Blog Tour: AVALON by Mindee Arnett (Book Review)

avalon banner

Good morning, readers 🙂 Today I’m participating in the blog tour of AVALON by Mindee Arnett, a book I’ve been wanting to read practically since was announced. Enjoy (my review is below & there’s a giveaway)!

avalon cover

Title: AVALON
Author: Mindee Arnett
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 432
Pub. Date: January 21, 2014
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound

Book Blurb:

A ragtag group of teenage mercenaries who crew the spaceship Avalon stumble upon a conspiracy that could threaten the entire galaxy in this fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi adventure from author Mindee Arnett.
Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they’re damn good at it. Jeth doesn’t care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents’ ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he’ll go to get the freedom he’s wanted for so long.

Avalon is the perfect fit for teens new to sci-fi as well as seasoned sci-fi readers looking for more books in the YA space-and a great match for fans of Joss Whedon’s cult hit show Firefly.

My Review:

Owl Rating

I’d never seen Firefly when I first started reading AVALON. I know, I know, it’s my dad’s favorite show, I thing Joss Whedon is brilliant (& definitely on to some gov’t conspiracies…Dollhouse anyone? *(too real)). But, I’ve never had time to properly indulge & I hate shows canceling early (Dollhouse, Lie to Me…every one of my favorite shows). But, after reading AVALON now I have to.

The more I write, the better writer I become I start to study the books I read more. Every book becomes a mini-lesson. If I love it, I want to know what it did well. In AVALON’s case other than the ah-mazing brother/sister relationship (I’m a big sibling and I’m a sucker for those in books), it was the characterization of every person in it that won me over and made me give it 5 owls (also the world building & evil corporations…love that stuff). Every book I’ve loved has not only had great main character but secondary characters. While reading AVALON I wanted to get to know everyone, especially Celeste more because she seemed like a boss. I wanted to know the man on the bench, Hammer, his guard’s…I did a lot of acting and when I’m reading sometimes I see things being staged, from the moment each character in AVALON “stepped on stage,” they played their part well.

I will admit, I didn’t like the book at first. I’m a Sci-Fi person and the first ten pages were very I’ve seen this before, too much backstory, not grabbing me. But, give it time. Have faith. Yes, Jeth is bit of a…bootyhead (as my ten-year-old sister likes to say), but seeing him care for his sister gave me a reason to root for him. Also, like Harry Potter, who is one of the most unlikable protagonists (especially in later books), he’s an orphan and he “belongs” to a disgusting man. Like wait until you get to the part where Arnett describes Hammer *shudder* (that was good). You HAVE to root for Jeth and his crew, you’d be cruel not to.

Oh, and the twists. Oh, they’re there. I guessed half of it, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. There’s also romance which I liked, but didn’t think was necessary not that it was bad but the book was amazing already without it. This was my first time reading anything by Arnett (I’m buying The Nightmare Affair today though because I’m hooked), and huge kudos for straddling the line well between world building overload and not enough. I know it’s hard with Sci-Fi, info dumps are annoying, but if you don’t paint a good enough picture, people are clueless. It’s for this reason that I’d recommend AVALON for fans of Sci-Fi (depending on how big of a fan you are you might find it too light) as well as those who have never read it before, especially those who have never read it before as it’s a great first.

I hear this is the first in a series 😀 I’ve been waiting for the “rise of YA Sci-Fi,” and this was my first recent foyer into it. I’m looking forward to reading more. I’m so pleased that I loved every book I’ve picked up this year (5 so far?). I’ve always had good taste in books, haha, *hair flip* but even I’m surprised.

