Monday, April 30, 2012

Cover Reveal: Closed Hearts by Susan K Quinn

Cover Reveal for Closed Hearts

Coming May 23rd...
Closed Hearts (Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy)
When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.

Eight months ago, Kira Moore revealed to the mindreading world that mindjackers like herself were hidden in their midst. Now she wonders if telling the truth was the right choice after all. As wild rumors spread, a powerful anti-jacker politician capitalizes on mindreaders’ fears and strips jackers of their rights. While some jackers flee to Jackertown—a slum rife with jackworkers who trade mind control favors for cash—Kira and her family hide from the readers who fear her and jackers who hate her. But when a jacker Clan member makes Kira’s boyfriend Raf collapse in her arms, Kira is forced to save the people she loves by facing the thing she fears most: FBI agent Kestrel and his experimental torture chamber for jackers.
 

Release Date: May 23rd, 2012

Click Here to sign up for the Virtual Launch Party on May 23rd! There will be prizes, reviews, bonus content, did I mention prizes? Come join the fun!

PRAISE FOR
Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)

Being a fan of dystopian and sci-fi in young adult books this was exactly the type of book I was hoping to fall in love with and absolutely did ...YA readers who love authors like Ally Condie, Veronica Roth, Lauren Oliver and others would be missing out if they failed to pick up Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn. Join Kira on her journey to save her fellow mindjackers and potentially change the landscape of her world forever.”
Danielle Smith, book blogger at There’s a Book

Susan plunges readers into a compelling and frightening world where nearly everyone can read minds when they come of age. The very idea makes me shudder. This is easily one of the best books I've read not only this year, but in recent years.”
Heather McCorkle, author of The Secret of Spruce Knoll

"Susan Kaye Quinn's Open Minds is an edge-of-the-seat YA sci-fi, where 16 year-old Kira dodges psychological bullets from all sides."  — Catherine Stine, author of Fireseed One

Open Minds $2.99 on Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes&Noble, and iTunes

Susan Kaye Quinn, Author
Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. She pursued a bunch of engineering degrees and worked a lot of geeky jobs, including turns at GE Aircraft Engines, NASA, and NCAR. Now that she writes novels, her business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist" and she doesn't have to sneak her notes anymore. All that engineering comes in handy when dreaming up paranormal powers in future worlds or mixing science with fantasy to conjure slightly plausible inventions. Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as much as she can handle.

Way too often, you can find Susan on her blog, facebook, and twitter.

Susan’s Other Works


In His Eyes Anthology (includes Mind Games, a short prequel to Open Minds)
Life, Liberty, and Pursuit (a teen love story)
Full Speed Ahead (short afterstory to Life, Liberty, and Pursuit)


Friday, April 27, 2012

Winter's Light by M.J. Hearle Teaser Trailer

Check this out!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spellbound Noticeboard (28)



Welcome to Spellbound Noticeboard. Here is where Authors, Bloggers and others can send in anything that you'd like promoted. Competitions, book releases, blog events etc. This is your spot! So feel free to send me a line if you have anything book related (Including books made into movies) and I'll be sure to post these up! I'll also be including features etc that I come across to help spread the word for other Authors and bloggers! Just email me at melissa@spellboundbybooks.com 


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Win $100 in Gifts from GoneReading, plus $25 from Amazon!

This is an awesome giveaway so please don't miss out.  All you need to do is register!

Follow Gone Reading on Facebook or Twitter to follow along!

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Enjoy!!

Sneak Peek : Excerpt Three of Teri Terry's Slated


Thanks to the awesome Laure from Hatchette Children's Books, here is the 3rd excerpt of Slated by Teri Terry.
The last excerpt will be posted on the 3rd May so stay tuned!


*-*-*-*-*-*

I drift through trees, spin and sprawl down on grass and daisies on the ground, alone. I stare at clouds drifting across the sky, making half known shapes and faces. Names slip away if I grasp at them, so I let them wash past: just lie still and be me.

It is time. Like mist I bleed away until I am gone.
Trees and sky are replaced by the darkness of closed eyelids, tickling grass by solid bed.

Quiet. Why is it so quiet? My body knows it is later than 5 am but no buzzer has sounded, no breakfast trolleys clang up and down the hall.
I lie very still, hold my breath, and listen.

Gentle, even breathing. Close by. Did I black out last night, is there a Watcher in my room? If so, it sounds like they sleep rather than watch.

There are faint cheerful sounds in the other direction, a distant rise and fall, like music. Birds?
Something warm by my feet.
I’m not in my room at hospital. My eyes snap open as I remember.

Not a Watcher at all across the room: Amy, sound asleep and breathing deeply, like Sebastian at my feet.
She is a new sort of the same thing, maybe.
I slip quiet to the window, pull the curtain.
Dawn.

Red streaks cross the sky, pockets of pink in wisps of cloud, like corrugated twists of metal, light shining through on grass and wet leaves, in wild splashes of colour. Orange, gold, red and all in between.
Beautiful.

My hospital window faced west. Sunsets I’ve seen, mostly blocked by buildings, true, but never a sunrise.

The birds have friends, and the faint song from earlier becomes more as they join in. I push the
window open wide, lean out and breathe. The air is fresh, no metallic or disinfectant smells. Damp greenness, of garden below and fields beyond that shimmer in the early light.

