Thursday, November 29, 2012

Authors galore!

Today I thought I would share a few pics of the authors I've met (of course through book signings) over this past year. Actually I have to start with one from 2011. That was the first time I ever went to visit an author on their book tour. Since then, I've discovered a fun new past time. It's just as fun to meet authors as it is to read their books. It makes me feel closer to the world and characters I become fond of...I'd highly recommend going if you haven't before.

So first....introducing! Meg Cabot!

She's the author of many many many books, including the famous The Princess Diaries. Meg was one of my first favorites in the YA genre. I've recommended her Mediator series (, Ransom My Heart, and Abandon ( Most of the books I've read by her are contemporary, but I especially enjoy her paranormal books. I don't think I can say I haven't enjoyed a single book I've read by her. They include:
The Mediator Series
Abandon Series
Airhead Series
Avalon High
1-800 Series (books 1-4)
All American Girl Series
How to be Popular
Pants on Fire
Teen Idol
Insatiable Series
Ransom My Heart
Foretold (an anthology, including her short story Out of the Blue)

Meg has written well over 50 books and other short stories. She has a fun, quirky personality, and knows how to relate to children, teens, and adults by seeing the world through their eyes and making it enjoyable to read about at any age.

Next.....Marissa Meyer!

(Marissa is on the left. Unfortunately I did not ask for a picture with her.)

She is the author of the The Lunar Chronicles. The first book in a four book series is Cinder which I've recommended here:
Marissa is sweet, intelligent, and she writes one heck of a blog. I love reading her author tips. They can really help aspiring authors when they are feeling both up and down in the writing and publishing process. Check her blog out here:

Now introducing........Danny Marks!

He is the author of the newly published Velveteen.

(I love this cover!)

Description: "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."

Here are my thoughts on it: I would give this book 3 and 1/2 stars. I don't normally give a book five stars unless it's changed my life. So, Danny's book is almost a four. I was a little hesitant to read it, since I knew going in that it had elements of horror in it (generally not my style), but I enjoyed Danny's vlogs and personality so much, I just had to read it.
The main character Velveteen, is a true warrior and guardian. She doesn't take crap from anyone, and knows how to get a job done; in this case, take care of the "good" souls in Purgatory by keeping them safe, whilst kicking the "bad/banshee" ones out of human hosts and helping those poor souls who are lost find their way to Purgatory; and she's a smart mouth (but in a fun way).
Then there is Velvet's salvage team, who provide support when she goes kicking naughty souls back to Purgatory. They consist of the twins (a brother/sister duo who are both smart, cunning, know it alls and mature beyond their years), Quentin (an extremely shy, lovestruck teen, and Kipper (a jokster, "part-time Salvage trainer", and all around tough guy...when need be). And there might be Nick (a lost soul/love interest). He has Velvet's back, doesn't mind being led by her, won't be easily pushed around, and adapts wells. And he's extra hot.
I liked these characters and seeing how they interact around one another. You get to know some of their back story, which you don't always get for secondary characters.
The plot, although very interesting and a concept I haven't read about before, was a bit confusing at times. I thought this, because the characters are often running around Purgatory and the Earth plane trying to accomplish a multitude of tasks. They get one thing taken care of and then another problem occurs almost immediately. This direction of various plot lines doesn't always sit clearly with the reader; but the more you read, the more you can see the connections clearly. I would say, this was the only thing that bothered me about the story....and maybe the gory parts. Though, in all honesty, it did not freak me out quite like I had anticipated. Don't get me wrong though. Danny has a way of describing without describing. Kind of like how Hitchcock showed you things without letting you see them.
And lastly, there's Bonesaw. Creepy, pyscho, very realistic. I wanted Velvet to get her revenge just about as much as she did.
I would like to read the sequel. It doesn't quite exist yet, but I know there could be one. Danny leaves room for more, but it's not a cliffhanger ending, which is nice if there isn't a sequel.  

Danny also vlogs regularly on two YouTube channels, his personal channel: DannyMarksYA, and as Sunday on the YARebels channel. Check both out for laughs and books galore! P.S. follow him on twitter for food nom!

