1.27.2013

In My Mailbox (24)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi over at TheStorySiren.com and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It's a fun way for book bloggers to show off what books they've received via mailbox, library, bookstore, friend, etcSign up for the linky list here, and if you are participating this week, I'd LOVE to see what books you got, so leave me links in the comments!


I've read TONS of books the last two weeks, so this post will be pretty big. :)




1. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (bought at Barnes and Noble) - I've been looking for this one for FOREVER! I can't wait to read it!

2. The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff (school library) - BRILLIANT. 

3. The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (school library) - Loved it!

4. The Calling by Kelley Armstrong (school library) - Loved it as well!

5. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (school library) - NEW FAVORITE BOOK EVER! 

6. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (won from Lulu the Bookworm) - Audiobook; I need to make some time to listen to it. 

7. The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan (won from RandomBuzzers.com) - still waiting for it!

8. The Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa (bought online) - It FINALLY came!!! 

9. The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa (bought online) - Also, it FINALLY came!!! (P.S. I loved it :)

10. Hysteria by Megan Miranda (Netgalley) - Next on my TBR pile!

11. Forget Me Not by Allison Blanchard (review copy) - Came in the mail yesterday :D

12. Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones (school library) - Reserved it yesterday! I'll pick it up tomorrow :)

So, LOTS of books, and I've already read most of them! What do you think of the books I got? What books did you all get? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to link to your IMM posts!

Thanks for reading!

1.24.2013

Chapter Sampler: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

A little while back I posted the book trailer for The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan, and a few days later I won an ARC! I'm still waiting for it in the mail (things take forever to get to Alaska), but in the meantime, I thought I'd share this chapter sampler from RandomBuzzers' Scribd. page. Enjoy!




Thanks for reading!

1.23.2013

Book Review: Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein


Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):  He is Hamlet, Prince of Denmark; she is simply Ophelia. If you think you know their story, think again. In this reimagining of Shakespeare's famous tragedy, it is Ophelia who takes center stage. A rowdy, motherless girl, she grows up at Elsinore Castle to become the queen's most trusted lady-in-waiting.  Ambitious for knowledge and witty as well as beautiful, Ophelia learns the ways of power in a court where nothing is as it seems. When she catches the attention of the captivating, dark-haired Prince Hamlet, their love blossoms in secret. But bloody deeds soon turn Denmark into a place of madness, and Ophelia's happiness is shattered. Ultimately, she must choose between her love for Hamlet and her own life. In desperation, Ophelia devises a treacherous plan to escape from Elsinore forever . . . with one very dangerous secret. Lisa Klein's Ophelia tells the story of a young woman falling in love, searching for her place in the world, and finding the strength to survive.  Sharp and literary, dark and romantic, this dramatic story holds readers in its grip until the final, heartrending scene.
My Review: I'm a HUGE Shakespeare fan, but this is my first experience with a book based on one of Shakespeare's plays (Hamlet). It was rather fluffy, but I enjoyed reading it a lot more than I thought it would. (This is going to be one of those bullet list reviews). 

What I liked: 
1. I really, really, really liked Horatio. Like, a lot. 
2. The castle/court. It was really well-written, and interesting, and intricate, if that makes any sense...
3. Ophelia as a child, and the take on her family. It was really cool to see more of her background (there isn't much about it in the play), and see what made her Ophelia. It was really well-written. 
4. The relationship between Ophelia and the Queen. It was nice, and amusing, and sometimes petty. :)
5. I love that the author referenced parts of the play directly, and the parts she referenced were the clever parts. That made me happy :)
5. I LOVED the ending. It was perfect! 

What I didn't really like:
1. Hamlet. Hamlet is my favorite character in the play. Ophelia has her shining moments, but mostly she's an idiot. Hamlet is a genius. I guess what I didn't like about Hamlet in this book is that he wasn't there enough. I know it's Ophelia's story, but I really sort of like Hamlet. 
2. Ophelia's ''voice'' when she gets older. It didn't seem very genuine, and sort of grated on my nerves. 
3. The pacing. It was a bit off. It couldn't hold my attention very well in some parts. 
4. Claudius. Eraurghhhh. He just wasn't, erm, bad enough. He wasn't convincing enough. 
5. I wish there had been a lot more of the actual play in there. I liked what was in there, but I needed more! Haha. 

After reading this, I still definitely prefer the play, and I probably won't read this one again (I probably wouldn't have read it in the first place if a friend hadn't let me borrow it), but it was a good and enjoyable read! I'm not really sure what kind of readers this would appeal to... If you've read this book and liked it, let me know! I'd love to hear what you thought of it!




Thanks for reading!


1.18.2013

Comments

Hey everyone! 

I've been getting a lot of spammy comments lately, so even though I hate "proving I'm not a robot" every time I want to comment and I hate to make you do it too, I'm going to activate comment verification on my blog. My plan right now is to keep it up for a few weeks or so, then take it down. Hopefully the spam will have stopped. 

Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for reading!

Book Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.                           Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

My Review:  Wow. This is one of those reviews that is going to be really hard. It's always the hardest thing ever to write reviews for books this good. 

This book reminded me why I love fantasy (high fantasy to be more accurate, I suppose). Complete and utter fantasy. With dragons. And music. Fantasy is so unique and creative and wonderful and imaginative. It literally takes you to another world, and Seraphina  was no exception. There aren't a lot of YA books like this one (Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue come to mind), and it's SO refreshing when I manage to find one that I fall in love with. By the first page of chapter one, I already knew I would love this book. 

I love Rachel Hartman's writing style. It was descriptive and flowing and lovely and perfectly complimented her story. The world-building is something I pay a lot of attention to when I'm reading, and the world-building in Seraphina was practically perfect in every way (I'm also a fan of Mary Poppins. It takes a lot of self-restraint not to use that phrase in all of my book reviews ;). There was history, a very intriguing book of saints, a well-written kingdom and court with it's fair share of intrigue (which is one of the best parts of these sorts of books), a mysteriously beheaded prince, a seemingly-odd tutor, and very, very interesting dragons. (I love dragons). 
Sorry for how long this review is getting and for the
possible rambling....
I drew this dragon to add some visual appeal. :)

I suppose I should mention something about the amazing characters as well, yes? Just, wow. There were so many important characters in this book (there was also a list of them in the back). There were so many different characters in this book. Seraphina was definitely my favorite, mostly because of the way she interacted with the other characters. She had a very unique way of handling each character, especially the very unique characters. 

The plot was very intricate and captured my interest immediately. There were many different parts to it, and so many possibilities for the next book (hopefully being released July 2nd!). I was completely sucked into this world and this story, and I hated to see it end. (Did I mention I read this 451 page book in nearly five hours?)

Another major highlight of this book was the glossary. It was brilliant. I was very amused by it, but that may have just been the lack of sleep. 

ANYWAY. I loved this book and I definitely consider it to be one of my favorites. I highly recommend it to my fellow fantasy-lovers, and really hope that even if you don't love fantasy, you'll give this book a go. 



Thanks for reading!

1.13.2013

In My Mailbox (23)


In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi over at TheStorySiren.com and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It's a fun way for book bloggers to show off what books they've received via mailbox, library, bookstore, friend, etc. Sign up for the linky list here, and if you are participating this week, I'd LOVE to see what books you got, so leave me links in the comments!



I haven't posted in a while because I haven't received any books for a while, but this past week LOTS of books have come in the mail for me! I'm SO excited to start reading them all!


 
The Slither Sisters by Charles Gilman - review copy from publisher
Treehugger by Kea Alwang - review copy from author
Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick - bought from Amazon (Christmas money!)
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - bought from Amazon (Christmas money!)
Insurgent and Divergent by Veronica Roth - bought from Amazon (Christmas money!)
 
I've already read Insurgent and Divergent and LOVED them! I can't wait to start the others!
 
Other books-
 
 

Borrowed: Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein (from a friend)
Expecting soon: The Lost Prince and The Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa (ordered from the publisher)

The long gap between book purchases was getting to me, so I sorta splurged.... Haha. So, now that you've seen what I got, what books did you get? What do you think of the books I got? Leave me a comment and feel free to link to your IMM post!

Thanks for reading!

1.11.2013

Book Spotlight: Treehugger by Kea Alwang

For fourteen-year-old Chloe, planet hopping is a gift. Righting the wrongs of the multiverse on behalf of a mysterious life form is a privilege. Leading a double life has its perks. Being Earth-born, however, simply bites. Chloe knows she will never fit in when high school starts; that's a given. It's not like she can reveal her true self and her unusual abilities on Earth anyway. She used to be okay with that, as long as her two best friends were part of her extraterrestrial life, understanding her the way nobody else could. That was before those friends vanished. That was before some jerk displayed her underwear on his head. Now two-thirds short of feeling whole, Chloe becomes an enemy to herself just as a terrifying nemesis threatens to resurface. Can she fight through weakened skills, fearsome flashbacks, and evolving relationships to meet her future head on? Does it really matter what world you're on when trying to find yourself?
 
Where can you find Treehugger by Kea Alwang?



About the Author:
Kea Alwang grew up in Queens, New York, but now lives in Northern New Jersey with her podcaster husband, film-obsessed son, book-munching daughter, two self-absorbed parakeets, and a well-behaved corn snake. After working in video post-production, children's entertainment, magazine production, and non-fiction writing, the time came to work on the dream job: writing YA fiction. Kea loves world building and creating characters she wishes she could meet in everyday life. Coffee, chocolate, martial arts, and reading are her other pastimes.
 
Where can you find the author?

 
I just got a review copy of Treehugger in the mail the other day, and I am SUPER excited to start reading it! Also, I love the cover! What do you think? Is this one you'd pick up?
 
Thanks for reading!


1.09.2013

Chapter Sampler: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

I just got this book in the mail today and I'm SO excited to start reading it! Here's the chapter sampler from Random Buzzers.com. Enjoy!Seraphina

1.08.2013

Book Trailer: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Tim Macbeth is a 17-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is, “Enter here to be and find a friend.” Tim does not expect to find a friend; all he really wants to do is escape his senior year unnoticed. Despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “it” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim’s surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, and she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone finds out. Tim and Vanessa enter into a clandestine relationship, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

The story unfolds from two alternating viewpoints: Tim, the tragic, love-struck figure, and Duncan, a current senior, who uncovers the truth behind Tim and Vanessa’s story and will consequently produce the greatest Tragedy Paper in Irving’s history.



The Tragedy Paper is Elizabeth LaBan's debut novel, and is actually just being released today! Here are some links where you can find out more about both the book and the author:

1.07.2013

Book Review: Sound by Shelley Workinger

* I received a digital copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.*

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Clio Kaid's had one crazy summer.

After learning she was one of a hundred teens who were genetically modified before birth, she and the others departed for "camp" at a classified military site.

Besides discovering her own special ability, uncovering a conspiracy, and capturing a killer, she's also forged new friendships, found love, and managed to lose them both.

With no answers and the end of summer closing in, Clio's terrified of going home more lost than when she arrived.

Will she finally find everything she's been looking for?

Find out in this exciting conclusion to the Solid trilogy.

 
My Review: I've loved this trilogy from the start, and Sound is no exception. I loved everything about this book.

Sound is the third and concluding book in the Solid series, and I am sad to see it end. I love the characters in this series. Clio and her friends, new and old, are a fun group to read about. Each person is unique, and each person is real and relatable. Some of the craziest things happen to Clio and her friends, and I love that they acknowledged that it was crazy that these things were happening to them and that they tried to figure out why, instead of just going with it.

Sound tied up loose ends in the series, took us on one last adventure, and finished off with a perfect and very intriguing end. I'm sad to see it end! I've loved reading about Clio and her friends, and their camp. This is definitely a series I would reread! I look forward to seeing what Ms. Workinger comes out with next!

My Reviews of: Solid ~ Settling
 
Thanks for reading!

1.05.2013

A to Z Book Challenge 2013

A new year means new reading challenges! Last year, sadly, I didn't keep very good track of the challenges I participated in. That probably had something to do with the fact that I was trying to do five and keep them all separate.... This year I'm taking it easy and only doing three.


The first challenge I'm sharing is the A to Z Book Challenge hosted by Babies, Books, and Beyond. Here's how it works:

(Copied from the original post):
  • This challenge will run from January 1st, 2013 until December 31st, 2013.
  • You can join anytime.
  • If you are a blogger, leave the link to your actual post about this challenge.
  • If you are not a blogger, leave a link to where you will be keeping track of this challenge.
So there are two different ways you can set up your own A-Z challenge.
1- Make a list now of 26 books, picking one for each letter of the alphabet. For example, A- Atonement B- Black Beauty C- The Count of Monte Cristo D- Dances with Dragons, etc.
 
OR
2- The lazy way: Make a list on your blog from A-Z. Throughout the year, as you go along, add the books you are reading to the list. Hope that by the end of the year you have read one book for each letter. Towards the end of the year, you can check and see which letters you are missing and find books to fit.
 
Bonus! Each month Babies, Books, and Beyond will add another challenge to this main challenge. It might be to read a book with both A and Z in the title, or read a book with 2 words that all start with the same letter. I might host a few random giveaways too, for good measure.

*Since it is really hard to find titles begining with X, the letter X just needs to be in the title somewhere.*

SO... to join along:
  1. Write a blog post about this challenge and whether you are going to go with option 1 or 2.
  2. Add the button to your blog.
  3. Attach yourself to the linky.
  4. Follow Babies, Books, and Beyond so that you can see when the monthly challenges are posted!
I am going to go with option 2, the lazy way. Haha :). I'll be listing the books I choose on my challenges page, but I'll link back here. I'm going to try and read books I haven't read before for this challenge and post reviews for them all, but chances are there will be a few that are rereads or books I won't feature.

If you're interested in participating with me, HERE is the original post and the linky list! Feel free to also leave a link to your post in a comment on this post.

Thanks for reading!

1.04.2013

A Few January 2013 Releases

There are lots of new YA releases this month, including quite a few that have been building up lots of hype in the blogosphere. Here are some of them that have caught my eye:

1. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
This cover has been floating around for a while now, and it definitely has lots of people intrigued (me included!) On top of an awesome cover, the blurb (from Goodreads) holds a lot of promise! I'll be keeping an eye out for this one! 
Release date: January 22



2. Asunder by Jodi Medows
I haven't read Incarnate yet (gasp!),  but I've heard it was fantastic, and judging by that, I'm guessing that book two in the Newsoul series is highly anticipated because of it. I'll admit that I liked the cover for the first book better, but the colors are definitely eye-catching. I'll have to see if I can get my hands on a copy of Incarnate before Asunder is released. Here's the blurb (also from Goodreads). 
Release date: January 29 


3. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

I read Across the Universe and LOVED it, but still haven't had a chance to read A Million Suns (gasp! I have some serious catching up to do!). I'm pretty excited for this one anyway, and I'll be picking up a copy of both Shades of Earth and A Million Suns as soon as possible. A note on the cover: I'm curious as to why the design changed. I like the original ones a lot better. Here's the book blurb (once again from the wonderful Goodreads).
Release date: January 15



4. Splintered by A.G. Howard
I am super excited for this one, partly because the cover is amazing, and partly because I love Alice in Wonderland. I've already seen some great reviews for this book, and it's only been out for three days! I can't wait to get my hands on this one! Here's the blurb (es de Goodreads).
Release date: January 1

I've only posted four of the many fantastic-sounding YA books being released this month, and I'd love to hear what you think of them! I'd also love to hear about any other books coming out this month.

Thanks for reading!

Book Review: Shymers by Jen Naumann

*I received a digital copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.*

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): In a distant future, Olive Mensing is raised in the solitude of the forest by her parents, away from Society. For a time she is happy and content, trusting in everything her parents tell her, and thinking she has the rest of her life ahead of her. But not long after her father’s mysterious death, Olive and her mother are torn from their home and thrown into the very place Olive was raised to fear. There she will discover the brutal truths her parents had tried to keep from her - a Society divided by two classes (Shymers and Futures) based on how many days people have to live, and a government that locks people away for rebellious behaviors.  Although everything seems backwards and hopeless in this new world, Olive makes a few new friends and develops her first crush on a handsome boy. But even then, things aren’t as easy as they should be. She finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of hatred, sadness and lies that spins out of control, forcing her to choose between what her heart wants and what she knows is right.
My Review: I have lots to say about this one, so to make this review coherent, I'm going to make some lists:

What I loved about Shymers:
1. The book cover! It's gorgeous!
2. The world-building. I've read a lot of dystopian novels where the world-building didn't quite cut it. In those books, I had no idea what was going on half the time, because I didn't understand the world. I didn't have that problem with this book at all! It was perfectly explained and introduced in a way that made sense and didn't slow down the story. I also loved that there was enough description to make a movie in my mind, but also enough space for me to make my own pictures. 
3. The concept. There are a lot of similarities between dystopian novels, and this one had its similarities with others, but it wasn't like reading a copy of another book. It was familiar, but new at the same time. 
4. The main character. I loved Olive! She was a fantastic MC, and a great protagonist. She was very well-written, she was relatable and real, and I wanted her to succeed. She's a character I wouldn't get tired of reading about. 

What I didn't particularly love about Shymers:
1. The beginning of the love story part of the book. It wasn't insta-love, per se, but I felt like it started out a bit too fast to be realistic. As the story progressed it didn't bug me any more, but the beginning of it didn't quite cut it for me. 
2. Our love-interest. He didn't seem quite authentic next to Olive, and I would have liked to see more of his character, not just him in love with Olive. He had a very interesting back story, and I would have liked to see more of it come out in his character. Also, when he and Olive were falling in love, he didn't quite talk like a guy would. (I wouldn't have picked up on it though, if that hadn't been a topic at the Teen Writer's Conference I went to last June.)
3. Too many plot turns. I love plot turns as much as the next person, and I liked the ones this story had, but I think they were too close together. It was almost overwhelming. I think if they were dragged out a bit more, or spread out into the next novel, it wouldn't have been so overwhelming to read about. But all these plot turns do have an upside! I'm SUPER interested to see what the next book holds!

Overall, the things I loved more than outweigh the things I didn't love. The main character was fantastic, the plot was exciting, the world was awesomely spread out; other than the bumpy start to the love story, I must admit that this was a fantastic read. I can't wait for book two!

I highly recommend this to all you dystopian fans out there!




Thanks for reading!



1.01.2013

The Bookish Tendencies of A Reader

Hello readers! You've probably noticed that I've been a bit behind on posting. You may have also noticed that today is New Year's Day (or eve, or the day after, wherever you are....). With those two facts swirling around in my head, I feel obligated to mention both of them. Hahaha ;). One of my many New Year's Resolutions this year is to keep up a regular posting schedule. I see quite a few roadblocks in the near future that may prevent that (a trip to Italy, heading off to college, etc.), but I'll see if I can work around that.

But this post isn't about New Year's resolutions, or blog posts, or Italy, or even college. Nope. This post is about Books. And Reading.

The Bookish Tendencies of A Reader
( ^^^ Just so you know, I'm finding myself to be very proud of that title. ^^^ )
 
All readers have their own quirks and habits with books. Here are just a few different ones that I've observed:
 
1. The Book-Borrower
This kind of reader frequents libraries and the bookshelves of other bookish friends. Can often be seen leaving the library with 3-7 books at a time. Often loves the smell of old books. Not usually a re-reader.


2. The Book-Buyer
This kind of reader frequents bookstores (sometimes online, but mostly not). Cannot leave a bookstore without buying at least one new book. Often times, this kind of reader will often buy a book that was previously borrowed from a friend or library and loved. Loves the smell of new books and the way it feels to open a new book for the first time. Constantly has to make room on bookshelves for new books. A big fan of re-reading.
  

3. The Book-Snagger
This kind of reader loves the freebies and frequents book blogs, library exchanges, book giveaways, etc. This kind of reader also frequents used bookstores. Not particularly picky about where books come from.


4. The E-Booker
The new era of the book-snaggers. This kind of reader LOVES their e-reader and uses it constantly. This reader is always on the lookout for the e-book deals of the day, and often has an entire library of e-books waiting to be read. Doesn't go anywhere without their e-reader. Not usually a re-reader.


These are definitely generic categories of readers, but I'm sure most people could fit themselves into one or more of these categories. I am most definitely a Book-Buyer. I absolutely LOVE the way bookstores smell, the way new books smell, the sound a book makes when you open it for the first time... Barnes and Noble is my favorite bookstore (and they actually have one of those up here in Fairbanks, Alaska!), but I love almost any bookstore. I buy A LOT of books. Lately I've been trying to get more online (they're usually cheaper that way), but I still have a soft spot for bookstores :).

SO. Do any of these categories sound familiar to you? Can you fit yourself into one or more of them, or are you a different category entirely? Please let me know in the comments! I love hearing from you!

Thanks for reading!

Search this blog!