You can find AVALON at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

**This is a 100% honest review. I received a copy of the book from the publisher to read & review.**

About the Author:

mindee arnett

Mindee Arnett lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. She’s addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space. She has far more dreams than nightmares.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Giveaway Details:

2 Signed copies of AVALON (International)

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

1/13/2014- IceyBooks– Interview

1/14/2014- Word Spelunking– Guest Post

1/15/2014- Fantasy Book Addict- Interview

1/16/2014- Falling For YA- Review

1/17/2014- Whimsically Yours- Review

Week Two:

1/20/2014- Such a Novel Idea- Review

1/21/2014- The Eater of Books!- Interview

1/22/2014- Bewitched Bookworms- Guest Post

1/23/2014- NerdophilesReview

1/24/2014- The Irish Banana Review– Guest Post

Many thanks to Rockstar Book Tours for having me as a host, Happy Friday everyone!!!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

FINDING FEMALE IN MIDDLE GRADE FANTASY

This is partially why I write girl protagonists in MG. When I was little if it were’t for authors like Tamora Pierce, and thank goodness for Tamora Pierce, I wouldn’t have had any girl protags. Sure, I love Artemis Fowl, (love, love, love) and HP, and Percy Jackson, but it’s rare the girl is the main character. And I refuse to believe I’m the only one who wanted more of that. Actually I know I’m not and the lack of girl MC’s is likely one of the driving reasons why my friends and I moved to YA , and even Adult with authors like Marion Zimmer Bradley, Fantasy so fast.
-Patrice

Ellie Rollins

Today on the blog I’ve got something a little different–and special! Laurisa White Reyes, author of THE ROCK OF IVANORE,  has stopped by talk about females in Middle Grade fantasy. She even provides us with a list of her favorite girl-centric fantasy books for kids–love it! Here’s a little more about Laurisa’s upcoming fantasy debut: 

The annual Great Quest is about to be announced in Quendel, a task that will determine the future of Marcus and the other boys from the village who are coming of age. The wizard Zyll commands them to find the Rock of Ivanore, but he doesn’t tell them what the Rock is exactly or where it can be found. Marcus must reach deep within himself to develop new powers of magic and find the strength to survive the wild lands and fierce enemies he encounters as he searches for the illusive Rock. If he…

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Flashback Friday: Cirque Du Freak series by Darren Shan

flashback-friday-featuredHappy Friday!! Today is the first official Flashback Friday 🙂 What’s Flashback Friday?? Well, the full story can be read here (& you should read it), but it’s a weekly meme meant to highlight books published at least 2 years ago that are on your to-reads (that you never got to) or that you read years ago and loved! It’s hosted by Swoony Boys Podcast & Fiction Fare.

cirque du freakA LIVING NIGHTMARE (Cirque Du Freak #1)

by Darren Shan
Hardcover, 266 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Little, Brown Young Readers (first published 2000)

Book Blurb

Darren Shan is just an ordinary schoolboy – until he gets an invitation to visit the Cirque du Freak…until he meets Madam Octa…until he comes face to face with a creature of the night.

Soon, Darren and his friend Steve are caught in a deadly trap. Darren must make a bargain with the one person who can save Steve. But that person is not human and only deals in blood…

Add to Goodreads to-reads (hopefully you get to it!)

My Thoughts/Review

I won’t do thoughts/this long of a post every time, but this is one of my all time favorite books so…

For my first Flashback Friday post I decided to choose the entire Cirque Du Freak series by Darren Shan, more specifically A Living Nightmare (Cirque Du Freak/The Saga of Daren Shan #1).

Now, I’m a huge vampire fan (?–not sure if that’s the right word). I love vampire lore. It all started with Anne Rice, as it should, and my most recent addition to the vamp book lineup was The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black which was amazing (in her acknowledgments she thanked vamp lore writers like Anne Rice, it brought tears to my eyes).

Alas, I digress. I picked this series/this book because it was one of those series I wasn’t sure I would love. I mean, I love vampires but this is like if Stephen King wrote a vampire book (has he?). Major horror. I don’t know how I slept at night. But, it’s Upper MG/low YA. I vividly remember being in my school library and picking it up for the first time. Love at first read.

