Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Showdown #1

Throwdown Thursday is a weekly meme where we tackle books with similar characters, themes, etc. to determine which one rocks more.  And it is up to YOU to determine the winner! Just comment below with who you think deserves the title. Throwdown Thursday was created by The Neverending Shelf, I just changed the name to Saturday Showdown because I love Saturdays!!!

Faeries vs. Werewolves
 This week's Saturday showdown is between the cute, lovable, sometimes malicious flesh eating faeries, and... the dangerous, cunning, always sexy [Sam (from Shiver)...swoon] werewolves. Who will come out on top, you decide!!!

And for the Contestants

On the Faeries Side we have...

  

  

and...
  
  
On the Werewolf side...
  

     

   

I know it may seem unfair to pin three complete faerie series against 2 werewolf series and a stand alone, but I still think the wolves have what it takes to go up against the faeries. I'm team faeries all the way though!!! Who will be the winners, you decide!!! Let the showdown begin!!!
                                                                                                                                                        

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Currently Reading...


...The Reckoning by. Kelley Armstrong. For those of you who do not know, this is the third book in Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers series or as I like to call it, one of my new all time favorite series...ever!!! I just finished the second book The Awakening and I had to start reading this one immediately. I was planning to wait until it came out in paperback, so it can match the other two books in the series that I own (I'm OCD like that) but if you have read this series, (and if you haven't, why in the world not), you know that it is nearly impossible to wait to read any of these books. I am already on chapter 33 and I haven't even bought the book yet!!! Yes, you heard correctly, I have not even bought it. I am ashamed to say that I was reading it via e-reader. I am ashamed to say that because I refuse to be apart of this whole  "technology destroying the book industry" conspiracy CNN keeps talking about. And I really prefer to read the normal way. But my friend had already bought this book on her mom's Nook and I we were supposed to be studying...and now I'm on chapter 33. But I refuse to go any farther than that until I buy the actually nice-paper printed copy at BN tomorrow. Anyways, here's what it is all about (may contain spoilers for those who have not yet read the rest of the series): 


Synopsis (from goodreads): If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me  as an average teenage girl—someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

Verdict: I am loving this book so much more than the first two, and I praised both of those books to the high heavens. This one is revved up so much more. The supernatural aspect is tripled, the action is amplified by 100, and the romance is... you just have to read it!!! I already know this is going to be my favorite of the series, I just wish I didn't have to go a whole 24 hours before continuing to read it!!!

 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's Time for Another CONTEST!!!

 [Contest Now Closed]

Hey everyone. As you guys may know I am still having POC Week here at Black and Blue Ink, and as a part of that, the wonderful Wendy Raven McNair, is giving away a copy of Asleep, one of my new favorite books!!! Here's what its all about:

        Adisa Summers doesn't know her boyfriend, Micah Alexander, can fly. Micah's odd emotionless behavior, rigid posture, and vacant eyes are a mystery sending mixed messages to Adisa. When a flash of lightning sends a tree crashing down on her, Adisa is shocked to see Micah actually flying to her rescue! In an instant, Adisa is in his arms, looking up at the sky over his shoulder as they fly parallel to the ground. Micah shifts, shielding her completely with his body. As the tree explodes against Micah's back, Adisa feels him shudder with the impact and the air fills with wood chips and sawdust. Miraculously, they aren't smashed into the ground. They safely continue flying. Micah finally begins to open up to Adisa about his secret life as a superbeing and she discovers another shocking secret. Micah burns for her--literally as well as figuratively. ASLEEP is a superhero teen love story set in modern day Atlanta that's filled with thrills, romance, and suspense.


