Tuesday, January 31, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 24

A book you later found out the author lied about.

Honestly, can't think of one because normally I read it and either like it or don't, I don't go looking for all kinds of information on the book, and I definitely don't look for drama.

~Jenn

I'm afraid I don't have anything either...I can't say I've ever had this experience yet.

~Meghan


Review: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden

Arthas: Rise of the Lich King

Author: Christie Golden

Publication Date: April 21st, 2009

Publisher: Pocket Books

Genre: Fantasy

GoodReads

Synopsis:

Frostmourne. It was caught in a hovering, jagged chunk of ice, the runes that ran the length of its blade glowing a cool blue. Below it was a dais of some sort, standing on a large gently raised mound that was covered in a dusting of snow. A soft light, coming from somewhere high above where the cavern was open to daylight, shone down on the runeblade. The icy prison hid some details of the sword's shape and form, exaggerated others. It was revealed and concealed at the same time, and all the more tempting, like a new lover imperfectly glimpsed through a gauzy curtain. Arthas knew the blade -- it was the selfsame sword he had seen in his dream when he first arrived. The sword that had not killed Invincible, but that had brought him back healed and healthy. He'd thought it a good omen then, but now he knew it was a true sign. This was what he had come to find. This sword would change everything. Arthas stared raptly at it, his hands almost physically aching to grasp it, his fingers to wrap themselves around the hilt, his arms to feel the weapon swinging smoothly in the blow that would end Mal'Ganis, end the torment he had visited upon the people of Lordaeron, end this lust for revenge. Drawn, he stepped forward.

The uncanny elemental spirit drew its icy sword. "Turn away, before it is too late," it intoned. * * *

His evil is legend. Lord of the undead Scourge, wielder of the runeblade Frostmourne, and enemy of the free peoples of Azeroth. The Lich King is an entity of incalculable power and unparalleled malice -- his icy soul utterly consumed by his plans to destroy all life on the World of Warcraft.

But it was not always so. Long before his soul was fused with that of the orc shaman Ner'zhul, the Lich King was Arthas Menethil, crown prince of Lordaeron and faithful paladin of the Silver Hand.

When a plague of undeath threatened all that he loved, Arthas was driven to pursue an ill-fated quest for a runeblade powerful enough to save his homeland. Yet the object of his search would exact a heavy price from its new master, beginning a horrifying descent into damnation. Arthas's path would lead him through the arctic northern wastes toward the Frozen Throne, where he would face, at long last, the darkest of destinies.


My Thoughts: I've read quite a few of the Warcraft books. I'm a huge fan of the game World of Warcraft, so I enjoy getting to know more of the lore. I did enjoy reading this book, mostly because I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Artha and Jaina, and seeing Sylvanas' thoughts of what was happening. However, if I had known more detail about the lore, like my husband does, or had I played Warcraft 3, I might not of enjoyed it as much. This is because it's mostly filler, my husband read 20% of the book and I was still able to talk with him about it when I finished and he knew all the details, other than exact conversations, he knows when everything happens. But, that being said, since I didn't know all of the lore, I enjoyed this story.

I've actually killed Arthas (who didn't in the end? :-P), so I enjoyed seeing how he became the Lich King, and how he justified his actions in Stratholm, and then later. He's definitely manipulated and used and really dislikes that his desitny has been laid out for him. I felt bad for Jaina, who loves Arthas, but can't bear to watch him become corrupted. And of course Sylvanas, what Arthas does to her is cruel, but she'll get back to him about that.

I would recommend this book to  those who don't know much about the lore from Warcraft 3, or those who want to read more about the Arthas/Jaina relationship. If you have the lore memorized, you might not enjoy this as much. Not my favorite Warcraft lore book, but I still liked it.


Monday, January 30, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 23

Favorite Romance Novel

 I haven't read much romance lately, so the one that sticks out for me is The Lord ofHawkfell Island by Catherine Coulter. Love me some viking romance!

 ~Jenn

Romance novel, or just plain love story? I can't think of a favorite romance I've read lately, but I love Jane Eyre :D

~Meghan

Sunday, January 29, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 22

Favorite Series.

Both Harry Potter and Earth's Children are my favorite series!

~Jenn

I'm going to say Lord of the Rings, even though it wasn't supposed to become a series. As well as Harry Potter, Song of Fire and Ice, and Hunger Games :) Just to name a few ;)

~Meghan


Saturday, January 28, 2012

In My Mailbox (4)


In My Mailbox is an internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books that bloggers have bought, won, recieved for review, been gifted and borrowed.

In Jenn's Mailbox:
I think that I finally beat Meghan's mailbox this week, unless she went out and bought a bunch of books this weekend, then she had a quiet week with none. But I got some pretty good reads from NetGalley this week and I actually got books in the mail!!


Bought:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Won:

Pretend You Love Me by Julie Anne Peters
Rage: A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters
Luna by Julie Anne Peters

I won all these lovely books from a giveaway over at Book Sake, so a big thanks to them and Julie Anne Peters for donating them!

Review from NetGalley:


The Academie by Susanne Dunlap
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Starters by Lissa Price
The Prince Who Fell from the Sky by John Claude Bemis

Thank you to Bloomsbury Children's Books and Random House Children's Books for letting me review these!


Meghan's Mailbox
Sorry guys, unfortunately my Mailbox is empty this week :(.  I've got a lot of catching up to do with the books I've accumulated already. I should  have some next week though. See you next Sunday! :)

So that's what I got in my mailbox this week, what did you get?

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 21

A guilty pleasure book.

I'm going to have to say pretty much any romance novel..lol I don't read many, but I enjoy them.

~Jenn

Definitely erotica books, I haven't read to many, and I always feel a little embarrassed when people know I'm reading one, but I really do love them. Especially male/male erotica *blush*.

~Meghan

Friday, January 27, 2012

30 Day Book Challene: Day 20

A Book you would recommend to an ignorant/racist/closed minded person.

I would recommend The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It definitely puts things into perspective.

~Jenn

I'm sorry, I sat here and racked my brain for a couple minutes, but  nothing came to mind :(

~Meghan

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me
(Shatter Me #1)

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Publication Date: November 15th, 2011

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Dystopia / Paranormal

GoodReads

Synopsis:

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.


My Thoughts: Poor, poor, poor Juliette. She has a terrible life. She can't touch anyone, or she might kill them. Her parents despise and hate her. She killed someone, accidentally, and so they lock  her up. She's never even been loved. At least until Adam shows up in her cell. Adam, the boy from her past, the boy who can touch her, the boy who seems to genuinely care for her. Until she finds out he was put there to spy on her for Warner, a commander of the Reestablishment who is obsessing over her and her "gift". She's hurt by this betrayal, is there no one she can trust? 

When I first read the blurb on Shatter Me, I was very intrigued. I also immediately thought of Rogue from X-Men. I would say the two are similar, expect Rogue actually had her parents love until  they found out what she was. Juliette had nothing, not even a friend. 

So I bought the book and started reading, I read most of it in a day, quite a feat with a teething baby. I loved this book. I haven't read very many dystopians yet, but I will be reading many more! I love how Tahereh Mafi wrote this similar to a journal, even scratching out thoughts  that weren't said. It feels more like you are right in Juliette's mind. At first I wasn't sure what to think about her mind. Juliette seems a little OCD with numbers, but I suppose she has been sitting in a cell by herself with no one to talk to in almost a year. 

Once she is out, you think things might get better for her, and it seems like they do, but she doesn't trust anyone, not that I can blame her. She quickly realizes that the Reestablishment just wants to use her abilities to torture captives, something she is not ok with. So she knows she needs to get away. Then she realizes that she can trust Adam, and that Adam can touch her and loves her and wants to help her get out so they can escape. The only problem? Warner is pretty much insane. He has been obsessing over Juliette for years and wants her to be his, she's disgusted by him. Will they escape? Read it and see what happens!

I found the characters to be well written and it was very easy to connect with them, or hate them. The story flows nice and fast, most chapters leaving off at a point where you just can't put the book down. The details about the world make it easy to envision, as dreary as it may seem. I'd have to say that Tahereh did a very good  job at creating this world, I'll definitely be reading more from her in the future. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a new dystopian to try out!


Author Interview & Giveaway: James Hutchings

 I recently read and reviewed the book The New Death & Others by James Hutchings, which was a really great book by the way, I seriously recommend you read it!

Lucky for us, James was willing to take some time to answer our questions and give us a peek at the man behind the words. We are very thankful, and we hope you enjoy the following interview.

But that's not all! We are even luckier! James has decided to offer a free e-copy of the book I recently reviewed  to all of you!


So enjoy the Interview! Below you will find a rafflecopter which you can use to win a free e-copy of his book The New Death and Others :D!


>  1. Tell us a little about yourself

I am entirely bald, and I have a small, third nipple (these are both true by the way, although the complete baldness is self-inflicted).

>  2.Which story and or Poem in this collection is your favorite?

Probably 'The God of the Poor'.
Meghan: it would be really hard for me to pick one, but some of the ones I really liked would be 'The Enemy within', 'Compatibility', 'The Adventure of the Murdered Philanthropist', 'The Lamb's Speech', 'Legend: The Story of Kevin Marely', and more. That being said, I really did love all of the entries :).

>  3. Outside this collection, what is your favorite poem and or short story?

I don't know about poems, but here are a few of my favourite short stories:


HP Lovecraft, The Doom That Came to Sarnath
Robert E Howard, The Tower of the Elephant
Clark Ashton Smith, The Garden of Adompha
Franz Kafka, Jackals and Arabs
Ursula Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

>  4. Are you currently working on any new projects, or have ideas for some?

I'm currently working on a long poem called 'Confession of a Bounty Hunter', which is set in the old West.
Meghan: I look forward to reading more of your work!

>  5. Do you write things other than short stories and poems?

I've been encouraged to write a novel set in the fantasy city of Telelee, which is the setting of a few of the stories in 'The New Death and others'. I have a lot of background for this world, because I blog every day (http://www.apolitical.info/teleleli) and a lot of the posts are setting detail. I also have a half-finished novel called 'All-American Detectives', which is a combination of a detective story and a story about superheroes, which I'll probably come back to in the future.

>  6. If you could join forces with another writer, who would it be?

Probably someone dead, so they don't argue with me. I actually have done this in a way. 'The New Death' has several poems which are adaptations of stories by various writers.

>  7. Where do you find inspiration for your stories and poems?

Some ideas just pop into my head, without me knowing where the idea comes from. Other ideas come from experiences in my life. For example a while ago I found three injured birds in the space of a few weeks. I took all of them to the local vet. As I was carrying one of them, I thought that the woman at reception might wonder where I was finding all these injured birds, and that was the inspiration for my story 'Lost, Feral or Stray'.


