Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (18)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

YAY! Birthday week! And 6 month blogoversary! <33 

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
Shadowland by Meg Cabot
Ninth Key by Meg Cabot
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington (Won + Signed)
Entice by Jessica Shirvington (Won + Signed)
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (ARC. Won)
Iron Fey Box Set (with signed poster) by Julie Kagawa (Gift)
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (Gift)
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce (Gift)
Sweet Venom by Tara Lynn Childs (Free e-Book)
Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland (For Review. *SQUEE* SO EXCITED! Thank you S&S)

+ ARCycling bookmarks + pin
+ Entice/Embrace Totebag
+ Shadow and Bone Second Army Poster

WOW! That's a lot. What a week it's been.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: Through to You

Through to You by Emily Hainsworth
Release: October 2, 2012
Source: e-ARC from publisher (via edelweiss) 

Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all

Through to You seemed like it would be a powerful and thought-provoking book and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it! Now, Through to You wasn't terrible, but it lacked something that I can't quite put my finger on. It wasn't powerful and it didn't "wow" me. In hindsight, I think I expected too much and that set me up for a somewhat disappointing read. 

In this book, Hainsworth writes about a young boy named Cam. He's recently lost his girlfriend in an accident and well...he's grieving. In a series of events, Cam manages to find a portal into an alternate universe where his girlfriend, Viv, is very much alive. But things are different and not what they seem to be. As Cam discovers this, he has to make a choice: what reality does he want? 

My biggest gripe with this book is Cam. He's very "angst-y". I know, it's difficult loosing someone you love, but MAN UP. I think his grief might have been more tangible if I knew what things were like before Viv died. But Hainsworth only gives brief glimpses that weren't enough to allow me to connect to Cam on a deeper level. 

I also really hated the twist in the book. It was predictable and a convenient set-up for the end of the book. Now, don't get me wrong: I LIKED how the book ended. It was sweet and left a few things to the imagination. I just didn't like the process it took to get to the end. 

Despite the angsty main character and the predictable plot,  though, this book was very readable. The writing really flowed and I think there are people out there who will absolutely love this book. It just wasn't for me.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Birthday + 6 month Blogoversary (Week Four)

WOO! Yesterday was my 6 month blogoversary and the day before was my birthday! *dances* I'm celebrating with another giveaway.

But first:


The fourth prize up for grabs? 

One (1) SIGNED copy of What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

The giveaway will last for One (1) week. At the end of the week, I will pick a winner and post the next giveaway. These weekly giveaways are opened only to US entries. 

But wait. I haven't forgotten about you international peeps!

I will also be hosting a month-long giveaway: One (1) book of your choice from The Book Depository (not exceeding $15). Only international entries will be accepted. 

So,  I will be giving a total of six prizes over the next five weeks. Enter the correspoding rafflecopeter below to win. Good luck, and thank you to all my wonderful followers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (17)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Hi everyone! Before I begin this week's book haul, I just want to clarify: my birthday was NOT last week. The books I mentioned were early gifts. Sorry for the confusion. LOL.

Anyway, thanks for all the early birthday wishes! :D Now onto the vlog!

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris (Purchased) + Pen (from Rachel) | REVIEW
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (Purchased) | REVIEW
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang: (Purchased + Signed at the Book Launch) | REVIEW
Splintered by A.G. Howevered: (For Review via Netgalley)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Velveteen

Velveteen by Daniel Marks 
Release: October 9, 2012
Source: e-ARC from publisher 

Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.


Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.

It’ll be brutal... and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me just say that Velveteen really surprised me.

The blurb above tends to misled the reader into thinking that the story is about a girl, Velveteen, who is murdered and sneaks out of purgatory to haunt her killer. This premise was unique and intriguing and I started Velveteen with certain expectations. Yes, Velveteen haunts her killer, Bonesaw. Yes, there is some gore. But that is not the real story. 

The real story? A Purgatory Revolution. 

For those in purgatory, life is not ideal. It's bleak, mundane, with no way of knowing when they will "move on" (be it heaven or hell). Velveteen is stuck in purgatory, in the middle of unrest. 

