Monday, July 30, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (11)


Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.



So, I had some issues recording and uploading. Hence, my late Stacking the Shelves post.



The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (SIGNED)
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard. My Review HERE.
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Mar (ARC) traded with Damaris of Good Choice Reading
Origin by Jessica Khoury (ARC) traded with Damaris of Good Choice Reading
Ironskin by Tina Connely (e-ARC) for review from Tor.
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris (e-ARC) for review/blog tour from Entangled Publishing
Hourglass by Myra McEntire (e-book)
The Assassin and the Empire by Sarah J. Maas (e-novella)

Thank you Damaris, Entangled Publishing, and Tor.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone b Laini Taylor 
Release: September 27, 2011
Source: Purchased


Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. 

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low. 


And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 


Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.


When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?


Left and right,  people have been singing the praises of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

And it saddens me to say that I cannot join this massive choir. 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the story of a blue-haried girl named Karou. My first impression? This girl is pretty cool! She's an art student who is more than what she seems. Most people find her eccentric. Most people just smile at the wild stories she illustrates--stories that depict magical creatures and a shop run by Brimstone. His trade? Wishes. And the currency? Teeth?

What people don't know, though, is that these illustrated stories are real. 

Karou lives a double life. A part of her life is spent roaming the streets of Prague, drawing and trying to escape her crazy ex-boyfrend. The other part of her life is spent traveling through doors that transport her from one end of the world to the other. She collects teeth for Brimestone. Karou has no clue what the teeth are used for, only that they are used for pay for wishes. 

I will say this about Daughter of Smoke and Bone: it is impressively imaginative. The world of Prauge and Brimstone's shop is so vivid and magical! The book was off to a very good start with a unique protagonist, lyrical prose, and a world that managed to quickly suck me in. 

Then Akiva makes his appearance and drains the book of all its initial charm. 

Yes, this book is about star crossed lovers. Akiva is an angel and Karou is a human. I can handle this cliche, but I cannot handle the insta-love. Ladies and gentlemen, be aware before reading, that this book contains a guy and a girl who are "inexplicably drawn to each other" and call it love. Sometimes, insta-love can be forgiven if the chemistry between two characters is tangible, steamy, and even entertaining. Karou and Avkia's relationship is stale. To be fair, there is a reason behind the two being drawn to each other. It just does't present itself until the last third of the book.

Which leads me to another grip I had...

All the flashbacks. 

I understand the need for occasional flashbacks, but almost half of this book is filled with flashbacks that serve little purpose. I take that back. They do have a purpose, but the execution was poorly done because I felt as if it was merely used as a plot device. A very long and drawn out plot device...

I really wanted to love this book. I really did. Unfortunately, it fell short of my expectations. Laini does have quite a way with words and there's no doubt that she is gifted with imagination. For those reasons alone, I am willing to give the sequel a try. I'm just not jumping up and down for it, even after the CRAZY ending.


RATING: 2.5 SLICES 


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop



Hi everyone! It's time for another giveaway hop! What can you win? Any book from The Book Depository (so long as the price does not exceed $15).

This giveaway is International (so long as TBD ships to you).
Must be 13 years or older.
Winner must respond (with address) within 48 hours of notification. Otherwise, I reserve the right to pick another winner.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal: Senshi by Cole Gibson + GIVEAWAY

Have any of you read Katana? Did you like it? Are you salivating for another book from Cole Gibson? You'll have to wait until 2013 for the sequel, but in the meantime, said sequel has a title and a cover! Dear readers, I present to you: the cover for Shenshi!


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It's awesome, and kick-butt (although very atypical for a YA cover). And I LOVE the illustrated feel. Not sure how I feel about a white girl on the cover of a supposedly Asian-influenced book, though. What do you think? Have you read Katana? Do you want to read it? Click HERE for more information on the first book.

And, as a reward for stopping by, Cole Gibson has generously offered to give away some goodies. What can you win? THIS:



One felt, handmade ninja coffee cozy (isn't it CUTE?)
One Silicon Sneshi bracelet
Two Katana tattoos 
One signed Katana bookmark


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest is US only.


That's it. Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WoW: Poison Princess



WoW: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
Release: October, 2, 2012


Sixteen-year-old Evie Greene thought her horrific apocalyptic hallucinations were a sign that she was slowly losing her mind. But when her visions come true, decimating the world around her and killing everyone she loves, Evie is forced to accept that she was seeing the future.

Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she turns to wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate, the gorgeous and dangerous Jackson Deveaux for help. As Jackson and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have got the same call and discover that Evie is not the only one with special powers. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and as the battle between good and evil intensifies, it is not always clear who is on which side…

This book looks fantastic ! It like a combination of apocalyptic, paranormal, and fantasy--which is awesome in my book. I'm not a HUGE fan of the cover (the girl's expression is a little weird) but that font is....to die for. haha. I look forward to picking this up come October.
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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.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Such a Rush

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
Release: July 10, 2012
Source: Purchased 


A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.    
 

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.

I went into Such a Rush, not knowing what to expect. I knew it was about planes and I knew that it was a contemporary romance. That was it.

The book opens up with a young Leah Jones, who recently moved to Heaven Beach. Her mother (who I hated, btw) follows her guys around. They promise her one thing or another, and blindly, she believes them. Leah's not impressed and has gotten used to spending nights alone in the trailer or working in the office at Hall Aviation.

And it's the job at Hall Aviation that sparks, in Leah, a love for flying.

But Leah is doubtful that her mother would approve (and besides, she's not around to sign the papers for lessons). So, Leah decides to forge her mother's signature, and thus begins her flying lessons.

Fast forward a couple of years, and things have changed. Mr. Hall looses his eldest son, and then loses his life. This leaves the two younger brothers, Alec and Grayson, to run Hall Aviation. Soon enough, Leah finds herself entangled in a family mess that includes romance, back-stabbing, and drama. Echols did a great job making the drama very real. It's not over-the-top, but it was enough to keep me glued to the pages. It was enough to keep me reading.

And yes, there is a love triangle, but it's rather atypical. Instead of "which boy should I choose", it's "do I go to the boy I truly love or the boy that will keep me from loosing my wings". I really appreciated this approach, and it definitely seemed more realistic...

One thing I didn't understand, though, was how Leah managed to live in Heaven Beach for 3/4 years. With her mom moving all the time, one would think that they would have moved already. At least, that's the impression I got. It's a minor issue, but one that kept popping up in the back of my mind.

The other issue I had was in regard to Leah's crush on Grayson. He's kind of a jerk in the beginning. I don't see how she could crush on him from afar, but I suppose that's the beauty of individuality. People have different opinions and tastes. Regardless of how their infatuation started, I definitely grew to love Leah and Grayson together. There was one character, though, who almost ruined the book for me: Molly, Leah's "best friend". Molly has no sense of tact. Sure, she's honest, but she's brutal and seems to get away with all her rather insensitive comments. I really didn't like her, and I'll leave it at that.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed this book. It's my first read by Echol's and I'll definitely be checking out her other books.

RATING: 4 SLICES



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (10)


Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.



Bought: 
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (SIGNED)

For Review: 
Stormdancer by Jay Kirstoff

Won: 
The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Glaire LeGrad (SWAG)

NEW Upcoming Blog Tours: 
September 15, 2012: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins*
August 31, 2012: Authors are Rock Stars Tour FEAT. Daniel Marks, author of debut novel, Velveteen. Hosted by Fitkshin and Two Chicks on Books


Upcoming Author Events that I will be Attending**: 
July 31, 2012: Book Launch for Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
August 28, 2012: Book Launch for Defiance by CJ Redwine
October 14-26: Southern Festival of Books (in Nashville!)***
*Honestly, I know very little about the situation except that there's a possibility that the publisher isn't going to get behind a sequel to Sweet Evil. Thus, this blog tour was put together to help promote the book.
**Tell me if you will be attending any of these events! I'd love to meet other bloggers.
***You can find a list of authors who will be in attendance HERE.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: Palace of Stone


Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale 
Release: August 21, 2012

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble
WARNING: SUMMARY CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST PRINCESS ACADEMY BOOK.
Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city seems a thrill beyond imagining. When Miri and her friends from Mount Eskel set off to help the future princess Britta prepare for her royal wedding, she is happy about her chance to attend school in the capital city. There, Miri befriends students who seem so sophisticated and exciting . . . until she learns that they have some frightening plans. They think that Miri will help them, that she "should "help them. Soon Miri finds herself torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city. Picking up where "Princess Academy "left off, this incredible stand-alone story celebrates the joys of friendship, the delight of romance, and the fate of a beloved fairy tale kingdom.



