Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Iron Daughter with author Julie Kagawa

Release Date:  1st August 2010
Published: Harlequin
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 361
Overall:  5 stars
From: publisher (netGalley

Review on The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
I almost forgot how it felt like to read a book so mesmerizing that it kept you reading until you are far behind the last pages of it and are still flipping through the pages once more reviving your favorite parts of the story once more.  The moment I started reading the Iron Daughter, I couldn’t help myself from devouring the entire story in one day! I started reading this book in the morning and I carried my laptop (this book is a digital ARC) with me so I can read it even when I had dinner that night!
I was completely enthralled by the riveting tale and Julie’s amazing storytelling talent. Even though I didn’t get the chance to read the first book The Iron King, I still managed to keep up with the storyline in this book. The vivid flashbacks and explanations helped me a lot in understanding what I missed out in the previous book. This could very well be a standalone title.
In this book, Meghan faces a threat more life-altering than the Iron King attack. The book starts off with Meghan dreaming of herself killing her beloved Winter Court Prince, Ash. She is held in the Winter Court when she made a deal with Ash in the previous book. Ash treats her coldly and denies that he has ever had had feeling s for her before.
Then one day the Scepter of the Seasons is stolen from the Winter Court. As fate has it, Ash and Meghan is thrown on a perilous journey to retrieve the scepter before the war which may destroy both the Winter and Summer Court erupt. Together with help from a few allies, they save the scepter from the misuse of the new Iron King.
But what about Ash and Meghan’s relationship? Summer and Winter was never made for each other. Will their love for each other survive the nature and rules of their courts?
This is a must-read book!
Interview with author JULIE KAGAWA

1.When you were a little girl, have you always harboured the dream of being an author? Was it an ambition you always had in mind?

            Well, at first I wanted to be a veterinarian, but then I discovered how much math and science were required to become a vet.  And since numbers hate me, I decided then to become an author.

2. Why do you choose to be an author?

            Because I can’t not write.  Even when I’m doing everyday things, I’m thinking about writing. And since I can’t stop, I might as well do it for a living.    
3. Why did you choose to write YA ?

            I started off writing for adults, but since all my protagonists were teens, my agent suggested I write for YA.  I love it. I don’t think I’d ever go back to writing for adults.

4. Do you have a specific time of the day which puts you at much ease when you write? In other words, do you wake up right at the break of dawn to write or you write on late into the night like a night owl ?

            For me, writing is my job, so I start at a specific time in the morning, then write till five pm, everyday except weekends. 

5. What inspired the storyline of Iron King? Have you always wanted to write about Faeries?

            I’ve always loved fey stories, the dark, creepy kind.  When I started Iron King, I wanted a story that would show a different type of faery no one had ever seen before. So, the Iron Fey were born. 

6. Can you please share with us what goes on in the coming books?

            In The Iron Daughter, Meghan must make several hard decisions, most importantly the choice of who she loves more: Ash or Puck?  And in The Iron Queen, the war with the Iron fey finally comes to a head, and Faery will never be the same.

7. What are the publishing plans for the trilogy?

            The Iron Daughter will be out August 1st, 2010.  The Iron Queen will be released in the February of 2011. (CAN”T WAIT!)

8. Which character in your novel you favor the most? Which is the easiest character to write about ?

            I have to say Ash is my favorite, because I’ve always had a thing for dark, brooding Bad Boys who can wield pointy objects. ( I LOOVE BAD BOYS!)  But Grimalkin of course runs a very close second and was by far the most fun to write.

9. Did you face any trouble or being stumped for ideas when you wrote the book? If you did, how did you overcome it ?

            I wrote The Iron King for NaNo Wrimo, where you have to write 50,000 words in 30 days, so it all went by very quickly.  I usually skip over places I have trouble with, then come back to it when the first draft is done. 

Thank you Julie for the interview! Hope you enjoyed reading my review and the interview  :)
This post is for the month of JULY !

Interview with Jennifer Laurens !

I remembered how I first started communicating with Jennifer Laurens. When I accepted her friend request on my Facebook account, I checked out her profile. I was shocked that an author added me instead of vice versa. She was indeed the most strange but in a cool way author I've ever met. It was when I was browsing through her posts that I saw one which said "Message me your address to get Heavenly bookmarks!"

