Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The 2012 TBR Reading Pile Challenge

This is the challenge of my dreams! I have such a giant TBR pile sitting around and I keep adding to it!

Here's what the challenge is about:

We all have those books. We buy them, win them, they're gifted to us.. Then we put them up on a bookshelf and there they stay, collecting dust, waiting for the time when we'll finally decide to pick them up..

Join us on a quest to dust off your TBR Pile and read all the books you've been telling yourself you'll read next time you'll get a chance.. This is your chance! And we've got PRIZES!!! :D

Check out the details at the Evie Bookish blog here

These are all the blogs that are helping to host the challenge:
Evie from Bookish - http://www.evie-bookish.blogspot.com @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - http://www.nicoleabouttown.com/ @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - http://www.handsandhome.ca/ @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.com/ @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - http://whatchyareading.net @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - http://missiontoread.com/ @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea -http://booksbiscuitsandtea.blogspot.com/ @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books - http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - http://fansoffiction.blogspot.com/ @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - http://mermaidvision.wordpress.com @mermaidvisions

I can't wait to get started on this one! I've got my swiffer duster ready!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Book:  The Pledge
Author:  Kimberly Derting
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster
Date:  November 15, 2011
Source:  Simon and Schuster Galley Grab
My grade: A

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

My Review

First, let me say that I got to meet the wonderful Kimberly Derting at YallFest the weekend of November 12th and she is so nice!  I enjoyed meeting her and talking to her about this book.  I also got to buy a copy of it early!  I was actually in the middle of reading it as a galley on my Nook, but of course, I needed to get a hard copy to get signed.

Next, I need to preface this review by saying that I normally don’t like to read books that take place in other worlds.  I am not a high fantasy reader.  I like Harry Potter because it is a world within our own world.  Same with Twilight and all the other paranormal books I read.  I originally didn’t plan on reading this book, but I kept reading reviews that talked about how wonderful it was, so I got curious and decided to request it.

Boy, am I ever glad that I did!  This book was fantastic!

I loved the world that Derting created.  It felt almost like a character itself.  Or maybe the Queen and the country felt like the same person.  I don’t know, but she created a living and breathing setting in this book that sort of sucked me into it.  I found it hard to leave the book and when I had to put it down, my head was in a sort of fog.

It was interesting to see the society that she created.  It was unlike any other dystopian society that I’ve read about.  I also liked that as a reader, I got to see the society through different points of view.

I enjoyed the characters and there were some definite surprises with some of them that I didn’t see coming at all!  Charlie was a likeable heroine and Max was a great leading man.  I totally fell for him and even more so after a certain secret about him is revealed.

The thing that was best about this book, though, was the non-stop plot!  There were so many mysteries and plot twists.  It constantly kept me guessing and then there was always something else that surprised me.  I could not put it down because I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. 

About 2/3 of the way through the book, I realized that there was no way this book could really finish in one installment, so I ran to my trusty goodreads to make sure there was a second book.  It was nice that Kimberly Derting did wrap up the book nicely, even though there is obviously more to come.  I’m not satisfied with the ending as the total end, but at least it didn’t cut off right in the middle of an incredibly important scene (clearsthroatCatchingFireclearsthroat)

I highly recommend this book and give it a solid A.  Good characters, great plot and an interesting world.  What more could a girl ask for?  Besides an iPad, of course. : )

Saturday, November 26, 2011

OUaT ARC tour: The Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Book:  The Everneath
Author:  Brodi Ashton
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Date:  January 24, 2012
My grade:  A

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

My Review

I am thrilled to be part of this blog tour!  Thanks to Yara Santos over at Once Upon a Twilight for allowing me to be a part of it!  Yara, you rock my socks off!  And now for my review…….

First of all, this cover is amazing.  I know, you don’t judge a book by its cover, blah, blah, blah.  But of course we all do.  Publishers of young adult books have finally figured that out and I’m so glad that the gorgeous covers are continuing.  And I must say that this cover of one of the most beautiful ones out there.  This cover on the shelf in the book store coupled with the summary would have definitely made me walk to the checkout counter!

And I would have been very glad that I did!  The cover certainly does warrant the judgment of the book inside.  This book was very good.  I think that Greek mythology re-tellings are starting to become some of my favorites.  They might even replace vampires!  ::Gasp!::  (note to Edward—don’t worry, no one will ever replace you in my heart.  You are like my first love, bookwise, and first loves are always special.)

This book is loosely, loosely based on several Greek myths of the Underworld, including the Persephone myth and the Orpheus/Eurydice myth.  Brodi Ashton does an amazing job of combining elements of these 2 myths and successfully importing them into modern day.  I could see the myths, but they never felt anachronistic.  It was beautiful!

The other thing that I really liked about this book is the way she sequenced the story.  She changed back and forth between present day and past until the two met at the current moment and made the big reveals.  It was brilliant!  I couldn’t wait to see what had led to the current action and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.  The structure of the story kept me on the edge of my seat as much as the story itself.

The characters were well-written and compelling.  I found myself able to sympathize with all of them and I liked all of them as well, even Cole, who seems to be a little vilified!  At times, I liked him better than Jack, especially before certain facts about Jack were revealed!

I was totally unprepared for the climax because I honestly didn’t think she would do what she did!  Holy cow, Brodi Ashton!  You have got some nerves, woman!  I ran to my computer to make sure that this was not a stand-alone! 

My grade for this book is an A.  I really, really liked it.  You will too!  

Monday, November 21, 2011

vote for your favorites on Goodreads!

If you are a member of Goodreads, you can vote on your favorite books of 2011!  I just voted in the first category and I'm heading back to see what else is there!  Go check it out on www.goodreads.com or click on the link below.


Vote now for your favorite books!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Book:  The Iron Knight
Author:  Julie Kagawa
Date:  October, 2011
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Source:  www.netgalley.com
My grade:  A

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.

Unless he can earn a soul.

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

My Review
I don’t know how to review this book.  Don’t get me wrong here—I really, really liked this book.  What I can’t understand is how I seemed to really like it, but I couldn’t just sit and read it.  It took me a long time to finish this book.  I wonder if it is because there was a lot to absorb?  Or maybe the change in narrator threw me off?  I’m not sure.  I know that when I got to the end of the book, I had really enjoyed the ride, but the journey was not easy.

This is the book that sold me on Team Ash.  The Iron Queen made me like him a lot, but after this book, I love him.  He is just right for Megan.  And he is swoon-worthy!  The way he loves her just leaves me speechless and wishing that real men were more like faery men!  I am still solid Team Puck for myself, because I love Puck also.  He’s not the dark, brooding type either and of course, everyone knows of my ginger love!  But this book sealed the deal for me with Ash.

I loved the quest and all the things that happened on the journey.  In fact, I stand in awe of Julie Kagawa.  I’m not sure how a human mind can create this type of rich world and journey.  It was unbelievable.  Her imagination exceeds anything I’ve ever seen.

There were quite a few surprises in this book, things that I never saw coming, but things that made sense.  Of course, there were some tried and true elements as well.  Grim, for example, was his usual catty self and I adore him for that.

So, I have to figure out what grade to give this book.  I’m still not sure.  I’m going to go ahead and give it an A.  Normally, that grade means that I tore through the book at breakneck speed, reading at the most inappropriate times possible because I could not stand to put it down.  That was not this book for me.  But, when I arrived at the end, I felt complete satisfaction with the series, I still loved Puck and Grim, I finally loved Ash and all felt right in the world.  I suppose that really is worth an A, isn’t it?

Thanks to Harlequin Teen and netgalley for the review copy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

Book:  Devilish
Author:  Maureen Johnson
Publisher:  Razorbill
Date:  2006
My grade:  A

The only thing that makes St. Teresa's Preparatory School for Girls bearable for Jane is her best friend Ally. But when Ally changes into a whole different person literally overnight the fall of their senior year, Jane's suddenly alone—and very confused.

Turns out, Ally has sold her soul in exchange for popularity—to a devil masquerading as a sophomore at St. Teresa's! Now it's up to Jane to put it all on the line to save her friend from this ponytail-wearing, cupcakenibbling demon . . . without losing her own soul in the process.

This YA take on Faust in a Catholic girls' high school is clever, fun, and full of tasty surprises.

My Review
I really enjoyed this book.  It was paranormal but very light-hearted.  I wasn’t sure how this book would turn out, but it was a really fun read.  Maureen Johnson did a fabulous job of taking a story that could have been very serious and making it humorous and spirited.  It was exactly the type of book I needed right now.  Not too heavy or serious, but a great plot with lots of spunk!

It was actually nice to read a book that wasn’t full of steaming hot boys and a swooning heroine.  I know some of you are saying “Tammy!  Seriously, who can be tired of steaming hot boys?”  I’m not suggesting that I don’t love the hot guys in other books.  It’s just that it seems to be in every book now and this book didn’t really have that.  There was Owen, and I do have a soft spot for gingers, but he wasn’t one of these male characters that takes over the narrative and makes the pages of the book steam because he’s so smoking hot. : )

Another thing that I liked about this book was its unpredictability.  There were lots of twists and turns that were great surprises.  None of them seemed out of place, but they were surprises nonetheless.  

One more thing that I loved?  This book is not part of a series!!!  Now, she left the ending so that she could add more to the story if desired, but there was no terrible cliffhanger that has me biting my nails and flipping through my calendar to see the release date for book 2.  That was so refreshing!  I wouldn’t be opposed to another book in the series, but it’s not a necessity and I found that made me happy.

My grade for this one is an A.  Overall, it’s a fun, enjoyable read.  Much like the cupcake that graces the front cover, it’s a sweet little treat that you will want to gobble up and find that you’re satisfied at the end, even if you could eat another.

Monday, November 7, 2011

YallFest 2011

I'm so excited!  I'm going to YallFest this weekend!  It is going to be epic!  All of the books that I need to get signed are on their way in the mail and I can't wait!  The author line up is fabulous and I've never been to YallFest before, so it should be a lot of fun.  Just check out the authors that will be there:

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
David Levithan
Melissa de la Cruz
Heather Brewer
Kaleb Nation
Ellen Hopkins
Andrea Cremer
Beth Revis
Carrie Ryan
Isaac Marion
Sarah Rees Brennan
Kimberly Derting
Adele Griffin
Lisa Brown
Victoria Schwab
Michelle Hodkin
Kwame Alexander
Saundra Mitchell
Diana Peterfreund
Caitlin Kittredge
Pseudonymous Bosch
Katie Crouch
Holly Goldberg Sloan
Eliot Schrefer
Natalie Standiford

If any of you will be there, let me know!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Interview with Kersten Hamilton

I'm so excited!  Kersten Hamilton, the author of the wonderful Goblin Wars trilogy, stopped by to talk to me here at Into the Mystic!  Kersten has written "Tyger, Tyger" which just released in paperback and the soon to be released "In the Forests of the Night".  You can find my reviews of these books here and here.

ItM:Where did you get the idea for The Goblin Wars trilogy? What made you want to set an ancient Irish legend into modern day? 
The seed of the series was actually planted by a goblin named Lina from George MacDonald’s book The Princess and the Goblin. I read the book when I was a about ten.
Lina was a dog–like creature with green eyes lit by amber fire, and a huge mouth with icicle–like teeth. Curdie, the hero of the story, could feel the real hand of any creature inside its flesh glove, and when Lina put her paw in his hand: “a shudder, as of terrified delight, ran through him…instead of the paw of a dog, such as it seemed to his eyes, he clasped in his great mining fist the soft, neat little hand of a child! The green eyes stared at him with their yellow light, and the mouth was turned up toward him with its constant half grin; but here was the child’s hand!”
When I read those lines I felt it. I felt the child’s hand, and I knew I wanted to pull a child out of a goblin one day. That was the moment the story that became Tyger Tyger started growing inside me.

