Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reader's Advisory: The Best Books | Suggestions Wanted

So as I mentioned earlier this week, I am intending to start a new feature, Reader's Advisory, to help feature older literature. What I am looking for is YOUR input. What I need from you is some of the newer books that really stand out as the best in your opinion. It will be my goal to take these books and start up this new feature with recommendations! I am incredibly excited about this and can't wait to hear what you guys have to say!

PS. You can fill this form out as many times as you would like!

Book Blast: Masters of the Veil by Daniel Cohen + Giveaway

Masters of the Veil by Daniel A. Cohen

Life can't get much better for Sam Lock. Popular, good-looking, and with a future as a professional football player. every guy at Stanton High School wishes he were Sam. That is, until his championship football game, when Sam accidentally links with an ancient source of energy known as the Veil and reveals his potential to become a powerful sorcerer. Sam is whisked off to Atlas Crown, a community of sorcerers who utilize the Veil as a part of everyday life. Once there, he trains beside a mute boy who speaks through music, an eternal sage who's the eyes and ears of the Veil, and a beautiful girl who's pretty sure Sam's an idiot. As it becomes clear Sam's meant for power magic-the most feared and misunderstood form of sorcery-people beyond Atlas Crown learn of his dangerous potential. An exiled group of power sorcerers are eager to recruit Sam, believing that he is destined to help them achieve their long-held goal. If they succeed, they could bring about the downfall of not only Atlas Crown. but all humankind.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? I graduated with a degree in business management but I’m trying my best not to use it. Obviously I love writing, but really I just love books in general.

What inspired you to write about magic and sorcerers? Harry Potter. And others. But mostly Harry Potter. Like most everyone else, I am obsessed with Rowling’s work. Growing up, I was always the same age as Harry’s crew and I felt a special bond to him and his world. I knew I could never create something as world shattering at J.K. did, but I knew in the very least that I wanted my work to be in the same genre. I’ve also found out by trial and error that choosing to write about magic and sorcery is choosing to be free and chained at the same time. You can create anything you want, but you have to follow your own rules or the story doesn’t work. This genre can be unbelievably liberating and mind-bogglingly frustrating at the same time.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Rock saxophone. I’ve been playing tenor saxophone for about fifteen years now, but I still have a lot to learn. I actually just moved to Austin, TX (the live music capital of the world) to try my hand at the music scene. Turns out that everyone here is amazing so it’s going to be rough.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why? My favorite character is a young sorcerer named Glissandro Thicket. He’s a lanky, curly-haired sorcerer on the brink of adulthood. He was born without the ability to talk, but he somehow found a way to speak through playing music on his horn.

He’s based on a type of person that I feel like happens all too often. He’s talented, has a kind heart, plenty of wisdom, but because of certain life circumstances, he’s shy and lacks the self-esteem to shine as bright as he could.

Do you work with an outline or just write? I have an outline, but in the heat of writing things seem to always change. However the bones of the story tend to stay pretty close to what I have planned out.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? I know this is going to sound pretentious (and I apologize for it) but I have found that there is a huge difference between writing and being an author. I started as a writer, but I find myself slowly drifting to the other side. Writing is fun. Being an author can be horrible. If you’re serious about becoming an author, be prepared to sacrifice for your craft. I don’t mean to sound melodramatic, but real writing will consume you. The best advice I can give is be careful, and make sure to find time for friends, family, and real life. 

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What’s been the best compliment? People tended to complain about the romance in, “The Ancillary’s Mark”. And they were right to. But it was a good thing. Since I was aware of my problem with romance, I concentrated on making it better in my next book, and even better in the next book (Children of the Veil).

Was there any scene or part in your book that was difficult to write? I was battling some pretty nasty demons while writing the first book, and some of them came out in the reenactment scene. I was actually climbing a mountain alone when I put that scene together. There were a lot of things in this book that hit very close to home with me, but it felt good to breath some of my own issues into the characters. For solidarity I guess.

If you were to go live on an island and could only choose 5 books to take with you, what would you choose?
  • The Name of the Wind
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • The Giver
  • The Alchemist
  • How to Build A Boat Using Nothing But Island Materials
If Masters of the Veil were made into a movie, who do you picture starring in it? It’s funny that you should ask. I did a [guest post] over at Fiktshun where I cast the main characters. There’s even photos!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Novel Idea!

