Monday, May 27, 2013

Liberal amounts of Schadenfreude in this vampire series

Lord of Misrule (The Morganville Vampires, #5)Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Yikes!! This is soooooooo messed up!! Vampires fighting against each other, humans aiding each faction, humans against vampires, humans against humans... A full scale civil unrest.

Book #5 you delivered. Good.

This book was just action, non-stop! It was substantially better that the previous one, as it focuses on this full on war that is happening in Morganville after Bishop, Amelie's father shows up... He is a very, very creepy guy.
And Myrnin... Argh, the bipolar vampire, why did you trust him Claire?
you want to see my mask photo wouldyouliketoseemymask_zps18390320.gif

This book was full of tense moments. Poor Claire, she has her loyalties in shambles after this one.


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Friday, May 24, 2013

Elemental series read-along

Spirit (Elemental, #3)Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars





First impression after reading:

Hunter, I just want to hug you right now.


I signed up for the Elemental series read-along with Steph from Cuddlebuggery and Jen from the Starry-Eyed Revue. This has been fun!!! A roller coaster of emotions. Funny, teenage angst, hot brooding brothers, supernatural powers, love, family, friendship and loss... all tightly packed in three volumes and 2 short novellas. And let me tell you. This last one was so very intense.
Elementals Read Along

It is impossible to read Spirit without comparing it to its predecessors. However, the story was so fresh and raw it kept me clenching my teeth and biting my nails. My poor hands are hurting!

Spirit was Hunter's story. And like him, this book was charming, impulsive, fun, mysterious, with some good WTF moments, and more gray than black and white. Very different from the Merrick brothers, but yet he had so many similar issues to deal with. Specially with loss, and finding his own self after his world was shattered with his father and uncle's accident. I don't know how Brigid Kemmerer does it, but wow her books are intense. She carefully blends contemporary issues and dilemmas with paranormal stuff. I am able to imagine the powers from the elements and feel all the teenage angst in every page!

In Spirit, the main story arc left me speechless, as it had a very unexpected turn of events. Hunter is so freaking messed up, but I'm glad I was able to learn so much about him. Also, seeing the Merricks from afar was a good change of perspective.
Michael keeps getting my devotion, Gabriel continues his path of redemption after he was a douche on the first book, Chris is so cute when he is jealous and Nick is still cool and nice. Though, I haven't read the short novella Breathless that focuses on him and Quinn yet! It's on the back of Spirit, but I might save it for later this year.

If I were to choose a favourite book from the series, this would be it. I'm so curious about all these characters and the various sub-plots this book and series have.
I just wished I knew more about Kate, Silver, Calla an Noha.
I want to know more about Hanna, and I loved her short appearances. I have to thank her for bringing a Sawzall into her storytelling... I can picture her:
Sawzall photo image_zps6ecb9488.jpg

Other lines made me laugh, specially:

"We'll build a wall to match the curve today, then I'll come back next week to plant stuff on top. Here. I have a sketch." He reached inside the truck to grab a clipboard.
Hunter took a glance at the rough drawing. It was probably a good thing Michael was paid for landscaping instead of artwork.


Others, made me sad, but I'll just focus on the happy feelings here.

Now, I will have to figure out what to do with myself while I wait for the next books from the series... 2014? Argh, too far away!!!

---
Thank you Kensington Teen and NetGalley for giving me this ARC for the read-along and for my personal review. You're simply awesome.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wrong timing to read you

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes


Dear book: you have a good concept, lovely cover and *thankfully * a little map and description of each person who is important for this story. However, for the time being, I must return you after 1/4 of reading. Your timing for me is not the best. I've been on a High Fantasy roll and most of my books now are kind of being sorted in: either you remind me too much of Game of Thrones, or you are very original and take a crazy road. Sadly, you dear Falling Kingdoms remind me tooooo much of GoT. Perhaps is better for me to read you at a different time, so I can stop comparing you.

