Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


SPLINTERED
By: A.G. Howard
Published By: Amulet Books
Release Date: Jan. 1, 2013
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.




Why it's wanted:

I love retellings, and this spin on Alice in Wonderland sounds very intriguing. I want to know how everything plays out!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Opening Lines (3)


Opening Lines is a new feature here on Portrait of a Book that showcases the first lines of recent and/or upcoming releases. If you're looking for your next read, let these first lines help you decide!



SACRED
By: Elana K. Arnold
Published By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Nov. 13, 2012
Buy the Book: Amazon


Growing up on Catalina Island, off the California coast, Scarlett Wenderoth has led a fairly isolated life. After her brother dies, her isolation deepens as she withdraws into herself, shutting out her friends and boyfriend. Her parents, shattered by their own sorrow, fail to notice Scarlett's pain and sudden alarming thinness. Scarlett finds pleasure only on her horse, escaping to the heart of the island on long, solitary rides. One day, as she races around a bend, Scarlett is startled by a boy who raises his hand in warning and says one word: "Stop."

The boy—intense, beautiful—is Will Cohen, a newcomer to the island. For reasons he can't or won't explain, he's drawn to Scarlett and feels compelled to keep her safe. To keep her from wasting away. His meddling irritates Scarlett, though she can't deny her attraction to him. As their relationship blossoms into love, Scarlett's body slowly awakens at Will's touch. But just when her grief begins to ebb, she makes a startling discovery about Will, a discovery he's been grappling with himself. A discovery that threatens to force them apart. And if it does, Scarlett fears she will unravel all over again.

"All around me, the island prepared to die."



MIDDLE GROUND
By: Katie Kacvinsky
Published By: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: Nov. 20, 2012
Buy the Book: Amazon


In this provocative cautionary tale for teens, the sequel to Awaken, seventeen-year-old Maddie’s rebellion against the digital-only life grows dangerous. Maddie is in Los Angeles, trying to stay out of trouble. But one night, a seemingly small act of defiance lands her in the place she fears the most: a detention center. Here, patients are reprogrammed to accept a digital existence. Maddie is now fighting for her mind, her soul, and her very life. Once again, Katie Kacvinsky paints a disturbing picture of our increasingly technology-based society.

"I have over one hundred online profiles."



ELEMENTAL
By: Antony John
Published By: Dial
Release Date: Nov. 21, 2012
Buy the Book: Amazon


A lost colony is reborn in this heart-pounding fantasy adventure set in the near future . . .

Sixteen-year-old Thomas has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an Element—earth, water, wind or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe.

In the wake of an unforeseen storm, desperate pirates kidnap the Guardians, intent on claiming the island as their own. Caught between the plague-ridden mainland and the advancing pirates, Thomas and his friends fight for survival in the battered remains of a mysterious abandoned settlement. But the secrets they unearth will turn Thomas’ world upside-down, and bring to light not only a treacherous past but also a future more dangerous than he can possibly imagine.

"Thunder rattled the aging wooden cabins, but no one stopped to listen."



MY BEAUTIFUL FAILURE
By: Janet Ruth Young
Published By: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Nov. 13, 2012
Buy the Book: Amazon


A haunting account of a teen boy who volunteers at a suicide hotline and falls for a troubled caller.

Billy is a sophomore in high school, and twice a week, he volunteers at Listeners, a suicide hotline.

Jenney is an “incoming,” a caller, a girl on the brink.

As her life spirals out of control, Jenney’s calls become more desperate, more frequent. Billy, struggling with the deteriorating relationship with his depressed father, is the only one who understands. Through her pain, he sees hope. Through her tears, he feels her heart. And through her despair, he finds love. But is that enough?

Acclaimed author Janet Ruth Young has written a stunning and powerful story with no easy answers; it is about pain and heartbreak, reality and illusion, and finding redemption and the strength to forgive in the darkest of times.

"She was a girl talking to me in the dark."




Do any of these opening lines grab your attention? What are your favorite first lines that you've read lately?


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!



In the past couple of weeks, I've seen a lot of friends participating in the Facebook challenge of naming something they're thankful for each day. I am thankful for many things in my life, but I also wanted to mention a few things I'm thankful for in regards to blogging.

First and foremost I'm thankful for the YA blogging community. I have found so many good friends through blogging and met wonderful people at signings, conventions, and on twitter. From recommendations to book chats to everything else, this community is wonderful and I'm always glad to be part of it.

Second, I am thankful for YA authors who write such great books. Thank you for telling the stories that need to be told or that let us readers escape from reality for an hour or two. Here's to another year of good reading!

Third, I am thankful for the followers and readers who support book blogs. Without your support it would be easy to get discouraged. So thank you for the comments and messages!

I could list so many individuals who have offered advice and guidance along the way and whose friendships I am thankful for, but I would inadvertently leave someone out. But to those of you who have been sounding boards, graphics creators, fellow book enthusiasts, and most importantly friends, thank you.

And so, with that, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


ASUNDER
By: Jodi Meadows
Published By: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: Jan. 29, 2013
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Note: Asunder is the second book in the Newsoul series, following Incarnate, and the summary below may contain spoilers.

Goodreads Summary: DARKSOULS
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

SHADOWS
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

LOVE
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.




Why it's wanted:

I enjoyed the take on reincarnation in Incarnate, and I want to see how the story continues. I also have to admit that I really like Sam and want to read more about him.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (62)



I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"Her last sensation before she drifted off was that she was falling, falling toward a single, stranded memory. It was from a day nearly a hundred years earlier, during her last reincarnation - back when she still had the same face, the same copper skin. Back when she had a different name, a different life. Back when a familiar fire still smoldered within her."


p. 82 (ARC) from EMBERS AND ECHOES by Karsten Knight

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Opening Lines (2)


Opening Lines is a new feature here on Portrait of a Book that showcases the first lines of recent and/or upcoming releases. If you're looking for your next read, let these first lines help you decide!



VELVET
By: Mary Hooper
Published By: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Release Date: Nov. 13, 2012
Buy the Book: Amazon


Velvet is a laundress in a Victorian steam laundry. With both her mother and father dead, she is an orphan and has to rely upon her own wits to make a living. The laundry's work is back-breaking and Velvet is desperate to create a better life for herself. Then Velvet is noticed by Madame Savoya, a famed medium, who asks Velvet to come to work for her. Velvet is dazzled at first by the young yet beautifully dressed and bejewelled Madame. But soon Velvet realises that Madame Savoya is not all that she says she is, and Velvet's very life is in danger ...A romantic and thrillingly exciting new novel from an acclaimed and much loved historical writer for teens.

"Velvet had fainted too many times, according to Mrs. Sloane, and was liable to be dismissed from Ruffold's Steam Laundry."



MEANT TO BE
By: Lauren Morrill
Published By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Nov. 13, 2012
Buy the Book: Amazon


Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

"There are certain things in life that just suck."



BLACK CITY
By: Elizabeth Richards
Published By: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Release Date: Nov. 13, 2012
Buy the Book: Amazon


A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

"An air-raid siren wails in the distance, alerting Black City citizens to lock their doors and turn out the lights."



REACHED
By: Ally Condie
Published By: Dutton Children's Books
Release Date: Nov. 13, 2012
Buy the Book: Amazon


After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times-bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

"Every morning, the sun comes up and turns the earth red, and I think: This could be the day when everything changes."




Do any of these opening lines grab your attention? What are your favorite first lines that you've read lately?


Friday, November 16, 2012

Review: The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver


THE SPINDLERS
By: Lauren Oliver
Published By: HarperCollins
Release Date: Oct. 2, 2012
Series: None
Pages: 256
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Middle Grades
Source: Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-grubbing and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite, quite different.

When Liza's brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.

She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.

To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers' nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests--or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.

From "New York Times" best-selling author Lauren Oliver comes a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty, the meaning of love, and the enduring power of hope.




I love Lauren Oliver's books, so even though this is MG rather than YA I wanted to give it a try. And I am glad I did. The Spindlers proves once again what a way Lauren Oliver has with words; the story is both imaginative and beautiful.

Liza has always been fascinated with stories of otherworldly creatures, stories told to her by her babysitter Anna. So when she wakes up one morning to discover that her brother Patrick is not really her brother Patrick anymore, she knows exactly what happened - the spindlers have stolen his soul. Knowing that her parents will be no help, Liza decides to go after Patrick's soul herself, which means going Below. Liza thinks she knows some of what she will find, but the world Below is even more vast and filled with more fantastical creatures than she could have imagined. Fortunately, she finds a friendly tour guide, and together with Mirabella she begins the journey to the land of the spindlers. But even if she makes it to the spindlers' land, can she really defeat the evil queen and rescue Patrick's soul?

Luaren Oliver packs so many good things into such a short book. Liza is a great protagonist and very authentic - she cares about her brother Patrick but has issues with her parents, she is afraid but willing to face her fears when necessary, and she is clever even though she makes mistakes. She also believes in the magic of stories, and her going Below really was like her stepping into a storybook. I enjoyed reading about her journey - there were plenty of tricks and turns, but there were also lighthearted moments, especially with Mirabella. In some ways aspects of The Spindlers had echos of other classic books, but Lauren's imaginative storytelling turned this book into a work that could stand on its own.

What really makes this book come to life is the writing style and vivid descriptions. I could clearly see the world Below as Liza experienced it; the descriptions turned fantasy into reality. I also enjoyed seeing so many inventive magical creatures in this book, especially the nocturni. With all that was going on, there was certainly never a dull moment in Liza's quest.

The Spindlers is a book thoroughly infused with magic and beauty; it is an entertaining read while also providing a good message. Readers of all ages will find something to enjoy in this story!




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gratitude Giveaway Hop



Welcome to this stop of the Gratitude Giveaway Hop, hosted by I am a reader, not a writer.

Blogging has certainly given me a lot to be thankful for, from the great books I've found that I would have missed otherwise to the wonderful friendships I have made in the blogging community. In addition, I am thankful for everyone who has supported this blog, for everyone who has offered advice and encouragement, and for those of you who read and follow! That being said, it's time for me to give something to you all.



~GIVEAWAY~


In order to include international followers, this giveaway will be for a book of the winner's choice (up to $15) from Book Depository.

The contest is open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your country. Must be 13 to enter. Please see my Contest Policy for more information.

Must be a GFC follower to enter.

This contest will close on Monday, November 26 at 12:01am CST.





Don't forget to visit the many other stops on this hop!




"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


RISE
By: Andrea Cremer
Published By: Philomel
Release Date: Jan. 8, 2013
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Note: Rise is the second of the Nightshade Prequels, following Rift, and the summary below may contain spoilers.

Goodreads Summary: The sequel to Rift and the prequel to the New York Times bestselling novel Nightshade.

Everything Conatus stands for is at risk. Hoping to gather enough resistance to save their order, Ember and Barrow attempt a desperate escape. But fate offers little mercy. When their mission is exposed, the couple face relentless pursuit by the supernatural horrors that act on the commands of Eira’s ally: the mysterious Bosque Mar. A shocking revelation forces Ember out of hiding, sending her back into the heart of dark magic at Tearmunn keep, where she must convince her old friend Alistair of her love or face dire consequences. Ember’s deception offers the only chance for the resistance to succeed, but what she discovers in the shadows beneath the keep will shatter her world and bring about the Witches’ War.

Richly sensual and full of magic, action and danger, Andrea Cremer's fifth book set in the Nightshade world is an edge-of-your-seat page turner.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.




Why it's wanted:

I loved Andrea Cremer's Nightshade trilogy, and Rift may have been even better. Rise is one of my most-anticipated books for 2013!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (61)



I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations - all of them rearranging themselves so that this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself have crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be."


p. 23 (ARC) from EVERY DAY by David Levithan

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Opening Lines (1)


Opening Lines is a new feature here on Portrait of a Book that showcases the first lines of recent and/or upcoming releases. If you're looking for your next read, let these first lines help you decide!



DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT
By: Laini Taylor
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Nov. 6, 2012
Buy the Book: Amazon


In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

"Prague, early May. The sky weighed gray over fairy-tale rooftops, and all the world was watching."



BURNING BLUE
By: Paul Griffin
Published By: Dial
Release Date: Oct. 25, 2012
Buy the Book: Amazon


How far would you go for love, beauty, and jealousy?

When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that--he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like a freak, and he also has a secret: He's a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he's in--and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself.

Award-winning author Paul Griffin has written a high-stakes, soulful mystery about the meaning--and dangers--of love and beauty.

"I was at the cemetery when it happened."



VENOM
By: Fiona Paul
Published By: Philomel
Release Date: Oct. 30, 2012
Buy the Book: Amazon


Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancĂ©, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancĂ©, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.

"Man falls down before the Angel of Death like a beast before the slaughterer."



SAPPHIRE BLUE
By: Kerstin Gier
Published By: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: Oct. 30, 2012
Buy the Book: Amazon


Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

"The streets of Southwark were dark and deserted."




Do any of these opening lines grab your attention? What are your favorite first lines that you've read lately?


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