Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Angelfire Book Review

Title: Angelfire
Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: February 15, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0062002327
464 pp.

ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley

I was comic book nerd when I was growing up. I read DC Comics (sorry, Marvel) and my favorite was Wonder Woman. She was one of the few strong female role models when I was growing up, which was before Buffy Summers slayed her first vamp.

I bring this up for my review of Angelfire because Charles Moulton created Wonder Woman. Charles Moulton was the pen name of William Moulton Marston and I doubt he's related to Courtney, but I think he would have appreciated that another Moulton created Ellie, the heroine of Angelfire.

Courtney Allison Moulton does a lot to keep the girl power tradition alive with Angelfire. Ellie is the girl-hero in the book, and yes, she does owe at least a passing nod to Buffy. Ellie has good friends and typical high school problems when she finds out that she's the Preliator, the warrior who is reincarnated to slay demon reapers intent on murdering innocent humans and taking their souls to Hell.

But Ellie doesn't fight them alone. She has Will, her Guardian, who helps her battle the demon horde. Will is also smoking hot, but not allowed to have any emotional (and especially not physical) feelings for Ellie. Except that he does, which makes for some big complications.

Angelfire is the first in a series, and the book sets up Ellie's transformation from high school student to kick-ass warrior brilliantly. The fight scenes are fast and furious. The only thing that dragged for me was the repetition of Will and Ellie's conversation of how Will promises to always look after her and never leave her. This conversation pops up in one form or another in almost every chapter. He will sacrifice everything for Ellie. I get it.

I would recommend Angelfire to readers who like Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comics or Tithe by Holly Black.

And here's a bonus video of Courtney Allison Moulton talking about Angelfire (I particularly like the line about "off with the head, out with heart").


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Some of My Favorite Tweets


Twitter has sort of taken over my life. Oh, my neglected farm. And the jewels that go unblitzed. Instead of playing Facebook games, I find myself spending that time on Twitter (and my husband would say more and more time on Twitter.)

Twitter, at its essence, is a way to communicate news and information quickly and widely. Whether that news is about Charlie Sheen's latest meltdown or an actual meltdown in Japan depends on who you follow.

I tend to follow writers and agents and people I like. And they have fantastic things to say about writing and publishing and things I like. I avoided the "Favorites" button on Twitter for a long time because I didn't know exactly what purpose it served. But after awhile, I realized that it let me save a tweet that linked to a great article or great quote that I'd want to refer back to and wouldn't get swallowed up in the feed.

For those of you who haven't joined the Twitter bandwagon yet and wonder what all the hoopla is all about, I thought I'd give you a little taste of why I've become addicted to 140 words or less. (For those of you who know what I'm talking about, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, here's the secret handshake.)

Ten Favorite Tweets
  • One sentence pitch formula: When OPENING CONFLICT happens to CHARACTER, they have OVERCOME CONFLICT to COMPLETE QUEST. via @

I hope you take a couple of minutes to check out the different links and even check out the tweeters themselves (the via @namehere at the end of the tweet). I've collected these tweets over the past few months and they're chockfull of good information. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Across the Universe Book Review plus Contest Alert


Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: January 11, 2011
ISBN-13: 9781595143976
398pp.

Reading copy from local library

Finally catching up with my January selection for the Debut Author Challenge, which is Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

This book has gotten a lot of well-deserved buzz, including being chosen as one of Amazon's Best Books of January 2011 and a starred review from Kirkus.

And I'm going to add my fangirl squee to all the rest of the rave reviews.

Before I explain why I loved, loved, loved this book, here's what the book is about. Amy's parents are essential for a colonization mission to a new planet. Amy is not. But she chooses to leave her friends, her boyfriend, her life on Earth to be with them. Even though that means she'll be frozen for 300 years while the spaceship travels to the new world. Except there's one problem. Amy gets unfrozen 50 years too early. Was it a mistake? Or is someone trying to kill her? The only person on board who can help -- who's willing to help her -- is Elder, a boy her age who's supposed to lead the ship to planetfall. And after more frozens turn up dead, Elder learns a truth he's not sure he can ever share with Amy.

The story is an awesome idea, but the brilliant execution of the idea by Beth Revis is what makes the book ROCK. The chapters alternate from Amy's POV to Elder's POV and it's this tension that drives not just the action, but the emotion of the book. The alternating POVs reveal enough clues to make the mystery work and also gives pacing to the emotional life of the characters in a way that makes them (and their relationship) believable.

And the ending does that hardest writing trick of all: being unexpected yet totally makes sense. Even though this is the first in a series, I was completely satisfied with how the book ended.

The book has a nifty website with maps of the ship, downloads, and a fan community. The book trailer is pretty awesome, too, and narrated by Lauren Ambrose.



Bonus video of Beth Revis explaining how she came to write Across the Universe



Okay, squee done. Libraries should definitely buy this book. And with a the right booktalk, I think guys would be willing to give it a read. I'd suggest Across the Universe to readers who liked Feed by M.T. Anderson or Spacer and Rat by Margaret Bechard.

Contest Alert: Beth Revis is giving away all five copies of the books from the Breathless Tour!


Read the details on Beth's blog, but hurry up and enter because the deadline is March 21st! Good luck!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Debut Author Challenge - February Update


Is it really March already? Seriously? I mean, February is a short month, but come on.

But all the sad, leftover Valentine stuff at Michael's is 75% off and the St. Patrick's Day stuff is up, so I guess that means it's time for another Debut Author Challenge update. I started the year behind, and I'm still in catch up mode. But what I did achieve in February:
  • Read and reviewed Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
  • Almost done reading Across the Universe by Beth Revis. Review up shortly.
  • Halfway through Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
  • Have my April read, Bumped by Megan McCafferty, on NetGalley and read to go
My March read is Entwined by Heather Dixon and currently not available on NetGalley or on pre-order at my library, so it'll be a bookstore run for me. March has a full complement of 31 days, so I'm hoping to be all caught up by the end of the month. But I need to remember that these are books I want to read. I don't want them to become like a homework assignment I put off to the last minute. I'm enjoying the challenge and want to keep it that way.

What's on your reading list for March? How do you keep your reading mojo going?

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