Monday, April 30, 2012

ARC review: Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore

Paperback576 pages
Expected publication: May 1st 2012 
by Gollancz
ISBN 0575097183 (ISBN13: 9780575097186)
Reviewed by: Lindsay -The Violet Hour
Source: Publisher

"Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. 

But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past. 

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart."

FINALLY! I have been waiting for this book for what seems like forever! I loved Bitterblue in Graceling. So innocent, yet fierce. That is a character I can definitely get behind! Kristin Cashore really blew me away with this one. I've enjoyed both previous works greatly, but she really kicked things into high gear with Bitterblue.

There was so much confusion left after her father, King Leck, was killed, that 8 years later Bitterblue was still trying to figure out who to trust, who was lying to her and how to help the people in her kingdom. I found Bitterblue to be a very kind, thoughtful queen. At times she was a little slow to catch on, but at the same time, maybe I would have been, too, if I'd really been in the thick of things as she was. 
I ached for her as she delved deeper and deeper into Leck's mind, as she discovered a secret way her mother tried to communicate with her and as her heart swelled and deflated in the name of romance. I am hoping that in the future there will be something between her and a certain ex-lord. Although I wanted it to happen in this book, it would have been ridiculous and way too fast to have been believable. I just WANT it to happen!! Bitterblue certainly had her hands full in this book. It was just epic, and I hardly ever use that word. 

There was just so much meat to this book. Not just the story itself, but you can easily see how much thought and planning went into it. An entire language was created in order to show how crazy King Leck really was. Cashore's writing was fantastic, and even after such a long break in between books, I had no problem diving right in and getting lost in the story. In my opinion, it blows Graceling and Fire out of the water. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Teenage Garage Sale with Susanne Winnacker Author of The Other Life

I'm happy to welcome Susanne Winnacker, author of The Other Life, to Hooked to Books today.  Susanne will be giving us an idea of the things she liked as a teenager - garage sale style. 
Thanks for stopping by Susanne!

Today I’m going to do a post about the things you’d find in a garage sale from my teen years.

- Backstreet Boys CDs. Many of them. I think my obsession with them started when I was 11 or 12 and lasted for about two years. (my 13 year-old self would’ve killed me if I’d sold her BB CDs!)

- Backstreet Boys posters, t-shirts, necklaces, videos, bed-linen…

- About 50 copies of “Mein Hund” which translates into “My dog” and is a German magazine for dog lovers. I read it religiously.

- Books about dog breeds, cat breeds, and all kind of other pets.

- My first computer!!! I got it when I was 16! It was huge and slow but I was so happy when my mother gave it to me. I think I was one of the last of my friends who had one. Today I can’t even imagine how I ever lived without internet!

- My first mobile phone. It was super heavy and the buttons were huge too. I rarely used it but I was very proud to own it.

- Two old walkmans and many tapes, as well as a discman.

- Two pairs of Doc Martens – one of them black and the other white with flowers. They don’t look so good anymore because I wore them almost every day when I was about 13 (that was before I started wearing high heels).

Thanks for having me on your blog today!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review - PACK OF LIES by Sara Dailey and Staci Weber

Published April 8th 2012 
by Boroughs Publishing Group
Series: Red Ridge Pack
Source: Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewer - Lindsay of The Violet Hour (original review posted here)

Goodreads "The last thing Allison Wright ever expected when she moved to Red Ridge, New Mexico was to come muzzle to muzzle with the wolf of her dreams.

Seventeen-year-old Allison Wright is convinced she’s losing her mind. Uncontrollable mood swings, hot flashes, and the urge to punch anyone who gets in her way are suddenly becoming everyday occurrences. Before her erratic behavior gets out of hand, Allison’s mother finally comes clean about her dark secret. Mom is a werewolf, and soon Allison and her brother Aiden will suffer the same fate. When Allison reaches her breaking point, the family leaves their life in Texas to move to Red Ridge, New Mexico where they rejoin the pack that Allison’s mother left behind almost 20 years ago.

Unfortunately, not everyone in Red Ridge is thrilled about Allison’s arrival, especially when she attracts the attention of the very handsome, very taken, soon-to-be alpha, Cade Walker. Little does Allison know, her mere presence is causing a rift in a once unified pack. Not only has Cade been forbidden from being with Allison by his father, the pack’s alpha, Cade’s girlfriend, Kendall Stuart, will stop at nothing to get Allison out of the picture. Well on her way to becoming the next alpha’s mate, Kendall expects to rule the pack by Cade’s side even if it means teaming up with a rogue werewolf with an agenda of his own. Determined to get rid of Allison permanently, when Kendall and the rogue join forces, all hell breaks loose and no one in the pack is safe, especially not Cade and his true mate."

Pack of Lies was an interesting, entertaining read that was absolutely perfect for me after finishing a super emotional book. I was a little surprised to see that it contained 62 chapters, but I read through it in two days, which would have really been a 'one sit read' if I'd started earlier the first day. The easy flow Dailey and Weber created made consuming the pages easy. 

I liked the concept of this book from the get go. It was nice to get some background on Allison and Aiden before things got crazy. There was actually quite a bit of background presented at the beginning of the story and little pieces of information here and there to help connect things. Normally we just get plopped into an already-shifted wolf story, but in PACK OF LIES we see the struggle Allison was having at school with her temper and the cause of her outburst; jealous high school girls. We also get a good view of the family dynamic. Even though I thought the mother's 'coming out' dialogue could have used some polishing, I had to laugh picturing the scene as she proved her story to Allison and Aiden. Moving the crew to New Mexico was definitely the right choice for the parents to make. Otherwise, Allison probably would have taken one (or two) of those snotty girls out!

There IS instalove, but c'mon, it's werewolves! They have to deal with imprinting and 'true mates' and mystical pack lore, so you really can't blame them. I enjoyed how the authors played out the romance. While technically it was a love triangle, it didn't feel that way because after Cade met Allison, that was it for him. He had no desire to fool with Kendall and her selfishness. After Allison and Cade have a few sizzling encounters, his father forbids him to go near her. That causes a huge problem, one that only Allison's mother realizes for what it is. When the secret comes out, Kendall pretty much goes insane. I almost felt bad for her because of how awful her mother was to her. But in the end, we're all responsible for our own actions, and I was very happy with how this first installment ended.I am definitely glad that I gave this book a shot. It was a great read! 

You should add this book to your TBR pile right now! PACK OF LIES released April 6, so unfortunately I probably have quite a while to wait for book two. Unless it's already written and I can somehow get the authors to hand it over... Pretty please?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Blog Tour with Lisa Burstein

Today we are pleased to welcome Lisa Burstein, author of the upcoming novel Pretty Amy, a story about a Prom night gone wrong and figuring out what's important in life.  We're excited to read it when it comes out in May, and we're excited to have Lisa here today to answer a few questions for us!

1. If you were stranded on a desert island, would you try to find a way off or would you adapt to island life and work on your tan?

Definitely find a way off, I am very pale so sunburn would be an issue.

2. You didn't go to your Prom, so what did you do instead?

It's terrible, but I can't remember. I'm sure I was hanging out with some of my friends who also didn't go to the prom and I'm sure that I went to an after party. But I guess I would say, teens if you don't have the best prom night in the world and it isn't everything you hoped for, if the perfect guy doesn't ask you, or your dress rips while you're dancing, or you get arrested, it doesn't matter because 19 years later you won't remember it anyway :)

3. If you couldn't write for some reason what would be your alternate dream career?

I would love to be a chef. I love cooking and going to culinary school is another dream I have always had. I watch Food Network as much as possible. Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) is my favorite chef.

4. What is the first thing you'd do with a million dollars?

Buy a house. Ugh, I'm old, right?

