Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Post by Author Mary Pauline Lowry

You can read more about Mary Pauline Lowry or buy The Earthquake Machine at www.marypaulinelowry.com

Growing up, I became tired of reading books and watching movies about boys having adventures. I wanted more books about girls doing wild, amazing things. And I wanted to experience life fully myself; I didn't want to have to be stuck “staying safe” and being demure.

I have always been a handful—I know my parents worried about me a lot. When I was 15, I climbed out the window and ran away from home. I made it all the way to Matamoros, Mexico. (I would NOT advise anyone else to try this—most runaways end up in terrible trouble). When I was 21 I joined an elite “Hotshot” crew of forest firefighters and traveled all over the country battling wildfires. After that I got a job in Durango, Colorado as a carpenter’s apprentice. When I was tired of working outside in the cold, I started a job at a domestic violence shelter, helping women and children stay safe.

But no matter where I was or what I was doing, I always read tons of books. They helped me both escape and understand my own life.  And I always wanted to be a writer myself. I wanted to create female characters that would inspire other women and girls to take risks and live life fully. Hopefully I’ve done that with my novel THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE.


Mary Pauline Lowry has worked as a forest firefighter, screenwriter, open water lifeguard, construction worker, and advocate in the movement to end violence against women. Due to no fault of her sweet parents, at 15 she ran away from home and made it all the way to Matamoros, Mexico. She believes girls should make art, have adventures, and read books that show them the way.


The Earthquake Machine, a fun, fantastical and exhilarating tale, explodes the distinction between Young Adult and adult coming-of-age novels, even as it explores the borders between the United States and Mexico, adolescence and adulthood, male and female, English and Spanish. 

 The Earthquake Machine tells the story of 14 year-old Rhonda. On the outside, everything looks perfect in Rhonda’s world, but at home Rhonda has to deal with a manipulative father who keeps her mentally ill mother hooked on pharmaceuticals. The only reliable person in Rhonda’s life is her family’s Mexican yardman, Jesús. But when the INS deports Jesús back to his home state of Oaxaca, Rhonda is left alone with her increasingly painful family situation. 

 Determined to find her friend Jésus, Rhonda seizes an opportunity to run away during a camping trip with friends to Big Bend National Park. She swims to the Mexican side of the Rio Grande and makes her way to the border town of Milagros, Mexico. There a peyote- addled bartender convinces her she won’t be safe traveling alone into the country’s interior. So with the bartender’s help, Rhonda cuts her hair and assumes the identity of a Mexican boy named Angel. 

She then sets off on a burro across the desert to look for Jesús. Thus begins a wild adventure that fulfills the longing of readers eager for a brave and brazen female protagonist.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book News: Scary School

Have you guys heard of this new MG series written by Derek the Ghost called Scary School? It seems like a really funny book, and perfect for any MG fans. I love the trailer for it especially, the music and I just wanted to share it with you guys.

The second book in the series, Monsters on the March recently released it's cover.

It looks pretty cool eh? I think it's just a great series to share with some of the younger boys in our lives. If you're interested, there's more at the official website.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cover Reveal: Inbetween

Inbetween (Kissed by Death, #1)


Since the car crash that took her father’s life three years ago, Emma’s life has been a freaky—and unending—lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option. 

 It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn't let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left…his soul.

It's being released on August 7 2012 and you can pre-order it from Amazon. And you can also add it to your TBR on Goodreads.

Today is the reveal date of the cover for Tara Fuller's new book, Inbetween. What do you think of it? I love the simplicity and the contrast of the black, white and green. It will look really nice on a bookshelf, I bet.

Happy reading!

Book Blogger Confessions

Basically, one of my new favourite memes hosted at For What It's Worth  and Tiger's All-Consuming Media. Check it out!

This week's question is: 

Social networking with authors: Do you interact on Twitter/Facebook/etc with authors? Does it affect how you review their work or do you look at their books differently because you're on friendly terms with them?

