Welcome to Literary Rambles! While you’re rambling around and exploring the site enter for a chance to win:

The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop through October 31st

4000 Follower Huge Book & $40 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway through November 1st

THE HEIR CHRONICLES through November 8th

COMPULSION through November 8th

PENNYROYAL ACADEMY through November 15th

HELP THE ELF: I Found Santa’s Missing Nice List!

Hi everyone! As you may remember, a few weeks ago PETE the Elf had a touch too much Eggnog at the Holiday Christmas Party and as he stumbled home, he lost Santa's NICE LIST.



The North Wind scattered the papers to all four corners of the world, and The Bookshelf Muse put out a call to help find them in order to SAVE CHRISTMAS.



Ever since I read about it, I've been on the lookout. And then today, EUREKA!



Yes that's right...I found part of Santa's missing NICE LIST. There it was, fluttering in the wind, half caught under the corner of my welcome mat. And shock of all shocks, I recognized the name, and I bet you will too.



Here it is below:







ImageChef.com


NAME: Casey McCormick



LOCATION: Literary Rambles



NICE LEVEL: 99%



NAUGHTY LEVEL: 1%



OBSERVATIONS: Casey is the best blog partner and has become a great friend. First, she satisfied my secret wish to be her blog partner. Then she gave me the most detailed instructions ever on how to blog because I had NO clue how to do it. She's always given me great advice as I find my way in blogging and am now starting to search for agents. And over the two years we've been blogging together, I've got to know Casey. She's so knowledgeable, creative, a dedicated mom, and a great friend.

And these agent spotlights she does for us all is such a great service. I so appreciate all the time she spends researching the agents and then updating the spotlights. It's SO much work and so many people benefit from it.

CASEY IS THE BEST!


RECOMMENDATION:     a) Coal                   b) Gift



~ ~ * ~ ~

Because poor Pete is dashing all over the place trying to hunt down the rest of Santa's missing Nice List, I decided to take care of this one myself. Casey, I feel so blessed to know you! Enjoy the Amazon gift card I sent to your inbox and have a wonderful Christmas!
Photo credit:
assorted gold baubles (christmasstockimages.com) / CC BY 3.0

This is my last post until January 7th. I'll offline as of Saturday when I start my trip to China with my daughter. I hope you all have HAPPY, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Thank you all for being such great blog friends and followers. I SO appreciate you all.

 How about you, Readers? Is there someone you'd like to say Happy Holidays to, or tell them how much they mean to you? JOIN US! There's plenty of days left until Christmas, and sometimes a kind word can lift people up in a way that they really need. It's as easy as sending a free ecard or email note, posting on a Facebook wall or sending out a tweet. So go ahead and spread some kindness and cheer!

Here's what's coming up in January. I have an awesome month planned for you.


On January 7th, I interview debut author Ellen Oh and give away an ARC of PROPHECY, her new fantasy set in a Korean-like world. I so loved this book and am excited to share it right after I return from that part of the world. 

The following Monday I'm interviewing Maya, a 5th grader and our follower Kristin Lenz's daughter, for my ASK THE EXPERT series. I'm also giving away an ARC of SHADES OF EARTH by Beth Revis. This is a fantastic end to the Across the Universe series and my favorite book in the series. It's amazing.

Friday that week I'm doing a Dreaming of Books Book Giveaway Hop. I'll have a fantastic list of popular books for you to choose from.  These book hops are really popular so I'm going to try to do a few more of them next year.

And I also have interviews set with Marie Lu with a giveaway of PRODIGY, the second book in her awesome LEGEND series, Leigh Moore with a giveaway of ROUGE, a historical romance set in New Orleans,  and with Michael Pierce with a giveaway of PROVEX CITY, a urban fantasy with contemporary issues.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on January 7th!

HOW TO SURVIVE ANCIENT SPELLS AND CRAZY KINGS BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY


Hi Everyone! Happy Monday!

Before I start, I have a few winners to announce.

The winner of PIVOT POINT is JESSY!

The winner of LIES THAT BIND is LAURA PAULING!

The winner of the BOOK LOVERS HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY HOP is ROBYN! CAMPBELL who chose THRONE OF GLASS!

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your books. Please e-mail me by the end of the day on Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I'm thrilled to be participating in Laura Pauling's Ancient Spells & Crazy Kings Blog Tour. I'm super excited to read this because it involves spells and an ancient Mayan City. It's one of the books I'm taking with me to China to read.

Here's a description of it:

When Bianca and Melvin brave the jungle to rescue their grandfather, they stumble upon the ancient Maya city of Etza, where the people haven’t aged in 2,000 years. They must learn to work together as they face loincloth-wearing skeletons from the underworld, a backstabbing princess, and an ancient prophecy that says in three days the city will be destroyed.

No problem. They’ll find Zeb and zip right out of there. The fact that a crazy king wants to serve Bianca up to the gods as an appetizer is just a minor technicality. But this ancient evil dude has finally met his match.

Published by Pugalicious Press

Laura's going to share a fantastic guest post on choosing a small press. So here's Laura:

Choosing a small press and how to work with them.

Many writers are asking themselves: Small press? Ebook only traditional press? Self publish? And the questions are valid.

The Decision.

I was up for self-publishing. I’d already gone through the experience with my first book, A Spy Like Me. The first is the hardest.

But How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings is a middle grade. I wanted a strong cover with illustration. And I felt strongly it was now or never!

I’ll admit it helped that I knew the editors of Pugalicious Press. I trusted them. I’d seen the high quality books they’d put out. And the contracts were more favorable than most small presses, from what I’d heard.

The Editing Process.

I went through content edits and then copy edits. When I received them, I put my other work on hold and worked on them right away. Jennifer Carson is an excellent editor and I loved all her suggestions.

The Cover.

I love that Pugalicious chose Ernie D’Elia, an up and coming illustrator from the Boston area. This was his first commissioned cover design and I loved that. I was able to choose from several illustrations and then he went to work. I’m not sure if all small presses will give you that freedom. Make sure to ask about these things.

When the PDF was ready to send out. They showed me the front and back design and the interior design. They did an absolutely fantastic job. I had no complaints. I loved it and I told them so.

The Launch.

I’ll admit. I feel more pressure about the launch of this book with a small press, than with self-publishing. I want the book to do well for them! I can only imagine how authors feel with big publishers where it’s crucial they sell well at the beginning.

Mindset.

A small publisher has limited resources. Expect to market and promote your work just as if you were publishing any other way. Of course, I believe the best marketing is the next book. So write the companion novellas and sequels.

My advice.

Do your research. Talk with authors who have published with the small presses you’re considering. Study the contract and make sure you understand what you’re signing. Look at their covers and the type of books they publish. Make sure you’re a right fit for them and vice versa.
~*~
Thanks, Casey and Natalie, for hosting me on the tour!
How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings released in November. Pugalicious Press did a fantastic job, and I’m extremely happy with the results. This book would make a fantastic gift for boys or girls who enjoy adventure stories with lots of excitement!

You can purchase it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can read the first chapter here. Check out the teacher's guide.

Thankfully, my journey is just beginning and I’m excited to see where it leads.

Click here for the list of blog tour stops! Enter to win these prize packages!

Prize Package One (signed paperbacks)


Prize Package Two (signed paperbacks)


Prize Package Three



Refresh the page if you can't see the Rafflecopter form!

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Laura Pauling
laurapauling@yahoo.com
www.laurapauling.com

Thanks so much Laura for sharing all your great advice and your prizes. Good luck with your book!

Laura is generously providing a copy of her book for a giveaway here too. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and ;eave a comment by midnight on January 5th. I’ll announce the winner on January 7th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. International entries are welcome.

And I want to shout out about an awesome online conference Laura is helping organize. It's INDIE-ReCon. Here's a little blurb from their Website:

 INDIE ReCon is happening online from February 12-14, 2013.

INDIE ReCon is a FREE, ONLINE conference that is modeled after the awesome annual WriteOnCon. It is designed to help any writer or author who is curious about the ins and outs of Indie publishing.
However any author or writer can attend because we cover topics all of you may want to know more about (marketing etc)

It sounds like an awesome conference we can all learn from so be sure to check it out. I'm planning to.
Here's what's coming up.

On Wednesday, I have a surprise post. That's all I'll say for now.

Then I'm on a break until January 7th. January is going to be AWESOME! 

On January 7th, I interview debut author Ellen Oh and give away an ARC of PROPHECY, her new fantasy set in a Korean-like world. I so loved this book and am excited to share it right after I return from that part of the world. 

The following Monday I'm interviewing Maya, a 5th grader and our follower Kristin Lenz's daughter, for my ASK THE EXPERT series. I'm also giving away an ARC of SHADES OF EARTH by Beth Revis. This is a fantastic end to the Across the Universe series and my favorite book in the series. It's amazing.

Friday that week I'm doing a Dreaming of Books Book Giveaway Hop. I'll have a fantastic list of popular books for you to choose from.  These book hops are really popular so I'm going to try to do a few more of them this year.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Wednesday! For those who can't stop by on Wednesday, Happy Holidays!

FALLING KINGDOMS BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY

 
Today I'm thrilled to be a part of the Falling Kingdoms blog tour. I'm so excited to read this book that I downloaded it on my Nook to read on my trip to China.

Here's a description from Goodreads:

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?


Doesn't it sound fantastic? So here's the blog tour post and instructions for entering the contest to win this awesome book. 


Welcome to the Falling Kingdoms Quest blog tour! Hidden in each tour stop is the answer to a Falling Kingdoms trivia question. Email the answer to yrmarketing@us.penguingroup.com with Falling Kingdoms Blog Tour in the subject line for the chance to win one of FIVE hardcover copies of Falling Kingdoms! The more questions you answer, the better chance you have to win!

QUESTion: Name one movie that inspired Morgan Rhodes to write Falling Kingdoms [Email the answer, found somewhere below, to yrmarketing@us.penguingroup.com for the chance to win one of five hardcover copies of Falling Kingdoms!]

From Morgan: In Falling Kingdoms, I was very interested in creating a large canvas that will focus not only on one protagonist’s journey, but on an assortment of different characters from diverse lands, with their own agendas and struggles. I wanted to “paint” that backdrop, establish the magic, the lore, the political struggle that’s going on, but then shift focus to each individual character to really bring this world to life in the minds of readers.

For inspiration…pretty much everything I’ve seen or read in my entire life has been an inspiration for this book – “grist for the mill,” as the saying goes! I have always loved fantasy—high fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal. I’ve devoured movies such as The Princess Bride, Legend, Willow, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and more recently, the amazing Game of Thrones series on HBO, to name just a few.

While I love the romance and whimsy of a good fairy tale, I equally love the grittiness shown in the fight for survival, which will draw out the true essence of each character, and the vigorous battle between good and evil. High fantasy (or any fantasy) comes down to that eternal question, in my opinion – which will prevail when put to the ultimate test? Good or evil?

In Falling Kingdoms, I don’t feel that there is any character who is 100% good or evil. At the end of the day, and no matter what magic may be available, a character is defined by his or her choices. A “hero” might do evil to achieve victory and a “villain” might do good for the same goal. And, for me, those are the most interesting characters and storylines to explore!

Tomorrow, head over to Alice Marvels to find the answer to your next QUESTion, then email the answer to yrmarketing@us.penguingroup.com for a chance to win a copy of Falling Kingdoms!

12.14 QUESTion, found somewhere in the Alice Marvels tour stop: What is the credo of Limeros?

Falling Kingdoms QUEST blog tour schedule:

Mon, 11/26 Good Choice Reading [LINK: http://www.goodchoicereading.com]
Tues, 11/27 Romance Junkie Reviews [LINK: www.romancejunkies.com]
Wed, 11/28 Cuddlebuggery Book Blog [LINK: http://cuddlebuggery.com]
Thurs, 11/29 The Story Siren [LINK: http://www.thestorysiren.com]
Fri, 11/30 The Book Smugglers [LINK: www.thebooksmugglers.com]
Mon, 12/3 Night Owl Reviews [LINK: http://www.nightowlreviews.com]
Tues, 12/4 Chapter by Chapter [LINK: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com]
Wed, 12/5 The Compulsive Reader [LINK: www.thecompulsivereader.com]
Thurs, 12/6 Mundie Moms [LINK: www.mundiemoms.com]
Fri, 12/7 Ticket to Anywhere [LINK: www.tickettoanywhere.net]
Mon, 12/10 The Perpetual Page Turner [LINK: http://www.perpetualpageturner.com/]
Tues, 12/11 Bookalicious [LINK: http://bookalicious.org]
Wed, 12/12 The Children’s Book Review [LINK: http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com]
Thurs, 12/13 Literary Rambles [LINK: http://literaryrambles.com]
Fri, 12/14 Alice Marvels [LINK: www.alicemarvels.com]

Here's what's coming up.

On Monday Laura  Pauling will be sharing her advice and giving away a copy of her new middle grade book, HOW TO SURVIVE ANCIENT SPELLS AND CRAZY KINGS, an adventure story set in the Mayan ruins of Tikal and involving skeletons from the underworld, a backstabbing princess, and an ancient prophecy. I love anything dealing with the Mayans so am super excited about this.

Next Wednesday, I have a surprise post. That's all I'll say for now.

Then I'm on a break until January 7th. January is going to be AWESOME! On January 7th, I interview debut author Ellen Oh and give away an ARC of PROPHECY, her new fantasy set in a Korean-like world. In January, I'll also be sharing and giving away an ARC of SHADES OF EARTH, Beth Revis' new book, interviewing Marie Lu and giving away an ARC of PRODIGY, and interviewing Leigh Moore and giving away a copy of ROUGE, her new edgy contemporary romance. This is just some of what's coming up.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!



Tip Tuesday #150

Tip Tuesday features writers' tips on craft, research, querying, blogging, marketing, inspiration, and more. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Hey all - I hope your Tuesday is off to a great start. Heather Villa sent in today's tip and it's her first here on Lit Rambles. I think her advice will resonate with many. Please stop by her website, Heather Villa Writes, and make her feel welcome in the comments below. You can also find Heather on Twitter @HeatherVilla1.

A Necessary Element 

The sight of an intricate flower petal, the smell of freshly shampooed hair, the taste of rain, the contact between two people in an embrace, and the sound of laughing children encapsulate the five senses. While sensory descriptions reveal information in almost any story ever told, an equally necessary, yet more challenging component is the portrayal of human relationships.

The solitary process of writing balanced with outward connections allows a writer’s world to expand. A writer’s interactions with close companions, as well as acquaintances and strangers ensure the foundation needed to develop the behaviors of characters in a story. How a character interacts with others reveals the essence of a personality.

To write about pain, jubilation, anxiety, or excitement experienced by others, we must try to understand those around us.

Agree to the challenge and step away from your writing, even for a few minutes, to connect with someone. Open your front door and walk outside. Take a moment to talk with a person in your community. Observe the interactions between others. Attempt to understand another’s story.

Next, step outside of your community. Strike up a conversation with someone beyond your inner circle. Deepen your understanding about someone who lives a life far different than yours.

Lastly, see the big picture and find commonalities shared between people from different walks of life.

When you meet the challenge to step away from writing, your personal story will be broader and with a new perspective the words you write about a character who overcomes a challenge, endures a loss, or fights for justice will include an authentic voice.

~Heather Villa

MAGISTERIUM GIVEAWAY, ASK THE EXPERT INTERVIEW, AND MY NEWS

Hi Everyone! I think I'll start out with my news. No, it's nothing related to publishing, but it's very exciting. As many of you know, my daughter is adopted from China. I'm taking her for a heritage tour to China over the Christmas holidays! It's sponsored by our adoption agency, Chinese Children Adoption International. The Chinese government wants its adopted kids to come back and learn of their heritage so the trip for my daughter except for her airfare there is free. Isn't that awesome? It'll be just my daughter and me because it'd be too hard for my husband to travel there with his health.

I can't believe we leave in less than two weeks! 

We'll be gone for ten days. We'll be going to Beijing, Xi'an to see the Terra Cotta Soldiers and a Panda reserve where my daughter gets to hold a baby panda (It's one of her dreams), Guilin, and Yangshuo. It sounds so fabulous and we'll be with a group with teenagers so it should be really fun for my daughter.

I considered taking my computer and maybe blogging about some of my trip with Casey's help posting the pictures as you can't do that on Blogger while in China. But then I talked to a friend yesterday who went this summer. You have to carry it with you everywhere so I'm not going take it.

I thought I'd also share my stats for this year and announce a little change for next year.

I've given away 111 books this year. This does not include the interviews and giveaways Casey did. I'm excited that I've shared so many good books with you all. And authors and publishers have been very generous in providing me with ARCs.

As you can imagine, the postage is quite expensive, especially sending books to my wonderful International followers. I've sent packages to many places, including England, France, Indonesia, India, and South America. I'm constantly replenishing my stack of customs slips for the post office. To cut the costs a bit, some of my giveaways next year will be for U.S. and Canada only. I'll just play it by ear depending on how many International winners there are and will try to keep all the really popular giveaways International. I hope you guys understand.

Finally, we just hit 3000 followers this week. I'm SO excited! Thank you all for being such great followers. We're busy here through January so we'll do something in February to celebrate this awesome milestone.

So moving on, I have a few winners to announce and then I'll get to my fantastic interview today.

The winner of RENEGADE is CRICKET!

The winner of WRITING IRRISISTABLE KIDLIT is WILL OVERBY!

The winner of PASSION BLUE is HINATA!

The winner of TOUCHED is STEPHANIE GARBER!

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I  can send you your book. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick a new winner.


Today I’m excited to interview Adam Quinn, a 8th grader who is also an aspiring author and blogger for my ASK THE EXPERT series. And his mom is Susan Quinn, the author of the awesome MINDJACK series and has an awesome blog you can check out here

Hi Adam. Thanks so much for joining us.

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your school, and what you like to read.

            True story: I spent twenty-five minutes thinking about how to start this answer before coming up with the trick you just read. So, anyway, I’m known at my school (Plum Grove Junior High) mainly for these five things, in this order: Writing, Mathematics, CAD, Fencing, and playing the clarinet (and no, I’m not known for putting up fences). Put the traits required for each of those five together, and you’ve got a good picture of my personality. Moving on to Plum Grove itself, it’s a nice place. The teachers are talented and kind, and many of the students are equally so. At the same time, they offer advanced reading, writing, and math, so (most of the time) the curriculum is challenging. Finally, what I like to read. Science fiction is my favorite genre, hands down, but there are few things I won’t read. The only two that immediately come to mind are romance and horror.

2.  Wow! You really thought about that. And it sounds like you're super busy and have lots of awesome interests. I know you’re an aspiring author, self-published a book, and are a blogger too. Tell us a bit about your book and how you juggle writing with a busy middle school life.

            Actually, I’ve published two books: Adventures at and Around the Galaxy, and its sequel, The Undercover War. Both are space operas, where the MCs (main characters) are Galactic Government special forces who find out that the GG they serve has been largely corrupted by a powerful underground cult. As for how I balance my writing with school stuff, that’s a problem I’m still working on. My current model (by no means a perfect one) is this: School work always comes first. If I have time on weekends, during Writers Club, or after I’ve finished my homework, I’ll work on my next short story. Over breaks (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring, Summer) I’ll work on my next novel.

3.  Your books sound awesome. Wish I could say I'd written two books. Good to know school comes first. Share a bit about your blog.

            First off, I blog sporadically, so don’t expect regular weekly updates (post #s). When I do post, I’m usually either A, reviewing a book, B, releasing a book (or an edition), C, releasing bonus content (which you can find here), or D, running competitions or polls. Other features of my blog include links to where you can buy my books in almost every format available, information on all of my published books, a chat box for leaving comments, and a helpful overview with an introduction in all six official languages of the UN.

4. Sounds like there's lots of good stuff there when you do blog. Before you started writing, how did you find out about the books you read? What about new books coming out?

            Back then, I usually found books the old-fashioned way—by browsing a library. If the cover and title looked interesting, I checked the short description. If that sounded good too, I checked it out. If I didn’t get a book that way, I either bought it, got it as a gift, or was referred to it. If I wanted to read new books, I checked the “New Releases” section at the library. However, since libraries aren’t generally the first places to receive new releases, most of the “new new books” I got were based on referrals or as gifts.

5.  I love discovering books and authors at the library. How has writing changed what you read, if at all? What about the fact that your mom is a writer?

            Actually, it’s almost the other way around—my taste in reading heavily influenced my decision to write Sci-fi. I’m not sure if the fact that my mom is a writer really influences my reading, but I do read a lot of books that she suggests to me, including but not limited to her own books (which I also critique).

6.  It's important to read in your genre as a writer, which it sounds like you're doing. What books are you waiting to be released?

            I’m not actually waiting on a whole lot. The only two books that come to mind are Shadows Alive by Orson Scott Card and the next book in the I Am Number Four series. I’m sure there are many more books that I will want to read when they come out, but I am not actively waiting on them, per se.

7.  I love the I AM NUMBER FOUR series too. Do you buy most of your books or get them at the library? How often do you go to a bookstore? 

            As I said in #4, I used to get most of my books from the library, only visiting a bookstore when I receive a gift card or something similar. Today, though, you will rarely see me at either. I buy almost all of my books on my Nook Simple, which I am very happy with.

8.  Do you read any teen book blogs, author blogs, or author or publisher websites? Become a fan of an author on Facebook? Why? Has this changed at all since you started writing?

            No, not really. The only blog that I read (besides my own) is my mom’s, and I only do that occasionally. I’m not on Facebook, and I don’t really want to be.

9.  I can't imagine you have much time to read blogs. Have any of your teachers recommended any blogs or websites to your class or to you?

            They do “recommend” websites, but only for academic purposes (i.e. my history teacher recommended the BBC site for further learning about World War I and Trench Warfare).

10.  Are there things your favorite authors could do that would make you more likely to visit their website, their blog, or become a fan on Facebook?
            No.

11.  Have any authors visited your school? Who? Is there anything you’d recommend that an author do to make their presentation more interesting to you and other kids at your school?

            A few authors visited Pleasant Hill (my elementary school), none of which I remember clearly. The only author who ever visited Plum Grove was Neal Schusterman, the author of Unwind. I think the most attractive feature of his presentation was that he provided a lot of question and answer time. You can’t tailor your speech for everyone, but during question and answer time, you can let them tailor it for you.

Thanks Adam for sharing all your great advice. 

Guys, I'm looking for kids who are in 5th through 12th grade for my ASK THE EXPERT series starting in March. If you know anyone interested, please e-mail me at rmarma2@yahoo.com.

Today, I'm also giving away an ARC of MAGISTERIUM  by Jeff Hirsch. 

Here's a description from Goodreads:

On one side of the Rift is a technological paradise without famine or want. On the other side is a mystery.

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn's only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn't for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn's mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father's work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run---with only one place to go.

With MAGISTERIUM, Jeff Hirsch brings us the story of a complex, captivating world that will leave readers breathless until the very last page.

I'll try to keep my review short because I know this post is getting long.

One of the things I loved about this is that Glenn lives in a really technical, dystopian world of the Colloquium and then crosses over to the unknown beyond the Rift, which is governed by magic. I loved the blending of the two genres.

Right away we learn what Glenn wants--to go on a space mission that she'll never return from but will fulfill her career dreams. And right away, she can't have it. Her dad, who seems slightly obsessed and maybe a bit crazy, designs this device that might be able to be used to rescue Glenn's mom who disappeared over the Rift that divides the two worlds. Glenn screws things up right away and gets here dad arrested and has to flee with her friend Kevin into the Rift and the unknown.

The world building is fantastic. The Colloquium is a technological, rule governed world. The world beyond the Rift has magical, human-like warriors and magic governs the world, not all the good kind. Technology doesn't work in this magical world and magic doesn't work in the Colloquium.

Glenn is so sympathetic as a character. She's alone except for Kevin in this strange world that forces her to question everything about her world and discover secrets about her family. And while she's questioning where she fits in, Kevin is totally drawn into this new world and changes in ways that Glenn isn't sure she likes. This creates tension between them and there's a not overdone romantic tension between them.

This is a fast-paced quick read that I think those of you who like dystopian and/or fantasy will enjoy.

Scholastic generously provided this ARC for a giveaway.  To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment on Adam's interview by midnight on January 5th. I’ll announce the winner on January 7th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. International entries are welcome.

Here's what's coming up.

On Thursday, I'm participating in THE FALLING KINGDOM blog tour. It's a new fantasy by Morgan Rhode about four teenagers whose lives are intertwined in a world filled with magic, bloodshed, and political intrigue. I can't wait to read it.

Next Monday Laura  Pauling will be sharing her advice and giving away a copy of her new middle grade book, HOW TO SURVIVE ANCIENT SPELLS AND CRAZY KINGS, an adventure story set in the Mayan ruins of Tikal and involving skeletons from the underworld, a backstabbing princess, and an ancient prophecy. I love anything dealing with the Mayans so am super excited about this.

Next Wednesday, I have a surprise post. That's all I'll say for now.

Then I'm on a break until January 7th unless I post from China. January is going to be AWESOME! On January 7th, I interview debut author Ellen Oh and give away an ARC of PROPHECY, her new fantasy set in a Korean-like world. In January, I'll also be sharing and giving away an ARC of SHADES OF EARTH, Beth Revis' new book, interviewing Marie Lu and giving away an ARC of PRODIGY, and interviewing Leigh Moore and giving away a copy of ROUGE, her new edgy contemporary romance. This is just some of what's coming up.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Thursday!