Palace of Stone took about 40/50 pages to get into, only because it had been a while since I read Princess Academy. Two and a half years, in fact. When I heard that Shannon Hale was coming out with a sequel, a part of me wondered: what for? In my mind, the story had resolved to a satisfying, yet unpredictable end. Why mess with something so good? A part of me didn't want to read it, but intrigue and excitment were inevitable. And regardless of my doubts, I really wanted to read this book.

Hale describes Palace of Stone in one word, and I think it sums up the plot perfectly: Revolution.

You see, the "shoeless" (or poor) are tired of being taken advantage of. They want change. They want to see the Crown's power extinguished. In a series of events, young Miri finds herself torn between her own desire for change and her loyalty to those that she is closest to. The very foundation of the crown and the reputation of the Princess Academy is at stake. The people are not happy with who the Prince picked as his bride. The shoeless want to be heard, above the whisperings of nobility.  They will do anything to do so.

At the core, it is a story about change, loyalty, friendship, and being true to yourself.

I had only a few complains, though. The first, is how quickly and Miri's relatoinship with Frid developed. I didn't like them as a pair, because it seemed seemed forced, as if it was only there to create extra tension. Tension that didn't need to be there. Perhaps it's because I always loved Peder more. *shrugs*  My next complaint is that things seemed to resolve a little...quickly...

Just like that, the sparks of revolution have dissipated?

This IS a MG book, so I suppose I understand the need to keep things short and sweet. A younger audience wouldn't be interested in a long drawn-out struggle between the shoeless and the nobility/royalty.

Overall, though, I really liked Palace of Stone. It is a worthy sequel to Princess Academy, so I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. In my opinion, Palace of Stone isn't "better" than Princess Academy, but it is a necessary follow-up that brings the story full-circle. I hope, one day, Hale will write more about the world of Princess Academy. Until then, though, I truly feel Miri's story is complete.

e-ARC (and physical ARC, won) courtesy of net galley and Bloomsbury. It was provided in exchange for a honest opinion. Thank you.

RATING: 4 SLICES




GIVEAWAY TIME. I am giving away my extra paperback copy of Princess Academy and my physical ARC of Palace of stone. Enter rafflecopter below for a chance to win.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Crown of Embers ARC-tour!

I have two ARCs of The Crown of Embers. What do I do with the extra ARC? I share it with blogger friends, of course! The release of Crown of Embers is two months away, and I've decided to host an ARC-tour. How do you enter? Simply comment below leaving your name, blog title, email, and state. 






Below, I have listed some rules. PLEASE do not be intimidated by them. I just want to make sure that those who sign up understand what's expected of them. I really want this to be a good experience for all of you! And, unfortunately, some guidelines must be set. 

Rules for sign-ups 
- You must be a blog follower.
- You must be a blogger or post reviews regularly on another review site (amazon, goodreads, etc)
- You must live in the US.
- You must be 13 years or older.
- Sign-ups end on July 20th at 11:59 pm (Central)
- There will be four spots available.
- If there are more than four people who sign up, a random drawing will occur to determine who gets a spot on the ARC tour.
- I will notify the participants by e-mail, and they will have 24 hours to reply with a mailing address. I need to get this tour started ASAP, so I cannot wait forever and a day to get a response. I reserve the right to pick another participant if I don't receive a response within 24 hours.
-After I receive all the addresses, I will e-mail the order/line-up. This will also be posted on my blog for reference. Please understand that the line-up will be determined by participant's location. This is done to save shipping time and shipping costs.

Rules for the ARC-tour
-You must promise to take good care of the ARC.
-When you receive the ARC, you must notify me via email. I will then proceed to give you the address of the next participant.
- Please keep the ARC no longer than one week. Be considerate of the other participants that are waiting for their turn to read the ARC.
- Delivery confirmation must be used and delivery confirmation number must be emailed to me. 
- I cannot make you write a review, but please do. That is the whole point of an ARC-tour. And, If/when you write a review, email/tweet a link to your review so I share your thoughts.
- The last person on the ARC tour will send the ARC back to me, after which I will host another giveaway.

That's it! Good luck! My own review will be posted closer to release date, but trust me, this is an amazing book!  What are you waiting for? Leave a comment below.


Tour Schedule (To-be Updated) 

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ALSO: Please tweet or fb about the sign-up. It won't increase your chances for a spot, but I'd forever thank you for your awesomeness. ;)

Waiting on Wednesday: The Madman's Daughter

WoW: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Release: January 29, 2013 



London, 1894. Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns her father is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations were true. 

Juliet is accompanied by the doctor’s handsome young assistant and an enigmatic castaway, who both attract Juliet for very different reasons. They travel to the island only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: he has created animals that have been vivisected to resemble, speak, and behave as humans. Worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape the island, even though her horror is mixed with her own scientific curiosity. As the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood


First off, I really like historical settings! And the gothic tone of this book is right up my alley. I think the premise is unique, and even a bit more mature than the usual YA book.  Who else is excited? And what are YOU waiting on this wednesday? Leave a link below.


*sigh* So many awesome books coming out in 2013!


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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, July 17, 2012

WINNERS

Okay, ladies and gentleman, it's time for the "big reveal". Are you ready?

The winners of my 250 blog follower giveaway are as follows...

1. CRICKET @ Little Library Muse

2. EILEEN @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***

3. TAYTE H 

So, what did you win? Let's reveal the prize packs and see if your guesses were correct.

Prize Pack 1: Wake by Amanda Hocking and Switched by Amanda Hocking
Prize Pack 2: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
Prize Pack 3: Fated by Alyson Noel and Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

CONGRATS! I hope you three enjoy your ARCs. Here are pictures of your goodies:


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Before I end this post, though,  I want to thank all my followers and all the people that entered into the giveaway. <333 Remember to keep an eye out. ARC-TOUR SIGN-UPS FOR THE CROWN OF EMBERS GOES LIVE TOMORROW @ 6 AM CENTRAL.  Believe me when I say you don't want to miss out on reading this book!

Also, It looks like I'll be getting to 500 followers soon. When that happens, I will do another big and awesome giveaway. Until then, happy reading!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Release: August 30, 2011



Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
 

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.


When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.


And she, for whatever reason, spares his life

I'm not usually a paranormal reader, but Anna Dressed in Blood received rave reviews. People kept saying how creepy and awesome it was, but I have to admit that I was disappointed.

Anna Dressed in Blood is the story of Cas. He makes a living of killing ghosts and sending them back to...wherever they belong. He doesn't really care about what happens to the ghosts, so long as the living are kept safe. It's a job that once belonged to his father, and ever since he died at the hands of a ghot, Cas inherited this strange vocation.

It's a pretty unordinary life: move to a new town, find the ghost, kill the ghost, and move on to the next target. I had issues with any mother allowing her son to live this kind of life. Even a mother as strange as Cas's. Nevertheless, it's his job, and he's never had trouble killing ghosts before...

Until he meets Anna.

Anna Korlov died decades ago, but her spirit still lives int he house, killing any and every living soul that steps in. car enlists the help of a few friends from school to find information on Anna's past and her recent activities. And when Cas and Anna meet face to face, she proves to be a ruthless killing machine. Somehow, though, she spares Cas. And, in the days the follow, Cas is consumed with thoughts of Anna.

Which leads me to my two biggest issues with Anna Dressed in Blood...

What makes Cas so SPECIAL that Anna spares his life? And how I am supposed to believe that Cas is "in love" with Anna? There was no chemistry or spark. Luckily, Anna Dressed in blood is not about the romance. It's about the mystery, the suspense, and a ghost with a tormented past.

Also, I must admit that Kendare's writing was funny and morbid at times. I kind of...liked it. It helped to keep me engaged in a story that I might have otherwise given up on. The ending was also confusing, but I am hoping the Sequel (Girl of Nightmares) will resolve all my unanswered questions. We'll see.

RATING: 3 SLICES 




Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hooked Trailer Reveal

I am pleased to present the book trailer for Hooked by Liz Fichera. 

But first, the cover and summary: 

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Hooked by Liz Fichera 
Release: January 31, 2012

Sparks fly when a Native American girl with a killer swing joins the boys’ varsity golf team and takes on the boy with the killer smile. 




And now, the trailer: CHECK IT OUT. 
 (Click the link--or hit play--below. Go on...I'll give you a few minutes to check it out...)




Tell me what you think. Personally, I like it! The simplicity, the music...

Although, it doesn't really give insight into the plot...other than the fact that it's a contemporary romance. Oh well. *shrugs*

So, leave comments below, and thanks for stopping by to check out Liz's book trailer. It's definitely got me excited for Hooked.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (9)



Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.




The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (HB) - Bought
Venom by Fiona Paul (ARC) - Received from Jennifer Dee via Arcycling
Gilt by Katherine Longshore (ARC) - Received from Jennifer Dee via Arcycling
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone (ARC) - From Tamara. Won via giveaway.
Mystic City by Theo Lawrence (e-ARC) - For Review from Random House. Net-galley.

+ Time Between Us Swag (CD, Postcards, Bookmarks, Stickers, and a $25 Dollar Ticketmaster Giftcard
Thank you Jennifer, Tamara, and Random house Publishing for an awesome week!

Also, in case you can't see the video (or choose not to watch), I have some exciting blog news. I am going to be a part of three amazing blog tours.


  • First, Throne of Glass. I don't have a little side-bar button yet, but I will doing an interview with the lovely Sarah J. Maas on August 21, 2012.
  • Second, I'll also be promoting My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris. I'll be posting my review and linking to the Blog Tour Schedule on August 28, 2012. 
  • Thirdly, I'll be on the blog tour for Renegade by J. A. Souders (this book looks AWESOME). I'll be posting my review and a character interview on November 3, 2012. 
  • And lastly, I've decided to do a blog tour for my extra Crown of Embers ARC. Sign-ups will be posted on Wednesday, July 18. So keep an eye out. I will only open sign ups for three days, so I am giving you all early notice. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Innocent Darkness

Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear 
Release: August 8, 2012



Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish

In full disclosure, Innocent Darkness was not a book for me. I blame it, partly, on "false advertisement". Take a look at the cover and tell me what you think? Steampunk, right? And Innocent Darkness has been heavily promoted as a YA Steampunk novel. Now, I'm no expect, but this book is vastly different from what I imagine steampunk to be like. When I think of Steampunk, I think historical setting whose inhabitants make use modern/futuristic technology. And, more often than not, there's usually some paranormal aspects.

The only evidence of modern/futuristic technology, in Innocent Darkness, is when Noli (the main character) drives a flying car.

Illegally. 

This illegal driving is on of many "marks" on Noli's record. Eventually, she's forced to go to an "institution" that is supposed to stomp out impulsive and improper behavior. This doesn't suit Noli at all, and when she makes a wish...she's lured/transported to another land quite different from her own: the Otherworld. At this point, Innocent Darkness becomes far less steampunk and more...fantasy. There are Faeries, Magic, and an evil Queen Tiana that needs Noli as a sacrifice to keep Otherworld's magic alive. 

This is where I lost interest, because Noli's journey to Otherworld also introduces readers to a character named Kevighn. He is a sort of "hunter" for Queen Tiana.  He is responsible for finding a girl with "spark" and bringing her to Otherworld as a sacrifice. Noli is "special". She has that "spark". So, Kevighn decides to lure Noli through a portal into Otherworld. 

And what follows is a poor excuse for a love triangle.

Noli is happy, at first, to be in this new world. But the excitement soon wears off, and Kevighn does all he can to convince her to stay just a little longer. After what seems like mere days, Kevighn comes to the realization that he no longer wishes to make Noli's presence in Otherworld known. He "loves" Noli and doesn't wish to see her become the sacrifice. I don't see what makes Noli any more special than the other "soft women" and girls who had "spark".