I never got an autographed bookmark before then so I jumped at the chance to get one and immediately messaged her. I received the bookmarks a few weeks later and I was ecstatic; not many authors I knew at that time sent stuff outside of  the US.

A few months ago, when I started writing book reviews for a local newspaper, i came up with this idea, I wanted to create a book blog which allowed me to reach a wider international base of readers. I wanted to encourage more teens to read. I wrote to Jennifer Laurens and she sent me a copy of Heavenly. She also agreed to do an interview with me to run together with the book review of Heavenly. So here's my interview with one of the most friendliest and nicest author I know :)

1. Describe what you feel when you write. 

When I first started writing seriously ( about 9 years ago ) I literally couldn’t wait to wake up and hit the keyboard, I was so excited to write. Why do I write? I started writing because my teenage girls wanted to read romance without the explicit sex. I write now because I feel like the market needs uplifting stories teens can relate to about life and its challenges. Anytime I can share an experience and get a letter from a reader telling me I helped them somehow, I am pleased. 

2. How long did it take you to finish writing your first book including the previous drafts that didn't make it? 

I’m working on my very first book right now. I wrote it 9 years ago, and it’s been through countless drafts. COUNTLESS. But I’ve always loved the story and am now re-writing it for the YA audience. Originally, it was a women’s romance.

3. What is it like to be a mother and an author at the same time? 

Mother comes first, and feeds the author creative experiences. All of my stories come from real life experiences to some degree or another. Heavenly being the most auto-biographical. Life is busy with six children and a child with autism – and her demands never ease up.

4. Tell us a little more on what inspired your concept and idea to write Heavenly and Penitence? Where were you, what were you doing when you first had that idea? 

Heavenly is my family’s story dealing with our child with autism. Each of us has had our own difficulty accepting and learning to live with her, and the challenges impacted us in so many ways, it’s not easy to put it all in a nutshell. But I believe Heavenly gives the perfect glimpse of what life is like with a handicapped child. Also, I felt such a great loss for so long with my daughter who has autism. My journey coming to grips with her life, the meaning of her life and what would become of her both tore me apart and built a foundation for me to deal with her on a daily basis. Heavenly is truly our family story. Penitence is a more fictitious dimension and addition to the story. 

5. May i ask who is Cooper? You dedicated Heavenly to him. Share with us, how much and why he means a lot to you ? (if this question is too personnel, go ahead and skip it ) 

Cooper is my nephew, and you’re the first person to ever ask about him. Thank you. He was four years old when, on the first day of Kindergarten, his mother was walking him to school ( he was riding his bike ) and an underage, 14 year-old driver hit and killed him at the bus stop. Very tragic. Amazingly enough, my brother and sister in law forgave the family of the driver and embraced them into their family. That was a real miracle. Their story touched many lives.

6. Penitence is the continuous of Heavenly am I right? Tell us what goes on in that book?

 Penitence is Zoe dealing with mortality. Human, physical love versus the deep spiritual love and connection she has for Matthias. Each character has to pay a price for the choices they make: hence, the name Penitence.

7. Is there going to be another book after Penitence? 

Absolution is the final book. It’s due out at the end of this year. 

8. What are your publishing plans like?

In 2011 I have the story I mentioned above coming out. More on that later.

9. Would you rather be, a guardian angel or the person guarded by a guardian angel? Please illustrate on the answer of your choice. (Who would you protect if you chose to be a guardian angel and who do you think in your life is your guardian angel?) 

I’m absolutely positive guardian angel’s exist and watch over us. My thoughts on this came from years of seeing my daughter ( and other children ) survive things that wouldn’t have ended the way they did without the help of some unseen hand helping out. This idea has given me so much comfort over the years, I wanted to share it. I’ve always been fascinated with life after death, and who to watch over us better than our loved ones who’ve passed on before? If you died tomorrow, you wouldn’t stop loving and caring about the people in your life you love and care about today, right?

