Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: Truth

Synopsis: Nina Oberon’s life has changed enormously in the last few months. When her mother was killed, Nina discovered the truth about her father, the leader of the Resistance. And now she sports the same Governing Council–ordered tattoo of XVI on her wrist that all sixteen-year-old girls have. The one that announces to the world that she is easy prey to predators. But Nina won’t be anyone’s stereotype. And when she joins an organization of girls working within the Resistance, she knows that they can put an end to one of the most terrifying secret programs the GC has ever conceived. Because the truth always comes out...and the consequences can be deadly.

My Review:Truth pretty much picks up where XVI left off.  If Nina had a tough time before, Truth turned out to be just a total shit storm.  Sooo much happens and it is sooo hard to not give away spoilers.  Forgive me if this review turns out to be super vague.

After certain spoilery stuff happens *cough*Nina and Dee go to live with Wei and her family.  Meanwhile Nina's starting to have doubts about her relationship with Sal.  She loves him, but he keeps doing and saying things that Nina has a hard time forgiving.  Sal just wants to protect her, but Nina feels stifled and feels as though Sal thinks that she is incapable of contributing to the resistance. Then there's the fact that Sal is almost always gone on NonCon work.  Nina can't help but compare their relationship to that of her parents, where her mother ended up alone.  After a particularly bad fight, Sal stops communicating with her.  She calls and apologizes and yet still no answer. 

In the meantime Wei's brother, Chris, is making his own feelings known.  I think this is the first time that I didn't mind a little bit of a love triangle.  And truthfully, I liked Chris a lot more.  He believes in Nina and shows his support.  He's there for Nina when she just needs to talk to someone, and is an amazing guy for Dee.  He was really sweet and I just loved his character.  I honestly don't remember much of him in the first book, but he far outshines Sal in my opinion. 

Nina is confused of course.  She thinks she loves Sal, but at the same time she can't deny her feelings for Chris.  During all of this emotional turmoil, Nina is welcomed into a secret group of the Resistance made up of women.  Most of the Resistance has the same views as Sal, wanting to keep women out of danger and behind the scenes, but these women (or rather girls) are putting themselves on the line to make a difference.  Nina wants to help Joan get off the streets and find a place for her to start rehabilitation.  This becomes the Sisterhoods own small mission. 

Through it all, Nina is going through her own family troubles and is just trying to do right by her sister.  The ending was a total whirlwind of events.  The thing I love about these books is that so much happens in such a short amount of time.  Nina is successful in rescuing  Joan and also exposes a slimeball of a guy to the entire world.  It was pretty epic to say the least.  In the end she is reunited with her dad, but things are far from perfect in the world.  The GC is still running strong and they still need to fight against their regime of terror. 

I can't wait for the next one.  I really really really hope that Nina ends  up with Chris.  Don't get me wrong.  I still like Sal and think he's a good guy, but he just doesn't cut it.  He wont' be there for Nina when she needs him most and Chris will.  I have a feeling I am not going to get my wish, but hey, I can hope. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

And the winners are...

Alright everyone! Time to announce the winners! A big congrats to Alexa and Lisa Richards!  And the winner for Mike's contest was Amanda W! I'll be emailing you shortly to get your mailing addresses so I can send you your prizes! Thanks again to everyone who entered and spread the word! I'll be having another contest for my birthday, which is like in a week give or take so be on the lookout! ^.^ Hope everyone had a wonderful Turkey Day and no one got trampled on Black Friday. Lol. 

Last Day to Enter Giveaways!

Just a reminder, today is the last day to enter the Birthday Bash Giveaways! If you haven't entered yet just go to the links below!

Tyger Tyger and In the Forests of the Night
Infinite Days
Mike's Giveaway (Book of your choice)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review: The Faerie Ring

Synopsis: The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood. Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist. Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…

My Review:  You all know that I am a huge faerie fanatic.  I'm also a huge fan of Victorian era England.  The Faerie Ring just happens to combine both.  I loved the whole atmosphere of the story.  There is something about Victorian England that just makes a story so much better.  The twisting streets of London, the clever street urchins, and the era of royals just create such an interesting world.  I really loved the fact that the author incorporated the Faerie by means of a treaty with the royalty.  Somehow that reminds me of A Midsummer's Night Dream.  Don't know why, but it does.

I absolutely adored Tiki.  Gotta admire a girl who sneaks around as a boy and pickpockets.  Tiki was just the biggest sweet heart.  She's the mother of her little family of orphans and she would sacrifice anything to keep them safe and out of harms way.  Though she has a tender heart, she does whatever is necessary to survive.  She doesn't let anyone bully her or tell her how to live her life.  She's a gutsy little shit too.  If I found myself in Buckingham Palace I would have gotten the hell out of there, not stolen the Queen's ring! Granted, Tiki didn't know it when she stole it, but I definitely wouldn't have even attempted to ransom it.

Oh and boy did I adore Rieker.  He definitely made my top 5 favorite male love interests.  Disheveled dark hair and smoky eyes with aristocratic features.  And a thief to boot? Yep, in love. He had an endearing teasing personality that I just loved.  He pops up in the most unexpected times, just when Tiki needs him.   He watches out for her and provides unexpected insights into the world of the Fae.  And yet Rieker is much more than just a common thief.  He has his own story and even I had trouble guessing what it was.

I enjoyed Leo's occasional POV as well.  Though he was no Rieker he was still a refreshing perspective.  He'll definitely be more featured in the future books.  And those Fae.  Dang. I mean, I love evil nasty faeries, but they did some pretty nasty things in this book.  You barely get to "know" them so to speak.  Hardly anything about their world is revealed.  It's all pretty vague.  Which I'm assuming is on purpose lest it spoil future books.  The ending was pretty awesome as well.  As perfect as an ending can be when there is more books to come.  If it had ended in a cliffhanger I would have died, but the author wrapped it up very nicely.  I can't wait for the next book! Lots of interesting little facts were revealed towards the end and now I just have more questions! Really enjoyed this one!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

And yet more Birthday Cake...

I'm back again with another giveaway! This time my good friend and fellow blogger is hosting the giveaway! Mike over @SubtleChronicler is giving away a book of your choice! And remember to enter in the two previous giveaways! Up for grabs is Tyger Tyger and In the Forests of the Night (together as one package) and then Infinite Days! Don't miss out on the fun and spread the word! ^.^ All giveaways end the 25th! Yes Black Friday *evil laughter*

The Birthday Bash Continued!

Alright guys! Time for the second giveaway! The next book I am giving away is Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel! This is U.S. only again.  To enter just leave a comment with your email! Also you get an extra entry for every way you spread the word.  Just leave a link if you do so! All Giveaways end November 25th!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Review: Cinder

Synopsis: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Review: I've always loved Cinderella.  From the Disney version to Malinda Lo's recent retelling with Ash.  I have got to say though, that Cinder is by far my favorite retelling.  Marissa Meyer did so much more than tweak the classic tail.  She literally created a whole new world.  New Beijing is a clash of the old and new.  Advanced technology where androids run amok in the city entwine with traditional Chinese culture seamlessly. Technology and a nearly magical race of Lunar's clash to still give the story that fairytale feel.  Meyer effortlessly spins a tale of a second class cyborg, an interplanetary struggle, and a forbidden love.  It's safe to say that I fell in love within the first 20 pages.  

Cinder is truly unique among MC's.  I loved the fact that she was a mechanic.  There is just something amazingly awesome about a girl being a grease monkey.  Plus she's a cyborg, which just added to the awesome-ness.  I really don't think I've come across cyborgs in other YA books.  Correct me if I'm wrong, I probably just haven't read it if that's the case, but I really loved it.  I know I always loved Cyborg from Teen Titans, so it was nice to see another venue for them.  Cinder as an MC was just fantastic.  I loved her no nonsense attitude and how she tries to be so stoic and down to earth in regards to Kai.  She definitely had some spunk to her and doesn't go down without a fight.  Her devotion to her step-sister was truly beautiful.  She cares for Peony so much and would do anything for her.  Despite her biotch of a stepmother and other step sister, she doesn't hold it against Peony.  Though others treat her poorly, Cinder takes the high ground and good to people no matter what.  

