Bruce Cameron's other book, A Dog's Purpose, but I'd never read it. I knew it was a best seller and had been getting lots of attention from some of my reading friends, but that wasn't why I picked up Emory's Gift. In fact, I think it was more fate than anything. I was standing in line at BEA for a completely different book signing and someone walked by and just handed Emory's Gift to me. I don't think I even saw the person's face. When I looked down and saw that "Emory" was in the title, I already knew it was going to be a keeper, as I have a son named Emory. 

After getting home from BEA, I kept seeing this one on my shelf and finally decided I'd take a break from my usual YA paranormal readings for something a little different. I have to tell you, I was not disappointed. 

Charlie is thirteen and is having a hard time adjusting to the loss of his mother and the subsequent depression of his father. More than a little sad himself, Charlie turns to the wilderness surrounding his rural home in Idaho. While fishing near his home, Charlie is saved by a grizzly bear that happens to be more than just any grizzly. He has a name (Emory) and appears to have been reincarnated. 

Reincarnation is only one of the themes of this novel and it's certainly not the most prominent. As Charlie grapples with what it means to be growing up into a man as an eight grader, his memories of his mother and the dilapidated relationship with his father, it's just a matter of time before things come to a head. You might think that reading about a bear that has a name and a past isn't believable, but Cameron really pulls this element of the story off. I found myself just as drawn to Emory as Charlie was. 

I loved Charlie's sense of humor and his constant crushing on girls around him. His daily challenges as a young teenager were right on and endearing. This emotional read had me laughing out loud more than once and tears brimming on plenty of other instances. Truly uplifting, I adored this book.

Emory's Gift is a tale of love lost and found, forgiveness, and most of all, hope. I read this book almost straight through. It was just what I needed and definitely a book I'll be reading again. It's poignant, enchanting and everything I want to remember from childhood. Quite simply, I loved every single word of it and highly recommend Emory's Gift.

My Rating:


P.S. Be sure to stop back by tomorrow for a guest post with W. Bruce Cameron and a chance to win a copy of this amazing book for yourself!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lights... Camera... Action!



How many of you out there watch book trailers? Do you ever think, how do they find the people to be in them? Have you ever wanted to be in one?

Now is your chance!!

Dan Cohen, author of The Veil Trilogy, and Spencer Hill Press are looking for people to be in the book trailer for Masters of the Veil, the first book in the series, set to be published in March 2012.



The best part is... you don't even have to leave the comfort of your own home, unless of course you want to. How you do this is completely up to you, following the guidelines provided, of course. No writers to change your script, no directors telling you what to do. You have complete creative control!

Intrigued?

For information regarding this unique experience, head to Spencer Hill Press: Masters of the Veil Trailer.

So grab your cameras, grab your friends, and enter for your chance to be part of an actual book trailer!


Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA

The Story: Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.


My ReviewMara Dyer has been in a horrible accident. Her best friend Rachel didn’t survive. Neither did Claire or her boyfriend Jude. Yet, Mara was somehow miraculously unharmed. And worse yet, Mara can’t remember anything that happened or why she was in the old crumbling building in the first place. After being threatened with medication and therapy by her protective mother, Mara convinces her family that a move is what she needs to get back to normal.

Not long after the move from Rhode Island to Florida, things begin to change for the worse. She can’t seem to escape the memories of her best friend and is convinced she’s going crazy. She is immediately disliked by the meanest girl in her new private school and the only friend she makes is an eccentric but lovable outcast. That is, until the hottest and most promiscuous guy in school latches on to her. No matter what she does, she can’t seem to shake him and eventually—and against her better judgment—she’s not sure she really wants to. And, well, when it comes to Noah, I’m not sure I’d want to either.

Eventually Mara begins to remember what happened to her and her best friend the night of the accident in Rhode Island. The result is a spine tingling mystery that has impeccable timing throughout the book.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is unforgettable. Every page is loaded with intelligent dialogue, heart-stopping suspense, and an immeasurable amount of perfection. Each character and scene is flawlessly written, so much so that the story seemed to come to life before my eyes. I could visualize each moment with stunning clarity. I could never seem to turn the pages fast enough, yet found myself continuously re-reading scenes just for the pure enjoyment of it. I could honestly find nothing at all about this story that could have been improved upon. I would normally balk at a book of this length (450 pages), but with Mara, I was begging for more by the time I flipped the last page. And that, of course, brings us to the ending of the book. It’s jaw-dropping. I was literally screaming at the book because it was over and that ending is just insane.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is without a doubt going to be a favorite all time book of mine. I cannot stop thinking about it months after finishing it. I am still running through the plot in my head and thinking about the characters. I am in love with Noah, feel Mara’s pain, and am absolutely dying to know what will happen next. It has been such a long time since I’ve read a book that I could instantly pick up and read again but this is one of those books. I will have to purchase multiple copies because I am sure I will wear them out over the coming years.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a force to be reckoned with. It’s everything I want a book to be: clever, witty, unique, dynamic and sexy. It’s one of a kind brilliance and I cannot wait to read more by this amazing new author.

My Rating: 5 HUGE STARS!


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