Next!......Tahereh Mafi!

(Me and Tahereh)

She is the author of Shatter Me (it's the book she's holding in the pic above). Check out my recommendation here:
I love Tahereh! She's so funny and witty. I follow her on Twitter, and let's just say, her tweets are a treat. And her writing is compelling. Plus, she has great fashion sense. Check her out!

Next!...........Veronica Rossi!

She is the author of Under the Never Sky. I've recommended it here:
I loved how original this book was. And I love how sweet Veronica is. She's also loves painting, so I feel like I can relate to her more. It was great meeting her in person and have her answer some of my questions about her book.

Finally! give a round of applause for.......Richelle Mead!

She is the author of the Vampire Academy series and the Bloodlines series, which I highly recommend here:
and here:
When I think of Richelle, I imagine a small woman with a chill personality, glazed over a secret femme fatale/kick butt heroine. She's funny when she wants to be and sweet to all her fans.

All the authors I've mentioned, I also follow on Twitter. It's a great way to learn more about them as people and writers, and to find out all the ins and outs of writing, publishing, and when their next book comes out (including fun giveaways, pictures, snippets, book tour info, etc). Send some love and follow them.

I hope you have enjoyed this post. And if you have not read the books mentioned above, yourself a favor....READ THEM!

Hope your day is bright!
- Olive juice


Thursday, November 8, 2012

YA Sub Genre Rec Tag! 16-18

I'm back for more! Today is all about tigers, time-travel, and vampires...
16. Tigers: I think there is only one book I can mention here, but that is exactly why I included tigers as one of my sub genres....If you don't know which book I am referring to by now, it means you need to head over to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of Colleen Houck's Tiger's Curse.

(Did I mention this is a series??? Tiger's Destiny comes out Sept 4, 2012)

Description (book 1): "Passion. Fate. Loyalty.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever."

Recommendation: When I read Tiger's Curse, I was instantly enamored with the relationship between Kelsey and Ren. He's this massive, dangerous creature, anyone would run away from if they ever came face to face with him. But not Kelsey. She's drawn to him instantly (moth to flame so to speak). At first I thought, "Maybe she's just being stupid. I mean, who sticks their hand in the cage of a Tiger?" Then I realized how daring Kelsey is. It is that gutsy nature that makes Kelsey such an interesting character. She seems normal in every way. She has her own baggage and oddities like every person in the world, but her bold tenacity is what makes her really shine. 
   I also loved all of the little nuances throughout the book, and consequentially throughout the series (To this day I love putting hair ribbons in my hair, I'm ever in search of the perfect peaches and creme fragrance, and I love chocolate and peanut butter even more than I used to)
   There's something very memorable in the way Colleen writes her story. It has that (very popular) love triangle, but told from a fresh perspective. There's action and adventure, romance, and mystery galore (I'm still questioning things, and I'm waiting on book 4). Plus, the majority of Tiger's Curse takes place in India. Not many YA authors leave the United States behind in their stories and delve headlong into another culture as diverse and brightly engaging. When I finished Tiger's Curse, I felt a pull to go to India (that's never happened before). 
   At the end of Tiger's Curse, I couldn't believe what I just read. It definitely left me wanting more. Each book has kept me anxiously waiting for the next, and I'll be sad when it ends. 

Want to read: Since I don't know of any other Tiger books in YA, I have to say I'm eagerly looking forward to September 4, 2012. 
17. Time-travel: Next! Time-travel. How exciting. But.........I don't really have an example in which time-travel takes up the majority of the book/series. Another but...I do have a couple of series that have elements of time travel in them which I really enjoyed reading.

Firstly, are The Immortals series by Alyson Nöel. 

Description (book 1): "Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch.   Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste . . .
Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition.  He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets.  Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head.  She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is.  Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies."

