Sunday, October 19, 2014

Behind The Pages #9 - Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer


Welcome to my new Behind The Pages post! You can find last month's post of this feature, with Adi Alsaid and Let's Get Lost, here. Today I'm sharing pages Mary Elizabeth Summer annotated from her debut novel TRUST ME, I'M LYING. Have you read it yet?

What is Behind The Pages all about? I asked some of my favourite authors and a bunch of promising 2014 debut authors to annotate a scene, page or more of one of their books. I see the feature as a chance to show readers what's behind a page. Authors can share their favourite writing memories, the music that influenced a certain scene or anything else that comes to their mind. We might get hints to what the characters were thinking and feeling that exact moment or other fun details about their story. Hope you enjoy Behind The Pages as much as I do. I'm intending this feature to be a monthly post here on the blog.

Thanks to all the incredible authors who took the time to annotate a page or scene for us, your comments are always so insightful and fun to read. When readers can't get enough of a book and its characters it only shows how much the author's work means to them, to us. Thank you!

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Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.

  
 
Mary Elizabeth Summer is an instructional designer, a mom, a champion of the serial comma, and a pie junkie. Oh, and she sometimes writes books about teenage delinquents saving the day. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her daughter, her partner, and her evil overlor–er, cat. TRUST ME, I'M LYING, a YA mystery, will be released by Delacorte in Fall 2014. (Author bio found on www.mesummer.com). Follow Mary Elizabeth on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.  


 
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Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer 






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Snap Shots
 
Here are a few pictures Mary Elizabeth Summer took of the actual racetrack she went to for "research" purposes. 


 


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Soundtrack

Mary Elizabeth Summer has mentioned a few songs in her annotations that are her characters' theme songs. 'Ain't No Rest For the Wicked' by Cage The Elephant is one of Julep's songs. I hope you enjoy it!
 
 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book Review: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare


Title: The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1)
Author: Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Doubleday Children's Books
Publishing Date: September 11th 2014
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: MG, friendship, magic school, elements
Source: Publisher

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .


Summary by Goodreads






Callum, our protagonist, is such a kind and lovely boy. He is also a lonely boy. That is, until his life changes radically when he is accepted into the Magisterium, the one place on earth he's always wanted to avoid at all costs. 
   He has a disability and has been an outsider all his life. So even if he didn't want to attend the new school, this opportunity means a new start for him. It's his chance to make new friends and prove the world that he can be good at something, maybe even the best. 
   The character of Callum is a character who represents all the kids who are struggeling with a disability themselves. He shows that many things are possible when you believe in yourself. Call will encourage many readers to be as brave as he is.

Together with his new friends Aaron and Tamara, Call introduces readers to a new generation of magic apprentices at the Magisterium. THE IRON TRIAL kind of reminded me of the Harry Potter world. Yet Cassandra Clare and Holly Black's book has so many bewitching peculiarities that are solely Magisterium-made that you can't but think of it as its own magical world. I'm sure many readers will enjoy this new and different brand of magic. 

The three kids are only getting to know the Magisterium and its rules. As part of their apprenticeship Callum and his friends are presented with little tasks and small missions to develop their magic skills.  They are mostly harmless missions, so the story comes along less adventurous than expected. It is a very innocent kind of magic the kids are practicing. And they are learning to control the elements with the help of their mentors.
   Despite the big author bonus and the friendship story that works great I am not fully content with the rather slow pace of the story. The introductory part was longer than necessary and it was a while until I felt at home in the Magisterium.

This Middle Grade read is suitable for younger readers. The friendship part of the story is very important. Cassandra and Holly go into detail how such a strong bond of friendship between Callum, Tamara and Aaron develops over time and how trials are mastered together. I really like this wizard trio!






3,5/5 ***/* THE IRON TRIAL - Readers all over the world will fall in love with Callum's story of bravery, magic and friendship!  
 
Two beloved authors of mine teamed up to write a new magic school series, and now that I know there will be five books in this series I am an even happier reader. Clare and Black's writing is rich in detail and very strong in creating lovely atmospheric background settings to every chapter. I would recommend THE IRON TRIAL to younger readers but older fans of magic schools will definitely get their money's worth, too.








"As he bent closer, he realized they were words - words his wife had carved into the cave ice with the last of her dying strength.
As he read them, he felt them like three hard blows to the stomach. 
KILL THE CHILD" p.4-5








THE IRON TRIAL you might enjoy HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins, THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL by Soman Chainani and THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan. These are YA and MG reads with a good portion of magic.








* Check out the German cover for THE IRON TRIAL. 

* THE COPPER GAUNTLET, the second book in this series comes out 2015.

* Click here to watch the THE IRON TRIAL book trailer.

* Here's an excerpt of THE IRON TRIAL for you to read.

* For more information about the authors and their books visit www.blackholly.com and www.cassandraclare.com.

* Thanks to Random House UK for sending me a proof copy of THE IRON TRIAL for review!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Book Review: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil


Title: Get Even (Don't Get Mad #1)
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: September 16th 2014
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, thriller, mystery, romance, friendship, bullying
Source: Edelweiss

Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common—at least that’s what they’d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don’t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school’s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers.

When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked “DGM” card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought—and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose.


Summary by Goodreads






Kitty, Margot, Bree and Olivia couldn't be more different. Olivia is the theater girl, Kitty the sporty type, Margot the tech pro and Bree is the daughter of a Senator. They are in the same high school and know how hard trying to be oneself can be. It is not friendship that connects them, but something bigger, something stronger. Revenge and justice.
   The four girls formed the group DGM in order to protect other students who have become victims to bullying and oppression. Together they have to withstand an accusation of murder themselves and find out who killed bully Ronny. This constellation kind of reminded me of Pretty Little Liars. But in comparison GET EVEN would make a much better Tv show since Gretchen McNeil's girls are  stronger, smarter and more independent than Aria and her friends.

While GET EVEN is about proving the girls' innocence, Gretchen McNeil throws in hints, clues and evidence that make you suspicious of all four girls in some way, too. Very sneaky!
   The story switches back and forth between all four girls and their perspectives. Bree was by far my favourite person to follow around with her best friend John and her growing feelings for him. Friendship becoming romance, yes, I really liked that and the way Bree started to realize her true feelings at some point. The other girls have interesting romances and friendship stories, too.

I am so glad that Gretchen McNeil decided to bring out the girls' story as a duology, with the first book releasing in September 2014 and the second in summer 2015. This way there was much writing space to form a believable story background, and especially with a murder investigation going on. Gretchen considered love stories for each girl and one big part of GET EVEN is about the possibility of them becoming friends in the end despite the big differences between the girls.
   It was hard to put the book aside when it ended and now wait a few months until I can pick up its sequel. Hope that it starts right where the first ended. There are still a few questions and problems to solve so I'm looking forward to the second book.






4/5 **** GET EVEN - Gretchen McNeil's best book so far!

The words "dying for the sequel" really fit in the case of GET EVEN. Bree and John's relationship is by far my favourite and the way things ended for them was so mean. It's been a long time since I read something so suspenseful and with so much teen drama. I can't wait for GET DIRTY!








"Bree rolled her eyes. Most days John's geeky instance that there was a Star Wars quote for every occasion was relatively entertaining, but today is was about as welcome as a raging case of the herps." p.2








GET EVEN you might enjoy PRETTY LITTLE LIARS by Sara Shepard, THE DOLLS by Kiki Sullivan and DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas. There's lots of girl drama and murderous plotting going on in these three books. Perfect for fans of Gretchen McNeil's newest book.





* Have you read TEN by Gretchen McNeil? 

* GET DIRTY, the sequel to GET EVEN is scheduled to release June 2015. 

* Click here to read an excerpt of GET EVEN.

* For more information about Gretchen and her books visit www.gretchenmcneil.com


Monday, October 13, 2014

Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 - Book Haul

After my regular book haul and the US book haul, now comes my Frankfurt Book Fair haul. I've got no idea where to put all the books I got in the past month. I need new shelves...haha. I attended the fair on Saturday and Sunday and met a few of my favourite German bloggers. On Saturday we went to an event with Libba Bray who promoted the release of her The Diviners in Germany. She was so funny and signed my (still unread) UK copy of The Diviners. It was a fun weekend and I'm already looking forward to Frankfurt Book Fair in 2015!

Thanks to Libba Bray for signing my copy of The Diviners!


Books, Books Books...


 Harper Collins

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis
The Taking by Kimberly Derting

Sourcebooks

Gone Too Far by Natalie D. Richards
See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne



 Penguin

Half Bad by Sally Green
Paper Towns by John Green
Sophomore Year Is Greek To Me by Meredith Zeitlin

Harlequin Teen

The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
Crash Into You by Katie McGarry



Scholastic

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Books Crossing Borders

Miles From Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams
Winterspell by Claire Legrand



Macmillan

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Scotland Publishers

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion



Giveaway

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together....


a Rafflecopter giveaway

* You enter for a chance to win a copy of A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
* INTERNATIONAL (please check if The Book Depository ships to your country)
* The giveaway starts on October 14th and will end on October 31st
* Enter the rafflecopter form!
* Good luck :) 

Friday, October 10, 2014

New Books On My Shelf #69

Here's what showed up while I was in the US. So many wonderful books. Can't wait to read all of them. I've already started with THE JEWEL.


For review. A bunch of Harper Collins International ARCs. Thank you!!



A limited, signed copy of THE BODY ELECTRIC by Beth Revis. A huge thanks to Beth for sending me a copy for review and for the beautiful swag pack! x




Bought. I had a copy of NOT IN THE SCRIPT pre-ordered that showed up while I was gone. Of course I couldn't resist to get the Divergent Blu Ray and I'm really looking forward to the second season of Grand Hotel. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Back To Blogging - USA Vacation - New Books

How has it been almost a month since I last published a blog post? I better not start rambling about how time flies. The reason for my blogging silence was a fantastic 3 1/2 week vacation of traveling the US with my two friends Sandra and Sabine. We saw many different cities and places and it was such a fun, unforgettable experience I wouldn't want to miss. Unfortunately, I didn't have any time to read or write reviews. So I'm a bit behind on everything right now. Still catching up. Here's what my vacation looked like and the new books I got.

Miami- Fort Lauderdale

Skyscrapers and tropical beaches. That's how I'll remember Miami. While the humidity was way too high for my taste I really enjoyed relaxing on the beach or swimming in our hotel's pool. Miami Beach and Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne with their crystal clear water were definite highlights.




Las Vegas - Grand Canyon - Flagstaff - Las Vegas

When we arrived at the airport we were greeted in authentic Vegas style. With loud music and big, blinking neon signs.  After a short night we got our rental car and were on our way to the Grand Canyon. Just wow! None of my pictures does this wonder of nature justice. It was so beautiful! We spent the night in Flagstaff and then drove back via parts of the Route 66. I'm not much of a driver, but I loved the open roads and the wide view this street has to offer. Back in Vegas we spent two nights in the Stratosphere hotel and got to go up their tower for free. Stunning view! We toured the casinos at night and my friend Sandra even won some bucks. I really liked Vegas and will come back!




Los Angeles

I wouldn't come back to the US with the sole purpose to explore this city. I think that's because we saw some parts of the city that were dirty and scary...more so than we could tolerate. That does not mean we didn't have fun moments in LA, too. One day we drove to Santa Monica beach and the sun set was paradisic. For movie fans the Warner Brothers VIP Tour is an absolute must. They were currently filming Hart of Dixie so we got to tour Bluebelle's town square. Look at the gazebo! Gilmore Girls for ever! We had a treat at the Cheesecake Factory. Aaaaaand on our last day in LA we got to attend a live taping of The Big Bang Theory. WOW! A dream come true. We had to wait all day to get in but it was so worth it because Sandra and I scored first row seats directly in front of the boys' living room. The episode they were filming airs next Monday, Season 8 Episode 5. It was HILARIOUS! It was fun to see how many times they had to film a scene and how they recorded every single laugh of the audience. The cast was so awesome. Kaley and Johnny thanked everyone for coming and they told us that they were filming a behind the scenes special (air date: December 26th). Best experience ever and my highlight of this US trip!



This is Kunal's autograph who stayed a few extra minutes to sign. He's the sweetest guy!


San Francisco - Yosemite National Park

We only had one day to see everything in San Francisco we wanted to see. We took a Cable Car, strolled Fisherman's Wharf, saw the seals at Pier 39, had awesome breakfast in a diner near our hostel. On day two we rented another car and attempted to drive to Yosemite National Park and back on the same day. Unsurprisingly, we didn't have nearly enough time to see all of the park we wanted to see. We marvelled at the giant trees in the Mariposa Grove and drove through the thick forrest and high, stunning mountains. Yosemite is beautiful and I will definitely try to come back with more time in tow. On our long and dark way back to San Francisco we stopped at In-N-Out Burger and loaded up on delicious fries and burgers. Another highlight on this trip was our San Francisco bay cruise. Blue sky, a warm breeze and a relaxing sailing tour under the Golden Gate Bridge. Doesn't it look pretty?





Chicago

Chicago was hands down my favourite city. The parks were beautiful, Lake Michigan gigantic and we had the chance to plan another beach day. The bean, Buckingham Fountain and the Lincoln Park Zoo were some things we saw in our three days there. I even saw Four's ferris wheel, hehe. Didn't get to ride it but I thought of my favourite YA boy. We all went up Willis Tower and sat in a glass box over 100 stories above the ground. We had the best weather and I'm practically planning my trip back to Chicago now.





New York

New York was the city that finally fulfilled my bookish dreams. We saw the Times Square, Statue of Liberty, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, went to Top of the Rock, and spent a fab day in Central Park. But my New York favourite moment was the launch event at Books of Wonder I attended and the time spent in The Strand. So the books get an extra paragraph. After four days in New York we flew back to Germany.




Books and the City

New York was my favourite city when I get to rate all of them by book stores. In Barnes & Noble LA I bought four books, including a signed copy of RUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo.

For the same amout of money I got ten books at The Strand. When I came to The Strand I thought I'd just walk through the store and head to my next destination. I'm not into used books so I was conviced I wouldn't buy a single book. In the end I bought ten. I absolutely LOVED this book store and immediately felt at home between the high shelves and the creaking floor boards. This would be a weekly stop if I lived in the NY area.
You can't imagine my fangirling when I noticed the TFIOS bench in front of the YA section. So much love! I teared up a bit when I read the plaque.

At San Francisco airport I bought a copy of THE ART OF LAINEY. And on October 2nd I attended the launch event at Books of Wonder for Sara Raasch's SNOW LIKE ASHES and Claire Legrand's WINTERSPELL. They were so great and of course I got a copy of SNOW LIKE ASHES signed. Thank you Sara!


The Strand







 Books of Wonder




Book Haul 

San Francisco Airport (The Art of Lainey) & The Strand



Barnes & Noble LA & Books of Wonder ( Snow Like Ashes)


Signed Books 
 


Other Stuff  + tons of clothes that cannot even fit into five pictures, ha!