Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Series: None
Published: 1891
Publisher: Public Domain
Pages: 518

"How could I be expected to know? I was a child when I left this house four months ago. Why didn't you tell me there was danger in men-folk? Why didn't you warn me?"
When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her 'cousin' Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future. With its sensitive depiction of the wronged Tess and with its powerful criticism of social convention, Tess of the D'Urbervilles is on of the most moving and poetic of Hardy's novels.
This is a very difficult book to write about. There are plenty of things to talk about. Tess's representation of Nature, the guilt of the innocent, the chaos of Society imposed on Nature. But I could hardly say why (or why not) one should read it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Series: None
Published: 1885
Publisher: Public Domain
Pages: 544

Elizabeth Gaskell's compassionate, richly dramatic novel features on of the most original and fully-rounded female characters in Victorian fiction, Margaret Hale. It shows how, forced to move from the country to an industrial northern town, she develops a passionate sense of social justice, and a turbulent relationship with the mill-owner John Thornton.

North and South depicts a young woman discovering herself, in a nuanced portrayal of what divides people, and what brings them together.
Take a moment to read that description. Note Margaret's character. She is so peculiarly unique that I can see some people not liking her. But this story is so incredibly epic that I can't help but fall in love with each and every character.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Series: Corman Strike, #1
Published: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Pages: 455

A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
Confessions: I picked this up after realizing J.K. Rowling wrote it, and this was my first modern day mystery.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: The Serpent's Shadow by Mercedes Lackey

The Serpent's Shadow by Mercedes Lackey
Series: The Elemental Masters, #2
Published: March 1, 2001
Publisher: DAW
Pages: 394

Maya Witherspoon had lived most of the first twenty-five years of her life in her native India. As the daughter of a prominent British physician and a Brahmin woman of the highest caste, she had known only luxury. Trained by her father in the medical arts since she was old enough to read, she graduated from the University of Delhi as a Doctor of Medicine by the age of twenty-two.
But the science of medicine was not Maya's only heritage. For her mother was a sorceress - a former priestess of the mystical magics fueled by the powerful and fearsome pantheon of Indian gods.

Though Maya felt the stirring of magic in her blood, her mother had repeatedly refused to train her. "I cannot," she had said, her eyes dark with distress, whenever Maya asked. "Yours is the magic of your father's blood, not mine...." Surya had never had the chance to explain this enigmatic statement to her daughter before a mysterious illness claimed her life. Yet it was Maya's father's death shortly thereafter which confirmed her darkest suspicions. For her father was killed by the bite of a krait, a tiny venomous snake. In the last hours of her mother's life, in the seeming delirium of her final fever, Surya had repeatedly warned Maya to beware "the serpent's shadow." With the sudden loss of her father, Maya knew she must flee the land of her birth or face the same fate as her parents.
This was actually my first Mercedes Lackey novel. I also think that it might have been my first brush with modern fantasy, though I definitely had read stories with fantastical elements and styles (I'm thinking of The Little White Horse).

Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: Wait for You by J. Lynn

Wait for You by J. Lynn
Series: Wait for You, #1 (that's going to be awkward with the second book)
Published: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 332

Some things are worth waiting for...Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago--an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe--please God--make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn't need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she's building for herself.Some things are worth experiencing...Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that's just so... so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.Some things should never be kept quiet...But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she's has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?And some things are worth fighting for...
That's right, zero stars! I have never given a book zero stars before, so trust me when I say, STAY AWAY.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Review: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines, #3
Published: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 401

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.Forging her own way is harder than Sydney ever dreamed. Maybe by turning off her brain - and following her heart - she'll be able to finally figure out where she belongs
Time for a quote review. Because I can't tell you anything you don't already know abour Richelle Mead, and this book is exceeeeeeeeeeeeeelleeeeent. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines, #2
Published: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 418

Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.
But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age–old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi—the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that—special, magical, powerful—that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else—someone forbidden to her.
When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.
Should she trust the Alchemists—or her heart?
I love how in this book, Sydney's concise reason turns on her. Before, she could use it to justify her beliefs. Suddenly, it's turning on her and justifying the opposition. And it's glorious to watch her struggle with it.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Review: Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
Series: Song of Ice and Fire, #3
Published: August 10, 2000
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 1177

Here is the third volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction. 
Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. . . .
But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. . .
I'm about to have a lot of fun with this review.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines, #1
Published: August 23, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 412

Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning...
From the little I've read, the biggest issue people take with this books is Sydney. You either like her or you don't. Well, people need to get over themselves.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review: Release by M.R. Merrick

Release by M.R. Merrick
Series: The Protector, #3
Published: November 21, 2012
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 372

After uniting the shifters and calling in reinforcements, Chase has to face his toughest challenge yet: learning to control his emotions. But as tensions rise and his powers grow, controlling his emotions becomes the least of his problems. Terrorized by a multi-shifter who is hell-bent on turning him, Chase questions just how far he’s willing to go to stop his father. Meanwhile, Tiki’s virtuous nature has placed him in the middle of Vincent’s past, leaving Chase to oppose a senate of vampires and defend a demon he hates. Trying to balance his friends, his enemies, and his inner demons, Chase is left searching for answers about the Mark, his destiny, and where he can find the next soul piece. Stopping Riley is his top priority, but as more obstacles arise, he finds himself doubting all the decisions he’s made - especially regarding Rayna. One thing is for certain: Chase has finally realized that he doesn’t know anything. The light doesn’t always quell the darkness, the monsters don’t always stay in the shadows, and the past doesn’t always stay in the past - sometimes, the demons inside are the hardest to fight.
Well, this is definitely not a trilogy.

Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

Until I Die by Amy Plum
Series: Die for Me, #2
Published: May 8, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 353

Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.
As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.
In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.
I was blessed to receive an ARC of this book, and now have written this spoil-free review for anyone interested. Until I Die most definitely surpassed Amy’s first book, Die For Me. At least I think so. I love reading new, upcoming authors and watching how their writing grows and flourishes over time—one see’s it all the time, i.e. J.K. Rowling, Cassandra Clare, and Libba Bray to name a few. And Amy is no exception to this; there are beautiful metaphors, rich descriptions, and we discover layers to some characters that we might not have even realized had layers.

Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien
Series: Middle Earth Universe
Published: September 21, 1937
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pages: 275

If you care for journeys there and back, out of the comfortable Western world, over the edge of the Wild, and home again, and can take an interest in a humble hero (blessed with a little wisdom and a little courage and considerable good luck), here is a record of such a journey and such a traveler. The period is the ancient time between the age of Faerie and the dominion of men, when the famous forest of Mirkwood was still standing, and the mountains were full of danger. In following the path of this humble adventurer, you will learn by the way (as he did) - if you do not already know all about these things - much about trolls, goblins, dwarves, and elves, and get some glimpses into the history and politics of a neglected but important period.
For Mr. Bilbo Baggins visited various notable persons; conversed with the dragon, Smaug the Magnificent; and was present, rather unwillingly, at the Battle of the Five Armies. This is all the more remarkable, since he was a hobbit. Hobbits have hitherto been passed over in history and legend, perhaps because they as a rule preferred comfort to excitement. But this account, based on his personal memoirs, of the one exciting year in the otherwise quiet life of Mr. Baggins will give you a fair idea of the estimable people now (it is said) becoming rather rare. They do not like noise.
I read this (along with all other Tolkien collected works) about five years ago, right before I entered high school. I’ve now decided to embark on a journey of re-reading all books, and will update all the posts with my final scores for each book.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1
Published: September 27, 2012
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 418
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
I’m trying to recall how I stumbled upon this book. I’m fairly sure it was, quite literally, a random turn of events. I was on one blog I liked, followed a link to another blog I’d never heard of, saw a picture of the cover on the sidebar, and clicked. And read the description. And then eagerly anticipated the release date. That’s it. No star praised review, no avid friend telling me to read it, just the words strung together to sell a book.

Review: The Dark by Heather Self

The Dark by Heather Self
Series: The Portal Trilogy, #1.5
Published: December 30, 2012
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 106

Mary Anne Moore doesn't know what she is. She can’t explain why she has lived so long. 
Or why she never gets sick. 
Or why the dreams she has come true. 
She has hidden herself as a lowly servant to the households of Dublin's English elite for decades, until the night that changes her life. Now her sole purpose is the child she never expected to have. She will do anything in her power to keep the black-eyed monsters from discovering him and turning him into one of them.
For Kieran Moore, the dark is an ever-present parasite, waiting to devour his humanity. His mother’s love and the girl in his dreams has kept it at bay for years, but the more time that passes—the longer he has to wait for her—the more it grows. When tragedy strikes, it is all he can do to keep from being consumed by the darkness that infects him. He must continue to hold on to the hope of peace her presence will bring him, because it’s not just his fate on the line, but that of the entire world.

Review: The One by Heather Self

The One by Heather Self
Series: The Portal Trilogy, #1
Published: June 15, 2012
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 283
Stranded on Earth two thousand years they’ve waited for the arrival of the One: some to save her, others to kill her. With her birth, the ancient prophecy could at last be fulfilled and the doorway between the worlds would open. Those who know the prophecy believe this event occurred almost eighteen years ago, and now, they’ll stop at nothing to find her.
Seventeen-year-old Eveline has lived her entire life on the move and she hates it. She knows her parents believe she’s the One, and they’ve done whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of those who want her dead. But Eveline isn’t fully convinced that her parents’ beliefs match her own. What she does believe is that Leadville, Colorado may be the chance she’s been waiting for. The chance to be somewhere safe. The chance for her to make friends and have fun. The chance to finally date a guy. The chance to be a normal girl, at least as normal as possible for someone not human.
I've always said that what sells a book, for me, are the characters. And it's not as simple as, I like these characters, I don't like these characters. In fact, if I have strong feelings of any sort towards a character, then the author has most likely accomplished their job. If I don't care about the characters, however, then I won't care about the book. And I did indeed enjoy these characters.

Review: Henry IV Part 1 and 2 by William Shakespeare

Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2 by William Shakespeare
Series: War of the Roses
Published: 1596-1599
Publisher: It's a classic, guys...
Pages: 96 and 80

Memorable historical drama concerns rebellion against King Henry led by Harry Percy ("Hotspur") and other nobles, complicated by the king's difficulties with his wayward son, Prince Hal. Superb blend of courtly intrigue, battlefield action, and low comedy featuring Sir John Falstaff, all expressed in fine blank verse and stirring prose.

Whoaza. I mean, just whoaza. 

Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Series: Newsoul, #1
Published: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Pages: 374
New soulAna is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.No soulEven Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?HeartSam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.
Meadows wound a beautiful tale of new and old. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book not only of such realistic world-building, but such a fascinating subject.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Project Jamie

So, a couple of months ago, I noticed this super sekrit TMI project floating around, and signed up. I received a thank you email, with more information promised to follow - and it did.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Review: Shift by M.R. Merrick

Shift by M.R. Merrick
Series: The Protector #2
Published: February 1, 2012
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 530
Devastated by a terrible loss, Chase is trying to balance the life he’s been left with, a family he’s still getting to know, and power he never thought he’d have. He doesn’t understand why the Goddess has named him the Protector and granted him two gifts: the Mark, a tattoo that now covers his back, and the ring. But between getting interrogated by the Circle and psychic attacks from Riley, the Mark is the least of his concern. There’s a demon inside Rayna that’s fighting to be released, and it’s not her inner witch. It’s something else–a monster threatening to tear her apart.As Chase struggles to control his magic, his enemies are closing in. Everyone has staked a claim on his ring, and destroying it may be his only chance to stop Riley. But Chase must decide if stopping him is worth risking the lives of everyone he cares about, or if protecting the ring will be enough to save his world.
Warning: Contains spoilers for Exiled, book #1.

I enjoyed this book much more than the first. What was lacking with the first, I found answers to in the this book. Rayna and Chase's relationship was fantastically developed. Definitely no insta-love here.

Review: Defiance

Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Series: Defiance, #1 (Soooo creative)
Published: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzar+Bray
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her. At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared. As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.
Firstly, I am totally guilty of judging this book by it’s cover. So. Guilty. You have no idea how much it upsets me (I’m talking about how a book like this wound up with that beautiful baby to cover it).

Review: Exiled by M.R. Merrick

Exiled by M.R. Merrick
Series: The Protector, #1
Published: April 12, 2012
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 264

Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase stepped up to the altar to claim his elemental power, but it never came. Elemental magic is passed down to a hunter through the bloodline, but on Chase's birthday, the bloodline stopped. Exiled without the Circle's protection, Chase has spent two years trying to survive a world riddled with half-demons and magic. When he has a run in with a frightened and seemingly innocent demon, he learns the Circle's agenda has changed: the Circle plans to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world. Vowing to stop them, and knowing he can't do it alone, Chase forms a reluctant alliance with Rayna - a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret. In their attempt to stop them however, Chase and Rayna find themselves in the middle of the Circle's plan, leaving one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the other's life depending on it.

Thanks to the author for sending a copy of this book!

I have been eyeing Merrick’s books for a long time. So long that’s it’s pathetic I didn’t pick them up sooner. But as soon as I heard from Val about the tour for the release of his new book, I jumped on board. And I’ve finally sat down to read Exiled. And, boy, am I glad that I ever.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Series: None
Published: 1818
Publisher: Almost Any Now-A-Days
Number of Pages: 210

'I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion.' A summer evening's ghost stories, lonely insomnia in a moonlit Alpine's room, and a runaway imagination -- fired by philosophical discussions with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley about science, galvanism, and the origins of life -- conspired to produce for Mary Shelley this haunting night specter. By morning, it had become the germ of her Romantic masterpiece, "Frankenstein." Written in 1816 when she was only 19, Mary Shelley's novel of 'The Modern Prometheus' chillingly dramatized the dangerous potential of life begotten upon a laboratory table. A frightening creation myth for our own time, "Frankenstein" remains one of the greatest horror stories ever written and is an undisputed classic of its kind.
What I’ve learned from Reading Frankenstein:

1) The big green monster isn’t Frankenstein
2) The doctor is, and it’s his last name (first name Victor)
3) The big green monster isn’t actually green...

4) Doctor Frankenstein doesn’t have an sexy assistant (or any assistant at all)
5) Monster can actually talk (at least, he learns)
6) Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller aren’t real characters in the story

Friday, April 26, 2013

Review: Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
Series: Song of Ice and Fire, #2
Published:  May 28, 2002
Publisher: Bantam Books
Number of Pages: 926
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel... and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

WARNING: I felt obliged to tell the story of how my reading process with this book went. Long story short, it took my 6 months. If you want the long story, feel free to read. Otherwise, review is below.

Northanger Alibi by Jenni James

Northanger Alibi by Jenni James
Series: The Jane Austen Diaries, #2
Publisher: Walnut Springs/Inkberry Press
Published: January 15, 2012
Number of Pages: 254
Sometimes a guy is even better than you imagined...The Russo family and Seattle, Washington, are no match for Claire Hart and her savvy knowledge of all things vampire-related. Thanks to her obsession with the Twilight series, if there is anyone who would know a vampire when she saw one, it's Claire. And she's positive totally hot Tony Russo is a vampire - she just has to prove it! In this modern retelling of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, follow Claire's hilarious journey on her first summer adventure away from home, where she learns everything isn't what is seems, and that in some instances, reality is way better than anything she'd ever find in a book.

See this book? My new guilty pleasure. Really. It’s bad.

First, thank you to the lovely folks over at the YA Sisterhood for sending me a copy of this book. You guys rock.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkins

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer Trilogy, #2
Published: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Number of Pages: 544
Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.
She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.
She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.
In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

Well, that was an emotional roller coaster. I had no idea I was getting on that ride, I can tell you that. My poor friends. I through fits during lunch, slammed the book shut during class, melted down in between classes…

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkins

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer Trilogy, #1
Published: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Number of Pages: 452
Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

 It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

Michelle Hodkin is a brilliant author who know’s how to be a brilliant author.
Yeah, I went there.
Let me explain. 
Now a days, a simple way to assure that your book garners some attention is to appeal to the blogging community. Yet, it’s amazing how many authors do not understand that we don’t kiss and tell. 
You see, just because you befriend a blogger, does not mean they will read your book. Nor does it mean that they will like it. Neither do free giveaways, or exclusive teasers. There are, however, two, maybe three, things that will guaranteed our attention and interest.

  1. The Cover/Title

It’s pathetic, but true. The only reason I picked up Clockwork Angel however many years ago, was because the cover caught my eye. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer made me jump up and down when I first looked at it because it’s just that pretty. And then I saw the title. And I start thinking, how does someone “Unbecome?” What is this book about that someone “Unbecomes?” And while the author may have very little control over the cover aspect, and I can’t blame them if it’s not eye catching, they do fully control what happens after we pick up/see that beautiful cover.

     2.  The Description

There’s a reason I included the synopsis at the beginning of this. If I think it helps describe the book, and is well written, put it at the beginning of the review. If it’s rotten, full of spoilers, and turns readers away from what is actually a good book, do not put it at the beginning of the review. Quite simple. And this is the best synopsis in the history of synopsis’s. It just gives me chills, even after I’ve read the book and know what happens. My favorite part about it? It does not give away, let alone hint at, any spoilers. That is a rare and beautiful thing, readers. Treasure it. After you’ve read the description, some people may or may not do this, depending if they are online or in the store, but it’s an important factor anyway.

     3.  The First Sentence/Chapter

Go to the bookstore and read the rest of this intro yourself, but the first sentence is this:
My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something.
Okay, I lied, this book is super special, so there are FOUR things.

    4.  The Trailer

Yeah, yeah, again, what can author do about this, but I will say, if Hodkin in anyway recommended the music for this trailer, then she did her job. Because it is awesome. And I NEVER say that about a book trailer. I generally despise most of them. This is the only one that made me want to actually read the book. So here ya go:
Now, I want you to be completely honest with me. Have I written anything like a review yet? No. Do you still want to read this book? If you are honest with yourself, and like YA, then I think we both know the answer to that question.
Don’t we know it, Michael.
Now, this is a very hard book to talk about without spoiling anything. But I will try.
Mara is an unreliable narrator. I repeat: Mara is an unreliable narrator. I won’t say why, and this isn’t a spoiler because it’s one of the first things thrown out. Her being an unreliable narrator is what serves to progress the plot.
There is a boy, and you will love him.
There are siblings, and you will want to cuddle/hit them.
There is a friend, and you will want to steal him.
Finally, Hodkin’s does not screw with us:
Benedict and his screwy rainbow *sigh*
She’ll say no more than needs to be said. She’ll make you question everything. She’ll write the most quotable quote for which I found the most perfect matching GIF.
“Asscrown,” I muttered under my breath as I headed to my next class. I wasn’t proud of swearing at a complete stranger, no. but he started it.
Noah matched my pace. “Don’t you mean ‘assclown’?” He looked amused.
“No,” I said, louder this time. “I mean asscrown. The crown on top of the asshat that covers the asshole of the assclown. The very zenith in the hierarchy of asses.”
And on that note, run off and enjoy reading this book.
NOTE: I read this book originally a year ago, and recently reread before reading the second book. This review was written after the second reading *it never gets old*