Recommendation: I remember when I first started reading Evermore. I can honestly say I was sucked into Ever's world right from the start. Her ability to see auras was an amazing concept after having read a lot of vampire and dragon books.
   Despite the fact Ever is a seriously depressed and socially quiet individual, she is one of the most unique characters I've come across in a while (it's probably all the auras she can see and her ability to sense people's thoughts and lives through touch). Then there is Damen. He is also an unparalleled figure in the world of fictional leading men. He has some serious issues he's never dealt with; he's mysterious in an alluring way, and yet he is also scary at times. Every time you think you have him figured out, there is a new layer added to his enigma, and I always found myself wondering if I should keep trusting him or not.
   The journey these two take together to find love and a sense of identity (on Ever's part) is exciting and adventurous. Nöel puts forth a lot of good questions. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it yet, but you find yourself asking whether or not you would take the same paths as Ever and Damon. Would you follow love no matter the consequences, and what would you risk in order to keep that love? What are the limits? And when do you give up on love?       
   As far as time travel goes, there are a few jumps back in time, but I don't think they take place until the second or third book.

Next, is the Fallen series by Lauren Kate.

I have already recommended this series, but it does have time travel in it, so I will recommend it twice. The time travel element doesn't take place until the third book. It actually encompasses the entirety of this book, but I couldn't recommend it alone. You must read the first two.

Want to read: I'm currently reading the Harry Potter series. On book two. I've seen all the movies. The third one is my favorite, and since my sister told me I sort of have to push through the first to books in order to really get into them, I'm looking forward to reading book 3; which has time travel!

18. Vampire: Let's get straight to it. No explanation needed here! The YA book (or rather set of series) I have to recommend, are the Vampire Academy series and the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. Since I've already recommended the former series (check it out here, I'll just talk about the Bloodlines series.

(Book 1: Bloodlines, Book 2: The Golden Lily)

Description (book 1):  "Blood doesn't lie...Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning..."

Recommendation: I loved the Vampire Academy series. When I was reading that series, I was able to invest my heart into the characters, really get to know them, enjoy all their adventures, and admire the strength, love, and determination they had to help one another along the way. Plus a lot of action, romance, and Dimitri (wink wink). Who could ask for more??? Everyone! 
And so...Richelle has thankfully continued the series by taking a different look at the world she created; through the eyes of religious, smart, and dutiful Sydney Sage. She's very different from Vampire Academy's main protagonist Rose Hathaway. You could say they are the opposite of each other. But Sage (as Adrien calls her) is just as loveable of a character. I've grown to the love this world just that much more through Sydney's POV. I root for her, the (good) vampires, Adrien (who's made his way from VA into Bloodlines seamlessly), and the continued hope in finding a way when there seems like there isn't one. If you loved the Vampire Academy series, then you'll love this spinoff. And if you're not sure about vampires in general (I understand), this series will definitely change your mind. It has three different vampire races! That's unique...
Also, I would also recommend reading the Vampire Academy series first. It will help the main characters, little nuances, and world in general make more sense. 

Want to read: I seriously can't wait till the third book The Indigo Spell (part of the Bloodlines series) comes out in February next year

(Book 3: The Indigo Spell)

So that's it for this post. Up next (and the conclusion to this tag) is werewolves and zombies. But until then...

-Hope your day is bright
Olive juice  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Great (Lunar Chronicles) Pumpkin Contest Finals!!!!

Yay people! Yay!

I'm in the finals! It's almost too exciting for words. Just the fact Marissa acknowledged she likes my pumpkin design is reward enough. But who doesn't love a little prize for their efforts???

I'm one little step away from winning, and I can't do it alone. I need your help...that is, if you like my design. If so...pleeeeease vote for me, "Whitney" here:

(Here's a reminder of my entry. Click on the photo to see it bigger.) 

And while you're at it...check out Marissa's blog. She gives great advice on writing, and she is currently writing an awesome series called The Lunar Chronicles. Each of the four books are a retelling based on different fairy tales. The first book, Cinder is already out. Scarlet  (book 2) will be out February 2013.

My prize...if I win the People's Choice Pumpkin award, will be a signed ARC of Scarlet.  How cool is that?!

Also, a BIG thanks for those of you who have checked out my blog because of Marissa's contest. It means a lot to me.

Hope your day is bright
Olive juice


Friday, November 2, 2012

The Great (Lunar Chronicles) Pumpkin Contest!

Happy (belated) Halloween!!!

How many of you out there still like to dress up despite not being children anymore? I know I certainly do. This year, I sort of changed my mind last minute on my costume and decided to make myself look like an anime. No one in particular, though a few people said I reminded them of someone (but they couldn't place it). So here's me in my get up. I think it kind of has an Alice in Wonderland vibe.

Anywho...This past month, I've been up to something. I know it's been forever since I last posted anything, but I promise this post will be fun. At least for me. And maybe Marissa Meyer...without whom, I would not have made a pumpkin this year. Before I reveal said pumpkin, I would like to take a moment to explain why it looks...the way it does.

Firstly, if the title of this post hasn't explained it, I am entering my pumpkin into The Great (Lunar Chronicles) Pumpkin Contest. Here are the guidelines:

"The Mission: Create a Lunar Chronicles-Inspired Pumpkin
The Prize: Two lucky winners will receive a signed ARC of SCARLET: Book Two of the Lunar Chronicles

How to Enter
1. Create a pumpkin inspired by CINDER or The Lunar Chronicles.
This could mean carving, painting, glitterizing, or otherwise decorating a real pumpkin, or even another squash or vegetable of your choice. (Random fact of the day: Before people carved pumpkins for All Hallow’s Eve, they carved turnips. True story.)
Or this could mean creating a papier-mâché pumpkin, sewing a pumpkin pillow, making a blown-glass pumpkin, painting a picture of a pumpkin, or any number of other things I can’t even fathom.
In other words, use your imagination!
Consideration will be given for creativity and effort. Just make sure that your design relates in some way to CINDER or The Lunar Chronicles."

Make sense? If you are wondering what Cinder is all about, check out my review of it here:

So, with those instructions in mind, I sat on my thoughts for a while. I tried to think of what I could do to make a) Marissa happy, b) me happy, and c) make my pumpkin stand out from all the rest. Then it hit me!

Make a pumpkin from Cinder's perspective!!! How cool would that be? You're right. So cool.

My reasons??? I figured it would be really interesting to see how Cinder might make a pumpkin. She didn't have a great upbringing (her stepmother is a horrible person), and wasn't allowed to do the same things as her stepsisters (all fun denied). Despite those circumstances however, Cinder tries her best to make the most of her situation by doing what she loves most. She's a mechanic. She can fix most anything...probably better than any guy.
I imagined Cinder watching her stepsisters carving pumpkins every year, while she had to clean all the pumpkin guts off the floor (yuck). I could envision her wanting to take part in the festivity but not being permitted to. But knowing Cinder has a bit of a rebellious streak, I thought she would defy her stepmother by making her own pumpkin downstairs in the basement. She would make it by compiling any of the spare parts she wasn't using. She might even go to the junkyard to find things that would work.
With that in mind, I give you my entry for the contest:

(It's a collage!)

The upper left picture has all the parts I started with. I found them all in my dad's shed. It was really fun raiding his stuff, because I felt like Cinder on one of her treks through the junkyard. The other three pictures are of the pumpkin. The top right shows what the inside looks like. I used orange ribbon to celebrate the color theme of Halloween, and I thought Cinder might have received the ribbon from her stepsister Peony (she's the nice one) who may have wanted Cinder to make her pumpkin marginally pretty. The bottom left shot is of the pumpkin from above. To make it glow, I used five tea lights, which I imagined Cinder pilfered from her stepmother's things. 

Here's a bigger image of the bottom right picture:

And here is one of me and the pumpkin:

(it's a bit blurry, but I was so happy it came out nicely. Plus I put on the gloves I used while making it, so I really felt like Cinder. Yay!)

And it wouldn't have been complete without this shot (albeit blurry) of my little buddy Harley. He's my Iko stand in!

(I had to make it black and white, or he wouldn't be visible. Isn't he cute!)

I hope you have enjoyed my little tricks here! If you are interested in learning more about Cinder or Marissa Meyer (the author), please check out her website here: She has a great blog for any aspiring authors looking for tips on writing.

Have a great day
Olive juice


Monday, July 2, 2012

Aliens, and Cats, and Bears! Oh my: Tokio Hotel Dreaming

On Saturday night I had the most unusual dream. I tweeted about it and thought I needed to blog about it. So here's the story...

I'm in class listening to music with my pink headphones on.
(Pink Zumreed Headphones)

Then I decide I need to pay attention (so I won't be lectured). But what do you know? I can't turn off my music, and everyone can hear it because I unplugged my headphones.
So my teacher stops lecturing our class and just stares at me. His intent is obvious. He wants me to feel embarassed. Jerk.

Seeing I have only one option, I leave class (embarassed). I then proceed to complain about said teacher to other students walking by. They don't listen. Feeling dejected.
Out of nowhere (cause that happens in dreams) comes someone I went to high school with.
(they shall remain anonymous)

Suddenly, I decide I need to go to the bathroom. It's approximately five fathoms down many foggy stairs.
Plot twist! The stairs turn into a huge slide...

(No, it's not like this. Imagine a silver tube-slide shaped like a horizontal oval.)

I get in the slide, but someone pushes me out of the way. Like heck! I push right back. *note to fellow dreamers: Don't push your figment's version of Bill Kaulitz. Even if he is a snobby girl at first, and then himself the very next second.
There's no need for pushing. We both fit in the slide, and there's still room on either side of us...
Turns out, you can take a nap on Bill Kaulitz (only while dreaming) if you pretend you don't know who he is. Especially when your eyes are closed; he's probably thinking you are mistaking him for someone else and doesn't want to disturb you (And by "you", I mean me).  I was napping after all (On Bill Kaulitz).
(Down Aliens! Back! was just a dream.)

Slide turns into limo.

(Take your pick. Not sure which I was in. Little bit distracted by taking a nap on Bill.)

Bill and I then proceed to debate music videos.
*Cue weird part of dream (and you thought it was already strange *smiles to self*).

Now I'm at home, looking through the window into the sunroom (where our cats sleep). I now have way more cats than I remember.
(Imagine twelve or more cats/kittens. And maybe some questionable furry things. They all have their Simon's Cat hungry faces on.)

Then! A baby cub comes walking into the sun-room. I freak out. Because everyone knows...where a cub is, a momma bear ain't far off.
*Cue momma bear:
(She wasn't mad...but you never know.)

The momma bear and her cub precede to head for the open sliding glass door in my parents' bedroom. I rush through the house, hoping to cut them off. How? With my rhetoric, bare hands, and whatever it was I could grab in my haste.
When I get there, the momma bear has turned into a she-vagabond, and the cub is now a bunch a children, who try to rob my parents right in front of me. Looks like guilting a person into feeling bad and offering lunch will stop their theft...almost reluctantly. The children race to the kitchen while I negotiate the terms of lunch with the she-vagabond.
Side note: don't let homeless children run free in your kitchen.
(This is sort of what it was like.)

When I come into the kitchen (which is suddenly huge-ish), I find the children baking countless strawberry pies. I yell at them and try to make them feel bad. Success rate: 80%. Personal achievement goals regarding parenthood authority: 10%. Feeling lame.
*Cue scenery change
I'm outside. The children are now psychiatric patients (as they probably should be). I am a practicing counselor. And wouldn't you is Bill Kaulitz.
(What?...I like pretty guys)

We're colleagues! But dream Bill is walking away from me. And to add one more thing on this pile of random socks, I see Matt Donovan.
(Yes. I said that correctly. Matt Donovan. Not Zach Roerig.)

So, I guess I'm sort of Caroline now. But I'm still within my own faculties. In my head, I know I must go to Matt (I've been watching season 2 of The Vampire Diaries with my mom in the waking world. They're dating), but I want to stay with Bill. Or run after him. So torn!

That is when I woke up. It was 5:00 in the morning. I had only gone to bed four hours earlier. Nasty.
It took me an hour to get back to sleep. You know, after all the tweeting, taking blogging notes, and contemplating said dream.
Some thoughts:
- My pink headphones have been acting up lately and it's really bothering me.
- Before this dream, I had woken up from a nightmare. I usually listen to music when this happens. So, I put on Tokio Hotel. Wouldn't you know it? You too can dream about Bill. Just play a little "Automatic" right before bed time.
- I was just telling my mom the other day that I think limos are stupid...I'm suddenly having a change of heart.
- The night before my dream, my mom and I were talking about getting new kittens.
- Bears? I just saw Brave last week.
- A family friend came over last week and took some of our rhubarb home to make a pie. He's been saying he wants to come back for more.
- Just the other day I was contemplating making a character in one of my stories a psychiatrist.
- During our nightly viewing of The Vampire Diaries, I've been telling my mom how I prefer Caroline with Matt over Tyler.

Isn't all of that crazy?! I think so. Well, except for the part about napping on Bill. That's totally sane.

Now I'm off to make some brownie cookies with salted caramel creme filling with my sister. Yum!

-Hope your day is bright
Olive juice   


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

YA Sub Genre Rec Tag! 13-15

So I'm back for more recommendations, and this time it's all about pirates, sci-fi,and steampunk. Let's get started!
13. Pirates: This first pick is sort of pushing it, since it's considered a middle grade book (not YA), but I say, who cares? A good pirates book is Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper.

(I love this cover art for the book by Jon Foster. It reminds me a lot of the Peter and the Starcatchers series' cover art...also great books.)

Description (book 1): "Well, if pirates are bad, And vampires are worse, Then I pray that as long as I be That though I sing of Vampirates I never one shall see. Twins, Connor and Grace, never dreamed that there was any truth to the Vampirate shanty their father sang to them before he died, but that was before the two were shipwrecked and separated from each other. For Connor, who is taken aboard a pirate ship, there's the chance to learn to swordfight, but for Grace, aboard a mysterious ship of vampire pirates, the danger is great. The twins want more than anything to find each other, but their time is limited and they're an ocean apart."

Recommendation: This book is a fun adventure for "kids" of all ages. It's not only geared for boys; girls will enjoy it too.
Before reading this book, I had never heard of a vampirate. It's such a unique combination, that the title alone held my interest (actually it was the cover first). Then there's the main protagonists. The twins are easily likeable, and it's compelling to see them try to find their way back to one another. There's a bit of mystery, lots of action, a hint of romance, and treasure galore. I'm interested to see what happens next, so long as I get the books with the amazing cover art.

Sidenote: I've already recommended Lisa Mantchev's Théâtre Illuminata: Act 1, 2, & 3, but this series also has pirates in it, so I'll recommend it again.
(here's the cover art for the first book, Eyes Like Stars)

Want to read: I have The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King on my TBR list. 

14. Sci-fi: For this genre I have to pick The Host by Stephanie Meyer.
So I've already recommended this book under the apocalyptic genre, but I'm starting think it fits just as well in the sci-fi genre. Go check out what I had to say about it there. It's number two in this crazy long list of sub genres.

Since I've already recommended The Host, I must fill in this gap with another choice, and the only thing coming to mind is a book my uncle lent to me a couple of years back. It's The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey. Granted, Barnes & Noble puts this book in the age range of 18 years old, so this is more of an adult book than it is YA.
(This is the jacket cover for the edition I read. I get an 80's vibe anytime I look at it.)

(Here's the cover for the most recent edition. Much more "now", Don't you think?)

Description (book 1): "The Rowan was destined to become the greatest Prime Talent in human history, facing a lonely existence of servitude. Until she receives a telepathic plea from across the stars from a Prime named Jeff Raven-and falls in love with him."

Recommendation: When I first picked up this book, albeit through my uncle's assurances that it was a great series, I thought I'd give it a go; if not to expand my book horizons, then to appease my uncle (just kidding! almost). I had a bit of a hard time getting into this book, mostly because it was an entirely different genre, something I was not used to. So I just sucked it up and kept reading, getting more and more intrigued with each page I read. Then came the science. Quite honestly, a good majority of the book involved technology that made absolutely no sense to me (nothing beyond my capability of understanding, just information I had no prior knowledge of, and So here and there I tried my best to let my imagination soar and guess at what purpose these futuristic machines were meant for and how they opperated.
It's been a while since I read the book, but I do remember McCaffrey having a good ability to plunge deep within her characters emotions, then pouring them out on the page so that they became realistic (less fictionalized and more historical). There is romance here and there, which gives a nice balance to the narrative, but it doesn't overwhelm. It's definitely not the main focus, though it is there. I will say, I enjoyed reading The Rowan despite the difficulties I had with understanding the world. The language in it is fuller (not sure if that makes sense), but I guess that is because it's geared for an adult audience.
Want to read: Across the Universe by Beth Revis has been staring at me from my TBR pile. I'm gonna get to it!  I also have the next three books in The Tower and Hive series by Anne McCaffrey that my uncle lent me. They are also staring at me from my TBR pile. *it's yelling at me!* 

15. Steampunk: First of all: Yay! I love some good steampunk, especially Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices series. 
 (I love these covers. So much.)

Description (book 1): "Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all."

Recommendation: Yes. I only wish that were enough, but here's some good highlights. This series is gripping. If you liked The Mortal Instruments series by Clare, then you'll really enjoy this side series, about the Shadowhunters who came before Jace, Clary, Alec, and Isabelle. Tessa, James (also known as Jem), and Will are all loveable. They share some similar qualities with Jace, Clary and Alec, so it helps to tie the two series together, but not too heavily. They all have their own personalities that clearly define them as unique characters. The mystery surrounding Tessa's ability to transform or shapeshift into other people is still leaving me with questions, which is a good thing. I love stories that keep me guessing. When I don't know what will happen next, I'm all the more intrigued. And this series really does that for me. There is some romance, action, interesting plot twists, and good character development arching throughout the two books I've read so far. I want to know more and more about each character's inner thoughts and reasons for the things they do, and Clare knows just how to pull on each string at the right moment. A fun, thrilling read.

Want to read: I really want to read Clockwork Princess, the third book in this series. I also have Leviathan by Scott Westerfield in my TBR pile.     

Yay! I made it to the end of this recommendation pile. Next on the list is Tigers, Time-travel, and Vampires. That will surely be a fun post. Until then...

-Hope your day is bright
Olive Juice

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

YA Sub Genre Rec Tag! 10-12

10. Gothic: There are two series I must mention here. Firstly, is the Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber.
(This is the cover of the eighth book in the personal favorite.)

Description (books 1, 2 and 3)
"A new guy in town.
Rumors of vampires.
Dangerous first love.
This is where it all begins. . . .
The mansion on top of Benson Hill has stood empty for years. But one day it seems to be occupied, and its mysterious, handsome inhabitant Alexander Sterling becomes the source of much talk around town. Raven, a vampire-obsessed Goth-girl who has always considered herself an outsider in "Dullsville," is determined to uncover the truth surrounding the secretive Alexander. As she gets to know him, and their spark intensifies, Raven finds herself in some unanticipated situations. Can Alexander make her lifelong dream come true? But love always has its complications—especially when it can only be awakened at nightfall."

Recommendation: This series was really fun to read. It's lighthearted in the way of dark storytelling and a good series when you're looking for a paranormal quick read. The first book The Beginning is three books in one: Vampire Kisses, Kissing Coffins, and Vampireville. Raven, the main protagonist is gutsy and quirky, in the sense that she has a fascination for all things dead. She likes to hang out in her town's cemetery (at night no less), dreams of becoming a vampire, and wears black 24/7 among other things. Overall, it's a fun read, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the last book.

Secondly, I must tell you about The Nevermore Trilogy by Kelly Creagh (pronounced Cray).
(Love the cover. The title and script are raised and glossy which makes it even more aesthetically pleasing. I think my inner goth wants to marry the model.)

