BIG, HUUUUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!

You guys, this is me right now:

No, I’m not shaking from the cold (although it IS pretty chilly outside!) and no, I’m not trembling from fear or anything like that. The thing is, I’m positively shaking with… EXCITEMENT!!!

I can picture your reaction already:

“Queee? Watchu talkin bout?”

So without further ado, I’m just going to come out with it…

*DEEP BREATH*

CHATTERTALE IS MOVING TO BLOGGER!

ShabbyBlogsTwitter2

^Click to go to ChatterTale’s new home^

After much contemplation and due to various reasons, I’ve decided that moving to Blogger may be the best move for me right now. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve absolutely enjoyed meeting and interacting with the bloggers here on WordPress and sincerely hope that you guys will still visit ChatterTale at its new host home! So really, this isn’t a goodbye but rather the BEGINNING of a glorious new era!

And that’s not all…

To celebrate the move, I’ll be hosting an EPIC GIVEAWAY very, VERY soon over on Blogger. It’ll be open to ALL users, including WordPressers, so make sure to follow me on Blogger for a reminder about the giveaway. (I just put up the first giveaway clue on Blogger, so hop on over there to guess what it is!)

see you on the other side!

Review: The Reece Malcolm List

Title: The Reece Malcolm List

Author: Amy Spalding

Part of a series? Nope

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Release Date: February 5th, 2013

Length: 352 pgs (paperback)

Genre: YA contemporary

Source: NetGalley ARC

Synopsis:

Things I know about Reece Malcolm:

1. She graduated from New York University.
2. She lives in or near Los Angeles.
3. Since her first novel was released, she’s been on the New York Times bestseller list every week.
4. She likes strong coffee and bourbon.
5. She’s my mother.

Devan knows very little about Reece Malcolm, until the day her father dies and she’s shipped off to live with the mother she’s never met. All she has is a list of notebook entries that doesn’t add up to much.

L.A. offers a whole new world to Devan—a performing arts school allows her to pursue her passion for show choir and musicals, a new circle of friends helps to draw her out of her shell, and an intriguing boy opens up possibilities for her first love.

But then the Reece Malcolm list gets a surprising new entry. Now that Devan is so close to having it all, can she handle the possibility of losing everything?

Opening Lines:

Things I know about Reece Malcolm:

1. She graduated from New York University.
2. She lives in or near Los Angeles (even the internet can’t confirm).
3. Since her first novel (Destruction) was released nine years ago she’s always had at least one book on the New York Times bestseller list.
4. She likes strong coffee and bourbon, the only personal details she gave in a rare interview with The Daily Beast.
5. She’s my mother.

I was in show choir the day I found out Dad died in a car accident.

Some opening lines are meant to shock. Some are (unfortunately) snooze-inducing. And some are just telling. This falls in the latter. As a reader, I know right away with that first sentence that this is going to be a book about a girl reuniting with her long-lost mother.

SQUEE-worthy: If you are a musical theater fan and know some cast recordings by heart, then this is the book for you. Devan, the protagonist, is a huge musical theater fan and an apparently incredible singer to boot, so the book is chock-full of references to popular musicals. But if you’re like me and you’re not that big on musicals, never fear! There are plenty of things in this book that will make you SQUEE with glee (#rhymetime). The boys, for one, are OMGOSH SWOONWORTHY. A ridiculously good-looking Chinese-Indian love interest? Yes, please! (Ethnic diversity in YA FTW!) And I love, LOVE Reece Malcolm as a character. Yes, she doesn’t have her stuff together and she’s not your conventional mom character, but that’s part of her charm! I like that she’s flawed. Also, the dialogue and Devan’s narrative voice is spot-on, in terms of authenticity. It’s got Modern Teenager written all over it, so kudos to Spalding for hitting that nail on the head.

“Meh” Moments: I can’t quite pin my finger on what it is exactly, but I just didn’t feel invested in this book. I think the biggest reason behind that is Devan. She was just “meh” to me; and in contemporary YA novels where it’s primarily character-driven, I feel like the main character’s gotta have more OOMPH than their paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi counterparts. I mean, the only truly unique quality about Devan seems to be her singing ability, but those scenes are just so glossed over that I’m left feeling like, “Mmkay. So I’m just supposed to believe that she’s this amazing singer based on ONE sentence that says how much she blew everyone away during show choir practice? …Riiiiight.” I’m sure it didn’t help that I know next to nothing about musicals, so to each their own. Funnily enough, I LOVE Reece, though. She’s made of awesome.

