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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Once – Anna Carey

OnceOnce
By Anna Carey
Eve – Book Two
Available July 2012

The description and review contain spoilers for Eve, the first book in this series.

Description:
Sixteen years have passed since a deadly virus wiped out most of the Earth’s population. After learning of the terrifying part she and her classmates were fated to play in the rebuilding of New America, eighteen-year-old Eve fled to the wilds and Califia, a haven for women determined to live outside the oppressive rule of the king of New America. However, her freedom came at a price: she was forced to leave Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. Eve quickly learns that Califia may not be as safe as it seems and soon finds herself in the City of Sand and the palace of the king. There she uncovers the real reason he was so intent on her capture, and the unbelievable role he intends her to fill. When she is finally reunited with Caleb, they will enact a plan as daring as it is dangerous. But will Eve once again risk everything—her freedom, her life—for love?

This Blonde’s Review:
What if you found out everything you ever believed about your life was a lie?
That’s what Eve faced in the first book in this series. Except the revelations didn’t end there.

Eve was forced to take refuge in Califia alone. When she finds out what happened to Arden and Caleb she knows she can’t stay in Califia any longer. Eve soon finds herself in the King’s palace, though not in a way she ever expected, trying to figure out who to trust and how to save her friends.

After the way the first book ended I knew I’d have to read on to find out what happened to Caleb, Eve, and the others she cared about. There were many things that were predictable but in some ways that’s a good thing.

Eve had to grow up and recognize that the world wasn’t what she thought in the first book. In the second book she had to help others see the same thing.

I still couldn’t connect with Eve as much as I liked and there were other characters I wish I could have seen more of. I really hope to see more of them in the third book.

Once helped build the world more and it gave Eve a chance to stand on her own instead of letting others save her. Eve isn’t done growing yet. She is changing from scared girl to angry fighter. I may not love her yet but I think I could if she is able to fight for the people she cares about and free her friends.

The surprise at the end had me eager to read the next book too. I don’t know how I want Eve to handle the situation, so I know I’ll be eager to get my hands on it to see if I can agree with her choice or not.

Overall, this one is worth reading if you read the first book in the series. It continues to build the world & Eve’s character. We don’t see the same character development in some of the other characters we came to love in the first book but I’m hoping we’ll see it early in the next one.

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Monument 14 Blog tour – featuring author Emmy Laybourne!

Today I’m honored to be hosting the author of Monument 14 on the Fierce Reads book tour. Please welcome Emmy Laybourne! She’s going to tell us about her real life book tour. I’m sure it’s exciting and tiring and I know I was looking forward to getting an inside look at how it’s going for her.

Be sure to check out some of the fun info at the end of the post as well.

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Greetings from the air! I’m typing this en route to Chicago, IL from Houston, TX! So far on the Fierce Reads tour, we’ve had over 10 events, stopping in California at La Verne, San Diego, San Francisco, Corte Madera and Petaluma; in Washington at Lake Forest Park, Seattle and Bellingham; In Utah at Salt Lake City and Provo and in Texas in Houston!

If you’ve missed my reports on life on an author tour, you might want to read them – I discussed the early days on http://fireandicephoto.blogspot.com/2012/06/monument-14-blog-tour-guest-post-and.html and then I reported in on the middle section of the tour at http://withabook.blogspot.com/.

Now I’m in the home stretch. I won’t lie – I’m getting a little, erm, exhausted! But no complaints from me – I love being on tour. That said, here are a few concluding thoughts on life on the road…

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING ON TOUR

I swear, I’m not kissing up — it’s the readers. I look out at our audiences and I get so much from seeing the faces of my readers. The idea of having a fan base was completely abstract to me, as a debut author. After all, the only fans of my writing so far have been my friends and family who read the book because they love me!

Connecting with people I’ve never met before who’ve read my book and loved it?! It’s a breathtaking feeling. I feel grateful to my book – like Monument 14 is a friend of mine who has introduced me to all his new friends and they like me just because I’m a friend of M14’s!

MY LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING ON TOUR

Those late nights. I know, that’s lame of me — even writing it seems dorky! I mean, I used to be out in the comedy clubs until all hours! But back when I was doing improv and sketch comedy I didn’t have to be up at 5 am to catch a flight to Pensacola!

Do I look a little tired in this photo, mayhaps?

THE MOST SURPRISING THING ABOUT BEING ON TOUR

The fellowship of the Fierce Reads gals! We started out as perfect strangers, thrown together by Macmillan and bound to have a two week adventure with each other, whether we liked it or not, but we’re ending up as friends, people who have bonded fully and completely and will go forward supporting each other.

In my opinion, what brought us together were the moments of good news! For example, early on in the tour, while we were riding in a van headed to an event near Seattle, Leigh found out that her book was going to be reviewed in the New York TImes and burst into tears! We pressed her to tell us what had happened and she gave us the news. Somehow it snapped us all out of competition with each other and into camaraderie. We toasted Shadow and Bone with champagne that night and it felt wonderful. It was the moment when Leigh stopped being an author on the same tour as me, and became a friend with whom I felt privileged to share a triumphant moment.

Look, here we’re being FIERCE!

I’ll wrap up this post for now and take a nap to prepare myself for the evening’s event! Those 6 am flights are catching up with me!

To conclude my entire series on being an author on tour, I’ll say that it’s a privilege and an honor to get to go on a book tour. It’s not at all easy – it’s taxing on the mind and the body. But it’s a chance to take an adventure! And how often do we get to go on adventures?!

I’ll end with my favorite quote of all time, from Dag Hammerskjold, former Secretary-General of the UN:

To all that has been: Thanks!

To all that will be: Yes!

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About Emmy: (snagged from Goodreads)

Emmy Laybourne’s first novel, Monument 14, will be published by Feiwel and Friends, a division of Macmillan, in June 2012. The sequel, Monument 14: Sky On Fire, is expected to be released in the summer of 2013.

Emmy began her writing career as a playwright. The first play she wrote and performed was called, The Miss Alphabet City Beauty Pageant and Spelling Bee. The New York Post said it, “restores faith in our country’s comedic future.” The Daily News called it, “hilariously clever.”

Her next play, Smorgas-Bourne, landed Emmy a starring role in the Paramount feature film, Superstar, opposite WIll Ferrel and Molly Shannon.

As an actress, Emmy went on to have featured roles in the films “Nancy Drew,” “The In-Laws,” and “Lucky Numbers.” She was a season regular on the NBC sitcom “DAG,” and performed original comedy on Comedy Central, MTV, and VH1. She has improvised with the Upright Citizens Brigade, Chicago City Limits and the Heartless Floozies.

Emmy has performed original comedy material throughout LA and New York, including the song she sang with her brother, Sam, “We Can’t Make Love Because We’re Related.”

In addition to writing YA novels, Emmy is currently a Lyricist in the prestigious BMI Musical Theater Writer’s Advanced Workshop, writing a musical called “The Midnight Princess” with composer Paul Libman.

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Be sure to go check out the Dress Your Marines in White is a short story prequel that gives you a look at what happened inside Norad. My only complaint is that I wish it was longer!

If you haven’t read Monument 14 yet you’ll be happy to know it is already out. It was released 5 June 2012. You can also see my review of Monument 14.

For those of you who love when books have a book trailer you’ll be happy to know that Monument 14 is ready for you. You can watch the book trailer Here.

Links:
Emmy Laybourne’s website
Monument 14 blog tour announcement and stops
Fierce Reads Tour info
Dress Your Marines in White short story prequel

One lucky reader will win a copy of Monument 14! All you have to do is comment to enter.
Tell me why you want to win, or where you wish the Fierce Reads tour was going. Tell me anything to enter to win. Be sure the email you comment with is one you’ll check in case you win.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Blog Tour, Guest post

 

One Moment – Kristina McBride

One Moment coverOne Moment
By: Kristina McBride
Available 26 June 2012

Description:
This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

This Blonde’s Review:
Everything was perfect. Maggie was spending time with her best friends and her perfect boyfriend and nothing could be better. She was planning a special night with her boyfriend and was finally going to get the courage to jump off the cliff into the water below.

