Friday, April 27, 2012

Cover Crazy (47)

Cover Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about. This week it's Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger.  I'm a huge fan of her Parasol Protectorate books so I am absolutely psyched that she is doing a YA set in the same universe! Can't wait for this! And of the cover is to die for! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: Bitterblue

Synopsis: Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

My Review: So finally the long awaited 3rd book in the Graceling world! Bitterblue was definitely worth the wait! I adored both Graceling and Fire, and Bitterblue was an equally intriguing story.  Set eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea.  Though she is now in a position of power and has the ability to truly do what is right for her people, she is lost amongst the sea of advisors around her.  She's kept at her desk, buried underneath piles of papers.  She was trapt in the castle as a child by her father, and now free from his influence she is still a prisoner.  In an act of rebellion and a desire to really get to know her city she sneaks out of the castle into the city below.  What she finds truly shocks her.  The forward thinking policies pushed at her by her advisors are having no affect on the people.  Most of the population cannot even read.  Buildings are in a state of disrepair, but are freshly painted.  Most terrifying is the fact that Leck's influence, though long dead, remains.  As Bitterblue see's the truth for herself it becomes glaringly obvious that she is being lied to.  Who is doing so isn't necessarily the problem, but why.

Kristin Cashore won me over with her detailed world building and endearing characters from her very first book.  Bitterblue is equally as enthralling.  I had trouble putting the book down, I just couldn't get enough.  I finished the last page, turned the page and just stared in shock at the blank page.  I wanted more! Though this baby was a good 500+ pages I desperately wanted more of Bitterblue and her friends.  Of course our favorite pair of Graceling lovers are in this.  Katsa and Po are definitely strong influences in Bitterblue's life, though we see more of Po than we do Katsa.  And they're just as adorable as ever.  A lot of other character's from Graceling are there as well, so it really made for a full cast.  Of course there are some new character's as well.  The two do-gooding thieves that Bitterblue meets by chance were absolutely lovable.  Teddy was absolutely adorable.  I just wanted to hug him ever time he was in a scene.   And Saf was awesome as well.  With his stunning slightly variated purple eyes.  Oh yes, he's a Graceling.  He's also a born Monsean, but has the appearance of a Leneid.   And most mysterious of all, he doesn't know what his Grace is.  Saf and Teddy steal back what has been stolen from Leck's reign.  They make for unlikely allies for Bitterblue, and in Saf's case, an unlikely love.

Kristin did a great job of keeping the audience on their toes.  As piece after piece emerges to the puzzle, more and more shit just keeps piling up.  A couple of assassination attempts, secret rooms being discovered, and eventually Leck's own deep dark secrets emerge.  She also did a great job of merging the Graceling world with Fire.  I've always wondered what exactly she was going to do with that.

I really loved Bitterblue as a narrator as well.  Both Katsa and Fire had been special with their Grace and Monster abilities, and Bitterblue is just plain old normal.  I thought it might make her a bit boring in comparison, but she really was a strong character all by herself.  For someone so young she has to make incredibly hard decisions that affect hundreds of people.  She handled herself very well and was an amazingly determined, smart young woman.  Really loved her.

So much happens in this book! It is truly a monster in thickness.  I tried really hard to be as vague as possible but still give a good feel for the book.  I hope I didn't accidentally let anything slip! It was truly a wonderful read.  I hope this isn't the last we'll see of Bitterblue, Katsa, and Fire.  I felt like the ending definitely left a lot of things open so I'm hoping for another book.  *crosses fingers*

Cover Crazy (46)

Cover Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about.  This week it's Hidden by Sophie Jordan.  Omg I am in love! I still haven't had a chance to read the second book in this series, but dear lord do I love this cover! The hair! The luscious brilliant red curls.  To. Die. For.  Can I have her hair? It's dark and mysterious and I just adore it.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: Of Poseidon

Synopsis: Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma’s gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . . 

Told from both Emma and Galen’s points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

My Review: So I have a slight addiction to mermaids.  For some reason I just love them, and yet every single YA book I read about them always kind of tends to fall flat.  Of Poseidon was kind of the same way for me.  It was good, don't get me wrong, but it just wasn't to the level of "omg you have to read this its so incredible."

There was a definite  unique take on mermaids. First of all, they don't like to be called that, they are Syrena to any human that knows of their existence, which really is probably in the half dozen range.  Super secretive these fishy folks be.  They had some cool tricks up their sleeve. Such as they can "sense" any other Syrena's presence as long as their in water.  They can also morph into different forms, including a type of water camouflage one.  Also they have really thick skin and bones and have very bad tempers.  In more than a few instances this gets very amusing.  Haha.  So all in all the author had some pretty cool ideas for mixing it up.  That being said, there were just some things that were complete overkill.

I have never read such a blatantly forced attempt at being witty and funny.  Granted some of the funny moments were natural and had me laughing out loud, but sometimes less is more.  It was like something hysterical had to happen every five pages.  Half way through the novel I just got to the point of, really? It just felt forced and was complete over kill.  I love comedic relief as much as anyone, probably more so because I am very easily amused.  This just didn't do it for me.

