Tuesday, April 12, 2011

iClue Mystery Two - Violet's Mystery!!!

Have you guys heard about iClue? Click here to read more about it. Throughout April, six different authors are featuring mysteries from their novels. If you solve the mysteries, you are entered for a chance to win an iPod Touch pre-loaded with six novels by the authors!

This week, author Kimberly Derting is writing a mystery involving the characters from THE BODY FINDER. You can read the opening to the mystery here. And today, I’m hosting the second part of her mystery!

iClue: Violet’s Mystery

When she reached her car, Violet stopped dead in her tracks, her heart beating faster. There was still no one around, and she suddenly wished she hadn’t stayed so late, that she hadn’t decided to work on her history project all by herself. The librarian, at least, was still somewhere on the school grounds. Violet could still go back inside and find her.

But for what? she chided herself. For a note stuck beneath her windshield wiper? Oooh, scary!
She took a deep breath and walked faster now. Whatever is was, it was probably nothing.

Probably a note from Jay, or Chelsea…one of her friends.

She hesitated before slipping it free.

This sheet was lined, with a ragged edge where it had been ripped from a spiral notebook. It was folded in thirds, much tidier than the other note had been.

She opened it.

One word:

Violet frowned, thinking about the note from her locker and wondering if the two were meant to go together. If so, “I’m sorry” could mean something, but what? And from whom?

She had no idea. And didn’t have time to find out, she was late.

She unlocked her car and climbed inside, waiting for her irritable engine to settle down before backing out of the parking spot.


The phone vibrated on the seat beside her. Violet recognized the quick burst of sound…she wasn’t getting a call, it was a text message. But she was driving, and it was illegal to talk or check messages while driving, so she ignored it.

Sometimes she hated being such a good girl.

When the phone buzzed again, her curiosity got the best of her and she slid it closer.

She only used one finger, that wasn’t so bad, was it? She checked the display to see who’d messaged her, but it was a blocked number.

At the red light, she picked the phone up, keeping it low, in her lap, so no one could see her law-breaking ways, and she opened the message.

Her stomach dropped.

Was this some kind of joke? If so, it wasn’t funny.

There was just one word. One letter, actually:

Okay, guys, these were your second clues! Be sure to check Kimberly’s blog tomorrow, so you can find the link to the next clue!

Solve all of the clues and you’ll know the password you’ll need to enter for a chance to win an iPod Touch!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie (5) - Thriller and Horror in YA

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie is going to be a discussion post feature in which I discuss anything book-related. They're just normal (sometimes random) discussion posts that are named A Cup of Coffee with Reggie because it's like having a cup of coffee with me and listening (or in this case reading) about my bookish opinions. It will be a random feature here at TUBL that can pop up anywhere from twice a day to twice a year. Most likely, it will be a tri-weekly post feature on my blog.

Today's Topic:

Is there really a YA novel that is truly a horror or thriller? What makes a good horror or thriller novel?

Personally, I don't think I've read a real young adult horror or thriller that truly 'horrified' me. According to Wikipedia, horror fiction '...is a genre of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to scare its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural.'

I think that the definition of horror fiction is kind of hard to live up to. Because horror is more subdued and subtle in reading, while it can be downright scary when it comes to being portrayed in movies. I've seen lots of horror movies and a lot of them scared me. But I have yet to read a horror YA novel that gives me nightmares. It's not that I have high standards for horror, it's just that I think that in movies, people are more easily frightened because it plays with a lot of your senses like seeing and hearing the actual events and scenes. In books, you don't even see the scene happen; it's kind of just described I guess.

Now on to thrillers. According to Wikipedia, thriller fiction '...is a broad genre of literature, film and television that includes numerous and often overlapping sub-genres. Thrillers are characterized by fast pacing, frequent action, and resourceful heroes who must thwart the plans of more powerful and better equipped villains.'

I've read a few good psychological thrillers like The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride, and compared to movies, it's actually not that bad. In thriller novels, I can often feel the pace getting quicker and quicker, just like the movies. I love psychological thrillers...both in movie form and book form =)

What's your opinion? What do you guys like in a YA thriller or horror? Have you guys read anything truly 'horrible' or 'thrillable'? If you have, I'd love to get some suggestions as to what I should read next!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The City of Fallen Angels and Red Glove Tour!!!

City of Fallen Angels AND Red Glove = A Dream COME TRUE!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vesper by Jeff Sampson

Title: Vesper (Book 1)
Author: Jeff Sampson
Pages: 304
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 25, 2011

Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

Haunting and eerie, Vesper deals with a fresh, new concept in the paranormal genre; the Dr. Jekyl and Hyde-esque idea of the different alter-egos. Along with originality, Vesper is also a mysterious, striking page-turner with a captivating premise. The suspense and thrill drips off every page with the mystery of the events slowly being peeled off, layer by layer to piece together what happened.

Emily's real personality is too one-dimensional even with her alter egos; 'Daytime' Emily and 'Nighttime' Emily. She becomes flat and too predictable at times, but there are those precious moments where she really becomes relatable and her expressiveness triggers the readers' empathy. Emily's relationships are dulled and disregarded upon at the beginning, but they begin to grow with her friends and when she starts to find out the truth about herself. Her change in character parallels with how her new-found abilities are developing as well. Emily is still in a phase where her character is still fickle and underdeveloped at times, but in the next installment, her characterization will hopefully improve.

The plot of Vesper is unpredictable and believable at the same time. The interrogation transcripts between Emily and Mr. Savage creatively add a more mysterious allure to the novel and feeds the reader well-needed information to fit the pieces together. At the start, Emily is as much in the dark as the reader is, and as events are put on the spotlight, Emily, together with the reader, will discover things slowly as the book progresses.

Ultimately, Vesper is part of a series that has lots of potential to grow. It has that edge-of-your-seat element flawlessly perfected and an originality that stays true. Although it doesn't have bonds as developed, this could be improved in the next installment. But well done to Mr. Sampson for writing a fast-paced, enjoyable read!

The Bottom Line: An okay read for me, but Vesper has lots of potential!

---Field Report---
Originality: 9/10
Ending: 8/10
Characters: 7/10
Plot: 7/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 7/10
Theme: 6/10
Imagery: 7/10
Setting: 3/5
Voice: 3/5
Style: 4/5
Tone: 4/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 75/100 (B)


Monday, April 4, 2011

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie (4) - Dystopian & Controversial Topics in YA

\A Cup of Coffee with Reggie is going to be a discussion post feature in which I discuss anything book-related. They're just normal (sometimes random) discussion posts that are named A Cup of Coffee with Reggie because it's like having a cup of coffee with me and listening (or in this case reading) about my bookish opinions. It will be a random feature here at TUBL that can pop up anywhere from twice a day to twice a year. Most likely, it will be a tri-weekly post feature on my blog.

Today's Topic:

What do readers like about dystopian novels? What is the place of controversial subjects in YA today?

So I always wonder, what do people like about dystopian novels? What makes a good dystopian novel for you? Well, I never really used to read dystopian, up until it started gaining attention-momentum (I'm so good at coming up with terms! Haha!) in the young adult world. The first dystopian novel I read was probably Matched by Ally Condie, but that was followed by Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Enclave by Anne Aguirre, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, etc.

Aspects that I Like in Dystopian Novels:

1) World-building - This is the very first thing I look for in a dystopian novel. If the idea or the world of the novel is original and consistent, then it makes me excited to read it. Books with great world-building include Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Enclave by Anne Aguirre, and Possession by Elana Johnson. While some of these books aren't perfect, their world-building truly pulls you into another world.

2) A touch of realism - The reason why I like the books I like is because of the realism incorporated in them. If I don't empathize with the characters at all, I won't like it. Sometimes, I like to imagine me doing the things a character does but if the character is apathetic, then I won't be able to do that. For me, a touch of realism, no matter how small, is always important not just for a dystopian novel, but for any novel.

3) Romance - It doesn't have to be a concept that runs or paces a dystopian book, but if a dystopian novel is going to have romance in it, then might as well make it good! I have yet to encounter a dystopian novel completely void of romance so until I read one, this is a good addition to them. Novels like Divegent by Veronica Roth and Drought by Pam Bachorz are really good at this!

4) Well-developed characters - In dystopian and in any genre, well-developed characters are always a must for me. Without depth or layers, the character will remain flat and lifeless to me. If a character grows throughout the book though, it's even better. Books like Enclave where Deuce is an amazing warrior-woman type protagonist, are made of holy awesomeness!

5) Originality - Without originality, I wouldn't bother to read dystopian books. That's the reason why I'm loving them right now! Because of their originality! Even based on the blurb, if the concept of the book is original, nothing will stop me from reading it! Some upcoming books that I can already name solely based on the originality of their ideas are The Pledge by Kimberly Derting, Legend by Marie Lu, and many others!

Whew! That was some list! And that's only half of this cup of coffee with me! Now it's time for to touch on the place of controversial topics in young adult literature!

A few weeks ago, I finally read Wither by Lauren DeStefano after much debate. The reason why it took me so long was because I knew that the concept of polygamy was incorporated into the novel and I was kind of unsure whether I'd like such a book. Boy, I was right to read Wither! It was amazing.

People say don't judge a book by its cover, and I say don't judge a book by its topic; controversial or not. Polygamy, for me, is an intangible concept because I'm Catholic, but I'm not against reading it. I found it interesting how Lauren DeStefano used the concept and how she really integrated it into the whole world of Wither. It's a total win for me.

I've read other books that broached on controversial topics; the classic example being Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson that discusses the topic of rape or the recent example of The DUFF by Kody Keplinger. Many people think that this is too adult to be young adult, such as Wesley Scroggins. It's these people who don't think that young adults can't handle it, but in fact, they are handling it and are being exposed to it physically and emotionally in everyday life. These books give a strong message and if people choose not to read them, it's their loss. That's my opinion.

What's your opinion? What do you like about dystopian literature? About controversial topics in YA? I'd love to see what you think!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Guest Review by Mavie: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither (Book 1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Pages: 356
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date: March 22, 2011

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 limited time she has left.
Heartbreaking and absorbing, Wither introduces readers to a consuming world where polygamy is encouraged and forced upon. An abstract, evasive reality is richly developed by DeStefano's captivating words and dynamic characters. The dystopian setting and environment pulls readers into an intricate web of deception, entrapment, and elegance. To some, a few ideas and concepts in Wither might be intangible and taboo, but the depth of emotion and understanding that Rhine's experiences demand from the reader are so deep and evocative. Wither, and the characters within it, teeter the fine line of belief and morality, and challenge the controversial ideas present today.

Rhine's character is compelling. Imprisoned both emotionally and physically, Rhine is strong-willed and naive. In such a constrained environment, her emotions fly off the page with the desire for freedom. On the outside, her obedience is similar to that of her sister wives, with a spark of rebellion. But underneath Rhine's well-established facade are underlying complexities and hidden layers of depth that spark emotions within the reader and substantiates the hopeful undercurrent in the slowly withering world.

DeStefano immerses readers in a world where age and beauty are valued, but where lifespans don't last beyond 20-25. The harsh reality in Wither is the base for the characters' problems but doesn't hinder their own, individual thoughts. The way each character deals with the concept of a short lifespan is different and provides a variety in an almost-hopeless reality. As readers, only a small part of Rhine's world is shown, but glimpses of a world outside of the the manor's gates are seen, giving a glimmer of hope. The plot is full of manipulation and pretenses, filling the pages with lots of twists and turns. Despite the pit of treachery and guile, such beautiful, genuine bonds are formed between the sister wives and between Rhine and Gabriel.

Wither is an absolutely stunning read with a magnetizing cast of characters that emote so much feeling into its pages. Its mesmerizing play on words and descriptive world, truly cements DeStefano as master in YA dystopian. The dynamics and the elements of dystopian and realism incorporated into Wither, fuse together to create a beautiful start to a new series.

The Bottom Line: Wither will never wither in my mind. Pun intended!

---Field Report---
Originality: 9/10
Ending: 8/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Theme: 9/10
Imagery: 9/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 95/100 (A+)


Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie (3) - Angel Romance...Right or Wrong?

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie is going to be a discussion post feature in which I discuss anything book-related. They're just normal (sometimes random) discussion posts that are named A Cup of Coffee with Reggie because it's like having a cup of coffee with me and listening (or in this case reading) about my bookish opinions. It will be a random feature here at TUBL that can pop up anywhere from twice a day to twice a year. Most likely, it will be a tri-weekly post feature on my blog.

Today's Topic:

Is angel romance in YA right or wrong? Do their religious connotation affect what readers think of them as love interests?

As a Roman Catholic, I'm pretty familiar with angels in my religion. Some YA novels like Angelfire by CA Moulton or Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens deal with angel mythology that have Catholic references. But do I get offended? Not at all. It's just that I'm always wondering whether other people do get offended by angel romance, or if they're kind of fickle about it, based on the situation. Angels are usually viewed as otherworldly, holy figures. But in YA, they do have their flaws.

A really good example is an angel in Angelfire; I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say who it is. But that person embodies a well-known angel figure even though she has her flaws. I loved this character so I have no qualms about it. In Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Patch is Nora's love interest and he's an angel. It's just the contradicting concepts that I find confusing; angels are supposed to be 'sinless' so why is Patch lustful? Angels are supposed to be the guardians of humans...so isn't it weird for the guardian angel watch somebody all the time and fall in love with that person? There are a lot of 'supposed to's. There are concepts and ideas that other readers believe, and others that don't.

Because angels are sort of 'holy', some people might think that angel romance is kind of gross and wrong, but I think its just a matter of opinion.

What's your opinion? Is angel romance right or wrong? I'd love to see what you think!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Born At Midnight: C.C. Hunter Interviews Kylie! (International Contest Inside Too!)

Today, I'm so excited to have C.C. Hunter and Kylie here at TUBL! So this interview is a little unconventional 'cause instead of me doing the interviews, C.C. will be interviewing Kylie instead! Isn't that awesome?!? Without further ado, here they are!

“Hi, Kylie. Come on in and sit down,” I say when she appears at the door.

Kylie stops at the entrance and looks around. “What is this place?”

“It’s my mind,” I tell her.

“It’s eerie.” She shivers and looks at all the dark, shadowy nooks, places where I keep plot ideas, plots gone wrong, plots on hold, or pieces of scenes that I haven’t quite developed.

“It’s not always eerie,” I say. “But I guess a lot of stuff happens here.”

“Yeah! Eerie stuff.” She moves in and hugs herself. Sitting down on the large tan, butter-soft leather sofa, she stares off in one corner.

“Who’s that?” She nods to her right.

I follow her gaze. “Oh, that’s nobody. Just someone I killed. I thought I’d keep him for a while until I figure out exactly how he died.”

“You don’t know how he died? But you just said you killed him.”

“Well, I didn’t really kill him. I let someone else do it. And now I have to figure out how it happened.”

“Seriously?” She shakes her head. “Do you ever worry about yourself?”

I pause and think about it. “Sometimes. But hey…I always end a story on a happy note.”

She makes a face at me. “He doesn’t look too happy.”

“True,” I admit and decide to think about that later.

“Why am I here?” she asks, still hugging herself.

“Because Reggie wanted me to interview you.” I try to get comfortable and ignore the dead guy, who is now seriously beginning to freak me out.

“I don’t like being here too much,” she says.

“It reminds me of being on Dr. Day’s couch. The shrink my mom sent me to because I started seeing ghosts.”

“You didn’t like the doctor?” I ask.

“I thought she was a flake. Come to find out, she’s just a fairy.” Kylie continues to look around. “Can I ask you something?”

I lean forward and my chair squeaks. “I think I’m the one who’s supposed to be asking you questions.”

“Humor me,” she says and when I nod, she continues. “What’s up with the eagle and snake thing that happened today?”

“Oh, that? Well, you’ll figure it out later. Besides, we can’t really talk about that right now.”

“Why not?”

“Because that happens in book three. And that book doesn’t come out until 2012, so we don’t want to spoil anything for the readers. We have to talk about things that happened in book one, Born at Midnight”

“Okay,” she says, not sounding happy. “So what questions do you have?” Then she frowns. “Wait. You created me, you know my answers, why do you even have to ask me anything?”

“I don’t know all the answers,” I say and point to the dead body. “In a weird way, you’re like him, I haven’t figured you out yet. And even if I had, you don’t always do what I say. For example, what if I told you that tomorrow you’re going to kick both Lucas and Derek to the curb and start falling for Burnett or Perry.”

“Are you nuts?” Kylie asked. “Burnett? I mean, he’s totally hot, but he’s way too old for me. And you know sooner or later, he and Holiday are going to get over their pasts and hook up. As for Perry? Please, he is so not my type. Besides, I wouldn’t want to hurt Miranda, or tick her off. That pinky finger of hers can throw some pretty wild curses now that she’s gotten a better handle on her dyslexia. And what if she messes up? Don’t you remember what she did to Socks, my cat, in book two?”

I grin. “Yeah, that was pretty funny. But don’t you see my point? You don’t always do what I tell you. I might have created you, given you a past, and a basic belief system, but you don’t do everything I want you to do.”

“I do most of it. I only reject the stuff that doesn’t make sense.”

“That’s true,” I say. “As a character, you’re pretty easy to work with. But let’s get back to the questions. The one I know everyone wants me to ask you. Who do you want to end up with at the end of the series? Derek or Lucas?”

“That’s not a fair question. I mean . . . right now, I’m really hurt by Derek and I like Lucas . . . a lot, but you know the thing that keeps me from totally falling for him.”

“What thing?” I ask.

“Don’t you remember what his grandmother told me?” Kylie suddenly starts. “Did you see that?” She waves at the dead guy. “He’s not dead. He just moved.”

I feel my heart drop as I look over at him. “He can’t be . . .”

“Yes, he is!” Kylie scoots down the sofa, farther away from my scene in process. “Please tell me you’re not going to put him in my book?”

“I haven’t decided,” I tell her and watch as the guy I thought was dead gets up and walks away. I look back at Kylie. “You know what, I should probably go follow this guy and see what’s happening.”

“Do I have to stay here?” she asks and looks around frowning.

“Nah, you can back to your scene in chapter four.”

I start out and I hear her say…”By the way, I don’t like the whole eagle and snake thing.”

I look back over my shoulder. “Yeah, I know. And I’m sorry about that but it’s staying in the book. It’s what writers do. We create scenes that force our characters to deal with things they’d rather not.” Then I rush out to catch up with my dead guy who isn’t dead. Hmm, I might be able to use this…could someone come back alive? However, I guess I’d better end this interview now.

And now, for the contest! It's going to be international and all you have to do is comment on this interview. Then fill in the form below. Up for grabs is a bag full of BAM-related swag!


iClue - A Chance to win an iTouch!!! (INTERNATIONAL) Featuring Six AMAZING authors!!!

Do You iClue?

  • 6 Authors

  • 6 Mysteries

  • 6 Chances to Win an iTouch

Six authors were talking one day and realized that even though their books ran the gamut from sci fi to romance, contemporary to ghostly, they all had one thing in common: a really good mystery. These authors--Lisa & Laura Roecker, Mandy Hubbard, Adele Griffin, Kimberly Derting, Lee Nichols & Beth Revis decided they wanted to give their readers a little more mystery...and if they solved that mystery, there needs to be a great prize, no?

The authors are working with The Reading Room (a book review site) and a slew of amazing book bloggers to bring you an exciting new contest that will be running over the next 6 weeks. For each mystery you solve, you get another entry into the contest. The grand prize is an iTouch loaded with 6 AMAZING eBooks from the participating authors.

Here's how it works:

  • Starting on April 4th a new author will be featured on the iClue Site each week.

  • The author will post their mystery on the site on Monday.

  • On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we will post links to The Reading Room and two book bloggers who will be posting a special clue to help you solve the mystery.

  • Once you've solved the mystery you send us the correct solution using a form on the website.

  • If you enter the correct solution you get one entry into the contest.

  • Solve all 6 mysteries you get 6 entries to win the iTouch.

iClue launches next week (April 4th) with my mystery, featuring some of the characters from ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. Solve the mystery, get the password, and you'll get an entry to win an iPod Touch! So make sure you check back next week for this!

Meanwhile...we want to make sure to get the word out on this exciting month-long event! And that's where you come in...you, and six autographed books...

Help us spread the word, and you'll be entered for a prize to win six autographed books, one from each of us! There are lots of ways to enter!

You can tweet!

You can blog!
(If you past the html code under the banner into your blog, it will automatically show up, all linked directly to the contest. If you put it into the post, be sure you're on the "edit html" tab of Blogger.)


You can spread the word however you like! And for every way you spread the word, we're going to enter you in a contest for a grand prize pack of all six of our books, signed! And don't forget to come back to the actual event for your chance to solve fun mysteries and win an iPod Touch!! (And yes--before you ask, the contest IS open internationally--both prizes!)

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