Sunday, October 30, 2011

Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore

Release date: October 25, 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 240
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided from Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren--the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her.

Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood--a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.
I have been dying to read a mermaid book! I did wish there was more time in the water, since Esmerine is a mermaid, but I didn't actually mind. I loved the rigid society of the mermaids and what being a siren meant, though. :) Altogether, the story was really cute and a lovely quick read.

The first thing that struck me, after the beautiful blue cover, was the character's names. I loved them all! the names were so interesting, but not strikingly odd. Esmerine and Dosinia are just the sort of names I would imagine for mermaids, and they really give off the right kind of vibe for the book.

Some people have commented that they felt distant from Esmerine, which I didn't find to be true. Though a first-person narrative might have worked better, I didn't feel like there was an obvious distance. I really didn't get Dosinia, though. I thought I had a bit of a grasp on her at the beginning, but at the end of the book, I didn't get what she did or said at all. There seemed to be little connection between how she acted when she was with humans and when she was with Esmerine.

I thought the romance was really nicely done, too. There was no love triangle, a welcome relief, but real obstacles. The relationship was developed and fulfilling and just the kind of thing I like to read every once in a while.

Between the Sea and Sky is truly a novel about a girl discovering who she is and learning to make decisions not for others, but for her own happiness. It has a nice message and is definitely an enjoyable read I will come back to when I want a pick me up.

Risk a paper cut? A good addition to the ever-growing mermaid trend, Between the Sea and Sky is a sweet tale of growing up.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jane by April Lindner

Release date: October 11, 2010
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 373
Format: Advance Reader's Copy
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Google
What if Jane Eyre fell in love with a rock star?

Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.

But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?
Oh, how I wanted to just love this. I enjoyed it, but that was only because of the threads of Jane Eyre that were woven into the story. I was more interested in figuring out who was supposed to be whom than the actual story. Jane Eyre is my favorite book. Ever. So I can't take a modernized version lightly.

Jane follows the original story very closely, mostly only changing details that wouldn't work in today's society. Most character's names are mostly similar and work fine to me. I wanted to laugh every time I heard our modern Mr. Rochester's name: Nico. Where did that come from?? I understand he's supposed to be a rock star, but he could easily have a normal name. In the original, Mr. Rochester's name is Edward, a very traditional name. I think Mr. Rathburn's name could have been in the same vein: classic. BLEH.

I thought the story was interesting enough, and worked decently well as a modern version of Jane's situation. I thought Maddy (Adele in the original) was cute, if underused and without the depth I always thought Adele had.

My biggest qualm really lies with Jane herself. Something in Jane's character was lost in the retelling. Jane Eyre is such an enduring character because of her integrity and strength in making the tough choices she makes. She defies the ideas of her times and does what she thinks is best. This is why I love her. But Jane Moore doesn't have that spirit. There's something lacking there, and I can't get over it. This is really what barred me from liking the book in its own right. If her character had been captured, or even had a different, more modern spin, I could've overlooked the other things.

Risk a paper cut? Fans of Jane Eyre may not completely enjoy it, but I think it's worth the time. Those who may be afraid of reading Jane Eyre might find it a good way to get into the story, though the original is infinitely superior.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop #15

Whee! It's Friday! I really would like to sing a certain song named "Friday", but I shall refrain from annoying you all. I promise. :) It's my Fall Break this week, and I'm quite happy about it all, so woooooooooo!

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read each week and is a joint effort between all of us bloggers to find new blogs to read, love, and obsess over. Plus each week a different question is answered, so we can all learn a little bit more about the bloggers whose opinions matter to us. :) Tally ho!

Q. If you could have dinner with your favorite book character, who would you eat with and what would you serve?
ME. OOOOH. Erm. These are always such hard questions. So, I'm just gonna say this counts. I'd like to have dinner with Tina Fey. She's totally a character in her own book! That'd be the best dinner EVER. I'd not be able to breathe by the end of the night. :) For dinner, I'd say we would have tacos. Tina Fey seems like a taco kind of lady, don't you think? I'm definitely a taco kind of girl.

And now we're on to the hopping fun! Book Blogger Hop is a weekly party for book bloggers to connect. It's hosted by Crazy for Books and lasts Friday through Monday every week. Sadly, Jen has said that the hop will be taking an indefinite hiatus after this week. :( So we'll have to make this one count!

Book Blogger Hop

Q. What's your favorite Halloween costume? Even if you don't celebrate, what kinds of costumes do you like?
ME. I always love homemade costumes more than anything else. They don't really have to be wonderful, but I just like the spirit of it. I love it even more when they're super creative. My favorite costume I've ever done was when my friends and I dressed up like the characters from Up. I was Karl. :) See? AMAZING. That's me and my friend Kelsey. She was the house. Hehehe. We had a Kevin and a Russell, but the only picture with them in it is baddd. 

HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN ALL! Don't eat too much candy and get sick, because that ruins your Halloween. Don't be lame like me and have to go back to school and go to meetings. I don't get to have fun. :( But that's okay, it's not like a trick-or-treat anymore... It stinks getting older, doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Giveaway Winners!

The Halloween giveaway is done! I've picked the winners through Rafflecopter, which uses for random number generation. So, without further ado, I'm pleased to announce the winners!

Entry #706, Stella (Ex Libris), has won the copy of Sunshine!
Entry #10, Amber, has won the copy of Warm Bodies!
Entry #701, Ashley, has won the copy of Anna Dressed in Blood!
Entry #501, miki, has won the copy of The Poisoned House!

And right as the giveaway was ending, Pepper Thorn, author of Princess Rose and the Crystal Castle, offered an ecopy of her book for me to give away as well, and that went to...
Entry #402, CYP!

All of the winners have been contacted, and should be receiving their prizes shortly! 

I'd like to extend a HUGE thanks to Pepper Thorn for her graciousness, and to everyone who entered and publicized the giveaway. You all are wonderful, and I'll be hosting another giveaway very soon! 

I hope everyone has a super scary Halloween, and a lovely Thursday! (I know I will. I'm going to the place where I get all my ARCs. *evil laugh*)

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Release date: December 8, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 452
Format: Hardcover
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Google
There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret...even if it kills her.
So pretty... :) Anyways, I started Fallen with only a vague realization of what it was about. I picked it up, just to stroke the pretty cover, and just started reading. I didn't have any preformed opinions or ideas, and I felt that helped me enjoy the book more than I might've if I had read more about it.

I was immediately intrigued by what had happened to Luce, and snapped up every little morsel of information about it hungrily. And, I did LOVE the prologue. I just can't help but get a bit excited with 19th century setups, no matter what other qualms I have with a story.

Despite Mr. Smolder's (Daniel's) odd entrance, I was intrigued. I didn't find him too appealing for much of the book, but eventually he grew on me, and I'm hoping seeing more of him not being a jerk will make me like him more. Honestly, I was all for Cam for most of the book, just because he was (seemingly) normal. Also honestly, I wanted to kill Luce for all her pining after Daniel for most of the book. I mean, she really got into some mild stalker territory, in my book. Little bit creepy... Once things came into the light, I couldn't rationalize wanting to kill her anymore, though she kinda was dumb.

Mmmmm, supporting characters. I liked Penn and Arianne. Penn reminded me a bit of myself: not comfortable at parties, nerdy, but super nice (At least, I think I am.) Arianne was fun and goofy, and many times a good relief to Luce's serious broodings on her "unfortunate" (Why quotes? I'm not finding it so unfortunate.) love triangle.

Fallen was really just an okay read for me, but despite that, I really couldn't stop reading it and I am excited to read Torment very soon. AND OH! We were reading Paradise Lost in my lit class while I was reading this. I thought it was good picking on my part. :)

Risk a paper cut? Erm... I could go either way on this. If you're a fan of angels, let's say yes. If you want to punch girls who like jerk guys, let's just go ahead and say no way.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Iron Knight (Iron Fey #4) by Julie Kagawa - A Spoiler-Free Review

Release date: October 25, 2011
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Pages: 386
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Google

My name—my True Name—is Ashallayn'darkmyr Tallyn.

I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her.

My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl…

I have loved every single preceding Iron Fey novel, but Julie Kagawa absolutely blew me away with The Iron Knight. It started off much like the other three books for me, but somewhere in the middle took a turn into something so much deeper. Ash's journey was one of epic and unforgettable proportions.

I got started into the Iron Fey series later than most, but I dived heart-first into the stories and haven't looked back since. We watched Meghan grow from a rather whiny normal teenager into a formidable queen and got to see her somehow melt the heart of the ice prince. But Ash was always a bit of a mystery, even as we saw more and more of him. Reading The Iron Knight from his point-of-view was emotional, beautiful, and fulfilling. We finally get to see how his mind works and just what has been tearing him apart for so long. It's been worth the wait. Before, all we'd seen Ash do was assist Meghan in her troubles, but now we get to see him truly step into his own story and see just what he's made of. (And he's even better than we can imagine.)

We see the return of all of our favorite traveling companions--Grimalkin and the ever witty Puck--along with some new, rather familiar, characters as well. I loved seeing the rapport between Ash and Puck as always, though this time around it took a more pointed turn. We also see a whole lot more of the Nevernever and beyond than we've ever even dreamed of. There are twists and turns and hidden paths everywhere, most of them unexpected and wonderful.

I want to talk about, in super generic terms, what Ash has to endure for Meghan. I am betting it's not going to make much sense, but I was rather moved by it. I anticipated certain trials similar to those I've seen in other books, but Ash's journey is so different, meaningful, relevant, and touching that I was just floored. Not only did it make me love Ash ten times more than I already did, but it made me think about my own life and how I was spending it and what I was valuing. It takes something special to do that, and The Iron Knight really is that something special to me. It has definitely become one of my favorite books, and will afford many subsequent readings.

Risk a paper cut? I think I've said enough, haven't I? I don't think much more gushing is necessary... :)

On another note, if you want to freak out about, well, the whole book with me, please feel free to email me! I'd love to fan-girl about. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop #14

Friday! :) I'm sorry I missed last week, but I got out into the middle of nowhere and had no internet, so I couldn't post or do anything remotely internet-related, which was lame. Oh well!

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read each week and is a joint effort between all of us bloggers to find new blogs to read, love, and obsess over. Plus each week a different question is answered, so we can all learn a little bit more about the bloggers whose opinions matter to us. :) Tally ho!

Q. What superhero is your alter ego?
ME. Erm... Uh... *thinks* I dunno... So according to this quiz I just took online, I'm Spider-Man, which I could live with. Obviously, I'm the girl version of Spider-Man. I think it fits. I'm a bit of a nerd for sure. :) Plus I think swinging around New York City on some web would be fantastic fun. 

And now we're on to the hopping fun! Book Blogger Hop is a weekly party for book bloggers to connect. It's hosted by Crazy for Books and lasts Friday through Monday every week.

Book Blogger Hop

Q. What's your favorite type of candy?

ME. I LOVE love LOVE Twix. They're crispy and chewy and yummy and good. I like Snickers as well, and Raisinets, though I actually prefer the drugstore brand, because theirs are more chocolate than raisins. Hehehe. I only use the raisins as an excuse, since I'm kind of eating something good for me! :)

Well, that's all I've got to say. Riveting, I know. Don't worry, I am this cool all the time. :) Hehehe. The great thing is, you guys don't know just how uncool I am! Oh wow, I'm super rambling now. I quit. Bye.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Fallen {10}

It's Tuesday! And we all know what that means! TEASER TUESDAY! Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading, and it is quite simple.

All you have to do is:

  1. Pick up whatever book you are currently reading.
  2. Open it up to a random page.
  3. Pick two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page. (Be careful not to spoil anything!)
  4. Share those sentences! Be sure to include the book title, author, etc. so your readers can add it to their to be read pile if they're intrigued!
Easy peasy, right?

