Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Book Day to Jodi Meadows, Shannon Hale, Diane Zahler, and FFXIII!



(This will be one of only two scheduled non-Cinderella-themed blog posts this week!)

What new releases are you most excited about this week? For me...


Happy Book Birthday to some amazing books this week:



INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows

I both can't wait to review this book for you and live in fear of reviewing this book for you.  Because it's so good, so amazing.  I'm afraid my review won't do this one any justice!

I loved it so much that I offered up my review copy as a giveaway this past weekend (The contest is now ended and initial winner probes are going out).  I'm hoping to receive my finished copy that I pre-ordered in the mail tomorrow!

I'm also thrilled to help celebrate Jodi's launch with the INCARNATE Theater Treasure Hunt.  Check it out and win some awesome prizes!  Here's what A Backwards Story is doing!


MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND by Shannon Hale

I love Shannon Hale.  I've had the pleasure of meeting this lovely lady twice and have all but two books signed by her.  The second time I met her, she told us a secret:  That she was working on the screenplay for her novel AUSTENLAND.  At the time, this wasn't widespread news.

Now, the movie has been filmed and will hit theaters later this year.  I can't wait!  I'm even more excited to dive into this second book!



PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS by Diane Zahler

Let's hear it for the fairy tales!  This is Diane Zahler's third middle grade novel.  While I don't expect to love this rendition of the tale as much as I do Juliet Marillier's DAUGHTERS OF THE FOREST, I *am* expecting to adore it for all that it is on its own.

I'm also enthralled with the fact that one of the agents I love and hope to query this year, Jennifer Laughran, now represents Zahler (She didn't before).



And belatedly...


Since I had no internet last week to properly list these new releases, the two books that I was most excited about were:


EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton

The other book I gave away this past weekend.  I love the cover for this one and am so excited to have one for my bookshelf.  HarperTeen has such pretty designs; how can there be an e-book version of this cover?  Maybe if it had animated smoke or something...


I will definitely be featuring this one soon for Mythological Mondays!




THE NEXT FULL MOON by Carolyn Turgeon

This is Carolyn Turgeon's debut foray into YA.  She has previously written three novels. Last year, I read and reviewed MERMAID and GODMOTHER for Fairy Tale Fortnight.  She also was kind enough to do an interview for the event (and dished some details about THE NEXT FULL MOON!).  I haven't read RAIN VILLAGE yet because I would have nothing new left to read by her...but now I do!

THE NEXT FULL MOON deals with the daughter of the girl who was the swan maiden (How appropriate with Zahler's PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS releasing this week!).  This was first supposed to release last August, but postponed until now.  I've been waiting quite anxiously to get my grubby hands on this one!



And while it's not a book...



FINAL FANTASY XIII-2

Because it still counts, right?  Especially since, um...you can buy a strategy guide book for the game?  And if you pre-order at Best Buy like I did, they'll  give you a book entitled  episode i for FREE!!  So it totally counts!

And I, for one, can't wait to get back to the world of Pulse!  I know a lot of people didn't like FFXIII because it was too "linear" and didn't really have the towns, but I enjoyed the story.  And I liked the sadness of the ending.  And I discovered the singer Leona Lewis through her song "My Hands" at the game's end (and shared the song with all of you last year here)


Did I miss something amazing that I must know about?  Let me know!

Things always come in Threes!

And thankfully, for once, this is a GOOD set of threes!

Why, you may ask?

1) My computer nightmare is nearing its conclusion.  I managed to get Safe Mode up Sunday night, and I installed the brand-new version of Norton (our old one expired last week, though this isn't why my computer went crazy, since that happened before the expiration date), and my computer loaded into Normal Mode!  *CROWD CHEERS*  I've since gotten everything onto my external hard drive and I just need to finish making a list of my programs, etc. and re-install my computer to factory settings and I should be good...for now.
But until then?  Right this second I am blogging FROM MY COMPUTER and NOT my phone.  Oh yeah!

2)  I brought home a new betta friend to replace beautiful Aria, who passed away earlier this month.  It was too dark to get a good picture tonight... Maybe tomorrow!

3) The new Final Fantasy game is here!  Which means that I netted two new books this week (a strategy guide and a special preorder gift in book form from Best Buy!).  I can't wait to re-visit the world of Pulse when I have a few days off next week!!

And.........yeah.  Fun threes!

Don't forget to check out my ongoing contest to celebrate the launch of Jodi Meadows' amazing debut novel, INCARNATE.  Create the winning caption, win an awesome prize, and be entered into Jodi's grand-prize drawing!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

INCARNATE Theater Treasure Hunt!

Welcome to the INCARNATE Theater Treasure Hunt!  

This week, 48 bloggers are celebrating the release of INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows by participating in a treasure hunt with clues, activities, and lots of prizes including signed books and handknit fingerless mitts. You've reached an ACTIVITY blog, which means on this page, you can gain extra entries for Jodi's grand prize drawing by completing my activity and filling out the accompanying form. Then head to the next activity for more INCARNATE fun! There are 22 INCARNATE activities around. The more you do, the better your chances of winning the grand prize.

For more information on the INCARNATE Theater Treasure Hunt, check out Jodi's post



See those cute knit dolls above?  Jodi Meadows fashioned them after characters in her debut novel INCARNATE!  Aren't they adorable?

