Book Review: Downburst by Katie Robison

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Kit’s only goal is to stay alive. Right now, that means dodging brutal gangs while peddling fake I.D.s on the back streets of Winnipeg. But things get complicated when Kit sells a license to a girl named Aura—a girl who could almost be her twin. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kit is plunged into an underground society with heart-stopping surprises at every turn. To protect herself, she’s forced to assume Aura’s identity. But storm clouds are gathering on the horizon, and when Kit learns the truth about Aura, she knows she has to get out before the storm breaks. There’s only one problem: escape isn’t an option. Suddenly, staying alive just got a lot harder.

My review: *I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.* This book caught my interest from page one and didn't let go. You know, I'm a sucker for those books with the summer camps that aren't what they seem. Downburst had one of those! And it was fantastic! Of course, that wasn't the only fantastic thing, and I would define the book just by the summer camp. ;)

This was one that kept me on the edge of my seat. Downburst is very original and interesting and new. I was really excited to learn more about what was going on, and how everything worked. There was never a dull moment in the book. It was one of those where you keep guessing what's going to happen and then something else entirely happens that's just as exciting as what you thought would happen. 

There didn't seem to be a whole lot of emphasis on characters as individuals, but what I saw of the characters I liked. I think there was more emphasis on setting the stage and building the world, which has me really excited for book two, not even getting into the cliffhanger ending.... I would have liked a bit more insights to the characters, but I'm hoping to see more in book two. 

I highly recommend this book, and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel! Congrats, Katie, for a fantastic debut! 

Here are some links if you'd like to read more about Downburst:

Book Trailer: 

Thanks for reading!


Giveaway Winner: Spirits of Glory by Emily Devenport

The winner of the digital copy of Spirits of Glory is Diane! Thanks to everyone who entered! Diane has confirmed and received her copy already. 

Next week I'll be gone on a camping trip, so I won't be able to post regularly (not that I've been very good about that lately anyway ;). I'll see if I can get a few post scheduled. Thanks for reading! 


Book Spotlight: The Dream Sanctum by Daniel Koeker

 Imagine a world of magic, adventure and wonder. Imagine being able to control the world around you simply by using your imagination. Imagine being able to fly across vast skies, explore cities made of gold and experience the wonders of the world like you've never seen them before.

Now imagine that you only need to fall asleep to get there.

Kai and Lindsay stumble across the entrance to the Dream Sanctum, a dream world where people are limited only by their imaginations. Dreamers from across the globe can enter whenever they desire to enjoy a vast, epic world that predates the earth as they know it by centuries. A simple rule is kept in place to ensure that no harm comes to any dreamer: any action cannot affect another if they do not desire it, leaving everyone equal and content.

However, due to a mistake and an experiment gone awry, horrible creations are set loose into the Dream Sanctum - creatures of a faded shadow, known only to the dreamers as Nightmares. They are not bound by the laws of the Sanctum and create chaos, threatening to destroy everything Kai and Lindsay hold dear. Together, along with child prodigy Kwin, master swordsman Alastor and overconfident hero Hercules, Kai and Lindsay set out to destroy the Nightmares and their creator, which has only been seen as a terrifying black wolf with eyes of crimson.

The Dream Sanctum was just released January 1st this year. You can read more about the book, the author, the characters, and the world of The Dream Sanctum at Daniel's website, and of course on Goodreads.com. 

You can also find links to purchase Daniel's book on his website as well. I will definitely be getting this one if I get the opportunity! If you get the chance, let me know what you think! Happy reading!


Book Review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past. Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

My Review: Bitterblue was absolutely amazing. It was beautifully and complexly written, and had a lot of impact for me. It was sort of about self-discovery, coming to terms with the past, and moving on. There were so many different moving parts and conflicts, so many different things going on at once, and different pieces moved faster than others. I couldn't put it down. At all. 

Almost everything about this book was complex. I absolutely loved that. There are so many different things going on, so many different characters, so many complex stories and relationships. It wasn't very hard to follow, but it made everything so much more interesting and impactful, and made it really hard to put down. Bitterblue is not a small book, but there was never a moment where it was hard for me to keep going. 

The characters were also really complex. There were lots and lots of characters that returned from Graceling. There were lots of new relationships between the characters, and then there were that were the same as before. There were even more new characters, including Bitterblue's advisers, a creepy librarian named Death (Deeth), and the two thieves mentioned in the synopsis above. Every character had so many layers, and the relationships they had with other characters had so many layers. It was enthralling. 

Bitterblue is a sequel to Graceling and a companion to Fire. Each book is very different from the other, and all three books could stand alone, but they compliment each other very well, and come together to paint a marvelous picture. And all three books made me cry at one point or another. :).

I definitely recommend this book. I highly suggest that you start with Graceling and Fire if you haven't already. It is most certainly worth it. 


In My Mailbox (15)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi over at TheStorySiren.com and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It's a fun way for book bloggers to show off what books they've recieved via mailbox, library, bookstore, friend, etc. This week I just got one book in the mail:

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

This one has been on my Wishlist for forever! I'm so excited that it's finally here! It came in the mail yesterday! And the cover is gorgeous! I can't wait to get started :)

That's all I got this week, and I'm pretty happy with it :) What did you get in your mailboxes? Leave links in the comments and I'll stop by! Thanks for reading!


Giveaway: Spirits of Glory by Emily Devenport

One morning the people of the North woke up and the people of the South were gone. That s the first thing every child learns on the colony world of Jigsaw. But for one girl, knowing about The Disappearance is not enough. Hawkeye wants to know why.

That's why she spent half her life researching The Disappearance. And that's also why eight Neighbors show up on her doorstep, demanding that she accompany them into the Forbidden Cities ruled by the Southern gods to speak with the Spirits of Glory. Everyone thinks Hawkeye is an expert on Neighbors, these almost-humans who move, talk, and think as if they were born inside one of the Time Fractures. But she can't imagine what they want to ask the ghosts of their ancestors, or why they need her to go along. The Southern gods caused every human inhabitant of the Southern cities to disappear overnight :&emdash; what else might they do?

But the Northern gods say Hawkeye should go and her curiosity won't let her refuse, even though she's going into more danger than she can imagine. Pain and puzzlement wait along the broken interstate, along with scavengers who want to kill them all. Hawkeye's questions only generate more questions as they move farther and farther into the South, right into the heart of the Disappearance, until Hawkeye's questions have all been answered.
Even the ones she was afraid to ask.
Two days ago, we had a great guest post from the author of Spirits of Glory, Emily Devenport about e-books. You can read that here. Today, Emily is offering up one digital copy (in the format of your choice) of her book. So what do you have to do? Just read the rules then fill out the Rafflecopter form below. :)

*You must be 13 or older to enter.
*You do not have to be a follower of Amanda's Writings, but it is much appreciated!
*Extra entries are available, just read the directions below!
*This giveaway ends May 19th. The winner will be contacted via email and must respond within 48 hours. 

As always, read other rules and regulations on my Policy Page (bottom half). Good luck, and thanks for reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Review: The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I'm ready to fight.

My Review: I enjoyed The Power of Six a lot more than I Am Number Four. The plot was much more developed, the characters were more solid and realistic, there was more action, more characters, more movement, more awesomeness... I enjoyed it a lot! I got through it a lot faster than the first one. 

I think I liked the most the different perspectives it was written in, and how they were two completely different characters in completely different situations, nowhere near each other, but still connected. 

Unlike the first book, this one has a much wider setting, and much more movement. But there was less information. I started reading to know the whys and the answers to questions from book one, but few of them were answered. The action was plenty enough to keep me reading, but I wish there had been just a bit more info.

I only have two major issues with this one: 1. It didn't flow very well in some parts. I think maybe some of the sentence structure just bothered me a bit. 2. Two of the characters who I imagine could be very important... well there wasn't very much about them at all. The were kind of... flat. I expect that will change in the next book, though.

I'm definitely looking forward to book three!


Thanks for reading!


Guest Post: Emily Devenport


For a lot of book lovers, ebooks can be a touchy subject. Many people believe they're killing the print book and bringing down the New York Publishers. My perspective is a little different, because I'm an author who also worked for Borders for 11 years (right up to the end), and I can tell you that my former employer did more damage to the book business in the last decade than ebooks did. Likewise, the publishers themselves refused to let go of an expensive distribution system (not to mention their incredibly pricey New York real estate). But this is an issue people will be arguing, from many different angles, for years to come. And the way things are shaping up lately, I think we can honestly say that even if it wasn't the original culprit, the ebook has become one of the reasons the print book is going out of style. So I thought I'd offer some reasons why that's not the end of the world.

      1.  Price

Let's face it, these days most of us don't have much money to spend on entertainment. We're lucky if we can get our basic bills paid. That's why ebook prices are so attractive – many of them are $4.99 and under (even “free”). I price my ebooks at $.99, because that's what paperback books cost when I was a kid. I think readers should be able buy lots of books, not just one or two. Granted, a lot of the ebooks you'll find on the market these days are amateurish. But a reader can easily spot those just by reading the synopsis or a few sample pages. And checking out your favorite book blogs for recommendations can help you find a lot of gems. So lower prices are a good reason to check out ebooks – but what about the reading experience itself? That's when the features of a good e-reader come into play.

       2.  Large Print Reading Features

When I worked at Borders, we had one tiny section that offered large-print books. The selection was lousy, and the books (often trade paperbacks) were expensive. But in the last year Borders was open, a change occurred. People over 40 started asking about the e-readers we were selling. They had several reasons, but the one I kept hearing over and over was that they wanted a reader that could display larger print. Almost overnight, the large-print options went from a handful of titles to literally thousands. In my opinion, even if this were the only good reason for ebooks, it would be a compelling one. And there's another reason why your selection increases when you have an e-reader.

     3.  Your Favorite Authors Have A Backlist You Can                   Discover

You may think you've seen everything your favorite authors have written, and that you can get those backlist titles whenever you want. But that's not always true. It's expensive for publishers to print those books and then store them somewhere while the orders for them trickle in. Many of my writer friends who have a large backlist are now able to publish them as indie ebooks, and they charge as little as $.99 for them. If you really love an author, and you've only read their most recent titles, it's a delight to be able to go back and discover a treasure trove of their previous work. And you get to pay the author a bigger royalty instead of going through middlemen who take 92% of the profit.

      4.  Authors Can Earn More Money With Indie Ebooks

This one is only half true. It would be more accurate to say that many authors have the potential to earn more money with indie ebooks. Many of the authors who have been earning the biggest advances from publishers might earn less if they struck out on their own, even if they did all of the self-promotion writers have to do these days to get their books under the (virtual) noses of readers. 99% of us earn very little whether we work with publishers or on our own, anyway. What is more appealing to writers is the freedom we gain when we're in charge of our own careers. We can't be told by some publisher that we have to keep writing the same stuff, book after book. If we're smart, we still hire an editor to go over our manuscripts, and we listen to them. But no one can tell us not to write and publish books we love because they're not commercial enough.

So those are at least four reasons to like ebooks. I know it's scary to think our beloved paper books may go away some day. But if you've been collecting books for decades, you begin to notice something even scarier. They take over the house. Most of us don't have mansions where we can build gigantic libraries. We have little houses that become so overstuffed that we can barely move in them. And god help us if we ever have to pack up and move to another house.

I'm not saying we should get rid of print books entirely (I have one of those overstuffed houses). I'm just saying it's nice to have options, and ebooks are among them. Look at their virtues before you dismiss them. Some day they could become one of your most valuable resources.    

Thanks Emily!

Tomorrow I will be posting a review of The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore, and then on Friday I will be hosting a giveaway for an ebook copy of Emily's book: Spirits of Glory. Thanks for reading!


Book Releases: May 2012

Hey everyone! Sorry about the lapse in posts... the last three weeks have been full of essays and practice for this amazing event I got to participate in on Saturday (see more about that here). Anyway, school is all but done and aside from a five-day camp this summer and a long drive to Alaska, I'm hoping I'll be able to get back into the blogosphere!

Today I'm just going to share a few of the books I'm most excited for this month, and the rest of the week will come with a few book features, a giveaway, a guest post, and a book review. So keep checking back, and enjoy!

1. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
      Release date: May 1st

Graceling and Fire are two of my favorite books ever! I just ordered Bitterblue yesterday and I can't wait until it gets in!

2. The Enchantress by Michael Scott
      Release date: May 22nd

I've been following this series for a few years now and after the killer cliffhanger in The Warlock, I can't wait to see what will happen!

3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
     Release date: May 1st

There's been a lot of hype about this series, and Divergent was pretty good, and I've already heard lots of good things about this one from a friend, so this one is definitely on my list!

4. Endure by Carrie Jones
     Release date: May 8th (today!)

I don't particularly love this series, but they've been fun reads so far. I probably won't buy this one, but I will definitely be reading it!

5. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
      Release date: May 8th (today!)

I loved the first three in this series, but I really wasn't impressed with number four. I won't be buying this one, but if I happen to see it at a library any time soon, I'll pick it up.

What are you looking forward to reading this month? Let me know in the comments, and check back tomorrow for a guest post! Thanks for reading!

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