I really loved Kai as well.  (Does anybody else notice the new trend in the name of Kai for guy's in novels?) Even though he's crown prince, he's amazingly down to earth and has a great sense of humor.  He is truly devoted to the well being of his country to the point of self sacrifice.  He's able to see past the fact that Cinder is a commoner and a mechanic.  He get's to know her for herself and falls for her.  I was kind of disappointed with him towards the end.  Though I think it wasn't because Cinder turned out to be a cyborg.  I have a feeling he'll come around.  

The Lunar people were definitely an added spin.  Thank goodness I have a moderate understanding of quantum entanglement and knew what the whole bioelectricity thing was about.  It has a scientific explanation but the citizens of New Beijing just refer to it as "magic".  And damn those Lunars were EVIL.  I'm terrified of humanity ever colonizing the moon now.  Maybe Mars would be a better choice eh? The kind of side story to the lost heir to the Lunar throne was very cool as well.  I liked the concept and the ingenuity in the creation of the whole Lunar race.  

I loved every minute of this book.  It still kind of sticks to the classic plotline, but there are so many more twists thrown in that you will always be surprised.  I totally called a few things, but it didn't make it anti-climatic.  Cinder was a highly original undertaking that put a fresh spin on an old classic.  I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel! ^.^

Review: Slide

Synopsis: Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again. 

My Review: When I first read the synopsis for Slide I was highly intrigued.  Sliding into someone else when you fall asleep is a highly original concept.  And a murder mystery is always a good thing. So going into this book I was pretty excited.  While the idea was very cool I felt like the story needed a bit more fleshing to make it REALLY good.  

Everyone thinks Vee is narcoleptic, and Vee is glad for it.  The one time she tried to tell her father what was really happening he sent her to a shrink and pumped her full of meds.  Vee doesn't tell anyone of her unique gift, especially not her best friend Rollins.  She avoids physical contact with people or touching other people's things because they trigger her episodes.  And yet, her accidental slides reveal that her sister and her best friend are planning on "teaching a lesson" to one of their other friends.  When Sophie's body is found, a supposed suicide, Vee knows it isn't true.  Because she slid into the killer while holding the knife.  Vee is desperate to find who the culprit is through her own investigation.  She can't tell anyone of her suspicions because no one would believe her.  When another girl turns up dead, Vee is even more worried for her sister's safety.  She starts using her gift instead of trying to avoid it, and what she uncovers nobody could guess.  

Overall I really enjoyed Vee's character.  She was tough and sarcastic, but still had that big sister instinct.  The only thing that really annoyed me about Vee was that damn pink hair.  I mean really? What speaks more "rebel" than pink hair? You don't have to dye your hair an unnatural color to get the message of "leave me alone." It was just totally stereotypical and I didn't like it.  Otherwise, I really liked her character.  

Rollins was just awesome.  Maybe I have a soft spot for guys with dark hair and lip rings and artistic skills, but he was amazing.  Rollins saved Vee from a dick of a date who tried to take advantage of Vee during one of her episodes and they have been best friends ever since. Of course, Rollins cares for Vee more than just a friend, but Vee just doesn't want to acknowledge it.  It just frustrates me to no end that the best friend hardly EVER gets the girl.  And by the time Vee realizes her true feelings it's kind of a mute point.  

I thought I had the killer pinned from the beginning.  Ya, totally wrong.  About half way I started to suspect someone else and I knew something was totally fishy about him.  Once two separate things were revealed though everything clicked. Then I could successfully shout "I KNEW IT!" at the book.  

