Saturday, June 30, 2012

Changeling by Philippa Gregory

So, I am a huge Philippa Gregory fan! I have read almost all of her adult books. I read the entire The Other Boleyn Girl in a bookstore. And that my friends, is an accomplishment; the book is massive. I actually was not really impressed with the movie, despite my love for both starring ladies. But that’s beside the point. When I venture out of my kingdom of YA awesomeness, it’s usually on a quest for a good adult fantasy or historical fiction novel. And Gregory so knows how to write historical fiction! (My favorite is The Queen’s Fool).
This is her first YA book. I picked it up right after it came out. It’s different from her adult books because her adult books tend to be about actual people in history. And these characters are all fictional. That, and this was way less steamy…
The book is about two people: Luca and Isolde. Luca has been recruited by a special order (run by the Pope). He stood out to people as being overly curious and thoughtful, not necessarily great characteristics to have in a monastery in 1453. But instead of being burned to death or tortured, Luca is pulled aside to go on specials missions for the order, which believes the end of the world is approaching. He’s hired to seek truths and to lead inquiries. Inquiries in this case mean a formal way of asking a lot of questions to all people involved and figuring out who is guilty of what. He also needs to make sure that those guilty receive justice or punishment, all in the name of the Pope and God.
Isolde is a girl who just lost her father. She was brought up with a lot of money, land, and power. Her father planned on her maintaining the lands in Italy, and her brother taking over the lands in France. But, according to her brother, their father, on his deathbed changed his will. Isolde has to choose between marrying a close friend of her brother’s or joining the local nunnery. She is given no time to grieve, and the night she is to make her decision, her brother’s friend comes into her room and tries to take advantage of her. Isolde fights back with fire (literally), and knocks him unconscious. The next day, it is decided for her that she go to the nunnery.
How do these two characters meet up? Well, the first place Luca is mysteriously assigned to go is the nunnery Isolde is sent to. Apparently, since Isolde’s arrival there have been many strange occurrences. Girls have been sleep-walking, going mad, waking up with holes in their hands (as if they’ve been crucified), and the whole house seems to be in utter chaos. The first night Luca stays there, he witnesses a girl a sleep-walking who has the marks on her hands.
A series of interviews take place. And the longer Luca is there, the more it seems as though Isolde is the cause for all the problems. And while most of the book takes place at the nunnery, around the mystery of the nuns, a nice chunk of it takes place outside it, once it’s been decided that Isolde’s brother and the Lady Almoner were the guilty party. Yet, even though Isolde’s brother seriously schemed to get the land and the gold he learned that was part of it, there’s nothing really he can be accused of. Technically women at the time period were not entitled to inheritance. This doesn’t stop Isolde from coming up with a plan to try to win it  back though!
There’s crazy nuns, gold, underground prisons, religion presented in a very scary light, kidnappings, horse riding, adventures, mysteries, a lot of truth finding, and a lot of beautiful historical background for this one. After the nunnery, the group of character set off to right more wrongs, and are immediately involved with a supposed werewolf! There’s hints of supernatural elements, though for the most part these are dismissed with logical reasoning.
I loved the side characters. Both Isolde and Luca had best friends that seriously made this novel work so well. Israq was by far one of my all time favorite characters! I loved how good she was at defending herself and her friend. I also loved how pretty the book was. It has a beautiful map inside and little drawings/illustrations scattered throughout.
I’m just not really sure as to why this particular topic was deemed YA. I found this period of history really interesting. It’s not a period I know a lot about, so I liked getting some new historical perspective. It’s just not necessarily the period I would choose to branch out into YA. A lot of it actually reminded me of the Canterbury Tales. I was an English major in college, and well, I love that book, but I don’t see a lot of young adults searching for read-a-likes of it.
I also felt like the layout was kind of weird. Like 85% took place in the nunnery, and I liked the stuff that happened outside of it; it’s really important. I just feel like that part could have extended more. The werewolf story was so much shorter than the nun story, and I really loved the werewolf story…Though, from reading the Author’s Note at the end, I learned that there will be more books in this series, so I guess more adventures are to come! I will certainly continue reading them I give this one a 8/10.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Shine by Jeri Simth-Ready

