Series Wrap-Up #Review–Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Contains many spoilers, so read at your own risk

This year, I am making a concerted effort to finish up series that I have started, and then allowed to wallow by the wayside.  I loved Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, but due to time constraints, wasn’t able to read the follow up, Through the Ever Night.  Then it was on sale for the Kindle (after I had already purchased the hardcover), and because I would be sitting on plane for a few hours, I snapped it up.  Reading it made me remember why I enjoyed the first book so much.  I love the characters, and enjoyed catching up with them.  Aria, Perry, Roar, Cinder – I even developed a new appreciation for those that I disliked at first.  Soren?  Who would have possible thought I could learn to like Soren?  He’s kind of the one that got this whole adventure started.  While there were still times that I wanted someone to clock him, he grew as a character and turned into someone I just might be able to like.  Maybe.

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Review: Resist by Sarah Crossan

 

Resist (Breathe)

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I love the concept of this series.  How awful would it be to live in a world where you had to pay for the very air you breathe?  Oxygen is metered and taxed at exorbitant rates meant to keep the haves in power and the have nots  gasping for breath.  It’s hard to stage a rebellion if the ruling class can just cut off your air.  Talk about taking the wind out of your sails!  They will do anything to keep control of the domed city they rule, even destroy the few trees that managed to thrive in the polluted landscape outside.  With no hope for change, the auxiliaries wheeze through one day after another, serving the wealthy and continuing to line their coffers with the taxes they pay to breathe.

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Interview with Tim Lebbon, Author of the Toxic City Series and Giveaway!

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Tim!  Welcome to the Manga Maniac Café.  Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Tim Lebbon] Writer, father, husband, Ironman, usually all at the same time.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your Toxic City series?

[Tim Lebbon] It’s set in a near-future world where London has been destroyed in a terrorist attack.  There are, so the authorities claim, no survivors, and the city is toxic.  But in truth, there are survivors.  And some of them are developing strange powers.  The military guards London … and they are also experimenting on those who have managed to survive. 

The novels follow a group of teenagers who infiltrate London in an effort to find missing family members.  But they find a lot more besides.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the series?

[Tim Lebbon] It’s a sort of big-scale siege story, and I love siege stories.  I also like dystopian fiction — I must have wiped out the world many times over.  The idea of a group of teens banding together to search for missing parents and siblings I found quite moving, and as I started to write the first book the characters quickly came to life.  They started to steer events, so much so that my ideas for books 2 and 3 changed drastically during the writing process.  That’s always a good sign!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Lucy-Anne?

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Interview with Angie Simbert, Author of The Meme Plague and Giveaway!

Please welcome Angie Simbert to the virtual offices this morning! Angie is here to talk about The Meme Plague, and she has an awesome giveaway for you to enter, too!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Angie Simbert] Unrepentant geek who writes semi-cerebral tomboy science fiction and fantasy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Meme Plague?

[Angie Simbert] This book picks up just as school starts, and there’s an election looming where the TFC candidate looks like a shoe-in to win. This is primarily Micah’s story, with the other main narrators being Nora and Velvet. He hears something important about his father that makes him investigate what happened back then. Meanwhile, he and the others are building something that might just thwart TFC’s plans.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Micah?

[Angie Simbert] Artistic, big-hearted, skater

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Micah had a theme song, what would it be?

[Angie Simbert] Something with a comic book theme. Maybe “Superman’s Song” by the Crash Test Dummies

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Micah is never without.

[Angie Simbert] His sketchpad.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Micah’s pocket?

[Angie Simbert] Food, money, sonic screwdriver.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was the most difficult aspect of writing this series?

[Angie Simbert]  The second book! When I wrote Memento Nora, I didn’t have a series in mind. Near the end of the revision / editing process of the first book, my editor scribbled a question in the margins that made me realize that there needed to be a second (and third) one. However, it took me several rewrites (including a major overhaul of the plot and the addition of new characters) to get the Forgetting Curve right.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Angie Simbert] Coffee, good chair, post-it notes

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Angie Simbert] Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane. I’m really liking the Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker, but I haven’t finished it yet.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Angie Simbert] · My author site: www.angiesmibert.com

· Series website: www.mementonora.com

· Twitter: @amsmibert

· Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MementoNora

· Tumblr: http://angiesmibert.tumblr.com/

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

 

Angie is proud to be partnering with Feeding America as part of the launch of THE MEME PLAGUE.  To learn more about this virtual food drive, please visit: http://help.feedingamerica.org/site/TR?pg=fund&fr_id=1140&pxfid=8980

 

About the book:

It begins with the name JONAS W. on the side of a cardboard coffin—right before the funeral procession blows up. Then it’s the whisper in the back of Micah’s head: Your father betrayed his country. You can’t always trust your own brain. Not when you have one of the mayor’s mandatory chips in your skull. Micah knows that the chip developed by TFC (the corporation that runs the Therapeutic Forgetting Clinics) does more than just erase unpleasant memories—it implants new ones. The MemeCast warns citizens to “fight the hack.”

