Thursday, January 30, 2014

Four Bookish Loves

There are certain things in books that make me a happy camper. Wanna hear 'em? Here they are:
 
1. Foreign language
Throw in bits and pieces of a language I don't know, and I'm as happy as a bug in a rug. Though I'll be happier if there's an explanation somewhere of what it is I'm reading. Because, hey, I might have the need to call someone a jerkface in Italian someday. You just never know.
 
2. Nicknames
I lurve it when characters have nicknames for each other. Funny ones, romantic ones, degrading ones- I just like it! I've always had a fascination w/nicknames, as growing up, I never had one.
 
3. Sarcasm
Oh, sarcasm. I also lurve you so. Give me a sarcastic character and I'm happier than Pooh Bear left alone in a honey factory. And that, i miei amici, is happy.
 
4. Food lovers
It drives me nuts(honey-roasted) when you have a character that's never hungry. As in, whatever is stressing* them out in the plot, makes them constantly push the plate away. And I guess this is b/c I'm the direct opposite. Stress makes me want to head to the candy aisle with a laundry basket and fill it to the brim. Next stop? The cookie aisle! So whenever I discover a mc that is enthusiastic about food- or better yet, a book where the love of food is a main theme- I'm doubly happy. Bring on the bakeries and the diners and the food trucks!

*And if you're one of those non-eaters when it comes to stress, I'm not bashing you, honest! We all have to cope in our own ways. Mine just involves a pint of ice cream. =)

So these are some of my bookish loves. What about you all? Have any you'd like to share w/me? I'd love to hear them! Or nicknames you've been christened w/over the years? This could get interesting... 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sweet Reads: No Bake Pina Colada Bars & The Eighth Day

Once a month I'll be posting a dessert recipe with excerpts from a book that's struck me just right, whether it be gorgeous descriptions, funny dialogue, swoon-worthy kisses, sarcastic come-backs, or spine-tingling encounters.


Jax pedaled home from the store and muttered in cadence with the rhythm of his bike wheels: This sucks. This sucks. This sucks.

I am a firm fan of muttering to myself. So opening up The Eighth Day by Dianne Salerni and reading this as the first line, I knew me and this book were going to get along famously. That said, what else can I say about The Eighth Day? Wait, let me rephrase that. What else can I say about TED that doesn't come off as all squeally and gushy?

Um...nothing.

Because this book deserves every bit of squeally-gushiness I can muster. If there's one MG book that you pick up in 2014, this should be it. And for those of you that might not venture far from the YA lanes, TED is actually a bit of a cross-over, in my opinion. One of the other mc characters beside Jax, is Riley, his 18-yr. old guardian.

"Eat up, Jax. You look undernourished." Mrs. Crandall glared at Riley.

"He eats everything in sight," Riley protested, his own mouth full. "I can't keep groceries in the house!"

Jax looked up, startled. He thought the exact same thing about Riley.

"Nobody can eat like a teenage boy." Mrs. Crandall slung a ladle full of mashed potatoes on Jax's plate. "The pair of you together are probably like piranha."

Uh-huh. When my older brother and his friends were hanging out at the house, food was gone in minutes. Now after Jax and Riley, there's Evangeline. And I love that Jax is simply... her friend, and that's all he wants to be. And does he ever turn out to be a loyal, true-blue friend! Towards the end of the book he becomes her- whoops! That'd be too spoilery! =) Just to show you some of his devotion, here's one of my fav things he says to her(with Evangline speaking first to give you the context):

"That spell's too hard to hold for more than a couple minutes," she said. "It would have to be something else. Do you think you can remember a brief incantation in Welsh?"

"I'll be freakin' Harry Potter if you need me to be."

Oh, Jax. I love you.

Seriously, guys, if you want a book that will keep you flipping voraciously to the next page, and has a premise that you've never read about before- an extra day of the week that can only be accessed by descendants of Arthurian legend- you'll want to read TED. 'Cuz, c'mon, who hasn't dreamed of extra time to get things done? *holds up hand and waves it madly*

And on a side note: this is the first ARC I've ever received(thank you, HarperCollins!!!). And while incredibly awesome...it kinda also stinks. Because I've read this book, loved this book, and now I'm ready for the next book. And the first hasn't even officially came out yet. *looks around glumly*

Well, if there's anything that'll make me feel better about this, it's dessert! And in honor of TED ending in a more exotic locale- Mexico!- the recipe I'll be sharing this month is for...

No Bake Pina Colada Bars 

60 Vanilla Wafers, crushed
4 Tbp. butter, melted
2 8oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup cream of coconut
8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice, with the juice drained
10 oz jar maraschino cherries, drained and diced
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1. In a large bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and cream of coconut until smooth and blended. Fold in Cool Whip until combined. Then fold in pineapple and cherries and spread evenly over prepared crust. Top with coconut and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Enjoy!
 
And for those of you wondering who won last week's 'His' and 'Hers' Spine Poetry contest- it was me! Which is a big relief, b/c if the hubs had won, I'd have never heard the end of it...  =)

Also before I go, here's the full blurb for The Eighth Day:

In this riveting fantasy adventure, thirteen-year-old Jax Aubrey discovers a secret eighth day with roots tracing back to Arthurian legend. Fans of Percy Jackson will devour this first book in a new series that combines exciting magic and pulse-pounding suspense.

When Jax wakes up to a world without any people in it, he assumes it's the zombie apocalypse. But when he runs into his eighteen-year-old guardian, Riley Pendare, he learns that he's really in the eighth day—an extra day sandwiched between Wednesday and Thursday. Some people—like Jax and Riley—are Transitioners, able to live in all eight days, while others, including Evangeline, the elusive teenage girl who's been hiding in the house next door, exist only on this special day.

And there's a reason Evangeline's hiding. She is a descendant of the powerful wizard Merlin, and there is a group of people who wish to use her in order to destroy the normal seven-day world and all who live in it. Torn between protecting his new friend and saving the entire human race from complete destruction, Jax is faced with an impossible choice. Even with an eighth day, time is running out.
  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

'His' & 'Hers' Spine Poetry

 
I belong to a cool group over on Goodreads, called David Estes Fan Club and YA Book Lovers Unite(woot!). A while back I stumbled upon a topic with the label of Spine Poetry. So of course I checked it out, because what's not intriguing about those two words together? Anyhoo, spine poetry is where you make a poem out of book titles. You stack the books, and the titles on the spine(read from top to bottom) make up your poem. Neato!
 
To double the fun, both the husband and I created some spine poetry. And since a little healthy competition can be good for a marriage, I'm posting them both w/out telling you whose poem is whose- and I'd like you all to vote for your favorite. The wager that's at stake? The loser has to do the dishes for life. Holy matrimony bells!!!

Yeah... I'm soooo just kidding. The real wager is a back rub. =) And in no particular order, here are our poems. {psst! Email me and I'll tell you which one is mine. Oh, that's cheating? *grumble-mumble* Fine.} Oh, and a quick disclaimer: Neither me nor my husband are poets!

Exhibit A.


Silence across the universe,
the Everafter forever ruined.
Radiant shadows
devoured the Lost Saint.
Stealing heaven,
impossible.











Exhibit B.


Black hole sun, the dark is rising.
Monsters of men,
the last Olympian.
Beautiful darkness, pay the piper.
Fragile eternity, once dead, twice shy.
The end.











If you'd like to, cast your vote for either A or B in the comments and at the end of my next post on Jan. 28th, I'll announce who won. {crosses fingers...} And on a side note, today is mine and the hubs eighth anniversary. We'll be celebrating by going to our fav Mexican restaurant for dinner tonight. Yerm.

Also, my critique partner just launched her newly redesigned website. It looks fantastic! To celebrate she's giving away an ARC of Saundra Mitchell's MISTWALKER to one lucky person who comments before the 25th. Go over and check her blog out! kimberlyggiarratano.com
 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Snowy Covers + A Winner

So along w/Sweet Reads(a monthly feature combining a recipe & book review) I'm going to start up a monthly book cover feature. 'Cuz let's be honest- book covers are sort of like crack for us word nerds. And for this super cold January, what could be more perfect than covers w/snow?
 
There's a fox! So I'm automatically in love.
 

This is how it feels to me when it snows- magical!

Oh, Toot & Puddle. I just want to squeeze your little piggy hides.

Well, this is definitely a snow day.

The snow w/that light? Perfecto.

No way I could leave this one out!

Tree branches covered in snow = one of the best parts of winter.
 
Who wouldn't want to read this book with a cover like that?

These are my fav trees- and I'm not even sure what they are. Birches, sycamores...?

Boom. Snow.
 
I hope you guys enjoyed that round-up of snowy covers, and are staying warm wherever you're at. And now on to the winner of last week's giveaway(in celebration of The Headhunters Race by Kimberly Afe), which is...............................
 
Medeia Sharif!!!
 
Please email me at leandrawallaceatgmail.com and I'll get your mini survival kit in the mail to you!
 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Headhunters Race, Survival Questions, and A Giveaway!


The lovely Kimberly Afe is here today in celebration of the release of her YA novel, The Headhunters Race. Doesn't that cover just make you want to read it?! And if the cover doesn't(what's wrong w/you?!) then the blurb surely will:

Sixteen-year-old Avene was sentenced to prison at thirteen for a crime she didn't commit. Now she has a chance to win her freedom back – if she enters the Headhunters Race. Second prize isn't so bad either, an upgrade to the Leisure Prison if you make it to the finish line. To win either prize, Avene and the other prisoners must navigate one hundred and fifty miles of dense forest, desert, and worst of all, cannibal territory.

With a mechanical collar timed to strangle the prisoners if they're not back in nine days, Avene allies herself with seventeen-year-old McCoy, another prisoner that insists on helping her at every turn and a boy she's trying hard not to fall for. Together they battle nature, other prisoners, and the timed death collars to win the coveted prize. But when Avene is tested with one deadly conflict after another, she realizes there is more at stake than winning her freedom – first she has to survive.

 
 What can I say, Kimberly? You had me at cannibals! =) So with the nature of this novel being about survival, I composed a list of questions for Kimberly to answer.

1. You're stranded and famished. You have the dinner options of a) grubworms b) raw snake c) bird eggs d) berries Naw, I'm not gonna be that nice... So which do you choose?  Well, darn. I've never tried any of these but berries, and of course, I would have picked those. I'm definitely not doing raw snake, although I've heard it tastes like chicken and I like chicken.  I think I'll play it safe and go with "bird eggs" and hopefully that means there are actual *eggs* inside and not birds. :) 

2. Would you rather be stranded and have to go into survival mode with a brawny, can-knock-down-trees-by-himself sort of guy, or a brainiac, can-think-his-way-out-of-tough-situations sort of guy? And lemme boil that down for you- stranded with Brawn or Brains? =)  Okay, you got me here!  What girl doesn't want both. :)  Okay, let me think. Hmmm, can I have both? Okay, fine. I'll go with brains. OMGosh, no!! I changed my mind - Brawn! Because I've got brains. hee hee.

3. Would you rather have to try and survive in the lonely wilds of The Rocky Moutains, the rain forests of South America, or the sandy beach of a deserted island in the Pacific?  I'll go with The Rocky Mountains - I figure I'll have more of a chance there than with poisonous, slithery creatures and sharks. :)

4. What skill would you rather have? a) the ability to make a fire with two sticks or  b) the ability to make snares to trap wildlife? I would love to learn how to make a snare, but on the other hand, I'm always cold so a fire might come in handy. **Sneaks in two answers** hee hee. :)
   
5. It's very cold and it's raining. You see a cave, but as the trees surrounding it are marked by fresh claw marks, you're afraid it could be the den of bears, wolves, cougars, ogres. Do you risk death by exposure to the elements or death by fang and claw? Oh, man. **shivering** ummmm, hmmm, OMGosh, okay - yes! I'm freezing so I'll chance it!  **Steps inside, looks around** "It looks alrig—"

Oh, no! That did not end well for Kimberly... *sad face* Anyone care to guess what got her? =) And b/c I care about you all, and I don't want you to ever end up with no resources in a cold forest, I'm giving away a survival kit to one lucky commenter. It's so small it can fit in your pocket! The giveaway will be open from 1/7- 1/12, with the winner announced on 1/13.

Image courtesy of SURVIVALKITSUSA on Etsy

There's also a Rafflecopter giveaway going on for 2 prize packages containing an ecopy of THR and the SAS Survival Handbook, and 1 prize package of an ecopy of THR and a $25 Amazon gift card. Make sure and enter to give yourself a chance to win these cool prizes! 

Rafflecopter giveaway


Kimberly is the mother of two awesome kids, wife of the nicest man in the world, and her dog's best friend. She works by day and writes middle grade and young adult science fiction and fantasy novels in her spare time. She lives with her family in the beautiful Sonoran Desert.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

W.S.S.(Want Some Swag?)

 
 
  
I just opened a nice fat envelope yesterday full of swag from Nikki Loftin, author of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy and the forthcoming, Nightingale's Nest(2/20/14). And as much as I'd like to keep the glossy goodness all to myself, I'd feel stingy if I did. 
 
If you'd like to receive stickers featuring NN's gorgeous cover(they're like little spots of sunshine in your hand!) then just leave a comment(feel free to tell me what your fav candy or song is). And the first three commenters will receive a bookmark as well- they have gumballs on them, yum. Here is the link to NN's on Goodreads . It'd be great if you marked it to read... =)
Just email me @ leandrawallace@gmail.com with your address and I'll get your goodies to you! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

This Year...

I'm not making resolutions. I'm making a list w/goals on them, because lists make me happy. 

1. Write two books(I'm a slow writer, so this'll be a hard one).

2. Read out of my comfort zone(tho read good books out of my comfort zone- life's too short to read books that make me want to claw my eyeballs outta my head).

3. Focus less on social media(but I love you guys!) and focus more on getting stuff done(like those two books...).

4. Keep the house up more, so that when I sit down to write I'm not unhappily eyeing the chaos out of the corner of my eye(and so far I'm doing it! A little each day, keeps the messies away).

5. Begin querying in February.

6. Stay positive and believe that dreams do come true!

So that's my list for 2014. What about you all? Is there anything you're hoping to accomplish in the coming year?  

 



                              
                                        Image courtesy of labellableu.com