Overall it was a refreshing story with a very good murder mystery plot.  I really enjoyed it as a whole.  Totally wish Rollins got more face time, but *shrug* I'm hoping for a sequel.  I wish the whole plot twist would have been more fleshed out though.  It was explained but it still just felt really random.  Seemed like a very thinly planned motive.  Will be interested to see if there is a second book though.  I really like the concept. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blog Birthday!

Wow has it really been two years?  It's hard to imagine the first book I ever reviewed was Y: The Last Man and I've nearly read 200 books inbetween.  It's been one heck of a ride and I look forward to many further years of wonderful books and friends.  Needless to say, it is time to celebrate! As much as I would love to have a wonderful bash of epicness filled with tons of prizes etc the reality of the situation is that I'm broke and it's fast approaching finals week.  So this is going to be on a smaller scale than last year, but don't fret there will still be awesome books to be had.  ^.^

Speaking of awesome books it is time for the first ones!  Please give  a warm welcome to Kersten Hamilton author of Tyger Tyger and it's much awaited sequel In the Forests of the Night! Tyger Tyger is now on paperback and is available on Amazon for e-book!  Here are my reviews for Tyger Tyger and In the Forests of the Night. And without further ado, here is an interview with Kersten!

What made you want to write about Goblins as opposed to other paranormal stories? 

When I was a child, a goblin crept out of the dark and slipped her paw into my hand. The creature’s name was Lina, and she came to life in a book by George MacDonald. Lina was a dog–like beastie with green eyes lit by amber fire, and a huge mouth with icicle–like teeth. Curdie, the hero of the story, could feel the real hand of any creature inside its flesh glove, and when Lina put her paw in his hand: “a shudder, as of terrified delight, ran through him…instead of the paw of a dog, such as it seemed to his eyes, he clasped in his great mining fist the soft, neat little hand of a child! The green eyes stared at him with their yellow light, and the mouth was turned up toward him with its constant half grin; but here was the child’s hand!”
When I read those lines I felt it. I felt the child’s hand inside a rough paw glove, and I knew I wanted to pull a child out of a goblin one day.

The world of Tyger Tyger has an incredibly rich history.  How much is based on actual Irish myths/lore? 

All of it is based on actual Irish myth/lore and as well as snippets of history and Celtic world view—with my own twists tossed in, of course. That’s what happens to myth and lore—it is changed, born anew for every generation. 

Just out of pure curiosity, does Aiden’s fear of Elvis Impersonators stem from any real life person? 

Welllll…I think they are pretty scary. Don’t you?

What made you decide to name characters after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?  

I loved the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Maybe not enough to name my children after them, but certainly enough to give them a nod and wink in my books.

I find the writing in Tyger Tyger and In the Forests of the Night to be amazingly witty and hysterical.  Would you say your own sense of humor makes its way into your writing?

Thank you, Kyleigh. I work hard to make it that way. It helps that I handle pressure with humor—and I was under lots of pressure when I wrote In the Forests of the Night.

Do you happen to know old Gaelic or does that involve some extensive research and translation? 

I don’t know old Gaelic—so I have to research like mad, and depend on people who know more than I do!

You’ve been writing from a very young age, which author would you say was your biggest inspiration?

George MacDonald is hands down the biggest influence on my writing and on my life. But then, he has inspired generations of writers.

Coffee or tea? 

Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. It is good for my inner editor:
Thank you for having me on your blog today, Kyleigh! 

A huge thanks to Kersten for doing the interview! And now time for the giveaway! Kersten has generously donated a paperback copy of Tyger Tyger and I'm giving In the Forests of the Night to one lucky person! All you have to do is fill out the form below! This is U.S. only! Sorry guys! There will be international giveaways I promise. 

Cover Crazy (35)

Cover Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about.AH! All I can say is FINALLY! This week is Arise by Tara Hudson, the much awaited sequel to Hereafter!  I am PSYCHED.  I love the New Orleans grave yard in the background and do you notice how she seems to be more solid? *squee* Love it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Covery Crazy (34)

Cover Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about. This week it's the Selection by Kiera Cass.  Can I just say GORGEOUS?! Usually I tire of the whole dress thing pretty quickly, but this is just stunning.  I love the mirrored effect.  Just amazing.

