Monday, June 20, 2011

Blog Tour: Bloodspell - Amalie Howard - Amalie's Book Picks

Today, Amalie Howard is here with a "Book Picks" post courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for her new release, Bloodspell. Thank you for being here, Amalie! You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner. Enjoy! 


From the last two years, 2009 and 2010, what top 5 or 10 books would you recommend to readers and why?

Wow, this is a really great question because I don’t usually think of books coming out in a particular year – I just read whatever I can get my hands on, and the ones with the most reader reviews. I actually had to go and look up books that came out in 2009 and 2010! I can’t say that I’ve read every single amazing book that came out in either of these years, but I’ve definitely read some good ones. I’m also going to stick to Young Adult book recommendations, as for the most part, these are the ones I read.

For 2009, here are my top 3 YA picks for readers (as well as 1 “to-read”):-

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – This is the second book in the Hunger Games series and picks up from where the first one left of. I fell in love with the book’s two heroes, who now have to thwart yet another of the Capitol’s schemes. The plot is fresh and original. As with the first book, the writing absolutely captivated me. It is as fast-paced and exciting as the first novel, and my heroine is the same in all her imperfect, defiant, and gutsy glory. I really enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend this entire series to teens and adults alike.

Fire by Kristin Cashore – Kristin Cashore is a spectacular writer. I adore reading her books because of the flow, feeling and imagery. I loved the main characters, Fire and Brigan, as well as many of the supporting ones, like Brigan’s daughter Hanna or Fire’s father, Cansrel. I found the story to be well thought out and exciting, keeping me hooked at every point. The idea of the monsters is truly a unique one, and I found that Cashore did a wonderful job executing the idea.
Fire is a complex and dense story with enough elements of romance, action, drama, and fantasy to make it appeal to a wide range of readers. Fabulous book.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater – This is a cool love story about werewolves. I loved the lyrical and descriptive sentences, as well as the fact that the novel was based on the two points of view of its protagonists, both Grace and Sam. But my favorite thing about this book was unequivocally the imagery. Maggie Stiefvater is an excellent writer and creates a world that is so visual that you get drawn right into the middle of it, even if you don’t want to. I loved that about Shiver. Her writing is so rich and evocative!

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – So this book is actually on my “to-read” list. It got amazing reviews, and I have it in my book pile … just haven’t got to it yet. I’m recommending it because it came highly recommended to me by a friend who is a very picky reader. Some of the things she mentioned were the fantastic character development (including all the peripheral characters), fresh and unexpected plot twists, and a really great “real” romance.

For 2010, here are my top 3 YA picks for readers (as well as 1 “to-read”):-

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – Mockingjay was everything I wanted and more, all in all, a great conclusion to an exciting and can’t-put-down series. This novel took me on a sublime roller coaster of a journey. Although the story continues from the first two books, this book is completely different. It is gritty and raw in a way that the other two weren’t. It is a world of pain, anger, and self-doubt…a very dark place. For me, the beauty of this novel is in the human capacity for strength, hope, and our innate ability to survive, putting one foot in front of the other and not giving up. Katniss and Peeta, as broken as they are, manage to do that despite all the ghosts that will more than likely forever haunt them. And that’s a fairy-tale ending too, if only for the fact that there’s beauty and hope in such strength. Brilliantly written, I would highly recommend this book.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher – Incarceron was a very interesting book and also very complex. This novel was a pleasant surprise. Although at times I found it quite dense, the story kept me hooked enough to keep reading even through the more complex pages. I loved the concept of a technologically advanced prison, and the whole juxtaposition with the “Era” (Victorian age, I believe) outside world was very cool. Great ideas, and very well-written story – the author has some really beautiful and lyrical descriptions throughout the novel. Her writing was a treat. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, it’s definitely something interesting and different in the YA genre for boys and girls alike.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – Cassandra Clare is undoubtedly one of my favorite writers. I adored her Mortal Instruments series, and she continued to inspire me with this steampunk novel. At first, I was a bit wary of the Victorian setting, but Clare’s writing did what it always does for me and completely took over, sucking me in to the point that I hardly noticed it. As always, her plot is gripping and compelling, and the clockwork monsters were just awesome (and terrifying). I would definitely recommend this novel.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson - This book is on my “to-read” list. Aside from the fantastic reviews, I suffered with an eating disorder and cutting for years. It’s a novel that really digs deep into some of the ugly truths of female adolescence, and I suspect that many of the themes will hit home for me. Cannot wait to read this one!

For 2011, I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend my debut novel, Bloodspell! If you like strong but relatable heroines, this novel is for you. Victoria, my protagonist, really evolves in it, and becomes this strong, fierce young woman by the end. She finds herself, falls in love, faces her fears, and comes into her own. I think Victoria is an inspiration to a lot of girls struggling with being different, but that’s just me. Be sure to check out Bloodspell if you want to learn more about Victoria!

Wow! Thank you for this phenomenal list, Amalie!! I really need to get reading these books, though I am enjoying Bloodspell right now! ;) 
Thank you for being here today, Amalie! 

Amalie can be found on her website, her blog, and on twitter

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The spell was simple...

Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood)

But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?

Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds -- much less one that reveals she's a witch with unimaginable power.

What's more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own...

Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood's deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

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