Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top Ten Character I Want To Switch Places With...

Hosted over at the Broke and Bookish

I don't know about you, but when I'm reading, I always have this tendency to imagine myself in the that particular fictional world so I was super excited about this week's topic!

Top Ten Character I'd Want to Switch Places with for 24 hours

Clary from the Mortal Instruments series
There are numerous reaons for why I'd want to switch places with Clary--
I could be BFFs with Simon, go shopping with Isabelle and Magnus, play with Church and Chairman Meow, learn how to be a kick-butt Shadowhunter, MEET JACE....
The possibilities are endless.
Percy some random camper from Camp Halfblood
 It would have to be a minor character... like, I don't know, some Hermes kid or something because I'd want to be able to hang out with Percy and Annabeth and Grover and fight monsters and experience 24 hours at Camp Halfblood.
Bitterblue from the the Graceling books
Y'know... I've always wondered what it'd be like to be queen....
Thursday Next from The Eyre Affair
I haven't finished this book yet, but just the entire premise and world of this story is SO. DARN. COOL.
I'd definitely want to be a special operative in literary detection.
Kelsey from Tiger's Curse
I love traveling and I've always wanted to go to India.... not to mention all the other mythological places Kelsey gets to go to.
Meghan from The Iron Fey series
Well for one, I want to see the Nevernever, secondly, I want to party it up in the Summer Court, and thirdly, I want to hang out with Puck and Grimalkin of course!
OK, quick confession, I am a huge Naruto fan--I read the manga and watch the anime and oh my goodness I want to be a ninja SO badly!
Alphonse from FMA
I picked Al because I'd want to spend my 24 hours hanging out with Ed because he is one of my favorite characters EVER. Also, I might have a *little* crush on him...
If you haven't read this manga, then I highly recommend it!
Anna from Anna and the French Kiss
Etienne St. Clare.
'Nuff said.
Harry Potter
.... do I really need to explain this one?

What about you? Which character would you love to switch places with for 24 hours??? Feel free to leave me a comment or a link!! :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: A Strange Fire

A Strange Fire (Florence Vaine #1)
By L.H. Cosway
Published March 14th, 2012
Flo has always had problems. Her stammer prevents her speech and her dad’s abuse makes her life a living hell. Not to mention she sees colours other people don’t. 

When her dad decides to ship her off to live with her grandma in the sleepy town of Chesterport, Flo thinks that this is her chance for a better life. But on her very first day at her new school she is ridiculed and laughed at for having a stammer. One student sticks up for her and his name is Frank.

Frank’s body is surrounded by an aura of fire, but Flo is the only one who can see it. He lives in a foster home for troubled teenagers. Flo is drawn to him because he’s different and so is she. 

Things are about to get scary, because Chesterport is not your ordinary suburban town. It’s infested by a coven of dark witches who prey on the young and the elderly. Soon Flo discovers that she’s next on their list of victims, and finds herself fighting a battle she never would have imagined possible.

Rating: 3.75 stars
When I first started this book, I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I can honestly say that this book was better than I thought it was going to be.

Flo is definitely a different brand of YA heroine--and I don't mean that in a bad way. She doesn't appear as strong and kick-butt as a lot of other YA girls out there; she's got a bad stammer, she gets nervous easily, and she's very self-conscious. However, throughout this whole book, I think she really came into her own, overcoming her traumatic past and coming to terms with what she can do. She definitely emerged as a stronger person at the end of the book.

I loved the mix of supernatural elements in this book--it's not just a werewolf book or an angel book or a witch book, but a mix of everything! I also enjoyed the suspense in finally finding out what each person was. The whole time I was reading, I was constantly guessing who was what, but the author did a great job keeping me on my toes and surprising me when the truth was finally revealed. 
This world that Cosway has created where all these supernatural beings coexist left me very intrigued and eager to find out more.

This book had a rather slow build-up that wasn't really my kind of thing, but the book is full of creepy moments that made me keep reading. I know this isn't classified as a "scary book," but there were definitely some creeptastic moments that had me chilled to the bone!

All in all: this book was a nice read. Although I wish there might've been some more development in other characters and I felt like the identity of the big bad villain was pretty obvious from the start, this book has a very unique concept that makes me want to read the sequel and find out more about the world and Flo's ability. 

*I received a copy of this book from the ARR program on goodreads in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, July 29, 2012

In My Mailbox

Hosted by The Story Siren

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
I've heard some mixed reviews about this book, but the premise sounds really intriguing!

Endure (Need #4) by Carrie Jones
I've been a pretty big fan of Astley this series so I can't wait to see how it all ends. Please lord let Zara and Astley be endgame.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is probably the most anticipated book in my haul. 
Yes, I am one of those people who have never read the amazing piece of literary creation called The Book Thief. But this will be remedied!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Don't Tell by Mercy Amare

Hey guys!
I'm so stoked to be part of the lucky group of bloggers to reveal to you the cover of Mercy Amare's new book, Don't Tell.
So without further ado, here it is!

I could be surrounded by a million people, but I would still feel alone. I smile on the outside, but inside I feel like I’m slowly dying. I cry out for help, but nobody sees me, at least not the real me. They see a fa├žade, a mask that I put on to hide the pain.

I pretend that I’m normal, but really, what is normal? Maybe what I’m feeling is normal. The hurt, the disappointment, the loneliness… it could be all just be a part of life. Maybe I will never know what normal is.

I put on long sleeves and makeup to hide the bruises, but they only mask the outside. What happens when I can’t carry my burden alone any longer? What would happen if I told somebody the truth?

Don't Tell is a YA Contemporary Romance about love, forgivness and hope.  Coming Fall 2012.

A bit about Mercy Amare:
Mercy Amare writes YA fiction books. She has a slight addiction to NOS, and her guilty pleasure is Pretty Little Liars.

I don't know about you, but I absolutely love the cover! The splash of pink is wonderful and I love the girl's outfit and the whole vibe of the cover!

And now, time for the giveaway!!!
Mercy has been kind enough to give each blog hosting the cover a free copy of her book to give away through Smashwords. 

The giveaway will run from today till next Friday and the winner will have 72 hours to respond.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Feature and Follow #7

Follow Friday is a really fun way to make new blogger friends and promote your blog in the process! This weekly meme is hosted byAlison Can Read and Parajunkee 

This week's question:
Summer reading. What was your favorite book that you were required to read when you were in school?

I actually have a couple favorites. In 7th grade, I had to read The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, which was very awesome because not only did I not dread doing the reading homework, but I discovered a new favorite series! My next favorite would have to be Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier which is a fantastic gothic romance! Lots of suspense. 
And then, of course, there's To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee which is just one of the best classics out there! 

I just love it when you find a novel that you really like and you find it through English class of all places! 

Review: The Doorknob Society

The Doorknob Society
by M.J. Fletcher
Published February 9th, 2012

Chloe Masters’s world changed in a heartbeat - and all she did was touch a doorknob. 
When she was young Chloe’s mother vanished. Wracked by feelings of abandonment and anger she lost herself traveling with her father's magic act, where illusions were part of her everyday life. Yet everything changes when they are pursued by a mysterious man in black out to kill her father. Touching a doorknob activates abilities she never knew she had and she finds herself thrust into a world of ancient societies and secrets.
When her father disappears it is a race against time to find answers before she loses what is left of her family. Now Chloe must choose who to trust, the man who will do anything for her or the one she can’t stop thinking about.

Rating: 3 stars
Can I just say that the whole concept of magical doorknobs, keys, maps, and the secret societies who wield them is just the coolest concept ever????
I can honestly say that I've never read anything like this before, so Kudos to you, M.J. Fletcher!

That being said, this book was very fast-paced throughout its entirety, but it wasn't until the last third of the book that I was very gripped and anxious to find out what happens. The last third of the book had intensity, lots of action, character development, and romantic development, and had the rest of the book been like those last hundred pages, I think the book would have been a lot more gripping.

Not to say the first half of the book wasn't good--it was. Fast-paced and not exactly lacking in action. However, for the most part, during that time, the characters were all rather flat and Chloe, the main character, spending much time talking about how she was broken and how she shouldn't have a relationship and this went on in every chapter!

Chloe was a pretty kick-butt heroine. She was tough and quick-witted and not afraid to stand up for herself and the people she cares about. However, there were times when she kind of got on my nerves. I didn't hate her as a main character, but I didn't love her either. Mostly, though, I admired her spunk.

The inter-character relationships were nice... but not very developed. I didn't really see much chemistry between the characters as they formed friendships and relationships. And when it came to the adults of the novel, for the most part, they behaved rather like children. The big baddies of the story spent the majority of their time yelling immature insults at teenagers.

This book definitely had a lot of potential, and I think it just needed a little bit more editing. What bothered me most while reading this was the flagrant misuse of question marks.
Oh. My. Gosh.
I'm not a grammar nazi, I promise, but it does bother me to see grammatical errors show up again and again in a novel, and it also takes away from the actual reading experience. Let's just say that I used the highlight tool on my nook quite a bit while reading this.

All in all, this book, though, slightly flawed, was a very pleasant read. The world M.J. Fletcher introduced me to was very cool and definitely one-of-a-kind and left me quite intrigued.

*I received a free copy of this book as part of the goodreads ARR program in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Book Boyfriend: Ian Holt

MBB is an weekly meme hosted over at the Unread Reader--if you want to read the intro post, click here

Since pretty much the moment I started Rachel Vincent's Shadow Bound (review coming soon!), I have had a teeny tiny gargantuan crush on Ian Holt.

GUYS. Err, GIRLS. He is probably my new favorite Rachel-Vincent-created male character!
  • He's was in the marines
  • is a "Blinder" --which means he can control darkness... pretty cool, right?
  • an awesome fighter
  • has a very good sense of humor and likes to joke around
  • is fiercely loyal and protective to the people he cares about

"Holt wasn't bad-looking. In fact, he was actually kind of hot, blessed with broad shoulders, a strong chin, and the smooth, dark complexion only mixed parentage could give."

"Ms. Daniels, unless I've misinterpreted that colorful description of everything I'm not, it sounds like you just paid me a compliment."

"I'm pretty sure that's not what I did." In fact, I'd gone out of my way to make sure that's not what I was doing. 
"Oh, I think it is. I think you just said that I'd be better at the job than Tower's last Blinder was because I'm not unattractive. First of all, thank you. Compliment accepted." He bowed his head slightly, like I'd just offered to crown him king of the universe. Then, in th next second, he pasted on a frown. "Second of all, I am offended on behalf of pretty people everywhere. I'm not just a chiseled jaw and eyes you could get lost in. I am the worth more than the sum of my defined biceps, sculped pecs and a six-pack you could scrub laundry on."
I nearly choked on an ice cube. "You have a six-pack?"
"Okay, maybe a four-pack. At least a carton of hard lemonade. But my point is that you have no right to judge my potential as a crime lord's lackey by my looks alone."
I opened the door and stepped into the bedroom, and was greeted with the sound of water running in the bathroom. "Hello?" I called, but there was no answer. "I had to come into the closet since you're--"
Half-naked and dripping wet...
Ian stood in the bathroom doorway, hair dripping, wearing nothing but a towel he was just then tying loosely at his waist. His chest and stomach were bare, dark and defined against the thick white cotton, and beaded with clean water.
Carton of hard lemonade, my ass. That was a full-on six-pack.
I couldn't stop staring. He was beautiful.

From Ian's POV
"Kori was the type to throw herself in front of a bullet to protect someone else, but I wanted her to know it didn't always have to be like that. That she didn't have to fight the world alone. That I wanted to fight with her. If she would let me."

"I want you, and not as a signing bonus. I want to be with you. I want to fall asleep touching you, and I want to see you first thing in the morning. I want you to answer the phone and smile whne you hear my voice. I want to be the only one you ever look at like you're looking at me now. That's what I want. What do you want?"

Waiting on Wednesday #24

WoW is an awesome weekly meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine

Nameless (Tales of Beauty and Madness #1)
by Lili St. Crow
To be published April 4th, 2013 by Razorbill

A dark and eerie retelling of Snow White from Lili St. Crow,
New York Times bestselling author of the Strange Angels

Sixteen-year-old Camille doesn’t remember her life before she was adopted by the powerful Vultusino family—the missing childhood years that left her scarred and silent. Now she lives a life 
of luxury, protected by the supernatural Mafia Vultusinos, specially Nico, her adopted brother.

But Cami knows that she is not really Family. She is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it’s not until a mysterious boy approaches her and reveals scars of his own that Cami begins 
to uncover the secrets of her past . . . to find out where she comes from and what danger she now finds herself in.

I want this book.
I love Lili St. Crow's writing in Strange Angels and now she's doing a fairytale retelling?!?!
Count me in.
BUT. This better not end like Strange Angels.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings

Hosted over at the Broke and Bookish

Top 10 most vivid worlds/settings...

The world of New Beijing in Cinder

I'm not usually one who's good at picturing futuristic, sci-fi settings, but in the high-tech New Beijing, I had no problem envisioning hovercrafts and androids and especially the royal palace!

The world of Anna and the French Kiss

I've never been to Paris, but in this story, the City of Lights created the perfect setting to capture the adventure and love in this story!
...and now I really want to go!

The world of Skuldenore in Finnikin of the Rock (and Froi of the Exiles)

It's not that the writing is overly descriptive like in a Dickens novel, but I had no problem envisioning every setting, every village, every place in this novel!

The world of The Hunger Games

Collins's fabulous writing gave me no trouble at all seeing the disparities between the stark districts, the luxurious Panem, and the wonderfully crafted arenas.

The world of Harry Potter and Hogwarts

This is probably not a shocker to anyone, but I absolutely love the world of Harry Potter! Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, the Dursley house, everything was so vivid in my mind as I read and I loved every minute I was in that world.

The world of the Nevernever in The Iron King

Kagawa is impeccable when it comes to world-building. It's always hard to create a fantasy world setting and have readers see it too, but Kagawa did it! I had no problem picturing all the magical elements of the Summer and Winter courts and the characters.

The world of The Immortal Rules

What can I say guys? Julie Kagawa knows her stuff! I loved her world building in the fantasy fey world and she did it again in the creation of this darker world of Vampire cities, fringes, and wilderness

The world of the Dells in Fire

Out of all the Graceling Realm books, Fire is probably my favorite in terms of description and setting. I loved the castles, the villages, but mostly I loved the descriptions of the monsters!

The victorian-era world of Clockwork Angel (and Clockwork Prince)

Never have I been able to picture Victorian-era England so clearly as I did when reading this book! The fashion, the setting, the paranormal aspect, it all came together beautifully in Cassandra Clare's descriptions.
The world of The Lightning Thief

Whether it's the real-world settings or Mount Olympus or anything with a supernatural, Greek-mythology twist, I had no problem envisioning the setting in my head in this series.

Honorable mention:
The world of The Scorch Trials

While life in the Maze was super easy to picture, it was the setting of the places the gang traveled to in The Scorch Trials that were so vividly described in my head.

Review: Froi of the Exiles

Froi of the Exiles (The Lumatere Chronicles #2)
by Melina Marchetta
Published October 3rd, 2011 by Viking Australia

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home . . . or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior's discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place. It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood . . . and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen

Rating: 5+++++ STARS

(I apologize in advance for the prolific use of gifs in this review…)

I can’t really tell you anything beyond what’s written in the book blurb because it would be a huge spoiler, but just know that the plot is chock FULL of hidden surprises and jaw-dropping events, wonderfully crafted subplots, and richly complex characters.
You're probably wondering, "Wait, if you can't tell me anything about the book, what's the purpose of this review??" 
Wonderful question. 

The purpose of this review, more or less is this...

You see, the thing is, I read this book and IT LEFT ME WITH SO MANY FEELS.

I thought Finnikin of the Rock took my emotions on an epic roller coaster of ups and downs, complete with huge loop-de-loops, but Froi.... this book left me like this:

Unlike Finnikin of the Rock, which, at its very core, was a story of hope and a fierce love everyone had with each other, Froi of the Exiles is much grittier and rawer. While Lumatere worked towards breaking a horrible curse in book 1, Charyn is still entrenched in a curse of their own making, and charynites are growing ever more desperate and bleak.

As always, the characters are beyond phenomenal. Melina Marchetta has truly outdone herself with the characters, old and new, in Froi because they are all so heartbreakingly complex and layered! As in every Marchetta book, I, as the reader, became SO invested in every character—I laughed with them, cried with them, wanted to beat up anyone hurting them…
This is what happens when you become invested in Melina Marchetta's characters...

The magic in the character crafting of this book lies in the fact that despite all the instances when it seemed like I should give up on a character—when it seemed that they were too jaded and broken— I just couldn’t! The characters in this book weren't as easy to like as in Finnikin--it wasn't so obvious whether they were as righteous or admirable and I worried that I might not like them very much...
By the end of the book, I fell head over heels in love with just about all of them!
Just about every character, no matter what they’ve been through, what they’ve done, they’re never beyond redemption—except for Bestiano and Donashe. Those people I wanted to sucker punch...
This is a story about loving characters that maybe you should give up on, but just can’t find it in you to do so because you love them so much.

In an interview, Melina Marchetta said that Quintana and Froi are the fantasy equivalent of Taylor and Jonah from Jellicoe Road and I TOTALLY SEE IT! They're both somewhat broken and very cynical of the world, but together they're just so......
And don't even get me started on the other couples in the book...

In addition to the exquisite emotion-inducing writing, there is also a lot of humor in this book! It's dry and witty and hilarious! Literally, I'd be all "Oh, my poor emotions!" one minute, and the next, I'd be laughing out loud! It's a good thing I didn't read this in a public place or else people would've looked at me as though I were crazy.

I can't even think of a single bad thing to say about this book.... well, there IS that ending. It's not that it was bad (no, definitely not) it's just that OMG. 
How could the book just END?!Like that?! I need to know what happens next!!!!
This is a MUST-BUY book (this whole series is, really). There are few books in the world that do this to me:
and leave me like this:

until finally:

Well done, Ms. Marchetta. Well done indeed.


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