Book Interviews, Books, Interviews

Exclusive interview- ten questions with Julie Kagawa (The ‘Blood of Eden’ series)

Julie Kagawa was nice enough to do an exclusive interview for Lytherus about her amazing Blood of Eden series, of which the last book, The Forever Song, hit shelves on April 15th. We asked Julie about the characters and world of the Blood of Eden books, as well as what she’s been reading, how she writes, and more. Warning, we talk general plot points that are relevant in more than the first book, so their may be some spoilers for those who haven’t read further than that.

Enjoy!

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forever song1- In your own words, summarize the Blood of Eden series for those who haven’t read it.

Sixty years after a devastating virus wiped out most of Earth’s population, vampires now rule the world. Seventeen year old Allison Sekemoto lives in a vampire city, hunted and starving, but unable to leave because of the mutant rabids that roam the land after dark, killing all they come across. She hates the vampire overlords, and refuses to submit to them even though it would make her life easier. Until one night she is fatally attacked by rabids, and a mysterious stranger appears with a choice: die as a human, or become a vampire. Now the creature that she once despised, Allie must struggle to hold onto her humanity, to not succumb to the monster within. Her journey takes her across a plague ravaged America, battling rabids, human raiders, a vampire king who is more than he appears, and a terrifyingly insane Master vampire who possesses the secret to destroying the world.

2- This is such an interesting world. Take us into the creation of the premise, with the vampire cities, Red Lung virus, and all the supporting elements. It’s like combining two types of story into a wonderful blend of both. Were there any challenges with this?

Well, originally, I wasn’t going to write a vampire book. I was finishing up the Iron Fey series, and I wanted to do something a bit darker for my next series. I had this idea for a bleak, post-
apocalyptic world where a plague had wiped out most the population, but didn’t really have a plot for it…until my agent suggested I might try writing a vampire series. Then I wondered: what would happen if I combined the two–vampires and post-apocalyptic–and from that, the Immortal Rules was born.

3- I really enjoyed Allie and Zeke’s story. There was a lot of trust that went into their relationship, and a lot of hope and support. Was it challenging, writing their love, with her as a vampire and he a human, and the dynamics with that? Was it hard as a writer to shift that once he was changed?

I think the most challenging thing about Allie and Zeke’s love story was making Zeke a gentle, loving, truly good-hearted badass, as strange as that sounds. In the beginning, Allie is still struggling with her monster side. She was cynical and jaded, and doesn’t really think she could be redeemed. She needed someone like Zeke to believe in her, to show her she wasn’t a demon, and that there was still good in the world. He was the reason she fought for her humanity, to be worthy of the love of a human. When Zeke was Turned, the roles were reversed. Allie was now the teacher; she had to show Zeke that he wasn’t a monster, and she was able to do so because he had taught her, back when he was human.

4- Your villain is pretty bonkers. Though there are lots of obstacles against the protagonists, Sarren is the over-arching baddie. Talk to us about getting inside his head and what it took as a writer to bring him to that level (I’m thinking how lethal he is with the torture and messing with the mind)

Oh, Sarren was a fun and but extremely complex character to write. I needed a villain that was truly scary, one that would even challenge three very strong vampires. And to me, the scariest villains are the ones that are not only extremely smart, but also have valid reasons for the things they do. Sarren is psychotic and insane, but he was driven that way by Kanin’s betrayal. He believes the world is corrupt and twisted and full of evil, beyond redemption, so better to hit the reset button and let everything start over. There are methods to his madness; he doesn’t do anything without reason, which makes him a realistic and more frightening villain. And of course, because he is also brilliant and a master of manipulation, he knows how to push the character’s buttons, how to hit them hardest and make them question everything.

5- Though I really loved Allie, I thoroughly enjoyed the side characters of Kanin and Jackal. Though totally opposite, they both added a nice breadth to the dynamics of the story. How was it developing these characters? They, to me, are the two sides of Allie that she’s constantly struggling with. Was that intentional, or did it just sort of turn out that way? Who was your favorite?

It was definitely intentional. Kanin represented the vampire who had made peace with his monster by living by his own moral code and striving to keep his darker nature under control. Jackal had made peace with his monster by giving into it completely and not fighting his instincts. Both showed a side that Allie could become, and both had compelling reasons for being that way. In the end, Allie had to choose what kind of vampire she wanted to be for herself. As for favorites, I honestly couldn’t tell you. That’s like asking a mom to choose between her kids; I love them both in different ways. ^__^

Julie Kagawa Author Photo6- With the vampire market pretty saturated these days, why did you decide to pursue a vampire story? Any things you did to try and keep the story new and fresh and exciting for readers who might have been a bit wary to pick it up?

Well, like I said, I’d told myself I wasn’t going to write a vampire book, mainly for those exact reasons. There were so many vampire books out there, I felt I didn’t have anything new to add. But once I came up with the post-apocalyptic bent, I felt pretty good about the story. I knew I wanted to bring back the old-school vampires, the vampires that weren’t nice or friendly or “just like us,” who could survive on animal blood. I wanted them to be more like the original children of the night. The creatures that caused people to flee inside and bar their doors when the sun went down. I wanted these vampires to be monsters. That, and the bleak, post-apocalyptic setting, combined with rabid zombies, bloody fight scenes, and an Asian katana-wielding vampire heroine, I hoped would be enough to intrigue people to pick it up.

7- Talk about your writing process. How do you get ideas to the page? Many of our readers are writers too, so any suggestions are great!

I usually have a beginning and the ending of a book in mind, and a high points I know have to happen in the story, and I write toward those scenes. But those “valleys” in between usually come to me as I write. I’ve learned that you can’t wait for inspiration to hit, because you could be waiting forever. You just need to sit down and write; ideas will come to you as you go along. If I get stuck on a scene, I’ll either slog through it, or I’ll skip that scene and keep going. I can always fix it later. The most important thing is to put words on the page.

8-Take us through a typical day for you. Any routines you need in place to help you write?

I get up. I do morning things, I let the dogs out to do their morning things. Then I head outside to feed the chickens and gather eggs. After that, I come in, go to my office and check email, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and various other sites. (Read: procrastinating.) Sometimes I’ll open Pandora and get some music started. Eventually, I’ll open the document from the previous day and get to writing. I try to write 1,000 words a day, every day, whether I’m “feeling it” or not. They don’t have to be a perfect 1,000 words, they just have to be on the page. Barring life and the unexpected, that’s what I do every day, until I’ve finished a book.

9-What have you read lately that you’ve loved? We’re always looking for new book recommendations!

I know I’ve been living under a rock lately, or maybe deep in the writing cave. My most recently finished books were Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Divergent by Veronica Ross, and The Fault in our Stars by the fabulous John Green. All wonderful, wonderful books, but I think everyone could have told me that.

10-What can you tell us about Talon, the first book in your new series coming out in the fall?

Dragons! It has dragons! Modern day dragons that walk among us in human form. And dragon slayers with guns. And a centuries old war between them. Did I mention it has dragons? Lol, sorry. I’m super excited for Talon, if you couldn’t tell. Dragons have always been my favorite subject; I’ve loved them since I was a kid. Talon tells the story of Ember, a dragon caught in the middle of a war, whose path crosses those of a young soldier and a rogue dragon, and the choices they all have to make. It’s not just a love story; it’s a story about war, power, blind prejudice, and what makes something “other.” There is a love story in Talon, but there’s also hate and betrayal, battles and death, heartbreak, sacrifice and, of course, dragons.

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Thanks Julie! Be sure to enter for a chance to win one of three sets of the Blood of Eden series!

 

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

The Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa is excellent vampire YA with urban fantasy & dystopian twists

Reviewing a series is not always easy. It’s hard to give opinions on all the books without giving too much away, for those who haven’t read the series. But I’m going to give it my best, because Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden is one of the best series I’ve read in a really long time, and I want to spread the word about the awesomeness.

I had never read any of Julie’s works before, even though I have her Fey books on my shelves (too many books, not enough time). But this series sounded interesting to me, and I thought I could at least give the first 100 pages of book one a chance. Nights of falling asleep with the book on my chest because I couldn’t stop reading followed, it was so good. And so followed book two. I’m so excited Lytherus is featuring these books, because if you’re a YA urban fantasy lover, they are definitely worth a read. Here are my thoughts on the books, one at a time.

First up is book one, The Immortal Rules. Here’s the summary of the book from Amazon:

immortal rulesTo survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what–and who–is worth dying for…again.

Enter Julie Kagawa’s dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins.

There are two things that really grabbed me about this story, and they are the things that should captivate any reader- an interesting world and characters I wanted to know more about. Immediately the world that Julie set up with vampire cities, terrible viruses, monster people, and Allison’s life in the midst of these things was really fun to read. I definitely felt some serious tension multiple times throughout this book, and she managed to write a world that felt fresh and new, and characters that, even in this unfamiliar landscape, still struggled with relatable emotions. Do we have the choice to change into vampires? Sadly, no. But Allie’s struggles with wanting to fit in and be human, and with her choice to turn, were still something familiar. The characters were great, diverse, and interesting, and I loved reading their story. Plus the unexpected romance developing between Allie and Zeke was a pleasure to read. I couldn’t put this book down and jumped immediately to book two.

BOOK TWO- DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY SPOILERS!

Book two, The Eternity Cure was as great as book one. The story continued smoothly. The stakes were higher, and the villain was something to be feared, for sure. Here’s the summary of book two:

51ZvKsoEUXLIn Allison Sekemoto’s world, there is one rule left: Blood calls to blood

She has done the unthinkable: died so that she might continue to live. Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie’s birthplace in New Covington, what Allie finds there will change the world forever—and possibly end human and vampire existence.

There’s a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago—and this strain is deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries, if Allie can get to him in time.

Allison thought that immortality was forever. But now, with eternity itself hanging in the balance, the lines between human and monster will blur even further, and Allie must face another choice she could never have imagined having to make.

This is where I really fell in love with the secondary characters, especially Allie’s creator Kanin, and her blood brother Jackal. Their dynamics of stoic leader and sarcastic ass were a wonderful balance to Allie’s struggles and personality. I really think the story grew some depth in this book. The roots we were exposed to in book one grew deeper in this story, and the stakes were higher — and I felt them too. There was a whole new level of fear added for; her and her kind, and it definitely brought new, scary things to the table.  Plus, of course, the awesome love story between human Zeke and vamp Allie. It was really nicely done, and it made me happy to see how they progressed. And wow, the ending was a killer cliffhanger. We are left with knowledge that Allie doesn’t have, and I was dying to see how Julie was going to resolve these story lines in book three.

BOOK THREE- DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY SPOILERS!

I have a few mixed emotions about book three, The Forever Song. I liked it, and I’m glad I read it, but it didn’t surprise me as much as the other two books did. I’m happy the plot went the direction it did, but I saw it coming, which didn’t happen nearly as much in the first two books. But I was invested in these characters thanks two the first two books, and I was really happy to see how their story played out. Overall, I think it was an excellent end to the series.

Here’s the description of book three:

forever songVENGEANCE WILL BE HERS

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster?

With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

MONSTER

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

Like I said above, it was a great end to the series. The villain Sarren was a serious freak, and definitely written well. What he put the main characters through was definitely emotionally stressful. Though I saw some of it coming, mainly the whole plotline with Zeke, it was the direction I wanted the story to go, so I was happy to tag along for the journey. A lot of this book involved traveling, so there was time to get introspective with the characters. Allie’s and Zeke’s personal struggles were fantastically done, and I think we can all relate to the choices they made, in our own way. How do we want to be as people? How do we let the good in us win out over evil? And of course the ending was very satisfying. I don’t want to say too much and give anything away, but I’m really glad I read these books all the way to the end, and I’ll definitely be recommending this series to my YA-loving friends. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t yet!

Book Editorial, Book Events, Book Interviews, Book Reviews, Books, Editorials, Events, Featured Author Week, Interviews, Reviews

Featured Author Week: Julie Kagawa (‘Blood of Eden’) visits Lytherus!

 

FAW Julie Kagawa Author Photo

Julie Kagawa will be joining us at Lytherus as our featured author of the week! As part of her stay, the staff of Lytherus will be offering a review of her Blood of Eden series (The Immortal Rules, The Eternity Cure,  and The Forever Song), in addition to giveaway copies, a guest post, and an exclusive interview with the author!

What’s the series about? Here’s the summary of the first book, The Immortal Rules:

immortal rulesTo survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what–and who–is worth dying for…again.

Enter Julie Kagawa’s dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins.

To help make navigating this week’s awesome content easier, here’s a full breakdown and schedule of what to expect from Julie Kagawa’s stay:

Looking for more of your favorite authors’ featured author weeks? View our past archive of featured authors, with a stellar lineup including Brandon Sanderson, Leigh Bardugo, Marissa Meyer, and more!

 

Book Editorial, Books, Editorials

Guest Post: Lissa Price talks about going from fan girl to author at cons

For our last post for the Lissa Price Featured Author Week Lissa talks about what it’s like to go from con fangirl to published author sitting on a panel with some of her favorite writers, and about an awesome anthology she’s a part of with the possibility of winning an award. Take it away Lissa!

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Going From Fan to Author at WorldCon

photo-144 Tight CropBefore I was a published author, I went to several of the legendary WorldCons, the major convention where the Hugo Awards are presented. I loved listening to authors like George RR Martin and Neil Gaiman read. I met Cory Doctorow in a kaffeeklatsch and even got to have tea with Neil and a few other fortunate members.

That was fantastic and inspiring. Then, once I became a published author, I got to participate on panels side-by-side with such established, award-winning authors as Nancy Kress, Jay Lake, Charlie Stross, Harry Turtledove and more.

So I’m excited about the possibility of attending LonCon3, the next WorldCon set in London. As a bonus, I am in the Campbellian Anthology, an online collection of samples by the writers eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.  The first part of Starters is there, as well as “Portrait of a Spore,” a short story that is otherwise exclusive to the Starters paperback. This book, edited by M. David Blake, is available for a free download for a limited time – it may end after March 31st, the deadline for nominations. Even if you are not a member eligible to nominate, you can enjoy the anthology which has over a hundred new writers.

The Campbell Award is given to the best new writer whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published within the two previous calendar years. I’m in my second and last year of eligibility to be nominated for this award, with endorsements by Grandmaster Harlan Ellison, Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures and Unbreakable) and David Gerrold, Hugo and Nebula winner for The Martian Child and screenwriter for Star Trek (The Trouble with Tribbles).

The prize is named in honor of science fiction editor and writer John W. Campbell, whose science fiction writing and role as editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact made him one of the most influential editors in the early history of science fiction.

http://stupefyingstories.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/announcing-2014-campbellian-anthology.html

http://io9.com/a-trove-of-great-science-fiction-and-fantasy-free-for-1514412496

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Thanks Lissa! Be sure to check out the links, and don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Lissa’s books! 

 

 

Book Interviews, Books, Interviews

Interview: Lissa Price talks about her ‘Starters’ world in this exclusive interview!

Lissa Price was awesome enough to sit down with us and answer some questions about her series,  her characters, her writing process, what she’s reading, and more! Enjoy this exclusive interview. Now, without further ado, take it away Lissa!

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lissa price1: For those who are unfamiliar with you, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m the author of the YA science fiction thriller series STARTERS and ENDERS. I live in the hills in Southern California minutes away from Hollywood, so my life is a mix of wildlife neighbors and preview screenings with directors.  I’m a fan of Walking Dead, Christopher Nolan, and the French series, Les Revenants (The Returned).

2: In your own words, can you give us a little summary of the Starters/Enders world?

The premise of Starters is that after the Spore Wars, which wiped out all people between the ages of 18 and 60 who did not get the vaccine, desperate teens — Starters — rent out their bodies to seniors, called Enders, so they can be young again temporarily.

Starters without any grandparents, like Callie, my main character, would be assigned to workhouses. Instead, she chooses to squat in abandoned office buildings with her little brother Tyler until they are smoked out by the marshals. That drives Callie to seek out Prime Destinations, where she rents out her body to earn money to feed her brother. But she realizes something has gone wrong when she wakes up in the life of her rich renter and discovers her body is being used to assassinate a senator.

3: I’ve heard you talk about this before in interviews, but for our readers, can you talk about how you were inspired to write about the science behind the books (I’m thinking of the vaccine thing we talked about at CC last year)?

I got the idea for Starters at my local Costco. I went to the pharmacy to get a flu shot but there wasn’t enough vaccine for everyone. So, the US government had set up a triage system. The very young and the elderly, and of course the infirm, were to get the vaccine first. It looked like a dystopian future with long lines of people in Costco, hoping to score the injection. I left without the shot. But I thought, wow, what if this was a devastating disease and the only ones left were the weakest members of society? What kind of world would that be?

4: Take us through the process of developing a world based around the Spore wars and the subsequent results.

So I had the landscape of only the Starters and Enders, for the most part. A few Middles existed due to the black market or special favors to get the vaccine, but mostly you don’t see them.  I looked for the conflict between the young and the old, taking elements of what I see in the world around me and then exaggerating the conflict for dramatic effect.  Everything I built in the Starters world came out of necessity – I never built something because I thought it would be cool.

starters-pb5: You have a lot of love aspects in these two books. The big surprise at the end of book 1 really shocked me (and many other readers), and adding in Hayden to book two ups the ante even more. Talk to us about how you decided to the path of Callie’s love life in the midst of all of this turmoil.

Thanks. I love hearing from readers when they get to that part of the book. I get tweets saying “Everyone in my train car just stared at me because I gasped out loud!”

The love story is absolutely essential to the plot of the story, something that is pretty clear when you get to the end of Starters and definitive once you get to the end of Enders. Remove it and the story loses the scaffolding. Blake has to be there, he’s not just a subplot love story. Hyden in book two, same thing. Michael’s role is also important, but because of the part he plays, he doesn’t get as much time on the page in book one.  And Callie’s reactions to these guys is key to her development.

6: You have some interesting technology in these books. There’s the ability to hop into other people’s bodies, and then mind-controlling metal chips and all that they can do. Take us into the exploration and development of the awesome technology of the world.

I did a lot of research on the brain and then pretty much tossed it aside to go with my gut. I start with what I see is possible already – how minds can control robotic hands – and then take it further. So, in the story, Prime Destinations (which the Starters call the Body Bank) has the technology to allow for Enders to control a Starters’ body. A chip implanted in the Starter makes the connection. As the video trailer (insert link) says: “It’s as easy as going to sleep.” As a writer, I don’t want to bog down the pace with lengthy technical jargon – this is the conceit that the reader has to accept in the first few pages.

7: Callie has an interesting journey from the start of Starters to the end of Enders. What was it like developing her story? Did she as a character come naturally to you? What’s your favorite thing about Callie?

I liked that Callie was just a normal, middle-class girl with a home and family who found herself now living on the streets, scrounging for food and water, and trying to protect her brother. I think she shows my younger readers that no matter how bad things get, you have the courage and the skills to survive. She came very naturally to me, although some of her changes surprised me. My favorite thing is that no matter what horrible, crazy, mind-twisting thing I throw at her, she always gets back up, stronger than ever.

enders8: Tell us about your writing process. Walk us through a typical day. Do you outline a lot, or do you try and let the story flow as you’re writing?

When I’m working on a manuscript, I am at it all day, breaking for meals and exercise. I work late into the night because I’m a night person.  My writing process goes like this. I think about the story for a long time. I’ll sketch out ideas, make notes, visualize scenes. Then I write a synopsis.  I’ll have the main twists, key scenes, the ending. I work on that for a few weeks before I start writing chapter one. I try to stay loose, knowing that this is a charcoal sketch and I will go back later and change the lines. I will make scene notes on notecards that I put on a board. I have friends who use a computer program to do this but I prefer to do this manually. I spend so much time at a keyboard, it’s a pleasure to be able to stand and move cards around. Then, as I write, I use the headlight method. I know that I’m driving from L.A. to Philly, and that I’ll stop in one city on the way, but each night I can see as far as my headlights go. So you go page by page, listening to the characters, judging what they would do. It’s kind of a hybrid method.

9: What’s up next for you? Any new projects you are working on?

I have two projects that I’d love to talk about but cannot announce. I’ll just say that I’m very excited about both of them.

10: What’s on your reading shelf right now? Anything you’ve read recently that you’d recommend? We’re always looking for great books.

My to-read stack is more like a roomful of books, but I’m currently reading GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by Andrew Smith. I just finished S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst and loved it.

Any final comments?

I’m so appreciate of the support of my fans. Readers can always reach me via my website: www.lissaprice.com and follow me on Twitter @Lissa_Price and LissaPriceAuthor on Tumblr and LissaPriceAuthor on FB

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Thanks Lissa! Be sure to check her out on her social media sites mentioned above, and don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a copy of each of her books! 

