Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Earthbound (Earthbound #1)
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: July 30th, 2013
Source: Received ARC in a goodie bag

My Rating: 3.5/5

Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told.

Tavia immediately searches for answers, desperate to determine why she feels so drawn to a boy she hardly knows. But when Tavia discovers that the aunt and uncle who took her in after her parents' death may have actually been responsible for the plane crash that killed them--and that she may have been the true intended victim--she flees for the safety of Camden, Maine, where the boy she sees in her visions instructs her to go.

Now, Tavia is on the run with no one to trust. No one, that is, except for her best friend and longtime crush, Benson.

Tavia feels torn between the boy who mysteriously comes to her at night and the boy who has been by her side every step of the way. But what Tavia doesn't know is that the world is literally falling apart and that to save it she will have to unite with the boy in her visions. Only problem? To do so would mean rejecting Benson's love. And that's the one thing Tavia Michaels swore she'd never do.

I've been looking forward to reading Earthbound for awhile now, and was really excited when I got an ARC of it in a goodie bag! I've only read the first in the Wings series but I keep meaning to read more Aprilynne Pike and was happy to have the oppurtunity to check out her new series. Earthbound has one heck of an awesome concept and some cool characters!

The first few pages of this book had me completely captivated! Aprilynne Pike wrote a great and intriguing opening and I could not wait to unravel this mystery that was presented to me. After the initial interest though, I found myself getting a little confused. There were lots of events happen, lots of conclusions drawn, but there was no real explanation in between. I understand that some stuff is still a mystery to the narrator Tavia, but I feel like the "how" of the story was missing. The story would go from A to B with absolutely no explanation of how it got there. Tavia didn't have a lot of internal monologue showing how she came to certain conclusions and I thought her reactions to some events were unrealistic. She just didn't seem to be very shocked by a lot of the crazy stuff happening. Everything did get explained, and some of her reactions became justified but the confusion definitely brought me out of the story at points.

Despite my confusion, I found myself really interested in finding out what was happening. I wanted to see where the story was going to go, and see Tavia discover all the secrets that were hidden from her. There were so many mysteries and I wanted to unravel them all! When I finally did, wow. I mean wow! What an awesome and fresh concept. The idea itself was so original I was completely fascinated. I wanted to know more about it and cannot wait to see it further developed in the next book. The last fifty pages had me flipping ahead frantically cause I just needed to see what was going to happen! The very last scene was just superb and I am so insanely excited to read the next one. Now that I understand what's going on, this series is going to be crazy awesome!

As for Tavia, I had mixed feelings about her. I admired her determination, and her fight to discover the truth. She wanted to know what was going on and nothing and no one was going to stop her. I thought some of her reactions, though, were a bit unrealistic which kind of had me questioning her. Overall, I liked her and I'm excited to see how she evolves in the next installment! Then there's Benson. Oh man, Benson. Well, he was pretty awesome. A caring library nerd, I was into him from his first words. He was the kind of guy that Tavia needed: strong, supportive, and trusting. I kept getting frustrated with Tavia and her obsession with Quinn (who I personally was NOT a fan of) when she had such a great guy in front of her! Although, again, I didn't always find Benson's reactions believable (and I kind of understand why), I still really enjoyed his character.

In the end, I really did enjoy Earthbound. It has such a cool concept that I simply adore. It was a fun, addicting read and I can't wait for more of it!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Aprilynne Pike's Website

Friday, July 26, 2013

COVER REVEAL: Secret by Brigid Kemmerer!

Hey, awesome people!

Today, I am stoked to bring you one awesome cover reveal! I'm a big fan of the Elementals series by Brigid Kemmerer, so when I saw on Twitter she was looking for bloggers to help with the reveal from Secret, the fourth book in the series, I jumped at the chance. Now, you don't want to hear me (read me?) talking when there's a pretty cover it behold so, without further ado....





Nowhere is safe. Not even home...

Nick Merrick is stretched to the breaking point. Keep his grades sky-high or he'll never escape his hometown. Keep his brother's business going or the Merricks will be out on the street. Keep the secret of where he's going in the evenings from his own twin - or he'll lose his family. Keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who's supposed to be his "girlfriend's" partner. 

Of course there's also the homicidal freak Quinn has taken to hanging around, and the Elemental Guide counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. There's a storm coming. From all sides. And then some.

Nick Merrick, can you keep it together?

Brigid Kemmerer is the author of The Elemental Series, about a family of four brothers who control the elements, and their battle with those who want them dead. Storm, Spark, and Spirit are available now wherever books are sold. To read the novella introducing Nick's story, be sure to check out Breathless available as an e-book only from major e-book retailers. You can learn more about Brigid and the Elemental boys at 
 What do you guys think of the cover? It's a bit different from the other ones, but I like that it keeps within the same theme! And I adore the background color! What I'm most excited for though, is the story behind this pretty cover!

If you haven't read any of the Elementals books, you should definitely check them out! They are tons of fun, and those Merrick boys are majorly swoon-worthy! My reviews of the first two books Storm and Spark are here if you need a bit of convincing.

Secret is out JANUARY 28th, 2014 from Kensington Books!

Find This Book:

Tell me what you think of the cover!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (55): Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which bloggers talk about the books they are most eager for!

This Week's Pick: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: April 8th 2014

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

I just...can I have this book? I mean, can it be April so I can have this in my hands and read it and love it and hug it? Rebel Belle is definitely up there with my most anticipated reads of 2014! I mean, have you read that summary? And that cover! It's also a Rachel Hawkins book which guarantees it's going to be witty and awesome. I can already tell that Harper is going to be one loveable protagonist, and I simply cannot wait to meet her. I am just SO EXCITED for Rebel Belle!

What are you waiting on this week?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins

Title: Sweet Peril (Sweet Evil #2)
Author: Wendy Higgins
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 30th 2013
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 4.5/5

Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things.

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

Guys, I'm obsessed with the series. Obsessed to the point where every time I walk by them at work, I smile. That I feel the urge to hug them at random moments. This series has stolen my heart, and I could not be happier about it.

The Sweet Trilogy are books I simply love with abandon. I devour the story in one sitting and am desperate for more after. They have an addictive quality to them. I just can't get enough! Wendy Higgins writing always keep me interested and excited to see what's going to come next. Sweet Peril was no exception. Once I picked this book up, there was no way I was letting it go until it was done. Even when I had to put it down it was pretty much all I could think about!

The best part about this series is, without a doubt,the relationship between Anna and Kaidan. I mean, here is one couple to seriously love. They put me through the wringer emotionally, but I love them both to bits. Anna with her resilience and her heart and Kaidan with his sexy banter and his caring make me want to read more and more. There were just SO MANY sweet, swoon-worthy scenes with the two of them in this book, I was a mess. I went from smiling, to shaking the book, to hugging it with happiness. These two are just awesome. But, they're not the only awesome characters in this series! I adore all the side characters (well, I don't adore the Dukes but that's a given) and love how they all have their distinct personalities. They're a strong bunch, and I'm so proud that they're willing to risk so much to have a better life. 

I have to say though, Sweet Peril did fall into the "second book" trap where there wasn't a lot of plot progression, just a lot of set up for the final book. But, that actually ended up being okay because instead of there being lots of plot progression, there was lots of relationship progression. We really got to see Anna and Kaidan shine in this book, and saw their relationship move to another level. It was a very character driven second book and I thought it was just what the series needed. The story did keep me on my toes though, with a sense of foreboding permeating the whole book. I knew it was setting up for something big and I'm very nervous to see what happens next. The only thing that made me mad about this book was realizing I'm going to have to wait forever until I get to read Sweet Reckoning. Like, the wait for this book might legitimately drive me crazy.

Sweet Peril was exactly what I expected it would be: awesome, addicting, and completely heart-warming. This is one heck of an awesome series, and I'm going to be so sad to see it all end! If you haven't read them yet, pick them up! Its a great series to read on these long, hot, summer days!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Wendy Higgins' Website

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (54): Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which bloggers talk about the books they are most eager for!

Release Date: September 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic—he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.

The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can't help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world's greatest art . . . at the expense of the greatest love they've ever known.

Like a master painter herself, Daisy Whitney brings inordinate talent and ingenuity to this romantic, suspenseful, and sophisticated new novel. A beautifully decorated package makes it a must-own in print.

This book sounds adorable and heart-warming and simply awesome. I always look forward to new Daisy Whitney books and Starry Nights is no exception! I'm really excited to dive into Starry Nights! It sounds like just the kind of book to pick me up from the return-to-school-blues in September. 

I also adore this cover. I love the color, the Eiffel Tower with the heart and the silhouette of the couple! It's just so pretty.

What are you waiting on this week?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (53): Infinite by Jodi Meadows

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which bloggers talk about the books they are most eager for!

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: January 28th 2014

The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.

The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.

With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions. (Summary from Goodreads)

UM. THIS COVER IS GORGEOUS. Like, pet-the-screen-stare-at-it-for-hours gorgeous. I just adore it so much. It also matches the previous covers which is a must in my books.

Guys, this is one of my all time favorite series. It is beautiful in every way imaginable. I'm going to be an emotional wreck when I have this book in my hands. I don't want it to end! I am going to miss my sweet Sam, and brave young Ana. But, I know Jodi Meadows will give them the ending they deserve and that Infinite will be spectacular. If you haven't checked out this series yet, do it. You will love it. 

Check the blog closer to the release date of this one because I am definitely going to be doing something to celebrate!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Guest Post With Nora Olsen Author of Swans & Klons

Hi everyone!

Today, I have author Nora Olsen on the blog to talk about the writing process, and how she found what works for her. Please welcome her to the blog!

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” W. Somerset Maugham

That is even more true than it is funny.

There is so much advice out there on the best way to write. Everyone seems to have “writing rules” and they’re all contradictory. Probably the only thing I have learned about writing is that everyone is different and every writer has to figure out for herself what’s the best way for her to write.

One book on writing that made a big impression on me when I set out to become a professional/“for realz” writer was Telling Lies for Fun and Profit: A Manual for Fiction Writers. It’s by Lawrence Block, the legendary mystery writer, and if you can get past a lot of dated references to typewriters, it’s wildly entertaining, quite inspiring, and full of great tips. One of the things he talks about is getting his writing done first thing in the morning, and then he can feel virtuous all day because his job is done.

I thought that sounded great, so I decided I would also write first thing in the morning. Except that never happened. Somehow I would put it off, and end up doing it last thing at night, right before bed when I could procrastinate no longer. I felt like a failure, until I finally realized that I was a night owl. I decided to accept it instead of fighting it.

This whole narrative suggests that I write every day. But I actually don’t. That is another one of Block’s tips, and probably the most common bit of writing advice I hear: “Write every day.” “If you write a page a day, in a year you’ll have a novel.” So I strongly believed I should be writing every day.

It makes sense. You’re in the habit, you become disciplined, you’re more productive, you’re taking your craft seriously. Great. It all sounds great. Only, I could never do it.

By the time I had completed one novel-length manuscript and several short story manuscripts and had begun sending them out, I had also decided to accept the fact that I did not write every day. What I was doing—writing in intense spurts, and then taking some time off, and then going back to edit what I’d written—seemed to be basically working. So why was I beating myself up for failing to get with the program?

The truth is that writing every day does not work for me. Maybe I would be a better writer if I did it. Yeah, and maybe if I had a sparkly horn growing out of my forehead I’d be a unicorn! Neither of these things is likely to happen.

While I do think it’s a bad idea to “wait for inspiration” (because you could wait forever, and inspiration never finishes your stories, just starts them), I think it’s fine to write on-and-off, if you’re that kind of person. I know a lot of writers, and they all have different writing methods. The important thing is to find out what YOURS is.

One writing challenge that I really like is NaNoWriMo, which I have been participating in on-and-off (of course!) since 2004. It stands for National Novel Writing Month, and what it means is that every November thousands of nutty folks all over the planet try to write a 50,000-word novel. Some of them succeed, and some of them just have fun/agony trying. If you “win,” your prize is the satisfaction of having met your goal. I like getting a first draft of a novel so quickly, and I find it refreshing to banish my highly-critical inner editor for one month. The amazing secret many people learn from NaNoWriMo is that their hastily-written prose is not really any worse than their carefully-written prose. (After you take out the random sentences that say things like, “Oh no, why did I write that? Let’s say that never happened.” Because there is no deleting during NaNoWriMo, not when you need to keep your word count up.)
I have noticed an interesting change since I started doing NaNoWriMo. Initially professional writers really looked down their nose at NaNoWriMo, because overwhelmingly the participants are amateurs who are doing it for the thrill and sense of accomplishment. They just plain love to write. The vast majority of WriMos don’t wish to publish their novels. There’s no requirement to be “good” in NaNoWriMo and many WriMos love to brag to each other about how awful their novels are. But at this point so many people have published their NaNoWriMo novels, and so many professional writers (like Beth Revis) have decided to give NaNoWriMo a whirl, that NaNoWriMo is no longer the badge of shame it used to be.

My most recent novel, Swans & Klons, was a NaNoWriMo novel. I had a hella lot of editing and cleaning up to do, but Swans & Klons is still recognizable to me as the thing I wrote in 2009.

Why do I bring this all up? Because some people hate NaNoWriMo. There are some people whose style is to write slowly and carefully and polish each sentence to gemlike perfection. They write two lines a day, and then cross one line out. And some of those people get a kick out of NaNoWriMo because it’s so different and it challenges them to get out of their comfort zone. But for others, doing NaNoWriMo is like being torn apart, it’s so painful for them.

So you know what? Those people shouldn’t do it. It’s not right for them. There’s no one way of writing that is good for everyone. We’re all different.

The only way to learn to write is by writing. Fast, slow, in the morning, at night, in a box, with a fox. Whatever. If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something new. But anything that is working is good!


Nora Olsen is the author of the YA novels Swans & Klons and  The End: Five Queer Kids Save The World. She grew up in New York City and received her B.A. in Classics from Brown University. Nora now lives in New York's Hudson Valley with her girlfriend and two adorable cats.

Thank you so much, Nora! I'm always happy to talk with fellow WriMos! What works writing-wise for you guys? Let me know in the comments!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)