Key themes from you that kept me thinking about GoT:

* The different families that are sort of enemies.
* The book is told from different POV's, key to a bigger picture of issues regarding long lost magic
* The love between siblings though it's clear from the prologue they are not blood relatives
* The ways in which the families obtained their loyalties

See you another time
good feeling photo doyouunderstandTyrionpunchesJoeffrey_zps2825f2ed.gif
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: Hunting

HuntingHunting by Andrea K. Höst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book opens up when Ash Lenthard's guardian, Genevieve (a herbalist living in Luinhall), has been brutally murdered. Ash finds herself in a predicament, by wanting to find her murderer and being forced to move into the palace to train as a seruilis -a sort of squire- for the foreigner and investigator Thornaster. Her life is even more complicated, as she has been disguising as a boy for the past 9 years.
gurl photo 7aHe0_zps38cd67d1.gif

What an interesting treat. I have been eagerly waiting to read a new story from Andrea. She is such a talented, creative and amazing indie Australian writer. She has a gift when it comes to imagining fantastic places that are vividly described by her writing. She also makes sure all the places you visit on her books have a unique voice for their dwellers. I carry her fantasy worlds in my mind all the time.
However, in this book, you get thrown a bit too fast to the system of beliefs and the society which develops it.
I am still confused about what a Rhoi is, about the gods Astenar and Luin, what was the issue with property, lands and it's whole significance with Luin's Laws of Balance.

Perhaps this is the curse that I have to endure thanks to The Song of Ice and Fire or The Wheel of Time. Both of the authors of these High Fantasy epic adventures spoiled some of my enjoyment of Hunting. Lots and lots of details flow through these books, where in most cases you end up knowing more about the Stark family tree than your own. Or by repetition, what Aes Sedai wear. In the case of Hunting, there is so much potential for developing many characters and cosmogonic system of beliefs, that left me wanting MORE! I felt I was reading a quick teaser of something epic that was occurring in the background. I had to keep going back and doing lots of searches to try to figure out who the characters where, locations and the system of beliefs of this world. You don't have to take notes or pay extra attention to all the details, but it is possibly that you will forget so much, most of the things I kept on looking back where just vaguely mentioned once.

What I specially liked about this book was the characters' bickering! I loved the interactions between Ash and Thornaster.
For example:

"You're a real wordsmith. You should consider a career as a player."

"And you would make a remarkable diplomat, Ash. I shall recommend you. Now close your mouth and, if you cannot master your tongue, say nothing."


Ash's pragmatism reminded me a lot of Madeleine from And All The Stars

In sum, I liked it. I would love to read a story set in this world. Perhaps a spinoff where Kiri is the main character, and we learn more about her and Arun? Yes, please!


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Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Poison


Poison
Poison by Bridget Zinn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I am a fantasy lover and YA book devote. Books with kick-ass female leads are my medicine. Though, I am not technically in the age range for YA literature, I am aware of what I am reading when I dive into it and sort of expect certain themes. However, this book felt a bit too young for me. I felt that I was watching The Little Mermaid or something super cute and Disney like. I know this book's publishing house is Disney, so yeah, not sure why I felt this connection so vividly in this book, since I have read lots of other Disney Hyperion titles. It was still good, but I was expecting something completely different. Regardless, I am glad I read it :) I might even recommend it to my younger cousins.

This book tells the story of 16 year old Kyra, a poison master who is hiding after a failed attempt to murder her best friend and future queen Ariana. Kyra is convinced that she must kill her friend in order to save the kingdom. She sets up on this task with a very unusual tracking animal, a piglet who is later known as Rosie. In her quest she meets a happy - go - lucky guy named Fred who becomes an interesting companion on her adventures. As a master poisoner, Kyra has a lot of tricks under her sleeve and uses tons of creative potions for her needs.

I was drawn to this book because of the cute piglet. Who doesn't want to read a story about a loyal pink cute companion? Well, certainly not me!

It was a cute book with a hint of mystery, surprises and fantastic characters.

A positive remark in this book world we live in is that Poison is a standalone novel! You don't have to worry about the next installments, since this was tightly packed.



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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: Princess of the Silver Woods


Princess of the Silver Woods
Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I liked this series!

I've been enjoying this re-telling trend of fairy tales and I must say that Jessica Day George and Marissa Meyer are my two favourite re-tellers so far.

I am a sucker for books that not only tell a story but give you cool add-ons like maps, playlists, songs, glossaries, family trees, recipes, and in this case kitting patterns! They make me happy as they bring new ways to leave you thinking more about the stories they tell. Every single one of the books from this series comes with it's knitting pattern of an item that was highlighted on the book. I am a knitter, so this makes it even better :)

This story focuses on the youngest of the 12 daughter of King Gregor, Petunia. She is minding her own business doing some travelling in Westfalin as she is headed to the Grand Duchess' home where she was invited for a short stay. However, before she arrives, she ends up in the hands of the feared outlaws Wolves of the Woods of Westfalin. Things get extremely complicated from then on and we do have lots of King Under Stone and his brothers appearances in this book. I liked how it connected different stories and brought back characters from the previous two books.

Beyond the knitting, what I really enjoy is how strong and smart are these 12 sisters. They are not your regular stereotypical princesses; they know how to fight, defend their ideas and stand for themselves. Maybe we can have a book for each sister! Okay Jessica Day George, I am waiting for the remaining 9 books.



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Monday, May 13, 2013

Judging a book by its cover

This past week a lot has been said about book covers and gender. I have been intrigued about it since I first read Ilona Andrews' post about covers here. She masterfully explains and describes what we already know a cover is primarily a selling tool.

What makes you choose one book from an other? Most likely we check up books by their covers first!

She explains what catches our attention:

  • Bright color.  Everyone likes blue, red is a close second, and purple is popular, but slightly more with women. Brown, for many, is the least favorite color.  It’s drab. 
  • Interesting image, preferably unlike other images next to it.
  • If there is a person on the cover, they should be attractive.
  • Familiar images that identify the type of the book – markers.  Man, armor, weird sword – heroic or epic fantasy.  Girl, gun, magical swirlies – urban fantasy.  Woman, Victorian dress, gears – steampunk.  Woman, gown, man grasping her dramatically – historical romance. Man, half-naked, magical tattoos – likely PNR.
Obviously this makes me wonder a lot about imagining concepts inside words and making them marketable, specially about body stereotypes, who chooses and why.


Recently, author Maureen Johnson (@maureenjohnson) tweeted on May 6th:


I haven't read any of her books (so far), since she is not exactly an author that writes about vampires or paranormal fantasy I adore. However, she is a big name in the young adult circle and I follow her on twitter for her wits and crazy ideas.

She made a contest on her website about this cover dilemma and named it "Coverflip":

1. Take a well-known book. (It’s up to you to define well-known.) 
2. Imagine that book was written by an author of the OPPOSITE GENDER. Or a genderqueer author. Imagine all the things you think of when you think GIRL book or BOY book or GENDERLESS book (do they EXIST?). And I’m not saying that these categorizations are RIGHT—but make no mistake, they’re there. 
3. Now, COVERFLIP! Make the new cover and put it online. Tweet or Tumbl it with the tag #coverflip. 
4. I’ll be looking at them all, along with Huffington Post Books. They will put up a GALLERY of the best ones, and I’ll pick one winner to get a PRIZE PACK of signed books by me, along with whatever else I find in my house and shove in the envelope.Remember to POST with #coverflip. That’s how we’ll find it. 
* CRITICAL NOTE: 98% of authors don’t make or choose their covers. (Self-publishing, I know you do. I mean published with publishers.)

I came late for the party! But a lot of discussion was raised. An article in the Hufftington Post shows great examples of the outcome of this experiment and the reasoning behind.

Kat Kennedy from Cuddlebuggery chose her favourite and I agree:



So I'm just adding my two cents here with Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study. This is the cover of the book I own:


And this is my contribution:

(Image from http://i-moc.com)

It looks so much different, right?

I love this book.

And on this note, I had a chance to review 'Speechless' by Hannah Harrington a few months ago and  I always felt compelled about this change of cover.

From:

To this:

By removing everything from the cover this book definitely stands out in bookshelves, I've noticed!



Sunday, May 12, 2013

The 5th Wave

This book is following me!

I can't wait to read you :)

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. 
After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. 
And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. 
After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.