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Solitary

    The Extras: Teasers #9

    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 so many amazing passages to choose from in this book. But I actually had two favorites that just stuck in my mind for days afterward.

    One is so unbelievably chest-tighteningly awesome, the other is kind of wicked. So, of course I chose the wicked one.

    Cole to Nikki:

    He put his lips against my head. “Heroes don’t exist. And if they did, I wouldn’t be one of them.”

    I found about twenty passages that would be just so perfect to tease. But some gave a little too much away. And others were just too awesome to reveal and would be better discovered while reading the book.

    I have a completely different quote in my review, something much more lighthearted and fun. But I couldn’t resist teasing this passage, which is one of my very favorites.

    Though to keep this a bit of a mystery I won’t say who the two characters are.

    Her breath caught, and she dropped her hand from his shoulder. “It’s been a year,” she said quickly. “God knows you’ve moved on.”

    He didn’t break her gaze. “God knows nothing.”

    It was so difficult for me to tease a passage that kept things rated PG. Because most of my favorite passages were H.O.T.

    And while I did find one passage that is deliciously perfect, it’s actually part of a much longer scene that is so unbelievably intense.

    But this is only supposed to tease, so you’ll have to grab the book to find out just what comes next.

    Katy and Daemon:

    Time seemed to slow, every second stretching out before me, tantalizing and torturing every breath I took. Waiting, wanting to show him whatever he was looking for as his eyes darkened to a deep green.

    One of my most favorite non-spoilery passages was one at the very beginning. There are so many passages that would be perfect to tease in this post, but I thought I’d choose the one that stuck with me right from the start.

    And of course it had to be about Will, because he is such an unbelievable tease.

    Tessa about Will:

    Will was beautiful, but he was not hers; he was not anybody’s. Something in him was broken, and through that break spilled a blind cruelty, a need to hurt and to push away.

    I was torn between choosing a teaser passage that was heartbreaking or one that was heartwarming. It was too tough to choose.

    Instead I chose a passage that was just written so beautifully and is just so completely true.

    Graham’s thoughts:

    Something about first love defies duplication. Before it, your heart is blank. Unwritten. After, the walls are left inscribed and graffitied. When it ends, no amount of scrubbing will purge the scrawled oaths and sketched images, but sooner or later, you find that there’s space for someone else, between the words and in the margins.

    This is another book of the author’s with some wonderfully graphic, dark and disturbing passages. And some that are just so unbelievably sad.

    It was surprisingly difficult to choose a favorite, but I think I found one that captures the spirit of this book perfectly.

    Alex’s thoughts:

    As soon as reality breaks, as soon as we are separated from the physical world, the cracks begin to appear in our minds. And through them seeps the madness that has always been there, flowing into your skull like a liquid nightmare.

    Choosing a favorite passage from this book was harder than I thought it would be. I included one with my review, but finding one that was a little different, but that didn’t give too much away, proved to be a challenge.

    I finally managed to narrow it down to three. All of which were utterly hilarious. And one of which is below.

    Pearl about Evan:

    He shifted the car into gear and peeled out. To her delight, he sped down the street at her favorite velocity: alarmingly fast. She upgraded her impression of him from “delicious breakfast” to “attractive lackey.” Too bad the Family didn’t keep lackeys.

    I found an absolutely amazing passage to tease in my review. But I decided, instead of going for a passage that is all about the author’s beautiful writing, this time I’d tease something just a bit hotter.

    As this is only supposed to tease, I end the passage just before the other character is revealed and just before things get even steamier.

    Ari and…

    “No!” She tried to get loose. “You are not kissing me you big l-“

    And quite abruptly her insult was swallowed in his kiss. His hot, deep kiss that shut down her brain and made her legs go like Jell-O. She felt a furious heat rush into her cheeks and swim downwards into the pit of her belly….”

    ***

    I thought eight was just the right amount of books to tease. Not too many and not too few. If I was all about the spoilers those teasers would be far more tormenting than what I’ve included, so I haven’t been too evil, have I?