And somehow, I know. The city was never mine.  I was – am – a country girl. Sure of it like breathing, certain this is a place that is more like home to me.
Not like home, it is home: yesterday, today, how many more future days I do not know.
But before I became who I am now, too. Dr Lysander says I fancy things in my subconscious, that
there is no way to know if they are true or not.
Applying sense to the unknown to order it, just the way I draw diagrams, maps. Faces.

Below, the glistening grass, fallen leaves in swirling patterns of so many rich colours, and most especially the fading flowers along the house, all beckon. All yearn to be captured, ordered, to become lines on paper. I pull the window in quietly and slip across the room. Amy lies silent and still, chest movements slight and even.

Two green eyes watch from the end of my bed.
‘Meow!’
‘Ssssh. Don’t wake Amy,’ I whisper, and run a hand across Sebastian’s fur. He stretches and yawns.

Where are my sketching things? Amy unpacked my bag yesterday afternoon. I was too fuzzy headed to get involved, all the new things and people taking too much attention.

I open one drawer, then another; carefully and quietly, until I find them: my folder of drawings, sketch pad and pencils.

I take them out and underneath spy chocolates, given to me as a parting gift by the tenth floor nurses that last morning. Just yesterday, I realise, surprised.
It seems longer ago than that; already part of my past.

My levels are 6.1. Not low at all. I don’t need a chocolate. But who needs an excuse? I open the lid.
‘Interesting choice for breakfast,’ Amy says, then
sits up and yawns. ‘Are you an early bird?’
I look at her blankly.
‘Do you always wake up early?’
I consider. ‘I think so,’ I say, finally. ‘Though that could be because at the hospital you have no choice.’

‘Oh, I remember that. Horrible morning buzzer. Breakfast by six.’ She shudders.
‘Want one?’ I hold out the box.
‘Oooh, tempting. Maybe later, when I’m more awake. What is that?’ She points at the folder in my
other hand.
‘My drawings.’
‘Can I see?’

I hesitate. I rarely show them to anyone, though Dr Lysander insisted on checking through them now and then.
‘You don’t have to show me if you don’t want to.’
I sit next to her and open the folder, pull out the sheets of paper. Amy exclaims at the one on top. A selfportrait. Me, but different: half as I am in the mirror,
the other half skin missing, eyeball hanging from an empty socket.

‘May I?’ she holds out a hand, and I pass the drawing to her.
But that wasn’t on top before. I start flipping through the sheets.

‘You’re so good, this is amazing.’
Not enough of them, not as thick a sheaf as it should be. Where are they?
‘What’s wrong?’
‘Some of my drawings are missing.’
‘Are you sure?’
I nod. And look through them more slowly.

Those of me, my room, imagined people and
places, are present and accounted for. Many others are not.
‘I’m sure. Almost half of them are gone.’
‘What were they?’
‘All sorts of things. Nurses. My floor of the
hospital, maps of different areas, rooms. Dr Lysander.
And—’

‘Did you say, Dr Lysander?’ Amy’s eyes open wide.
I nod, still looking through the sheets, convinced if I look hard enough, they will all be there.
‘The Dr Lysander? Do you actually know her?’
I stop looking. They’re not here. Gone. Bzzzz. A warning from my wrist: 4.3 and falling.

Amy slips an arm across my shoulders. I’m shaking, but not from cold. Who would do this: take the only things I have that are mine.
‘You can make more drawings. Can’t you?’ 3.9 and falling.
‘Kyla! Look at me.’
Amy gives me a shake. ‘Look,’ she repeats.
I tear my eyes from my self-portrait, from the dead eye in the socket. To Amy. Worry and fear for me in her eyes, whoever I am.
3.4…
‘Kyla, you can draw me. Do it, now.’
She pulls the sketch pad from the back, puts a pencil in my hand.
I draw.




*-*-*-*-*-*


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (101)


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!

After reading Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta I can't wait to read Quintana of Charyn.  This won't be released until October 2012 so it's a little bit of a wait!

Synopsis:

I haven't been able to find a synopsis yet but that won't stop me from sharing this with all of you.

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Slated by Teri Terry

Title:  Slated
Author:  Teri Terry
Genre:  Young Adult/Dystopian/Sci-Fi
Publisher:  Hatchette Childrens Books (Orchard Books)
Publication Date:  3rd May 2012 
ISBN:  9781408319468
Stand alone or series:   Series
Pages:  448 pages
Book Received from:  Orchard Books (Publisher) Proof copy
First Lines:  I run.  Fists of waves claw the sand as I force one foot to pound after another.

Synopsis:
Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

She’s been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?


My Thoughts:
Wow where to start.  I haven't come across any books with concepts even close to the storyline in Slated.  It's got to be one of the more unique stories to date!

We are introduced to Kyla, a nervous girl awaiting to meet her parents in the hospital for the first time.  She has a levo attached to her wrist that measures her moods and if it drops to low things get bad.  I guess you could call it her happy meter of sorts.  Did I mention that she just fifteen?  Yeah so that throws a spin on everything as well.

Kyla has been slated, or in other words been given a second chance with her mind wiped clean after the government accuses her of being a terrorist.  She's placed with a new family, starts in a new school and has absolutely no recollection of the crimes she has supposedly been accused of and must learn how to do everything again.  Which most of this is learned at the hospital before she leaves.