So, I just reviewed Shift and was actually halfway done with this one by the time I posted my review. I know I said that book 2 was my favorite, but I’m pretty sure this one is in fact the best one in the series. I just loved it.  Book one was sort of like the introduction to the creepy ghost world and an introduction to the drama. Book 2 then was all about the drama and figuring out the ghosts. And now book 3 was just pure action, romance, and Irish folklore! Does any of that sound bad?
So, Logan has finally moved on. For real. And Zachary has to fly home because of a lot of stuff that went down in book 2. But Aura and Zachary have super cute, romantic plans to meet up in Ireland before Christmas. They want some time alone. But, also, they want to go where their parents were before the shift. They want to get some final answers.
The book begins right after Aura and Zachary part ways. She keeps checking her phone to make sure that his flight gets in fine, and right when it get to the obsessive point where I was questioning the need of Aura’s paranoia, I learn that the plane crashed, or I guess, more like exploded. And for a brief moment, I really thought Aura had lost both Logan and Zachary.
Then it’s found out that Zachary and family were not on the plane. Zachary was detained by Logan making a small detour to his final goodbye with Aura. Logan knew that after kissing Aura that Zachary could see ghosts, and took his moment to chat with him about Aura. Little did Logan know he was saving Zachary’s life.
Too bad for Zachary, a witness saw him talking to a ghost, something he shouldn’t be able to do. And well the bad guys then of course pin the plane crash on him because he and his parents were the only passengers not to get on. And while it soon becomes clear to everyone that Zach was not responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people, the bad guys still find it necessary to lock him up and experiment on him to see how it was possible for him to speak with ghosts. They actually take him to the place they wanted to take him and Aura in book 2.
See what I mean about the action? Aura and her friends (the rest of Logan’s family) try everything they can think of to get Zachary out of the science labs he is in. She even goes as far as attempting to break in to their headquarters. Eventually Aura gets some knowledge, through spying, that helps save her boyfriend. And there’s this really hard scene to read when Zachary is finally released, and looks starving and beaten up, and well just plain tortured. And Aura is not allowed to touch him; he has to go directly on to his plane into the UK with not physical contact with anyone in the US.
The majority of the rest of the book takes place in Ireland when Aura finally gets to see and touch Zachary again. And again, the romance is hot! Really, this book has some serious adult romance novel characteristics and I am not complaining at all. And there is a lot learned in Ireland about shades, cults, relics, the shift, and politics. It’s not all romance in Ireland. It’s also keeping on the run from dangerous spies, attempting to end the shift, an American ghost related draft, kidnappings, knife wounds, a cult that wants Aura to get pregnant (so gross!), bar fights, gun wounds, hospitals, college acceptances, and some pretty world-changing events.
Have I mentioned how awesome this book was? There was never a dull moment. I read it in a matter of hours. I loved getting to see the UK through Aura’s eyes. I loved the Irish folklore and the wishing tree. I loved Aura and Zach’s relationship. And I loved how this book could accomplish so many things. And I’m not just talking about plot or even character. This book can be joking about bikinis one second, then covering some serious stuff about grief and loss the next second. What went down with Zachary was intense.
And again, I did love the plot too! So much happened here. And I loved the new characters like Zachary’s friends who get into an epic brawl to protect him. I give this one a 10/10. And I highly recommend this series as a whole, particularly to romance fans.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to show what books we are most aniticipating.
This Wednesday, I’m really waiting on Sever by Lauren DeStefano.

Description on Good Reads:
What if you knew exactly when you would die? In the not-too-distant future, genetic engineering has turned every newborn into a ticking time bomb — males only live to age 25 and females only live to age 20.

In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out. When 16-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by "the Gatherers" to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Rhine has only one purpose after she has been married to her new husband, Linden: to escape and find her twin brother.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant to whom she is dangerously attracted, Rhine is desperate to learn the truth and protect those closest to her. But, as her sister wife Cecily keeps insisting, her role may be much bigger than that.

In the first two books of the Chemical Garden trilogy, Wither and Fever, Rhine struggles to escape the mansion and then to navigate the brutal world outside. Now in Sever, the third and final book, Rhine uncovers some shattering truths about the past that her parents never had the chance to tell her and the alarming implications regarding her own genes. She may be the one who can save the human race.
The description is mostly about the first two books…but still. It sort of summed everything up really nicely and has got me so excited for book 3! I’m so ready to get some answers!The cover looks gorgeous, and that is no surprise. DeStefano has some of my all time favorite YA book covers. What book are you really waiting for?

Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready

This is a book 2. I read the first one last month. You can read my review for Shade here (Review for Shade). I try not to buy more than one book in a series at a time because what if I decide I don’t like it later? But, I totally went against my rules and bought both this one and Shine (book 3) at the same time. After the first book, I knew I would need to read the full story.
It takes place not too long after the first book finished. (I am going to spoil some things from the first book now.) The first book ended with Aura’s ghost boyfriend, Logan, turning shade (aka: evil spirit) live in front of a concert audience when he was supposed to pass on to a better place. And this one starts with Aura refusing to let go of Logan.
She knows she was able to help Logan turn from shade to ghost before and believes she can do it again. And every night she listens to his music and calls for him to come back. Meanwhile, Zachary, the last person born unable to see ghosts (compared to Aura’s being the first person able to see them), is patiently waiting for Aura to let Logan go, so they can be a happy and alive couple. And Aura is finally in a place where she is about to let go, and even go on a date with Zachary the next day, when Logan with his “perfect” timing shows up in her room. He’s a shade, but Aura helps to quickly get him back in ghost form. And then something amazing happens.
Logan becomes human. And what would any teen girl do when the love of her life is suddenly touchable again? Well, they touch…And try to have sex, again…The operative word here is “try,” because just when things are getting really steamy, Logan goes back to being a ghost. And then of course the next day Aura has the most romantic date ever with Zachary, who she actually bravely tells about Logan.
There’s a lot of love triangle drama. Zachary then asks Aura’s least favorite person to the prom, taking back his prom offering to her. And Aura ends things with Logan. And just when the two love-birds finally work things out, Zachary’s dad gets cancer. And because it’s learned that both Zachary’s dad and Aura’s mom both were at the same place for a creepy, shining equinox 19 years ago, and then both later got lung cancer, the two them of course can’t be together because they are afraid of the possible consequences their relationship will have. Or more accurately, Zachary is afraid their relationship will somehow hurt Aura.
They do have some sizzling moments though before this where it is learned that when Zachary and Aura make out, they rub off on each other. Aura can repel ghosts like Zachary can. And Zachary can see them like Aura can (for a few minutes). The two also have to work together to find out all they can about the shift and equinox and find it out before the wrong people do. The teacher helping them with the research has to flee the country, but leaves behind cryptic clues for them to solve.
There’s chase scenes, epic concerts, kidnapping, really hot romance scenes by a river, conversations with ghosts, helping people move on from loss, prom, another boy added to the boy drama of Aura’s life (now it’s a love square?), clues, missing journal pages found, answers about Aura’s mother and father, more secrets, lots of music, and some plain old amazing teen drama!
Normally, the second book in any series/trilogy is my least favorite. So far, it’s the opposite. What a great sequel! The romance was pure amazing! A lot of my questions were answered, but just enough of them were still left open for book 3. So much makes sense now.  Once you learn about how similar Aura’s experiences are to those of her mother’s everything kind of just fits into place.
I really love Zachary even more. He shows up to prom in a kilt! Really, words cannot express my love for this fictional character; he just seems so real! Aura is so real too. She makes all the mistakes a teenage girl should make, and learn from. And she’s just so honest. Sometimes while reading, I’d slap the book and put it down just because I could not imagine anyone being so brave as her in what she was honest about.
The only thing that sort of bothered me here was just how convenient a lot of things were. Like, it’s rather convenient that Zachary ended up where he did. And it’s rather convenient that they lived in the same place as their mentor who was studying astronomy and monoliths too. And then of course all the adults involved end up in the same town. I mean I get that this needed to happen for the plot to do what it did, but still, it was very noticeable in this book how convenient certain things were.
I still give this one a 10/10 if anything just for some of my favorite YA drama/romance. I already started book 3, and whoa, it has already sucked me in. Really, Smith-Ready has taken a classic ghost story idea, and just made it so unique, and so hot. Points to her!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Croak by Gina Damico

