Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Diviners by Libba Bray

So, where to start? I borrowed this ARC from my friend, Eti! Thanks Eti, again, for just being so wonderful! I’ve had a lot of review deadlines to keep up with, but did this stop me from reading Bray’s latest as soon as I could? Absolutely not! There are a few authors I call trump authors, whose new books go first above almost all else. Not only is Bray a trump author, she is literally a YA author I would feel the need to bow down to if I ever met her, and quote Wayne’s World, “We’re not worthy. We’re not worthy.”
Her book Beauty Queens was my favorite book of 2011. Her first series that started with A Great and Terrible Beauty was the perfect book for me when I read it as a teenager. Her Michael L. Printz award winning book, Going Bovine blew my mind in its strange awesomeness. And now, she has impressed me to the max yet again with this one! Why do I feel like I’m announcing her to speak at some major event? I would just love to be at an event where Libba Bray I speaking! Maybe one day? I wish she was going to Leaky Con… ah well.
Any way, can you tell already how much I loved this book? It did take a while to read. Though, mostly this is because I borrowed the book, and then belatedly realized it was signed, and made the responsible decision to only read it at home (meaning, I did not take it to the beach or with me on my vacation even though I was already half way through it at that point).
It’s mostly about Evie, a girl with the ability to touch an object and sense things about the person who owns that object. She can see memories, hear hummed songs, and really get a feel for the person the object belonged to –sometimes even knowing what that person ate that day for lunch. It’s because Evie uses this ability at a party, bringing light to an affair no one was supposed to know about, that her parents send her to live with her eccentric uncle in New York City.
Little do Evie’s parents know that she is more than fine with such a punishment to avoid scandal. To small town Evie, a 1920’s NYC is all about parties, hair-do’s, illegal night clubs, and shining lights. And while the book revolves around Evie, there are plenty of chapters that follow other amazing characters. There’s my favorite character, Memphis, a young man who takes numbers for a living, who used to be able to heal people with the touch of his hands. He’s taking care of his little brother (along with his religious aunt). His brother can sometimes see the future and is learning to “see” the numbers of cards from their backs.
There’s Theta and Henry too. Theta is a showgirl and she lives with Henry, a young man that saved her from some seriously harsh circumstances. They pretend to be brother in sister in the building Evie’s uncle lives in. And it’s hinted at that they have abilities of their own as well.  And sometimes the book also shifts to the point of view Sam, a man head over heels for Evie, who has the ability to hide in front of people’s faces. All he has to do is tell them they don’t see him. He’s the perfect thief!
And while I’m making this book sound like a feast of supernatural elements, it’s not. The supernatural is a very small part of this novel, something most of the characters keep hidden for the whole thing. It’s just what connects all these people together, even though only a couple of the characters have seen any of this connection.
Evie’s uncle Will works for The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult (aka: The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies). Evie’s goal to bring more people into the mostly empty museum becomes rather easy to accomplish when Will gets involved with a police investigation of some rather occult sounding murders. The serial killer has gathered a lot of interest around NYC, having gone after all sorts of people from different backgrounds who don’t seem to be connected at all. But the creepy thing that gathers all the interest is the pieces of the bodies the killer takes with him (anything from hands to skin).
Evie talks to the papers and gets people interested in the museum again. She also realizes she has the ability to help with the murder investigation because she has some unique skills. It soon becomes clear that the serial killer doesn’t just seem supernatural, he is. He’s a ghost and it’s up to Evie, her uncle, and her new friends to stop the killings before more innocent people are killed and before some serious dark powers can come bring about the end of the world.
This book is part coming of age story, part murder mystery, part horror story, part romance, part historical drama, and part supernatural thriller. It literally had me laughing out loud at one point, on the edge of my seat –biting my nails another moment, terrified to turn the lights off before bed at another time, and crying for the dark circumstances war has brought to some of these characters another moment. This book just did so many things for me all at once.
There’s dancing in night clubs, getting arrested for alcohol consumption, supernatural powers, unfair politics regarding class, gender, and race, Harlem poetry, movie houses, religious cults, a resurrected dead serial killer, prophecies, love triangles, thieves, union organizing, just a tidbit of steam punk, death, and some pure awesome moments that I can’t eve put down on paper.
The best thing about this book was hands-down the fantastic writing. There were moments where I was like, “Am I reading Libba Bray or am I reading Sherwood Anderson?” There were fantastic descriptions of NYC that battled with some of the descriptions in Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. There was this common thread of talking about all that the wind saw and heard, and it was just so beautiful. I literally paused after reading certain sections, thought for a bit, and then re-read out loud. Some of this writing is so good, it needs to be read out loud! Normally, I’d post a few of my favorite passages, but since it’s an ARC I really can’t quote it accurately. I might have to come back to this post once the book is out, and I have bought it, so I can throw in some amazing quotes!
The characters were amazing! All were flawed in some way that made them all the more believable. And all of them were connected so well! It took me a little while to warm up to Evie. Underneath all of her girly sarcasm and material obsessions (and love for booze), is a caring, loving human being who still has so much more to learn, experience, and grow. I absolutely loved Jericho, Uncle Will’s sort of apprentice/co-worker/ward. And I loved the history! The 1920’s came to life in this book for me more than the time period ever has before in a movie.
I need to stop writing. I could praise this book forever. Really. It is a little bit slow in the beginning. It took a while for the whole premise to be setup for all the characters. But, whatever you do, do not give up on this book because of its slow beginning. It will be worth your while to get to all the juicy, romantic, and terrifying scenes!
I love, love, loved this one. It definitely gets a 10/10 from me.  And I seriously can’t wait for its release. Libba Bray, I bow down to you. Really, I do. Please don’t ever stop writing.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

I read this one coming back from my vacation. I started it at my terminal in Boston and finished it at the airport in Chicago, waiting for my ride. What I’m saying is it took no time to read it. It went super fast, and worked as such a great travel book!
The book is about Charlotte and her “gift” that helps so many people. She gets these needs to go to certain people and tell them certain things. And at first they are sparse and far between. But the book begins when her needs are beginning to occur a lot more frequently. Normally, she gets this feeling that she needs to be somewhere, she goes, she touches someone, gets some memories from that person, says a few words, and then she’s done. Lately though her needs are not just more frequent, but they’re more powerful and painful. The longer she postpones helping the person who needs her, the more pain she receives. The longer she snags some alone time with her adorable boyfriend, the longer the pain.
And at first, the needs are not that bad. She really helps people. She saves lives. They really become a much bigger deal though when she starts losing her human skin, and gaining gold, shining skin instead. Her best friend and boyfriend are sort of used to her strange ways. Her friend believes she’s a psychic. And her foster family thinks she just has severe asthma attacks. She wears clothes to hide her new golden side.
But as her needs grow stronger and more frequent, Charlotte will do anything to get rid of them. She just wants to help her best friend with her family problems and make her boyfriend understand why she acts the way she does. And just when Charlotte starts getting answers, she realizes her time is limited. So much for the romantic future planned out with her boyfriend. Charlotte learns it’s her fate to help a lot of people and then to die. Not only is she meant to die, but everyone she has ever known will no longer remember she ever existed.
Time is running out as Charlotte and memories she shares with those closest to her are disappearing. But, Charlotte meets a woman who says she’s like her and says she survived, and Charlotte can too. But will Charlotte really be wiling to give up everything to stay alive? And could she live with herself if she didn’t help the people who needed her?
There’s a lot of classic good vs. evil elements here. There’s also some light elements of interesting tough stuff involving foster family, emotionally abusive fathers, drinking, and love. I loved the angel-like elements. Yet, Charlotte was never called an angel; she’s referred to as a forgotten. I like that Charlotte was so torn. She really did believe that helping people was a good thing. The only real reason she wanted to stay was her boyfriend who really did seem to be a soul-mate type guy. I’d want to stay for him too!
I loved Charlotte’s best friend. Though, some of the story arcs with her just seemed to come too easily. Like why did she think Charlotte was a psychic? Why was her friend someone who would believe that? There was a lot of creepy late night bus rides and a lot of shady people that needed saving. Charlotte never really judged these people either. She always kind of managed to see the good in people, which made her character so easy to like.
I loved the ending! I love little cliffhanger in the After part of the novel. It seriously makes me want to read book 2.  I give this one a 9/10 and I have a feeling I will be purchasing book 2 soon.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Good Week in Books (15)

I missed last week because I was on a vacation, with no computer. So, I will be talking about the books I received in the last two weeks. I have a lot to share! I purchased one book, received one from Net Galley, won one book from another blog, won one book from Epic Reads, and I got six new ARC’s from what my friend and I are now calling the magical Chicago bookstore.
I purchased The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse (this book looks so amazing!). And I received Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes edited by Georgia McBride and Michelle Zink (10/16/12) from Net Galley (Thank you Month9Books).

I won A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger from Kathy at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer (Thanks, Kathy!). And I won an ARC of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard from Epic Reads (if you haven’t checked out Epic Reads on Facebook yet, please do so. They have some seriously fantastic giveaways going.)

And these are the are the six amazing ARC’s I picked up at the magical bookstore:

Starling by Lesley Livingston (8/28/12)
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (9/18/12)
Entice by Jessica Shirvington (9/4/12)
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier (9/11/12)
Defiance by C.J. Redwine (8/28/12)
Delusion by Laura L. Sullivan (1/8/13)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

300 Followers Giveaway!

I thought I was in shock with 200 followers. Now, I guess I’m in double-shock! To celebrate, a giveaway is definitely in order! I’ve done dystopia and fantasy giveaways so far this summer, so I guess my other favorite sub-genre of YA is paranormal romance.
All you have to do to enter to win a lovely YA paranormal romance listed below is follow me here (and on Twitter, if you’d like to).
What’s up for grabs:

A Need So Beautiful
by Suzanne Young
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Croak by Gina Damico
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
(Standard Rules: if you win, I'll send you an email and you will have 48 hours to respond to me with a US shipping address. If I don't hear back from you, I will pick a new winner.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for following! And good luck!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

I have been meaning to read this one for so long! I picked up an ARC of the sequel (Supernaturally) over a year ago at ALA New Orleans. And normally I wouldn’t pick up an ARC sequel when I haven’t even read book 1. I made an exception for this series because it sounded just too good! I have read so many good reviews for these books. And I know it will only be a matter of time before I go buy book 3 which just came out this week.
This was my plane book for my trip to the east coast. I almost finished the whole thing on the plane (it was that good), and probably read the last little bit on the beach! What a perfect beach book!
The books is all about Evie. She might only be a teenager, but she already has a full-time job neutralizing paranormals for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. Technically, she lives at the agency and has been brought up among vampires, werewolves, fairies, hags, and all sorts of monsters. Why is someone so young being used to help “neutralize” paranormals? Well, she’s the only person in the world known to be able to see through all supernatural glamour. For instance, instead of being super attracted to all the sexy vampires who hit on her, like most women would, Evie is actually repulsed be vampires because she sees past their gorgeous bodies; she actually sees their rotting corpses!
Evie is trained to fight. She knows how to use weapons and how to apply ankle trackers. She also has a tutor teach her normal high school type things (between all the vampire jobs and whatnot). The story really kicks off when a shape-shifter gets into the agency by pretending to be Raquel (Evie’s boss and almost adoptive mom). Evie can see who he really is, a teen boy, searching for answers. IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency) catches the teen boy/shape-shifter: Lend, and locks him up.
Is there a connection between Lend invading IPCA and all the random paranormals that are being found murdered? No one at IPCA seems able to get answers from Lend except for Evie. And between the evil fairy ex-boyfriend, the murder investigations, the regular jobs, some very creepy IPCA takeovers, a girl who Evie sees as being on fire, mermaid best friends, and fashion montage-type shopping trips, Evie begins to fall hard for Lend.
There’s romance, murder, fairy transports, gyms full of werewolves, disturbing dreams, a creepy prophecy, a pink/sparkly taser named Tasey, prom, and oh so much awesome! My favorite thing about it all would have to be Evie! She has so much attitude! She’s rather girly and definitely loves her pink, but she is also so strong! And she is so sassy! I love how she sticks up for herself. Even when no one believes her stories about fairies, she never just gives up. She does what she thinks is right and will give you lip if you think otherwise.
I loved the world-building! I loved IPCA. I loved Lend’s “normal” lifestyle. I loved how obsessed Evie was with typical teenage things like lockers and prom. The fairies were so creepy! The paranormal deaths were so sad. And there were even some dystopia type elements to the story that all involved Evie questioning everything she was ever taught and not knowing who to believe and who to stand by.
The only thing I wish this book did a better job of was the building of the other side characters. I was mixing up Evie’s boss and her mermaid best friend a lot in the beginning. And I kind of wish I got to know some of the vampires and werewolves she teams up with better. But, all in all, this book was nothing but utter fun! I loved it. It gets a 10/10 from me, and I’m so looking forward to the next two in this series.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop!

