Tuesday, September 13, 2011

YA SCRAMBLER - Contest & Giveaway

Instructions for the YA Scramble:
1) Visit the first blog (based on list of Participating Blogs).
2) Read the guest post for ALL 14 sites.
3) Identify the PURPLE word in each of the guest blogs (below).
4) Pick out the 3rd letter from the PURPLE word.
5) Go to the next blog.
6) Repeat #3, #4, and #5 until you've visited all 14 sites.
7) At the end, take all 14 of the 3rd letters from the PURPLE words and figure out the message near and dear to our hearts.
8) You will enter that unscrambled message ONCE into this form as your official entry for a chance to win some great prizes from fantastic authors and bloggers.

Participating Blogs - All must be visited (scroll over name and click to access blog):
Kaitlin Simpson
PJ Hoover
Cary Cummings
Heather Cashman
Kathleen Tucker
Jennifer Morris
Cyndi Tefft
Irish/ Gail
Danielle Bunner
Melissa Layton
T.R. Graves
Megg Jensen
Amy Jones
Laura Elliott

Guest Blog by: Melissa Layton
Topic: Timeless Titles

Every now and then you come across a book that pulls you in and plasters itself in your mind and heart so firmly, it simply won't let you go. One read just won't do, so you read it again and again... and again. You crave diving back into a world where anything can happen. Where good triumphs over evil and love never dies. Where characters are so believable they seem to leap right off the page. Where, though trials and seemingly insurmountable obstacles dot every page, the human spirit is able to accomplish anything. Have you ever experienced that? Have you ever fallen so madly in love with a book that you keep returning to the treasure hidden within its pages? I know I definitely have.

For this Scramble, I wanted to share five novels - or series, as the case may be - I know I will definitely be rereading for years to come. Then I realized it was near impossible to narrow it down to just five. So, without further ado, here are TEN titles I know I'll be rereading in 10, 20, 30 years from now. Enjoy!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This is one of my favorite series of all time. Honestly. Suzanne Collins is ridiculously gifted at creating unforgettable characters in an eerily believable world. Being a longtime fan of dystopian novels, I recently asked myself an interesting question: Why in the world do I enjoy this genre so much? I mean, if you think about it, dystopias are frequently filled with a lot of sadness, violence, oppression and other various awful things. Am I just a twisted person who likes to see people suffer? Is there something wrong me? Absolutely not. I've come to the conclusion that I like this particular genre not because of all the awful things, but because of the hope. Within many dystopian novels there is so much light and hope to be found, and The Hunger Games is no exception. I will continue to reread this series over and over, not because I enjoy all the struggles Katniss, Peeta and the Panem citizens have to go through, but because they have so much hope for a better world. I will reread this series because it shows that hope, strength, love and determination can conquer any darkness we may come across.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Speaking of darkness, there are few historical blemishes that can compare to the darkness found during World War II. Markus Zusak was definitely inspired when he wrote this touching and heart-wrenching novel. Narrated by Death, The Book Thief is a fantastic look at what it may have been like to be a child/teen growing up in Nazi Germany. This novel sucked me in like a well-powered vacuum and didn't spit me out until I had devoured each and every one of its 550 pages. So why will I be rereading this in years to come? Because the characters are engaging, the adventure, harrowing, and it is a reminder of what humanity is capable of - good and bad. Not to mention, it almost made me cry... no easy feat, I might add.

I love me some mythology! Ever since I was a kid, I have been entranced by mythology. Rick Riordan is an absolute genius for making mythology accessible and entertaining. I wish Percy Jackson was around when I was a kid! Though the heroes are sent on outrageously difficult and scary missions, there is so much humor, camaraderie and heart in the series that you can't help but be swept up. Whether it's reading the series for myself or my future children, I absolutely know I will be reading Rick Riordan's novels for years to come!

Though it may be hard for some to believe, there was a time in my life when I was not interested in reading. I know, right?! Shocking, but true. It may sound cheesy, but it was Harry Potter that slapped me upside the head and made me remember how much I loved reading. I can still recall the day I picked up the first Harry Potter book. The Goblet of Fire had just come out and a bookstore was getting ready to close, so all the books were at least 70% off. My Mum loves a good sale - especially a book sale - so we headed on over to see what we could grab. I had heard of J. K. Rowling's boy wizard books but I just couldn't understand the hype. However, I figured that with such a great discount, I wouldn't be losing much if I didn't like it. I bought the book, went home and began to read... later that day, I went back and bought the next three. Since then, I have been reading pretty much non-stop. I will be forever grateful to J. K. Rowling's magical world of Harry Potter for reigniting my love for reading.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
I don't care if some consider this a kid's book; I love it and couldn't have a Timeless Titles list without including it. So, at least for my purposes, this is a YA novel. Deal with it. Ahem... moving on. Oh my word, I LOVE this series. The themes and characters are so easy to identify with that The Chronicles of Narnia will always be relevant. Who doesn't remember reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and wondering if every closet was a door to another world? C. S. Lewis is an amazing storyteller and his wonderful creation has captured the imaginations of so many children throughout the years. It is because of this that I will be reading this series well into my golden years, I have no doubt.

What can be said about The Hobbit?! Tolkien is a master at his craft and I will forever be a huge fan. He is able to weave such an intricate, entertaining, adventurous STORY that you simply can't escape it. Hobbits, wizards, dragons, dwarves, elves, trolls... this book has it all and then some! For those of you who may be intimidated by Tolkien, give The Hobbit a try. I dare you not to enjoy this fun, magical and adventurous read... I know I shall for many years!

If I had to describe this series in one word, that word just might be "exquisite." I am not really a "werewolf" fan, so I wasn't holding out much hope that I'd enjoy this series. Boy was I wrong. Maggie Stiefvater is a masterful weaver of words and she certainly makes some beautiful tapestries, by jingo! At the core of this story is a boy and a girl and the love they have fore one another. It's because of this novel that I have hope true love exists and can make it through anything. Okay, not just because of this novel, but you get the picture. Though I caught on to the series a bit late compared to some, I know I'll treasure it all my life.

A girl. A rundown English castle. A coming-of-age tale. I read this novel in high school and I have yet to forget it. Have you ever read a book so many times that it's like an old friend? Well, that's how this book is for me. I still feel a kindred spirit in Cassandra Mortmain, the main character. I was completely transported the second I picked up I Capture the Castle for the first time and it continues to have that effect on me to this day. I know I'll be reading this one into my dotage, without a doubt. I really can't put into words how much I love this novel. It's near impossible. If you haven't read this masterpiece by Dodie Smith, I recommend it. What a wonderful escape!

There's just something about a wonderfully executed fairy tale retold, isn't there? Shannon Hale is one of the most enchanting writers to come along. Not only is she able to take an obscure fairy tale and totally revamp it, but her character building is magnificent. The heroine in this novel, Dashti, is one of those people you would do anything to be friends with. She's kind, loyal, brave and has a great sense of humor; even in a less than desirable situation. Honestly, would you ever expect those characteristics to be found in a servant who has been trapped in a tower for seven years with her mistress, a princess? I thought not. Not only is Dashti an amazing character, this story has a wonderful message. Will I tell you what it is? Nope. You'll just have to read it to find out!

I know this might not technically be a YA novel, but I couldn't omit it from this list. I had a tendency to rebel against required reading whilst in school, though I wish I hadn't. I remember the day my tenth grade English teacher passed out battered copies of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. After learning a bit about what life was like in that era, our class read the first few chapters aloud. I instantly fell in love. I enjoyed our class reading so much that I went home and finished the entire book, weeks ahead of schedule. This novel will forever be a favorite and I have and will reread it many times in my life.

So, what YA titles will you be rereading in 10 years?

ARC of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (with signed bookmark)
Ebook of Soltice by PJ Hoover (with trading cards)
Ebook of The Space Between by Alexandra Sokoloff
Paperback copy of Perception by Heather Cashman
Signed paperback ARC of Anathema by Kathleen Tucker
Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Gift Set (Trade Paperback of Eighth Grade Bites, Vlad Journal, Minion Bling Buttons and Vlad Tote)
Signed paperback copy of Between by Cyndi Tefft
Signed hardcover of Clarity by Kim Harrington
ARC of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Signed ARC of Fury by Elizabeth Miles
Signed paperback of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
ARC of Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison
Copy of The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Winner's choice of 5 ebooks from a list of indie authors (see collage below for examples)
Signed paperback of Sleepers by Megg Jensen
Ebooks of Soul Quest and The Guardians of Souls by Amy Jones
Kindle copy of Winnemucca by Laura Elliott (plus a guest post spot on her blog!)
Paperback copy of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Next, go to Kaitlin Simpson's blog.