Saturday, July 31, 2010

Early Review: Manifest (Mystyx #1) by Artist Arthur (with excerpt)

Available tomorrow (August 1, 2010)!

Krystal Bentley didn't want to leave her father behind and move to the middle of nowhere with her remarried mother, but since she's a teenager she doesn't have much say in the matter. As if the trials of teenage life in Lincoln, Connecticut aren't enough, Krystal finds herself facing an ability she thought she'd buried long ago - the power to see and speak to the dead. Krystal ignores the disembodied cries for help as long as she can, but when the spirit of a murdered student materializes in her bedroom, Krystal finally has to face her fate. After discovering she's not the only student with mysterious powers, Krystal joins forces with Sasha and Jake to investigate the mysterious circumstances of Ricky's death, hoping to help him cross over at last (and finally leave her alone). However, Krystal soon realizes she might be in over her head, wrapped up in a deadly and disgusting web of money, lies and murder. It turns out ghosts aren't the only thing haunting the small, misty town of Lincoln.

Manifest is a dark and mystical tale of three teenagers' fight to come to terms with their incredible powers, the tribulations of teenage life, and the darkest horrors of the human race. The tone of the novel feels as though someone is telling the tale aloud, and the first person perspective places the reader directly into the head of the strong and spunky heroine, Krystal. The reader will certainly sympathize with Krystal, even though her feelings are often inscrutable despite the transparency of her thoughts, because the entire cast of characters seems to conspire against her.

Though Manifest is a young adult novel dealing with teenage issues, it is surprisingly unsympathetic toward Krystal. Some of the commentary on Krystal's "spoiled brat" behavior is frustrating because the poor girl has every right to be sad and upset -- her mother abruptly left her father, uprooting Krystal's life and taking her away from the father who was her friend and confidante, without ever bothering to explain her reasons. Suddenly Krystal finds herself seeing snarky ghosts in a shivery small town, living with her reticent mother and grouchy stepfather. Her feelings aren't unreasonable, and yet everyone from the obnoxious and arrogant ghost Ricky to the shrink she's forced to visit are upbraiding her heartbreak.

Though ostensibly a paranormal young adult novel, Manifest is really more of a murder mystery with a supernatural slant. While the three main characters do possess otherworldly powers, the focus is less on that and more on the malignant mystery surrounding the high school and its three missing (and dead) students. While the mystical powers come into play occasionally (after all, it is Krystal's ability to see the murdered students' ghosts that gets her into this mess), they need further developing to truly carry some weight in the story. It seems implausible that the teens don't experiment more with their new-found abilities, becoming stronger and more experienced in preparation for the impending, unnamed threat that lurks over the small town.

Part of the novel's mystery lies in the difficulty of distinguishing  between good and evil -- each character seems to harbor a dark secret, leaving the reader questioning their motives and true nature. More character development would add greatly to the story. The three protagonists have the potential for a powerful dynamic, but their relationship needs further development, which the conclusion seems to move toward. The creepy climax is bone-chilling, though the final confrontation is a bit subdued after the intense build-up. Artist Arthur skillfully amps up the adrenaline and the latter half of the novel is downright spooky. The murder mystery and ghost story aspects of this novel are compelling, and the ending is an absolute cliffhanger, but it still lacks the strong characterization that would truly make for a stellar read.


Disclosure: I received a review copy of this novel from NetGalley. This did not affect my review in any way.

Click here to pre-order Manifest by Artist Arthur

 This novel counts toward the 2010 Debut Author Challenge. 

To read an excerpt of Manifest, please click "Read More" below!

In My Mailbox: July 26 - August 1, 2010

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

For Review:

The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna

A southern gothic told in the voice of a charming crazy small town beauty queen who marries money, is given a fabulous antebellum home and tells the readers about her lummox of a new husband, her mother in law straight from Dante's seventh circle and the dead former owner of her home who just wont vacate the premises.

(Author's description)


The Wolves Within by M. E. Harper

Our birth defines our past. Our present defines our future. And our future is the gateway to eternity. For some, the past, present, and future are a perilous mix. But living only in the here and now proves dangerous for two people who meet and fall in love. Not only will their most fundamental beliefs be tested by each other, but people and circumstances will challenge them to rise above their own destiny. Surviving a catastrophic life event that spans years, Ariel Morgan finds herself starting life over on the streets of Los Angeles. After a disturbing nightmare, she comes face to face with the man of her dreams and is swept into the world of the affluent, even though she is determined to distance herself from everything that world represents. Fighting for her spiritual independence, despite the tempestuous relationship that threatens to consume her body and soul, she harbors a deadly secret that may ultimately cost her more than just her life. Noah Stanton never considered that he lacked anything in life. A child of privilege, he grew up in a world of political and social power. But his world begins to change when he meets a woman with ideas so radically different from anyone he has ever known that he actually begins to question his own ideologies. Torn between a desperate need to maintain his identity and his obsessive desire, he struggles with a path that leads him further and further away from the truth.

(Description from Goodreads)


City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

(Description from Goodreads)

City of Bones has been on my TBR list for ages, but after reading Clockwork Angel I just couldn't wait any longer! I'm so excited to start reading it!

What's in your mailbox this week?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Book Blogger Hop: July 30 - August 5, 2010

Welcome and thanks for hopping by!

The Book Blogger Hop is a great meme hosted by Crazy-for-Books! The idea is to network and find amazing new blogs to read. You can hop over there to see the rules and join in the fun!

I haven't done this meme in a while, so unfortunately I don't have any "new finds" to list from last week. I'm going to try to start participating regularly though, so next week I should have some newly discovered blogs to share!

A new feature has been added to the hop so that participants also answer a weekly question. Here's this week's:  

 Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year?

I would definitely have to say Julie Kagawa (you guys saw that one coming, didn't you?) I've only gotten fully on board the paranormal/fantasy bus recently, and The Iron King was the first ever fey novel I read. The wrong book could have thrown me off forever, but Julie's series is AMAZING! The characters are so loveable and hilarious, the world is so rich and detailed, and the writing is so eloquently crafted. This is the standard by which all other fey novels will be measured from now on in my reading life.

Hop on over to Crazy-for-Books to see the full list of participating blogs!

Happy Hopping!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2010 Debut Author Challenge

Hosted by The Story Siren.

I've decided to join another challenge! I know I'm probably not going to complete all of my challenge goals this year (although it's only July, so you never know), but I enjoy the sense of accomplishment when you can mark another book off your list :-) It makes me feel like I'm working toward something. This challenge features a lot of books on my TBR list anyway, and I've already read one or two, so I thought I'd go for it. This challenge runs from January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010.

Here's my list:

1. Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins
2. The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa (review)
3. Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
4. Personal Demons (Personal Demons #1) by Lisa Desrochers
5. 13 to Life (13 to Life #1) by Shannon Delany
6. Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White
7. Manifest (Mystyx #1) by Artist Arthur (review)
8. Claire de Lune (Claire de Lune #1) by Christine Johnson
9. Nightshade (Nightshade #1) by Andrea Cremer
10. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
11. Other (Other #1) by Karen Kincy
12. The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
13. Whisper (Whisper #1) by Phoebe Kitanidis
14. Hunger (Horsemen of the Apocalypse #1) by Jackie Morse Kessler
15. Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
16. Infinity (Chronicles of Nick #1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
17. Nomansland by Lesley Hauge
18. Matched by Ally Condie
19. Infinite Days (Vampire Queen #1) by Rebecca Maizel
20. Life, Liberty, and Pursuit by Susan Kaye Quinn

If I get through these, there are several more I want to read that are just ready and waiting to join the list. If you're interested in signing up, you can find all the info here. The more the merrier!

You can view my progress and the links to the reviews on the Reading Challenges page.

You're Invited: The Iron Daughter Twitter party with author Julie Kagawa!

The highly anticipated sequel The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2) will be hitting bookstores in a matter of days (August 1, to be exact)! To celebrate, Gail from Ticket to Anywhere , Pam from Bookalicious, and Erica from The Book Cellar are hosting a Twitter party with Iron Fey author Julie Kagawa!

When: Saturday, July 31st from 8:00 - 9:30 p.m. EST

What: A half hour discussion of The Iron Daughter, followed by an hour-long Q&A with Julie Kagawa, PLUS prizes (2 copies of The Iron King, 2 copies of The Iron Daughter, 2 bookplates signed by Julie, and a Grim Rock)

The Iron Fey series is incredible and if you look around the blog you can probably tell I'm a huge fan. It's amazing to find an author so devoted to her fans. Many thanks to the three blogs hosting this event and to Julie for participating! I'm really looking forward to it and I definitely recommend that everyone run out and buy The Iron Daughter ASAP! You can read my early review of the fabulous novel here, and an interview with Julie Kagawa that I conducted last month here!

Feel free to grab the invite at the top of this post and spread the word! I'll see you there!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (& Cover Art News)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're anxiously awaiting!

Coming October 12, 2010!


BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

(From Goodreads) 

Here's what Jennifer Donnelly had to say about Revolution on her website:

A bit about the new book: As you might expect from the title, it’s about a revolution. On one level, it’s about the French Revolution and one of its smallest victims. On another level, it’s about the revolution inside, about the changes we human beings go through as we struggle to make sense of our world.

All the books I’ve written have taken me on a journey. To places in the real world and places in the mind, where I’d never thought I’d go. But the journey Revolution took me on was the hardest, weirdest, and most wrenching. I think it might also be the most rewarding.

My thoughts: I think this book sounds like a great blending of genres: Historical fiction and contemporary fiction (behold the beauty of time travel), some Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and I'm sure there's bound to be some romance. I love the idea of colliding eras - where the past and the present meet through the pages of a diary (Tom Riddle, is that you?), and in the catacombs no less. I get chills just thinking about it!

Available for Pre-order!

Also by this author: The Tea Rose Trilogy and A Northern Light

What book are you eagerly anticipating? Share your WoW picks in the comments!


In other EXCITING news....

The Iron Queen cover has just been revealed! 

What do you think? I just love all the covers in the Iron Fey trilogy - they're beautiful! I'm not a big fan of pink, but I think it works well with the colors of the first two covers, don't you? 

You can read author Julie Kagawa's cover announcement here.

You can also now read the first chapter of The Iron Daughter here!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Author Interview: Kate Kaynak (& Giveaway!)

I was born and raised in New Jersey, but I managed to escape. Until recently, my husband and I lived in Istanbul with our three kids.  We returned to the U.S. (New Hampshire) in December, 2008.  I enjoy traveling, reading, writing, photography, drawing, movies, and fighting crime with my amazing superpowers.

I have a Ph.D. (as well as a Master's) in Social-Developmental Psychology from Rutgers University. My research has looked at the impact of religious beliefs on mental health and illness throughout the lifespan, and I have specialized in developmental psychology, social psychology, abnormal psychology, and psychology of religion. My B.A. is from Yale University, and it is also in psychology. 

I have been teaching at the college level since 1995, including courses for Rutgers University, UMUC's Overseas Program (in Germany, Turkey, and Belgium), American University, Marymount University, Johns Hopkins University, and Trinity College. I have been part of UMUC's Distance Education program since 1999, although I took a "breeding sabbatical" in May 2005.  I returned to teaching part-time in 2009.

From the author's website.  

You can read my review of Minder here.

What inspired you to write Minder?

Minder started as a thought experiment.  Most books with a telepathic character give them a love interest whom he or she can't read.  I started thinking about the kind of person a telepath could fall in love with. What kind of person would choose to be in a romantic relationship with someone who knew their every thought?  That expanded into all of the practical aspects of special abilities. What kind of housing would pyrokinetics have? What happens to telekinetics when they go to sleep? How would high school students with mind control abilities interact? Before I knew it, I had Ganzfield. 

Which ability would you rather have – Charm, Pyrokinetic, Telepath, Remote Viewer, Healer or Telekinetic? Why?

Great question!  I have three preschoolers, so having the mind-control abilities of a charm would be quite useful right about now.  Although, if I could remote view, I'd know where they put my glasses. 

Why is telekinesis such a rare ability?

It's rare in the Ganzfield world because of the genetics involved.  Not to give any spoilers, but Trevor's not the only one in the series.

How did you decide what color to assign each emotion? What inspired you to include this aspect in the story?

All of the colors were intuitive choices for me--I simply pondered the emotion and went with the color I "felt."  I've had kinesthetic experiences all my life--for example, numbers have colors associated with them in my mind (1=white, 2-yellow, 3=red, 4=blue, etc.). It's just part of how some people process sensory input--there's an overlap between two senses. Some people associate sounds with colors, etc. It's like watching Fantasia...all the time.

How do you feel about Maddie’s vigilante tendencies?