I am super behind on this series, but I have started reading Fallen by Lauren Kate. So far I like it, so hopefully I'll continue to like it! I've read some mixed reviews for it but we'll just have to wait and see. :)

From page 156 (and I've kinda cut it up because it'd be super long if I included everything or wouldn't make sense):
Luce sighed, defeated, and opened the search engine on her computer...her listless fingers began to tap out thirteen letters entirely of their own accord.
"Daniel Grigori."
Well that's the fun! :) Have a lovely week all, and don't forget to enter my Halloween giveaway! It lasts through Monday night! I'll announce the winners quickly so they can get their books in time for Halloween. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Release date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 416
Format: Advance Reader's Copy
Source: Page & Palette Bookstore
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
 | The Book Depository

Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon

From Goodreads:
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. 
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. 
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
Oh my. Words honestly cannot express how beautiful story this was, even with all of the bloody death associated. The ending was breathtaking and lovely and perfect. People have complained about the fact that very little action happens till the end of the book, but that's the beauty of Maggie's writing: it doesn't matter. You spend the time feeling the sand between your toes and the rocks under your feet, the motion of the horse under you and the wind in your hair, eliminating all other sounds but the whipping. 

While there is not much action during most of the book, there is still a lot going on. The Scorpio Races is not just about the races, but about the people in them and just what it takes to get there. It's about the families on the island of Thisby and their strength and love of their island. There is so much to take in that you really don't need action.

I consider The Scorpio Races to be the best of Maggie's books to date (though I haven't read Ballad yet... I liked Lament, but didn't love it like Shiver, so I'm putting it in there somewhere...) Her beautiful prose is no different here, but the story here is more intricate and heartfelt than in her other books. The character's pain is your pain and their joy is your joy.

Sean's relationship with Corr, his water horse, was especially touching. Seeing an animal that is portrayed at all other times of the novel as vicious and bloodthirsty doesn't give a good impression. But when Sean talks about Corr his love is palpable, which is not an easy thing to portray. Love can fall flat, but Sean's deep love for Corr is a special thing.

And while there is a human antagonist, who is repulsive and terrible, Maggie Stiefvater has made the island itself an antagonist as well. This is something so hard to do and can so easily crash and burn, but the Thisby has an almost malevolent feel to it at times. It is rebelling against what the people of the island want, mostly just because it can. But the people of the island love their home and stick around, showing their deep character.

Our love story grew slowly and patiently, culminating in nothing mystical but completely real and beautiful, a rarity in young adult fiction right now. And, it's a standalone! Some stories are perfect just the way they are, and The Scorpio Races is one of those stories. A sequel or a whole series would destroy the rare beauty the story conveys.

Risk a paper cut? Read The Scorpio Races. Read it huddled in your covers on a cold night. Read it at the edge of a cliff. Read it in the middle of the bookstore. Read it hidden in the branches of your favorite tree. Just read it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Scorpio Races {9}

It's Tuesday! And we all know what that means! TEASER TUESDAY! Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading, and it is quite simple.

All you have to do is:

  1. Pick up whatever book you are currently reading.
  2. Open it up to a random page.
  3. Pick two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page. (Be careful not to spoil anything!)
  4. Share those sentences! Be sure to include the book title, author, etc. so your readers can add it to their to be read pile if they're intrigued!
Easy peasy, right?

I just started reading The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater yesterday, and am quite excited about it all. I loved her Shiver Trilogy, though Forever kind of left me wanting, and have been looking forward to this book for a while. 

