Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (7)

Stacking the Shelves is a *new* weekly meme to feature all the books that have made their way into our homes this week! 
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

(Click on picture to be taken to Goodreads)

Cursed Deity (Covenant, #3) Break My Heart 1,000 Times

(Click on title to be taken to Amazon)

Cursed by Jennifer Armentrout
Deity (Covenant #3) by Jennifer Armentrout
Break My Heart 1,000 Times by Daniel Waters

Thanks so much to Spencer Hill Press and Hyperion!

(Click on picture to be taken to Goodreads)

Wicked Nights (Angels of the Dark, #1) Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)

(Click on title to be taken to Amazon)

Wicked Nights (Angels of the Dark #1) by Gena Showalter
Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer Armentrout 

What goodies did you add to YOUR shelf last week?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Interview and Giveaway: Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Last Bastion of the Living: A Futuristic Zombie Novel
I am so pleased to have author Rhiannon Frater here today to answer some questions - and then give away an ebook copy of the book!

The Last Bastion of the Living: A Futuristic Zombie Novel
Rhiannon Frater
Release: June 12, 2012

Goodreads     Amazon

A walled city surrounded by lush land, protected by high mountain summits, and fortified by a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, The Bastion remained humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. On one fateful day, the valley gate failed and the Inferi Scourge overran and destroyed the human settlements outside the walls, trapping the remaining survivors inside the city. Now, decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city of dwindling resources…and dwindling hope.

Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her entire life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.

Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate, reclaiming the lost lands and energizing the populace with renewed hope for the future. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.

For this interview I went with some fun questions that will let us get to know Rhiannon - that zombie and vampire goddess that we all know and love - a little better!

1. Fast Five:

Favorite food: My mom’s lasagna. It’s so good!

Favorite horror/scary movie: I don’t have just one. My favorite zombie movie is Night of the Living Dead. My favorite vampire movie is The Vampire Lovers. The movie that gave me the most nightmares was The Ring. And Psycho made me afraid of showering for YEARS, so I enjoyed bubble baths.

Favorite recent read: Endgame by Ann Aguirre. She let me read the final book in the Sirantha Jax series (it’s out in August) and it rocked!

Favorite place to visit: Italy. I would go there in a heartbeat.

Favorite guilty pleasure: Buying Betsey Johnson purses!

2. Reading and Writing Habits:

Where do you do most of your writing? I write in my office. If I hit writer’s block, I might wander around the house until I find a good spot.

Which authors inspired you as a writer? I would say Bram Stoker, Charlotte Bronte, Victoria Holt, and Agatha Christie.

Who are your favorite authors to read? Right now I’m very much into Scot Westerfeld, J.L. Bryan is now an auto-read, I love Susan Kay Quinn’s Mindjack Trilogy (can’t wait for book 3), and I really enjoyed Jessica Meig’s The Becoming.

What is the first book you remember loving? The Witch of Blackbird Pond is the first book I reread obsessively and just loved with all my heart.

What would you be doing if you weren't an author? I haven’t the slightest idea. It’s a nightmarish thing to imagine.

3. Who would win in an epic battle between zombies and vampires? 

Depends on what type of zombie and what type of vampire.  Traditional vampire vrs traditional zombie…I would give it to the vamps. They’re faster, meaner, more cunning, and stronger.

Thank you so much to Rhiannon for being here today!

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the AS THE WORLD DIES zombie trilogy and the author of several other books: the vampire novels PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES and THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE and the young-adult zombie novel The Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters. All three books in her zombie trilogy, THE FIRST DAYS and FIGHTING TO SURVIVE,  and SIEGE are available now in bookstores.

Enter to win an ebook of The Last Bastion of the Living on the Rafflecopter form below! You must be 13 or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now go visit The Bookish Brunette to enter to win the Grand Prize of this blog tour!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (27) - Crimson Frost

Waiting on Wednesday is a feature hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that shares the upcoming releases we bloggers are on the edge of our seats about!

Crimson Frost
(Mythos Academy #4)
Jennifer Estep
Release date: January 1, 2013

Goodreads     Amazon

For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes — the most hideous face I’d ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki — the evil god that I’d helped set free against my will.

I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming. I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison — and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself …

I just recently got into this series and I'm so glad I did! I really love the academy and Gwen and I'm really looking forward to see what happens next, especially with the way things were left at the end of book three!

What is YOUR WoW pick?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cover Reveal: Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

Is it me or have there been a ton of covers released recently?