I developed Maddie's character to be realistic, and that means she doesn't always do the most moral thing.  When she realizes that regular rules don't apply and that she has the ability to change situations, she takes action.  She'll deal with some of the consequences of her actions throughout the series, though. 

Who is your favorite character outside of Maddie and Trevor? Why are they special to you?

I adore Drew; he cracks me up. He's a friendly teddy bear of a guy who can burn down a house with a thought.

*SMALL SPOILER ALERT* (Highlight the black area to read this question and answer) How did you develop the idea of “soulmating?”

Actually, it came out of two places.  One is the old saying that sex is 90% mental--which I took to an extreme in the book.  The second is a parable in the New Testament about a widow who remarries, and the questioner asks whose wife she'd be in Heaven.  The reply is that in Heaven we are "like the angels."  

What was your favorite scene to write? Why?

I loved writing every scene from the time Maddie arrives at Ganzfield, but one that stands out is Maddie and Trevor first conversation in the church. It goes back to the original idea--what kind of person would a telepath love, and who would love a telepath?

What, if any, influence did your teaching career have on Minder and its school environment?

My background in psychology influenced a lot of the book, but I created the school based on the logical needs of educating an isolated group of "special" teenagers who were expected to integrate back into mainstream society.  The Ganzfield facility is based on a real location near North Conway, NH, but it's not a secret training facility for far as I know. 

What was your biggest challenge in writing this novel?

Without a doubt, writing the opening chapter was the biggest challenge for me.  I had to realistically portray a terrifying experience from inside the head of the intended victim. I still get shaky hands when I read it. 

What message do you hope readers take away from Minder?

I hope that the story and the characters stay with them, and that the themes of strength in adversity and the healing power of love come through. 

What is your opinion on book to film adaptations? Would you like to see Minder made into a movie?  Who would you cast in the main roles?

Actually, my brother is a screenwriter, and we've been discussing co-writing the screenplay.  I think it could be an incredible movie.  If I had my say, though, the main characters (Maddie, Trevor, Drew, Hannah, and Rachel) would be talented unknowns, preferably still in their teens. Since I've had at least three readers say that they picture Dr. Williamson like the Chief from Grey's Anatomy, James Pickens (who plays Dr. Richard Weber) would be a great choice. 

How did your interest in writing develop?

I've been an insatiable reader since grade school.  I started doing some creative writing in high school and college, but side-tracked into my academic career.  However, five years ago I became a stay-at-home mom, and writing became a way to keep my mind working above a preschool level. 

What are your favorite books? What about them appeals to you?

I have a huge list.  Some of the top contenders would have to be:
ENDER'S GAME (Orson Scott Card): Card creates an original world and a sympathetic character who isn't "good." 
HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (Douglas Adams): This is simply the funniest novel ever written. 
The HARRY POTTER series (J.K. Rowling): I'm pretty sure Rowling must be a witch to such enchanting work.
JANE EYRE (Charlotte Bronte) and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Jane Austen): These classic love stories have surprisingly vibrant female main characters for their day. 

What authors have inspired you? What about them do you find inspirational?

I think Orson Scott Card is a great example.  He's a talented writer who defies categorization in a single genre, and he also helps other writers develop their craft. 

What is a random fact that readers probably don’t know about you?

I had a blast in college because I joined the marching band--despite the fact that I didn't play a musical instrument at the time. 

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring authors?

Writers have such vivid images of their stories in their heads--they don't actually know what comes through from the paper.  Let people tell you. Get feedback from other writers and from people in your target audience.  Accept their critiques gracefully and use them to make your work stronger.

What can you tell us about the upcoming installments of the Ganzfield series?

Adversary (Book 2) comes out August 20th, and it picks up a couple of months after the end of Minder.  Legacy (Book 3) will be released in January 2011.  I'm in revisions on Book 4 now, but I hope it will be accepted for publication in the next couple of months and come out in the second half of 2011.  I currently have notes for the fifth and sixth books--and ideas for a seventh. 

Do you have any books in the works that aren’t a part of the Ganzfield series?

My first novel, Bagastana, is the story of two suburban kids trying to get back from the alternate reality that inspired most of our world's mythology.  I also have notes for a novel set at Yale, in which the main character sees ghosts--including the one trapped inside the statue of Nathan Hale.  

 Many thanks to Kate Kaynak for being a guest on The Bookish Type!



Kate has kindly offered a Minder t-shirt to one lucky commenter! After reading the book, I love this cover art even more because of its relevance.

To enter:

Simply leave a comment on this post by midnight EST on August 4! Don't forget to include your email address so I can contact you for your shipping info and shirt size if you win! To get an extra entry, comment on my review of Minder (be sure to tell me in your entry that you commented on the review)!

Good luck!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: Minder by Kate Kaynak

Maddie Dunn has always had strong flashes of insight into the thoughts and feelings of those around her, but she never dreamed it was anything more than intuition - until the day she fights her way out of the most horrifying situation imaginable brandishing no weapon but her mind. The power that erupts in Maddie is not mere thought power, but a physical forcefield of energy that rises from her in an unconscious response to her sheer terror. The aftermath of this phenomenon has the police asking a few too many questions, but before Maddie finds herself in jail two mysterious figures swoop in and spirit her away to Ganzfield, a school for teens who, like Maddie, have special and potentially dangerous abilities. Maddie soon finds herself caught up in a familiar social hierarchy, but with a twist; at Ganzfield there are charms (who can compel others to obey their every command), telepaths, healers, remote viewers (who can mentally view anyone, anywhere), pyrokinetics, and even a telekinetic. A telekinetic who, Maddie soon learns, she can connect with on an unfathomable level. However, just as Maddie dares to hope that she might get a happy ending in spite of her traumatic past, the sadistic enemies of Ganzfield rear their ugly heads - leaving the teenage heroine no choice but to push her new-found powers to their limit and take matters into her own hands, even if it costs her her life.

Minder is an engaging psychological thriller with a streak of science fiction for good measure. The world Kate Kaynak creates is dark and twisted, full of intense young adult issues as well as looming supernatural threats. There is an interesting balance in the novel between science and romance, action and sentiment, logic and passion. The brusque pacing and tone fit well with the almost clinical feel of the Ganzfield institution and yet, as a minder, Maddie has profound insight into the hopes, fears and dreams of everyone around her -- especially Trevor, with whom she has an impossibly powerful connection. Through her heroine's ability, Kaynak gives color to emotions: dazzling silver love, sickly yellow anxiety, tingly red passion. This fascinating aspect of telepathy is a wonderfully effective narrative strategy, evoking strong sympathy in the reader as they envision and experience the emotion alongside the characters. Maddie's ability also allows unusually deep insight into those around her - their true nature, hopes and fears. Two characters are especially captivating -- Dr. Williamson, who becomes like a father-figure to Maddie though he harbors a sad secret of his own, and Drew, the playful friend who is like the brother everyone wishes they had. Williamson is especially complex and promises to develop into a truly thought-provoking and multifaceted character as the series progresses.

However, the best and most refreshing aspect of this paranormal YA romance is the heroine herself. Maddie is strong, powerful and willing to stop at nothing to protect herself and the people she loves. Rather than having Trevor fight her battles, Maddie is the one protecting him (admittedly to his chagrin), as well as all the other outcasts of Ganzfield. The familiar social hierarchy of high school is given a novel layer with the inclusion of such powerful and malicious beings as "charms" -- students who are able to compel others to do their will with a simple spoken command. This ability is used for some truly sadistic purposes that will raise bile in readers' throats. Until now, this unpardonable behavior has been tolerated or overlooked by the administration of Ganzfield, but Maddie isn't the kind of person to take injustice lying down and she blows into the school like an avenging angel, much to the glee of the heretofore tormented and humiliated students.

Though the overwhelming teenage love between Maddie and Trevor can be a little exasperating, they have an amazingly profound connection born out of Maddie's ability to see straight into his soul. This spiritual connection also has some imaginative side effects that readers will find intriguing. Their mental conversations (since Maddie can also project her thoughts into others' minds) are an enjoyable and quirky alternative to dialogue. Throughout the novel, Kaynak judiciously uses Maddie's abilities for innovative and effective methods of narration. Sprinkled across the pages are one-word apostrophes from Maddie's mind that give more insight and evoke more feeling than pages of laborious description could, especially with respect to Maddie's conflicted feelings about her own terrifying powers.

Maddie isn't an innocent bystander in this eerie and horrifying world. Not only can the teenager read others' minds, she can inflict serious damage with her own. Perhaps counter-intuitively, this shadow only makes for a more compelling heroine. Minder is full of the provocative philosophical and ethical questions that naturally arise from such scientific advances and make this more than just a teenage love story. There are certainly some aspects of this story that are not for the faint-hearted, but the overall effect produces a mesmerizing and heart-pounding race against time to save everything Maddie holds dear. The threat doesn't end in this book, however; the future installments promise an escalation to full-out war between the talented inhabitants of Ganzfield and the mysterious, powerful enemies who want to eradicate their kind.


Disclosure: I received a review copy of this novel from the author. This did not affect my review in any way.

Click here to purchase Minder by Kate Kaynak.

Come back tomorrow to read my author interview with Kate Kaynak and enter to win a Minder t-shirt!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Release Roundup: July 26 - 31, 2010

This is a new weekly feature I'm starting here on The Bookish Type, showcasing some of the upcoming week's exciting new releases!

Tuesday, July 27

Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex

Doug Lee is undead quite by accident—attacked by a desperate vampire, he finds himself cursed with being fat and fifteen forever. When he has no luck finding some goth chick with a vampire fetish, he resorts to sucking the blood of cows under cover of the night. But it’s just not the same.

Then he meets the new Indian exchange student and falls for her—hard. Yeah, he wants to bite her, but he also wants to prove himself to her. But like the laws of life, love, and high school, the laws of vampire existence are complicated—it’s not as easy as studying Dracula. Especially when the star of Vampire Hunters is hot on your trail in an attempt to boost ratings.…

Leave it to Adam Rex to create a thought-provoking novel that takes on teen angst, sexuality, identity, love, and undeath in ways that break it out of the genre.

Come Fall by A. C. E. Bauer

Lu Zimmer's best friend moved away last summer. Salman Page is the new kid in school. Blos Pease takes everything literally. Three kids who are on the fringe of the middle school social order find each other and warily begin to bond, but suddenly things start going wrong. Salman becomes the object of the school bully's torment, and Lu's pregnant mother has some unexpected complications. Is something conspiring against them?

In fact, through no fault of their own, Salman and Lu have become pawns in a game of jealous one-upmanship between Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of Faery, with the mischievous Puck trying to keep the peace.

Taken from Titania's mention of a foundling in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, A. C. E. Bauer spins an original tale about magical intervention in the least magical of settings: a public middle school.

Echoes (Fingerprints #1-3) by Melinda Metz

From the author of the Roswell High books comes a series that combines everything that teens love—a relatable heroine struggling to fit in, a tension-filled friendship that develops into more, an overarching mystery to be solved, and a fresh supernatural twist. Originally published as the Fingerprints series, the first three books are combined here in an exciting, edgy package that introduces fans of Wake and Pretty Little Liars to these suspenseful and action-packed paranormal thrillers.

With one touch of an object, Rae can pick up what whoever touched it before her was thinking. What she hears freezes her blood: Someone close by is planning to hurt her...and she has no clue why. As Rae reluctantly teams up with Anthony to figure out who is behind these malicious thoughts, she stumbles upon a much larger secret. And this mystery from her past may hold the key to Rae’s future.

Love Sucks! by Melissa Francis

AJ Ashe is moving on. Sure she still has not-so-sisterly feelings for Ryan, her ex-boyfriend-turned-step-brother, but there’s a new vampire in town and his name is Alexander Archer. Caught between the desire to move forward with Sexy Lexy and being drawn to her past with Ryan, AJ thinks life couldn’t get anymore complicated. Yeah, right. When her mother’s pregnancy is threatened, it looks like AJ’s long lost father is the only person who can save her. But Dad’s help comes with a price. AJ is forced join the evil side of her family, and a very creepy shape-shifting demon is there to make sure AJ cooperates. All this and she’s still got to plan the prom. Being a teenager is tough, but being a teenage vampire just flat out sucks. Pun totally intended.

Rise of the Poison Moon (Jennifer Scales #5) by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi

Jennifer Scales is a were-dragon with a fiery temper-but a warm heart.

Jennifer's ex-boyfriend, werarachnid Skip Wilson, is out of control. His powers have grown as strong as his hunger for revenge, leaving her little choice but to confront him-hopefully without giving in to her own dark side...