Pay close attention to that picture because here's where the fun stuff comes in!


A Backwards Story is featuring a Caption Contest!

What do you think is going on in the above picture?  Leave a comment featuring your caption for a chance to WIN!!  (You must ALSO fill out the form at the bottom of this post or your comment will not count!)


In addition to being entered for Jodi Meadows' grand prize (which includes an annotated copy of INCARNATE.  Oooh, I'm jealous!!), you'll also win some awesome INCARNATE swag if your caption wins!! (And I don't care where in the world you live; the swag can go out internationally!  The best caption wins!!)



And don't forget to check out other Activity Bloggers!  Here are the next three on the list:





Good luck!  I'm really excited to see what you come up with!!

I also hope you fall as much in love with INCARNATE as I did.  It was one of the top three books I read in 2011 and is currently feuding with GRACELING over which book should hold my all-time favorite fantasy slot!  

...Yes, it's THAT good!

...So you see why you need to enter to win a copy as well as a ton of other amazing prizes?  ^_^ 

AGAIN:  You must fill out the following form AND leave a comment with your caption.   

Why both?  So that everyone can see your clever sayings, since the form is hidden!!
Good luck!
 

Week in Review & IMM


So, this won't be formatted well. I'm blogging from my phone since my computer is still broken.

This, of course, means I haven't done many features or reviews lately!  I just realized I can still do IMM with pictures from my phone.  I can also do mini flash reviews, which I'd been planning to do anyway, based around books I read a while ago and never got a chance to review!  So I'll try that out from my phone this week (and will apologize now for any typos...no clue how to spellcheck via phone!)

I did, however participate in a Giveaway Hop!  You have until tonight to enter to win lightly used (by me only) ARC copies of two amazing January debut novels, EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton, and INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows (which was one of my Top 3 reads of 2011!!!)  Enter here!

And to try to keep a semblance of normalcy in template...it's not as fancy, but...

GIVEAWAYS:

INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows
EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton
**Check back with A Backwards Story tomorrow for a special giveaway and contest! *zips lips*

READING NOW:

THE RIVALS by Daisy Whitney
(But I'll probably be done before this post goes live and reading either WINTERLING by Sarah Prineas or UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Ross!  Haven't decided which of the two yet!)

READ IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS:

(Maybe not in order...and may be forgetting stuff...because seriously, did I really only ready three books? Goodreads is harder to keep up with because it doesn't always load properly on my phone!)

*ALLEGIANCE by Cayla Kluver (Didn't love as much as LEGACY, sadly!)
*CANDLEWAX by C. Bailey Sims (Yes, finally finished!  For fans of Kristin Cashore!)
*EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton

RECEIVED IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS:

(It's too much work to do Goodreads links from my phone.  Sorry!!)

Also, here's a picture.  I'm also going to attempt to upload a (potentially crappy) phone-cam video to YouTube, but no promises!




Last Week:
*HALLOWED by Cynthia Hand [Purchased; previously read as e-ARC thanks to HarperTeen and NetGalley]
*FATED by Sarah Alderson [Imported from Book Depository from the UK; no US release date]
*LEFT NEGLECTED by Lisa Genova [Bargain Book]
*PARTIALS by DanWells [ARC from work]
This Past Week:
*EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton [Purchased; previously read as ARC (currently giving away) from HarperTeen]
*HEAVEN by Christoph Marzi [Imported from Book Depository from the UK; no US release date; originally written in German and translated into English]
*FORTUNE'S FOLLY by Deva Fagan [Bargain Book]
*EMBRACE by Jessica Shirvington [ARC from work]

And I surprised myself because the video DID upload...but the quality isn't as great!
YouTube Link
What did you get this week?  Hopefully for the next IMM, I'll have the computer up and running again! *fingers crossed*

Friday, January 27, 2012

Giving Away 2 Fab Debut Novels!!!

 

No, I'm not fully back online!  I'm doing this from my phone.  Please excuse any typos or weird errors or awkward formatting.  I'm hoping that my Blogger app properly uploads the photo I took and embeds code in the correct fashion.  Please let me know if anything's amiss!

Be sure to check out all the other sites that are a part of this weekend's Young Adult Giveaway Hop!


(If for some reason the above linky doesn't format/show up, please visit the blogs for our hosts I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Down the Rabbit Hole for a full list of participants.  Good luck!)



What has A Backwards Story chosen to give away?  I'm so glad you asked!

You have your choice of EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton or INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows!

They're both January 2012 debut novels...and they're both fun reads!  I liked them so much that I pre-ordered finished copies of both, and I hope you will, too!

You may remember me saying that INCARNATE was one of the best books I read last year (alongside THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern and DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver).  It's one of my all-time favorite fantasy novels and is fighting with Kristin Cashore's GRACELING for first-place at the moment.  High praise indeed, especially since I wasn't expecting to love it so much in the first place!  I cannot WAIT to gush about it with you!!

EVERNEATH incorporates mythology in a unique way.  The Greek myths we all know have SOME basis in fact--but not the fact that has been passed down in stories.  Two of my favorite myths are twisted up in this novel along with a fresh, new story revolving around the world of the Everliving.  It's so refreshing to discover a new paranormal being and not a rehash of anything in the market right now!  I can't wait to review this book for Mythological Mondays once I can do full reviews again!