You can read my review of Asleep here. All you have to do to enter is fill out the form below, giveaway ends 6/10!!!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rules of Attraction Trailer

Hello you guys, this is the book Trailer for Rules of Attraction by. Simone Elkeles!!! After I saw this trailer I was just about ready to order it without a second thought. I have to admit this is pretty much my favorite book trailer EVER!!!! It is awesome, hope you guys enjoy it!!! (You can read my review of Rules of Attraction Here)


What did I tell you guys? It rocks right. It is the best book Trailer you have ever seen right? Ok, maybe not everybody completely loves it, but it still is a great trailer and depicts the book perfectly. You know you want to read it now!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Review: Rules of Attraction by. Simone Elkeles

Title: Rules of Attraction                                    Author: Simone Elkeles
Age Range: 15+
Publication Date: April 27, 2010
Pages: 304
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 9/10

Synopsis from Goodreads: When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.


Initial Thought:  "I know I'm going to love this book, but no one can replace Alex in my heart."
End Thought: "Oh Carlos, Carlos, Carlos, the sweet, dangerous, all-in-one Carlos, didn't you have a brother?"

Review: Simone Elkeles has done it again creating an incredibly touching as well as smoking hot book that will have readers who read her first book in the series (Perfect Chemistry) in the debate of their lives: Alex or Carlos?

Oh where to begin, where to begin. Lets start with Kiara: I love her!!! She is such a nice, and genuine character who would do anything for her cause. Basically a pure soul who believes in only the best out of people, she is determined to tame project Carlos and she refuses to be deterred, not matter how gorgeous his smile is.  She doesn't try to change herself at all to get through to Carlos, and that's exactly what Carlos needed.

In beginning this book, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to differentiate Alex (Perfect Chemistry) from Carlos, but Simone Elkeles created a completely distinct character in Carlos that was no way a copy of Alex. Carlos lives for the thrill ride. Getting in trouble and a life on the edge is all Carlos wants for himself, and Kiara is the complete opposite. And you can tell throughout the book he is fighting his attraction to Kiara and all she represents: a stable lifestyle, while he debates what is it he really wants with his life. All the stuff that his mother sent him away from Mexico to escape, follows him to Colorado and he is forced to choose between the dangerous and deadly gang filled thrill life he is accustomed to, and the girl he is slowly falling for.

The romance in Rules of Attraction was fun and hot. Kiara and Carlos are such a fun pair to put together in a romance because they are so incredibly different in every single way. But at the same time they compliment each other. Carlos brings out the small wild and fiery part of Kiara that is always hidden and Kiara brings out the caring and vulnerable part of Carlos he tries so hard to hide. Their personalities mesh together into something so sweet and powerful. It is as if being together, they have both made this huge triumph for themselves. The question is, will it last?

Overall, I am ecstatic that Simone Elkeles created a book that combined her usual writing styles that I know and love with a different plot and equally incredible book. This book was a great addition to the Perfect Chemistry series and has me even more excited about all of Simone Elkeles future projects!

Recommendations: I recommend this book to all those who are fans of Simone Elkeles other books, Perfect Chemistry, great romances, and a book that you will never be able to stop re-reading!


Characters: 10/10 
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 10/10 
Entertainment: 10/10 
Ending: 10/10 
Writing Style: 10/10 
Cover: 10/10

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Author Interview: Wendy Raven McNair author of Asleep

I am lucky enough to be able to interview the talented author Wendy Raven McNair, who wrote the amazing book Asleep. You can read my review of the book here.
 
Wendy Raven McNair is the author of the book Asleep which is the first book in its trilogy. She is a African America adult novelists who was inspired to venture into the world of YA books when her daughter wanted a YA paranormal book, featuring African America characters, and I couldn't agree more!

First of all, what was your inspiration for this series? The whole superhero complex, and the unique world you created in the book is so different from everything else out there right now, how did you come up with it?
ALSEEP was inspired by my teen daughter who loves fantasy stories but I couldn’t find any with lead characters who reflect her, an African American teen girl. So I came up with the character, Adisa, first. My original idea was to write a story about saving the environment. It may sound like a lame subject to some but I was going for an exciting doomsday angle. For some reason, the story just wasn’t going anywhere. However, the idea of “champions” of the environment appealed to me. The champions idea evolved into superheroes then super beings and the story started writing itself after that. The end result bears no resemblance to my initial over the top “save the environment” theme but I believe this makes ASLEEP (a down to earth teen love story with a super being twist) the perfect intro novel to the trilogy.


