Sunday, March 30, 2014

Best Series Blog Hop

Hello everybody! Today there will be a giveaway hosted by the fantastic Cuddlebuggery. Yay! The winner will win one book from any of the AMAZING completed and uncompleted series listed below.

Any of the books from the series below are eligible for the winning, even if the book is a pre-order!

Series Choices: Vampire Academy and Bloodlines Series, Fortune's Pawn (Paradox Trilogy), Scarlet Trilogy, The Grisha Trilogy, The Dragon Slippers Trilogy, The Agency, Percy Jackson, or Heroes of Olympus

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You must be 13 or older 
The next rule should be kinda obvious. Please don't cheat! 
US Only :(
I'm sorry, but I don't have the money to ship across the world!
-Emily :)

Now look through all the other awesome blogs participating! They all have epic books featured to win!

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Thursday, March 20, 2014


Hi! Below is a message with bad and good news:

I am sorry to report I'll be absent from the blogosphere for a week! *Cue sad face* On the bright side, I will be on an awesome vacation for spring break. (I am going on a cruise!) Maybe future me will post some pics of the trip :)

-Emily :D

Happy Reading!

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Review: The Shadow Prince

The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
Publication Date: March 11th, 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy
Amazon/Barnes and Noble
Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.
The Shadow Prince was a very disappointing (and very long) read. I felt Daphne was a bit bland and the tiny plot had some flaws along with many unnecessary parts. On a better note, I did like the aspect of greek myths and the cute little (haha) hellcat. In the paragraphs that follow, you will see that although I was saddened by the book's performance, I will attempt to read the sequel, for reasons I will explain shortly. Also, this will be a very long review, as I have so many thoughts about this book! I doubt I will be able to cram all my conflicted feeling into this review, but I'll try to address the majority of my opinions. 

Daphne was the character that really ruined the book for me. She was bland and annoyingly flawless. However, everyone in the story though she was simply perfect and amazing. She looks like a model and can sing better then everybody in the entire world. Remember that blog post I made a couple days ago about why I liked flawed and realistic teenagers? Well, Daphne is one of the reasons I made that post. She is perfect, boring, and all the girls hate her for being so perfect. These unrealistic cardboard girls, known as “The Sopranos” are in the book (in my opinion) simply to make the reader feel sympathetic towards Daphne. Overall, the book is missing good, realistic, and strong female characters. However, I am hoping the next book will feature character development for many girl characters!

Shall we go over the plot next? Basically, Haden has been given a mission to make Daphne fall in love and go to the underworld with him. Well, instead he acted like a stalker for 300 pages. I don’t understand why Daphne didn’t call the police on him, or at least why she keeps trying to defend him in her mind. I mean, he is kind of the bad guy in this story. (Depending on how you look at it.) Attempting to drag Daphne into the underworld in not a heroic action!

The Shadow Prince did have it’s moments though. For example, Haden’s transition from the underworld to our world was quite humorous. Also, I enjoyed all the greek mythology the author infused into the story. I did enjoy the ending, and, surprisingly, I will pick up the next book. This is only because I LOVED Bree Despain’s previous series, the Dark Divine trilogy. (If this had been my first experience with the author, there would be no chance of me reading the sequel.) Also, I feel like this story could easily be improved in future books.

The characters need some work, and the plot wasn’t enough to keep me glued to 512 pages of “blossoming romance”. The Shadow Prince felt too much like an overextended introduction, lacking the complex characters and intriguing plot of a good novel. Thankfully, there were some entraining parts. I hope (and predict) that the second book will be a better success. The Into the Dark series has the potential to become quite a hit, however, for me, this first book was a miss. Unfortunately, The Shadow Prince was not the fun, romantic, adventurous read I was hoping for. 

P.S While I determine if Into The Dark is a worthwhile series, you should go read Percy Jackson, The Alchemist, or the Kane Chronicles!!! All those books are wonderful stories that have to do with mythology :D

2/5 Stars
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*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review* 
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Topics Taking Flight: Are readers too harsh on YA heroines?

Do we, as readers, expect out YA heroines (and heros) to act too much like adults? Do we expect these protagonists to be perfect?

Don't you ever want to chastise these girls and boys about their bad decision making skills? Aren't the heroines' angst and mood swings aggravating? I know I want to throttle them sometimes, and I am a teenager myself! (Oh, the irony!)

I've read (and written) a lot of reviews that say things such as "She made terrible decisions!" or "She was so selfish!" or "She had no backbone".

People are always inclined to think that the main character should be kicka** but not mean. Nice but not timid. Confident but not bratty. Spunky but not annoying. However, we just can't wipe away the flaws of teenagers. Even adults have flaws! Why do we nitpick at these girls (and boys)?

Well, let's face it, some of these heros and heroines are only 16. Their brains aren't fully developed, and hormones abound.They are sleep-deprived zombies, and most are dealing with an identity crisis. Plus, they are having growth spurts. And, believe me, those are not fun. In fact, teenagers might even deserve a small bit of sympathy!

I'm not saying that there aren't book with terrible main characters. (I've listed a few below!)  Believe me, I've experienced my fair share. However, let's look at what we expect from a YA heroine (or hero). From now on, I just want my YA protagonist too be vivid, realistic, and someone I can root for!!! What about you?

Next time you read a book, think about what you expect out of your main character. Then, remember they are just teenagers! Here is a helpful video about the Teenage Brain and why teenagers can be such annoying, lazy, mood-swinging devils: The Teenage Brain Explained

Flawed Teenagers I LOVED:

Annoying Flawed Teenagers that DID NOT work for me:

Thanks for reading this discussion post! I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this topic!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blog Tour: Side Effects May Vary (Review + Giveaway)

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Publisher: HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray
Release Date: March 18th 2014
Rate: 4 Stars
What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? 

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most? 
Side Effects May Vary was a wonderful book. After seeing mixed ratings, I was hesitant when approaching the story. However, I really enjoyed this book!!! It was intense, with flawed but realistic and memorable characters. 

The book is separated into "Then" and "Now" chapters. I really enjoyed both of the forms. The "Now" chapters were, to me, the most emotional and unpredictable parts of the book. However, the "Then" chapter gave me lots of gimme-more backstory on the characters. Also, it was really interesting to see how Alice, the main character, dealt with cancer in the "Then" chapters.

I am going to shock a lot of people and say that I loved Alice's character. Would I want to be her friend? No. Does she deserve Harvey? Definitely not in some parts of the book. However, people in real life are not perfect, especially a teen who thought she only had a few months to live. Alice was a fresh character and I couldn't help but like her. She is occasionally mean and quite controlling, yet you can tell she really cares for Harvey and others. 

Harvey was a really sweet guy. That said, he let Alice completely walk all over him. In the beginning, I kind of wanted him to to just stand up for himself! That said, his niceness was part of his charm, and I loved his chapters almost as much as Alice's.

Overall, this book was gripping and totally fresh. Fans of heavy contemporary will not want to put this novel down. I know I couldn't take my eyes of my kindle! The story and characters will stay with me for a long time.

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.*

4/5 Stars

“Julie Murphy weaves together a tender and funny tale of love, friendship, heartache, and redemption. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY explodes with brutal honesty, brilliant wit, and unflinching heart.” (John Corey Whaley, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for WHERE THINGS COME BACK)

“Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a funny, heartfelt, honest look at the beauty and the risk of getting a second chance. An inspiring novel about all the things worth living for. I adored this debut!” (Siobhan Vivian, author of THE LIST)

“A funny and touching novel about a strong-willed heroine who finds facing death simple, but facing life heart-wrenchingly complicated. A real original.” (Jennifer Echols, author of GOING TOO FAR)

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 Click on the banner or here, to follow the FFBC Blog Tour

Julie lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she's not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Side Effects May Vary is Julie's debut novel.

Win (1) finished copy of Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy (US Only)

Question of the Day: What emotions would you feel if you were prepared to die but then suddenly and unexpectedly learned you would live?

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tour: Shattered Veil

Check out the Tour Schedule!

Publication Date: February 28th, 2014
For Aris, a talented wingjet pilot, war means sacrificing everything: her home, her name, her face—and the one promise she swore she’d never break.

In the small village of Lux, everyone flies wingjets, but nobody flies them like Aris Haan. When she’s not dancing through the skies, she’s spending every minute with Calix, whom she’s loved since childhood. They plan to Promise, but instead he is sent to defend their dominion against a bloody invasion. Determined not to lose him, Aris follows, joining an underground network of women inside the male-only military. Using secret technology that allows her to pass as a man, she becomes “Aristos”, a Flyer in a search-and-rescue unit.

As Aris grows stronger on the battlefield and more comfortable in her guise as Aristos, her personal mission becomes less and less clear. When she and her enigmatic commander, Major Vidar, uncover an astonishing conspiracy that could destroy everything, she must make a choice that will determine not only the fate of her heart, but the future of her dominion.
Interview with Tracy E. Banghart 

1. Can you describe Shattered Veil in 3 words?
intense, complex, intriguing

2. What do you do when you are not writing? What are your hobbies?
I have a 15 month old son, so he takes up pretty much every moment that I'm not writing! Not exactly a hobby, but he's the coolest and we have a ton of fun together. :-)

3. How did you choose the genre you write in?
I have always gravitated most towards young adult books. They were the ones that sparked my imagination as a young person, and they're the ones that I still find the most entertaining to read now, as an adult. I feel YA is where my writing style fits best. Of course, within YA, I like to explore different sub-genres. I've written paranormal romance, scifi, and I have a fantasy coming out this summer. 

4. How did you come up with the titles of your books
For some reason I really enjoy two-word titles for my books. Usually I come up with my titles before I start writing (I knew Moon Child's title before I wrote a single word), but sometimes they change as I go along. I'd actually completely forgotten about this, but I was looking at my first draft of Shattered Veil the other day…its original title was "To Find You". Personally, I think Shattered Veil is a much better fit. Veils so often hide things - faces, the truth - and the book has a lot to do with exploring identity/truth and shattering barriers.

5. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
My advice is to keep writing. This business can be awfully discouraging, no matter what path you choose towards publication, and it's easy to let the world tell you you're not good enough. The only way to prove the naysayers wrong is to keep writing, keep working on your craft, keeping pushing forward. You never know which of your books will strike a chord with an agent, an editor, or thousands of readers!

6. Do you have any pets?
I do! I have two dogs - Scrabble and Koko - and a cat, Mia. They are all very cuddly and much-loved. Scrabble is our clean-up crew after our son eats his meals. ;-)

7. What are your two favorite colors and why?
Turquoise and hot pink. I'm not sure why they're my favorite, but I love pretty much anything with that color combo. They were even the colors at my wedding! (I had hot pink streaks in my hair and my bridesmaids wore gorgeous turquoise dresses. They looked awesome!)

4 prizes: 
--$50 Amazon gift card (INTL) 
--3x "swag packs" which will include: a notebook, magnet, button, 2 signed bookmarks, and Shattered Veil-themed temporary tattoos - picture below. (US/CAN)

a Rafflecopter giveaway Hope you enjoyed the interview!!!
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