First, I wanted to congratulate the winners of my last two giveaways! The winner of the Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop on Nori’s Closet was: Heather. And the winner of my 200 Followers Giveaway was: Lyan. Congrats Heather and Lyan! Your books are on their way!
On to my review, I bought Croak shortly after it came out because I somehow magically missed it on Net Galley, and I read some fantastic reviews from some of my favorite bloggers for it. Also, I seriously love all grim reaper tales. I became fascinated with them after the Showtime show, “Dead like Me,” which was super amazing, but then just ended super quickly.
I soon learned this book then dealt with special powers, twins, a kick-butt main girl character, upstate New York (where I went to college!), and so many just plain awesome things that I knew it would be hard for me not to like it. I don’t think it has the most appealing cover, and the more I read the book, the more the cover made sense, but still…It’s not a cover that will draw you in immediately at the book store, which is sad because I really feel like this book should get more attention that it does.
It’s about Lex, a girl famous in her school for being sent to the principle’s office, or I guess even more famous for hitting people. She’s gotten into a lot of fights at school, is disrespectful to just about everyone, and for some reason she just doesn’t know why. She used to be normal, and then one day she just cracked and broke away from everything that was normal to wear black hoodies, beat people up, and sarcastically comment on everything. And this is different. Normally a person who’s not crazy, can at least guess as to why they act the way they do. And if they don’t, they can lie to themselves or make excuses for why they do certain things. Lex has no clue and never really lies to herself, or even makes excuses for herself. She just acts awful, and well plain doesn’t know why.
Her twin sister and her mother and father love her to pieces, and really try to help her, but it’s decided in the beginning of the book that Lex needs to spend the summer with her Uncle Mort, in upstate New York, where hopefully a more rural lifestyle can work to turn her around. Lex hates this plan. And so does her twin. While her twin gets that something is wrong with Lex, she’s also the only one who doesn’t seem to be so bothered by her.
When Lex get to her uncle’s it soon becomes painstakingly clear that Croak is no ordinary town; it’s actually run completely by reapers. At first, Lex thinks her uncle is crazy, but then she comes to love the guy. She loves learning that there is a reason for her sudden change in attitude. And she comes to realize that she’s really good at reaping, better than almost everyone. She also makes a lot of friends in Croak and fits in with other teens who all do what she does. The only difference is all the other teens don’t have loving families. Croak is sort of their rescue and Lex stands out a little because she has a family who expects her to return to them after summer ends.
Also living with her uncle, is the adorable Driggs. Driggs is her partner. In reaper teams, there’s the killer and there’s the culler. The killer touches an already dead body and releases its soul. Cullers collect the souls and bring them back to Croak or other reaper towns where they are then released into the afterlife. Lex is so clearly the killer. The only issue is that Lex feels pain with each kill and no other reaper does. She also has a strong urge to go after the bad people she sees on her missions to release souls. Why should she let murders get away? She also seems to be more talented than anyone else. She’s stronger and she soon realizes she can also set things on fire…
With special reaper abilities that no one else seems to have, the important job of releasing souls, a cute reaping partner, drinking, new friendships, jellyfish, giant spiders, family drama, and then all of the action packed mystery of a reaper serial killer, Lex’s summer is anything but boring.
I loved the strangeness/quirkiness of this book. Damico has such a unique voice. The writing style of this book reminded me a lot of the writing style of the movie “Juno.” The humor and sarcasm are unique. The strange inventions, jellyfish, crazy dead people in the afterlife, and all of the weird fun stuff used to build such a different world, were amazing! The town was kind of like Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls, but with a dark, supernatural twist. And really, I don’t think I could compliment the town of Croak any more. Everything from the small characters like bartenders to the drinks with magical qualities to them, to the scythes was just so creative and so well planned out.
I’m not going to lie though; it took me a little while to get used to what I’m calling the book’s quirkiness. At first I wasn’t sure I liked it. It originally kind of felt like the author was trying too hard to sound different. But eventually, I just got so caught up in the story that I can’t imagine the author having any other voice. I put a post-it on this scene:
“Well,” their mother said after a moment, “I think that’s wonderful. You seem to be doing marvelously, you haven’t gotten into any trouble, and you made friends with a chicken!” She beamed at her daughter. “What a wonderful opportunity you’ve had, Lex”(223).
 And I guess out of context that might be a weird passage to highlight, but it was just timed so perfectly. I could just imagine in her mother’s high-pitched, over-the-top enthusiasm for something her daughter completely just made up on the spot.
I give this one a 10/10. It was just so creative. The writing was excellent. The characters were amazing. I’m looking forward to book 2.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Good Week in Books (11)

