Nov 30, 2011

Review: The Faerie Ring

Title: The Faerie Ring (The Faerie Ring #1)
Author: Kiki Hamilton
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 352
Challenge: None
Source: Publisher
Buy the Book: BN / Amazon

My Rating:


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…-summary from goodreads.com


Let your mind roam free and transport yourself back to old London during the times of Monarchy and Faeries. Yes, that’s right Faeries. The year is 1871, and the only thing that’s keeping the Fae from starting an all out war with the humans is a tiny, but significant Faerie Ring. In order for the balance and peace to be kept, the ring must be in the hands of the Monarch.

Enter Tiki; an orphan of the streets. Tiki steals for her survival and for her family of orphans; Fiona, Toots, Shamus and little Clara. One night after falling asleep on a car­riage, Tiki wakes up in a luxurious estate. After roaming around the kitchen (and stuffing her pockets with food), she stumbles upon the library. Here she comes to set her eyes on a ring that was left behind. A ring who’s value is to great to turn down (hey, her orphans have to eat), so she steals it. Little does she know that the estate she was in was Buckingham Palace and the ring she stole is actually the Queen’s ring; The Faerie Ring, the only thing keeping a species war at peace.

I loved Tiki, she has a sort of heroine complex when it comes to the orphans. She takes care of the few people around her that she can call family and I admired that about her. It slightly reminded me of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys… except with reversed genders. Her orphans were so sweet, I wanted to reach into the book and give them a hug to help ease their pain and suffering. Rieker was mysterious but I also enjoyed his character very much. He likes Tiki and tries so hard to be the “hero” of the orphan group but things never go according to plan because Tiki doesn’t do well with plans. Both characters are strong and hardheaded, but I surprisingly enjoyed the scenes where their stubbornness met. It was a charming yet bitter sweet.

Prince Leopold, the Queens son, was also a fun character to read about. His disbelief was funny at times, but once his mother falls ill (because the Faerie Ring has gone missing and this usually leads to disaster) he notices disaster is about to strike and will now stop at nothing to get that ring back. He feels guilty because he was the last one to have it before it went missing. (Bad, Leopold! Bad!)

My only complaint would have to be the actual Fey elements. The concept of Fey (as a species) was present throughout the whole book, but the actual Faeries don’t come out until the almost end. I guess you can say I was expecting a bit more of a fantasy novel, but what I got instead was a Historical-Victorian adventure. Which was still awesome and super fun, but I wanted my faeries.

Overall, Kiki has created a perfect picture fantasy novel of the Victorian Era. I loved visiting London through her eloquent writing style. She did a fabulous job at bringing her world, and the characters in it, to life. I’m usually not a big fan of Historical novels, even the fictitious ones, but I definitely enjoyed The Faerie Ring. Can’t wait to see certain relationships develop (*swoon*) and to be back in 1800’s with Tiki and the gang. Bring on book two :D

Nov 27, 2011

In My Mailbox #9


For more info on IMM or to sign up/post your link, 
visit Kristi @The Story Siren.
(Button made by Missie @The Unread Reader)

6 books this week. I got lazy towards the end, when it came to editing, and decided to just make it one whole clip... This is me; 100% on a late Saturday night. Forgive my random randomness :)


A big thank you and shout out to 2 special ladies...

Krys over at
http://www.bibliopunkk.net/
&
Rachel over at
http://www.fiktshun.com/

Nov 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. This meme spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection this week is:
The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2)
by Richelle Mead
June 2012
Razorbill

 
Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students—children of the wealthy and powerful—carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.-summary from goodreads.com




I really enjoyed book one, Bloodlines, and I'm curious to see what happens next! I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for an earlier publication date. That or some steamy Adrian scenes... Don't judge me. Things were getting good between him and my favorite Alchemist, Sydney... I hope they take their comradeship to the next level <3 Adrian is a great guy and he deserves a happy ending. Wouldn't you agree?


What's your WOW this week? Share your links. Thanks for stopping by! 

Nov 22, 2011

Review: Wings

Title: Wings (Wings #1)
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Harperteen
Pages:294
Challenge: None
Source: Own
Buy the Book: BN / Amazon


My Rating:



Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.
Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.
In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.-summary from goodreads.com

When I first picked up Wings, I didn’t know what to expect. Considering the fact that it’s been out for some time now, I hadn’t read any recent reviews on it. What I did hear was awesome things about the love interest, Tamani (we’ll talk more about him later on). And although I did rather enjoy this new, fresh world that Pike has created, the story was just too dull. In my opinion, Wings should have been better classified as a Middle Grade fantasy read, rather than Young Adult.

The story follows Laurel, a teenage girl who is trying to adjust to attending school for the first time after being home-schooled her entire life. Everything seems to be going fine; she even managed to get herself a boyfriend (David), until the day she wakes up with a lump on her back. The lump blossoms into flowers, and Laurel soon learns she's a faerie. Not just any faerie, she’s a changeling.

Let’s begin with my first pet peeve; I thought it was too convenient that Laurel quickly accepted what she was. I wish there would have been more of an emotional reaction. But it was kind of like, “Oh, I’m a faerie?! Cool.” I seriously thought to myself, “WTF!? I would totally be cowering in a corner.”

Secondly, Laurel was a very difficult character to relate too. Plus, she just seemed so plain-Jane. Yeah, she’s a fairy and is pretty much the personification of perfection (literally…. Perfect body, no acne, doesn’t need food to survive), but she had no personality. Now that I think about it, none of the characters had anything going for them. Her parents were only around when necessary, David (although I did like the fact that he was a nerd) was also very boring… everyone in the story was just dull.

The only character with even a breath of life is Tamani. Oh goodness…. Tamani…. Tam is the exception of my would-be Middle School classification. I absolutely loved him. David just didn’t do it for me. I’m sorry to all you David lovers, but he was just too ordinary for me. I tend to have high expectations for my leading men, and Tamani fit every single one (and more!). The only bad part is that he doesn’t show up until 80-something pages in. I’d get so frustrated with Laurel at times for always choosing David over Tam. I mean, I get it; he’s a loyal and trustworthy guy, but he does not compare to the magical awesomeness that is Tamani. Or at least, that’s my opinion.

Lastly, the ending felt so rushed. At the final showdown between Laurel and BLANK (don’t want to give to much away now), a gun is thrown into the mix… A GUN! You’re a freaking magical creature for crying out loud! Use some magic, strength or fairy dust…. Anything! A gun just seemed so human, a quick and easy way to end the battle…. You know what I mean? Of course, the ending doesn’t resolve much, leaving plenty of room for the next book in the series.

Overall, I wish I could say I liked this book more. It's not that Wings is a bad book, it has a very promising concept, but it was played out terribly. Despite my complaints, I will be reading book two. I'm interested enough to see where the story goes, and plus, I want more Tam <3

Nov 16, 2011

Review: Tiger's Voyage

Title: Tiger's Voyage (Tiger's Saga #3)
Author: Colleen Houck
Publisher: Splinter
Pages: 560
Source: ARC Publisher
Buy the Book: BN / Amazon


My Rating:

With the head-to-head battle against the villainous Lokesh behind her, Kelsey confronts a new heartbreak: in the wake of his traumatic experience, her beloved Ren no longer remembers who she is. As the trio continues their quest by challenging five cunning and duplicitous dragons, Ren and Kishan once more vie for her affections--leaving Kelsey more confused than ever. Fraught with danger, filled with magic, and packed with romance, TIger's Voyage brings Kelsey and her two tiger princes one step closer to breaking the curse. -summary from goodreads.com


Adventure, peril, culture and romance- this book has it all! 

The blend of mythology, the Hindi language and culture in Tiger's Voyage is complex and altogether captivating. I was fascinated by the journey to visit the five dragons and all the adventures my favorite trio (Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan) had to accomplish to retrieve the Pearl Necklace of Durga. I'm constantly impressed by how much research Colleen does and all the planning she must have done before writing these books. Everything fits together seamlessly, and it's really impressive! I really loved the dragons and the fact that everything was based just as much on Chinese folklore as Indian.
As far as teams…. I’m leaning a bit more towards Kishan (don’t judge me). If you’ve read my past reviews for books one and two, you’d see that I am a dedicated Team Ren fan (even have a book boyfriend post dedicated to him, here). But in Tiger’s Voyage Kishan really does step up his game and at the same time Ren is losing his. But regardless of their actions, they are brothers… Their two side of the same coin, and you can’t help but love them both.
In all honesty, I truly believe that Ren is definitely more suited for Kelsey but sometimes I think they’re relationship is not healthy. They argue all the time and when they do make up, the first thought to come to Kelsey’s mind is “I can’t live without him”…. Am I the only one who see’s this as unhealthy? Don’t get me wrong, I often times think that their best interaction comes when they're fighting…. but I just found their relationship a bit strange this time around.

On the other hand, Kishan is every bit as good-looking and wonderful as his brother. He is much more straightforward and not so sensitive or poetic. Instead of writing a song for a girl he'll just grab her and kiss her, thus telling her how he feels (much more my type). So you can kind of tell why I’m ready to jump teams here… :)haha!

Overall, although Tiger’s Voyage wasn’t my favorite book in the series, I loved every minuet of it. I cannot begin to explain how FAR away next fall is. I need my next dose of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan to take me away, NOW!

Nov 8, 2011

Review: Shatter Me

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 342
Source: ARC Publisher
Buy the Book: BN / Amazon


My Rating:


Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 
-summary from goodreads.com

A breathtaking debut!

Tahereh Mafi's debut novel begins by introducing us to Juliette,a 17 year old girl whom has been locked away from society for 264 days... why? Because, Juliette has a secret; a gift, a curse: her touch is dangerous, possibly lethal to others....

Lets talk about the aspects that made this novel such a huge success (for me, personally). Let's begin with the writing. Dear Lord baby Jesus, Ms. Mafi can write! I was completely blown away by her style of writing. With her cross outs and descriptive writing, Ms. Mafi gives you insight and subtext to Juliette. I felt as if I was there with her, experiencing what she did, feeling what she felt, I felt in on her secret and I didn't want anyone else to find out. I wanted to help her guard it. I felt like it was me and Juliette against the world, together. I've never been so engaged in a novel.

Enter Adam. All my defenses break down and I am vulnerable, weak..... I am Adam's. Adam has got to be one of the most swoon-worthy YA males I have ever read about. Loyal, protective, charming and sexy as hell. Adam and Juliette easily make my top 5 YA couples. The secondary characters were also great. My favorites are Kenji and Warner. While being complete opposites, they were just awesome.

The only minor problem I did notice (and have seen it being mentioned around the blogosphere) is the similarity to X-Men. Now, being a big comic nerd, I picked up on a lot of similarities between Rogue and Juliette. It's the truth, but SHATTER ME comes with its own twists and surprises.... It really is unique. Plus, I loved reading about a heroine that stands up for herself and doesn't let others run her life. Juliette has a fieriness and bravery that I wish I had.

Overall, SHATTER ME is a unique and intriguing story that every YA lover must pick up. Action, romance and spunk- this book has it all! Haven't read it? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Click the link above and order yourself a copy :D You won't be sorry.