And now, enter to win! (If for some reason, this form doesn't embed properly, just post in the comments below. Keep your fingers crossed that it works, though!)


Monday, January 23, 2012

Persevere and Carry On!

I apologize for how quiet A Backwards Story has been...and will continue to be.

I'm having computer failure issues and have to salvage and restore my hard drive. I might still wind up needing a new computer because mine has been on the fritz since the summer...but it's only three years old and shouldn't be necessary yet.

I will return you to your regularly-scheduled blog as soon as possible, but for now...it isn't easy blogging via cell phone!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Book Day to THE FLAME ALPHABET and HALLOWED!



(This will be one of only two scheduled non-Cinderella-themed blog posts this week!)

What new releases are you most excited about this week? For me...


Happy Book Birthday to two amazing books this week:



THE FLAME ALPHABET by Ben Marcus

I may have just heard about this one last week, but holy smokes!  (Plus, we totally need more dystopian fiction out on the adult floor and not just in YA!)

What would you do if the voice of a child was lethal?  Would you force your children to remain silent?  What if they didn't, couldn't?

Don't get me wrong, the book sounds disturbing--but it also sounds amazing!


HALLOWED by Cynthia Hand

Wait until you see this gorgeous girl in person!  No computer or camera will be able to properly show you how beautiful it really looks.  Then again, after seeing the first book, you already know this, right?  Especially when it comes to the beautiful shade of blue!

Thanks to NetGalley and HarperTeen, I've already read this one,  and I'm already coveting the final book in the trilogy!  I can't wait to review it for you!



Did I miss something amazing that I must know about?  Let me know!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mythological Mondays with upcoming releases THE SERPENT'S SHADOW and THE DEMIGOD DIARIES!!


Mythological Mondays is a feature I created to spotlight books brimming with--you guessed it--mythology! I adore this sub-genre and can't wait to share my love with all of my fellow bookworms! This feature isn't just focused on novel reviews; it may also include interviews, looks at original mythological tales, etc. Please feel free to do this with me! If you guys ever do a mythological feature and want to join this and snag my lovely mermaid, I would LOVE to see the feature. I’ve even included a Linkbox for you. It doesn’t have to be Greek mythology, or even mythology per say. It can be mermaids, unicorns, or heck, even fairy tales (because I’m too lazy to do a separate fairy tale feature…). It doesn’t even have to be every Monday. I’m sure there will be Mondays when I skip, too. ^_^

The cover for THE SERPENT'S SHADOW, the final book in Rick Riordan's Egyptian-inspired KANE CHRONICLES Trilogy, dropped exactly one week ago.  I've been really excited to share it, but had to wait until A Week of Cinderella was over!

In addition, Rick Riordan announced some really exciting Percy Jackson news!

I'm pretty darn sure that THE SERPENT'S SHADOW is my favorite of any Rick Riordan cover.  It's absolutely GORGEOUS:


(Click this picture to see the full size image!  It's HUGE!!)

What do you think?  I want in on all that action right now and can't wait until May!  This cover already has me shivering with excitement!

When I saw the cover reveal, I wasn't expecting the news that Rick Riordan plans to publish THE DEMIGOD DIARIES on August 14th.  Hopefully, this will tide me over until THE MARK OF ATHENA drops in October!  This will be a collection of short stories (Though it sounds like it's more focused on the stories than THE DEMIGOD FILES was...I hope so, at least!).  This is what Riordan says about the anthology on his blog:


*A story from Luke Castellan's point of view, from the days when he adventured with Thalia and Annabeth. Many people have asked me to write an adventure prequel to THE LIGHTNING THIEF. Here it is!

*A classic first-person Percy Jackson story, the first I've written since THE LAST OLYMPIAN. In this adventure, Annabeth and Percy's date is interrupted by the god Hermes, whose staff has been stolen by a fire-breathing giant. This cannot be good . . .

*A Leo Valdez story, set at Camp Half-Blood. As Leo builds the Argo II, something goes terribly wrong. Now Leo will need the help of Piper and Jason, or the entire camp might be destroyed.

*And, as announced on Rock Center, the anthology includes a debut short story from my son Haley. Since Haley inspired the entire Percy Jackson series, it seemed only right that I asked him to contribute his own original spin on Percy's world for this book. I was amazed at what Haley came up with. His brother Patrick, who's a tough editor, was quick to say, "Dad, his story is better than yours!" Haley ponders the question: "What happened to the demigods who fought with Kronos's army after the battle in Manhattan?" This is the story of one such demigod, and I have to admit, some of Haley's ideas are so good I wish I'd come up with them!

Are you excited?  I know I am!!!






Did you do a Mythological Mondays post?

Cover Crazy with designer Peter Mendelsund

Cover Crazy is hosted by The Book Worms. Each week, bloggers "admire the art and beauty of a book’s design, so I’m going to post minimal words. It is up to you to write how you feel and what you like about it the way you’d like to."

(This week's Mythological Monday post also features a book cover analysis, so jump on over for more book cover love!!)


Funny story:  When I took a technical writing course at the community college about a year ago, I had to create a how-to manuscript as the final project in the last series of classes.  I chose to focus on book cover design.  Good design, bad design, the elements of design, etc.  One of the designers I looked at and used as a "Good Example" was Peter Mendelsund.  I loved the way that, when I visited his website, it stated that he designed spines first and foremost, followed by book covers.

Mendelsund's style is unique and vast.  A lot of his covers utilize geometric shapes or bright colors; they're minimalistic, yet fun and full of clean lines.  And his spines!!  Oh, his spines!!  Because of Peter Mendelsund, I pay so much more attention to spine detail now!!  This past weekend, I was at the bookstore and saw someone about to buy A MILLION SUNS by Beth Revis.  I kind of squeed and said I'd bought it, too, and was excited to read it.  We started talking about books we liked in the genre and she mentioned a book I had actually heard of entitled THE FLAME ALPHABET by Ben Marcus.  The book was in stock, and as I looked at it, I thought to myself, "Hmm, this looks a lot like something Peter Mendelsund would design."  I flipped to the inside back flap and--wouldn't you know--Peter Mendelsund designed it!!  I was incredibly pleased with myself.  This is also a sign of how memorable the designer's style is.

I'd like to spend today's Cover Crazy honoring this talented, successful designer with a look at several of his covers (starting, of course, with the most popular ones that had me looking at him in the first place!):



Various Covers by Peter Mendelsund:


The most well-known of Peter Mendelsund's covers! Look at the novel way the design bisects the title and byline.



Did you know that the iconic silver cover we all know wasn't the original design for the third book in this series? Take a peek at what could have been! My guess is that the publisher thought it was TOO dark and gritty for people to pick it up. It's a lot more unique, though, and I like the way the image again bisects the title and byline. The final cover doesn't match the first two before it as well as it could!!




The book that started me thinking this weekend!See what I mean about a similar design? I like the way the image is bisecting everything else. It looks like a craft project!(And the book sounds pretty darn amazing, too. MUST READ!)



These two also reminds me of something crafty!  They have the same violent edge the original HORNET'S NEST did, too.  Minimalistic, yet telling so much!


I could go on and on because Peter Mendelsund has designed so many great titles, but instead, I'll leave you with two of my personal favorites by him.  

For THINGS WE DIDN'T SEE COMING, I love the way the cover continues on both sides (I also love the spine for this one!!) and you have to look at it a few times to take the entire cover in.  

For THE INFORMATION, I like how you think the words are repeating over and over again, but then you realize that there are other lines in there you're missing.  I also like the way the most important lines are in red, so they jump out at anyone who doesn't think the cover's nearly as witty as I do. :-)

If you want to see more of Peter Mendelsund's designs, check out his awesome blog Jacket Mechanical  or follow him on Twitter @mendelsund!


What do you think? What cover are you crazy about this week?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Week of Cinderella Event Round-Up



Wow, bookworms.  Just...WOW.  You slay me.  Truly, you do.  When I first put together A Week of Cinderella, I thought to review a couple of books, have a few guest bloggers, talk to a couple of authors, and do my tour stop with CINDER's cover designer.  I wasn't expecting all of the support and outreach.  So many people wanted to take part...or had commitments, but wished they could.  A lot of you even mentioned that you'd like to participate in such an event in the future!  


I never really considered it before, but a week dedicated to Cinderella was definitely a lot of fun.  We really should do this again...though maybe not for a few months!  Maybe 2-3 times a year...?  What other fairy tales would you like to see featured in their own special weeks?


I'll tell you one thing: If we do this again and it's a heavy-hitter like Cinderella, we should have a two-week event.  I was really sad by how many posts got squashed together!  I'm hoping you didn't overlook anything, especially at the end.  We had some fabulous posts this week!


If you missed anything, please check out the Event Round-Up below!!!


The Giveaways

*CINDERS by Michelle Davidson Argyle [until 01/31/12]
*CINDER by Marissa Meyer [until 01/25/12]

(And while I'm not running them, get more chances to win CINDER from:
Confessions of a Common Reader
Mermaid Vision Books
...and various CINDER blog tour stops!)

The Blog Tours

*GIVEAWAY & CINDER Cover Design! In-Depth interview with designer Rich Deas
*Top 10s with author Julia Karr (TRUTH, XVI)
[Okay, this one wasn't for the event, per say, but since Julia Karr uses the term Cinderella Girl, it magically still counts!]

The Authors

*An Interview with Jim C. Hines (THE STEPSISTER SCHEME)
*Guest Post and Giveaway with Michelle Davidson Argyle (CINDERS)
*Interview with Sarah J. Maas (2012 debut author; THRONE OF GLASS)
*Interview with Zoë Marriott (SHADOWS ON THE MOON)

The Guest Bloggers

*Updating Cinderella into Modern Times (Guest Post with The Flashlight Reader)
*The Ultimate Love Story (Guest Post with The Romance Bookie)
*Learning to Appreciate Cinderella Through EVER AFTER (Guest Review with Mermaid Vision Books)
*CINDERELLA: A TWIST IN TIME (Guest Review with Tamara Felsinger/Uncharted Pages)
*MY FAIR GODMOTHER and CINDER at King's English Bookstore Write-Up! by Janette Rallison (Guest Review with Literally Jen)
*Cinderella and I/CINDER Launch Party (Guest Post with Kristina's World of Books)

The Reviews


*Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I'd Recommend To Someone Who Doesn't Read Cinderella
*Round-up of TWELVE Cinderella features & reviews over the lifetime of this blog
*Learning to Appreciate Cinderella Through EVER AFTER (Guest Review with Mermaid Vision Books)
*CINDERELLA: A TWIST IN TIME (Guest Review with Tamara Felsinger/Uncharted Pages)

*MY FAIR GODMOTHER by Janette Rallison (Guest Review with Literally Jen)
*PRINCESS OF GLASS by Jessica Day George
*CINDERS by Michelle Davidson Argyle
*SHADOWS ON THE MOON by Zoë Marriott
*CINDER by Marissa Meyer


The Special Features
[There were a few more I wanted to do, too, such as a ONCE UPON A TIME feature, but I just ran out of time!]


