Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bookanista Relauch + Massive Summer Giveaway

As May draws to a close, we're celebrating the start of summer and another great beginning: THE RELAUNCH OF THE BOOKANISTAS! New members, new logo, new website design and a whole lot more of the book love we all adore!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago with my first Bookanista review, I'm thrilled to join this amazing group of writers recommending books we loved. I'll be posting a book most Thursdays and new reviews from other members will be up at the site every Thursday. These are not critical reviews - these are books that we recommend with enthusiasm.

In order to celebrate in style, we're offering prizes!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Signed copies of these Bookanista-authored books…
IF I LIE and TOUCHED by Corrine Jackson PLUS ARCs of JUST ONE DAY and SPEECHLESS LET THE SKY FALL by Shannon Messenger
BY BLOOD by Tracy Banghart
TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini (plus a swag surprise)
BAD TASTE IN BOYS by Carrie Harris
AUDITION by Stasia Ward Kehoe
THE GIRL GUIDE by Christine Fonseca (plus sweet swag)
MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza
LEVEL 2 by Lenore Appelhans
AND A SECOND WINNER WILL GET A BOX FILLED WITH Bookanista-beloved reads including
DITCHED by Robin Mellom
JELLICO ROAD by Melina Marchetta
TAKEN by Erin Bowman
CLOCKWORK ANGEL by Cassandra Clare
MONSTROUS BEAUTY by Elizabeth Fama
SPARROW ROAD by Sheila O’Connor

You can find lots more Bookanista Relaunch Book Love at our sites around the interwebs:
Carolina Valdez Miller, Carrie Harris, Christine Fonseca, Corrine Jackson, Debra Driza, Elana Johson, Jessica Love, Katy Upperman,Kimberly Sabatini, Lenore Appelhans, Nikki Katz, Rebecca Behrens, Shannon Messenger , Shelli Johannes-Wells, Stasia Ward Kehoe, Tracey Neithercott , Tracy Banghart

What are YOU reading this summer? *currently reading CODA by Emma Trevayne and ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill*

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blog Tour: Impostor by Susanne Winnacker

I read IMPOSTOR last year and really enjoyed it (read my review)! I also got to meet Susanne in person not long ago (we had sushi) and it was a blast.  Today I have a fun interview with her as part of her official IMPOSTOR blog tour.

If you had your MCs ability to take on the form of anyone, who would you like to impersonate for a day?

I’d love to be a man for a day. Maybe because I love the idea that there might be aliens somewhere in the galaxy, and let’s be honest sometimes men act like an alien species. It would be a strange and definitely funny experience to have a male body. Maybe I’d finally understand the male brain a bit better!

If the Weepers from your debut THE OTHER LIFE went up against the Variants in IMPOSTOR, who would win?

Hm, I don’t think the Weepers (zombies) would stand a chance. It would certainly be a challenge for Tessa, Alec and the rest of the gang. I mean if the Variants had weapons (which they often do) it would be easy, but let’s say they don’t have weapons. Alec is very strong and can do martial arts and all that stuff, so he would probably destroy the Weepers with only a few scratches to show for it. Tessa is a good fighter, but her Variation wouldn’t be of much use in a fight against Weepers. They don’t care how she looks. But she would certainly take Alec’s appearance to use his tall frame as an advantage.

You recently went to the Seychelles (envious!) -- what are the must-sees if any of us manages to get there someday?

Ahhh. Yes. It was wonderful. I could gush about it all day. But must-sees:

Cousin Island – it’s a nature reserve that you can only visit with a guided tour. You’ll see endangered birds nesting on the ground inches from your feet, and enormous turtles that want you to pet them! Yes, I touched a turtle! It was 150 years old and huge.

Snorkeling near the coast – The husband and I snorkeled for the very first time when we were there and it was a magical experience. I saw a lionfish, and parrotfishes, and eagle rays, and hundreds of blue and red and yellow fish.

Vallée de Mai – a nature reserve on Praslin island. It’s like a jungle and there you can find the Coco de Mer. A symbol of the Seychelles. It’s about ten times as big as a coconut, so you should be careful not to stand under the trees for too long…

What German words would you like to teach us today?

Hm, I think it’s a bad sign that the first words that came to my mind were cuss words…maybe I can find a “nice” cuss word. Let’s go with “Trantüte”. It’s a word to describe someone who’s really lame, no fun. It’s what I call our dog whenever he doesn’t want to go on a walk.

I hadn't learned that word before, so thank you! What's next for you?

BEA! But I guess that’s not what you meant. I’m working on the sequel – waiting for edits actually. And I’m working on a middle grade and a YA horror!

Check out the other stops on the tour!  And find out more about IMPOSTOR on Susanne's website.

Enter to win one of five finished copies of IMPOSTOR:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Gilmore Girls Watch Along Part 2

Realizing we needed to catch up on some popular TV series of days past, Melody of Hollywood The Write Way and I decided to do a Watch Along. We took a vote and Gilmore Girls won. Melody has the guidelines for Week Two on her blog.

On to this week's episodes! (Season 1, episodes 8-12)

Love and War and Snow

Snow is coming town, and Lorelei loves snow. She has a date with Max (who just "happens" to be stranded there) and she invites him into her house, breaking a rule she's always had to protect Rory. Rory has dinner with her grandparents as usual, as has to spend the night due to the bad roads. Lane feels like Rory doesn't have time for her anymore.Several great reaction shots in this ep. Luke looked really disappointed when he saw Lorelei cavorting in the snow with Max. Lane was grossed out/envious of Rory and Dean kissing. After all the talk about running hands through hair (Lane did it to her crush and was mortified), Lorelei ran hers through Max's hair, which was hilar.

I also loved that Rory teaches her grandparents the joys of frozen pizza ("something you'd eat at a carnival" says a scandalized Emily).

Rory promises Lane that they'll spend more time together, so I hope this happens!

Reminds me of my own teen life: I can understand Lane's feelings of being left out because her best friend is dating someone. Very well.

Rory's Dance

There's a big dance at Chilton, and Emily insists that Rory go. Rory asks Dean, and he agrees. Emily comes over to witness the pre-dance festivities and get photos, but is alarmed that Dean honks instead of coming to the door. Also, Rory and Dean end up falling asleep and staying out all night.

Paris' date admits he's Paris' cousin, but Rory doesn't seem to care. Paris confronts Rory about it, and ends up revealing this pathetic fact to her whole class herself. Paris seems to be her own worst enemy!

Rory and Dean clarify their relationship -- awww! And they fall asleep reading together - double awww!

The fight that ensues early the next morning when Rory comes in at 5:30 am is very illuminating. Lorelei seems more upset by the fact that Emily witnesses Rory's mistake more than she's upset by the mistake itself - which Rory calls her on. Emily tells Lorelei point blank that she's disappointed in her and afraid that her way of bringing Rory up is going to result in Rory making the same bad choices. But really - Lorelei's style implies way more trust than Emily's ever did, and Rory is very concerned about keeping this trust.

Reminds me of my own teen life: I went to three high school dances. Only one of them was with an actual date.

Forgiveness and Stuff

Lorelei is disinvited to Emily's annual Christmas bash, and Richard has a health scare.

I loved Lane's speech about the importance of choosing a gift, and that if you choose the wrong one, you might end up at a Korean Bible Camp for the summer. Ha!

And great Luke-Lorelei interaction: he makes her a special Santa burger! He closes down shop to drive her to the hospital.

Reminds me of my own teen life: Visiting the hospital. Unfortch.

Paris is Burning

Lorelei gets scared and decides she should break up with Max for Rory's sake. Then she's caught kissing Max on teacher's day by Paris.

No Dean? Sacrilege!

An interesting look at Lorelei's thought process and how she's tried to shape her dating life so it doesn't affect Rory. It was pretty cold how she scoffed at Sookie for her lack of dating though - good for Sookie that she asked someone out!

Looks like Paris and Rory have the first kindlings of non-hate!

Reminds me of my own teen life: We didn't have parents' day, but I did go to a friend's school and pretend to be an exchange student from Spain. And people believed me.

Double Date

Lane asks Rory to set her up with Dean's friend and Sookie has her first date with Jackson but begs Lorelei to go with her as a date for Jackson's cousin Rune.

Rune is horrified by Lorelei's height, and doesn't want to go on their double date. Lane discovers that Todd is boring, and probably not worth lying to her mother to go out with.

Hilarious line from Lorelei to Rory after Rory lies about her plans. "I have to know where you are at all times, especially when you're wearing my shoes."

Reminds me of my own teen life: Strict mother like Lane's FTW!

Concert Interruptus

Sookie gets 4 tickets to The Bangles in concert.  They end up giving their good seats to Rory and her Chilton classmates and buying some nosebleed seats.

Love this sign at the town rummage sale: "Drop off here - Nothing alive or gross."

I did a little squee when The Bangles sang Eternal Flame.

Rory and Paris have a heart to heart.  Paris defends Tristan, but Rory says she thinks Paris could do better.

Lorelei goes looking for the two classmates who ditch the concert to party with boys. She knocks on all the apartment doors. Love the lady who says "I don't talk to anybody. People annoy me."

Reminds me of my own teen life:  I didn't go to my first concert until I was 18. It was in Ecuador, a band from Argentina called Vilma Palma y Vampiros.

More to come next week!

Forever Young Adult Gilmore Girls Recap

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bookanista Review: The Originals by Cat Patrick

Cat Patrick has some of the most inventive premises in YA, and I love her for that. FORGOTTEN (read my review) and REVIVED (read my review) were both solid reads.

THE ORIGINALS gives us three cloned sisters who must share the life of one girl or risk being "found out" (by whom is never clear, which deflated the tension a bit for me). Lizzie takes mornings and she and her sisters Ella and Betsey are fine with this arrangement. Until the day Lizzie gets switched to afternoons, meets Sean and gets a huge crush on him.

Suddenly, it's the most important thing in the world to Lizzie that she be allowed to live her own life and make her own choices -- so she risks everything by telling Sean her family's secret (an aside: what's up with all the "intra-trust" in YA novels lately?).

I mean, I guess I get it - because I wanted to trust Sean too. He's incredibly appealing and he and Lizzie have great chemistry. Their fight to be together - and their relationship in general - was the highlight here for me.

Another highly original story from Cat Patrick! Find out more about THE ORIGINALS.

FTC disclosure: ARC from ALA

And here's what the other Bookanistas are reading:

Elana Johson is enthralled by CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson

Stasia Ward Kehoe is mesmerized by GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers

Christine Fonseca adores DEAD SILENCE by Kimberly Derting

Corrine Jackson revels in ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Sara Dessen

Katy Upperman is charmed by QUINTANA OF CHARYN by Melina Marchetta

Kimberly Sabatini is touched by TARNISH by Katherine Longshore

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Return of Cat Tuesday (83)

Got water? Oops - Lu stole it.  Sorry.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Gilmore Girls Watch Along Part 1

Realizing we needed to catch up on some popular TV series of days past, Melody of Hollywood The Write Way and I decided to do a Watch Along.  We took a vote and Gilmore Girls won.  Melody has the guidelines for Week One on her blog.

This was my first ever time watching this show - I hadn't even caught a snippet of it before. Not so surprising considering it ran from 2000-07 and as far as I know, never aired in Germany.  In any case, it took me until ep 4 to get into the Lorelei/Rory groove.  At first I found them both annoying and the show boring.  But I'm finally seeing its charms.  So yay!

Here are my thoughts per episode:


Lorelei has to ask her parents to pay for tuition for Rory’s new private school. They agree but demand to be more involved in Lorelei and Rory’s lives.

Lorelei is not as funny as she seems to think she is, and Rory is a bit too mopey for my taste. But I liked Sookie (especially the scene where the kitchen staff had to put out her fires).

Reminds me of my own teen life: My Korean friend always lamented the fact that her parents set her up with Koreans/future doctors (Like Lane).

First Day at Chilton

Rory finds Chilton more challenging than she expected and gains a rival in Paris.

Still not really seeing the charm in this show. Lorelei’s lateness and lack of clean clothes was cringeworthy, and not that believable (Cutoff jean shorts are really all she has?)

Lorelei and her mother Emily’s power struggle has a dynamic that could become interesting. Let’s see.

Reminds me of my own teen life: I had a school uniform with a really long skirt when I was an exchange student in Ecuador.

Kill Me Now

Rory has to choose a sport at Chilton and Emily suggests that Rory golf with her grandfather.

Love this line from Emily: “Her golf clubs are upstairs gathering dust. Like her potential.

Lorelei seems threatened by Rory’s desire to spend time with her grandparents, so they have a fight about who has bigger boobs. Appropriately awkward.

Reminds me of my own teen life: My grandfather played golf, though I never played with him.

The Deer Hunters

Rory oversleeps, is late to her class and is not allowed to take a test that is 20% of her grade.

I liked Lorelei’s joking about the school supply shopping. Because Rory needs serious paper.

Paris recites my favorite Shakespeare sonnet! 116!

The double meltdowns (for good reasons) made me sympathetic to both Rory and Lorelei for the first time. I also loved Sookie's freak out about her risotto only being "fine" and the lengths she went to in order to defend its honor.

Reminds me of my own teen life: A deer once hit my car. Right after the Emporia exit on the Kansas Turnpike.

Cinnamon's Wake

Lorelei and Rory's eccentric neighbors hold a wake for their cat. Also, Rory catches Lorelei postponing a date with her English teacher.

Very cute moment between Rory and Dean. General wackiness. Nice friendship moments between Lorelei & Sookie and Rory and Lane.

Reminds me of my own teen life: We had a large orange cat. Her name was Lion-o. She died.

Rory's Birthday Parties

Emily throws Rory a b-day bash and invites her Chilton classmates. Lorelei makes it up to her with a hometown affair.

Emily and Lorelei actually get along while shopping for Rory. Luke asks Lorelei to marry him ;) (foreshadowing? I have seen spoilers...)  Emily observes Luke bringing ice to Rory's party and asks Lorelei how long they've been dating. She also accuses Lorelei of enjoying how Luke looked at her like a porterhouse steak.

Aww - Dean makes Rory blush when he mouths "happy birthday".  And they hold hands at the end of the episode -- the look on both their faces!

Reminds me of my own teen life: My grandmother constantly asked me what stuff in her house I wanted to inherit.  I ended up with only two things: a steamer trunk and an antique iron (the kind you put hot coals inside!)

Kiss and Tell

Rory gets her first kiss!  Lorelei goes commando! Lorelei invites Dean to movie night with her and Rory!

Rory's freakout after Dean kisses her in his free soda fake-out is so adorable.  How hilarious is it that she shoplifted corn starch?  

Lane's mother spills the beans about Rory's kiss to Lorelei. And then Lorelei spies on Rory and Lane and Rory's rosy glow and is sad that Rory won't confide in her.

Loved movie night. Great interactions all around. Especially liked that Dean thanked Rory for their second kiss.

Reminds me of my own teen life: Ummm.... I used to eat pizza a lot? (I wish this episode were an accurate portrayal of my teen life. ALAS!)

So that's it for this week.  What are your thoughts on these eps of Gilmore Girls?

More recaps:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bookanista Review: Reboot by Amy Tintera

Dead for 178 minutes, Wren is the least human of the reboots, the deadliest and least likely to question the human government that enslaves her and sends her on missions to contain the rebels.

Then Callum arrives. Callum is different. As a reboot only gone for 22 minutes, he still has a lot of his human traits left. Wren dismisses him immediately as weak and not long for the reboot life. However, he awakens Wren's curiosity when he suggests that maybe he has a chance if she trains him.

Wren accepts the challenge and thus begins the "second rebooting of Wren" - aka her reawakening to human desires, needs and feelings - an incredibly touching transformation.

REBOOT is primarily a romance (thus the Zombie Chicken Merit Badge for Romance), though the setting is brutally dystopian. For me, this worked beautifully because of Callum's charisma, charm and his undeniable chemistry with Wren. There's an "angry dancing" scene that I adored because it showcases their relationship dynamic so, so well.

Callum's humanity also drives the plot and raises the stakes - because if Wren can't contain him, her heartless overseers will. What's a previously unfeeling girl to do?

FTC disclosure: Edelweiss

Other Bookanista reviews this week:

Carrie Harris adores BEYOND DINOCALYPSE by Chuck Wendig -- with giveaway!

Tracy Banghart & Debra Driza join THE GIRL GUIDE by Christine Fonseca book blitz!

Corrine Jackson is stunned by BREAKING BEAUTIFUL by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Nikki Katz wonders at THE GRAVE WINNER by Lindsey Loucks

Gretchen McNeil talks TRUTH OR DARE by Jacqueline Green

Elana Johson admires INSOMNIA by Jenn Johannson

Tracey Neithercott celebrates THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS by Jacqueline Moriarty

Katy Upperman fawns over FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK by Melina Marchetta

Rebecca Behrens is wowed by THE FIFTH WAVE by Rick Yancey

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cover Reveal: Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff + giveaway

You may remember how much I enjoyed STORMDANCER - so obvs I'm pumped for KINSLAYER and this cover reveal.

The following summary of KINSLAYER has spoilers for STORMDANCER so read at your own risk:

The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously - by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead. 

Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat. The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

The US cover:

The UK cover:

Jay is also doing a quiz! So if you answer my question over at his blog, you just might win something incredibly fabulous. 

3. What kind of animal is Buruu?

Want a chance to read KINSLAYER early? Enter via this form by May 29, 2013 at 11:59 pm CST. US only.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Return of Cat Tuesday (82)

I promised my father and stepmother a cat picture today to cheer them up, so here's Emmy.  If your arm or lap is not free, she'll take your legs.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pitches that Grab Me

Despite the fact that my review policy says I'm not accepting books for review, I still get upwards of ten pitches a day for new books.  Add those to summaries I read on GoodReads, publisher's catalogs, blogs and elsewhere, and I'm reading tons of new pitches every day.  So what makes me curious enough to add something to my TBR?

Top ten words/subjects in pitches that make me take notice:

time travel
fairy tale retelling
parallel worlds
road trip/globetrotting/travel
music/dance/performing arts

Top ten words/subjects that make me not want to read a book:

cutting/self harm
stream of consciousness
small town high school life
animal cruelty or death
drugs/gangs/street violence

How about you?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book news!

We had a great mail day yesterday!

First - finished copies of CHICK-O-SAURUS REX (which comes out July 23, 2013)

You can already preorder on amazon or at an independent bookstore near you.

Then, I got copies of the Tawainese version of Level 2

Lots of quotes on it from people we know

I also got cover flats for THE MEMORY OF AFTER paperback (new title of Level 2), but I can't show them because they have the cover of CHASING BEFORE on the back ... which I will reveal soon, but not quite yet.

Speaking of THE MEMORY OF AFTER (Level 2) - there's an awesome eBook sale going on which ends tomorrow.  Get it on kindle for only $3.79. Or in any other eBook format for only $3.99.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bookanista Review: 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

I'm back from tour in the US, so I'll be posting more regularly again and reading more. Yay! Today I'm talking about 17 & GONE, a book I read and enjoyed last month.

Summary from publisher:
Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And . . . is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.

One of my favorite things about Nova's previous book, IMAGINARY GIRLS, was the imagery, and 17 & GONE excels in this department too. It's never overblown, or too frequent as to be distracting, but every so often, you get a description that makes you see something ordinary in a new way. I love that kind of writing.

I also really appreciated the characterization. You get a good feel for the missing girls and I thought Lauren's descent into (possible) madness was especially well done.  Lauren's boyfriend Jamie was sympathetic, but also realistic in reactions for a teenage boy.

So is 17 & GONE a book about a mentally ill girl? Or is it paranormal? A strength of this novel is that it leaves a lot up to interpretation. Nova keeps the stakes high, which kept me glued to the page, needing to know what would happen next.

Don't miss this one! Out now.

More Bookanista reviews:

Christine Fonseca marvels at MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza – with giveaway!

Corrine Jackson is blown away by BRUISED by Sarah Skilton

Elana Johson buzzes about STUNG by Bethany Wiggins

Stasia Ward Kehoe fawns over THE FIFTH WAVE by Rick Yancey

Jessica Love raves about THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING by Ashley Elton

Shannon Messenger shares an exclusive excerpt from INSOMNIA

Tracy Banghart swoons for THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson
FTC disclosure: bought