Noli, however, is conflicted. She thinks of her childhood friend, V (aka Steven), wondering if her feelings for him go past friendship. But somehow, Noli keeps falling for Kevighn's "charm". The man she ends up with is quite obvious, but I really hated Noli's indecisiveness. What ever happened to the opinionated, strong-willed girl in the beginning? 

"Love" happened. 

I also see that this is the first book in a series. Is that necessary? Innocent Darkness actually ends on a very happy note, with all the loose ends tied together--a little too conveniently, if you ask me. 

So, no. I cannot recommend this book. I think I would have enjoyed this book far more if I had been warned about the more fantastical elements. I went in expecting lots of Steampunk elements and wound up sorely disappointed. Readers, don't make that mistake. If you plan to read this book, know what you will be getting into. 

e-ARC was provided by netgalley and Flux Books. Thank you.

RATING: 1 SLICE




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WoW: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Release: February 5, 2013

Book two, Scarlet, is based on Little Red Riding Hood. It continues Cinder’s story as she attempts to escape Queen Levana’s vengeance and learn more about her past. The story also introduces readers to Scarlet, a girl living in southern France whose grandmother has mysteriously disappeared. In order to find her, Scarlet seeks the help of Wolf, a street fighter with more than a few mysteries of his own.
After the way Cinder ended, I am ACHING for the sequel. Plus, Red Riding Hood is not a story that's often retold. It's usually the flashier fairy tales that get respun (i.e. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty). So, yes, I eager to see how Scarlet's story intersects with Cinder's. It will be a long and AGONIZING wait until 2013.




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, July 10, 2012

Summer Lovin Giveaway Hop



So, yet another giveaway hosted by I'm a Reader not a Writer! Enter the rafflecopter below for the chance to win Legend by Marie Lu. It's a book you don't want to miss out on, so what are you waiting for? 

RULES: 
1. US only. I am shipping my personal HB copy, so I can't afford the international cost.
2. 13 years or older. 
3. Winner must respond within 48 hours with mailing address (otherwise, I reserve right to pick another winner)

That's it!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



250 Follower Giveaway: Clues for Prize Pack Three

Okay, first off: thank you to all my followers! To celebrate, I am doing a massive giveaway.

But it won't be "easy".

I have three prize packs, two ARCs each, but YOU have to figure out what's in each pack. How? Once a week, for three weeks, I will provide three clues. Each set of clues correlates to one prize pack, and at the end of three weeks, I will announce the prize packs and the winners. Sound good? Okay, let's get started!


Rules:
1. Must be a blog follower.
2. There will be three winners.
3. Winners live in the US (I will do a international giveaway soon. I promise.)
4. Winners must responded within 48 hours, otherwise, I reserve the right to pick another winner.
5. First winner gets prize pack 1, second winner gets prize pack 2, and third winner gets prize pack 3.

The clues for prize pack THREE (the very last prize pack):


1.  If your soul is seeking for a clue for the first ARC, look to The First Noel.  

2. "The Angels did sing" of how heavenly the second ARC is.

3.   Both have purplish US covers (although one is slightly more bluish)


If you can guess the two ARCs, you get two extra entries! Come back next week to see the prize packs and the winners! GOOD LUCK. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: Throne of Glass


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Release: August 7, 2012 



After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.


Her opponents are menthieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.


Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.



Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined


Once Upon a Time, a little story was posted on fiction press. It was called Queen of Glass, and in the years that followed, the story gained thousands of loyal fans. I did not become a fan until back in 2007. I had never heard of Queen of Glass, and the summary was fairly vague. Admittedly, I was more curious about the number of reviews. I wanted to see what the rave was all about...

And I am SO glad I did.

My Senior year in High School was spent in the world Sarah had created, and the characters that inhabited it, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

But Sarah took her story down, in 2008, to pursue publication. It was a bittersweet moment, knowing I couldn't visit the world of Queen of Glass at whim. However, the promise of holding a published copy was more than enough to keep me satisfied. Fast forward a few years, and the story has changed. It's a series now, with a slightly younger Celaena and a new title: Throne of Glass.  When I found that I won the ARC on Sarah's blog, I screamed for joy. Literally. And when it arrived in the mail, I screamed for joy again. And then I proceeded to consume its pages. Figuratively.

So let me just say that reading Throne of Glass was....

Just. Plain. Magical.

It lived up to EVERY SINGLE expectation I had, and then some.

Throne of Glass is the story of Adarlan's most infamous assassin: Celaena Sardothin. In a series of events, the assassin is betrayed, captured, and sent to spend the rest of her life serving in the Endovier Salt Mines. She does this for one year, until the eighteen-year-old killer is summoned by the Prince. He offers her a proposition: compete in his father's competition for the "privilege" of being the King's personal assassin or die in the Salt mines. Neither choice is appealing, but the promise of freedom is something Celaena can't resist. And thus, the story unfolds...

First, I adore Celaena. I already knew I would, but she is a character worth noting. Or she'll force you to take notice with a sword at your throat. Yeah, she's pretty kick-butt. She's vain, strong, passionate, head-strong, brave, determined, snarky, arrogant, and just plain awesome. She's more than just your typical, mindless killing assassin. She has a heart underneath her cold exterior. And the two guys to that melt her icy heart are just as amazing: Prince Dorian and Chaol Westfall.

As I said, it's been a while since I read Queen of Glass on Fictionpress. But I remember enough to know that Dorian didn't make too big of an impression in the first draft. Maybe it was because I was younger. Or maybe it was because I was too caught up in the world and plot. In Throne of Glass, though, Dorian stole my heart. His banters with Celaena never ceased to bring a smile to my face. And Chaol, he has my undying admiration and sympathy. It's hard to say which pairing I like best, so for now, I'll just say they are both amazing.

And that's what I love about the love triangle in Throne of Glass: It's not silly or contrived. Both guys compliment Celaena in very different ways, but love hardly enters the picture until the end! The girl doesn't even kiss one of the guys until the last 1/3 of the book! This is no infatuation or lust. It is admiration and respect from both sides. The word 'love' is never, ever used lightly in this book. Dorian and Chaol grow to appreciate Celaena for who she is and who she has become.

I also love that Sarah made a female "nemesis" that I actually felt sorry for. Kaltain is far more than just the typical "b-tchy" girl. She has motives and dreams. She experiences loss just like any of us and I hope she will make an appearance in later books. The fact that Sarah wrote a few scenes from Kaltain, Chaol, and Dorian's point of view was a sweet surprise and made me love each character more.

But enough about characters. Let's talk about the world! I was immediately sucked into the world that Sarah created. It's not overly complicated, but it's still fascinating and mesmorizing. The details Maas provides is just enough that I never felt overwhelmed (a symptom of author info-dump). And the plot! It was just as gripping and exciting as I remember and kept me reading long into the night. It is far more stream-lined and better paced than the Fiction Press draft.

And those last fifty pages were the definition of EPIC. I will say no more, though, because that would spoil the surprise and suspense.

Simply put, Throne of Glass is everything I hoped (and imagined) it would be. The wait for book two will be agonizing!!!!!!! The only consolation is that there is no major cliffhanger at the end. Just the promise of exciting adventures to come and I can't wait for Maas to take me back into the world of Erilea.

Thank you, Sarah, for providing the ARC and  for writing such a beautiful story.


RATING: 5 INCREDIBLY JUICY SLICES


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (8)



Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

This was a very SPECIAL week. You'll see why if you watch the video. :D





Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - Bought
The Book Thief by Markus Zusaks - Bought
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - Bought
Something like Normal by Trish Doller (E-Book) - Bought
Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale (ARC) - Won. Thank you, Bloomsbury.
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (ARC) - Traded. Thank you, Vanessa!
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (ARC) - For Review. THANK YOU, HARPERCOLLINS! AH!

Here is a picture of the ARC with the official HarperCollins label/package. 





I am honestly still in shock that HarperCollins sent me an ARC. A part of me wishes I hadn't traded, but my impatience got the best of me. How was I to know that I'd be sent the ARC?! Haha. Like I said in the vlog, though, having two ARCs is good news for you. I will be giving away the ARC that I received via trade. I want YOUR opinion, though: standard giveaway or a tour?

Also, link me your mailbox goodies and I'll come by to check it out.