From page 102:
I hear a wail, and at first I think it is a scream, but then I hear my name. "Where's Kendrick?"
Someone is about to die. 
Oh yeah. So far, so good!  So be sure to check out my Halloween giveaway going on right now for a chance to win a copy of Anna Dressed In Blood, Sunshine, Warm Bodies, or The Poisoned House. It goes till the 24th and is international! Have a lovely Tuesday!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Release date: September 13, 2011
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Pages: 387
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy the book: Barnes & NobleAmazon
 | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Google

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
 True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
There are some books you read and enjoy, and they head into the deep abyss of your brain, not to resurface again until called upon. But then there are the rare books that are such an immersive experience that they take on a life of their own in your mind, and the smallest detail can bring it right back to the forefront. The Night Circus is most definitely a member of the latter. While I was reading it, I had a hard time pulling myself out of the book to do anything else. This wasn't just because I was so engrossed by the story, which is normally the case for me, but because I was so enveloped into the world that I felt like I was literally there. I could almost smell the popcorn and the smoke from the bonfire, could almost hear the applause from inside the tents. I don't know if later readings will be the same as my first experience, but I hope they are like the circus itself, always changing and always better than remembered.

I've never been to the circus, so I'm not sure if I'm a circus person or not, but if a real one is anything akin to Le Cirque des Rêves, I know I'll love it. Erin Morgenstern's descriptions are perfectly mystical and dreamlike, making the whole book feel like something out of your most wonderful dreams. Some people have commented on the third person and all the point-of-view switches making the story feel distant, but I didn't think that at all. The way we follow several people through the most important parts of their lives makes the reader feel close to the characters, like they're more our friends than characters in a book.

I loved how every small detail was important to the story. At first I thought Bailey was only being used as a device to see the circus directly from an outsider's eyes, but he turned into so much more. Everything the characters did had repercussions that all enfolded into the beautiful ending (which I couldn't get over! I was so afraid it was going to kill me, and while it wasn't a happily ever after kind of thing, it fit.)

I honestly don't have anything else to say that can describe what an experience reading The Night Circus was to me. I can't go into characters or plot, because I just can't see anything I say having relevance. All I can do is to urge everyone to read The Night Circus! Even if you have problems with minute details, you won't argue with me about the lovely and magical experience.

So, should you risk a paper cut? You will not regret any paper cuts The Night Circus could inflict on you, I promise.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Release date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 342
Format: Advance Reader's Copy
Source: Page & Palette Bookstore (they give them away)
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | AmazonThe Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & NobleAmazon

From Goodreads:
Their love was meant to be.
When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRís.
But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.
Carrier of the Mark is a book I've been looking forward to for a long time. With the captivating and beautiful cover and intriguing synopsis, how I could I not be excited? And while I quite enjoyed the book, there were a couple of things that fell a little short as well. Most definitely worth a read, though.

The highlight of the book was most definitely the lore behind the powers. I was fascinated by the talk of the royal bloods and Carriers, and how far back and steeped in Celtic and Irish legend their powers were.  I am certainly hoping to learn even more in the next two books.

There was also a lovely and engaging cast of characters. Sometimes I got a little confused about some of the lesser characters, especially students, but the important ones stood out enough that I knew who they were. Megan and Adam were good main characters, with neither of them getting annoying or whiny but at the same time realistic. I especially loved Rian, Adam's brother, for his intensity, humor, and broodiness, which was a good contrast to the rest of DeRis family (except Adam at certain times...)

I did feel like the book was slowly building up to something cataclysmic, and the ending kind of happened suddenly and without much fanfare. Before I knew it, the book was over, and I didn't feel like the big threat had been all that great. I know it is leading up to more in the following books, but it just felt like a bit of a disappointment.

My only other problem was in the romance between Megan and Adam. Don't get me wrong, I love a good romance, and don't mind an instant connection. I just felt like the moment after they kissed their relationship became super close, like they'd been dating for a long time. They were too dependent on one another way too quickly, and it felt false. But by the end of the book I felt like enough time had passed and they had gone through enough together to merit their relationship, and it won't bother me in the future.

So, should you risk a paper cut? Carrier of the Mark is a very good debut from Leigh Fallon that sets up a very promising and fascinating trilogy. The new and interesting take on the elements and Celtic lore is worth the read alone.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop #13

Oh no!! Unlucky number 13! Does this count as Friday the 13th??? Oh geez I sure hope not... I'm going to continue typing, but if it cuts off, you all know what's happened...

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read each week and is a joint effort between all of us bloggers to find new blogs to read, love, and obsess over. Plus each week a different question is answered, so we can all learn a little bit more about the bloggers whose opinions matter to us. :) Tally ho!

Q. If you could pick one character in a book, movie, or television show to swap places with, who would it be?
ME. Oh, this is a hard one! There are lots of characters with certain traits I'd love to have, but to seriously trade places with one of them, I'd have to like everything... Hmm. Five minutes later... I've got it! I'm sorry I'm such an obsessed freak (seriously, Isaac Marion should pay me for all the talking I do about his book here).Most definitely Julie from Warm Bodies!! That girl is kick-butt, plus she gets R, who, while he is a zombie (creepy, I know) has the best heart of any protagonist I've read, well, ever. Sure, the whole zombies eat people who go outside thing stinks, but I bet she can handle it. :) And hey! This counts as a book and a movie, since Summit bought the rights, and it's currently being filmed in Montreal. And hey, hey you can win a copy of the book here! Check out the giveaway! (I know, I'm shameless.)

And now we're on to the hopping fun! Book Blogger Hop is a weekly party for book bloggers to connect. It's hosted by Crazy for Books and lasts Friday through Monday every week.

Book Blogger Hop

Q. It's time to spread some love beyond the borders of the Book Blogger Hop! This week, we aren't answering a question. We are spotlighting our fellow bloggers. Find your favorite(s) author interview(s), guest post(s), book review(s), or bookish article(s) that ANOTHER BOOK BLOGGER featured on their site recently and tell us why you love it/them! As an additional challenge, find your favorite one of EACH of the categories above and spotlight all 4 (interview, guest post, review, article).
ME. Oh, lord... If you've ever met me, you will know I'm really a very lazy person, so this might not go well... 
  • I love Rachel over at Fitkshun's random posts. Yesterday on her annex blog, Fiktshun's Ramblings, she posted: How Blogging Changed My Life. I've only been blogging a few months, but I can totally relate. :)
  • Liza at Book Crook Liza posted her review of Lola and the Boy Next Door a few days ago, and I thought it was super adorable. Instead of talking a bunch about the book, which some books really don't need that kind of review, she talked about a personal experience and how a part of the book related to her, and I love reading such lovely personal tidbits. :) Plus, she rates in HELLO KITTIES!!!!! How is that not awesome???
Well, that's all I've got for y'all today! Have a lovely weekend! Enjoy the semi-fall weather, since winter will be upon us before we know it. (Though I certainly won't complain.)

The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegan

From Goodreads:

Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—she is an Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.
A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.
With the threat of Eryx always looming, Jax knows he has to keep Sasha safe and win her over.  But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?
When I finished The Mephisto Covenant, I honestly didn't know what I thought of it. This doesn't happen often. I had read other reviews of the book, and found myself agreeing with many points people had made, but I also couldn't seem to put the book down, and knew I was pretty engrossed in the story, no matter how many complaints I had. I haven't yet made up my mind if this is a good or a bad thing. I think it shows where Ms. Faegan's strengths lie, though.

The basic ideas were quite fascinating and very different from classic angels and demons. Sasha is an Anabo, a direct descendant from Eve, and therefore is basically guaranteed a spot in Heaven and feels no animosity or anger towards others, and is completely unselfish. Jax is a mephisto, one of the sons of Mephistopheles and an Anabo. Jax should be damned, but has a chance at salvation only through earning the love and sacrifice of perfection of an Anabo. There's more to it, but that's the basic gist, and a fascinating one. I really loved getting to learn all of the interesting stories behind everything, and hope there is more to learn.

I also deeply enjoyed the plot itself. This is part of why I was engrossed, despite my reservations. The plot had a lot of twists, and really kept a nice pace. It lingered where it should've lingered and trotted along when it needed to. There were quite a few surprise developments that I quite enjoyed, despite the fact that they made me sad as well...

I did also enjoy the dynamics of the brothers. Each definitely had their own personality and quirks, and I really wanted to see more of them. We only really meet them all halfway through, and I was still figuring out who was who at the end. But I liked them. :)

But also, there was a whole ton of information right at the beginning. We start off with Sasha going to a Ravens meeting and have to learn what Ravens are. Then Jax shows up and we get a whole spiel about mephistos and Anabos. THEN we hear about Russian politics and the KGB and the CIA and random family members. It was a lot to absorb. All of the information was interesting, but it was an overload.

The love story was a bit meh for me, as well. The whole instant-crazy-attraction-that-we-just-start-making-out-the-second-time-we-talk thing is getting on my nerves. Most normal, well-adjusted teenagers (and even abnormal teenagers!) don't do those kinds of things, so teenagers in books shouldn't either.

There also was an interestingly large amount of sex talk. I understand the thing about an Anabo being "marked", but the first mention of it does the trick. There's also a pretty graphic for young adult scene right at the end that I didn't feel was super necessary, especially since this book is being advertised as young adult. I'm giving fair warning about this, since I know some readers aren't comfortable with overtly sexual content. (Obviously, it's not romance novel worthy or anything, but definitely more than I've ever seen in a young adult novel.)

In conclusion, (don't I sound adulty?) The Mephisto Covenant is a fast-paced and fascinating read. Despite my reservations and complaints, I quite enjoyed it, though I put a caveat on that. I am also sorry if I'm confusing right now. This book makes my brain confused. But I liked it.

Risk a paper cut? If you're interested in very interesting and new twist on angels and demons, most definitely. But if you're not in the mood for a bit of aggravation mixed with fascination, don't try it.

To buy: Amazon

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Night Circus {8}

 It's Tuesday! And we all know what that means!!! TEASER TUESDAY! Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading, and it is quite simple. I've also been a terrible Teaserer and it's been over a month since I've done it. Life just seems to be getting in my way! Anyways...

All you have to do is: 

  1. Pick up whatever book you are currently reading.
  2. Open it up to a random page.
  3. Pick two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page. (Be careful not to spoil anything!)
  4. Share those sentences! Be sure to include the book title, author, etc. so your readers can add it to their to be read pile if they're intrigued!
Easy peasy, right?

The next book I'll be reading is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It's not actually what I'm reading this exact moment, but I'll be starting it later today, so it totally counts. I am also utterly excited to start it! I've heard so many good things, and it's definitely just the book for how I feel right now.

From page 222,
She smiles as she laughs. And then she vanishes. A simple trick of distracting his attention long enough to slip out through the hall, despite the lingering temptation to stay.
Hehehehe. I just know this is going to be a quick read. Also, I know it's a bit more than two sentences but those first two should definitely count as one since they're so short. Yeah.

Anyways, have a lovely weekend all, and I should have a new review up tomorrow! Also, please check out my Halloween Giveaway. I'm giving out four wonderfully creepy books just in time to get you in the mood for the big night, plus it's international! :) SCROLL DOWNNNNNNNN.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lions, Tigers, and Books: Oh My?

It's October! That means Halloween is galloping towards us at a frightening pace. Wahoo! Halloween is such a fun time of year. Everyone dresses up, whether it's scary or tame, and is not afraid to look a little stupid for one night. While I'm never afraid to look stupid, I appreciate times when other people look dumb with me. :) The weather is becoming beautiful and fallish, and Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before we know it.

I want to get you guys in the mood for this lovely time of year, so I'm going to give away creepy books that I love, though I do admit I haven't read one, but it comes highly recommended! Sound good?

For the details, I will be giving away four books. They are:

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (This is the one I haven't read, but I've been told it's fabulous and I will be reading it quite soon. My very own Halloween read!)

Sunshine by Robin McKinley (a fantastic vampire novel by one of my most favorite authors EVER)

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (Yes, I know I'm obsessed with this book, but I want to spread the love and help out Isaac Marion and his boundless talent. For proof, my review.)

