Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Welcome, Autumn Christian!

Hello all, Alicia Rasley here, and I wanted to take a moment to welcome our newest Author to the Spotlight.

We are very excited to have Autumn spending some time with us. Please make sure to stop by the Author Spotlight page (you can find it at the top of the page or just click Autumn's picture to the right) to find information about her and her book. In the mean time, check out her book (cover below) and leave a comment saying hi and letting us know you stopped by!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Two reviews to celebrate Get Loaded!

Reviewer: Lindsey

I'm celebrating the Get Loaded Tour by giving you all a double review! 

H.T. Night's Vampire Love Stories


$2.99 on Amazon, folks...come on!!!!!!

I just read a wonderful series by H.T. Night called, Vampire Love Story Books.  H.T. Night is the brother of J.R. Rain.  Hold on!  I knew you saw the word Vampire...GET BACK HERE!!  I know...I KNOW.   However, these were different......

Josiah is a kid who gets attacked- becomes a vampire. He has lost his family and is living with his buddy who is a fellow MMA fighter.  There are werewolves and all kinds of violence and mayhem. For you smoochy lovers, there is romance for you, too. These books are classified as "paranormal romance.”  Aaack!  The romance is not overkill. I did not throw down the kindle screeching, "OH COME ON!!!" There is actual strategy to their battles.  You learn what makes the characters tick...good and bad.  I read these in 2 days.  They are that addictive.  I especially enjoyed the fact that there were folks that were of the supernatural nature and were not happy about it.  Gave the characters a little humanity.  (Did that even make sense?)  I wish these were classified as straight paranormal. When books are listed as romance, I know I tend to think for the ladies only. Both men and women would like these books.

Is it wrong that I like romance written by men more than women lately??  Hmmmm....$2.99 for all five--you have no excuse.  Buy it NOW (before price gets raised later in the week, and you send me a seething email).

Next on the list...

Flirting With Death (Assassins Anonymous-Step 1) 
by Heidi Hall

 $3.99 at Amazon....hurry up and grab it!!!!!!!!!

Now this was a fun book!  Kayla McKenna is an assassin for the CIA. Operation goes wrong.  She is asked to take early retirement. Kayla can't remember what happened as she was shot and found with nothing but a bullet hole and expensive necklace (there's worse ways to go right?).

Her Dad was murdered by terrorists, Mom is an online shopping junkie and brothers are all cops. She also has them all convinced she is an IT specialist and that's it.  She grew up with a sense of right and wrong--no in between.  Considering I was voted most likely to pull the trigger without remorse by a group of friends, I understand how she thinks. She gets a lovely severance check that she doesn't cash as she knows something is just not right.

She goes on to meet a nice stable man and remembers one who wasn't so stable.  He had a lot to do with her career failure.  I realize this may sound like a Lifetime movie special but it's not. This was fun. Well written and fun.

So give these books a whirl. For crying out loud...7 bucks and you get 6 books???!!!

Don't be a loser, get the books.

Happy Thursday - Eve folks!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review: ‘Catspell: The Fairy Godmother Dilemma’ by Danyelle Leafty

Reviewer: Izzy

Sixteen-year-old Breena never thought anything could be worse than being forced to leave the faerie realm. Then she got stuck with a fairy godmother. But if she has to choose between the two, she’d leave the Faerie Realm over getting bossed about by a faerie with a pointed stick any day. Unfortunately, her attempt to evade her fairy godmother gives her growing pains in the form of fur, whiskers, and a tail.

Turning into a cat is the least of her worries, though. The potion wasn’t meant to bring out her inner feline, it was meant to put her to sleep. Forever. If Breena wants to make it to her Happily Ever After, she’ll have to accept that sometimes a fairy godmother really does come in handy, after all.
(Amazon product description)

 The Fairy Godmother Dilemma: Catspell

I felt as if I was watching a Disney movie when I read this, and while it was very well written and the story was well told, I wasn’t feeling the Disney aspect and clich├ęd plot. I really enjoyed the view into the fairy godmother's mind, though, so there's that. I say if you enjoy stories about girls who get transformed and have to find their true love through a series of tasks while in the form of a feline—and the only way to be changed back is for him to “see through” the outer shell of her being a talking cat, well, this is definitely a story for you. Personally, I was hoping for a modern twist on older fairy tales, but I was disappointed.

The book starts out interestingly enough and had my interest up until the princess gets transformed into—and stuck as—a cat. After that, I lost most of the interest that had been piqued, but I kept on, figuring the ending wouldn't be what I suspected it would be—it really couldn't be that cut and dry, right? Wrong. I thought, oh, we're focusing on the mage. The fairy godmother is focused on getting the princess a prince, but maybe she'll fall for the mage. No, she goes for the prince, and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with storybook fairy tales, they just aren't my thing. Not the kind of fairy tale, at least, where the prince gets the girl, the mage saves the day, and things turn out peachy. ;p

Besides the fairy godmother's view, I also enjoyed seeing into the “Blossom's” POV, because she was an interesting...person to see.  I'd never heard of her particular species in a fairy tale, so there's that. The conflicts and the insights are new—obviously, when watching a Disney movie, you don't get to see how much work the fairy godmother is putting in or what the prince had to go through to get to the princess, and so on.

Otherwise, I found the friendship between the prince and the mage sweet and the dragon's servants delightfully clever, sly, and creepy, I enjoyed the mage's cynicism, and the villain, though perfectly anticipated, was also just evil enough to enjoy.
All in all, my opinion is that I wouldn't pick it up if you're looking for an unexpected twist to the story, but if you're looking for a sweet fairy tale to bring back the Disney-Days, go forth, enjoy, smile a little at the humor, squirm with impatience at the suspenseful parts, and sigh softly at the romantic parts. :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Guest Post with Shannon Muir

As many of you know Shannon Muir is our current Author in the Spotlight. She has graciously agreed to do a guest post with us and we are very happy to share that with you today. I hope you enjoy it just as much as we did!

I will let Shannon take it from here.

I knew I wanted to write since I was ten. It started with poetry, then short stories, and then I fell in love with animated television and decided I wanted to write for it. Most people assume you need to have art skills to write animation, but I never thought it, and I don't know why. For years I spent time pursuing that as my primary goal, but remained willing and open to learn other skills along the way, which led me into discovering the joys of being on an animation production team. Eventually, the opportunity to write animation came and I did several scripts for a Japanese produced television series. Later, at a time when animation production jobs were hard to come by found myself able to write about animation both for my masters thesis and in the form of two textbooks about the animation business and share what I learned with others.

After a long stint in virtual worlds, where I headed as it seemed animation and gaming storytelling led, I found myself unemployed for what has now been six months. In that time, it's allowed me to rediscover those initial loves that got me into writing to begin with, and that other than annual participation in National Novel Writing Month (http://www.nanowrimo.org) for the past seven years and a couple short story sales online while unemployed in the early 2000s. Being able to indie self-publish allows me to improve my craft while building daily goals and structure to stay optimistic in tough times.

My last long form prose attempt I made at seventeen when I wrote, sent, and found myself rejected by a New York literary agent for a YA novel. Those characters, along with several other screenplay works that came after and folded into that universe, are at the heart of the Willowbrook Saga which I will unveil in eBook form in 2012. You can find out more at http://www.willowbrooknovels.com.

It's been an amazing adventure rediscovering these characters and picking up earlier in their lives than when I first wrote about them, allowing me to see them through fresh eyes, which makes it fun and exciting. I'd love to be doing this and say I could make a living just writing, but that is not to be, at least not as of yet. I've always needed to do other work on the side, and am happy to, but the passion for writing always burns in my heart. If it does for you, then my  advice is to not give up, even if you can't make it be full-time work for you. One of my longtime mentors once told me that writing is as much a part of us as breathing. I'd have to agree.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: ‘Along for the Ride’ by Sarah Dessen

Reviewer: Jesi

"Ever since her parents began fighting, Auden has been unable to sleep at night. Now, spending a summer at a charming beach town with her father and his new family, she has to find new places to pass the time she spends awake. And so she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac who becomes her nighttime guide. Together, they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she has missed; for Eli, to come to terms with the death of a friend. In her trademark blockbuster-style, Sarah Dessen creates a powerful and irresistible story of two people learning how to connect."
(Amazon product description)

Along for the Ride

I really liked this book.  The characters were unique, intelligent and well-developed.  That goes for the side characters also, which is really unusual for a young adult book.  Looking at the cover, I was expecting a light, summer-type read.  But these characters have real issues, and they are all moving forward, albeit at different paces.  There is not a stereotypical character in this book.  Each have layers to them that peal back as the story progresses. 

Auden starts the story off as a bit of a snob.  Having been raised by two ultra-selfish intellectuals, she almost couldn’t help it.  I loved watching her progress to a more open-minded person throughout the course of the book.  Although I did have problems with how she treated Eli.  He was this fragile young man who was just beginning to show signs of healing after the death of his best friend, but Auden treats him a bit carelessly.  I suppose that was part of her growth process, but it still made me sad to see it. 

Speaking of Auden and Eli, the romance plotline is very understated.  Considering the cover of the book, this also took me by surprise.  The story really revolves around Auden and her progression.  Eli does play a role in her development, and he develops himself too, but I love how Dessen allows them to work their lives out on their own.  Eli doesn’t fix Auden, and Auden doesn’t fix Eli.  Not only is this refreshing, but it sends a good message. 

Overall, I give Along for the Ride...

Plot - 4 bookmarks
Character development - 5 bookmarks
Moral lessons - 4 1/2 bookmarks (not preachy and kind of understated, but the reader learns along with Auden)
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Rooney Mara (Auden), Jackson Rathbone (Eli), Joseph Morgan (Hollis), Mary Marguerite Keane (Maggie), Peter Sarsgaard (Dad), Jane Adams (Mom), Jessica Chastain (Heidi)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Welcome Shannon Muir

Hello all, Miranda here and I wanted to take a moment to welcome our newest Author to the Spotlight.

Shannon Muir
We are very excited to have Shannon spending some time with us. Please make sure to stop by the Author Spotlight page (you can find it at the top of the page or just click Shannon's picture to the right) Plus later in her stay with use she has agreed to do a guest post for us. Are you as excited as we are? Well you should be, in the mean time, check out her book (found below) and leave a comment saying hi and letting us know you stopped by!

Click Me to Find Out More

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Review: 'Hush Money' by Susan Bischoff

Reviewer: Izzy

They call their abilities Talents, and that’s what they call themselves as well. Talents are people born with supernatural powers, feared by the population at large. Possession of an “unregistered ability” has become illegal, and those who are discovered are forcibly removed to government-run research facilities. They do not return.

And so the Talents try, as best they can, to keep their abilities secret–some more successfully than others. For some, keeping that secret begins to define who they are. That’s where Hush Money begins…

Be normal, invisible. Don’t get close to anyone. Those are the rules to live by for seventeen-year-old Joss. She spent years as an outsider, hoping to hide what she is, until the new girl, Kat, decides she’s friend material. Kat doesn’t realize her mistake when she stands up for Joss against Marco, a guy who’s been giving Joss a hard time since freshman year. Joss is horrified when these heroics lead to the reveal of Kat’s Talent. Now she has an unasked-for best friend, who is the victim of an extortion plot by the school bully, who used to like Joss. And if all that weren’t complicated enough, Dylan, Joss’s long-time crush, is finally starting to talk to her. But as Marco’s best friend, can Dylan be trusted at all? Can Joss keep her secret and still save her friend? And what’s more important, staying safe or doing what’s right?
(Amazon product description)

When I bought Hush Money by Susan Bischoff, I was not expecting anything, honestly—book snob that I am—but the first page really caught me. The beginning explains what's going on without giving everything away in one quick info-overload.

Joss Marshall is one of the main characters, is one of my favorite heroines from any and all books I've read. She's tough without it being a big deal, but she also has very teenage emotions and thoughts, which to me gives Susan Bischoff very major points. Too many YA characters “think” and “speak” either too maturely, or too much like an adult trying too hard to be YA and that's not what's happening here.

The book is in first person, and half of the book is in Joss's point of view, therefore, because Joss already knows what's going on, she doesn't get into overlong explanations of that don't really need to be there about things like NIAC (National Institutes for Ability Control) and Talents. She just gives enough information for readers (assuming we are smarter than the average bird and able to click into such things) to get the gist of what's going on.

From the very beginning, you can tell Joss has a repressed sense of justice that scares her—and her father. Just the way everything unfolds in chapter one—fast, but not too fast; a nice, steady pace—made me grin; this is gonna be good.

The other half of the book is in Dylan's point of view which just made me so incredibly happy; plus, as the book's hero, he gets top marks. He's easier with people than Joss, and less abrasive—which makes me happy, because usually it's the other way around in books: the heroine must be softer/sweeter/shyer than the hero, even if she's “tough”.

Right away Dylan is seen as the “bad boy”, except that he makes it clear he doesn't want to go that route anymore—he just doesn't know how to get out of the wrong crowd and that's so human to me that I loved him from his second page. Teenagers get into the wrong crowd and when they want to get out—maybe they mature a bit, or wake up—maybe they don't know how. (Though, while Dylan's methods make for a great story, it's so much better to get adult help).

Hero, heroine, and that leaves our villain, who happens to be our hero's best friend. Can things get any juicier, Bob? Yes! Our villain is a smart, sleezy, super-strong bully! Not your average bully that just makes it harder on our heroes. And that makes for a better story.

Everything ties together with an adorable dash of romance thrown in and a good plot. The adorable romance—Dylan crushes on Joss. Joss has been crushing on Dylan. (I wouldn't say it if it wasn't so obviously obvious from the beginning). I definitely recommend this book.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Review: OUTLAWED LOVE by Jason Krumbine

Reviewer: Lindsey

"Kate Sharpe, US Marshal, is a woman on a mission with no time for love or romance. Her prisoner, the handcuffed hottie, Kyle Archer, just turned State’s evidence on notorious mobster Jonathon Bragan. Kate’s responsible for getting him from the courthouse to the jailhouse, but can she do it without losing her heart?"
(Amazon product description)

Outlawed Love

The cover.....

Now, you prudish folks out there--I know the cover is slightly...off putting.  But hear me out. I like this man's writing.  No one was more thrown off than moi over this. I am not a good romance reader. I usually resort to Jr. High snickering.

HEY!! Look at me, not at the cover! 

I can calm your fragile senses by telling you this book does not contain any swashbuckling pirates or chippendale superhero's.  I find the cover slightly misleading, although the model is very photogenic.  I have never been so blasted happy to own a Kindle.  I would have died 1000 deaths if FireDaddy saw this. Why you ask? Would he be jealous?  No. Would he think I was some whoring tramp? (He wishes) No.  He would make fun of me until I cried that's why!!! I had to make sure not to gaze upon it too long. I did check to make sure that I was reading the correct book...it happens...you never know when a computer glich could cause your Kindle books to get covers mixed up...ahem...yes. So periodically check your cover and make sure your reading the right book!  Check it a few times. I am nothing if not thorough.

This book was fun--just what I needed to get me through Xmas Eve!!! I read it in one night. I know, I know...she's a Marshall, he's a prisoner that she has to escort to Miami.  The plane ride goes wrong, and for reasons I CAN'T DISCUSS they have to run.  It slightly reminded me of my favorite Clooney movie. The one where he is the prisoner and Lopez is the cop? This book has lots of action, panicky moments and smoochiness for you sickos...but not overkill.  I appreciate writers who can write a smoochy scene without making the reader feel like they are voyeurs.

So if you are a book snob and hiss when you look at cover...uummm stop looking. BACK TO ME!  Then load up your Kindle.  No one will see it.  Tell them your reading War and Peace.

I believe I read something about a possible sequel, or maybe I am hoping for one??

Load up that Kindle...NOW. It's a great way to start the new year! :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Guest Post with Emily Ward

I am so excited to share with you that our current Author in the Spotlight has agreed to guest post with us! Yup, makes me one happy girl, I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did. I will turn the blog over to Emily now :) Enjoy.

Hey, guys! I’m honored to be a part of the Author Spotlight these couple weeks. I’m Emily, and I write a variety of things. Mostly science fiction, fantasy, and mainstream short stories. I’m kind of all over the place!

At the risk of sounding like a used car salesman, I want to tell you about my YA scifi novella. It’s titled Finding Fiona, and it follows a young girl named Fiona suffering from memory loss as she tries to figure out why her parents were killed and how she escaped. Perhaps you think amnesia has been overdone (I actually have a blot post about that: http://wordsofeward.blogspot.com/2011/08/fiona-fridays-amnesia-in-pop-culture.html), but this novella takes a twist on her memory loss as she finds out about the strange things her parents were working on before they were killed.

As I was revising the book, I realized Fiona uses online search engines quite a bit in the beginning to look for answers. She has nowhere else to go, really. She’s met a young guy who claims to be from her past, and she does recognize him, but he’s not very helpful, claiming she needs to stay in Boston. So, the only resources she has to help her put together the confusing mess of her past are an old journal that raises more questions than answers and Google.

Then I started to wonder what her Google search history throughout the book might be like. Here’s what I came up with:

- Memory loss 
- Retrograde amnesia
- Fires in Mystic, Connecticut
- Elizabeth Normans
- Fire in Manhattan May 4th
- Elizabeth Normans dead?
- Human replication
-  Greg and Daniel Alaria criminal history
-  New York bus system
- Regaining memory
- How to know if you can trust someone
- Directions to Greg Alaria's fertility clinic 
- Being betrayed by a friend
- Directions to McDonald's in times square
- Keeping the ones you love safe 
- Blocking a door with a chair
- How to work a gun
- How to escape a kidnapping

There are some more, but no need to spoil the ending ;)

If you want to read more about Finding Fiona, it’s available for only $2.99 on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005P44Z5W), Barnes and Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1105949851), and other retailers. The paperback should be available on those links, too.

I have a few more books coming up in the next few months. The first is a fantasy novel titled Promising Light. It’ll be released mid-January, and there’ll be a blog tour starting January 30th, which will start at Full Moon Bites (http://fullmoonbites.blogspot.com/). After that, I’ll release prequel novellas for Promising Light in February and March. For more information on the Protectors series, you can visit my website (http://emilyannward.com).

If you want a chance to win the paperback of Promising Light, you can enter the Goodreads giveaway: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13289252-promising-light (Scroll down to “Win a Copy of this Book” tab). There will be more chances to win during the upcoming blog tour, too!

Thanks to the hosts of this lovely blog for letting me stop by, and thanks to you for reading!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: ON WRITING by Stephen King

Whether you like his style of books or not, I don’t think anyone can disagree that Stephen King is a genius.  My reading history with King has been perilous.  As a teen, I read every book he wrote—devoured them like candy—until The Tommyknockers.  I’ve never quite forgiven him for The Tommyknockers.  It killed me to have to put it down, but seriously—250 pages on the inner workings of a battery?  I understand that King was coked out of his mind when he wrote it, and it showed, but his editor should have had a “come to jesus” talk with him at that point.

Okay, I know King has been drug and alcohol free for fifteen years now, but I just wouldn’t let myself go back to him…until On Writing.  Mr. King, I want to publically forgive you for The Tommyknockers and let you know that I’m a believer again.

On Writing is part memoir/part guide for new writers.  As a writer myself, I am fascinated by those who have “made it” in the business.  Since King is one of the most recognizable and prolific authors of our time, there is no greater expert out there to talk on this subject.  In fact, reading the second half of the book was like King having the “come to Jesus” talk with me.  He called me out and kicked my ass on all of the things I’m doing as a writer that I shouldn’t—and he’s 100% right.  I needed this book right at this time.  I am ¾ of the way though my second novel and have completely fallen out of love with it.  Since King wrote this in second person, it felt like he was talking directly to me, calling me out on all my bullshit excuses.  I needed that.

On Writing is not just a dressing down—the story was very inspiring as well.  King has been through a lot of crap over his career, some of his making and he’s honest about that, but he has come through it strong.  Most of all, this book showed me that even successful writers have been through the same self-doubt and aggravations that I go through.  He too had a formidable stack of rejection letters wracked up.  Finishing this book made we want to tackle that manuscript again.  Thank you, Mr. King.

Overall, I give On Writing

Plot – 3 bookmarks (primarily non-fiction, but there is a personal narrative which threads through.)
Practical Application – 5 bookmarks.  (Every writer should read this book—preferably when they are down on themselves.)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Stephen King as himself.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Jesi's ringing in the New Year with her favorite books of 2011!!!!

Looking back over 2011, I realize I have read so many great books this year.  While I read a large variety, I noticed that it was mostly the Young Adult books that I chose to review for my blog.  From blockbuster hits to small indie gems, these are my favorite books of the year:


The Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking has gotten a lot of press this year as an example of an indie author striking gold.  I see now that St. Martin’s Press has released these books in traditional form now, but when I read them in January, they were the first $2.99 e-books that I downloaded onto my brand new Nook back in January.  While the version I read could have used some editing, the strength of Hocking’s unique Trylle world sucked me right in.  I also loved the way she chose to end the love triangle. 

Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead was my most anticipated book of the year.  While Mead’s Vampire Academy series may be more popular, it is the romance between Georgina Kincaid and Seth Mortensen that made my heart race.  I have been in love with this series for the past couple of years, and the final book was bittersweet.  Never has a series caused me to fall in love, broken my heart and mended it together again the way this one had.  And it was funny too! 

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson was, by far, the most well-written book I read this year.  A mix of paranormal, sci-fi, suspense and romance, this book had something for everyone.  The main character, Allison, has a condition called Synesthesia which mixes up the way she perceives the information coming to her through her five senses.  For example, she can see the color of sounds, feel personalities in words and taste when someone is lying.  The descriptions showing the world from Allison's perspective are fascinating.  Here's the twist, what is metaphor to the reader is real to the character.  Brilliant!

Scent and Shadow by Mercy Loomis is my favorite vampire book of the year, and considering how many vampire books I read, that means a lot.   Gabriel is how vampires are meant to be...no drinking animal blood to appease his conscience, no human turning his stone heart to mush, no sparkles.  The author describes this book as almost an anti-romance.  The characters get their happy ending, but it is nothing like you would expect.  Sometimes, I like vamps to be the monsters they are meant to be, and Scent and Shadow delivers.

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini received my highest ranking out of all of my reviews this year, a Greek inspired romance with a modern day Helen of Troy. Helen is beautiful, but incredibly awkward, which makes her endearing.  Oh, and then there is Lucas.  *swoon*  He is completely hot!  But it isn’t just his looks—let’s face it, every male lead in YA novels is the most gorgeous boy ever—Lucas is strong and smart and thoughtful.  The sexual tension between him and Helen practically ignites the pages.  Even when Helen wanted to kill him and later when they found out they couldn’t be together, you just know there has to be a way to make it happen. 

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins proved that sophomore novels can be just as good as the debuts.  After the stunning success of Anna and the French Kiss, Perkins returned with another beautiful teenage romance filled with unique characters and sexual tension.  Lola is not a perfect girl.  She makes poor decisions and lots of mistakes, but that makes her real.  I have known many girls like Lola.  She lies when she is afraid to tell the truth.  She struggles with her identity.  Her heart is traitorous and out of control.  In other words, she is a typical teenage girl.  Lola’s costumes are both an expression of who she is and a mask to hide from the world.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin was one of the most haunting stories I read all year.  After being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder resulting from a tragic accident, of which she has no memory, Mara and her family move to Florida for her recuperation.  But while she tries desperately to pretend she is getting better, she’s not.  Are her hallucinations mental illness or something more?  All she knows is that when she gets angry, the bodies start piling up. 

On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves is another indie book that I fell in love with.  I lost a lot of sleep this week over this book!  You might think that a story which largely takes place on a deserted island would get boring, but let me assure you, there is plenty of action, humor and romance to keep the pace moving.  So much more than a simple survivor story, On The Island takes two highly developed characters--both at turning points in their lives--and forces them to into an endurance situation which will alter them both forever.  Along the way, they have to confront issues such as life & death, what they want out of life, whether they will even have a future beyond the island and the effect their thirteen year age gap might have on their feelings for each other.

Ashfall by Mike Mullin is my choice for debut novel of the year.  This post-disaster story follows a teenage boy’s fight for survival after the devastating eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano.  My first impression of this book is how incredibly well researched it is.  Not only did Mullin have the science down -- he calculated the exact spot in the country to set the story based on the ashfall projected from such an eruption -- but he also knew how the characters would feel, both physically and emotionally over what was happening around them.  The opening scenes where Alex is experiencing the first 24 hours of noise and darkness were amazing!  I felt like I was there right alongside him.  This feeling stayed with me throughout the book, putting me on the edge of my seat the whole time.  I am eagerly awaiting the follow up Ashen Winter due out in 2012. 

I'm sure 2012 will bring it's share of wonderful books also.  Here are a few that I'm looking forward to:

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
A Million Suns by Beth Revis
Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Spellbound by Rachel Hawkins
The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols
Blue-Blooded Vamp by Jaye Wells
Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

So, do you have any books that you are eagerly anticipating for 2012?  Share with me!