Feature & Follow (August 24) – Worst Cover on a Great Book

Welcome to the Feature & Follow Hop, hosted by Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read!

If you’re here for the first time, I’d love if you could follow via email, RSS, LinkyFollowers or Networked Blogs. Just let me know your follow method of choice in the comments, and I’ll be happy to return the favor.

And if you’re not new, welcome back! Repeat visitors are better than a Snuggie on a cold night. (Come on. You know Snuggies are awesome.)

This week’s question:

Q: Worst cover? What is the worst cover of a book that you’ve read and loved?

Oh good, this one’s easy. I really, really loved this book. I hate the cover. So much that I will never buy a physical copy of this book, even though I am all about physical copies, because I don’t want it on my shelves. Digital only for me.

1. I understand that the tear of blood is actually very  relevant to the plot, but ewwwww.

2. WHY IS SHE WHITE? NO. Unacceptable. (If you haven’t read it, the main character is Asian.)

(Seriously though, it’s an awesome book).


Blog Tour: Circus Summer by Kailin Gow – Dream Cast (@kailingow)

Today I’m happy to be part of the blog tour promoting Kailin Gow’s newest book, the circus dystopian Circus Summer! I’ll be putting up a review at a later date, but today I have something that I always find rather fun. Kailin is guest posting and letting us know her dream cast if there were ever a movie version of Circus Summer!

And seriously, if there was ever a movie version, it would be super-awesome, because this book has crazy action, monsters, romance, and circus funtimes. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to see that?

So now you’ll know who Kailin had in mind as she was writing Circus Summer, and that’ll make your life easier when you read it. Or at least, it should. That’s how my brain works, at any rate.

As a bonus, if you want to go buy the Kindle version of Circus Summer, there’s a contest/giveaway for the chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card hidden in the pages!

Say what?

*Looks ruefully at paperback*

*Considers buying Kindle version in spite of already owning signed paperback*


Oh, also, if you are intrigued and would like to purchase a copy of Circus Summer, email your receipt to info(at) theEDGEbooks(dot)com, along with a comment saying that you heard about the book from me. Whichever tour host generates the most sales gets goodies. And I like goodies. Obviously.

So without further ado, here’s Kailin!

Guest Post  – Kailin Gow

Dream Cast

Circus Summer (Circus of Curiosities #1)

When I thought up the idea of the Circus of Curiosities Series, I pictured a world in sepia and red.  A world that has been devastated by war and poverty, but where people still have the willpower to survive and love despite all the devastation.

Out of the ashes from the devastation in this post-apocalyptic world, emerge the champions of humankind.  Everything is cryptic in Book 1 (Circus Summer), as seen through the eyes of Leela Sinclair, who is kept innocent and ignorant of the Invaders, the War, and the mysteries behind the Capitol.  Like most citizens in the United, this is intentional, as is the Circus’ purpose to entertain and distract while displaying the height of human capabilities as well as faults.  However to those who know a bit more about the War and the Circus, such as Zachary Niles, the Circus presents an opportunity to change things, an opportunity he must keep secret.

Dex Hightower (Dr. Dex)

Dex Hightower is the mysterious and charismatic, handsome, quirky,  and charming ringmaster of the Circus of Curiosities.  He can be cruel yet kind at the same time.  He has a connection to Niles and Leela’s mother, as well as an intriguing bad boy past in Sea Cliff, the little town the Circus of Curiosities have stopped at to perform this summer.  Somewhere in the beginning of writing, Johnny Depp kept popping up in my mind as a strong contender for the role of Dr. Dex.  He has the smoky and sexy quality that gives him an allure that allows him command the attention of all those in the crowd, as well as the circus performers.  He’s also charming, smart, and mysterious.  He can be a villain as well as a hero, which Dr. Dex walks the fine line with in his Circus.

Zachary Niles (Zach)

Zachary Niles is the gorgeous, popular and charming boy in Sea Cliff, whom Leela Sinclair had always had a crush.  His parents own the only marketplace in Sea Cliff, which makes Zachary the richest boy in school.  He volunteers to be in the Circus, although no one can figure why, since he doesn’t need the opportunities, food, and money as the others who enter.

Thomas Tattenbaum


Thomas is Leela’s best friend and family friend.  He’s handsome in an All-American boy next door who’s a hunky hottie way.  He and Leela have always been done things together like dive for oysters and go rock climbing together.  He’s Captain of their school’s swim team, and very much in love with Leela.

For some reason, I didn’t picture an actor specifically to play Thomas.  But from reading Circus Summer and about Thomas, who would you cast?

