Sunday, May 29, 2011

Review: The Art of Steampunk: Extraordinary Devices and Ingenious Contraptions from the Leading Artists of the Steampunk Movement by Art Donovan

Overall Impression: 

Source: NetGalley Ebook ARC

Publication Date: August 1st, 2011

Short synopsis (Goodreads)The Art of Steampunk seeks to celebrate the world of Steampunk: a world filled with beauty and innovation.  A world in which steam power and technology intertwine to create machines that are not only functional and practical, but unique and striking.  
 Inside, you will find the fantastical and stunning artwork of Steampunk artists from around the world.  The 17 artists featured on these pages, among the frontrunners of the Steampunk genre, have had their work displayed at an exhibition at The Museum of History of Science at the University of Oxford, UK and have attracted the media attention of BoingBoing, one of the world’s largest blogs.  Their artwork consists of everything from clocks and watches to light fixtures and jewelry, but every piece demonstrates hours of painstaking work and devotion from its creator.  You will find that the artists themselves are just as unique and colorful as their masterpieces.  Fully embracing Steampunk ideology, many have adopted a Victorian alter ego—a mad scientist persona to match the complicated intricacies of their artwork.
    The Art of Steampunk brings the vision of the Steampunk artist alive on the page, providing a unique insight into the captivating and dynamic world of a vastly underground genre.

My ReviewI love the steampunk genre. Books, movies, pictures, costumes, I avidly follow it all. It was nice that someone took this rapidly expanding genre and compiled a book showing some of the creative things that people have done with this idea. The creations in this book were elegant and worth looking at. I saw an earlier version of the manuscript and the final version is incomparable. The backgrounds really help tie things together and give an overall elegant feel to the book.

If I had to choose one word to describe this book, and it describes the steampunk genre as well, it would be FANTASTICAL. Reading through this book made me excited for steampunk again, so much so that I wish my location wasn’t so limited and that there were steampunk conventions that I could go to. Since I can’t however, reading through this book and looking at the detailed pictures and following up on the creators websites will have to suffice.

Even if you are a long time fan or are new to the steampunk genre this is a great book to either fuel your passion or get you started. Well worth my time and enjoyment. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review: Dark Mirror (Dark Passage #1) and Fallen From Grace by M.J. Putney

Overall Impression: 

Source: Library and free ebook, respectively

Challenges: Support Library, DAC

Publication Date: March 1st 2011

Short synopsis (Goodreads)Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status. 
Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if exposed, itcould strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted . . . by magic.

My ReviewI loved the concept of going forward in time as opposed to backwards. While there was a lot of detail, and it was engaging, it could have been better. I came to know the characters and cared about them, but not as much as I could have. There needed to be more depth. That being said maybe since the stage has been set the next in the series will be better, but this one was lacking a little umph for me. I liked it, but didn’t love it.

Fallen from Grace was a nice little insight into the life of Allarde. Not a lot of depth in that one either, but for the 5 minutes it took me to read it, it was interesting. 

Overall, these are worth a read and I am excited for the next in the series, but not something you need to rush to the front of your TBR.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review: The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley

Overall Impression: 

Source: Library

Challenges: Support Library, Once upon a time

Publication Date: Sept. 2001

Short synopsis (Goodreads): She doesn't really know who she is or what she wants... 

Corinna is a Folk Keeper. Her job is to keep the mysterious Folk who live beneath the ground at bay. But Corinna has a secret that even she doesn't fully comprehend, until she agrees to serve as Folk Keeper at Marblehaugh Park, a wealthy family's seaside manor.

My Review: This was the first book from this author that I have read so I didn't know what to expect. What I found made me absolutely ravenous to read her other works and very, very impressed.

This was the type of story with an engaging, amusing narrator and your along for the ride not knowing what to expect. Not that I know all of the story plots out there, but I can usually guess what's going to happen given enough hints. I find books that do that to me enjoyable but I like being surprised. This book surprised me! I didn't know what was going to happen and by the time it does I'm so astounded and pleased that I want to finish it all the faster to find out more. 

Overall this book was very refreshing and I am very happy that the authors most recent book, Chime, is waiting for me on my shelf. Though the narrators voice in this was snarky and insightful, there was a time or too that I was a little lost. This might not be for everyone but I give it my wholehearted recommendation. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Wayward: The Witch Wars Saga

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Here bloggers share
with others what releases they are most eagerly anticipating. 
This week I have chosen:

Title: Wayward by Ashley Girardi

Release Date: May 6th 2011

Reason chosen: So APPARENTLY, this just came out, but I hadn't heard about it at all and wanted to share. It's about witches and the cover is pretty arresting. PLUS, Goodreads is hosting a giveaway for it, so you should go and check it out!

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: Blood Oath (The President's Vampire #1) by Christopher Farnsworth

Overall Impression: 

Source: Library

Challenges: Support Library

Publication Date: May 2010

Short synopsis (Goodreads): Nathaniel Cade is a 160-year-old vampire who has sworn to protect and serve the President of the United States. In this gripping series starter, the Commander-in-Chief's very own blood sucker has secrets of his own that extend far beyond national security. An imaginative concept that plays out well. A debut novel to watch.

My Review: I really liked this book. I mean, REALLY liked it. I was expecting to find it entertaining, and it was, but it really engaged me. I think it took me about 24 hours to finish this book…I did stay up past midnight, but hey, as the blog title implies, sacrifices must be made.

Normally I don’t read present day thrillers, like at all. I love the Bourne Identity movies but will not read the books, least not while I have about 400 other fantasy and paranormal books to read. However, because this series has a vampire as the main protagonist, well, it’s a very interesting paring and I LIKEY! Definitely recommended!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

(this adorable picture is borrowed from Anna @ Anna Reads)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the epic Story Siren. Here bloggers can share with others their awesome books that they received for review, bought, or borrowed.

Borrowed from Library
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth (I broke my unofficial book ban to buy this. Too many rave reviews to pass it by! I may have a sleepless night tonight!)
For Review
  • Odessa (the Seraphym War Series) by Rebecca Ryals Russell
  • We, Robots by Sue Lange

What do you have in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Overall Impression: 

Source: Library

Challenges: Support Library

Publication Date: March 2010

Short synopsis (Goodreads): Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him. (that's as far as I'm posting, don't want to give too much away!)

My Review: This was a fun, quick read. Wayland North reminds of Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle in the bestest way possible! (only watch the movie though, the book isn’t nearly as exciting!)

This story was unique and kept me guessing. The romance was ADORABLE! Sybelle is a strong character and is not all as she seems. North is young still but oh so sweet and I really enjoyed getting to know both of them.

I was really surprised at how young the author is, she’s a year younger than me! But she wrote a lovely book that wraps up nicely though I truly wish it would continue! There wasn’t really an intense climax, the romance was cute but could have been more sparks. A good comfort book. Definitely a classic to be put on my ‘read again’ shelf! Thanks to Small Review for recommending this so highly!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Here bloggers share
with others what releases they are most eagerly anticipating. 
This week I have chosen:

Title: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Release Date: Sept. 2011

Reason chosen: Look at that cover! It's adorable. The summary is very, very's about two dueling magicians that fall in love and the circus is where they must duel, and it's only open at night...but I'm sure that part you figured out from the title. Can't wait!

What are you waiting for?

Review: Die for Me (Revenants #1) by Amy Plum

Overall Impression: 

Source: Netgalley ARC

Challenges: DAC

Publication Date: May 10th 2011 (today!!)

Short synopsis (Goodreads): My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.
Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.
While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love?

My Review: Anna and the French Kiss meets Twilight (done right)! I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did. I read it in a single day! It’s been quite a while since a book has grabbed me so completely as to do that (thank goodness it was my day off!) I thought it would be an interesting and cute love story, but I REALLY got into it. Kate was such an amazing character (she’s a size 10…I don’t know why that amazes me and makes me happy, but no offence, sometimes the protagonists seem so short! Plus, she’s very logical…there’s a creepy situation and she’s creeped out and acts accordingly) and Vincent….oh Vincent… I need one of him right now!

Amy Plum did a fantastic job balancing description with character development and plot. Is it about zombies? Technically yes, but they don’t feel like that or act like that so thinking of them as the books terms, revenants, feels better. I seriously can’t wait for the next book to come out and can only hope that many, many more are in the works!!

I wish I could gush more about this book but really, you need to experience it for yourself. Even though I was able to read an ebook ARC  I am most certainly buying a copy of this gorgeous book so I can share it with my family and have it to look at on my shelf and to read again. While I’m at it, I think I’ll purchase some French learning materials because I really need to visit Paris.

Until next time, au revoir!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Review: Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White

Overall Impression: 

Source: Library

Challenges: Support Library

Publication Date: Aug. 2010

Short synopsis (Goodreads): Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.

My Review: I didn’t feel like reading this book for the longest time. Not sure why, just didn’t seem my cup of tea. However, I kept seeing so many rave reviews from other bloggers and decided to give it a try. I wasn’t disappointed.

This isn’t a high literature book but it was diverting and adorable. I really liked Lend and Evie was an easy character to follow. I actually thought she was older than 16 as sometimes in literature 16 year olds annoy the heck out of me with how shallow they are. Her obsession with Easton Heights aside, Evie tried her hardest and as her relationship with Lend progressed I found my own stomach doing little happy flips!

Props to the author for coming up with a new twist to paranormals and fairies. I’m excited to see what happens in the series next!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the epic Story Siren. Here bloggers can share with others their awesome books that they received for review, bought, or borrowed. The adorable picture I borrowed from Anna @ Anna Reads.

This week I wanted to try something new because I haven't done this in a while and wanted to try something a bit easier. Sorry if you can't read all of the titles, the links below go to the books Goodreads page. (lots of pretty covers!!!)

For Review from Simon and Schuster Galley Grab
My first ever hard copy arc!!! (thanks to Tracee from Pumpupyourbooks)
Quite a bit on my plate but I LOVE having huge 'to be read piles'... I despise not having anything to read so I kind of overcompensate....anywho, what fabulousness have you gotten recently?!

Post a link below and I'll be sure to follow up!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Review: Cloaked in Red by Vivian Van Velde

Overall Impression:  1/2

Source: Library

Challenges: Once upon a time, Support Library

Publication Date: Oct. 2010

Short synopsis (Goodreads): Eight witty stories that parody the Little Red Riding Hood tale. Each story has a different viewpoint. Kicky design & humorous. Ages 12+

My Review: You know a book is going to be EPIC when you laugh after only reading through the chapter headings. I guess that raised my expectations a little too high. The Author’s Note, which I never ever read, was actually quite interesting. Vivian Van Velde comes up with some exceptional questions having to do with the Red Riding Hood story. I mean really, most fairy tales that we grew up with have many, many things wrong with them that we don't pause to think about until we are older, if at all!

That being said, the story’s premises were interesting but kind of difficult to get through. I could see promise in them, but they were too simple and not engaging enough. I had to force myself to finish it. This brings it down to a 2 stars, but an extra half added for what it could have been. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Follow Friday

Fridays are just coming faster and faster!! Follow Friday is hosted over at Parajunkee's View. This weeks featured blogger is: Magnet 4 Books (cute name!). Head on over and check her out! She's been blogging for less than 2 months! Crazy! Course, I'm fairly new as well, but so glad I joined the blogging community!

This weeks question is:

What character in a book would you most like to be, what character in a book would you most like to date?

Ooh, this one took some serious though, espcially the dating part of it. I would have so say though for being a character I would want to be...

Sabriel from Garth Nix's book Sabriel. I really like the name (I'll name my daughter that, when I have one) and the character is very kick butt in a quite way....she's a necromancer for crying out loud! well, the opposite actually, but you have to read the books to know more of what I'm talking about

Dating: Bracken from Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull. He's a unicorn but oh so charming!!!

Howz about you?!?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

April is NetGalley month- a summary

Emily over at Red House Books came up with the great idea to host April as NetGalley month! I was only able to complete a few of the books that I have downloaded (and some of them expire soon so I really need to read the ones I didn't finish soon!) Here's a summary of what I was able to finish:

 The Goddes Test by Aimee Carter. My review can be found here.
The Girls Guide to Homelessness by Brianna Karp. My review here.

2 out of about 10 is better than 0! Thanks for hosting this Emily! I'll do better in July! ; ) What books did you all read?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Top 10 Tuesdays (2): Books that Came Recommended

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted over at the Broke and the Bookish. To see the topics and to participate, head over here!

  1. The Mercy Thompson series- I love the covers now, but originally would have been highly put off by them. A really good friend of mine (we were working together in the library at the time) recommended them and I gave them a try. Haven't looked back since!
  2. Kate Daniels series- Once I was converted to Mercy Thompson I never thought I would find another series that I liked as much and that would have all of the same elements (kick-butt likable heroine, supernatural hotness, etc.) but from reading other blogs I came across this series and am SO glad to have given it a try! (review)
  3. The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society- I'm a very deep fantasy adventure YA fan. This is NOT the type of book I read to feel relaxed with. However, a roommate of mine swore this was her favorite book and I read it. ADORABLE and it really really grows on you!
  4. Hunger Games- I can be a bit of a cover snob sometimes. This was before I had great blogs to help me get past it sometimes, but in this case I had been reading Stephanie Meyer's website and she was saying how she couldn't put this book down. I was in the mood to avoid some important homework and have now since converted the rest of my family to the series (Suzanne Collins other books, Gregor the Overlander Chronicles are honestly just as good!) and we are EAGERLY anticipating the movie!
  5. Crocodile on the Sandbank- Allison from the Allure of Books had this on a list of some of her favorite books (I have quite a few other series that she recommended that I am really looking forward to starting) and this one (again, the cover thing, and I'm not always such a fan of books published and uber long time ago, they just don't vibe with me as well all the time...anywho) is just what I was looking for. If you are familiar with Soulless by Gail Carriger, with no offense to Ms. Carriger, Amelia Peabody is definetly the character that she based Alexia on. (review)
  6. Touched by an Alien- we've established that covers sometimes really turn me off. This one seems a little too Alien-y for me but That Bookish Girl says this is one of her most favorite books so I decided to give it a try. A-MAZING! (review)
  7. Crown Duel- my cousin picked this up at her library because the girl had a black eye. She recommended it to me and my amazing mom (she's still amazing, but this was back when I couldn't drive myself) actually drove me 40 minutes to the next library that had the book so I wouldn't have to wait. 
  8. The Game of Kings- my since deseased grandfather gave me this book. REALLY great. Quite a few of the references went over my head (we just aren't as cultured as we used to be) but Lymond is a really great character once you get to know him.
  9. Fablehaven- no particular person recommended this to me but I avoided reading it for a very long time. I think one day I was particularly bored and fed up with seeing it all over the place and not knowing more about it. I got a few chapters in and have been converted for life!
How's about you? What books have you ended up loving and are so glad you tried even though you weren't so sure in the beginning?


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