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Thursday, January 24, 2013

I'm Going On A Blogging Hiatus


Yep, Cupcakes, Word Spelunking is taking a break :(
But not a super duper long one, I promise! 
Here let me explain...

As most of you know, Blogger has been a pain in my booty the last couple of weeks, with deleting my blog (giving me a huge panic attack in the process), then restoring my blog, to only lock it a few days later, deeming it "SPAM". Now, obviously, my blog isn't spam and Blogger finally unlocked it and now it is available to view by anyone (Whew!). But, all this got me thinking that maybe it's time to consider switching to WordPress or some other hosting site. I haven't made any final decisions and plan on looking into all of my options, which is one of the reasons why I'm taking a blogging break. 

Another reason I'm taking a blogging break is because, I simply need a break, lol! I LOVE blogging! I love reviewing books, I love participating in blog tours; interviews' and guest posts, and I LOVE talking with all of you! But, there comes a time for every blogger when blogging becomes more work than fun, and that's when it's time to take a step back for awhile and give your brain a break. 

And that's exactly what I'm doing! I'm taking the rest of January and all of February off to focus on Real Life priorities and situations that need my full attention right now (family, work, internships, etc), to decide if I want to move my blog somewhere else, and to plan for the March MG Madness. So, I'm only going away for a little while and I'll be back March 1st! 

I'll be sending out emails to everyone this may affect (scheduled blog tours, interviews, guest posts, etc). And just because I won't be posting on the blog, doesn't mean I won't be around. You can email me (wordspelunker@gmail.com) or always find me on Twitter as @WordSpelunker ...I'm always around on Twitter!

I hope you understand and will come back in March for more bloggy and book fun! The March MG Madness is going to be awesome and I can't wait till it starts. I'll miss you fantabulous Cupcakes so much!!!

See y'all in March!!!



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cover Reveal: Radiant by Christina Daley


I'm so excited to be participating in the cover reveal 
for Christina Daley's new YA romance 
Radiant...


Radiant
Christina Daley
2/13/13

(Ages 13+) 
Mary is part Vietnamese. Carter is a complete jerk. Normally, they don't talk much.

But when Mary's in an accident on the way to school one morning, Carter nearly dies saving her life. The doctors say his chances of living are slim, and Mary's feeling the full weight of survivor's guilt.

However, Carter's back at school in a matter of days, as if nothing had happened. Although, he is a little "glitchy," and he's developed a sudden and intense interest in Mary. She thinks he's suffering from major brain trauma from the accident. Or that he's been possessed.

As it so happens, Carter really is possessed. And the thing controlling him is having the time of its life learning to be human.

Featuring a diverse cast of characters, RADIANT is a funny and heartfelt story about being human, being in love, and being healed.


Whaddya think of that cover?!
I love how sweet and simplistic it is!

Connect with Christina Daley

Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum


Revolution 19
Gregg Rosenblum
1/8/13
Harper Teen
Format: ARC
Source: pub
Twenty years ago, the robots designed to fight our wars abandoned the battlefields. Then they turned their weapons on us.
Only a few escaped the robot revolution of 2071. Kevin, Nick, and Cass are lucky —they live with their parents in a secret human community in the woods. Then their village is detected and wiped out. Hopeful that other survivors have been captured by bots, the teens risk everything to save the only people they have left in the world—by infiltrating a city controlled by their greatest enemies.
Revolution 19 is a cinematic thriller unlike anything else. With a dynamic cast of characters, this surefire blockbuster has everything teen readers want—action, drama, mystery, and romance. Written by debut novelist Gregg Rosenblum, this gripping story shouldn’t be missed.



I went into Gregg Rosenblum's Revolution 19 expecting some intense Terminator meets I, Robot meets Battlestar Galactica craziness, but what I got was a bit less intense and cinematic and more middle-grade-ish over-the-top (in a good, fun way) sci-fi. Was I a little disappointed with this book? Yes, but I did walk away from it thoroughly entertained and liked it much more than I didn't like it...if that makes any sense at all.

Siblings Nick, Kevin, and Cass have lived their whole lives in a hidden and secluded community in the woods away from the big city and the robots. Robots that man built to fight their wars have turned on their creators and have taken over. When the safe haven in the woods is discovered by the robots, Nick; Kevin; and Cass must travel to the terrifying city and face the robots in order to save the people they love. Along the way, they make new friends, experience new things (some scary, some surprising), and discover that things may not be at all what they seem.

Revolution 19 is a quick, fun read. Is this the “blockbuster epic” that the blurb promises? No, but it does have its thrilling and captivating moments. The story may not have blown my mind or break any new sci-fi ground, but it did keep me entertained and intrigued.

The story has the potential to be grand and complex, but it never quite gets there. Rosenblum has certainly created and offered the inklings of a fascinating and exciting history of his sci-fi/dystopian setting, but the world-building never feels complete or intricate enough. I found the idea of these robot soldiers turned leaders and the rebel revolutions to be super cool and interesting; I just wish the story had something more (more world-building, more oomph, more substance, more action). I had hoped for a more edge-of-your-seat cinematic landscape and experience, but I didn't hate the story offered by any means.

The story isn't wildly unpredictable, but does have some great twists and turns. And the sci-fi elements may not be super original, but they are presented in some enthralling and refreshing ways. The story doesn't lack humor either, which I really liked. I do think the overall story and its characters come off more upper middle-grade than young adult and may have been better off if it were originally conceived with that tween audience in mind. Older readers may find the overall story hard to fall into or believe, and find themselves distracted by a lack of complete world-building or some instances of illogical explanation. But I think MG readers will find the sci-fi elements and dashes of romance and adventure to create the right amount of fun, excitement, and intrigue. As for me, I quickly put my own expectations aside and really just went with the story and once I did, I was able to enjoy it much more.

I found the main characters to be likable enough, but I didn't fall in love with them. I think younger readers will like that each of the main characters offers a unique and likable personality to relate to. The relationship between the three siblings is surprisingly moving. And I actually really enjoyed the very sweet romances and flirtations sprinkled in. I would have liked a more in-depth look at the robotic “villains” though.

The books concludes in a satisfying (if a bit cheesy) cliffhangery way, but definitely left me eager for more.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Revolution 19 may not have turned out how I expected and hoped it would, but that didn't keep it from entertaining me overall and I would definitely read a sequel. Readers looking for a quick, uncomplicated sci-fi read will find much to like about this book. A worthwhile read!

MY RATING

Purchase Revolution 19
ebook: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 


Gregg Rosenblum 
Gregg Rosenblum works at Harvard, where he wages epic battles against technology as an editor/webmaster/communications/quasi-IT guy. He graduated from UC San Diego and has an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. He lives in Boston with his wife and daughter.

Cover Reveal: Soul Catcher (The Soulkeepers Series #4) by G.P. Ching


I love G.P. Ching's The Soulkeeper's Series and I was so excited to learn that there would be a fourth book! And today I'm thrilled to participate in the awesome cover reveal for
Soul Catcher...



Dane Michaels has been to Hell and back and isn't interested in repeating the experience. But as a human caught up in the Soulkeeper's world, his life isn't exactly his own. No one can explain why Dane was allowed through the gates of Eden, but it's changed everything. Now, the only one who can make him feel safe is Ethan, the telekinetic Soulkeeper with a dark past and a heart of gold.

When Malini asks Dane to be part of a mission to find the last Soulkeeper, Cheveyo, more than one team member thinks she's tempting Fate. But Malini suspects Fate has had a hand in Dane's life for some time and that he could be the key to unraveling Lucifer's latest plan of attack.


Add it on Goodreads!

Well, hello there Dane! I love this cover and how well it fits with the other three fantastic covers, which each feature one of the main characters.


About The Cover
Adam Bedore of Anjin Design creates all of the covers for The Soulkeepers Series. Book four revolves around Dane, pictured here, and introduces Cheveyo, a Hopi indian boy and the last Soulkeeper on the list Dr. Silva conjured in book 3. Cheveyo is represented by the dream catcher and adobe wall behind Dane.  Fate, also known as Fatima, plays a role in the story.  You can see her shadow hanging from the red stone in the dream catcher. (Yes, she is represented as a spider. She is a master weaver after all!) And if you think there is something up with that shadow behind Dane, you are not mistaken.  There's more to him than meets the eye.


 About The Book
Soul Catcher is slated for a March release and is the fourth book in the bestselling Soulkeepers series.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


G.P. Ching is the author of The Soulkeepers Series, The Grounded Trilogy, and a variety of short fiction. She specializes in cross-genre paranormal stories, loves old cemeteries, and enjoys a good ghost tour. She lives in central Illinois with her husband, two children, a brittany spaniel named Riptide Jack and a very demanding guinea pig. 

Visit her:



Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Dragon's Egg Blog Tour: Guest Post by Resa Nelson


The Dragon's Egg Blog Tour is stopping by today with a fun guest post by author Resa Nelson. Resa is the author of the Dragonslayer Series...

The Dragonslayer's Sword 
(Book 1)
For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover--the dragonslayer--disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning.
Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child.
Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much...or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?


The Iron Maiden 
(Book 2)
Astrid is reluctant to travel the winter route beyond the Northlands, even though it's her duty. She'd rather stay home in her village, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Ignoring the bonds of tradition, she decides to spend the cold winter months in the warmth of her blacksmithing shop. Why should she leave the comfort of her cottage to serve and protect foreigners who might raid and harm her native Northlands?
Everything changes when a traveling merchant steals Starlight, the first dragonslayer's sword Astrid forged and her last link to her sweetheart DiStephan. Having no time to alert her friends, Astrid races in pursuit of the merchant, determined to reclaim Starlight as her own and return home in time for dinner. Instead, her quest leads her to new lands, unexpected friendships with foreigners, and a harrowing encounter with the damage done by the followers of a new god that considers women as nothing more than servants to men. All the while, she must be ready to face any dragon traveling the winter route.
In Book 2 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid must learn that deciding who she is isn't a decision she can make just once. It's a decision she must make every day.

The Stone of Darkness
 (Book 3)
In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago.
 Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them.
 Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.


The Dragon's Egg 
(Book 4)
In the fourth and final book of the Dragonslayer series, Mandulane's army is poised to attack the Northlands in the name of a powerful god, but in truth Mandulane is using the act of spreading this new faith as a way to disguise his own personal greed and hunger for power.
Astrid has succeeded in warning her beloved country of imminent danger, and the Northlanders scramble to set up a clever defense, never realizing a spy in their midst is poised to take critical information directly to Mandulane.
After sacrificing herself in order to set her brother Drageen free for the sake of protecting the Northlands, Astrid finds herself controlled by the stone of light.  Although it forces her path of destiny, Astrid learns she must make one final choice about who she wants to be.
Most important of all, her new sweetheart Trep encounters a dragon that entrusts him with the care of a dragon's egg.  Trep embraces a dangerous journey and accepts the duty of protecting the unhatched dragon, knowing that its safety could impact the fate of the entire world.





My Top Ten Favorite Dragon Books, 
Movies, and TV Shows
by Resa Nelson

1.  Dragonslayer (1981) - This movie portrays dragons as realistic animals, which I find far more terrifying than purely imaginary fantasy creatures.  This movie had a huge influence on my Dragonslayer series with regard to the approach I took to creating my own dragons. 
2. Sleeping Beauty (1959) - OK, Maleficent doesn't turn into a dragon until late in the story, but holy cow!  She's terrifying! 

3. Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series-  The Pern books are lovely, especially the bond between dragon and rider. 

4. How to Train Your Dragon (2010) - I think it's no coincidence this very successful movie is based on a children's book.  And, hey - it has a girl named Astrid, just like the main character in my Dragonslayer series! 

5. Puff the Magic Dragon - Yes, I know the song is a metaphor for something else.  But it still gets to me. 

6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2002) - I love the way the dragons are introduced and all the different varieties of dragons and their temperaments.  Hagrid's pure, unadulterated love for them is irresistible. 

7. Beowulf - I think Grendel is a dragon.  This epic poem also had a huge impact on my Dragonslayer series.

8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) - I know this is a stretch, but I'm including it because I think the tattoo on Lisbeth Salander's back represents who she is.  She one of the strongest female characters I've ever encountered, and I'm in awe.  Lisbeth has the spirit of a dragon. 

9. Beanie and Cecil (TV cartoon series) - Technically, Cecil was a sea serpent, more like a Loch Ness monster it than an actual dragon.  I used to have a Beanie and Cecil board game that came with a talking hand puppet of Cecil.  When you pulled the strain, Cecil would say things like “loves to hunt!”  Bonus: the board game was a puzzle that you put together.  Awesome. 

10. Dragon Soup (2008) - This collection of poems about dragons by Nebula Award winner Mary Turzillo is emotionally rich and ranges from light-hearted to heartbreaking to laugh-out-loud funny.


Find Resa Nelson and the Dragonslayer Series



Ebooks ($4.99 each) are available directly from Mundania Press
(get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)

Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble:
(get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)

Resa Nelson
Resa Nelson's first novel, The Dragonslayer's Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series, which also includes The Iron Maiden (Book 2), The Stone of Darkness (Book 3), and The Dragon's Egg (Book 4).
Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."
She has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.  Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Resa lives in Massachusetts.  Visit her website at http://www.resanelson.com.







Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Waiting On" Wednesday (59): Insomnia



"Waiting On" Wednesday...is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week I'm excitedly waiting on...


Insomnia
(The Night Walkers #1)
J.R. Johansson
June 8, 2013
Flux
It’s been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me.
Instead of sleeping, Parker Chipp enters the dream of the last person he’s had eye contact with. He spends his nights crushed by other people’s fear and pain, by their disturbing secrets—and Parker can never have dreams of his own. The severe exhaustion is crippling him. If nothing changes, Parker could soon be facing psychosis and even death.
Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. Parker starts going to bizarre lengths to catch Mia’s eye every day. Everyone at school thinks he’s gone over the edge, even his best friend. And when Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it’s Parker.
Suffering blackouts, Parker begins to wonder if he is turning into someone dangerous. What if the monster stalking Mia is him after all?

This one sounds awesomely creepy and thrilling! Definitely doesn't seem like a yawn inducing read ;)

What are you waiting on this week??

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Dragon Empire by Heather McCorkle


Today, I'm participating in the cover reveal for Heather McCorkle's The Dragon Empire...


The Dragon's Empire
Heather McCorkle
February 2013
Compass Pass

On Yacrana, dragons stand at the top of the evolutionary ladder instead of humans. Such an advanced species is not without its issues though. 

There's trouble in the Dragon Empire, the kind that could start a war between dragons and the races of people. Hidden factions of dragons believe they should rule the lesser races, not simply stand aside and allow them to develop as they will. Having lived so long in peace, the Emperors turn a blind eye, many oblivious that such attitudes even exist. 

Despite being only an architect class, emerald dragon, Grendar is willing to risk banishment and death to stop that which his rulers refuse to see. The hope of peace lies not within the scaled breast of a dragon however, but within the hands of a group of people. But if the hidden factions have their way, these people won’t live to fulfill such a destiny. With a reluctant seer at his side, Grendar must leave his precious Empire for the outside world to save those that will one day save his kind. 

Cover designed by CP Design

Heather McCorkle
I am an author of fantasy, in all its many sub-genres. Living green, saving endangered species, helping other writers, and supporting fabulous authors are a few of my passions. I am also a volunteer for the IS Foundation which works to make the world a greener place. When I'm not volunteering, writing, or surfing my social networking sites, I can be found on the slopes, the hiking trails, or on horseback. As a native Oregonian, I enjoy the outdoors almost as much as the worlds I create on the pages. No need to travel to the Great Northwest though, you can find me here, on my blog, and Monday night's on Twitter where I co-moderate the #WritersRoad chat.




Saturday, January 12, 2013

Goodie Basket (35): Book Haul and Blog Recap



Goodie Basket...is a weekly feature hosted here at Word Spelunking that showcases all the goodies (books, bookish things, reviews, interviews/giveaways/guest posts, blog tours, etc) that popped up in the Goodie Basket that is Word Spelunking each week.

(This meme is inspired by other book haul memes such as Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, Showcase Sunday hosted by Books, Biscuits & Tea and Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer )


In my mailbox this week...


Pyr Books (sent from pub)

Harper Collins (sent from pub)

FOR THE 2ND ANNUAL MARCH MG MADNESS EVENT
Last week I opened up the sign-ups for the March MG Madness and books and swag have started to show up for this event. So, look out for my reviews of these books in March (and some giveaways!)...
**ARCS**


Genie Wishes by Elisabeth Dahl
Abrams/Amulet (sent from pub)

Like Bug Juice on a Burger by Julie Sternberg 
Abrams/Amulet (sent from pub)

Plastic Polly by Jenny Lundquist 
Aladdin Mix (sent from author)

Dorko the Magnificent by Andrea Beaty
Abrams/Amulet (sent from pub)

An Army of Frogs by Trevor Pryce
Abrams/Amulet (sent from pub)

Undertown by Melvin Jules Bukiet
Abrams/Amulet (sent from pub)

**FINISHED COPIES**

Abrams (sent from pub)

My Summer of Pink & Green by Lisa Greenwald
Abrams/Amulet (sent from pub)

Nerds by Michael Buckley
Abrams (sent from pub)

Abrams/Amulet (sent from pub)

The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow
Abrams (sent from pub)

The Marble Queen by Stephanie Blake
(sent from author)

SWAG


Plastic Polly bookmarks 
(sent from author Jenny Lundquist)
The Marble Queen candy necklace
(sent from author Stephanie Blake)
The Mindjack Trilogy bookmarks
(sent from author Susan Kaye Quinn)

EBOOKS FOR REVIEW

The Loop by Shandy Lawson
Hyperion (from Netgalley)

The Puppet Spell by E.L. Adams
Rowanvale Books (sent from pub for March MG Madness)

The Midnight Spell by Rhiannon Frater and Kody Boye
(sent for blog tour and review)

Big THANK YOUS to Pyr Books, Harper Collins, Abrams/Amulet, Jenny Lundquist, Stephanie Blake, Susan Kaye Quinn, Hyperion, and Rowanvale Books for all the bookish awesomeness this week!!!

Weekly Blog Recap
Author/Pub sign-ups are still open for the 2nd Annual March MG Madness Event. All authors are welcome!

This week I reviewed Touch of Death by Kelly Hashway and gave it only one and a half sad cupcakes; check my review out to find out why.

The Broken Blog Tour stopped by with a guest post from author A.E. Rought, and the Revolution 19 Blog Tour stopped by with my interview with author Gregg Rosenblum.

I spotlighted Walt Morton's funny and creepy YA book American Ghoul and I'm giving away three ebook copies (still open). I participated in the Release Book Blitz with an excerpt and ebook giveaway (still open). And finally, I helped reveal the awesome book trailer for the Mindjack Trilogy by Susan Kaye Quinn.

What did you get this week??