May 30, 2013

Review and Freebies: Spirit

Spirit
Book Three of the Elemental series
Includes short story "Breathless"
By Brigid Kemmerer
Available now from K-Teen (Kensington)
Review copy

I am happy to be a part of the blog tour for SPIRIT, hosted by The Midnight Garden.  Be sure to check out the tour page for a chance to win the series.  I thought STORM, the first book in the Elemental series was fantastic.  It had danger, magic, and some serious swoon.  The same is true of SPIRIT.  Male protagonist aren't as rare in YA as some people like to think, but they are rare in books this intensely romantic.  But it's not all romance, and Kemmerer has a talent for taking the story unexpected places.

No one trusts Hunter Garrity.  He's one of the Fifth, and expected to hunt down other Elementals.  He's still grieving for his father and processing the secrets revealed to him by his father's dying words.  His family isn't much comfort and he hasn't made any friends.  Then new girl Kate comes to town.  She could be his chance to make a real, human connection.  Or she could be a Guide sent to kill the Merrick brothers, like Hunter's father.

I liked that Kate had her own agenda.  She's a terrific foil to Hunter.  They have similar issues, and reacted to their upbringing in similar ways, but at the same time they don't have entirely the same goals.  They do have chemistry in spades.  SPIRIT was the first thing I read on my new toy (more about that later), and I kept showing people a shiny feature I discovered only to have them go, "She's not wearing any pants?!"  Yes, you should always check that it isn't a steamy scene before thrusting your book into someone's hands.  (There is an instance of tame, tasteful sex; these scenes are just awesome makeouts.)

The Elemental series does not shy away from moral ambiguity.  Some of the worst atrocities in the series are committed by kids - thirteen or younger.  How far should our protagonists go to stop them?  How responsible are children for their actions?  Hunter knows moral ambiguity.  He thought he knew black and white, but lately all he's been seeing are shades of grey.  He doesn't know who to trust himself.

I also like that the books stand decently on their own, each providing a full character arc for the protagonist, but that they're tightly tied together.  In SPIRIT,  Hunter is still reaping what he sowed in STORM.  Becca cares about him, but keeps her distance because she got played.  It's good turnabout that Hunter is at risk of getting played himself.

SPIRIT is heart wrenching, more so than the first two.  The emotions and stakes of the series just keep rising.  I cannot wait for the fourth book, tentatively titled SECRET.  Nick is probably my favorite of the Merrick brothers - levelheaded but dangerous.  "Breathless" is a good lead in to his story.  I'm excited that the Elemental series is going to have a gay protagonist, but even more excited to see what happens next to the Merrick brothers and their allies.

I've got two goodies for ya'll.  The first is a code to download "Elemental" for free.  This short story gives the background of Michael Merrick, before he had to become a parent to his brothers and shoulder the guilt of several senseless deaths.  Just follow this link and use the code VCARD.  Be quick - the code expires May 31st!  The second goodie is the first chapter of SPIRIT!  Just follow this link to download it or read it online.

If you're a fan of the Elemental series, I highly recommend voting in the poll below.  Kemmerer is going to write a short story featuring the guy who gets the most votes!

May 29, 2013

Review: The Planet Thieves

The Planet ThievesFirst in a series
By Dan Krokos
Available now from Starscape (Tor-Forge/Macmillan)
Review copy

I have to thank Cecelia and Charlotte for reigniting my interest in middle grade fiction.  It's led to me finding some real gems.  THE PLANET THIEVES is something I don't think I've encountered in middle grade before - military sci-fi.  The closest I can think of are the later Alien Adventures books by Bruce Coville.  I loved those books, and I enjoyed THE PLANET THIEVES quite a bit.  The genre isn't the only unexpected thing.

THE PLANET THIEVES was darker than I expected.  I was expecting a bit of a madcap adventure based on the cover and tagline ("Two civilizations.  One planet. And a race to see who steals it first!").  But those two civilizations are at war, and neither side has behaved their best.  Dan Krokos does a good job of describing war, and the actions that are acceptable and unacceptable during wartime, in a way that's suitable for children but not didactic.  (There's also a subtle environmental moral, since both races want a new planet after using their own up.)

Mason Stark is a thirteen-year-old cadet on a diplomatic mission.  He and seventeen other cadets are just supposed to be along for the ride, but when their ship is attacked by the Tremist, the crew is killed or taken hostage.  The cadets have to take charge and Mason become acting captain almost by accident.  His two greatest allies are Tom, a former rival who likes to play by the rules, and Merrin, his best friend who he has a bit of a crush on.

THE PLANET THIEVES weakest aspect is that it's rather boy heavy.  Tom's mother and Mason's older sister are both competent, in-charge women who get sidelined early in the novel.  Willa is the only named female cadet aside from Merrin, and she only plays a part for a split second - fake crying to act as bait.  Several of the male cadets get to take turns as leader.  Merrin, meanwhile,  has to be rescued at least twice.  Tom and Mason at least trade off rescuing each other.  When Merrin does get a chance to save Mason, it's Tom who saves him instead.  In the end, Merrin only gets to keep her agency by the skin of her teeth.  She's not weak.  But she is relegated to the damsel-in-distress and love interest roles despite the fact we're told she's a fierce fighter and good with a computer.

The strongest aspect is the plot.  THE PLANET THIEVES is fast and furious, keeping Mason constantly on the move.  They're doing anything they can think of to save the day, but what the day needs saving from keeps changing.  I also liked that Mason rarely comes out ahead.  He and his allies are clever, but they're thirteen and still training.  They lose in physical contests against adults.  They're out thought by high-ranking officers.  But they keep trying, because they want to do what's right and Mason has the courage and charisma to keep them coordinated and motivated.

THE PLANET THIEVES is a terrific choice for sci-fi fans looking for culture clashes and unexpected revelations.  (I'm definitely giving the nod to Doctor Who fans.)  It ends with quite the hook for the sequel, and I know I'll be back for more.  Be sure to read my interview with Dan Krokos.

Armchair BEA: Genre Fiction

Today's Armchair BEA topics are blogger development and genre fiction.  Despite the fact I've been blogging for five years, I don't think I have much to say about blogger development that hasn't already been said.  I gave a little advice last year, as well as some thoughts on monetization.

But I can say a few things about genre fiction!  I've you can't tell by the fact I'm featuring a science fiction writer (interview with Dan Krokos) today, I enjoy a good genre story.  I love vampires and time travel and mad scientists and girls with mysterious abilities.  Bring it on.  Here are a few of my favorites in various (general) genres:

Shapeshifted Fantasy

I am really loving several urban fantasy series now.  Karen Chance's stuff, Cassie Alexander's, Stacia Kane's, Diana Rowland's . . . urban fantasy is a great genre for anyone looking for fantasy catering to women.  (Not that guy-centric stuff like Jim Butcher's novels aren't great fun.)  If I'm in a more epic mood, I like INDA by Sherwood Smith.  Or perhaps ASSASSIN'S APPRENTICE by Robin Hobb.  I could go on.

For Darkness Shows the Stars Science fiction

I think TUNNEL IN THE SKY by Robert Heinlein started my YA obsession.  I adore FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS by Diana Peterfreund - also known as Persuasion in space!  And talking about "in space,"  I love John Barnes's LOSERS IN SPACE.

Romance

Blue-Eyed DevilDon't force me to choose!  Let's spread it out a bit with a historical, a contemporary, and a paranormal.  THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME by Julia Quinn was my first romance and still a highlight.  I love her light, humorous romances.  BLUE-EYED DEVIL by Lisa Kleypas is set in Houston, where I live now, and just as hot as the summer temperatures.  Kleypas's historicals aren't to be missed either.  DARK NEEDS BY NIGHT'S EDGE by Kresley Cole is the best in a terrific series, full of heroines who are all fierce in their own right.  Who can resist a ghost ballerina in love with a crazy vampire?

Salem's LotHorror

'SALEM'S LOT by Stephen King

You never forget your first book by the King.  He has, of course, written a ton I could list here, but I'll stick to this one.

After all, vampires.

Interview with Dan Krokos

Dan Krokos is the author of the False Memory series (FALSE MEMORY, FALSE SIGHT) and THE PLANET THIEVES, the first in a middle grade series.  Released May 21, THE PLANET THIEVES is the story of a Mason Stark and his fellow cadets aboard the Egypt, forced to take control of the spaceship when the crew is captured.

Dan's official bio notes that "[h]e enjoys watching TV, playing MMORPGs, and drinking coffee."