Description (book 1)
And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!
— from "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe
"At once an homage to one of America's greatest writers and a page-turning psychological mystery that is equal parts horror, humor, and romance, NEVERMORE is the story of Varen — a Poe-fan and goth — and Isobel — a cheerleader and unlikely heroine. When a Lit. project pairs the two together, Isobel finds herself steadily swept into Varen's world, one that he has created in his notebook and in his mind, one where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. Isobel slowly learns that dreams can be much more powerful than she'd ever expected, and that pain and despair come in all shades. As labels of "goth" and "cheerleader" fade away, she sees more in Varen than a tall, pale outcast, and a consuming romance is braced against the ever-clearer horror that the most terrifying realities are those within our own minds.
When Isobel has a single chance to rescue Varen from the shadows of his own nightmares, will she be able to save him — and herself?"
Recommendation: Once I started reading Nevermore, I was hooked. I believe my inner goth was born that day (thanks Kelly). Anyone who enjoys reading YA novels and is a fan of Edgar Allen Poe will really enjoy this series. I thought all the characters were very believable, especially Varen. I loved delving deeper into his mind as Isobel slowly unraveled his secrets. Despite their opposite personalities and friends, it was really compelling to watch them connect. 

Want to read: I'm super excited to read Enshadowed book two in the Nevermore trilogy. 
11. Historical Romance: I probably should have put The Luxe series here. Please refer to those for this section too. I haven't read any other YA historical romance, but I can suggest Ransom My Heart by Princess of Genovia Mia Thermopolis with help from Meg Cabot.
"Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia and star of Meg Cabot's insanely popular #1 New York Times bestselling Princess Diaries books, has "penned" her first historical romance novel . . . with help from Meg Cabot
He's a tall, handsome knight with a secret. She's an adventurous beauty with more than a few secrets of her own. Finnula needs money for her sister's dowry, and fast. Hugo Fitzstephen, returning home to England from the Crusades with saddlebags of jewels, has money, and lots of it. What could be simpler than to kidnap him and hold him for ransom?
Well, for starters, Finnula could make the terrible mistake of falling in love with her hostage.
Princess Mia Thermopolis, Meg Cabot's most beloved character, has always been an outspoken animal-rights activist and committed environmentalist. In keeping with Mia's true spirit, Meg will be donating her advance to Greenpeace."

Recommendation: Granted, this is definitely an adult book, but if you want to take a leap from YA to adult fiction in the historical romance department, this is a pretty good book. The main protagonist, Finnula is as fiery as her red hair. She prefers wearing men breeches (aka pants) rather than dresses. I mean, who can ride a horse the way a man does without hiking up one's dress for all to see what's underneath? Although wearing pants doesn't keep anyone's eyes off of Finnula either.
Anyway! Finnula is a leader, and takes charge where no one else will. She won't take crap from any man, until she meets Hugo. Cue a mix of frustration and passion (coming from both parties). Set in England, way back when, this historical romance is definitely a steamy read, with equal parts action and murder mystery. Also, buying this book will help a good cause. Just beware you younger readers. I will admit I found myself blushing every so often while reading this book.

Want to read: I honestly don't know. Haven't really perused this section of the bookstore. I don't it just me, or does everyone else feel really embarrassed even walking past the romance section of the bookstore? Got any YA suggestions for me?    

12. Mythology: Yay! I love mythology. Sadly though I haven't read much in this sub-genre. *sigh. But! I will recommend Meg Cabot's Abandon.
(isn't this cover exciting?! click to view full size)

Description: "Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld."

Recommendation: I've always had a fascination with mythology, so this book was a fun read. For most stories, I think I have a feel for where they are going...more like, I'm not surprised by the choices a lot of characters make. But this book had lots of surprise. It's a good "making choices" book...about analyzing what's most important in life (or death), figuring out what your heart wants, and whether or not you should follow it. I enjoyed Pierce's journey, and her struggle to escape or accept the hand and the heart of death.

Little extra:
(I love this picture of Hades and Persephone by *sandara)

Want to read: Well, I definitely have Underworld (the sequel to Abandon) on my list of books to read. I also want to read The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter and Everneath by Brodi Ashton.

So that's all for now. Next on the list is...Pirates, Sci-fi, and Steampunk. That sounds like fun!

-Hope your day is bright
Olive juice