Friday, October 30, 2015

Spotlight Friday (22) and Giveaway: Life After The Undead by Pembroke Sinclair

I am hosting this blitz on behalf of Xpresso Book Tours

Title: Life After The Undead

Author: Pembroke Sinclair
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Released October 22,2015


Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she's going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they're migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life. 

Zombies aren’t the only creatures she has to be cautious of—the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves. 

Join Krista in her quest to survive in this thrilling apocalyptic novel by Pembroke Sinclair (Summary from Goodreads).

Purchase from Amazon


I will never understand peoples’ fascination with the apocalypse. Why would you waste so much time and energy worrying about something you can’t change? Besides, most of the time, it never comes to fruition, anyway. Remember Y2K? I don’t. I was too young, but I’ve heard stories. What a hullabaloo that was. People were so afraid of computers failing and throwing society back into the Dark Ages, they stockpiled supplies and moved into the wilderness so they could get away from technology. Why would they move to the wilderness? If technology was going to fail, wouldn’t they be just as safe in a city? I guess they were afraid when it did, everyone would go crazy and start killing each other. Either way, it didn’t happen. I wonder how those people felt afterward.

Then there was the whole 2012 scare. This one was supposedly based on an ancient prediction, so you know it was reliable. Are you kidding? Even the Mayans didn’t believe their own ancestors’ “vision.” What happened was there had been a tablet that had the Mayan calendar carved into it. The end was broken and faded, so no one knew what it said. Our culture, being the pessimistic lot we are, automatically assumed it was an end-of-the-world warning, but, again, nothing happened on December 21, 2012. Christmas came and went, and I think everyone everywhere, even the skeptics, had a little something more to be thankful for. Life went on as usual, and all those doomsayers faded into obscurity.

The day the world did end was pretty nondescript. By that I mean there was no nuclear explosion or asteroid or monumental natural disaster. There weren’t even any horsemen or plagues to announce the end was coming. The world ended fairly quietly. I couldn’t even give you a date because it happened at different times depending on where you were. It was never predicted, and I’m sure a scenario no one even considered. Who really thinks the dead are going to rise from the grave and destroy the majority of the population?  No one but Hollywood, and we all know those are just movies, but that’s exactly what happened. Those of us who survived were left wide-eyed, mouth agape, trying to figure out what to do next.

There were a few who were able to pull their heads out and organize those left behind. They made sure the populace had food, shelter, and protection. They were saviors, the United States’ heroes. Life wouldn’t have gone on without them, and it was pretty difficult those first few years after the zompocalypse.

Sometimes it’s difficult for me to remember what life was like before the rise of the undead. I was a teenager, though I hesitate to say normal. I wasn’t deformed or anything, but my classmates thought I was strange. I had a fascination with the dark, the macabre, although I wasn’t a Goth or Emo. I read books and magazines about serial killers. I didn’t idolize them or want to be like them—hell no—I was fascinated with how evil and black a human’s soul could get.

I wanted to be a psychologist and work with the criminally insane, maybe figure out why they did what they did. Apparently, when you’re fifteen, your friends think you’re weird if you have desires to help someone other than yourself. While they were worried about becoming popular and getting the right boyfriend, I tried to figure out how to make society better.

Of course, those dreams will never come true. Society doesn’t exist. Everything I once held dear is gone. I lost my parents to the horde, like a lot of kids. Unlike some of the others, mine weren’t taken by surprise or in some freak accident. They were taken because of their own stupidity. Some days I miss them a lot, but others I believe they got what they deserved. I might sound callous and uncaring, but what about them? Why would they abandon their fifteen-year-old daughter? It used to keep me up at night, trying to find the answer to that question, but I’ve given up asking it. No reason wasting time on things that could’ve or should’ve been.

As I stare out the passenger side window of the semi, I’m reminded how bleak the future has become. The truck rolls down a once heavily traveled highway that has been reduced to a cracked trail. Gas stations and towns dotting the landscape have been abandoned and are crumpling into the weeds that are taking them over. There are a few areas that still resemble pre-zombie destruction, and these are the military outposts set up along the road, used for protection and refueling. I use the term “military” loosely because there is no formal military anymore. It’s a rag-tag group of men and women who were lucky enough to get guns. I chuckle to myself. It’s been two years since I was last out in the world, and a lot has changed since then. I still remember the day the zombies attacked. It’s as clear as if it’d happened yesterday.


