Monday, January 31, 2011

New Layout

Hi guys!

I want to thank you all for your patience over the last 24 hours as I've gotten the new layout up and running. I know it hasn't been long since I changed it last time, but I promise this won't be a habit. I was recently lucky enough to win a design from Andrea over at Loud Words and Sounds/Musical Designs so I wanted to put it to good use! I added a background because I have been wanting to use that particular design in Photoshop for ages and it just fit so well with the colors that Andrea used.

Thanks Andrea!


Character Interview: Kai from Rising Shadow by Jacquelyn Wheeler


My Review

Ashlyn Woods has just transferred to one of the most beautiful campuses on the west coast, where she can't wait to start her life over as a normal college student. But her plans take an unexpected turn when she discovers that she is a Soterian: a person who develops special powers when the balance of good and evil shifts too far in evil's favor.

Soon she and the other Soterians are studying martial arts and learning to use their powers to prevent California from being plunged into chaos. But they quickly discover that they're up against a much more dangerous enemy than they anticipated.

And when Ashlyn meets Kai, a devastatingly gorgeous guitar player, she realizes she must sacrifice more than she ever imagined.


Today I'm pleased to welcome Kai, the dashing love interest from Jacquelyn Wheeler's novel Rising Shadow. Kai has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us.


Inquiring minds want to know -- what's the hardest thing about having a girlfriend who's a Soterian? The best?

The hardest thing is that I worry about Ashlyn all the time. Her powers are incredible, but so is the danger, and sometimes I wonder . . . well, let's just say that we don't know what we're up against with Deimos. The best thing? Probably that her Empath powers give her a glimpse of how much I love her. 

Do you wish you were a Soterian with powers? What type would you like to be?
I'm pretty happy being a Keeper. But yeah, it would be cool to have powers. Sometimes I wish I were a Sentry--Christoph must be able to sleep a lot better at night knowing he can protect Rebecca.

I know you're really into music. Who are some of your favorite bands? What is your least favorite genre?
There are some great indie bands coming out of the San Francisco/Oakland scene right now. As far as popular music goes, I listen to Radiohead, the Flaming Lips, bands like that. I don't like Jacuzzi Jazz--that stuff you hear in elevators and dentist's offices that's supposed to be soothing. It has the opposite effect on me and makes me feel somewhat violent.

Do you like to read? What are some of your favorite books?
I've always been a voracious reader. Moby Dick is my favorite classic, and in modern literature I really like Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace and pretty much anything by Cormac McCarthy.

Let's get personal for a moment. What is your biggest fear?
That something is going to happen to Ashlyn. I really don't like to think about it, actually.

What is your favorite memory?
I have two. The first one was when I was a teenager and was visiting family in Minnesota. I went for a hike in the wooded hills near my grandparents' house, and I found a clearing with a large boulder in the center of it. I climbed on top of it and just sat there for hours watching the sun slowly go down over the lake, and it was completely silent except for the sound of the wind and birds. It was the most peaceful experience of my life. My other favorite memory is when Ashlyn and I first kissed, but you already know that story.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Spend time with Ashlyn, play music, and read. I'm not really into TV, but I like movies occasionally.

Before this, did you have any belief in the supernatural? Do you believe in things besides Soterians, like ghosts and vampires and lycans now?
It's funny, but now that you mention it, I guess I don't really think of the Soterians as supernatural, probably because I know there's a genetic component to it. I suppose if a rare gene can make you invisible, it's also possible to become a vampire or a ghost, but for some reason they still seem like pure myth to me and don't seem as plausible as Soterians. I hope they don't exist . . . dealing with one mythical being will be bad enough, and I really don't want Ashlyn to have to battle zombies and werewolves on top of everything else.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Kai!

You can catch more exciting Rising Shadow interviews and reviews on the Teen Book Scene tour.




Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Release Roundup: January 30 - February 5, 2011



February 1


Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.



