Claudia Gray's Afterlife Review & Giveaway!

Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Harper Teen (March 8, 2011)
Audience: YA
Source: For Review (Dark Days Supernatural Tour)

Description from GoodReads:
The fourth book in this electrifying vampire series has all the romance, suspense, and page-turning drama that have made Claudia Gray’s Evernight books runaway successes.

Having become what they feared most, Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They must return to Evernight Academy, Lucas as a vampire and Bianca as a wraith. But Lucas is haunted by demons, both personal and supernatural. Bianca must help him fight the evil inside him, combat the forces determined to drive them apart—and find the power to claim her destiny at last.

Readers have fallen in love with Bianca and Lucas, and they will be thrilled to read this exciting conclusion to their romantic adventure.

Claudia Gray's Afterlife is the highly anticipated final chapter to her best-selling Evernight series, a young adult series about vampires and humans living together at the reclusive Evernight boarding school. Personally, I was really looking forward to seeing how things would end for Lucas and Bianca and how the mysteries surrounding the school would resolve, and I wasn't disappointed.

This is a spoiler free (!!) review of Afterlife, but it does reference events from the first three books in the series, so you have fair warning.

Afterlife lived up to expectations for me. At the end of Hourglass, book 3, Bianca had become a wraith and Lucas was turning into a vampire, the one thing he had been resisting for the whole series. This brought a new dynamic to the duo as they adjusted to their new bodies... or forms, in Bianca's case as a wraith. I loved watching Lucas struggle with what he had become and how that affected his relationship with Black Cross, especially his mother. I also loved seeing Lucas and Bianca back at the academy. I enjoyed them being on their own, out in the real world in Hourglass, but it felt great to have them back on familiar territory, readjusting to life now that they were both so different.

There were many unpredictable plot twists, especially with Mrs. Bethany and her relationship to the vampire/human/wraith populations at the academy. There was also some interesting Balthazar moments in there for fans eagerly awaiting Balthazar's spin-off novel. It's difficult to discuss the novel without giving too much away, because so much of this book ties up loose ends. I will say that I loved how Claudia Gray ended Bianca and Lucas' romance. I was worried about how they would work everything out, but I was more than satisfied with their ending. Overall, I really liked this one -- lots of action, romance, and drama to make it a real page-turner.

Now, on to the fun part: THE GIVEAWAY!

Here are the rules:
1. Please do not enter any personal information in the comments section, you must complete the Entry Form to officially enter the contest.
2.  The Contest runs from 12:00 a.m. on March 26, 2011 to 11:59 p.m. on March 31st.
3.  You do not need to be a follower of this blog to enter, but if you are it will earn you an extra entry.
4.  You must be 13 or older to participate in this contest.
5.  If you are selected as a winner, I will notify you by e-mail.  If you do not respond within 48 hours, I will select a new winner.
6.  This contest is only open to UK participants .(Sorry U.S. and International Followers...there will be another contest for you coming soon)

Good luck!!

Book Review - Once In A Full Moon

Author: Ellen Schreiber
Publisher: Kate Tegen Books (December 28, 2010)
Audience: Young Adult
Source: For Review (Dark Days Supernatural Tour)

The story:

Celeste Parker has a pretty good life. She lives with both her parents in a four bedroom house in Eastside, the good part of town. She has two best friends with whom she is super-close and is dating the most popular boy in school, Nash. Sure, she’s not really in love with Nash, but it’s a nice, normal life.

Celeste’s nice, normal life, however, changes dramatically after a visit to the local psychic who warns Celeste, “Beware of the woods.. of the sounds of howling. There could be outsiders who will turn... underneath the glow of the full moon.” Celeste doesn’t really believe in the prediction until she gets caught in the woods during a freak snow storm and ends up surrounded by wolves. Things look pretty bleak for Celeste until Brandon, the sexy new boy in school from the wrong side of town, jumps in to save the day. The confrontation leaves Brandon with a gash on his hand and Celeste’s full attention.

The encounter in the woods changes both Brandon and Celeste forever. Is there any truth to the Werewolf of Logan’s Run legend? And, more importantly, can two people from such different backgrounds find enough common ground to fall in love?

The verdict:

Ellen Schreiber’s Vampire Kisses series is a big hit at my library with the tween set, and I know this one will be just as popular. Celeste is drastically different than Raven, but Once in a Full Moon has all the things that has made Vampire Kisses so popular: cute boys, romance, and things that go bump in the night.

What I like most about Once in a Full Moon is that there is a chapter entitled “Love and the Library.” (Hey, I’m a librarian. We eat stuff like that up.) What I like second most is the realistic portrayal of high school social structures and peer pressure. I think when most teens hear “peer pressure” they think drugs and sex, but this book shows how the opinions of friends often has a bearing on other actions.

As a librarian, I love having Schreiber’s books on my shelves. They’re my go-to recommendation for supernatural loving kids making the transition from middle grade novels to young adult. They have all the romance and horror these kids are looking for without the shock and blush factor of some other YA titles. Bottom line, Once in a Full Moon is a must have for any school or public library that caters to the late elementary to high school crowd.

Thanks to Miss Tammy for the guest review.  Tammy Blackwell is the Young Adult Services Coordinator for a public library system in Kentucky. When she's not reading, writing, or cataloging books, she's sleeping.  She is the author of the YA Novel Destiny Binds.

HarperCollins Presents: The Dark Days of Supernatural Contest

Brace yourself for the Dark Days ahead.
Paranormal thrillers. Supernatural romance. Otherworldly adventures.
Discover new books from acclaimed authors Ellen Schreiber, Claudia Gray,
and Kimberly Derting, as well as from debut authors Cynthia Hand and
Courtney Allison Moulton, on tour this winter.
Darkness falls this winter. Be prepared.
Here is your opportunity to win a copy of all 5 books being featured in this tour.  Click on the photostream to see the 5 books being featured.  For more information about The Dark Days of Supernatural Contest, please click here.

One winner will be selected out of all of the submitted entries.  This contest is only open to residents of the United States.  Please note that Harper Collins will be sending out the prize pack to the winner in March 2011 after the release of AFTERLIFE by Claudia Gray.  

The contest will run from Sunday, January 23rd to Sunday, January 30th at 11:59 p.m PST. 

All contestants must be 13 years older to enter and must complete the entry form below.  Though comments are nice and appreciated, adding personal information in the comment section will result in a comment being deleted. 

HarperCollins Presents: The Dark Days of Supernatural Tour

Brace yourself for the Dark Days ahead.
Paranormal thrillers. Supernatural romance. Otherworldly adventures.
Discover new books from acclaimed authors Ellen Schreiber, Claudia Gray,
and Kimberly Derting, as well as from debut authors Cynthia Hand and
Courtney Allison Moulton, on tour this winter.
Darkness falls this winter. Be prepared.

Once In A Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber
Release Date: 12/28/10

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Release Date: 1/4/11

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Release Date: 2/15/11

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
Release Date: 2/15/11

Afterlife by Claudia Gray
Release Date: 3/8/11

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Check out the Trailer for The Dark Days of Supernatural Tour: