Dec 29, 2010

Review: The Iron King



Title: The Iron King (Iron Fey #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 363

My Rating:
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart. -summary from goodreads.com

I had heard nothing but awesome things about this book, and since I couldn't wait to get my copy and read it, when it came in the mail, it jumped straight to the top of my TBR pile. And let me tell you…. It was WELL worth it! I loved almost everything about this book! The cover is gorgeous, the story is fast paced, interesting, and funny!

In this story we follow Meghan Chase, a typical 15-year-old girl who lives on the outskirts of town, has always felt like an outsider, and it doesn't help that her family is poor. Meghan is about to turn sixteen, when she is humiliated at school by one of the popular boys that she's had a crush on forever (it was super sad! My heart broke with Meghan’s). Things only get worse when she gets home and finds out her younger step-brother has been kidnapped. Robbie (her only friend and somewhat of a trickster) and Meghan were supposed to be celebrating her sixteenth birthday, but instead they set off on an unexpected adventure.

I Really enjoyed this story. I loved how Mrs. Kagawa incorporated A Midsummer Nights Dream (one of my favorite plays from back in high school). Author Julie Kagawa clearly knows her fae lore, and she puts it to work here to amazing ends. Her characters are wonderful and well-developed; 
Meghan, who learns she's so much stronger than she once thought, Puck, the loyal protector who has Meghan's best interests at heart, and the mysterious Prince Ash, who is intent on killing both Puck and Meghan, but eventually finds himself pulled in two directions.

I thought Meghan was a believable character who reacted like a sixteen year old girl would when confronted with strange situations and horrible threats. It does get a little old when a character that supposedly lived a normal human life, suddenly turns into superwoman and saves the world. I liked that Meghan was scared and broke down in tears at times, but she was also strong, grew up fast, and discovered hidden strengths she didn't realize she possessed. Her courageousness in the Nevernever is nicely portrayed, as is her devotion to Ethan. Yet she often wanders into danger without thinking or listening to warnings and I groaned as she repeatedly made bargains with Faery characters even after seeing the devastating consequences. But all in all, I really like Meghan.

Robin Goodfellow, a.k.a. Puck-- Three words: I LOVE PUCK! He’s loyal, charming and hilarious. What more can you ask for? I wasn’t a very big fan of Prince Ash. The only reason he felt attracted to Meghan in the first place was because she reminded him of his dead wife? Uh, creeeepy. But hey, the boy is handsome, mysterious and can dance (that’s a bonus!)… I’d like to see what happens with the Meghan/Ash relationship.

Overall, The Iron King has made a fan out of me! If you’re into the action, peril, romance and adventure, then this is the book for you! You will not be able to put it down. The next book in the series, the Iron Daughter will most likely find its way to the top of my “to be read” stack as well :)

The Newbie Blog Hop

 
The newbie blog hop is hosted by Lazy girl read, and its an awesome new event that helps new blogs meet new people! If you want to sign up, you better do it fast- the event ends the 31st of December :)

Blog question:
What's your favorite feature of online book blogging?

- I love the lil' widgets that allow you to post your "to be read" slide-show or the ones that are countdowns. Also, i love the whole follower option. It's always nice to know that people read and appreciate your blog :)


If your participating in this event, please leave your link to your post in the comment section, and I'll be sure to check it out <3


Thanks,

Dec 28, 2010

Busting the Newbie Blues



Busting the Newbie Blues is a creative event which is hosted by Small Reviews. If your interested in signing up, the event will run until the end of December. Both new and established bloggers can participate :) 

When did you start your blog? 
I officially started my blog in November of this year (2010). So I am definitely a new blogger.

Why did you start your blog?

To be honest, I had thought about starting a travel blog for some time now, but I always thought to myself, I haven't really visited that many countries (just a few here and there), I'll quickly run out of things to say. That was when I came across Jenny's blog over at The Supernatural Snark, and I completely fell in love. I thought to myself, why not combine my two loves?! I read a TON of books during my trips and I too wanted to express my thoughts and feelings. Books are my getaway! I wanted to blog about vampires, werewolves, faeries and about my obsessions with boys who were made of ink and paper :p Eventually, I even emailed Jenny a couple of times to see if she'd be willing to give some tips, she was so nice and willing to help! She answered some basic blogging questions and helped me get started. Thanks, Jenny!
 
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? 
Since I've only been blogging for about two months, I can't really say that I've faced "big" challenges. Right now, my biggest dilemma is posting on a regular basis. I am SO behind on travel posts. I recently went on what I like to call a "mother load" trip; five countries in one month. It was insane! I'm working on my travel post and tips as we speak :)

What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
 

Sometimes when I'll surf other YA Blogs, I'll get discouraged when I see that they have 1000+ followers.... But then I'll remind myself that they've been doing this for a pretty long time. I'm a newbie :) eventually my time will come as well. I try and see the positive side to all situations.   

What do you find most encouraging? 
Everyone in the blogging community is so nice! I love getting comments when people agree with what I have to say, it reminds me of why I started this blog in the first place; to meet and chat with other bloggers who share my love for books.

What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
 

I love how certain blogs have their own "memes" going on. In particular I love the blog hop and I just recently discovered the wonderful world of in my mail box. I'll definitely be participating in that :)

What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?
 

As of now, I haven't really ran into anything I dislike. I'll let you know if that changes down the road :p heyyyy, only time will tell.

Any advice for other new bloggers?
 

If your thinking about starting a blog, please know it does take time and patience, but it is CRAZY fun! And hey, if you'd like any advice from a newbie - please don't hesitate to ask ;) Also, your blog design... as you can see, mine is still in the process- so don't get discouraged if setting up your blog takes more time than running it!

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience?
 

If anything, organize yourself and keep track of your time! You have no idea how many times I've logged onto blogger with the purpose of posting a new review or travel bog, and next thing I know I'm surfing blogs and HOURS have gone by! Aye ya aye! I need to manage my time more wisely :\

Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog?
 
Let me know what you think! What do you think I should add/remove.... any input is appreciated! Thanks so much for stopping by!


Dec 27, 2010

Review: Blue Moon (The Immortals #2)

Title: Blue Moon (The Immortals #2)
Author: Alyson Noel
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin 
Pages: 284

My Rating:

Eager to learn everything she can about her new abilities as an Immortal, Ever turns to her beloved Damen to show her the way. But just as her powers are increasing, Damen’s are waning. In an attempt to save him, Ever travels to the magical dimension of Summerland, where she learns the secrets of Damen’s tortured past; a past which he has always kept hidden from her. But in her quest to cure Damen, Ever discovers an ancient text that details the workings of time. Now Ever must chose between turning back the past and saving her family from the accident that claimed their lives—or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows sicker every day. -Summary from goodreads.com

(To read my review for book #1, click Here)

Review: In this sequel, we start off right where book one left off. Damen and Ever continue to run into conflicts in their relationship, mainly because Damen continues to be secretive about his past.
There’s also a new guy in town, Roman. He appears to have everyone under his spell, including Damen, who ditches Ever and seeks out “queen bee” Stasia. Soon Damen gets really sick and Ever is certain that Roman is behind whatever is poisoning him. Eventually, she sorts out a few secrets, including the fact that Roman is a rogue Immortal who is set on harassing Ever as punishment for the loss of Drina, his one true love.

As much as I hate to admit it, this book did not live up to Evermore. When I first started reading Blue Moon I was excited to see where Ever and Damen would go now that they had an eternity to be together. Sadly, I was disappointed. Throughout the book I was waiting for SOMETHING to happen, ANYTHING! The book was ok. I was more interested in the concept the author explores of what might happen if Ever could have the choice to return to her past and prevent the car accident that took her family's lives. By doing this, she’d save her family, but loose Damen.

Blue Moon, overall, was an ok book. To me, it seemed to be more of a “Filler Sequel”. I really tried to get into it, like it, but I couldn’t help but feel frustrated! Ever makes some pretty stupid choices…. You just want to reach into the book and smack her around a few times. Alas, I will read the next book in the series, Shadowland. Hopefully the author steps it up a few notches. 

Dec 25, 2010

Follow Friday (1)

This is my first ever follow friday post :) hopefully I can get into the habit of doing it every week...


Question for today:
 What are your plans for this fabulous day?

Technically Christmas day is almost over, so instead of rambling on about how my day went, I want to share with you all a bit of Christmas love that happened in our community not to long ago. 

To make the story short, it turns out a group of people got together this Holiday season to act out "Las Posadas" which is pretty much a reenactment of the journey that Mary and Joseph did by going inn to inn asking for a room only to be turned out.... People volunteer there home as an "inn" and decorate they're front door with lights and "No vacancy" signs. The owners of the home reject the crowd and tell them to keep moving, they move onwards until they reach the home which has been set as the stable. 

Well it turns out that at the second to last stop was the home of a family w/an Autistic child who was participating with his mom; when Mary and Joseph were nearing, the mom explained to her son that some people were going to ask if they could come into the living room, and that he had to yell out "There's no room here!", the boy agreed and was ready to play his part. As soon as Joseph sang his carol and asked if there was room for him and his wife, the boy proudly said, "There's no room here!" The boy and his mother stood there watching as the crowd started to leave, when all of a sudden the little boy yelled, "Wait! Come back! There's no room in the living room, but you can have my room!"

**Isn't that just amazing? I truly believe that if we all opened up our hearts and would be willing to give up our "room" to help out those most in need, we'd really make a difference. That boy should be an example for us ALL this holiday season :)

Dec 24, 2010

Holiday Madness!

One of my rannddoom posts :)

Hey Guys! So currently I'm trying to balance 20 things at once.... Well, more like 5, but that's still enough to drive me crazy :)haha! I'm trying to finish writing some of my travel blogs; first will come Greece then Turkey, after that I still have Italy Egypt & Ireland... ay ya ya! Not to mention I am way behind on my reading, thus reviews too! & to top it all off, it's Christmas Eve & my house is packed w/family!... You gotta love the Holidays :) But overall, I couldn't be happier! Loving family, good health and new books to keep me company when I'm bored. Couldn't really ask for more :p
But for now, here are a couple more pictures... I'll eventually organize these into separate links on the blog, but for now- ENJOY!
:)Diana

Ps. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL! GOD BLESS :)

(CLICK TO ENLARGE!)

TURKEY
(Mediterranean Sea. BEAUTIFUL!
Reading Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers)
(On top of the world!... well Pergamon!)
 (Theater. A very nice view!)
 (Cousins in Turkey)
 Downtown Istanbul)

ITALY
 (They call it the "cake" building)
 (Rommmaaaa)
 (That guy in the back was wieerdd)
 (Wanted to come here since the time I saw "Gladiator")
 (Inside the Colosseum)
(The famous Trevi Fountain)

EGYPT
 (I was getting a bit sick. Cruising down the Nile river)
 (Africa is beautiful in its own unique way)
 (On our way to  Nubian Village. I felt like I was 
in one of those Anaconda movies)
 (Henna Tattoo at the Nubian Village)
 (Avenue of the Spinx w/my tour guide)
(Saqqara aka. Sakkara, pyrimid. The first pyramid ever built)
 (Wanted to come here since I saw "The Mummy")
(The famous Spinx)

Dec 21, 2010

BEST Hunger Games Trailer Yet!

OMG! If you've read Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, you HAVE to watch this video. It's fan made... I could not believe it. I won't lie... I teared up a bit :\ It's AMAZING! I just recently finished book one a while ago, I need to pick up book two, Catching Fire, soon!


Dec 17, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief


Title: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Miramax
Pages: 375

My Rating:
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.  -summary from goodreads.com

Alright so this isn't usually what I read, I tend to go for the Young Adult genre, but since I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter series (please don't judge me! Unlike many I actually had to wait for each book to come out. It was torture!) I decided to give it a try and I must say, I really enjoyed the Lightning Thief. Ever since the good old days of watching Xena and Hercules, I have always had a soft spot for ancient Greek tales. I love how Mr. Riordan was ale to successfully clash together our modern world w/that of the Greek Gods. Very original and creative!
Throughout the book we follow 12 year old Percy who finds out he's the son of a Greek God, & not just any God... He's the son of one of the "Big 3"; we're talking about the one and only, Poseidon. Percy has no choice but to leave home and go to Camp. I loved, loved, loved the idea of Camp Half-blood! Here he trains, meets new friends and learns a thing or two on the rules the Greek Gods have bestowed on all Half-Bloods or Demigods. After receiving his quest; Percy, Annabeth & Grover head out to save Percy's mom who was kidnapped by Haydes. This is when the action packed writing begins :) we see many of our favorite Greek monsters come to life in this awesome kid story.

Overall, PJO The Lightning Thief is a creative, action packed, modernly written tale that you will not be able to put down. I probably finished book one in a couple of hours. The writing is simple & sounds very much like a 12 year old dyslexic boy :) Mr. Riordan did an awesome job in bringing Greek mythology back to life!

 

Dec 16, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge


This will be my FIRST challenge ever :) I'm super excited to get started. The 2011 Debut Author Challenge is hosted by a very awesome girl named Kristi over at her blog, The Story Siren (Click the link to sign up). If you've never heard or visited her blog, DO SO NOW! It is AMAZING! I just recently stumbled upon it and I was literally blown away. She has so many awesome events going on... I will most definitely be participating in her weekly In my mailbox :) Anyhow... sorry about that. I tend to ramble on and on when I get excited. Ok, back to my list;

1. Across The Universe by Beth Revis
2. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
3. XVI by Julia Karr
4. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
5. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
6. Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
7. Die for me by Amy Plum
8. Timeless by Alexandra Monir
9. Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
10. Flawless by Lara Chapman
11. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
12. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
13. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
14. Illegal by Bettina Restrepo
15. Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic
16. Queen of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
17. Rival by Sara Bennett-Wealer 

18. The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
19. Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey
20. Posses by Gretchen McNeil 


That's it for now... although I will probably be adding a few more books later on. I'm aiming for 24 books total. That way I can read two every month. I'm super excited, can't wait to get started!

Dec 15, 2010

Review: The Hunger Games


Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 374

My Rating:
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love. -Summary from goodreads.com

I was probably the LAST person to jump on the Hunger Games band wagon. I had heard so many great things about the book, that I was scared to pick it up. I feared that the book wouldn't live up to its word of mouth reputation. Boy was I WRONG! I've been kicking my own ass for not having picked up the book earlier... Let me tell you, if you love to read but haven't started Hunger Games- your missing out! 

Through the book we follow 16 year old Katniss Everdeen. She has the unfortunately luck of having to volunteer for her sister in the yearly Hunger Games, a cruel game ran by government where 24 tributes are thrown into an arena & forced to fight to the death. Along side her male district tribute, Peeta, Katniss trains & prepares (both mentally & physically) for the fight of her life... literally!

When talking about the book to my brother, he asked who I'd recommend it too... um, EVERYONE? This story is so unique, you must read it for yourself. Trust me when I say you won't regret it! This book has it all; action, suspense, thrills & even romance! Yes... that's right! Team Peeta :) haha! The emotions and actions in this book just explode off the page. I was so taken away by this cruel but hopeful world... This is probably one of the most incredible, breath-taking stories I've read in a long time! As you read the book you can't help but connect with these characters, my heart-broke with them, I laughed with them, I felt the anger they felt, I cried, I cringed; this book is a whirlwind of emotions! Each character in this book, from the main characters, to the ones only mentioned briefly were so well described, Mrs. Collins did an awesome job w/her characterization. Panem truly did come to life right before my minds eye. THANK YOU, MRS. COLLINS- You truly are a MASTER of story-telling.

Overall, The Hunger Games is an awesome action packed, rebellious, fascinating tale that EVERY book lover should pick up! Seriously… If you haven’t read, stop what your doing, go out buy a copy & read it NOW!

Dec 13, 2010

My FIRST ARC!

Look what I gottt..... :)
FIRST ARC: 

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1)


When I requested this ARC over at Simon & Schuster's I really didn't think I was going to get it... (you know, being a NEW book blogger and all). Little did I expect this awesome package that awaited me in my mailbox :) My sister saw me do my happy dance!

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to the good people over at the publicity department for having chosen me as a worthy "reviewer"... you guys ROCK!

Can't wait to start reading! This book was actually on my "Must be read in 2011" list. Review to come SOON!