Thank you I Am aReader, Not a Writer and Colorimetry for hosting this awesome giveaway! And how cute is this image? I think it’s my favorite giveaway picture so far!
Click on the lovely picture or scroll down to the bottom to link up to all the other blogs participating for more chances to win free books!
My other summer giveaway was all about dystopias. And I feel like my summer has now shape-shifted into some crazy, awesome YA fantasy. So, this time I am giving you the choice of one of these awesome YA fantasy novels:

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Changeling by Philippa Gregory (kind of more historical than fantasy, but still…)
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
(Standard Rules: this contest is just open to US followers and you will have 48 hours to respond to my email with your shipping address or I will choose a different winner.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for stopping by! And good luck!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
(I am back from my one-week vacation, two different best friends’ weddings, and some quality beach time on the east coast! And I have so much to share! I missed last week’s A Good Week in Books, so I will have plenty to share this Sunday. And I read two books on my vacation and will post some reviews soon, too!)
This week, I am waiting on Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society #3) by Ally Carter (2/5/13):

Description on Good Reads:
“Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it’s that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting—or stealing—whatever they want.

No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale’s family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother’s billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there’s no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won’t let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother’s will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company’s fortune. So instead of being the heir—this time, Hale might be the mark.

Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she’s willing to save her boyfriend’s company if it means losing the boy.”

So, I absolutely adore these books! They’re super fast reads. I love the spy-thriller aspect to them. I love the hinted at romance. And I cannot get enough of Katarina! She is just so sassy and brave, I don’t get how anyone cannot love her. Carter has a huge following of fans for her other spy series, which I still need to get into (I have book 1 waiting to be read soon!), and if the other series is anything like these books, I know I will be a fan. But really, the description sounds amazing. And I love that all these covers all match each other without any icky re-published covers mixing up the prettiness that is each book lined up with the next on my shelf! And how cool are the reflected images in the sunglasses?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting for Requiem by Lauren Oliver (3/5/13):

Description on Good Reads:
Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. Of Pandemonium, ALA Booklist noted that “like all successful second volumes, this expands the world and ups the stakes, setting us up for the big finale.”

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

So I’m not too impressed with the cover. It kind of looks the same as the cover to the sequel: Pandemonium. But, it sounds totally awesome! I’m dying to find out what happens with the rebellion. And I’m super anxious to find out about Lena’s new love triangle…I’m sort of curious to see how things play out with Hana. She was not my favorite character, and was pretty much MIA in book 2 because most of book 2 took place in the borderlands and or in jail. I don’t doubt that the point of view shifts will be amazing. I know Oliver is good at writing characters that are hard to love. Oliver has only impressed me so far, and at this point I already know I will be buying any book with her name on it. I just have to wait for it!

(This post is set to go up Wednesday. I'm actually writing this on Monday because I will be out of town for a whole week (not back till the following Wednesday). I will not be taking my computer with me. I will be attending two different weddings. Two different best friends of mine are getting married in the same week! And I fly for the east coast tomorrow! I'm so excited for a little vacation, and will definitely have some reviews to post when I get back. Happy summer!)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Good Week in Books (14)

So, I had another fantastic book week! I got my next book for review for Romantic Times. I got two freebies from my amazing library. I bought three books I’ve had my eye on for a while. And I scored some seriously awesome ARC’s from a bookstore I frequent, for free!
To review for Romantic Times:
by Marley Gibson

Free books from the library(!):
Liar by Justine Larbalestier (I love this author!)
Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter (I still need to read the first one in this series, but I know I will love them because I love her other books!)

Books I finally gave in and bought:
A Need so Beautiful by Suzanne Young

The Girl Who Circumvented Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

The ARC’s I randomly lucked out on getting from a bookstore…I did tell them that I reviewed books and then they told me I could take a few (!!!):
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (8/7/12)
Erasing Time by C.J. Hill (8/28/12)
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (9/11/12)
The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze (already out, but I really, really want to read this one and I’m so excited!)

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Midsummer Tights Dream by Louise Rennison

I reviewed the first book in this series (Withering Tights) not too long after I started blogging, and I don’t think I quite managed to explain my love for Louise Rennison. She wrote Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging, and then the nine wonderful books preceding it in the Confession of Georgia Nicholson series.
Her main characters are definitely on the younger side of the young adult spectrum. And I started reading them when I was that age, before I was in high school. However, even now over ten years later, I am still laughing out loud at the sarcasm and the wit involved in her characters! All of these books are super fast, easy, short reads. And they will all make you laugh, guaranteed.
Louise Rennison is by far one of the most talented YA writers out there. She is capable of keeping me interested in her characters (over a decade!) and I never get tired of anything she has to say. I just love how comic she is! And she just seems like one of the authors I wish I could know and be friends with because she seems like she’d be so cool!
Any way, the book takes place not too long after book one finishes. Tallulah is back at Dother Hall, the school she spent her summer being an artist in. She somehow got into the school program, and is back to hanging around trees with her best friends. Her owlets have started to grow up. She’s also back to having the same crushes.
And while a large part of this book is pure comedy, there’s a lot of classic coming of age moments as well. She learns really quick what it’s like to fall for someone who’s in love with someone else. She learns that she’s really good at pretending that she doesn’t care what people think of her. And as the title suggests, the first school term focuses on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Talllulah is asked to play Bottom because the higher-ups in school who see Tallulah as “trouble” know that she’s okay making a fool of herself in public. She actually goes on stage in furry tights and Mickey Mouse ears to do an Irish donkey dance…And the audience loved every second of it.
Dother Hall is having some financial problems. And there are notes all over the building asking students not do things (like shower) too often. And between all the fairy dances and play preparations, there are a lot of financial worries. One of Tallulah’s friends actually leaves school because someone in Hollywood hires her! There’s a lot to learn about snogging, licking, boyfriends, journaling, and friendship. And I kind of like that Tallulah doesn’t have a boyfriend yet. She doesn’t have to have one (though she’d like to).
I read this book in one sitting. It read so fast because of its journal-type format. And there’s the trademark glossary of British and made up terms in the back. I really can’t even begin to explain the humor that I love so much though without a few quotes I took note of. I just had to share these:
This takes place right when Tallulah comes back to school. She stays with family who lives in the village where her school is.
“So here I am back in my old squirrel room. Sitting on my wooden bed with the squirrel carved into the bedhead. With my feather potato. I’ve brought back my squirrel slippers, the ones that Dibdobs gave me when I first came. She said they were to make me feel at home. Which they would have done, had my home been in an oak tree” (16).
And this takes place in the same family home not much past this first quote. Note: Harold really likes to knit…:
“I had a crumpet and some honey and milky coffee. The honey is local of course. Harold is obsessed with local produce. I bet he knows the bees by name. And has made them little winter cloaks like his. And is paying their tuition fees to Bee Academy. So they can better themselves and get out of the worker-bee trap” (34).
And then this quote just sounds better out of context:
“I nearly said, “I am not an ice cream! I am a human being!”’ (39).
This book gets a 10/10 from me. And I seriously had to cut myself short with just three shared quotes. I could have listed all 20+ quotes I noted in my book. Those were just my beginning favorite quotes. I have a lot of post-its in this book…It’s just so good. If you want a book that will make you laugh out loud, please go pick this up!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week, I am waiting for Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (3/19/13).

