Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday....The Goddess Inheritance

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week is The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Love or life.Henry or their child.The end of her family or the end of the world.Kate must choose. 
During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal. 
In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead. 
With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.
Even if it costs her eternity
I enjoyed the first two novels in this series and I can't wait to see how this ends...especially after that insane ending to Goddess Interrupted.

Expected release date February 26, 2013

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence
Release Date – October 9, 2012
Publisher Website –  Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 416 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**obtained from publisher via Netgalley for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
For fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels. 
Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself. 
Take Romeo and Juliet, add in mobsters, and some X-Men like powers and you’d have Mystic City. A unique, futuristic novel that is heavy on the romance and thrills.

The setting for Mystic City is a futuristic Manhattan. The inclusion of people who have powers, referred to as mystics, was also a nice twist. These powers are different for each mystic, but manifest in the form of an energy source that is used to power the entire city. The setting up the world, and this power was well done, and executed rather well. I could picture the setting quite easily. Both the rich splendour of Aeries and the gritty, dark Depths come to life.

I was immediately shocked at how readily these characters resorted to violence. Aria’s powerful, influential father rose to the top by using force. He regularly uses violence to get what he wants, and corruption is  plentiful among those he surrounds himself with . The “mafia” aspect to the story was the most gripping. I was immediately drawn in by these two families who want to unite against what they see as a common threat. The back stabbing, double crossing, and undercover antics all provided the novel with a sense of urgency that kept me turning the pages.

Aria spends most of the novel confused and in the dark. A large part of her memories are missing and she is desperate to remember. The unraveling of her secrets is a large part of the story. I can see not everyone liking Aria. I, however, felt she was mostly believable.  She’s very much reacting to the situation she’s been dealt. She’s confused, doesn't remember anything, and doesn't know who might be hiding things from her. She’s understandably upset and tying to just figure it all out. Her desperation at wanting to remember is tangible.

The aspect that may bother others in Aria’s character is how long it takes her to piece everything together. Long after I had pieced the twists together I was waiting for the main character to catch up. The pacing felt a little off as a result, and some parts felt drawn out longer than needed.

The romance was lacking for me, mainly because I didn't feel the chemistry between the characters. I did love that it was not presented as an instant love type of situation, but rather something very different. It made the risks seem more logical and real.

A unique premise that is made all the more real by it’s fully realized setting. The mafia aspect provides thrills, and while the romance wasn't for me, it was still engaging enough to hold my interest. Mystic City is a promising start to a new series.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

The Lost Prince (Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1) by Julia Kagawa
Release Date – October 23, 2012
Publisher Website –  HarlequinTeen
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 379 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained from publisher via Netgalley for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them. 
That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for. 
Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.
A familiar world, some returning beloved characters, and a new villain are waiting in the Nevernever. This story takes us into a land of fey that is both recognizable and different from the one we left.

Julie Kagawa’s writing is captivating as always. The chance to see our beloved characters through the eyes of new characters was rather magical. It provided a new perspective into those characters I felt I already knew well, and it surprised me. The fact that there is still much to learn not only about the world, but about these characters we've grown to love thrilled me. Those thinking this may be a repeat of the first series will be in a for a pleasant surprise. This plot is unique, but keeps the elements we fell in love with in the first three Iron Fey novels. They are interwoven, and the villains are directly tied into much of what we learn in the first novels.

Ethan’s past experience with the fey have made him a bitter, angry young man who pushes people away. I found his reactions to things, especially his feelings about his sister, to be realistic. He is terrified of someone else getting hurt for what he sees as his problem. A young man not used to asking for help, or used to getting it, he tries to handle everything on his own.

Kenzie, the love interest for Ethan, is a lot of fun. She’s spunky, sweet, filled with patience and determined. I loved that she nicknames Ethan “tough guy”. Her story comes complete with a heart pulling twist that left me wanting to know more about this wonderful, optimistic girl.

Keirran also grew on me. He’s a little reckless, headstrong and rebellious. Revealing too much about him is pretty much a spoiler, so I will just say that people will most likely be pleasantly surprised to meet him. I immediately wanted to know more about him and look forward to unraveling this character during the rest of Ethan’s story.

The romance is often bitter sweet in Julie’s novels and this one is no exception. Star crossed lovers are plentiful with numerous things threatening to tear a few of the couples a part. It creates a delicious tension that I felt electrified by.

If you are anything like me, you’ll be holding your breath waiting for your favourite Iron Fey characters to make an appearance. I will not spoil who shows up, but I will say that we do see many favourites. I was delighted to see Razor again. The adorable gremlin is back providing much needed comic relief with his boundless energy.

A intriguing beginning to a new series filled with old familiar characters and some fun new characters too. Julie’s captivating writing will have you engrossed from the first page, and you’ll be eager to join Ethan on the next part of his journey.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mara Dyer Blogger Love

Mara Dyer Week is sadly ending today. I thought it might be fun to get some other blogger's opinions on why the Mara Dyer series is so great. I collected a few blurbs to share with you guys. Don't forget to go back and visit each stop and enter the giveaway while you're at it.

First up is the awesome Ciara at Lost At Midnight Reviews
I hate being scared. Seriously. I can’t stand horror films, I sleep with a night-light on, and I very rarely read scary books. And that’s the thing I love most about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer: it petrifies me and I love it. It makes me love being scared, because it does frightening so well. 
Mara Dyer thinks she’s going crazy, and that’s probably one of the scariest things to go through. Reading about her heart-attack inducing hallucinations had me cowering away from the book. I am dead serious when I say I could not look in a mirror head-on for three days after finishing the book. I found myself jumping out of my seat at the scary scenes, had my jaw dropping with the shocking twists, and had my heart pounding with adrenaline. This was a scary, scary novel. But, I loved it. It was amazing to have a book scare me so much and have me happy about it! Michelle Hodkin is a master story teller, and her suspenseful, addictive novel was purely fantastic. When Kathy asked me to write this guest posts, I remember wondering what I was going to write about. There are honestly so many things I love about this book, and I was having a hard time choosing just one. But, for me, one of the signs of a powerful book is when it makes think a different way. Usually it’s in a very powerful and emotional way (for example Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers) but in this case it was something very different. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer made me enjoy something I hate the most: fear. For a book to do that is pretty fan-freakin’-tastic in my opinion. 
If you’re a fraid-y cat like me, this book will terrify you. And if you’re a fearless horror genre veteran, I think this book will scare you too. Maybe it’ll be the hallucinations or the frightening deaths. Maybe it will be the horrifying idea of slowly going insane. Whatever it is, something in this book will get you. Something is going to get your heart racing, your palms sweaty, and your eyes darting around the room. Mara Dyer is going to scare you. And you’ll love every bit of it. 
Big thanks to Kathy for giving me this opportunity to guest post about this amazing series! It was a ton of fun! (Although I’m beginning to fear looking in mirrors again…*wink*)  
Also check out Ciara's review for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer for more reasons why she loves this series.

Next up is amazingly lovely Brodie from Eleusinian Mysteries
Every sexual fibre of my soul is screaming at me to write "NOAH SHAW" as my most favourite part of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and I'm almost tempted too. But as I'm-drowning-in-a-puddle-on-my-own-drool sexy as he is, it's the mystery and suspense that made this novel for me. What I loved so much was having my mind twisting knots around itself. Who is the real Mara Dyer? Where did that botanica disappear to? Was the kiss real? Wait, JUDE?!Not knowing what Michelle Hodkin was going to throw at me next... knowing that I couldn't even rely on the narrator to keep my sanity grounded... that kind of uncertainty is so exhilarating to read!
Check out Brodie's review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer for more.

Next up the fantastic Evie from Bookish shares why she loves this series
What I love the most about Michelle Hodkin's gorgeous YA series, Mara Dyer, is definitely the lead male character, Noah Shaw! British, mysterious, total sweetheart with a reputation of a heart-breaker.. ahhhh~ So swoon worthy! He's undoubtedly one of the hottest, most charming male protagonists out there. And not only because he is drop-dead gorgeous and bring-me-a-napkin drool-inducing hottie, but also because of his wonderful character, wittiness, mysteriousness, gentleness... everything! There is no other like Noah Shaw!!! 
Here's my favourite quote: 
“You want me as much as I want you. And all I want is you." Noah stood slowly, his body skimming mine as he rose. "Today. Tonight. Tomorrow. Forever.”
 Check out Evie's review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer for more.

Next we have the amazing Meaghan from Feeling A Little Bookish with her favourite part of the Mara series
When Kathy asked me to participate in Mara Dyer week I couldn't be happier.  I have read both books in the series and I can say so many good things about them.  I think what stands out for me is Mara's character.  I love that she is an unreliable narrator and that she keeps you guessing.  You never really know what is going on in head or what is going on for real.  You can't help but feel for the girl because she lost all of her friends in a freak accident and is then transplanted into a new place.  Not only is she having to adjust to a new life but she also has to reconcile what happened in her old life.  While her life may be a little messed up, she still remains a sweet girl.  I also love the bond that she has with her brothers.  There really is a sense of family pride with her even when they frustrate her.  She is constantly trying to prove that she is okay but you can tell that she appreciates the support her family gives her.
Again, while the storyline has many wtf moments and it keeps you guessing, it's not just the story that gets to you.  It really is Mara herself that finds a little place in you and keeps the story going long after it is done.  My sister and I were talking the other day about the need to know what a character is doing long after the book is done and I think this applies well with Mara Dyer.  A few days after both novels, I found myself thinking: what is Mara doing?  This, my friends, is the sign of a well written book.
Check out Meaghan's review of The Evolution of Mara Dyer too.

Next up is the incredibly sweet Emilie from Emilie's Book World
I am a major sucker for anything that involves mystery. Whether it's in a book, TV show or movie. When I heard about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer I knew that this would be a book that would play right in to that. And it did. The entire time I was reading, the book was messing with my mind. I never knew what was real and what wasn't. And while that normally would frustrate me to no end, with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer it didn't phase me in the least. Of course, I was just constantly trying to figure out what was happening, but that's what made me love the story as much as I did. And the mind messing part, was my absolute favourite part of the book. Though a certain Noah Shaw wasn't so bad either…
 Be sure to check out Emilie's review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer too.

The next to share is the delightful Kelly from KellyVision
The reason I love this series so much is because it has all the elements of a great paranormal trilogy/series: a great heroine, a compelling story, a hot love interest, twists and turns aplenty. But at the same time, Mara Dyer is completely unique and always surprises me. It's th best of both worlds: everything I know I love and wonderful surprises that still make sense, given the parameters of the story.
Be sure to stop by and check out Kelly's review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer as well.

The last blogger I invited to share is the wonderful Katie from Bookishly Yours
I don’t know how she did it, but Michelle Hodkin managed to write an even creepier sequel filled with even more questions and more plot twists. I read all five-hundred-something pages in one sitting because it just wouldn’t let me go! (Yes, this book has PHYSICAL power, y’all) The hotness that is Noah Shaw continues and we even get a great little peek into his thoughts. 
Michelle Hodkin has an awesome (frightening) gift for drawing you in with her brilliant characters and disturbing plots and gripping secrets. This sequel does not disappoint!
You can see her review of The Evolution of Mara Dyer on Monday by visiting her blog!

Thank you to all these amazing bloggers (I love all of their blogs! Such smart, fun women) and I totally recommend following them.

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by. I am already busy planning Mara Dyer Week 3 for next year.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

New To My Book Closet

It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews).

Another amazing week of awesome books making their way into my already cramped book closet.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (goodreads)
17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma (goodreads)
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff (goodreads)

A huge thank you to Penguin Canada for 17 & Gone and Paper Valentine. I have been wanting to read both of these so I was very excited to find them in my mailbox.

I went to pick up my copy of Michelle Hodkin's new book on Tuesday. The hardcover is so pretty! I really love these covers. If you would like a copy of your own, be sure to enter my Mara Dyer Week contest.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Mara Dyer Week Post # 6 - My Favourite Quotes

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and The Evolution of Mara Dyer have some pretty awesome quotes. I thought I would share my top list of quotes!

