End of the Year Book Survey: 2013 Edition!!

Good Morning!

As the year comes to a close, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite books, in various categories, that I read in 2013. beware, though each category only asked for one book, I, of course, couldn’t pick one 🙂 Also, it’s highly likely that I forgot a book as I’ve been slacking on keeping Goodreads up to date so I’m not exactly sure what books I read in early 2013 vs late 2012 (oops!).

Many thanks to Jaime at The Perpetual Page Turner for starting this!

BEST BOOKS IN 2013

Contemporary – PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL by Kara Taylor (YA), CAMP BOYFRIEND by J.K. Rock (YA) and by ALL OF YOU by Christina Lee (NA)

Paranormal Romance &/or Urban Fantasy –  TOUCH OF DEATH (YA) by Kelly Hashway and GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS by Richelle Mead (Adult – more like an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal)

Dystopian – DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth, THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass, PROXY by Alex London, REBOOT by Amy Tintera, and PAWN by Aimee Carter (technically I’m still reading it but I can already tell it’s going to be one of the best…it has Alice and Wonderland influences, come on (amazing!!!))

Historical –  This is super surprising, me being the history buff I am, but I did not read a single Historical book…that must change

Fantasy – ASH by Malinda Lo, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor, A GAME OF THRONES by George R.R. Martin, THE RED PYRAMID by Rick Riordan, THE SUMMER PRINCE by Alaya Dawn Johnson

BOOK I WAS EXCITED ABOUT BUT DIDN’T LOVE

I really wanted to love Far Far Away by Tom McNeal, but I didn’t. However, I admired the writing and the idea behind the story so this might be one of those books I need to give a second chance. The main thing for me was that I didn’t connect with the characters. I do love the Brothers Grimm though so we shall see if a second read changes anything 🙂

MOST SURPRISING (IN A GOOD WAY!) BOOK OF 2013

THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass. I remember hearing about the book, passing it numerous times in bookstores, yet I never picked it up. Then one day, I needed a book to read, bought THE SELECTION on my Kindle and fell in love. (It was published in April 2012 but I didn’t read it until 2013, my review can be found here!)

BOOK YOU READ IN 2013 THAT YOU RECOMMENDED TO PEOPLE MOST IN 2013?

A tie between PROXY by Alex London and PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL by Kara Taylor, they took my heart and ran with it. Although, I recently finished THE SUMMER PRINCE and you can bet I’ll be recommending it for the rest of the year and onward!

BEST SERIES YOU DISCOVERED IN 2013

The DIVERGENT trilogy by Veronica Roth, THE SELECTION trilogy by Kiera Cass, and the PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL series by Kara Taylor…interestingly enough, the first two trilogies are finished yet I haven’t read the sequels. 2013 was the year of firsts for me, I haven’t mustered the courage to read the rest yet…too scared, after THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy and what MOCKINGJAY did to me, I don’t know if I can ever love a series so much again (haha, of course, regarding MOCKINGJAY, I shouldn’t have been surprised).

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR YOU DISCOVERED IN 2013

Kara Taylor (author of PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL). You go Glen Coco!

…I want Anne Dowling to be my BFF…seriously, I’ll read anything you write.

And Alaya Dawn Johnson, anyone who can write organic diversity and do worldbuilding like that will have me as a dedicated reader for life!

BEST BOOK THAT WAS OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE OR A NEW GENRE FOR YOU

A MISSING PEACE (YA) by Beth Fred and ALL OF YOU (NA) by Christina Lee. Both are in the Contemporary Romance genre and I’m a hard sell on Contemporary Romances. Sure, one of my all time favorite series is the IN DEATH series (Adult – Romantic Suspense) by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) but, like the IN DEATH series, I like my romance laced with mystery or Sci-Fi, or Paranormal elements. A MISSING PEACE and ALL OF YOU threw all of that out the window. And, thank you for it 🙂

MOST THRILLING, UNPUTDOWNABLE BOOK OF 2013

PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL by Kara Taylor and THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass, loved them, read them in one sitting, and died when I finished. Their endings…my gosh, you’re killing me! But, not in a I-can’t-stop-crying way. Since most of the books I read this year were like that, I was really happy to find a couple that were shocking/clifhanger-ish without ripping me to pieces.

