Thursday, November 29, 2012

Meant to Be

Meant to Be
Lauren Morrill
290 pages
Released: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte
Source: Southern ARC Tours
★★★★★


You can read the Goodreads summary here.

When Julia signs up for a class trip to London over Spring Break, she fails to take into account all her friends will be at a swim meet instead, so she's stuck with classmates she can't relate to.  Especially Jason, who is the most obnoxious boy in her class.  So obviously she's not exactly thrilled when the two of them are paired up to explore London together!

I adored Meant to Be.  Adored it!  I knew from the moment Jason starting acting foolish on the plane that this was going to be a good a novel filled with ups and downs and lots of fun.  I was so right.

Julia is a nerd in all the right places.  I loved her character so much!  She loves learning and even though she maybe loves to follow the rules a little too much, she really is a sweet, responsible young woman.  I couldn't help but feel for her at inopportune moments, like when she crashes into a supermodel at the airport and is drenched in iced coffee.  Obviously, I wanted her to find the happiness she was looking for, which is why it was great when she went from zero love prospects to three!

Let's talk about that love quadrangle for a bit.  When Julia leaves the states she's got a crush on Mark, though she hasn't actually spoken to him in years.  Then Julia meets a boy at a party in London and while he wants to meet up and get to know her better, she goes out of her way to avoid that.  And of course - Jason.  But Jason is the most obnoxious boy in her class, so let's not worry about that.   Decisions, decisions!

Meanwhile, Julia is on a school trip so as the reader, we get to visit lots of famous London landmarks right along with her.  The setting was romantic and fun and made me want to hop across the pond and see for myself (although that's not happening any time soon!).  I also want to add that I think Julia's and to some extent Jason's personal backgrounds really leant well to a  more serious aspect of the novel.  Their family lives weren't perfect, but you have to read the book to find out for yourself.

Meant to Be was such a fun romantic contemporary.  It was charming, witty, and the author's voice is fantastic.  Meant to Be is Morrill's debut novel and I can't wait to read more by her.  I absolutely loved this book and I'm a little sad I have to pass this book on to the next person in the tour.  I'm probably going to have to purchase this one for my "keep" shelf.

Five stars!  I gobbled this book up in one sitting as soon as I opened the package.  Meant to Be is massive fun and perfect for fans of Anna and the French Kiss or The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.  Mark this one as "to-read!"



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This is Not a Test

This is Not a Test
Courtney Summers
323 pages
Released: June 19, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: library
★★★★☆


You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Sloane's life was already falling apart when the end of the world hit.  Now she's barricaded in her high school with five other students, trying to survive while zombies rampage just outside.  But while the other students she's with want to live, Sloane doesn't really care about living.  She's just waiting for the barricades to fail and her life to end.  As time goes on, the students future is determined less by the dead trying to eat their way inside and more by their own inter-group politics.

I read Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers earlier this year and really enjoyed it, so I was happy to read another book by this author.  It just confirmed - Summers is a great writer!  She can really draw me in by setting a scene and even though This is Not a Test wasn't filled with constant action, there was always something happening that made me want to turn the pages.

What struck me the most about This is Not a Test was how realistic is seemed.  Ok, ok, I know zombies are not currently pounding on our doors looking to eat us for dinner (*knock on wood*) but it was the reaction of the teens that I found a lot more realistic in this novel than other YA zombie novels. In those novels the protagonists often seem to hop from location to location in search of provisions, battling zombies in the streets along the way.  But in this novel, these six students have gathered in the local high school.  They have food, water, and each other.  Instead of clamoring to leave the school, they're actually pretty content at first to stay there and wait for help.  Quite honestly, if I was faced with a zombie apocalypse of my own, I would rather be in that situation - in a school with food, water, showers, and other people.  I can't see myself picking a zombie fight in the middle of the street.*

What I loved even more about this book was Sloane.  She really demonstrates that no matter what goes on in the world, people still have their problems.  Her father was a terrible man and her sister abandoned her.  She's suicidal over that, not the zombie apocalypse.  I really felt for Sloane since her life seemed to be something of a double-whammy.

And I will just add this - the group dynamic in this novel is pretty fantastic.  As the six teens spend more time together and decisions need to be made, well, they don't necessarily agree.  To me that was sometimes more interesting than what was going on outside the barricade.

Four stars!  I enjoyed this book so much I gobbled it up in an afternoon.  At the moment we don't know if there will ever be a sequel, but I do know this: I can't wait to read more of Summers work!

*This is why I'm not a kick-ass YA heroine, and why I tend to stick to reading and retail.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Carnival of Souls

Carnival of Souls
Melissa Marr
306 pages
Released: September 4, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: the library
★★★☆☆


You can read the Goodreads summary here.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started reading this book.  I'm sure I skimmed some advanced reviews this past summer, but all that really stuck with me was the fiery cover and the fact that this was first Melissa Marr book I've ever read.