Have you ever toyed with an idea and want to make something work but you just weren't sure about how to execute it? For a while now I have contemplated some things that I wanted to feature on this blog.

One of them is that I want to feature older books. I think that the book blog community is fantastic at hyping new books but what happens to a book when its 15 minutes of fame have passed? There are awesome books like The Giver (1993) by Lois Lowry, Speak (1999) by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Luxe (2007) by Anna Godberson or anything by Lurlene McDaniel that are worth reading too!

So that was goal one, to bring back around the life of the books. Goal two was that I would love to incorporate my librarianess. Now, I am not a librarian (cough|yet|cough) but I am a Library Assistant. One of my personal projects is shelf talkers where I write and promote features for new, albeit adult, books. As an LA, one of my overall job duties is promoting Reader's Advisory. What is Reader's Advisory? I take a given topic, author, genre that someone says they are interested in and poke around as to why they enjoy it and offer recommendations.

The brilliant baby of an idea? To have a Reader's Advisory feature here on the blog! I can take newer books that are popular titles and work on recommendations to highlight these older books. I don't intend to make my way to classics, but in the end...

Fiction never dies!

I'm pretty excited about this undertaking; I say that like it is some massive big deal but my epiphany for something funky fresh and something I have been wanting to execute for a while is pretty exciting! I hope you get something enjoyable and new out of it as well! I intend (cue another coughing fit) to get this out on Thursdays. Probably every other week but this can set up time if it interests you for a weekend read!

Be on the lookout!

Cover Lover: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

If you're a fan of Shatter Me on Facebook, you get a lot of author interaction and updates. The one thing that is for certain from the updates is that Tahereh Mafi has been gifted with some absolutely stunning covers across several different countries. Here is a collection of all the beauty that can grace this book! It really is hard to choose a favorite as they really are all beautiful.

Favorite: French Cover

Italian | German | Swedish
US | Polish

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Debut Author Interview: Kristen Simmons, Article 5

It is an absolute honor to be hosting Kristen Simmons on the blog today with an interview! Her debut dystopian novel is a 2012 release, Article 5, and it is a phenomenal read! A great read for anyone who is a fan of the genre!

Kristen Simmons is the author of young adult fiction. Her debut novel, ARTICLE 5, the first installment of a dystopian trilogy, was published by Tor Teen in January 2012. Words cannot describe how happy this makes her. Kristen Simmons has a master’s degree in social work and is an advocate for mental health. She lives with her husband Jason and their precious greyhound Rudy in Tampa, Florida.

1. Can you sum up your book in 5 words or less? Oh boy, I'm notoriously bad at summing things up, but how about this: Teens hunted by moral regime! (That sounds sort of newspaper headline-ish, doesn't it?)

2. Article 5 has a setting in Kentucky and surrounding areas. As a Lexingtonian, I flailed and squeed as I don't get to experience knowing the setting like that often. Of all the places, what was it about Lousiville and Lexington that landed a special place in your book?
I LOVE that area. We lived there for about 6 years - during that time I wrote ARTICLE 5 and the sequel BREAKING POINT. It's this great, community-driven place - a clash of new, progressive ideals and traditional values. The people are friendly and welcoming, and yet there is such diversity of opinion in everything. It the was perfect place to stage a story about a girl who is learning what is really important to her.

3. Can you build up any expectations for us to live us desperate for Breaking Point? Well...I can tell you that the resistance is becoming more active, there's a daring rescue scene, and things are heating up between Chase and Ember.

4. Do you find your characters can upset you at times with their decisions or outlooks? Absolutely. Sometimes they drive me crazy. There were times I wanted to scream at them just to talk to each other! Communicate! It's not that hard! But it was for them. In ARTICLE 5, Chase and Ember struggle with things that have happened in their pasts. This doesn't make it easy to always make the right decisions. But, they live and learn, like we all do I hope!

5. How does it feel having your debut finally released? It feels like, last.

6. People usually share the best advice they have ever been given about life, writing, etc. Have you ever been given terrible advice? Someone several years (yes, years) into the querying process told me to forget about it. If it (publication) hadn't happened yet, it probably wasn't going to. A couple years after that I wrote ARTICLE 5 and hey, it DID happen. So here's my advice to anyone working toward a goal: NEVER GIVE UP. It may take a long time, it may be painful, but in the end it will be that much sweeter when you get it.