Kyla is a quiet character but different to the other slated as she picks things up quickly and begins to notice and remember things she's not supposed to remember.  I really enjoyed reading from her POV which is told in First Person Present tense so it really brought me into the here and now in the story!  Jazz is another character I really liked but was a little unsure in the beginning though.

I also loved how Teri changed my opinions on each character the further into the story I got.  I won't name which ones as I don't want to give anything away but I was surprised by the small shift in their personality as we get to know them throughout the course of the novel.

This is one book you are going to want to pick up.  I'm not sure that everyone will warm up to Kyla as a main character but I truly loved every bit of her as a character.  Not to mention the dystopian setting of the novel!  Slated is one of those reads where it will be nothing what you expected to be and every bit as much engaging.

Recommended read!

Fave Line:  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sela by Jackie Gamber

Title:  Sela
Author:  Jackie Gamber
Genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy
Publisher:  Seventh Star Press
Publication Date:  18th March 2012
Stand alone or series:   Leland Dragon Series #2
Pages:  256 pages
Book Received from:  Seventh Star Press
First Lines:  Sela's art was dead inside, just like her hoper.  But she tried.


Possible spoilers if you haven't read Red Heart

Synopsis:
Peace was fleeting. Vorham Riddess, Venur of Esra Province, covets the crystal ore buried deep in Leland's mountains. His latest device to obtain it: land by marriage to a Leland maiden. But that's not all.
Among Dragonkind, old threats haunt Mount Gore, and shadows loom in the thoughts of the Red who restored life to land and love. A dragon hunter, scarred from countless battles, discovers he can yet suffer more wounds.
In the midst of it all, Sela Redheart is lost, driven from her home with only her old uncle to watch over her. As the dragon-born child of Kallon, the leader of Leland's Dragon Council, she is trapped in human form with no understanding of how she transformed, or how to turn back.
Wanderers seek a home, schemes begin to unfurl, and all is at risk as magic and murder, marriage and mystery strangle the heart of Esra. A struggle for power far older and deeper than anyone realizes will leave no human or dragon unaffected.
In a world where magic is born of feeling, where the love between a girl and a dragon was once transformative, what power dwells in the heart of young Sela?



My Thoughts:
Jackie has done it once again.  Sela, the second book in the Leland Dragon series is about the daughter of Kallon and Riza who is stuck in human form after a frightening encounter.  She lives with her Uncle Orman a wizard who has been able to keep her out of the spotlight up until now.

I was completely absorbed with this book from beginning to finish.  So many wonderful characters in this story that I just don't know where to start.  Sela the main character is a naive young woman trapped in a human and kept away from her parents for her safety.  Not that she's happy of this.  I really liked her spirit from start to finish.  She just had that way about her that you could just fall in love with her as a character.

Banon was another absolute favourite of mine.  From the first run in with Sela to the castle scenes I couldn't help but think of him as a charming guy.

Jackie has done a brilliant job of really bringing the reader in amongst the action.  I was so absorbed that I didn't realise the pages flying by until I hit the final climax of the book and I've thought, "Is this over already?".  

While I don't want to reveal too much of the story, if you loved Red Heart you will not be disappointed in the next instalment in the Leland Dragon series.  Looking forward to book number three!

Fave Line:  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (109)


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

For Review:


Fated by Alyson Noel


Thanks to Pan Macmillan for this!



Thank you to Brian for sending this to me.

Bought:
N/A


What did you get in your IMM?

Friday, April 20, 2012

TGIF (23) Book Blogger Influences


TGIF is a weekly feature created and hosted by Ginger at GReads! that re-caps the week’s posts and has different question each week.


This Friday's Question:
Book Blogger Influences: Has there been a particular book blogger who's influenced what you read? Share with us a review/book blog that convinced you to pick up a certain book.

There have been a number of Book Blogger influences over the last couple of years.  I think the biggest one would be The Story Siren.  There is so much going on that there is always something awesome posted up when I go to look.

Ink Crush is another very awesome blog that I frequent!  She's an Aussie blogger too so that makes it super awesome knowing that!  She lists alot of Aussie YA reading material but it's not limited to just that.  If you have time, make sure to check it out!

This weeks Posts:


Has there been a particular book blogger who's influenced what you read?


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sneak Peek : Excerpt Two of Teri Terry's Slated

Thanks to the awesome Laure from Hatchette Children's Books, here is the 2nd excerpt of Slated by Teri Terry.
The third excerpt will be posted on the 26th April so stay tuned!

*-*-*-*-*-*

Dad pulls my bag out of the boot and walks towards
the house, whistling, keys in hand. Mum and Amy get
out of the car, then turn back when I don’t follow.
‘Come along, Kyla.’ Mum’s voice is impatient.
I push at the door, hard and then harder, but
nothing happens. I look up at Mum, my stomach
beginning to twist as the look on her face matches her tone.
Then Amy opens the door from the outside. ‘You
pull this handle down, on the inside of the door, and
then push it open. All right?’
She shuts the door again, and I grasp the handle
and do as she says. The door swings open and step
out, glad to straighten my legs and stretch after so
long in the car. One hour had turned to three due to
traffic delays and diversions, and had Mum getting
more annoyed as each one passed.

Mum grabs my wrist. ‘Look. 4.4 just because she can’t work out a door. God, this is going to be hard
work.’
And I want to object, say that is unfair and it isn’t
the door but how you are being about it. But I don’t
know what I should or shouldn’t say. Instead I say
nothing and bite the inside of my cheek, hard.
Amy slips an arm across my shoulders as Mum
follows Dad inside. ‘She doesn’t mean it; she’s just
cranky that your first dinner is going to be late.
Anyhow, you haven’t been in a car before, have you?
How should you know?’
She pauses and I don’t know what to say, again, but
this time it is because she is being nice. So I try a smile, a small one, but it is for real this time.
Amy smiles back and hers is wider. ‘Have a look
around before we go in?’ she says.
Where the car is parked to the right of the house is
all small stones that crunch and move underfoot as we walk. A square of green grass covers the front garden, a massive tree – oak? – to the left. Its leaves are a mix of yellow, orange and red, some spilling messily underneath. Leaves fall in autumn I remind myself, and what is it now? The 13th of September. There are a few red and pink straggly flowers either side of the front door, petals dropping on the ground. And, all around me, so much space. So quiet after the hospital, and London. I stand on the grass and breathe the cool air in deep. It tastes damp and full of life and the ending of life, like those fallen leaves.
‘Come in?’ Amy says, and I follow her through the
front door into the hall. Leading off it is a room with
sofas and lamps, tables. A huge flat black screen
dominates one wall. A TV? It is much bigger than the one they had in recreation at the hospital, not that they let me near it after the first time. Watching made my nightmares worse.
This room leads to another: there are long work
surfaces, with cupboards above and below. And a
massive oven that Mum is bending over just now,
putting a pan inside.
‘Go to your room and unpack before dinner, Kyla,’
Mum says, and I jump.
Amy takes my hand. ‘This way,’ she says, and pulls
me back to the hall. I follow her up the stairs, to
another hall with three doors and more stairs going up.
‘We’re on this floor, Mum and Dad upstairs. See,
this is my door.’ She points to the right. ‘That one at
the end is the bathroom, we’ll share. They have their own one upstairs. And this is your room.’ She points left.
I look at Amy.
‘Go on.’
The door is part open; I push it and go in.
Much bigger than my hospital room. My bag is
already on the floor where Dad must have put it. There is a dressing table with drawers and a mirror above it, a wardrobe next. No sink. A big wide window that looks out over the front of the house.
Twin beds.
Amy comes in and sits on one of them. ‘We thought we’d put two in here to start with; I can stay with you at night if you want me to. The nurse said it might be a good idea, until you get settled.’
She doesn’t say the rest but I can tell. They must
have told them. In case I have nightmares. I often do and if no one is there fast enough when I wake, I drop too low and my Levo knocks me out.
I sit on the other bed. There is something round, black and furry on it; I reach out a hand, then stop.
‘Go on. That is Sebastian, our cat. He is very
friendly.’
I touch his fur lightly with a fingertip. Warm, and soft.
He stirs, and the ball unwinds as he stretches out his paws, puts his head back and yawns.
I have seen pictures of cats before, of course. But
this is different. He is so much more than a flat image: living and breathing fishy breath, silky fur rippling as he stretches, big yellow-green eyes staring back into mine.
‘Meow,’ he says and I jump.
Amy gets up, leans across.
‘Stroke him, like this,’ she says, and runs a hand
along his fur from his head down to his tail. I copy her, and he makes a sound, a deep rumbling that vibrates from his throat through his body.
‘What is that?’
Amy smiles.
‘He’s purring. It means he likes you.’
Later it is dark out the window, and Amy is asleep
across the room. Sebastian still purrs faintly beside me when I stroke him. The door is part open for the cat, and sounds drift up the stairs. Clattering kitchen noises. Voices.
‘She’s a quiet little thing, isn’t she.’ Dad.
‘You can say that again. Nothing like Amy was: she
wouldn’t stop giggling and talking from the first day
she came through the door, would she?’
‘Still won’t,’ he says, and laughs.
‘She is a different girl, all right. A bit odd if you ask
me; those great green eyes just stare and stare.’
‘Oh, she is quite sweet. Give her a chance to get
settled.’
‘It is her last chance, isn’t it.’
‘Hush.’
And a door shuts downstairs and I hear no more.
Just a faint murmur.
I hadn’t wanted to leave the hospital. Not that I
wanted to stay there forever, but within those walls, I knew where I was. How I fit, what was expected.

Here all is unknown.
But it isn’t as scary as I thought. Already I can see
Amy is lovely. Dad seems all right. I’m guessing
Sebastian will be better than chocolate to pull me back from the edge if I get low. And the food is much better.
My first Sunday roast dinner. We do this every week, Amy said.
Dinner and, not a shower, but a bath – a whole hot
tub to soak in – had me at nearly 7 by bedtime.
Mum thinks I am odd. I must remember not to stare at her so much.
Sleep settles around me and her words drift through my brain.
Last chance…
Have I had other chances?
Last chance…
I run.
Waves claw at the sand under my feet as I force one foot
to pound after the other, again and again. Ragged breath
sucked in and out until my lungs might burst, and still I run.
Golden sand gives way under my feet and stretches on and on
as far as my eyes can see, and still I scrabble up and slip down
and run.
Terror snaps at my heels.
It’s getting closer.
I could turn and face it, see what it is.
I run.

*
‘Ssssh, I’ve got you.’
I struggle then realise it is Amy whose arms are around me.
The door opens and light streams in from the hall.
‘What is going on?’ Mum says.
Amy answers. ‘Just a bad dream, but you’re all
right, now. Aren’t you, Kyla?’
My heart rate is slowing; vision, clearing. I push her away.
‘Yes. I’m fine.’
I say the words, but part of me is still running.

*-*-*-*-*-*

Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (100)


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 came across this on the Fiction Enthusiast's blog over the weekend and thought I HAVE to have this!  It's called Breathe by Sarah Crossan and will be out on the 2nd October.

Synopsis:
Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe . . .

The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

ALINA
has been stealing for a long time. She’s a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she’s never been caught before. If she’s careful, it’ll be easy. If she’s careful.

QUINN
should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it’s also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn’t every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

BEA
wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they’d planned a trip together, the two of them, and she’d hoped he’d discover her out here, not another girl.

And as they walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

Pre-order Breathe at Book Depository now!

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

Author:  Melina Marchetta
Genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy
Publisher:  Penguin Australia 
Publication Date:  3rd October 2011
ISBN:  9780670076086
Stand alone or series:   #2 Lumatere Chronicles
Pages:  608 pages
Book Received from:  Penguin Australia (Publisher)
First Lines:  They call her Quintana the cursemaker.  The last female born to Charyn, eighteen years past.


Possible spoilers for those that have not read Finnikin of the Rock
Synopsis:
Blood sings to blood, Froi . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more.
Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home - or so he believes.
Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.
And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.



My Thoughts:
I was a bit hesitant to picks this up to begin with.  The size alone is large for a YA novel and not only that, this was going to follow Froi of the Exiles.  The POV's do change throughout the story but I wasn't sure if I was going to like Froi.  In Finnikin of the Rock, he's almost savage, knowing no manners and being reduced to the most base of boys coming of age.  To my surprise, the story of Froi of the Exiles takes place three years later and he has come a long way.  In saying that there are still hints of his dark past laced throughout the book but I found myself completely absorbed with his POV all the way through.

We get to see what is happening with Froi, Beatriss, Lucian the Mont and Finnikin and Isaboe throughout the story but alot of my attention was drawn to Froi's travels to Citavita and the curse that lay about the Charynites 18 years ago.  While not going into too much detail we get to find more about Froi's past as well which gives him more depth as a character.

Another character in this book that we are introduced to is Quintana, a strange princess that lives in the Citavita.  One moment she's strange the next she's almost normal, and I really liked how this character stood out from the rest of the others even if she was a little crazy.  Actually now that I think about it, it was because she was crazy that I loved her.  So blunt and to the point at times then others as innocent as a little girl.  Such a complex character.

Like I said, the story is long but it's one that you will want to savour every page and absorb the words completely.  I love how Melina has created the land of Skuldenore.  She has really brought them to life that I can see the places, the landscapes, the people.  I also love how there are maps situated at the beginning of the book and I felt myself constantly going back and forth following each characters journey throughout the lands.   This is a big winner for me as I used to struggle to visualise purely fictional places when I was younger.

After reading this I'm itching to read the third book in The Lumatere Chronicles but I must say I felt this was for the higher end of the young adult market, possibly for at least fourteen and above as there are discussions of mature nature laced throughout.

If you haven't picked up Froi of Exiles yet I recommend this read but make sure to read Finnikin of the Rock as there are references throughout the book that link back to the first book.  Don't be intimidated by the size of this book either.  After turning the last page I wished the book was just a tad bigger.  Just sayin'.

Fave Line:  "..it is what you do for strangers that counts in the end." Page 163

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox (108)


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

For Review:


Winter's Light by M.J. Hearle


a BIG thank you to Pan Macmillan for sending this to me!!

Bought:


N/a

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock Book Trailer

I just love this trailer. It makes me want to pick up this book and read it. What do you think of this

Friday, April 13, 2012

TGIF (22) Musical Stories


TGIF is a weekly feature created and hosted by Ginger at GReads! that re-caps the week’s posts and has different question each week.


This Friday's Question:
Musical Stories: If you could read a book about any song, which song would you love to see written down in story form?

I thought I'd really struggle with this one but when I scrolled through the list of songs in my phone I could have picked quite a few that I would love to see in book form so here's mine.

Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri.  This could be taken quite literally and be turned into a Paranormal about a guy collecting hearts in his jar and a girl who has survived him and determined to do what she must to stop him from coming back for her.  How spooky would that be ;)

No, I can't take one more step towards you
'Cause all that's waiting is regret
Don't you know I'm not your ghost anymore
You lost the love I loved the most

I learned to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

[Chorus:]
And who do you think you are?
Runnin' 'round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Who do you think you are?

I hear you're asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms

And I've learned to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

[Chorus:]
And who do you think you are?
Runnin' 'round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Who do you think you are?

