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

Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

 

Title: The Testing

Author:  Joelle Charbonneau

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust


Review:

When I first started reading The Testing back in April, I just couldn’t engage with the plot.  I set it aside, thinking that I just wasn’t in the mood for a dystopian adventure.  After a few months, I picked it back up, and I’m glad that I did.  Though the book is very reminiscent of Matched and The Hunger Games, I found it an engaging read in its own right – it just took me a while to figure that out.

Cia Vale has been accepted for Testing, and if she passes, she’ll be attending classes at the University.  This is a dream come true for her, and she has worked hard her entire life to earn a chance to go to the University.  She is bewildered and hurt when her father tells her she shouldn’t have been chosen, and she doesn’t believe him when he implies that there is something more sinister than just academic testing going on in the capital, Tosu City.  He tells her that he and her old teacher worked hard to ensure that none of the students from their small colony were accepted for The Testing.   Though his memories have been wiped of his own Testing experiences, he is plagued by nightmares of the ordeal, and he never wanted his children to suffer through the Test.  Cia dismisses his warnings at first, but as she begins her journey to Tosu City, things don’t add up, and she begins to believe her father is correct.  She soon realizes that his advice is something that she can no longer ignore.  Trust no one.

There are a few things about YA dystopian novels that I have a hard time buying into, and I think it’s because I have read so many now.  The first being – what is wrong with all of these adults?  The leaders of these bleak societies think nothing of their children murdering each other to get ahead in life.  Really?  The United Commonwealth has suffered the loss of countless citizens during a horrific period of war and environmental catastrophe, and they are willing to weed out the most cunning and brutal young adults to become the next leaders of the government?  Isn’t this part of the reason that the planet was inches away from total destruction?  There are 108 students in Cia’s Testing class.  108!  Only 20 will be allowed entrance to the University.  While we don’t know for certain what happens to the students who survive all four stages of the Test, but aren’t chosen for the Univesity, we do know what countless numbers of them were killed or murdered during the Tests.  It’s to the point now that I have to be in the correct frame of mind to enjoy stories that revolve around kids being victimized like this.  At least in The Hunger Games the brutality against most of the populace had a purpose, and that was to keep the downtrodden so frightened they would never rebel again.  In The Testing, the candidates who survive have their memories of the Tests wiped, so I’m confused about WHY all of these adults sit idly by while their charges slaughter each other.  These are the brightest and the best that their society has to offer.  I hope it’s explained in the next book, because that was the major stumbling point that kept me from completely enjoying this story.

What’s the second thing that drives me nuts? They talk about food. A lot.  More than I do, and I am a big foodie.  Reading these survival type stories makes me hungry. Except for the possum. Not so sure I would ever want to eat that.

I did love the in your face narrative.  Cia thinks, at first, that it’s a huge honor to vie for a place in the University.   She wants to help revitalize the country, which has been decimated by warfare.  Like the humans, all life in the Commonwealth teetered on the brink of extinction.  Water sources have been polluted and rendered undrinkable, animals have been mutated into scary monsters, and plant life struggled to survive in the poisoned ground.  Cia’s dedication to assisting with the healing of the land is one of her defining characteristics, and it’s an easy one to like.  It keeps her going, even when everything else has become a nightmare for her.  She also resists acting like an animal during the final, deadly stage of The Test.  She was raised to see the value in all life, and she has a hard time killing anything.  To give her a personal challenge, she is constantly threatened with death, so she must re-evaluate her personal ethics.  I loved this about the story, too.  Even though she is good and just, she doesn’t hesitate to defend herself or her friends.  She doesn’t sit around and wait for some guy to save her, either.  Most of the time, she is the one doing the saving.  I thought that Cia kicked butt, and I am curious to see what happens in the next book, when she is in, presumably, less harrowing  surroundings.

With interesting world-building and a heroine who is not afraid to take charge and control of her own destiny, The Testing is a hard book to put down.  I thought that the pacing of the 2nd half of the book was  much better than the first, and read most of it in one sitting.  I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book!

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Shaunta Grimes, Author of Viral Nation

Please welcome our special guest Shaunta Grimes!  Shaunta is the author of Viral Nation, a book that I am dying to read because protagonist Clover is autistic and because that super awesome dog on the cover.  Please check out what Shaunta has to say about her new book.

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

[Shaunta Grimes] Shaunta Grimes has done a lot of things and been a lot of places, but she always comes back to storytelling.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Viral Nation?

[Shaunta Grimes] Viral Nation is a YA science fiction story about a group of kids who accidentally start a second American Revolution. It has a time-traveling submarine, the Ponderosa Ranch, Lake Tahoe, and a casino called The Dinosaur.

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

[Shaunta Grimes] When I started writing Viral Nation, the US economy was at its worst point of the current recession, gas prices were soaring over $4 a gallon for the first time, people were losing their houses all over the place. The US was involved in two wars, people were scared about the possibility of the bird flu becoming a serious problem, the weather was doing weird things. I wanted to write a story about a collapsed society from the point of view of the young people who inherit it.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write about a really interesting character who happened to have autism, and that I wanted to explore the experience of being the sibling of a person who has autism. I was inspired by the relationship between my two oldest kids when I was writing Clover and West.

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

[Shaunta Grimes] brilliant, awkward, freak

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

[Shaunta Grimes] The one song that I listened to over and over again while I was writing Clover’s story was “Raise Your Glass” by Pink. I love how it celebrates being different. But, I think that if Clover had a theme song all her own, it would be “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keyes.

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

[Shaunta Grimes] I had a hard time choosing between her dog, Mango, and her mother’s old red Chucks. In the end, it’s Mango. He’s an extension of her.

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

[Shaunta Grimes] Anything slimy, lipstick, a cell phone.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Shaunta Grimes] Amazing stories. I read a lot. My favorite authors are Octavia Butler, Neil Gaiman, Nancy Farmer, Paolo Bacigalupi . . . I could go on and on. I also go to a lot of movies and I watch television to feed my addiction to stories. I try to read, watch movies, and even watch TV like a writer. I look for what’s working in a show, for instance, that keeps me coming back week after week. If a movie keeps me watching without even noticing that time is passing, I try to figure out what made it special.

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

[Shaunta Grimes] A notebook, a good pen, and a computer. I never revise while I’m writing a first draft, but I keep a notebook of notes for later editing.

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

[Shaunta Grimes] Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Wreckers. What an amazing story.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Shaunta Grimes] When I was in the sixth grade, I took the city bus a few blocks to my local library and checked out Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. The librarian made me prove I could read it before she let me take it home. It was my first real trip out of the children’s library. I still remember the excitement I felt when I read it. I have always been a reader, so I didn’t really need to be turned on to it. There was something special about Scarlet O’Hara, though.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Shaunta Grimes] I love thrift shopping. I’m slightly addicted to finding vintage stuff.

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

[Shaunta Grimes] They can reach me at shauntagrimes@gmail.com. They can also find me at www.shauntagrimes.wordpress.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order Viral Nation from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below

 

About the book:

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever

Waiting on Wednesday–Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I’m waiting to read Through the Ever Night until Into the Still Blue, the last book in Veronica Rossi’ trilogy is released in January 2014.  Can hardly wait!

Cover image from Goodreads.

 

 

Not available yet

 

What are you waiting on?

Waiting on Wednesday–All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

 

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I love time travel books, and All Our Yesterdays by Cristing Terrill looks fantastic.  I love the cover, too!

 

"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.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

 

What are you waiting on?