It’s a beautiful story about a boy who gets mixed up with vampires, but there’s so much more than that. It spun the genre well, it added in marvelous creatures, a very interesting friend/enemy-ship(…I mean the relationship between Darren and Steve, boy now that’s good), had all these underlying messages about your destiny and rewriting your own path (hehe, Mr. Des Tiny<–took me forever to get that, he’s a character in the book). And the ending, wow. They made a movie and while it’s okay there’s no need to waste your time…there’s a reason there’s only one movie out of the 12 books published (it stars a young Josh Hutchinson). 

I whole heartedly recommend it (My rating: 1 million owls, LOL). I think it’ll surprise you. It sure did me.

Oh, and J.K. Rowling blurbed it so, yeah…it’s freaking awesome 🙂

What was a book you remember reading when younger that surprised you and became one of your all time favorites?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Cover Reveal: WHISPER TO ME by Christina Lee (NA)

Hello Readers!

Today I’m participating in the cover reveal of Christina Lee’s third book in the Between Breaths series! I loved ALL OF YOU (links to my review) so much and BEFORE YOU BREAK releases next month (!!!) and now I’m already pumped for this one! 

Christina Lee is a New Adult wonder.” –USA Today bestselling author Alice Clayton

whisper to me cover

(<– I love this cover & the colors!)

A hot and consuming New Adult romance about a wayward musician and the one girl who keeps him grounded…

At college, Rachel has a reputation for being a sarcastic flirt with a thing for star athletes. No one at school knows that she’d had her heart ripped to shreds by her high school sweetheart, who’d driven them both off the side of the road on a borrowed motorcycle, and then abandoned her. No one knows the real Rachel Mattson—except one person…

Ever since he helped nurse his sister’s feisty best friend back to health, pierced bass player Kai Nakoshas been head over heels in love. But the supposed bad boy can’t risk letting Rachel know the truth—especially now that the two of them are back in their hometown for the summer, together for the first time since the months following that fateful night. Never mind that Rachel’s ex is back, groveling for her forgiveness.

Shaken by her ex’s return, Rachel finds herself turning to the one guy she knows she can trust. Kai is willing to hide his feelings for her, just to have Rachel touch him again. After all, this is only a temporary fling.  Until it becomes something more. But maybe it had been more all along.

Add to your to-reads on Goodreads!

Avery’s story was first in All Of You, followed by Ella’s story in Before You Break, which releases on February 18th, 2014.  Whisper To Me  releases on May 20th, 2014 and tells Rachel’s story. All of the novels in the Between Breaths series are stand-alones and have a HEA (happily-ever-after).

Raves for Christina Lee’s All of You:

“This is one New Adult you don’t want to miss.” —New York Times and USA Today bestselling author A. L. Jackson

“Hot, sweet, emotional, page-turner, awesome.”—New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy

“Steamy, honest, and full of heart.” —Roni Loren, national bestselling author

“A study in sexual tension…Delicious.”—Heroes and Heartbreakers

“Steamy sexual tension and…a breathtaking love story.”—I Heart Big Books

christina lee phototAUTHOR BIO:

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job. She also owns her own jewelry business, called Tags-n-Stones, where she hand-stamps meaningful words or letters onto silver for her customers. She loves to hear from her readers. You can find her on: www.christinalee.net.

Connect with the Christina!

Facebook | Twitter | Website

Whimsically Yours,
PnC

What’s Up Wednesday (Happy 2014!!!)

Good morning, everyone! This is my first What’s Up Wednesday post of the new year, and this year I pledge to actually post them on the morning of 🙂 …What’s What’s Up Wednesday???  It’s a weekly meme started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  If you want to participate you should link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog so that we can all stop by and say, “Hi!” It’s a great way to connect with other writers!

What I’m Reading

I’ve been reading Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, it’s my “slow read” book, meaning I’ve been reading for the past few days, indulging in the language. It’s a beautiful book. It reminds me of the movie Hidalgo, a favorite of mine, mixed with a lot of rare (as in not as popularized) mythology. It harkens of something old and rich. She’s a master storyteller!