The blogs 2nd Birthday is approaching!

Hey guys! Just wanted to let everyone know that it's the blogs 2nd birthday the 18th of November! My babies getting so old! And of course there will be wonderful festivities and giveaways galore.  My question to you all is what books you want.  I'm completely open to suggestions.  I feel kinda out of the loop from the rest of the blogging world so I have no clue what everyone's dying to read.  So if you have any suggestions let me know! I'll be more than happy to oblige.  ^.^

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Synopsis:Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed. There is. She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.

My Review: This was definitely an interesting read.  There were very intriguing and almost haunting aspects of this novel that I truly loved.  At other times I felt things got a bit cliched (at least with the love interest) and there were a few morality issues that I can't decide were good or bad. 

The writing was truly superb.  To be frank,  I got a bit freaked out just reading this.  Mara's state of mind is so chaotic and just so whacked I literally could not tell at times when she was imagining things or if some freaky shit was truly going on.  The duality of reality and her imagination overlapped almost constantly throughout the novel.  Then when stuff get's REALLY freaky there's the question of whether or not her thoughts manifest in reality.  I'd be reading and go "Ok, so that was all in her head." Then I'd read some more and go "Wait, was that in her head or did it really happen?" and then a bit later "Holy shit that actually happened!" It was a mental exercise to say the least.  And yet, it was all brilliantly done.  I'll admit, as confused as I was at times I loved every second of it. 

You know me and my biff for unrealistic love stories.  I definitely had a biff with Noah.  Hmm devishly handsome, British accent, speaks 5 languages (3 fluently), and is LOADED, falls madly and irrevocably in love with Mara, the reigning new loser to school who's crazy and sees shit that isn't there? What wrong with this picture? One, because guys like that don't exist.  Especially guys who have all that, are super witty, are a known player, and all of a sudden is totally supportive of their psycho girlfriend? Huh? I didn't really have a problem with his character in itself.  He was funny and I enjoyed his banter.  Kinda bugged me though that his speech didn't resemble any British nuances at all.  I couldn't even imagine a British accent because his speech didn't reflect it.  I just felt like the author tried too hard to make him amazing beyond any girls dream, and it rather annoyed me.  Sure he has character flaws, but as a whole, totally unrealistic character. 

That being said I LOVED Jamie.  He was totally undeveloped and you barely see him at all through the course of the novel, but he was awesome.  Would totally be my best friend.  The other kids at Mara's new school really annoyed me.  Not because I didn't like their characters, but because they were total stereotypes.  Mean, popular, beautiful, and unnaturally cruel? I'm sorry, just what? I just don't understand.  Am I one the only one who has never encountered such horrible people in high school? I've come to notice that these type of people only exist in movies and novels because guess what? People aren't like that! Snotty teenaged brats yes.  Vindictive bitches with no scruples? I think not. 

Then there is the moral issues I had with this novel.  Spoiler warning.  If you don't want to ruin the whole plot twist, don't read.  Mara can kill things by wishing it in her mind.  As original and twisted as that is, I take issues with it as well.  No matter how mad I am at a person (and believe me I can blow a fuse) I NEVER imagine them dying a gruesome horrible death.  I mean, what normal teenage girl does that? Sure I'd maybe think something bad may befall them, but death? Uh, a little extreme there.  It was pretty twisted.  And then there's the fact that towards the end of the novel, Mara intentionally uses that power to kill someone.  Before it was all just accidents, she didn't know what she was doing.  But when she intends to kill someone, that really crossed the line for me.  Who is she to be judge, jury, and executioner? It really put me on the fence with this novel.  I don't know if I can accept that and continue to read these books. 

In the end, the superb writing and the moral issues kind of canceled themselves out.  I can't say I liked this, and I can't say I hated it.  I'm totally middle ground on this book. I'll most likely read the second one, only to find out what the hell is going on, but if Mara pulls any more of that shit I'm done.