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About the Author

Jessica Robinson is an editor by day and a zombie-killer by night (at least in her books). Since the first time she watched Night of the Living Dead, she has been obsessed with zombies and often thinks of ways to survive the uprising. In addition to her nonfiction book, under the pen name Pembroke Sinclair, she has written YA novels about zombies and the tough teens who survive the apocalyptic world. She has also written nonfiction stories for Serial Killer Magazine and published a book about slasher films called Life Lessons from Slasher Films.

Author Links: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google + | Goodreads
Friday, October 23, 2015

Spotlight Friday (21) and Giveaway: Portia by Christina Bauer

I am hosting this blitz on behalf of Xpresso Book Tours

Title: Portia (Angelbound Offspring #2)
Author: Christina Bauer
Genre: Fantasy
Released October 27, 2015


Unlike her famous older brother Maxon, Princess Portia isn't known for killing demons or attracting admirers. The reason why is simple: a spell was cast on Portia, and the magic has marked her to one day transform into a dreaded Void demon. To fight this horrible fate, Portia’s spent her life hiding in libraries and learning magic. But when the Void demons threaten to destroy all the after-realms—and the handsome dragon Emperor Tempest offers his help—then Portia suspects that her future holds more than just a demonic metamorphosis. Fate is calling the bookworm princess onto the battlefield, and it’s a fight against both deadly enemies and her heart’s desires (Summary from Goodreads).
Buy from Amazon | B&N


Without thinking, I gesture to the man who’s standing right next to the boy, his arm held high in the air.
“How about your question, Sir?”
The guy rises. “Roy Cotter, Purgatory Enquirer.”
At these words, my heart sinks to my toes. This creep is one of those reporter-stalkers who follow me around looking for tabloid headlines. They always print the same stuff—how any second now, I’ll turn demonic, sprout six arms, and kill everyone in sight. How could I have missed him? He’s tall and bony and has a scorpion’s tail. Not easy to forget.
Roy pulls a small white notebook from his pocket. “What demon will you turn into, Princess?”
Gram leans into the microphone. “The Princess won’t be answering that question.”
Roy’s greasy face stretches into a grin. “Hiding something?”
Suddenly, I’m sick to death of concealing everything that I am. The guy wants an answer? He’ll get one.
I set my hand on Gram’s shoulder, guiding her away from the mic. “No, I’ve got it.” I scan the audience carefully before I answer. You could cut the air with a knife, the anticipation in here is so heavy.
“What demon will I turn into?” I ask. “The answer is, none. I’ve been studying magic so that never happens.” I gesture to my eye. “This is a spell. Spells can be broken.”
Roy rocks on his heels in delight. He’s got me on the defensive and he loves it. “Let me ask it another way, Princess. Most times, those marks are on your face signify a certain type of demon. You know, marking what you’ll turn into one day. Might be something harmless. Might not. None of us can read those marks on your face. Surely, with all your research, you’ve run across the answer to this question. Maybe you won’t turn into a demon, fine. But what are you Marked for?”
What a total set-up. If I tell the truth, I’ll be the laughingstock of the after-realms. If I lie, I look like an expert who doesn’t really know anything. No way am I answering.
“Come on,” says Roy. “What will you ‘not’ turn into one day?” He makes little quotation marks with his fingers when he says the word ‘not.’ A few muffled laughs sound from the crowd.
My torso tightens with frustration. I can’t believe this. I spend sleepless nights wondering how long I have left before I turn into a demon. I’ve worked all my life to break the spell that’s cursed me. I’m always the quiet one, the patient one, and the calm one. I never get angry. But my tragedy is somehow funny to my own so-called people? A new sensation boils through my bloodstream.
Rage. Suddenly, there’s only one thing I can do here.
Let loose on Roy.
“I’m Marked for the Void.”

All the oxygen seems to get sucked out of the room. Shocked faces stare at me from every direction.

About the Author

Christina graduated from Syracuse University's Newhouse School with BA's in English as well as Television, Radio, and Film Production. Her day job is in marketing for companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Brainshark. Back in the go-go 90′s, she founded her own software start-up, Mindful Technologies. Christina believes that, upon close examination of Tolkien's text, it's entirely possible that the Balrog was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Waiting on" Wednesday (6): The Starriest Summer by Adelle Yeung

"Waiting on" Wednesday is posted every other week to spotlight my most anticipated books

Title: The Starriest Summer (The Cycle of the Six Moons #1)
Author: Adelle Yeung
Released December 20, 2015


Fifteen-year-old Michelle saves the world on a daily basis…with her trusty video game controller, of course! Naturally, she jumps at the chance to play an experimental virtual reality game.

