Caragh O’Brien Guest Post and Giveaway!

Recommended Reading by Caragh O’Brien

My tastes in reading run all over the place, from outer space to contemporary prisons, hot and cold. I tend to relish characters who invite me to see the world in a new way. For this list, I’ve limited myself to 7 Young Adult novels I have loved this year and heartily recommend.

Trail by Fire by Josephine Angelini. In an alternate universe, Salem is run by witches while scientists are persecuted. Lily from our world meets her double, Lillian, and discovers hidden powers within herself. Especially cool: the connections between chemistry and magical medicine are ingenious.

The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely. An altar boy battles with the secrecy, shame, and anger from an abusive relationship with a Catholic priest. Especially cool: the writing is heartfelt and Aidan’s character is vividly real.

Say What You Will, by Cammie McGovern. In this story about a high school senior with CP and her peer helper, a quiet guy with OCD, the two minds of the protagonists completely sucked me in. Especially cool: the play between how Amy thinks, her partly honest typed speech, and how she is perceived by Matthew, who sees her through his own insecurities, is fascinating.

Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci. This pure sci fi adventure takes place in outer space, with a deserted human girl who has to face ruthless and often putrid aliens all alone. The succinct, telling prose perfectly matches the chill and brutality of deep space. Especially cool: Plucky Tula Bane is a heroine for the ages, right up there with Princess Leia.

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu. In this contemporary story, five high school students tell their perspectives on the accident that killed the high school quarterback, and the girl who supposedly caused his death. Especially cool: the slut shaming invites outrage, and the mean girl is so mean, I’m still mad at her.

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. This intriguing, nostalgic graphic novel set in the recent past at a shoreline vacation community captures a time when Rose is stuck between the tension of her estranged parents and the charged sexuality of older teens. Especially cool: the drawings are incredibly expressive, as when the flip-flops whisper words of complicated disapproval.

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. I hardly know where to begin. This novel is told from the points of view of an escaping princess, a prince who wants to school her, and an assassin who wants to kill her, but when the princess meets the two men, she doesn’t know how their jobs match their names, and neither does the reader. Especially cool: it’s a clever mind game for the reader.

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About the Author:
Caragh M. O’Brien is the author of the BIRTHMARKED trilogy and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS, both from Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ms. O’Brien was educated at Williams College and earned her MA from Johns Hopkins University. She recently resigned from teaching high school English in order to write young adult novels.

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Courtesy of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, I have a copy of The Vault of Dreamers for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends October 3. I’ll draw a name on October 4, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Read moreCaragh O’Brien Guest Post and Giveaway!

SciFi Book Review: The Inventor’s Secret

The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer

Synopsis:
In this world, sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth, they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.

Review:
Charlotte rescues a mysterious boy and brings him back to the camp. Grave (as they start calling him) has no memories, but seems innocent enough. However, there’s something strange about him that alerts Charlotte’s brother who is also leader of their group. And Charlotte has a spirited relationship with Jack that is slowly developing into something more.

The Inventor’s Secret is first in an alternative history, steampunk series where the USA wasn’t able to secede from British rule. While the mystery surrounding Grave seemed obvious right away, there’s more to his story than meets the eye. And there is a love triangle that forms between Charlotte, Jack, and Jack’s brother Coe. The story has plenty of adventure, mystery, and interesting characters for middle readers and adults alike to enjoy. This first installment ends abruptly with a bit of a cliffhanger. I’ll definitely be picking up the next in the series and am looking forward to following these characters and their adventures.

Blu Ray Giveaway: Supernatural: The Complete Ninth Season

Supernatural_S9_BLUCourtesy of Warner Bros., I have a copy of Supernatural: The Complete Ninth Season for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends October 3. I’ll draw a name on October 4, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

The exhilarating and terrifying journey of the Winchester brothers continues as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group delivers the ninth season of Supernatural on Blu-ray™ and DVD on September 9, 2014. Supernatural: The Complete Ninth Season contains all 23 gripping episodes from Season Nine and is packed with over four hours of bonus content – including featurettes, commentaries, a Comic-Con panel, deleted scenes, and a gag reel. Fans that purchase the Blu-ray™ will also have access to a Digital HD copy of all 23 episodes. Supernatural: The Complete Ninth Season is priced at $59.98 SRP on DVD and $69.97 SRP on Blu-ray™.

Read moreBlu Ray Giveaway: Supernatural: The Complete Ninth Season

Kira Peikoff Guest Post

no time to die author pic

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Guest Blog: What Happens When Aging is Cured?
By Kira Peikoff
Author, NO TIME TO DIE

In my new book NO TIME TO DIE (Kensington, August 26th), a young woman has inexplicably stopped aging at the worst possible age—fourteen. She’s actually in her early twenties, and her stunted growth baffles and frustrates her until she finally receives a diagnosis that changes everything. Scientists believe she carries a gene mutation that has turned off her entire aging process—and if they can pinpoint this mutation, they might be able to figure out a way to cure aging in other people, too. Of course this sounds like pure sci-fi to us today, but the truth is that it’s not necessarily far off. Leading researchers into the genetics of aging say that the scientific fountain of youth will be discovered within the next century. So what does that mean for us? Here’s a list of some of the good, the bad, and the not-so-ugly (no more winkles!) of what might happen when aging is cured:

The good:

• You could stay 25 forever and so could your kids, so you and multiple generations of your family could feel and look the same age; you wouldn’t have to mourn the painful passing of your parents and grandparents.

• Nobody would retire at 65 if they weren’t aging–they could just keep working. And why not spend time learning all you can, going back to school for different fields, and having multiple careers?

• You could stop your dog or cat’s aging too so you would no longer have to outlive your best friend.

• Diseases of aging–cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s–would greatly diminish if the body’s parts remained in prime working order.

• Age discrimination would disappear–if you’re older and still in the work force, you’ll still be just as likely to keep your job and get promoted as someone younger because you’re as physically capable; economy could grow tremendously because it’s not losing workers to disease and death as often.

• You wouldn’t have to stop dressing super hip and fashionable for your age because the latest styles would always look good on your young body; no more anti-aging products in your morning beauty routine. Goodbye fine lines and crow’s feet!

The bad:

• Massive population growth that could challenge existing infrastructure, at least at first.

• Ethical dilemmas over who gets to use the aging drug: should money play a role? Should government? A possible public health battle could erupt.

• People might be forced to stop having as many kids if population got out of control.

• Resources like food, clothing, and medicine might be stretched thin to accommodate the skyrocketing demand.

So after weighing the pros and cons, what do you think? Would you want to stop aging? Leave your answer in the comments!

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KIRA PEIKOFF is a journalism graduate of New York University who has written for The New York Times, Slate.com, Cosmpolitan.com, Psychology Today, The Daily News, The Orange County Register, Newsday and New York magazine on a wide range of subjects. She published her first book, Living Proof, in 2012 and has worked in the editorial departments of New York publishing houses. She is currently at work on her third thriller, freelancing for major media outlets and attending Columbia University’s Master of Science program in Bioethics. www.kirapeikoff.com

Blu Ray Review: The Originals: The Complete First Season

originals

The Originals: Season 1 [Blu-ray]

Synopsis:
Ready to get sucked in? Just in time for the Season Two premiere on The CW, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group will release The Originals: The Complete First Season on DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack on September 2, 2014. Season One is also available to purchase on Digital HD. Averaging nearly 3.1 million viewers weekly, The Originals is The CW’s #2 show among Adults. Fans can feast on all 22 one-hour episodes from Season One, plus over two hours of gripping extras — including commentary, the 2013 Comic-Con panel, the 2014 PaleyFest panel, featurettes, and deleted scenes. The Originals: The Complete First Season will be priced to own on DVD at $59.98 SRP and on Blu-ray Combo Pack at $69.97 SRP.

Review:
As a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, I was surprised that The Originals is just as good, if not better, than it’s predecessor. Starring Joseph Morgan as Klaus and Daniel Gillies as Elijah, the two Original, immortal brothers are incredibly complex and fascinating characters. Klaus returns to New Orleans, but he’s been gone a long time. And a lot has changed. With a rich history and lore, New Orleans is the perfect setting for this incredible series. The Originals was easily one of the best new shows this year. Once you start, you won’t be able to miss an episode.

Special Features Include:
– Pilot Commentary
– 2013 Comic Con Panel and 2014 PaleyFest Panel
– Featurettes
– Deleted Scenes
All 22 One-Hour Episodes:
1. Always and Forever
2. House of the Rising Sun
3. Tangled Up in Blue
4. Girl in New Orleans
5. Sinners and Saints
6. Fruit of the Poisoned Tree
7. Bloodletting
8. The River in Reverse
9. Reigning Pain in New Orleans
10. The Casket Girls
11. Apres Moi, le Deluge
12. Dance Back from the Grave
13. Crescent City
14. Long Way Back from Hell
15. Le Grand Guignol
16. Farewell to Storyville
17. Moon Over Bourbon Street
18. The Big Uneasy
19. An Unblinking Death
20. A Closer Walk with Thee
21. The Battle of New Orleans
22. From a Cradle to a Grave

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