Thursday, January 27, 2011

SUZANNE SELFORS CONTEST!

In honor of the recent release of Suzanne Selfors' book
(in association with Walker Books/Bloomsbury)
MAD LOVE
Reading Rocks is hosting a contest!

A winner will receive a copy of both of these books!


(click the pics to go to Suzanne's site for more info)


Fill out the form below to enter.
US Residents only please.


The winner will be announced
FEBRUARY 18th
along with our review of Mad Love!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Interview with Pam Bachorz


is the author of Candor and Drought (coming Jan 25 2011!), both stories about "worlds just one twist away from ours". 

 Click on the covers to see our reviews.


How do you classify the novels you write? Why do you choose to write novels like these? 

I like writing books about worlds just one twist away from ours... things that maybe are out there, if we squint and really look for them. I like writing books like these because my favorite stories are ones that just MIGHT happen... but are still fascinating in a way that our everyday world is not.

What do you consider the most important aspect of a good story? 

For me, good writing is where a good story starts. I'll go anywhere a great author wants to take me with their story. I love when I read something completely outside of my typical reading genres, and be completely sucked in simply because the writing was stellar.

Is there a specific event/idea/thing that inspired you to write DROUGHT? 

DROUGHT has several inspirations. The first was literally a flash of a vision. I was driving down a country road in upstate NY, and passed by an old red barn. For just a moment, I imagined a table inside, with a cloudy glass of water on it. A drop of blood fell in the water. So I played with that. The other inspiration is the setting: DROUGHT is set in the woods of upstate NY, where I spent my summers as a child.

What do you hope your readers take away from this book? 

I hope, first and foremost, that they are entertained. Second, I hope the story perhaps gives readers the determination to do what they know is right, and to follow their own hearts.

How do you think the issues and themes in DROUGHT are most relevant to young adult readers? 

I think young adult readers will identify with Ruby's dilemma of wanting to please her "family" while also needing to grow into an adult and follow her own dreams... Ruby has to make some tough choices that could mean angering or even losing her family. I also think young adult readers will identify with, at some level, Ruby's survival and fight against brutality. While most of us don't face a man with a whipping chain every day (thank goodness), we all have bullies in our lives. 

PAM BACHORZ was interviewed by READING ROCKS on JANUARY 11, 2011.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Grade: A+


Synopsis:

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Rating:

Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 8/10
Overall Enjoyment: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Voice: 8/10
Plot: 10/10
Setting: 10/10
Total Score: 64/70

Obtained: Borrowed from our dear friend, StoryLove. :)

Age Appropriate? PG-13

Cursing: You know, usual modern-day teenage stuff. So, yes.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: A few scenes of teen drinking and severe drunkenness (all within the law, however, as it is France....) and a few references to drug use, I think...
Sexual Content: Several direct references to sex, but no actual scenes.
Disturbing Images/Violence: None.

Review:

I wasn't sure what to expect when picking up this book. I had heard rave reviews from friends, but the synopsis suggested the type of book I was, frankly, quite bored of reading over and over and over in every YA chick lit novel. To be honest, I was only convinced to pick this up when it was promoted by John Green in this Vlogbrother's video.

Needless to say, I am very impressed by Stephanie Perkins' story. It is above and beyond the average of this kind of story, and that's what makes it not only bearable, but flat-out remarkable. Unlike it's peers, this novel is very realistic, and written with an intelligent and humble voice. All of the characters (despite living alone in Paris) are very real American teenagers, and their drama, likewise, is incredibly accurate to that of real-life teens. It isn't too underplayed or overplayed, and it didn't portray the teens as fickle or extra mature. They are just themselves, unapologetic human adolescents.

Perhaps the most successful aspect of this book (predictably) is the wonderful Etienne St. Clair. Unlike most chick lit pretty boys, he has flaws. Massive, all-consuming, story-altering, awful little flaws that make you hate him a little bit even as you're falling in love with him. His character, his weaknesses, are what set him apart and make him all the more dazzling, and the patient pacing of his relationship with Anna, the edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense, the doubts and confusion and hopes and wishes--these are things that
make this book worth reading. This is how real romance actually happens; it's messy, confusing, painful, but ultimately worth it. And while, yeah, this may be Paris and it may be a boy named Etienne St Clair, and maybe most of us will never get shipped off to the School of America in Paris, this is still real. This is still true. And definitely worth the read.