Marr creates a very imaginative and unique world in Carnival of Souls, complete with an extreme social structure and two different settings.  On the one hand, you have Mallory, a coming of age girl in the human world who, while aware of an alternative paranormal world, is unaware how involved she actually is with it.  On the other hand, there is The City, a place where the paranormal have gone to escape the human world.  The City is home to the Carnival of Souls, where the paranormal can fight to the death to increase their social rankings.

It's at the Carnival of Souls that we meet Aya, a girl determined not to fit in with the norm.  She knows whole-heartedly that breeding is not for her.  She refuses to marry so she develops a plan to fight her way through the Carnival of Souls until she can reach the ruling class and break the rules all she wants. Aya was probably my favorite character in the novel as she was probably the most progressive character in all of The City.  At first we're led to believe that Aya if fighting her fight for feminist reasons, which is why I was initially interested in her.  Later, we learn there's much more to it... ah, the plot thickens!

As for Mallory, the girl living in the human world, I don't have strong feelings for her one way or another.  Her adoptive father has been teaching her since a young age how to fight daimons, but I never got the sense that she was actually learning anything.  I felt Mallory's character was underdeveloped and not enough time was devoted to her.  She could have been my favorite if she appeared to have any semblance of a life outside of the life her father made for her.  Ultimately, I found her weak.

A great example of that is her relationship with Kaleb.  From Mallory's point of view, Kaleb shows up out of the blue claiming to have feelings for her and Mallory essentially just goes along with it.  I never got any sense of chemistry between the two.  I don't want to give anything major away, so I'll just say this - what Kaleb does behind Mallory's back, I found to be appalling and disturbing.

Three stars.  I really think the lack of feminism in Carnival of Souls turned me off a bit.  Quite frankly, the male dominance was overwhelming - requiring girls to "breed" at the age of eighteen - was a bit much.  But that's not my problem.  My problem is that none of these girls were leading any kind of revolution against these sexist ideas.  It might not seem like it, but over all I did enjoy the novel and I think any fans of Melissa Marr will enjoy it, too.

Blog Tour: The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart (Magic Most Foul, #2), review + GIVEAWAY!

Today I'm thrilled be participating in the blog tour for The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart.  I read the first book in this series, Darker Still, last year and absolutely fell in love.  Darker Still was probably my most favorite read of 2011 and I've been eagerly awaiting the sequel ever since.  And now here it is!

The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart
Leanna Renee Hieber
336 pages
Released: November 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: the publisher
★★★★☆



You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Natalie Stewart life seems to be getting even more complicated since she freed Lord Denbury from his painting.  Denbury is now wanted for murder, so the two must go under cover for a bit and Denbury must pretend to be the demon-ridden soul he once was in order to clear his name.  Natalie and Lord Denbury might be separated by an ocean, but they can still visit in their dreams, however dark they may be.

I was so thrilled to be able to read this book!  It's been a few days since I finished so bear with me as I get my thoughts together.  Overall, I felt like The Twisted Tragedy was a great sequel to Darker Still.  It picked up with Natalie and Lord Denbury escaping is disguise and this was probably one my favorite parts of the novel.  As a couple, they have such a fantastic rapport together, and the way the joke around it's clear they're meant to be together.  Natalie and Lord Denbury are two well-rounded and well-written characters, but that doesn't mean Hieber doesn't spend as much time developing the secondary characters, either.  All of them - from Natalie's father to her friends - were unique and fun to read about.

Of course, I have to gush about how great of a writer Leanna Renee Hieber is.  Her writing is very lyrical and beautiful and on top of that she sets a great scene so that the reader can feel like they're actually there.  I really have no complaints about The Twisted Tragedy.  I was concerned before I started reading it that it might suffer from middle-book syndrome, but I don't think it did at all.

Four stars!  The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart was a much enjoyable sequel to the amazing Darker Still.  I'm still in love with Denbury and all the other characters from this series, and I'm eager to see how the story continues in the next book!  If you haven't started this series yet and you're a fan of paranormal historical fictional, you absolutely must pick up these beautifully written books!

In fact, you can enter below via the Rafflecopter for a chance to win your own copy of The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart, as the publisher is kindly providing a copy to one of my readers!   Giveaway is open to those 13+ from either the United States or Canada.

About the author: 

Leanna Renee Hieber
Raised in rural Ohio and obsessed with the Victorian Era, Leanna’s life goal is to be a “gateway drug to 19th century literature.” A three-time Prism Award winner for Fantasy Romance, her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, is being adapted into a musical theater production. An actress, playwright and bestselling author, she lives in New York City and is a devotee of ghost stories, a finely tailored corset and a good Goth club. Visit www.leannareneehieber.com

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

In My Mailbox (61)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren
FOR REVIEW:
The Grimm Chronicles, Vol. 1 by Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky


WON:
Speechless by Hannah Harrington 


PURCHASED:  In honor of Small Business Saturday! 
Wake by Amanda Hocking
Pure by Julianna Baggott



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Princess of the Silver Woods (Princess, #3)

Princess of the Silver Woods
Jessica Day George
336 pages
Release: December 11, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: NetGalley
★★★★☆


You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Princess Petunia, the youngest of twelve sisters, is about to head out on a journey to visit a friend but to do so she must pass through the woods where some "wolves" are rumored to be around, stealing from the wealthy.  When Petunia does finally make it to her destination, she realizes she's not there for a friendly visit; it turns out she was summoned by an enemy determined to reinstate an old curse.

This is going to be a short review, because when I found this title on NetGalley I didn't realize is was the third book in a trilogy.  This wasn't a problem at the beginning of the novel, when I felt confident i knew what was going on.  I really, really enjoyed the first half of the novel.  But in the second half, Petunia's sisters are (re)introduced and I knew nothing about them and their back story from the first two novels.  It left me a little confused, but this is entirely my fault.  Princess of the Silver Woods was extremely well-written and enchanting.

Jessica Day George does a great job with world building in this novel.  The series is based off the fairytale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which is one of the best fairytales, in my opinion, to retell.  George's world is filled with kingdoms and stately characters, which are great fun to read about.  There was also a little hint of Robin Hood and Little Red Riding Hood, as well.  Really, if you're all about fairytale retellings, this would be a great series for you to pick up.

Four stars!  If the first two novels in this series are as enchanting as Princess of the Silver Woods was, I just may have to go back and pick those up.  If you're interested in this book, I highly recommend starting with the first two in the series so you've got the whole backstory in mind.  And look at the covers, they're so pretty!

 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

In My Mailbox (60)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren
FOR REVIEW:
Bloomsbury approved Hysteria by Megan Miranda.  I cannot wait to read this one!


From BookSneeze, Right Where I Belong by Krista McGee


Thank you Bloomsbury and Thomas Nelson for these great ebooks this week!

PURCHASED:
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield


SWAPPED FOR:
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa


Friday, November 16, 2012

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)

The Raven Boys
Maggie Stiefvater
409 pages
Released: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: purchased
★★★☆☆


You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Every year Blue sits with her mother on St. Mark's Eve while she watches the parade of souls who will die within the year.  But this year is different, as Blue herself sees a soul a named Gansey.  When she meets him in real life and learns he's a Raven Boy, a student at a local all-boys school filled with wealthy, future-congressmen; she ordinarily wouldn't be attracted, but she soon finds herself involved with Gansey and his friends.  Blue never thought she'd have to worry about the prophecy that she will kill the boy she falls in love with, but now she has to wonder...

What threw me off about The Raven Boys was that I was told it was a contemporary novel, but in reality The Raven Boys is a little bit fantasy, a little bit paranormal.  It took me a good half of the book to wrap my head around that.  Ultimately, however, it was that paranormal aspect of the book that I really ended up loving.  Blue lives with an eclectic bunch of women who make a little money on the side as psychics.  It was an interesting family dynamic, particularly as Blue begins to question who her absentee father is.  Blue and her eclectic family often left me smiling.

I was also drawn into the book initially by Blue's relationship with the Raven Boys, Gansey and his friends.  Blue had a preconceived notion about what Raven Boys were like and quite frankly she didn't want to much to do with them until "her boys" came around and she was thrown in to their project of finding ley lines and a missing king (that would be where the fantasy aspect comes in).

The problem I had reading The Raven Boys was my lack of attachment to just about anything.  I really and truly cared about Adam and his home life situation and I was really intrigued by Noah's, er... life situation, but aside from those I didn't feel a great attachment or yearning for any of the characters or their relationships.  Blue's relationship with her mother seemed distant and I was unsure of her romantic relationships as well... I didn't feel much chemistry between her or any of the boys.  

Three stars.  I had high hopes for The Raven Boys, but ultimately I didn't find myself that interested in the characters or most of their life situations.  I feel like I'm in the minority, however, since so many other people have loved this book, so I definitely think it's still worth a look if you're already a fan of Maggie Stiefvater's work, or of contemporary works with a paranormal nature.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Renegade (The Elysium Chronicles, #1)

Renegade
J.A. Souders
364 pages
Released: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: the publisher
★★★★★



You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Ever since I first laid eyes on this cover, I knew I had to read Renegade.  But sometimes there's this problem that happens with YA novels... the cover is better than the book.  Thankfully, Renegade doesn't suffer from this affliction and completely blew away by expectations.  Renegade is even better than its beautiful cover suggests!

Evelyn thinks her life is pretty close to perfect.  She's the Daughter of the People, next in line to rule the underwater kingdom on Elysium.  At sixteen, her mother - Mother of the People, is encouraging her to find her mate, but Evelyn is hesitant.  She can't decide on a suitor until she meets Gavin, a Surface Dweller who finds himself in Elysium after getting lost while hunting.  With Gavin's help, Evelyn soon begins to realize her life isn't what it seems...

I can't remember being this excited about a book in a long time.  The world building was simply fantastic.  Elysium is a 100% self-sustained community, completely underwater.  It was fascinating to me to read about the technology that supported the community, particularly the volcano that powered electricity.  It was all very futuristic and fun.

What I loved most about Renegade were the layers of deception.  Evelyn thinks she knows who she is, but she really has no clue.  As the novel progresses, we learn right along with Evelyn the facts about her past, the real-deal with Elysium, and of course her Mother.   What an eye-opening experience.  Evelyn's memory lapses are difficult and it only gets worse as the novel goes on; I can only imagine how frustrating that would be to experience. I was really pulling for Evelyn, because if only she could could get a grasp on who she really was and have the life she wanted with Gavin...

Oh Gavin!  I couldn't help but feel a little bad for him at first, falling into this strange new world by mistake and suddenly being thrown together with a strange young woman intent on "coupling."  Gavin's a good trooper as he goes along with Evelyn, though I felt some description on his past and where he came from was lacking, though I feel like we'll get more of that in the next book.  Speaking of Gavin, Renegade was much more of a romance novel than I anticipated, not that there's anything wrong with that.  Though Evelyn and Gavin fell in love within a matter of days, their relationship still felt organic and un-rushed to me.

Renegade is dark and the best example of this is Mother.  She's not a nice lady and she comes across very neo-nazi, determined to perfect the world of Elysium right down to its blue-eyed, blond-haired inhabitants who must receive permits before breeding.  The world Mother has created for herself is very disturbing, right down her pack of girl assassins who begin training at age three.  Despite Mother's evil nature, I couldn't help but feel a little sympathy for her at points.

Five stars!  I cannot rave about this book enough and I'm already trolling the Internet to try and find out when the next book in the series will be released.  Any sort of YA dystopian, sci-fi, or romance lover will enjoy this novel... and I think that covers just about everybody!  Put this one on your Christmas list right now, or better yet... just go but a copy.  You won't regret it.


Gratitude Giveaway Hop!


As a thanks to all my followers new and old, I'm participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop!  You guys are awesome!  Enter via the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a book of your choice up to $10 USD from Amazon or The Book Depository.  (Please make sure TBD ships to your country before entering.)  Then follow the links to enter the other blogs participating.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Secrets & Lies Blog Tour (Guest Post + GIVEAWAY!)

Today I'm happy to be hosting a guest post for The Secrets & Lies Blog tour, promoting the new Liar Society novel, The Lies that Bind.


Today we have Kate on the blog, the heroine of The Liar Society and The Lies that Bind, telling us about the top ten mistakes villains make.  Then at the end of the post, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a copy of The Lies that Bind!  (US only please, since I'm mailing my own copy out.)


Top Ten Stupid Mistakes Villains Make: Kate dissects and lists the mindless mistakes that Pemberly Brown’s secret societies make while attempting to sneak around the campus.

Kate Lowry here from THE LIES THAT BIND. Today, I want to share with you my top ten list of stupid mistakes villains make.

10. Leave doors/windows/cars/lockers OPEN. Villains are busy people. Or perhaps they were raised in a barn. Either way, if the door’s open, I’m going in. Don’t mind if I do…

9. Loud talkers. Villains missed the day of preschool when the teachers reviewed inside voices. Plus, voices carry in those tunnels. I don’t even have to put my ear to the hatch!

8. Lose their cool around girls. I’m not proud of it, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do and sometimes that means showing a little skin. I’ve gotten entire secret maps of Pemberly Brown by merely unbuttoning one button.

7. Carry baggage. Student files are fascinating. And often thick. My best friend works in the office. What do you expect?

6. Hang with the wrong crowd. Be careful who you trust, bad guys. Who knows, they might even be worse than you.

5. Perform not-so-secret ceremonies in not-so-private places. The clock tower again? Really? How have you not seen me crouched behind these low shrubs?

4. Have no respect for property, even if it is a dilapidated building of Brown. Lists of names on walls? Check.

3. Twirling moustaches. Whenever I have a doubt over who the real bad guy is, I can usually identify them by their telltale mustache. Thanks Headmaster Sinclair!

2. Forming secret societies. Um, guys, hate to break it to you, but NOTHING stays secret at Pemberly Brown. At least not while I'm around.

1. Messing with my friends. I might not be the most popular girl in school and I'm definitely not the toughest (Bethany, I'm looking at you), but you mess with my friends and I will throw down. Justice is tough to find at Pemberly Brown, but I won't rest until I find it.



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The Lies that Bind (The Liar Society, #2)

The Liar Society: The Lies that Bind
Lisa & Laura Roecker
311 pages
Released: November 6, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: the publisher
★★★★☆


You can read the Goodreads summary here.

The Lies that Bind is the second novel in The Liar Society series by sisters Lisa & Laura Roecker.  In this installment, Kate is still reeling over the death of her best friend Grace, so it's surprising to her when little notes and trinkets belonging to Grace start showing up randomly.  Then when one of the popular girls at school goes missing, Kate decides she owes it to Grace's memory to help find the missing girl.  But who can you trust in a school ruled by secret societies?

