Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Imposter blog tour: Pink Hair and Alice in Wonderland Tattoos (Guest post by author Jill Hathaway)

As part of the promo tour for Jill Hathaway’s Imposter, book 2 in the Slide series, it’s an absolute pleasure to welcome Jill to my blog today. 

Now for those who haven’t heard of the books, Slide is about a girl who slides into the mind of other people and sees and experiences the world through that person’s perspective.

Of course, being able to do what she does, she often learns unpleasant things about people she’d rather not know, yet nothing prepares her for the day when she slides into the mind of someone standing over the body of a girl, holding a bloodied knife in said person’s hand.

Book 2 introduces us to a new character and focuses on Vee having really strange out-of-body experiences happening to her.

In today’s post, Jill chats to us about giving certain quirks to her characters – things she wishes she had and that she could pull off – like giving her main character Vee pink hair for instance.

For me this was such a fun post – and one that I can really relate to - because I’m seriously hoping to go with pink hair myself at some point (Well, black hair with pink streaks to be more specific)..

But anyway, I’ll stop rambling now – and hand the reigns over to Jill.

Before I do so though, here’s more information about Slide and Imposter, followed by Jill’s lovely guest post. 

About Slide
Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth--her sister's friend Sophie didn't kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn't actually fall asleep during these episodes:

When she passes out, she slides into somebody else's mind and experiences the world through that person's eyes.

She's slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class.

She learned the worst about a supposed "friend" when she slid into her during a school dance.

But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie's slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can't bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police.

Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting distant lately, especially now that she's been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

Add Slide to your Goodreads TBR pile. 

About Imposter

What if a killer took control of you?

Vee Bell’s gift (or curse) of “sliding”—slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes—has been somewhat under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago.

But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.

As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide—and that this “slider” is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies..

Add Imposter to your Goodreads TBR pile.

Guest post: Pink Hair and Alice in Wonderland Tattoos

Over the past few years, people have given YA writers a ton of crap for “wish fulfillment” in their stories.

You know the schtick: dozens of sexay guys fall in love with the main character, who is subtly gorgeous but doesn't realize it. I’m no better. I wrote Rollins’s character with Jared Leto (back in his My So-Called Life days) in my head the whole time.

Likewise, I write my characters with my own fashion quirks or rocking the trends I wish I could pull off. For instance, Vee’s pink hair. I’ve always wanted pink hair.

I remember back in the 90s when everyone was dying their hair with Kool-Aid.

My mother was having none of it.

The best I got were blonde highlights. In college, I probably could have done the pink hair thing (I had my eyebrow pierced, for Pete's sake), but something held me back. Maybe fear. I don’t know.

When I wrote Vee, though, I got to live vicariously through her (coincidentally enough). I gave her the pink hair I always wanted. I also put her in Converse shoes and gave her all the band t-shirts I had growing up.

In IMPOSTOR, there’s this new character with a badass Alice in Wonderland tattoo.

That came from me standing in line at Panchero’s and seeing this gorgeous girl with a white rabbit tattoo on her arm. I would love to put some art like that on my body, but something is still holding me back. I’ve been turning over the idea of a tattoo in my head for years now.

Something like, "Be your own hero." I don’t know if I’ll ever pull the trigger.

But, until then, I get to dress my characters in the things I’d love to wear.

Thanks for stopping by Jill.

About Jill

Jill Hathaway lives in the Des Moines area with her husband and young children. Having earned her BA in English Education from the University of Northern Iowa and her MA in Literature from Iowa State University, she teaches high school English and dual credit courses for Des Moines Area Community College.

Where you can find her:

Visit her blog
Check out her Goodreads profile
Follow her on Twitter

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mini book review: Matched by Ally Condie

Quick note: My Mini reviews take on a slightly different format, in that I don’t rewrite the summary of the book as part of my review.

Instead, I use the summary from Goodreads.


Matched by Ally Condie


Book summary (from Goodreads):

On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her match.

The Society dictates that he is her perfect partner for life, except he's not.

In Cassia's society, Officials decide who people love.
How many children they have.
Where they work.
When they die.

But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own.

And that's when her whole world begins to unravel.

My thoughts:

Ok. I tried. I really, really did.

For two years, I've picked up and put this book down - each time hoping it would get better, and - blaming myself for not being in the right frame of mind when I inevitably tried reading it for the umpteenth time.

There are some books that make you want to dig your heels into the ground in an effort to resist finishing the book, and for me, Matched - after playing the pick-it-up-and-put-it-down reading game with it for the past 24 months - proved to be one such read.

It’s not that the book is irredeemably bad. It’s just irredeemably boring.