The beautiful fantasy world of Starrs? Check. The power to mold matter? Check. No reset button? Wait, she didn’t sign up for this!

Turns out Starrs is really real, and to make matters worse, Michelle’s interference awakens the Cycle of the Six Moons, a series of devastating trials that will devour the universe.

Fighting the apocalypse was way easier when danger stayed on the other side of the screen, but Michelle finds a secret weapon in her new-found powers. She uses them to rescue the crown prince of a powerful magic kingdom from their sworn enemies, a technologically-advanced cult that strives to eradicate magical blood.

Michelle starts to fall for Prince Jayse, the only one who believes Michelle to be a savior rather than a curse. But not even video games could prepare her for what the cult has in store for them…(Summary from Goodreads)

Why I'm So Excited

First of all, look at how freakin cute that cover is!! Second, read that summary!!! It seems like it will be a very unique story.  How cool, a character that gets stuck in a video game and a female character that rescues the crown prince.

This is the debut novel for this author.  I can't remember where I saw this book, but I think it was on one of the book tour websites.  As soon as I read that synopsis, I added to my TBR.  It's risky to read from an unknown author, but I'm excited nonetheless.
Monday, October 19, 2015

I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter by Brian K. Henry

Title: I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter
Author: Brian K. Henry
Released March 18, 2014
Bought on Kindle
Rating: 4/5


Moody sixteen-year-old barista Devin Mulwray is doing his best to ignore bizarre manifestations at his job in the chilly Northern California town of Arcata. Already teased about his recurrent ‘phase-outs’, the last thing he needs is to get pegged as a guy who sees ghosts. It doesn’t help his state of mind that his boss is a sarcastic slacker, his single dad is always on the road with clients and local occult fan girl Nayra is spreading ‘ghost boy’ rumors about him online.

But when violent paranormal activity badly spooks teens at an abandoned estate, Devin’s pushed into investigating by his eccentric friends Clive, a budding composer, and Rex, a tech head excited by ghost hunting gadgetry. At first reluctant to get involved, Devin’s encouraged when Emily, one of the more empathetic girls at Grey Bluff High, is impressed with his daring.

Together the friends explore the creepy Rousten manor. But as the only person able to perceive the manifestations, Devin soon finds himself going one-on-one against a powerful spirit who attacks the locals and infiltrates Devin’s own dreams.

Devin must face his fear of confronting the spirit world and get to the bottom of the hauntings before the specter unleashes more havoc on him and his friends (Summary from Goodreads).

I'm writing this review during hour 14 of the read-a-thon (from last Saturday) so bear with me because my mind is mush, so I decided to take a break and write this review.  I finished I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter during the read-a-thon, and it was a great book to read for a read-a-thon since the length isn't too long and it's a  light read.  Plus, it goes with the whole Halloween spirit for the month of October.

I seem to have a thing for quirky characters, which were definitely present in I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter.  Devin has two main friends: Clive, an English born music aficionado who composes interesting music, and Rex who definitely has a lot of energy and reminds me a bit of Ben from Paper Towns.  Nayra was basically what the synopsis above says: "local occult fan girl."  Her dialogue with Devin had me chuckling a few times.

The story didn't always hold my attention, possibly because my age sometimes makes it difficult to enjoy YA books the way I would if I were in middle school or high school.  However, the writing stood out to me because there are so many YA books with repetitive writing that annoy me after a while, and this book wasn't repetitive to me.  Plus, there's a lot of "ten-dollar" words thrown in that would be good for any high school student studying for the SAT.  Good thing Kindles have the option to quickly look at definitions! However, I did notice quite a few errors in terms of incorrect grammar and spelling.

Overall, a pleasant read for the month of October.  I'd recommend this for the younger part of the YA audience.
Friday, October 16, 2015

Spotlight Friday (20): The Keepsake by Suzy Vitello

I am hosting this blitz on behalf of YA Bound Book Tours

Title: The Keepsake (The Empress Chronicles #2)
Author: Suzy Vitello
Genre: Fantasy
Released November 1, 2015


In this second Empress Chronicles book, Liz and Sisi continue their intertwined journey through time. On the heels of discovering a magical locket in the empress diary, Liz comes to understand its very special power: the wearer must speak the truth. Not only that, but it turns out that there are three lockets, each with their own magic and power.

Meanwhile, Sisi realizes that she’s communicating with a girl who lives 150 years in the future. A girl who knows what awaits her if she marries the emperor: lack of personal freedom and a legacy that will refer to her as the "reluctant empress."

With the world's future hanging in the balance, the two heroines must work together to thwart Lola, whose ambition to rule the Habsburg Empire will rewrite history, and lead to a terrifying new version of reality (Summary from Goodreads).

“You can choose love, or you can choose control. Not both.”


When I open the locket, there’s a bolt of sadness that stabs me, then clings to my skin, making me feel like I’ve trespassed somewhere I shouldn’t have. If there really is some sort of power coming from this thing, we should return it. Only, with Dr. Greta over in Germany, and having stolen the diary a whole month ago, we’d both be in crazy trouble. Especially Cory, given that he’s already got two strikes against him with the juvenile authorities and MIPs and stuff like that.

The diary is hidden under a loose board behind my bookcase. Once we found out that my shrink had been summoned to return it to the authorities, Cory suggested that we stash it. It’s been a couple of days since I checked it, and now, with our new suspicions about the locket, I want to revisit that passage about the keepsake’s magic. Only, I need Cory to translate Sisi’s German.

The bookcase scrapes the floor a little when I shove it forward. The entire wall is made of wood—not one sheet of drywall in this old place—and Cory had pried loose a short panel of fir where it meets the baseboard molding. That’s where I find the empress journal pages crammed into one the binding of my last shrink-sponsored food diary. My heartbeat competes with the storm as I wiggle it free and tiptoe across the hall.

I find Cory already asleep, buried in his sleeping bag in the screened-in summer porch. The diary and locket feel heavy in my hands; my nerves are jangling as I approach his burrito-wrapped body. 

“Cory,” I loud-whisper.

He snorts and turns over, facing away from me.

“Wake up!”

Cory pops his face out. “Dude, you’re totally interrupting my amazing dream.”

For Cory, an amazing dream probably has to do with his mouth over a bong, or some girl-related activity, and I don’t want the details. I hold out the journal, “We need to get to the bottom of this.”
Cory sits up and rubs his eyes. Another crack of thunder, this one right over us. I settle in close to him. I seem to be shivering, all of a sudden.

“What, you’re scared of a little storm, Lizzie?”

“Don’t call me that.”

He holds his arm out, his chin gestures toward his shoulder, “Come here.”

I scootch in closer, his warm body heating me instantly, taking the shiver away. His arm settles around my shoulder and I open the diary, the loose pages of ancient text shift away from the decoy cover, and I hold them tight to keep them from blowing away as another gust of wind swoops in.

As I page through it, looking for that place where Cory had translated Sisi’s entries about love and visions and magic, the image of Alika gets clearer. Alika and Cory, together on that bridge. I keep turning the worn, yellowed pages, trying to ignore the intrusion of thoughts of Cory close to another girl, but the vision is very strong. Overpowering. Rain spits at us. Wind blows and whistles through the screen. I toss the locket to the far end of the sleeping bag, down near where the rain has trickled and pooled on the floor. And just as I hear the clink of the keepsake sliding to the floor, Cory shouts, “Liz, look at this!”

About the Author

Suzy Vitello is a proud founding member of a critique group recently dubbed The Hottest Writing Group in Portland, and her short stories have won fellowships and prizes (including the Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Award, and an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship).

Suzy's young adult novels, THE MOMENT BEFORE and THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES are available wherever books and ebooks are sold.

An e-chapbook of some of her stories, UNKISS ME, can be found 

Author Links:
Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Title: The Archived (The Archived #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Released January 22, 2013
Bought Paperback from Amazon
Rating: 4/5


Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost, Da's death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption (Summary from Goodreads).

The first thing that stuck out to me was the writing style.  Now, typically I don't care for a poetic, wistful style because it seems to me that the author is trying to hard (*cough cough* Shatter Me) BUT I didn't feel that way with The Archived.  It has a slightly wistful (not sure what word to use) vibe but not too much to annoy me.  The tone it set helped me empathize with Mackenzie.

Mackenzie has gone through a lot with the deaths of her grandfather and brother, and is rightfully a bit depressed throughout most of the book.  Wesley balances this with his friendly and quirky personality.  Whenever Mackenzie and him are together, she becomes a little more relaxed and we see her humorous side come out a little bit.  She is also more herself when her mind is preoccupied with her role as a Keeper.