I loved this book!  I haven't read the first book in the series, but that didn't dampen my ability to understand the plot of The Lies that Bind at all.  The first thing that struck me while reading The Lies that Bind was Kate's character.  She's such a driven, determined young woman who I think can be an excellent role model, even if she does a little lying to her parents to get stuff done.  It's clear that Kate really loved her best friend Grace, that she's still hurting from Grace's death and those little things she does, like send e-mails to Grace's account even though they can't be answered, makes Kate seem very realistic and human in a novel where the mystery itself is a little less than realistic.

But that's okay!  The mystery in this book was great really because secret societies are so interesting.  The battling secret societies at Kate's school, Pemberly Brown Academy, were very fun to read about, though what it seemed to boil down to was a traditional girls vs. boys battle.  I was a little shocked though, to read that the boys would go so far as to kidnap and seemingly torture one of the girls though, just to make a point.  That's one of the main reasons I read as fast as I could, I felt there had to be more to it.

And in the last fifteen or so pages, we learn what it's all about.  I didn't see that coming!  I believe my exact words were, "Oh, snap!"  (Do the kids still say stuff like that these days?)

Four stars!  I loved this book because of the characters and the mystery, but I was confused as to why the authorities weren't involved.  Why weren't Bethany's parents freaking out?  Still, I think this is a great read for any YA contemporary mystery lover.  I'm looking forward to reading the first book in the series to find out what happened to Grace, but I think The Lies that Bind can definitely be read as a standalone if you wish.  Go check it out!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Pineville Heist (Team Booboo, Review, and Interview!)

The Pineville Heist
Lee Chambers
147 pages
Released: July 20, 2011
Publisher: MISFP Publishing
Source: the author



You can read the Goodreads summary here!

Today on the blog I'm happy to be participating in the blog tour promoting The Pineville Heist - a new YA book based off the screenplay of the same title.  Why is this exciting, you might ask?  Well, aside from The Pineville Heist being a great little book to read (seriously, pick it up!) the movie will be starring none other than Booboo Stewart who gained his fame from playing Seth in the Twilight Saga.

I read The Pineville Heist last week and was immediately drawn in by the action.  Non-stop action.  Seventeen-year-old Aaron accidentally stumbles into bank heist.  Five million dollars of his father's money has been stolen and while hiding under a canoe, Aaron witnesses the murder of one of the robbers.  Soon Aaron's in pretty deep as he steals the money and runs back to his high school and to the safety of his drama teacher, Amanda Becker.

The Pineville Heist is 100% thriller.  As I mentioned, the action starts and then doesn't stop until the end of the novel.  It's a quick book that will definitely keep you at the edge of your seat.  Since the book was based off the screenplay, it easily translates into the mind.  I could see it all playing out in my head and I have no doubt this will make an excellent, although probably pretty bloody, film.  You're definitely going to want to check this book out while we're waiting for the movie to be released.

And now for a quick interview with the author, Lee Chambers.


Panda Reads (PR) - Welcome to my blog, Lee! Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?

Lee Chambers (LC) - It’s my pleasure and thank you for having me on Panda Reads.

I am a writer, producer and director and have been lecturing and producing award-winning films and education film production workshops for over ten.  In 2005 I developed the Make It Short film Project, which has gained Executive Producer support from Academy Award winners, Paul Haggis, Denys Arcand and Roger Corman.  My debut novel, The Pineville Heist, which I developed from the screenplay I co-wrote with Todd Gordon is set to become my debut directorial into feature movies.

PR - Where did the inspiration for The Pineville Heist come from?

LC - The inspiration for The Pineville Heist came from a time when I was about 10 years old at a school summer camp.  We were playing hide and seek and I hid under a canoe.  I was able to watch everything going on from underneath and was never found.  I had made a note of this; I am a notorious note taker, and years later the idea came to me, “What if a kid witnessed a murder, while hiding under a canoe?”

PR - Can you tell us how the writing process was for you? Do you outline or just sit down and write it out?

LC - The Pineville Heist was created in what some would consider an unusual process, in that I developed the story from a screenplay, rather than developing a screenplay from a novel.  While writing a screenplay is like creating an architectural blueprint, it contains a set of instructions, whereas novel writing allows you to explore character, emotions and motivations, it allows you to develop plot further.  As director I visualise stories, so it was initially a challenge to get my head around the craft of novel writing.

I tend to aim at writing several pages a day, however writing is a little like housework; I procrastinate and then I finally sit down and start writing and before I know it, I’ve written a novel.

In July of this year I finished my second novel, The Sum of Random Chance, a story I developed from a screenplay I co-wrote with Kris Ketonen.

PR - Can you tell us a little bit about the status of the movie?

LC - The process of producing a movie can take years, and that was one of the reasons I decided to novelise The Pineville Heist.  People don’t generally read screenplays, so rather than having the story gather dust I decided to turn the story into the novel.  Which in effect keeps me energised as a filmmaker, and passionate about the story, as well as being able to attract a fan base prior to the movie being released..

Sign Post Pictures in Canada has taken on The Pineville Heist, we have attracted a Distributor to come on board and the project is currently in the financing stage of getting the movie produced.  Which is a little catch 21 situation, you need certain funding from one agency or investment partner, before you are able to approach the next agency.

What is very exciting for Pineville is that we have attracted teen movie sensation, Booboo Stewart, from the Twilight franchise, as the lead character Aaron Stevens.  I met Booboo last year and after reading the screenplay and novel he was excited to be part of the project.

PR - Are there any other fun projects you're working on right now?

LC - There are several fun projects being developed as we speak.

I’m in the process of writing another screenplay, again with writing partner Todd Gordon.  This time it is an adult thriller, the story is a lot more gritty and with a raw edge to it.

Then for a change of pace I am also working on my next novel, which is a comedy and good fun; it’s based on a screenplay I worked on about ten years ago with Olly Perkin and Ra-ey Saleh.

And then winter may just see me put my Director’s cap back on.

However, the main priority for the year is getting The Pineville Heist funded so we can start shooting in 2013.

PR - What do you like to read when you have downtime?

LC - I probably have a tendency towards thrillers, whether that is reading or going to the movies to watch a thriller.  The main thing for me is being able to be entertained by a story.

PR - Anything else you want to add?

LC - For more information on The Pineville Heist check out www.pinevilleheist.com, it is also available from:



Thanks so much for stopping by Lee!  I can't wait to see The Pineville Heist when it hits theaters!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In My Mailbox (59)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

FOR REVIEW:
Sourcebooks sent via Netgalley, The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart by Leanna Renee Hieber.  I was in love with the Darker Still, so I'm excited to be reading the sequel for the blog tour!


Strange Chemistry approved via NetGalley, Pantomime by Laura Lam.


Penguin sent The Farm by Emily McKay.


PURCHASED: 
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (thanks for all the New Adult recs on my Easy post!)


SWAPPED FOR:
Specials by Scott Westerfield
Between You & Me by Marisa Calin (this one sounds really, really good!)


A big thanks goes out to Penguin, Sourcebooks, and Strange Chemistry this week for sending me some great reading!




Friday, November 9, 2012

Destiny Cover Reveal!

Today I'm happy to be participating in the cover reveal for Destiny by P.T. Michelle, which is the third book in the Brightest Kind of Darkness series!  Let's take a look...




Destiny (Brightest Kind of Darkness, 3)
P.T. Michelle
Expected Release Date: March 31, 2013

Summary from Goodreads:
When destiny is on the line, will love be enough to light the way?
In order to save Ethan, Nara gets pulled deeper into his dark world, where everything she thought she knew about Ethan and herself turns on its head.
Ethan and Nara turn up the heat with bone-melting seduction and heart-rending moments, but surprising revelations, lies, treachery, betrayal, and unimaginable evil will challenge their relationship and their future together.
As the stakes rise, encompassing more than just her relationship with Ethan, will Nara make the ultimate sacrifice?



Other books in the Brightest Kind of Darkness Series:


Brightest Kind of Darkness is the first book and is currently free for ereaders!
Lucid (Brightest Kind of Darkness, 2)

About the Author:
P.T. Michelle is author of the young adult series BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS. She keeps a spiral notepad with her at all times, even on her nightstand. When P.T. isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading or taking pictures of landscapes, sunsets and anything beautiful or odd in nature.
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads





Want to help spread the word about DESTINY's upcoming release? Click the link below to get the countdown widget script to put on your website or on your blog's side bar.

http://www.widgetbox.com/i/60cdbefb-af9e-42fa-b8d8-80345e3a5519

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankful for Books Giveaway Hop!


I've got another giveaway hop for you to enter!  Since this hop is all about being thankful, I'm going to let you pick the prize.  The winner will get a book of their choice from Amazon or The Book Depository, ten dollars or under.  So yes, this giveaway is international as long as TBD ships to your country.  Enter with the Rafflecopter below and then check out the other blogs on the hop.


  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Stop: Dear Teen Me

Dear Teen Me
Edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally
189 pages
Release: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Zest Books
Source: the publisher
★★★★☆


You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Dear Teen Me is a compilation featuring seventy letters from YA authors to their teenage selves.  Such YA celebrities as Ellen Hopkins, Lauren Oliver, and Jessica Spotswood are included, just to name a few.  Interspersed between some letters are little sections asking the authors quick, fun questions like, "What was your first job?" and "Where was your first kiss?"

Long story short, Dear Teen Me is one hundred percent relatable.  If you are or ever were a teenager (I think that covers most everyone,) you will find something in this anthology that resonates with you.  I was excited to read the book and be apart of the tour, of course, but I had this little thought in the back of my head that Dear Teen Me would be preachy and that all the letters would sound the same.  Thankfully, I was wrong!

A wide array of topics are covered, everything from hair and makeup, boys and clothes, to more serious topics, like eating disorders, bullying, and mental disorders.  Some of the letters had me giggling, like Jo Whittemore's account of trying to be sexy while eating rotisserie chicken, but there were also a handful of letters that had me close to tears, like Saundra Mitchell's letter about how she's struggled with guilt over her brother's death for years.  There really is something for everyone in Dear Teen Me.

Four stars!  I enjoyed Dear Teen Me a lot more than I anticipated because of the diversity of the letters. Some were serious, some were humorous, but they were all relevant and made a great compilation.  This is a book that needs to be under the Christmas tree (or Menorah, or what have you) of every teenage girl this holiday season.  It's that gift you get from your aunt that you don't think you'll like, but end up really appreciating.

Can't get enough?  Here's a link to the rest of the Dear Teen Me Blog Tour stops.  Still can't get enough?  Check out the Dear Teen Me website, which is filled with even more letters!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bitter Blood (The Morganville Vampries, #13)

Bitter Blood
Rachel Caine
404 pages
Released: November 6, 2012
Publisher: NAL
Source: the publisher
★★★★☆


You can read the Goodreads summary here.

I was very happy to see Bitter Blood in my mailbox when it arrived, since I read Black Dawn (it was my first time reading a Morganville Vampire book) in April and loved it so very much.  You may recall the epic battle of the draug in Black Dawn.  Well, in Bitter Blood the town of Morganville is starting to recover, but of course you know somethings going to come up for Claire and her friends.  It doesn't seem like they ever really get a chance to sit down and relax - which is a good thing, because the constant action in this series is what keeps it interesting!

This time around the vampires in charge are getting a little power happy - insisting every citizen of Morganville carry an ID card.  The human cards indicate their blood type whereas the vampire cards allow them one free kill a year.  The humans are trying to hold on but Claire isn't going to take this sitting down.  Meanwhile, a ghost hunting television show comes to town and manages to get in the way of everything.

I think it was the ghost hunting subplot that caught my attention the most, since I'm into those kinds of televisions shows in real life.  The crew was completely oblivious to everything around them and managed to get in the way several times.  It was a hoot to read about.

There wasn't as much action in Bitter Blood as Black Dawn, but I was still turning those pages for the personal drama in the lives of the Glass House residents.  Eve and Michael feel like they aren't getting enough privacy in their own home and then Claire and Shane have a little of their own drama towards the end of the book.  They both seem like such great couples to me, I hated to see any sort of tension in their relationships.  I'm really interested to see how those story lines continue in the next book.

I'm still platonically in love with Claire.  I think she's such a strong female lead and some of the things she said in Bitter Blood made me think she's grown a lot as a character since the first book in the series. It just reiterated to me that I need to go back and start reading this series from book one.

Four stars!  Bitter Blood is another great installment in The Morganville Vampires series and of course I was left at the end wanting more... especially when it comes to Claire and Shane.  I'm really looking forward to reading Fall of Night when it comes out this coming May.  If you haven't started this series, you absolutely must!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Kiss n' Tell Blog Tour - Guest Post by Janet Gurtler!

Hi, everyone!  Today I'm a stop on the Kiss n' Tell Blog Tour from Sourcebooks, promoting the new book Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler.  I read this book last month and absolutely loved it; you can check out my five star review here.

Today I'm happy to have Janet Gurtler, author of the new YA novel Who I Kissed, here on the blog with a post about the effect media can have on teens going through tough times.  This hits a little close to home for me.  Recently, a student at the same high school I attended years ago took his life due to bullying.  The story hit not only the local news, but social media like a wildfire.  It was upsetting to me and several of my graduated classmates to not only see this happening at our alma mater, but to see the bullying continue on even after the student's death.  Here's the author's take on the media: 

Media Crazy: In the book, Samantha is troubled with guilt and watching the news is not helping.  Janet Gurtler explores the effect media can have on teens in tough situations. 
In the book, Who I Kissed, when a boy dies from kissing a girl who ate peanut butter, it’s a sensational death and all forms of media cover the tragedy. A peanut butter kiss and Alex is gone. It sounds almost comical, except it’s not.  It’s a story that the papers and the online community want to talk about.  Samantha is the girl who kissed a boy and made him die.  Not only does she have to deal with her own guilt and horror, she has to deal with the worlds. All she has to do is turn on the television to see highlights and updates about what happened.  
Sam is compelled to watch and almost treats the news as her just punishment, watching and seeing snippets about the boy and his life and knowing she’s the cause of the person he’ll never become.  When I wrote the book, I consulted some journalism friends to see if in a case like this whether or not the traditional forms of news coverage would name the girl who caused the death. The unanimous opinion was that, no, they wouldn’t because the death was accidental and a tragedy.  
The flip side of this world we live in today though is social media. There aren’t any hard and fast rules in place. In Sam’s world her name and the story is very much public knowledge. The teens even use social media to bully Sam. She’s taunted on Facebook and because of her overwhelming guilt, she doesn’t even try to report it or fight back.  Online bullying is a problem that is becoming larger and is often difficult to manage.  Sam is hurt but unable to answer to or unwilling to report or respond to it except internally.
Our society is so inundated with information coming from so many different forms of media. It seems like we expect to know the details when there’s a tragedy like a teen’s accidental death. As a public we want or the juicy behind the scenes. We’re a society growing up with reality television where we know intimate details about stranger’s lives.  Teens post pictures of themselves on-line or their parents post their pictures online for the whole world to see.  
I’m sure television reporters and shows feel tremendous pressure to get something different to show a different angle of a story.  The media seems much more intrusive and the public seems to support and expect it.  In many ways, it’s an unhealthy sense of entitlement and a willingness to peer inside people’s windows and see things we’re not always entitled inside to see.  
We want to know everything but what is the price for the people who have to deal not only with the tragedy but also with the consequences of being so exposed in the media? Where are ethics, and social responsibilities going when our traditional media outlets are competing against media not governed or concerned with the same moralities? 
Many teens today grow up with their lives completely connected to technology which usually includes being online.  Media really does take on a much broader scope and sometimes it’s hard not to have the lines blurred between social media and news. 

More on the book:


Who I Kissed
By Janet Gurtler
Sourcebooks Fire
October 2012
ISBN: 9-781-4022-7054-3
Trade Paper/$9.99
Ages 13+

She Never Thought A Kiss Could Kill. . .

Samantha didn't mean to hurt anyone. As the new girl in school and on the swim team, she was just trying to fit in. And she wanted to make her teammate Zee a little jealous after he completely ditched her for a prettier girl at the party. Hurt, but pretending not to care, she turns to his best friend, Alex, and gives him a kiss.  And he dies – right in her arms.

Alex was allergic to peanuts, and Samantha had eaten a peanut butter sandwich right before the party.  She didn’t know. Overnight Samantha turns into the school pariah and a media sensation explodes. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing her swimming scholarship, she will have to find an inner-strength that goes way deeper than the fastest time in the 200-meter butterfly. Because if she can't figure out how to forgive herself, no one else will either.

A bright new star and refreshingly authentic voice in young adult contemporary books, Janet Gurtler adroitly balances the story of a teenager’s moving journey from anguish to acceptance and the whirlwind mania of a news story that she can’t escape. Skillfully capturing the raw, honest emotions of her teen protagonists, Janet paints them into a searing portrait of a tragedy that uproots the lives of everyone it touches.


In My Mailbox (58)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.
The whole family has a cold right now (even the cat!) and the place is a mess, so you're getting stock photos today instead of pictures by me.

SENT FOR REVIEW:

Tor Teen sent Renegade by J.A. Saunders!  So excited to read this one.


APPROVED ON NETGALLEY: 

Amulet Books sent Splintered by A.G. Howard


PURCHASED:

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (for only $1.99 on Kindle on Friday!)


Crossroads by Mary Ting (free on Kindle as of 11/3)


Gravity by Abigail Boyd (free on Kindle as of 11/3)


SWAPPED FOR:

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling




Friday, November 2, 2012

Until I Die (Revenants, #2)

Until I Die
Amy Plum
353 pages
Released: May 8, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: library
★★★★☆


You can read the Goodreads summary here.  This review may contain spoilers from Die for Me.

Kate and Vincent are so in love, but they still have to come to terms with the fact that Kate is human and Vincent is a revenant.   Vincent thinks he can resist the urge to die so they can age together and whats more, he thinks he has a solution to solve just that problem.  But that solution leaves him increasingly weakened and that worries Kate and their friends.

I loved that Until I Die brought us right back to the world of the revenants in beautiful France and that it started out with a very lavish party.  I really did miss this series while I was waiting to get my hands on this book.  Vincent and Kate face a pretty typical YA paranormal problem in this installment - they want to be together but they know they can't be together forever.  Oh, and the revenants have some enemies that are getting closer and closer.  Until I Die was fast paced like Die for Me, but I did feel there were couple points in the middle of the novel that moved too slow or lacked action.

That is, until the end of the novel!  Holy plot twist, Batman!  I totally didn't see that coming!  It was really two plot twists, I think, because the very ending of the book threw me for a loop as well.  We'll have to see how it wraps up in the third book, If I Should Die, due out May 7th.

Four stars!  I really enjoyed getting back into this world Amy Plum has created and even though I felt some parts lacked or lagged, the surprise ending absolutely made up for it plus some.  If you haven't started this unique series about revenants yet, you should definitely give it a look if you love paranormals.

October Recap!


Whew, another month over.  I read many a great book this October though again it feels like I read more than I actually did... only fourteen books.  Here's the list of everything I read:

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings
The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult
Justice by Jade Varden
The Childe by C.A. Kunz
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (no judging, please!)
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Pure by Terra Elan McVoy
Easy by tammara Webber
Dear Teen Me 
Capital Girls by Ella Monroe
Two and Twenty Dark Tales

Total books read in 2012: 182
Total pages read in 2012: 54,184