*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Pandemonium" by Lauren Oliver

I enjoyed Pandemonium quite a bit more than Delerium. It felt like Oliver had hit her stride with the plot and the characters and the story got started a lot quicker this time around. Lena escaped her old life at the end of Delerium and now faces a new life in the wilds. She is soon adopted by a group of people that also make the wilds her home and begins to learn what it like to live without constant regulation but instead with fear of being caught rebelling. She no longer has Alex so has to make this transition mostly on her own. Soon she will be caught up in the fight against the government as those that are against The Cure try to make a change.

The book alternates between two story lines, both from Lena's perspective, just at different periods of time. I thought this was a very interesting plot device because no matter what trouble Lena was in during the "Then" segments, I knew she had to get out of it because of the "Now" segments. There is more action in this than in the first installment and I spent much of my time reading it on the edge of my seat. Though I did enjoy this book, I am still not the biggest fan of this series. As a whole it is good, but not the strongest set of books I have read. But at the end of the book I was entertained and anxious to read Requiem and that is part of makes it a worthwhile read.

Happy Reading!
-Melly

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren't Books) That I'd Like To Own

Theme via: The Broke and the Bookish
  1. T-shirts depicting my favorite books that I would then take to author visits/conferences and get them signed (when possible).
    I actually have this one!

  2. Shoes also depicting book characters.
     
  3. A tablet that would make it easier to take my blogging on the go.
  4. A room big enough to just store books
  5. Shelves in said room that are set into the walls
  6. An awesome case for my kindle (I have one signed by Ellen Hopkins, it just isn't designed for the Kindle Paperwhite)
  7. Many library cards (to multiple libraries)
  8. This:
    Harry Potter Hogwarts checkered hoodie - Click Image to Close
  9. This:
    Looking for Alaska by John Green Miniature Book Necklace or Bookmark - Nerdfighter, Vlogbrothers, Hank Green
  10. And This:
    Baby-Sitters Club Minibooks

"Mortal Enchanment" by Stacey O'Neale: Cover Reveal

Today, Stacey O'Neale and Phoenix Reign Publishing are revealing the cover for
MORTAL ENCHANTMENT, releasing on May 20, 2014!
Check out the awesome cover and enter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card!!!
On to the reveal!

“Mortal Enchantment spins a unique twist on elemental mythology. This series is not to be missed.”
Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

In Kalin Matthew's world, elementals control the forces of nature. They are divided into four courts: air, woodland, fire, and water. At sixteen she will leave the life she's built with her mortal mother. Kalin will move to Avalon to rule with her father—the elemental king of the air court. Along the way, she's attacked by a fire court assassin and saved by Rowan, a swoon-worthy elemental with a questionable past.

Worst of all, she learns her father is missing.

To rescue him, Kalin will have to work with a judgmental council and a system of courts too busy accusing each other of deceit to actually be able to help her. But, they aren’t her biggest challenge. With the Midwinter’s Ball only five days away, Kalin must take over her father’s duties, which includes shifting control of the elements—power Kalin has yet to realize.

As Rowan attempts to train her, a war looms between the four courts. If Kalin fails, her father will die and the courts will fall, but the betrayal she’s about to uncover may cost her even more...
If you haven't read THE SHADOW PRINCE, you can download if NOW for FREE from Amazon and Barnes & Noble!!!


Every sacrifice has consequences.

Sixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission:

Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king.

Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he's capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?
Available for FREE on Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Also available in PRINT from Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Stacey O'Neale lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she's not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.
Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult paranormal romance and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.
Stacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Pinterest, and GoodReads. You can also visit her blog at http://staceyoneale.com/.
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Today, Stacey O'Neale and Phoenix Reign Publishing are revealing the cover for

MORTAL ENCHANTMENT, releasing on May 20, 2014!

Check out the awesome cover and enter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card!!!

On to the reveal!
Mortal Enchantment

“Mortal Enchantment spins a unique twist on elemental mythology. This series is not to be missed.”
Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author


In Kalin Matthew's world, elementals control the forces of nature. They are divided into four courts: air, woodland, fire, and water. At sixteen she will leave the life she's built with her mortal mother. Kalin will move to Avalon to rule with her father—the elemental king of the air court. Along the way, she's attacked by a fire court assassin and saved by Rowan, a swoon-worthy elemental with a questionable past.

Worst of all, she learns her father is missing.

To rescue him, Kalin will have to work with a judgmental council and a system of courts too busy accusing each other of deceit to actually be able to help her. But, they aren’t her biggest challenge. With the Midwinter’s Ball only five days away, Kalin must take over her father’s duties, which includes shifting control of the elements—power Kalin has yet to realize.

As Rowan attempts to train her, a war looms between the four courts. If Kalin fails, her father will die and the courts will fall, but the betrayal she’s about to uncover may cost her even more...

If you haven't read THE SHADOW PRINCE, you can download if NOW for FREE from Amazon and Barnes & Noble!!!
The Shadow PrinceEvery sacrifice has consequences.


Sixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission:


Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king.


Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he's capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Available for FREE on Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Also available in PRINT from Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Photoshoot-21Stacey O'Neale lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she's not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.


Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult paranormal romance and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.


Stacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Pinterest, and GoodReads. You can also visit her blog at http://staceyoneale.com/.






Monday, April 14, 2014

Interview with I. L. Williams, Author of "Bing & Nero"

What inspired Bing & Nero?

Bing and Nero is a story I made up to tell my 5 year-old son (who is crazy about robots!) at bedtime. He wanted to hear it over and over again, and asked a lot of questions about the characters. A few of his friends also liked the story. I decided to find an illustrator in order to make it into a book I could give him as a Christmas present. When I saw Inci´s (the illustrator) pictures, I began to see this could really be a proper book many other kids might enjoy.



Do you plan to write more about these characters or more in the universe you have created?


I have already written the second book and I am busy telling the third story to my son in order to develop it to his satisfaction. When he won´t allow me to change the story anymore, I know it is probably right.



What was the hardest part of writing/publishing this book?

The hardest part was figuring out how to self-publish efficiently and at low cost. There are a lot of options and a lot of potential traps --especially people and organizations offering services that you don´t need or that are overpriced. I got very lucky and I joined a group of self-publishing professionals (Alliance of Independent Authors) who provide a wealth of solid information.

What do you do besides write?
I am a communications and marketing professional and have made a career out of corporate writing. Creativity in that arena really helps. Writing professionally every day also makes me more efficient when I write fiction. I know better than to wait around for inspiration.

What are you currently reading?
These days I am revisiting a lot of old children´s classics. These stories that have charmed kids for generations have a lot that can be learned to make you a better writer for kids. "Eloise" by Kay Thompson and "Oh, the places you´ll go!" by Dr. Seuss are next to my computer now. And I have to say that Neil Gaiman is a magician with words. I am revisiting his work all the time.

One of the nicest reviews I have received so far on Amazon (excerpt):


There are a lot of kids out there that do not have anyone to play with. A book such as this one opens a child’s mind and allows their creativity to soar beyond their imagination. Who would not want to have a robot as a friend? I know I would. 

In addition, as an early childhood educator, I believe this book would be a great asset to the classroom and to any lesson plan. A whole lesson plan can be done around this book. -Evelyn G.

Bio:
Ingrid Williams is a native Californian who now lives with her family in Norway. She has had a successful career as a financial journalist for Dow Jones Newswires and as a copywriter for one of the largest creative agencies in Scandinavia, among other positions in the world of corporate communications. She is a recipient of the Humphrey´s Fellowship in Writing at Columbia University in New York. She created "Bing & Nero" for her 5 year-old son, who has a serious robot obsession that shows every sign of continuing for quite some time. 

About the illustrator:
Inci Alper loves to tell stories through her art. She works as a game artist and resides in the beautiful city of Istanbul. She is a daydreamer and she likes to escape into the world of video games for hours. She also secretly wishes she had a robot friend of her own. 


Synopsis:
 Bing wants a dog. But his mother says a dog is out of the question. What´s a young boy in need of a friend on a boring Saturday morning to do? Why, make his own friend! He heads right down to the family basement to collect boxes of junk, old toys and discarded household items.  And he sets to work. Hours later, and after a few wrong turns, he has built his own robot friend. And what a friend his new creation is! The product of Bing´s rich imagination and household junk from the basement, Nero is a metallic wonder. From the moment he is switched on, the house is filled with fun! And when they take to the sky for a late afternoon flight, boy and robot are in for a joyous ride that celebrates their friendship.  Tucked into his bed that evening, with Nero plugged in to recharge for the next day´s fun, Bing decides that having a robot is actually even better than having a dog.

