Tuesday, May 31, 2011

~Legends in the Making (#1) - Tymothy Longoria~

Hi everyone! I'm very excited today because I have a very special treat for you guys. My first interview! And not just my first interview, but the first of many because I've decided that I'm going to start a series called ~Legends in the Making~ in which I'll feature all the new and aspiring authors who are looking to make a name for themselves in literature. I want my blog to be a forum that gives a platform to the voice of these authors, showcases their talents, and promotes their work(s). 




My first guest that I will be interviewing is author Tymothy Longoria. What makes me really happy is that I am starting this series with not just an amazing author, but someone who is a dear friend, and a wonderful person. He's been an amazingly supportive friend, and an inspiration to me, and I can assure you that he will make a name for himself, and that his work will become the stuff of legends!


He's the author of The Stories: Book One- Genesis. You can click on the link, which will lead you to Tymothy's blog, and you can read all about his manuscript, and other amazing posts showcasing his writing talent. So, without further ado, I am going to delve into the interview my interview with this "legend in the making" that will reveal to you just who Tymothy Longoria is.



Question #1) Can you describe the first time, the first moment, or the first instance in which you realized that you wanted to be a writer?

I can. Describe the first moment when I realized that I could have something here. My Wife, Jennifer and I were talking one night. The conversation was about how I liked robots when I was a little boy and I used to draw them all the time. Robots with boxy heads and bodies-you know-old school ‘bots. I whipped out a notebook and drew the same little robot I used to. Little Tymmy would be proud. Jen mentioned she liked to draw swings and flowers and trees. Her drawings were very “little girl” mine very “little boy.” The next day it was business as usual at work when I received a picture text from Jennifer. It was a little robot swinging in a park. I loved it of course. It was our child hood selves together, for the first time. Jennifer often says she wishes she knew the “little me”. It happened to be our 10th anniversary a few days later and I sat at my computer. I searched for images of robots and I saw one with a sad face. It dawned on me. I decided to write her a story for our anniversary. It’s called The Sad Little Robot and is the story of a robot in search of friendship, wandering to and fro. As I was writing I kept thinking cool, this is cool. She loved it and we both said hey, why not? So that’s when it started. The night I wrote my first short story as an anniversary gift.

Question #2) What are some of the trials that you have experienced being a writer?

I hate to sound brash or pompous but because of my faith-that is just doing everything I can to make my dream happen-I have yet to encounter any real “trial”. My family supports me. My teenage son tells me often, “Can you hurry and finish your book?” So…I am very blessed.


Question #3) When one speaks about trials, one must also speak about triumphs. So could you tell us about the triumphs you’ve experienced thus far in your writing career?

Great question and one I am very happy to answer. Triumph is defined as a great victory. Achievement. I can say sincerely that writing The Stories has been my number one writing achievement. Putting my very spirit, my voice onto “paper” has been a tremendous blessing and a boost in my confidence in myself and in my faith. I could never say enough how much of an astonishing thing it is to know deep within that what you’re doing-was meant to be. It’s one of those things that will have people say “I didn’t know ya had it in ya!” Triumph is finding all of my Friends. All of them. Via Twitter, Facebook. Because of writing. That is a great achievement I do not take lightly.


Question #4) Can you name some authors that have inspired you as a writer?

I can name some well-knowns. I respect and admire them, of course. We all have our favorites. But I’ll let some lesser knowns in the “field” have their day. I am inspired by Indies. They have the drive. The want. The desire to be heard. They always seem to be so happy about their choice as well. Tiffany King, Author of Meant To Be. Megg Jensen, Anathema. Nicholas Denmon, For Nothing. Allie Burke, The Enchanters Series. There are so many more. I’ll move on with this: You never know when an Indie will be a new voice for the entire industry.


Question #5) Let’s talk about the most memorable moment of your life – what was it, please describe it to us.

Wow. In my short 31 years of living I have had so very many. I can say the day I got married.

When my son Jubal was born. Or 8 years later when my daughter Araceli arrived. Those days, those moments could never be topped. So I’ll say that, honestly, the night in Question 1. It is affected every decision, every dream. Every hope.  It affects my wife…and son…and daughter. Everything and everyone around me. The most memorable moment in my life was the night I realized I wanted to be a writer. It has changed me. Everything and everyone around me.


Question #6) Your novel/manuscript – Can you tell us about it in exactly five sentences?

Here’s the difficult question. I’m up for the task.

In a world where “fantasy” is passed down from generation to generation as history. Where myth is truth and stories are alive. These legendary characters have stood the test of time itself. They breathe with new life as new blood courses through their veins. They join together for the first time in an epic fantasy like no other.

(Exclusive copyrighted content for "The Stories" by Kimberly Atkins)


Question #7) When did the idea for this book come to you? What inspired it?

First let me say I have been so blessed to have so many say they can’t wait to read it. It really is
mind-boggling.

When exactly is hard to remember. But…maybe March of last year was the first time the idea came into my head. This is a very weird question. Let me explain. Just a few days ago, I tweeted, “The idea for The Stories. It came out of nowhere. New post on Aspire No More up soon!” So you see. The idea was inspired by, drum roll, please: nothing. I mean I really and honestly can’t say where it came from. I love art and music. I wish I could name something I saw or read but I can’t. I think it was a dream I had that subconsciously remembered. Because I don’t even remember having a dream about it. I was at work talking to my brother about some other ideas I had for non-fiction books. There was an image, a moving image playing in my head, over and over: A girl in a red hood flashing by. Then I could only see her feet, running very fast through a misty forest as the sounds of her breath filled the air. Suddenly she stops. Just stops. The creatures can’t be seen but they can be heard. She turns slowly to face the beasts and says quietly in a not-so-happy tone: “Do your worst.” It just happened to be that she was wearing red. My favorite color. I didn’t want to change that. It just happened to be that The Little Red Riding Hood was who she was. But over time, she became oh so much more. She immediately became L’orrah and the rest-God-willing-will be History. I know in my heart that she will prevail. Oh but that’s not all. SO much is going on. ;}

That was the beginning of The Stories.


Question #8) What advice would you give to other aspiring authors?

I’d say do it. I’d say do it. I’d say drop the aspiring. My blog is called Aspire No More. It can be simple semantics but I believe it’s so much more than that. We are who we think we are. The word aspiring for me means “almost there, but not quite.” For me, and many others agree,simply dropping this mentality is the first step to being a writer. Advice that I give to writers is ask yourself: What do I have to bring to the writing table? What do I have to offer? If the answer is anything but “All of me”, then take a little more time to decide what you want to do. Now I hope that doesn’t come off as crass but in reality that’s what it takes to truly make a mark worth calling remarkable and #epic ;}. You deserve everything writing has to offer. In turn writing deserves all of you.


Question #9) If you could describe yourself in one word, what would that word be?

Blessed.


Question #10) Last, but not the least, what can we expect from Tymothy Longoria in the upcoming year?

Constancy. In everything I do. I recently wrote a blog for the New Authors Fellowship entitled “No One Ever Said Hope Would Be So Beautiful.” In it I write that the word hope is greatly underappreciated. So with that in mind, I am full of hope that this year is the year for me. I’m no ignoramus about the industry and that it takes time to query and so on. But then again, I never thought I’d be interviewed…because I’m writing.

I will query. There is one agent that when I read what he is looking for…I teared up and prayed. I read it again and again. Because some of what he wants to rep is literally what I’ve written. Not my MS…but the idea. So this year…wow. Only God knows. But He has given me everything I need to do what I must.

You can also expect some video logs. A new trailer and a great synopsis for my Baby, The Stories:Book One-Genesis. I will soon begin The Stories:Book Two-The Bridge.

As you yourself can attest to I am a very hopeful man and this is only beginning for Tymothy Longoria. Of that I can assure you.

All heart, no pomp from me to you.

Be blessed.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that concludes our first interview. I want to thank Tymothy, for taking time out from his busy schedule to answer these questions. I am sure you are completely invigorated by Tymothy's answers, I know I am! :) You can find and follow Tymothy Longoria via  Twitter, Facebook and his blog "Aspire No More" Make sure to follow him, and ~The Chronicles of an Enamored Soul~ will continue to bring you updates, exclusive content and news on Tymothy's work in the future. I have no doubt in my mind that some day soon, Tymothy will be named as one of the authors who served as inspiration for another upcoming author, another "legend in the making."




Monday, May 30, 2011

"STARCROSSED" by Josephine Angelini - Gods, Bloodlust and an Epic Love


Details

Title: Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1)
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: May 31st' 2011
Available to order here: Amazon / Book Depository / Barnes & Noble


Synopsis 

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.



My Review

Helen Hamilton lives a life of relative peace and quiet on the serene island of Nantucket. Not much happens on this island where everyone knows everyone else, and Helen is happy for it to be that way. Uncomfortable with attention, and physically pained by it, she lives her life like a quiet nobody, living alone with her father, the owner of a general store, since her mother left them both when she was very young. Her best friend is Claire, who being Japanese on the island is automatically different and much more comfortable in the limelight, but who still thinks Helen is bound to stand out, even if it sends her into pangs of physical pain. 

Helen's quiet world is torn asunder with the arrival of the Delos family who have moved from Spain. The Delos teens are the talk of the town before Helen has even set eyes on them, and gossip is abound as to how physically attractive they all are. Also, she is shaken by these strange nightmares she has been having, where she finds herself in a barren and desolate land, and upon awakening finds herself covered in dust and incredibly thirsty. And the vision, this hallucination, of three old women who are always urging and crying blood. But when Helen first sets eyes on Lucas, one of the Delos boys, her reaction is one that no one would expect out of her, not even own self, especially not her self. She attacks him. Regardless of how sexually attracted she may be to Lucas, and how intensely drawn to him she may be, her blood also boils at the very sight of him.

Unable to keep herself away for him, and soon realizing that she never will be able to keep herself away from him, she begins to get to know Lucas and his family better and realizes that she learns more about herself through them than she ever would have imagined. Through the Delos clan, including Hector (the hefty, aggressive one who keeps needling her to unleash her aggression), Ariadne and Jason (Twins who are both beautiful, but extremely sweet and understanding) and Cassandra (the youngest, the smallest but with the wisdom and aura of a million sages) and their parents, she is able to come to terms with who she is, what her history is, and what she is truly capable of - that sometimes what you read in the books isn't just a myth, sometimes it is as real as it gets. In the meanwhile, there are dark forces on the hunt for Helen, and she must learn to protect herself from them. In the process of all this, Lucas and Helen are attracted to each other like a moth to the flame. But like the moth's obsession with the flame only results in his demise, Lucas and Helen are not free to follow their desires...there are prophecies that have to be fulfilled, traditions to abide by, Gods to be appeased, and the whole world hangs in the balance of their distance from each other. So will they be able to resist temptation? Will Helen be able to save herself from the dangers that lurk around her? Above all else...will the epic romance between Helen and Lucas be able to bloom, or will it be nipped in the bud? You will have to read the book to find out...