Dear, It took so long just to feel alright
Remember how to put back the light in my eyes
I wish I had missed the first time that we kissed
'Cause you broke all your promises
And now you're back
You don't get to get me back

[Chorus: x2]
And who do you think you are?
Runnin' 'round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
Don't come back for me
Don't come back at all

Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are?

'


My second pick would be Run For Your Life by The Fray.  Just listening to the words makes you think  how much of a tough story it would be to write. Both songs I picture being paranormal stories.   



Seventeen years by her side
Broke the same bread
Wore the same clothes and we said
We're sisters with nothing between
If one of us fall
The other will soon be following

Both of you fell the same day
You don't know why
One of you never woke up
And you laid your body down on the floor
You're desperate to hear her footsteps again
But this house is on fire, we need to go

Oh, you don't have to go it alone, go it alone

Run for your life, my love
Run and you don't give up
It's all that you are
All that you want
I will be close behind
Run for your life

She had a fire inside
And that terrified you
You swore that you'd never lose your control
Baby, let yourself go
'cause part of you hides
And I know the hunger inside of you's strong
You can only hold back the river so long

Oh, you don't have to go it alone
Oh, you don't have to go it alone, go it alone

Run for your life, my love
Run and you don't give up
All that you are
All that you want
Run for your life right now
And if you don't know how
I’ll come back with you and take all that’s true
And leave all that's burned behind
Run for your life

Oh, you don't have to go it alone
Go it alone, go it alone,

Run for your life, my love
Run and you don't give up
All that you are
All that you want
Run for your life right now
And if you don't know how
I’ll come back with you and take all that’s true
Leave all that's burned behind

So run for your life
Run for your life




This Week's Posts:


If you could read a book about any song, which song would you love to see written down in story form?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sneak Peek : Excerpt One of Teri Terry's Slated

Thanks to the awesome Laure from Hatchette Children's Books I've been lucky enough to be given 1 of 4 excerpts from Teri Terry's book Slated which will be released in May 5th.  Hope you all enjoy!  Stay tuned as the next excerpt will be 19th April.




*-*-*-*-*-*
Prologue


I run.
Fists of waves claw the sand as I force one foot to pound after the other. Scramble up, slip down, repeat. Faster. Eyes fixed on dunes ahead. Don’t look back. Mustn't look. Ragged breath; in, out; in, out. Still I run.
Just when lungs might burst and heart explode, a crimson star on the sand, I stumble.
A man turns back. He pulls me to my feet and urges me on.
It’s getting closer.
I cannot stand, and fall again. I can run no more.
He kneels to hold me, and looks in my eyes. ‘It’s time. Quick, now! Put up the wall.’
Closer.
So I build it, brick by brick. Row by row. A high tower, like Rapunzel’s, but this has no window, nowhere to lower my hair.
No chance of rescue.
‘Never forget who you are!’ he shouts, grips my shoulders and shakes me, hard.
A blanket of terror obliterates the sea. The sand. His words, the bruises on my arms and pain in my chest and legs.
It’s here.


Chapter One


Weird.
All right, I haven’t got much experience on which to base this judgement. I may be sixteen and I’m not slow or backward and haven’t been locked in a cupboard since birth – so far as I know – but Slating does that to you. Makes you lacking in experience. It takes a while for everything to stop being firsts. First words, first steps, first spider on the wall, first stubbed toe. You get the idea: first everything.
So today feeling weird and unknown could just be that.
But I am biting my nails and sitting here waiting for Mum, Dad and Amy to pick me up at hospital and take me home, and I don’t know who they are. I don’t know where ‘home’ is. I don’t know nothing. How can that not be…weird?
Bzzzz: a gentle warning vibration from the Levo atmy wrist. I look down: I’ve dropped to 4.4, the wrong side of happy. So I have a square of chocolate and it starts a slow climb up as I savour the taste and watch.
‘Much more of your nerves, and you’re going to get fat.’
I jump.
Dr Lysander is framed in the door. Tall, thin and white-coated. Dark hair pulled straight back. Thick glasses. She glides, silent as a ghost the whispers say, always seems to know before it happens when someone falls into red. But she’s not like some of the nurses who can bring you back with a hug. She isn’t exactly what you would call nice.
‘It’s time, Kyla. Come.’
‘Do I have to? Can’t I stay here?’
She shakes her head. An impatient flick of her eyes says I’ve heard this a million times before. Or, at least, 19,417 times before, as 19,418 is the number on my Levo.
‘No. You know that isn’t possible. We need the room. Come.’
She turns, walks out the door. I pick up my bag to follow. It is everything I have but it’s not heavy.
Before I shut the door, I see: my four walls. Two pillows, one blanket. One wardrobe. The sink with a chip on the right side the only thing to mark my room as any different from the endless row of boxy rooms on this floor and others. The first things I remember.
For nine months, the boundaries of my universe. This and Dr Lysander’s office and the gym and school one floor down with others like me.
Bzzzz: more insistent now, it vibrates up my arm, demanding attention. Levo’s dropped to 4.1.
Too low.
Dr Lysander turns, clucks under her breath. She bends down so we are eye to eye, and touches a hand to my cheek. Another first.
‘Truly, you will be fine. And I’ll see you once a fortnight to start with.’
She smiles. A rare stretching of lips across teeth that looks uncomfortable on her face, as if unsure how it got there or what to do once it did. I am so surprised I forget my fear and start to climb away from red.
She nods, straightens and walks down the hall to the lift.
We go silent down ten floors to ‘Ground’, then down a short hall to another door. One I haven’t been through before for obvious reasons. Over the top it says ‘P&R’: Processing and Release. Once you pass through this door, you are never seen again.
‘Go on,’ she says.
I hesitate, then push the door part open. I turn to say goodbye, or please don’t leave me, or both, but she is already disappearing into the lift with a swish of white coat and dark hair.
My heart is thumping too fast. I breathe in and out, and count each time to ten until it begins to slow, like they taught us; then square my shoulders and push the door open wider. Over the threshold is a long room with a door at the far end, plastic chairs along one wall, two other Slateds sitting with a regulation bag like mine on the floor in front of them. I recognise both of them from lessons, though I’ve been here much longer. Like me, they are out of the pale blue cotton overalls we always wear, and into actual jeans. Just another uniform, then? They are smiling, thrilled to be leaving hospital at last with their families.
Never mind that they’ve never met them before.
A nurse at a desk on the other wall looks up. I stand in the doorway, reluctant to let it shut behind me. She frowns slightly, and flicks her hand to beckon me in.
‘Come. Are you Kyla? You must check in with me before you can check out,’ she says, and smiles widely.
I force my feet forward to her desk; my Levo vibrates as the door shuts with a swoosh behind. She grabs my hand and scans my Levo just as it vibrates harder: 3.9. She shakes her head and holds my arm tight with one hand, and jabs a syringe into my shoulder with the other.
‘What is that?’ I ask, pulling away and rubbing my arm, though I am pretty sure I know.
‘Just something to keep you level until you are somebody else’s problem. Sit down until your name is called.’
My stomach is churning. I sit. The other two look at me with wide eyes. I can feel the Happy Juice begin to ease through my veins, taking the edge off, but it doesn’t stop my thoughts even as my Levo slowly rises to 5.
What if my parents don’t like me? Even when I really try – which, to be fair, isn’t all the time – people don’t seem to warm to me. They get annoyed like Dr Lysander when I don’t do or say what they expect.
What if I don’t like them? All I know are their names. All I have is one photograph, framed and hung on my hospital room wall, and now tucked in my bag. David, Sandra and Amy Davis: Dad, Mum and older sister. They smile at the camera and look pleasant enough, but who knows what they are really like?
But at the end of it all, none of this matters, because no matter who they are, I have to make them like me.
Failure is not an option.


Chapter Two


‘Processing’ doesn’t involve much. I am scanned, photographed, finger printed and weighed.
It turns out ‘Release’ is the tricky bit. The nurse explains on the way that I need to say hello to my mum and dad, that they and I will sign some papers to say we are all now one big happy family, and then we will leave together to live happily ever after. Of course I spot the problem, straight away: what if they take one look at me, and refuse to sign? What then?


‘Stand up straight! And smile,’ she hisses, then pushes me through a door.
I paste a wide smile on my face, convinced it won’t transform me from scared and miserable to angelic and happy; more like, demented.
I stand in the doorway, and there they are. I almost expect to see them posed like they are in the photograph, wearing the same things, like dolls. But each of them is in different clothes, different positions, and the details fight for notice: too much at once, all threatening to overwhelm and send me into the red, even with the Happy Juice still lingering in my veins. I hear the teacher’s bored voice, over and over again with the same words, as if she were standing there next to me: one thing at a time, Kyla.
I focus on their eyes and leave the rest for later. Dad’s are grey, unreadable, contained; Mum’s soft flecked light brown, impatient eyes that remind me of Dr Lysander, like they miss nothing. And my sister is there, too: wide dark almost black eyes stare curiously back at mine, set in glowing skin like chocolate velvet. When the photo was sent weeks ago, I’d asked why Amy was so different to my parents and me, and was told sharply that race is irrelevant and no longer worthy of notice or comment under the glorious Central Coalition. But how can you not see?
The three of them sit in chairs at a desk, opposite another man. All eyes are on me but no one says anything. My smile feels more and more like an unnatural thing, like an animal that died and is now stuck on my face in a death grimace.
Then Dad jumps out of his chair. ‘Kyla, we’re so pleased to welcome you to our family.’ And he smiles and takes my hand, kisses my cheek, his rough with whiskers. His smile is warm, and real.
Then Mum and Amy are there, too, all three of them towering inches taller than my five foot nothing. Amy slips an arm through mine, and strokes my hair. ‘Such a beautiful colour, like corn silk. So soft!’
And Mum smiles then too, but hers is more like mine.
The man at the desk clears his throat, and shuffles some papers. ‘Signatures, please?’
And Mum and Dad sign where he points, then Dad gives me the pen.
‘Sign here, Kyla,’ the man says, and points to a blank line at the end of a long document, ‘Kyla Davis’ typed underneath.
‘What is it?’ I say, the words out before I can think before you speak like Dr Lysander is always telling me.
The man at the desk raises his eyebrows, as surprise then irritation crosses his face. ‘Standard release from mandated treatment to external sentencing. Sign.’
‘Can I read it, first?’ I say, some stubborn streak making me go on even as another part whispers bad idea.
His eyes narrow, and he sighs. ‘Yes. You can. Everyone, prepare to wait while Miss Davis exercises her legal rights.’
I flick through but it is a dozen pages of long, close typed print that swims before my eyes, and my heart starts thumping too fast again.
Dad puts a hand on my shoulder, and I turn. ‘It’s all right, Kyla. Go on,’ he says, his face calm, reassuring; his words and Mum’s the ones I must listen to from now on. And I begin to remember a nurse patiently explaining this all to me last week: that is part of what is in this contract.
I flush, and sign: Kyla Davis. Not just Kyla, any more: the name picked by an administrator when I first opened my eyes in this place nine months ago, after her aunt who she said had green eyes like mine. An actual second name that belongs to me, as part of this family. That is in this contract someplace, too.
‘Let me carry that,’ Dad says and takes my bag. Amy links her arm in mine, and we go through one last door.
Just like that, we leave behind everything I have ever known.




