Tuesday, June 30, 2015

TMI Series | NEW UK COVERS Spotlight | CITY OF ASHES by Cassandra Clare | + A GIVEAWAY! #TMIblogtour


Hello and Welcome to the next stop in the TMI Blog Tour, hosted by Walker Books UK! I'm so thrilled to be apart of today's celebration for the re-release of Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series in the UK. This week the series was re-released with the new stunning cover designs. Each day this week one Shadowhunter fansite will be featuring a newly designed cover from the TMI series. Yesterday the cover for City of Bones was featured here, and today I'm thrilled to be spotlighting the new design for City of Ashes


TMI NEW UK COVERS SPOTLIGHT: CITY OF ASHES 

To celebrate the publication of these stunning new editions of TMI, out in the UK this week, we’ve teamed up with Walker Books for a blog tour to show the amazing artwork created for these covers.



Here’s the piece of art used for City of Ashes, and the cover – click on the art to see the intricate detail of it!


The artwork was created by Míla Fürstová, an award-winning internationally exhibited artist, who has shown in 20 solo shows in many countries, including Britain, USA, France and the Czech Republic over the last decade. During this time she has won 14 prestigious awards. Her work has become part of important private and public collections, including that of Queen Elizabeth II and the V&A Museum in London and has featured in numerous publications. She also designed the illustration for the CD cover of Coldplay’s Ghost Stories, a big reason why Walker Books commissioned her for these new covers.


Míla uses a print-making medium from the Middle Ages called etching:

- She uses a metal plate coated with wax
- She draws the illustration with a metal needle, exposing the bare metal
- The plate is then immersed in acid and the acid bites into the metal, where it’s exposed, resulting in lines on the plate
- The plate is inked all over, and the ink goes into the lines
- The plate is put through a high-pressure printing press together with a sheet of paper and the paper picks up the ink from the etched lines, making a print

Using this method, she made an intricate etching for each book, drawing on a metal plate. This was then used to produce the print featured above, which we then digitally coloured to use on the cover.

The choice of illustration for each cover was the result of a conversation between the Walker Books designer, Maria, and Míla. Everything had to be approved at sketch stage, because once the illustration is drawn onto the plate it’s very difficult to modify.

So for each piece of art, Maria sent Míla a full cover briefing of 5/6 pages per book with a synopsis, symbols, objects and extracts from the books with descriptions of characters, scenes and locations.

The briefing also suggested a few ways that Míla could go with the piece for the book. 
Below is a snippet of the illustration briefing for City of Ashes

We could have Clary and Jace as central characters in this illustration. They are both fighting to stop Valentine from getting the Mortal Instruments and destroying the world. 

Valentine is hidden in a ship and the climax of the story is a fight in it. The ship could be illustrated in the background.

There could be one of Clary's sketchbooks on the illustration. Clary discovers she has the power to create new runes, and she will use the opening rune to escape from Valentine.



Míla first sent in sketches with her initial thoughts. Then there would be a bit of conversation about the sketch, before she produced the final etching on the metal plate to make the print with. Below is an example that shows the process.  
  


Below is the final etched plate for City of Ashes.


Tomorrow, visit The Mortal Institute to see the artwork from City of Glass!

The new editions are available in the UK this week.



Cover Illustration © 2015 Walker Books Ltd.

If you are in the UK, you can order them from AmazonWaterstones and find them in your local bookshop.

 In Australia, you can order them from Booktopia and Bookworld.

These are UK English Language editions, but they are going to be available in a number of other territories. If you’re based in any of these, you should be able to ask your bookseller to order them in for you.

Singapore, India, South Africa, Germany, The Netherlands, Greece, United Arab Emirates, Slovakia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Switzerland, Malta, Austria, Spain, Sweden, Jordan, Denmark


ENTER TO WIN

Thank you to Walker Books (UK), I've got an awesome giveaway! 1 winner will win the newly redesigned set of The Mortal Instruments. I personally think the new covers will look stunning on a bookshelf. If you'd like to enter to win, please fill out the form below. Please note this is for residents of the UK only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck!

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015 / Top Ten Tuesday #31



Hello & welcome to this week's Top Ten Tuesday. Today's topic is, Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2015. My last Top Ten Tuesday post was, Top Ten (Middle Grade) Books On My Summer Reading List

In no particular order, here are my Top Ten Books I've read this year so far. Really I should say that I've reviewed. I've read more than I've reviewed on the blog (hangs head in shame). 





