Friday, January 14, 2011

Hop & Follow Fridays!

To join Parajunkee's new feature and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and any one else you want to follow on the list.
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers.
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
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6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers.
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Today's Question:
What makes up your non-human family?

Define "family". If by "family" you mean the animals that live with me, I have three inside with a stray who literally lives on my two-story deck that I feed and take care of. However, if by "family", you mean all of the animals that I love and take care of ... well, I claim my parents two dogs as well.

The above pictures are my immediate family. I have two spoiled chihuahua children - a female (black & white) named Dilla and a male (brindle) named Optimus Prime. The cat is Stormy, my cat that I brought in when I moved in with my husband. He's spoiled beyond the limits of spoiled, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I also have a stray cat who looks identical to my tuxedo cat outside, but getting a picture of him is nearly impossible as it takes me almost an hour of patience just to wait him out and actually pet him. His name is Timber.

Then, there's my other two babies. We got Taz (tan) from my sister-in-law (who I got Dilla from) four years ago when my mom found out she had cirrhosis. With Dad working and me over an hour away, we knew she needed a companion. I was thrilled because I had been around Taz since he was a wee pup. And we're still close. He practically claims me as his and stays by my side when I get there up until the moment that I leave. I guess you could say he's my non-human brother. Mimi (black & tan) is more like the non-human bitchy sister I never asked for, but I have any way. She went from being an experiment to permanent resident last year. She belonged to an old woman that fed her all day and never exercised her. In doing so, Mimi gained a huge amount of weight and lost most usage of her legs for lack of using them. They took her to my mom to get her exercise. It was successful. So successful in fact that the old woman decided to give Mimi to my mom so she wouldn't go back to her old state. She's still shaky on her legs, but she's lost a ton of weight and walks around more now than ever.

So, those are my babies. How about your non-human family??

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thoughts on Thursday (1)

Today's Topic
What made you start your book blog?
- Aleetha

If you've followed this blog long enough, then you know the main reason. Plain and simple: my husband was tired of hearing about every single book that I read. I've always had this reading obsession, but it seemed to get a little worse when I moved out here. Why? I'm an hour and a half away from my hometown, my closest friends live there plus others are over three hours away from me, and I don't know a lot of people from here. Also, I'm a homebody - especially when it's cold out. I like it this way most of the time. However, once I finish a book ... I like to talk about it. My husband lasted through a few discussions. When that wore out, I moved on to his sister - which, seeing as how we all worked together, meant that my husband STILL had to hear about the books. Ironically, this is what caused him to pick up and read the Twilight series. After, he tried to read the House of Night series ... and that's when things went bad. I think it was meant to happen. His sister no longer worked with us. We worked together most of the time without anyone else. This is when HoN came up. He tried to read my books ... and got so ticked off at the protagonist, Zoey Redbird, during the second book that he hurled it across the room and swore to never read books like that again.

From then on out, I was on my own. He no longer took any interest in the books that I read - not that he did any way, Twilight was just one of those once-in-a-lifetime lucky guesses. I went looking online and started looking at Amazon and Goodreads as possible outlets, but I felt as though I wanted a little more than that. Then, on some sporadic Google search, I came across my very first book review blog (which I think was The Neverending Shelf). From there, I saw links to more ... and my little obsession started. I started a blog, but kind of got flustered and didn't know where to take it so it went stale for several months. All the time I was away, I thought about it. One day, I decided to give it a shot again .... and here we are, a little over eight months later and I'm even more obsessed. I still get flustered, kind of wing it half the time, and I'm always looking for different things to put on here. BUT I still love it and am extremely devoted to not just my blog, but also my followers, authors, books and publishers alike. Even though I don't get paid for it and it's just a hobby, it's something that I treasure and I can see myself doing for a long time.

So, what about you guys? How did you get started book blogging??

Have a topic for Thoughts on Thursday? Be sure to fill out this form so it can be featured!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Early Review: Wither, by Lauren Destefano

Wither (Chemical Garden #1)
Lauren Destefano
Hardcover, 356 pages
Simon & Schuster
March 22, 2011

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

I'll be honest … I'm not a big fan of dystopian books. There are exceptions of course but as a whole, they're not part of my preferred reading lists. Saying that, I will go ahead and say that Wither is already pretty high up on that list of exceptions.

This story literally had me by the heartstrings from the very beginning and didn't let me go until the very bitter end. Now, I want to know more. There are so many questions that I have that I am assuming at this point in time will be answered in the upcoming books of the trilogy, so I'm not holding any marks against it until then.

There were different stories weaved into the novel so intricately that none ever seemed out of place or misguiding in any way. Rhine is not only telling her story in the present as a sister wife, but you also get glimpses of her past as she tries so desperately to hold onto her memories of where she came from so she can keep her goal in mind – which is always to get back to her twin brother. Then there's the part of Rhine who is trying to win the favor of her husband, House Governor Linden, so she can gain more freedoms to help in her plan of escape. I must say that I hold a soft spot in my heart for Linden. He seems so innocent and sweet that, at times, I was like Rhine who was won over and thought on occasion that her life now wasn't so bad if she ran out of time and died. Gabriel, I like but I'd also like to know more about him. We know he's sweet and has feelings for Rhine, but he's not given enough “screen time” for my liking, which I hope will change in the upcoming books. The sister wives were also a good addition to the story. I love the friendship that bloomed between Jenna and Rhine throughout the novel. Jenna is that girl that you definitely want on your side, and the girl who I'd say you'd want because she's a fierce friend in her own ways. Cecily... is an iffy for me. I love that she developed and matured in the story. However, it really disturbed me how willing she was to be the perfect wife … at only thirteen. What she goes through at her age still nags at me, and leaves me feeling a little sick. Like I said, she matured through her experiences and I admire her choice at the end of the book – but I can't say she stole my heart like the other characters, though I'm prone to say it has a lot to do with her age and maturity level as well.