Mum and Dad study me in the car mirror as we spiral up out of the car park under the hospital towards the exit. Fair enough as I study them back.
They are probably wondering how they got two such mismatched daughters, and nothing to do with the skin colour I’m not supposed to notice.
Amy sits next to me in the back seat: tall and busty and three years older at nineteen. I am small and slight with wispy blond hair; hers is dark and thick and heavy. She is va-va-voom, like one of the male nurses says about another nurse he fancies. And I am…
My brain searches for a word the opposite of Amy and comes up empty. Maybe that, in itself, is the answer. I am a blank page. An uninteresting one at that.
Amy is wearing a flowing red patterned dress with long sleeves, but she pulls one up now so I can see her Levo. My eyes widen in surprise: so she was Slated, too. Her Levo is an older model, chunky and thick where mine is a thin gold chain with a small dial, meant to look like a watch or bracelet but fooling nobody.
‘I’m so happy you are my sister,’ she says, and she must mean it as it says 6.3 in big digital numbers.
We get to the gate; there are guards. One comes up to the car and others watch behind glass. Dad hits a few buttons and all the car windows and the boot open.
Mum, Dad and Amy pull up their sleeves and hold their hands out the windows, so I do the same. And the guard looks at Mum and Dad’s empty wrists and nods, then he goes to Amy and holds a thing over her Levo and it beeps. Then he does the same thing to mine, and it beeps, too. He looks in the boot and slams it shut.
A barrier in front of the car rises and we go through.
‘Kyla, what would you like to do today?’ Mum asks.
Mum is round and pointy, and no that isn’t ridiculous. Her shape is round and soft but her eyes and words are sharp.
The car pulls on to the road and I twist round. The hospital complex I know, but only from the inside. It stretches side to side and up and up. Endless rows of little barred windows. High fences and towers with guards at regular intervals. And…
‘Kyla, I asked you a question!’
I jump.
‘I don’t know,’ I say.
And Dad laughs.
‘Of course not, Kyla; don’t worry. Kyla doesn’t know what she wants to do, she doesn’t know what there is to do.’
‘Now Mum, you know,’ Amy says, and shakes her head. ‘Let’s go straight home. Let her get used to things for a bit, like the doctor said.’
‘Yes because doctors know everything,’ Mum sighs, and I get the sense of a long-standing argument.
Dad looks in the mirror. ‘Kyla, did you know that fifty percent of doctors finished in the bottom of their class?’
Amy laughs.
‘Honestly, David,’ Mum says, but she is smiling also. ‘Have you heard the one about the doctor who couldn’t tell his left from his right?’ Dad says, and launches into a long story of surgical errors that I hope never happened in my hospital.
But soon I forget all they are being and doing and saying, and stare out the window.


London.
A new picture begins to form in my mind. New London Hospital is losing its central place, shrinking in the sea of what surrounds it. Roads that go on and on, cars, buildings. Some near the hospital are blackened and boarded; more are full of life. Washing on balconies, plants, curtains billowing out windows. And everywhere: people. In cars, walking along the street. Crowds of people and shops and offices and still more crowds of people, rushing in all directions, ignoring the guards at the corners who get fewer the further away we are from the hospital.
Dr Lysander has asked me many times. Why do I have a compulsion to observe and know everything, memorise and map every relationship and position?
I don’t know. Maybe I don’t like feeling blank. There are so many details, missing, that need to be set right.
Within days of remembering how to put one foot in front of the other and not fall over, I’d walked and counted and mapped with pictures in my mind every floor of the hospital that was access allowed. I could have found each nurses’ station, lab and room by number blindfolded; I could close my eyes now and see it all before me.
But London is a different matter. A whole city. I’d have to go up and down every street to complete the map, and we seem to be on a direct line trip to ‘home’, a village an hour west of London.
I’d seen maps and pictures of course, at the hospital school. Hours every day they’d spoon feed us as much general knowledge as our blank brains could soak up to prepare us for release.
How much this was varied. With me I gripped each fact and memorised it, drawing and writing things over and over again in a notebook so I couldn’t forget. Most of the others were less receptive. Too busy smiling great dopey grins at everything and everybody. When we were Slated, they upped the happy in our psychic profiles.
If they upped the smiles in mine, they must have been non-existent to start with.

                                                                         *-*-*-*-*-*


So what do you think so far?  It's a fantastic read.  I've read this from start to finish and loved it.  Feel free to leave some comments down the bottom

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