I know Micah is now my #1 leading guy from YA books, was he a recreation of your dream guy?
Micah is a composite character, made up from several different “dream guys” based on real people I’ve met plus others I’ve only imagined. I also gave Micah some unappealing qualities because I believe if he was perfect, he’d be boring. So in the beginning of the story, Micah is silent and emotionally distant which causes tension between Adisa and Micah, an important element in storytelling. Micah changes over the course of the 
story, becoming more expressive physically and verbally due to his relationship with Adisa. The first time Adisa and Micah are alone, their conversation is awkward because Micah gives short answers or says nothing 
at all. But midway through the story, Micah shows significant change, laughing and teasing Adisa during their mountain hikes and their connection is obviously stronger. I believe Micah’s transformation is what 
makes him so appealing to readers.

How important was it that you wrote a book in the YA fantasy/paranormal genre (a genre very popular now-a-days) with a strong leading African American female character?
Showcasing an African American female character in a lead fantasy role was extremely important because a genre this popular is obviously being read by African Americans girls who want to see themselves as major players in this type of story. Their absence in fantasy stories can send a negative message to young impressionable minds suggesting that African American girls aren’t imaginative or relevant and that simply is not true. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Hopefully ASLEEP will be an inspiration for girls to imagine a bigger better future for themselves and then work hard to make it come true. 


I know there were many parts of the book and the character’s lives that I could 100% relate to, are their parts in the book that reflect your own experiences?
Yes, many of the feelings and situations reflect my own experiences but these are events shared by all of us; like feeling insecure or embarrassed, falling in love, getting your feelings hurt, facing adversity and overcoming hardship. These are universal themes that make the story relatable and entertaining to a diverse audience. One particular part of the story that reflects my own experience is a strict household. I grew up in one and didn’t appreciate it especially when I was teased by my peers. But as I grew older, I saw the benefits as I avoided the pitfalls some of those same kids fell into. Now I’m a relatively strict parent and my teen does not appreciate it but I tell her, give it time.
 
Is there anything special you do to get “in the zone” when you start writing?
To get into the writing zone, I try to minimize distractions as much as possible. There is this one quirky thing that seems to allow me access to my more imaginative subconscious and that’s the sound of water. I don’t
know how it works exactly but the sound of water has aided me in working out several complicated story lines. The down side is that once I dropped a manuscript in water and my handwritten edits dissolved. It was devastating. That manuscript was book 2 of the trilogy, AWAKE. I ended up making major changes to the story after that, changes that wouldn’t have occurred had I not lost all that hard work. Getting “in the zone” is
different for each author so all aspiring writers have to find what works best for them.

What is your favorite part about being an author?
My favorite part about being an author, outside of making up stories, is listening to the readers’ feedback. I love positive feedback but I learn from critical feedback as well. I use it all to challenge myself to become
a better story teller.

Do you have a favorite YA book and/or author?
I have a favorite fantasy author however her books are not YA. She’s an African American author named Octavia Butler and she actually won a “Genius” award from the MacArthur Foundation.
   
Can you tell us a little bit about Awake and what we can look forward to in the second book in the series?
AWAKE, book 2 of the trilogy, is complete and currently in the editing process. AWAKE reveals more secrets about the super world, giving readers a better understanding of Micah’s odd behavior. We also discover that super being children are being murdered and the threat hits close to home when Adisa confronts an assassin trying to kill Jason, Micah’s little brother. You can read an excerpt and see the cover of AWAKE on my website at http://wendyravenmcnair.com.