Thursday, July 29

Jealousy (Strange Angels #3) by Lili St. Crow

Dru Anderson might finally be safe. She’s at the largest Schola on the continent, and beginning to learn what it means to be svetocha–half vampire, half human, and all deadly. If she survives her training, she will be able to take her place in the Order, holding back the vampires and protecting the oblivious normal people.

But a web of lies and betrayals is still closing around her, just when she thinks she can relax a little. Her mentor Christophe is missing, her almost-boyfriend is acting weird, and the bodyguards she’s been assigned seem to know much more than they should. And then there’s the vampire attacks, the strange nightly visits, and the looks everyone keeps giving her. As if she should know something.

Or as if she’s in danger.

Someone high up in the Order is a traitor. They want Dru dead–but first, they want to know what she remembers of the night her mother died. Dru doesn’t want to remember, but it looks like she might have to–especially since once Christophe returns, he’ll be on trial for his life. The only person who can save him is Dru.

The problem is, once she remembers everything, she may not want to…


Friday, July 30

Promise (Soul Savers #1) by Kristie Cook

Alexis Ames has a life full of promise…but not all promises can be kept.

When Alexis Ames is attacked by creatures that can’t be real, she decides it’s time she learns who she really is, with or without the help of her mother, who guards their family’s secrets closely. After meeting the inhumanly attractive, multi-talented Tristan Knight, however, Alexis retreats behind her façade of normalcy…until she discovers he’s not exactly normal either. Then their secrets begin to unravel.

Their union brings hope and promise to her family’s secret society, the Angels’ army, and to the future of mankind. But it also incites a dangerous pursuit by the enemy – Satan’s minions and Tristan’s creators. After all, Alexis and Tristan are a match made in Heaven and in Hell.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

In My Mailbox: July 19 - 25, 2010

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

I'm doing this a day early this week so that I can post my review, interview and giveaway with Kate Kaynak, author of Minder, at the beginning of the week!

For Review:

Manifest (Mystyx #1) by Artist Arthur
Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare (part of Book It Forward ARC Tours)

Manifest (Mystyx #1) by Artist Arthur

When fifteen-year-old Krystal Bentley moves to Lincoln, Connecticut, her mom's hometown, she assumes her biggest drama will be adjusting to the burbs after living in New York City

But Lincoln is nothing like Krystal imagined. The weirdness begins when Ricky Watson starts confiding in her. He's cute, funny, a good listener—and everything she'd ever want—except that he was killed nearly a year ago. Krystal's ghost-whispering talents soon lead other "freaks" to her door—Sasha, a rich girl who can literally disappear, and Jake, who moves objects with his mind. All three share a distinctive birthmark in the shape of an M and, fittingly, call themselves the Mystyx. They set out to learn what really happened to Ricky, only to realize that they aren't the only ones with mysterious powers. But if Krystal succeeds in finding out the truth about Ricky's death, will she lose him for good?


The Choir Boats by Daniel A Rabuzzi (Free download from WOWIO)

The Choir Boats by Daniel A Rabuzzi

London, 1812 | Yount, Year of the Owl

What would you give to make good on the sins of your past? For merchant Barnabas McDoon, the answer is: everything.

When emissaries from a world called Yount offer Barnabas a chance to redeem himself, he accepts their price—to voyage to Yount with the key that only he can use to unlock the door to their prison. But bleak forces seek to stop him: Yount's jailer, a once-human wizard who craves his own salvation, kidnaps Barnabas's nephew. A fallen angel—a monstrous owl with eyes of fire—will unleash Hell if Yount is freed. And, meanwhile, Barnabas's niece, Sally, and a mysterious pauper named Maggie seek with dream-songs to wake the sleeping goddess who may be the only hope for Yount and Earth alike.

Rented from Bookswim:

Need by Carrie Jones
Captivate (Need #2) by Carrie Jones
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Need by Carrie Jones

Zara White suspects there's a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She's also obsessed with phobias. And it's true, she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane...but Zara's pretty sure her mom just can't deal with her right now.

She couldn't be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara's overactive imagination. In fact, he's still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There's something not right - not human - in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.

In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you'd have to fear.

What exciting new reads are you digging into this week?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Early Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey #2)

Coming August 1, 2010!

Things are not going well for Meghan Chase. After fulfilling her contract with the Winter prince Ash, Meghan finds herself a prisoner of the Unseelie court, freezing in the subarctic temperatures and harassed by not only the creepy creatures of Tir Na Nog but by the three mischievous, potentially sadistic, and heartbreakingly handsome Winter princes as well. Under normal circumstances, the Summer princess might be able to take matters into her own hands, but thanks to Queen Mab's sealing spell, Meghan is magic-free. Unfortunately, this also means that Meghan is utterly powerless when a small army of Iron fey somehow make their way into the Winter palace and steal the powerful Scepter of the Seasons, killing an important member of the Winter court in the process - and poor Meghan just happens to be the only other person in the room at the time. Mab, always eager to take her wrath out on the Summer fey, encases Meghan in a solid sheet of ice - unable to breathe, unable to die, suffocating for eternity - and declares vengeful war on the Seelie court. But just as all seems lost with this grim turn of events, Meghan's hopeless plight turns a Winter prince traitor and the two fight their way out of Tir Na Nog on an arduous and ultimately painful quest to find the scepter and return it to the Winter queen before the devastating war between Summer and Winter comes to a head and obliterates not only the Nevernever, but the human realm as well.

The Iron Daughter is a haunting tale of forbidden romance, unfathomable treachery and potentially catastrophic war. Julie Kagawa's follow-up to the stellar first installment The Iron King is a much darker and more heart-wrenching tale. The action takes a backseat to the romance and character development, but this is certainly not to the detriment of the novel. Meghan and Ash's tortured relationship is gripping, taking the reader on the emotional roller coaster ride alongside the heroine. My wish for more insight into Meghan has certainly been granted; the poor girl's trials and tribulations give a firsthand perspective on her inner life. Unfortunately, she spends a large portion of the novel in tears but, under the circumstances, it's not an unreasonable reaction. Even fans of Puck will feel for Meghan and Ash as their constantly strained relationship is pushed to the breaking point within the harsh and unfeeling confines of the Unseelie court, where emotions are an exploitable vulnerability.

The twisted creatures of Winter are a deliciously dreadful addition to Kagawa's faery world. Everyone in the Unseelie court has secrets, and the suspense builds as it's never clear who can be trusted and who should be avoided at all costs. Even the dashing hero, Ash, is an enigma -- which, of course, is part of his alluring mystique. Over the course of the novel, readers will gain immense insight into the depths of his character, as well as powerful respect for the unswervingly brave and surprisingly sensitive Ice Prince. Per the norm, Kagawa develops another paranormal love triangle between the totally confused Meghan and her loyal and loveable suitors - dark, deadly Ash and lighthearted but mischievous Puck. Fans of both heroes will find some satisfaction within the pages of this novel, though perhaps one side more than the other (sigh). The former friends and now sworn enemies have a hilarious dynamic -- bickering like brothers, but with a jealous and lethal edge.

Kagawa also introduces a whole host of new and fascinating characters. Rowan and Sage - the other Winter princes and Ash's brothers -- appear on the scene with a bang. The two are an intriguing mix, both utterly like Ash and absolutely opposite -- and, of course, completely mysterious. In spite of everything, Rowan is a character I hope to see more of in the final installment of the trilogy, The Iron Queen. His blend of irresistible charisma and devilish personality makes for some unexpected but captivating scenes - Rowan is a character you'll love to hate. Some familiar characters also feature into the story, but with some surprising and satisfying twists.

Even though romance is the focus of this second installment, the trio still prove their mettle time and time again, while Kagawa shows that she certainly knows how to write a battle scene. It's frustrating, however, that Meghan's powers are sealed for much of the novel and the boys are left to fight her battles. She is clearly a force to be reckoned with, and I would really like to see her live up to that potential rather than playing the damsel in distress. Still, the foreshadowing seems to promise that Meghan has big things in her future and readers will enjoy riddling out the heroine's destiny. This novel is full of twists and turns, keeping up a constant stream of adventure and never letting the pace become slack. Readers will be left wanting more, dying to know just how Meghan will rectify the startling predicament that concludes book two of the Iron Fey.


Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this novel for review from NetGalley. This did not affect my review in any way.

Click here to preorder The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Don't miss my interview with author Julie Kagawa!

You can also read my reviews of the first novel in the trilogy, The Iron King, and the Iron Fey novella, Winter's Passage!

Winter's Passage is FREE to download until July 31, 2010 and Julie Kagawa is running a Winter's Passage fan trailer contest on her blog from July 1 - August 1! Check it out and enter to win!

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