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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review: Red Hill by Jamie McGuire

Release Date: October 1st, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

When the world ends, can love survive?

For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.

When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?

A love story set against a zombie apocalypse? How is that anything but intriguing? This book was so awesome, but for completely different reasons than I expected. Yes, there were love stories woven into this world, but it's the world that was so flipping amazing. In all honesty, I hadn't expected much out of this apocalyptic world, because Jamie McGuire is know for her new adult romance novels and I wasn't all that fond of Beautiful Disaster. I gave it a chance, though, because I wanted to see what she was going to do with it and I am so glad that I did. Jamie writes the heck out of a zombie apocalypse. It was intense, gruesome, scary, and totally insane.

I don't normally care for books that have so many POV's, because sometimes it's really hard for the author to do each character justice, but in this particular book it really served the story well. Getting to see the horror befalling the world through different eyes gave a really well developed view of all of the things going on. And it was really cool making all the connections between the people as they slowly started coming together. This book also held some serious tragedy, damn zombies, but it all felt true to the story kept things going. I really came to care for all of the characters and wished I could be there kicking ass right beside them.

This was so much more than I expected and I'm so glad it was a different story than what I thought it would be. I was reading this alone at night and at one point I got up to get a drink and I was convinced that I could hear zombies in my yard. If that doesn't convince you that this book is legit, well clearly you've never been home alone and thought there were zombies in your back yard ;0)

A definite recommend from me. This one is more horror story than love story and that's the best part!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Two Lies and A Spy by Kat Carlton Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Author: Kat Carlton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: September 3rd, 2013
When sixteen-year-old Kari’s dad sends her an unexpected text, she and her brother immediately go into hiding. Because when your parents are superspies and your dad declares a Code Black, it can only mean something bad. Very bad.

Kari soon discovers that her parents have been disavowed and declared traitors, and she’s determined to clear their names. Breaking into the Agency seems like a reasonable plan, especially with the help of a team that includes her longtime crush, Luke, as well as her two best friends—an expert hacker with attitude and a master martial artist—and Luke’s popular, vindictive twin sister. Oh, and a new guy, who’s as cute as he is complicated...
I love a good spy book and this one is no exception. Of course, it was not exactly what I was expecting, either. Kari knows all kinds of spy tricks and she definitely knows how to take care of herself, but Kari isn't the actual spy in this tale. Kari's parents are spies and she and her little brother have grown up knowing about their jobs and learning things along the way. When her parents go missing and get accused of being traitors, Kari knows something isn't right and she's determined to get to the bottom of it. She's just going to need a little help from her friends, and maybe a couple of people she's not too fond of.
This book was a lot of fun and was full of a great cast of characters. Kari's little brother was a trip and such a cool kid. Luke, Kari's crush, was such a sweet guy and willing to do some pretty crazy things to help her out, but I liked his sister Lacey so much more. Sure she was a bitch, and a total princess, but she constantly cracked me up. They would all be struggling over something, stressing about how they were going to solve this or that problem, and after they'd wracked their brains for a bit, she'd be all "oh, you're looking for such and such, I already know that." Made me LOL every time.
My favorite part about this book was how the story all wrapped up. It definitely wasn't exactly what I was expected, but that made it that much more awesome. From what I've been able to find, this is the only book, but I wouldn't be surprised if they decide to continue it into a series. And I will be first in line to read book two. This was a fast paced and fun spy read, I'd definitely recommend it for anyone whose looking for something action packed, but isn't interested in the paranormal!
Get in on the Action!
Leave a comment about what kind of spy skills you'd like to learn and you could win!
Two (2) winners receive:
A copy of Two Lies and a Spy
 Winners will be chosen on September 20th!
Giveaway open to U.S. addresses only.
Prizing & samples courtesy of Simon & Schuster.
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Blog Tour: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Release Date: September 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.
This book was non-stop and had me guessing and second guessing on just about everything. This is the first book I've read by Cristin Terrill and she is a fantastic writer. This world she created, both timelines, and the characters that populate it are so vivid. Em and Marina live in two completely different worlds, and they also live 4 years apart. Em's job is to travel back 4 years to where Marina is and kill the man that is responsible for the horrible future that she currently inhabits. Sounds fairly cut and dry, but nothing is really as it seems in All Our Yesterdays.
Em and Marina are both such interesting characters. Em is darker, her motivations stem from a gruesome world and desperate need to make it all right. Marina, on the surface, is a fairly typical teenage girl. Incredibly self centered and only really concerned about her best friend James and her desperate hope that he loves her the way she loves him. You'd think having these two characters are the main narrators for the book would be jarring, back and forth between such polar opposite personalities. And while it did take me a bit to get used to it, once I got into the story it really gelled together well.
I had so many theories on what was really going on throughout the book. On one page I was certain it was one thing, but then by the next chapter I was convinced it was something completely different. This, to me, is the mark of fantastic storytelling. While I was reading, I was under the impression that this was a stand alone novel, and I was fairly satisfied with that. Although I didn't quite understand exactly what was going on at the very end of the book, I did feel like it fit in perfect with the rest of the story. Now I've learned that there is going to be a second book and I am definitely curious to see where Cristin Terrill is planning to take this.
This is an awesome book, something a little different from what I usually read, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for fantastic storylines and well drawn characters. This one's a keeper!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Rockstar Book Tours: Thornhill Blog Tour interview w/ Kathleen Peacock + Giveaway!!

Today I am so excited to be bringing you a stop on the Thornhill Blog Tour! We've got all kinds of info about the book and where to find it, an interview with Kathleen Peacock herself, and an awesome giveaway!!

Author: Kathleen Peacock
Pub. Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Mac can’t lose another friend. Even if he doesn’t want to be found.
The ripple effect caused by Mac’s best friend Amy’s murder has driven Mac’s new love, Kyle, to leave Hemlock and disappear from her life forever. But Mac knows that Kyle plans to enroll in a rehabilitation camp, where he can live with other werewolves. She refuses to accept his decision, especially since the camps are rumored to be tortuous. So she sets out in search of Kyle with a barely sober Jason—and Amy’s all-seeing ghost—in tow.
Clues lead Mac to find Kyle in a werewolf den in Colorado—but their reunion is cut short by a Tracker raid. Now Mac and Kyle are trapped inside the electric fences of Thornhill, a camp for  young werewolves. As she devises an escape plan, Mac uncovers dangerous secrets buried within the walls of Thornhill—and realizes that the risk to the people she loves is greater than ever before.
About Kathleen:
Kathleen Peacock spent her teen years crushing on authors and writing short stories about vampires. She put her writing dreams on hold while attending college, but tripped over them when office life started leaving her with an allergy to cubicles. Her debut, HEMLOCK, is coming May 8th, 2012 from Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of Harper Collins, and will be published in the UK under the title DEADLY HEMLOCK from Simon and Schuster Children’s Books.

How is writing a sequel different from writing the first book in a series?


In some ways, writing a middle book is much trickier—at least it felt that way with Thornhill. You need to provide a recap of what came in the first book without turning pages into info-dumps. Characters need to evolve while still leaving plenty of room for growth in the next volume. Some plot and relationship threads need to be tied off while others need to be carried over. It's a bit like walking a tightrope. Even just figuring out where to start seemed harder. I think I wrote about five or six different openings for Thornhill before feeling like I had one that finally worked. 


When you were first writing Hemlock, did you already have the whole series planned out in your head, or does it come to you as you are writing?


Even though I tried to write Hemlock so that it could stand on its own, I was really hoping an agent and publisher would be interested in a trilogy, and so I planned out chunks of the story for books two and three in my head. After Hemlock sold (as a trilogy—yay!), my editor suggested moving some of the subplots from book one to book two.  When I did that, other things had to shift and change. Also, when I actually began to write Thornhill, I realized that some of my initial ideas (like telling the book from Kyle's POV and certain subplots) just didn't work on the page. Changes I made to Thornhill, ended up rippling over into book three.


After everything that happened to her and the people around her in the first book, what kind of Mac can we expect to see in book two?


In some ways, Mac is a little more open in Thornhill. Admitting she had feelings for Kyle—actually saying she loved him—was a huge emotional step for her. In book two, Mac is also forced to stop outrunning her childhood and deal with her past. In order to save the people she cares about, she'll have to put old grudges aside—something she's not sure whether or not she can do.


Can you tell us anything about camp Thornhill? Since Mac and Kyle are trapped inside, will we get to see other character POV’s from outside of the camp?


As tempting as it was to break POV—and there were times when it was very tempting—book two is told entirely from Mac's perspective. 


Thornhill isn't like other werewolf rehabilitation camps. While the other camps have no actual intention of rehabilitating the infected, life at Thornhill is actually designed around trying to help the inmates learn to control their wolves through a series of behavior modifications, self-control classes and harsh punishments for anyone who falls out of line.


Here's Mac's first look at the camp:


Like cattle, we were forced off the truck  and counted before guards in blue uniforms took over and herded us across an expanse of pavement. They carried guns that looked every bit as dangerous as the ones the Trackers were toting and made sure no one made a run for it.


Not that there was any place to run to.


We were in a courtyard behind a massive gate. A thirty-foot-tall fence topped with razor wire stretched out from either side of the entrance and disappeared into the dark. It was easy to imagine that it went on forever.


Serena tilted her head to the side. "It's electric," she murmured.   


Giveaway Details:

For First Place (International):
  • "Unlock the wolf within" Thornhill necklace (engraved stainless steel pendant on a silver-plated chain
  • Signed copy of Thornhill
  • Signed swag

Runners Up (International)
  • 3 runners up will get swag packs (stickers, bookmarks, signed bookplates)


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