Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (12)

(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 the awesome books that they received for review, bought, or borrowed.

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead- I bought this yesterday, read & finished it today. Review here.
The Understorey by Fisher Amelie- I actually heard about this one from an interview over at Supernatural Snark (here) and went to Amazon to find that the kindle version was only .99cents! That's my kind of price! (for link, click on the awesome price!)
In for a Penny by Rose Lerner- Got this one because I read Angieville's review on the next in the series. Sounded good and wanted something Regency!
Grave Suprise and An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris- I'll say this, that woman can write addicting stories! I don't normally go for mystery but the slight hint of supernatural keeps this interesting.

Mr. Bradley & the Amazing Smoke Giant by Andrew Augustine- the author approached me with a very considerate query letter for a review (he quoted my list of things I look for in books, letting me know he read it!). He offered to send me a coupon for it, but I went to Amazon and found, once again, that it was the magic price (.99 cents) and just went and bought it. Haven't started it yet, but sounds interesting. 

Blood Rights by Kristen Painter- I've heard of this one for a while and thought I'd take a chance in requesting it on NetGalley. Lucky me, they accepted! Looks interesting and can't wait to start it!
Wolf Mark by Joseph Bruchac- I'm a sucker for a pretty cover as much as the next person, but after a point they kind of blend together. This one, however, is simple yet speaks clearly about what's going on in the story. I'm surprised by how much I like it. Plus, I'm a girl that likes her wolves so this is right up my alley!

What did you get in your Mailbox?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead

Overall Impression:  1/2

Source: Bought

Publication Date: Aug 23, 2011

Short synopsis (Goodreads)When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning. 

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

My Review: I had actually avoided this book for a long time. When I first heard about it I thought it was going to be from Jill's point of view and wasn't that interested. However, once I found out that it was from the Alchemist, Sydney's POV, I was a lot more interested and even ended up purchasing the book. 

Part of the issue arose from the fact that when I had read about Sydney, I imagined here something along the lines of a younger Tina Fey with brown hair and glasses (funny how descriptions sometimes have NO bearing on how we imagine characters in our head, that's sometimes why movies just adaptations just dont work for me) and seeing a blond person with a not flattering haircut on the cover threw me off into thinking it was Jill.

Now that you have that kind of unnecessary background, the book was actually pretty good. I started reading it this morning, and since today was a glorious Saturday, was actually able to read it straight through. I will admit that I could guess where things were headed, but it wasn't too exasperating waiting for the characters to figure things out as well. Ms. Mead can write a diverting story, ones that are light, but addicting reads. 

PLUS, I'm really happy Adrian is back in the picture, and it's cool seeing things from the Alchemists points of view. I'm glad we get to learn more about Jill as well, though I wouldn't have wanted it to be from her POV. Things are heading in an interesting direction in a lot of ways, so I'm excited to see what happens next. Biggest bummer, though, is that the next book in the series isn't due out until JUNE 2012. Ah well, good thing I have a ridiculously long TBR pile. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles #1) by Kady Cross

Overall Impression 1/2

Source: Publisher through NetGalley

Challenges: DAC

Publication Date: May 2011

Short synopsis (Goodreads)In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one except the "thing" inside her. 

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch...

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits. Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help-and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on, even if it seems no one believes her.

My Review: I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. It had the makings of what I though would make a great book: steampunk, special powers, great outfits, love triangles, etc. but it all fell sort of flat. We’re told too much, not shown enough. Not enough build up or development, either in terms of plot or in terms of relationships (friendship as well as love interests) and things are just kind of handed to them (too many easy ‘Eureka!’ moments or the opposite where it takes them forever to figure something really simple out.)

This book just wasn't my cup of tea, I'm sad to say. I LOVE the cover and the premise has quite a bit of potential, but it was too easy to guess where things were going and it didn't get deep enough for me. Glad I gave it a try but sad it couldn't fulfill expectations. There were some personal pet peeves of mine throughout but really, you could love this book. The least you can do is give it a try. At the very least you can take the cover and ask a seamstress to make you a dress like that and then you'll be the envy of everyone!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Cold Fire

(This adorable button is from Lindsay at the Violet Hour)

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: Cold Fire (Spiritwalker #2) by Kate Elliot

Release Date: September 26th 2011 (I need a time machine stat!)

Reason Chosen: I recently finished the first in this series (reviewed here) and LO-O-O-O-OVED it!! It was just my cup of tea with strong yet realistic characters, tension between boy and girl *squee* and magic! Really, it's worth all of it's 500 something pages and this one....this one is 640! Thank you Ms. Elliot! Thank you!

What are YOU waiting for?

Review: Cold Magic (Spiritwalker #1) by Kate Elliott

Overall Impression: 

Source: Bought

Publication Date: Sept. 2010

Short synopsis (Goodreads)It is the dawn of a new age... The Industrial Revolution has begun, factories are springing up across the country, and new technologies are transforming in the cities. But the old ways do not die easy. 

“I was not a bard or a djeli or an historian or a scribe and I was certainly not a sage, but that didn't mean I wasn't curious…”

Young Cat Barahal thinks she understands the world she lives in and her place in it, but in fact she is merely poised, unaware, on the brink of shattering events. Drawn into a labyrinth of politics involving blood, betrayal and old feuds, she will be forced to make an unexpected and perilous journey in order to discover the truth, not just about her own family but about an ancient secret lying at the heart of her world.

Cat and her cousin Bee are part of this revolution. Young women at college, learning of the science that will shape their future and ignorant of the magics that rule their families. But all of that will change when the Cold Mages come for Cat. New dangers lurk around every corner and hidden threats menace her every move. If blood can't be trusted, who can you trust?

From one of the genre's finest writers comes a bold new epic fantasy in which science and magic are locked in a deadly struggle.

My Review: I’m giving this book a 5, not because it was perfect, but because I loved it so much.
What did I love, might you ask? Well, I actually had a couple of false starts with this book. While the first few chapters are ok, things didn’t start flowing for me until a little bit later and then the action really started to pick up. This is book is a great mix of magic, self-discovery, best friends, accidental and infuriating husbands, loyalty, traveling, fleeing, fighting and humor. I could go on, but I think you’ve got the picture. It’s not really a steampunk novel, and I didn’t go into reading it with that idea, but going back through the summary is makes it sound like machinery plays a huge part and that’s not the case.

Cat was a fantastic character. We only scratch the surface of who she is and I’m excited to get to know her better in the coming books. Her cousin, Bee, was actually a fun character as well. Usually her type of character annoys me but in this case she wasn’t too girly or witchy or spastic as the sisters or relatives of the heroines usually seem to be (that could just be me though). She has her own abilities and I’m eager to see what happens to her as well.

Andevai, well, he was annoying at the beginning, but then we get to know him more, and there’s this part towards the end *squee!!!* I really can’t say much more than that, but I am SLOBBERING to continue this series!!! I LOVE tension that you know is going to be resolved epically and this is the case!!!*still squee-ing*

What I didn’t like so much about this book was every once in a while it would get a little verbose about some history of the people or where the magic came from. It lasted only for a few paragraphs at most and I was able to skim it so it didn’t detract too much, but things could have flowed a little better. That, honestly, is my only complaint.

Worth all of its 500 pages!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review: Winters Passage & Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey series #1.5 & 2)

Overall Impression

Source: Kindle and Library

Challenges: Support your library, once upon a time

Publication Date: June 2010 and August 2010, respectively

Short synopsis (Goodreads): for Iron Daughter- Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.
Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

My Review: Winters Passage was a great refresher step between the books for me. It had been a few months since I had finished the first one so this made it easier to get back into the world without being completely lost. Didn’t add a whole lot more depth, except maybe to make it more obvious how much Megan likes Ash and how often he needs to save her, but hey, we’ll see where this goes.

The world that Kagawa creates is engaging enough to keep reading the series. Meghan has her moments of being a force for good as opposed to being just a bystander, but not as many as I would like. I want to see more of her strength of character, and she has potential, but it hasn’t grown as much yet. Maybe in the future books she’ll get stronger. Ash and Puck have to save her butt like every other second and yes, she stands up for getting things done, like going after that thing that was stolen (ha! No spoiler there!) but it’s like, yes, good for that but you’re just kind of extra weight because if something happens you’ll need to be protected and draw effort away from that thing that you are trying to accomplish.

 If she grows stronger and is able to stand up for herself, and it seems she has that desire and is just as frustrated by her inability to do things herself so this actually might happen, I think I could really like to grow her even more as a character. If things get deeper and more complex this could be a really really good series, one of my favorites.

Another point against Megan, love triangles are hard. Meghan doesn’t handle hers well. You know who she likes the best, but she totally leads the other on and that pisses me off a little. Again, still the middle of the series, so I feel I’m judging her a little harshly, but I expect her to be a bit more mature, not waffling all the time back and forth. 

In My Mailbox (11)

(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 the awesome books that they received for review, bought, or borrowed.

Cold Magic by Kate Elliott- bought this on sale at a Borders close out sale (so sad!). Already read and LOVED it! Review to come soon. Seriously guys, this one rocks!
Withering Tights by Louise Rennison- Same author did Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging and this one looks just as hilarious! Also bought at a borders close out sale.
The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt- Looked interesting. Picked up at a Borders close out sale. Started it, it's ok so far, but will be reading other things first.
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready- Hadn't really wanted to try this one, but Leslie at My Keeper Shelf featured one of the characters as her book boyfriend and well...I was convinced enough to buy this for my kindle app!
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris- I just finished (and posted a review) for the whole Sookie Stackhous series. LOVED IT! Lux from the Paperback Heart recommended this one and I'm so excited I'm trying it out tonight! (Kindle really shouldn't have a one click buy option, I get a little trigger happy sometimes...)

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa- The last one ended....a little moodily for my liking, so hopefully this one picks up with a deeper and more complex plot. Plus, take a look below and you'll see why I'm eager to keep up the pace!

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa- I was pretty thrilled that they approved this request! Can't wait to read the third one as well as the 3.5 short story. Ash is so handsome!
Secrets, Monsters and Magic Mirrors by Donald B. Lemke- This one looks pretty adorable. I still haven't grown out of picture books, don't think I ever will!

What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review: The Art of Alice: Madness Returns by RJ Berg

Overall Impression

Source: NetGalley

Publication Date: May 2011

Short synopsis (Goodreads)Legendary game designer American McGee created one of the most visually arresting games of all time in Alice. Eleven years later, McGee returns with a sequel just as groundbreaking as his critically acclaimed classic - Alice: Madness Returns!
Just in time for Madness Returns, Dark Horse and Spicy Horse studio invite Alice fans to take a journey through the wonderland of American McGee's imagination for a look at this magnificent and disturbing world. With text by Madness Returns lead writer and executive producer R. J. Berg, and featuring an introduction by McGee, The Art of Alice offers an intimate look into the artwork behind this blockbuster interpretation of Lewis Carroll's enduring masterpiece.

My Review: Deliciously Macabre. This is something that you definitely need mood music to page through with. I listened to the soundtrack for Sherlock Holmes which added a nice creepy dark London feel to it. I wonder what Louis Carroll would think with all of the different versions of his fairytale people have come up with.

Even though this is a definitely too dark for children, it still has the fantastical keep-your-head-turning type of feel to it that holds true to Alice’s origins. If you read this too much it might start to mess with your head, but in a very fantastical creepy sort of way. It was nearly impossible to decipher the script and printing in Adobe Digital Editions, and while it would have been nice to learn more behind the scenes information, the pictures and artwork were the main attraction and make this book worth looking at all by themselves. Personally I think a lot of the detail and beauty of art gets lost when it translates to video game format.
While I won’t be playing this game I will still be enjoying the effort that went into it. 

Review: Chimichanga by Eric Powell

Overall Impression: 

Source: NetGalley

Publication Date: October 4th 2011 (?)

Short synopsis (Goodreads):Eric Powell, creator of the award winning series The Goon, brings his offbeat humor and distinctive style to his newest creation! A story fit for youngsters, Chimichanga tells the tale of a bearded girl, her less than spectacular traveling circus, and a bizarre creature that turns their lives upside down.

My Review: Just to manage expectations, the reason I'm giving this graphic novel a 3 is solely for the pictures. The storyline was only as a means of tying together the great pictures, not the other way around. You might actually be able to make up your own story that would be more amusing. I don't mean that in an unkind way, simply that Mr. Powell's talent lies in his drawings. Each was full-bodied and engaging. I didn't ever think that a bearded girl could be so cute but this one pulls it off!

Worth a peruse, if only for the pictures.

Review: A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Overall Impression: 

Source: NetGalley

Challenges: Debut Author Challenge

Publication Date: August 9th, 2011

Short synopsis (Goodreads)Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss.

Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose -- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire -- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat.

Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existance, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes -- or be left without any future at all.

My Review: Without a doubt this is one of the best fairy tale retellings that I have EVER read. I do not throw that out glibly either. Rose’s voice was easy to follow and easy to get lost in. The world was futuristic and only in the barest hints was the storyline similar to Sleeping Beauty but I liked it so much better that way. It took something familiar and made it better and its own.

Reading this I actually sobbed, hard core, at a few parts. True, I kind of had a long day and need a good cathartic cry, but it was amazing how with just a few flashbacks I was able to understand a relationship so completely that when it was torn away my heart ached. Anna Sheehan did an amazing job and I will keep a look out for her books in the future, to be sure!

The last few pages felt a little rushed, and the epilogue was unfulfilling. Not sure if this means that there will be more. I did really like the last line, though, and it teaches a good lesson. The was an complex yet easy to understand world and the magic I felt reading this story had nothing to do with fairy godmothers and everything to do with a strong main character who my heart was tied to within the first chapter. Recommended wholeheartedly! 

Winner of Giveaway + I'm back!

Well hello again! It's been quite a while since I've posted on here, but I needed a break. I had originally only meant it to last a week while I was on vacation but since I was starting a new job one thing lead to another and I was quite stressed. What do I do when I'm stressed? I read like CRAZY! That's what I love best and it's helped me cope so I put all of my energy into that instead of blogging.

I am adequately recover now, however, and glad to be back! Sorry it took me so long to announce the winner of my FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY, and thankyouthankyouthankyou to everyone that entered and got the word out. Now that I've done it once and see how easy and fun it is (I LOVE sharing books!) I'll be doing it again so keep you eyes and ears open for more giveaways in the future. Now, without further ado, this times winner is:


How cool of a name is that? Anyways, Zest, if you are reading this, I've emailed you and you have 48 hours to confirm. Thanks so much for participating and CONGRATULATIONS!


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