*How Cinderella Entered My Life (And refused to leave me alone)
*CINDER's Movie-Style Trailer and Marketing Campaign
*Cover Crazy: ASH, JUST ELLA, THE CINDERELLA DEAL, CINDERELLA SKELETON
*Teaser Tuesday: SHADOWS ON THE MOON by Zoë Marriott
*Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I'd Recommend To Someone Who Doesn't Read Cinderella
*Waiting on Wednesday: THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas
*A Proposal Straight Out of a Fairy Tale (Video)
*CINDER Hits the NYT Best Sellers List!


The Ones I Didn't Get To
[There were a few more books I wanted to read and review, but I ran out of time...and room!!]


*SILVER WOVEN IN MY HAIR by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
*PHOENIX AND ASHES by Mercedes Lackey


The Part Where YOU Come In!!


So, what would you like to see more of?  What did you see too much of?  What did you like and dislike about the way A Week of Cinderella was handled?  If we do another fairy tale-character theme week, it will either be two weeks (for characters with a large repertoire) or organized better...or both!  That's a promise!



Week in Review & IMM

IN MY MAILBOX: 12.18.11

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren because:

"I get books to read and then ultimately share my thoughts about with my readers. As much as I want to, I can’t possibly read every book I receive. Yet, I still wanted a way to feature those books on the blog, even though it might not be in the form of a review. Problem solved! Every week I'd share the books I received that week... ones I'd bought, or gotten at the library, and ones that I'd receive to review on the blog. That way I could mention titles that might not otherwise get some face-time on The Story Siren..."

I find the same thing happening at A Backwards Story. I'm so backed up on reviews atm... That's why I like these videos!

CURRENT GIVEAWAY:

*CINDERS by Michelle Davidson Argyle (International) [Ends January 31st]
*CINDER by Marissa Meyer (US/Canada) [Ends January 25th]

(And this week for A Week of Cinderella, I featured giveaways of Marissa Meyer's CINDER being run by Mermaid Vision Books and Confessions of a Common Reader.  Keep following Marissa's tour (I've attached the dates/blogs at the bottom of my blog tour stop) for more chances to win!!

READING NOW:

I JUST finished PANDEMONIUM.  So NOTHING right this second.  But I'm either going to read WINTERLING by Sarah Prineas or EXTRAORDINARY*: The True Story of My Fairygodparent, Who Almost Killed Me, and Certainly Never Made Me a Princess next!!

[link to my GoodReads account so you can see my blurb feed as I read]
READ THIS WEEK:

*PANDEMONIUM by Lauren Oliver
*CINDERS by Michelle Davidson Argyle
*SHADOWS ON THE MOON by Zoë Marriott
*PRINCESS OF GLASS by Jessica Day George

REVIEWED THIS WEEK:

*PRINCESS OF GLASS by Jessica Day George

*CINDERS by Michelle Davidson Argyle
*SHADOWS ON THE MOON by Zoë Marriott
*CINDER by Marissa Meyer
*Round-up of TWELVE Cinderella features & reviews over the lifetime of this blog

GUEST REVIEWS:
*MY FAIR GODMOTHER by Janette Rallison (From Literally Jen)
*CINDERELLA: A TWIST IN TIME (From Tamara Felsinger/Uncharted Pages)
*EVER AFTER (From Mermaid Vision Books)


FEATURES THIS WEEK (A Week of Cinderella event):


*(BLOG TOUR STOP): GIVEAWAY & CINDER Cover Design! In-Depth interview with designer Rich Deas
*(BLOG TOUR STOP): Top 10s with author Julia Karr (TRUTH, XVI)
*Interview with author Zoë Marriott (SHADOWS ON THE MOON)
*Interview with 2012 debut author Sarah J. Maas (THRONE OF GLASS)
*Guest Post & Giveaway with Michelle Davidson Argyle (CINDERS)
*Interview with Jim C. Hines (THE STEPSISTER SCHEME)
*Cinderella & I/CINDER Launch Party (Guest post with Kristina's World of Books)
*The Ultimate Love Story (Guest post with The Romance Bookie)
*Updating Cinderella into Modern Times (Guest Post with The Flashlight Reader)
*How Cinderella Entered My Life (And refused to leave me alone!) (My own post)
*RIP, MERMAID MUSE ;_;
*CINDER Hits the NYT Best Sellers List!
*A Proposal Straight out of a Fairy Tale
*CINDER's Movie-Style Trailer and Marketing Campaign
*Waiting on Wednesday: THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas
*Happy Book Day to THE ROOK, A MILLION SUNS, and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS!
*Top Ten Tuesdays: Ten Books I'd Recommend to Someone Who Doesn't  Read Cinderella
*Teaser Tuesdays: SHADOWS ON THE MOON by Zoë Marriott
*Cover Crazy: ASH, JUST ELLA, THE CINDERELLA DEAL, CINDERELLA SKELETON



RECEIVED THIS WEEK:







Loot:

The Cinder(ella) edition!!! 

I'm posting a complete event round-up (though you can also see all the posts that hit this week above. There were a TON, more than I ever anticipated!  Enough to fill TWO weeks!!!) today as well!

A Backwards Story

ALSO FEATURED:
*Mockingjay pin (gift, thank you!!)
*RED by Dia Frampton (CD; second place winner of last year's THE VOICE.  I normally don't watch such shows, but she's one amazing singer!!)
*Awesome DON'T BREATHE A WORD by Holly Cupala street team swag

PURCHASED:

*THE WIDE-AWAKE PRINCESS by E.D. Baker [My Review]
*A MILLION SUNS by Beth Revis [My ACROSS THE UNIVERSE Review]
*THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green [2 copies; 1 for a co-worker...both copies have the elusive Hankler Fish!!!]

ARCs:

*THE RIVALS by Daisy Whitney (Ahhh, I'm SO EXCITED!!! I loved THE MOCKINGBIRDS!! [Mockingbirds Review]) [Out Feb 06, 2012]
*STARTERS by Lissa Price [Out March 13, 2012]
*THE SONG OF ACHILLES [Out March 06, 2012]
*LIES BENEATH by Anne Greenwood Brown [Out June 12, 2012]

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

(Blog Tour)GIVEAWAY & CINDER Cover Design! In-Depth interview with designer Rich Deas


Welcome to Tour Stop #12!  Today, we're interviewing CINDER cover designer Rich Deas!
Check out the bottom of this post to see the rest of the tour stops!




Welcome to A Week of Cinderella! Grab some promotional buttons for your blog HERE and stop back all week long for fun guest posts, exciting author visits (because, after all, Marissa isn't the ONLY author with a kick-ass Cinderella to celebrate!), giveaways, reviews, and a blog tour stop for CINDER! 






Feiwel and Friends Creative Director Rich Deas has stopped by to join in on the CINDER Blog Tour Festivities.  He designed the beautiful CINDER cover and gives us an inside look at what it takes to make a book jacket.


On Feiwel and Friends' Meet The Staff page, Rich states,
What inspires me most is music and other artists/designers. There are so many talented artists working in the industry today. I’m mostly inspired by concert and theater poster design. Some great studios have developed over the past few years that specialize in this area. Many of them picking up on styles of the early American pop art and giving it a more modern edge, usually with great hand-lettering, illustration, and the silk-screening process. Personally, I would not be into illustration and design if I didn’t enjoy music so much. I don’t think still lifes and landscapes would have inspired much of an art career for me. Most of my initial drawing skills and hand-lettering come from my obsession with music: mostly rock and jazz. I spent most of my school hours doodling, much to the frustration of my teachers - sorry, Mom and Dad. Basically, every textbook, notebook, and desk I encountered would be covered with my personal taste in music: different band names (ahh, the beginning of hand-lettering), illustrations of guitar heroes to Grateful Dead logos, Rick Griffin designs, etc.


Also check out my review of CINDER by Marissa Meyer right HERE!


And that's not all!  Enter to WIN A COPY after this post!!



An interview with Cover Designer Rich Deas

Did you always have the image of CINDER’s final cover in your head? It didn’t change from ARC to finished copy, but did you put together early concept work that took CINDER’s cover in a different direction?

I think from the start, the approach for the series design was to touch upon the classics. We wanted each title to stem from that, but with a futuristic spin- same as the story. Immediately with CINDER (Book 1), we picked up some common elements from Cinderella—the glass slipper—which is fairly synonymous with the story and designed around it. There were numerous preliminary comps and ideas, mostly involving the slipper but as you can see below, some did not.







 The other key element was to bring in the futuristic feel and personality of Cinder. The cyborg is such a cool aspect of the story and makes for an awesome design element. Most of the earlier comps included the same elements, but I definitely focused more on the cyborg presence. Ultimately, we scaled back the cyborg aspect to make the cover friendlier and to better resemble Cinder’s character overall. The lower portion of the leg and the glass slipper seem to represent Cinder’s very well: strong, sexy, fragile and most of all,human. The partially visible metal parts give it an edginess that makes her imperfect, threatening, but with a hint of secrecy.


The title treatment was another element that riffs on the classic “Once Upon A Time” feel. The serifs and flourishes seem to give it a strong and slightly wicked vibe as well! I think mixing the new with old creates an interesting contrast that works in a way similar to cyber-punk.

Do you have a rough idea about how the other three books in the LUNAR CHRONICLES books will look? Will you be tying them all together with common elements such as font, or colors such as red, etc.?

I’m actually reading SCARLET now (sorry, but I won’t reveal anything), so I definitely don’t know exactly how each title will look. I’ll meet with Jean Feiwel (Publisher) and Liz Szabla (Editor-in-Chief) soon to discuss initial ideas. We’ll be using the same font and the Lunar Chronicles logo to tie-in the series look. I’d like to continue to keep the design fairly simple with 1 or 2 key art-elements and use a similar background, but the stories will ultimately dictate the overall colors and art..