    Though I have to admit, reading those teasers just now makes me want to re-read all these books again.

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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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    Review: Solitary

    Solitary by Alexander Gordon Smith was released in the U.S. on December 21, 2010 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 July 5, 2011 by Square Fish, is 256 pages.

    Solitary is the second book in the Escape from Furnace series. Book three – Death Sentence – is currently available. Books four and five – Fugitives and Execution – will be released in 2012.

    Goodreads description:

    Alex tried to escape.

    He had a perfect plan.

    He was almost free. Even felt the cool, clean air on his face.

    Then the dogs came.

    Now he’s locked in a place so gruesome—so hellish—that escape doesn’t even matter.

    He just wants to survive.

    ***

    The cells in Furnace Penitentiary are small. Those in solitary are even smaller. Solid walls. Pitch black. Soundproof.

    Except for the sounds of scratching from above. As if something wants in. Something strong enough to dent the heavy metal lid that locks you in a cell that is not much more than a hole.

    A solid lid that locks in place, leaving you no way out. And hopefully keeping you protected from whatever wants in.

    They say that three days is the most that anyone can survive in the hole with their mind intact. But what if you had to survive for thirty?

    After a month locked away from the light and from all human contact, with only nightmares for company, just who, or what, would you be when you were released?

    And if escape is the only chance you have for survival, how is it even possible to plan to break free if your mind has snapped?

    ***

    Solitary is the incredibly imaginative, unbelievably disturbing and downright chilling second installment in the Escape from Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. Digging into this novel after lights out is a sure way to bring to life the nightmares that exist in and just beyond the walls of Furnace Penitentiary that unfold page after gruesome page.

    In this sequel, the journey is darker, scarier and even more horrific than what Alex Sawyer encountered in Lockdown and is just as nail-biting, if not more so. And readers will quickly discover that the horrors that face the prisoners aren’t the only things crawling through the tunnels beneath Furnace penitentiary.

    Solitary picks up right where Lockdown ended, on the edge of that cliff as Alex and the other escapees attempt their prison break. But as can be guessed from the title, things do not go as planned and they soon get to experience the blackness, isolation and terrors that solitary confinement has to offer.

    And if Alex didn’t think things could get much worse than what he had to endure in Furnace, he was wrong. Dead wrong. Because the fear of being taken at blood watch is nothing compared to the panic that comes from witnessing just what happens in the infirmary.

    Like Lockdown, Solitary ends with a cliffhanger. But where Lockdown left things in a hopeful, optimistic place, Solitary does the complete opposite.

    Author Alexander Gordon Smith really knows how to grab readers, pull them into his macabre creation and make their blood run cold as they follow along with Alex as he is forced to suffer all the evils inflicted upon him by the Warden, the black suits, the dogs, the wheezers and the other atrocities that live in the depths below the penitentiary.

    Solitary is an absolute must read for anyone stuck on the side of the cliff with Alex at the end of book one and for readers who enjoy a fast-paced, heart-pounding, grisly and terrifying adventure.

    Reviewer gives this book

    On a personal note:

    This series, which I am totally in love with, is also so completely addictive. I finished Lockdown and I just had to read more. I couldn’t pull my mind out of this dark, gruesome and hellish world. I did not want to leave. I don’t think I could if I tried.

    I couldn’t just stop reading with Alex on that cliff. I wanted to find out how he ended up in solitary or if it was even him that ended up there. I wasn’t sure if Solitary was a continuation of his story or not, as I refused to read the description.

    The moment I finished reading Lockdown I purchased Solitary for my Kindle so that I could keep the story going. It was just so easy to pick up this next book in the series and fall right back into this brutal world.

    Even the brief rehash at the beginning, for readers who might have had to wait between each book’s release, didn’t pull me out of the story. Although it did give me a new piece of information about the main character that I didn’t have before.

    And I really, really wish I listened to the advice that was given in that introduction. Because with the way things ended, it would have been a much easier pill to swallow if I took that information to heart.

    I had to put Solitary down for about a week, so that I could read my required review books. But it was always in the back of my mind. And when I did pick it back up again, I started it from the beginning so that I could experience it uninterrupted from start to finish.