For fans of: Glee, Smash, and High School Musical.

Buy or Borrow? I’d say it’s worth a read, so at the very least borrow it (if only for the hot boys *sigh*).

Top Ten Series I’d Like to Start But Haven’t Yet

Top Ten Books I Read In 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. The idea is to put up a top ten list and share it with other bloggers. This week’s list topic is:

Top Ten Series I’d Like to Start But Haven’t Yet

As a promiscuous reader/book philanderer/nerdy multi-tasker, this topic is SO perfect for me.

  1. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. I know, I know. How can I claim to be obsessed with YA books if I haven’t read this series yet? To be honest, it didn’t appeal to me at first, but now with the movie out and everything, not gonna lie–I’m intrigued.
  2. Across the Universe by Beth Revis. I don’t dabble much in sci-fi but I certainly want to change that! And the premise to this series sounds too cool. Cryogenics and love on a spaceship? Yes, please!
  3. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Unlike with the Mortal Instruments, I’ve wanted to read this series since FOREVER, and now that the movie’s out I only feel compelled to read it even more. Plus, I bought the whole series from the Kindle store for under $10 in total (Sunday Kindle deals FTW!).
  4. The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Apparently this book is a wonderful example of what very little backstory can actually do for plot, impact, and pacing. Plus, I love plot twists and turns, which this series apparently has in abundance. Brain shock, here I come!
  5. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve been looking for other sweeping epic fantasies like Graceling, and from the premise, this could be a winner.
  6. Legend by Marie Lu. I haven’t read a great dual-narrator story in a while, much less one packed with action, so this seems like it could be a great read.
  7. Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Another YA dystopian classic. The cover hooked me from the start when it first came out, but I never got around to picking it up!
  8. Ender’s Saga by Orson Scott Card. A classic PERIOD. Even non-sci-fi fans love this and refer to it all the time. I just bought the paperback copy recently, so hopefully I’ll get around to it sooner rather than later.
  9. The Cousins’ War by Philippa Gregory. I’ve been a fan of Tudor-era fiction for a long time–before I even hit middle school to be exact, thanks to the Young Royals books by Carolyn Meyer (and certainly before Jonathan Rhys Meyers entered my life). So when I found out that Philippa Gregory, one of my favorite authors, wrote up a series on the Plantagenets (the dynasty of royals before the Tudors) I scrambled to get my hands on it. Sadly I haven’t had the time to read any of the books in the series, but I’m totally going to slap a post-it reminder somewhere and finally GET TO IT.
  10. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. Remember Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine? (The actual book, not the cheesy rendition with Anne Hathaway.) I LOVED that book; I think I read it like 20+ times. But yeah, I’m hoping Shannon Hale’s series might be reminiscent of that. Or if not, for it to be even more epic.

A GIF Journey Through TFiOS

Allow me to present you with…

My Journey Through The Fault in Our Stars

When my collector’s edition of TFiOS came in the mail:

Reading first few pages on the subway:

(#truestory… unfortunately)

Which quickly changed to:

Nicely put, John Green. You make a good point. Never saw it like that before. Please have my babies, etc.

Followed by:

Awww!

But…

THEN…

And all I can do to KEEP ON LIVING IS

And think…

But it doesn’t matter because by the end of the book:

/ the end /

Check out my review of the book here!

But seriously. Nothing I can say will adequately express the SHEER EPICNESS of this book, other than: GO READ IT. NOW.

 

REVIEW: The Fault in Our Stars

Title: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Part of a series? Nope

Publisher: Dutton Books

Release Date: January 10th, 2012

Length: 313 pgs (hardcover)

Genre: YA contemporary

Source: Limited Collector’s Edition (purchased with own money)

Synopsis:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Opening Line:

Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.

That sentence is SO Hazel. Green nailed her voice perfectly. And right off the bat, I know what kind of a girl she is: sarcastic, funny, and rather mature for her age.

SQUEE-worthy: Let’s see… where do I start!? When a book is centered around teens dealing with cancer (or as Hazel would call it, “a cancer book about cancer kids”), you expect a lot of maudlin moments, tearjerky stuff, etc. But this book… Oh, it was so much more. It was full of humor, heart, and a profundity that was both deep yet somehow flawed — which really made it seem all the more believable that a teenager, albeit a smart one, is narrating the story. And that’s another thing: the narrator. Hazel. But not just her either: Augustus, Peter Van Houten, even Lidewij Vliegenthart! All the characters BURST with life! Never mind leaping off the page; it was like they were literally in the room with me, sulking and frolicking and bantering and flooring me with their all-consuming AWESOMENESS. In just 313 pages, John Green managed to make me feel emotionally and personally invested in his characters, and that’s really saying something. Only J.K. Rowling has managed to do that for me in the past, and she had a lot more pages to work with.

“Meh” Moments: There were none. Even during the most mundane scene (e.g. Hazel watching TV), I am totally engrossed as the reader (which is kind of weird now that I think about it. I mean, how does John Green manage to make a fictional character watching bad television INTERESTING??) Bottom line: Not a single dull moment in this entire book. There will, however, be plenty of LOL and gut-wrenching Kleenex moments, so be prepared.

For fans of: John Green (Nerdfighteria, anyone?), Sarah Dessen, Jay Asher, and Sara Zarr.

Buy or Borrow? If there’s one book you should buy this year, it’s this one. Buy it HERE, or HERE, or HERE if you want the limited collector’s edition — which I recommend because it includes a Q&A with John Green and a snazzy silver cover.

Watch the trailer and listen to the playlist for Robin LaFevers’ follow-up to ‘Grave Mercy’, ‘Dark Triumph’ — EXCLUSIVE

Tess:

So excited for DARK TRIUMPH! Also glad that LaFevers is doing the whole different-characters-same-world thing that Kristin Cashore does. Sybella indeed “leaped off the page” in GRAVE MERCY, so I can’t wait for the chance to get into her head!

Originally posted on Shelf Life:

[ew_image url=”http://img2-2.timeinc.net/ew/i/2013/01/31/Dark-Triumph-Robin-LaFevers_510x510.jpg ” credit=”” align=”left”]

A kingdom in jeopardy. A convent of female assassins trained in the deadliest of arts. Three handmaidens of Death who will fight to save their home from enemies on all sides. We heard Ismae’s story in Grave Mercy; next up is the enigmatic Sybella in Dark Triumph, Book 2 of Robin LaFevers’ excellent His Fair Assassins trilogy. Dark Triumph doesn’t come out until April 2, but we’ve got an exclusive trailer and a playlist for the book below that will hopefully make these next two months seem a bit more bearable.

View original 643 more words

REVIEW: The Book of Blood and Shadow

book of blood and shadowTitle: The Book of Blood and Shadow

Author: Robin Wasserman

Part of a series? Nope

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Release Date: April 10th, 2012

Length: 432 pgs (hardcover)

Genre: YA suspense/thriller

Source: Library e-book

Synopsis:

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

Opening Line:

I should probably start with the blood.

Automatically I’m thinking, “BLOOD?! NOICE. Do tell!”

SQUEE-worthy: Some call this The Da Vinci Code for the YA set, and I have to say I agree. It’s definitely got a Dan Brown vibe to it, but maybe more Angels and Demons than Da Vinci to me. It’s got secret societies, mysterious artifacts, murder, and the use of history and Christianity as motifs–PLUS, Latin and inarguably hot guys thrown into the mix. (That last component is a REAL nice perk!) Seriously, how can you go wrong with so much awesomeness?? Also, the TWISTS. Oooohhh, the plot twists. It was definitely equal parts suspenseful and mysterious. I was kept guessing the whole time, which is no easy feat for a paranoid reader like me.

“Meh” Moments: I honestly cannot think of a moment where I was like, “Meh, I’m bored.” This book seriously sucked me in and didn’t let go until the last page. Granted, I do admit that it does have a slightly slower pace than most YA suspense/thrillers, but I liked that Wasserman provided enough backstory and rich detail to make the tale feel complete by the end of the novel. I mean, it is a standalone novel after all, and I think Wasserman did an excellent job weaving everything together: from the backstory, to the historical elements, to the atmospheric detail, to the high-stakes, action-driven scenes.

For fans of: Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.

Buy or Borrow? I borrowed the eBook version from the library, but this book is DEFINITELY on my To-Buy list, if only for the cover alone.

(P.S. What with all the YA movie adaptations out there/that will be out there, all I can say is: HOLLYWOOD, PLEASE TURN THIS BOOK INTO A MOVIE!!!)