THCW vote: 

or maybe…

(And yes, I realize I cast Matt Lauria last time I did a dream cast too. What can I say, I want to see FNL actors in EVERYTHING.)

Leela Sinclair


Leela Sinclair is a hard-working teen living in Sea Cliff with her ailing mother and little brother.  Her older brother has been drafted to the War and her father, who used to be a doctor, was sent to the War to help.  Leela is the provider of her family, which means she couldn’t have time for anything other than school, work, and taking care of her family.  When the Circus of Curiosities rolls into town, she finds the Circus, as morbid and dangerous as it is, a way to help her family and a way for her to do more with her life.   She’s a natural beauty, who is athletic  yet feminine at the same time.

Again, I’m leaving the character of Leela Sinclair open.  Who would you cast after reading Circus Summer and getting to know Leela?

THCW vote:

(Again with my great love for FNL.)

Well, there you have it – the main cast of Circus Summer.

Thank you for letting me share Circus Summer with you!


About the book:

In post-apocalypse America, every season, the Circus of Curiosities visits the city, bringing with it the most fantastic circus acts that are beautiful, majestic, curious, and death-defying. Every season performers for these acts are chosen from the young men and women in each town, trained, and sent to perform in a live grand performance, performed literally to the death. Two performers from Sea Cliff, a beach town at the outskirts of The Center find themselves chosen to be in this Summer’s Circus Act. Both must win at any cost, but could they ignore their feelings for each other? Leela Sinclair needs to win in order to get to The Center where she can get medical help from the best physicians for her ailing mother, plague with a condition no one have heard of. For Zachary Nile, his reasons for becoming a performer at the Circus is more mysterious. Only the ringmaster and the Circus of Curiosities owner Dex Hightower (Dr. Dex) knows what the touring Circus is really about amidst the magic and splendor. Despite the Great War and the poverty surrounding the land except for the towns fortunate enough to be near the Center, Dr. Dex and the Circus performers all know, “The show must go on.”

About the author:

Kailin Gow is the author of over 100 books, with the majority of them for young adults. Her most popular series are:  The Frost Series, PULSE Series, Desire Series, Wicked Woods, Steampunk Scarlett Novels, and more.  A full-time author, she is also a producer, having worked in radio, television, and film.  She grew up in Southern California, lived in Texas and England, and had traveled extensively around the world.


Website: www.KailinGowBooks.com

Blog: http://KailinGow.Wordpress.com

Twitter: http://Twitter.com/KailinGow

Facebook: http://Facebook.com/KailinGowBooks

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/KailinGow

Review: Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh

I first heard of Whispers in Autumn when indie author Trisha Leigh revealed her cover on Twitter. I saw the pretty cover and read the synopsis, then immediately emailed Trisha to see if I could get a review copy. See, the synopsis was about aliens. And I haven’t read a good alien book in a while, and I figured I was due. She got right back to me with a review copy, and I was excited to get started.

The Plot

Whispers in Autumn follows Althea, a teenage girl who’s not like the others. She has spent most of her life unnoticed, as her parents, classmates and teachers all seem to look through her, not at her. She’s learned to take her perceived invisibility in stride, not letting it get to her when she leaves a place for months at a time and when she returns, no one ever noticed her absence.

For another strange thing about Althea is that she has three families, in three cities, and only ever stays with them for one season. She has no control over when she travels from one family to the next. One minute she’ll be experiencing winter in Iowa; the next, autumn in Connecticut. Spring is spent in Oregon, and it is never summer. This is how it’s been her whole life, and the only explanation she has is from a mysterious being named Ko, telling her she’s different, and to trust no one.

But this time, as she travels to autumn in Danbury, Connecticut, with her autumn family, the Morgans, something is different. The alien Others are searching Danbury, and although no one knows what they’re searching for, their presence fills Althea with foreboding.

The presence of the Others isn’t the only thing that’s different though. For this time in Danbury, Althea meets Lucas, and for the first time, someone seems to really see her. As she struggles to determine what the Others are looking for and whether she can trust Lucas, she also has to control the power building inside her that would alert the world that she is different, and dangerous.

My Thoughts

Whispers in Autumn doesn’t mess around. It jumps in with both feet, and I’ll admit, it took me several chapters to get my bearings. I couldn’t figure out what Althea was talking about when she mentioned traveling, didn’t understand how she spent different seasons in different places, couldn’t wrap my mind around how she had three families that all never seemed to notice when she was gone. I adjusted my expectations to be disappointed by this book, because I wasn’t sure how this could all make sense.

But eventually, it did make sense. Not absolutely everything, but enough that I was able to understand why things were happening and how they came to be. It was never explained outright. The book is from Althea’s perspective, and she just lives her life as she always has, with no need to really lay out what’s going on. So it may be hard for people unaccustomed to the odd twists and turns of sci-fi to ever fully process what’s going on in this book.

I liked Althea. She was guarded and untrusting, which can be very frustrating traits in a main character, but it’s easy to understand why she is the way she is. Even when I immediately liked Lucas and wanted her to open up to him, it took her a lot longer. And at the same time, she had an inherent need to try to find others like her, to not be so alone, and it led her to wanting to trust some characters that I got a bad vibe off of from the beginning. Again, it was frustrating, but easy to understand why she felt that way.

The world building is very interesting, but also subtle. At first, you get the impression that the only weird thing about this world is Althea, but slowly you realize that nothing is the way we’re used to thinking of it. Although the families live in neighborhoods and watch movies and the kids go to school and the pizza parlor, it’s all different. And slowly, the reader begins to realize just how much about this world isn’t what it seems.

Trisha Leigh’s writing and pacing is engaging, and the book held my interest. It wasn’t quite the alien adventure I was expecting; there weren’t ray guns and force fields and spaceships and explosions. It was more character-driven, less alien-technology-centric. The villains are more creepy than scary, and the build towards the climax is gradual and almost quiet. There are several tense and suspenseful scenes, but don’t go in expecting explosions and fights.

My biggest complaint with this book is that sometimes, the laws of physics seem to be ignored. Now before you say, “this is sci-fi; what did you expect?” let me clarify. I’m totally wiling to accept aliens and spaceships and futuristic technology. That’s 100% okay in my book. But if you take a known physical property, like for example, gravity, and then change it, there had better be a good explanation as to why that works. And this book took a couple familiar concepts and altered them without explanation. For example, if the temperature of a room heats up enough to make the water on the stove boil, I’m pretty sure any humans in the room are dead, not just sweaty. Or if someone’s entire body heats up enough to melt glass, I’m pretty sure their clothes are on fire too. If an explanation was given about how the heat worked so that faces weren’t melting and clothes weren’t burning, I would have been okay with that. But either there was no explanation or I missed it, and it took me out of the story a little bit every time something like that popped up.

However, laws of physics aside, I still thought Whispers in Autumn was an enjoyable and creative read. I’m fairly certain Trisha Leigh is planning to make this a trilogy, with the other two books coming out later in 2012 or early 2013. Which is good, because the book ended on what I wouldn’t exactly call a cliffhanger, but more of a game-changer. I’ll be excited to see what happens next in Althea’s story.

Content Guide: Contains violence and profanity

Top Ten Tuesday (July 24) – Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books

It’s Top Ten Tuesday again, hosted by the fabulous folks over at The Broke and the Bookish! And the topic this week is one of those things that I think helps set “great” books apart from “good” books.

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books

World building! That feeling that you’re actually in the setting of the story instead of simply reading about it. Sometimes a book has a really interesting plot that engages me, but I have a hard time picturing the world, making the book simply “good.” Other times, I feel transported to a different time or place, and those are the books that really stand out to me.

So here are my Top 10 books that have the best world building, in alphabetical order:

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Harry Potter (entire series) by J.K. Rowling

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb (Yes, this is technically the same world as Assassin’s Apprentice, but the two series focus on totally different aspects of that world, so I think it’s valid to include both)

Top Ten Tuesday (July 17) – Top Ten Books For People Who Like The Hunger Games

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by the masterminds over at The Broke and the Bookish!

This week, we’re picking book recommendations for people who liked a certain book, and while I’m sure my choice is going to be popular, I’m doing it anyway because when I finished this book, I could have used a list like this. Don’t get me wrong — this list exists, all over the Internet, and I’m sure many more versions are going to pop up today. But the ones I found led me wrong. They suggested books I didn’t like. So I’m making my own.

Warning: I’m going to genre-hop a bit.

Top Ten Books for People Who Like The Hunger Games Series…

…for the Action

The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

…for the Dystopian Setting

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

…for the Action AND the Dystopian Setting

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

…for the Strong Heroine

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

…for the Plot

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

[Disclaimer: I have not read this book, but I hear the plot is very similar to Hunger Games. I’ve also read interviews with Suzanne Collins where she said she didn’t know this book existed prior to her writing HG, and I believe her. Sometimes people just have similar ideas. It’s happened to me. It could happen to you. But I also think this list would be incomplete if it didn’t include the book that Hunger Games is most often compared to.]

Happy reading everyone!