blo Teens Read and Write: August 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Tour & Giveaway! THE UNWANTEDS with author Lisa McMann

Vlog tours are so much fun because it's like we're sitting down with the author in person. We're thrilled to have THE UNWANTEDS author Lisa McMann drop by to answer a question about how her kids were involved with the creation of her book!


Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.
Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime.
In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.
But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.
We love that THE UNWANTEDS has such an interesting family influence and we can't wait to read all about the artistic magic!
Be sure to check out the contest details for a chance to win up to 20 books - you must leave a comment for 1 entry - and follow the blog tour (links below) where Lisa will answer a question on each site.
Thanks for stopping by, Lisa!

Contest Info: 
Are you Unwanted?
Gather entries to be entered to win the grand prize book club class pack (up to 20 books!) by explaining which camp you’d be in: Wanted or Unwanted:
  • leave a comment  +1entries
  • provide a picture of you that shows what you'd be (be creative) +2 entries
  • provide a video and tell us what you would be!   +5 entries
Links can be provided in the comments of this post, on theKismet Book Touring Facebook page or on Lisa's Facebook page.  Open US/Canada.  Contestants under 18 years of age must have parental consent to enter.

Monday August 29th - Danny and Pushy, Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, August 30th (The Unwanted's Book Birthday!) - Katie, The Mundie Moms
Wednesday, August 31st - Alyssa, Teens Read and Write
Thursday, September 1st - Heidi, YA Bibliophile
Friday, September 2nd - Becky, Stories & Sweeties
Monday September 5th - Jill, The O.W.L
Tuesday, September 6th - Mary, Book Swarm
Wednesday, September 7th - Reading Teen
Thursday, September 8th - Melissa, I Swim For Oceans
Friday, September 9th - Sab, YA Bliss
Monday September 12th - Cynthia, A Blog About Nothing
Tuesday, September 13th - Nancy, Amusing Reviews
Wednesday, September 14th - Michelle and Leslie, Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks
Thursday, September 15th - Darkfallen and Greta, Paranormal Wastelands
Friday, September 16th - Alice, Alice Marvels
Tuesday, September 20th -Grand prize announcement on Lisa McMann's blog!

About Lisa McMann - 
Lisa McMann lives and writes in the Phoenix area. Her books include the NYT bestselling paranormal WAKE trilogy, CRYER’S CROSS, and the dystopian fantasy series beginning with THE UNWANTEDS Available now! Website/Facebook/Twitter

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

YA Fiction Review: HALF-BLOOD by Jennifer L Armentrout

by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.
Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:
Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.
Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.
This is a simple review. 

I LOVED Half-Blood! Read it!

But I can't shut up that easy. 

The beginning starts out with bang and the story unfolds with exciting action, heart-pounding drama, and terrific voice. I adored Alex from page one. She's kick-butt as well as sassy, silly, snarky and all around sensational! 

The nearly non-stop action is balanced beautifully with quieter emotional moments but the tension builds and churns and the thrills never end. 

Jennifer L. Armentrout tosses out mind-blowing twists and the romance heats up nicely. Aiden is a demon fighting hottie-with-a-sweet-side pureblood (totally off limits to a lowly half-blood like Alex - cue forbidden romance). Then you toss in the uber powerful Seth to get the love connections swirling into a sexy mix with Seth becoming a huge wrench in Alex's life - but I can't tell you why!

No real love triangle exists...yet...but the future of the relationships are up in the air and Alex will have some serious decisions to make in the upcoming books. 

For some underage drinking, talk of other characters "hooking up" and the Alex/Aidan romance having a couple of heated moments, this might be appropriate for teens on the older spectrum.  

Oh Happy Day - Half-Blood is my kind of book. Bursting with action, dripping with drama, complicated relationships, surprises hitting from left field, a take no prisoners heroine and a satisfying ending! It was Yowzer fun for me! 

Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Teen Fiction Review: THE REVENANT by Sonia Gensler

Author: Sonia Gensler
genre: Teen Fiction/Historical/Ghosts
When Willie arrives in Indian Territory, she knows only one thing: no one can find out who she really is. To escape a home she doesn't belong in anymore, she assumes the name of a former classmate and accepts a teaching job at the Cherokee Female Seminary.
Nothing prepares her for what she finds there. Her pupils are the daughters of the Cherokee elite—educated and more wealthy than she, and the school is cloaked in mystery. A student drowned in the river last year, and the girls whisper that she was killed by a jealous lover. Willie's room is the very room the dead girl slept in. The students say her spirit haunts it.
Willie doesn't believe in ghosts, but when strange things start happening at the school, she isn't sure anymore. She's also not sure what to make of a boy from the nearby boys' school who has taken an interest in her—his past is cloaked in secrets. Soon, even she has to admit that the revenant may be trying to tell her something.
THE REVENANT is like that great meal you make with a little of all the great stuff in your kitchen. Gensler blends a bit of history, mystery, culture, romance and paranormal into a delicious mix. 

I always enjoy fish-out-of-water scenarios and the the main character taking on a new identity was an added bonus. Willie is flawed and isn't the kick-butt heroine I usually favor, however her strength comes from within and she shows courage in unraveling clues to the mystery, creating a new life, maturing and fixing her mistakes. 

The lush setting and culture provides a fresh take from the usual YA fare, and while the romance plays a small role - I would've preferred more - it adds a sweet spice. And it's appropriate for all ages since in that era a lustful glance was considered pushing the sexual envelope! 

The ghost aspect ratcheted up the creepy without being overly scary. And important issues like racism and socio-economic snobbery are addressed. 

The pacing slows at times but the prose is always lovely and I was thoroughly invested in the multi-faceted characters and how they were all cleverly weaved into the mystery. And - Glory Be! - the ending is thoroughly satisfying.

You won't need Stallone to save you from a cliffhanger!
For those who want a moody, atmospheric historical mystery with a dash of romance and spooky ghost story, THE REVENANT is a savory dish! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

We're Back From LACK OF INTERNET Hell!

We were cut off! 

We moved to a new house, which we love, but...

The internet service didn't happen. For two weeks! No phone either - not even cells, and it's like we landed on the dark side of the Moon! 

It's been torture! So we're sorry we couldn't let you know, and for missed posts, not commenting, not answering emails - we have several hundred to get to. No, that's not daunting at all. 

But we're back online as of this morning and we'll get to it all soon.

Love you all and hope everyone is doing great!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 8/10/11: 4 Hot Upcoming YA Releases!

WoW is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine and showcases upcoming releases we're dying to read!

by Kate Kae Meyers
Feb 2012 
Jocelyn’s twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes—and now he’s dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from “Jason December”—the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn’s childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House. 
But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house’s powers weren’t just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in? The answer is revealed in a shocking twist that turns this story on its head and will send readers straight back to page 1 to read the book in a whole new light.
Who isn't up for a haunted house story?

by Laini Taylor
Sept 27
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.
When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
Should be read for the cool cover alone!

by Sara Wilson Etienne
Feb 2012
When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn’t expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she’s going crazy. Fast. 
But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she’s come home. She’s even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red. 
Faye knows she’s the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can’t trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her—and the rest of the world too. 
An eerie island adventure!

by Eileen Cook
Feb 2012
Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.
But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.
Sounds cool but would prefer a more gothic paranormal cover. This looks more cute contemporary, don't you think?

What are you waiting for? 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Have You Noticed the Book Cover Trends? What Covers Do You Lust Over? +Giveaway!

Notice some recent cover trends? I have. 

Who thought this was a good idea?  Let me point out three books with the same Girl-Running-Scared-in-Pretty-Dress cover. 

THE GODDESS TEST (Australian Cover)

THE VESPERTINE changed the dress color. Wow.

 DARK ANGEL splashed on a wing and added an eerie background. Wow. 

HALF-BLOOD and BROWN EYES have the same cool image...

... just changed the color.  

While I like the images, seeing the same ones on different books somehow diminishes my positive impression. As an admitted cover junkie who often judges a book by its cover, I find it annoying that publishers can't be bothered to find something original.

Another trend, which I've talked about with The Book Vixen, is using a Models Face - and often the Half-Face.

DELIRIUM went from hiding a face behind the title... the Half-Face on the Special Edition...

...and the upcoming sequel.

REVOLUTION went from two half-faces... one full.

RECKLESS had some freaky-deaky face...

...and changed to hottie-hunk.

In general I don't like models faces on covers. That being said, I do prefer the second RECKLESS cover, but that's probably because I think the guy is cute. I admit there are books I haven't read because the model turned me off. Shallow, me? Pffffttt!

I often don't like the looks of the guys they pick, or with either gender, the model doesn't match up with my vision of the character. The Iron Fey did the Half Face well but I have an issue with THE IRON KNIGHT because it doesn't match up with my vision of Ash. 

I love this series but when I read THE IRON KNIGHT I'll shut out that version of Ash and substitute my own much hotter version. (And now that I think about it, I should pick someone for Ash for Missie @ The Unread Reader's Book Boyfriend meme. Then I'd at least have a start at having my own harem since unfortunately Melissa @ Books and Things is a greedy wench and won't give up any of hers!)  

But I've gone off on a hormonal digress...

I always adored the original NIGHTSHADE cover.

I even liked the WOLFSBANE cover a lot.

So the publishers completely lost me when they went to this... 

Ugh, ugh, and double ugh! In comparison to the brilliance of the original NIGHTSHADE cover, they look ordinary at best.

HUSH HUSH is an all-time favorite of mine.

And I currently lust over EVERNEATH

Now I'm curious about you...
What is your opinion of these trends?
Have you noticed other trends?
What do you like to see in a cover?
What are your favorite covers?
A contest?? 
Sure why not! You've stuck with me so far. So here's the deal...

- Comment with an answer(s) to any of my questions - I'm dying to know!
- Fill out the form below

That's it. Nothing else required. The prize?
Your choice of any book up to $15 from Amazon or Book Depository
 (so it's open to wherever BD ships!) 
Oh, and enter by Aug 29th

SIDE NOTE: Since I'm talking so much about covers, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that if you ever want to laugh so hard you snort coffee out your nose - And who doesn't? - check out Jenny @ Supernatural Snark and her Cover Critique. She finds some of the worst covers ever but her hysterical observations are the best! 

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