The whole system with the Archive, Keepers, Crews, and Librarians was really fascinating to me.  I was genuinely interested in learning about what they do, and I especially liked the action-packed scenes where Mackenzie deals with the Histories.

There was a lot of mystery going on, and it was very satisfying when the true antagonist was revealed.  Looking back at it now, I could have figured it out if I were more perceptive, but it was a great surprise for me.

Overall, a great read.  I feel like the next book will be even better, and I can't wait to read more of Victoria Schwab's books!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Spotlight Friday (19) and Giveaway: Awakening by Catrina Burgess

I am hosting this blitz on behalf of YA Bound Book Tours

Title: Awakening (The Dark Rituals #1)
Author: Catrina Burgess
Genre: Fantasy
Released October 7, 2015


In Awakening, the first installment in the Dark Rituals series, a former healer turns to the Death Arts to seek revenge.

Seventeen-year-old Colina was born a healer. But after a horrific event forces her to leave her clan, she becomes desperate to learn the dark magic of the death dealers, mages who draw their power from the spirits of the dead. Colina was taught to fear and hate death dealers, but becoming one of them is the only way for her to get the revenge she seeks—and the only way for her to survive.

Colina asks a young death dealer named Luke to help her, but he’s reluctant to train her in the Death Arts. Little does she know convincing him to teach her will be the easiest part of her journey. To become a death dealer, Colina will need to undergo three dark rituals, each more terrifying than the last. At the same time, she’ll have to deal with her growing feelings for her mentor. Too bad the first ritual involves him strangling her to death.

As Colina undergoes the trials, she discovers an untapped darkness within herself. If she survives the horrific rituals and gains dark power, what will she become? (Summary from Goodreads)

Buy Links:


I shrugged my shoulders. “Look, everything in life is a risk—a gamble. I’m here, and I’m throwing the dice.” I didn’t want to ask the next question on my mind. It’d been haunting me ever since he’d told me about the ritual, but now, standing here in the cemetery, I had to know. “How are you going to do it?” I whispered.
“Strangulation is the easiest.” His voice was suddenly void of emotion.
What the hell did he mean, “strangulation is the easiest?” I assumed he’d give me a potion. I’d drink something, slowly fade out, and then be given an antidote to undo the spell.
“I’m going to put my hands around your neck and squeeze the life out of you. You have to experience the pain—experience your death at the hands of a death dealer. It’s the only way the ritual works.” Fear—there it was again in his eyes. “You don’t have to do this. It’s crazy we’re doing this.”
I took a deep breath and stepped toward him, even though my body screamed at me to run away from certain pain and death. “You know we don’t have a choice. If you want to save your sister, you need my help. I can’t help you as I am. I need power.” It was true—I wanted to save his sister—but I also wanted to exact my revenge, and I was willing to do anything to see the men who killed my family pay.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

I’ve been known to eat pizza and cold Chinese food for breakfast, and I’m the queen of the board game Stratego. I’ve never been beaten. NEVER!
You can find me online at:
Wattpad // catrinaburgess
Website //
Owner/Operator Romance Junkies // I write because it helps keeps the darkness away and reminds me that there is magic in the world. I live with one husband, two dogs, and a cat named Shitty Kitty in a small mining town in Arizona. At night this place is definitely spooky. I swear I’ve heard the wind giggle, and sometimes there’s a very odd breeze. Luckily, I love all things that go bump in the night. I adore old movies. I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan.
RJ Blog // // @RJBookReviews

Author Links:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Waiting on" Wednesday (5): Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

"Waiting on" Wednesday is posted every other week to spotlight my most anticipated books

Title: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: March 8, 2016


Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.

Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.

The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica (Summary from Goodreads).

Why I'm So Excited

HELL YEAH ANOTHER SHADOWHUNTERS SERIES!!! Emma and Julian definitely stood out to me while reading The Mortal Instruments, and I cannot wait to read their story in The Dark Artifices.  I'm looking forward to seeing what the final cover will look like.  I can already tell I'm going to die of feels with this one!!!
"Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she's absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love"
 OMIGOSH if these feels will be anything like I experienced in The Infernal Devices, I'm about to die.  Anyone else as pumped as I am even though we have to wait five months?!? 
Monday, October 5, 2015

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Title: The Rithmatist
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Released May 14, 2013
Bought Hardcover from Book Outlet
Rating: 5/5


More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever (Summary from Goodreads).

I read this pretty fast because it was easy to get lost in another Brandon Sanderson world.  As you guys probably know, I've read four of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series, and I loved them!  This book is a little different from those books because they're tailored toward a middle-grade/young adult audience. These were less dark and series than Mistborn.

The first thing that stood out to me was that the main character, Joel, did not have the extraordinary abilities that Rithmatists possess, which is unfortunate because of his extensive knowledge of Rithmatics and his ability to draw Rithmatic lines with almost perfection.  His Rithmatist friend, Melody, is adorable and while she can't seem to draw a good circle, which all Rithmatists should be able to draw, she can skillfully draw Chalklings with enough detail to make them more powerful than average.  Together, these two make a great duo.

Every chapter began with an illustration that gives you a little lesson on Rithmatics.  This immediately excited me in the beginning because I knew there would be a cool "magic system" of some sort.  I felt like a Rithmatist student!

As always, I appreciated the detail Sanderson takes to create the "magic system" and build the world.  It's great when everything "makes sense" and that makes it all the more fascinating to read.   I recommend this book for younger readers or anyone who enjoys books like Percy Jackson.  Of course, if you're older and like those kinds of books or any other Sanderson books, then read it!! Now I have to wait a couple years for the next book :(
Friday, October 2, 2015

Spotlight Friday (18): Becoming: The Balance Bringer

I am hosting this blitz on behalf of YA Bound Book Tours

Title: Becoming: The Balance Bringer (The Balance Bringer Chronicles #1)
Author: Debra Kristi
Genre: Fantasy
Released March 9, 2015


Ana’s world is falling apart. What she thought were dreams start entering her waking life. Eerie shadows hunt her. Her dream guy becomes reality. And strange new abilities begin developing. Ana is becoming something other.

She is determined to find answers, but where to turn? Her mom and best friend are keeping secrets. Her older sister is dead and exists only in her dreams. And her younger sister thinks they are goddesses.

Above all else, dark forces will stop at nothing to crush Ana – to keep her from restoring balance. To keep her from…becoming.

Is love and blood and sisterhood enough to stop the dark secrets and power from destroying her? (Summary from Goodreads)
Author Interview

Tell us a little bit about your book.
What happens when a high-school senior discovers everything she knows about her life is a lie? As Ana Janssen’s true nature blossoms, the secrets and deceptions she’s lived under begin to fracture, sparking her quest for the truth. An outcast at school, she’ll need to rise to her calling―her destiny―and learn what it means to become the Balance Bringer. She’ll need to find a way to accept her new found responsibility, step away from the life she’s always known, and allow the becoming. Can she stay the course without getting distracted by life events, or worse yet, guys?

Have you published before?
I’ve had short stories published in collectives or anthologies, but my Mystic’s Carnival line, starting with The Moorigad Dragon, was the first venture I’ve made on my own. Becoming: The Balance Bringer is what started it all and I couldn’t be more thrilled to finally have it available for readers.

What gets you in the mood to write?
Meditation, music, long walks, those all put me in the mood. The better question might be what yanks me out of the writing mood, things such as constant interruptions and insistent needy kitties.

Who is your favorite character and why?
That’s a tough question. On any given day my answer will be different. Today, I’m going to say Ana’s sister, Crystia. There’s something about her free spirit that I simply adore. I wish I could be a little more like her.

Are you currently working on anything else?
I’m glad you asked. At the moment I am closing out my Moorigad Dragon Collection, finishing the story and then putting all the individual novellas into one large bundle. The series is receiving a complete visual makeover in the process. Once that’s done all my focus will be on continuing the Balance Bringer Chronicles. Book Two, Awakening: The Balance Bringer is written and awaiting the next edit pass.  

Please tell us in one sentence why we should read your book!
Because Becoming: The Balance Bringer is a twisty-curvy, page-turning, fantasy story inspired by a few true events and my sister’s non-stop pushing. 


Great interview. Thanks for having me. I appreciate your time and help in getting the word out. And a massive thanks to the readers. You guys rock! We writers would be nothing without you! 


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About the Author

Debra Kristi is a paranormal and fantasy writer. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children and and three schizophrenic cats. She’s a full-time kid chaser, video game maker's wife, and muse prompted writer. Unlike the characters she often writes, she is not immortal and her only super power is letting the dishes and laundry pile up. When not writing, Debra is hanging out creating priceless memories with her family, geeking out to science fiction and fantasy television, and tossing around movie quotes. 

“She writes because the dead girl told her to.” 

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