Nightshade by Michelle Rowen

Jillian Conrad never believed in vampires-until she was unwillingly injected with a serum that was supposed to act as a deadly poison to them. Now, tormented half-vampire Declan Reese wants her blood to destroy the undead kingdom. Unfortunately, the serum has also made her blood irresistible to all vampires-including Declan, whose desire for Jillian is more than mere hunger.



Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Lisa Tawn Bergren's new YA series, River of Time, is romantic, historical fiction in which the plucky heroine doesn't have to fear a vampire's bite but must still fight for her life.

In Waterfall, American teenager Gabi Betarrini accidently finds herself in sixteenth-century Italy . . . Knights. Swords. Horses. Armor. And Italian hotties. Most American teens want an Italian vacation, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives there with their archaeologist parents. Stuck on yet another hot, dusty dig, they are bored out of their minds... until they place their hands atop handprints in an ancient tomb and find themselves catapulted into the sixteenth-century—and in the middle of a fierce battle between knights bent on killing one another.



Jenna and Jonah’s Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers—known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. They grace the covers of magazines week after week. Their fan club has chapters all over the country. The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. Still, it's a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on. . . . Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until they're far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile.



The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?


February 3, 2011


The Locket by Stacey Jay

On her seventeenth birthday, Katie discovers a locket and decides to wear it for good luck. But when her boyfriend Isaac finds out she cheated on him— with their mutual best friend Mitch, no less—he dumps her, leaving her devastated.

And then a miracle happens. The locket burns on Katie's chest and she feels herself going back two weeks in time, to the night she cheated with Mitch. At first, Kate is delighted to be a better girlfriend to Isaac this time around. But as other aspects of her life become inexplicably altered, she realizes that changing the past may have had a dangerous effect on her present.

Can she make things right before the locket destroys everything—and everyone—she loves?



The Double Life of Cora Parry by Angela McAllister

Abandoned to the workhouse after the death of her guardians, Cora Parry refuses to accept her fate. Under the tuition of persuasive streetrat Fletch, Cora finds herself reluctantly drawn deep into the Victorian underworld. As she is gradually seduced into a life of crime, Cora creates a persona for herself - Carrie - allowing her to separate her uneasy conscience from her actions. But soon things are spiralling out of control. Carrie is committing acts of crime that Cora knows she can't possibly have done. Where does Carrie end and Cora begin? Who is really in control, and where will it end? An atmospheric page-turner from a talented storyteller.


I'll be posting my review of The Demon Trapper's Daughter this week, but I'll probably hold my Delirium review until the dystopian event in March. I recommend them both, though!

What new release are you most excited for this week?


Description from Goodreads. Click the hyperlinked title to purchase or preorder.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

In My Mailbox: January 24 - 30, 2011

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

Review:


The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Thanks to Flux!

Freak. That's what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna's own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.



Born at Midnight by C. C. Hunter

Plus a pen, notepad, bookmark and compact!

Thanks to St. Martin's!

Coming March 29, 2011!

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…


Won:


The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3) by Julie Kagawa

Signed + an Iron Queen-inspired necklace!

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.


Bought:


The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher

Would you risk everything for someone you just met?

What if he had a secret worth killing for?

Welcome to a future where water is more precious than oil or gold...

Hundreds of millions of people have already died, and millions more will soon fall-victims of disease, hunger, and dehydration. It is a time of drought and war. The rivers have dried up, the polar caps have melted, and drinkable water is now in the hands of the powerful few. There are fines for wasting it and prison sentences for exceeding the quotas.

But Kai didn't seem to care about any of this. He stood in the open road drinking water from a plastic cup, then spilled the remaining drops into the dirt. He didn't go to school, and he traveled with armed guards. Kai claimed he knew a secret-something the government is keeping from us...

And then he was gone. Vanished in the middle of the night. Was he kidnapped? Did he flee? Is he alive or dead? There are no clues, only questions. And no one can guess the lengths to which they will go to keep him silent. We have to find him-and the truth-before it is too late for all of us.


