Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Mystic City
by Theo Lawrence
Published: Oct. 9, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Available: Amazon

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.

I have to admit I chose this book based completely on the cover. I absolutely love the artwork. I just find it so beautiful and what's even better is that the story didn't disappoint.

Mystic City is dystopian fantasy story that manages effortlessly blends the magic of the mystics into a futuristic world. Lawrence jumps right into the story and I have to admit that at first I wondered if this was the second book in the series. However I realized by the end of the first chapter that the main character and narrator, Aria, is also feeling as if she's missed something. By the end of the story I was disappointed only because I knew I was going to have to wait for the sequel.

I really liked Aria. Although her family was one of the elite, she wasn't snobby nor judgmental towards the 'lower class' mystics, or even her overly-privileged friends. Her confusion between her two love interests, Thomas and Hunter, was well played, although the differences between the two boys actually makes it easier to predict what actually happened to Aria.

This was an awesome start to a new series and I look forward to reading more from Lawrence.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Young Adult Give@way Hop!

The Young Adult Giveaway Hop is finally here!! I absolutely love this hop and the showcase it does for YA authors and books! Thanks to I am a Reader, Not a Writer and BookLove101 for hosting this year's hop.

For this giveaway I thought I'd giveaway signed paperback copies of my novels Songbird and Lie to Me (open to US residents) and a Songbird and Lie to Me ebook pack (open internationally). After entering, don't forget to check out the Linky list and all the other awesome giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: Scribbler of Dreams by Mary E. Pearson

Scribbler of Dreams
by Mary E. Pearson
Published: October 2002
Publisher: Harcourt Paperbacks
Available: Amazon


Romeo and Juliet had the right idea. About dating the enemy that is. They were true to their hearts.

Kaitlin Malone know what it's like to date the enemy. She was raised to hate the Crutchfields, and absolutely does - until she meets Bram Crutchfield. It turns out he's a great guy - one she could talk to, share things with...even love. But when Kaitlin gives her heart to Bram, her world spins out of control. Soon the Crutchfields are her friends and she's a traitor to her own family.

To make things worse ,Bram was raised to hate the Malones,especially Kaitlin's father - who murdered Bram's dad. Bram doesn't know Kaitlin is a Malone. If he did he would hate her, too.

What's a star-crossed lover to do?

This was a filler pick for me when I needed to buy something for a few bucks to make my free shipping on Amazon. I thought it sounded like a sweet romance and would be a nice change from the other books I've been reading lately. It wasn't until I wrote the author's name in this blog post that I realized why it sounded familiar. Mary E. Pearson also wrote The Adoration of Jenna Fox, one of the first YA books I read and reviewed for my blog.

Scribbler of Dreams is not a futuristic or sci-fi story along the veins of Adoration, instead it is much more grounded in the realities of a typical romance novel. Not that that is a bad thing. It was exactly what I was looking for and Pearson delivered nicely. Girl meets boy, falls in love, but they are torn apart by deception, in this case the deception is due to their warring families, a la Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. As a Shakespeare lover I can't say I hate the story, and Pearson resists following too closely.

The only part that bothered me was the insta-love (and yes, I know this does follow R&J), but I found in today's world it just wasn't as believable. Kaitlin feel for Bram before even speaking to him, and within a few pages she was in love and willing to defy her family for a boy who believes she is someone else. Someone who's father hadn't killed his own. **Not a spoiler, as it's clearly on the back cover** I understood her deception initially, but the further along it went the more frustrating it became. Luckily it's a quick read at only 223 pages in pocketbook size, so I didn't have time to get really annoyed.

If you're looking for a sweet romance with some tear jerking scenes this is a quick and easy read.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cover Reveal ~ The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard

The Forgotten Ones
Author: Laura Howard
Genre: NA Paranormal Fantasy Romance
Expected release date: May 15, 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Cover Designer: Stephanie Mooney 


Allison O'Malley just graduated from college. Her life's plan is to get a job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She doesn't have room for friends or even Ethan, who clearly wants more. 

When Allison's long-lost father shows up, he claims he can bring her mother back from the dark place her mind has sent her. He reveals legends of a race of people long forgotten, the Tuatha de Danaan, along with the truth about why he abandoned her mother.

Share on Facebook and/or Twitter and you could win a $50 Amazon (or B&N) Gift card!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Review: Skinny by Donna Cooner

by Donna Cooner
Published: Oct 1, 2012
Publisher: Point
Available: Amazon

Hopeless. Freak. Elephant. Pitiful. These are the words of Skinny, the vicious voice that lives inside fifteen-year-old Ever Davies’s head. Skinny tells Ever all the dark thoughts her classmates have about her. Ever knows she weighs over three hundred pounds, knows she’ll probably never be loved, and Skinny makes sure she never forgets it.

But there is another voice: Ever’s singing voice, which is beautiful but has been silenced by Skinny. Partly in the hopes of trying out for the school musical—and partly to try and save her own life—Ever decides to undergo a risky surgery that may help her lose weight and start over.

With the support of her best friend, Ever begins the uphill battle toward change. But demons, she finds, are not so easy to shake, not even as she sheds pounds. Because Skinny is still around. And Ever will have to confront that voice before she can truly find her own.

I was so torn over this book, both while reading it and after when trying to decide on a rating and review. There were parts of the story that I absolutely loved. Ever's thought process about food and her self-image, including the voice of Skinny are so real and I know I've had very similar thoughts and feelings. I completely identified with Ever in this portion. She has all of these dreams for her life, yet feels they are impossible simply because of her weight and the way she is perceived by society. And she's right. Weight is probably one of the few things people of all races, gender, and orientation openly discriminate against (this of course is based on my own scientific analysis of personal experience:) ). The first part of this book is where Cooner's writing shines. There is a depth of understanding for what Ever is going through that feels very personal.

The story though takes a turn so fast my head spun. One minute Ever is struggling with the physical impact her emotional response to her mother's death has on her weight and then suddenly she's getting major MAJOR elective gastric bypass surgery!! 

I don't have anything against weight loss surgery. I think it is a viable option for people who's life is at risk. Who are unable to do physical activity due to their weight. Who have gone through all options. Who have determined that their weight problems are due to physical issues and not emotional. Ever is physically able to exercise. Ever has tried a few diets, but earlier in the book confesses to binging and hiding food, purposely sabotaging her diets and eating for spite. Ever has emotional problems. Her weight gain was a direct result of her mother's death. Yet no one suggests she get some grief counseling or therapy. How could any adult (parent or doctor) let her get a FOREVER LIFE ALTERING and ENDANGERING surgery because she gained weight when she's a child struggling to deal with the death of her mother?

I can understand the author's perspective. In her author's note Cooner talks about the positive impact her own surgery had on her life. I can understand and respect that. I suppose the problem was the author's message. She wanted to write about taking scary steps forward to make yourself skinny and valuable (because Ever can't do this while she's fat). I wanted it to be able a girl who either accepts herself as she is and learns to value herself regardless of her weight, or learns to deal with the loss she was dealt and make positive but hard changes to improve herself.

I do think this is an enjoyable book, and there is a good message in there. I don't however think I'd give this to a teen struggling with weight loss as it presents surgery as an easy out for dealing with the underlying issues usually associated with weight problems.