Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Revelations (The Elysium Chronicles #2) by J.A. Souders

rjasYA readers listen up! We have a giveaway for you! Thanks to Tor Teen we have a copy of J.A. Souders latest Elysium Chronicles release, Revelations. If you like reading Young Adult novels with a flair for science fiction then see below for book and author information, followed by instructions on how to enter.

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evie Winters has believed that everything is just about flawless in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. As the adopted Daughter of the People, she has been trained to take over by Mother, the community’s leader. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she has believed that everything is perfect. Her world. Her people. The Law.

The antithesis to her perfect world is the Surface, a waste land of death and corruption (or so Evie has been taught) the founders of Elysium fled years before. But when a Surface Dweller named Gavin Hunter mistakenly infiltrates the community, events are set in motion that lead Evelyn to realize her paradise is a mirage hiding something far more terrifying. With Gavin’s help she uncovers the truth and together they escape Elysium – but at a significant cost…

In Revelations we find Evie six weeks after her arrival to the Surface but no closer to unlocking the memories that were stripped from her as she fled. Isolated in a strange new society, Evie has only Gavin to remind her of who she once was. But when Evie’s elusive memories begin to collide with reality, people and images from her past begin appearing in the most unlikely places, she and Gavin set off to find answers. They’ll have to journey across the Outlands of the Surface, and in the end, their search may just lead them back to the place it all started…

Part romance, part psychological thriller, and filled with intrigue and suspense, Revelations is an enthralling page-turner that will captivate and delight readers.

About the Author

J.A. Souders is the author of the Elysium Chronicles and lives with her husband and two children in the land of sunshine and palm trees, where she spends her time writing about the monsters under the bed, daydreaming about living in an underwater colony, and failing miserably at playing video games. She can be found wandering around the internet at her website.

Giveaway – Special thanks to Tor Teen!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a hardcover copy of Revelations by J.A. Souders!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Sunday, April 20, 2014.  A winner will be picked at random and announced on Monday, April 21, 2014.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Winner Announced in The Burgess Boys Giveaway!

tbbesOne person has been chosen the winner in The Burgess Boys giveaway!

Congratulations to:

  1. Stacie Gorkow @SincerelyStacie who left a comment on April 6th

Please contact me with your mailing address by Sunday, April 20, 2014 to claim your prize.

Thank you to all who participated and left comments!

Living With A Book Addict: A Bookseller

Kim at the bookstore

Kim at the bookstore

In this, the latest installment of the Living With a Book Addict series, I’m going to chronicle the recent development that has happened with our favorite book addict: she got a new job!  Now, along with the titles of blogger and book addict, we can add bookseller.  Kim recently started working at a book store and has happily immersed herself in the world of book selling for several months now.  It’s safe to say that she has taken her love of books and reading to a new, professional level, and I get to offer my insight (as always) on the changes that have taken place since this new opportunity!

First and foremost, I’m happy that she gets to do something that she is truly passionate about when she goes to work.  Many times she’s come home and happily told me about the people she’s turned on to new series and authors, and there was even one special time when she convinced a young girl to read Pride and Prejudice.  As you can imagine, there is no shortage of recommendations that she offers, and I think it’s great that she gets to interact with so many others who are interested in reading.  Even now as I write this, she’s telling me about another customer who came back into the store and thanked her for recommending a series that he ended up really enjoying.  It’s been awesome to see the impact that a fulfilling job has had in increasing her overall drive and motivation to go to work.

Secondly, how about those discounts?  Now, if I ever need to buy a book, I can look forward to a sweet discount!  I’m kidding, although the discount is neat, what’s more interesting to me is hearing about a whole new industry that I know basically nothing about.  After Kim comes home from work she tells me all about how the store operates and how certain books are destined to appear on certain shelves, etc.  I think it’s quite interesting, and between those stories and some interesting stories about the general public (anyone who has worked in retail knows how “unique” some of the general public can be at times), there’s always something new to talk about.  This new job has been a great source of new stories and new friends, and I imagine that there is much more in store for the future.

Finally, I’m just happy that our favorite book addict has been able to surround herself with her passion, making her happy.  I know it sounds self-explanatory, but after all the hectic adventures we’ve had due to my job, I’m glad to see her just as vibrant and motivated as she was before all of this happened.  The ability to bring her love of books to others is worth more than the money she gets to make as a bookseller, and knowing that makes both of us happy.

So, next time you enter your local bookstore, take a look around at the employees and see if there’s an extra spring in their step.  If so, perhaps they too have the same passion for books and want to share it with others.  Make sure you say hello!

Adam’s Review of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

gggfWhat if you lost everything of value in your world? What if, after losing all this, the world watched your every move, judging you for the decisions you made, as well as analyzing everything down to your smile and your response to questions? What if you and your family were the only ones who knew the truth of your situation, yet no one on the outside believed you? What would you do if you felt the world caving in, but knew the truth that would set you free? Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn addresses these issues and many more in a thrilling mystery of epic proportions.

Nick and Amy Dunne have been married for five years. Like any marriage, theirs has been through a lot, including the loss of both their jobs, as well as relocating to Missouri from New York City to help care for Nick’s dying mother and Alzheimer’s stricken father. On the morning of their fifth anniversary, Amy has gone missing and Nick is the primary suspect. He acts inappropriately and smiles at the wrong time, leading everyone to suspect that he is to blame for Amy’s disappearance. The only people who are on his side are his sister Margo, and to some extent Amy’s parents. What follows is a story of deceit, intrusion of the media, and how public opinion can quickly change due to one off-handed comment.

I have never in my life been so enthralled by a book. I know I’ve said this before about The Great Gatsby, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Angels and Demons, but those books pale in comparison to the emotions I felt while reading this book. I’ve never been so emotionally involved in a book to the point where if I didn’t know what happened next, I wouldn’t be able to live anymore. It was the type of book where just one more chapter turned into a few more, and before I knew it I had read the whole thing in 24 hours. Even though the book is a quick read, every word matters. Every scenario builds upon the last, and the climax leaves the reader stunned.

Gillian Flynn has a way of writing characters that bring out emotions in the reader. Never did I think it was possible to hate one of the main characters as much as I did (I will not say which character for those readers who have yet to experience this book), but the passion I felt towards hating this character made reading the story even better. It bought out in me emotions that up until this point only movies had been able to. I truly didn’t think it was possible for a book to do so. Flynn’s writing had this cinematic flair to it with a Hitchcock-style twist, which made the book that much more effective for me as a reader. I will admit to gasping out loud probably 150 times while reading this book. Additionally, switching between Nick and Amy’s perspectives helped to get a fuller understanding of the events of the novel. So often when a novel is told from one perspective the reader doesn’t get the full story. The dual narration provided a full explanation of all of the events of the story, and made it that much more powerful.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough to any reader who likes a good mystery. Gillian Flynn creates a world using characters we know in a world we know all too well. The backdrop of modern society with paparazzi and the 24-hour news cycle really enhances this classic story of betrayal and the truth behind it. I think anyone who reads this review that hasn’t read Gone Girl yet needs to go get the book and experience the pure excitement of it. I am beyond excited to see the film adaptation and see how it translates to the screen.

7 out of 5 Stars

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Crown Publishing (2012)
Hardcover: 432 pages
ISBN: 9780307588364

Kim’s Guest Review of Mr. Darcy Came to Dinner by Jack Caldwell

mdctdjcMy latest review for Austenprose is Mr. Darcy Came to Dinner by Jack Caldwell. The name Jack Caldwell may ring a bell for some of you. He is the author of Pemberley Ranch, a book that Todd and I both reviewed (see Todd’s/Mine.) Caldwell is one of the few male authors that exist in the Jane Austen fan fiction sphere. As such, he captures my attention with each novel he writes as he is able to offer male insight into Darcy’s mind (and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to know what that man was thinking?!)

Mr. Darcy Came to Dinner is a comedic retelling of Pride and Prejudice that lands Darcy in the living room of the Bennet household as he recovers from a broken leg. How did he got that broken leg? You’d have to ask Elizabeth’s adorable cat Cassandra! What ensues in the Bennet household as Darcy recovers is truly hilarious. I highly recommend this read!

For a direct link to my review click here.

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

tbbesThanks to Simon & Schuster UK, I’ve got a copy of Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys, due out in paperback in the US on April 8th, to give away to one lucky winner. Check out the book description and author information below, then read on to see how you can enter to win!

Jim and Bob Burgess return to their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls, many years after they first escaped its narrow confines following the death of their father in a freak accident. They have been asked back by their sister Susan, who needs help with her troubled son, Zach.

But as the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.

In The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout again demonstrates the brilliant storytelling, exquisite prose and remarkable insight that won her a Pulitzer Prize for Olive Kitteridge.

About the Author

Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge, as well as US bestseller Abide With Me and Orange Prize-shortlisted Amy & Isabelle. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulker Award. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. She lives in New York City.

You can find out more at her website, here.

Giveaway – Special thanks to Simon & Schuster UK!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a hardcover copy of The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Saturday, April 12, 2014.  A winner will be picked at random and announced on Sunday, April 13, 2014.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Sam’s Review of Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin

alpomhI wonder what it’s like to be Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriend. I’m not talking about the likes of Joe Jonas or John Mayer. What about that high school kid with the pick up truck? The one whose pictures T-Swift so publicly burned on her first album. Do the people back home know him? Make sideways glances when they see him at the local diner? What’s his life like now? Does he keep it a secret or does he let the world know that he really does think of the curly-haired blonde whenever he hears a Tim McGraw song? Well, it seems that I’m not the only pop culture obsessed fangirl, because in Another Little Piece of My Heart (based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion), author Tracey Martin explores this very idea.

From Goodreads:

What if your devastating break-up became this summer’s hit single? In this rock-and-roll retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, music can either bring you together or tear you apart.

At her dying mother’s request, Claire dumps Jared, the only boy she’s ever loved. Left with a broken family and a broken heart, Claire is furious when she discovers that her biggest regret became Jared’s big break. While Jared is catapulted into rock-star status, another piece of Claire’s heart crumbles every time his song plays on the radio.

The summer after her senior year, it’s been months since the big break-up, and Claire is just trying to keep her head down and make it through a tense trip to the beach with her family. But when Jared shows up, and old feelings reignite, can Claire and Jared let go of the past? Or will they be stuck singing the same old refrain?

What I loved about this book: it’s unapologetically YA. What I had trouble with about this book: it’s unapologetically YA.

Claire is a delight as a narrator. She is down to earth, unsure of herself, and still dealing with the aftermath of a bad break up. In a nutshell, she’s a girlfriend, someone you’ve known your whole life. Claire tries desperately to hide her past with Jared. She doesn’t want to be the girl who broke his heart. Imagine what Justin Bieber’s fans would do to a girl who hurt him? Yea. I wouldn’t want to be that girl. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with someone famous the world seems a little smaller. His face is everywhere. The song is on the radio. How can you escape? It’s bad enough that Claire has to worry about running into this boy back home, but she should be safe while on vacation several states away, right?

This is where YA takes a few liberties. Of all the beaches in world, Jared, the superstar, just so happens to coincidentally be spending the summer at the exact same one as Claire? Also, he just so happens to be living in a college dorm with a buddy from home? With no security? With NO ONE TWEETING ABOUT IT? Yea. Right. That’s how I knew this was most certainly a fiction. It’s 2014. The hot guy with several Grammys to his name would never be able to camp out and write songs for an entire summer without people bombarding him. All Jared had to contend with was a few respectful and well-meaning fans who quietly asked for autographs and respected his privacy. Ok.

At its heart I have to say that this was a very well executed piece. I found myself very wrapped up in the story. My teenage self was all about it. I liked the idea of Claire’s story, the girl who made her ex-boyfriend’s fame possible.

We all know that the best writers of songs and books draw on their real life experiences. It’s what makes the stories so compelling; they are grounded in truth. What sometimes gets lost in translation is that there are actual, non-famous counterparts on the other sides of those stories. People with hopes, dreams, and feelings. Is it fair to vent on paper and become famous off of a shared life experience? Who is the owner of something that happened behind closed doors? If these are questions you want to grapple with on a Sunday afternoon I highly recommend this ah-dorable, fast paced tale.

4 out of 5 Stars

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin
Harlequin (2013)
eBook: 304 pages
ISBN: 9781459254749

Special thanks to Ms. Martin for my review copy!

Kim’s Guest Review of Maria Grace’s Given Good Principles Series

By now, you guys are well aware of the fact that I binge book series (you’ve read my Series Spotlight posts.) I read one, get hooked, and just have to keep binging.

ggpmg

One of my most recent binge-reads was Maria Grace’s Given Good Principles series. Of the four parts I read, the first two are prequels to Pride and Prejudice, book three re-imagines P&P, while book four is a sequel to P&P. Grace had some pretty ingenious ways of getting the characters to realize what their personality/character flaws were PRIOR to meeting each other.

For a direct link to my review, click here.

What Are You Reading This March?

March has been an absolutely crazy hectic month for me. As such the amount of time I’ve been able to dedicate to reading has been quite short. It’s the 22nd of the month and I’ve only read 5 books!! I guess I should be happy that my total is 5 and not 0. With such a small amount of books completed this month, I’m being realistic with what else I plan to complete this month. On my list is Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare.

wayrtm2

Attachments was Rowell’s first novel and is a true gem. After reading Eleanor & Park and Fangirl I was dying to read more. I’m literally on pins and needles awaiting her next novel Landline due out this July. City of Bones got bumped up my list after I saw The Mortal Instruments movie. I found the premise of the movie unique and found myself drawn to the characters (especially the heroine Clary.) Knowing I had the first book already in my bookshelves, I quickly grabbed it. The series is currently five books long, with the sixth and final installment due out May (I think I can catch up before then!)

Well readers, over to you. What are you all reading this month?

Adam’s Film Friday – A Review of The Bling Ring

bling ring poster

How far would you go to be famous? Would you throw your family or other loved ones under the bus to achieve the slightest bit of notoriety? In a society where more people know who Kim Kardashian is rather than the author of the Declaration of Independence, one must question the morals we raise our kids with. In The Bling Ring, based on the article and book by Nancy Jo Sales, Sofia Coppola takes us on a journey that attempts to figure out how a group of youths was able to pull off a string of high-end burglaries. They target people who have what they want: money, nice clothes, power, and most of all, fame.

Marc (Israel Broussard) is the new kid in town, and one of the first students he meets is Rebecca (Katie Chang), who is obsessed with everything having to do with Hollywood. One night, the two enter unlocked cars and steal money and credit cards. Later on they are bored at home one night, and through an internet search find out Paris Hilton’s address and that she is out-of-town for an appearance. They decide to go to her house, break in, and see how the rich and famous live. After bragging about their achievements to their friends, Nicki (Emma Watson), Sam (Taissa Farminga), and Chloe ( Claire Julien), they decide to pay their old friend Paris another visit. This sets off a crime spree against other rich and famous young stars, including Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, and Audrina Partridge. Consumed by their closeness to fame, the group starts becoming careless and soon their deeds begin to catch up with them.

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I thought the best part of the movie was Emma Watson’s performance. Even though in the trailer Watson (undoubtedly the biggest name in the film) was viewed as the main character, her role in the final film was that of a supporting character. Her character, Nikki, was based on Alexis Neiers, the suspect who gave the original interview that the film is based on. I felt that she had the whole attitude of her character down pat. Watson said that to prepare for the role, she watched a lot of reality TV and even created a fake Tumblr as her character. She had the accent of a party girl down perfectly, and even though she had such a small role (and such an empty character), she was really able to create something memorable.

blingring2

I also thought Coppola’s vision for the movie was very interesting. She based her screen play on Sales’ article entitled “The Suspects Wore Louboutins”, in which she interviewed Alexis Neiers and her alleged connection to the group. From there the story sort of took on a life of its own and those in The Bling Ring became celebrities in their own right. They each had their own story to tell, and I thought Coppola’s interpretation of those stories was really spot on. The film was quick-moving and the story didn’t drag. My only complaint was that some of the dialogue seemed a little too fake, and I got the sense that it was Coppola’s interpretation of how teenagers would talk in these scenes. It seemed too made up, and didn’t flow well at times.

All and all, I thought The Bling Ring was an interesting take on the lengths some people will go to achieve their 15 minutes of fame. The film, though not one of Coppola’s best works, was entertaining, and I thought Watson’s performance made the movie and showed off her comedic chops and how good of an actress she really is.

3 out of 5 Stars

The Bling Ring (2013)
American Zoetrope
R, 90 Minutes