  1. Snow Likes Ashes by Sarah Raasch
  2. The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdeih
  3. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
  4. Ignite by Sara B. Larson
  5. Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
  6. The Story Spinner by Becky Wallace
  7. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
  8. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
  9. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
  10. The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey
These are my top ten, 5 star reviewed books from 2015 so far. I guess I should be thankful I'm a little behind on posting reviews, or else I would have had a much harder time picking my top ten. I love the mix of urban/urban fantasy and contemporary books that I've read so far this year, and that made it to on my list here. I'm finally branching out more, and discovering my love of contemporaries. 

These are Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2015, what are some of your top ten reads from this year so far?

Out Today: June 30th, 2015

Happy Book Birthday to today's new release! Some how it's already the last day of June. I'm not sure how that happened. Summer is flying by a little too fast for me. Thankfully today's releases aren't numerous, which means we can still pick up a new title or two, and not feel overwhelmed with our already overcrowded TBR Summer Reading shelves. Before you head out to go soak up the sun, check out today's newest YA releases!



Happy SUMMER Reading! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

THE WRATH & THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh / Book Review




By: Renee Ahdieh
Published by: Putnam & Sons
Released on: 5/12/15
Series: The Wrath & The Dawn #1
Source: ARC received from publisher at RT
Rating: 5 Stars - I LOVED IT
Add it Goodreads 

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.


An intoxicating debut! The Wrath & The Dawn is a captivating story set in a vividly detailed world, and beautifully told. Renee Ahdieh's storytelling is mesmerizing. With unforgettable characters, and a romance that slowly ignites the pages, this book will leave you wanting so much more when you finish it. It's perfectly paced, and an incredibly well written book. This is one of THE best books I've read this year. 

(The Longer Review Version)

The Wrath & The Dawn is a beautiful told, calculated story. Nothing within this story is without purpose. From the little to the big details, to the way the story is told, everything is vividly detailed, and in the story for a reason. I loved that nothing is what it seems. Ahdieh does a beautiful job at unraveling this story's plot twists, and each of the characters secrets in a timely manner, allowing readers to form their own conclusions, much like Shahrzad does. Once you think you have things figured out, Ahdieh reveals a shocking truth, which alters the story, and against my better judgement, makes fall even more in love with the characters.

The characters in this story are masterfully crafted. When each character is first introduced into the story, Ahdieh reveals just enough about them that you're able to form an opinion about them, or understand why Shazi seems them they she does. It's not until you get further into the story that she purposefully allows readers to get to know a little bit more about them, realizing that not all the characters are as they first seem to be. There's so much more to them. In slowly unraveling the characters's layers bit by bit vs all at one time, Ahdieh allows her readers to see just how complex, and intertwined many of the characters are with each other, and the plot twist within the story. 


It's been awhile since I've read a book that was so well paced, and so patiently told. There's now rushing through this story. There's so much to take in, and so many details to observe and mull over, that you literally have to sit back, and enjoy the pace Ahdieh sets in her captivating story. Once you start reading it, there's no stoping until you're at the end. Even then, you'll be wanting more. The twists in this book come one after the other. The characters in this story are addicting. Once you get to see a glimmer of who they really are, you want to know more about them. 

I loved Shazi! This girl is so courageous. In a world where women aren't meant to stand their ground, and are forced to hold their tongues, Shazi's inability to be anything but fierce, and witty, makes her stand out. She's fearless, and daring, and I admired her character, and her strength. She's not afraid to speak her mind, and she doesn't apologize for doing so either. There's also this other side to Shazi I loved getting to see. That's her falling in love. Shazi has risked everything, and is willing to lose her life for something she strongly believes in, but in doing what she does, she realizes there is much more to the cause. In her patience to seek justice she realizes there's more to the person she has wanted to seek revenge against than she ever thought. Where she's risked losing herself, she now risks losing her heart.

It's easy to want to hate Caliph. Especially since the reader sees him from Shazi's point of view. But there's something about this young King that makes it hard to believe that he does what he's known for just because he's the King, and can. Caliph is the most surprising character, and the most complex character out of the entire story. Ahdieh has written a beautifully, broken, fearless leader with Caliph. He makes no apologies for who he is and what he does. He's calculating, observant, and not someone anyone crosses. Shazi has away for getting under people's skin, and there's something about her that Caliph can't resist. There is so much more to this young King than his ruthlessness and power that he's been known for. I loved seeing Caliph for who he really is, demons and all. What I loved most is the way both Shazi and Caliph have a way of calming each other when it's just the two of them, though things are far from calm around them.

Shazi and Caliph have an incredible chemistry. It's one of the most beautifully written, torturous slow burning romances I've read. It's the kind that ignites the pages, yet leaves you wanting so much more from them. Their relationship, and their chemistry is one of a kind. It's not forced, but one that slowly builds up, and grows stronger with each layer that is pealed back between the two characters. Each touch, each emotional moment, each sensual kiss, and each secret that slowly gets unraveled between the two of them brings them closer together, and unites them in a powerful, binding way. Their relationship is one that starts out treacherous, and set in tradition, but grows to be something so much more than either of them, nor those around them, could have ever imagined. I loved the way Ahdieh wrote their story. It's complex, dangerous, and grows into something that is undeniable, fierce and unbreakable.

The Wrath & The Dawn is intoxicating. The more I read, the more I wanted from this story. Trust me, you get a lot from this story. I did not want this story to end. For all the questions I got answers to, there are still plenty of unanswered questions. I couldn't get enough of this story. I loved the characters, including the secondary characters whom play a huge role in Shazi and Caliph's lives. I love it when an author makes me love those characters as much as I love the main characters. And that ending! My only compliant is that I have to wait until next year to read the sequel! What have you done to me Renee Ahdieh. I've now got a book hanger, and I pity the next book I read. 

Favorite Lines:

...."wisdom becomes less of a birthright and more of an expecation. In my life, the one thing I have learned above all is that no individual can reach the height of their potential without the love of others. We are not meant to be alone, Shahrzad. The more a person pushes others away, the clearer it becomes he is need of love the most." 

.... "Trust that the man you see now is a shadow of what lies beneath. If you would, give him the love that will enable him to see it for himself. To a lost soul, such a treasure is worth it's weight in gold. Worth it's weight in dreams." 

She was drowning in sandalwood and sunlight. Time ceased to be more than a notion. Her lips were hers one moment. And then they were his. The taste of him on her tongue was like sun warmed honey. Like cool water sliding down her parched throat. Like the promise of all her tomorrows in a single sigh. When she wound her fingers in his hair to draw her body against his, he stilled for breath, and she knew, as he knew, that they were lost. Lost forever. In this kiss. 

Read The 1st Chapter of The Copper Gauntlet By Holly Black & Cassandra Clare



The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, which is book #2 in the Magisterium Series, won't be out until September 1st, 2016. Thanks to Scholastic Press, fans of the series can read a sneak peak from the book! Right now fans of the middle grade series can read the entire 1st chapter! Head over to here to read it. 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium -- but things only intensify there. The Alkahest -- a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic -- has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes -- and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

As the mysteries of the Magisterium deepen and widen, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take readers on an extraordinary journey through one boy’s conflict -- and a whole world’s fate.
 


You can pre-order your copy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble, and any of your favorite online retailers. Add it to your TBR lists on Goodreads.

Cassandra Clare Shares A Snippet from TALES FROM THE SHADOWHUNTER ACADEMY / Mundane Monday #247


Cassandra Clare treated fans to a snippet from Tales from The Shadowhunter Academy this past weekend. You can read the snippet below:
I thought a snippet from Helen and Aline’s wedding in the TSFA story Bitter of Tongue might be appropriate!
Simon did not fully understand the traditions of the Shadowhunter people.
There was a lot in the Law about who you could and could not marry: if you married a mundane who did not Ascend, you got your Marks stripped and were out on your ear. You could marry a Downworlder in a mundane or a Downworlder ceremony, and you wouldn’t be out on your ear but everyone would be embarrassed, some people would act like your marriage did not count, and your terribly traditional Nephilim Great-Aunt Nerinda would start referring to you as the shame of the family. Plus with the Cold Peace functioning as it was, any Shadowhunter wanting to marry a faerie was probably out of luck.
But Helen Blackthorn was a Shadowhunter, by their own Law, no matter how many people might despise or distrust her for her faerie blood. And Shadowhunters had not actually built it into their precious Law that Shadowhunters could not marry someone of the same sex. Possibly this was just because it hadn’t occurred to anyone even as an option way back when. 
So Helen and Aline actually could be married, in a full Shadowhunter ceremony, in the eyes of both their families and their world. Even if they were exiled again right afterward, they got this much.
In a Shadowhunter wedding, Simon had been told, you dressed in gold and placed the wedding rune over each other’s hearts. There was a tradition a little like giving away the bride, for both parties in a marriage. The bride or groom would each choose the most significant person to them from their family—sometimes a father, but sometimes a mother, or a parabatai or a sibling or chosen friend, or their own child or an elder who symbolized the whole family—and the chosen one, or suggenes, would give the bride or groom to their beloved, and welcome their beloved to their own family.
This was not always possible in Shadowhunter weddings, on account of sometimes your whole family and all your friends had been eaten by snake demons. You never knew with Shadowhunters. But Simon thought it was kind of beautiful that Jia Penhallow, Consul and most important member of the Clave, was standing as suggenes to give her daughter Aline to the tainted, scandalous Blackthorns, and to receive Helen into the bosom of her family.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Shadowhunters TV Series: On Set Picture Recap From This Past Week


Happy Sunday Shadowhunters! Filming for episode three is underway! Here's a picture recap from of this last past week's tweets and Instagram shares from the cast and crew.  You can also check out a few other pictures I shared earlier this week here

The cool kids. @kat_mcnamara @domsherwood1 https://t.co/c47iZeLRlZ — Harry Shum Jr (@HarryShumJr) June 28, 2015



#Repost @rimac79 with @repostapp.
・・・
@lucescu sitting around on set...
He's actually testing this special rig to make sure it's safe for our actors. Every stunt you will see is Steve approved, he will literally throw himself to the floor to show actors the safest way to take a fall...
#shadowhunterstv #tmi #bts #stunts#mastershadowhuntertraineratwork #lumia1020

Ed Decter treated fans with two images (seen below). My guess is why just might get to see Simon turned into a rat... 






The writers are in awe of the fans' creativity! Showrunner's pick #SHFanArtFridayJaceFallenAngel is http://t.co/jum92ps1ZT @ShadowhuntersTV — Ed Decter (@EDecter) June 26, 2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015

This Week's Book News

Happy Saturday! Check out this past week's exciting book news! If you're at ALA in San Francisco this weekend, please be sure to post lots of pictures. And you don't want to miss some news I featured below about a certain ARC which will be there today! 

Cover Reveals



Epic Reads had an epic week of cover reveals for their Winter 2016 releases. Head over to here, and here to check out all of their revealed covers. I'm loving these covers!


Check out this cover for Wendy Higgin's THE GREAT HUNT, coming March 2016 from Harlequin Teen! I can't wait to read this one!



Bookish News 
(Book news, Books To Movie news & more)


MTV gave Marie Lu fans a sneak peak into THE ROSE SOCIETY! Check out their article here. Here's a small excerpt from it,

Finally I stop where the bath pool begins. “Where is he?” I whisper.
Violetta lifts her eyes to the ceiling. She spins in a half circle, then focuses on a dark corner. “There.”
I strain to see into the shadows. “Magiano,” I call out. My voice startles me — it bounces off the walls, over and over, until it finally fades away. I clear my throat, a little embarrassed, and continue in a quieter tone. “We were told we could find you here.”
There is a long silence, so long that I start to wonder whether Violetta might be mistaken.
Then, someone laughs. As the sound echoes from surface to surface, a flurry of leaves rain down from the bathhouse’s mossy banisters. A trail of dark braids flashes in and out of the light. I instinctively extend one of my arms in front of Violetta, as if that might protect her.
I can't wait for this book! I LOVE this cover! Check it out below. 




Okay this isn't book news, but it's exciting news from an author we love and adore, based on her book series: 

I can not wait for this movie! I love these pictures!


Book Events / Signings / Chats



Friday, June 26, 2015

Winter 2016 Cover Reveals from Epic Reads: Day 4 / Day 5


Epic Reads wrapped up their amazing cover reveal week with these last few covers. Check out the cover reveals for Day 4 and Day 5 below. If you missed the 1st three days of cover reveals, check them out here.




Find out more about each of these titles here



Find out more about these titles here.

Check out the rest of their cover reveals here.

HELLO, I LOVE YOU by Katie M. Stout / Book Review




By: Katie M. Stout
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Released on: 6.9.15
Rating: 4 Stars - I Enjoyed It!
Purchase it from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Source: book from author to review, in exchange for my honest review

A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can't stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can't deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she'll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.


Hello, I Love You is a sweet, feel good romantic read that swept me off my feet, and left me grinning long after I finished reading it. 

I swear I'm on a contemporary kick, which is really unusual for me. I'm blaming it on summer, and being stuck indoors while it swelters outside in this Texas heat. Hello, I Love You was just the book I've needed this week. It's a cute, refreshing, enjoyable, quick, romantic read. It's a story with memorable characters, a great chemistry, and setting that is so vividly detailed, I felt like I took a trip to Korea along side Grace. I might have fallen in love with KPOP in the process of reading this book. 

Grace knows the ins and outs of the music industry. She hails from an industry great, which part of the reason for her trip half way around the world. She wants to get away from it all, and just be herself. No music, no fame, no celebrity drama, no nothing. What she doesn't except, is to lose her heart to KPOP's biggest heart throb, whom also happens to be her new roommates twin brother. Despite obvious differences, Jason and Grace have a lot more in common than the two of them could possible realize. At first they don't hit it off all that great, but that's what made reading their story enjoyable. Aside from their bantering, there's an obvious chemisty between the two of them, and I loved seeing those sweet moments they share.

I enjoyed reading about Jason and Grace getting to know each other. Their story was well paced, as was their getting to know each other. I felt like I was able to get to really know both Jason and Grace, and understand why they act the way they do. Along with Jason and Grace, Stout introduced me to some other great characters who really made this story for me. Like Jason's bandmates, and Grace's new best friends/room mate, Sophie. I loved the secondary characters in this book! They were fabulous. Their interactions together were great, and added a lot to Grace's story. 

While I enjoyed Stout's writing, and the sweet romance in this story, there are a few things I wasn't a fan of. For one, Grace was a little too hot and cold towards Jason. At first it made sense, but as the story continued, it was a little annoying. Especially towards the end of the book after she's already admitted to herself how she truly feels. Even though I understood the reasoning for why she does act like this, I felt like she flipped out, and overreacted one too many times. Thankfully by the end of the book she does resolve these things. There's a reason behind Grace's reactions and feelings that Stout reveals during this time. t's during this part of the story that it does get a little heart breaking, which I wasn't excepting at all. I admired Grace for finally coming to terms with, and learning to resolve the things she's been running from for so long. She grew up a lot during this time. Thankfully Grace has Jason, who's there to love her and support her through this.

Aside from Jason, Grace has a great support team with her best friend Sophie. Grace is fun, and has that kind of personality that I liked her from the moment she's introduced into the story. Grace's other support comes in the form of her younger sister Jane. Jane is a character who's mentioned through out the story, but her key role isn't until towards the end of the story. I loved what transpired between Grace and Jane during this part of the story. It allowed me to see Grace getting closer on things she needed, and coming to terms with things she's ran from for so long. Through this, Grace sees the possibility of finally moving on, and achieving the future she wants to have. 

Katie M Stout does a beautiful job at creating a story that made me feel very much apart of Grace's travels and studies abroad in Korea. I've never been to Korea, but Stout made me feel as though I was there right along Grace as she over comes her culture shock, learns to embrace her new home, makes new friends, falls in love, and discovers herself. Stout's vivid descriptions made me feel like I was there walking through the streets, riding a bike or taking a bus, and taking in all that Grace sees and experiences. I love it when an author is able to make me feel like I'm there, in the story's setting. 

Over all this is a great read. Stout's beautiful writing really sucked me. I love how how was able to take me on a whirlwind of a trip to Korea, and all from the comforts of my home. I love it when an author is able to totally immerse me into their story like that. Being that this is Katie's debut, I can only imagine how awesome her next book will be. I for one can not wait to read it. If you're a fan of traveling, romance, and an enjoyable fast paced read, Hello, I Love You is a book I'd definitely recommend picking up this summer.