 Quote Number 1.
“What would you do if I kissed you right now?"
I stared at his beautiful face and his beautiful mouth and I wanted nothing more than to taste it. "I would kiss you back."
One of my favourite scenes and in the novel. It stood out to me the second I read it and stayed with me long after I finished the book.

Quote Number 2
"No," I said, louder this time. "I mean asscrown. The crown on top of the asshat that covers the asshole of the assclown. The very zenith in the hierarchy of asses," I said, as though I was reading from a dictionary of modern profanity.
Part of what I love about Mara and Noah's relationship is their ability to keep each other on their toes. Mara matches him banter for banter (and we get hilarious gems like this as a result).

Quote Number 3
“We are far too screwed up for a goddamned love triangle.”
As this is in The Evolution I will not spoil who says it and under what circumstances. I will say that the entire scene is awesome however.

Quote Number 4
"Get a meadow"
The pop culture references are some of my favourite parts of Michelle's books. She loves so many things I enjoy as well so finding these little references is really fun. This line cracks me up right from who says it and to the situation they are in.

Quote Number 5
“You’re stronger than you believe. Don’t let your fear own you. Own yourself.”  
Something about this speaks volumes to me. The entire notion of not letting fear control you, but rather owning yourself and being in control is exhilarating. 

Quote Number 6
“I'll walk forever with stories inside me that the people I love the most can never hear.”  
This, for me, sums up Mara perfectly. Her relationship with those she cares about (namely her family) is changed and challenged by what is going on in her life. This quote reflects how she feels about having it happen, and it's quite a lovely piece of writing.

Quote Number 7
“I twisted my arm to curl him behind me and he unfolded there, the two of us snuggled like quotation marks in his room full of words.”  
This is really beautiful and so descriptive that it brings the image to mind instantly. It's also rather beautiful.

Quote Number 8
"Then you will love him to ruins...”  
There is something haunting about this quote. It made me feel so many things the first time I read it.
Quote Number 9
“My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something.” 
A quote that has pretty much become symbolic of the series itself. It captures your interest right away and throws you head first into Mara's world.

Quote Number 10
"I hear her before I see her. She stands in the crowd, her curves wrapped in emerald silk, her dark hair in luscious curls, looking like a pin-up I want to unpin." 
While this is not exactly a quote from the book, it is something Michelle released. A Noah point of view quote that I fell in love with. His voice is quite different from Mara's and there is something so sexy about the entire "pin up I want to unpin" line. Totally swooning.

Leave your favourite Mara Dyer series quote in the comments. I can't wait to see what everyone else loves. I had a hard time picking just 10.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mara Dyer Week Post #5 - Giveaway Time

Now that you know how awesome The Evolution of Mara Dyer is...you're probably wanting a copy.

I am giving away 2 copies for Mara Dyer Week. One contest is open internationally and the other is for Canada only. Please be sure you are entering under the correct entry form.

Thank you everyone for taking part in Mara Dyer Week. Tomorrow will feature some of my favourite quotes from the series.
  a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mara Dyer Week Post # 4 - Justine Guest Post

If you have seen the awesome Mara Dyer series trailers than you are most likely familiar with the lovely lady who is guest posting today.

Justine is Mara in the trailers. I think, and I am sure many fans agree, that she is a perfect Mara. She looks like what I pictured completely.

I'll let Justine take it from here -

A word of warning: This isn’t going to be some sort of well-constructed story, with a beginning, middle, and end; if you’re looking for that – or a cliffhanger, really -- I think you know where to find it. :)

Michelle Hodkin is a big nerd. I love this about her. I love this because I’ve found in her a sort of kindred nerd spirit.

I showed up on set one rainy morning in August of 2011 knowing little more than a pseudonym that had to be chosen and something about an “asscrown.” Mara Dyer was a mystery to me. I pronounced Mara with a hard A because I’m a New Yorker, and Michelle was quick to correct me: not Mara like arrow, but Mara like armor. I don’t think those are the examples she used, but they’re the ones that come to me now. Mara is her baby.

We found ourselves in conversation about Harry Potter, mostly, Game of Thrones, fleetingly, and Cassandra Clare, of course. I knew of Cassie Clare from her “Very Secret Diaries” days (“Boromir wrote me a poem”) and my closest friends had been obsessed with “Draco Veritas.”

I quickly realized I had made a new friend, albeit one who was horrified to learn I had never read Twilight. (A little about me: I love Remus John Lupin. That may be all you really need to know.)

And then Bradley showed up.

It’s never not disconcerting to say your hellos and nice to meet yous, and then strip down to your skivvies and hop into bed with someone while a crew hovers just feet (and sometimes inches) away. I’d just like to put that out there.

Anyway. Where was I going with this?

At a certain point during the filming process, Michelle wanted to record us, as Mara and Noah, reading some excerpts from The Unbecoming ARC. This had everything to do with Bradley’s accent, I’m sure. No objection from me. So we read, and I did not do a very good job, but my goodness, Michelle writes some intriguing stuff. I found myself unable to get through lunch without grilling her about the rest of the story. Michelle, as she is wont to do, played coy. And I love a good mystery. I was one of the lucky ones; she gave me the ARC to take home, and I was done with it by the next morning. Now I can’t wait for the next one.

So here’s my lame attempt at a beginning, a middle, and an end: I auditioned for a part, I found a new awesome book series, I made a new friend.

I’m so thankful for all the opportunities my acting career has given me, and this one – this one is so different, so unexpected. Being part of such a cool project, with such a devoted fandom, brought me back to my roots and makes my heart happy. I’m proud to be Mara Dyer. I’d like to thank Michelle for inviting me into Mara’s dark and crazy world. And for being awesome.

In conclusion, yes, Bradley is that cute in person.

You can find Justine on Twitter and her website. I want to thank her for taking the time to write up this post. She's obviously a wonderful choice for Mara and finding out she adores Professor Lupin has solidified her awesomeness status.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mara Dyer Week Post # 3 - The Evolution of Mara Dyer review

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Release Date – October 23, 2012
Publisher Website –  Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 544 pages
My Rating- All the stars
**obtained from publisher for an honest review**


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past. 
She can’t. 
She used to think her problems were all in her head. 
They aren’t. 
She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets. 
She’s wrong. 
In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?
Dark. Seductive. Twisted. Intense. These words accurately sum up the sequel to my favourite read of last year. Everything is heightened in this follow up. It’s more sexy, more creepy, more twisted. I loved every delicious second spent lost in it’s pages.