Micah and his friends have each lost something—a parent, a relationship, a home, maybe even their own identities as they remembered them to be. But together, they can make sure some things are never forgotten.

Election Day is coming, and Mayor Mignon is set to be elected to Congress. It’s time to build a new electronic frontier, one that’s not controlled by the mayor and his cronies. It’s time to get out the vote and shake up the system. It’s time to finally say enough.

Buy links:

B & N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-meme-plague-angie-smibert/1115263660?ean=9781477816608

Publisher website:  http://www.apub.com/book-detail?asin=B00CEHQ484

Book Depository:  http://www.bookdepository.com/Meme-Plague-Angie-Smibert/9781477816608

Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781477816608

Book on Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14762237-the-meme-plague

Author on Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3399621.Angie_Smibert

About the author:

Angie Smibert was born in Blacksburg, a once sleepy college town in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. She grew up thinking she wanted to be a veterinarian; organic chemistry had other ideas. But she always had stories in her head. Eventually, after a few degrees and a few cool jobs—including a 10-year stint at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center—she wrote some of those stories down.

She’s published many short stories, for both adults and teens. (You can read some of them on her website.)

You can also catch her blogging as part of the LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY WRITERS.

Check out her Amazon Author Central page.

THE MEME PLAGUE Giveaway Details:

Angie is giving away the following prizes during the blog tour:

  • Grand prize: (1) Kindle (courtesy of Amazon)—the basic 6” display / wifi one.

  • (1)Complete set of the series. (MN, FC, MP). Signed if in US; unsigned and delivered through Book Depository if outside US.

  • (3) Meme Plague (hard copy) plus swag.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tiffany Truitt’s Back to Reading Giveaway!!

Tiffany Truitt is hosting a giveaway, and she has an excerpt to share from The Creators.  Check out the info below for all the details.

 

I am so excited to be stopping by today to announce my “Back to Reading,” contest. Like millions of teachers and students, I will be returning back to the classroom, and I thought this needed to be celebrated with a MAJOR book giveaway….and other fun goodies for all my fellow fans of Young Adult Literature.

What Do You Win: One lucky winner will receive copies of the following books (Only US residents need apply)-

You can win all of these!

How Do You Win: Simply stop by my website between Aug 23-26 to enter.

More Goodies: And that’s not all. Entangled Publishing and I are excited to announce that from August 23-26 books 1-2 of The Lost Souls Series (Chosen Ones and The Naturals) will be available for Kindle, Nook, and Apple for only 99 cents. That’s right. For less than a dollar, you can join the world of Tess and James before the final book in the trilogy hits store in April 2014.

Click the covers for the Amazon product pages:

Need more enticement? Below you will find an excerpt from book three, The Creators.

Excerpt:

Somewhere, James was just as trapped as I was.

I thought of the morning when we lay with each other, curled against one another, never beginning and never ending. How we’d stayed like that till the sun began to rise.

James had reached down and pulled me off the ground. He wore a satisfied grin on his face. “Someone is mighty proud of himself,” I teased.

He laughed. It bounced through the forest, calling it awake. Readying it for the day. “I’m just insanely happy.”

I stood on the tips of my toes and kissed him gently on his scar. “I’m insanely happy too,” I whispered.

James looked down at me, and I was lost all over again. I would never tire of looking into those mismatched eyes. They didn’t make him different. They made him him. He chuckled as he reached over and pulled a leaf from my tangled hair. “They’ll know just by looking at you that we’ve been up to no good.”

            “No good?” I purred. “I thought it was very, very good.”

James growled and lifted me into the air. I wrapped my legs around his waist as he pressed his lips hungrily against mine. I moved my hands to his hair, curling my fingers into it, attaching myself to him. I never wanted to let go. Every part of me ached to be touched by him, and every part of me ached to touch him right back.

            “Do you know how much I love you?” he breathed into the base of my neck. His lips fluttered against my skin.

I nodded, kissing the top of his head. “As much as I love you.”

James slowly put my feet back on the ground. He cradled my face in his hands. “That will never change. No matter what.”

I looked deep into his eyes. “I know.” Because I did. It was one of life’s few assurances. I would always love James.

I pressed my lips once again to his scar. “I adore this scar,” I whispered, unable to hide the smile that seemed etched on my face all morning.

            “You’re enough to drive a man crazy,” he said The tremble of his voice caused my toes to curl. I wanted him again. And again. And again.

My fingers traced the waist of his pants. “Tonight?” I said, knowing full well it was a promise that I probably wouldn’t be able to keep.

James grabbed my hand and brought it to his lips. “Tonight,” he echoed.

As the sun climb higher into the sky, I knew our moment was coming to an end. James reached down and placed his hand over my heart. “Thank you,” he said.

            “For what?” I asked, my voice choked with emotion.

            “For everything.”

As the memory slipped away, I looked back up at the night sky. Praying and hoping that James knew how much I wanted to thank him too.

For everything.

Cover Shot! The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café.  I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share.  More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents.  There is an allure to a beautiful cover.  Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

The cover for Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse gets a big ole “Holy CRAP that is a gorgeous cover!” from me.  The premise looks promising, too, but, man oh man, that cover is going to be hard to live up to.    What do you think of it?

In stores March 2014

 

 

In the tradition of Kristin Cashore and Cassandra Clare comes this brilliant, unputdownable, star-crossed romance about the curse of winning.

Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: join the military or get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel’s real passion is music.Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave with a talent for singing, at auction. It’s not long before she finds herself falling in love with Arin, and he seems to feel the same for her. But Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for Arin is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart

Review: Solstice by P J Hoover

 

Title:  Solstice

Author: P J Hoover

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Piper’s world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy the Earth. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth—her very identity….


Review:

When I discovered that Solstice was a post-apocalyptic novel with Greek gods, I was all over it.  I love mythology, and the thought of Greek gods meddling with human affairs during an environmental disaster sounded so cool,  I couldn’t wait to sit down with this book.  Ultimately, though, I was disappointed for one main reason -  I didn’t like the love triangle, and found it trying, to say the least.  Technically I guess it wasn’t even a love triangle, because Reese uses magic to get Piper to love him, so she’s basically a mindless love zombie whenever he’s around.  His scent enchants her, making her believe he’s the sweetest boyfriend in town, which is quite a feat considering that he’s a god of war.  Though I guess if you can fall for a god of the dead, you can certainly fall for a guy who lives for conflict, warfare, and bloodshed.

Piper is a high school student in Austen, amid the Global Heating Crisis.  Temperatures are far beyond the red zone, rain is rare, and deadly heat bubbles threaten to kill thousands.   Raised by her overprotective mother, Piper yearns for her 18th birthday so she can get out from under her mom’s suffocating control.  Homeschooled until recently, they have spent her entire life moving from town to town, hiding from her father, a terrorist.  Her mom refuses to tell her anything more about her father, and she seems to be terrified of him, so Piper doesn’t push the issue.  Much.  When handsome Shayne enrolls in her school, Piper discovers that everything she has believed about herself is a lie, and that her mother has never been honest with her. 

While I loved the premise of Solstice, I didn’t care for the execution.  Most of the major characters knew the truth behind Piper’s background, and none of them would clue her in.  I know, I know, Shayne was bound by a curse to not tell her or they would be condemned to the worst pit of Hell, but still. Every time it came up, it seemed like he was saying Neener, neener, I know what’s going on and you don’t, AKA, I can’t tell you the truth because it’s too dangerous.  Really?  Shayne is a Greek god, for cripes sake, surely he could come up with some clever way to clue her in without breaking the rules of the curse.  Instead, off Piper goes, into mortal danger, to find the answers for herself. 

The other sticky point for me was Reece.  He’s an evil guy, and for the most part, he doesn’t even try to pretend to be nice.  He knows what’s going on, and since it’s in his best interest to keep Piper ignorant of her past, he obviously does his best to keep her that way.  When she repeatedly resists the spell he casts over her to make her love him, he resorts to violence and attempted rape instead.  Ick – not a favorite plot device, so your mileage will vary here.

As far as my feelings for Piper, I liked her a lot.  She wasn’t content to just sit around and be a brainless puppet like everyone expected.  When she wasn’t getting any answers from the people who supposedly loved her, she was taking the bull by the horns and trying to find the answers herself.  This, of course, put her in terrible danger, which gave Shayne the opportunity to prove how brave he was by saving her. And still not telling her the truth. Ugh.

While I found Solstice to be a mixed bag, the beginning and the end made it hard to put the book down.  It’s the relationships that I didn’t care for, but if manipulative relationships don’t bother you, you should enjoy this book more than I did.

Grade:  C+/B-

Review copy provided by publisher