Thank you so much Wendy McNair for the interview. I can tell a lot went into the first book in the Alseep trilogy and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel!!!


You can find Wendy Raven McNair here:  
Official Website: http://www.wendyravenmcnair.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/wendyravemcnair
Goodreads:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2979870.Wendy_Raven_McNair

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Review: Asleep by. Wendy Raven McNair

Title: Asleep                                                           Author: Wendy Raven McNair
Age Range: 13+
Publication Date: April 23, 2009
Pages: 422
Genre: Romance, Heroes, supernatural
Rating: 10/10

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Adisa Summers doesn't know her boyfriend, Micah Alexander, can fly. Micah's odd emotionless behavior, rigid posture, and vacant eyes are a mystery sending mixed messages to Adisa. When a flash of lightning sends a tree crashing down on her, Adisa is shocked to see Micah actually flying to her rescue! In an instant, Adisa is in his arms, looking up at the sky over his shoulder as they fly parallel to the ground. Micah shifts, shielding her completely with his body. As the tree explodes against Micah's back, Adisa feels him shudder with the impact and the air fills with wood chips and sawdust. Miraculously, they aren't smashed into the ground. They safely continue flying. Micah finally begins to open up to Adisa about his secret life as a superbeing and she discovers another shocking secret. Micah burns for her--literally as well as figuratively. ASLEEP is a superhero teen love story setting modern day Atlanta that's filled with thrills, romance, and suspense. 


Initial Reaction: "Finally! Characters that remind me of myself, I can't wait."
End Reaction: "Sure Daimon's a bad boy, and Edward sparkles, but my new man Micah can fly!!!"

Review: Asleep combines the best of a hot romance, the teen angst of growing up, and the exciting and suspenseful supernatural aspects of novels that I love. Adisa is just living life. She goes by living in the shadow of her two perfect twin sisters, and finding solace in the childhood superheroes she has loved all her life. Then mysterious, fine as heck, and stoic Micah comes and begins to show the smallest, emotionless interest in her, does she begin looking outside the usual limits of her life.

Adisa rocks the house. She is such a silent force. Yeah she is quiet, but she has a strong as heck mind under all that silence. I love how through the book Adisa doesn't lose herself. In some books when I flip from the front to the back of the book after I finish it, I found that the main character seems to be two different people, but Adisa doesn't change, she grows. She comes out of her shell after finding a part of herself that she never knew was even in there.

 Micah, Micah, Micah... Tall, dark, fly me into the night Micah. What can I say, he is so close to perfect, while being no where near there, (if that makes sense). He has a really soft spoken personality that distinguishes him from the typical male characters in YA. Yet, he is always prepared to save the day when it comes to Adisa, even when the people he is saving her from are those closest to him. I am definitely looking forward to reading more and getting to better understand who Micah really is in the next book.

The entire plot of Asleep is something totally different. I don't even know if I should categorize it as paranormal, maybe I'll call it supernormal or parasuper (supernatural + paranormal???).  The entire superhero world Wendy McNair  has created is nothing like I have ever read before. Not just your typical paranormal vampires, werewolves, faeries Oh My. More along the lines of supernatural healers, fliers, people who have the ability to hurl fireballs from their hands. And not just the characters, this whole idea of a different superhero world with leaders, laws, courts, prophecy's and everything else right under the noses of all the normal people amazes me.
  
Everything about this books intrigues me. The intense yet shy romance between Micah and Adisa that I could actually see building and getting stronger and closer. The mystery that is Micah: his world, his family, and his very existence and how Adisa fits into it. Something I really loved about the book is how everything connected. That initial attraction between Micah and Adisa wasn't as initial as was thought; there is a background story to every mystery, which usually ends up opening a new mysteries.

Overall, I loved and adored this book so much. It was exciting, beautifully written, and has me checking everyday for word on the release of the sequel.

Recommendations:  I recommend this book to romance lovers, paranormal and fantasy lovers, mystery lovers, and those looking for a great addition to their POC Reading List!!!


Characters: 10/10 
Plot: 10/10
Originality: 10/10 
Entertainment: 10/10 
Ending: 10/10 
Writing Style: 10/10 
Cover: 10/10
 


Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's Over, It's Over, IT'S OVER!!!

Oh yeah!!! I have conquered all my AP Exams!!! And this was just sophomore year, I can't even imagine what junior and senior year are going to be like, but anyway... Take that World History and Chemistry!!! So what if I may have totally forgotten what the difference between molarity and molality is and who cares if I momentarily thought the Han Dynasty was a part of the Byzantine Empire or whatever (jk jk), bottom line is that now it is all over...well all up until finals week but for now...NO MORE AP TESTS!!!

And for some updates!!!!
I will be extending the deadline of my contest. Who in the world had the crazy idea to end that contest during finals week, I do not know, so in honor of this, I am extending the contest until the day after my last day of school. And that may be the last day of school for some of my winners so that could make an awesome "I'm finally out of school and have my life back (for at least 3 months)" gift. I have also decided to add some of the books you guys suggested into the prize barrel of possible prizes, I'll update the contest page soon for all the details.

More excitedly, POC Week is back up and running starting after this post. I have a review of one of my new all time favorite books Asleep by. Wendy Raven McNair coming up. I also have a great interview with the lovely author herself to post, and many more things to come.

It's awesome to have time to blog again!!! Can't wait to get back into the swing of things lol,  anyways, I hope all of you guys out there taking your AP Tests are hanging in there and doing awesome. And when you it's all over and done with, treat yourselves to Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream like I did. Happy Reading and Blogging everyone!!!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Postponing...

I know for my POC Reading Week, I should have had more reviews out by now, but honestly AP testing is taking up a lot more of my time than I thought it would. I really would like to give this event the commitment it deserves, so I am going to have to Postpone POC Reading Week until after AP testing is done. I probably won't be able to have any real posts up until then, but I will try to get back into the swing of things as soon as possible. Hope you guys understand!!! And have a wonderful weekend (while I'm ar school taking AP World History Final arrrgggggg!!!)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Review: Josephine and the Soldier


Title: Josephine and the Soldier          Author: Beverly Jenkins
Age Range: 12+
Publication Date: January 21st 2003
Pages: 311
Genre: Romance
Rating: 9/10

Synopsis from Goodreads Josephine Best has it all figured out. Just seventeen, she's been to college, she has her own hairdressing shop, and she refuses to be distracted by any of that courting nonsense. At least until nice George Brooks begins to pursue her. Jojo isn't looking for romance, but she permits George to call on her.

Adam Morgan has always been a Casanova, and no girl is immune to his charm. But when he comes home wounded from the War Between the States, it's a girl he used to call "Pest" who's turning his head. All grown up, Jojo is being courted by another soldier, and Adam knows it would be foolish to play with her heart. Even so, he just can't get the headstrong young lady off his mind.

For her part, Jojo can't deny her growing feelings for Adam. But he's always been such a flirt — he can't possibly be serious about her. Besides, she has George falling all over himself to please her. As the war rages on, Adam's feelings for Jojo grow stronger, but Jojo's determination to resist him does, too. One thing is clear, though: Jojo is a girl who always gets what she wants, sometimes in spite of herself.



Initial Reaction: "Ohhhhh, look at the adorable cover, this is gonna be so cute"

End Reaction: "Awwwwwwwwwww!!!"

Review:  Judging by the cover of this book, I knew I was in for an incredibly adorable read, I got that and more. Josephine and the Soldier is a very romantic book, which gives insight on how African American families lived after gaining their freedom, and how the soldiers lived when being called to war in order to defend their freedom. I am not one taken by historical books in any way, shape, or form, but Beverly Jenkins combines spot on facts about the lives of the characters she has created, with the sweet romance between two distinct characters. The romance book for all romance lovers.