I was really excited to get The Iron Witch because I've been eagerly anticipating it for ages! I read it as soon as I got it, so my review will be coming soon! I was SO happy to win a signed copy of The Iron Queen (for offering to bathe Grimalkin, no less) because I ADORE that series -- it pretty much made my week. I can't wait to read Born at Midnight -- it's on my 2011 DAC list!

What's in your mailbox this week?


Descriptions from Goodreads. Click the hyperlinked titles to purchase or preorder.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Author Interview: Kersten Hamilton (Tyger Tyger)


A writer needs a very tough skin. And she needs something to write about.

Fortunately, my impractical parents were also quite eccentric. My childhood can only be described as ‘exciting.’

I tracked caribou and arctic wolves across my family’s homestead in Alaska, caught tiny tree frogs in the swamps and rain forests of the Pacific Northwest, and chased dust devils and rattlesnakes across the high desert of New Mexico.

Against all odds, I survived my many misadventures. I was not electrocuted or drowned. Most of the bullets missed, and the incidents with bears, snakes, wolves, and angry moose were not fatal.

Before I settled down to have children I worked as a ranch hand, a wood cutter, a lumberjack, a census taker, a wrangler for wilderness guides, and an archeological surveyor.

Nowadays, when I'm not writing my favorite pastime is hunting dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts through the Ojito Wilderness and surrounding areas. The bones of huge monsters lie hidden in the deserts and badlands of New Mexico. I've found fragments of dinosaur bone, ammonites, an incredible acanthoceras from the Cretaceous, 8,000 year old camel bones, and possibly a pile of rhino remains.

From author's website.




Tyger Tyger is refreshingly unique in a YA landscape filled with vampires and werewolves. What inspired you to write this story about the dark world of the goblins?

I wasn’t looking for the next ‘big thing’ or even an under represented creature group when I wrote Tyger Tyger. I was remembering the time a goblin crept out of the dark and slipped her paw into my hand.

It happened when I was about ten years old. The creature’s name was Lina, and she came to life in a book by George MacDonald. Lina was a dog–like beastie with green eyes lit by amber fire, and a huge mouth with icicle–like teeth. Curdie, the hero of the story, could feel the real hand of any creature inside its flesh glove, and when Lina put her paw in his hand: “a shudder, as of terrified delight, ran through him…instead of the paw of a dog, such as it seemed to his eyes, he clasped in his great mining fist the soft, neat little hand of a child! The green eyes stared at him with their yellow light, and the mouth was turned up toward him with its constant half grin; but here was the child’s hand!”

When I read those lines I felt it. I felt the child’s hand inside a rough paw glove, and I knew I wanted to pull a child out of a goblin one day. Through the years, many stories, poems, myths and legends lent elements to the story growing inside me: the song of Tam Lin, a girl who musters all her courage to save her love who had been taken by the Sidhe; The Lords of the Grey and White Castles, a fairytale by Francis Brown, Ireland’s blind storyteller; and even a hint of the goblin from Harold Monro’s poem, Overheard on a Salt Marsh.

Tyger Tyger centers heavily on Irish lore. How did your interest in this mythology develop? Did you have to do a lot of research to incorporate the Irish legends into the story?

I did a great deal of research while I was writing. But I have been reading Celtic stories forever. I am Welsh/Irish myself, and the pull of the literature and music is almost enough to make me believe in racial memory. There is no other set of legends or body of music that haunts me in quite the same way.

Two of the books I like are: Alexander Carmichael’s Carmina Gadelica: Hymns & Incantations, and James Macpherson’s The Poems of Ossian and Related Works. MacPherson mixes things up a bit, but it’s all in good fun. George MacDonald’s fairytales are excellent, too.

Aiden is an adorably quirky presence in the novel. Is he based on someone you know in real life? Do any of the other characters draw upon people you know?

I raised my own little brothers, and Aiden is very much like them. Several of the characters in Tyger Tyger are a little like me, and two are very like me. (I won’t tell you which two. You’ll have to guess!)

Finn is very much like my husband Mark. If the goblins were after me, I know they would have to come through Mark to get me.