A moment later, it all changed. She doesn’t know what happened, only that something terrible did. She said she trusted him. He kissed her. Then she didn’t jump. He did, but he didn’t make it. Maggie is left screaming and not understanding. Adam is there for her, as he always has been, and finds her. He tries to prevent her from seeing what happened to Joey and he gets her home. The police and Joey’s family try to piece together what happened that day, but Maggie’s can’t remember. She doesn’t know what happened after he kissed her.

In the aftermath of Joey’s death secrets come out. Maggie discovers that Joey didn’t go home that night, and she knows he wasn’t with her. He had been acting strangely and no one will admit to anything. With her friends falling to pieces and attempting to grieve in their own ways, Maggie tries to piece together what happened. What did the secrets he kept from her mean? Maggie starts to remember things about the months leading to Joey’s death and is told things she wasn’t aware of before. As she starts to get a better picture of who Joey really was, she is left trying to decide if the friends she has left are the people she thought they were.

One Moment is the heartbreaking story of how a single moment can change or end a life. As everyone grieves and some struggle with their guilt some things were painfully obvious to me, while other things made me worry about how this one was really going to end. Some things are hard to come back from so I found myself want to race to the end of this one to find out if Maggie, Adam, and the rest of the group would recover or if they’d lose another of the friends by the time this one ended.

I really enjoyed this one. There were so many secrets that Maggie’s friends had been keeping from her, so it was understandable that she wouldn’t tell anyone the things she started to remember. Watching her struggle to put it together was hard to read. There were so many things that I had to hope weren’t true, that I was misreading the situation. With everything that had happened I hoped I wasn’t right about things. When discovering everything you thought mattered was based on a lie, you can run away or you can face it. Watching Maggie’s dance with running from information and facing it seemed very well balanced. This is the author’s second book but my first exposure to her work. I can’t believe I let her first book sit in my kindle tbr list for as long as I have. I’m definitely going to be bumping that one up the list and looking for her next work.

If a book about death, heartbreak, betrayal, and watching the very real way friendships can splinter and fall apart in the wake of disaster sounds like your type of read then you’ll want to catch this one when it comes out. Maggie’s story will break your heart and let you see how even though it’ll never be the same life can be put back together.

 

Over You – Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

Over You coverOver You
By Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Available August 2012

Description:
After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all.

 

This Blonde’s Review:
Max is the girl with the plan. If there is a girl out there with a broken heart, Max will know how to help her get over it. She has a plan, a kit, and loyal friends helping her pull off the recovery process. Plus, girls she helps don’t have to pay her anything except their possible assistance in a future case.

Max’s mother is expecting another baby and is finally settling down for the family life, the thing she never did when Max was growing up. With a baby on the way you’ll also get deliveries for baby furniture, which is how Max meets Ben. Too bad for Ben that Max is beyond distracted by Ex, Inc and the arrival of the ex who started the whole thing. It turns out a little more complicated when it turns out that his best friend’s ex is Max’s current client.

We get to go through Max’s breakup solutions with Bridget, a hard case for Max whose ex is the boy across the street. We’re able to see how different steps of Max’s plan are actually working, and even how it affects the boy who did the dumping. We usually only see one side with a story like this and aren’t supposed to feel any sympathy for the boy who broke the girl’s heart. Seeing both sides makes it much harder to know whether to cheer for Max and Bridget or to hope that Max fails and the couple can get back together.

When her ex shows up in the middle of Bridget’s recovery plan Max doesn’t know how to react. She’s devastated when he is so disinterested in her that he turns away from her. When he seems interested again, Max has to decide if the potential romance with Ben is worth keeping or if she’ll give in to the lure of the ex.

I thought this one was adorable. The idea of a guaranteed way to get over a breakup is something any girl would want to have access to. Having someone who will get all of the gifts, pictures, and comfy sweaters out of your room so you can’t see them and break is a great start. Someone who will help you realize how you’re better off without him and make him see why he was an idiot to dump you is even better to have around. Max is that girl.

When someone creates a business based on healing broken hearts, you will usually assume that they’ve dealt with their own. In Max’s case, that wasn’t how it happened. Instead of dealing with her own she ran away from it. As it starts to impact the current case she does what any smart girl shouldn’t do. She refuses to talk about it. She alienates her friends, hurts the boy who likes her, and lets her client become part of her healing process.

As the pieces fall Max has to figure out what really matters to her. She’ll have to discover what’s best for her and whether she can really be over her ex for good. Her mistakes went further than I thought they would, but in many ways I think that made this one even better. Max isn’t perfect, and she can really mess things up. But coming back from it can teach her even more and open the door to more than she could have accepted before.

 

If reading a book with a girl who has it all figured out until it starts to fall apart around her sounds interesting to you then you’ll love watching Max’s life fall to pieces. You’ll especially like the way she manages to put it back together again. If you enjoy having side characters that you’ll love as much as the main character then you won’t want to miss getting to know Max’s friends either.

 

Spark – Amy Kathleen Ryan

Spark coverSpark
By: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Sky Chasers – Book 2
Available July 2012

Have you seen my review of Glow, the first book in this series? Be aware that there are spoilers if you haven’t read the first book.

Description:
Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited on the Empyrean. Kieran has led the boys safely up to this point, and now that the girls are back, their mission seems slightly less impossible: to chase down the New Horizon, and save their parents from the enemy ship. But nothing is truly as it seems…Kieran’s leadership methods have raised Seth’s hackles— and Waverly’s suspicions. Is this really her fiancé? The handsome, loving boy she was torn from just a short time before? More and more, she finds her thoughts aligned with Seth’s. But if Seth is Kieran’s Enemy No. 1, what does that make her?

In one night, a strange explosion rocks the Empyrean—shooting them off course and delaying their pursuit of the New Horizon—and Seth is mysteriously released from the brig. Seth is the most obvious suspect for the explosion, and Waverly the most obvious suspect for releasing him. As the tension reaches a boiling point, will Seth be able to find the true culprit before Kieran locks them both away—or worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? With the balance of power precarious and the clock ticking, every decision counts… every step brings them closer to a new beginning, or a sudden end…

This Blonde’s Review:
The trauma of the attack on the Empyrean has changed the teens left behind. Waverly is an outcast, blamed for not succeeding in rescuing their parents. Seth is locked in solitary confinement with no end in sight. Kieran is struggling to keep his fear of losing control from becoming obvious.

When strange things start happening around the Empyrean, including an explosion and Seth’s release, people are quick to place the blame at Seth’s door. Since we read this story alternating between Waverly, Kieran, and Seth’s point of view we know that Seth had nothing to do with it.

Waverly feels guilty for leaving the parents on the New Horizon and allows the other kids to treat her like she did something wrong. I can understand the guilt, but I have a hard time accepting that the girl who was so willing to fight to save the others has become this pathetic girl now. I had high hopes for her desire to fight and survive. For her to have been willing to stand up to everyone on the New Horizon and then to hide away the way she does is difficult to respect.

Kieran has turned into someone who craves control and power and will use religion to get it. There don’t seem to be any characters in this book who don’t use religion as a control tactic except the ones who are presented as nothing more than blind followers. I’m not a religious person, but I would have hoped to have a balance. It’s hard to hope for good things for a character we were supposed to like in the first book when that’s what he’s turned into.

Seth has turned around and accepted that he responded badly in the past while the others have deteriorated more. Seth was a character we loved to hate in the first book, but in this one he’s turned into one of the few characters I can actually like. He’s wiling to risk his freedom and safety, as well as face his fears, in order to attempt to figure out where the danger on the Empyrean is coming from.

I don’t know how I felt about this one. I had a hard time caring about Waverly or Kieran. I connected better with Seth and a few secondary characters that aren’t set up to be the ones we should care about most. Having our feelings towards our main three characters flip so completely is something most authors wouldn’t do, so I like it in theory, but I don’t know where the author is really going with this.

I do like that the author didn’t leave a bunch of kids on their own and let everything continue peacefully. She left off the first book with them being able to come together thanks to Kieran’s church services, but in the second book that all deteriorates. I like that she didn’t expect us to believe that a group of teenagers and children would hold it together without anger and fear threatening to tear it all apart.

I started to lose interest in this story but the author threw an interesting twist in the story there at the end. I know I’ll be reading the next book in this series to find out what happens next.