It’s such a pity, because I really wanted to like this book. In fact, the only reason I pretty much got around to more than the halfway mark (and the reason for the two-star rating) is because Ally’s prose is actually quite beautiful.

She also gets top marks for including the gorgeous Dylan Thomas poem, but for me, that’s how far it stretches.

I found the characters drab, dull and uninteresting – and Cassia in particular – quite annoyed me. I understand that characters often do selfish things – and usually tend to forgive them for it, because it is part of growth and development – but with Cassia, I just couldn’t find it in me to feel much sympathy for her, nor could I relate to her or connect with her.

Her fascination with love interest Ky felt very unnatural and improbable to me. I wasn’t rooting for them at all, and I was even less interested in her relationship with Xander (the boy the society thinks she should be matched up with).

The settings and environment had a really sterile feel to it that often had me feeling as if I was trapped and enclosed in a four-walled, stark white room. 

I can certainly applaud Ally for creating a desolate environment like this one if that’s what the aim was, but I definitely think the settings is something that will be an acquired taste that other dystopian fiction fanatics (including myself), probably won’t appreciate..

Would I advise you against reading this? Not quite – but I also won’t be telling you to rush out in a frenzy to buy yourself a copy.

It’s kind of a read it at your own risk read really.

Pick it up at the library or read it only when you’ve really got nothing else to read.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cover reveal, excerpt & US + international giveaway: A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris

Eeeh.

So I’ve been doing a lot of cover reveals lately (they’re quite fun, aren’t they?), and today’s one really has me excited.

Not only does it come with a giveaway, but I’ve got a fabulous excerpt that will bring ALL THE GIGGLES (Seriously, I think this may be one of my favourite book excerpts that I’ve ever had the opportunity to share).

A Tale of Two Centuries is a companion novel to My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, but can be read as a standalone. With the first book focusing on the protagonist travelling into the past, A Two of Two Centuries sees this protagonist travelling 500 years into the future.

One can only begin to imagine that mayhem and madness that Alessandra D’Angeli has to face – but from the excerpt below, I can certainly tell you that you’ll be in for one heck of a fun and LOLtastic ride.

Here’s the gorgeous cover, followed by info about the book, an excerpt and a giveaway.

Enjoy!


About the book:
Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost.

Until the stars hear her plea.

One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing,

Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels.

Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility.

With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?

Add A Tale of Two Centuries to your Goodreads TBR pile.

Excerpt

“The string goes where?” I ask incredulously, dropping the garment from my fingers as if it holds the plague. My heart rate pounds in my ears, already heightened from my shocking meeting with Austin earlier and the crowd in this land of chaos my cousin calls a mall.

 It is Saturday, apparently the day teenagers descend upon this enormous building, and we are shopping for clothes that will somehow strike a balance between what she calls dorky and what I call common courtesan attire.

“You heard me,” Cat says with a wicked smile and points to the scrap of fabric, causing me to flush even more.

Heat creeps into my scalp and if it were possible for hair to defy all wisdom and burst into flame, mine would. Holding this conversation in public as people bustle past us is horribly and wholly improper.

“It’s called a thong,” she clarifies with glee, “and by putting the string up there, you avoid ugly panty lines. Trust me, no one wants to see that business.”

I clear my throat and take a hesitant step toward the overflowing bins, peering down at the perplexing items again. “But surely it is uncomfortable to be lodged…in such a…spot?”

Cat shrugs. “You learn to live with it.”


Author Rachel Harris
More about Rachel
As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.

As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends.

When she's not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find her homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate.

A Tale of Two Centuries is her second novel.

Where you can find her:

Website

Giveaway:

And now, time for a giveaway.

Thanks to the lovely folk from Entangled Publishers, you can win a paperback or e-book of A Tale of Two Centuries. The E-book copy is open internationally, while the print copy is open to all residents in the US.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When the Silence Ends Blog tour: A world transformed by science and genetics

Today, as part of the When the Silence Ends blog tour, I’ve got author Jade Kerrion stopping by on the blog. When she first approached me to be a book of the book tour, I knew next to nothing about When the Silence Ends.

When I read up about the book, and because I’m a huge fan of dystopian books, I became rather intrigued with the premise of the novel. The concept behind the book is quite unique and is something I haven’t really seen fully explored in YA sci-fi before.

Of course, I couldn’t help but become curious about the book world and settings for this novel that Jade has created, and as such, asked her to give us a little background info on the landscape in which her characters find themselves.

Before we kick off with her guest post, here’s some more information about her book. 

About When the Silence Ends

When you choose your friends, you also choose your enemies.