After that insane cliffhanger I was desperate for answers.  Michelle manages to weave some of those answers in amongst the chills, and suspense. Her answers create more questions in Mara’s story.  The basis of Mara’s powers, and Jude’s possible sudden appearance are just the beginning. Are we experiencing a dazzling descent into madness or is something else going on? Michelle balances that tightrope masterfully keeping the reader in a state of hazy anticipation. She avoids every single “second book syndrome” you can think of. She manges to keep the story moving forward without dragging anything on too long. Her pacing will have you flying through the pages with each plot twist and reveal.

The relationship between Noah and Mara deepens and gets steamier. The lengths this boy will go through for Mara is utterly romantic. Their decadently scorching chemistry results in sparks that could start forest fires. My favourite part of their relationship though, is what Noah does for Mara. He provides an anchor when she is at the edge and believes her when nobody else will.

Michelle Hodkin’s humour is pitch perfect. It’s one of my favourite things from the first novel. Filled with pop culture references that she makes her own and with an ease that shows her talent for timing. There are some amazing zingers that will become hugely quotable lines. My personal favourite? Get a meadow.

Mara’s family, so wonderfully present in the first novel, does not change much in this one. Your heart will ache for Mara’s mother especially. A woman watching her daughter spiral and wanting nothing more than to do what’s best for her child. The love between each of the family members is palpable and each family member is tested by Mara’s current situation.

As things begin to unravel so will your sanity. I was left an incoherent mess after this book. The creepiness from the first book is surpassed in this one. Michelle creates an atmospheric, tension filled setting that results in a much scarier novel than the first. A creepy doll, mental hospitals, and a scene set in a marina that sent chills down my spine. It will leave you wanting to sleep with the lights on…and double checking that all of the doors are locked.

I was left gasping for breath and with a book hangover.  I had an immediate need to read this again as soon as I had turned the last page. If you thought The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was amazing, the Evolution will literally leave you breathless, and begging for more. The wait for retribution is going to be a long one, and yet it’s such an exquisite torture

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mara Dyer Week Post # 2 - Mara Dyer Quiz

Today for Mara Week, I have put together a quiz. It's a way to refresh our knowledge of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer before reading The Evolution (which is in stores TODAY).

There are spoilers for The Unbecoming so if you haven't read it you may want to skip this post (and go to your nearest bookstore or library, just saying). 

Once you have taken the quiz be sure to leave a comment with your favourite part of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

Hope you have fun taking my little quiz! It was a lot of fun to make.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for my spoiler free review of The Evolution of Mara Dyer!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Mara Dyer Week Post # 1 - Interview With Michelle Hodkin

Today is the kick off of Mara Dyer Week here on the blog. I have a bunch of amazing things planned for this week to celebrate the second novel in a series that I adore.

To start things off I have a fantastic interview with Michelle, author extrodianaire. It also happens to be my stop on the Canadian blog tour for The Evolution of Mara Dyer. Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for including me.

1 Describe The Evolution of Mara Dyer in three words.
Darker. Sexier. Twisted.
2 How do you think Noah would describe Mara at the beginning of The Evolution?
3 Many would say Mara is an unreliable narrator. Who are some of your favourite unreliable narrators?
AWESOME question, because I adore unreliable narrators and, in fact, Mara is sort of an homage to my favorite: Humbert Humbert (of Lolita fame). Another favorite is Flannery Culp from The Basic Eight.
4 Is there a character that surprised you? Any characters that ended up having a much larger part than you expected once you started writing?
Noah surprised me the most.
5 Who is your favourite character to write dialogue for?
Jamie. When Mara and Jamie are on the page, the words just come. When I’m drafting, it tends to be 90% of dialogue, and about 80% of it consists of my characters just saying hysterical things to each other to no great narrative purpose. Oh well.
6 Now that your first book has been out for awhile, what would you say was the biggest surprise of release week for you?
God, release week was such a blur, and because I observe the Jewish holidays, a big chunk of it was taken up by Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. I will say that I was surprised to cry at my launch. I’m not particularly emotional but being there and seeing my entire family mixed with people I don’t know, mixed with people I hadn’t seen since high school—it was a crazy moment.
7 Is there any part of the novels (either Unbecoming or Evolution) that got cut from the final draft that you really wished could have been kept in because you liked it so much?
There’s a scene that was cut from The Unbecoming that made it back into The Evolution—it’s an important scene in the context of the series, but it didn’t lead anywhere in The Unbecoming becaue there was already so much going on in the first book. So I cut it and put it back into The Evolution, where I had time deal with it. Let’s just say…it involves a doll.
8 What was the hardest scene to write in either The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer or The Evolution of Mara Dyer?
The Unbecoming just flowed for me, so none of the scenes were particularly difficult to write—what ended up being tough was figuring out what the first chapter would be. I wrote about 30 drafts at various points in the Mara timeline until I realized that the very, very beginning of Mara’s story was the Ouija board scene—and that that’s where it should begin.

I don’t want to spoil anyone so I’ll be vague; In The Evolution, the toughest scene was the one I’ll just call “the marina,” because that’s where it takes place.
9 You mentioned shooting a gun while researching The Unbecoming, so did you do any specific research for this second novel?
A ton of research; I have the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual practically memorized. I spent a lot of time interviewing psychologists and anesthesiologists. I'll…leave it at that :)
10 What are three things you need while revising?
Red bull. Red bull. Red bull.
A huge thank you to Michelle for taking the time to answer these questions. Her answer to number 9 intrigues me so. I can't wait for everyone to discover the "marina" scene, because I can only imagine it was as hard to write as Michelle says.

Tomorrow will feature a fun quiz featuring questions from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Test your knowledge before diving into book two (which goes on sale the same day!)

Be sure to follow Michelle on twitter, and visit her website.

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Weekly Obsessions

The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.


Just One Day by Gayle Forman

My pining for this novel is reaching unreasonable levels. I want to read it right away. Sigh...

The Evolution of Mara Dyer trailer.

OMG SEXY! Noah! Mara!  This trailer PERFECTLY fits the sequel and I can't wait for you all to read it on TUESDAY!

Reboot by Amy Tintera cover

If you haven't read the Goodreads synopsis for this, head there immediately. It sounds awesome and I like the simplistic look this cover has. Quite excited to read this one when it's released.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke cover

Eerie, gothic and really stunning this cover conveys the mood of the novel perfectly. This is high on my "pine for list" for the fall season. I can't wait to get my hands on it. If you haven't checked out the Goodreads synopsis do so immediately and let's pine together.


Once Upon A Time

*Minor spoilers in the video*

Captain Hook debuts THIS Sunday. All I ask is that we can keep him.

Swoon! In case you missed his name (too busy drooling) it's Cillian Jones (or Killian Jones). I am a little afraid that they are going to make Rumpelstiltskin the person who cuts off his hand. That will just make me not happy. I want them to introduce Peter, and Tink and Wendy. That said, I am hooked by this dangerously sexy swashbuckler already. Can someone please write a YA novel involving sexy pirates now?!

American Horror Story : Asylum 

The first episode was creepy, and such an homage to the classic insane asylum stories we are used to. Amazing performance by Evan Peters who was SO different from his season one character. The scene where we meet him? Dancing around and singing to old 50's/60's music? And when he goes home to his wife? Yup...swoon. The accents some of the cast uses are impressive too. Looking forward to the second episode.


Mara Dyer Week

It's here! Mara Week starts this Monday! There will be guest posts, review, giveaways and a bunch of other really awesome stuff happening. I can't wait to share my excitement about this series with you. I am already plotting and scheming for the (most likely) final Mara Week next year when The Retribution of Mara Dyer comes out and I am already excited. Be sure to stop by all week long next week!

Vacation Week and Ontario Blogger Meet Up

I am on vacation from work starting the 29th! I am getting so anxious for a break I can't wait. The end of that week myself, and some other Ottawa bloggers (the awesome Meghan, Emilie, Ciara, and Katie) are heading to Toronto for the annual Ontario Blogger Meet Up! I can't wait to meet everyone.

So what you are obsessed with this week?

The Innocents by Lil Peloquin

The Innocents by Lili Peloquin
Release Date – October 16, 2012
Publisher Website –  Penguin/Razorbill
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 288 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**obtained from publisher via BEA for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Nothing ever came between sisters Alice and Charlie.
Friends didn't.
Boys couldn't.
Their family falling apart never would.
Until they got to Serenity Point.
"The Innocents" is the first in a new series of young adult novels that weave a saga of nail-biting drama, breathless romance, and gothic mystery.

Family secrets, cute guys and lingering ghots. The Innocents weaves together drama, mystery and romance to create a fun beach read. A soapy, guilty pleasure that sets the tone for a much larger story in subsequent novels to come.

The characters are exactly what you would expect to find in a story like this: flawed, captivating with large personalities. The sisters Alice and Charlie are quite different. Alice is more serious, and studious. Charlie is more free spirited and likes to have a good time. Their bond was quite realistic, and honest. They fought like siblings do, yet loved each other dearly.

Jude, a boy who is so dysfunctional he makes Chuck Bass look understated. A walking disaster who has screwed up too many times to count. He is Serenity Point’s bad boy and I was enthralled. I wanted to know more about him and what made him tick. His perfect balance between self destructive and craving redemption left me craving an entire novel from his perspective.

The end twist left me a little unsatisfied. I am not sure if it’s because I figured it out half way through the novel, or the way everything was crammed together in the last few chapters. The mystery grabbed me right away and I felt a sense of urgency and eagerness to figure it out, and I felt let down when I did. Luckily, the mystery seems to be just starting to unravel with many questions left unanswered.

There is quite a bit of set up for other novels in the series.  Much is left unexplored and I feel this is a set up, almost a prequel if you will, to the larger story. The surface of the mysterious car accident that killed of one of Serenity Point's prettiest girls has only been scratched.

I do not see this novel appealing to everyone, but it does have a certain audience that will love it. Fans of Gossip Girl will devour this and immediately look for more. While I found the end reveal a little underwhelming, the characters are enough to make me want to return to Serenity Point. Revelations await and in a town like this nothing stays buried for long.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Release Date – October 16, 2012
Publisher Website –  Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained from publisher via BEA for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Incapable. Awkward. Artless. 
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail. 
Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.
Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight. 
Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape. 
Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.
Secrets, lies, and illusions of power. Beautiful girls who are capable of changing everything by removing a single thread. Crewel sets up a world where everything comes with consequences, including freedom.

A highly inventive and imaginative setting. The entire premise of being able to build and change the world by weaving was captivating. Just when you think you are getting comfortable with the world Gennifer has built a new curve or twist is thrown at you. Your entire perspective of what is going on is rocked a few times during the coarse of Adelice’s story.

My pulse raced many times during this gripping read. The stakes are high, and Gennifer Albin doesn’t hold back. She makes sure you know what the price of stepping out of line is, and sometimes the price is too high. A slightly political vibe with power plays, struggles, and everyone wanting to be in control. An atmosphere where you don’t know whose motives to trust and everyone seems to have a hidden agenda. It made you fly through the pages as quickly as possible to unearth the secrets.

The characters are just as compelling as the writing and setting. Adelice is a strong, brave, and determined. She is unwavering in what she thinks is right, and often acts without considering the fallout. I enjoyed many of the other characters as well. From the devilish Ambassador Patton, to the vindictive Maela we meet characters that capture your attention.

The themes of women and oppression run throughout the novel. The fact that women have to remain pure and chaste up until marriage. The fact that women are not entitled to certain privileges or given certain jobs. The Spinisters have power, but even they answer to the men of the Guild.  It made me want to rage and scream at the characters to challenge this. With current political agendas being discussed, it made my heart sing to have this come up in such a prevalent way. I want examples of strong women rattling the cage, and not accepting it.