So, I have fallen drastically behind in everything this week! I have been on top of my giveaway winners though. And once my second winner emails me back, I will make sure to announce both of them. I’ve just been so sick! I have had the world’s most painful ear infection. In fact, I still have it 3 days later, but the pain has been cut in half today so, I figured I’d rush to my computer in case it got bad again later. Seriously, I’ve been in so much pain, I’ve only really read one book. Mostly I’ve been sleeping and watching Pretty Little Liars.
I got one Net Galley read and I went used book shopping earlier in the week (to two different stores that I love and got a good pile of books! I know I have some great books coming to me. One will be for review. And I also won five books from another blog, but I haven’t gotten them yet. I think I’ll most likely include all those books next week, once I have them all. So excited!
This is what I received from Net Galley (Thank you Random House Children’s Books!):
by Elise Chapmant (comes out 2/26/13). It just sounds like such an interesting/new dystopia!

These are the beauties I picked up used. They are all in seriously awesome condition, and I saved so much money on them!
I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You
by Ally Carter

the goose girl by Shannon Hale

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (How have I not read this one already?)

The Agency: The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y.S. Lee (I can’t believe I found a used copy of this one already. It only recently came out!)

Forgotten by Cat Patrick (Loved her other book!)

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow (I actually own the others in this series, but not the first one…so now I can start from book 1)

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (I met this author not too long ago, and she made this book sound soooooo good!)

How was your week in books?

Monday, June 18, 2012

200 Followers Giveaway!

I am in shock. I can’t believe I have over 200 followers already! I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now, and I can’t imagine a time now when I won’t be blogging. I did a little used book shopping tonight, and will post about the books I got on Sunday, but I got into a serious John Green conversation with a girl and her dad, and I’m pretty sure I convinced them to just buy everything the man has ever written.
Don’t ever go book shopping with me; it’s dangerous. I will have you spending so much money on books.
Talking about books gets me sidetracked. To celebrate my awesome followers, I thought I’d do a giveaway to followers only. All you have to do to enter is follow my blog, and follow me on Twitter if you’d like. No extra hoops. And I’m offering up your choice of one of the following books:

Angel Burn
by L.A. Weatherly
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Starters Lissa Price
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Clarity by Kim Harrington
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
These are all books I’ve read in the past year that I feel do not get the amount of hype and love they deserve. They were all awesome and I want to share the awesome with you!
My standard rules apply. If you win, I’ll email you, and you will have 48 hours to respond to me with your shipping address and book choice or I’ll pick a different winner. (US only).
Thanks for following my blog! And good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Good Week in Books (10)

So, I’ve been having a lot of good weeks in books lately! I bought three books, one of which I got signed! I got two new ones from Net Galley. And I got one ARC sent to me from an awesome author who wants me to review it on Nori’s Closet!!!
I bought these gorgeous books:
by Lauren Kate (signed)
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead (I already read/reviewed the ARC, but I had to get a finished copy for my collection!)
 I got these guys on Net Galley. Thank you Angry Robot and CreateSpace.

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke (comes out 10/2/12)
Painted Blind by Micelle A. Hansen (published already)
And I got this ARC along with a nice letter in the mail the other day. Thank you, Ned Vizzini! And thank you, Eti for liking my blog so much!
The Other Normals
by Ned Vizzini (signed / comes out October 2012)
How was your week in books?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Meeting Lauren Kate

What did I do yesterday on my day off from the bookstore? I went to the bookstore of course, to meet Lauren Kate and get her latest book signed!
I sort of realized I’m a little behind in my Lauren Kate reading. I own all her books, but I don’t think I’ve read them all. There are two I need to read…But that’s okay. I will get to them. A) Her covers are just too pretty, B) The romance in them is so addicting, and C) Lauren Kate, herself, is just so awesome.
I loved getting a chance to hear what inspired her, how her writing process works, and what it feels like to be done with a whole YA series. She mentioned a new book she was working on (separate from this series) and I’m excited to see what else Lauren Kate will write! She was just such a fun person to listen to. You could tell that she is one of those lucky people who just loves what they get paid to do.
I also loved how focused her fans were. I swear it was the quietest line I ever waited in, to get a book signed. All the girls in front of me and behind me were focused on what Lauren Kate was saying to each individual. At first this weirded me out a little. But, then I joined in and learned that movie rights were released for Fallen!
I have to give points to Barnes and Noble for just being so awesome and having another fantastic signing. I’m glad I spent my time off there.
Picture time! Here’s one of me with Lauren Kate!