Seventeen-year old Dee wants nothing more than to help her twin brother, Dum (If you’re wondering about the rather odd, but possibly familiar names, just think of Alice in Wonderland), break free from the trauma in their childhood and speak again, but the only person who can help Dum is the alpha empath, Danyael Sabre, whom the U.S. government considers a terrorist and traitor.

The search for Danyael will lead Dee and Dum from the sheltered protection of the Mutant Affairs Council and into the violent, gang-controlled heart of Anacostia.

Ensnared by Danyael’s complicated network of friends and enemies, Dee makes her stand in a political and social war that she is ill equipped to fight.

What can one human, armed only with her wits and pepper spray, do against the super-powered mutants who dominate the Genetic Revolution?

America, nevertheless, is ripe for transformation. Exhausted by decades of belligerence between humans and their genetic derivatives—the clones, in vitros, and mutants—society is on the verge of falling apart or growing up.

Dee, with her sassy attitude and smart mouth, is the unwitting pebble that starts the avalanche of change. In her quest to help her brother become normal, Dee will finally learn what it means to be extraordinary.

When the Silence Ends is the Young Adult spinoff in the award-winning Double Helix series and can be read as a standalone novel.

Add When the Silence Ends to your Goodreads TBR.

Guest post: Humans in the world of the Double Helix

My YA novel, When the Silence Ends, is set in an Earth transformed by the Genetic Revolution.

It’s an Earth you’d recognize. People drive cars and use tablets and cell phones. Washington D.C. is still where it is, and it’s still the capital of a thriving, prosperous, and democratic nation.

The only real difference is that humans exist alongside their derivatives—the clones, in vitros, and mutants.

Some people find the juxtaposition of such extreme advances in science and genetics odd against what is essentially a “contemporary” Earth.

Why didn’t I set the novel in Earth’s distance future?

The answer, quite simply, is that the extreme advances in science and genetics are happening today.

Let’s test your knowledge of bioengineering. Which of the following is true?

  1. We used genetic engineering to create hybrid creatures, like the goat-sheep, and the camel-llama.

  2. We used genetic engineering to transfer bioluminescent genes from coral and deep-sea jellyfish to create glow-in-the-dark mice, cats, dogs, pigs, and monkeys.

  3. We cloned animals, including sheep, dogs, and horses.

  4. We used genetic engineering to create animals that excrete pharmaceutical products in their milk and other bodily fluids.

  5. We used genetic engineering to preserve endangered species, creating animals that possess the nuclear DNA of the endangered species, and the mitochondrial DNA of the host species…in effect, a genetic hybrid.

  6. We created bug-bots by implanting wires in the central nervous system of insects, and we can now control their movements, including flight.

  7. We created organic robots by implanting wires in the central nervous system of rats, and we can now control what they do.

  8. We wired a monkey to control a third artificial arm entirely through its brain waves.

  9. We genetically engineered rats with pliable skin in order to grow human organs (e.g., ear) under their skin for eventual transplant to a human.

  10. We used organic computer chips made out of rat neurons to control a flight simulator.

  11. We isolated a brain of a lamprey eel and placed it in a nutrient medium, surrounded by electrodes. The living, intact brain controls a machine that moves toward the light (in much the same way a lamprey eel moves toward the light).

  12. We used a DNA synthesizer to create an artificial organic cell. (Isn’t that an oxymoron?) The computer is its parent.
If you answered “Yes” to all of these, you are right. All of these are true. In this article, George Church, professor of genetics at Harvard University says, “The cheap human genome was supposed to arrive 50 years from now.

It arrived this year (2012.)” S
cience fiction is now science fact.

Today, we possess an unprecedented control over bioengineering, an area that remains largely unregulated by governments. 

The Genetic Revolution is advancing faster than you think, and it would not be a far stretch to imagine a world that still looks much like ours does today, but where humans exist alongside clones, in vitros, and mutants.

Thanks for stopping by Jade!
 
About Jade:
Jade Kerrion, an award-winning author, got her start in fan fiction.

She developed a loyal reader base with her fan fiction series based on the MMORPG Guild Wars.

She was accused of keeping her readers up at night, distracting them from work, housework, homework, and (far worse), from actually playing Guild Wars.

And then she wondered why just screw up the time management skills of gamers? Why not aspire to screw everyone else up too?

So here she is, writing books that aspire to keep you from doing anything else useful with your time.

She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her wonderfully supportive husband and her two young sons, Saint and Angel, (no, those aren't their real names, but they are like saints and angels, except when they're not)

Buy Links (e-book versions)
When the Silence Ends: Amazon / Amazon UK

Buy Links (paperbacks)
When the Silence Ends: Amazon / Amazon UK

Where you can find Jade:
On Goodreads
Her website
Follow her on Twitter