Mar 31, 2011

The Coven (Sweep, #2), by Cate Tiernan

The Coven (Sweep, #2), by Cate Tiernan on Goodreads

Release Date: March 22nd, 2007 (1st published on 2001)
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Puffin
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Interest: Series
Categories: Paranormal, Witchcraft, Religions, Wicca, Family Issues
Other Titles Reviewed in TCM: Book of Shadows (Sweep, #1)
Challenge: 100 Books in a Year
Read in March 2011

Summary from Goodreads:
Cal, now Morgan's boyfriend, helps her accept the truth: Wicca is in Morgan's blood. As Morgan learns more about Wicca, she realizes that she needs to find out more about her parentage. The answers are there, but she doesn't know how to find them.

My Opinion:

Another great Sweep book! 

In this one, Morgan learns more about herself and her heritage, about why she's such a strong witch. Her character is beautifully written, a shy and insecure girl who turns into a powerful witch when in circles.

I loved the relationship between the characters; Cal, Morgan, Bree, Selene, they were all amazing. Morgan's friends are completely believable, Cate does an amazing job of giving each of them their own personality, and that is a hard thing to do!

There's so much going on, it keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time! Definitely a book worth reading!

It's such a short/quick read, that I don't have much else to say, because I don't want to ruin it for those of you who want to read it. 

You can now buy bind-ups of these books, they come three books per bind-up, meaning the first three books, that were first published individually, are now one bind-up, and so on.

I'm now reading Blood Witch (Sweep, #3), and I'm loving it! Boy drama, BFF drama, so much drama!!! Amazing series!

Mar 30, 2011

WOW #19: The Mephisto Covenant, Witchlanders, The Magnolia League and Wrapped

Waiting on: The Mephisto Covenant (The Mephisto Covenant, #1), by Trinity Faegen

Expected publication date: September 27th, 2011

Publisher: Egmont USA

Summary from Goodreads:
Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find
peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.

With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and
win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?
I saw this book in a previous WoW on some other blog, and the cover just captured me. And then the summary took over. Forbidden love? Bring it!

Waiting on: Witchlanders, by Lena Coakley

Expected publication date: August 30th, 2011

Publisher: Atheneum (Simon and Schuster)

Summary from Goodreads:
High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future. It’s all a fake.
At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?
But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned—
Are about him.
Magic! Witches and the Goddess! I need to read this book. 

Waiting on: The Magnolia League (The Magnolia League, #1), by Katie Crouch

Expected publication date: May 3rd, 2011

Publisher: Poppy (Hachette Book Group)

Summary from Goodreads:
After the death of her free-spirited mother, sixteen-year-old Alex Lee must leave her home in northern California to live with her wealthy grandmother in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful, if unwilling, member of the Magnolia League, Savannah's long-standing debutante society. She quickly discovers that the Magnolias have made a pact with a legendary hoodoo family, the Buzzards. The Magnolias enjoy youth, beauty and power. But at what price?

As in her popular adult novels, Crouch's poignant and humorous voice shines in this seductively atmospheric story about girls growing up in a magical Southern city.
High societies and hoodoo magic make me want to have this book in my life now. Also, the cover's gorgeous! 

Waiting on: Wrapped, by Jennifer Bradbury

Expected publication date: May 24th, 2011

Publisher: Atheneum (Simon and Schuster)

Summary from Goodreads:
Agnes Wilkins is standing in front of an Egyptian mummy, about to make the first cut into the wrappings, about to unlock ancient (and not-so-ancient) history. Maybe you think this girl is wearing a pith helmet with antique dust swirling around her.
Maybe you think she is a young Egyptologist who has arrived in Cairo on camelback.
Maybe she would like to think that too. Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust, even. No, Agnes can only see a mummy when she is wearing a new silk gown and standing on the verdant lawns of Lord Showalter’s estate, with chaperones fussing about and strolling sitar players straining to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping.
This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options: home, husband, and high society. It’s also the start of something else, because the mummy Agnes unwraps isn’t just a mummy. It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing mystery, an international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain.
Get wrapped up in the adventure . . . but keep your wits about you, dear Agnes.
The pitch for this book is "Veronica Mars meets Jane Austen". Two things I love. And it's got mummys and mystery. I want this book.

Mar 29, 2011

Why Do YOU Blog?

A couple of days ago, Kristi from The Story Siren posted an entry about Bloggers and Authors. It opened a discussion to all of us about whether Blogging is a such a good way of promoting books.

To us, the bloggers, or at least, to some of us; blogging about books is a way to share our love of reading with others all over the world. I fell in love with book blogging because I had no one who felt the same way I do about books near me. Discovering the Book Blogging Community, to me, has been a life changing experience. Without it, I wouldn't know all I know now about the YA Book-world and its authors, I wouldn't have bloggish friends and I wouldn't be in touch -and wouldn't have built a friendly relationship- with my favourite authors.

I blog because I love it. I love sharing my passion for books with the world, and I'm not afraid to say it for fear of being catalogued Nerd or Bookwork or something worse. I squeal in bookstores when I see a book that I didn't know had been published in my country, and I don't care if anyone's around to watch me, but I will do a happy dance.

I don't blog to be Internet Famous, I don't even care about my follower count (but I do love all of my followers!), and I certainly am not after free books or swag. When I started blogging, I didn't even know you could get free books. And considering I'm an international blogger, I still don't get any. I  may have gotten three books for review last year. Whenever I get a request to review a book, I get excited and honoured to have been taken into consideration by the author/publisher. Because it tells me I must be doing something right. It tells me that the time I spend reading, and blogging and writing is worth it. People actually hear what I have to say. 

People hear what you have to say. You don't have to be scared or feel sad because you don't have many followers and your post won't be read by many. If it's read by just one person, feel happy about it. I do.

And about blogs being a tool for Authors to promote their books, that's exactly what they are to them! We give their books free publicity in exchange for nothing. But it's also a way for us to connect, let them know we love what they're doing, learn what they're up to, etc. etc. etc.

A blog can sell a book, four books, a dozen, but it doesn't matter, and it shouldn't be our primary goal. Let the publicists/agents/booksellers/publishers do that instead. Let us spread our love for the book. It's like a contagious disease: I love it, tell you to buy it; you buy it, tell someone else to buy it; and so on and on forever.

Why do YOU blog?

Mar 28, 2011

The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine, #1), by Bree Despain

Spanish Cover
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain on Goodreads

Release Date: December 22nd, 2009, USA - October 13th, 2010, Spain
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Egmont USA, USA - Ediciones B, Spain
Pages: 310 (Spanish Edition)
Overall: 4 Monkeys
Source: Bought - Paperback
Interest: Series
Other Titles in the Series: The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine, #2)
Read in March 2011

Summary from Goodreads:
A Prodigal Son

A Dangerous Love

A Deadly Secret

Grace Divine—daughter of the local pastor—always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood.

Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul.
My Opinion:

It took me a while to get into this book. I'd read half of it when I felt that spark I love feeling when I'm reading. The spark that tells me, "This is an awesome book!" It took a while for me to sense it, but in the end, I wasn't disappointed.
The Dark Divine's pace is slow-ish at first, but the ending, OH MY the ending... I need answers, and I need them now!

The relationship between Grace and Daniel is beautifully written, not rushed or forced, which is what I love about book romances. Both characters are great, Grace always doing the right thing, and Daniel... well, trying to stay away but failing miserably. 

Grace's family is very religious, and I cannot imagine it any other way. It made a lot of the things that were happening make much more sense and in the end, when it came to saving souls, you could understand the character's actions a whole lot better. 

Bree's writing is amazing. Like I said, it was a bit too slow for me at first, but then I got everything I'd been waiting for at the end. All the drama, action, love and suspense condensed in the last five chapters. 

Things are not what they seem in this book, and as hard as you try to guess what the outcome will be, you won't be right every time.


Does anyone else think the cover had nothing to do with the book? I mean, I love it and I'd definitely have picked the book up in bookstore just because of it, if I hadn't know what the book was about; but I just feel it's there to distract us from the real topic of the book, and nothing more. I don't know if I'm making any sense... 


Mar 27, 2011

IMM #6 - Vlog #1!

My first vlog ever! *scared* You can finally see me, and when I grow up, I'll be able to see myself!
Not only did I get books, but I got a really nice surprise too! Find out what it is :)
Watching it, I realised that I need to open my mouth and articulate my words more. lol

I bought:
Dark Divine, by Bree Despain
Espejismos, by Alyson Noël
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
Brida, by Paulo Coelho
Eragon, by Christopher Paolini
Corazón de Tinta, by Cornelia Funke
El Diablo viste a la Moda, by Lauren Weisberger

In My Mailbox explores the contents of my mailbox on a weekly -not so weekly!- basis. (This feature was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie and created by Kristi of The Story Siren.)


ps: My face! ROTFL!!! OMR, so embarrassed!

Mar 25, 2011

Tips for New (and not so New) Bloggers #2: Content and Commenting

Hi everyone! *waves to new followers* 

This is the second installment of my Tips/Tutorials feature I started to help new bloggers out there. 
In three days, The Clock Monkey will turn two (yay!). I learned a few things along the way, tips I'd like to share with you. Because we all start somewhere, right?

Some of these tips are my own, some I learned elsewhere and am just sharing with you (you'll find the link to the source in the bottom of the post if that's the case).

So, today I'd like to talk about Content, Comments and Commenting to get more Readership. 

When we publish a new post, we all want to see if someone's commenting on it. We visit our blogs often to see if there's a new comment. Because we spent our time writing it, and we'd love to hear people's opinions on it. But when you're a new blogger, your follower base can be small, and maybe you don't get as many visits as you'd like. Even if you have as many followers as I do, that doesn't mean many of them will read your post. 
Let's say that out of ten followers, one reads your blog on a regular basis. So if you have twenty, thirty followers, chances are, only a small percentage will take the time to read your blog.

Because, let's be honest, we follow blogs because we're atractted to them, because of the layout, a contest, some content we liked. But we rarely go back to it until after quite a while. 

I follow a LOT of blogs, and I try to visit them as much as I can, but to tell the truth, I have a select few I go to more than anything. Perhaps you do too.

And then there's the thing about originality. Everyone's practically posting the same thing, so your followers are most likely to go to their preferred blog first, instead of yours, or maybe you are that preferred blog.

When I first started, all I cared about was posting what was the "It" topic at the moment, but then I came to realise, if you have a blog with good content, it doesn't matter if your follower count is small or if you don't get many comments. People will still read your post at some point (I get comments on older posts from time to time) and they'll like that you shared something original and yours, rather than something copied off of another blog.

So if you're reading a book that was published in 2008 and you want to review it, go ahead! It's your blog, isn't it? You might get a few comments from people who've read the book and want to tell you if they liked it or hated it.

Now, someone's commented on your post. Hooray! What I suggest is that you answer to the comment. I've just installed Intense Debate to do just that. Build a relationship with your readers. Let them know you care about their opinions too. Do that, and they might come back.

Also, comment on as many blogs as you can, and leave your blog's URL in the comment, asking politely if they'd be so kind as to stop by your blog. But don't be a pain in the butt. Just do it once on every blog, otherwise you'll scare the blogger away. When someone asks me to do that, I do and I sometimes follow too, if I liked the content of the blog. 

Be grateful for those ten, fifteen, 200 followers you have! Some bloggers spend years with as little as 30.

Another thing I wanted to talk about is Word Verification (we'll call it WV from here on). Don't you just hate that? I didn't know I had it on until just now, when I installed Intense Debate!

When you're a new blogger with a small readership, you really don't need WV. It just gets in the way and it can be annoying. Some people unfollow blogs because they're tired of having to decipher that little crooked word to leave you a short comment. You should only use WV when you get a lot of spam. Tell your followers that that is the case, and they'll understand. I did it for a while; I put a little message on the  Blogger Comment widget saying that I was using the WV because of that. Spammers rarely take the trouble of deciphering the WV.

I hope this helped, and that you slowly but steadily, build a larger readership.

Mar 23, 2011

WOW #18: Karma, by Cathy Ostlere

Waiting on: Karma, by Cathy Ostlere

Expected publication date: March 31st, 2011

Publisher: Razorbill

Summary from Goodreads:
On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi is gunned down by two Sikh bodyguards. The murder sparks riots in Delhi and for three days Sikh families are targeted and killed in retribution for the Prime Minister’s death. It is into this chaos that sixteen-year-old Maya and her Sikh father, Amar, arrive from their home in Canada. India’s political instability is the backdrop and catalyst for Maya’s awakening to the world. KARMA is the story of how a young woman, straddling two cultures and enduring personal loss, learns forgiveness, acceptance and love.
How beautiful is that cover? And this is a book written in free verse. I've never read a book in free verse before! 
India has always intrigued me, it's definitely a place I wish to go some day in the future. I really want to read this book!
And guess what? You can win a copy on Goodreads
But there's more! Author Cathy Ostlere will be here on TCM soon! :D  Keep your eyes open!

Mar 22, 2011

Beautiful Chaos: The Summary!!!

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strangeand impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena’s Claiming. Even Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals is affected – and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What – or who – will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He’s being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn’t by Lena – and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself – forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn’t know why, and most days he’s too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn’t just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending. 
I know, Jake. OMG.

Mar 20, 2011

Discover Inkpop! And while you're at it, read my WIP!

Ten days ago, I was on the HarperCollins website, and I found a link called "inkpop" on its footer. I clicked on it, and it took me to the inkpop main page.

After browsing around a bit, I decided to join.
Inkpop is a great site for YA writers, complete with forums, libraries, and much more. It's easy to navigate, and the layout is great too.
You upload your material, and others read it and give you their thoughts. Don't be scared of sharing your work, there's no way anyone can copy your stuff, just try to, you won't be able to! If people like your work, they can "pick" it. The more picks you get, the higher ranked your story is, and it might reach the Top Picks of the month!

That's what's so amazing about this site: the Top Picks. Each month five projects get chosen -they're the ones people vote for (or "pick")- to be read by a HarperCollins editor. If your book is chosen and read, you'll get an email from the editor who read it, with of course, advice for editing it.

The Carrier of the Mark, by Leigh Fallon, was found on inkpop! It's being published on September 13th, 2011.
Listen to the author, Leigh, tell her story about how she was chosen and got a book deal!

I'm loving inkpop because it gives me a space to share my writing and get feedback from people who know what they're talking about.

I'm currently writing my first book, and it's taking me forever to finish it. I started a draft on NaNo '09, and kept on writing it until early 2010. I left it there collecting digital dust, until late last year, when I had a sudden change of heart, and of ideas. I suddenly knew exactly where I wanted my story to go, so I started re-writing it. And now, I'm back to re-re-writing it! I'm changing it up yet again, but I know third time's the charm!

My WIP's titled Insomnia. Here are my short and long pitches for you to read:
Cora is a teenager who knows when people are gonna die... even herself.

Ever since she dreamed about a car crash where her best friend died, Cora has known that she has the ability to see when people's lives are ending. But what scares her the most is that she's dreamed about her own death, and in that dream she wasn't alone. Now, she's more worried about the boy she saw than about her own life, and she can't understand why. 
So, those pitches aren't exactly award-winning, but they're all I've got for now! If you're on inkpop, or if you aren't but still want to read my story, you can go here to do so. I'm uploading chapter by chapter, as I write  and try to edit them. Please leave me a comment with your thoughts if you do! If you don't want to join inkpop, leave a comment here.


Mar 18, 2011

Lila Zacharov in 13 Pieces! [The Curse Workers Series by Holly Black]

Holly Black has created one of the most amazing things on the net: a short story generator told from Lila's POV.

Basically, you go to Lila Zacharov in 13 Pieces, and click Start. You then get a short story (I got number 4) out of the 13 the site has, and when you're done, you click Continue. The generator will take you to another random story, all told from Lila's POV. 

So, the story you read and the one I read will be different! According to Holly, there are 6 million possible variations. WOW!

Red Glove hits the shelves on April 5th, so this is definitely a great way to keep you entertained until then. I've already read the book, and while I loved White Cat more, this one didn't fall behind. Click on the titles to read my reviews.

Happy Birthday Heidi R. Kling! Help her Japan Fundraiser!

Today's Heidi R. Kling's birthday! 
I haven't had the chance to read Sea yet, but I've heard it's great.

We can all agree to what an amazing author and person Heidi is.
She's kind to all her fans, and bloggers alike. And you can see from her blog posts just what kind of person she is. Now, she's hosting a Fundraiser to help the people that have lost so much with the disaster of Japan. 
My husband works primarily in non-profits, and has donated his time overseas. He knows a lot about which charities are doing the best work, who give the most of their donations to the people themselves.  He recommends giving to Doctors Without Borders or Partners in Health.

Starting on my birthday tomorrow, our family is going to donate 20% of any new purchase of Sea, whether it be via Independent bookstore, Amazon, Nook, Kindle, discount stores, used online, or from me*, anywhere they sell books— to Doctors Without Borders.
As long as I know about the purchase.
What you need to do, is take a picture of your receipt and send it to us at:
Your email will automatically enter you to win one of TEN “Dare to Love” tank-tops, available in turquoise and peach in all sizes,  and a signed poster of SEA.

I think what she's doing is more than amazing. She's willing to donate money and give back to her fans. I'm going to see if I can buy my copy of Sea and participate, because this is something that everyone should keep in mind, always. Read her full post here.

Happy birthday Heidi! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Mar 16, 2011

WOW #17: Sweet Venom, by Tera Lynn Childs and Enthralled, by Various Authors

Waiting on: Sweet Venom, by Tera Lynn Childs

Expected publication date: October 4th, 2011

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Summary from Goodreads:
Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.
Greek myth! Medusa! Triplets! I've never read a book about triplets. This book sounds so cool, I can't wait to get my hands (my virtual hands) on it!

Waiting on: Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions, by Various Authors

Expected publication date: September 20th, 2011

Publisher: HarperCollins

Summary from Goodreads:
Giovanni’s Farewell by Claudia Gray
Scenic Route by Carrie Ryan
IV League by Margaret Stohl
Red Run by Kami Garcia
Things About Love by Jackson Pearce
Niederwald by Rachel Vincent
--- by Melissa Marr
Facing Facts by Kelley Armstrong
Let’s Get This Undead Show on the Road by Sarah Rees Brennan
Bridge by Jeri Smith-Ready
Skin Contact by Kimberly Derting
Leaving by Ally Condie
At the Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show by Jessica Verday
Gargouille by Mary E. Pearson
The Third Kind by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Automatic by Rachel Caine

An anthology with stories from all those authors? Yes, please. And that COVER. Isn't it gorgeous? (Click on it to enlarge, it's so much prettier in its larger version!)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Mar 15, 2011

New Trailer: Shimmer, by Alyson Noël [Read a Chapter!]

Shimmer, by Alyson Noël on Goodreads

Summary from Goodreads:
Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. When Riley comes across a vicious black dog, against Bodhi’s advice, she decides to cross him over. While following the dog, she runs into a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca’s sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she’s not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is lashing out by keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Can Riley help Rebecca forgive and forget without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories?

Radiance, the first in this spin-off series, was my WoW some time ago. I still haven't finished reading the Immortals Series, and I'm already craving this one! And now, we have a trailer! A very cute one too.

You can read a chapter of this book and listen to an extract on Alyson's website.

Mar 14, 2011

Red Glove (The Curse Workers, #2), by Holly Black

Red Glove (The Curse Workers, #2), by Holly Black on Goodreads

Release Date: April 5th, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Source: NetGalley
Interest: Series
Other Titles in the Series: White Cat (The Curse Workers #1), Black Heart (The Curse Workers, #3)
Read in March 2011

Summary from Goodreads:
After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov's retribution and finding out that Lila, the girl he has loved his whole life, will never, ever be his now that his mother has worked her, Cassel is trying to reestablish some kind of normalcy in his life. That was never going to be easy for someone from a worker family tied to one of the big crime families and a mother whose cons get more reckless by the day. But Cassel is also coming to terms with what it means to be a transformation worker and figuring out how to have friends.

But normal doesn't last very long - soon Cassel is being courted by both sides of the law and is forced to confront his past. A past he remembers only in scattered fragments and one that could destroy his family and his future. Cassel will have to decide whose side he wants to be on because neutrality is not an option. And then he will have to pull off his biggest con ever to survive.
My Opinion:
Another great book by Holly Black! I can't get enough of this world of lies and cons. 

After learning that his mother had worked Lila, the girl he's ever loved, Cassel believes that she will never be his, not like he'd want her to. Because sure, she's dying to get into his arms, but is it all because of the magic?

Cassel's older brother, Philip, is killed, and now Cassel wants to know who did it and why. He'll get called by the Feds to help them figure it out.

In the meantime, his only friends, Daneca and Sam, are trying to help him, but having been brought up by a worker family, Cassel isn't sure if he should trust them. 

I love these books, and I love Cassel. I haven't read a book in a boy's perspective in a long time (the only other books I did read in a boy's POV are the Caster Chronicles) and I just love being inside his mind. And it's like he's actually talking to us sometimes, with little remarks like, "I told you I wasn't good at friendship, didn't I?" 

His friends really are his friends, you can feel it. Even if he doesn't let them in that much, you can see how they do care about him, and it's not just an act. That is some spectacular writing from Ms. Holly Black. 

I'll say it now, and I'll say it again, I truly love the worker world Holly created, because it's not just a fantasy world, it's one we could very well live in. There are laws and protests about worker rights, and mafia, and trust issues, and family you've got to stick up to. And there are kids actually studying. They don't just ditch school to go in pursue of their Great Destiny, they care about their education. And I think that's awesome. 

Mar 13, 2011

Kristen Stewart to play Snow White In a New Film Adaptation of the Old Fairy Tale

It was recently confirmed that the Twilight actress was chosen for the role of Snow White in one of three new film adaptations, the one she'll star being Snow White and the Huntsman.

In this new take of the Grimm Brothers' tale, the Hunter -who'll be played by Viggo Mortensen- will at first be after Snow White (just like in the normal version), but will later become her mentor, in the fight against the Evil Queen (who's expected to be played by Charlize Theron, but there isn't any confirmation about her role yet).

It begins production this August 1st, in London, Scotland and Germany, with plans to release December 21, 2012. The film will be directed by debut director, Rupert Sanders. 

There are a lot of people saying that she's a horrible cast, but I'll admit, I quite like her outside of the whole Twilight crap.

Mar 12, 2011

Cover Love! Crossed and Lola!!!

I still haven't read Matched, and I don't know how I will like it, because everyone keeps saying it's so much like Delirium, and you know who much I love Delirium (Just look at the button on my left sidebar). But I've got to read it, because most of you say it's great.
One thing I love about it is its green cover. So peaceful looking. And then, we're hit with this cover:

Aaaaaaandd, I like it. I do. I just wish she were in a different position, the foot on which she's balancing herself looks like it might sprain. I'm also not so big a fan of the turned over R. But the colour's great, and they continued with the theme of the series, so yay!

Last year I read Anna and the French Kiss, and I fell in love with Étienne, and Paris, and macaroons. Especially with Stephanie Perkins' writing. Now we can finally see Lola's face. And it's a-dorable! Just look at it! Purple hair! Me wants! I need a copy of Anna (read the ebook), and now I can't wait for Lola to arrive!
So cute!


Mar 11, 2011

Wither (Chemical Garden, #1), by Lauren DeStefano

Release Date: March 22nd, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult
Categories: Paranormal, Dystopian, Teen Pregnancy, Kidnapping,  
Source: Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab Program
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Read on March 2011

Summary from Goodreads
What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.
My Opinion:

Wither is a great book to start off a series. I loved it!

We're first introduced to our main character, Rhine, and the world she lives in. How it's normal for her and her brother -and most kids their age- to be orphans and live alone, fending for themselves. How it's normal for them to have fences and tricks to keep robbers -kids trying to get something to eat, or Gatherers looking for brides to sell- away. How girls having babies at ages as early as 12 is okay. 

Rhine is tricked into the open arms of the Gatherers and ends up at the back of a van with a dozen other girls. What seems to her to be days later, the doors of the van open, and three girls are picked out. Rhine is one of them. The others are disposable. The gun shots can be heard even from the inside of the rich, ominous limousine the three girls are taken to. 

What I loved about Rhine was that she always knew what she wanted. She wanted to escape from that idyllic place from the moment she set foot in it, and no matter how beautiful the place, how kind the people, she could still see it for what it really was: a prison. Even when she started falling for Gabriel, a kitchen attendant, she didn't think of staying longer than she should. She missed her freedom, and her brother. 

Linden, her husband, is like a caged prince, one who's been told fairy tales to guard him from the horrors of the world. Despite herself, Rhine begins to care for him. 

Cecily and Jenna, Rhine's "sister wives", couldn't be more different from her. Cecily's incredibly happy to have been chosen to be the wife of a very wealthy man in a good position, and Jenna wishes their husband would die, like her sisters did in the back of the van that brought her there. Their relationship blossoms into one of friendship, and Rhine feels she can trust them. Well, she trusts Jenna the most.

The Mansion is surrounded by gardens: the orange grove, the rose garden, and many more places like those. All beautiful, all chemically sustained. And there's no way out. No visible way out. 

It'll be Rhine's job to find out a way to leave, before she ends up like Rose, Linden's first wife, down in the cellar, with Linden's father, who'd do anything to find a cure to save his son. 

All in all, Wither is a great debut for author Lauren DeStefano, that set out the path for the rest of the series beautifully. I can't wait to read the sequel, and see what happens to Rhine and the others!

*Read for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge by The Story Siren*

Mar 9, 2011

Visit my Blog Design Studio!

I just opened my studio!
Finally, my designs have a home.
Check it out and spread the word!


Mar 8, 2011

Tips for New (and not so New) Bloggers #1: Images in Blogs

Hi guys! I'm back after having spent a beautiful week with my family and been to a wedding!

I thought I'd make a little feature with some very simple tips for building a better blog. Because, who doesn't want to have a pretty and functional blog?

Some of these tips are my own, some I learned elsewhere and am just sharing with you (you'll find the link to the source in the post if that's the case).

So today will be my first Tips and Tutorials post: Images in Blogs

A lot of blogs tend to have sponsor banners, challenge buttons, and things like that on their sidebars.
And sometimes your sidebars can look like the one on the left. Pretty messy.

A button to the left, one centred and another to the right, or to the left, etc. Here's how to fix that, so your sidebars will look better.
Every button/banner has an HTML code you have to copy and paste on your blog, like this one:

<a href=""><img src="" alt="All Award Winning Fashionista & Fashion Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory"/></a>

<a href="YourURL"> is the link to the page you want your image to link to.
<img src="ImageURL"> is the link of the image you want your button to be. The alt inside the img tag is the little yellow box that appears when you hover your mouse over the button, and a title appears. That's for when a browser doesn't show the image, and instead you see the title with a link.

Closing tags (placed at the end of codes) always have /'s, like <center> for the beginning, and </center> at the end. So remember to close your tags!

If you copy and paste this on your blog, the button will appear on the left, like on the first photo above. To centre, you have to add <center>, </center> tags at the beginning and end of the code, like this:

<center><a href=""><img src="" alt="All Award Winning Fashionista & Fashion Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory"/></a></center>

And to make it the same size as the others, add width="80%" after the photo link. Like this:

<center><a href="" title="All Award Winning Fashionista & Fashion Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory"><img src="" width="80%" alt="All Award Winning Fashionista & Fashion Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory" style="border: 0;" /></a></center>

If the code you're copying comes with a specified width and height, delete it and place width="the percentage you choose%" only. 

If you don't have an HTML code, and instead you're just copying an image URL to paste on the Image Widget on Blogger, you can do this:

Open your code with <center> if you want the image to be centred; followed by the <a href=""> tag, where you'll place the link between the quotation marks. Then the <img src=""> tag, and an alt tag if you want. Before closing the img tag, put width="AnyNumber%". Close the <a href> and <center> tags.

So, your code would look like this:

<center><a href="the URL of the page you're linking to"><img src="the URL of the imge you'll be using" width="80%" alt="the title you want it to appear when you hover your mouse over the image" (up until here all tags are open) /> (<= that's the img closing tag) </a> </center> (closing a href and center tags).

You can copy that code and replace the text with links.

Another thing about images in blogs is quantity. I get that you want everyone to know which challenges you're doing this year, which blogs are your favourites and which books you're loving, but filling up your blog with a lot of images makes it load slower, and a reader with a low bandwidth might get bored while waiting for your page to load. 

  1. You should always convert your images to PNGs. PNG files are not as heavy as JPEG files, making you blog load faster. Any photo editor can convert your files, you don't need to have Photoshop CS5.
  2. Try working with a slideshow or a rolling marquee (like the one I have for Favourite Sites and Affiliates), saves space on your sidebars and looks more professional, don't you agree?
  3. Make different pages on your blog for your features. Like my 2011 Challenges page. Instead of putting the images/links on my sidebar, I created a page solely dedicated to my challenges. You could make one for your affiliates, and put their buttons there. 
The key is not to overburden your blog with images, that honestly, you don't really need. Less is more!

Hope this worked and you now have a pretty and symmetrical sidebar!

Mar 7, 2011

Beautiful Chaos, Book Three in the Caster Chronicles Series!!! And Dream Movie Casting!

Man, I can't believe I wasn't around for the big cover reveal! But I still needed this beauty on my blog. When I look at it I see Ravenwood Manor's gate, or some gate in the Manor, but who knows?

I'd first thought that the font colouring was brown-ish, but according to MTV's Hollywood Crush, the final, printed cover will be gold! Imagine that! Amazing! When I have money, I'll definitely have these shipped to me in Argentina, no matter the cost. I need to own these books! I've read nothing but eBooks for a looong while.

And the title! THE TITLE! Perfect. Because I'm sure that's what's in store for Lena and Ethan.

Beautiful Chaos hits stores October 18th, 2011!

Can't wait to read this. I wouldn't mind reading and ARC with a different cover. *ahem, KamiMargieLittleandBrown*

Read my reviews of Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness.


On Next Movie, Kami and Margie talk about the film adaptation of the series and how excited they are about the project. (Aren't we all?)

The site has also put together a little Dream Cast of their own, which you can see in its entirety here. These below are my favourites.

Emily Browning as Lena
I can definitely see her as Lena, she looks like her and can go from sweet and innocent, to a dark creature beautifully. (And yes, that was a lame attempt from me to do a play on words with the titles.)

Steven R. McQueen as Ethan
Kami and Margie like him, and so do I. 
He does great in The Vampire Diaries as Elena's baby brother, and he has the potential, I think, to be a lead actor. But he'd have to be perfect in the skin of Ethan. He's a character I love, and whoever plays him will be heavily criticised by me, and all of the BC fandom, I suppose.

Rashida Jones as Marian the Librarian
Thank you Next Movie for the suggestion! 
Love her as Marian! She looks exactly like her!

Helena Bonham Carter as Sarafine
She was the first person that came to mind when reading the battle scene in BC, when Lena fights her. The role fits her like a glove. But, Next Movie suggested an alternative:

Famke Janssen 
That image could very well be a part of the scene I mentioned earlier. 
So I'm torn between these two.

Teresa Palmer as Ridley
Ever since watching I am Number Four, where she plays a wicked alien, I've had her in the back of my mind.
And when someone said she'd be a good Ridley, I agreed! I think she'd be perfect.

Next Movie made other suggestions:
Lucy Hale as Lena and Logan Lerman as Ethan, but I really cannot see them in those roles. 
Kristen Bell as Ridley, and while I'm a huge Veronica Mars fan, I wouldn't like her as Ridley. She's what, 30? 
Alfre Woodard as Amma. Nope, can't see her as Amma. Amma is older and plump-ier, and... no. Please cast someone else!
Jeremy Irons as Lena's Uncle Macon. Another big NO. Uncle Macon doesn't look like he's a hundred years old! Well, to me, anyway.

What do you think? What are your top choices?

Mar 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Lindsay Eland and Carrie Jones!

Today, many years ago, two great authors were born:

and Carrie Jones, author of the Need Series!

Happy birthday ladies! And to you, go buy their books! That'd be a great present for them!
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