Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Reached by Ally Condie

Title:  Reached
Author:  Ally Condie
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Penguin (Imprint: RazorBill)
Publication Date:  13th November 2012
ISBN:  9780141333083
Stand alone or series:   Matched # 3
Pages:  520 pages
Book Received from:  Penguin (Publisher)
First Lines:  Every morning, the sun comes up and turns the earth red, and I think: This could be the day when everything changes.

Possible spoilers if you haven't read the previous two books!
Synopsis:Cassia faces the ultimate choices in the long-anticipated conclusion to the "New York Times" bestselling Matched Trilogy After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising--and each other--Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again. In this gripping conclusion to the #1 "New York Times" bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

My Thoughts:
Waiting for this to come out was .... to be honest a little painful!  I really wanted to find out where Ky and Cassia would end up and what the final book had to offer.

I must admit that picking this one up it was a little hard to get back into the story.  One of the big reasons for that was that I'd read so many books since Crossed that it took at least a chapter to find my bearings with what the characters were up to.  In saying that I was pretty excited to find that we not only read from Ky and Cassia's POV but we get to hear from Xander.

All three characters are separated from eachother when the book begins.  Cassia is stuck back in central, Ky is flying planes and Xander is a medical assistant.  Something I felt was a big step from the ending of Crossed.  I did find that throughout the story I felt a bit sorry for Xander.  He's a little bit of a third wheel when it comes to the three characters but we also get to see more of what he can contribute to the story as a whole and I did really grow to love Xander.

I am a bit sad that this is the final book in the Matched story.  I really enjoyed Ally's worldbuilding.  I think the biggest thing I liked about this was how sucked into the story I was with all three characters.  All three are so different.  Ky, who is willing to grit his teeth and do as he's told so he doesn't wreck his chances of getting back to Cassia.  Xander, who puts others first and does everything he can to help regardless of the situation and how it will affect him.  And Cassia, who when she puts her mind to something will get things done and will go that extra mile just to make it back to the others.

Another thing that the Matched series has taught me was to never take for granted the choices we make because they are "Our Choices" not the Society's.  I couldn't imagine living in a world where you couldn't write down on paper thoughts and ideas or to share songs and art that aren't on an approved list.  How crazy would that be?

Recommended reading for sure!  Loved this


Fave Line:  Newrose, oldrose, Queen Anne's Lace.
                    Water, river stone, and sun.
                    Wind over hill, under tree.
                    Past the border none can see.
                    Climbing into dark for you.
                    Will you wait in stars for me? - page 292

Sunday, October 28, 2012

In My Mailbox (125)

In My Mailbox is a weekly post created by The Story Siren.

For Review:

Reached by Ally Condie

Thanks to Penguin Australia for sending this to me.
-Keep an eye out for the review



What did you get in your IMM?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Beautiful Creatures: Book to Screen Feature

I so can't wait to see this and I love how they've made this to see behind the scenes as well!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Extraodinary Rendition Blog Tour

I'd like to say a big thank you to Paul Batista for revealing the excerpt from Chapter 1 of Extraordinary Rendition on Spellbound By Books.  Hope you all enjoy!


When the guard left, the iron door resonated briefly as the magnetic lock engaged itself. Byron sat in a steel folding chair. Directly in front of him was a narrow ledge under a multi-layered, almost opaque plastic window, in the middle of which was a metal circle.
Ali Hussein seemed to just materialize in the small space behind the partition. Dressed in a yellow jumpsuit printed with the initials “FDC” for “Federal Detention Center,” Hussein, who had been described to Byron as an accountant trained at Seton Hall, in Newark, was a slender man who appeared far more mild-mannered than Byron expected. He wore cloth slippers with no shoelaces. The waistband of his jump suit was elasticized—not even a cloth belt. He had as little access to hard objects as possible.
He waited for Byron to speak first. Leaning toward the metal speaker in the partition and raising his voice, Byron said, “You are Mr. Hussein, aren’t you?”
The lawyers at the Civil Liberties Union who had first contacted Byron told him that, in their limited experience with accused terrorists, it sometimes wasn’t clear what their real names were. There were often no fingerprints or DNA samples that could confirm their identities. The name Ali Hussein was as common as a coin. It was as though genetic markers and their histories began only at the moment of their arrest.
“I am.” He spoke perfect, unaccented English. “I don’t know what your name is.”
The circular speaker in the window, although it created a tinny sound, worked well. Byron lowered his voice. “I’m Byron Johnson. I’m a lawyer from New York. I met your brother. Did he tell you to expect me?”
“I haven’t heard from my brother in years. He has no idea how to reach me, I can’t reach him.”
“Has anyone told you why you’re here?”
“Someone on the airplane—I don’t know who he was, I was blind-folded—said I was being brought here because I’d been charged with a crime. He said I could have a lawyer. Are you that lawyer?”
“I am. If you want me, and if I want to do this.”
All that Ali’s more abrasive, more aggressive brother had told Byron was that Ali was born in Syria, moved as a child with his family to Lebanon during the civil war in the 1980s, and then came to the United States. Ali never became a United States citizen. Five months after the invasion of Iraq, he traveled to Germany to do freelance accounting work for an American corporation for what was scheduled to be a ten-day visit. While Ali was in Germany, his brother said, he had simply disappeared, as if waved out of existence. His family had written repeatedly to the State Department, the CIA, and the local congressman. They were letters sent into a vacuum. Nobody ever answered.
Byron asked, “Do you know where you’ve come from?”
“How do I know who you are?”
Byron began to reach for his wallet, where he stored his business cards. He caught himself because of the absurdity of that: he could have any number of fake business cards. Engraved with gold lettering, his real business card had his name and the name of his law firm, one of the oldest and largest in the country. Ali Hussein was obviously too intelligent, too alert, and too suspicious to be convinced by a name on a business card or a license or a credit card.
“I don’t have any way of proving who I am. I can just tell you that I’m Byron Johnson, I’ve been a lawyer for years, I live in New York, and I was asked by your brother and others to represent you.”
Almost unblinking, Ali just stared at Byron, who tried to hold his gaze, but failed.
At last Ali asked, “And you want to know what’s happened to me?”
“We can start there. I’m only allowed thirty minutes to visit you this week. Tell me what you feel you want to tell me, or can tell me. And then we’ll see where we go. You don’t have to tell me everything about who you are, what you did before you were arrested, who you know in the outside world. Or you don’t have to tell me anything. I want nothing from you other than to help you.”
Ali leaned close to the metallic hole in the smoky window. The skin around his eyes was far darker than the rest of his face, almost as if he wore a Zorro-style mask. Byron took no notes, because to do so might make Ali Hussein even more mistrustful.
“Today don’t ask me any questions. People have asked me lots of questions over the years. I’m sick of questions.” It was like listening to a voice from a world other than the one in which Byron lived. There was nothing angry or abusive in his tone: just a matter-of-fact directness, as though he was describing to Byron a computation he had made on one of Byron’s tax returns. “One morning five Americans in suits stopped me at a red light. I was in Bonn. I drove a rented Toyota. I had a briefcase. They got out of their cars. They had earpieces. Guns, too. They told me to get out of the car. I did. They told me to show them my hands. I did. They lifted me into an SUV, tied my hands, and put a blindfold on me. I asked who they were and what was happening.”
He paused. Byron, who had been in the business of asking questions since he graduated from law school at Harvard, couldn’t resist the embedded instinct to ask, “What did they say?”
“They said shut up.”
“Has anyone given you any papers since you’ve come here?”
“I haven’t had anything in my hands to read in years. Not a newspaper, not a magazine, not a book. Not even the Koran.”
“Has anyone told you what crimes you’re charged with?”
“Don’t you know?”
“No. All that I’ve been told is that you were moved to Miami from a foreign jail so that you could be indicted and tried in an American court.”
There was another pause. “How exactly did you come to me?” Even though he kept returning to the same subject—who exactly was Byron Johnson?—there was still no hostility or anger in Ali Hussein’s tone. “Why are you here?”
In the stifling room, Byron began to sweat almost as profusely as he had on the walk from the security gate to the prison entrance. He recognized that he was very tense. And he was certain that the thirty-minute rule would be enforced, that time was running out. He didn’t want to lose his chance to gain the confidence of this ghostly man who had just emerged into a semblance of life after years in solitary limbo. “A lawyer for a civil rights group called me. I had let people know that I wanted to represent a person arrested for terrorism. I was told that you were one of four prisoners being transferred out of some detention center, maybe at Guantanamo, to a mainland prison, and that you’d be charged by an American grand jury rather than held overseas indefinitely. When I got the call I said I would help, but only if you and I met, and only if you wanted me to help, and only if I thought I could do that.”
 “How do I know any of this is true?”
Byron Johnson prided himself on being a realist. Wealthy clients sought him out not to tell them what they wanted to hear but for advice about the facts, the law and the likely real-world outcomes of whatever problems they faced. But it hadn’t occurred to him that this man, imprisoned for years, would doubt him and would be direct enough to tell him that. Byron had become accustomed to deference, not to challenge. And this frail man was suggesting that Byron might be a stalking horse, a plant, a shill, a human recording device.
“I met your brother Khalid.”
“At a diner in Union City.”
“What diner?”
“He said it was his favorite, and that you used to eat there with him: the Plaza Diner on Kennedy Boulevard.”
Byron, who for years had practiced law in areas where a detailed memory was essential, was relieved that he remembered the name and location of the diner just across the Hudson River in New Jersey. He couldn’t assess whether the man behind the thick, scratched glass was now more persuaded to believe him. Byron asked, “How have you been treated?”
“I’ve been treated like an animal.”
“In what ways?”
As if briskly covering the topics on an agenda, Ali Hussein said, “Months in one room, no contact with other people. Shifted from place to place, never knowing what country or city I was in, never knowing what month of the year, day of the week. Punched. Kicked.”
“Do you have any marks on your body?”
“I’m not sure yet what your name really is, or who you really are, but you seem naive. Marks? Are you asking me if they’ve left bruises or scars on my body?”
Byron felt the rebuke. Over the years he’d learned that there was often value in saying nothing. Silence sometimes changed the direction of a conversation and revealed more. He waited.
Hussein asked, “How much more time do we have?”
“Only a few minutes.”
“A few minutes? I’ve been locked away for years, never in touch for a second with anyone who meant to do kind things to me, and now I have a total of thirty minutes with you. Mr. Bush created a beautiful world.”
 “There’s another president.” Byron paused, and, with the silly thought of giving this man some hope, he said, “His name is Barack Hussein Obama.”
Ali Hussein almost smiled. “And I’m still here? How did that happen?”
Byron didn’t answer, feeling foolish that he’d thought the news that an American president’s middle name was Hussein would somehow brighten this man’s mind. Byron had pandered to him, and he hated pandering.
Ali Hussein then asked, “My wife and children?”
No one—not the ACLU lawyer, not the CIA agent with whom Byron had briefly talked to arrange this visit, not even Hussein’s heavy-faced, brooding brother—had said a single thing about Hussein other than that he had been brought into the United States after years away and that he was an accountant. Nothing about a wife and children.
“I don’t know. I didn’t know you had a wife and children. Nobody said anything about them. I should have asked.”
It was unsettling even to Byron, who had dealt under tense circumstances with thousands of people in courtrooms, that this man could stare at him for so long with no change of expression. Hussein finally asked, “Are you going to come back?”
“If you want me to.”
“I was an accountant, you know. I always liked numbers, and I believed in the American system that money moves everything, that he who pays the piper gets to call the tune. Who’s paying you?”
“No one, Mr. Hussein. Anything I do for you will be free. I won’t get paid by anybody.”
“Now I really wonder who you are.” There was just a trace of humor in his voice and his expression.
As swiftly as Ali Hussein had appeared in the interview room, he disappeared when two guards in Army uniforms reached in from the rear door and literally yanked him from his chair. It was like watching a magician make a man disappear. 

When Ali Hussein—suspected terrorist and alleged banker for Al Qaeda—is finally transported from Gitmo to the US mainland to stand trial, many are stunned when Byron Carlos Johnson, pre-eminent lawyer and the son of a high-profile diplomat, volunteers as counsel.  On principle, Johnson thought he was merely defending a man unjustly captured through Rendition and water-boarded illegally. But Johnson soon learns that there is much more at stake than one man’s civil rights. Hussein’s intimate knowledge of key financial transactions could lead to the capture of—or the unabated funding of—the world’s most dangerous terror cells. This makes Hussein the target of corrupt US intelligence forces on one side, and ruthless international terrorists on the other.  And, it puts Byron Carlos Johnson squarely in the crosshairs of both. Pulled irresistibly by forces he can and cannot see, Johnson enters a lethal maze of espionage, manipulation, legal traps and murder. And when his life, his love, and his acclaimed principles are on the line, Johnson may have one gambit left that can save them all; a play that even his confidants could not have anticipated. He must become the hunter among hunters in the deadliest game. Written by no-holds-barred-attorney Paul Batista, Extraordinary Rendition excels not only as an action thriller, but as a sophisticated legal procedural as well; tearing the curtains away from the nation’s most controversial issues. Provocative. Smart. Heart-pounding. A legal thriller of the highest order.

 Paul Batista, novelist and television personality, is one of the most widely known trial lawyers in the country. As a trial attorney, he specializes in federal criminal litigation. As a media figure, he is known for his regular appearances as guest legal commentator on a variety of television shows including, Court TV, CNN, HLN and WNBC. He’s also appeared in the HBO movie, You Don't Know Jack, starring Al Pacino.

A prolific writer, Batista authored the leading treatise on the primary federal anti-racketeering statute, Civil RICO Practice Manual, which is now in its third edition (Wiley & Sons, 1987; Wolters Kluwer, 2008). He has written articles for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The National Law Journal.

Batista's debut novel, Death's Witness, was awarded a Silver Medal by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). And his new novel, Extraordinary Rendition, is now being published—along with a special reissue of Death’s Witness—by Astor + Blue Editions.

Batista is a graduate of Bowdoin College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and Cornell Law School. He’s proud to have served in the United States Army. Paul Batista lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Silverbirch: Fall of the Epicenter by Robert Kaay

Title:  Silverbirch: Fall of the Epicenter
Author:  Robert Kaay
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Self Published
Publication Date:  11th October 2012
ISBN:  9780980687767
Stand alone or series:   Silverbirch #2
Pages:  270 pages
Book Received from:  Author
First Lines:  It's funny how human beings feel the need to pay respect to the dead by attending a funeral.

Synopsis: Although Nudge hates the red lightning-bolt mushrooms, if he doesn't manage to find their source, he has no chance of reuniting with his soul mate.

My Thoughts:
Silverbirch: Fall of the Epicenter is the second book in the Silverbirch series and I was very interested to see how Nudge the main character was going to manage now that he'd lost almost everyone he'd cared about.

Robert takes the fantasy up a notch in this book.  We not only are dealing with one race outside of the human one but three and it sure makes things interesting.  When I first got this book I looked at the front and thought.. "I wonder how this ties in."

The one thing I definitely loved about Nudge was the more he tried to help, the more it seemed to dig himself a bigger hole in the human world.

I'm also glad that we get to meet back up with Chase and Hayley once again but this time things are a little different.

Also for me, I felt that book two didn't have quite as much action as the first one.  That was one thing that made book one really awesome.  Book two is focused alot more on the finding more mushrooms and working a plan to reunite with his friends.  But I must say the glitches along the way make Nudge shine as a main character.

I look forward to were the Silverbirch story ends especially with the way Robert has tied things up at the end of this book.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (123)

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

I absolutely can't wait to get my hands on Fractured by Teri Terry, the second book in the Slated series.  This won't be due out until 2nd May 2013!  Don't you just love the cover!!

Kyla's memory has been erased, her personality wiped blank, her memories lost for ever.
 Or so she thought.
 Kyla shouldn't be able to remember anything. But she can - and she's beginning to realise that there are a lot of dark secrets locked away in her memories. When a mysterious man from her past comes back into her life, she thinks she's on her way to finding the truth. But the more she learns about her history, the more confusing her future becomes...

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Deception Peak Virtual Book Tour

Minor Characters, Major Roles: 
Developing a Supporting Cast
Dianne Lynne Gardner

Instructions for the process of creating a main character is drummed home in almost every how-to-write book I’ve ever read. It’s pretty basic. Your MC needs to have some kind of need and a goal, a challenge, and a resolution that shows his character growth.

I haven’t read a lot about developing, or using supporting characters so I want to talk about that today.

Whereas other characters in your story might not show themselves often, they can add detail, action and plot enhancement. These details can make your book unique and colorful.

I like to think of my supporting characters much like the background actor in a movie. They don’t say anything, maybe they’re even in the shadows, but one look, a curve of the lips, a gesture…and the mood is set. I think the reason I’ll watch the same movie over and over again is to catch those background nuances. A good director recognizes their importance. And you as a writer should too.

In Deception Peak I have several supporting characters. I’d like to briefly mention two that are on opposite sides of the fence. One of them is a good guy, Vilfred, the Sage of the Kaempern Village. The other, Mia, Britta’s foster mother, a Menek, is not exactly a bad gal. But then, very few things are really black and white. You don’t see much of either of these characters in the story, but what they do in the progression of the plot is extremely important. They set the mood of the scenes they are in.

The moment he steps into the dimly lit yurt, Ian is awed by the presence of Vilfred. Though the man seldom speaks, his words are careful, wise and filled with a tenderness that melts Ian’s heart. It’s Vilfred’s presence that gives Ian hope at a time when he needs it the most and who becomes the little spark that ignites the flame of fortitude in Ian’s heart.

Mia, Britta’s foster mother appears in only two scenes, but she adds to the plot by confirming the instability of the Menek tribe. First she nurses Ian back to health, leading him to believe he may be among friends, and then later speaks out against him, thus adding to the confusion the night of the dragon attack.

Minor characters, major roles-- I want to encourage you as an author to keep in mind the purpose each and every character in your book has in moving your story forward. If you do, you’ll have an exciting and colorful tale!

I'd like to thank Dianne Lynn Gardner for taking the time out to be on Spellbound By Books!  Hope you all enjoy reading her guest post!  Please check out more about Dianne below with the "About the Author" and synopsis and review blurbs underneath. Thank you.

About the Author

Dianne Lynne Gardner is both an author and illustrator. She’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national magazines and newspapers and she is an award winning artist. 

Dianne spent many years living out in the desert wilderness of the American Southwest, lived in a hogan made from adobe and cedar for thirteen years, co-owned 25 horses both pure bred and Native American ponies, travelled horseback and by wagon throughout the Navajo reservation, herded sheep and goat, worked in the forest planting trees and piling, farmed on barren soil and even lived in a teepee for a short while. She spent many long years using survival skills as a way of life. 

 Later she studied pastoral counseling and was a Pastor’s apprentice at a mainline church. She and her husband have been feeding the homeless for over twelve years. Today she draws both her survival experiences and her love for people, especially young people, into her writing seeking not only to give her readers a firm understanding of her stories’ characters, but a rich appreciation of nature. 


Deception Peak by Dianne Lynn Gardner
Genre: YA Fantasy
228 pages
Teenage Ian Wilson follows his father through a portal into a deceptively beautiful Realm, where horses run free, the wind sings prophetic melodies, and their computer avatars come to life.
But separation from his father puts Ian in peril as he’s abducted by a tribe of dragon worshippers and forced to find his courage.
As he struggles for his freedom and embarks on a perilous search for his father, Ian meets the true peacekeepers of the Realm and learns of a greater purpose for his being in there.
(This is the first novel of the Ian’s Realm Saga) 

“DECEPTION PEAK is well-named. Nothing is what it first seems in this lively tale of adventure…You won’t be able to put this book down as you struggle up Deception Peak along with Ian in the perilous quest to save his father from certain death. Will either of them survive the journey? And if they do, will they be stuck forever in the Realm?” ~ Peggy King Anderson 
SCBWI-WA Lifetime Achievement Award, 2011

 “I really enjoyed reading this book and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good adventure story! ”Author Virginia L. Jennings

 “It's descriptive and action packed. ” 

 Please use the below for the buy links! 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (122)

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

Looking forward to reading Undone by Cat Clarke which will we can expect to be out in January 2013!


Jem Halliday is in love with her gay best friend. Not exactly ideal, but she's learning to live with it. Then the unspeakable happens. Kai is outed online ... and he kills himself. Jem knows nothing she can say or do will bring him back. But she wants to know who was responsible. And she wants to take them down. A searing story of love, revenge and betrayal from a bestselling author.

What are you waiting on??

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter Book trailer

This sounds like it would be a good read!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

In My Mailbox (124)

In My Mailbox is a weekly post created by The Story Siren.

For Review:

Silverbirch: Fall of the Epicenter by Robert Kaay



What did you get in your IMM?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (121)

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for!

I'm so looking forward to Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine, the 13th book in the Morganville Vampire Series.  If you haven't read these I suggest you pick up Glass Houses the first book and give it a go!  Bitter Blood will be out 24th October so don't miss out!

Thanks to the eradication of the parasitic creatures known as the draug, the vampires of Morganville have been freed of their usual constraints. With the vampires indulging their every whim, the town’s human population is determined to hold on to their lives by taking up arms. But college student Claire Danvers isn’t about to take sides, considering she has ties to both the humans and the vampires. To make matters worse, a television show comes to Morganville looking for ghosts, just as vampire and human politics collide. Now, Claire and her friends have to figure out how to keep the peace without ending up on the nightly news… or worse.

What are you waiting on?

Monday, October 1, 2012

MBOB: Breaking Dawn Part 2 Trailer

I haven't yet seen Part one of Breaking Dawn but I must say that Part 2 rocks BIG TIME!!!  Hope you all enjoy!


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