ItM:  You write a lot of children’s picture books. How does your writing process for picture books compare to the writing process for a YA novel? 
Believe it or not, writing YA is much easier than writing picture books, even though YA takes longer and is more absorbing. Many people think that picture books are ‘easy’ because they are short. That’s not true. In a picture book you must have all of the same elements of story and character, but you only have a few hundred words (at most!) to work with. Picture book readers have less life experience to bring to the book with them and that makes writing more difficult as well.

ItM:  What were your favorite parts in the books?
I like every part of these books: the snappy dialogue when the whole group is gathered and tossing ideas about literature, history and love; the suspense of being stalked by evil; the moments when the characters fight for their lives and for each other; the awkwardness of awakening love. Kissing scenes make me blush, though.

ItM:  Is there any chance that these books will be made into movies?
Not the remotest. They don’t have the requisite love triangle or sufficient explosions to attract Hollywood. But…that’s all right with me. The books are my art—they belong to me and my readers. The movies would belong to someone else. I’m not sure I want to give them away.

ItM:  If there were a movie for The Goblin Wars, who would be your dream cast? (Ok, really, how do you picture Finn, right?) 
I can’t imagine trying to fold Teagan, Mamieo, Abby into the bodies of an existing actress. They are too much themselves. Now, it is possible that Johnny Depp could play all of the parts. That might work. Okay, I’ll fold a little here. I did have a picture similar to this when I wrote Finn. Only slightly younger, of course:

ItM:  Can you share a secret from “In the Forests of the Night”? 
Hmmm. How about: Someone (or some creature) is more than you expect or have been led to believe.

ItM:  You have a cool contest going for the release of the 2nd book and also the release of “Tyger, Tyger” in paperback. What can you tell us about the contest?

Yes! I am holding a book trailer contest! Create a book trailer for In the Forests of the Night and you can win $1,000 for your library:

ItM:  Anything you’d like to share about book 3?
It is going to be longer, unless this ends up as a four book series. My excellent editor has assured me of enough time and space to finish the story as it needs to be finished—whether that is accomplished in one book or two, the readers will not be left hanging. Which makes me very happy.

ItM:  What are some good books that you have read recently that you would recommend?

I have very eclectic reading tastes, to say the least. Here are some of the books I have read in the last weeks that I can recommend:

Save the Cat! is a book about screen writing by Blake Snyder; Grand Sophie, which is a Regency Romance by Georgette Heyer; Alec Forbes of Howglen by George MacDonald. I am on a historical binge.
I’m reading several other books as well, but they would not be to everyone’s taste, such as Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. I want to understand that he was a human—and how a human could accept such evil, even convincing himself that it was good. It feels strange and sad, touching Hitler's mind through a book.

ItM:  Finally, can I have Finn? I would trade you my husband for him.
Of course! But you will have to settle for a timeshare. I already have 356 husbands, a standard poodle, one red Maserati, a castle in Monaco and a diamond ring that have been traded for a share of Finn. Finn doesn’t know this yet. I’m not too worried about that—but Teagan doesn’t know either. This does worry me. I may have to go into the author’s equivalent of witness protection when she finds out.  
Thank you so much for stopping by, Kersten!  If you have not yet read "Tyger, Tyger", run get a copy before the release of "In the Forests of the Night!"  You will be able to purchase book 2 on November 22, 2011!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dreamless Cover Reveal!

The cover for the sequel to Starcrossed has finally been revealed!

Dreamless is the next book in Josephine Angelini's fabulous series.  I loved the first book so, so, so, so much!  And check out how beautiful this cover is!  I can't wait to see what happens next for Helen and Lucas!

If you have not yet read Starcrossed, what on earth are you waiting for??