Josephine is the olden days version of Miss Independent. At the age of seventeen she has already graduated from college and has her own hairdressing shop. And the most important thing that distinguishes her from the rest of the women her age in her town: she is not looking for a beau. Oh yes, Josephine doesn't need a man to be happy. But that doesn't mean she's not going to enjoy the fact that she's got the attention of two of the finest soldiers in her city. Josephine is such a in-your-face kind of girl. She's always there to lend a helping hand to the returning soldiers and anyone else, but don't let that fool you, she bites back.  

I always like a book that has side stories that can keep me as into the book as the main plot, and this book has it. There is the mystery of finding the culprit who has been victimizing the houses of many of the townspeople, and there are little side romances and love triangles-squares that make every part of the book even more interesting. 

Overall, the plot has so many different parts in it that keep the book entertaining from start to finish. The conflict changes so quickly in the book that one chapter you are reading about Josephine's struggle over her feelings for two guys, to family and friendship struggles that push her to new limits.

I loved this book. It is such a cute romance with characters that had me swooning over every page. It was so sweet and romantic and it was fun to read about a historical romance as contrast to the contemporary go-get 'um romance now-a-days. Wonderful light read fun for everyday.

Recommendations: All romance and historical lovers. And for all those looking for great books for the POC Challenge!!!

Characters: 10/10 
Plot: 10/10
Originality: 8/10 
Entertainment: 9/10 
Ending: 10/10 
Writing Style: 9/10 
Cover: 10/10 (I mean really, that cover is so adorable)
  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Currently Reading...

Played by. Dana Davidson. If you guys did not know, this week I am declaring it POC week here on Black and Blue Ink, and I am reading a book I have been waiting forever for. Every since I read Dana Davidson's last book Jason and Kyra, I have been pining for Played. Too bad for me all my local bookstores seem to be protesting against me getting this book, so I had to wait until it was a available on paperbackswap. But I am so glad I finally got this. 

Synopsis from Goodreads: When one of Ian's boys dares him to get plain-faced Kylie Winship to sleep with him in just three weeks, he thinks it'll be a breeze. Tall and fine, with honey-colored skin and eyes, Ian is used to getting what he wants from girls. And if he succeeds in playing Kylie, he'll be down with the most popular crew in his high school. But this girl, who everyone considers a nobody, is turning out to be more surprising than he ever could have imagined.

This books is really mostly a romance, but really I can't concentrate on the romance because of how disgusted I am by the male characters in this book. And the worst part, I know some guys that are really like this. Dana Davidson has created male characters that are original yet embody the epitome of what goes on inside the twisted male mind (not all guys are twisted like this, but they are out there). But I have faith in Kylie that she will do what she thinks is right for her!!!

 Favorite Quote: "I'll tell you this," Desiree said with a sudden fiery light in her eyes," if Ian hurts her, I'm going to make sure he pays."

Verdict:  I am really liking this book, even though I am only on page 58. If you are a fan of romantic drama's and are looking for a great POC book with some awesome female characters, I suggest anything by Dana Davidson.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

POC Reading Week!!!!

This week I am declaring it POC Reading Week here at Black and Blue Ink!!!
There are so many great POC books out there that many people don't know about, and these great books need the recognition they deserve. I can bet that there are many of you guys out there that have joined the POC Reading Challenge but aren't really sure about which books you want to read for the challenge, or what kind of POC books are out there,  but this week you will be able to see if any of the featured books are something you would be interested in reading. Or if you are iffy about whether or not you want to join the challenge out of fear of not completing it (because you don't think there are enough POC books you might like out there), this week you can get some great reccomendations. So in dedication of POC books everywhere, this week on Black and Blue Ink is all about you!!! All memes, reviews, author interviews will be dedicated to POC and getting some of my favorite books out there!!!



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