OMGods OMGods OMGods! This book is so absolutely fantastic, I didn't read it, I literally snorted it like crack! The pages kept turning, and I keep getting invested. I laughed out loud, I shed tears...it was an emotional roller coaster. But also, it was so action-packed and fast paced, I felt like I was reading a Marvel comic, rather than a Young Adult fiction novel. I am sure parallels can be, and will be, drawn between Twilight and Starcrossed...but I can safely say that I was far more impressed with the writing and the characterization in Starcrossed than I was by the first book in the Twilight series, and I enjoyed Starcrossed far more. So Stephanie Meyers, you better watch your back, because a new diva is about to take the Young Adult literary genre by storm!!! Also, this book includes a lot of info on Greek Mythology, but author Josephine Angelini has done the subject justice, and the myths and legends are seamlessly incorporated into the storyline. This book was like X-Men meets THOR meets Hercules meets Superman type of stuff, but with a generous helping of romance, friendship, family and plenty of Greek Mythology thrown in there - the PERFECT mix for an extremely riveting read, I must say. There was a seriously cool, award-winning movie going on in my head as I read this book (about that: watch out for a ~Movie Castings~ post on this book on Wednesday of this week). I loved EVERY DARN MINUTE of it. Love, love, loved it, and would recommend it to EVERYONE!

So don't wait another second, Starcrossed hits the bookstores tomorrow - go out and get yourself a copy. I personally promise you, you will not regret it!!!Greek Mythology, teenagers, blood-lust, action-packed sequences, and an epic romance...what's not to LOVE? :)


My Rating : 5/5 Stars

Disclaimer: Although I received an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of this book for review, I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

~Sunday Stew - May 29th, 2011~


Sunday Stew is a Weekly Meme hosted Here at Books Devoured


Bookmark of the Week


                                                          (Front)

                                                               (Back)  


As you may all know (or for those who may not), my Uncle Paul passed away earlier this month, on May 8th, 2011. It came as a huge shock to me, even though I have borne the brunt of the death of a loved one, never before had it been family. Unless you count my grandmother who passed away in 2011 when I was still in high school, but she was a grandmother. When your middle-aged Uncle passes away, the experience is beyond surreal. My heart breaks every time I think of him - every time. 

Death provides rest to the sick and weary, but unrest to those they leave behind. It hurts SO much that I took my time with him for granted. That I never told him he was just like a father to me, how much I loved him, or ever really thanked him for being an amazing person and for making my family happy. I never got to tell him how badly I wanted him to dance at my wedding, although I knew it would make him terribly uncomfortable. I never learned how to make that Salmon the way he made it, he could make anything taste heavenly. Or have him help me decorate my first home because he had such fantastic taste in interiors, and really had an eye for beauty. How badly Adeel and I wanted to take care of him and his spouse in their old age.  I feel like a part of my past is gone, but it hurts even more that a part of the future that I planned is now missing.  I would give an arm and a leg, literally, to see him and hold him just one more time...but I'd give my LIFE for his spouse to be able to see him and hold him one more time, if I feel this way, I can only imagine...

But every time I see this, it reminds me that he does continue on in all of us - our thoughts, our fond memories and in all the wonderful things that he's done for us all. Don't be surprised if there aren't very many more bookmark mentions in the coming weeks, guys. I think I'll need to hold onto this one for a little while. 


Around The Web:



The "Splash Into Summer" Giveaway Hop is underway, hosted by the ever generous I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Page Turner's Blog. There are close to 300 blogs participating (another show of generosity from the amazing blogging world!), and there are lots of prizes, so try your hand at luck, you never know the outcome. I had wanted to participate in this blog, but due to being emotionally drained, I wasn't sure I'd be up to handling the responsibility, so I desisted. I have yet to participate in a blog hop, but I really want to. I have decided I am going to learn how to use those Google Forms, and save a bit of money and definitely participate in the next hop. One must always "Pay It Forward". 

Also, I'd been perusing Goodreads the other day, and happened to be stalking chance upon author Sarah Jio's page. She happens to be the fabulous, and extremely sweet author of the new novel "The Violets of March", which is being hailed as quite the read by many. I've been almost obsessed with the book since I read the synopsis so I've been stalking vehemently keeping an eye on Sarah's page. Recently I found out that she is hosting a sort of giveaway for her friend Camille Noe Pagán who is the author of the upcoming release "The Art of Forgetting", which is another novel that looks absolutely fantastic. Sarah was giving away 5 signed copies of "The Violets of March" for whoever pre-ordered Camille's "The Art of Forgetting" and emailed her the receipt. Needless to say, I acquired a copy by way of pre-ordering my copy of TAoF. I mean, it would be silly not too - I was getting two books for the price of one, and both books I would MOST DEFINITELY want to get my hands on! Anyhow, there is only ONE SIGNED COPY of "The Violets of March" left - will you be the lucky one? Even if you don't indulge in this offer, I implore, beseech, no...BEG you to make sure to check out both the books (just click on each book below) because they really are going to make for excellent reading! :)