--

1.  What was the biggest difference between writing for a young adult audience and writing for a middle grade audience? 

I think they’re very similar, but the biggest difference is probably the way the story unfolds. For YA, I’ve found most of the books are very personal, with the protagonist changing over the course of the story. It’s very internalized. For middle grade, I think there is more emphasis on the adventure. Also most YA have a very pronounced romance aspect. Middle grade might have a little something (PLANET THIEVES does), but nothing like YA.

The Planet Thieves 2.  I don't think I've ever read middle grade military sci-fi before. What were some of your inspirations?

Star Trek is the obvious inspiration, but for the military aspect, I can probably thank Battlestar Galactica. In that show, everyone is on one ship for most of the series, and the ranks really come into play. Not everyone is on equal footing. I found that a lot of fun to play around with. The cadets start out at the lowest level possible, so it’s cool to see them rise.

3. If you ever encountered an alien race, what do you think would be the best case scenario? 

That we wouldn’t attack them out of fear, and that they wouldn’t attack us. It would be great if they really came in peace, but I don’t trust humans. We’d go nuts. Religions would think this was some kind of sign. I don’t think a best case scenario is really possible, but it would be great if we could somehow learn from each other. They could teach us the science of clean energy, and we could give them burritos!

False Memory 4. What is the coolest thing that's happened to you as a result of becoming a published author? 

Going to festivals and meeting readers face to face is beyond cool. Visiting studio lots is super cool. Hanging out with other writers I look up to is the coolest.

5. What books are you currently reading? 

N0S4A2 by Joe Hill. RUNNER by Patrick Lee. THE LOST PLANET by Rachel Searles.

May 28, 2013

Armchair BEA: Introductions 2013

Armchair BEA is a blogging event for those of us who can't make it out to New York.   If you want to participate in today's activity, just answer five of these questions.  My answers are below, but please feel free to ask me anything in the comments.  Let's get to know each other!

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? 

See last year's answer.  The main difference is that I now have a full-time job as a technical writer.  Oddly, I don't actually write anything.  I mostly copyedit and beg people for graphics plans.

2.  Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. Feel free to share pictures. 

I am blogging from Houston, which I moved to in late April for a job.  Houston is a fantastic town for food, especially seafood.  I have previously blogged from Austin, Fort Worth, New York City, and Oxford, England.

3.  Have you previously participated in Armchair BEA? What brought you back for another year? If you have not previously participated, what drew you to the event? 

Last year was the first year that I participated in Armchair BEA.  You can read my 2012 posts here.   I'm back because I had tons of fun - I met lots of new bloggers, got to spread the word about some fabulous books, and won some cool stuff.

In The Shadow of Blackbirds 4.  What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013?

I am currently reading UNSTICKY by Sarra Manning, on the recommendation of Angie.  My overall favorite of the year so far is IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS by Cat Winters (review).  In close second is THE SWEETEST DARK by Shana AbĂ© (review), which I actually read last year.  My other favorite books of 2013 include THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey (review), DARK TRIUMPH by Robin LaFevers (review), FIREBRAND by Gillian Phillip (review), JINX by Sage Blackwood (review), WHITE LINES by Jennifer Banash (review), and OUT OF THE EASY by Ruta Sepetys (review).

5.   Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you. 

See last year's answer.  My niece definitely inherited my laugh.  But since ya'll might remember that fact from last year, a new one is that I like to name my belongings.  The laptop I currently write IBWB on is called Brucie, after Batman's alter ego.

How about ya'll?  Feel free to share a fun fact about you or your blog in the comments!

May 25, 2013

Freebie alert and excerpt: I'm Not Her

I'm Not Her I'M NOT HER by Janet Gurtler is the featured ebook in the iBookstore though May 27th.  That means you can get it here for free.  Don't use iBooks?  Amazon and Barnes and Noble are also giving it away in their digital bookstores.

The only book by Gurtler I've read is IF I TELL, which I liked but didn't love.  However, many people have told me that IF I TELL is the worst of her books.  And I did enjoy her style.  And I'M NOT HER being free is the perfect opportunity for me to give Gurtler a second chance.  Be sure to check out Gurtler's new novel, HOW I LOST YOU, as well.

Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have an excerpt from I'M NOT HER to share. 



A crowd gathers for the funeral. The church walls seem to strain to accommodate the bodies, but there isn’t enough space for everyone. People cram together, squished thigh to thigh in the pews, shoulder to shoulder in aisles. The back is standing room only.
 
Not surprisingly, I don’t hear anyone complain. I hardly hear any sound at all except the occasional whisper, cough, or sniffle. Everyone wears dark colors, even kids who don’t usually follow rules or social customs. I guess it’s like that when someone young is snatched from the earth. It’s wrong on so many levels that thinking about it makes my already sad heart ache even harder.


Dad says parents shouldn’t have to bury their children. He says a lost child leaves a hole in the heart of the parents, a hole hacked out with a dull knife. The heart can function with the wound, but it never entirely heals.

chapter one

No matter how much I don’t want to care, it’s not easy being stranded all alone in the middle of a crowded room, like the ugliest dog at the animal shelter. Kristina shoved me into her shiny red Toyota like she’s my fairy godmother, insisting I do the party “for my own good.” But other than a few heys and disinterested stares, no one notices that I’m there. Before long, even Kristina forgets about me. Swept up by her friends and admirers, Kristina leaves me bathing in my own flop sweat.

May 24, 2013

Mini-Reviews: Middle Grade Magic

Frogged Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde
Available now from Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Review copy

When Princess Imogene tries to help who she thinks is a prince cursed to be a frog, she ends up a frog herself.  But she must pass the curse on to someone else to save herself and Imogene has enough fortitude not to do that.

Imogene is just a little younger than thirteen and it shows in her actions.  She's not unintelligent, just young and sheltered.  Her eventual traveling companion, Luella, is a delight.  She's the butt of a mean joke at first, but she turns out to be more.  This is not my favorite of Vande Velde's books, but FROGGED is a fun little fractured fairytale.  It's also quite funny.

The Colossus Rises The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis (Seven Wonders, Book 1)
Available now from Harper (HarperCollins)
Review copy

I first became aware of Peter Lerangis during the Columbia Publishing Course's Book Workshop.  He's written more than a hundred books for children and young adults, including entries in the popular series The 39 Clues.  His new series, Seven Wonders, is obviously aimed at the Percy Jackson demographic of his fellow 39 Clues author Rick Riordan.

THE COLOSSUS RISES begins with Jack McKinley getting sick, collapsing in the street, and briefly waking up in the hospital before coming to at a strange Academy.  He and the other kids there have special abilities, but the price is that they'll die within the year.  What comes next is a fast-paced adventure with plenty of puzzles to solve.  Lerangis does a good job setting up the world and search for the McGuffins, so I hope future Seven Wonders books will develop the four kids more.

My main complaint would be that Aly is the only girl.  There are three boys - Jack, Marco, and Cass - why not two boys and two girls?  There's no indication as to the kids' race.  All four are thirteen, but I think this book will appeal most to slightly younger readers.

Kevin Kevin by Paul Kupperberg
Available now from Gosset & Dunlap (Penguin) in partnership with Archie Comics
Review copy

Paul Kupperberg's novel based on the Kevin Keller character created by Dan Parent may not be as magical as the others I've reviewed today, but it is pretty sweet.  I was a bit worried when I read that the storyline dealt with Kevin's middle school year, when he wasn't a hot out jock but instead a bullied awkward kid.  I was afraid it would be a step back into an older, more stereotypical storyline.

But the bullying is because Kevin's a nerd, not because of his sexuality.  (Not that that makes it alright.)  In fact, he's just discovering his sexuality.  There is some homophobic bullying, but since this is the Archie-verse the strongest insult used is "pansy."   KEVIN is short and simple, but it's a good storyline.  Stand up for your friends, don't be ashamed of who you are, and you should pay attention to your dad's judo lesson.  Older fans of the Kevin Keller comic might be bored, but younger fans should enjoy his foray into novels.

May 23, 2013

The Symptoms of My Insanity Fun Facts Book Trailer Tour!


THE SYMPTOMS OF MY INSANITY is the debut novel from Mindy Raf, a comedian I'm familiar with due to her work on CollegeHumor.  It came out in April from Dial/Penguin.  It sounds pretty fun to me:
For fans of Louise Rennison, Sarah Mlynowski, and Stephanie Perkins comes a laugh-out-loud, bittersweet debut full of wit, wisdom, heart, and a hilarious, unforgettable heroine.
The Symptoms of My InsanityIzzy is a hypochondriac with enormous boobs that won’t stop growing, a mother with a rare disease who’s hiding something, a best friend who appears to have undergone a personality transplant, and a date with an out-of-her-league athlete who just spilled Gatorade all over her. Yes, Izzy Skymen has a hectic life. But what Izzy doesn’t realize is that these are only minor symptoms of life’s insanity. When she discovers that the people she trusts most are withholding from her the biggest secrets, things are about to get epic — or is it epidemic?
You can find out more about Mindy on her website (linked above), her Twitter, or her Facebook.  But today I'm going to share a little more about THE SYMPTOMS OF INSANITY book trailer.  Without any further ado, here's my fun fact: 

Eric Day who wrote/recorded the theme music for the trailer is one of my good friends from high school. We wrote a one act musical together our senior year about online dating (before You’ve Got Mail) called Love On the Line.

And now, here's the trailer.  Try not to laugh too hard!

May 22, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: The Burning Sky

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

I love Sherry Thomas.  She's one of my favorite historical romance authors.  (Just read one of my reviews.)  And now she's making her YA debut, and it's going to be fantasy!  I think her lush, descriptive style will lend itself very well to fantasy.

THE BURNING SKY will be available September 17, 2013 and you can preorder it now on Amazon

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

Read an excerpt here.

May 20, 2013

Movie Monday: Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3Iron Man 3 was absolutely fantastic.  The change in directors does mean there's some difference in style.  Shane Black loves a bit of narration and has different taste in music than Jon Favreau.  (I missed the classic rock.)  But there doesn't seem to be any animosity in the changeover.  In fact, Favreau's role as bodyguard Happy Hogan was expanded.

But perhaps the biggest change in Iron Man 3 is that it's not all about Tony Stark.  (Although, in the end, it is.)

Much like Favreau, Don Cheadle gets a bigger part to play.  I'm am fully in favor of that, because Cheadle is terrific as Colonel Rhodes.  He's a good guy, but not a boring one.  And when given more screen time, Cheadle imbues Rhodey with enough of a sense of fun that you believe he and Tony Stark could be best friends.

And speaking of cast chemistry, Gwynth Paltrow continues to have tons with Robert Downey, Jr.  Her Pepper Potts is competent, compassionate, forgiving, but not a pushover.  She's firm and has zero time for b.s. from her boyfriend or monologuing villains.  I don't care how you feel about Paltrow; I can't imagine anyone else in the role.

Same goes for RDJ, who really plays up Tony's vulnerability after sacrificing himself in The Avengers.  He's faced tough situations before, but deliberately choosing to die really did a number on his psyche.  It leads to some great scenes when Tony teams up with a kid who can't keep his mouth shut around a real live superhero.

Of course, summer blockbusters and superhero films are all about the big fight scenes.  Iron Man 3 lives up to any expectations I had on that count.  The final battle is kinetic and visually delightful and still allows for some nice character beats.  I would've left the theater with a smile on my face even if the falling action wasn't just as terrific.

Iron Man fans, don't miss this one.  And, like all Marvel films, be sure to stay till after the credits.

May 8, 2013

Review: The Forever Knight

The Forever Knight Books of the Bronze Knight, Book Four
By John Marco
Available now from DAW (Penguin)
Review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours
Read my review of THE EYES OF GOD

THE FOREVER KNIGHT has been a long time coming.  The first three novels in the Books of the Bronze Knight series were out when I reviewed THE EYES OF GOD in 2008, my first year of blogging.  Given the wait, some might find it especially slim in comparison to the original trilogy.  But THE FOREVER KNIGHT is both a wonderful continuation of the series and a new beginning.  A wise move on John Marco's part, to draw in new readers.  I think THE FOREVER KNIGHT can be easily read by someone who is totally unaware there are earlier books.  (And, well, I still need to read the third book myself.)

Lukien is both the Bronze Knight and the Forever Knight.  He's nearly immortal and a talented warrior.  Perfect for a knight-errant.  But he has his weaknesses.  He's brittle and directionless, a hero without a cause.  Also, he has a gift for making the worst possible decisions.  At least his companion Cricket has the excuse of youth for her bad decisions.  I'm starting to think Lukien is not that smart.

THE FOREVER KNIGHT is a quick read.  Marco's keeps the story moving.  There are several different storylines in play, involving the fate of no less than two countries, but they're all intertwined.  The least involved story is that of Cricket, who wants to recover her memories, but it's pretty easy to guess that her memories of Akyre aren't totally uninvolved with everything else that is happening.  I do wish her character had been a little more deeply defined, but she's a nice foil to the jaded and overly confident Lukien.

The character of Malator, the spirit in Lukien's sword that keeps Lukien alive, is developed more in THE FOREVER KNIGHT.  He can be the typical cryptic mentor, but he's also got a sense of snark.  He also reveals a bit of a nasty streak of hypocrisy in Lukien, given how often Lukien treats Malator like a slave when he gets in a snit.

I mentioned the length of THE FOREVER KNIGHT before, and I'll say that I think it's the right length for this story.  It's a nice epic quest, with zombies and mad kings and good soldiers loyal to the wrong man.  It's an interesting direction to take the series and I'm curious to see what Marco will do with his Bronze Knight next.

May 7, 2013

Review: The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave First in a trilogy
By Rick Yancey
Available now from Putnam Juvenile
Review copy

Sometimes the best books are the hardest to talk about.  I mean, I could go on for paragraphs about the structure of THE 5TH WAVE.  The book jumps from narrator to narrator.  The first hundred pages are spent with Cassie - short for Cassiopeia - and the book leaves her head as soon as she's in mortal danger.  Point of view is used to obscure who is an alien, a human, or if there's a difference.

I could talk about how there is a girl with two male love interests (sorta) and a boy with two female love interests (sorta) but none of that matters compared to how much the girl and boy love a little kid and want to protect him even when there's nothing left in the world but survival and saving the kid could mean dying.

I could talk about how this is top notch, classic horror science fiction, told beautifully.  That the book itself explores how literature, how we write and read and how that affects us, makes us human.  It's a binding experience.  How I see little touches of War of the Worlds and other classic "the aliens are here and they're gonna kill us" stories but that THE 5TH WAVE is so absorbing because it does it's own thing.  Sure, each of the waves are familiar, but combined they create the effect of a new invasion.  This invasion is as intimate as the Yeerks in the Animorphs and as impersonal as the Death Star firing on Alderaan.

Mostly, I think I could talk about how I need a sequel.  I don't know if there is going to be a sequel, I haven't checked, and the book certainly ends in a place that could be the end . . . but I want more.  Those who survive may not know it, but there is so much left in their world.  (Sorry for that awkward phrasing but I'm not giving away who lives and who dies!) (And a little research tells me it will be a trilogy - hooray!  Ignore everything I've ever said about wanting more standalone novels.)

I'm writing this review in February.  THE 5TH WAVE comes out in May and Penguin has already started some serious publicity efforts.  I'm sure by the time the book comes out and I post this review on my blog there will be a huge build-up of hype and backlash to that hype.  So just try to ignore all the hype, block out a few quiet hours for yourself, and read THE 5TH WAVE.  I know, you're saying it's nearly five hundred pages long and you're going to need more than a few hours, but this puppy flew by.  Mostly because I couldn't stop until I knew what happened.

May 3, 2013

Giveaway: $50 to Amazon!

I am giving away $50 voucher to Amazon courtesy of Appliances Online.  That's right!  And guess what?  This giveaway is going to be open to the UK as well as the US and Canada.  I just love being able to open up a giveaway to more of my readers.

Anyway, enter below using the Rafflecopter form.  Contest ends in a week.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 2, 2013

Review Preview: The Love Wars

The Love Wars By L. Alison Heller
Available May 7 from NAL Trade (Penguin)
Review copy

I am sorry guys.  I thought I had enough prepped on this week's reviews that I could just knock them out.  But I got a full-time job (yay!) and adjusting to waking up in the dark hours of the morning to drive across town is more difficult than I expected.

Part of the fun of THE LOVE WARS is that there's more emphasis on Molly Grant's job than I expected.  The romance subplot is secondary, maybe even tertiary.  It's all about Molly finding out what kind of lawyer she wants to be.  I also loved that THE LOVE WARS didn't humiliate her as some chick lit loves to do.  She embroils herself in a wacky scheme, but she manages to do so without breaking the law or otherwise setting herself up for a truly horrid fall.

But I have no idea what playing cards have to do with the price of beans in Cairo.

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