REVIEW: The Crown of Embers

Title: The Crown of Embers10816908

Author: Rae Carson

Part of a series? Fire and Thorns, #2

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: September 18th, 2012

Length: 410 pages (hardcover)

Genre: YA fantasy

Source: Library hardcover

Synopsis:

In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

Opening Line:

My entourage of guards struggles to keep pace as I fly down the corridors of my palace.

Wasn’t as epic as the first line from The Girl of Fire and Thorns but it certainly does its job of establishing the setting (a palace, royalty) and the kind of princess Elisa is (one that is constantly on the move with no regard for her safety). So, not a bad line all around. 

SQUEE-worthy: Like in Fire and Thorns, I love how Carson continues to explore the themes of faith, prayer, and God. Granted, there’s a much stronger fantasy element in Embers but I find that it only adds to the complexity of the plot. I was also REALLY impressed by the romance aspect in this book. It wasn’t cheesy. It wasn’t insta-love. It wasn’t chaste to the point of cousinhood. (Um, what?) It was SWOON-WORTHY. Not in a “Ooh, Edward, you’re so sparkly and pale and *swoon* I just wanna have glittery babies witchu” kind of way. But in a way that makes sense, in a way that feels real and raw and powerful. I kid you not, my heart ached for Elisa and her Mystery Man (I don’t want to give it away if you haven’t read the first book!!), but I think part of why I feel so emotionally invested is because the romantic timeframe is realistic. It’s the furthest thing from insta-love; it’s all tense and angsty and emotionally charged and GAH. SO GOOD.

“Meh” Moments: There was a bit of a plot lull about 30% of the way into the story. Things start to slow down a bit as Carson gets into the political grit of Elisa’s situation, but I promise you that things will pick up past the halfway point. Persevere, and you won’t regret it!

For fans of: Anything by Kristin Cashore and Tamora Pierce.

Buy or Borrow? A highly recommended read! And I actually think that I will purchase the entire series once the third book is out.

UPDATE: Chattertale’s BACK and better than ever!

Hellooo friends and random stragglers!

Contrary to how it may seem, this blog is NOT dead, just suffering from my poor time management–seriously, 24 hours in a day is not enough!! Between working during the day, carving out time to read AND write, and trying to schedule in some non-fictional human interaction, this poor blog didn’t stand a chance against my insane schedule. Thankfully, I’m bringing in reinforcements (mmHmm, yep, get excited!) and making a couple of changes around here that would make for a better reading experience for you (yes, you!) and much more manageable blogging expectations for me.

  1. Blog schedule = DUNZO. It’s gonna be a free-for-all! Cupcakes and books for EVERYONE!! … Okay, so maybe not that kind of free-for-all, but you get the point! I realized after the holidays that I was spending more time on this blog than actually reading the books I’m writing entries about. (!!!) If I’m not reading, what’s the point of having a book blog in the first place?? So in order to provide more quality posts (i.e. book reviews, candid posts about my writing life, and the ins and outs of publishing), I’ve scrapped the blog schedule altogether. New entries will be up a couple of times a week, and I’ll still try to participate in blog memes from time to time, but definitely not on a weekly basis.
  2. Reinforcements! (For those of you still thinking about free cupcakes: that was “reinforcements,” not refreshments. *wink*) YOU GUYS, I am so, SO excited to welcome Chattertale’s first contributor… STELLA! Now I suffer from literary philandering sometimes (okay fine, like all the time) but Stella is the EXACT OPPOSITE of that. Whereas I tend to hop around, juggling multiple reads at once, Stella’s a one-book-at-a-time type of gal, and in this case, slow and steady definitely wins the race. Just this past week alone, she finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett AND the bestselling Christian romance, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, so keep a lookout for her reviews on BOTH of those books!

Anyway, thank you for all the love and support surrounding this blogging endeavor! You all ROCK and deserve more than free cupcakes… but here’s the next best thing!

A feast for the eyes: Ice cream cupcakes! YUM! <3

A feast for the eyes: Ice cream cupcakes! YUM! <3

The stack of books I got for the holidays! Thank you, amazing friends, for enabling my reading addiction!!! Next step: Actually finding the time to read all of them… Hm.

Can’t-Wait-YA-Books of 2013

Happy New Year, friends! My sincerest apologies for failing to post much during the holidays. No wonder so many bloggers put up a leave-of-absence note on December 22nd; in between all the food, company, and this flu bug going around, there’s just no time for blogging! Nevertheless, I’m back, slightly rejuvenated (came down with a cold… boooo), and ready to kick off the year with some of my most anticipated YA new releases of 2013!

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