*This book is the first in a series of books about the active adventures of boy and robot. I have written the second book and am now at work on the third.

Happy Reading!
-Melly

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Bing & Nero" by I. L. Williams

This book is really sweet. Bing is lonely. None of his friends can come over to play and his mom won't let him have a dog. He decides to build himself a robot so that he will always have a friend. He grabs several boxes worth of stuff and soon has a new friend named Nero. Bing & Nero become the best of friends and play together all day. It is a simple story, but one that is very fun and very sweet.

I think Williams has a great series going here. As an only child, I can relate so much to Bing. There were very few kids in my neighborhood when I was growing up, and even fewer of them were close to my age. Because of this, I spent a lot of time playing with imaginary friends. I never went as far to build a friend like Bing does, but I think it's a great idea. I see this book appealing to most kids, especially boys and those that are only children. The illustrations are adorable, Alper has done a great job of bringing Bing's creation to reality (I especially love that Nero is partially made out of a working microwave). I will definitely be keeping an eye out for subsequent books about these two wonderful characters.

Happy Reading!
-Melly

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"The Cow Loves Cookies" by Karma Wilson

Cute, cute, cute! I so loved this book! Each of the animals on the farm has their food that they enjoy. The horse eats hay, the chickens eat feed and the pigs eat slop. But what about the cow? Well The Cow Loves Cookies! Kids will delight in the repetition and will want to help read along as you recite the animals and food. And even more, they will be anxious to find out why the cow loves cookies (and how he gets so lucky as to eat such a delicious treat).

I had not heard of this book before it showed up at the library, but I am so glad I got the opportunity to read it. I adore books that encourage participation from kids, as this one does. Though it doesn't repeat the same phrases over and over again, the general words do get used again and kids will catch on to the rhyme scheme and will join in. I really need to spend more time with Karma Wilson's books. I have read so few of them, but what I have read is absolutely delightful. I have a list of favorite children's books that I love to give as presents (baby showers, birthdays, etc.) and I am pleased to say that this book just made that list. Kids (and adults) of all ages are going to love this book!



Happy Reading!
-Melly


Friday, April 11, 2014

Interview with Kimberly Pauley, Author of "Ask Me"


What was the hardest part of writing Ask Me?

The ending. I wrote it probably five different ways (including one where some pretty drastic stuff happened). Which leads me to your next question...

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Ask Me?

The ending. Now, don’t get me wrong, the version of the ending that became the final version is one I am happy with but, like with every book, you always want to keep fiddling with it. You can’t help it! Every book is like that. I think I would perhaps make the ending in ASK ME a bit longer, but then again, sometimes it’s good to not know every detail.
Other than that, there was one scene that was cut that I would have liked to have kept. My agent had me tone it down and then my editor had me cut it completely. I absolutely am okay with how it all worked out and the reasoning behind why it had to go, but it is a scene that I really liked (in a horrible sort of way...it was one of the hardest ones to write). Maybe some day I will post it online or send it out to my newsletter subscribers.


Do you write an outline before every book you write? If not, what method(s) do you use?

Yes, I do. It’s not a very detailed outline and often pretty sketchy, but I have to have something to hang my hat on, so to speak. I’m trying out notecards on the book I’m working on now, but I think I’ll probably wind up going back to my normal outline formatted way of doing things, just like I used to do in school.

Where do you write best?

I mostly write out and about in cafes and pubs around my neighborhood (Notting Hill area) in London. Farther afield, I also go to the British Library and hang out around the Baker Street Tube station (you know, where Sherlock lives).

What are you currently reading?

The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen, a writer friend of mine, and the lady I turned YA Books Central over to when I quit running it. It is her first book and I’m so excited for her. And it’s a great book!



Kimberly Pauley is the award-winning author of Sucks to Be Me, which was honored on the YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list, and a paranormal mystery starring an oracle, called Ask Me. Born in California, she has lived everywhere from Florida to Chicago and has now gone international to live in London with her husband and son. She is also the founder of YA Books Central, one of the first and largest teen book websites in the world. Visit her online!


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