7. What is your favorite book to movie adaptation? I think Hunger Games did a pretty good job! That and Harry Potter 3. For some reason, that movie stands out as a really nice adaptation of the book.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: The Poisoned House by Michael Ford

The Poisoned House by Michael Ford

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co. (August 1, 2011)
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages (Hardcover): 319
Source: Library
ISBN-13: 9780807565896
Genre: Paranormal (Ghost Story)

Life can be cruel for a servant girl in 1850s London. Fifteen-year-old Abi is a scullery maid in Greave Hall, an elegant but troubled household. The widowed master of the house is slowly slipping into madness, and the tyrannical housekeeper, Mrs.Cotton, punishes Abi without mercy. But there's something else going on in Greave Hall, too. An otherworldly presence is making itself known, and a deadly secret will reveal itself---a secret that will shatter everything Abi knows.


I really did enjoy the atmosphere of this book and the story that was offered. Historically accurate, we have our heroine of the story, Abigail, facing the trials and tribulations of being a scullery maid to an overly hostile housekeeper in the mid 1800s. Unraveling a twisted but fragile plot, we get the haunting feel of this spooky story and the twists and turns of the hard mystery behind it all. What a pleasant stand alone read.


We find ourselves sent back into a dreary, historical London in the days of house masters, scullery maids, and extreme propriety. Michael Ford has crafted a daunting world with vivid and accurate descriptions for the time period that set up an daunting outlook for our story and our littler heroine, Abi.

Abigail Tamper is a young scullery maid stuck in the middle of a devastating situation. In addition to being the clutches of a rigid housekeeper and a maddening house master, Abigail finds herself alone after the death of her mother. She is starts as a broken young girl who finds herself poor and hopeless but when strange things begin to happen around the manor, she finds a hidden strength to uncover the mystery and solve the puzzles that surround her. In her sleuthing, not only does she uncover twists, turns and betrayals but evolves into being a determined young lady.

Ford did a wonderful job a creating a character that can connect to the reader. You can understand her pain, feel her fear, and hope for her to overcome the devastating truths she discovers. Other characters are not as intricately detailed and she doesn't really have much of a cast of support characters. It provides an interesting opportunity to really understand Abi and Abi alone.

Understanding Abi and her fragile situation is a major facet of understanding the entire story that is the underlying mystery here. In the beginning, I felt the plot was setting up for a shallow idea of what a haunting is or really can be. However, when it reveals more than just a haunting and that true mystery is what is lying behind this, it is more intense than a simple ghost story and it is extremely well crafted to be that puzzling mystery.

If you are looking for a cross-genre read, this covers ghost stories, mystery, and historical in one fatal, and well-crafted, swoop. I would recommend this to readers looking for a haunting story that doubles as a simple read.

Rating out of 5:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine that gives bloggers the chance to express their longing for books before they're released!
The Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa

Mark it To-Read: Goodreads
Pre-Order: Amazon
Release Day: August 28, 2012 by Harlequin

Summer, Winter, Iron.
Together at last.

Dangerous faeries. Heartbreaking romance. Thrilling action and limitless adventure. The world of the fey has never been so powerful. This collection includes three novellas set in the world of The Iron Fey plus the expanded Guide to the Nevernever and exclusive information about Julie Kagawa's unforgettable world of Faery.

This book is an anthology of Winter's Passage, Summer's Crossing, and a new novella Iron's Prophecy. I can't wait to read this book and set this book and continue collecting this amazing series as they are simply stunning books both written and in looks!

More on What's Inside:

More Reviews on The Iron Fey

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Release Spotlight: Allergies, and Awesome You by Dr. Atul Shaw

Allergies, and Awesome You by Dr. Atul Shaw

"Allergies, and Awesome You” is a part of the Amazing Allergist’s Awesome Series that empowers allergic children to live and lead great lives, allergy-free. It is a by-product of the author’s extensive medical knowledge, vast experiences as an allergy specialist, and the desire to make a difference, one allergic child at a time.