And here’s my signed copy of Rapture!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

So words cannot quite express the amount of excitement I had for this book’s release. I absolutely loved Cashore’s other two books: Graceling and Fire.  I remember talking about Fire with a friend who’d read it before me. She told me it was better than Graceling, and of course my response was, “How can anything be better than Graceling?” And now when I find myself describing these books to people, I find myself leaning more toward Fire than I originally thought I would.
It is a rarity for me to ever really like book 2 more than book 1. Needless to say, I had high hopes for this one. I didn’t like this one more than Fire, but I was still really impressed with it. Instead of making this book about someone graced with a powerful ability or about someone considered a monster for their rarity and gifts, Cashore finally writes a book about someone normal…or as normal as a queen with no magical abilities can be. And while the characters of her other books lived through some seriously harsh situations, they always seemed to epitomize the word strength to me. They always kicked some serious butt. And I loved them for this.
Bitterblue, lacking in a grace, kind of comes across as the opposite. And it took me a little while longer than I was expecting to love her as a character. Sure, I felt sorry for her immediately. Her life was anything but easy. But, I didn’t love her until she really seemed to take on her role as queen, and my goodness did she take this role to heart.
The book takes place almost a decade after King Leck’s death. Leck, Bitterblue’s father, was as evil as evil tyrants come. He was graced with the ability to control people’s minds. And he did some extremely horrifying things with his ability. Bitterblue knows which people she shouldn’t mention Leck around at all, because each person who suffered through the man’s reign, is still suffering afterwards.
A lot of this book deals with truth. It’s about Bitterblue learning the truth about what her father really did, beyond what she saw. It’s about her advisers wanting to keep the truth about King Leck at a distance from Bitterblue and away from everyone it could hurt. It’s about keeping certain truths to yourself out of fear. And then of course it’s about dealing with the truth and suriviving with it, after you know it.
Bitterblue, in a rather Jasmine-ish fashion has to escape the confines of her castle at night, dressed as a man, to explore the land she is meant to be the ruler of. She finds herself loving the nightlife and learning about her people by going to various pubs and listening to stories. People tell stories about history, about King Leck, about Bitterblue’s famous and wonderful friends, and about so many things that Bitterblue has never heard. And these stories begin her quest for truth. Why does no one in her kingdom seem able to read, even when her advisors say that most can? And why is nothing quite as she is told it should be?
She befriends a thief and printer (Saphire and Teddy), and pretends to be someone she’s not. She learns about truth-seekers and people who work to steal things back from King Leck. Her new friends steal things her father had stolen and give them back to their rightful owners (in a Robin hood type fashion). Though, in a lot of cases, the things go to the owner’s children because most of the owners were killed by Leck.
There’s revolutions, new lands discovered, old friends joining up with new friends, romance, treason, hidden passageways, mazes, art, prisons, lots of betrayals, lots of owning up to past lies, kidnapping attempts, fighting, suicide, depression, and so much planning!
This was not an easy book to read. So much of it dealt with recovery. Leck raped, tortured, experimented on, ruined, and hurt so many people. The extent of his evil is fully learned by Bitterblue, after much digging, deciphering, and learning. All of the adults in this book had suffered so much. Everyone has lost someone. And it was horrifying to think of all the damage just one man could create.
I loved the power of words in this book! Between one character writing a book of words, all the characters writing in code, the bars where stories were told, the embroidered words Bitterblue’s mother left for her in her blankets, the journals Bitterblue and her awesome librarian deciphered and managed to use to learn about Leck, the powerless people’s illiteracy, and the illegal printing presses, so much seemed to about language, and it all connected so beautifully!
I also grew to love Bitterblue. Instead of complaining about her ignorance, she did something about it. She learned from her mistakes, and she went about solving her problems so bravely. She’s such an intelligent and loyal main character. Her attachment with characters from the other books was wonderful. Her friendships with people in the castle were adorable. And I loved how much she wanted to learn, how much she wanted to be queen, and how much she wanted people to be able to move on.
It did move a little too slowly for my liking. I’m not sure all the stuff about the revolutions and wars amongst the other kingdoms was necessary. Though, I really did end up feeling as Bitterblue felt, so frustrated and impatient for news or things to happen, and incapable of making them happen myself. Cashore knows how to write characters, create worlds, instigate action, prolong nice romance, and really just make a fantastic book.
I give this one a 10/10. I did not like it as much as the other two, but I really can’t find much in the ways of flaws. As with the first two, I’m still letting this book sink in a bit. I really hope Cashore continues to write, and I look forward to anything she would have to say in the future.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop

Thank you I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting another fabulous blog hop!
If anyone needs to clear some space on her bookshelves, it would most definitely be me. And to really make some space, I would need to give away at least three books, so that’s what I’m doing!
My standard rules apply: I will email a winner as soon as the giveaway is over, and you will have 48 hours to respond to my email with a shipping address. Otherwise, I will pick a different winner. I am only offering this giveaway to those in the U.S.
I like to give people options, too. So, if you win, you will have a choice between two options (each would give you 3 free books!).
Option 1:
The Hunter’s Moon
by O.R. Melling
The Summer King by O.R. Melling
The Light-Bearer’s Duaghter by O.R. Melling
(All of these books have been read once. They are all paperbacks. And they’re kind of the books that got me interested in YA fairies.)
Or you can pick option 2:
Black hole Sun
by David Macinnis Gill
Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Shadowcry by Jenna Burtenshaw
(Gill’s and Pfeffer’s books have never been read. Shadowcry and Blood Wounds are hard covers and Black Hole Sun is in paperback.)
Whatever option does not get picked by the winner, will most likely be given away at a later time on my blog.
To see the other blogs participating, keep scrolling down to the end of this post, or just click on the picture (of the bookcase) at the top of the post.
Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Good Week in Books (9)

I had a relatively good week in books! I bought two more books with my special discount at work. I got one new one on Net Galley. I got another book to review for Romantic Times. And I was given a Barnes and Noble gift card from one of the coolest parent volunteers ever, and got three more new ones!
With my discount, I got these (I already own the other Smith-Ready books and I somehow have the sequel already to Carter’s book, so now my series are complete!):
by Jeri Smith-Ready

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

From Net Galley (thank you Disney Hyperion!):
Dark Star
by Bethany Frenette (comes out 10/23/12)

To review for RT:
Until Next Time
by Amy Lignor

With my gift card, I got these beauties:
by Myra McEntire

Witches of East End
by Melissa De La Cruz

Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo (I already read this one and reviewed it, but I just had to own a physical copy of it –that’s how much I loved it).

How was your week in books?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hidden by Sophie Jordan

I got this ARC at the RT Booklovers Convention. It doesn’t come out until 9/11/12.  It’s the third and final installment to the Firelight trilogy. I had a ball reading these books by Sophie Jordan! The whole dragons-can-sometimes-be-human-idea is fantastic! There’s dragons, love triangles, crazy societies, hunters, fire breathing, twin sisters, flying, and so much fighting for what is right. What’s not to love? It took me a little longer to read this book than I thought it would, but I think part of it was because I had a feeling for how it would end, and I wasn’t sure I wanted it to go there.
Any way, it starts immediately after book two finishes. Jacinda, Will, and Cassian go right into their plan for rescuing Cassian’s annoying sister.  And the plan is for Jacinda to go in as bait. After a long, painful day as bait (where Jacinda witnesses all the other draki (aka: dragons) who have slowly been experimented on and tortured, she and her friends manage to infiltrate the system, save Cassian’s sister, and free the other draki.
And this is only the very beginning of the book…So much happens in this one. Things are found out about Jacinda’s father. They meet some interesting new draki, including a love interest (finally) for Tamra (Jacinda’s twin). After the escape, the teens are running for their lives, constantly being followed by hunters. And soon, Jacinda figures out that one of them has a locating chip in their head! All the scenes with just Jacinda, Will, and Cassian were fabulous. And it becomes clearer and clearer that there is no triangle. It’s just Will. Though, there’s a lot of arguments between Jacinda and Will about Jacinda always picking her pride (which she hates) over him. And I thought this was so real and interesting to read about!
The gang eventually has to return to the pride. There’s the matter of saving one girl, getting revenge/justice, and helping a new friend. Things change quickly for the draki society. There’s one crazy, full-out battle between the pride and the hunters. There’s some death, a lot of injuries, and definitely a broken heart or two. I’m not going to spoil the end. Just know that it was full of action, realizations, and awesome!
I loved this book! I did predict all the major plot points, and at first this was irritating, but then it wasn’t. Jordan writes the predictable well. I just got so c aught up in the romance and the action, that the predictability took the way back seat. The romance between Jacinda and Will was so hot! I loved how things ended for Jacinda’s pride.  And I love how brave and loyal Jacinda was. She’s such a great main character!
There were two things that really bothered me though. One, was the whole death being taken back thing. One character seemed to have really died, but then it turns out, didn’t. And I hate when authors do this because it makes me feel so stupid for believing it. But then Jordan did this again with another character. And after two characters weren’t dead, I found myself kind of angry, and not very trusting. What about the other characters who are believed dead? Is everyone fair game? Was the author too afraid to kill major characters? I just thought doing this twice was overkill. Once was acceptable, but twice just made me loose too much faith in everything in front of me.
And the second thing that kept nagging at me was this: why was it such a big deal for the humans not to know that dragons were also human? I wanted them to know so bad! While I don’t think all hunters/creepy torturers would stop what they were doing, it would make them all re-evaluate something about their jobs. And why is this so bad?
There are a few times (between the first book and this one) where people see that dragons are people, and then I was always like, “Yes! Finally!” But then the dragons would conveniently erase the knowledge from people’s brains. It was kind of like the author killing people, and then bringing them back. I kind of think the story would have been more interesting if stuff wasn’t always being taken back. Bad things can happen in books, and when they keep getting taken back, I feel like I’m getting a sugar-coated version of the real story.
Besides the stuff being taken back, I did really love this one. I was hooked from the action of the first pages. And I probably would have read it even if there was no action because the romance was just that good! I give it a 8/10. And I will definitely keep my eyes open for more things from this author.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dark Days Tour

 Elizabeth Norris, Aprilynne Pike, Veronica Roth, and Bethany Griffin

Yesterday, after work, I went to the Evanston Public Library for a Dark Days Tour Stop, hosted by the library and by the Book Stall (a bookstore in Winnetka). At the event, were authors: Veronica Roth, Bethany Griffin, Elizabeth Norris, and Aprilynne Pike.
I got there early enough to sit in the first row for the Q&A part of the evening. I felt a little bad for the other authors, when the majority of the questions were asked to Veronica Roth. And then I felt even worse when the lining up for the book signings began and Veronica’s line filled up the whole space. I was glad though that the other authors were there. And I brought along my copies of Insurgent, Masque of the Red Death, and Unraveling, the latter two I still need to read, but am now even more excited to do so.
I went and got my books signed by Norris and Griffin first. I haven’t read anything by Pike yet, and I don’t own any of her work, though, as a person she sounded awesome and I have a feeling I will read her stuff eventually. Thankfully, I thought ahead enough to bring my books with me so I wouldn’t have to buy them.
What I really loved about this event was the enthusiasm in the room! There were people of all ages (most between the ages of 10 and 30). And everyone was so excited to get their books signed. And more than that people were excited to hear Veronica Roth speak. As soon as a question was asked to her, the whole room would go eerily silent. And I was seeing some crazy amounts of focus from the kids in the room.
I also loved having the chance to talk to fellow YA fans, and these were some of the things I got to talk about yesterday: Peeta versus Gale, Matched versus Delirium, favorite YA heroines, The Vampire Academy, the upcoming Immortal Instruments movie, Harry Potter accessories, Leaky Con, John Green, YA blogs and YouTube channels, and so much more! Really, YA fans are just some of the coolest people ever.
All in all, I had a lot of fun, and I’m super glad that I had the opportunity to attend this one.
Also, got some awesome pictures!

This is a picture of Veronica Roth and me! And then here’s my signed copy of Insurgent (!):

This is a picture of Elizabeth Norris and me! And then here’s my signed copy of Unraveling (!):

This is a picture of Bethany Griffin and me! And then here’s my signed copy of Masque of the Red Death (!):