Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekly Additions #1

I am not taking part in In My Mailbox anymore, for reasons I'm sure all of you can guess at.
Instead I am going back to Weekly Additions, which is what I used to call my book hauls way back when I first started this blog, before I even heard about In My Mailbox.
Also I will probably be posting these on a Monday from now on, I work on Sundays and Mondays are always my days off. So it's easier for me to post on a Monday.

I haven't shown you guys any of my new books for quite a while, so I think this covers about 3 weeks worth of books. I really haven't been buying much at all, which is good for me. I need to try and read what I already have!

Anyway here are this week's Weekly Additions:

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1) - E.L. James
Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2) - E.L. James
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) - George R.R. Martin
Feed (Newsflesh #1) - Mira Grant
Lone Wolf - Jodi Picoult (signed copy - went to the book signing)
Withering Tights (Tallulah Casey #1) - Louise Rennison
Wither (Chemical Garden #1) - Lauren Destefano

For Review:
I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1) - Pittacus Lore
The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies #2) - Pittacus Lore
The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1) - Jenny Han
It's Not Summer Without You (Summer #2) - Jenny Han
We'll Always Have Summer (Summer #3) - Jenny Han
Endure (Need #4) - Carrie Jones
Silence (Hush Hush #3) - Becca Fitzpatrick (new red cover)

Borrowed from Library
Plague (Gone #4) - Michael Grant 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cover Reveal: Alight (Pyxis #2) by K.C. Neal

I am super mega excited to be able to share this double cover reveal with all my lovely followers today!
Not only is the new cover for Alight (Pyxis #2) revealed, there is also a brand spanking new cover for Pyxis (Pyxis #1) as well to show you! Woooooooo!

I loved Pyxis so much, it was one of my top books last year, you can read my review for Pyxis here.

Well onto the big reveal:

I love them so much! I mean I really liked the original cover for Pyxis, but I think these ones are much better. I love the girl on the cover, she is exactly what I pictured Corinne to look like while I was reading.
I am way too excited for Alight now, I can't wait to get my hands on it!

If you haven't read Pyxis yet, it is free right now for Kindle.
Make sure to grab your copy quickly while it's free!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Spellcaster (Spellbound #2) - Cara Lynn Schultz

Spellcaster (Spellbound, #2)Name: Spellcaster (Spellbound #2)
Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Release Date: 27th March 2012
Date I finished it: 9th April 2012
Source: ARC from Netgalley

Spellcaster is the second book in the Spellbound series by Cara Lynn Shcultz. 
I started reading this as soon as I finished the first book Spellbound, I really fell hard for this series and it's amazing characters.

The Spellbound world is a mix of Gossip Girl and magic. Two of my favourite things! I'll admit I've been hooked on this series from page one, and Emma and Brendan's roller-coaster relationship only adds to the drama in this book.

This time around someone is out to hurt Emma and use her blood for their own freaky spell. Time is ticking away fast, and it is up to the group of friends to figure out who is behind all these attacks and stop them before it's too late.

In Spellcaster we get to see a bit more of the characters we were introduced to in Spellbound. This time around we are seeing more of what makes them tick and who they really are. I really liked getting to know more about the history of Emma and Brendan's curse and more about their past lives as they slowly start to remember bits and pieces.
I enjoy knowing the characters I'm reading about inside and out, so for me this was a great addition to the main story line.

Plot wise, there was a few unexpected twists and turns in the book. I wasn't completely shocked at them though, which is probably the only reason this book got a 4 star rating instead of 5.
Those "oh my gosh" moments you get when reading, just wasn't there in this book for me.
However the plot twists were still really good, I've just read better in the past.

Overall I really did love this book, and this series so far.
I'm really looking forward to reading more about Emma in the future. I will definitely be sticking with this series!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Guest Post from K. Blake

From Passive to Active Voice

If you are anything like me, your first draft is riddled with passive writing.  What is passive writing?  It’s when you are telling the story instead of allowing the action to play out for the reader.  It’s when you use the words ‘was’ and ‘were’ and so on.  I think it happens to all of us.  Don’t worry about it.  Write the book.  Get the story on paper (or computer) before worrying about things like passive writing. 

I’ll give you an example.  Last week I was working on a new book.  The first chapter is always hard for me.  I wrote and rewrote page one to page ten on Bait.  Every time I thought I was happy with it I would put it away and return the following day to read it.  Again and again I needed to change things.  Once I was happy with the way the story was going I started to look at my word choices.  It was not a pretty sight.  Passive writing started in sentence one.  Here is my original sentence:  Jessica was cold.

Seriously.  I’m not kidding.  I actually started my new book with Jessica was cold.  Yuck!  Almost makes me want to puke.  To change this from passive to active, I rewrote the sentence.  Here is my new sentence:  The temperature in Jessica’s bedroom dropped thirty degrees. 

Better.  Much better.  Now that was an extreme change.  Most of the time I don’t start off with such a terrible sentence.  Before tackling a tough rewrite, put space between yourself and your book.  I like to take a week off, but a lot of writers say three weeks to a month is better.  Take some time to breathe.  Enjoy taking long walks or hot baths.  Work on something else for a while.  Then when you return to your book you can read it with a fresh eye and catch the passive writing.   To be sure you caught it all, have someone else look it over. 

Your characters should be real people to you.  Watch them interact as if you are watching a movie.  Then describe it to your reader, but don’t just tell them the story.  Allow them to feel it.  Crush strawberries on someone’s tongue, describing how the juices squirt into the back of their mouth.  Hit them in the jaw with another character’s fist or knock them out of a tree.  Give them a headache when their children are running across the living room, chasing each other and yelling. 

Become more aware of words like ‘was’ and ‘were.’  Avoid them when you can and tighten your writing.  Remember to allow your characters to breathe.  Don’t tell their story.  Show it to the reader.  And happy writing. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Taste Book Trailer and Reveal

Today I am super excited to share an extract from Taste by Kate Evangelista with you all!

Taste Excerpt

I mentally stomped on the intimidation their perfection brought into my mind and said, “Excuse me.” The group froze, startled by my words. The girls had their brows raised and the boys stopped mid-speech, mouths agape. They stared at me with eyes the shade of onyx stones.

I smiled and gave them a little wave. The boy a step ahead of the rest recovered first. His stunning features went from shocked surprise to intense interest. He reminded me of a hawk eyeing its prey. I gulped, “A Day Student,” he said, his eyes insolent and excited. Something about the way he said “Day Student” made my stomach flip. “Excuse me?” They snickered. The boys looked at each other while the girls continued to stare, muffling their laughter by delicate hands. I seemed to be the butt of some joke.
“You broke the rule.” The boy’s grin turned predatory.

The students formed a loose semi-circle in front of me. My gaze darted from face to face. Hunger filled their eyes. The image of lions about to chase down a gazelle came to mind. I mentally shook my head. I was in the mountains not the Serengeti for crying out loud. I took a small step back and cleared my throat. “Can any of you give me a ride back to the dorms?” The boy wagged his forefinger like a metronome. “Ah, that’s unfortunate for you.” One of the girls pinched the bridge of her nose. “Eli, you can’t possibly—” “It’s forbidden, Eli,” another boy interrupted, pronouncing the word “forbidden” like a curse.

The nervous murmur at the pit of my stomach grew louder. Six against one. Not good odds. Instinct told me to cut my losses and run. Bad enough I faced expulsion, now it seemed like weird, beautiful people who’d suddenly appeared on campus wanted to beat me up. No, scratch that. Judging from the way they studied me, beating me up wouldn’t satisfy them. Something more primal prowled behind their looks. I definitely wasn’t going down without a fight. Years of self-defense and hand-to- hand combat classes had me prepared. While other children from rich and important families got bodyguards, I got defense training. But I think my father meant for my skills to go up against potential kidnappers, not against other students who may or may not be crazy. Oh God! Maybe I stepped into a parallel universe or something when I reentered Barinkoff.

“None of the students are supposed to be on campus,” I said. Then, realizing my mistake, I added, “Okay, I know I’m not supposed to be here either. If one of you gives me a ride back to the dorms, I won’t say anything about all this. Let’s pretend this never happened. I didn’t see you, you didn’t see me.”
“We’re not ordinary students,” Eli answered. “We’re the Night Students.”
He’d said “Night Students” like the words were capitalized. I didn’t know Barinkoff held classes at night. What was going on here?
Eli smiled with just one side of his mouth and said to the group, “She’s right, no one will have to know. We’re the only ones here. And it’s been so long, don’t you agree?” The rest of them nodded reluctantly.

“What’s been so long?” I challenged. I fisted my hands, ready to put them up if any of them so much as twitched my way.“Since the taste of real flesh passed through my lips,” Eli said. He came forward and took a whiff of me then laughed when I cringed. “Flesh.” Yep, parallel universe. “Yes,” he said. “And yours smells so fresh.”
Someone grabbed my shoulders from behind and yanked me back before I could wrap my mind around the meaning behind Eli’s words. In a blink, I found myself behind someone tall. Someone really tall. And quite broad. And very male. I realized he wore the same clothes Eli and the other boys did. Not good. He was one of them. Although… I cocked my head, raking my gaze over him. He seemed born to wear the uniform, like he was the pattern everyone else was cut from. My eyes wandered to long, layered, blue-black hair tied at the nape by a silk ribbon. Even in dim light, his hair possessed a sheen akin to mercury.

I looked down. The boy’s long fingers were wrapped around my wrist like a cuff. His fevered touch felt hotter than human standards, hot enough to make me sweat like I was standing beside a radiator but not hot enough to burn. “I must be mistaken, Eli,” the boy who held my arm said in a monotone. “Correct me. Did I hear you say you wanted to taste the flesh of this girl?” A hush descended on us. It had the hairs at the back of my neck rising. How was it possible for the atmosphere to switch from threatening to dangerous? Unable to help myself, I peeked around the new guy’s bulk. Eli and his friends bowed. They all had their right hands on their chests.

“Demitri, I’m sure you misheard me,” Eli said. So the guy standing between me and the person who said he’d wanted to taste me was named Demitri. I like the sound of his name. Demitri. So strong, yet rolls off the tongue. Definite yum factor. “So, you imply I made a mistake?” Demitri demanded. “No!” Eli lifted his gaze. “I did no such thing. I simply wanted to show the girl the consequences of breaking curfew.”
“Hey!” I yelled. “Don’t talk about me like I’m not here!”
Demitri ignored my protest and continued to address Eli. “So, you threatened to taste her flesh.” His fingers tightened their grip around my wrist. “In the interest of investigating this matter further, I invoke the Silence.” All six students gasped, passing surprised glances at one another. Before I could ask about what was going on, Demitri yanked me down the hall toward the library. But why there? Oh, maybe we were getting my things. No, wait, hecouldn’t have known about that. Everything was too confusing now.

Eli and the others didn’t try to stop us when we passed them. Demitri’s cold command must have carried power. Handsome and powerful, never a bad combination on a guy. We reached the heavy double doors in seconds. He jerked one open effortlessly. I’d needed all my strength just to squeeze through that same door earlier. To him, the thick wood might as well have been cardboard. I raised an eyebrow and mentally listed the benefits of going to gym class. “Why are we here?” I asked after my curiosity overpowered my worry. I’d almost forgotten how frightened I’d been right before Demitri showed up. I wasn’t above accepting help from strangers. Especially from gorgeous dark-haired strangers with hot hands and wide shoulders.

Demitri kept going, tugging me along, snaking his way deeper into the library. I had to take two steps for every stride his legs made. I tried to stay directly behind him, praying we didn’t slam into anything. He stopped suddenly and I collided with him. It felt like slamming into a wall. “Hey,” I said, momentarily stunned. “A little warning would be nice!”
He faced me, and I gasped. His eyes resembled a starless night, deep and endless.
Their intensity drilled through me without pity, seeming to expose all my secrets. I felt naked and flustered beneath his gaze. “You could have died back there,” he warned.
A lump of panic rebuilt itself in my throat.
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