    I didn’t think I could enjoy this book any more than I did Lockdown because it was a second book and because I’d already met the black suits, the Warden, the dogs and the wheezers. I didn’t think I could be surprised again.

    But I was. Oh, I most definitely was.

    There were two new additions to this sequel that made it even more horrific than the first book. I will not go into specifics so as not to spoil any first encounters with these horrors, but they are terrifying, grotesque and incredibly chilling.

    And one of these new additions, that was only just briefly introduced in this book, keeps the anticipation…dread might be more accurate…going until the next book. I thought nothing could be scarier than the Warden. I was so very wrong.

    But it was the peek inside what was happening in the infirmary, the place only hinted at in the first book, that left me utterly horrified, repulsed and saddened. While this isn’t a story meant to break hearts, mine did feel a little squeezed when certain events unfolded.

    And while I cringed at some of what happened in the first book, I actually groaned and shuddered at some of the extremely vivid and fairly disgusting things that happened in Solitary.

    As fantastical as this world is, when you’re reading it, it just feels so real – as if you’re there with Alex experiencing what he does, seeing what he does, hearing what he does, feeling what he does…smelling what he does.

    What goes on in Furnace Penitentiary is nothing compared to what happens behind the scenes or even beyond its walls. And I find myself more than morbidly curious about what’s going to happen next.

    As much as Alex claims not to be a good guy, I can’t help but root for him. No matter how dire or hopeless his situation. And I am dying to find out what happens in Death Sentence. Especially after that peek they gave at the end of Solitary.

    You can pretty much guess that I did end up buying and downloading it immediately. And that I started to read it the second it landed in my collection. But as Death Sentence is the last book currently available to buy – the next book doesn’t come out until 2012 – I’m terrified that if I do continue to read it, I’ll be left hanging in an even worse place than I am right now. If that’s even possible.

    I cannot recommend this book, and series, enough. Maybe not to fans of happy endings, love stories, or heartwarming adventures. But for readers who love to be scared, who want to follow along with characters who are put in the most dire of situations, who want a book that really pushes the envelope on what it means to be afraid, or who just love an incredibly descriptive, well-written and exciting, if harrowing, story, then Solitary and all the books in the Escape from Furnace series are definite must reads.

    How I “discovered” this book:

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

    I heard about the first book in the series, Lockdown, through a promotional post and giveaway the publisher was offering to bloggers. As I don’t just auto-post anything here on the blog, I checked out the book to see if it might be something I, or my blog’s readers, would be interested in.

    I don’t know about my readers, but I was definitely interested in checking out the first book in this series.

    I loved it so much that as soon as I finished reading it, I immediately purchased Solitary, the second book, to see what was going to happen next.

    That was a pretty big cliff Alex was left on at the end of book one and I just had to get, and devour, this next book.

    ***

    If you’d like to check out my five-star review of Lockdown, click here.

    Click to read The Night Childrena novella about how Warden Cross met Alfred Furnace, on Tor.com.

    And be sure to head over to the author’s website, HERE, to check out all sorts of extras.

    Escape from Furnace series book trailer:

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    My Reading Pile #31

    Super slow week at the mailbox but still seriously awesome, because the book I did receive I’ve been dying to read. I’m glad I got it though, because my mailman left my packages in an unattended, unlocked box for anyone to take.

    As usual, I’m sure most of deliveries will arrive in Saturday’s mail, but I thought I’d post this before I checked and just save those bookish items for next week.

    As I did get a couple things worth talking about in my mailbox 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 am so excited because I got an ARC of Hallowed in the mail from the publisher HarperCollins this week. I was expecting it, since I requested it, but I didn’t know I’d get it quite so quickly and I’m stoked!

    I also got a swag pack with a Kindle skin of Descended by Blood by Angeline Kace. I think I entered every single contest out there to try and win this skin for my Kindle and my efforts paid off. I won one! I can’t wait to put it on my eReader now that I finally took the picture for my reading pile post.

    I also got some yummy signed bookmarks instead of the eBook copy of Descended by Blood since I had already purchased it, which is awesome because I just love signed swag.

    Slow bookish weeks are sometimes good, because my reading pile just keeps growing, and…

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

    (October 16-October 22, 2011)

    ***

    First up is Smokeless Fire by Samantha Young. I received an advance eBook from the author for review for her Smokeless Fire blog tour that I’m participating in, and which starts on Monday.

    I’ve been a huge fan of the author since she first introduced me to her The Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. While I haven’t had a chance to read all of her books just yet, I have purchased them. She’s just that amazing and her book Slumber is a book that I consider a favorite.

    So when she approached me about this new series she’s working on, I couldn’t refuse a chance to be a part of the tour and to get a copy of this book. I did take a peek at Chapter One and was excited to read more.

    While I received the eBook for review a week or so ago, I knew that I wouldn’t get a chance to put it on the pile until this week, but I’m so glad I finally get a chance to read it. And I’ve heard, from Jena at Shortie Says, that it’s awesome, so I’m super thrilled.

    I mean, a story about genies (or Jinn as they are called in this book) is one that I have not read about before. So this is definitely something new and exciting.

    Next up is Solitary by Alexander Gordon Smith. This is not a review book, but I just can’t help it, I have got to read it this week. I had received a copy of Lockdown, the first book in the series, for review and as soon as I finished it I bought the eBook of Solitary. I couldn’t remain standing on the edge of the cliff the author left me on. I had to know what happened.

    I read a couple chapters, but then had to put it down in order to read my review books for the week. But I just have to pick this one back up and find out what exactly happens to Alex. I refuse to look at the description in case there are spoilers of any kind, but since this is called Solitary I can pretty much guess what’s going to happen and it will not be good.

    I am super excited to read this next installment, but I have the feeling that when I’m done I’ll want to read the third book, and I have to try and pace myself because all books in the series aren’t released just yet.

    Yes there is a third book on the pile this week. It couldn’t be helped. I may not get to it before the week ends, but I’m really hoping to. I received a copy of The Iron Knight from NetGalley over the summer, but as I’ve been avoiding all eBooks until I tackled my print books, I haven’t added this one to the pile.

    I had actually traded for a print copy in the hopes that I wouldn’t break my NetGalley ban and still get to read it, but I haven’t yet received it. I might get it this week, in which case I’ll read that and stay true to my ban. If not, I will be breaking it so I can read The Iron Knight by release date.

    I mean, it’s Ash. How could I not read a book from his perspective? I’ve been Team Ash since the second I met him. And I’ve always been partial to the Winter Court Fey. So what’s not to love? And I cannot wait to read this book, as I adore this series.

    Wishful Thinking reads:

    Unearthly and Hallowed are my wishful thinking reads this week. I loved Unearthly when I read it courtesy of NetGalley last year. I waited ages for it to be available in eBook format so I could read it again and have it in my permanent collection, but by then I wasn’t able to re-read it due to my demanding reading pile.

    I would love to be able to re-read Unearthly and then read Hallowed this week, but it is really only wishful thinking as I have 20 books ahead of Hallowed on my required reads list.

    Those left behind:

    I’ve started reading The Line, which I hope to finish this weekend. But due to the fact that I ended up re-reading Shatter Me and was just so affected by it, I did not get a chance to read The Future of Us.

    I still have a few books from earlier piles that I am trying to sneak in, but I may just designate next week’s pile for “back on the pile” books rather than new reads so that I can try and catch up.

    ***

    For a while over the summer I thought I was starting to feel a little reading burnout. But now that fall’s here, all I want to do is read. And I realize that it wasn’t burnout, but that I typically read less over the summer because I like to be outside, doing stuff. Now that the darkness comes earlier and the days are shorter, I want nothing more than to get lost in a great book.

    I decided to try for three books this week because I’m hopeful that my renewed interest in reading will encourage me to read more…and faster. The speed at which I read always seems to be the biggest problem for me.

    ***

    Do you create a reading pile?

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

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