Nov 7, 2011

Review: Tiger's Quest

Title: Tiger's Quest (Tiger's Saga #2)
Author: Colleen Houck
Publisher: Splinter
Pages: 457
Source: Own
Buy the Book: BN / Amazon


My Rating:

Kelsey Hayes is no ordinary college freshman. In fact, the eighteen-year-old girl has just returned from India, where she risked her life—and her heart—to rescue a handsome Indian prince from a terrible curse. Back home in Oregon, Kelsey is determined to move on, despite the lingering feelings she has for the man she left behind. She meets Li, a completely average guy who offers the promise of an ordinary, curse-free life. But just when Kelsey is ready to move on, Ren reenters her life, on a quest to reclaim her heart. Danger threatens their newly rekindled love and to save him, Kelsey must journey with someone else—a man who wants her for himself. The saga begun in Tiger’s Curse continues in Tiger’s Quest, as Kelsey finds herself in an epic battle between good and evil. From the shores of the Pacific Northwest to the jungles of India, the mountains of Nepal and Tibet, and the mystical realm of Shangri-la, this suspenseful tale of love, sacrifice, and redemption is not to be missed. -summary from goodreads.com
Tiger’s Quest picks up right after book one; Kelsey is trying to focus on being a normal college student after having spent the summer breaking an ancient curse in India. I know what you’re thinking, “WTH!? Lame!”…. but her plans quickly turn when she learns that Ren is not going to let her walk away without a fight without a fight.

I don't hide the fact that I usually dislike sequels; I usually love the first book in the series, hate the second and then rekindle my love in the third installment. That is NOT the case with Tiger’s Quest. I devoured this book, it was that good. To say that I lost sleep because of it would be an understatement; this book was intense.

I was so happy to have Kelsey back in India trying to break the second part of the curse. I loved seeing her develop more as a character. The suspense and action in the plot was great and the story moves along at a good pace. It was easy to get lost in this magical world; Ms. Houck’s writing is amazing and full of detail. The Indian mythology kept me intrigued until the end.

Tiger’s Quest is every bit as exciting, romantic, funny, heart-breaking, and absorbing as Tiger's Curse. It’s a perfect blend of mythology, Hindi language and culture (not to mention the heart filled romance), it has all the perfect elements for a captivating love story. My only complaints are (1) the ending (OMG! Shoot me now!) and (2) I’m not to sure how I fell about the "love drama". Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoy the love triangle going on, but I found it too convenient that Ren gets captured and all of a sudden we see this completely different, sweet, charming, handsome, and loving side to Kishan (ok, so it worked on me, I totally fell for him, but you get the picture).

Either way, Tiger’s Quest is not to be missed! I cannot wait to dive into Tiger’s Voyage, luckily for me, I have an ARC sitting on my bookshelf right now :D

Nov 3, 2011

Hunger Games Cast - Vanity Fair

Hey guys, *waves*

I got an email from my Alice Marvels subscription last night and to my (delightful) surprise it contained some photos from The Hunger Games photo-shoot.  Look at them, aren't they gorgeous? I may have been a bit skeptic about Josh playing Peeta, but now I can definitely see him pulling it off. Is it just my bad memory, or did Twilight also do a photo shoot for Vanity Fair? I really hope they don't start comparing the two movies. The Hunger Games is NOT Twilight!


 

 

What do you think? They look good, right!? <3

Nov 2, 2011

Review: We'll Always have Summer

Title: We'll Always have Summer (Summer #3)
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 291
Challenge: YA Series
Source: Library
Retailer: BN / Amazon


My Rating:

It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college-- only, their relationship hasn't exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It's time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever. -Summary from goodreads.com

I don’t know what I can say about this book, that hasn’t already been said. Before finally picking it up, I had read so many rave reviews; I was really looking forward to finishing the Summer series, and I’ll be honest and say that I was expecting a near PEREFCT book. What I got was something completely different.

I have never, ever, cried so much during a novel, but enjoyed it all at the same time. Ms. Han, you are cruel.

Ok, let’s start with the beginning, I going to be blunt- I felt the author was being biased…. There, I said it. Why, you may ask? Well, let me explain; as a reader, I like making up my own opinion about characters and the choices they make. I might not always see eye-to-eye with their decisions, but I respect them and learn to appreciate there persona.

The way Ms. Han described Jeremiah and Conrad made me feel manipulated, and I didn’t appreciate that. Jeremiah was shown as a flawed character, there’s no other way to put it. He cheated, smoked, drank and didn’t know how to cook (I don’t know why, but the fact that the author decided to make that a valuable trait, that was mentioned on various occasions, really bugged me). On the other hand we get Conrad, the superior brother whom is a medical student, cooks, makes wise decisions and controls his drinking habits….. Get the picture?

I didn't want to hate Jere, but I felt like I was being forced too! He committed the worst relationship crime ever! I hated that that was the case. Why predestine him to fail since the very beginning? But you know what, I still loved him.....

Jeremiah….
the boy with the kind and gentle soul.
the boy who completely won me over during the last book.
the boy who was so vulnerable and hurt because of his brother... A brother I started to hate because of his mood swings and shitty attitude.

How could you do this to me Ms. Han?! How?! You proved to me in the last 2 books that you could write magic!.... You made me feel things no book had ever made me feel. Why such drastic changes?

I’ll be honest and say that although I didn’t like the journey, I was very happy with the ending. It ended the way I wanted too and I had been hoping for that outcome since the very beginning. I just didn’t appreciate the fact that the author had to belittle Jeremiah in order for us to let Conrad back in. Cause after the ending in book #2, I hated him. But after he confesses his love to Belly out on the beach, I pretty much died. When he says, “I still love you.” I was all his once again.

Gosh, this book was such an emotional roller coaster. But I do recommend to all who have already started the series; it’s a must. Whether you’re Team Jeremiah or Conrad, We’ll Always Have Summer is an unforgettable read that will stay fresh in your mind even after you’ve finished reading it. Let me know how it treats you.

Nov 1, 2011

Author signing: Becca Fitzpatrick

 
A couple weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a signing of Ms. Becca Fitzpatrick. I cannot begin to explain how nervous I was. My hands were literally shaking!....

Hush, Hush is one of my "drug" series; I just can't get enough. When I found out that Ms. Fitzpatrick was coming to a bookstore near me for her SILENCE tour, I FLIPPED! I could not believe my luck! Thank goodness the parental units decided to move to Southern California ;)

The signing itself was going to be at Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Bookstore. Thanks to traffic I arrived a bit late, they were already halfway through introductions. I missed Becca's intro (booo!) but, to my surprise, there were 2 other authors that were accompanying her; Ms. Moira Young (Blood Red Road) and Ms. Elizabeth Miles (Fury).

My camera ran out of juice so I had to use my crappy cell
After introductions the authors each read from their novels. I hadn't heard much about Fury so I was very intrigued when Elizabeth began reading. I enjoyed her enthusiasm so much, I ended up buying a copy and getting it signed.

Elizabeth Miles and I
Moira was HILARIOUS! I loved her witty comments and creative answers. She also read from her novel Blood red Road and I was able to capture it on video for you guys ;)


After the readings, the floor was opened up for some Q&A. The authors answered some questions in regards "writing experiences"; when they write, where they write, how they handle rejection, story/character development etc. Speaking of Character development, when asked where she got the name "Patch" from, Becca shared with us that the name Patch subliminally came to her while she was watching Days of Our Lives. Hush, Hush Patch was inspired by the character Patch, on NBC's soap-opera Days of Our Lives. You heard it here, first ;)haha! Only messing....

After Q&A, which was so much fun but was cut short due to time restraints, came the signing. It was so nice getting to meet and talk to these lovely ladies in person. Elizabeth is one of the nicest people you will ever meet! Moira is just amazing & Ms. Fitzpatrick- she's so cool. (I know that sounds so lame, but it's the truth). I don't know why I was nervous to meet her, she's just awesome. I even got her to give a little shout-out to all my blog readers <3


Overall, I had such a fun afternoon. I think it's safe to say that the SILENCE book tour signing at Mrs. Nelson's was a success! A big shout out to the store staff, you were all so helpful and welcoming! And a big thank you to the authors (and publishers). Events like these give us readers a rare, but awesome opportunity to meet the mastermind behind our favorite book/story and for that, I thank you :D

Here's to hoping more author signings make it to Southern Cali <3