10. Why do you choose to write about a troubled kid with parents who look pat her problems? Do you know a person who is/was in the same situation as Zoe? 

Zoe is a combination of my two daughters who each learned to accept and love and live with our daughter with autism differently, so , yes, I do know a person like Zoe. My girls are one of the reasons I wrote Heavenly.

Thank you Jennifer for sharing with us on Heavenly and about writing.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens

Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 280
Overall: 4 1/2 stars
Source: Author

When I read the first few pages of this book, I was instantly drawn towards the story. I was immediately held in Zoe’s world; a world, a far cry from the standards of perfect or even regular which made me felt how lucky I was.

Zoe and her brother are mostly ignored by their parents who pay most of their attention towards Zoe’s youngest sibling who has autism. Zoe and her brother both have their own problems. They are not really perfect. Zoe has a drinking binge while her brother is a pot head.

One day, Zoe meets a strange but undeniably hot guy named Matthias in the park while babysitting her autistic sister Abria. She is instantly attracted to him. She begins to harbor the hope of seeing him again. Zoe doesn’t realize that she and maybe only a handful of people around her can see Matthias. She learns it in the most amusing way that most of the other people around her don’t seem to see him and in their eyes, it looks like she was talking to herself or a tree instead of Matthias who they do not see… But the problem of other people not seeing Matthias is minor compared to the fragile relationship they share. Matthias and Zoe are never made for each for each other. They can never be equal. Matthias was once human but not anymore. He is more than human now.

I totally understand Zoe’s feeling for Matthias. Just like her friend’s Chase stated, it is very easy to fall in love with the person protecting you especially when no other mortal guy can be there twenty-four/seven to watch your back and to keep you out of danger’s way especially if he is hot !

I find this story unique and original in a positive way. The storyline was unexpected. Having read so many other YA books, I honestly thought I had an idea on what was going to happen next in my head. In fact, I had the entire story playing in my head before I even finished the book. But I was wrong. This isn’t one of the almost cliché books I have so frequently found filling most of the shelves in the bookstores. The reader gets drawn into Zoe’s life, the conflicts she faces in it and the star-struck relationship she has with her guardians, the jealously between her and her best friend. It is one of the most amazing books I’ve read so far J

Review by Eibhlin Lim J

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Interview with Author of upcoming book Night Shade by Andrea Cremer

Night Shade by Andrea Cremer is published by Philomel and released on October 19th 2010. To learn more about this wonderful upcoming novel while anticipating to get our hands on it, I have been lucky enough to get a chance to interview author Andrea.  Here it goes !

Can you tell us more on Nightshade? Share with us in detail on what's the story about. 

Nightshade is the story of Calla Tor - on her upcoming eighteenth birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves who have fought for centuries on the front lines of the Witches’ War. But her predestined path veers off course when she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a human boy. Startled by her own violation of the law she’s sworn to uphold, she hopes the stranger will soon be a distant memory. When the boy turns out to be a new student in her school, Calla’s random act of kindness spirals into a whirlwind of deceit, hidden histories, and forbidden love.

How was the ride to being an published author ?

Surprising! I'd spent my whole life writing, but I never pursued publication. Then two summers ago I was in a horseback riding accident where I ended up with a broken foot. I couldn't walk for eight weeks, so I decided to finally go after my dream of writing a novel. I was hooked instantly and knew there was no going back. I wrote two "practice" novels that will live forever in my desk drawers and then I wrote Nightshade. I knew from the beginning it was "the one," and I began querying agents.  Charlie Olsen, my phenomenal agent at InkWell, requested the full manuscript and called me to say he loved it in March 2009. I did more revisions with Charlie and we went on submission in the summer of 2009, receiving a pre-empt from Michael Green at Philomel shortly thereafter. It was amazing - and in the publishing world, it happened at record speed.

What inspired you to write Nightshade? 

Nightshade is Calla's story and she was the inspiration for the book. I tend to write from characters and Calla was floating around in my head for a week or two before I started putting her story onto the page. I knew she was a girl who was also a wolf. I knew she was strong, but also in serious trouble. I couldn't figure out how someone so powerful could be in that sort of a fix. That's where Nightshade's world emerged, it was all about building a history and society that explained Calla's predicament.

Why wolves?

Friends who knew I was a vampire girl presumed that meant I love ALL forms of paranormal, so they’d push werewolves at me enthusiastically. I wasn’t interested, and I couldn’t figure out why. After all they were fierce, strong, magical – all things I liked. So what was the problem? And then it hit me – I didn’t like werewolves because I love wolves. That’s right – I’m a wolf girl, but a real wolf girl. I grew up so far North in Wisconsin that it’s practically Canada. Wolves roamed the forests of my homeland. I also loved National Geographic specials even more than cartoons. So by age 9 I could rattle off biological and ecological info like a pro. Wolves to me were beautiful, intelligent, social, and graceful. Werewolves seemed to be none of these things. The werewolves I’d encountered on page and screen were hideous – half man/half beast, usually ugly, often unintelligent, driven only by rage or bloodlust.   And worst of all: they didn’t want to be wolves. Lycanthropy occurs as a curse, or a disease. The endgoal of most werewolf tales was to kill the wolf or free the affected person of the wolf curse. I couldn’t come to grips with that idea. If someone asked me – hey wanna turn into a wolf? I’d say “heck, yeah!” Wouldn’t you rather be a wolf? From what I know of wolves, the answer is indisputably YES. Nightshade’s Guardians are my way of coming to terms with my love of wolves and my trouble with classic werewolf tales. Calla – the alpha female who narrates Nightshade – is powerful and revels in her life as a wolf.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

My journey has been an odd, wondrous trip. It started when a horse jumped on my foot in the summer of 2008, setting me on crutches for eight weeks. I couldn't do anything so I decided I'd finally try writing a novel - something I'd always dreamed about doing but had never given myself permission to try. Once I started writing I couldn't stop - and I knew there was no going back. It was terrifying - knowing I had a dream that I wanted so much and yet had no idea how to make it happen. I was a complete publishing "n00b." There's a myth among aspiring writers that you can't get published without connections. It really is a myth. When I made the commitment to publish Nightshade even if it took everything I had, I didn't know anything about that world. I did research. I learned about agents, practiced writing queries. Submitted to the agencies that seemed the best fits for my work. And my ms was pulled out of the slush pile. No connections whatsoever. To get published you need patience, an iron will, and belief in the value of what you've written.

How long did it take you to write Nightshade?

I wrote the first draft between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2008. I did revisions on my own in January. My agent requested the full manuscript in February and offered representation in March. I did more revisions with my agent that spring and we went on submission in the summer of 2009 and the book sold shortly thereafter. 

How many drafts were there before the final product which of course was published came about? Can you tell us the difference between the other drafts and the published one? What was lacking in the first few drafts and was there other characters which isn't in the published Nightshade ? If there was, what became of them?

I did a couple of rounds of revisions with my agent in the spring of 2009 and after Penguin purchased the book I did another couple of rounds with my editor in September. None of the characters changed, but I added more of Calla's internal thoughts and emotions as part of the revision - which was a challenge because Calla likes to keep her feelings to herself!

Did any other authors or books inspired your style of writing ?

Writers who’ve had a major influence on my thinking and writing are Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Barbara Kingsolver, David Eddings, and Marion Zimmer Bradly. A few of the many YA authors I admire are Cassandra Clare, Maggie Stiefvater, Richelle Mead, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, and Libba Bray.

Who is your favorite fictional character? Why? Can you relate to her/him in any way?

I really love Anne of Green Gables because she is smart, feisty and constantly imagining fantastic worlds around her. 

 Why did you name the book Night Shade?

Nightshade (bella donna) is a deadly herb. It's the name of Calla's Guardian pack - the book was originally titled "Guardian" but my editor and I agreed that Nightshade was a more evocative word that fit the story well, so the title changed. I like it much better so I'm really happy we made that switch! 

Wow ! Sounds awesome? Yeah, I can't wait to read this book too ! 

Coming Up Next, I have reviews on Evernight and Hourglass by Claudia Gray as well as an interview with the author herself ! Oops, not to mention another international giveaway ! Yep, you heard me right ! International ! 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June's Backlot Books Giveaway

This is the official picture of the goodies in the Backlot Books June's Giveaway. I have received an additional goodie from author Christinne Johnson today in the mail so i will be adding that to the giveaway pile as you can see.
*for additional information on the giveaway please refer to my previous post !
PS: I have already extended the dateline and add in the aim of the giveaway !

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Introduction !

I find it very awkward each and every time when people say, “You have me at an advantage there, you know my name but I don’t know yours…” or “Nice to meet you. I’m ____. What’s your name?” These sentences are the perfect although very clichéd mould to start a conversation with a new acquaintance or a stranger. They also lead straight right up to the doorsteps of “Self-introduction”.
If it’s already bad enough I find face-to-face introduction a horror, imagine trying to introduce yourself through the computer! I was thinking of skipping my introduction when I started this blog but then again, it was like a taboo not to have one. It has become a custom or a more like a tradition for a blogger to first introduce themselves when they start a blog. Apparently, it helps the readers to feel closer to the writer which also allows the readers to connect and understand the writer better.
So this is where I write my introduction. I don’t usually work very well with introduction essays especially those lengthy ones with the paragraphs that go on and on forever. Hence, I decided to skip the essay and do an interview instead!
Q: What a peculiar name you have!
A: Eibhlin, it’s Gaelic. Actually, there’s a story behind that one. When I was little people seemed to have many variations with my given name Evelyn. Somehow no one could twist their tongue around that name so I often get called in many different ways. I remembered when I was in pre-school, my friends would call me “Apple-lin” instead. There was also people who called me “Evil-lyn”, “Eve-linn”, “Ever-lyn”, Ewel-lin” just to name a few. Then around last year when I was surfing the net for Irish names to use for my debut novel, I came across the Gaelic variation of Evelyn. I checked out the pronunciation and guess what, it’s exactly the way I have been pronouncing my name all along! “Eve-linn” And ever since, I decided to spell my name that way. That’s how my strange came about.
Q: Which college do you go to?
A: Last year when I was touring the States, I went to a few universities like Yale, Howard, MIT to get a little idea on where I wanted to study when I grow up. Well, that’s where the question came from. “So where are you studying?” Let’s be clear about this, I’m fifteen. I’m only fifteen ! I might look tall for my age but seriously come on! Do I even look that old? Not to mention strangers, I get this from my own family friends who haven’t seen me in a long while. Another scenario where people get mixed up on my age: One day while I was browsing through some books in the bookstore, I was chatting with the store assistant while waiting for one of her colleagues to find the book I wanted. Guess, what she said? “You seem to know pretty much about books? Would you like to work here?” My reply : “Would love to, but I’m underage !” When I told that to my editor she had a laugh. She told me I sound old when I write too. Do I sound old? Or maybe I’m just an old soul in a young girl’s body! Beware, I might be a vampire !
Q: Are you even human?
A: Yes. I’m perfectly human. Even though, my hands might be ice cold all the time and I tend to walk without any sound most of the time, I’m still human. I might also be able to read some of my closest companion’s mind but I’m no Edward Cullen. Please be assured, I don’t have fangs and to be honest, I am a Hemaphobic. So I won’t be able to last long even if I was a vampire.
Q: What are you favorite movies?
Let’s see. I can’t seem to make up my mind. But probably this will confirm the fact : Today I just watched The Confession of a Shopaholic for the umpteenth time. I lost count on how many times I watched that movie and drool over Hugh Dancy. If you didn’t know this, know you will; I have a soft spot for British guys! Green eyes and that sexy lit each time they speak, I’ll melt. Also, I like The Proposal.
Q: Besides reading/ writing what else do you do during your free time?
A: I like arts. So when I’m not reading/writing, I will be at my arts table molding away some clay, plaster-of-Paris, eraser clay, painting some wooden trinket boxes, etc. I also enjoy looking up on the latest fashion trends so I will most probably on websites checking out cloths. No wonder I can connect so well to the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Q: If you were a movie character, who will you be?
A: I wanted to say Bella so I’ll get to act beside Robert Pattinson but thinking of being depressed all the time chased the idea away. I am most like Eloise from Eloise at the Plaza as I may be really head-strong and it’s really hard to constraint me back when I want something. I am also a little like Rebecca Bloomwood (not sure if I spelled her name right!) from the Confessions of a Shopaholic. It seems that I have a take on everything in life and the crazy part which sometimes makes me regret is I am totally honest. I will tell that person if their outfits make them look like a clown. It’s like I’m a faerie. I can’t lie.
Guess, that’s enough to know about me for now. Will probably update on my introduction later on.

