Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) Synopsis Revealed!

So not too long ago I reported that the (still) beautiful cover of Beth Revis' A Million Suns had been revealed. I still love it, and I know it's going to look so nice with my copy of Across the Universe when it comes out. But now Ms. Revis has shared that the synopsis has also been released! You can check it out here and then see the book page on Goodreads! It's coming together quite beautifully, I think. I certainly cannot wait to get my hands on it, and only getting more and more excited.

Here it is:
When Elder learns harrowing news about the space ship Godspeed, he and Amy must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, all the while dealing with the romance that’s growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart. It all boils down to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.
If you can't control yourself and would like to preorder it, here you go!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book Blogger Hop! (Kinda Number 3...)

So I'm terrible, and worked literally ALL DAY Friday, and didn't do a Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop post... Therefore, I'm solely doing Book Blogger Hop. I will have Follow Friday again next week, I promise! On tothe fun...

Book Blogger Hop

So Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme for bloggers and readers to check out other blogs and create more traffic and followers. It lasts Friday through Monday, and I get to answer a fun question. Click here to check out the full rules and info. Without further ado...

Q. Highlight one book you have received this week (for review, from the library, purchased at the store, etc.) that you can’t wait to dig into!
Me: Oh.... Oh my. I've gotten some really good-looking books this week. But I actually received my (long awaited) copy of Julie Kagawa's "The Iron Queen", the third book in the Iron Fey Series, and I am completely dying to read it. (If you haven't seen my RAVING review of the Iron King yet, here's proof of why I would be excited. I have yet to write my review of the Iron Daughter. ) I did my little happy dance when I got it in the mail. So here's the synopsis (SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE OTHER TWO BOOKS!): 

My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.
So yeah. Have a happy rest of the weekend and beginning of August all! Feel free to post your hops here and I'll check them out!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

From Goodreads:
In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.
I adored Shiver. Yes, ADORED. Linger was pretty good. And Forever was, to be honest, just kind of meh for me. I think I wanted a book full of the passion I remember so vividly from Shiver. Sam and Grace didn't even know each other, yet they were drawn together and there was a intensity there I searched hard to find in Forever. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the book as a whole, but honestly couldn't get into it in the first hundred pages.

The thing I love about Maggie Stiefvater's writing is the lyrical quality to it. There seems to be poetry in her words, though there's no meter or rhyme to them. She creates a beautiful, wintry setting that surrounds the story and makes magic out of the mundane. All of this was still there in Forever. Mercy Falls seems like something out a storybook, though at the same time it feels like places I've stopped for gas on a road trip.

Sam and Grace are just as adorable together as they have always been, though I did find at times that I didn't quite understand their actions. For example, Grace is finally human for a extended period of time, and rather than immediately finding the guy she loves, she dawdles and has a random conversation with Cole. Now, I know that if I had seen my (I suppose boyfriend is the best word...) boyfriend for several months, I would not be hanging around making small talk with someone as rude as Cole. Sorry. This leads me to my next point...

I went into Forever expecting some sense of urgency. When we learn about Isabel's dad's plans (trying to be cryptic...) I thought, "Oh yeah. Here comes some good stuff." But no one seemed to go into action mode. Maybe Isabel, a bit. Only during the last seventy-five to one hundred pages, when the threat got REAL, did anyone seem to understand what was going to happen. And THAT was when the book got engrossing. At that point, I read the rest in a single sitting, and was quite satisfied. I found myself wondering how much more satisfied I'd be if the whole book had been like that.

Now, I don't have anything else negative to say, I promise. As for the characters, I actually really liked Cole in this one. I liked knowing a little bit more about his life, and was glad someone was smart enough to figure out something, anything really! I liked him showing a softer, human side, especially with Isabel and right at the end (if you've read the book, you know!). I liked Isabel in this one, too. I didn't like the fact that she spends like zero time with the other characters, but I did like the guts she finally has, rather than just hiding behind her cold exterior.

In retrospect, Forever was good, though not as good as I'd hoped. I'm hoping I'll like it more with another reading soon. That being said, I thought it was a fitting end to the series. There were some heartrendingly beautiful moments that made the book worthwhile, and, when in doubt, the prose saved the day.

Risk a paper cut? For fans of the series, this is obviously a no brainer. If you love beautiful prose, it's worth braving the cold of Mercy Falls.

To buy: Amazon

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Entwined by Heather Dixon {3}

It's Tuesday! And we all know what that means!!! TEASER TUESDAY! EGADS! (Egads is my word of the day, it would seem. ) Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading, and it is quite simple.

All you have to do is this:

  1. Pick up whatever book you are currently reading.
  2. Open it up to a random page.
  3. Pick two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page. (Be careful not to spoil anything!)
  4. Share those sentences! Be sure to include the book title, author, etc. so your readers can add it to their to be read pile if they're intrigued!
Easy peasy, right?

So I actually finished a book literally five minutes ago, but shall not be teasing it, given that I am not currently reading it. Technicalities, hah! So my next book to read is Entwined, by Heather Dixon. Pretty much all I know about it is that it is a retelling of the story of the twelve dancing princesses. (Who woulda thunk that I could get two retellings of that story in what library trip? Just a talent, I suppose.) I am happy to report, though, that this week I can actually remember the story.

Anyways, here is my teaser, from page 78:

"'Gentlemen, shmentlemen,' said Azalea. 'Don't you remember lessons with Mother? We danced reels and quadrilles and all sorts of things without a partner.'

'But it's different, with a gentleman."
Hmmm... I really haven't started the book, so I am as blank as anyone... I guess we'll see! :)

I hope you've enjoyed my teaser for this week, and if you have, check out the book! I'd love to see y'all's teasers, so you can post them here in my comments, or just check out the list of teasers over at Should Be Reading. I know that's what I'll be doing! Cheerio!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I am so excited to announce my very first giveaway! Out of appreciation for you wonderful followers and readers, I am giving away a brand new hardcover copy of Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel, so you can get ready for the December release of Clockwork Prince! If you haven't heard of these books, Clockwork Angel is the first book in a trilogy called The Infernal Devices, a prequel series to Ms. Clare's bestselling Mortal Instruments series. You do not have to have read The Mortal Instruments to understand The Infernal Devices; you will be quite informed.

From Goodreads: 

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Sounds good, right? I read it right when it came out, and I actually liked it better than the Mortal Instrument series, to be honest. No one hurt me, please. :) I am now very pleased to be giving one of you the chance to read it too!

The giveaway is open for entries starting today, and will run for two weeks. It will end at midnight CST on Saturday, August 6th. Here are the rules:
  1. You must be a follower to enter. 
  2. You must be 13 or older. 
  3. The giveaway is open to US residents only. I am paying for shipping out of my own pocket, and I really can't afford international shipping. Hopefully, soon I can get an international giveaway up. :)
  4. You can earn extra entries by following me on Twitter, tweeting about the giveaway, and commenting on this post. Just provide your twitter username, a link to your tweet, and some way for me to identify your comment on the form below.
  5. Please follow the simple rules I've laid out. If you don't, I will have to disqualify you from the giveaway, which I really don't want to do. :(
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me or ask in a comment (which I will count towards your entry if you enter).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop Numero Dos!

Friday has come again. That means Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop time!

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee each week and is a joint effort between all of us bloggers to get more followers. Plus, each week a different question is asked, and I get to answer it! So here goes:

Q. Name 3 authors that you would love to sit down and spend an hour or a meal with just talking about either their books or get advice on writing from?
Me: First and foremost, Robin McKinley. She is the first author I that I loved so much I read everything she had written. I didn't care what it was about. If Robin wrote it, I read it. And I was absolutely never disappointed. Her writing is lovely and lyrical, and I like to think she speaks in the same way she writes, which may or may not be true. :) Next, I would want to dine with Juliet Marillier.  I found Ms. Marillier relatively recently (as in 2 years ago), but I have been entranced by her writing since. Both authors have a poetic and very beautiful style, which I am obviously attracted to. Also, they both almost exclusively write with female heroines, and they are always strong, real girls (never not a plus.) My third author would have to be J.K. Rowling. Ms. Rowling wrote the world's biggest series, but stays so humble and real. Plus, I'd just have to learn how on earth she planned Harry Potter so intricately so far ahead! It blows my mind every time I think about it.

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly par-tay for book bloggers to connect! It's hosted by Crazy for Books (follow that link to get to this week's Blogger Hop post!) and lasts Friday through Monday every week! And we get another exciting question, here goes:

Q. What’s the ONE GENRE that you wish you could get into, but just can’t?

Me: I would seriously love to love mystery novels. Can't. Just can't. I don't know why, but I can't seem to like them, no matter how many I try. I can do a book that more solidly fits into another genre, but has mystery (as, obviously, most books have SOME kind of mystery), but never a book branded just as mystery. Poo.