But the evil Ms. Skinner is probably the most intentionally based on a person I have known —a person who abused their power.

When I was about ten, I befriended an abused dog. He was in bad shape, but I nursed him back to health and named him Joe. He was my best buddy. But because I couldn’t afford a license the dogcatcher took him away. He was a scrap of a dog that had no chance of being adopted by anyone else. The dogcatcher told me I had two weeks to get enough money to buy Joe a license or he would be put down.

I worked as hard as I could, earning money any way I could think of. My family didn’t have enough money to keep food on the table. There was no one else to help me. I didn’t earn enough.

On the day they killed Joe, I was sitting on a rooftop wishing I was strong enough to fight the world and save him. Smart enough to have thought of some way to earn the money. But I wasn’t.

That dogcatcher who exercised power with no heart became my personal model of human evil. He crops up in books now and then.

Finn is such a great hero – a truly good guy with a rough edge. What characteristics do you think are vital to a compelling YA hero? Who are some of your favorites?

If I am going to loan my heart to a guy – even a fictional guy—then he’s got to be Ah-maze-ing! Smart, sexy and courageious.

Finn is my favorite, of course!

What was your biggest challenge in writing this novel?

Writing Tyger Tyger was the most fun I have had in ages. The most challenging part of it all was pulling my brain out of the book to deal with real life.

The world of the goblins is very dark. Did you have a soundtrack you listened to in order to achieve the right mindset while you were writing? What were some of the key songs?

Teagan’s song has always been “Fix You” by Coldplay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3SIUoGijoM because of this line: “lights will guide you home…and ignite your bones…and I will try to fix you.” That’s Teagan’s heart for the world!

Finn’s song is Teardrop, sung by Newton Faulkner, because for Finn “love is a doing word.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ax0Rct0rDbk

Teagan and Finn together have a song: Run by Snow Patrol: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQbgihHWNGo “Light up, light up as if you have a choice…even if you cannot hear my voice.”

Aiden’s song can only be Orange Nickelodeon by the Irish Rovers, but I can’t find it on the net. I have it on vinyl. :)

Thomas’ (who plays a big part in Forests of the Night) song is Viva la Vida by Coldplay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5TNK-TvIcI

Finally, John Paul Wylltson and Aileen.

John Paul’s song is 100 years by Five for Fighting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR-qQcNT_fY

Aileen’s song is Dante’s prayer by Loreena Mckennitt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3EWYrYpDww

How would you react if you suddenly discovered that a whole world of the sinister and supernatural exists all around us?

Ummmm… there is a supernatural world all around us. I’ve interacted with it all my life. :)

On your website, your bio mentions that you had a very adventurous childhood. Did your experiences influence Tyger Tyger?

Adventures are more fun to read about than they are to live. There were times when I was very hungry, very cold, very afraid, and very alone. Sometimes I was all of those things at once. I was often in very dangerous situations.

And, yes, that all helped in writing Tyger Tyger!

Did your previous experience writing children’s books influence the way you approached this novel? Do you prefer writing children’s books or YA? Why?

Believe it or not, writing YA it is much easier than writing picture books. Many people think that picture books are ‘easy’ because they are short. That’s not true. In a picture book you must have all of the same elements of story and character, but you only have a few hundred words (at most!) to work with. Picture book readers have less life experience to bring to the book with them and that makes writing more difficult as well.

What is a random fact reader’s probably don’t know about you?

I worked as a camp wrangler in the Pecos Wilderness. A Texas hunter once offered me $200 to catch and kill a pair of chipmunks for him so he could mount them on his mantle. Pft. I said no.

What can you tell us about future installments in the Goblin Wars series?

Book two, In the Forests of the Night, is darker, sexier and scarier.

Do you have any other projects in the works?

After book two of Goblin Wars, I will be working on an early MG steampunk series. Then, an older MG dealing with suicide, Catholicism, immigration issues, and undead school administrators. I will probably write a picture book or two; then, it is back to the YA world for the third book in the Goblin Wars trilogy...Thank you for interviewing me, Casey!


For more about this author, please visit:



Thank you, Kersten, for taking the time to answer my questions! I can't wait for this "darker, sexier and scarier" sequel!



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Teagan's always been the practical type -- focused on her schoolwork, ignoring her male classmates, not believing in goblins. But when her nomadic, distant cousin arrives on her doorstep everything begins to change. Finn claims to be the MacCumhaill, defender against all of goblinkind. Of course Teagan doesn't believe him. At first. But when she begins seeing...things...and her dad vanishes without a trace right before her eyes, she's left with no choice. She must face the horrifying impossibilities and brave the menacing realm of Mag Mell if she ever wants to see her father alive again.

What this novel does best is make the reader feel  -- the emotions of the characters, the love of the family, the mystery of the magic, the richness of the folklore. Readers are immediately launched into the characters' lives, getting to know Teagan and her family and their bond. Finally -- a YA novel in which the parents are not flat or utterly absent! The familial atmosphere really sets the tone for the novel.

The characterization in Tyger Tyger is fantastic. Teagan is strong and focused, practically oblivious to the opposite sex. It is a relief to read a heroine who doesn't fall immediately into the dashing hero's waiting arms. But what a dashing hero he is. Finn is rugged, but he is clearly a good guy to the core. He's mysterious, yet somehow manages to be straightforward at the same time. He's haunted by a storied past, but doesn't allow it to make him excessively brooding. Truly, he is one of the most worthy heroes I have read in a long time. His language as he recounts the myths and legends that define his life is beautiful and enchanting. Even the side characters -- most notably Aiden and Abby -- are vibrant and full of life. Aiden, Teagan's younger brother, is the most eccentric little boy in the world, but in a completely adorable way. Abby, Teagan's best friend, is her opposite in every way -- boy crazy and a little ditzy, but still utterly loyal and fun to be around. Not to mention her mobster family.

The mythology of Tyger Tyger is rich and textured. A magical, mystical, storytelling vibe pervades the narration, perfectly suited to the ancient, earthy legends at the heart of the novel. This is the first time I've encountered Irish mythology in a fantasy novel and I was captivated by its ancient, visceral quality. The monsters that populate the story are vivid and varied, not to mention marvelously horrid. Kersten Hamilton perfectly blends the hilarious and the dreadful to create an atmospheric read that will capture readers' imaginations and hold them tight.

Rating: 

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

Click here to purchase Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton.






Come back tomorrow for my author interview with Kersten Hamilton!






This novel was part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge.




Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Chime by Franny Billingsley

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


Coming March 17, 2011!


Chime by Franny Billingsley

Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.


I've always been fascinated by the witch hunts, and lately I've gotten into the ancient, mystical kind of legends like in Tyger Tyger or Mistwood. This novel seems to combine both of those elements. It sounds like it is set in some olden time, full of spirits and the fear of magic. There's something haunting about the synopsis that really draws me in and makes me want to know what kind of hardships Briony's family has faced -- and what secrets Eldric holds.

What upcoming release are you eagerly awaiting this week?



Description from Goodreads. Click the hyperlinked title to preorder.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3) by Julia Kagawa

Meghan Chase didn't know where the path would lead when she entered the Nevernever to rescue her brother from the ruthless fey. She never expected to be anything other than a human, teenage girl -- much less a Summer Faery Princess. But the Nevernever is part of her now, and there's no turning back. When Faery calls, Meghan must answer. She can't abandon the creatures and kingdom she's grown to love when she has the power to prevent their destruction. And so, Meghan Chase ventures into Faery one last time, to face the forces of the false king and reclaim the Nevernever from his poisonous grasp. But this time, she may not be coming back.