Eibhlin Lim :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pictures of the goodies i have to share with everyone !

June's Giveaways !

Thanks to some really amazing authors, I've managed to gather these goodies to share.

List of goodies in the complete set of JUNE’s BACKLOT BOOK s Giveaway ! :


- Evernight by Claudia Gray (autographed)
- Stargazer by Claudia Gray (autographed)


1. Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White (Autographed)
2. Mistwood by Leah Cypress (Autographed)
3. The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell (Autographed)
4. Change of Heart by Shari Maurer (Autographed )
5. Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt ( Autographed)
6. The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berks (Autographed)
7. Losing Faith by Denise Jaden (Autographed)

- Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
- Losing Faith by Denise Jaden (Autographed)
- Mistwood by Leah Cypress (Autographed)


- Forget-Her-Nots Tattoo by Amy Brecount White

Aim of giveaway: To encourage people of ages mainly teens to love and enjoy reading.

All you need to do to win them is,

1. Follow me on my blog (gives you additional 2 points).
2. Follow me on Twitter. Name, Eibhlin Lim. (gets you additional 2 points)
3. Write to me a review on a book of your choice (main task, will be mainly judged on this!) Min. 300 words for the review. These tips below should give you some help:

a) Choose a book. It must be under YA fiction. Name the author and title of the book above your entry followed by the book review.


b) Book review shouldn’t be in point form. It has to be in essay form. How many paragraphs that’s your choice!

c) Tell me why you love, hate, have no feelings for the book or whatsoever feelings that rush through your veins as you read the book. *Who is your favorite character? *What is your favorite part in the book and how you can relate to that! (* Denotes some light examples of questions you can answer to guide you.)

Terms and Conditions

1) Entries sent must be original. The entries of the TEN finalists/favorites I chose will belong to me. That means, I reserve and hold the sole right to do whatsoever I want with them which means I can publish them on this blog (crediting writer by stating writer’s name ) without informing the owner of the entries. I will not be responsible and I will not entertain any complains of copyrights infringements for the entries sent as I trust all entries sent to me is of original work.

2) This competition is open to all residents of Malaysia only. I am sorry to others living outside Malaysia! It’s open to anyone of any age.

3) Decisions made are final.

4) You may sent as many entries you like but please do not spam my account! Although only one prize will be given if you happen to win more than one!

5) I judge based on the substance in entries. So, even if you know me personally, you stand the SAME, EQUAL CHANCE the other participants receive. I do not and will not give you extra credits just because you know me personally ! Therefore, I shall not entertain complains on being unfair and cheating so that the person I know wins.

6) The contest ends on 27th June 2010 (10 a.m Malaysia Peninsular Time) . Any future changes of closing date and timing will be publish on the blog. It’s your duty to find out the closing date. I will not be responsible for entries that arrive late. There will only be a competition if there is more than 25 entries or the competition will be terminated.

7) Joining this competition means you have understood and agreed to the terms and conditions as well as the procedures involved in this competition. I won’t be responsible for any damage incurred by joining this competition.


I will short list ten entries I find most attractive and engaging. I will post the ten short listed names on the blog and I will also email the ten short listed participants a task/question which they have to fulfill using the address which the participants used to send their entries. I will pick only a winner from the final task. The winner wins the complete set of JUNE’s Backlot Books. I will post the winner’s name on the blog and it’s the winner’s task to check and see if they have won as well as to respond by emailing me their details I require to send them their prize. I do not CHASE winners for their mailing details. The runner up and the second runner up will receive tokens.


* Send your entries to with the subject June's Backlot Books. Don't forget to also state your name, age and state.

Thanks to all the authors who contributed to the goodies…