Well here's one more!

The Indigo Spell
(Bloodlines #3)
Richelle Mead
Release: February 12, 2013

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone
(The Grisha Trilogy #1)
Leight Bardugo
Release: June 5, 2012

Goodreads     Amazon

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. But the combination of an often dragging story and some gaping holes in the plot have led me to feel just 'meh' about it.

Shadow and Bone started with some promise. As I read the prologue and the first chapter, I was excited to get into the world Bardugo had created. But as the story continued I found myself pushing through the info-dump-heavy first half of the book. The setting for this story, a place called Ravka, was explained through multiple info dumps and a lot of telling instead of showing. I expected a little more from a fantasy book, even though it was YA. After completing the entire story and reading the Acknowledgements section at the story's end, I discovered that the story's setting is a re-imagined Russia. Now, from the words that some of Bardugo's character use, some of the customs held, and the topography of their land it was clear that the author had been influenced by Russia. But to come to find out that Ravka was not only influenced by Russia, but actually an alternate version of Russia, after reading the entire book, annoyed me.

The rest of the world building suffered from the same treatment. Boring paragraphs explained the colors of the Grisha's robes, but never explained what drives their power or how it is decided which Order they will belong to. The Fold, a black and scary place that stretches between the two parts of Ravka, is described repeatedly but I still found myself asking what the heck it actually is and how exactly it was created. The Darkling, who isn't even given a first name, has unusual powers that I wanted to learn more about but we were given tons of surface information about him and never anything deeper.

Alina, the main character and narrator, and Mal, her childhood friend, are shown as friends for like a second before they are separated and we're supposed to mourn with Alina over the loss of her best friend and possible love. But, as often as the author kept telling me that Alina and Mal were as close as could be and that she was secretly in love with him, I never saw it and because of this I found myself not really caring much about what happened to him. Thankfully, when he reappeared MUCH later in the book, I grew slightly more attached to him and wished that we had know more about his relationship with Alina for the first three-quarters of the book.

And the plot holes, oh the plot holes! There were so many things left unexplained and so many things that seemed to happen simply because the author wished it so and not because they made any actual sense in the plot of the story. One important detail left out was why, when Alina had been tested for Grisha power as a child (and by the way, that test is never explained), was she found to have no power and to then carry on her merry way for another ten or so years? And then BOOM, she's got power! 'Why wasn't this discovered as a child?' everyone asks her. The answer? "Hmm, I don't know". Um, what? And also, Alina is told that she is the first to ever hold this power, yet the first time she accidentally unleashes her power, it has a name. How does it have a name if she is the FIRST to ever have this power?

And the plot hole that especially bugged me was toward the story's end, when Alina wages an inner war with her own power and then makes a big decision. Both the outcome of the "inner war" and the decision she made were weird and disjointed. Alina's decision kind of made me hate her. The answer to how to stop everything was pretty clear, but instead Alina does the stupidest, most selfish, and cruelest thing ever. Of course, yeah, that made sense.

So, where did 3 stars come from?

1 star for the concept behind this story and the potential it held. There were several bits and pieces of this world that I liked a lot and I just wanted to hold on to those! This book certainly suffered from "First Book Syndrome" (among other things) for me, and I will still read the next in the trilogy to see where this story goes and if it is less boring without all the world building describing of the first book.

1 star for "The Darkling", whom I both loved and hated on a constant cycle throughout the story. I hope we get to learn more about him in the next book because he was very surface-y for me.

1 star for the second half of the book, which picked up in pace considerably. There were still several moments that dragged a bit, but there were many more moments that were exciting and interesting than the book's first half.

This is all, of course, simply my opinion. Many people have rated this book 4 and 5 stars, but for me it was a 3 star book, and they may even be generous. There were just too many holes in what should have been a tight and fast-paced fantasy plot, too many characters I just didn't connect with, and a lack of the complex and layered world building that a good fantasy book, even one that is YA, should have.


Holy Release Day, Batman!

Holy cow!
There are A LOT of awesome books releasing today!

Do you notice that some dates are super popular for book releases? Today, June 26th, is one such date. I just had to share these releases with you because there are so many wonderful books coming out today!

Go ahead. . . . .do a little shopping, I won't tell. . . . .

(Click on cover to go to Amazon)


Ridiculous, right?
And this isn't even all the books that release today, these are just the ones that fit this blog best.

Which books are you the most excited for?
Which will you be buying?

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