About the Author:

Atul N. Shah, MD, FACAAI, FAAAAI, is a celebrated author of this AmazingAllergist book series, founder of, and the medical director of He is a board certified allergist who has earned an honor of fellowships in both the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

He has personally treated more than 20,000 patients, made a significant impact on more than 100,000 lives as an allergist so far, and earned the nickname “AmazingAllergist” from his patients and peers. His work is rewarded daily with numerous compliments of smiling patients and their families. He has been recognized with various awards, including the America’s Top Physicians’ Award, the Patients’ Choice Award, and the Most Compassionate Physicians’ Award. He believes that every allergic child and individual has a potential to live a great life, allergy-free. His desire to empower allergic individuals translated into this series of books.

!~Win A Kindle Fire~!

Pump Up Your Book Tour and the AmazingAllergist are giving away a FREE KINDLE FIRE! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to win! This giveaway is only open to U.S. and Canada citizens. Deadline is June 1 and announced on June 2. If you are the winner, contact Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife (at) or Tracee Gleichner at tgleichner (at) You have 48 hours to reply. If we do not hear from you in 48 hours, another winner will be selected. Thanks and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

City of Lost Souls Release & Trailer!

It is here! The time for the fifth book in The Mortal Instruments has arrived! City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare is hitting shelves today, May 8 from Margaret K. McElderry. This book is destined to be as great as the rest of the series and has flooded the world with awesome reviews and I cannot wait to read it. The fact that it comes out in the summer is a sweet timing to fulfill my TMI needs in between the Infernal Devices wait as well! Check out the magnificent trailer and be sure to read this summer hit!

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

More on The Mortal Instruments:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Insurgent Release & Trailer

Released yesterday is the long awaited sequel to Divergent by Veronica Roth. The second book in the trilogy, Insurgent, hit the shelves yesterday, May 1, almost a year to the day from her debut. Not only has this book flooded the community with amazing reviews but if it is destined to be anything like Divergent, it is going to be an absolutely stellar read! Check out the trailer!

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

More on Divergent: 

Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's (February 21, 2012)
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages (Hardcover): 341
Series: Chemical Garden Trilogy
Source: Library
ISBN-13: 9781442409071
Genre: Dystopian
Author: Website | Twitter | Blog
Series Reviews: Book 1 (4★)

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.


This review may contain spoilers for other books in the series.


In her sophomore novel, Lauren DeStefano continues the treacherous life of Rhine and Gabriel as they escape the dangers only to fall into a bigger and more convoluted world of survival. With the outlook dreary and maddening, Rhine struggles maintain her grip on reality while Gabriel's love shines for her. The villain of our story is an absent, yet incredibly enveloping presence throughout the book which leaves you feeling the pain and gripping sadness of this devastated world.


In a world of devastation, Rhine and Gabriel have journeyed out to face the terrors with no plan and no resources. Danger seems to lurk at every turn while the invisible dangers of starvation, sickness, poverty and more rack our young survivors. This book didn't not fit into the same mold that its predecessor, Wither, had set. Previously, Wither had a very rigid setting and it was a unique approach for a setting of such a desolate world; this book however, was an open world. A world that allowed Rhine and Gabriel complete exploration of its depravity and desolation. 

I went into this book expecting the terrors of the carnival to be a persistent problem. The cover eludes that it will be a significant part of the story and even the synopsis sets up that same expectation. With that in mind, the plot of this book fell a little short; I feel like this may be common in terms of a trilogy's middle read. The creepiness and haunting experience of the carnival was limited and extinguished early and set up for only a few major plot points following its end. It left this book feeling oddly paced and hopeless. 

The characters made up for a wavering experience because in this book we get an intense look at Gabriel and his love for Rhine. Gabriel's love is different from the shallow, naive love that we saw from Linden in the first book and it really grows into major focus and safe harbor for Rhine. Rhine on the other hand doesn't grow and expand in this book the way a hard-knocked survivor would. I think that is accomplished through the overtone this book starts early on with intense yet unintended drug use. It inhibits Rhine from really becoming a thoughtful character that would perhaps have had the opportunity to devise plans and concentrate on truly surviving. 

The villain of this book, House Master Vaughn, is incredibly well crafted and has a haunting and invisible tie that leaves Rhine and the reader increasingly terrified that he is lurking and watching every move she makes. It is a thrilling twist to really understand how twisted and determined he is without the use of common means such as guns and violence; his presence is always surrounding the escapees even if he is not.

Though this book was languid in its pacing and climax, it brought out a lot of characteristics about the characters that pull the reader in and leave us wondering where we will find ourselves and our little heroes in book three.

Rating out of 5: