Tuesday, March 25, 2014

{Book Review} Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Oh, what to do, what to do. I have three book reviews and a movie review I need to get done. I'm not sure what I want to do first. I suppose I'll do a book review and maybe do the movie review this evening.

Title: Fire & Flood
Series: Fire & Flood #1
Author: Victoria Scott
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press


A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Well, there's no other way than to just tell it like it is. Honestly, I was a little leery of this novel because I did not enjoy the Dante Walker series. I know, shoot me now, but I just couldn't connect to any of the characters. But HELLO Fire & Flood! I'm not sure what sub-genre this young adult book falls into, because it's really not dystopian, but that's the closest way to describe it, I think.

I'm not going to give any big spoilers, so describing exactly why this race takes place will be impossible, because there's much more to it than a race for a cure. One hundred and seventy-two contestants begin the race, which will take them through four ecosystems, and the person who wins the entire race wins a cure for someone in their family who is chronically ill. For Tella, it's her brother.

I admired Tella. She walks into her room and finds a tiny, electronic ear piece laying on her bed. When she pops it in her ear, instructions flood her brain and she thinks her brother is trying to pull a prank, so she confronts him and her parents, who go a tad bit insane when they see the device. Her dad tries to burn it, but Tella manages to save it, and finishes listening to the instructions, which she follows to save her brother.

Jenny, a friend of mine at Book Sojourner (this link goes to her Fire & Flood review, check it out), said she didn't really like Tella at first, and that maybe it was because she was so different from the character. I have known Jenny for a couple of years now, and I laughed as I was reading the book, because Tella reminded me so much of Jenny. Either would go above and beyond for their family, regardless of the consequences. Anyone who doesn't follow Jenny at Book Sojourner should go follow her now. She has so many great posts.

Anyway, Tella makes it to the starting line with everything she's allowed, and nothing she brought. Victoria inserted so many interesting and unique concepts into the story, it kept me guessing what would happen next. I loved the Pandoras. Foxes, lions, rams, and so many other critters that had the powers of superheroes. Some could burrow in the sand and shoot spurs out into various parts of intruders bodies, others could breathe fire though they weren't dragons, and another could imitate all others. The single thing the pandoras had in common, is they existed to protect their competitor. Tella realized this from the beginning and showed her companion compassion and friendship. She won other pandoras loyalties by showing them the same kindness.

As the competitors make their way across a rain forest, then a desert, the obstacles and challenges became greater and riskier. Friends and enemies are picked off with increasing speed and ease. However, after each ecosystem, the winner scores anything from money to secure their loved ones the best medical care, to a small dose of the "cure" to extend the life of their family member a few years longer. They are also given the option of going home or continuing on for the ultimate reward. Dropping out of the Brimstone Bleed becomes a forethought in many people's minds, but their loyalty to their family keeps them going.

One of Tella's cohorts, and possibly a potential boyfriend, knows more about the Brimstone Bleed than the others. Guy is willing to share bits of the truth with Tella, and perhaps there is so much more to the story than a race for a cure. I am excited to read Salt and Stone. Why so long, Victoria? Why?

I recommend Fire & Flood to those who enjoy dystopian type books. This is a YA book but does contain some violence. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

{Interview & Blog Sponsored Giveaway} GLAMOUR by Andrea Janes

Author: Andrea Janes
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Publisher: World Weaver Press


Townie. That’s what eighteen-year-old Christina Sundy is. All year round she lives in a one-stoplight town
on Cape Cod and when summer comes she spends her days scooping ice cream for rich tourists, who she
hates. So when one of them takes a job in the ice cream shop alongside her, she’s pissed. Why does a
blonde and perky Harvard-bound rich girl like Reese Manning want to scoop ice cream anyway?

Something else weird is happening to Christina: tiny blue sparks seem to be shooting off her fingers. It
isn’t long before she realizes the truth about herself — she’s actually a powerful hereditary witch. But her
newfound powers are too intense for her to handle and, in a moment of rage, she accidentally zaps Reese
into another dimension.

So that no one will notice that the rich girl has disappeared, Christina casts a disguising spell, or
“glamour,” and lives Reese’s life while she tries to find a retrieval spell. But as the retrieval spell proves
harder than anticipated, and as she goes about living Reese’s life without anyone on the outside noticing the switch, Christina realizes that there’s nothing to stop her from making the glamour permanent…

except, of course, her fellow witches, a 16th century demon, and, just maybe, her own conscience.

Glamour will be available in trade paperback & ebook via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com
Kobo.com, and other online retailers. (Links will take you directly to Glamour by Andrea Janes.)

Keep reading for the giveaway!

Interview with Andrea Janes

Better Read Than Dead: Please introduce yourself and tell us two or three quirky things about you.

Andrea: I’m a write by day, and lead ghost tours by night! I run my own company called Boroughs of the Dead. People sometimes just email me their own ghost stories and photos out of the blue, and sometimes they’re incredibly scary.

I once wrote a book of short horror stories set in and around New York City, which you can find here.

I live in a hundred-year-old co-op apartment building in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It was built by Finnish immigrants and is one of the first co-operative apartments built in the United States.
     B: A very interesting life you live. I would be too chicken to join one of your ghost tours myself, but I do think it's a super unique way to make a living.

B: GLAMOUR has a unique premise. Tell us a little about how you came up with the concept and why you chose the setting you did. (I’ve always loved anything based in the Cape Cod area.)

A: GLAMOUR is really a tale of friendship, and it was appropriately enough inspired in a large part inspired by some of the friendships I’ve been lucky enough to have in my life. I started working on this story in 2004, based on a casual suggestion from a friend (“You should write a script about a girl who works in an ice cream shop and she’s an ambidextrous scooper”) that I thought was amusing.

As for the Cape Cod setting, I don’t really have much a claim to New England, other than I love the landscape and beaches, and am fascinated by the history of whaling ships! I love all things nautical so naturally my idea of a really fun day is the Museum of America and the Sea at Mystic Seaport.
     B: I love how your story came about. It makes me smile. Tales of friendship are always such fun, and sometimes traumatizing. I completely I agree with your assessment of New England. Great choice of setting.

B: We’d love to have a little bit of insight into your main characters. Just a fact or two about each one that will help us understand them as we read.

A: You HAVE to take the “Which Witch Are You” quiz right now! This will give you so much insight into the characters, and tell you which one you most identify with!
     B: Hmmm... I got Christina, she sounds sort of scary. Hehe.

B: Describe (or feel free to insert a picture) of your writing area. Do you have a certain routine or require any specifics (caffeine) to write?

A: My writing area is clean and sparse because it doubles as my office. I don’t believe you need to have an exciting or “inspiring” setup in order to write. It’s great if you do, but a writer can write anywhere, in any setting. Nor do I have a routine. This isn’t some kind of sacred ritual. You get up, you grit your teeth, you write.
      B: I think I've had about a 50/50 answer on this one. Some people who may be a little more OCD need everything to be set in a certain way, and their coveted cup of coffee at their sides every day when they sit down to write, facing out their east window. Others are more like you. I love hearing people's unique perspective.

B: Now, the question every blogger has to ask any author they interview. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors or what was the best advice you ever received?

A: I generally don’t give advice. The process is different for everyone. I guess the best advice I’ve ever heard is “read a lot.” And write a lot. What else is there?
      B: I find most writers find it helps to both read and write a lot. The advice I get most often in these interviews is to never give up. I think that is equally important. I completely agree that you can't tell one person how to write, because we're all different people with varying backgrounds and preferred ways to do things. These differences make us human.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Andrea Janes writes horror, dark comedy, thrillers, and historical slapstick. She is the author of Boroughs of the Dead: New York City Ghost 
Stories. She is also a licensed NYC tour guide, and offers a variety of ghostly tours around the city. Her many obsessions include New York City history, 
old photographs, Mabel Normand, all things nautical, and beer. She maintains a personal blog over at Spinster Aunt, where she discusses these obsessions in more detail than is probably healthy.

World Weaver Press is a publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction, dedicated to producing quality works. As a small press, World Weaver seeks to publish books that engage the mind and ensnare the story-loving soul. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

{Top Ten Tuesday} My Top Ten TBR Books for Spring 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR List 
(Only 10? Oh no!)

These are arranged in no particular order, except for number 1, which I will start tonight.

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
Panic by Lauren Oliver

Sinners at the Altar by Olivia Cunning

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

The Quick by Lauren Owen
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins
The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

What books are you looking forward to reading this spring? Be sure to let me know if you're a new follower so I can follow back!

Monday, March 10, 2014

{Top Ten Tuesday} My Top Ten New Adult Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

I'm trying a new Tuesday Meme this week. I've seen the Top Ten Tuesday lists floating around on the bloggosphere and I always enjoy reading them, so why not join in on the fun. This week's Top Ten Topic is:

Top Ten All Time Favorite Books in the New Adult Genre
(These are in no particular order)

Wait for You by J. Lynn
Be With Me by J. Lynn
Easy by Tammara Webber

Slammed by Colleen Hoover (Actually anything by Colleen Hoover)

Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken
Lucky Number Four by Amanda Jason

 Charade by Nyrae Dawn
Facade by Nyrae Down

 Rule (Not Pictured) by Jay Crownover
Jet by Jay Crownover
Rome by Jay Crownover

 I've only now realized just how far behind I am in reviews. I only listed a couple by each author. J. Lynn, Colleen Hoover, Rachel Van Dyken, Nyrae Dawn, and Jay Crownover have won a fan for life!!!

I'm certain I missed a few since it's hard to choose just a few books, but these will do for today! Happy Top Ten Tuesday everyone! Let me know what your faves are, of any genre in my comments. If you happen to be a new follower, let me know so I can follow you back!

{Book Review} Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken

Title: Ruin
Series: Ruin #1
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Publication Date: August 11, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published


I'm not your typical girl. I've been running away from the memories that haunt me for so long that depression has become my only comfort. I was content in the darkness...until Wes Michals offered to be my light.

I didn't know that time wasn't my ally -- that every second that ticked past was one step closer to the end of something that was beginning to mean the end of myself. He tried to warn me. He promised me all he was able to offer--each moment as it came--but it would never be enough.

Sometimes when you think it's the end, it's only the beginning. Wes thought he could save me, but in giving me everything, he ruined me. Because after one kiss, one touch, I couldn't--I wouldn't ever be the same.

And from that moment on, his heartbeat became my own.

All I can say is... Wow! If I knew how moving, how heartbreaking, and, eventually, how awe-inspiring Ruin would be, I would have picked it up on August 11, 2013, the day it released. And honestly, if not for the minor editing issues, the rating would have been FIVE stars. Rachel Van Dyken is quickly becoming one of my favorite New Adult writers. 

Some people are going to call the romance too "insta-lovey," but given the circumstances, I can completely understand why the author went where she did with the story. I started off the book laughing at Kiersten's clumsiness, especially where Wes was involved. If anyone ever doubts that a single girl could embarrass herself in such a horrific manner, I assure you—it is possible.

But trees weren't warm.

And they didn't have one, two , three, four, six. Good Lord, eight? Eight packs? Furthermore, had I actually been feeling said person's eight pack? A, dear God, I was counting. I had touched each muscle. And great, my hand was still firmly placed against the guy's stomach.

Oh, I laughed so hard.

Kiersten, a college freshman, finds herself lost in the chaos of attending college, well, the registration process specifically. People are rude and can't be bothered to answer her questions. The one guy who is willing has quite a reputation. Kiersten's not sure she wants his brand of drama, but she's also having a difficult time avoiding him. 

Wes, college senior filled with snark and billions of bucks, finds himself captivated by the clumsy, sometimes crazy freshman. He's the quarterback of the football team, the RA of Kiersten's dorm, and has an entourage to boot. He is the guy every girl wants, thing is he's all about changing his ways. No more one night stands, no more boozing it up, no more frivolity. His main goal is to finish out his last season on the football field and make it into the big bowl game, until... a beautiful, clumsy freshman runs smack into him. Haunted by his past, he feels the need to save her.

Both Kiersten and Wes are carrying secrets they aren't willing to share with anyone, not even each other. Unfortunately, Wes has more than one traumatic event coloring his past and when he finally comes clean, my feelings gnawed at my gut, literally bringing tears to my eyes. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Van Dyken's build to the big reveal. It was slow and torturous, but perfect. Wes' emotions clung to me stronger than Kiersten's. Or, maybe Kiersten's reaction to Wes' situation stuck with me more. 

Either way, the story is phenomenal. Complex and complicated. Heartbreaking and inspiring. A perfect blend of life; the horrific and the sweet.

I thought about inserting a spoilery type quote here, but instead, I'll leave you with my favorite line.

"Maybe it's not in the perfection of life that things make sense, but in the chaos."

Yes, this book is considered a New Adult book, but it is written clean with only slight suggestions made at sexual content. My 13 year old is mature for her age, but I would have no problem with her reading this novel.  


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