Around Me

Okay, so there is a lot happening currently. I am really excited to announce that I'm going to be doing an interview with an extremely talented, and immensely inspiring, author named Tymothy Longoria. The interview will appear in a few days on the blog, and you'll get to know this amazing aspiring author a little better. He is a source of motivation, inspiration, comfort and faith for me every day - and I am sure that when you come to know him, you will be astounded by him, as well. You can find him on Twitter or Facebook

Also, other than the interview, I may be missing in action for the most part of the week. But I assure you that after Friday of this coming week, I will have more time to spend with you guys. However, as my friends (not followers), I feel like I have an obligation to inform you guys that I will probably never be a blogger who creates posts every day, or regularly. I began blogging as a form of self-expression, and for sharing my love of books and everything else with others - but above all, because I wanted it to be a fun outlet. And if there is one thing I am not willing to compromise, it is just that - I will not become an automaton blogger, but I promise that I will continue to bring you pertinent content, and posts that are always going to be well thought out, and infused with my love for books (or other interests) and my love for you guys! :) That being said, I'm currently hosting a giveaway for an ARC copy of Wither , if you're interested, do check it out. Also, I wanted to thank Shannon for continuing to do the "Sunday Stew" post, and for bugging her to continue to do it although there are very few of us who participate - she's been a REAL sport through all this, and I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to her! :)

With this, I conclude yet another intensely LONG Sunday Stew post! Thank you for reading, feel free to leave me any comments/feedback you may like. I wish you a blessed rest of the week, and that you'll continue to visit! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"A Season of Eden" by Jennifer Laurens - The Evolution of Eden


Details

Title: Season of Eden
Author: Jennifer Laurens
Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing

Release Date: October 20th 2008
Available to order here: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository


Synopsis 

He's my teacher. I shouldn't be alone with him. But I can't help that he's irresistible.
I let the door silently close at my back. He stared at me, and a taut quiet stretched between us. "I like hearing you play," I said, moving toward him. He turned, in sync with my slow approach. He looked up at me but didn't say anything. I rested my clammy hand on the cold, slick body of the baby grand. "May I?" The muscles in his throat shifted, then he swallowed. "Eden." My knees weakened, like a soft tickling kiss had just been blown against the backs of them. "Is it okay?" I asked. His gaze held mine like two hands joined. He understood what I was really asking. "Let me stay," I said. "Please." "You're going to get me in trouble," he said.



My Review
There are books you pick up because the premise seems interesting, and books you pick up because the characters seem to be the kind of people you'd relate to, and sometimes you pick a book because you like the author who has penned the novel. In my case, I picked up "Season of Eden" due to all of the above. But what I got in return was so much more than that!

Eden is a beautiful girl. The kind of girl who emanates warmth and beauty, and can have any boy she wants at the high school she attends in Palos Verde, with a mere flick of her hair. But although she is all those things, she is not an unkind girl, she is not mean. Her personality, however, is slightly self-absorbed but that is due to her circumstances. Since her mother passed away, Eden has been left to her ministrations by her father who has taken up with a woman half his age, who is unconcerned with Eden and an obvious gold-digger. Although her dad provides any luxury that Eden may require, he fails to provide his affection or his time to his only child. Left to her own devices, Eden’s character has solidified into one where she gets what she wants, takes what she can get, and is the center of her own lonely universe.

All this changes the moment James Christian walks into her life. At first he’s alluring because he’s older, more mature and exudes a certain charm. But the more Eden gets to know him, the more she realizes that he is far more than all those things. He’s also incredibly passionate, extremely sensitive and a very understanding guy. Before she knows it, Eden is falling for James. And he seems to care about her too. But wait…he’s her teacher! Can they make this work?

This book is about SO much more than just a student falling for her teacher. To see Eden evolve from a teenager who is sure of nothing but her beauty and is at the verge of discovering herself, into a young lady learning about life and that love is not merely about possessing, but about letting that which you love come to you. Through her interaction with James, Eden blossoms into a girl who learns about sacrifice, and friendship and redeeming herself – he teaches her about more than music, he teaches her about life, and she teaches him that he is more than just a geek who loves music. Above all, she learns that there is a great big world outside of her own self, and she learns to allow it in. Yes, there are some who will say the end seems… “unfinished”, but I believe the book ended perfectly, with the reader left to their own conclusion, however, the metamorphoses of the characters is complete. I’m sure all of us have had a crush on one of our teachers at some point in time (or in my case, a college-student TA for my Junior English class!) – and this book is sure to take you right back to those feelings. Author Jennifer Laurens is, beyond a doubt, one of my favorite authors, and her writing style is remarkable. I would recommend it to everyone; it is a wonderful teenage tale of self-discovery.

My Rating : 5/5 Stars

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book as a prize for a contest won, I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book. 

~Giveaway: "Wither" (ARC) by Lauren DeStefano~


  Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1) by Lauren DeStefano

So I recently reviewed "Wither" by Lauren DeStefano which has been hailed by many as one of the best Dystopian and/or Young Adult novels of this year. I was completely desperate to read this book, and was lucky enough to win an ARC of the novel (Thank you Rachel of Parajunkee Book Blog) - and at the same time, a dear friend (I love you Angela - my Reading Angel!) also sent me a copy of the ARC, so I suddenly had not one but TWO (ARC) copies of an amazing novel! 

And although the novel has debuted, and I dearly encourage you all to buy yourself a copy, I really wanted to giveaway my extra ARC of Wither, so I am hosting this giveaway - ESPECIALLY since the blog has finally hit 100 Followers *Yay*. 

Giveaway Rules:
 
1) You must be a Blog Follower (either via GFC or a Confirmed Email Subscriber). Make sure you leave a valid email address for me to be able to contact you in case you are chosen as a winner.

2) You must leave a comment on this post about which actor/actress you think ought to play Rhine (or any/all of the characters). Even if you have not read the book, and are not familiar with the characters - you can read my REVIEW here and choose whichever actor/actress comes to mind. There's NO right or wrong answer - just get creative! :)

3) Giveaway is open to US and Canada only. (Sorry my International friends - I love you guys, and I promise I will try and make the next one International!)

4) The contest closes at 12:00 AM PST Friday June 3rd, 2011. Winner will be selected using random.org on Saturday, June 4th and winner will be notified by email.
 
***********************************************************
Legal Disclaimer
  1. I am not responsible for items lost or damaged in shipping or items shipped from 3rd party sponsors. 
  2. Winners are chosen using a random number generator based on the comment number.
  3. Any cheating or misuse of information, or harassing of other parties, or bullying of any sort will not be tolerated. Please respect the blog owner and all participants and/or followers.  
  4. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me from the time that I email them - if they do not respond, another winner will be chosen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1) by Lauren DeStefano


Details

Title: Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Release Date : March 22, 2011
Available to order here: Amazon / Book Depository / Barnes & Noble 



Synopsis


Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive. A dystopian fantasy series starter with wings. 


My Review


I rarely ever gush over the beauty of a cover in a review, let alone begin a review with it, one cannot help but be in complete awe of the book cover of "Wither" - which is precisely the reason why I needed to comment on it. One cannot quite decide if it's the beautiful features of the girl in the ravishingly beautiful gown, the contrast of the charming caged bird which tells a story in itself, or the interesting geometrical graphics that adorn the cover - but you cannot help but be drawn into the book, like it has magnetic qualities, from the moment you set your eyes on it. 

But as beautiful as the outside of the book is, the world contained within its pages is as equally dark and disturbing. A world where girls as young as thirteen years of age are kidnapped from their homes to serve as "wives", and later as human incubators for babies that the rich and wealthy so that their progeny is assured to continue and their lineage preserved. Why do these drastic measures have to be taken? Because in this futuristic world, where babies were engineered for perfection - the side effect that ensued from this genetic alteration is that the females of this society die at age twenty, while the males only survive till they're twenty five. The only people safe from this genetic preponderance for death over life are the ones who were born before these genetic experiments took place.

Rhine Elery is part of this dark and difficult future, and traverses it day by day as an orphan with the help of her brother Rowan who she is extremely close to. When sixteen year old Rhine is kidnapped to become the bride of Linden along with two other girls, Cecily and Jenna. Despite being plucked from a world of mediocrity and and thrust into the lavish world of the "Vaughn" household, Rhine finds herself lamenting for her freedom, and her brother.

Upon arrival at the Vaughn household, Rhine is met with Rose who is Linden's dying wife, and strikes up a fast friendship with her. Her sister wives Cecily and Jenna each have their own perspective about their captivity. Young and red-haired Cecily has no qualms about her captivity and is glad to have been rescured from an orphanage and having landed into a world where she wants for nothing. Her naivete, and her constant need for attention, results in her always remaining at a distance from her other two sister wives. Jenna has resigned herself to her world of captivity as the only family she had has met their demise, and her past is a murky shadow that she cannot return to - but she is determined to never let her captor win her over. Rhine's husband Linden is a young and sensitive man, but one who is completely oblivious to the way in which his wives were acquired, and seems to live in a constant haze of ignorance created by his father, Housemaster Vaughn. Housemaster Vaughn has sheltered his son from everything, and treats him like a puppet - all the while intimidating and coercing his wives into submitting to Linden. Also, he has a covert lab facility in the basement that is a constant cause of dread for his daughters-in-law, as well as the staff of the house. Housemaster Vaughn is the real problem and without his consent not a leaf can blow astray in the wind around the household, and the more Rhine interacts with him, the farther away she wants to be from him. And last, but not the least, there is Gabriel. The only person in the "Vaughn" household that Rhine truly feels a connection with - someone who seems to have lived his entire life in captivity, and become comfortable with it, yet seems to be the only person who truly makes Rhine feel free even within the walls of her cage. 

"Wither" was, undoubtedly, one of the best books I've read so far this year. I cannot wait for "Fever" (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #2) to come out. Lauren DeStefano's writing is superb, with many a lilting phrase in the novel to make you truly appreciate the sadness and starkness of Rhine's world. The Dystopian novel is charged with emotional intensity, does a great job at exploring the emotional roller coaster that Rhine experiences. Will she allow herself to love Linden, who seems to genuinely care for her yet is so naive and sheltered? Or will she fall for Gabriel, who is also complacent in his captivity, but who seems to be the only person she can allow herself to feel vulnerable and free with? Will she see Rowan again? Will she ever be free? How will she survive in this Dystopian world? I assure you, "Wither" is a book that is sure to please, and will be a trilogy that is sure to become a huge success. Read it - NOW!


My Rating : 5/5 Stars


Special Announcement: Please return tomorrow for a chance to win an ARC of Wither by Lauren DeStefano. I happen to have been fortunate enough to have received two ARC's of the book - and I wanted to share my fortune with someone. So make sure you return to the blog tomorrow to enter! :)

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book as a prize for a contest won, I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

~Sunday Stew - May 8th, 2011~


Sunday Stew is a Weekly Meme hosted Here at Books Devoured

First of all, without any further ado, let's celebrate the wonderful and awe-inspiring creature that is the GREATEST blessing that God put on Earth for her children - the MOTHER

 


Bookmark of the Week:
 

 "A hundred years from now, the world may be different because I was important in the life of my child."



I could not agree more with what it says on this bookmark, because my mother is the axis upon which my world revolves. Some people say mothers are God's angels without the wings, but I swear, I see my mothers wings. Her words are a salve for any wound, her arms are a safe haven from all of the pain of this world, and her presence in my life is the biggest blessing that God has bestowed upon me.

In all honesty, my photography skills (as aforementioned) really suck, and do not do this bookmark justice, and my photography especially does no justice to the beautiful woman on this bookmark. In case you guys have not guessed it yet - yep, that's Mama Enamored Soul! :) Isn't she beautiful? She does not wear the hijaab usually, but she took this photo as part of her school pictures (she teaches at a private school) for which she wears it, so yeah. She had this bookmark made by the company that does the school pictures, especially for me. 2003 is the year I graduated, and left to the Caribbean for Medical School, and she gave this to me. Trust me, the only reason I survived some of those days was because I had a book to keep me company, and this bookmark to provide me solace. I love my mother!!! 


 Around The Web:

Recently, I was browsing the web, and came across this article, which evoked a lot of thoughts/emotions in me, so I thought I'd share it with you guys.
Okay, so there are a lot of amazing blog hops taking place, and I know you usually hear about them right here, but today I'm going a different route (and I may be kicking myself for this, later...or worse, YOU might be kicking me for it later) but here's what we're going to do today...we're going to have ourselves a little chat/showcase about the....*drumroll* 



I know, I know...what's "sports" got to do with a book-blog. Not much (except there are hundreds of books written on the Lakers, so I mean...you know...*ahem*) but it has a LOT to do with this blogger (that'd be me!). As most of you may know (or if you don't, yo u do now), I'm a HUGE Lakers fan. But an even bigger fan of the Lakers is (get this) my MOM!  She and I try out best to watch every game together - and even on days where the Lakers aren't playing, once the Play-Offs begin, there's no dearth of "the Lakers discussion" in our house. If you don't know, the Lakers have landed in the 2nd round of the Western Conference of the NBA Play-Offs, and are facing the Dallas Mavericks. Now, the Mavs are a fine team and I've always respected Dirt Nowitzki...wait, I mean, Dirk Nowitzki  (I like him, I like him...this is just the frustration talking!) - I can't believe that our beloved Lakers are behind 3-0! 
 
Now, those of you who are NBA fans know what those stats signify, but for those who don't - no team in the history of the NBA has ever won a round in which they are losing 3-0 (out of 7 games). When they lost Game 3, I cried, I bawled and pleaded to God for it to all be a nightmare - but alas! it was all too real. Kobe Bryant (I know you've heard THAT name!) claims that as much as people may think he's crazy, he still thinks that they're going to make a HISTORIC comeback, and not just win Game 4, but win the 2nd round and go on to win the Finals! 

I love the guy, and I cannot deny it, as much as the stats speak for themselves...some part of me just cannot give up hope. Hopefully the rest of the team is as confident and as optimistic! PLUS, Game 4 happens to be today, on Mother's Day...and I'm really hoping that this day my Mom gets what she's been yelling, screaming, and hollering on about...a Lakers win! :D 


Around Me

Okay, so for me, this past week was full of amazing surprises in the mailbox! So this week, I am using this Sunday's post to also work as my (psuedo) "In My Mailbox", and to thank all the wonderful people in my life who always do amazing things to put a great big smile on my face.

So, on Friday, I went to get my mail (which I had completely forgotten to pick up on Thursday!) and I received two packages of PURE AWESOMENESS! You wanna see? 


I've been looking forward to this book for SO darn long, and it was sent to me by my darling friend Jessica from the wonderful book blog Confessions of a Total Bookaholic, as a prize for a giveaway that I had won on her blog a month or so ago, and she had pre-ordered it for me! I cannot thank Jessica enough. But had she not sent me this book, I would still need to thank Jessica who is an amazing person - I remember our friendship began when the Tsunami earthquake in Japan took place and we watched, in apt horror, as nature wreaked havoc on our TV's - she in Tennesee and I in California. Her sensitivity, her kindness and her generosity of heart are evident in everything she says and does. She inspires me every day, and I greatly cherish her friendship! Thank you, Jessica...I love you! By the way, her blog is amazing and she has a TON of giveaways going on at the blog, so make sure to follow her!


Feast your eyes on this specimen of awesomeness, sent to me by none other than our very own meme-hosting diva of pure greatness, Shannon of Books Devoured. I won this book via a giveaway that Shannon hosted as part of the Sunday Stew post on April 17th, 2011. By the way, you don't see them here, but she also sent me SEVEN amazing bookmarks, FOUR of which were SIGNED!!! (I am keeping them a secret,because I'm thinking of doing a giveaway for some swag - I believe in paying it forward!). See, ladies and gentlemen, it pays to have some Sunday Stew with us, so don't be shy, and come and join us this glorious Sunday, with YOUR stew. That being said, I cannot thank Shannon enough. But to just thank her for this book would be a great shame, because let me tell you something guys - Shannon is one of the BIGGEST reasons I began blogging. I happened to chance upon Shannon's blog a few months ago, and I commented on one post of hers asking her readers if they wanted their comments answered by her. I made a comment about that, and she answered me back personally. She was so personable and sweet, that I broke down and told her about how I was going through writer's block, and my total sob-story...and instead of telling me to just snap out of it, she patiently listened and gave me some amazing advice.  And just knowing that there was someone in the blogging world who was SO supportive totally made me feel better, and I finally found the courage to make this journey! So thank you Shannon, for restoring my faith, believing in me, being patient with me, being amazingly generous and just being such a wonderful soul. Thank you Shannon...I love you! Make sure you check out her amazing (purple rocks!) blog, and that you follow her...you can't go wrong with her! 

With this, I conclude yet another intensely LONG Sunday Stew post! Thank you for reading, feel free to leave me any comments/feedback you may like. I hope you have a glorious Sunday, an amazing Mother's Day, a blessed rest of the week, and that you'll continue to visit! :)


Saturday, May 7, 2011

"The Liar Society" by Lisa & Laura Roecker - Pink Haired Madness





Details

Title: The Liar Society
Author: Lisa and Laura Roecker
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date : February 8th, 2011
Available to order here: Amazon / Book Depository / Barnes & Noble 


Synopsis


Kate Lowry didn't think dead best friends could send e-mails. But when she gets an e-mail from Grace, she’s not so sure.

To: KateLowry@pemberlybrown.edu
Sent: Sun 9/14 11:59 PM
From: GraceLee@pemberlybrown.edu
Subject: (no subject)

Kate,
I'm here…
sort of.
Find Cameron.
He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell.
They'll hurt you.

Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident. But secrets haunt the halls of her elite private school. Secrets people will do anything to protect. Even if it means getting rid of the girl trying to solve a murder.


My Review


There are many books that begin with a bang, and then by the end, they fizzle out and have merely transformed into a throbbing headache. "The Liar Society" by Lisa and Laura Roecker is NOT such a book. In fact, it is the kind of book that begins with a bang, and ends in a grand finale of amazing fireworks, with a complete bandstand playing in the background. And all of this coming from a reader who is a COMPLETE skeptic when it comes to books like "The Liar Society".

From the very first page, and the very first few lines, "The Liar Society" sucks you right into the whirlpool of secrets and mysteries that are abound within the novel. I love that beneath the humorous narrative, the quirkiness of the characters, and the funny dialogue is a simple story of how far a friend will go for another friend. How secrets can compound and hinder so much of your life. Kate Lowry lost her best friend Grace to a fire on a night that still does not make any sense to her. When she finds an email written to her by Grace, it sends her spiraling into a quest for clues to her friend's death, and to find closure for a wound that never quite healed.

I love the world that Lisa & Laura Roecker have created. Pemberley Brown goes beyond being merely an uppity private school - it happens to be a world within a world. And although we see some stereotypes which are a given among any high school crowd, the authors have made sure that all the characters, even the minor ones, are truly multi-faceted. Just when you think you know all about a character, this book reveals to you a side of them you never thought was possible. This mastery of characterization, the wonderful mystery that kept me hooked until the very end of the novel and left me begging for more, along with the beautiful way in which friendship was portrayed in this book made this book truly an exceptional read. I would recommend it to all YA lovers who also enjoy mystery - just make sure you take a flashlight to bed, I know I did, I just could not put it down! :) 
 
My Rating : 5/5 Stars

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book as a prize for a contest won, I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

~Sunday Stew - May 1st, 2011~


Sunday Stew is a Weekly Meme hosted Here at Books Devoured


Bookmark of the Week:

 
Okay, so my photography is obviously as bad as my memory. First of all, I cannot, for the life of me remember which blogger sent me this AMAZING bookmark. And I SO BADLY want to remember, because I do want to give them due credit, and thank them! So, dear, blogger who sent me this, if you see my post, please DO send me a virtual SLAP! to remind me of your generosity! And second of all, I keep forgetting to take my pictures of the bookmarks during the day, and then end up taking them at night - and since my bedroom has really dim lighting (a personal choice, perhaps I am a Vampire!?!? *wink wink*) they turn out to be quite crappy, as you can see. But Alex Pettyfer STILL manages to look completely beautiful, doesn't he? How freakin' GORGEOUS is Alex Petryfer? I mean, look at that manly Adam's apple - you know why they call it that, right!?!? Because it's SO gosh-darn tempting! *Rawr*


Around The Web:



Pure Imagination



I know you're wondering why it is that I keep posting these links to "Blog Hops", well, I want to clarify as to why. First of all, I want all my readers/followers to be able to avail the wonderful opportunities that these blog hops present - not just to win prizes, but to come across some WONDERFUL blogs that you may otherwise have ignored. The point of these blog hops is not merely to win stuff, it is really to promote the bloggers that so generously offer such magnanimous giveaways! :D 

This wonderful "Spring  Blog Carnival" is an extremely fun blog hop hosted by Pure Imagination, Reading Angel and Candace's Book Blog (love these ladies), with some other amazing bloggers hosting fun carnival challenges such as Reading Teen, The Mod Podge Bookshelf, Lovely Lit, The Book Swarm, Actin' Up With Books, Awesomesauce Bookclub, Books R Us, Colloquium, Minding Spot & Miss Remmer's Review.  Make sure to check the blogs out, and be gracious to these immensely generous bloggers. In fact, I am so inspired by these bloggers that are so big-hearted, I've decided I'm going to be participating in a blog hop soon! So thank you, fellow bloggers, for being such an inspiration - and also for being so generous and wonderful.