5. Can you let us into your writing process? For instance, mine involves a lot of procrastinating and sugar until I force my fingers to the keys. What gets you going?

Coffee or wine depending whether its day or night, potato chips, my cat, my purple laptop, my day bed and rain tip-taping outside so you don't feel like you're missing out on something. It also helps not to "think" about what you are writing- to just write. You need to turn the editor off while you write, or you'll get no words out. I tell myself there's time for revising later- the time to get my ideas out is NOW.


Thanks, Lisa!  That's great writing advice.  And when you make your millions we expect to be invited to your new house for a home-cooked meal! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ARC review + giveaway: THE IMMORTAL RULES by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules
Julie Kagawa
Expected publication: April 24th 2012 by Harlequin Teen
ISBN: 0373210515 (ISBN13: 9780373210510)
Source: Harlequin Teen via NetGalley 
Reviewer: Lindsay - The Violet Hour

Goodreads "Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for."

I'm just going to start out by saying that my love for Julia Kagawa is never-ending. She became one of my absolute favorite authors with the Iron Fey series. Her ability to create a world so full and captivating, with characters so intriguing (*cough* ASH) is seriously unmatched. I was absolutely STOKED when I heard she was writing a series about vampires. I certainly was NOT disappointed.

Allison, Allie, Sekemoto is one tough chick. She lives as an Unregistered, meaning that she refuses to become blood cattle for the vampires in her city. She and her crew live off the grid, trying to survive by staying indoors at night and foraging for food during the day. Her best friend, Stick, goes along with her even though he is completely terrified of everything and usually gets them into more trouble than usual. This is just the first in a long line of reasons why I love Allie. She is strong, smart, tough yet compassionate, even when she could have done a little better for herself if she lost the "dead weight" others told her to. It is when she's trying to do something noble for her crew that her life completely changes. There are times when I cheered for her, times I was nervous for her, and times when I could have cried for her. Through it all, though, she maintained her desire to help, instead of hurt.

I absolutely LOVE the world Julia Kagawa created in Immortal Rules. We've all gotten a bit exhausted over the whole vampire scene, and it was actually very interesting to find out that Julie had vowed to never write vampire books. I am SO GLAD she decided to forgo that thought and give me (yes, ME!) this book. Her passion for creating new worlds with new rules and totally captivating the reader just shines in this new offering. There is so much depth, heartache and triumph all wrapped up in one that I could not put it down. I highly recommend that you pick IMMORTAL RULES as soon as possible. It is NOT your typical vampire book….thank God! ;)
Now, it's time for the giveaway!
US and Canada Only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This or That with Phoebe Kitandis Author of Glimmer

Today I would like to welcome Phoebe Kitandis for a round of This or That! Thanks for stopping by and answering questions Phoebe! :)

iPhone or Android.
I have an Android, but no platform loyalty. Actually, I have half a mind to switch to nothing and enjoy being unplugged and out of touch.

Coffee or Tea.
Seattle has turned me into a coffee geek. I find myself saying things like, “Mmm, nice cocoa notes in this roast!” Really.

Beach or Mountains.
Let me answer this in the form of a bad haiku:

BEACH. Sorry, mountains:
full of bears, mud, hikes, and spring
rains my husband loves.

Mac or PC.
In theory I should be a Mac person, but I’ve been using a PC since age 6, so. John Hodgman made it okay to be a PC!

Boy Next Door or Bad Boy
I’ll have one of each, pls. ;)

Real Books or eBooks
Ebooks. *robot voice* I have been assimilated.

Night Owl or Morning Bird
I’m more of a classic day-type, peak hours late morning and early evening.

Truth or Dare
They’re awfully hard to separate! Ironically, truth takes more courage, but dare is more likely to lead to a good story.

TV Shows or Movies
Oh, TV shows, easy. I get unhealthily attached to characters.

Twitter or Facebook
Facebook because my family and friends are there. Thanks for asking the questions.
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