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Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween: Dystopian Giveaway Hop - INT

Welcome to my stop on the Dystopian Giveaway Hop, Hosted by My Shelf Confessions and I am A Reader, Not a Writer.

First, Happy Halloween. So go off and dress up and enjoy yourself. But tomorrow, you'll be left with a pile of candy and you'll need something to read:

My winner can choose one of these dystopian-ish books OR any book of their choice up to $15 USD from either Amazon or the Book Depository.

Young Elites Walled City
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dress Like a YA Character for Halloween Part III

Yay -- Halloween is tomorrow :)  Stop back then for my stop on the Dystopian Giveaway Hop!

Every year for the past two years, I've offered up last-minute, scrounge-around-the-house plans for how to dress as a YA Character.

If you are scrambling for a last-minute costume, check out my ideas from the last two years:

Tris from Divergent (Katherine Tegen)

Dressing like Tris is easy: dress all in black, and put some faux bird tattoos on your collarbone. Done.

Photo from

Just don't tell anyone how the trilogy ends!

Part I of the Mockingjay movie comes out in November, so what better time to dress as:

Katniss from Catching Fire (Scholastic)

Option one: girl on fire jumpsuit. Dress in black fitted clothing and use fabric paint to make it look glowing orange and red.

Option two: wedding dress. Head to the thrift shop or borrow an old wedding gown or white prom dress from a friend. Pile on the pearls. If you're really ambitious, you can make the white gown breakaway like in the book and have a slinky black one underneath….

Did you see the dress from the movie?

My 2012 Ideas:

Sydney Sage from the Bloodlines series (Razorbill)

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

1. Throw on khaki pants or skirt with a plain white blouse. Sydney's known for being an understated dresser.
2. Use gold face paint and a brush... paint this design on your cheek:

Golden lily tattoo
Tattoo pattern from VA Wikia

Then carry a can of Diet Coke or a Starbucks cup around. Done!  Optional but highly recommended: blond wig and a hot, dark-haired guy with green eyes to follow you around and make snarky comments.

Anna from Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (Tor)

Find a long white (or light colored) dress that you don't mind splattering with red paint or fake blood 

Use purple eyeliner to make "purply veins" all over your face, neck and arms. Then put on some black lipstick. 

Buy fake blood to splatter the dress with or make your own here with corn syrup, food coloring, and chocolate syrup. Yum!

Don't forget those crazy eyes!

Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Little, Brown BYR)

Buy a blue wig or use temporary blue hair paint. Once your hair's all blue, you can twist it up and stick a paintbrush into it. Or make a braid. 

Tie a wishbone on a cord around your neck. Eat the chicken first, or make your own wishbone out of Model Magic.

Make yourself some hamsa tattoos. You can find a temporary tattoo tutorial here.

Carry around a sketchpad and pencil. You can also tote around a little bag of teeth. Raid your kids' tooth fairy pillow, or get out that Model Magic!

Sexy Steampunk from the Infernal Devices series:

Dress in Victorian-inspired clothing -- think high heeled lace-up boots paired with a black skirt, plus a corset or a lacy blouse or cami. Don't sweat the outfit, because we'll dazzle them with gadgetry!

Raid your junk drawer, craft drawer, jewelry box, toolbox, and garage. (Or just hit the hardware store.) Here's what you're looking for: gears, washers, brooches and pins -- any old costume jewelry you can take apart, fake gems, metallic buttons -- any interesting little bits of shiny stuff. Think like a magpie!

Superglue all your finds into a fabulous necklace and spray the whole thing with gold or silver spray paint.  You'll get something like this:

Or this:

There are some great tutorials at, which is where I got the photo above.

Warning: it is entirely possible that people won't "get" who you're dressed as.  Just see it as a chance to talk up your favorite book.

Have fun, don't take candy from strangers and don't forget to email me a picture!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Just Finished Reading ... Compulsion by Martina Boone

Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island #1)
by Martina Boone
To be published by Simon Pulse
on October 28, 2014

Source: ARC borrowed from Around the World ARC Tours

Synopsis from Goodreads: All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions. Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.
My take: At first glance, Compulsion seemed like the perfect book for me. I love Southern Gothic fiction -- the crumbling old mansions, the eccentric characters, the (sometimes) pararnormal elements. But for me as a reader, everything in this book could have been cranked up a few notches.

Barrie has been sent to live with her aunt in Watson Island, South Carolina after the death of her mother. (Barrie's father died years before in a fire that left her mother scarred and veiled. Okay, now this is perfect Southern Gothic material, but because she's dead, we never get to see Barrie's Miss Havisham-like mother except in other characters' memories.) Barrie arrives at Watson's Landing and meets her aunt -- her mother's twin sister -- and we also learn that Barrie has some kind of psychic ability that runs in her family, the ability to find lost objects.

I was all on board up to this point, but then everyone had long, involved stories to tell. There were three main families of Watson Island -- the Colesworths, the Watsons and the Beauforts -- and each family has different special powers and different dark secrets and I quickly got confused as to who loves whom and who married whom and who betrayed whom and had to repeatedly consult this geneaological chart that wasn't in the front of the book like it should have been, but just randomly stuck into page 59 of the ARC for some reason and I could never find it when I needed it and..... argh.

The romance was a bit ... sudden. I don't want to use the dreaded i-word to describe it, but within minutes of arriving, Barrie's crushing on a boy named Eight and a short time later the two of them are meandering all over town, exchanging flirty glances and shooting the breeze with the locals.  I wanted more creepiness. More suspense. More shocking revelations.  Maybe it's my let's-get-a-move-on-here Yankee disposition, but for most of this book, I was dying for a faster pace and more excitement. I knew going in that this was a series, so I guess I expected a more dramatic ending. (I was predicting a BIG twist like in The Thirteenth Tale, another gothic suspense novel that also featured twins and a fire. But that never really came to pass.)

While I liked this book, I can't say that I loved it. But I can see that a lot of my Goodreads friends have really enjoyed it, so I could just be the odd man out here. If you've read and loved this, let me know why in comments!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing October 28-Nov 3

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Tuesday is book release day, so every Tuesday I tell you about all the great new YA books you can buy in the week to come. If you're a reviewer, you can also link your blog or Goodreads reviews of any YA book publishing in the current month so we can all check them out!
Last week to enter the October giveaway! This month's winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.) Enter by linking your reviews or commenting on other people's linked reviews. 

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA. Please let me know about books I might have missed! Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Talon In the Afterlight Earth and Sky Eternal
Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin Teen)
In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken (Disney-Hyperion)
Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe (Skyscape)
Eternal (Shadow Falls After Dark #2) by C.C. Hunter (St Martin's Griffin)

Get Happy Shadowboxer Resisting Ruby Rose
Get Happy by Mary Amato (Egmont)
Shadowboxer by Tricia Sullivan (Ravenstone)
Resisting Ruby Rose (Ruby Rose #2) by Jessie Humphries (Skycape)

Diamonds in the Rough Compulsion Wanted
Diamonds in the Rough (Secret Diamond Sisters #2) by Michelle Madow (Harlequin)
Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island) by Martina Boone (Simon Pulse)
The Wanted by Lauren Nicolle Taylor (Clean Teen)

Catalyst Atlantia Waterfall
Catalyst (Insignia #3) by S. J. Kincaid (Katherine Tegen)
Atlantia by Ally Condie (Dutton)
Waterfall (Teardrop #2) by Lauren Kate

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 27, 2014

Just Finished Reading ... Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic 
on October 21, 2014

Source: eARC from Netgalley

Synopsis from Goodreads: There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up. Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.  Friends can betray. Mothers can disappear. Visions can mislead. Certainties can unravel.
My take: Ahhhh. My love for this series cannot be overstated.  Beautiful writing. Complex and realistic characters. A plot that's like a crazy, multi-level puzzle.  These books have everything I love in a book. They make me think and they make me feel. What could be better?

Here's my (spoiler-free) review of Dream Thieves, if you're interested.

And if you're getting ready to read this and need some refreshing on details, be sure to read the Recaptains recap, written by Maggie Stiefvater herself. And hilariously funny.

So... it's hard to review the third book in a multi-book series without spoilers. And this book has not been released worldwide yet, so I want to avoid spoilers at all costs.  So I will speak in generalities.

Each book thus far has seemed to be focused more heavily on one character and, based on the title and cover, I think it will not surprise you if I say that this book focuses a lot on Blue. Fierce, funny, quirky Blue with her multitude of hair clips and her crazy extended family of women with paranormal abilities. But Blue isn't just a Quirky Chick, she also has a lot of depth. I was having a great email chat about the book with two of my favorite blogger friends, Lauren from Love is Not a Triangle and Heather from Flyleaf Review, and we were discussing the fact that in this book, Blue thinks a lot about things she wants but doesn't have and feels she can never have. To say more would be spoilery, but I can say that in this book, Blue is dealing with some family stuff, the result of something that happened in book two. She's having a tough time with that, and also with the fact that she feels like she's stuck on a different life path than the Raven Boys, with their fancy school and their tight friendship. Does she really belong in their group? Yes, of course she does. She has a unique connection to each of the boys, and I love the way that this installment developed -- and complicated --  the friendships between Blue and each one of them.

Much to my dismay as a claustrophobic, some of the action in the story moved to a dark, dank, closed-in sort of place. So I felt like I had to read parts of this with my eyes half-closed. But it was cool when I could get past my sweaty palms and jaw clenching.  There were also new characters. There was Malory, who we've seen as a presence on the phone, and his hilarious dog. Then there was annoying yoga pants-wearing woman and her husband (not a fan of them and I don't think I was supposed to be) and a GUY WHO TALKS LIKE THIS. Huh. Plus there was a heartbreaking revelation about one of my favorite characters. No, not the revelation that if Blue kisses her true love, he will die. We knew that all from page one of the first book :(

I can't wait for the next installment. Will it be Gansey's book? I'm scared if it is.....

If you read this, or can't wait to read it, tell me about it in comments but NO SPOILERS please. You can email me if you want to talk spoilers.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Extra! Extra! Halloween Week Preview

Extra! Extra!

Extra! Extra! is my weekend post featuring brand new additions to my TBR pile as well as a summary of what's new on the blog.

This weekend I'm linking to Stacking the Shelves @ Tynga's Reviews and/or to Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 


Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark (March 2015, Henry Holt)


if you live outside the US, you can enter Hot Off the Presses  AND the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

And US Residents can enter to win a pick from my ARC grab bag. If you live within the US, just fill out the Rafflecopter below:


In the week to come,  I'm featuring a review of Blue Lily, Lily Blue, my usual peek at new releases and my traditional Halloween week post. Hope you can find time to stop by!

Leave me a comment and tell me what's new with you!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Freebie Friday: Fall ARC Grab Bag 2

Happy Friday! 

Today's giveaway is for the winner's choice of fall ARCs. There's a New Adult, a historical/paranormal, a couple contemporaries...

Due to shipping costs, this is US only, but if you live outside the US, you can enter Hot Off the Presses  AND the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

US/Canada residents can enter the Halloween Thrills and Chills Giveaway here!

And for the ARC grab bag, please live within the US and fill out the Rafflecopter below:

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