Friday, March 30, 2012

Author Spotlight: J. Meyers + Giveaway!

Please Welcome 
J. Meyers
Author of

1) Could you tell us a bit about yourself.

I stay up too late because it's the only time I get to work or be alone (I have four young kids), can't drink coffee because it makes me grumpy (and I just can't subject my family to that), get excited about great dialogue in movies/tv/books, write down funny things people say in hopes of using it someday (or being inspired by it), and I talk to myself (out loud). (Also, I really like using parentheses.)

2) Could you tell us a bit about Intangible?

It's the story of seventeen year old twins Sera and Luke who have special abilities. She can heal with a touch of her hand, and he can see the future with 100% accuracy. He has a vision of her death and they have to figure out how to change the future--something he's never been able to do.

2) What was the inspiration for writing Intangible?

Two things--Reiki (an alternative hands-on healing therapy) and superheroes. My original idea was to have a girl who could heal, but after flipping through a superhero encyclopedia one night--looking at all the fabulous powers they have--I thought "What if there was a world where teens were cropping up with these superhuman abilities? That would be *so* cool!"

3) Was Sera and Luke's character based on anyone or were they purely made up characters? 

They were purely made up. Of course, there's always a little bit of me in every character, and I'm sure I pick up mannerisms, thoughts, sayings from people I know and from life in general. But no one character in the book was based on any one particular person.

4) What was your inspiration in the cover art for Intangible?

I really wanted an image of a girl who could be Sera because it's mostly her story, and I wanted to give it an other-wordly feel too. I actually came up with three different covers, posted them on my site, and asked people to vote. The one on the book was the winner by far (which surprised me because it wasn't my first choice).

5) Do you plan to have Intangible as a stand alone novel or part of a series?

While the book does stand alone (it's a complete story), it is the beginning of a series. And I have no idea how long the series will be yet--at least another two or three books. I'm also considering writing companion novels/series that focus on other characters. There's so much I can do with this world and concept, and that's really exciting to me.

6) Who is your favorite character in the book? And why?

Oh, gosh. That's like asking me who my favorite child is! I don't have a favorite, but I will say that I *love* Jonas. I love the strength of his convictions, his complicated moral compass, his seemingly unbreakable loyalty. Plus he's totally swoon-worthy. (Oh, yes, I love him.)

7) Do you write to music? If so, what is your favorite?

I wish I could, but I just can't. I have this terrible problem where I start listening to the music and lyrics, singing along, rather than listening to the voices in my head. Um, I mean, the unfolding story in my head. I need silence when I'm writing, I think because I need to focus so closely on what I'm seeing, hearing, and experiencing in my mind and I have to slow it down, examine it from different angles, and get it all down on the page. I can't have anything distracting me away from that. (And I am very easily distractable.)
I do listen to music when I'm thinking about the story or characters, when I'm plotting it all out or trying to solve a story problem. I find a lot of inspiration for characters, story/plot ideas, and moods in music. For Intangible, I listened to the Indigo Girls' song "Jonas & Ezekial" a lot (and that's where Jonas got his name). I also listened to "Hallelujah" sung by K.D. Lang, and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2. Over and over and over and over again. I don't have an mp3 player, so it's *possible* my family may have gotten a little tired of listening to my very limited song selections for a while. ;-)

8) What do you plan on doing in the future?

Writing! I plan to keep putting out good books for as long as I love it. And I hope that's a long time. :-)

9) What are you reading right now?

I'm reading ReVamped by Ada Adams and The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. I also have my nose in several research books for the next book in the series.

10) Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Laini Taylor, Kristin Cashore, J.K. Rowling, Frannie Billingsley, Sarah Prineas, Aidan Chambers, Megan Whalen Turner

11) Anything you would like to add?

Thank you so much, Steph! It's been a real pleasure being here. :-)

Twins Sera and Luke Raine have a well-kept secret—she heals with a touch of her hand, he sees the future. All their lives they’ve helped those in need on the sly. They’ve always thought of their abilities as being a gift.
Then Luke has a vision that Sera is killed. That gift they’ve always cherished begins to feel an awful lot like a curse. Because the thing about Luke’s ability? He’s always right. And he can’t do anything about it.

Read my review HERE!

Where to find J.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Intangible by J. Meyers

J. Meyers
Paperback, 318 pages
January 31, 2012

"Shall she be the first to die, Seer?
Yes, I think so. Her healing makes her the more dangerous."

Twins Sera and Luke Raine have a well-kept secret—she heals with a touch of her hand, he sees the future. All their lives they’ve helped those in need on the sly. They’ve always thought of their abilities as being a gift.

Then Luke has a vision that Sera is killed. That gift they’ve always cherished begins to feel an awful lot like a curse. Because the thing about Luke’s ability? He’s always right. And he can’t do anything about it.

Intangible is a unique story filled with a mix of mythical creatures, their secret world called the Relm and twins Sera and Luke who have no idea any of it exists. 

Meyers created a very unique world where all sorts of fairy tale creatures lurk in the shadows. Intangible had a good plot with good twists and turns and plenty of likable characters. I really enjoyed the mix of mythology in this book. Meyers was able to add different aspects of a fairy tale world without it becoming too overwhelming.

I enjoyed the characters in Intangible. Sera and Luke's relationship was strong and I felt they were genuine. They looked out for each other and were a team. Each one would do anything to protect the other and at times jumped into trouble to do so. I also enjoyed Fey ( Luke and Sera's best friend) She was a likable character although I wish she had a bit more of a story in the book. She kind of took a back seat and I would have liked to know a bit more about her. I also really liked Jonas. He was a very mysterious character, but was also very real. He knew when things were right and he stood up for what he believed in. 
I however did not like Marc ( Sera's love interest.) He was always a bit sketchie and had way to many ulterior motives. He was just untrustworthy to me and I really didn't like him. 

All in all Intangible was a good light read. It was not to fast paced and did read a bit slow at times, but still kept me intrigued.  The dialogue felt a bit forced at times, like the use of words like "crass" by a group of teenagers. But beyond those minor things I really enjoyed Intangible and feel it was a fun read. I give Intangible 4 Hoots. I am looking forward to finding out what happens next.   

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Dan Wells
Hardcover, 472 pages
February 28, 2012
Balzer + Bray

“Happiness is the most natural thing in the world when you have it, and the slowest, strangest, most impossible thing when you don't. It's like learning a foreign language: You can think about the words all you want, but you'll never be able to speak it until you suck up your courage and say them out loud.” 

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out. 

When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask. 

Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar GalacticaPartials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.

Partials was a unique Dystopian tale. Packed with the threat of engineered Humans who still lurk in the outskirts of humanity, The Voice who is trying to start a civil war and one girl brave enough to try and save the world.

Dan Wells brings a very unique twist to the Dystopian world. Partials is a mix of a post apocalyptic  world mixed with science fiction. I really enjoyed following Kira through her medical training. There was a bit of a medical aspect to this book but I didn't feel the medical terminologies were to foreign or were to hard to understand. Wells did a fantastic job at giving us a detailed concept without overwhelming the story.  

The setting in Partials was one of my favorite. I loved the fact that the world around Kira ( the main character) was still rotting and she was basically living in a world that was slowly withering away.  With one central town that was once Long Island, the survivors have made due the best they could. Having the Senate in charge to maintain order and the Hospital where teenagers work because there is no other options. It all seems like a well rounded society. 

The characters in Partials were fantastic. I really loved the group. Kira, was by far my favorite. She is smart and fiercely loyal to her cause. She works in the Hospital as a medic in training and it is her job to take notes on the maternity floor.  She is constantly surrounded  by dying babies and  all she wants to do is save one. She will do anything to figure out a cure to RM. Even if that means risking her life and the lives of all around her.
Marcus, Kira's boyfriend was also a great character. He was adorable and so in love with Kira. I thought his character was a very real one. He said things and did things that were genuine and it was one of the main reasons I liked him so much. All he really wanted was to be with Kira and keep her safe. Not an easy thing to do. I also really enjoyed Jayden and Xochi, both were strong characters who followed Kira because they were loyal to her. Even the background characters played a part in the story and contributed   to it in there own ways.

All in all Partials was a great story with a very imaginative plot and great characters. The only thing that could have made it better was a bit more details on the characters in the beginning. I felt that I really didn't know what the characters looked like. Besides the basic skin color of Kira that was all I had to go in. Other then that the story was one of my favorites this year and I am looking forward to the next installment. I give Partials 5 Hoots. A very addicting book that I could not put down.  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Review: Scary School by Derek the Ghost + Giveaway!

Derek the Ghost
Hardcover, 237 Pages
June 21, 2011

“Ms. Fang is the nicest, sweetest teacher at Scary School. She only ate twelve kids last year.”  

You think your school's scary?
Get a load of these teachers:
"Ms. Fang," an 850-year-old vampire
"Dr. Dragonbreath," who just might eat you before recess
"Mr. Snakeskin"--science class is so much more fun when it's taught by someone who's half zombie
"Mrs. T"--break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry "Tyrannosaurus rex"
Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein's monster on the loose
The world's most frighteningly delicious school lunch
The narrator's an eleven-year-old ghost
Join Charles "New Kid" Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends--including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf--and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky

Scary School was a hilarious story filled with a mix of fantastic characters that I have grown to love.

Charles "New Kid" Nukid is in for a big surprise when he starts at Scary School. This school is no ordinary place. Its filled with Vampires, ghosts, a T-Rex and a mix of many other scary creatures. Scary School has a mix of short stories with an underlying main story. Oh, and did I mention its narrated by an eleven year old ghost named Derek! I really loved this book. Although it is a mid-grade book, It had me laughing out loud throughout the entire thing. The characters are so interesting and I very much enjoyed getting to know each of them.

