Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

14th Nov 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey CoulthurstOf Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: November 22nd 2016
Pages: 400
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, LGBT, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
2.5 Stars

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

Of Fire and Stars was one of my most anticipated books of the year; it sounded amazing and looked amazing! I was overjoyed to get a copy at BEA. And even though the world-building and characters were fairly cliché, I was enjoying the first half; it reminded me of The Girl of Fire and Thorns. I liked Mare the most and liked how her relationship with Denna was developing. I was even intrigued with the mystery and political subplot even if the Directorate was totally useless. I couldn’t stop reading.

*Slight spoilers ahead*

Unfortunately it fell apart for me in the last 120 pages. All of a sudden, the pace went at breakneck speed because the story had so much to cram into the end. I’m certain this will be a book with a sneaky sequel. The search for the spy and the dagger was basically dropped; I was left wanting so much more in general. I wanted to know MORE about Affinities, MORE about the different cultures, and I wanted a more natural progression of Mare and Denna’s feelings.

It was so abrupt, from stolen glances and blushing faces to declarations of love and “can’t live without you.” I could feel their emotions in the first half; once they admitted their feelings, it was a lot of telling. I was disappointed to find that Denna was awfully selfish while Mare was somewhat immature. No one else had much personality to speak of.

At the end, I just wanted to finish the book. It didn’t have enough depth for me and had some terrible dialogue in the last 30 pages. I was sincerely happy to see two princesses in love, but I wanted to feel their love and I wanted their story to be more compelling in its other aspects. (Side note: the German cover is so gorgeous I’m tempted to buy it despite everything.)

This is difficult for me because I want this book to do well. Diversity in fiction is important and I’d really really love more f/f fantasy and more LGBTQ fantasy in general, especially from #ownvoices authors. Maybe Of Fire and Stars will work for some readers, but it was mostly wasted potential for me.

Have you read Of Fire and Stars yet? What did you think?

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

30th Mar 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff GarvinSymptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
Narrator: Tom Phelan
Published by Balzer + Bray, HarperAudio
Pub Date: February 2nd 2016
Pages: 352
Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
Format: Audiobook | Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is…Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

If I could, I’d put this book in the hands of every person, but teens especially. Symptoms of Being Human was educational without being preachy. It was relatable and funny and sad and really, really great. I loved how while you wonder if Riley was born boy or girl, by never revealing that to us, it drives the point Riley is trying to make: we’re all human and complicated and it’s never binary. Trying to figure it out is pointless, so just go with the flow and enjoy Riley’s story and message.

This is Jeff Garvin’s debut novel and he did an amazing job. The book had great characters that were well developed. There were moments where I was laughing out loud, then there’s those where I cried (at work, no less!). And there were the moments that made me angry. Intolerance is one of those things that just makes my blood boil. And not just tolerance for the LGBTQ community but race and economic status and just all the bullshit people do to others to make them feel OTHER and that they don’t belong here. I wish kindness and fairness ruled this earth but sometimes all we have the power to change is ourselves, so let’s be kind to one another!

“You know what’s messed up? People tolerate secrecy. I see it in my life. It’s like, it’s ok to have gay feelings or trans feelings or gender fluid feelings–as long as you keep them inside. As long as you don’t “act” on them. Whatever that means. People don’t condemn you for being trans. They condemn you for embracing it.”

GO OUT AND READ THIS BOOK! Or better yet, listen to the audiobook which was incredible.

Audiobook Notes

I think part of the reason this book had the effect it did on me was the amazing narration by Tom Phelan. Tom got the tone just right, but more importantly, he got Riley right. Perfect even!

Also! Pretty cool tidbit: Tom Phelan is probably best known for playing Cole, a transgender teen, on ABC’s The Fosters, a show I LOVE. (FYI – His character on that show was really moving. Check it out if you haven’t yet!)

 

About Jeff Garvin

Jeff Garvin

Before becoming a writer, Jeff Garvin acted in films and TV and was the front man of a nationally touring rock band. He has a BFA in film from Chapman University and lives in Southern California, surrounded by adorable, shedding beasts. Symptoms of Being Human is his first novel.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Heather Demetrios’s Ten Random Facts About BLOOD PASSAGE | Blog Tour + Giveaway!

1st Mar 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Blog Tours, Giveaways, Guest Posts

Heather Demetrios’s Ten Random Facts About BLOOD PASSAGE | Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Heather Demetrios’s Ten Random Facts About BLOOD PASSAGE | Blog Tour + Giveaway!Blood Passage by Heather Demetrios
Series: Dark Caravan Cycle #2
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: March 1st 2016
Buy the book! | Goodreads

A jinni who's lost everything.

A master with nothing to lose.

A revolutionary with everything to gain.

When Nalia arrives in Morocco to fulfil Malek's third and final wish she's not expecting it to be easy. Though Nalia is free from the shackles that once bound her to Malek as his slave, she's in more danger than ever before.

Meanwhile, Malek's past returns with a vengeance as he confronts the darkness within himself, and Raif must decide what's more important: his love for Nalia, or his devotion to the cause of Arjinnan freedom.

Set upon by powerful forces that threaten to break her, Nalia encounters unexpected allies and discovers that her survival depends on the very things she thought made her weak. From the souks of Marrakech to the dunes of the Sahara, The Arabian Nights come to life in this dazzling second installment of the Dark Passage Cycle.

Happy March 1st, friends! I’m so happy to be taking part in Heather Demetrios’s blog tour for BLOOD PASSAGE today!

Ten Random Facts About BLOOD PASSAGE

1. It takes place in Morocco.

2. I travelled to Morocco to do research – I slept in the Sahara, went to the souks—all of it.

3. Some of this book takes places in a cave and I checked a gorgeous one in Virginia called Lorraine Cavern.

4. This was the book I was the most scared to write. I didn’t want it to be a boring middle book. I’m really proud of it.

5. When I was in Morocco, my driver told me stories about the jinn, which are a big part of Islamic culture.

6. I have two rings with an eight-pointed star, just like Solomon’s Sigil in the book.

7. The cover for the series changed at the last minute, so Blood Passage has a different cover and came out five months later than it was scheduled to.

8. A lot of the lore comes from an amazing book that has helped me so much with the series: Legends of the Fire Spirits, which has jinn mythology from around the world.

9. I’ll be launching the book with Danielle Paige at Books of Wonder in Manhattan– her last book in the Dorothy Must Die series comes out just a few weeks after Blood Passage.

10. When writing the book, I burned Moroccan amber oil and listened to a lot of Ravi and Anoushka Shankar’s music.

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

WEEK ONE
February 22: Such A Novel Idea REVIEW
February 23: A Dream Within A Dream 10’s LIST
City of Books REVIEW
February 24: The Cover Contessa EXCERPT
February 25: Adventures of A Book Junkie INTERVIEW
Wholly-Books REVIEW
February 26: Falling For YA MUSIC PLAYLIST
Bookaholics Anonymous REVIEW

WEEK TWO
February 29: Swoony Boys Podcast REVIEW
March 1: Gone With The Words 10 RANDOM THINGS
What Sarah Read REVIEW
March 2: Zach’s YA Reviews REVIEW
March 3: Curling Up WIth A Good Book REVIEW
Wishful Endings REVIEW
March 4: Bookfever REVIEW

 

 

About Heather Demetrios

Heather Demetrios

When she’s not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real. Her other novels include Exquisite Captive, the first in the Dark Caravan Cycle fantasy series, and I’ll Meet You There. She is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for underserved youth.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Waiting on Wednesday: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

8th Jul 2015 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2015, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

Waiting on Wednesday: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle ModestoRevenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: February 2nd 2016
Buy the book! | Goodreads

The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.

Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.

But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.

This thrilling novel is a remarkable tale of danger and discovery, from debut author Michelle Modesto.

 

YES. Cover, synopsis, it’s all working for me. 

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan

22nd Dec 2014 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2014, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: The Dolls by Kiki SullivanThe Dolls by Kiki Sullivan
Series: Dolls #1
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: September 2nd 2014
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback | Source: Library
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
2 Stars

Eveny Cheval just moved back to Louisiana after spending her childhood in New York with her aunt Bea. Eveny hasn’t seen her hometown since her mother’s suicide fourteen years ago, and her memories couldn’t have prepared her for what she encounters. Because pristine, perfectly manicured Carrefour has a dark side full of intrigue, betrayal, and lies—and Eveny quickly finds herself at the center of it all.

Enter Peregrine Marceau, Chloe St. Pierre, and their group of rich, sexy friends known as the Dolls. From sipping champagne at lunch to hooking up with the hottest boys, Peregrine and Chloe have everything—including an explanation for what’s going on in Carrefour. And Eveny doesn’t trust them one bit.

But after murder strikes and Eveny discovers that everything she believes about herself, her family, and her life is a lie, she must turn to the Dolls for answers. Something’s wrong in paradise, and it’s up to Eveny, Chloe, and Peregrine to save Carrefour and make it right.

Eveny is moving back to her home town Carrefour, Louisiana with her Aunt Bea who suddenly decides to leave New York. Eveny hasn’t been in Carrefour since her mother’s suicide when she was a child. Carrefour is a small town with many strange quirks, you need a key just to get into the town, the weather is always perfect, and The Dolls seem to make all of the rules. While settling into the town Eveny starts to discover many things she didn’t know about her family.

This town is just weird. The rich side of town is perfect, perfect weather, perfect houses, and the poor side of town is falling apart. The people all seem to be in on the secret and okay with the way things are. Then there are The Dolls, Peregrine and Chloe. They are two gorgeous and glamorous girls who are selfish, shallow and happen to rule the town. All they care about is getting what they want and they have no concern for how their actions affect the people around them.

The romance was not my cup of tea, it moved way too quickly and was hard for me to believe. Caleb and Eveny barely spoke to each other and then all of a sudden they’re in love. There’s no build up, no connection or understanding just instalove that left me feeling very confused and underwhelmed.

The amount of family secrets that Evenly has is ridiculous. It seems like every other chapter there is a big reveal about Eveny’s past that everyone knew about but her. She gets upset and confronts everyone, has them promise that they aren’t keeping anything else from her, and then two chapters later another secret comes out. This goes on throughout the entire book and I don’t understand why Eveny is so surprised every time.

Aunt Bea is another strange character in this book. She starts off as a supportive parent and just disappears when they get to Carrefour. She knows that Evenly will learn a lot of things about their family history, but instead of helping her teenage niece she gets angry when Evenly ask questions and is no help at all.

I wish I had more nice things to say about this book, but it just wasn’t for me at all. Half the book was describing the girls looks, wardrobe, cars, and every other luxury item you can think of. I wanted more magic and intrigue instead I got a bunch of flat characters who happen to do magic.

 

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Tease by Amanda Maciel – Blog Tour

27th Apr 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Blog Tours, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Tease by Amanda Maciel – Blog Tour

Review: Tease by Amanda Maciel – Blog TourTease by Amanda Maciel
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: April 29th 2014
Pages: 336
Format: ARC | Source: Blog Tour
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

From debut author Amanda Maciel comes a provocative and unforgettable novel, inspired by real-life incidents, about a teenage girl who faces criminal charges for bullying after a classmate commits suicide.

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

With its powerful narrative, unconventional point of view, and strong anti-bullying theme, this coming-of-age story offers smart, insightful, and nuanced views on high school society, toxic friendships, and family relationships.

Supports the Common Core State Standards.

 

Tease by Amanda Maciel was such an interesting perspective, inside the head of the bully. It was a thought-provoking, uncomfortable, and challenging read for sure! It was also unputdownable for me, in the way you can’t make yourself look away from something awful about to happen. It was good read!

Amanda Maciel writes a character so challenging in Sara because her actions against Emma are just awful, but then you see her at home with her two little brothers and how caring she is with them and you forget for a moment how awful she acted. Sara is also kind of a whiny brat, she’s childish, and for a long time she refuses to accept any responsibility when it comes to Emma. All these things didn’t make me dislike her as much as I just felt sorry for her. She just seemed so lost and unhappy. Her boyfriend treated her badly too. Those times they were together just broke my heart. And her best friend was THE WORST. Just THE WORST.

There were a lot of things that made me reflect about my time in high school. I think I saw a lot of myself in Sara. Not the bullying parts, but the difficulty in being myself no matter what, and having the bad boyfriends, having those friends that brought me down instead of lifting me up. And I saw myself in Emma too. Her wanting to be friends with the in-crowd but only being able to find an in through the boys in the group. Being called awful names because of boys even though we were just friends. Jealousy in high school can cause so much pain. I definitely felt it, both the jealousy and pain. Thankfully things never escalated beyond the name calling, which was always behind my back anyway.

Basically, if you’re a girl, you’re most likely to relate to SOMETHING in this book. And if you’re a boy, it will hopefully make you realize how damaging your actions and non-actions can be. This makes it a great read because it can reach many, no matter what side you’re on.

But back to the story…

I thought the ending showed everyone’s true colors. It showed that people can change for the better in the face of tragedy, some more than others, but it certainly makes an impact.

Amanda says in her author’s note that one of the reasons she wrote this book was because she’d like to believe that girls like Sara aren’t vicious enough to bully a peer in hopes they kill themselves. I’d like to believe this too.

I wish bullying would go away altogether. It breaks my heart! And it breaks my heart for my daughter, who already has to deal with mean girls in the 6th grade. Lets just love and encourage and embrace. And lets teach our kids to love and encourage and embrace.

 

About Amanda Maciel

Amanda Maciel has worked in book publishing since graduating from Mount Holyoke College and is currently a senior editor at Scholastic. She spends her free time writing, running, or riding the subway with her young son. She lives with him, her husband, and their cat, Ruby, in Brooklyn, New York. Tease is her first novel.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

26th Mar 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie MurphySide Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: March 18th 2014
Pages: 336
Format: eARC | Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

 

Side Effects May Vary is a really well written debut from Julie Murphy. I thought the writing was incredibly honest and emotionally raw, which made feeling what these characters were feeling real. That anger that Alice feels, the love Harvey can’t shed, all so raw. This was probably my favorite part of this book.

I found the characters a little harder to warm up to. They were complex and made mistakes, which made them real, even when I couldn’t really fall into like with them. But I don’t have to feel like I can be besties with them or feel like I want to totally make out with them to appreciate them.

Alice is an emotionally distant person, even before things in her life change. And after, she’s so angry. And Harvey is the opposite, giving his emotions over without a question. They both grow so much and get to understand one another better by the end, but it was a rough road getting there. There were times when I wanted to tell Alice off or try to make Harvey stand up to her earlier. I did like the parents in this book, even though they’re not in the forefront a lot. I was really intrigued by the glimpses of their lives, their problems, their history. We don’t really get into much of that, but I wanted to know more about them.

In short, Julie Murphy nailed it. Side Effects May Vary is complex and the writing is really great. I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.

 

 

About Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Her debut contemporary young adult novel, Side Effects May Vary, is out from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins on March 18, 2014. Julie’s follow-up novel, currently titled Dumplin’, is due out in 2015.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Waiting on Wednesday: Side Effects May Vary

29th Jan 2014 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2014, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Side Effects May Vary

Waiting on Wednesday: Side Effects May VarySide Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: March 18th 2014
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover | Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

 

Julie Murphy is a Texas author I got to meet last year and she’s freaking awesome. I was excited to read her book then, but then the awesome reviews started coming in and now I’m even MORE excited than ever!! Can’t wait!

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About Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Her debut contemporary young adult novel, Side Effects May Vary, is out from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins on March 18, 2014. Julie’s follow-up novel, currently titled Dumplin’, is due out in 2015.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Blog Tour: Twinmaker by Sean Williams – Sean’s Top Ten Perks of Being an Author + Giveaway!

8th Nov 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Blog Tours

Blog Tour: Twinmaker by Sean Williams – Sean’s Top Ten Perks of Being an Author + Giveaway!

Blog Tour: Twinmaker by Sean Williams – Sean’s Top Ten Perks of Being an Author + Giveaway!Twinmaker by Sean Williams
Series: Twinmaker #1
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: November 5th 2013
Pages: 352
Source: Blog Tour
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads

High-stakes action combines with issues of friendship and body image in this timely and thought-provoking exploration of the intersection of technology and identity.

You can be Improved....

In a near-future world in which technology can transport you anywhere instantly, can a coded note enable you to change your body—to become taller, stronger, more beautiful? Clair is pretty sure the offer is too good to be true. But her best friend, Libby, is determined to give it a try, longing for a new, improved version of herself.

What starts as Libby’s dream turns into Clair’s nightmare when Libby falls foul of a deadly trap. With the help of Jesse, the school freak, and a mysterious—but powerful—stranger called Q, Clair’s attempt to protect Libby leads her to an unimagined world of conspiracies and cover-ups. Soon her own life is at risk, and Clair is chased across the world in a desperate race against time.

Action and danger fuel Sean Williams’ tale of technology, identity, and the lengths to which one girl will go to save her best friend.

 

Top Ten Perks of Being an Author

1. Working from home.
2. Being my own boss.
3. Choosing my hours.
4. Working in track pants.
5. Reading, movies and TV shows count as research.
6. Traveling a lot.
7. Getting to meet and become friends with some of my favourite authors.
8. Doing something I love all day, every day.
9. Seeing my book on a shelf in a store.
10. Creating work that lives on in readers’ minds and that might inspire them to tell stories of their own, in turn.

About the Author

Sean Williams#1 New York Times bestselling Sean Williams lives with his family in Adelaide, South Australia. He’s written some books–thirty-nine at last count–including the Philip K. Dick-nominated Saturn Returns, several Star Wars novels and the Troubletwister series with Garth Nix. Twinmaker is the first in a new YA SF series that takes his love affair with the matter transmitter to a whole new level. You can find some related short stories over at Lightspeed Magazine. Thanks for reading.

Connect with Sean: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Giveaway

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Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Waiting on Wednesday: Crash and Burn

23rd Jan 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Crash and Burn

Waiting on Wednesday: Crash and BurnCrash and Burn by Michael Hassan
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: February 19th 2013
Buy the book! | Goodreads

On April 21, 2008, Steven "Crash" Crashinsky saved more than a thousand people when he stopped his classmate David Burnett from taking their high school hostage armed with assault weapons and high-powered explosives. You likely already know what came after for Crash: the nationwide notoriety, the college recruitment, and, of course, the book deal. What you might not know is what came before: a story of two teens whose lives have been inextricably linked since grade school, who were destined, some say, to meet that day in the teachers' lounge of Meadows High. And what you definitely don't know are the words that Burn whispered to Crash right as the siege was ending, a secret that Crash has never revealed.

Until now.

Michael Hassan's shattering novel is a tale of first love and first hate, the story of two high school seniors and the morning that changed their lives forever. It's a portrait of the modern American teenage male, in all his brash, disillusioned, oversexed, schizophrenic, drunk, nihilistic, hopeful, ADHD-diagnosed glory. And it's a powerful meditation on how normal it is to be screwed up, and how screwed up it is to be normal.

 

This book was lots of mixed reviews so far, but I’m still really curious about it, considering the premise. I’m looking forward to making my own mind up about it and hoping it’s not a let down. We’ll see!!

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Waiting on Wednesday: Possess

17th Aug 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Possess

Waiting on Wednesday: PossessPossess by Gretchen McNeil
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: August 23rd 2011
Buy the book! | Goodreads

Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity.
Rule #3: Do not engage.
Rule #4: Do not let your guard down.
Rule #5: They lie.

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.

Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.

 

This sounds awesomely dark and creepy!! Really excited to get my hands on it!

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

24th Apr 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Bumped by Megan McCaffertyBumped by Megan McCafferty
Series: Bumped #1
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: April 26th 2011
Pages: 323
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.

I know the premise of this book is something not to be taken lightly; I mean…teenagers being the only ones able to get pregnant or to impregnate? You know how high school athletes get courted by different colleges, and then they choose the best offer? In Melody’s world, that’s pretty much what happens to teenagers. If they meet certain physical and intelligence criteria, they get representation, like agents. They’re then offered contracts and go with the best offer. If you’re not lucky enough to get such representation, you can go always go “amateur” but of course, the payout will be nowhere near as good. Harmony’s world is a little less transactional. They believe in marrying and having babies, however the marriages are arranged, so you don’t get to marry someone you love most of the time. Depressing, right?

Well…I thought this book was hilarious! No…of course not because of what I just described, but because the characters had some awesome lines! Is Megan McCafferty always this funny? I have not laughed out loud so much since reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

I had a very distinct picture of this world in my mind while I was reading it. Think of the movies Saved and Juno, with the setting of Minority Report and that’s what was in my head.

When I began reading Bumped, I was a little thrown for a loop with all the slang. I wasn’t really expecting it, but I’ve never been one to shy away from a book because of it. Pregging, negging, renegger, egging…some are more obvious than others and it takes reading them a couple of times to get it, but just stick with it. It doesn’t take long to catch on.

The book is told in alternating chapters between Melody and Harmony, which I always like in books. Out of the two sisters, I really liked Harmony best. Yes, she’s “godfreaky” and wants to save the world from sin, but she’s just trying to do what she thinks is right. Loving God and loving religion are, to me at least, two very different things and this is what she struggles with most throughout this book.

Melody on the other hand, doesn’t have a problem going with the flow of her world. That is until her sister shows up and, thanks to a case of mistaken identity (or maybe stolen identity would describe it better…), she is forced to see what people around her truly care about.

Of the boys, Zen was definitely my favorite. He was charming, funny, caring and smart. Jondoe, on the other hand, I wanted to hate. He was so conceited! But then he would show his tender side and it would make me question what was real and what was an act. I need to know the truth, Jondoe!!! Then there’s Ram. I felt really bad for Ram. Poor guy! To keep this review Spoiler-free though, that’s all I will say about him.

Like I mentioned before, this book really made me laugh, but it also had some really tender moments. The tone is not as serious or heartbreaking as other Dystopian books I’ve read recently, but that’s why I liked that Bumped is different and totally plausible. I will definitely be looking forward to reading more about Melody and Harmony.

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Teaser Tuesday: Bumped

19th Apr 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday: Bumped

Teaser Tuesday: BumpedBumped by Megan McCafferty
Series: Bumped #1
Published by Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: April 26th 2011
Pages: 323
Format: eARC | Source: Publisher
Buy the book! | Goodreads

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.

 

 

I know Churchies are expected to fill their conversion quotas and all, but it was still a shock when Harmony asked if I had God within ten seconds of me answering the door.

“Do I have Him, like, in my pocket?” I had laughed, still stunned by her unannounced arrival.

 

Loving the humor in this book so far! Very Juno…

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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