Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fall Into YA Giveaway #4

Welcome to week four of Fall Into YA. Sandy of Scribing Shadows is helping me celebrate, and this week we are definitely challenging you all. To a YA quiz!

Congrats to Em who won our last contest. Check your email! Here is her entry!

And our runner-ups!

The prize for week 4 is, you guessed it, a fall YA release. Here are the rules:
1. You must follow both blogs.
2. You must be 13 or over.
3. It's open internationally but please be sure The Book Depository ships to you.
4. Take this quiz!

You may leave comments on the blog asking clarifying questions. I spent a bit of time in the YA section to put this quiz together. None of the questions are spoilers. Most answers can be found by scouring Goodreads. Not every book on the quiz released this year. Most did. But there's nothing more than three years old. And all books are YA. Not adult; not MG; just YA.

This giveaway is open until Wednesday, November 30. The winner will be the person with the highest number of correct answers. If several people have that same number, a winner will be chosen at random from those individuals. Check back the next day to see if you've won. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Movie Review: Breaking Dawn part 1

I'm almost finished reading Breaking Dawn and since I saw the previous 3 Twilight movies on opening weekend, I had to stick with tradition. And I was far enough past the middle of the book to know I had read enough to see part one.

The good...

The acting was far superior in this film. I've been a long-time fan of Kristen Stewart. I think she was wonderful in Speak and Panic Room, so I was disappointed with her acting in Twilight. I'm not sure if it was script or directing or something else entirely, but scenes I was looking forward to laughing at weren't cheesy enough to laugh at. *shock* Not only was her acting better, but R-Patt and Taylor Lautner stepped up their game as well.

Charlie. This guy always gets the best lines. "I know Edward will be a good husband. I know this... because I'm a cop." Actually, out of all the wedding reception speeches, he was the only one that didn't make me cringe. That scene was so uncomfortable and awkward. It only reinforces me not wanting a big wedding.

The music. Of course! These movies have incredible soundtracks.

The bad...

This movie was quite boring. I felt myself getting restless halfway through. It did a good job of following the book, but there just wasn't enough action for my tastes.

CGI wolves. I swear... For a movie franchise that makes so much money I think they would have enough to step up the CGI. They made Bella look sick, completely emaciated, and then transform into a vamp wonderfully. Great scene, visually. And then... there are the fake looking wolves. My client, however, liked them. I work with adults with disabilities, and my one client, upon seeing the wolves, said, "Doggie! Doggie! Woof! Woof!" I was amused.

I think that Breaking Dawn part 1 was the best done movie, but I think it's probably my least favorite. That being said, I'm looking forward to part 2. There is a slight teaser halfway through the credits with the Volturi. I'm looking forward to seeing them in the next movie. Aro is so creepy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Meeting Authors: Jeff Kinney

I'm sure you all know how much I love going to book signings. I've been lucky enough to meet dozens of authors. And I've met my top five favorite authors on more than one occasion: Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Charles de Lint, Holly Black, and Maggie Stiefvater. So when I found out that Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, was going to be in DC to promote his new book, Cabin Fever, I knew I had to take my boy.

Like me when I was his age, he doesn't much care for reading. It's not that either of us were bad with reading or reading comprehension; the problem lies in poor self confidence. I've gotten past that. But not John. However, John loves the Wimpy Kid books, and he was thrilled when I invited him to go with me to DC.

Book six is entitled Cabin Fever. It involves poor Greg being stuck inside while a blizzard rages outside. So to celebrate that, they created a fake snow storm.

Look... fake snow!

Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of the snow on the ground and the snowball fight. John and I didn't participate. He was too caught up in reading his new book. In fact, by the end of the evening he was on page 181 out of 224. But I did get a few pics toward the end. They had life-size cut-outs of the characters and cartoon scenes from the book. Here is Rodrick. They had him se up as a ring toss game.

Jeff Kinney rolled in on this bus. Lots of kids screamed when he got off and walked in.

We were in group 7 of 9 with 75 people in each group. Yeah... The place was packed. They were expecting 1200 people, and with over 600 books sold, I'd bet there were close to that many. But people were in and out, so it wasn't too bad. (And nothing compared to how packed RT was when I went in 2010.) John was so excited to meet Jeff. The entire way back to the metro, he kept saying "I can't believe I actually got to meet Jeff Kinney." He was so excited I almost teared up.

He was also excited to find out that two kids from the movie were there. I hadn't told him beforehand, so it was a nice surprise for him. Zachary Gordon who plays the main character, Greg, and Robert Capron who plays his best friend, Rowly were both very sweet. John got a poster of the two of them, signed by both.

It was a great event, and I was so glad I got to take John. We both had an amazing time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: Beautiful Chaos

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is book 3 in the Caster Chronicles. I liked Beautiful Creatures, and I liked Beautiful Darkness even more, so I had high hopes for Beautiful Chaos. It didn't disappoint. I feel like I've been saying that in a lot of my reviews lately: it didn't disappoint. But it's true. I guess I've been on a roll with excellent books lately.

Ethan is back as our wonderful narrator. He is one of my favorite YA boys. He's smart, charming, charismatic, and protective without being overbearing. And his caster girl, Lena, is going through even tougher stuff after coming face-to-face with her evil mother in the last installment. And don't forget sidekick Wesley Lincoln, aka Link, aka Linkubus. I must admit I was never a fan of his til now. I mean, I liked him okay, but his character was so much more fun here, that I really like him.