What was your favorite part about working on the design for CINDER?

Just being involved with a great story is a thrill for me. In many ways the story creates the cover. When I first read CINDER, I was very excited by the futuristic setting and underdog character of Cinder. The fact that I am a fan of classic fairy tales and cyborgs was an added bonus.

If you have an idea of where you’ll take all four covers in the quartet [CINDER, SCARLET, CRESS, WINTER], is there one cover you’re most excited to work on, one that is a potential favorite of the four?

I do have some initial thoughts, but I really need to read the manuscript and sit with Jean and Liz to discuss ideas for comps. From afar, I’m most excited to read and work on WINTER because it is based on my favorite fairy tale. My dad took me to my first movie, Snow White when I was about 6 or 7, and I still remember it vividly. It was also the first movie he saw in the theatre, so it’s a nice common link between us.


How do you figure out what fonts fit perfectly with the book jacket you’re working on? How do you go about modifying a purchased typeface, such as the way the “C” in CINDER differs from the Aeronaut font used in the rest of the title?

I usually try several fonts and sketch out type treatments before I narrow it down to a couple that best relate to the story and design.


If I had it my way I would have kept the original “C” as is (see title page), but sales thought it was difficult to read. I totally understand their concerns, but the idea was to let the reader figure it out by looking at the art and sounding out the title - relating it to Cinder/ella. Maybe it was too much of a stretch, but I like design that makes you think a little.


The title treatment was originally based on lettering I found in a book of old ornamental typefaces. I scanned the letters I needed and put together the title: CINDER. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that I discovered there was an actual font available based on the same lettering. The font Aeronaut is an homage to the Neogothic typefaces of the late 1800s--a style that combined mediaeval gothic elements with Arts & Crafts influences. The font was inspired by a liturgical alphabet called Kirchengotische Schrift that was found in an 1879 German sample book for lettering artists.



What other books have you done design work for? What are some of your favorites?

I’ve worked on a lot of titles over the years, and some of the more recent include: HALO, ENCLAVE, GET WELL SOON, THE MARBURY LENS, BYSTANDER, THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX, GIRL, STOLEN, THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING.





How do you begin designing a cover? What’s your thought process, what initial stages do you go through? 

To begin, I usually read the manuscript and meet with my publisher and editor to discuss any immediate ideas. As I read the manuscript I write down ideas and sketch out thoughts. As the days/weeks go by I continue to think it out and work on comps. When I get to a place where I feel comfortable (or should I say, when time runs out) I show the initial comps to Jean and then we continue from there. It’s definitely a group effort.


What does it take to bring a cover all the way to completion?


1. Patience: a lot of time and thought with much trial and error
2. A supportive team: Publisher, Jean Feiwel and Editor-in-Chief, Liz Szabla are the best, also everyone here in design, editorial and production
3. A thick skin: there are many opinions along the way.
4. Command Z and a big eraser are also required.


And check out the rest of the tour!!


In which I discuss the Awesomeness that is Firefly and how it inspired The Lunar Chronicles.
In which I give a brief history of The Lunars.
January 4: The Book Rat
In which I explain how Cinder’s cyborg-ness developed over multiple drafts.
Thursday 1/5: Reading Vacation
In which I share some of the photos and artwork that inspired CINDER.
In which I share a scene that was deleted from the first draft.
Saturday 1/7: The Apocalypsies
In which my friends and I show you how to make shrimp wontons.
Monday 1/9: My Bookish Ways
An interview in which I talk about my writing journey.
Tuesday 1/10: Bookalicio.us
In which I give a gushy account of how I sold my debut novel.
Wednesday 1/11: Mermaid Vision Books
In which Prince Kai is interviewed.
Thursday 1/12: The Fable Faerie
An interview in which Marissa talks about her inspiration and offers advice.
Friday 1/13: Manga Maniac Cafe
An interview in which Marissa talks about her challenges and influences.
Saturday 1/14: A Backwards Story
In which the book designer and Marissa talk about the cover art.
Monday 1/16: Laura's Review Bookshelf
In which Marissa contemplates the symbolism behind a fancy-dress ball.
Tuesday 1/17: Bibliophilic Monologues
In which Marissa shares some songs from the CINDER playlist, and how they inspired the book.
Wednesday 1/18: The Book Cellar
An interview in which the characters get stuck on a desert island and Marissa confesses her karaoke song.
Thursday 1/19: Almost Grown~Up
In which Marissa’s husband, Jesse, is interviewed!
Friday 1/20: Shannon Messenger's blog
In which Marissa eats noodles and crawl under cars. In other words, research.
Saturday 1/21: Novel Novice
In which Marissa shares the query letter that hooked her agent.

And now, a giveaway!!


Enter to win your own copy of CINDERS by filling out the following form!

Contest ends January 25th!

(Review) CINDER by Marissa Meyer



Welcome to A Week of Cinderella!  Grab some promotional buttons for your blog HERE and stop back all week long for fun guest posts, exciting author visits (because, after all, Marissa isn't the ONLY author with a kick-ass Cinderella to celebrate!), giveaways, reviews, and a blog tour stop for CINDER! 

Title: CINDER
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: Out now [January 03, 2012]
Publisher: Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends
Received: ARC for review from publisher/also purchased a finished copy!

SUMMARY:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.... 

 Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


Also check out a designer interview with CINDER cover designer Rich Deas for today's CINDER Blog Tour Stop HERE!

Also enter to WIN a copy of CINDER to call your own HERE!!!

I'll admit it now (and you all know it anyway):  I'm biased when it comes to CINDER.  I did, however, try to be as impartial as possible when reading and reviewing the book, so this review is based on the book's merits and not my love-fest revolving around Marissa Meyer. ^.~

Before CINDER, the only brush I had with a futuristic fairy tale was Anna Sheehan's A LONG, LONG SLEEP (reviewed here).  The only truly "sci-fi" (to me, this reads "spacey") books I own are ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis (review here) and various ENDER books by Orson Scott Card.  Science Fiction has never really been my thing when it comes to outer space, though I've always been fascinated by the moon.  But the idea of a space opera quartet revolving around four fairy tales from the fantastically talented Marissa Meyer?  I knew she wouldn't steer me wrong, and I'm happy to say that she didn't!  I'll be honest: Going into CINDER, the only thing I knew about cyborgs was the fact that there was a character in the animated TV series TEEN TITANS named Cyborg.  I had to have one of my co-workers explain the difference between a cyborg and a robot to me.  But even without our discussion, I feel that by the end of CINDER, I still would have understood because Meyer deftly showcases what makes Cinder cyborg and what makes her human (because she IS both.  There's no question about that.  I don't really understand the people who think cyborgs are robots and not humans, but that's another story).

Cinder wasn't always a cyborg.  She was born completely mortal, but an accident when she was young left her with a mechanical arm, foot, and some wicked cool abilities.  Cinder makes being cyborg cool.  She has a mind that works like Google's search engine, bringing up information as needed for Cinder to process.  Her leg also has a cool compartment that lets her tuck her equipment away out of sight.  And these are only two of the things that make being a cyborg so interesting.  Of course, Cinder doesn't think she's interesting.  She'd give anything to be fully human and not a lesser-ranked citizen.  She lives with her stepmother and stepsiblings, who treat her worse than dirt and completely own everything about her.  She can't keep any of the money she makes as a mechanic, and can't even buy replacement parts when needed (her poor leg is four years old and too small).  When tragedy strikes her household, her stepmother sends Cinder off as a research subject to find a cure for the plague that has been ravishing Beijing.  While being tested, Cinder discovers secrets about herself that have been carefully hidden over the years and realizes there's more to her than anyone expects.  This secret is especially dangerous because she's forged a connection with Prince Kai, who oversees the experiments, and will do anything to keep her cyborg parts hidden from him.  Her task grows even harder when the Lunar Queen, Levana, arrives on earth after the king dies.  CINDER gets more complex and in-depth as the story progresses and by the end, I was ready to throw my book against the wall because I have to wait a year to continue this four-book series.

While I was expecting an intergalactic battle over the course of four books, I expected all four to be self-contained fairy tales with proper endings.  I never expected that Cinder's journey would continue and not wrap up cleanly.  (I'm pretty sure I disowned Marissa for about a day after finding out the truth the hard way, but that's another story!)  While CINDER is intriguing from the start, it doesn't get impossible-to-put-down-good until a little ways in, and once the story has you in its grasp, it doesn't let go again.  While some plot points are fairly obvious and easy to figure out, others come out of right-field and smack you over the head when you aren't looking.  This is definitely one of the most unique and creative fairy tale retellings I've ever come across.  My only real complaint about the novel is actually a very small one: Knowing the author's roots, I was saddened by the use of the name Selene, though seeing as Selene is one of the Moon Goddess' names, it also makes sense for anyone reading CINDER with eyes fresher than mine.  I'm eager to see Queen Levana progress over the series and grow as a villain.  I can't wait to see the way four vastly-different fairy tales are brought together, especially since the scope is so large (CINDER is set in Beijing, SCARLET in France, CRESS in the Sahara Desert, and WINTER on the Lunar Moon).  I was enthralled that, like with personal favorites EVER AFTER and ELLA ENCHANTED, Cinder knew Prince Kai before the ball.  There's reason and motivation, and most of all, feeling.  I grew to care a lot for both characters and have become invested in their journey.  I loved that Cinderella wasn't a passive girl with one goal in mind.  She can save the prince, herself, her kingdom.  She's not going to sit back and wait for someone to save her!  I can't wait to meet the rest of the Lunar Chronicles characters I've been hearing about for so long.  I'm looking forward to discovering more surprises from Meyer and discovering new ways to look at beloved fairy tales that I may have never otherwise thought possible.

COVER DESIGN:

At first, I was iffy about this cover.  In person, I really like it.  There are layers upon layers that you can't see clearly on a computer screen.  The glass slipper is a bright, dangerous shade of red that reminds me of a villain's lips.  You can see through it to Cinder's foot.  And Cinder's foot--and leg--are also transparent, showing the artificial bone lying beneath the surface.  It's mysterious and captivating.  I can't wait to see the treatment for the rest of the series!

I also love the font used for the title treatment (Aeronaut), which Rich Deas discusses in his interview!  It's embossed in a beautiful shade of silver and manages to feel both futuristic and old-fashioned at the same time!  The C also reminds me of a sheet of music, so it has a lyrical feel to it, too.