Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WINNERS! And Best July Reads!

Gihugic thank yous to everyone who participated in my Blogiversary Giveaway and for stopping by and just making me feel very loved. The winners, chosen by my friendly neighborhood random number generator:

$15 Amazon Gift Card

Colin Smith

Winners of ARCs of Suck it Up and Die or Between You and Me or hard cover of Daughter of Smoke and Bone are


Kelly B

Jennifer Hoffine

Congratulations! Book winners, please email me your book choice (from the list above) at alisonmiller20(at)gmail(dot)com. First come, first served!

My next giveaway will be during Banned Books Week (September 30 – October 6). It’s the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week with the theme “30 years of Liberating Literature.” Last year I gave away a copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and I may just have to do that again because


I cannot even begin to explain how much I LOVE this book (you can see my feeble attempts here). Yeah, I'll definitely be giving this away in September so be sure to pop in for that!

Also, I will probably be back to a slightly more normal MWF blogging routine in two weeks. This week I started rewriting my WIP’s finale and hopefully this chick will be able to finish the beast SOON. In the meantime, I can hardly resist sharing some of the awesome books I’ve read. My July reads...

Between You and Me by Marisa Calin

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Summer in the City by Candace Bushnell

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Fifty Shades of Cliché Grey by E. L. James

Party by Tom Leveen

Yes, I DID read three adult books and one MG this month...WEIRD. Anyway, the best one? Ugh. You guys know me. I can’t pick one. So I shall pick two because it’s my blog and I CAN. *sticks tongue out*

His eyes, Katsa had never seen such eyes. One was silver, and the other, gold. They glowed in his sun-darkened face, uneven, and strange. She was surprised that they hadn't shone in the darkness of their first meeting. They didn't seem human....

Then he raised his eyebrows a hair, and his mouth shifted into the hint of a smirk. He nodded at her, just barely, and it released her from her spell.

Cocky, she thought. Cocky and arrogant, this one, and that was all there was to make of him. Whatever game he was playing, if he expected her to join him he would be disappointed.

In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graces with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

I’m not much of a fantasy reader but I was completely awed by this story, by Katsa. By Po. Bitterblue. Katsa’s grace does not earn much love from many people, but she won me over in the first few pages. Her battles with Po, her compassion for others, her strength, her passion for her beliefs and her utter willingness to stand by them. Katsa redefines KICK-ASS female protagonists. And the other characters are almost equally amazing - all completely developed in a most beautiful and believable way. Oh, and the setting? I’m not usually blown away by setting (details often escape me), but that is a world that won’t escape my mind for a long time.

I now completely understand why I stood in a line of two hundred people for an ARC of Bitterblue and I can’t wait to tear into it.

It's saturday night in Santa Barbara and school is done for the year. Everyone is headed to the same party. Or at least it seems that way. The place is packed. The beer is flowing. Simple, right? But for 11 different people the motives are way more complicated. As each character takes a turn and tells his or her story, the eleven individuals intersect, and reconnect, collide, and combine in ways that none of them ever saw coming.

I just finished Party (in one sitting—I don’t usually do that, btw) and was floored by the voice. Big party going down in Santa Barbara, written in eleven chapters, each with a different point of view. I was a little wary, but Tom Leveen pulled it off masterfully. The characters were so distinct, not just in their own chapters, but also when you see them interacting with others. Yeah, there were a couple times I had to go back and refresh on characters and timing, but overall, the story was really, really good. And—bonus—it helped me with a little pesky question I fretted with my own WIP. I have an ARC of his latest (Zero) and it just jumped many spots up Alison’s lengthy TBR.

So, what’s YOUR favorite July read? Where are YOU with your writing? Any good news to share? Tell me in the comments!


  1. Yay for soon taming the beast! :-D And yes you are very much loved on the blogosphere (and I’m sure everywhere else too!) As you know I’m putting finishing touches on my WiP before it finds its way to beta readers. Scary. Exciting. Amazing.
    Thank you again so much for the book!
    And…I absolutely have to put PARTY on my TBR, I have had GRACELING up there for a while and I need to get to it soon…

  2. Whoa. "Party" sounds awesome, and I usually don't read much contemporary. Also, "Graceling" has been on my list FOREVER. Oops. Will have to get to that soon.

    Glad to see you are almost done with your WIP. Good luck!

  3. I absolutely loved GRACELING and FIRE (but not BITTERBLUE). Like you, I'm not really big into fantasy (though I love Tamora Pierce's stuff), but Kristin Cashore does a fantastic job of pulling me in. It's like fantasy for those who don't go bonkers over fantasy, you know? :)

  4. Congrats to the winners! And we're all chanting, "Write! Write! Write!" for your quest to finish your WIP. I need some of that too.

  5. I'm usually not into fantasy either, but GRACELING made me reconsider my stance completely. I loved both GRACELING and FIRE (BITTERBLUE not as much).

    And good luck finishing up your rewrites!

  6. The entire GRACELING series is one of my absolute favs (I think FIRE is my favorite out of all of them - LOVE Brigan!!!)! I can't believe it took me so long to read them - but I'm kinda glad it did, since all three were out by the time I picked them up!

    Anywho. So glad you enjoyed GRACELING. Love me some Po, I do. :)

    Best of luck getting your rewrites finished - my fingers are crossed for you, my friend. Let me tell you how great it feels to be done with my own rewrites - just think, you're almost there!

  7. Oooh, like like like! Graceling (and Fire and Bitterblue) are so so so good--actually, that reminds me, I'm WAY behind on a post about seeing Kristen Cashore speak recently (along with a few other awesome authors!) Also, love the idea of giving away banned books--any interest in teaming up? I bet we could get a banned books bloghop giveaway going.

  8. Ah, Graceling, one of my favorites!
    I'm thinking about trying reading some different genres you know, like horror and maybe a thriller, just to say I read it and see how the writing and the structure is ;)
    Great list!

  9. Congratulations to the winners and a LOL at 'Fifty Shades of Cliche'. hahaha Good one! Just about done with 'Mockingbird: Portrait of Harper Lee'. I am sad to report that it's pretty dry.

  10. Congrats to the winners! I'm starting to feel like I'm the only one who hasn't read Graceling yet...

  11. I love many-multiple POV books (I'm weird like that), so PARTY sounds pretty interesting.
    Fifty Shades of Cliche - Ha! :)

  12. Thank you, Alison!! I'm doing a happy dance... well, in my head, anyway. I'm at work, after all. :) And thank you Angelica, JoJo, and Samantha for your congrats. :D

    I have GRACELING on my office desk as we speak. Provided I get through my Summer reading list, it'll definitely be on the Autumn list. :)


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