Book Events, Books, Events

Giveaway: Win A SIGNED copy of ‘Starters’ and an audiobook of ‘Enders’!

starters enders

For the Lissa Price Featured Author Week the author was kind enough to donate some amazing prizes for us to give away. There are two books up for grab, so be sure not to miss one! Not sure what the books are about? Be sure to check out our review of the series! 

Our giveaway process is simple, but unfortunately only open to residents of North America (sorry, international fans!). If you’re under 18, please make sure to get your parents’ permission to enter the giveaway. You can earn a total of six entries in the giveaway:

  • ONE entry for simply entering the giveaway
  • TWO entries for following us on Twitter
  • TWO entries for “liking” us on Facebook
  • ONE entry for talking about the giveaway on Twitter

The giveaways will stay open until Thursday, April 3rd , at 11:59 pm. Winners will automatically be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. The first name of the winners will be announced on this post and the winners will be contacted by a member of our staff to begin the process of shipping out your prize. Good luck!

First up? You can enter to win a copy of Enders on audiobook! Audiobooks are so great for drives to work, road trips, or even when you’re cleaning (all of these are personally tested by yours truly. I couldn’t survive without my audiobooks!). So be sure to enter below to win a copy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.jsAlso, do you want to start the series, or would you like to add a signed book to your personal library? You can enter below for a SIGNED paperback copy of Starters.  Thanks Lissa for this awesome prize!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js

 

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Lissa Price’s ‘Starters’ and ‘Enders’ are fantastic dystopian sci-fi

Lissa Price’s books are amazing. Simple as that. I’m so excited to be reviewing this series . Starters blew me away when I read it, and I was so excited to get my hands on Enders, which didn’t disappoint either. Lissa’s strong writing and creative world sucked me in, and I was happy to stay there for a while. If you want some awesome dystopian sci-fi, this series is for you!

Because there are two books to summarize here, I’m going to use the official summaries for the stories:

starters enders

A riveting sci-fi dystopic thriller and series launch from the author of ENDERS.

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie.
Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter.
Callie soon discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than she could ever have imagined. . . .

The riveting conclusion to the sci-fi thriller STARTERS!
Someone is after Starters like Callie and Michael—teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations—Starters who can be controlled and manipulated. With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life—but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too . . . and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?

No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.

When talking to Lissa about the initial idea of this book, she mentioned vaccinations and how when something first comes up it’s the young and old who get covered first. This concept led to the idea that all the others in between die, and the vaccinated are all that are left. What a terrifying world that would be, where there is no middle person. Lissa takes it one step further with the futuristic science, and I absolutely loved the idea of renting out a body. It made me think about what I would do in that situation (though, if this really happened, I’d be dead, as I’m in the in-between age), whether I’d offer up my body to be used, completely out of my control. But like so many of the young, there wasn’t really a choice if they wanted to survive and not waste away in the only other options, which were all terrible. This thought-provoking world was fun to play in, and I enjoyed the different scenarios that Callie was thrust into.

There were also a bunch of surprises in both books that I didn’t see coming, things that totally caught me off guard and had me gasping out loud. Don’t expect the expected in this series, for sure. Lots of great romance, suspense, and and unexpected twists and turns. It’s hard to review a series without giving too much away, but if you really love dystopians, and enjoy weird science, strong characters, and great romantic surprises, this series is for you!

Book Editorial, Book Events, Book Interviews, Books, Editorials, Events, Featured Author Week, Interviews

It’s Lissa Price (‘Starters’/’Enders’) week on Lytherus!

price, lissa copy

Hi all! We got off to a late start this week due to some site issues, so we’re going to be featuring Lissa into the weekend. But we’ll still have all the awesome goodies you expect from a featured author week!

Lissa is here to talk about her STARTERS series, which began with STARTERS and finished with ENDERS, which hit stores in January of this year. This series has made a big splash all over the world, and we here at Lytherus are big fans of Lissa’s work.

Here’s a summary of the books from Amazon (warning, there will be some mild spoilers from book one in the summary of book two):

starters-pbReaders who have been waiting for a worthy successor to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games will find it here. Dystopian sci-fi at its best, Starters is a terrific series kickoff with a didn’t-see-that-coming conclusion that will leave readers on the edges of their seats . . .” raves the Los Angeles Times. In the future, teens rent their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. One girl discovers her renter plans to do more than party–her body will commit murder, if her mind can’t stop it. Sixteen-year-old Callie lost her parents when the genocide spore wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first–the very young and very old. With no grandparents to claim Callie and her little brother, they go on the run, living as squatters, and fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes via Prime Destinations, run by a mysterious figure known only as The Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to seniors, known as enders, who get to be young again. Callie’s neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her rich renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, even dating Blake, the grandson of a senator. It’s a fairy-tale new life . . . until she uncovers the Body Bank’s horrible plan. . . .

 

endersThe riveting conclusion to the sci-fi thriller STARTERS!
Someone is after Starters like Callie and Michael—teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations—Starters who can be controlled and manipulated. With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life—but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too . . . and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?

No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.

Here’s what’s on the list for Lissa goodies this week:

Weds: Summary of the features

Thurs: Review of STARTERS/ENDERS

Fri: Giveaway!

Sat: Interview with Lissa

Sun: Guest post by Lissa

Stay tuned as we bring you all of these wonderful things!

Book Events, Books, Events

Giveaway: Win one of FIVE copies of ‘White Hot Kiss’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout!

Harlequin Teen was nice enough to give us a whopping FIVE copies of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s newest book, White Hot Kiss, and we’re passing them on to you! What’s it about? Here’s the blurb:

whitehotkissOne kiss could be the last

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

Our giveaway process is simple, but unfortunately only open to residents of North America (sorry, international fans!). If you’re under 18, please make sure to get your parents’ permission to enter the giveaway. You can earn a total of six entries in the giveaway:

  • ONE entry for simply entering the giveaway
  • TWO entries for following us on Twitter
  • TWO entries for “liking” us on Facebook
  • ONE entry for talking about the giveaway on Twitter

The giveaway will stay open until Tuesday, March 18th, at 11:59 pm. Winners will automatically be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. The first name of the five winners will be announced on this post and the winners will be contacted by a member of our staff to begin the process of shipping out your prize.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Review: ‘White Hot Kiss’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout is sexy, fun, and a great read. Plus, Gargoyles!

I have to confess something: I’m late to the Jen Armentrout party. I got an ARC of one of her earlier books at BEA a few years ago (Half-Blood), and I never read it. Perhaps it was the cover, or perhaps it just fell down the list as more things rolled in (honestly, a little of both). So when Harlequin Teen reached out to me about featuring Jen and some of their other authors I was excited to be able to read one of her books. Plus, gargoyles!

whitehotkissIn Layla’s world, Gargoyles are good, Demons are bad. Gargoyles are the Warderns against the evil Demons, tasked with taking them down and keeping humanity safe. But Layla is unusual: she’s half Gargoyle, half Demon. She was raised by the Wardens, and supports all they stand for, but is constantly at war with her Demon side. Plus, she’ll kill anyone she kisses who happens to have a soul. Like the hottie Warden Zayne she’s grown up with and has pretty much been in love with her whole life.

Enter Roth, a super sexy demon, who befriends Layla and starts to show her that not only are Demons not all that she thought, but that the Wardens aren’t either. These truths rock the foundation of all she has ever known. And as she learns more about her role in both worlds, more becomes at stake, including her heart. Did I mention that she can kiss Roth because he’s a Demon and has no soul? Yeah.

Jen’s reputation as writing steamy books with fun fantasy elements preceded this book, and I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed. This book was really easy and fun to read. I enjoyed the characters, the world, and the love triangle. And I, like most avid YA fans, are over love triangles as a whole. So that’s saying something.

The romance elements were HOT! The sexual tension with both boys was done really well, and it was a blast to experience her dilemma. I also loved the idea of something with gargoyles, and I was intrigued with how the author was going to write about them and incorporate them into a modern world. It’s actually really cool what she does with them. The world she created is a really fun fantasy world to be in, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the plot! I was expecting it to be way more guys and not a lot of plot, but I really think this book was plot-driven, even with such a heavy romance element. The ending was enjoyable, and I’m definitely going to read the next one.

Tip of the hat to you, Jennifer Armentrout. Your reputation preceeded you, and it did not let me down. I’m definitely going to read some of her other series to hold me over until the next book in this series comes out. But I feel that it’s safe to say that Jen fans will not be disappointed in this book.