I’m also finishing SALT by Danielle Ellison. It’s her YA debut from Entangled Teen, and I highly recommend it for someone looking for a fun read. It has witches and a hot guys! Speaking of hot guys, I’m starting to get into NA. I just bought Kelly Hashway writing as Ashleyn Drake’s Romancing the R.A. I love how the protagonists are around my age, and are going through things I went through/I’m scared about…like finding a job *shudder*.

What I’m Writing

A few days ago I started writing this amazing New Adult Urban Fantasy that I’m absolutely in love with. Like, I LOVE my MC. Now, usually I don’t allow myself to “cheat” as Meg Cabot calls it and follow my shiny new ideas. But, 1. I had just finished some major revisions & rewrites and was having revision/writing in general fatigue 2. so, since I hadn’t worked on my other WIPs in a while I decided why not. It was just what I needed, writing something fun that also challenges me as a writer.

Here’s the working blurb and I’d like to think it’ll become/it was inspired by The Dresden Files meets Lost Girl (a show I’ve been binging on since December).

When recent college grad Bria Thurman sets up shop as a freelance detective she figures, with her abilities, it’ll be easy money and will pay more than working at the local coffee shop–the only job she can get–would. Unfortunately, most of the cases she receives are requests from old ladies asking to her to find their cats. And old ladies don’t pay much, if at all.

But, when her best friend, a human cop, goes missing, while working on a set of grisly murders that’s got prominent New Orleanians showing up dead, Bria is the Supernatural, or Sup Council’s first go to gal because not only is she unaligned, meaning she’s free to go anywhere she pleases, she’s the best–well, technically, the only–clairvoyant in town. If she can get that nose of hers to work right.

To find her friend, and keep herself from working at her father’s hedge fund–a death sentence in itself–Bria must team up with a Sup cop, Ty, a wizard who’s a little too dark for her liking. Together, it’ll be up to them to find the killer, before the case goes public. That is, of course, if the killer doesn’t find them first.

So much for easy money.

It’s perfect for me as with a little more than one year of school left, post grad is something very present (even when I ignore it, everyone brings it up). Here’s a link to an excerpt if you want to read more!

What Else I’ve Been Doing

me and ponyA lot of wonderful relaxing and the holidays. My mom got me a pair of footie PJs for Christmas, and I’m about to go to Target and buy all of them. It’s so soft and hands down the best Christmas present ever (other than getting to escape the cold North and spend time with my family in TX). I also got some really comfy sweats from Victoria’s Secret’s Pink line. Basically, I’ve been lounging, a lot. I’m currently at my dad’s house in “the country,”, and it’s great. So refreshing & inspiring. I had such a stressful semester, this is just what I needed 🙂

<–there’s me trying to take a selfie in my footie PJs on Christmas Day, and that’s my newest Build-A-Bear (haha, I’m a little obsessed) 🙂 (Yes, I adore My Little Pony, it’s a favorite of me and my sisters.)

Also, I’m now an Associate Publicist at Spencer Hill Contemporary!! I have two clients of my own. I love the company and people so much as well as how, because it’s remote, I have the flexibility to shift my work around as I need to. Deciding to intern there was probably one of my best decisions as I love so many Spencer Hill Press/Contemp books. So, yay!!!

What Inspires Me Right Now

ms firzzle words of wisdomThe new year and the sense of a clean slate that it brings. 2013 was my year of me, and I’m really glad I dedicated last year to taking care of myself and doing more things I love. In addition to that, and working on being a better daughter, friend, etc…I wrote a post that’s up now titled ‘New Year’s Resolution: Making Better Art.’ That’s basically what I want to accomplish this year. My only real, real concrete goal is to be represented by a literary agent by the end of the year.

<–also, Ms. Frizzle’s timeless words from The Magic School Bus, always!

Happy New Year, and I hope it’s everything you want it to be and more! I’m off to go pitch my MG at #PitMad!!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC