Happy New Year 2012 Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Happy New Year 2012 Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Babs Book Bistro.

The idea of the “hop” is that a whole bunch of blogs plan different giveaways, then link up to make it easier for visitors to find and enter them. This hop runs from Friday, December 30th, 2011 to Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012.
For this hop, I’ll be giving away my personal ARC of Pure by Julianna Baggott.

Blurb (from Goodreads):

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

This giveaway is now closed.

The rules:
Must be 13 or older to enter
Entries will be accepted until 11:59 pm EST, January 3, 2012
One entry per person
Contest open to US only
The winner will be notified by email
Winner will be determine by random number generator
It’s not necessary to follow me for this, but it sure is appreciated!

Remember to hop to the other blogs!

StumbleUponDeliciousGoogle ReaderTumblrYahoo BookmarksShare
Posted in Giveaways | 4 Comments

Interview with Carrie Salo

In case you missed it, yesterday I reviewed debut author Carrie Salo’s book The Sounding.

Today, Carrie joins me on the blog to talk about herself, her writing, and The Sounding.

As a debut author, can you begin by introducing yourself to us?

My name is Carrie Salo, and The Sounding is indeed my first novel (though definitely not my last!).  I consider myself to be a storyteller – a weaver of intriguing tales.  As a storyteller, I like to keep my reader on the edge of their seat (or up all night), reveal unexpected plot twists, and completely take you away from your everyday through character development.  I tend to heavily lean towards the supernatural thriller – which means, if you have read anything from me and you weren’t pretty scared, I didn’t do my job.  Besides being an avid reader of thrillers and many other genres, I credit my writing to a classical education as an English major at an ivy league university.  That education helps me bring together dark creativity with a very careful writing style.  When I write a story, I want everything – the plot, the characters, the settings, the writing and the research – to work together seamlessly.  I never want the reader to see what’s going on “behind the curtain.”  For me, it’s all about taking you away for some deep thrills.

How did you come up with the idea for The Sounding

I found the idea for The Sounding in a religious studies class I was taking at college.  We were reading the Bible as if it were a piece of literature.  We took it apart theme by theme, just as you would in any English class.  And two themes kept coming up for me again and again, because they simply don’t go together: prophecy and free will.  Many things that happen in the Bible are prophetic – they are fated.  And yet, the Bible gives each of us the free will to make our own choices, sometimes, even at the expense of prophecy.  Eve in the Garden of Eden, of course, is an easy example, but there are many others.  So, when we came to the final prophecy and began discussing it, I couldn’t help but ask: what if we could change it or make it happen early with our own choices?  And that’s what The Sounding is all about.  Grounded in real history and real prophecy, it takes everyday events in today’s world and manipulates them to bring on the circumstances of the last prophecy in the book of Revelation.  A band of characters joins together to protect the final prophecy, including one character with the holy ability to steal energy with a single touch.  But, just as this guardian is sent by God to keep His plan in place, a dark and evil force sent by the devil himself is set on hunting them one by one and bringing the end of days upon us.

What kind of research did you have to do to be able to write about Biblical prophecy and the Catholic Church? 

Though it is a supernatural thriller, I wanted to ground The Sounding in as much history and realism as I could – I think that makes it far more chilling.  Besides taking a Biblical studies class, I read dozens of books on Catholicism, Judaism and Israeli History.  The Sounding, I feel, is truly a book about both good and evil.  So, my research had to include both sides.  I read the Bible and its counter – The Apocrypha (those books that were once a part of the Bible but were eventually banned/discounted).  I read through books that catalogued the angels, as well as demons.  I discovered spells reportedly spoken by Moses.  I read of demons that would supposedly appear if I so much as whispered their name (I did not…).  I even traveled to the Vatican where I gained access to the underground catacombs that the Church is built right on top of.  I tried to immerse myself in as much history as I could in order to bring it to life in my pages.

Are there any authors you admire, or have learned from?

Honestly, I don’t think I have ever read a book that I did not learn something from.  Definitely, the best way to learn to write is: to read what you like and use that to create your own style.  My favorite author is Stephen King (I see you review him on Bibliosaurus Text!).  His ability to create suspense is simply amazing and something I could study over and over and over again.  He also is never afraid to face the scariest parts of the human mind.  I don’t think there is anywhere he is uncomfortable going.  His fearlessness inspires me – he is just an imagination-blowing storyteller.  Beyond King, I have pretty eclectic tastes.  Whenever I buy a book, I usually buy 2: one classic and one new.  That way, I am always getting the best of today as well as the writers that came before.  From the classics, one author that has really inspired me (from my days as a young reader) is L.M. Montgomery.  She could make everyday life read like an adventure.  I learned a love of character development and detailed writing from enjoying her books.  Other inspirations include Michael Crichton, Sarah Waters, J.K. Rowlings, Dean Koontz, Charlotte Bronte, and so many others.

Do you have any writing rituals, or anywhere you particularly like to work?

I listen to classical music while I write, and I try to match the music to the type of writing I’m doing.  If it’s an action scene – I’ll find something exciting or angry.  If it’s a romance scene – I’ll pick something softer; more haunting.  Then, when I edit the scene or need to pick-up where I last left off, I can play the same music. I find it really helps me get into the same mood, even when it’s been a while since I last wrote or visited that particular scene.  It helps me write from a consistent place and I credit it with keeping away writer’s block!

Other than that, I am a pretty carefree writer.  I have a laptop, so I can write wherever I feel like.  I am not one for peace and quiet – it unsettles me!  The laptop lets me sit in crowded rooms, outside, at a coffee shop or library, or in bed.  It helps me fit the very solitary act of writing into a generally extroverted life.

Did you always want to write fiction? 

I have wanted to be a writer since I was 7.  I was that strange child who always knew what she wanted to be (and it wasn’t a ballerina).  In the second grade, my teacher asked me to write a short story as an extra credit assignment.  It was close to Halloween, so I wrote a story about a group of girls who get lost in a haunted forest.  And that was it.  I was hooked.  My parents had a whole decade to prepare themselves to send me to school to be an English major…every once in a while, my determination would flicker.  But, it’s been a pretty steady obsession.

What’s one thing about you that would surprise your readers? 

Before becoming a writer, I did seriously stray once (only once!) and played with the idea of becoming a meteorologist.  While I’m glad I ultimately chose writing, I am still nerdily fascinated with weather.  My husband and I went storm chasing in 2010 and saw 14 tornados, including one F4!

Do you have any future projects in the works? 

I am in the early stages of research for a second novel.  It will be another supernatural thriller, but different characters, places and plot premise than The Sounding.  I don’t want to give too much away, but if you are looking for a clue as to what I am working on next, check out the last few pages of The Sounding.  At the end, a book is mentioned.  And that is the name of my next book.

Thanks for the great interview, Carrie! I can’t wait for the next book (and I do know the title, thanks to that clue).

StumbleUponDeliciousGoogle ReaderTumblrYahoo BookmarksShare
Posted in interviews | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop Winner

The winner of the Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Oasis for YA, is:

Debbie W.!!!

She wins my personal ARC of Fracture by Megan Miranda.

Thanks to everybody who entered. There were 131 total entries. Be sure to check back in a couple of days for the next giveaway.


StumbleUponDeliciousGoogle ReaderTumblrYahoo BookmarksShare
Posted in Giveaways | 1 Comment

Review: The Sounding by Carrie Salo

Published by 23 House
Released September 27, 2011
478 pages
Where I got it: Review copy received courtesy publisher
Rating: 4 stars

Fourteen angels are cited in the Book of Revelation. The final angel brings forth the end of days, but only after humanity has gone through a series of trials to ready it for this event. However, what happens if the earlier omens that would trigger each of the angels are skipped, and the final angel is brought forth too soon, far before mankind is ready and ahead of God’s plan? A secret faction of the Catholic Church, the Hetairia Melchizedek, studies omens and signs, hoping to protect the world from this ever happening. When a prophetic dream and change in a statue of Remiel, the final angel, occur, the society, including young priest Chris Mognahan, seek to find the incarnation of the angel on earth so they may work with her to prevent the premature end, and protect her from the evil Other that seeks to destroy her.

The Sounding was a far more thoughtful and exciting novel than I had anticipated. Following several introductory pages of the Book of Revelation describing the angels and end of days, the opening of the novel hits with a bang–a supernatural murder on a college campus. Alerted by the strangeness of the killing, Father Mognahan alerts the Hetairia Melchizedek, and, together with a mute monk, searches the campus for Remiel. They find her in the form of Elise Moore, a beautiful young student who has lived a quiet life hiding her supernatural powers from those around her.

Although Elise was initially a hard character for me to come to like, over time her character is expanded to the point that you can’t help but root for her. Like Christ, she has a sacrifice to make to save the world, and as much as she’d like to give it up, she also knows that she plays a critical role in the survival of mankind. The other characters were well-rounded as well, and Father Chris is sure to be a favorite of many reading the book. It begins as largely his story, but transitions to focus on Elise and her struggles.

There is also plenty of danger and action in the novel. A being they refer to as the Other, the opposite of Remiel, seeks to destroy Elise. Somehow, it always knows where to find her, and it shows no mercy, tearing down whomever it needs to in order to get to her.

What I enjoyed most about this book is how entrenched it is in Catholicism and how much I learned about religion without it ever feeling preachy. As a non-Catholic, I love getting glimpses into the workings of the Church and its theology. We also get a great literary tour of the Vatican City, making me long to visit it in real life. Fans of books like The Da Vinci Code, and Angelology will most likely also enjoy the theology mixed with adventure and action at play here. And it’s written much better than The Da Vinci Code.

My only real issue with the book has nothing to do with the story, but more with the publisher. I reviewed a finished copy, and counted at least seven or eight grammatical errors and typos (periods missing from the ends of sentences, using “they” instead of “thy” in two separate instances). Granted, that’s not much considering the book is nearly 500 pages long, but it was enough that I noticed and wished that it would have been picked over more carefully by an editor.

I’m very happy that I was approached to review this title, because I probably would have never picked it up on my own. It’s the kind of book that will stay with me long after I finish it, and I even ended up having dreams based on the story and characters, it got under my skin so much. I’m excited to see what Carrie Salo creates in her future books.

Amazon link
Goodreads link

StumbleUponDeliciousGoogle ReaderTumblrYahoo BookmarksShare
Posted in Fiction | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Waiting on Wednesday: The Immortal Rules

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine. It highlights pre-release books that we just can’t wait to get our hands on.

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Release date: April 24, 2012
Published by: Harlequin Teen

Those of us who have read Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series know how awesome her books are. Well, now she’s taking on vampires. This promises to be awesome.

Blurb from Goodreads:

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their “pets.” In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero…and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She’s passing for human…for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.


StumbleUponDeliciousGoogle ReaderTumblrYahoo BookmarksShare
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 9 Comments