The Poisoned House by Michael Ford (A ghost story I actually liked! Well-researched and engrossing. My review, if you've never heard of it.)

Fun, yes? Rules? Erm... Not much! Don't lie to me, please. I like to trust you guys, and lying makes me sad. IT IS INTERNATIONAL. Anyone can enter as long as The Book Depository will deliver to you! You don't have to be a follower, but can gain extra entries for being one. :) The giveaway will go on till the 24th, so 3 weeks, so the books can make it to you guys before Halloween! All the information regarding entries is in the Rafflecopter, and I'm sure this post will be long enough, so there you go! Have a lovely October everyone!

Oh! And I've buttons! I got fancy and creative and made them. First try, so they're not as fancy as they could be, but I like them. :) You get entries for using them on your blog or somewhere!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Hidden Sun by J. Lloyd Morgan

From the back cover:
A faraway kingdom.
A beautiful princess.
A courageous hero.
A ruthless villain.
An impossible choice.
Eliana and Rinan are in love. However, she is destined to become queen of Bariwon, obligated to marry the victor of a competition called the Shoginoc, while Rinan, her royal guardian, is forbidden to marry. Normally they would renounce their titles to be together, but these are not normal times. Abrecan, the malevolent governor of Erd, is determined to win the Shoginoc, thereby placing his easily manipulated son Daimh on Bariwon's throne. Can Eliana and Rinan find a way to be together without jeopardizing the peace they are so desperately trying to protect? 
I'm not ashamed to say that I am most ardently a person who judges books by their covers. I can't help it, and, honestly, I should probably stop. I've come across quite a lot of books with utterly gorgeous, eye-catching covers that completely disappoint, and I've read many books with average, mediocre, and even terrible covers that are magnificent. The Hidden Sun didn't have a terrible cover, but it didn't have one that made me sigh, either, and I will admit I read it mostly because I had to. I am so, so pleased to say that I am a terrible person who should quit judging books by their covers. The Hidden Sun is a hidden gem and should have sparklers that go off every time someone opens its cover.

There are so many things I loved about the book, but I rather like to get any negatives out of the way first. My only real complaint lies in the dialogue. There were several times it felt stilted and unnatural, like a character was talking just to clarify what was going on, rather than because they had something to say. Slightly picky, I know, but it bothered me, and I don't want to JUST gush. :)

On to the fun! I have a ton of positive things that jump out, but I'll only be able to highlight a few, since I'm not trying to write an essay... First, the plot. Oh, the plot the plot the plot. I wanted to die. There were lots of twists and turns, and sudden deaths (which I always enjoy!), and things just kept happening that I didn't expect. I didn't expect the book to expand over two generations, which I loved. The problems going on in Bariwon are not problems that can be solved in a short time, and I so appreciate that Mr. Morgan didn't force an improbable happy ending or a cliffhanger to make the reader impatient for a second book.

And the characters! Our villain, Abrecan, is just purely and insanely evil and power hungry. You will love to hate him. Eliana and Rinan are utterly adorable, but I especially loved Rayne. A girl can't help but swoon over such a guy. He stands up for the innocent and endangered, helps old women, and can fight to boot. Governor Nash was a fun character to read, always with a quip flouncing authority and there was not enough of him.

The Hidden Sun is a classic tale of good and evil. There is no magic afoot or dragons smoldering, just good ole human nature. This is the first book in a trilogy, with the second novel, The Waxing Moon, coming out next year.

Risk a paper cut? To repeat my stupid pun earlier (y'all should know by now that I'm only good for one terrible pun a review!), The Hidden Sun is a hidden revelation; a chivalric novel well worth your time and any accidental blood.

To buy The Hidden Sun: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

For more information on the book and the author: J. Lloyd Morgan's website and blog.

Also, a huge thanks to J. Lloyd Morgan for contacting me for his blog tour and to Walnut Springs Press for a review copy of the book; you are all wonderful!