Description on Good Reads:
In Clockwork Princess, Tessa and her companions travel all over the world as they race to stop the clockwork army before it’s too late. As Jem’s health worsens alarmingly and his friends search desperately for a cure, can Tessa choose between the two boys she loves—even if it means never seeing the other one again?

The cover was just revealed, and look how pretty it is! I have read and loved all of Clare’s books. And yes, they are a bit of a guilty pleasure, but they are just pure, YA drama awesomeness. And this third installment to the Infernal Devices series looks to be so good romance-wise. There’s not a lot of description given yet, but I don’t care. I’m so excited for this one that it doesn’t really matter. This series is all about secrets and the supernatural! And it takes place in Victorian England. And throw in a bit of steam punk along with the supernatural/urban fantasy details, and really what can be bad here?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

I just love a good dragon story! And I definitely got one with this book! I got this one on Net Galley a very long time ago. I think it was actually one of the first books I requested when originally signing up. It came out today, and I might be feeling the need to purchase a finished copy of this one because I have a feeling the hardcover will be a lot prettier than my digital advanced version.
The story takes place in a world where dragons can become human, and often do to work with the leaders of the human kingdom. A treaty has been signed by both humans and dragons, in effort to promote peace. Not all people and dragons agree with the treaty. And this becomes more and more clear as the 40th anniversary of the treaty draws nearer and monarchs are being murdered. Human/dragon animosities reach an all-time high though when it appears as thought the prince was murdered by a dragon. They like to cut off their victims’ heads and then eat them…
Seraphina has grown up her entire life, lying about who she really is. She is really half human/ half dragon. Her father married her mother, not knowing of her true origins. And for the most part, Seraphina gets used to not standing out, not drawing any attention to the fact that she very well may be the only human/dragon hybrid. But as she gets older, Seraphina has a lot more to hide. She develops scales on a couple parts of her body (that she hides with the right type of clothes). She also gets visions of other people. Her visions require a lot of work and maintanence (what sounds like some serious mediation) every day, or Seraphina ends up fainting in pain from the headaches their lack of order can produce.
Seraphina works as an assistant musician in the palace and blends in pretty well until she performs a solo at the prince’s funeral. Then everyone seems to know she is, including the other prince (Lucian). As Seraphina begins to put the pieces together in the mystery of one prince’s death, she and Lucian become a team. They work to find his brother’s killer while simultaneously working to keep a chaotic kingdom in peace. And of course Seraphina has to fall in love with him. To his credit, he does have a lot in common with her. It’s too bad he’s engaged to someone else, someone else who’s rather close with Seraphina too.
There’s murder, romance, dragons, epic sky battles, family heritage mysteries, special dragon half-breed powers, plenty of politics, dances, music, knights, and adventure! I loved getting to see all the behind the curtain scenes and symphony/choir preparations. Music played a large role here. I found the animosity people felt toward dragons so realistic and believable. The world-building and the dreamscapes were just plain beautiful. Each character was so interesting! I loved how different human/dragon hybrids had scales in different places. I liked how the kingdom and the dragons viewed art, and judged emotion.
The plot, itself, was actually rather simple. A large part of the book was about Seraphina lying to protect herself, and rightfully so, in my opinion. And the rest was about a certain character’s father and his involvement in the murder and possible plan for destruction of the peace. Everything that happened with that character’s father was definitely too predictable. I would have liked to be surprised about something in that respect. I mean Seraphina and Lucian pretty much figure out the mystery way back in the beginning and there was just not enough suspense and mystery in regards to keeping me hooked on that major plot device for the whole book.
At first I was getting confused with the characters. Was Lucian Kiggs a guard, a prince, or the princess’s fiancĂ©. Oh wait; he’s all three. I swear I was compartmentalizing him into three different characters for the first quarter of the book. At some point it all clicked, and I liked that Lucian is a guard and all of these other things; it makes him more real. I just wish he was more adequately described earlier.
The ending was not my favorite, but it leaves plenty of room for the need of a book 2. I loved the writing, loved the author’s unique voice, loved the characters, and really just plain loved this book. I give it a 9/10. The only reason it’s not getting a 10/10 is because of the lack of depth to the mystery aspect to the book. But really, everything else was just done so wonderfully. This is definitely an author to keep your eyes on. I really enjoyed reading this one!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Good Week in Books (13)