Wellllll. That's it! Feel free to post links to your Follow Friday or Blogger Hop posts and I'll check them out! Have a fine weekend all! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beautiful Iron Fey Buttons and Iron Knight Countdown Widget

If you are in any way a fan of Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series you will be happy to learn that a fellow blogger, Touya of Reader's Garden has created some fantastic Team Ash and Team Puck buttons and an Iron Knight countdown widget.

The countdown widget can be seen on the right side of my blog. Check it out! I think it's fantastic, and kind of wish it were longer till the book came out so I could keep it. :) :)

These are the buttons:


Head on over to her blog to find the codes and show your support for a great blogger and a great series!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George {2}

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading, and it is quite simple.

All you have to do is:

  1. Pick up whatever book you are currently reading.
  2. Open it up to a random page.
  3. Pick two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page. (Be careful not to spoil anything!)
  4. Share those sentences! Be sure to include the book title, author, etc. so your readers can add it to their to be read pile if they're intrigued!
Easy peasy, right?

So this week I am teasing Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. I am a major sucker for fairy tale retellings, so you know I'm all over this. It's a reimagining of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, a story I never seem to quite remember correctly, but have always liked.

From page 15 (And, yes, I know it's longer than two sentences. Two were just not enough this week!):

"She turned and began walking in the direction Galen had just come from. 'You will have need of it, Galen,' she said. 'When you are in the palace, you will have great need. He must not be allowed above.' 

'Who must not be allowed? And I'm not going to the palace,' he said to her retreating back, confused. 'I'm going to find work with my aunt and uncle, they--' He broke off. 'How did you know my name?'

'Remember, Galen,' she called over her should. 'When you are in the palace, you will have great need.'"

Sounds foreboding, eh? I'm not even this far in the book yet, so I really don't know much. :)

I hope you've enjoyed my teaser for this week, and if you have, check out the book! I'd love to see y'all's teasers, so you can post them here in my comments, or just check out the list of teasers over at Should Be Reading. I know that's what I'll be doing! Cheerio!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Need by Carrie Jones

From Goodreads: 

Zara collects phobias the way other girls collect Facebook friends. Little wonder, since life’s been pretty rough so far. Her father left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara’s living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine so that she stays “safe.” Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother can’t deal.

Wrong. Turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he’s trailing Zara. 

I really am one of those people that get completely enticed into a book based on the cover. I had seen Need a few times at the bookstore and once on Goodread's Bookswap, but I had resisted. But one day recently, I had just gotten a paycheck, and Need showed up on Bookswap again, and I caved. I had, in fact, read the synopsis (above) and decided it looked intriguing, so I'm not completely superficial. :) And I am very glad I gave in to my cover lust.

Sometimes it really is flattering for someone to want you so badly they're a little creepy, but Mr. Pixie King in Need is on a whole new level. He stands outside and points at Zara and even impersonates her beloved, deceased stepfather, whom she is still mourning. Yes. Creep-o to the max.

Zara is such a fun character to read, in my opinion. Her phobia obsession is so quirky and unexpected, and I was quite interested to learn the names of so many things people are afraid of. On a random note, I have been reading a ton of YA books recently where the heroine is a runner. Is this to undermine me because somehow all YA authors know I look like a dope when I run? It's not a bad thing that they run, just an odd trend to notice... Think on it, guys... Maybe it's a conspiracy...

ANYWAYS, I also loved the supporting characters. Grandma Betty was the ultimate grandmother. She could be loving and understanding when you needed your grandmother, yet is totally kick-butt. She's active and funny, and can't cook, and I love her. Zara's friends are awesome too. They're definitely the type I'd like to hang out with. Issie is silly and sweet and totally loyal, and completely in love with Devyn. Devyn is crippled, but healing, and the son of psychiatrists, so he analyzes people, and knows almost as many phobias as Zara. And then there's Nick. Nick is gorgeous and mysterious, but has a raging hero-complex. We all know how that relationship is going to turn out. Wink wink.

I thought the storyline was well paced, and definitely kept me reading much longer than I'd planned. It did feel slightly like a set up, which was actually okay, because I enjoyed getting to know the characters and understanding the pixies and how they worked. While this is indeed a pixie book, it didn't feel so much like one. It's one of those books where it feels like real life, with something paranormal added into the mix. Because of this, it makes it feel like it could happen to me, which, of course, I love and fear at the same time.

I'm now quite anxious to read the next book, Captivate, which I have sitting next to my bed, just waiting. Hoorah! 

Risk a paper cut? Want something to read that has a good pace, likable characters, and is a promising beginning of a series? Well, you NEED to check Need out! (Hahahaha. I'm so punny.)

To buy: Amazon
           Barnes & Noble

Friday, July 15, 2011

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Tamsin Greene comes from an ancient line of witches. The day she was born her grandmother predicted she would be more powerful than anyone in her family, their beacon. The problem is, Tamsin never developed a Talent. So at seventeen, Tamsin is an outcast among her own family, and she attends school far away from them in Manhattan. But while home from school, she is mistaken for her very Talented sister, Rowena, by a professor who wants her to find... a clock. Tamsin takes the job, hoping for some recognition from her family. Tamsin's search for this heirloom sends her on a quest through time that unveils the dark past of her family, the true intentions of the professor, and unlocks the power she's always had within.

So Once a Witch was recommended to me by my cool friend from Australia, Kate (you should check out her blog here!), and I'm so glad she did. I really enjoyed reading it. I thought the relationships were well-developed and the storyline had a perfect, flowing pace.

Normally, I'm really not a big witch fan. Other than Harry Potter, I can't help but think of pointy hatted women with warts, and that's really not a happy sight. (Be pleased I didn't put up a picture. Believe me, I thought about it.) But the witches in Once a Witch have Talents, meaning each one can basically do one thing really well, and that's it. Some have more than one Talent, and some do potions and things, but they don't carry around wands and say incantations to turn you into a toad. For example, Tamsin's aunt can freeze people, not literally freeze them, but make their body stop. Completely. Which is pretty cool. Other people can find things someone is looking for, manipulate weather, and see into the future, but none of them can naturally do them all.

I found Tamsin easy to relate with (really, who doesn't feel overshadowed and stupid compared to someone?) and loving. She comes to her annoying sister's aid when she most needs it, despite having harbored bad feelings towards her for forever. Rowena is also a good character. She undergoes more changes than any other character, in my opinion, and becomes a much more likable and better person for it.

The secondary characters are great in Once a Witch. We have Tamsin's slightly unhinged roommate, Agatha,  Aunt Beatrice who has completely lost her marbles, and swoon-worthy Gabriel, who has the coolest Talent that I'd really like to learn more about!

The plot is fast-paced, keeping everything interesting. Once we get all of the major character introductions over with the book just runs away with the reader in tow. It is just complicated enough to keep you questioning, but not so complicated that you don't get it. The time traveling sequences were at first unexpected, but consistently my favorite parts.

Once a Witch is definitely an adventure you'll be tempted to read in one sitting, and can easily do so without an ounce of regret. Now may I please have the sequel?

Risk a paper cut? Once a Witch is magical (Hahaha. Pun.) and if that doesn't heal any incurred injuries, what will?

To buy: Amazon
             Barnes & Noble


So it's Friday! That means FOLLOW FRIDAY!! Not only is it Follow Friday, but Book Blogger Hop too! So much excitement for one little day. I can barely contain myself! (I'm quite sorry about all of this. I'm a bit delirious. Too much Harry Potter for one girl.)

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee each week and is a joint effort between all of us bloggers to get more followers (who we love with all our hearts.) Plus, each week a different question is asked, and I get to answer it! So here goes:

Q. What do you do when you aren't reading?
Me: Ohh, well lots of things. I currently work at a vastly exciting movie theater, so I spend lots of time there right now. But at the end of August I will be heading back to college, which means I will be doing lots of studying and homework, and, of course, some hard partying (HAHAHAHAHAHA.) I also spend time writing reviews for you lovely people and watching WAY too much Pawn Stars on Netflix, along with normal stuff like hanging out with friends, eating, etc.

So that fun is over, on to Book Blogger Hop!

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly par-tay for book bloggers to connect! It's hosted by Crazy for Books and lasts Friday through Monday every week! And we get another exciting question, here goes:

Q. How/Where do you get your books? Do you buy them or go to the library? Is there a certain website you use like paperbackswap?
Me: I really, really love to buy books, despite my normal lack of funds for such frivolity. I buy them at Barnes & Noble mostly, because it's what's around, but I also buy ebooks for my Nook from their website, and, really, books from anywhere I can get them. I also have a wonderful relationship with my librarian. I check out massive piles of books at once, and that's great fun. :) AND, I love the bookswap on Goodreads. It's fantastic for finding books you may be interested in for cheap, just the cost of shipping.

Mmkay! So, I shall be heading to bed, given that it's 3:45 in the morning here, and will talk to you cats when normal people are awake (which obviously does not include me!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase has never fit in. Since her father mysteriously disappeared one day in the park, Meghan has felt different from everyone in her life, except her best friend, Robbie. But on the day before her sixteenth birthday, weird things start happening, and Meghan soon finds out just why she's always felt so different. She would've never guessed that she was actually the daughter of a powerful faery king, fated to become a pawn in a war against a foe that could destroy the fae world as it has always existed.

Wow. I'm a latecomer to this series, and I honestly, deeply regret it. If I had known just how much I would enjoy The Iron King, I would've read it the day it came out. But, I now understand where the slight craziness surrounding these books comes from, and I probably will become a part of it. :)

My first thought is how much I loved the idea behind the antagonist. So, so much. I don't know enough about the traditional fae stories to know if they actually came into being from people's hopes and dreams, like in the book, but I just loved the idea that the Iron Fae were a result of man's want for more and more advanced technology, which is slowly eradicating people's creativity and imaginations. I thought it was a resonating idea.

I appreciated Meghan's growth throughout the book, too. Sometimes you go into a novel and the protagonist starts off annoying, gets better for a while, and then gets annoying again, for whatever reason. Meghan started off a normal teenage girl, who wants the attention of the cute boy and wants to be liked, but goes through such a transformation. You can see it starting when she heads into the Nevernever to find Ethan, but by the end it's a complete change, and it made me love her.

I also loved a bunch of the secondary characters. Grimalkin was awesome. He had a very Cheshire Cat-ness about him, who I have always loved. Puck/Robbie was always good for a laugh. Ethan was adorable whenever he was not a changeling. What I enjoyed most about all of the fae is that you never know quite where they stand in terms of good or bad. Yes, they will help you, but for a price, be it a memory, your name, or even your first born child. It keeps you on your toes, though you always want to hope they're good (at least I do!)


The Iron King exceeded all expectations I had for it. I thought the story was imaginative, plot-driven, and fast paced. I will be getting my grubby hands on the next two very very soon. :)

Risk a paper cut? YES!!! I would reckon I'd give a kidney... If those are the organs you can live without one of...

To buy: Amazon
            Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa {1}

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading, and it is quite simple. (That's why I'm doing it. Hehe.)

All you have to do is:
  1. Pick up whatever book you are currently reading.
  2. Open it up to a random page.
  3. Pick two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page. (Be careful not to spoil anything!)
  4. Share those sentences! Be sure to include the book title, author, etc. so your readers can add it to their to be read pile if they're intrigued!
Easy peasy, right?

So this is my first time, and I'm excited. I'm a bit behind on this series, but I'm reading The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa, the first book in the Iron Fey series, and I'm really enjoying it! I'll be reading the rest very soon. :)

Here is my teaser:

From page 136, "Ethan stood there, his face blue and wrinkled, his lips pulled into a rictus grin. In one hand, he clutched a butcher knife."

Creepy, right? :) You can post your teasers in my comments here if you'd like me to check them out, otherwise you can check out Should Be Reading's post for a long list of comments with links.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Legacy by Cayla Kluver

Release date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Source: Publisher provided galley from NetGalley

From Goodreads:

In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father's choice of suitor fills her with despair.

When the palace guard captures and intruder—a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom's greatest enemy—Alera is alarmed…and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.

In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won't be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom.

I hate writing reviews like this, but I don't keep a blog to write only good things. I am here to tell my honest thoughts, and so here they are:  

Legacy looked so promising. The cover was very appealing, with the lovely curly script and the girl in the fancy dress, but the book just needed some help. On a scale of one to five stars, I would probably rate it at about 2.6. The idea was there; the world was there. The book suffered from a lack of editing.

The synopsis gives the reader the idea that they are in for something of historical fiction with some political intrigue, war, and romance thrown into the mix. Truthfully, it didn't feel like much of any of those. Princess Alera's biggest problem seems to be that her father wants her to marry a drop dead gorgeous, charming guy, but she likes another guy. That's all she worries about for a good 400 of close to 500 pages. When we do get some hint of a prophecy, it's mentioned for a few pages, and then completely dropped for another 50 pages only to be mentioned briefly once more. Or when the capitol city of Hytanica is lain under siege and all food is rationed, somehow the royalty and the captain of the guard manage to have an extravagant dinner party. Yes, they're royalty so they get leeway, but a multiple course feast? Things just don't add up.

There are, at times, some really good moments of storytelling in this book. When I got to those, I cherished them. There are also some really well done characters. London, for example, I love. He was Alera's personal bodyguard for most of her life and her closest confidant next to her sister. London is the most developed character out of the lot. Alera is too changeable, and wishy-washy. I also didn't find Narian (does anyone else want to read that as Narnia?) to be an appealing love interest. The reader just doesn't get enough out of him. Hopefully this will change in the next book, because I really want to like him, I do.

My biggest complaint in this book was the descriptions of the clothing. I could pretty well get past most of the other faults, but for the clothing. I do not need a description of every dress Alera wears, nor do I need to hear about what her sister, Steldor, London, Narian, or anyone else wears. Brief, pertinent clothing descriptions I accept, and am perfectly happy to read. There were maybe two times I found a description of someone's dress or tiara important, and I didn't mind those in the least. I understand trying to give a visual, but there are times a reader needs to imagine for themselves, rather than being told what to see.

Now, I really liked the idea for the story. The idea of a war that had ended mysteriously with the death of 48 children is a fascinating one. When I heard the story, I immediately wanted to know why the rival country had withdrawn, why they had fought in the first place, etc. Details of this are unveiled, but not so many as to give it all away, which is why there are more books! (And I will be reading them, with great hope.)

I was very impressed when I learned that Cayla Kluver was fourteen when she wrote this book. For a fourteen-year-old, it is quite accomplished. She was able to create her own world, some good characters, an involved story, and make it not predictable. Those things are where this book shines. There is quite a bit of potential here, too. Most of my discrepancies could be fixed, and easily. Scenes with some character development for Narian and Alera would not be hard, nor would cutting out some descriptions. With those fixed, I could see myself giving this book a solid three stars, maybe working up to being rounded to four.

Risk a paper cut? Ummm... Not really, in my opinion. For major fans of historical fiction and/or political intrigue, maybe.

To buy: Amazon
            Barnes & Noble

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Release date: September 1, 2011
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Source: Publisher provided egalley from NetGalley 

From Goodreads: 

Once upon a time there was a girl who was special. 
This is not her story. 
Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right? 

Ultraviolet was in no way what I expected it to be. It starts off with you thinking it's going in one direction, and, then maybe halfway through, just completely blindsides you. And I loved it. It's hard to find books that do that, and I treasure them.

The book hits the ground running. Alison wakes up in the psychiatric wing of a hospital to find out she has confessed to murdering Tori, a girl from her school. Alison recalls having fought with Tori and distinctly remembers Tori disintegrating right in front of her. While Alison is positive that was what she saw, those around her think she's crazy, and Alison doesn't really doubt them. Since a very young age, Alison has been able to see sounds, see letters and numbers as colored and distinguish their personalities, and can even taste lies.

Alison can't relate to those around her very well, until enchanting Dr. Faraday comes into the picture. He explains that she has synesthesia, a condition in which the stimulation of one sense automatically leads to the stimulation of another (such as hearing stimulating sight), and believes everything she says. Alison finds herself drawn to him, and trusts him more than she should. What she doesn't expect is what the two of them uncover and experience together.

Oh, so many good things to say! The first thing that struck me when I started this book was how much I loved the descriptions. Now, many good writers today come up with some breathtaking descriptions, but with Alison being a synesthete, she sees thing differently from the rest of us. I adored reading phrases that told how a piece of smooth, sanded wood tasted like caramel. for example. It's so different to read, yet at times I could understand how something could taste or look as Alison perceives it.

Of course, the cover is quite beautiful. While I still don't really see what it pertains to, (maybe I'm just being slow) the mood of it fits the book perfectly. And, of course, the purple is exactly what most people think of when they hear "ultraviolet".

R.J. Anderson's writing is solid, with the pacing of the book just right. She gives you just the right amount of fodder each chapter to keep you reading. The novel is really high concept without making you think it is, and works. I found it to be a beautiful story of a girl finding her strength in a situation where many would waver.

I can see how some people would be turned off by the book once they reach the big turning point, but honestly it didn't bother me. I can't divulge much else, because knowing what is going to happen would definitely ruin the entire book. Part of the appeal is the fact that one is just chugging along, enjoying a good book, and it just takes a completely new, unexpected direction. I urge anyone to at least give Ultraviolet a chance, and if you stick with it, it will reward you in more ways than one. 

Risk a paper cut? In my opinion, Ultraviolet is exactly what a book should be. Exciting, unexpected, enchanting, memorable, and breathtaking at times. If you trust me, go get your Band-Aids!

To buy: Amazon 
             Barnes & Noble

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) Cover Revealed!

So I know this is not a review, which I am actually working on (albeit very slowly...) but I just had to post this. The sequel to Beth Revis' Across the Universe, A Million Suns, now has a cover! And it is BEAUTIFUL, is it not?

I really enjoyed Across the Universe, and now am just sitting on the edge of my seat for the sequel! We don't know anything about the plot, but it is to be published on January 12, 2012, and here's to hoping for an ARC! :)

What are your thoughts on the cover? Do you like it as much as Across the Universe's hardcover, or paperback?

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Finley Jayne knows something is different about her. She knows that when she's afraid or threatened, some part of her hidden deep inside comes out and rears its ugly head. How else could she beat up a fully grown man or hurl a footman out of the room?

Whatever is inside her causes her problems, too. When the son of her employer attempts to take advantage of her and she beats him up, she must flee. She then meets Griffin King. Griffin heads up a small brigade of people with problems just as big as hers, and he can help her. Griffin has resources Finley could never dream of, monetary and supernatural. In return, Griffin says Finley must trust him completely and give him her word he can do the same with her. But Finley wonders, how can she expect him to trust her when she can't even trust herself?

At the same time, a mysterious villain known as The Machinist is committing random crimes throughout London. Griffin knows this has some connection to him, and he and his friends, including Finley, must stop the villain before he can do unimaginable damage.

To get it out of the way, The Girl in the Steel Corset is a steampunk novel. I love steampunk. I love the Victorian age, for one thing. It's always fascinated me, and if I could live in a different time, it'd definitely be in the top three. Some of you may not know exactly what steampunk is, and, truthfully, sometimes I feel like I don't, so... To learn more about it, visit Kady Cross' Links page. She has links to some interesting sites about steampunk, bands, even costumes!

I've also been on this fantastic streak of kick-butt female protagonists, which I am loving. I am not a feminist per se, but I can appreciate this trend, definitely. Finley may have some problems, but she's tough. It's recognized several times in the book that she doesn't need any help defending herself. Not a single one of the male characters treats her like they must protect her, rather they help her. It all makes for a happy Rachel.

Kady Cross has said she wanted to write a book that was "X-Men meets The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", and I fully believe she achieved just that. The reader has that sense of historical fiction, with mentions of Queen Victoria and her diamond jubilee, but there's a twist. That's where the steampunk comes in, making the book also a good fantasy read.

And I know we're all quite tired of love triangles, but I must point this one out. It works. Because Finley has two sides to her, she is attracted to two different men. One is Griffin, who is trying to help her two sides become one. But then there's Jack Dandy. He's a notorious criminal in London, but also charming and handsome to boot. He's also very funny, and his appearances always make for good scenes. I'm hoping for much more of him in books to come.

Now, for a bit of negative: the plot is sometimes formulaic, though that's not always such a bad thing. Here it's not bad, but makes for a less exciting read. At the same time, there are some good, unpredictable twists that will keep you reading, I promise.

If I haven't sold you on the book here, Harlequin also has an excerpt from the first chapter for you to check out here. In addition, there is a short prequel novella you can download here, which gives you some good insight into Finley, should you be curious.

Risk a paper cut?  The Girl in the Steel Corset is a bang of a novel. For fans of steampunk, historical fiction or fantasy, it's a must read. Wear a thimble if you don't want to cut your fingers.

To buy: Amazon
            Barnes & Noble