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    Top 10 Characters in 2011 – Villains

    Today is day four of Top 10 of 2011.

    Top 10: A Week of Looking Back….
                                    ………and Looking Forward.

    You can still sign up if you haven’t already, there is still time to participate. Just click on the banner above to read the details in the original post and sign up with the Linky.

    I was so excited to be invited by Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic and Lisa from A Life Bound By Books to co-host this event along with my very best blogger friends Jaime & Patricia from Two Chicks on Books.

    This was probably the easiest of all the posts to create, as I don’t feel too bad about forgetting villains. But wow, I really wish I had created these much, much earlier so that instead of fretting over who to choose I could have spent my time stalking everyone else’s posts.

    ***

    Today’s topic is “Top 10 Characters in 2011” and I chose VILLAINS. And why not? Villains are awesome. They’re what make us love the heroes and heroines even more. They’re the ones we love to hate.

    Without a villain in any of our paranormal or urban fantasy stories they’d be pretty boring. What would Harry Potter be without “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”? A cute story about a boy who went to magic school. Fun for pre-schoolers maybe but not as enjoyable for readers of all ages.

    We want someone to root against. We want someone for the hero or heroine to defeat in the end. We want someone to create that drama that we love, the tension and angst we feel as we read our favorite stories. Without the villain we’d have none of that.

    Now, not all villains are created the same. There are some that are the baddest of the bad, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. But there are also those that may have a chance at redemption. And still others who may not be quite good enough to be redeemed, but have brief flashes of goodness which make them sympathetic characters.

    These are the villains, the ones who shine brightly if only for just a moment, that I tend to love just a little bit more. Okay, well, maybe not “love” exactly, but definitely find more interesting.

    I always enjoy a devious, sexy, evil – but not so evil – villain. And if he happens to be a demon, well that’s even better.

    ***

    Top 10 Villains in 2011

    1.

    The Warden

    I don’t know anyone more evil than the Warden in the Escape from Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. I’ve read three of the books in this series this year and, by far, the Warden is the most villainous. Though I haven’t really had a chance to meet Alfred Furnace. I know he’d be way more evil. But I really, really don’t want to meet him.

    One look from the Warden and prisoners get lost in the soulless depths of his eyes. He instills fear in all who hear his voice. And he sends in monsters to kill without mercy. His cruelty is unfathomable. Yeah, he’s definitely villain number one.

    2.

    Avari

    Avari is a hellion. He’s power hungry. He’s greedy. He’s fixated on Kaylee. He loves to savor the memories he strips from those he controls. He takes pleasure in people’s pain. So, yes, Avari is no doubt a villain.

    There are no particularly redeeming qualities in Avari. But he is definitely charming. And interesting. And the fact that he sees Kaylee as being quite worthy of his attention shows that he has good taste.

    So, while I never could imagine being BFF’s with Avari, he’s definitely a villain I’d love to see more of in this series. And he’s definitely a villain I love to hate.

    3.

    Luke

    You may have seen Lucifer on my list of Book Boyfriends yesterday. Well, he’s also one of my very favorite villains. He’s both. He is a master manipulator. He is devious. He is spiteful. He is vengeful. He is cruel.

    But he is incredibly sexy and charming and dangerous. And while redemption is probably the farthest thing from what he’d want or what he’d be entitled to, he is capable of doing good and being good, even if it’s only to further his evil motives.

    Luke is a villain I love to love. And no matter what he does in this series, I can’t imagine ever hating him. He can’t help who he is after all.

    4.

    The Magister

    There’s just something about the evil tinkering men in these steampunk novels that give me the heebie-jeebies. Well, the Magister is one of these characters – a twisted, sick-minded, creeptacular villain. The kind of villain that gives me the chills, makes me want to take a boiling-hot, industrial-strength shower just to rid myself of the ick.

    I can’t imagine anything good about the Magister. I don’t claim to understand his motives. I don’t know that even if I did, I’d sympathize. His creations, this clockwork army he’s building, are twisted and so incredibly wrong. And his strange fascination with Tessa makes me want to protect her.

    Yeah, the Magister totally belongs here in the top half of my list of villains. And no, I do not think he’s sexy or mysterious. Ewwww. No.

    5.

    Lucien Fallon

    There are a couple characters I have consider villains in this series – Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe – but I ultimately decided that while they aren’t model citizens, they haven’t crossed the line to being full-fledged villains. Yet…. I’m sure that will change as the series progresses.

    But Lucien Fallon is a whole other matter. He’s dangerous. He’s evil. He’s dead-set on getting what he wants no matter what the cost.

    While it’s in his nature to be a villain, to do all the things that he does, I don’t allow him the same leniency I might for a much hotter, sexier villain. Lucien is just bad news and a little smarmy. He’s an attorney after all.

    Which makes Lucien a villain that I absolutely love to hate.

    6.

    Warner

    There was much shock and dismay by most of those who saw Warner on my list of Top 10 Book Boyfriends. He’s not exactly great book boyfriend material. The whole imprisoning, torturing and forcing a girl in the hopes that she’ll grow to like him are probably not what most people consider lovable qualities.

    They’re not. They’re his villainous qualities. The qualities that make me love to hate him. But it’s Warner’s vulnerable side, the side that made me see just how much like Juliette he really is, just without that inner strength that makes her good, that makes him a possibly redeemable villain.

    And while he became more cruel, more evil, as the story went on, I still hold out hope for him. I have a love/hate relationship with Warner and until the author does something to completely change his character, he will always be one of my favorite villains and book boyfriends.

    7.

    The Machinist

    I would have loved to say that Jack Dandy was the villain in this story, but he really wasn’t. He was just an awesome bad boy.

    But the Machinist, who is hellbent on creating a clockwork army is seriously bad news. He’s one of my favorite villains that I’ve met this year because he’s one of the few that are just bad. Not sexy. Not redeemable. Simply diabolical.

    His clockwork contraptions are super creepy and extremely dangerous. And his motives, while not completely apparent, are definitely not pure of heart. No, the Machinst isn’t a villain that you love to hate, he’s just a villain you hate. And I really, really hate him.

    8.

    Evelyn Wilde

    There is another villain in this story that I wanted to include here. But as revealing who they are would be a huge spoiler for those who haven’t read the book, I chose to add them anonymously to my dishonorable mentions list.

    But Wildefire didn’t have just one villain. There’s Eveline Wilde. And she is definitely a villain. And the one and only female on my top ten list.

    Eve is powerful and violent, power hungry and cruel. She’s manipulative and deceitful and ungrateful and willing to do whatever it takes to win – even if it means taking down others who stand in her way.

    Where her sister Ashline has a heart, Eve has none. Where Ash shows compassion, Eve only shows contempt. In my book that makes her a villain. And I love, love, love to hate her.

    9.

    Cole

    Ahhh Cole. Cole is one of my very favorite book boyfriends. He’s got the whole sexy and charming thing going on. He’s a musician. He’s gorgeous. He’s immortal. But he is also a villain.

    He is manipulative. He drains the life force from others just to sustain and extend his own. He is secretive. And he would do almost anything to get what he wants. Especially when it comes to Nikki.

    But he isn’t creepy. He isn’t the darkest of evil. And he is definitely a villain that I love to love and hope I never, ever grow to hate him.

    10.

    Arawn

    Arawn, the Erlking, is another quasi villain. He’s the leader of the Wild Hunt and is controlled by the hunt. He’s power hungry. And he, too, is manipulative.

    He’s motivated by his need to be free from those who order him around. He’s violent. He’s dangerous. He will let nothing get in the way of what he wants.

    But he is also so incredibly sexy and smart, and not inherently evil. He manipulates, but not always in ways that will harm others, even if it is almost always for his own gain.

    While I see Arawn for the villain he is, I have never once hated him. And I do think he can be redeemed if he ever thought he might want to be.

    ***

    I wish I could have said Morganstern, though I haven’t read a TMI book this year, or a Harry Potter, so I can’t say Snape.

    There are a few other villains that I’d have loved to have included on my top ten list, but unless you’ve read the books you won’t know they’re villains. And I’m all about not spoiling things.

    So, I thought I’d give an anonymous shout out to those, plus a couple others that I think are bad news and deserve to be on the list, here.

    Dishonorable Mentions

    Unnamed – Soul Thief by Jana Oliver – If you’ve read it you’ll know! Were you shocked?

    Unnamed – Wildefire by Karsten Knight – Did you even guess? I had my suspicions.

    Unnamed – Supernaturally by Kiersten White – Knew it all along. But oooh. Unbelievable.

    Vivian – Hushed by Kelley York – for being all sorts of crazy bad.

    The Red King – Smokeless Fireby Samantha Young – for being evil and not at all sexy.

    ***

    This event ends tomorrow. Each day I have been posting a different list of top ten favorites. Tomorrow’s topic will be Top 10 Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2012, which I already know will be my worst nightmare. It’s not even 2012 and I know of at least fifty so far, so there’s no way I’ll be able to narrow that list to ten. NO. WAY.

    I’m also supposed to be coming up with year-end stats, but as I read only ARCs and eBooks I have no idea what page counts I have. However, I will have a very different number of books read in 2011 than the ones I have listed on Goodreads or on my 2011 Reads widget, because I don’t count books I haven’t also reviewed or books I’ve re-read in either of those places.

    If you’d like to see what the previous topics were, check out the original post or the update post for more details.

    ***

    NOTE: this is the SAME Linky on each of the Co-hosts Blogs, so please only enter your Name, Blog Name and the URL for YOUR Top 10 post of the day on one blog. Thanks!

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    The Crush List #5

    Here are a few books that I’m crushing on big time

    Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is a new and very delicate crush. It’s a crush that’s bordering on heartbreak. Not because the book itself made me break down, but the main character and the writing are what tore me apart. And I just know already that this will be a book, and possibly a series, that in time lands on Heartbreak Row.

    I’ve read it twice and would have loved to read it again if I had just a little more time. But I also need to breathe and the weight that presses against my chest every time my eyes absorb the beauty of the writing is a pain I just can’t suffer at the moment.

    Why I’m crushing: Breathtakingly, achingly beautiful writing. A vulnerable, fragile and broken heroine. A boy who is absolutely everything a boy should be. A love story. An action story. A dangerous world. A sympathetic, totally hot villain. One incredibly steamy, sexy scene. And a perfect ending that leaves you desperate for more.

    Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith is a semi-new crush. The book may have come out awhile ago, but I just discovered it recently and can’t stop thinking about it. Still. Nearly one month after reading it.

    The cover completely freaked me out. The trailer gave me chills. I did not expect to crush on a book that had me that creeped out before I even started it, but I did crush. I’m still crushing. Big time. For a book without a love story. A book without a hot guy. And a book and series without any real chance at happily ever after.

    Why I’m crushing: It’s dark. It’s disturbing. It’s edge-of-your-seat exciting. It’s horrifying, chilling and grotesque at times. The blood watch. The black suits. The Warden. The dogs. And most of all the wheezers. Can’t forget them. Even if I want to. And I really want to.

    Smokeless Fire by Samantha Young is a brand new crush and one I wasn’t expecting. I love the author’s writing and have a major crush on her book Slumber, but I was not prepared to fall for a book about genies or Jinn.

    I had serious cover love for this book, which alone would make this crush-worthy. But I never imagined that I would like, let alone crush on, a story about beings quite as exotic, or as evil, as Jinn. And yet, before I even got one-third of the way through, I was completely crushed.

    Why I’m crushing: Enchanting worlds. Magical, unique, intriguing abilities. Dark and dangerous enemies. Hidden agendas. Secrets. Not one but two scrumptious boys to choose from. A heroine that can kick some serious a**. And an ending that will leave you hanging in the best possible way.

    Solitary by Alexander Gordon Smith is another new crush and one that I was hoping to crush on. I couldn’t just stop after reading Lockdown, even though I had absolutely no room for this on the pile.

    Any fear I had of the crush fizzling out quickly changed over to a fear of solitary confinement and just what was coming after Alex in his pitch dark, cramped cell.

    Why I’m crushing: Riveting, nail-biting, chilling and macabre. Even Darker. Definitely scarier. So much more grotesque. Confinement and isolation. Experiments gone wrong. The dogs. The black suits. The wheezers. The warden. The rats. The infirmary. The incinerator. And one very dangerous cliff to be left hanging from.

    Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst is my very latest crush. What started out as a cover and title crush grew, with every page I turned, into a full-blown crush by the middle of the book.

    I never imagined I’d add this to my crush list. Not with the premise being that a vampire was staked by a unicorn and somehow became more human because of it. But it turned out, in part, that the premise was the very reason this became a crush-worthy book for me. And while I may not have had an insta-crush, I have a seriously big-time crush now.

    Why I’m crushing: Cold, cruel, calculating vampires. Enough sarcasm and humor to make you LOL. And LOL again. A vampire with a taste for ice-cream flavored blood. A bad-a** heroine who grows a conscience. An arrogant, super sexy vampire boyfriend with a big mouth. And one absolutely delicious, drool-worthy, slightly stalker-y boy.

    ***

    I have one new book I am seriously crushing on, but because my review has not yet been posted, I thought I’d save it for Crush List #6. And I’m thrilled about the fact that two of my five crushes are on some of the most horrifying young adult books I’ve ever read.

    While I didn’t get to list one of my long-term crushes, I’m so glad I finally got to add a vampire book to the crush list this month. Even if most of those vamps themselves were more creepy than crush-worthy.

    Do you crush on books?

    What makes a book crushworthy for you?

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    The Extras: Teasers #8

    There are so many amazing books out there – released or soon-to-be-released – that have certain passages that just captivate.

    Here are just a few of those that caught my attention in the past month.

    ***

    There were quite a few passages to choose from, all of which tease, so it made things very difficult. I tend to love all things sarcastic, but decided to go for something a bit more on the steamy side without being too revealing.

    Because, I figure, if you want to know more, you’ll just have to read it yourself. This is a teaser after all.

    Alex and Aiden:

    Breathing became difficult as we continued to stare at one another. His dark waves had fallen forward into his eyes. He wasn’t moving, and I couldn’t even if I’d wanted to. I didn’t. Oh, gods, I didn’t want to move ever. I saw the moment he recognized the change in me. Something shifted in those eyes of his and his lips parted.

    This is one book that’s not all about the love story. It’s eerie so I knew I had to choose a passage that fit. And while I would have loved to tease something about the closet it would have been just too revealing.

    And so here’s just a little something to lure you into Frost House.

    Leena:

    Over the summer I kept thinking what good luck it was I’d stumbled upon Frost House that day. If I’d believed in anything more mystical than textbook facts back then, I might have wondered if it had been fate. I have no idea, now, if fate exists. But I do know one thing about the day I found Frost House:

    Good luck had nothing to do with it.

    When I think of the word “teaser” when it comes to this book, the first – and only – thing that comes to mind is Mirko. He is such an unbelievable tease.

    While there are many, many scenes which showcase just what a tease he is, I thought this one about a completely innocent training session was totally tease-worthy.

    Brooke and Mirko:

    We intertwined and melded our bodies together in intimate ways. I tried not to think about that, but there were moments when his warm breath blew across my neck, or his leg stroked the inside of my thigh, which kept the thought fresh in my mind.

    In this epic book there were a lot of wonderful scenes to choose from. From heartbreak to longing to despair, the entire story feels like one long tease. So I tried to find a passage that has just a little bit of everything in it.

    And because it’s a teaser, I won’t say who the boy is.

    Elisa and…

    Even more than the cold, I’m frozen by the sadness in his beautiful eyes, deep and true. He squeezes them closed a moment and breathes deeply through his nose. Then, with one swift movement, he cups the back of my neck with a strong hand, pulls my head forward, and presses his lips to mine….

    This book is romantic and charming and sweet with so many lovely moments that will just draw you into the story.

    But the biggest tease, and my favorite, has to be in the preface, which I’ve only included just a tiny glimpse at.

    Liz and…

    “Your boyfriend won’t mind if you dance with someone else?” a familiar voice whispered in my ear, barely audible over the loud, trancelike music….

    He pulled me closer before I could respond to the question. His arms wrapped around my waist, and I rested my head on his shoulder, closing my eyes and inhaling the sweet scent of pine coming off his skin.

    I included my favorite line in my review, which came from a much longer scene that I loved.

    Well, just to tease a little more, here is a peek at the paragraph right before that one line.

    Elise and…

    And I liked the feeling of being almost crushed, of being so much smaller than him, of his body enveloping mine, and of his mouth hot against my lips.

    It was tricky to find a short enough passage to tease without giving anything away about where this story is headed or just how this story ends.

    So, here is just a small one that gives a little insight into how Anya thinks.

    Anya and Win:

    I knew I wasn’t supposed to care what Win thought of me anymore, but I did. Had I known he was coming, I might have had time to steel myself against him. I might have refused him altogether. But my feet kept walking me ineluctably toward the table where he sat…

    As with the first book in this series there are so many beautiful passages. But since I had to choose something that teases, I thought I’d choose one that pulls you into this story right from the start.

    It certainly left me dying to read more. And yes, I am not revealing who the characters are on purpose.

    He’d moved in closer. While her eyes were closed, he’d stepped forward until the back of his hand brushed the bare skin above her elbow. The contact made her ache to close what little space was left between them. It stirred something deep within her. Every inch of her became super sensitive, her flesh reaching out for him, knowing he was the source of some unknown thrill.

    The only way to tease this book is with just how frightful and disturbing Furnace Penitentiary is. And since most of the book is set in Furnace, it’s all pretty much the stuff of nightmares.

    So, here is just a little something that hints at what Furnace has to offer its residents. And it isn’t even one of the more gruesome ones or ones that top my list of favorites. But it’s still seriously awesome.

    Alex:

    The wail of the siren cut out, and at the same time a thousand red lights embedded in the prison walls burst into life. I was plunged into a thick, choking silence, like someone had thrown me into a pool of blood. I saw the world in shades of red and black, and quickly found myself praying for night again. At least you can hide in the dark.

    As I mentioned just days ago, this entire book is filled with gorgeous, amazing and enticing passages. I listed one of my favorites in my review, but here’s another peek at just one more.

    Amazing, right? Do I even have to ask?

    Juliette and…

    Everything is on fire. My cheeks my hands the pit of my stomach and I’m drowning in waves of emotion and a storm of fresh rain and all I feel is the strength of his silhouette against mine and I never ever ever ever want to forget this moment. I want to stamp him into my skin and save him forever.

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    Review: Lockdown

    Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith was released in the U.S. on October 27, 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It is currently available to order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback, audio and eBook formats.

    The paperback edition, published on August 3, 2010 by Square Fish, is 304 pages.

    Lockdown is the first book in the Escape from Furnace series. Books two and three – Solitary and Death Sentence – are currently available. Books four and five – Fugitives and Execution – will be available in 2012.

    Goodreads description:

    Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries.

    Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.

    Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world.

    ***

    There’s not much to do to pass the endless days and nights in Furnace Penitentiary except wait.

    Wait out a life sentence. Locked away a mile beneath the surface of the earth in a cell barely big enough to lie down in. Wait in darkness so black it seems infinite.

    Wait for the next day of hard labor, cold showers and food that is barely edible. Wait to die.

    And hope.

    Hope that the gangs don’t notice you. Don’t choose you as their next victim. Don’t break what’s left of your spirit. And don’t beat you too badly that you require a trip to the infirmary. Because that trip is always one way.

    Hope you’re not forced to jump. Because jumping almost always ends badly. And won’t necessarily end your time in Furnace. Not high enough means a trip to the infirmary. Too high and it’s as if you never jumped. Get it right or you’ll wish you never even tried.

    Hope that a fight doesn’t break out that calls for a lockdown. Locked out and it’s over. Quickly. But not painlessly. Because the guards will come. And their dogs. Monstrosities that will tear you limb from limb.

    And pray.

    Pray that they don’t come in the middle of the night. During the blood watch. When Furnace is bathed in the glow of the red lights. When the sirens blare. And when the wheezers come, with their inhuman cries, their rusty masks and their dirty needles.

    Pray that it’s not you they choose. Because if you’re marked you’ll wish you had died. What awaits you is something worse than the Skulls cruelty. Worse even than the quick and brutal end promised by the dogs.

    Pray for death. Because when they take you, you almost never come back. But if you do, what you’ve become can no longer be considered human.

    ***

    Lockdown is the dark, disturbing and chilling story of the unimaginable horrors that face the young offenders that are incarcerated in Furnace Penitentiary. This fast-paced, action-packed and gruesome tale will keep readers who enjoy the macabre riveted.

    There is no love story in Lockdown. There is no real hope for these prisoners who may or may not have committed the crimes they are accused of. The threat from other inmates is minor compared to what the warden, the guards, the creatures with only a vague resemblance to dogs and the wheezers can do.

    This first book in the Escape from Furnace series introduces Alex Sawyer, who is framed for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in Furnace Penitentiary. As a backlash to the recent heinous crimes committed by children, adults are quick to embrace this form of harsh justice which locks these boys forever away beneath the ground. But what they don’t know, and don’t care to know, is just what cruelty awaits these kids.

    Alex is quick to learn that Furnace isn’t like any prison he’s seen on television. Failure to follow the rules can mean death…or worse. Getting injured is something to avoid at all costs. Getting sent to solitary for more than three days will break your mind. And even if you do everything right, they may still come for you.

    Author Alexander Gordon Smith has written a story that is exciting and terrifying and will leave readers on edge of a cliff, both literally and figuratively, as they follow the main character Alex through his induction into Furnace and his attempt to break free.

    The author paints a vivid picture of life in Furnace – one that is beyond horrifying. The stuff of the worst kinds of nightmares. Guards who laugh at the terror they invoke in their charges. Creatures whose only wish is to bite and rip and tear. A warden whose gaze is and depthless and soulless. And one where the darkness is far less frightening than when the red lights come on.

    This story is not for the easily frightened. It’s not one for the squeamish. But for readers who don’t mind a little bloodshed, Lockdown is an incredibly well-written, gripping and nail-biting adventure.

    Reviewer gives this book


    On a personal note:

    I have to start off with the cover. That thing absolutely freaked me out. It is the stuff of nightmares. Fortunately as I read the book I didn’t have to see its face. I would have if I had to set it down, but as this book was unputdownable, I didn’t.

    What I’m glad I didn’t notice until I was most of the way through the book was the back cover. If I had seen that it said that the walls were “soaked in blood” I would have been even more freaked out. Lockdown can definitely be called a young adult horror book, because Furnace Penitentiary is a waking nightmare and this story is disgusting and terrifying, but so unbelievably good.

    Anyone who reads this who has a very vivid imagination and takes the author’s words and constructs a visual will be horrified. I was. I still am. It’s Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Clive Barker all rolled into one story with a little Resident Evil thrown in for good measure.

    I liked the characters, especially Donovan, but it was what went on in Furnace that kept me glued to this book. This is definitely the darkest young adult book that I’ve read. It was really twisted. It’s cruel and scary and violent. And the tagline – Beneath heaven is Hell… Beneath Hell is Furnace! – just so perfectly describes the world the author created in this book.

    I was rooting for Alex, Donovan and Zee. Even poor Monty. While not good boys, they didn’t deserve the brand of justice that Furnace dished out. But as this story is a horror story I wasn’t very hopeful.

    While I won’t give any spoilers away, I will say don’t expect the perfect happy ending. But do expect to be left on the side of a pretty huge cliff. Fortunately book two is already out, so there doesn’t have to be a wait. And I couldn’t help but pick it up to find out what happened next.

    I love books that are dark, hellish and creepy. And this was definitely one of those. While it doesn’t cross that line into horror stories aimed at adults, it comes close. Some of the scenes the author describes in detail, but others are left to the imagination. So, depending on just how dark and vivid your imagination….

    Lockdown is the perfect start to this series. Not everything is revealed in this first book. There is definitely much more to learn about Furnace – about the warden, what happens in solitary, what a trip to the infirmary is really like, and what exactly happens to those who are taken during the blood watch. And I know I’m morbidly curious to find out.

    How I “discovered” this book:

    Lockdown is a “Just Discovered” just learned about book.

    I received an email from the online public relations team for the publisher, Macmillan, with an opportunity to receive a copy for review and host a giveaway. As I only like to promote books or have giveaways for books I’ll enjoy, or think I will, I made sure to check this book out thoroughly.

    I hadn’t heard of the author or series before. But this cover was… twisted… and disturbing… to say the least. So, of course I was intrigued. But the description really did a good job on selling me on this book. It was dark and kind of horrifying. And since I hadn’t really read any books for young adults that classified as horror, I just knew I had to review this book.

    ***

    Check out The Night Children, a novella about how Warden Cross met Alfred Furnace on Tor.com.

    And there’s all sorts of extras on the author’s website, HERE.

    Book trailer for Lockdown:

    ***

    This review is based on a finished copy I received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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    My Reading Pile #29

    I’m glad I posted last week’s My Reading Pile post on Saturday, because there were a few books that showed up in the mail on Saturday afternoon that would have completely changed my entire reading schedule if I’d received them before I created that post.

    Once again, as I did receive new reads in the mail this week, I would like to give credit to Kristi at The Story Siren who came up with the idea of sharing what’s in her mailbox each week.

    I received eleven books and one audiobook in the mail this week, which is pretty terrific, although I’m still missing the June charity items I’d won. I’ve had to split my bookish items into separate pics and piles because most of the ones I received from a trade were actually given away earlier in the week before I had a chance to take a picture of all my new books.

    So, from the bottom of the pile up…I received a signed copy of The Vespertine and an unsigned (I believe) ARC of The Springsweet from the author, Saundra Mitchell, from a charitable auction bid that I won. There are some lovely teas and other swaggy items that came with it, but I already cracked open that tin of teas and as this pile was already precarious I didn’t snap pics of those other items.

    I received a signed finished copy of Forgotten Souls from author Tiffany King along with some lovely little swag items made from the pages of the book. The book is beautiful in print, the sentiment is lovely and I’m excited to use the new bookmark to keep my place as I read all these amazing new books.

    Right above that is a finished copy of Hades by Alexandra Adornetto I received for review from Macmillan for participating in the trailer announcement earlier in the month. I will be reading Halo next week and Hades right after that.

    I won an ARC of The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler from that same charitable auction. It was sent to me directly from the publisher Razorbill, a division of Penguin.

    And at the top of the pile is a surprise audiobook of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan, that showed up courtesy of Macmillan Audio. I will be checking out a sampling of it online to see if it’s an audiobook I’d enjoy listening to, otherwise I have an ARC I received from the publisher awhile back which I’ll read for review.

    All these books in this next photo I received from a trade or two with Alex of Electrifying Reviews. While most of them were dupli-trades, the ARC of Crave is one I’m excited to have received and I can’t wait to read it soon. I love that cover!

    Well, that took a little longer than anticipated. Especially since I tend to be long-winded. I’m sure next week will balance everything out by zero books arriving in the mail! So, looking ahead…

    Here are the books I have in my reading pile this week.

    (October 2-October 8, 2011)

    ***

    First up this week is Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith. I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher, Macmillan, for review and I’ve been dying to get this moved to the top of the pile since I received it last week. I’ve actually been dying to read it since I first heard about it and posted that awesome trailer on the blog.

    This first book in the Escape from Furnace series has a seriously scary cover, and from flipping through the book, this story sounds pretty nerve-wracking and, well, terrifying. It’s set in a place called Furnace Penitentiary, which is “buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface.” Chilling.

    This is not the sort of book that sounds like it will be full of happy times, and I doubt I will crack a smile once, but I love dark books and if it’s as fast-paced and action-packed as the description and trailer make it seem, then there’s little doubt I’ll be a new fan of this series and will quickly devour Solitary and Death Sentence and will suffer the wait for Fugitives and Execution, releasing in 2012.

    To read an excerpt, courtesy of the publisher, Macmillan, CLICK HERE.

    Next up is Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I received a copy for review from the publisher, HarperTeen, and I’ve been dying to read this for weeks. Actually, I was clearly dying to read this for much longer as I’d traded for a few copies, all of which I’ve passed along when I got my copy from the publisher a few weeks back. And yes I got another copy from a trade this week, but I’ve already given it away on the blog. I don’t think I’ve traded for any other copies.