I've written a lot about cats, based on having been a cat owner. But I'm a lot more cynical about them than some cat-lovers. One reviewer said he couldn't work out whether I loved cats or hated them.


Of course other fiction is a big inspiration. In some cases it's obvious. I've done poems directly based on stories by HP Lovecraft and other writers for example. In other cases it's more subtle: for example the city of Teleleli or Telelee is partly based on Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar, partly on Terry Pratchett's Ankh-Morpork, and partly on Port Blacksand in the Fighting Fantasy series. the dialogue in Lord of the Rings had a big influence on how my characters talk.

>  8. At what point did you decide you wanted to put your work out there for others to enjoy?

As soon as I started writing I wanted to get published. The thought of writing just for myself never occured to me.

>  9. What other things do you enjoy besides writing?

My other main hobby is coding online games. I spent several years writing an online game called Age of Fable (www.ageoffable.net). I don't have any plans to do more on it, but it's still online, and you can play it for free. I'm currently working on an online 'card' game, like Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon. I've also done a few smaller projects. For example I did an online version of the computer game Oregon Trail.

>  10. Do you prefer print or e-book, and why?

e-book, because it doesn't waste paper.

>  11. Where can readers go to learn more about you and your work?

My blog (http://www.apolitical.info/teleleli)

>  12. In your opinion, what is the one book everyone should read?

I don't think there is one.

>  13. Are there any books you are currently looking forward to?

I read very few recently published books. In fact most of my favourite writers are dead. So I don't follow upcoming releases in the way that a lot of readers do.

>  14.Growing up, did you know you wanted to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be?

I think I've wanted to do something creative since I was a teenager. But I've tried several different things, such as music and filmmaking, before I finally settled on writing. To be honest, if it turned out that I was actually better at, say, painting than writing, I think I'd be happy to change.

>  15. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Nowadays anyone can self-publish. If you can make a Word document, you can have an ebook on Smashwords or Amazon. However that means that if your work is no good, no one's going to stop you. I'd recommend that people get onto Critique Circle (www.critiquecircle.com) and/or Scribophile (www.scribophile.com), put their work up, and listen to what people tell you. Don't 'defend' your work against people's 'attacks'. They aren't attacks, they're helping you. I've found that the people who defend their work have a strong tendency to have the worst writing, I suppose because they're not making the changes they need to make.


My next point doesn't matter if you're going to self-publish, but it is important if you want to be published by a regular publisher, or if you want to submit stories to magazines. Most places won't publish work that's already been published. And most places count putting a story on the internet as publishing it. In my opinion that's silly, but that's what they do. Scribophile and Critique Circle are exceptions, because google doesn't index them and you can't see any stories without logging on. However there are writing group websites out there where, if you put a story on the site, that counts as the story being published. That seems like a really terrible way to set things up, but they're out there.


I'd also say that getting a book out isn't the final step. It's just the start of the work of self-promotion. This is true even if you're not self-publishing: I'm told that authors are expected to pretty much arrange their own book signings and so on (if you just want to have a book out to show family and friends then this doesn't matter, of course).


There are a lot of sharks out there, who make their money from authors and not from readers. They will make all sorts of promises about how they're going to promote you and help you, but these are lies. Authors do not pay publishers, ever, and if they're asking you to pay then it's a scam. Of course if you're self-publishing you might end up paying someone to design a cover for you, or you might pay for internet advertising, but those are different things. You might also pay a printer to print your books if you want to get physical books rather than ebooks - but in this age of the kindle and print-on-demand I don't know why you'd want to. Preditors and Editors (www.pred-ed.com) is a good website to look at, and you can get good advice at the forums of Critique Circle.


Finally, I'd suggest learning to touch-type if you can't already. You're going to be doing a lot of typing, and every hour you spend getting faster at typing will save you ten in the long run.
Meghan: That is really great advice! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us, and for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to hearing from you again!





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop


Welcome to our stop on the Young Adult Giveaway Hop, which is being hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Down The Rabbit Hole. Thanks to both of you for hosting!

We are excited to be a part of this hop and have  a couple of great books for you to win! There will be two winners in our stop of the hop! Thanks for stopping by and good luck!!

Here's what we have for you to win!


Summary: Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.     When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.      With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.




Summary: In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.



 So that's what we have for you! So Winner #1 gets their choice, and #2 gets what they don't pick. Just enter in the Rafflecopter below! The giveaway is open to all The Book Depository ships to. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Keep hopping! And don't forget to check  out our 50  and 100 follower giveaways!

New Name!

Did you notice our name just change?

Apparently there was an issue with our name being Under the Covers, so being the reasonable people we are, we brainstormed until we could  think of something we liked.  So we came up with:


"Owl Read It" 


Aren't we just so witty? Yeah I know, not really, it's lame, but cute! If you still haven't got our lame joke, Owl Read It = I'll Read It. 

We're just a couple of lamers, but we like it that way! So what do you all think of our new name?

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 19

A Book that changed your mind about a particular subject (non-fiction).

Here's Jenn, sucking it up again! I don't really read non-fiction, and if I do, normally it's something I like and my opinion on it doesn't really change.

~Jenn

I have to say, I don't typically read a non-fiction book about something I am not interested in. I enjoy a good non-fiction. But I can't say that I ever read one that changed my opinion on the subject. The closest I think I could come to answering this question would be to say that I recently read JRR Tolkien: A biography, and while I already knew I was a big fan of Tolkien, this book made me love him even more than I already did because it made me feel like I knew him as a person. Great read, and I recommend it to all Tolkien fans :).

~Meghan





Review: The New Death & Others by James Hutchings

The New Death & Others

Author: James Hutchings

Publication Date: September 28th, 2011

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre: Short-Story/Fantasy/Poems/Horror

GoodReads

Synopsis:

Death gets a roommate... An electronic Pope faces a difficult theological question... A wicked vizier makes a terrible bargain... 44 stories. 19 poems. No whiny vampires. There's a thin line between genius and insanity, and James Hutchings has just crossed it - but from which direction?


My Thoughts: I am so glad that I read this book! The New Death is a collection of the most wonderfully pessimistic, deliciously twisted, and awesomely dark stories and poems!

This was the best collection of short stories and poems that I have read in a long time! I literally had fun reading this  book. James has a wit that I don't think many could match. I read most times with a big smile on my face, and other times I was laughing out loud at the punch line at the end of the story or poem. I'd love to tell you which one was my favorite, but that would be to hard, each story and poem was a great read in it's own way. He often makes fun little jabs at present things in life, you can't help but realize he has a point, and then you will laugh in spite of yourself.

Now when I say some of the stories were pessimistic, don't misunderstand me, I meant it in the best way possible. He has a way of making you see the darker side of things and you find yourself enjoying it. I had to keep pestering my husband by letting me read some of the stories and poems out loud to him because I just felt the need to share them, they were so great!

I recommend this book to any and everyone! it was a fantastic, fun, wonderful read. You will not find another collection of stories and poems like it anywhere else! You will want to get yourself a copy to place on your shelf and share with everyone! I know I want to :).


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

100 Follower Giveaway!!





              We are ever so thankful to all of you for following us! Thanks to all of you we have reached 100 Followers, and we couldn't be  happier. To show our appreciation to you we are having a giveaway in celebration of this event! You could be the lucky winner of  a free book from The Book Depository, valued up to 20$. All are welcome to enter, as long as your included in The Book Depository's free shipping list :). Just click on the "read more" link below to enter in the rafflecopter  and follow the directions!

This giveaway is open until  February 3rd!
At which point we will choose our winner randomly. We will contact them by e-mail, to which they will have 48 hours to respond. If no response is received, we will choose another winner.

Good Luck to all!!!

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 18

A book you can’t find on shelves anymore that you love.

Honestly, I can't think of one, every time I find a book I love I buy it and take really good care of it.
I'm sucking at these questions ..lol

~Jenn

I can't think of one either sadly, if I love a book chances are pretty good that I already own it. I take care of my books

~Meghan

Waiting on Wednesday (3)


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly awaiting.


Masque of the Red Death
by Bethany Griffin
Expected publication: April 24th, 2012

Summary (From Goodreads):  Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.



Doesn't this just sound like an amazing read?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Author Interview: Abby Slovin

We had the pleasure of speaking with Abby Slovin about her novel Letters in Cardboard Boxes, and we took the opportunity to ask her a bit about herself.

---------------------------------

So Abby, tell us a bit about yourself.

 Well, I’m a native New Yorker. I live in Jersey City with a wonderful husband and our adopted and quirky Pug/Chihuahua mix.  I love to spend time outdoors and travel. And my favorite way to unwind is to throw my cell phone somewhere far away and sit in silence, enjoying the sound of being "unplugged". I guess that would be "me" in a nutshell.

Letters is a pretty sad book, have you ever lost anyone close to you which inspired you to write this novel?

I like to think of it as a sad book with an uplifting message, but I can see where the sadness would weigh heavily on readers, which I think is just a testament to how deeply we feel loss even long after the moment has passed. And, while the story itself is completely fictional, I think some of the emotion it conveys does relate to my own experience. I lost a close friend a few years ago while writing the novel, and I also experienced the loss of my grandparents, both of which I was very close with.

 Do you have a  favorite part of the book?

I can think of a few scenes as favorites because of how vividly they remain in my mind. Probably my favorite of all is the scene when Parker first meets Jerry beneath the night sky. I've been told by some readers that his entrance felt almost magical, like a guardian angel entering someone's life. Also, it was one of the first scenes I ever wrote of the novel, so I have a specific attachment to it. I also love the scene on Parker's birthday when she and Tanya cruise around the city and end the night on a bench next to the Brooklyn Bridge. And, I also like the scene when Parker and Tanya are moving through the busy streets and Parker watches Tanya sway through the crowd with grace as Parker is left behind.

All these scenes I think were written with a certain degree of energy, which I like.


Does Under the Covers have a favorite part of the book?

 Jenn: I'd have to say I enjoyed the birthday cruise as well, I also liked when Parker finally confronted her parents, must have been nice to finally know what they had been thinking.
Meghan:  My favorite scene is probably when Parker and Tanya get momentarily caught in a downpour of rain, it created a beautiful and pleasant image in my mind. As well as picturing Dotty and Jerry whispering to each other through the fence as children.

 Are you working on anything new right now?

 Yes, I'm working on a few new projects right now, diving into each when I feel inspired to fill in some of the blanks. My website has an interactive feature called "New Projects" where readers can read excerpts from what I'm working on and vote on which project I should complete next:

http://www.abbyslovin.com/other-work/what-should-i-write-next/

The project I've been devoting the most time to is "10:15 on A Tuesday," the story of an unlikely friendship that develops between an upper-middle class widower and a psychic.

Jenn: That sounds like an interesting read!
Meghan: That is a great feature to have available to fans of your work, thanks for sharing the link with us. I'm eager to read any new works you will produce in the future.

Do you have a favorite author?

I don't know that I have a favorite, necessarily, but I very much enjoy the wit and humor of Kurt Vonnegut and Woody Allen and the quirkiness of stories written by Ruth Ozeki and Charles Baxter.

Why did you decide to become a writer?

Most of the time, I’m still unsure of what it means to be a writer, particularly in today’s sense of the word. The whole industry is going through such a major shift, so I wonder if a “writer” means someone who is traditionally published, or someone who makes a career from writing? Or is it just someone who loves to write? I don’t mean to be overly philosophical, but I just mean that I’m still trying to figure out what it means to be a writer. If it means someone who gets a lot of fulfillment from telling stories, I would say I always knew. I love writing and telling stories more than almost anything else.

What other things do you like to do besides write?

I like to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature. And be with family. I also love to have a nice, long meal, one which doesn't get interrupted by phone calls or schedules or anything else. I also like to be silly and see how long I can stretch a joke out with my best friend.

Why do you think someone should read your book, so why/when would you recommend  it?

I find it to be a good story that gets to the heart of a very special relationship between two people and portrays the impact of having this relationship break down. It focuses on the sort of struggle people go through everyday, something that readers can relate to on a genuine level. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a unique voice, a well-paced narrative and a compelling story.

Jenn: I agree, I was definitely able to relate to it!

What is it like to receive a review for your book? How do you feel when there is a good or bad one?

 It takes a lot of practice and patience to keep reviews from feeling personal, which I think is absolutely necessary in order for a writer to grow and improve. Its important to remember that the review is for the work, rather than the writer. That being said, I always get excited to receive any type of review -- good or bad -- because it means people are reading the story and its taking on new life out in the world and as long as its a thoughtful review I honestly don't feel anything other than gratitude for the attention someone gave to the story. The only kind of reviews I dislike are those that don't seem particularly thought out, "I just didn't like it," for example or "that character bothered me" without any further explanation. Those sorts of things are tough to deal with. But, having good, solid critique feels good to me no matter if its an amazing review or an awful one, because above all it means I've made it to the point where my writing is out in the world becoming something (whatever that "something" is).

Jenn: I imagine it must help a lot if someone explains what they didn't like about it, just having someone say they don't like it isn't very helpful.
Meghan: I love your outlook on what people say about your books. As long as people are saying something constructive, it is essentially good. I would think a lot of the joy of writing comes from knowing people took the time to think or talk about your book. It's really great that you see it in that light.

 If your book was a movie, who would you want to play the main character(s)?

I would imagine it should be someone who has an ability to convey a lot of internal struggle without being overdone and I admire a lot of actresses for this skill. I could imagine Anna Paquin in the role. Maybe Zooey Deschanel because she can be intense but quirky at the same time. Eliza Dushku could probably pull it off also.

Anyone come to mind when you think of the movie version?

 Jenn: I think Anna Paquin would be great!
Meghan:  Anna Paquin would make a great Parker, another that comes to mind is Charlize Theron I think she's great at portraying deep emotion.

What is your favorite book?
 
I could never choose one, but I could  try to narrow it down to a few: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Ishmael, White Oleander, Wuthering Heights, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Cat's Cradle, A Feast of Love, and All Over Creation.

These are novels that pushed my understanding of the world. Books that changed me right as I sat reading them.

 Jenn: There is too many books out there to pick one, I'm just realizing that is a somewhat mean question to ask someone ..haha
Meghan: I love the books that makes us feel in the way you just described. They are treasures to be shared and kept forever :)

 What is your favorite Genre?

 I prefer works of literary fiction. But I also love biography and commercial fiction. Even some science fiction from time to time.

 What book are you most looking forward to right now?

 I've been wondering about "The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo" for awhile now and I'm just waiting for a little of the hype to die down so I can jump right in.

 Jenn: I haven't read that one myself, still wavering on the fence about it.
Meghan: I have also been wanting to read it, I received the millennium  series as a gift this past Christmas. It's on my huge list of books to read.

 If you could take a trip anywhere, where would you go?

 Anywhere, hmmm...I would love to visit another habitable planet outside our solar system. Maybe discover new life, or maybe just see what the atmosphere looks like somewhere so far away.

Do you have a favorite quote?

   Many great quotes are floating around and I love so many. I could probably point to this one by Gandhi as a favorite: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Very simple, yet very inspiring as a mantra.

Meghan: That is indeed very inspiring, thanks for sharing that with us!

 Any advice for an aspiring author?

  My advice for aspiring writers is the same advice I have for myself: always be open to feedback and open to evolving as a writer. There is no “goal,” no “end game.” Being a writer is a process, and there is always something to learn or do better. You just have to try to keep up.

 ------------------------------------
 
Thank you for speaking with us Abby! We enjoyed learning a little bit about you!

If you want to know more about Abby's book, you can read our reviews here! Or visit her site www.abbyslovin.com!

Review: Letters In Cardboard Boxes by Abby Slovin

Letters in Cardboard Boxes

Author: Abby Slovin

Publication Date: September 9, 2011

Publisher: :Lulu.com

Genre: Contemporary

GoodReads

Synopsis:

Winner of the First Horizon Award for superior work by a debut writer, Letters In Cardboard Boxes tells the story of an eccentric grandmother and her granddaughter alongside a series of fantastical letters they once exchanged. Their letters once traversed the East River to help Parker escape the loneliness of a childhood without her globe-trekking parents and communicate during her turbulent teenage years. Now, nearly a decade later, Parker begins to rediscover this letter writing tradition, as well as the family’s untold stories and, unexpectedly, letters from her grandmother’s own youth that paint a very different portrait of the woman who raised her.

Letters carries us through the universally-shared experience of loss and the process of coping with life’s unexpected twists and turns. Through unusual and bold characters, the story moves through some of its heavier themes with honesty and humor.



Jenn’s Thoughts: I enjoyed this book, to me it's a story about letting go when there isn't really anything you can do to change things anymore. It's about a 29 year old woman named Parker and her grandmother, Dotty. Dotty has been there for Parker her whole life, when her parents weren't, and now Dotty is sick, and there is nothing Parker can do to help her, like she always helped Parker. All that is left of the past is letters and postcards. The postcards Dotty sent Parker, and the ones Parker sent back, and a strange box of love letters that Parker finds in Dotty's closet after she is moved to the Center. Love letters which strangely aren't what Parker originally thought, which was from her grandfather. The story follows Parker as she tries to come to terms with what is happening, her grandmother no longer remembers her, what will she do when there is no one left? Luckily, new friends are to be made, so they can all get through this together.

I'm not sure how to explain how I felt while reading this book. At first I was unable to feel a connection with Parker. She just seemed so unfeeling and detached from the rest of the world. And then we find out how awful her parents were. They may have felt they were doing her a favour, but they weren't. Finally I was able to feel pity for Parker. I can't even imagine what it would be like for your parents just to abandon you (pretty much) as a child. I can't get over the fact that they felt a 12 year old would be able to look after herself for months at a time, with no live in guardian. If they were real people, I would want to tell them off. Parker seems to only have one person in her life who actually gives a damn about her, but then she starts to lose that person. This is where I felt a strong connection with her. My own grandmother went through the phases of Alzheimers pretty quickly. I can't really blame her for not seeing it creep up, we didn't see it. You just assume as people get older they don't remember everything anymore.

Luckily for Parker, her grandmother caused her life to intertwine with Tanya, a teen she mentored. Both really care for Dotty, so you get to see if that connection will bring them together. Then she meets the neighbour Jerry, and he is able to comfort her just by being there to sit with. Parker goes through the incredible journey of change and acceptance of this change, she begins to learn more about herself and starts living her life, rather than just going through the motions. This story have me in tears and smiling, I would definitely recommend this book, especially to someone who is having a hard time letting go. This is a great read. Good job Abby Slovin.





Meghan’s Thoughts: Letters in Cardboard boxes was a story about so many things, about loss, love, forgiveness, sadness, friendships, family, and much more. This book provoked in me a series of different emotions. I felt sadness, not just plain sadness, I felt it in a multitude of ways. I felt it like an emptiness you feel when something big is gone from your life, I felt like a heavy burden when you feel there is nothing you can do to change the outcome of the future, and I felt it in a heart-aching way when your heart is broken by your own doings or others. Aside from sadness, I also felt joy, anger, envy, resentfulness, loneliness, love, the warmth of unexpected companionship, triumph, and more. After all these things I could feel the way Parker felt like she was sinking in a whirlpool of all these emotions combined. This book was very well written to instill these feelings in the reader so effortlessly.

This story takes you on the journey of one woman's loss of her Grandmother. The woman's name is Parker, and her Grandmother has been the only one constant in her whole life, making loosing her an emotional roller coaster that she's stuck on against her will. Parker's parents travel the world for their careers, leaving Parker at home. She wasn't alone though because she had her Grandmother. They were the best of friends, even though, of course, they had their rough patches in Parker's teenage years as she was feeling abandoned by her parents and angry at them for not being around like everyone else's parents. But even when Parker lashed out in her anger, her Grandmother stayed strong by her side.

Upon realizing that her Grandmother is sick and that she is loosing her, she starts remembering all the love her Grandmother has shown her growing up and feels that maybe she didn't return the sentiment as much as she should have. They used to send letters to each other often, pretending that they were vacationing in far away places. I loved reading some of the letters Parker's Grandmother wrote to her, she would use the location and theme of her letter to send a heartfelt message to her granddaughter, it was beautiful really. Parker really has no one else, until she meets two close friends of her grandmothers that ,aside from the the sickness taking place, she probably never would have known. One being a young girl her grandmother was mentoring at a nearby high school, the other an older gentleman who happened to be madly in love with her grandmother but due to certain circumstance they could not be together. With these two new found companions at her side, she takes this incredibly hard journey of letting go of the person she loves most and losing a major piece of her life.

The road is a hard, emotional struggle to say the least. This was a great read, and really reaches into you, makes you think what it would be like to have to lose that person you hold dearest to you. You will most likely feel your heart break while reading this.

I would recommend this book for sure. It's a great story for anyone who's lost someone, or even if you haven't, Slovin's wonderful writing can take you to that place.



30 Day Book Challenge: Day 17

A book that should be on hs/college required reading list.

I honestly don't agreewith any books being mandatory, why? Because I think forcing kids to read, ruins the way they look at books. You shouldn't have to disect a book, it ruins the enjoyment for most people. I know a lot of people who hate reading and I doubt being forced to read a book they had no interest in helped any.

~Jenn

Jenn hit the nail right on the head here. Required reading has it's pros and cons. Forcing kids to study and dissect every line and sentiment in a book really turns some people off of the experience for life. It should be more like, there are a list of options to choose from not this one and this one only. I know when I don't like a book, it's hard for me to continue reading it and it takes me a lot longer than if I really liked the book. I say, make a list of good options available from different genres.

~Meghan

Monday, January 23, 2012

50 Follower Giveaway!!

Under The Covers
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Because we love each and everyone of you, we want to show our appreciation for you all helping us to reach 50 followers! This is our first giveaway for Under The Covers and you all get a chance to win a book of your choice, up to a $15 value from The Book Depository! So anyone who The Book Depository ships to for free is able to enter!


Just use the Rafflecopter to enter, the giveaway will be ending on February 1st!

What book are you pining for?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 16

Book turned movie and completely desecrated.

I'm going to have to go with Twilight. I was just so disappointed after reading the book and seeing that movie. I don't know what it is because I like the rest of the movies, but Twilight is just so..  meh. The book is great though!

~Jenn

Twilight for sure. I really liked the books, but the movies just don't do it for me. I'll be a little mean here and blame it on Kirsten Stewart, I just really don't like her acting.

~Meghan

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (3)


In My Mailbox is an internet meme hosted by The Story Siren to share new books that bloggers have bought, won, recieved for review, been gifted and borrowed.

In Jenn's Mailbox: 

This week I bought two books.

Bite Me by Christopher Moore ($5 Harcover from Chapters!)
The Land of the Painted Caves by Jean M Auel (I've read it but needed to finish my collection)



In Meghan's Mailbox:

Bought:

Switched by Amanda Hocking (on sale for 5$ at my local wal-mart! )

Won:



Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith (dreaming of books Blog Hop-Signed copy!)
Goddess Girls- Artemis the Loyal by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams (dreaming of books Blog Hop)
Awakened by Ednah Walters ( Dreaming of books Blog Hop)


Darkest Light by Hiromi Goto (Goodreads Giveaway)
Drifting House by Krys Lee (Goodreads Giveaway)


For Review:





The Bridge of Deaths by M.C.V Evan
The Raie Chaelia by Melissa Douthit
Survival by A.M Hargrove
The Crush by Elizabeth Lister
Meeting Destiny by Nancy Straight
The New Death and Others by James Hutchings


What did you get in your mailbox this week?

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 15

Favorite book turned movie.

This is only tough because for me, it's a toss up. I absolutely love both Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings. So I guess those two would be my favorites.

~Jenn

Definitely the Lord of the Rings, without a doubt! Harry Potter is definitely up there to. As well, I cannot wait for the Hunger Games movie coming out this year!!! I watch the trailers and cry =P.

~Meghan

Saturday, January 21, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 14

Favorite book dealing with foreign culture.

All I've read within the last couple of years that would have much foreign culture in it are Russian books, and I didn't really like many of them. I guess my favorite of them would be Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, once I got into it, it was ok and I liked it.

~Jenn

I got to say pretty much the same thing as Jenn. I haven't read to many, but over the past year I read a couple that were written by Russian Authors and took place in Russia and so forth. Honestly, I didn't overly like any of them, but out of the few I did read, I would pick The Brothers Karamazov if that counts :)

~Meghan

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: Creatura by Nely Cab

Creatura

Author: Nely Cab

Publication Date: June 15th, 2011

Publisher: Authorhouse

Genre: Paranormal

GoodReads

Synopsis:

When seventeen year-old Isis Martin is having trouble sleeping due to perturbing dreams of a horrific growling beast, she decides to confront her fear. But what Isis discovers is something other than a menacing entity.The human-like creature offers Isis assurance that he is not a figment of her imagination. Unwilling to accept his avowal, Isis sets his words to contest by asking the entity to prove himself - a dare, he readily welcomes.It is in her dreams that Isis innocently stumbles upon the silent existence of the divine lineage of those that man has long forgotten.In a quaint town, deep in south Texas, this story leads Isis onto the path of impermissible love and captivating life-changing truths. Ultimately, Isis discovers that this chapter in her life is only the beginning.


My Thoughts: Creatura is an amazing book. Nely Cab is an amazing writer. It's a 308 page story and I laughed, cried and became incredibly emotionally attached to the characters. Isis had a boyfriend, he went to college, and then broke up with her by text with no explanation. Gabriel had been her friend since they were little, so she was incredibly hurt by this. I felt like I could completely relate to Isis and her feelings toward Gabriel, having had something similar happen to me, though not exactly the same circumstances. So Isis tries to get on with her life and stumbles across a place in her dreams that she can't stop dreaming about, but is being haunted by a beast.

When David, the human-like beast that was haunting her dreams, comes to Isis' town, she falls hard for him, but tries not to, but it's pretty inevitable. He happens to be a god, so what chance does she have, even though they are forbidden from being together. There are no physical relationships allowed between the gods and humans because it results in monstrous abominations, called Creatura. David and Isis still try to find a way to be together and Isis is finally starting to accept the relationship (she really struggles against it since it's forbidden) and who shows up but Gabriel. Except not the Gabriel everyone knows, this Gabriel is high and waving around a gun, and wanting Isis to take him back. Isis has no intentions on doing this because she has finally moved on after 3 months of struggling with getting over him. So of course, Gabriel is jealous of David, and  keeps harassing Isis, but she still cares for him as a friend and doesn't want to see him hurt himself.

Anyways, that's all I'm going to say about the story, I don't want to give it all away. I really enjoyed Creatura, and am looking forward to the next book. As I said, I really connected to the characters, especially Isis, so when something happened to upset her, I was upset with her. I found this book very hard to put down (although I did have to put it down for a few days to nurse my sick baby back to health). I like Nely Cab's take on the gods, I'm always good for a little mythology. The first half of the book was a little slow for me, but only because there were a lot of distractions from my reading. The second half flew by, and I couldn't stop reading, and when I had to, I couldn't stop  thinking about it. Then when I got to the last page I literally let out a small cry of dismay, the cliffhanger was just too good, I can't wait to see what happens next. I'm hoping it doesn't take too long for the next part of the story. At least I'm really hoping there is more story. All in all, this is a great read, if you have time to sit down and read it, it's quite fast paced, I would definitely recommend this book.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 13

Favorite childhood book.

I liked pretty much anything by Robert Munsch, Love You Forever being one of the top ones. Also, Loved Dr. Seuss, can't really pick a favorite.

~Jenn

Goosebumps!! What kid from the 80's/90's didn't read goosebumps?! Go R.L Stine! =) I used to love getting the scholastic book orders at school to look for new Goosebumps books. I had sooooo many of them, I'm sure there is a box of them in my parents attic somewhere. :)

~Meghan

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: Survival by A.M Hargrove

Survival

Author: A.M Hargrove

Publication Date: November 15th, 2011

Publisher: Smashwords

Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal

GoodReads

Synopsis:

While on a backpacking trip in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, nineteen-year-old Maddie Pearce finds her world has been thrown into a vortex and is madly spinning toward the impossible. Abducted by a mad psychopath, Maddie narrowly escapes with her life. But that is only the beginning. Her mysterious rescuer introduces her to a world that Maddie has difficulty accepting as reality. Will this strikingly gorgeous stranger be the key to her future or will she return to her mundane world, scarred from her experience? Follow Maddie as she is forced to make difficult decisions that carry her to mysterious places.


My Thoughts: I will start off by saying I LOVED this book! I was sucked into it's pages from beginning to end. Never a dull moment, always on the edge of my seat, couldn't wait to see what happened next. It was very fast paced, in a good way, and was never ever boring. Now that I'm done, I can't wait for the next installment in the series. I absolutely need to read it.

Now for more about the book itself. The book was divided into four different books (segments), each one more exciting than the one before it. In the first book we get to know all about the character Madeline Pearce, or Maddie as is is more commonly called. Maddie lost  her mother unexpectedly at a very young age, and not to many years later she lost her father suddenly as well. She has no other family, and you can not help but pity her. But, at the same time you admire the strength and optimism she has to carry on with her life. She picks up the pieces and tries to embrace her new life of solidarity and she does a really great job. I loved reading the first segment, I grew to like Maddie a lot. She has a great, down-to-Earth, bright, happy personality that is very endearing. She also happens to be very clumsy and accident prone, in an adorable way that had me laughing out loud on a couple different occasions. I also felt like reading her describe what her life has been like up till now was like reading a diary entry, it seemed so natural and easy flowing, like she was telling all this to her closest friend and you were that friend. She also makes a lot of references to things that are popular in our present time, and that really helps you relate with her. I especially enjoyed the Harry Potter references :).

Moving up to present time in the story line, Maddie is all alone. She has one thing that she loves and holds on to from her life with her father, and that's hiking and camping and just plain being outdoors. So this one Christmas she decides to spend the night and day camping in her favorite spot on Smokey Mountain and the very unexpected happens. Maddie comes face to face with a serial killer that targets women. This part of the book had me feeling real fear, my heart was pounding in my chest as I read through her horrifying ordeal with this mad man. I won't give to many details but it comes to a point where the killer assumes her dead, and he moves on. She then is saved by a group of people called the Nunne'hi, they are a group of people yet unknown to the rest of the world. When reading about the Nunne'hi I got a very elvish vibe from them. They are not  elves, but if I had to describe them that is what I would say. But Tolkien elves! The Nunne'hi happen to have an alliance with aliens from a planet called Vesturon, with whom they protect the earth and the people on it. The aliens who are sent to work with the Nunne'hi are called Guardians. They look just like humans, with a slightly larger frame, some super human abilities, and are much more technologically advanced than us. The Guardian who is charged with helping Maddie's healing process is named Rayn. Upon their meeting there is instant, intense, crazy attraction.

Here comes the love dilemma that tugs on our heartstrings. Maddie is a mere human, Rayn is an alien from another planet! Not only that, his father just happens to be the leader of said planet and Rayn, being his first born son, is to be his successor. So here they are, they have this attraction that, you the reader, can feel coming at you off the pages. Their relationship is electric, it's on fire! It's intensely deep, very real, and best of all (for us readers) it's strictly  forbidden. Humans are never allowed to be on Rayn's planet, as well, Rayn is what we would consider royalty, he could not be paired with a human! Forbidden love has a way of reeling us in, we just have to read on to see what happens and if it's a love strong enough to beat the odds.

So, that's the big question! Will Maddie be OK with being in love with an alien, once she discovers  that is what he, in fact, is? Is she ready to be close to someone again after tragically losing the ones she was closest to? Will Rayn risk losing his family, disinheriting himself from the role as leader of Vesturon, or risk being imprisoned for bringing a human to his planet? These are not the only obstacles that get thrown in their path!

But that is as far as I will take you! As I love to say, you're going to have to read it yourself to find out. And on that note, I absolutely recommend that you do so! If you're a fan of YA, Paranormal, Romance, or all of the above, get your hands on a copy and read it :) I have faith you will love it as much as I did. Great work Hargrove! Lucky for me, and all of us, the next installment: Resurrection, is to be very soon released! I personally can not wait to get my hands on it! :)