Around Me

First of all, I got my first blog award. I have seen many sites be "award-free" sites because they cannot do the awards justice, or cannot keep track of them. I do not have that problem yet, because I most certainly will be gracious every day of my life for this amazing honor, and also because I don't have very many that I may lose track of them! LOL :P That being said, my first blog award, was presented to me by the ever-lovely, unbelievably generous, sweet and kind Margaret at Lovely Lit Blog. When this darling lady is not generously hosting giveaways (check out the amazing giveaways on her blog), she is creating AMAZING widgets (she created this lovely widget for "The Eternal Sea" on my page of ~Upcoming Books~) or making wonderful awards, one of which she awarded me, for which I simply cannot thank her enough. THANK YOU Margaret. Here is the beautiful award (you can also see it on my sidebar, as well as on the ~Blog Awards~ page)

 


Okay, onto the next order of business. I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Laurel Ann Natrress of Austenprose - A Jane Austen Blog (If you're a Jane Austen fan, this site will become your personal haven, please do visit & follow!). Some time ago, she hosted an amazing contest on her blog, a "Z" Day Celebration in honor of the release of "Dreadfully Ever After" by Steve Hockensmith which required for the participant to write a short essay saying why it was that you deserved to win. Ms. Nattress specified "Creativity counts. I will pick the winners based on your partial and prejudiced replies." The prizes being offered were either a copy of "Pride & Prejudice & Zombies", "Dawn of the Dreadfuls" or "Dreadfully Ever After" and (the jackpot), a limited press item which was a Pride & Prejudice & Zombies Apothecary Kit (the picture will take you to the actual Etsy store it was bought from):



I decided I was going to channel my (almost non-existent) creativity, and instead of providing a reason why, I would write a fictional account of how medicine, and especially an apothecary kit, helped me assuage the pain of a loved one in need. I am presenting my entry to you:

It was the late hours of the night, and the early hours of the morning – the time when the sun, swallowed whole by the darkness of the night, is ready to escape its confines and greet the world. Slivers of sunlight had begun to brighten the horizon and stream though the curtains, creating shadows on his face. A beautiful, angelic face now marred by rotting flesh, and scars – I held his hand tight, and caressed his cheek soothingly. 


How helpless was I, not being able to do a thing more for the love of my life! I could not leave the house, for I knew that the moment my foot hit the threshold, I’d be faced with those monsters – a horde of savage, brutish beasts controlled only by the virus streaming through their blood, making them desire nothing more than the flesh of another human being, turning them into zombies. I wanted to run for help, but I knew that the doctor himself had been contaminated. I had no hope, and I had no choice, I could either let him turn into a freak like them, or end his misery. 


I lifted his head up so that he could sip the herbal tea that I had made him. Fennel, licorice and ginger root when boiled together made for a medicinal tea, known for its analgesic and anesthetic properties – I’d learned this while I was an apprentice for Dr. Dashwood. I’d added peppermint because I knew he loved peppermint tea best, but unbeknownst to him, I had also been adding small amounts of arsenic to my concoction. As he sipped the tea he elicited a sigh, the sound of which sounded exactly the same as my heart breaking. 


“Help me, Lizzie!”, he cried out in pain. “Oh, Darcy,Darcy,Darcy.”, I said, cradling his head in my lap, bending down to kiss his feverish cheek, while I could smell his breath beginning to smell faintly of garlic. I did not know how else to alleviate his pain, so I picked up my favorite book, “Pride & Prejudice” and read to him. The sun had finally, come up now, and I could hear his breathing getting shallower. I held his callused hands in mine and tried to keep him with me, hoping the romantic words would make his last few moments pleasant – that such beautiful words were what he would remember me by, always. 


When the moment finally arrived, I recognized it. But I was not alone, I could tell by the look in his eyes, so had he. He pulled me close, and hoarsely whispered these words into my ear, words I’d just earlier read to him, “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” – and as a silent tear escaped my eyes, trailing down my pale cheek, he closed his eyes, and was gone.

~The End~

As fortune may smile upon me, I won! I won, I won, I won *dances around with glee*, and darling Laurel Ann sent the beautiful Apothecary Kit to me. I cannot thank her enough for her generosity, and I will always cherish this present. I received it and have had it for a little while, and it sits proudly atop my small bookshelf. It brings me such joy, especially since (as most of you may know) I am a student of Medicine - I thought I'd share the pictures with you. 



On a completely random side note, the "Unmentional Preparedness Kit" was listed on the Etsy shop on November 19th, 2010 which, coincidentally happens to be my birthday! Funny coincidence, huh? :)

Okay, so I went overboard today, and completely bombarded you with all this stuff. I am sorry the post was so long, but I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave me any comments/feedback you may like. I hope you have a glorious Sunday, a blessed rest of the week, and that you'll continue to visit! :)