    I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this book, although I’ve tried to stay away from any real details so I can be completely surprised. The only thing I’m really clear on is that it’s amazing. I actually had title love for this book as it was awhile before I had a chance to see the cover in all its shiny loveliness. So it wasn’t cover love that initially drew me in.

    And it wasn’t the description, which I didn’t read until now, when I started writing this post. And it sounds seriously awesome. From the description alone I already agree with those who read it.

    A deadly touch. A society on the verge of destruction. Having to choose between being used as a weapon or becoming a warrior. Wow! I cannot wait to get lost in this book. This is one debut I am not worried about the hype exceeding the reality. The world sounds exciting, the main character’s ability is definitely intriguing, and I can’t wait to see the events in this first book in the series unfold.

    Wishful Thinking reads:

    The Future of Us is my wishful thinking read. The second I received it in the mail this week, I almost dropped everything just to read it. I have not yet read anything by either author, but this book sounds so amazing that I will be making room for it on the pile in the next couple of weeks if I don’t manage to sneak it in before then.

    I love the idea of two characters who are able to see themselves fifteen years in the future. Getting a glimpse ahead from 1996 to 2011 and seeing what their reactions are about their future selves sounds immensely entertaining. It’s been really difficult not to grab my wishful thinking read and just start reading.

    Those left behind:

    About the same as always, I’m roughly a week behind…plus. I’ve started Drink, Slay, Love but haven’t finished it, although I hope to be done this weekend. I’m midway through a couple other books from previous piles and finished reading a few more, though I haven’t quite made it to the review stage on those.

    I will definitely need to restart a couple of the books that I hadn’t finished and will need to re-read a few that I haven’t yet reviewed. I’m not sure that will be happening this week, but I hope it will be happening in the very near future.

    ***

    I did not manage to sneak in an extra audiobook, but I did sneak in a read that should have been back on the pile this week. I decided to read it early because I just couldn’t wait one more week to read it.

    I feel like I’m falling further and further behind, especially on my reading challenge, but I can only do what I can do. And with my two books per week adds, I feel a lot happier and less stressed than I did when trying to fit three books or more on the pile each week.

    ***

    Do you create a reading pile?

    If so, what’s in your pile this week?

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    Giveaway: Lockdown

    I received an email about this new trailer for the Escape from Furnace series and thought it was really awesome. I may have played it once, or twice….

    And I was offered the opportunity to do a giveaway for a copy of the book and to receive one for review, so I took a look and it sounded super cool. There are currently two books in the series and two coming out in 2012, so there’s plenty of time to get caught up.

    I’ve seen this cover before and it is definitely creepy, but creepy good, not creepy bad. And so I’m excited to get a chance to discover this one for myself.

    To read an excerpt courtesy of the publisher, CLICK HERE.

    The newly released and totally awesome book trailer for Lockdown:

    About the Escape from Furnace series:

    Books in the series – Lockdown, Solitary, Death Sentence, Fugitives (Coming in 2012), and Execution (Coming in 2012).

    Beneath Heaven is Hell….Beneath Hell is Furnace!

    Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface.

    Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world.

    Places to stalk:

    The author’s website or Macmillan’s author page

    Lockdown on Goodreads and Facebook

    What’s Up for Grabs:

    One copy of Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith.

    The deets:

    1. One entry per person.

    2. You must be 13 or older.

    3. Giveaway is US and Canada ONLY.

    4. Book will be shipped directly from the publisher.

    5. Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on August 31st. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on September 1. Winner will have 48 hours after notification to respond with their details.

    There is no requirement to like or follow. But if you’d like to spread the word that would be awesome!

    To enter, fill out the form below:

    Thank you to everyone who left a comment and who entered the giveaway. The contest is now closed.

    I will be running the names through Random shortly and will announce the winner here on the blog. Stay tuned…

    Random has spoken and the winner is….

    Congratulations Brittany! I will be contacting you by email for your address details. You will have 48 hours to respond or I will have to choose another winner. Once I receive your details I will forward them to the publisher so that they can send your prize directly.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and entering the giveaway. The publisher’s giveaway for Hades is still going on if anyone would like to enter.

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