One thing I love about these books are the characters: Amma, Macon, Ridley, the aunts, Marian... The list keeps going. It's impossible not to love than all. Except the baddies, of course. And the setting is amazing. I'm not from the south, but I'm close enough that I've been to the area where the fictional Gatlin would be if it existed. It's a beautiful area. But the gothic twist with secrets and interesting history weaves everything together so beautifully.

I'm seriously in love with Ethan Wate and these books. I can't wait to see what happens after the way Beautiful Chaos ends.

Fall Into YA Giveaway #3

Welcome to week three of Fall Into YA. Sandy of Scribing Shadows is helping me celebrate.

Congrats to Molly Gibson-Mee who won our last contest. (Check your email for a message from Sandy.) Her dream boyfriend pick was Simon from the Mortal Instruments series. There were more votes for Jace, but I'm going to have to stick with Molly on this one. Simon is a much better choice. Also, I agree with all of you who love Tod. He's always been my favorite guy from that series.

And for week 3, we are giving away a third fall YA release. Rules are as followed:

1. You must follow both blogs.
2. You must be 13 or over.
3. It's open internationally but please be sure The Book Depository (link) ships to you.
4. Recreate a book cover.

Pick any YA book that released this year and recreate that cover. Sandy and I will choose a winner. Feel free to post your cover on both blogs, but that isn't necessary. And it won't earn you extra points. But make sure you post it either here or at Scribing Shadows.

This giveaway is open until Wednesday, November 23. Check back the next day to see if you've won and to check out giveaway #3.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Into YA Giveaway #2

Welcome to week two of Fall Into YA. Winner of our first contest is April X who chose The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. Congrats!

This week, our contest is something you'll need to work for. ; ) Think of all the YA books you've read, and pick one character who you think would be the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend for you. Tell me who they are and why you picked them. Leave your email so I can contact you if you win. You must be 13 or older. Contest is open internationally, but please be sure Book Depository ships to you. Winner chooses any YA book that releases this fall.

Want an extra chance to win? Be sure to check Scribing Shadows for a similar contest. One winner chosen between both blogs/contests. Winner chosen at random so don't worry if your entry isn't original. Good luck!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review: The Harp of the Grey Rose

He is the Songweaver, but before he was a master of song he was merely Cerin of Wran Cheaping—a seventeen-year-old orphan raised by a wildland witch. Then he encountered the Maid of the Grey Rose—the lone survivor of the war that devastated the Trembling Lands and the promised bride of Yarac Stone-Slayer, the feared and terrible Waster. The mysterious beauty captured Cerin’s heart, drawing him into a world both dark and deadly, until, armed with only a tinkerblade and the magic of song, he would take on a man’s challenge . . . and choose a treacherous path toward a magnificent destiny. The Harp of the Grey Rose is award-winning fantasist Charles de Lint’s first novel, long out of print—and it hints of the wonderful stories to come.

Book Review: The Riddle of the Wren

Minda Sealy is afraid of her own nightmares. Then, one night, while asleep, she meets Jan, the Lord of the Moors, who has been imprisoned by Ildran the Dream-master-the same being who traps Minda. In exchange for her promise to free him, Jan gives Minda three tokens. She sets out, leaving the safety of her old life to begin a journey from world to world, both to save Jan and to solve "the riddle of the Wren"-which is the riddle of her very self. The Riddle of the Wren was Charles de Lint's first novel, and has been unavailable for years. Fans and newcomers alike will relish it.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Novella Review: Badlands

After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation's border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union.

Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen's assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever's reluctant ally.

As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands— if death doesn't find them first...

Out of everything I've read by Seleste deLaney, and I've read almost all of it, Badlands is my favorite. It begins with Ever, a warrior, who is in the midst of a battle. After being attacked, their monarch slain, Ever must escape the battle to find the queen's daughter who will be the new queen. As she scales a mountain she is picked up by an airship, The Dark Hawk. The captain of The Dark Hawk has his own mission, but together maybe Spencer and Ever can complete both.

I've not had the chance to read much steampunk. But the whole concept interests me. It's a fascinating period, historically, and then the added sci-fi elements really make it stand out within the fantasy genre. Badlands includes action, adventure, airships, clockwork animals, and romance. It's definitely not one to miss. (But keep in mind this one is not YA.) I can't wait for the sequel!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The winner for Forever Summer by Seleste deLaney is...


And the winner for The Scorpio Races is...

Samantha W!

Congrats to you both! And be sure to check your emails in the next few days on the progress of your book. : )

Fall Into YA Kick-Off and Giveaway

It's the month of November, and here at Aine's Realm we are celebrating Fall! But I'm not celebrating alone. Joining me is Sandy of Scribing Shadows.

Kicking off our Fall Into YA celebration will be a simple giveaway.

1. You must follow both blogs.
2. You must be 13 or over.
3. It's open internationally but please be sure The Book Depository (link) ships to you.
4. Fill out this form. Sandy and I are using the same form, so DON'T fill it out in both places.

What's the prize you ask? Any YA book that releases this Fall. Preorders count.

This giveaway is open until Wednesday, November 9. Check back the next day to see if you've won and to check out giveaway #2.