The romance in the novel is in the form of a love triangle. The romance is not actually the primary focus of the story, even though it does feature a lot. It never feels overdone though. The triangle worked for me and mainly because of Adelice. She’s been segregated from boys her whole life. Women are to remain pure and chaste until they are married, so they are kept from temptation. Seeing her reaction to first meeting a boy, and all the emotions that come with crushing on someone was what worked. Jost and Erik are both handsome and treat Adelice well enough, but it’s Erik that I adored more. I can’t discuss why without giving spoilers, but he’s swoon worthy and I think he was there for Adelice even if she didn’t realize it.

After some stunning reveals, this packs an ending that will leave you with your jaw on the floor. It sets up an insanely excruciating wait for the second novel to see what this ending means for not only Adelice but also her world.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday....Truth or Dare

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week is Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green.

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Some say the seaside town of Echo Bay is cursed. They may be right. When a game of truth or dare spins out of control, three beautiful teen girls start receiving mysterious dares containing hints to dark secrets long buried. For artsy outcast Sydney Morgan; perfect, popular Caitlin "Angel" Thomas; and queen bee Tenley Reed, the truth is not an option.

This is no party game-it's do or die.

And it's their turn to play.
This sounds awesome. The cover reminds me of Pretty Little Liars for some reason. This has a creepy sounding vibe, and I am so very much looking forward to unraveling Echo Bay's secrets.

Expected release date -  May 1, 2013

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones

Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones
Release Date – October 2, 2012
Publisher Website –  St Martin’s Press/Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 274 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**obtained from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Darynda Jones, author of The New York Times bestselling series that began with First Grave on the Right, brings us Death and the Girl Next Door, a thrilling Young Adult novel garnering high praise and early buzz from major authors
Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on. 
High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Darynda Jones's first foray into the world of teens will leave readers eager for the next installment.
I went back and forth after reading this novel. I couldn’t decide whether or not I liked it. I am still unclear. This novel has some entertaining aspects to it, but other parts that felt like rehash of many other novels out there.

The characters where a little hit and miss for me. I didn’t connect with the main character at all. Lorelei quickly turns into a blushing, boy obsessed girl who can barely focus on anything else. A majority of the novel is spent discussing the many ways in which Jared is sexy, attractive and so perfect. Lorelei also spends that same amount of time wondering what he could possibly see in plain, average, ordinary her. I, however, found the secondary characters of  Brooklyn and Glitch to be much more enjoyable. Brooklyn is full of sass and quite funny. Glitch is geeky, really funny and so sweet. Their friendship was one of the more fun aspects of the story. It was refreshing to see the reveal to her friends not be dragged out. I liked that people in Lorelei's life knew what was going on. It seemed much more logical than having her hide everything.

The two new guys in Lorelei’s life Jared and Cameron are what the plot mostly revolves around. The mystery of what exactly is going on with these two guys was part of the fun for me. The fight scenes involving these two are action packed and grab your interest. However, other than being attractive, strong and something to propel the mystery, these two don’t get much development. We learn a little, but both have deeper secrets that I wish would have been fleshed out more. Jared’s secret is captivating and I wish it would have been the primary focus, because who and what he is…that is the story I want.

The ending half of the novel is much stronger than the second. The action ramps up and things are revealed that allows the story to fall into place. I am completely intrigued by where the story is headed. The real story, for me, seemed to develop at the end. Sadly, I felt the pacing was off and it hurt the overall story.

A novel that had some nice quirky, humorous moments and a wonderful ending that sadly couldn’t distract me from other issues. A heroine who is focused on the boy, and some pacing issues made this one not for me. A slower start but leaving off with an ending that hints at potential for the sequel.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Velveteen by Daniel Marks

Velveteen by Daniel Marks
Release Date – October 9, 2012
Publisher Website –  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 464 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**obtained from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem. 
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind. 
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.  
It’ll be brutal... and awesome. 
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker. 
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.
I am sure I am not the first reviewer, nor will I be the last to say that the synopsis is misleading. A story of a serial killer’s murder victim getting revenge while stuck in purgatory sounded amazing. The plot has more to do with the delicate balance in purgatory and what would happen if that balance is broken. A focus on the turmoil that can be caused and the destruction resulting from vengeful spirits.

The novel started out captivating. Velveteen’s frustration at not unsettling Bonesaw with her haunting efforts and her almost manic need to save future victims were palpable. I was fully invested in Velveteen’s mission to save the girl, enact vengeance, and would have loved to focus on that. Perhaps it just wasn’t the plot for me, because I would have gladly had the story be about Velveteen trying to out smart Bonesaw with a countdown on his next victim.

The setting of this novel is quite vivid. The ashen landscape filled with drab grey coloring is all too easy to picture. The world of purgatory is one of the novel’s stronger points. The ideal that purgatory is built, cared for and not just a resting place on the journey to crossing over was intriguing.

Velveteen is pretty much your typical teenager. She’s moody, stubborn and snarky. She leads her team with confidence so that they do what they need to. I didn’t overly connect with her, but did enjoy her at some points in the story.

The introduction of Nick, the gorgeous and off limits new member of her team, sent her character into a more romance focused mindset. I wouldn’t call this insta-love, but it was most definitely insta-lust which felt normal for teenagers.  As a teen you often feel so deeply and quickly.

Logan, adorable in his Grover costume, and his twin sister Luisa pack a surprising amount of skill for children their age. I enjoyed them, but found myself curious as to why children so young would be responsible for protecting purgatory. It felt off, and as a result I had a harder time getting into the story.

The descriptions of Bonesaw and his depravity (particularly against Velveteen) were shudder inducing. The entire Bonesaw storyline was dark, as it should be. I have somewhat of a morbid interest in what makes someone do they things they do, and I feel Marks captured the normalcy these killers tend to display on the outside.

For all of the dark and disturbing that happens in the story, it has a surprising amount of humour weaved in. Darkly humorous is the perfect way to describe this story. Daniel Marks has a macabre sense of homour that comes thorough effortlessly.