I admit, I was somewhat disappointed. I was looking for a revenge story and didn't get it. Eventually, I accepted disappointment and accepted the book for what it was: a story about revolution. And around page 100, I was hooked. Be warned, though:  this book is not for the faint of heart. There's still plenty of gore and plenty of mayhem that makes this more of an "upper young adult novel". 

So, why did I like Velveteen? 

Reason number one: Velveteen. She's a kick-butt girl, full of anger and snark. Who wouldn't like her?

Reason number two: the descriptions. Daniel Marks has a way with words. There's no doubt about that. And the way he weaves those words together to paint such vivid images of Purgatory and its word is just fantastic!

Reason number three: world building. This goes hand in hand with descriptions, but yeah. I found the world-building fascinating and incredibly unique. It's definitely not your "run of the mill" story.

If I had one complaint, it'd be the romance. Now, don't get me wrong. I like Velveteen and Nick. I just wish that the romance could have been turned down just a notch. There's so much going on in this book that, honestly, I couldn't care less who hooked up with who. I was more concerned about the revolution and the ramifications of it.

I'm not going to lie--this book felt long. It was good, but long. And, I think part of reason it felt that was was because Marks tried to put so much into one book. It could have benefited from a little more trimming, plot wise.

Regardless, I did enjoy this book. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, so hopefully this review gives you an accurate picture of what to expect from Velveteen.

Also, check out my Q&A with author Danny Marks HERE


Monday, September 17, 2012

6 Month Blogoversary + Birthday Giveaway (Week 3)


The third prize up for grabs?

One (1) ARC of The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (Tour Edition)

The giveaway will last for One (1) week. At the end of the week, I will pick a winner and post the next giveaway. These weekly giveaways are opened only to US entries.

But wait. I haven't forgotten about you international peeps!

I will also be hosting a month-long giveaway: One (1) book of your choice from The Book Depository (not exceeding $15). Only international entries will be accepted.

So,  I will be giving a total of six prizes over the next five weeks. Enter the correspoding rafflecopeter below to win. Good luck, and thank you to all my wonderful followers.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Stormdancer

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Release: September 18, 2012
Source: e-ARC

The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever. 


The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger—a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.


Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. 

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire

Let me begin by saying that Stormdancer is not for everyone. And it's not for the faint of heart. Jay Kristoff holds nothing back. There is blood, there is gore, and there are tears. Lots of tears. My heart was shattered and torn when I finished the last page. I was left in a daze.

That, dear readers, is the sign of a fantastic book and a fantastic writer.

Stormancer is about a young girl, Yukiko. She and her father, the black fox "hunter", are charged with the task of finding and capturing a Thunder Tiger for the Shogun. The problem? Thunder Tigers are extinct. Everyone knows it is a fool's mission, but they risk the Shogun's wrath if they refuse.

So through the blood-stained sky, they travel in the air until they find the impossible: a Thunder Tiger. Beautiful, regal, and deadly. In a series of events, the capture goes awry, and this leaves Yukiko fighting for survival in the wilderness. With the beast. He is angry. Defiant.

But, interestingly enough, the beast and Yukiko share a unique bond. This is made possible because of Yukiko's ability to speak to creatures. Eventually, she names the beast Burru. My favorite aspect of Stormdancer is friendship that Burru and Yukiko share. They are both fiercely defiant and stubborn, but eventually come to an understanding.

Stormdancer is a story about friendship. It's about revolution. But ultimately, it's about honor and sacrifice. So, readers, beware and be prepared to have your heart ripped in two.

I will also say that many might find Kristoff's writing "burdensome". It is not written in typical YA fashion. Stormdancer is filled with descriptions and "info-dump" that  may be unappealing. I found in unappealing, too, but I trudged on and I am so happy that I did. Things pick up once Burru comes into the picture.

I also found the world building incredibly detailed and unique. There's the shogun, the Guild, the Lotus, and the Kage. I could explain each of these things in detail, but the world of Stormdancer is best experienced. Not explained.

So how can you get a copy of Stormdancer? Luckily for you, this book releases in the US tomorrow. And if you can't wait until then, I have listed some of my favorite quotes HERE: spoiler free.


Stormdancer Blog Tour: Quotes

I am extremely pleased to be a part of the Stormdancer blog tour! If you haven't read my review yet, you can read it HERE.

For the tour stop, I have decided to pick 8 of my favorite quotes from the book: SPOILER FREE. Hope you enjoy, and don't forget to pick up your copy of Stormdancer in stores tomorrow (September 18, 2012). Also check out the other tour-stops HERE.


"Funny how quickly a man's best friend became man's next meal when there were no more cows or pigs left to slaughter. Funny how tasty the idea of roasted tomcat could sound after three days of eating nothing but dust and choking, blue-black smoke"

" 'Ungrateful shit,' she muttered. Her father would have scolded her for the unladylike language. She looked around the darkness, and realizing that there was no adults nearby to chastise her, she began shouting every bad word she could think of. A rainbow of profanity rolled between the trees, gutter-talk bouncing among walls of wood and ferns, beneath a ceiling of shadowed green. Spirits slightly buoyed by her tiny rebellion, Yukiko tromped off into the gloom."

" 'Wake up. The lotus must burn. The Guild must burn.'

'Burn,' murmured the Kage.


They kill innocent people.


"You like the Kage.


What do you mean?


No fanatic ever is.


She watched the thunder tiger in the darkness, acutely aware of how much he had changed since the crash. His animal instinct, the primal aggression inside him, was being gradually tempered with elegant though, complex concepts, all too human impulses growing through their bond. She realized that the link between them was changing him, her humanity leaking into him like irezumi ink spilled on cotton weave. He was becoming more.

But what might she become?"
" 'I envy you, Yukiko-chan.' He stared at her across the pit, flame glittering in the steel-grey of his eyes. 'It took me forty years to learn that lesson. For the longest time, from the day I first held a wooden sword in my hands, I thought honor was defined by servitude. By carrying out the will of my Shogun, and living by the Way. I thought I was a man of courage, to do what others would not. But I know now that this kind of loyalty is cowardice. That the nobility of this country have abandoned the Code of Bushido, paying it lip service at best. To be a servant can be a noble thing, but only as noble as the master served.' " 

" 'Women in this city, on this island, we do not seem like we are important. We do no lead armies. We do not own lands, nor fight in wars. Men consider us nothing more than pretty distractions. Do not for a second believe that we are powerless. Never underestimate a woman's power over men, Kitsune Yukiko.' "


I'd give up my life for any one of you.

" 'For too long we have lived, fat and prosperous on the back of the machine, on the fuel that drives it. But there comes a time when the price grows too high, when the oil runs too red, when we begin building our lies on the shattered lives of others. And at the last, the machine we once controlled ends up controlling us.

Some in this land would have you bleed for them now, to plant their flag where another's once flew. Others would have you light a fire, to make ashes of the endless fields, to reduce those five-sided slave pits on the hill to rubble. A few would have you do nothing at all. To remain meek and cowed, to bow your heads and accept what the machine hands to you. They are of you, but they should be. The few should fear the many. ' "

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (16)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron - SIGNED. Purchased (for giveaway)
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin - Previously Purchased. Now SIGNED
Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepytes - SIGNED. Purchased.
Rootless by Chris Howard - ARC. Gifted via arcycling.
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchettea - Gifted (for birthday)
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - Gifted (for birthday)
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness - Gifted (for birthday)
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness -  Gifted (for birthday)
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness -  Gifted (for birthday)

NOT SHOWN (pictures will go up later)

Signed copies of Divergent + Insurgent.

Here's the deal: I purchased these books because a) I wanted the exclusive content booklet and b) because I was told by a store clerk that the books would be personally signed if I added that note in the comments section. Both Insurgent and Divergent were signed. No personalization. When I called, they said that Veronica doesn't personally sign unless it's at the event. I'm not sure if this is because it's a bookstore policy or not. A part of me think that that's the issue here.

Don't get me wrong--I am HAPPY to have books signed by Veronica Roth (personalized or not). It's just that I'd rather wait to see her in person. Plus, what I got in the mail wasn't what I was told I would get. Therefore, I do plan on returning these books for a full refund. If I can't, then I'll just give these books away on the blog.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Review: Sweet Evil

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins 
Release: May 1, 2012
Source: Purchased 

Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but Anna, the ultimate good girl, has always had the advantage of her angel side to balance the darkness within. It isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.
Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.

I am not a huge Angel or paranormal fan. It is one of the only genres that's very hit and miss for me. But this book? It's a gem.

Anna Whitt is a good girl. You could say that she was "born that way" rather than "raised that way". It's in her very blood; she's half angel, half demon, and always struggling between the pull towards good and evil.

Kaiden is a demon, but he's more more than that. He's the father of the "Duke of Lust". Along with other demons, its his job to lure humans into sin. When Anna meets Kaiden, he opens up to her a world of evil that she never knew existed. As half demon, she also has a job, and its a job she finds difficult to embrace.

Sweet Evil  paints a very literal picture of "good vs. evil", but it's a picture that's fascinating and complex. There's a tier system, with dukes and demons, and even spirits that monitor the progress of their work. I think this paranormal world was what really captured me. It's a world that is better experienced than explained.

But where this book also shines is in the relationship. Compared to other angel books, I think Higgins made these characters "human". They have their strengths, but most importantly, they have their weaknesses. Yes, perhaps the romance between Anna and Kaiden developed too quickly, but so what? I really cared for them as a couple! I was invested in their relationship. This is the kind of insta-love that I don't mind at all, because it had chemistry and it was layered with emotion.

This book is nearly perfect, and my only complaint rests with a pretty major plot-hole dealing with a certain road trip. I won't go into details, but I will say that this: I didn't catch this plot hole until I finished the book. I was that into it. Hopefully, if you catch this plot hole, it won't take away from your reading experience. It didn't for me, and I cannot wait for book two (which I just found out WILL BE PUBLISHED. So YAY!).


Sweet Evil: Guest Post

Welcome to the last day on the Sweet Evil blog tour! Here I have Wendy Higgins talking about her inspiration. 

- - - - - - - 

For me, there’s not a specific source of inspiration. My inspiration is really drawn from all aspects of life. I am mostly inspired by the love I give and get from my family and friends— those relationships that build me up and keep me on my toes. I’m inspired by laughter and tears, dreams and hopes. I’m inspired by my spirituality and things I feel deep down, though I may not understand it all. I’m inspired by art, especially in the form of stories/books, music, and photographs.

On the flip-side, when writing a story with as much darkness as Sweet Evil, I also found inspiration in unpleasant things, like tragedies I’ve experienced, and atrocities I’ve heard about secondhand. I was inspired by heartbreaks and guilt and regrets. In the end, though, I am an optimist and a romantic, despite the ugliness encountered along the way. I think writers live with their eyes wide open, taking it all in as a possible source of inspiration. Find beauty in the unexpected. Watch the way people interact—their gestures and facial expressions—ask yourself how you’d describe it in words—narrate life in your mind as you experience it. Every little thing can be used. Every day life is inspiring. You don’t have to travel to Paris or meet a mysterious bad boy to write about those things. Much inspiration can be gained by researching a topic that fascinates you. Grab life, and then write about it.

- - - - - - - -

Thank you Wendy! Check out my review later. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Butter

Butter by Erin Jade Lange
Release: September (4) 18, 2012
Source: e-ARC from publisher via net galley

A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans?

I'll admit it, I only requested to read Butter from netgalley because of its premise. A guy to threatens to eat himself to death? Talk about brow-raising.

This book had the potential to be really good, so I went in hoping for the best. And I wasn't disappointed.

Butter is about an obese boy who has had enough. He's tired of his body, tired of being ignored. This leads him to start a website, promoting his epic "finale".  He threatens to eat himself to death, and soon, young Butter finds himself at the center of attention.

What follows is thought-provoking, fast-paced tale.

Butter's a really interesting main character. He's witty, self-depricating, and even a bit pathetic at times. But he's real. It's one of the highest compliments I can give to any YA contemporary. Lange also manages to masterfully build the tension until the end, as "Butter" makes preparations for his final meal.

What this book lacked, though, was more developed and endearing supporting characters. I don't think I liked any of them in this book. The entire story rests on Butter's shoulders, so your enjoyment of the book depends on what you think of him. I also feel that Butter lacked the emotional quality that  most "issue" books have.

Overall, though, I enjoyed Butter. Its a unique tale about self discovery and making changes. It's about learning who your true friends are.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WoW: Vengeance Bound

Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland
Release: April 2, 2013

Cory Graff is not alone in her head. Bound to a deal of desperation made when she was a child, Cory’s mind houses the Furies—the hawk and the serpent—lingering always, waiting for her to satisfy their bloodlust. After escaping the asylum where she was trapped for years, Cory knows how to keep the Furies quiet. By day, she lives a normal life, but by night, she tracks down targets the Furies send her way. And she brings down Justice upon them.

Cory’s perfected her system of survival, but when she meets a mysterious boy named Niko at her new school, she can’t figure out how she feels about him. For the first time, the Furies are quiet in her head around a guy. But does this mean that Cory’s finally found someone who she can trust, or are there greater factors at work? As Cory’s mind becomes a battlefield, with the Furies fighting for control, Cory will have to put everything on the line to hold on to what she’s worked so hard to build.
GUYS. Words can't express how awesome I think this book sounds. I'm not a huge fan of the cover, but that summary! GAH! This book just sounds like my cup of tea. I really love stories about revenge, and I can't wait to dig into this come 2013. What are you all waiting on?

- - - 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. Book bloggers present upcoming books they can’t wait to read and share their enthusiasm about new releases.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 
Release: November 15, 2011
Source: ARC (Gifted)

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Shatter Me is about a girl named Juliette. Her touch is lethal powerful. One brush of skin, and you're dead. 

With power like that, it's no wonder she was locked up. People were scared of her potential gift. 

And then she is given a cellmate--her first real human interaction in 264 days. What follows is a story of good vs. evil, the story of a country on the brink of revolution and, and the story of a girl who has the destructive power to end it all. 

Since the writing is highlighted so often, let me address it first. Taherah Mafi writes in a way that is far from technical. It's lyrical and very poetic. At times, I found it refreshing. At times, the writing was mind-blowing. As people say, though, moderation is key. The first 75-100 pages are filled with similes and metaphors that don't always make sense. This book is/was also littered with strikeouts. And no doubt, there are some out there who will find her writing annoying. 

What Taherah does, though, is rather unique. Through her poetic writing, she somehow draws a picture of a fragile and frightened girl. Her sanity is barely in tact, from deprivation of human touch and human interaction. And as Juliette's fragile mind beings to mend and and she comes to term with her power gift, the poetic writing begins to wan. Strikeouts and similes/metaphors become less frequent. 

So, no, I didn't hate the writing. And though I found it excessive at times, I still found it achingly beautiful. 

I didn't have issues with the characters either. I found Juliette relatable, Warner despicable, and Adam...well...Adam is Adam. My biggest gripe comes from the fact that, after reading the last page, I kept asking myself: what happened? The truth? Not much. Beautiful writing was substituted for plot.  I wish more pages had been devoted to developing the relationship between Juliette and Adam. It was a case of "I've always loved you" romance that didn't really gel with me.

But despite the thin plot and lackluster romance, Taherah does end on a great note! It's not a huge cliffhanger, but it's enough to make me desperate for the sequel. It's enough to make me believe that the second book will be better than the first. The ending promises more action, more suspense, more secrets, and more betrayal! And I have so many questions that I hope will be answered. 

Final verdict? Great writing, great characters, but weak plot. Still, Taherah manages to make me want more. How do you do that, brilliant writer, you?


Sunday, September 9, 2012

6 Month Blogoversary + Birthday Giveaway (Week 2)


The second prize up for grabs?

One (1) signed copy of The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

The giveaway will last for One (1) week. At the end of the week, I will pick a winner and post the next giveaway. These weekly giveaways are opened only to US entries.

But wait. I haven't forgotten about you international peeps!

I will also be hosting a month-long giveaway: One (1) book of your choice from The Book Depository (not exceeding $15). Only international entries will be accepted.

So,  I will be giving a total of six prizes over the next five weeks. Enter the correspoding rafflecopeter below to win. Good luck, and thank you to all my wonderful followers.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review: The Crown of Embers

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Release: September 18, 2012
Source: ARC (from publisher for review) 

In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

Earlier this year, I posted my short review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Simply put, it was amazing. I loved Elisa and I applauded Rae Carson for her ballsy decision to kill off certain characters (who will not be named).

It's hard to imagine, but The Crown of Embers is even better than its predecessor. The first 100 pages made me feel all sorts of emotions as Elisa deals with her new role as Queen. There are tears! There are attempted assassinations! Believe me when I say the action is not lacking. I was fully engrossed in this book from page one.

However, my favorite part of this book was seeing Elisa grow as a character. This is how character growth is done! It was so real, so raw, and so moving, and I found myself loving Elisa more and more. She's no longer that self-depricating overweight princess. She's grown to see herself as someone people look up to. She's grown to see herself as Queen. That knowledge alone allows Elisa to grow a tougher skin. She's stronger, smarter, yet still flawed in her own way.

And the love interest!  *swoon* I am so happy that Carson chose to develop the love like a slow burning ember. Amongst dozens of books with insta-love, The Crown of Embers is a breath of fresh air. This love is born out of respect, not lust.

The world Elisa lives in is also worthy of praise. It's so vivid, so rich, and so layered. It's the perfect setting for Elia's journey of love and self-discovery. Trust me, Elisa doesn't stay cooped up in the Palace the whole time. And there's still plenty of action, probably more than the first book. My only complaint? The ending. Cuz I want The Bitter Kingdom! Like now! The ending is crazy amazing and it left me breathless...

Bottom line: The Crown of Embers is everything I could have hoped it would be and more. I loved it.

Thank you, Harpercollins for this ARC. I assure you, when I received it, there was squealing. Lots of squealing. The ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review and it in no way affects my opinion. 


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

WoW: Through the Ever Night

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi 
Release: January 8, 2012

It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder,
 Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

- - - - 
 So I read Under the Never Sky...and I really liked it! And I'm now desperate for the second book because that ending was...GAH! *headdesk* Please, 2013, come soon!

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. Book bloggers present upcoming books they can’t wait to read and share their enthusiasm about new releases.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Defiance Book Launch: RECAP

So, a week ago, I had the pleasure of attending CJ Redwine's book launch for her debut, Defiance. I went with my best friend (who hadn't read the book) and my 12-year-old cousin (who had). There was some confusion with parking, but eventually, we found the right place (at a church community center).

About thirty minutes after seven, the lights started to change and a man appeared on stage. He introduced himself as CJ's husband before the lights were cut off and the book trailer for Defiance played. When the trailer finished, CJ appeared from the back of the room and walked down the aisle towards the stage. Almost everyone gave her a standing ovation. She was clearly touched.

CJ was funny, humble, and...perhaps a little frazzled with the book release, the book launch, and the deadlines ahead! Ah, the life of a writer. But CJ took it all in stride and she began to read an excerpt from the book.

People clapped, and then the Q&A began. CJ's poor husband went around the large room, microphone in hand. There had to be a least 2-3 dozen questions that were asked. They ranged from music, to POVs, to the publication process.

After the Q&A, CJ drew the winner for the Nook Tablet. I was glad to find out that the girl who won didn't have a e-reader. So yay! Then, CJ pointed to the refreshment table. Her husband went over and lit the cake on fire. Well, he didn't light the cake itself--the fire was in front of the cake. Check it out.

Pretty cool, huh? And very "Defiance-worthy".

Once the cake was lit, people began to line up to purchase books for the signing. I honestly didn't expect there to be so. many. people! Most of them knew CJ personally, and that's quite a testament to her as a person. I thought she couldn't be more awesome until my cousin stepped up to have her book signed. Her name is Elim. CJ asked how to spell it, and then she asked if she could use her name in a book. Of course my cousin said yes! Then I go up and tell her my name. She signs my copy of Defiance before giving me a strange look. She then asks if she could use my name as well.


A part of me wasn't sure she'd keep that promise until she tweeted me later that night:

Guys, no joke, my cousin will be in book 2! And I will be in book 2 (or book 3)! It's still pretty surreal, and I'm not sure I will completely believe it until I see my name on the page. Still, knowing I will be seeing my name in her books makes me 100xs more excited for second and third book.

I also got a picture of all three of us with CJ:

And afterwards, we had CAKE. And it was yummy.

Then I went home and stroked my pretty pretty book. <333


So guys, tell me about your book signing experience(s)! Let me know if you liked Defiance or not! Let me know if you've ever had a character in a book named after you!