That being said, I really did enjoy the plot of this.  It was engaging and definitely kept you guessing.  And I really liked some of the secondary characters.  Actually it was really just Tavin that I adored.  (god I think that was his name...memory lapse much).  He was an adorably sweet guy.  Loved him.  Even Galen's sister was entertaining to a point.  Though why she was so vehemently violent against Tavin I will never understand.  *shakes head*

As far as Emma and Galen, they were okay.  Galen of course is amazingly handsome blah blah blah.  You know the drill.  Emma I quite enjoyed.  She was spunky and had this totally adorable dorky klutz vibe going for her.  Maybe I just identified because I am always tripping/falling/running into things too.  Lol.  I would have really liked their relationship more if there hadn't been "the pull".  Just really? Another soul-mate, ultimate match, destined relationship?! *headdesk* Their relationship would have been ten times better if there wasn't that added factor.  Might as well have poured on the extra queso for super-nacho level cheesy.

All in all though, pretty decent read.  It had it's high and lows but more than likely I'll be reading the next book.  With the ending to the first one I'm wanting an explanation for sure.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cover Crazy (45)

Cover Crazy is a meme created by Tawni @ The Bookworms to share book covers that you are thrilled about. This week is What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang.  Wow.  I have go to say, I freakin love this.  Stark and simple and yet amazingly beautiful.  Not sure I like the font for the author but hey, I'm a graphic design major.  I'm picky on typesets.  Sooooo awesome though. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Review: The Hunt

Synopsis: Don’t Sweat. Don’t Laugh. Don’t draw attention to yourself. And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them. 

Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood. 

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

My Review: I do not have words.  I literally devoured almost this entire book sans 25 pages in one sitting.  I was that freaking glued.  This made my top books of 2012 thus far.  Granted we're only a few months in, but man did I LOVE this book.  

I love the approach that Fukuda took for vampires.  And yes, they are indeed vampires, though it never once calls them that in the whole novel.  The author completely flipped the roles for vampires and humans.  Human's aren't humans anymore, they're heper's.  The equivalent to mindless beasts in the minds of "people" and are amongst the rarest of delicacies.  So rare in fact that there are only a few heper's left that are bred by the government so that they don't completely die out.  While sunlight is lethal to these vampires the other legends don't apply.  There are no coffins, there are foot holds in which they sleep in hanging from the ceiling.  Their fangs are present at all times, no "popping out" fangs so to speak. What really was awesome though was all the social ticks that these vampire's had.  I had to admit when they first popped up I was giving the book a very weird look, but hey why not? And in the end I actually thought they added to how well rounded and different these vampires were.  Vampires don't laugh; they scratch their wrists.  To show affection they rub their elbows in each other's armpits.  A hug is an ear rub.  I know, I know. I was going wtf too, but it's okay.  How quickly they switched from seemingly normal to rabid animal was quite terrifying though.  I couldn't get over how much they freakin salivate.  O.O Maybe it's just because I HATE drool.  Dogs, babies, pillow drool.  No tolerance for it.  But really, these things are like sharks in a bloody pool.  They go bizerk.  Scary indeed, especially if you're a human masquerading as one.  

Which brings me to Gene. I loved Gene.  To say that he has led a shitty life is the biggest understatement.  His sister and mother were lost when he was just a small child.  Then his father was bitten when he was 7, leaving Gene to fend for himself in a world filled with people trying to eat you.  The lengths he had to go to to keep up the charade are just unbelievable.  I couldn't eat raw meat.  Nope.  Unless it's sushi.  I mean, I like my steak bloody, but not raw.  When it comes down to it though, Gene was just trying to survive.  He was a good guy just trying to do the best with what he was given.  Some of his actions in the book had my moral compass protesting but honestly if I was in that situation I'd have done the same thing.  

It was the love interest that really had me guessing in this novel.  The synopsis kind of left me guessing as to who Gene was going to fall for.  On one hand I was like "it can't be her! She'll eat him!"  and then on the other I thought it was tentative at best.  I have to say I did not see it coming though.  My eyes kind of bugged out of my head.  I totally knew that she knew that Gene was really human, but man.  Surprise! And I really love how the author handled it.  Vampires' form of affection is more like attacking each other, so the two of them don't really know how to interact with each other as humans.  As Gene put it "the elbow in the apart never really did it for him." HA! Physical contact is totally taboo for vamps though, so both of them have never even touched another person's hand.  When they just sit on top of the roof holding hands...perfect.  That is as much physical interaction they have but I wouldn't have changed it for the world.  It just made their connection all the more amazing.  

And the ending! Talk about hyperventilating! I was freaking out for the last few chapters! I mean I was a little conflicted initially cuz I knew that I was not going to be happy that one of the character's got left behind, but then I got to the last page and I flipped.  I'm pretty sure my eyes took up half of my face I was so in shock.  Did not call that.  At. All.  I didn't even have a clue.  *applauds Fukuda* Kept me on my toes, man.  

I really loved this book and I will be purchasing it as soon as it comes out.  Cannot wait for the sequel.  I'm dying of anticipation already.  Be forewarned, it's dark and bloody.  Literally...but that's a part of why it was so amazing . 

And the Winner is...

So I'm here to finally deliver news of the Giveaway winner! (Sorry this week has been kind of crazy).  So without further ado the winner of a signed copy of Jennifer's Through Her Eyes and Forgive My Fins is....

Lisa Richards!

Woo! Congratulations Lisa! I'll email Jennifer ASAP to send you your prizes! Thanks again for all the entries guys! And make sure to keep a look out for Jennifer's up and coming novel as well!