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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Win a copy of The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver!

THE DEMON TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER was an unexpected favorite here at The Hiding Spot and I'd like to pass my copy along to one lucky winner!

Please Note:
THE DEMON TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER is the first book in the series here in the United States. The second book in the series, SOUL THIEF will be released August 30th.  The UK Edition of the series have different titles and covers. The first book is THE DEMON TRAPPERS: FORSAKEN and is available in the UK and Australia now. The second book, THE DEMON TRAPPERS: FORBIDDEN is due to be released early September. The UK edition is the same story with only formating and spelling differences.

Please be sure that you read through the information and rules below.

(1) arc of THE DEMON TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER and a swag pack consisting of:
1) An Atlanta Demon Trapper's Guild Iron-On patch
2) Five Demon Trappers series decals
3) The Demon Trapper's Daughter postcard (signed)
4) An entry to the "Year of the Demon" contest running on Jana's website with monthly drawings and a Grand Prize drawing in September

How to Enter:
You MUST fill out this FORM. If you neglect to fill out the form, you will not be entered to win.

Extra Entries:
Not required. Extra entries are detailed on the entry form as well.
+2 Comment on my review of THE DEMON TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER.
+1 Tweet this contest. (Leave a link.)
Extra entries will not be awarded for following The Hiding Spot, but it's always appreciated!

Contest will close March 15th, 2011. Open to the US & Canada only!

Good luck!

Review: The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver

Title: The Demon Trapper's Daughter
Author: Jana Oliver
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pub. Date: 2.1.2011
Genre: Paranormal YA
Keywords: Demons, Loss, Romance, Mystery
Pages: 340
Description (from Goodreads):

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps.  The good news is, with society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood.  And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?

Please Note:
THE DEMON TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER is the first book in the series here in the United States. The second book in the series, SOUL THIEF will be released August 30th.  The UK Edition of the series have different titles and covers. The first book is THE DEMON TRAPPERS: FORSAKEN and is available in the UK and Australia now. The second book, THE DEMON TRAPPERS: FORBIDDEN is due to be released early September. The UK edition is the same story with only formating and spelling differences (A lot more 'U's and 'Y's like in colour and tyres).

I'll be honest: I picked up THE DEMON TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER on a whim, but I wasn't very excited about it. I'm not the biggest fan of the cover (though I like it more after reading the novel) and, while the description sounded interesting, I thought it had the potential to be cliche. 

I was wrong. 

I simply could not put it down. Kickass main character? Check. Detailed world with unique paranormal elements? Check. Good looking boys? Double Check. It doesn't always happen that a novel has all three of these key elements and it didn't take long before I realized that Jana Oliver had blown these requirements out of the water.

I was extremely impressed with the paranormal elements of THE DEMON TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER. Oliver managed to provide plenty of detail and background without slowing the novel's pace down to a crawl. Thankfully, there weren't any spots within the novel that left me wondering when something was finally going to happen.

Riley's story wouldn't be complete without a love interest... or two. I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of Simon... The only word I can use to describe him is 'blah.' Luckily, there another candidate for Riley's affections and he is the complete and total opposite of 'blah.' If Riley doesn't want him, I'll be more than happy to take him off her hands...

If you're skeptical about picking up THE DEMON TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER, I urge you to give it a chance. I've no doubt I'll be reading the continuation of Riley story in SOUL THIEF, which releases in the US in August.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors

Title: Mad Love
Author: Suzanne Selfors
Publisher: Walker BFYR
Pub. Date: 1.4.2011
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Cupid, Love, Family, Secrets, Mental Illness
Pages: 336
Description (from Goodreads):

When you're the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness. After putting on a brave front for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue, and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother—and she needs one fast.
That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol's voice in her head and see things she can't explain, she must face the truth—that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or Errol is for real.

I'll start off by saying that I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't.

Part of my dislike for MAD LOVE may be my own fault. I think I was expecting a bit more from this novel, but it's really quite fluffy and juvenile, which may have caught me off guard.

Secondly, I did not like Alice. At all. Her character personality grated on my nerves. I wanted to feel sympathetic towards her situation, but she seemed too self-centered for me to do so. Yes, her life is a bit of a mess and it's unfair for any kid to have to deal with their mother's mental illness, but she doesn't seem at all grateful for those that are there for her, like her neighbors. I would have liked to see a bit more maturity from her character.

The idea behind this novel is interesting and cute, but it just didn't seem to go anywhere. I felt like the same scene kept repeating over and over again with the same results. I simply lost patience.

This novel seems to be reasonably well-liked, so don't let this review stop you from checking it out if the story interests you... I just wanted - and needed - more.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Interview: James Dashner (Author of The Maze Runner and Scorch Trials!)

Author James Dashner visits The Hiding Spot today to chat about his newest novel, THE SCORCH TRIALS, what he's working on right now, and more!

Give a short statement describing THE SCORCH TRIALS, your most recent release.
It’s a very direct sequel to THE MAZE RUNNER, beginning just four hours after that one ended. The Gladers wake up to realize not everything is quite as safe as it seemed, and they’re thrust into the real world, having to endure a grueling trek across the Scorch, an area devastated by sun flares. All for a very important reason that I can’t tell you yet! 

Was there a particular story or idea that inspired the writing of THE MAZE RUNNER and/or THE SCORCH TRIALS? 
Most definitely: ENDER’S GAME, LORD OF THE FLIES, and the TV show LOST.

As you wrote, did you have a specific message in mind, regardless of the message readers ultimately end up taking from the novel?
No, never. I never want to purposefully try to inject a message into my stories. However, I think that moral dilemmas and philosophical questions will naturally arise. The main theme of this trilogy is the concept of the ends justifying the means, and that not everything in life is black and white. Maybe nothing, actually.

What are you currently working on? 
Revisions for THE DEATH CURE, the beginnings of my next series with Random House, and a few other tidbits.

Name a novel that distinctly influenced you (your life, your writing, your attitudes, or something of that nature) and explain. 
THE STAND by Stephen King. It was the first time I ever truly, completely became engrossed in a book, where it took over my life and felt real. I’ve wanted to duplicate it ever since and hope to do so someday.

My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality? 
As much as I love to read, I would say that my true escape is movies. I love movies, and I see almost every one that comes out. They are my love, and my best writing always comes right after seeing one.


Be sure to catch up on this series by reading THE MAZE RUNNER (now out in paperback!) and THE SCORCH TRIALS before THE DEATH CURE releases October 11th, 2011!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review: Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Title: Choker
Author: Elizabeth Woods
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub. Date: 1.4.2011
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Suspense, Mystery, Murder, Friendship
Pages: 233
Description (from arc):
What are best friends for?
Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has been a loner ever since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago. She eats lunch with the other girls from the track team, but they're not really her friends. She tries to avoid the popular girls who, after a humiliating incident in the cafeteria, endlessly torture her, calling her Choker. Mostly she spends her time watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her.

Then one day Cara comes home to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe's on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With her best friend back, Cara's life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and confidence, and the next thing she knows, she's getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she can talk about everything with her BFF.

But just as quickly as Cara's life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect - including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when Cara's at school. You're supposed to trust your best friend no matter what... but what if she turns into a total stranger?

Whoa. CHOKER is a mere 233 pages, but each and every page contributes to a conclusion that left me completely speechless.

Elizabeth Woods makes her debut with CHOKER which, at first, seems like a fairly routine story about a girl reunited with her evil, homocidal best friend. Much to my surprise, there is waaaay more going on than I ever would have guessed... Unfortunately, it's impossible to give details without spoiling the novel, so I suppose that means that you'll just have to read it for yourself!

CHOKER is one of the creepiest novels I've ever read. I'm not much for scary stories, especially when they involve realistic murders and killings that could actually happen. Woods kept the gore and gruesome detail to a minimum, for which I was grateful. There was just enough description to cause a few goosebumps and I didn't have to sleep with the light on after finishing.

I highly suggest picking up CHOKER and, if it all possible, refrain from reading spoilery reviews... CHOKER is one of those novels that packs the most punch when you have no idea what's going to happen next!

Review copy provided by publisher.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Title: Other Words for Love
Author: Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
Publisher: Delacorte BFYR
Pub. Date: 1.11.2011
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Love, Break-ups, Friendship, Family, Depression
Pages: 368
Description (from Goodreads):
Ari Mitchell feels invisible at her Brooklyn high school. Her hair is too flat, her style too preppy, and her personality too quiet. And outside school, Ari feels outshined by her beautiful, confident best friend, Summer. Their friendship is as complex and confusing as Ari's relationship with her troubled older sister, Evelyn, a former teenage mom whose handsome firefighter husband fills Ari's head with guilty fantasies.

When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York--and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari's family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future.

When misfortune befalls Blake's family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?

I was first drawn to Lorraine Zago Rosenthal's debut by the title and cover. It was immediately obvious that it was a contemporary YA title, which I'm always on the lookout for, and including "love" in the title always catches my eye. Little did I know that OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE would end up being so much more to me than a well told, entertaining story.

OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE tackles a variety of pertinent issues, including depression, discrimination based on socioeconomic status and cultural differences, teen sex and pregnancy, and general teenage angst. The novel's 1985 setting offers a twist while reminding readers that these issues, in many ways, defy time.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Rosenthal's debut was her treatment of Ari's first crush, first love and first real relationship. This novel poses the question: "[Was it] true love... or something else?" In many cases, especially in YA literature, true love is always the answer, but Rosenthal strays from this well-beaten path and battles through the unforgiving undergrowth of that little used second path. Love is not simple or easy or perfect, but it can make us radiantly happy for a time and teach us valuable lessons - Ari's story reinforces this.

I read this novel at a time when I was feeling jaded about relationships and love, so maybe this mindset influenced me somewhat and fostered a closer connection with Ari... Regardless, Ari's romantic adventures left me hopeful. I love a happy ending with passionate kissing and whatnot, but the ending of OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE was different. It was still happy, but it wasn't happy because of a boy or a relationship... it was happy because Ari knew who she was, what she wanted, and that she was perfectly capable of being single. Go, Ari!

OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE is a gorgeous novel and I'll definitely be reading more from Rosenthal. Don't miss this fantastic debut!

Review copy provided by publisher.

Win a copy of THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer Hubbard!

Jennifer Hubbard's THE SECRET YEAR was one of my 2010 favorites and I'm excited to be hosting a contest for a signed, personalized paperback copy of the novel!

Please be sure that you read through the information and rules below.

(1) signed paperback copy of THE SECRET YEAR

How to Enter:
You MUST fill out this FORM. If you neglect to fill out the form, you will not be entered to win.

Extra Entries:
Not required. Extra entries are detailed on the entry form as well.
+1 Comment on my review of THE SECRET YEAR.
+1 Tweet this contest. (Leave a link.)
Extra entries will not be awarded for following The Hiding Spot, but it's always appreciated!

Contest will close March 10th, 2011. Open to the US & Canada only! You must be age 13 or older to enter.

Good luck!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Top Ten Characters I'd Name My Children After

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the blog The Broke and the Bookish. To participate in the meme, go here.

1. Jace from The Mortal Instruments by Cassie Clare

2. Jonah from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

3. Scarlett from Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

4. Tessa from The Tension of Opposites
by Kristina McBride

5. Isobel from Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

6. Dash from Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

7. Wesley from The Duff by Kody Keplinger

8. Milo from Fall for Anything
by Courtney Summers

9. Rowan from Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine

10. Jonah from How to Say Goodbye in Robot
by Natalie Standiford

P.S. In the comment, Katie mentioned that I named my kitty Milo (after the character in FALL FOR ANYTHING). This is true! Doesn't he look like a Milo?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: 2.1.2011
Genre: Dystopian YA
Keywords: Love, Disease, Control, Cure, Secrets, Family, Loss
Pages: 441
Description (from Goodreads):
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Lauren Oliver captured my bookish heart with BEFORE I FALL, and, with DELIRIUM, she's proven that she's more than a one hit wonder and fully capable of slipping from one genre to another without missing a beat.

There's something about Oliver's books that pulls me in and makes them near impossible to put down. The writing and plots are always fantastic, but I think it's the characters and their emotion that I find so alluring. There's so much passion in these books, particularly DELIRIUM. There's passion in the carnal sense - the romance is gorgeous - but Lena also possesses a passion for life and love that will speak to any reader.

In DELIRIUM, curing deliria, or love, isn't limited to just romantic love, it includes all love. The love between siblings, between a parent and child, and for life itself... What a terribly lonely world Lena is trapped in. There are times when I think  that it would be much easier to not deal with the pain of love, but, after exploring Lena's world, I don't think the benefits of escaping love would ever outweigh the costs. If nothing else, DELIRIUM reminds readers just how lucky they are to know and experience love... even with the heartbreak and pain that travels beside it.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Oliver leaves us hanging at DELIRIUM's close and, at least in my case, guarantees that readers will be scrambling to get their hands on the next installment. 

Review copy provided by publisher.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Win a copy of Across the Universe by Beth Revis!

I loved ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and I want to pass the awesome on to a lucky winner at The Hiding Spot!

Please be sure that you read through the information and rules below.


How to Enter:
You MUST fill out this FORM. If you neglect to fill out the form, you will not be entered to win.

Extra Entries:
Not required. Extra entries are detailed on the entry form as well.
+2 Comment on my review of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.
+1 Tweet this contest. (Leave a link.)
Extra entries will not be awarded for following The Hiding Spot, but it's always appreciated!

Contest will close March 1st, 2011. Open to the US & Canada only!

Good luck!

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
Pub. Date: 1.11.2011
Genre: Sci-Fi YA
Keywords: Spaceship, Murder, Mystery, Drama, Space Odyssey
Description (from Goodreads):
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Beth Revis had me totally and completely transfixed by her debut, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. I've always had a soft spot for science fiction, and YA is sorely lacking in this department, so, understandably, I was pumped when I first heard about this novel... Still, nothing could've prepared me for just how epic it was going to be!

I feel the need to mention that this is one of those hyped novels that actually lives up to the hype. This was so, so rewarding for me. There's nothing worse than looking forward to and daydreaming about a book, then finally having it in your hands and realizing that it isn't at all what you thought it was going to be. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE ended up being all I expected and more. 

This debut is a bit of everything, without being overwhelming. Fans of romance, mystery, dystopia, and sci-fi will all find familiar elements within ACROSS THE UNIVERSE's pages. That said, these elements are all seamlessly interwoven, so if you're usually not a fan of sci-fi or romance or whichever genre, you'll still enjoy this book. 

As the story unfolded and history and secrets were revealed, I found myself entranced by life upon the Godspeed. The population upon the ship live such caricatures of real life and they're totally unaware... it's actually quite disturbing in a can't-look-away-because-it's-so-sad-and-horrible-and-what's-going-to-happen-next? kind of way.

I really liked that there's a map of the spaceship included on the book's first pages. I didn't try to figure out what everything was when I first started reading, but, as the story progressed, it was helpful to be able to flip to diagram and keep track of where things were the action was happening on the ship. 

I'll definitely be reading Revis' next installment! She dishes out the perfect mix of drama, romance, mystery, and creepy science to keep my eyes glued to the page. And, semi-secretly, I'm hoping that ACROSS THE UNIVERSE starts a sci-fi YA trend... I'd definitely be a supporter!

For a chance to win my arc, go here.

Review copy provided by publisher.