Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

♔ Details

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Release date: 27th September 2011
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♔ Summary

Around the world, black handprints 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 grown 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. 
When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself? 

♔ Review

Where to start? Daughter of Smoke and Bone was truly a treat to read in the midst of my exam-free week. The darkness in it pulled me in in just a few pages.

Karou is not a normal girl. She's an orphan although she has an adoptive family and it is also not a conventional one. They are chimaera, which means they can have body parts of different animals. They live in a separate world and the only means Karou has to get to them is by knocking on the door of selected doors around the world. Just like this, Issa will open the door and let her in Brimstone's shop, where she grew up. She is currently living in Prague (Prague! The book itself made me want to visit it) and she loves drawing. Oh, and she has "natural" blue hair. Much to everyone's consternation, it grows that color.

She goes to school, lives in her flat, and runs "errands" for Brimstone. Errands that are always related to teeth, as he collects all kinds of them. Karou knows that she is different, but even though she has asked countless times, Brimstone won't tell her anything. Her life revolves around school, friends and Brimsone's shop. But one day, on one of his errands, she meets someone different -- an angel.

The world that Laini Taylor builds around the chimaera, the angels and their worlds was so beautifully crafted that you could almost feel like it was real. The narration is, as I said before, compelling and dark, which makes the book completely awesome. And the fact that Akiva is the hottest angel I have read about helps, of course! The scenes with Karou and Akiva together were so intense that I kind of expected something to go off in flames. They were so perfect for each other! In the end, due to some circumstances I don't want to spoil you about, I fall in love with the story all over again. The plot is gracefully played, intertwining the past and the present and Karou in the midst.

How I wish I had read it sooner! Daughter of Smoke and Bone is certainly my new favorite.

♔ Rating

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

In My Mailbox 1

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and originally inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie, used to showcase the books we bought, borrowed, got for review...


My first IMM! Last week I bought this four books that I though I had totally missed out from 2011. And I'm really excited about reading them! When they arrived I was practically hyperventilating. All the covers are gorgeous, even more beautiful than I thought.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I have already started with Daughter of Smoke an Bone and oh-my-gosh! It's incredibly beautiful, addicting and I can't wait to finish it.


Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I've read and reviewed Cinder, and I can't stop myself from recommending it all over again. I found this one on my local bookstore, which is a big coincidence (they don't have that many English books) and I bought it right away, of course.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

♔ Details

Title: Cinder - Lunar Chronicles #1
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: 3 January 2012
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♔ Summary

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl. . . . 
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.

♔ Review

How much can you love a book? You see, I kept thinking that through the whole book. Because I ADORED Cinder.

The main character, Cinder, is a mechanic on New Beijing, the capital of the Eastern Commonwealth. When she was young, she had an accident that took her parents and the very cause why she is a cyborg (human, but with mechanic prosthesis and other technological improvements). She was adopted when she was still in Europe by a man who afterwards passed away because of the mortal plague that is taking lives everywhere mercilessly. Cinder was forced to stay with her stepmother and two stepsisters, who despise her for being a cyborg and do not hold any affection for her.

Obviously the part of the book that fascinated me the most was the technological stuff. The story is set in the future (after World War Four!), so there had been plenty of technological development. I enjoyed reading every little detail about how everything worked, about cyborgs, and the likes. Everything was so believable!

I loved Cinder's character right from the beginning. It was like an instant connection. I liked her strong personality, the way she saw things, how she resisted even in the worst circumstances. And then comes prince Kai and sweeps you off your feet. Really, he was more than perfect, but totally human at the same time. I liked him right when since Cinder first met him. And, my gosh, their oh-so-sweet scenes. They always left me feeling warm and tingly. More like butterflies in the stomach. You get the picture. I cannot even begin to describe how sweet it was. It was one of my favorite romances since many, many books.

Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella, but I really didn't know what to expect. As I waited for the main parts of the story to play out, I was even more amazed. It kept getting better and better! I read the whole book feeling that warm fuzzy thing, almost smiling all the time. Cinder is definitely my new all-time favorite.

♔ Rating

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Friday, January 27, 2012

New title for the sequel of DSB

Today I got Daughter of Smoke and Bone in my mail and I was so excited that I started reading it right away! To my surprise, that same afternoon Laini Taylor updated her blog with the title of the second installment of the series, along with this gorgeous image:


So that's the new title! Days of Blood and Starlight. Haunting. Perfect! The fonts that are used in this title (which are the same for the first one) are gorgeous. Of course I have yet to read the first one, but I can already feel I'll like it very much. Oh, and it came with a little excerpt:

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living—one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel—a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

This was not that world.

The book will be released on Fall 2012

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

♔ Details

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Books
Release date: 29th September 2011
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♔ Summary

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.
When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

♔ Review

I'm glad I got to have had the opportunity to read this! Now it sits on my "favorites" shelf.

The author, Stephanie Perkins, is the same as with Anna and the French Kiss, which I reviewed in the past and LOVED. But there's always the dubt... will this second book from the author be as brilliant as the first one? Now I can definitely say that you don't have to worry, because Lola and the Boy Next Door didn't disappoint me at all. As I said, now it's one of my favorite books. 

The story revolves around the main character, Lola (from Dolores), a seventeen year old girl who is very open and original and unique. She takes the way she dresses as a tool to express herself to the world, which I really liked. Her parents are a homosexual couple, and I enjoyed reading about them and about all the relationships within the family. They were an instant like! 

Lola has a boyfriend who is twenty two years old. They age gap makes the situation a little bit hard the situation and her parents' acceptance (he is the singer from a band of rock... you see where this is going), although she is thinks everything will right itself in the future. But then her neighbors move back to the house next door, and with them, they bring memories that Lola would have preferred to remain untouched. The neighbors are a pair of twins, Calliope and Cricket (Cricket! You see how cute that name is?). Oh, Cricket. If I had to do a list of the best boyfriends of 2011, he would be on that list. Cricket has always been like Calliope's shadow, the great skater. Although he has his own gift; he loves constructing mechanisms and other things that are incredible. He has a very charming personality. Sometimes he's a bit reserved, but in the end he has a big heart and cares about his dear ones. He sometimes had that awkward air that made him all the more adorable.

I can't even begin describing with words how wonderful and beautiful their relationship is! It's one of those that makes you reread their scenes just because you need a Cricket on your life. Incredibly adorable! At first there were some obstacles like Lola's boyfriend, and in the end you realize that maybe they weren't a perfect couple like she thought (I was totally team Cricket).

♔ Rating

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Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

♔ Details

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Release date: 2nd December 2010
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♔ Summary

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

♔ Review

The first thing I noticed about this book was the narration. Here we don't have the usual cold and informative narration that most books have but the author, somehow, makes it like we are inside Anna's head. I don't know how to describe it, but her "way of thinking" felt very close to me.

Afterwards there are the characters. Oh, how I liked them. They are not the typical superheroes. They are just normal people, their daily life, with their distinct physical appearance and their different personalities; nobody is perfect.

I'm not much of a fan of love at first sight, insta love, that with just one glance you magically know you are going to end up with somebody. Luckily, this doesn't happen to Anna and St. Clair. Their love is not instantaneous, but they realize they have feelings for each other as they begin knowing the other, little by little. Bit by bit. My gosh, how sweet! I absolutely adore slow-paced, real romances. And I liked the fact that St. Clair was with someone else at first... It added a nice touch. More believable. Do I have to say that the relationship between the two main characters was heart-achinly beautiful? And to top it off, Stephanie Perkins did a great job capturing their feelings, when you like somebody.

I loved Anna and the French Kiss, it's already on my favorite list!

♔ Rating

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Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

♔ Details

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: 2 March 2012

♔ Summary

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. 
Instead, it turns out to be her last. 
Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

♔ Review

Lauren Oliver makes an outstanding debut with this book. I had read very good reviews about it, but I didn't think I would like it that much.

In Before I Fall we follow Sam's story, a very popular high school girl that had a perfect life (or not that perfect, as we discover more into the book). That is Cupid's Day, 12th of February, when friends and couples give roses as presents. Which is also useful to see the popularity level of each student. On top of that, that day is the big day, the day when she will have sex for the first time with her boyfriend Rob. But she receives a new rose, much more beautiful than the others, and later discovers that it's from a childhood friend who she hasn't spoken to in a long time, Kent. He is known for his cartoon drawings, although he is way far from Sam's popularity level. They are different types of people. And on that night he is throwing a big party in his house.

The day goes on as usual. She spends time with her friends, goes out to have dinner with them, goes to the party... But once she's there things don't go as she'd have liked to. One things leads to another, and when the girls are leaving the party they have a car accident. Sam hears the screams, feels the impact, suffers the pain, sees everything black... But wakes up to the sound of her alarm. And it is 12th of February. Again. At first she doesn't believe it and decides that it must have been something like dejavĂș. But when everything happens again, and they have the accident for the second time, she finally realizes that she's really repeating the day of her death. She tries to solve it; not going to the party, avoiding the accident... But it doesn't work and she ends up wondering if that is another kind of death, if it is really worth making it right. And day after day, she discovers new things. Things about her and about her friends. She starts to change, to grow up, and sees the world from another point of view.

At first I didn't like Sam. She was popular, spoiled and arrogant, and I found her a little irritating. But I kept reading. The story drew me in completely after a few chapters and I found her relationship with Kent really sweet. Oh, and how sad it was. I cried a lot at the end. 

♔ Rating

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Project: Restock Yara's Bookshelves

--Originally from Restock Yara's Bookhelves.

I think by now most of you have probably heard that tragedy has touched one of our own. While away at the American Library Association Mid-Winter Meeting, Yara of Once Upon a Twilight lost her home in a fire.

The blaze began in the afternoon hours of Friday, January 20 and reignited in the wee morning hours Saturday. (You can read a full report in the Montgomery County Police Reporter and view more images here.) Sadly, it gutted the Santos family's house and only the shell of it remains. This is what Yara returned to.



Thank goodness no one was injured, including the pets. That is the bright spot in all of this. As devastating and horrible as the events of the past weekend were, every member of the Santos family is physically okay. Things can be replaced and houses rebuilt, but all of that is secondary to the safety of the people. After all, possessions don't make a home. People do. (Read Yara's cousin Jenny's post.)

To no one's surprise, the book blogging community is rushing to the aid of Yara's family. Twilight Moms is holding a donation drive to raise money and help the family in the interim and eventually get them back on their feet. Authors are pitching in to raise funds for the family. Lani Woodland and several other authors are hosting a contest for those who donate to the cause in an an effort to boost donations.

The three of us here had the same thought, knowing that while memories and so many of Yara and her family's things cannot be replaced there are things that can be. Namely books. We've spent hours sifting through her blog, her Goodreads and her wishlists to compile a massive list of books she enjoyed or hoped to read. We've also posted one for her children in an effort not only to restock Yara's bookshelves, but those of her kids.

Please take a look at the Yara's Booklist and the Children's List. We're trying hard to avoid duplicates, and will be updating the list daily to cross out items that have already been donated.

Visit the Donation Page to donate a book for either Yara or her boys. New books and gently used copies are greatly appreciated. And if you don't want to donate a book but want to contribute you can always donate a gift card.

Thanks in advance to everyone! We'll keep you posted as all our efforts progress and update you on Yara's situation whenever we can. Please keep the Santos family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Vanish by Sophie Jordan

♔ Details

Title: Vanish - Firelight #2
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: 6 September 2011
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♔ Summary

An impossible romance.
Bitter rivalries.
Deadly choices.
To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone. 
Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

♔ Review

The last book, Firelight, ended with a cliff hanger that almost killed me. It was just so good. In Vanished, we follow Jacinda's life once she's back in the pride. Since she and her family ran away, the daily life of the pride has become more strict (curfews, patrols...) and everyone has their eyes set on them, ready to point out anything against them.

Jacinda, the only fire breather of their pride, ceases to be the center of attention she had been before - someone else (very surprisingly!) has taken that.

Will, before Jacinda left, promised her he would come back for her. But some circumstances leave her wondering wether he will be able to do as he said. Will's possible return plus the constant distrust of the pride end up in a situation where Jacinda almost has to suffer a wind clipping.

I enjoyed this book a lot. Of course, it ends with another cliff hanger that will leave you staring astonished at the 'The End' page. I would have liked more Jacinda and Will scenes, but on the other hand I really liked the scenes with Cassian. He ceases to be that stoic, all-for-the-pride Cassian and we are able to catch a glimpse of his feelings. Corbin, his cousin, was a nice addition (even though his creepy personality).

Vanish was as addicting as the first book. There will be situations when you'll want to hit someone, and there will be others that will touch your heart.

♔ Rating

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Review: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

♔ Details

Title: The Iron Knight - The Iron Fey #4
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release date: 26 October 2011
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♔ Summary

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.
Unless he can earn a soul.
To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought. 
Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive. 
With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.
To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale. 
And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

♔ Review

I waited forever for this book. Or it felt like that, anyways. The last book left us with Ash and Meghan’s heart clenching separation that had me tearing up and angry at the world.

In this book we follow Ash's quest to the End of the World. He wants to become human in order to be with Meghan again, the new Queen of the Iron Realm. But he has to earn a soul, and that is no easy task. Not reaching the End of the World in the first place.

Together with Puck they search for Grimalkin, what they know will be a key point if they want to succeed. Things happen, and they find themselves with two new additions to their group. And that thing alone results in a test for everyone in the group.

For the first time we get to catch a glimpse of what the Prince Ash is thinking because he is the narrator. Although I think the author could have taken more advantage and work the character more in depth. I don't know, it gave me the sensation that I didn't get to know Ash as much as I wanted. But maybe that's just me.

That didn't stop the story for being amazing, of course. Once they reach the End of the World, the trials for Ash have just began, as being a mortal is no simple thing.

This is a book that will have you on edge, that will make you laugh with Ash's seriousness, Puck's pranks and Grimalkin's sarcasm, but also cry at some point of the story. It was a very good ending to the series, which now I can say are one of my favorites. Congrats to the author for finishing the Iron Fey! I will miss the characters a lot, but I will look forward to the continuation with Meghan's brother Ethan as the main character.

♔ Rating

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Review: dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman

♔ Details

Title: dancergirl
Author: Carol M. Tanzman
Publisher: Harlequin
Release date: 15 November 2011

♔ Summary

Ever feel like someone's watching you? Me, too. But lately it's been happening in my room.
When I'm alone.
A friend posted a video of me dancing online, and now I'm no longer Alicia Ruffino. I'm dancergirl. And suddenly it's like me against the world—everyone's got opinions.
My admirers want more, the haters hate, my best friend Jacy—even he's acting weird. And some stalker isn't content to just watch anymore.
Ali. Dancergirl. Whatever you know me as, however you've seen me online, I've trained my whole life to be the best dancer I can be. But if someone watching has their way, I could lose way more than just my love of dancing. I could lose my life.

♔ Review

The main character, Ali, takes dancing classes and her dream is to become a professional dancer. One day her friend films her while dancing and uploads it to the internet. The next day Ali discovers it became really popular and now everyone, even from her own high school, knows her as Dancergirl. But then she learns that, among fans, she now has a stalker who even films her in secret.

I really liked the idea of dancergirl, the mysterious dancing girl. If I had to say something bad about it, is that the author started describing dance steps with their names, and it totally lost me. All the mystery and thriller caused by the stalker was a nice addition, and in the end I was practically on edge trying to discover who he was.

Like on most Young adult books, there in between was a love story, but in this case it wasn't that important. It was nice. And wow, the end totally blew me away. All in all, a nice read.

♔ Rating

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine and it's used to showcase the upcoming releases we're excited about.

My first Waiting on Wednesday! I have to say I'm pretty excited about it (yeah... I'm like that). So, here's a couple of books that I can't wait to get my hands on.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Taylor's family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then Taylor's dad gets devastating news that changes everything. Her parents decide that the family will spend the summer together at their old vacation home in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he's much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them are very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

Between Noelle’s difficult home life and the bullying she endures at school, all she wants is to get out of her small town. Noelle would give anything to be with Julian Porter. But staying with her emotionally distant boyfriend is safer. When things heat up between Noelle and Julian, she has to decide whether she can be her true self with him.



Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she’d like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he’s a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen’s really from. He wants Miranda use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lost its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn’t convinced she’s the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it’s her only chance of getting back to the present and her “real” life. What Miranda doesn’t bargain for is finding true love…with no acting required.

Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

♔ Details

Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin
Release date: 22 November 2011

♔ Summary

When her older sister commits suicide and her divorcing parents decide to divide the ashes, Harper Scott takes her sister's urn to the one place June always wanted to go: California. On the road with her best friend, plus an intriguing guy with a mysterious connection to June, Harper discovers truths about her sister, herself and life.

♔ Review

This book was fabulous! If you are looking for a book that makes you feel a wide range of emotions and feelings, this is definitely the one for you.

The story begins with the funeral of Harper's sister, June. June used to be the perfect sister, she was always very nice and happy. So everyone finds it hard to imagine the reason why one day, out of the blue, she committed suicide, without leaving a note or anything like that. Harper is specially upset because she feels like she should have been the one to save her, the one who noticed that she was not okay.

When she found her sister on that fateful day, there was a CD playing on her car. She tries finding out more about that mix of songs, and they led her to the handsome shop assistant of a music store, Jake Tolan, who once had blue hair and the very mysterious boy from June's funeral. Harper wants to do something for her sister, and with her best friend decide to go to California to throw her ashes on the sea, since it was June's dream to go there. So you can imagine their surprise when Jake offers to accompany them.

And here begins their journey across the country that ends up changing their lives in its own way. Because Harper wants to find out the real reason behind June's suicide and Jake's connection to all of this, but she won't be able to do it without first facing her own feelings. The truth is that at first I did not like Jake at all. Yes, he was the "bad boy", but he was bad... in his own sense. That is why I found myself delighted with his increasing interest for Harper. I really enjoyed their verbal battles. It's something I like in stories like these.

Saving June is a contemporary story with very real characters that seem very close to you and let you see a bit of their feelings of having lost someone dear. Easy to read and very recommended!

♔ Rating 

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Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

♔ Details

Title: Touch of Power - Healer #1
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Release date: 20 December 2011

♔ Summary

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.
Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life...

♔ Review

It was the first time I read a book by Maria V. Snyder (author of the series Magic Study and Inside Out) and the truth is that she has already left an impact on me. It certainly won't be the last time I'll read something written by her.

A long time ago a plague spread in Fifteen Realms and it ended with the lives of more than half its population. The healer's immunity to it and their negative to cure it led everyone to think healers somehow created and spread the plague. Now people are organizing themselves and trying to keep everything they knew from disappearing while the government offers a reward if someone finds a healer, and later executes them. That is the reason why Avry hides her real identity and has to change location constantly.

The first thing that held my attention in Touch of Power were Avry's powers. She has healer powers, but she doesn't use “energy” or “magic” to just cure other people, but she absorbs their sickness or wound to herself, who heals faster than humans. I thought that was amazing! Another great point of the book were the adventures. Sometimes I suffer a little in the progress to reach the objective, but I enjoyed greatly Avry's experiences.

I liked Avry right away. There are occasions when I find it difficult to connect to the main characters, but this time I didn't have this problem whatsoever. She is a girl who has lived through hardships and she's a fighter, but we can't forget her side that worries so much about the well-being of the people. That's why she is a healer. And then there are the side characters, of course. First we have Kerrick, the leader of the band that “captures” her, who is pure mystery and has cold and strict personality. He has his own powers, which makes the story and magic theme even more exciting. And the rest of the band. Oh, how I liked them. Their personalities are so well defined that you felt practically one more of the family.

This is one of those books that makes you want to hug it while you read it. I loved it.

♔ Rating


Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

♔ Details

Title: Halo - Halo #1
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: 31 August 2010

♔ Summary

Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.
Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong. Then comes the brooding and popular new transfer, Jake Thorn... who just so happens to be in Bethany's class. Something about Jake seems to be hiding something darker, something more powerful than expected. That thing, and Xavier, distracts Bethany to a point that Gabriel and Ivy are concerned.
The angel's mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

♔ Review

I bought this book for my mum but I couldn't resist the temptation and I kind of read it before she could. And I liked it!

The story is set in our days, when angels are right between us, doing good deeds and amending what the darker powers try to destroy or corrupt (because where there are angels, there are demons!). Bethany is an angel who has descended to Earth with Gabriel and Ivy. But, being the youngest, she is also the most vulnerable.

She goes to a high-school where she meets a boy, Xavier (who that is supposedly not available to anyone due to his deceased girlfriend). And I have to say this: their relationship is one of the sweetest I have read. Every romantic scene between them made me swoon!

But things are not simple: she is an angel, he is a human. And the evil ones start to move their pieces in this game in a way none of them can imagine. I kind of felt fad for Xavier sometimes because he was just a human and could not do anything to help her.

I heard that Halo was written by a young author and she received some bad critiques, but (maybe because I am her age?) I really enjoyed it. Sure, I could have used a little more information about how that heaven/hell thing worked, more action, but we'll see in the next book of the series.

All in all, nice, fast and sweet.

♔ Rating


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Graphic novel of Clockwork Angel

I was greatly surprised when I found out there was going to be a graphic novel of The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (yep, that same series that everyone loves and that I cannot seem to get into). And I was even more surprised to see that the illustrator would be Hyekyung Baek. It's not that I know her (although I did do a little bit of research and found out that it's the same author from the Gossip Girl graphic novel), but her name is Korean and illustrations by a Korean author equals to gorgeous drawings. There's something with the drawing style of Korean manga (manhwa, to be precise) that is so... beautiful, delicate, swoon-worthy, exquisite.

And now after my fangirling after the drawing, a couple of images just so you can see what I mean:


They are not super great, but definitely better than other graphic novel adaptations that I have seen (at least when it comes to the illustrations, as I have yet to read it). If you want to see more images, I've taken them from this discussion on Goodreads.

Review: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

♔ Details

Title: Shut Out
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy
Release date: 5 September 2011

♔ Summary

Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part,Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.
Then Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: She and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. But what Lissa never sees coming is her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling...

♔ Review

Did I already say I'm Kody Keplinger's fan? Because I totally am. There is something about her books... Honest, the truth as it is, but with that unique touch that makes it difficult to forget about the story.

In Shut Out we see Lissa's life -- mortified and fed up with his boyfriend Randy because he seems to care more about his rivalry with the football and soccer teams from their high-school than her. Until one day that she thinks that has been enough and starts planning a way to end with their an enmity not even their participants know how it started. She gathers all the football players' girlfriends to tell them what she plans to do, which is mainly a sex strike; abstinence until both parties end their ridiculous quarrels.

The sex strike and everything it entails gives the girls much to talk, who little by little start revealing and sharing their opinions or experiences about sex. I loved those moments that made you think, only like Kody Keplinger knows how to weave in her stories. Like when a guy sleeps with a loot of girls then he's just a playboy, but if it's a girl, then she's a whore and everyone looks down on her.

In the end the guys also organize themselves (with Cash on the front!) and it son evolves into a war of sexes to see who gives in first to the temptation. Part of me enjoyed the typical "war" from when we were little between boys and girls. Although I have to say I did not like it as much as The DUFF... Maybe I would have liked more action between the main characters.

Oh, but that does not mean I'm not looking forward to June, when the next book from Kody Keplinger, A Midsummer's Nightmare, comes out. I have already read the summary and it looks so good!

♔ Rating


Review: Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

♔ Details

Title: Every Other Day
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release date: 27 December 2011

♔ Summary

Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.
And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely. 
Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.
When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

♔ Review

I loved it. I read it in just a day and a half, but every minute of reading was worth it. The story in itself is very enjoyable and keeps you on suspense from the beginning to the end.

Kali is a normal and ordinary girl... But just every other day. The other days in between she is a hunter, whose instincts drive her to hunt and kill preternatural creatures, the ones that hunt humans when the night comes. Although at the same time she doesn't know who or what she is, why is she like that, if there are others like her out there... Her “not normal” activities are the cause why she has chosen not to have friends and not to get close to anyone. But everything changes when a girl known as the school slut suddenly begins talking to her, Kali sees a death sentence mark by a preternatural creature on the lower back of a popular-cheerleader-girl in her school, and she tries to save her.

I really liked Kali, and I could see clearly her different sides, when she was human and when she wasn't. She has always been alone (her father rarely speaks or acknowledges her and her mother disappeared from the picture when she was a child) and it is very endearing when she starts to adapt to having friends, to have someone to look out for her.

Every Other Day is a book with plenty of action; all the story easily takes place in less than four days. The fights and the preternatural creatures where quite frightening, but I could keep reading nonetheless. Oh, and the love story (although some might say that it was almost nonexistent) stole my heart. I liked the boy in question right from the start, and even though as I said there are not many scenes when he appears, I loved it. Every time I discovered something new about him, I couldn't stop thinking how perfect it was.

I was really sad to hear it was a stand-alone novel! Because it definitely left me wanting more.

♔ Rating

Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

♔ Details

Title: Tempest - Tempest #1
Author: Julie Cross
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release date: 17 January 2012

♔ Summary

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.
That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.
Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.
But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.
Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he's willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

♔ Review

I've read mixed opinions about Tempest, but I had a really good time while reading it.

Jackson Meyer is not a normal boy. He has the ability to time travel, although just to the past and, contrary to what everyone would think, whatever he does in the past doesn't affect the present. His friend Adam is the only one who knows about his secret and together they experiment with his abilities making and discarding hypothesis. But one day two misterious men try to take him by force and end up shooting his girlfriend Holly. He immediately jumps to the past, but this time it's different; he's stuck in the past and he cannot go back to the present.

It was very nice reading a story from the point of view of a boy instead of a girl. Part of this was because this time I wasn't searching the "perfect prince" which the girl ends up with. I became addicted to the storyline since the very beginning, and I liked it way more than I thought I would. I find the topic of time traveling fascinating, so I enjoyed reading the author's version of it.

Another strong point of the book for me was that Jackson had a twin sister. Even when it was certainly sad because she died in the past, fortunately the jumps to the past gave me the opportunity to get to know her. And his father? At first I didn't like him at all, but he later grew on me...

I had a great time reading Tempest, not tiring at all, and I can't wait to read the next book!

♔ Rating


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First post

First posts are always awkward (I hope I'm not the only one feeling like this), so... Mainly this blog will be my little side-project. I may not succeed. I may give up after just a couple of months. But I'll take this more like a challenge for me.

I'm still learning, so please forgive my lack of knowledge. I'll try to learn as fast as possible! :)

Yesterday was my last final exam, so now I have a few weeks of vacations! Yay!
 
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