Scary School also has a ton of great illustrations done by Scott M. Fisher. They are done very well and it was great to get a visual of each character. It totally added to the book!

Overall I give Scary School 4+ Hoots! A very original story with a great mix of characters and a great fun read. I loved the humor in this book and all the great pictures. If your looking for a fun book to read or something for your kids, This is the book for you! Look out for the sequel to Scary School, Monsters on the Marsh. Due to release June 26th, 2012!

Check out the Scary School website HERE!

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by, Derek The Ghost!

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Interview with Julianna Baggott + win a signed copy of Pure!

1) Could you tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a short  fast-talker who likes chocolate. PURE is my 18th book, including books under my pen names, N.E. Bode and Bridget Asher. I mouth off sometimes
in essays and op-eds; my work has been published in The New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, NPR... I teach at Florida State. I have four kids, two dogs and a cat.

2) Could you tell us a bit about Pure.

It started with the image of a 16 year old girl with a doll-head fist who's hiding in an ash-choked cabinet. There's also an older boy who escapes a Dome. Their lives entwine. It's set post-detonations and so there's a lot of world-building. 

3) What was the inspiration for writing Pure?

This question always stumps me because it's never just one idea. The images above, the desire to write on a large canvas, a psychological realism, a connection to my oldest who loved the early pages and urged me to write the rest. 

4) Were there any personal experiences that went in to writing Pure?

Yes. In that the fusings themselves -- some of them -- harken back to having small children, who I always held and let fall asleep on my chest, and I wrote with them all bundled to me. When you read about the Mothers in the book, you'll understand why it's related. Fusings.  

5) Was Pressia's character based on anyone or was she a  purely made up character? What is she like?

She holds traits of my own, my daughters, those around me -- but the result is that she's her own person. Completely
6) What was your inspiration in the cover art for Pure?

The cover art was done by brilliant designers in-house. I loved it immediately.  

7) Who is your favorite character in the book? And why?

I can't choose between them. But I really unexpectedly love writing one character who begins as a bad guy but emerges as a main character who's actually
very complex. El Capitan -- and his brother who's fused to his back, Helmud.  

Read my review of Pure HERE!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Julianna Baggott
Hardcover, 448 Pages
Grand Central Publishing
February 8, 2012 

“Beauty, you can find it here if you look hard enough.” 

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . . 
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run. 

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . . 
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her. 

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.


Pure is a spectacularly detailed story, with unforgettable characters in an amazingly original post- apocalyptic world. 

Pure is one of those book I was super excited for. I an riding the Dystopian train right now and Pure fits right it. I loved how original this story was. The detail of each setting was breathtaking and I became so absorbed with the world Baggott had created. 

The Detonation has created a world of subhumans who have become fused with whatever they were close to at the time of the detonation. Each character is so original and has such a story based on there fused bodies. I loved learning why they were fused to these certain objects that are now a part of them forever. 
Many have called this book quite grotesque but I thought the fusing was a completely original idea and I quite enjoyed learning why this was happening and how it effected each character. 

Pure is told from four point of views. Pressia lives outside the Dome with her grandfather. She has had to take on most of the responsibility of survival due to her grandfathers declining health. She is a strong personality with amazing survival skills. I loved reading her perspective on this new world. 
Partridge lives inside the Dome. Saved from the Detonation, Partridge lives a relatively normal life. Goes to school, has a safe and secure life. Until he discovers that his mother may be alive and he has been lied to for most of his life. I really enjoyed Partridge. He is quite naive in the way of the world outside the Dome. But does not come of smug. I like that he knows he is not the strongest nor the best at surviving. He is ok to let others lead. I like that about him. The other two POV;s are told from El Capitan, an officer outside the Dome and Lyda, a classmate of Partridge, who lives inside the Dome. Both are very interesting characters and I enjoyed reading from there POV's and getting to know their characters. 

Overall, Pure is one of the most originally written stories I have read. It is full of terrifying creatures, unforeseen plot twists and unforgettable characters. By the end of the book I was left wanting more. I give Pure 5 Hoots. If you are looking for a completely original Dystopian  story, Pure is for you. I can not wait to find out what happens next. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

New Meme: Poetry Friday's

Hi Guys!!! So I am a huge Poetry fan and I was thinking of doing something to share my favorites with you. So Poetry Friday's is here! Basically we just post a poem of our choice on our blog to share it with our readers. Spread a little poetry into the world! So that't it. Grab the pic, or make your own.. and stick a fav poem on your blog! 

Here is my poem of the week:

The Stolen Child  by William Butler Yeats

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed -
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest
For he comes the human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand
From a world more full of weeping than he can understand
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