The Iron Queen is the most epic installment yet. The stakes are higher than they've ever been, and Julie Kagawa revs up to a fever pitch the heart-pounding action and gut-wrenching emotions that characterized the first two novels. The familiar characters of the saga develop by leaps and bounds. Previously stoic Ash proves that he's not made of pure ice and stone, but is capable of vulnerability and humor -- it's endearing, yet he is given ominous depth through the ultimate revelation of his tainted past. Even the ever-mischievous Puck reveals a glimpse of his wiser, deeper, ancient self. Despite the high-strung emotions and devastating battles, Puck's witty quips and Grimalkin's haughty sarcasm (contrasted with his penchant for chasing butterflies) provide just the right dash of laugh-out-loud comic relief. If possible, Grimalkin is even more hilarious in The Iron Queen.

The most stunning development, though, is Meghan. The summer princess comes into her own with a vengeance. The damsel-esque teenage girl is gone, and in her place stands a fierce, strong and unabashed heroine that will awe readers. Watching her finally face her destiny gave me goosebumps. Her courage despite her fear, ability to fight her own battles and fierce desire to defend the creatures and land that once seemed foreign to her are captivating. Meghan Chase is truly a heroine worthy of the name.

Kagawa continues to display her talents for language and imagery, sucking readers in with her brilliant imagining of the iron fey. Her creativity knows no bounds; after populating the faery world with every kind of creature imaginable, Kagawa continues to introduce new species that will capture readers' imaginations. It is truly awe-inspiring. The love story that has enchanted readers since The Iron King reaches its crescendo in The Iron Queen. This truly is a fairy tale romance: a profound but poignant bond that will constantly make readers swoon. Yet, this is unquestionably a tale of war. Unlike some novels, where the danger is named rather than felt, Kagawa makes the mortal reality of the situation abundantly clear, heightening the tension and guaranteeing readers' suspension of disbelief. The battles are brutally real, and the final pages of the novel will leave readers in tears, stunned at the devastating turn of events which evoke the truest forms of bravery and sacrifice.

Rating: 

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

This novel hits stores today! Click here to purchase The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa.

Don't forget to follow The Iron Queen Court Blog Tour for fun features and awesome prizes! Julie will be stopping by The Bookish Type on February 9!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Affiliate Updates (5)


I've decided to start a weekly feature in which I spread the word about exciting things going on over at my affiliates' websites! You may have noticed my "Affiliates" section over in the sidebar -- I definitely recommend checking out those wonderful sites.


Books, Sweets and other Treats





Lindsi at Books, Sweets and Other Treats is giving away an ARC of Across the Universe by Beth Revis! Check out her review and enter to win!






Head over and check out this great giveaway! If anyone else is interested in affiliating, email me!

Affiliates -- if there is something you would like me to include in next week's post, send it to me by Sunday night!

The Iron Queen Court Blog Tour



Harlequin Teen and Big Honcho Media are teaming up for an Iron Fey spectacular to celebrate the release of the third installment in Julie Kagawa's epic series: The Iron Queen!

Over the next 3 weeks, Julie and various members of the fey will be touring 9 blogs to share some of the inspiration behind the courts, awesome prizes and plenty of mischief. I'm honored to be representing the best of the three courts: Summer!


Where will all this fun be taking place?

Monday, January 24: PageTurners Blog
Tuesday, January 25: The Iron Queen hits stores! (Look out for my review!)
Wednesday, January 26: Ticket To Anywhere
Friday, January 28: MundieMoms
Monday, January 31: The Story Siren
Wednesday, February 2: Galleysmith
Friday, February 4: Word For Teens
Monday, February 7: Bookalicio.us
Wednesday, February 9: The Bookish Type (That's me!)
Friday, February 11: Erica at The Book Cellar


What can you win?

Custom Summer Court iPod w/ songs
Winter Court artwork by Julie Kagawa
Surprise prize pack
Custom Winter Court iPod w/ songs
Iron Court artwork by Julie Kagawa
Surprise prize pack
Custom Iron Court iPod w/songs
Summer Court artwork by Julie Kagawa
Surprise prize pack


You won't want to miss it! Head over to Julie Kagawa's blog to hear Meghan and Grim's take on the shindig.

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