LINKS:

Stephanie Perkins

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Awakened Contest!



To celebrate today's new book trailer and the release of 'AWAKENED', P.C and Kristin Cast's latest novel in the House of Night series, St. Martin's Press is offering a fantastic once in a lifetime chance for a fan and their guest to fly to Tulsa to tour the sites from the books and have lunch with the authors!

The lucky winner will receive a 3-day, 2-night trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma for two people which includes airfare, hotel accommodations, a tour of Tulsa and lunch on Saturday, April 30th, 2011 at the Chalkboard Restaurant with the authors. In order to enter the promo, they must answer three questions about the series. 

More about the contest here.  

Also, St. Martin's is also holding a contest via the House of Night Facebook fan page. Fans can enter for a chance to win 1 of 30 complete sets of House of Night books.  Click here for more info!





The New York Times-bestselling mother-daughter writing team of P.C. and Kristin Cast again prove why they have become a major force in teen fiction. With over 3 million copies of their books in print, a well-publicized film option, an updated interactive website and a daily-growing fan base, the Cast duo will command your attention with every page turn. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Grace by Elizabeht Scott

Grade: A+

Synopsis:


Grace was brought up to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom.

Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr in search of a border they may never reach, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate.

Ratings:

Character Development: 9/10
Originality: 10/10!
Ending: 9/10
Voice: 10/10
Plot: 8/10
Setting: 10/10
Total Score: 66/70

Obtained: Bought secondhand.

Age Appropriate? R

Cursing: None that I recall
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Some reference to alcoholism
Sexual Content: Several references to sex
Disturbing Images/Violence: Suicide bombing, hangings, murders, child violence, graphic violence

Review:

Though a short novel told with sparing prose, Grace was incredibly powerful and told a message larger and possibly more important than any other. Set in a vivid conflicting world ruled by a violent dictator and his opposition who campaign for "peace", Scott creates a setting where good mirrors evil in many frightening ways. This book explores the true worth of life, the worth of self, in a world where self and life mean nothing in the face of sacrifice and death.

This book was simple and honest, yet it revealed more about Grace's character and world in a few words than most novels accomplish in chapters. Scott did not overplay or underplay anything--not the violence, not the sex, not the people, not the good or bad of each, and not her characters' strengths and flaws. The hero's choices were not always heroic or dramatic or poetic; often they were selfish, small, and arguably wrong -- but they were human choices. It is about the most selfish of all choices--the choice to live for yourself, unheroic, unmemorable, but alive. And this book is quietly shouting that this choice is not wrong. Extraordinary.

LINKS:


Elizabeth Scott
Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott (our review)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Grade: A+

Ratings:
Character Development: 8/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
Ending: 7/10
Voice: 8/10
Plot: 10/10
Setting: 9/10
Total Score: 61/70

Obtained: Birthday Gift!

Age Appropriate? PG-13


Cursing: Some
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Many mentions of drunkenness and opium
Sexual Content: Referenced
Disturbing Images/Violence: Demon killing, murder

REVIEW:
Cassandra Clare has done it again! A vivid world and a twisted, exciting plot. Demons, warlocks, shadow hunters, clockwork creatures, evil, bravery... Clockwork Angel is an absolutely engrossing, epic read.

The characters in Clockwork Angel seemed far more developed than those in the Mortal Instruments series. Tessa was a good balance of spunk, courage, and wit, making her a much more valued heroine than Clary was to me. Will, while at first I was afraid would be too much like Jace, surprised me. I never connected the two in my mind. And Jem is, of course, an absolute gem!

Truthfully, sometimes I felt like certain things didn't really fit in with the time period. I think the writing seemed very modern, so whenever the characters spoke more formally and Victorian-like, it was almost stilted, and threw me off. A minor complaint, though.

I still feel jittery thinking about this wonderful read, those awesome characters, and that gripping story. Basically, I just need the second installment to be in stores. Now. But alas... I must wait to discover what the mysterious cliff hanger ending will result in. Sigh...

Sorry for the fan-girl review. I should work on that.

LINKS: