Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #50

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly Meme. It's hosted on Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pick:
Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
Release date: October 15th 2013

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Words for the Week #28

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

― Mark Twain

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Published: January 4, 2011
435 (Hardcover)
Unearthly #1
My Rating:
3 of 5 stars

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

After seeing such high ratings for this book and hearing everyone rave about how fantastic this series is, I caved and borrowed the book from the library. It seems that all the hype surrounding this book made my expectations too high.

I don't consider myself an expert on angels and demons, but I've watched Supernatural and read enough books to get the gist. Every author seems to handle the whole angel, nephilim, demon, and fallen angel thing differently. Unearthly is definitely one of the best angel books I've read in a long time, but not the best. I enjoyed the part about the purpose for the angel-bloods or nephilim and I really liked how the Black Wings radiated sadness due to their fall. The mythology and lore part of the book was amazing, but I think the book fell a bit flat with a few of the characters.

I fully expected to love Clara. I'd heard that she was just plain awesome, but I must have been reading a different book from everyone else because most of the time I wasn't a fan of Clara. It was strange how she practically stalked Christian. Yes I understand that it was for her purpose, but her knowing so much about him without actually knowing him didn't sit right with me. Then there's the fact that she's immediately enemies with Christian's girlfriend. Kay wasn't exactly nice to Clara, but she wasn't really nasty either. Clara basically hated her because she was dating Christian. I also didn't like how Angela kept encouraging Clara to go after Christian and she kept saying that it was her destiny.

I wasn't a big fan of Christian, mainly due to the incident a prom and how he's way too prefect. Clara's friends describe him as a god and perfect in every way. I can't stand perfect characters. I love characters that have flaws and develop as the the story progresses. Which is probably why I love Tucker. Tucker may have been a bit rude to Clara in the beginning, but I ended up liking him much more by the end. He's just a normal guy and he's extremely sweet. The story didn't get interesting until Tucker came along.

This book wasn't amazing, but it also wasn't horrible. I will most likely end up reading the next book, mainly because I want to know what happens to Tucker and why Christian was Clara's purpose.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #49

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly Meme. It's hosted on Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pick:
Tandem by Anna Jarzab
Release date: October 8th 2013

Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.

Welcome to the multiverse.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Words for the Week #27

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

― Albert Einstein

Saturday, August 17, 2013

ARC Review & Giveaway: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Published:  September 17, 2013
Scholastic Press
448 (Hardcover)
The Raven Cycle #2
My Rating:
5 of 5 stars

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

Last year I fell in love with The Raven Boys and it's been one those books that hasn't left me since, so my expectations for The Dream Thieves were extremely high. So high that I was a little worried that I would be disappointed. But I had no reason to worry because Maggie Stiefvater is the author of this fabulous series.

One of the best things about this series has to be the characters. Every character has a story to tell and I just love that. The raven boys, specifically Ronan, are my favorite characters. Mainly because there is so much depth and thought put into these characters. I love their relationships with each other and how even though they are all so different and from different backgrounds, they are like brothers. I was very excited that Ronan and his ability was the main focus of this book. 

All the characters have grown since the start of this series, but none more than Adam. He isn't my favorite, but I still love him. His determination to be independent and to make something of himself is inspiring. Out of all the characters, Adam seems to have had the most difficult childhood, but he doesn't complain and he doesn't want Ronan, Gansey, or Blue's pity. 

The concept of taking things out of dreams was completely new to me. The dream objects that Ronan brings back are pretty amazing and it makes me really wish that I could do something like that. I also enjoyed the mystery surrounding Cabeswater.

I know that many people were disappointed by the lack of romance in the last book, but I was not one of those people. It's refreshing to read a Young Adult book that doesn't focus on the romance. There's a little bit of romance in this book and it nearly made me cry.

Every twist in this book kept me on the edge of my seat. The only reason I put the book down was because I didn't want it to be over too quickly.

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review


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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #48

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly Meme. It's hosted on Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pick:
The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa
Release date: October 29th 2013

In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice.

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again.

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Words for the Week #26

“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.”

― Jack London

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #47

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly Meme. It's hosted on Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pick:
The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman
Release date: September 10th 2013

They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She doesn't even know why she killed—or whether she'll do it again.

Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander's, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself. Jule, the outsider at war with the world; West, the golden boy at war with himself; Daniel, desperate for a different life; Cass, who's not sure she deserves a life at all; and Ellie, who believes in sacrifice, fate, and in evil. Ellie, who always goes too far. They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
Published:  July 23, 2013
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
400 (Hardcover)
My Rating:
4 of 5 stars

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Beauty & the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies and I love fairytale retellings so when I heard about this book I knew I had to read it.

Going into this book I was interested how having a blind main character would work out. I thought it would be hard to picture Isra's surroundings and what was happening, but it was surprisingly easy and worked out very well. I was also happily surprised by how much I liked Isra and that she didn't rely on other people all the time. It was pretty amazing how she was able to jump from her tower and land on the rooftops of lower buildings without being able to see them. I admired her determination to change Yuan once she discovered the truth too. 

Some of the book was told from Gem's point of view and at first I wasn't quite sure what to make of him. But in the end, I enjoyed the chapters from his point of view as much as Isra's. It was very easy to become emotionally attached to both Isra and Gem because they both struggle and have had to live difficult or different lives.

A few chapter were from Bo's point of view and I couldn't stand those chapters after more of Bo's personality came out. At first I liked him because it seemed like he genuinely cared for Isra but I found his planning for the future a bit creepy. Bo and Isra don't really know each other but during one of the first chapters from his POV he thinks about her having his child and how caring for their child would be then caring about Gem. That just didn't sit right with me.

I enjoyed the romance in the book, but I felt like there wasn't enough build up to Isra and Gem's relationship. They start out hating each other and then it some how morphs into love while Gem is Isra's prisoner. I understand that they spent a long time together working in the fields but it just felt too fast for me. Once I got past that it was fine until it started to get a bit cheesy. But it wasn't intolerable cheesiness.
My expectations were high for this book and while Of Beast and Beauty was very good, but it wasn't flawless.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Words for the Week #25

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

― George Bernard Shaw

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Mortal Instruments Read-A-Long: Day 2

I'm really excited to be a part of this read-a-long. From August 1st to August 21st there will be a post recapping a chapter from City of Bones and something extra that relates to the series. Make sure you stop by all the blogs!

Chapter 2 Recap

Secrets and Lies

Chapter 2 starts off with Clary attempting to draw a "dark prince". Afterwards, Clary talks to her best friend, Simon, over the phone and complains about her mother. Simon and Clary end up deciding to go to Eric's poetry reading because Simon promised that he would. Before Simon shows up to take Clary to the poetry reading, Luke and Jocelyn come home. Jocelyn tells Clary that they are taking a vacation to the farmhouse, which makes Clary upset because she already has plans. The conversation that takes place between the three characters hints that Jocelyn and Luke are keeping something from Clary. When Simon shows up, Clary and Jocelyn are having an argument about their "vacation". While out with Simon, Jocelyn tries to call Clary multiple times, but due to their fight, Clary refuses to answer the phone. Throughout the chapter, Clary sees some strange and possibly supernatural creatures.

Quotes from Chapter 2
"Is this Clarissa Fray?" The voice on the other end of the phone sounded familiar, though not immediately identifiable.
Clary twirled the phone cord nervously around her finger. "Yeees?"
"Hi, I'm one of the knife-carrying hooligans you met last night in Pandemonium? I'm afraid I made a bad impression and was hoping you'd give me a chance to make it up to--"
"SIMON!" Clary held the phone away from her ear as he cracked up laughing. "That is so not funny!"
"Sure it is. You just don't see the humor."
-Clary & Simon

He turned around. His eyes, very blue behind the glasses, rested on her with a look of firm affection. "Clary, you're an artist, like your mother. That means you see the world in ways that other people don't. It's your gift, to see the beauty and the horror in ordinary things. It doesn't make you crazy--just different. There's nothing wrong with being different."

"Jesus!" Luke exclaimed.
"Actually, it's just me," said Simon. "Although I've been told the resemblance is startling."
-Luke & Simon

Meet Jace

Jace Lightwood is one of the main characters of The Mortal Instruments. He is a Shadowhunter currently residing in the New York Institute.

"Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?"
Jace said, "Unfortunately, Lady of Haven, my one true love remains myself."
"At least," she said, "you don't have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland."
"Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting."
-Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

  • Jace is left-handed and can play the piano
  • He can speak Romanian, Latin, Italian, and probably some more languages-source
  • He's also fluent in sarcasm
  • He is extremely well read and can quote literary passages-source
  • Jace, like Will Herondale, hates ducks
  • Jace has about four different last names throughout the series
  • He considers the Lightwoods his family but he isn't related to them
  • He is one of the best Shadowhunters of his generation
  • Jace is described as a "fair boy" and Clary compares him to a lion
  • He is one of the first Shadowhunters that Clary meets


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TMI Read-A-Long Schedule

August 2nd- Chapter 2 recap + meet Jace (here!)
August 11th- Chapter 11 recap + my favorite Clary quotes
                        Chapter 22 recap + Shadowhunter runes
August 21st- Chapter 23 & Epilogue + Merchandise

Make sure you head to Jessica's blog Ramblings on Readings tomorrow for a Chapter 3 recap and a meet Simon post. And head to Kayla's blog Ramblings of a Book Junkie if you missed yesterday's post.

What is your favorite thing about Jace? What did you like about chapter 2?