The unresolved storylines left at the end of the novel certainly set up a sequel, however, I felt a few of them should have been handled as part of this novel. A particular storyline involving the main “plot twist” is left completely unexplained with our heroine musing that she’ll “ask about it later”. There are some other things discussed in the novel that never weave into the main plotline fully that are introduced early on.

Dark, creepy and, at times, darkly comedic Velveteen offers something different for those wanting it. I, unfortunately, wanted a little more, and felt some of the plot should have been expanded on more.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer teaser trailer

Most of you who follow my blog know my love for The Mara Dyer series. It's pretty crazy how much I adore this series. They released a teaser trailer for book two, The Evolution of Mara Dyer. The sequel will be released on October 23rd!

I will also be hosting a Mara Dyer week that will kick off October 22nd. If you are a fan of the series you won't want to miss it.

I can not wait for the full trailer to be released!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New To My Book Closet

It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews).

A quiet, but AMAZING mailbox week this time around. I was sort of freaking out at my apartment mailboxes when I opened this package!

Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook (goodreads)
Mind Games by Kiersten White (goodreads)

A huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for sending me these. Nobody But Us has been one of the titles I have been majorly pining for. I can't wait start both of these. *Shannon, you are amazing*

Also, a huge thank you to Nova Ren Suma for the amazing 17 & Gone bookmarks. I am pining for this book so bad right now!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

My Weekly Obsessions

The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

This week is going to be short and sweet! Here are my obsessions this week:


Cover for Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Everyone just stop and look at the GORGEOUSNESS that is the Dance of the Red Death cover. *LOVES*. Bethany's first cover was to die for and this is just as stunning. I can't wait to get my hands on this. It's VERY high up on my "PLEASE PLEASE let me get an advance copy of this" list. I have to say, I am really liking the purple hues. Add it to Goodreads and let's start a support group to help with the wait.


The Vampire Diaries season premiere

This show...it makes me feel so many things. I am so glad it's back and I hear episode 2 is even better than episode 1. The Stefan and Elena stuff was happy making and the rest of the cast was excellent as always.

So what you are obsessed with this week?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's a great way to meet new blogger friends. This weeks question is:

Q: What book do you think would make a great Halloween movie? Please explain in graphic detail of goriness...

Easy! I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga would be an awesome Halloween movie. Serial killers, lots of spooky scenes, and our main character is fighting his own serial killer urges. If you haven't read this one yet, it'd be a great October read as well.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil would also be fun. It's a bit campy, but also scary. The image of the red lines painted on the walls still lingers after reading this one.

Happy Weekend!

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Release Date – October 9, 2012
Publisher Website –  Hyperion/Hachette Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**obtained from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility. 
As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time. 
Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, Time Between Us is a stunning, spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new voice in YA fiction.
I am sure a lot of people initially thought of The Time Traveler’s Wife when hearing of this title. A doomed couple, a guy desperate to stay, and a girl who would be willing to wait. A romance that is light on the science fiction will appeal to those who are looking for something a little lighter.
The writing in this novel is enjoyable. Tamara Ireland Stone weaves the story together in such a way that creates mystery and kept my interest. The beginning especially piques your curiosity and makes you want to unravel the mystery. Her characters are rather endearing as well.

The time travel aspect starts out interesting. There are logical rules set in place that would make sense. Towards the end however things took a leap into a more illogical direction and I had a harder time staying in the story. This is a case where I wish the science had been a little more explained and it might have prevented this.

The romance is quite endearing. The only word I can think of to describe it is cute. The ideal of being swept away to anywhere in the entire world is pretty romantic. The notion that they are fighting against something they really can’t control, and their age difference if they were to meet in 2012 all made it seem that much more intense.

The ending while sweet, left so many questions that I wanted answered. I am not sure if there are going to be subsequent books to make this a series, and the ending does not make it clear either way. The ending may reflect the relationship between Anna and Bennett and how everything is uncertain, but, as a reader, I wanted those answers.

There is an entire plot point featuring Bennett’s sister that becomes almost a throw away line later in the novel with no real explanation for how that issue resolves itself. The entire “why” and “how” of Bennett’s abilities are never really explained either. The science aspect is less developed and since it is the main drive of the story, I wanted it to be explored.

A sweet romance, a sound premise that just left me with too many questions. Fans of science fiction may wish for more, those who enjoy romance will find this one more than satisfies.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Venom Blog Tour Stop - Q and A with Fiona Paul

Today I have Fiona Paul stopping by for a Q & A as part of the Venom blog tour. Be sure to check out the next instalment of the short story Venomous as well. If you haven't started the story yet be sure to visit Fiction Freak for the first part. If you haven't already be sure to add Venom on Goodreads. Also be sure to check out Paperlit Lantern Lit's website as well for more info.

1 Describe Venom in three words
Dark. Mysterious. Seductive. 
2 How would Cassandra describe Falco in three words?
Compelling. Frustrating. Exciting. 
3 Did anything in particular influence you to set the novel in Venice? 
Venice is such an amazing city, and it totally fits the dark, mysterious, and seductive vibe needed for the book. I had traveled there a year or so before starting Venom so I felt more comfortable trying to bring it to life on the page than I would have felt writing about some other awesome city like Prague or Bled that I haven't visited yet. Also part of the plot deals specifically with things documented as occurring in Venice during the late Renaissance. 
4 Do you stick to a strict writing schedule (eg, so many words a day, etc?) 
I am a strict word count girl and generally write between 2000-3000 words a day four days a week, then revise them for two days then (hopefully, though not lately) take one day off. I normally work on multiple projects simultaneously, but for the past few weeks I've had to set everything else to the side to get ready for Venom's release and stay on deadline for the third book in the trilogy. I am pretty beat down at this point so for the people reading this, if I forgot to thank you for a retweet or for featuring Venom on your blog, please know that it was an accident and that I am super-duper grateful for your support. 
5 What has been the most surprising aspect of being a debut author?
The networking aspect of things. Living in St. Louis, I started out feeling isolated--like everyone had this tight-knit group of published author pals except for me. But since Venom sold, I have become friends (and in a couple of cases critique partners) with the other Apocalypsies, the 2012 debuts. I've also become close with one of my agent-sisters, the local YA authors, and my fellow Penguin Teen Breathless Reads authors. Then, thanks to twitter, I started to connect with bloggers and other industry people. Everyone has been so cool and welcoming. Now I feel like part of a ginormous writerly community. 
6 What is the last book you read that you would highly recommend?
Man. When I get questions like this my brain is always torn in a million directions because I love so many books and always want to give them all mad props. I'm going to list a few: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang, Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John, Black City by Elizabeth Richards, This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers, and Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly. All of those books appealed to me for different reasons, but they all stayed with me after I finished them. For me, that's one of the hallmarks of fantastic writing--the reader can't quite let go of it after they close the book.
7 What is the strangest thing you did for research?
I could go on and on about the tremendous amount of research done by multiple people for this book, but a couple of things stand out in my mind as strange, even for me: 1. I went to the oldest cemetery in town by myself at midnight to get a better understanding of what Cass should be feeling when she takes her graveyard jaunts. Guys, it was seriously creepy, and I hope that comes across in the book. I'm not scared of graves or dead people, but man, there really are a million places for a murderer to hide. 2. I blocked out a fight scene with butter knives and baristas at my favorite coffee joint. I really wanted to get the subtle stuff right, like if someone holds a knife to your neck, can you look down and see it? What does a knife look like arcing through the air as someone lunges for you? How close do your bodies have to be for them to make contact? You'd be surprised what you can get baristas to do if you tip them nicely :) I did not, however, don any uncomfortable Renaissance undergarments that require a handmaid to get in and out of. Hmm, perhaps I should have.
8 Is there any part of the story that you loved but had to cut out? If so can you tell us a bit about it?
I can't think of anything specific that got hacked out of Venom but I had to let go of an awesome fistfight between Falco and one of the other major characters in the second book, Belladonna. It was scary and sexy and action-packed, but alas, after the revisions it just didn't fit anymore. I'll have to use it as bonus content somewhere after Belladonna comes out.
9 What three things do you need during revisions?
Only three?? *starts to get a little frantic* The deadlines for these books have been tough and there is no end to the things needed to tame the revision monster inside of me. Luckily, I'm not married, because if I was I would probably be divorced :) I would have to say I need coffee (good, bad, instant, just keep it coming), quiet, and exercise. Honestly, I usually need those for drafting too, but drafting is much less stressful to me so I can adapt to my surroundings a little better.
10 If you could go back in time to any time period and any place, where and when would you travel to?
Honestly? I would go straight back to the nineties and hang out in a Seattle coffee shop listening to Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. So much of how I see the world and my views about politics and society stem from growing up against the backdrop of grunge and alternative music. Back then music was the primary medium that could really reach inside me and make me Feel Things and I still rock my Nirvana tee shirts loud and proud. The nineties: Best. Decade. Ever. 
Now for the next part of the short story

A Secrets of the Eternal Rose short story
By Fiona Paul

The year is 1600 and the streets of Venice, Italy are ripe with intrigue and danger. In this introduction to the world of Venom, eighteen-year-old Mariabella has recently elevated herself from the rank of common prostitute to the status of courtesan, a respected high-class escort for those men in Venetian society who can afford them. Mariabella steps out to attend a party on the arm of her powerful new patron, certain that the night will be filled with glamour, secrets, and adventure.

If you missed the last part of the story, check it out on Read Breathe Relax.


I mean it too. I would miss him, if I couldn’t see him again.
He doesn’t expect much of me when we’re together. We chat and go for walks and sometimes we kiss. In another life, in another world, he’s the type of man I would marry.
Batista takes one of my gloved hands in his own, squeezing my palm gently. “Why do you insist on calling me Batista?” he murmurs.
It isn’t his real name, but it’s the name he used when we met. It’s common for men to give prostitutes false names, as if they think we might track them down and steal from them in the middle of the night if we know their true identities. Of course, I eventually learned his real name, but by then I was so used to thinking of him as Batista that it became our little joke. Besides, his false name protects him. If Joseph ever discovers my dalliances and decides to put a stop to them, he’ll send his henchmen to find Batista—a man who doesn’t exist.
“It’s fun, don’t you think? Another secret.” I curl a lock of my dark hair around one of my fingers. I lean toward him to whisper in his ear, my lips just barely grazing his throat as I add, “Besides, who cares what I call you? Just so long as you remain my absolute favorite.”
His forehead relaxes and for a moment his eyes light up and it reminds me of the day we first met. Once I had learned what there was to be learned from the coarse men I found in tavernas, I began to appeal to more cultured men—artists and writers and musicians. They couldn’t afford to pay me so instead they taught me to read or paint or play the lute.  Batista was sketching the outside of a church. We arranged for him to teach me about the great Venetian masters like Titian and Bottacelli. At first he refused, saying his knowledge was insufficient. I told him I wasn’t trying to become an artist; I only needed to be able to converse about the subject. He was upset, at first, to discover what I did for a living. But like most men, he warmed to the idea once he got to know me. We became fast friends. He even painted a picture of me.
The music changes tempo and the dancers adjust their pattern, switching from four lines to the shape of a square.
Batista exhales hard. “Meet me later tonight,” he says as I pull back, flicking another glance over my shoulder.
Joseph is watching me.


For the next part of the story, visit Rainy Day Ramblings tomorrow, 10/11.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mara Dyer Week Part 2!

I am very excited to announce my second Mara Dyer Week! It will be held the week of Oct 22 and kicks off the Canadian Blog Tour for The Evolution.

Expect two awesome giveaways, guest posts and even a fun quiz for this special week.

Monday Oct 22 - Interview with Michelle Hodkin (and kick off of the Canadian blog tour)
Tuesday Oct 23 - The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer recap and quiz
Wednesday Oct 24 - Review of The Evolution of Mara Dyer
Thursday Oct 25 - special guest post that I am keeping a surprise
Friday Oct 26 - giveaway announcements
Saturday Oct 27 - My top 5 favourite quotes from the Mara Dyer series
Sunday Oct 28 - What other bloggers love about the Mara Dyer series

A huge thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada and Michelle Hodkin for being super supportive of the event.

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