BOOK YOU READ IN 2013 THAT YOU ARE LIKELY TO RE-READ IN THE COMING YEAR

ASH by Malinda Lo and DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor, these two women have a mastery of words. WOW. Beautiful writing, just gorgeous…I felt like I was in a fairy tale. Job well done.

I might even add THE COLDEST GIRL AND COLDTOWN by Holly Black (if it wasn’t so long), PROXY by Alex London (if it wasn’t so sad), and THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater (haven’t finished reading it but again, beautiful writing) to this list.

FAVORITE COVER OF A BOOK YOU READ IN 2013

13453104The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

MOST MEMORABLE CHARACTER IN 2013

Anne Dowling from PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL by Kara Taylor, she’s hilarious, witty, stubborn, and the kind of person who you want to have your back.

MOST BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN BOOK READ IN 2013

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor. OMG. I put this book down so many times. Not because it was bad, but to soak in the language and study the sentences. It’s so literary yet it’s fantasy. It’s a very whimsical, beautiful, and poignant story. THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN (Holly Black) and ASH (Malinda Lo) are the same way…Little, Brown sure does know how to pick ’em!

BOOK THAT HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOU IN 2013

PROXY by Alex London and ASH by Malinda Lo. They told me that not only could a LGBT main character be written who was not defined by their “gayness” but that such a book could sell and that I should keep doing what I’m doing. Also, THE SUMMER PRINCE by Alaya Dawn Johnson which told me that books filled with diversity (not a single white person) not only can sell but can have a POC on the cover and be about a non European based culture.

They were everything I never knew I wanted to read.

BOOK YOU CAN’T BELIEVE YOU WAITED UNTIL 2013 TO FINALLY READ

THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass and DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor…what was I waiting for?!?! (Now if only I can get on those sequels!)

FAVORITE PASSAGE/QUOTE FROM A BOOK YOU READ IN 2013

Every quote from PROXY by Alex London but especially the tagline: “Some debts cannot be repaid.”

Oh and this one from THE SUMMER PRINCE, Gil, the MC’s best friend said it:

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If that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.

SHORTEST AND LONGEST BOOK YOU READ IN 2013

ASH by Malinda Lo for the shortest and The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey for the longest.

BOOK THAT HAD A SCENE THAT HAD ME REELING/DYING TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT IT

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN…that opening/those beginning pages, OMG (bow down to the queen, Holly Black). What a way to set up a book, now that’s how you make a reader not put your book down.

…I learn more about writing from reading than my creative writing classes, though, I do love them! 

FAVORITE RELATIONSHIP FROM A BOOK YOU READ IN 2013

Romance: Wren and Callum from REBOOT by Amy Tintera. It’s kind of slow burn, and I loved seeing Wren turn soft because of Callum.

Friendship: The relationship between Knox and Syd in PROXY. If you’ve read the book, you understand. It’s one of those relationships that creep up on you. I never imagined it would turn out how it did. It’s so real. It’s not like Syd just goes and forgives Knox for everything. It’s very harsh, brutal even, but there’s so much love.

Familial: Carter and Sadie from THE RED PYRAMID by Rick Riordan. They remind me of the relationship I have with my siblings. We’re utter butts to each other yet when we’re on the same side, we kick butt!

FAVORITE BOOK IN 2013 FROM AN AUTHOR YOU’VE READ PREVIOUSLY

GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS by Richelle Mead. I loved Mead’s Vampire Academy series, well, the earlier ones…then I got tired of all the romance. But, GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS, boy do I love books that mish-mash genres. This one did it so well, mystery, sci-fi, dystopian, romance, paranormal…greatness!

BEST BOOK YOU READ IN 2013 THAT YOU READ SOLELY ON A RECOMMENDATION FROM SOMEONE ELSE

PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL by Kara Taylor. It had been sitting on my Kindle forever, but thanks to all my Twitter friends tweeting about how amazing it was, months before it came out, I read it (& fell in love!).

GENRE YOU READ THE MOST FROM IN 2013

Dystopian and Fantasy (Contemporary and Urban to be exact)…I was a YA Spec Fic Cybils Panelist which attributed to the huge surge in Spec Fic I read toward the end of 2013. However, in general, I’m a pretty big Spec Fic reader.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY IN 2013

PROXY by Alex London. When I think about it, I still start tearing up.

BOOK YOU READ IN 2013 THAT YOU THOUGHT GOT OVERLOOKED THIS YEAR OR WHEN IT CAME OUT

ASH by Malinda Lo. It came out in 2009, and I probably read more YA then than I do now. I don’t remember hearing about it at all. I practically lived in the YA section of bookstores. I don’t remember how I found out about it but I do remember finding it in a bookstore was quite the challenge (thank goodness Boston has so many!).

(This, of course, is telling of the need to change how we view books with diverse themes. As in seeing them as books that happen to have, e.g. a POC character, not as “multicultural books”.)

BOOK BLOGGING/READING LIFE 2013

NEW FAVORITE BOOK BLOG YOU DISCOVERED IN 2013

Charlotte’s Library: Fantasy and Science Fiction books for kids and teenagers. Charlotte does a weekly round-up of MG SFF from around various blogs (reviews, discussions, etc…). She also has some wonderful book recs, posts on diversity in MG SFF, it’s great, I couldn’t be happier I subscribed!

FAVORITE REVIEW THAT YOU WROTE IN 2013

This one I wrote for Kara Taylor’s PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL. My love for the book is evident.

BEST DISCUSSION YOU HAD ON YOUR BLOG

It was a post titled White (Straight) Girls in Dresses,  and it was on the lack of diversity in YA.

MOST THOUGHT-PROVOKING REVIEW OR DISCUSSION YOU READ ON SOMEONE ELSE’S BLOG

I really liked this discussion in the comments of the post titled, “On Being a Real Writer” on literary agent Sarah LaPolla’s blog Glass Cases.

BEST EVENT THAT YOU PARTICIPATED IN

LOVED participating in this virtual discussion/roundtable on DiversfiYA on Diversity and Sexuality in YA/NA (it consists of four parts and it’s wonderful…some great writing resources there!).

BEST MOMENT OF YOUR BOOK LIFE IN 2013

My one year blogoversary!!

MOST POPULAR POST THIS YEAR ON YOUR BLOG

My post for THE DREAM THIEVES Blog Tour: Guest Post by author Maggie Stiefvater. It along with the fashion posts I used to regularly post (I almost went to school for fashion design), take up a ridiculous amount of views.

However, the most popular one that I wrote last year that I adore that still gets a significant amount of views is titled, “Teenagers Have Wisdom Too…”

POST YOU WISH GOT A LITTLE MORE LOVE

White (Straight) Girls in Dresses, it’s on the lack of diversity in YA (and kidlit in general). It got a lot of views and some great discussions happened but, of course, I would love more as change is not something that happens overnight, we have to keep pushing the issue and working on it. That being said, sometimes enough is enough, and that was that post for me. The “action” post, in response to my thoughts/feelings regarding the lack of diversity in kidlit can be found here.

BEST BOOKISH DISCOVERY

Austin Teen Book Festival. Didn’t make it this year, though.

READING CHALLENGES/GOALS

I didn’t really have any exact one. My goal was mainly just to “get back on the reading horse”. High School and then college kind of burnt me out of reading. I started this blog partially so I could get back to reading. This year, I was able to really focus on reading and writing. These past two years have been a sort of journey for me in re-finding what kind of books I like. It was hard at first because I had to realize I’m not the same reader I was growing up, I rarely digest a book or two a day anymore. Not only because I rarely have that much time but I like to soak my books in much more than I did then. I aim to really comprehend books. It was definitely a challenge and a shift, but I’m glad I made it. I didn’t read tons of books, like I’m sure I easily did (probably 200) when I was younger. This year I did a lot of writing and reading, and a lot of dissecting of books to see what made me love/dislike them as a way of improving my writing. Basically, 2013 was an all around success!

LOOKING AHEAD

ONE BOOK YOU DIDN’T GET TO IN 2013 THAT WILL BE A PRIORITY IN 2014

Aside from the sequels to all the series I started this year, I would like to read some more contemporary. In particular WONDER by R.J. Palacio and then CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green...bring the tissues. With 2013 being the year of dystopia and 2014 being contemporary soon I won’t have any more tears to shed!

BOOK YOU ARE MOST ANTICIPATING FOR 2014 (NON-DEBUT)

BEFORE YOU BREAK (NA) by Christina Lee, PANIC (YA) by Lauren Oliver, and THE TAKING (YA) by Kimberly Derting (who is fast becoming one of my favorite authors)…luckily, the last two are on my Kindle *evil laughter*

2014 DEBUT RELEASE YOU ARE MOST ANTICIPATING

ALL of these (MG) and these (YA) but especially MONSTROUS (MG) by MarcyKate Connolly,  ILLUSIVE (YA) by Emily Lloyd Jones (it was pitched as X-Men meets Oceans Eleven…I’m in!!), POINTE (YA) by Brandy Colbert, Amy Zhang’s debut (TITLE TBA – YA), and EXTRACTION (YA) by Stephanie Diaz.

SERIES ENDING YOU ARE MOST ANTICIPATING IN 2014

THE ONE by Kiera Cass (THE SELECTION #3)

ONE THING YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH IN YOUR READING/BLOGGING PROCESS IN 2014

I want to read more Contemporary, Historical/Historical Fiction (I read so much of it growing up I probably burnt myself out), and Sci-Fi, being a Sci-Fi fan myself I’m thrilled about the rise of Sci-Fi…oh and speaking of being thrilled, bring on the thrillers. I also am a huge Adult Urban Fantasy fan however I haven’t ventured much into the YA realm of UF. I would like to though so readers, if you have any favorites please do share 🙂

As for blogging, I’ve given up on scheduled blogging. I usually blog weekly, but instead of designating a day, I’ll let the words flow when they do. I also want to start doing more of the type of posts I did when I started the blog, less promotional type posts and more me posts, guest posts from authors, etc…I think college just hit me hard this year but 2014 will be the year of my blog, as well as my writing and many other things.

I want to focus on doing what makes me happy when the mood strikes.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

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DIRT DIARY Blog Tour: Author Anna Staniszewski on the inspiration behind the story!

Happy Saturday! –Boy am I glad to be home, TEXAS!!! *clears throat* Today the wonderful Anna Staniszewski, author of the hilarious My Very UnFairy Tale Life series (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2011-2013), is here to talk about the inspiration behind The Dirt Diary, her newest book (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, January 2014).

dirt diary

Title: The Dirt Diary

Paperback: 256 pages
Publication Date: January 7th 2014 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Book Blurb: 

Eighth grade never smelled so bad.

Rachel Lee didn’t think anything could be worse than her parents splitting up. She was wrong. Working for her mom’s new house-cleaning business puts Rachel in the dirty bathrooms of the most popular kids in the eighth grade. Which does not help her already loser-ish reputation. But her new job has surprising perks: enough dirt on the in-crowd to fill up her (until recently) boring diary. She never intended to reveal her secrets, but when the hottest guy in school pays her to spy on his girlfriend Rachel decides to get her hands dirty.

Add THE DIRT DIARY to your Goodreads shelf!

Buy (pre-order) Links

Indiebound | Amazon | B&N | Powell’s | The Book Depository

The “Dirt” on THE DIRT DIARY

by Anna Staniszewski

I don’t know about you, but when I was in eighth grade, I pretty much existed in a state of constant embarrassment. No matter how hard I tried, everything I said, did, wore, and even ate was wrong wrong wrong.

Many, many years after I (thankfully) left the land of eighth grade behind, I was listening to a story on NPR about teen mortification. The program mentioned a girl working for her mom’s cleaning business and having to clean the houses of some of her popular classmates. When I heard that, a thought popped into my head:

The natural embarrassment of eighth grade + The total nightmare of scrubbing toilets = Story Magic

As I sat down to play with the idea, Rachel’s voice jumped off the page. Not only did she crack me up with her weird sayings (“Oh my goldfish!”) but she started telling me about the other problems going on in her life (her parents getting divorced, the guy she liked dating her nemesis, etc). It turned out cleaning houses was the least of her worries.

Rachel certainly had a lot of woes, but she also told me about the things she loved to do like bake pastries and act goofy with her best friend Marisol. I’m usually a plot-based writer when I start a project, but when it came to writing The Dirt Diary, Rachel’s character was really the thing that kept me going.

Now, you might wonder why I would make a character endure even worse torture than I did in eighth grade. Isn’t that just cruel? Maybe. But I think the fact that I could empathize with Rachel’s plight made her story that much more important for me to write. After all, as a recovering eighth-grader, I know that when your life is in a perpetual state of wrongness, it helps to know you’re not alone.

Such a great post, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve put a mental block on most of my eighth grade memories. I wish I had this book when I was actually living them (review to come)!

About the Author

Anna StaniszewskiBorn in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series, published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.

Look for the first book in Anna’s next tween series, The Dirt Diary, in January 2014, and visit her at www.annastan.com.

Connect with Anna

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter

Thanks for stopping by, Anna!

Readers: Do you have any embarrassing eight grade stories to tell 😉

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Happy Book Birthday: THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY by Jen McConnel

Hello Readers 🙂

Today I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the release of THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY by the wonderful Jen McConnel! THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY is a book I’ve been very much so looking forward to reading, witches, romance, history…what more could a girl ask for?! Jen has aided me so much, especially when I was just starting out with this writer life, and that’s something I’m forever grateful for 🙂

Without further ado…

The Secret of Isobel Key Comps_FINAL_RBG (1)

Book Title: THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY
Author: Jen McConnel
Genre: New Adult Paranormal
Published: December 2013 by Bloomsbury Spark
Book Blurb:

Lou is in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Fresh out of college, she’s unemployed and unsure of herself. But when she gets the chance to escape to Scotland with her best friend, it could be the answer to her quest for self-discovery. The trip is not at all what she expected, especially when her tour guide turns out to be the dreamy historian Brian, and together they embark on a hunt for information about Isobel Key, a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century.They set out to learn the truth of the condemned witch, but Lou isn’t prepared for the knowledge that awaits her. She must face her own demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past.Flashing between seventeenth century Scotland and a contemporary romance, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY is a mystery that will please readers of all ages.

Links

Bloomsbury | Website| Goodreads | Bloomsbury Spark | Amazon | B&N | Google | iTunes | Kobo | Audible

Excerpt

As the flames rose, Isobel stopped cursing and instead started to make a shrill, screaming whine, much like the sound of the sap boiling in the logs at her feet. It was so eerie, so utterly inhuman that even the executioner, a man long seasoned to the sounds of death, wanted to cover his ears and sob into the skirt of the nearest woman.

The sound carried from the village green, through the streets and narrow wynds, penetrating the windows and doors shut tight against the execution. It was as if not attending could erase the sin of allowing it to happen in the first place. No one who heard that sound could reconcile it with the once melodious voice of the burning woman. The evil thing at the stake was not a woman they remembered or recognized.

Their memories were as short as the day, from the morning after her terrible deeds were revealed and the witch was brought into town in the back of a pony cart. It was suddenly as if none of the villagers knew the poor creature at all. None could recall seeking her help, and none would avow that she had always been kind and ready to bake breads for town feasts or to watch the little ones play while their parents danced together. Acts of kindness linger in the mind less than murder, for it was obvious to all that the woman had murdered at least three souls, if not countless others. Justice was being served, and her blood would not stain the God-fearing hands in St. Andrews. She was not their responsibility, and they wanted to take no claim for her evil.

~

“I quit!” Lou’s words echoed around the checkout line, and customers craned their necks to see what was happening. Red faced, Lou looked down at her register in embarrassment. Her manager patted her shoulder.

“Let’s go back in the office to talk about this.” He turned, expecting her to follow.

“No!” Louder than she’d intended, Lou stood her ground. “You heard me. I’ve had enough of this store.” As she spoke, she tossed her nametag on the counter, feeling a sense of triumph. She hadn’t rushed through her degree to spend her life selling books to cranky customers. An errant brown curl flipped over her eye, and she pushed it away. Under the shocked gaze of her manager and the curious stares of a snake-like line of holiday shoppers, Lou escaped. Embarrassment set in as soon as she was outside, and her icy blue eyes filled with tears, but she refused to cry. Not yet.

She headed for the nearest T stop, tucking her chin against the bitter December wind. She’d walked this easy route between the bookstore and the T ever since she started college four years ago, and her body took over while her mind churned. She’d landed the job at the suburban bookstore shortly after she arrived in the city, and at the time, it had been perfect; she got a discount on books, and she was able to work with people she really enjoyed. Besides, it wasn’t like she was going to work retail forever. Sighing, she paid her fare and took her seat on the train bound for the city center.

Lou had raced through her studies, finishing her BA in only three years, but then she’d hit a roadblock. She didn’t really know what to do with her liberal arts degree when she’d finished her classes that summer, and so when her manager suggested she shift to full-time at the bookstore, Lou had agreed. It was better than nothing, right?

Suddenly, the weight of what she’d done hit her, and she buried her face in her hands. What was she thinking, quitting her job like that? Lou replayed the afternoon in her mind. Nothing had happened today that hadn’t happened a thousand other times. Maybe it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back: four years of answering bizarre questions and dealing with customers who thought they were always right had finally taken their toll on her psyche.

But now what would she do? She was unemployed the week before Christmas. Lou slumped in her seat. Unless she figured something out, and fast, she might have to move back in with her family. Her mother had been hinting at that, anyway, ever since the summer. It wasn’t that Lou had anything against her family, not really; her parents had adopted her shortly after her birth, and they’d never made her feel like anything but their cherished only child. But she’d just turned 21, and Lou had never planned on moving home. Lou snorted disparagingly; that was funny. It almost sounded like she’d ever had a plan.

Jen McConnel-0034

About the Author

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. Her debut NA novel, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY, is out now from Bloomsbury Spark. Visit http://www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.

Connect With Jen

Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Facebook | Blog | Website

 

I just bought my copy of THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY, go buy yours today!!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Holiday #Readathon Challenge + Giveaway!!!

Liza over at WhoRuBlog is hosting the 3rd Annual Holiday #Readathon. The concept is simple, complete super easy mini-challenges and enter for chance to win really cool prizes. For a list of all blogs and their mini-challenges, click here. Also don’t forget to sign up for the #Readathon!!!!

Okay here’s my challenge:

1. What’s your favorite holiday smell?

For me I love waking up in the morning on Christmas day and helping to our Christmas Day brunch. The whole family comes over and I love smelling the meets and pies and cookies, yum! I usually spend the night at my grandparents’ house and it’s something I look forward to every year 🙂

Now to make things even more fun, I’m giving away a set of 3 books to one lucky winner. You get to choose from these ten books below. They’re some of my favorite reads from this year so I really hope you enjoy them 🙂

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FYI, a few of these are sequels, and and two are advanced reader copies (ARCs).

Here’s the full list:

The Chaos of Stars (ARC) | Ink | The Eternity Cure (ARC – Blood of Eden #2) | Antigoddess | Not a Drop to Drink | ScorchedOf Triton (The Syrena Legacy #2) | Reboot (one of my top five picks of 2013) | Dead Silence (The Body Finder#4) | Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3)

..quite a few of these are mythology retellings or dystopian YA books because those are two of my favorites genres/subgenres and 2013 definitely saw an increase in mythology based and dystopian books.

The rules

1. Click this link to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway

2. You MUST comment on my blog telling me your favorite holiday smell.

3. As a bonus entry you can also tweet me your favorite 2013 reads & your most anticipated book of 2014 (I added this as an option on the rafflecopter widget but feel free to change the wording)*

4. Open to U.S. & Canada only

*As for my favorite 2013 reads, I loved every book pictured above as well as PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL & PROXY! In addition to their sequels, I’m looking forward to every one of the OneFour Kidlit author’s debut books especially MONSTROUS & THE NINJA LIBRARIANS (MG) and UNINVITED, STITCHING SNOW & EXTRACTION (YA).

Happy Reading & Stay Warm!! 

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Cover Reveal: SALT by Danielle Ellison!!!

Hello Readers 🙂 Today Danielle Ellison and Entangled Teen are revealing the cover for SALT (Danielle’s debut!!), releasing in January 2014! As a proud member of SALT Shakers (Danielle’s Street Team) I’m so happy to share with you the gorgeous cover, exclusive excerpt, and giveaway of an eARC of SALT!

On to the reveals!

SALT-COVER-FINAL-500SALT
Author: Danielle Ellison
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Book Blurb:

Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents—and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent away.

When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force, Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister’s help, she can squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find “her” demon. To take back what was stolen.

Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He knows her secret—but he also has one of his own.

Suddenly, Penelope’s impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because Carter’s not telling her everything, and it’s starting to seem like the demons have their own agenda…and they’re far too interested in her.

Exclusive Excerpt

“Jealousy is cute on you, Pen.”

“Don’t call me that,” I snap, pushing my coffee away from me. “And I’m not jealous.”

He leans back on the chair. “Sure. And I don’t think you’re adorable.” I jerk my eyes up. He’s smiling. Screw this—this is so frustrating. I tap my foot under the table.

“We’re stating the facts, right?” he says.

“Right,” I say.

I don’t have time for this. And what is wrong with this coffee? I feel like I swallowed a fire and it’s all just burning at my stomach.

“You look sick again,” he says.

The poorly—or perfectly—timed waitress comes back with Carter’s coffee and a whole tray of drinks. Carter, obviously, flirts again. I don’t know if he’s doing it to get a reaction out of me, but I’m not going to give him one. I watch him and say nothing, but the whole time it feels darker inside my head and my stomach whirs. It’s more empty, and more full, and unsettled at once. The waitress turns to leave a when it happens.

The waitress coughs, as if she suddenly can’t breathe, and trips. She flies across the air. The tray spills all over a table of four. I gasp, horrified. Another waitress grabs her by the waist, trying to give her the Heimlich. The waitress coughs out the gum. She’s crying hysterically, apologizing to the customers dripping with water.

The weirdest part? As soon it happens, all the fury that was building up inside of me disappears. It’s calm again, normal. The change is so sudden that my fingernails dig into the table. All I can hear is the waitress’s cry.

“I don’t know what happened,” she sobs over and over again. I close my eyes. Everything inside me is completely still. No storm, no clawing, no emptiness or fullness. In fact, I’m suddenly starving.

Carter’s looking at me when I open my eyes. There’s something unsettling in his gaze, something suspicious.

“I gotta go,” I say. He starts to say something. I don’t stay long enough to find out what it is.

Somehow I just did magic.

About the Author

Danielle

Danielle Ellison is from a small town in West Virginia. She spent her childhood pretending to fly and talking to imaginary friends. When she grew up, she finally flew away (in an airplane) and started traveling the world. She hasn’t stopped yet, but someday she may decide to settle in one place. Her real life friends would definitely like that; they would probably also like if she stopped talking to her characters out loud.

SALT comes out in January 2013, and then it’s sequel. In October 2014, FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS (book one of the BOUNDLESS Trilogy) comes out. She’s got a busy few years!

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Giveaway Details:

1 eARC of SALT (International)

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Isn’t it a pretty cover? Congrats Danielle, I can’t wait to read it!!! Also, purple is my favorite cover so this is a triple win 🙂

Whimsically Yours,

PnC