So, I have had another exceptional week in books!!! Can you tell by the exclamation points how excited I am about this week? Cause I’m really excited! I bought one paperback and two ridiculously cheap eBooks. I got a seriously giant haul from Net Galley. And then the real reason my week is so amazing is because my new friend, Eti, was so kind as to get me some amazing ARC’s from the annual ALA conference!!! She also lent me an ARC for the book I’m most anticipating (by one of my all-time favorite YA authors)! Thank you, Eti, for just being so nice and so amazing!

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (eBook, 99 cents).
So, I already own this one in hardcover, but I’d like to have both the finished copies and the eBook copies of as many books as I can afford. And I definitely can afford 99 cents! Plus, I just love this book.
A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont (eBook, $2.99)
I’ve been meaning to read this one since I heard of its existence! So excited when books I want go on sale!
Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (paperback).
I thought it was time I tried reading the books. Though, I think I read this one once at the library, but I need to re-read it because now I am obsessed with the show.

From Net Galley (special thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books, St. Matin’s Press, and Scholastic): 

The Sweetest Spell
by Suzanne Selfors (8/21/12)
Between You and Me by Marisa Calin (8/7/12)
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (9/18/12)
Spellbinding by Maya Gold (4/1/13)
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron (9/1/12)
The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington (1/1/13

Borrowed ARC from Eti (!):
The Diviners
by Libba Bray (9/18/12)

Gifted ARC’s from Eti (!):
The Darkest Minds
by Alexandra Bracken (12/18/12)
Return to Me by Justina Chen (1/15/13)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (9/18/12)
False Memory by Dan Krokos (8/14/12)
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone (10/9/12)
How was your week in books?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Reads Giveaway Hop!

Thank you I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Rex RobotReviews for hosting this awesome giveaway! To see all the other blogs participating (and to enter more book giveaways, keep scrolling down to the list of blog links or just click the book picture above!
This giveaway is about summer reads. What do I like to read over the summer? Normally I’d say summer is all about realistic fiction and romance. However, this summer has been a little different. This summer, for me, has been all about the dystopias!
I’m offering one lucky winner their choice of one of these nine awesome dystopias:

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Enclave by Anne Aguire
The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Harbringer by Sara Wilson Etienne
Legend by Marie Lu
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Partials by Dan Wells
A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
(Standard Rules: This is only open to US followers. And the winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email with their shipping address. If you don't respond, I will choose a different winner.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!