I actually don't interact too much with authors. I visit Twitter in bursts (though I'm trying to change) but I do follow a bunch of authors. It doesn't affect how I review their work though. A review is your thoughts on a book, not the author. Just because I really like an author doesn't mean I'll really enjoy their book and vice versa. Still, if an author is really nice to me and I don't like their work, the tone of my review will be different than if I thought the author was mean. I'll still say I didn't like the characters, but instead of saying one was awfully dumb and ignorant, I'll talk about how I didn't relate with the character because we're different and I couldn't believe her naivety. It's hard to explain, and I don't ever consciously think about it.

My goal is still to try to write reviews that reflect my reading experience in the most honest way possible. It's not to sell books, or to save the world from reading a book I consider awful. It's to share my opinion of the book, not the author.

What do you guys think?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Other (Super Easy!!) Ways to Follow Tantalizing Illusions

Yup, it's my turn to do one of those "you can follow me via..." posts.

Basically, with the impending loss of GFC to non blogger blogs, the whole blogger world has realized it's time to diversify the ways we follow one another. So here are some ways to follow Tantalizing Illusions.

1. Linky Followers. I LOVE IT! Make an account and start following just like you would with GFC. 

2. Twitter. I'm kind of a fail at this, but I promise I'll be better. I'll basically tweet about new blog posts on Twitter. Follow me, AshesTantalize!

3. Goodreads friend me! I love Goodreads, and I already post every review I write, plus a bunch of mini-reviews or initial thoughts and reactions on a book there. I'm going to start posting links to posts via status updates, and stuff like that.

Next few stuff is really easy.

4. Follow by Email for posts everyday sent to your inbox. I'm using Feedburner and you can sign up on the right.

5. Subscribe! That can be found on the right too, above the GFC page. You can add Tantalizing Illusions to your reader, or whatever you want.

I'm thanking you all in advance for following. :)

Now here's the most important part. These are all the ways I'm already making my content available. That doesn't mean they're the only ways. If there's another way you follow blogs and I don't do that, let me know in the comments. Do I need the Networked Blogs thing? Do I need a Facebook account? Google Plus? What's your favourite way to follow blogs?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review: Kevin's Point of View (now known as Captain Disaster)

Kevin's Point of View

Author: Del Shannon
Pages: 402
Publisher: Flatiron View Books
Source: Review Copy- Thank you!
Synopsis: Kevin Tobin is a relatively ordinary 12-year-old dealing with the aftermath of his father's death in a mountain biking accident near their home in Boulder, Colorado. To escape from his emotional turmoil, Kevin has developed his imagination into a dangerous foil and a powerful ally. While he antagonizes his sister through his superhero antics on an average Wednesday morning, his ability to escape inside a character's head become critical to his survival after his life is once-again turned upside down a year after his father's death. A mysterious package arrives in the mail, Kevin and his best friend are hunted down by a ruthless villain set upon world domination, and after enlisting Kevin's teenage sister and her pizza-delivery boyfriend in a battle for control over time itself, the secret of Kevin's whole existence is revealed to him by a source we never expected. Del Shannon's imaginative story, appreciation for the powers of family and the desire of young boys to both escape reality and prove themselves within it, and fast-paced, adventure-filled storytelling style make this a book with wide appeal for readers of all ages.

Buy the Book (The Book Depository/Amazon)

Kevin's Point of View was a really imaginative read unlike anything I've read in a long time. Unfortunately, I didn't really feel like I was the right audience for the book and because of that it didn't work for me. However, I think this is just the read a bunch of younger boys I know of would enjoy, and I'll pass it along to them.

Kevin's Point of View is about a normal 12 year old boy with a heck of an imagination. Ever since his dad died, Kevin can retreat his mind to somewhere else if he doesn't like what's happening in the present. It's hard to explain, except that Kevin gets into a lot of trouble for it. Whenever Kevin isn't being, well, Kevin, the writing was italicized and I enjoyed watching how Del Shannon connected Kevin's imagination with real life. You really start to feel for Kevin. Under his annoying, 12 year old boy exterior, he's just another kid that misses his dad.

Some of my favorite part is when Kevin and Tony, Kevin's best friend and side kick, would talk about things they don't know. They'd mix up words and they were probably uncertain a lot but they had that arrogance that kids have and they'd go around thinking they're right. It was something I'd do all the time when I was younger so I could relate to it and I thought it was realistically done. Except, sometimes Kevin seemed really smart for his age and other times very immature. Like he uses words like "inherent" but doesn't know hypothermia? That puzzles me, but I guess since I'm Canadian we hear more about hypothermia than Kevin who lives in Colorado does!

The plot is really fast paced and fun. The Influxitron is a device that looks like a remote control but is really a time traveling machine. Something is always happening in this book, which I appreciate and I know other kids will too.

The presentation of this book is incredible. It looks professional, the cover had my little sister laughing and wanting to read the book even though she doesn't know how to read yet. The doodles inside the book were cute and I loved trying to guess how relevant they were to the chapter. Also, since each chapter was separated by a chapter page and sometimes a blank page or two, this book is perfect to read in small doses which is what younger readers will probably do. The book itself is long at about 400 pages but it's formatted and written in a way that makes it feel much shorter.

There was a lot of good to this book and I definitely recommend it. Even if I couldn't get into the story because it wasn't really the kind I like (some parts fell into place much too easily, some characters felt way overdone and lacking depth) I can see how others probably will enjoy it. Especially if you're a boy around 8 and up. 3 stars,


EDIT: It's been months later and Kevin's Point of View has changed names and will be published as Captain Disaster. As I don't know the extent of the differences between the two (since there was some editing and revision done) I've decided to keep my review above and refer it to Kevin's Point of View. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review: Summer and the CIty

Summer and the City (The Carrie Diaries #2)

Author: Candice Bushnell
Pages: 409
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Library
Series: Sequel to The Carrie Diaries
Synopsis: Summer is a magical time in New York City and Carrie is in love with all of it—the crazy characters in her neighborhood, the vintage-clothing boutiques, the wild parties, and the glamorous man who has swept her off her feet. Best of all, she's finally in a real writing class, taking her first steps toward fulfilling her dream. 

 This sequel to The Carrie Diaries brings surprising revelations as Carrie learns to navigate her way around the Big Apple, going from being a country "sparrow"—as Samantha Jones dubs her—to the person she always wanted to be. But as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile her past with her future, Carrie realizes that making it in New York is much more complicated than she ever imagined. 

 With her signature wit and sparkling humor, Candace Bushnell reveals the irresistible story of how Carrie met Samantha and Miranda, and what turned a small-town girl into one of New York City's most unforgettable icons, Carrie Bradshaw.

Buy the Book (The Book Depository/Amazon)

I haven't watched Sex in the City (the movie or the tv show) or read the original series. So all I know about the characters are from reading Candace Bushnell's young adult series of Carrie's life.

I really enjoyed Summer and the City. I've always had a fascination for New York like Carrie. Carrie's experience in the city was interesting. I completely understood her motivations. It's New York- anything can happen. The story itself was realistic in ways but fictional enough to remain entertaining. There was a brand new cast of interesting characters and we met Samantha and Miranda.

Carrie was a flawed character. She wanted to make it big but had a hard time dealing with setbacks. She was a bit hypocritical at times without meaning to and was trying to find her path in New York so that she could stay. As a character, she was really cool though she did make her share of mistakes. I was rooting for her and her love interests.

The feeling the story leaves behind is important to me. It's the aftertaste, and Summer and the City's aftertaste was good. It's the kind of book that makes you want to pursue your dreams, whatever they may be. It makes you remember that not all good things need to last, but not needing doesn't make them less good. That's the feeling I'm left with.

I really like this series. There's plenty of romance, friendship, and big city lights. 4 stars,


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: Invincible Summer

Invincible Summer

Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Pages: 269
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Library
Cover Thoughts: What a deceptive cover. It makes you think it's a light, fluffy beach read... but it's so much more.
Synopsis: Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss? 

 Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive.... 

Not your typical beach read.

Buy the Book (The Book Depository/Amazon)

I'm so shocked after reading Invincible Summer. It blew my mind. Here I was for some reason expecting a light romance that was tons of fun but the book was actually very emotional. I loved that even more!

Chase is this great character who loves his summers. Everything important in his life happens in the summer. But life is starting to change and Chase is wondering how he can keep his family together. I understood Chase so well. He was a deep character. On the outside he seems to not want to grow up and on the inside... Well I'll let the readers discover that. Over the course of the summers, Chase changed and I was fascinated watching that. He's a unique character. His protectiveness for his family is sweet and I'm so glad there are characters like him who aren't clichés.

My favourite part of Invincible Summer was the interactions of Chase's large family. Each member was so different and they each got different personalities. They dealt with their problems differently but in the end they all loved each other. It was such a true portrayal of the chaos of family, especially when you have five children.

The plot surprised me a lot. There was much more depth in Invincible Summer than I expected. Some parts had me giggling and others had me tearful. There were some huge twists that I never would have guessed. I was shocked when I read of those, but it worked for the story. The conclusion was fragile but satisfying. It made me want to do a slow reread of the book again.

All in all, I loved this book. I loved the characters, the family dynamics, and the story. 4.5 stars,

**** & 1/2 *

Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: Fins Are Forever

Fins Are Forever (Fins, #2)

Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Pages: 272
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Library
Series: Sequel to Forgive My Fins
Cover Thoughts: Pretty! I love the colours, and the hair, the lips and especially the eyes are really well done.
Synopsis: On Lily Sanderson's eighteenth birthday she'll become just a girl--still a mergirl, true, but signing the renunciation will ink Princess Waterlily of Thalassinia out of existence. That leaves plain old Lily living on land, dating the boy she loves, and trying to master this being-human thing once and for all. 

 Now that Lily and Quince are together, mer bond or not, she's almost content to give up her place in the royal succession of Thalassinia. But just when she thinks she has everything figured out, the waves start to get rough. Lily's father sends a certain whirlpool-stirring cousin to stay with her on land. What did Doe do to get herself exiled from Thalassinia and stuck in terraped form when everyone knows how much she hates humans? And why why why is she batting her eyelashes at Lily's former crush, Brody? 

 The seafoam on the raging surf comes when a merboy from Lily's past shows up--Tellin asks Lily for something that clouds her view of the horizon. There's a future with Quince on land, her loyalty to the kingdom in the sea, and Lily tossing on the waves in the middle. Will she find a way to reconcile her love, her duty, and her own dreams?

Buy the Book (Amazon/The Book Depository)

Fins are Forever flew by. I thought it was a really cute novel but I'm sorry to say I enjoyed Forgive My Fins much more.

Lily has decided that she will relinquish her title as Princess Waterlily so she can stay with Quinn. All through the book you see Lily and Quinn's romance and it's adorable yes, but I felt like I was missing the real Quinn. He fit the doting boyfriend role perfectly but not much else. That may just be me though. All we saw of them was that they were a cute happy couple who made out a lot and supported each other, and I wasn't satisfied.

There were some new characters introduced like Dosinia who I never thought was as bad as Lily made her out to be, at least in the beginning. Dosinia's storyline was a bit too perfect. Does it take just one week to get a happily ever after? I know this series is light though, so I didn't worry too much about it. The other new character, Tellin, was charming and I really liked his addition to the book and the plot. I was rooting for him and I can't wait to read more about him.

The main reason I felt a bit unsatisfied was because of the fact that not too much happened for a while. I got annoyed with Lily constantly repeating how stressed out she was over the SATs and her duty. The plot was also a bit simple. I don't know, it just wasn't my piece of cake.

For all my mentioning the negatives, there were many positives. The writing got me into the story. I never looked at the page number and I was surprised to find out I finished the book because I was so into the story. Lily's little fish slang was cute and as always, I'm really excited to see what happens next.

Overall a nice read that's light and perfect for the beach. 3.5 stars,

*** & 1/2 *

P.E. Can't Post Much Because Her Computer Is Broken

The title is pretty self-explanatory. It sucks cause I was ready to do so many awesome posts and reviews, but I'm finding it really hard to get to a computer regularly. I'm just posting some reviews till the computer is all fixed.

I'm sorry about that, I know I was away for school in January and just when I'm coming back this happens. It sucks, but I hope you guys bear with me.

Happy reading!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: Awaken

Awaken (Awaken, #1)

Author: Katie Kacvinsky
Pages: 320
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Library
Synopsis: Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her. 

 Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking. 

 In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space

Buy the Book (Amazon/The Book Depository)

Awaken was nothing like I expected. It was a great story with the most amazing concept.

This is the kind of book where I say to myself "I'll read just to the end of the chapter," but then I end up finishing the book. It's so easy to get into the story. Madeline's life pulls you right in and again there's the "readability" factor.

The premise is wicked cool and plausible. Humans are starting to use technology more than ever so not having anymore face to face interactions because of newer technology allowing everything to be done alone is a future that may happen. The conflict, though, is there. Technology is so useful, but when does it become too much? That was the idea in Awaken. People barely talked to each other or left their houses because they were always using a screen of some sort.

Madeline is one of those people. She's actually the daughter of the man who created Digital School which is this program where you do school alone at home instead of doing it face to face. I don't want to say too much without spoiling but Madeline was a very interesting character whom I liked. What happened to her made sense and I rooted for her. I loved her stubbornness. Her love interest was also a great character, I enjoyed reading of their romance.

The plot was so unexpected in some ways as it wasn't conventional. Usually the MC breaks away from the society near the end and we're left with a cliffhanger. The fact that things were different was refreshing. I liked the plot and thought is was decently paced. Enough action, suspense, mystery and danger to keep me happy.

All in all, Awaken was a great book about the importance of interacting. The simple conversations we have every day make such a difference. 4 stars,


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Review: Rage

Rage (Riders of the Apocalypse, #2)

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Pages: 213
Publisher: Harcourt
Source: Library
Synopsis: Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different. That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control. A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.

Buy the Book (The Book Depository/Amazon)

If you thought Hunger was intense, wait till you read Rage.

Rage was brutal and raw. There was no sugarcoating anything. The events that happened were horrific but I could see them happening all the same. Missy's life was real in a way. Even though I was desperately hoping she wouldn't hurt herself, I could at least sympathize if not fully understand her perspective. The people around her were so evil sometimes and I couldn't blame Missy for wanting to hurt them. I admired Missy's strength.

Rage was the story of a girl who cuts and gets the choice whether to die or to become War, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The girl chooses to live but has to come to terms with her choice and understand the consequences. I love this idea of Horsemen. I was really interested in all the interactions between them. Especially Death, who I'm extra curious about.

The main idea of the book was control. When Missy was angry and wanted to lash out, that line, control stayed with her. Missy's battle with control was realistically done. The book also got me thinking about violence. War, for all her scariness and destructive tendencies did give some lines that really make you think. Everyone wants something but so many people deny it. The idea of being who you are and having people accept that was well written in a non clichéed way.

Only other thing I can remark on is that these books clearly have a purpose and that's probably why they're so short. They stun you with the emotions, but they don't overwhelm you. It's an interesting balance.

All in all, Rage was beautifully written, honest and just an incredible story. I was hooked. 4 stars,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...