Dystopian novels some times disturb me. This one was the same way. I'm 27 and I feel like I've barely experienced life. Here, in this world in the novel, girls die at 20 and boys at 25. I couldn't imagine being born into that world and really not having the chance to live. With that being said, Lauren Destefano did an incredible job at building her world and her characters. Although most of this novel is set in the house that was made to be Rhine's home, there's too many things going on for it to ever drift into a boring story. There's always something going on and, during the parts that may lull, there are stories of Rhine's past to fill in that void.

I devoured this book in one sitting. While the ending seemed pretty perfect for the novel, it definitely leaves a lot of questions to be answered. But like I said, I'm sure those will be answered in the future books. It doesn't take away from this novel at all and I was satisfied with how this one wrapped up. I'm looking forward to the upcoming novels in the series.

Source: ARC, Publisher

Avg. Rating: 4.0

Waiting on Wednesday

Kristi Cook

Waiting Until ...
February 22, 2011

One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.

But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.

Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Across The Universe!

Today is 1/11/11 ... which means it's the release of Across The Universe by debut author Beth Revis! Exciting, right? Wanna know what's more exciting than that? The launch of the website, along with all the goodies, that I get to tell you about!

First, a word from the author!

Now, let's move on to the ship! There are several layers to the Godspeed. I can tell you that, if I was on the ship, the Feeder level would be my favorite. Why? Isn't it obvious ... it's most like Earth! I think I'd get extremely homesick real fast, so having the fields, livestock and buildings would definitely help to remind me of home. If you'd like to explore Godspeed, click the image below to be directed to it!

Would you like more information on Across the Universe and Beth Revis? Make sure to watch the trailer below and follow the links to all of the information to be found on the author, the book, and even the publisher.

Beth Revis


Penguin Teen Website


Pretty cool, right? BUT THERE'S MORE! One of the most exciting things that I get to tell you is about Today, they are posting an exclusive 111 page excerpt from Across The Universe today that you can read for absolutely free! Be sure to check out the official website today between 11:11am EST and 11:11pm EST - after that, it's gone!

Enjoy! And be sure to support author Beth Revis by buying a copy of her book today!!

Author Interview: Beth Revis

Beth Revis

Website | Blog | Twitter

Across The Universe [Buy]

Let's start with the person behind the book. Can you introduce yourself to everyone?

*waves hello!* Hi! I'm Beth! I blog often and tweet too much and Facebook too little. I write books about stars and evil leaders and murderers and I often blow up and/or kill characters.

How did your interest in writing begin?

I've always enjoyed writing, but never believed I could make a living off of it. I would write stories for fun as a kid--the girl I sat with on the bus and I would come up with adventures involving unicorns and brave heroines and Robin Hood and such, and eventually I started writing longer works. I've never been good at short stories--they always end up as novels.

Do you find anything particularly challenging when writing a book?

The muddy middle. I usually know how a book ends and have a solid beginning, but the middle is often excruciating.

Do you have a favorite author? If so, do you think they influenced your writing in any way?

CS Lewis is my favorite author of all time. I remember reading Chronicles of Narnia sitting under the stairs at my local library and realizing that there was more to the story that just a lion and a witch--that sparked a love of literature that I never lost.

Your debut novel is Across The Universe. Can you tell us a little about it?

Short version: It's a murder mystery in space!

Longer version: When Amy wakes up early from cryogenic freezing, she must figure out who of the living crew is unplugging the other frozens before he kills her parents. She has no one to turn to, except maybe the young, mysterious future leader of the ship....

It's coming out today! How do you feel now that the release date is upon you?

I fluctuate with euphoric giddiness and stomach-dropping panic.

On my blog, I did a poll of the most highly anticipated YA books of 2011 and, out of over 50 books nominated, you're in the top 3. How does that make you feel?

AWESOME!!! I *ADORE* my readers and am thrilled that so many people are eager for the book!

Are any of your characters based on people that you know?

One--the side character, Harley. He's a painter, and based on a student of mine, a girl named Charly who painted my podium while I was her teacher.

Is there a message in your novel that you'd like the reader to grasp?

There are several, but I think overall I want people to seek the truth of the world and not settle for lies, and remember the value of hope.

What is your life like outside of writing?

Since I recently quit my job as a teacher, I have no life outside of writing!

I read somewhere you're a big fan of Dr. Who. How did you feel when David Tennant announced he was leaving? Do you think Matt Smith is living up to the legacy left by David?

Oh, I could write PAGES on this. My favorite Doctor BY FAR is David Tennant--he was brilliant and perfect for the role, and he will always be my favorite Doctor. That said, I think Matt Smith is doing a good job--his Christmas special, in particular, was well done (I love when he comes out of the chimney, and how he noticed the man didn't hit the boy). But really, it's Amy who's carrying the show right now, not the Doctor. She's a great companion. I sort of wish David Tennant's doctor had met and fallen in love with Amy instead of Rose--Rose was never good enough for the Doctor, in my opinion.

(Also: I *love* that Amy in DOCTOR WHO is a spunky red-head. I wrote ACROSS THE UNIVERSE before that Amy started, although, of course, it won't come out until after--but I do adore the connection.)

Lastly, is there anything you'd like to say to the readers?

I just want to say thank you! The online community has been great, and I adore you all!!!

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

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