MAX-imum Exposure - A 13 to Life Giveaway and Secrets And Shadows Feature

Author: Shannon Delany
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (February 15, 2011)
Pages: 320
Ages: Young Adult
Source: Advanced Copy

Description from GoodReads:
Nothing's simple when you run with werewolves. Jess Gillmansen thinks she's seen it all but her eyes are about to be opened to even more danger and a reality far more paranormal than she's suspected. With Jess' realization that the Rusakovas' mother is still alive and imprisoned, the group's choices become harder and trust more important. Lines are drawn and relationships change as the broken Rusakova family struggles to reunite to free their mother - and those who Jess thought to be normal people show themselves to be much, much more...

This is sort of a review and sort of not a review.  I actually had a chance to read a very, very early copy of Secrets and Shadows way back in July.  A pre-advanced readers copy you might say.  As a result, I need to be cautious in what I say.  Somethings likely changed between the version that I read and the actual release copy that will be out in two weeks.  

Instead of a traditional review, I am doing a "here's why I am excited about the release of Secrets and Shadows" or "what I am looking forward to" post.  In case you are wondering, this is a safe post...I tried avoiding spoilers to both 13 to Life and Secrets & Shadows, though there may be minor spoilers for 13 to Life.  If you haven't read book one in the 13 to Life Series may I suggest that you go out, get it, read it, and then return?!  

Of course if you read it, then you know there was a lot of excitement at the end.  Delany doesn't hold back in either her first book or her second.  The world of Junction gets a bit more exciting and definitely a lot more mysterious in book 2.  The title definitely is a warning...there are secrets galore.  

Why I am excited for the release of Secrets & Shadows:

1.  Hot Boys with accents - who just happen to shape-shift into wolves (which also means that clothes are uh, um...optional at times...I didn't really say that did I?).  And if you are interested in hearing these accents, check out the interview I did with Pietr and Max yesterday.  Click here.
2.  Humor - yup, I laugh when I read Delany's books.  I love that she pokes fun at certain fads and doesn't always take herself seriously (in a good way).  The books for me are truly guilty pleasures.

3. The Cover - I like it even more than the first book and well though it was nice to have an early manuscript to read - it really isn't the same as a bound book with a really pretty cover.

4.   Though the book centers around Jess and Pietr - and Pietr's family - there are a lot of secondary characters in this book that add to the story and who I am becoming attached to.  Some that I like - Jess' dad & sister, Jess' friends Amy & Sophie and of course a few that I can do with a little less of, like Derek & Sarah but you have to have a few characters you don't like.  (Note: And there are some that you really won't like too.)

5.  There are secrets in this book.  Lots and lots of secrets.  The plot thickens and Delany draws the reader more and more into the world of Junction which turns out to be a whole lot more exciting than this sleepy little town pretends to be.

6.  The overlap of the Russian mafia, CIA, and the history/lore of werewolves which Delany has created lends a unique twist to the series. It also leaves you wondering at times who you can believe and who you shouldn't.  

7.  In this installment, we get to see more of the Rusakovas.  Who are they?  What are they like?  There is more to them than what you might have guessed.  And surprisingly, these reveals drew me closer to Max.  Yes, Max - not Pietr (though he wouldn't be bad to have around).  This was definitely a bit of a shock to me since I tend to stay far away from "bad boy types" and Max is definitely a bit of a "bad boy".  But read it and tell me what you think of Max by the end.

8.  Jess - the main character - she certainly surprises me.  She is bright, capable, and surprisingly good with a gun.  I don't know a lot of gun wielding female protagonists in YA paranormal/urban fantasy.  Granted it isn't like she carries one around all the time, but she certainly knows how to use one. 

9.  Did I mention hot boys with accents....*scrolls back up, yep, #1* - it bares repeating.  

10.  Finally, Delany's series is one of those books that I know if I start reading at night I will be up way past bedtime in order to finish it.  

Hope that gives you a few reasons to pick up Secrets and Shadows when it is released.  

Thanks to Shannon Delany - I am hosting a Giveaway in honor of the release of Secrets and Shadows.  Shannon is sending me a signed copy of 13 to Life (Book 1) and signed posters of 13 to Life and Secrets & Shadows.  I have decided to have two winners - 1 for the signed copy of 13 to Life and the other winner will receive the signed posters.  The first name I pick will receive the signed book and the second name will receive the signed posters.  Good Luck everyone and don't forget to pre-order Secrets and Shadows.

Rules for Giveaway:

1.  Contest will run from Wednesday, February 2, 2011 to Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. PST.  
2.  You must complete the entry form to be officially entered into the contest.  Personal information in comment section will be deleted.
3.  Contest is open internationally.
4.  Comments are not and appreciated but not required.